The Case Files of Jeweler Richard - Extra Case
Final chapter of volume 1! And this is where I announce that I will be going on hiatus for this month and probably the next. I have a much heavier workload this month so I can’t spare a lot of time for translating, especially with a series this dense. Plus I feel guilty for neglecting my other translation which is slightly easier to do (if you follow my tumblr you know what I’m talking about). I feel bad about doing this since this week’s episode is some real sad boy hour stuff, but gotta maintain that GPA lol. Thanks for all your comments and support! Shout out to that one person who bought me a kofi! Hopefully I’ll be back before everyone drops this lol
On the second floor of the Ginza multi-tenant building, in summer.
The store owner lightly cleared his throat at my groaning that sounded like a stalling car engine.
“No matter how hard your throat works, the stone will not talk.”
“…I’m just trying to decide.”
So decide quietly, please, Richard said coldly.
It was all around our usual exchange, but what was slightly different was that the owner and I were facing each other across the glass low table.
The black Urashima’s Casket was on the table. There were three cabochon stones inside. Apparently, creating many flat faces, like for diamonds and rubies, was called a “faceted cut”, and the processing of polishing a stone in circles, like for crystal balls and magatama, was called a “cabochon cut.” A stone that reflected light and sparkled was called “faceted,” and an opaque stone was called a cabochon. Just like this stone.
It was a milky pink color, with a pale hue. It looked a sweet candy.
The stone was called a rose quartz. Its Japanese name was the same, bara suishou.
It was fairly large, about the size of a thumbnail.
It had an effect on romance—that was the rumor.
It all started with net surfing during my school commute. I was honestly quite surprised to read that there was a stone that could be used for romance, with a feeling that was almost like a drug that worked on migraines. I learned that depending on the type of stone, there were different kinds of effects. They were so-called power stones. On a page that featured the rose quartz on a fortune-telling-looking website, there was a picture of the lovely pink stone. Quartzes, in other words, rock crystals. They were also fairly hard. It also wasn’t that difficult to maintain them.
I thought that I should buy this stone as soon as possible.
It wasn’t like it was my sardine’s head or anything*, but on any account my beloved Tanimoto-san was a ganseki-ya. I knew only one other person who would listen so earnestly to the voices of rocks. At first, I thought I would give it to her as a present, but it didn’t look anything like the pyrite she adored—and I had my doubts as to whether or not there were even stones she didn’t like in the first place, but you can never be too careful in this situation—I thought about the risks, and came to the conclusion that it was better to buy one for myself. Just having any gift was not a plan. If I told her that I actually got my hands on a rose quartz, and she said, “That’s a power stone for love, isn’t it,” then via that stepping stone, the misunderstanding that was like an icy hell might get cleared up, and spring might be reached from the snow thaw all in one go.
(TN: This is a reference to a Japanese idiom, iwashi no atama mo shinjin kara, meaning “even a salmon head will protect those who truly believe”)
Since the incident with the sportscar, Tanimoto-san still treated me normally. And I also treated her like always. But in her mind, I was counted as “someone with a lover.” Furthermore, that lover was a man. No good. This was absolutely no good. I had to do something immediately. In a way that my flea heart could bear.
It was honestly terrifying. Her airiness was terrifying. Unless I threw the ultimate straight ball, I might not be able to make myself understood. But that was my last resort. There would be more things like this. I hoped there would be.
Setting all the detailed circumstances aside, my desperation at least was on full power, and I used my work privilege to ask Richard to stock it with “If you see some somewhere” “If the occasion comes” and “If it’s affordable.” My encounter with the stone is dependent on luck, the owner said shortly, but the next week he obtained three beautiful rose quartzes. When I groaned, pressed my hands tightly together, and bowed my head deeply, he asked if I was doing a period drama with a fed up-looking face. The prices for all of them were four digits, but five-thousand yen was the cut-off. They weren’t prices I couldn’t afford.
“Dear customer, if you do not mind my asking, could you tell me the reason for your trouble?”
“…No, it’s just that I would be badly off if I picked the wrong stone.”
At his dangerous-sounding “Hah?”, I panicked. That wasn’t it. I absolutely did not think Richard would buy the wrong items. I trusted him. But.
“Hey, would you get angry if I talked about power stones here?”
“Why would I? Have I ever gotten angry anywhere?”
“No, but I read on a website that ‘if you talk about power stones at a jewelry shop, the other person will be shocked. Please be careful.’ I’m not too familiar with it, but stuff like purification and auras aren’t things that would show up in a jewel appraiser’s qualification exam, right?”
Ah, Richard cast down his eyes. It seemed like what I wanted to say got through to him. He stared at the stones for a moment, then looked at me moving only his eyes. Blue eyes with shades of color. He was smiling.
“A jewelry store is not a drug store, and a jeweler is not a pharmacist, so we cannot satisfy the requests of those who are only interested in the ‘effects’ of stones, but they are interested in the beauty of stones, then they are an equally important customer. If it is within the scope of good sense, then they may ask anything.”
I do have a rough idea of what you want, Richard muttered. He found out. It was time to get serious.
“When I asked you to do this for me, I only knew this stone ‘had an effect on romance’, but once I did some research, I read all kinds of detailed information. Like ‘relationship development’ and ‘new encounters’ and ‘abundant love.'”
“Is that not good?”
“It is, but…um. It’s…good, but…yeah, I guess.”
Ha. With that relentless laugh, I came to my senses. Richard turned away and crossed his legs. He looked like he didn’t care about anything. Exactly like my friends when they had to listen to someone talking about their love life. He was a talented jeweler, but as expected, he was still young. It was difficult to think about career-wise, but maybe he was in his twenties, like me?
“This is long overdue, but how old are you?”
“Is that what you are troubling over now?”
“Not at all! I want a stone that is useful for ‘relationship development,’ but if someone like me buys a stone that is useful for ‘new encounters,’ it’d be a bit troublesome, right? It’s not like I believe all of this, there’s always a chance. That’s why—”
“Some tea, please.”
“Hey! You were in hospitality mode until a minute ago!”
“My throat is parched.”
I prepared the tea while muttering, and Richard placed the rose quartz box on the edge of the low table and stood by with teacakes. They were new products, round fruit jellies with powdered sugar. The size of the fresh sweets was about as big as the rose quartzes, and were packed together in a golden container. There were four colorful types. I was correct to hold back on the sugar. I also got used to the cups with the gold band pattern that were not for customer use.
Richard’s face when he smiled at me and said thank you was, as ever, at a level of beauty that ceased to be human. I thought that it would certainly be awkward if a girl joined a workplace like this, but I resolved in my heart that I would never tell him that. Any more misunderstandings would be troublesome. It was outside the line. There was no room for fouls anymore.
With a white toothpick, the beautiful store owner carefully brought the jellies to his mouth one by one. At times like these, Richard was just a foreigner with a sweet tooth. After taking a sip of tea, he glanced at me.
“I believe I have also said this at the time with the amethyst, but humans are creatures who develop themselves in the direction they truly desire. If you are truly praying for your relationship with a special someone to develop, then I do not think it matters what kind of stone you have. It will help you, never impeding.”
Come to think of it, I felt like I heard him talk about this at the hospital. A direction one truly desired. Yes, whether they noticed or not, humans headed towards their own desires. That was what Richard—hmm?
Richard gathered his brows at my puzzled face.
“What is it? Are you now going to say that you don’t know your ‘true desires’?”
“Oh, wow! That’s exactly what I was going to say!”
So stupid, Richard thoroughly pronounced each syllable. Was it? It wasn’t such a stupid topic to me.
Because “relationship development” wasn’t something that was especially limited to romance.
The wages from the part-time job went without saying, but I felt that the days I had spent quite fulfilling days from this spring to summer. Thanks to Richard, a door to a brand new world had opened, I’d come to be able to talk with Tanimoto-san about stones, I saved someone’s life twice though this wasn’t a pleasant topic, and for some reason I was strangely knowledgeable about sweets in Ginza.
My mother might say it wasn’t good to ask for friendship with someone you worked with. She would say because money was involved. Her perception of reality was always harsh, but she was probably right. But.
I wondered if I couldn’t get a bit closer with Richard, if possible.
I had a Grandma, but no grandpa. Papa Nakata was kind, but he was always in a distant place. In middle school and high school, the senpais who made friends with me were generally those from karate, guys who smelled like sweat and would clobber me whenever we had time. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anyone I could chat with, but they were friends who were generally all idiots the same age as me.
The living gemstone-like man who always wore suits looked at me with a wondering face.
“…I thought it couldn’t be, but is it that you want to date two women at the same time?”
“No, no! I was thinking about you!”
Richard’s face became sour. I told him he had the wrong idea many times. But still, in this context, wasn’t this way of broaching the subject good?
“…To be honest, even I’m aware that I say really embarrassing things, so I want you to let them go, but… it seems like I made an older brother who’s kind of strange but has good vibes and that makes me happy. You know everything, you listen to me, you speak sternly to me when I’m acting rashly, you even brought the Jaguar around for me even though you complained about it, and you’re supporting me with Tanimoto-san…that’s why, I…”
I want to be friends with you, I said disjointedly in a low voice. Richard’s back rounded a little and he put a hand to his mouth. He was laughing. Just let it all out already. There was nothing more embarrassing than this.
“My apologies. So you are saying that you only like my appearance?”
“Give me a break…”
“I am joking.”
“It may not seem like it, but I respect you a lot. You’re by yourself in another country, dragging around a suitcase, and you wear a suit every day with a friendly smile. I can’t do that even if you made me. I’m aware that I say embarrassing things, but I’m not joking around.”
Richard wordlessly stood up with his teacup in hand. While standing, he turned away and drank the royal milk tea. Why all of a sudden?
“What, what’s the matter? Does your butt hurt or something?”
“It is nothing. It is merely that sometimes I wish to drink tea while standing up.”
“‘Sometimes’? This is the first I’m seeing of this.”
“Never mind that, look at the stones over there.”
Richard downed the tea in his cup in one go and briskly disappeared into the back of the store. Even though I would have poured him a second helping. But well, it was best to choose a stone without delay. Although there were no customers at the moment, it was in the afternoon that this store really got busy.
I returned my gaze to the three rose quartzes. They were all pretty, but I liked the one in the middle the most. Like a slender face, it was elliptical, with white veins going through it diagonally, and it fit well in the palm of my hand. When I gripped it lightly, I randomly broke into a smile. It was my first experience of feeling at ease when clasping a stone. I smiled at Richard, who had slowly returned.
“I’ll take this one. It feels right. It’s a nice stone. By the way, this is unrelated to what we’ve been talking about, but…is there an employee discount?”
“You will make a special payment.”
When I asked if he meant he was going to deduct it from my salary, Richard shook his head, crossed his legs and told me about something strange. It was about gathering information about the newest sweets shop in the Shinjuku area. The condition was that there would be no reviews or evaluations such as those written in magazines or online review sites where you couldn’t tell who wrote them, but testimonies from those who actually visited there.
“Are you telling me to go there and try the food? I can only do it after I finished all my midterm papers.”
“Do you not have any friends who seem knowledgeable about sweets? The girls at your university may go to such places for tea. If you started by saying that your boss who is ‘strange but has good vibes’ asked something absurd of you, won’t they tell you?”
Was he telling me to go up and talk to her? To Tanimoto-san. From me. About something that wasn’t stones.
When I widened my eyes, Richard snorted a little.
“Each person has their own specialty. Just as I have my knowledge of gemstones, and currently you have an information network that makes good use of your student network. It is a give and take.”
No matter what I was told, it was extremely unlikely that much of it get into my head. It seemed it would be some time before I could speak. Wait for me. I was coming up with the greatest words of gratitude in my life right now.
“Richard, I…don’t know how much more I can like you!”
I grabbed his hand, deeply moved, and after a one-sided handshake, Richard held his cup with an expression of enlightenment on his face. That gaze. I remembered it. Could I have, again…?
“…Actually, you do not seem to have learned your lesson at all.”
“You have it all wrong! It’s a misunderstanding! Tanimoto-san is the one I like!”
“Regardless of the truth, words and deeds to lead to misunderstanding may be the source of your misfortune. I see that you still hadn’t had enough painful experiences. It is said that heaven helps those who helps themselves, but when a fool who does not reflect on himself asks for a blessing from a stone, would they not end up being forsaken with a ‘it has nothing to do with me’?”
“That is a really sound argument, but I think that is also something you shouldn’t say to the customers…”
“Indeed. Incidentally, dear customer, could you please return my hand soon?”
When I hurriedly let go of Richard’s hand, the intercom sounded. We both looked at the store’s door at the same time. It was a customer.
Wordlessly pointing towards the kitchen, Richard closed the rose quartz box and headed towards the back room. I cleared the plates, wiped the table with a towel, and then went to the kitchen. Let’s make a new batch of tea. Following the sound of the door opening, I heard Richard saying, “Welcome.”
I wondered what kind of business our first customer of the day had.