Start of a summer with Saotome-san
「Black Snakes 1 are nice aren’t they…..」
「In the first place do they even qualify as fireworks?」
「Tsuchiya senpai, it was formerly known as the “Pharaoh’s serpent” and it is a very cool firework that was invented in Europe.」
In the garden facing the sea there is a sign that says 『A promise from the night with fireworks』. In this place that had been setup by the inn we spread out the fireworks that we had brought with us.
The smoke from the mosquito coil mixes with the scent of fireworks and the lingering smell of barbeque. It’s that sort of a night where summer rides the salty sea breezes to assail your nostrils.
「The sky has finally become clear, hasn’t it Mio-san?」
「That’s right. The stars are so bright and brilliant.」
Gulping down a can of juice after the barbeque, Mio-san’s eyes sparkle as she stares at the starry sky. Getting caught up, I also lifted my head to see the Milky Way that we were not able to see during the Tanabata as it was drifting through the sky.
「Now then Mio-san, before Tsuchiya and Murasaki light up all the fireworks let us also go get our hands on some.」
「Which one do you want to light up? We have almost every kind, ranging from handheld firesticks and sparklers to Catherine wheel.」
「Your favourite colour?」
「Then here you go, a multi-coloured one.」
From the bag, I took out the one labelled “Rainbow” and presented it.
Mio-san, who was sitting on the veranda swinging her legs and waving the festival fan borrowed from the inn, came hopping. I took out the lighter as well and helped her ignite it
「It’s been a while for me as well. I forgot that fireworks were such bright and vivid things.」
In the twilight that is turning darker, Mio-san’s pupils are illuminated by the changing red, blue and green of the firestick, appearing brighter than the firework itself.
Thinking back, it was also a similar night when we met for the first time. Everything changed from that rainy night when I called out to Mio-san who was standing alone.
If Mio-san had not lost her keys.
If I had been more exhausted and hesitated to ask her about it.2
Without that, these things might have never happened. Our meeting was a whimsical fateful encounter and that has led to the four of us now being here together.
「Next, this one looks good!」
「Matsutomo-san as well, light some up.」
「Then, I will also choose the same one as Mio-san’s.」
I lined them up and lit them. White fireworks sprayed out of the stick and landed on the grass tracing a parabola through the air.
「Matsutomo-san likes fireworks?」
「Me? I like them all. Small and big alike.」
Looking at Mio-san waving the firestick in circles, suddenly a thought struck me.
Actually, I am not sure as to how long I can continue with this job. The question of whether I will be able to eat and survive with this job until the end is something that nobody knows.
「Mio-san I don’t think that I will ever regret what I am doing now.」
「What you are talking about?」
「Enjoying life like this.」
Right when she should have followed up with “Me too” the firestick died out, engulfing us in darkness.
When I was about to take out the sparklers to replace it, Murasaki and Tsuchiya who were observing the Black Snake called out.
「Saotome-saaan, let’s soon light up the big ones!!」
「We confirmed with the staff!! Though the type that shoots out are prohibited, the type that sprays outward is completely fine.」
「Co, coming. Let’s go Mio-san.」
Once Tsuchiya lit up the fuse, it sizzled through and disappeared into the cylindrical tube. After a moment of silence bright pink fireworks illuminated the sky, making it look as if the number of stars in the sky had increased. Looking at the spectacle, Murasaki and Tsuchiya let out cheers of joy.
「Ah, that’s right, picture. Let’s take a picture.」
Mio-san as well is staring at the fireworks glittering in the sky while gripping the hem of her shirt. I wonder if it’s my imagination that those pupils have become moist.
「Beautiful isn’t it, Mio-san?」
「It’s been slightly under two months since we met. To think that so many things would happen is something we would never have imagined. Life is unpredictable.」
「Look! Murasaki and Tsuchiya as well, fooling around so joyously…..」
「….. Mio-san, what do you think about the current German government’s policy towards France?」
She replied right away. I looked at the veranda that Mio-san was sitting in a while ago.
I remember drinking one can of the juice served with the barbeque but didn’t really read the label on it. In the darkness, I grabbed one and managed to make out the words written on it. It was four hiragana letters.
The thing that I thought to have been a juice was canned shochu with a moderately sweet pleasant flavour and 3%ABV.
To find someone who gets drunk on just a single can of it is particularly rare but the fact that Mio-san’s alcohol tolerance is very low is something that became evident in the tamagozake incident. As a matter of fact, when I turned back to look at Mio-san she was waddling towards the sea just like a newborn sea turtle hatchling.
「Matsutomo-san, Matsutomo-san the sea really pretty you know.」
「Hold it right there! It’s too dangerous to go swimming now.」
「Mo~, I’m not going to drown.」
There is one more group of young people who are shouting out with excitement and lighting up much fancier and flashy fireworks. It is obvious that they come under the rumoured party lovers category.
This is bad.
At this rate, a 28-year-old E-cupped drunk young woman with splendid features might end up in a part of the summer beach that has the scent of an amorous adventure.
That scenario has to be avoided at all costs.
「Hey, Tsuchiya! Murasaki!」
「Did something happen to Saotome-san?」
「Seems like she got a little drunk. The fireworks are also almost used up so let’s head to the room and…..」
Luckily, for me I have a 『Contingency』 plan!
As soon as the trip was confirmed, I decided that there was something that was absolutely indispensable and crucial if the four of us were going to gather round and spend the night.
「Oi, Matsuu, you can’t possibly mean…..」
「That’s fine with me, I won’t pass on this opportunity for revenge.」
「You want to? Even though Aa-chan and the kids are not here, I won’t lose.」
I gave a slight nod to the three of them who had already guessed it. I reached out into my pocket and took out a palm-sized box hoisting it into the sky.
「Wanna play some UNO?」
The yellow logo on the black background stands out under the pink-lit sky.
The summer night has just begun.
TL Note: With that book one comes to a close, sorry that I have not really been able to push out the chapters at set schedule but I will make sure that I do post one every week. There are a few side stories after this before book 2 starts, so I will first finish them up before moving on to book 2
Author’s note: Thank you for reading my work until now. With this the first volume comes to a close.
It might have been better to end it with Aa-chan’s arc but since this is a “love comedy” I didn’t want it to end on a scene with people crying but on a more jovial setting.
After writing a few side stories I will move on to the 2nd volume. The story still has a long way to go so I ask for your continued support just like always.