Chapter 01: Temporary Return
The next day, Zenjirou woke up in the guest room of the palace.
What leaped into Zenjirou’s freshly opened eyes was the curtain of a luxury bed.
He shivered his body briefly on the unfamiliar sight, but after a while he remembered where he had gone to bed last night and relaxed his shoulders.
“…Ah, right. I’m in another world.”
Zenjirou got out of the bed that seemed bigger than his 10m² room and lowered his feet onto the carpet on the floor.
He put on the slippers that were prepared for him next to his feet and walked down the broad room whereupon he noticed that he was unconsciously scratching his stomach with his right hand.
“Argh, it itches all over. Guess the bugs got me. Yesterday I accepted the marriage on the spur of the moment, but I might have been a been hasty…”
Zenjirou mumbled all too late.
Just by being here all day yesterday, he realized how inconvenient this world was compared to modern Japan.
All of the food that had been served for lunch and dinner was deliciously seasoned, but the water and alcohol to it were oddly lukewarm.
Zenjirou’s taste buds were so poor that he couldn’t tell the difference between normal beer and low-malt beer, but like a proper Japanese, his motto was “Low-malt beer has to be ice-cold”.
So for him, the warmth of the wine served for dinner was disgusting, not even taking the taste into consideration.
Speaking of warmth, the climate itself was a problem. The impression he got from Aura’s conversation yesterday was that this Carpa Kingdom had a rather hot climate, even compared to the Kantou area of Japan.
Even at the coldest season, rarely anyone would wear long sleeves outside and during the hottest season, people would “refresh” themselves by sticking close to each other in confined spaces as much as possible, since the outside temperature would raise above the one of the body.
Zenjirou recalled with a somewhat displeased face how he heard about a similar countermeasure for Indian summers.
Things like thermometers didn’t exist in this world, so he couldn’t be sure, but he better prepared himself for winters with a minimum temperature of 20°C and summers with over 40°C.
Needless to say, this world didn’t know about air conditioning either. For Zenjirou, who only ever spent summers with air conditions in Japan, this heat was hell.
As a matter of fact, he had a hard time sleeping last night because of it. Although it wasn’t the peak of the summer yet, it took him more than an hour to fall asleep while he continued to turn around on top of the king-sized bed.
That said, not only the heat disturbed his sleep. The other factor interfering with his pleasant rest was “bugs”.
Apparently this world had no glass windows. Due to that, the windows all had wooden shutters, which were kept open during the day to let the light in. Naturally, the bugs had a carte blanche to enter.
Technically the curtain of the bed functioned as a mosquito net, but it couldn’t shut out all of the bugs.
As a result, Zenjirou had been bitten by bugs all over his body by the time he woke up.
However, even facing all these inconveniences, what annoyed him instead was the restriction of the night.
To be honest, he had never thought that a night without electrical light would be so troubling.
During his meal with Aura, a large chandelier with big candles had illuminated the place sufficiently, but when he walked down the hallway, he could only rely on the oil pan carried by the waiting maid that escorted him.
And even his room had only a single oil pan prepared on the table as a light source.
If he were to try
* * *
It was a fact that Yamai Zenjirou was a special guest in the Carpa Kingdom, but his existence was currently only known to Queen Aura and her close retainers.
Due to that, the only one that sat with Zenjirou at the dining table for this world’s third meal, this morning’s breakfast was Aura, just like during yesterday’s lunch and dinner.
To express it with Zenjirou’s lacking vocabulary, the culture of Carpa felt like “a mixture of a typical fantasy set in mediaeval Europe and an uncivilized southern country”.
The long table, at which easily around 30 people could dine at the same time, surprisingly was one log split into two and with the surface polished up smoothly.
Zenjirou couldn’t even imagine how old that tree had been. To manufacture such a long log in one piece must cost way more than one out of marble.
On top of this large wooden table were soup in silver plates and round bread in basket lined up.
Zenjirou relished the foreign food while chit-chatting with Aura.
“We have already made preparations for your return. The constellations are favourable during forenoon today too, so it simply depends on you, Zenjirou-dono, when you will return. Just tell us when you are ready.”
Wiping the bottom of the soup plate with a piece of bread, Aura put it into her mouth and after she chewed it carefully and swallowed it, she reported the current situation to Zenjirou with her usual calm voice.
On the other hand, Zenjirou, ignorant of this world’s table manners, tilted the soup plate with his left hand while he tried to remember how Aura took her meal. He spooned the amber-coloured liquid with his silver spoon and timidly lead it towards his mouth.
“Thank you, Aura-san. I am fine with returning any time. I only have one question: How much luggage can I take along between the worlds during the summoning or return?”
Aura wasn’t the type of person, who would fuss over table manners during a private meal, but Zenjirou would definitely attend public dinners as the Prince’s consort from now on.
Aura appreciated Zenjirou’s attempt at remembering the table manners now and swallowed her words of “You can eat as you want without minding about manners”, giving him a smile instead.
“Mhm, the summoning magic summons a person, so it principally should only be able to bring over things that you wear on your body. That mysterious vehicle you brought with you by chance surely is the limit.”
Zenjirou inadvertently dropped his shoulders on Aura’s answer, which was greatly different from his expectation.
“Uwa, seriously? That’s bad. Then I can’t take anything fancy…”
“Zenjirou-dono? Has something caught your eyes in the inner palace?”
Aura tilted her head, whereas Zenjirou shook his hand in front of his head, correcting her misunderstanding.
“Ah, no. I didn’t mean for my return, but for the next summoning in one month. If possible, I would’ve liked to bring over some tools and stuff from my world…”
“Oh, I see.”
Aura came to an understanding upon Zenjirou’s answer.
Come to think of it, her future husband should be in possession of some properties for living in the other world. If Zenjirou was an aristocrat or nobility in the other word, just like the retainers had speculated with Aura last night, it wouldn’t be strange that he owned an immense fortune that he doesn’t want to let go.
“Certainly, considering your position, you would want to do something about that. Let’s see…”
The Queen wanted to fulfil his demands as best as possible all along, so she pondered what to do.
“….Oh, I know. We might be able to use that.”
After going through various possibilities inside her head, Aura found an useable one and clapped her hands together.
“Is there some kind of way, Aura-san?”
Zenjirou sat on the edge of his chair with a joyful look, whereas Aura nodded once.
“Yes. We have a magic carpet with barrier magic weaved into it, which is the foundation for the ‘Space-Time Magic’.
We will give you the carpet for your return to the other world and if you activate it’s barrier when we summon you again in a month time, it should bring over everything inside that barrier.
In the end, it is just a single carpet. It most likely cannot store all of your fortunes, but at least you will be able to bring more than with your bare hands.”
“Ohh, sound like I can bring a lot of stuff then! Ah, but my potential aside, I cannot use magic at the moment…”
Zenjirou’s joyful look changed into a disappointed one. Aura gave him a “No worry” smile and explained.
“Rest assured. A magical tool activates just by pouring mana into it. If in the worst case, you cannot even do that, just drip some blood onto the carpet. Your blood is rich on mana.”
On Aura’s reply, Zenjirou’s joyful look returned at once.
“Ah, now that is something even I can do. Thank you for everything, Aura-san.”
“Oh please, compared what you are doing for me, this is insignificant, so your gratitude is unnecessary.”
Saying so, Aura gave him a composed smile.
Zenjirou didn’t know the value of a magical tool, so he accepted Aura’s good will without questions, but if he had known of its value beforehand, he might have realized for a bit just how sincere Aura’s interaction with him had been.
Magical tools were created with a magic called “Bestowal Magic”.
Just like the “Space-Time Magic” from the royal Carpa Family, the “Bestowal Magic” could only be used by members of a certain royal family too. It was commonly known as “Bloodline Magic”. Needless to say, magical tools created with “Bestowal Magic” were extremely rare and had skyrocketing prices.
Not to mention, the magic weaved into carpet in question was “Space-Time Magic”, although just the basic of basics. In other words, it was a gem that combined the secret techniques of two royal families. It could also be called the proof of good relations between these two families. It was without a doubt a national treasure.
At this point, Aura casually added as she suddenly realized something.
“Anyway, I am glad that you are pleased, Zenjirou-dono. Is there anything else you need? You are my betrothed, so there is no need for restraint now.”
Aura, who had finished her breakfast at some point, appeased her thirst after the meal with some citrus water and softly called out to Zenjirou.
Tasting the same drink from a silver cup, Zenjirou appraised it’s sweet-and-sour, but refreshing flavour (which would be even better when cold from ice cubes) as sumptuous while he pondered for a while. Then he replied.
“Well, not that I can think of any… Oh, wait. Betrothed. Yes, we are going to marry. In that case, Aura-san, do you have a ring for your ’left ring finger’? If so, I want you to lend me one.”
Being reminded about “wedding rings” from the words betrothed and marry, Zenjirou asked that.
But as this world had no custom of “wedding rings” or “engagement rings”, Aura didn’t understand Zenjirou’s intentions and tilted her head puzzled.
“Mhm, I think I will find one when I look, but what are you going to use it for?”
“That’s, well, uhm… Something to look forward to in a month.”
Zenjirou smiled vaguely on Aura’s question and gave an ambiguous answer. Since she didn’t know about “wedding rings”, he wanted to hide it’s existence until he handed it to her as a surprise.
However, she could easily deduce from joining the two statements “Lend me a ring of your size” and “Look forward to it in a month” together that her betrothed tried to present her a ring upon his return, even if there was no custom such as “wedding rings”.
Aura showed a mysterious smile that was very charming, yet not flirtatious and looked straight into Zenjirou’s eyes, nodding once.
“I understand. I will do so then. I take that you will tell me what kind of meaning a ‘ring for your left ring finger’ holds in your world in a month?”
“Ah… Yes, I’ll definitely do so then.”
Zenjirou realized that she already had seen through his plan more or less. Along with a bitter smile, he replied with these words.
* * *
The first transfer had ended before he knew it, but the second one left Zenjirou with a kind of drunkenness.
He staggered on his first step, shook his head to shake off the sensation that warped his vision and let his eyes wander around.
An asphalt street. Countless cars driving on it. And on each side of the street stood miscellaneous concrete buildings lined up next to each other.
The familiar scenery and the smell of fumes really made Zenjirou feel “at home”.
Nothing had really changed here, so he wondered if his trip to that world had only been a daydream, but the fact that he was now on foot without his bicycle he went out with, was proof against it. Instead he was now carrying a rolled up carpet in his hands.
Moreover, he wore the golden ring he got from Aura on his left little finger.
This physical proof convinced him that yesterday had not been a dream.
“Actually, it felt like everything happened in succession, but actually a whole day went by…didn’t it?”
Mumbling to himself, Zenjirou suddenly lost confidence in his own senses. He had spent a whole day in the other world, so he simply thought that today was Sunday, but there was no guarantee that the same amount of time had passed on earth.
It could still be Saturday for all he knew. In the worst case, numerous days could have even passed here.
Well, there were no major changes in the surroundings, nor in the temperature or the angle of the sun, so he thought everything was alright for now, but he couldn’t be sure.
“Damn, first I need to confirm my situation.”
Zenjirou’s imagination treaded into dangerous waters and he shivered. Then he swiftly headed towards his apartment while firmly holding onto the carpet.
“Good. There doesn’t seem to be much of a time gap.”
Returning to his single apartment, he confirmed today’s date and time on his digital alarm clock and made a sigh of relief.
His wristband watch he brought with him into the other world and the digital alarm clock in his apartment both showed the same time.
It seemed that the time flow of the other world was nearly synchronic to this one. That was fortunate. Or so he carelessly thought, but if there had been a difference in time flow between the worlds, his plan to live in the other world would have been fundamentally gone awry.
After all, the arrangement to re-summon him had been “30 days later in the other world”. If the time flow had been different, he would have to live with the suspense of getting summoned at any time.
Needless to say, bringing over any dowry would be a dream within a dream then.
Anyway, Zenjirou knew that most anxieties were nothing but groundless fears, so he sat down in front of his computer, which was set up in the corner of his room, with a bright expression and turned it on.
“Okay, I don’t have much time, so I better hurry.”
Zenjirou slapped his cheeks with his hands to regain some spirit.
Right now it was a bit past ten o’clock in the morning. The room he had left alone for a whole day had saved up the early summer heat and had become really humid.
Still sitting on the chair at the computer desk, he took the control of the air conditioning and lowered the set temperature down to 20°C.
“Fuuh… This is heaven.”
The artificial cold and unhealthy breeze blew down onto the chair, where he sat on. Zenjirou sighed and wiped the sweat from his palms on his pants, then put his right hand onto the computer mouse.
The time span of one month seemed long, but was short.
Before you noticed it, the time passed in a blink of an eye while you arranged an appointment with your business partner, allotted time and prepared the necessary materials for a presentation.
As to not even waste a single second, Zenjirou first opened an online search site and entered all the keywords he could think of.
“…Aw, damn! Guess it’s no good.”
After a couple of minutes. Zenjirou tore his hair in front of the various tabs of searching sites.
One of the few advantages of the small one room apartment was that the temperature went down satisfactory in a short period of time. He raised the air conditioning back to 25°C.
In this artificially controlled temperature, Zenjirou rocked the chair as if he was tormenting the cheap carpet on the floor and mumbled to himself.
“Mhm, even if something so unrealistic like a different world takes place, reality won’t be so easy…”
What Zenjirou missed badly during his two-days-one-night stay in the other world was mainly electric tools like air conditioning, a refrigerator or light. None of these worked without a constant supply of electricity.
So what Zenjirou first looked for was a small power generator for domestic use. However, a convenient generator that kept providing electricity for years and could be taken to the other world didn’t exist.
“The most simple would be a diesel or petrol generator. But the fuel…”
This kind of generator, which was sold for camping, could easily provide electricity without any special set-up, but naturally it needed a fuel like petrol or diesel oil.
He had heard about someone making bio-diesel on his own before, so he had looked into it, but as an amateur, Zenjirou had no hope to do that in the other world.
Roughly speaking, bio-diesel fuel consisted of three components: vegetable oil, methanol (methyl alcohol) and caustic soda.
Of these only vegetable oil could be obtained in the other world. Zenjirou had no choice but to make the methanol and caustic soda on his own. Methanol could be gained from distilling pyroligneous acid during charcoal production, whereas caustic soda could be produced from electrified salt water in two water tanks connected with an ion exchange membrane. That was what he looked up, but it was obviously beyond his powers.
Of course he could just buy ethanol and caustic soda in great quantities at a pharmacy and take it to the other world, but if he did that, it would be faster to just go to a filling station, fill a plastic container with diesel oil and take this along. However, to begin with, the amount of fuel he could fit on a single carpet wouldn’t even last for a month. Same applied if he were to bring methanol and caustic acid.
“Steaming power’s no good. Then next is wind or solar power?”
Wind power was pretty realistic. The wind blew in the other world too. But what worried him was the fickle output. Since it literally “depended on the wind”, it would be useless at a calm, sultry night.
Solar power was totally out of question. Zenjirou needed electricity for “light at night” above all.
Electricity that could only be used during the day wasn’t appealing at all. He could buy a solar power generator with an integrated large battery for night use, but batteries were “consumable goods” with an extremely short life span. It was unreliable as a long-term power source.
“That only leaves the wind/solar hybrid power generator that’s the current fad. That one doesn’t seem bad.”
Zenjirou poured some tea from the pet bottle into his cup, then returned his hand to the mouse.
Consequentially the hybrid generator was the safest choice. According to the producer it was “Easy to set-up within half a day and operable on the same day”.
If he could trust that slogan, even Zenjirou should be able to set it up by himself in the other world.
However, Zenjirou was conflicted over one more power generator he coincidentally stumbled upon, even when he reached that conclusion.
“A hydropower generator for domestic use, huh. Even something like that exists…”
Zenjirou muttered, seized by its charm.
It wasn’t applicable as often as wind or solar power since it depended on location, but at present even the waves of a small power generator for domestic could be applied as hydropower.
The “small hydropower generator for domestic use” he had his eyes on came in two versions, one with 0.5kW, the other with 1.0kW, and operated through the use of the gravitational force of falling water.
According to what Zenjirou looked up, hydropower generators that produced less than 10kW were classified for “general usage” and with suitable conditions regarding location, even a single household could relatively easily purchase one.
That said, there were troublesome formalities like the “river law” involved starting with the purchase through to the set-up, so it wasn’t simple on sale at the nearby do-it-yourself store like the fuel based power generators.
Needless to say, the charming points of the hydropower generator were the 24/7 runtime and the overwhelming output that distinguished itself from the others.
With wind or solar power it was difficult to provide the necessary electricity for one household, even with favourable wind and sun, but not for hydropower. If the specifications in the producer’s catalogue could be trusted, the output of even a small one matched the power consumption for a single household.
In other words, Zenjirou could use all the electronics here, like the air conditioning, refrigerator and computer, simultaneous without a problem even in the other world.
But as good as it sounded, there was a problem as well.
“Are there even any rivers or canals near the palace?”
He didn’t get a chance to step outside the palace during his stay. Not knowing if there was enough water near the palace to operate the generator was a fundamental problem.
Going by the common sense of this world, it was unthinkable to not have water near the palace, where hundreds of people lived, but it concerned a world where magic existed after all.
“Yes, we have a mage specializing in water magic that makes us water every morning.”
The possibility of being told that wasn’t zero.
So he considered for a moment to buy both the hydropower and hybrid generator, but that raised a problem with his budget.
Working in a somewhat exploiting company, where at least the overtime was paid properly, for years, Zenjirou had saved up 3 million yen.
That was plentiful, considering that he was in his early 20s, but in light of his objective it was hardly enough.
The hybrid generator on his list costs around 500.000 yen. The hydropower one costs actually 1,5 million yen.
Besides the generator, there were a few other things like a big air conditioning, a refrigerator, lamps or a new computer on which he wanted to spent his budget. And when he also bought stuff like underwear, toothbrushes, soap, towels, bath towels and gauze handkerchiefs in place of tissues, the sum would be by no means negligible.
Adding Aura’s “wedding ring” to it, he couldn’t afford to spent two-third of his savings only on the generators.
However, as long as there was no solution for the generator, he couldn’t settle on the electronics to take along.
“Aww, guess I’ll have to choose one in the end. A safe low output against a high output with the risk of being futile. Mhm…”
The matter was too delicate for a prompt decision, but he didn’t got all too much time. It was different from buying meat or vegetables at a near supermarket. Delivery would take a few days too once he ordered it, and he needed a bit of time to learn how to set it up and operate it.
“Mh? To begin with, will they even sell me one if I tell them I just want the goods to set it up by myself?”
Zenjirou suddenly noticed a fundamental problem and sighed. According to the homepage he just read, the responsibility for safety wasn’t with the buyer, but with the trader that set it up. So the chance that they sold only the goods was rather low?
He researched on the internet for a while, whereupon he found some rather troubling information as expected.
“…Yeah, figures. Every company has a mandatory ‘consultation’, ‘local examination’ and ‘estimate for set-up’ before the purchase.”
Zenjirou made an exhausted sigh in front of his computer.
It required a consultation and a local examination and on top, he hadn’t decided on a place yet, so it would be safe to assume that they wouldn’t sell him a generator.
It seemed the hydropower generator wasn’t something to buy with ordinary methods.
“In that case, would it be okay when I let them set it up at some river here, learn the course of action from watching and secretly dissembled it later to take it with me to the other world?”
Zenjirou mumbled that and was reminded about the old village he was born in right away.
“I think there was a tattered hut on the mountain near the village and close to it should be a small river with a rather fast stream. The land rights there should still belong to me, I think?”
The village was already in the middle of nowhere and the hut stood deserted even farther into the mountain. If his memory didn’t prove him wrong, the land around there should belong to the Yamai family.
When Zenjirou graduated from university and found employment in the city, he had transferred the main house and fields to his uncle and his wife, as they had taken care of him. But the hut and land around it were still under his name.
Luckily enough, that hut was just a small storage shed without any electricity. It shouldn’t raise any suspicion if he told them that he wanted to set up the small generator in the nearby river for electricity in the hut.
Make hay while the sun shines. Right now he was pressed for time above all.
Zenjirou dialled the number of a company for micro hydropower generators that was written on their homepage and called them immediately.
After three call signs, the phone was picked up. However, what answered him was a recorded mechanical voice.
“Hello, you have reached the sales and executive department of Technotics. We are currently unavailable to take your call. Please leave your name, phone number, and…”
“Ah, right. Today’s Sunday, of course they’re not doing business.”
Zenjirou clicked his tongue as he hung up.
“Oh well. For now, I’ll send a mail and add both my email addresses for my computer and cell phone.”
He faced the computer again and started to type a mail with the topic “buying desire” to purchase a hydropower generator from the company.
* * *
On the next day, Zenjirou waited meekly in front of his superior, who solemnly looked at the “letter of resignation” before him with his arms crossed.
His superior asked grumpy, whereas Zenjirou lowered his head commendable.
“Yes, I am sorry.”
In fact it was a company with harsh working conditions. People quitting wasn’t all that unusual, but in Zenjirou’s case, he had managed his work for years and finally became a part of the “working force”, only to quit now.
His superior couldn’t just tell him “Fine, just get out here” like with the newcomers.
As the perfect model for a middle-age man with his wrinkles, balding and drooping belly, his superior glared up at the standing Zenjirou from his seat.
“Going home to succeed the family, huh. Didn’t you take this job because you hated that?”
Reading the made-up excuse for quitting in the resignation letter, his superior looked grim and tilted his head.
Zenjirou had written the resignation letter, which his superior was looking at right now, with all his might last night, so he could quit smoothly.
“Well, yes. What can I say, I kind of had a change of heart…”
Since he couldn’t write that he was going to be a sponger by marrying the queen of another world, he had no choice but to lie for the reason. Breaking out in a cold sweat mentally, Zenjirou made a meek face.
“Mhm… Well, even if I force you to stay, you wouldn’t do your job properly anymore. Fine.”
These words came out of the mouth of his superior after a long glare. Hearing that, Zenjirou inadvertently made a sigh of relief.
But as to spoil his delight, the middle-aged superior raised his voice.
“However! At least finish all your projects that are due soon properly. Of course I’ll assign your long-term projects to someone else.
Ah, another thing, write up some guidelines for the next newcomers. I won’t go as far as telling you to write up something that makes you an expert just from reading it, but at least something that lets the newcomers differentiate left from right. Okay?”
If he had the right to choose, he would say not okay. To be honest, he couldn’t waste a single second right now, as he was preparing for his trip to the other world.
But he wouldn’t feel comfortable when he declined and left a bad impression behind. And if he opposed carelessly and was questioned thoroughly, leading to the exposure of his lie, then things would become way more troublesome.
“I understand. Excuse me then.”
In the end, Zenjirou had no choice but to play safe and work hard until his resignation.
Some of his work might have been taken over, but since he had to write up guidelines, he had even fewer time left than he thought.
As Zenjirou couldn’t waste even a single second, he quickly finished his lunch at a nearby beef bowl shop, then hurried over to a nearby jeweller.
“Let’s see, this ring would be around the size of 14 or 15. Your own size would be 17.”
The female shop clerk finished evaluating the ring and Zenjirou’s left ringer finger and said that without breaking her business smile.
It was his first time coming to a jeweller, so even when she told him that, he had no idea what these sizes meant.
A fancy chandelier, a carpet, neatly polished like the new products, and show glasses, displaying the numerous jewellery.
Zenjirou couldn’t tell that this wasn’t an all too high-class shop for a jeweller, so he felt extremely out of place with his suit reeking of beef bowl.
“Oh, is that so.”
The shop clerk could immediately tell that it was all Greek to Zenjirou from his behaviour and casually explained it while she went on.
“For a woman, it is a slightly big size. We only have a few rings at hand here that fit this size.”
Zenjirou replied a bit stammering to the shop clerk’s kind explanation.
“Yes, well, going by height, she is taller than me.”
“Oh, I understand. Though you are by no means short yourself. A somewhat wider ring would surely suit such a tall person better. Please wait a moment.”
The shop clerk vanished into the back to fetch some samples.
Left behind, Zenjirou naturally remembered Aura’s appearance.
A tall and sexy body, clear facial features shining with strong emotions, flaming red and long hair that represented her personality and light brown skin, which was fundamentally different from a tan.
What kind of ring would suit her the best? Zenjirou didn’t understand anything about jewellery, but like the shop clerk had said, a slim ring might not suit her.
However, Zenjirou was mistaken on one thing. Aura was not taller than him.
In fact, Zenjirou was taller, even if only by a finger length. He was 1,72m tall, so Aura’s height was probably around 1,70m.
Zenjirour reckoned Aura to be somewhere between 1,75 and 1,80, but that was nothing more than optical illusion caused by the aura emitted from her entire body.
“I beg your pardon for the wait. These are the rings that can be modified for you in a few days.”
One by one, the shop clerk put various rings on a tray and brought it over to Zenjirou.
“Ohh, there’s quite the variety.”
Even while he said that, he first checked the price of each ring.
Although he knew that he was being stingy, the bills leaving his wallet weighted on his mind above all as he knew nothing about the quality of the rings.
“I recommend choosing the metal for the socket first if you are undecided. Here in Japan the most common is platinum, but going by your skin colour, I would say that gold looks better on your finger. If yellow gold is too imposing for you, we have rings in pink gold like this one as well.
Of course the poise with your fiancé is the most important factor.”
In general, platinum or silver were for people with pale skin and gold for those with dark skin.
As Zenjirou had inherited the blood from the other world, his skin colour was rather dark for a Japanese.
Let alone Aura, who was 100% from the other world. Her skin had a natural and pretty light brown.
“Yes, my partner has even darker skin than me. Kind of light brown…”
“In that case I really recommend the yellow gold. As for the ornate stone, a colourful ruby or sapphire might be more favourable than a colourless diamond. Excuse the question, but can it be that your partner is a foreigner?”
“Ah, yes. That’s right, she isn’t Japanese.”
He certainly couldn’t answer “My fiancé is the Queen from another world”, so he brushed it off with a vague answer.
“Since she is a foreigner, it is also possible to choose the stone matching with her eye or hair colour. That way, it is congenial to her and it also holds the image that you are paying attention to her.”
“O- Okay, I see.”
Zenjirou wasn’t used to be exposed to this kind of situation for long, so he was overwhelmed by the shop clerk’s sale arts and just nodded to her words.
* * *
What awaited Zenjirou after his hectic lunch break with lunch and the jeweller, was an even more hectic afternoon with work.
He hung his suit jacket on the coat rack in the corner of the office, immediately loosened his necktie by a fist length and unbuttoned the top button on his half-sleeved white T-shirt. In that loose fashion, he sat down at his desk.
Zenjirou’s company had followed the recent cool biz campaign too and allowed them to come to work in casual clothes during summer, but the small company it was, it unfortunately couldn’t be applied to all departments.
Belonging to the “service department”, Zenjirou had his main work in the office, so there should be no problem coming in casual clothes, but in reality there was a high chance that he went outside to make rounds, so he actually had no choice but to come to work in a business suit.
For that reason, it was silently accepted that he loosened his attire unsightly like this to work a bit more relaxed when he had no work to do outside the office like today.
That said, Zenjirou only loosened his necktie and one button, which was still harmless. His direct superior, the middle-aged section chief usually took off his necktie, shoes and even socks inside the office and walked around barefooted in sandals.
“Better than playing tough and getting athlete’s foot.”
His excuse was rather blunt.
Zenjirou couldn’t be so open. He put the 500ml pet bottle with tea that he bought during his lunch break behind his mouse pad and woke his computer from the sleep mode that he had placed on it before the break.
The nowadays antique CRT display lighted up.
“Okay, go for it.”
He was currently working on the guidelines his boss asked him for during his resignation this morning.
There was no easy job that could be learned just through reading a document in this world, but his superior had told him to write something like a “helper for troubled times” for the newcomers.
“…Well, I didn’t have one when I started, though.”
Stopping his hands from typing on the keyboard, Zenjirou said that isolated.
He wouldn’t go as far as to say nasty stuff like “other people’s misery tastes like honey”, but it seemed somewhat unreasonable to him that the next newcomers would have less trouble than what he went through as a newcomer. Even more so when the very item to save them trouble was created in hard work by him, who practically resigned already.
Still, work was work. To resign without any troubles, he had no choice but to finish his work satisfactory.
“Mhm, guess this will do as a general outline. Next is…”
He just finished writing down a sketchy structure, so he withdrew his hands from the keyboard and took a sip from the tea in the pet bottle.
For detailed examples or what he couldn’t remember, he consulted old documents. He basically wrote a summary of his projects during his three years here, so most of the documents were saved on his computer.
However, for the documents that weren’t on his computer or in his file case, he had to go over to a co-worker.
After he looking for the necessary documents on his computer’s hard drive for nearly an hour and not finding it, he stood up from his chair and headed towards his working senior co-worker.
“Excuse me, Yoshihi-san. Do you have the documents from the contract with the Yamaguchi Company from two years ago?”
“Mh? Yamaguchi two years ago?”
Zenjirou called out to a skinny man in his thirties. The man stopped his work and turned only his head towards him from atop his chair.
“Yes, you know, the project you were in charge of and I helped you with two years ago.”
“Mmh? Ah, that one. Wait. I’m busy right now, so I’ll send it per mail when I find it. Will be by today enough?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Reminds me, the chief just told me. You’re quitting, Yamai-kun?”
Yoshihi called out to Zenjirou, who was about to leave at once.
He hadn’t hidden it in particular, but it went around already.
While smiling vaguely with slightly guilty feelings, Zenjirou replied with “Well, yes”.
“I see. You’re quitting. You’ve been doing a lot of projects lately. I just hope they won’t be shifted over to me.”
“Ah, I am sorry. I will try to finish as much as possible.”
This time he felt really sorry and he lowered his head in a servile manner.
Zenjirou’s resignation was different from a fresh newcomer as he worked there for three years. He was part of the current working force and his leave meant that his share of the work would have to be covered by someone else.
Zenjirou realized that his real reason for quitting wasn’t all too admirable, so he felt really sorry about it.