Missing Children (4 page)

BOOK: Missing Children
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To begin with, there was no way that Kano could have an ability that those living with him wouldn’t know about, and I couldn’t imagine someone as goofy as him doing things like that.

In the end, it probably was just another of those dreams that I’d been having a lot recently. Thinking that, the weight I felt on my heart quickly faded.

“Th-that’s just how he is, so….. While he may be annoying and disagreeable at times, he’s a good person at heart. I’d like it if you wouldn’t think too badly of him……”

“Wait, no! That’s not what I’m saying at all! I think I must’ve been tired last night and had a bad dream, that’s all. And anyway, he’s even been looking after my sister. I couldn’t hate him or anything.”

After I said this, Kido’s expression brightened, and laughed a bit as she replied, “I-I see. That’s good, then.”

The combination of the apron, the smell of scrambled eggs, and her smile, made my heart tighten. For virgins of that level, it was feminine ability enough to send one flying in an instant. She was a force to be reckoned with.

“……W-well, sorry for bothering you. Anyway, I’ll leave breakfast to you. I’ll take care of cleaning up afterwards.”

“Yeah, leave it to me. Cooking’s my specialty.”

Saying this, Kido began cooking, and the consecutive attack of that quick grin thrown over her shoulder, her ponytail, and her appeal of being good at cooking was enough to stir even an elite virgin like myself, but I was somehow able to hold my ground. 

For the time-being, I’d go back to the sofa, and wait for breakfast.

But really, all I had to do was try talking about it. The worries that I’d been harboring all on my own had disappeared for the most part, and I was starting to get hungry.

Until Kido finished with breakfast, I figured I’d go bother Ene since there was nothing else to do.

As I considered this, which I rarely did, I arrived at the sofa, and saw that something white and fluffy, like the chief of sheep, was lingering there.

It had my cell phone in one hand, and was desperately tapping at it with their other free hand.

“……What are you doing, Mary?”

Mary looked up in surprise and turned towards me.

Pale pink eyes, and contrasting, white clothes. Wearing pajamas with soft, fluffy frills, she really did look like a doll.

And, maybe because she had just woken up, her bulky white hair seemed even thicker than it usually was.

Whether it was because she’d grown friendly, or whether she was looking down on me, Mary no longer seemed to be cautious of me. If possible, I’d like to think it was because she considered me a friend now.

“Shintaro…… That blue girl won’t come out.”

Saying this, Mary began to poke at my cell phone without restraint again.

“Ene? Here, let me see it.”

I took the cell phone back from Mary, but no matter how many times I pressed the power button, there was so response.

“…… Ah, come to think of it, I haven’t charged it since yesterday.”

Thinking back on it, I’d had this cell phone with me all day due to the huge fuss that Ene made. She must have used up all the energy, the poor thing.

Despite not having a changer on me, the fact that it’d been charged that full yesterday must be because someone here had charged it for me.

It was most likely Momo that had borrowed a charger from someone.

“D-did she die……?”

Mary asked this fearfully, but I didn’t think she would die just from running out of battery.

“Nah, I don’t think she’d die from just this. As soon as it’s charged, she’ll be revived.”

“Charged?”

“Huh? Ah, the concept is that if there isn’t any electricity in here, she won’t be able to move.”

After I said this, Mary replied, “She eats such weird things~” with eyes shining in admiration.

Oi, what was this with pure and innocent creature. No, I couldn’t. Wake up.

Quieting my evil, perverted heart with an unyielding spirit, I completely ignored Mary’s behavior and asked her,

“Mary, do you know where the charger is kept? Kido and them are always charging their phones, right?”

“Um~ ……Ah, that string-looking thing?”

Mary thought about it for a moment, and then seemed to remember. Well, a string and a charger were two rather different things, but that was probably it.

“Yeah, that thing. Could you bring it to me?”

“Okay, got it!”

Saying this, Mary stood up and headed to the cupboard behind the sofa with light footsteps.

The cupboard in question, that looked like it had come out from an old book, was cluttered with shady ceramics and old-fashioned trinkets. Just whose hobby was it to make something like this?

Going by the willful impression I had of her, I felt like it was Kido, but surprisingly, it might even be Kano that was active in these kinds of things.

As the shady-looking shelf swayed dangerously, Mary poked around the drawers while humming, “String~ String~” What was with this creature that I felt like protecting from all harm?

Sweet and innocent. Those words were perfectly suited for this girl.

Compared to the noisy tank that I had for a younger sister, she was much more like a girl should be.

……No, I couldn’t. I was being too much of a virgin. Just how indiscriminative was I?

Due to my extreme lack of interactions of girls, I was turning into the type of guy that gets worked up over the littlest things.

As an elite virgin, this was very bad.

I had to go back to having a wise heart.

And anyway, it seemed like Mary was struggling quite a bit. While earlier, she’d been cheerfully humming a song about strings, now she was grumbling under her breath.

“Heeey, if you can’t find it, you don’t have to keep looking for it so hard. On the contrary, if she’s revived it’ll be noisy, so if it’s totally fine like this……”

As I said this, Mary turned back towards me with an offended expression.

“Don’t you feel bad saying something like that!?”

My shoulders shook miserably at being told this. To be intimidated by even such a small girl, I had to admit that I was very lacking in courage.

However, Mary had been jumpy when I’d first met her, but yesterday and today, she was now able to strongly say what was on her mind.

Had she opened up a bit? Thinking about it like this, it honestly wasn’t that bad.

“It’s lonely to be on your own. I’m sure that she feels the same way.”

Inflating her cheeks, Mary began rummaging through the drawers again.

From the looks of it, it seemed that Ene was quite in favor here. I usually wasn’t one to care, but in regards to this, I didn’t find it to be a bad thing, either.

In the first place, the fact that no one had really been that surprised after seeing Ene—that in itself had been particularly strange.

Normal people would’ve asked, “How is she moving?” or “Who’s that talking?”

I’m sure that’s how I would react, too, if I were to suddenly see Ene.

However, considering how they were plenty mysterious themselves but didn’t go as far as emphasizing that, they were rather friendly.

Thinking of it like that, I felt like the situation now was one to be thankful for.

“Good for you.”

I muttered quietly, and stroked my finger over the screen of the powerless phone.

I didn’t know where it’d come from, but I’d come to develop affectionate feelings over Ene.

I may have been greatly saved by her appearing to me in that room where I’d been all alone.

In a way, meeting these guys like this, and opening up to them, was all thanks to her.

“Shintaro, I found it! The charger! Wait just a bit, it’s in the back……”

Looking up, I saw that Mary had her hand reached into the back of the drawer, and looked like she was about to pull out the charger that she had found.

Due to the swaying of the shelf, the lined-up collection of trinkets all wobbled with clattering noises.

“H-hey, be careful, Mary. Take it slowly.”

“Mm. It’s okay, it’s okay…… Got it.”

Saying this, Mary pulled on her hand, and there she held a charger cable.

I wouldn’t know what I’d do if it really turned out to just be a plain old string, but it turned out the string that Mary had spoken of had been the right one.

“Ohh! Yeah, that’s it. Thanks.”

As soon as I said with, Mary giggled in embarrassment with an, “Ehehe.”

Ugh, she was so cute.

Just as Mary turned to bring it to me, Kido came out of the kitchen holding the breakfast dishes.

“Breakfast is ready~ …… Hm? Ohh, Mary, you’re awake. Good job waking up on your own.”

“Yeah! Ah, Shintaro praised me, too. I found the charger for him.”

Mary happily held out the charger to me, and at the tip of the cord, which had been blocked from view by the sofa earlier, there was some kind of belt-like thing tangled around it.

I didn’t know what that was at first, but once I realized, I flinched.

At the same time, Kido let out a small squeak, but in the moment I turned to look up at Mary, Kido had quickly disappeared.

“Huh? What is this? It got stuck.”

Mary said this, picked up the belt-thing and began staring at it intently.

“I-isn’t that the shed skin from a snake!? Why is something like that in there!?”

“Huh, why…… I wonder why. I think Kano brought it back from somewhere …… ah, uwaah! Kido, what’s wrong? Are you crying?”

Mary suddenly turned towards thin air and began talking. I see. So Mary was still able to see Kido.

Kido’s “eye concealing” ability was a convenient ability that allowed her to lower the limits of others’ perception of her at will.

However, the condition was that at the moment she disappeared, the ones she was using her ability on had to be looking away from her. Mary, who had not averted her eyes from Kido, seemed like she was able to see her just as before.

“S-sorry, Kido, are you okay……? Does your stomach hurt?”

Still holding onto the snake skin calmly, Mary worried over Kido.

Being unable to detect Kido even now, I wasn’t easily able to figure about what the situation was like.

“M-Mary, isn’t it probably because Kido doesn’t like that shed skin or something?”

“This? Hmm, Kido, is that so? ……I see. Okay. I’ll put it away.”

Mary went back to the cupboard again, and hid the snake skin behind a large model of a three-wheeled automobile.

Kido must have told her to do so. Mary didn’t seem to get it, and merely muttered quietly, “Weird.”

“Hey, Kido, are you alright?”

I called out to the empty air, but there was no reply. She probably didn’t want to be seen shaking with teary ears.

After putting away the snake skin, Mary returned to my side and relayed to me, “She says, just a little longer.”

Just like at the haunted mansion yesterday, Kido was such a coward that it made me wonder why she was the leader.

I was sure that I was also quite the coward, but Kido was probably on a higher level than me. Like some high-spec coward.

But it couldn’t be helped, so for now, I took the charger from Mary and began charging my cell phone while waiting for Kido’s return.

After sitting with Mary for a few minutes, Kido appeared out of thin air.

It must be because of her ability that her eyes were somewhat red.

“S-sorry for the wait. Let’s go eat breakfast.”

Despite Kido’s awkward attempt at a smile as she said this, I felt like the damage had already been done, but since I’d feel bad for bring it up, I merely replied with, “Yeah, let’s eat.”

After several trips back and forth, the breakfast menu had been finally been assembled on the table.

There were scrambled eggs, grilled salmon, toasted nori, and natto—a variety of things that made up this perfect, full course breakfast.

“This is so normal it’s almost godly……”

“Hm? We always eat things like this.”

Kido said as she served the rice from the cooker that was placed on the side table.

In this kind of hideout, those members ate this kind of ordinary breakfast every day?

It was weird just thinking of that mental image.

I started thinking about how I would have preferred a Western-style breakfast, but the scent of Kido’s special miso soup stirred my appetite in a way which blew away that small complaint.

I was seized by the impulse to start eating as soon as possible, but then I noticed that there were only four rice bowls set out.

It was only enough for the four people that were currently in this room. There weren’t any for Seto, Momo, and Hibiya, who had yet to appear in the living room.

“Huh. Is it alright not waking up the others? I’d feel bad for starting breakfast without them just because they’re still asleep……”

“Ahh, you mean Momo and them? They’ve already gone out.”

As she said this, Kido put down the rice bowl, reached into her pocket for a piece of paper that was folded in two, and handed it to me.

Wondering what it was, I opened the paper, and saw things that resembling hieroglyphs that might be inscribed into a mural somewhere.

BOOK: Missing Children
2.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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