It didn’t take long for me to sprinkle sauce on the neatly stacked chopped ingredients in the sandwich, then cover it with bread. After that, I collected the carelessly entangled threads in front of me.
Within a minute, dinner was ready.
With that finished, I picked up my tray and moved to the room in my house with the best view of the sunset. There was a river than ran behind the house, making it a bright and open view. It was also the reason why the rent on Grey Ferret street was so expensive.
I placed the tray on the window frame, sat on the very cozy armchair in front of the window, and gazed outside. A rich golden-hued wave waned brightly before my eyes.
My heart which had grown a little restless due to meeting the heroine, became calm again. Like that, I enjoyed a leisurely dinner while watching the sunset, then when I was finished, I stood up.
My feet hit something, and I looked down. A smooth, wooden carved arm fell into my sight.
There were several crumpled mannequin dolls scattered all over the room I was in. Because I had purposely made them to look like real people, there were times when even I was surprised when I came into this room in the dark.
I worked as a coffee shop clerk during the day and at night, I used my ability to work in the underworld. My ability as Arachne was pretty useful so I occasionally received requests and was paid for solving them.
These dolls were also things I’d prepared as part of that. The rumor about a ghost living in the house next door came about because I was a bit careless in using Arachne’s power when I first moved to this Ferret street. I was using threads to move things in the house and manipulating the dolls to act like real people in the empty house next door and that sight was caught by a neighbor. Thanks to that, silly rumors arose about ghosts living in this neighborhood.
However, since someone had now moved into the house next door, the rumors will likely quiet down.
I kicked the doll’s arm on the floor again, shoving it in a corner.
Right. There was no reason for me to particularly involved with the characters in the novel. I can just keep going about my day like I had been doing so far.
That was what I thought to myself quite serenely, at the time.
I didn’t even know that my sweet peace would be completely shattered within less than half a year, of becoming neighbors with the heroine.
Part 3: And that’s how the Villain and I…
It was a night covered in a thick blanket of darkness.
A man staggered along a dark and obscure alley that didn’t even get a ray of moonlight. His breaths were labored as his frame melted into his dim shadow.
“So…noisy. Shut up already.”
Even though there wasn’t anyone around him, the man muttered to himself from time to time, like he was hearing things.(1)
The man’s body was covered in blood, but his clothes were black, and his surroundings were very dark, making it unnoticeable. But surprisingly enough, every drop of the man’s blood that fell to the floor, quickly disappeared without a trace.
Right then, the clouds cleared away, revealing the round full moon behind them. A pair of eyes hidden under a mop of disheveled hair, openly frostily upon being bathed with light from the moon.
His pale face was drenched with cold sweat, but his deep blue eyes shone piercingly like that of a savage beast. His sharp jaw looked slightly stiffer than before like he had grit his teeth.
“I won’t die…so just shut up…”
The man spat out a whisper that seemed to be forced out from tightly clenched teeth. However, it wasn’t long before his body eventually plunged to the floor.
Hearing the urgent voice echoing in his head, the man let out a shallow breath. Even though he wanted to reproach it for being noisy, his throat was tightly clogged like there was a stone lodged in it, and his eyelids kept falling shut. His body felt so heavy, like it was being crushed by gravity.
The urgent voice echoing in his head gradually faded away.
He was just…a little tired.
He was just going to take a little break, then he would get up. He would never allow himself to die so fruitlessly like this.
However, the darkness rushing into him was as sweet as scented poison, and he eventually had no choice but to fall to his knees and succumb to it. He felt his consciousness move farther and farther away and then finally, he closed his eyes.
* * *
There was a coffeehouse at the intersection on Blue Ferret St. It wasn’t on a busy main street nor was the shop itself particularly good. In addition, the most important thing there, the coffee, didn’t taste especially great, however, the store always had a constant stream of customers from its opening hour.
The coffeehouse’s business was not always like this. It first began to emerge as a popular touring spot about two years ago. The reason for that was a certain person who was secretly called Ferret’s celebrity.
“Ms. Yuri, two more coffees, please.”
“Yes, please wait a moment.”
Immediately after the calm, monotonous rang out, a head of dark hair loosely tied into a bundle, shook softly. The clerk, who had received the customer’s order began to move her arms. The late evening glow cast a distant luster on her red eyes as they gleamed with indifference beneath her long, black eyelashes. A pair of beautiful hands, with skin like porcelain, was revealed under her sleeve as her slender wrists moved gracefully, causing people’s eyes to automatically follow them.
Even though she was dressed in a simple outfit with no decorations or ornaments, she gave off a strange feeling of extravagance.
It was that beautiful appearance of hers that made people have no choice but to stop and look, but she also had some inexplicable mysterious charm about her.
The woman whose calm expression revealed nothing about what she was feeling, was a clerk who began working here two years ago. Her name was Yuri, and other things about her, such as her age and background, was unknown. Because of that, people simply guessed that she was in her early twenties, based on her appearance. However, they were also people who speculated that she might be much older than that because of the mature but indifferent aura around her when she interacted with people.
“Your coffee is ready.”
In any case, the coffeehouse clerk, Yuri, was a celebrity on Ferret Street. It would be safe to say that most people came to the coffeeshop to see her.
The reason why the coffee house was now teeming with people despite its sparse business only two years ago, was thanks to word of mouth which had spread far and wide.
Furthermore, the coffee taste which was only manageable before had changed into something decent since Yuri came. However, strangely enough, the taste of Yuri’s coffee had its ups and downs. Sometimes, it tasted unbelievably good and at other times, it tasted awful, like grinded medicine. Still, because there were people who claimed they would drink anything she gave them, even if it was a muddy water, the café owner had no choice but to let it be.
“Oh? Ms. Yuri, you’re working this late today? Where’s Mr. Gilbert?”
A regular customer asked just as he entered the store, and saw that Yuri was still at the coffeehouse even though it was past the time she usually got off work.
“He wasn’t feeling well, so he went back early today.”
Gilbert was the owner of the coffeehouse. He was a middle-aged man who ran the store on his own and gave off a very warm impression.
When Yuri first began to work here, there were customers who occasionally made poor jokes about pairing him up with her because he was still single long after his wife died. But every time that happened, Gilbert got very angry, because to him, Yuri was like his only daughter, so he found such talk disgusting. Gilbert’s impression was usually extremely gentle, but the man was built like a bear so when he got heated, he seemed very sinister.
Thanks to that, when he became angry, the few people making poor jokes quickly shut their mouths. Of course, because of their pride, or because they didn’t want to show that they were overwhelmed by Gilbert’s attitude, they would clear their throats, acting like they were just gentlemen making a joke.
As a result, Yuri didn’t even get a chance to get angry because of this issue. But even if that wasn’t the case, Yuri had never once raised her voice while working at the coffeehouse. Because of that, at first, there were some who thought she had a docile personality and deliberately provoked her more.
Every time Yuri was faced with a garbage-like customer, she looked at them with a particularly icy gaze and peered at them longer than usual. When that happened, the ones facing her red eyes felt an unknown chill crawl over their skin and were forced to shut up.
Even if they couldn’t understand it, their stomachs clenched and a chill ran down their spine, as if they had become a prey fearlessly raising their head before the jaws of a predator.
And like that, before you knew it, the working environment at the coffeehouse became naturally pleasant.
Anyways, after wrapping up another busy day at work, Yuri left the store.
1. The word used here stands for “auditory hallucinations” but I wasn’t sure how to weave that phrase in there so we’re stuck with “hearing things”