Volume 4 Chapter 2: Reunion 2
The Tereshi Diner was a big restaurant, so the travelers that came to this city would often eat and drink there. At a corner of that restaurant’s warm atmosphere were Elia and the others, chatting as they enjoyed their tea.
“So Sebasu, did you know that Ryouma-san was here?” [Elia]
“I did hear that Ryouma-sama has gone through the mountainous road many times, but I wasn’t aware that he would have his cart open in this town today.” [Sebasu]
At that time, Sebasu saw Ryouma’s figure working within the cart through the opening between the people lined up. It was there, that he first realized that Ryouma was in town.
Incidentally, the reason Ryouma was in this town was because Elia had once sent him a letter, informing him that she would use this path to head to Gimuru. Because of that, Ryouma decided to subjugate the bandits in the area. Him deciding to open a cart in this town came after that.
The rumored person they heard of this afternoon is none other but Ryouma. Sebasu was already aware of that. When Elia found out that he knew, she complained and told him that he should have told her. Right around that time though, Ryouma entered the store. Promptly, he was brought to where the girls were sitting, and the clerk called the girls attention.
“Excuse me. I’ve brought your companion.” [Clerk]
“Sorry, I was late.” [Ryouma]
After a quick bow, Ryouma called out to Eila.
“Elia, it’s been a while. I did mention it just a while ago, but it’s great to see you’re doing well.” [Ryouma]
“Indeed. It really has been a while, hasn’t it? Ryouma-san, are you doing well too?” [Elia]
“I did mention it in the letters, but yes… I’m doing fine. By the way, these people are your…?” [Ryouma]
After Elia smiled at Ryouma, he turned to look toward the other girls. The one who received his gaze was Miyabi, who waved her hand.
“Ryouma-han, long time no see. D’ya still remember me?” [Miyabi]
“Miyabi-san, right? Long time no see too. Of course, I remember you.” [Ryouma]
“So ya remembered me, huh? Ta tell ya the truth, I was sort of wonderin’ what I should do if ya didn’t.” [Miyabi]
“Don’t worry, forgetting you won’t be possible, since the impression you left was quite strong.” [Ryouma]
“The way ya talk makes me wonder exactly how it is you’re remembering me, but eh, whatever. That aside, how long are ya planning ta keep on standing? Take a sit.” [Miyabi]
Having been told that, Ryouma took a seat, then he began his introductions to Michelle, Riera, and Kanan.
“My name is Ryouma Takebayashi. I believe the two of you have already seen me back there in the cart, but in any case, I am the owner of the meat bun selling cart and the restaurant, Slime Den Restaurant at Gimuru. But considering that the management is mostly taken care of by the head chef, I suppose it might be better to refer to me as an investor instead. I normally spend my days at home, researching and manufacturing things. When I’m not, I’m out gathering materials and ingredients for my research while carrying out adventurer work. In any case, it’s a pleasure to meet you all.” [Ryouma]
“A pleasure to meet you as well. I am Michelle Willdan. I’m the eldest daughter of the Willdan Household, but please refer to me as Michelle. My hobby lies in magic formation research.” [Michelle]
“So Michelle-san is a scholar of Magic Formations.” [Ryouma]
When Michelle heard Ryouma say that, her eyes sparkled.
“Are you familiar with magic formations!?” [Michelle]
“I know a little from my grandmother, but it’s nothing more than a little introduction.” [Ryouma]
“As Magic Formations is unfortunately a study that’s widely unpopular, there are few people that know of its existence… Which is why I’m so happy to know that I have some to talk about it with now, Ryouma-kun!” [Michelle]
As Michelle began to grow excited, Riera remonstrated her.
“Calm down, Michelle. We haven’t finished introducing ourselves yet.” [Riera]
“Oh, sorry, please excuse me.” [Michelle]
“Seriously… I’m sorry, Michelle has a tendency to sometimes prattle on like this.” [Riera]
“Please don’t mind it. There are many people like her amongst my acquaintances, so if anything, it’s actually relaxing.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you.” [Riera]
Said Riera as she sighed, then as her expression stiffened, she introduced herself.
“Please pardon my delayed introduction. I am Riera Clifford. There’s no need to be polite with me either. So please just call me Riera. In the future, I plan to become a knight… By the way, a while ago, you mentioned that you did adventurer work. May I know what rank you are?” [Riera]
“My rank? It’s C.” [Ryouma]
After Ryouma said that, Riera thought to herself for a bit, then she said this.
“I see… If you don’t mind, I would like to have a duel with you should the opportunity present itself. I want to know my current strength.” [Riera]
“If you’re fine with me, then anytime. There is a good place for that very purpose in Gimuru after all.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you.” [Riera]
Riera bowed, and the next one, Kanan, spoke.
“Next up is me. Name’s Kanan Shuza. My family’s been working as magic tools craftsmen for generations. So I’m studying both as a magic tools craftsman and as a jeweler. It’s a pleasure to meet you!” [Kanan]
“It’s nice to meet you as well.” [Ryouma]
“By the way, I heard you mention just a while ago that you manufacture things. Can I know exactly what it is you make?” [Kanan]
Ryouma appeared to be a little troubled as he answered Kanan’s question.
“If I were to put it briefly, a lot. Medicines, smithing, woodworks. I also make kitchenware such as pots and knives, and even the steaming baskets I used in the cart from before. I make weapons too, but I’m usually making things that are needed for daily life or farming tools… If there’s anything I specialize in in particular, then I guess it’s medicine and magic staves.” [Ryouma]
“You really do make a lot. Ah, as for me, I specialize in grinding jewelry.” [Kanan]
Hearing that, Ryouma asked.
“Kanan-san, do you make jewels right from the grinding stage? A jeweler I know buys his from a specialist that specializes in grinding, which he then uses to create his ornaments.” [Ryouma]
“There are people like that, but the Shuza Family works from the grinding stage to the engraving stage. Because of that members of our family are able to create products all on their own. Part of the reason is because of the necessity in ensuring that the materials used are compatible for magic tool purposes, but it’s mostly because our family’s made up of stubborn craftsmen who don’t want others interfering with their work. Of course, there are also cases where several people work together to make a single product, but that only really happens between a pupil and a master that’s been together for a long time. We don’t really buy jewels from external sources.” [Kanan]
It was in this way that the introductions concluded, and Ryouma and the others got to know each other. There, Ryouma finally ordered. And Michelle asked him a question.
“Do you frequent this store?” [Michelle]
“Yes, actually. I usually have my meals at this restaurant whenever I drop by this town. At first, I was planning on having the leftovers of the cart for supper, but since nothing would be left for met to eat, I decided to eat out instead.” [Ryouma]
“Well, that meat bun really was delicious after all. Still… you seem to be famous here for some reason, and not just because you’re a regular or anything. Is there something going on?” [Michelle]
This is actually something that the others have also been itching to ask.
At first, they thought it would be rude to just enter the store without ordering anything, so they figured they should order something light while waiting. But when they entered the store, and mentioned they were waiting for Ryouma, the female clerk they were talking to realized that they had already eaten some meat buns from the cart, and she told them that they didn’t have to forcefully order something if they’re only waiting for Ryouma.
It shouldn’t be strange to see customers who take up seats without ordering to be a nuisance, but despite that, no one saw them as a bother.
“It’s probably because I order a lot and come here frequently. Moreover, I also helped out a lot of times with the expansion of the town. I used my earth magic to create the area they are building the new lodging on now, you see? Also, each time I would come here, I would order food enough for 10 persons’ portion.” [Ryouma]
Hearing that, not only Michelle, but even Sebasu and the others were shocked.
“10 peoples’ portions every time?” [Michelle]
“Ryouma-san, did you always eat that much?” [Elia]
Having been asked like that, Ryouma explained himself.
“No. I eat the same as a normal person. A single person’s serving or maybe two at most. The one eating the remaining food is… I think the three of you who dropped by the cart might have noticed it, but there is another person working at the cart alongside me. The one who eats a lot is that.” [Ryouma]
“…There was another person?” [Elia]
“There was. But he was working by the cookware at the back, so he didn’t stand out.” [Riera]
“I saw him too. That guy had the same face as Ryouma. Is he your twin?” [Kanan]
Ryouma chuckled when he heard Kanan’s words.
“We’re not twins. Actually, he’s not even human.” [Ryouma]
Everyone else except for Sebasu was shocked. Sebasu had met Ryouma many times in these past two years, so he already had a good grasp of the situation.
“He’s actually a slime.” [Ryouma]
“A slime?” [Kanan]
“It’s a mimic slime, a slime with the ability to mimic. I have it mimic my appearance to help out with the cart whenever I put it up. And instead of a salary, I feed it a lot. It may look like a human, but it’s really a slime deep inside, so its digestion is really fast.” [Ryouma]
“So that’s why you’re ordering 10 people’s portion every time…” [Michelle]
“They even gave us some ‘service’ thanks to that.” [Miyabi]
“It’s because I’m an important customer. Besides the people of this shop are all good people and really adaptable.”
As Ryouma said that, the food finally came. The waiters lined them up before Ryouma, and Ryouma paid them in chips. Then he began to eat. As he was eating, he asked something that bothered him while they were introducing themselves.
“By the way, why is Sebasu-san the only escort? Is that really ok?” [Ryouma]
The one who answered that question first was Michelle. She threw her chest out as she said.
“It’s true that there are nobles who like to bring escorts and helpers in groups whenever they travel, but I hate that sort of stuff. Besides, my mom is a researcher of medicine, and my dad’s a researcher in the field of magic formations, so there’re plenty of times when they go out to gather ingredients and test out their magic. Because of that, I was also advised to put importance on field work. Accordingly, I normally go out by myself. Besides, Sebasu-san is here too, so there shouldn’t be any problems.” [Michelle]
The next one who answered was Riera.
“I might be a noble, but I was still born to a knight family. If it’s just one or two, I’m fairly sure I can protect myself. Besides, if anyone from my family were to ask for escorts when going out, my family would scold them saying, “If you’re aiming for a knight, then you shouldn’t be on the side of the one’s being protected, but on the side of the one’s protecting! Don’t be naïve!”” [Riera]
Riera smiled as she said that. Following after her, Kanan spoke next.
“Me and Miyabi aren’t nobles to begin with, so we never had any escorts from the start. Even without escorts, a girl can still travel safely as long as she pays to ride a stagecoach. Unless you’re carrying a lot of money, or carrying something valuable, or being target by someone, a commoner wouldn’t really bother hiring an escort.” [Kanan]
Hearing their replies, Ryouma was able to understand. After that, they spoke about a lot of things such as when Elia and Ryouma first met or when Elia and the other girls first met. Ryouma was eating while they were talking, so he was mostly just listening.
Around the time when Ryouma finally finished eating, they were a lot more familiar with each other, and could speak their thoughts unreservedly. It was then that they decided to travel together to Gimuru tomorrow.
“We’ll see you tomorrow. Let’s meet by the east gate.” [Elia]
Ryouma and the others left the store. Then the girls’ group randomly picked a place, opened the Dimension Home, entered it, and then passed the night.
Within Sebasu’s Dimension Home that was wonderfully partitioned with a partition screen, inside a room where five beds were lined up, were five girls talking amongst themselves.
“Who would’ve thought we’d actually meet with the rumored Ryouma-kun in this town? Although we did plan to say hi once we got to Gimuru, it seems our plans were pushed forward a bit…Well, what do you all think?” [Michelle]
As Michelle said that, Riera and Kanan began to think. Elia and Miyabi waited for them to talk.
They have heard all sorts of things about Ryouma from Elia and Miyabi, who would sometimes talk about him. But the things they heard were things were all unbelievable things such as a boy who was a year younger than them but could cast intermediate dimension magic or someone who could kill D Rank magical beasts barehanded. This caused Michelle, Riera , and Kanan unable to decide whether what they were hearing was true or not.
It’s not that they suspected Elia and Miyabi to be lying. It’s just that the stories they heard were really hard to believe. Because of that they made it one of their goals in this trip to meet Ryouma in person.
Kanan was the first to speak.
“How to put it… He feels like a normal older brother. The type that could be seen anywhere… I can’t see him being as strong as the stories say.” [Kanan]
“But his body seems to be well-built. He mentioned being a C Rank adventurer, so he should have at least that much strength. In any case, I like how he didn’t look at us with perverted eyes.” [Riera]
“His eyes aside, I’m more interested in his research rather than whether he’s strong or not, but I couldn’t ask him about it at all today… That slime of his sure surprised me though. It’s my first time knowing about a slime that could become anything it eats. If it eats a goblin, it will become a goblin. If it eats a dragon, then it can turn into a dragon.” [Michelle]
“He called it a mimic slime, right?” [Elia]
The conversation would sometimes stray, but their impression of Ryouma wasn’t bad.
The three who hadn’t met Ryouma until now, especially for Riera who had only heard of rumors of a queer and unknown young man, were wary of him. But after their first meeting, they were at least able to understand that he didn’t seem to be a dangerous person, allowing them to relax their guard.
Even though it should have been a given that Ryouma wouldn’t be a dangerous person as he only came to know Elia thanks to her ducal family acknowledging him, it could be said that Riera having her guard up is due to how serious she was and how strong her feelings were for her friends.
In Michelle’s case, she didn’t’ think of Ryouma as anyone dangerous at all. The only thoughts she had regarding Ryouma was her interest in him as a researcher. From what she’s heard, Ryouma’s an intellectual. Moreover, the chances of him being an alchemist is high. Because of that she can’t help but be restless, eagerly hoping to have a chance to talk with him about magic formation research.
She may not have any proof that he’s an alchemist, but from what she knows, Ryouma is the most mysterious person around Elia. As Elia’s friend… As a researcher… There were many reasons why she wanted to meet him. And now that she’s able to meet him, she can’t help but rack her head, trying to think of a way to bring alchemy up in a conversation.
As for Kanan, she didn’t hold any special thoughts regarding Ryouma, and was mostly interested in him for being a friend’s friend. Because of that, she never had any preconceptions or bias when they met.
Like this, the girls continued to talk about their impressions until the night grew late. When they reached a point where they could stop, they went to sleep, and retired for the day.