|Author: Hidsuki Shihou||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2650 characters|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1290 words|
“Likely. But it’ll probably be troublesome.”
It’s only a guess, but even I don’t know how this will really end. Moreover, all I know is that they clearly want me to be on the evening parade’s float. However, I don’t know what’s waiting for me if I refuse it.
“We can find each other using our phones. So, where are we going?”
Kaori was probably confused by my answer. Still, there’s not much time to explain. If they’re to move, it’ll be when the parade ends. Until then, they shouldn’t have enough people to chase me. Also, I need some confirmation.
“You’re not leaving the park, are you? If you do that, you’ll be kicked from the field trip.”
“I’m already prepared to be sent home if it means not having to go onstage. I don’t plan on humiliating myself.”
“Knowing your personality, I can see that. Being needlessly decisive is a problem too.”
I’m sure they can’t chase me outside of the park. My primary suspects this time are the park staff, after all. There are surveillance cameras set up all over the park, so no matter where I hide, they’ll be able to find me. As long as I’m in the park, I lose.
“So, why are we heading there?”
“To check something. In the worst case, I can force my way out. If my suspicions are right, then maintain the status quo. It’ll depend on the other party’s move.”
There’s no need for me to rush. Looking back, I confirmed that Akira and the others are following as we move on. If I break into a run, they’ll probably think that I’m trying to escape again. This time, I’m not causing trouble, so I can’t have the situation worsen from misunderstandings.
“Like I thought.”
“I don’t think there’s anything weird here, though.”
That’s the weird part. The gates welcome park guests as usual. I can see people leaving here and there, but there’s nothing particularly strange. And that’s what I wanted to confirm.
“There’s no increase in monitoring. In other words, preventing me from escaping isn’t one of their goals.”
“Normally, no one would expect people to leave the park just to avoid being called up to the parade float.”
That’s true. Normally, you’d just give up and accept being exposed to the public. But I absolutely refuse that. Why do I have to publicly humiliate myself? To begin with, there’s no demand for that. I’m not confident I can smile either.
“So, what’s been bothering you?”
“I’ll explain while we take a rest.”
We rested at a nearby rest area after passing by a shop. I bought black coffee. After all, my drowsiness is just temporarily gone and might come back if I’m not careful. Still, what to do now.
“The chances of me going up on a float are low if we’re basing it on Kotori’s personality.”
“I had the impression that she easily goes wild when it comes to you, Kotone.”
“Even so. She’s not the type to say I did this, so you have to do this too. At most, she’ll just beg for me to join her. But this time, I’ll refuse her.”
Kaori, you can only say that because you’re not directly involved. I’m pretty sure you’d also refuse if you were asked to get on the parade float. With Kotori, her looks are still passable. But for me, who’s sometimes even mistaken for a college student, I’d rather not be the star for these kinds of events.
“Now for what’s bothering me. Why was that cat trying to get our attention? It shouldn’t have recognized me from that far away.”
“That’s true. Even if it knows Kotone’s face from photos, you have a hat and glasses on, and even have a different hairstyle. It shouldn’t have recognized you from a distance.”
Even Kotori didn’t seem to recognize me. So why did that cat know that it’s me? Maybe it was calling the attention of another person and not me. If that’s the case, then good, it’s just needless anxiety.
“Besides, if Kotori was the enemy, I was sure that she’d have people guarding the exit.”
“That’s just… you’re overreacting.”
“When one of the twelve families is serious, they’d do that much without blinking an eye.”
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The twelve families never hold back in anything they do. They never let their targets escape. That’s why I’m not confident I can escape if it reaches that point. I’m sure even Akira and the others don’t want trouble with the twelve families. With me isolated, escape is impossible.
“Because of that, I can’t determine their objective. If I’m just overthinking this, then that’d be great.”
“But you’re a troublemaker, so the chances of that are low.”
I don’t cause trouble. People around me just cause trouble and pull me in. Well, sure, I have caused trouble a few times in the past. But I get into trouble many more times than I cause it.
“Looks like the parade’s about to end.”
After some chatting, a considerable amount of time has passed. I mainly talked about the Kyoto escape drama. Kaori was quite baffled as she listened, but I got her interest when I talked about the shops we visited.
“Well, I guess it’s time to find Harumi and Miyako. In case anything happens, we might have to contact the teachers too.”
“I just hope that it won’t be necessary.”
Not that hoping can change anything now. With the parade finished, the number of people walking around increased. The entrance area was pretty deserted up until earlier, but now it’s bustling with shoppers. And as if triggered by this, the main mascot came.
“What’s its name again?”
“Wasn’t it Nyantamaru? Stupid name, but it’s quite popular.”
With the appearance of the adorable tomcat mascot, the crowd became excited. Doesn’t that mascot go around random establishments? I believe it’s popular for being sometimes easy and sometimes hard to find.
“Is it just me, or is it coming towards us?”
“Isn’t that just you? I’ll tell Harumi and Miyako that we’ll meet here.”
“Hold on for a moment.”
Upon catching sight of me, the mascot cat suddenly broke into a sprint. It’s clearly bringing trouble, but even if I run, I’m already targeted. Moreover, we reacted too late.
“Mascot suits are surprisingly unsettling.”
“There’s no change in facial expression, after all.”
There’s Kaori, who’s surprisingly calm, and there’s me, who’s already resigned. There’s no escape anyway, so I can only brace myself. I finish my drink and observe their next move. If they do anything weird, I’m sure Akira and the others will respond.
“Why the dogeza?”
“Are their elbows and knees okay?”
Performing a dash to a sliding dogeza, the cat completely baffled us. No matter how thick the costume is, its surface is going to get scratched. Also, what about the public’s perspective? What will they think, seeing the main mascot bow before a park guest?
“We have a request.”
From a placard the cat took out from who knows where, that sentence was written. And upon seeing the familiar handwriting, I put my hand over my temples to soothe my headache. I still haven’t seen his face, so I feign ignorance.
“Please sing for us.”
Hearing the cat’s absurd request, I resist the urge to step on him. If I do that in front of the public, things will escalate. That’s why I’ll discipline him when there’s no one around. In the first place, what do you mean by “sing!”?
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