45-Episode 43 I believed it

'Regina!Open up!'

I slam the store door.
The inlaid polished glass rattles noisily.

'Yes, yes, yes!I'm opening the door, don't break it!

A voice comes from behind the door. A few moments later, a light comes on in the store. A faint light leaks out from behind the polished glass.

'Hey, what's with you, at this time of night?Even if you're a night crawler, be a little quieter. ......'
'Come here for a minute!

We don't have time for this nonsense.
I grabbed Regina's arm and pulled her into the umbrella. I'm sorry, but I'll explain everything on the way to the church. You can't veto that!

'Wait a minute!

But Regina stomps her foot and resists.
There's no time for that!I'll pull her forcefully.

'Wait a minute!
I've got it!

Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my right hand.
When I looked, I saw that Regina was holding something in her hand and pressing it against mine.

'An insectivorous plant to repel molesters,' she said.

When I looked at it, I saw that it was a tufted plant about the size of a grape, and when I pressed on the bottom of the tuft, the mouth on the top opened and countless thorns popped out from inside.

When you press the bottom of the bunch, the top opens and countless thorns shoot out. It's excruciatingly painful, isn't it?
'...... ouch ......, who's a pervert!I'm not sure what to do.Also, your name is not funny!I demand a name change!
It's a fine pervert to come in here in the middle of the night and forcefully take me away without even listening to me!I'm sure you'll be able to figure out what's going on.

...... I want to punch this guy.
I'm in dire straits.

'If you need me urgently, you need medicine, right?I'll wait here. If we don't have the tools, we can't make the medicine. If we don't act rationally, we won't be able to save ourselves, will we?
'...... Sorry. I'll tell you what's going on along the way, so hurry up if you can.'
'Leave it to me. ...... Oh, that's right. It's not that I wanted to mention whether or not my p*n*s was magnificent or not.I've never seen one myself, so there's no way to compare them. ......'
'I told you to hurry up!

He pushed Regina through the door and hurried her to get ready.

The store was still filled with the smell of medicine.
The dark interior of the store was illuminated by the feeble light of a lantern.

'Here you go, guys. Let's go.
'...... you're early.'
'I'm still a smart woman. ............ Ah, even if you say you're good, ......'
'Come on, let's hurry up!

I'm not sure what to say, but I'd like to know what you think.
I mean, come on, this guy is ......
But he was also impressed.
I'm not sure if Regina has always been prepared for this kind of situation, but she had already packed the necessary items. I guess she always keeps it in a state so that she can jump out at any time.

'You're a pharmacist, aren't you?
'Yes, I am. I'm sure that the people in the city won't be able to rely on me, so it's probably a waste of effort. ...... You can laugh if you want.

The negativity is out of control.

'I'm not laughing. I'm not going to laugh.
'I'm not going to laugh.Huh?You're not going to humiliate me?

His outburst is going in a strange direction.
Somebody please introduce him to a friend. A friend who can help him shake the darkness out of his mind!

'I think you're doing great. I admire you.'
'...... Oh, ............ is that too much?

I thought that praise would get him going, but his words came back slurred.

'What's more, when you're praised for what you do on a regular basis,......, it's a bit creepy. I've got a backache.

He laughed deliberately and rubbed his back deliberately again.

Are you embarrassed?Not even close.

'But thanks for the ....... I'm glad you're counting on me, honestly.
'Then I'll rely on you like a horse and cart.
'Isn't that a funny thing to say?You can count on me in moderation.'

Regina's elbow pokes me in the side.
Her embarrassment is gone, and she's regaining her normal mood.

'I've borrowed this ...... umbrella before, but it's really handy. It's easy and doesn't get my face wet. ...... I'm soaking my shoulders!

Because I was in a hurry, I only brought one umbrella.
We were going to the church under a shared umbrella, but this handmade umbrella was too small for two people.
Then, it was inevitable that one of us would get wet.

'Don't worry about it. In my country, it's good manners for the man to get wet.'
'Wow, ......, you must be a nation of gentlemen.'

Not really.

'You're a tool of love.'
'Is it?'
'I think so. It makes me feel like I'm being taken care of.'

...... Well, I do feel cherished.

'Besides, if it's a sunny day, we can cover the front with an umbrella and be alone together, right?
'I don't need an umbrella on a sunny day.'
'Yes, you do. With this, you can do all kinds of erotic things on the main street without fear of being seen. ...... Oh, don't move the umbrella!It's cold!I'm soaking wet right now!It's not good!I'm not sure what to do.It'll ruin the store!

As a punishment for saying such a stupid thing, I tilted the umbrella toward me as hard as I could. Regina is wandering around in the pouring rain.
...... d*mn.

'...... Oh, you scared me. I don't think I'm joking. ............'

I put the umbrella back and Regina brushes away the rain on her shoulders and head with her hands.

'But it looks like you've finally calmed down.
'Until just now, you looked like you were about to die. You're in too much of a fix. It's in emergencies that people around you have to make decisions and take actions calmly. Right?

...... this guy.
That's why he purposely made this joke. ............

'Oh, that's right. It's not that we're all wet. ............ It's cold!

I almost lost it.
This is the kind of guy he really is.
He'll never make a bad decision again.


'Thanks. I'm a little calmer now. I'm sure the people in the church are more distraught than we are, so we need to be strong.'
'That's the idea. So, we're going to the church?'
'Yeah. The kids are in a bit of trouble.'
'If the medicine didn't work, it might be a little difficult to treat. You should see a doctor, he won't tell you anything.

He guessed the children's situation just from the keyword 'church'.
He's a smart guy, isn't he?

'Diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, apparently.
'Any idea why?
'It seems to be water. It looks like the irrigation canal collapsed after this rain, and sewage and muddy water poured into the well.'
'............ I see. That's dangerous.

If I recapitulate what Bertina told me, it's a terrible thing.
The symptoms are similar to cholera and typhoid. ...... There are no antibiotics. How are we supposed to treat it?

'This is not good. ......'

The disgusting words escaped from Regina's mouth. '...... bad?

'Well, take a look at it anyway, they won't say anything. Let's hurry up.

I kept pace with Regina and hurried as fast as I could towards the church.


When I came to the front of the sunlit pavilion, I was suddenly approached.
There were Magda and Estella.

'Estella?What's wrong with you, at this hour?

Estella, holding an umbrella, came running up to them.

'Natalia has a high fever. I heard she refused to take the antipyretic because she was worried about the price, so I scolded her.

Did she end up with a higher fever?

'He seemed to have a good throat. I gargled with tea.'
'That's good, but did you come alone?It's ...... dangerous at this time of night.'
'Of course I brought the Kingsguard with me. Of course, I brought my bodyguard with me, though she had to leave first with some fever reducers.

Natalia's condition must be serious.
Otherwise, the Kingsguard wouldn't have left if she said she was going to stay here alone. ...... Are the guards also women? I'm not sure what to make of that.

I'm going to the church. I'm going to the church too.
'It's no use for you to come, is it?
'Regina. I'll pay for it, and I want you to take care of him as best you can.'
'You're very handsome, aren't you?
'Oh, manly is .......'

Estella smiled at Regina's reply.
It's a good idea to take a look at a few of the things that are available in the market.
It's midnight. Anything could happen.
We have no choice. I guess we'll have to work together.

'All right, let's hurry up a bit. Magda, come with me.

It's better to take her with us than leave her alone.

'Yeah, but that means we'll have to lock up .......'
'I've ...... done that.'

Magda interrupts me and shows me the key.
I guess he was going to follow me too.

'Okay, let's go then.

Now that there were four of us, we started walking towards the church. Watching our step, we walked as fast as we could.

As soon as we arrived at the church, Ginette greeted us and led us through the corridor by the common room, up the stairs, and into the children's bedroom.
It was the first time we had been upstairs, but the smell of life was everywhere. This must be a completely private space.

'This way, please.

Ginette walked through the place where she used to live, as if she knew it well.

There were two children's rooms, one for boys and one for girls.
But now there were ten men and ten women sleeping in the same room to take care of them.
It seemed that it was true that all the children had collapsed. No, it's not that I doubted it, but I couldn't believe it until I saw ...... it. It may be that I didn't want to believe it.

'Miss Regina'.

As we enter the room, Bertina comes over to us.
She's exhausted and looks even more emaciated than when I saw her just a moment ago.

'Take the children to .......'
'Oh, leave it to me.'

After exchanging whispered words, Regina approached the children lying on the ground.

'Oh, can you keep yourselves occupied for a bit?It might be an airborne disease.'

She says, covering her mouth and nose with a pure white cloth.
There were aunts and grandmothers looking at the child with anxious expressions as he groaned in pain. I wondered if they were sisters of the church. The fact that they did not ask the girls to leave the room suggests that if it was an airborne virus, there is a high possibility that they are already infected.
Then it's not safe to let a potentially infected person leave the room with us.
Regina is trying to prevent the spread of the disease in the first place.
It may seem ruthless, but I think it's a wise decision.

We follow Regina's instructions to get out of the room.
We closed the door and waited by it as if praying.
...... was in a bad way. Until this morning, the kids were so energetic. ............

'......Why can't you take over for them ......?'

Ginette leaked such words.
If I could take their place, I would bear their suffering for them. I guess that's what she's thinking.

'Of course you would.

No one else shows any sign of answering Jeannette's question, so I have no choice but to answer.
Listen, you better get that through your head.

'I'm here to take care of the suffering kids. Who's going to take care of them if you collapse?Are you going to switch places and make the kids stay up all night nursing you?'
'No, no...... that's ............'

'When you're weak, you get anxious. At times like that, it would be reassuring for those who are asleep if there were plenty of people around to rely on. You are not able to take over for them in order to make them feel at ease.
'.................., is that so?

It was a forced complication, but Jeannette looked somewhat convinced.

'............You're right. I have to be strong.

He then slapped himself on both cheeks.
Then, although still a little tense, he ...... forced a smile to his face and turned to me.

'Thank you, Yashiro-san.
'...... I'm not the one who needs to be thanked.'

I could not keep my eyes on that healthy smile.
I felt guilty for being able to do nothing more than this verbal deception.

I felt an irresistible urge to talk about something else.
Something unimportant, if possible.

'Hey, Jeannette.
'Where did the old hag and the old b*tc* in there come from, the demons?
'Don't be rude, Yashiro-san.'

Ginette was at a loss for words for a moment as she heard the words she wasn't expecting.
However, she immediately raised her eyebrows and scolded me.
She did not include any accusatory nuance, but instead gently rebuked me as she always does.

'They're the matrons. They are like mothers to the children here at .......'
'Matron?Is this a dormitory?
'It's a communal dormitory for children who have nowhere else to go.

That means those old ladies are like orphanage workers.
I wonder if those matrons were taking care of the kids when Bertina had a stomach ache at the sunny pavilion.
If you're going to ............, why don't you make your own breakfast!

'Most of the matrons commute from home, so basically only the sisters are available in the early morning.

I didn't even ask the question, but Jeannette looked at me and explained.
I wonder if my face is that obvious.

'Yes, it is. I think your face is rather obvious, Mr. Yashiro.

Aren't we having a conversation?
Is it really that obvious?
Try ......

The matron is not a sister, is she?


Raise your right hand.




'You've got a hell of a lot of tits today .

'Please repent!

...... Why does this get through to me ............?

'Totally. What are you thinking about at a time like this, Yashiro?'
'...... Yashiro likes boobs too much.'

'............ I'll do my best to take care of you. I'm sure you'll be happy with the results. ...... So please ............ save the children .......'

Ginette folded her hands and prayed to the spirit god.
If there is a God, I'd like to punch him in the face and tell him not to make the children who believe in you and pray to you every day sick.

...... Don't forget how you gave Jeannette such a painful look.

'Guys, can I have a word?

At that moment, the door opened and Regina came out.
The cloth that had covered her nose and mouth had been lowered and was now wrapped around her neck.
I wonder if this means that she was not infected.

Regina left the room and closed the door behind her.
'Is there something you want to tell us alone?

'The cause is still the drinking water. Some nasty germs have gotten into her stomach and are causing problems.
'Are you worried about airborne infection?
'No. I've seen that disease a few times when I was still in my hometown, and I know how to make a special medicine for it.

Ginette's face lit up at the mention of a special remedy.
However, in inverse proportion to that, Regina's expression becomes cloudy.
This expression on Ginette's face. I guess she decided to tell us so that Bertina and the matron wouldn't get this look.

I mean, ......

'......, but unfortunately, they don't make a cure for that.

The blood drained from Jeannette's face.
Along with the blood, even her expression was gone.

'There's a material that's essential for the cure, but I can't get it.
'What do you need?Just tell me and I'll get it for you. Even if you have to talk to Chuo City. ......'

'No, no. It's not in the Forty-second Ward, it's in this city, All Bloom.'
'...... So...'

Finally, Ginette fell into a daze and slumped into the hallway.
Magda walked over to her and patted her on the back.

'How can you be so sure?

Estella, not wanting to give up, pounced on Regina.
She's determined to find it at all costs.

'It's a local specialty of ours, you know. We used to buy it regularly, even if it was a bit expensive, but it suddenly disappeared from the market a month ago. At present, it is no longer available. It seems that there are a lot of fake ones out there, though.

The local specialty of Regina, which has disappeared from the market in the past month and is now being faked,......, is something so valuable that you want to fake it,......, and that's the only thing you can do with it.

'How can you make medicine with it?
'Without it, you can't make medicine. Even if we head to Baokri Air now, by the time we get back, those kids will already be ...... there.'
'............ I see.'

I don't know,......, I think.

'Then it can't be helped.

That's all I could say.
I stepped out to leave, but my legs were very heavy.
My vision is dizzy. I guess I'm the one who's dizzy.

'Yashiro, where are you going?

Estella's voice stops me, but I don't feel like paying attention to that.

Oh, no.
That ............ guy is really, really, really mean, God d*mn it.

What is it?
I'm not sure what to do.
Were you mocking me when you saw me running around frantically, you son of a b*tc*?

I'm not sure what to say.

Ginette, who had followed me to the entrance of the church, called out to me.
But I don't stop.
Puddles of water splash.
The rain that's pounding down on my body seems to be getting stronger.

...... Hey, when did I get out?
And where are you running to?

What the heck, you know I'm just playing dumb, right, God?
You're laughing right now at that, aren't you?

After a few minutes of running, I came to a sunlit pavilion. That's my destination.

I use the key Magda gave me to open the door.
I run through the cafeteria, out into the courtyard, and up the stairs to my room without a second thought.
He roughly kicks the door that blocks his way every time.
The room is empty and simple.
All you have is a bed and a bag for your daily necessities.
If a thief comes in, he won't hesitate to take the anchor.

But I'm sorry. That one's a fake.
The really expensive stuff is kept in a secret drawer under the bed.
A humble bed in a wooden box covered with straw and a sheet. At the bottom of the bed, there is a drawer that I made afterwards, and inside it, there is a cloth bag full of 'expensive things'.
The price at the end of the day is over 500,000 Rb, which is more than 5 million yen in Japanese yen.
The jewels of the field were once said to be traded for the same price as gold.
The source of all the ties and fetters I've had to bear in this city.

A spice from Bao Kri Air.

I stole it from Norbert the peddler when I first arrived in town.
In the end, it seems that even Norbert had stolen this spice, and it is now blocked from the market.

I was thinking of exchanging it for money one day when things cooled down. ............

This is why I hate people who look down on me, like God and Buddha!

Swearing in defeat, I ran out of the store in the pouring rain.
I'm too wet to care.
I'm too wet to care about anything else. I just want to wash away all this frustration, confusion, dismay, and the strange sense of elation and mission that is rising up in me.

I'm going to run back down the road I've been running down at full speed.
It's a road I've traveled back and forth, morning after morning, to the point of disgust.
Even if I can't keep my eyelids open because of the rain, even if I can't see ahead because of the rain, I can still make it to the church.

The church was strangely quiet even though it was lit. We run through the corridor next to the common room and up the stairs.
The room where the kids are sleeping. Estella was the only one at the door.

'You guys, go inside and take care of the kids.
'...... ha...... ha............ you, what are you doing?'
'What am I doing, that's the line I want to hear from you. ...... Okay, I'll answer.'

Estella walks up to me with a look on her face that says she knows everything.

'I've been waiting for you. I've been waiting for you, for you to make something happen. Wouldn't it give you a boost to have an audience?'

I don't want that.
I don't need an audience or an audience.

'It's Regina who does the hard work.'

I popped the cloth bag I was clutching into Estella's hand.

'A really nice guy told me to use this.
'Heh. A very nice guy ....... He must be a very nice person to give me such an expensive thing.'
'Oh, he's so good-natured it makes me want to puke. Oh, and did he also say ...... 'don't ask where it came from'?
'I see,......, but the lives of the children cannot be replaced. Even if this is 'proof of wrongdoing', I will be grateful to use it.

A fearless smile stares at me.
That's why it's ....... I'm not going to look away.

'Also, ...... the biggest softie of the century says, "If you have any left over, please return it to me."'
'That's too bad. As much as I'd like to, I don't know the guy's name or face. What did he look like?'
'............ He was a very beautiful boy who made me faint at first sight.'
'Haha, I've never seen ...... anyone like that.'

You've got him right in front of you.

'Well then, I'm going to go give this to Regina. You should go downstairs and head for the kitchen right now.
'You want me to make you a dinner?
'Ginette's boiling water. 'I'm sure Mr. Yashiro will take care of the kids,' he said. She said she didn't want you shivering in the cold when you came back.

How many times do I have to tell you not to trust me?
Well, I'm glad the water's boiling.
I'm dying of cold. ...... I really don't know what I'm doing. You should have brought an umbrella.

'Oh, yeah.

When I was heading to the kitchen, Estella's voice came from behind me.

'The lord of a certain town said ...... that if the stolen goods had been exchanged for personal gain, I would have done everything in my power to crush him.

I'm not looking back.
So I don't know what Estella looks like now. There's no way of knowing.

'...... Oh well. I hope the person in question gets the message.
'I don't think they need to know. I'm sure they don't need to know that anymore.
'Bad people will always be bad people. If you expect too much, you'll end up crying someday.
'That's the thing. A good person will always be a good person in the end, no matter how far he goes. ...... Regardless of what happened in the past, no matter how evil they were, ...... they are still good people.

That's just an ideal. ......

'Just take it away. The kid's strength is not worth it.'
'I will. You, too, should warm up quickly.'

Without turning around, he raises his hand in reply.

I walked down the stairs and through the door at the bottom.
Ginette was standing there as if she were in a fixed position, where she prepared breakfast for thirty people every morning.
She is boiling a large amount of water in a large pot.
A pot that looked like a skillet and a huge kettle that reminded me of Goemon's boiling pot. Two of these pots were being put on the stove, and the water was steaming.

'There are many small children here, so we always have water ready to boil. There are many children who masturbate.

He talked about this to me as I entered the kitchen.
They don't ask anything, they don't say anything, they treat me as usual.

'...... Am I in the same league as the oneshot boy?
'I'm soaking wet all over, so it's going to be even harder.'

He chuckled, but there was still a hint of uneasiness in his face.

'Have you ever been taken care of before?
'It's a secret.'
'Don't tell me you haven't.'
'It's a secret.'

While playing along, Ginette transferred the hot water in the skillet to a large tray on the floor.

'For now, please warm your feet with this. Please take off your wet clothes and cover your body with this.

Ginette quickly prepares a footbath and offers me a chair.
A towel, a large cloth, and a basket for wet clothes are placed beside her.

'I'm facing away, so please let me know when you're done changing.
'I'm going to be naked in front of you?'
'......, uh, behind your back, sir.'

She seemed a little embarrassed and hastily turned her back on me.
It's the same in the back as in the front. ...... to take it off. ............
But if you go any further, you'll really catch a cold.
I can't help it.

I took off my clothes behind Jeannette, who turned to look at me, wrapped myself in the cloth provided, and dipped my feet into the steamy tub.
............ Ah! ~.................. It stings. ...... This feels so good.

'Are you okay now?
'Oh. ......'

When I turned around, Jeannette didn't take a moment to collect my undressed clothes and put them in a basket.
Then she walks behind me with a towel and starts wiping my hair.

'Am I a kid, or what?
'You're a big kid. Leave it to me. I'm used to dealing with naughty boys.'
'...... Who's a naughty boy?

The hair is wiped as if it were being rubbed.
They are silent and the only sound is the rubbing of the cloth.
It's very quiet, ...... but you can certainly feel the presence of others in the silence.
It's a comfortable space.

'I believed it.

Suddenly, Ginette says something like that.
She continues to wipe my hair.

I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I'm not the only one.
'............ "An expression"?'
'Are you not aware of it yourself?

I'm not aware of it.
I'm basically trying to keep a poker face.

'When we are in trouble, when we don't know what to do, Yashiro-san always has the same expression on his face. I know this because I've been watching him closely.

He said proudly and let out a chuckle.

'Is your face that unique?
'No, sir. It's a very reliable face.

Jeannette's wiping technique changes.
Her wiping technique changes from firmly pressing the roots to softly wiping the ends of the hair.

It's the kind of expression that makes you feel like she's saying, 'I'll leave this to you.

That's a terrible misunderstanding.
I've never thought of that. Not once.

'So, I... I believed you.'
'You know, Jeannette.

The fact that you use the past tense 'I did' even though you haven't solved anything yet is worrisome, but more than that, ......

'Don't trust me. I'm not the superman you think I am. I lie, I cheat, and I love big tits.'
'You've said that before. And you wanted me to be careful.'
'If you remember that, why aren't you on guard?If you take my word for it, then you never know when you'll be tricked and hurt badly. Don't trust anyone else.
'Hmmm ............'

Shortly after that, Jeannette snorted, 'Yes. 'Yes, I understand,' Ginnette says, untrustworthy.

'So you're saying that we shouldn't trust Yashiro-san's word 100%.
'Well, that's what I'm saying.

I'm sure he doesn't understand.

'Then I don't trust Mr. Yashiro's words, "Mr. Yashiro is a liar and shouldn't be trusted."'
'Hmph. I won't be fooled again.

Is this guy ............ a real idiot?

'It's a lie that Yashiro-san is a liar, isn't it?
It's a good thing that you're not the only one who has a problem with this. I'm sure you're both liars, aren't you?
I'm not sure. You are a liar, aren't you, Yashiro-san?
'Oh, yes, ...... but ..................?

Is that okay?
But I'm pretty sure Ginette has the exact opposite interpretation of what I'm thinking ............ Ah, it's complicated.

'Forget it,......, do what you want.'
'Yes, sir. I will.'

Then again, they were both silent, and a quiet moment passed.
As I savored the feel of Jeannette's hand stroking my head through the towel, I thought once again that this silence was comforting.

It was not long after that that I received the news that the cure had been completed.