At exactly 13 o’clock, I arrived at the Akasaka office, relying on the map on the web.
Kurosawa-san and I parted ways at once, and we agreed to meet at 3 o’clock at a hamburger shop in Roppongi with an unfamiliar name that sounds like a hiccup.
（It’s surprisingly small…)
When I arrived at the office, I was greeted by a four-story brick building located just off the main street.
It’s much more modest than I imagined.
I was expecting something like a skyscraper, considering it was a big company, but I was disappointed.
After walking up about three steps, I pushed the glass door and entered the reception area.
When I told the beautiful receptionist what I wanted, she said, “Please go up to the fourth floor” and pointed me toward the elevator.
Once I reached the fourth floor, a woman was waiting for me in front of the elevator.
She looked to be in her early thirties. She is wearing a tight skirt and white blouse, and has her employee ID card around her neck. She is a sexy woman with lustrous black hair and a distinctive mole under her eyes.
Her features matched those of the manager, Kiyoka Yamauchi, whom Kaneko-san had told me about beforehand.
I think she might be the same person.
If Kaneko-san is right, she should be the president’s lover.
「You must be Fumijima from Modero Project. I’ve been waiting for you. This way, please」
I was ushered into the reception room, where I found a magnificent leather sofa set. On a waist-high shelf by the wall, there were trophies and plaques lined up for your viewing pleasure.
「Please sit down and wait for a moment」
「Uh, yes, uh, uh, thank you」
It’s not an act of stuttering. I’m actually confused. That’s because…
（…Where is the right place to sit?)
Even if I’m told to sit down, I don’t really know where to sit on the sofa set.
（…I think I’ve heard that the one closest to the door is the lowest seat…)
In all likelihood, I’m in a lower position than them.
But since I’m a guest, is it right for me to sit in the upper seat?
（I don’t know…. At any rate, being humble is the right thing to do)
For the time being, I sat down in what I thought was the lowest seat and waited for the president to come.
The only sound was the ticking of the clock in the reception room. There was no sign of tea being served.
Ten minutes passed, fifteen minutes passed, and about twenty minutes passed in vain.
「Thanks for waiting」
President Kurashima came into the reception room in an unusually good mood.
He sat down in front of me and started to talk without even greeting me.
「I don’t like to go around. I’ll tell you straight out, your Misuzu! She’s a gem. I’d like you to bring her to my office!」
「What!? No, wait, wait, wait a minute!」
As expected, I pretend to be in an exaggerated panic. Then, with a thin smile on his face, the president confronted me.
「We will pay all the penalties for the cancellation of the contract. Think about it, don’t you think it’s a loss for the entire entertainment industry that a talent like her is buried in a small agency like yours?」
He’s a pushy old man.
After all, does a president have to be this forceful to be president?
I deliberately responded in a muffled voice as I tensed and turned my head away.
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「W-with all due respect, President. I’m afraid that’s too rude… And it’s not something I can do on my own…」
The president sat up, leaned back, and nodded humbly.
「That’s not surprising. That’s why I’d like you to persuade Misuzu by yourself」
「What!? You mean me!? Seriously, you’ve got to be kidding! You’re asking me to betray the company?」
When I pretended to be a little angry and raised my voice, President Kurashima laughed with one cheek distorted, as if he expected me to say so.
「I’m not saying… for free. You too can move to our company with Misuzu. How much do you make a year now? I’ll accept you as a section chief」
「I think there’s something shiny about you too. Eventually, I’d like to entrust you with a section」
（Uwaa… I’m almost starting to believe him when he’s this blatantly manipulative)
When I dared to remain silent, President Kurashima pushed me again and leaned toward me.
「What do you think? I don’t think it’s a bad idea」
「…However, Misuzu-san won’t be coming to Tokyo until next week」
「I don’t mind. By then, you must persuade her. Here are the conditions we’ll offer to her」
What the president held out to me was an A4 sheet of copy paper with bullet points typed on it.
I skimmed through it and found a list of nearly ten conditions, including the contract fee, that looked like something from the height of the bubble economy.
「You can answer next week, when she comes to Tokyo. Bring her here then, and we’ll make a formal contract」
The president didn’t seem to be suspicious of me, but it would be better to make him more suspicious of me.
Bad guys are always more at ease when the other party is a small person.
「What is it?」
「I’ll try to deal with Misuzu-san. So… can you assure me in writing that I will be treated well?」
「You don’t believe me?」
「No… I mean, it’s not that I doubt President, but I myself know my own value」
When I told him that, he twisted his cheeks in amusement.
「Hahaha, I see. Very well. Let’s prepare it for you」
「Well… Well, I’ll try my best to bring Misuzu-san here next week」
「Yes… That’s all I have to say. I’m a busy man myself. Excuse me」
After saying that, the president quickly left the reception room without looking back.
（He really doesn’t treat me well. If he keeps doing it like this, I’m sure someone will scoop him up sooner or later…)
◇ ◇ ◇
「President, thank you for your hard work」
Kiyoka smiled at me as I returned to the office.
「He’s even smaller than I thought, that one. It’s quite simple」
Then she wrinkled the bridge of her nose, as if she had been smelled.
「Do you really want that guy to join us? No matter how much of a barter he is, he is very gross, ugly, smelly, looks like he can’t do the job, and other than the fact that he is young, he has nothing to offer」
「Ahaha, Kiyoka is relentless. Well, that’s just a cost to attract Misuzu」
「Oh… Still, it’s a bold move to treat him like a section chief. No one will follow you if you act like that」
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「Just because he’s a section chief doesn’t mean he has to have subordinates. I’ll just set up a new toilet cleaning section. And in three months, he’ll be fired for not getting rid of the yellow stains」
「Ufufu… You’re really bad」
When I reached out and squeezed her breasts, she immediately leaned toward me with lust in her eyes.
She is a woman that I have been training since she joined the company as a new employee, but she has really become a woman that I like.
◇ ◇ ◇
「Hikaru, get in」
「Yes, Coach Jolanda(Yolanda)」
Today’s club activities are over in the morning.
I urged Teruya Hikaru to get in the passenger seat, and got into a used mini car.
She’s going to live with us for the time being.
「How was it?」
When I asked, Hikaru looked troubled and spoke.
「It’s like a needle in a haystack…」
That is unavoidable.
No one rejected her to her face, but the members could not hide their confusion.
After all, she was the sister of the suspect who had kidnapped the girls. Well, that’s to be expected.
「Don’t worry about it. Hikaru’s sister is not the culprit, is she?」
「Yes… That’s right」
Last night’s encounter with the maid was a clue to solving a big case.
”That door”… it was important to witness a part of the enemy’s ability. If it’s known, the countermeasures can be figured out.
The culprit must be able to use that door to move around.
For the time being, Claudia’s suspects are Tashiro, the captain of the track and field club, Shima, and Moribe, a first-year student. For now, we’ll have to keep an eye on them, poke around and wait for their reactions.
If we get close to the core, they will surely come through that door and attack us.
I’ll keep an eye on Tashiro and Shima, but I’ll leave Moribe to Hikaru.
「Anyway… Are you okay?」
「…Well, having you coach the track and field club」
「It was not okay… But I managed to do it」
Of course, the principal and vice principal objected to the idea, but it was just a coach that I hired with my own money.
She was a coaching staff member only during the summer vacation.
Above all, her former homeroom teacher, Gorioka-sensei, was a big supporter.
『Education does not mean discarding the bad parts. If a teacher discards a sister for the sins of her older sister, the students will not trust the teacher』
I was impressed that he had a gorilla-like face, but he said such a noble thing.
If he didn’t look like a gorilla, I might have fallen in love with him.