Welcoming Saotome-san back
「When I found Aa-chan there was no semblance of him left remaining」
I came out into the veranda from the living room and waited for Mio-san to calm down.
Mio-san glanced up at me with tears in her eyes.
「Just as I thought, Matsutomo-san did this?」
「Yes, I did it with the help of Murasaki to restore the appearance. Ah and it was Murasaki who said to leave the part with the name untouched. She said, “The name which you wrote by yourself lasts for a lifetime” or something」
「Murasaki-san did so….. But even the voice is still working」
「Ah that, please save your praises for Tsuchiya about that」
Even though he was busy, he went to that shop and even went so far as to kneel down. Having restored the voice data in a super quick manner is Tsuchiya’s achievement.
“It makes me look dumb, so I don’t want her to know” respecting the wishes of the person himself, I will leave it at this and not go into the details.
「Even Tsuchiya-san? Why would he…..?」
「Even if you ask me, I don’t know. So please ask him directly.」
I held out the phone with an ongoing call. Slipping it in the hands of Mio-san who was perplexed, I took it close to her ears.
「He, Hello, I have got the phone from him」
「Umm, yes, Saotome here」
『Uahhh, It’s been a while, Tsuchiya here! Were you able to hear it? The voice of the plush toy that was magnificently resurrected! Oi, Murasaki don’t push. There is something called a line, you know a line. Wait』
「Tsuchiya-san did it, recovering that child’s voice…..?」
『Not at all, I am sorry that I was able to repair only a part of it. Even with my superior S-grade negotiation techniques, I was told that what was broken couldn’t be repaired』
「It’s more than enough even with that one part」
That plush toy 『Aa-chan』 is a talking plush toy. Still, it’s not like a toy that was manufactured 20 years back has an AI installed into it like Pepper-kun1
It is able to speak out four things.
If you push the button it speaks these out in order. It had such a function.
Among these four, only 『Okaerinasai』was salvageable from the damaged semiconductor.
『It’s great, isn’t it Saotome-san. I get the feeling, you just can’t get over or forget about the toy that you lost back when you were a kid. With this I can also feel proud for2 being able to add icing on the cake3. Just now, I used both hana and hana together didn’t I, wow…..』
Mio-san’s heavy voice interrupted Tsuchiya’s excited chatter.
『Is there something wrong?』
「I have something that I must definitely apologise to Tsuchiya-san and Murasaki-san for」
She prepared herself up with this intention didn’t she.
Although she paused a bit in between, Mio-san kept talking about the things that she did, things that happened thereupon and the problems that arose. Tsuchiya, on the other hand, kept hearing about it silently.
「So in the end, if you look at it, the root cause for the management crisis faced by Tsuchiya-san’s and Murasaki-san’s company would be me」
『Is it for real?』
「Yes…… I am truly really sorr- 『That very skilled marketer was Saotome-san!!!』 yes?」
Saotome-san is making a face that says “N-a-n-i”4. Frankly this is something that I expected to happen.
『You are extremely popular within the division as well! The beautiful marketer who managed to turn the situation on its face from such a difficult mess in one breath!! It’s us who should be saying sorry for all the trouble that our company president has caused!』
This episode from the point of view of Tsuchiya and the rest would be something like this.
The company president who always pushes around and runs a one-man show went ahead and made a big blunder in a deal with a major trading firm and has turned pale from all the distress. At this point a beautiful elite swooped in, negotiating for an amicable settlement and it was a complete loss of face for the company president.
Furthermore, because of that big deal, they could also have some expectations towards the next bonus that will be given out.
「Well, the gratitude felt towards Mio-san will obviously end up winning」
『Then that means, this project is a teamwork with Mio-san! Alright! great then, I am overflowing with energy!! From now on as well, let’s work hard』
「I wi, will be under your care」
『Alright! Let’s return to work, Murasaki! Saotome-san has set the table up for us, from here on it’s our turn!』
『EH?! Tsuchiya-senpai, I haven’t spoken anything with her yet!!』
『Together with felicitations for the fortune of being able to reunite with your old friend, I find myself scarce for words to express thanks for helping out our company during this crisis. From now on as well, I would like to keep the oath of sisterhood from the other day in heart and…』
『Murasaki, too long-winded, formal and stiff』
『Eh, ah, um.. Sa, Saotome-san!』
『I am really glad that you were able to meet with Aa-chan! I will drop by next time to see him hale and hearty!』
「I will pre, prepare milk tea for us!?」
Beep, beep beep
「The line disconnected… I was not able to ask about the reason or anything else…..」
「I wonder if those people don’t know the meaning of the word “calmness”…… Adding on to Murasaki’s credit, it was them that did most of the work in restoring Aa-chan」
The Aa-chan that I retrieved was all worn out both the cloth and the insides as well. It was evident even to the untrained eyes that almost everything had to be changed.
From there Murasaki dismantled Aa-chan, made the components using pattern paper and then also came with a work plan that was easy enough for me to understand and work on.
「I worked on whatever I could in the afternoon, and Murasaki worked on the difficult parts at night. In such a way we were somehow able to complete it yesterday」
「Putting so much effort…….」
「It was the first time for Murasaki to work on a model with tools inside it and she found it quite difficult, so if you meet her again please make sure to pat her on the back.」
If you meet her.
That’s right, those two want to meet Mio-san again. They are brimming with excitement to do so.
「Would it be fine for me to meet them…?」
「Yes, I think it would be fine」
Mio-san can’t trust people. She can’t accept a simple promise said with words. Myself as well, I am here only after getting bound by a contract of employment.
For a work setting, this would be fine. But, you can’t contract a friend.
If that’s the case, then….
The only option left is “To act.”
「Would it be fine to meet with them just a little….」
「If Mio-san wants to, then you can meet them all you want, not just a little」
People start to believe in the things you say when you act on it. It is possible that way, Mio-san is also no exception to this. Tsuchiya and Murasaki are also people who will definitely show it through their actions. This is what I am betting on.
It would be great if my bet somehow or the other results in a win.
「Should I try meeting them at least once more」
「Yes, please do so」
Mio-san hugged Aa-chan a little harder. It is impossible to happen immediately but with this her distrust towards human beings should abate a little.
As she was finally able to make two friends whom she is able to trust.
「But I have to make a call to them before that. I wonder when would be fine….?」
「Ultimately in the call before, you were unable to convey your gratitude right, there is also the possibility of being seen as rude. You know there is also the saying “A hedge between keeps friendship green”」
Nonetheless, just before still seems too far away.
Now then, I would love to stop it here and close the case….. but there is still one important moral demarcation that has to be made.
「Yes, what is it?」
「Actually, I too have something that I must apologise to Mio-san for…」
「Eh? What’s wrong?」
The moral demarcation that I must stress upon, that is from before I procured Aa-chan.
「In order to find clues about Aa-chan, I went through your graduation album and diary, and also contacted your friend from elementary school. Actually, I wanted to consult with you before repairing him, but with the condition I found him in, I took it in my hands and decided to get it repaired」
Even if it was for the sake of Mio-san, it still stands that I broke my promise. It is just like I said as before, it’s not something that I can complain about even if I get sued.
She tilted her head while looking at me bowing my head, and slipped out a laugh.
「An employee with a bad attitude towards work aren’t you」
「I have nothing to defend myself with. It’s been one month since I started this work and if this was an ordinary company then my evaluation after probation would be right around now. What’s next then, is it farewell to my successful conversion?」
I think it’s too obstinate of me to ask such a question, but I have also worked hard.
I want to hear it from Mio-san herself.
「Nope, you can’t be fired. I don’t want to fire you」
「If it’s greeting you when you come back, then Aa-chan is capable of doing it」
「Even then, I want Matsutomo-san to greet me」
If you go so far as to say this then there’s no helping it.
「Got it, I will be under your care then」
「Hmm, Let’s get along well from now on as well」
「Alright, it’s too fast but please let me finish my job for today. If Mio-san doesn’t go ahead and say it I wouldn’t be able to do my job」
「Fufu, that’s right」
After laughing for a while, Mio-san went outside the door.
Sincerely boarding the elevator, she went down and came back up. Briskly walking through the corridor, I could hear her getting closer to the house. Stopping before the door of the entranceway where No. 603 is carved and pushed open the door with fanfare.
Receiving 300,000 yen a month to welcome Mio-san back home, that’s the term of our employment contract.
As an employee and at the same time as a semi friend I was able to greet her today as well.
It’s a strange job that I could have never imagined about, before starting work here.
「Okaeri, good job today as well」
This job, it’s a lot of fun