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T-Toh

Swinging Seven Days vol. 4 (part 4)

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As their part-time work ended, the nun gave them compensation as her way of expressing thanks, and the two left the church.
Aoko had an errand at the station, so they travelled down the same road for now.

"Still, you really are practiced at doing part-time work."

Twilight soon peeked over the horizon.
More than likely to be speaking her mind instead of starting a conversation, Aoko said those words.

"I see. Coming from you, Aozaki, that makes me a bit happy."

Soujuurou smiled profusely.
Truth be told, earning wages always made him look happy with himself, but what made him happy from it was a mystery.

"L-Listen, now. I'd like it if you didn't get ahead of yourself when everyday's always a hurdle for you. Zero cutbacks as far as I can see, so there are no reductions to your dilemma as of yet."
"Oh. Talking about school saddens me."

Soujuurou dejectedly hung his head.
Even if he could handle part-time work, he was always out of his depth when it came to lessons at school. Exams were out of the question, since catching up with daily lessons within the span of one day was next to impossible for him.

"Aozaki, do you dislike those with poor grades?"
"...... . Well, hearing about someone who's slow all the time can be tiring, obviously. But going way back with you, I had nothing to do with any of this from the start.
Dealing with a huge handicap falls directly under our teachers' line of work, so it's your responsibility to answer to it. Part-timing is no big deal, but when you're home just for lesson preparation, please make sure you come through."

"Absolutely. The people in school are good people on the whole."
"Great. That's good to know, but---- they're all good to you?"

At the exchange, Aoko tilted her head and wondered why those words were reflected back onto her.
She decided that maybe it was Soujuurou's way of showing his appreciation.

"----That reminds me. Just so I'm aware, what other kind of part-time jobs do you have?"
"In terms of where, I have plenty at the shopping district. Like the fish market and the flower shop. Ah, but I went as far as the neighboring town yesterday. I work at the amusement park."

She was afraid he would have an answer like that. The school authorities only gave him permission to work at the shopping district in Misaki.
There was one thing mentioned at the end that had little or nothing to do with Soujuurou Shizuki, however.

"You mean Yashirogi's amusement park!?"
"That's it. I carry out demolished signs and thingamajigs that aren't in use anymore. It really tires me out, that."
"Wow......yeah, that would be a test of your strength, wouldn't it?"

This time, Aoko was seriously impressed.
It was rare for a student to make casual work out of transporting machines being used for the amusement park.

"But that's not bad at all. I never once went to KitsyLand myself. I live here in Misaki."

Aoko looked in the direction of the neighboring town.
They could barely make out only the Ferris wheel from here.
The round, steel-framed mechanism shined upon by the setting sun seemed like a forgotten grave-marker.

"......I see. Is that for financial reasons?"
"Hrmfff----"

At that, Aoko stifled a giggle.
Though knowing it would be rude to him, Soujuurou seemed to have caused her to laugh.

"Not at all, don't get the wrong idea.
To put it simply, I just never had the free time to go there since it was full of people after its grand opening. If it's an issue that can be solved with money, I can just go there now."

Aoko showed him the envelope with the money they earned from part-timing at the church.
As a gesture that had promise but without actually saying she was going, Soujuurou frowned angrily.

(「俺と一緒にね」)

"Then there's nothing stopping you from going there right now, is there?"
"Thanks. But it's no use telling me that. I guess you haven't noticed, being what you are. But that place has gone bankrupt. It's been more than two years now since their gardens became dry, isn't it?"
"----What?"

The fact that there were never any visitors dawned on Soujuurou.
The student council president was disbelieving, and she also felt a small bit of delight.
Normally, she berated him for not thinking things through therefore he was always clueless. But just for this evening, she seemed to see it as somewhat smile-provoking.
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Parting ways with Aoko Aozaki, he buried himself in his lesson preparation for school upon coming back to his apartment. In the blink of an eye, it was already time for work.
While the differences between the mountain and the city were that incalculable, the most significant point was the value of time.
Aside from here, time just went by without warning.
Putting away the reference book that he had trouble understanding, Soujuurou went out that night into town, thereby simply summing up his day.

Crossing the International Date Line, the night fell further into deep sleep.
Turning up his collar and protecting his neck from the winter air as it got colder, Soujuurou made his way home.
Looking around, there were no dogs searching for food scraps, and no one out for a quick shopping trip.
Even the lone convenience store nearby closed at around 11 o'clock, so none of the residents would be out purchasing goods.

"----Phew."

His energy spent, he took a noticeably deep breath.
There were no signs of people. The streets were littered with artificial objects.
Brighter than the starlight, the blue fluorescent light lit up the darkness.
Without knowing it, such a thing set off an uneasiness in Soujuurou.

"......This is pitiful. It's not unusual for the night to be scary, is it?"

His back hunched against the cold air while shivering, he put bravery into his words.
'Stay away from the dark.'
'Stay away from places where there are no people.'
Either out of ill luck, or just the pitiful expression he made. All the people that Soujuurou had met with so far had all given him those warnings.

"Even so, there's not a lot of point to them."

No matter how it was said, to 'stay away from the dark' was not getting through to him.
There was nowhere in the city/here that was not illuminated.
To say nothing of the main street, electric light filled the residential area, which stood apart from the hustle and bustle of the station's front.

Frightened of the frightful. The nature of frights on the mountain was different in the city.

He worried that the difference was that of the rules acting as the source.
The system of reward and punishment continued being nothing but gently systematized.
If he had to speak of what frightened him, the way he still had no complete understanding of the rules was what made his country-bred self afraid.

Back on the mountain, those who went against the rules paid the penalty at that point in time.
For instance, animal trails. Once a person encroached upon their territory without recognizing them, naturally, they would bear the brunt of the resident animal's assault.
In this way or manner, the gaffe committed by Soujuurou would come right back onto him immediately.
In the absence of a case where who punishes whom, once a rule had been violated, it would fall to the person's mishap to take punishment's form.

He thought the city was just a little vague in that area.
And so, just what was right and what was wrong---- he had yet to know the deadly conclusion.

"......But, inherently the same, maybe."

The effect of simple reward and punishment was just slow.
For further comparison, no one was put in charge of the village's maintenance of public peace in his hometown.

Instead of employing kindness to human beings, the city installed someone to mete out punishment to humans who broke the rules.
Crime and punishment had the same meaning back on the mountain. With the two being treated separably for the town, it seemed there would be other people waiting for punishment after they had committed crimes.

Places that must not be entered.
Incidents that must not be seen.
When the rules were broken, the rule of society was that someone must come to deliver punishment.

On those grounds---- to live in safety here in town meant to not interfere with the circumstances of other people.

The people concerned for Soujuurou have all unanimously told him to 'stay away', since 'no one will come help you if you don't'.

"......Uh. Oops, I almost took another shortcut."

And so, climbing over the fence of someone's house when they meant to keep intruders away, going directly to his apartment just on the opposite side posed a risk for him.
The person inside would call for the police if he woke them up by accident, and no one would most certainly come to help him.

(Abyssus abyssum invocat)

Often with a misdirected view of the city, this day also peacefully ended for Soujuurou Shizuki.

Without falling asleep right away, he went to bed gazing at the sky through his window.
His arrival to the city initially had him trembling at the sight/thing.
Nearly all things were conveniences that provided the solution with a single switch.
Living next to his wall, people that he only knew by face were fresh to live with.
It all vanished when he looked up towards the night sky.

'......Is a sky like that there, too?'

Without paying attention, he remembered the words that barely came out.

Such dark stars.
Such a cramped sky.
A night in which the stars were visible was not found here.
To struggle with whether or not he stood any chance of surviving this place----

Even now, the uneasiness that gripped him on that night never changed.

"----"

His eyelids drifted shut.
Unlike his feeble problems, his body's tiredness from his work and his studies was simple, and he slipped into a deep, quiet sleep.
-------------------------------------------------------END OF CHAPTER-------------------------------------------------------
This ends Chapter 1.5: Swinging Seven Days. Thanks for reading.

THOUGHTS(?): Soujuurou the wild child

Updated July 18th, 2016 at 05:30 AM by T-Toh

Tags: マホヨ
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Comments

  1. ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
    You're a treasure for TLing these bits, thank you.
  2. T-Toh's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaRandomUsername
    You're a treasure for TLing these bits, thank you.
    Why you're welcome, Irun, it was fun to do these.