Section 13: Wrapped in Kindness 3
The royal capital is amazing.
What’s so amazing about it you ask? No matter how far you walk, there continues to be new stores and businesses as far as the eye can see. And there are people all over no matter where we go.
We stopped for lunch, visited a couple stores, and it’s now around 3pm. It was at this time that my eyes were forced open as I was brought face to face with more shops and people in this one district than in the entirety of Soletta Ritta.
[Rose]: “Ah……this is…..”
Rose-san stopped her feet and looked up at a sign for a certain shop.
The signboard read, Gorby and Flammie’s Antique Dealership.
A blue roof coupled with white walls. It’s a store that looks almost identical to all the other buildings around it, but the signboard hanging off the eaves certainly stands out.
It wasn’t until I noticed the picture of the fairy flying over a couple miscellaneous items like a sword, shield, old books and bottles of medicine painted on the sign that I remembered the man I met before we reached the capital.
[Rose]: “Could this possibly be Gorby-san’s shop?”
The merchant we became acquainted with after helping to repel the monster attack on the bridge. If this is his shop, Kutuna-san and the others might be here.
[Iris]: “Hmm, I have that memo with Gorby-san’s address somewhere on me……”
I managed to dig out the memo Gorby-san gave me from my knapsack.
[Iris]: “No doubt about it, this is it. What should we do? Want to go inside?”
[Rose]: “Why not? I did not want to bother them by visiting too soon after entering the city, but it would be a shame to turn back when his store is right in front of us.”
[Iris]: “You’re right. In that case, sorry to intrude.”
The store’s walls were covered in flowers the same as all the other buildings in the capital. The door, half buried in ivy, swung open easily. And as it did, a soft murmur of music leaked out into the street.
[Iris]: “Wow, so beautiful…..”
[Rose]: “Is that a music box I am hearing?”
The store’s interior was dimly lit compared to the bright spring day going on outside its doors.
It seems that the ivy growing across the door had also made its way over to the windows, blocking the light outside and painting the inside of the store in darkness.
Lamps were scattered throughout the store and suspended from the ceiling to make up for the fact. It shrouded the room in a soft light, creating a calm atmosphere that was in stark contrast to the hectic hustle and bustle of the outside world.
[Iris]: “There’s a nice atmosphere in here.”
Don’t tell him about this, but I pictured Gorby-san’s store being a bit cluttered.
But the store we stepped into was nothing of the sort, sporting a much more polished style. I forgot to blink as I looked around a store as well-ordered as the highest end jewelry stores.
[Rose]: “Did Gorby-san sell charms and small accessories?”
[Iris]: “Maybe, but there are swords hanging off the walls and sitting in display cases too. Shouldn’t they mostly be selling more antiques and other works of art?”
The signboard outside did call them an antique shop.
[Iris]: “But whatever the case, I don’t see any sales staff here.”
Looking around, I couldn’t find any employees, Gorby-san or otherwise.
I was a bit excited because I thought I’d get to see Kutuna-san’s party, but it seems my guess was off the mark.
[Rose]: “Iris-san, come look at this.”
Rose-san waved her hand and beckoned me over to her. It was obvious how excited she was just from her gestures, a secret I kept hidden to myself behind a small smile.
Rose-san is a woman too, so if she finds an accessory she thinks she likes…..
[Iris]: “…….what is it?”
I took a second look at the display case Roes-san was pointing to. But even on the second look, those things didn’t look like any type of glasses I’ve ever seen before.
[Iris]: “But look, they don’t have any lens to them.”
[Rose]: “These are……”
[???]: “Oh my, hello there. Let me see……it appears I have some unusual customers gracing my doorstep.”
A voice came from the back of the shop, cutting Rose-san off before she could say what she wanted. When I turned around to see who it was though……
[Iris]: “Eh, a fairy?”
Yep, it was a fairy. Hovering in midair, she slowly drifted down onto a cushion that was resting on top of the front counter.
[???]: “Indeed it is. Do you find something distasteful with a shopkeeper fairy?”
[Iris]: “Oh, no…… Um, the signboard said……. So, are you Flammie-san then?”
[Flammie]: “I am indeed. Flammie, the owner of this fine establishment. Of the fairy race and female gender. Unfortunately my age is a guarded business secret if you would be so kind as to refrain from asking.”
[Iris]: “Um, I’m Iris Calvafon. Sorry to bother you, but Gorby-san invited me to visit.”
[Rose]: “My name is Rosalith Cuulbacall. A moment ago you called yourself the owner, but I thought Gorby-san ran this store.”
Flammie-san muttered a gruff yes at Rose-san’s question.
[Flammie]: “The two of us run this shop together. I appraise, buy, and sell magic items. He stocks up and sells items he gathers from other cities……and is also in charge of our more charitable venture, delivering food to the surrounding villages.”
[Iris]: “I see, how kind of you.”
[Flammie]: “And so I must apologize. Despite you coming all the this way, I do regret to inform you Gorby is not here. I’m afraid there was a rush job, and he had to head out immediately.”
[Iris]: “Is that so…..”
[Flammie]: “But I did hear from him before he left. He told me you saved his life.”
I was just doing what anybody else would’ve. I stopped myself just before I said it.
[Iris]: “I’m just glad I could help.”
Choosing to go with that instead.
[Flammie]: “Calvafon-sama. No, perhaps it would be more apt to simply address you as Hero.”
[Iris]: “Eh, why do you……”
Before I could ask, I recalled the conversation we had with Ashel-sama last night.
Apparently songs of the dragon slaying heroine have been popular in the capital lately. They’re songs about me, so of course my name would be included in there.
[Iris]: “Oh, um…..I would prefer if you would address me normally.”
[Flammie]: “Fufu, as modest as the rumors say. Then as the shopkeeper, allow me to interject in your previous discussion.”
Flammie-san flew out of sight into the back of the store, returning a moment later with a key in hand.
She then inserted it into the display case’s keyhole and unlocked it.
[Flammie]: “As Cuulbacall-san stated, these are a pair of glasses.”
[Flammie]: “Yes, yes, I know what you wish to say. Glasses ordinarily have lenses to them, yet this pair has none.”
Flammie-san grabbed the lensless glasses with both her hands, lifting it up with a grunt, and presented them to me.
[Flammie]: “Please, try them on.”
Dad wears glasses, and I’ve tried his on a couple of times before. That’s why when I first held this lensless pair, I noticed right away…..they’re incredibly light.
Of course they’re going to be lighter than normal since they don’t have the lenses in them, but I don’t think that’s the only reason why.
[Iris]: “What is the frame made out of?”
I slid on the silver colored glasses and lightly shook my head. They’re so light I barely notice they’re even there.
[Flammie]: “Hoho? Just what one would expect from a hero to notice in so little time.”
[Iris]: “Huh, no, I mean…..”
She’s a merchant. I can’t get caught up in a merchant’s flattery.
[Iris]: “Huh, w-……wha-!? Somehow, everything looks so…..”
[Flammie]: “…..hmm, they must have been activated. Those glasses are in truth a magic item. It creates a lens with the users magic power that is capable of enhancing their eyesight.”
Years of book reading have left me with less than perfect eyesight. It doesn’t hamper my daily life in any significant way, but if I’m trying to see things a certain distance away, I have to squint my eyes.
But with these glasses, I can see even far away things as if they were right in front of me.
When I looked out one of the windows to test it out, my vision was so clear I could count the number of spires on the castle way off in the distance.
[Iris]: “Amazing, this is absolutely amazing Rose-san!! I can see things far, far off in the distance!!”
[Rose]: “Is that right? It sounds wonderful.”
While I was dancing in place, Rose-san had been watching me with her hand over her mouth, trying to hide her giggling.
[Iris]: “…….ahem. Um……uh, so how much would these cost?”
Dad told me once before that even an ordinary pair of glasses are incredibly expensive. And as a magic tool, this one will probably cost tens of millions…….no, it’s safe to say its price will exceed a hundred million cronells.
Doing the math in my head, the light pair of glasses I’m wearing suddenly felt a lot heavier.
[Flammie]: “100,000 cronells.”
[Flammie]: “100,000 cronells.”
A hundred thousand? I mean, that’s still pretty pricey, but an ordinary pair of glasses costs more than that. There’s no way this magic tool is that cheap.
[Iris]: “I-Isn’t that too cheap? It’s so light with such a useful effect, I’m sure people would gladly pay more for it if you asked……”
[Flammie]: “They’d collapse.”
What is this person suddenly saying?
Perhaps my thoughts were clear on my face because Flammie-san added on an explanation with a bitter smile.
[Flammie]: “The glasses have an excellent ability, but they were crafted with complete disregard to the rate of magic power being consumed. Even if a magician with reasonable confidence in their skills were to try and make use of it, it is no exaggeration to say their magic power would be instantly sucked away, causing them to faint. There is even a possibility of death.”
[Iris]: “Hold on!? Don’t recommend such a dangerous item to me! oh no I already turned them on!?”
[Flammie]: “Yes you did. And it would appear you are capable of fully utilizing them despite the burden.”
I hurriedly yanked the glasses off, but when I checked, my head wasn’t shaking nor were my legs wobbling. A perfectly normal condition.
[Iris]: “Ah, now that I think about it……fairies can see the amount of magic power a person has…..”
[Flammie]: “Yes, I could sense a bit of magic power rising off of you. You might be able to wear those glasses all day and be just fine.”
[Rose]: “Those glasses suit you very well.”
Rose-san spoke up with a voice as gentle as the atmosphere within the store.
[Iris]: “But, you were laughing before…..”
[Rose]: “I, am sorry. Iris-san was just so cute having fun on her own that I…..”
[Iris]: “Ah, uu……i-is that so……”
There’s nothing else I can say if Rose-san is going to go that far.
[Rose]: “Flammie-san, would you mind selling those glasses to me?”
[Flammie]: “Take them. I cannot accept payment from the people who saved Gorby’s life.”
[Rose]: “That, I cannot.”
Rose-san shook her head towards Flammie-san’s offer.
[Rose]: “I…..wish to purchase them.”
[Flammie]: “Ah….Hah? Okay…..”
Making a strange face at first which then morphed into an even weirder face afterwards, Flammie-san eventually managed to gather her thoughts and clapped her hands.
[Flammie]: “Then, I shall wrap it up for you right away.”
[Rose]: “Thank you very much.”
[Flammie]: “No no, providing a cute wrapping is the least I can do.”
Flammie-san disappeared into the back of the store once again with the glasses after leaving those words behind.
[Iris]: “Um, Rose-san…..”
[Rose]: “Y-Yes, what is it?”
Is Rose-san, looking to give those glasses to me as a present? That’s the only reason I can think of for why she’d insist on paying for something being offered for free.
[Iris]: “Thank you. I’m incredibly happy.”
Rose-san bought and gave these to me, so they’re not just some tool for me to use.
It is an important keepsake that will make me think of Rose-san whenever I see them from now on.
That makes these glasses worth twice as much……no, it makes it so much more valuable to me you can’t even compare them.
[Iris]: “I’m so happy we came to this store today. It’s nice being together with Rose-san.”
Rose-san wrapped her arms around me, narrowing her gaze and quietly stared at me for a moment. She brought up one of her fingers, brushing a tuft of hair out of my eyes.
[Rose]: “I feel the same way, Iris-san.”
We continued to browse the other merchandise displayed in the store until Flammie-san returned.
In a dim world made for two, we walked while holding hands, our faces illuminated only by the soft light of the magical lamps around with only a few words having to be shared between us…….peaceful bliss.