21. Nice Smile
After stopping by the convenience store, I went to see the Goddess.
“Dear Goddess, are You at home?”
『“What’s with that rude calling! You think it would sound better if you added “dear”? Also, what did you mean by am I home or not? This is a Shrine! Do you think this is a house? Do you think that I’ll come out of the door? Do you think you can ring the bell here? What? Are you perhaps in the middle of passing around a circular of the neighborhood association to your neighbors?”』
“No, no. I mean, I don’t know the right word. More than that, look. I bought ‘Kintsuba’ and ‘Domyoji Sakura Mochi’ this time. which one is better?” [TN: Both are sweets, more information below]
『”Remember, I’m known as the ‘Goddess of Misfortune’, so be more respectful or you may get a bad deal. Also, I’ll have the Kintsuba. Hmm, I like the weight of it.”』
“Kintsuba, is it? Alright. Ah, I brought a drink today. Here, ‘Koi-sencha’.’” [TN: Koi-sencha is a strong sencha (green tea processed in Japanese fashion)]
『“Thank you, MUNCH!! MUNCH!!, very much. You, MUNCH!! MUNCH!!, remembered it well.”』
Has Your anger subsided? More than that, She has already put it in Her mouth…!
“Well, of course, I remember it. It was yesterday after all.”
『”Speaking of which, why do you come every day? Are you that lonely for not seeing me one day?”』
The Goddess was looking at me while smiling.
There was a red bean skin on the corner of Her mouth, but I didn’t dare to say it.
“It’s not like that.”
『“So, you were so nervous that you couldn’t talk to the girls properly, is that it? On top of that, you made a funny laugh of nervousness like “Dufufu”, and now feeling helpless, is that it?”』
“That way of laughing, I’ve never done it. Or rather, the girl was more nervous than me, so I was able to talk quite well. That aside, today, there was a group decision, and I asked everyone to write a self-introduction, but…”
『”Self-introduction? Did problems arise or something?”』
“Yeah, I guess, just a little. Since I read it, I’ve been wondering about the low social status of girls outside the special ward and the family belief of girls in the special ward. I, I don’t really understand it.”
『”……I see, I think there is such info in your memory. But, the fact that you still came here after knowing that means, you want to know something other than what is in your memory?”』
“Perhaps you can put it that way. I mean, even among the same classmates, the girls from the special ward are in the higher standing and the girls from outside the special ward are in the lower standing, right after school starts. And the girls from outside the special ward just accept that disparity, like it’s natural……”
From the self-introductions, I noticed that some of them wrote it in a way as if they had a status system in school.
And the original “Taketo Souya” didn’t seem to have much interest in such things, and there were only a few memories about it.
Social standing in a high school class… Normally I would laugh at such a joke, but it didn’t seem to be a joke here.
After all, no one here would dispute that.
『”Yesterday we talked about the history of this world. Today….. Right. Let’s say, suppose now that a certain man is dating a ‘powerless woman’ who lives in the special ward.”』
“Well, it’s a common occurrence.”
A story where a man happened to meet someone who happened to be in such a situation, was nothing new or strange. It was something plausible.
『“Let’s say the woman works…… at a medium-sized company. There are other women who are interested in the man. That’s just natural after all. So, Do you think she would use her authority powers to get the man who’s dating that powerless woman?”』
“Hmm… It’s about influence, isn’t it? I guess she’ll use it. Thinking that she will keep watching over the other person without using it… no, I don’t think that will happen.”
『”Is that so? Suppose that the use of power goes unnoticed behind the scenes, and that the means are actually legal. The woman may be transferred outside the special ward or even dismissed after being transferred. The man cannot follow outside the special ward. The man doesn’t know if he will continue the relationship or break up, but anyway, he will be forced to make a pretty tough choice. In other words, by dating a woman who has no power, there is a possibility that both of them will be unhappy.”』
“Yes, that’s right. If the woman becomes unhappy, so may the man.”
『“Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all too often these days. If a woman doesn’t have the power to protect a man, not only herself, but she can make the man unhappy as well.”』
Of course, the Goddess said that it wasn’t always the case.
But any 10% or 20% chance wasn’t small at all, it was a pretty big risk.
“So, to the other woman, the lineage is important?”
『”It doesn’t have to be the woman herself. It can be her parents, her relatives, her company, or whatever. As long as she has some kind of backing, the risk is greatly reduced just by having such a person on her side. As long as she has an ally who can fend off any spear from the side, she can have peace of mind when dating a man.”』
And on the other hand, if you are with a woman who has no backing, misfortune will befall you too, is it?
It sounds like some case that happened in Heian Period (794-1185)
If I’m not mistaken, it’s the story called “The Tale of Genji”, or something like that…? Anyway…
“In other words, when choosing a woman, it’s better to choose someone who has some sort of backing?”
『”Well, you could say, it’s almost essential? Of course, if the man himself has a strong ally, it doesn’t matter.”』
If I’m not mistaken, Atsushi said that he decided on the members based on the parent’s occupation… He must have chosen the girls with backing.
『“This is true even within the special ward, and even more so outside the special ward. After all, you can say, that they’re living outside because they don’t have any power, so it’s only natural that the people from there, naturally think that they’re inferior.”』
“What if I say, “people are equal”, to them?”
『”I think they’ll reply, “you’re good at joking”.”』
Today, at home, I plan to carefully read their self-introductions.
But even before reading it all, I’ve realized one thing.
That, they are creating a hierarchy within the school even if they don’t mean to do it.
And the girls outside the special ward, think of it as something natural.
But, yeah, surely, they don’t have evil intentions.
After all, that way of thinking is normal in this world.
『”Have your doubt been cleared?”』
“Yeah, thank you. I’ll take my time and think about it.”
『”Is that so? Good… Ah, the next time you come, I don’t mind having some fruit, you know?”』
“Right, fruit is the standard for offerings.”
Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen watermelons, grapes, persimmons, etc. offered at Buddhist altars, so it’s not that unexpected…
I said so and left the shrine.
On a whim, I went to the convenience store again and bought some Takoyaki, before going home.
“Moe-chan, Saki-chan, it’s a souvenir. Let’s eat together with Onii-chan, okay?”
I baited two of my cousins with Takoyaki.
“How’s school? There aren’t any boys, right? Aren’t you sad?”
Both went to a girls’ elementary school in the Special Ward. As a hierarchy, it could be said that it was in the lower rank among those in the Special Ward.
“Yes, but it’s fun.”
“I’m not sad.”
A cheerful answer came back.
Really? Are you really okay? not sad? not lonely? I don’t know if this is their honest feeling or if they’re trying to be strong.
“Alright, why don’t we go out together next time?”
The movement of the two suddenly stopped. Takoyaki dropped from the tip of Moe-chan’s toothpick, but Moe-chan didn’t notice.
“Is it really okay? Really?”
“Of course. Also, you know, when I was an elementary student, Nee-san often helped me study, so what about I help you study?”
When I smiled after saying so, they both nodded with their mouths half-open.
Well, I’ve already guessed that the social hierarchy thing is extending to children too.
But… as expected, those in the lower ranks are forced to endure more.
“Okay, you can eat Onii-chan’s share too.”
” “Thank you very much” “
Moe-chan and Saki-chan said so with a smile.
And, it was the first time I saw their pure smiles.
“I’m home. Ah, you both have come back already… hm? This smell is…”
Sis was back. And I forgot to buy her share of Takoyaki.
“Hey, Moe-chan and Saki-chan, did Take-kun buy you takoyaki? Hmm… That’s great～, must be del～icious, hmm～, must be ni～ce, fumm～……”
For the first time, I felt like I had seen Sis smile as if she was a robot.
Seeing that, I thought that next time, I should definitely buy one for Sis without forgetting.
Kitsuba is a sweet bean paste covering red beans. It’s really sweet.
Domyoji Sakura Mochi, is a Kansai-style Sakura Mochi (the mochi made with glutinous rice flour) that is shaped round and the filling is red bean. There’s another style which is, Kanto-style Sakura Mochi (the mochi made with rice flour) that is shaped like crepe and the filling is also red bean.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.