'Yashiro-san!The newcomer is very cute!
' said Goozuya.
'All right, I'll tell the last newcomer, Delia, that you weren't very good.
'Wait!You're wrong!I didn't say anything like that!
It was the second day since Loretta started working at the Sunshine Pavilion.
Loretta had already won the hearts of the customers.
'Whoa~!A carpenter's arms are so thick!They're about three times as big as my arms!
'Oh, really?This much is normal. You know?
'Oh, yeah. By the way, I'm like this.'
'No, no, I'm like this.
'Haha~!You're all so tough!You're all so tough! It's so cool to feel like a man!
'''No, no, no!It's not that bad, hahahaha!
...... Men are simple.
''That's great, Loretta.
Ginette came out of the kitchen with the food and looked at Loretta with an impressed expression.
'I can hear her voice even when I'm in the kitchen, and it makes me feel happy. You really have a good eye for people, don't you, Mr. Yashiro?
This is the difference between Paula and Ginette.
Do you take a happy voice as 'slacking off', or do you take it as 'improving the atmosphere of the store'? There is a big difference.
I'm sure Paula wanted to have a chat too. But she was too busy with work to do so. And yet Loretta kept talking and talking and talking, and she lost her patience.
I don't think it's Paula's fault. I don't think she's short-tempered or narrow-minded. A person with normal sensibilities would be annoyed if someone talked all the time at work.
But there are those who see it as a positive thing.
It's Jeannette, who is one of humanity's greatest sycophants, and me, who has realized that talking is good for money.
'I'm all about Magda-tan, you know!
Umaro seems to be very single-minded.
With the novelty of being a newcomer and his natural friendliness, he is stubbornly sticking to the Magda camp while the carpenters of Torbek's construction store are all turning to the Loretta camp.
...... Too much favoritism is dangerous, though, because it smells like a crime.
Magda's condition has stabilized and she is no longer rampant, so I dress her properly and take her out to the cafeteria. She's not wearing a collar.
He has started to understand and listen to us relatively well. I am sure he will be cured soon.
He still only wants to wear my clothes, though.
'Manager~!I'd like four more daily specials!
'What?You've already eaten, haven't you?
'When we were talking about how cool it is to be a man who eats a lot, everyone seemed to be getting hungry!
...... They're so easy, the carpenters at Torbeck Engineering.
'Oh, sure, ......'.
In response to Loretta's words, Ginette also nodded her head in agreement, gently laced the fingers of her hand together, and smiled happily.
'A man who eats a lot makes me happy when I see him,' she said.
'More daily specials!
'This one too!
'I can eat as many bowls of Ginette-san's food as I want!
'What?Oh, sir!I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that. ......!
'That's fine, manager!You're all men among men, you don't have to say two words!Right, guys?
...... Men are, indeed, simple.
I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.
Ginette ran quickly to the kitchen.
The food on the counter is for Umaro.
Umaro had been happily watching Magda eat the corn and had delayed his meal until now. Of course, the corn that Magda ate was brought by Umaro.
'Umaro, it's ready!Come and get it!
'I want you to bring it to me!I'll say it again, I'm a customer!
I'm an extravagant customer.
'Yes, yes!I'll carry it for you!
I reach out to lift the tray, and Loretta quickly lifts it.
'I want to talk to Umaro-san too, you know!
Umaro's heart was damaged by 25 kyuun. Uumalo is on the verge of being cunned.
'......Oh, I have Magda-tan at ............'
'It's okay. I'm totally fine with being second.Please be friendly with me.
This is the first time I've ever seen such a thing. He's pretty wobbly.
However, this woman is pretty good at instantly seeing through Umaro's preferences.
Although Loretta's expression is a bit exaggerated, it is not a lie that would be caught by the "Judgment of the Spirits".
In fact, Loretta seems to be honestly thinking so.
She seems to enjoy socializing in a way that is separate from love, friendship, fondness and dislike. If that's the case, that's quite an advantage. It's not something you can just copy.
Unable to bear the sight of Umaro suffering from chest pains, Magda approached Umaro in a hurried manner.
Then, she took out a piece of honey popcorn from the bag hanging on her waist and offered it to Umaro.
'What ............ can you give me,............?'
It was the first time Magda had ever given someone else her candy: ......
'Perhaps, since you're suffering, you'd like to eat this to cheer yourself up?
'Nuh-uhhhh!Magda-tan, you're a real angel!I'm all about you, Magda!
A heartfelt blow!65535 damage to Umaro's heart. Umaro has ascended to heaven.
--Cause of death: death by crying.
'Hey. Somebody go dump this half-smiling corpse in the swamp.
'Someone, please dump this living corpse into the swamp at .......'
'Do you really want to dump it?Then at least make a concession in the slums!I don't want to live in a swamp!
What's with the obsession?
'Slums and swamps are the same thing, aren't they?
It's a dump of recluse.
'No, Mr. Yashiro. A swamp and a slum are totally .......'
'They are totally different!
As if to interrupt Umaro's words, Loretta raised her voice.
It was the first time she had heard such a strong tone.
'............ Ah. No, no. I'm sorry.
After a while, Loretta bowed her head apologetically.
The words she had just said must have come out of her mouth.
'Oh, no. I'm sorry too. Actually, I've never been to a slum before. Maybe I was just prejudiced by the sound of the word.
I apologize immediately for the bad atmosphere.
I don't make foolish decisions that destroy relationships by being stubborn in such situations.
A single casual comment can decisively destroy a relationship. You never know where other people's landmines are. Until we get to know each other, we have to come to terms like this.
Even I have the sense to do that.
'Oh, no. It's my pleasure. I'm not a ...... slammer. ...... No, it's nothing. I'm sorry!
I wondered if Loretta was from a slum. ......
I'm sure you have a big family,...... and your sister has a big brother,...... or five?
I'm sure they have a big family, and Loretta, the older sister, is helping out with the family finances.
I'm sure you'll be able to find something that will help you.
Immediately, Loretta changed the subject.
With a cheerful voice, she dispelled the heavy atmosphere.
Her quickness in switching topics is also impressive.
Loretta looked at the honey popcorn that Umaro had just been given by Magda.
Oh, I didn't show it to Loretta.
'I'll show you how to make it later.
'Are you sure?
'Yeah. Magda is in charge of it, but it would be better if Loretta learned how to make it too.'
'I'll learn!I'll learn quickly!I want to learn a lot of work and become an indispensable part of the Sun Goddess Pavilion!
He must have been devastated to get fired. He's so desperate.
'Well, with Magda in this situation, I might as well change the popcorn duty to Loretta.
I interviewed her yesterday afternoon, helped her a little in the evening, and she's been working full-time since this morning. Loretta's adaptability is astounding. I'm sure she'll be able to handle a new job.
Besides, I can't make it when Magda is healthy and on the hunt.
Magda could do with a little less work.
'Okay, Loretta. From today on you're in charge of the popcorn and ......'
He grabbed me by the arm.
I looked up to see Magda staring up at me with vacant eyes. Magda's small hand gripped my arm tightly. It was so strong that my fingers were digging in. ...... I could feel the desperation.
'No, no, no.'
'......Popcorn is Magda's job.'
I know '...... no'.
And it also confirms that you're as one-sided as ever.
It's at .......
'You, how long have you been cured?'
The timing is too good.
There's no way you've just been cured.
...... He's been pretending for a while that he's not cured, even though he is.
'............ just now cured'.
I'll say it again.
I don't suppose you're saying you've just been cured.
'...... miraculous timing'
...... How dare this guy lie to me out of thin air.
This is a great way to make sure you are getting the most out of your time and money. I see. ...... Does his agitation show in his ears?
I'll punish the bad girl.
I slowly extended my arm and pointed at Magda.
"Judgment of the Spirits" stance.
I'll tolerate you if you say you're sorry. So what do we do now?
Magda, pointed at me, was staring at me with half-lidded eyes.
There was no change in his expression.
It's a good idea to take a look at the website and see if you can find anything you like.
...... Oh my god.
I'm not sure what to say. You've just been cured at a miraculous time.'
That's all right.
Just make sure you don't take it out on me.
'Since your memory was clouded when you were turned into a cat, and now that your memory has returned, you shouldn't have any memories of when you were turned into a cat, so you don't recognize this fox-faced man, do you?
Magda stares at Umaro, who makes an impatient sound.
Then, after a long pause, he said firmly.
'That's not true, Magda-tan!We've known each other since before you turned into a cat, haven't we?
'...... What?You tricked me.'
Magda glares at me.
'Hmph~! I guess we're even now.
Magda, always expressionless, puffed up a little.
Maybe she's getting a little emotional from her cat-ification.
d*mn. I don't know how long you've been pretending to be unhealed, but you're going to have to work for what you've skipped.
'So, how are you feeling?
'............ Not bad. But I can't hunt yet. ............ I still can't get that red, fuzzy, shiny thing out.'
He's regained consciousness, but he doesn't seem to be in top form yet.
...... You're not completely cured.
'............ work, do'.
I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one.
I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards me with light force, and she came back to me without hesitation.
Perhaps she was anxious about her injury and wanted to be pampered.
But Magda is not the type to talk about such things, so she may have taken this roundabout way. Is it a little too indulgent of Magda to think of ......?
I'm glad you're feeling better. We were all worried about you. Let's go say thank you sometime.
A farmer named Moormat, a chicken farmer named Nepheli, and a corn farmer named Yaprock and his family had come to visit Magda. I couldn't see them at that time, so I should go and greet them again.
I'll get him something to celebrate his recovery.
'Did you ............ worry about ............?
'Oh. You might not remember me, though.'
'And ............ Yashiro?'
He presses his palm down on the top of the cat's ears, which droop anxiously.
Then he stroked Magda's fluffy, bushy hair.
'I'm glad you're okay.
Kaku ............ and Magda's face looks down.
Then, in a voice like a mosquito's--
'............ I'm sorry.'
-- and muttered.
I don't know if that's an apology for worrying you or for lying to you. I don't know, but ...... well, I got what he was trying to say.
I'm not sure what to say, but I'm sure you'll understand what I mean. ............ I want to ............ play with you ......'.
'If you touch me, you're banned, okay?
I'm going to nail Umaro, who is quivering and shaking with an unpleasant flush on his face.
If this were Tokyo, I'd have him arrested immediately, but it's not.
'......Your brother looks like your brother............'
I'm not sure if you've ever heard of this, but I'm sure you have.
I thought I heard wrong,......, but above all, I don't know what the words mean.
'Huh?Oh, no, it's nothing!I mean, did I say something?
Loretta forced a smile and acted cheerful.
This guy seems to have a lot of things to hide.
Well, if you don't want to tell me, I won't listen.
'Thank you for waiting~. It's for four people first!
It was Ginette's relaxed voice that shook off the slightly heavy atmosphere.
'Ah, yes!I'm coming!
Loretta ran to the counter.
I feel like I've been run off, like she doesn't want to be in my presence.
'Oh, Magda!Are you okay now?
'...... I'm fine. I can work now.'
'There's no need to rush. Just take it easy for a while longer.'
'...... but .................. okay.'
In a way, Jeannette is very stubborn.
At times like this, no amount of reasoning will make Jeannette change her mind.
I think Magda knows that. In the end, she gave in.
'By the way, gentlemen. What were you talking about just now?It sounded like you were talking about something different or the same thing.
Loretta's shoulder reacted slightly to Ginette's casual words.
...... Are you rehashing that story? ...... Well, you didn't seem to hear what was said, and I'm sure you didn't mean any offense. ...... ......
I'm sure you'll understand.There's a big difference between a slum and a swamp!
It was Umaro who took care of her.
He must have been protecting Loretta. He didn't want to tell her what he had just said.
'The people in the slum are going to be very angry if we're lumped in with the swamp, aren't they?
Umaro makes a deliberate attempt at humor.
I guess he wants to turn this whole thing into a gag.
This is a funny story. He wants to say that everyone understands.
Well, my guess is that the people in the slums are different from the frogs.
Frogs don't even have human rights, they're not recognized.
Whether they are recluse or abandoned, as long as they are human beings, they must have at least something to be protected.
That's not the case with the frogs.
That recognition must be pretty big for people in this town.
No wonder the [frog] is feared.
But there was one person here who wasn't caught up in that perception.
'What are you talking about? Slums and swamps are the same. It's no different.
Umaro froze at the sudden denial.
The air froze as well.
But Ginette was still smiling, and was the only one in the hardened world who remained in a relaxed routine.
It was as if it was natural.
There was nothing to wonder about, she said.
'Both of them are in this city, and they are places for someone to return to, where the residents are, and where they can accept all the happy and sad things.
People live, make a living, and eventually die.
It's a place where people live, live and eventually die.
If you ask Jeannette, it may indeed be the same.
'Isn't it the same for this store, the main street, the downtown area, and the ...... central district?
'The slum is the same ............ as ...... Chuo Ward?
'Yes. I think so.
I thought slums and swamps were the same.
They're both equally vulgar, unsafe pits.
So Ginette agreed with me, in exactly the opposite sense.
'...... You're the first ............ manager to ever say that to me.'
'Heh?That's what everyone thinks, right?You know?
I was told by Jeannette, 'That's impossible! I don't think there's anyone in this room who can say, 'No way!
'Yes, that's right!That's exactly what I wanted to say!
I'm not sure what you mean by that.
'............I can't believe there is such a person ............'.
You can find a lot of people who are looking for the best way to get the most out of their life.
The expression of the eyebrows raised is that of a person who is about to make a decision, but is too anxious to say so.
However, it seems that the decision did not require much time. ......
Loretta raised her head and looked at Ginette with a serious expression.
'Mr. Manager!And your brother ...... Yashiro!
She clenched her fists and looked at us with eyes that looked like they were about to cry.
The usual ...... smile was nowhere to be seen.
And then, with a mysterious look on her face, Loretta said these words.
'Can you please ............ help my brothers?
'Let's talk about it!
Quick, quick!You're early, Jeannette!
'You know what, Jeannette? We're in a bit of a shortage right now. ......'
I'm trying to convince myself to stop Ginette's rampage, but ............
...... Don't stare at me like that.
What's with the 'I'm counting on you' look?
I've got two things to say to you.
One. I'm not a good guy. I think charity's a b*tc*.
And another thing, ............, just this once.
'............ Huh. Do what you want, man.
'Yes!Thank you very much.
'Thank you' for helping people?
Jeannette. What kind of a messed-up circuitry do you have in your head?
'...... I'm just asking, aren't I?
'Yes, sir!Thank you very much.
You thank me too?
You're not going to get a penny out of me.
'So, ...... I'd like you to meet my brothers once if you can, ......?
'Hmm ......, unfortunately we have a lot of work to do. It's impossible. All right, that's all I have to say about that. Now, let's get back to work!
I thought I could end the conversation successfully, but Magda stood in front of me.
'...... Magda's here. I'll be fine.
What's with the sudden awakening of the work ethic?
Is that him?
Now that you know you've been slacking off, do you feel like you have to work harder?
'Um, you can cancel our daily set meal, too.
'Yes, yes!Please listen to what Loretta has to say.
'Daily special, we'll come back tomorrow!
The carpenters, who had ordered more food on the spur of the moment, helped him out.
I mean, you guys can't eat anymore, can you?
The four who had already received their food were shoveling in the daily special meal with deathly expressions on their faces.
You saw them and got scared, didn't you?You couldn't eat for two from the start, could you?
You gave me an extra push.
Mr. Yashiro. Why don't you take advantage of your kindness and let me make some time for you?
'But you know what, ......'.
I don't want to be a pain in the ass!Also, I have a bad feeling about this.
--I wish I could be honest with you.
But this is the time to use subterfuge.
'I'm not comfortable leaving Magda alone after she's sick. I'm sorry, but we'll have to meet another time. ......'
'...... Magda. Do you want to get in my way?
'...... Umaro is here.'
'Mach, Magda-tan!Can you rely on me?
'...... He won't hurt your feelings if you use him as a joke.'
'That's harsh!'............ But I'm happy with anything Magda-tan!
You're very sick, Umaro.
Get Regina to mix you a potion. It may be too late for that.
Ginette calls you by name.
When she only speaks your name, it's the same thing.
A so-called ............ 'checkmate'.
'Whaaaat. Can we just go for a minute now?'
'Yes, sir!Just take a look at the situation in my house and that's it.'
I didn't expect to be asked for advice about my family on the second day after we met. ...... This is definitely Ginette's fault.
I'm sure it's Ginette's fault. Ginette's sycophantic aura attracts all the lost lambs in the world.
'Don't you have to go right now?It can be done after the store is closed.'
'Ah~...... after dark, that ............ might be dangerous indeed......'.
It's a slum!
I knew they'd take us to the slums!
'So, let's leave the store to Magda and Umaro for a while and go to Loretta's house.'
''Oh, Jeannette, you use me like that .......''
I don't know what you're planning to do by taking us to see your family, but ......
If something goes wrong, it's better to have these guys around. If we come home too late, they'll at least come looking for us. ......
It might be a good idea to head there now.
'All right. Then let's head out now.'
'Yes, sir!Thank you very much!'
Loretta thanked him happily. She bows her head vigorously and bends at the waist more than a right angle. ...... Standing body forward bend, huh?
'Well then, Umaro. Sorry, take care of Magda for me.'
'Yes, sir!I want you to leave this to me!
'And Magda. Make sure Umaro doesn't do anything weird to you.'
'He doesn't trust you, does he?
'...... I know.'
'He understands you?
'No, it's okay. You can trust Mr. Umaro.
'As expected of Ms. Jeannette!You're the conscience of the Sundaemari Pavilion!
'Um, ......, why are you turning your face away?
'Because I can't look directly at you yet!
'If you had that kind of distance from Magda, I'd be able to trust you, too. ......'
'...... fine. Magda trusts him.'
'Magda!I'm so happy for you!
'...... And I've got some masakari for you.'
'Where did you get that huge mascari?And the word 'trust' is so hollow!
Magda carrying the familiar giant Masakari. His footing is a bit wobbly, but he will not fall behind Umaro.
But just in case: ......
I say a few words to the carpenters.
'You guys, take care of Umaro!
'That "please" means "keep an eye on him", right?I'll be fine!I'm a carpenter who puts trust first!
We made a promise to the carpenters, except for Umaro, and we left the Sunken Pavilion.
After leaving the sunlit pavilion, we headed a little toward the main street, then turned down a narrow street that we had never turned down before, and walked deeper into it.
We're going north. ...... It looks like we're headed for a slum.
As we cut through the forest, the air changed.
The atmosphere is tense and piercing, and the tension rises.
The dense forest seemed to cut off this place from the outside world.
I felt unsettled, as if I had entered a different world.
I stand at the entrance of the slum and look beyond it.
Decaying wooden houses are scattered about, and rarely do I see a collapsed brick wall.
The village is deserted, with not a single person in sight. ............ Even so, I feel uncomfortable, as if someone is watching me all the time.
'......There's no one here, is there?
In the eerie atmosphere, Jeannette let out an uneasy voice.
She gently picks at the elbows of my clothes.
'My family is the only one living in this area right now.
Without hesitation, Loretta tells me that her house is in a slum.
But there's only one family? No wonder it's so quiet.
'There were people who said, "Crush the slum," and ...... everyone left.
Crush the slums: .......
I don't know how you feel, but I don't agree with you.
Blowholes and cesspools make you want to pick your nose, but eliminating them will lead to even worse misery. It's clear as day.
'I'll take you to my place then.
Loretta takes the lead and starts walking.
We stepped out to follow her, but ......
'Oh, brother,......, Yashiro!Please watch your step!
With one foot raised, Daruma-san fell down and stopped him.
What the hell?
Also, you can call me 'big brother' if you want.
'There are pits dug in this neighborhood to prevent strangers from entering.'
That's not very childish. ............ Oh, so Loretta's brothers are children.
That's shallow wisdom. ......
It's dangerous. Please follow my path.'
You want me to take the safe route and follow you, RPG style?
I looked at my feet and saw that the ground I was about to step on was swelling up. This is the only place where the soil is a different color, clearly indicating that it was covered with soil later.
...... quality is low!
The piled up soil is about 30 cm in diameter.
It's so small that it looks as if the kids dug it hard.
The depth is probably only a few centimeters at most.
Is this a thing?Is this the kind of thing you see in the movies where outsiders trip and fall in this hole and the kids all attack them with water and paint?
You know, ......, there aren't really any adults who get covered in paint and go, 'Wow!You're just adding fuel to the fire.
Well, first of all, you won't get caught with this quality.
I'm sorry to interrupt your efforts, but adults don't have time to care about children.
I lifted my foot and put it down, dodging the swollen earth.
At that moment--
The world flipped. And then it went dark.
The earth I had put my feet down on was swallowed up into the depths of the earth.
There was nothing underneath the earth where I had placed my feet, but a huge void. Therefore, there was nothing to support my weight, and as a matter of course, my body fell down by gravity.
A large amount of earth and dry tree branches were pouring down on me.
'Yashiro-san!Are you alright?
'Big brother, why aren't you following me?I told you there's a pit!
A pitfall ......?
When I looked up, I saw a large hole surrounded by earthen walls opening up to the sky. At the edge of the hole are Ginette and Loretta, looking into the bottom of the hole.
This is the pithole: ......
The diameter is about two meters.
It is probably ......5 meters deep. ............
Perhaps out of respect for human life or something, the bottom of the hole was covered with a large amount of soft straw, and I did not suffer any injuries, broken bones or sprains from the fall.
However, my heart is still racing.
'I'm lowering the rope now~!Please wait for a moment!
Loretta's head snapped back as she called out to me.
d*mn you ......, you got me right there.
That blatantly cheap fill was just a trick.
It's a fake to make you think there's a pit in there.
If you're not sure what you're looking for, you might want to check out this website. This is a great way to make sure that you get the most out of your time and money.
I'm sure you'll agree.
It's been a long time since I've had such a black feeling in the pit of my stomach.
What does a child do?
I'm not sure what to make of it.
It's totally a professional job.
Then there's nothing to be afraid of.
As a professional swindler, I'll do my best to retaliate.
'Oh, um, Yashiro......-san?I'm sure you'll be fine.
It's all right~.
I'm fine! I'm totally normal!
'Ah, um!I'm sure Loretta will bring the ropes right away, so wait until then............
Ginette's scream suddenly sounded, and my heart creaked.
My heart is beating faster and my eyes are spinning.
...... What is it?What's going on!
'Ginette!What's wrong!Answer me!'
But there was no reply from Jeannette: ......
I put my feet on the nearest wall.
If it's all dirt, then digging with my fingers should be enough to get me out!
I kick at the wall several times, but each time my body slips and I'm dragged back to the bottom of the hole.
What the hell is going on up there?
In my impatience, I look up again.
A shadow was peering at .............
It's as if it's peeking at you. ......
The shadow was, for all intents and purposes, a rat.
But a big one. Compared to the time when Jeannette and the others were peeking at him, ............ his approximate height was around 80 centimeters. ......
Is he the one who dug this pit?
The only people in this slum are Loretta's family, right?
Loretta is a human being. ...... Isn't it strange that her family are rats?
What the hell is going on here? ......
I'm not sure what to say.You guys!
A familiar voice shouted in an unfamiliar tone.
At that moment, the rat that had been looking into the hole shivered.
...... What is it this time?
I'm not sure what to do.
That idiot ......?That's a very friendly way of putting it.
'I'm fine!What's wrong with Jeannette?
'The manager is fine!You look like you're in a lot of trouble, but you're not hurt!
It's as if I don't understand the situation!
What is that?
Ginette, what are you doing to me?
'I'm sorry, sir. My brothers are at ...... Anyway, I'm lowering the rope now, so please come up. I'll introduce you to my brothers upstairs.'
After saying this, Loretta lowered the rope into the hole, with knots evenly spaced.
I gave it a couple of strong tugs, but it remained firmly in place. It must have been tied somewhere.
I grabbed the rope and started to climb up the wall, hanging my feet on the wall.
I can climb this. ...... But my fingertips hurt like hell from my recklessness earlier.
Anyway,......, my brothers, huh?
So the rat was Loretta's brother after all.
So does that mean Loretta is a rat race?
I wonder if it has a long thin tail on its butt. ...... I'll show you later.
Using my aching fingers, I managed to climb up the vertical wall.
As we neared the ground, Loretta reached out her hand to me. I grabbed her hand and asked her to pull me up.
Finally, I was able to get out of the hole.
'Let me introduce you. These are my brothers and sisters!
There was a crowd of nearly a hundred rat people there.
'Too big a family, huh?
By the way, Ginette...
Ginette, by the way, was being jostled by small children with big smiles on their faces, and she was kind of squealing.
Sometimes it's unfortunate to be overly attached to children, isn't it?