After that, we received the deputy abbot’s courteous words of thanks, as well as various gifts.
“Please keep this matter between ourselves.”
He added those words as he saw us off, and we left the hojo.
With Holmes, I slowly walked across the wide grounds.
He apparently had a lot to think about, for he had a difficult expression and didn’t say anything.
“—The deputy abbot told us not to tell anyone, but you’ll be telling this to Owner, right?”
I asked quietly, and Holmes raised his head.
“Yes, of course, I’ll report to Owner… although I’m quite reluctant to do that.”
“If he knows that a genius counterfeiter challenged me and I let him escape, he would definitely scold me, ‘What are ya doin’, ya halfwit?’ He would be extremely loud about it, too.”
Holmes dejectedly let out a small sigh.
I winced as I easily imagined Owner ranting on and on with his face deep red and with a frightening, threatening attitude.
“My condolences. You could’ve caught that guy if the deputy abbot hadn’t stopped you, too.”
All because Holmes momentarily stopped when the deputy called his name.
“No, it’s as the deputy abbot said. He does have excellent physical ability. That’s why he holds such exceptional powers of imitation, and it isn’t an exaggeration to call him a shinobi. It would have been useless to chase after him.”
“I see, so he’s that amazing, huh.”
“Exactly. He’s the worst forger I’ve ever met, but he repented and tried to become a monk. It’s such a complicated feeling to find out that my existence hindered his decision to turn over a new leaf.” Holmes cast his eyes down miserably.
So that’s how it is. He’s feeling so dejected because he resurrected a genius forger who was about to disappear from the world, just by existing.
“—Well, even so, I’ll still do my job. I’ll smash any forger who dares to show up.”
Holmes swiftly raised his head, displaying a dauntless smile, causing a shiver to go down my spine.
Enshou’s definitely not normal, but as I thought, this guy isn’t, either.
“Man, I was seriously shocked when you suddenly swung your fan at Enshou. I thought it was a dagger, and honestly, I was the one to be paralyzed with terror. I never thought you to be the violent type.”
His swing was like a flash of light.
Enshou’s also impressive, to be able to guard against such an unexpected attack.
“Wording it that way makes me sound bad. When I was young, I was always told by my grandfather to train up my body. Thanks to that, I’ve already become his bodyguard. It’s necessary because we sometimes buy expensive antiques in countries with poor public security.”
I see. It should be fine in Japan, but dealing with priceless antiques overseas comes with danger. They might have met with some unexpected dangers in the past and returned with frightening memories.
That might be why Holmes was so ticked off by the phrase “sheltered boy”. Thinking back to that time when he said, “I beg your pardon,” his face was actually quite amusing.
“What are you laughing at?”
Holmes stared at me from the side.
Since it’s him, he probably knows what I was thinking.
“Well, sorry. I was just thinking that I should try not to anger you in the future.”
“Yes, please don’t. If you do, I’ll slam that fan down on your head.”
“Wait, that didn’t sound like a joke at all!”
“Because it wasn’t a joke.”
“By the way, Akihito-san, do you have plans later today?”
“No, not really.”
“Would you like to visit Kura, then? We just got all these sweets, and I’ll be making coffee.”
Exhilaration stirred within me as a smile appeared on Holmes’ face.
“Oh? Alright, then. And you can tell me about the yokai at Nanzen-ji too. I’m quite curious about that.”
“Yes, sure. Aoi-san’s working part-time today, so I’ll tell you two about the yokai of Nanzen-ji, as well as the mysterious stories of Kyoto.”
“I’m fine with stories of yokai and other mysteries, but easy with the horror stories. I’m not good with seriously scary ghost stories.”
“Oh, is that so? Then, have you heard of Ichijō Modori Bridge? It’s quite a creepy story, but Abe-no-senmei1…”
“C’mon, don’t start with that already!”
I raised my voice, but Holmes smiled with mirth.
The passing tourists also glanced at me, causing me to laugh a little.
I frowned, then said, “Ah,” and raised my head as I remembered something.
“Oh right, Holmes. I have a favor to ask of you.”
His face showed that he was expecting it to be something bad.
“Don’t make that kind of face. My aunt’s looking for an industry expert to appraise and purchase for her, you see.”
“Ah, if it’s that kind of favor, then I’m all ears.”
While we chatted, a cool breeze swept through the grounds of Nanzen-ji.
The color of the its surroundings wasn’t quite there yet, but it was an autumn breeze.
I felt that various events would happen later on as autumn intensifies, but my heart was stolen by the beauty of the colorful temple grounds to care about the unknown. It was just such an autumn afternoon.
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