The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels Volume Ⅰ Chapter 2
The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels
Volume Ⅰ The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels
『One that follows Sputnik』
That was how Sputnik wrote about Clue on the application for permanent residency.
Natsu was investigating a case at that time and came to the city hall to retrieve a copy of a key witness’s application, Sputnik happened to be presenting his documents then. At that time, She thought it was a “strange name,” but it only ended as a thought―
But later, when she come across Sputnik during a patrol, she said, “It was a strange name,” as a small talk, to which he replied with a smile,
――”Ah, that’s because it’s an alias.”
Since then, Natsu had always been doubtful of Sputnik.
Natsu gave a rough snort while watching the 『Employees Only』 tag swaying in the wake of the shock.
Truly, the man is still as shady as ever.
Natsu thought to herself. It’s been quite a long time since the two settled here, but leaving Clue aside, she has known very little about Sputnik. She is not prejudiced simply due to the application ― he seemed to smile only out of habit and his every word seemed subtle. The good-natured inhabitants of the hospitable city had accepted him as a fellow resident, but only Natsu remained alert.
Clue was shy and often hid behind Sputnik at first, but she has now blended into the city well, behaving naturally and smiling happily. However, Sputnik on the other hand―
“Fu, fuuu, fuuuu”
Natsu’s thoughts got interrupted as she heard something strange at that time, a weird sounding voice, or something else, and turned back.
Clue is making a strange sounding groan. Her cheeks are inflated, her face is red, and her eyes have tears that will likely be overflowing any time soon. She firmly grasped the hem of her apron with both hands, staring at the ceiling, and seemed to be enduring something.
This doesn’t seem to be a simple matter ― thinking so, Natsu put her hands on Clue’s shoulders and stared straight at her eyes.
“What’s wrong, are you feeling unwell? Are you okay?”
“I-I’m okay uu, uu, wuuu.”
She tried her best to reply, but her words deralied to sobs towards the end. She doesn’t seem okay at all. Her tears welled up and eventually spilled out. Her fist clenched stronger, and she eventually closed her eyes as a loud cry filled the store.
“Uu, waaaa, uwaaa.”
“There there. What’s the matter? Did that idiot do something?”
Natsu gently held Clue’s shoulder with one hand and stroked her head with the other.
Clue then hugged Natsu as she cried and spoked out intermittently,
“Spu, Sputnik, -san, came home, just a while ago, all night, somewhere, went out, went out.”
“Strong, alcohol smell, alcohol, overdrinking, where was he, I asked but, -hic- he don’t, don’t give appropriate, reply, who was with, he said, ‘I was alone’, Clu, Clu, Clu, doesn’t know anymore.”
When Clue gets emotional, she changes the way she refers herself from “I (watashi)” to “Clu”. It seems to be something done unknowingly by the person concerned, though it doesn’t seem to be especially implying anything of sort.
Clue roughly wiped her tears with the sleeves of her blouse, like a baby, and her white cheeks turned red out of irritation. Natsu can no longer bear to see her like that and helped wipe the tears with a handkerchief. “You’re a good girl” she said to Clue, who clears her throat and continued,
“In addition, at an inn, together, with a woman―”
Hearing the next words, Natsu makes an uncomfortable frown.
She knows that Sputnik and Clue are not in a romantic relationship, but she knew that Clue is feeling affectionate or is longing for the vile shop-owner, and she felt that he should be caring for the delicate feelings of the little girl even just a little bit more.
She doesn’t know whether Clue herself is aware of her feelings, or if that sleazy man is aware of it, or if he made such remarks without any consideration for a girl of Clue’s age.
However and whatever the case may be, it is unforgivable for a man to so callously disregard a young girl’s feelings, whether it be love or affection.
“T-then, until noon today, he wouldn’t work, he said. Clu said, that isn’t good, but he doesn’t, listen, he doesn’t listen.”
“That’s right, that’s right, he’s still as terrible as ever.”
“T-that’s right, terrible, terrible, terrible.”
“For terrible bastards like him, you shouldn’t hold back on calling him ‘idiot’. It’ll make you feel better. Sputnik is an idiot―! Your turn.”
“S-Sputnik-san is an idiot.”
Now then, was Clue upset about Sputnik’s working attitude or something else?
Natsu thought while Clue cried for a while longer, then seemed a little calmer. Clue then wiped her tears with the handkerchief lent by Natsu, and suddenly exhaled.
“Thank you very much, Natsu-san. I feel refreshed now.”
“You’re welcome. When the sleazebag of a shop-owner wakes up, give him a proper roundhouse kick.”
Natsu jokingly said ― well, about 80% seriously ― to which Clue laughed cheerfully. Clue had apparently felt better.
After which she faced down and gigged for a while.
She then suddenly looked up and said,
“Ah, that’s right, I have to go shopping…”
“Oh, that idiotic bastard did said that earlier, what were used up again? That’s not good. Let him go buy them himself when he wakes up.”
“Eeh, well, if they’re just for Sputnik’s personal use, I’ll let him do it himself, but this is work related… Ah, but I’ve opened all the windows and locks, and turned off the security devices. I can’t leave the shop unattended, so I’ll skip this time.”
Clue said with a smile and shrugged. To which Natsu thought that Clue most certainly can’t just leave while the store’s goods and products unattended.
However, Clue’s expression tells that she regretted it, and Natsu felt like she can’t just let that be.
So she raises his index finger and said,
“In that case, if you’d like, I will watch the store in your stead. You will be back before the store opens, right?”
Hearing the suggestion, Clue’s still slightly moistened eyes blinked in surprise.
“Is that okay?”
Natsu tilted her head and laughed.
She will justify her actions by saying that there have been no major incidents recently, and that the only thing she does when she returns to the bureau is to file documents. That she could afford to kill some time here in the name of maintaining the security of the general populace, and that she should not receive any punishment. So the fact that Sputnik called her something like a “huge tax parasite” is just an exaggeration ― probably.
“Do you remember what you have to buy?”
“Well, Sputnik said, emery and silver wire, and cleaning agent… Ah, that’s right, I’ll go to Ellen-san’s shop since I have the chance.”
(T/N: Ellen or Eren. Gender wasn’t specified so…)
Ellen runs a bakery, and Natsu is wondering what such a place has to do with jewelry processing, and seeing Natsu wondering like that, Clue make an awkward smile and says, “Keep it a secret,” then continued,
“Sputnik-san loves melon buns. He especially liked the ones from Ellen-san’s place from the moment we came to this town. Having coffee and the melon buns from Ellen-san’s shop will make him very delighted.”
The sight of a delighted Sputnik with a melon bun in both hands. ―― Natsu seems to have reached the limit of her imagination so the picture drawn in her mind blurred.
She fumbled and held her forehead.
“Once again, liking something that doesn’t fit his image, that guy.”
“He also likes drinking alcohol with a melon bun as an appetizer.”
Natsu never thought that alcohol and melon bun could fit together, but if it is in regards to that weird man, she feels that he can like whatever he wants.
“Now then, I wonder if I could be back in fifteen minutes. Well, right now it is―”
Clue takes out a small watch from her apron pocket and opens the lid. Natsu also looks at the watch on her left wrist. It is 9:30. This store opened at 10:00.
Clue timidly looks at Natsu, who smiled and waved her right hand.
“Please go on. Be careful, and don’t be in a rush. Take care to not get into an accident.”
“Thank you very much. Sorry for the trouble. I’ll leave the store in your care.”
Clue said that, withdrew into the room, and quickly returned with her favourite bag on her shoulder. She then took off her apron and hooked it to the chair at the cashier counter. She swiftly bowed twice to Natsu and left for her shopping trip.
That leaves Natsu, who is not an employee of the store, and lots of jewels.
Natsu sat down on the visitor’s sofa by the window and slowly sank her body.
“…An inn, huh.”
She muttered while leaving her weight on the sofa.
Last night― no, until this morning. From a bar to an inn, it’s either a secret date or a tryst. He didn’t detail it to Clue, but there is one thing that stood out to Natsu.
The idiot said that he stayed overnight with “some woman”. Perhaps it was…
She shakes her head and stops wher her line of thought reached that. She won’t reach an answer by just thinking anyway. And the only way to clearly know it is by asking Sputnik himself.
So she lowered her gaze and stared at the apron its owner casually hung on a chair, and thought of her, then finally thought of the no-good shop-owner who should be sleeping on the second floor right now. Then, -haa-, she sighed, thinking,
―If only he had at least one-hundredth of her sincerity.
She truly wished the sleazy man would be as charming as the little girl.