A Local Shrine That Seems to Know But Does Not Know

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"A letter from a fox? It turned out to be a fairy tale story at once ~"


 When we woke up from our past dream, it was about 10:00. It was a Sunday afternoon, and the place was crowded with families, wives from the neighborhood, and sad husbands who had been evicted from their homes for the holidays, sipping coffee with a touch of sorrow.

 ...... My neighbor Mikami-san, who was just returning, was glancing at me strangely, but what?


 When the customer service had calmed down to a certain extent, I told Suzu-nee about what had happened in the dream 30 years ago at my previous store.

 Then Suzu-nee makes a difficult face with a tray in her hand.


"We’re not lying, Suzu-nee. A really furry, fluffy fox came out from under this table and left a letter on the table."


 It's kind of cute the way Amane explains things, like an elementary school kid desperately trying to explain something that adults don't believe...


"I'm not doubting you. How can I say I don't believe it now, or that you are hallucinating, or that it's plasma, when I was involved in one of your dreams in the first place, right? Compared to the little fox mailman, dream demon and urban legends are much more horrifying and occult."


 In contrast, there seems to be not a shred of doubt on Suzu-nee's side.

 Indeed, compared to yesterday's experience, "Little Fox's Letter" is a very heartwarming incident.


"Then why are you making a difficult face?"

"Hmm~~~... No way... Both of you, do you see that mountain from that window, right? That..."

"... Ah~......... There, huh..."


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 Suzu-nee showed me a slightly higher mountain in the neighborhood, which is a good place for light exercise and is one of the most popular places for people who enjoy walking or jogging.


"Do you have any idea what's over there?"

"I don't know if there's a connection. Did you know there is a shrine in a straight line from here?"



 Even when you say it, it doesn't ring a bell for me... Or rather, I didn't even know there was such a place in the neighborhood. However, Amane just remembered and hit her hand.


"Ah, I think I might know! Because I used to run all over that mountain when I was little... I think I've seen a torii made out of wood before!"

"…… Was there ever such a thing?"

"There was. I mean, Yumeji also must have seen it... when we were little."

"Is that so?"


 Even though she said it so confidently, it didn't ring a bell with me.

 When I was with Amane in childhood, all I remember is being pulled around by her anyway, and I don't remember many details of the scenery, probably because I was too busy keeping up with her.

 But fox and shrine...?


"I'm starting to feel like a detective solving a mystery all at once... It's getting a little fun."

"Because you sleep and solve problems through dreams, Yumeji-kun's title is "Sleeping..." wappu!?"


 I kept the tension going and covered my childhood friend's mouth as she tried to make a dangerous statement.

 From behind, "Arere~?" There is no need for a boy detective to say something like that.




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 Then, as a matter of course, we were both climbing a small mountain in the neighborhood to the shrine in question.

 When we left the restaurant, Suzu-nee let me have a sandwich for lunch, saying, "Take it with you," so it felt like a light picnic.

 The weather is actually good ...


"A picnic in the hills on a holiday... That's a very healthy way to spend the holidays for us."

"The reason for the visit was "to find a little fox mailman," which is a bit odd."


 Ahaha~, while laughing, Amane, the guide, walks ahead of us on the mountain path.

 Well, the road is well paved and there is a thicket of trees on the side, but it is not that deep... It is a very light slope and climbs up smoothly.


"It feels like when I was a kid looking for random UMA..."

"I remember that~. We used to go to the riverside looking for kappa!"


 If you see bubbles rising from the river, we used to run saying "There is a kappa!!" ... When I think about it, I don't feel like what we're doing is any different than what we're doing for the letter...

 Well, fine... Let's not think about it.


"So ... Where is this shrine you mentioned? I don't recall any of this coming up here for me, though?"


 The gently sloping but well-paved road is good for exercise, and I pass quite a few joggers on my way here, but I don't see any structures like the shrine we've been talking about.

 But as I was thinking this, Amane, who was ahead of me, pointed to the side of the road and stopped.


"Ah, there it is, right here, this way"


 Here, here, and Amane points... isn't that the animal trail? Or so I thought, but when I looked closely, I saw that there was a faint cobble stone pavement, but it was hidden by weeds growing all over the place.

 Isn't this ... If you don't know it, you can't recognize it as a road, can you?

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"I don't know how Amane-chan went into a place like this back then... The weeds are so thick you can't see what's ahead."

"Ah~, it's called youthful indiscretion..."


 I heard that I was involved in that youthful indiscretion at the time, but ...... it didn't make much of an impression on me, or I don't recall it at all, even here...

 We walked through the weeds for a while and soon came to an old torii gate.


"Ah, there it is, Yumeji-kun, that's it!"

"Really... There was a shrine..."


 It wasn't that I had any doubts about Amane or Suzu-nee, but it was strange that there was a shrine in my hometown that I didn't know existed.

 There it was, the precincts were unkempt and weedy and old ...... not to say decaying, but an old shrine had been built.

 And the stone statues in front of the torii gate are two pairs of foxes.


"I kind of expected that... I knew it, Inari Shrine, huh?"


 This development was predictable, considering the little fox and the shrine.


"I wonder if that Fluffy-sama is ...... at this shrine?"

"...Did you come to worship? Or are you here to love?"

"If things go well, both!"


 My childhood friend is moderately greedy.

 Anyway, it's a shrine, so no matter what you do, the first thing you do is pay your respects ....... I took a coin out of my wallet, and Amane followed my example and pulled out her wallet as well.

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 ...... I will not say how much it is.

 Two bows, two clappings, one bow ... and there is a coin box, but there is no bell ... Is it not there to begin with, or has it deteriorated and fallen off...?


 Anyway, after paying my respects, I sat down on the steps of the temple and took out a "dream book" from my hand luggage.

 Although the shrine is empty at the moment, that little fox is definitely no ordinary animal.

 Like the fact that they left the letter in the coffee shop 30 years ago, but around the time they slipped out the window, they are on the other side of the world no matter what you think.

 ...... Something I'm surprised I'm so easily affirming the existence of such a thing, too, but ...... it's too late now.




 And Amane sitting down between my knees, who is thinking about a lot of things while sitting down... Oi.

 Inevitably, I end up in a position where I'm hugging Amane from behind as she sits!? 

 It reminds me of this morning's close cuddle that I almost forgot about!?


"Ano, hey, Amane-san? What in the world are you doing?"

"What, you said ... This way we can put our hands on the book together, right?"


 After saying that, Amane puts her own hand on top of my hand on the "Dream Pillow" page of the "Dream Book" that was opened... ??


"Ano... I think this position ...... is indeed a very bad idea in the precincts of a shrine... I would say it's, you know, unethical or punishable..."

"But even if it's sunny, it's cold sleeping outside, isn't it?"


 Amane, at close range looking back, has a very nice smile and ... I can't say anything.

 At least it was confirmed that there was no need to worry about Amane getting cold sleeping for a while.

 I was confident that I could compete with the current warmer...

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