Magi Craft Meister 599
18 Further Progress Arc
18-19 Saki’s Little Roam Around Town
A few days earlier…
On the evening of October 7th, Saki Eschenbach was walking along the shores of Lake Tosmo.
She wasn’t at the side where her house was, but the side of the capital Loizart.
After using the Warp Gate to transfer to her house, she came to the other side of the lake by ferry.
The reason behind that was that she would be likely to encounter people she knew if she had stayed in the side where her house was instead.
She had some money on her since she hadn’t had any chance to use it on Hourai Island.
She was accompanied only by Ehr, the Automata that Jin and Reinhardt had made for her.
Ehr had an androgynous appearance, so they were currently wearing a maid’s uniform.
“Ah, I’m so pathetic…”
Saki muttered to herself. Ehr listened silently.
It had all started when her father Toa said he wanted to marry Stearleana, a Magi Craftswoman who was also Saki’s friend.
“I don’t think my father has to stay unmarried forever, and I know Stearleana is a good person…”
No reply from Ehr. Still, Saki continued speaking.
“My mother died when I was two years old, so it’s no wonder I don’t remember her.”
After taking a deep breath, Saki opened her mouth again.
“But… you know…? I wonder what this feeling is.”
Saki looked up and saw three –or maybe four– stars twinkling rapidly in the darkened sky.
The wind that came from the lake was getting much colder.
“…Putting this feeling aside, I have to secure a place to stay the night. Ah, good grief, people are such a bother…”
Finally done talking to herself, Saki left the lakeside and started walking towards the town.
This was the town of Trom.
It was a fishing town, focused on fishing in Lake Tosmo.
“It’s still early, so maybe I should go get something to eat.”
Saki had skipped lunch. Until recently, she would have been fine with such an irregular lifestyle, but since she was now getting used to living in a more regular way, skipping a meal was starting to give her a tough time.
“It’s my first time in this town, so I don’t know where to go.”
So she ended up getting into the first cheap restaurant that caught her eye, a place called “The Fresh Shrimp.”
Since it was a little early, about half of this restaurant’s seats were still free.
Saki took a seat in the far corner.
Unlike high-end restaurants, it was common sense when entering any small restaurant to leave any Golems or Automata brought along outside. Therefore, Ehr would have to wait outside while Saki had her meal.
“I’ll have the daily special… and a beer.”
Saki wasn’t usually too much into drinking, but for some reason she felt like drinking a bit tonight.
“Comin’ right up.”
The tanned middle-aged lady who had come to take Saki’s order soon came back with a mug of beer and some snacks. The daily special would take a little while longer.
“Mmm, I dunno if it’s because I was so thirsty, but this is good.”
Saki drank half of the 1 liter jug in one go and nibbled on the dried jerky served as a snack.
Because she drank it on an empty stomach, she immediately became tipsy. Looking out the window with vaguely hazy eyes, Saki could see the light of a shrimp fishing boat swaying on the surface of Lake Tosmo as darkness began to cover the sky.
“Thanks for waitin’, here’s your daily special.”
The lady placed a tray with a large piece of grilled fish, barley porridge, bean soup, and a bit of vegetable salad in front of Saki.
“Oh, this looks delicious.”
Saki, who wasn’t very picky with food to begin with, started with the grilled fish.
“Yeah, it’s a bit salty, but it tastes really good.”
Its saltiness was probably because there was a large number of workers involved. After drinking the rest of her beer, Saki took a spoonful of barley porridge.
“… Oh, this is a little better than the food at Jin’s…
As she was finishing the sentence she was muttering, tears suddenly welled up in her eyes.
Saki drank her soup in one go after wiping her tears with her sleeves. It was a little hot, but she smoothed it out by shoving some of her vegetable salad into her mouth.
“Am I really this weak?”
Saki continued to self-loathe as she took bite after bite of the rest of her grilled fish.
“In the first place, what’s with me getting all sad that my father is getting married again?”
Now that she was even drunker than before, Saki couldn’t even put her thoughts together anymore.
“…Hey, waitress… I’ll have another glass of beer.”
Incoherent thoughts called for more chaos and even more alcohol.
A new glass of beer was brought onto the tray that had once been filled with the daily special that Saki had already finished eating.
After drinking half of the mug, Saki rested her chin on her hands over the table and sighed.
“Oh, I don’t care anymore…”
Saki wasn’t particularly strong against alcohol. No, as a matter of fact, she was very bad with it. A single glass of wine was enough to get her completely drunk.
“Miss? Maybe it’s time to stop?”
A man sat down in front of Saki, who had gotten drunk after drinking a glass and a half of beer. He was a tanned man in his forties who looked like a fisherman.
“Drinking beer all by yourself, getting drunk like this… Is something going on at home?”
But Saki laughed as she answered.
“Uhuhu, bullseye! But… right now… I just want to be like this for a while.”
“I don’t know what happened, but you’re too young to take away your sorrows with alcohol. That’s something us middle-aged people do.”
“Huhu… So I’m too young to get drunk?”
As she said that, Saki drank the rest of her beer in one go.
“Hey, hey, wait a minute, don’t be so rash…”
“I’m not… being… rash…”
Now completely unable to further articulate words, Saki finally fell limp over the table.
Then another voice came from behind the worried fisherman.
“Ah, there you are… Sorry if she’s caused you any trouble.”
When the fisherman looked up, he saw a reasonably well-dressed man in his thirties standing there.
“I know things have been rough at home, so I figured she would run away… but I never thought she’d be drinking herself away in a place like this.”
While saying that, he helped the limp Saki get up.
“I see, so you’re one of her relatives? Do me a favor, will you? Don’t take your eyes away from her again.”
“I won’t. Sorry for all the trouble.”
The well-dressed man then paid for Saki’s meal and left the restaurant. Saki didn’t seem to be conscious anymore. She was just mumbling incomprehensibly.
Then he walked into the darkness while still supporting Saki’s weight. Another plump man was waiting there.
“Bro, that went super smoothly.”
“Hehehe, and she’s quite a stunner too.”
The two laughed at each other with a common lascivious tone of voice.
“You have a really good eye for this stuff, bro.”
“It’s not my eyes, it’s my nose. I can smell psychologically unstable young women like these from miles away.”
While talking about such things, the two of them set out to drag Saki to an even darker, less populated alleyway…
…But they were stopped by a voice.
The two men turned away to face the source of that voice and found a maid with a delicate-looking body.
“Look at that, we got ourselves another duckling.”
“Hehe, can I have that one?”
“Sure, do whatever you want with her.”
The plump man licked his own lips and reached out to the delicate-looking maid…
…But was slammed into the ground in no time.
“W-what? H-How dare you?”
Although Ehr was relatively powerless when compared with other Automata, he was still one of Jin and Reinhardt’s creations. And their latest rework in Hourai Island had given them enough strength to easily overpower five grown men.
Ehr’s reaction speed was ten times faster than humans. And since they also had been given the sense of touch, they could adapt their strength by feel without any restrictions.
“You are to return the young lady to me right this instant.”
Ehr kicked the plump man, who was lying on the ground, right in the pit of the stomach, rendering him unconscious on the spot.
“Don’t try to mess around with me!”
The well-dressed man pulled out a knife from his pocket and threw it at Ehr’s face. Ehr simply tilted their head slightly to the side to evade the flying knife before taking a big step towards the man.
With that single big step, Ehr had already gotten really close to the man. With the momentum, Ehr threw a left uppercut at the man’s chin.
The attack was a clean hit, and the well-dressed man fell backwards and fainted instantly.
Another man came as Ehr lifted Saki from the ground.
“Ah, I knew it… So this is what was going on…”
It was the same fisherman who had sat in front of Saki back at the restaurant.