I was outside in front of the house. The skies were clear, the sun on its peak. It was the perfect weather for setting out.
“Remember to visit us when you have time. No. You have to.” Mother said.
“Of course, I will.” I can’t help but smile wryly.
“Also, this.” Father handed over a piece of envelope with an intricate red seal.
“Give that to the headmaster when you arrive at the academy.”
Do they know each other perhaps? I kept the letter in my bag.
“Be careful out there.”
“Send us letters everyday.”
Uhm, sending letters everyday might be a bit too much. I feel like I would be writing a diary.
With that, I headed off to the city.
A little further from our house, there is a village that I will be passing through. There were stalls lined up along the way. It was during the day so there were a relative amount of people walking around.
I went to one of the food stalls to buy some food. The amount of time to travel to the city from here wasn’t exactly that long but at the same time, not that short either. The point is, it's good to have something to eat while on the way there.
When I went to the stall, the man behind it talked to me.
“Oh, are you going to the city?” he asked.
From here, one of the big cities in the Galdia kingdom were the closest. Based on how I looked, anyone can guess where I'm headed.
“Yes. Ah, I’ll take five of these please.” I pointed at the apples lined up in a basket.
He packed the apples in a paper bag while saying “Got it.”
“You're going to the city alone? You sure look young.” I paid him after receiving my bag of apples.
“I’m going to enroll in the academy there.” I said.
“Oh, well, good luck out there.”
He seemed like a nice person.
I put on a smile and thanked him before leaving.
I took out one apple then put it in my mouth. “Hmm, it’s sweet.”
After some little bit of walking, I rented a carriage that was on its way to the city. They were about to head off so I hurriedly went over inside.
The ride was so bumpy that it would make those who are not used to it throw up. Luckily, I have my fair share of similar experiences back in that world.
After a few hours, the sight of the city came close enough that I could see how big it actually was. Huge walls surrounded the entirety of the city, not yet even entering, I could already see the towering structure standing amid the city.
That must be the royal castle, I thought.
Upon entrance, an intricate symbol carved with an image of a sword with a pair of wings on its back was pasted on flags hanging around the gate. Two soldiers were standing on guard in front.
The carriage stops at the entrance. After confirming the situation, the guards welcomed the carriage.
The city came into view. As expected, it was bustling with an assortment of people.
I made my way through the city after getting off the carriage. The academy is near the royal castle situated at the center of the kingdom. It wouldn’t hurt to walk around to sightsee since it’s not like I have to hurry.
I have plenty of time actually. Hm?
This familiar scent... Like I was lured, I followed that scent. I arrived at a store where the source of that scent was. The sign on the doors said “open” so without hesitation, I entered.
The store was full of customers. I glanced at the side table where two people were eating.
Is that pasta?
It’s that Italian cuisine that I’m quite familiar with. No matter how I look at it, it’s exactly like pasta. It’s my first time seeing something that’s exactly from earth.
“Welcome, dear customer, ” A lady walked over to me and handed me a menu board.
It really does say pasta. The menu consists of words that’s identical on earth. It looked like the theme for this shop was based on Italian foods. Other than that, there was also an assortment of beverages.
I never experienced eating food back from earth ever since I was reincarnated which made me crave for it after seeing this.
“I would like this.” I pointed at one of the menu lists and made my order. The lady took a glance at the tables.
“I’m sorry, it looks like there aren’t any available tables you see...”
She looked troubled for a moment.
“Is that so?”
It’s a bit disappointing after all that. Though, I could always come here whenever it's available anyway.
As I was about to think of leaving, the lady then called out, “Ah, wait a moment sir.”
She went over to one of the tables where one person was sitting. After asking something she then returned.
“If you’d like, you could share a table with one person over there. I asked the person about it, and said that there’s no problem.”
“Then I will take up on that offer.”
Honestly, I was quite looking forward to eating the food here so I guess sharing a table wouldn’t be a problem as long as I get to eat.
I went to the seat where she pointed and saw the person she was talking about. The person wore a robe with its hood covering most of the person’s face.
I waited for a response before taking a seat.
“H-huh, thank you.”
It was a woman’s voice. Her face was mostly covered so I couldn’t see an expression but it was definitely a voice belonging to a woman. I hesitantly took my seat across from her.
This is awkward...
She was also waiting for her order. The two of us sat without a single word to each other.
The waitress soon arrived and broke the silence.
“Thank you for waiting, here's your order.” She said as she served our food in a hearty manner.
Presented before me was my order. I think it's something called Pasta Pomodoro. A light dish mainly consisting of pasta topped with tomato sauce and sprinkled with diced tomatoes, garlic, and onions.
I twirled the pasta with my fork then put it in my mouth. Soft and saucy. Typically, the same as any pasta. But more than anything, It’s delicious!
Perhaps it’s been so long since I’ve eaten food that’s practically the same as the one on earth. It’s a far cry from the ones I’ve been eating up until now.
I continued eating, fork after fork, until I was satisfied.
I took a glance at the person eating in front of me. Considering it’s an Italian-themed restaurant mainly serving pasta dishes, her plate was also full of pasta. Yes, full.
It’s not like she hadn’t touched her food, it’s just that it was amazingly a lot. Incessantly, she just kept on eating until her plate was practically empty within a minute.
That’s... amazing. I was astonished. My food was just about a fourth of hers and we still pretty much finished eating at the same time.
Noticing my gaze, she immediately looked away as she elegantly wiped her mouth with a tissue. Though, the way she ate seconds ago was hardly elegant.
Moments later, the waitress arrived with a piece of paper containing the lists of food we ordered including the beverages and how much it was. As expected, it closely falls on a high price.
Thankfully, my parents gave me more than enough allowance for a month's worth. Though, I should probably start saving while I can.
I took out my pouch and placed the money on the tray the waitress was holding. She looked over to the other person in front for her payment.
However, she was not yet paying. Though I can’t see her face because of the robe, her gestures made it look like she was having a problem. She tapped her clothes everywhere like she was finding something that was once there.
The waitress looked worried for a moment but patiently waited. No sooner had the girl looked like she gave up and nervously opened her mouth.
“How much is her payment?” I asked the waitress.
The girl looked surprised for a moment but I ignored her for now.
The waitress wore an understanding expression and showed me how much the girl had ordered with a smile. As expected, it was more expensive than mine considering how much she ate.
I brought out my money and gave it to the waitress. Just when I thought I had to start saving, I ended up using more, huh... Well, it can’t be helped. I owe her after all for letting me share a table with her.
After confirming the payment, I head out to leave. The girl followed while the waitress led us out, bowed, and said:
“Please come again next time!” With a practiced motion.
Now that we're outside...
“You looked like you were having a problem with paying so I helped out or did I just misunderstand?”
It’s possible that wasn’t the case but I asked anyway.
“Why?” she asked.
“I did owe you for letting me share a table with you so it’s just to make it even.”
Well, I’ll feel bad after all if I just left her there.
I decided to leave.
I stopped on my tracks, feeling a tingly sense of uneasiness.
She grabbed the hem of my shirt.
“Are you new here?” she asked.
Judging by how she noticed the backpack I'd been carrying on my back, she must’ve assumed I was traveling or that sort.
“Uhm, yes I am.” I answered.
“Then, I could act as your guide.”
I accidentally voiced my thoughts.
Now I’m the one who’s confused.
“In exchange for the payment earlier, I will act as your guide. Not to brag, but I know a lot about this kingdom including this city, of course. That also includes different shops and places for tourists like you.” she said with confidence.
I appreciate the offer but... What should I answer here? I mean, it would not hurt to have someone guide me through the city. In fact, it would help a lot considering I was initially planning to sightsee anyway.
“Are you sure? I don’t really mind what happened earlier. Like I said, it’s just to make it even so there’s no need to do all this.”
“It’s not even! I’ll just feel bad afterwards if I don’t do anything!”
“...Is that so?, like I said, I don’t really mind…”
Perhaps she didn’t notice since her stature was smaller than mine, but her head looked up to mine making her face slightly visible despite the robe still attached on her head.
A mix of determination and concern could be seen in her expression. It can’t be helped then. After that, I finally gave up.
“...Then, I’ll be in your care." I put on a slightly awkward smile.
“Leave it to me!” She said proudly. That was cute.
Hm? That’s right, introductions.
“Hiro. My name. Yours?”
“Alyss. You may call me Alyss.”