Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 10 (Part 1)
On June 5th, I reached the sixth city. I approached the guild first as always, but because I had arrived earlier this time, Luca wasn’t there yet.
After I sold the unwanted raw materials from the monsters I had battled along the way, I checked the bulletin board in the guild. The only S-Rank quest pasted on it was the Star fragment, and although there were a considerable number of A-Rank flyers, the other adventurers checked and tore those off, so those were probably of no issue.
After pumping myself up a bit, I bought the map for the 6th city. Then I leaned against a wall, opened the map, and pretended to check it. Since I was pretending, I obviously had a different objective here.
After I spent the other night with Luca and his friends, something came to mind and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I wanted to check it out.
Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t about the moon. Of course, I was curious about that too, but it’s not something I could find the answer to in just a few days. I’d be better off searching in the library for that instead of here in the guild in the first place.
What I wanted to find out right now was— if homosexuality was normal in this kingdom. Although two men were this close, the people around had accepted it as if it were natural. This was something unknown to me, with the memories of my past life.
Moreover, Luca was surrounded by six different types of beauties day in and out.
After I experienced being in that kind of setting myself, the question popped up in my mind again. I wondered why Luca liked me, a man, even though he was in such a harem-esque situation.
As the person in question himself said, he might have fallen in love at first sight with me when we met. But it’s already been more than four months since late January, when the number of his female team members suddenly increased in one go. How was it that, surrounded by so many attractive heroines, he still only had feelings for me, a man? Moreover, it was towards a man who was not a friend who has shared joys and sorrows with him, but a mere rival who he met occasionally?
If an ordinary Japanese man were put in that same situation, they would most likely have fallen in love with one of the heroines. After all, they were handsome and could get a chance to deepen their bonds with six beauties to boot. Perhaps it would be the beauties that would approach them. For him to embrace me, a man, as if to show me off to the girls in such an environment, what was wrong with him?
Was he gay from the beginning? Did he actually not like girls? No, that’s impossible. He’s the protagonist of an eroge. It was second nature for him to lay a hand on the heroines. Even if you ignored that aspect of the game, if he didn’t like girls, it would have been quite stressful to be around the heroines all the time. But he didn’t seem to show any signs of that.
Thus, I reached the conclusion that homosexuality must be a normal thing in the Soleil Kingdom. If that’s the case, then it made more sense that Luca would continue to love only me, and I too, would give my relationship with Luca a little more consideration. After all, he was the only one who dared to touch me – a person with black hair.
…N-No that’s not it. I’m just curious if people’s perceptions about homosexuality here were different from those in my previous life. It has nothing to do with my relationship with Luca. Definitely not.
Anyhow, I casually let my gaze travel around the guild, making sure to not be noticed by those around me.
So I stood there for a while and observed about 200 people. The result was inconclusive.
For instance, two muscular men and another man with a smaller build were chatting around five metres away from me. If you asked me if they were gay, I wouldn’t know. Then what about the two youths slapping each other’s shoulders on the other side? What about the four women over there, showing off their new equipment as they tickled, hugged, and frolicked with each other? I couldn’t think of them as anything but close friends.
How about the two men opposite me, who were whispering to each other with their faces snuggled close? One of them had his hand on the other’s back. However, even at such close quarters, they were paying attention to not have the contents of their discussion heard.1
It’s useless, I had absolutely no clue. If they had at least been holding hands with each other, it would have been clearer, but unfortunately I could find no such people. As expected, perhaps homosexuality still wasn’t quite accepted…
No, perhaps it was the location at fault. The adventurer’s guild was a place where adventurers take requests, buy and sell materials, and exchange information with other adventurers. It’s not a place for hugging and PDA. Luca was the strange one as he constantly hugged me and rubbed his cheek against mine, even when we’re in the guild.
As I stepped out of the guild, I slowly walked towards an inn I had found on the map. Surely I’d find a few people of the same sex holding hands as I walked down the street. Luca also used to hold my hand at such times.
I observed the people passing by. Some were housewives with their children, some were elderly couples, and some were young men rushing with large luggage, perhaps on business. There were a few people who walked happily whilst chatting away, and of course there were men walking in pairs. However, these men never held hands. I noticed a few heterosexual couples holding hands though.
I see. I understand. Though I still didn’t know if homosexuality was accepted in this kingdom or not, even if it were accepted, perhaps their numbers weren’t great enough that I’d find them right away. Even among heterosexual couples, there were places where they wouldn’t hold hands. I felt disappointed with my own shallowness.
To begin with, I had never walked around town observing people till now. Because of my dark attribute, I had always avoided interacting with people. Although I sometimes stopped by the stores along the streets to shop, I had only looked at the products. There was no way a guy like me would see results from randomly observing people out of the blue.
Perhaps I should ask Luca directly. He would probably wonder why I was asking him such a question, but still, I was sure that Luca would be able to answer it without any qualms.
Although I had made my decision, I didn’t feel like quickening my pace, so I continued to walk leisurely while I observed the people.
As I did so, I bumped shoulders with one of the men walking in front of me. The impact was so strong that it made a loud ‘thud!’. I quickly sensed that he planned to bump into me on purpose. But it was too troublesome to avoid, so I simply used strengthening magic beforehand. As a result, I received no damage, but it was probably quite painful for the other person. As expected, he stumbled, and his face contorted as he held his shoulder.
“Ow…Hey, you! Stop fucking around, you son of a bitch! ”
“Hey, you bastard, where are you escaping!? You bumped into someone, you better apo-”
“What did you say? ”
I clad myself in mana and started to intimidate them. Just with that, the lot before me raised a shrill shriek and began to cower. They were the ones who picked a fight, what’s with that reaction? Are you kidding me?
“I asked if you wanted something.”
“Then don’t just stand here in ones and twos, I hate it.”
“Eek! F-Forgive me, please don’t kill me! ”
I glared at them from under my hood. Perhaps it was because they saw the strange color of my eyes, or perhaps because they suddenly imagined their hearts getting stabbed in that moment. They quickly kneeled on the ground and kowtowed as they trembled. If you’re going to wet your pants at this level of bloodlust, don’t go picking fights in the first place.
After giving their heads a fleeting glance, I once again headed for the inn.
Looks like you can encounter hoodlums if you walk too slowly.
After making a reservation at the inn, I went back to the guild. I browsed weapon and armour shops in the area, and also made an order for packed lunches and portable meals good for fifteen days of dungeon diving. If I placed the order now, they would have it ready by the 10th. I also restocked my supply of potions and other items of that kind. After that, I hunted monsters outside the city for about two hours, then returned to the inn at dinner time to eat. After that, I took a shower in my room, and tinkered with my bike until bedtime.
The next day, June 6. I went to the library in the morning. As an adventurer, it’s best to take requests from the adventurer’s guild early in the morning and return before the sun sets, but most people followed that schedule, so it often got crowded. If I walked into a crowded place, my hood or turban might fall off at any moment. The guild was at its emptiest at noon, so that’s the time I usually visited.
Anyway, although I tried to find a book with descriptions of the moon, the sheer volume of books forced me to give up. Books with only text tended to make my eyes droop, and I couldn’t get much of their contents into my head. I could read as many books as I wanted, as long as they had mathematical formulas and diagrams. What I needed however, was a history book written a thousand years ago. As a result, it was an impossible task for me alone.
I went to the guild in the afternoon, but Luca was not there today either. I wondered if he hadn’t arrived at the 6th city yet, or if he had arrived but had other things to do. I waited for a while, but there was no sign of him.
After an hour of waiting and no sign, I gave up and left the guild.
Then, where should I go?
“……What to do?”
After I walked a few steps, my feet came to a standstill. I tried to think, but couldn’t come up with anything.
That’s natural. My plans were to observe Luca as he carried on with his G-rank quests. As always, I would stand beside him as he carried on with his task, and occasionally pet a few animals that came along the way. But Luca never came.
My heart fell with a thud even though it’s simply that I haven’t met Luca recently.
Why? Why am I so pained? Was it because I had a certain hope of meeting him? Because I thought I would see him, but I didn’t?
Certainly, Luca said that he wanted to meet me the other day. But we hadn’t agreed on a time. I just selfishly assumed that Luca would be at the guild by mid-afternoon, since he would arrive in the big city before the evening of the 5th.
But in the end, that was simply me relying on the game’s settings. Of course reality would differ. Besides, if he had just arrived in the city, he would also have to do some shopping for the dungeon diving so it was no wonder I couldn’t see him.
But up until now, every time I went to the guild, I would always see him without fail.
I moved to a back alley and leaned against the wall. I slumped down to a crouch as I tightly shut my eyes and clutched at my chest.
It’s impossible— I couldn’t be lonely just because I couldn’t meet him. It’s impossible for my chest to feel this tight, to hurt so much simply out of loneliness. It’s just impossible.
I spent most of my childhood in the basement of the mansion, all alone. Even when I was living in the great forest, I was always alone, except for a few rare visits to nearby cities. Sometimes I felt lonely, but when I closed my eyes, the darkness had always gently enveloped me.
I had always lived my life alone. I thought I would be fine alone. …It should have been so.
I was supposed to have no expectations from others. I never wanted to be forced to rely on someone else being there for me.
Yet, right now, I wished to meet him. I wanted to scold him without reason, ask him why he didn’t come to my side. Even when I closed my eyes, I could see his smile in the back of my mind.
Before I knew it, my heart had become such… My weak self was so uncool, so pitiful, that I felt like cursing at myself once again.
Hasr: Poor Zagan…