Chapter Six: Shopping?
Yasutaka’s group is heading east on the national highway route 153. The two bicycles are travelling on an undulating yet relatively level road.
On the way, Eru was excited because of the surroundings ーー or rather, she’s still excited.
「A, amazing…… This is the first time I’ve seen such a long stretch of road…… Moreover, it’s been paved neatly with tiny black stones…… Say, Yasutaka-san? There’s a lot of short grass neatly lined up in shallow swamps but…… is there some meaning to it?」
「That’s rice, a staple food crop of this country.」
「Rice……? This is the first time I’ve seen a crop grown in a shallow swa……Ya, Yasutaka-san!! This is bad!! A lot of magic beasts I’ve never seen before are lined up and coming this way!! It’s a terrifying number!!」
「Magic beasts, you say…… Those are cars. Just like this bike, it’s a vehicle for people.」
「Vehicle for people…… In other words, it’s a trained mountable beast? Still, I can’t find the rider that’s supposed to be riding it though……?」
「No, as I wasーーー」
Cycling slightly behind the two is Aoi, though she coudn’t understand what Eru says, but from how Eru was acting and Yasutaka responds, she could roughly guess the contents of their conversation.
「Yeah, that was predictable. It would be a lie if an inhabitant of a fantasy world doesn’t show a reaction like this. Uh-huh.」
And so, she looked strangely pleased with herself.
A large building came into view on the left side of the three people riding bicycles.
「S, such a large building……Is this perhaps the Feudal Lord’s estate or the area around it?」
「No, you’ve got it wrong. That’s our destination. Over there…… We plan on buying your clothes at I-ON.」
「Th, that large building is a shop!?」
The shops Eru knows are mostly stalls. Of course, there are shops that merchants have set up as well but many of those kinds are purveyed by the rich aristocrats and not something that commoners could utilize.
Common folk like Eru would go to the marketplace where stalls are lined up.
Additionally, Eru has never seen anything like the houses she’s observed since coming here.
There are several similar houses lined up and a large building comprised of a number of small houses.
Although the area itself isn’t that large, there are still far more houses here than in Prius, the town Eru lived in.
Apart from houses, there are plenty of unfamiliar buildings which, according to what she heard from Yasutaka, seemed to be a variety of shops and restaurants.
The exterior of those stores and restaurants were all different, and with the abundant colours used, it could be said that there are no two stores were the identical. There were some stores that looked similar and, according to Yasutaka, they were called 「Chain stores」.
Needless to say, Eru did not understand what a 「Chain store」 was.
During such an exchange, the cyclists arrived at the large supermarket, I-ON.
Leaving their bicycles in the (bicycle) parking lot, the three walked to the store entrance.
「………… Ya, Yasutaka-san…… D, don’t the people around us seem to be looking at me……?」
Today is Saturday so I-ON is bustling with people.
Families and students like Yasutaka. Men and women who look like couples. Because this is the only place with a movie theatre in this area, a lot of customers come here.
Many of those customers were glancing, ーー some, staring ーー at Eru. Well, they were looking at her long, pointed ears. There were some that were just genuinely charmed by her beauty.
「……For starters, I think it’s best if we buy a hat and hide your ears.」
And so, the three rushed into I-ON to first search for a shop that sells hats.
Having succeeded at first buying an affordable hat and making Eru’s ears less conspicuous, the party decided to tour inside I-ON leisurely.
「Wa, wawawa!! A, this is amazing!!」
Inside the building, there were numerous shops and a myriad of people coming and going. And colourful merchandise were lined up in the stores. Naturally, these were all things Eru had never seen before.
With large eyes growing even larger and cheeks flush, Eru was so excited she even forgot to close her agape mouth as she looked at her surroundings.
「A, are these all books……? What’s more, there are a lot of books with the same content…… U, unbelievable!! So many books with colour…… U, uwa, the sketches drawn on the books are so elaborate……」
Eru who was excited seeing books lined up in front of the bookstore in I-ON, got even more excited as she opened the book she picked up.
「Does Eru, perhaps, like books?」
「From the looks of it, she might.」
At present, the one wearing the translations earring is Aoi. Since they’ll be buying clothes for Eru, they concluded that Aoi, a girl, should wear it because it would be easier to give stylish advice when choosing clothes together.
Aoi interprets Eru’s words for Yasutaka who doesn’t have an earring.
Printing presses didn’t exist in Eru’s world so, naturally, all books were handwritten manuscripts. That meant that all books were expensive.
「Hey, Eru. Let’s buy some clothes first. If you still want a book later, buying one copy of something…… Yasutaka can.」
「Ara? Yasutaka plans to pay for Eru’s clothes, right?」
「Well, yeah…… Since it’s come to this…… or rather, there’s no other choice, right? Fortunately, I have a part-time job so I have some money……」
「Well, I plan on contributing a little too, you know? Though not as much as you, but I’m also connected……… but still, so lucky. Receiving clothes that Yasutaka bought……」
「Eh? The last part, I wasn’t able to catch that because your voice was too soft but, did you say something?」
Because Aoi stopped talking abruptly, Yasutaka reflexively asked again.
「Nothing, It was nothing. It’s just that I’m jealous of Eru’s new clothes.」
「Is that how it is?」
「That’s how it is. Girls.」
When Aoi answered him with a straight face, Yasutaka unintentionally showed a wry smile.
「Then, as thanks for today, I’ll buy something for you.」
「Eh? Is, is that ok……?」
When Aoi innocently asked with upturned eyes, Yasutaka nodded coolly.
「It’s fine. But just one thing though? And nothing too expensive, alright?」
「U, un!! Yatta!!」
Clapping, a delighted Aoi twirled around. Showing Yasutaka a bright smile, she then approached Eru, who hasn’t moved from the front of the bookstore, at a quick pace.
「Alright, Eru! Let’s go shopping quickly. Starting with underwear!!」
「Why from there!?」(Yasutaka)
「Because, if we don’t buy underwear first, we can’t try on the clothes we want to buy, now can we?」
Now that he thought about it, it was just as Aoi said, and as one would expect, Yasutaka accompanying them to buy underwear was unthinkable.
Having separated from Yasutaka who went somewhere to kill some time, the two first got Eru’s size measured by a salesperson ーー who looking puzzled at Eru who wasn’t wearing any underwear ーー from an underwear specialty store, bought several pieces that suit Eru’s body and took the opportunity to immediately wear a pair before heading to a shop that sells with women’s clothes.
On the way.
「U, um, Aoi-san……」
While looking embarrassed, Eru pulled on the hem of Aoi’s clothes
In a low voice, Eru whispered something into Aoi’s ear..
「A, ahh, the restroom. In that case, hereーーー」
As she tried to lead Eru to the women’s restroom, for some reason Aoi’s feet suddenly stopped.
「H, hey, Eru? This might sound weird but…… when you came to this world, to relieve yourself…… what did you do? There’s no way this is the first time, right?」
Stopping in a corner of a pathway in I-ON, two girls were whispering about something in low voices. If seen from afar, it was really strange. However, the two in question could not afford to care for such a thing.
「T, that is…… Early this morning, at the back of Yasutaka-san’s garden…… I dug a hole……」
「I, in the gardenーーー!?」
Almost shouting out, Aoi covered her mouth with her hand.
「B, but…… I didn’t know where it was okay to go in the house…… And that’s often how it is as an adventurer.」
Most of an adventurer’s job is outside ーー Aoi is aware of at least that ーー if so, then it was definitely something they frequently had to do. But in Japan, aside from people had to do that when camping, public restrooms and convenience stores are everywhere now.
That’s why, a girl, such as Eru, shouldn’t have to dig a hole in the garden and do it there.
「You should have asked Yasutaka……」
「A, about that…… Yasutaka-san didn’t seem like he’d wake up last night……」
To be precise, a certain situation caused Yasutaka to faint but it was too shameful to tell Aoi.
「N, no one saw you right……?」
「I believe it was alright. It was still dark at the time.……」
To know that was no need to worry whether someone saw, Aoi was a bit relieved as she sighed.
「In any case, from now on, don’t ever do it outside, okay?」
After confirming that Eru nodded, she once again led her to the women’s restroom.
「When we reach the restroom, I’ll explain how to use it.」
「How to use……it?」
「Yeah. I think you probably won’t know how to use the restroom in this world. And I’m sure you’d be amazed. Such as a flush toilet, a toilet seat heater, or a washlet, with those kinds of things.」
「Eh? Eh? S, surpised……?」
In one of the women’s toilet in I-ON, the surprised voice of a girl from a parallel world could be heard.
After separating from Aoi and Eru, Yasutaka browsed the bookstore and any other shop that interested him as he wandered around, and then went to the food corner on the second floor to take a break.
Incidentally, more than an hour has passed since Yasutaka separated from the two.
Although the food corner gets crowded just before noon, Yasutaka was still able to secure a table for four so he sent Aoi a mail with his location. While waiting for the girls to come back, to distract himself from boredom, he took out his smartphone to play. At that moment.
「Huh? Yasutaka? Isn’t that Yasutaka?」
Yasutaka heard a familiar voice from far away.
Looking up from his smartphone, the person he expected was there.
A tall figure exceeding 180cm. Giving off a refreshing feeling, he has well-arranged appearance that could attract girls’ eyes just by standing there. In fact, the gazes of junior high and high school students, some college students or working women, were pointed at him.
His name is Hagino Takashi. He is Yasutaka and Aoi’s other childhood friend.
「Takashi? Why are you here?」
「Why, because I’m free? I’m guessing you…… haha, maybe you’re with Aoi?」
Grinning, Takeshi arbitrarily sat down in front of Yasutaka.
「It’s true I’m with Aoi too but……」
Takashi tilted his head curiously.
As far as he knew, Aoi is the only girl friend Yasutaka is close with in their age group.
Of course, he has other friends, but aside from Takashi, there’s hardly any of Yasutaka’s guy friends that would be with Aoi.
So then, is Aoi together with her friends?
When Takashi thought about it, Aoi’s girl friends wouldn’t hang out with Yasutaka either.
(Then, who the heck are they with?)
「Well, who are you with?」
Not able to figure out the answer, Takashi decided to ask Yasutaka meekly.
「……Let’s see. I can tell you. But, you absolutely can not carelessly say anything about this, alright?」
「Oh, what? Did you start something interesting?」
Leaning forward, Takashi looked excited and Yasutaka chronologically explained the events from last night till today.
- あなたじゃないけどこれも縁だしね。I did the best I could with this.[↩]
- びっくり / Bikkuri could mean either surprised or amazed. For me, surprised could mean either positive or negative, while amazed can only be something positive.[↩]
『Freeloader Elf』 update.
The third childhood friend appears.
Yeah, he’s a 「Disappointing Ikemen」 too. I wonder how much I like 「Disappointing Ikemen」 (lol)
I look forward to your continued support.
Hello! My keyboard gave me a scare while I was translating this. The W stopped working! I thought I had to work on this on my phone (again) but it’s working now so, phew. lol
As always, thanks for reading. Please comment any mistakes or suggestions. I’ll see you next chapter~