It's a clear, crisp morning.
Estella is sitting in front of me with a big smile on her face.
'Yashiro. Which do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news?'
This is a church.
It's the usual donation and breakfast time for us.
'Let me hear the good news first.
'The kids came all the way to my house with a letter saying, "Thank you for everything, Mr. President. It made me so happy.'
'So, did you just go to ......?
'Why does it sound like I've kidnapped a little kid?
'If you have a cute little girl, share her with me.'
'I'm not sharing!
'Are you trying to keep them all to yourself?
'I'm not!I'm not kidnapping you!
Banging on the desk, Estella sniffs, 'Supee! She sniffs.
'What's the good news about that?I don't feel happy at all, do you?
'It makes you feel better when I'm in a good mood, doesn't it?
'I'm sorry, but I don't have a mental link with you. Whether you're happy or sad doesn't affect me at all.'
'I see. Yes, that's true.
After saying this in a cheerful voice, Estella's expression suddenly became cloudy.
'...... is just fine. Don't let my downer feelings get in the way of your hearing the bad news, .......'
'I said I don't want to hear it. Let me at least enjoy my breakfast.'
I turn my body to the side and try to show Estella that I don't want to listen to her.
I don't want to listen to her heavy talk because it really depresses me.
'Hammaro~, come here for a minute~'
Estella beckons, and Hammaro comes trotting towards her.
He doesn't even recognize me, but he comes to me, doesn't he?
By the way, since Loretta started to participate in the church donation a few days ago, Hammaro and his brothers are also here to accompany her.
Estella covered Hammaro in a hug from behind and thrust a butter knife at his neck. ............ Hey!
'If you don't listen to me, you're going to get a scar on your face.
'You're an idiot, aren't you!
'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
What the hell is this guy thinking?
What the hell is he thinking, taking a kid hostage in a church, did he drop his brain somewhere?
It's a butter knife, so it's not dangerous. It's just that it's very sticky. ......'
'Nihooooo, hostage, bread handling!
'All right, all right, let Hammaro go. ......'
Bertina's going to be very angry. She's a surprisingly educated mom.
'Oh, Sister Bertina!No, this is just a little joke. ......'
Look at that.
Bertina would never allow you to play hostage, even in jest. ......
'Butter knives are not for pointing at people. It's for licking.'
'It's not for licking, either!
'Uh-huh. I was joking.
Does that count as a joke and not a lie?
Well, I'm not trying to turn Bertina into a frog. ......
I'm not going to turn Bertina into a frog, but please don't make a joke that will affect children in a bad way. It's dangerous to imitate them.'
'Yes, sir. I'm sorry.'
'No, I'm not. I know you have a lot on your mind, Estella.If you need anything, you can always consult me.'
'Yes. Thank you very much.
'I will help you in any way I can, ...... Mr. Yashiro.'
'Hey, kiddo, you little eater.
You should be the one to listen to him.
I'm sure you'll have a great time.
Bertina left with an unconvincing warning.
'You're angry with me.
'Then why are you complaining to me?You got what you deserved.'
'Ahh, I'm really screwed... I never thought I'd end up like that...'
'Oh, God. I know!I'll listen to you, so stop your deliberate appeals for me to listen to you, you're annoying.
She looked pleased, and Estella straightened up and sat back down.
'......, and I'm sorry to tell you this, but ......'.
The smiling face vanishes in an instant and a dark expression appears again.
He's one of those guys who changes his expression all the time, really.
'The construction of the city gate has been temporarily suspended.
What the hell is that?
It should be a matter of the highest priority, no matter what, in the current forty-two districts!
'Actually, a powerful hexenbiest has been discovered outside the outer wall.
'It's been there for a long time.
'...... Not really.'
Magda interrupted me and Estella's conversation.
'......They form herds with multiple males protecting a single female. It's never been done before.
'We call it a swarm,' he says.
Bees and ants are probably like that, but it's rare among hexenbiests.
I see. Swarm .......
'Didn't Magda catch a Bonacon a week ago when some strange ruffians took over the Sunken Pavilion?
'Yeah, that was a good one.
It was quite a big fish and we all devoured it.
They helped us get rid of the ruffians. We had a big Bonacon party to thank them.
'At that time, Magda felt something strange in the forest,' he said.
'...... There was an unevenness in the movements of the magical beasts. There were also traces of fierce territorial battles that destroyed the forest. This is unusual.
'So, we sent the vigilante to investigate. ......'
So they found the Swarm.
That must have been pretty scary. These vigilantes always lag behind even the ruffians.
'So what are we gonna do? We can't keep building city gates with them around.'
'...... Don't worry. If you defeat the female, the swarm will naturally be dismantled.
'So, ...... who's going to do that?
'I've asked the hunting guild.'
Estella says as she strokes Magda's hair.
Lately Estella has been stroking Magda's head a lot. She doesn't touch Magda's ears because she doesn't have Magda's permission, but ...... I think she really wants to fluff them up. ...... Estella, you said before that you like cute things.
I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do it. He said he would organize a team and take care of it as soon as possible.
'I see. That's a lot of enthusiasm.
'...... Magda hunted down Bonacon.'
Magda says coldly.
I'm sure you're thinking, 'Oh, ...... that's because Magda's been taking all the good points away from me lately, and I'm frustrated or upset about it. ...... You're a small man, Use Damare.
'......, so you'll end up being a branch manager.
'Haha. That's harsh, Magda.
You should just ask her, 'Let me fluff you up'. And then, 'In exchange for the ...... 'floppy'',' she replied, 'I can't accept such an exchange! And Estella refuses. Isn't this the usual flow?
But wait a minute.
'Is the hunting guild in the 42nd district a branch?
'...... headquarters is in the 41st district.'
'That's because of the city gate. It's only natural to base ourselves in a place where it's easy to operate, right?
That's true. The Woodcutter's Guild also dares to locate its headquarters in the forty-second district. Imelda says that many of the members of the Woodcutter's Guild could have lived in the high class districts of the 20th district or more.
However, they are in District 40 because they mainly use the city gates of District 40.
I guess the hunting guild is the same.
'So, why is there a branch in District Forty-two?
'Because there are magical beasts living in the forests of District Forty-two.'
'Oh, there was a ......, I think.'
After being preyed upon by the insectivorous plants, the hexenbiest that looked like a big stupid cat pounced on me with all its might, ...... a past I don't even want to remember.
''......On rare occasions, hexenbiests can break through the outer walls. The forest outside the forty-second district is inhabited by dangerous hexenbiests that can do that much.
'So they've put up a branch to protect the city from them.
That must mean they're being treated very well.
No wonder they're so high and mighty.
'I think we've talked about ...... before.'
'Is that right?
'I've already told you the whole story about the 42nd district.
'I'm sorry, but I'm a very forgetful person. I'm the kind of person who only wants to remember things that interest me.
'...... Well, I'll explain it to you each time. ............'
He's looking at me like I'm a pain in the ass.
Come on. Don't stare at me like that. You're embarrassing me.
'Well, that's why the work will stop for about a week.'
'It'll be over in a week, won't it?
'They're professional hunters, after all.They won't let us down.'
'...... Use Damare has a bad personality, but he's good.'
Well, if Magda says so, I'll believe her. I don't know what else to do.
'Magda's not going to join us?
'...... told me not to come.'
'You mean you don't want Magda to get any more credit for this?That's petty.'
'...... That's one thing. But the 'red shiny thing' can be a drag when hunting a pack.
In the event that you have a single opponent, the "red blur" is invincible, but after using it, you will go into berserker mode, where you will not be able to reason for a while due to intense hunger.
Indeed, it may be a little difficult to handle in a battle of many against many. You can control it by your commander,......, but it may be a bit of a threat to those who are hunting for their lives.
'Well, you know. The right person in the right place. Magda can hunt Bonacon by herself. He's just not the right guy for the job.
I said these words to Magda, who seemed somewhat depressed.
I put my hand on Magda's head instead of Estella.
I put my hand on Magda's head instead of Estella's and fondled her ears and she hugged me around the waist.
'...... I'm not depressed.'
'I see. Well then, let's give them something to cheer about.
'...... Look on the bright side.'
Every time I fluffed my ears, Magda would hug me tightly.
He seemed to be quite concerned about it.
He's proud to be a member of the hunting guild, after all.
'...... is nice, Fluffy.'
Estella is looking at him enviously.
You want to mooch so badly? ......
'Hey, Magda. Estella wants to play with you.'
I slithered up and looked at Estella.
It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're doing.
...... However, Magda was not so lenient.
'......In exchange for the 'lumps and bumps''.
'Where are you going to pick and knead?
...... Magda is a girl who has no idea what she's doing.
I'm not sure what to say. ......
'The city gate is also a problem. ......'
I glanced at Jeannette.
'Oh, I'm in trouble!I'm very, very troubled!Ah~, is there anyone who can help me with my problem~?
'Hey, Loretta, ......, you're in my way.
'Interrupting is terrible!
I'm looking at Jeannette, and Loretta keeps interrupting my view to give off a blatantly caring aura. ...... What do you want?
What do you want, Loretta? I'm not sure what you're looking for.
Jeannette speaks to the noisy Loretta.
Ginette, you've got to learn. At times like this, all Loretta does is talk nonsense, you know?
'Actually, Mr. Manager!
'Yes, what is it?
Although Jeannette is smiling as if she is trying to help you,......, her face looks somewhat tired.
'The manager is not feeling well, so I want to do something to cheer him up!
'What?I'm not well?
'Oh!This is something you shouldn't say directly to the store manager.
...... Hey, hey, hey.
'Oh, um, ...... do I look so listless?
Jeannette looked at us anxiously.
'To be honest, you don't look very well.
In fact, recently, strange customers have been coming to the Sunlit Pavilion.
They are the ...... kind of creepy customers with a hint of malice.
They are not directly malicious like the ragpickers, but ......
After the ruffians were turned away, some peace returned to the sunlit pavilion.
The usual customers show up, make a fool of themselves, eat, and go home. That's fine.
The problem was the "customers from outside" who blended in.
Two to five pairs of unfamiliar customers a day. They usually come in groups of two or three and order a cake.
And as soon as the cake arrives, they snicker at .......
'Look at this......''It's really...... sense, or class, or something...... like that... ...right? The choice of plate is also a little ......, isn't it?'' --.
But they do nothing more than that.
They don't balk at payment, nor do they make difficulties.
They just make a lot of appeals that they were not satisfied, and then leave.
'...... are you still there, the example ......'.
Estella asks me.
Estella must have been aware of it, because she had encountered it once before.
Ginette is always thinking from the customer's point of view, what they are thinking, what they want, what will make them happy. He is sensitive to such aspects.
That is why I am perplexed by the behavior of the "customers" who have been blending in lately.
Even though they dislike you very much, they come all the way to the store to complain with a disgusted look on their face. ...... I guess they can't understand why.
There is no way you can understand.
They don't understand why they are doing it, because they don't understand why they are doing it.
They just 'don't like it for some reason'.
And they feel compelled to complain about it.
In short, they've got a nose for it.
He said, "I kind of don't like the cakes of Hidamari-tei, which is making a lot of noise even though the quality is far from the luxury we like.
This "somehow" is a tough one. ......
No one can find the right words to say, and they fall silent.
A heavy air hangs around us.
I'm not sure what to say, but I'm sure you'll be able to understand what I mean. ......
'Why are you depressed too?
'Because ...... I was really ...... trying to surprise the manager and make him feel better, but I got excited and ...... It's a ...... failure.
Loretta is also very sensitive to the subtleties of other people's emotions.
She was probably spinning out of control in her desire to do something about it.
'Ugh. ...... I'm sorry.'
'No, you're not.'
I stroked Loretta's head, forcing her to turn her face forward.
'Ginette's feeling a little better.
At the point where Loretta was staring, Ginette had a weaker but softer smile on her face than before.
'He's just happy that you think that way, you know. See?
'Yes. Loretta-san. Thank you very much.'
Loretta jumped into Jeannette's chest and buried her face in her fluffy tits, which were as soft as a super-luxury down comforter.
I love it!I love it!
'You can't do that, Yasirotte!
...... You, if my head falls off, will you be responsible? I'm not sure what to say, but I'm going to say it. Give it to me. ......
'Goh, goh, goh, ...... well, geh, goh, goh, ...... don't worry, ...... goh, goh, goh, ...... Even if you don't ...... go-go-go-go-go!
'Are you okay, Mr. Yashiro?
Oh no...... I'm in the wrong place............ and I'm going to die......
'Yes, Mr. Yashiro. Here's some water for you.'
'Bertie, gulp, gulp......'
'Here, stretch your back and drink the water slowly. ...... That's right, calm down. ............ Yes. Good job.'
Bertina gently pats me on the back. Her touch was gentle, and somehow, it warmed my heart.
'The sisters have always been good at this kind of thing.'
Ginette said happily.
I'm sure that Ginette herself has been saved by Bertina in this way many times.
'Gentlemen. Do you have a moment?
As usual, Bertina straightens her back and speaks in a quiet voice.
'You can't help what you like and what you don't like. If you try to force them to change, there will always be conflict. Accept it, tolerate it, ...... and if that is not possible, keep your distance. There is no such thing as an absolute right, but I hope you will make the best choice.
'Don't try to make everything go your way, is that it?
Bertina smiled quietly at Estella's words.
'I know some people will be harsh. But you have so many people around you who think well of you.'
'People tend to pay more attention to harsh words. It's probably because it hurts their ears that they remember it. But ...... don't miss the words that say they like you. The person who cares for you is the one you should care for. It's a good idea to be careful not to lose sight of the people you care about because you're so busy trying to escape the pain of the immediate future.
Jeannette closed her eyelids for a generous ten seconds, thought long and hard, then opened her eyes again and nodded ...... quietly.
'...... Yes. Thank you.'
His large eyes were filled with a gentle light.
'What is it?'
I asked, but Bertina just smiled at me and said nothing.
Oh, I see. So that's it.
'Please take care of Ginette'.
If I say the words, I'll have to respond with words.
I don't dare to say anything in order to create a situation where I don't have to do that.
Maybe he can see through me too.
I can't say 'I'll leave it to you' with my chest out ...... just yet.
'Well, then, ...... what do you want to do?Do we just leave it like this?
You know what?You can take my place, in that position!
'I can probably take care of the cake today.
It was Ginette who raised her voice in surprise.
Well, it was a plan that was hurriedly thrown together yesterday after seeing the situation at the Sunlit Pavilion. I haven't explained it properly yet. I thought we could do it here, when we were all together.
'I'm going to the 40th district after today.
'What the hell are you going to do?
And Ginette stares at me with a mixture of anxiety and anticipation in her eyes.
Bertina smiles at me.
Magda, half-lidded as usual.
Loretta is buried in her tits. I love .......
I look at the faces of these people in turn and declare.
'I'm going to nip malice in the bud.
A troublesome situation can be resolved in a rather simple way. I'm going to give it a try.