After doing overtime till the last train, Zenjirou managed to arrive home safely. Entering his one-room apartment, he went straight for the computer and sat down before it.
He deliberately ignored the exhaustion and sleepiness that was in every fibre of his body, placed the lunch box and tea pet bottle that he bought at the convenience store on the way home, on the left side of his computer desk and checked his inbox for new mails.
“Uhh… Three years. 1,5 million yen for only three years.”
Reading the mail, Zenjirou buried his head into his hands in front of the computer and leaked a groan from his mouth.
He had groaned because of the reply from the company that sold hydropower generators for domestic use.
In short, Zenjirou inquired about three things in his mail yesterday: “Can I set up the generators you sell by myself?”, “Can I maintenance it by myself?” and “And if I do, how long can you guarantee functionality on self-maintenance?”.
The company responded to that with “You cannot. You need an electrician license. The responsibly for set-up and maintenance is with the technician, not the buyer, so we ask you to leave the set-up to our company”, “It is possible to do perfunctory maintenance like removing pebbles from the water tanks or cleaning away moss when you read the manual, but we cannot guarantee anything then. If possible, we ask you to leave the maintenance to us too.” and “The guaranteed runtime is three years.”, which heartlessly smashed Zenjirou’s hopes.
Zenjirou had anticipated the set-up and maintenance matters, so the shock from it was relatively low, but the guaranteed runtime of three years at the end gave him an immeasurable shock.
“Three years, only three years…”
Zenjirou mumbled with empty eyes.
He was prepared for it to a certain extent. To begin with, even if a dream-like generator existed that functioned until his death without any maintenance, the important electrical appliances— The air conditioning or refrigerator itself had a limited lifespan.
Their service life was about ten years at best.
Either way, we would be plunged into the lifestyle of the other world without any cultural conveniences after some time.
Therefore Zenjirou considered the electrical appliances he would bring with him as kind of “training wheels” for him to get used to the new culture.
“My body will surely acclimate oneself in ten years and if necessary, I can wilfully ask Aura-san to rebuild my room to have water running down the walls like in the old palace of the Maharaja!”
Zenjirou took his hand off the mouse and stretched both his arms upwards towards the ceiling.
This information originated from the internet as well. Back in the old days when luxury goods like air conditions didn’t exist yet, one of the Maharaja in India used his enormous fortune to build a primitive, but large system, where water streamed down the walls and was drained outside through gutters in the ground, to cool the place.
Principle-wise it was the same as the “water sprinkling” custom in old Japan. The endothermic reaction from the evaporation of the water lowered the temperature in the room.
Such a structure seemed possible in the other world too, but even though Zenjirou knew nothing about architecture, he could at least imagine that it would require a large sum of money.
Aura had told him that the country just made it through a long war and was still recovering.
Would she allow him, a mere stallion by the name
* * *
On busy days time flies.
Previously when he was buried in work, time seemed to pass in a flash and Zenjirou felt impatient and lost over it, but after announcing his resignation, he now accepted it gratefully.
Leaving his house early in the morning, he went to the company while reading manga on the packed train.
As there were no morning assemblies in his company, he clocked in with his time card and headed for his desk.
His job now consisted mainly of coordinating his projects with those who would take it over after he resigned.
Rewriting documents that he understood by himself so far, in a way that others could understand them as well.
And lastly, informing the trade partners he was in charge of, about the coming change by going there with his successor and lowering his head while saying “Due to personal circumstances, I will be resigning from my position. Mr. XY will take over from now on, so please treat him well as you have me…”.
In between these tasks, he wrote the guidelines for the newcomers.
Even when he worked until shortly before the last train, there just wasn’t enough time, so Zenjirou later did extra hours in the morning, but never spent the night in the office. It was all for the sake of getting some more funds for his trip to the other world.
In the case he missed the last train, he would sleep at a business hotel near the company, but he had to pay the hotel fee by himself for now.
If he handed the accounter a receipt, taken in the name of the company, he would get the money back on his pay check the following month, so it usually wasn’t a problem, but as of now, it was a huge problem.
After all, Zenjirou would leave for the other world before he received his last pay check. Even if the hotel expenses were added to it, it was completely in vain.
To avoid this, Zenjirou worked overtime late into the night, leaving with the last train, and extra hours in the morning, coming with the first train.
For all that, it was worth the effort.
It had been three weeks, since he had handed his superior his resignation.
As of today, thanks to immersing himself in overtime with only a little bit more than four hours of sleep at average, Yamai Zenjirou resigned peacefully and without any problems from the company he had worked at for three years.
“Well then, Chief, thanks for everything. Good-bye.”
“Yeah, stay well.”
The section chief with middle-aged spread only replied shortly with that when Zenjirou paid him a last visit before leaving.
Moreover, after standing up, he looked at him for only a few seconds, then sat down again and got back to work like nothing had happened.
His attitude went beyond indifferent and could have made one feel hated, but Zenjirou knew how stressed the section chief was, so he sympathized with him instead of holding an ill will.
Just like in any small company, the section chief in this company wasn’t just a “management” position either. Supervising the work of his subordinators and having to do his own share of work on top of it, he was a full-fledged working member.
Moreover, he got a bonus for being a section chief, but unfortunately didn‘t get overtime paid in return. Usually a section chief was under suspicion of being a chief “in name only” due to that, but while the chief in this company was given more authority, he had to do the same share of work as his subordinators, since there was just too much work, so he was in a darkish grey area, where a strict investigation would bust him, but was left at large.
Zenjirou, running away from the workload of an average employer at this very moment, lowered his head to the section chief, who was stuck in the bottomless swamp called overtime hell up to his neck and faced his job noble as if to say “This is my life!”, with his utmost respect and left the place.
* * *
Afterwards Zenjirou rode his beloved hybrid car and after a drive of a few hours, he arrived at the village he was born in.
After getting out of the car, Zenjirou rolled his stiff shoulders to get rid of the stiffness under the setting sun.
The car space he rented monthly was farther away than the convenience store or supermarket he usually went to, so he had always used his bicycle. Due to that, a rare long drive like this was quite tiring for him.
Zenjirou bathed in the twilight and looked at the familiar two-story home, narrowing his eyes a bit.
“Nothing has changed here.”
Since he had lost his parents in middle school, this house, where now the family of his uncle lived in, was “home” for Zenjirou.
“Okay, here I go.”
He felt a bit nervous as he hadn’t been home in years, so he purposefully spoke out aloud to get a grip and determined rang the doorbell.
“It’s been a while, Zenjirou-kun. You look well.”
Zenjirou’s uncle— Yamai Tadashi welcomed the son of his late brother. He still looked like Zenjirou remembered him: A slender face with glasses and a gentle smile.
The family of his uncle consisted of four people.
His uncle, his aunt, their daughter in her senior year of high school and their son in his senior year of middle school.
The daughter attended a high school far away and lived in a boarding house, so only his uncle, aunt and the son were sitting at the table this night, but there were five chairs, not just four.
The fifth chair belonged to Zenjirou.
They had only taken care of him for nearly one year, from the summer in his second year of middle school, where his parents died, till he moved over to the dormitory of his high school, but the caring couple always kept a chair for Zenjirou even afterwards.
“Okay, we can catch up later, first we eat, Dear.”
The aunt announced the start of the dinner like that and brought a steaming pot over from the kitchen.
She was the typical “hard-working old lady from the countryside”, both in appearance and character. Zenjirou tried to stand up to help her, but the aunt stopped him with “It’s okay, sit down” and set the table so quickly that there wasn’t even time to help. Taking off her apron, she then sat down on her own chair.
“If you please, Dear.”
“Yeah. Thanks for the food.”
Prompted by his wife, the uncle took the lead.
“Thanks for the food.”
“Thanks for the food.”
“Thanks for the food.”
The aunt, the son and Zenjirou followed suit and the Yamai family started their dinner.
Needless to say, the talk this night was all about Zenjirou.
“I see. You’re going overseas, Zenjirou-kun.”
“Yes, I plan to leave in ten days. Sorry that it’s so sudden.”
His uncle said with his glassed fogged from the steam of the pot, whereupon Zenjirou swallowed the pickled Chinese cabbage, handmade by his aunt, and lowered his head, still holding his chopsticks in his right and the rice bowl in his left hand.
The uncle showed the familiar gentle smile on Zenjirou’s honest bow.
“No, it’s okay. If that’s what you want. Just never forget that this is your home too and you’re always welcome.”
He gave him a warm look.
However, Zenjirou was going to another world instead of overseas.
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”
Zenjirou hid the fact that he won’t be able to return for at least thirty years once he went over there and felt guilty over his uncle’s goodwill.
He kind of forced a topic change, since he wanted to get away from that guilt and feared he would reveal the truth if questioned further.
“Ah, right. I can’t exactly say how long I’ll be gone, but I definitely won’t be back for quite some time.
Therefore I want to sign over my car to you, Uncle, and leave it with you.”
The uncle frowned for the first time this night on his nephew’s words.
“Zenjirou-kun, you don’t need to be so considerate for us.”
Zenjirou had anticipated this response from his caring uncle, so he put his chopsticks aside and shook his hand exaggerated in front of his head.
“No, that’s not it. I’m really troubled about what to do with it. I’ll be gone for so long that I will not only miss the next inspection, but even lose my license.”
He pressed on like this.
However, the caring uncle hesitated even more after hearing these words from his nephew.
“Mhm, I see. But why don’t you just sell it then?”
The result was that the uncle suggested this to have his nephew benefit at least a bit. His caring side hadn’t changed at all.
Zenjirou unconsciously assumed a smiling expression from witnessing his uncle’s unchanged good-will and explained further.
“No, that won’t work. I’ll leave in ten days, so I’ll be gone before I find a buyer.”
“Then I can handle the sale for you and put the money into your account. These days you can even withdraw money from overseas, right? And if that isn’t possible, you can just use it when you come back.”
His uncle’s good-will exceeded Zenjirou’s expectations as he thoroughly refrained from accepting the car.
In light of his uncle’s care, Zenjirou felt really heartless to have chosen to abandon everything here and marry in a different world.
“No, it won’t fetch a good price anyway, since it’s a really old car. It’s more reasonable to have you use it.”
Pushed by his guilt, Zenjirou forced his beloved car onto his uncle kind of rebellious.
The uncle then spoke with a different tone than before as he had noticed his nephew’s zeal.
“Mhm, but you know, I already have a car and a small truck.”
An own car was indispensable for living in the countryside. Moreover, for a full-time farmer like his uncle, it was normal to also have a small truck, which could be driven with an ordinary license, for transporting things besides the normal car.
So getting another car on top of that wasn’t such a blessing.
However, Zenjirou had anticipated that answer as well, so he continued his persuasion without delay.
“Yes, so what do you say about signing it over to you, but having Sanae-chan use it? She starts university next year, right? When she has a car, she’ll visit you more often.”
Yes, he raised the name his uncle’s daughter.
The uncle showed a wry smile on his slender face for the first time today upon these words.
“You have a point there. It’s quite convincing coming from you.”
His tone as he said that had a hint of blaming him.
Zenjirou only ever had responded half-hearted to the calls of his uncle asking him to drop by for a visit, when he was in university, and didn’t come back even once in four years, so he felt ashamed now.
“I, I’m sorry. But I remember that Sanae-chan’s first choice is an university here in the prefecture, right? Then I really think a car makes a difference.”
“I see. But driving can be dangerous.”
The uncle still wasn’t convinced by Zenjirou. Meanwhile, someone spoke, who had stayed silent so far, while pecking at the pot. It was the uncle’s son.
“Hey, are you saying that Sis will use Zen-nii’s car? I wonder if she’ll drive me to Iida then when I ask her.”
The uncle smiled gentle at his son, who was already sparkling his eyes from the conversation just now, and rebuked him with a not so scary look.
“Watch it, Yuusaku. It’s not decided yet, so stay out of it. Either way, it’ll be still a year before Sanae gets her license and you’ll be in the high school boarding house by then.”
The energetic 9th grader didn’t flinch at all from his father’s words.
“But, but, during summer vacation Sis and I will come home, right? Can I ask her then?”
He placed his wish, assuming that Zenjirou’s beloved car already belonged to Sanae— the daughter of the uncle.
Most guys would hate it to have their older sister drive them into the city to hang out when they get into high school, but judging by Yuusaku’s words, the siblings got along quite well even now.
Catching a glimpse of the harmonic family situation, Zenjirou showed an honest smile, took a sip from the tea his aunt poured for him after dinner and called out to his ten-years younger cousin.
“Well, as long as Sanae-chan agrees, I don’t see any problems. Try asking her when she comes back.”
“Yeah, I’ll try per mail. Thanks for the food!”
“Ah, hey, wait!”
Without any time for the uncle to stop him, Yuusaku quickly piled up his own tableware, carried it into the kitchen and then went up to the second floor with pitter-patter footsteps.
He most likely was going to send his sister a mail at once.
The uncle couldn’t stop him and had stood up in the middle of the dinner. Then Zenjirou, sitting across him, called out to him.
“See, Uncle, Yuusaku-kun seems pleased too, so what do you say? Will you accept it?”
Even at this point, the uncle still hesitated over his nephew’s good-will and fell silent with a troubled expression.
The last push was given by the aunt, who had silently watched over their exchange so far.
“Why not, Dear? Zenjirou-kun is already a fine adult. If you keep rejecting his favours, it seems like you’re still treating him like a child and that’s just rude.”
“I, see. Yeah… okay.”
On his wife’s advice, the uncle finally made up his mind and faced Zenjirou again with a clear expression.
“Allow me to take you up on your offer then. Thanks. I’ll tell Sanae to take good care of it.”
“Yes, sorry that it’s an old car, but consider it my gratitude for taking care of me up till now. Please use it without reservation.”
Zenjirou showed his uncle, who bowed a bit on the other side of the table, a relieved smile and gave him a bow in return, too.
At night on the same day. After the dinner, Zenjirou went straight to bed.
The 10m² Japanese-style room hadn’t change at all from the time, when he occupied it from the summer in his second year of middle school till the end of his third year.
A study desk in the corner of the room. An old radio-cassette player on top of the dresser that only played CDs.
The mattress he laid out after taking it out of the closet earlier, was still the same too.
“I guess this will always be my room…”
Zenjirou sat cross-legged on the mattress in his light blue pyjama with the lights still on and talked to himself while tampering with his cell phone.
His uncle’s family had taken care of him from middle school to university and he loved them for it, but inside his head there were still “relatives” rather than “family”.
“Relatives” as close as a family. However, the uncle might see it differently.
“I guess, I‘ve to repay them at least a bit…”
Zenjirou spread his legs and lay down on the mattress.
They had kept the room of an adult that already left the house, in order, so he could return at any time. The housing situation in the countryside certainly allowed that, but it was undeniable that this was a perfect example of the good-will from his uncle’s family towards him.
Looking up to the round fluorescent light that brightened up the room, he sighed.
Just as he sighed, a faint scent of bug repellent from the mattress teased his nose. It was inappropriate, but Zenjirou felt a bit relieved from it.
Because his own scent was completely gone from the mattress and gave him the impression that this no longer was a place for him to return.
“Well, at any rate, I’m saying good-bye to this world in ten days…”
Zenjirou lay on his mattress face up in his pyjama, opened his collapsible cell phone and confirmed today’s date.
When he left his apartment, he had issued the shutoff of his phone line, gas, electricity and water, but terminated only his cell phone contract for the end of this month. The bill for his cell phone was written off his bank account anyway and the account would get this month’s pay credited after Zenjirou left, so there were no problems with the payment.
So he decided to keep this convenient cell phone, which could be used anywhere, operable until the very last minute before going over to the other world.
“It’s too late to regret anything now anyway…”
He had already given Aura his okay for re-summoning him in ten days. Even if he faltered now, there was no way to let Aura know about his change of mind. His transfer to the other world in ten days was already an established fact.
“And Aura-san said that it was actually an exception to be able to send me back and forth in such a short time.”
When Zenjirou was summoned to the other world in ten days, the next chance to return him to this world again would come in thirty years.
Thirty years was a long period. As a matter of fact, he needed to be ready to get buried in the other world.
“I’m ready for that… or at least I think so.”
Zenjirou put his cell phone besides his pillow and picked up the palm-sized rectangular box covered in a blue velvet cloth that was next to it.
Inside the box was a set of pair rings.
The wide yellow-golden ring had three transparent diamonds embedded into it next to each other.
As the diamonds didn‘t stick out from the ring, it lacked a fancy appearance, but the detailed geometric pattern engraved in the socket and the radiance of the three diamonds gave it a sufficient charm.
In face of the ring, Zenjirou recalled the face of the Queen that waited in the other world.
Upon that, his lingering feelings for this world, which had reached a peak ever since he met his uncle’s family again, gradually weakened.
“Guess they call this… love at first sight.”
He still had some restraints, but sorted things out for a bit. Raising only his upper body on top of the mattress, he pulled the string on the fluorescent lamp and turned the light off.
* * *
The next day, Zenjirou woke up early in the morning and thankfully ate the breakfast his aunt had prepared for him. Then he went to the tattered hut in the mountains, around thirty minutes away from the village.
He stopped his car on the bumpy mountain trail, which was overrun with weed except in the rut. Looking at the tattered hut, he inadvertently leaked a voice.
“Uwah! I haven’t been here since grade school, but to think it turned into this…!”
The hut, which barely withstood rain and wind, and the area around it belonged to Zenjirou.
When he graduated from university and found a job in the capital, he had kind of forcefully pushed the house and fields he had inherited from his parents onto his uncle, who had managed them as his guardian so far, but his uncle just wouldn’t accept this hut and the lands around it.
Apparently the old, tattered hut was the starting point of the Yamai family.
That said, the cabin in front of him currently had a roof of zinc, so the hut itself must have been reconstructed after the 90s. Anyway, it didn’t change the fact that it was a tattered hut.
“When I heard about that history, I had wondered if my ancestors were maybe chased out of the village, but if Aura-san said the truth, then it might actually be possible.”
Zenjirou looked at the tattered hut illuminated by the morning sun and mumbled deeply moved.
If Aura’s story was true, then the ancestors of Zenjirou and the Yamai family were a pair of lovers from the other world, who eloped here 150 years ago.
Two foreigners with a mixed appearances of Latin and south Asia must have stood out in a bad way during the end of the Edo period.
It was more than possible that they walked a thorny path, even after they fleeing to this world, until they found peace in this tattered hut.
“Well, seeing that the village has not a single tradition about that, they could also have blended in easily.”
Zenjirou finished his dark imagination with a positive outlook. If his ancestors were actually shunned, he would’ve at least heard a fraction of it, even if it happened in a small part of the countryside 150 years ago. However, Zenjirou hadn’t heard a single word about it.
Like he had uttered just now, it was quite imaginable that they adapted to the village surprisingly easily.
While such thoughts crossed his mind, the heavy sound of a diesel engine could be heard from the weed-plastered rugged road.
“Oh, here they come.”
Zenjirou spotted the manufacturer’s truck appearing between the trees, quickly got in his car and relocated it to make space for the truck to park.
After a few minutes, three man wearing grey overalls got off the truck parking in front of the hut.
“Please excuse our delay. We are from Technotec. I take you are ‘Yamai-sama’, who purchased the micro hydropower generated and requested its set-up?”
The seemingly oldest of the three, a middle-aged man called out to Zenjirou, who stood in front of the hut, like that.
“Yes, I am Yamai. Thanks for coming today.”
The middle-aged man returned a smile on Zenjirou’s words.
“Yes. Likewise, thanks for choosing us. We already finished siding the place a few days ago, so we can start with the set-up at once.
Just in case, I would like to confirm your order again.
You want the generator set-up in the small river over there for electricity in the building behind you. Is that correct?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
Zenjirou replied affirming with curt words.
Truth be told, he wanted to use that hydropower in the royal palace in the other world, but there was no way he could answer them honestly here.
“It’s just that I want to be able to do some minimum maintenance by myself too if something acts up, since this is the middle of nowhere as you can see. So I would like to ask if it is alright with you when I record the construction?”
Zenjirou put his request as nonchalant as possible, whereupon the middle-aged man showed a wry smile.
“Mhm~ I don’t mind the recording, but maintenance, huh. Well, it certainly is advantageous if you know how to clean the filter or water tank, but it’s better if you don’t meddle with the device itself.”
“Yes, of course. Only what I can manage as an amateur.”
The middle-aged technician fell for Zenjirou’s deceit.
“Okay. If that is the case, you are free to record it.”
“Thank you very much. Please tell me if I should get into your way.”
Having his wish granted, Zenjirou smiled at the middle-aged technician while saying so, then he returned to his car to fetch the “handycam” he had borrowed from his uncle.
“Uaah… This looks more complicated than I thought. To be honest, I might’ve been a bit naïve…”
A few hours later, Zenjirou said so a bit exhausted after he kept recording the work of the technicians with his handycam the whole time.
They started their work at ten in the morning and weren’t done yet after lunch time.
If three professional technicians already took so long, then how much trouble would it give Zenjirou when he tried to reconstruct it by himself in the other world?
“Maybe I was a bit rash.”
It was understandable that he inadvertently regretted his choice.
The slogan “easy to set up by just connecting the water intake and drainage” on the homepage apparently meant “easy for professionals”.
The small hydropower generator was composed of three big parts.
The first part was the water tank, which regulated a steady volume of water and filtered out the sand.
The next part was the generator with the water wheel and the large magnet, which would produce the electricity.
The last part was the control system that managed a stable output with an exchangeable battery.
The water tank was positioned near the river’s upstream, then a thick hose for supply was put into the river and let the tank fill with water from the river.
Afterwards, the generator part was positioned at a place sufficient lower than the water tank to allow the water to fall.
The water tank and generator were connected through a durable and flexible small hose. Through it the water, free from sand and pebbles thanks to the filter inside the tank, streamed into the water wheel within the generator.
After spinning the wheel, the water flowed through a drainage hose back into the river’s downstream.
The control system on the other hand was inside the hut.
Drilling a round hole into the wall of the hut and installing a power cable through it, the cable then was connected to the generator part at the river. All the electricity produced by the generator was fed to the control system part.
The control system part had two big batteries installed, which covered the typical fluctuation in the output of the generator to a certain extent.
In a normal house, the control system would be set up to feed the electricity into house’s interior power supply unit, but the tattered hut didn’t have such an advanced thing.
Therefore he had ordered that the control system part was extra equipped with numerous outlets, so that the electrical appliances could supply themselves directly from the part, for an additional fee.
With these outlets it was apparently possible to supply even a TV, a computer and a refrigerator without a problem.
“Please wait a moment.”
With these words, the middle-aged technician went over to the truck for a moment and came back with an old electric lamp. Most likely for a final check to see if the generator worked flawless.
“Okay, I’m turning it on!”
Then he middle-aged technician peeked out only his face through the opened door of the hut and shouted so to his two subordinators working outside.
“Yes, the water tank is alright!”
“No problems with the generator unit!”
The two other young technicians, who were respectively running the final checks for the water tank and generator, turned their arms round and round, signalizing everything alright with a loud voice.
The generator started up.
The water wheel spun and produced electricity. That electricity was immediately fed into the control system inside the hut.
The sound of a fan spinning came from the rectangle box and the light at the top on the right of the control system shone green, the proof that the device was running regular.
“Okay, time to test it.”
Confirming the green light, the middle-aged technician put the lamp down on the seasoned wooden floor and plugged its cable into the control system. Then he turned on the lamp.
The dim interior of the hut was illuminated by the bright light of the lamp.
“It seems to work just fine.”
Zenjirou was in awe and the middle-aged technician in front of him showed an accomplished smile from finishing his job, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the towel around his neck.
About one hour later.
“Okay, now I’ve taken the biggest hurdle.”
After the truck with the Technotec guys left, Zenjirou, staying behind at the hut all by himself, muttered that in front of the new-build generator.
The charging cable of the handycam with the record of the generator’s assembly was connected to the generator’s outlet.
Seeing as the lamp for proper charging was shining, the generator operated without any troubles so far.
Zenjirou picked up the manual the technicians left behind and browsed through the control system category.
“Let’s see, the red lamp here is for abnormalities and this value shows the current output. With an output like this, it seems like I can use all my electrical appliances from my apartment simultaneous, but when I bring it over to the other world, I have to reassemble it from scratch and there’s no guarantee it’ll produce the same output then.”
The manual had a wattage list for common electrical appliances too.
With that, it was evident at a glance how much electricity an electronic appliance roughly needed to work.
The maximum output of his “micro hydropower generator” was 1 kW. A single living in a one-room apartment could easily make do with that amount, but a family of four or five could normally live in a single house with that too, but that was only theoretical at best.
The display currently indicated an output of a bit more than 600W at the most.
Even if he succeeded in somehow taking this generator to the other world and reassembling it there, it was unlikely that he would get the same output as the current one, which was assembled by professionals.
“That kind of limits the electrical appliances I can use regularly…”
Zenjirou glared at the holey ceiling and pondered for a while.
“Maybe should I just bring the appliances I stored away over here and try them out to see how many work with it.”
He reached such a conclusion.
Either way, it was pretty much a matter of fact already that he would depart to the other world from here, since the hydropower generator was set up here.
On the last day, he would have to turn off the power and empty the water, placing everything on the carpet he got from Aura, but the generator itself was already 75kg heavy.
With a handbarrow, Zenjirou could load it into the car by himself some way or another, but instead of all this trouble, it was way more efficient to lay out the magic carpet inside the hut and use this place as his departure location for the other world. Getting the generator from the river to the hut required a bit of effort, but it was nothing impossible with a handbarrow.
“In that case, I’ve to bring everything here on the last day anyway. So it won’t harm to bring them over even now.”
When he had moved out of his apartment, he had rented a storage room and put everything he wanted to bring with him to the other world there, disposing of all the rest.
The only things he brought with him to the house of his uncle in his car were: a bit of hand baggage, a change of clothes, the wedding rings and the magic carpet.
And when he contacts the moving service and has his stuff at hand before he transferred, it saved him a last minute rush.
Additionally, he could try out how many electrical appliances he could run simultaneously with the generator or what he needed for a life apart from a town, which was fun in itself.
“I still have a few days to spare anyway. If I think of anything useful, I can just buy it at the do-it-yourself store in the nearby town with my car. But I need to consult my remaining funds about it…”
Although it was called close, the nearest town was a two-hour drive by car away, but that was still tolerable.
Actually Zenjirou had planned to help his uncle on the fields until he departed, but it would only be for half a day, either in the morning or the afternoon.
Even if it was only for a few days, there was no way he, a grown-up man, would sit around doing nothing when they provided him with food and a place to stay, but he had to consider his own circumstances as well.
“Okay, better make the call then. Let’s see… Wait, there aren’t any radio masts here? Uwah, then I won’t be able to use my cell unless I go all the way to the highway.”
Having settled on his future actions, Zenjirou got into his hybrid car, whose grey paint was sullied by mud and dust, to make a call to the moving service and the manager of the storage room.
* * *
The time to prepare went by in an instant.
It had been exactly one month since the day he made the promise with Aura.
The shabby hut with the zinc roof stood isolated on the mountain draped with morning dew.
Inside that tattered hut, Zenjirou sat in the middle of the magic carpet and waited for the right time.
To sum it up in one word, he looked “ridiculous”.
Right now, he wore a grey suit and shouldered a big backpack on his back like one used only for professional mountain climbing.
That alone made him look pretty suspicious already, yet he also held a box cutter in his right hand like a sword and upheld the tip of his small finger on his left hand.
Calling this “suspicious” was still sugar-coating it.
“Any moment now? Nah, not yet. …Maybe it was all just a dream? No, no, that can’t be. I DO have the ring and the carpet. …But I guess something unexpected could’ve happened and they abandoned the idea of re-summoning me?”
He had continued to spill blood on the carpet by periodically pecking at the wound on his left little finger with the box cutter in his right hand, and was now driven by an immense anxiety.
All preparations for crossing over to the other world were already done.
He had quit his company, cancelled all essential utilities like gas, water, phone line and electricity and moved out of his apartment. Only his contract for his cell phone was still effective, but he had taken measure that it would cancel by the end of month too.
To his only blood-relatives, the family of his uncle, he told the lie “I’m going overseas for a job transfer”.
The entry in his registration certification was changed back from his working place to his hometown too.
His bank and post accounts remained, so his last pay check would be added to it on the 10th next month, but Zenjirou himself wouldn’t be able to use that money. He shouldn’t be able to. If he were to, it would be troubling.
If in the worst case, the summoning didn’t happen, Zenjirou would end up wandering about homeless with nothing but his hydropower generator, which was nearly useless in modern Japan, and a ridiculous long extension cord in hand after he did all these preparations.
To be honest, if he wasn’t summoned now, his life was pretty much ruined.
“Shit, I’m getting dizzy. Did I lose to much blood?”
Zenjirou muttered this as he was under impression that his sight turned dark, but that wasn’t possible. The amount of blood he had lost so far wasn’t even a tenth of a blood sample in the hospital.
His dizziness and narrowed vision had a mental origin.
While it was already summer, the temperature was rather low in the mountain, given that it was still morning.
Zenjirou was befallen by a shiver, not knowing if it was from the cold or his nervousness.
“Did I pack everything? The generator… The water tank part, the control system part. The supply and drainage hoses. Okay, everything’s there.”
In an attempt to distract himself form the shiver, he checked the all important “micro hydropower generator” by pointing at each part.
Yesterday, it took him the whole day and a lot of effort to carry them onto the carpet.
Zenjirou wanted to be praised by someone especially for the effort of carrying the 75kg generator part into the hut all by himself.
Simply for that, he had bought a handbarrow at the do-it-yourself store, but without it, he would have never get it done by himself.
The technicians had stabilized the rectangle generator part with stakes on the levelled mountainous ground. By the time he had pulled out these stakes one by one while looking out for not letting the part collapse, and slipped the handbarrow underneath it, the T-shirt and boxers under his blue tracksuit were soaking wet.
But thanks to that effort, the full “micro hydropower generator” stood now on top of the magic carpet.
Excluding the five-door refrigerator, it was the biggest item amongst his luggage.
“In the end, I could only buy Aura-san some alcohol in addition to the rings, but that should suffice, I guess. She seemed to like alcohol.”
In the corner of the carpet were bottles of brandy, whiskey, wine and sake lined up.
Speaking of alcohol, Zenjirou usually only drunk low-malt beer or in extremely rare cases a 1500 yen whisky, so he would consider buying a bottle for the price of ten to twenty-thousand yen insane, but for a present for a Queen, he needed to invest at least that much.
That reminded him that the other world only had low percentage plum liquor, so he had bought a domestic still in a hurry, but he hadn’t tested yet if he could properly make distilled liquor with it.
Well, it would be a good bargain if he succeeded.
Either way, he had bought low-malt beer and a suited local whiskey by the boxful, which should last for a while.
Next up, Zenjirou checked his current attire.
“This looks good enough… Well, even if it doesn’t, I don’t have any better clothes.”
The grey suit he currently wore were the priciest clothes in his collection, one’s best suit so to speak. After all, he was going to his wedding. Even if the cultures were different and his partner was from a different world, he had to dress appropriate in his own way.
At first he considered getting a white suit like the bridegroom wore during the reception, but its ridiculous price put an end to his idea at once. It clearly crossed the limit of warrantable expenses for clothes that would be worn only once.
As Zenjirou was short on assets, he could only prepare the most decent attire from his collection.
And as he was checking out his attire, he noticed that the belt from the backpack on his back wrinkled his suit.
“Uwah, not good. Will I be even able to fix that in the other world? Still, I don’t have the courage to leave it behind just because of that. I just gotta live with it.”
His backpack was filled with a change of clothes, sturdy tramping boots, several rechargeable AA batteries and a solar charger for them. Furthermore, there was dry bread, chocolate chip biscuits, bars of chocolate, water pet bottles, a dozen lighters and tool knifes, a dynamo LED lantern and a heat insulating blanket. In short, the contents were kind of an “emergency pack”.
When he thought of unforeseen incidents like being summoned to the wrong place or time or if the magic of the carpet failed and only his belongings on his body were transferred, he didn’t feel like putting the backpack down on the carpet at all, even if it wrinkled his suit a bit.
Of course, the most important item, the ring for Aura, was safely tucked into the inside pocket of his suit together with its box.
Suddenly Zenjirou itched for checking on the ring in his pocket again.
However, his right hand was still occupied with the box cutter and the little finger of his left hand was bleeding even now.
Zenjirou considered putting down the box cutter for now and look into his inside pocket. At that very moment.
A familiar feeling of drunkenness befell Zenjirou sitting on top of the carpet.
He immediately threw the box cutter away and put both his hands down on the carpet. Then he heard a “clank” noise from his right and in the next moment, the appealing voice of a female, which he hadn’t heard for a month, came from above his head.
“I welcome you, my future husband. I am glad the second summoning went well. Now I can finally say this with all sincerity:
Welcome to this world, to my country. I am glad to see you, my lifelong partner.”
Zenjirou had perfectly transferred along with the carpet and forgetting to stand up, he looked up at the Queen, who spread her arms welcoming, while he still was on his knees like a fool.