“Haa… In the end, I still got turned into a clothing doll.”
Shinichi listlessly sat on the bench as he watched Rinko pay at the cash register.
Unlike last week, this time he really had to wear the clothes, so it was twice as exhausting.
Every time he changed, Rinko would look at him with sparkling eyes and become really happy. Because of that it was hard to refuse her, but he still had to refuse when she tried to get him to wear men’s leather.
Shinichi was well aware that such clothing neither matched his stature nor his face.
It also reminded him of how he looked when wearing his mask, so it was just too embarrassing for him to endure.
The truth is that his clothes then aren’t really made of leather but some kind of fantastic material, but impressions are important to humans.
That’s true even if the only one who could see his clothes is himself.
“Fufu, you owe this to yourself since you refuse to ask for anything. At least endure this much.”
His dad was beside him holding Shinji. He smiled when he saw how exhausted Shinichi looked.
Although Shinichi was wearing is current outfit, that smile was probably because of Rinko coordinating Shinichi’s clothes.
“I know that. But what does Rinko-san find so interesting about dressing up guys?”
“Didn’t I mention it? It’s a little dream of hers.
Since young she’s been living in a fatherless family as an only child, so there were no men in her family. Because of that she’s always dreamed of having male members in her family.”
That dream came true when she married Nobuhiko and gave birth to Shinji, but the introduction of an older male to the family revitalized that dream.
Or at least that’s how Nobuhiko analyzed it.
“You know if you just behave and tell her what you want, she’ll buy you anything.”
“I would if I could, but there’s really nothing I want.”
Shinichi felt bad that he couldn’t respond to their good will, but he couldn’t help it.
After all, he had spent the last two years living in another world. His desire for the material things of this world was simply too weak.
It could be said that his priorities were changed because of the change in environment.
First came meal, followed by bedding, equipment, information, and then pleasure.
Moreover, there was a vast chasm between information and pleasure.
When he was at Falandia he had merely three types of ‘games’ he could choose from to amuse himself.
Games for children with rules like tag or hide and seek.
Card or board games for the nobles and royal family.
Liquor, women, and gambling for the majority of the population.
The first and the last were out of his age of group, but the second required a partner to play with. Moreover, said partner needed to know the rules and they also needed the cards or the board and other necessities to play the game.
Because of that Shinichi naturally drifted from such entertainment.
“Come to think of it, why didn’t you buy anything when we were at the bookstore?
Aren’t there a lot of mangas and light novels that were previously ongoing that’s now completed?”
When Shinichi said that there was nothing he wanted, Nobuhiko remembered that he frequently saw his son reading those kind of things.
And indeed Shinichi did like to read, but now he preferred to read things that could help him gather information.
“Ahh, no… I just don’t feel like it right now.”
Shinichi no longer held interest in the things he once found interesting before being drifted off to Falandia.
That alone had given a lot of shock to him, which caused his words to become turbid.
He liked those things so much before and yet now his heart was numb to them.
In the first place, why didn’t it occur to him to check those things out when he came back?
Evidently, he was treating this world as if he were exploring another world.
“Well, you were never really one to ask for a lot of things.
But isn’t there something you want to see or a place you want to visit?”
“Even if you tell me that… Oh, I know. I kind of want to go the food section right now.”
Shinichi said as he read something on the floor map he happened to notice.
If he were joking Nobuhiko might have laughed, but his face said he was serious.
“…You may not have much greed in the way of possession, but you sure are faithful to your stomach.”
“You shouldn’t look down on appetite, dad!
What could possibly be more fortunate than to be able to eat three times a day!”
“I’ve heard that a lot already, so stop it. Your dad won’t be able to stand it.”
Nobuhiko found it pitiful when Shinichi said that so strongly.
Shinichi was always zealous when it came to food.
It was natural considering the kind of environment he lived in, but because of that zealousness even Nobuhiko has started to feel like he should put more importance in the food that he treated like air.
Still, while he too would like to feed his son more delicious food, he wanted him to have interest in other things as well.
Shinichi was still just a 15 years-old kid.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. Where are we going next?” Rinko asked when she came back.
“Glutton number two says he wants to go to the food section,” Nobuhiko said with a smile.
Shinichi was dumbfounded at that.
“Huh? Glutton? Number 2?” Rinko asked.
Nobuhiko laughed when he saw Rinko’s confused face.
‘She’ stuck out her head from the bag and looked at Shinichi.
When Shinichi saw her gaze and realized the meaning behind it, his eyes began swimming.
“Fu fu, it’s nothing.
I suppose we should drop by the place Daigo-kun is working at.
Our two gluttons are both hungry, after all,” Nobuhiko said.
As Rinko realized the meaning behind the term ‘glutton number 2’ and who number 1 was, she knit her brows.
It was five minutes to three and was almost snack time.
Rinko put on a menacing look as she opened her mouth to correct Nobuhiko.
“I keep saying this time and time again, but—”
“…What an understanding stomach. Or no. Maybe it’s the opposite in this case,” Shinichi remarked.
“Your body is more honest. Come on kids. Rinko’s stomach is gurgling, so we better hurry,” Nobuhiko said.
“Aaii!” Shinji said.
It didn’t take even a second to silence the criminal from making excuses.
“W-Wait a moment!
Why does my stomach have to gurgle at a time like this!?”
As Rinko went beet red from embarrassment, the dad and the kids went ahead.
Rinko ran after them with a sulky face while complaining, but Nobuhiko ignored her.
For some reason, though, ‘she’ was sending a sharp look toward Shinichi.
“Truly father and son. Well, a certain someone is far worse, though.”
“…Is this a new kind of embarrassing play?”
It’s really embarrassing when you’re aware about something and it’s proven to you in a way that you can see it.
Apparently, Shinichi and his dad didn’t just look similar, they even acted similarly.
Realizing that, Shinichi thought he should probably help Rinko out, but as soon as he thought that…
Inside the department store where people came to and fro, someone Shinichi passed by caused the alarms in his head to go blaring.
It was not because it was someone he knew – in fact, he didn’t even know which one it was among those he passed – but alarms were ringing in his head. Shinichi turned around and called out.
“Rinko-san, Dad. Stop.”