“Commander, I have your mails.”
“Oh, thanks. Just put them on the desk.”
Skillfully balancing a stack of envelopes and a package on top, the secretary ship, Zuikaku, made her way to the Commander’s desk and arranged them into several smaller piles to prevent them from toppling over.
The Commander observed them for a while and ended up ignoring them all, taking the package instead and smiling as he looked at the sender’s name.
“You know, in the future, you could always tie these letters up into a bundle so they won’t fall off,” the Commander remarked as he put the package on his lap and took out a letter opener from his desk.
“Um, well, I thought I should hurry...Anyway, shouldn’t you read through the mails first...?”
“I’m just going to look over the contents of this package really quickly. It’s from my sister, and knowing her quirks, she’s sending me pointless trinkets again along with family news. That aside, I’m not going to be able to read those letters in one sitting anyway. I have a meeting coming shortly.”
Nodding, Zuikaku watched as the Commander spilled the contents of the package on the desk. There are several letters, along with photos of people that she presumed were the Commander’s relatives. The last thing to fall on the desk caught her—and the Commander’s—attention.
“The hell is she sending me this for...?” He looked at it in amusement and tossed it to Zuikaku, who managed to catch it despite the abruptness.
“You can keep it if you want,” The Commander said as he shoved the contents of the package into an empty drawer to be seen later.
“What is...this...?” Zuikaku studied the trinket. A small figurine of a fat little man—or a huge baby—sitting on top of a square pedestal; it somewhat reminded her of a Buddha, save for the elongated head, pointy ears, and the ear-to-ear, mischievous grin. The smile, in particular, was vaguely unsettling.
“Oh, that’s Billiken. The God of Things as They Ought to be,” the Commander answered, still looking amused. “Statues of him are aplenty in Osaka. People often kiss their feet for good luck.”
“Things as They Ought to be...?” Zuikaku intoned. Honestly, she never heard of such a god in myths. The sight of the shipgirl knitting her brows amused the Commander even more.
“Well, don’t look so surprised, Zuikaku. Look closer, and you can see that little guy was not born in this country.”
Looking closer, Zuikaku could see an English phrase inscribed in tiny letters at the base.
“...You mean...he was...he was from the United States or something...?”
The Commander’s smile grew into full-blown laughter at Zuikaku’s blatant confusion.
“Yes. Pretty wild, huh? Anyway, as I said, he’s a god of luck. So what you’re holding now is a good luck charm. And you know what? To receive one brings you even bigger luck. Well, I know you are known as the Lucky Crane, but having more won’t hurt.”
“...If that’s the case, shouldn’t you...be the one having it...?” Zuikaku mumbled, wondering why she blushed for no good reason.
“Well...” The Commander stood from his chair after a look at his watch and put his officer cap on. “I already have a ‘good luck charm,’ so to speak. One whose feet I don’t need to kiss.”
“...Huh...? What do you mean...?”
“See ya later, Zuikaku. Take care of this office while I’m gone, will you...?” The Commander walked away without answering. Just as he was about to exit the door, he paused, looked back, and smiled.
“Wish me good luck, yeah?”
As he said that, the Commander walked out of the office; Zuikaku could hear his laughter ringing in the hallway.
Still blushing, she looked at the Billiken again. The smile the Commander gave her before he left, she could see it in the figurine’s face.
“Geez...what was all that about...?” She wondered aloud.