Act 01: Medicinal Herb Research Institute
A month had passed since I’d been summoned.
The season was fully heading towards spring, and I was sowing medicinal herbs in the herb garden at the royal palace.
Why was I sowing seeds at the herb garden?
That’s because right now, I was a member of the Medicinal Herb Research Institute located next to the herb garden.
Furthermore I was living at the Research Institute.
Yes…… I was not living at the Royal Palace, but at the Research Institute.
On that day, I, Takanashi Sei, was summoned to a different world by a ceremony called 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】. This ceremony has been handed down since ancient times in Slantania Kingdom.
It seemed that something called miasma grew everywhere in this kingdom.
It was bad for miasma to occur close to humans.
Although a detailed theory had not been created, it seemed that when the miasma density reached a certain degree, it would form into a demon. Moreover, if the miasma was dense, the demon would be stronger.
The miasma in the surrounding area became thinner when a demon was defeated. The thickening of miasma could be prevented by continuously defeating demons.
However, once every few generations, there was a period when the speed of the miasma thickening exceeded the speed at which the demons were defeated. Since long ago, during such times, a maiden who would become the 【Saint】would appear in the Kingdom.
The magic used by the 【Saint】was considerably powerful and quickly annihilated the demons.
Thanks to that magic, the speeds at which the miasma thickened and the demons were defeated were balanced.
According to one theory, there was a report that in the area where the 【Saint】was, the miasma did not thicken.
It was incredible.
It was natural for the【Saint】 to always appear. But just once, there was a time when no matter how dense the miasma was, the Saint did not appear.
It was said that the sages of that time inspected all possible methods and constructed this ceremony to summon the maiden who would become the【Saint】.
What a nuisance, to be summoned by such a ceremony.
Because this ceremony had only been performed once, a long time ago, no one was sure if the 【Saint】would really be summoned until they tried it.
But the sages of that time were magnificent, and the summoning worked.
Furthermore it even summoned two people.
It seemed that up until then, only one 【Saint】 appeared at a time.
Compared to the past, the situation this time seemed rather severe, so had the number of people increased in proportion to that?
It was a mystery.
During the past month, this was what I had learned about the【Saint Summoning Ceremony】.
From here on, I would like to talk about why I decided to live at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute.
The red-haired guy who entered the room after the ceremony was undeniably the Crown Prince of this kingdom.
Crown Prince-sama didn’t even look at me; he saw nothing but the other girl, Misono Aira-chan, with whom he spoke, and it was only Aira-chan that he left the room with.
I was in my twenties. On the other hand, Aira-chan was in her late teens.
As for which one was closer to the Prince in age, of course it’s Aira-chan.
Moreover she had fluffy brown hair, translucent white skin, rosy cheeks and droopy eyes, the type that made others want to protect her. She was an adorable girl.
Since I was always busy, I never fussed over my appearance. It was ridiculous to compare her to me, a glasses-wearing woman with dark circles under her eyes. My unkempt hair was tied up in a bundle and my white skin looked unhealthy.
I couldn’t not understand why he only had eyes for Aira-chan.
But I thought that it was bold of him to ignore the existence of someone he forcefully summoned.
The knights and robed people in the surrounding area were also dumbfounded by the Prince’s ability to ignore. I was awfully confused when I noticed that I had been left behind.
You know, I didn’t know how to deal with being utterly ignored.
As things were, I couldn’t help becoming befuddled so I grabbed the nape of the Robed Person nearby and started questioning them with a sweet smile.
“Hey, I have something that I’d like to ask.”
“Wh…… What is it?”
The Robed Person, who was confused by me, responded timidly while sounding as if he was squeezing out his words.
He was taller than me and yet, his shoulders contracted and his eyes wandered about uneasily. Wouldn’t it almost seem like I was bullying him?
I would usually have felt guilty about something like this but not that time. I asked what was on my mind without caring.
“Where is this?”
“This is the Royal Palace in Slantania Kingdom.”
I’d never heard of this country.
Since there are various countries in the world, I thought that maybe it was just a country I didn’t know. But at the corner of my mind, I knew that I was just trying to escape reality.
“I see. So? Why am I here?”
“That is…… That……”
The Robed Person said hesitantly but when I immediately narrowed my eyes, he quickly began explaining.
“Yo-you were summoned here by the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】!”
“【Saint Summoning Ceremony】?”
From there the explanation of the【Saint Summoning Ceremony】began, but you’ve already heard about that earlier.
“As I thought, this world is different from the world I was in, right?”
“Perhaps, I think so……”
I had never heard of miasma or demons occurring in my original world.
Perhaps, just perhaps, there was miasma and demons in my original world and I was the only who didn’t know about it. I clung onto such little hopes. But what the Robed Person had said seemed to be widely known in Slantania Kingdom.
Until then I hadn’t wanted to accept it, but now I understood that I was summoned to a different world.
“So, I know what the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】is, but how do I get back to my original world?”
The【Saint】appeared when the density of the miasma needed regulating. So if the speed at which the miasma thickened returned to normal, there would be no need for the 【Saint】. Perhaps it would be possible for me to return to my original world.
I asked the question with such thoughts in mind. But the Robed Person said in a small voice, “No,” and with that my hope was easily shattered.
In the first place, this was only the second time that the 【Saint】had been summoned. It was said that the 【Saint】 who was summoned the last time spent the rest of her lifetime in this kingdom. There was currently no way for summoned people to return to their original world.
I was shocked when I heard that I wasn’t able to return.
After listening to that, the previous attitude of the Crown Prince came to my mind. So after I finished listening to the necessary information, I thought that I should leave this kingdom.
First I would leave this room, then from this room I would leave the Royal Palace, then from the Royal Palace I would leave the capital, and finally I would try to go to the neighbouring kingdom.
Looking back, I was extremely thoughtless. But at any rate I didn’t want to stay there.
I let go of the Robed Person’s nape after I heard what I needed to. As I was leaving the room, a panicked Knight chased after me.
“Saint-sama! Where are you going?!”
I thought about getting out of here in a hurry, but as expected of the Royal Palace.
It was too big, I didn’t know exactly where the exit was.
Blood rushed to my head and I made rapid progress, but the Knight chasing after me eventually caught up and stood before me. I was stopped.
I was irritated that he had blocked off my path so I glared at him. The Knight’s shoulders contracted, just like the Robed Person from before.
“Please, please wait for a little while longer.”
“I took time to talk to you earlier, and I think that I was in that room for a considerable amount of time?”
“Well that is true…… But, please.”
The Knight hunched up his big body. It looked as if he was going to somehow stop me. My head chilled a little, and I reluctantly nodded.
When the Knight saw that, he looked honestly relieved. Saying, “Please follow me,” he led me to a room somewhere in the Royal Palace.
“The person in charge will be coming, so please wait in here.”
The Knight said before leaving. A maid passed him on her way into the room, pushing a serving cart. On top of that serving cart was a tea set.
As expected, the tea that the maid brewed was very delicious.
The warm tea calmed my irritated feelings. Once I had calmed down, I began organising the information in my head.
The maid did not talk to me after she finished brewing the tea and so I had time on my hands.
She may have done this so that I would have time to think about my situation.
She was looking at me but she stood quietly against the wall.
And then I waited for an hour.
If you made an angry client wait an hour in Japan, without a doubt they would cut the contract. Again, I was getting angry and then finally, there was a knock on the door.
In return to the knock I said, “Come in.” The person who entered seemed to be a high official in this kingdom. He wore clothes far plainer than the Crown Prince but his mannerisms were the same.
The tea that the maid had brewed was very delicious and I was grateful that I had the time to organise my thoughts but as one would expect, it was hard to wait for an hour.
So I think it was inevitable that I unintentionally glared at the High Official.
The High Official of this kingdom trembled under my gaze and while he was wiping the sweat off his forehead, he began explaining about this kingdom in detail and about why I was left behind.
From what I heard about the circumstances at that time, I was very grateful to the Knight who had stopped me.
No matter how you look at it, once you left the capital, the grassland was filled with demons swaggering around. It took one week to travel to the neighbouring kingdom by carriage and thieves might appear along the way.
To be honest, for me who didn’t understand much about this world, to reach the neighbouring kingdom was clearly impossible.
“I was told that you said you wanted to leave, but it is not realistic for you to immediately leave and live outside of the Royal Palace.”
When I listened to the story of the gentle High Official, I certainly thought that was true.
It was quite haphazard of me to live in the capital, I had thought that I would somehow manage but at the same time if I acted the same way as I did in Japan, I might not want to return.
When you travel overseas, you had to be cautious about the same things.
Even if I live in this kingdom, I would be staying at the palace for a while so it might not be too late for me to get used to this world.
While thinking that, I decided to live at the palace in accordance to the High Official’s words.
After the meeting with the High Official, the maid who had brewed me tea guided me to the room that I would be staying in.
The room that I was guided to was bigger than the studio apartment that I lived at, in Japan. Moreover the living room and bedroom were connected, just like a hotel suite.
The interior was also rococo-themed, it was very luxurious. It looked like the luxury hotels in Europe that I often saw on the internet. I had wanted to go and see one someday.
By the time I passed through the room and sat on the sofa, I felt tired.
The light shining in through the window told me that it was daytime, but when I was summoned, after I returned home from work, it was late at night in Japan.
It seemed that there was a time difference between Slantania Kingdom and Japan.
It was probably due to fact that I was tired from working late every day and night and the sudden change in environment when I was summoned, but I don’t remember a thing after sitting on the sofa.
I think I probably fell asleep.
When I woke up the next morning, someone had carried me to my bedroom.
The coat and suit that I had worn were removed and I now wore a white negligee.
What the heck, did someone change me?
The maid who guided me here probably changed my clothes but I still felt a bit uneasy.
I thought about changing my clothes for now, but I wondered if it was alright for me to look around the room as I pleased. I moved around the room while thinking that someone was in the living room.
When I opened the door to the living room, the maid who guided me to this room the other day was standing there, waiting.
When I told her that I wanted to change clothes, she led me to the bedroom and brought out various dresses. But the dresses were all decorative and fancy, they all seemed terribly expensive. There were only dresses that I was afraid of dirtying and they looked hard to move in.
Since I didn’t plan on going out, I asked for a dress with little decoration which was easy to move in. I changed into a dress that was only somewhat extravagant.
While I was changing, I heard that she was the one who changed me into the negligee.
She returned my thanks with, “Not at all.”
I had a feeling that she was disturbed but it was becoming increasingly shameful to point it out, so I stopped worrying about it.
That was my personal experience of changing clothes while saying thanks.
Like that, I spent two weeks at the palace.
I had time to spare.
The first three days were still good.
I was nervous at the thought of having to become accustomed to this world.
But I gradually became unable to endure the spare time.
Certainly my living essentials were guaranteed but other than that, it was neglect play.
Since the first time I met the High Official, he had not met with me once and I hadn’t received any news either.
I thought that he would contact me so I waited.
Since there was a maid in the room I was able to make some idle chat but it was difficult to continue talking for the whole day. In addition, she seemed to be working somewhere else as well, so it wasn’t like she was always in the room.
At those times, I would be in the room by myself, but it was hard to spend time doing nothing when there was no TV or smartphones.
As expected I became unable to withstand the free time. It wasn’t good for me to confine myself so I decided to take a walk. When I told the maid, she said she would accompany me.
However she had work as well, so I felt bad if she kept me company while I was killing time. Since I was only taking a little walk to the garden in front of the room, I forced myself to walk alone.
I was really hesitant.
At first, I only walked around the garden in front of the room. But day by day I walked further and further. While I was wandering around, I found a herb garden.
In Japan, I used herbs and aromatherapy as a way to relieve stress from work, so the herb garden was very interesting.
The planted medicinal herbs had the same appearance as the ones in Japan. While I was wondering whether the plants were different from the ones on Earth, a voice called out to me.
When I turned around, there stood a friendly, handsome man with dark green hair and striking eyes.
The voice that had called out to me belonged to a researcher from the Medicinal Herb Research Institute, located next to the herb garden.
“Do you have business with the Research Institute?”
“No, I am just taking a walk. I thought it was interesting, so I came to take a look.”
Was he interested in me because I said the medicinal herbs were interesting? Just like that, the Researcher explained the medicinal herbs in the vicinity.
Lavender, rosemary, angelica, etc. The medicinal herbs had the same names as the ones in Japan, and they also had similar effects.
“HP potions can be made with this medicinal herb.”
I wanted to retort when a word like HP potion, which was used in games, was said. While I was surprised, the researcher smiled sweetly and began explaining about potions.
“When this medicinal herb is dried, it can used to make potions. The herb is effective even if you decoct and drink it. But the effects are further enhanced by making it into a potion.”
“Eh, is that so?”
The Medicinal Herb Research Institute that the Researcher was a member of, also conducted research on medicinal herbs. However, it seems that he mainly researched potions. After that he told me various things about potions.
I listened to the explanation of medicinal herbs used in various potions. The salves and medicinal herbs used in my former world’s past were used as raw materials for HP potions here; the effects of the potion and medicinal herbs were connected, it was very interesting.
While I received the explanation of the medicinal herbs, time passed in the blink of an eye. I returned to the royal palace because evening was approaching.
“I had fun listening to your stories. Thank you very much.”
“It was my pleasure. Please come again.”
I made use of the Researcher’s generosity and came back to the herb garden the next day.
As I tottered around the herb garden the Researcher called out to me again, just like he’d done the previous day. He accompanied me on my walk as he told me about the effects of the nearby planted medicinal herbs and the effects of the potions made from those herbs.
We talked for three days in the herb garden, but on the fourth day he showed me around the Research Institute. There, the other researchers also talked to me about various things.
The stories I heard from the researchers were very interesting. They mainly talked about medicinal herbs and potions. But they also told me things like: who was popular in the kingdom, who was working in the royal palace, etc.
I started going to the Research Institute every day, and gradually it became troublesome to commute from the Royal Palace to the herb garden.
It takes 30 minutes to walk to the royal palace to the herb garden, you know?
Because it’s the Royal Palace, the garden was endlessly large.
When I asked the maid, she told me that everything I could see was the Royal Palace.
It took an hour to commute to the research institute. But I thought that if I had that extra hour, I would be able to hear even more stories from the researchers.
“I really want to live here.”
“I think that is fine. Actually, some researchers, including myself, live in the Research Institute.”
When I said what was on my mind, Jude, the Researcher who I’d been getting along with these past few days, approved.
He was the researcher who first called out to me in the herb garden.
“Yes, although there are some people who have residences in the capital. This place is on the opposite side of the capital and across from the Royal Palace. Moreover, there’s some distance between here and the royal palace. In the past, there were also researchers who thought like you, so they decided to live here. Since then, the number of people living here has increased.”
Jude had family living in the capital so at the beginning he commuted here. But when he’d heard that there were researchers living at the Research Institute, he quickly moved in.
As I thought, it was troublesome to commute from the capital.
As I muttered in my head that everyone must be thinking the same thing as me, a voice called out from behind me.
“What are you talking about today?”
Jude and two others looked back. There stood Johan Waldeck, the Director of this Medicinal Herb Research Institute.
“Right now, we are talking about how difficult it is to commute from the Royal Palace. So it would be good if I could live here.”
“Yes. There are many researchers living here, aren’t there?”
“Well, yes there are. So you want to become a researcher as well?”
The Director grinned as he said something unexpected.
Me, work here?
Certainly the people who lived in the Research Institute were researchers who were working there. You wouldn’t normally think that someone from outside of the institute would want to live here.
Even if I moved out of the Royal Palace and into the capital later, it was evident that it would be better if I did so while employed. Above all, it would be far more meaningful to work than spend my time idling at the Royal Palace.
Yeah, working at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute was a really good idea.
While thinking that far, I smiled sweetly and turned to face the Director.
“That is correct. I want to become a researcher.”
“Oh, is that so? Then, I’ll start the procedure.”
The Director had said it so foolishly, that I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. After he had said that, he headed towards the Director’s Room.
It seems that Jude, who was also listening close by, thought that the Director was joking.
When I was giving my greetings at the Research Institute, a surprising thing was said to me.
I must strike while the iron’s still hot.
After I returned to the royal palace, I immediately asked the maid to convey to the High Official, whom I’d first met, that I would like to meet him.
Since it was already late in the evening at that time, it was decided that I would meet the High Official on the next day.
The next day, after I finished my breakfast and as I was taking a break while sipping on tea, the High Official came into the room.
“I was told that you wished to talk with me?”
“Yes, to be honest I am interested in medicinal herbs, so I would like to work at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute……”
“That is fine.”
“Eh? Is it alright?”
The High Official readily consented. I heard that the Director of the Institute had talked to him about me moving from the Royal Palace to the Research Institute.
I had thought the Director had been partially joking, but he seemed to have properly followed through.
Thanks to that, I was able to get the High Official’s consent.
You did pretty well, Director.
The preparations proceeded from there.
My personal effects were the things I had with me when I was summoned: a coat, suit, shoes and my business bag. It wasn’t much.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t wear the suit, which I had only worn once, to work at the Research Institute. Of course I needed a change of clothes but daily necessities were important as well.
Since the High Official had told me that he’d prepare those things, I left it to him.
He prepared me clothes that wouldn’t look strange even if a researcher wore them, western-style dresses, plain shirts and skirts. He also prepared daily necessities such as towels and soap.
When I looked at the clothes I received, I noticed that the dresses and accessories that I had worn during my short stay at the royal palace were also in the pile. The new clothes I received all had similar designs to the ones I wore. They must have taken my preference into consideration.
Perhaps, the furniture in this room would also be arranged as part of my daily necessities.
After moving, I checked out the interior of the room and saw that it was furnished.
The bright colours of the furniture matched well. It looked like a very cosy room.
So much so, that you wouldn’t think that this was a research institute.
“Thank you for everything.”
“No. If there are any problems, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
On the day I left the Royal Palace, I thanked the High Official, who had prepared me a carriage to go to the Research Institute, and as always he returned it with his usual smile.
I didn’t plan on returning to the Royal Palace. So from now on, I shouldn’t have to rely on the High Official. I thanked him for the second time and got into the carriage.
And that was how I acquired my room at the Research Institute and also how I become a medicinal herb researcher.
Editor: Polar Bear