“What is this devilish contraption?” I muttered, staring at the device with two wheels and a seat.
I was outside of the house and had pulled this thing out of a shed. An uneventful night had passed since the celebratory dinner over Mother’s raise. My sisters only came out long enough to grab their plates and then immediately returned to their rooms. I remained and did the dishes for Mother. She seemed alarmed at first, but after a moment of shock, she seemed to be quite pleased and let me continue as she took a break in the family room and put something on the television.
The next day, Mother had errands to do, so she wasn’t available to drive me anywhere. She told me to take my bicycle if I wanted to visit nearby places and fill out any job applications. In her words, if it was too far away for me to reach on my own, then I shouldn’t apply, as she wouldn’t always be available to take me to work. From what I understood, job applications were some kind of form you completed if you wanted a job. Jobs in this world were granted by bosses, who would provide you money in exchange for physical labor.
I was aware of what the bicycle was from the multiple mangas I had summoned and read. However, I didn’t know the first thing about how to use this machine. I understood the basic mechanics, but it was completely foreign to me. I tried to get on the thing, but every time, it would immediately tilt to the side. It was truly a maddening contraption. What would happen if it suddenly tilted when I was rolling down a hill? It would be instant death! They even had safety equipment that was required for this thing, but it looked like the hero didn’t have any such items. The people of this world were crazy and foolish to come up with such a thing.
“What are you doing?” A voice asked from next door.
I immediately got off the bike and stepped away from it. It fell with a crash.
“I have places I must be.”
A flash of disappointment appeared on her face. “You’re busy.”
“Young witch, do you understand how to ride this contraption?”
“Young witch?” She blinked. “I have a name, you know.”
“Lana… do you really not remember my name?”
“I don’t even remember how to ride a bike,” I responded. “Can you?”
She blinked, looking to see if there was some falsehood in my words. “You… lost your memory?”
Looking back at the house, and then at her, I decided it was best to lie. “Yes, but please don’t tell my family. It will only worry them. It will be our little secret.”
I lifted my hand to my face and put a finger over my lips. Her pale face turned red for a moment. That should take care of any discrepancies I had with this girl. I had to think of any future mistakes I might make because of my lack of knowledge.
“They say you never forget riding a bike though…” She responded.
“Is that what they say?” I smiled, but inside I was cursing. “Anyway, can you ride?”
“Hmm? You want me to teach you?”
“I noticed that this bike has a seat on the back. Would you like to ride together?”
She jerked, her face turning completely red. “R-ride? T-together?”
“That’s the words I just said, but without any stuttering.”
“Yes! I’ll do it!” She said excitedly, quickly running around the fence to get to where I was.
Only a few minutes later, we were cruising down the street. It was a rather relaxing ride with a light breeze. It might have been pleasant, but she was panting so much.
“Hah… this… wasn’t… hah… what I had… in mind.” She said as she peddled the bike with me sitting on the back.
“I said I didn’t remember how. You are doing fine.” I reassured her while rolling my eyes.
“That’s not… the point… it was… supposed to be-“ Her words were lost as she hit a bump.
In a panic, I reached my arms around her and grabbed her. She let out a little cry. I nearly had a heart attack. We were going nearly as fast as a horse. I never trusted riding horses, and this somehow felt scarier because I was so close to the ground. Furthermore, we were wearing none of the recommended safety equipment! That bump could have killed us both! I tried to get my breathing under control, realizing that I had been holding her tightly from behind while breathing loudly next to her ear.
I pulled back and straightened myself, trying to regain my lost dignity. How could I be scared of this? I faced demons! Once I finally recovered my temperament, I remembered she had been saying something.
“What were you saying?” I asked, my arms still holding her sides.
“N-nothing!” She cried out.
She seemed to grow more enthusiastic pedaling for a bit, but it only lasted temporarily. She slowed back down once again after she ran out of steam. However, we had made it to the commercial area of town. It was only about ten minutes away. She slowed to a stop and I stepped off the back of the bike, turning back to her.
“You did an acceptable job. Now, wait nearby to take me back.” I ordered.
She frowned. “W-wait, you’re going on without me?”
“You’re sweaty and out of breath. It wouldn’t be advantageous for me to be seen next to you right now.” I explained.
Her face turned red. “What did you say? How dare you? Am I just a ride to you?”
I cocked my head, wondering what I said that had upset her.
“You wouldn’t be so sweaty if you’d just lose some weight and be more fit.”
She jumped off the bike. “Y-y-you jerk!”
“What are you so angry for? You should want to lose weight. You wear such frumpy clothing to cover your fat rolls. If you lost weight, then you’d be able to show more skin. I’d love to see you wearing something appropriate for the summer.”
“A-appropriate?” She stuttered lost between being angry and bewildered. “L-like a swimsuit?”
I immediately recalled some of the manga I had seen where women wore these things called swimsuits. They exposed a great deal of skin and were extremely pleasing to look at.
Thinking about such hot women, I nodded. “Yes, something that in particular shows the buttocks and the breasts, that is an aim to strive for.”
“Y-you want to see that…” Her eyes widened.
She seemed to grow dazed and distant. Not quite sure how to end the conversation with her so that I could move on, I remembered a trick from some of the manga I had read. I reached out, and then put my hand on her head. She blinked, looking at me. I patted her head three times.
I turned around and walked away. I could feel her staring at me as I left, but I didn’t look back at her. It would be nice if human interactions were easier to understand. I thought it’d be easier with her since she was a witch, but she seemed somewhat emotional. I didn’t walk away for long. The first door I encountered, I walked inside. The bell rang as I walked through the front door.
“Hello! How can I… ah… Aiko?” I looked over to see a pretty girl standing behind the register.
She looked to be about my age. She had blonde hair and blue eyes and appeared to be wearing a great deal of makeup on her face. She also had loop earrings. There was another stud in her nose. As soon as she saw me, her eyes turned as wide as teacups.
“Yes, it’s me.” I declared although I had no clue who the girl was, nor why she was surprised to see me.
“Wh-what are you doing in here?” Her face turned white.
“That should be obvious,” I responded, walking over to her.
She looked away. “H-how did you know that I worked here?”
“I don’t think that’s important. What is important is what you can do for me.”
“Y-you pig…” She stuttered.
“What did you call me?”
I didn’t know why she suddenly insulted me. She also had a look on her face like she had been completely beaten. I didn’t know her, but I was thinking of using her to get a job here. If she knew me, then maybe she could help. However, the way she suddenly seemed to break left me confused.
“I-I… I’m not that kind of girl. Just because… just because I work here… doesn’t mean you can get sexual favors out of me!”
“D-don’t play dumb!” She shouted angrily. “We go to school together! If the other girls learned I work at an adult sex shop, my life would be ruined! I-it just pays well. I’m not some easy slut! E-even if you want to destroy my reputation, I won’t just put out for some creepy guy at my school! I won’t accept your blackmail! I won’t.”
I stared at her silently as she broke into a rant, tears falling down her face as she glared at me in defiance. I had no clue what she was talking about. It was clear she had jumped to some pretty hefty conclusions. When she finally finished, her face flushed, breathing hard, I pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to her. She looked down at it and then blinked.
“My resume. Provide this for your boss. I may begin work whenever.”
“Y-you want a job?” Her mouth fell open.
As she said this, a chubby bald man was walking out from a back room.
“Oh? Another kid looking for a job?” He snatched the paper from her hand, but she still didn’t move, staring seemingly at nothing. “Hey, you eighteen?”
I turned to him. “I am hundreds of years old.”
“Okay, kid, whatever. I’m going to need an ID at some point.” He shrugged. “I’ll be honest with you, I need someone who has a strong stomach. Skylar here is fine with the register, but she can’t handle talking to customers about their wants. She gets all embarrassed and then makes the customer feel awkward. It’s bad for business. If she wasn’t cute, I wouldn’t even keep her around.”
The girl named Skylar finally snapped out of it, shooting the chubby man a glare. “I-I’m getting better at it! Y-you’re just too lazy to deal with the customers yourself!”
“Whatever.” He shrugged. “Look, kid, can you handle debasing and humiliating things?”
I raised an eyebrow. “You could never imagine the levels of debasement I have experienced in my long life. I have crawled through rivers of blood and excrement, been forced to witness unimaginable horrors and torture. I’ve seen men eaten whole, virgins chained up and violated by monsters with tentacles, and pregnant women birth out abominations.”
As I spoke, Skylar’s face once again grew pained and she gave a nauseous look. The man took it all in stride, looking on thoughtfully.
“Ah, so you’re familiar with tentacle porn, scat, BDSM, torture, rape, vore, and pregnancy… fantastic, you’re hired.”
“You can start tomorrow. Come in after school, Skylar here will train you.”
“I am not in school until next week. What time would that be?”
“Huh? That’s right, you haven’t been in school for a while. Didn’t you have an accident or something?”
“As you can see, I am better now.”
“Right… oh… I’ll be here at 3:30 then!”
“Then, please teach me.”
I turned and left the store as quickly as I came. It was best not to linger. On the way out, I stopped to look at some of the content. A lot of it appeared to be items shaped like phallic objects. This kind of thing didn’t cause me any issues. During the time when I cared for the 500 pregnant insane demonesses, some of them became inflamed with lust. They would hump anything that moved.
Whether it was the brutal things Twenty did to the women or the deranged things those women did after they were driven insane, I had seen the worst that humanity had to offer. There was nothing in this store that could offend me. Looking at the images of a man and a woman on display didn’t hold my interest. Sure, I was impressed by the vivid nature that the art was able to replicate. Pictures and videos were truly a marvel. However, the content itself only left me cold.
Confused? Remembering that a centerpiece of literature that I had decided to grab had resulted in me failing to fool the hero and end up in this world? It should be obvious what my interests were. I much preferred 2D girls! Reality was full of messy liquids and disgusting smells. I was much more interested in the drawings such as from that book. Well, maybe not that book. It contained some pretty questionable content with some pretty young women, but perhaps I’d be able to find an acceptable book in this world that would arouse my interest.
“Wh-what were you doing in there?” Lana cried out as soon as I left the store.
I turned to her. “I was getting a job.”
“A-a job? But… that’s an adult store! You have to be eighteen!”
“He mentioned such a thing. He spoke of something called an ID. How does one prove they are of the appropriate age? Is there some kind of device?”
I had found this world to be lacking in magic, but full of splendid technological devices. It would be easy to determine someone’s true age in this world with magic, but I presumed they must have some kind of device that could do this as well.
“There is! A card reader. You need an eighteen-year-old ID.” She pulled out a wallet and flashed me a card with her face and some information on it. “See? I’m seventeen! And the last I checked, so are you!”
“I see… so I will need to make one of these cards then.”
“M-make? Y-you can make fake IDs?”
“Hmph… I can make anything I wish.”
She looked down and then touched her fingers together. “C-can you make me one as well? I-I’ll pay you!”
“Um… $20… no $100,” She declared. “Ah… a lot of people would pay for a convincing fake ID.”
If I had known that, I wouldn’t have bothered getting the job. Oh well, it was better to secure multiple sources of income.
“You wish to enter the adult store as well?” I asked.
Her face turned bright red again. Her pale skin made her practically a mood stone, changing colors in numerous different ways.
“N-no! I mean, I wanted to get into a certain club, but you need to be 21.” She explained. “It’s… it’s not a big deal or anything… I don’t even want to go!”
“I see… Fine, I will make one for you as well.”
“But I will need the money up front!” I declared.
To make the ID, I would need more supplies. I had been worrying about that, but if she gave me the money now, then I could buy plenty of supplies for several projects I was planning to undertake.
“Deal!” She pulled out several paper notes from her wallet and then handed them to me.
I stared down at them, and then shoved them into my pocket. “Very well, then, I will need an apothecary.”
“An apothe- what?”
“Mother took me to the grocery store yesterday, but that place was limited. I need to find ingredients for witchcraft. You know of such a place?”
Her eyes brightened at the words witchcraft. “I do! There is a reiki shaman at a shop just down the street. She sells all kinds of spells and potions!”
“A shaman? Here? Is she powerful?”
“Oh, yes! She sold me a spell that would help me spend more time with the person I love!” She said excitedly and then covered her mouth.
“And this spell? It worked.”
She slowly uncovered her mouth, and then looked to the side. “Uh… mmhmm…”
The ability to control people, that does sound like a powerful shaman. It appeared that this world did have magic, after all, you just needed to look for it.
“Fascinating… then… take me to this shaman!”