Interlude: With Ruti
Author’s note: On the book release date, I was a little nervous and my mind couldn’t function well … so today I will just write a story on a date with Ruti.
I have published a short story about a date with Lit but I wanted to write a similar date with Ruti!
My cute younger sister’s face was in front of me when I opened my eyes.
“Good morning, Onii-chan.”
I was not surprised, it was a common scene when we were traveling.
The Ruti then had nothing to do at night so she apparently stared at my face for the entire night.
I suggested to her to perhaps read a book or something but she replied that she didn’t feel like reading a book so it would be strange to force herself to read just because she was free.
As a result, it became such that Ruti could do whatever she wanted at night as long as it doesn’t wake me.
Inside the dark tent, Ruti would sit across me with her body leaning slightly forward and stare at my face for the entire night … imagining her doing that was kind of …
After all, she stared at my face intently, you know? My heart felt warm knowing that she relied on me that much and knowing that Ruti was beside me the entire night calmed my heart and gave me good dreams.
Tise and Ugeuge-san were very surprised when I told them. I wondered why but for about two hours after that, Tise moved around with jerky movements as though she was a poorly made golem.
“Ah, sorry, I seem to still be a little groggy. I am awake now.”
Ruti quickly avoided as I raised my body up.
“Did you reactivate your Sleep Tolerance yesterday?”
“Yup, it has been a long time so I wanted to stare at Onii-chan’s face.”
Looking out the window, I saw the dimly lit morning scenery of Zoltan in winter. It was the usual time.
Lit went to a slightly far away village to gather medicinal herb. She stayed a night yesterday so she should return around today in the evening.
Normally I would go instead but …
“Onii-chan, thank you for keeping your promise.”
Ruti said happily.
I promised Ruti that I would accompany her to Zoltan’s harbor district today.
Just today, a substitute for the medicinal herb Blood Needle … a colony of plant-type monster 「Snake-eating Grass」 was found. There seem to have been casualties and adventurers have taken up the request for it but they would probably burn it all down.
I wanted to defeat it and bring it back before that happened but … I had plans with Ruti for the promise I made with her previously so Lit offered to go in my stead.
“Well then, maybe we can have breakfast outside for a change.”
“I love Onii-chan’s cooking the most but … I am interested in Zoltan’s food as well.”
I was happy and unconsciously smiled.
I could actually hear ‘interested’ coming from Ruti’s mouth.
When I gently pat Ruti’s head, Ruti tilted her head with a blank look at first before she narrowed her eyes and it seemed that she found it comfortable.
Zoltan’s harbor district was adjacent to the river.
The troubling thing was that the people of Zoltan do not know the name of the river. I believe it had a name, perhaps during the days of the Wood-Elves.
The elders of the Half-Elves commented that they somewhat recalled their grandparent generation calling it with a name that started with ‘Mi’. However, the river seemed to have various names depending on the location and time.
It seemed to be called all kinds of different names such as river illuminated by the morning sun, night black river, sparkling summer river, and clear winter river. That stemmed from the culture of the Wood-Elf race in which they consider all matter exists in the great flow and believe that even the river is not the same at all times but an entirely different existence depending on the day and season.
On the other hand, the humans who settled here and created the country of Zoltan just called it ‘the river’. Although the river was an existence that gave humans huge benefits and there was a need to distinguish it by name, they probably decided that calling it ‘the river’ was sufficient if it could let the listener know what the speaker was referring to.
Now, although I wish to talk to them once, the Wood-Elf race has already met its downfall.
The Wood-Elves were no longer around but the river still flows to this day. And even for us humans, we are not able to survive without the river.
“And it is thanks to the river that we are able to eat this steamed pike.”
At the harbor district, there were many shops frequented by workers and sailors that offer ready to serve fish soup. However, the shop we were at was a shop used by captains and navigators of anchored ships so it made proper breakfast as well.
The pike was steamed with broth that brought out the unique and refreshing taste of freshwater fish. In addition, there were marinated onions on the side and the flavor of the vinegar and onion was delicious.
The bread served was soft white bread. We were drinking wine even though it was still in the morning.
Ruti was happily eating. I was glad she liked it.
“Since we are at the harbor district, perhaps we should take a look at the shipped goods market. After that, let’s loan a sightseeing boat.”
“Yes, there are places that lend them and we would be able to watch Zoltan from the river.”
“On a boat with just Onii-chan …”
Ruti looked down a little. Her lips extended horizontally a little and ‘Fufufu’ laughter leaked from her lips.
“I am extremely happy.”
Ruti raised her head and said with shining eyes.
The shipped goods market was very bustling whenever ships came. However, today the peddlers from the upstream village were returning on rowing boats so the market was quiet.
I was stopped by a voice as we were walking through the market.
A man with a shady face called me. He was Pasquale, a counterfeit accessory craftsman who also worked as a navigator on the side. He had various scars on his shins but Zoltan’s implicit rule was not to pry into the past of their migrants. I didn’t think of asking either.
“What’s this? Cheating? You already have Hero Lit.”
“She’s my younger sister. Ruti‧Ruru.”
“Eh, you have a younger sister? She’s cute.”
“By the way, she is the new B-rank adventurer. You won’t end well if you try to make a move.”
“Seriously? Both Hero Lit and a great younger sister? Apothecary, do you have a divine protection that gives rise to heroes?”
I unconsciously smiled bitterly. He wasn’t exactly right but he wasn’t wrong either …?
“There’s no such divine protection. So, why did you stop me?”
“Well I was sure you were on a date and it would be a perfect chance for you to get a present for your girlfriend.”
Pasquale said as he pointed at the earrings and tiaras inlaid with all kinds of gems lined up in front of him.
“Aren’t they all imitations? Probably glass.”
“That’s right but aren’t they beautiful? They are gems that I painstakingly polished one by one.”
“You won’t ask for a rip-off price, right?”
“I won’t do that to someone who’s knowledgeable. I’ll sell at an appropriate price taking into account my material cost and labor.”
Well then … I glanced at Ruti.
Ruti was silently looking at the accessories laid out.
To put it simply, Ruti was a wealthy person. She obtained legendary treasures during her journey and sold the supplies they stole from the Demon Lord Army.
The treasures she possessed were so expensive that it was impossible to sell in Zoltan’s economy. In other words, she had enough assets to easily blow through Zoltan’s national budget.
I wondered just how many peryl silver coins did she have.
Hmm, giving Ruti a glass ball accessory? She wasn’t wearing them now but she had a wealth of accessories such as mithril earrings and a buckle made with an extremely rare and beautiful meteoric iron called Red Sky.
“Hn, do you actually want one?”
“Yup … I’m fine with the cheapest one but I want one.”
I see …
“All right, then I will give you a gift that fits you best.”
“Yay, I’m getting a present.”
I found that Ruti’s cheeks were somewhat a little redder.
Subsequently, after I had a battle with Pasquale who wanted to sell his items at a price that was as high as possible, I bought an earring that was made especially well and presented it to Ruti.
The sightseeing small boat was a ship with a single mast and a triangle sail. When there was no wind, the boat could be propelled using an oar but the fact that a single person was more than enough to move the boat with an oar told of the size of the boat.
Well, it was just a vessel meant for sightseeing. It had sufficient functionality for its purpose.
I adjusted the sail that was misaligned from the direction of the wind.
The boat slowly went upstream.
“All right then, let’s have something.”
I opened the paper bag containing white fish and sweet potato fries I bought from a street stall.
Ruti and I relished Zoltan’s street food.
“The street food from the north district called Takoyaki is tasty too but it is far from the harbor district.”
“I want to eat it together next time.”
“All right, let’s tour the north district the next time.”
On top of the boat propelled forward by the wind at its sail, Ruti and I watched the town of Zoltan slowly flow by us.
“It’s a great town.”
“I am in this town’s sole B-rank adventurer party. However, I have never been forced to participate in a fight. When I said I can’t, they would give up and reply that they understand.”
“Everyone likes to relax after all.”
“I didn’t expect a day would come that I could once again spend time with Onii-chan with only the two of us. I never thought that I would make friends such as Tise, Ugeuge-san, and Lit.”
Ruti looked directly in my face.
“Thank you Onii-chan. From now on, could we stay together forever?”
Previously, when I was asked this question, I was about to enter the Bahamut Knight Order so I couldn’t give her an answer.
However, this time it was different. My goal was a slow life.
“Yeah, as long as Ruti wishes for it. I will be with you forever and ever.”
When I said that, Ruti’s pupils trembled and she tightly clenched her fist.
She smiled and nodded.