Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 239

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask.!


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!


I have food envy.

You Americans…

Anyhow,

The Chinese word for four (四, pinyin: sì, jyutping: sei3), sounds quite similar to the word for death (死, pinyin: sǐ, jyutping: sei2), in many varieties of Chinese. Similarly, the Sino-Japanese, Sino-Korean and Sino-Vietnamese words for four, shi (し, Japanese) and sa (사, Korean), sound similar or identical to death in each language (see Korean numerals, Japanese numerals, Vietnamese numerals).


My mid-terms were finally starting tomorrow, so it was time to get some last minute cramming in.

I spent a bit of time doing exercises. When I went to grab a rubber to rub out some of my mistakes the Zui’ran University brochure, sandwiched between some textbooks, happened to catch my eye.

Maybe it was time for a break.

I flopped onto my bed and thought about my future as I stared at it.

There was a dream I’d had since I was a kid. Specifically the dream of a successful get rich quick scheme.

In preparation for a future of destitution, starting in primary school I slowly saved up money little by little so that I could go to university and ultimately land a job (preferably in government) with nice employee benefits.

On the other hand I’d also always dreamed of a life of easy money.

Haaah~ Wouldn’t that be nice?

If I earned enough money to never worry about it again, I could spend the rest of my life cruising along. Haaah.

That said, my dream wasn’t to suddenly win the lottery, or to save some random grandpa who’d bequeath his legacy onto me or anything. I’m not crazy.

If you were wondering what exactly a perfectly grounded person like me was dreaming about then, the answer was inventions.


Just like those housewives who invented hit products like those washing machine nets for catching lint, or those toe-only slippers for toning your calves, I, too, would one day invent something that would bring me an income without having to work!

With that royalty-funded lifestyle in mind, I was thinking of going to university to learn about patents and stuff. The competition would be rough though. And honestly, if I was going to university anyhow, I might as well become a lawyer and file my own patents, right?

In my other plan I’d need to be nationally qualified anyhow, so it was killing two birds with one stone. I’m sure I left the book on qualifications somewhere…

Ah, let’s see… Hm hm… Maybe I’d start with the certification exam first.

I’d like to start off by inventing something useful for everyday life like those housewives do, but ideally I’d eventually invent something that would take the world by storm. And then I’d end up being chosen by American magazines as one of the hundred most influential people in the world.

“Guhuhuhuhuhuhu…”

I gleefully kicked my bed as I pictured my photogenic smile on the cover of a magazine.

Hmm, what should I invent as the first step towards my ambitions?

I guess if I was to follow my predecessors it’d be a product for the kitchen, or maybe for dieting? ‘As long as you have this, a diet is a cinch’ or something like that.

Hmmm…

Like maybe something that could press your pressure points just by wearing it, so you’d lose weight without any effort. But for something like that to work, the material would need to be fairly stiff.

Something hard then. Maybe metal?

Right, what about chainmail?

‘Diet Neo-Chainmail’.

It’d be avant garde despite the conservative design, so as an undergarment you could wear it anywhere.

You could treat it as a fashion accessory too, because you’d show glimpses of it at the neckline. Wouldn’t that be splendid?

I could sell it on those infomercials that they play late at night.

And then I’d make hundreds of millions of Yen in the first hour.

“Uhyoh hyoh hyoh!”

Maybe before long some fashion designer would ask to collaborate! And then we’d go global! Maybe we’d even build a chainmail palace in the most expensive location in the city!

“Uhyoh hyoh hyoh hyoh hyoh hyoh hyoh!”

There was no stopping this laughter…!

First off was establishing a company.

Besides that, what if I took advantage of the oil hype and released a hair serum with fish oil? ‘The lustre of the black carp for your hair’ or something.

Ça Va & Briller‘ or something.

…Yeah, this could definitely sell!

Aah, the ideas were just coming to me one after another! Maybe we could even own our own headquarters building in the CBD!

I could almost taste the money already!

“Hyoh hyoh hyoh hyoh hyoh!”

I heard a knocking at my door.

“Reika, it’s late so go to sleep.”

“All right, Oniisama.”

Oops. Got a little too excited there.

Well, since I did get a break in the end, I suppose it was back to studying.

Gyahh!

You’re joking. Just that little break was over an hour long!?

Where did all that time go!?

I frantically chugged down an energy drink and went back to my desk to make up lost time.

Looks like it was going to be an all-nighter! I had to give it my all if I wanted to make my dream a reality!

*

*

*

Although some things happened along the way, I held out until the day of the tests.

No sooner had we finished the last did Kaburagi invite Wakaba-chan out on a studying date. Where did he get that stamina?

I was barely awake after all the late nights I’d pulled. In fact my immediate plans were to head home and take a 10-hour nap.

Later on I found out through a phone call with Wakaba-chan that he’d apparently taken her to a famous chocolatier store.

“And you see? There was this chocolate parfait that they were selling limited numbers of each day, right? It was so delicious. The chocolate ice cream in it was so creamy and rich that it totally revolutionised my idea of a parfait!” she said.

A parfait in the sense of a dessert served in a tall glass, usually comprising ice cream, fruits, cream, buttercream, chocolate sauce, or nuts etc. In France, where it originated, it refers to a “frozen dessert made from a base of sugar syrup, egg, and cream”. When it came to America it more extra, and then it got super extra in Japan.

From what she was telling me, that date he’d been agonising over had gone quite well. Of all things, apparently he’d even extracted a promise of a next date from her, because then she said,

“And the place we stopped by after that had these ammonites embedded in the walls. When I mentioned that the marble used at Zui’ran also had quite a few fossils in them, Kaburagi told me that he liked paleontology too, and which walls they were specifically. He even knew more about it than me!” she gushed. “We just kept talking and talking. And so we’re going to see some dinosaurs when we have a chance.”

…Seeing dinosaurs as a date was a little unique, but Wakaba-chan seemed to be looking forward to it, and this did fit with what Enjou said about moulding your date to the interests of your partner.

Not bad, Kaburagi.

*

*

*

A few days later, the results were finally out.

“Reika-sama, it seems that the results of our mid-terms are out.”

“Oh, so they are.”

I was a little―no, very confident this time.

I was affecting an air of nonchalance about it like usual, but I suggested we all check the results together.

Just in case, I added, “Unfortunately I had little chance to study this time. I was just so tired from the class trip.”

When we arrived it was a sea of people surrounding the board.

It was time.

Come to me, top 10!

…Eh?

“My! It looks like Kaburagi-sama’s number one again.”

“As expected of Kaburagi-sama.”

The girls were chatting about the results but I didn’t have the composure for that.

It wasn’t there… My… Name… Wasn’t… There…!

To be sure, I looked up and down the ranking board time and time again.

It wasn’t there…

This couldn’t be.

After all that time he spent worrying about romance Kaburagi still made #1, while I studied butt off every day and didn’t even make the ranking board!?

Impossible.

Impossibleee!

Nearby, I could hear Wakaba-chan and Fellow Stalking Horse praising each other for their efforts.

“Damn. Looks like I lost to you again, Takamichi,” said Fellow Stalking Horse.

“I studied pretty darn hard, after all~ But you still made 3rd place,” Wakaba-chan pointed out.

“I guess. I’ll beat you next time for sure. Anyway, congratulations on 2nd place.”

“Ehehe~ Thanks. Congrats to you too.”

“Thanks.”

So Wakaba-chan tried pretty hard then? Incidentally I studied pretty hard too, though…

It was a little awkward saying this, but Wakaba-chan was busy with her work at the Student Council, and spent her free time with me, while Kaburagi was daydreaming about romance and didn’t study at all, right!?

So what the heck was this huge difference in results? What was this huge difference between us!?

I gave up almost all my sleep time in the lead-up to these tests.

I don’t even remember how many energy drinks I went through.

I was suffering from breakouts. I was even getting stomach aches.

That was when Enjou and Kaburagi appeared, parting the sea of people like Moses.

Kaburagi looked thoroughly uninterested as the people around him congratulated him endlessly. He really couldn’t seem to care less.

Then he raised an eyebrow and turned to Enjou.

“Bad day, Shuusuke?”

Enjou gave a helpless smile.

Right, Kaburagi was 1st place, Wakaba-chan was 2nd place, Fellow Stalking Horse was 3rd, and Enjou was 4th.

4th huh…

I wasn’t sure how to feel about that being a ‘bad day’ for him, but thinking about it Enjou had always been in the top 3.

I guess it was kind of surprising to see him fall out of there.

That said, 4th place was more than respectable.

4th place.

…I suppose the number 4 was a little unlucky.

Maybe my curse worked after all?

Kaburagi seemed to sense my gaze because he turned to me and our eyes met.

Then he broke his gaze to look up and down the ranking board before turning back to me.

“…”

“…”

Please stop.

Stop looking at me like that.

Before he could make this worse by opening his mouth, I left for my classroom with the girls.

“Hey, don’t you think Kaburagi-sama was really staring at Reika-sama just now?” chirped Kikuno-chan.

“You noticed too, Kikuno-san?” replied Serika-chan.

The girls started happily gossiping about it but they couldn’t be more off the mark.

That stare was saying ‘You kept going on about cram school and tutoring like a massive nerd, but you don’t even have the grades to be one’!

Aaaaaah!

I shouldn’t have kept using studying as my excuse to refuse him!

I was so embarrassed that I could die…!

When we got our report cards after that, I sneaaaakily took a look.

…Oh gosh! How foreboding! I was rank 44!

I’d dropped in rankings so much that I had a mini panic attack. Maybe I should start going to cram school more days of the week…

*

*

I didn’t snap out of my shock for the rest of the day.

After school I was just wordlessly sipping tea in the Salon.

“You seem listless. Does something trouble you?” Fuyuko-sama asked me softly. “Please let me help. The truth is, at Lady Lyuleiah’s encouragement, I’ve been undergoing training to become a miko.”

“Training to become a miko…?”

And who was Lady Lyu-, ah. It was that self-proclaimed mystic healer that she introduced me to last time, wasn’t it?

And becoming a shrine maiden? Fuyuko-sama was doing something strange again…

“Indeed. We miko are tasked by the heavens to help those in need of it. Reika-sama, please take my hand. First of all I’m going to inject my qi into you and heal and purify your heart.”

“I see…”

“See? Do you feel that warmth? It is the qi circulating inside you.”

Err, I don’t feel anything.

Suddenly, Fuyuko-sama began throat-singing like a Mongolian.

“Uuiiiiiiiiii~”

“Erm, F-Fuyuko-sama?”

“The angels are descending. Uuiiiiiiii~”

“Stop, please stop.”

I’m begging you, there are people here.

“What is that, someone’s mobile?”

“I think it’s a cicada…?”

A few people had already noticed the strange sound and were looking around the room.

“I may just be an apprentice miko, but I shall do my best to guide you. If I manage to guide five people, I will be acknowledged as a full miko. If I guide ten people, I become an intermediate miko, and if I manage to guide twenty then I’ll be recognised as a high-ranking miko…”

“…Fuyuko-sama, that…”

That’s a pyramid scheme, Fuyuko-sama!

Using cooking pots and detergent as an example, I thoroughly lectured Fuyuko-sama on the dangers of pyramid schemes.

Far from relieving me of my worries, I felt like had more things to worry about now…


This is my first time embedding an audio file as a reference.

I didn’t even know it was possible. How fun!


<Previous Chapter | Imouto | Next Chapter>

 

Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 238

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask.!


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!


Chocolat (French pronunciation: ​[ʃɔkɔla]) is a 2000 romantic-drama film based on the 1999 novel Chocolat by the English author, Joanne Harris. It was directed by Lasse Hallström. Adapted by screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs, Chocolat tells the story of Vianne Rocher, played by Juliette Binoche, who arrives in the fictional French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes at the beginning of Lent with her six-year-old daughter, Anouk. She opens a small chocolaterie. Soon, she and her chocolate influence the lives of the townspeople of this repressed French community in different and interesting ways.


It was a Monday.

The mid-terms were right around the corner, so every second was precious for our year.

And yet here I was, reading another blunt summons from Kaburagi.

‘Small meeting room after school.’

Why the heck was I being treated like some doormat? Do you truly believe that this lady is such an easy woman!?

When I stepped into the room, Kaburagi was already there, poring through some magazines with a frown.

This guy was treating this place like his bedroom now.

He jerked his head towards a seat.

“Well? Sit down,” he said self-importantly.

I couldn’t stand it and voiced a complaint.

“…Kaburagi-sama, I am busy as well. How many times must I say this before you understand?”

“I’m going somewhere with Takamichi after the tests are over, hence the planning I’m doing.”

So you’re ignoring me now?

“…But I am sure you said you would think about it after the tests.”

“That’s too long. No matter what you’re doing, it’s always crucial to plan and prepare well beforehand.”

Since Wakaba-chan agreed to a date when he went over during that weekend, I suppose he just couldn’t hold it in anymore.

…Study for your exams, damnit.

The results for this year would affect whether you could continue on to Pivoine’s university, you know? Geez…

And on that topic, I was in the middle of coming up with an English vocabulary notebook with the colourful and lovely stationery I bought in Rome.

The comments I was adding to the answer sheets were colour-coded so it was taking a while. Still, it was quite stylish to behold, if I did say so myself.

Aahh, I need to quickly go home and continue it. This isn’t the time to be messing about here.

“Would it not be fine to talk to some other human being about your love troubles? For example, your friend…?”

With a gasp, I slapped a hand over my mouth.

“Could it be that you actually have no frien-”

“I’ll destroy you.”

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

It was like he had little fires in his eyes! He’s going to destroy meeee!

I went a little overboard. I’m sorry. So sorry.

Gosh, people really do get angry when you confront them with the truth.

“Sit.”

“…Okay.”

I glanced at the magazines he’d been reading.

Not one of them was a magazine I’d ever expect him to read; they were basically all gossip magazines for regular people, focused on trendy places or the latest fads.

In a sense, the fact that he was trying to match Wakaba-chan and read these to find out was proof of a little growth on his part.

That said, I wasn’t sure about the fact that the content was stuff like ‘Special! Dirt Cheap Ramen Eats for Foodies’… Don’t just walk into the store and buy every magazine you can see, Kaburagi.

Even back issues are fine, as long as they recommend good amusement parks or date spots, right? What are you going to do with these?

Oh ho? Is that okonomiyaki on that cover?

Osaka-style okonomiyaki is the predominant version of the dish, found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally thin pork belly, often mistaken for bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, konjac, mochi or cheese. Don’t be tricked by evil Hiroshima-styled layered noodlenomiyaki. It’s 1AM and I’m hungry.

Let me have a look at that.

For the next few seconds I went silent and read.

“…Have you ever eaten ramen before, Kisshouin?”

“More foolish questions, I see.”

Who did he think he was talking to?

Gosh, I could go for some pork okonomiyaki right now. Ah, but seafood okonomiyaki was great toooo. Hmmm, maybe prawns, squid, and scallops…?

“I’ve never eaten at a ramen place like this, but it seems pretty popular.”

“It does!”

Crunchy potato sounded yummy too…

“I can’t comprehend the feeling of wanting to eat ramen so badly that you’d line up. The average place has you waiting for an hour.”

“It does~”

But of course you just had to have a monjayaki before leaving.

A cheese and mentaiko monjayaki. A monjayaki is similar to an okonomiyaki, except it uses a pan-fried batter and tends to feature less “topping” ingredients. Since the batter is runnier it tends to cook thinner than okonomiyaki. I’m editing this at 2AM a few days later and I’m not any less hungry.

Aahhh, I could really go for a cheese monjayaki.

“Honestly it makes me wonder if they’re really that good.”

“It does?”

“…”

“…”

“Oi, have you been listening to a word I’ve said!?”

“Of course. I am all ears.”

It does, it does.

Kaburagi clicked his tongue.

“…Well? What is it you’ve been reading about that’s had you ignoring me this whole time?” Kaburagi moved to my side and had a look over my shoulder.

What the heck~ Don’t look~

“The hell? Okonomiyaki? Pass that here and give me a look.”

“Ah-! Hey!

I was reading that first!

Apparently it was okonomiyaki that interested him now, because he took my magazine and started reading it himself!

You self-centred…!

“Have you ever tried okonomiyaki before, Kaburagi-sama?”

“I have, actually. I was overseas, and there was a branch of one of our okonomiyaki shops.”

Why would you go overseas to…?

Well, I suppose being fair it wasn’t as though the son of the distinguished Kaburagi family would have a chance to eat commoner food like okonomiyaki or ramen.

It wasn’t like I’d ever eaten okonomiyaki with my family either.

I’d been forced to secure my own supply through visiting street vendors.

At any rate, that was how I ended up giving Kaburagi a food lecture. I’d covered the war between the Light Broth Ramen gang and the Thick Broth Ramen clan and was in the middle of explaining the intricacies of okonomiyaki toppings when the door to the meeting room opened.

It was Enjou behind it.

“So this is where you were. What are the two of you doing together?” he asked.

“I’m coming up with a date plan for Takamichi,” Kaburagi explained.

Oh, come to think of it that was what we came here for.

My mind was entranced by okonomiyaki and I forgot all about it.

Enjou hummed. “I see.”

He scanned the magazines spread across the table, and read the titles one by one.

“‘Ramen So Good You’ll Pay to Line Up!’

“‘Cheap Eats for Foodies: A Comprehensive Study!’

“‘Cities You’d Most Want to Live In!’…”

Kaburagi and I were silent.

“‘Date plan’?” Enjou asked.

Enough already, Enjou.

Even the guy who brought that magazine is starting to get how ridiculous he was. Just look at his expression! Doesn’t that look like a man who just had his mistakes pointed out?

“U-Umm, oh look! A number of couples have submitted where they went for their dates.”

Kind person that I was, I changed the topic after finding something suitable on one of the magazines.

“Show me.”

Kaburagi began reading with interest.

“What if you did as the couples in the magazine did? Meet up with her first, see a film, and then go to a café or out for lunch?”

“A film, huh?”

“That is what anyone thinks of for a date. See? Look at the ‘lovebird students’ column: ‘Going to the movies is great because you can go to a café afterwards and have fun talking about it!’.”

“I see. That might be good.”

Enthused with the idea, Kaburagi began checking which films were showing. Conveniently there were even recommendations for dates.

“Do you often watch films, Kaburagi-sama?” I asked.

“Yeah, I like them.”

Wasn’t this perfect then?

“Any genre in particular?”

“Hmm, I enjoy documentaries that follows an animal in its natural habitat. The magnificence of animals overcoming Mother Nature’s brutal trails is overwhelming. I often watch them at home for a change of pace.”

I see~

So Kaburagi was into nature documentaries. I guess it did suit him.

“But it does not look like any such documentaries are showing in cinemas at the moment.”

“No. Right now the most popular showing is this romance film.”

Romance, huh?

I began reading the summary of the movie he mentioned.

“Do you even watch romantic films, Krabugi-sama?”

Before Kaburagi could answer, Enjou cut in. “Contrary to appearances, Masaya likes love stories too.”

“My, is that so?” I asked.

“It’s true. He’s a romantic. Also rather than love comedies, he’s the type that prefers the traditional romances; the ones where the couple overcome setbacks together and live happily ever after.”

“Shaddap.”

Maybe he was embarrassed about having that fact exposed, but Kaburagi didn’t look very happy right now.

“That makes this film perfect then, would you not agree? The forbidden love between a stranger in an insular village, and a young girl who lives there. I wonder if it is like Chocolat.”

“I liked Chocolat too. That was less of a romance and more of a drama film though.”

I see. So the boy who liked calling chocolate ‘chocolat’ also liked Chocolat the film. Since I was a person who called chocolat ‘chocolate’ I liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But geez. So boys liked romances too, huh~?

“Could it be that you actually also watch romances, Enjou-sama?” I asked the boy who had been watching me and Kaburagi with a faint smile.

“Me? Gee, I’ve hardly seen any. To be honest I’m not sure what’s so interesting about them,” Enjou admitted. “Romances aren’t something you watch; it’s something you experience, right?”

The two of us turned to stone at his words.

“H-Hohoho. I see. Then what kind of films do you like to watch, Enjou-sama?”

“I like the classics. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The Tin Drum. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her…”

A horror film, a war film, and a crime drama.

…You could see glimpses of the type of person he was through his tastes.

I took a few steps away from him in my mind.

At any rate, Kaburagi and I looked through the magazine and hammered out the details for his date plan. I guess Enjou must have been bored or something because he grabbed the nearest magazine and indifferently skimmed through it too.

“Well, doing things this way isn’t exactly bad but…” I think was what he muttered.

“What was that, Shuusuke?”

“Hm? Ah, well, following a date course like this is fine and all, but I was just wondering if you’d really make a girl happy by doing so.”

Kaburagi and I glanced at each other.

“What do you mean?”

“Since you’re inviting a girl out, shouldn’t you be more focused on what she would find fun? In that case rather than following some stranger’s date plan to the letter, wouldn’t she have more fun if you tailored one to her own interests?”

He continued. “Even if you read these magazines front to cover, in the end you won’t find Takamichi-san’s opinion in there.”

…I see. Well, that’s what the experienced Chief of the Fulfilling Romance village says. What are you going to do, Kaburagi?

Kaburagi put down the magazine.

“Don’t just rely on manuals, Kisshouin.”

Wow, what a barefaced betrayal…!

What a guy.

He threw all of the the shame of relying on instructions onto me, and then had the gall to look like he was with Enjou’s camp all along! He was the one who brought these magazines!

He was the one who wanted a manual in the first place!

Wasn’t this making it out like I some unpopular kid who was the only one in the room without dating experience now!?

I’ve been on plenty of dates! Younger males, older males, you name ittt!

I was so angry that I decided to take some magazines as compensation.

I made a show of putting them in my bag. From his expression, Kaburagi seemed to have realised his miscalculation, but who cared about him?

If he was going to say all that, then perhaps this poor village chief――who was so devoid of imagination that she couldn’t come up with her own date plans――would like to know what the villagers of Fulfilling Romance would do.

“For reference I sure would be interested in hearing about the dates you have come up with yourself, Enjou-sama.”

If your plans are boring just watch how I sneer at you!

Enjou smiled pleasantly back.

“I wonder if anything I say would be useful as a reference. I’ve rarely been on a date where I did the inviting.”

God in Heaven! Please punish the Fulfilling Romance village with an ice age! Please turn their land of eternal spring into a frozen waste!

“Goodness, hohoho. Are you sure it is not because anybody you invited refused you the time of day?”

“Sorry, Kisshouin-san.”

Enjou’s smile grew wider.

“Since the day I was born, not once have I been rejected.”

Diediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediediedie…

Off to Enjou’s side, His Majesty the Emperor was brutally punching some invisible foe.

*

*

*

That night, I received another bothersome message.

‘After the tests, take me for ramen and okonomiyaki.’

So I deleted it.


Accidentally turning on the stream too early.


<Previous Chapter | Imouto | Next Chapter>

 

Kenkyo Kenjitsu: The Reika-sama Chronicles 237

Everybody, please check the FAQ first before asking me questions.
If it’s not on there, please feel free and ask.!


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!


1. Host and hostess clubs are a type of night-life entertainment business model. The hosts and hostesses make conversation with patrons and make them feel appreciated, flattered, and/or loved.

Host Club - YouTube

Part of how they make money is by encouraging their patrons to buy drinks, the more expensive the better. There’s a bit of a joke about the most successful hosts and hostesses selling gallons of Dom Pérignon.

2. Japanese Buddhism is strongly influenced by Mahayana branches of Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhism is one of two main existing branches of Buddhism (the other being the older Theravada), known for the belief in staying in the cycle of reincarnation to save all sentient beings.

3. In Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism, they practice chanting Namo’mitābhāya Buddhaya, or Namu Amida Butsu in Japanese. The first word, Namu, is commonly used the way Amen might be.

4. A mountain-dwelling version of Buddhism called Shugendou emerged in Japan as a syncretism between Vajrayana, Shinto and Taoism in the 7th century, which stressed ascetic practices. One of its ascetic practice was Sokushinbutsu, the practice of Buddhist monks observing asceticism to the point of death and entering mummification while alive. This practice was perfected over a period of time, particularly in the Three Mountains of Dewa region of Japan, that is the Haguro, Gassan and Yudono mountains.

5. The legend of the “Straw Millionaire” (わらしべ長者, Warashibe Chōja), also known as “Daietsu” or the “Daikokumai”, is a Japanese Buddhist folk tale about a poor man who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw.


I received a message from Oniisama while I was on the way back from Wakaba-chan’s. Apparently Imari-sama would be coming over.

This was my chance to give him his souvenir!

I was in my room choosing what to give him when I received news of their arrival, so I quickly left to greet them.

In the spotlight of the entrance area, Imari-sama was resplendent, like the newly arrived protagonist of a stage play. He was actually so dazzling that I almost shielded my eyes for a moment.

“Good evening, Reika-chan.”

“Gokigen’yoh, Imari-sama!”

Since the star of the show had waved his hand at the audience, it was my responsibility to give respond with a bright smile.

“And Oniisama, welcome home.”

“Thanks, Reika.”

Having greeted them, I moved onto the topic of the souvenirs.

“Mmn, I heard from Takateru. He actually said that he’d bring me them, but how could I not receive them in person when you put in the effort to choose them for me?” He narrowed his eyes a little cheekily and said, “And so here I am, see?”

To the side, Oniisama grumbled. “Seeing a grown man acting cute is sickening.”

“But could it be that you went out of your way just for this?” I asked.

“What do you mean ‘out of my way’? I wanted to see you too, Reika-chan.”

“Oh my!”

The Chief of the Casanova Village was in top form tonight.

Even though I knew it was just Imari-sama being Imari-sama, my heart couldn’t help but skip a beat.

“Well thank you. Let me bring them here now!”

“There’s no need to rush. I’ll just wait in Takateru’s room.”

“Okay!”

On the way out I swear I heard Imari-sama say “That hurts!”.

*

*

I noticed the wine bottle and plate of cheese on the table as I arrived at Oniisama’s room with the souvenir.

“I hear this cheese is another one of your souvenirs, Reika-chan,” said Imari-sama. “Takateru brought some out first. Was that okay?”

“Of course. I cannot guarantee that you will like it, but please do help yourself,” I replied.

Wine glass in hand and sprawled back against the sofa, Imari-sama beckoned for me to sit by his side. No sooner had I done so did a bottle cork come flying at him.

“Mmmn, this is good stuff,” he praised.

That was the Chief of Casanova Village, for you; all wine and cheese.

The namesake himself was known for Roquefort cheese and Chambertin wine, after all. Apparently he boasted that they were ‘an excellent thing to restore an old love, and to ripen a young one,’ but unfortunately the cheese we were eating was not Roquefort.

I mean, blue cheese stinks, right? What if by some chance the packaging broke inside my suitcase?

That’s why I made the choice not to buy any in the end. I like cheese, but I’ll pass on the smell of blue cheese, thanks.

And sure, I can understand the wine, but you’re telling me that after eating something as aggressively smelly as that cheese you’re going to romance it up? I don’t see it at all.

Which brings me to another mystery, which is that at some point in time one pioneering Frenchman had to have seen blue mould on cheese, and become the first to try eating it.

Literally, some person out there came across an intensely smelly piece of mouldy cheese, and then took it as a challenge.

I guess being a gourmet means sometimes putting your life on the line, huh?

While continuing to ponder the human condition I handed Imari-sama his souvenirs.

“It is but a trifling thing, but if it pleases you…”

“I wonder what it is. Ah, a golf marker? And not a bad design, either!” he praised. “And look at this one. Thanks, Reika-chan. I’ll definitely use them the next time I play.”

Thank goodness. It looked like he was happy with them.

I had actually gotten caught up in the mood and bought markers decorated with Trevi Fountains and Colosseums. When I got back to Japan though, I figured that someone with taste as good as Imari-sama wouldn’t want something so tacky. Looks like it was the right choice.

It was a waste to just throw them out though, so a while back I gave them to Otousama. He was so happy that he gave me more money for my allowance.

I’m Straw Millionaire Reika.

“Hey Takateru, since we may as well, how about coming out for a round of golf with me next time we’re free?”

“I’m busy. Go on your own.”

“Wow, what a cold guy. But yeah, I love these. You’ve got great taste, Reika-chan.”

“Oh no…”

I laughed a bit to pretend I was flattered, but the truth was that I was the type of person to buy Colosseum golf markers.

The ones Imari-sama received weren’t picked out by me at all.

What happened was that while I was agonising over what to pick for him, Enjou came over and said, “What about these ones?”

Apparently Enjou’s got great taste.

When I handed over the other souvenirs, Imari-sama made a fuss and exaggeratedly praised each and every one. Since he asked about my trip though, we ended up in a normal conversation, gesturing back and forth, and the happier I got as I recounted the trip, the more fun he seemed to have as well.

Oniisama looked disgusted. “Go home already.”

Imari-sama didn’t seem the least bit discouraged though.

“Say, back when you two were my age, your class trip was to the same places as mine, no? Which places stood out to you?”

“Which places?”

Imari-sama hummed in thought. “I don’t think the places made as much of an impact as how we spent our time there.”

“Really?”

“I think what matters the most on a trip are the connections you make,” he said with a smile.

In contrast, Oniisama’s expression looked a little stormy.

“Oh, I know,” continued Imari-sama. “So I was in Takateru’s room for the whole trip, see? One night I just sneaked out a bit, but when I sneaked back in the morning I found him already awake and giving me the coldest stare.”

“Back in the morning…? Where on earth did you go?”

“Ah-, you wanna hear it?”

“Don’t listen, Reika. Your ears will rot.”

Imari-sama, what kind of unhealthy things have you been engaging in…?

“That reminds me, one time Takateru kicked me out of the room with nothing but the clothes on my back in the middle of the night~”

“That’s because you kept whispering ‘je t’aime’ and ‘mon amour’ into your phone in the middle of the night.”

Imari-sama, you were getting involved with the local women…?

“On the last night of the trip, Takateru strangled me and said ‘I’ll seriously kill you’. The look in his eyes that time was completely serious~”

“…Just how much of your crap do you think I’d cleaned up by that point? I don’t even want to remember it.”

From the way he spat the words, you could really see how much Oniisama had gone through…

“But hey, class trips are all about spreading your wings a little, right?” Imari-sama turned to me. “Reika-chan, lots of your classmates did the same thing, right?”

“I cannot say. At the very least there was nobody like that in my class. Everyone observed curfew.”

“Eh? Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“Everybody?”

“Why of course,” I confirmed. “Everyone was accounted for, five minutes before the curfew.”

“That’s something else.”

That’s normal.

The class rep of Imari-sama’s day must have had it rough.

Wait, hang on.

Don’t tell me that the class rep back in the day was Oniisama…?

Uwahh…

“Come on, don’t be so mad, Takateru,” cajoled Imari-sama. “To begin with it’s not like you practice everything you preach either.”

“Eh-, is that so, Oniisama!?”

“Go home.”

Gosh, Oniisama, what did he mean?

I have to ask Oniisama later.

Snapping out of it, I just realised that Imari-sama had one arm around me like it was the most natural thing in the world.

The way he unconsciously did that is as good a sign as any into the sort of life he’s been living, isn’t it? But still, now that I’d noticed the arm――even though he himself didn’t mean anything by it――I couldn’t help but be too conscious to relax into the couch anymore.

Oh, and now my heart was thumping.

Oblivious to my situation, Imari-sama gracefully sipped from his wine glass and visibly savoured the taste. As I glanced from the side, I couldn’t help but sigh in appreciation at the sight.

Imari-sama was really so cool. This was the charm of an adult~

Noticing my enchanted gaze, Imari-sama gave me an alluring smile, and because I was too young for wine, Oniisama poured me some herb tea.

Eh? What was this, some host club? Club Kisshouin!?

“Oh? Reika-chan, that’s a cute pinky ring you have.”

As expected of Imari-sama. Never missing the details of the accessories a girl had on.

“Ah, this ring? It’s part of a matching set that I bought with some friends in Paris.”

It was proof of our friendship, so I’d been wearing it all this time.

What use were boys? I had girls with whom I had formed strong bonds of friendship!

“Oh? Let’s have a look.”

Imari-sama deftly took my hand and brought it close to his face. For whatever reason, Oniisama’s room was a little dim and atmospheric today, so Imari-sama wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise.

“This room is a little dark. Shall I turn on some lights?” I offered. “Why are only the shaded lights on?”

“Hm? Isn’t it fine? In soft lighting a woman’s beauty stands out more, don’t you know?

“Ehh!?”

Squeee! Bring me the most expensive wine in this club!

“Oi, stop getting handsy with other people’s sisters! Come over here, Reika.”

This time it was a metal toothpick for the cheese that came flying at Imari-sama. Oniisama, you were definitely aiming for his eye just now, weren’t you?

Imari-sama kept his eyes on my hand, once again unfazed.

“Well, well. A lovely ring worn by a lovely flower, Reika-chan. It’s perfect on you. Very cute.”

Uhhyooh!

Imari-sama’s mature charm was too much. My heart wouldn’t stop thumping. Bring me all the wine in this club!

“T-Thank you very much,” I stammered.

“Actually this is perfect. Here, for you.” Imari-sama placed a small ribbon-wrapped box onto my hand.

I opened it to find a cute, angelic bottle of nail oil.

“It just suited you so well that I accidentally bought it. May I? I’ll put some on for you.”

He took my hand and hummed to himself as he carefully coated each one of my nails with the rose-scented oil. My heartthrob meter was about to explode.

The Chief of the Forever Alone village, outrageously being treated like a princess by the opposite sex. It was so much more than I could handle that it felt like my ectoplasm was going to float out of my mouth…

“Hey Reika-chan, did you know? There’s a little charm, you see. If a man gives a woman a silver ring on her nineteenth birthday, her happiness is guaranteed. When it’s your turn, I’ll give you a wonderful ring like none other.”

“Oh goodness…!”

Nuuoooohhhh! It happened! My heartthrob meter was broken! My bankbook, my signature, I’ll give you whatever you want! All of the money I was given by the tanuki belongs to you!

At this rate, was all the money I saved since I was a child going to be taken away by this #1 Host!?

Don’t tell me that Imari-sama would be responsible for my downfall!?

That was when the #2 host languidly left his seat, came to stand behind the sofa Imari-sama and I were seated on, and then tore our hands apart.

“Reika, turn on all the lights and move to that couch instead.”

Gasp!

Oniisama’s frosty voice lifted the spell cast on his little sister.

After turning on every light I could find I sat back on the sofa Oniisama had been using.

“Hey, Imari. How about we visit Mt. Yudono next weekend? I’ll give you a ring as a parting gift.”

“Eh-, are you going to force me to mummify!?”

“Here’s your last drink. Enjoy it.”

I watched as Oniisama gripped Imari-sama by the head and forced him to drink from the bottle. It looked like Imari-sama would be reaching enlightenment this weekend──

You must save all sentient beings, Imari-sama. Namu~

*

*

When I returned to my room I tried for some last-minute cramming.

After the class trip quite a few couples moved to the Fulfilling Romance Village. But while they were getting their heads filled with romance or whatever, I was going to reach 10th place!

First was reviewing my weak point, maths.

After solving a few questions though, I got stuck. Ummmmm~ How did you do this one again?

I opened up my textbook with one hand, only to notice the rose scent from earlier.

Come to think of it, I had to water the anti-pigeon roses I planted on my balcony.

Spray, spray.

It’d be nice to grow some other plants too.

Wakaba-chan’s house had a herb garden, didn’t it? Maybe I could try growing some and making some home-made herb tea~

I wondered what herbs would grow next season, so I went and researched it before bed.


“My bankbook, my signature, I’ll give you whatever you want! All of the money I was given by the tanuki belongs to you!”

She was actually offering her bankbook and her jitsuin.

実印とは?】実印を作成するときに押さえるべき3つのポイント

“In Japan, a personal seal (inkan/hanko) is often used instead of a signature as official verification in certain situations. Especially for important documents, many people use an officially registered seal called a “jitsuin.” You may register your personal seal at the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside.”


Lulu is cute.


<Previous Chapter | Imouto | Next Chapter>

 

Schizophrenia – Chapter 44

“That is you, Miss Lilia…right?”

—Sakura! What should I do?! He’s trying to confirm my identity, so I should run away, right?!

—Alright. When you start panicking, the first thing you need to do is calm down, right? So, umm, Lilia. If you make a run for it, he’s only going to think that he’s right.

—So what should I do then?!

Lilia was completely overtaken by panic. If it came out that a Duke’s Daughter was shopping around here, she could only imagine how much trouble it would cause her family. She wasn’t concerned about what total strangers would think of her shopping exploits, but she was a little worried about how her family might react.

—Lilia, calm down. Okay, now take a deep breath.

Just as Sakura said, Lilia took a deep breath. Ray was looking on with some confusion, but Lilia put that out of her mind.

—Calm down, Lilia. Ray still thinks that you’re just “Miss Lilia”, not the Duke’s Daughter, Lilianne Aldis. So, don’t start panicking just yet.

Oh right, Lilia thought to herself when Sakura reminded her of that fact. She had her doubts as to whether that really was the case, but right now, it seemed all Ray really knew was that Lilia was a part of the upper nobility. Lilia felt palpable relief when she realised the situation was still salvageable, and having calmed down somewhat, asked Sakura what she should do next.

—Instead of awkwardly trying to trick him, how about trying to win him over? Ray is sharp, so I think he knew it was you just by seeing how you were dressed.

—Alright… Got it.

Lilia turned to face Ray, and cleared her throat to try to calm herself down. As if in response, Ray straightened his back. Lilia wondered why he was reacting like that, but decided not to dwell on it and responded to his question.

“You have sharp eyes, Ray.”

“Ah-ha! Just as I thought, it was you, Miss Lilia! I didn’t expect to see you around here, so you caught me off-guard!”

A giant smile began to take shape on Ray’s face. It seemed he was happy to see Lilia, and those genuine feelings were clearly showing on his face. To think that up until a moment ago, she was considering whether she should deceive Ray… Lilia felt a small sense of guilt for thinking such thoughts.

“Still, I really was surprised to see you here. You’re an upper noble, right, Miss Lilia? So I assumed I wouldn’t see you visiting these sorts of places.”

Likely overhearing the words ‘upper noble’, the people in her immediate vicinity bristled in surprise and turned toward Ray. And of course, they also looked to the person he was talking to, Lilia. As her expression stiffened, Sakura’s next instruction arrived.

Get both of yourselves out of here right now, she said.

Lilia nodded immediately, walked over to where Ray was, and took his hand. She ignored his surprised expression, and walked out at a brisk pace.

And like that, they had left the store, and walked into a dark, narrow alley. And then, Lilia sighed.

“U-umm…”

Ray’s voice brought her back to her senses. Come to think of it, she had just grabbed his hand without saying a word and dragged him over here… When she turned around to apologise, Ray was the one hanging his head apologetically.

“I’m sorry…you were trying to hide your status, weren’t you…”

His words surprised her. He seemed to have completely grasped the reason for Lilia’s actions. It seemed he really was quite perceptive. At the very least, if Ray had done to Lilia what she had just done to him, she probably wouldn’t be able to remain calm or hold back her displeasure.

—Actually, I think it’s rude to Ray to compare yourself to him.

—Though I think what you just said was blatantly rude to me.

—You’re imagining things.

Sakura laughed cheerfully, while Lilia could only sigh. She brought her attention back to Ray. He stared nervously back at Lilia.

“You’d do well to be more careful from now on.”

Lilia’s words came out somewhat harsher than she intended, but she caught Ray muttering that was close in relief, and he smiled again.

“What did you come here to do, Mistress Lilia?”

Ray’s question left Lilia unable to respond. Ray was tilting his head in curiosity, and while he didn’t seem to have any ill intentions in asking her that, Lilia was still hesitant as to whether she should give him an honest answer.

—It should be okay to answer truthfully. This boy is someone you should be able to trust, probably.

Heeding Sakura’s advice, Lilia began to answer Ray’s question.

“A little while ago, I received some sweets from an acquaintance. They were called ‘Doriyaki’…have you heard of them?”

“I have! They’re delicious, aren’t they? I like them too.”

For some reason, Ray’s smile was practically gleaming. So gleaming, in fact, Lilia couldn’t look him in the eyes, and ended up turning away.

—Such a pure and honest smile, with not a shred of malice… it’s simply too much for our tainted hearts to bear to look at, isn’t it?

–I don’t want to call my heart ’tainted’…

Although having said that, Lilia couldn’t deny it, either.

“Ah, now it makes sense! You came here to buy some more yourself. Because you wanted to eat more of them. I wouldn’t have thought you would have such a big appetite, Mistress…”

Something suddenly welled up inside of Lilia, and she grabbed hold of Ray’s head tightly with her right hand. Ray was completely frozen. With a frightening smile on her face, Lilia spoke to Ray.

“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. What was it you were trying to say?”

“Um, I mean… i-it’s something you’d want to taste again, right! I understand that feeling well!”

Ahaha, Ray laughed with a stiff expression. Ohoho, Lilia laughed with a hollow smile.

—You’re scary, you know that?

—Quiet, you. Who’s fault do you think this is? If I’m not mistaken, you’re the one with the ‘big appetite’, are you not?

—Uguu… I can’t deny that…

Lilia was satisfied with Sakura’s silence, and then she released Ray’s head from her grip. Now free to move, Ray took two, then three steps back, and stared fixedly at Lilia cautiously. He even looked like he was tearing up a little.
Maybe I went a bit too far…

“I’m sorry about that. But Ray, you would do well to remember that there are things you should and should not say to a woman.”

—That might be true, but I think you’re the only one who would get this angry, Lilia…

—You don’t seem to be reflecting on your actions at all…

—Hii! I’m sorry!

Lilia furrowed her brows without thinking, and Ray quickly lowered his head, likely thinking it was directed at him. And while Lilia was still surprised, he said this.

“I’m sorry! It’s just as you said, those weren’t words I should have said to a woman. I’ll be more careful next time!”

“Y-Yes… As long as you understand. Mm…”

—I feel sorry for Ray. This is going to become a traumatic memory for him, you know.

—………

—I’m sorry.


Author’s Note:

W-wow, the page views have really shot up.

And the number of bookmarks, too.

What is this why is this how did all of this happen!

This makes me really happy, but to be honest, I’m also scared. *trembling in fear*

I’ll work harder so I don’t betray all of your expectations.


Sakura

Lilia


<Previous Chapter | JAONNN! | Next Chapter>

Schizophrenia – Chapter 43

So, it’s been a while… It turns out there were a few chapters that hadn’t been released yet, so I thought I’d release them over the next few days. But this series is still on hiatus, so after these chapters have been released, there won’t be any more chapters – at least for a while.


Lilia left Tina’s room and started heading back to her own room. She entered her bedroom and collapsed at her desk.

After that, Tina and Sera continued to sing Lilia’s praises. She really didn’t know if she’d actually done anything to warrant that level of praise. At first, she was embarrassed, but by the end, she could only be shocked.

In the end, Lilia didn’t end up saying much, and she excused herself from Tina’s room along with Sera. She felt like they wasted a lot of time there, but it was good that Sera had managed to make a good impression on Tina. She remained unconvinced whether that was due to the mysterious praise that they had piled on Lilia.

—On the way there, it wasn’t clear whether she had made any progress, but…it seems it’s fine like this, Sakura.

—Yup. It’s perfect. Good job this week, Lilia.

—Good work this week too, Sakura. Ahh, I’m really tired. Especially toward the end, a wave of tiredness swept over me all at once…

—Ahaha. Well, it’s certainly better than being hated. I think it’s fine if it continues like this.

She said that so easily, but Lilia wondered whether Sakura really knew the depths of her worries. Though even if she brought attention to it, there was nothing to be done about it, so she didn’t say anything.

—Now then, tomorrow marks start of your much-awaited weekend! The weekend’s for self-study! Let’s go out somewhere!

—Do you understand what the words ‘self-study’ mean?

While she was surprised, the fact is that Lilia did actually have plans to go out tomorrow, so she wasn’t saying that seriously. They’d already decided beforehand to go out. Because of the evening party last week, they didn’t have much of an opportunity to tour the south side of town. This time, Lilia had sought out Alisa’s assistance beforehand. She wasn’t particularly opposed to the idea, so agreed to assist Lilia.

After all, it’s not as if I would be welcome there, Lilia thought with a bitter smile and some resignation.

—Let’s take our time going around to all of the different stores. Also, Lilia, I want to eat some strawberry daifuku.

—I’m the one doing the eating, though…

While she was talking like that with Sakura, internally, Lilia’s excitement for tomorrow grew.

The Next Day. Lilia left her room with Alisa, and went to the same room where she had changed her clothes the last time. She changed quickly, and was seen out by Alisa as she headed out the front gate. In much the same way as last time, she was seen off with a smile and the words, “have a safe trip.”

—Let’s try going a little further today.

—I’m fine with that, but remember the route we take. I’ll be busy eating.

—You’re turning defiant, huh. But roger that! Leave the route to me, and eat delicious food in my place!

Like that, Sakura and Lilia began walking around the town. When she found something that looked tasty, she bought it and ate it. It wasn’t as if she had decided on a different route this time; she simply ate anything that caught her eye. By the time she’d visited the fifth store, Lilia had completely forgotten the way back. But she had left that up to Sakura, so it was probably fine.

—Haaa, the last one was gross, but this is delicious~ I’m so happy…

Lilia was starting to get a little, or rather, very worried, but it should be okay.

After that, Lilia went around to whatever shop took her fancy and ate as she walked. They decided to commit to memory all the shops that Sakura and Lilia both thought were delicious. There were many flavours and types of food that Lilia hadn’t even known about before, so the experience was very fresh.

Before she knew it, it was the afternoon. Thinking it about time to head back to the school, she changed direction, and—

—Lilia, stop!

Sakura’s voice echoed in her head. Frowning a little, Lilia quickly checked her immediate surroundings. Could someone that knows me be here, she thought, but the only person she knew that would come to this place would be Tina or her friends.

—Is there someone here?

—Yep. I was a little surprised.

That vague response had Lilia frowning, so just in case, she headed inside a nearby store. Watching the people that passed by the store, Lilia caught sight of somebody she knew. A boy surrounded by a throng of soldiers.

“Your Highness!”

She heard a surprised and delighted voice come from somewhere around her. The one person that Lilia was least happy to see was here. Her expression instinctively stiffened and she fled further into the store.

—Why has the Prince come here, of all places…

—I know, right? I was surprised too. He’s the person I least expected to come here… But, actually, it might be precisely because he’s the prince that he’s here.

—For what reason?

—As part of an inspection or something, maybe? I don’t really know that much about what the royal family does, so I can’t really draw a solid conclusion one way or the other.

I see, Lilia nodded. Certainly, Lilia had also heard of the prince making the rounds of various establishments as part of his inspections. She hadn’t been there to see it before, but she wouldn’t have thought he would be so heavily guarded.

—Yup. This is starting to get a bit too dangerous.

So Sakura seemed to be thinking the same thing as me, though she was speaking in a strange tone of voice.

Lilia continued to watch them for a while, and a soldier came running from somewhere. He reported something to the swarm of soldiers, the prince included. Hearing that, the group changed course. They walked into the store directly opposite the one Lilia was currently in. Breathing a sigh of relief, she bought one small baked sweet and went back outside.

—They seem to be searching for something, or someone, huh.

—And the prince himself came along to join the search? No matter how important it might be, that…

wouldn’t happen, Lilia wanted to say, but it was that prince they were talking about. If it was something important to him, it isn’t strange at all to consider him going to search for it himself. Lilia didn’t know what it was, but that piqued her interest just a little. But that was it. She didn’t want to get involved.

—Let’s forget about that and pick up where we left off!

—You’re right. Let’s go back to touring the town. Now, where should we…

“Miss Lilia?”

Lilia stopped moving in an instant. No way, Sakura said, at a complete loss for words. Lilia slowly turned to look over her shoulder, where the voice had come from.

Ray was standing there.


Author’s Note:

※※※Fanclub Meeting In Progress※※※

TinaTina: “Lilia! Our members have increased!”
Alisa_50x50Alisa: “Naturally, I too have become a member. Please treat me well.”
justLilia_50x50_facingrightLilia: “Just do your job.”
justSakura_50x50Sakura: (Aha, haha, hihi…! My stomach hurts…!)

The Fanclub meeting was peaceful today as well.

It took me by surprise how this series quietly climbed the daily rankings.

It made me really happy, so I scrambled to write as much as I could during my morning break.


Sakura

Lilia


<Previous Chapter | JAONNN! |

DEBT GIRL – April Fools 2020

The Tenth Chapter – Two People and Tea

Figured that since it’s been a year, I’d do another chapter of this. I’m aware that someone else is doing translations, and you’re all free to read those to keep up with it. I’m just doing my own thing. Anyway, here’s another chapter.


Today was the long awaited visit to Agnes’.

As usual, she had come out of her way to meet him at the stop.

“Over here, Lord Bernard!”

Agnes, I’m here!”

He passed through the crowd, pushing through some passers-by before trotting over to her.

“I do apologize for imposing on you right before your promotion.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve been waiting to see you.”

She grinned at him, and he couldn’t help but smile in return.

Agnes had her fringe pinned up today. Bernard was shocked. They were heading to the ball, was this a challenge to the Queen!?

“Your forehead is out on display today,” Bernard noted.

“Mm. My fringe had been getting a little too long. I thought I’d pin it up today.”

“It looks cute.” Bernard casually played with Agnes’ hair, paying special attention to the curls.

The throne of belonged to Agnes alone – something she wished to prove.

The weather was pleasantly sunny, and the two chatted as they enjoyed a stroll back to Agnes’.

“It feels like quite some time has passed since we’ve just had a chat like this,” Bernard realised.

“It does, doesn’t it? We had the party the other day, too.”

While Bernard had caught a few glimpses of her during the evening party, with all the other people around, he hadn’t had a chance to just be himself and spend time with her.

“How did you find the party to be?” I asked.

“It was very fun!”

Her eyes lit up as she began telling him about how she just had to see the new fixture, about how she saw a pretty tabby cat, about how exciting it was to behold the mysteries of the miracle stone, and other similar stories. One by one she enthusiastically went through her impressions of articles on displays during the party.

Come to think of it, he had spotted her there with Jijil.

“You know, I think I do recall catching sight of you and Jijil” I noted.

“Yeah, we went together,” she said. “Miss Jijil told me she’d seen them before, so it was a great help to have her describe them to me.”

“Good for you.”

“Yeah. And the desserts there were delicious… I was surprised by the majestic display.”

Yes, the desserts he had prepared specially for Agnes.

“Jijil showed you all the foods too, no?”

“Yes. We didn’t just try the foods I wanted to try. Jijil introduced me to a whole lot of other food too.”

He watched her happily count on her fingers as she told her about each of the delicious sweets.

So in the capital city, they should visit dessert stores together?

…This was shaping up to be quite a trip for Bernard and Agnes, wasn’t it?

Spending their free time together―it was quite a romantic outing. Bernard approved.

There were already rumors about Bernard and Agnes being together, but anything scandalous in those rumors, this would top it.

Bernard, hold yourself back, he thought. She’s your precious person.

But he couldn’t help it. He felt very possessive of this spark of joy in his life, and his heart beat too much for him to control.

It sounded so nice. They were going on a trip anyway, and he wanted to make nice memories.

He wanted to go to a cake shop with her now… So why did he have to wait a full month? They were right within reach, so why?

His dark heart swirled with gloom.

“…”

“Hmm? Is something wrong, Lord Bernard?”

“Eh? What do you mean?”

“Ah, well, you were just frowning really hard just now. And uh, your expression was a bit…”

Oh no. Did all that show in his expression?

“I apologize. I was trying not to sneeze.”

Agnes took out a handkerchief from my bag and offered it to me.

“Ah, is that what happened? I guess that does happen. Are you okay?”

Agnes was showing genuine concern over his half-baked excuse.

Bernard apologised to her in his head and reflected. Wasn’t being a lover about being able to appreciate each other’s happiness like their own? He apologized to Agnes in his heart.

“I’m fine. Continue? It seems like you’ve had quite a bit of fun with all that planning.”

“Yes! I actually did quite a bit of research, but Jijil just knew so many places that weren’t even in there,” she said.

“Ohh.”

Given how many times she’d been to town, she knew where all the good shops were. Jijil really did make the perfect guide.

“I see. That was nice of her.”

“Did you go anywhere else?” he asked.

He was worried about her safety. Still, he wondered if they should be more adventurous.

“The atmosphere and the products were completely different from the high-society fare I was accustomed to,” she marvelled.

“Really? That does sound interesting,” he said.

“Yes, it really was!” she nodded.

Bernard took a gulp of tea to try to think of something else.

“Lord Bernard, would you like some more tea?”

“If you would.”

His mouth could still taste the sweetness.

His weakness, sweet tea. It helped his brain spin.

It was black tea, and he’d heard that the people in the neighboring put jam in theirs, so he considered trying it as a variation?

The moment he picked up the jam, though, everyone around him started looking at him.

For another day, he supposed.

The password for the next chapter is “Agnes”.


<Previous Chapter | Debt Girl | Next Chapter>

Debt Girl – 10

The Tenth Chapter – As a Knight

April Fools. This is the actual chapter 10. I’ve had interest in continuing this but life is a bitch and being busy means no motivation. I’ll see what I can do in the future, but that’s something nobody knows. In the meantime, you guys can read whatever translations are coming out now, while I try to catch up and eventually redo the old chapters. Cheers.


The ringing bell signaled the lunch break, and with that, the practice exercise was put on hold.
Bernard spoke to Lazarre, saying that he wanted to talk to him before lunch. The two of them headed to Lazarre’s office.

“So, what did you want to tell me?”
“What I wanted to tell you was…”

From his bag, Bernard produced the documents he received from Ernesto, as well as the leather bag of gold.

“What’s this?”
“A request from Ernesto Barthelemon, a member of the second prince’s bodyguards.”

Lazarre received it with a suspicious look. His brows furrowed as he started reading the contents of the paper.

“What in the world is this guy trying to pull?
“Dunno.”

This was the first time Bernard had seen the ever-calm Lazarre be irritated. That said, he wasn’t really surprised by the reaction.

“I can’t believe he’d try to take in the daughter of the Le Verges family as a mistress. Does he not have the chivalry to take her in as his wife?”
“Yep, it’s unbelievable.”

It wasn’t that the taking in of mistresses by nobles was unheard of. However, in the view of Lazarre, who was brought up in an austere household, it was an act deserving of the highest scorn. Of course, Bernard thought much the same.

“If I knew it was going to come to this, I should’ve given her my support earlier.”
“There’s not much we can do at this point.”

Agnes’ father had incurred the wrath of the king. If one were to rescue his daughter, their standing in high society would plummet.

“So, what should we do?”
“I’m going to go hear what this Barthelemon guy has to say myself. Orlellian, are you going to come with me?”
“No sir, I’ll pass.”

He didn’t state that his reason for not going was because, whenever he heard Barthelemon talk, he wanted to punch him mid-sentence.

“Then, I’ll be heading out.”
“Hey, captain.”
“What is it?”
“Why don’t you head out after lunch?”
“No, I’m heading there now. …I’m not a very patient man.”
“That’s true.”

Not trying to hold him back any longer, Bernard watched as Lazarre left. All he could do now was pray that things wouldn’t go further south.

Wrapping up his day after finishing his afternoon exercises, Bernard headed to the office.
On top of the desk was a memo from Lazarre, saying he left early. While thinking that this was an unusual occurrence, Bernard put the memo in the box of unimportant matters.
Since all of the office work had been taken care already, Bernard decided to go home himself.

Repair work on the mansion had started, and materials were brought in through the front garden. As work had ended for the day, a cloth was covered the materials.

When he entered the house, Jijil greeted him.

“Welcome back, Master.”
“Yeah.”
“Good work today.”
“I guess.”

After asking her to prepare the bath and undressing his top before handing it over to her, Bernard headed to his room.

“Oh, right. Master.”
“What is it?”
“Miss Agnes said she wanted to speak with you.”
“Has she gotten over her cold?”
“Yes.”

That being the case, Bernard ordered Jijil to send Agnes over to him.

Sitting down on a long couch in the room, he let out a loud sigh. He was relieved that he was finally in a situation where he could listen to her side of the story.

A few minutes later, Agnes arrived. Hearing her light taps on the door, he ordered her to come in.

Agnes was wearing a one piece dress that appeared to have been brought with her from her house.
After being offered a chair, Agnes bowed her head deeply before picking a seat opposite Bernard, this time around.

“I am very thankful that you took time out of your busy day to-“
“There’s no need for formalities. So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Ah, right. I wished… you… thanks.”

Right after she started to talk, a banging noise came from the door. Jijil arrived with some tea.

“Mrs. Jijil, I’ll take care of the tea.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Please leave it to me.”

Agnes received the silver tray.
Shocked by Agnes’ swaying upon receiving the tray, Jijil immediately propped up the bottom of the tray.

“Hey, are you okay?!”
“Yes, I’m… fine.”

On top of the silver tray were a pot full of black tea, cups, saucers, little jars of sugar and milk, and a plate of cookies, nothing more. She was swaying from holding merely that.
Bernard watched in amazement as he thought about how weak of a woman she was.

“Miss Agnes, Master Bernard drinks his tea with one cup of milk and three cubes of sugar.”
“Understood.”

Having the fact that he had a sweet tooth be revealed, Bernard became embarrassed.

While he turned his face away in embarrassment, his desk was completely set.

Agnes poured tea into the cup with a very serious expression.
After that, she put in the milk and sugar. All the while, she squinted her eyes while looking at the small jars.

That expression was exactly the same as the one Bernard had seen in the evening party five years ago.

“Y-You!!”
“Eh?!”

Banging his hand on his desk, Bernard stood straight up.
Surprised, Agnes dropped the jar she was holding in her hand.

Fortunately, it was the jar of sugar, and the contents just spilled out onto the plate of cookies.
As for the situation at hand, Agnes narrowed her eyes and looked down. It was a harsh expression, similar to that of scorn.
The target of the expression was not Bernard, but that of the sugar scattered about the desk.
After confirming that all of the sugar had spilled out, she lowered her brows and looked up at Bernard with an apologetic look.

“I-I’m sorry.”
“…That’s nothing to worry about. Answer my question.”
“E-Eh?”

There was only one reason she would squint while holding items up to her eyes.
He asked her nervously.

“Does your eyesight… happen to be bad?”

Agnes opened her eyes wide. Lowering her head slowly, she nodded.

With a thump, Bernard leaned back onto his couch. That was the moment that speech, her actions, and her conduct all made sense.

Agnes had not looked down upon Bernard with contempt.
He realized that she was just trying to look at the face of someone far away.

The misunderstanding of many years was finally resolved.

“I am really sorry. I had intended to speak about it at some point but…”
“No, it’s fine.”

The reason had come to light, but his brain had yet to comprehend the situation.
Because of his own misunderstanding, he had employed Agnes as a servant and had gone and done something outrageous. He became deeply troubled.

Regret washed over him as he thought more and more that he really should have just handed her over to Lazarre.

Seeing Bernard’s face contorted in distress, Agnes did the unthinkable.
Getting up all of a sudden from her seat opposite Bernard, she came around in front of Bernard, and kneeled in front of him.

“Sir Orlellian.”

Putting both of her hands on her chest, she entreatingly appealed to Bernard.

“I beg you. Please let me remain here.”
“Huh?!”
“I do admit that my eyesight is not very good, and I am not accustomed to a servant’s duties at all. However, I will do my best!”
“No, even if you say that…”
“I wish to repay the favor that Sir Orlellian extended to me. O-On top of that, I have nowhere else to go…”

Asserting this in a quivering voice, tears started flowing down Agnes’ face. Bernard thought that now, he was the villain.

Though he wondered what he should do, the answer stayed out of his reach.

“…Let me think about it for the time being.”
“Yes. I apologize for stating my selfish desires.”

Thinking there was no need to give a quick response, he deferred his response by an hour.

Carrying the tray, Agnes gave one bow before leaving the room.
Bernard simply continued to stare at the closed door.

◇◇◇

Without having come up with an answer, it was already a new day.
As usual, he got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to work.

The first matter he attended to was having a talk with Lazarre.
When he opened the door, he spotted Lazarre, elbows on desk, his hands supporting his jaw, grim expression on his face.

The atmosphere wasn’t one where he felt comfortable asking what happened the previous day. But, after confirming it was Bernard who had entered the office, Lazarre started talking on his own.

“Morning.”
“Good Morning.”
“It was a bit soon, but I went and listened to Ernesto Barthelemon’s story yesterday.”
“Yes sir.”
“I had to accept his request to search of Agnes Le Verges.”
“Eh?!”

Because he had expected Lazarre to reject the request, Bernard was shocked.
Wondering what could have happened, he waited for Lazarre to continue his story.

“If I had to describe Barthelemon in one phrase, I’d say he’s a low-life bastard.”
“I… agree completely.”

Lazarre had understood everything about the person, Ernesto. But then, why did he take the request? The mystery intensified.

First of all, Lazarre had wanted to know why the request had been made to the “Third Special Assault Force” that he led. The response was quite shocking.

“That bastard called our battalion a group that wastes time doing practice exercises.”
“…That’s awful.”

He had said that he had taken it upon himself to pick Lazarre’s small group out of the assortment of bigger special assault force groups.

“He said that, in a way, it’s because he’s afraid of being found out by the king.”
“Seems like it.”
“It seems that he hasn’t made a request to any group other than ours yet. Obviously, it’s forbidden to use one’s money to use knights for one’s motives. But, if we rejected his request, Barthelemon would obviously go to another battalion.”
“Did you take this request for the purpose of not searching for Agnes Le Verges?”
“That’s right.”

The aim was to pretend to take the request, while not actually searching for her and ultimately ignoring the request.
He was relieved that Lazarre hadn’t been swayed by money and the chance for prestige, but he quickly realized another problem.

“What if this request is discovered by the higher-ups?”
“At best, I’ll get demoted. At worst, I’d lose the right to be a knight.”
“What?!”

Bernard pointed out that if Lazarre reported the money and paper to the higher-ups, it’d be over for Ernesto Barthelemon.

“You’re right. The rotten knight would be gone, and peace would return to the bodyguards. But what would happen to Agnes Le Verges’ honor?”
“That’s…”

If the second son of a Marquis were to be put on special trial, it’d be a matter of time until the reason was divulged.
If that happened, Agnes would be greeted as a mistress, and the rumor that she was to be locked in a basement would be spread in a moment. That is what Lazarre predicted.

“I cannot save her. That’s why, I at least want to defend her honor…”

Incredulous, Bernard listened to Lazarre’s speech, and put into words his biggest question.

“Captain, why would you go that far for some random stranger?”
“That’s we should do as a knight, isn’t it?”
“!”

– Save the weak, hold honor in high esteem, and vanquish evil.

The image of a knight weighed heavily upon his mind.

Violently striking his chest, Bernard suppressed his pounding heart.


<Previous Chapter | Debt Girl | Next Chapter>

「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!!」