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“Hmm~♪! It’s delicious.” (Haru)
“Hot, hah, foo, hah!” (Kei)
Two days have passed since the day I talked to the woman in Iwate. Why has it taken two days? It was quite simple.
Osaka was very far from Iwate.
We both have only one cell phone, and I haven’t bought a book in a while. Since we only use our phones for the internet and phone calls, we don’t really know how to play games.
After enduring those 15 hours of boredom, the two of us got off the bullet train, enjoyed some sightseeing, and went straight to the hotel.
The next day, we were on our way to the tavern, relying on the map function of our phones and the name of the tavern that we were told about.
For breakfast, we bought takoyaki at a store near the hotel. I don’t know if it’s because it’s the real thing, but it tastes really good. Well, for now. My mouth was burned.
Even if your status increases in dungeons, this part of your body doesn’t get stronger. I don’t really know why.
“Hey, shouldn’t it be here?” (Haru)
After a short walk from the train, Haru, who was looking at the map, turned her gaze to the side.
“Oh, this is it. It’s this one, isn’t it?” (Kei)
What we found there was a rundown store. The closed sign on the door proves that it is a store. I think.
“It’s not open yet.” (Haru)
“Thinking about it, how can a bar be open in the morning.” (Kei)
Yes, this is a bar.
Speaking of bars, the best time to make money is from evening to midnight. If they were open in the morning, they would be in trouble.
“This is the place, what should we do?” (Kei)
It was a long walk from the nearest station, and there was no place nearby where I could kill time. In the first place, the store opens at night, so even if I wanted to kill time, I would have to kill almost ten hours. That’s a lot of time.
“Hey, brother. I think this is both a shop and a house. It’s a two-story building, but the top is for living.” (Haru)
“Hmm, seriously? Oh, you’re right.” (Kei)
When I heard Haru’s words, I looked up at the second floor and saw what looked like a rundown house. I’m also sure the second floor isn’t a bar.
“Is there an entrance in the back?” (Kei)
“Hmm, maybe this way.” (Haru)
Haru walked towards the back of the store.
“Hmm, this is a bar. What do you want, kids?” (Voice)
Both of our shoulders jerked up.
It was a voice that suddenly came from behind us. We don’t always use our skills [Detection] and [Perception], when on the surface. Even so, our experience in exploring dungeons has made us sensitive to the presence of people. Well, that’s what I thought.
“Excuse me, how long have you been there?” (Kei)
The old man who had spoken to us smiled awkwardly as he scratched his head, hiding his confusion.
“This is a bar, a place that serves alcohol, so it would bother you if there were kids wandering around.” (Voice => Old Man)
He said it as if it were a matter of course. Well, judging from the way he was talking.
“Excuse me, but are you the owner of this tavern?” (Kei)
“Yes, I am. Is there a problem? I don’t serve alcohol to children though.” (Old Man)
The old man speaks in a tone that seems to be distrustful, and also joking at the same time.
“Our last name is Kizaki. We came to ask about my father and his friend, Hayashiga-san, and their whereabouts.” (Kei)
I told him honestly. We have nothing to hide.
“Kizaki? Hmm, yeah, you people.” (Old Man)
The old man looked at us as if he were judging us and muttered. His eyes are sharp, and Haru hides behind me. No, she’s been behind me from the beginning, so nothing has changed. When I talk to people, she’s always hiding behind me.
“Oh yeah, you guys. You don’t look alike.” (Old Man)
“That’s all you’re going to say when you judge and look at me?” (Kei)
His words made me uncomfortable, and I said so.
“Oh, hahaha! The eyes are just like Kizaki. So why do you want to ask about them?” (Old Man)
“Yes. My father disappeared, so I’m looking for a clue. I’m also looking for Hayashiga-san for a clue.” (Kei)
“Oh, okay. Then let’s start with the most obvious one. Let’s start with the easy one. It’s Hayashiga. He’s dead.” (Old Man)
I couldn’t help asking back. I didn’t expect to be told that he was dead. My mother and Hayashiga-san, my father’s acquaintances, have also died too.
“I don’t really know why, though. I don’t know why, but I heard that three of them were killed in the line of duty in the Self-Defense Force last April. Your father was at the funeral. Your father was at the funeral too, with a wife, who I didn’t know. He’s a grown man and he’s crying like a baby.” (Kei)
The old man stopped talking and wiped his eyes as if he had been overcome with tears.
“I met them when I was about 50. They were living in Osaka for their work in the Self-Defense Forces. They used to come to my store complaining about it. When I thought about it later, there were things they said that I shouldn’t have heard.” (Old Man)
The old man said and laughed heartily.
“They got along well and they had a strong sense of justice for no other reason. This shop also happened to get drunks and quarrel, but they are the ones who stopped them. At that time I would buy them a round of beer. Then he’d just say, “Excuse me, old man.” I thought it was a very cheeky kid.” (Old Man)
The old man let us in and served us tea while he talked.
“After a while, the two seemed to be have been promoted, and I don’t know what the Self-Defense Forces have been doing, so I don’t know, they just suddenly moved to Tokyo. They both came to me and said with a chuckle, “I’ll be back.” Then they left only an email address and went to Tokyo. That’s all I know about their pasts” (Old Man)
The old man gulps down a can of beer, I don’t know where he got it from.
“Then, about a year ago, that guy Kisaki suddenly called and brought his wife with him, saying he was staying here soon. I was surprised because she didn’t look like the wife I had seen before, but I heard she had died and then he remarried. Oops, was that inappropriate? Sorry.” (Old Man)
“‘So, my life in the Self-Defense Forces is over. I’ll live in peace from now on’, he said, drank a beer and left. His wife dutifully drank oolong tea. She said she’d be the one to drive.” (Old Man)
“So, a few months before. Hayashiga died. The funeral was in Kyoto, Hayashiga’s hometown. I went there too. Kizaki was crying in front of the casket, he said, “I told you so.” And that was about it. I haven’t seen Kizaki since then. “(Old Man)
The old man seemed to have said all he needed to say and stood up.
“Well then, do you know where our old man went?” (Kei)
That’s the most important question. I didn’t come here to listen to old stories about my father.
“Oh, that’s what you came to ask me. Yes, I know. He’s somewhere in Shimane. He hates dungeons, but he can’t seem to stay away from them. Well, you guys should go home now. I’m going to bed.” (Old Man)
The old man pushed us back, kicked us out of the store, and smiled at us.
“Because my business is open at night. I’m already sleepy.” (Old Man)
The door slams closed. It makes a rattling noise and has a lock that is good as our own house.
“He was a strange man, wasn’t he?” (Kei)
“Yeah, I was scared.” (Haru)
In Haru’s mind, the old man seemed to be a scary person. He had a scary face, though.
“And I couldn’t speak at all.” (Kei)
“It’s a matter of that of Old man’s communication skills.” (Haru)
“I don’t want to be told that by Haru.” (Kei)
We both laughed.
“Our father is probably in Shimane. It’ll be the last prefecture he’ll ever visit.” (Kei)
“Yeah, so let’s go apply for a passport and go to America.” (Haru)
“That’s right.” (Kei)
I laughed again. It hadn’t been a long trip, but I was relieved to see the end. There was a stampede in Hokkaido, and we met a mysterious woman in Iwate. In Osaka, we met a scary old man.
We also learned that our father was a former Self-Defense Force member.
“Last spurt! Let’s do our best.” (Kei)
“Yeah, after we check the Osaka Dungeon.” (Haru)
Haru cheerfully headed toward the station. It was a road she’d taken at least once before. There was no hesitation in her steps.
By the way, next is stop the last prefecture, and we will be reunited with our father for the first time in a long time.
“You’ve got to talk to me. Tell me why you left and why you didn’t tell me?” (Kei)
I muttered to myself in a voice that no one could hear, and followed Haru.
There is only one day left before the journey of the siblings to find their parent ends.
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