The next day at nine o’clock in the morning, I went to Demachiyanagi Station to meet with Holmes-san. I arrived slightly earlier than the meeting time, and properly parked my bicycle at the bicycle lot next to the station.
Incidentally, Demachiyanagi Station is just to the East of the confluence of the Kamogawa River and Takanogawa River.
There were platforms for Keihan Electric Railway (underground) and Eizan Electric Railway, and since you could go all the way to Osaka via the Keihan Railway, that train service was used by many people.
I exited the bicycle lot and headed towards the ticket vendors, and I noticed that Holmes-san was already there.
“Good morning, Aoi-san.”
“Ah, good morning.”
“Shall we go, then?”
Holmes-san smoothly proffered the tickets.
“Sorry that you even bought the tickets.”
“No no, I must also apologize for our sudden circumstances.”
“No, that’s fine.”
Especially when everything was working out perfectly for me.
After passing through the small ticket gate, a train with only two cars appeared before our eyes.
This was just the start of our journey, but I felt the impact of seeing the train cars right in front of us.
“Let’s take the first car. The mountain scenery looks more beautiful from there.”
“Alright.” I replied and headed to the front car with a buoyant sensation.
There were seats lined up on the sides of the car, just like the trains in the city.
That being said, these carriages were really empty, making me think of trains in the rural, mountainous areas.
I somehow had the feeling that we had already traveled far on our journey, filling me with excitement.
I eagerly looked around the car and noticed a single pink heart-shaped hanging strap, causing me to go “Eh?” in bewilderment.
“Holmes-san, why is there only one pink strap?”
I asked in surprise, while Holmes-san responded with a nod.
“Eizan Railways has a carriage equipped with a heart-shaped strap. There’s a jinx that says that grabbing the strap will grant one fortune1. It’s called the ‘Hanging Strap of Fortune’, apparently.”
“The Hanging Strap of Fortune!”
“Since it’s quite a rare chance, how about grabbing the strap, Aoi-san?”
“Eh, ah… alright. Since I wouldn’t normally get to see this.”
Fighting back the embarrassment, I tightly grasped the pink heart-shaped hanging strap.
The train moved off after that, so I immediately sat down.
“W-What about you, Holmes-san?”
I asked in order to hide my embarrassment.
“Well, it’s not my first time on the Eizan.”
Holmes-san replied with a grin.
It wasn’t his first time on the Eizan. In other words, he’d grabbed the strap some time before.
Holmes-san didn’t seem like the kind of person to come here alone and grab that strap, so could he have ridden this train with his ex-girlfriend? Or was it with someone else?
Holmes-san had mentioned that after the disagreement with his ex-girlfriend, he “lived his university life in a manner which completely ran counter to his earlier wishes to enter the priesthood”. Was he referring to having relationships with other women?
Come to think of it, he is a handsome guy and has a great academic record, so it’s natural for him to be popular.
I’ve asked about his past, but does he have a girlfriend right now?
Perhaps I’ll try asking him right now.
The question, “Holmes-san, do you have a girlfriend?”
I snuck a look at Holmes-san, who was sitting next to me.
His side profile as he gazed outside the window was, as always, cool.
“…If you have something you want to ask me, go ahead.”
He spoke without hesitation.
My heart leapt as Holmes-san displayed his usual sharp insight.
If I asked if he had a girlfriend, I would definitely be misunderstood.
“N-No, it’s nothing.”
I shrugged, and also turned to look out the window.
The train zipped through a mountain road. As the countryside scenery unfurled before us, I couldn’t imagine that we were still in Sakyo Ward, where I lived. It really felt that we had already traveled far on our journey.
Eventually, we reached a tunnel of fresh verdure.
This was the reputed ‘green maple leaves’.
“Wow, it’s really beautiful!”
“It has a different flavor compared to the red leaves in autumn, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, it’s refreshing and incredible!”
“I didn’t mind going to Kurama by car, but taking the train has its own taste.”
“Going by train really makes me feel that I’m on a journey. On top of that…”
It’s a trip to deal with heartbreak, after all. But I couldn’t say that aloud, so I closed my mouth, leaving the words hanging.
“Yeah, on top of that, there’s hiking,” Holmes-san continued my sentence.
I felt a little relieved by that save.
I gave a slight smile and looked out the window again.
The green maple leaves were simply dazzling in the bright sunlight.
This post is made possible by our amazing patrons!
Editors (Tier 2) : Bennet Kilian, Yazmin Arostegui, Steven Baltakatei, Smash the Oni, Joshua Fisher
Assistants (Tier 1) : Daniel Betts, Jaime Cuellar, Fred Valenzuela, Paul, Javier Rivera
Thank you very much for all your support!
- This is actually a thing. It can be found in one of the 22 train cars operated by the Eizan Railway, and its position is changed every few days. Click here for more information.