11. …I can’t do anything more than listen.
Me and Gusu-oyake have a fun packed carriage ride. It’ll take us about three days to get to the royal capital. The weather’s looking to be real nice, too.
…That’s what I thought it’d be like anyway.
Gusu-oyake collapsed out of nowhere. Me and the chibi have been placing wet cloths over her forehead ever since.
The heck happened?
We were on the carriage. It rattled a lot more than I thought it would. Freaking hurt. The chibi seemed to find it fun though. They kept jumping up and down.
More than anything thing else, the mood inside the carriage sucked. Everyone refused to make eye contact with me. I was careful and even wore a hood!
At any rate, Gusu-oyake wore a hood for some reason too.
In a low voice, I said to her, “Hey, why do you have a hood on for too?”
No answer. She sleeping? Being able to sleep in the middle of this, respect.
The carriage made a loud sound as it shook. My ass was starting to hurt.
Gusu-oyake started to lean against me cause of it too.
Tch, well, she’s asleep. No helping it, I guess. Actually, this doesn’t look like that.
“Zebo-zan, sobby. This is by rimit.”
“Huh? What was that?
“What!? Hey! Stop the carriage!”
—And the present
I say, “Seriously, if you feel bad, say it sooner.”
“Sobby bor being a burden…”
“Ahh? You’re not a burden. Just take it easy for now. Seriously, I’d be really embarrassing if we got to the royal capital and you threw up.”
Gusu-oyake seems to be doing better. The chibi are brazenly not caring about it though. Actually, what are those guys up to?
I look closely and discover that they’re making some sort of shady medicine. I verify what it is. Turns out it’s something to stop nausea. These guys can do anything.
“…being a burden. I didn’t want to burden you.”
“You’re still saying that? You’re thinking too much about it. Just get some rest.”
Gusu-oyake goes silent after that. Was there something she wanted to say to me? I don’t have a clue on what to do during times like these.
Should I have just listened to what she had to say? But, after that, then what? Even though I wanted to change in my second life, in the end, I’m still like this.
This sucks. All I can do is cool Gusu-oyake off by placing a wet cloth over her forehead whenever possible.
Then, about 2 hours later, Gusu-oyake gets up.
“Sorry! I’m better now!”
“Oh, you’re fine?”
“Yes. Although if something goes wrong, I’ll regress… But, right now, I’m alright!”
She’s putting on a strong front. She’s being unreasonable, I get that. That’s how I’ve always been, acting tough no matter what came my way. But right now is different. What should I say?
I say, “Let’s camp here tonight.”
“Ah, you are right. Evening has already fallen, after all.”
“You stay there and take it easy. Me and the chibi are gonna go get some stuff to burn.”
“Ano, is me not doing alright?”
Damn it! Is she worrying about me? Actually, did I make her worry about me? What the hell? What the hell? Shit!
“You should rest! I’ll be really annoyed if you collapse again tomorrow.”
“Ah… You are right, my apologies.”
I made her apologize again. Is that good? Is that really what I wanted to say?
…not in the slightest.
“Ze-Zero-san!? What is wrong!?”
“Shut your trap! I don’t have a clue about what to do during times like these! Therefore, all I can do is hear you out! Don’t expect me to say anything helpful afterwards either! Still, you ain’t got to hold back! Damn it, I’m completely useless.”
Hora, Gusu-oyake is stupefied into silence. I’ve made everything awkward. Still, I can’t think up anything better to do.
Can’t be helped, all I can do now is go collect some first wood.
In other words, I’m running away. How pathetic.
Once we finish eating, we turn in for the day. Gusu-oyake doesn’t make a peep during that time. I don’t know what to say either, so I stay quiet too.
“Zero-san, are you still awake?”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“Thank you very much.”
“Agh? Where’d that come from?”
I sit up and look at Gusu-oyake. Gusu-oyake must have put a lot of thought into this since she’s also sitting up and staring at me.
She says, “For just a bit, can I speak to you?”
“…All I can do is listen.”
“I understand… I have an elder sister two years older than me. She is very capable. I’m always being compared with her.”
An elder sister? I got along pretty well with my imouto back home. She was always troubling me with one thing or another.
Gusu-oyake continues, “What my elder sister can do, I cannot. Everyday, that was how everyone saw me. None the less, they refrained from saying anything to me and spoke behind my back.”
“They sound like shit.”
“Fufuu, they really do. That might just be the case. Regardless, I believed myself worthless. Hence I came on this journey to contract with a spirit. I wanted everyone to recognize me, even if just a bit.”
She wanted to be acknowledged? I get that. I wanted it too. No one gave a damn about me. That’s why I wanted a place where I’d be welcomed.
Gusu-oyake says, “I, will I be praised once I return home?”
I have no idea. None of the surrounding chibi know either. Even if she does her best, she’ll just be compared to that other girl. But, I want Gusu-oyake to be acknowledged. I want them to praise her.
Ever since coming to this world, I get the feeling I’ve finally discovered what it is I want to do.
I say, “No clue, but just ignore punks like them. Gusu-oyake, when monsters attacked, or when you looked for spirits, you stuck together with a guy like me. That makes you amazing. Even if those others don’t recognize you, I do. Those people ridiculing you, I’ll blow them all away! That’s why, don’t cry!”
“Yes… yes, thank you very much.”
Gusu-oyake more or less falls asleep after that. She must be satisfied with getting that off her chest.
Not me though. This girl and me, we’re nothing alike. Hence, I want to do something for her. If she somehow accomplishes something, I don’t know why, but I feel like I should also do something too.
I can’t do anything with my power. I absolutely get that. Hence, I whisper, “Chibi, I want to be Gusu-oyake’s strength. Will you help me?”
Looks like the chibi are with me. Although, for some reason, they keep jabbing out punches. No, what’s with this call to violence?
For now, me and the chibi are in agreement. Everything will work out. I’m positive anything is possible with these guys!
Me and the chibi discuss a ton of stuff. I eventually lose against my drowsiness and fall asleep.
“Zero-san, it is morning! I have breakfast!”
“Ugo!? Morning!? Where is this!?”
“No, you are still half asleep. Today, I prepared breakfast.”
Is that the case? It’s morning? I must have fallen asleep. Gusu-oyake and the chibi are full of energy.
Ahre? Weren’t the chibi up late together with me? Are these guys tougher than me?
Well, it’s all good. For now, break… fast?
“Gusu-oyake, what is this?”
“It is soup!”
Soup? The heck is this muddy green stuff? This is dangerous, it’s giving me chills.
This is bad, the chibi have gone blue in the face and are shaking their heads. This is absolutely dangerous.
“Wh- what’s this black thing?”
“It is bread! I remember how you mentioned that you like your bread nice and crispy! So, I baked it that way!”
I see, hence this charred bread. Right…
Now what about the soup?
I take a sip. Without a word, I dump it back into the pot.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! What did you do that for?!? Even after I gave my best to make it!”
“Shuuut your traaaap! Quit messing with me! Have you never cooked before?!!”
“What, when!? Tell me, right now!”
“Uuughhh, Zero-san, I’m always watching you cook! I can do it too!”
This idiot. Is she a spoiled brat? More like, my tongue is still tingling. It felt like I was putting some sort of rubber or slime in my mouth. I can’t get it out of my head. It was seriously terrible. It’s a miracle I didn’t throw up.
That’s when the chibi present me with something circular.
“Ah? What do you guys got there? Medicine? Gratitude.”
“Medicine!? Why do you need medicine for?!? Is my soup poison?!?”
No matter what you say, I seriously thought it was going to kill me.
Why is it she can’t cook? If both her parents work, ain’t that the least she could learn to do? Thank you very much.
“What is it? Everything is already fine, I…”
“From now on, when we’re together, leave cooking to me. No need to go out of your way to do things you can’t.”
“Eh? Perhaps, you could teach me?”
I do not want to die. I was just barely able to keep it down. Seriously, only at the last moment. I should be praised for it.
“Still? I, considering it was my first time, think I did pretty good.”
“Shut up, murderer. Or more like, you could have killed me.”
“It wasn’t that bad?!?”
For some reason, I laugh. I don’t get why, but I’m laughing.
“Why are you laughing for…? Even though I was so confident.”
“Hahaa, well, let’s take it slow. If you get better at cooking, won’t that increase your ability to be a bride?”
“A bride!? Please refrain from making passes at me out of nowhere! …We-well, if you want me, then I shall consider it a bit.”
“Pass, I don’t want someone who can’t even cook.”
Gusu-oyake cries out while the chibi and me laugh.
For now, I do what I can. That starts with disposing of this hideous mess and then preparing breakfast
Skill: The Person Loved by Spirits
Special Feature: Intimidating Eyes
Items: Stone Ax
Objective: Ensure Gusu-oyake is recognized.
Teach Gusu-oyake to cook.