Translated and Edited by: luccayn.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
“We’re here… at Hello Work.”
“What’s wrong, Tsune-chan? You seem… scared?” Tama eyed me doubtfully.
Hello Work… A place I never went to before, though, if I did I would only receive the stink eye anyway. However, now is different. With the curse lifted, they will probably listen to what I have to say.
This is an important phase that will determine my future. The turning point, so to speak. That’s why I’m so pumped and anxious. Well, we still had five minutes until the place opened, so we waited at a secluded alleyway a few steps away.
“It is possible that there’s some residue left from the curse, so it’s better not to spend too much time there.”
Yeah, this will be my first contact with another woman since the curse was lifted. I seriously wonder how they’ll react…
“You’re right. I’ll just ask about my unemployment insurance and job openings,” I told them, as asking long-winded questions will end up causing trouble for the staff as well.
“As for me, I don’t want to you just get any job at random,” Shu started.
I agreed. If I could, I would take my time to decide what kind of job I would pursue. But for now, I don’t have a dime. If I don’t work, I’ll die, and I don’t mean this in a metaphorical sense.
“So why don’t we just sell the things we have at the shrine?” She pouted upon seeing me get excited to find a job.
That wouldn’t fix the root issue, would it? Besides…
“I don’t wanna be unemployed…”
“Aren’t you too scared of not having a job? Where is that work ethic coming from…?”
It’s one of the three primary duties of a citizen, so it’s par for the course. As I was about to explain to the two of them the meaning of work, I saw an employee opening the door to the establishment.
“Looks like it’s open, so let’s talk about this later,” I said, wanting to get this done before there were any other people around. With a spring in my step, I ran out and quickly walked through the front door.
I’m in! And great, I’m the only one apart from the employees.
…Huh? Is it just me, or is the unemployment rate low in this city? I asked myself while looking around the office, noticing just three windows lined up. Each had a staff member sitting on the other side.
By the right was a lovely lady with rounded glasses. Her scruffy hairdo gave me some veteran-at-her-job vibes. I think it’d be difficult to deal with an expert since I might make her grumpy with my lack of knowledge, so it’s a no-go.
Looking at the middle pan, I saw a beautiful tall lady, though she was also impossible for me to approach. She gives off a determined aura, so I’m afraid I’ll end up blatantly treated with salt.
Lastly the left window… A red-haired girl with a bob-cut, characterized by her thick-framed glasses and dense eyebrows. The best thing about her was the “Newcomer” armband she wore, which meant she wouldn’t badmouth an unemployed man like me. I think.
She also seemed to be a low-pressure girl, so it’s the best option I have. With that, I quickly sat down in front of her to start the process…
And we ended up staring at each other for a while.
I thought the curse was broken, but she didn’t speak a word. Instead of the expected, “How are you doing today?” she just sat there, agape and frozen.
What the… I decided I’d be the first one to talk.
“Excuse me, I’d like to ask you about unemployment insurance. Would you mind?”
She was still stiff as a rock. Let’s try changing the question.
“U, um… Could you tell me a company that might be hiring a, erm, man?”
Nope, she was still frozen.
Is this some kind of sketch? I need a reaction, lady! With that in mind, I looked around and noticed something odd. Every single woman at that place was exactly like the one in front of me, frozen and agape, and they all had their eyes glued to me. Not a single one of them so much as glanced at a different place.
“You’re being watched a lot… Is this the residue?”
“I gazed, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.”
The goddesses said so while we looked around, checking each one of their faces. All of them had rosy cheeks and were out of breath. Is this really not due to the curse? I asked myself. They’re all huffing and puffing, aren’t they?
“H, hey, Shu-chan… Could this be…?”
“Ah… maybe,” Shu muttered that last part.
Huh? W, what? Did something happen? I rushed to check with the two of them.
“H-h-h-hello! H, how could I h, help you t, today—!” The lady at the counter thawed from her ice age. Her voice was shaky as a newborn fawn though, and her eyes were bloodshot.
“Akagami-san, you seem to be in trouble… Hahaha, just leave the rest to me… Ha, ha…” While I was stunned by the odd behavior of the red-haired girl, the woman with rounded glasses approached her. She looked calm, but on closer look she was also out of breath and had the same glint in her eyes as Akagami, the newcomer.
“Wait, Sakagami-san, Marui-san, you’ll do another job. Let me handle this,” the tall receptionist also joined in the fray.
“W, why are the section chief and my senior coming here? I’ll take responsibility for this, so please sit down!” The newcomer glared at her two superiors. This ain’t good for her, I thought.
“It’s a heavy load for you, Mrs. Newcomer. Go and weed some grass with Marui-san.”
At the section chief’s words, Marui-san, the lady with the round glasses, snapped.
“Aren’t you abusing your authority too much, chief? What do you mean by ‘weed some grass?’ You should be the one to do it! Besides, I, a young woman, would definitely handle a young man better than an old hag like you, chief!”
“W, well, in that case, I’m the youngest, so I’m the most qualifieeed. You don’t need to whip up your frail old body, so go to your corner and use your anti-aging products.”
“You have a lot of nerve talking about my age like that, hmm? Let this come from a woman of persistence: I’ll thoroughly degrade your assessments, so look forward to your ‘bonuses’!”
“Screw you, old hag!” The other two said in unison, grabbing the section chief who tried to flash their assessments to them. A brawl ensues.
As I gazed in sheer wonder and shock at the wrestling, I overheard Tama and Shu muttering to each other.
“Well… It doesn’t surprise me. In fact, I get them.”
“We did something similar too…”
And I’m pretty sure it happened yesterday, I added in my head.
I then continued to watch this somewhat déjà-vu of a scuffle unfold for about ten minutes.
“We’ll take care of it,” in the end, the three women were assigned to handle my case. The narrow window was crammed with the three squeezing each other side by side, which was a very comical sight if I do say so myself. Their ear-to-ear smiles added an eeriness to the scene though.
Despite it all, they didn’t seem to have any aversion to me. Huh, I didn’t realize how much their responses would change as soon as the curse was lifted.
“Oh, these three… Don’t they see that Tsune-chan is pulling back?! That’s why unpopular women are so much trouble,” Tama’s baffled comment echoed behind me, to which I agreed. But I wonder why she smelled so similar to them.
“So, you said someone lost their job, but who was it? If possible, we’d like them to come in person…” The section chief started the conversation as she remembered my question.
But why do they think I’m here by proxy?
“I’m the one who lost my job. I was fired yesterday and I need to know how to apply for unemployment insurance…”
As soon as I said that, the three employees in front of me stopped moving, surprised.
“U, um… Sorry to ask you a simple questionnn, but why were you working thereeee?”
“Huh? I was just trying to make ends meet.”
What was the red-haired newcomer walking about? Why else would I be working somewhere? However, it seems like I was the only one who thought as much, and the other girls started to get visibly upset.
“T, trying to make ends meet…? If you apply, you could get welfare to pay for your expenses, so you shouldn’t be having a hard time financially…” The woman with the rounded glasses, Marui-san, told me so with a weird look on her face.
Welfare? What is that?
“D, did your wife agree to work in the first place?”
Wife? Why did she think I even had one in the first place? Do I look like a married man to you, Marui-san?
“Erm… I’m single.”
“What?!” The three screamed at once, and in the next second, Akagami and Marui leaned forward and began to speak quickly.
“M, my name is Nanami Akagamiii! I’m nineteen years old, and my hobbies are cooking, anime, and exerciseee! I’ve been training to be a bride with all my heart and soullll—! Here’s my contact informationnnn! H, hey, are you free after this? I know a great place to grab some pastaaaa! L, let’s go eat together!”
“Hey kid, get that disgusting contact out of his view… I’m sorry~! My stupid newcomer is giving you some trouble, isn’t she? My name is Mei Marui. I’m twenty-two years old and I can cook, do the laundry, and clean up perfectly! Lately, I’ve been into the outdoors, and I often go camping by myself! What do you think? Would you like to come with me after this? Of course, I will guide you to a place where men can spend their time comfortably, and that’s well-equipped!”
“What’s with those unpopular hobbies? It’s a nuisance for a man to go out with someone like you! Stay out of this, old hag!”
“Can it, Akagami! I’ll correct you for your slurred speech right here, right now!”
However, before anything else happened, Tama and Shu attacked the two who suddenly started to appeal to me.
“Oi, little girls! Are you cats in heat, ay?! If you graze a finger on my husband, I’ll put you out of your misery for three whole days!!!”
“If you b*****s get any closer to my man, I will hail divine punishment from the skies! I will make sure your fingers stink and the stench won’t ever wash out!!!”
That’s some pretty mild harassment for such a strong tone, huh? I mean, you two are quite possessive too. In any case, if the three could see or touch the goddesses, I would’ve been in big trouble.
In such a situation, only the section chief was left pale. After their outburst, she spoke up fearfully.
“U, um, Akagami-san and Marui-san, could you please shut up for a minute? Erm… Let me ask you this, are you a member of the Storks, mister?”
Storks…? First time I’ve heard it. “What’s that? Is it something I need to join?” Where could I even sign up for the organization in the first place?
The chief’s complexion grew increasingly pale as my answers came.
“W, what’s that? I, I mean, it’s one of man’s primary duties… Didn’t you get an official from the Storks?”
“I haven’t… Um, is it bad that I don’t know what that is?”
I have a bad feeling about this. The chief’s anxiety is unusual at least.
“Storks? I’ve never heard of them before. Do you know about them?”
“Hmm, nope. Never heard of it either. If it’s a recently established system, I might not know about it.”
Even the two goddesses didn’t know what it meant.
“T, that’s impossible… I’ll check with various places! Akagami-san! Marui-san! Don’t play around and call the Storks!”
“Huh~? Are you going to work with an opportunity right in front of yoooou?”
“Besides, isn’t it a Saturday? It’s a day off for most people, so we wouldn’t be able to get in touch with them either way.”
“If we don’t get the facts straight, we’ll end up arrested! Anyway, use my phone, call anyone, just make sure someone from that organization comes here! Do whatever it takes!” The section chief rebuked their complaints.
Arrest them? Why?
“Okay~?” The two subordinates answered, reluctantly got up from their seats, and left. They didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the dangerous lines their chief uttered.
I just came here to ask about my unemployment insurance and job openings, so why is this getting all important all of a sudden? As I was puzzled, the chief approached me.
“It will only take a few moments, so would you mind waiting here?” She then urged me to the back of the office.
From the way this unfolded, there was no way I could refuse. I had no choice but to stay.
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