Chapter 106 -- Peeping is Prohibited
"Er, can you hear me, goddesses?" I didn't quite know exactly how I communicated with them, radio waves maybe? but I thought just calling to them out loud would work. Perhaps.
"We hear you. We've been waiting for you, you know." Wind Goddess Ninril-sempai was the first to answer.
"Okay, I have something I want." Fire Goddess Agni, abrupt and pushy as usual.
"Oh, wait, wait!" That sounded like Earth Goddess Kishar.
"Food and sweets." Water Goddess Rusalka chimed in last, short and succinct as always.
... okay, that worked. I sort of expected it to for some reason. I took a deep breath, hoping against hope they'd not ask me for totally over-the-top things this time. Three silver coins worth per offering and no more, I reminded myself firmly.
"So, have you all decided what you want? Remember there's a limit of three silver coins for each of you. Please stick to it." If I didn't warn them up front then they'd surely try and extort more from me. Ninril-sama especially.
"Wh- Wh- why did you say my name like that?" I could hear the pout in deplorable Goddess-sama's voice. "I- I was going to stick to the limit exactly, I'll have you know. Th- three silver coins like you said." Really? Of course you were, I thought to myself, I was just making myself clear, Ninril-sama. I distinctly heard her pout again.
"Hey Ninril-chan, don't look so down-hearted." Kishar-sama chimed in. "Other-world-guy-kun told us three silver coins each. If you keep on arguing with him maybe we'll get less or maybe even nothing from him at all. You see that, don't you?"
"That's right. Don't be selfish and screw this sweet deal up for us, Ninril." Agni-sama jumped in.
"Ninril, not a good idea." That would be Rusalka-sama.
"Gubububuuuu..." Was she blubbering? "Even though I found him first and gave him my protection first, you know... Gubuuu." There was a pause then, in a little-girl voice, "I think that it's okay for me to get some preferential treatment..." Haa, Ninril-sama is the most deplorable goddess among all the goddesses indeed. I felt truly disappointed in her.
"Nuu, hey you, I've told you oh so many times that I'm not a deplorable goddess, so there!"
"Uhufufu, deplorable goddess. It suits you Ninril-chan." Kishar-sama stuck the knife in.
"Ahahahahahah, deplorable, that's you to a tee." Agni-sama gave the knife a twist.
"Exactly, deplorable goddess." and Rusalka-sama finished her off. I almost felt sorry for Ninril-sama. Almost.
"Muuu, why're you all being so mean to meeeeee-" Ninril-sama's usual Goddess-like behavior, no change there.
"Hey you, she's a goddess, really she is." Agni-sama seemed to be trying to convince herself of that, not me but... "You should show her some respect." Like you lot just did? I'll take it under consideration.
"Oh well, Ninril-chan calm down." Kishar-sama stepped in. "What did you say you were wanting as an offering today?"
"Well," she hiccuped, "naturally I'm hoping for sweets. And, I want some of that black drink and clear drink too this time round. They were delicious, you know." There was a pause. And? "Also, dorayaki." Bingo.
Kishar-sama is kind and obviously used to dealing with Ninril-sama. I had a vision of her as a Mama-san, wiping little Ninril-chan's tears after a tantrum and promising her a treat when they got home if she stopped crying. Somehow I got the impression of her winking at me...
"Ninril-sama wants sweet things and cola and cider, then." I confirmed. She was consistent in her desires at least. I opened Net Super and started loading up the cart with cakes and puddings and dorayaki of course and cookies and a couple of chocolate bars. I finished the order off with two 1.5 litre bottles of cola and cider.
"Next Goddess please-" It was like working behind the counter at a konbini. I idly wondered if the Net Super sold barcode scanners...
"Next is me, Kishar. That shampoo, treatment and hair wrap you offered to me last time worked really well." she said excitedly. "My hair's glossy again, not dry like it was and it's so easy to brush out now. And the fragrance! It smells so good and it's so soft and it's wonderful when I move, my hair bounces and... well, the male gods have started to notice me." There was a giggle. Mama- uh, Kishar-sama?
"Anyway," Kishar-sama continued, sobering up, "Didn't you say that there are dozens of different shampoos and such in the other world? I'd like to ask for shampoo, treatment and hair wrap again but with a different fragrance this time. Make it a nice one, please."
So it's shampoo, treatment and hair wrap for Kishar-sama this time too? Well, myself I rather enjoyed the smell of freshly washed hair. It seemed the male gods liked it too. The subtle fragrance from a nice shampoo is better than strongly-scented perfume in my opinion. So, let's see what I can offer to Kishar-sama this time. Flicking through the Net Super catalogue, I avoided rose scented products since that's what she received last time... Ah, this looks good. "Fruity-floral" scented, and there's a non-silicone oil treatment for damaged hair with the same fragrance to match, just like the last offering. Kishar-sama was worried about her damaged hair and this should be to her benefit again. The price was the same as the last time, shampoo, treatment and hair wrap were nine copper coins each.
"Kishar-sama, the shampoo, treatment and hair wrap I bought for you leaves three copper coins over, what should I do with the extra?"
"When other-world-guy-kun was taking a bath earlier you put some nice-smelling crystals into your bath. Bath salts? I'd like some of those, please."
Bath salts, that sounds fine. I changed the Net Super's page, bath salts, let's see... Hold on -- "Hey, how do you know that I use bath salts?" I asked indignantly.
"Well you know, when you were taking a bath earlier everybody was watching you in my scrying pool and..."
"Don't tell him, Ninril-chan!" Kishar-sama interjected, a little too late.
"Excuse me, goddesses, what do you think you're up to?" I asked coldly. "Peeking on someone having a bath is a crime!"
"No, no, we didn't do it deliberately, but while we were watching you, other-world-guy-kun, you started taking a bath and..."
"No no no, you just stop looking when that happens, don't you?" I protested.
"Umou, don't be silly, you're making a big fuss over just being seen naked, you know." Ninril-sama said in what I presume she thought was a conciliatory manner. No, Ninril-sama, what you just said is totally wrong. Men hate being seen naked just as much as women do. If I think that you are watching me I can't relax even though I'm having a well-earned bath and then what's the point?
"Well yeah. Saying that, you're pretty weedy-looking in my opinion, not much there to ogle anyway." Loose cannon Agni-sama stuck her oar in. Damnit, Agni-sama, I know I'm skinny and weak but men are not just muscles for your entertainment. I have other qualities like... ummm...
"Right, Ruka?" Agni-sama went on.
"............" (I'm not part of this)
"Anyway, please do not peek at me when I'm taking a bath." I took a deep breath. "I might stop making these offerings if it happens again."
"Awawawawa, I'll stop but you're being a meanie, you know."
"Okay, I get it."
"Yes we will."
These deplorable goddesses quickly agreed with my totally reasonable request. Right then, back to business. I added citrus scented bath salts to Kishar-sama's offerings in the Net Super cart.
"Who's next?" I was maybe a bit more abrupt than before for some reason.
"Yeah, it's me, Agni. I'm good with getting booze, but is it okay for me to just get a single item this time?"
"It might be okay if it's just one you know, what does everyone else think?" Ninril-sama chimed in.
"Well, it sounds a bit odd to me that Agni only wants a single item..." Kishar-sama sounded doubtful.
"...... If only one" Rusalka-sama echoed Kishar-sama's suspicions.
"Agni, are you sure you're only wanting one thing?" Kishar-sama asked.
"Oh, I understand. Y'see I'm wanting a bottle of liquor, not just beer, something a bit stronger... (a big bottle) and some snacks like the last time, y'know the potato fries and the meat'n stuff."
Agni-sama, did I hear you right when you whispered "a big bottle" like you didn't want the others to know what you were asking for? Well one bottle is all right I suppose and if it doesn't cost over 3 silver coins then the others can't really complain.
If it's alcohol you're after then the first thing that comes to mind is whisky. I looked on Net Super and something I had seen a commercial for on TV turned up. A 700 millilitre bottle was one silver coin and four copper coins. I added some French fries and pork cutlets to the offering, fried mincemeat cakes and some Cheese IN burgers too. That made the offering about 3 silver coins, maybe a few coppers less. Ah, if I added in some soda water then Agni-sama could make highballs with the whisky... a PET bottle of soda water made the price up to three silvers exactly in the cart. Done.
"The last is Ruka-sama. What do you want?" I asked, more brusquely than I had intended.
"Sweets and food. More food this time." So you're wanting more cooked food this time? I took some hamburger and mincemeat cutlets from my Item Box but this time I added some prepared dishes from the Net Super, prawn croquettes and stir-fried shrimp in chili sauce, macaroni salad and baked omelette. I rounded up the offering to three silver coins worth with bread and onigiri rice balls plus some sweets and cakes.
Yes, that's everything, finally. I arranged each offering on four cardboard-box altars.
"Here are the items you asked for, goddesses. Please accept them." I prayed. The goods on the cardboard altars disappeared promptly followed by the sound of the exclamations of the goddesses receiving my offerings. This time there were no loud arguments which was something, I suppose. Ah, I should mention...
"Oh, Agni-sama, just to warn you since that whisky is quite strong, it's not a good idea to drink it quickly. You should sip it slowly and maybe with some ice in a glass. You might want to try mixing it with some of that soda water I also sent you as that makes it taste better."
"Oh, I got you. Thanks~ " the connection to the world of the gods broke off suddenly, as always. Ahhhh- finished at last. Every time I make offerings to the goddesses I get exhausted, it's never straightforward, well except for Ruka-sama. Time for bed. I slipped into the futon with Sui and went to sleep.