The next morning, inside of Executive One.
While sipping coffee inside my camping car, I am watching TV on my 100 inch plasma screen.
What’s currently broadcasting is a talk show. The exposure of Arai from yesterday is the hottest topic all around.
At the bottom of the screen, the words ‘Diet Councilman Arai suddenly hospitalized’ are displayed.
It’s the tried and true technique that politicians use to buy time.
“But it’s not going to help you this time, Arai-‘sensei’.”
I take another sip of coffee and smile wryly.
Arai no longer has anywhere to run to.
Up to now, the social recognition of Arai is ‘that guy definitely did those things.’
But now, it has become ‘see, that guy really did do those things.’
Both of them are equally mere impressions, and both are equally incriminating, but the two are actually gulfs apart.
‘Definitely did it’ still leaves a bit of room for doubt. But ‘really did do it’ cannot be erased even when evidence is brought up to the contrary.
And this time, Arai has fallen squarely into the ‘definitely did it’ category.
It doesn’t matter where or how far he runs to. There’s no longer anything that he can do to redeem himself. Or rather, mindlessly running around in this situation would only serve to gouge his wound even deeper.
Well, it’s no longer any of my business from here on.
My smartphone on the table dings.
I reach out to pick it up, but my hand accidentally bumps into the coffee mug, spilling some coffee everywhere.
It goes over the table and also a bit over the floor.
I head to the kitchen to grab a rag to wipe it off, but then the used cups left in the sink catch my attention.
“…… How troublesome.”
Executive One is a great car. With several tens of square meters of usable space in what is effectively a three-storey setup that comes even with a garage, it is a house on wheels with interior and functions that leave no room for complaint.
It is exactly like an actual house. And that is why.
The issue of housework arises.
What with everything that had happened in the other world, it’s been around 20 whole years that I haven’t done any housework.
Almost as soon as I could after arriving in that world, I had bought a slave through a slave merchant to serve as my maid.
And that maid had handled all aspects of housework.
Housework, huh …… I really need to do something about it.
I grab the rag, then give the table and floor a quick swipe.
Both the table and the floor is marble, so it’s easy to wipe everything off cleanly this soon after the spill.
But just as I am about to return to the kitchen with the rag in hand.
A figure that I spy on the screen for a brief moment catches my attention.
Forgetting to the put the rag down, I lean in to stare fixedly at the screen.
Just a moment ago, the channel was depicting the area in front of the National Diet Assembly Hall. It’s already switched to something else, but still.
“There’s no mistaking it, it was her…… but why……?”
Bringing my passenger car out of the garage, I then make my way over to the front of the Assembly Hall.
Right on the heels of what happened yesterday, journalists and TV stations are crowding the place with overwhelming numbers, all speaking into mics and facing cameras.
And all around them is a huge throng of passers by.
I quickly pan around, paying attention especially to the passers by——there she is.
Within the twenty seconds of invisibility, I dash at my top speed towards where my target it.
As soon as I arrive, I place my hand on her shoulder and start dragging her off.
“Hyah! Wh-, who is it?”
“Shh! Stay quiet and come with me.”
The instant I put my hand on her shoulder she resisted, but then she immediately calmed down upon hearing my voice. Just as I requested, she quietly comes along.
With my hand still on her shoulder, we turn the corner, then I dispel [Invisibility].
“So it really is you, Sayama Shiho. Why are you in a place like this?”
“Umm, I saw the video on the internet.”
“Video on the internet?”
“Yes! The one that Kazama-san uploaded.”
“Oh, the one that cornered Arai, huh. How coincidental that you managed to catch it.”
“It wasn’t coincidence. The views on that video has already exceed ten million. It’s gone completely viral.”
I take out my smartphone.
The standby screen shows me that I’ve got 999+ unread messages.
Ohhh, so this is the notification that made me spill my coffee earlier on.
When I open up my message inbox, I find a huge variety of messages.
It seems that all of them are from users who’ve seen the video of that live broadcast.
“ ‘Want to interview you’…… ignore. ‘Can I re-upload your video’…… they’d probably do it anyways if I ignore them. ‘Well done.’ ‘Awesome.’ ‘That feels great.’ ……”
There’s really a whole lot of different messages, but none of them seem particularly important, so I disable all notifications and return the smartphone back into my pocket.
“I knew it from your voice. I could tell immediately that it was Kazama-san. That’s why I came down to Tokyo, came to stand in front of the Assembly Hall. Because I just had to meet Kazama-san one more time.”
“I see. But why do you want to meet me again? I’m pretty sure the Kanai Enterprises bunch have been finished so thoroughly that they aren’t in any position to make any moves right now.”
“Well, that’s, I wanted to say thanks again.”
“Just for that alone?”
“And, well, I wanted to pay you back, if possible.”
“Pay me back?”
Shiho leans forward passionately.
“I want to pay you back! Because Kazama-san helped me——saved my life, even.”
“That’s a bit of an overstateme——or not, I suppose.”
The fact that she’s come here after watching the video of Arai means that she’s fully understood what had happened.
She understands that she was but one step away from being sold off overseas, and that that would have meant never again stepping onto Japanese soil for the rest of her life.
Shiho had correctly connected all the lines.
“That’s why! I want to pay you back! I’ll do anything! Please allow me to do something for you!”
She leans in even further to emphasis her demand.
A girl who wants to pay me back so badly for saving her life that she won’t take no for an answer.
She’s sure being forceful about it, but it doesn’t feel half bad.
Then abruptly, a thought comes to my mind.
Right now, I actually do a matter I need help with.
After thinking about it for a short while, I pose it to her.
“Can… you do housework?”
“Yes I can!”
“Alright, then can you be my maid?”
“——! Thank you very much!”
“Oi oi, an instant reply? Are you sure about this? I said ‘maid,’ didn’t I?”
“I don’t mind at all!”
Shiho is almost hopping with joy, then she bows deeply towards me.
“I’ll give it my all being Kazama-san’s maid!”
Is it because her worry has been resolved? In sharp contrast to when I first met her, now Shiho seems more like a loyal dog then anything else.
It should be fine to leave things to her. And with this, the housework situation at Executive One should be resolved.
She may not be a slave, but a girl in similar circumstances has once again joined me as a maid.
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