Staying up during the night was something I was used to after many nights of traveling. However, things were a little different this time. This was a small hunting lodge near a dangerous town. Who knew what could happen? I had to accept it as being preferable to sleeping out in the open, but it still made me uneasy.
It was just past two o’clock now. Daniela and I would be trading places soon. It would affect me badly the next day if I didn’t get my sleep… Even though I had built up a little bit of resistance from all those night shifts.
I could also just stay up and let Daniela sleep…
I was considering this option when Daniela yawned and sat up. She never picked the best times to start getting up by herself…
“Asagi…I will take the watch now.”
“You could have slept a little longer.”
“I do not know why, but I woke up. This is not the kind of place to sleep easy…”
So Daniela felt nervous as well. We were so concerned about each other…
“Well, guess I’ll get some sleep then… At least, there are no signs of people or monsters now.”
“Mmm. Yes. Rest well.”
Daniela caressed my head gently as I lay down. I didn’t know what it was, but this situation was quite comforting. She didn’t stop even after I closed my eyes. With every stroke my consciousness faded, until I finally fell asleep.
□ □ □ □
I can hear Asagi breathing in his sleep now. It is because we are in this situation that I want to offer what comfort I can.
The way he looks when he sleeps always brings a smile to my face. He usually acts quite reliable, but there are some things you can’t hide when you are asleep. There is a sort of innocence there that awakens a maternal instinct in me. Well, I am not really the age to be his mother. Much too old, to be honest.
It is sad that I sometimes lead myself to feelings of depression with my own thoughts. I brushed those notions aside and concentrated on my surroundings.
The rain has stopped before nightfall. The wind continued to blow strongly, but it was mostly dry. The ground was still wet, but the wind felt good as it brushed against my cheeks.
It continued to blow even now, coming in through the cracks in the walls.
The wind was always strong during rainy days. And it did not rain like this often, so I could tell that the wind spirits were excited. They tell me that that air is especially delightful on days when the clouds are that big.
‘The air, very good…’
The spirits say as they flow in the air in front of me. As someone who is not a fairy, I worried that such strong winds would just blow them far away. And this hunting lodge did not look very durable. The door was shaking noisily even now. But Presence Detection had not caught anything, so there was no chance of it being a human behind the door.
The breeze that came from the cracks were often just spirits coming and going. That being said, they were often sleeping in their pajamas as this happened, and it was not by their own will that they invaded. I watched and wondered how these things happened, but there was no use asking. You had to just believe what the fairies said. There was no point in thinking about it.
“…I feel bored.”
There was nothing to do. Not a single monster could be felt with Presence Detection. Such peace was welcome, but having nothing to do also made me sleepy.
Suddenly, my mind wandered to the stack of wooden boxes. We had figured out that this was a hunting lodge, but what were those boxes used for?
I stood up and opened the lid of the box on the top. Underneath, there was a cloth. Perhaps to protect the content from dust? It seemed a little rude of my to pry further, but I was bored and curious. And those two things can be very motivating.
I held the edge of the cloth and slowly raised it.
“…Ah. So that is what this is…”
The box contained magic stones of many colors.
□ □ □ □
“Hello and good morning.”
We said good morning even though it was night during my night shift. After all, the night would always end and the morning would come. The night shift only ended once the morning rush did.
“Asagi, you look very tired.”
“Sorry… I’m just so, so, so sleepy.”
“Hey, I told you to get up!”
I always wondered if my boss suffered from having a split personality. The way she could change was nothing short of outrageous.
Still, what she told me was your ordinary warnings. I couldn’t show myself like this in front of customers. Stand straight, Asagi! I slapped my cheeks and tried to wake myself up. Alright, almost there! …Huh!?
“Boss…could you not touch my hair like that?”
“Hehe. You have very nice hair. I’m jealous.”
This was her being sarcastic. In other words, she was telling me to get a haircut. I didn’t have any work today, so maybe I could go to the barber… Oh, here are the customers now. Unsurprisingly, they were mostly salary men and students. After all, we were right by the train station. Sometimes I wondered why they didn’t just use the convenience store inside of the station, but these guys kept us afloat, so I wasn’t complaining. Thank you, and all that.
“Asagi. You can leave for the day.”
“Oh? But I still have some time left…”
“You’ll be called soon anyway. Leave this to me.”
But it was still seven-thirty. I wouldn’t get paid for this hour if I left…
“Hey, I’m telling you to leave. Idiot.”
If the boss says it’s okay, then maybe it is. Besides, she’d kick me in the ass if I stayed. So I pushed the button that meant I was leaving. Goodbye, money I could have made…
“Well, see you la…mm…gg…uhh…”