The next few days passed by uneventfully.
The only thing that caught Seiji's attention was the fact that Hoshi Amami still hadn't appeared at work this Saturday.
Being somewhat worried, Seiji decided to ask the owner Rika Amami about the situation. All she knew was that Hoshi supposedly felt sick, so he hadn't shown up to work this week.
Was he actually sick with a cold, or was there something more to it?
'Perhaps… he's trying to avoid me…' Seiji had his suspicions.
'Well, forget about it. Since his aunt doesn't feel like there's anything wrong, then it's probably fine.'
Seiji, Mika and Chiaki took a bus to the upper-class district Silver Valley to grind... oops, buy clothing.
Right across from the bus stop was the flourishing business district filled with bright, colorful lights sprinkled across all the store signs, illuminating the night sky. The surroundings were filled with a fashionable, luxurious air.
"Welcome to Silver Valley, the shopping and gaming heaven—if you have money, that is!" Chiaki grinned as she informed her friends.
The ex-NEET who's now working and the female high school student with no income of her own: "..."
"Do you come here often?" Seiji ended up sighing.
"I often took girls I was intimate with here during middle school, but I haven't been here since I started attending high school," Chiaki explained. "Now don't just stand there; let's get going!" She waved at them with a huge smile on her face.
'This really feels like a rich and experienced gamer taking two free-player newbies along to grind for experience,' Seiji thought to himself.
It was obvious that Mika was also out of her comfort zone here.
It was her first time here, mostly due to the costly nature of the products they stocked. No ordinary high school girl would be able to afford them, which why she'd never shopped here.
When Seiji noticed how nervous she was, he smiled at her, attempting to relieve the tension.
"You don't need to mind too much. Other than the fact that all the prices have one or two more zeros at the end, things aren't really that different here."
"That's a huge difference, okay!" Mika responded reflexively.
"Who cares? After all, we have a rich gamer... Cough cough, Chiaki's paying today, not you or me." Seiji shrugged nonchalantly.
"That's true, but your attitude..." Mika couldn't think of an appropriate adjective to describe Seiji with.
"Follow the rich girl and don't worry about anything! By the way, why is Chiaki so rich?" Seiji finally thought to ask that question.
"Her father's a famous artist that's really wealthy. But he's never home, so he gives Chiaki a lot of spending money as compensation," Mika explained.
Seiji nodded in response.
'I see. Mika didn't mention Chiaki's mother, so perhaps the Wakaba family is also a single-parent household… I wonder if Chiaki's mother got divorced or something else... For two beauties with such differing personalities to become friends requires some points in common.'
"What are you secretly chatting about? Come, we're gonna head over there to the Grand Spring department store!" Chiaki who had been walking ahead of them suddenly bounced back to Seiji and tugged his right arm.
"The Grand Spring department store... That's the most expensive place in all of Silver Valley!" Mika muttered to herself.
Mika's eyes became unfocused as she gazed at the majestic structure in front of them. She didn't even notice the fact that Chiaki was getting cozy with Seiji.
"Relax relax, I'm here, come!"
"You don't need to pull on me..."
"This is the practice performance for tomorrow."
"Wait... wait up!"
They bantered playfully with each other as they walked down the bustling street together.
The Grand Spring department store.
This store had fifty years of history and tradition behind it. After experiencing various ups and downs and booms and recessions, it was now one of the top-class department stores in all of Sakura Island.
It was currently at the apex of Silver Valley's merchants.
Any normal person's evaluation of this store would only contain one word: expensive! If you had to add another word to assess it, it would simply be "very expensive!"
But to those who were better off financially, the consumption level here was appropriate for them.
Each item for sale here had a price suitable for its brand name and quality, so this store was actually quite popular with the upper-middle class.
After entering the store, an average person would almost be blinded by the extravagant yet fashionable clothing selection which stunned them with its traditional yet splendid garbs. In addition to this, the sound of a piano playing was audible throughout the entire store. Naturally, it wasn't a recording played through a loudspeakers; instead, it was a real person who was performing—a pianist of some renown.
Every customer here was well-dressed, with the women seeming elegant and graceful while the boys were gentlemanly hunks. Even though there were a decent number of customers, it wasn't too noisy inside the store.
Each brand name store displayed clothes, accessories, purses, and other products that were expensive to the point where an ordinary person wouldn't even want to inquire about the prices.
This was like a completely different world for Seiji and Mika who were only used to shopping in supermarkets and bargain stores!
Seiji wouldn't shrink back at such an atmosphere thanks to his experience in a previous life, but Mika seemed as if she'd become smaller somehow, and she was acting stiffly.
"Don't be nervous, Mika. Everybody here is so pretentious, so just treat them all as vegetables. It's fine!" Chiaki gave her good friend a big thumbs-up.
"I know you're just trying to alleviate her tension, but don't just make fun of everybody here." Seiji gave Chiaki a look of exasperation: "It'll be bad if someone overhears us."
"So what will you say if nobody could overhear you?"
"Heh heh..." Seiji covered his face with one hand, and peeked through his fingers in a classic middle schooler's pose: "From my angle, humans are simply garbage."
"How terribly overboard!" Chiaki retorted.
Mika was lost for words upon witnessing the duo's manner.
'Hah, it's impossible to be tense for more than a minute whenever I'm with these two,' Mika thought.
In fact she was both delighted and thankful to be with them.
"Let's start exploring from the store I'm most familiar with. To the third floor!" Chiaki led the way.
And so, a joyous shopping trip began...
Two hours later, Seiji wore a helpless look on his face as he watched the two beauties that accompanied him absorbed in picking out clothes.
Perhaps there were quite a few boys that would have similar thoughts when shopping together with a girl. To the average boy, a girl would transform into a mysterious creature who didn't feel fatigue, hunger, or thirst; she'd be able to try on an endless array of clothing without needing to stop for rest at all.
Seiji had fun at the beginning as well, since he was able to watch Chiaki and Mika (Chiaki told Mika to not pass up this chance to try out some clothes) wear various types of attractive clothing with glamorous styles. He kept snapping an endless amount of pictures.
But after two hours... Meh.
Seiji wasn't tired physically, but he wanted to rest mentally and just sit down somewhere for a little while, even if it was doing nothing but resting. However...
"Seigo, come over here—try this on!"
How many times had he worn clothes for them to judge? Seiji had completely lost track.
Without being narcissistic about it, Seiji truly possessed an excellent body now. Every article of clothing suited him perfectly him, and the different styles did little to change his overall appearance.
Chiaki and Mika were that type as well; every article of clothing enhanced their charisma.
But the two beauties just couldn't decide as they continued pulling him around here and there, forcing him to try different sets of clothes. It seemed like they could continue this until they'd made him try every piece of clothing in the entire store.
Seiji sighed mentally as he walked over and took the clothes they selected for him into the changing room.
He failed to notice that every woman in the store, including the employees, the customers, and Mika and Chiaki... were all quietly paying attention to him!
"That boy's so handsome! He's really tall and strong, so he's basically a perfect clothes mannequin!"
"So handsome! If only I had a boyfriend like him!"
"Such a handsome and strong young man... My husband can't even begin to compare..."
"Is he a model? Or an idol?"
"He seems more like a rich young master... It almost feels like I've seen him somewhere before?"
"Stop it! You just want to flirt with him, heh heh."
"No, I really do feel like I've seen him before..."
One of the female employees furrowed her brows deeply as she searched her memory.
A minute later, the door to the changing room opened again.
A crisp, handsome youth with a slightly cold expression walked out wearing a white windbreaker over gorgeous, luxurious clothing.
His figure exuded the aura of a tall, rich, and handsome young master as he simply stood there. This, in tandem with his disinterested look (which was actually due to his mental fatigue), made him seem as if he were a male model in an advertisement!
'Wow!' All the women who were secretly observing him simultaneously thought precisely the same thing.
This included the female employee who had been wondering where she'd seen him before. She was dazed as her attention was completely stolen away by his handsomeness.
Mika and Chiaki became slightly drunk on this scene as well.
Ever since they began forcing Seiji to try out various types of clothing, they'd already received many such impacts, which was why they'd gotten addicted to making him into their personal model.
'I knew he was handsome before, but this is...'
'Only after making him wear these clothes did I discover that he's really...'
'Just way too handsome!!' Both girls shared the same sentiment in their hearts.
Seiji was idol level... No, he was even above idol level!
All he did was wear some high-quality clothes—no makeup was even necessary!
His genes were ridiculously broken!!
'Hey, Seiji Haruta, just who are you, really? Are you actually some rich young master that's been exiled from your family!?' The same thought ran through both Mika's and Chiaki's minds.