First Story – Let Me Listen to Your Lingering Regrets Part 4
My first day at the job ended without a glitch… I think?
At a family restaurant near the office, I agreed to meet up with my best friend, Akiha Shinonome. By the time I arrived, she had already ordered a drink and cream anmitsu (1).
“Yuma, over here!” She waved her hand and called my name.
“Akiha, long time no see.” After ordering milk tea from a waitress, I turned to Akiha and gave her a smile.
When I’m with Akiha, I somehow forget how much of a failure I am. She’s one of my precious friends.
She has black hair that goes up to her shoulders. She’s 160 cm. tall, and has a slender physique. Even though she just started wearing it today, she looks like a distinguished career woman in that suit. In contrast, I hardly make any impression with my appearance.
“So, how was your first day as an agent? Is your mentor cool? He’s a first-class agent, isn’t he? Tell me honestly, is he handsome?”
“To answer your first question, I think it went okay. That last question is just like you to say though. Well, depending on your preference, he does look cool, but I think there’s a problem with his character.” I smiled wryly.
Akiha nodded and said, “Oh..”
“But well, I’m still jealous of your life. Mine’s pretty boring. The General Affairs Department seemed more peaceful and comfortable so I chose to work as a clerk there, but we only have female staff and apprentices. There aren’t any handsome men. Honestly, there are no hopes and dreams there…” She sighed dejectedly.
“I see. Even in a workplace with mostly females, you still have a lot to worry about. The same goes for me too, I feel very anxious.”
“But well, it’s our first day at work so it’s bound to be tiring. Tonight’s the perfect time to grumble our grievances. Let’s lick each other’s wounds!
Afterwards, we continued to catch up together and talk about our future plans.
The conversation started with how our first day at work went but proceeded to bad-mouthing our professors from the training institute and finally to Akiha’s favorite, girl talk.
When we ran out of topics to discuss, Akiha looked at me seriously and said, “But well…”
“How come there aren’t any handsome guys around?”
“What, you haven’t finished complaining?” When I teased laughingly, Akiha pouted in response. “Of course not.”
“I’m actually talking about you.” Akiha barked back, gesturing like a painter with a pencil assessing her subject.
“You have an innocent baby-face. Your nose is neither big nor small. You’re fair-skinned and has small, red lips. You look somewhat lively with a low ponytail and has a gentle aura. Combining them together, I wonder why hasn’t any guy approached you?”
“It’s because I’m an idiot. Those compliments are nothing.” I feel my cheeks reddened when I glossed over the word ‘compliments’.
“Uh huh, then, just marry me, Yuma~ When you blush like this, you look so adorable!” She leaned over and ruffled my hair as she teased me.
“Stop it! I know I’m stupid, okay?” I fixed my frazzled hair and gave Akiha a piercing glare of displeasure.
“Haha. But you’re really cute! If we rank your cuteness, it’d be an A. I wonder why your result is poor though. It’d be nice if higher ranking professors other than Professor Yoshizumi would appreciate you.”
Akiha hollered on with an expression showing concern for me.
“You’ve always been in support of ‘humans’ since before. Talking about compassion, sense of duty, kindness–but those are human qualities, right? When you think of the qualities pertinent to your profession as an ‘agent’, those are unnecessary. Considering the number of souls you have to send to heaven, you have to think of ‘efficiency’ more than their ‘happiness’. Although I don’t share the same interest that you have in humans, I’m not against your perspective.”
Akiha thought that much about me. I looked down, closed my eyes and ruminated over what she said.
“Thanks, Akiha.” I faced her and expressed my gratitude with a smile.
“In any case, I’ll just do my best. That’s all I can do now anyway. Senpa–my mentor seems some sort of an oddball like Professor Yoshizumi, but regardless, I’ll give it my all.”
Afterwards, we exchanged a few more words and ended our small celebration for our first day at work.
The next day.
When I arrived at the office, Senpai was already sipping his coffee on the desk.
“Yummy. This instant coffee really hits it!”
When he finally noticed my arrival, he threw me an upward glance.
“Hey, apprentice. Early, aren’t you.”
When will this person remember my name?
“Good morning, Senpai. You’re early, too.”
“That’s because I slept here.”
As I thought.
Looking as though he didn’t mind my presence, Senpai continued sipping his coffee.
“What are you going to do today?”
“I’ll go and check Yuji out. In order to resolve her lingering regret, we gotta talk to Yuji first. Wanna come?”
“Huh?” I was surprised to hear that.
In order to resolve lingering regrets, not only do we have to interview the souls but we also have to talk to humans?
The textbook said that agents are forbidden to communicate with living humans. That’s totally a contradiction.
As I was thinking over it, I didn’t say a word. Meanwhile, Senpai was looking over the menu for lunch, and after quickly deciding on something, threw it aside.
“What’s wrong? You don’t feel like coming?” Senpai asked nonchalantly.
As expected, this Senpai is unpredictable. I wonder if this is what it means to be a “first-class” agent?
“N-no, I’ll come! That goes without saying! After all, this is my first job!”
With a mixture of curiosity, excitement and confusion, I responded with ardent passion.
- あんみつ (anmitsu) – a traditional Japanese dessert composed mostly of agar jelly, red bean paste, peas, sweet black syrup and fruits (orange, cherry, etc.). “Cream anmitsu” is basically anmitsu with ice cream.