Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 6 Chapter 5

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Chapter 5[edit]

After the culture festival ended, our usual daily lives did not return immediately.

The shutters of 'Hanamaru' remained closed, and the signboard with the words 'Temporarily Closed' continued to flutter in the freezing winds of November.

The only thing that continued on like usual was the scene at the back door of the kitchen. I parked my bicycle by the shop like usual, and casually poked my head to look between the buildings. Tetsu-senpai was wearing a half-sleeved shirt with no regard for the season, while Major's face was completely covered in bandages. Both of them were seated there, the horse racing news column laid out as they excitedly talked about their predictions for the GI race in Autumn.

“Oh? You came back, Vice-Admiral Fujishima? Time to give us our pay for this case now, right?”

Major and Tetsu-senpai reached their hands out to me at the same time, and I could only avert my eyes.

“Well, actually, I haven’t received the payment from Min-san either…”

“What? We worked so hard there! I should have shown you that blazing solo escape operation I did, Vice Admiral Fujishima!”

In the end, Major managed to escape by himself from the electrical room in the basement that was filled with the Hong Kong mafia, and it was said that he sprayed a large amount of tear gas in his escape. Major’s the one who usually does the preparation work, so I was worried if he would be in any danger if there was any direct confrontation. However, this military nut wasn’t just for show.

“Seriously, good work there. I’ll try to haggle for more when I meet Min-san.”

“What has Master been doing recently anyway? She’s been going around riding on Hiro’s car…”

Tetsu-senpai shrugged,

“Is it possible that since that crazy plan worked, those two are going out together for real?”

“No, how’s that possible?” I shook my head. “They’re just going to the Suppliers together to apologize.”

Huang Hong Lei was no longer intimidating the suppliers, and all they had to do was to apologize to these suppliers that got involved before ‘Hanamaru’ could continue operations again. However, this probably would take quite a long time, since they’ll have to convince the many companies that the mafia wouldn’t be looking for them, and that they would be able to continue doing business with ‘Hanamaru’ without any worries. In such situations, Hiro, ever the smooth talk, was very important.

In other words, the relationship of those two was just employer and employer. Up till now anyway.

“Huh? You don’t think they can hook up for real, Narumi?”

“Who knows? Hiro still gets involved with so many girls he has to break off with…”

“I’ll bet that they won’t get together then, five thousand yen!” Major put in a wager.

“In that case, I’ll bet that they won’t get together for ten thousand yen.” Tetsu-senpai joined in.

“In that case, I bet that they won’t get together for one thousand yen.”

“This isn’t a proper bet now, right?” Senpai chuckled.

Hiro’s car came back at sunset, ferrying Min-san.

“We’re mostly done with our trip, and we should be able to open our shop again next week.” Min-san said, and everyone heaved a sigh of relief. Thank goodness, I had no intention of pushing her to pay the detective fees and tell her, Just pay when the business stabilizes.

Min-san began dealing with the ingredients along with Hiro in the dim room, and suddenly sighed as she said,


“All that’s left is the issue of the dried stuff. The reserves here won’t last us for 2 months. Matsugahara Tradings’ still the most convenient one…the quality and prices of the other shops aren’t that good.”

Hiro and I exchanged glances. Matsugahara Tradings. Due to my careless slip of the news, the boss was beaten up and interrogated for Hanada Masaru’s whereabouts. Ever since then, he wouldn’t do business with ‘Hanamaru’ again.

“Erm, I-I’ll go apologize as well.”

I made this request in a self-reproaching manner. Hiro placed his hand on my shoulder as he looked up at Min-san, and the latter could only nod with a reluctant look on her face.

 

Before we made a call, Min-san gave a call to Matsugahara Tradings. “Eh? Ah, I see…yes.” It seemed she heard some unexpected response.

“I’ll be waiting. That’s what he said.”

Min-san said as we got onto the car. Both Hiro and I exchanged shocked looks.

The car raced down the Tomei Expressway for more than an hour, and finally reached the reclusive street located in the suburbs of Yokohama, parked at the door of the trading house that looked like a garage.

“Oh? Hanada-san. It’s been a while. Looks like you’ve been busy recently.”

The boss of Matsugahara went out of the shop to welcome us. There was no doubt that he was the one who shooed Hiro and me away half a month ago. Something must have happened.

“A few days ago, that, somewhat young yakuza looking Chinese came by again, and even brought a large box of sweets and apologized to me over and over again, so I was starting to feel sorry…”

“…Hong Lei?” Min-san widened her eyes.

“Ah, yes, those kids seem to call him that too. I heard about it.”

“About what?”

"Actually, I forgot which day last month it was, but Masaru-san suddenly gave me a call after we haven't met for so long, and it really shocked me. He said he had something to request me, and sounded really serious."

I gasped.

It was on the night of the incident. Right, when he made his escape to the doctor, he made two phone calls. One of them was to Huang Xiao Ling-san, and the other one was to this Matsugahara Tradings.

"Dad, did he say anything?" Min-san sounded slightly agitated as she pressed on, and the Matsugahara Tradings boss handed the parcel over to her."

The parcel was delivered from Hong Kong. As expected, Hanada Masaru did go to Hong Kong.

"He said that in a week's time, he'll send something over to you, and have me keep it for the time being. Also..."

According to him, Hanada Masaru said this as well,

"If Ming Li is to come to this shop, and ask you to continue supplying her, if she intends to continue running the ramen shop—can you please hand this parcel over to her?"

 

While we were on the way back, Min-san opened the parcel with shaking hands. It was wrapped in layers of oil paper. She took out the contents, and gasped. I, seated beside her, was at a loss of words.

"What's...this...why..."

Min-san muttered, sounding teary as the tears landed on the parcel, the thick stacks.

How many were there? All the notes were 10,000 Yen each. These 1cm bundles were wrapped in white tape, and there were 16 of them in all.

16 million Yen.

That was the exact amount—as the debt 'Hanamaru' owed.

"What's with this?"

Min-san continued to mutter.

"What was dad thinking in the first place...he actually hid such a large sum of money. But why? Why now...?"

I had the exact same thoughts at Min-san at this point. Why did he only send the money over at this point? Was that the money he saved up from working in the Underworld? But why...why didn't he return it to the Huang Coalition soon? Min-san didn't have to go through so much!

Hanada Masaru, where are you right now? What are you doing?

What is your objective?

Min-san again wrapped the stacks of bills, and embraced them at her chest, averting my eyes as she pressed her cheeks on the car window, looking at the clouds.

Hiro did not say anything as he stepped on the accelerator. The acceleration forced our unspoken words to the distant past.

 

The next Monday, 'Ramen Hanamaru' celebrated its grand opening.

Though I might say this, the furbishing inside and the menu did not change. It was mostly the same as usual, the only change being the employees. Hiro was fired because of his womanizing habit, and Ayaka returned to work.

The number of customers that showed up on that day was a lot more than the two days when it was rumored 'Hanamaru'would close down, and it was said to have easily surpassed the most number of customer visits.

 

It was great that everyone could live happily ever after...if the endings to all stories were like that, how easy would it be for us?

However, I remained a detective's assistant, so the story I composed was fated to have a detective show up.

On a certain chilly Sunday night in November, Alice summoned me over. I rode my bicycle to 'Hanamaru', and on the way there, I had a feeling.

I nodded to Min-san, who was busy going around in the kitchen, and darted up the emergency staircase. I opened the door to the detective agency, and found Alice getting off the bed. Unlike the usual, she was not wearing pajamas, and the lights in the bedroom showed a pitch black figure.

Alice's face was hidden under a black veil, and I could not decipher her appearance.

"You don't look surprised." The detective said.

"I think I have an idea as to what it's about."

"Being my assistant, you seem to have grown a little bit, huh?"

This time, I realized Alice was being sad behind the veil.

The detective was wearing mourning clothing.

That meant that she had dug up the words of the dead buried deep within the ground, and was to speak for the case, this incident that had not progressed.

"But are you serious about riding my bicycle there?"

\line "If you aren't happy about it, go get a driver's license when you're 18. Get this clear now, I'm 5,000 times more upset about riding on that bicycle than you are!"

Then don't ride on it.

""S-shut up! Alright, let's go!"

We walked down the emergency staircase, and the back door opened.

"Hey Alice, it's about time to go—"

Min-san poked her face out, and upon seeing Alice's mourning clothing, looked confused.

"Aren't you tired of wearing such clothing? And you're going to wear that while riding on a single-seat bicycle with Narumi? Don't you feel embarrassed?"

"What are you saying! This is the most formal clothing for a NEET! You don't have the right to criticize my attire when your shoulders are always exposed, Master!"

"Shut up and let me be! This is the battle attire of a ramen shop own! You're going to look for Xiao Ling, right?"

Alice nodded as she curled her lips in annoyance.

"Have you made the gift, Master?"

Wait a moment, Min-san said, and went into the kitchen, soon appearing again with a little box in hand.

"It's a special. It probably won't melt in this cold weather, but it's best if you send it over quickly."

 

Physically or mentally, it was torturing to ride a bicycle with a girl wearing a long skirt down the Meiji Highway. I guess those without the experience wouldn't understand, huh? The pedestrians were looking at us, and we had to cycle into a side alley when we encountered the traffic police. Furthermore, when we were at places of different elevations, making emergency brakes or sudden turns, Alice would keep on grumbling, and yet cling onto me firmly when I accelerated. I really started to doubt if there were scars forming on my chest.

"I-I don't want to ride on such a barbaric transport again!"

I think you said these words before...

Kami06 309.jpg

From the corner of my eyes, I glanced at the vehicles and the headlights moving along the roads, and i started to think. I might have changed slightly over this one year; this might be true for Alice too.

At the very least, she had been going out recently. When we first met, she was a complete shut in.

Also, whenever she went out, it seemed to always be with me. Could I really be gleeful for this? I didn't know how much of the ugly truth Alice would reveal, and I couldn't really understand the emptiness in her heart, but just having her cling onto me to shield her from the wind was delightful enough for me.

 

All the floors on the building located near the Shinjuku garden were lit, and the logo of the Zodiac Company appeared in the night sky.

It seemed Alice did arrange for an appointment beforehand, and after the receptionist made a call, it was actually Xiao Ling-san who came out to greet us. Seeing the mourning clothes on Alice, she was again speechless, but this time, I didn't mind.

"Ah, well, please don't mind. This is just a little ceremony."

"Seriously, you, since you're going out with her, at least give her some normal clothing already, okay?"

Again, XIao Ling-san said such unnecessary words, and it infuriated Alice so much she was steaming, howling, "Wh-wh-wh-who's dating who? Be clear on this!" I could only prompt Xiao Ling-san to bring us into the elevator quickly. If any other visitor was to see someone in such clothing yelling in front of the reception counter, it would be hard to explain.

XIao Ling-san's room was 3 times bigger than the NEET detective agency, and was tidy, but there was a presence similar to Alice's room. The completely practical metal rack were stacked with all kinds of electronics, and it certain felt like a room belonging to a tech wiz. I thought there would be no decorations in the room, but I found a little doll placed at the side of the rack. Before we were prompted to sit, Alice had already taken a corner of the sofa and heaved a sigh of rlief.

"This room's really comforting. It feels kind of familiar."

"Then try cleaning up your room until it's like this."

"You should say this to Narumi."

"Do some cleanup yourself!"

"You can just argue all you want, but I still have lots of things to do. If you have something, make it snappy."

XIao Ling-san said as she sat opposite us, and I could only pull my neck back in as I sat beside Alice.

After peering into the coffee cup, Xiao Ling-san stammered as she began.

"Xiang Yu called me later on, and kept on telling me to keep thanking Ming Li and yu two...her life right now probably isn't easy, but she never complained at all. They were practically penniless when they eloped, but Xiang Yu was pampered since young, so i don't know how long they can last..."

It sounded harsh, but Xiao Ling-san's tone was really gentle.

"Since this is Xiang Yu's own choice, she can't blame others for this. Even if her life won't be as pleasant down the road, that will be their responsibility."

Xiao Ling-san suddenly glanced up to look at me.

"You're pretty good there..."

"Eh? Ah, well, it's nothing."

"After that, the entire family had quite a few meetings. Back then, Hong Lei's reactions were so agitated, and grandfather fainted from anger a few times—to be honest, I was really wondering whether I should tell you that, but whatever. It's our shame as the Huangs."

No, you saying it...is basically reporting it to us now, right?

"Oh yes, has that unrestrained gigolo been dumped by Ming Li?"

"That appears to be the case, more or less."

"Then, that's good."

Hong Lei probably wouldn't just give up like this, and would go for a direct proposal, right? Xiao Ling-san chuckled as she said. To be honest, I was one of many who felt relieved seeing Min-san break away from Hiro. The best outcome for Min-san's happiness was for Huang Hong Lei to give up on being the triad boss and promise Min-san to run the ramen shop together. But this probably won't happen...

After chatting a while about the Huangs', XIao Ling-san said.

"Now then, is that anything from you two?"

Her eyes went from looking at me, to Alice.

"Narumi, the present from before."

Ah, I forgot about it. I handed the box of ice cream over to Xiao Ling-san.

“Heh? From Ming Li? Do I open it?'

Xiao Ling-san opened the box, and some white mist from the dry ice floated out, revealing the ice cream cake beneath it. There was a layer of vanilla ice cream, with lots of purple, red fruits and nuts all over it, and same brown sauce doused over.

“Doici dei Moriti...”

Alice peeked at the contents in the box, muttering.

“Oh? An Italian dessert? Sounds delicious. I'll try it later. And then?”

Xiao Ling-san closed the box, and gave Alice and me a cold look.

“Are you just intending to send ice cream over to us? What about Ming Li herself? Hong Lei and I caused her much trouble, so if there are still any issues...”

“No, we're just here to deliver the ice cream.”

Xiao Ling-san widened her eyes, and I too couldn't help but turn my head towards alice.

“But not to you, Huang Xiao Ling. It's for Hanada Masaru.”

Xiao Ling-san again narrowed her eyes.

“...What do you mean?”

“I'm a NEET detective, a speaker of the dead. A person who strives to dig up the truths hidden under the graves, and reclaim the honor off the dead, to hurt the living”

“What are you trying to get at?”

“In other words, I'm here to see Hanada Masaru.”

“What did you say?”

Xiao Ling-san was trembling for some reason. Perhaps it was because I, listening in on this too, was rattled as well?

“Didn't he fly to Hong Kong? I don't know whether that's true, but he can't possible be,:”

“He's right here.”

Alice slowly raised the hand under the black sleeve and pointed at Xiao Ling-san's chest.

“Hanada Masaru is in your pocket, the cellphone in your pocket. Am I correct?”

What felt like the pain of all the glass windows in the world shattering descended upon the atmosphere in the room. Xiao Ling-san's eyes too showed a frozen skepticism. I did not understand the meaning behind Alice's words, and I turned to stare at her sidelong face again.

“What...do you mean?” I couldn't help but ask, unable to hide my rattled emotions in my words. The detective's sullen face turned towards me.

“Narumi, you did see Huang Xiang Yu and Umeda Kouji personally, right? Think about it. Among those two, who looked injured?”

The black veil swayed according to Alice's question. I held my breath as I recalled. When we received Xiao Ling-san's contact, Yondaime, Min-san and I went to the Zodiac employee dormitory, and in the basement parking lots, met the duo who intended to elope.

“Injured...well...they didn't look really injured there...”

“Right, that's the answer. There were gunshots heard on that night, and there were blood stains in the room and the co-passenger seat, but Huang Xiang Yu and Umeda Kouji were completely unscathed—in that case, there's only one possibility, that the one who was shot was Hanada Masaru.”

I held my arm firmly, trying to suppress the chill rising up my body. Xiao Ling-san's face paled, and she bit her lips hard. Alice continued,

“That's the reason why the co-passenger seat had blood traces on it. Hanada Masaru himself couldn't drive, so he could only give instructions on the co-passenger seat, and had Umeda Kouji drive him towards the clinic in Ookubo. And then, he died there.”

Died.

Hanada Masaru was dead.

Did he really die?

No, wait. Alice...this is weird. This outcome's really weird.

“I can only deduce the truth that happened on that night. The one who fired at Hanada Masaru was Huang Xiang Yu, right? Since Hanada Masaru's a mercenary, there was no way he could have let Umeda Kouji slip through. Xiang Yu might have misunderstood that her bodyguard would kill her bodyguard, and in her haste, shot Hanada Masaru from behind.”

“Wait!”

I interrupted Alice's words without hesitation.

“No, wait, this reasoning's too weird. I-I,”

I did feel my cellphone vibrate in my hand, and I did personally hear his voice.

“I did receive calls from Hanada Masaru! Not only me, even Min-san and Hong Lei did!”

Right, even Xiao Ling-san seated there did receive calls.

Alice's eyes remained gloomy, and shook her head.

“Think back about it. Wasn't the timing almost too perfect when Hanada Masaru called?”

Timing.

It's true that whenever we got new information, Hanada Masaru would call to guide us. It felt as though he was watching over us by the side or something.

But that was not the case.

The one watching over us the entire time wasn't Hanada Masaru.

I lifted my eyes. Xiao Ling-san was seated in front of me.

Xiao Ling-san was always around. When Hanada Masaru first called the office, it was through her phone. When the call was made to me, it was after I visited her. When the call was made to Hong Lei in front of the ramen shop, Xiao Ling-san was present.

“So Hanada Masaru was there.”

Again, Alice pointed at Xiao Ling-san's chest. The latter curled her lips, reaching her hand out, and touched the protruding thing at her chest.

“That night, Hanada Masaru knew that he likely would not survive from his gunshot wounds, and had the doctor try to extend his life for a little longer, using his final moments to give a phone call to Huang Xiao Ling, you. His aim was to have you record his voice. He thought of the possibilities that might happen after he died, trying his best to ensure that Huang Xiang Yu could continue on the run, and leave a message to us without involving 'Hanamaru' was by pretending to be alive. Huang Xiao Ling, it's because of your careful editing and voice manipulation based on the moments that you managed to completely hide the fact that Hanada Masaru was dead.”

Xiao Ling-san remained silent, and would not make any reply, a stoic look remained on her face.

Thus, I instinctively realized that whatever Alice said was the truth. Despite this, I could not help but be skeptical, for I was unwilling to believe this truth.

“Why? Why did he have to do that much? Isn't that too weird?”

“Is there any other reason to it?”

At that moment, Alice suddenly grabbed my thigh firmly. The pain in her heart entered my heart directly.

“There's only one reason to pretend that he's still alive. He didn't wish for anyone to know about this, and more importantly, didn't one a certain person to be sad about this. He felt that , rather have that person cry for him, he might as well have her hate him forever.”

Because,

He didn't want Min-san to know.

He hoped that Min-san would continue to think that he remained alive. To fulfill Hanada Masaru's wish, Xiao Ling-san kept using random phones to revive in front of Min-san, to have her hear his voice.

But I could only continue to shake my head. This truth was too tragic. No matter what happened, nobody could change it...

“This is just...”

My stammering voice slipped out from my throat.

“It's just your own deduction, right? Alice? Like what you said, it's an unconfirmed truth, or something, just a meaningless theory, right?”

I really wished Alice would tell me that, and that she would agree with my words. However, the detective pinched my thigh harder, looking at the floor as she shook her head.

“Think about it carefully, that money that was placed at Matasugahara Tradings, where was it sent from?”

16 million yen.

That money could clear all the debts 'Hanamaru' owed, and was the last gift from Hanada Masaru.

“Wasn't it from Hong Kong? It proves that he's there, and still alive, right?”

“Actually, the Bengya Association always had a bounty on Hanada Masaru, who used to work as a bodyguard for the Huang Coalition.”

My throat was stuffed by a scorching breath.

“That doctor called Choi went to Hong Kong alone, probably bringing a part of Hanada Masaru's body himself, something that could be used as prove. That money was...”

“That's enough, Alice, I understand now.”

I couldn't listen on anymore. Even through the black veil, I couldn't look at the detective's face again, and I couldn't look at Xiao Ling-san's face, while she continued to remain quiet.

What kind of feeling was that? I couldn't help but wonder.

When the scorching bullet was in his heart, when he could practically hear death sneaking up on him, what was Hanada Masaru thinking? Was he thinking of the woman who resembled the wife he so loved, and the daughter he bore with the wife he so loved? He departed for the afterlife, breaking away from his daughter when they did not understand each other, and he never was able to speak to her again. Yet he saved his own voice as data, imagining the moments when he would temporarily revive, conveying his voice, yet his daughter's reply would never reach his ears again. Are you really—

Are you really satisfied with just this?

I sat back dejectedly, but I could feel Alice beside me standing up.

“Thus, I'm just here to deliver that serving of ice cream. That's the last promise made between the Hanadas.”

Hearing those words, my consciousness nearly melted. It was that moment, back when Hanada Masaru came back to visit 'Hanamaru' in April, that he left the final message under the cardboard box.

Next time, when I come back, I'll try some of your ice cream—

In the end, in such a cold place?

Xiao Ling-san never did respond to any of Alice's claims. Right when we were about to leave the room however, she raised the box of ice cream cake, saying.

“Thanks. I'll definitely deliver it to Masaru-san.”

 

We exited the building, and the night air was colder than before. The exhaust noises of the cars pricked my feeble ears. Under the dim road lights, I held the bicycle saddle, and stood there for a long time. Alice grabbed the belt of my duffle coat, and like me, stared silently deep into the dark forest of Shinjuku garden.

The headlights and taillights of the cars passed by in front of us many times, leaving behind scars of light in the dark horizon. A scar vanished, and another would appear, and this continued on over and over again. I didn't have the strength to kick the stand of the bicycle.

“Narumi.”

Alice's feeble mutter felt as though it would be crushed by the car noises.

“It's cold.”

Feeling disbelief, I lowered my head to look at Alice's face.

“...This is the first time I'm hearing you say those words from your mouth, Alice.”

I always thought her body functions might have lacked some sensors to feel cold.

“It feels like, there's a large empty block right in the middle of my body, and that you seem really distant from me. I guess this feeling too can only be described as cold?”

Thinking hard about it, wouldn't running around in fluttery mourning clothes on a November night be a stupid way to getting colds immediately? I removed my duffle coat, and had Alice wear it. The large eyes under the veil looked skeptical.

“U-u? I-I didn't ask you to do this! I'm just saying that it's cold.”

No, I don't understand what you mean. Just wear it.

“And this clothing has some of your body warmth left. It feels disgusting!”

“What's bad about that! It proves that people are alive.”

“What nonsense are you saying?”

After chatting some useless words, I finally had some drive to get up on the bicycle. I kicked the stand off, and Alice continued grumbling as she got up onto the back seat, her arms wrapped around my waist.

The pedals of the bicycle were as heavy as frozen concrete, so we continued forward little by little. The night breeze meeting us from the front wiped my tears into the darkness, and all that was left was regret.

“Oh yeah, Alice...”

“What?”

Alice's voice was right by my ear, and I was slightly relieved.

“So what was the significance of that anyway?”

“What?”

“Everything Hanada Masaru did.”

“For self-satisfaction. So that he'll be able to die happy. I guess he's satisfied now.”

Alice conveyed those words, and truly, those were the worst words from the dead.

“If it's just to protect those still alive, there are other better methods to that. He actually wanted to continue lying, and had everyone be a little hurt.

”Yeah.”

“And Master definitely figured it out a long time ago.”

I felt the hands holding the handlebar freezing, and that they would shatter on first contact. I barely managed to steady the wobbly bicycle, pressing down the brakes as we slowly passed a dark downslope.

“...She knew?”

“Probably...”

“How, w-why—”

“That ice cream cake is called Dolci del Morti. The malt represents the body of Jesus Christ, the grape juice represents the blood of Jesus Christ, while the pomegranates and walnuts represent life and death. It's a pastry the Italians offer to the dead during funerals.”

I gulped.

A pastry for the dead.

Min-san already knew, she knew that the thing Alice requested her to do was for Hanada Masaru, who was no longer on this world.

But even so, she showed a usual expression, like it was a favor, and she handed the cake over to me? . That fortitude caused me to nearly shed tears again. What was that? Really? Why's everyone like this.

“Speaking of which.”

Likely, I was pedaling on the bicycle, and Alice wouldn't be able to hear me sobbing.

“Actually, whatever Hanada Masaru did was for nothing, right? He died like an idiot, and never left, left anything behind.”

“That may be the case.”

 

But as we passed by the train tracks, around the park, and into the familiar dead end of an alley , I inadvertently stopped pedaling.

A few figures could be seen through the light in the night shining past the red curtains.

Nothing was left behind, no, that was a lie. Even this stupid, dull-witted me figured it out.

I heard Ayaka's voice as she repeated the customers' orders, the unruly laughter of the drunk customers, and the flames coming out from a Chinese wok. I approached the shop, and through the gap in the curtain, I could see the gray tank top, the beautiful, bare shoulders, and hear that family voice. Kept you waiting! It's your soy sauce ramen! We have only matcha ice cream today. Anyone who wants it, please raise your hands! You drank too much! I'm not serving you beer anymore! Hey, Ayaka! The gyoza's done! Thank you very much, please come back again...

“it's strange. For some reason, today,”

I could hear Alice mutter,

“I suddenly thought of having some scalding ramen.”

“...Yeah, me too.”

 

And just like that, the story of the man called 'Bear Knuckles' came to an end. I only have a little story about him to tell everyone.

This is a little story born because of him, so I wish to say this ending as discreetly as possible.

During the time Christmas was about to arrive, there was some discussion on the internet regarding Zodiac's portal site. Once Sagittarius was over, the logo on the site changed. It was supposed to be time for Capricorn, but there was the constellation of the Big Dipper, and this caused many internet users to discuss the reasons behind it on the news websites, and message boards.

It seemed however that nobody knew the reason behind it.

The Big Dipper, the 'Ursa Major'[1], was holding a Christmas cake in its clutches, with pomegranates and walnuts toppings. Those that realized that was even fewer.

Every year end, if you're to head to a certain little ramen shop in Tokyo, you'll be able to try this Christmas cake that differs from the usual. If anyone who finishes this story is interested, I do hope that you'll make a trip there. Even till now, the real name of 'Bear Knuckles' remain on the shops' curtains.


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. Or Great Bear


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