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 Introductions

The Debt Hero Wataru arrived.

As promised, I decided to introduce Nayuta to Wataru. I set it up with a casual setting. There weren't any problems.

"P-pleased to meet you! M-my name's Nayuta!"

"I'm Setsuna~"

"Nice to meet you both, I'm Wataru Nishimi. The empire's Hero."

With that, Nayuta and Setsuna were sitting in front of Wataru at a table for four in the dining room. It wasn't meal time, so there weren't any other guests there.

"Let's see, I heard a bit about you two from Kehma-san, but you two are from Wakoku, right?"

"Y-yes. T-that's why, I want to ask Wataru-san, a hero, so many things! Umm, w-we'll pay for the information, so-"

"It's alright, don't worry about it. Instead, I'd like to ask you a few things about Wakoku back."

And I'll be getting information by attending them in the last seat. Information GET... Well, it's not like I have to be here either way. I'm just here in the off chance the topic turns to me and they notice something. That'd be serious.

"Wakuko has cherry blossoms, right?"

"Yes, it does. There are trees that bloom with pink flowers in the spring."

"Ah, so they bloom in the spring after all. Then maybe it'd be better to go in the spring... well, I don't have enough leisure to put off my work like that until my debt's paid off."

"Debt?"

"Yeah, around two thousand gold coins... I'm paying it back in payments, yeah..."

"By the way, we'd shoulder the loan if you became Wakoku's Hero..."

"I'm indebted to Haku-san... even now, she's introducing me to so much work that earns me praises."

"It's true that Heroes possess such a strong sense of duty..."

Nayuta sighed. I don't think Setsuna understood too well, but she was smiling.

"Hey hey, wanna have a mock fight later? I'm suuuper interested in strong people."

"Haha, later sure. By the way, what else is there in Wakoku?"

"Umm, there's miso and soy sauce."

"It was a bit scary eating raw fish, but that sashimi was really good."

"Ooh... As expected of Wakoku. Is there sake too?"

"There isn't any ginjo, but there's shochuu. It can't be called Japanese sake since it doesn't use rice, but it could be called Wakoku sake... ah, but I heard that rice was discovered recently. That's why we came to the Raverio Empire, to investigate it. From the looks of it, growing it is easy enough, there just needs to be the rice itself to grow." [1]

"Eh? There wasn't any rice in Wakoku?"

Ah, crap. Come to think of it, I said there was, didn't I...

"Hey, wasn't there something more important you wanted to ask the Hero-"

"From what we heard, our employer's only gotten a hold of a very small amount of what was discovered in the Raverio Empire. Unfortunately, the Mikado was only presented a preprocessed version-ah, the Mikado is the most important person in Wakoku, a descendants of the Hero that founded Wakoku."

I tried to interrupt casually but failed. Nayuta isn't paying any attention to me at all, oi.

"Mikado... I see, Mikado (Emperor), huh. So Wakoku was a country established by a Japanese... so that's why it's name is Wakoku..."

"And when the Mikado was shown the rice, it was unmistakably the real thing. Reproducing Japan is Wakoku's number one goal. An edict to investigate the area that produced it and obtain seeds came out. Ah, that's a state secret."

"Haah, I get it. So, for that rice... ah, is it alright for me to ask about it?"

"It's supposed to be kept a secret... but we're currently seeking even a trickle of information about it, so spreading it's alright."

You sure about doing that with a national secret?

I wanted to tilt my head.

"Then about that rice-"

"Hey, Wataru. Wouldn't that former hero that was able to build a country be a clue for your goal of returning to Japan?"

I promptly interrupted. By the way, there hasn't been any rice appearing in the set meals recently, not even for the A set meal. We still have a lot of the wheat we bought to last through the winter, so we've been using that. Thanks to that, it looks like Nayuta didn't realize that this inn used to have rice. She would've asked about it if she knew.

"Eh? Ah, Kehma-san didn't know? Hero summoning crosses through time. The Food God, Hero Ishidaka-san, was a person from about the same time period as me judging by the cuisine he popularized, so the flow of time here's different." [2]

Eh, really? Feels like I'm just now hearing about something really important.

"Rice is more important than that though, Kehma-san! It looks like there's no rice in Wakoku!? Hey Kehma-san, I need to talk to you about-"

"Alright, hold up. Sorry, but I need to borrow Wataru for a moment. C'mon."

"Eh, w-what's wrong, Kehma-san?"

I got out of my seat and pulled on Wataru. I'll pretend I didn't see Nayuta glare at me like I got in her way.

"Keep quiet about you and I being the ones to bring rice to the empire, alright?"

"Eh, but... don't the people of Wakoku really want rice? Let's share."

"Stupid, that's exactly why. That's why we can sell it for more. Supply and demand, it's the common sense for a merchant. I'll add to your debt if I get a loss due to your careless remarks. Be prepared to pay a hundred gold a month until you die if you say anything... yeah?"

"Uuu, the heck man... why's my weakness (money) being seized even though I'm a Hero... but then, Kehma-san, where did you get the rice?"

"You think I'd tell you with that loose mouth of yours? Hmm?"

"Yeah, I understand. I'll keep quiet."

I returned to my seat after finishing my talk with Wataru. Sitting here with him was the right choice after all.

"... Even if you're looking for rice, I can't help at all. Maaan, sorry about that."

"Village Chief-san? Just what did you..."

"I don't know what you're talking about. Now, didn't you have something you wanted to ask the Hero? Go ahead and ask."

"Ummm, well, excuse my discourtesy, but please take a look at this."

With a clank, Nayuta put her handmade revolver on the table. I guess she didn't want to seem threatening like how it was against me since she knew he was a Japanese?

"Nn? It looks like a gun... but what is this?"

"I'm trying to reproduce a weapon from the world of heroes. I'd like to get your opinion on it."

"... I see, so you're trying to reproduce guns. What for?"

"My hobby!"

"Your hobby..."

Her hobby was a troublesome answer.

So I decided to interrupt.

"By the way, Wataru. Concerning the gun, it appears that the only information written about them is their appearance and that they propel bullets through explosions. It seems that the means of the explosion itself isn't understood... I wonder why the Hero from that time decided to leave out the rest of the data?"

"... Ah-right, he was concerned about the existence of guns destroying the culture, so he only left information about how to defend against them without being able to make them...!? Kuh, then considering that, I... can't say anything further concerning guns! Sorry, Nayuta-san..."

"Ah, no, umm... yeah, oi, Village Chief-san? Could you please leave if you're just going to get in the way?"

This blonde dog eared girl just called me a hindrance.

"I'm doing the introducing, what would you do if I weren't here?"

"I'd be getting information from him now wouldn't I!?"

"Wataru, could you use the backyard to have that mock fight with Setsuna?"

"Hero-san, let's fight! Fight!"

When I brought up the matter of having that mock fight against Wataru as I ignored Nayuta, Setsuna took the bait as planned.

"Y-yeah. It's fine with me. I mean, I wasn't able to give much helpful information after all."

Wataru answered while looking at Setsuna's swaying breasts.

But that girl, she doesn't just have a top part. She has a bottom thing too.

I didn't say it though.

"... You look like you're enjoying yourself, huh~?"

Nerune violently put her wooden cup down on the table. A little of the water in it spilled onto the table... come to think of it, today was Nerune's waitress shift, wasn't it?

"Eh, ah, no! You're wrong, Nerune-san!"

"Wrong about what~? Fufufu~, you don't need to worry about me though~?"

"Are you mad? You're mad at me aren't you!"

"Hero-sama~, do you like them big~?"

"No, that's not it-"

... Huh? Nerune's reacting like she's jealous over something. When did you guys get into that kind of a relationship?

Nerune diverted her eyes for a moment. Following her gaze, Rei was over there with her thumb up in the air with a triumphant look.

So that was it? Her slamming the cup on the table a second ago was at Rei's suggestion. A performance.

"Oi, Wataru. Even though you confessed to Rokuko, now you're making a move on our young miss? That's some nerve you have there, oi."

"Eh, no, I was just a bit excited by our magic discussion, I'm not guilty of anything yet-"

"... Yet? Then you were planning on doing something in the future...? Guest-saaan? That's troubling, we aren't that kind of inn though?"

"T-t-t-t-that's not what I meant! I've just been talking about magic with Nerune-san-!"

"Yeah, it's nothing~. I'm only interested in the magic Hero-sama knows~. No more, no less~"

Ah, Nerune's true intentions. I can vaguely see them as the Dungeon Master, but that's her honest intentions. This girl is seriously only interested in magic. She's not a monster called Apprentice Witch for nothing.

And so after various things, it was decided that he would bring her some magic scrolls next time as a present.

Well done.

I held my thumb up towards Rei in praise.

Footnotes:

Ginjo-shu () (at least 40% of rice polished away; with or without alcohol added; if bottle is labeled Ginjo, it means distilled alcohol was added; if labeled Junmai Ginjo, it means no alcohol added). Shōchū (?) is a Japanese distilled beverage less than 45% alcohol by volume. Shochuu is not a sake. Ginjo is. Return

Note that Ishidaka was summoned a long while before Wataru. Also note that it seems that Keima's question hinted that the ancient hero managed to leave behind something that allowed his descendants to get info from Japan, thus why they were aware of modern Japanese culture, and that could become a clue to sending Wataru back.

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