Section 2: Solretta Litta
“This is my house.”
With Goldmund pulling along our carriage over the paved cobblestone road, it was about a ten minute carriage ride away from the gate. The Calvafon Secondhand Bookstore, a store right off of a main street that is already lined with a long row of trees.
“Huh, so it really is a bookstore.”
“Eh, did you think it wasn’t?”
“No no, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just when it comes to bookstores, we don’t really have anything to do with them. So it’s weird.”
“Don’t lump me together with you. I read books sometimes.”
“Picture books right? Books from a place like this would be filled with words and letters. Can Toslin read one of those?”
“………d-don’t be an idiot……… Even I, could read one if I really wanted to……….probably.”
Anytime or anywhere, these two are always going at their own pace. It’d be nice if I could just watch these two keep going at it, but unfortunately we’re in the middle of town where the cold wind is blowing through. If we don’t hurry up and get to someplace warm, my hands and feet are liable to fall off.
“For now let’s go inside because it’s cold out here.”
“Can I leave the carriage right here?”
“Ah, yes. This space is reserved for any shipments coming to our store, so if you just tie off the reins to that tree……..”
The Solretta tree form which our town got its name. Bushy white leaves grow in during the spring, vibrant red flowers bloom in the summer, bright yellow fruits ripen during autumn, and then everything falls off and scatters during the winter. It is a rare deciduous type tree in this area sometimes referred to as just the White Leaf Tree, and there are many people who visit the town just to see this tree-lined road when everything is in bloom.
“Are you all right Fluffy-chan? Are you cold?”
Sarah jumped off the carriage one step earlier and started worriedly stroking Goldmund’s back. Goldmund is very pretty, so it seems Sarah took a liking to him after a single glance. But my sister doesn’t know. This child is a fierce fighter who wouldn’t allow a single goblin to get close.
“Goldmund was born in a place much colder than this, so he will be just fine.”
“Is that right!? Then I can sleep at ease!!”
“Are you certain we are not being a nuisance by visiting Iris’s home all of the sudden?”
I was sitting on the coachman’s seat in order to navigate us through town. As I started to climb down, Saluena offered me her hand. It was just like how a knight would serve a princess, and Sarah had a big question mark hanging over her head as she watched us.
“Y-Yeah…….um, Saluena. Just in case, I should tell you……could you act normal? As in normal normal. So no hugging me like you always do, or kissing me on the back of my hand. Nothing like that. You might startle my parents.”
I made sure to whisper so Sarah couldn’t hear me, but for some reason what I got back was a meaningful smile.
“Eh? Why did you laugh just now? You’re really worrying me, so stop it okay!? I’m serious, don’t do it!?”
“Now now, we won’t get anywhere just standing around and talking in a place like this. How about we go inside and rest?”
“That’s my line!! Hey, seriously don’t do it!? I’m going to cry if you don’t listen to me!!”
Since Saluena refused to let go of my hand, I inevitably found myself being escorted. I’m entering my own home, so why do I need to be lead by the hand………
“U-Um, Onee-chan and that swordswoman are…….”
“Fufu, pay it no mind. They are always like that.”
I could hear Rose-san’s cheerful voice coming from behind.
That also, stoked my anxiety.
The satisfying smell of old books wafted through when the door swung, and a slightly dusty store interior unfolded in front of me. There was another door further in the back that Mom was just about to walk through.
“I’m home Mom.”
Mom was wearing an apron, so she was probably in the middle of preparing dinner. Her red hair tied back into a ponytail brushed against her shoulder when she turned her head to look back this way.
“Iris……Welcome home Iris!!”
She dropped the vegetables she was going to use for dinner before running up and hugging me. Her reaction was almost exactly like Sarah’s, making me fully appreciate that these two are mother and daughter.
“You! You!! Iris is really back!!”
After hearing Mom loudly yelling from way back in the living room, Dad came running into the room as well.
“W…….Welcome home Iris”
Dad was much quieter compared to Mom. His hair is usually cleanly combed back, but right now it’s looking a little disheveled. Taking another look, his glasses are crooked and about to fall off his face, and he’s only wearing one shoe.
“Fufu, Dad, where’s your other shoe?”
“Hahah…..I tripped over a chair, and it slipped right off.”
He fixed his misaligned glassed and brushed back his hair with his hand. But he still ends up coming off as a slovenly mess with the missing shoe. He’s such a stylish Dad though right?
“Leaving that aside, I’m happy you’re home. Are these young ladies the adventurers you wrote about in your letters?”
“Yes, that’s right. They’ve taken very good care of me.”
“I see, then feel free to leave your luggage where it is. And show the adventurers over to the guest room. We’ll be having dinner soon, so how about saving the introductions til then?”
“Okay, I understand. Then follow me everyone.”
I wondered if Saluena was going to say something weird, but she remained quiet while standing behind me alongside Toslin and the others. But seeing that meaningful look she was giving me after everything was finished, I knew I couldn’t be careless.
“Your parents seem really nice.”
“Ehehe, thanks. I’m really proud of them.”
Even though I was smiling at Toslin’s words, my focus was placed squarely on Saluena standing behind her.