“Kazuma, Kazuma, we’ve known each other for quite some time, haven’t we?”
Aqua, playing with Chomusuke in the yard, happily said to me as she approached me.
“… So, who do you need to apologize to this time?”
“Wait a minute, why do you immediately think I’ve done something wrong?”
Isn’t that obvious?
“The only reasons why you would call me by my name like this is because you got into some kind of trouble, are completely bored, or want some more pocket money from me.”
“Tsk, I don’t like this, but I can’t find a way to retort… But just listen to me this time. You’ll definitely be overjoyed to the point where you’ll willingly give me more pocket money.”
“Didn’t I already give you some yesterday?”
“It’s already all gone. I don’t get it. My purse was full yesterday morning, but it’s now completely empty after I spent a night out drinking.”
I turned towards Chomusuke and started dangling a cattail in front of her.
“It’s over here! Over here! What you swiped at just now was just an afterimage… Oh, to think you saw through my feint. You’re quite something indeed…”
“Kazuma, please listen to me! I’m begging you! The guy at the store was selling something really amazing today! I could tell at a glance! You’ll definitely be happy with it too!”
—Aqua wouldn’t stop whining after that, so I had no choice but to go give it a look.
“Just what kind of amazing item is it? I’ve come across plenty of amazing stuff since I’ve come to this place, so I’m pretty much used to such things by this point.”
“Fufu, seems like you’ve slowly gotten to know the world of art. Why don’t you stop becoming a useless adventurer and start working towards becoming an art connoisseur from now on?”
“Just who exactly are you calling useless?”
Just as I got into a quarrel with Aqua, I noticed something strange about the town.
Everyone walking down the streets seemed to be in a cheery mood, and cheerful music could be heard throughout the town.
“Is there some sort of special occasion today?”
“This is why NEETs are hopeless. There’s a holiday today. Everyone in town is throwing a festival, that’s why it’s so rowdy. See, look at how cheerful everyone is.”
So there are holidays in this world too?
“So, what holiday is it?”
“I think it is the birthday of the princess of this country.”
“Hey, isn’t that Iris? This is bad, I haven’t prepared a birthday gift for her!”
I immediately started to panic, but Aqua merely said.
“What are you saying? Just where do you think we are heading to right now, Kazuma?”
The place we are heading to right now…
“That shop that sells that really amazing item! Aqua, you aren’t totally useless after all!”
“Hey, hold on, haven’t I been really useful as of late!?”
—The place Aqua let me to is…
“… What exactly is this?”
“It’s just as you see, Kazuma. This is a store that sells rocks. These rocks have been gathered from the four corners of the world by the storekeeper.”
No matter how you looked at it, this is definitely a fraud.
“Did you get conned again!? These rocks all look like they were picked up from the local riverbed!”
“It’s only expected for someone with no eye for art like you to say such things, but you’re just asking to get chewed out if you continue. Say, storekeep, why don’t you show this man just how amazing this rock is?”
The man who was manning the store glanced at me and picked up a pebble.
“This is why amateurs are… Take a good look at this rock from this angle.”
When I did as he asked, the pebble seemed somewhat familiar somehow…
“Winter Shogun? Hey, isn’t this the Winter Shogun?”
“Yes, indeed. Isn’t it amazing? To think that a naturally weathered stone could form such an image…”
Seriously? You’re saying that this rock was found in such a shape…
“… No, no, wait, wait, it’s amazing and all, but what use could I have for such an item? In the first place, I’m here to pick up a present for Iris—”
“What are you saying? A girl brimming with curiosity like her would be sure to be amazed with such a gift. She would’ve gotten tired of receiving precious jewels and ornate treasures by now.”
Well, it does make a certain amount of sense, and I get the feeling that Iris would be very happy to have such a gift…
“Excuse me, I’d like to buy this pebble.”
“Sure thing. That’d be eight thousand eris.”
It’s just a rock, how could you sell it for that much? Those words were on the tip of my tongue, but I kept them in my heart as I reached for my wallet…
“Hey, wait a minute, I wanted that pebble.”
Just then, Aqua interrupted.
“Aren’t you broke? Besides, rather than something expensive, Iris would probably be happier with some oddity or a handcrafted piece of art. Even if it’s cheap, as long as it comes from the heart, she’d surely be happy with it, so—”
“I was the one who saw it first! Please, Kazuma, I can let you have the Winter Shogun, but please at least buy this piece for me!”
“That’d be twenty thousand eris.”
Are you kidding me?
“Please, I really like this piece! I’ll take good care of it! See, from this angle, it looks a little like Chomusuke.”
“Seriously… Oh, fine, I’ll buy it for you.”
She did help me pick a gift for Iris today, so I guess I can indulge her just this once.
“Thank you, Kazuma!”
Seeing Aqua happily cradle the piece of rock to her chest, I thought to myself, well, I suppose this isn’t too bad…
“I’ll probably forget about this in an hour, so I wanted to thank you before I forget.”
“Give that rock back to me, I’m going to go get a refund.”
And thus, I spent the rest of the morning chasing after Aqua.
<Note: This story takes place sometime around season 2, around volume 3-4 ish, so the status quo is a bit different from the more recent volumes.>
Editor: Keel The Swift, Ulti
Editing: Ulti, Shaoqi
Editing: Ulti, Xenthur