Part 3 out.
The shining stars looked like jewels that were embedded in the night sky.
After the sun had set, when people on the streets became scarce, 'The Two Swans <Alberio>' was about to close down as well. The shop does not have a fixed time to close down. Instead, they would only do so when there are no more customers visiting them.
"No matter how mechanized we are, in the end, it is only us humans that can carry out tasks like these."
He wiped the tables on the street one by one, then proceeded to gather the fold-able chairs before shifting the tables back into the shop. It was rather time consuming, as they made up quite a number.
"Alright, it's done!"
Sheltis stopped and took a brief look at his surroundings, before lifting his head to look into the sky.
—The stars were very bright.
In the morning, the sky was clear and cloudless; at night, it was a starry sky without any obstructions.
There was not a moment where there is no winds blowing on the floating continent Ouvie Kurea. As such, there are rarely clouds that stayed above the lands of Ouvie Kurea for too long. Even though there are frequent rains throughout the year, the rains are not heavy. Even if it is to rain suddenly, one will just need to spend some time in the resting areas located throughout the living sector, and the skies will clear before they know it.
"Chef, I am done packing-"
"Thank you for your hard work, you can clock out now. Can you please help call Eyriey over?"
Chef's voice came from inside the shop.
"Mmm. Eyriey should probably be in her room now."
He cleared the cleaning cloths on the table, and walked into the shop. Moving along the passage-way for staff use, he walked towards the staff's resting quarters located at the annex.
There are a total of three people working in 'The Two Swans <Alberio>'. Aside from Chef, who is the boss as well, the other two are temporary hires. Sheltis is one of them, and his task is to mainly clean the dishes or do other things, like being a waiter.
The other temporary worker is Eyriey, who, like himself, lives at the staff's quarters.
"Eyriey, are you there?"
"Come in, the door's not locked-"
At the instance the door opened, a pungent smell of machine oil and exhaust came gushing in.
*Uonuonuon*...... the sound of exhaust akin to an insect's flapping of wings, came from the monitors located on all corners of the room, as well as the giant computers connected to them.
"Whoa! Could it be that your room has been upgraded yet again?"
Looking downwards, tens of cables entwined together on the floor.
"Ehehe, I have fixed up a new computer with my salary that I had obtained earlier. The processing speed has increased by two folds."
"...... What's the use of that?"
"Speed is what machines are all about. Isn't that much cooler!"
The teenage girl in overalls stood up from her chair, while sounding rather pleased.
"Well then, I have a good news for you, Eyriey. The dishwasher in the shop is behaving rather strangely."
"Also, a few buttons on the cash register are damaged, and the lights in the toilet are blinking."
"Ahh— how irritating, to pick a crucial time like this!"
Eyriey pulled her hair with a bitter face. Her job is to maintain the store's utilities. Her job scope ranged from repairs of machinery, to maintaining the interior decors. Her work load is typically small, but emergencies like that do occur occasionally.
"...... There is no choice, I'll hurry back after the repairs."
"Mmm, this this!"
She pointed to the screen in front of them.
On the green screen, there was a complicated rectangular casing, which was drawn using a cursor.
"It's the experiment in the day. The engine driving the robot had worked really well during its operation at the plaza. I should be able to finish the final adjustments by tonight."
"You are going to install it on the transport that we are gonna use for the barbecue?"
"That's right, since it will not do if we do not utilize it fully. Just wait and see. It will be a comfortable ride."
"I'll be very happy if it does not go out of control...... Ah, speaking of that."
While sitting on the chair at the corner of the room, Sheltis thought of the young girl with her sky-blue scarf.
"Is Yuto free?"
"Mmm, she says she can go."
Though she loves to stick close to him, Yuto is neither his blood-related younger sister, nor is she a friend whom he had known for a long time. Different from the two who live in 'The Two Swans <Alberio>', it looks like Yuto has her own house to return to.
"What's wrong? You suddenly have that worn-out look on your face."
Eyriey crossed her arms and moved her face closer.
Facing such an innocent-looking act, Sheltis shook his head and smiled.
"No, I am just sighing. I have known Eyriey and Yuto for two years already."
It had been two years since he was forcefully brought to the Second Living Sector. Back then, while the homeless Sheltis was wandering along the streets, he accidentally came across the notice of hiring posted by 'The Two Swans <Alberio>'. Knowing Eyriey there was the start to everything.
"Since the first time we had met, Eyriey has been interested in machines."
"Of course. Honestly though, Sheltis has really changed a lot. The first time I saw you, your expressions were so moody, it looked like you were half dead. You would not answer to anything I asked."
"...... That was because the blow of being exiled from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> was something too huge for me."
"Ah, nothing...... I am just mumbling to myself."
—The things that had happened two years ago. Even if he was to say it right then, it would probably just come as a shock for Eyriey.
There was no need to tell anyone about the things that happened between him and Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>. As for those words which he had accidentally let slip just now, it looked like Eyriey did not manage to hear it, due to them being too soft.
"Right, why don't we change the topic."
With that, she handed a cup to Sheltis. The hot steam gave a sweet-smelling fragrance. She had added in a small amount of honey in replacement for sugar into the red tea - that is her favorite way of brewing tea.
"Sheltis, do you have a girl whom you like? I am talking about the subject of love."
At that instant, Sheltis spouted out the tea which he had just drank.
"Whoa, what's with that! The screens will be ruined by that!"
"That is because you asked such a weird question all of the sudden!"
"Really. Well, what's your answer? I am really concerned about it-"
"...... I choose to exercise my right to remain silent."
"Fufu, that reaction of yours - it means there is someone."
Seeing how Eyriey's eyes were sparkling with interest, Sheltis subconsciously shifted his sight downwards. That was not due to him being embarrassed. Rather, he himself does not know what the real answer was.
"However, I don't think we will ever get to see each other again."
"Ara. Why is that so?"
"It's complicated, so simply put...... I'll probably be giving her trouble if I am to see her now. The reason for me coming to the living sector - that is probably the biggest reason."
That's right. Perhaps, he was an unforgivable existence, even at the living sector.
—That is because, Ymy is the exact opposite of me. She is the Priestess whom everyone on the floating continent respects.
"Ohh- That girl lives in the Second Living Sector as well?"
"No. She's in Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>."
"Mmm? So she works in that huge tower huh. A staff there?"
Eyriey's finger touched the screen in front of her.
The screen changed, and on it appeared a tall white tower.
"You can probably call her that. Though there is some minute difference. Oh right, why are you asking that all of the sudden?"
"Mmm- it's nothing much really. I guess you can say that I am curious..... Strange, why is your face red, Sheltis? Ah, could it be that Sheltis had thought that I am interested in you, and thus I was asking those things? How's that? Am I right?"
"N...... Nothing of that sort......"
Sheltis hurriedly waved both of his hands to deny it, but that only made her smile even more delightedly.
"Ahaha, did I make you misunderstand things? I am sorry, but I totally do not see Sheltis as a subject of love. It is much more interesting to research on machines instead."
"...... That sounds really cruel."
"Alright, the joke ends here. Truthfully speaking-"
Eyriey put her hands together and stretched them upwards, and put on a relaxed posture.
"I do enjoy playing with Yuto and Sheltis, you know?"
Looking at that simple smile, Sheltis was speechless for a moment. He had once again came to realize - at the living sector, there too were friends of his, who are willing to accept him with a truthful smile.
"What about Sheltis?'
After a moment of consideration - or rather, he pretended to consider.
"I don't find it bad."
"Really, then there's no problems. I really look forward to the barbecue during the weekends. Ah, Sheltis is to be in charge of the preparation of meat. It does not matter if there are less vegetables, but please get some top-quality meat!"
"...... Can I retract my statement?"