The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels - Volume 1 Chapter 6
The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels
Volume Ⅰ The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels
Chapter 6 (Volume Ⅰ End)
Learfiat Branch Police Department ― first listening room.
Natsu is face to face with the witness, Sputnik, to prepare a document of the kidnapping ― while holding her aching head.
“Knowing that Clue-chan was detained in that particular warehouse, you couldn’t stand to wait so you went alone to the very warehouse where she was taken hostage. Everything went well until that point, but the criminals found you and attacked you, so you used the tools you used for your profession, that you happened to carry by chance, and started to fight back. You didn’t even remember how you did it, and before you realised, everybody was already on the floor… Is that what you’re saying?”
“No matter how you look at it, it’s a legitimate act of self-defense.”
“All the criminals were done in by this ‘legitimate act of self-defense’ of yours!”
Natsu unconsciously flipped the papers, hit the desk, and screamed. She felt that hearing Sputnik’s testimony is just torture.
“You obviously went too far with your ‘legitimate act of self-defense’, geez……! The criminals were so traumatised that they all have problems recounting what happened. They seemed to have their memories intact up until they met Clue-chan, but can’t even talk about anything following that, they only screamed, ‘Help me, help me.’ Well, the witness’ testimony confirms that it is their doing, even so,”
“Memory loss. That’s perfect. The threat was worth it.”
(T/N: Sputnik was going too far (and he knew it) because he wanted to traumatise them such that they won’t be able to talk about Clue’s constitution)
Natsu finds Sputnik’s radiant smile and his nodding head especially frustrating today.
It was already frustrating enough for the police to not be able to get the testimony of the culprits. And here there is, a self-proclaimed “good law-abiding citizen”, who said that he had nothing to do with them. Sitting with his legs crossed and his arms opened wide, he said with leisure,
“Anyway, if my false accusation is cleared, release me already. It’s already been three days since that happened. You may think it is fun to talk with me face to face, but I feel like I’m about to go crazy.”
“I actually don’t want to see your face either, in fact, I would rather not talk to you anymore, but it can’t be helped since it’s my job… So anyways, congratulations, your listening is over with this. My colleague is on his way here so please wait a minute longer.”
Natsu stood up from her chair and picked up the stack of documents that had been dropped on the floor.
――Then she suddenly paused as she saw a certain line, she saw the name of the victim of the incident, a friend of hers, and Sputnik’s subordinate.
As usual, there is no response from saying that name out loud.
But being in this narrow and quiet room, she was certain he heard her.
“From here on, it’s just a small talk between us, and nothing would be recorded.”
After that introductory line, she hesitated to continue for a moment, thinking if it is alright for an outsider like her to get involved in something like this.
But remembering the crying face of her dear friend, and thinking that her friend won’t be listening in on ‘it’ anyway, and knowing the fact that she is the only one who is in any position of sort to talk about something like ‘it’, I shouldn’t be hesitating, she thought to herself.
She sat back down on the chair one again, then quietly asked her friend’s employer while staring at the name of her friend on the document.
“Why are you keeping secrets from Clue-chan?”
Sputnik who is seated opposite to her raised his head up a bit.
He thought no one would notice it? Of course not. Natsu is convinced of that.
“You often go out to see someone till late at night, and those are almost always on the same days when someone with particular professions are coming to the city.”
She feels his gaze, but doesn’t look at him, pretending to be going through the documents.
She could only imagine what sort of look he has on his face.
“According to the recorded list of those visiting the city of Learfiat, there currently are 12 women who are non-permanent residents staying. There is only one female guest who is staying at Haruka’s inn. The pharmacist had been staying there since yesterday ―― And the days when you drank till late and went home only in the mornings are almost always when there are medical practitioners visiting the city of Learfiat.”
Feeling an unfamiliar sense of tension in her heart, Natsu continued in a whisper,
“…I’m aware that Clue-chan would sometimes be coughing up while avoiding people.”
Sometimes while waiting on customers, sometimes while shopping in stores, and sometimes on the side of the roads. Natsu also knew that she would repeatedly be patting her handkerchief on her mouth at those times.
At first, she thought it was a cold, and was wondering if she had a weak throat.
But it happened way too many times.
“So what have you been keeping secret from Clue-chan, giving a large sum of money to the medical practitioners who came to the city? Does it…… have something to do with her physical condition?”
Silent as a stone, Sputnik says nothing.
And when there is no answer even after a short wait, Natsu repeated her question.
“Hey, Sputnik. Aren’t you willing to tell me about it? If I would be of help, I will cooperate as much as possible. And it’s not for you, it’s for that child… I don’t mean to brag but I am well known for being a brilliant police officer, the 『Agile Inspector』, and I have been receiving much attention from the police department. And on top of that, I’m a woman unlike you, so there are things I can do but you can’t. So that’s why―”
“What would you do if Clu committed a serious crime?”
Natsu unintentionally looked at Sputnik because of his sudden question.
To her surprise, there is no smile on his face, and he looks like a regular citizen. He had undone his crossed legs, and his ashen-colored eyes shone with a strange glint, making him look like a different person altogether. Despite the slight pressure she is feeling, Natsu started to think.
What if that girl committed a serious crime, was it?
She’s often laughing, often crying, and often angry. She would scold her cohabitant who is living such an improper lifestyle, and would always be protecting the store in the sloppy shop-owner’s stead.
“Such a thing is……”
“It’s just an example.”
Not possible ― Sputnik’s reply interrupted the words she is about to say. He has a very listless and tired sounding voice.
“I think I get the gist of what you may be thinking. You probably wanted to be a true and sincere friend, but then ― If the thing that would allow her to survive is something that is against the law, would you still be on her side? And even if you do, would your ‘organization’ allow it?”
Natsu should have immediately answered.
Of course, she wants to immediately give her answer, that she would help her even if the organization she is a part of would be against it. She knew it in the ‘head’ that she should be by her friend’s side to help and support her. However――
――She could not.
Sputnik triumphantly laughed at Natsu who could not give her answer,
“That’s why I won’t tell you.”
And sneered in ridicule.
This is his answer to the question she asked earlier.
But, even so ― Natsu spun her head to desperately try and think of a rebuttal. But the time limit is reached way faster than she could think of what to say to Sputnik.
The sound of two knocks is heard, after which the door of the listening room opens. A colleague of Natsu shows his face through the opening.
“Natsu-san, Sputnik-san can be released now.”
” ‘Released’ huh? Oi oi, I seem to be hated quite a bit by the Police Department.”
Sputnik says so in his usual leisurely tone, with his legs crossed, and a posture that clearly shows he is full of himself, leaning on the back of the chair he is sitting on.
The stange look in his eyes from earlier were nowhere to be seen.
“Then, Natsu, I’m a free man, so I can go back now, right?”
He made an exaggerated wave with his left hand. Natsu feels like she is being ridiculed when he seemingly points out that he would not be talking to her anymore. She feels like she is harassed on one side, and made fun of on the other. She felt so irritated that she was about to hit him out of anger. But she calmed herself down by taking deep breaths, and lightly waved her right hand back at Sputnik.
“Okay then, go home already. The receptionists can’t be working at all unless you are home.”
“What’s with the receptionists?”
“You will know when you get to the entrance.”
Natsu offered to guide him and stood up from her chair. With Sputnik doing the same, they stepped out of the room.
Natsu walked past the colleague who was holding the door with one hand and giving a salute with the other, and walked down the hallway. They then passed the second listening room where an investigation on the same case is undergoing, and the unattended third listening room, then walked down a flight of stairs leading to a sink for washing hands on the first floor.
As they kept walking down the hallway, passing by an auditorium and archives, and looking sideways at the window through which green light is shining in,
“That’s what I’m saying―!”
They suddenly heard a loud noise echoing throughout the quiet office.
Natsu unintentionally smiles despite being struggling hard to keep her anger in check. She then looks at Sputnik who is raising his brows in confusion. He asked Natsu why she suddenly talked about the receptionists earlier, but she thought that it would be faster to let him see it than explain it. She was moving swiftly because of that.
The voice came from the end of the corridor, near the entrance to the Learfiat Branch Police Department, where the reception desk for visitors is located.
And, the one who is shouting at the top of her lungs is none other than,
“I don’t know what’s going on, but anyway, please return Sputnik-san quickly! Sputnik-san hasn’t done anything bad! It is none other than I, the victim ― Clu, who is saying this. Why won’t you listen to me!?”
“That’s what I’m saying, he’s in the middle of a hearing right now―”
“You keep using such difficult to understand terms, but what you’re saying is that you are suspicious of Sputnik-san! That’s terrible! It is true that Sputnik-san looks quite suspicious and he is prone to people mistaking him for doing something wrong, but he definitely won’t be doing anything bad! That’s why, umm, this is…… that’s right, ‘a groundless accusation’ in other words, ‘a false charge’! This is ‘a grave situation’! ”
The one who is protesting while slamming at the reception desk is someone quite familiar to both Natsu and Sputnik. An employee at Sputnik’s store ― Clue.
They don’t know who taught her, but Clue took out a notepad from her pocket and is spitting up those difficult to understand terms. Two women at the reception desk are trying to calm her down with a troubled look on their faces, meanwhile, Clue is complaining while swinging her arms about.
“It’s been like that ever since that day.”
“…I see. I understand.”
Sputnik has a half-laughing look on his face, but he seems to be feeling better most of all.
Natsu looks at her friend who seems busy at the reception desk. She has long chesnut-coloured hair, and swinging her thin arms while raising quite the fuss, but she has the appearance of a normal town girl above all.
Such a girl,
She seems to have learned something Natsu can never teach.
“How about you?”
She looks up at the man standing next to her, who is a little taller than her.
Sputnik makes a strange sound, probably because he didn’t know what the question actually meant. So Natsu said it more clearly,
“That little girl over there, how far would you go to protect her?”
He is a man who is always sloppy, irresponsible, always joking, and one whose real intention remains vague. Natsu doesn’t know if he’s aware of his feelings towards Clue, or what Clue thinks of him.
So she thought the question she just asked would probably be given a just-as-vague, veiled in smoke reply, however,
“I’d die for her.”
The words he spoke seem to have been decided since long long ago. Natsu turned towards him, however, she does not know the weight those words hold.
“You may be thinking, that I’m an idiot, one who is never serious, one you can’t help but worry about, one without much redeeming features, one who is most likely to make her cry all the time. So what could I, what could someone like me do to raise her well? But stay out of this, I will do what I want to do.”
Natsu keeps staring at his profile, but Sputnik’s brows does not shake at all. She wondered, what is this guy thinking about right now? What is on his mind that he could utter such words?
It is hard for her to read such things from his expression alone, and as she kept staring at him, their eyes met. Noticing her gaze, Sputnik turned his eyes away from Natsu, and snorted. Natsu didn’t know what that snort was for.
He scratched his hair and lightly muttered, “I can’t help it then,” and shouted towards the reception desk,
“That’s enough, Clu. You’re just gonna be a claimer if you keep doing that.”
And then, Clue immediately turns her face towards him. Recognising the presence of Sputnik, she seems to immediately let go of all her anger and interest towards the receptionists. Her expression brightens in but a moment.
She called out his name and happily ran towards him. Natsu then asks Sputnik this question since it kept bugging her mind.
Why can he say that he would do so much for her sake?
But for Sputnik, it isn’t something mysterious, he clearly knows why he can say so. Natsu gasped in shock as she saw the look on his face as he gave his reply without even a moment of hesitation.
The reason is――
Natsu sees it for the first time, a true and pure smile from Sputnik.
“I made a promise.”
Eventually, Clue jumps into Sputnik’s chest with a full smile on her face.
He accepted her, and very firmly, held her tight.
Clue, help me fulfill these two goals of mine by using your “constitution,” and when that’s done――
――In return, I’ll do whatever I can to cure you.
[End of Volume Ⅰ]