Reincarnated as a mana core - Chapter 89
With the contract in place Argul could go a little more into detail with what she had in mind and she made sure to push the boundaries a little. She was afterall the only person Mr. Colwin could get the instructions for the whole set of skills that formed [water magic].
They had agreed on changes that were similar to the effort needed to build a house and so Argul got to it. She divided the trailer in two sections, a smaller one in the front, that they would use as storage and the rest, that she envisioned as their living space. With beds for four people and a ‘living room’ where they could relax in case it rained or was stormy outside the whole thing would be quite cramped.
Argul didn’t worry too much about it, since she didn’t plan to use her bed and she was quite sure that Alyra wouldn’t either. If it rained she would have to whip up some kind of weather ward, but that couldn’t be too difficult. Just a bit of air, sound and temperature magic, nothing more.
In addition to the two rooms she wanted a small wooden deck in front of the storage room, preferably with a roof. This would allow the others of her group to sit outside while they traveled and it spared the trader from having to remove the coupling.
Instead, he would have to furnish the house, which included glass for the windows and provide them with an adaptable harness so that both Argul and her daughter could pull the trailer, which would make it one hell of a harness.
The whole thing involved a lot of discussing, arguing and not trying to be a dick… or bitch?
Argul’s appearance was more female now, even though she still had her member so bitch was probably more appropriate.
Anyway, she didn’t like having to do all this trading stuff. It had nothing to do with magic, which made it boring and she had a hard time to put up with slimy ways of a merchant when nothing of interest was involved.
It was still important though, so she pushed through mostly without being an ass. She had taken a bit of pleasure in the desperation of Mr. Colwin when it had come to the off road tires, she had to admit.
With all said and done, Argul then pushed the duty of seeing to it that everything was built in a satisfactory quality to Arthur. He had failed his earlier task and was leeching off of her money so he might as well do something, at least that was her excuse. The whole thing would involve a lot of social interaction and normal conversations, something she was not comfortable with and she didn’t want to do it. Arthur just fell victim to her unwillingness and nothing could be done about it!
The group left the trader after several hours in a mixed mood. Argul was mentally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to get back to the inn, Arthur was all grumpy about having a lot of work to do now and Mia was excited to finally get going after having to listen to the boring adults for so long!
Alyra on the other hand, just enjoyed the time with her mother and made sure to remind her that she promised her niece to buy something. This meant they would have to go back to the market again, much to Argul’s despair, but she steeled herself to see it through.
Like this they made their way back to the market and searched for something that Mia liked. They walked past all manner of stands and shops, even some of the weirder variety that provided dubious services such as fortune telling.
Argul was sure these were all frauds, but with mana around and her infusion of magic, it was probably quite easy to get away with it.
Much to her relief it didn’t take long until something caught her niece’s eye. The girl wanted a cat bed for Aina for some reason and not something for herself, not that Argul minded much. Two girls happy with one bed!
She blinked, blushing a bit when she realized how wrong that sounded. Though, maybe she was just a bit aroused by something and her avatar acted up. It was an interpretation of herself as a human after all and sadly that also included a good variety of hormones that influenced her mind as long as it resided in this body. Well, at least she didn’t have to put up with having a period so she wouldn’t complain too much.
The group walked back home where rest awaited and Argul basically teleported to one of the couches when they arrived, letting herself sink into the soft fabric a bit. Finally a bit of peace.
Or so she thought, but only a few minutes later Luna interrupted that, asking if they could speak about something in private. Argul agreed with a sigh and followed her into her room, wondering what this was about.
She closed the door behind her and sat down in Luna’s desk chair after she offered it. Luna herself sat down on her bed and looked somewhat tense. Argul also noticed that she didn’t have her usual smile and was fidgeting around with her hands nervously.
Something was definitely wrong, even Argul could tell. “Are you okay Luna?”
Her head jerked up and she looked at Argul. “What? Oh, I’m alright, don’t worry!”
Argul could only sigh. She had done the same thing often enough to know that that was a lie. She didn’t twell on it however and continued on. Pressuring the woman wouldn’t help. “Okay then. What did you want to speak about?”
“You want to travel away, right?” Luna was avoiding eye contact.
Argul nodded. “Yes.”
“And you will start in about 2 months?”
She nodded again. “Yes, maybe a bit earlier.”
Luna looked her in the eyes hesitantly, swallowed her saliva and avoided her gaze again. “Can I, can I come with you?”
That took Argul by surprise. The innkeeper was a nice person and she didn’t have anything against her. On the contrary, Argul would count Luna to some of the few persons she had ever met in her life and her past that didn’t make her feel uncomfortable and wouldn’t really mind her tagging along.
She wondered though, why Luna would come with them. She had her own house, a job and as far as Argul knew, enough customers for her to keep her inn going. Going with them would take all that away.
Sure, Luna would probably end up in a better position or at least a better community if she went with her, her family and Arthur, but she didn’t know that, so it made absolutely no sense in Argul’s opinion.
She leaned back. “Why?”
Then she gestured vaguely to what was around them. “Why would you give that up?”
Argul could see the tears in Luna’s eyes, just barely held back at the moment. “I-, is that a no?”
She sighed and leaned forward before she grabbed her hands. “No. Look, I just want to know why, Luna, because I can see it is greatly bothering you or your worries are at the very least related to this.”
Argul continued and tried to sound somewhat soothing. “I practically lived with you for a few months now and can tell that you are not a bad person. I would even go as far as if to say we could become friends in the future.”
Having someone who was really good at cooking with them would be an additional perk, but she didn’t say that out loud.
“We-, we aren’t friends yet?” The woman was on the verge of breaking and Argul was determined to offer her shoulder once the dam collapsed.
She shook her head. “No. Don’t understand me wrong Luna, you helped me a great deal, you shared some of my rather awkward moments with me and I really appreciate that. It’s just that the level of trust and companionship needed to become my friend is quite high because I take friends very seriously and I need a lot of time to open up to others, which makes it quite difficult to become my friend. It took me nearly two years until I had a friend in highschool and I was just there before that, so it’s not your fault, it is mine.”
Luna gave her a weak smile. “It’s okay Argul. I-, I was just surprised.”
Argul squeezed her hand gently. “Thanks for bearing with my strangeness.”
There was a moment of silence between the two after that.
“So, why do you want to come with us?”
Luna tensed up and searched for words. “I-, it’s because-”
And then she broke, tears coming loose.
Before Luna could turtle herself in, Argul swiftly sat down next to her and embraced her in a gentle hug. The woman needed warmth and support now. Argul knew that because that was something she had never received herself when she needed it, though the reasons for that were many and a large part of the blame lay with herself in her opinion.
“Shhh, it’s okay. Everything is going to be alright Luna, just let it out. I promise I won’t judge you.” After this it would be difficult even for her not to call Luna a friend.
Luna hugged Argul back and cried into her shoulder sobbing loudly. Argul waited patiently for the sobs to grow softer and for Luna to open up.
“S-, Sorry Argul.”
“Shhh, it’s okay. I don’t mind.” She gently stroked her hair.
Luna squeezed her a bit. “Can I tell you something?”
Argul nodded. “Go on.”
Dinner would be getting late today, that much was clear. How she ended up in this situation though, she had no idea. Not that she minded, helping where she had never received help herself made her feel good and warmed her heart.
What followed was a bit of a messy recounting of what had happened to Luna in the last few years. From what Argul could tell, Luna’s parents were somewhat well off and after she graduated school and her training as a cook they helped her fulfill her dream of owning a reading cafe or restaurant in this case. Luna herself had enjoyed manga and light novels and as such she, together with her friends chose that as a theme for her establishment.
Much to her own surprise things were going rather well for her after only a few months and she had even started to make enough money to be able to pay her parents back.
That’s when the incident happened and she suddenly found herself alone in an unknown place, the only thing she knew was the cafe. Luna had not taken that well and threw herself at any work that came up inside her little bubble of comfort.
She somehow worked through it, never thinking about her situation or the far future, even after she became part sheep during the integration.
When Argul had shown up however, things had been going downhill for her so their group was a bit of a saving light.
There was only one problem now and that was Argul, a person who not only thrived in this new world, but who lived in it as if things had never been different. This had made her an object of attraction and fascination to Luna, a scared woman that was trying to avoid reality.
The more she observed Argul however, the more she was forced to wake up and confront her fear. Luna managed it at first, slowly and steadily tackling the problem and unwinding her worries.
But then she realized her first problem, her financial situation was entirely dependent on Argul, because most of her customers came to either watch her teach Mia or talk to her or her niece and the moment Argul left she would lose just about all of her income.
Other problems cropped up, some bigger like the church and others smaller like Bubbles her slime and she was forced to do something and the only good outcome she saw was for her to go with Argul, hence this talk.
At the end of their conversation it made sense to Argul why she would come with them and she was only too happy to take Luna with them. She was a good person after all and a great cook!
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