|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3196 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1595 words|
“Phew…sorry for making you wait, master. Did you need something?”
“Yes, we just got a new employee to work with us, so I wanted to introduce her to you. Her name is Lapis, and mainly will be working as a receptionist with you.”
“Seriously?! That’s really helpful! I’ve been so busy I don’t mind any type of help I can get!”
Camille got so excited she hugged me out of the blue, patting my back without any reservation. Since she was a retired adventurer, those pats were pretty strong as well. Escaping from her grasp, I rearranged my appearance and bowed to her.
“I’m Lapis. Let’s get along well.”
“I’m really happy to have you here! And you’re especially welcome since you’re such a cute girl!”
I felt relieved hearing her talk like that. She seemed to have a straightforward personality, so I should be able to get along well with her.
“Now that that’s settled, you’ll start working from tomorrow on. Where are you living currently?”
Now that Krieck mentioned it, I still had no set residence. What should I do? Maybe borrow some money from Karin and Ciel and stay at the inn for the moment?–––When my thoughts reached that point, Ciel stood beside me and spoke.
“For the moment she’s staying at my place. You’re okay with that too, right Lapis?”
For a moment I was lost thinking about living together with a girl, but when I thought about it more, I remembered that my mind aside, I was a fully-fledged girl myself. On top of that, I felt that there was not that big of a difference between borrowing money and freeloading, refusing her now would also look weird.
“I see. Well then, Lapis, I hope to see you tomorrow first thing in the morning.”
“I understand, then if you’ll excuse me.”
After that, we left the guild and the tumult from adventurers behind, and once we were back in the streets, I stretched my back.
It felt good to loosen up my stiffened body. I had been more stressed than I was accustomed to, and I had just gone through my first ever job interview. It was different from the stress that one got during a fight, but it was a new feeling so it wasn’t that bad… Once I organized my thoughts, I realized I had enjoyed going through the interview.
“Good job, Lapis.”
“You looked like a natural at it. Just watching was making me nervous, you know.”
“Thanks, you two, I wouldn’t have found this place without you.”
After I said that, the two just smiled and hugged me without saying anything. For some reason, I always felt constricted when that happened at first, but I eventually got over it and didn’t hate it as much. Maybe being around them had affected me in some way?
“Well, let’s go buy you some daily utensils now. Don’t worry about the money yet, Karin and I will take care of that.”
“Huh? No, wait…”
“I said to not worry about it! Let us do that much for you. After all you’ve done for us, this isn’t nearly enough to return the favor.”
Once she put it that way, there was nothing I could say back, so I just gladly accepted their goodwill.
§ § §
There were a multitude of things being sold in the city. There were obviously different foods and drinks, as well as swords or armor, general tools or writing utensils, it felt that if you searched long enough, you could find anything you wanted.
They first took me to a large store that sold most general goods, from utensils to clothes and things of the sort. Ciel explained to me that normally those two would be sold in different shops, but this store was managed by a larger company that produced both of them, so it sold everything.
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“We should start with tableware first. Do you have a favorite color?”
“A favorite color… I don’t really have any. But if I had to choose one I guess I’d go with blue?”
“Let’s search for utensils accentuated with blue then. Knives or forks aside, there should be plates with cute blue designs.”
The tableware Ciel assembled looked well made, around the same level of craftsmanship I saw on the silverware used during the dinner parties in the castle. White, light, but also somewhat brittle. I assumed they were made of porcelain or something like that, but that was really out of my knowledge so I had no idea. Since I had been living for so long in the mountains using utensils I made cutting out pieces of wood, I was worried I might break them.
“Next we should find regular clothes for you. We’ll have to buy three sets, one for work, another to sleep, and the last for your days off.”
As soon as she mentioned that, I looked down at the clothes I was wearing. They were all crude ones I made myself, sewing together the hide from animals. Compared to the clothes the people around me were wearing, they looked pretty bad.
Aware of that fact, I began feeling embarrassed. After that Ciel and Karin toyed with me as if I was a dress-up doll, trying many different clothes on me. I just let them do what they wanted while my eyes darted from one side to another in confusion.
“Yup! These are perfect for you!”
“Yeah! They really fit you well!”
I thanked them, feeling somewhat exhausted. The clothes they had chosen for me were all cutesy with white embroidery on them. One set emphasized ease of movement for work, the sleeping dress was a soft robe-like cloth that covered my whole body, and the casual clothes were entirely focused on cuteness, the sleeves and skirt looked rather fluffy and plump, they made me look like a lady from some wealthy family.
When we were done shopping, we lugged the many things we bought to the residential area of the town. Many houses were lined one after another there, and while calling it the slums would be going too far, it could hardly be called a high-class district either. Ciel’s home was somewhere there.
The interview and shopping had already eaten up a lot of time, so the surroundings were already starting to darken. The scent of dinner came wafting from the houses, tickling my nose.
“Welcome to my home! Come on in, Lapis!”
“Excuse me,” I replied as I entered, but Ciel opened her eyes wide upon hearing me.
“No no! That’s not it, you should say ‘I’m home’. This will be your home for the time being after all.”
“Good! Welcome home!”
…I could barely remember the last time someone spoke like that with me arriving home. I lost both my parents when I was still young, so I was raised by foster parents, but they only focused on training one day after another, so I never felt the warmth of a family. If I did not perform well, there were times when they did not even greet me. So hearing those words from her now, somehow made me really happy.
Afterward, we started a small party at her home. Though it could barely be called a party considering we only ate the food we had bought earlier. Yet I still enjoyed it many times more than the parties I attended in the castle, with incredible food, luxury wine and surrounded by beautiful maidens. This was the first time I knew, since I started living more than 300 years ago, that a party organized simply by the appreciation of someone else could feel good.
Karin lived close-by, so she returned home. Ciel and I lied down on a cramped bed, and the moonlight began peeking through the clouds. I kept staring at it as I lay there, when Ciel, who I thought was already asleep, began speaking to me.
“Lapis…I feel like we dragged you around a lot today, were we bothersome?”
Surprised, I turned to look at her. She had her well-formed eyelids half closed, looking somewhat uneasy.
“Well, you didn’t really want to leave that mountain, did you? Yet we forced you out to come with us…”
Ahh, so that’s how they saw it… Thinking that, my lips bent into a sour smile.
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“You didn’t really force me. If I really had hated the idea, I would’ve refused to leave no matter what you said. But since I went with you, there was probably something in my heart that wished for change. That’s why I’m actually grateful to you two for giving me the starting point to pursue a brand new life. That’s the truth, you know?”
A bright smile overtook my lips as I said that, Ciel heaved a deep sigh in relief.
“I’m glad then, I feel a bit better now.”
An awkward smile overtook us then. Ciel took the blanket that was slipping off me and straightened it out, then fixed her own blanket.
“Let’s get to sleep now. You have your first day at work tomorrow.”
“Yeah, good night Ciel.”
“Sleep well, Lapis.”
It had been an exhausting day with many new experiences for me, but the sense of accomplishment in me was stronger than any I had felt before. As I told myself I had to try my best the next day as well, at some point, I fell sound asleep.