Atelier Tanaka Chapter 10.2
Beginner Alchemist pt.2 B
After I finished my lunch, I returned to the town’s main street.
(Half a day, and already I’ve about finished talking to my acquaintances in this world. Thinking back, things would have been about the same in Japan. That’s pretty sad. I should try to think about my human relations a little more in the future.)
(“Friends are sort of important, after all.” I’ll just try to keep that thought in the back of my mind from now on. But right now, I need to get ready for departure tomorrow.)
(Where do red dragons live, anyway? Wait, that seems important. Why didn’t I think to find that out until now?)
(I can just imagine everyone getting together, and then asking me, “Where do you think we should go?” I’m the one who wanted to hunt a red dragon, after all. What should I do now?)
(I’m about 90% sure that magic noble knows where they live. He said I could leave the preparations for the trip to him, so he must know how far we need to go. But I should still try to check for myself. Checking details is always important for project management.)
I headed back towards the academy.
(Really, isn’t there something I can do about it taking over an hour to get to the academy? There are those carriages pulled by pseudo-horses, but I spent all my money buying my house. Besides, there’s no parking at the academy, so the people rich enough to have a carriage must all be able to hire a driver too. I wonder if there’s a taxi service.)
(I’ll definitely make a bicycle at some point.)
(But wait, Japan had bicycles for less than 100 years. The mechanism seems simple, but maybe if I try to actually make a bicycle, something I didn’t think about will be surprisingly hard. Hmm, maybe the rubber for tires? Is it the chain that’s hard to make? I remember seeing pictures of those funny bicycles with the pedals connected directly to a huge wheel.)
(It’s also possible that there’s some solution using magic that I don’t know about. If there are magic spells and monsters, then anything’s possible.)
As I arrived at the academy, my ambitions of building bicycles and other inventions were starting to become less fun to think about.
(I can work on that later. For now, I have other things to do. Where was that magic noble’s room?)
A while after after entering the academy, I’d become completely lost.
(I miss having a beautiful professional guide.)
I tried to go to the reception desk that I’d found before, but I couldn’t find that area. Wandering around, I remembered the first time I went to Shinjuku station.
(I’m getting tired of walking around. Isn’t there something like a Starbucks orDoutoraround here? I wish I could get a cup of coffee here.)
As I was thinking that, I found a cafe-looking place. It looked a lot like a store in a university or train station.
(Like I thought, even in a fantasy world, there are cafes in a building this big.)
About 90% of the seats were full, and the customers all looked like nobles.
As I entered, I watched the latest customer to see the store’s system. They went to the front counter, and were given a glass cup full of tea on a tray. The tray had a handle above it, and they carried the tray over to a table.
(A cup of plain tea seems rather boring, but this is a store for nobles, so maybe it’s surprisingly fancy.)
“Excuse me, I’ll have a tea.”
As I ordered, I saw an area in the back, connected to the rest of the cafe through a narrow corridor. It had 2 benches that could probably each seat 4. The store was busy, but nobody was sitting back there.
(Lucky me. Some people must have just left.)
I got my tea and headed towards that back area. I’d walked for so long that my feet were sore, so sitting down was a relief.
(I’ll just take a short break here. Maybe for 30 minutes or so.)
I sat down and tried my tea.
(Oh, this is good. I’ll have to ask what this is called when I leave. It’s definitely a flavor I’d like to have at home.)
As I was feeling relaxed and having my tea, I noticed the other customers glancing towards me.
(I guess that’s to be expected. There aren’t many asians around here. Or rather, I don’t think I’ve seen another asian person yet. Someone even called me a lizardman earlier, in that class. I shouldn’t worry about it too much. They can watch if they want.)
I leaned back and crossed my legs before taking another sip of my tea. The next time someone looked my way, I looked back and raised my cup a bit.
“This has a lovely fragrance, doesn’t it? They use some good stuff here.”
As I was saying that, a new group of customers came in, all of them beautiful girls.
The staff seemed to panic a little bit, and two people rushed over to welcome them.
(It looks like they’ll have to sit over here. Nobody likes sharing a bench seat with a stranger, but the cafe is busy, so it can’t be helped. Yes, come over here. The pretty girls can sit with me.)
I had even asked when I got my tea if it was OK to share a bench with someone, and I was told that it was fine.
Holding my glass in one hand, I gestured at the empty seats with my other hand.
“Hey, you, what do you think you’re doing?”
A girl who seemed like the leader of the group shouted at me angrily. She looked about 15 years old, with blonde hair to her shoulders in a bob cut, clear blue eyes, average height, an average chest, and an exceptionally pretty face.
(If she’d smile instead of glaring at me, she’s be very charming…)
“I’ll ask you once more: why are you sitting there?!”
“Because I’m a customer here…?”
The other girls with her were all glaring at me, too.
“Did you actually just sit down there not knowing anything?!”
“No, um, what is it?”
Then, I heard a voice from the behind those girls.
“What is it? Hurry up and sit down.”
“Eh? But, FitzClarence-sama, the seats for our tea party are…”
The girls shuffled around a bit, and then a very short girl squeezed through between them.
We were both surprised when we saw each other.
“Hey, you! It’s you again!”
It was Ester, the blonde loli that I’d run into by chance that morning. The girl with the blonde bob cut was very surprised.
“Are you an acquaintance of FitzClarence-sama, by any chance?”
The sudden change in her treatment of me was impressive. It looked like everyone else in the group was clearly suboordinate to Ester. The other girls carefully looked at Ester’s face to try to figure out what our relation was, but she ignored them and angrily walked over to me.
“I heard from Lord Faren! Why me, for a dragon, a dragon hunt?”
“You said it before, didn’t you? Are you playing dumb now that there are other people around?!”
(What? Faren, Faren, hmm.)
“Oh, you mean the magic noble.”
“You’re crazy! Hunting a dragon, were you actually serious about that?”
Her followers were all staring, dumbfounded.
“Why me?! There are other people, aren’t there? Why would you choose me for that? I mean, it couldn’t be just because of that quest from before. That would be cruel!”
“Eh? No, there’s no particular reason. I just couldn’t think of anyone else, I guess.”
“What?! You couldn’t…think of anyone…”
She looked equal parts terrified and amazed, but she managed to quickly pull herself together.
“Oh ho ho ho, very well. Since you insist, I’ll give you a chance to witness my power!”
She was full of energy as she made her proclamation.
(Why the sudden change? I don’t understand this girl. But the enthusiasm is good.)
“Well, OK then.”
(It would probably be awkward for me to stay here, so I guess I’ll leave.)
As I stood up, I remembered something I wanted to ask her about.
“Oh right, can your boyfriend come too?”
At that, she started making a weird noise.
“Gah, aaaah! Augh! Ah! Ach! AAaaa!”
“Eh? Why? What is it?!”
“Hey you, come here for a minute.”
She grabbed my arm, and pulled me along. As her followers and the other customers watched in amazement, she kept going until we were outside of the cafe, bringing me behind a pillar in a corridor.
“Don’t talk about Allen! Especially not here in the academy!”
“Allen? You mean your good-looking boyfriend?”
“I just said, don’t talk about him!”
“Ah, is that a secret?”
“Yes it’s a secret! If my relationship with him was exposed, Allen would be…”
(Going by her expression, this is pretty serious. Maybe he’d even be executed? If I remember right, her family is very important here.)
“…so your parents don’t know about him, then?”
“That’s right, do you have a problem with that?”
“No, well, if that’s the case you should tell me beforehand.”
“You’re the one who ran off before I finished talking to you!”
“…that’s true. Anyway, isn’t he a student here?”
“He’s a knight with the knight corps.”
“Oh, I see.”
(A noble’s daughter and a knight meeting in secret would be romantic, it would be, but…)
“In that case, what about girl number 2?”
“Number 2? What are you talking about?”
“Ah, sorry. She’s called Sophie, right?”
“Oh, her. She’s with the magic knight corps. At her age, she’s already the vice-commander of the second division. That’s how outstanding a magician she is. She’s helped me out in the past, too.”
(“Magic knight corps.” Interesting. But if she’s with them, then I probably won’t see her any time soon.)
“Also, Sophie is only an alias of hers.”
“Oh, I see.”
(Why would she use an alias? I don’t get it. Were they just pretending to be adventurers as an excuse to be alone with Allen?)
“If only there hadn’t been a high orc, I could have kept being an adventurer with him, but now my father won’t allow it anymore. That quest was a disaster…”
“Ho ho ho, but next is a dragon hunt! A red dragon, even! If that succeeds, even my stubborn father will have to recognize me!”
(It’s weird that she’s getting excited from talking to herself, but if she has enthusiasm, then that’s excellent.)
“Ah, there was one thing I wanted to ask.”
“Do you know where that magic noble’s study here is?”
“Lord Faren’s study? It’s on the west side of the top floor, near the middle.”
“I see, thanks.”
I started heading that way.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“I need to talk to him, so excuse me.”
She yelled at me as I left, but I just ignored her.
At last, I reached the magic noble’s study.
“What is it? Has there been some development?”
“No, there was just something I wanted to ask…”
(It’s embarrassing for me not to know where red dragons live in this situation, but I should swallow my pride here and ask anyway.)
“Do you know where to find a red dragon?”
He started rubbing a tip of his mustache between his fingers.
“The closest place from here would probably be Mt. Pepe.”
“About how far is that?”
“By air, probably 2 or 3 days of travel.”
(By air? What? How fast is that?)
“In that case, we should make it in time for the princess.”
“Ah, I already made arrangements for our transportation.”
“I see. YOu’ve really done even more than I’d hoped for.”
“Hah, something like that is no trouble.”
His mouth made a very subtle smile.
(He’s happy about that? It’s actually kind of cute, but I’m not getting any enjoyment out of it at all.)
“It sounds like there’s no problem with the transportation, then.”
“Of course. Leave it to me.”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
He made the same faint smile again.
“That was all I needed to ask. Well then, excuse me…”
“What, wouldn’t you like to take a look at my research?”
“Ah, yes, but I’ll look forward to that after finishing the dragon hunt and the princess’s treatment. I have to do some preparations for making it.”
“Hmm, that’s true. I understand, I’ll definitely remember to show you my research once we return.”
(No! Don’t remember that!)
“Then, excuse me.”
“Yes. I’m looking forwards to tomorrow morning.”
(Mission Complete. I checked what I needed to, and I didn’t get stuck in another once of his endless lectures on magic.)
I left in a little bit of a hurry.
By the time I was almost to my home, the sun was beginning to set.
I got dinner at a restaurant I hadn’t tried before in that neighborhood. The food wasn’t particularly good or bad. Less than an hour later, I returned home.
(I’ll be busy tomorrow morning, so I should go ahead and sleep.)
I lied down in bed, but I couldn’t sleep. Thinking about leaving the next morning on a quest to hunt a dragon, I couldn’t help being nervous.
I started wondering if I was forgetting something.
(I remember that time when a big new project started at work. If it failed, the division chief knew they’d lose face and have to apologize to the customer, so sudddenly our holidays and free time were gone. Paths to promotion appeared and disappeared. People worked until after the last train, because they didn’t want to get fired. Japanese companies don’t fire people often, but if you’re fired no company will hire you after that. Your lifetime of constant hard work, from elementary school to high school to college, all to get that job, would be wasted. So you work.)
(Thinking about it logically, a red dragon is more dangerous than a high orc, isn’t it? In every story I know, a dragon is stronger than a orc. And it’s a “red” dragon, a special type that probably has a flame attribute. In a game that might be a boss with rare drops.)
(The monsters and spells here do seem to follow the logic of games, but why? Is this world actually based on a game? Or maybe games were based on stories that were based on this world? Or maybe it’s the translation: I know the language here, but the names might be translated into the closest thing that I know about.)
Thinking about the next morning, I got a stomach cramp from the stress.
(That dragon could probably kill me easily. I don’t want to die a virgin!)
(Augh, I’m not going to be able to sleep like this.)
(Didn’t I get ask for healing magic so I could cure STDs? Here I am in a fantasy world with magic skills, and what am I doing?)
I got up out of bed.
(I should still have enough money left. As a man who’s about to leave for a battle, yes, there’s something I need to do.)
(That’s it, I’m going to find a brothel. Fantasy version.)
I headed towards what I understood was the town’s red-light district.
The streets were full of the the town’s night workers. I saw a young girl with cat ears, and a slightly older woman with a tail. And of course, there were regular humans, too. What they all had in common was that they weren’t wearing much. There were lots of boobs to look at.
(Ah, that’s dangerous…)
(If I just have some money, I can have sex with these girls? Really? With the in, and the out, and the in again? And I don’t think this world has condoms, so…)
I started getting excited.
(Wait, that blonde lolita was doing it with her handsome boyfriend, so in that case, she might actually be pregnant…?)
I was no longer excited.
(Augh, just forget that. Forget about that loli bitch, think about something else! This is my time!)
I went back to looking at the prostitutes along the road. Especially the ones with nice boobs.
(OK, I’ve decided. That blonde beauty over there, yes, her.)
After to I talked to her, she led me to a small and dirty bar. It was a stone building with wooden tables. The area of the bar was only about 30 square meters.
“Just sit down here for a little bit.”
A different girl, who was rather plain-looking, poured some beer for me, and I took a sip.
(It’s not really very good. Tastes like cheap stuff.)
I finished the first glass of beer, and she poured another.
(That girl isn’t coming back, is she? Shit, how did this happen? I don’t want you pouring beer for me, I wanted to do it with the girl who brought me here!)
I didn’t have the nerve to actually say what I was thinking to that girl.
In my sadness, I drank the cheap beer. After about half an hour, a man with a scary face came over to tell me the bill, and a sneaking suspicion of mine was confirmed.
“That’ll be 3 gold coins.”
(Yes, this whole bar is a scam, then. Maybe I should have tried to leave earlier, but I suppose it probably wouldn’t have mattered.)
(I suspected that, but I still drank anyway. The girl next to me was ugly, and the only solution was alcohol. Shit, their plan was perfect! But there’s no way I’d be carrying 3 gold with me. I think one gold is about $10,000. That’s just too much.)
“Oh, are you saying you won’t pay for your drinks?”
(No, I’m not paying 3 gold for that. What do I do now?)
As I was thinking about what I’d do, I heard an angry voice from another table.
“Eh? 3 gold for this?! Enough with the jokes!”
(Apparently there’s someone else besides me who got suckered into coming here.)
I looked over.
It was the knight who’d tried to arrest me again that morning. She was very drunk, too.
The lighting was dim, so she hadn’t noticed me yet.
“Youuuu shcamming basterds!”
“No no no, we’re a legitimate business here.”
(Why is she here?! Hmm, if I recognized her, I must not be too drunk. Yes, I’m fine.)
(Oh, I shouldn’t have said something…)
She turned to look at me.
She scowled at me. “Why, why are you here?!”
“That’s my line! I mean, aren’t you a woman?”
The large man next to her table, who had probably given her the bill, turned to me and gave me an evil-looking smile.
“This woman, she’s a lez, you know. Wanted another woman to make her feel good.”
(Wow, and she was desperate enough to come to a place like this?)
“No, shut up! Isn’t it fine?! For me to want a woman?!”
(She barely tried to deny it. That’s a really fast “coming out”.)
When Mercedes said that, the lady sitting hext to her gave a weird smile and started wiggling her way into Mercedes’s lap.
“You have to pay for your drinks, miss knight. If you don’t, we might have to report what you were doing tonight to your boss. The 3rd division, right? I do like loose-lipped women like you, ya know.”
“Why do you…?”
“You bragged about it to that lady next to you, didn’t you, Mercedes-chan? I think the neighbors might have been able to hear you.”
“Even my name?!”
(Wow, she has a big mouth. You should have used a fake name, obviously. Wait, maybe that’s why she was in prison under a different name…?)
“But, but still, three gold is just too much…”
“Huh? Well, if you can’t pay, then I guess you’ll just have to work off your debt.”
He was leering at her with a lecherous smile.
Meanwhile, 8 rough-looking men had come in, all of them with swords. They all laughed at his line.
(It doesn’t look like they’ll let us just leave.)
Her hand reached towards her sword.
“Oh, are you drawing? We’d have to do something about that.”
The men in the bar reached towards their own swords at their hips.
Meanwhile, the homely girl next to me had fled somewhere further inside the building at some point.
(This is like a scene in a saloon in a Western movie, just before a battle. Well, neither of us have the money to pay, so I’m going to have to get out of here by force.)
(Mercedes-chan is good at fighting, but she currently has the status effect “dead drunk”. Right now, she’d only be a burden. Getting out of here is up to me.)
(First, I should check how strong the opponents are.)
job: restaurant management
job: restaurant staff
job: restaurant staff
(There’s one guy in there who looks like he’s close to death. Looking at Michaelangelo there, his face is pretty pale. He doesn’t seem injured, so it’s probably some disease.)
I checked my own status again.
(My “LUC” is still low. I wonder if that’s related to ending up here. In any case, escape should be easy enough. I’m super strong.)
After checking their status, my attitude became a lot more grandiose.
“Sorry, but I can’t let you have that woman.”
I got up and walked over to Mercedes, not worrying about the men around her.
Even in that situation, Mercedes was still hugging the woman next to her with her left arm. Up close, I could see that Mercedes was actually fondling the other woman’s boobs. Going by her face, she looked like she hated it; it reminded me of the way Sophia had looked at me in the restaurant.
“What are you doing?!”
“Shut up for a minute, Mercedes.”
I pointed at the man who seemed like the leader.
“It’s time to begin the Tanaka festival.”
I made a fireball in front of my pointing finger. At the same time, I made another ten-some fireballs around the room. They gave off spurts of flame as they grew to the size of volleyballs.
The men’s faces hardened.
“If you want to die, go ahead. First come, first served.”
The men started getting increasingly angry.
“Hah, we’re not some street hoodlums that would be scared of a few fireballs.”
“One magician in this small area don’t do much.”
“Everyone go for him together!”
They yelled and attacked.
(Brave, very brave. But bravery alone won’t win against my fireballs.)
Their screams filled the air.
On impact, the fireballs all exploded into spurts of flame, and in that small space they reached me too. Trying to look cool in front of Mercedes-chan, I’d overdone things.
“Hey, what are you doing using fire in a small place like this?! Ah, my hair, my hair is burning!”
“Ah, my clothes are on fire! Shit!”
Both of us ran for the exit in a panic and slightly on fire.
A little while after escaping from the scam bar, Mercedes and I were sitting on some stairs in an alley in the red-light district.
“…I’m definitely not going to thank you for that.”
She looked very unhappy.
“Same as usual, I see.”
“I don’t care what a criminal like you thinks.”
“Like I said, that was a false charge…or rather, what were you doing there? Even if you like girls, buying a woman at a bar is pretty desperate.”
“That’s your fault, isn’t it?!”
“Why is it my fault.”
“A dragon, a dragon you know! There’s no way you’ll win! When someone’s facing their death, of course they’ll want to play around a little bit, and touch or rub or kiss or lick…”
“I’m surrounded by cute girls all day, and I can’t do anything! If I even tried to talk to them, I, you know what would happen! I have needs!”
(She was thinking basically the same thing as me.)
“And so, you got led to a scam bar.”
“You were the same!”
“That’s because the girl who led me there, she was just too cute…”
“…ah, that’s true, she was really pretty.”
“Her boobs were amazing, weren’t they?”
“Mmm, yes, I couldn’t get enough of that view.”
“Her ass was great too.”
“And that low cut of her dress in the back was hot.”
“Just remembering it makes me feel frustrated.”
We passed some time together talking about her, and how we imagined she’d be in bed.