Chapter 12 – Preparation and malaise (3)
Translator – Vodka
Since I am done anyways.
Since then, Kirasaka and I had conversations that didn’t qualify as conversations.
It seemed like she was paying attention, but then, she also wasn’t.
Well, it was just that we didn’t have anything else to talk about.
After Shizuku finished shopping, we merged once again. This time, it was my turn. Although I only had some simple groceries to procure, I decided to have the company accompany me.
“Ah, this one is cheaper.” (Shizuku)
From the shelf in front of me, I picked up a packet of beef and put it inside the basket. However, Shizuku, without a moment’s delay, chose another one.
Although it was only by a little, it was indeed cheaper.
As I was putting back the packet that I had put inside the basket, I found Kirasaka, who was standing behind us, curiously looking around the shop.
“……It isn’t that rare, is it?”
It was bargain meat that you could buy anywhere.
Since it was only Kaede and me, there wouldn’t be any problems if we increased the budget we allotted to expenses a little, but Kaede was in charge of the household finances.
She would calculate the monthly disbursements, and handle just about everything regarding the household finances. She was like a housewife.
The younger sister being more levelheaded than the elder brother, was not rare nowadays.
It could even be said that it had become the norm.
However, there should only be a few who oversaw the household finances, right?
In other words, my sister had proved that she didn’t follow the norm.
Why was it that I entertained such stupid thoughts? Was it because I didn’t associate with many people?
“No, I don’t come to these places often.”
Kirasaka propped her chin on her hand. One by one, she picked up things and examined them.
Ah, come to think of it, she is from a rich household.
The likes of a supermarket where commoners commuted to, must have been a place unrelated to her.
Rather, she seemed like the kind of person who could choose to eat the part she liked in a lump of meat, and not having to worry about leftovers.
She was looking at the things with intense inquisitiveness. I beckoned to her and showed her the ‘fresh fish’ corner.
The moment she came up to where I was, her complexion changed.
“What’s this I wonder……Raw fish? Why is it inside a white box?”
“Commoners buy it from places like these.”
It was normal for it to be like this in this countryside, but was it perhaps, rare in the cities?
Previously, when we had visited the shopping district, she did meet with the uncle from the fish shop, but the fish wasn’t displayed at the shopfront. So, today might have been the first time that she had gotten a proper look at the goods.
I took a blue vinyl bag and used the tong, hanging next to it, to put two pieces of horse mackerel inside.
Looking at that spectacle, Kirasaka’s white face turned pale, her face drained of all blood. She took a step back.
Having seen that, Shizuku was putting on an ostentatious display of pushing Kirasaka’s back.
“What are you being so afraid of? It’s just fish.” (Shizuku)
“Wait, stop it……I mean it, please stop it.” (Kirasaka)
[TN – haha, Kirasaka is like me, becoming pale at the sight of fish, but well, my case is much worse, I am forever disconnected with anything that has to do with fish]
She planted herself firmly on the ground, her body stiffening. She refused to proceed any further.
It was a rare spectacle to behold.
Kirasaka, who would usually be calm and collected, was flustered, her emotions laid bare.
At a glance, it might have looked like a harmonious scene.
However, on a closer look, you could decrypt the reality of the situation. It was not one that was “harmonious”.
Both had exceedingly serious expressions on their faces.
One seriously pushed the back of the other, and the other refused for the push to result in motion with all that she got.
It was exactly because their relationship was strained, that they would give it their all if it meant that the other party could be subjected to something they disliked.
On the contrary, Shizuku’s eyes filled with earnestness were scary.
……As usual, you guys are on bad terms huh.
The BGM playing inside the supermarket was masking their voices, but I would like it for them to notice that they were attracting attention.
For the most part, I was done procuring the goods Kaede had asked me to get. When we exited the shop, the sky was already, completely dyed in black.
The stars glittered in the clear sky devoid of any clouds. While thinking about how it was going to be sunny tomorrow, I proceeded through the shopping district, accompanied by the three.
Like a protagonist from an RPG.
Surely, I was in the position of the hero.
The lowest-level hero with no battle prowess.
The kind of character that they would often use in tutorials, only to be replaced by some ‘gacha’ character, soon after.
[TN – ‘gacha’ refers to capsule toys or the loot crate system in-game that randomly generates items. I reckon ‘gacha’ character refer to any popular in-game (or imported from mangas and animes and the likes maybe) character. I am hoping that someone can enlighten me what is the precise meaning of ガチャ産のキャラ]
“Kanzaki-san, if it’s fine with you, I can carry your bag.” (Yuuto)
“Ah, no, it’s fine.”
Shizuku lightly dodged Yuuto’s kindness which was devoid of so much as even a shard of nonchalance.
However, it was so natural, that I had to turn around.
Even now, Kirasaka was maintaining a distance from the two behind her. However, at Shizuku’s denial, her lips distorted to form a suggestive smile, and she let out a chuckle.
It would seem that even Kirasaka didn’t have the immunity to maintain a poker face when confronted with Shizuku’s outright rejection.
“Is, is that so?”
Shouldn’t you not be so cheerful when saying that?
Because of that, isn’t the young man walking next to you, unable to hide the bitter smile on his face now?
As we left the shopping district behind and entered the residential area, the scenery before us transitioned into one of darkness, with only a few streetlights illuminating the road ahead.
A few bicycles and cars passed us by, but apart from that, there were no other sounds.
The sounds from the hustle and bustle of the shopping district gradually faded, and the only sound that remained was that of our footsteps.
No conversations were held. Only the sound of our footsteps reverberated in the air.
What should we talk about? Or would it better to not talk?
Before I could finish organising my thoughts, we had arrived in front of my house.
When I opened the door to the entrance, I could hear the sound of footsteps of someone running, emanating from inside, as it closed in on us.
“Welcome back Nii-san! Oh, everyone has come along I see.”
Kaede greeted us with a face full of smiles, her head tilted a little to the side.
No, she might be a goddess.
For a moment there, I had completely transitioned into Hino-kun’s mindset, but her smile was just that powerful. At any rate, having lost myself for a bit there, I hadn’t been able to issue a reply.
I hadn’t informed her beforehand. It was only natural that she was surprised.
“Sorry for turning up so suddenly. Is it fine for us to be intruding?”
Shizuku dangled the shopping bag in her hand and asked Kaede.
There was no way Kaede was going to refuse.
She smoothly showed the three in. Then, she lightly poked my back and said,
“If you are going to have guests over, let me know, will you?”
The positions have reversed. She was like the older sister, telling her younger brother off, in a gentle voice.
“I didn’t think all of them were going to be tagging along”, was what I would have liked to say, but I couldn’t make such an excuse to my younger sister.
Yuuto sat down on a chair and looked on as the girls stood in the kitchen.
I assumed the sofa and went about innocently appreciating the show that was being broadcast on the television.
Not long ago, there was a similar spectacle.
At that time, our relationships were vague, and everyone was still testing the waters.
If I had to say what it was that was definitively different about today compared to that day in the past, it would be that everyone acted more naturally before.
Hiding something, keeping the other party at a distance, trying to get close to someone.
Now, everyone seemed to have their designs.
Even while desiring non-interference, I continued to get involved.
Now, everyone had some kind of problem.
The only person who hadn’t changed during this time was Kaede. Her next words served as a reality check.
“Nii-san, did everyone make up?”
Most people wouldn’t notice the slight sense of malaise in the air. However, Shinra Kaede didn’t turn a blind eye to it.