Translator: Jimi Editor: Ryunakama
「Anyway… Zeph-chi, you finally woke up~ You had such a long slumber though… Mm, it’s a happy thing!」
After we met, Lydia hurriedly closed the store and let the other workers and customers leave.
I said that it was fine to wait until the store was closed for the day, but Lydia replied that there was no way she could work on a day like this.
With that, we were the only ones left in the store. Even though it was a store, it also had a kitchen and bedrooms, making it a suitable place to live in. One of the rooms in the back was a workshop, and Lydia would stay overnight at the store when she had smithing to do.
In the kitchen, the girls laid out the lunch boxes which we were to have for dinner.
That reminds me, I had not eaten ever since I woke up so I was hungry.
The lunch boxes which Lydia prepared looked appetizing, and my stomach growled when I looked at them.
「It’s such a pity though, you didn’t get to see the way Silverie worked.」
「…There’s nothing to see.」
According to what I’ve heard, Silverie was unexpectedly helping out at Lydia’s store.
I was surprised at that. Was she able to do that now? In some sense, she might have grown the most here.
「But it seems like she still has difficulty in dealing with customers~」
「Hey, enough of this topic… More importantly, it’s just the right timing that Zeph woke up now. Lydia, shall we test that out?」
「Oh, that’s right. Somehow, Zeph always has great timing~」
「Is something up?」
「That’s something for you to look forward to ♪」
While I was wondering about what awaited me, we finished our meal. Then, I was led to the workshop in the back of the store.
In the dark, Lydia fumbled for the switch and lit up the room.
「What is this..?」
In front of me was an unrefined lump of metal. Lydia nimbly picked it up and passed it to me.
The thick metal shaft had several tubes running through it, and it looked like some kind of engine.
One tip of the shaft was movable and could be twisted smoothly, and five thin shafts further extended from this tip.
Basically, it was an arm made of metal.
「Sil-chin and I developed this for Zeph-chi. It’s an artificial arm made of magic metal.」
「…Try using it.」
Lydia and Silverie looked at me and smiled sweetly.
「Erm, I helped with the development too. I helped with gathering materials… Just a bit only though…」
Milly added on with a blush on her cheeks.
「Yeah, thanks everyone.」
I hugged the three of them at once, trying to disguise the fact that my eyes were almost watering with emotion.
The girls laughed in slight embarrassment.
I’ve sure been blessed with good comrades. This makes me acutely aware of it.
The artificial arm was made of special magic metal, and it was said to be powered by magic.
Putting on the prosthetic was fairly easy, as it would stick snugly to my arm when I put magic into the connector.
When I put magic into the attached prosthetic, it felt a little out of place, but I was able to let the magic flow through it smoothly as if it was part of my own body. With this, it should even be possible to release magic from this artificial arm.
「…I’m surprised. Does this artificial arm have magic lines running through it?」
「It sure was hard work. I had to spin and wind up threads from a Spidermet, which had a high transmission rate of magic. If it were too thick, the transmission rate would be poor. Yet, if it were too thin, the thread would be torn easily. To determine the appropriate thickness of the thread, I had to repeat the experiment countless times…」
「Yeah, yeaahh! I also took part in a lot of the hunting!」
Silverie proudly explained the process, while Milly constantly tried to assert herself.
Meanwhile, Lydia smiled wryly while watching the two girls. I thanked them and then began to put magic into the prosthetic to make it move.
With a grating sound of metal against metal, the fingers, wrist, and elbow began to move without a hitch.
The prosthetic boasted flexibility that didn’t pale in comparison to a normal arm. When I cast Red Ball, a fireball appeared on the palm of the artificial hand.
On seeing that, the three girls heaved a huge sigh of relief.
「…It’s the expected outcome.」
「Ahaha~ Weren’t you the most worried about it, Sil-chin~」
Lydia slapped Silverie’s back teasingly, while Silverie simply took it without as much annoyance as I would’ve expected. It seems like they’re now getting along quite well with one another.
「Alright~! Since it’s such a joyous day, let’s go all out~!」
Lydia whipped out a bottle of alcohol from a bag and waved it around with both hands so that the swishing of the liquid inside could be heard.
Seeing that, Silverie sighed.
「Geez…Well, I guess I’ll make an exception for a day like this. I’ll get the glasses and snacks.」
「Ah, then I’ll go get some juice ♪」
Silverie and Milly half-ran towards the kitchen.
Alcohol huh. I did drink a few times at social events in my past life, but I’m not a big fan of it.
Once when I drank too much and was totally wasted the next day, I never thought that I would drink again… but I guess I don’t mind if it’s on a day like this.
Besides, I’ve now become old enough to drink too, since three years have passed.
As I was thinking about that, I was softly hugged from behind.
Lydia’s forehead bumped into the back of my head.
Then, on the nape of my neck, I felt warm droplets of liquid flowing down.
Tears? As if to disguise the fact that she was crying, Lydia rubbed her head against mine.
「Ah, you’ve been a great help.」
「Ahaha… But anyway, you’ve grown taller~! I can’t call you cute anymore~」
「Even so, Lydia is still bigger than me. That’s a little disappointing…」
「I don’t mind it. It’s fine, it’s fine ♪」
I mind it, though.
I separated from Lydia and faced her, and saw that she had on her usual smile.
「Now, shall we set the table?」
「…Are we going to do it here?」
Although the space here is indeed larger than the kitchen, I don’t think the workshop is the place for drinking and merrymaking.
「Ahaha, isn’t it fine? ♪」
In the end, we set up a table and started drinking in the workshop.
I took the alcohol in small sips, but Lydia and Silverie were gulping down their drinks one after another like heavy drinkers. They would probably hit their tenth bottle soon. In addition, despite drinking so much, I was surprised to see that they hadn’t changed at all from their normal behavior.
「The two of you have a high tolerance to alcohol…」
「Lyria and… Seelverie… arrre amayshing~…」
In contrast, Milly was already flushed and slurring.
A moment ago, Milly had mistaken my drink for hers and had held the alcohol in her mouth without swallowing. Milly was drooling with a red face while her head was swaying from side to side.
This girl is too weak to alcohol. I didn’t expect her to get this drunk just after one sip… I’ll have to be careful to not let her drink in the future.
「Milly, don’t you think it’s about time you go home?」
「There’s no such thing~ He he he~」
「You’ll throw up again.」
Milly’s cheerful face suddenly stiffened. She was probably still traumatized by the fact that she threw up on my back before.
「…Shall I carry you to bed on my back?」
「I-I would like to decline…」
For some reason, Milly started speaking formally. It was so strange that I let a chuckle escape my lips.
「Ahaha, then I’ll be the one to carry you today~」
「Wait… it’s finee, Lydia.」
Lydia nimbly picked up Milly, then forcibly transported her out of the workshop.
Only Silverie and I were left behind. After a moment of silence, Silverie took one of the liquor bottles and brought it to her mouth.
Then, with a flick of her wrist, she tilted the bottle and gulped the alcohol down her fair throat.
Hey hey, you’re still going to drink? Even the whole bottle at once? You should somewhat hold back on the alcohol.
I noticed that Silverie’s face was slightly more flushed than a short while ago, and her almond-shaped eyes were staring at me.
I stared wordlessly into Silverie’s eyes, as it seemed like she wanted to say something.
The way she opened and closed her mouth and shifted her gaze from side to side was suspicious. Then, she looked down with a reddened face.
After that, Silverie fell into silence.
Good grief, it looks like her clumsiness with words didn’t improve after these few years. What a helpless person.
「Is there something you wanted to say?」
When I asked jokingly, Silverie’s shoulders began to tremble slightly.
Uh, did I offend her?
That was what I had initially thought, but instead of glaring at me angrily, Silverie looked like she would break down in tears any moment.
「Uh, erm… Silverie?」
The moment those words left Silverie’s mouth, she threw me to the ground and straddled across my body. Big droplets of tears rolled down her cheeks.
In that position, she weakly pounded on my chest, while I had no words to offer in response.
「Idiot… Zeph is an idiot…!」
Silverie sobbed like a child. …Could she be drunk? Her face was red and her eyes were unfocused. More importantly, the usual Silverie wouldn’t call someone an ‘idiot’, but a ‘fool’ instead.
「I was lonely, you know… You were sleeping the entire time… You’re always like that… Zeph is always nice to me, but then immediately leaves me… If you’re going to be that way, then just leave me alone forever, idiot!」
Her quivering fists and her words pierced my heart.
Well, perhaps I’ve been like that… No, come to think of it, wasn’t Silverie the one who was always escaping?
Before I realized it, Silverie had suddenly drawn her face close to mine.
「…You ought to take responsibility.」
「That’s right, you should! You made me feel lonely, you should do that at the very least!」
Silverie’s face got even closer than before. She was so close that our lips would touch if I only moved a bit. To prevent me from escaping, she firmly fixed my head in place with both hands.
I’m not particularly… thinking of… escaping… but…
Silverie closed her eyes and leaned on me. The heartbeat which was transmitted through her slim body was unexpectedly calm…
「…Are you perhaps asleep?」
Close to my ear, the sounds of her faint snoring were accompanied by her breath which smelled like alcohol. …This person is really helpless.
I muttered to myself as I carried Silverie to the sofa nearby.