Episode 006: A Night with Snow
During the night after I talked with the merchant, Malton.
I slept on a futon in the boys room which was spread on the floor with boys of the orphanage sleeping on either side.
「*yawn*」SFX : Fugaa~
I heard a dim pechi pechi sound near my ear and felt being slapped on my cheeks.
What I felt was too realistic for a dream.
「Shhh!!! Don’t be loud. Everyone will wake up.」
It was not a dream.
Snow looked into my face as i opened my eyes
Her hands were covered down on my mouth so that i won’t let out a voice.
There are some rules in the orphanage.
The most serious crime among them is that a boy or a girl sneaks into each others room at night.
In case it is violated, one will get one day with no meal.
And yet, the honour student Snow broke that rule and trespassed into the boys room!
I think about the reason why she trespassed into the boys room to meet me.
…Could it be that Snow is night crawling!?
I’m not an insensible anime character.
I’m a live human being.
I’ve felt for a certain time that she had been fondly thinking of me occasionally lately.
For example, she would be delighted if i gently stroke her head after we did work in the afternoon together.
Even though I was attracted to Snow, it was not towards the opposite sex.
It would be closer to the love given to a younger sister or daughter.
But if we grow up and still yearn for each other in the future, I believe… becoming lovers or marriage partners might be possible.
However, night crawling was too early at the age of 5! Besides, a girl was attacking a boy!
To make me a fait accompli at this age—Snow, what a fearful child!
Although my body is that of a 5 year old like her, my mind is that of a 32-year-old『young adult』. It seems I ought to give her some lecturing.
Snow brings her face closer and whispers in my ear.
「Everybody will wake up, be quiet please? Okay?」
I nodded twice.
When i nodded, Snow slowly lifted her hands from my mouth.
「Uhm, Snow, your feelings are—」
「Shhhh!!! Not here or everybody will wake up… Follow me.」
I sneaked out of the boys’ room according to Snow’s instructions.
There was no electricity in this world. The infrastructure for gas and water also did not exist.
As if the world was as dark as being blindfolded at night.
I continued walking while Snow led me by the hand.
It turned out that she went towards the dining room.
Starlight came from the window.
Seeking the light, we sat near the window of the dining room.
And I sat on the floor while grasping my knees.
It was warm during the day but chilly at night as expected.
Our shoulders warmed each other by touching.
Though there’s also the reason of making it easier for me to listen to her whispers.
「So, what’s the reason why you broke the rule and brought me here?」
「Un… you see… there is something that I really wanted to ask you….」
If the voice was this small, the people who were sleeping in the rooms would not be disturbed.
However, it is said that girls are growing faster than boys, but she might be curious about my feelings at this age.
I understood the rush since there were other girls similar to my age at my side, but at least she could have waited until the sun came up.
It’s certainly true that popular guys have it hard.
I jokingly made an impression of flipping my bangs in my heart.
But Snow asked me with a dark expression.
「Um… did Lute-kun ever think of meeting with your mother or father?」
「Like I said, do you want to meet the mother and father who abandoned you away?」
Huh? This was not a confession or a bittersweet『I want to know the feelings of Lute-kun that I love』event?
Rather, it was a serious consultation.
After giving an apology in my heart for thinking badly of Snow, I switched my emotions and asked her.
「Snow, why are you asking me this?」
「…Today, Lute-kun told sensei『it’s not like I want to meet with them after all this time』, right?」
Casting her eyes down, Snow revealed her feelings bit by bit.
「Snow wants to meet mom and dad. When we meet, Snow will ask them why they abandoned Snow away. And Snow wants to live with mom and dad… Is Snow weird for thinking like this?」
Snow’s circumstances were similar to mine.
On the same day, we were left together at the orphanage.
Then I declared,『After all this time, I never thought of meeting my parents』.
She herself felt,『I want to see them』『I want to live with them if I could』, I guess she was worried whether it was wrong to have those feelings.
Snow was savoring sadness she would rather not experience.
The reason I didn’t want to meet my parents was because I was a reincarnated being who had drawn memories from my past life.
Wanting to know the reason for being cast away by parents, to make peace with them, and to live together is not a weird thing. It’s normal. In fact, I’m the one who’s weird—I could not possibly explain it to her just like that. Conversely, it would only make her more worried.
In that case, I should explain with actions rather than with words.
I changed my position from sports sitting to sitting cross-legged.
「Snow, come over here.」
「Just do it already.」
Urging her a bit forcefully, I had her sit on my knees.
Snow felt a bit cramped given the closeness of our bodies, but I pressed her ears to my left chest.
「Can you hear the sound of my heart?」
「…Yes, I can hear. It goes dokun, dokun, dokun….」
「People get relieved hearing the sound of heartbeats. This is because, as babies, we are raised hearing our mother’s heartbeats.」
Oddly, Snow was now rolled up in a fetal position.
She closed her eyes and leaned her body against mine.
「Wanting to meet your parents is not weird. So, there’s no reason to feel worried.」
「Uh-huh, it’s true. The reason why I never thought of meeting my parents is because I have no way of looking for them.」
Humans were the race with the most populous among the 5 races.
「Just one clue: I have a star-shaped birthmark on the back of my right shoulder; I can’t just show this to everyone I meet and ask them. Besides, I have no talent as a magician; it’s hard to think that the parents who casted me out would come back and pick me up. So, it’s clear that I will never meet with my parents again for as long as I live.」
I hugged Snow close and continued talking while patting her head.
Making no signs of resistance, she listened carefully.
「But Snow is different. Unlike me, Snow has talent as a magician. Besides, the White Wolf race is a minority that lives in the snowy mountains of the North Continent. If you go north you might find some clues there. Even so, forgive me for saying『after all this time I never thought of meeting my parents』so insensitively, ‘kay?」
Throwing away children in silence was unusual.
In addition, it was a child that had talent for becoming a magician—seems like there was a good reason for it.
This might be an unpleasant way of putting it, but, if she became a magician she could earn them lots of money.
Even if they’re poor, there was no reason to let go of the golden egg.
If they wanted money quickly at all cost, they should have sent her out to some childless rich and powerful people as an adopted daughter.
If for example there was one reason to send a child with talent as a magician away to an orphanage, it was cases like: both parents died, a scramble by the relatives happened, and as a result the child’s heart became traumatized—they were given over to Elle-sensei’s place to rehabilitate.
There were also lots of other children with talent as magicians given over to the orphanage for various reasons.
「…Snow is also sorry. Snow asked such an insensitive question without thinking of Lute-kun’s feelings.」
「There’s no reason for you to apologize. I was the one in the wrong, you see.」
「If that’s the case, then Snow and Lute-kun are both in the wrong. So it’s a tie.」
「That’s right. It’s a tie.」
「As an apology, Snow will tell Snow’s dream only to Lute-kun….」
She slowly started reciting her own dream.
「You see, when Snow is bigger, Snow will become a magician. Then, Snow will go to the north continent to look for father and mother. Once Snow finds those two, Snow will ask why they abandoned Snow away. If we could make peace, then the three of us will live together in the same house… This is Snow’s dream.」
「It’s a good dream. If it’s you, then it will absolutely come true….」
I took a breath and continued.
「…But if you couldn’t find them or you couldn’t make peace with them, Snow still has me, Elle-sensei and the kids at the orphanage. Don’t forget that okay?」
「…Un, thanks Lute-kun.」
I hugged her closely in order—to transmit not just by words, but also by the warmth—to let her know she was not alone in this world.
「Is it okay to hear the sound of Lute-kun’s chest a little bit more?」
「Uh-huh, you can listen all you like.」
So as to hear my heartbeat some more, Snow nuzzled her ear against my chest.
It was surprisingly ticklish.
Bathed in starlight, Snow and I continued to bring together our bodies some more.
…I wonder how much time had passed.
I separated my body from Snow.
As I returned to my room with her, I asked.
「Should we sleep together tonight, after all?」
「Lute-kun is ecchi~~.」
Eeeh, didn’t we sleep together in the same futon just one year ago?
She then returned to the girls’ room without turning back.
「As I thought, girls sure grow fast, huh?」
The mutterings of a middle-aged man with a mental age of over 30 disappeared down the dark hallway.
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Lute, 5 years old.
The merchant Malton, who specializes in magic tools, opened a shop in the commercial city Tver.
There were several routes going between Tver and the defence city, Tallcas (so named for having tall walls and relics of the great war of old; it is the next most prosperous city after Tver in the region).
The most popular one was the central road which had a travel time of up to 10 days.
A less popular route was the road that goes through Hoad town in the Aljio region where the orphanage was.
Despite being in the exact center point between commercial city, Tver, and defence city, Tallcas, it could not be reached unless one takes a detour through the forests.
Furthermore, taking the detour to go to Hoad town means spending an extra 10 days. In other words, going town to town through Hoad required 20 days of travel time.
Because going by the central road takes half the time, there are not many people who goes through the Hoad town on purpose.
Therefore the town’s population is few, and is decreasing.
The day I met the merchant Malton, I hurriedly had him write up a contract and signed it.
That was because I wanted to have that magic liquid metal as soon as I can.
According to him, it would take 10 days from now to get back to shop.
Plus 1 day of preparation and 10 days to come here, makes 21 days.
Furthermore he asked for an additional 1 or 2 days in case some unexpected situation occurred.
This was not like the world in my previous life where an order you made would arrive the next day.
I apologized for hurrying him and said my thanks.
In the afternoon, 21 days after Malton and I parted ways.
His subordinates delivered the magic liquid metal to the orphanage.
It was transported inside a cask in the horse cart drawn by 2 horned horses (horses that seems to have a horn growing from their foreheads, because of its strength it could be used to pull carts and such).
Nevertheless, just one of those weighed about 250 kg.
I truly wanted all the magic liquid metal available, but I still did not really know whether I could make handguns out of it.
Because it was so expensive, I only got him to sell me a barrel’s worth.
Nevertheless, it still seemed to have cost 25 gold coins in total.
Among Elle-sensei’s classes there were also lessons about money.
Based on my life experiences here, if I were to put it in terms of modern currency it would be something like『1 gold coin (100,000) = 10 silver coins = 100 large copper coins = 1,000 copper coins』.
Intuitively, 1 copper coin is worth 100 Yen.
The price of wheat for 1 day’s needs is 2 copper coins (the amount of wheat for 1 person for 1 day is about 1 kg)
1 kg of wild boar pork is 3 silver coins (30,000 Yen).
About 1 liter of cheap wine is 1 large copper coin and 2 copper coins (1,200 Yen).
So by intuition, 25 gold coins is about 2,500,000 Yen. 1 liter is about 1 silver coin (10,000 Yen)
As expected, even though it was bad, it was still a magic tool.
However, because it was not a product that was in circulation much due to being unpopular, bad stock that had been stored for too long seemed to be obtainable for a cheaper price with some negotiation. Being a rare item, the price varied depending on the situation at the time of negotiation.
It was just that since what I put on offer was only knowledge, I would turn a blind eye to it.
The subordinate took the cask down from the cart and called me.
「Could you confirm that the contents isn’t wrong, just to be sure?」
The lid was gracefully opened.
The cask was filled with a silverish liquid.
The mercury-looking-liquid rippled when the cask was struck.
So this is magic liquid metal.
It really is liquid, huh.
「No problem. Thank you for bringing this over.」
「No, no. This is work after all. Boss said,『here you go』.」
「Well then, please tell him, 『Thank you very much for listening to my selfish request』.」
「Understood. I’ll be taking my leave.」
The subordinate took off his cap, bowed, and returned to the cart.
Done seeing him off, I raised my body strength using body strengthening arts and carried the cask to the boys’ room
I quickly finished afternoon work with Snow and started experimenting on the long-awaited magic liquid metal.
I carried the cask out from the boys’ room out to the field.
The testing ground was a backyard that was vacant after the magician’s basic lessons were finished.
First, I tried touching the magic liquid metal.
It was pleasantly cool to the touch.
As I scooped it out with my hands, it dripped out of my palms like water.
It felt heavier than water.
Perhaps touching mercury also felt like this.
Without delay, I experimented.
I put my hand inside the cask and called an image in my head.
It was a 10 cm flat metal board.
Keeping the image in my head, I moved magical power into my hands and released them.
A feeling was left in my palms.
「Ooh, I can really do it.」
Pulling out my hands, a metal board of about 10 cm was made.
But the degree of perfection was bad.
The surface was not flat and had holes in it; the thickness was also uneven.
It was also not in a rectangular shape but crooked.
I struck the board lightly with my fist.
It seemed to be as strong as iron.
「The handling is surely difficult: more vividly image for the texture, material properties, thickness, and strength—seems to be necessary to draw the metal board I wanted to make more clearly that way.」
Rather than taking the time training for a more definite mental image to make weapons or protectors, buying them with money was faster and easier.
I understand why this stuff was unpopular.
However, I used to be a factory worker at a metalworking plant for 7 years.
「…Remember the past. …Regain the sensation.」
I put the metal board aside.
I took a breath and exhaled, concentrated, and once again filled my hands with magic liquid metal.
In the previous life, I was able to detect even a 1μm defect on a metal board just by the feeling on my fingertips.
Just by hearing the sound, I could distinguish which metal part was defective.
All of it was taught to me by the workers working at the plant; techniques that I gained at their annoyance.
Even after I died and lost my body, the skill was etched onto my soul.
Once again, I imagined a metal board and poured my magic power.
I am not making a vague lump.
For a moment, I imagined constructing the shape, whittling, arranging, and smoothing the surface. Picturing it strongly, I poured magic power into the metal.
I felt metal being created in my hands.
I pulled it out from the magic liquid metal.
A 10 cm metal board was made with a smooth surface, even thickness, and a neat rectangular shape.
「With magic liquid metal, maybe I can really make handguns!」
My chest felt the most delighted ever since I had been reincarnated into this world.