The scent of coffee started to spread in the air.
Mutsu slowly rose and went into the kitchen, bringing her cell phone and a small pouch with her.
“Is it time for a smoke?”
Mutsu stopped for a moment to look at Hiroto and shrugged her shoulders before disappearing into the kitchen.
Just as Mutsu went in, Sousuke emerged, bringing out Hiroto’s cup of coffee and walked over to sit on his chair. The only smoker in the company is Mutsu. And incidentally, she was also the only woman.
After receiving a cup of coffee with plenty of milk and sugar from Sousuke, Hiroto finally looked up from his screen and turned his head.
“You don’t seem to be making any progress with that report.”
“Yes, this subject isn’t really my strong point.”
As he laughed, his longish bangs smoothly shook. Before he knew it, he noticed a small brownish thing on the desk. It was Sousuke’s kuda-gitsune.
Maybe it got curious about the sweet scent coming from Hiroto’s coffee, as it was now swiftly circling around the cup.
“Do kuda-gitsune drink coffee?”
“Hmm, I don’t know. It seems to get lots of cookies and such from Mucchan1 though.”
Possibly because it heard the word “Mucchan”, but the kuda-gitsune raised its long and slim body to look in the direction of the kitchen.
The faint sound of the ventilation fan together with the bitter smell of tobacco mixed with the smell of coffee was drifting out from the kitchen.
Mutsu stuck her face out of the kitchen, probably because she heard her name being mentioned and wagged her fingers at the kuda-gitsune.
“It likes to drink hot chocolate. Don’t you?”
“It likes her, doesn’t it?”
“Despite what she says, Mucchan is well liked. And she’s used to taking care of things too.”
“Yeah. And yet I still can’t get a boyfriend.”
Hiroto had a feeling that he’d heard Sousuke’s stifled laugh and Mutsu clicking her tongue, but he feigned ignorance as he picked up his steaming cup with both hands and slowly started sipping the coffee.
“That reminds me”
Faintly smelling of cigarette smoke, Mutsu walked towards a shelf with lined up files.
The dust had made everything hard to decipher. She started looking for something and traced her finger over the glass door of the shelf.
“Hasn’t there been a lot of disappearances and missing people recently? In those news, there was a name I’ve heard before.”
“When did I come across that person…” – Mutsu absentmindedly spoke as her finger sometimes stopped and wavered while tracing over the files.
“Who is it?”
Sousuke became interested and went over to Mutsu, following the movement of her finger. Due to that, even Hiroto became interested and approached the two of them from behind.
“I’ve even forgotten the name, so I don’t really think I was directly in contact with that person. It just sort of bothers me… maybe I just read it in a report.”
Mutsu turned around using one heel of her pumps and raised her hands.
“Oh well. It doesn’t really matter, but I have a feeling we’ll get some work soon.”
Sousuke and Hiroto exchanged glances, awkwardly smiling, but didn’t say anything. After watching their actions, Mutsu left for the kitchen, holding her cigarette in her mouth.
“I swear, Miyazaki will visit us soon. Listen, do you hear the footsteps?”
It could have been because she was in the kitchen, but her voice had a strange echo, so it sounded unbearably creepy to the two men. Moreover, just like Mutsu said, they soon heard the sound of gradually approaching footsteps.
“Does Mucchan have amazing hearing?”
Sousuke’s whispered question was met with ominous laughter from the kitchen. The sound was low to the point where you wouldn’t think that it was made by a woman.
The footsteps in the corridor were walking directly in the direction of Yorozuya.
1Nickname for Mutsu, essentially a contraction of Mutsu-chan