Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 3 Chapter 7
In the end, the Gardening Committee still couldn’t be reestablished.
On the other hand, the Gardening Club was abolished as well. That was the results that we obtained.
On the Friday a whole week after the Student Council general meeting ended, I finally showed up at the Inspection office during lunch break. As usual, Kousaka-senpai was eating her bento alone in front of the word processing machine in the dark room. As soon as she saw me entering, she shouted ‘Fujishima-kun!’ and stood up looking rather happy.
“The both of us were busy before this, so it’s quite some time before we met, isn’t that right?”
“T- That’s right…… I should have thanked you properly before this.”
“I didn’t even do anything. All of it was done by you, Fujishima-kun…… and Kaoruko-chan.”
Senpai enthusiastically asked me to sit down, and I had no other alternative but to sit down though I planned to leave quickly. Separated by a bookshelf, hubbub came from the Management office.
“It seems that they’re still quite busy.”
“Mnn, having a general meeting is hard work, and it’s the same with the tidy up work that follows. For me, only five clubs were abolished, so I finished it in a jiffy. Fujishima-kun, you seem to have worked hard as well.”
It was only a week after the Student Council’s general meeting, but it was still rather unbelievable for me, and felt like a month had already passed.
“No, I’m still fine. The person who’s really teaching is Ayaka, after all. Actually, I am utterly clueless about gardening.”
And just because of that, I didn’t really speak much to Ayaka after meeting at the greenhouse backdoor. But her manner when she was speaking to me in the classroom was rather normal, so she probably didn’t avoid me deliberately. She said that she had to prepare herself mentally, but what does that mean?
“Shinozaki-san is a meeting president now.”
“Why the strange name?”
I spoke the question that swirled in my mind for quite some time now.
The Gardening Club has disappeared. That’s because the minimum number of club members in a club is raised to four in the rules amendment. Though the Gardening Committee can’t be reestablished, a mysterious division known as the ‘Central Gardening Meeting’ appeared. Today is the first day that the division starts its activities officially. The Central Gardening Meeting is formed by a member from each class, while their job is to handle the garden and the plants in the greenhouse. To be precise, it’s just the Gardening Committee with another name. But why Meeting? And why Central?
Though I could understand the reason for the change of name. After all, it is a committee that is connected to a death incident before this, and was abolished because of that. So perhaps it’s hard to restore it with its original name?
But why the name called ‘Central Gardening Meeting’?
“Ah— You’re talking about that? The president requested that herself.”
“…… Ayaka’s request?”
“Mnn. Everyone said that the name was strange, but they didn’t have any other suggestions, so the motion was passed. But if you really want to know about the reason, why don’t you go ask Shinozaki-san directly?”
Because she wants to be the meeting presiden— or something like that? She’s Ayaka after all……
“Fujishima-kun, it seems that you aren’t a member, are you?”
“But of course, Ayaka is the representative for our class, after all.”
Being in charge of teaching a bunch of unskilled members how to take care of plants, no other people can do that other than her.
“But is this really okay? Didn’t you put in so much effort so that you could undergo club activities with Shinozaki-san?”
“That’s not the case.”
So what did I want to protect in the end? Since I have to use the words of the deceased to explain this point, I just waved my hands and brushed the matter past.
“It’s enough as long as flowers are blooming in the school.”
“Really?” Kousaka-senpai shook her head in puzzlement.
“Fujishima-kun—“ She suddenly called me when I thanked senpai once again and was about to walk out of the Inspection office.
“What is it?”
“Have you chosen a club yet?”
“Ah— no, not yet.”
What should I do? The Gardening Club and the Computer Club had already been abolished, so I have to find a club to join.
“Really? Then let me tell you……”
Kousaka-senpai walked out to the corridors and spoke to me:
“We have a vacancy called the Accounting Inspector, as long as the Inspection wishes for it, you can take the position even without a vote. And we’re strongly recruiting right now!”
“Which means, as long as take part in the Student Council, even if you don’t join any club, the teachers won’t force you to. For instance, I am not in any club as well…… The ‘Central Gardening Meeting’ probably has this kind of feeling to it, does it not?”
“So…… Which means……” Is she asking me if I want to join the Inspection?
“That’s right! Fujishima-kun, you’ll definitely be suited for it!”
“Erm…… But the teachers have their eyes on me already, and I am not too serious, and coupled with the fact that I have my assistant detective part time job, so I might be so busy that I have to skip classes…… So isn’t it impossible for me to be in the cadres of the Student Council?”
“You can! Because you’re a detective, and you’re smart, so let us protect the clubs from the domineering Kaoruko-chan’s hands!”
“Who are you calling domineering?”
I turned around and jumped. The person standing by the windows was Kaoruko-senpai. She glared at me with a ferocious gaze as usual, and pushed me away, saying to Kousaka-senpai:
“Seriously. Though you asked me to do all that, you actually don’t believe me right until now.”
“Be- Because the Inspection and the Management should be taking an opposing stand in theory, needing to keep an eye on the other party. So that’s why I think that we must get some new forces for the following battles……”
“Even so, you don’t need to let this thing come in and out whenever he likes.” The Student Council president pointed at me while saying. I was actually labeled as this thing. It seems like she really hates me a lot.
But I can count as a mature adult now, so I should still thank her.
“Thank you for helping out so much in the general meeting for a thing like me.”
“I didn’t do all that for you.” Kaoruko-senpai wasn’t merciful at all. “Since all of it turned out as you said, so it’s somewhat displeasing.”
That’s right. I really felt like recording the ‘key point’ that Kaoruko-senpai spoke of during the general meeting, giving it to Alice. Letting the opposing party who wants to cut the budget shut up in an instant, causing the atmosphere to change drastically, and allowing the new amendment case pass as well.
As Kousaka-senpai said, it’s all thanks to this person’s help.
But that was Kaoruko-senpai’s choice as well, so maybe I really don’t need to thank her.
Sounds of conversation came from below the window. Kaoruko-senpai looked towards the courtyard, while I followed her gaze and saw Ayaka whose sleeves were rolled up was holding a small spade in the sun bathed garden below the school building opposite to us. On the other hand, beside her was Sayuri-senpai, now the advisor of the Central Gardening Meeting, who was wearing a shirt and a tight fitting skirt, helping to tidy up the courtyard with that careless attire.
The target that the deceased and the living sacrificed a lot to protect.
I think that it was not any person or not any place, but a warm feeling like this.
Because of that, I sneaked a peek by my side. Some gentleness showed from Kaoruko-senpai’s gaze while she looked at Sayuri-sensei’s back at that moment; while Kousaka-senpai who didn’t know anything just looked curious.
Though it was quite early when I reached Hanamaru Ramen, the shop was already quite crowded.
“Min-san, Min-san. Please give me a bottle of Kubota’s Manjuu sake! I’m going to drink a liter with Major!”
“No no no, Hiro-san. We should have a bottle of champagne at these times, and it must be pink.”
“All the champagnes in the shop are used for ice creams, not for your consumption!”
“Hey, why don’t you let me drink a little? I lost to Narumi in the end, so that’s a good reason.”
“Tetsu, since you lost to the Gardening Club kid, that means your position is lower than me by two levels.”
“What are you talking about!? Get out!”
“I’m betting ten thousand on Yondaime.”
“Me too, me too. Twenty thousand on Yondaime.”
“Why isn’t anyone betting on me!”
“Because Tetsu is even weaker than Narumi-kun.”
“Hiro, get over here as well! I’ll let you be unable to speak foreve—“
“What are you guys doing……?”
Poking my head into the alley, I was lazy to even say anything more.
Hiro-san, Major, Yondaime and Tetsu-senpai. The four of them surrounded the wooden stand used as a table, while a large amount of sake bottles were already on it.
“Ohhh, you’re here, Vice Admiral Fujishijma? Then let us drink a toast to Vice Admiral Fujishima!”
“Cheers!” Only Hiro-san and Major raised their glasses. On the other hand, Tetsu-senpai glared at me with an expression that looked as though he wanted to pounce on me, making me feel like turning right quickly and leaving the place.”
“What are you doing, Gardening Club kid! Where are you going?”
As Yondaime called me, I was unable to slip away.
“…… Well…… Is there anything wrong? Why are you drinking in broad daylight?”
“The members of Hirasaka-gumi originally weren’t willing to pay up their debts, so Hiro-san and I sold the debt to Yondaime with a twenty percent discount. It’s better for us as we saved the trouble of collecting the money from them.”
“And of course, I collected the money immediately.” The smile of a carnivore appeared on Yondaime’s face. That’s scary……
I remember that Hiro-san and Major both had a huge profit out of the gamble during Tetsu-senpai and my battle. It’s just that I didn’t dare to ask them how much profit they had…… It just feels as though they’re going to drink all of the money away today.
“Oi, Narumi! Have another fight with me!” Tetsu-senpai moaned.
“I’m not having another fight even if I die!”
“What are you talking about!? Are you trying to run away right after you win?”
Is there anything wrong with that!? You don’t have so much as a scratch on you though you lost, while there are still a whole lot of injuries and bruises on me right now!
“Tetsu, just give up. You’ll be a loser forever.” As Yondaime was still fanning the flames of Tetsu-senpai’s fury, Tetsu-senpai nearly rushed over to me. If there weren’t any sake bottles on the table, things might just turn out like that.
“Narumi-kun, aren’t you still injured? Maybe next time!”
What do you mean next time!? I won’t do something like this again, ever!
“Then why don’t you just battle in a way that you won’t get hurt? Vice Admiral Fujishima, you can just battle using dices.”
“I’m not really good at dice.”
“Oi oi oi, you aren’t lacking the confidence to win against my brother in a game of luck, are you?”
Yondaime, please don’t annoy Tetsu-senpai anymore.
“Narumi, sit down! Min-san, please lend us a bowl!”
Senpai didn’t even drink any sake, but his expression was extremely vicious when he held the three dice. Please, I don’t want to play anymore!
“It’s okay, Gardening Club kid, just play. Didn’t Alice just give you your wages?”
“Yeah, Narumi-kun. Just sit down for awhile.”
“Don’t worry, Hiro-san and I will join this as well.”
“What do you mean don’t worry!? This obviously raises the risks!”
I was flanked to the seats of the emergency stairs and was forced to sit down.
“Let’s decide who’s going to be the dealer.” After saying that, Tetsu-senpai immediately tossed the dice into the bowl.
For some reason, I won each and every time. After an hour, my wallet bulged to an unbelievable extent. And I almost never touched the wages that Alice gave me.
As Yondaime lost too badly, he left halfway. On the other hand, Major and Hiro-san had a large blow because of the loss, and rapidly finished the sake, and were lying down, being asleep on the table. Though it was only five in the evening.
The one who was still okay was the green-faced me who kept getting four, five and sixes and leopards, and Tetsu-senpai who didn’t even drink a drop of sake.
“Narumi, why won’t you lose even in dice……?”
“No…… I don’t know.”
It feels like I’ll just go bankrupt at a certain time. That’s so scary, I don’t think I want to continue.
“Whatever, I get it now, I’m a loser, while you’re really strong.”
Senpai sighed at the sky, lying down on the cement floor below the emergency backstairs. It felt like senpai was saying that sincerely, making me unable to meet his gaze.
Because I used a cowardly way to attain victory.
“Don’t worry about that. You should really learn more despicable things. It’s the same in dice. Since you’re winning already, isn’t that fine? Be happy. If you really do mind, then just treat these people. If we were really people who cared about the wins and losses in gambling between companions, we wouldn’t have became NEETs.”
Senpai stared at the sky while saying. Things might be so.
Even if those things happened, senpai would still fool around with me as though nothing happened. As Min-san said, the damp warmth and casualness in this back alley is the strong point in my world.
But I still can’t handle them carelessly. That’s why I gazed at the same sky as Tetsu-senpai while saying:
“Sayuri-sensei, she’s the adviser for the newly formed Gardening Committee as well.”
Senpai answered blurrily.
“The Student Council president— she’s actually Hayano Tomohiko’s sister. She put in a lot of effort for this. The greenhouse and the flowerbeds are well kept, and Ayaka is teaching everyone about gardening right now. That’s why……”
That’s why— what? What should I tell Tetsu-senpai?
It’s actually quite simple. The Ayaka in my memories once told me: Fujishima-kun, you can do it as well. Shout when you’re angry like the others, laugh when you’re happy like the others and speak when there’s something when you want.
But Ayaka, this matter really isn’t that simple.
When I was about to lose consciousness because of the inability to say anything, Tetsu-senpai lightly punched the side of my belly. I know it, idiot. His fist seemed to say that.
So I continued to lie down on the cement ground as well, allowing the words to drift in the air. It’s quite unusual that there’s a sunny day in the monsoon season, the blue skies giving people an exceptionally piercing feeling.
“W- w- wow, what is with this!?”
A voice suddenly came, startling me into jump and raise my head. A silhouette wearing the sailor uniform of our school was at the end of the alley. Short hair that was near the color of coffee, hair that was pinned up one side using a pin, friendly eyes below determined brows…… It was a familiar face that still made people feel nostalgic.
“Min-san, Min-san, the four of them are all drunk! Really, the shop hasn’t even opened!”
The door opened as Ayaka spoke to the kitchen backdoor. Min-san glanced at the four of us corpses.
“Ayaka, throw these guys into flammable materials before you wash your hands. And please wash the sake bottles as well.”
“It’s the different for the others, but if we throw Mukai-san into flammable material, wouldn’t that cause a chain explosion?”
Mukai is actually Major’s real name, and the only person who would call him that is Ayaka.
Doesn’t this feel a bit odd? Ayaka noticed me crawling up slowly, and she started to speak to me while unsteadily holding the sake bottles, causing the odd feeling to fade.
“Really— It’s so tiring! There are twenty four people in the Gardening Meeting in total! It’s hard to teach them all in one day, and there's a lot that I don’t understand about the greenhouse as well……”
“Ah……. Hey, that’s right.”
I suddenly recalled what Kousaka-senpai said, so I asked Ayaka while raising my upper torso.
“Why did you name it the Central Gardening Meeting?”
“Hmm? Oh, that’s because……”
Ayaka stammered while answering, a shy smile on her face. She continued for hesitating for a moment:
“It’s the Central Gardening Meeting in English, right? That would be the CGM. Fujishima-kun, look. I’m planning to use the armband that you made again. I think the amount should be insufficient, so can you please make some more?”
Ahhh, so that’s why. It’s the armband. As Ayaka’s tone was too natural, I nearly lied down without a second thought.
“…… Ah, Ayaka?”
As I was planning to stand up, Ayaka was about to walk into the kitchen backdoor, her hand full of sake bottles. “Min-san, where should I put these?” “Just put them in the corridors for now!” “Understood~” something like that came from the other side of the door. I stopped my hand that I was about to open the door with.
Ayaka— What did she call me just now?
I squatted down on the cement floor, reconfirming it in slight fear. It felt as though the miracle would vanish if I open the kitchen backdoor and see Ayaka’s face.
Perhaps Ayaka’s memories had recovered? Because she called Major with his real name just now as well.
No no, even so……
This is too strange. If her memories had recovered, if Ayaka really remembered about everyone—
She should know that the words on the armband should be read from in to out: MGC.
Then…… So this is what it means?
The things that was lost, damaged and hurt did not change, but we’re still by each other’s side right now, so that’s why we act like we did before, gradually getting closer once more.
The door before my eyes opened once more.
Ayaka did call me that, and handed me a tray with a large bowl on it.
“This is for Alice.”
Even after I took the tray, I still stared at Ayaka’s familiar but nostalgic face. As the door was about to close, I unconsciously called her.
“…… What is it?”
Ayaka shyly poked out her head from a small slit. I really didn’t know what to say. The thing that I wanted to say in my mind was probably ‘Shout when you’re angry like the others, laugh when you’re happy like the others and speak up if you want something.’ But the words that came out after some effort was—
“You haven’t told me why you hid at Alice’s place, have you?”
Ayaka widened her eyes, and narrowed the slit even more.
“That’s because……!” She suddenly said in a startlingly loud voice, and lowered her volume once again.
“W- Why do you want to know of secrets between girls so much!?”
“What secret……” Did something happen with Alice?
“It’s— Erm……” To hide her embarrassment, Ayaka kept opening and closing the door. “I heard a lot from Alice, like things about you, Fujishima-kun, and things about the companions at Hanamaru Ramen……”
Ayaka suddenly opened the door and said:
“Be— Because you know a lot about me, but I don’t know anything about you, that’s very unfair. And I can only ask Alice about this— Why are you forcing me to say all this!?”
Two whole days. So they were just talking about all this?
Was it to search for the her before she lost her memories?
“I’m telling you that it’s not that!” Even her ears reddened. “Fujishima-kun, why do you make things so complicated each time? Fujishima-kun, I just want to be more……”
“Eh, ah? S- Sorry……”
Ayaka is right. No matter how her memories of the past are, we actually don’t need to think so much about this.
It’s okay as long as the distance between the two is shortened. I was facing Ayaka, while Ayaka was facing me. We were getting closer step by step. That’s why we’re standing at a place where we could touch each other by extending our hands right now.
My left hand holding the tray, I tried to extend my right hand to Ayaka in reality; Ayaka cautiously extended her left hand in response. It seemed that our fingertips lightly touched each other.
What should I say? I finally spoke after thinking for a long time:
“…… Welcome back.”
With a shy smile on her face, Ayaka answered: “I’m back.”
After seeing the kitchen backdoor close, I walked towards the emergency backstairs.
Ayaka found her answer through Alice. If so, there’s only a last bit of uneasiness left.
“I heard that the Gardening Committee is starting its activities from today, is that right?”
While moving the onions into her mouth with her chopsticks, Alice gushed them down with Dr. Pepper. For some reason, she kept facing me with her back, and ate while staring at the innermost monitor in the room. Perhaps I’m thinking too much? It seemed that most of the dolls on the bed had their backs to me as well, and the air conditioning was terribly cold.
“Ahhh, yeah. Though the name isn’t the same.”
“Is that so. Then we can say that the case is closed this time, isn’t that right?”
I thought to myself, why is she unwilling to look over here?
But I just couldn’t ask her. Since Ayaka and Alice talked for two whole days, perhaps not only did Ayaka ask Alice about a lot of things, Alice might have asked Ayaka about something as well?
I prepared the second can of Dr. Pepper and sat at the end of the bed, closely listening to the continuous sounds of typing. To be frank, I really didn’t know how to ask as well.
“Are you feeling uneasy?”
Alice asked without turning her head around.
“…… Uneasy about what?”
“It’s nothing, Ayaka still can’t remember anything.”
I thought about the words that Alice said. Does that really count as ‘nothing’? I don’t know.
“So I’m telling you that the mystery already sank into the deep sea, to a place that I cannot touch.”
In the incident that happened during winter, the thing that pushed Alice. ‘Why did Ayaka jump down from the school rooftop?’
The answer was already lost before the truth was converted to facts.
“Also, you probably don’t need the answer of that incident as well. You’ll know when you look at Ayaka right now.”
I thought to myself, this girl really did change a bit.
Before this, she wasn’t afraid of hurting anyone just to convert the truth to facts— a detective that wouldn’t mind even if she harms herself.
“So the contract that I had with you ends here.”
I really wanted to know how Alice’s expression was that time. The contract. The reason that I became an assistant detective was to pay off my debt for hiring Alice , while the time was until Alice found out the truth. And everything ended already now.
Because Alice gave up. Because Alice found an answer through Ayaka as well.
I— don’t have a reason to stay here anymore.
Alice finally stopped her movements of pounding on the keyboard, moving the moveable desk with the tray on it aside, and turned around to look at me. She covered the lower part of her face with the small teddy bear on her chest, stars sparkled in her eyes.
“Alice, do you think that this is okay?”
I asked the question unconsciously.
“What do you mean is this okay?”
Bewilderment could be seen in her eyes.
“Do you think that I would feel pity because of losing a useless assistant like you!? Don’t be so full of yourself, I’m now repenting for giving a person who only knows how to serve Dr. Pepper such a high salary! Dumb and blunt, with bad riding skills, having a lot of complaints, and even letting yourself get hurt without consulting other people! Being so blunt that you aren’t aware of what I’m thinking about, asking Major to make a robot might be better than yo—“
“Erm…… Sorry for my bluntness. So…… Alice, what are you thinking about?”
“It doesn’t matter now! The contract is over anyways!”
Alice was in a fit of fury on her bed, and was so angry that her whole face was red, while her hair was so messy that it was like a typhoon just passed by. Err…… She seems really angry. But not even knowing the reason for her anger, I’m really an unbelievably dumb person.
So what should I do?
“Anyways! I’m collecting payment from you this time. Don’t you have cash on you? I’ve just given you your salary.”
“Eh? Ah, mnn.”
I weakly extended my hand towards my back pocket. The cash in my wallet was so much that it almost overflowed.
I even thought that I helped Alice at least a little. Though compared with the detective’s ability, my ability was a far cry from hers, but I just felt that I might be able to help her, albeit a little, if I stayed by her side.
But those were just my thoughts— when was that? My promise to Alice to ‘keep staying by her side’, but was harshly scolded by her. Ahh, that’s right. I finally understood. What Alice thinks is absolutely not important at all.
I am the one who wants to stay by Alice’s side.
I want to continue to be an assistant detective but it is ending now, so I feel an inexplicable uneasiness and loneliness.
I suddenly thought of something and then I stuffed my wallet back again.
“Erm…… I played dice with them just now.”
Alice frowned. I swallowed before continuing:
“I lost terribly. I lost all of the money you gave me, so I can’t pay you. So—“
The detective’s expression changed drastically, and she tried to use the small teddy in her hands to cover her face.
“I’ll be your assistant detective to pay for that again. Is that…… okay?”
Alice was speechless. After a moment, at a place slightly above the doll’s head, the stars in the two eyes started to waver. After that, she swayed her long hair, having her back to me yet again. After that, there came the thorned words:
“Unbelievable! I let you experience the normal relationship between a superior and a staff so that you won’t become a NEET, and in the end you’re telling me that you lost all of it!? You’re really a hopeless NEET from your bones. I will never hand you a large amount of money ever again!”
Eh? What was the last sentence she said?
“That’s fine as well. I will let you know how terrible it is to owe me two favors. I will torture you with a meager salary that would make you want to be a communist forever, so you’d better prepare yourself!”
I was so happy that I jumped, and almost fell as well. I barely supported myself by using the side of the bed.
“Erm…… Thank you! This— I— Really……”
“Then go to the Lawson Supermarket and buy two crates of Dr. Pepper first. Didn’t I often tell you before this, remember to stock up when there are less than a dozen left? How many times do I have to tell you!”
Alice continued to say without turning back. I was so happy that I couldn’t say a thing, and I still looked back repeatedly at the pajamas clad silhouette.
After walking out of the door and wearing my shoes, I saw a tiny shadow hung below the rain shelter when I was about to stand up. That was one of the surveillance cameras that Alice set up throughout this building.
A surveillance camera. I nearly cried out loud.
Alice should have seen that through her monitors. Seeing Hiro-san, Major, Yondaime, Tetsu-senpai and I play dices, and the fact that I won spectacularly. Having evidence of my lies, she—
I looked back.
The words on the signboard hung outside the NEET Detective Agency came into my eyes.
This is the only thing worth trying.
It’s the only NEET thing to do.
Though that wasn’t really a good way.
I don’t know why Alice didn’t expose my lie as well.
But to me, this is the only thing worth trying, while Alice is still by my side right now.
Though it’s impossible for everything to recover its original state, even so—
We must still work hard to live on, continuing to walk forwards with our own feet.
So isn’t this fine already?
I used my fingers to draw on the words on the signboard. These words don’t have any warmth, and are not the words of the dead. They were the words of life that she wrote in fresh blood.
Neither truth nor lies, the form of happiness, despair and reality—
This is Alice’s story.
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