Standard Disclaimers Apply.
‘Great,’ Soujiro wondered as he stared at the nine unconscious men that piled around him, ‘Why did this have to happen?’ He smiled in a very embarrassed way; and Soujiro became more and more uncomfortable, as more and more awestruck bystanders whispered gossip about him.
“Young man,” a woman called to him.
He turned around and responded in a sheepish manner, “Yes ma‘am?”
“What exactly happened to you? You kind of disappeared for a second, and when I saw you again all of those men fell. Thank you very much for taking them out of my restaurant, the Rokubeko; but how did you do it?”
Soujiro smiled very sheepishly, “Well...anou...you see, ma‘am. I started with the man in front of me, and I used this sheath as a shinai, and I knocked him out. Then, I went through the circle of those men starting from my right. There’s nothing really to it, ma’am.”
“Thank you again. Watashi wa Arahike Mae desu. It‘s a pleasure to meet you, what is your name?” She said, and bowed.
“Seta Soujiro and it is a pleasure to meet you as well,” he said, and bowed.
“Well Soujiro, if you ever stop by the two restaurants my cousins, Tae and Sae, own be sure to mention me. Tae owns the Akabeko in Tokyo, and Sae owns the Shirobeko in Kyoto.”
“A-arigatou gozaimasu, Mae-san.”
“Dou Itashimashite. Oh, I almost forgot; are you heading towards Tokyo by any chance?”
“Sort of, is there something you need in Tokyo, Mae-san?”
“Actually yes. I‘m sorry, I don‘t mean to impose anything on you,” she sighed, “I‘m sorry, I‘ve just been too busy lately. Would you like to come inside for some tea, Seta-san?”
Soujiro smiled, “I do not mind.”
Both of them walked into the Rokubeko, and Mae led him into a room that was behind the kitchen. She left, saying that she would be back with some tea, and so he patiently waited.
Mae came back a few moments later and explained what she wanted Soujiro to do, “Well, Seta-san; I want to start off by saying I really appreciate your kindness. You see, Tae has been asking me for an assistant lately. I‘ve been trying to set up a time so that I could take the assistant to Tae, but that hasn’t been working out. Those men that you knocked out were a bit troublesome, and they’ve always made sure to keep my schedule tight. I still don’t know how you went that fast, but I want to thank you nonetheless,” She smiled, “Tetsuya was right, you have a good soul.”
“Areh? You know Tetsuya?” Soujiro said in complete surprise.
Mae chuckled, “ Yes, I’ve known Tetsuya for quite a while now. He’s very sweet, and he knew of my predicament for a while now. He said he’d find somebody to do the job, and I guess he did.”
Soujiro blushed slightly, “Um...I...I guess he did find someone. I don‘t mind, though, what is it you‘d like me to do again Arahike-san?”
“Mae is fine, and I‘d like to ask you to escort one of my assistants to the Akabeko. Please, let me get her, I‘ll be back in a moment.”
“Hai, take your time, Mae-san,” Soujiro smiled. Mae smiled and left.
Soujiro waited for a few more moments, and Mae came back quicker than the first time. She brought a young girl, who looked to be about 13 years old. She had shoulder-length, straight black hair with a nice pair of sky blue eyes. The instant she got a good look at Soujiro, she blushed and looked down. Mae noticed her reaction and said, “You don‘t have to be shy, he‘s going to be your escort, okay? You‘ll get to meet Tae-san, and Tsubame-chan, you do want that don‘t you?”
The girl nodded and, with a little more confidence, she looked at Soujiro again. She bowed and said, “Hajimemashite, my name is Nishimura Keiko. Doozo Yoroshiku.”
Soujiro smiled, and said, “Hajimemashite Keiko-chan. Watashi wa Seta Soujiro desu;” he bowed and continued, “Doozo Yoroshiku.” After a few seconds he said, “Would you like to leave tonight or tomorrow Keiko-chan?”
Keiko looked at him and said, “Tonight if it‘s not too much trouble for you Seta-san.”
Soujiro smiled, “I don‘t mind at all,” then he smiled at Mae, “Thank you for the meal earlier Mae-san.”
Mae smiled in return, “ Don’t mention it Soujiro; but before you leave, do you happen to know where Tetsuya is?”
“Yes, he said he has a family here and he told me that he was going to visit them. I let him go, saying that I would be around town,” he paused and looked at Keiko for a second, “Keiko-chan seems eager to leave. If I’m not asking too much could you possibly tell Tetsuya, if he stops by your restaurant, to meet me at the Akabeko?”
Mae smiled, “Of course, Soujiro.”
He bowed to her, “Doomo arigatou gozaimasu. How can I thank you enough Mae-san?”
“It‘s nothing,” Mae humbly replied.
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