The Straw Millionaire, the Cat, and the Princess Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 2

Unlike me, who was restless and unsettled, Mars calmly started eating cup ramen with a fork while gazing at the gaming device. After hesitating for a moment, he picked up chopsticks, and at that moment, there was a loud “beep” sound from the gaming device, causing me to drop the chopsticks.
[Dear “Tonbo”]
That message appeared on the screen, and after that, the notification sound from the gaming device ceased.
“What’s that?”
“It’s all garbled.”
Normally, I wouldn’t open such a suspicious message, but no matter what I tried, touching the edges of the screen or pressing buttons, the gaming device’s screen remained frozen. There was no choice. I took a slow deep breath and tapped the garbled message. In that moment, geometric patterns appeared on the screen… and a powerful flash burned my eyes.
In the white-out vision, I could only hear the pounding of my heart loudly.
“Tonbo! Are you okay!?”
“I… I’m dizzy…”
Slowly, my vision began to return, and I could vaguely see Mars peering at me with concern. At least, it didn’t seem like I had gone blind or anything. As I let out a sigh of relief, a wave of exhaustion washed over me.
“What’s wrong?”
“It won’t boot up anymore…”
Earlier, the game console flashed brightly, then the screen went completely black. No matter how many times I pressed the power button or held it down, the device remained unresponsive.
I closed the screen and returned to the junkyard, feeling exhausted. For some reason, my head felt heavy, and even sitting up was a challenge.
“Hey Tonbo, what about ramen?” Mars asked.
I reached out to grab the ramen to bring it into the junkyard, but instead, I dropped my hand and closed my eyes. I couldn’t shake off the overwhelming drowsiness that seemed to drag my consciousness into a murky abyss.
“I’m… going… to sleep…”
Muttering those words, I let go of consciousness. It felt like I could hear the sound of wind gusting in the distance.
In that state, I was nothing like myself. I was taller, more robust, and exuded confidence as I effortlessly managed everything with my large hands, always wearing a bold, self-assured smile.
Standing at the top of a massive organization, I was relied upon by people of all ages and genders, adored by countless companions, and faced intimidating adversaries without flinching. I resolved various conflicts and issues that were brought to me from all directions with unwavering resolve. I shared the same name and similar appearance as myself, yet I was entirely different. That version of myself, observed through a single night’s dream, was remarkable.
When I woke up in the dim light of early morning, I was still just me – a university student, indecisive, timid, and lost. However, the image of that strong and resolute version of myself from the dream was vividly imprinted in my mind.
Feeling a push from within, I determinedly grabbed my smartphone. I decided to research things I had been too hesitant or afraid to pursue before.
I hadn’t gained knowledge or memories from the dream, but the courage I lacked in my current self seemed to come from the actions and decisions I made in that dream.
“Oh? Tonbo, you’re up early today,”
Mars said, crawling out from under the kotatsu into the dimly lit room. He looked at me with a curious expression, surprised that I, who usually slept in, was awake before him.
“Yeah, I was planning to go cancel my fixed-term deposit today, so I was looking up how to do it.”
“Cancel your fixed-term deposit? But you always said you wouldn’t touch that money.”
“It’s okay. I think it’s time to use it.”
My parents had diligently saved up a little over a million yen for emergencies. It took years to accumulate, but spending it would only take a moment. Despite thinking that using it would make life easier, I had been too afraid to touch it until now. Today, however, I had made up my mind to use it with courage.
“I want tools, a generator, food, repair parts for weapons and armor, a substantial amount of water, anything we need without hesitation. We can earn it back.”
“…Hmm, what’s gotten into you, Tonbo? You seem different.”
“…Well, you might not believe me, but I had a dream last night.”
“A dream?”
Mars blinked in confusion.
“In the dream, I was older and muscular, confident and decisive – everything I’m not.”
“Huh? That sounds like a different person.”
“But, it was still me. Same face, same name. Strong in fights, sharp in mind, everyone relied on me. A real Superman. And in that dream, I thought, ‘There’s no way I’d leave that fixed-term deposit untouched.'”


I tried to mimic the daring smile I saw in the dream, but it came out awkward. Mars didn’t say anything, only gaping and yawning widely.
“To be honest, the Tonbo in that dream didn’t seem like Tonbo at all,” he finally remarked.
“Well, I guess not.”
If it weren’t for sharing the same face and name, I wouldn’t have recognized it as my own dream. Feeling a bit embarrassed, I scratched my cheek, and Mars continued, “But…”
“That’s good, isn’t it? Maybe Tonbo, unexpectedly, if he continues this business and becomes seasoned, he might really become that kind of man?”
“Hmm? You think so?”
“You know, after a few years out of school, when you meet friends, there are always things that have changed a lot. Tonbo might be the same.”
“Huh? You think so? Maybe.”
When someone tells you something like that, you start to believe it. That day, after finishing university class, I immediately cancelled my regular deposit to raise some funds. Then, to decide what to buy, I went straight to the dungeon to ask the regulars for their opinions.
“Well, the brand should be Makita, nothing else is acceptable.”
As Ganki showed images of power drills on his phone, I diligently took notes on everything.
“I see, Makita…”
“With Makita, you can reuse batteries for various things, so you should buy a few. There are different voltages to watch out for, and there are cheap aftermarket batteries from overseas…”
“I see, I see.”
As I conducted my survey, Mars was having a lively conversation with Kemu-san, the apathetic one. I wish he’d stop, as it’s making it hard to concentrate…
“What? Your partner suddenly got motivated?”
“He says he’s got some future goals.”
“Oh, that’s good. So, what’s the goal? A professional baseball player?”
“He wants to become a reliable man.”
“Hey, you’re already quite dependable. How far do you plan to go?”
“If you leave him alone, he might just go to the ends of the universe.”
“So, these welding gloves are from this brand… Tonbo, are you listening?”
“Oh, sorry…”
Getting praised shifts my focus… As I organized my notes between two burly men, I heard someone approaching from behind the desk. Looking up, I saw Abukuma-san in a shiny red baseball jacket.
“What are you all doing here?”
“Ah, Abukuma-san, we’re discussing what kind of tools Tonbo should buy, so everyone’s giving their opinions…”
“Ah, he’s buying tools for you guys. What are you getting?”
“Well, I’m getting a bit of everything… but are these specialized tools usually sold at regular home improvement stores?”
As I asked, Kemu-san scratched under his chin while smoking a cigarette.
“Well, I used to be a plumber, so I already had some, and I bought some online.”
“We buy online too, but is it okay to buy from procurement agents online? You know, we usually prefer cash transactions… it’s more convenient.”
Kemu-san said with hesitation, but indeed, that was true. Since we’re doing odd jobs without a permit… even without taxes or permits, selling food and beverages without any notification would still cause problems. Until we have the stamina to clear everything, we’d prefer to do things quietly. Fortunately, the occasional divers from the Self-Defense Force who pass by have been ignoring us so far, but if we continue like this, the day will come when they’ll question us.
“Well, I bought everything from a big home improvement store near the leader’s place… ah, if it’s okay on my day off, should I take you to the big one in Ota-ku? You can choose the types of bits and stuff.”
“Huh? Is that okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll drive you there. Oh, and there’s a Costco nearby, want to go there too?”
“Absolutely… yes!”
Jumping at the offer, I nodded, but then I suddenly felt a slap on my shoulder. Turning to the side, I saw Kemu-san grinning as he smoked his cigarette.
“Lucky you, getting escorted by such a pretty lady.”
“T-That’s not the case…”
Seeing that, Abukuma-san made an indescribable disgusted face and took a step back.
“He’s seriously an uncle, isn’t he? That’s harassment, definitely harassment.”
“Ooh, scary…”
“Do you say things like that to your daughter? You’ll make her hate you.”
“Well, that’s… um… yes…”
Grinning Kimu-san seemed greatly affected by Abukuma-san’s words and bowed his head while smoking a cigarette.

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