And then, before I knew it, Wilfried-san had already departed on his journey.
He appeared to have left in the evening of the day I had Belinda-san deliver his washed clothes back to him. That was during the time I was out shopping for supplies. Why he stayed in this town, and who that large quantity of blood belonged to, all remained a mystery. The only thing I understood was that, because there was no uproar, it was very likely that the owner of that blood was not a townsperson.
He was a traveller. A sort of person who would leave anytime, but for some reason, I never imagined that the day would come. This sort of encounter was probably something that would only happen once in a lifetime. It seemed like Belinda-san would misunderstand again if I asked her where he was headed so in the end I didn’t ask anything.
When I casually swept my eyes across at the counter, I noticed it was ornamented with small flowers I had never seen before. It was a different variety from the ones that I picked. I inclined my head in confusion. Where did they come from?
“Aeeda-chaan, I’ve created a new dish, come taste test~”
“Yes, I’m coming.”
Horz-san popped his head from the counter and called for me. The matter of the flowers completely slipped from my head and I quickly headed to the kitchen. I didn’t have the time be lost in my thoughts. To lead a stable life, I had to work.
Ahh, I can’t take it anymore.
I want to fill up a bathtub with warm water right to the top and soak for hours. With my current lifestyle, coupled with my shower lifestyle before I came here, that desire continued to simmer and well up. I was by nature a bath person. I had the mentality of a true Tokyoite: wanting to soak in a bathtub whenever possible, whether it was the sweltering nights in the midst of summer or the penetrating cold of midwinter. I wasn’t from Tokyo though.
It was also pretty tough washing my hair in the kitchen. My neck would hurt and the shampoo would drip on my clothes. Worst of all, the amount of baking soda I had brought over to this world had diminished considerably. I was scared to imagine the future after it was all used up. I really wanted to avoid washing with dish washing detergent. I had already learnt from a past experience that doing that would result in dry and rough skin and hair.
Also… It was frightening to even think about the changing of season to summer. I can say in the strictest confidence that I would certainly go crazy.
“How can I have a bath everyday……”
Belinda-san asked in response to my self-mutter. Crap, I had accidently said it aloud. Words that have been heard can no longer be revoked so I resigned myself and decided to seek advice. Belinda-san was also still waiting for my answer.
“Yes. If I could wish, I wish I had my own personal bathtub.”
“That’s… impossible. You’d have to be considerably rich to have a bathtub.”
“That’s what I thought. Ahh, I want to be rich.”
What am I saying? I don’t even have money. But, people are always free to dream.
“Right, Aeeda’s a germaphobe.” Natalysia-san said, nodding her head with understanding. No, I’m not a germaphobe. I just like cleanliness.
“But, you can’t just be a slightly rich, you know? Even if your house has a bathtub, most would have to share it with their family. I also don’t think you’d be able use it every day.”
“Then, how rich do you have to be for it to be possible?”
“Let’s see~ An aristocrat or feudal lord? Ah, also…”
“The King for sure. After all, he’s the richest in our country.”
It appears this country has a King.
By the way, I also asked them for the King’s name was but it wasn’t a name I had heard of before. I really should have studied more. During my high school days, in order to be independent after graduation, I secretly worked part-time and did nothing but sleep in class. Even though I had a feeling world history was one of my electives, my mind was hitting a complete blank.
“That reminds me. I got a letter from one of my friends in the capital. Apparently, everyone’s been talking about how His Majesty is searching for a side consort.”
I repeated the unfamiliar word questioningly. Due to some kind of blessing, I was able to speak and listen but occasionally I would come across words and phrases I hadn’t heard of before.
“In short, a second wife.”
I see. I nodded vaguely. Side…Consort? Ah, does she mean Side Consort?
“Aeeda, how about you try putting yourself up as a candidate?”
She has got to be joking. “Second Madam” might not sound bad or anything but in reality it’s just a mistress, right?
Even if it’s for a bath, I don’t want to become some random guy’s mistress.
Natarishia-san appeared to have said it as joke and looking at my baffled face, she giggled and a flower-like smile surfaced on her face.
“But, it’s truly a strange rumour. I heard that his majesty and the queen are an extremely loving couple. They’re so in love it makes everyone around them jealous. Even with the matter of the lack of an heir; I wonder how the two feel about taking in a side consort.”
‘People are voicing their concern over the royal couple not yet having any children, which might be origin of this recent rumour,’ was what was written in the letter, apparently.
I see. The King and Queen are mutually in love. Doesn’t that mean that a side consort won’t even be needed? After all, even if someone does become a side consort, the king might not even spare her a glance in her lifetime.
Hm? I feel like there’s some kind of contradiction here. ……Ah, perhaps……
“Perhaps the talk about the side consort was decided by the people around them on their own, but His and Her Majesty didn’t actually agree?”
Which means, even if you become a side consort, you won’t have to be the King’s night companion? But instead, slighted and ignored? ……That’s more than one could ask for.
If I’m chosen to be the side consort, I can indulge in baths every day in the corner of the castle without worrying about anyone. What a supreme environment. It’s kind of relying on others to the extreme but, for my ambition, it can’t be helped.
While I silently worked over my plan, Natalysia-san watched me intently with a worried look on her face.
Several days later.
I was currently being jolted around in a stage coach. This stage coach was headed towards Midibles, the biggest neighbouring town in this area.
A customer who had come to the inn to stay the night yesterday told me that the neighbouring town had received an official notice telling young girls to gather at a certain place.
I realised immediately that it must be the side consort selection that Natalysia-san had talked about.
The appointed time was noon today. I had only one option: to go.
When I bid Horz-san and Belinda-san farewell, they told me with tears in their eyes that I could come back anytime. And, apologising for the small amount, they even gave me wages for my work up until now.
How could they be such good people? Even I thought what a selfish person I was to leave just because I was dissatisfied that there was no bath. I was practically shooting my saviours in the back.
But even so….. This bath fever that bubbled and simmered up could not be abated. Instead, it continued to seethe at an explosive intensity.
I’m sorry. The dawn in the unlikely event that I become rich from some sort of luck and fortune, I swear I’ll repay you guys.
Shaking off the emotions pulling me back, I set off.
I only had one wish.
Become one of the king’s many side consorts and have a bath every day.
To achieve my goal, I will do whatever it takes.
The stage coach departed when it was still early dawn. The passengers were all traders or travellers. I was the only young girl. Even though it was supposed to be a neighbouring town, it took a fairy long time before we finally arrived at Midibles. It was a large town that was on a whole different level from Setruvi. For one thing, the streets were all stone paved. There were also lots of big and high buildings. It looked really metropolitan to my eyes which had only ever seen a rural town. If this was considered a provincial town in this country, there was no doubt that the capital would be even more modern.
There was something I learnt when I was in the stage coach. A middle-aged traveller had proudly shown me his latest edition world map. ……The moment I saw it, I was dumbfounded. It was worlds apart from any world map I had ever seen. I could wave it off and accept it if there was some measurement error but, the differences easily surpassed the possibility of that justification. It was too different, rendering me speechless. The kind traveller misunderstood and thought that I was mad, and hurriedly moved to sit away from me. It seems he was frightened by my complete lack of expression.
So it really was true…….
I had finally confirmed that this place was not earth, I hadn’t time travelled either, and that this was a parallel world. I had vaguely noticed before but having it clearly proven was still devastating.
But, I couldn’t deny that this confirmation helped me solidify my resolve. Without me noticing, I had become even more alone than in my previous world.
I had to become a side consort no matter what. I intended to exhaust all efforts to achieve that goal. Because, there was already no going back.
To prepare, I skilfully wheeled my suitcase and entered a cheap looking inn that caught my eye. They asked me if I was boarding or resting. I answered resting immediately. After all, I was going to be chosen as a side consort in a few hours. I was not a loser dog that would come back crawling here.
I took out the makeup kit I had received from Natalysia-san as a farewell gift. She had also thoroughly taught me how to use it. Natalysia-san had a complex over her baby face and freckles. In order to overcome that, she refined her makeup skills. Apparently, becoming a beautician was something that happened in passing. I had desperately crammed the techniques she taught me, which I, who was the type to plaster foundation without even preparing my face beforehand, couldn’t possibly imitate, into my head
I was not a beauty. If anything, I had a plain face. However, it was possible to make my face closer to a beauty, apparently.
I coated my skin with moisturizer and undercoat and applied foundation. It was my first time using a brush to put on makeup instead of a sponge so I was worried I hadn’t applied it evenly. Either the full-length mirror was old or their technology hadn’t advanced that far yet, but, I couldn’t see my face clearly. Thus, I used my palm sized hand-mirror to check every area as I applied the makeup. In order to disguise my flat Japanese face, I added shadow to the sides of my nose and added highlights to create a three-dimensional face. My face was already a constructed work of art at this point.
Okay, the base is complete. Next, I grabbed my secret weapon from my suitcase. What I have just taken out sir, are fake eyelashes I procured in Country JAPAN from a 100 yen store. I stuck the fake eyelashes, which I had bought as a clearance item with a further half price discount, onto my eyelids with specialised glue. Ah, how mysterious. My eyes were now bigger with a double fold. By sticking longer eyelashes on the corner of my eye, and making it stick out further than the location of my eye, I succeeded in creating drooping eyes. These dusty fake eyelashes, which I had bought at the same time as my high school graduation but were unexpectedly tedious to install, were finally making themselves useful. I patted myself on the back for holding onto it as throwing it away would be a waste.
Finished. A fraud face that doesn’t look thickly covered but is actually completely plastered. Yep, if I do say so myself, I felt like those slightly droopy eyes and protruding fake eyelashes softened my expressionlessness and gave it sexy line. Opps, almost forgot. On the corner of my mouth I drew on a little black mole and the mistress face was complete. When I loosely tied my black hair, which I usually kept down, to the side of ear, it made me look even more feminine.
I checked my face on the dresser and saw it had turned out pretty well. Next were clothes. The clothes I received from Natalysia-san were youthful and didn’t match the face so I chose to wear Belinda-san’s. Belinda-san’s largish clothes made my seedy chest look even more non-existent.
Having a large build and huge breasts was common in this world. Was the criterion for a woman their breasts?
I tried stuffing my chest with hand towels. Giving each side two towels folded four times. Too big, gross. I reduced each side by one towel. In the mirror was a girl with averagely sized large breasts.
But, there was something that still didn’t feel right. …….Something was missing. What was it? Oh right, I realised my bum was too flat. I wrapped a face towel around my bum and fixed it with a safety pin. I re-checked my appearance in the mirror and gave a big nod.
I’m not going to think about what will happen if one day someone detects I’m flat chested. In other words, I just need to make sure no one ever finds out.
I triumphantly headed towards the clock tower square. There were already young girls there with worried expressions on their faces. There were some girls who knew the situation and were scared and also girls who didn’t know anything but were scared by the heavy atmosphere and were trembling.
As one would expect from the largest town in this area, there were lots of girls who were pretty even without makeup. I must give it my all. Several side consort candidates would probably be chosen. No matter what, I had to slip myself into that group. I had an inkling that my goal of “taking a bath everyday” had switched to “become a side consort” but it didn’t matter, the destination was the same anyway.
When the clock tower bell chimed to sound noon, the aristocrat-like men announced in a loud voice, ‘His majesty, the king is looking for a side consort to bear his heir.’
Alright, the information was correct. Thanks, Traveller.
Even though they could have baths everyday however they liked, for some reason there was not a single person who volunteered. Hence, I pushed aside the cowering girls, and loudly declared,
―――I will be a side consort!
The people lined up in the front in the row all showed a dubious expression.
Crap, did they work out I’m a makeup monster? Or did they work out my boobs are fake? Or is it both? Either way, this is an exceedingly alarming issue. I thought, copying the noble’s words. To me, not being chosen as a candidate is more alarming than the king’s heir problem.
I have to do something. I have to make them think I’m suitable to become a side consort.
I thought and immediately blurted out the first thing that crossed my head. Emphasizing my stuffed fake breasts to the fullest, I declared,
―――I will definitely make his majesty my captive. With this face and body!
Everyone gathered in the square’s eyes widened and they all looked speechless.
All at the same time, the people around me all moved away from me.
I didn’t have the slightest clue why the air in the square had frozen.
 In Japanese words can sound the same but will mean something different depending on the Kanji (Chinese Character) used. She’s confused at first because didn’t know what Kanji the word is made of. When she repeats after Natalysia, she says it in hiragana, which is only how the word is pronounced. She works out the Kanji and finally understands what the word is supposed to mean.
 She’s talking really politely here for some reason. Also products in 100 yen stores do just cost 100 yen.
 Tareme – eyes that droop at the corners
 Probably because it is a recap, the dialogue is slightly different from the prologue.