“Haa, so tired…”
A person who worked at the government office here in Riesen was dead tired and was using the last of his strength to get back home.
The reason he was this tired was because he ran all over the city in order to determine which buildings were unoccupied. His superior has told him it was the order of the new governor.
“Even ignoring today, my workload’s increased so much lately because of the people that left…maybe I should also resign and live in that rumored city in the wasteland…”
His coworkers at the government office have been resigning one after another so that they can follow after the former governor. And after not being impressed by the new governor, he himself have started to wonder if it was time to move as well.
“Wait, huh? I’m here already? That’s strange…”
He thought he walked quite slowly, yet before he knew it, he was near his house.
“Is it just because I was lost in thought? No, that’s not it. My body feels…light? And what’s with this road? Was it always this pretty?”
His head inclined, he continued walking forward until he spotted a line for something.
This was the path he always took to go to work, so he knew there wasn’t any store that could prompt a line such as that.
Curious, he walked closer. Among the crowd was the familiar face of his wife.
“Dear, welcome back. What’s the matter? Why do you look so tired?”
“Never mind that. What’s this line for?”
“It’s for the toilets.”
He had no idea whatsoever of what his wife was talking about.
And then, he noticed that the building they were lining up for was one of the unoccupied buildings in the city.
“They installed toilets that can be used by anyone throughout the city. You work at the government office, yet don’t know about it?”
“I’m just a grunt; how am I supposed to know…”
Ignoring his self-deprecating joke and laugh, his wife’s eyes sparkled while she continued to talk.
“The toilets are amazing, dear! It washes your bottom clean for you!”
“Thanks to that, everyone’s lining up for it. I’ve actually tried it before, and before I knew it, I’m lining up again. In fact, lots of us here have lined up more than once.”
“T-then, is that line for those toilet things too?”
In a nearby building that he was quite sure was determined earlier to be not in active use by anyone, people were also lining up.
“That one’s for the baths, dear.”
“Yes, and anyone can use it at any time as well! I haven’t tried it before, but the wife next door told me it felt great. Let’s try it later, ok?”
“You’re saying there’s a public bathhouse now in the city…?”
In Riesen, only a small number of people—mostly just the rich—have baths in their home.
There was no public bathhouse either.
Because of that, the common way for people to clean themselves was to gather water from the nearest well and wipe their body with a wet piece of cloth. As such, it took quite a bit of effort for them to get completely clean.
Actually, one of the reasons why the rumor about the wasteland city was so popular was because of the part that talked about the city’s splendid baths and bathhouses.
“I guess this is one way to reduce the number of people wanting to immigrate…but, wait, when did this happen? I don’t recall any construction or renovation around here, and there certainly haven’t been any talk about this at the office…hmm, both are vacant buildings…don’t tell me this is the reason why I’ve been ordered today to survey which houses are unoccupied…? No, of course that’s not it…”
Even though he was still wondering about it, he proceeded to go back home.
But when he arrived…
“Huh!? The house, it’s suddenly so…pretty?”
Their house was made of stone, and was built a century or so ago.
Its outer walls had cracks, had its paint peeled off already, and were plastered with indelible graffiti.
Yet now, it looked as though it was just built.
It wasn’t just their house either.
The houses in front and at the side of their own looked completely brand new as well.
“How about the inside? …what, nothing’s changed?”
When he hurried inside, what greeted him was the slightly dusty sight he was familiar with. The furniture and other furnishings inside remained the same as well.
He felt a bit disappointed by that, but then he noticed something.
“The air…it’s fresh?”
Normally, the entryway was filled with this strange odor, but now, it was completely filled with fresh air. When he closed his eyes, he felt as though he was standing in the meadows.
Moreover, the inside of the house was previously quite humid, but it was now exceedingly pleasant.
“Just what is going on in this city…?”