Volume 5, Chapter 11: I Got Involved in all Sorts of Trouble, Part 2
“No, Yuzu-chan, you don’t have to come every day you know!?”
From that day earlier onwards, I’ve been waiting for that delicious…… *cough*, for that wonderful person to come to dad-chan’s ramen shop, because I couldn’t go meet in the places where hoodlums gathered.
I think dad-chan thinks that I’m apologetic and that’s the reason I come every day.
Should I extend my net to the other shops too……?
“……Yuzu, you, what did you do?”
That’s rude, Kotone-chan.
“I am waiting for that lovely man to come.”
“Heeh…… Yuzu likes older men. It’s honestly a bad hobby.”
I don’t want to be told that by Kotone………
Since I was here so often, I began to assist the shop along with Misa, and the number of customers seems to have increased.
“I will help my onii-chan and make this ramen shop a splendid one.”
“Yeah, that’s amazing, you can do it Misa.”
Misa is the same age as me, but I felt like she was cute and young like if she was my little sister.
As I was kneading the cheeks of the cute Misa, Kotone, who heard Misa’s declaration came in.
“Before that, is this shop going to stay in business forever? I hope that it can continue until he can run it alone……”
“Eh? Why? There’re a lot of customers.”
The harassment from the hoodlums had also been decreasing.
As soon as the hoodlums who were harassing the other shops came around to this place, I entertained them, and they all became honest. Before I knew it, the harassment to the entire shopping district was reduced.
It’s a lucky break? Or maybe something a little different.
“Hey, the shopkeeper is getting pretty old, no? He said that he would return to the countryside and retire once he couldn’t make soup. He has good skills too, but it’s important for the customers to trust the shopkeeper’s taste.”
“Yeah, Ojii-chan’s ramen has a kind taste to it, don’t you think?”
“I too, like grandpa-chan’s ramen.”
It’s not going to turn out well. Trust in the product…… or perhaps I should say it differs from “selling”.
Will it sell if people’s complexions turn green?
One day, the chauffeur didn’t come to pick me up due to mother’s circumstances.
Although I called a taxi and it was okay, only Ooba-onii-chan had returned when I got home, and onii-chan had to eat ramen with me while we waited together.
Both Father and Mother seemed to know about dad-chan and Misa. I knew, but I couldn’t do much more to lend a hand and say that we won’t stop involving ourselves, it’s a subtle position.
The adults were not being honest.
“I’m going to buy some juice~”
“Don’t go too far~”
It’s not a matter of me wanting to drink juice particularly, but recently, it’s been getting hotter, so dealing with the roaring fire in a ramen shop is tough.
I have become much stronger, but from the point of view of others I’m still considered weak.
“Haa…… how refreshing”
It’s comfortable at night. As always, I’m not very sleepy. I might be turning nocturnal.
I don’t feel afraid of the night like a normal child, and since I haven’t had any more run-ins with random attackers as well in this half-year, it’s been a relief.
Something came unexpectedly on such a night……
While I was chilling my forehead with the cold tea that I’d bought from a vending machine, I saw a black ‘cat’ in the side alley in the shopping area.
A jet-black cat with silver eyes like the one I saw at the shrine…… From the depths of my heart, ‘something’ came out, and I felt like there was something itching in me.
“……Who…… are you……?”
When the words fell from my lips, the black cat’s silhouette…… was getting further away.
I started chasing after it once I noticed. My legs aren’t fast. But I will follow [Him].
I suddenly bumped into someone. The other party was also tiny, but I was weak so I fell over and landed on my bottom.
The black cat…… was nowhere to be found.
The person I bumped into was Kouki-kun. …… At the corner of the road?
“…… Would it be better if I was holding bread in my mouth?”
“What are you talking about?”
Kouki-kun reached out his hand to me to support me up, even though he didn’t understand what I was saying.
“Sorry, Yuzu-chan…… but, why are you here?”
“……Kouki-kun. I was at a shop with which I was acquainted… and then… I went for a walk.”
“I too… went for a walk.”
This lie, I’ll endure it. It’s a somewhat strange atmosphere…… Ah, come to think of it, he had a poor relationship with his grandfather over that land speculation ruckus, no?
Kouki-kun raised his voice in shock as I tried to escape quickly…… such a toublesome fellow.
“With this flow, isn’t it like listening to a story?”
“No, it’s troublesome.”
“……That’s way too honest! You’re kinder and more friendly in school.”
“A troublesome man, you are.”
He seems more like a little ‘cat’ than ‘the scion of a distinguished family’…… I remembered that I’d lost sight of the black cat because of this.
“……Yuzu-chan sure moves at her own pace. Is this your ‘core’?”
That’s right. I am a narrow-minded person.
“You can think of this however you please. While Ouji-kun is someone who’s easy to be with, Yuzu-chan is the only friend I have with which I can discuss difficult things.”
Well, that might be true. Because we’re surrounded by ordinary elementary school students.
“What about Yonjiuman Yuuki-kun? That person seems to understand, but……”
“That guy is even more insistent on doing things at his own pace than you. Certainly, he feels like he doesn’t have time for other people.”
“…… and I’m free?”
“Well, well, I don’t mean that. But you seem to be soft-hearted, and there’s also the fact that you don’t deeply involve yourself even if you do know the story, Also……”
Kouki-kun scratched the end of his nose with his fingers as if he was feeling a little shy.
“Kako trusts Yuzu-chan…… I was wondering if she hated me because she kept a distance from me, but…… Yuzu-chan told Kako something, did you not?”
Hoho…… the misunderstanding has been unraveled, and the distance with his fiancé has shrunk all at once?
“Yuzu-chan…… please stop grinning like that, you look like my mother.”
“Well, it’s alright. It’s all good.”
My good friend Ouji-kun was becoming a handsome young man, and it was unfortunate that he was getting clung onto by the onee-samas in the upper years like a god of rot.
Kouki-kun’s story was, as expected, about his grandfather.
As expected, he didn’t talk about the land speculation, but it seems like they were gathering a ridiculous amount of money for a return to politics.
Kouki-kun’s father was his grandfather’s secretary and wanted to oppose the idea but he had found a bride in Germany when he’d gone overseas to study, and ignored the marriage that he had been forced into by the grandfather. Because of that, it seems like his father wasn’t in a position to speak out against his grandfather.
“Kouki-kun hates his grandfather?”
“I don’t hate him, but I don’t like him either. As a politician I think he’s amazingly upfront, but I don’t have any good memories of conversations with him, and he treated my mother quite badly.”
“Generally, the problem with my grandfather is having done things with the secretaries and the butlers for a long time, it’s the problem of Kidou……”
“According to what Father says, it was a person that was willing to do anything for my grandfather, and it would have been good if that had been the only person, but when his son started to help out at work, he began doing unmentionably cruel things……”
Kidou-san…… and his son? These two people are the problem.
“Did you hear that voice?”
From the other side of the road, came the sound of multiple men’s voices.
“They came to look for me…… Sorry, Yuzu-chan, but thanks for listening. I was able to be happy for a while.”
“Just listening to the conversation? I can’t do anything you know.”
“Hahaha, that’s fine, then, I’ll see you in school.”
“See you again.”
Kouki-kun disappeared into the dark residential district after shaking my hands lightly…… Although he’s a distinguished son of a high-ranking family, it’s still dangerous. I can’t say anything about other people, though.
Maybe, a little bit of the problem that’s plaguing this shopping district can be seen?
“Kidou, how’s it going with that shopping district?”
In a luxurious office, an old man directed a sharp look at a young one.
There were three people in this room. An old man wearing traditional dress was sitting on the sofa, and a man in his prime stood near him, while the young man stood by the door which was further away.
“The eviction rate has exceeded 30%. Although it is taking a while……”
“That time is a problem. How much time do you think remains until the next election? And 30%? That hasn’t even increased by 5% over the last month!”
“But, sir. There are only a few shopkeepers who own their shops remaining. If we clear them off, the other stores will accept being cleared out.”
The man in his prime~ Kidou, had served this master since his father’s generation.
He was a rather arrogant and ambitious man as a politician, and it wasn’t just for money that he was doing land speculation; he understood that it was necessary for the development of the region, and felt an impatient hatred for the shopkeepers who were reluctant to leave.
“Shops like that should just be pushed onto the tracks with those usual guys.”
“Sir, we can’t do that. In the current situation where the media is still paying attention, if an incident related to the speculation occurs, then they will suspect that it is linked to you, sir.”
“That is no way to speak.”
“……with all due respect.”
It was the young man who had kept silent up until then.
“Control yourself, Kyoji, you’re just a youngster.”
“No, let’s hear your opinion.”
The old man stopped Kidou and turned to look at Kidou’s son, Kyoji.
“The shopping district, has begun to regain its vibrancy recently. The people who’ve gotten involved with it have become strange and the development is delayed.”
“…… What is there?”
“We have not been able to investigate, so it’s currently still unknown. Although it’s just a shopping district, if the uneasiness has disappeared and the vibrancy has returned, then all we need to is to add more uneasiness.”
“However, won’t we have to worry that this case involving a gang will be linked to us?”
“Yes, it would be best if incidents that have nothing to do with land speculation were to happen. ……for example,”
Catching the sharp gaze of the old man directly, Kyoji laughed faintly.
“The children in the shopping distrct going missing…… how does that sound that?”
Next time, Onzada-kun takes a leading role.
An appearance/tease from the main plot here, and the beginning of the first real conflict of the arc.
And next week, please pray for me as I die for my exams.