All right, I’ve got to get myself a brand-new staff today.
Thanks to Pochi, my wallet underwent quite a severe weight loss a few days ago.
Seriously, I couldn’t believe a Familiar like her could make her Master cry that hard.
I also have to contribute to the Pochisley Agency’s work in some way, so I’ll have to watch where my money goes from now.
Fortunately, transactions for the selling of my magecraft to Gaston, Billy, and Irene could resume now, so I’m not under that much pressure.
Then again, that meant our transactions at the Colorful Food District have also resumed. Lately, there have also been those who offered their staff to us directly.
This naturally meant that the prices were better than when we had to make deals through the Colorful Food District, so we would like to quickly break out of this financial situation of ours.
“Ah, you’re heading out, Sir Asley?”
“Oh, Haruhana… I had to leave my staff in the prison cell during that incident, you see, so today I’m going
out to buy myself a new one. You want to come along?”
“Y-you do not mind me?”
For some reason, Haruhana was blushing… it looks like she wanted to go shopping in the first place.
“Well, this noisy doggo is coming as well. Why not come along if you don’t mind her?”
“Master! Who do you think you’re calling a noisy doggo?”
Well, my teasing was more effective than I’d anticipated-
“Please make sure to call me by my name!”
THAT’s the problem you have?!
“Huhuhuhu. I will take you up on the invitation, then. Please give me a few moments to get ready.”
After politely saying so, Haruhana headed to her room.
A short while later, Haruhana came back with a simple hairdo with all her long hair bundled neatly on the top of her head, and also a bit of makeup on her face. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but I caught a sweet whiff of orange…
Pochi’s nose twitched slightly, suggesting that it was not just in my head. Well, she IS a dog, so of course she’d notice.
“This is… the fragrance of Tiger Fruit!”
“Huhuhuhu, that is correct. I have received it from Miss Betty.”
Huh, I never would’ve expected this, of all things, coming from Betty. Was it because she usually would be ‘normal’ normally, but then start showing interest and discussing such things when she was around the girls?
Pochi walked behind Haruhana, perhaps due to taking a liking to that perfume of hers, which inevitably left the space open for Haruhana to walk beside me instead.
Now that I think about it, this must be the first time I have ever headed out with Haruhana.
Maybe that’s why Haruhana looks a bit nervous right now.
My Familiar, on the other hand, seems quite relaxed as she basked her nose in the sweetness.
“Where do you plan to go for today, Sir Asley?”
“Hmm… nowhere in particular, but I guess I ought to see Sir Gaston’s Magic Tool Specialist Store, at least.”
“Ah, yes, the place does have a wide range of useful wares to choose from.”
“Huh, you’ve been there before? Does it stock things other than what’s used only by mages?”
Surprised, I asked back, only for Haruhana to chuckle, her shoulders shaking subtly.
“I have had to accompany Fuyu and Natsu there on several occasions.”
Once I finally realized what should have been obvious, Haruhana chuckled once again.
Haruhana put on a perpetual smile for the whole while we talked about mundane things. Perhaps this stemmed from her former profession, but I would never dare to point that out.
She likely had been taught that, to satisfy one’s companions, one would naturally have to suppress their negative thoughts and bring to light their positive emotions.
While I pondered it over, Pochi turned to scowl at me with rightfully judgmental eyes.
“Thinking about some stupid things again, Master?”
And so she said that, just as she often would, but this time I didn’t pay any particular attention.
Haruhana also smiled through this old routine of exchanges between us.
So strange…it’s like her smile holds the power to heal.
Her positive emotions are bringing things to a positive direction, so there’s no need to complain, is there?
Besides, I do like seeing this gentle smile of hers.
“That’s it! That’s good, sir!”
Ugh, I swear this doggo has been reading my mind…
Right when we entered Gaston’s Magic Tool Specialist Store, a nostalgic voice echoed along with the ringing of the doorbell. “Welcome,” the deep, raspy voice greeted us.
Just like to my last time here, in the innermost part of the store was the old man with scruffy black hair, full beard, and thick eyebrows, sitting in a chair and reading a book.
The old man pushed his glasses up his nose and turned to look at us.
“Oh, a young man… You’re the one who bought the Star Rods if I remember correctly?”
He remembered me, a customer who’d visited the shop just once almost three years ago. That’s amazing.
“Thank you very much for last time, sir. I’m out shopping for a new staff, so I figured I’d come here to see what’s in stock.”
“Thank you for helping out my Master last time, sir! Oh, excuse me – I won’t break anything, so I’ll let myself in.”
“Oh-ho, a Siberian Husky Familiar… hmm? Young man, is your name Asley, by any chance?”
The old man told me to stop, seeming to have recalled something important.
“Well, yes… why?”
“I knew it. Sir Gaston spoke of you some time ago. If you don’t mind, I ask that you come take a look at this.”
On the old man’s beckoning hand gesture, we all walked into the back of the store.
Haruhana kept a perfect distance of one step behind me at all times. This is the one aspect of hers that differed her from Lina, I suppose.
Her being so mature and formal for her age at times like this compels me to tense up my mannerisms by a tad bit.
Once we reached the counter, the old man brought out a dust-covered cloth package from the shelf behind him and placed it on the countertop.
“…What would this be?”
“This is from Sir Gaston. ‘Pass this over to the guy named Asley if he happens to visit the store,’ he said.”
“S-since when did he…?”
“Let’s see… must’ve been almost two years now?”
‘Oh my,’ Haruhana muttered in surprise while I refrained myself from saying anything for now, and Pochi clung on the counter as she stood on her rear toes in her attempt to get a look.
Looks like everyone here is curious about what the package’s contents were.
“Let’s hurry and see what’s inside, sir!”
Oh boy, what an active Familiar.
‘Ho ho ho’, the old man laughed in reaction to my Familiar’s behavior, while he unwrapped the cloth.
The contents were two staves.
One exuded a graceful and calm stream of arcane energy. On it was engraved the symbol of the Water Dragon.
The other exuded a fierce and furious stream of arcane energy. Its emblem was the symbol of the Fire Dragon.
“Oh-ho, it seems that your new staff is glad to meet its Master.”
“Wow, would you look at that…”
“A Torrent Dragon Staff and a Blazing Dragon Staff. Sir Gaston must have taken quite an interest in you to give away these two. Each of them can fit at most four spells for Swift Magic – they’re powerful.”
I forced my gaping mouth shut.
Even Pochi, in all her pushy glory, now had her jaw dropped to the floor.
This Blazing Dragon Staff was carved from the valuable horn of a Lord Dragon, a gigantic A-ranked dragon.
In the same vein, the Torrent Dragon Staff was made from the fangs of a Cobalt Dragon, another A-ranked dragon monster.
A single Cobalt Dragon had countless fangs for one to manufacture staves with, but their population was now extremely low compared to the Lord Dragons.
These two were collectively called the ‘Polarizing Staves,’ and were considered extremely high-class articles. That reminds me, the Blazing Dragon Staff seems to be the one Hornel preferred.
If I were to put both of them up for auction, it probably would raise at least 5,000,000 Gold. And I’m getting these as… gifts? Just like that?
“Feel free to choose which one you like for yourself.”
“Then why two of them?”
“The other one, well… he said it’s for you to pass over to some girl called Lina, if my memory serves me right.”
For Lina, huh…
“We ought to repay him in one way or another, Master…”
I made sure to give my thanks to the old shopkeeper before wrapping the staves back up, carrying the package on my shoulder, and turning to leave.
His deep, raspy voice said goodbye to us along with the ringing of the doorbell. However, that voice of his sounded more cheerful compared to when he had greeted us when we first came in.
We hung around the front of the store for a little while, with me pondering over what I ought to do next, until Haruhana cheerfully sparked a conversation with me.
“Sir Asley, would you like to accompany me as I go shopping after this?”
Haruhana asked me at my peak of gratitude for having received a new staff.
And of course, it wouldn’t hurt to go along with her now.
I expressed my agreement, to which Haruhana seemed greatly pleased.
Hmm… It looks like I truly have a soft spot for that type of smile.
“So~~… where do you plan to go, Haruhana?”
“The rust on my blade has been more difficult to shave off lately, so I thought it is about time I got myself a new one.”
Haruhana said as she presented the body-height-length katana that she had been keeping sheathed on her waist.
Gah, isn’t this a bit of a problem? I have practically zero knowledge when it comes to shops for conventional weapons, so… does she have some place in mind?
As I scratched the edge of my chin with my free hand and thought it over, Haruhana tugged at my finger and led the way.
“Huhuhuhu… this way.”
I felt a slight warmth on my index finger as it was wrapped in the palm of her little hand.
Slightly Agitated, I kept my watch on Haruhana as she led the way, with Pochi grinning as she observed both of us.
Heh, why am I suddenly feeling an urge to pinch Pochi’s cheeks now?
They’re super stretchy. I’ll remember to do that later.
We came to a stop at an old weapon shop in the outskirts of the northern commercial district.
The first thing that caught my attention was its slanted signboard, wooden and carved in the shape of a sword.
According to Haruhana, Blazer had recommended this place to her.
If it’s his suggestion, then we probably won’t have any issues – so with that reassurance in my mind, we stepped inside.
I only realized it just now, but Haruhana’s arms were wrapping around my left arm, holding it down tightly.
And now, Pochi’s line of sight was locking us down tightly.
Damn it, I never should’ve come here…