A Loner, Attending a Welcome Party・First Half
After taking a short rest in his room, Shun came to the garden where the welcome party was being held, and admired the scene of the garden spreading across his eyes.
On six long tables spanning fifty meters that were placed down one by one with a white cloth hung over them, there was some very elegant cuisine neatly lined up.
He knew well that after all, they were appearing all together at the royal palace and so there was a need to be extravagant.
According that what I heard, families of nobles and officers from all over the country are coming this evening…The number of overly long tables amounts to six, but they said that they’ll pull out more if that isn’t enough. The king’s economic wealth is something to be amazed at…
However, Shun, who heard that the taxes here are actually smaller than in other countries, pitied the citizens while saying “How difficult it must be…”
It may be someone else’s business, but he and the others were originally not part of this world, so the people here were doing it for the sake of what amounts to complete strangers, so by no means was this something he was uninvolved in.
“Even with how wide it is…it’s really beautiful considering that it’s an artificially made garden. However, I wonder if people have to spend money for viewing this place and for venues…─No, if I ask about it past this point I might push someone’s buttons so I’ll stop here…
In the vicinity of this garden acting as a meeting place, and in front of Shun’s eyes, torches were neatly lined up, making a wondrous spectacle without compromising the look of the garden.
Shun was captivated by such a garden, but then remembered the taxes of the people, and was concerned about the costs and maintenance fees.
Thinking about it……ten million might be too much…so perhaps the maintenance cost is three million?
After thinking so, Shun saluted the citizens in his heart while thinking ”How severe this must be.”
“That reminds me…is everyone coming?”
Shun watched as crowds of nobles gradually gathered at the venue.
Well, the king said it’s fine if it was impossible for them to come. I think everyone’s gotten tired because of all the things that happened so suddenly…I’m tired as well, but I’m still here! It’s important to get accustomed to the types of cuisine here and to be able to communicate with the people in this other world! I didn’t come here just because I was lonely. Definitely not…yup. Definitely not, okay? I’m serious. Hmm? There’s no way I was……so don’t ask about it anymore!
Shun set up that kind of goal for himself.
While thinking of such things, there was someone he recognized that suddenly entered his field of vision.
…Hmm? That’s……Teacher Alicia!
Shun was able to soon recognize Alicia by identifying her distinctive scarlet hair that fluttered towards his direction within the crowd.
Amidst the crowd, Shun pushed his way through the hoards of people in order to go and meet Alicia. The crowd was bumping into each other, and though Alicia seemed to be fine, it would be possible to pretty much pickpocket someone here…That was what his line of thinking.
Naturally, Shun was also being careful about it, but there wasn’t much to worry about since he’d only been in this world for a short three hours and was flat broke.
“Teacher! Over here!”
“Oh, Shun? Where?!”
Fortunately, Shun was 178 centimeters tall, so he didn’t lose sight of Alicia, but it was hard for Alicia to find Shun amidst the backs of everyone who were about 165 centimeters tall (according to Shun’s estimation).
While raising her voice, Alicia was shuffling from spot to spot, trying to look for Shun.
Oh…Teacher’s kinda cute….
Shun watched with a grin and lowered his face to hide among the the backs of other people as Alicia frantically searched for him.
“Where did you go….?”
Shun secretly went around within the crowd to the direction opposite of where Alicia was calling out towards.
“Shunー! Where are youー?!”
Teacher…your back is defenseless, you know? It seems like I’m gonna catch Teacher from behind on my first day of apprenticeship, huh~? ────Alright…I’m going around to her back.
While thinking so, Shun went up with a grin until he was two meters behind Alicia, and at that moment,
────Skill [Concealment] acquired
Huh…?! A sudden voice…! And it also seemed like it resounded inside my head rather than my ear?!
Shun heard an unfamiliar voice instead his head.
Who, who’s there…?
Shun instinctively tapped his head.
W, what was that?! How scary…!!
At that moment, Shun was frightened enough to get goosebumps over the matter of whether or not someone was in there.
Enough of this. Right now I have a mission to sneak up on Teacher from behind! I will not be afraid! Time to move…!
He forcibly changed his train of thought at once and rushed out towards Alicia’s still defenseless back.
Here we go….!
When Shun was about one meter away────
Alicia had suddenly muttered so.
At that moment, Shun let out a bewildered voice.
When his hand was near Alicia’s back, she immediately turned around on the spot, jumped out with vigor to avoid Shun, grasped the back of his neck, and then spoke──
She said so with an indifferent voice.
Shun couldn’t understand for a moment, but then gradually began to realize what had happened.
“H, hi! Teacher! Um…when I thought about greeting you, I couldn’t resist this chance! You just happened to show your back! I thought I would go up and tap you on the shoulder, you see~…”
As Shun said that, Alicia still held onto the back of his neck and stared fixedly at him.
“N, Need anything…?”
At those words, Alicia locked eye contact with Shun.
Alicia stared fixedly at Shun’s face without changing her expression and though Shun felt like he wanted to avert his eyes a bit at some points, he stared at Alicia’s well-proportioned face.
However, Alicia’s face, which Shun was staring at, gradually started turning red and soon the situation felt completely different. It was a bit strange, as Shun wasn’t staring as fixedly as Alicia was, causing him to tilt his head with an expression of confusion.
“Um…something the matter…?”
Well, I’d like to ask why her cheeks are turning red after looking at my face, but…
“N, no…! It’s nothing, it’s nothing…Yeah!”
Alicia’s face blushed even further and her hands were also shaking.
No, there’s definitely something going on! What is it? Is it my child-like face compared to my tall height?! Now I’m getting conscious about it! It’s me, isn’t it? If a tall guy has a pretty youthful face, I know that’ll make people go “huh…?” It’s this shameful thing that’s making Teacher go red, isn’t it?! Actually…on the other hand…Teacher’s red face is making her look very cute right now, so I’ll tolerate it!
“Is that so…?”
“L, l, l, let’s leave that aside…! I was looking for you.”
“Me? Is there some kind of errand for me?”
Once Alicia took a breath and calmed down, she explained the details,
“No…well, it’s not an errand, but all of the others except for you have gathered in that direction, so I was searching for you who was alone.”
Alicia had replied a bit bluntly.
“Oh…is that so? Well, it wouldn’t be right to refuse after you took the trouble to look for me, so please lead the way. Teacher.”
“Ha hah…over this way.”
Although Shun cast his eyes downwards, and although he had a bitter smile, he complied with Alicia as she guided him and he thought of it as pleasant.
“What are you smiling about…?”
“No, no~it’s nothing~”
“There definitely is something!”
Shun and Alicia had such a conversation while walking side by side.
While Shun was heading over there, the class was sitting at the very end of a table and feasting on a luxurious evening meal.
“This meat…is juicier than beef!”
“How appetizing~♪ I might accidentally overeat~”
“This salad is really easy to eat.”
“I’m in the mood for a drink.”
While voices of admiration were raised towards the food in front of the classmates, Karin was eating by herself.
…Kondou, where could you be?
“Karin, can I eat with you?”
“…? Oh, Yuuna. Here.”
Karin pulled up a neighboring empty seat.
It was Karin’s close friend, Asakura Yuuna, that went to go sit in the empty seat.
“Wow…this looks delicious, doesn’t it?!”
While Yuuna cheerfully asked, Karin wasn’t too invested and gave a bit of a gloomy reply.
“Huh? Karin…what’s wrong?”
“N, no. Nothing’s wrong, okay? I just don’t have much of an appetite…”
“Hmm…are you alright?”
“Y, yeah! I’m alright!”
“If you say so…”
After Yuuna made an expression as if in understanding, she gave a bit of a bold laugh.
“Come to think of it, did you not find Kondou?”
“…?! I, I didn’t! I wonder if he wandered off somewhere…”
“…Are you worried?”
“…Heh, if I told that I was worried, would you become worried? I wonder why everyone is here, and yet Kondou is absent…”
While going “Oh?” towards Karin’s words, Yuuna interjected as if in suspicion of something,
“So, what are you going to do? Karin.”
“What are you going to about Kondou…you like him, don’t you?”
Karin’s spontaneous voice reached everyone’s ears.
“…?” “…?” “…?”
Everyone looked at Karin with a puzzled expression.
“Ah…s, sorry everyone! It was just about our conversation! Don’t mind us!”
With Karin’s words, everyone turned their faces back once again to their friends or to the food.
Karin, who had turned towards everybody else, now turned back to Yuuna, made a fist with both of her hands, and struck her on the shoulder.
“Ahaha~my bad, my bad! It was just too obvious, which made me want to tease you!”
Yuuna awkwardly laughed towards Karin.
“What are you acting so embarrassed for?! Or rather, since when did you know?!”
“Let’s see~since we were second year junior high school students~?”
Karin was shocked and went “That can’t be true!”
That’s when I started having an interest towards Kondou! How did Yuuna…
“I mean, was it not because you were always sneaking glances at Kondou? Once we entered high school it got the point where you just kept your gaze at him…but I like that that unabashed part of yours, you know?”
While saying that, Yuuna gave a thumbs up with a timid expression.
“Be, be quieeeeet! I wish you held yourself back more! Auugh~…”
Karin’s face was already red like a ripe apple.
Yuuna tried to comfort Karin by saying “There, there,” but instead, it made her get angry and say “And just who’s to blame for this?!”
“So…what do you want to do, Karin?”
“You want to go out with Kondou, don’t you?”
Karin muttered while still red,
“…I want to confess to him.”
“How will you do that?”
“I’ll properly…tell him my…feelings of affection…”
“Can you do it?”
Yuuna gently smiled while tossing up her light brown hair.
“────I’ll try…to do it.”
“It’s doesn’t particularly have to be right now, you can slowly work your way up with Kondou, you know? I can give you advice at any time.”
They both laughed and began to catch up on affairs with each other.
Karin felt that it was the least she could do for Yuuna.
“────Oh, it’s Shun, isn’t it! Where have you been all this time?!”
“Karin, it seems that you’re here.”
Yuuma’s voice had sounded.
“Well…I was just strolling around. The scenery over there is quite beautiful, would you like to go there after this?”
“Oh, then let’s go there later. Anyways, you should eat. Your stomach must be hungry, is it not?”
“Yeah, it’s very empty.”
“Well then…how about over there? The seat in front of Minesaki is vacant.”
As Karin had heard the contents of their conversation perfectly well, she straightened her back a bit and waited for Shun.
“You’re late, Kondou!”
“Good evening, Minesaki. I was wandering about for a bit…How’s the food, is it good?”
“It’s delicious. You should hurry and eat.”
“Alright────Wow, this is good!”
────The welcome party continued on.