38 – Gossip – The Magic Painting
A few days after Calcedonia and Tatsumi were formally betrothed.
On the road back from the temple, Tatsumi was unexpectedly dropping in on the way.
Maybe because he finally made his relationship with Calcedonia clear, he was more relaxed now.
The place Tatsumi headed to was the plaza at the centre of Levantes. It was a place where merchants from all over the kingdom came to do business and created a bazaar.
From foodstuff to medical ingredients, ornaments and accessories, and even arms and protectors. They moreover had a large assortment of strange and unfamiliar objects.
Walking past various stalls while gazing at their products, Tatsumi suddenly stopped in front of one.
It was a stall that sold items that one could’t figure out the use of at a moment’s glance. There was a crystal sphere and a cracked vase along with other things lined up on the counter. All things that people would disregard as trash when seeing them for the first time.
“Welcome, young lad. For you to be interested in my wares, this laddie has quite the discerning eyes it seems.”
A perfect image of a shady middle aged shopkeeper, and he had a huge grin on his face.
“What I have here, are all, authentic to the last fibre, magic seal devices! For example this—-”
The shopkeeper rummaged through the stuff for a while and took out an old single edged long sword.
“This is the favoured holy sword of an exorcist who was called the ‘Hero’ long long ago! And his holy sword just for 70 silver. What a bargain, right?”
The Largofiely kingdom used the common silver currency of the Zoysalight continent.
They weren’t denominated particularly as a currency, as most transections were done asking ‘How many silvers for this’?
By the way, for a commoner the normal everyday expense for one person would roughly be 10 silvers. Right now, the long sword the shopkeeper of this shady stall pointed to would go from 100 to 200 silvers in most cases. And if it was a work by a renowned blacksmith than the price would be even higher.
Certainly, a long sword for only 70 silvers was a good bargain.
But that was, if the sword could be used in real battles.
“Excuse me, can you let me see that sword for a bit?”
“Go ahead laddie. As long as you’re satisfied.”
After receiving the sword from the shopkeeper, Tatsumi extracted the sword. No, he tried to extract it.
But the sword refused to leave its scabbard. No matter how much strength he put in he was unable to draw it.
“……This, isn’t this stuck because the blade is totally rusted?”
“That’s where you are wrong young lad. Didn’t I say? This is a holy sword. In other word, it’ll choose its owner. Looks like you weren’t chosen by it. So? You gonna buy it?”
No matter how you think of it, it’s a scam. And there was a faint smell of iron rust coming from the sword.
“Don’t need it. What am I supposed to do with a sword I can’t even draw?”
“No no, even if you can’t now, there’s no telling if you won’t be chosen by the sword in the future right?”
While returning the sword to the grinning shopkeeper, he started to browse the other items.
“Eh? Is this by chance…”
Tatsumi spotted a certain thing in the stall.
It was a single painting.
At first glance it looked like a cheap portrait of a lady.
“Oh! You really do have some good eyes, laddie! This is a portrait of the famous ‘<<Holy maiden>> of the temple of Savaiv’. I resembles her a lot right?”
“Is that so…….?”
Tatsumi was staring at the painting with a frown.
The hair and the eye colour certainly resembled Calcedonia, but on the contrary that’s all that did.
The faces didn’t match at all, and her body line was somewhat suspicious.
It looked like a painting drawn by a person who just started learning how to paint, a rough sketch that you couldn’t praise even if you wanted to flatter him.
More of what, the Calcedonia in the picture was wearing a provocative skimpy red dress she would never wear in reality.
The red dress that exposed her huge breasts was very lascivious indeed. But for Tatsumi who didn’t have an eye for painting, he just didn’t think the art could be called skillful so no matter how sensational the artist wanted to make it, it was a waste.
Whether he knew what Tatsumi was thinking or not, the grinning shopkeeper leaned his body out and brought his face closer to Tatsumi’s.
“And by the way, you see the red dress the <<Holy Maiden>> is wearing? Actually, that is—”
With a smirk. The shopkeeper’s nasty smile became even nastier.
“—— When its late at night, the clothes of the <<Holy Maiden>> inside the picture turns transparent and she becomes stark naked.”
“You are also a young lad. Don’t you want to admire her holiness at her finest? I know I want to. But getting the chance to actually view the <<Holy Maiden>> completely naked, there’s no way we’d get that right?”
—I don’t think so though.
Tatsumi retorted silently.
Actually, he already saw her naked when he was experimenting with <<Instant Transition>>.
Other than that, when they were bathing or at night in her night clothes, he could enjoy her ample assets anytime. In the morning there would be times when her night-gown would slide up, so he even saw her perfect white buttocks more than once.
But of course, he couldn’t say that out loud. So he shut up and continued listening to the shopkeeper.
“But hey? If you buy this portrait, even though it’s painting you can still see the <<Holy Maiden>> naked yes? No man would deny that chance, don’t you agree laddie?”
The clothes in the portrait would turn transparent at night.
How could such a magic like phenomena possibly exist! But thinking to that point, Tatsumi was stumped.
“……That’s right. This world’s a magical one wasn’t it…”
What the shopkeeper said could be possible with the use of magic.
But Tatsumi hadn’t the slightest clue of what system of magic one needed to apply to cause that effect.
“Now now laddie, hesitating means willing right? Then buy it, I’ll make it cheap.”
While keeping that grin on his face, the shopkeeper urged Tatsumi to buy it.
And so with the banter of the shopkeeper in the background, Tatsumi arrived at a certain decision.
“…….So, you really ended up buy it? That suspicious painting?”
Calcedonia was in front of Tatsumi, with a somewhat tired, yet somewhat angry expression.
In the end, Tatsumi bought the problematic painting. Because it was quite big, it would be hard for him to secretly bring it home.
So as expected, the moment he returned home the painting caught Calcedonia’s attention.
Well Tatsumi never had the intention of hiding it, so he honestly explained her the situation. This is what led to the current state of affairs.
In the living room, outside was completely dark as the veil of night fell upon the world. In the fire place was a warm fire burning and warming up the room.
But there was an indescribably invisible chill floating between Tatsumi and Calcedonia.
With the table they usually had their dinner on interposing between them, they were sitting on the opposite ends of it.
At Tatsumi’s timid voice, Calcedonia who had her face turned down looked up.
And seeing her like that, Tatsumi’s swallowed his breath. Because Calcedonia, she was crying.
“Dear…I…In your eyes I, do I really have no such charm as a woman in your eyes?”
“B-Because!!… Aren’t you saying that I am even inferior to this trashy painting!? Rather than seeing me naked, you’d rather see me naked in this stupid painting!? That’s what you think dear, don’t you?! In other words, my body is even lesser than this painting…!?”
Calcedonia wept, and weakly shouted.
Seeing Calcedonia crying so weakly for the first time, at the beginning Tatsumi as dazed, but then he snapped into reality.
But even if he said, ‘You’re a hundred times more charming than this trashy painting!’ it would probably go over her head.
That’s why Tatsumi resolved himself to speak the absolute truth.
The reason why he bought such a bad painting.
Calcedonia was crying while covering her face just then. But now even with her cheeks wet in tears, she had a shocked expression.
“D-Dear….J-Just now, y-you…”
“As I said………I felt disgusted!! Even if it’s just a painting… No matter how bad it is, if by chance, there really was some magic cast on it, and the clothes really do turn invisible during the night….. And, some random guy somewhere was to see that, the very thought of it pisses me off!! Even if it’s just a painting, someone else seeing m-my Calsey naked is unforgivable!!… Because that sight only belongs to me!!!”
Tatsumi, even with a red face, clearly stated his mind. Though he was looking away, he made himself clear.
Calcedonia who was crying had a 180 degree change in mood instantly.
“I-I’m sorry okay!! Like everyone else, I also want to monopolize what’s mine.’
Tatsumi literally started to yell out in desperation.
After that, a strange silence lingered in the room. But it wasn’t the bad awkward kind of silence, but a good happy one.
Just how long would this silence last.
Suddenly, Calcedonia tore apart that silence with a sentence.
“T-Then………………………………………………………………… R-Right now….D-Do you want to see…..me?”
“T-That…..If it’s what dear wants….A-And, If dear is okay with someone like me….D-Do you want to see me….N-Naked?…..I-If it’s you, as long as you desire I….”
Calcedonia’s face was really a sight to behold while she said all that.
And Tatsumi too was blushing as he didn’t want to lose to her.
Quietly, Tatsumi gulped.
In the end he was a man. There’s no way he wouldn’t be interested in seeing the girl in his heart naked.
“N-No, that….Of course I want to see b-but… I-If I really do end up seeing C-Calsey n-naked…..I d-don’t think I could hold myself back…t-that…”
Even in a moment like this, Tatsumi gave priority to his feelings than his lust. He really was glad at Calcedonia’s feelings.
That’s why he clearly told her, the numbness he was currently feeling.
“I-Isn’t it okay not to hold yourself back……W-We have already been engaged properly… A-And if it’s now dear has enough earnings to sustain a family and…I think you’ve already reached that mark. S-So…”
She turned her face away, but still couldn’t help but take peeks at Tatsumi shyly.
“……I’ve been living with dear for half a year now and. I-I was wondering if it’s about time w-we…t-that…”
Being said all that, even Tatsumi was at the end of his patience.
“I-Is it really okay……? I-I’m a guy too. If you say something like that, I won’t be able to stop myself… No matter how much Calsey is in pain and screams… I might really not be able to stop myself you know?”
“Y-Yes. I don’t mind. In the first place… I belonged to dear even before I was born here. S-So please… D-Do as you please….with me….P-Please make me yours…”
Their distance slowly closed, as their fingers intertwined.
Starting with their fingers, they continued to hold each other’s hand tightly. In the end they just like that, got up on the table and started to passionately kiss each other.
Of course it didn’t end with just a kiss, as it went deeper. They started to move their tongues as if they were battling to make the other submit.
But in the end who won that battle?
No matter if it was Tatsumi, or if it was Calcedonia, the winner and loser wouldn’t be able to effect this moment or desire they were having together.
Tatsumi and Calcedonia went even more intimate than ever before.
And the magic picture? Turns out it was just a scam, as it never did show the magical effect it was supposed to.
But that didn’t matter at all.
Because without doubt this was the trigger for Tatsumi and Calcedonia to finally open up to each other, so to them it was definitely a magic painting.