A New Life with Her
Lavia opened her eyes. Lying next to her, watching her, was Hikaru.
「Hikaru…! Wh-Why are you staring at me?」she said as she covered half her face with the sheets, flushing.
「You just looked so adorable sleeping.」
Hikaru was filled with emotions as he was able to say the top five line on the list of “lines a guy wants to say to a girl”. As for what’s top one to four, I’ll leave it to your imagination.
Lavia hid her whole face under the covers with only a lock of hair popping out. So cute, Hikaru thought. He couldn’t help but smile.
He was fifteen and she was fourteen. Yet Hikaru didn’t think it was too early. In this world, death was always just around the corner. He’d already died first to begin with. He thought it was reasonable to find someone you love early and get together.
「What’s wrong, Lavia?」
「I feel so embarrassed, I wanna die.」
「What are you talking about?」
「I… I wasn’t supposed to make a sound, but I couldn’t keep my word. Your voice was really gentle as well.」
Oh, crap. What do I do? I wanna hold her tight and make her cry out again, Hikaru thought. He managed to control himself, however.
「It’s all right. No one’s staying in the rooms to the left and right, up and down.」
The lock of hair poking out from under the covers bobbed for an instant. Damn, so adorable.
「I’m sorry for wearing you out after all that happened yesterday.」
「Please stop. You’re embarrassing me.」
Even her hands holding the covers turned red.
「Ah, I mean, you were probably at your limits… You barely went out of the house, didn’t you?」
「To be honest, it was a bit rough for me. I feel like my body is in pieces right now.」
「You don’t have to apologize. My body may be in pieces, but my heart is filled with joy.」
It was Hikaru’s turn to blush this time. Lavia seemed to be embarrassed by what she said herself as the hair that protruded above her head twitched. She walked right into that one herself.
They talked a bit and they decided that Lavia would be resting all day inside.
「The hotel staff change the sheets every three days so there shouldn’t be anyone coming in today.」Hikaru said.
Lavia suddenly realized something as she shoved her head right under the sheets, checking something.
「P-Please bring a bowl of water…」she said in a trembling voice.
Hikaru didn’t bother asking her what she found. Last night was both their first time. That was all he needed to know. He went out to get water and buy food as well.
As always, the cat-eared lady was there on the front desk. When does she ever take a break? Hikaru wondered.
「Nah, just gonna buy some food. I can eat in my room, right?」
「Of course you—」
She broke off mid-sentence, her nose twitching.
「…I see you’re into that as well, Sir.」she said, grinning.
「I-I-I don’t know wh-what you’re talking about.」
「You’re panicking, Sir.」
「No, I’m not.」
「We don’t mind our guests engaging in such activities, but please note that visitors are not allowed to stay the night.」
「I know.」Hikaru said and left.
「…When did he bring someone in anyway?」the cat-eared lady wondered.
Hikaru returned to the hotel room with sandwiches he bought from a food stand and a jar of fruit juice, and they ate together. Lavia was overjoyed. For someone who grew up in a noble household, the food’s taste was all new to her. Hikaru didn’t buy hotdogs this time. Now was not the time to take risks.
「I’m planning to stay in Pond until things die down.」
「But staying here all the time is not good for your mental health.」
「No one would notice you if you just hold my hand. But that poses a risk.」
「Like bumping into people?」
Lavia was listening to him and even thinking ahead. It made Hikaru happy.
「Yeah. If possible, I want you to keep disguising yourself.」
Hikaru shot a glance at the cloak. No one would probably recognize her if she wore the hood low over her eyes. There was just one problem. Summer was just right around the corner. Wearing a hooded cloak would only draw attention.
「Hikaru… I feel ashamed to be such a burden, but can I borrow some money?」
「Money? What for?」
「I’m going to cut my hair short and dye it. I’m going to buy some men’s clothes as well.」
Hikaru’s went blank for a second, his mouth hanging open. Lavia was fourteen years old. She was at the age where her body would start developing. Putting it another way, that meant her body still wasn’t that much different from a boy’s. Hikaru had actually considered the possibility of disguising Lavia as a boy, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it. He felt that would spoil her charm.
Hikaru didn’t expect the suggestion to come from her.
「I’m sorry, Hikaru. I’m not even that appealing as a girl and now I’m planning to throw away what little I have.」
「D-Don’t worry about it. Are you sure, though? You have beautiful hair. It’s such a shame to cut it short.」
Silver hair that seemed to glow. He stroked it several times last night and it felt amazing to the touch.
「Will you still keep me even if my hair’s short and plain-colored?」
I get it now. I’m her support. She has no one else to rely on but me.
He didn’t realize it until now. Hikaru was completely alone in this world, with no relatives whatsoever. But he had social connections. Lavia, however, was different. Treated as a murderer, only Hikaru acknowledged her existence.
I gotta be more responsible from now on.
After their meal, Hikaru left Lavia in the hotel room and headed to the Adventurers Guild. It was still a little before noon, so both Jill and Gloria were at the counter. As always they were surrounded by adventurers. They remind me of this “idols you can meet” thing back in Japan. Maybe they should form a group called RCT(Receptionist) 48.
He didn’t have any business with them today, though.
Paula, Pia, and Priscilla were in front of the request bulletin board. It was none other than Paula who spotted him right away.
「I was wondering if something happened to you since you didn’t come to the guild yesterday.」
「I was reading this thoroughly the whole day.」Hikaru said, showing a book he took from the reference room. It was torn apart in places from years of use so no one had touched it recently.
「I borrowed it from Unken-san so I could learn about dissection. It helps to have knowledge about these things.」
It was an alibi Hikaru had thought up beforehand if someone asked him what he was doing yesterday.
「You mean that thick book?!」
Jill might’ve heard Paula’s surprise as she slipped out of the counter and strolled towards them. At the same time, the adventurers raised their voices in anger.
Please just stay at the counter and do your job is what Hikaru would normally think, but it was a chance to fish for information. He wanted to know if the guild was aware of what happened yesterday.
「Hikaru-kun, did Unken-san lend this to you? Hmm… I’ll return it to him for you, then.」
「Are you sure? You must be busy.」
「I’ll just give it to him when he shows up. But did you really read the whole thing?」
「Ohh… Then how about a bit of quiz?」
Jill playfully flipped through the pages.
「…What’s the most effective way to kill a Muddy Rock that lives in marshlands?」
「Use ice type spirit magic. They’re easier to destroy once frozen.」
「What does a powdered yellow medicinal plant do?」
「Give a short description of the closest dungeon to Pond.」
「The dungeon is called the Underground City of Ancient Gods. It’s a five-day trip by carriage down the southern highway. Jointly controlled by the Adventurers Guild and the government, only adventurers ranked E and above may enter. Plenty of undead type monsters have been spotted there. The troublesome ones are those that use dark magic—」
「That’s enough. You really did read all this, huh?」Jill said as she closed the book and turned towards the adventurers gathered around the counter.
「All of you should check out our available materials in the reference room. If you learn lots of things – not just about your quests – then you’ll have higher chances of surviving out there.」
The adventurers glanced at Hikaru and clicked their tongues collectively. Once again, Jill did something she shouldn’t have.
By the looks of things, they haven’t heard about Lavia’s escape. Since the adventurers were assigned to escort, they would’ve been deemed to have failed in their job. And thank goodness for that quiz just now. That should prove that I read that book thoroughly.
Gloria was behind him, her hands on his shoulders. She inched her lips closer to his ears and whispered.
「Did you really read it yesterday?」
After breathing into his ear, Gloria returned to the counter. He didn’t even notice when she left her post and approached him.
I really gotta watch out for that one.
In reality Hikaru didn’t actually read that old book, but the latest version. He just casually went over it when he was in the reference room. He had plenty of chances to read it. His reading speed was much faster than the average person, and he was good at memorizing. He actually already knew all that stuff before he even borrowed the book.
「Wh-Wh-What’s the deal with that receptionist?! She just blew into your ear! I wanna do that too!」
Hikaru brushed Paula off then left the guild.
「…How do I look?」
Later that evening in the hotel room.
Lavia, who looked completely different from before, stood in front of Hikaru. Her hair was dyed light gray. She wanted to have the same black-colored hair as Hikaru, but he dismissed the idea since only an extremely small number of people had black hair in this world and that would only draw attention to her. It was cut short – just a bit longer at the back and around the ears.
If she wore a hunting cap with a larger visor, it should be hard for adults to see her eyes. Putting on a white shirt and a vest paired with knee-length pants plus socks and shoes should be enough for her to look like any other boy.
「You look great… Wait, am I allowed to say that?」
「Hehe. Of course you are… I mean, damn right you are, Hikaru! Let’s go conquer the world!」
「…You don’t have to try too hard. I can’t bear to listen.」
「I-It’s not good? I’ve been practicing all day how to talk like a boy.」
He imagined how adorable she was muttering to herself, practicing her speech. Unfortunately it just didn’t suit her. She was a young lady of a house. As such, even if she looked like a boy, she was more on the elegant side, like a well-raised scion of a wealthy family – her rough talk didn’t match her looks at all. In that regard, though, Hikaru was the same.
He had to spend some money, but he had enough to support both of them for a while. Incidentally, now that they were basically couples, Hikaru had to buy something necessary.
Lavia might only be fourteen, but she was old enough to get pregnant. Based on Roland’s memories, it was the same case in this world. Interestingly the contraceptive was actually a gem imbued with magic. It was dark magic, however, so walking around with it in one’s pocket was harmful; in a man’s case, his sperm count would go lower, and for a woman, it would have adverse effects on her ovary. The effects were not that harmful for a man, and it fact, lower sperm count would prevent pregnancy so most men visiting the red-light district had one. The effect on women was much worse, like causing menstrual irregularity so it was common for men to carry the gem.
It looks like I’m expecting to do the deed frequently with her… Still, prevention is better than cure. Yes.