Ah, let’s visit my grandma today.
I went through my room like a whirlwind until I finally came across a package sent from the countryside. After entering the sender’s address into my phone’s GPS system, all I had to do was follow its directions as I drove.
My car sped through the highway at full speed. For this trip, I spent the nights in my car, parked near a rest area. Watching the sun rise cleared my head.
Then my thoughts wandered into different, darker territory.
“Ashiya, I’m sorry…”
After many years of my contract, my editor had finally broke the bad news to me. My serialization had been axed. Back then, I fell into a hopeless spiral.
I was Ashiya Minoru, twenty-five years old. A manga artist that couldn’t sell.
I had my debut at eighteen, spending seven years persistently holding on to my job. Or perhaps desperately clinging was a more appropriate term.
When it rained, it poured. Just six months ago, my cat passed away. Tears had blurred my vision as I scrubbed my toilet, after vomiting my heart out from grief. And then, the official notice of my serialization’s discontinuation arrived at my door.
My heart broke.
For this reason, after handing over my last manuscript, I told my editor I would be taking a long break. Maybe it would have sounded better if I had called it a research trip, but I had been too drained to throw a fancier title over it. I just wanted a breath of fresh air. It was too difficult at the time to hold a pen and brainstorm a new manga plot.
But I also didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to talk to someone.
My parents’ house was out of the question. After all, they had opposed the act of me stepping into this career path. I didn’t want to face them, since doing so would be admitting I had been wrong.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
And then my grandmother’s face flashed before my eyes.
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“Maybe I just want someone to scold me…”
Or rather, I wanted someone to encourage my pathetic self. I could probably help her with the field and stay there for some time. Regarding money, well… I still had enough savings to last for a while.
In the gas station’s restroom, I washed my face in the sink and groomed myself as best as I could given the circumstances. It’s only now that I felt glad I didn’t grow facial hair easily. My hair was naturally curly too, so I could rock the “just rolled out of bed” look.
After purchasing a can of coffee from a vending machine, I hopped onto my car again. Stepped on the gas pedal. During this time of year, the temperature dropped dramatically at night, with the chill lingering until the morning, contrary to how warm it was later in the day. As such, it might have been a bad idea to put on a gray hoodie and thin jeans.
The sun still low on the horizon, I continued the trip in my beat-up car.
“Was this road really that narrow before?”
Before me stretched a long, thin road, complete with a narrow stream at its side. Although asphalt paved the road, there was a lack of guardrail or space to make an illegal U-turn. If a car happened to drive in the opposite direction of mine, we would both be done for.
I slowed the car down, carefully examining my surroundings as I drove forward. A rocky mountain towered on my right. To the left sat a river, and a thick forest lay further past it. Upon closer inspection, I could make out the outlines of some houses here and there, but there was no sign of people.
I might have taken the wrong road.
Filled with anxiety, I stopped the car. Up ahead, I finally saw a small bridge stretching over a narrow river, one a car could pass through.
To be honest, this was my first time traveling to my grandmother’s home alone. The last time I had come to visit was before I started working. More than eight years ago.
“This is the only straight road around and the GPS says I’m going the right way. So I should be fine, right?”
As soon as I had gained my confidence, a blare of a car’s horn sounded. I jumped in shock, checking the rearview mirror. Behind me was a light motor vehicle.
Since there was no space to turn my car, I had no choice but to move forward. I rushed to start the engine, crossing the stone bridge that, like the road behind it, also lacked a guardrail.
A while later, the bridge came to an end. The road gently curved to the right, eventually transforming into an unpaved road full of gravel. My car shook as I drove through uneven ground. I had to expend much concentration to keep from losing control of the vehicle.
“Eh? A dead end.”
At this point, I couldn’t see the road anymore. However, I did see further off into the distance a flight of wooden stairs, partially hidden by an open field of grass.
Once more did I stop the car. Peering through the window, I could just make out the roof of a house beyond the trees.
Out of an urge to confirm, I checked my GPS again. And it said I had reached my destination.
A sigh of relief escaped my lips. I retrieved my only luggage, a sports bag filled with clothes enough to last for a short stay. Then I left my car.
While still in the vehicle, I had not noticed the call of the river, the song of the birds hidden in the forest. Inhaling deeply, I tasted the refreshing scent of nature.
Now that I had thought about it, what happened to that car behind me? Was it somehow able to turn back?
I looked around the gravel road and listened closely, but I could hear nothing but the sound of nature. Perhaps I caused the other driver to lose his way. If that’s the case, then they had my condolences.
“I wonder if grandma’s waist is still aching.”
After climbing the short staircase, I could see a large field before my eyes. Completely covered in grass.
Perhaps I could help my grandma weed her field for the time being. As I walked along the path, what greeted me was a scene of even greater concern.
In the distance stood a house with a gabled roof. It looked like something I had seen before in an European picture book.
There were weeds sprouting from the roof. Parts of it were even crumbling. Although the window panes were intact, they were so heavily smudged that I couldn’t peek within.
The blinds were open, however. That alone pointed to the possibility that someone was home. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder.
Of course, this weed-infested house would have a door that opened easily. It seemed like the people in the countryside never locked their doors.
I took a deep breath. The air inside the house was surprisingly refreshing. Even with all the dust floating around.
“Hey, grandma! Are you alive?” Even though I knew I shouldn’t, I couldn’t help but shout out such an ill-omened saying.
Kicking off my shoes, I searched for my grandma’s figure, the pit-a-pat of my footsteps echoing throughout the space. As soon as I had entered the house, I found the living room and kitchen. After rummaging for a bit, I found the water closet, bathroom, and storage room, opening the doors one by one.
“Was this house this narrow in the past?”
At last, I stood before the master bedroom. I moved to grab the doorknob, but as soon as I had touched it, I hesitated.
This house was quite in a stage of ramshackle, as if no one had lived here for a long time. Did my parents still keep in touch with grandma? Facing someone who had changed a lot would prove difficult.
No way. Now wasn’t the time to feel scared.
I closed my eyes. Twisted the doorknob in one bold motion.
Once I had prepared myself, I opened my eyes bit by bit and swept my gaze through the room.
The room was small. There was a window held by a wooden frame, the curtains pulled back to let in the sun. Unlike the rest of the house, the floor was clear of dust.
I softly called out for my grandmother, traversing deeper into the room.
Then I almost choked on my spit.
A large wooden bed occupied half the room. And lying on top wasn’t my grandmother, but an unfamiliar man.
Mii here! This will be my side project that I update more than my main project, meaning, this is my main project!? sudden confusion
I personally really like this story since the relationship between MC and ML is hilariously cute~ The fluff starts when the ML wake up, so please look forward to it! (?)