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Chapter Sixteen: Family?
Now, what will you do? Mayor Hagino smiled in such a way as he looked at Eru.
「U, um…… What is it that I would be doing specifically……?」
Hearing Eru’s words interpreted by Yasutaka, Mayor Hagino smiled in satisfaction and sat back down on the sofa.
「What I want you to do is PR for our town. You will be set as a imejikyara, an elf dwelling in a naturally abundant town…… highlighting that kind of image, and pitching that nationwide. You see, using your cute appearance and the elves’ mysterious fantasy-like existence, you have the potential of becoming popular, not just as a local idol, but even nationally in a blink of an eye even if you keep hiding. Things like your spin-off merchandise will sell like hotcakes as well. Of course, we would come up with various things and strategies aside from this, though?」
「Wait a minute! Tousan, a while ago you said you had no plans of showing off Eru-chan, but now that I’ve listened to you till the end, what else is this aside from showing her off!?」
Takashi slammed his hands on the table, enraged and openly glaring at his father.
「What’s more, Eru-chan’s identity…… if you announce to the world that she is an elf, Eru-chan would be exposed to danger, wouldn’t she!?」
Both Yasutaka and Aoi felt the same as Takashi.
Takashi’s father, the trusted Mayor Hagino made a proposal that didn’t take Eru’s safety into consideration at all. The three thought it was unbelievable as they looked at the Mayor’s face.
「True. That is certainly true. But you know, Takashi. The fact is that politicians can’t make a living with just lip service. If it’s for the sake of city and its inhabitants, there are things we must do even if we are covered in mud. If you are aiming for this town in the future, you must have the courage to command.」
「But…… but still, I’m in opposition! I don’t think this is something worth going so far as to endanger Eru!!」
A non-human intelligent life form from a different world, one that doesn’t exist in this world. With just that, Eru is an existence that would definitely cause a frenzy.
Thinking so, Yasutaka leaned in and protested to the mayor.
And then, to back up Yasutaka, Aoi also started talking.
「I agree with Yasutaka. Between the city’s profits and Eru’s safety, I would not hesitate to choose Eru’s safety.」
Towards the children’s opposition, Mayor Hagino, for just a moment, smiled gently, but immediately put back his politician’s mask.
「All of you say that but…… you are also aware, aren’t you? Currently Eru is the same…… no, if I had to say, she is in an even worse position than a foreigner staying illegally. If a foreigner is illegally staying, he is forcibly deported, but in her case, she can’t. Right now she lives in hiding, but how long do you think she can keep this up? Since there is no way she can return to her former world at the present time, she has no choice but to live in this world…… in Nisshin City. And, there is no guarantee that she would never get hurt or sick. On the contrary, you had better to think about how a girl who has no immunization from the diseases of this world would certainly suffer from various illnesses in the near future. At that time, what do you plan to do? If she falls ill, she has to be examined by a doctor. When that happens, unpleasant it may be, her existence would be announced to the public. Especially in our country, one’s identity is definitely required in order to live. If you cooperate with me on my plan, I would establish Eru-san’s identity even if I have to use a somewhat high-handed measure. Or would you rather give up living in Japan and move to a different country? If it’s a country other than Japan, there might be a place Eru-san can live in.」
Because of the Mayor’s words, Yasutaka and his friends were at a loss of words.
Those words were an extremely sound argument. If Eru is to live in Japan, then they must somehow do something about the foundation of her life, her identity.
Otherwise, she would have to live in secret and conceal her true identity indefinitely. And that kind of life is bound to fail one day.
This was something that even high schoolers like Yasutaka and his friends understood after thinking about it for a bit.
「In the first place, you three are not the ones to decide, it’s Eru herself. If she decided to do it, then you can’t say this or that, can you?」
Leaving the three with such words, Mayor Hagino once again faced Eru directly.
「Now then, Eru-san. Certainly, it may be be accompanied by risks, however, I am offering benefits that offset those. Of course, aside from your identification, I will also guarantee to pay the proper reward. If you live in this world, money is absolutely necessary, correct?」
Mayor Hagino smiled amiably at Eru.
This is the devil whispering the way to the wrong path to his pitiful victim. Yasutaka and his friends were sure that If the devil exists, he would smile like this.
Focusing on the Mayor who is right in front of her, Eru who was saying something, broke off mid-sentence.
She then looked around to see the three’s faces, and with an expression filled with determination, she confronts the Mayor.
「……I will accept Mayor-san’s request.」
Although Yasutaka was surprised, he conveyed Eru’s words to everyone.
While the Mayor was nodding in satisfaction, Eru continued talking to intercept the three who seemed to have something to say.
「I am an adventurer. Adventurers are always side by side with danger, and I have slipped through such dangers countless times until now. Therefore, in one way or another, I will manage this time too. And…… and, with you…… Yasutaka-san, Aoi-san, and Takashi-san…… as friends, as comrades, I want to live proudly in this town with you from here on……」
Eru gently smiled at the three, corrected her posture, adjusted her expression, and looked at Mayor Hagino intently.
「I honestly do not understand the details of the work Mayor-san has talked about. However, I accept the work this time as an adventurer. The reward will be what you promised earlier…… this is fine, is it not?」
She, as the individual called Erulala Zaphyra Fyrasilula, accepted the commission of the Mayor with pride.
This was something Yasutaka understood well. But he still could not contain his uneasiness.
「I get it. If Eru is determined to accept the request, I will persistently oppose this talk! This might be called a child’s selfishness. But still, Eru’s safety…… I first want Eru to live in peace!」
「Is that so…… Yasutaka-kun, you will object to the end? Takashi and Aoi are of the same opinion…… correct?」
When the Mayor looked at the two, they, with the same serious expression as Yasutaka had, nodded.
Looking at the three’s expression one by one, the Mayor let slip a laugh and shrugged his shoulders.
「Then, let’s give up on this plan.」
Since the Mayor was too quick to switch his comment, the three couldn’t help but look flabbergasted as they stared at the Mayor.
「O, oi…… Tousan……?」
「Is something wrong? You three said nothing but to stop, right? I merely acceded to that.」
「Then what the heck was that plan you were rattling on and on about a while ago!? Was that just a joke!?」
「Yeah, because it is my wish, or rather, my dream, so to speak. A while ago, I said that politicians can not do their duty with just lip service, but if a politician forgets his dreams, desires, and will, then he is nothing more than a power-hungry money-grubber. I do not want wish to be like that. My dreams are always here.」
Mayor Hagino pointed at his chest as he said that nonchalantly. While looking at him in blank amazement, Yasutaka and his friends remembered something.
They knew Mayor Hagino well from the time they were kids. None other than Takashi’s father, the three remember that when they were kids, he took care of Yasutaka and Aoi like they were his own children too.
Also, they learned a variety of things from him. Starting from playing, to teaching them how to catch bugs or how to catch fish, to life lessons that a grandmother with a bag full of wisdom would know.
But, he sometimes gives the children answers that are not optimal or off point, and there were times he would purposely trouble them to make them think about things more.
It is likely that this was Mayor Hagino’s plan this time as well. He was testing them. And the one he was testing was not Yasutaka, Aoi, and Takashiーー
「Please forgive me, Eru-san」
The Mayor placed both his hands on the table, and bowed deeply to Eru.
「Before I am a mayor, I am Takashi’s parent. That is why I want to know more about the newest friend my son and his friends made. Of course, I have already heard about you from my son, but I wanted to ascertain this with my own eyes. As a result, I ended up testing you. I won’t ask you to forgive me, but, at the least, I would like you to understand that it was a parent’s affection for his child.」
As a parent, there’s no way he wouldn’t be concerned with what kind of relationships his child is amassing. There are some parents that aren’t interested in whom their child associate with or leaves everything to the child, but those are the minority.
One’s children meet a new friend. If it was a normal friend of the same age, then he wouldn’t need to worry. However, the one they met was a visitor from another world, furthermore, it was an existence that was out of the ordinary known as an elf. If he is a respectable parent, then he would definitely worry.
At the worst, there is a possibility that the kids are being deceived or used.
However, from Eru’s sincere attitude just now, Mayor Hagino judged that she was trustworthy.
Unable to understand the course of events, Eru, looking puzzled, gazed back and forth between the Mayor and the three’s faces.
With Eru in that way, Yasutaka and his friends finally felt relief. In the first place, they could not trust what Mayor Hagino was doing. Heーー Takashi’s father could not make such a choice. Even if they thought that, them doubting him is likely the difference in experience between mere high schoolers and the current mayor.
「Umm…… Then…… does this mean that there’s no job request……?」
Eru, who still hasn’t fully caught up, said so in disappointment.
From her perspective, for her to live in this world, she was in need of a strong foundation. By doing so, she thinks she can finally walk side by side with Yasutaka and the others.
If it’s for that reason, she would resign herself to undergo some danger. To begin with, adventurer is a perpetual high-risk high-return job so, to Eru, the Mayor’s request was a deal that’s easy to understand.
However, it seems that that deal was cancelled in the end. She was happy that Yasutaka and the others were thinking about her, but losing this chance was regrettable for Eru.
「Yes, about that…… I still want Eru-san to be the imejikyara for the city renewal. Of course, I will do my best so it wouldn’t reach a dangerous extent for you. The reward of the job are the previously mentioned identification and a guarantee of money. How does this sound?」
「Oi, Tousan. What are you trying to make Eru-chan do this time?」
「At present, this is a trade secret, alright? A rare existence known as an Elf is so close to me. Not utilizing this is wasteful, isn’t it? Be that as it may, since there is no precedent of an elf city renewal, not knowing just how much of an economic effect it will have is the obstruction of obstructions, isn’t it?」
Obviously. There is simply no way for an elf city renewal to have a precedent.
「As it is now, we can not expect anything extraordinary from our city’s development. We will continue advancing slowly. Nevertheless,ーー」
While smiling, the Mayor looked at Yasutaka and the others.
「ーーー I won’t know as far as 30, 40 years later. And by that time, I would probably have already passed, or retired as mayor. Therefore, it would be the job for your generation. Please do your best to develop this city even more.」
Mayor Hagino smiled brighter than he’s had hitherto, and pointed his gaze filled with expectation at Yasutaka, Aoi, and Takashi, the younger generation.
Mayor Hagino said that the details of the job would be formalized at another date. He leaned back into the sofa and exhaled loudly.
「With this, the original major objective has been achieved. What’s next is the issue of Eru-san’s guardianship and wellbeing.」
As the Mayor says, Eru’s outward appearance is not much different from high schoolers such as Yasutaka and his friends. They never learned Eru’s actual age till now; the three had just assumed she was the same age as them.
「Since Eru-san does not look like an adult, a guardian, or rather, a guarantor would be necessary, even if it’s just a front. Now, at first I planned on becoming her guarantor, but……」
For some reason, Mayor Hagino looked at Yasutaka with somewhat discerning eyes.
「I have mentioned this a while ago, but Eru-san might contract different diseases in the future. For that reason, a trustworthy and tight-lipped doctor is absolutely necessary. Therefore, I contacted a certain female doctor…… a former doctor, to be precise. Of course, I have made her swear to secrecy on matters concerning Eru-san’s situation and explained it to her.」
The Mayor’s gaze was still fixed on Yasutaka. At this time, Yasutaka realized who the Mayor got in contact with.
「And then, that female former doctor and her husband suggested that they take responsibility not just for Eru-san’s wellbeing, but be her guarantor as well…… After all, it was a request from both of them.」
「O, Ojisan…… y, you can’t mean……」
Yasutaka turned pale.
Truth be told, in the unlikely event that Eru does falls ill, Yasutaka had in mind only one doctor he could rely on. But, if he could, he would only rely on that doctor as a last resort.
「Yes. They are currently waiting in a separate room. Let us have them come here immediately.」
The Mayor took out out a cellphone from his pocket and made a phone call to somewhere.
The other party answered immediately; The Mayor informed them curtly and hung up shortly after.
Before long, approaching footsteps could be heard. Those footsteps stopped in front of this room, the Mayor’s room, and the sounds of knocking resounded on the door.
For Yasutaka, that sound was like the toll of bells heralding the end of the world.
「Yasutaka-san? What’s the matter?」
Noticing that Yasutaka looked pale, Eru called out to him, but the person in question did not hear her.
He was looking around, frantically searching for a place to hide. But the Mayor’s room had neither a place to hide nor an escape route.
By the time Yasutaka realized he could neither run nor hide, the door to the Mayor’s room opened. And beyond it were the two people Yasutaka had deduced.
A man and a woman who seemed to be of the same age as Mayor Hagino. The two bowed to Mayor Hagino.
「O, Oyaji…… Ofukuro……」
Right. They were, without a doubt, Yasutaka’s parents.
「It’s been a while, Yuuji. Kaori-san, you, above all, seem to be doing well.」
「Yeah, you’re the same as ever too, Kouichi. Your mischievous side hasn’t changed at all since we were kids.」
「We’re on the same boat, aren’t we?」
While firmly holding each other’s right hand, the two close friends laughed.
Like their sons, they too were childhood friends, and that friendship continues even now. Reasonably, with their work and having families, the chances to meet have diminished from the time they were in school.
「I’m sorry, Hagino-kun. It seems our son has caused you some trouble.」
「That’s not true, Kaori-san. Thanks to Yasutaka-kun, our town has secured a rare existence, namely Eru-san.」
「Yeah, that’s right. That is the main goal.」
Yasutaka’s father, Akatsuka Yuuji, glared at Yasutaka.
Screaming soundlessly, Yasutaka was ready to run. Not minding Yasutaka’s state, the superior one walked up to his son, and swung his fist downward and onto his son’s head.
Yasutaka reflexively crouched and held the crown of his head.
「Yasutaka…… I am ashamed……」
While bearing with the pain, Yasutaka looked up at his father, rather than angry, like he said, he had an expression of shame as he looked down at his son.
「Kaori and I…… are your parents really that unreliable? Why didn’t you first consult with us when you sheltered Eru-san?」
「N, no, that is……」
He simply couldn’t say it.
It’s just part of the development, but what kind of face would his parents make if he told them that he sheltered and is now living with a girl around the same age.
At least, it was not possible for Yasutaka to say. It was too embarrassing.
And that was also the reason he was only relying on his mother, a former doctor, as a last resort if Eru ever gets sick.
Yuuji stretched out his hand towards Yasutaka, who was still crouched on the floor, and pulled him up.
「I heard the situation from Kouichi. I was confused as it was incredulous hearing such things like how she came from a different world, or that she is an elf, or that she is a non-human existence. But I know you are a splendid person who helps others; You haven’t done anything that you can’t tell other people, right? If so, then inform us proudly. We are your parents. No matter what it is, we believe you and will support you.」
「Oyaji…… un, you’re right. I wish I informed you guys right from the start. Sorry.」
The father ruffled his son’s head a bit roughly, smiling macholy.
Concurrently, while the father and son were having a talk, it seems there were talks on the other side too.
「You are Eru-san, correct? Uwah, you are more beautiful than I thought. For such a beautiful girl to become our daughter…… we have another daughter but she’s married now so it’s a bit lonely. That is why I’m happy to have a new daughter. You know, since I am a girl, I would help you unconditionally so he must take after his father, that son of ours……」
Incidentally, Yasutaka’s father, Yuuji, is a high school teacher; His mother, Kaori, is a doctor of internal medicine at a certain local hospital.
His father’s new job at another prefecture was decided the spring of this year, and his mother went with his father because he had no houseworking abilities at all.
His mother, Kaori, too. Having been sexually harassed by the director of her workplace, she used this opportunity to quit and cut ties with her workplace. She went to another prefecture with Yuuji, and is now a fulltime housewife.
「W, wait a minute, obasan. What do you mean by Eru is your new daughter?」
Aoi who was listening in on Kaori and Eru’s conversation ーー also known as Kaori onsidedly talking on and on ーー took notice of a phrase in it that she got curious about.
「The thing is, Aoi-chan. When my husband heard about Eru-san’s story, instead of acting as her guarantor, he said he would rather she become our family’s adopted daughter.」
「Well, that’s how it is. As for the troublesome process for adopting Eru-san as our daughter, we have reliable friends for that.」
「Do you think that just because someone is the mayor, he could do anything? Well, I will cooperate since it’s turned out this way. However, I might have to use a slightly high-handed method. At that time, I implore you not say anything needlessly, yes?」
Mayor Hagino held his right index finger in front of his lips and winked.
Suddenly finding out that Eru will now become a new family member, Yasutaka felt confused.
In the first place, the progress of the talk was too fast so he couldn’t accompany Eru.
Pleasantly watching the two were the Akatsuka couple.
Takashi and Aoi looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders at the prospect of a new addition to the Akatsuka family.
「Somehow, we’ve reached a point where we can calm down…… right?」
「That’s right. Still, Eru becoming the adopted daughter of Yasutaka’s family is fine, but will she become Yasutaka’s oneesan? Or imouto?」
「Now that you mention it, which is it?」
Suddenly remembering something, Takashi and Aoi looked at each other’s faces at the same time.
「H, hey…… I am usually with Eru a lot, but I completely forgot about something till just now……」
「…… what a coincidence. Me too……」
It seems the two’s exchange was heard. Yasutaka asked Eru directly.
「Hey, Eru. How old are you now?」
「Me? I am 152 years old now?」
「The age to acknowledge an elf as an adult is different in every clan, but the Zaphyra clan that I belong to has a 600 to 700 year life expectancy so one is treated as an adult at the age of 150 years old. Therefore, I left my hometown when I passed 150 years old and became an adventurer.」
Yasutaka involuntarily stood stock still, dumbfounded by Eru’s words. Naturally, since the others couldn’t understand Eru’s dialect, they aimed their questions at Yasutaka.
Thus hearing Eru’s age from, the adults spontaneously froze.
「…… makes sense. Elves being a long-lived race is often the pattern.」
「That’s true, isn’t it. I completely forgot too…… but from what Eru said, the Zaphyra clan has about ten times the lifespan of a human.」
Though Takashi and Aoi only had a certain amount of knowledge regarding elves, they had looks of understanding and were nodding repeatedly.
「By the way, Kouichi.」
「What is it, Yuuji?」
While watching the children get excited about the elves’ lifespan, Yuuji shamelessly questioned his old friend.
「Eru-san’s identity, it’s namely the family registry and certificate of residence, right? Would you really be able to manage it?」
「Yeah, I believe it won’t be too much trouble.」
Asked by his old friend “What do you mean?” with just a gaze, Nisshin City’s current mayor smiled like a mischievous brat who’s prank was successful.
「There are plenty of cases where local yurukyara and stray wild animals are given certificates of residency. That being the case, don’t you think there would be no problem issuing a certificate of residency to Elf-san who’s settled in our city?」
- Imejikyara – Image Character, Moekyara – Moe Character, Yurukyara – Mascot representing either a city, a specialty, or a company.[↩]
- Oyaji / Tousan / Otousan / Chichiue – Father. Ofukuro / Okaasan / Hahaue – Mother. Oneesan – older sister. Imouto – younger sister. Obasan – Aunt or something a younger person calls an older lady. Ojisan – Uncle or something a younger person calls an older man.[↩]
Cramming in this and that into the story, it became quite long. This is almost twice the length of the previous ones, isn’t it?
For now, Elf-san’s foundation for living in this world has been accomplished. Of course, there are still problems but those will be in the future.
I will describe what kind of job Eru will be doing next time.
Thinking about it, I felt like I wrote on and on for Mayor-san’s last few words. I could have been a bit more concise…… I can only push through.
By the way, the names of Yasutaka’s parents are from characters of a certain game from more than 10 years ago. His father’s real name is 「Yuichi」 but it would overlap with Mayor-san’s so I modified it to 「Yuuji」.
Then, I look forward to your continued support 『Elf-san』.
Thanks for reading! aaand Phew, this chapter was so long. >w< Title was withheld when I posted part 1 if anyone noticed xD Anywho, there's only 1 more chapter left for this volume, and it's an idle talk. ヽ(〃･ω･)ﾉ☆ﾟ’･:*☆