A few days later, as I was relaxing after cleaning up, there was a knock at the door.
(A visitor? That’s unusual. (I think this is the first time I’ve seen anyone here.)
Shiva had gone out, so I and Garon went out and found the dwarf they had met in the audience room standing there.
“Oh, hello there. Thanks for the other day.”
The dwarf rolled his eyes as he greeted her with a smirk and looked surprised, but he quickly regained his composure.
“Hey, sorry for the abruptness. Is Shiva here?”
He’s on a hunting trip, I’m afraid.
This dwarf man helped convince the Demon King to let me live in the forest.
I’m sure that Garon will be there in case of an emergency, so there will be no danger.
So I invited the dwarf in.
“Please wait inside. I’ll have some tea ready in a moment.”
“Garon, you can keep our guest company until its ready.”
I led the dwarf to the table and went to the kitchen.
First I scraped the end of a tree branch with a thin knife to make a spark, then I used the fire starter that was always available next to the furnace hearth to start the fire. Then, water was poured into a kettle and placed over the woodstove.
It is inconvenient to not be able to use gas, but the experience I gained in camping was very useful in this world. Since I use it every day, I’ve learned how to make a fire.
(Thank you, Ishida-san, my instructor, I’ll never forget what you taught me. I’ll never forget your teachings.
While the water was hot, I wrapped the rest of the pancakes I baked in the morning in aluminium foil and lightly warmed them up in the skillet.
Garon’s treat may be less now, but he’ll have to be patient for today.
I poured the fragrant herbs into the teapot and poured hot water over the sliced pancakes, and then I served the pancakes with some cut up fruit and jam.
“Here you are, sir. I hope it’s to your taste.”
The dwarf looked at the pancakes curiously but picked up his fork when he saw Garon eating them with relish.
“Let’s try it,”
Then he took a bite and nodded in satisfaction.
“That thing called pudding the other day was good. however, this is good too. I’m jealous of Shiva and Garon.”
“I’m glad you like it.”
As I thought during this time, this dwarf was quite soft-spoken and nice.
”I’ve been watching you prepare the food from here, you don’t use magical stones to cook. When you were starting the fire, it looks like you were using a tool I’ve never seen before, may I see it?
“Here you go”
I handed him the Firestarter.
“Hmm. It looks like it’s made of minerals too…”
“Where I’m from, they call it magnesium. It’s a stone that can ignite when wet.”
“Ho. Do you use these tools to start fires in your world?”
“No, this is an outdoor… one of those tools you use to make a fire outdoors… in the mountains or in the woods or whatever. It’s not really something I use.”
“So you’re still going to use magic?”
“No, there is no magic in my world. Instead, we use gas and electricity.”
“What is gas and electricity?”
“Gas is a flammable substance. Do you see it here too, in a volcano or something?”
“Electricity is a form of energy that has the same properties as, um… lightning.”
“So you can control lightning?”
‘It’s not exactly lightning, but it’s artificially created and harnessed lightning-like energy,'”
“Isn’t that just magic?”
“Our world is a place where science is growing instead of magic.”
“How do I explain this… its the of study many natural phenomena like fire, water and wind and how the laws of nature apply to them.”
“It’s so hard to imagine. What kind of things, for example?”
(Hmmm, it’s hard to explain. I wish I could show him a TV or something. Oh, yeah.)
I brought out a solar lantern and showed it to the dwarf.
‘This is a tool that uses the sun’s rays to turn on the lights. It stores the sun’s rays in this area.’
“You’re able to collect sunlight with this? Unbelievable!”
“Well, I don’t know the details of how it’s made either.”
“In the world I’m from, researchers in various fields spend a lot of time developing new tools to enrich and make people’s lives more convenient.”
(The documentaries on product development projects were a favourite of my husband and I. By the end of the program, we had become complete fans of the developers, and we used to say, “Oh, thank you, Mr. ________.)
“I hear the place you were in was a wonderful world with a civilization more advanced than I could ever imagine.”
The dwarf’s words gave me some thought.
‘Thank you. It is true that the country I lived in was rich and peaceful.”
“If you were to go over there, I’m sure you’d be surprised to the extent that you’d be fascinated by everything. There would be a lot of things that would interest you.”
“But unfortunately, the whole world was not like that. There were many poor countries, and there were constant wars between people because of differences in language, colour, and religion. People fought each other all the time.”
(When war and terrorism are in the news, it’s on the other side of the television for the average person. The reason we don’t pay much attention to them is that we are at peace in Japan.)
(Well, the occasional missile in the waters around us is disturbing.)
(In my case, my husband often went abroad for work. So, because of that, I was sometimes faced with racial discrimination, and when I was travelling to a developing country, I was worried that I would be attacked by terrorists.)
“I’m new to this world, so I don’t know much about it yet. But I’m sure it’s great.”
I said, and the dwarf laughed.
“Oh. This world the Goddess has created is wonderful.”
“It’s so beautiful and yet so cruel.”