“It’s past five already. I’ll send you home by car.”
With the sunset behind his back, Soujuu-sama looks really fascinating. If Sara-sama is a beautiful girl with cat-like adorableness, Soujuu-sama is a natural handsome boy type. Unlike Sara-sama, Soujuu-sama has smooth chestnut colored hair. However, I believe ringlet curls would suit his handsome look too.
“Thank you for your concern. But it’s a distant journey that takes two hours by train and bus, so your feelings are plenty enough. Please take care on your way back, the both of you.”
“We’re both fine. More importantly, Rei-chan’s safety is our concern.”
-kuh-, Perhaps it’s unreasonable for a country bumpkin to commute to school by train in a big city? How can you get to your intended destination when you get swallowed up by the surging crowd?
“Ah, you’re misunderstanding again. Rei-chan doesn’t seem to be aware, but you’re a beautiful person. With pure white skin, long eyelashes, big eyes with a well-formed face. And a good style to boot. Do you hold on to any crime prevention tools?”
I couldn’t say anything.
Crime prevention. I believe I’m doing it… more or less. The fittings of the sliding door at the entrance have already deteriorated so much that the lock can be picked with just a hairpin though.
“Rei-chan, I have never commute to school by train, so I’ve never been a victim, but I’ve heard you’d be molested on trains.”
“What’s with that urban-legend-narrating way of talking? It actually is after all. You understand Rei-chan?”
It actually is⁈
“I didn’t think about it at all. Certainly I was like a security guard at home. I also didn’t face any inconvenience since I got on the train from the first station this morning. Returning home, lets see, I guess I won’t be able to sit down. I’ll be careful to not experience anything like that.”
When I said that and tried to return, Soujuu-sama pulled my arm.
“It’s dangerous without taking measures to prevent molesting. Two hours by train and bus? Where is your home?”
You’re somewhat frightening, Soujuu-sama.
“Hanaoka town with the peanut speciality. There is no peanut field around my neighbourhood though.”
When I answered so, Soujuu-sama took out his smartphone and tapped something with his finger.
“It will take 42 minutes if we hurry with a car. I will be sending Sara home anyway, so use our car to go home as well.”
“Eeeh! There’s no need for such a thing. I won’t be coming across a molester! So it’s okay!”
I’m surprised and refused as such, but Soujuu-sama wasn’t pulling back. Even as I asked for assistance from Sara-sama, she was instead on Soujuu-sama’s side, and the both of them worked together to get me inside the car. It was an immensely splendid car. The seat offers a supreme level of comfort, it’s so quiet and doesn’t shake at all. Why is it so? What a wonderfully smooth and miraculous vehicle! It’s not the kind of car I’m familiar with.
“I’m fine really…”
“Then, at least have some means of security. Takaoka, take us home first. Drop Sara there then go to Hanaoka town to send Rei-chan home.”
They have an exclusive driver! His name is Takaoka-san. It’s like something from a novel or manga. I should also mention that donated manga by the townspeople can be borrowed at the Hanaoka Municipal Library. It’s a bit regretful that most manga are a bit old. I’ve read the Kamui Den, Barefoot Gen and The Rose of Versailles many times. I still re-read it occasionally.
“Sorry for the inconvenience today”
I apologize to Sara-sama and Soujuu-sama. In the first place, we had to listen to Ichijou-sensei’s story in the school infirmary because of me. That’s right, today was the entrance ceremony!
“Since today was the entrance ceremony, aren’t you having a family celebration?”
Such people of the upper class won’t just be celebrating at any casual location. Surely, there would be a feast. No, maybe they would celebrate at hotels and first-rate restaurants.
“Yeah, more or less.”
I knew it! Then I have to get myself out of the car. I can’t be bothering them any further. I must get off now!
“Please don’t worry about me. Although it’s just a celebration, aren’t you internal students? And I’m just entering for name’s sake. Also, I still have time to spare.”
“You really still have time to spare?”
“Yes, of course.”
That’s good. I don’t care about this because I don’t even have a family. But if Fuki-san was here, I think I would hurry home. We would have had steamed red rice for the celebration. Oh, when I recall Fuki-san, I’m getting sad, It’s no good. Fuki-san should be living a rich and leisurely life at this moment.
“Rei-chan, what’s wrong?”
“I just got dust in my eyes. It’s nothing.”
The car goes into a quiet residential area. Apparently this is an affluent neighbourhood. Among them, the huge iron gates of the mansion on the largest site opens automatically. The car we were on passed through the gate and stopped in front of a residence on the premises. Takaoka-san gets out of the car and opens the rear door.
“Thank you for your effort.”
Sara-sama told Takaoka-san, he held my hand and helped me get out of the car. For some reason I too was getting off. Right now, there is a mansion in front of me. It is a fine mansion, the likes of which I had no connection with until yesterday.
When I muttered my thoughts, Soujuu-sama sighed.
“We don’t take any entrance fee. I told my grandfather about Rei-chan in the car a while ago and said he would like to meet Rei-chan. Are you fine with that? You can meet him, right?”
“Well, even though my name has Kujouin in it, I’m not the kind of person that can meet the chairman of the HONGO Pharmaceutical.”
“Well, I wonder if my dear friend, Rei-chan, is stupid! Isn’t Rei-chan my friend? So it’s naturally okay for you to meet my grandfather.”
The way that Sara-sama cares for me is at times confusing. I think she really is a tsundere young lady. I entered the mansion as directed. There were stairs at both sides of the spacious entrance hall. A Western-style building with some history behind it. When was it built? I’m worried if I can enter for free.
“Don’t worry, I don’t live here. I’m here today only because Rei-chan is coming. I’ve always lived at a more ordinary modern house.”
Apparently, there are other buildings on this site. I was so nervous that I could only see this mansion. This Western-style building could be designated as a cultural property representing the nation, and will be used to receive special customers.
“No way, could the special customer be me⁈”
When I asked so, the twins looked as if I was asking the most obvious thing.
“Then, Oji-sama is waiting in this room.”
Is this a reception area? The furniture here are antiques. This is a Hepple White chair. The table in the center looks like mahogany, but where is it from? After all, it is a valuable article.
I was monologuing as if I was on a radio broadcast.
“Rei-chan, your voice is leaking.”
Soujuu-sama pointed out with a laugh. That’s so embarrassing! That’s so stupid, I’m so stupid!
An old man walks towards us.
Perhaps he’s Sara-sama’s Oji-sama, Hongou Takeshi-sama, chairman of the HONGO Pharmaceutical.
“Please pardon my intrusion. It’s an honour to meet you. My name is Kujouin Reiko.”
“Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Hongou Takeshi. I’m Sara and Soujuu’s grandfather. When I was younger, I was one of the people who was helped by Kujouin Juuichiro. Without his help, the pharmaceutical wouldn’t exist today. He eventually died before I could give anything back. That was during the Showa era in 1973.”
My grandfather was a good person. I’m relieved to know that aside from the blood of Mary-sama and my father, the blood of an ordinary person is also flowing.
“Even though we met for the first time today, Sara-sama and Soujuu-sama have helped me a great deal.”
“They really are good kids, aren’t they?”
We both are grinning happy smiles. However, I can’t afford to stay any longer. There is a celebration dinner party waiting for Sara-sama and the others.
“Then, I will excuse myself. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit such a wonderful Western-style building.”
“You are very honest. You look similar to Mary-sama, but your personality is like Juuichiro-sama. Oh, and that table was made by a Japanese craftsman.”
He heard me talking to myself. It’s so embarrassing!
As Soujuu-sama had said earlier, Takaoka-san will be sending me home.
“I am very thankful for your kind hospitality today, and thank you for your kind words. Well then everyone, gokigen’you.
On my way out, as I was getting past the reception area, Sara-sama and Soujuu-sama came with me. I wonder if the both of them will be seeing me off to the entrance hall. I’m sorry for imposing on you.
I say my thanks once again at the entrance hall and leave the mansion.
However, they still keep following. Are they seeing me off till the car? When I thought so, they both got into the car.
“What of the dinner party?”
“Oji-sama is concerned. And besides that, we wanted to see Rei-chan off anyway.”
“What about Sara-chan. Is that okay?”
“Please take care of me.”
Even though it would be taking some time, they seem to be having fun.
However, as they entered Hanaoka town and approached my house, they began to make some incredulous faces.
“Dark! It’s too dark!”
“I really don’t have anything to deal with that.”
It is dark because it is night. Also there are rice fields here by the way, so, it’s not that there is nothing here.
When they arrived at that front of my house, they became solidified like wax figures.
My house is a rented house, the rent being 9700 yen per month, given to the landlord by cash. Although there is water supply, there is no sewer, and it is connected to the septic tank at the landlord’s house. The gas is propane gas. The electricity contracted is 10 amps. The switchboard does not have a breaker but is a fuse type. The fuse had only blown twice in the past. Replacement fuses are available.
“If you would like, how about some tea?”
“Yes, by all means. But isn’t it very dangerous to live alone in such a place⁈”
Huh, so this is a city boy. The countryside has a mutual surveillance society. That’s why it’s safe. And it’s a bit embarrassing to say but, I am particularly looked after.
When I explain such things, Sara-sama looks like she is about to cry.
“One fun way of thinking is that, the landlord-san is an MI6, the pessimistic Yoshida-san who is burning charcoal in the mountain is a KGB, Tanaka-san who looks after the rice field is a Mossad, and the young man who lives next to him is a CIA. Don’t you agree that it’s a very interesting way of thought?”
KGB may sound a bit outdated, but it sounds cool to imagine that they are engaged in an intense spy warfare. By the way, I am a newbie KGB. If I meet up with Yoshida-san, a senior KGB in the mountains, I will be able to learn a lot. Yoshida-san’s code name is Yoshio. I called him Comrade Yoshio in my heart. Our greatest enemy is the Mossad, Tanaka-san.
It’s a splendid setup right!