I decided to stay at the "Labyrinth City Inn" Elland-san recommended. After we found our way there and got a room everyone ate in the inn's courtyard where I could cook dinner. Afterwards Fer and Dora-chan went to sleep in the stables attached to the inn. As I laid out Fer's collection of futons for them to sleep on Dora-chan piped up, saying "I want my own futon". I opened the Net Super and bought a child's futon for him. It had a fantasy-themed cover with colourful manga images of dragons and other monsters printed on it. Seeing the small Pixie Dragon curled up on it was an incongruous sight.
After settling the other two monsters in the stables I took Sui up to our room. As soon as I put a futon on the bed for me Sui got into it and fell asleep. I gazed longingly at the bed but I couldn't go to sleep quite yet myself since there were things I had to do.
Offerings to the Goddesses. I was a little late, again. Hey, I had been travelling and having to deal with Elland-san and... yeah, yeah, the Goddesses weren't going to listen, so rehearsing my excuses was useless. The sooner I got it over with the better. Time to contact them, I suppose.
"Ah, Goddess-samas, are you there?"
"Late!! You're totally late, you knowwww! You absolutely forgot about us, didn't you?" Ah, Ninril-sama. How nice to hear your delightful screeching voice again. Not. I couldn't deny what she had said though.
"Really, we've been waiting here for some time for you to make your offerings as you agreed in return for our blessings. I think an apology is in order, don't you?" Kishar-sama was next in the "kick the other-world-guy while he's down" queue, getting her dig in quite eloquently. I didn't really ask for those blessings, of course but...
"Looks that way to me too. I want an apology as well." Agni-sama followed up brusquely.
"...you broke your promise." came Ruka-sama's almost-silent voice, finishing off the four-hit megami-combo in her usual understated manner. That last smackdown was probably the most painful, I mused as I scrabbled for an answer. Ah! Appeal to their greed, that was sure to work.
"Ah, you're right of course. I am sorry I was so terribly late." I grovelled. "I know words are insufficient so as an apology for my mistake I'll increase the value of each of my offerings today from 3 silver coins to 4 silver coins. Please forgive me."
"Umm, I'll totally go for that, yeah."
"Four silver coins? That sounds fine. "
"Oh, four silver coins? You can send me more booze than usual in that case."
I have been completely forgiven for just four silver coins extra. The Goddesses are pretty gulli-, uh really kind and understanding of my human failings.
"Well then, I will ask what you want. Ninril-sama, you're first as usual?"
"Yes, It's always me first, you know." I imagined Deplorable-sama smirking at the other Goddesses as she said that. "I want sweet things, just the same as usual OK? Lots more dorayaki of course, and I want more cake and pudding you know, and more sweet bubbly drinks too. More of everything."
Ninril-sama ordered her usual sugar-bomb of sweet foods and drinks, unwavering and unchanging. I opened Net Super and started loading things she wanted into the cart to a total price of 4 silver coins. Dorayaki, cake, pudding, cola, cider, Japanese sweets and assorted chocolates and candy, that should be enough for her.
"Next is Kishar-sama, correct?"
"Yes, that's right. I still have some shampoo, treatment and hair wraps still left from your last offering. Are there any other beauty related items you could suggest?"
"Hmmm, beauty treatments...?" I gave it some thought, trying to remember the sorts of things my sister used to fill the bathroom cupboards with at home. She used a lot of facial cleansers, skin lotions and mosturisers especially in her teenage years when pimples and spots were the Enemy to be attacked on sight, no prisoners in a war to the finish.
"Well, if it's beauty treatments you're after, how about lotions and moisturisers for your skin?"
"Huh, what are they? I've never heard of them." Kishar-sama sounded intrigued.
"Ah, they don't exist in this world? They are things used to make the skin of your face and body soft and supple."
"Hooo..." Kishar-sama was VERY interested. She explained that the only thing a woman of this world might put on her skin to stop it drying out was highly-refined olive oil, very expensive and not that effective, apparently. Kishar-sama's demands for beauty products was puzzling me though, she was a Goddess after all. She could make herself beautiful with a simple wish, surely?
"I was wondering, why does a Goddess need these things to clean their hair and skin? Aren't you constantly being kept beautiful by your Godly powers?" I asked Kishar-sama.
"What are you talking about!" she exploded. "We aren't that much different from people in the world you live in even if we're up here in the realm of the Gods. Look, we have the ability to influence people of the world below and grant them our blessings, all Gods and Goddesses are born with that power, but even if we remain in this realm we get hungry and sleepy, we even grow older. We live much much longer than ordinary people and we don't get sick but otherwise we're not really much different from you."
Oh, I see. I didn't realise the Gods of this world were like that, not totally perfect in every way.
"So that's how it is. Well in that case, a facial scrub or skin lotion or mosturiser or some combination may be good for you. What sort of problems do you have with your skin, Kishar-sama? Tell me and I can help you choose."
"Well, to start with it's very dry!" Kishar-sama said eagerly. "I use purified olive oil like others do but it doesn't help much, especially on the skin around my eyes which is getting wrinkles."
Hmm, I see. I took a look at the Net Super's list of skin care products. A hyaluronic acid and collagen combination cream for treating eye wrinkles costing a silver coin and five coppers caught my eye. It was part of a similarly formulated cosmetic product line and the matching facial moisturiser and general skin lotion were a silver coin each. I added a skin cleansing foam for another five coppers. Right, four silver coins worth, yosh!
"Next is Agni-sama," I said as Kishar-sama's order arrived from the Net Super.
"Oh, I want the same booze as before-" Agni-sama said before she was interrupted by a male voice.
"Fuahahahah, we finally tracked you down!" Who was this?
"Uohh, wh- wh- what are you guys doing here?" Agni-sama stuttered.
"Eek! Totally no way, what's with these guys? " Deplorable-sama chimed in.
"It can't be~. What's going on Agni-chan? Did you tell them?" Kishar-sama demanded.
"Oh, no way! I'd never tell these guys anything and you know it!" Agni-sama burst out.
"They smelled booze." Ruka-sama's simple statement explained everything just before the arguments and excuses began. I heard the Goddesses scream things like "I just wanted to drink some other-world booze!" and "I told you it was a bad idea!" at each other amongst a lot of general bickering, blaming and accusations.
"Well, so you're a guy who was Summoned from another world?" a gruff male voice broke through the hen-house squawking going on in the background, obviously speaking directly to me. "And you've got a Skill that lets you get things from that world? And that includes alcohol, right...? Hey, it looks like we're gonna get the chance to drink a lot of different kinds of other-world booze too, Blacksmith God."
"Fuahahaha, that's right, War God. This is our lucky day!" Another male voice replied, even deeper than the first.
"That's right." The first voice agreed happily.
Hearing maniacal laughter from the realm of the Gods is never a good sign, take it from me.