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Science Shall Prevail Over Magic - Chapter 21

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Lithium, 21st Chapter: The Heart of a Woman is Caffeine

Yesterday, I posted two chapters. Readers, please be informed.


Shin's morning was early.

Or rather, he didn't have the habit of sleeping, so it was inevitable.

Outside was an amalgam of the darkness of somber night and the light of dawn. Beyond the window was a blanket of pale ultramarine.

In the first town he had visited, he had lain down so fast as if he had taken some neuroinhibiting medicine. However, as if he had now gotten used to this world, he could not undergo the condition known commonly as 'sound sleep'.

’’That's so early, Niisan. You didn't get any sleep?’’

Appearing out of somewhere, a bear like man who was wearing an apron on the lower half of his body called out to Shin who was sitting on a table downstairs.

’’No, it's not like that...’’

’’There's still some time till breakfast, after which is training... wanna drink some caffeine?’’

’’Caffe- ine?’’

'What the heck does he mean by 'drink some caffeine'? Is it a neurostimulating drink?' Shin had a momentary spur of doubt. Although the language of this world was similar to the language of Earth, the caffeine in this world might not necessarily be the same caffeine as he knew.

It was easy to guess, though, that caffeine was a sort of drink like coffee on earth.

’’N? Niisan doesn't know what caffeine is? You must not be from here then. It's a little bitter, but you get used to it once you drink it. It's made by roasting and boiling the fruit of the caffeine tree that grows only in Vander Kingdom. Its color is slightly black. Caffeine is a local specialty of Vander Kingdom because, in actuality, it's used as firelighter.’’

Saying so, the bear like shopkeeper who had entered the kitchen brought a white ceramic, with white steam wafting off it, and put it on Shin's table.

When the fragrant aroma reached his brain through his nasal cavity, his dazedly eyes opened wide.

The image tea black liquid in white ceramic was clearly that of something which existed on earth in the distant past.

However, the fragrant aroma drifting in the air was characteristic of herbs.

’’Who drinks it wakes wide up.’’

On the shopkeeper's recommendation, Shin took a sip. After savoring the foretaste, he let it pour down his throat.

As a bitter taste filled his mouth and the fragrance of a fresh herb filled his nose, it felt as if the haze that had been shrouding his head had cleared up.

Wondering if it were some kind of drug, he felt the urge of taking one more sip.

’’...It's not bad for health, is it?’’

’’Hahaha, it's not. It's not illegal or anything. It's even exported to other countries. 'That' happens, though, if you drink too much, so be careful.’’

'By 'that', is he perhaps referring to its diuretic effect?' Conveniently imagining the coffee of earth, he affirmed. Taking one more sip of caffeine, he turned his sight to the brightened world outside.

After a while, dry bread and salad were dished out. Shin was having breakfast alone as he partook of the soup that looked like white cream stew.

He had been surprised upon finding out that one night's stay with breakfast included cost only 50 copper coins.

After all, he had borrowed 10 silver coins from Frey since he had estimated the cost of one night's stay to be about 1 silver coin. It was still vivid in his memory as to how flustered he had become upon mistaking 50 copper coins for 50 silver coins.

He had hurriedly spread all his silver coins on the counter. Frey had tried to inform him of the prices, but he didn't hear her out to the price of lodging part.

In this world, one silver coin was worth 100 copper coins. He had clearly understood as to how appropriate the inn back in Wide town was.

’’...Wha, Shin sama! G-Good morning... it's s-so early! S-Sorry for this unsightly appearance!!’’

’’...You *gibberish*?’’

When Luna's who was clad in a see through camisole line of sight rested on Shin, she jumped up and frantically grabbed her blue hair. Upon Shin's saying so, she once again rushed back upstairs.

Stuffing the dry bread in his mouth, Shin muttered to himself.

’’N, ooh. As early as ever, Shin. I just saw Luna going back to her room all flustered...... pfft, now I get why.’’

’’...What *gibberish*’’

Frey, who passing by Luna had come down from a room on the second floor, sat on the same table as Shin.

She had put herself in order as if she was about head out to the battle.

’’...You're so insensitive to a woman's feelings. You have put too much in your mouth, Shin. Why are you in such a hurry?’’

Putting her arms on the armrest, she pointed it out to Shin.

Before long, the shopkeeper who had noticed Frey's presence brought the same menu for breakfast as Shin.

’’...How *gibberish*’’

’’Haa... you eat it like this.’’

Frey-having guessed what Shin was trying to say-tore the dry bread to pieces, pickled it into the soup and put it in her mouth.

'I see. It's easy to eat this hard thing when it softens up after getting soaked in liquid,' thought Shin. However, he had already put all of it in his mouth, so he poured rest of the soup in his mouth and chewed it down.

Shin hardly had any memory of ever eating cooked food.

It could be said there was no one more childish than Shin on earth.

It was a world where the concept of food comprised entirely of nutritional solids. Although it was preferred to directly inject the source of nutrition into the blood should the time allowed, to Shin who had entrusted his body to the maelstrom of war stuffing the nutritional solids in his mouth and heading out to the battle was infinitely efficient.

In short, the intake of nutrition that was supposed to be taken in was quick and mobile.

In no way had he gotten over that habit of his.

’’...So, what are your plans for today? I plan on going to the Guild, but’’

Frey asked Shin while sipping on caffeine.

’’Alright, then I'll, too-’’

’’G-Good morning, Shin sama. Ah, Frey san!’’

'-I guess,' as Shin was trying to reply to Frey's question, Luna her body clad in the same native costume as yesterday and her hand holding a staff-came downstairs flurriedly and uttered so.

’’Oh, Luna. Good morning.’’

’’...Why were you so flustered back there?’’

’’Er, um... that’’

With her head downcast and her face all red, she sat down on the table Shin and Frey were sitting on.

’’Shin, that's what you call a woman's heart.’’

Shin wanted to retort those words that suggested that he couldn't understand a woman's heart, but he didn't feel the need to. Bored, he sipped on the caffeine.

******

Stepping inside the bright white Guild, that existed in the downtown of the royal castle town, was Shin's party.

Although the sun was still rising, it was all congested inside the Guild.

Imposing men were lining up at the reception, and hubbub could be heard from the second floor.

’’So many people...’’

’’Ah, it's like this every morning. Although the Guild is always open, the number of reception staff is the highest at this time.’’

He found neil, the woman clad in scarlet uniform-whom Frey had conversed with yesterday-corresponding with a somewhat tired expression.

’’So, what do we do?’’

'Where should I start from?' He asked Frey, his benefactor.

’’Let's see;what do you guys want to do? You can party up with me and earn quick bucks with hazardous work, or you can take it slow with a work appropriate for your class... with that said, a party must have 5 or more members. You need money, too.’’

It was explained in the Guild code as well;if a quest cannot be completed alone, you can also party up.

A party must consist of 5 or more members. At the time of formation, the representative must deposit one gold coin with the Guild.

The reason, albeit not certain, was that a party could be formed without class restriction. Therefore, an inexperienced member could party up with a strong member and earn big rewards. It was quite a convenient system.

Frey could somehow manage a gold coin;the problem was finding two more people.

Shin, who did not want to show the technology of Earth to others, was not exactly interested in the idea of forming a party.

’’Nah, it's fine. I'll take it slow with appropriate work.’’

’’...N, alright. I wanted to see Shin's skills, but;oh well. then ’’

’’ If it isn't Frey!’’

Suddenly, a man his words hoarse as if he was drunk looked down on Frey from the lobby of the second floor and raised his voice.



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