This was the season in which the leaves were developing a deeper shade of green.
“If it’s alright with you, could we go together?” Holmes-san had asked when I mentioned that I would be going to Mt.Kurama.
Whenever I remember the gentle smile he wore back then, I would get a tingling sensation.
It was a Friday evening in the first few days of July.
After school ended, I entered Kura, an antique shop at Teramachi Sanjou, and diligently dusted the important goods on display, as part of my part-time job. At the same time, I was secretly trying to hold back the butterflies in my stomach.
Both Holmes-san and Manager were also in the shop, which was a rare occurrence.
Holmes-san was checking the account book, while Manager was, as usual, working on his manuscript.
“Say, Kiyotaka, Aoi-san.”
Manager stopped his pen and looked up. We replied, “Yes,” in unison.
“Didn’t you two talk about going to hike at Kurama once July arrived?”
He was right. We would probably hike on a Saturday or Sunday, when my shift would be likely to come up, so I had informed Manager about our plans already.
“Yes, and come to think of it, it’s already July.”
With his eyes looking at the calendar on the table, Holmes-san said, as if having just realized that fact.
On the other hand, I was totally looking forward to the arrival of July.
“I’m sorry for the sudden request, but could you go to Kurama tomorrow?”
Manager asked solemnly, causing us to go “Eh?” and widen our eyes.
“Well, I know a fellow author who has an estate in Kurama.”
Upon hearing Manager’s words, Holmes-san nodded.
“Ah, I see. You’re talking about Kajiwara-sensei, right? He passed away three months ago, if I recall.”
“Yes, and his family wants to consult you for something. They don’t mind if it’s after your hiking, but I was wondering if you could go listen to what they have to say.”
“…Fine.” Holmes-san replied dispiritedly.
“Sorry to you as well, Aoi-san. That’s it, you can have lunch at Kibune no Kawadoko with Holmes-san. I’ll contact the shop myself.”
He must be feeling really apologetic.
“K-Kibune no Kawadoko, you say?”
If you mention Kawadoko1, the terraces by the banks of the Kamogawa River would come to mind, but Kibune no Kawadoko is different. It is a place where a clear stream flows under, which is the height of summer extravagance.
I was introduced to that place by a travel program, and I was so fascinated by it that I thought at the time, “I want to visit this place just once.”
I’d never thought that I would seriously get to visit a place like that.
It’s like a dream to be able to go to Kurama and have lunch at Kibune no Kawadoko!
As I got excited at that thought, Holmes-san took a small breath.
“Alright, since Aoi-san looks like she doesn’t mind, we’ll stop by on the way back.”
Holmes-san said half-heartedly and shrugged.
“I’m really sorry for ruining your special hiking trip.”
Manager said with a relieved looked on his face.
He mentioned this request as if it just crossed his mind, but he must have been waiting for the perfect chance to bring it up.
I wonder if it’s difficult for him to request things of Holmes-san, unlike for Owner?
Those were my thoughts as I replied, “No no, it’s fine, since we’ll only be stopping on the way back.”
In fact, I was really happy since we could go for our hiking trip so promptly.
But at that time, I hadn’t realized it yet.
—That I would be embroiled in the curious mystery at the Kajiwara Estate,
as well as the internal family troubles there.
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