I Work As A Healer In Another World’s Labyrinth City - Chapter 45
Ruruka and the Wall.
Walking down the road that the dragon's owner told us about, we came out on the main street before long. After that Ruruka guided me to the magic tool shop, and we reached it a few minutes ago. Presently, I'm in the middle of scouring the shop for a particular magic tool.
Looks like it wasn't a lie that Ruruka also wanted to come see this store;she seems to be having fun looking at all the magic tools. After a while she approaches me holding one of them. Did she find what she was after?
「Shiki, look, this magic tool is amazing! Just by putting MP into it, a magic toilet comes out!」
What the heck is a magic toilet? Doubts spring to my mind in an instant, but when Ruruka infuses it with MP, a simple portable toilet hut like the kind you'd find at a construction site appears.
「The price is... uwaah, 500,000 Zeni? That's pretty high, but Shiki could afford it! It'd be convenient when you're exploring the labyrinth, right? Won't you buy it?」
How can a single toilet go for 500,000 Zeni? No matter how you look at it, it's a normal toilet.
I open the door to take a look and there's a lone Japanese-style toilet enshrined inside the half-tatamispace. What about this is a magical toilet exactly? What's next, a washlet?
「Ah, maybe the inside of the toilet room is a safe zone with a barrier or something?」
In that case I wouldn't have an issue with the high price anymore;that seems like it'd have a certain amount of utility. But wait, no matter how safe it is, how would I like being cooped up in a portable toilet all alone with Yuel every time we take a break while exploring the labyrinth? Something tells me I want to avoid that.
「Nah, nothing like that. Ah, Shiki, be very careful where you step, ok? 'Cause if you fall in you'll disappear.」
I just heard some precarious words.
「This toilet, whatever drops into it vanishes somewhere else by the power of magic. That's the only effect, but you can't exactly flush with water in the labyrinth so it's amazingly useful!」
「Put it back.」
That does sound useful. It certainly does sound useful, yet the thought of spending 500,000 Zeni just for that is unbelievable. However, as if she didn't really intend to get me to buy it, Ruruka reluctantly puts the magic tool back where she found it.
Well, now's not the time for me to be concerned about items like that. The only thing I'm seeking is a magic tool that increases MP. By the way, there's a part of me that also wants to look for one with some sort of X-ray or clairvoyance power. I'm not telling anyone what I'd use it for.
And, as I'm daydreaming while looking at magic tools... I finally find it.
「Even though it would absolutely be better for you to have... huh, whatcha looking at, Shiki?」
As for what I'm looking at, it's the max-MP-raising magic tool I've been searching for. More precisely, I'm looking at the the number of zeroes written on the price tag that's attached to the ring-shaped magic tool. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 zeroes. I must have made a mistake while counting.
The amount written on the price tag is... 10,000,000 Zeni. In Japanese currency, that's a hundred million yen.
And I have around 2,500,000 Zeni in my wallet. Even though I received such a huge reward at the lord's manor, it doesn't even cover half the price of this magic tool.
...Isn't this thing a bit overpriced? As far as how expensive that is, I could easily buy several houses with that amount of money. I try looking for a slightly cheaper magic tool with a similar effect, but it seems this 10 million Zeni one that raises max MP is the least expensive.
Yeah, this is too expensive.
「Uwaah, Shiki, you wanted this ring? 10 million Zeni, huh... that's unreasonable, shouldn't you give up on it?」
Yeah, guess I'd better give up on it. No, but if I give up here then I won't be able to resolve Eris' troubles. Besides, outside of buying this magic tool, no other methods come to mind for how to increase the effectiveness of Eris' healing magic without causing any future issues.
I might be screwed.
But man, why is it this expensive? Even though all it does is raise max MP, no matter how you put it, 10 million Zeni is...
...No, maybe it's a simple matter?
For a healer who can only use Heal, this magic tool could enable them to use High Heal. Thinking about it that way, I understand why the price was set like this.
Compared to the market price of around 400 Zeni for treatment with Heal, 50,000 Zeni is suitable for just a single use of High Heal to regenerate tissue. Just being able to use High Heal would be a huge boost to your daily income. And that will continue for the rest of your life. If a healer such as Eris were to obtain this magic tool, her total lifetime income would skyrocket.
It's a straightforward concept. Wanting to improve the efficacy of your healing magic via a magic tool. A great number of people have gone down the same line of thought that I currently am.
「Shiki, you have a lot of MP, so you'll be fine without this kinda thing! M-More importantly, how about something like this one? Look, it's not much, but it's a bracelet that reduces the impact of a lethal blow.」
「Ah, no, it's not for me this time, I'm looking for a magic tool to give to Eris...」
I say it almost by reflex, then I realize. This... isn't something I should be talking about.
Hold on, isn't the bracelet that Ruruka's holding the same magic tool that Yuel and I had earlier? When I take a glance at it, the bracelet slips through Ruruka's fingers. And makes a loud clang.
「...Spending 10 million Zeni on a ring, to give to Eris-san? T-Then that means, you and Eris-san really are...」
Ruruka mutters as her face turns pale. Uh oh.
「...That mistress thing... so all along, all along it really was like that.」
I get the feeling she ended up completely misinterpreting it. After that Ruruka takes a step back, then another. She's chewing her lower lip in vexation, and trembling as she looks in my direction. Her condition is clearly abnormal.
Then, when our eyes meet, Ruruka races out of the store to try and run away.
It's a misunderstanding. I'm telling you, it's a misunderstanding.
It's not an engagement ring or anything. I just wanted to clear up Eris' worries about her healing magic. I was about to say that, yet Ruruka is already outside the store.
For now, I can only chase after Ruruka as she runs away.
It might be fine to wait to solve this misunderstanding the next time we meet, but I don't know where Ruruka usually hangs out. If I wait for her to take action, it's highly probable that we'll never meet again after today.
Besides, I get the feeling that she was clearly trying to hide her true feelings with that reaction. Even I can understand that. I can't afford not to chase after her here.
When I leave the store, I spy Ruruka running from the main street towards a narrow alley. Then, just before turning the corner, Ruruka glances back in my direction. Looks like she's noticed that I'm following her.
But man, chasing after a girl who's running away kinda feels youthful. I mean, on the surface it seems criminal, but this time it's youthful.
Despite those thoughts I continue to chase after Ruruka, and it doesn't take too long for me to catch up with her. I wonder if it's like that? Maybe she actually wanted me to run after her, and secretly ran slowly because she was waiting for me?
...Nah. That can't be it.
「What the heck are you doing?」
After a bend in the alley I hit a dead end, and Ruruka is indeed there. However, all that I can see is her lower half, hanging out of a small window in one of the deserted houses along the back alley.
I can imagine what kind of situation led to this.
Ruruka was running away from me, but after the bend in the alley she ran into a dead end. Even in that situation, she was still trying to get away from me somehow. And her eyes fell upon a small window that was left open in a house that looked like it hadn't been used for a long time. She contrived to shake me off by entering the house via that window and escaping through a different exit.
However... Ruruka's lower half is dangling from the window frame. She's flailing her legs;looks like she's struggling to squeeze through. The result is failure;her hips are stuck in the window frame and she's unable to move.
Since the window frame is slightly high up, every time Ruruka exerts her strength to push through, her dangling legs jiggle comically.
「...What, you stuck?」
「Don't say anything.」
She was probably in too much of a hurry to get away and misjudged the size of the window frame. Then her hips got tightly wedged in the window frame and rendered her unable to move.
「...Well if you can't move then that's just fine with me. You can hear me out just like that. What Aria said was a misunderstanding. In the first place, I'm not getting engaged or anything to anyone right now, that was Aria jumping to conclusions.」
「S-Stop! Don't give me an explanation in this situation! I-I mean, look, if I can't even properly see your face...」
Having said that, all I can see right now is her ass.
Well, perhaps I'm going about things in the wrong order. I should probably extricate Ruruka first.
「Got it, wait a sec.」
For starters, I try grabbing her legs and pulling.
「O-Ow, that hurts, Shiki! Don't pull me! ...Right, push! Just a little further and I feel like I can get inside!」
Just now she told me to push. I wonder if that's okay? To push somebody through when they're stuck by their hips, where exactly should you push? Of course, you need to push their hips in the direction perpendicular to the building. In other words, you push on their ass.
「You don't mind that?」
「Eh What would I mind...? Ah...!」
In a flash, I start pushing with both hands. I don't really want to do this, but Ruruka did tell me to push her. So I have to do it.
「Wai, Shiki... ah... s-sto... d-don't! Never mind, don't push me! Let go for now! 」
But I only push a little before Ruruka protests and shoves me away with her feet. Such a shame.
Although, what I felt from pushing a little was that beneath that softness there was a muscular springiness... err, not that. It was that her waist was completely stuck in the window frame. Neither pushing nor pulling will work. I might be able to pull her out with a few more people putting their backs into it, but even in that case Ruruka would likely give up from the pain before we get her free. I feel like my only option is to do something about the window frame.
「Oh well, guess it's impossible for me. Gimme a sec, I'll call some more people over.」
And maybe I need to bring back some sort of tools too, I'm at the limit of what I can do by myself. With that in mind, as I'm about to step away,
「W-Wait, wait, Shiki! I'm begging you, don't leave me alone in alley like this when I can't move at all! ...W-What if a man happens to pass by when I'm by myself and d-does whatever he wants to me...!」
I hear Ruruka desperately call out to keep me from going. That serious atmosphere from when she ran away from the magic tool shop, I wonder where it went? All I can see now is a talking butt.
「I guess pulling is... no, but... oh yeah, my clothes! Try pulling on my clothes!」
I want to get Ruruka out somehow, but she doesn't like me touching her ass. I guess that means she thinks pulling on her clothes is less objectionable than pushing on her butt.
「If you insist.」
Although, even if she tells me to pull her clothes, which part should I pull on? Nah, there's only one choice. Her upper body is on the other side of the wall, and she's only wearing shorts on her lower body. Those must be what she meant for me to pull on. I lay my hands on the shorts that Ruruka is wearing.
「D-Don't touch me any more than you have to, okay?」
I thought I'd grab her shorts around her hips and pull from there, but I get a warning from Ruruka right before I do.
Since there's no other option, I grab the pockets of her shorts and pull forcibly.
...Ah, this is no good.
Ruruka's shorts are going to come off before I can pull her out of the window frame. Or rather they've already slipped off halfway, most unbecomingly. I'd keep pulling like this, but I can't just strip Ruruka down to her panties.
「W-Wait, Shiki! They're coming off, they're coming off!」
Ruruka must've felt her clothes coming off too;she's flailing her legs violently. I can't bear being kicked again. I'll back off temporarily.
「You're the one who told me to pull on your clothes...」
Man, it sure is going to be difficult to pull Ruruka out at this rate. Ah, that's right. If she hates being touched directly, I bet I could wrap a bunch of towels or something around her waist and pull her out that way. I've got enough towels in my item box.
And, while I'm considering that-
Ruruka keeps swinging her legs at the wrong place, trying to kick me. From the momentum she's putting into it, her shorts slip the rest of the way off and fall straight down.
Then, with a flop, the shorts hit the ground.
The frantic movement of Ruruka's legs comes to a sudden halt.
Then there's a moment of silence.
Since I can't see her face and she's not making any noise, I don't know what kind of expression Ruruka is making right now. I wonder if she's angry? In a situation like this, should I avert my eyes, or gently put her shorts back on? I wonder which one would be better?
...Meanwhile, Ruruka's legs begin to tremble,
「U-Ueeeh... h-how could, how could this...」
and she starts to cry.
「W-wait, don't cry! Just be patient for a bit! I'll get you out right away!」
Crying is unfair. She looks really pathetic now. It feels like a waste, but I quickly take a towel from my item box and wrap it around Ruruka's waist. After that, I try pulling with all my strength.
「O-Ouch! Shiki, that hurts, it hurts!」
Yet she's still completely stuck and there's no sign of her coming free. But if I don't get Ruruka out as fast as possible, our relationship is no doubt going to get more awkward than ever.
Isn't there something, anything I can do to resolve this situation...?
There is. That something is right here in my item box.
I temporarily remove my hands from Ruruka and take that out. Then I use the warm water magic tool to melt that to just the right consistency. What I've just created is: slime lotion. By 'that', I was of course referring to Slime Jelly.
With the lotion completed, I dribble it onto the entire window frame around Ruruka's hips.
「Eh, Shiki, w-what are you doing!? Why does it feel so slimy! What are you planning to do to me while I can't move!? Shiki!? Please answer me, Shiki!」
Ruruka is yelling at the sudden sensation, but she'll understand once I show her how effective this is. I believe in the Slime Jelly.
Once Ruruka's hips get real intimate with the Slime Jelly, I pull on her with all my might. At which point-
-With an audible pop, Ruruka easily slides out of the window frame.
「All right! You're out!」
On the verge of tears, Ruruka sits down on the ground with a dazed expression as if simply because she can't understand what just happened. After a bit of time passes, she checks her own appearance.
「I'm glad I could get you out. Seriously, you should be grateful for my quick thinking.」
Ruruka looks at her clothes that have become sticky with slime lotion, and her shorts crumpled on the ground.
「Yeah, thanks... but, I could use an explanation...」
After Ruruka says that, her face makes a terribly complicated expression like she doesn't know whether to be pleased or angry.
...Even though this time I only did what Ruruka told me to do, I wonder if the fact that she didn't timidly thank me is due to my usual behavior or the Slime Jelly?
After that, Ruruka stands up. Looks like she put her shorts back on underneath the towel while I wasn't looking.
「Uwaah, I'm all sticky...」
「It couldn't be helped, there was no other way.」
「I know that, I know that, but... wait a minute, what was that slimy stuff? Why did you have it with you?」
Ruruka questions me.
「Yeah, l-look, I'm not very strong so I can't fight that well, right? When I'm running from monsters I scatter that on the ground to buy some time.」
That's not the only reason, but I'm not telling a lie.
「Huh, seems useful. I often have to run when I get surrounded, so tell me where I can buy it.」
「L-Let's talk about that next time. M-More importantly, let's go back to that store from before, there might be a good magic tool.」
While we discuss, we retrace our steps together. I wasn't sure how things would end up when Ruruka ran away from that magic item shop, but I cleared up her misunderstanding somehow. Incidentally, there's a part of me that wants to probe deeper into the reason she ran, but Ruruka seems a bit unstable today. And her misapprehension is resolved, so let's ask her about it again some other day. While I'm thinking it over as we walk,
「That talk about Eris-san earlier... that you're not getting married, is it true?」
Suddenly, in a weak voice that I almost fail to hear, Ruruka asks me something like that.
「It's true. But why...」
As we're walking, Ruruka tugs on my sleeve as if she wants to say something. When I turn my head to take a look, Ruruka is hanging her head down low.
「I... can't go back out onto the main street until I change my clothes.」
What she's saying is quite natural. Certainly, there's no way a girl can go out onto the main street all sticky with Slime Jelly. But this is a problematic proposal. What might the problem be? It's the building we're standing in front of.
The location where Ruruka stopped me by pulling on my clothes.
...Right in front of my eyes, there's an inn that provides baths.
That is to say, inns with baths are often used for that sort of thing. If you enter as a couple, there's only one thing one thing you're going to do there.
「T-that's right, huh. You're all sticky, huh. You want to change clothes, huh.」
「...Yeah, and I can't go out onto the main street like this.」
I wonder what her goal is? No, there's no need to think about it, it's gotta be that.
But is it okay? I feel like we're moving a little too fast. Besides, I still don't know why Ruruka is treating me favorably, and I haven't asked her the essential details.
I wonder if I'm making a mistake? Should I let it happen? Yuel won't find out, will she?
While I'm still ascertaining the present situation, I notice Ruruka's ears turning slightly red. I can't see her expression with her head bowed, but I feel like her body is trembling a little.
...This isn't the time for me to waver. She's surely inviting me. It's decision time. And that very instant-
「Ah, we're already full. Sorry, please find another inn... well, I'm not sure if any other inns are available what with the festival going on, though.」
-The clerk happens to come out of the inn, and mentions that to us.
Oh yeah, that's right. I completely forgot. As a consequence of the festival, the inns are mostly full now.
When I look over at Ruruka, she's also looking directly back at me. Her eyes are wide open, and her pupils are clearly darting around wildly. Did the situation finally sink in? She blushes deeper and deeper red. Her face was already slightly reddened, but now it's practically the color of an apple.
...This is embarrassing.
「...T-T-T-That's not it... I r-r-really just wanted to change my clothes. T-That's all!!!」
Then Ruruka runs off somewhere again, screaming. Twice as fast as when she ran away from the magic item shop earlier. No doubt about it, she's sprinting at top speed. That's an adventurer for you, I won't be able to catch up to that.
「Ah, my apologies, did I say something bad?」
The clerk says with a grin. You did. You totally did.
I stare dumbfounded at the end of the alley where Ruruka ran off.
What am I gonna do about this?
How the hell should I act with her the next time we meet?