Section 1: Friend
A few days have passed since I returned home to Solretta Litta.
After being away for six months, I’m finally starting to get used to living in a house again, and while tending the store, I’m currently writing a letter. Two of them to be exact. One for Charlie in Rifront and another for Lutehorn whom I hit it off with when I met her in the Witch’s Cave just outside of Relton.
It hasn’t been that long since I parted with either of them, but I still wonder if they’re both doing well. I want to find out. So that’s why I’m writing them these letters. I’m a wonderfully diligent pen pal.
The petals from the tikarodeka everyone gave me peacefully expand outwards at the end of the store counter. I couldn’t fit them all into one vase, so besides here, there’s some laying out in my room, Sarah’s room, and the living room. Mom was especially happy to see such vividly colorful flowers when spring hadn’t even started yet.
“Heyoo~! Is Iris here?”
Just as I was starting to make some real progress on my letters, the store door burst open. The doorbell mechanically jingled as a black-haired girl walked in. That girl was Mycena, the daughter of the carpenter Roswald-san who I talked to a couple days ago. Her tied up hair swung behind her like a horse’s tail as she walked right up to the counter.
“What the heck Mycena? How many times do I have to tell you to open the door slowly? You’re going to break it.”
“Eh~ What’s with that reaction? Even though you’re meeting your best friend again for the first time in six months, I can’t hear even a single iota of deep, true emotion from you. For that matter, you’ve been home a couple days now and never even came to see me.”
“Eh~ I said hello to Roswald-san. Isn’t that good enough?”
“No, it’s not good enough. Who’s your best friend here? You have to come to see me personally.”
“You’re as noisy as always Mycenyan¹.”
“Aren’t I old enough that we can drop that nickname yet?”
Mycena circled around the counter and sat down next to me.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m writing a letter.”
“To who? The grandpa next door?”
“No, if I had something I wanted to say to Ojii-chan, I would just walk next door and tell him.”
The neighbor Mycena is talking about is Ferdinand-san, the mage who told me about my small amount of magic power and taught me what little I know about magic.
He used to be a magnificent mage who taught magic at a school in a foreign country. He’s retired now though and content living a quiet life with his wife. He’s also a regular here and will often buy a large number of books all at once. He actually came by just yesterday to put in an order.
“Eh, who then? I don’t think you have any other friends besides me right? Is it for a relative then?”
“Excuse me. I am more than capable of making friends. I mean it is true I don’t have many of them, but isn’t that because Mycena is always dragging me all over the place? I never had the time to play with any of the other kids……”
“No no, it almost sounds like you’re saying it’s my fault.”
“I am saying it’s your fault.”
Seriously, this girl……a warm sense of nostalgia filled my chest as I released a long sigh.
“I’m back Mycena.”
“Right, welcome back Iris”
There were no other customers in the store. So sharing a chair behind the counter together, we smiled at each other.
“You must have eaten a bunch of tasty things while you were gone. Have you gained some weight?”
With a smile still on my face, I brought down a hard chop right on top of Mycena’s head.
“It hurts when you hit me like that!?”
“I hit you like that because I wanted it to hurt.”
Yeah, she’s no good. Mycena lacks the sensitivity to appreciate a tranquil atmosphere. She’s fundamentally a more noisy Carol…….
“Haa, why are you here?”
“Cruel! You’re being absolutely terrible right now!! And didn’t you sound a little too serious when you said it? It feels like it came out naturally!!”
“No not at all, but it is true I wonder if you’re really fine just leaving work like this.”
Mycena might seem like an inherently lazy easy-going girl, but against all expectations, she’s is currently training under her father to be a carpenter.
This would be her third year now, and it was just before I left six months ago that she was bragging about how she was finally being allowed to take a full-scale job as I felt her emerging abs.
“It’s fine. Papa told me to come see you.”
“I guess that’s fine then”
“He told me to grab my souvenirs.”
“Sorry, no. It’s not like I was on vacation.”
“That’s fine too. Iris’s cheerful face is all the souvenir I need♪”
“So it’s fine if I take my souvenir home with me.”
“Everything of Iris!!”
“You sure are greedy.”
Just as I was about to blankly agree to whatever so that I could get back to writing my letters, I heard a voice coming from behind me.
“Ah, hi Mycenyan.”
“It’s always Mycenyan!! But more importantly, you’re looking cute today as well Sarah-chan!! Isn’t it about time for you to become my bride?”
“Thanks for the offer, but I can’t respond to Mycenyan’s feelings.”
“I see……damn……but I won’t give up!! I’ll come to see you twice a week!! Until Sarah-chan knits me a sweater!!”
“Ah, I’m almost finished with your sweater. You should be able to take it the next time you stop by.”
“Really!? Thanks, then let’s get married next time I see you!!”
Seeing Mycena embrace Sarah, I couldn’t help but ponder about how extreme my best friend is.
Saluena walked in right after Sarah, a severe look on her face.
And as soon as she saw Mycena run up and hug Sarah, she spoke up.
“What should I do?”
“She’s more or less an acquaintance, so don’t do anything.”
“……..okay, got it.”
Right now Saluena is wearing an apron, and her long hair is tied up with a bright pink ribbon. I gave both of them to her after she said she wanted to help out around the store.
“Is here fine?”
Saluena set down a stack of books from our warehouse down on the counter. I picked one of them up while pushing my letters aside. My job right now is to check inventory. Rifling through page after page to make sure there aren’t any stains of smudged lettering.
“Are you going to read all of these?”
“I’m not reading, just checking. This is legitimate work as well.”
Well, I’m going through every word, so I end up reading the books while I’m checking them anyway.
“That’s right. It’s work. Which is why Onee-chan diligently checks every new book that comes in our store.”
“Whoa, that’s amazing.”
Saluena’s honest praise makes me feel just a little embarrassed.
“Hey hey, Iris Iris”
While I was looking away, Mycena had let go of Sarah and was suddenly standing right next to me, repeatedly poking my arm.
“Who’s this person here?”
Spinning around, Mycena jabbed a finger towards Saluena.
“Eeh~, do I have to explain it?”
“Of course! They might be one of my relatives in the future!! If I don’t know her name when that day comes, I’m going to be in serious trouble!!”
Just what kind of future is running through that head of hers…….? Despite having been constantly together ever since we were young, I had to give this best friend of mine an oversized look of amazement as she continuously acted in a way outside of normal common sense.
“So, this is Saluena. She’s been our live-in worker here for the past three days.”
“I am Saluena. It’s good to meet you.”
“Uwoah……..she’s so, tall……”
Mycena is about as tall as I am, so Saluena is nearly three apples taller than her.
“And this person here is Mycena. She doesn’t mean any harm despite how noisy she is, so don’t do anything to her if you see her in the store or out on the street.”
“It might be just my imagination, but why does it sound like you’re describing a bug?”
“I’m just stating the facts.”
“That’s true!! Hello, I’m Mycena!! Iris’s best friend!! It’s my absolute pleasure to meet you!!”
Mycena shoved out her hand, leaving Saluena looking unusually taken aback.
“Yosh!! Since my errands are finished, I’ll head home. I’ll see you later Calvafon sisters! I expect to hear good news next I see you both!”
“News of what?”
While continuing to run her mouth, Mycena dashed through the store, once again opening the door and running outside. I should commend her for taking my orders seriously and gently opening the door this time. Unfortunately we’ll have to call it even since she’s still running through our store despite what I told her six months ago.
“Sorry my friend was so loud.”
I pulled out some wooden chairs set in one corner of the room and set them down so everyone could take a seat. After this all three of us will be reading……I mean checking these books.
“But, Mycenyan-san is a good person. She’d always come visit me during her spare time when Onee-chan was gone knowing how lonely I was.”
If that’s true, I should buy her something to say thanks. Fortunately the core we got from beating the golem sold for quite a bit, so I have some extra money in my purse.
“If she’s one of Iris’s friends, there’s no way she’s a bad person.”
“What’s with that confidence?”
“Fufu, you’re right. Onee-chan has the power to bring good people together. Like Saluena-sama for instance.”
Maybe it’s because she has some special feelings for knights or maybe it’s because of Saluena herself, but Sarah is always super polite to Saluena.
“Hmm, well when you put like that, I’ll have to be careful not to do anything to disappoint you.”
It’s really interesting seeing the difference in how she talks to Saluena and how she talks to Carol. At the same time, I feel bad that she’s gotten the wrong idea here. I think next time I’ll have to teach Sarah about all the things great about Carol.
1. So I mentioned before that Mycena is usually the name for a cat. The full joke here is that Iris calls her Mike-nyan. Nyan being the sound a cat make in Japanese and ‘Mike’ being a calico cat. It’s solid wordplay that works on three different levels and the type of joke I’d expect from a book nerd.