After parting ways with Shu and Kotone, as I was about to head home around evening, I received a sudden message from my mother. She asked me to have dinner alone because she was going out with an acquaintance. Feeling a bit lonely, I instinctively thought of contacting Ayana, but it was already too late.
“…Guess I’ll go out to eat somewhere at night.”
Although I had a great time with Shu and Kotone during lunch, it might be nice to indulge myself in a solo dining experience this time. I turned around and headed back towards the downtown area.
While walking through the slightly dimmed streets, I pondered what to eat. I had Chinese cuisine for lunch….Hmm maybe I should try something delicious and stamina-boosting in a different sense!
As I strolled along, I suddenly bumped into someone coming out of a store.
I had been looking ahead, but a man walking at the front of the group coming out of the store collided with me from the side. Well, I should have been more cautious. Let me apologize.
“Sorry about that.”
The person I bumped into seemed to be an adult… probably a college student at most. After bowing and making eye contact, I quickly resumed walking forward. However, my unpleasant premonition proved to be correct as he firmly grabbed my shoulder.
“Oi, what’s the hurry, bumping into me like that and trying to walk away?”
Internally, I sighed. As expected, it seemed troublesome… It’s clear that you’re the one who bumped into me rather than the other way around. If I were to say something like, “You actually bumped into me,” it would only provoke more anger. What a hassle… I genuinely thought it was a hassle, but I didn’t let it show on my face.
“Hey, wait a minute! You were the one who bumped into me, right? Sorry about that. It was our mistake.”
“Oh, no, it was my fault. I’m sorry.”
Then, just as I was thinking that I could push through the situation by giving the impression that I was in the wrong, the woman approached me.
Despite the strong scent of her overpowering perfume, she paid no mind to my visibly distorted expression.
“You’re really handsome, you know? How about it? As your apology, why don’t you join us?”
An apology… so she wanted to turn the situation in her favor.
Whether she said I was handsome because of my looks or not, if I weren’t, she would have likely ignored me. As the woman’s words sank in, the man clicked his tongue and reached out towards me again…
This woman’s words made the man click his tongue and reach for me again …… Oi oi, come on, this is just a vicious cycle.
…I’ll quickly shake them off and run away.
As someone representing the school, getting into a fight would be troublesome, and I don’t want to worry Ayana and my mother, so I decide to escape from this situation.
Just as I was about to say that and start running, another voice echoes.
“Looks like things have gotten interesting—-right, Towa?”
Someone’s voice… I couldn’t possibly not recognize it.
That calm yet clearly angry voice is one I’ve been hearing frequently lately. When I turn around, sure enough, it’s Kanzaki…!?
Not the guy who bumped into me or the woman who got involved… It’s Kanzaki-san who grabs my shoulder and pulls me closer, while the woman who seems to be her underling stands in front of us.
“Leave now… Miss is furious beyond this point.”
…What is this, a drama? It feels like something straight out of a TV show.
I was tempted to make such a comment, but the fact that Kanzaki-san was pissed off got through to them, and they went off in a hurry, scared out of their wits.
“That was unfortunate, Towa. Anyway, everything should be fine now, so wait nearby.”
Kanzaki says so, and the woman bows her head and walks away, obediently following Kanzaki-san’s lead. You can clearly see the extent of her loyalty and trust in her.
“Now, what about you, Towa?”
I explain about my mother’s message and how I planned to have dinner on my own, and Kanzaki-san casually hooks her arm with mine.
With all the feminine softness and fragrance, I didn’t feel even the slightest flutter in my heart. But still, I let Kanzaki-san lead me to an apparently high-class yakiniku restaurant.
“Yaayaa! Is there a open table? I hope so.”
“Of course, we do! Please follow me to the back!”
“Thank you. Let’s go, Towa.”
The waiter seems really nervous… Oh well, it doesn’t matter.
I feel a bit unsettled because I rarely visit such fancy places, but that feeling quickly fades away once the meal starts. Thanks to Kanzaki-san’s presence and atmosphere, I don’t feel out of place anymore.
“It’s delicious… Seriously delicious.”
“Haha, I’m glad you’re enjoying it that much. This place is owned by an acquaintance of mine, and I come here often.”
“Heh.. You were called ‘miss’.”
“Yeah, I have quite a few connections here and there.”
…Thinking about it again, my mom really knows how to gather amazing people, or rather, she has them as her underlings. Seriously, my mom is something else.
As I savor the incredibly delicious meat with white rice, Kanzaki-san happily drinks her sake while watching me with a smile. Maybe because she’s had a bit of alcohol and is in a heightened mood, Kanzaki-san says something like this.
“I’m happy to see Towa smiling like that… It makes me happy to see Sis smiling too.”
Kanzaki’s words carry a weight as if they’re filled with deep emotions.
Taking another sip of her drink, Kanzaki-san looks straight at her glass and continues, lowering her tone of voice.
“There was only one time in the past when Sis cried… It was when you seemed to be in pain, and she couldn’t do anything to help.”
I simply listened as Kanzaki-san spoke, without changing my gaze away from her. Hervoice lacked any inflection; she was simply expressing what she wanted to say. Though I feel a bit scared to hear what she’ll say next, I keep my eyes on Kanzaki-san.
“At that time, I asked Sis directly about what had happened… There was no direct connection between me and you back then, but since you’re Sis’ child, I could never see you as a stranger… That’s why… I wanted to crush those who hurt Sis’ treasure, and I wanted to bring them to ruin.”
At that moment, I wonder what expression I had on my face.
Kanzaki-san’s voice remained flat, just stating what she wanted to say… It’s a bit scary to hear what comes next, but I don’t avert my gaze from Kanzaki-san.
“Well, even so, it’s different for me to take action on my own. Sis doesn’t want that either… But if there had been some kind of catalyst, if Ayana-chan had sought revenge… Maybe I would have lent a hand.”
Originally, the developers mentioned that there were collaborators involved in Ayana’s revenge… While I didn’t seriously consider the possibility of Kanzaki-san being one of them, given her considerable power and Ayana’s extraordinary hatred, if they were to join forces… It wouldn’t be impossible, and I find myself understanding that.
(…Well, there’s no point in dwelling on it any longer.)
Ayana no longer harbors hatred and has no need for revenge.
At this moment, there’s nothing to worry about or be concerned about, regardless of the information I may have heard… It feels like connecting the dots through Kanzaki’s story, but it’s only a matter for today.
“Kanzaki-san, you’re scary.”
“Most people say that.”
“…But at the same time, you’re also kind. Thank you for always thinking about my mother.”
“…Yeah. Of course.”
Kanzaki laughs shyly and extends her hand to pat my head.