NBAA Vol. 3 Chapter 1 Part 3
The following day, Reito opened his eyes and immediately headed out to Faas Village toward the water wheel.
He didn’t see Kotomin. There was a chance she had run off, but her facial expression when they made the pinky swear seemed so sincere that he decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.
“If Kotomin has really run away, we’re gonna eat sashimi tonight.”
“I’m not sure if I heard right, but it sounds like you’re having a really scary conversation,” a voice came from the water and the pair turned around.
What stood there was a sleepy-faced Kotomin.
She was holding a salmon in each fist, standing on the land, munching on one of them. In this world, the fish from Reito’s past life were also available.
“This is really delicious.”
“Wait, you eat them raw? You don’t even prepare them or anything?”
“Prepare? Don’t you eat the fish as they are?”
“Humans grill or at least cut the fish and then eat them. Have you ever had a fish made into a dish before?”
“Nope,” she replied immediately, shaking her head.
It wasn’t terrible that she was eating the fish as is, but it was a waste. Reito turned his sights to the river.
Reito tossed his ice daggers into the water and pierced a few fish. Using his “Accuracy” and “Throwing” skills, it was no problem to catch fish, even without using fishing equipment.
Reito went in the water and gathered the fish.
“This is sweetfish. I’m gonna have to grill it with salt.”
Kotomin tilted her head in confusion but Reito ignored her and called out to Ullr.
“Ullr, you wanna eat some too?”
“I forgot that you’re not good with hot foods… Funny for a big strong wolf…”
Reito took out the gear to grill the sweetfish out of his Storage Magic dimensional pocket.
He lit a bonfire, skewered the fish, and lined them up over the fire. He sprinkled a little salt on top. Using his “Cooking” skill, he was able to complete the dish in a matter of moments.
Reito offered the freshly grilled sweetfish to Kotomin.
“Give it a try.”
She sniffed it.
“Smells good, I bet it’s delicious.”
“It’s hot so watch out.”
“Do you listen to anything people say?!”
Kotomin had bitten into the sweetfish without hesitation and all of a sudden her sleepy eyes opened all the way. She exaggeratedly shook with excitement.
“This is delicious! Too good! Ahh!”
“Huh, did you just yawn!”
“No, I was trying to show how delicious this is.”
Kotomin got lost while eating the sweetfish. Reito started work on the groundwork for building the water wheel while she finished eating.
“That sure was good. I wouldn’t mind a second-helping.”
“Sorry, no second-helpings. Now get to work!!”
She pouted, “I guess there’s no choice.”
They spent a few hours until lunchtime came along. The two of them were working together so they were able to complete the water wheel in half the time it took compared to last time.
“Phew. It’s moving! That’s good!”
Reito was appreciating the water wheel spinning in the water. Kotomin, who was not used to working, was tired. She dipped into the water and took a break.
“Good work today, I’m also tired.”
“Thank you, Ms. Kotomin!”
“Don’t call me that, just call me Kotomin. Even Suramin is okay.”
“Oh? You’ve come to like that nickname, huh.”
They chatted back and forth like that for a while before Reito said thanks to Kotomin for not running away and finishing the work.
He decided to grill another fish for her and asked her a question while she rested, “What kind of fish do you like?”
“I like any kind of fish, but I like big ones the best.”
“Got it, please wait a second. It’s been a while so I don’t know how it’ll go.”
Reito reached into the water and grabbed his “Iceclad Sword.”
Kotomin looked mystified at Reito who suddenly started doing this strange action. Reito submerged himself in the water and closed his eyes, concentrating hard.
Reito had been training his “Mind’s Eye” skill.
It is taxing on the nerves so it’s not used very often but it’s very effective. Even if you close your eyes, you are able to grasp what surrounds you. It is a skill that only swordsmen and warriors in the master class of the battle profession are able to learn.
Something strange happened in Reito’s pitch-black field of vision. Using the eye of his mind, his surroundings became clear and he could even detect objects in blind spots.
“Mind’s Eye” can only grasp the outline of objects but he was able to find the exact location of fish swimming in the river.
Reito could feel a fish coming toward him head-on and threw his dagger at it.
The dagger pierced through the fish. Reito managed to pin down a few fish that only existed in this world; their bodies were gleaming like mirrors.
“Nice! But, can we eat them?”
“They are mirror fish. They shine like a mirror so women have loved to use them as hand-mirrors since the olden days”
“All right… I wonder if they can be grilled.”
Reito and Kotomin talked back and forth before Airis explained.
『You need to descale the fish or you won’t be able to eat it. Also, you’ll need to apply heat all at once.』
Reito put into work his “cooking” skill and promptly seasoned the fish. He skewered them like a sweetfish and lined them up to eat.
Kotomin drooled over the fish getting grilled on the bonfire. After it was finished getting grilled, Reito offered one to Kotomin.
“All right, eat it nice and slow.”
“All right,” gobble, gobble.
“Did you hear what I said!?”
Kotomin was absorbed in munching on the mirror fish. Seeing her enjoying the delicious fish, Ullr pleaded in hunger.
Reito decided that next time they would have to prepare their own dinner too.
“Do you wanna eat poark for the first time in a while? Could you fetch me some water?”
“Well water, not river water. You can do it alone, right?”
Ullr responded happily to Reito’s request and dashed off.
Reito used his storage magic to pull out his cooking kit before Kotomin came along and asked, “Is that magic… storage magic?”
“In that case, are you a Support Magician?”
“This is the first time I’ve met someone whose occupation is Support Magician.”
Even though she learned that Reito had the worthless vocation of Support Magician, her attitude toward him didn’t change. Most people who knew that he had a worthless job would make fun of him.
She just watched Reito cook the food.
“What are you doing there?”
“The same thing I was doing before, cooking.”
“So, because you prepared the food beforehand, the fish tasted delicious?”
“Not just fish, but any food. If you’re interested, why don’t you give it a try?”
It appeared Kotomin was interested in cooking.
From there on out, Reito would prepare lunch for himself and Ullr while teaching Kotomin the basics of cooking. She was surprisingly skillful and was able to immediately remember the method for grilling fish skewers.
After they finished eating, the pair sat by the river and chatted.
Reito explained that he was a human from this village.
It was true that he was the manager of the village. He also mentioned that he would sometimes go to the city and pick up work as an adventurer.
Kotomin also talked about herself.
“I lived in the tide. I lived with my mother but we had a fight so I was chased out of the house and before I knew it, I lost track of where I was and ended up here”
“You’re a runaway… By the way, how long has it been since you’ve seen your mother?”
“About… three years?”
“I’ve never had to worry about food, but I lived alone the whole time so it was a little lonely…”
Kotomin either had an extremely poor sense of direction, or her problem had far surpassed that, but at any rate, it appeared she had been wandering aimlessly for the last three years.
Reito was surprised by her life circumstances but he also hadn’t seen his mother in a while.
In Reito’s case, unlike Kotomin, he had snuck out of his house of his own accord. But, he did want to tell his mother he was still alive.
“Is your mother worried about you?”
“I’m not sure… Maybe she has forgotten about me.”
“Don’t be silly…”
“I mean, even I have half-forgotten my mom’s face.”
“You’re a real heartless child, huh!!”
Kotomin laughed with a smile.
Reito was speechless at Kotomin’s words, but was enjoying the conversation with her.
He glanced at Kotomin’s strange outfit, which looked like a school swimming uniform, and decided to ask her about it.
“What’s up with these clothes… this… swimsuit? Do you always wear that?”
“Swimsuit? I don’t know about that but these are clothes that only mermaids can wear, ‘Water Clothes.’ My mom said that a long time ago, heroes summoned here from another world made these clothes for us.”
“Yeah, but, why are you wearing a school swimsuit… What kind of people were these ancient heroes?”
“They were very perverted heroes, but, according to legend, they were very good people. My mother told me that human men like this kind of clothing…”
“Not everyone likes it. I’ve only just looked at them, I don’t know if I’d say I like them.”
Reito was a student in his past life so he had seen girls wearing their school swimsuits before. So, he was able to look at Kotomin’s swimsuit without being too excited, but there really was something strange about this world.
“Doesn’t that outfit stand out?”
“A few humans have seen it and have been surprised… A few people tried to capture me in it.”
“They tried to kidnap you… Were you all right?”
“Yeah. There’s been a few close calls but I can just dive into the river and most humans give up after that. A few people have tried to chase me down in the water but trying to beat a mermaid in the water is foolish behavior… I managed to turn the tables on them.”
“Turn the tables?”
“Yeah, so, out of everyone who has looked at me, Reito was the first to not be surprised… But, I didn’t think you would be so upset when we had our reunion yesterday.”
It appeared that Kotomin was really interested in Reito.
Kotomin told Reito, “humans always try to capture me but you’re different. You saw me but you didn’t try to capture me. Even in this outfit, you can talk to me like normal.”
“I was just curious. I don’t know if it says a lot about my preferences and interests…”
“That’s all right. You’re a human but you’re a good person… So, I wanna be friends.”
“Here, for you.”
Reito wasn’t sure where she had been hiding it but she pulled out a stone that was blue like a sapphire and handed it to him. He looked at the object with a puzzled face and accepted it.
He heard Airis’s voice in his head right away.
『You sure got something nice there. That’s an aquatic crystal known as a ‘Crystal Stone.’ If you put it in a magic ring, it can strengthen your aquatic magic greatly.』
It appeared Kotomin had given him quite the precious treasure. Realizing that, he wasn’t quite sure why she had offered it to him and looked puzzled.
Kotomin blushed in shyness.
“This is my treasure… That’s what my mom said. If you meet a special person, give it to them… you are my first human friend.”
“Uhh, thank you?”
Reito was pretty sure that the “special person” Kotomin’s mom was referring to was a “romantic partner…” He was aware of that but didn’t feel like it was good timing to reject the gift.
He reluctantly accepted the gift.
『You did it, Reito! You got a precious magic stone from a cute girl!!』
『You bastard! You knew things would end up this way so you made me repair the water mill…』
Reito immediately put the Crystal Stone in his magic ring. He waved goodbye as he watched her disappear into the water.
Kotomin was going to go back home and rest. She promised she would come back to Faas Village tomorrow morning to hang out.
Reito felt puzzled and called out to Ullr, “All right, we oughta go back for the time being. The elf princess from before might have dropped by the Adventurer’s Guild…”