A Brief Two Weeks
The first week seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. I thought that we wouldn’t have much to do while we waited for the military to prepare, but it turned out that our days were quite eventful.
Of course, it wasn’t really surprising when you thought about it. You were never as prepared as you like to believe.
We went down to the city and restocked on potions and other consumable items that we were running low on. As for weapons and armor, both Daniela and I had already acquired what suited us best. But Lemon and Manager felt they could do better, and so they spent a lot of time checking out different armor shops.
And during their search, they came upon one particularly special place, and so Daniela and I went to visit it with them.
“So, Manager. What’s this place called?”
“Ah, I didn’t tell you? It’s a rather cute name. It’s called the Paw Armor Shop.”
Daniela tilted her head. It clearly rang a bell. However, it was very clear in my own head. I hadn’t done much promotion for them, but they were apparently doing quite well for themselves now.
“Yes, you can definitely trust them.”
“Oh? You know the place?”
“Yeah. They made the dragon armor set that I used to wear.”
“That is it. I knew I heard the name somewhere.”
Daniela had finally remembered it, and she clapped her hands together.
“They used to have a store in a different town. I suppose they’ve been expanding.”
“It looks like it. It’s impressive that they can open a store here.”
Apparently, this place had a lot of armor for women, something Manager and Lemon were quite happy about. If I remembered correctly, they had a store for selling armor and another one for clothes. The clothes were made by Nick’s wife. Kyuna, was it?
As we walked and talked about such things, the familiar mark of the paw print came into view.
“This is the place!”
Lemon pointed at the building with the sign. This place was bigger than the store they had in Spiris. It was incredible.
Manager and Lemon went in first, and I immediately heard the voices of a man and a woman.
“Please take your time!”
Yes, it was them after all. I stepped in as well and our eyes met.
“Ah, Mister Asagi!?”
“Hey, Nick. It’s been a while. This place is huge.”
“You aren’t even wearing my armor!!!”
That was the first thing that came out of his mouth. Well, this was an armor shop. Oh, well.
“It’s a long story.”
“Don’t think you can get off the hook so easily…”
But I couldn’t tell him that the armor was partly to blame for me becoming less human.
“Like I said, it’s a long story.”
“And from the looks of it, you have no intention of telling me it…”
“Have mercy. Anyway, it’s not about me today. Look, it’s these two over here. Give them your best stuff.”
I said as I took a step back. After that, Nick regained his composure, as business was calling. And he was back to the old Nick, dealing with customers.
Now that I had successfully moved the attention over to them, I decided to check out the store’s products. I didn’t know anything about clothes, but it was clear that this was all of good quality. The dragon set they had made for me before had been the result of high quality materials suddenly entering the market. And everything here was made of high quality materials as well, which helped the end product. In other words, they were successfully acquiring materials. I’d imagine you needed a certain amount of trust and money to make it in the royal capital.
I tried picking up one of the shirts. It reminded me of those shirts from back home that dried really quickly. I couldn’t imagine what it required to make this here.
I turned around as Daniela called to me. She was holding two items of clothing.
“Which do you think looks better?”
“The white one.”
She put the blue clothes back and disappeared somewhere. I had just answered instinctively. But now that I thought of it, perhaps I was supposed to say that they both looked. She had clearly selected both of them, after all. I hoped she wouldn’t be annoyed about it later on.
“But then again, Daniela’s not like that…”
“I am not like what?”
“Uh, nothing. Hmm. What should I get…”
Daniela questioned me upon her return, but I dodged the question and tried to choose something for myself. Hmm. An old man who was on his way to becoming a God Wolf had to be careful about what he wore. But then again, ordinary roomwear shouldn’t matter too much. And so I decided to grab a few of the shirts.
□ □ □ □
I carried the shirts, which came in different colors, and walked over to the counter. A woman was standing there.
“It’s nice to meet you again.”
Oh, so she was sulking as well. It was Miss Kyuna. Nick’s wife and the owner of the Paw Clothes and Accessories Shop.
“It’s a long story.”
“Yes, you’ve been saying that… Haa…”
Well, perhaps they didn’t like the idea that I had swapped their armor out with something better.
“So, what didn’t you like about it?”
“No, that’s not it. It’s just that we’ve been through a lot of vicious battles. There was nothing I could do about it.”
Seeing this level of disappointment from them was starting to make me feel bad. I didn’t even do anything wrong, but one cannot help the way that one feels.
“…Well, if you used it until it was worn out, I can be happy about that.”
“That’s nice of you to say.”
“Still, your current set is quite nice… Who made it?”
After that, we talked about my current armor. Of course, I couldn’t tell her it was Rachel who made it, so I had to say something vague. And while she did try and get it out of me, I refused. But at this rate, she would probably storm the castle…
“Well, I must admit it. It’s very impressive work. Besides, it clearly takes after what we made you.”
“It does. They even made a similar waist mantle here.”
“Yes, yes. Indeed. It shows you how superior our designs are!”
I had been quite fond of the design myself, and was glad that it remained. There was even a wolf tail added to it.
“Kyuna. Can you ring these up?”
“Oh, they’re finished?”
Nick came to the counter, followed by Manager and Lemon. They were both holding the equipment that they needed.
And so I stepped away and went to check on Daniela, who was trying on different items in front of a mirror. After a minute, I saw Manager and Lemon go to a room in the back. I suppose they were going to get changed.
“Daniela, looks like we’ll be leaving soon.”
“Ah, got it.”
Daniela then took some clothes to the counter. We sure did a lot of shopping today… Thanks to all the quests we did in the past, we were quite financially stable. But for a while now, we’d been spending more than we earned. And that was a little uncomfortable. It would be good to make up for it soon…
“Sorry to make you wait.”
Manager and Lemon had returned. Oh, they looked very different. It was refreshing.
Manager was wearing a leather breastplate over a black shirt, which was similar to mine. Below, she wore short pants over black tights. And her feet were in knee-high boots. These were also made of leather. Her sheaths were strapped to both sides of her hips, and they held the blade I had given her. It looked cool. Kind of like a gunslinger. I was a little jealous.
Surprisingly, Lemon was wearing metal armor. While it wasn’t a full plate, it looked pretty hefty. Her chest and arms were well protected, though her shoulders were exposed. I suppose it made it easier for her to move. She wore a gray shirt underneath. Her legs and waist were also covered in metal armor. Even her boots were made of metal. And she too had the sword I had given her attached to her belt.
“I feel like I’m finally ready.”
“Let’s do our best!”
They were both very enthusiastic. I felt motivated as well.
When I glanced to the side, I saw the mirror that Daniela had been looking in. It felt like it had been a long time since I last saw my reflection in a mirror. I now saw my own image, wearing the Gleipnir that I got from Rachel. Hmm, I seemed to have lost some weight… And my face… What was it? There was something about it that was more intense than before. Was it just age?
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Daniela returned after paying at the counter. Nick and Kyuna came with her.
“I’ve heard rumors of a great battle. Could it be that all of you have something to do with it?”
“Well…yes. We are a part of it.”
As the army was moving, word was spreading among the citizens of an upcoming battle.
“In a week from now, the Hill of Mist will become a battlefield. You two should be careful.”
“I understand. Can we talk about this with others?”
“I don’t see why not?”
“Yes! If anything, it would be better if people knew to avoid it!”
And so they promised to help spread the word. I just hoped they stuck to the facts and avoided exaggeration.
“Alright, we should be going now.”
“Mister Asagi. Please be careful!”
“Aye, I will try.”
I shook Nick’s offered hand. Daniela and the others hugged or shook hands with Miss Kyuna. Watching them, I couldn’t help but think about how a war really was upon us.
And it was with a strengthened resolve, that we returned to the castle.
We had our equipment and items. And so I spent the last few days training.
“I don’t think it’s enough, by any means. But I’m not sure there was ever a time when I felt perfectly prepared.”
“That is true. And yet, we have always survived.”
I had the Glampanzer and White Blade Tenko on my sword belt, while the Schwarz Tempest rested on my shoulder. Daniela stood next to me.
She had just changed her bowstring, and as she stood there in her wind dragon armor, she made a fist and punched her open palm.
Behind us, stood Manager and Lemon. Then there was Rachel and Matsumoto, and the members of his harem. And behind all of them, was the army of the Lambrusen Republic. There were even mercenaries and high ranking Adventurers who had been hired.
At a glance, they looked like a strong group of people. And the determination in their faces made them even more intimidating. When I looked back ahead, I saw the Automata waiting for us. There were so many of them, that it seemed like there was no limit to their number.
“…I guess we’ll just have to do our best.”
Now, it was time to begin. The fight between humans and magic machines.