Campione!:Volume 12 Prologue
Today, Kusanagi Godou got up at 6 A.M. in the morning.
Already accustomed since childhood to a routine of "early to bed, early to rise," getting out of bed this early was no particular challenge.
Seeing as the day was the fifteenth, December was already halfway through and the chilly morning air was quite unbearable. Nevertheless, Godou mustered his spirit to ignore the cold and threw open the blankets.
Next was a contest of speed. Godou hastily changed and got dressed.
Fastening his jogging training wear, he slid his door open to enter the hallway.
His little sister Shizuka should still be asleep in the adjacent room. Taking care to avoid making noise, Godou made his way to the bathroom downstairs to freshen up and make himself presentable. Then he went to the kitchen for a glass of water before heading to the entrance.
After putting on his running shoes, Godou took off.
The surroundings were still very dark because the sun rose quite late this time of the year. Even so, the sky would brighten up during his daily jogging routine.
Looking up at the sky, very few clouds could be seen. Today was apparently going to be a comfortable clear winter day.
“Well, let’s get started.”
After sufficient stretching, Godou muttered to himself, his breath white against the cold winter air.
Starting off with a slow jog, he gradually picked up the pace.
Originally an athlete and presently still leading a life requiring physical exertion, Godou had never made an explicit decision to train his stamina. Oh well, this was purely explained by his disposition towards an active lifestyle.
Thus, he went jogging today as usual, adhering to his routine as if were his daily homework.
Godou decided on a suitable path as he jogged. After his jogging took him beyond the shopping street at Area 3 of Nezu, he would head towards Kototoi Bridge. Continuing further all the way to Ueno Park might not be a bad idea either.
Seeing as it was a midwinter morning, the weather was naturally very cold. But regardless, the body warmed up rapidly anyway.
For Godou who was already well accustomed to this, the icy and refreshing air felt rather comfortable instead.
“Running every morning sure can put a person in a good mood. There is the fresh air and no people around to get in my way.”
After muttering to himself, Godou went “Huh?” with uncertainty.
Come to think of it, his recent jogging had all taken place during night or dusk. Because he needed to complete a daily task that had evolved into something like routine business, time had to be taken out of his mornings...
“But today, I went jogging like this...”
Godou continued running with a brisk tempo, deciding to ignore this doubt. If he could not recall what it was, then it probably was not very important in the first place.
The Kusanagi residence was an ancient wooden house and former second-hand bookstore.
Having returned home, Godou was passing by the kitchen when he discovered his sister.
“You're supposed to say good morning, Onii-chan.”
“We've been siblings for more than a decade, so this is good enough.”
This was Godou's first conversation with his little sister this morning, taking place as she stood wide awake before the gas stove, preparing the miso soup.
Today was Shizuka’s turn for cooking duties. The little sister, a third year middle schooler who attended Jounan Academy together with Godou, was currently tasting the miso soup using a small dish. She made a suffering expression.
“It tastes bad?”
“Of course not. Simply dissolving miso paste in boiling water is enough to achieve this taste. But compared to what Grandpa makes, it is rather bad."
“From the fact that he prepares the soup stock by simmering dried bonito fish, you can already tell how particular he is about paying attention to details.”
Right now, Shizuka was using miso stock manufactured by a major brand.
On the other hand, Grandpa Kusanagi Ichirou, the one who usually took on all cooking duties, was a proponent of white miso. Furthermore, he frequently used hand-made miso of exquisite quality that was sent by a "friendly lady" who resided in Shinshuu or somewhere like that.
The difference in taste was inevitable.
Even with that knowledge, Godou and Shizuka still used manufactured soup stock.
It was far more convenient. After all, the simmering required to prepare the soup stock would take too much trouble.
“All due to diligence, that's Grandpa for you. Completely different from us.”
“Completely agreed, for once. But there also exist people who feel quite troubled because of it.”
The siblings in the kitchen nodded at each other.
The grandfather in question was currently away on a long-term trip. Godou had heard that he apparently had a friend in Bhutan (referring to the country sandwiched between India and China, of course) who helped him in the past but was now hospitalized.
“I’m going to visit for a bit. While I'm there, over at my friend's, I'll take the opportunity to tour the surrounding region. I guess I'll probably spend New Year there too. Please take good care of the house while I am gone.”
That was what he said the day before he set off.
And just like that he abruptly left, so fleet of foot that no one would expect he was over seventy years old.
But conversely, this could be taken as a showcase of Kusanagi Ichirou’s true personality.
“Since he mentioned touring the surrounding region, he probably won't be limiting his visit to just the one country of Bhutan, right?”
“Naturally. After all it's Grandpa we're talking about.”
“Although he said he's going over to his friend’s... It can’t be limited to that alone, right?”
“...Naturally. After all, it's Grandpa we're talking about.”
Shizuka stated her doubts. On his second time answering, Godou’s tone of voice weighed a little heavier.
Not limited to a male friend. A female friend, or even female relationships of a more intimate nature.
“I really do like Grandpa, but I've always felt that his female relationships have always been a sore sight.”
“Well, I think so too.”
“Good, then please pay attention in the future.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like getting involved with strange women. Although you haven't gotten used to getting along with girls yet, Onii-chan, you've started crossing paths with girls without noticing. And quite frequently too."
“Shizuka... Don’t talk as if Grandpa and I were of the same type.”
Eyes looking off to the distance, Godou started to complain.
“Although this really isn’t anything worth bragging about, I have never talked to any girl for a lengthy amount of time apart from you. Oh, I guess there is Tokunaga Asuka, but she's a bit different from being a girl.”
“Very good, Onii-chan. Just continue to work hard and maintain the status quo.”
In response to Godou’s indolent grumbling, Shizuka looked quite pleased for some reason.
“If you're going to be that smug, feel free to back it up with some support.”
“Fine, I'm not going to remain silent about the extremely rude thing you said about Asuka-chan.”
Seeing his sister’s smug smile, Godou scratched his head.
He had apparently said something wrong without noticing. Anyway, Asuka was a childhood friend since before kindergarten. Dismissing the matter as "whatever," Godou happened to glance at the calendar by chance.
“Say, Christmas is coming up soon.”
“Now what are you talking about? It’s already December. Namely, the most lonely month for single guys and girls out of the entire year.”
Shizuka said this with a cheerful tone.
“Onii-chan, are you going spend Christmas Eve at home again? Anyways, mom won’t be back so we can share the cake just between the two of us. Oh! Or how about we get Asuka-chan and Sakura-chan and throw together a small party?”
“Hmm... Sorry, but let me hold off answering for a little while..”
“Eh? Impossible! You have someone else with whom to spend Christmas Eve together?!”
“No, it’s not like that. For some reason I feel like there's an important event coming up, but just what is it?
Head cocked to one side, Godou continued to stare at the calendar in puzzlement.
The latter half of December. Approximately on the 24th or 25th. There was apparently something prearranged for sure—
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