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“I’m home, I’m back at Haru.” (Young Man)
I shouted before entering a small tattered house. It is well over 50 years old.
“Hmm? Oh, brother, welcome back.” (Girl)
Haruka Kizaki, my younger sister, and only family member welcomed me into the house. She’s cute, smart, and good at sports, but she is a bit shy but she has quite a sharp tongue.
Oops, I forgot to say that my name is Touka Kizaki. Although my name sounds like a girl’s, I am an ordinary man and the breadwinner of this family. I am neither a handsome man nor a pretty boy, nor am I ugly or talented. [T/N: I’m gonna use the 佳 “Kei” in 冬佳 “Touka’s” name as his nickname for now. Until I find a nickname of his, from other characters besides “Onii” or Brother.]
I was just an ordinary everyday male student, who is just a little fond of Aikido. Due to circumstances, I am not a student anymore. I wondered what I was thinking about. I knew I shouldn’t be left alone.
“Brother, what are you upset about? Make me dinner.” (Girl => Haru)
“You are already 16-years-old, you should be able to cook basic meals. You’ve already finished your compulsory education.” (Young Man => Kei)
“I don’t know how. Anyway, I’m quitting school so it doesn’t matter.” (Haru)
Yes, we live together, and both of us should still be students in terms of our age.
Haruka quit high school in the first year of high school and I quit in the second year of high school. Without parents, we don’t have any money to go pay for school. It would be normal to have the option of going to school while earning our tuition with a part-time job. However, the tuition fees of my former high school were unexpectedly high. Even if I try to transfer, I can not pay the entrance fee and I cannot even get a scholarship. Since I am not that smart.
In the first place, I want to save money to even buy study materials. That said, it was a little too early to start looking for a job after what had happened. We fell into this situation about one season ago.
Our mother died in a car accident last June. Of course, we were sad, but the reason for the accident was that she was drunk and ran into the driveway, I couldn’t blame her. When I think about it, my parents spent very little time at home in the first place, and I don’t know much about them, so I can’t say for sure, but I’m not sure if they raised us with love.
Basically, we didn’t have either parent at home, so my sister got along well with me despite being in her rebellious period, and my housework skills grew to the point where I might surpass most housewives.
Both our parents were fairly good earners. Our parents gave me enough money but I wouldn’t have enough money to spend a year on convenience store food. That would have been the case if I was told to manage my own meals on the days when we weren’t there. To be exact, I was given 1,500 yen a day. If it’s a convenience store lunch, it’s just barely enough for breakfast, lunch, and supper. We are in our growth period, so it’s not enough. That’s why we never ate convenience store lunch boxes. [T/N: 100 Yen is approximately 1 USD.]
We were also given money to buy clothes, and after we saved the money, we were able to pocket the difference. Well, my parents seemed to have found out about it, and they never gave us any money to play with.
So, I accepted my mother’s death with only a feeling of sadness. I cried, but that was it. My younger sister seemed to have just taken it in stride.
The problem occurred four months later.
Our father disappeared in October. The passbook and my mother’s small altar at home are gone, and there is a memo on the table.
“My company is going under and I’m running away. I’m not going to run away with you. If you die, I’ll have a lot of problems with it, so don’t die. Oh, I’ll take the money from the house to spend on our haneymoon. I’ll also take your mother’s tablet with me. Have a good day. ~Dad”
I knew well that my father was a scumbag. Also, I’ll leave it out that the spelling is different from honeymoon instead its haneymoon, but after that, there were various things I had to do.
First of all, all furniture other than what we needed to live was sold. Sofas, dishwashers, and TVs. Even if we don’t have a TV, we can find the information on our computer. As for the smartphones, the one used by my sister Haru was canceled and I shared mine with her as the Kizaki family’s cell phone. The refrigerator was also sold. Refrigerators are a necessity, but it is better to sell the existing large refrigerator and buy second-hand small refrigerators for both in terms of the cost of the refrigerator itself and the electricity bill.
Then we left home. That said, it’s not something that a minor can do alone, but it seems that the documents were prepared before father left the house, and he left them in his bedroom. Unfortunately, we lived in a condominium, not a house, so the contract ended. I am relieved that there was no additional charge because there was nothing broken.
The place we were going to live was a small house in a remote area that had been used as a warehouse for some time. Inside the house, there was a small, dusty bathroom, a toilet, a kitchen in a narrow hallway, and a living room that had been completely turned into a warehouse. And a small basement. According to what I heard, it was a room where they kept their liquor. Of course, there was no alcohol in there, just a lot of garbage.
I had to renew a contract for propane gas, electricity, and water, as there was no convenient city gas line.
I had a courier carry the unsold furniture that was in the condominium, and soon we finished moving safely. Then came the good news. What an idiot my father is. I found 100,000 yen in my father’s bedroom, which he had taken out of the bankbook when he sold the furniture. I’m going to put it to good use.
We quit high school and moved to the old warehouse in the countryside of Kanagawa Prefecture, taking the money in my bankbook from what we had left from our living expenses, such as food and clothes, which we had accumulated over the years adding it to the 100,000 yen. [T/N: 100k Yen is about 1,000 USD.]
But what can I say about this former warehouse? It was old. It creaks when you walk around, and the wind blows through the walls. The window was not only broken but also missing. Therefore, I cut out a board that happened to be in the basement with a saw from the toolbox in the living room. Then, I attached it to the window frame using screws. At first, I thought about buying a window, but when I looked it up on the Internet, I found out that windows are much more expensive than I thought.
I didn’t want to be wasteful and spend a lot of money, so I put up the boards as a last resort. Even though a typhoon would not come, there is a wall of about 2 meters that surrounds a fairly large garden with a window frame blocked with boards. It looked suspicious. Well, the wall is broken here and there, and it’s more of a pitiful situation than a suspicious one.
Finally, I sold or disposed of most of the large trash in the house, which reduced my money somewhat. Some bulky trash can only be thrown away if you pay for it. The reason for this is that there are not many things that can be sold. So, we took apart the wooden furniture that we couldn’t sell and put them outside in a covered area. The ones that are still usable are repaired and used as they are.
Remembering such a scene from a long time ago (although it was a few months ago), I fried tofu and bean sprouts with margarine and soy sauce. Today, I have a small amount of white rice that I got from a cheerful lady at my part-time job, so rice is possible. My cheeks relax at this once-a-week luxury. I’m ready to go. The rice should be cooked by now.
“Haru, I appreciate you fixing the house, but the rice is ready, come here.” (Kei)
“Hmm, I understand.” (Haru)
Haru’s hobby is remodeling and repairing things that ordinary girls would rarely do. That’s why she belonged to the art club in junior high and high school, but for some reason, she didn’t draw pictures but did craft. That’s what I heard from my classmates before.
In any case, her beauty and quiet personality drew a lot of attention from boys. So much so that boys from other grades even sent letters to her. As an older brother, I feel a bit awkward about it, but since we don’t have many close friends at school, only a few people know that we’re brother and sister.
Anyway, thanks to Haru’s love of crafting, at home she repairs broken floors with simple tools. She wants to completely repair it, but we don’t have the money, so we do our best to reduce the inconvenience. Haru can’t use the hammer because she cares about other rooms like in the previous house. It seems that she is happy to be able to get out of the bad situation.
“Thank you for the meal.” (Kei)
I slowly chewed and finished the small meal that cannot be called luxury, and Haru joined and clapped her hands.
After that, I send Haru to the bath, while I put away the dishes,
This is the end of the day’s work.
“Then, Haru should go to bed. I’ll jog for a bit.” (Kei)
I told Haru who came out of the bath to sleep, while I put on the durable shoes that I have been using for a year, before going out.
This jogging habit of mine started after we moved into this house. Living in the countryside, was hard for me, a year-round “Go Home” club member. Now I can run for about ten kilometers around our house.
I hadn’t yet realized that running 10 kilometers on gravel roads, hills, and steps in the woods near my house was a lot harder than running 10 kilometers in the city. Fortunately or unfortunately, I haven’t noticed that the heavy shoes are suitable for mountain climbing, were not running shoes.
After getting a good sweat, I returned home, I quickly took a bath since I was getting quite sticky. Then, I went to the bedroom in the basement.
I wish I could get a part-time job all day, but there’s no place in the country where I can even get one. Haru doesn’t like me to be away all the time either.
I did some final stretching exercises and headed for the bedroom in the former storage room in the basement, which I turned into a bedroom since the first floor wasn’t very big and I didn’t have anything to put there anyway. In addition, the basement is cooler in summer and warmer in winter than the first floor, making it the perfect place for a bedroom in a house without air conditioning.
Thus, I went to the basement, the bedroom I shared with my sister, covered myself with my futon, and fell asleep.
At this time, February 7, 10:00 PM
At that time, I had no idea that my daily life would be shattered so easily.
I was jolted from sleep by a sudden tremor that seemed to come from below.
In the next moment, my body flew through the air and fell about two meters. I was just barely able to catch myself, but the shock of falling from a high place from my sleeping position could not be erased, and I was slammed into the ground, the air leaving my lungs. I hurriedly took a deep breath to calm my lungs and opened my eyes.
The place I was in was the basement. No, more precisely, I was in the basement of this house, in a square pit over two meters deep. I had fallen into the bottom part of it. In a panic, I struggled to stand up, pushing against the pain in my body. I looked around seeing a wall of stone and a path leading deeper into the ground beside it. I had an idea of what this was.
“Is it a dungeon?” (Kei)
I couldn’t help but voice it out.
On August 1st, there was an incident where dungeons appeared in various places. There were monsters inside, and many people were killed. Even now, six months later, ordinary people are still not allowed to enter because of the danger.
“Brother, if you don’t come up here soon, it’s going to be bad. This is a dungeon, right?” (Haru)
Haru calls from the entrance of the dungeon with a slightly panicked voice.
I’m sure the monsters will kill me if I stay here. No, I’ve heard that the entrance to the dungeon is through a part of the wall that has a different material, but if the monsters find you, they will still come out of the dungeon.
Just because the range of vision when there are no enemies is limited inside the dungeon does not mean that you cannot get out of the dungeon. However, I heard that it will be easier to find monsters when you enter the dungeon.
I was standing one step before the place where the material of the wall changed from brown to gray.
“That’s dangerous!” (Kei)
I hurriedly leave the gray rock area that is part of the dungeon and return to the basement area. Even if I move, I had to climb a step over two meters high, so I asked Haru to get a ladder. I can usually climb with my strength, but now that my body was slammed into the ground, it was painful. I don’t think there’s anything broken, but it still hurts.
“What should we do?” (Haru)
I hear Haru muttering and looking into the dungeon again.
I don’t see any monsters coming out, but I don’t know what will happen if this is the case. We would normally make a call, but if the police came, we would surely be kicked out of this house. We can’t find a new home as we only earn enough to get by.
There is no law in place that requires you to call the police if you find a dungeon. I have no intention of doing such a foolish thing. The country cannot forcibly take the land where the dungeon is located from the individual, but it will be protected because a dungeon was reported.
“For the time being, let’s leave it alone. At this height, even if a dungeon monster comes here, it will not be able to go up from the basement. The other thing to consider is whether or not the house will be sealed up if we leave it like this. If it’s sealed, an explosion will destroy this house.” (Kei)
“I don’t think that’s a problem. This house is full of holes. I’ve heard that it’s okay if there’s a door in the first place. The door of this house can be broken by kicking it, so it will not be judged as a wall.” (Haru)
It is true that a great deal of information about the overflowing of dungeons has been made public because the private sector has strongly requested information for safety reasons. Even civilians are indeed fine as long as they can enter the surrounding when they want to. If that’s the case, well, no problem, I guess.
However, I’d still like to take a look inside the dungeon. In fact, I’m afraid that there is a precedent of monsters overflowing from inside the dungeon if it is left unattended. However, it is also possible I might drag Haru for that reason…
“Hey, why don’t we dive into the dungeon for a bit? We can get meat by defeating monsters. Savings, savings!” (Haru)
Haru said as if she was reading my thoughts, with a sparkle in her eyes along her usual poker face. I gave a vague reply because of the surprising situation we found ourselves in, but if Haru wants to go, there should be no problem.
“Okay, it’s 1:00 AM now, so let’s sleep until about 6:30 AM and then go to the home improvement store using the bicycle. The store opens at 9:00 AM, so if I go out by bicycle at 7:00 AM, I arrived at the opening time.” (Kei)
I remember, both Haru and I got a scooter license during the previous summer vacation, but since we sold the moped itself before coming to this house, there are no mopeds, and there is only one bicycle in the house.
I used to think that it was scary to get a moped license when my mother died in a car accident a month ago, but it didn’t matter when I thought that the only reason she died was that she was drunk. However, I clearly remembered that Haru and I had vowed not to drink alcohol at that time.
Aside from that, I pulled up my futon that had fallen towards the entrance of the dungeon, went up to the first floor with Haru, and laid down the futon to go back to sleep.
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