The next day.
When I woke up, the room felt different. As for what, I wasn’t really sure.
There was a magic stone for light by the bedside, though its brightness was lowered so it was dim, but other than that there wasn’t much in the room. Huh? And then it clicked. The furniture was gone.
Oh, right. I packed my stuff yesterday, didn’t I? Wait, no… Something’s off.
Turning up the brightness of the magic stone with mana, I looked around me and saw that there was virtually nothing in the room. I did place some of my stuff in my Item Box, but I’m sure I didn’t touch the tables, chairs, or shelves.
I didn’t break them either, so where are they?
I don’t see them anywhere.
Actually, now that my head’s a bit clearer, even my bed is gone.
What’s going on? Surely, I wasn’t robbed, right? I mean if some burglar had broken in I would surely have noticed it, and the slimes would have made a ruckus too. The duke stayed over, but there’s no way they’d steal my stuff.
Those things wouldn’t sell for much, having been made with earth magic and all. And besides, what kind of burglar would even think there’s something to be stolen from caves?
The spoils I got from the bandits could be worth a pretty penny, but I’ve already stored them in my Item Box. That leaves only the slimes… Hmm? The slimes? Oh no!
Normally, there’d be at least a cleaner slime in the room, but even that wasn’t around. As I tried to get myself out of bed, all of the sudden, it felt like I was floating, and then in the next moment, pain greeted me.
When I got up, the room became dim again. I turned up the lights, and the room was back to normal. The chairs, the desks, and the rest of the furniture were back in place. Apparently I’d fallen off my bed.
“I was dreaming?”
After calming down, I looked up the bed. Lo and behold, the slime was there, bending down a little as it stared at me. I could confirm that the other slimes were in the cave too.
Good grief, please don’t scare me like that, or so I wanted to say, but I guess it’s not really applicable in a situation like this.
How long did I sleep for?
If I recall correctly, it should still be on the desk…
“…Ah, found it.”
When I looked up at the desk, a magic tool that functioned as a clock was there. The timepiece of the clock was a round, thin, gold plate with two long pins. That timepiece stood on a round pedestal that was supported by a y-shaped metal stand.
All the parts of the clock from the timepiece to the stand were of high quality, but the mechanisms that normally made a clock was nowhere to be found, making the whole thing look like a mirror. But that wasn’t exactly wrong since it was polished well enough that it could be used as one.
The clock had the numbers 1 to 12 just like in Earth. A full revolution was 12 hours, and two revolution was 24 hours or 1 day. In other words, it read just like a clock from Earth, so it was easy for me to use.
Looking closely though, there’s a slight difference in the seconds of this world and Earth’s. But I’ve been living on this world for three years already and I’ve yet to notice any difference in the length of days, so maybe it’s just my internal clock being messed up.
Anyway, from looking at that clock, I could tell that it was currently half past five. The clock doesn’t have an am or a pm, but obviously it’s am. If it were pm that would make me one hell of a sleeper.
I could sleep again, but I don’t really feel like it.
As I was thinking that, I heard the sound of footsteps approaching.
“Good morning, Ryouma-sama.” [Sebasu]
When I turned to the direction the sound was coming from, I saw the ducal family’s butler walking.
“What’s the matter?” [Ryouma]
“I thought I heard an odd sound a while ago, and then I saw the hallway lit, so…” [Sebasu]
“Oh, did I… wake you up?” [Ryouma]
“Not at all. We servants are normally up around this time. Arone and Lilian are already up too, but the others are still asleep.” [Sebasu]
“I see…” [Ryouma]
Well, in any case, the sun’s up, so I might as well go draw some water. It’d be waste if I were to just loiter around here, and I’m sure I’ll just get in people’s way.
When I told Sebasu my plans, he looked puzzled. “Can’t we just get water with magic?” he asked.
I did a little walking and some light training before leaving, then I told Sebasu and the others to use the facilities as they pleased and left.
When I left the house, the peaceful atmosphere of the morn and the forest caressed my skin. I immersed myself in it as I took a deep breath. The sun had already started to rise in the distant sky, so there was enough light to easily walk the road.
As I stepped on the grass wet from morning dew, I leisurely walked through the familiar road. I’ve walked this road to the river countless times.
As I was starting to get sentimental, I suddenly realized that the dream this morning was about the house when I first came to this world.
It’s been awhile, so it wasn’t a perfect representation, but in the past, it wasn’t just the furniture missing, I also didn’t have that map on the wall or that path that led deeper in.
When I was just starting out, all I did was dig and procure food and water.
The dream this morning was about a time not long after I’d dug enough space to live a little.
Oh, this is it.
In front of me was the river I always drew water from. The deepest part only reached up my knees, so it wasn’t very deep, but it was fairly wide, so it was convenient to draw water from.
” ‘Rock’ ” [Ryouma]
I made a water jug with earth magic.
After getting used to magic I’ve started to rely on it more and more, but in the past, I definitely drew water here every morning.
I also bathed, did my laundry, and trained by this river back then. Most of my time was spent here.
One day, when my house was finally a little bigger, I went here to draw water, but then I happened upon a slime that had been washed away.
It wasn’t the first time that I saw a slime being carried downstream, but that time it was at an arm’s length, so on a whim, I picked it up and brought it back home. That was when I first learned how to tame monsters.
The basics of monster taming, also known as the contract, required one to weave a thread from mana and use that to connect one’s self with a monster. Once the contract was in place, the practitioner could command the monster or understand its intention to some extent. It is also possible for the practitioner to know its position.
When I completed my first contract, the vague emotion I felt from the slime was fear. When I saw it shaking, I decided to call it ‘Tabuchi-kun’ because it reminded me of my first meeting with a former subordinate.
At first, Tabuchi-kun was weak due to having been washed away, so it moved fairly slow. Even when I reached out for it, all it did was shake a little, but it didn’t try to run away.
When I gave it green caterpillar to eat, they managed to run away twice out of the five times I tried to feed it. It couldn’t catch up to them. It tried to drink water from the river, but the downstream took Tabuchi-kun away again. I was wondering why the slimes were being washed away. Apparently, that was why.
I continued feeding and training them, and after getting one to evolve, I began my research… And that’s basically how I got to where I am today.
How nostalgic… It’s a pity Tabuchi-kun is no longer with us, but… I still have his nucleus.
…I wonder how my subordinate, Tabuchi-kun, is doing.
He was a chubby otakuish man who joined our company right after graduation. I had a lot of years under my belt, so I was tasked to show him the ropes. He quivered when he saw my body in my past life. I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but he got along pretty bad with others too.
He was never late though, and he always explained how to do something when asked. He would also always feel sorry whenever he did something wrong regardless of if the person-in-question knew or not. We both shared otaku hobbies, so although our direction and generation was different, we still talked some. He had some difficulties with communication, but he got a little better before I died.
I saw him working before I died. Skill-wise there’s no problem, but it would really be best if he just resigned and found a better company.
Thinking back, I had my fair share of troubles with him, but he was definitely one of the better subordinates I had. If not for that, I wouldn’t have named a slime after him.
Ahh, what am I doing? It’s no fun recalling a no-good boss and a no-good subordinate.
The slimes have gotten too many, so I don’t name them anymore, but I can still distinguish them and call them individually thanks to the contract. It’s really convenient.
“Oops, what time is it?”
Lost myself in nostalgia there. Seeing the sun reflecting over the water and how bright the surrounding area is, I don’t think I have any time left for training. I should go back or I’ll miss our schedule.
I filled the water jug I made with water and carried it on my shoulders back home. When I got back, Jill-san and Zeff-san were standing in front of the house. They were shocked to see me carrying a jug bigger than myself, but we exchanged greetings, and then I went into the house.
The clock was already pointing to 7 by the time I came back.
Time sure flies.
“Ryouma-kun, you’re back. Good morning.” [Reinhart]
I saw Reinhart approaching.
“Good morning.” [Ryouma]
“Are you ready to go?” [Reinhart]
“No, problem.” [Ryouma]
“Good to hear.” [Reinhart]
After that I was invited to eat breakfast, and then I passed the rest of the time feeding the slimes.
When the time to leave came, I ate with the ducal family, and then I took the slimes with me and left the house.
I should block the entrance with earth magic… There.
Alright, now it’s time to start our journey!”
Shaking away all the nostalgia from these past three years, I turned around.
There, the 11 people I would be traveling with were standing.
“Are you ready?” [Reinbach]
“Yes, let’s go.” [Ryouma]
“Let’s go then.” [Reinhart]
“Alright, let’s go! Ojousama, Ryouma, if anything happens be sure to say it!” [Hyuzu]
Hyuzu was the first to walk, and then we followed from behind.
Like this I took my first step toward a new beginning.