Chapter 28:

My Shopping Trip Part 1

New Leaf!

“Here is a board with a map of the mall.”Bookmark here

I examined the board. It was thick, white, bright, and… a little bit warm? Right now, there was a picture of the floor plan — oh wait, it’s only for this floor. Do I have to go downstairs for that floor? Hm… This would be easier to look at if this map were a bit bigger. I mean, some of this board is being taken up by other things! What are these pictures for? A magnifying glass? What does that mean? And what are these words on the side for? Dining? Entertainment? Fashion? Wait… are they categories? But there are no arrows pointing to where they are on the map! Hm…Bookmark here

“Hey Ren, do you have a pen and some paper?”Bookmark here

He reached into his bag.Bookmark here

“Sure… But, um, w-why?”Bookmark here

Why else?Bookmark here

“To copy down this map. I mean, if we don’t copy this down, then I’m sure we’ll get lost.”Bookmark here

He stopped.Bookmark here

“Hm? Oh, that will not be necessary. You see-”Bookmark here

“Wait, have you memorized the layout of this place? That’s impressive Ren?”Bookmark here

Woah, Ren with the one-hundred-gigabyte memory!Bookmark here

“Huh? Oh, that isn’t it…”Bookmark here

Oh...Bookmark here

“There are more of these boards around the mall.”Bookmark here

“I see… Yeah, that’s handy.”
I nodded and turned back to look at the map.Bookmark here

The floor plan of this mall wasn’t really detailed. It was just a bunch of squares on the sides. They were probably the stores; they have the store names on them. But how do you know what store sells what? Hm… It would be really useful if those categories on the side corresponded with the store names.Bookmark here

“Ren, where should we go first?”Bookmark here

“Oh. Um… I am not entirely sure… But, I think you should check the map to see what stores interest you.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, probably. But this map is really bland. How do I know what store sells what?”Bookmark here

“Check the categories.”Bookmark here

What? How do I do that? Something to do with the categories on the side? Um… I don’t see any buttons anywhere.Bookmark here

I stepped back and bowed at the board.Bookmark here

“Um… H-Hey Board, p-please show me the categories!”Bookmark here

Wait, I think that triggered something. It was… Oh, it was Ren… Oh? He stood between me and the board and shook his head.Bookmark here

“S-Sorry, you probably do not have much experience with electronics, right?”Bookmark here

“E-Electronics?”Bookmark here

Ren turned and moved his finger to tap on “more categories.” Suddenly, the picture on the board changed. It was filled with a list of categories and the map disappeared.Bookmark here

“What!? Ren, how did you do that? Wait, are you a wizard or something? Gah, please teach me!”Bookmark here

My eyes widened in excitement. I looked around us and saw some passersby smiling and laughing at us. But those laughs did not seem to be malicious.Bookmark here

“Aw, how cute.”Bookmark here

“Are they lovers? Father and daughter? Siblings? Eh, I don’t know…”Bookmark here

Ren turned back to me and shook his head.Bookmark here

“Oh, it isn’t anything like magic — it’s just technology. I brought up a menu containing all of the categories. This is a touchscreen, so just touch one that you are interested in.”Bookmark here

Just touch one? Woah… How does that work? Hm… Looking at this further, it kinda reminds me of a TV. Yeah, like that one enormous TV screen on that sports stadium. Wait, is that TV screen also a touchscreen? I need to try touching it one day — but how will I reach it? Hm… I’ve seen TVs before; like the ones affixed to the ceilings in the subway stations. Are those touchscreens? Is the TV at the condo also a touchscreen? If I touch any of those screens, will the picture change?Bookmark here

I surveyed the screen for a bit. Since I’m clothes shopping, it would make sense to choose fashion, right? Okay! I lifted my finger and gently and quickly touched the square with the word “fashion” on it. And… nothing?Bookmark here

“Huh? Ren, it isn’t working.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, these screens are not the most sensitive at some times. Try pressing it a bit harder.”Bookmark here

I slightly increased the amount of pressure I put on the board… nothing.Bookmark here

“Hm?”Bookmark here

I moved my finger quicker towards the board… nothing.Bookmark here

“Grr…”Bookmark here

I tried again, but this time I moved my arm as quickly as I could and pressed as hard as I could… nothing.Bookmark here

“Gah!”Bookmark here

I raised my entire arm and moved my leg back. I intended to poke the screen with all of my strength — it was like I was about to punch something as hard as I could.Bookmark here

I moved my hand towards the screen — I leaned forwards, putting my entire weight into this poke. And… I was stopped when Ren caught my hand.Bookmark here

“Ga- wait, you will probably break the screen if you do that! Er, sorry.”Bookmark here

“O-Oh…”Bookmark here

I slowly lowered my arm.Bookmark here

“Instead, try pressing the option you want for a bit longer.”Bookmark here

I tried that and… Woah, it worked! The entire screen changed to display a list of names arranged in alphabetical order.Bookmark here

“Oh, are these the stores that are for fashion?”Bookmark here

“Correct.”Bookmark here

“Hm…”Bookmark here

I moved my face towards the screen to look at my options. So many choices… But what should I choose? Hm… Well, I don’t really have an opinion — because I haven’t been to any of these shops to actually form said opinion. Um… Maybe I should ask Ren.Bookmark here

“Ren, what do you recommend?”Bookmark here

“Oh? Well, how about...”Bookmark here

He stroked his chin as he thought for a few seconds. He said that he doesn’t really shop here, but he has general knowledge of these stores.Bookmark here

When he finished, he pressed something on the screen.Bookmark here

“You probably want something fashionable for people your age right? How about this store? Their clothes aren’t only trendy, but they are also of high quality.”Bookmark here

I turned to the screen.Bookmark here

“Univear? Oh, that’s that big two-story-tall store we saw on our way here, right? Yeah, that place seems cool… Let’s go!”Bookmark here

I turned towards the luxurious-looking department store.Bookmark here

“Okay, we just need to pass through here again, right?”Bookmark here

Ren shook his head.Bookmark here

“Um… Y-Yeah, we could. But I was thinking that we could also take a different route to get there. You know, so you can get a better idea of the types of stores they have here.”Bookmark here

And also for sightseeing!Bookmark here

“There’s another route? Sure, let’s go!”Bookmark here

Ren nodded and started walking away. He signaled for me to follow so I did.Bookmark here

“You don’t need the map right now?”
“No, I have a general idea of this mall’s layout.”Bookmark here

“Is that so? Okay, then I’ll let you lead the way!”Bookmark here

Thus begins my astonishing, probably arduous, but most importantly fun shopping trip! I wonder how it’ll go? Eh, probably nothing too troublesome…Bookmark here

Of course, I was still feeling a little guilty. Ren said that he would pay for everything, but it still slightly bothered me. But he insisted, so I guess I'll let him. I can’t help but think back to the day when Ren declared that he needed nothing in return for housing me. He said that this was specifically for me, right? I… No, I don’t want to dig into his true meaning — it might get rid of this happy feeling that I’m having right now…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

“Woah Ren, what’s that?”Bookmark here

We weren’t going through the route that led directly to Univear. Instead, we were walking through the entire mall so that I could survey the area — we seem to have started close to our final destination but decided to walk around this entire open area first.Bookmark here

We were on the highest floor on the opposite side when I saw something that intrigued me. I left Ren and ran towards it when I saw it — I think I was acting childlike… but it was awesome.Bookmark here

It was a sculpture and it was hanging above an opening in the floor that led to the very bottom. This sculpture was of a flock of birds. Each bird had a black neck and head with a white spot on their faces — their cheeks maybe? They also had white parts under their chins and a light brown body. It was also white where their bottoms were.Bookmark here

As I was awing at the sculpture, Ren walked next to me.Bookmark here

“It’s an art piece depicting a flock of geese flying.”Bookmark here

Geese, huh?Bookmark here

“Wait, these geese look different? Like, aren’t they usually entirely white with orange bills?”Bookmark here

Ren nodded.Bookmark here

“Well, the geese that this sculpture depicts are native and commonly found in this continent.”Bookmark here

“I see…”Bookmark here

I’ve seen geese during my travels in the past. They are really talented — they can walk, fly, and swim. They’re also very aggressive — speaking from my personal experience… If I could do all the things geese could, I wonder what I’d use the power for?Bookmark here

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