Editor: Peregrine (ft. Mik)
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Chapter 2: Going Out
In the end, Seiichirou’s morning ended after accomplishing nothing other than drinking tea and being introduced to the rest of the accounting staff. Just as he was beginning to think it was time to get started on work, Helmuth announced it was time for lunch and ushered the dumbfounded Seiichirou out of the room.
The dining hall was a vast space. Though the servants and knights worked and dined in shifts, the civil servants all ate at the same time. Yet there was still plenty of room. The meal was served as a buffet and diners took what they wanted, placing the items on a tray.
“I noticed it yesterday but, Mr. Sei, you don’t have much of an appetite, do you?” Norbert asked.
“You think?” Seiichirou replied.
As if it was perfectly natural, Norbert took the seat across from Seiichirou. When compared to the younger man, Seiichirou’s appetite would naturally seem smaller, but that wasn’t his only issue. After years of irregular eating, Seiichirou simply didn’t get as hungry anymore, but more importantly, the food of this world was far greasier than the food back in Japan. He wasn’t certain he could stomach it.
As Seiichirou sipped at his vegetable soup, he muttered to himself. Even if he could communicate with the people of this world, and their appearance was the same as his, they were still different.
The afternoon meal ended up taking the entirety of the hour of fire, in other words, 120 minutes.
Seiichirou had been informed that the work day started in the morning with the hour of light and ended in the evening with the hour of wind. It was the equivalent of working from 10am to 6pm, so when he heard that, Seiichirou assumed there would be a one hour break. An hour here was 120 minutes though, so it was difficult to break it up.
The limited work hours impressed Seiichirou, especially with the two hour lunch break included. He’d thought at first that it was because his position was being treated as something more like an assistant than a fully fledged employee, but he soon realized that wasn’t the case. Just a bit before the hour of wind ended, the staff began to straighten up. When the hand on Seiichirou’s watch struck twelve, they all gathered up and left together.
Completely dumbfounded at a sight he’d never seen before, he didn’t regain his senses until Helmuth handed him a small but hefty pouch.
“Since tomorrow is a day off, you should head into town and buy the things you need,” he said.
“Oh?” Norbert asked. “Are you going shopping tomorrow, Mr. Sei? I also need some things, we should go together.”
“That would be for the best.” Helmuth replied. “Norbert, please show him around the city.”
Watching over their rapid back-and-forth, Seiichirou could only nod.
Seiichirou didn’t know any of the city streets or business, let alone the common sense of this world. Having an escort would help him with the high hurdle shopping presented.
“I’ll be counting on you,” he said.
“I told you before, don’t be so stiff,” Norbert drawled.
The castle town was within walking distance of the lodging house.
The money Helmuth had given Seiichirou the other day was apparently different from his monthly pay. It was a separate amount intended to help Seiichirou get settled in, and he was supposed to buy whatever he needed with it. There had been 30 silver coins, each about the same size as a 10 yen coin. Norbert had explained how the money here worked, but until Seiichirou saw what the prices were like in the city, he wouldn’t really understand its value.
This world’s money, rula, was made of gold, silver, and copper, and the coins were further divided into 3 sizes each. A copper coin was worth one rula, and the biggest of the gold coins was worth 1,000,000 rula. The pouch Seiichirou had been given contained 3,000 rula.
The castle town here was really the royal capital. Existing under the protection of the royal palace, the city was a vast, prosperous place.
Though the buildings built with brick drew the most attention, there were also houses constructed with wood in the city. Norbert led him past those, straight to a marketplace with stalls lined up one after another.
The market was filled with sights and sounds that filled his senses. The stalls had a wide selection of items, some he’d never seen before, and others that resembled vegetables from Japan.
His eye caught on a vegetable that resembled a zucchini, and when he asked the stall owner for the price, he was told it cost four rula.
If buying a zucchini in Japan, the price would be around 100 to 200 yen. It was necessary to take the scarcity of the item into consideration, but looking at other similar vegetables, he was able to conclude four rula could be converted to 100 yen.
In other words, Seiichirou had been furnished with roughly 750,000 yen. Considering he had already been supplied with accommodations, it was a fairly decent sum. From the looks of things, it would seem this country was rather well off.
Engrossed in his thoughts, Seiichirou browsed the stalls. Norbert was wearing a striking blue shirt with gold detailing, his chest exposed as it always was. The cut and quality of the garment was a notch above the ones worn by the townspeople, and it was easy to see that he was a young lord born to a titled house.
“Did you see something you wanted?” Norbert asked.
“Well, I think buying food that won’t last would just be a waste, so I’d rather take a look at clothing and stationery supplies instead,” Seiichirou replied.
“Why didn’t you say that sooner?” Norbert lamented.
Even if Seiichirou had said something, the one who’d brought him here without asking anything in the first place had been Norbert himself.
“It helped me understand the state of the city and the price of goods though,” he explained.
Though he was serious, Norbert still looked bothered by the matter.
When they left the stalls behind, they found themselves in an area where the food vendors gave way to people selling small items and accessories, their wares set up on cloth spread across the ground.
“Excuse me, can I take a look at this?” Seiichirou asked as he stopped at a stall.
The moment he voiced his question, the stall’s minder, a young boy hardly old enough for the responsibility, looked up in shock.
“I- I don’t have anything good enough for someone from the royal palace,” the boy replied.
For a moment, Seiichirou wondered how the boy had figured out he worked for the palace, until he remembered the emblem was on the belt he’d been given. That aside, it would seem those who worked for the palace were given special treatment.
The boy’s service attitude was agreeable at least, so Seiichirou crouched and then picked up the item that had caught his attention.
The item was made of a collection of flat stones that had been staked together in three rows.
“This is…” he muttered to himself.
“Oh that? That’s, what do you call it— a toy, it’s a toy.”
While averting his eyes, the boy gave Seiichirou an explanation, but Seiichirou just examined the tool, unconcerned by the boy’s words.
“It’s an abacus,” he said.
He’d seen the counting device in the royal palace’s accounting section, but it was so massive it would be better to call it a set of scales than something for counting. Not only that, the device was covered in opulent decorations that just got in the way. It was such a pain to use no one ever bothered with it, using paper and pen instead to do their calculations.
“Did you make this?” he asked the boy.
“Huh? Well, that’s not…wrong, I guess,” he replied.
For the second time, Seiichirou found himself inwardly giving Norbert his heartfelt thanks.
“I have a favor to ask of you,” Seiichirou said.
“There you are! Mr. Sei, where were you?” Norbert grumbled. “Do you have any idea how long I had to search for you?”
“I saw a stall I wanted to check, you’re the one who left me behind.”
Seiichirou had finished his negotiations with the boy and was just about to head in the direction Norbert had gone when the man had come storming back. Despite his complaints, Seiichirou really hadn’t done anything wrong. Norbert was the one who hadn’t bothered to see if he was still following.
“That’s— you’re not… wrong, but Mr. Sei, it’s only been two days since you came here. It’s dangerous to go off by yourself.”
Though the royal capital was a safe place with good public order, there were still shady places where danger lurked in the city. On top of that, it would be problematic if the man who’d gotten wrapped up in the summoning of the Saint went off on his own.
“All right, I get it,” Seiichirou said.
“Hmm, I feel like I’m starting to figure you out, Mr. Sei,” Norbert said.
Despite giving him a proper response, Norbert was still giving Seiichirou a worried look. How rude.
After that, they went shopping for clothes, then Norbert took them to a small restaurant he recommended for lunch. Their next stop was for pens and paper, though Norbert was confused by the purchase. Finally, Seiichirou bought some simple cooking utensils, drinks, and a few foodstuffs, before they returned back to the lodging house.
“You know the palace’ll give you pens and paper, right?” Norbert asked.
“I wanted some for my own personal use,” Seiichirou explained.
Just as one might expect, the people of this world used quill pens, but Seiichirou had heard of another kind that used magic instead of ink. Though it was expensive, he wouldn’t need to worry about filling it with ink or spilling it, so it was better for him in the long run. It would be more like a fountain pen than a quill.
“Mr. Sei, you can cook?” Norbert asked.
“I had to be able to,” Seiichirou replied.
Norbert was carrying the heavy cooking utensils and drinks. Fearing it would be impossible for the deathly pale Seiichirou to carry so much weight, Norbert had refused to let Seiichirou carry anything.
Though he’d been too busy to cook recently, Seiichirou hadn’t lived on his own for eleven years with nothing to show for it. The work hours here were short, so he thought he might as well try cooking again, and above all, the seasonings in the world simply didn’t suit his pallet.
It was already evening by the time they returned to the lodging house, the hour of earth.
After leaving his items in his room, Seiichirou thanked Norbert and they parted ways. He then got dinner in the dining hall, took a bath, and returned to his room to sort his purchases, all done within the hour of wood. It wasn’t even 10pm yet.
“What do I do with all this free time?” he muttered to himself.
After working so much for so long, Seiichirou didn’t have any hobbies. He didn’t know how he was supposed to spend his free time.
“I guess I’ll just sleep,” he said.
Though Norbert had done most of the heavy lifting today, it was the first time in a while that Seiichirou had gone out, and it was in an entirely new world on top of that. He was already exhausted. He quickly prepared for bed and then got in, ready for sleep.
Dawn of the following morning—
Like the day before, Seiichirou left for work before Norbert, and when Helmuth arrived after Seiichirou, the man was clearly surprised.
“Good morning,” Seiichirou called out.
“Good-good morning. What are you doing here?”
As he asked that, Seiichirou set down the feather duster he was holding.
“It was a bit of a mess in here, so I was just straightening up,” he said.
Despite the vast size of the department and the comparatively few people working here, it was still in a state of shambles. More than anything, he was most concerned about the precious documents that had been all piled up. Seiichirou had hurried through his breakfast to get here in time to do some cleaning.
“I… suppose it is…,” Helmuth replied.
Because of Seiichirou’s shocked attitude, Helmuth didn’t say anything more. It was also just about time for their work hours to begin, and Norbert and the other employees had begun to arrive.
Seiichirou’s job on his second day at work was sorting documents. He was just supposed to sort the bundle of papers by their purpose.
“Did you manage to get some sleep last night?” Norbert asked.
Seiicihirou gave a terse acknowledgement without even looking up at Norbert, who was striking up a conversation without being concerned that they were in the middle of working hours. Compared to the past, he’d slept nearly twice as much as usual.
“Really? You have some horrible, dark circles under your eyes. It looks like you’re completely exhausted,” Norbert said.
“As you get older, it just becomes harder to sleep, and you get tired easier. That’s all,” Seiichirou explained.
Though he’d simply explained the truth, Norbert still had something to say.
Seiichirou continued to work, all the while telling himself that Norbert was just too young to understand.
“Here, I’ll give this to you, Mr. Sei,” Norbert said.
Norbert set a small bottle on Seiichirou’s desk. Rather than the bottle though, he was more concerned about when this guy was finally going to start putting him to work. Seiichirou finally lifted his head.
The bottle itself was small enough to sit in his palm and contained a watery liquid within it.
“What is it?” he asked.
He swished the bottle back and forth, listening to the sloshing of sound.
“It’s a nutrient. You’re so tired, but if you drink this today, you’ll sleep well tonight,” Norbert said.
He’d already explained why he couldn’t sleep, but Seiichirou was still thankful for the gift. After expressing his appreciation, he slipped it into his bag.
However, he didn’t know that something that would make his exhaustion even worse was about to happen.
“The Saint is calling for you.”
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