Translator(s): flowingcloud Editor(s): N/A Proofreader(s): N/A TLC(s): N/A
Rear Fiat City is located in the eastern side of the continent. It is a medium sized Inn town owing much of its prosperity to the bustling Lukar Highway.
Thanks to the temperate climate all year round, the town became notable for producing a grand variety of fruits and flowers. In this locale, there is no branch for the Witch Association, but the police department does an excellent job of keeping the peace; the number of unresolved cases in this town is zero. Even finding suitable accommodations within the city is easy.
In the corner of the city, there was a small jewelry store ran by two employees, named — “Jewelry Sputnik.”
—- The second floor of the jewelry store had a sleeping quarters, and in one of those rooms was where the employee, Clue, resided.
“Good morning.” [Clue]
After getting dressed and finishing her breakfast, she went down to her workplace. Today’s attire is composed of a simple round collar blouse, a spring colored flare skirt, and a light, deep blue cardigan.
On Clue’s favorite cardigan, the second button from the top is shaped like a flower. She used to brag about it to the shopkeeper; but, one day, he stared at her chest, gave a scornful laugh, and then sarcastically replied with, “Even I’m not desperate enough to thirst after a chopping board.” And ever since then, Clue stopped talking to the shopkeeper about things related to fashion.
During her usual routine of getting ready, she put on a triangular bandanna over her chestnut hair and tied the apron to the middle of her back. In her right earlobe, there was a red earring with the sole purpose of embellishing her appearance, but it was somewhat plain. The previous shopkeeper had made it herself and decided to pass it on to Clue; it has a certain value to it.
Clue turned towards the front counter, where the shopkeeper would normally be, but he was nowhere to be found.
“… Huh, Sputnik-san?” [Clue]
Sputnik was not within the store interior. Furthermore, the jewel processing room was locked. He had likely not been inside that area.
As far as he was concerned, he had either slept in or was simply late.
His sleeping quarter was also located on the second floor, right beside Clue’s. If he wasn’t up ten minutes from now, she would check his room and alert him awake. She then decided to prepare for the store’s opening, as she waited for Sputnik.
First, Clue unlocked the entrance, and while there, flipped the sign latched onto the door to display ‘Under Preparation’.
After that, she opened the windows to air out the store. Then she took off the cloth covering the jewelry case. After inspecting the case and its contents, Clue rolled up the piece of cloth and stored it under the shelf.
At that moment, the supposedly locked entrance door swung open. The jingle of the doorbell sounded as it was struck. There was also a sign depicting ‘Under Preparation’, and in the first place, the shopkeeper had not even come downstairs yet――
Clue confusedly faced the door. And then, with the brightest smile possible, she recited the usual greeting.
“Welcome to Sputnik Jewelry store. I do apologize, honored customer. We are still closed for –”
In short, the person she was speaking to wasn’t a customer.
He was slender and tall with smooth, symmetrical facial features. The bridge of his nose was partially sunken, the corner of his eyes exuded a certain sweetness, and the hue of his eyes further accentuated his sexy features. If that person’s outward appearance could be summed up in a few words, the only phrase to describe it would be, “Lady-killer”. The person who leaned against the ridges of the door was the store’s jewel processing specialist, and its owner, Sputnik himself.
For some reason, his ashen colored eyes seemed to be out of focus. His cheeks were pale, his hair disheveled, and he looked somewhat worn out. Just where did he go before arriving back here?
It was a peculiar sight, but…
“Eh… We-welcome back, Sputnik-san. Where were you all this time.. Wait. You reek of alcohol!” [Clue]
With a grimace, he halted his steps.
He didn’t concern himself with what the girl thought of it and unsteadily walked by her. Clue, flustered by the sight, chased after him.
“Where in the world have you been this entire time ——” [Clue]
Noticing the atmosphere that surrounded him, however, she stopped talking. She became aware of another distinct fragrance mixed in with the stench of alcohol.
The smell of.. women’s perfume.
“Well, if you can smell the alcohol, you’d know that I was obviously at a bar.” [Sputnik]
“Were you alone? Until now?” [Clue]
“I’m a selfish man who can drink with whomever I want.” [Sputnik]
In response to the abrasive reply, Clue unwittingly puffed out her cheeks.
“It would be a problem if the store’s remaining money was embezzled for recreation..” [Clue]
“Don’t worry. It’s coming out of my own wallet.” [Sputnik]
In other words, he wasn’t going to further discuss his whereabouts. Clue’s mood worsened and her cheeks continued to balloon.
He might have noticed her attitude. Sputnik stopped himself and suddenly swiveled around.
“Listen up, Clue. I’ll be sleeping until noon. If a customer comes by, deal with them according to regulations. And if a guy comes in looking for me, telling him the shop-keep’s out buying supplies.” [Sputnik]
It was the shopkeeper who was supposed to keep everything running smoothly. Clue wanted to say, “I won’t acknowledge it!”, but he quickly stopped paying attention to her and his gaze drifted off into the distance.
“Aah, yes.. I remembered the purchase. How was it today?” [Sputnik]
It was a question lacking uniformity. But even so, Clue understood what it meant. He was talking about her “constitution”.
“…… Three” [Clue]
After answering him, Clue took out a white folded cloth from her apron pocket. Upon it being unfurled, the jewels she had gathered this morning could be seen inside.
“Is that so. That’s too bad.” [Sputnik]
As Sputnik received the jewels wrapped within the cloth, his eyes lit up and the ends up his lips rose in a smile. He was fixated on the brilliance of the raw, transparent red jewel. The stench of alcohol had cleared, and his vibrancy grew to levels reminiscent of a young, innocent boy, involuntarily shocking Clue.
Before long, he lowered his arms, and his fingers played with the smooth shapes of the gems.
“This is a great haul in terms of its quality” [Sputnik]
“Is that so?” [Clue]
“There are no scratches, the sizes are fair, and the purity is high. There’s worth to be had in processing these. You ‘created’ a good batch today.” [Sputnik]
And then long finger that characteristically stood out, stroked the girl’s head.
— Her strange 『Composition. 』enabled the “creation” of jewels within her body.
Ruby or sapphire, peridot or emerald, garnet or amethyst…… a huge variety of jewels. The several jewels manufactured within her body are, once per day, dispensed from the mouth.
She herself doesn’t know how it works. When she first recognized this phenomenon, she already had this ‘constitution’.
Her body was once held captive by bandits as a source of income, left in the corner of a hideout wearing tattered clothes. She was not given enough food to sate her hunger, and whenever they ran out of funds, they would strike at her stomach to have her spit out jewels. It became routine, happening nearly every day.
The one who saved Clue was Sputnik, who was on a journey as a wandering jeweler back in those days.
One day, Sputnik was waylaid; however, the thieves pathetically had the tables completely turned on them and were demanded “reparation” for their actions —- “If you don’t bring me any, I could always ‘loot’ you bastards’ organs. I bet they’d sell for a pretty penny.. “ In the end, he looted most of valuables contained within the hideout. But among them, he found “The Girl Who Spits Up Jewels”, Clue.
Then a few years later on, when Sputnik gathered as much money as he could on the road, he decided to open up a jewelry shop in Rear Fiat City――but let’s get back to the main subject.
The warmth of his hands gently caressing her, and his affectionate voice giving her praise. She forgot her anger, and almost forgave him, but somehow, she managed withstand him and lifted her head up.
“I-It’s useless! No use in trying to deceive me with those words. Drinking alcohol during the night at a bar is not a good reason to skip work!” [Clue]
He once again clicked his tongue. It seemed that he had ulterior motives.
Trying to give an explanation for his actions, Sputnik shrugged and said,
“That’s upsetting. It wasn’t like I saw drinking alcohol all night long.” [Sputnik]
“…… Really?” [Clue]
“That’s right. ――I went to an inn last night.” [Sputnik]
A women’s perfume, at an inn. Clue wasn’t childish enough to not connect the dots.
While she was shouting his name, Clue’s cheeks flushed, and Sputnik gave a loud laugh. Clue’s reactions were usually interesting, so he liked to tease her. And although Clue knew of this, and she could let the teasing pass, she was unable to hide her reactions.
As soon as Clue was about to shout “please stop it!” —- at that moment. Garan koron, and, the doorbell sounded again.
At the last moment, Clue held back the jeers that were at the tip of her tongue and turned around. As she did so, one woman stood there.
When she saw the two people, she calmed down, and greeted the two in an alto soprano voice.
She had black hair that was worn up with an ornate hairpin. And she was wearing a casual dress, a truly beautiful woman. A little childish impression is felt from her soft eyes, but the lips painted crimson made her look extremely mature. Her physical attributes and attire were a match made in heaven. It was clear that she was a professional.
—- Sputnik’s facial expression, for a moment happily smiling, immediately became gloomy the once he noticed her appearance.
He uncomfortably called her by her first name.
“……Bah.. Natsu.” [Sputnik]
“Bah.. ? What a greeting. How are you? Low-life tramp Putnik.” [Natsu]
Natsu. ――She was a female police officer, enrolled in the Rear Fiat’s police department subdivision.
To be specific, she was an Inspector Class Officer. Contrary to her thin and supple appearance, she excels at martial arts, and there’s even hearsay about her arresting techniques within the police department between the male police officers. She was known and famous for several achievements as an inspector, and she was anything but compatible with Sputnik.
“Aah, thanks to your arrival, this period before we open is the worst. Can you even remember people’s names?” [Sputnik]
“There’s no use whatsoever in remembering your name, Low-life Putnik. Aah, since Low-life Putnik is long, bothersome, and that very name pollutes the atmosphere, how is Low-life? Does that work? Low-life. How are you? Low-life.” [Natsu]
“You purposely made my name one character longer, idiot Natsu. What business do you have with me?” [Sputnik]
Sputnik turned towards her without concealing his gaze of “hurry up and leave.”
However, she unexpectedly took the glare in stride and turned to the side.
“What “business”. I don’t have any business with you. I’m on my routine patrol. How are you, Clue-chan?” [Natsu]
Clue was unexpectedly brought into the conversation, and she inadvertently blinked.
Sputnik aside, Clue didn’t seem to think that she was hated by Natsu. For example, when she was walking around the city to go shopping, she was greeted with a smile, she was told such things as good news, “Today, Butcher-san is going to be selling croquettes at five ‘o’clock!”, “There was a new commodity over there called an Ink Crepe, it was the strangest combination, but surprising.”, and other things―― Natsu happily chatted about.
She was smart, strong, has a social position, and also a bright personality. Clue, herself, didn’t dislike her.
“Ah, uum, not bad. How about, Natsu-san?” [Clue]
“That’s good. I’m about the same. You look too cute today, Clue-chan.” [Natsu]
“C-cu-cute, t-that’s not true, calling me …cu.” [Clue]
“Don’t listen to her, Clue.” [Sputnik]
Suddenly praised, Clue, without thinking, covered her flushed cheeks with both hands to hide her embarrassment. Sputnik spoke to Clue as if he was astounded, turned, and directed his index finger towards Natsu.
“For today, as well as your other, recent ‘Patrols’, I’ll thank you for your hard work, Inspector-dono. I will only give you thanks once for coming in to check in on us every day. Do you know about that one fellow who likes you? Catch my drift and remember what I say, “Officious Hag”.”
“Oh my, don’t mention it. I’m only doing what I like to do. —- It’s for the sake of protecting the citizens from insolent fellows like you.”
“Ohh, to denounce a law abiding citizen as “insolent”. Ah, as expected, a capable police inspector is different. When I think of the heavy taxes we pay being used to feed you, my tears come out.” [Sputnik]
“It’s an honor to be praised. However, if possible, rather than that insincere compliment, you being silent and holding out both hands for me would be a more pleasant gesture. It’d be easier to handle the handcuffs and would save me some trouble.” [Natsu]
“You looking for a fight?” [Sputnik]
“Oh, that’s a witty remark.” [Natsu]
“Uh, eer, fighting isn’t ok. Both of you are good friends, right?’ [Clue]
They jointly, and completely, disregarded Clue’s attempt at mediation. And now, their glaring standoff was explosive――
—-It did not last long, however. The one to fold first was Sputnik.
“Aah, I quit, I quit. Being concerned for this idiot makes me lose sleep.” [Sputnik]
He turned his back and grasped the knob on the door with “Employees Only” written on it. Not long ago, Clue just came through the door which leads to the employee residential area.
“Just a minute, Sputnik, this conversation isn’t over yet――” [Natsu]
“You were right, Clue. The silver wire is missing. Also, the detergent and emery we have aren’t enough. Gather them up and toss them into the processing room before I wake up. And after that’s done , don’t voluntarily wake me up.” [Sputnik]
It seems he didn’t feel like listening to even a fragment of what Natsu had to say. While rapidly speaking in a one-sided manner in order to finish her sentence, Sputnik twisted the knob, opened the door, and by only opening a minimal gap, his body instantly shimmied inside. And without awaiting Clue’s response, the door closed vigorously.
Bang! There was a large crashing sound, and the “Employees Only” sign shook greatly as the door was slammed shut.
Sputnik = スプートニク = Su Puu To Ni Ku
Low-life Putnik = 下衆プートニク = ゲスプートニク = Ge Su Puu To Ni Ku
Low-life = 下衆 = ゲス = Ge Su. If you compared Supuutoniku and Gesupuutoniku in reality the only sound that increased in Japanese was “Ge.” Therefore, Sputnik was mad about Natsu complaining about her shortening his name when she increased it by one character.↩