Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Part 3 – Tarte Tatin Secret
Chapter 9 – The Task at Hand
Though they were interrupted mid-conversation by a number of customers who came to the front store, Sui had managed to learn his job through on-hand experience.
At around two in the afternoon, Kasa suggested they take a short break. He turned the signs around temporarily and the two went up to the second floor.
“Um, is it really ok to close the store like this…?” Sui asked as Kasa prepared some tea.
“You sound like Red,” Kasa replied and laughed.
“Just so you know, we’re always in the black.1 So there’s nothing to worry about~” He poured the beautiful, amber-colored tea into a white porcelain teacup.
“Sui-kun, you like pretty things, right? Things that sparkle. When you see something like that, your eyes light up.”2
He did like pretty things, but this was the first time someone had pointed it out.
“I guess that’s part of the reason Red brought you here. That guy would have definitely noticed it.”
“Come to think of it, Red-san didn’t say anything about my lacking facial expressions either.”
“Well, you wouldn’t want to be told that by a guy who has half of his face covered.”
Sui gave a wry smile to Kasa, who grinned and made fun of Red.
“But it helped me out and made me feel really happy. Of course, Kasa-san is like that as well. What you said earlier also made me happy.”
“Am I a bonus prize?”
Kasa cackled when Sui strongly denied it.
“Sui-kun likes Red, huh?”
I like him. Is what he was going to say but the words wouldn’t come out.
That’s weird. Why?
While Sui was confused, Kasa looked at him and muttered, “How green.”3
Even when Sui looked around, he couldn’t find anything green close to him.
“There’s nothing green here though…?”
“Buwahaha, come on, don’t make me laugh.”
Sui had a lot of question marks floating around in his head, but Kasa just grinned at him.
“Speaking of which, what’s the deal with this thing you brought?” Kasa looked at the Tarte Tatin sitting on a plate next to the tea.
Sui had been entrusted with delivering the leftover tart from yesterday as a present-slash-snack. He told Kasa the gist of the story.
“An outing?” Kasa tsukkomied in exasperation. “Well, I can somehow understand his ulterior motives. That guy’s also trying his best. No, is it just bad?”
Kasa brought a forkful of the Tarte Tatin to his mouth. “Damn it, it’s delicious!” He let out a strange curse as he gobbled the tart up.
After their short break ended, it was decided that Sui would hurry back to the library by himself. Kasa said he was going to work in the room at the west side of the front shop. The room at the east side seemed to be where the paintings that were to be sold were hung.
Speaking of which, Sui had seen the paintings, but he still hadn’t witnessed them being sold.
Maybe Kasa could tell how curious Sui was because he said, “If you do a good job with the rest of the work for today, I’ll show you a special painting. Well, I mean, it’s for sale, so if you want to, you can just see it at any time.”
Sui was told to come find him in the west room if something happened, then Kasa went to the back of the library.
The people that came to borrow books varied from quiet to kind to scary. All of them watched over Sui’s uncertain movements without reproaching him. There were even people among them who cheered him on. “A new guy? Good luck,” they said.
Though the work he was not used to took more time than expected, Sui continued to work. Even then, he didn’t find it hard but rather enjoyable. Catching a glimpse of a story as he inspected the books was fun and he wanted to get the chance to properly read them next time. As expected, Sui liked stories and books.
But, in the middle of the work the thought ‘I wonder where Red is right now’ kept crossing his mind. He was probably holed up in his room, working like always, but it bothered Sui.
When he had those thoughts, Sui would vigorously shake his head and try to focus on the task at hand.
He decided to ask the people here about his grandmother after he had gotten used to the job. After all, it would probably be more efficient to ask the people visiting the library than to wander about Akebi asking around and getting lost.
Thinking that, Sui weathered through the remaining hour of work with renewed enthusiasm.
“Good work! No, seriously, you worked hard today.” Looking at Sui’s worn-out face, Kasa gave him a pitiful smile.
“It was fun but hard.”
“You did a really good job for your first time, huh? You filled the forms out properly and did a good job on the organization and inspection too. Though I’m somewhat curious about the candies on the reception desk.”
“There were a number of people that said they were cheering me on.” Sui put the candy that was left on the desk in his mouth.
“It says fried rice flavored candy.4 Whoever gave this to you has a unique taste, don’t they?”
“This, it tastes good,” Sui said, and Kasa just kept staring at him. “Do you want some?”
“Strange things are a pass for me,” Kasa replied.
“But you’ve already become a billboard librarian, huh? That’s amazing.”
“I haven’t become one…”
“Honestly, I didn’t think you’d make it this far with the work, but Sui-kun’s a fast learner. You really saved me! Thanks!”
Then, as promised, Kasa took Sui to the room where Red’s paintings were being sold. They were perfectly finished and displayed in frames like in a museum.
I really like the paintings Red makes. Sui was enchanted.
The frames Kasa had made also went well with Red’s paintings. The two seemed to have perfect compatibility after all.
“That’s right,” Kasa, who had also been looking at the paintings, suddenly turned to Sui. “There was one more perk, wasn’t there?”
Seeing Kasa abruptly touch the eyepatch on his right eye, Sui recalled that he had promised to tell him the secret behind his eye.
“Have you heard anything about the cloth Red wears over his eyes?”
“I’ve heard that… there’s something wrong with them and that he’s undergoing treatment.”
“Uh-huh. That guy is like that.”
“Is it the same for Kasa-san?”
“Not really. This is-” Kasa flipped his eyepatch up.
As Kasa had said, there was nothing wrong with his eye. But, in contrast with the bluish tinge of his left eye, the right iris was yellow.
“This is a phenomenon that occurs when a child is born between a magician and a regular human. Does it look a bit weird?”
Sui, who had been staring unconsciously, averted his eyes in a fluster.
“You don’t need to worry about it,” Kasa laughed. “It’s not a secret or anything big really. I might take the eyepatch off here or when I’m in the middle of work, so I just thought you should know since we work together now. Wearing the eyepatch is quite tiring. Were you surprised? Do you think it’s disgusting?”
Sui shook his head from side to side in a panic.
“I was surprised, but I would never think such a thing.”
“Ahahaha. Sorry, sorry. I asked a nasty question. I don’t really mind it, but it seems to scare small children. I like children and have no intention of scaring them, so I ended up wearing this eyepatch.”
“Also,” Kasa tilted his head downwards a bit, “there’s a magician’s country a long way away from here where I go to replenish my stock. The society there is especially merit-based. It’s not that my power is weak because I’m a half, but there are some people that think so when they see my eyes. The eyepatch is a preventative measure against trouble. Akebi is peaceful though, and stuff like that doesn’t happen here.” He flashed his usual smile.
Sui had heard a bit about the magician’s country from Red, but it seemed that it was not a country overflowing with romance. From Kasa’s words, he could tell that he didn’t really like it there. It seemed to be a harsh society that Sui couldn’t even imagine after having walked around the peaceful Akebi.
“Well, we… that place doesn’t suit the people of Akebi so we made our home-base here. There are some that suit that place though.”
“I still don’t know a lot about it but I also think this town is wonderful. The sunrise is beautiful.”
“You don’t find it boring that the sky never changes?”
“It changes with the formation of the clouds.”
“Well, yeah.” Though he grumbled in exasperation, Kasa’s lips relaxed in satisfaction.
“I also think that this is a good town. It’s easy to reside in and easy to live in. Currently, it’s especially fun. Since both you and Red are here. Sui-kun should just come live in Akebi – just kidding.”
Sui was blindsided by the words Kasa had cheerfully thrown out.
“What’s wrong?” Kasa looked at Sui, who had gone quiet, with concern.
Sui showed him a smile. “It’s nothing.”
Just, I remembered something I’d forgotten.