At the university, I had an underclassman called Kinoshita Maki.
She was one year below me and belonged to the same club I was part of. It was the Earth Sciences Research Society abbreviated as『ESRS』or also known as the『Stone Lovers Club』.
From glittering precious jewels to raw stones, anyone who liked stones was welcome to the broad group of enthusiasts. We would walk to stone shops and museums and snack and drink together. Whether or not it was because of the power stone boom, we were very successful.
Because it was a joint club with the neighboring co-ed university, part of its popularity may be because of the interactions with boys. Owing to that, there were some members more interested in the opposite sex than stones, but it was fine since every university club had members like that.
Maki-chan1, a junior of the『ESRS』, had beautiful curly orange-brown hair. She had a woman’s taste in clothes and makeup and made use of her good looks but was somehow a member with a genuine interest in stones. And was attached to me for some reason.
According to her, it was because『Michiru-senpai2 is interesting!』
I don’t think I do anything particularly intriguing but somehow my actions caught her interest.
It’s not like I can say anything about other people’s hobbies but……this popular girl who would rather be involved with me rather than a male student… honestly, isn’t she a weirdo?
As I was smiling while licking my strawberry milk gelato, Maki-chan came to find me.
“There you are, Michiru-senpai! Eating ice cream by yourself in a place like this again. Doing things your own way as usual.”
“I’m just eating ice cream. I’m not wandering off or anything. It’s good〜 I love strawberry milk〜”
Enjoying the harmony of rich milk and refreshing strawberry, I answered with a relaxed expression.
“No, no, Senpai. Girls usually eat with friends, right? Michiru-senpai gives off a really interesting feeling of freedom. To earnestly sit and eat ice cream, Senpai is like a small animal in the wild, how intriguing. And the pink ice cream matches you too, too moe!3”
Maki-chan was pleasantly laughing. Are you at an age where everything is interesting?
“Ah, yes, Senpai. Look at this, please. I was looking for this because I thought Senpai would like to see it.”
Maki-chan appeared to have business with me. Standing, she stuffed a hand into her bag and rummaged around.
“Oh dear, I caused you a lot of trouble. So, you’re going to show me something good? A stone? Is it a stone?”
I urged her while looking at Maki-chan’s bag.
“……Senpai, don’t get lured by a stone and get kidnapped by a bad man one day. Michiru-senpai has a baby-face so I’m really worried.”
The younger Maki-chan who had an adult-like face took out a brown floral cloth bag from the designer bag and placed it on the table. And when I peeked into the bag made from a soft material (to avoid damaging the stone), there was a gem the size of a fist.
“Gem! A gem! Quickly! Hurry up and give it here!”
I crunched the ice cream and waffle cone into my mouth and vigorously wiped my hands on my jeans before holding out both hands.
She said in a voice that obviously regarded me as a horse, I, the Senpai who showed and guided her in the club (that’s a lie, sorry). Maki-chan took the stone out of the bag and placed it in my hand.
“I visited the power stone shop in Shinjuku recently and they were doing some sort of stone divination event. I was recommended this by a mysterious man wearing a black veil there. It was 1000 yen4 so I bought it at once.”
“A mystery man in a black veil! Wow, I want to see that. So the stone dealer had an interesting divination event with cosplaying. Eh……Huh?……This……Isn’t this a very high quality stone……”
I stopped messing around. Looking at the stone in my hand took my breath away.
“Eh, wait. This is not a 1000 yen stone. It’s a grade higher……No, that’s not right, two grades? Or something……three……?”
It seemed to be a cluster of clear quartz with several large crystals half the size of an egg arranged together. Each crystal was well-proportioned and was faintly blue in color.
Apart from smoky quartz and rose quartz, for crystals that were usually colorless and transparent, it was unusual for a crystal to be faintly blue like this. Certainly, there were things called blue crystals which were stones like a glass ball, but they were processed and coloured and did not exist in nature.
Its appearance was beautiful and there were no noticeable imperfections when I looked into the crystal. It was a gem in perfect condition.
I’ve seen quite a few stones up to now but this was a high quality, high grade gem that costs over 100,000 yen5 and it wouldn’t be strange if that was cheap.
To buy this for 1000 yen, wasn’t this beyond a mere bargain?
I saw that Maki-chan wasn’t happy for some reason.
- –chan is a suffix used to convey familiarity and/or affection for the person. It’s usually used for people who are younger than the speaker or those that are cute.
- senpai refers to an upperclassman or a person providing mentorship.
- moe is a term used to refer to something cute/endearing/evoking a fuzzy feeling. For your interest, TVTropes has a very good explanation.
- Roughly $10 USD
- $920 USD at Nov 2019 exchange rates