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"A-are you sure that you can handle those?"
"It's the least that I can do," I said. "After all, it's my fault that we are taking the long route."
Reisen and I were planning to walk along a small footpath that cut through the bamboo forest. Since most of the residents of Eientei could fly, this road was rarely used. Unfortunately, I can't fly. As an ordinary human, this didn't bother me for the most part. But it did feel like I was being a bother to others whenever I had to travel. So this morning, I offered to carry the things she needed to take to the Human Village.
I gave Reisen a smile as I examined the luggage. Before me was a large pack filled with medicines and supplies. At first glance, it really did look suspicious. It was of an odd design (lunarian?) that was rarely seen in the Human Village. For some reason, it reminded me of the bags used by military or police organizations in the Outside.
However, most of the contents were actually quite mundane. Cold medicine. Headache drugs. Herbal ointments. Stomach pills. Sterilized bandages. Most of these items looked like ordinary drugs, though Eirin did mention (several times, actually) that the medicine she develops are far more effective. Some of them even work on Youkai and those with unique physical characteristics. In that sense, Eirin really was a genius of medicine. However...
"Fire-breathing Potion," I read aloud.
I looked up and raised an eyebrow at Reisen.
"Ah! We almost ran out of that yesterday," she said cheerfully. "Despite what it sounds like, that one is actually quite safe if you follow the instructions. We have several regular customers who buy that, and it has even become popular among the kids of the Human Village!"
I frowned hard at her. Popular with kids? Don't say it so casually! And stop smiling as if you felt proud of it too! If she wasn't being so honest and happy about this, I would have smacked this girl right about now. But for some reason, I couldn't do it.
I sighed to myself as I lifted the pack. Am I ever going to understand these crazy lunarians?
We walked through the bamboo forest, talking casually about ordinary and unimportant things. I smiled to myself as Reisen described her life on the moon. It was only recently that this girl had opened up to me as a friend. When I first arrived, she was very shy and soft-spoken. She wouldn't speak to me unless I spoke first, and even then she only gave short answers. She wouldn't even sit in the same room alone with me.
When was it? When did we start walking and talking together like this, as if we had always been good friends? For some reason, I couldn't really remember. Perhaps it was the sort of thing that just happened, without either of us realizing it. It was odd, but I didn't really mind.
With those thoughts in mind, I didn't notice it all as we walked. Not until Reisen suddenly stopped.
"It's strange," she whispered. "This is really strange."
She turned around and looked at me. I still didn't understand.
"Aren't you scared? Look around you."
It was only then that I realized. The bamboo stalks had completely disappeared, and the path was nowhere in sight. Even the sky and the clouds that hung over my head just minutes ago had vanished. Everything around me was in complete darkness. But it wasn't only that. The sounds of the forest have gone completely silent. It was like walking into a locked room without any lights.
"Any other person would be afraid or at least confused. You can't see where you are going, and you can't hear anything around you. Yet we've been walking and talking normally for several minutes now."
I paused for a moment. This was certainly strange. How could I not notice it until now? But even then, I didn't really mind. Instead of thinking about it, I just told her the first thing that came to my mind.
"Isn't it enough that I see only you?"
Even through darkness, I could see Reisen blushing. She was at a loss for words. Then, she slowly looked away and started walking again. The surroundings returned to normal. I could hear and see things around me as was usual.
Reisen didn't speak another word to me until we had arrived at the Human Village.
"Feel free to walk around town for a while," said Reisen. "Just be back before lunch so I can take you to that new restaurant."
Before I could say anything, she took the bag from my hands and hurried quickly inside. It's only been a few weeks, but Eientei's new drugstore seemed to be doing quite well. Several customers were already lined up at the counter. I could see a couple of youkai rabbits were taking orders and accepting payments. Tewi explained that this was just the first step of her business expansion plan.
I yawned as I stretched my legs. It's been a while since I've been at the Human Village.
[ ] Head for the school and look for Keine Kamishirasawa.
[ ] Walk around the village until you see something interesting.
[ ] Offer to help around the Eientei drugstore.
[ ] Explore the outskirts of the Human Village.
[ ] Write-in?
[ ] Diary