Metro Labyrinth Chapter 89: Sugamo’s Long Cherished Wish II

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 Three days later.


 Again, I was taken to the interview room, where I found Kaike, Nomaguchi, and another new face, a middle-aged man.



“My name is Susuyama, and I am the secretary of Mayor Ayukawa of Sugamo.” (Susuyama)



 He hands me a square piece of paper. His name and title are written on it. It was the first time for me to receive a business card in this world.


 He must be in his mid-forties. He has a slightly thinning head of hair, a morbidly thin frame thinner than a nomaguchi, and a small stature. He wears a white shirt and a suit-like jacket. The fountain pen in his breast pocket is shiny.



“Originally, Lord Ayukawa himself should have met you all in person, but he’s busy preparing for the Sugamo Founding Festival… and on behalf of him I ask for your understanding and thank you all for your kindness.” (Susuyama)



 I heard from my landlord and Kono that later this month, Sugamo will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its incorporation as a city. It seems that behind the scenes, preparations are steadily underway for stalls and events, and everyone in town seems to be in a state of excitement.



 I heard that important people from other tribes and the city will gather, so naturally, the city administration is also very busy. Incidentally, it seems that Aomoto is being kept busy by the city police and guild working together on various security measures around the city, and at this rate he will not be released until after the festival is over. If I had known that, I wouldn’t have done such torture as boasting about my moha. I am so sorry.



 Nomaguchi and Susuyama sit on the sofa, and Kaike sits in the chair behind them. This seems to be the formation for today.



“The results of the tests—” Nomaguchi said. “We purified the drug from the powder of the sample we received and administered it to rats suffering from [Mycelial Failure], and found that their symptoms improved dramatically. There was no doubt that it was the real thing.”


“Oh, that’s good.” (Shuu)



 I did not doubt the authenticity of the horn, but it was a relief to hear that it really had medicinal properties. It proved that Old Man Uni was a magnificent unicorn.


 Susuyama leaned forward, like he was about to leap at us.



“I would like to ask you once again for a favor. Would you be willing to sell the unicorn’s horn for thirty million yen as a quest reward?” (Susuyama)



 I looked at Tamiko and Noa. They both nod.



“…Yes. We’ll give it to you.” (Shuu)



 Nomaguchi and Susuyama’s faces light up. For the first time seeing them, they were bent over and closed their eyes tightly. Their shoulders are shaking. Savoring the joy of having their long-cherished wish come true.



“Thank you…Thank you very much!” (Nomaguchi)



 Nomaguchi stretches out from the sofa and asks for a handshake. He shakes me so hard I feel like my shoulders are going to come off.



“I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this day to come… and now that it has, milady… you are her lifesaver!” (Susuyama)



 Susuyama is a ragged mess, tears spilling down her face. He hugs Noa and me, then shaking hands with Tamiko.



“Um, before I do that, I’d like to make one condition.” (Shuu)



 Susuyama’s expression turns slightly cloudy as I says this.



“Speaking of conditions, is it the amount of compensation?” (Susuyama)


“No, I’m not dissatisfied with that.” (Shuu)



 The thought of being able to raise the price of the product is not a bad one, but it might look bad. I decided not to do it.



“Umm, about how to use the medicine?” (Shuu)


“Use?” (Susuyama)



 I picked up the unicorn horn in my hand. It felt cool to the touch.



“I’ve done a lot of research up until today, but I heard that one of these horns can be enough for two people, right? Well, If the mayor’s daughter is properly cured, I’d like to see the other child in Sugamo treated as well. If it costs money to treat them, you can deduct the cost from my reward.” (Shuu)



 Nomaguchi and Susuyama looked at each other.



“Why? Do you know each other?” (Susuyama)


“They are not someone I know… I just went to visit them yesterday.” (Shuu)



 I went to see another [Mycelial Failure] patient in this town. He was a boy of ten years old.


 He had contracted the disease at the age of five and had never left the hospital since then. His condition was so advanced that he was already having difficulty walking on his own, his hands were shaking so much that it took him several seconds to open them, and he was unable to speak freely.


 According to the doctor, he has two years to live. His parents, who both worked, seemed to be spending every spare moment they had to earn money for his treatment, and they did not come to visit him often.



“Why that child?” (Nomaguchi)


“Well…if I can help him, I just want to help her if I can. I don’t have any deep reason.” (Shuu)



 Unio’s horn is a gift from the very beginning. If there are lives that can be saved, I don’t mind if the reward amount is slightly reduced.


 I am aware that I am doing it for self-satisfaction, but no one will complain if I am being selfish from giving a child a future.



 After consulting with Tamiko and Noa, they agreed. Noa was almost aghast, making light remarks such as, “Mr. Shuu’s good-naturedness is at its peak here, isn’t it?” She seemed quite pleased, though.



 Nomaguchi and Susuyama whispered in each other’s ears. Then they nodded.



“Yes, we will do as you requested,” Nomaguchi said. “We will give priority to milady’s treatment, but we promise to treat him with the rest of the medicine. We will pay for his treatment, and we will make sure that you and your colleagues are paid in full.”


“Um, okay.” (Shuu)


“As a matter of fact…” Susuyama said. “We were planning to do the same.”


“Oh?” (Shuu)


“He is milady’s only friend. They have never seen each other, and have only known each other through letters.” (Susuyama)



 Come to think of it, I remember that there were many opened envelopes in the boy’s hospital room. Were those the ones she had sent out?



“It was the milady’s wish,” Nomaguchi said. “She wanted me to share the medicine with him if I could get it.”



(No way! That’s so unreal!) (Shuu)


 I subcontiously touched my eyes. If this were on TV, I would probably be crying.



“We got almost a whole horn, so I think we’ll have enough medicine for both of them. I have been preparing for this day for several years. I promise… I will save them both.” (Nomaguchi)



 Susuyama shook my hand again.



“We have two stokes of luck to be thankful for, it seems. One is that we have obtained what we have longed for. The other is that it was people like Abe and your companions who brought it to us. On behalf of the Mayor and as a member of milady’s family, I would like to thank you again for your kindness. Truly–thank you.” (Susuyama)





 After signing a few documents and completing the formalities, Nomaguchi and Susuyama leave their seats together.



“We expect it will take a couple of weeks for the treatment to be completed. If possible, please keep it confidential until then…” (Nomaguchi)


“I understand.” (Shuu)



 He bowed his head and thanked us over and over again as they left, and me and the others breathed a sigh of relief. Although the flow had been almost decided, it was still a big job worth thirty million yen. I was probably more tired than the first time I went on a sales trip.



 Kaike sat down on the sofa across from us. His cheeks are slightly perky.



“The reward will be paid at the end of next month. It will be transferred to your account. Of course, the fee and city tax will be deducted.” (Kaike)



 As I recall, they will take a little more than 20% of the total. I had to be content with the fact that I would still have more than twenty million yen in my pocket.



“Mr. Nomaguchi said earlier that it was a secret, but in other words, the quest itself is neither completed nor suspended yet, and it will be treated as an ongoing request.” (Kaike)


“What if someone else brings it to you in the meantime?” (Shuu)


“We will be paid the same amount as Mr. Abe and your party. Even if that happens, the medicine itself won’t be wasted.” (Kaike)



 So it will be given to someone in another city, or left as a reserve in this city?



“By the way, is that from the mayor’s own pocket?” (Shuu)


“That’s right. His father, the first mayor, is a legendary merchant who built this city with his own fortune. Ten years ago, the previous owner passed away due to illness, and after that, his son was appointed as the second mayor after an election by the residents.” (Kaike)


“I see.” (Shuu)


“His predecessor was so powerful that some people still compare him to his predecessor, but I think the current mayor is loved more by the people because he seems more like a commoner. That’s why everyone is worried about his daughter’s illness as if it were their own child…” (Kaike)



 Whether it was Konno or the landlord, when I asked them about the mayor, they all spoke in the same way. They trusted the mayor and were concerned about his daughter’s condition.


 You can see it in Nomaguchi’s and Susuyama’s heartfelt joy. This must have been one of the long-cherished wishes of the citizens of Sugamo.



“Could it possibly be more important than we imagined?” (Shuu)


“Yes, I think so. When it is announced that she is cured, Mr. Abe’s and your companion’s names will be known all over Sugamo. They are truly the heroes of Sugamo.” (Kaike)


“Umm… I just handed over a gift.” (Shuu)



 It doesn’t feel bad to be praised for doing good things, but it’s not because of my power either.



“But even so, I think what you just said was a very good decision.” (Kaike)


“Is it?” (Shuu)


“Are we going to become famous, squeak?” (Tamiko)


“Maybe.” (Shuu)



 Tamiko was busy polishing the jewel on her head.



“……Finally, can I have a bit of your time?” (Kaike)



 Kaike’s voice becomes a little stiffer. Naturally, my posture stiffens too.



“As you may have heard, I have a Fungal Ability called [Mind’s Eye]. It is the ability to read people’s emotions with their eyes. In my case, it is expressed in color.” (Kaike)


“Yes.” (Shuu)


“So… I could see a bit of guilty feelings when Mr. Abe used to talk about your personal life or when you showed your Fungal Skills. This is the color that arises when lies are mixed with words and deeds. This was also the case the other day when you told us how you had the horn of the unicorn.” (Kaike)


“…Ummm… that thing…” (Shuu)



 Even though it is as I had expected, when you say it to my face.


 In front of Tamiko and Noa, I can’t easily apologize and admit that.



“But… there was no murky color, no color of malice like lying to trick or mock the other party. Above all, both Abe and Tamiko had that pale, bright, gentle colors at the root of them. So… if Mr. Abe didn’t want to talk about it, there must be some a circumstance… but it was my job to make sure of that as well…” (Kaike)



 Kaike looks up and smiles. The loose hair on her head are fixed as she spoke.



“But… I think now that I made the right decision at the time. Being able to interview Mr. Abe and the others was probably the best job I’ve ever had in my life!” (Kaike)



 I looked at Tamiko and Noa. They both nod.



“Oh, so you’re okay with the quest order thing, then?” (Shuu)


“Ah, but that is separate. Please work for Ms. Aomoto as well.” (Kaike)


“Hmm…” (Shuu)



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