Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 94 The Cat And Crane Game
“I can’t believe how different the cityscape is just a short distance away.”
Mashiro, walking next to me, muttered.
What we were walking on now was just a plain street.
The surroundings were just ordinary residential areas and commercial establishments. At a glance, it looked no different from where we live, but the number and size of the buildings were much larger here.
In that sense, you could say that the place where we live was more rural.
As we continued on and reached the main street, our view suddenly widened and the scenery became more lively than before.
From my point of view, most of the things were familiar to me, but they were all things that were not on my usual walking route.
For Mashiro, it would be the first time to see all of them.
“What is that, Satou-san?”
“That’s an amusement center. It is also called an arcade.”
“Arcade… A-And the building across the street?”
“A discount store. You could call it a general store.”
Mashiro’s eyes sparkled as she asked me questions about this and that.
As usual, her interest in everything was firmly cat-like.
…I wondered if a toy that would please a normal cat would work for Mashiro.
After thinking this, I imagine Mashiro at the mercy of the catnip. …Yeah. Not bad.
I don’t know if it would work on her in her human form. but it might be worth a try…
“Satou-san, can we go there?”
Mashiro asked me this in front of one of the stores as I was spreading my fantasy about something wicked.
She was referring to the amusement facility I had just told her.
It was a complex facility that offered karaoke and bowling as well as other services, although it was mostly a general game arcade.
I would say that this was a very useful place to go on a weekend date or when playing with a large group of people.
Today was our chance to have fun. I was rather grateful that Mashiro invited me to this kind of place.
“Yeah, of course. …You should prepare yourself, though, Mashiro.”
“Eh…is this a place you need to be prepared for?”
“Well, once you get used to it, it’s no big deal.
I was going to give her some advice in advance of the arcade.
Without saying anything else, I pulled the frightened Mashiro through the automatic door.
As soon as we enter the store, we are greeted by the unbelievably noisy sound that was characteristic of game arcades.
Mashiro reacted with an inaudible squeal, and her eyes widened and her body stiffened.
The reaction was as expected, and the sight of her cat ears perked up as if in alarm made me laugh…Wait, wait!
“Mashiro, your ears! They’re out, they’re out!”
I checked around and touched Mashiro’s hair to hide the ears that have popped up.
If it weren’t for the fact that we were outside, I would have been smothering her ears to my heart’s content.
“Sorry. And thank you.”
“No, it’s my fault too. Don’t worry about it.”
I was able to legally fluff the cat’s ears, and on top of that, I got to see her first arcade shock.
If anything, I’d like to thank her too.
…Well, I’m not going to do that, as it would normally put her in a bad mood. I don’t want to tease her too much.
“I know it’s too late now, but you alright? Mashiro”
“S-Somehow. I’m gradually getting used to it.”
Mashiro’s curiosity seemed to be stronger than her fear, and she walked through the arcade with a bit of a wobble.
The store has a wide variety of medal games and racing games, including the standard crane games.
Just like the streets, none of these were new to Mashiro.
She took my hand as we walked around the place, and her eyes lit up when she saw other people playing the games.
I had thought about telling her if there was anything she wanted to try, but she didn’t want to try any of the games, just to watch.
As I was looking around to see what I could do to get her to try something, I suddenly heard a clang-clang of a light bell nearby.
She immediately turned around at the sudden sound, and I looked over to see a staff member ringing a bell to congratulate a customer who had won a prize in a crane game.
As I was looking at the game, I noticed that Mashiro’s eyes were glued to the prize she had won.
The prize was a cute stuffed cat that looked like some kind of character.
It was a crane game where you had to pick it up from a pile of stuffed cats in a case.
“Do you want that one?”
“Ah, no. It’s not like that…I’m simply curious what kind of game it is.”
“Trying is better than seeing. Go give it a try.”
I couldn’t stand to watch any longer, so I pulled Mashiro’s hand and took turns standing in front of the machine.
Mashiro, who had been reserved, watched the crane’s path with rapt attention as I inserted the money and began to operate it.
Unlike the ones where you have to win big prizes, these piles were not so rigidly set up.
I could get a good idea of what was likely to fall off at the end of the pile without being greedy…
The stuffed animal I had my sights set on was not the prettiest of the bunch, but it remained in a posture that made it easy to pick up.
The crane was handled in a way that pushed rather than grabbed, and the off-balance stuffed animal fell straight into the win port.
I took out the prize and showed it to Mashiro.
“And, here’s what it looks like.”
“It’s not hard to pull off. Now it’s Mashiro’s turn.”
Mashiro’s eyes lit up even more when she saw that I was able to get it without difficulty, and she switched places with me with a mixture of nervousness and anticipation.
As I watched her operate the crane game for the first time in her life, she again showed me what I expected.
It seemed that she was aiming at the same kind of cat that the previous customer had taken, but it was located far away from the slot, perhaps as a ploy on the part of the store.
If that happened, the crane would lose its balance before it could carry it close to the entrance, or the arm would run out of power.
“Ah, it was just grabbing it…!
“S-Satou-san, you just laughed.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Mou…I’ll definitely get it.”
I could not hold back my laughter at such a funny scene, and when Mashiro turned around, I covered my face with both hands to cover up my mistake.
Mashiro must have been ticked off by my teasing behavior, because she continued to move the arm without changing her aim from the stuffed animal, no matter how hard she tried.
Sadly, my tearful efforts were in the hands of the game arcade’s tricks, and the coins in my wallet began to run out…
By the time I thought it was time to get more coins, a staff member with the same smile as mine called out to me from behind.