“Listen to this, Lyssa.”
“Yes, yes. I’m listening.”
A strapping man was casually lying on a fine wooden counter as a female clerk actively worked at the counter. Because she was bent over, her face couldn’t be seen clearly, but a melancholic expression would sometimes appear in her barely visible silver-grey eyes.
This man was Gilford Heid Claude. Although you wouldn’t be able to tell from his behaviour, he held the position of Head Court Magician in this country, Feliformia.
In this country, the ministry was largely divided into three departments: the Civil Affairs Bureau, the Magic Division, and the Knights Order.
Among those, the highest post in the Magic Division was the Head Court Magician, and it was this very man who possessed such an honourable position.
Meanwhile, his female companion’s name was Lyssa Kurokawa-Claude.
With her long, black hair tied up in a ponytail behind her, she was wearing what appeared to be the uniform of this store—a black apron over a white dress shirt. It was apparent from her surname that she was related to the man, Gilford. However, it was not through blood but as a foster daughter.
“Even I’ve been working hard… Actually, I only became the Head Court Magician because I was told that there would be a lot of breaks, but I haven’t been able to rest since I took the position! I don’t even get time for a date with Sia! At this rate, Sia’s gonna grow tired of me… Hey, Lyssa, what do you think I should do!?”
“Doesn’t that just show how important of a post you have, Gil? Sia’s not going to grow tired of you because of that.”
“You think so?”
“Yes. That aside, are you sure it’s okay for you to play hooky here? Won’t you be troubling the people at your workplace?”
Lyssa appeared exasperated at the routine sight as she chided her foster-father.
Although Gilford frequently came to visit the store with the excuse of checking on his foster daughter, she knew that he treated it as a good place to play truant.
However, the other party was her foster-father whom she was indebted to, on top of which was currently a customer. Thus, she entertained him whilst thinking it couldn’t be helped.
But that peacefulness was just for the moment.
Having caught a glimpse of a carriage stopping in front of the store from the bay window by the counter, Lyssa knew that that time had come for today.
Welcomed by the clanging of the bell attached to the door, a man entered the store.
When the man noticed Gilford sitting at the counter, he started smiling.
“Good day, Gilford. To think I’d meet you in the castle town on such a day, what a coincidence.”
There was a smile on his face, but his eyes weren’t smiling at all. As he approached step by step, Gilford’s face quickly grew taut.
“…H-hey, Roiz, did you also come here to eat Lyssa’s confections? Ah, or maybe you’re here for a late lunch…? Ahaha…ha…”
His previously relaxed attitude had done a complete change, and now Gilford replied in a timid manner.
At first glance, this seemed like an amicable conversation but the atmosphere between them would no way be considered peaceful.
“Unfortunately, I am still in the middle of my duties. By all rights, I should have finished with my work for today, but some poor government officials from another division came crying to me…”
The smile affixed to his face vanished as he adjusted his glasses with his right hand.
This man whom Gilford had called Roiz—Roiz Warlock—was Gilford’s colleague and one of his few friends.
Rumoured to be the next prime minister, Roiz served as the Chief of the Civil Affairs Bureau.
There was only one reason for him to have come specifically to a store in the castle town.
“Your subordinates are so busy and can’t even go outside thanks to a certain somebody. They were so pitiful that I’ve come to fetch you in their place.”
Gilford, who had attempted to rise to his feet in order to flee from the monotonously-speaking Roiz, was easily captured as he was instantly caught by the nape.
“When will your damn habit of skiving be fixed! And how many times do I have to say it before you understand! Good grief, you’re old enough to know better; have you not grown since our time at the academy!?”
Apparently, this arguing was a regular exchange. Seeing Roiz’s agile movements and practised hand motions that were incongruous of someone from civil affairs made Lyssa feel a hint of sympathy for him.
Gilford, who was whining like a brat about not wanting to return, was silenced with a pointed look from Roiz and dragged to the carriage stationed outside the store.
Caught by the nape like a cat, the perfectly-silenced Gilford’s rear figure projected an air of grief.
“Well then, Miss Lyssa, everyone, I’m sorry for the disturbance.”
Once again returning to the store, Roiz gave a polite bow to the shopkeeper, Lyssa, and the customers who had been watching on from a distance.
“I’d also like to apologise for my foster-father’s antics. If you’d like, please eat this when you get the chance to rest. I also have some for my foster-father’s subordinates too.”
“Thank you very much. Miss Lyssa’s confections are delicious, so I’ll gratefully take them.”
In consideration for the hardships of her foster-father’s friend, Lyssa handed him a package containing cookies, along with a brief apology filled with remorse.
As if he surmised Lyssa’s inner thoughts, Roiz gave her a strained smile as he accepted the package, bowing once again before he left the store.
The quieted store interior finally regained its usual calm, late-afternoon atmosphere.
Clearing the empty plates and taking additional orders, Lyssa once again devoted herself to her café duties.
This place was “Café Omusubi”, inconspicuously situated in the castle town of the royal capital of Feliformia.
This store with an odd name was a marvellous store that produced exquisite cooking and delicious confections that had never before been seen nor eaten.
After all, the shopkeeper of this store was an otherworlder who had come from a country called ‘Japan’ in another world…
I, Lyssa Kurokawa-Claude, also known as Risa Kurokawa, arrived in this world about two years ago.
I was born in a very ordinary household in a very ordinary country town and graduated from a very ordinary junior college before heading to Tokyo for a chance to find work. I was subsequently employed as an office worker in a small to medium-sized enterprise.
Then came the day after I turned twenty-two, as I was entering my second year of continuous service at the company.
—I arrived in another world with absolutely no warning whatsoever.
…Ahh, my body kind of hurts.
I felt a dull pain in my right side when I regained consciousness. I was meant to be in bed, so why did my right side, which I was sleeping on, feel like it was lying on something very hard?
Furthermore, there’s the smell of fresh verdure. My room isn’t even adorned with flowers, let alone decorative plants.
I slowly open my heavy eyelids, only to be greeted with the middle of a forest. Somehow, I had ended up lying on the ground. The hustle and bustle of the city is gone, and all I hear is the rustling of leaves as the wind blew through the trees.
“…Where… am I?”
I murmur this cliché line.
Of course, there is no reply.
For the time being, I should confirm my situation. Sitting up, I survey my surroundings.
I’m wearing the pyjamas I wore to sleep last night. I don’t have any possessions with me, but the slippers on my feet that prevented me from being barefoot might be my only saving grace.
My current location is uncertain. There are no signs of people nor animals.
Thus ends my general check of the situation.
Now then, what should I do?
On top of having no possessions, I need to secure the basic necessities for survival—food and water. Let’s set aside the questions like ‘where am I’ and ‘why am I here’ for now.
Humans, when caught in a predicament, can be surprisingly calm.
Anyhow, since I won’t get anywhere if I stay in this forest, let’s first find a human settlement.
Having concluded my one-man internal discussion, I stand up, brush the dirt off my clothes, and then start walking.
For some reason or another, I head towards what looks like North.
—And so, having started walking in such a fashion, I managed to reach a highway near a settlement two days later. Losing consciousness there, I was fortunate enough to be picked up by a passing couple and regained consciousness the following day.
Despite optimistically trudging along at a steady pace, I had no way of knowing what was to occur in the near future.