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IMDR Vol. 1: Chapter 6

The Bet


Staring seriously at the boy, he could see a mischievous smile on the young face.


“But I’m also a hired shopkeeper.”


Even as a hired help, it was not normal for a child in his early teens to be in charge of a store.


It really felt like he was being transformed by a fairy. Rihito leaned back deeply in his chair and exhaled.


“I’m surprised… Who are you?”


“Oh, you never told me your name, but you ask for mine?”


The boy tilted his head and smiled.


Rihito chuckled along with him. It seemed that the game of guessing names was still ongoing.


“Then, I guess it’s my turn to guess your identity.”


“You’re right. Well then, instead of granting a wish, how about you guess my name? Three days is not long, so let’s say I hire you for three months for now. If you can guess my name during that time, I will continue to hire you, and I will pay the rent after that. How would you like that?”


“I can see you are not a Sleeping Beauty, but Rumpelstiltskin himself.”


The dwarf who granted his wishes, or rather, the mysterious child who could grant his wish.


Rihito smiled.


“Of course, it’s a wish come true for me, but isn’t that one-sidedly convenient?”


“I have always wanted to hire people, so as long as you work hard, I won’t have any problems. The rent will not be too much of a burden since I own the building. Oh yes, if you are able to guess my name, rest assured I won’t rip myself to pieces.”


‘Is this conversation, which could be considered the continuation of a game, serious or was he joking?’


Being in the sunroom alone with the boy, surrounded by the dark shadows created by the noon light and the scent of the greenery in the garden, gave the illusion of being in a forest.


‘Who was this boy really?’


Despite being suspicious, his curiosity grew more and more.


His boring everyday life turned into a mysterious and extraordinary one.


How long had it been since he has been this excited? He’d been living aimlessly and lazily for the past two years, and this was the most fun he’d had in a long time.


Rihito let out a giggle and was thinking of what witty answer to give when he heard a light clacking of heels approaching.


“Oh, did you come here?”


The woman who appeared in the sunroom was a beautiful woman dressed in Western-style clothing.


She had a bob haircut and wore a pale wisteria-colored cloche hat and a similarly-colored one-piece dress on her thin body. The large white collar and thin cuffs were decorated with lace folds and combined with a long, double-layered pearl necklace; the dress was elegant yet glamorous.


Her fine face was thinly coated with white powder, and her eyebrows were thin and well balanced. Her lips were covered with bright crimson lipstick. The scent of violet wafted through the air.


She was the owner of the salon, Otoki Fumiko.


Rihito got up from his chair, walked to her front, and bowed reverently.


“It has been a while, Mrs. Otoki.”


“Good day to you, Chizaki-san.”


Mrs. Otoki’s rouged lips were covered with a lustrous smile. She must have been over forty years old but her lively and energetic expression and straight posture made her look younger and more beautiful.


“Is the poetry going well? Oh, that’s right, if you like, why don’t you come have lunch with me…”


Her words, which she said with a smile, stopped halfway. Mrs. Otoki’s eyes fell on the boy sitting in the chaise lounge behind Rihito.


“Oh… Oh my.”


Mrs. Otoki, who put her hand on her mouth, looked at Rihito and the boy and smiled happily.


“I see you both were getting to know each other. Did I get in the way?”


“I’ve only just made his acquaintance a short time ago. Unfortunately, I still can’t tell you his name.”


“Oh, I see.”


Just as she was about to introduce him, the boy interrupted.


“Fumiko, you can’t do that. Actually, I’m making a bet with him right now, to see if he can guess my name.”


The boy held up an index finger in front of his lips, telling him not to cheat. Rihito’s shoulders slacked as Mrs. Otoki’s eyes lit up.


“Oh, what is it? You are doing something very interesting, aren’t you?”


Rihito gave a brief explanation of the bet to Mrs. Otoki, who nodded her head with amusement.


Speaking of the café waiter it seemed that Mrs. Otoki was the owner, or in other words, the employer of the boy’s store. She gave her consent to hire Rihito.


“That’s right, I understand. But isn’t it inconvenient without a name?”


Certainly, it would be tasteless to just use ‘you’ from now on. “What should I call you?” Rihito looked at the boy and saw that he was puzzled by the unexpected question.


Before the boy could answer, Mrs. Otoki suggested.


“How about Kahoru?”



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