I have just finished putting down the big tent, where the men would later sleep, when Sakura and Bernardt came back holding dry branches on their arms.
“Just put it over there. I will make the camp fire later,” I said to them.
Then Sakura looked at me and said, “I found no vegetables that I knew. They all looked different from what I have in my world.” She looked a bit disappointed.
“Hmm, then tomorrow, I will go with you to find some while teaching you about the plants here,” I said to her while nodding.
“O-Okay, then what else should I do now?” she asked me.
“Hmm, I will be making a small tent for you to sleep later. Where do you want me to put it?”
“What about over there? The grasses look squishy…,” she said while pointing to the spot on the left of the men’s tent.
Suddenly, sounds were heard from the bushes. The three of us then looked on that direction vigilantly. Sakura looked a bit scared beside me.
Two heads then popped out from the bushes, it was Harvey and Alex. They just came back after hunting for the dinner. While bringing 2 wild rabbits on his hand, Harvey then said, “I catched some nice things with my arrows, we gonna eat half a rabbit per person!”
“Eh?! A-Are we really going to eat them?” asked Sakura while looking at the dead rabbits.
“You don’t like rabbit? Their meat are tasty and tender when cooked warm,” said Alex while drooling.
“They are already dead, so if we don’t cook them soon, they will start to rot. And it would mean that they died for nothing. We have to eat the animal that we deliberately kill,” I said that to her because I knew that she didn’t have the heart to eat such cute animals. Girls.
She looked at me and said, “O-Okay! I will try hard to make them tasty!”.
Seeing that she was trying hard to adapt, I smiled and said, “Good, then I will bleed them first.” I then took the rabbits from Harvey’s hand.
“Bleed them?” she tilted her head and asked me.
I lifted my one of my brows and said, “You want to see?”
“O-Okay!” she nodded and then started to follow me.
I went to a tree a bit away from the camp and stood in front of it. Sakura stood behind me, observing what I was going to do. Then I tied the rabbits, with a rope on their feet, to the tree branch. I also dug a hole around 30 cm deep on the ground beneath them.
“We need to drain the blood out of the animal before cooking them. If not, the blood will make the meat goes bad,” I explained to her while cutting the blood veins on both of the two rabbits’ back feet. After that, I cleanly cut down both of their heads and throw it gently into the hole. Then the blood from both of the rabbits started to pour down from their throat.
“And that’s how you bleed an animal properly! Now, we only need to wait until all the blood poured down,” I said it confidently while turning my head to her.
But she wasn’t there anymore, no, she was there, but she wasn’t standing anymore. She fainted down on the ground already.
“Eh…? Was that too shocking for a girl?”
I stood there in the darkness. And once again, he was there in front of me, the black coated man. “You will kill him like you kill everybody else. You will bring disaster upon this world….,” he said to me.
“No!! Why are you here? You should have disappeared!!!” I shouted as I fell down on my knees. I felt fear and helplessness in my heart.
‘Even though I get the chance to live again, but if he is here, then….’ I felt my tears trickling down slowly onto my cheeks.
“You… wil…. kill…. them…..,” he smiled at me.
“No! No!! NOOOO!!!” I screamed as I closed my ears with both of my hand to stop myself from hearing him.
Then my body shook lightly.
“S-k-ra!” I heard a faint sound.
Then It became clearer and clearer, “Sakura…Sakura…wake up!” I faintly saw Astraea-sama in front of me, holding both of my shoulders.
“Nooooo, help me!!!” I screamed and hugged her.
“It was just a nightmare! You are safe, I will protect you,” said the manly voice that I hugged.
‘So, it was a nightmare…’ Then I realized that it was Z that I hugged, not Astraea-sama. I got startled and woke up completely.
“Re-release me!!” I screamed and backed away from him.
“O-okay!! Just calm down!! Here drink this, it’s water,” he said to me while giving me a leather bottle.
“T-Thank you and sorry about earlier,” I said to him.
He smiled at me then said, “No problem…, just calm down first. You can sleep again if you want.”
“No…,” I shook my head. I was afraid of having the same nightmare again, and afraid that It wasn’t actually a nightmare, but he really was still there inside of me.
“Should I stay here with you?” he asked me with a worried face.
Hearing that, I felt my face getting warmer. “E-eh…n-no! Y-you must be thinking of something perverted!! Get out!!” I smacked him with my hand.
“N-no!! I am just worried about you!!” he said to me, but I still smacked him with my hands. “I will get out…I will get out, so stop smacking at me…,” he said while rolling out of the tent.
‘Why am I getting so flustered about that pervert…,’ I pinched both of my red cheeks.
I went out of her tent and sat down on a log near the campfire. I put that log just a meter away from her tent’s entrance, so I could keep a watch on her when she fainted on her bed.
‘What happened to her…? Fainted in the afternoon, nightmare on the evening, and hugged me when she woke up…, well, she hugged me because of the nightmare though…,’ I frowned while playing with the fire with a wooden stick in my hand.
‘What nightmare did she have? Is it her trauma? Just like what I used to have back then?’ I gazed at the star while remembering the time when I used to have that nightmare.
I looked back and saw Sakura going out of her tent. She saw me sitting alone, and then looked all over the campsite.
“The other three are already sleeping,” I said to her. “Harvey-san, Alex-san and me will take turn to watch over the camp. I am the first to watch over the camp tonight. Then I will wake Harvey-san up to change for me later.”
She didn’t say anything. She just looked at me for a bit and then sat on the same log as me. But she still kept her distance, she sat there, a meter away from me.
Seeing that, I then shifted for a bit and said to her, “Come a bit closer to the fire.”
She didn’t say anything, but stood up and sat a bit closer to me.
“I am sorry about what happened with the rabbit. Are you still mad about that?”
“N-No. I am okay with the rabbit. I was…. just a bit shaken after that nightmare. You did nothing wrong,” she said to me.
“After you fainted, I picked you up and put you into the tent. Sorry that I touched you without asking,” I said to her as I scratched the back of my head. I really don’t want to make her hate me.
She shook her head to me and said, “It’s okay, I was just a bit shocked back then. I never knew that you need to do something like that to an animal before cooking it.”
“There is nothing like that in your world?” I asked her as I lifted one of my brows.
She furrowed her brows and thought for a bit. “Maybe there is. But I don’t know, I always bought meat from the store,” she said to me.
“Hooo, maybe the storekeeper did that. There is something like meat store in this world too.”
“I rarely went to meat store, it was a bit far from my orphanage. I usually bought it from a convenience stores near the station.”
‘So she was an orphan…,’ I felt a bit surprised.
“Convenience store? Station?” I tilted my head.
“Ehehehe,” she chuckled and said to me, “convenience store is a store that sells lots of things; vegetables, meat, milk, cookies, and many other things. And a station, is a place where trains stop, to pick up and put down passengers. A train is like a really long carriage, with lots of passenger inside.”
I nodded, “That train looks pretty normal. But the convenience store is really strange. The owner of that convenience store must be a really rich person, he has a vegetable farm, a ranch for meat and milk, a bakery, and you said that he still produces lots of other things to sell.”
“Ehehehe…,” she laughed again cutely and shook her head, “no, the owner doesn’t have anything beside that store. He usually buys those things from farmer, ranch owner, and baker with lots of quantity every month for lower price. Then he sell it to people with a slightly higher price. People prefer to buy their things there because it’s easier for them to find everything they need to buy.”
I nodded and said, “It’s a really good business plan. I wonder if there’s anything like that in this world. I never went to a big capital city.”
“Ufufufu…,” she laughed at me softly.
I looked at her and smiled, ‘She started to open up to me, how long has it been since I talk to girl like this? It feels fun.’
When she realized that I was staring at her, she stopped laughing and gazed down to hide her embarassment.
Suddenly, a sound was heard. And I realized that it came from her stomach.
She stood up hurriedly and ran away to the edge of the log to avoid me.
“Are you hungry?” I smiled at her and said, “I forgot that you haven’t eaten anything since afternoon.”
“Did you hear that?” she asked me while looking away.
I played the fool and said to her while tilting my head, “Hear what?”
She turned her head and looked at me with an embarrased face. “I-I am hungry, but do we have anything to eat? I didn’t cook for us,” she said to me while looking a bit depressed.
I lifted up a stone near the campfire. Below it, was a shallow hole with a leather bag inside. Then I lifted the leather bag on to my lap. And from inside it, I took out two bundles that was made from leaves.
“It’s a bread with rabbit meat inside it. I kept it warm for you.”
She went back to sit beside me and then slowly took the bundles from my hand. She opened one of the bundles and saw the bread with meat inside. “Who made this?” she asked.
“It was supposed to be my turn today, so I cooked for us. I can’t guarantee the taste though,” I said to her while smiling bitterly.
She took a bit of the bread and then laughed, “Ehehehe, you are really bad at cooking. It’s a bit too salty.”
I felt a bit disappointed. “Sorry…,” I said to her.
“But, it’s warm and the meat is so tender. Thank you,” she said to me, with a smile on her face. She then ate both of the bread while looking satisfied.
After she finished eating the breads, I asked her, “Do you want some warm tea?”
“Is there any?” She looked happy as she asked me.
“Yeah, do you want it sweet?” I take the teapot down from the fire and poured it into a cup made of metal.
She smiled at me and said, “Yes, please…”
‘She really is a sweet girl,’ I thought to myself as I was staring at her smile unconciously.
“Ehm…, what about my tea?” she said while averting her gaze again in embarrasment.
“Ah…eh…right! [Storage]” I put out a jar of sugar and a spoon from the Storage Ring. And then, I put three teaspoon of sugar into the cup of tea. I stirred the tea and sugar, and then gave it to her. “Careful, it’s hot,” I said.
“How did you do that? Where did the sugar come from?” she asked me while taking the cup from my hands.
I showed her my ring and explained to her, “It’s a kind of Magical Tool. I will explain what it is, and how it works to you later when I teach you magic. This ring can store any non-living items and the storage’s space is around 4 meter quadrat.”
“Hooo….it’s so convenient….” she said as she stared at the ring. “Wait! You will teach me magic?” she asked me with a surprised look on her face.
“Of course. What else should I teach you then? Hahahaha…,” I laughed.
“Really?!! You will teach me magic???!!” Her eyes glittered as she was staring at me.
“Yeah, I will,” I nodded at her.
‘Ooooo…, I can learn magic like in manga and anime…so cool…!! I can’t wait to begin!!’ I felt so happy.
‘…but why is he so kind to me? I did beat him up and call him a pervert…he is still a pervert though…,’ I gazed at him while remembering the time I accidentally hugged him.
He sat there beside me, his brown hair fluttered swiftly in the wind. His body looks so slim with only a slightly baggy leather shirt on top of it. I stared at him unconciously, ‘He is pretty handsome for a pervert… Ah…right, I am using his robe right now…, isn’t he cold?’
I came a bit closer to him and poked his arm. He then looked at me with a slightly surprised look. “Hmm?”
“A-aren’t you cold? Do you want your robe back? I am sorry for taking it from you without asking,” I said to him.
He smiled warmly at me and said, “No, just wear it. I already intended for you to use it from the beginning. It’s colder for a woman than it is for a man. The fire is warm too.” Then he threw another branch of wood into the fire.
“And it’s already summer, so the night is warmer. Take look at that,” he said to me while pointing above.
The night sky was so clear, without a speck of cloud covering it. The countless stars shined brightly on the sky and the crescent moon shined silvery upon the two of us. The sight was really breathtaking and beautiful. I could even feel my heart beating faster in amazement.
“Though, It’s a shame that tonight isn’t a full moon,” he said to me while his head still gazing at the sky.
I looked at him and said, “No, it’s already really beautiful. In my world, you can only see this sight, if you go high onto the mountain. In the town, you can’t even see a single star on the night sky. This is my first time seeing a sight this beautiful. Thank you.”
He looked at me and said while scratching his head, “Er…you don’t have to thank me… Said it to her when you meet her again. You know who I meant right?”
“I know, I definitely will. She was the one, who took me into this beautiful world. I can’t thank her enough,” I smiled at him while thinking about Astraea-sama.
His face reddened, and then he threw his head back up while scratching his nose.
I then realized and put my face away from his sight. I felt slightly embarassed, ‘Why did I smile like that in front of him….stupid me!’
“C-Can I ask you something?” I said.
He was silent for a bit and then said to me, “…Just ask…” I couldn’t see his current reaction, because I was still facing the other way, and I also didn’t have the courage to show my red face to him.
“W-Why…are you doing this all for me?” I asked him nervously.
‘M-Maybe…he…likes me???’ I can’t even believe how shameless I am thinking right now.
He was silent for a bit. “Mmmm…, I promised her to take care of you,” he said to me.
“O-Oh…is that so…,” I said to him. I somehow felt a bit disappointed.
‘Right…how could he likes a broken ugly girl like me…? And, why am I feeling disappointed…? What’s wrong with me?’ I felt my eyes getting a bit teary.
“I-I am going back into the tent to sleep. See you tomorrow!” I ran back into the tent without hearing his reply.
Under the blanket I felt my face got warmer and redder, but then I started to cry. ‘What’s wrong with me…I can’t think straight anymore…,’ I got a bit depressed. But not long after that, I got sleepy and fell back into the dream world.
That night, I dreamt of sitting beside him, gazing at the starry night with a full moon above us.
It was beautiful.