Drawn Mochi Volume 5 Chapter 4.1: Painting Excursion*3

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 The next day, I was painting in a park with a clock tower.


 This was apparently one of the spots Ms. Croix had thought of for me to paint. The clock tower was a wonderful building, as recommended by Ms. Croix.


 The tower is made of slightly faded bricks and cream-colored stucco and has a large clock on it… The clocks in this world are said to keep time according to the sun and the moon. For that reason, they have gems with the power of the sun and moon built into the inside. …It would be like a quartz clock.


 At any rate, while looking at such a mysterious clock, I draw a picture of it. The clock tower is tall, so I think a composition that looks up at it would be good. The faded bricks look like they should be quickly painted with watercolor. When I find a watercolor-like landscape like this, I am somewhat pleased.



 There were fewer people in the park of the clock tower than in the square in front of the castle. It was a quieter place, which was good for painting.


 However, it was not completely empty, and I was talked to from time to time. Several times, I was asked my name. This was the same as when I was painting in the square in front of the castle.


 Meanwhile, while I was drawing a picture… Two fairies came flying towards me.



“How unusual.” (Tougo)



 I guess these two are city-dwellers. I’m sure they’re sneaking into the corner shoe store to sew shoes, sneak into the kitchens of houses to steal cookies and pieces of bread, and get a bit of liquor from the barrels at the brewery. Probably.


 …And those two fairies were staring at my picture and looking kind of happy. Did you like it?



“…do you like it?” (Fairy)



 I asked. The fairies nodded, saying something in fairy language, and then they hugged my fingers, lifting them up and down. I know this is the way they fairies shake hands with humans.



 The fairies looked at my picture for a while with smiles on their faces, but then suddenly they said something… Then both of them pulled on my sleeve.



“Huh? Are we going somewhere?” (Tougo)



 I asked, but it didn’t make any sense because I didn’t understand the fairy’s language. …The two fairies tugged at my sleeves.


 I had no choice but to follow them. The fairies took me into the shade of a tree and stopped there.


 …I wondered if there was something good in the shade of this tree.


 I looked around a little bit but couldn’t find anything in particular. Oh, no, I found a beautiful flower. It’s a kind that doesn’t exist in the forest. An urban flower…?


 …but it seems that the fairies didn’t want me to see the flower, which is a little troubling. The two fairies are holding my sleeve tightly, glancing at the sketchbook where I was just a moment ago… and where I’ve finished 50% of the coloring.



“…I wonder, maybe there’s something going on.” (Tougo)



 I asked, and the two fairies nodded repeatedly. I asked. Is there something? …No, I wonder what it is. That. I don’t know any details.


 From the looks of the fairies, they don’t seem to have any hostile intentions toward me, and I think they’re probably doing this for my sake.


 I think that’s why I’m even more stuck…



 And so, I spent some troubling time. The fairy kept me firmly in place while she stared at the sketchbook I’d left behind.


 …That’s when it happened.



“Ah.” (Man)



 A man sitting on a bench in the corner of the park, seeing that there were no more people around, quietly got up and approached my sketchbook…


 “Hey!” I grabbed my sketchbook and tried to walk away.



 Before I could move, the two fairies moved. They flew away at a great speed and jumped out in front of the man. Then, the man, who seemed to have seen them, stopped in his tracks, looking puzzled.



“What are you doing!” (Laocles)



 And that man… Was easily caught by Laocles, who quickly jumped out from behind the tree.


 …Eh, Laocles, were you there? I did not know.



“Why did you try to steal it?” (Laocles)



 The man is sitting on a bench, cowering in fear, in front of Laocles, who is standing tall and imposing. By the way, there are fairies floating in the air on either side of Laocles, also in a Nio [T/N: Scary guard statues outside a Buddhist temple.] stance, but the man does not seem to see the fairies. However, he seems to be able to see the twinkling fairies and sometimes looks at them curiously.



“Well, there was a painting there…” (Man)



 And the man’s answer was something like this. …Well, I don’t think he wanted the sketchbook, but he wanted the painting. Either way, I wouldn’t want it stolen.



“That’s a pretty pathetic answer.” (Laocles)


“Hiii!” (Man)



 While I was troubled, Laocles took a step closer to the man. The man shrinks more and more in response. I know what you mean about Laocles being a little scary… A looming plaster statue… no, it’s the looming Nio statue. I know. It’s very powerful.



“Ah, um, may I speak?” (Tougo)



 But the man didn’t seem to be able to speak much in front of the statue, so I stepped out in front of Laocles and the fairies.


 Then the man looked a little relieved. …Yeah, no, this is fine because I stepped forward to let him talk calmly for a bit, but, uh… I’m still not imposing enough, am I? Yep… [T/N: You’re more of a ditsy floofy lamb or fragile butterfly, Tougo.]



“Are you a thief who specializes in paintings?” (Tougo)



 When I asked him, feeling a little sad, the man was stunned and then shook his head.



“Me a thief! That’s not true!” (Man)



“…Then why did you want to take this painting with you?” (Tougo)



 It seems a little strange that a normal person, who is not a thief, would want to take the painting. Well, did they like the painting that much?


 If he liked the painting, I would be a little happy, but as I was waiting for his answer…



“…Y-you’re Tougo Uezora, right?” (Man)



 I was a little surprised when he suddenly said my name.



“Huh? Oh, yes.” (Tougo)



 When I answered, the man nodded his head as if to say, “I knew it.”



“I heard it while talking to someone else earlier. You’re Tougo Uezora.” (Man)


“Huh…” (Tougo)



 Now that I think about it, I talked about it earlier. Yeah. To an elderly couple who seemed to be taking a walk. At that time, this man was sitting on a nearby bench. I think he could have listened if he wanted to. I see. Was he listening?


 That’s when the man’s story ended. That’s it.



“Um, so you stole this painting because I’m Uezora Tougo?” (Tougo)



 The conversation is interrupted so I don’t really understand, but maybe this person is a fan of mine? Well, if that’s the case, I’d be a little happy, but… As I was thinking.



“No, I found an unpublished work of Tougo Uezora in front of me! With this, I can be Tougo Uezora!” (Man)



 …I don’t think you can. Yep.



 When I was a little troubled by this unexpected response, the man, still holding my sketchbook, said,



“Sell me this! I’ll find the money somehow!” (Man)


“No, I have money…” (Tougo)



 I feel like this exchange happened yesterday too. Hmm…


 …When I was feeling troubled and feeling a sense of déjà vu, Laocles suddenly appeared from beside me.



“…So, you are pretending to be Tougo Uezora, aren’t you?” (Laocles)



 When Laocles said that in a low voice, the man froze again.



“Is your goal money?” (Laocles)


“Y-you’re wrong…” (Man)


“Then what was your purpose in lying about your name?” (Laocles)



 The man was completely stunned and cowered at the sight of Laocles’ looming Nio presence.



“Say it.” (Laocles)



 Even so, Laocles was merciless and glared at the man as he approached him…



“Ah, I want the woman of my dreams to choose me…” (Man)



 …Yes, the man responded.


 Yep. This was unexpected.



“…The woman of your dreams?” (Tougo)



 When I asked again, the man nodded. I see. Yep. …This is a problem. I wonder what kind of face I should make.



“Do you believe Tougo Uesora’s fame will make her gaze turn to you?” (Laocles)



 When Laocles said that, looking completely taken aback, the man nodded repeatedly. Oh, I see…



“She likes men with an artistic talent. And when I told her I was Tougo Uezora, she said she was a fan of my paintings!” (Man)



 I am grateful.


 If possible, I would like to hear that directly. Well, I guess it’s not the time to think like this.



“By the way, do you paint?” (Tougo)


“N-no… Not at all.” (Mna)



 I see. There are a lot of people who call themselves painters even though they don’t paint, like Lucien and this person…


 Just as I was wondering, the man grabbed me by the shoulders and appealed to me with a desperate frantic look on his face.



“So, I bought a Tougo Uezora painting and put it in my room, and she totally thought I was Tougo Uezora. …In fact, that’s how we’ve been getting along! So don’t bother me! Hey!” (Man)



 What should I do? From what the man has to say, it seems like he’s in a pretty desperate situation.



 I don’t want to get in their way either, but the idea of me and a woman I don’t know being in a relationship is a little… embarrassing? Troubling? Hmmm. I don’t know how to say this.


 I looked up at Laocles in distress as the man shook my shoulders. Laocles pulled his hand away from my shoulder and pushed the man away a little, then let out a small sigh with a pained look on his face. Yup. I know. This is troubling.



 …But for now, there is one thing I definitely want him to do.



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