Investigation (5) Interview

When I opened the door, I was hit by the smell of herbs.

It was a café. It was the place I was to meet the applicant who called me at the library, but what I found was a café on a slight decline.

“Welcome.”

The middle-aged café master called over. “Table for one?”

“No, I’m meeting someone…”

I looked over the store’s interior. It was raining heavily outside, to an extent where you’d get wet even if you put out an umbrella. I was completely soaked, and to be honest, I felt a little awkward to enter the store like this.

The café was dark. There were orange lamps pouring light from the ceiling, but perhaps because of the years of use into it, or because it was plane shabby, I couldn’t help but smell the scent of mold.

“But it doesn’t look like she’s here yet.”

I called over to the middle-aged master. There were a few customers in the shop, but they all looked a little too old to be a mercenary.

More than that, the owner of the voice on the phone was a woman, and quite a young one at that. While there was definitely a woman in the store, I doubt there were any white-haired youngsters wearing aged spectacles around these parts.

I lowered myself into an open table, ordering a coffee. I also told the man to direct someone this way if they happen to be looking for a lawyer.

The middle-aged master moved his mustache up and down. “Understood,” he replied, returning to the depths of the counter with tranquil movements.

As it was a window seat, I could see the cityscape outside. The scenery I could see above the windowsill was dark, large grained of rain felling from the sky to the ground. A strong wind caused the window to clatter, leading me to imagine it breaking sometime along the way.

… Bing. The café’s door opened, the bell hung on it rung.

“God, I’m all wet…!”

Turning, there was a young girl in her teens. With green, short-cut hair, and round, lovable eyes, the girl was wearing a yellow raincoat.

Just another customer… I thought, but there was something dangerous hanging at her waist.

… Do all girls these days walk around with swords? I already have some precedent.

“I should’ve brought an umbrella.”

The girl sorrowfully closed her eyes, stroking her wet bangs to the side. On her forehead dripping with water, was a small but conspicuous scar.

“Madam, if it pleases you, use this.”

The master approached his new customer, and handed out a towel.

“Oh, thank you mister!”

Her pessimistic expression had all but vanished, her face suddenly giving a radiance as she accepted the towel, drying her hair before her face, and returning her bangs to their place. The mark on her forehead was covered up.

I averted my eyes from her, and looked outside. The force of the rain seemed to have lessened somewhat from before.

… Is it going to let up? More importantly, it’s already passed the promised time.

I looked at my wristwatch. I myself am by no means particularly strict when it comes to time. I wouldn’t really mind if someone was five or ten minutes late.

But that’s about private matters. Right now, I haven’t a minute to spare. I had to gather up evidence before Claudia’s next hearing.

… My time is limited. If it’s someone with a tendency to be late, then I’ll refrain from hiring them.

“Sire, here is your order.”

I heard a voice call from behind. Looking, I found the middle-aged master bringing coffee over. I could smell it all the way from here.

… If she doesn’t come by the time I finish this cup, I’ll try elsewhere.

…… That was a wasted ten thousand.

With leisurely movements, the master placed the coffee cup on the table. Coffee was all I ordered, but after leaving the cup, he didn’t seem like he was going to return to the counter.

“My apologies, but you are the lawyer, right?”

“Me? Yes, that’s right…”

“The truth is, the customer over there is searching for a Daniel the Lawyer, is there any mistake?”

“Over there?”

I looked in the direction he indicated with his hand.  There stood the girl in the yellow coat from before, looking my way with intrigue.

Her eyes were sparkling, and when our eyes met, she happily waved her hand.

… This has got to be a lie. I never ordered a brat.

By the time I had noticed it, the sound of the rain had stopped.

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