Sugar Sweet

Translator: Reo

Editor: Cale

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Part 1 – Honey Milk Encounter

Chapter 3 – Magician’s Village (Part 1)

“Mnm…”

Sui felt the out of place sensation of something soft touching his cheek.

This isn’t my bed?

Forcing his heavy eyelids open, Sui saw a dark red sun beyond the open curtains and could hear the chirping of small birds from somewhere far away. His body had been covered by a blanket.

While wondering where this was, he suddenly recalled what had happened last night.

Did I fall asleep on the sofa? I didn’t drool or anything, did I?

“Are you awake?” A voice called out to the flustered Sui. 

The young man was standing next to the sofa. Steam was rising from the mug in his hand and a bitter smell hung in the air. It was probably coffee.

“Um, I… slept?”

“Last night when I brought over your second cup, you were already asleep.”

“Wah, I’m so sorry!” Sui bowed his head in a fluster.

The young man sat down across from him the same way he did last night.

“Don’t worry about it – you were tired.”

“But-”

“Lift your head for now.”

Sui timidly lifted his head.

“Thank you… for this.” When Sui looked at the blanket, the young man gave a small nod. He then placed the mug on the table.

“You, you came all the way here to fulfill your grandmother’s last wish, right?”

“That’s right.”

From now on, he must set out once again, with the town of Akebi as his goal. 

When Sui looked outside the window, the sky was still dyed red.

Hasn’t much time passed? Sui thought, but the young man had clearly said “last night” earlier. What a strange sky.

“Thank you very much for letting me stay here last night. Well then, I’ll take my leave now.”

“You’re leaving?”

“Yes.”

“And you won’t get lost again?”

“Ah.”

Speaking of which, the young man had said that he knew about Akebi.

“If you don’t mind, would you please show me the way…”

The young man took another sip of his coffee without answering.

Is that a no? Or a yes?

“You, what’s your name?”

Why does he want to know my name all of a sudden?1 While being confused about that, Sui answered.

“It’s… Sui. Sui – written with the character for green.”2

“Sui, the town of Akebi that you’re aiming for, is more than an hour away from here. And the road leading there isn’t easy.”

Unconsciously, Sui’s expression froze.

Will I be able to get there?

Sui had absolutely no sense of direction. To the point that he’d go the wrong way even if he were to look at a map. Furthermore, he had the bad habit of confidently going down the roads that he had wrongly chosen. Though Sui was aware of this, there were no signs of it getting any better.

While Sui was trying to encourage himself by thinking that if he did his best he’d make it somehow, the young man struck an additional blow.

“And even if you do make it to Akebi, it doesn’t mean that you’ll immediately find the person you are looking for.”

“Eh? Why is that?”

“Akebi has a lot of complicated circumstances. It’ll take too long to talk about that. Anyway, it’s like that.”

Sui didn’t understand what he meant by complicated circumstances, but he understood that it wouldn’t be that easy to continue onwards. No, it had already been useless since yesterday.

Sui’s shoulders fell dejectedly.

“So, I have a proposition for you.”

“A proposition?”

“Why don’t you come work for me?”

Sui could only blink.

“…Eh?”

“You, can you clean?”

“I can, but-”

“Laundry?”

“I can, but-”

“Cooking?”

“Uu.”

“You can’t cook?”

Sui couldn’t. Not even a little bit. Anyway, what’s with the barrage of questions?

“Oh well.” The young man said, smiling slightly. “I don’t mind cooking, so I’ll do it.”

“I don’t understand where this conversation is going…”

“This mansion, it’s fairly large, right? To the point that it’s a pain to clean. If I didn’t have to clean and do laundry then I’d have more time to devote to my work. You’ll be able to sleep in a place with a roof and a bed, and I’m also here – a person who knows a lot about this forest and about Akebi.”

“It’s not a bad deal, right?” Said the young man, taking a sip of his coffee.

In other words, what he’s offering is a part-time job as a live-in housekeeper with a bed and three meals a day? It’s not that it’s a bad offer, but isn’t it too favorable on my part?

“However, due to my own circumstances, the days when I can take you to Akebi are limited. Meaning, this might become a long-term thing. So, if you want to quickly find your grandmother’s friend and quickly go back, I won’t stop you.”

Sui wanted to fulfill his grandmother’s last wish. He had thought that it would be better to do it as soon as possible, but… 

There was no reason for him to go back right away. Rather, it would be good not to go back at all. If he didn’t need to go back for a while, then that would be better.

“…is it really ok?”

“Yeah. You’ll be saving me.”

Sui looked at the young man leisurely drinking coffee, closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath.

“Please take care of me.”

“Yeah. Same here.”

As they shook hands, Sui suddenly remembered and asked, “May I ask what your name is?”

Sui had told the young man his own name, but hadn’t heard his yet. The young man looked at him as if a bit exasperated.

“…Red. That’s my name.” 3

“Red-san, is it?”

Red’s shoulders twitched in surprise.

“Ah… no, yes. That’s fine.” He touched the cloth that covered his eyes and, for some reason, gave a vague answer. Sui didn’t think that he had said anything problematic though.

Cough, Red cleared his throat. “Well, is it ok to start the contract today?”

“Yes. Ah, but is it really ok if I don’t do the cooking?”

Sui couldn’t cook though.

“You can’t do it, right?”

“…I can, if I try hard enough.”

“While I like your spirit, I don’t want to eat anything that tastes bad. Anyway, didn’t I tell you that I don’t mind cooking?”

Sui suddenly felt like Red was staring at him.

“You haven’t had breakfast yet. I’ll go make it, so just wait here with baited breath.”

Sui felt that Red’s tone, brimming with self-confidence, was kind of cute. Just as he had thought yesterday, no, even more than that, he felt that Red was a kind-hearted, beautiful, fun person, though a little bit mysterious.

“Yes, I’ll happily wait for Red-san’s cooking.” As he tried to say it in a somewhat teasing tone, Red seemed to have been caught off guard.

“…I thought this yesterday too, but, surprisingly, you’ve got some guts.”

“Is that so?”

“Well, that’s fine. It’s going to take a while, do you want to drink some coffee in the meantime?”

“I’m not good with bitter things, so I’m fine.”

“That’s what I’m talking about.”

Sui tilted his head and Red went, “Oh well,” looking amused. “After breakfast I’ll be working you hard.”

“Yes, I’ll do my best.”


After breakfast, since he had been told that there wasn’t any laundry currently, Sui had asked if there were any cleaning utensils and had decided to tackle the cleaning.

Both yesterday and today, he had only spent his time in that one room, so he’d completely forgotten about it, but the mansion, as it had looked like from outside, was big enough to be called a castle. The building had three floors, lots of rooms, and long corridors.

Sui didn’t hate cleaning. The act of sweeping and polishing, watching as everything gradually becomes cleaner, gives me a pleasant feeling. Sui thought unexpectedly as he used the dust rag, mop, broom and vacuum cleaner.

Just thinking about a house built deep in the woods, one would imagine it to be inconvenient, but there was electricity here. Judging from the milk yesterday and the breakfast this morning, there should also be gas. Sui wondered if such machines were installed near the house.

The main focus of the first floor was living spaces. Other than the large living room where he had spent the night, there was a kitchen, a washroom, a bath and the like. Since these rooms were already clean, Sui finished his work in a flash.

The rooms on the second floor couldn’t be called dirty but most of them didn’t seem to be in use. Dust had gathered on the cabinets and knickknacks that had been apologetically placed in the lonely rooms. 

Since he was told that he could choose any room he liked from the second floor as his own, Sui thought about which room he should choose while cleaning. But, even though the sun shone slightly differently in each one, the rooms were structured about the same and he ended up choosing the one closest to the staircase. With that room, it felt like if something or other were to happen, he could respond quickly.

Red carried in the guest bedding that he’d prepared beforehand and a hand-me-down desk and chair that he said Sui could use.

Sui was told “There’s no need to clean it so don’t go there without permission” about the south side of the third floor. It seemed like Red’s room was located there.

After finishing breakfast, and after showing Sui where the cleaning utensils were, Red just said, “Well, good luck,” and disappeared. Sui didn’t see him while he was cleaning the other rooms and it didn’t look like he had gone outside. So he was probably in his room. 

Is he working? Red did say that he could dedicate more time for work if he didn’t have to clean and do laundry. 

Sui imagined his room stuffed with advertisement tissue packets (though that probably wasn’t his job) and unintentionally burst out laughing.4

The north side of the third floor was the same as the second floor in that it was mostly made up of empty, unused rooms. Sui went through the process of cleaning the third floor the same as he had done on the second floor and, with one last swipe of the rag to make sure there was no dust left, he finished his work.

Phew, Sui exhaled.

It seemed like Red was the only person living in this house. But, isn’t living by himself in such a big house with so many empty rooms lonely? …Or had Red been living here with his family before this and ended up alone?

Sui knew nothing about Red, who he’d only just met the evening before.

Will I be able to learn more about him from now on?

Sui knew that the time he would spend with Red wouldn’t be long, but if they were going to be together, even for a short while, he wanted to know more about him and grow closer.

…can we actually do it?

Sui slapped his cheeks, as if to dispel the negative feelings growing in his heart.

Going back to the living room, he looked at the clock – it was noon.

Though the clock claimed it was noon, the red sun beyond the window remained unchanged.

Yesterday, as he was wandering about the forest and this morning too, the sky had been as crimson as a sunset. A feeling like the world had stopped moving, even though the hands of the clock continued to tick, overcame Sui.

“You’ve finished cleaning?” The sound of Red’s voice brought Sui back with a start.

He looked at Red, who was surveying the interior of the room, with his heart thumping.

Red nodded. “Yup, you’re quite skillful.”

Sui patted his chest in relief.

“You, do you have anything that you like?”

“Something that I like?”

When asked what he liked, one thing immediately came to mind. 

“Maybe picture books?”

The next thing that came to mind was pretty things. While he was thinking about this, he noticed Red making a strange expression. Why is his mouth open like that? 

Sui couldn’t see his eyes under the cloth, but he felt like Red was blinking, dumbfounded.

Sui tilted his head, wondering what he was so surprised about.

“I… was thinking more along the lines of what requests you have for lunch.” Red said hesitantly.

I see. So that’s what you meant.

“I phrased it badly.”

“No, it was just my own misunderstanding.”

His embarrassment, coupled with Red’s consideration, colored Sui’s cheeks slightly red.

Without laughing at him or getting fed up, Red asked another question.

“You like them? Picture books?”

After his gaze wandered a bit, Sui nodded.

“My grandmother used to read them to me often. The world that can be seen in picture books is kind and warm and beautiful – I really like it… That’s right, during the disaster yesterday, I remembered Hansel and Gretel.”

“The story about the house made of candy?”

“Yes. Didn’t Hansel throw bread crumbs as they walked so that they wouldn’t lose their way back? I was thinking that maybe if I had done that I wouldn’t have gotten lost. But I don’t like bread5, so I didn’t even bring some with me for lunch, let alone to throw it around.”

“Even if you did, it would have been a failure since the birds would have eaten it.”

That was true. They both laughed.

“So shall we have bread for lunch?”

“Were you even listening to what I just said?”

“I’m joking. I don’t have a hobby of going out of my way to make something someone doesn’t like and watch their unwilling face. So, what things do you like to eat?”

The answer didn’t immediately come to Sui. He had a small appetite to begin with and wasn’t fussy about food. After thinking about it for a bit, one thing did come to mind.

“Candy.”

He hurriedly waved his hand at Red who looked amused.

“Not right now!”

“Candy… I don’t think I can make it for lunch. Next time, ok?”

“No, please forget about it!”

“Other than candy, what else?”

“There’s nothing really…”

Sui then remembered what he had been thinking about just before.

“I want to try eating the food Red-san likes.”

“The stuff I like?”

“Yes.”

It was perfect, since Sui had just been thinking that he wanted to know more about Red.

After pondering for a bit, Red said, “Then should I make that?” and left the living room.

Want to Read Ahead? Support Us on Patreon!
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments