The Straw Millionaire, the Cat, and the Princess Volume 1 Chapter 5 part 2

“I was frozen solid, and Tonbo helped me out. I’m not saying I don’t like it. Tonbo in dreams do the same thing, right?”
 
“I don’t know about Tonbo in dreams… But I want to help. Sorry, Mars, if my goal may not be aligned with your goal of getting a spaceship. ……”
 
“Tonbo, do you know how much a spaceship costs? I never thought it would be easy to get one.”
 
Mars said, laughing, and patted my shoulder with his paw.
 
“Hey, it might take a while to get you a body, but I’ll keep the TV on so you won’t get bored.”
 
I spoke to the brainshell like that and placed it on top of the color box so that the TV could be seen clearly. The golden eyes immediately began to move around, as if looking at the room differently than before.
 
Hmm, I’m sorry to the brainshell, but it’s still a bit scary. I took out the sunglasses I bought before coming to Tokyo and never wore from the chest of drawers… and set them up to cover the eye sockets of the brainshell.
 

 

 

 
“Kawashima-kun, I’m sorry I couldn’t thank you that day.”
 
“No, Abukuma-san, you had eight bones broken… It’s natural that you couldn’t speak.”
 
Abukuma-san, whose leg was suspended in the hospital bed , had a gloomy expression, unlike usual. I came to visit the hospital because I had some connection to Abukuma-san’s party, which was devastated that day when they defeated the dragon… But maybe I shouldn’t have come at such a difficult time.
 
“Oh, thanks for delivering the luggage. Thanks to you, a woman’s dignity was preserved.”
 
“Ah, yes… haha…”
 
I felt bad for joking like that, but it was too delicate a topic to laugh at all. Well, if you’re incapacitated for hours in a dungeon, anyone would have a hard time…
 
“So, are your injuries going to heal?”
 
“I probably will… But Kumiko… Oh, Yoshikawa’s heart stopped once on the way out of the dungeon, so it depends on the rehabilitation… Well, it’s a miracle just to be alive.”
 
As Mars asked questions, Abukuma-san put on the glasses that were on the side table with trembling hands. She awkwardly operated the smartphone with her bandaged fingers and turned the screen toward me. It showed the online banking transfer screen. The amount displayed was 100,000 yen.
 
“I’ll send you the payment for the request. Can you enter the account number?”
 
“Abukuma-san, that’s…”
 
As I was about to say it might be tough from now on, a pain shot through my thigh. Mars had pierced it with his claws.
 
“No, Tonbo. We did the job, and the other party’s circumstances don’t matter.”
 
“Yeah, even if natural disasters happen, dragons and demons come out, even if it’s a verbal agreement, a contract is a contract.”
 
Unable to say anything, I entered the bank account into her smartphone screen. She slowly completed the transfer on her phone and smiled with a relieved expression.
 
“Yeah, now I have no regrets. This was [Ebisu Hedgehog]’s final job.”
 
“Abukuma-san, does that mean…”
 
“Oh…. Iida and Takai’s mental states seem a bit damaged. It seems like they’re having a hard time because, you know, being buried alive was tough.”
 
“Ah, I see…”
 
Well, anyone would feel that way. No matter how rare it is, knowing there’s a chance of facing the same situation again, you wouldn’t want to dive into the dungeon anymore. However, being buried alive… even the steel brain sitting in my living room was in a similar state. I should really make sure it can move sooner rather than later.
 
“What are you going to do now, Nee-san?”
 
“Hmm, probably claim insurance and heal up… and then it depends on how my legs recover, I guess? I can only be an adventurer.”
 
“I don’t think that’s true…”
 
“But it is, you know.”
 
With her neck firmly set, Abukuma-san moved only her eyes to look at my face, pursing her lips.
 
“Kawashima-kun, one day, did you suddenly gain a skill?”
 
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I did.”
 
“I had the same thing happen to me. I was working as a bank clerk in the boonies, and one morning, I suddenly had this button inside me called ‘High-Speed Thinking.'”
 
People with skills often describe the triggers for using their skills like this. Buttons, levers, switches. Skills with detailed interfaces like mine are rare.
 
“I guess telling my parents was a bad idea. The next month, I was engaged to a skill holder from the local vigilante group.”
 
“Really…? Does that happen?”
 
“It does. Unlike Tokyo, the countryside suffers serious monster damage, so they’re desperate to preserve skill-bearing bloodlines. If a young woman like me had a skill, forget about human rights.”
 
With a bitter expression, Abukuma-san said this, then pressed her bandaged fingers against her other hand, raising her middle finger and smiling wryly.
 
“So, I ran away to Tokyo that night. I was unexpectedly let go from the company, too. ‘We hope you’ll shine as a good mother from now on,’ the branch manager said to me. It really pissed me off.”
 
“That’s terrible.”
 
“It really is. To be honest, I didn’t need a skill like this. I think it’s meaningless for someone as dumb as me to have ‘High-Speed Thinking.'”
 
“I don’t think that’s true.”
 
I couldn’t interject into the conversation. Since the world shifted to the new Age, skills suddenly began to sprout among people. Honestly, the randomness of it all is intense. To be frank, the item box I’m disguising is a super jackpot skill. Given the struggle Abukuma-san faced with her skill, it wouldn’t be strange for her to take it out on me; I’m really blessed.
 
“So, I can’t go back home, and with this recession, I can’t even get a decent job in Tokyo…”
 
With only her eyeballs moving, she glanced briefly out the window. Snow had started to fall in Tokyo in February.
 
“Wow, it’s snowing… Kawashima-kun, you have school tomorrow, right? You should head back before the trains stop. You need to graduate… or you’ll end up becoming an adventurer.”
 
Saying that, Abukuma-san awkwardly smiled with a shadowed smile.
 

 

 

READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM

 
And as for our own business as “procurement agents,” we’ve been a bit stuck ourselves. The Tokyo Third Dungeon, which has been under constant supervision by the Self-Defense Forces, is the reason for that. We’ve been repeatedly summoned by the union for questioning.
 
Questions about the dragon’s information, the situation on the day, asked over and over again. Attending meetings as involved parties, undergoing questioning, and being asked the same things again. They even requested us to dive with the Self-Defense Forces for on-site confirmation, which we declined, and then they asked us the same things again. I’m not a criminal!
 
Maybe they’re suspicious because there are no traces beyond the point I reported encountering the enemy, but it’s really tough not being able to just say, “I already defeated it.” In principle, we’re being compensated for our voluntary cooperation, but to be honest, it’s a huge loss.
 
“They keep calling me in even though I’m saying I’m a student.”
 
After cooperating with the Self-Defense Forces and finishing our daily part-time jobs, I returned home and complained to Mars while slurping on instant ramen.
 
“Well, that’s how the government works. Besides, they’re probably wondering why you’re going to school so carefree when they know there’s a dangerous guy there, right?”
 
“Yeah, that might be true…”
 
Come to think of it, wasn’t it even more unnatural for us not to escape Tokyo immediately? Well, it’s too late now…
 
“Tonbo also mentioned it, but wouldn’t it be normal for people to try to escape from Tokyo? Even the brother with his two party members said he’s going to dungeon at his parents’ house for a while.”
 
“If we’re going through this, maybe we should have gone back home too…”
 
“That might have been a good idea. You can eat good food, and we still haven’t finished Takashi’s sake.”
 
Mars, who loved alcohol, was eyeing my old man’s collection eagerly. My old man never let me drink good sake, but he readily gave it to Mars. As I drank my third beer, I reached for the remote to change the channel from the gloomy news.
 
“…Huh?”
 
But the channel didn’t change. I pressed the buttons again and again, but the news program remained on the screen.
 
“Is the battery dead?”
 
“Oh dear.”
 
While we were talking about that, the TV suddenly went silent.
 
“Oh, maybe it’s the TV. It’s an old one I bought at a thrift store when I moved here.”
 
“It’s been on all the time while we’re at home.”
 
As I stood up to try unplugging and plugging in the TV, the sound came back from the TV again. But it wasn’t the news program that had been playing until just now…
 
[Tonbo, Here, Me]
 
It was a voice in a distorted and mechanical Japanese that could belong to either a man or a woman…
 

 
[Body, Want, Tonbo]
 
“So, how is this accessing the TV?”
 
“I’m not sure. I thought it structurally couldn’t.”
 
After being surprised by the voice that came out of the TV on its own, Mars and I suspected it was the brain shell’s doing and started investigating using the thought eavesdropping we had used before.
 
[Mars, Tonbo, Friend]
 
“Oh, it’s definitely the brain shell. It seems to be manipulating something with thought waves.”
 
“Huh? What does that mean?”


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