It’s now the third day for our role-specific training. So far, I have done nothing besides practice my twerking.
I do have a couple dances in my back pocket that I learned from my grandma, but none of them are able to buff my allies in a battle. So the fact that I’ll end up useless for the first task is nagging me at the back of my mind, and it is making me impatient.
Maybe that’s why my pace picked up so much while walking towards Rose’s bar. So much so that I almost lost the reporter girl several times on the way there. She isn’t going to be able to ‘catch the scoop’ if she loses sight of me, but well, if she’s been assigned to me, I guess the people upstairs aren’t expecting much from either of us.
I’ve gotten no positive results so far, so I flung upon Rose’s door feeling a little bitter.
But in sharp contrast, the bar was much brighter today. It’s usually drab and dark in here even during the day because of how densely packed all the other buildings are around it, but today, mounted candles were lit around the room to create a warm light.
Rose was setting a table in one corner of the store while humming.
“Hello. Is there some party planned for today?”
Rose looked up after I greeted them.
“Non-non. Not a one. I thought around now would be the time when you would feel backed into a corner. And there is no better way to refresh the mind than with something sweet.”
“Rose-san…..thank you very much!”
So these are all preparations made to cheer me up. Compared to the tableware I see at the dorms, the setup here is lacking, and the decorations are simple. However, Rose’s feelings come through clearly. That alone is enough.
“Watching how clumsy you are reminds me of the old days.”
Maybe they’re trying to hide their embarrassment, but Rose started insulting me while carrying over a plate of cookies.
With the wave of a hand, the reporter and I were beckoned over to our seats. The two of us started pouring the tea while watching Rose run around.
Once they finished cleaning up, Rose vigorously yanked over a chair and sat down with a loud thud. These chairs sure are durable.
“Did something happen in the past?”
“There was a girl I met on the battlefield who was terrible at dancing. Her moves would not resonate with others no matter what she tried. Looking at you reminds me of her.”
So I’m a terrible dancer whose moves won’t affect anyone no matter how hard I try? Rose-san, I thought you put this all on to cheer me up, not put me down.
I come from generations of dancers, and I have taken lessons since I was small, so I had at least some self-confidence in my skills. But, I suppose this is the difference between living in a small pond versus the big ocean.
“So….there were dancers like that too.”
“Well, Erica is old enough to be a grandma, so I am sure she has stopped dancing by now.”
I choked on the tea I was drinking, causing it to splurt out my nose and creating a dull pain in the back of my throat.
“My grandma’s name is Erica, but, there’s no way it’s her right?”
“Oh my, is that so? Does she have a mole right above her lip?”
“Oh ho! What a coincidence!”
Rose put their hand over their mouth in surprise. Ever movement they make is like a respectable maiden.
Grandma was a dancer too when she was young, so I guess it isn’t a stretch to think that two people in the same business would be acquainted with one another. But their ages. Rose looks so young; nothing like an old lady, or old man, that they’re claiming to be.
“Um…..how old are you Rose-san?”
Rose gave me a wink and waved her finger in front of my face.
“Non-non. Asking a maiden their age is poor manners.”
“Now shall we eat?”
Rose motioned towards the cookies without showing any concern. I’m happy to receive her care, but is there a reason for her doing this? They are supposed to be an old acquaintance of Heath’s, but even if I ask for details, my questions get dodged.
After a short chat and enjoying the cookies, it was finally time to begin practice.
I got a good feeling after last night’s round of self-training, so I hurried to the stage.
“Oh my, you’re so motivated today. Were my cookies so effective?”
Rose teased me from their seat. It’s comforting knowing I can let this kind of thing wash over me now.
“I’ll start dancing right away, so watch closely.”
I stand with my back to the two. Lily’s words from last night are bouncing around in my head. I am a mannequin. With that single thought, my body stiffens.
“Oh ho…..very nice”
I heard Rose’s admiration. For now at least, it sounds like there is nothing wrong with my stance while in standby mode.
I drop my hips and start moving, but while I danced, I never heard anything from Rose. I tried peeking over my shoulder to see if I was having any effect, and…..Rose had their back to me while the reporter girl was silently crawling across the floor with drool coming out of their mouth.
My dance ended at an unexpected sight.
“U-…..Um…..is there something wrong with you two?”
“Nothing. Your dance was good.”
When the reporter girl picked herself up off the floor and glanced at Rose, her face turned a bright red, and she immediately looked away. I can take a guess at what Rose was doing right now. Which means my dance had an effect after all.
I was given a week to train, and I have completed the first step on the third day.
“Yes! Rose-san! Quickly teach me the next dance!”
“Don’t rush me. Just give me a second.”
Rose took a few deep breaths. When they turned around, there was no bulge in the crotch area. I didn’t want to picture what was going on with their back turned, but I’m sure Rose took care of it in their own Rose way.
“It was a good dance. You were able to master stillness rather quickly. What happened?”
For some reason, I figured it would be best not to tell them I was able to do it after being ordered to act like a mannequin while being trained by a fellow hero candidate.
“W-….Well…..tons of practice!”
Rose narrowed their eyes and looked me over. They clearly knew I was lying, but they weren’t going to push it too deeply.
“Take good care of that friend. There are few people capable of pushing a person’s potential like that. Most people take whatever they can and run away.”
That’d include me. I’m currently trying to take whatever I can from Rose before running off. Perhaps sensing my thoughts, Rose tapped me on the shoulder while laughing.
“It’s fine when you’re young. I’m happy to continue passing along a dancer’s culture in times like these. Take whatever you can until I’m a dried up husk.”
I made a huge nod, encouraged by Rose’s smile.
From there, the true dance lessons began. There was a dance to increase agility, one to increase strength, and another to amplify a swordsman’s skills. At the very least, if things were ever to break out into a battle, I would be able to do something at least.
When I returned to the dorms, I didn’t head straight to my room like I usually do. Before leaving, we had a small celebration in Rose’s bar for me completing my assignment with a nice meal and a good amount of alcohol. So maybe I’m still a little tipsy right now.
I was standing in front of Lily’s room before I realized where I was going. Up until now, I was always forcefully dragged here, but today would be the first time I have come here by my own choice.
A voice answered back when I knocked. When I opened the door and walked inside, I found Lily reading a book with a glass of alcohol in one hand.
Even though our ages aren’t that different, she has such an adult sex appeal.
“Oh, if it isn’t Liffy. Is there something wrong?”
“Ah…..um…..I’m here to play.”
Lily set her glass on the table. She then closed her book and gently placed it next to the cup. A large grin spread on her face as she looked at me.
“What should we do today? Come here”
I gave a sideways glance to the book she placed on the desk. The title was, “Introduction to Verbal Abuse”. While thinking that Lily was also putting in her own effort, I closed the door in anticipation that every word she was about to say would feel indescribable.