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Curiosities of Lotus Asia: Chapter 02

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Return to Curiosities of Lotus Asia or Fiction by ZUN

Translated by teru.



The three books that were possessed by the shrine maiden of Gensokyo, Reimu. Rinnosuke's urges have surfaced from his collector's soul, and thus he attempts to attain those books through skillful bargaining. Yet, at that moment, the original owner of those books arrives, and...
The second half of Chapter One, "Gensokyo's Shrine Maiden and the Allure of the Fifteen Volumes" begins now!

幻想郷の巫女と十五冊の魅力 ~ Gensokyo's Shrine Maiden and the Allure of the Fifteen Volumes (Second Half)

"Thanks for waiting. Geez, these clothes are way too big. It's hard to walk in this." Reimu expressed her dissatisfaction as she returned. Well, those are my clothes after all so it can't be helped. There's a significant size difference between us, but she's the one who took the clothes in the first place.
"Oh? If it isn't Marisa. Why're you in such a place?"
"That's my line. I just came to check if there was anythin' new in stock, just like a good customer."
"Reimu, will you not call my store 'such a place'?"
"Whenever I come, I never see any customers around. The location isn't so great either."
I began reading the book I was previously reading as Marisa retorted, "I thought I said I'm a customer." Reimu walked up to one of the cupboards, took out a teapot, and began preparing tea as if she owned the place. They do whatever they want as usual. They're not even customers.
While I was glancing at Reimu's books, I thought to myself that I must pretend to not have noticed them at all in order to make them mine.
"Anyway, I'll take up your request to mend your clothes. But you know I won't just do it for free, right?"
With her back still facing me, Reimu asked, "Why?".
"Why? Are you kidding? A business, you see, requires customers to pay a suitable price for their services."
"I know that much. I pay the normal shopkeepers when I go shopping. The same goes for my shrine. Wishes are granted in return for donations."
"Are you saying I'm not one of your 'normal shopkeepers'?"
"Mr. Rinnosuke, you're not interested in money, right?"
"When did I ever say that? Don't go around deciding things yourself."
"Well, you never take any cash."
"What're you saying? The fees for all your requests and everything you took from here is all on your tab."
As she poured tea into her teacup, she replied, "That's because I never walk around with money. And even if I went home, there wouldn't be any there either."
"Nobody donates, huh? Praying at your shrine won't get any wishes granted."
"Oh, I see. Since you suddenly brought this up, you're after these books aren't you?" Reimu placed her teacup down, sat beside me, and began reeling in the books that are soon to be mine.
"...Reimu, those books aren't enough to cover your tab."
"These books, you know, looked pretty important to the youkai I exterminated. They're definitely worth something."
Marisa looked at me with a face that said, "Told ya so" and because of that I was about to let out a laugh, but I held it in.
"Well, let me have a look then. ...Hm, I see. They're well-made, but they look new. When it comes to these kind of things, older ones are more valuable. They're nothing special after all. They were probably just something that youkai doesn't see often, so it took them."
"Then those books for everything on my tab sounds like a fair deal," she said with a smirk.
She doesn't listen to others and has no understanding of the concept that things have a value, a price. To her, money is nothing more than some sort of paper or metal. However, she must've faintly realized that I wanted them. After all...
"All right then. I'll buy those three books from you."
"Huh? All three?"
"One for mending your clothes. One for the rental fee for the clothes you're wearing now. And the last one..."
"Ah, wait a second, what about the tab?"
"Hey, exactly how much do you think is on your tab? It's not too much, but you can't cover it with just those books."
That's the truth. Reimu takes things from the stop and requests clothes and tools. I even prepared her purification wand.
"No way around it, huh. Alright then, what's leftover on the tab will stay there." I looked out through the window. That's right, I've had a bad feeling since this morning.
"By the way, the last one is the fee for the door repairs!"

Loud knocking. The sounds of the shop's door being banged on heavily was getting louder. One book might not be worth the trouble...
"I know the one in red is in there! She's the one that took my books!"
By the door was a furious little girl, or what seemed to be. Her clothes are a mess, she must be the one Reimu claimed to have exterminated earlier.
"Geez, you're persistent. I beat you so just go back into the forest like a good youkai!"
"Huh? You're not red."
"I'm blue today."
"Just give me my books back!"
"Even if you tell me to, I can't do anything about it. I don't have them anymore, so give up."
"How cruel... then where are they!?"
The books are mine now, and of course, I have no intention of returning them. However, I'm unable to do anything rough. The girls told me how it was "Amazing you managed to live so long like that.", but I think it's normal, and I've lived "many times" longer than they have. ...I glared sharply at Reimu.
"...Hey, Marisa! You look pretty sleepy."
"Huh, what? Ya reap what ya sow. Do it yourself."
"I can't move well in these clothes. She isn't much of a fight, so you can take her, Marisa. ...But watch out for attacks from behind."
"Are you saying she should get her revenge on you with me? Geez, Reimu..."
Marisa hopped off the pot, and headed towards the girl in a seemingly good mood.
"Put it on my tab."
Of course, I've never seen Reimu hand over any money to Marisa.
"Here I am. The one in red gave up. Her parent will be taking her place."
"...Whaddya mean parent? There's no way you're her mother!"
"She was abandoned."
Reimu returned to her seat and began drinking tea.
"If you're going to fight, do it outside of the shop. If you destroy anything else, you're going to be paying for everything."
Marisa said "Yeah, I know.", and forced the youkai out.
"Anyway, Kourin, good for you for gettin' all fifteen volumes."
Surprised, I looked at Marisa. I don't remember saying anything about it being a fifteen volume set.
"Why did you think it was fifteen?"
Marisa threw the book she was holding towards me.
"I looked at the back of that book."
I turned the book over and flipped open the back cover. "15 Volumes Total" was written in small print.

It's snowing outside. If I don't get the door repaired soon, it's going to be unpleasant in here.
"Seriously, Reimu. Whenever you come here, nothing good ever happens."
"The shop itself has nothing good. Here, tea."
I sat down beside her and took the tea. It had an extremely pleasing scent. "Ah, this tea. You used the tea leaves at the back of the shelf, didn't you?"
And here I thought it was tea Reimu bought herself.
"They are the ones with the best smell to them."
"It's the best kind of tea. I was saving it for a special occasion, too..."
"Oh, will there ever be such an occasion?" Reimu was completely relaxed and in a good mood. The sounds of Marisa's enjoyment and laughter and the cries of her youkai opponent can be heard.
This is relatively usual. I don't think of these days as special.
"Mr. Rinnosuke. You're not going to sell those books, right? All the goods here haven't changed at all."
The majority of the wares here are my collection; indeed, I don't want to let go of anything so easily.
"No, they're all merchandise."
......Maybe I'm not be suited to be a businessman.

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