「 Come in. You don’t have to hold back 」
「 Even if you say that I will still get nervous. Excuse me then 」
For the first time in my life – including my previous life – I’m entering a woman’s home.
My heart’s racing as I’d never done this before, but Marie, the owner, had a cool, nonchalant expression on her face. I feel like an idiot.
This tension won’t go out so easily.
–I’m sure I had a time where I thought of that.
The room is overflowing with stuff, and it’s so crowded I can’t even find my foot.
On the dining table is a pile of vessels stained with an unidentifiable liquid.
The unpleasant smell of various things mixed completely knocked down my preconceptions about women’s houses. There’s no trace of floral scent unique to women and the parade of dangerous and pungent smells is enough to make my eyes hurt.
「 Ah, don’t touch that place. If you touch the wrong thing it’ll explode 」
「 E-Explode?! 」
What a mess. It seems like girls have explosives lying around their rooms.
「 Woah, what’s this? It’s damp. Is this clothing? 」
「 That’s my underwear. They’re freshly washed this morning so they’re not dried yet 」
「 Eeh?! Oh, sorry, I didn’t intend to touch them 」
「 Don’t mind it. If you worry about every single thing, you’ll become like Hagen-san you know? 」
I don’t want to be bald, but Marie’s so indifferent about this.
「 Aren’t you supposed to be surprised and disgusted when the opposite sex touches your underwear without permission? 」
「 Really? Underwear is just clothing so I think it’s just overreaction 」
I wonder if I’m just dragging my past senses to this.
True, this world is much more generous compared to my previous life, but it’s also rougher. The idea of privacy is so thin. As Marie said, underwear is just a piece of clothing so maybe I’m the weird one to feel special about this.
「 Speaking of which, Zaryu’s always been obsessed with minor details. Like, trying to negotiate with the supplier of tools and amount of compensation for requests, trying to make sure that everyone’s got an equal share 」
「 Yeah, they often call me stingy. Even now they do 」
「 But Zaryu helped me a lot because of that. Many parties rely on magic but require us to prepare our catalyst, so I made the most money when I was with your party, Zaryu 」
「 Hearing you say that makes me too happy. You had a low rank and that’s why your income was low too, right? Marie’s on silver grade now so you must be earning dozen times more than you did back then 」
「 The increased risk also increased the expenses multiple times. Seriously, it’s not funny because I’m making more when I was with you. That’s why I’m temporarily retired from adventuring 」
A plain admission. Marie’s a rare magician among the adventurers.
Magic isn’t a skill anyone can handle. Without talent, you can’t learn, and without education, you can’t do anything. It’s a profession only the elites of the elites can take. Therefore, only a few magicians want to become adventurers, which is worthless.
Then, even fewer magicians survive in a real battle. Marie’s one of those rarities.
Having been saved by her magic multiple times when I was at a party with her, I have a high opinion of her and her magic.
She’s constantly being recruited to other parties, and I remember that we’re always worried that she would pass on us for a more experienced party at any moment.
It’s hard to believe that such a popular girl gets treated this badly.
But, I know well enough that she isn’t lying.
「 I see. Sorry about that. I guess I took you lightly, you were so popular so I assumed that you’d still be active without problems 」
「 Don’t mind it. It’s not like I’ve been popular before 」
「 I didn’t know that you had so little time to live that your room got so dirty 」
「 are you picking a fight with me? 」
I can’t help but shiver at the look Marie gave as she glares at me.
Seems like her situation and her room aren’t related.
「 I’m just bad at cleaning up. I’m sorry for being a good for nothing then! 」
Marie puffing her cheeks in sulking made her look younger.
I can’t help but smile as it feels younger than when we first met.
「 Somehow, it’s my first time seeing you make that face 」
「 Really? Hehe, maybe 」
Marie shows a relaxed smile.
「 Back in the party, we’ve been in the same life and death situation, and yet… We hardly know anything about each other 」
「 Seems like it 」
We laugh at each other.
I found myself moderately relaxed and able to interact with her naturally.
She led me to a room stained white with dust.
When I stepped into the room, it softly flew out. It swirled and coiled up as if I stepped on the mud at the bottom of the water. This seems to be the storage room, but it’s no longer in use and had been abandoned for quite some time. It’s not half bad. I’ve never seen such a fine pile of them, even in the ruins deep in the slums.
「 Can we clean up before the sun goes down? 」
I can’t help but nod my head at what Marie just said.