Turf War – Chapter 29

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If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask. I only get annoyed at questions when the same one has been asked 10+ times, and by then I’ll have updated the FAQ.

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Chapter 29 – The Chief of Staff’s Anxieties (Second Half)

“T-Tilea-sama. Had you not turned in for the day…?”

“Mm mm. I’m just not really in the mood to sleep right now.”

Tilea-sama was feeling despondent!?

Kuh!

It had to be related to that top secret mission.

My lady was suffering and yet I was helpless at a time like this.

How could anybody call me the strategist of our Evil God Army!?

“Tilea-sama, if there is any way in which I may assist then you need only say the word. I may be lacking, but please allow me to ease your burdens.”

“Haa. It’s really nothing.”

W-Why…?

She was clearly keeping something from me.

I was a failure of a strategist who lacked his master’s trust.

“Is my lowly self not worthy of being relied upon?”

“Wha-, Dryas-kun!?”

“I beg your forgiveness for my rudeness, but I must ask,” I said as I drew near her, “Am I of no use to you, Tilea-sama?”

I had to know.

I knew that I was overstepping my bounds, but I could not help myself.

Had my master, the subject of my adoration, turned her back on me…?

It felt as though my heart was being crushed by the unease.

I existed for her sake alone.

If she no longer had a use for me, then there was nothing left I could do.

Any lack of trust was simply a reflection of my own failings.

I would immediately end myself.

“I’m sorry, Dryas-kun. You’re right; I am worried about something. But I can’t talk about it. If I told you, it’d only be troubling you.”

“Wha-!? Tilea-sama, how could you ever say such a thing? It would be one thing if you were keeping quiet because you found me lacking, but if the reason is concern for me then please stop this.”

“But even if you say that…”

What a disaster… To think that she was being considerate of me…

Camilla-sama had brought me into this world as a perfect and faultless strategist.

If I ever made even one mistake, I would lose my raison d’être.

If it ever happened, I would surely end myself.

Of course…!

So that was why Tilea-sama was reluctant to give me orders.

In order to stop me from dying if I ever lost my reason to live…

Tilea-sama was always kind to her subordinates. Of course, this was exactly the kind of thing she would do.

But if that was true, then it was proof that she lacked faith in my abilities.

Kuh-!

I still wasn’t working hard enough.

I needed more power. I needed to do things even better so that I could put her at ease.

“Tilea-sama. For your sake, I dedicate my entirety to the Evil God Army. You need not be considerate. Please just be unreserved with me,” I pleaded.

“…You’re right,” she eventually said. “I already knew that you cared about your relationships with everyone in the Evil God Army. I was being too distant.”

“You are blameless, Tilea-sama. The fault lies with me for being unreliable and inexperienced.”

“No. With something this important, the first thing I should have done was consult somebody as smart as you, Dryas-kun. I made the wrong call. And that could have still cost me…”

“I am ashamed and humbled by your words, Tilea-sama! Please allow the unworthy Dryas to resolve your troubles,” I said faithfully.

With that, Tilea-sama began to tell me about the mission.

“The Fiend Liquidation Mission.”

I knew what was going on now.

The mission was not difficult in and of itself.

It was actually rather simple, all things considered.

But the point of trouble was Tilea-sama’s concern over Edim’s life.

What boundless compassion…

Even a half-demon like Edim was a subordinate worthy of concern in her eyes…

“I understand now, Tilea-sama,” I said. “The Fiend may certainly have the qualifications to call himself ‘Strongest’ amongst the humans. However, a human is still a human, Milady. Not match for a demon. Even Edim could run roughshod over somebody of his level.”

“Really? I know that Edim’s a vampire, but she used to be a human, you know. What if she doesn’t have enough experience? What if he has a vicious trap waiting for her…?”

“Demons are not so frail, Tilea-sama. Even half-demons like Edim are no exception. The little tricks of those humans amount to very little in the face of true power. Besides, having damned Ortissio as her support should be more than enough to account for any inexperience on her part.”

“Yeah. But I know this is mean of me after asking for it, but do you think Or will be able to support her properly? He’s a little air-headed.”

“Your worries are most justified. After all, that bastard is imprudent, foolish, and foolhardy at the best of times.”

“So you thought so too.”

“Despite all that, he is still one of the executives of our Evil God Army. He is more than capable of settling this matter.”

“Oh okay.”

“All will be as you wish. Did you have any other concerns, Milady?”

Tilea-sama began to ask for advice on all the other problems she was having.

I analysed our present forces, as well as the climate, and gave her thorough answers for each.

“Mmn, mmn. As expected of you, Dryas-kun. I really feel like everything’s going to be okay now.”

“Please rest assured that I, Dryas, will continue striving to ease your burdens.”

Tilea-sama nodded, looking a lot more cheerful than before.

Her burdens had definitely been lightened.

It was proof that she had faith in me.

I felt my eyes become moist with unbidden tears.

Perhaps I had finally lived up to the name of her Zifang…

Tilea-sama turned to me with her regular pose, now that she had settled back into her own pace.

“Well then, Dryas, my Zifang. Shall I consider the Fiend Liquidation Mission as a guaranteed success, then?”

“Most certainly. I can guarantee that by the time the sun rises in the east, the Fiend will be no more.”

She nodded in satisfaction at my words, before returning to her personal quarters.

Huhu, my words had calmed her down.

I, Dryas, had become a factor in setting her heart at ease.

I had almost gone mad from jealousy because of Ortidiot, but things had worked out in a surprisingly fortunate fashion.

This Fiend Liquidation Mission would serve as an excellent opportunity for me to demonstrate my prowess.

A few hours later, I heard the sound of steps descending into the Underground Empire.

Ortissio…

It was a little early, but I supposed that things were settled then.

I decided to give him a few word of thanks.

He was annoying, but this time he merited them.

I stepped out of the General Staff HQ to find Ortissio heading my way.

“Ortissio, well d――”

“U-, Ummm~ Chief of General Staff, the truth is…”

What!?

This was not the haughty look of triumph that I had expected…

Instead, he looked rather pathetic.

And that tone of forboding horror in his voice…

D-, Don’t tell me, this idiot…

“Ortissio, what happened? Report the results of the Fiend Liquidation Mission at once!”

“Oh? You’re aware of the parameters of the mission, Chief?”

“I am. Tilea-sama informed me earlier. Tilea-sama was worried sick about you lot, which is more than you could ever deserve. That’s why I told her that everything would be all right. Now stop wasting time and report! The Fiend is dead, correct!?”

“A-About that…”

“Ortissio, you had better not tell me that you let him escape.”

“T-That would be unthinkable. As if I could fail to deal with the likes of a human. The one who let him go was Edim――”

You… traaaash!

Before I knew it, I had picked him up by the collar and smashed him to the ground.

While he writhed in pain, I stomped on his face.

“Ortissio… You were supposed to support her! Accounting for accidents was your job! Are you telling me that you left such an important task all to that half-demon!?”

“B-But, the one who assigned the roles was Tilea-sama――”

“You…! Of all things, you dare to blame Tilea-sama for your mistakes!?”

Infuriated by his insolence, I pressed down harder on his face.

“Guuuaah! T-That’s not what I meant. Haah, haah, that’s――”

“You listen very carefully, Ortissio. If this mission ends in failure, I will be forced into suicide!”

“Eh!? W-Why?”

“Because if you lot fail, then that means I will have lied to my master.”

“Plenty of strategist make mista――Guaah!”

I cut off his thoughtless words by crushing him even more fiercely.

“Ortissio. Unlike you, who happily commits blunder after blunder, I must be the perfect strategist in all respects. This was what Camilla-sama created me for. Even a single mistake would be unforgivable.”

“Hiiie! I-I understand. I will bring you the Fiend’s head without fail.”

“Can I be sure of that? I won’t allow you to tell me that he’s escaped the Capital or the like,” I said in a low voice.

“T-That is not a concern,” he stammered. “Edim’s kin have been guarding the gates since the beginning, and she has already confirmed with them that nobody has left. This is proof that the Fiend is still within the city walls.”

I hummed.

“In other words, Edim was the one who successfully stopped him from escaping. What were you doing then?”

“T-That can’t be… I was the one who set a large scale encirclement. It was thanks to me that we even have a vague idea of where he is. Why is Edim the one who――”

“Enough talk. I have no time for your excuses. You will take the Fiend’s head before daybreak. Else you will be charged with grand treason and punished accordingly!”

“A-As you will. But, Bernandes could――”

“Oh? You even want our intelligence units to assist you? I reported to Tilea-sama that two people would be enough. If you are trying to turn me into a liar, then――”

“N-No no no, absolutely unthinkable. I can do it. Edim and I will take his head.”

“Then do so!” I bellowed, “And the next time I hear from you had better be news of his death. Do not report to me until you have his head!”

“S-Sir, yessir!”

Looking unsightly, Ortissio fled to the surface.

…What a disaster.

I was clearly still lacking as a strategist.

Had I considered Ortidiot’s character, it would have been clear to me that this situation was within the realm of possibility.

I was still much too inexperienced…

For now, I had lit a fire under Ortissio’s buttocks.

If he still failed to produce results, then I would execute him at once.

I would charge him with the highest of high treasons, and then kill him myself!

I had to start considering the worst case scenario for myself as well…

Tilea-sama had once told me about a belly-cutting ceremony performed by warriors.

In the land of ‘Jyapan’, warriors who had disgraced themselves would perform this ritual as a way of taking responsibility.

I decided that I should do it too.

I changed into the white clothing that was standard for the ceremony.

If Ortissio had not brought back the head of the Fiend by sunrise, I would slit my own belly to atone.

Death did not scare me.

However, I had brought shame to the words ‘my Zifang’.

She would undoubtedly feel dejected at this failure.

That was my only regret.

I held the ritual dagger in my hand, and placed it at my belly.

The only lingering desire I had left was…

Of course!

If Ortissio failed in his mission, then I had to finish the job in his stead.

The Fiend would die by my hands.

As would the useless subordinate who was thwarted by a mere human.

I called for Bernandes again.

“I have arrived, Dryas-sama.”

“Bernandes. I have an urgent mission for you.”

“Sir.”

“First, upon my death, you are to carry out the orders on this missive.”

“Eh!? Sir, what do you mean by――”

“No need to worry,” I cut him off. “If I am no longer in this world tomorrow, you simply need to carry out these orders.”

“B-By your will.”

That paper contained orders for the General Staff HQ, the appointment of my successor, as well as the execution orders for Ortissio.

“I also order you to prepare the Bazooka Call(Magic Bullet Artillery) for activation.”

“Wha-!? A-Are you serious, Dryas-sama? You truly intend to level the Royal Capital!?”

“Of course. I order you as the Chief of General Staff of the Evil God Army. You will fire it at dawn, should you not hear from me again.”

“A-, As you command.”

“I won’t let a single ant escape.”


<Previous Chapter | Imouto | Next Chapter>

Reika-sama – 216

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask. I only get annoyed at questions when the same one has been asked 10+ times, and by then I’ll have updated the FAQ. Thank you for your consideration, guys!


Join the Evil God Army on discord!
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Please contribute: http://kenkyokenjitsu.wikia.com

Also, thank you to Starcakez, Passerbyc, and the others editing the wiki!


By the way, did you know that the name of the school that Reika attends is actually read as Zui’ran?

Due to historical reasons I ended up imitating this one facet of the first translator’s translation. Originally I was translating a few teasers like 70 chapters down from where he was translating, and for that reason took ‘Zui’ran’ as the translation.

This was despite ignoring all his other unique takes on translating names, which bothered me a lot more. (Enzo, Kishouin etc.)

When I began re-translating the series as a whole, I stuck to Zui’ran, figuring that it was already a point of familiarity, and by the time I reconsidered, I was already like 40~50 chapters in.

Recently, however, I went back and made edits to a large amount of Tilea’s Worries chapters, so it’s probably not as big a deal as I’m thinking.

If you’d like me to use the proper translation of the name (and replace it in all previous chapters), say so down in the comments. If you’d prefer Zui’ran just out of familiarity, please also let me know in the comments below. It doesn’t bother me either way, personally.


The Kaburagi Masaya from ‘You Are My Dolce’ was absolutely not this ridiculous emperor…

Handsome and sharp, they called him the Emperor of Zui’ran, and despite having a cold and unapproachable exterior, when it came to romance he was passionate and overbearing, earnest in the pursuit of the girl that he liked, even if he was a little clumsy at times.

Sometimes he didn’t use enough words to clarify, which turned into misunderstandings, but those few moments of incompetence stirred up the maternal instincts in the readers.

Particularly heart-pounding was that scene by the ocean, alight with sea sparkles, where he held out his hand and said,

“I’m sorry.”

Waah~!

Anyway, he was basically all the attributes that young maidens found charming, rolled up into a single character.

And yet…

The Kaburagi Masaya I knew in reality was, yes, still handsome and sharp, and still called the Emperor of Zui’ran. And yes, I was not arguing that he had a cold and unapproachable exterior.

But the inside.

His mind was on the level of a primary schooler, unable to read the mood, and with a tendency towards stalking. The type of loser who would hand-make an accessory and then engrave their initials into it despite not even dating the girl or even securing her love.

This was just cruel.

Give me back the excitement from my previous life.

And the nickname ‘Emperor’ was supposed to be because he had the bearing and charisma of a ruler.

It wasn’t supposed to be because he was the Napoleon of children’s cavalry battle!

Unlike this laughingstock, the Emperor from the manga was dignified.

The difference was just too much…

Although I could admit that he did a good job of hiding it.

I had even begun to suspect that most people thought of him as the same sort of person as his manga counterpart.

Even Wakaba-chan said that he was mature.

Of course, his true self was that, though…

Life sure was convenient for hot guys!

Well, not that I really cared.

He could fail at romance as much as he wanted so long as he did it out of my sight.

The problem was that now that I did know, it was only a matter of time before he made me bawl out of pity.

Why did I have to ask her about that necklace…?

It would have been better not to know.

Anyhow, ignorant of my inner thoughts, Kaburagi continued brainstorming his next plan for a present.

“I don’t know what women want,” he said helpfully. “What do you think they want?”

I was sitting in my usual spot in the salon when he had come over for another consultation.

Since by all appearances he was discussing something serious with me, everyone around us had given us space out of consideration. As long as there was no shouting, we wouldn’t be overheard.

“Your best bet are consumables or perishables,” I told him without hesitation.

Things like flowers or food were good because the receiving end didn’t have to think too hard about it.

Actually, food was really good.

You just ate it, and it was gone.

Perishables!? No way. I want to leave behind some proof of my feelings. Something that she can always keep near, so that she can always keep my heart near.”

The man with the heart of a stalker, ladies and gentlemen.

Every one of his ideas gravitated towards heavy crap like that.

But I couldn’t just leave him be either.

If I did, I could almost guarantee that he’d come up with another insane present.

I had to course-correct before it was too late.

“I believe it would be best if you refrained from presents that are too expensive,” I said.

“Why,” he demanded.

“Because in consideration of her personality, she is more liable to feel guilt or discomfort from receiving a present bought with a mountain of your parents’ money. Being the case, would she not be much happier to receive a cheaper present bought with money you earned yourself?” I asked.

I was pretty much certain about that.

All I needed to do was think back to how she reacted when I handed over my expensive uniform, paid with my parents’ money, and without an inkling of how much they cost.

Wakaba-chan loved her parents, and on top of that she already knew how hard it was to make money.

“So you’re telling me to get a job, and buy a present with that?

“Well, I suppose that is what this comes down to.”

Wasn’t it moving to receive a present that somebody worked hard to get you?

Still a bit heavy though…

Especially considering they weren’t even dating…

“I do have some money that I earnt myself, you know.”

“Eh!? Truly!? How?”

That came as a shock.

Zui’ran forbade its students from working part-time after all.

“Mostly investing.”

“Investing… Stock trading, in other words. Hmmm~ Making money through stocks…? Would that count as money you earned yourself, then…? Stocks… Wha-!? Stocks!?

I did a double-take.

“Kaburagi-sama! Are you planning on buying all of our company’s stocks and initiating a hostile takeover!? This is not what we agreed on!” I accused.

“Haah!? Why the hell would I do that!?” he yelled.

The noise caused everyone to glance our way for a moment but I was in no state to care.

Stocks!

Take-over!

Destruction of my family!

I retrieved the oath from my bag.

“Do you dare claim that you do not remember this!?” I demanded.

“Uwah…! Did you seriously go get that laminated!? You’re really creeping me out here…”

Did he really think that I wouldn’t?

With it laminated I’d never have to worry that Kaburagi’s oath would get dirty.

It would never be damaged by rain nor wear now.

But the oath by itself wasn’t enough to reassure me anymore.

Not now that Kaburagi was trading stocks.

“Kaburagi-sama. If you desire my help then I will require another written oath from you. With a proper blood seal this time!”

I had been right. A thumb print would never be enough.

I needed to carve the promise into his body.

Again with the blood seals!? What the fuck is your family up to!?”

“Keep your voice down. What will you do if somebody hears you?”

“Is it fraud!? Don’t tell me you’re connected to the underworld!? Leave me out of this already…”

What the heck?

The company run by the Kisshouin didn’t have a single tie to anything shady.

We were 100% above the board.

“Look, I’m trading in stocks but I’m not making enough to take over any companies, okay…?”

“Truly?”

“Truly. With how little time I get to spend on it between studying, I barely make anything. Just how much money do you think you’d need to buy up the majority share in your family’s company?”

“So you already know exactly how much money is needed to forcefully take over our company then!” I accused, bearing down on him.

“Even if I knew, I wouldn’t and couldn’t!” he defended as he drew his body back.

He had better not be lying.

Lives were depending on this.

There was no place for lies here.

I stared at him a while before he averted his gaze.

“Just how fucked up is this company…?” he muttered.

How rude!

We’re 100% above the board!

But fine.

If he was willing to go that far, then I’d believe him.

For now.

At any rate, I’d be keeping a close eye on him.

It would also be best to confirm with Oniisama that we weren’t in a position to suffer a hostile takeover.

“I understand. I shall believe you. Well then, shall we return to our previous topic?”

“Yeah.”

Kaburagi sighed in relief.

I’m trusting in you, Kaburagi.

“Well then, in regards to the present, you can increase the chances of her accepting your gift by making them easy to accept. Foods, consumables, perishables. Besides, girls love to be given beautiful flowers, or charming little desserts. Leaving that aside, would it not feel like bribing her into dating you if you brought her expensive gifts every time?”

“That is true…” he nodded.

“You should save the expensive gifts for when it counts.”

“Like Christmas. I wonder what happened to the handmade necklace I gave her…”

Wah! Please stop!

Don’t make me remember that!

Your M&W necklace has been given to Wakaba-chan’s little sister.

“…Well, forget about that for now. Ah, that reminds me. I think that that teddybear was a good idea. And the maple syrup from Canada too!”

Wakaba-chan had been pretty pleased with that maple syrup.

I thought it was pretty delicious too~

Could we find it in Japan?

“I see. Hm? How come you know that I gave her maple syrup?” he asked.

Eh!?

Had he never told me!?

Oh no!

“Oh? Did I not hear about it from you? Strange, I recall you telling me…”

I couldn’t let him see my eyes.

They were the window to the soul, after all.

Instead, I pretended to examine the contents of my tea cup.

What, didn’t you know? I’m well versed in tea leaf reading.

This kind of behaviour is totally natural for me.

“I really don’t remember though…” he muttered.

His memory seemed to be stupidly good.

Don’t tell me he remembered everything he ever told anyone?

As Kaburagi seemed to be going through our conversations in his head, I hurriedly interrupted him instead.

“That maple syrup was delicious, no? How was it? Her reaction?”

“…Yeah. She told me it was great when she thanked me,” he said a bit happily. Maybe he was recalling the memory.

“See? That was a splendid brand that you chose!” I praised, hopefully buttering him up.

“It was pretty good. To be honest I wanted to get her something better than just maple syrup, but Shuusuke stopped me. He said that since I had already given that kind of Christmas present, a small souvenir would be just right.”

“My!”

Nice save, Enjou!

“Enjou-sama has been giving you advice as well, then?”

“Sometimes.”

I see.

“In that case would it not be better to seek advice from him rather than me?”

Come to think of it, wasn’t that guy part of the Fulfilling Romance Village?

Kaburagi, that guy definitely has a lot of real experience, so you should go get your advice from him.

“Shuusuke told me that for romance it was better to get a girl’s perspective.”

What did you say!?”

Enjoooouuuuu!

So all of my suffering right now was because of you!

That bastard!

He came up to me commenting about how he’d ‘heard’ that I was Kaburagi’s strategist when he was the mastermind all along!

Baastard schemer!

Where was he right now!?

Don’t tell me he went home!

Kiiih!

“So I was wondering who I could even ask,” continued Kaburagi, “When Iwamuro and Class Rep told me to ask you.”

Aah, Iwamuro-kun, Class Rep…

No, it wasn’t their fault.

The one at fault was Enjou.

“If you wanted a female perspective, why not simply ask Yurie-sama or Aira-sama?”

“Those two are busy thinking about what they want to do in life, you know…”

This is my last year in high school too, you know?

Hmm?

He was looking oddly grumpy.

Could it be that he was sulking because Yurie-sama hadn’t paid more attention to him?

Wakaba-chan, just what part of this guy is ‘normally mature’?

“…Honestly. Those two told me about how your hair was a god of love, but I haven’t seen a difference at all.”

“That is because you lack faith.”

Pray, ye faithless.

I raised my right hand into the Abhaya Mudra for bestowing courage, while my left pointed downwards to form the Varada Mudra of fortune bestowal.

“Allow me to gift you with some advice from the divines. Push not your own preferences, and match the likes of the girl instead. If you do so, your path will surely become clearer.”

“So dodgy…”

Dodgy!?

If that’s the attitude you’re going to take, then forget about any fortune!

Hmph, Kaburagi wasn’t getting a drop of my romantic luck!

“Then in light of your deficits in both comprehension and imagination, allow me to give you something concrete instead. The thing that would make Takamichi-san the happiest is probably a reference book for her studies.”

“Haah!?”

As if preparing for uni entrance exams wasn’t enough, Wakaba-chan was also a scholarship student.

Those reference books were indispensable for her.

Plus, reference books and exercise books were both pretty expensive.

“What a cynical and unromantic present… I really did choose the wrong person.”

Shoulders slumped, Kaburagi walked away.

*

*

Kaburagi’s only redeeming factor was his obedience in learning though, so despite his parting words he still did as I said.

He came and told me that Wakaba-chan was overjoyed and thanked him.

And thanks to that, they even ended up agreeing on another visit to the library together.

“You’re pretty good, Kisshouin.”

Apparently I had gained his trust.

I didn’t want it!!!


Sorry for the wait.

Also unrelated, but I really like this chick’s voice!

Also by mecha, do you think she’s saying that she won’t draw robots having sex, or won’t draw robots at all?


<Previous Chapter | Imouto | Next Chapter>

Reika-sama – 215

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask. I only get annoyed at questions when the same one has been asked 10+ times, and by then I’ll have updated the FAQ. Thank you for your consideration, guys!


Join the Evil God Army on discord!
https://discord.gg/0uufyDAsTZXQaMz1


Please contribute: http://kenkyokenjitsu.wikia.com

Also, thank you to Starcakez, Passerbyc, and the others editing the wiki!


TPO is a Japanese abbreviation of ‘time, place, occasion’. It’s used in the sense of ‘There’s a time, place, and occasion for everything’.


I forgot about that tragic present for now.

After returning to the living room I ate the tasty milk pudding that Kanta-kun made while Wakaba-chan and I spoke about the school trip.

She seemed to be quite excited for it, having bought a location guide book and everything.

“I’m so excited. This is my first time going overseas, you know? Hey, Kisshouin-san, did you ever see the changing of the guards?”

“I did. I watched with my own eyes as guards with these huuuuge hats marched down the street.”

“I’m so jealous! I wanna see it too!”

Her siblings joined in and we happily chatted together about good tourist spots as they looked through the guide.

When it was about time that we began preparing dinner, Wakaba-chan’s mother came back.

“Welcome, Coro-chan!” she greeted me.

“Thank you for having me here today,” I said.

Wakaba-chan handed my present over.

“Mum, look at what Kisshouin-san got us.”

“My, thank you! Gosh, what good meat!”

Wakaba-chan got up to help her mother in the kitchen while Kanta-kun and I set up the table and brought out the hot plates.

We were using two of them since her family was quite large.

I liked being able to help like this.

It felt like I wasn’t just some guest that they still had reservations against.

Maybe I counted as one of them~? Ehehe.

“Hey, Cornet. At Zui’ran you greet each other with ‘gokigen’yoh’, right? How come you don’t say ‘gokigen’yoh’ then?” he wondered.

“TPO,” I answered.

If I came here and said that, I’d look pretentious.

Life is all about adapting yourself.

But then the twins wanted to hear me act like an ojousama instead.

“Coro-chan, say ‘gokigen’yoh’ for us~?”

“Do an ‘ohoho’.”

So they really did think of me as an ‘ohoho’…

The Ohoho Cornet Girl…

I had better pay attention to the way I laughed while I was with them.

By the time Wakaba-chan’s father had come back from work, the cooking was about to begin.

Wakaba-chan, Kanta-kun, and I were using one hot plate together.

“Holy shit!” he exclaimed. “There’s a lot of meat today.”

“Coro-chan brought it over,” explained his mum. “The meat on this plate is the good stuff, so try some later.”

“You did good, Cornet!” he laughed.

Their family seemed to be enjoying the meat I brought.

Thanks to that, I was able to eat with fewer reservations.

Mmmmm, food was somehow better when eaten with lots of people like this.

Aaah~ This ponzu sauce was great!

It was a bit nostalgic.

In my old life too, we used a hotplate like this to have yakiniku.

Seeing the normal family in front of me, I couldn’t help but relax and accidentally said “Wakaba-chan” a few times, before hurriedly correcting myself.

Sometimes I just slipped up.

Wakaba-chan didn’t seem to mind though.

I wondered if that meant I could call her that at school too, then…

After having my fill I had to go home.

The Takamichi house was accepting and comfortable so I would have liked to stay, but I had my own curfew and had to hurry.

When I left they gave me some cake to bring back home.

“Sorry that it’s only leftovers.”

Then Wakaba-chan’s father drove me to the train station.

There was nothing more I could want from them.

When I got off the car, Wakaba-chan and her dad waved goodbye and saw me off.

“See you tomorrow!”

I waved back.

Aah, that was fun.

I wanted to visit again already.

While I sat on the train I wrote Wakaba-chan a thank you message.

*

*

*

Since Otousama and Okaasama were out at a party tonight, nobody asked me where I had gone.

I had just made it in time for my curfew, and only Oniisama was there.

“Welcome back, Reika.”

“I am home, Oniisama.”

Oniisama gave a sniff.

“You smell like cooked meat,” he said.

Oh gosh!

To the bath it is!

After washing my hair carefully with some fragrant shampoo, I changed into some home clothing and brought the cake out into the living room.

“Oniisama, I have some cake. Have some with me?”

“Thanks, I will.”

After making some tea, I took a seat next to Oniisama and began eating the strawberry shortcake.

“Say, Oniisama? What kind of friends do you mostly have?”

“Friends? Hmm, I guess the majority of them are ones I made as a student. After joining the workforce most of my relationships became tied to my job, so it’s hard to call them true friends, I guess.”

“I see. Then by student days, you mean from Zui’ran?”

“You could say that. Hmm, besides them, also some people I knew from other schools, or people I hit it off with while travelling. Different sorts.”

“I see… Oniisama? Are any of your friends from normal households?”

“By normal households, you mean people from the normal working class?”

“Well, yes…”

Oniisama looked at me for a while, before he eventually replied.

“…I do. After I became a high schooler, I made some External friends, and I have a lot of friends like that from university as well.”

“I see…” I muttered to myself.

Having finished eating, I put down my fork and sank into thought.

Oniisama seemed to realise something and patted my head.

“Reika. Don’t worry about how our parents think. Don’t worry about where they come from. If you think they’re worth it, then be with them,” he told me.

“Yeah…”

I hoped that one day I could introduce Oniisama to Wakaba-chan.

*

*

*

I was a bit worried about meeting Fuyuko-sama the next Monday, but she didn’t really say anything different to me.

Phew, thank goodness…

Hopefully nobody would find out about the things the tanuki spirit had made me do during the weekend.

Still, the person I was even more awkward about meeting was Kaburagi.

At first I had just considered his romance somebody else’s problem, but having seen what happened to the fruits of his efforts with my own eyes, I just couldn’t help but sympathise with him now.

Thanks to that, it was hard to treat his issues as flippantly as I used to.

God, seeing that necklace was sorrow itself.

If I left that guy alone, he was just going to produce tragedy after tragedy for himself, mark my words.

And the one who’d end up watching every step would be me.

Which was bad, because eventually I’d cry.

Like, seriously bawl.

I mean that necklace was bad enough.

Just how long did he spend making that?

I’d never done anything like that myself, so I didn’t know how tough it was, but it had to be like when a girl knit a scarf for her crush.

Well, leaving aside how much heavier the jewellery was, at least…

For my own ease of heart, I was going to have to be a bit kinder to him during our discussions.

 


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Turf War – Chapter 28

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Chapter 28 – The Chief of Staff’s Anxieties (First Half)

In a room in the Evil God Army’s Underground Empire.

Dozens of demons hurried about, performing their duties as intelligence workers.

Reports were coming in from all fronts; intelligence from the Manafint Confederation, observation of prisoners, securing supply lines, among many others.

Counterintelligence, strategising, planning, communications, information of all sorts flowed through the room.

Exceptional memory. Flexibility of thought. The ability to objectively analyse data, and make the correct decisions.

The demons gathered here were the best minds that the Evil God Army had to offer, for this room was the General Staff Headquarters.

And at the head of this think tank, sitting at a luxurious desk and planning their next move, was the Head of General Staff, Dryas Bo Malferand.

Kneeling by his side was Bernandes, the Commander of the Fourth Division…

“Bernandes. Report.”

“Sir. Our forces are already deployed on the borders of the Manafint Confederation. The border guard is weak enough that we may strike at any time,” reported Bernandes.

“I see. And what of Visca Fortress that defends the entrance into the Confederation?” asked Dryas.

“The same. Perhaps they have been lax because they haven’t considered an attack, but neither the numbers nor the morale of the troops there are particularly high,” he replied.

Dryas scoffed.

“Hmph. Foolish humans. They are rather easygoing considering that losing Visca could cripple their economy.”

“Shall I give the signal to begin the invasion?” asked Bernandes.

“I have no complaints about the timing,” Dryas agreed. “However, Tilea-sama has still not given us the order. Contact the heads of the foreign legions. They are to be on standby.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Also, I wonder about the Demon King Army. What do we know about their activities?”

“Sir, the Demon King Army appears to be building strength in Zauz region down south. Beyond that, they do not seem to be doing anything.”

“They have not begun invading human territories?” questioned Dryas.

“No, sir. They are staying low-key,” Bernandes confirmed. “Personally, I feel uneasy about this.”

Bernandes’ suspicion was reasonable.

Were it not for the Evil God Army, the Demon King Army could be said to be the most powerful force in the world.

To be frank, the human forces were scarcely a factor, let alone a third force.

They were prey.

In practical terms, the Demon King Army were the only obstacle to the Evil God Army ruling the world.

And they were silent.

Annexing human territory would give them more influence. Dryas could not imagine that they lacked the means to do so…

“And the Third Division were given the orders to check their forces?”

“Yes, sir. Muram and his Third Division are there, as well as Demonic Dragons Gargan and Gyangu are projecting force nearby.”

With that much power they would not be defeated in anything short of all-out war. It would be enough to buy time even if the Six Demon Generals attacked.

Still, there was no harm in being extra careful.

Dryas decided to send them some of the Fourth Division’s soldiers.

“Very well. Double the forces assigned to gathering intelligence on them and immediately report if anything suspicious happens at all,” I ordered.

“Yes, sir. I will make the arrangements to send more men there,” said Bernandes, before taking his leave.

‘A expected of the man Camilla-sama left in charge of our intelligence forces,’ thought Dryas.

Whether it was Bernandes’ skills in gathering intel or his ability to lead his men, he met Dryas’ standards in every area.

At the moment the Evil God Army was still lacking in information on the rival Demon King Army. It was something they would have to address.

But Dryas couldn’t see anything that they could do, except to take action each time Bernandes brought in a little more information.

And in all honesty, he had a lot on his plate.

Vigilance against the Demon King Army.

The invasion of the neighbouring countries.

The management and organisation of the Evil God Army.

From conception to execution, it was Dryas in charge. It was impossible for a normal person to do alone.

Even your average genius would collapse from the strain.

But Dryas had the resilient body of a demon, and it would not be wrong to describe him as an exceptional genius.

He managed, although it was stressful and exhausting.

But today Dryas was smiling.

And the reason for that…?

‘Only two days left,’ Dryas thought.

The surge of happiness had him holding the ticket a little tighter.

It was improper of course. He was on duty at the moment, and he believed in the separation of one’s personal life and job.

Unfortunately he couldn’t help his grin.

It was finally his turn.

What Dryas had in his hands was none other than a ticket for one of Tilea-sama’s ‘laive ivvents’.

Obtaining one of these through cheating was harshly prohibited, and one had no choice but to participate in the lottery, fair and square.

The event itself was held in a room that fit only thirty people.

Needless to say, the tickets were rare, and difficult to acquire.

It made him all the more ecstatic that his ticket happened to be for front-row seats; a super premium ticket, if you would.

Already he could imagine it. His next day off, sitting in the front seats.

Being able to appreciate Tilea-sama’s magnificent techniques from up close.

He could hardly imagine a greater joy.

Dryas had perused forbidden books, and studied demonic armaments before, but none of that excitement could compare with the palpitations in his heart right now.

‘Aah, Tilea-sama. Why do you hold my heart captive so!’

While Dryas sat there with an enraptured expression on his face, Bernandes suddenly burst into the room in a panic.

“Dryas-sama, it’s a disaster! The soldiers stationed at the national borders are making their way back to the Royal Capital!”

“Wha-!? What is the meaning of this?”

“Sir, it appears that they received an order to return from the General Staff HQ.”

“M-Madness! There was no such order!”

Somebody had clearly gone against military regulations.

Dryas turned the information over in his head.

Besides Tilea-sama, the only person who had the right to arbitrarily reassign their soldiers was Camilla-sama.

Only these two personages were allowed to do so without the approval of the War Council.

And Camilla-sama would not have given out such a foolish order.

In that case, who was responsible for this blatant disregard of the law…?

The foot soldiers would not have given out an order to return.

It was an officer that did this.

Whatever their reason, taking action without permission like this would affect the discipline of the entire army.

They were going to face immediate judgement, no matter how long their service, or how high their position.

“Bernandes, you are to immediately determine the one responsible for this order.”

“T-That…”

“What’s the matter? Mm!? Could it be that you’ve already identified the culprit?”

“T-, The evidence suggests that the one responsible is Division Commander Ortissio.”

“…I see. Leave the rest to me.”

“A-As you command.”

*

*

*

Ortissio had violated the law.

The fool…

He had always been an eyesore.

Despite having dared pointed his sword at Tilea-sama, here he was, living away, carefree.

Nobody who had any sense of pride or loyalty could do such a shameful thing.

Anybody else would have committed suicide.

But then again, I suppose it was pointless to expect any dignity out of the sort scum who would rebel.

It was only because Tilea-sama herself had forgiven him that I was enduring his existence.

And even if he was a disloyal traitor, he had still once served as an officer in the household guard.

I had thought to make as much use out of him as possible before discarding of him, and when better than now?

There was no place for such scum in Tilea-sama’s Evil God Army.

It was time to clean out the filth.

I put the General Staff Headquarters behind me, as I marched through the hallways to exact punishment, only to notice messengers running left and right.

Standing right there was Ortissio, giving some sort of instructions to other messengers.

His violations of our laws were already clear as day.

Seeing his flagrant mobilisation of our soldiers was infuriating.

I had decided to punish him right there.

“There you are, Ortissio! Who told you to call your soldiers back to the Capital!?”

“Chief of General Staff. I have a reason for moving my soldiers.”

“And what reason would that be? Depending on what you say, it may even be grounds for execu――”

“I ordered my soldiers to return here for a top secret mission from Tilea-sama.

Eh!?

W-What did he just say?

A top secret mission?

From Tilea-sama?

And it was even kept a secret from the Chief of General Staff…?

Could that have been a lie?

No, even he wasn’t foolish enough to lie about something like that.

“I… I see. A top secret mission from Tilea-sama… Given to you, Ortissio…?”

“Hmph. I’m not surprised that you don’t know. The orders came from Tilea-sama herself,” he sneered.

“U-, Umu. In that case fulfil your duties as best you can,” I said. “Worry not and use the soldiers as you need. I will take care of the rest.”

“Of course. After all, these orders came directly from Tilea-sama. Directly from Tilea-sama. It’s important so I said it twice.”

Kuh-, look at him being so smug.

I won’t forgive you, Ortissio!

I’ll pit everything I have against you and――no, wait. Don’t let your anger control you, Dryas.

If I killed Ortissio right now, I would be getting in the way of Tilea-sama’s orders.

Whatever happened, I had to think of Tilea-sama first.

B-, But, w-, why was it kept a secret from…?

No, no.

Nothing good lay down that line of thinking.

I was ashamed of myself.

I had gotten too full of myself because Tilea-sama had called me her Zifang.

That was why I hadn’t been included.

I vowed that to regain her trust I would work even harder from now on!

Still, I wondered what this mission was about…

Tilea-sama rarely gave direct orders like this.

It must have been a matter of grave important.

I wanted to help.

I wanted to make everything run more smoothly for her.

That was my purpose as the strategist.

It was never a role that should have been left to the likes of Ortissio.

I made up my mind…

Kuh, it was embarrassing, but I could only lower my head to Ortissio and help in that way.

“O-, Ortissio, is there anything at all I can do to help? I would not begrudge you the assistance,” I offered.

“Chief, do you really understand what ‘top secret’ means? It means that the details are classified to anybody who Tilea-sama has not entrusted it to. I can’t even tell you about it.”

“Guh, nghn….”

“At any rate, I’m very busy with this, so please excuse me. I must prepare for the top secret mission. Goodness, if only we had you. I’m sure the planning would be over in an instant… Too bad that Tilea-sama hasn’t trusted you with it… Kuahahahahah!”

Ortissio continued to guffaw loudly as he left the Underground Empire.

I was almost beside myself with rage at his triumphant grin.

For Tilea-sama, for Tilea-sama…

I tried to calm myself down with that mantra but…

“Uaaoghhh! Ortissio, I’ll never forgive youuuuu!” I roared.

I couldn’t argue back because what he said was right.

After enduring all the humiliation, I couldn’t help but explode.

Still roaring, I destroyed the furnishings all around me.

I knew that it was unbecoming of a strategist, but I simply couldn’t stop myself.

“Haah, haah, how dare he look down on――”

“Hmm? What are you screaming about?”

“Eh!?”

When I turned around, the one standing there was none other than my beloved and respected master, Tilea-sama.

 


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Reika-sama – 214

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Today was teppanyaki day at Wakaba-chan’s house.

I had some high-grade beef with me as a present.

What do you mean I just wanted to eat it?

“Takamichi-san, please have this meat. If it pleases you, shall we all try some later on?”

“Ehh!? You even brought us high quality meat!? That’s so nice~ Wah, so heavy. Thanks!”

“No, no~”

Uhuhuhu, teppanyaki, teppanyaki~

Cooking on a hotplate is teppanyaki~

“Please come in, Kisshouin-san.”

“Please excuse me~”

I followed her into the living room where her siblings were already waiting.

“Welcome, Coro-chan!”

“So you’re finally here, Coronet!”

“Welcome.”

“Hello, everybody. Thank you for having me,” I said.

I was basically established as ‘Coro-chan’ by now

Kanta-kun was standing in the kitchen and making something.

“Kisshouin-san, take a seat?” asked Wakaba-chan. “Is barley tea okay?”

“Yes, thank you. Kanta-kun, what is that you are making?” I asked.

“Milk pudding. You’ll get some too, don’t worry,” he replied offhandedly.

“My, how delightful!” I exclaimed. “Thank you, Kanta-kun! Shall I help?”

“No. You just sit there,” he said.

“Okay,” I obeyed.

Kanta-kun’s manner of speaking was a little rude, but he was actually a much nicer kid than he let on.

Huh? What do you mean I’m being influenced by food?

I sipped at the barley tea that Wakaba-chan gave me and just rested for a bit.

Haah~

It was relaxing here.

But there was actually something I planned to ask the next time I came here.

Naturally it was regarding that necklace.

From what I understood, it had been around the teddybear’s neck.

I was scared to ask, but now that I knew about it I had no choice but to do so.

While Wakaba-chan was talking about her studies since the beginning of the school year, I very casually brought it up.

“Say, Takamichi-san? I do recall that Kaburagi-sama gave you a rather cute teddybear, no? It would be nice if I could have another look at it.”

“Eh? Oh, sure.”

Suspecting nothing, Wakaba-chan went to her room to retrieve it.

“Here you go.”

“Thank you.”

Just like I recalled, there was no necklace around its neck.

I stealthily shifted its collar just to make sure.

Nothing.

“It’s really cute, isn’t it? I was pretty shocked to hear the price though,” she laughed.

“Its round eyes are rather adorable,” I said, as I casually patted it down for any sign of metal.

Nothing.

“…Because it was a limited Christmas special it came with a rather festive cape. But other Christmas bears held presents, or came with other accessories. Did this one not come with any?”

“Nothing at all!”

Ehh!?

Then where on earth had Kaburagi’s overly heavy present gone!?

I looked and touched it all over, in every nook and cranny.

Nothing!

“You seem awfully interested in that teddybear, Kisshouin-san,” commented Wakaba-chan.

“Eh? Ah, well, I do have an interest in handicrafts after all, so I was thinking of making one myself sometime. Sorry for being strange,” I apologised.

I guess I was acting a bit too suspiciously.

“Ohh, not at all,” she said. “I’d forgotten that you were with the Handicrafts Club. Don’t mind me. Look as much as you want.”

“Thank you… Say, is this a girl? Girl teddybears often come with accessories, no?”

“They do, don’t they. Hmm, I guess the cape is a bit girlish.”

“Right…? So nothing else came with her? No accessories or the like…?”

“Accessories? I don’t think so…”

“I see…”

But just as I had given up, and handed the teddybear back to her…

“Ah! I remember now. She came with a necklace.”

“Eh!? She did!?”

So there was one!

“Yeah. This cute heart-shaped necklace. I’d forgotten that it had come with it.”

“Where is it!?” I exclaimed.

“My sister has it.”

“Natsumi-chan!?”

Why with her!?

“Yeah. My sister really liked it. She’s at that age when you’re starting to want to dress up, right? But I thought real accessories were too soon for a primary schooler, so I gave her that toy necklace instead.”

“…”

Oh my god, Kaburagi…

“Might I see that necklace…?”

“Eh? Sure, I guess. Then let me go call Nacchan! Nachaaan!”

What do I do, Kaburagi?

The price of the necklace, the meaning behind it, Wakaba-chan didn’t notice a thing.

Her little sister came out with the necklace.

“Here you go.”

It was a platinum necklace, with an open heart pavé diamond pendant.

“It doesn’t look like a toy at all, right?”

Natsumi-chan, that’s because it isn’t a toy…

“You’d never think that it came with a toy.”

Wakaba-chan, that’s because the toy came with it

I looked over the necklace in my hand.

When he said he had handmade it I had expecting something a bit less professionally shaped, but apparently Kaburagi was stupidly good with his hands.

I could literally see this in a shop.

You must have really tried, Kaburagi…

I guess all those presents to Yurie-sama must have paid off after the years.

When I spotted the little ‘M&W’ on the back, I began crying inside for Kaburagi.

This necklace was filled with all of his weighty feelings inside.

Kaburagi had toiled in a workshop to make it.

But after seeing Natsumi-chan wearing it so happily, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth.

She really seemed to love it, after all…

Mn.

I saw nothing, today.

See not, hear not, speak not…

Ah, but I ought to at least make sure she didn’t lose it or throw it away because she thought it was a toy…

“Natsumi-chan? This necklace came as part of a Christmas special, so this accessory is actually well-made enough that people can wear it. Take care of it, all right?”

“Ehh!? I had no idea! Did you hear that Nacchan? Treat it well, okay?”

“Yeah!”

I was going to forget all about it.

That Kaburagi had designed it while thinking of her, that he had painstakingly crafted it while thinking of her, that he had attached it to the bear and anxiously wondered about her response, I was going to forget all about it.

Unnoticed by the innocently smiling sisters, I silently wiped away the tears in my heart.


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Reika-sama – 213

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Fifteen hours late, but hey, better than never, right?


Tired…

Kaburagi was so much worse than I expected that I was honestly at my wit’s end.

After that, even after we returned to the salon, Kaburagi kept talking to me about his ideal confessions.

He was like a bottomless well of worthless ideas.

Naturally he never brought up Wakaba-chan’s name, but anyway, all of his ideas were needlessly bombastic and unrealistic.

This wouldn’t do.

In the end I concluded that I had to put off the confession for now.

What I needed to do first was teach the idiot some common sense.

Uwah, the road ahead was tough…

“Kisshouin-san, I hear that you’ve become Masaya’s strategist?”

“Haah!?”

Since we were in public now, and I was more than a little sick of him, I had told Kaburagi to think about how to word his confession first.

Having given him his homework, I shooed him off and helped myself to some tea, but this time a smiling Enjou had come to accost me.

“What in heaven’s name are you talking about?”

“Hm? I heard it from Masaya. Apparently he employed you as his strategist.”

What the hell!? Doesn’t that make me his subordinate then!

I’ve never heard of a disciple this arrogant!

“That position seems much too important for one such as I. You are Kaburagi-sama’s closest friend. This role can only be entrusted to you.”

“Oh no, I could never…” he waved me off.

Hmph.

That’s not something I want to hear from a member of the Fulfilling Romance village like you.

You’ve got plenty of experience. Can’t you just use some of it to give him advice?

“Do you know what it is Kaburagi-sama is asking my advice on?” I asked.

“Yeah, more or less,” he said, sending a glance Kaburagi’s way.

The boy in question was sitting cross-legged by the window, quietly reading a book.

No doubt it was another stupid love poem anthology.

I could already see him sending weird quotes my way…

While I was thinking that to myself, I heard dreamy sighs from here and there.

They could only react that way because they didn’t know what a loser he was inside.

“In that case,” I started again, “would it not make even more sense for you to advise him?”

“Why do you say that?”

Because you’ve got a goddamned girlfriend!

To begin with, I wasn’t even close to Kaburagi.

Shouldn’t Enjou have been considered for the role before any thoughts came my way?

Ah, hang on.

I guess it was because of Iwamuro-kun and Class Rep…

“I think a girl’s opinion would be a lot more useful than mine,” he smiled brightly. “Kisshouin-san, I’ll leave Masaya to you.”

*

*

*

Even though I had an urna on my forehead, why was this year full of trouble?

Aaah~

What a pain.

While I pondered this on a particularly lazy Saturday, I suddenly received a message from my fellow Pivoine member, Fuyuko-sama.

‘Might we meet for a chat? It would be lovely if we had a chance to better know each other, Reika-sama.’

Being overjoyed at the chance to meet a friend outside of school, I agreed without another thought.

Fuyuko-sama had always been in my group.

Moreover, she was even a member of the Pivoine like I was.

Despite all that though, we never really had a chance to really know each other.

I guess it was because we were on different frequencies.

She really gave off the vibe of an ancient noble.

But maybe today was my chance!

She was inviting me out on a weekend after all.

What if I was about to make a new friend!?

I arrived at our meeting place full of anticipation; a lounge in some hotel.

It wasn’t long before I spotted her, as well as an older woman I didn’t know sitting next to her.

Hm?

Was this her oneesama?

I made my way towards them.

“Fuyuko-sama.”

“Reika-sama!” she exclaimed. “Thank you so much for coming! Please, take a seat!”

“Why, thank you,” I replied.

I sat down opposite the two of them and ordered a herb tea.

“…Umm, so, regarding our meeting today…”

“Ah, of course! You see, I very much wanted a chance to get to speak with you.”

…I see.

I mean, I was happy to hear that, but in that case what was the strange lady for?

I had a closer look at her.

She was wearing a suit, and seemed to be about 25, but she didn’t have make up on and looked like your everyday woman.

At least, she didn’t look like she was related to Fuyuko-sama.

Seriously, who was this?

I was slightly regretting coming here.

“I’ve noticed recently that you seemed a little threadbare. It’s been on mind for a while now,” she told me.

“Haah, I see.”

“Indeed. Reika-sama, has something been bothering you?” she asked.

“Bothering me…?” I asked. “I would not say so, no…”

“Goodness, haven’t you been having a lot of trouble with Kaburagi-sama and that commoner girl? And you’ve been speaking with him in the salon too. A lot of girls were envying you, but not me. You never looked happy to me.”

“I see…”

She was normally so quiet.

It was rare to see her so animated.

“Umm, at any rate, might I ask who this miss is…?”

“Oh, of course! This is Lady Lyuleiah! A greater healer!”

Hah?

Hiilah?

What was a hiilah?

Hira?

I looked at her suit.

As in short for “hira’sha’in(rank and file worker)”?

Healer, as in the English word. A healer refers to a person with the ability sooth and cure. They can use their powers to heal the body and soul!”

“Pleased to meet you. I am Healer Lyuleiah.”

I gave her another once over.

This woman who didn’t seem to have a drop of foreign blood in her was apparently named Lyuleiah.

“…That is quite an unusual name.”

“It is my Healer name. It was bestowed upon me by the Virtues of the Second Sphere when they commanded me to heal and guide the people.”

“Haah…”

She handed me a violet business card.

‘Blessed by the Virtues.

Greater Healer.

Ryu-Rei-A (Dragon Spirit Love)’

Apparently her name was supposed to be Japanese.

“Lady Lyuleiah saved my heart during a rough time in my life. Since then, I have been guided by her teachings,” Fuyuko-sama told me.

“Ah, excuse me,” I called out to nearby waitress. “I would like to order your special for today, the 3-cake sampler.”

There was something really alluring about the idea of trying 3 different little cakes.

“…And lately you seemed to be having a rough time, Reika-sama, which was why I really wanted to introduce Lady Lyuleiah to you.”

Hmm~

For a while I listened to her confusing explanation, but since I never showed much interest, eventually the greater healer glared at me.

“You have been possessed by a fox spirit,” Lyuleiah concluded.

“Oh goodness! This is horrible, Reika-sama!” Fuyuko-sama exclaimed.

“I see…” I replied blandly.

So here it was.

And a fox, huh?

Honestly, at this point I didn’t care anymore.

“Unless we promptly exorcise you, your future will contain dark omens and even greater misfortune…” Lyuleiah warned me ominously.

“There is no need for that,” I said bluntly. “After all, the spirit that plagues me is not a fox, but a tanuki.”

“Huh?”

“The curse that ails me is the curse of the tanuki pup. It is a terrible curse that tanukifies your stomach if you so much as let your guard down. And the worst news is that this curse cannot be broken.”

“Reika-sama, what are you saying…?”

“However, I have grown fond of this tanuki, and am prepared to have him with me for life. Annoying perhaps, but quite cute once you get used to him. For this reason, I must decline your exorcism. Dark omens will be crushed, misfortunes conquered, should they ever impede my path.”

Having finished up the cakes and herb tea, I gave a confident,

“Well then, gokigen’yoh.”

And promptly took my leave.

I had thought Fuyuko-sama was somebody who lived in another world, untouched by our common troubles, but it turned out that she was actually one of those types…

Geez…

When I returned home, the evil tanuki spirit was lying in wait with tarts of this season’s fruit in order to curse me.

Eei!

Your dark magic tempts me not!


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Reika-sama – 212

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Tashinami’s been taken over by another group. Thank goodness.


Although the class trip had made me a busy class rep, I wasn’t neglecting my duties at the Handicrafts Club either.

It was around the time that new students really began to visit the clubs.

Last year I had just become an official member, so I had gone a bit overboard.

But as the president, this year I was going to show proper restraint and secure as many members as possible.

We needed more boys like Minami-kun!

We sat there, chatting relaxedly about it as we knit.

This place was so soothing~

It would be nice to just chat and knit, without worrying about my troubles ever again~

The world of humans was filled with complications.

Wakaba-chan and Kaburagi weren’t in the same class anymore. But in 3rd year, we had even more electives, which was why they did have a few classes together.

Still, the fact that they were separated at all was, and I quote, “Disappointing to the extreme…!” and so to make up for it he would use schoolwork as an excuse to speak to her whenever possible, both before and after class.

Wakaba-chan being Wakaba-chan was more than happy to discuss schoolwork, and so from the outside at least, their relationship seemed to be going swimmingly.

I had been hoping that the Spring Holiday would be enough to cool down the rumours and ill-will towards Wakaba-chan, but from the way Kaburagi was behaving I couldn’t see the jealousy dying down.

I was beginning to consider telling him to get his act together and stop talking to her.

He really needed to start thinking about how his behaviour was affecting her.

But they were already in different classes.

On top of that, Wakaba-chan was always busy with the Student Council after school, and it wasn’t easy for him to find an excuse to see her on the weekends.

Given all of that, the periods between classes was one of his only chances to talk to her.

He was holding back as much as any boy in love could.

And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t understand…

An ordinary boy would never have to worry about what others thought about who he crushed on.

How much he spoke to her, and how often he spent time with her was his business, and his alone.

Kaburagi was already limited in that respect. If I told him, ‘You should just give up on her,’ it would be really too heartless.

He was an idiot, yes, but he was sincere about her.

Something else that the Spring Break hadn’t helped were the rumours around Enjou.

The new year had begun with rampant rumours about how at the Kaburagi Flower-viewing party, Enjou and Yuiko-san had been spotted intimately linking arms.

The origin were probably the few Zui’ran students who had been invited.

Enjou blew off any questioning with “She’s just a relative,” but it was hard to see the two as anything but an intimate couple.

There wasn’t the sense of them being family at all, was there?

Which was why I was questioned a lot as well.

‘Is it true that Enjou-sama was cuddling a beautiful girl?’

‘Is it true that the girl was the same one who came to the School Festival?’

All I could say in response was a harmless, “I did spot him together with a girl, but I really do not know much more.”

Either way, they weren’t going to get anything if they were expecting gossip from me~

‘Reika-sama, could you ask Enjou-sama how he feels about that girl?’

As if!

At any rate, Zui’ran was buzzing with rumours about Kaburagi and Enjou. Business as usual.

Getting used to Third Year, dealing with the class trip, and on top of that being tossed about by the romances of total strangers.

The Handicrafts Club was truly a bastion for my weary heart.

Here I could knit away, forgetting about the troubles of the outside world.

I wish I could rest here forever~

But the cause of my troubles had messaged me with another summons today.

Tsk.

There went my plans of avoiding the salon and staying here all afternoon.

Even if I ignored this message, another would just arrive five minutes from now…

This was basically as bothersome as it got.

I was beginning to entertain the thoughts of dropping my phone into water again…

*

*

“You’re late,” he said.

I go out of my way to come here, and that’s the first thing you say to me?

Just how self-centred could this guy get?

I was irritated, so I decided to lecture him a bit.

“Kaburagi-sama. It pains my heart to say this, but I too have plans. I cannot always throw everything away for your convenience. I, too, will be keeping a close eye on any further harassment of Takamichi-san, but for your own romantic troubles you need to put in the effort yourself first. Please only contact me when you need advice. Can you agree to that?”

Kaburagi looked at me wide-eyed.

“Got it…”

His one redeeming quality was that he earnestly took your advice.

“As long as you understand. Well then, what did you wish to speak about?”

“…I don’t know how Takamichi feels.”

We were using a small classroom again, so there was no need to worry about being overheard.

“Well, even if you ask me…”

“How do you… How do you think I can get her attention…?” our cool and talented Emperor hesitantly asked.

Honestly, you would expect a line like that to come from a lovesick maiden instead.

“I have suggested this before, but why not simply confess?” I asked.

“Like I said, it’s too early for that!”

I might have imagined it, but I think he was blushing.

“But you want to know how she feels, and you want her to have some awareness of you as a potential boyfriend. Would confessing not be a simply way of accomplishing both?”

“But… But I want the situation to be perfect when I confess to her. I still haven’t prepared everything!”

What, was he thinking of doing it on a classroom after school, or in a park during the evening or something?

“Situation? For example?”

“…Like, for example I’d have a few dozen fireworks blooming in the sky, or maybe I could use skywriting to confess in the sky.”

“Ehh!? Those are for proposing, damnit! You’re going to go that far for a confession!?” I blurted.

The shock was so crazy that I forgot to watch my tone.

But seriously, skywriting!?

Like getting a plane to write ‘I love you’ in the sky, right!?

What was wrong with this guy!?

“It’s important. I want her to remember it,” he said without a shred of self-doubt.

“Whoa, whoa, I really, really suggest that you reconsider. While I shant deny that there are girls who are moved by that sort of thing, I doubt that Takamichi numbers among them. Far from it I could even see her being creeped out by having that much money spent confessing to her.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really!”

This was the same girl who was gobsmacked just from being given an expensive uniform.

It was hard enough for her to empathise with my sense of money.

Even if she hypothetically had feelings for him, seeing him spend a few million yen on a confession would be a sure-fire way to disillusion her.

“Then what if I fill her whole house with roses to symbolise just how much I love her? Romantic, right?”

“On top of having no place to stand, it would be a pain for her to clean up afterwards. Just how many garbage bags do you think that would need?”

“You sound like a poor person.”

“I am being realistic.”

“Then what if I reserve a hall and have an orchestra play exclusively for her?”

“Again, please stop trying to impress her with money. Takamichi-san was raised in a normal family, with a normal sense of money. The things you suggested just now are more liable to scare her off.”

“What’s ‘a normal sense of money’ even supposed to mean? Isn’t it more like you just don’t have a romantic bone in your body?”

“Absolutely false. At any rate, putting on an exaggerated performance like that would probably work with any other girl in Zui’ran, but Takamichi-san is different. She already knows how hard it is to make money. If you begin wasting your parents’ money left and right like that it would make her more guilty than happy. And being honest, your ideas were clichéd and tacky anyhow.”

“Aren’t you being a little harsh…?”

“It pained my heart to say it as well, but honest advice is the best way that for me to help you.”

“…Then what am I supposed to do then?”

“Why not simply tell her that you like her?”

“That’s too ordinary. I’d have to at least give her a ring with her birthstone or something.”

“Heavy…! You aren’t even dating yet! And what are you going to do with the ring if she rejects you!?”

“Saying that is bad luck, damnit! As for the ring… I’ll get rid of it. Maybe toss it into the ocean or something.”

“Uwa-! The type that Takamichi-san hates the most are people who don’t value their belongings, you know. And throwing it into the ocean…? Uupftpft…”

“You…”

“Apologies. Well, at any rate, going back to the matter of the ring for a moment, if something like that ever does happen then how about selling it off and donating the money to a charity? It is a very meaningful way of using your money.”

“I wonder if I picked the wrong person to talk to about this…”

Seriously though, a ring?

That sounds like a disaster in the making.

It becomes more apparent each time I talk to this guy just how little skill in romance he has.

“Girls like accessories, don’t they? Hmm… but come to think of it, I never did see her wear the presents I gave her.”

“Eh!? You gave her accessories as a present!? When!?”

And Wakaba-chan never mentioned it either!

“When did you give her such a thing?”

“At Christmas.”

“Christmas?”

I thought he got her a German-made teddybear for Christmas.

It was a bit on the expensive side for a normal girl, but you could say that it was a very sensible gift for Kaburagi.

It seems that I gave him too much credit.

“I gave her a teddybear.”

“Indeed.”

I know.

“So I put a diamond heart necklace around its neck.”

Haah!?

Was it wearing something like that!?

It was wearing cute Christmas clothing so I hadn’t noticed at all!

“The heart motif was filled with my feelings for her.”

“What are you doing before you have even confessed!?”

“And I thought she might be hesitant to accept a brand-name item, so it was custom made.”

“Who made it…?”

“I did.”

“By ‘I did’, you mean…?”

“I hand made it. I went to a workshop and used lost-wax casting to make it. I put all of my feelings into it.”

Heavy! Even receiving a hand-knit scarf would be ten times less heavy than that!”

And more importantly…

“Do you think that perhaps she has not noticed the meaning behind it…?”

“Eh!?”

Maybe it was buried beneath the clothing, or perhaps she had taken it off to store elsewhere, but I hadn’t seen any necklace when Wakaba-chan showed it to me.

“No, no, she had to have noticed, right?”

“I wonder about that.”

The Takamichi siblings had all been shocked about the price of the bear.

If it had come with a necklace, they definitely would have mentioned it to me.

“…Don’t tell me that Takamichi really didn’t notice?”

“I cannot say. To begin with, why did you give them to her together like that?”

“To make it romantic.”

It’s just confusing, damnit!

If you want to put on a performance like that then you need to pick the right one for your partner!

“Still, a handmade accessory? How on earth did you come by that idea? I must applaud you for coming up with something like that.

“What are you trying to say?”

“Nothing in particular.”

“Well, in one of Yurie’s favourite movies the guy proposed with a ring he made himself. Which was why each year I gave her an accessory that I made myself. I only started in middle school, but for the first year it was a necklace with a lily motif, since her name is Yurie. The next year was lily designs, but for earrings instead. And when I was going to become a high schooler I thought to give her a lily-themed ring… but…”

Aah, but he was rejected before that.

I guess he must have been remembering the struggles of that year, because Kaburagi’s expression turned dark.

“The centrepieces of the necklace and earrings had Yurie’s birthstone. The ring was supposed to be both of our birthstones around a diamond…”

Diamond? That means it was an engagement ring, right!?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the reason she suddenly rejected him was because she panicked after realising a ring was coming next.

Scaryyy.

Anyone would want to run away from that.

I was at a loss…

This guy was even more hopeless than I thought…

Perhaps this idiot was beyond my help…


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「今日のお兄ちゃんはおかしいよ!怖いよ!ッ!?いやだよっ!いやぁ!やめて!やめてぇっ!!」