99th vampire princess ~The last vampire~ Chapter 1 part3
CHAPTER 1 - LORE OF THE "ONE-MAN HIDE-AND-SEEK"
After school, I met up with Shigure and we walked to the apartment building where Yumie-chan lives. The entrance looked classy, so I guess my little sister’s friend was of a rich family.
We’d called Yumie-chan’s apartment via the intercom system, and got a reply almost immediately.
“Hello. My name is Tsukumo Shigure, and I am Yumie-san’s friend.”
“And I’m Shigure’s big brother.”
“……Alright, I’m opening the door.”
It was probably Yumie-chan’s mother. She sounded a little tired.
After a moment, the glass door before us slid open.
“We’re coming in.”
There was a reception desk just after the entrance, with an old man and young woman dressed in suits seated behind it. We stated our purpose and continued deeper into the building. The place was decorated with a chandelier above our heads, and an expensive-looking sofa in the corner.
“Wow, this apartment building is crazy.”
“Please don’t stare like that, big brother.”
Shigure’s appearance and behavior fit in perfectly with this classy environment.
On the other hand, I felt completely out of place, so I stuck behind Shigure and followed her silently.
I took a peek at Shigure’s expression as we were waiting for the elevator. She still looked somewhat pensive, and I wondered if she was still worried about Yumie-chan.
“Big brother, actually, Yumie lives alone with her mother.”
“They’re living in this place even without a dad? Her mum must be really rich, then.”
“Yes…… But Yumie, well…… She’s not on good terms with her mother.”
“Oh…… I see.”
Was that why Shigure begged for me to come with her?
It would be great if her mother was worried about her daughter and thus forthcoming with us, but now, I saw that that might not be the case.
Shigure was usually bad with interacting with people, which must have been why she needed me here.
*Ding* The elevator doors opened, and Shigure fell silent.
She was probably really nervous.
Or…… If Yumie-chan had really been the victim of a ‘lore’, there was a chance that she might already be dead. Even if she was still alive, she’d be barely hanging on after having no food or drink for the past 3 days.
It was a depressing thought, and I brooded silently as I followed Shigure into the elevator.
As expected, we were brought up to a high floor. Only the rich could afford living in this building, but it was only the cream of the crop who could choose to live on the top floors.
Shigure walked on, headed for a particular apartment.
We stopped before a door which wouldn’t look out of place in a hotel, and pushed the button on the intercom.
There was no reply this time, but the door clicked open……
To reveal a woman I would never have imagined to be Yumie-chan’s mother. Her make-up was light and youthful, her hair dyed blonde and permed into waves, her top opened at the front in a sensual way. Her accessories looked like they were bought at high-end branded stores. If anyone had told me she was in her late 20’s, I would have believed them; she was just that beautiful.
“Oh…… Are you Yumie’s friend?”
Her voice was listless, and carried a slight lisp. I caught a faint whiff of alcohol on her breath. Shigure gave a small frown, so I knew she’d noticed it too.
“Nice to meet you. I am Tsukumo Shigure, Yumie’s friend.”
In contrast to Shigure’s perfect manners, the woman’s eyes darted between the two of us disapprovingly.
“I’m Shigure’s big brother. I’m accompanying her today.”
I’d answered politely to her question, but she didn’t seem interested in what I had to say.
Judging by her half-lidded gaze and listless mood, I guess she’d just woken up from a nap.
“So what? You here with homework for Yumie?”
Notwithstanding the fact that Yumie-chan was missing, this woman didn’t even seem concerned enough to be someone’s mother. It was obvious that she wanted us gone.
“No. We’re looking for clues to understand Yumie’s disappearance.”
“Disappearance? She just ran away from home. She’ll come back once she grows hungry,” the woman replied, scratching at her scalp. There was no trace of anxiety about her.
As a mother, shouldn’t she have alerted the police, especially if she suspected her daughter had run away?
……Her daughter could have been caught up in some criminal activity somewhere, so shouldn’t she be concerned and ask for an investigation?
Shigure turned to me, her eyes troubled.
If I didn’t come up with a good excuse now, we’d never have the chance to learn more.
Alright, it was time to make use of my glib tongue.
“You know, I never expected to find such a beautiful woman here,” I started, a charming smile on my face.
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
As expected, Yumie-chan’s mother seemed taken aback by the sudden change in topic.
“Oh, I’m sorry! You must forgive me, I always speak my mind without thinking of the consequences. Miss, you must be the most resourceful employee at your establishment, am I right?”
This classy apartment building, her unexpected youth, the style of her clothes and appearance; this mother probably worked at a nightclub of some sort. I was sure there were several male clients supporting her current lifestyle.
“What do you know about my establishment?”
There, she’d taken my bait and confirmed her place of work.
“Oh no, I’m sorry! It’s just that our father is looking for a place to conduct his business entertainment. I just thought an establishment with employees like you would be a perfect fit!”
Yumie-chan’s mother looked at me, then at Shigure.
Shigure was the perfect picture of a well-bred girl, of course. And I wasn’t too rough-looking myself.
At a glance, it would seem reasonable that we came from a well-to-do family.
“Hmm…… So, why are you here again?”
At the thought of potential business, the woman’s attitude had relaxed.
“We hope to find Yumie, so can we please take a look in her room?” Shigure repeated her request.
“Oh, that’s fine. You kids will pass my business card to your father, right?”
“Of course. We’ll definitely do that!”
“Then come on in. But only to Yumie’s room, mind you.”
Finally, we were waved through the door.