Chapter Six: Lunch in the Dining Hall:

They were free to be on their own in the afternoons. A number of the guests had lunch in the dining hall. Tsuzuki would take his family here to meet new people. Anna didn’t really talk much that first evening. Kirika-chan took in all the guests that came in around her.

Today, the family and two other guests were in the dining hall. Kirika-chan stared at a penguin in a kimono sitting across from her. He was eating hot soba noodles. The little couldn’t take her eyes off of the penguin himself.

“Please stop staring,” Anna whispered. The little girl lowered her eyes. Meanwhile, the penguin took another bite of his lunch.

“So how are liking your vacation, Ono-san?” Tsuzuki asked. The penguin looked up.

“Very good,” he said. “Very relaxing.”

“I’ve seen you in the library every day,” Anna said. “Any interesting books in there?”

“I’ve read a couple of history pieces,” Ono-san said. “The Art of War, and some calligraphy books.” He set down his chopsticks.

“I have started on this one mystery novel I found yesterday,” he added. Kirika-chan stared at him like he was performing a magic trick. Ono-san tilted his head.

“Do I have something on my face?” he asked.

“Oh, no, no, no,” Anna said. “It’s not that.” She pulled her daughter to her side.

“Don’t mind her,” Anna said. “This is her first time in Hokkaido.”

“Hm,” the penguin man said. Mimzie sat on Kirika-chan’s head. Ono-san caught the attention of the little creature. Mimzie wiggled her nose.

“The hot springs are nice, aren’t they?” Tsuzuki asked. Ono-san pushed up his gold-framed glasses.

“Why yes,” he said. Further down the table sat a bear in a kimono. He feasted on his hot pot for one.

“And how are you, Tenjo-san?” Tsuzuki asked. The bear grunted as he ate.

“He doesn’t talk much,” Ono-san said.

“Ah,” the shinigami said. The penguin resumed eating his noodles. Tsuzuki looked out at the snow falling. They said there was a snowstorm coming this weekend. Kirika-chan would love to play outside. Saya and Yuma saw her as a little doll. Maybe they and Hisoka could watch her while he and Anna had some alone time. He took another bite of his cake.

“What is that little creature on your head, little lady?” Ono-san asked.

“My pet,” Kirika-chan said. Mimzie wiggled her nose.

“Oh,” the penguin said.

“Her name is Mimzie.”

“I see.”

The ferret licked her little nose. Ono-san stared down the creature. Tsuzuki frowned. Why did she have to come here? He would have to talk to his daughter later.

For now, child and pet were happy.

“So, what is everyone doing today?” Tsuzuki asked.

“Reading,” Ono-san said.

“Not much,” Anna said. Tenjo-san grunted over his food.

“Ah… I want to go to the hot springs later,” he said. The shinigami playfully grabbed his wife’s hand.

“Care to join me later?” he whispered. Tsuzuki nuzzled her on the neck. Anna trembled in her seat.

“Mmm,” she murmured. She closed her eyes. Tsuzuki smiled to himself. They heard someone clear their throat. The couple looked up to see Ono-frowning at them. They quickly separated. Tsuzuki cleared his own throat. The penguin finished his lunch.

“That was a good meal,” he said. Ono-san set down his chopsticks and bowed his head.

“It was nice talking to you again,” the penguin said. “Have a good day.”

“You too,” Tsuzuki said. Ono-san bowed and walked out of the dining hall. Tsuzuki and Anna turned to each other and smiled. Tenjo-san finished his hot pot for one. He bowed his head and left the dining hall.

“Bye,” Tsuzuki said. Watari would be joining them soon. But for now, the family were alone.