｢Hahaha. I see, that’s just too much.｣
Upon hearing my story, my friend, Sawatari Ginbei Haruomi, burst into laughter.
｢To think that you’ve been told the same thing twice in a day… What’s up, Akito? Haven’t you taken a bath with all the work from the move goin’ on?｣
“Don’t even go there! I do bathe properly.”
｢I know. You’re a man who’s careful to have just right amount of hygiene. Neither unclean nor next to a clean freak, just the right balance, I guess. And as far as I know, you didn’t smell strong.｣
I know what you’re trying to say, but I your voice’s telling that you’re making fun of me.
｢However, seems like an interestin’ person that girl, doesn’t she? The blond-haired young lady without a name. I’d like to have a look too.｣
”Hmph. If it had been possible I’d’ve liked you there as well.”
｢Hey, no need to feel down. We’re just on a small island nation, but it’s still pretty vast nonetheless, you know? Even Tokyo and Kyoto aren’t close enough that travelin’ as I want could be easy – and you’re not planning to invite me over in the first place, do you?｣
”Don’t get too anxious. I’ll invite you in due time even if you don’t push me.”
｢Such a relief. But you know, Akito, I think I need to come over right now.｣
｢The time right now’s just too dangerous.｣
“Dangerous? What do you mean?”
｢The latent danger of you two siblings crossing the line’s what I mean.｣
A moment of silence later.
“…Oi, oi, Gin. Ginbei-san. Aren’t you exaggerating here? My sister and I? Ha, no way.”
｢That’s why you’re so cute, Akito. You understand, and yet you still put up that kinda tone. That kinda jokin’ way, you use it ’cause you know there’s a possibility, don’t you?｣
｢There’s no doubt that your sister sees you as a man. Her approaches are all direct and assertive, like an unstoppable runaway train.｣
I totally agree with that.
｢But you know, she might run wild, but she’s not forgettin’ about the brakes. If necessary, she could step on ’em and calm down.｣
”Calm down? Although all those things happen?”
｢She can do it. We talked about it the other day, right? If your sister was serious, she would’ve pushed you down long already. But the reason she didn’t, is because she respects your own wishes, right?｣
｢Well, I’m not really sure how much control she has over herself. But I think she’s a good girl that won’t bonkers. Goin’ by my gut feeling there’s nothing to worry about.｣
”I do agree that she’s a good girl. But is that really enough to just leave it be?”
｢No, no, there’s no reason to worry about her. What we should worry about is you, Akito, right?｣
”Hey, hey. You think I’ll lay a hand on my sister? My blood-related sister?”
｢I just think that you’re a man.｣
My friend answered the question with that.
｢Everyone can tell from a glance that you’re just an ordinary person. You look average and have average grades. Teachers must be in a bind when they’re supposed to write a record about you. From one to five you’d be a three, you’re not really motivated for extracurricular activities and in class you’re easily forgotten. You’re the very picture of an extraordinarily normal person.｣
”Done yet? Well, it’s true, though.”
｢But a someone’s worth can’t just be measured by that all alone. To be honest, I used to look down on you… But after that incident I’ve changed my mind.｣
”That’s a bit exaggerated.”
｢I was surprised when you moved and transferred. It hit me out of the blue. I didn’t even know you had a little sister. You probably decided to go back and live with her long ago. You were slowly preparin’ everything to finally reach your goal. No one else knew about it, only you. So you kept your little sister a secret. That was the right thing to do, of course. Keepin’ your plan secret’s the most basic of basics.｣
“You’re still exaggerating.”
｢I’ve no idea how you managed to accomplish or even came up with that plan. It can easily be called incredibly in-depth, yet it was boring and repetitive work. But you didn’t rely on anyone else, to the point that you didn’t speak to anyone. You completed your plan brilliantly while all by yourself. Magnificent.｣
”I haven’t done anything big. It’s something anyone could do if they put their minds on it.”
｢You say it’s somethin’ anyone could do, but do you think it’s somethin’ anyone would do?｣
”Err, well, that’s…”
｢Not even mentionin’ how your opponents were the Arisugawa and Takonomiya Families. It’s about time you recognized it. You’ve done somethin’ incredibly difficult, no doubt about that. If not, would I keep praisin’ you to the high heavens or do I look like I’m just fooling around?｣
I slowly sank into silence due to either embarrassment or something else. I tried to scratch my cheek, but that couldn’t stop the blushing. Guessing what was happening, my friend started to laugh on the phone and said:
｢That’s why I understand why your little sister feels how she feels. Anyone with a brother like that would be charmed. Even if they were blood-related.｣
”…In any case, there’s one thing I got now.”
”It’s pretty mean to make fun of me with such excessive praise, isn’t it?”
｢Hahaha, give up. That’s the price of fame. If you’ve done something worth praising, you’ve gotta pay for it.”
”There’s a tax on that things? Who could pay all that? What an unfair tax.”
｢Anyway, another question I wanted to ask is…｣
Trying not to laugh, Ginbei continued:
｢What were your motives? One surely was your deep love for your sister.｣
”Well, yeah. She’s my dear sister after all.”
｢Akito, to be honest, here’s what I think, just like your little sister with you, you see her as a woman.｣
”Well, if I may be honest, Ginbei, you’re overthinking. That absolutely impossible.”
｢Is that so?｣
”Actually, I don’t get why your faith in me stops here. You must be misunderstanding things at some point.”
｢It’d be good if that were so.｣
”Anyway, isn’t the evidence on all that stuff you keep saying about me pretty weak? Where do you get all this from?”
｢Isn’t that obvious? My intuition, of course.｣
I’ve been hearing that often recently.
｢I’m just questionin’ your motives because of my intuition. I’m usually spot on when it comes to noticing bad things like that, you know? So I’m really worried that you’ll stray off the path and become a brute.｣
“Could you— Could it be that you’re mad at me?”
｢Hahaha, isn’t that obvious? You just realized that now?｣
My friend burst into laughter and continued:
｢At the very least I thought we were friends, I thought we were close. It might’ve been necessary, nevertheless you left without saying a word. That’s standoffish and annoying, isn’t it? Is that all I’m worth? I can’t stop getting totally mad at that.｣
“…Ah, sorry. I’m really sorry, really.”
｢It’s fine. I already said it, but I know you didn’t mean no harm. Nonetheless being angry and forgiving are two separate things. I am angry, but I’ve already forgiven you.｣
“I see. Well, thank you, really.”
｢I said various harsh things, please don’t take them too hard. I understand the situation now, guess I falsely accused you, didn’t I? If you’re thinkin’ of me as a close friend, would you forgive me my temperament?｣
“Well, if it’s just that then I’d be happy to, but… is that okay? To be honest, I was expecting to receive a bunch of blows from you.”
｢I won’t do somethin’ that inefficient, so don’t worry. Besides, just that wouldn’t satisfy me.｣
My friend showed a hint of suppressed laughter now.
｢As a matter of fact, I’ve already had the chance to take some good revenge. No need for worry there.｣
“…Hey, hey. You’re not calm at all.”
｢I plan to return the emotional damage twofold. Prepare yourself.｣
“What?! That’s cruel! It’s not like I wanted to keep it a secret from you, you know?! Anyway, since it had been those Families, it was necessary to move in secret… Since you say to be my close friend, can’t you understand the circumstances? You said you were going to forgive me, right? Being angry and forgiving were two things, you said, didn’t you?”
｢Forgiving and taking revenge are also two things.｣
“That so? Somehow it sounds like you’re trying to persuade me with your infamous rhetoric.”
｢Please stop that false accusations, aren’t you the one trying to persuade me with your own beliefs…? Well, no need to let out such an anxious voice yet. I said it’s revenge, but it’ll only be mischief. While you renew your relationship with your little sister, be patient and wait for that day to come.｣
“Dammit. That Gin…”
I grumbled to myself after I had put the phone aside and been hung up upon.
No need to worry, you say. If you’re saying it like that, then I can do nothing but worry.
Wait. Could it be that it was your plan to make me worried from the start? Somehow it feels like that. You’re probably enjoying imagining me splitting my head over that. You’ve got such a bright and cheery personality, and yet you love playing around and teasing me, that Ginbei…
But I guess now that you’ve spoken your mind about my sister and mine most recent slapstick act, you ended up taking the initiative and helping me out after all (like you already did with the shopping-list and such things).
I thought you weren’t that angry with me and hence I felt relieved.
Not happening, huh?
You’re mad after all.
Seems like you waited to calm down a bit and then let everything out on me at once, doesn’t it?
I’m really, really grateful that you’ve taken the time to tell me your thoughts, but…
I should go and boost your mood soon, huh?
That cake you like so much shouldn’t be missing either.
Spring break was gradually approaching its second half. Here and there cherry blossoms began to bloom, but it was still too early for a cherry blossom viewing.
Since I’ve tried being independent for the first time in my life, this spring had been the first one of this kind, but… oh dear, housework’s a total pain, isn’t it?
Cleaning, cooking, doing the laundry, and all other kinds of things.
Trying to count them was useless, it was an endless amount of duties over and over again.
The most essential things kept piling up one after another. Main reason was probably that I simply wasn’t used to it, but nonetheless, I was totally busy.
However, back then I had wanted to make preparations for the move in advance.
At the time I already had a keen premonition that I putting things on hold would turn out horrible.
Well, lamenting won’t get me nowhere.
First of all, I’ll finish some of the stuff at hand. Um, let’s see, what’s left?
I’m more or less done with cleaning, huh?
Today my sister’s on cooking duty, so for now I’m leaving that aside.
It wouldn’t’ve been unlikely for me to get in her way with my clumsy hands, so my sister’s cooking was basically better.
If that’s done, the laundry’d be left, huh?
My sister always tried to take the initiative and do things, especially when it came to the laundry. I had noticed that she most of the time had already washed and even hung it out to dry.
Today our share of clothing had also been swaying in the garden under the spring sun. My sister had come home and went ahead to bring it back in—— Though it still hadn’t been dry.
By the way, my sister said that the student council had some tasks to do today and was just about to leave.
Since we had been reunited, we had done everything together, so she said: ‘I can’t just leave Onii-chan all alone by himself!’, ‘Because, won’t you be lonely?!’, ‘Mainly because I’m not here?!’, stuff like that, and just before she left the house she was hesitating for a long time——
The bell rang.
…I wonder who it is…
Even Ginbei hasn’t been here so far, so there’s no way it couldn’t be a friend of mine. Not to mention a relative.
Could it be the neighbors? Or maybe solicitors…?
I opened the ‘showa era’-like sliding door that contained frosted glass and standing there was…
“Yo. This the Arisugawa house or am I mistaken, eh?”
“Aah. Himenokouji now, aight? Mah bad, mah bad.”
How to put this…
Anyway, let’s point out all of her features that could be seen at first glance.
First, red hair.
A ruby-like vivid redhead, the hair made up in a casual ponytail.
Next, an eyepatch.
A simple black, and as a result it looked like the One-Eyed Dragon Masamune’s, eyepatch covered her right eye.
But, a Japanese sword?
It consisted of simple craftsmanship, called Oodachi, and seemingly unfazed to carry around such a dangerous object, she grasped it with her left hand.
“Aah, ’tis here?”
She suddenly raised the hand that was holding the longsword, showed it to me, and said:
“Don’t’cha worry. It’s just a bamboo sword, ya know?”
“——Ah, it’s just a fake, huh? Well, that makes sense. Nowadays, something blatant like this is banned by the weapons act, it’d be nuts to carry around something like that so blatantly, right? If it’s a bamboo sword then it should be fine.”
“Well, it’s a real sword called ‘Bamboo Sword’, ya see.”
“Then it’s absolutely out!”
“Hahaha. Now, now, don’t’cha worry!”
Her chest was arched back and she laughed heartily as she said:
“Even I wouldn’t carelessly pull this guy out in town, ya know?”
“Well, that’s true, I guess, but…”
“I only pull it out to trim mah nails.”
“That’s way too carefree, also it’s discourteous to the katana, isn’t it?!”
“Hahaha. Yer reactions are excellent. I like ya.”
From the very beginning there was one feature that stood out above all – I forgot to mention that.
She was wearing a uniform.
It held traditional and modern features – a splendidly designed uniform.
Naturally, I was familiar with those clothes.
I had already seen those today. It were the clothes my sister was wearing, I saw them every day.
“The name’s Nikaidou, first one’s Arashi. Third-year student and council president at St. Liliana Academy. Ya could say I’m yer sister’s boss. Pleased to meet’cha, Himenokouji Akito.”
“Ya and yer sister don’t resemble each other too much, eh?”
She said, put the katana beside her, and sat down with one knee raised.
The above had been the very first thing that self-claimed student council president had said after her introduction.
“Ya look average and yer grades ain’t anythin’ spectacular either, that’s what I’ve heard. Are ya the kind of person that gets their nutrients sucked out by their little sister?”
“Err, well, if I may, isn’t that a bit reprehensible for our first meeting?”
We faced each other from across the tea table.
Near the both of us were two Shigaraki tea cups with steam rising from them.
“Ah, don’t take it to heart, aight? I didn’t mean any harm, ya know? It’s just mah nature to be direct.”
“Even when it’s the first meeting?”
“Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone. Whatever, yer Arisugawa… Himenokouji Akiko’s older brother, so in my eyes yer just like family to me. So how yer bein’ disrespectful to a family member, that’s even more rude, don’t’cha think?”
How should I say it?
Since earlier something’s been bothering me and I just can’t shake it off.
“Um, Nikaidou-san, was it?”
“Oh? What’cha want?”
“Um… Concerning that, is it okay for you to talk about it? Or would you rather not?”
And then the Japanese sword.
Normally, turning a blind eye to them would be the best thing to do. However, she was my sister’s superior and moreover the student council president of the school I was planning to attend. I had to ask for the reason behind it.
“Haha. I see.”
Nikaidou-san laughed with a broad grin and continued:
“In other words, yer someone who gets aroused by eyepatches ‘n Jap swords, eh?”
“Mah bad, mah bad, I ain’t never met someone with that kinda peculiar taste. If I would’ve known that, I’d have tried to be a li’l bit more careful… Sorry, I gotcha hard for no reason. But it’s ‘kay, I won’t let it happen again.”
“Please don’t just think stuff up. I mean, how could you even get to that kind of conclusion?”
“It’s ‘kay, I’ll take responsibility. If yer interested, I ain’t mindin’ givin’ ya this eyepatch ‘n Jap sword so ya can get off. Ya must’ve collected quite a bit with yer endurin’, haven’t’cha? It ain’t good for yer body to hold it in, ya know?”
“No, please listen to me…”
“Hahaha, it was just a joke, a joke.”
The student council president’s voice bursted into laughed.
Seriously, please stop telling that ugly jokes. Talking dirty things is just too much.
I’m fine, for now at least.
‘I don’t want to talk about that’, she probably tried to tell me that in a roundabout way. As for me, not having to ‘turn a blind eye to it’ is plenty, I’m more curious about something else than the eyepatch and Japanese sword anyway.
“Um, there’s one more thing.”
“Oh. What’cha want?”
“There’s something I’m also curious about.”
“I’m not really sure how to say it.”
“Don’t’cha be so reserved. Already told’cha, yer like family to me. If there’s anythin’ ya wanna say, then just spit it out like a man.”
“Ah, thanks. Well, then I’ll just say it.”
“Oh? C’mon, out with it.”
I cleared my throat with a cough, averted my eyes, and with a sinking feeling said:
“I can see them. I’ve been able to see everything for a while now. Inside your skirt.”
It had already happened, such a pure thing. I had seen it all.
That area I was hesitating to talk about was covered in thick red tights.
It had been possible because she was sitting in full view in front of me with one of her knees raised. It had already been past a peek, it had been inevitable to see.
“Hahaha. Gotcha, gotcha, ya can see, eh? Guess that’s true.”
Nikaidou Arashi laughed heartily and continued:
“Well, don’t sweat it, I don’t mind.”
“Even if you don’t, I do. I don’t know where to turn my eyes to!”
“By the way, today’s are red.”
“That so? Well, no surprise then. Even when I said I could see them, to be honest, all I could see was red. I thought no matter how deep the color of the tights was, it would’ve been strange to not be able to see the color of the underwear through them. But I get it now, if that’s the case then it’s obvious. If they were spats or something, then it wouldn’t be that embarrassing—— Hey! That’s not what I was trying to say there!”
“I was lyin’, truth is, I’m not wearin’ any.”
“I see, so that’s it. So you’re using a high tier strategy as daring as to wear deep colored tights to cover up the fact that you’re not wearing any—— As if! If that was true, wouldn’t it be even worse?! Please stop spreading your legs like that!”
“Hahaha. That’s a good reaction ya showin’.”
She said and let out another hearty laugh.
How to put it? She really enjoyed laughing.
“Yer sister’s lackin’ that kinda responses. It’s somethin’ precious, ya know?”
“Ah, that so?”
“Ye, it is. Arisugawa— Oh, it’s Himenokouji now, huh? Well, either’ll do.”
“Anyways, my cute kouhai – I mean the secretary of the student council, ya know? She’s too serious, so no matter what, she always sticks to the rules. She’s really capable, so it’s a good thing, but it’s no good bein’ so stubborn. But when it comes to her off-the-chart bro-con-ing, she tosses everythin’ away and just goes wild, I really don’t get her.”
“Um, about that.”
The moment my sister was brought up, I finally remembered something I wanted to ask.
“So, what kind of business led you here today? My sister said the student council had some kind of work to do and headed out.”
“Well, ye, that’s right. I’m the one who told her that.”
She said and gave off a satisfied smile.
…What am I supposed to say to her?
She said that she was a third-year student, so her age shouldn’t be too far from mine. She doesn’t look very lady-like, but if I had to pinpoint, she somehow has an extremely important air to her. Yeah. Rather than a woman, she’s more like a ronin from the end of the Edo era. Plus, she looks as if she’d become an elder statesman of the Meiji era after that. Thinking about it, the way she wears that splendid ponytail is kind of reminiscent of a top-bun.
“Um… I’d hate to be mistaken, but…”
“What’cha want? Just say it already.”
“From what Nikaidou-san just said it almost sounds as if you gave my sister some work so that you could be alone with me in here…”
“It’s not ‘almost’, that’s exactly the case. Himenokouji Akito, I wanted to talk with ya alone, ya know? So I had yer little sister step out for a bit.”
“Huh. With me?”
“Ye. With ya.”
In contrast to the broadly grinning Nikaidou-san, I was nothing but bewildered.
“And, what do you need me for?”
“Whaaat? It’s nothin’ to make a big deal outta.”
She said and alternated the way she was crossing her legs.
During which various places were revealed and so I averted my eyes feeling awkward.
With what came next, whether I wanted it or not, my gaze went back to her…
“Why don’t’cha become my man?”
“Why don’t’cha become my man?”
“Ah, no. I heard you perfectly fine. There was no need to repeat.”
“Oh? Well, sorry ‘bout that then. So? What’s yer answer?”
“…Um. Are you seriously asking?”
“Nope. It was a joke.”
“I’m relieved hearing that.”
“About 10%, ya know.”
“So the remaining 90% were serious? I’m even more anxious hearing that.”
“Hahaha. That was a joke, too.”
“Really… Please don’t scare me like that.”
“Becoming my man was a joke. Why don’t’cha become mah cub?”
“Saying that doesn’t make it better!”
Or rather, didn’t my ranking actually go down?!
“Hahaha. No, no, it’s a joke, a joke. Yer reactions are interestin’, I couldn’t help but teasin’ ya a bit. Mah bad.”
“Please give me a break… I frighten easily.”
“Well, please don’t think anythin’ bad of it, aight? But, ya know, if ya ever want to become mah cub, yer always welcome to. I’ll give ya a good time, alright?”
“No, thank you.”
“Eh, how come? Ain’t that kinda boring? Sayin’ it myself might be a bit much but I’m actually a good woman, ya know?”
“Anyway, no, thank you.”
“But let’s say ya were in that kinda intimate relationship with me…”
She said and leaned forward.
All the while she stuck to her usual grin.
It seemed like she was peering into the depths of my heart.
“Wouldn’t it stop somethin’ like two siblings in a naughty relationship from ever happenin’?”
It was then that the alarm in my head finally went off.
Perhaps I had become a bit too relaxed.
Just from a word or two we had exchanged in our conversation it was immediately clear. ‘This person’s not ordinary’, that’s what I thought.
This woman intentionally came to seek me out. She tricked my sister into going somewhere far off. This was no simple house visit.
Nikaidou-san muttered after a short period of silence.
She still wore her broad grin. However, that dangerous feeling I had glimpsed at had vanished.
“The atmosphere changed for a sec there, eh? Thin ‘n light, but the sharpness was first class – kinda like when a good sword’s unsheathed. Yer a good man, eh? I kinda understand why Himenokouji’s smitten with ya now.”
‘A good man’, she said.
Well, I’m happy being praised like that.
But she’s saying that to someone she only just met an hour ago, I don’t think anyone could get a person in that time.
“Ya don’t understand, do ya?”
While chuckling, she continued:
“What do ya think are good points for a woman to like someone?”
“Um… Don’t know?”
“She should be able to see a good man in him.”
“Ah, I see.”
“How doesn’t matter. It’s fine if she’s been goin’ out with him for a long time, or carefully observed him, or even if it’s just her intuition – all’s fine. Anyways, she has to make sure to sort out da fakes and catch the ones that are the real deal. That’s the first rule for women.”
“I see, I see.”
“There’s one more. Once she finds da surely good one, she must know how to capture him. It’s no good if she doesn’t know how. If she’s finally da good one after all da work, there’d be no point if she ain’t got her fingers on him. That kinda thing’s the same as a pie in the sky.”
“I see. Seems reasonable.”
“No matter what’s inside or outside. A good woman has to just satisfy da two conditions. ‘N I can do that. On top of that, Imma knockout beauty.”
“You’d be even better if you weren’t tooting your own horn like that.”
Leaving whether that’s true or not aside, that certainly was some persuasive speech. With that I got her a bit, but…
“Um, and? What’s that to do with anything?”
“Yer a good man, but yer really dim, ya know.”
“In other words, the good woman, that I am, has gotten ya down. Himenokouji Akito, yer an extraordinary good man. There’s no problem that we ain’t met before. Anyone with a workin’ nose could immediately sniff it out. That yer a worthy man, that is.”
The student council president said and then in one go pulled herself closer to me.
Even though there was a tea table between us, somehow I got the impression that we were actually a lot closer. What a mysterious presence.
“Ya know, with ya it’s like that… Though it looks like yer just thin on the outside, inside there’s actually a big heart. Once somethin’s decided for ya, ya’ll absolutely see it through, and yet if required, yer also able to show a bit of flexibility. Becomin’ yer enemy’s the worst thing possible, but there’s no one more reliable if yer a friend – that’s the kinda person ya are.”
“Have more confidence in yerself. Be proud of yerself. Yer an extraordinarily good man. I, Nikaidou Arashi, guarantee it. If ya like, I could swear on the Bamboo Sword.”
“Strange. Once you bring up the name of your sword, the persuasiveness of your words dissolves into nothingness.”
I said, but on the inside I was truly happy nonetheless.
She’s a good motivator, huh? Well, it was all just flattery, but had I been careless, I’d’ve taken it for granted. Moreover, her way to evaluate people’s more that of a hero than a woman. I kinda understand why she’s the student council president——
Come to think of it, there’s…
“Could it be that you’re trying to seduce me?”
“Hahaha. Yer a quick one, aren’t’cha?”
Nikaidou-san slapped her thighs as she laughed.
“Sorry, sorry. It’s just that I’ve seen a good one, ya know? Wouldn’t thought ya could get my seducing already… And? What’cha thinkin’? Were ya seduced a bit? How ’bout becomin’ my man after all?”
“I humbly decline.”
“It’s about time I told ya the truth, huh?”
And with that, her expression changed.
Keeping her wide grin, that dangerous feeling from before resurfaced.
“A few days ago, I actually met up with the Arisugawa and Takonomiya Families.”
“Whoops. No need to panic.”
She lightly waved her hand and continued:
“They didn’t ask anythin’ concrete. All they said was the normal ‘please take care of ’em’ ‘n stuff, but… The Arisugawa and Takanomiya Families aren’t dumb, they wouldn’t visit just for that. I think ya got it this far.”
“Yes, I understand perfectly.”
If not I wouldn’t have been suffering that much at that moment.
“Well, ya really shouldn’t worry too much. I ain’t thinkin’ ’bout doin’ anything. Just like I said, they didn’t request anythin’ concrete of me. So I already have some relations with the Arisugawa and Takanomiya Families. Not that I’m really owin’ ’em favors or anythin’, it’s more or less mah duties.”
“In other words, if the situation arose, you’d take their side, right?”
“I think it’d be good if things didn’t come to that.”
“I also feel the same way.”
“But I don’t really think things will turn out like that. I like Akiko and I ya a lot too. Compared to mah duty, I’d rate ya two higher. But, ya know, that’s just the way life is, ya ain’t knowin’ hot it’ll turn out.”
“I guess so. Actually, no, it’s exactly like that.”
“Well, if ya were to become mah sex slave, then it’d be a whole different story. Duty and human nature aside, all I’d think about would be protectin’ ya.”
“Neither a lover nor a cub, but now I’m a sex slave? My value just keeps dropping, doesn’t it? And yet you were praising me a while ago.”
“If you’d like, I wouldn’t mind becomin’ yer sex slave instead, ya know.”
“Oh? I’ve piqued yer interest, didn’t I? That more yer taste?”
“Well then, can I borrow yer shower for a bit?”
“Don’t just carry on as if I’d accepted that!”
“Hahaha. Mah, mah, yer really interestin’, aren’t’cha?”
Nikaido-san slapped her thigh and then let out another hearty laugh.
“Well, no need to worry. Even if they’re the Arisugawa and Takanomiya Families, they’ve no reason to take yet. For now, it’d be good if ya siblings lived carefree ‘n made up for dem lost six years. I’ll assist ya guys as much as I can, aight?”
With that, the handsome student council president excused herself.
And just like her name suggested, she had been like a storm.
She suddenly appeared, dragged me all over the place, and as soon as she was finished, quickly left.
If she wasn’t a storm, then she must have been some kind of Toorima.
Oh dear, she’s really left an impression on me.
Now all that’s left to do is to figure what she was trying to tell me.
Well, for now I can probably take her words for what they are.
That’s what I thought.
She probably wouldn’t tell any lies.
If necessary, she’d be able to come up with as many lies as she wanted to, but this time she had no reason to, probably.
On top of that, I didn’t get the feeling that she was trying to hide something.
She probably came to gain my trust – In other words, she showed off her trustworthiness to me, that had been her reason to come in the first place.
‘It’s the worst to be your enemy, but you’re the best as a friend.’
Nikaido-san seemed to have judged me like that.
Man, look who’s talking, was what I thought.
I didn’t want to make Nikaidou ArashI my enemy even in the slightest bit. If there was even the slightest possibility of that happening, I wouldn’t hesitate to use everything at hand to get rid of that possibility.
‘If ya ain’t wanna become mah enemy then why don’t’cha be my sex slave?’, huh? That might be beyond me, though.
I’m sure there are many men out there who’d gladly give in and fall into her trap. Speech and manners aside, she really does look like a famous fashion model. If there’s anyone masochistic enough, they’d definitely fall for her.
Ah, wait. Of course I’m not one of those, alright?! I’ve got no such hobbies, okay?!
—I’m serious, I’m not making up excuses here, alright?
My sister isn’t here yet, so I’ve to finish up the remaining housework myself, I guess.
After I’m done with the chores, I got to prepare for the lessons. Once that’s all done, I can get back my job that suffered due to it all…
The tasks just keep piling up.
Um, what to do first…
The cleaning’s mostly done. So next—
Shouldn’t the laundry be dry by now?
“Oh~ oh~ It’s dry~ It’s dry~”
I took a look inside the garden and saw that the already dried laundry faintly swayed in the wind.
For some strange reason it lightened me up, so I took down the laundry humming to myself.
Well then, now that that’s done, I guess I should prepare the lessons. School’s starting soon, there’s not much time left. I got to be diligent and get this over with as soon as possible——
Just then I heard an incredible voice.
What’s that? Some cats in heat having a fight?!
I thought and turned around.
It was my very own sister who had just returned from school.
“Hey now, Akiko. What’s with that noise? It’d be embarrassing if the neighbors heard that. Please be more lady-like.”
“W-What do you think you’re doing…?”
“What are you saying? I’m just taking down the laundry.”
“Onii-chan, what’s that in your hands…?”
“Eh? What, those are your panties, aren’t they?”
Her face blushed hard all of a sudden.
She approached me with huge, stomping steps.
Then she snatched away the panties I was holding (along with the rest of the laundry that I had taken down).
After that, she quickly took three steps back.
…Last, she glared at me and let out a low growl.
“…What kind of animal are you? Please get a hold of yourself.”
“How could I be calm?! M-M-M-My u-underwear was…”
“What? Shouldn’t something like that be nothing to you?”
“How could such a thing not have any effect on me?!”
“And yet you got mad at me for not peeping in the bath? And to top it off you appeared in front of me with nothing but a bath towel on you!”
“Surprise attacks such as this aren’t allowed!”
“I didn’t really think anything of it, you know? It’s just my little sister’s underwear.”
“Hearing that makes me angry for another reason now!”
Jeez, what’s with her? I don’t get it.
I just don’t get where she’s drawing the line.
While I remained silent and expressionless, my sister pressed her hand to her chest and started taking in deep breaths.
Before long, her cherry-blossom-colored cheeks slowly returned back to their normal color, she then glared into my direction.
“Even if it’s by the Onii-chan I love dearly, I can’t possibly forgive the violence and abusive words over and over again!”
“…Did I say something to deserve that?”
“This is a maiden’s underwear, you know?! Those belong to your cute little sister, me! If you wanted to smell them, then I’d have gladly let you, but to handle them like they were just some kind of rag— Ah, I can’t forgive you after all! Onii-chan’s excessive attitude hurt my fragile heart deeply!”
“Calm down. Out of 100 people, 100’d probably say your answer’s absurd.”
“This has nothing to do with the rest of the world! In the Himenokouji household, there are rules! Onii-chan’s obviously in violation of those!”
Where did these kinds of rules come from? …Guess I shouldn’t be thinking about that right now.
I don’t think I’m in the wrong here, but seeing how my sister told me off, I guess my foresight’s a bit lacking. That aside, it doesn’t look like my sister’ll settle down all too soon…
“…I don’t really get it, but I see your point. There certainly must be manners, even between good friends. Sorry that I did how I pleased and took down the laundry.”
“Have you reflected upon yourself?”
“I understand. Well then, I’ll forgive today’s actions. In exchange I think—”
“By the way, Akiko.”
“I know it’s impossible, but were you possibly thinking to ask me to ‘please embrace me’ in the confusion of the moment?”
“Onii-chan. Don’t you think you’re exaggerating?”
“That you thought something like that… I’m truly shocked. It shocks me even more than when you touched my underwear however you wanted. How could I do something unreasonable as taking advantage of Onii-chan while he’s in such a disadvantageous situation and ask an unreasonable demand?”
“Mhm… I see. Sorry, my bad. Seems like I overdid it.”
“That’s exactly right, Onii-chan. Please be careful in the future with what you say.”
“Really, there should be a limit to all those false accusations that you’re placing on me. My demand is simply to have Onii-chan’s lips touch mine for just a brief moment, just something simple and modest to—”
“I’m glad. If you were serious about that, then I’d have to cut our connections.”
“N-No way, that’s…”
“Then this conversation’s already over, okay? Yup, okay, we’ve reconciled.”
“W-Wait, please! This kind of chance doesn’t come often— Wait, I won’t accept that you’re not giving me a token of your apology!”
“It’s no use.”
“If a kiss is out of question, then please embrace me!”
“So you went there after all.”
“Rub my head at least!”
“W-Well then, at least do… Um, um…”
“Ah! By the way, Akiko.”
It looked like things were going the usual way, so I had to change the topic quickly.
“You’re in the student council, aren’t you? You’re the secretary, right?”
“What?! Please don’t try to blatantly change the topic like that! Today’s the day that I’ll surely receive my reward, okay?! If not I won’t move an inch from here! I’ll neither do cooking nor cleaning!”
“Well, Akiko’s really an admirable person, isn’t she?”
“You’ve joined the student council to help your school. That alone’d be enough and yet, even though it’s your day off, you gave it up and did some work for the student council. That’s not something anyone would readily do. Well, I for one really think it’s something admirable.”
“I-Is that so…”
“That’s right. You’re a very capable person. I’m very proud of my sister.”
“P-Praise me more, please.”
“Akiko’s so splendid. There’s not a second person in the world like you, there could never be anyone to replace you, my magnificent sister.”
“Ehehe… I-I understand, saying that is fine. Well then, you know, shouldn’t you give that cute little sister of yours, me, you know, some kind of reward—”
“Because you’re my magnificent sister, you wouldn’t do anything that’d trouble Onii-chan, right?”
“Eh? Um, that’s…”
“But really. I must be blessed to have a good girl like this as my little sister. I just can’t thank God enough for my luck. Oh my, what good fortune I have.”
“…Um you know, Onii-chan. Regarding your cute little sister, wouldn’t it be good to, maybe, give some kind of reward to me as a—”
“Ah, by the way.”
I should change the topic once more around here, so that I can finally get over with this unsettled one here. If I can do that my goal will be accomplished.
Um, next topic should be… Ah, I know.
“The student council president, what kind of person’s that?”
“St. Liliana Academy’s. That person’s your boss, right? ‘What kind of person is that?’, was what I was thinking.”
‘Keep this a secret from yer sister, aight? It’d cause problems if she found out.’, Nikaidou-san had asked of me as she left. I had to keep her visit a secret.
“For me, the president’s someone I’m entrusting you to. As your elder brother, I wish to know what kind of person I’m doing this to.”
“I see. I understand now.”
…Is it just my imagination or…?
My sister nodded and her way of speaking suddenly got very formal. Part of her back had straightened up firmly.
“The president is a person worth your respect. She’s proficient at grasping a human being’s nature and skillful in how to make the best use of someone. It’s not just talk either, she is capable. And when a dire situation arises she can be relied on. She’s also sociable and kind, and has a lot of friends because of that. I think that here independent leader personality’s not very commonplace. I’d perhaps say that the president was born to be a heroic person.”
It’s unusual for her to say such things.
“However, the president’s sexual dispositions are the worst.”
There we go…
“That person’s interest in men and women is terrible.”
She swings both ways, huh?
“By the way, she’s nicknamed ‘predator’.”
That’s too sudden.
“Onii-chan. Now’s a good chance, so let me give you a word of advice.”
Without hesitating, my sister brought her face closer to me.
She raised her index finger and said with that serious facial expression:
“Please don’t get close to the student council president Nikaido Arashi-san.”
“It’s for Onii-chan’s sake, that’s for the better.”
“But you know, that person’s the one who’s been looking after you. Shouldn’t I at least have some manners and introduce myself?”
“You’re certainly right. But this time you should just leave it alone.”
“But you know, this spring I’m going to attend the same school as you. How will I go about if I met her face to face then? The student council president.”
“I’m well-aware of that, but above all else I must warn you once more, please don’t get close to her as much as you can.”
“Mm. Is she that dangerous?”
“Her second name ‘predator’ isn’t just for show. Of course talking to her’s out of question, but please avoid eye contact too, okay? You might get pregnant if you don’t.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re man or woman. The president’s just like that.”
“I-Is it really that bad…?”
“Yes. If that person saw Onii-chan and decided that he was delicious, there’s no doubt that she’d bite and swallow you whole on the spot. Of course, as long as I’m by your side, I’ll try to stop anything like that from happening, but… Anyway, my duty’ll be to protect Onii-chan’s chastity. I beg you, please listen to what I say and make sure you don’t get anywhere near her. Okay?”
It had already been too late. Unfortunately, I already had some relationship with the student council president.
And on top of that, I’ve had had a hunch since earlier that this undesirable yet uncuttable relationship wasn’t going to disappear.
Well, silence is golden in this situation, right? Must be.
“Ah… It’s really the ultimate happiness that I can go to the same school as Onii-chan. Even though it makes me anxious that I mustn’t let you get closer than 50 meter to the student council president… Ah, but there’s one more person who I don’t want you to meet even more than that… However, the dangerousness of that person doesn’t compare to the president’s…”
“Well, you don’t have to worry so much, Akiko. I’m not a child, you know? Even if the president posed some danger, I’ve got at least the power to protect myself from her.”
“Naive! Onii-chan’s too naive! Onii-chan doesn’t know how dreadful a person she can be, so you’re able to be that carefree!”
“Even if you say that… We’re attending the same school, so it’s unavoidable that something will happen, right?”
“That might be true, but please be more aware of yourself! Inside that school there’s a dreadful predator and Onii-chan is its pitiful prey! If it’s Onii-chan, then that person will snatch you up in the blink of the eye and there’ll be nothing but ‘CHOMP’, ‘CRUNCHCRUNCH’, and then a ‘GULP’!”
“I get it, I get it. I’ll make sure to be really careful, okay?”
“…Wahh, I’m feeling uneasy already. Too uneasy. Even if Onii-chan’s careful, if she comes out and sets her sights on you, Onii-chan will be like a rabbit eyed by a hawk… Ahh, now that it’s come to this, it’d be best if I feasted on Onii-chan before she can! With that said, Onii-chan, this evening you and I——”
“You’re the most dreadful predator to me. It’s about time you noticed that!”
“Please don’t say that! At least let me sleep in the same futon as you!”
“No. It’s about time for you to go prepare dinner. I’ll be busy preparing for my lessons.”
“Please do something about it! Just let both of our futons lie next to each other then!”
“Ah, that’s right. It’s about time I tend to the yard.”
“Just lined up! Really, only just lined up! You surely could at least do something like that! That’s all, seriously!”
“Since I’ve moved here, I’ve really let it go. Before my lessons I should work on the yard first.”
“O-Onii-chan’s ignoring me! How cruel! That’s a serious case of domestic violence! If you continue abusing your cute little sister that way, sooner or later you’ll be standing in court! Are you fine with that?!”
“Hey, Akiko. Where’s the broom? I can’t seem to find it.”
“…Waaah… Onii-chan, you meanie…”
With that said, I noted something in my mind.
Nikaidou Arashi – She was probably a friend, but I had to be especially careful around her.
Translator notes and references
Storm: “Arashi” (嵐) lit. means “storm”.
Toorima: Demon who brings misfortune to homes it passes through.