The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels Volume Ⅰ Chapter 3
The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels
Volume Ⅰ The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels
――Regarding myself, I have certain goals.
“Sputnik-san is an idiot. Sputnik-san, is an idiot―.”
Clue bought the cleaning agent and silver wires at the material store, placed an order for emery, and went to the bakery to conclude her shopping. As she walked back towards the store, she sang a song insulting her employer.
Nevertheless, she no longer felt irritated after all that crying earlier. However, she thought it was too regrettable to just forgive him like that, so she had every intention to pretend to be just a little angry. However, she cannot resist the sweet scent coming from the paper bag, and her lips rose into a smile.
The shop owner said, “They are freshly baked,” as she wrapped them ― two melon buns and three canelés. The melon buns are of course for Sputnik, and the canelés are bought as a thank you gift for Natsu who helped look after the store in her stead.
By the way, what time is it now? That thought came to her mind and she took the watch out of her pocket and checked the time. It is five minutes before ten. She increased her pace. She was very late because the material shop was quite crowded.
―Sputnik had told her that he likes melon buns because the texture on the outside is completely different from how it is like inside.
『Sometimes, they used melon pulp or flavouring, but that’s unnecessary. I won’t approve of such an approach. Once, there was a bakery that mixed raw ham and melon pulp in the bun. I was about to flip out back then.』
Sputnik, when he told Clue such a story, was drinking brandy directly from the bottle.
He seems to have some goals he wanted to achieve in his life, and he had told her two of them before. One of the two is, as per her knowledge, to settle in a town with a delicious melon bun, and the other is to have a store of his own.
Now that he has registered as a citizen in the town of Learfiat and owned 「Jewelry Sputnik」, both of his goals have been fulfilled.
『Clue, help me fulfill these two goals of mine by using your “constitution”…… And when that’s done――』
Remembering the words he said back then, Clue suddenly looked down.
Sputnik’s request, or rather ― goals, and what he offered in return at that time was something she was more than willing to accept. So she accepted the offer at that time without a second thought ―― However,
……What about now?
“The promise at that time, why did you make it?”
Her words disappeared into the hustle and bustle of the market.
Sometimes, she wondered ― Does Sputnik-san still remember his promise?
He had set up a shop, and business is on track in the town, however, he had never mentioned anything about the promise. She felt her chest tighten whenever she wondered if he still remembered it, but was always too scared to confirm. She is especially concerned because Sputnik would always say, “Speaking of which,” to change the topic every time they talked about the past, and she wanted to talk about the promise.
Certainly, she was once hopeful about it, but now,
“If you have forgotten that…”
She makes a long sigh at the question she has no way of confirming.
When suddenly, she felt something rising up from the bottom of her throat. It is a lump of foreign objects, but different from a nauseated feeling.
Clue knew from her years of experience what it meant.
How untimely, she thought.
She hurriedly put her hands on her waist and skirt pockets, but she does not have the handkerchief she always carried. She seemed to have left them at the jewels processing room in the morning. She doesn’t have anything to hide it with, so after hesitating for a while, she moved into a deserted alley.
She holds her mouth with both hands and feels the movement of the foreign object moving up more intensely.
She folded her knees and crouched her body, coughed, and two jewels rolled down on her fingers. Despite nearing noon, the alley she is in is quite dim and light barely reached the place. However, the jewels in her hands emitted a sparkling greenish glow. These are the objects that were stuck in her throat.
While feeling a slight dizziness, she tried to store the jewels away. But at that time―
A shadow loomed over her, and she heard a voice she had never heard before.
No sooner than that, she saw a person’s legs.
―She raised her face.
Only to see an unknown man having a surprised look on his face.
The unpleasant-looking man alternately looked at her and the jewels in her hands.
It only took a second before his curious gaze turned to one filled with greed.
When Clue thought, ‘Oh no!’ It was already too late――
-konkon- -konkon- Sputnik woke up to the sound of something knocking on something.
So then, what sound is it? He tried to think with his still more-than-half asleep head and his eyelids closed. Are there mice running in the attic? I have to get rid of it, he thought, but didn’t feel like getting up just yet. It shouldn’t have been that long since he took a quick bath and dived into bed. The large amount of alcohol he had, his sleepiness, and the blanket comfortably covering his nose makes him want to not get up.
Eventually, -GONGON- the sound gets louder. It’s not a sound something the size of a mouse can make, so is it a cat instead? He doesn’t know what it really is, but he tries to sleep through the disturbance anyway. The annoying sound made him furrows his brows, but he felt that he shouldn’t care about it since he couldn’t see it anyway. Making a long sigh at the continuously sounding noise, Sputnik pulled the blanket further and covered his head. Then, the noise and the sunlight shining through the curtain went away, and the perfect condition for a good sleep returned.
My my, he thought and exhaled deeply and ceased thinking. He felt his consciousness about to fade away―
He heard a slightly different sound this time.
Even the soundproof membrane, called blanket, can’t block the sound that is definitely made by something heavier than a cat, and it is more like the sound of someone kicking something ― He can instinctively tell. Then the sound becomes that of shoes hitting the floor. It’s probably a woman’s steps by the weight of the sound.
The footsteps got closer, approaching the bed where he was sleeping, and stopped at his bedside.
It’s a pestering voice belonging to a woman, as he expected.
He felt someone looking at him. Now then, let me see, whom did I share the bed with before going to sleep? ― He racked his brains but can’t remember. It’s difficult to remember what one was doing just before going to bed after all. He knew from experience that not remembering who the woman is would be a pain later on, but his sleepiness won.
When he turned over and faced away, the woman repeated, “Wake up,” as if she was impatient. He lowered his blanket a little, raised his heavy eyelids half-way, looked up, and as he expected, there is the silhouette of a woman besides his bed. You’re annoying ― he mumbled, but they disappeared in his mouth, and even he himself couldn’t make out what it was, so he isn’t sure if it even reached her.
The woman grabbed his shoulder from above the blanket and shook it, and repeated, “Wake up.” Argh, what an annoying woman! He felt that it is too troublesome to take action, but thought it was inevitable.
For cases like this, Sputnik knew an efficient method of silencing them.
So finally deciding to give up sleeping, he gently raised his body, and stretched his arms out of the blanket, and whispered, “Be quiet,” and moved one hand behind her neck to pull her head closer for a kiss――
He heard a scream that nearly ruptured his eardrums and his sleepiness disappeared at once.
And at the same time, his face turned to the side and he was stunned for a moment, not understanding what just happened. However, he registered the pain on his left cheek and instantly got angry.
He raised his face and glared. The woman standing in front of his is a stranger ―― or not.
“What do you think you are―― Eh, Natsu! What’s the big idea hitting the head of a sleeping man like that!? Police, call the police!”
“That’s my line, and if a police is needed, I myself will do the investigation. This pervert! You didn’t wake up when I was knocking on the door over and over again―― Yet what was that? Did you only have thoughts of assaulting someone from morning till night!? What a brute you are, I can’t believe this!”
“Aah― Shut up for a moment, your voice keeps ringing in my head!”
Sputnik stated his complaints without holding back to Natsu ― the intruder who hit his cheek and is currently clenching the right hand she used to commit the deed. Of course, he doesn’t remember spending overnight with a woman like her. Rather, he thought it would be much more meaningful to watch flies mating for three days and three nights straight.
He can’t sleep any longer. He gets up, sits down on the side of his bed, and scratches his head. A huge yawn spontaneously leaked.
“……Didn’t you come into a man’s room without permission in the first place? What do you have to say for that? Coming into the room of a man all alone, you won’t be able to complain about what happens next. But don’t worry, I would rather get rid of a mouse than waste my time to lay my hands on you.”
Being scowled at, Natsu retreated a little, perhaps feeling that her actions were indeed inappropriate. Her momentum got reduced, and she stared off at nothing in particular to avoid his eyes, and muttered as if trying to make up an excuse,
“It’s not like I intended to peak into your private life, and neither do I want to come here in the first place…… However, it’s already past the time for the store’s opening.”
Natsu’s expression somehow reminded Sputnik of wilted vegetables. He grabbed the watch from underneath his pillow ― 10:03.
However, he doesn’t get why she is bothered about such a thing in the first place. So he thought he must grab the gist of the conversation first of all.
“What are you talking about? If it is about the store, Clu should――”
“Clue-chan hasn’t returned.”
Sputnik’s brows drew close as Natsu interrupted his words. However, it’s not that he felt uncomfortable about that. He just thought it was unusual that that overly serious employee would forget about the opening time of the store and went off somewhere.
“Where did she go, that girl?”
“Don’t scold her off just yet. Thirty minutes ago, she went out saying that she would do the shopping you asked, but hasn’t returned… So then, there’s no way I could just open the store, right?”
“Seriously, where did she wander off to?”
Sputnik wondered if the materials store was too crowded, or something.
Despite the fact that the security of Learfiat is better than other towns, it is by no means such a dreamy city with no ruffians, and filled with just good people. It is obviously not possible to sell valuable items, like jewels, as they did for unmanned vegetables stores in rural areas.
Standing up from his bed, Sputnik grabs his jacket on a chair and the small box on his desk. He took out one cigarette and held it between his lips. He leisurely lit the ends and took his time inhaling it, he then blew out white smoke just as leisurely, and walked towards the exit. Natsu followed just a step behind.
He opened the door while lightly fixing his hair with his hand. They walked on the hallway, walking past Clue’s room.
Then, Natsu suddenly asked as if she just remembered,
“That’s right, Sputnik, can I ask one thing?”
He remained silent at her question. She took it as an affirmation, and continued,
“About last night, where were you?”
“I heard you were at an inn. Haruka’s Inn?”
Another question followed since he gave an immediate reply.
Haruka’s Inn is located next to Kaeton’s Bar. It is very convenient to approach the inn for travelers who drank a lot at the bar. When one got too drunk at Kaeton’s Bar, the clerk would gather them up and dump them at Haruka’s Inn without notice, and the next morning, they would receive extra charges ― or so Natsu heard, although she doesn’t really know how things are.
“Has the police department begun to investigate the personal life of law-abiding citizens recently? That seemed really troublesome.”
“Not denying it.”
I don’t mean to sound misleading or anything ― She thought, but won’t say it.
Sputnik continued to remain silent, she also said nothing more. She doesn’t know what he’s thinking about, and he doesn’t want to get caught up in something weird as he has to tend the store right now.
They went down the stairs leading to the first floor corridor to the store. It’s past the opening hours, but there still are no customers, probably because of the 『In Preparation』 tag hanging on the door. He took out the 『Open』 tag on the counter and checked outside the entrance. He is relieved to find no customers waiting, and replaced the 『In Preparation』 tag.
Turning back, he saw Natsu standing uncomfortably. Sputnik took another deep breath and puffed out the smoke. He grabbed the ashtray on the end of the counter, dropped the ashes, and pointed outside with his chin.
“You can go back to work. I’ll do the rest.”
She, however, doesn’t like the idea. She frowned and shook her head.
“I’ll wait until Clue-chan returns. I’m worried.”
“Clu isn’t stupid. She is not a kid who would lose her way and cried because she lost her memo.”
Natsu closed her mouth and pouted her lips as she had no words to continue with. Sputnik understood what she wanted to say. But even though Clue broke the promise she made with Natse, he wasn’t present when they were discussing such things. So he said nothing more and sat down on the chair at the counter. Natsu hesitated for a bit but eventually sat down on the visitor’s sofa.
――Just as Sputnik pressed his cigarette against the ashtray and snuffed it out,
-karan- -karan- the doorbell makes a vigorous ringing, and someone dashed in. There isn’t a customer who would open the door so wildly. So Sputnik thought that Clue had returned. But that was not it.
Tumbling into the store and calling his name is a girl of about the same age as Clue, however, she is not the employee he’s hiring. The girl is someone who gets along well with Clue― Uh, umm, what was her name again?
“If it isn’t Anna-chan. You’re in such a rush, what happened?”
Sputnik remembered after Natsu’s surprised voice. That’s right, she’s Anna. The daughter of the general store just three buildings away.
Her blonde hair is disheveled, she’s out of breath, and her cheeks are trembling as if she is about to start crying at any moment. She’s shivering as if she’s scared of something ― her small small fists are trembling, which is probably not due to having rushed to this place.
Sputnik felt an unpleasant sensation welling up in his stomach. It can’t be ― he thought.
Natsu left her seat and embraced the girl who is still clenching her fists. The girl raised her face, and her quavering voice confirmed Sputnik’s foreboding.