Awakening - Chapter 179
Nagoya is the capital of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. In size, it was second only to Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama.
Feeling that she was just an amateur magazine column writer and never published any books, moreover, she did not want to be seen by the readers attending the gathering, Naoko asked the venue staff to cancel her seat.
At her insistence, the forty years old Young Writer Association President finally agreed to her request.
Thus, Naoko hid in the crowd, very happily held her sweetheart’s arm as they strolled the venue.
Looking at the crowd of people, Lei Yin said to her, “Let’s leave this place, it’s too noisy here.”
Naoko hesitated, “I don’t think this is appropriate, let’s wait until the book signing event, and then we can leave.”
“Don’t worry, there are so many writers here, they won’t notice if one or two are missing. Didn’t you say you want to take me to see your grandma? Now is a good opportunity.”
Hearing Lei Yin’s words, Naoko’s eyes flashed with excitement and immediately agreed.
After they walked out of the venue, Naoko said with a smile, “Ah, what a great day, it’s good to be out here.”
Looking at her beautiful smile, Lei Yin cannot help but lower his head to kiss her pretty face, and then said, “Didn’t you just say this is not appropriate?”
Holding his arm, Naoko charmingly scolded, “Hate, you’re the one who encouraged me to go out.”
Lei Yin smiled and then said, “Visiting someone without bringing anything is not good, let’s go buy some gifts first.”
“Okay.” Seeing how attentive her sweetheart was, Naoko was very happy.
The two then went to the nearby mall to buy some gifts first.
Naoko’s grandma’s antique shop was located in Shikemichi, a small historical street in Nagoya.
At this historical street, which dates back to 18th century Japan’s mercantilist era, there was ancient warehouses, temples, and handicraft shops. It was filled with rich Japanese traditional folk style, which was one of the must-see places for tourists to visit in Nagoya.
When they arrived at the door, Lei Yin sized up this antique store. It was a typical Japanese traditional shop. The shop area was very big and has a house attached to the back. The structures were mostly made of wood and appeared antique. From Naoko’s introduction, this antique shop has more than sixty years of history. It was the crystallization of her grandfather’s effort.
After arriving here, Naoko was excited like a child. She impatiently pulled Lei Yin into the shop.
Inside the shop, they saw a middle-aged woman carefully wiping the goods on the shelves. Naoko said to the woman, “Aunt Soshi.”
Hearing the sound from behind, the woman immediately turned her head. Seeing that it was Naoko, her whole face lit up and said in a pleasant surprise, “Naoko, you’re here.”
Naoko smiled and said, “How are you?”
Ikehakura Soshi came over and took her hand, and then said, “I am fine, how about you?”
“I am doing great. Is grandma here?”
“Grandma is in the hall inside. And this is?” Ikehakura Soshi a bit strangely looked at Lei Yin.
“He is my… fiance.” Naoko’s face blushed as she made the introduction.
“Huh?” Ikehakura Soshi was surprised, she never heard anything about Naoko’s fiance before.
After giving a shy glance to Lei Yin, Naoko whispered, “Lei, this is aunt Ikehakura Soshi who helps my grandma with this shop.” In a moment of nervousness, Naoko forgot to say her sweetheart’s official name.
Lei Yin smiled, and then said to Ikehakura Soshi, “Hello, my name is Gennai Masashi, I am Naoko’s fiance.”
Ikehakura Soshi quickly returned to normal and immediately said, “Hello, my name is Ikehakura Shoshi, nice to meet you.”
Naoko was eager to see her grandma, so she said to her, “Aunt Soshi, we are going to see grandma. Oh, I almost forgot, this is a gift for you.”
“Oh, you don’t have to do this, I am already happy to see you come.”
“It’s just a small gift.” With that, Naoko pulled Lei Yin into the house.
Looking at Naoko’s excited expression, Ikehakura Soshi cannot help but sigh. Naoko finally has a fiance, she thought.
Naoko lived in Nagoya from elementary school to high school. It can be said that she saw Naoko grew up from a well-behaved little girl to such a beautiful girl. Along with Naoko’s grandma, Ikehakura Soshi had always been worried about Naoko’s weak body since Naoko was still a child, so she hoped Naoko’s fiance would treat her good.
The house at the back was similar in style to Takeda’s house. It has a garden full of flowers in the middle and rows of wooden floors, as well as paper doors separating each room.
Naoko went to the largest room in the middle and then gently called out, “Grandma, I am Naoko. Are you in there?”
When Naoko called out for the third time, the paper door was pushed aside and a silver-haired elderly with a kindly face walked out to see her granddaughter. After a while, she just smiled and said, “Naoko, you’re back.”
Naoko’s eyes gradually turned red. She made a bow to the elderly and said, “Grandma, I’m back.”
“Come on in and take a seat.” While talking, the elderly looked at Lei Yin who stood beside Naoko.
The room’s furnishing was very simple, nevertheless, as a whole, it gave people quite a serene feeling.
Inside the room, Naoko went straight to a cabinet on her own initiative. She opened the first drawer and took out a tea cup, a teapot and a can of tea. Then she walked to the next room to brew the tea.
Soon, after the tea was ready, she poured a cup and placed it in front of the elderly. And then she poured one for Lei Yin and herself.
After drinking the tea, Naoko knelt behind the elderly and began to gently massage her shoulders. As she rubbed the elderly, Naoko said, “Grandma, because some time ago I published a number of articles in a magazine, the Japanese Association of Young Writers invited me to participate in their annual young writers’ conference in Nagoya. Taking advantage of that, we’ve come here to see you. How are you recently?”
“I am fine. What about your father and mother, are they okay?”
Naoko answered, “Father was still very busy with works, but they are in good health. Big brother and brother are also well.”
“Then what about you?”
“I am fine. Please don’t worry about me.”
The elderly nodded in satisfaction, “Then I can rest assured. Naoko, why don’t you introduce me to this young man.”
Naoko immediately blushed, totally afraid to look at Lei Yin. She leaned over and whispered in the elderly’s ear, “Grandma, he is the man I have been waiting for.”
Hearing the reply from her granddaughter, the elderly quietly watched Lei Yin. After a while, she suddenly said to him, “Please take care of Naoko.”
Lei Yin seriously replied, “I will. Please don’t worry about it.”
“Grandma… thank you!” Hearing her grandmother’s response, Naoko was pleasantly surprised. Just then she was worried about her grandmother’s perception of Lei Yin, but now she felt relieved.
The elderly did not ask about Lei Yin’s career, family, or other problems, but just casually talking with him about trivial things in life. Seeing their interaction, Naoko became jubilant and thus acted like a pampered little girl, which she rarely showed, smiling without care by Lei Yin’s side.
After talking for quite a while, a burst of quarrel came from the store outside.
Hearing this loud argument, the elderly slightly frowned.
“Grandma, let’s go outside and see what happened, okay?” Naoko said to her.
The elderly nodded and stood up.
When the three walked into the shop, they saw a thirty-something-year-old man was arguing with Ikehakura Soshi.
At this time, the man angrily exclaimed, “Are you kidding me, I know that thing is definitely here, why don’t you take it out.”
“I am sorry, Sir, we really don’t have the thing you said.”
“That’s bullsh*t. I know you must have hidden it.”
“Sir, please be reasonable, how could we give you something that we don’t have?”
That man was furious, “Call your boss, I want to personally ask him.”
Ikehakura Soshi became somewhat impatient, “The last time you came here, I have clearly told you that we don’t have it here, but you don’t believe it. How many times do I need to say it?”
“You lied to me, bastard. Just call your boss here!” The man heavily slammed the table with his palm.
“I am the boss here, how can I help you?” The elderly walked over and said to the man.
“You’re the boss here? Are your surname Kigo?”
“Yes, I am.”
At this time, Ikehakura Soshi went over to the elderly, leaned over and whispered to her.
After hearing to what she said, the elderly carefully looked at the man and after a while, said, “Sir, can you tell me why you insist this shop has the thing that you’re looking for?”
At this time, the man has a very complicated look, as if he was struggling to decide about something. After a while, he deeply looked at the elderly and said, “I am sorry, excuse me.” After he finished saying, he turned around and walked out of the antique store.
Unable to believe the man so easily left, Ikehakura Soshi couldn’t help but feel surprised.
“Grandma, what is the thing that man looking for?” Naoko asked.
After withdrawing her gaze from that man’s back, the elderly said, “He was looking for the sacred Sword.”
“Sword? Do you mean the Sword at the shrine in the little room in the eastern part of the house?” Naoko said is a surprise.
“Yes. The two of you come with me.” With that, she walked back inside the house.
The elderly took them to a locked small room that looked like a utility room at the eastern corner of the house.
“Naoko, do you remember this room?” At this point, the elderly suddenly said.
Naoko replied, “Of course I remember. Moreover, I also remember that you warned me to never come close to this room, under no circumstances, much less to go in.”
The elderly did not speak again. Instead, she took out a key and used the key to open the door.
After she opened the door, the elderly said, “Come with me.”
The room was dark. Apart from the door, the only source of light came from one small window. Because it was never opened for a long time, the room was filled with a faint musty smell.
The elderly slowly walked to the left wall and fumblingly searched for the light switch. After a while, they heard the “pop” sound and the fluorescent light mounted on top lit up.
“Fortunately, the light still works.” The elderly said as she walked back.
Lei Yi swept his gaze around the room. He saw a metal frame on top of a table in the middle of the room. On top of this metal frame was a long wooden box. From the color of the box, who has lost its luster, it was clear that the box was quite old.
There were few curved jades and some wormwoods on top of it, but the most impressive thing was the picture of spells which covered all around it. Combined, all of these felt very strange.
The elderly said to her granddaughter, “Naoko, when you were young, I didn’t want you to know about this thing. But now that you’ve grown up, I have something to tell you. Do you remember that box?” The elderly pointed at the box on the table.
Naoko replied, “I remember there was a long sword inside that box. When I was a first grader in primary school, because the old box was full of mold and about to break, you gave me a new box and told me to put that long sword inside the new box.
“Do you know why I told you to change the box, rather than let other people or myself personally go and change it?”
“I don’t know. At the time, I didn’t think too much about it.”
“Now I am going to tell you the reason. It is because, except for innocent children, no one else can touch that sword. Otherwise, it would be dangerous to the one who touches it.”
“Dangerous? Why?” Naoko thought that the word was too serious.
The elderly patiently explained, “The owner of this sword is your grandfather’s good friend, who left this sword with us. At the time, the man said that this sword absolutely cannot be touched, because this is an evil sword.”
“Evil sword?” Naoko felt like she was listening to a ghost story.
“You might not believe it, but this is indeed an evil sword. According to your grandfather’s best friend, any person who holds this sword will die miserably. Moreover, every once in awhile, it would cause a terrible massacre. At first, I didn’t believe it either, but when something strange happened later, I cannot help but believe.”
“What kind of strange thing?” Naoko unconsciously held Lei Yin’s arm.
“Initially, we did not put the sword here, but on the western side. One day, your grandfather saw a worker in charge of cleaning, always watching the sword with a strange look. At first, your grandfather thought that he was mistaken, but then, he found out that the man’s action became increasingly strange. Some other workers even told him that they saw that man talked to himself. Your grandfather thought that he has some mental problems, so he dismissed him. But one night, that man came back and secretly tried to sneak in to steal something. But it wasn’t long before the other workers caught him. At the time, that man repeatedly shouted, “Give that sword to me, give it to me.” When the police took that man away, unexpectedly, he suddenly went crazy and even bit one of the police officer’s ear. In the end, the doctor concluded that the man had a severe case of schizophrenia and put him in the mental hospital. Your grandfather thought that it might have something to do with the sword, so he kept the sword inside the box and locked it in this room for good.”
A few years later, your grandfather passed away. After that, a strange thing happened again! A new handyman suddenly showed a similar behavior to the previous worker. He was also often seen talked to himself and some people even saw him wandering in front of this room. Afraid that there might be an accident, I immediately dismissed him, just like what your grandfather did. By the next evening, I had arranged a few workers to guard outside. Indeed, that same evening, the handyman secretly came back and tried to break into this room. The workers quickly subdued him and gave him over to the police.”
“Did he became crazy like the previous man and bit another police?”
“No, but in the police station, the man committed suicide in the cell.” Hearing this answer, Naoko became extremely afraid and shrunk her body into Lei Yin’s arms even more.
The elderly then continued, “Because of these accidents, I examined the box carefully and found out that the box has been rotted by mold. I don’t know if it’s because of this, but just in case, I did according to your grandfather’s friend’s instruction, which was to find a child, that’s you, by the way, to change the box. At the time, I was afraid that something would happen to you, so I watched your action with trepidation. When you came out of the room safely, I immediately went to the nearby temple and invited a master here so that he can put a spell on that box to seal off the evil spirit. Although, at the time, I didn’t know if it would be effective or not, but since then, there has been no further accident. If it was not because this sword belongs to your grandfather’s good friend, I would have long thrown this sword away.” After saying this, the elderly cannot help but sigh.
After hearing what her grandmother had said, Naoko cast an apprehensive glance toward that box. She never thought that the sword she had held a few years ago was actually such a scary object.
But then, she suddenly thought of something, “Grandma, since this sword has never left this room for years, how could that man know about it?”
The elderly said, “I am not clear about this either. The reason why I called you here is to tell you that if something happens to me in the future, I want you to bury the sword under the tree at the nearby temple. Your grandfather and I have helped his friend guard this sword for many years, it should be enough. I don’t want this sword to hurt you or other people.”
Hearing her words, Naoko suddenly tensed up, “Grandma, don’t scare me, nothing will happen to you.”
The elderly said with a smile, “I am not saying that something will happen to me, but I am already old; almost one hundred years. So it is up to you to deal with this thing. But you have to remember not to open the box.”
Naoko finally felt relieved, “I know what to do, grandma.”
At this time, Lei Yin, who has been silent all this time, suddenly said, “Can I see that sword?”
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