March ended as spring came into full swing.
It was a new year, and a new school period.
“Man. Still, it was pretty amazing~.” It was during after school. They were in Murakumo Private High School’s 3rd year class A’s classroom. While doing the work of organizing printouts, Koiwai Kurumi spoke out roughly. “Kanaruzawa Sekai-san. It’s my first time seeing someone like that.”
“…Mmm. Yeah.” Kirishima Yuuki gave an unenthusiastic response while aligning the corners of the printouts.
“No matter how you try to put it, she looks amazing! Her hair was silver and her eyes were red. Moreover, she’s insanely cute. She isn’t that tall but she has a huge chest.”
“Well. I guess.”
“She’s definitely some sort of princess.” Kurumi was imagining it all with dazzling eyes. “It’s like, having her just stand there gives off some sort of aura. It’s somewhat nerve-wracking but at the same time dignified. No well, it’s like a jewel, a jewel. She’s a jewel. A diamond.”
“I see. Well that’s true.”
“Hafuu… she’s really such an amazing girl.”
“Who knows? I wonder.”
Kurumi made a sullen look. Giving him a glare, she pointed her finger at him, “Can you be a little more into the conversation? We’ve been friends since middle school, right? We’ve been in the same class and we’re fellow class representatives, right?”
“Well, that’s true.”
“Or what is it then? Is it because you were brought up as a young rich boy? You don’t have much interest in a princess because of that? This why rich people are…”
“It’s not exactly like that.” Yuuki made a bitter smile. There was a reason that he didn’t hold any interest in the transfer student. “I mean. That girl, ever since the day she transferred, she hasn’t come to school.”
That’s right. The transfer student, Kanaruzawa Sekai, hasn’t shown her face at school ever since she shook the school on her arrival. “To be honest, I don’t have interest in anyone who doesn’t come to school. Of course, she was really pretty, and I was really surprised when I first saw her though.”
“That’s true.” Kurumi also made a bitter smile, “Me too. It’s fine to just watch and have fun. I still have to think twice about actually talking to her and hanging out with her though. It’s just that she really stands out.”
That’s also true. The transfer student was as beautiful as a jewel, but whether she would be able to fit in was a completely different matter. Rather, there was no way she could fit in. After all, the amount of people she has talked to since the first day she transferred was zero. None of their classmates wanted to try and make contact with a girl who seemed out of this dimension.
However, everyone was super excited about the transfer student coming, but since the type of person that ended up showing up was outside of their imagination, they ended up not knowing how to handle the situation.
“She even left immediately.” Kurumi sharpened her lip, “She said that she was feeling bad or something, and ended up leaving without going through class. Because of that, we never had any time to talk to her from our side.”
“Yeah. Just getting close to her was impossible.”
“Being to beautiful is bad for a girl too. It’s a really tough spot to be in. It’s also why I can’t get a boyfriend.”
“… Why are you sneaking glances at me?”
“Mufufun. Even though you know why.”
Now, praise me, that was the face that Kurumi was making. Yuuki thought back to the transfer student.
She was an existence that was beautiful and otherworldly. It was a singular point that stuck out in their normal daily lives. It can’t be helped that she sticks out in their minds.
Yuuki didn’t exchange a single word with her, neither did he have a single point of contact with her—however, that girl was too unique. So different that it could be thought that she wasn’t human.
“—Onii-sama. Let’s have a quiz.”
That night, in the Kirishima house’s garden. Haruko made a suggestion as they were having their after-dinner tea.
“Quiz?” Yuuki tilted his head, “Why so suddenly again?”
“Question number one.” His little sister insisted. Jagajagajan~, she started off the quiz with that, “What do you think is what a girl hates the most in this world?”
“Even if you ask me that, I have no clue.”
“I wonder whaaat iiit iiiis??” She insisted further. From across the table she leaned over and repeated herself once more. She was smiling but her eyes were not.
“Ummm.” He quickly turned his thoughts and began to think. It was best for him to play along for now. “Well, let’s see, the body odor of a middle-aged man.”
“Bubu~. That’s wrong.”
“Being next to a middle-aged man in a crowded train.”
“Bubu~. That’s also wrong.”
“The greasy bald head of a middle-aged man.”
“Can you stop it with the middle-aged man already? It’s quite rude, you know?”
“Even if you say that. I don’t know what I don’t know.”
“By the way, if you get it wrong one more time, you will be signing a marriage registration form for me ♡.”
“Nono. You’re in elementary school aren’t you? I’m a high schooler after all.”
“Don’t think about all the details. Come on, the countdown is starting. Teeenn, niiinnnee, eeeiiigght, seevveeen…”
It was a merciless countdown. Yuuki shook his head and raised both his hands. “Yeah, it’s no good. I don’t know. I give up.”
“Alright, that’s such a shame! Then, quickly sign this marriage registration form…”
“Wait. At least tell me the right answer.”
“You’re such a bad sport, Onii-sama. No matter how much you struggle, tomorrow, we will be going on a honeymoon trip you know? To a country that allows siblings the freedom to marry each other that is. Mufufu ♡.”
“Like there’s a country like that. Come on now, tell me quickly.” He urged her on with a glare.
Haruko snorted, “Then, let me tell you what it is. The right answer is…”
Bishi! She pointed straight between her brother’s eyes, “When we finally have the rare chance of spending time alone together, my beloved Onii-sama is thinking about another girl! There’s no other thing that is more annoying than that! It’s so frustrating!”
“Isn’t that just about you? That isn’t about the general world at all.”
“Really though, it’s completely unforgivable, you know? While spending tea time with your cute little sister, Onii-sama clearly has his mind elsewhere. I know it. Inside your mind is a girl other than me.”
“I didn’t have my mind elsewhere though.” He couldn’t help being tongue-tied as he tried to respond. The intuition that his sister had was like a wild animal. The fact that he was thinking about another girl was completely true.
“Well? Who are you thinking about?” Haruko leaned over towards him. Her eyes told him that she would not forgive him if he tried to brush it off with a lie. As such, Yuuki let her hear it.
The silver haired transfer student. Her otherworldly aura. And how she hadn’t come to school since the first day.
“Fumu.” After she finished listening, she took a breath. She wrapped both her hands around her cup and dropped her gaze. After thinking for a bit, “Onii-sama.”
“Is it alright if I say something serious?”
“It’s better for you not to be involved with that person.” His sister said that suddenly.
Yuuki laughed, “I thought you would say that. But regardless, even if the other person wasn’t that transfer student, you probably would have said the same thing.”
“Of course. Any bug that tries to get close to Onii-sama should be exterminated without leaving a single one left. For example, that Koiwai Whatever-her-name-is person.”
“I’ll act like I didn’t hear your statement just now.”
“Regardless of any personal circumstances though,” His sister made a serious face, “I just don’t have a good feeling about that person. You should keep your distance from her.”
“Why do you think that?”
“I see. Your intuition is usually right after all.” He made a sigh as he leaned back in his chair.
Haruko pushed even more. “You might think it’s fine to approach with some interest. But you know what they say, curiosity killed the cat.”
“That’s true. I’ll be careful.”
“It’s just like how they say that beautiful things are dangerous. Like how roses have thorns.”
“By the way, I’m also full of thorns.”
“By that, are you trying to suggest that you are beautiful?”
“Well, you don’t need to worry about it most likely. A rose as beautiful and cute as me that doesn’t have any thorns, sometimes exists.”
“I wouldn’t think that a person that said she would eliminate all bugs without leaving a single one left was without any thorns.”
“Moreover, that rose is completely devoted to you, Onii-sama. We should marry quickly.”
She ended up ignoring his retort. Yuuki sipped on the tea. Haruko smiled as she watched over him.
“Are you happy right now?”
“…Hmm?” He was surprised at the sudden question. Haruko smiled as she waited for an answer. It was still a little cold in the early spring garden. If you looked up at Tokyo’s night sky, stars could be seen twinkling. “Well, I guess I’m happy. No complaints.”
It was true that he was blessed. It would be fine to say that he was too blessed. Ever since he was born, he was brought up without any inconveniences.
Born as an heir to a world class pharmaceutical company. His familial environment was fine. There was no problem with his relationships with other people and he was able to live fully satisfied until today. It will probably be the same from now on. There’s no way he wasn’t happy.
“…And?” He turned to face his sister. Her face seemed to be full of underlying motives. “Why did you ask such a thing?”
“No, it’s nothing. It’s fine if Onii-sama is happy.”
His sister smiled while nodding. She was smiling from her heart, but her eyes seemed to be looking somewhere far away—sometimes, she would have eyes like that.
“Well, how should I say this?” While drinking the last bit of tea left in the cup, Yuuki nodded. “Thanks for the advice. I’ll try to remember it.”
“Yeah. Please do so.”
His sister laughed again. It was a fully satisfied smile made him want to pat her. He didn’t know what she was thinking when she said not to get involved Kanaruzawa Sekai. However, he would try to listen to her words as much as she could.
Kirishima Haruko was Kirishima Yuuki’s precious little sister after all.
Then, the next day.
Yuuki was standing in front of the house of Kanaruzawa Sekai.
“Eh? What are you talking about?”
“Yeah, it’s nothing. Just talking to myself.”
After answering Kurumi, who was tilting her head, he once again turned to face Kanaruzawa’s mansion.
They were at a place along the Soubu Line designated as a specially protected area. The wave of development didn’t extend into this area, and many Western-style buildings from before the war remained in various places. Kanaruzawa’s mansion was one of those buildings.
There was no other reason for them to come here today besides the fact that their homeroom teacher had asked them to. “Hey, the two of you class representatives, I’m sorry but will you guys bring her the printouts,” he had asked.
“By the way, Koiwai-san.”
“There isn’t an interphone for this house, is there?”
“That’s true. It’s an old mansion after all”
“It doesn’t have a nameplate either.”
“It’s that kind of house after all.”
Yuuki looked around left and right.
It was a quiet place. There were no cars. Neither could the sound of trains be heard. Besides that, there was also very little sign of any people. Everywhere were expensive looking mansions, and it seemed as if sounds were barely able to come out into the open. It had that sort of feeling.
“You know, Koiwai-san.”
“I was told by my sister. Don’t get involved with that transfer student, you see.”
“As long as the other person is a girl, that little sister would probably say the same thing to about them.”
“But still. I feel that as an older brother, I should try my best to listen to what she says, or something like that.”
“If that’s the case, then you wouldn’t even be able to be friends with me.”
He couldn’t respond to that. It seems that it was about time for him to make his resolve now.
“Ah~ Ah~. Kohon kohon.” Yuuki cleared his throat.
He confirmed his surroundings. If you’re a man then hurry up and do it, or so Kurumi’s gaze seemed to communicate to him. Seeing that, he took a deep breath,
“Is there something you need?”
His breathing stopped and he turned around in a hurry. Before he had realized it, a maid had appeared. It was a maid dressed in formal looking maid clothes.
“I’m called Chiyo.” The maid bowed, “What can I do for you today?”
She smiled softly.
She held the soft demeanor of a beautiful woman. At the same time, she didn’t seem like a person who would let her guard down. She knew how to erase her presence too well. Against such a person, he probably wouldn’t be able to win against her in a fight.
“Ummm, you see.”
In place of the now stiffened Yuuki, Kurumi explained. About how they were Kanaruzawa Sekai’s classmates. And that their homeroom teacher had asked them to deliver the printouts.
“I see.” Chiyo-san seemed to have accepted it, “I understand the situation. Thank you for taking into consideration my mistress’s concerns.”
“Ah, no. Our pleasure.” Yuuki was somehow able to give a polite reply.
“Sekai-san,” On the other hand, Kurumi was unafraid, “Is she currently at home? If possible, I was thinking of giving her a word of greeting.”
“Fumu.” The maid took a little bit of time to think. “Koiwai Kurumi-sama, and also Kirishima Yuuki-sama are you’re names, correct? Thank you very much for taking your time and energy to come here today. However…”
She looked at the two of them in turn. Then, the maid gave a slight smile, “If you would like to get involved with my mistress, you must have a certain amount of resolution. Despite this, is that fine with the two of you.”
Yuuki and Kurumi looked at each other.
“Ummm.” Yuuki raised his hand, “What do you mean by resolution?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t say.”
“Haa.” He looked at Kurumi one more time. Then, he thought for a bit, “Well, you see, Chiyo-san.”
“You were talking about whether or not we should get involved. However, Kanaruzawa Sekai-san ended up transferring into our class, after all. We can’t really not be involved with her, since coming here to this point in time, we are already involved in some way.”
“Still, if you still want us to not be involved with Sekai-san from now on, it’ll be hard. There’s already a problem with the fact that she had transferred into our school.”
The maid continued to smile silently. Did he say a little bit too much? He became worried about that, however,
“… That’s true.” The maid nodded with a smile. Then, she bowed deeply, “It’s exactly as you have said. Please forgive my rudeness.”
“Ah, no. It’s no problem.”
“Well then, I’ve told you what I needed to tell you.” The door opened as they were invited in. “I will show you to where my mistress is. Please come this way.”
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”
He once again looked at Kurumi.
(… What should we do?)
(No no, even if you ask me that…)
During their short moment of eye contact, the only conclusion that they could come up with was that “they could only go on.”
“Please come this way.”
Having built up their decision, Yuuki and Kurumi took a step into the mansion. The garden was well-tended. It was filled with spring flowers of various colors. The maid opened the front door. Despite it being the day time, the corridor was still dark. It had the smell of an old house. With every step that they took, the floorboards beneath them creaked.
Yuuki was silent.
Kurumi was also silent.
Yuuki understood her feelings completely. This was because he was also feeling the same way that she was feeling.
(Doesn’t it give off a bad feeling…?)
It’s like they were going out into the ocean on a boat made of mud. Their chest beat harder. Their throats became dry.
“Come. My mistress is in here.”
They had felt like they had walked some kilometers, but in reality, the length they had traveled was probably only around 20 something meters.
A thick looking door made of oak stood in front of them.
“Go on. Please do not hesitate.”
The maid urged them further. The two of them were told to go in, but neither of them could take their next steps.
(…What should we do?)
(No no, even if you ask me that.)
They once again made eye contact. He wondered if Kurumi was also swallowed up by the atmosphere. She seemed pretty reserved right now.
(What should we do? Go back?)
(There’s no way we would be able to pull back here. If you’re a man then just go!)
She jabbed him with her elbow. Yuuki made his resolution.
He didn’t know what lay ahead, however, but there’s no way it would make him lose his life. He swallowed his saliva. Put his hand on the door knob. The door opened with a creak. What was beyond the door appeared in front of them.
And the things that Yuuki saw. It was the unhindered sight of the silver-haired girl just coming out of the bath.
Both Yuuki’s and Kurumi’s mouths dropped. After being told so much, and imagining all the things that could be there, the situation in front of them was completely outside of their expectation. Their thoughts and reactions couldn’t catch up.
It was a completely unexpected development. That beyond the thick looking oak door, would be the bathing area, and the dressing room, and that it was in use.
“Hmmm? Chiyo is it?
The silver haired girl opened her mouth. While fully nude.
Here eyelids were closed, as she was drying her hair with a bath towel,
“If you were going to come in, you should knock, you know? Even if we’re close there are still some manners.”
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
The maid lowered her head deeply.
The silver haired girl—Kanruzawa Sekai didn’t seem to have seen what was in front of her.
“Well, it’s fine. By the way, Chiyo, where do you put my underwear? I had decided that I was going to wear that one today.”
“Are you talking about the underwear with blue stripes?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“That was just put into the laundry recently.”
“Muu, I see. Then it can’t be helped. Today, I’ll have to bear with the bear print underwear.”
“If you’re looking for that, then it is placed right in front of you.”
“You are also unthoughtful of other people. Shouldn’t you already know that my eyesight isn’t that great? Since I just came out of the bath, I’m not wearing any glasses and I can’t see anything at all…”
She stopped moving right there.
She had just picked up the glasses that were placed by the bathtub, and was in the middle of putting it on. Kanaruzawa Sekai’s gaze was pointing towards Chiyo-san. To be exact, it was directed at the two other people there.
She took off her glasses and cleaned them off. Once again, she put them on. After taking another look, her face began to burn red.
The scream that echoed through the mansion was quite pathetic.