Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Every time the girl sent him back to his place, Zhang Heng would feel very self-conscious. He had navigation on his phone and could actually find his way again, but Ameko always insisted on sending him regardless.
To thank her, Zhang Heng bought her dinner in the canteen. Ever since he started working at the restaurant, he was able to work out his pressing financial problem. Now, his monthly income was around 70,000 yen.
This sum of money was enough to sustain him in the city, but that was just about it. Using this method to save up for a car was just too unrealistic. Presently, Zhang Heng still had not found a solution to this setback, but he had at least found a prospect in regards to brushing up his driving skills.
On their way back, Zhang Heng asked Ameko for his father’s name. He keyed in Kurahara Tetsuya1 on his phone along, and the search results that came up were all related to Kurahara Seafood.
Everything appeared as healthy as it could be.
After that, he used the editing tool to crop the man’s face from the picture, magnify it, then upload it to Facesaerch, an image search engine created by Google application programming interface (API) that allowed its users to track down similar pictures on the web.
The search results varied inaccuracy, and could sometimes be very inconsistent. You could upload Bai Baihe’s picture and get Wang Luodan, and a search for Takeshi Kaneshiro would get you Zhao Benshan!
Looking at the masses of pictures that popped up on his screen, Zhang Heng knew that he was going to have a lot of work to do tonight.
The second morning, Zhang Heng slept in, which was something he rarely did. Since he did not need to work or attend classes that afternoon, he lay in bed until 10 am before rolling out of bed, not forgetting to make up for his morning run.
After brunch, Zhang Heng checked his phone and saw that he had two messages from Ameko.
Thank you so much for yesterday.
And the other:
Momo drank too much toilet water and is having diarrhea! I’m taking him to the vet!
Zhang Heng employed his recently upgraded Japanese and typed:
After that, he set Kurahara Seafood as his destination on his phone.
This was the first time he traveled so far without Ameko accompanying him. Fortunately, he had a map at hand and recollection for the place. After an hour and a half, he finally made it to the place they had been to yesterday.
This time, the stubbled man was awake but still looked like he had just got out of bed. Garbed in pair of boxers, slippers, and a sleeping robe, he examined a batch of scallops in front of the store.
He was startled when he turned around and saw Zhang Heng, then rambled on and on about something unintelligible as he kept retreating into the store, his hands searching his surroundings for any defensive weapons. When he saw that Zhang Heng had no intention of withdrawing, he fished out his phone and indicated that he was going to call 110.
“Uncle, I heard from Ameko that you understand English?” asked Zhang Heng in English.
“So what?!” The stubbled man found a mop and held on like his life depended on it! “Hey, kid! I’m warning you! Even if you’re Ameko’s boyfriend, you have no right to get involved in our family’s business! If you don’t leave, I’ll call the police!”
“I’m not here about yesterday.” Zhang Heng shook his head. “Can we please talk inside?”
“Don’t! Don’t move! Don’t think that you can use this trick to get near me! The same move won’t even work on Saint Seiya!” The stubbled man barked, raising his voice. It seemed that yesterday’s shoulder throw had somewhat scarred him.
They spoke in English anyway, so Zhang Heng did not have to worry about any eavesdroppers. Zhang Heng did not push it any further and simply said, “Then I’ll just say it—I was hoping you could teach me how to race cars.”
“….” The man was stumped for a short minute. “You want a seafood supply storeowner to teach you how to drag race? Is your English bad or is there a problem with my hearing? What is this? Some cold Easter Sunday joke?!”
The man paused for a moment and then continued, “Didn’t Ameko tell you? I don’t know how to drive at all. Why do you think I have so much backlog ever since my delivery man quit?” He gestured towards the pile of boxes miserably.
Zhang Heng did not budge. “Isn’t your English too good to be a self-taught learner? Takeda Tetsuya, or should I call you Yosuke Tsuchiya? The famous racing prodigy who left for Europe immediately after graduating from high school. Your excellent driving skills attracted the attention of sponsors, which led to your participation in the FIA GT Grand Prix! Your biggest success was winning second-runner up in New, York but because you offended the racing team manager, you were forced to return home. Seventeen years ago, you won the Tokyo D1 GRAND PRIX, then in the same year, set out to challenge the Drift King (DK) title! You beat all the street racers from 22 wards out of Tokyo’s 23 special wards. But you suddenly gave up and vanished at the final juncture.” Zhang Heng said unhurriedly.
“I don’t know who the hell you’re talking about!” The man said, keeping a straight face. “Kid, if you want to go race cars, don’t stand in front of my shop and disturb my business!”
No matter how hard he pretended to remain calm and unaffected, Zhang Heng, who had been staring at his face, noticed that when he mentioned the name Yosuke Tsuchiya, the man’s pupils contracted. Zhang Heng was 90% sure that he had found the guy.
“Why did you quit, and why change your name to Takeda Tetsuya? Is it because you don’t want to be found?”
The stubbled man’s poker face finally thawed. “Kid, are you threatening me?”
“Are you finally admitting to it, Mr. Yosuke?”
“I’m not admitting to anything!” The man answered cautiously.
Zhang Heng did not continue to twist the man’s arm since he only wanted to confirm his identity. This guy reeked of deceit, but lucky for him, Zhang Heng was not going to threaten to expose the man for Ameko’s sake.
But the man never explicitly denied Zhang Heng’s accusation either.
“Aren’t you short on a delivery man? What about me? I’ll help you deliver goods. I don’t need to be paid. You just have to teach me how to race.”
The man’s eyes lit up at the mention of not having to pay but began quickly weighing the advantages and disadvantages. It mostly revolved around the consequences of refusing the young man’s offer. After a moment, he looked at the Chinese boy, and Zhang Heng could tell that the man was tempted. But the profiteer in him saw Takeda Tetsuya asked, “How about I teach you to race cars, and other than helping me deliver goods, you pay me a fee as well?”
When he saw the expression on Zhang Heng’s face, he quickly changed his tone. “That was a bit too flagrant of me. Alright! Forget about the fee. But let me get this straight—we need to set some rules. First, don’t ever mention the name Yosuke Tsuchiya ever again! There is no such person. Second, you and I are not master and apprentice! I am your boss, and you are my delivery guy. I’m just worried that you might be too slow in delivering, and slow down business, so I’m just giving you a few pointers. How much you can learn will depend on you. Third, Ameko cannot know about this.”
“Add one more to it—don’t ask Ameko for money ever again,” Zhang Heng added.
The stubbled man thought about it and then agreed reluctantly. “… Fine!”