“You there! Stop, Tao!”
It was only a minute after I left the cake restaurant.
In the middle of a shopping district, I spotted Tao’s back while she made her way through a crowd of people, and so I shouted towards her.
As Tao flinched and stopped walking, I dexterously slipped through the pedestrians and rushed over to her. I then dragged her by the hand to the side of the road.
“I, Ichirou? Oh~, ya scared me. I thought you were a kidnapper.”
“Is there anyone who would even abduct an ‘Evil Spirit’?! More importantly, why are you out?! I thought I told you that I would guide you around next time!”
“Shiori’s sleepin’, so I thought now’s my chance…it’s all good. Like I said, I ain’t goin’ to the school anymore.”
“You shouldn’t come to a busy street either! Actually, what is Renie doing?! He’s not even supervising you!”
“I slipped away from him. Look, I got here alone by train, ya hear? Ain’t that great?”
I felt a slight headache upon seeing Tao puff up with pride.
After asking her, it seems that a map of the town, a first-aid kit, and a telescope are in her furoshiki. She’s a complete country bumpkin.
“Anyways, have Renie pick you up. Do you have a cellphone? You should call──”
“Don’t wanna. I’m takin’ a look at the town.”
Tao puffed her cheeks like a child and turned the other way. The nerve she has to make things so difficult. What a heinous “Evil Spirit”.
“Don’t be so selfish! The city is a scary place! If anything happens, you’ll end up causing trouble for Yukimiya!”
“Then I wanna go to the arcade, at least. I’ll just head on home after checkin’ the photo booth and claw machine.”
“Ugh, the arcade…? You’ll really go home after that?”
“Yup. When I get another chance, I’ll have you show me ’round, Ichirou.”
If I reject her request, she’ll probably get even fussier.
Unfortunately, it seems I have no choice but to go along. However, I can’t be absent from the cake restaurant for too long.
(I’d like to avoid using this tactic whenever possible, but…I’ll have to bite the bullet.)
With that, I spoke in my mind to Taotie.
Immediately, a plain boy in my likeness manifested next to me while wearing a school uniform. Judging from the way he looked at me, it seemed that he knew why I summoned him.
“Tie, how far away can we communicate remotely?”
“Let’s see, about two kilometers away, I suppose. Any further and there will be some interference. There will also be some delay.”
I wanted to point out the similarity of that to an overseas satellite transmission, but decided against it.
There’s a large arcade on the second floor of an entertainment facility within the business district. It’s not even a kilometer away and should have photo booths and claw machines.
“Listen, Tie. Go back to the cake buffet and keep an eye on Ryuga. You don’t need to say anything. If you speak, Agito will suspect you.”
“Also, you must inform me in detail about what’s going on. If things are getting really bad, I’ll rush over there.”
“You can count on me! Beating that bastard to death will have to wait until next time. I made a promise with Ryuga, after all. I’ll be quiet today, just as she asked me to.”
Despite my slight unease, I gave Taotie a 5,000 yen bill.
The cake buffet costs 1,500 yen per person for each hour. That should be enough to cover even Agito’s share.
That leaves only 2,000 yen on my end, but I should be able to manage.
(I can’t dawdle around. We need to head to the arcade at once!)
Tao said “I ain’t sure what’s goin’ on, but good luck~,” while waving her hand to Taotie, who was entrusted with the protagonists. I then took her with me and power-walked.
I wonder if this date will end without any problems…
I wonder if Taotie will short-change me…
About ten minutes passed.
Finally arriving at the arcade, Tao’s excitement immediately soared.
“A, amazin’! It’s like a dreamland!”
Tao gazed at the vast floor of the arcade, letting out voices of amazement like “Wow~” or “Gosh~”. Since she had the appearance of Yukimiya, she looked like a rich young lady inexperienced with the world.
(We were supposed to get here in five minutes, but we ended taking more time…)
As for why, it’s because this “Evil Spirit” tried to enter each store she saw in the shopping district.
Furthermore, she began to beg by saying “I wanna eat this crepe,” and “I wanna eat this soft serve,” resulting in me having only 1,000 yen left.
These would probably be trivial expenses for a rich girl like Yukimiya, but we can’t afford to take anything out of her wallet. Even if she doesn’t notice, we shouldn’t spend her money without permission.
“Ichirou! What’s that there taiko thing?! I wanna try it!”
“Wait. I don’t have that big of a budget, you know? We should just get the photo booth and claw machine over with already!”
“Ichirou! I wanna play that there racing game too! It’s even got a seat!”
“No! That costs 200 yen! That’s too much for me right now!”
While I was chasing Tao as she travelled all over the floor in excitement, I remotely asked Taotie about the situation. I decided to check every five minutes.
(Tie, what’s going on over there?)
(Tenryouin keeps talking. Also, Ryuuga ended up finding out that it was me. I told her ‘Boss has been having diarrhea since the morning, so he has to constantly make trips to the toilet.’)
(I would have preferred a better reason…well, whatever.)
(Also, it’s amazing how much Ryuuga’s eating. I wonder if she’ll gain weight from eating all of this…I wonder if it’ll show when she wears her bunny girl outfit.
(Stop her if she eats more than ten. Let me know if anything happens.)
(There’s one more thing. This chocolate cake is a work of art.)
(Is that so? Eat as much as you want.)
Cutting off communications for the time being, I led Tao by the hand towards the crane machine corner. It may look like we’re on a date to outsiders, but I was actually just leading the way.
“I’m gonna nab that giant tuna cushion. Now, time to shine!”
“I’m begging you, get it on the first try…!”
Tao moved the claw arm while eyeing the angle with a stern expression. However, the moment the arm grabbed the giant tuna, it unfortunately fell off.
“Good gravy, that didn’t work. This arm’s got zero grip.”
“Instead of lifting it, wouldn’t it be better to hook it onto the claw and drag it into the hole instead?”
“Gotcha. Ya sure are like Kuroda Kanbee, a strategist.”
“I get that a lot.”
“That’s a compliment.”
After spending 500 yen, Tao succeeded in getting the tuna cushion.
Seeing her hug the tuna and yell “I done did it~!” while jumping around was pretty cute, if only because she had the appearance of a beautiful girl.
Come to think of it, I wonder what Tao actually looks like…?
(Boss! We’re leaving the restaurant!)
Taotie informed me of an emergency. Seriously?! That’s bad!
(It seems that we’re going bowling! Ryuuga judged that it would mean talking to Tenryouin less!)
There’s only one bowling alley in this area.
It’s on the third floor of this very entertainment facility we’re in. Perhaps this is a stroke of good luck.
(I see. I’m in the same building, so go ahead and head over there. Once we arrive, let’s swap places. How much money do you have left?)
(Tenryouin paid for himself, so I have 2,000 yen on me!)
If I have to pay for Ryuga as well, then I won’t have enough for more than one game. There’s not much I can do about it now, but I really regret that Tao had to be here today.
(I suppose I’ll sit out and focus on livening things up. There shouldn’t be a problem if the two protagonists compete in a game of bowling.)
While I was trying to work out a plan…
Taotie suddenly cried “Ah!”
(That Tenryouin bastard tried to put his arm around Ryuuga’s shoulder! Ryuuga dodged him though! She’s like a claw machine prize!)
Funnily enough, I could easily picture that scene. I just saw a tuna do the same thing.
What a coincidental parallel.