Chapter 24: The End of Peaceful Days
Daiki Manabe was sitting on the overly large couch, bouncing his foot impatiently while he stared out the window.
Due to various reasons, he had the afternoon off and was now waiting for Kousei.
Every once in a while Daiki flicked his cell phone up to check it.
“…He’s late. No, I guess he’s not really that late…”
Muttering to himself, Daiki couldn’t help but fidget anxiously as he resisted the urge to call his nephew.
To think he’d be turned into a worry-wart parent so soon! They’d only started living together for a few days, right?
If it was two days ago … there’d be no way Daiki would have gotten off this early, but even if, by some miracle, he did, there’s no way he’d be this nervous just from his nephew being a half hour late to arrive home.
Even if Kousei was a loner in Tokyo, you never know. He could have made some friends, or was trying out different school clubs, or even just loitering at the convenience store.
Daiki refused to believe that he was at the age where he couldn’t understand the independence-loving high-school boys.
But, just what has happened in two days- no, one day-!
Even if you say Kousei was very enticing for youkai, well, certainly Daiki had confirmed the dangerous entities that exist in this world, mostly out of sight for humans, but at the same time, Kousei had an apparently extremely strong kitsune on his side, and he’d received protective charms from a self-proclaimed god.
It wasn’t completely unthinkable to think he would be considered, you know, like one with divine protection.
But even though he was just normally concerned over Kousei’s safety, maybe just a little bit more than normal, today, Daiki had been transferred from Investigation Team Unit 1 to Unit 2.
“Even if I know Unit 2’s secret, is there any need to transfer me over?”
Daiki had asked. The stares from Unit 1’s team had been a bit painful as he had headed over to Unit 2’s office space.
“No. But it’s a little different in your case.”
Was what Supervisor Ooishi had said.
So he was a special case… now was it because of Kousei or Honoka? It had to be one of the two.
And he was right, but the content was a little beyond what Daiki had been expecting.
To hear that there were a lot of forces on the level of yakuza organizations salivating over this normal-looking city, Tsunato, it made Daiki wonder exactly where he had ended up moving to.
And then to hear that they were all going to be focusing on Kousei?
“Your nephew’s recruitment will probably be the highest priority. I’d like to say they’d do things judiciously, but…”
Hearing it made Daiki want to rub his temples to stop the throbbing.
To think Kousei was going to be the person in this city at the highest risk for kidnapping!
“Abduction would still be alright, since it’s a normal enough crime for law enforcement to be involved, but forceful coercion is also a concern…”
No, so kidnapping is still regarded as “okay”?!
“…Ah, but Kousei-kun has Honoka-san, so it should be okay?”
“Hm… I wonder. Kousei Ishikawa is one enticing prey, but the kitsune is also another one. There’s sure to be those who are thinking about sniping her from your nephew.”
Daiki felt like making a (´д`) face.
Even with the relentless all-nighters he’d had to pull before he had transferred to this town, Daiki somehow felt like he hadn’t been this exhausted in a long, long time.
“Anyway, until the situation stabilizes, it would be good if we kept an eye on Kousei-kun and his kitsune.”
In short, while they were training him on how to deal with youkai-related incidents, Daiki was in charge of confirming Kousei’s safety.
Which was why he was home so early today, and probably for quite a few days – or weeks – after this.
Although it was something most people would be happy about, Daiki just couldn’t feel comfortable about it.
In the first place, being allowed (required) to go home so early right after being passed over to Unit 2 – won’t Unit 1 be complaining that they weren’t using him right?
Second … exactly who can be happy about being allowed to go home early because his nephew is a high-risk abduction target?!
“Aw man… why isn’t he home yet?!”
Daiki yelled out as he ruffled the back of his head roughly in his extreme anxiety.
Securing the last clothespin, I stood back in satisfaction as I looked out over the yard at the laundry hung on the clotheslines before I picked up the now empty laundry basket.
For the first time in a long while I was able to wake up on time and do the laundry!
No, I get that it was only two days, but not getting to do the laundry in the morning just feels wrong.
And anyway, I only have so many sets of school uniforms…
And also, although we aired out a futon for Honoka, we had forgotten about washing the futon cover.
She said she was okay with it, but … making a girl sleep on the couch is NG.
Un… there were all those typhoons recently, but the weather said it should be sunny today so, it should be okay?
Well, I can ask Honoka to get the laundry if things go wrong.
In the kitchen is the scent of freshly cooked rice and simmering soy sauce.
That’s why I got up extra early this morning.
Washing my hands, I roll up my sleeves and prepare to make an extra-large bento of inari-zushi.
Er… it goes back to yesterday, when Honoka and I returned home with a mountain of groceries.
For some reason, Daiki-san was home.
Although I had that kind of reaction, my hands were full and I was worried about the cold groceries, so I just said,
“Daiki-san. You’re… early?”
? He kind of answered really absentmindedly, but …?
“Honoka, these go in the pantry in the laundry room.”
I’m amazed at her strength and her ability to balance everything as she walks towards the back.
I get that toilet paper isn’t heavy, but it’s hard to get a good hold of it if the package doesn’t come with the plastic handle.
As I head to the refrigerator, Daiki-san says, “Let me help,” and comes along.
Silently putting them into the fridge… for some reason there’s an awkward atmosphere.
More importantly, the clams are still okay, right?
I had a bag of ice, but did I conversely freeze them?
Guess I’ll degrit them in a bit and find out.
Tonight’s dinner will be…
As I sorted through the things that I would need later, Daiki-san said, in a super serious voice,
“You got home late. What happened?”
Eh? Eh… yeah, I’m definitely later than usual, but only by 40 minutes?
Un, in this situation, regardless of how I feel about it, it’s best to properly respond.
Besides, I wasn’t doing anything questionable, unlike in my previous life in which I’d sneak off to the arcade despite my mother’s protests.
“Because of the various things that happened in the past few days, I haven’t gotten a chance to get all the shopping done.”
Various things being Honoka related.
“I see. I was worried, though. ”
… Daiki-san, were you always this kind of character?
“No, well, if you were worried you could have texted me, though…”
I can’t text him, since Daiki-san’s usually at work, but there’s no problem if he texts me, especially if school’s out, right?
“Ah… I didn’t want to seem like an over-anxious parent…”
“It’s the same whether you text me or wait anxiously at home!”
At my tsukkomi, Daiki-san laughs hollowly.
“…Daiki-san, I’m not good with this, so I’m just going to say it. What’s wrong with you?”
I’m not having much success playing the ‘straight-laced’ quiet guy, so might as well give it all up.
Daiki-san laughs again, but this time it doesn’t sound forced.
“Yeah, sorry. See, I got transferred from Unit 1 to Unit 2.”
“Unit 2… that’s the police people we saw yesterday?”
Honoka asked as she returned to the kitchen.
“Eh… eh?? Is that going to be okay?!”
Although it’s called a ‘crime investigation’ unit… that’s more like a youkai subjugation unit, right?
Daiki-san is a normal human, though?!
“Haha… well, okay or not, it happened.”
“Ah… I see.”
Seems like it’s not like Daiki-san had any say in it…
“It seems like I’ll be getting a lot of training. It kind of feels like I’m back in police academy.”
“At least they’re not just throwing you out there and telling you to wing it! Will you really be fine…?”
Daiki-san, is it not okay to protest this transfer a little more?
“To tell the truth, my greatest skills were more action-related than investigation-related, so I don’t mind so much.”
“Mind it more!!!!”
You’re not going to be fighting normal criminals but youkai, you know!?
Ah… or does the danger level not change?
I never really came across criminals in this life or the previous, so I don’t really know.
Nonono, the danger definitely increases when you replace criminals with monsters, right?!
I get that Daiki-san often wonders why he’s in Investigation, especially with his OP Blessings that are clearly more like some light novel character than a normal, modern-day person, but he doesn’t have OP Blessings when you’re comparing him to the people – entities – on THIS side of the veil-!
Ah. I’m starting to talk like the others.
Saru-san, you said you’d hook Daiki-san up with some cool Blessings, right?
I’m counting on you-!!!
“Hm… well, it’s kind of like forced enlistment. It seems my first duty is keeping an eye on you.”
Sorry, my brain just stopped.
Let me think. What did Daiki-san just say?
“Eh. So police work is so family friendly these days… not!”
I couldn’t help but clutch my head.
I may not be far-sighted, but I’m not stupid.
This means… that.
I’m being way too conspicuous, but I don’t even know why – well, no, I do, but… I don’t!
“Hm… rather than keeping an eye on him, is it more like keeping an eye on the people who’d contact him?”
Honoka frowned and said.
…Hah-! Before I knew it, I was making pour-over coffee.
For some reason, in this world I’ve taken to making coffee whenever I try to avoid facing reality.
My caffeine intake has probably increased greatly from my previous life.
Even so, while I was nervously making coffee and trying to pretend that the things that were happening were things that weren’t actually happening, the conversation continued as Daiki-san said,
“Yeah. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s people you choose to associate with, as long as they have sense, but the worry here is people who want to do things through force.”
My hand shook a little and the water almost spilled out of the brewer.
Honoka puffed out her chest a little and said,
“Hmph. Those who want to use force will have to contend with me, though?”
That’s right, I have the reliable Honoka, so I don’t need to worry! … right?
“I don’t know anything about that. It seems like a precaution… anyway, so I’m in Unit 2 now.”
I want to apologize with a dogeza.
Even though I knew Daiki-san would now come into contact with youkai more often after last night, I didn’t imagine it would be like this.
“I’m off early tomorrow too, to go see a shrine and get my Blessings reconfirmed.”
Honoka nodded when she heard Daiki-san say so.
“If what I understand is true, you will probably have new ones.”
“I’m not sure if I should be happy about that or worried…”
I agree, Daiki-san!
As I wait for the water to drain through the coffee, I suddenly remembered something.
Daiki-san and Honoka looked over at me.
“No, well, speaking of shrines, I thought maybe I should visit that Inari shrine and see what happened…”
We completely forgot about Fushimi-san and Yui-chan.
We discussed some more things, like Happy Work Life (or was it Happy Life Work?) and meeting up with Daiki-san after school tomorrow, but among the things we discussed…
“It would be okay to go see the kanushi and miko from the Shrine of Inari, but I wonder if the other zenko will appreciate my presence…”
Honoka said that kind of thing.
And that is why I’m currently making a lot of inari-zushi.
It seems like I’m considered a benefactor of those who worship Inari, because I ‘subdued’ Honoka, also known as the ‘sealed one’, and Honoka is looked at… well, they don’t like her, but they’ll tolerate her, especially since she’s contracted to me, which can be considered a reward to me and a punishment to her…
I don’t really get it, because it’s not like the relation between Honoka and me is anything like that, and I just kind of did whatever I wanted, but anyway, I understand that the zenko, kitsune who serve Inari, will tolerate Honoka, but they won’t like having her on shrine grounds.
So I’m preparing apology-zushi.
“… Fried tofu…”
Honoka wandered into the kitchen, following her nose.
“That’s the first thing you say? Good morning, Honoka.”
Even though a woman sloppily dressed in her nightwear, looking sleepy, should be exhilarating, what’s with this no-good fox? Completely focused on her stomach.
I wonder if she’s going to become kind of a glutton now that she’s finally released from her 2,000 year hermitage- er, her 2,000 year prison.
Although I’d like her to be somewhat aware of her health, she’s free to be interested in anything she wants to be.
It kind of pisses me off that other people think we’re in some weird master-servant relationship based on some kind of weird expectations from a side of the world I don’t really have any idea about.
They’re just interpreting things however they want to, and it’s troubling that their assumptions are going to be a bother to us.
To be honest, I kind of want to run back to Tokyo and pretend nothing happened, but I know it won’t change anything.
Leave the worries about the future for tomorrow!
“How is it?”
I handed Honoka an inari-zushi.
“Un… *mogumogu*… I feel so blessed to have a master good at cooking~.”
“Oi. Well, that’s fine. I guess that means the seasoning’s fine.”
Honoka’s acting a little coquettishly, but it’s ruined when you’re watching the food so closely.
I can’t help but sigh a little.
It would be good if our daily lives can remain peaceful.
Also: Kousei’s house
Thank you all patrons for your continuing support in 2018! Also, thanks Allan for your donation!
I just wasn’t connecting with the chapter at first. There’s no worse feeling for a writer than when you’re just putting words on a page. It’s like forgetting to add floor to batter and getting burnt pudding instead of coffee cake. No substance.
I forgot to mention this in earlier chapters, I think. Although I say they text each other because it’s western-written, they’re not actually sending texts~. In Japan it’s more like short emails rather than SMS because it’s sent to an email address you link to your phone rather than the phone’s number. Well, there’s usually an extra mail charge, so they’re ACTUALLY probably using Line or something similar. Anyway, that’s why in anime and stuff they always say they’ll mail someone rather than text.