Chapter 6 – Fairy Shop
Since Pino and the others had taken out so many cooking utensils and ingredients, I got a fire going in front of the great tree and started grilling the meat.
Where were they hiding all that stuff?
「There are plenty of mushrooms! Let’s cook it as foil yaki* and add the butter.」
Lusha gaped at Pino, who’d gone ahead and started grilling the mushrooms while humming to herself, but she quickly sidled up right next to her.
「Let me help you out. What can I say? There’s just so much here to cook…」
「Of course! Food is important, you know? It will enrich your heart!」
I agreed with that, but it would be difficult to follow that philosophy in the Sea of Trees. Unlike Pino’s party, we didn’t prepare cooking utensils because we mainly used preserved food. Pino said we could just eat together, but I still felt like I was taking advantage of them.
Liliana noticed my hesitation and looked me in the eye.
「Nothing, it’s just… I don’t have any ingredients to contribute. Your party’s handling it all.」
「Is that all? There’s nothing to worry about, Pino has a lot of ingredients. She loves to eat good food, you know.」
Liliana and Hassan laughed that even though they were acting as guards, they always had good meals to eat.
「Well, the cooking skill is normal. However, she seems to have a principle of not being prejudiced against exotic ingredients, so sometimes we end up with some horrifyingly strange meals.」
Speaking of which, it was pretty fun to pluck mushrooms off those Mushrents. We ate wild boar monster meat, hunted by Hassan, with buttered and sautéed mushrooms. I was surprised Lusha could stand to eat a monster, but when I tried a bite, I was more surprised by its delicious flavor.
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「Well, looks like we’ll be parting ways here, as we’re taking a different route. The Demon continent is still a ways off, so please be careful, both of you.」
「We will be.」
It was the next day that we and Pino’s party went our separate ways.
「Gotta say, it was nice to have a Healer.」
「Yeah, Pino is a little energetic so it was a relief for her to have a Shield.」
「Ah… in that case, please do your best to take care of her.」
I let out a dry laugh at Hassan and Liliana’s words. It was going to be pretty hard to escort someone who would wander off as soon as she saw an herb.
「Just for you, then — have one last 【Shield】. Thank you so much for everything.」
We exchanged our gratitude as I applied the shield.
「Now, both of you, do your best.」
「See you later.」
Lusha and I waved back at the three of them as we went off on our own back into the depths of the Sea of Trees.
Fortunately, the Sea of Trees had good weather that day, so we had an easy time of things thanks to the sun shining in through the trees. It was even easy to notice monsters at a distance, so with the improved visibility, I could be sure of avoiding any unstable ground that would crumble underfoot. Probably.
The fog was too severe before, that’s why I took a bad step… I’m really sorry about that.
As she walked cautiously, Lusha suddenly raised her voice. For a moment, I wondered if something had happened, but I didn’t feel particularly tense. Lusha was looking ahead of us, and there didn’t seem to be anything unusual—
While I was thinking that and following Lusha’s gaze, I suddenly saw something there that shouldn’t have been.
「…is that a shop?」
「We’re still in the Sea of Trees, but there’s definitely a bunch of items laid out.」
Sheets were spread right on the ground, and miscellaneous goods and equipment were arranged on the sheets, as if they were for sale. I almost couldn’t find the owner, but then our eyes met.
I couldn’t help calling out in surprise — the shop’s owner was a fairy, about 60cm in height. Her true face was hidden by the deep hood on her robe. It was kind of entertaining to see her flying around with wings that grew from her back.
The fairy looked at us and smiled.
「Ahh, welcome! We have many good products available here!」
I didn’t feel any danger, so I decided to take a peek at the store for now.
「This is a 『Fairy Shop』. Please take your time!」
「I’ve just seen a fairy for the first time!」
When I stared so intensely, the fairy was embarrassed.
「Aw, is that true? It’s an honor to be your first fairy.」
「Actually, why did you open a shop in a place like this?」
Lusha posed a legitimate question, but the fairy replied indignantly.
「Come on now, you have to realize I don’t open it that frequently! Only those who have a leaf from a Great Tree can come to this store.」
「Oh? Is this what you’re talking about?」
When Lusha showed the leaf she received from the Great Tree, the fairy nodded.
「Yeah, we’re a cautious people, so we only allow those accepted by the Great Tree to become customers.」
「Am I allowed to be here?」
「You’re with someone who is, so you’re fine.」
I was relieved by the fairy’s explanation for how the shop worked. I don’t really have a problem with the restriction on customers, but since we don’t have a lot of money, the question that’s gone unspoken is whether we’ll even be able to buy anything.
As Lusha looked happily at an item, she asked the shopkeeper, “What is this?”
「This is a very special piece of equipment we’ve obtained. It’s very high quality, so the price is one million.」
When I heard the price, Lusha and I remarked on it at the same time. There was no room to even consider it.
Lusha said, “I can’t afford it,” dejectedly, her elf ears drooping.
「Well then, come back and buy it when you become a great adventurer. Alternatively, I can offer to enchant your bag!」
「Enchant our bag?」
「Right. We fairies have a special skill that allows us to enchant your bag with spatial magic, making it bigger on the inside. You might be surprised to learn that it would have enough room to store this peach tree! Well, you could put a lot of other things in it as well.」
「I want it!」
As soon as I heard it, I was dying to have such a bag. It was commonly referred to as an inventory in games, right? It would be a must-have for adventurers, allowing you to easily carry your purchases or materials acquired from dungeon monsters.
Suddenly, I realized that Pino probably had a bag like that. It was the best explanation for the huge amount of cooking utensils and seasonings she had.
「Great, I see you understand how amazing it is! Today, as the commemoration of our first meet…. Uh, well, because it’s a special occasion, I’ll process it for ten million!」
I figured it would be expensive because it was a special item not sold in the city, but at that price, I was even less capable of buying it than the other item.
「It’s true that the bag is convenient, but I think it’s a little extravagant for us right now.」
Lusha was trying to give up with a sad smile, but I didn’t think that was the case at all. If we could store all of our luggage in a bag like that, we could eat delicious meals in dungeons, and we could stay in dungeons for longer periods of time without being burdened by extra luggage. Isn’t that exactly what newbie adventurers like us would want?
That said, there was nothing of equivalent value we can use to pay for it.
…If there is something, could it be my Japanese belongings?
I took those out of my bag, including the things Ruri gave us. Even though they were made in Japan and not this world, it would still be difficult to exchange them for a product worth 10 million, wouldn’t it?
When my shoulders drooped as I realized I had no choice but to get rich and start over, I heard the happy voice of the shopkeeper fairy.
「Hey, what’s that beautiful thing!」
「What, this… this handkerchief?」
「Where did you get such a beautiful handkerchief? Whooaa, it’s so nice!」
The shopkeeper fairy’s eyes were gleaming as she stared at the lace handkerchief Ruri gave me. With such fine details, it was certainly a high class item for a world at this level of development.
Lusha, standing next to her, looked over and said it was nice.
「If you give me that handkerchief, I’ll give you the magic bag!」
「Alright, it’s a deal!」
「Aw, I’m so happy!」
「Wh-what!? Is it really okay to give her that?」
Lusha was surprised, but the deal had already been made. I wanted to keep it if I could, but efficiency is more important now. If we had a magic bag, it would surely be much easier to travel through the forest and dungeons to find apricot grass.
Lifting Ren’s curse is, after all, our highest priority.
* Foil yaki, also known as hoiru or hoil yaki, is a comfort dish and cooking method wrapped into one. It commonly consists of mushrooms, vegetables, and fish, seasoned with umami-rich flavorings like butter, soy sauce, miso, and sake, and baked together in a foil envelope until soft and savory.