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The ringing bell signalled the lunch break, and with that, the training drill was put on hold.
Wakaba spoke to Arima, saying that she wanted to talk to him before lunch. The two of them headed to the Senior Commissioner’s office.
“So, what did you want to tell me?”
“What I wanted to tell you was…”
From her bag, Wakaba produced the documents she received from Haru, as well as the leather briefcase of notes.
“A request from Haru Katsuragi, one of the Enjou Group’s lackeys.”
Arima received it with a suspicious look. His brows furrowed as he started reading the contents of the paper.
“What in the world is this guy trying to pull?
This was the first time Wakaba had seen the ever-calm Arima be irritated. That said, she wasn’t really surprised by the reaction.
“I can’t believe he’d try to take in the daughter of the Kisshouin family as a mistress. Does he not have the chivalry to take her in as his wife?”
“Yep, it’s unbelievable.”
It wasn’t that the taking in of mistresses by nobles was unheard of. However, in the view of Arima, who was brought up in an austere household, it was an act deserving of the highest scorn. Of course, Wakaba thought much the same.
“If I knew it was going to come to this, I should’ve given her my support earlier.”
“There’s not much we can do at this point.”
Reika’s father had incurred the wrath of the “Business Emperor”. If one were to rescue his daughter, their standing in high society would plummet.
“So, what should we do?”
“I’m going to go hear what this Katsuragi guy has to say myself. Takamichi, are you going to come with me?”
“No sir, I’ll pass.”
She didn’t state that her reason for not going was because, whenever she heard Katsuragi talk, she wanted to punch him mid-sentence.
“Then, I’ll be heading out.”
“What is it?”
“Why don’t you head out after lunch?”
“No, I’m heading there now. …I’m not a very patient man.”
Not trying to hold him back any longer, Wakaba watched as Arima left. All she could do now was pray that things wouldn’t go further south.
Wrapping up her day after finishing her afternoon exercises, Wakaba headed to the office.
On top of the desk was a memo from Arima, saying he left early. While thinking that this was an unusual occurrence, Wakaba put the memo in the box of unimportant matters.
Since all of the office work had been taken care already, Wakaba decided to go home herself.
Repair work on the bakery had started, and materials were brought in through the front garden. As work had ended for the day, a cloth was covering the materials.
When she entered the house section behind their storefront, Nacchan greeted her.
“Welcome back, Oneechan.”
“Long day today?”
After asking her to prepare the bath and taking off her jacket before throwing it over the couch, Wakaba headed to her room.
“Oh, yeah, Oneechan.”
“What is it?”
“Miss Reika said she wanted to speak with you.”
“Has she gotten over her cold?”
That being the case, Wakaba asked Nacchan to send Reika over to her.
Sitting down on her bed, she let out a loud sigh. She was relieved that she was finally in a situation where she could listen to Reika’s side of the story.
A few minutes later, Reika arrived. Hearing her light taps on the door, she invited her to come in.
Reika was wearing a one-piece dress that appeared to have been brought with her from her house.
After being offered a chair, Reika bowed her head deeply before picking a seat opposite Wakaba, this time around.
“I am very thankful that you took time out of your busy day to-“
“There’s no need for formalities. So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Ah, right. I wished… you… thanks.”
Right after she started to talk, a banging noise came from the door. Nacchan arrived with some tea.
“Ms. Natsuki, I’ll take care of the tea.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Please leave it to me.”
Reika received the silver tray.
Shocked by Reika’s swaying upon receiving the tray, Nacchan immediately propped up the bottom of the tray.
“Hey, are you okay?!”
“Yes, I’m… fine.”
On top of the silver tray were a pot full of black tea, cups, saucers, little jars of sugar and milk, and a plate of cookies, nothing more. She was swaying from holding merely that.
Wakaba watched in amazement as she thought about how weak of a woman she was.
“Miss Reika, Wakaba-neechan drinks her tea with one cup of milk and three cubes of sugar.”
Having the fact that she had a sweet tooth be revealed, Wakaba became embarrassed. As the daughter of a bakery, she was supposed to be the master of sweets, not the other way around.
While she turned her face away in embarrassment, her desk was completely set.
Reika poured tea into the cup with a very serious expression.
After that, she put in the milk and sugar. All the while, she squinted her eyes while looking at the small jars.
That expression was exactly the same as the one Wakaba had seen in high school, five years ago.
Banging her hand on his desk, Wakaba stood straight up.
Surprised, Reika dropped the jar she was holding in her hand.
Fortunately, it was the jar of sugar, and the contents just spilled out onto the plate of cookies.
As for the situation at hand, Reika narrowed her eyes and looked down. It was a harsh expression, similar to that of scorn.
The target of the expression was not Wakaba, but that of the sugar scattered about the desk.
After confirming that all of the sugar had spilled out, she lowered her brows and looked up at Wakaba with an apologetic look.
“…That’s nothing to worry about. Answer my question.”
There was only one reason she would squint while holding items up to her eyes.
Wakaba asked her nervously.
“Does your eyesight… happen to be bad?”
Reika opened her eyes wide. Lowering her head slowly, she nodded.
With a thump, Wakaba leaned back onto her bed. That was the moment that speech, her actions, and her conduct all made sense.
Reika had not looked down upon Wakaba with contempt.
Wakaba realised that she was just trying to look at the face of someone far away.
The misunderstanding of many years was finally resolved.
“I am really sorry. I had intended to speak about it at some point but…”
“No, it’s fine.”
The reason had come to light, but her brain had yet to comprehend the situation.
Because of her own misunderstanding, she had employed Reika as a servant and had gone and done something outrageous. She became deeply troubled.
Regret washed over her as she thought more and more that she really should have just handed her over to Arima.
Seeing Wakaba’s face contorted in distress, Reika did the unthinkable.
Getting up all of a sudden from her seat opposite Wakaba, she came around in front of Wakaba, and knelt in front of her.
Putting both of her hands on her chest, she entreatingly appealed to Wakaba.
“I beg you. Please let me remain here.”
“I do admit that my eyesight is not very good, and I am not accustomed to a servant’s duties at all. However, I will do my best!”
“No, even if you say that…”
“I wish to repay the favour that you extended to me, Ms. Takamichi. O-On top of that, I have nowhere else to go…”
Asserting this in a quivering voice, tears started flowing down Reika’s face. Wakaba thought that she was the villain now.
Though she wondered what she should do, the answer stayed out of her reach.
“…Let me think about it for the time being.”
“Yes. I apologise for stating my selfish desires.”
Thinking there was no need to give a quick response, she deferred her response by an hour.
Carrying the tray, Reika gave one bow before leaving the room.
Wakaba simply continued to stare at the closed door.
Without having come up with an answer, it was already a new day.
As usual, she got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to work.
The first matter she attended to was having a talk with Arima.
When she opened the door to his office in the Police Headquarters, she spotted Arima, elbows on desk, his hands supporting his jaw, grim expression on his face.
The atmosphere wasn’t one where she felt comfortable asking what happened the previous day. But, after confirming it was Wakaba who had entered the office, Arima started talking on his own.
“It was a bit soon, but I went and listened to Haru Katsuragi’s story yesterday.”
“I had to accept his request to search for Reika Kisshouin.”
Because she had expected Arima to reject the request, Wakaba was shocked.
Wondering what could have happened, she waited for Arima to continue his story.
“If I had to describe Katsuragi in one phrase, I’d say he’s a low-life bastard.”
“I… agree completely.”
Arima had understood everything about the person, Haru. But then, why did he take the request? The mystery intensified.
First of all, Arima had wanted to know why the request had been made to the “National Public Safety Commission” that he led. The response was quite shocking.
“That bastard called our National Police Agency a group that wastes time doing training drills.”
He had said that he had taken it upon himself to pick Arima’s small group out of the assortment of bigger Special Judicial Police branches.
“He said that, in a way, it’s because he’s afraid of being found out by the Emperor.”
“Seems like it.”
“It seems that he hasn’t made a request to any group other than ours yet. Obviously, it’s forbidden to use one’s money to use knights for one’s motives. But, if we rejected his request, Katsuragi would obviously go to another battalion.”
“Did you take this request for the purpose of not searching for Reika Kisshouin?”
The aim was to pretend to take the request, while not actually searching for her and ultimately ignoring the request.
She was relieved that Arima hadn’t been swayed by money and the chance for prestige, but she quickly realised another problem.
“What if this request is discovered by the higher-ups?”
“At best, I’ll get demoted. At worst, I’d lose the right to be a policeman. If that happens, the passcode to the next chapter is ‘harvestdawn’.”
“You can find the link at the very bottom.”
Wakaba pointed out to him that if Arima reported the money and paper to the higher-ups, it’d be over for Haru Katsuragi.
“You’re right. The rotten policeman would be gone, and peace would return to the bodyguards. But what would happen to Reika Kisshouin’s honour?”
If the heir to the Katsuragi Group were to be put on special trial, it’d be a matter of time until the reason was divulged.
If that happened, Reika would be greeted as a mistress, and the rumour that she was to be locked in a basement would be spread in a moment. That is what Arima predicted.
“I cannot save her. That’s why, I at least want to defend her honour…”
Incredulous, Wakaba listened to Arima’s speech, and put into words her biggest question.
“Sir, why would you go that far for an old enemy?”
“That’s we should do as officers of the law, isn’t it?”
――Save the weak, hold honour in high esteem, and vanquish evil.
The image of a police officer weighed heavily upon her mind.
Violently striking her chest, Wakaba suppressed her pounding heart. oniichanyamete.moe/2020/04/01/kenkyo-kenjitsu-the-reika-sama-chronicles-236/