Source

https://ncode.syosetu.com/n0573je/9/

“Come on out. I know you’re there.”

Shortly after leaving Inami’s house.

Haku looked up at the roof of his apartment and called out. The cold, sharp sound of her voice made the breathless thing tremble.

“…..You noticed.”

With a muffled female voice, it landed on the ground.

Denim pants and black hoodie.

Comical mask, a kind of mask that gives off a distorted atmosphere in the midst of the ordinary attire.

Haku shrugged her shoulders and muttered, [Well, yeah.]

Even if you can’t see it with your eyes or hear it with your ears, it is easy to sense the killing intent and get a grasp of the other party’s location.

“Long time no see, Fried Face. What’s wrong with your mask? Didn’t you wear a gas mask the last time we met?”

“I bought it at the airport. Make good purchases. Japan has good taste.”

Fried Face–the street name of the assassin, given to him because his face was a mess from burns.

Basically, she covers her face with something, and owns a wide range of masks, from elaborate human-like ones to this one.

“So, what are you doing here? If you’re looking for the train station, it’s that way.”

Haku, understanding Fried Face’s intention, dared to ask, pointing in the direction of the station.

“I screwed up. A big, big mistake that can’t be undone.”

“Hmm. You want to redeem yourself by killing me?”

“……Yes.”

“I’m sorry, but that’s not possible. I’m full and I’m sleepy. Just take a soak in the hot springs, get some rest, and then try your best at your next job.”

Fried Face shook her head.

The pistol with a silencer was taken out of her pocket.

She pointed the gun directly at the window of Inami’s room.

“If I kill that guy, will that motivate you?”

At that moment, the cold night wind blew with great force.

Silver hair swaying in the wind.

The silver eyes that remained motionless as they stared at Fried Face.

Heart was beating wildly, whole body was tense, and every muscle in the body was creaking.

Never before had she felt so much anger, not at the attempt on her life, but at the threat to the lives of others.

“……If you dare touch Inami, killing you won’t be enough.”

Fried Face gasped at the icy look in her eyes.

If you don’t know who she is in the hitman industry, you’re either a mole or a country bumpkin.

Fried Face is neither. She knows what kind of work she has done, and she knows what happens to those who challenge her.

Understanding all this, she pointed the muzzle and pulled the trigger without hesitation.

The first shot was dodged, and the second was also dodged.

Soon after, the knife was in her hand. The third and fourth bullets were shot with it, and the bullet that deflected broke the exterior light.

“Damn…..!”

Fried Face swears.

Her aim is perfect, but she can’t hit anything. She is not like any human beings, she should have not messed with her.

But she is the one who started it.

She can’t stop now.

The fifth shot is also dodged, and the sixth is snuffed out with a knife.

The seventh shot, flying in a straight line toward her brow, cut it in half.

Taking advantage of this momentary gap, Haku kicked the ground as hard as she could and jumped into Fried Face’s bosom.

“—-! !”

The feel of the blade on his neck. The coldness.

If Haku moves the knife even slightly, she will inevitably bleed profusely.

“……You’re as strong as ever.”

“I’m not happy about being praised, but I’ll say thank you.”

She said, gripping the handle of the knife tightly.

This is the end–and Fried Face meditates.

It was then.

“Ah, there she is. Hey, Haku san !”

“!?”

At the sound of Inami’s voice, Haku immediately broke her steel-like expression, put away the knife, took the gun from Fried Face, and threw it into a nearby garbage dump. There’s no need to hide it since she already knows she’s a killer, but it’s somehow wrong to have him meet the person she was about to kill.

“W-what’s wrong? You wanted to see me?”

“Yes. I had a souvenir for you, but I forgot to give it to you.”

What he handed her was a small paper bag.

When she looked inside, a Tupperware container with many brown things was in it.

“When I bought bread today, I got some bread ears with it, so I made rusks out of them.”

“Rusks ! I know what a rusk is ! The crunchy, sweet, delicious kind !”

“Right. I can’t eat it all by myself, so please have some for a snack.”

“Yeah, thank you !”

Inami smiled softly and reached out his hand to Haku as if he had noticed something.

Haku blushed at the sudden action, choking on her words.

He touches her shoulder with his long fingertips, picks up a small piece of glass on her clothes, and throws it on the ground.

“Where did you get this stuff on? It’s dangerous, you might cut your fingers or something.”

Ah, yeah, I know. ……Thank you, for taking it off.”

It must be something that flew off when the outside light broke.

Aside from that, she got quite impatient when she was about to be touched.

She doesn’t feel it herself, but her face was strangely red from another perspective. Besides, the fact that he was just taking away something that stuck on her made her inexplicably happy.

“Then, I’ll get going. Please be careful and go home. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

He waved [good night] as he was leaving, and when he was out of sight, she turned her attention to the garbage dump.

“……Why didn’t you run?”

There was Fried Face, motionless in the trash.

She had plenty of time to escape, but she remained motionless on her back, as if dead.

“It’s over. Hurry up and kill me.”

“I’m not gonna do that after Inami gave me a souvenir…..”

“…Then eat it all here.”

“Why is that? …Haha, I see. You wanna eat Inami’s cooking too, right?”

Fried Face shakes her head and denies it.

Haku grinned and took out a Tupperware and opened the lid. She took one of them and put it in her mouth through the gap between her masks.

“…It’s delicious.”

“Hmm, it’s so good ! I’ve never seen such a simple thing taste so good when Inami makes it !”

“Give me another one.”

“No problem !”

Crunchy.

Two assassins devouring homemade rusks in the middle of the street at night.

“What mistake did you make that can’t be undone?”

Fried Face sighs, swallowing the rusk in her mouth.

“…….I spared a baby.”

“That’s your screw-up?”

“The request was to eliminate the target’s family. But I couldn’t kill the baby……”

“……”

“When the baby saw my real face….that baby laughed. My messed up face……that made me happy. Now I have the baby in a safe place.”

[I see] she nodded, handing over another rusk.

She takes it and quietly puts it in her mouth.

“The client is not happy about it. He asked me to give him the baby, so…….”

“Did you kill the client?”

“Yeah.”

“…..It was more than just a screw-up. I mean, would killing me be doing something about that?”

A hitman who messes with the client is as good as a mad dog.

It doesn’t matter if there is a good reason for the killing, but in this case, ethically she is in the right, but as a killer, she is out. Killing Haku and proving her skill would not change the past.

“I couldn’t think of anything else. I don’t know what to do.”

“….Well, you should live for now. You can die anytime you want.”

“No, b-but…….”

“You’re going to argue with me after I beat you? You can’t even eat this delicious rusk anymore if you die. Wouldn’t that be a waste?”

Hake handed her another rusk.

The buttery aroma spread in his mouth as she chewed.

The rusks are made with pomegranate instead of regular sugar, and the texture of this one makes a nice sound as well.

The taste is so delicious and comforting from the bottom of the heart that Fried Face mutters, [A waste, perhaps.]

(……Inami is amazing. He saves people who would rather die by cooking for them.)

The knife he uses and the knife she uses are the same in that they can take a person’s life.

But his knives create delicious food.

He makes someone smile, makes straight-up money, and pushes back people who are stuck.

Nothing could be more amazing, Haku thinks.

“By the way, Tie….Haku, is that your name?”

“It’s my name. Inami gave it to me !”

“I don’t know if I can ask you this, but what are you doing with the target?”

“N-no, it’s just, you know, there’s a lot going on……!”

“Are you in love with him?”

At this question, Haku freezes for a few seconds.

Finally, she starts up and twists her head, groaning with difficulty.

“I don’t really know about those things. But he’s a good cook, he knows I’m a killer, yet he treats me normally, and he is my first friend. He works hard at his job, he cares about me a lot, and he’s fun to talk to…..”

[That’s why] she added, taking a bit of the rusk.

“I wanna be with him. If possible, we’ll stay like this forever.”

Haku answered with her cheeks reddened, and from then on she became a machine that did nothing but eat rusks. Seeing her like that, Fried Face smiled slightly under her mask.

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