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Inside the hallway after classes had ended, the students were enjoying a breather. Sousei Academy had many students from distinguished families, going to school like this gave them a way to relax from the strict family background and activities that they normally had to deal with. Hence, many of them were joyfully joining clubs left and right, and were more than ready to help out in any committee, as long as they could stay at school longer. Naturally, that meant that the school was lively even after classes ended.
“Ara, what a coincidence, Kitamikado-san. To think that we would share the same way home,” said Kisa, as she walked next to Mikado.
“Our entrance to the school is the same after all!”
“To go out of your way and choose the same way home, isn’t this enough to show your affection for me? Can I call this my victory?”
“I just told you, we haven’t even left the school yet!”
Although you might just see this as Mikado being unnecessarily wary, after all that has happened, he couldn’t imagine that Kisa would only attack him on a level like this.
“Yaho! Welcome back, Mikado-kun!”
As the two of them arrived at the student entrance, a cheerful voice greeted them. With her body wrapped in the middle school division’s uniform, Mizuki waved at them with her bag in hand. At the same time, she gathered a few dubious gazes from the other high school students around, she paid it no mind whatsoever.
“Welcome back…? I’m about to go home though.”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff! Since you and Onee-chan are walking home together… it means that, right?! Just when did you start going out?!”
“We never did!” Mikado quickly tried to correct her, but Mizuki didn’t listen to him.
“This must be…the flow of events where we walk home together and play, right?!”
“Eh, really? What should I do…? I haven’t mentally prepared myself…” Kisa awkwardly averted her gaze.
“No, that won’t happen. If someone saw me visit the Nanjou Family’s home, it would cause a great rukus for both our families.”
“We just have to make you wear girl’s clothing, and it wouldn’t be weird at all!”
“My appearance would be weird! There’s no way it would fit me!”
“No no no, it’ll definitely fit you. Right, Onee-chan? You want to see him crossdress as well, don’t you!?”
Kisa flashed a fiendish smile.
“Yeah…I want to see it (The moment where Kitamikado-san falls victim to extreme humiliation) as well.”
“Recently, I feel like I can hear the voice of your heart more and more, Nanjou…”
“Should I introduce you to an excellent doctor (that will brainwash you with medicine), I wonder?”
“I really can hear it, yeah!”
Disregarding that, Mikado could not just walk into the enemy’s lair like that. He couldn’t complain if he was abducted and confined against his will and even if he wasn’t, he would still be surrounded by countless foes.
“Hmmm…then, it’ll be fine as long as it’s not our home, right? Let’s go to Joyful together! The drink bar is open until midnight, you know!?”
“Mizuki…Do you not have any pride as a member of the Nanjou Family?” Kisa clearly was unsure if they were really related.
“Joyful is perfectly fine! I love making a mix out of oolong tea, coffee, and green tea to get my special juice, you know?”
“None of those ingredients are related to juice, right?”
“My feelings are more than enough!”
“It’s not physically in there though.”
“What matters is the thought!”
As the Nanjou sisters were busy fighting, Mikado went ahead and took his shoes out of his locker. He had no experience with going to those so-called family restaurants and although he was very delighted at the thought of spending dinner together with Kisa, that wasn’t an option.
“Sorry about this, but I don’t have any time today. I have to go shopping now.”
“If it’s shopping, then can I tag along?”
“I-I wouldn’t mind accompanying you either.”
“No, it’s with someone from my family. And it’s not the fun kind of shopping.”
Rather, Mikado would ditch it if he could, that’s how unfavorable it was. He was having a face to face meeting with his fiance for the first time, so he’ll be forced to buy new clothes for that time. Having to prepare for a marriage with a girl he didn’t even have feelings for wasn’t easy food for the soul. However, he had to move according to the head’s orders today. Until the conclusion of the game arrived and he managed to pull Kisa into the Kitamikado Family, he had to be a proper successor.
“Shopping? What are you going to buy?”
“Shh, Onee-chan, you can’t ask that! It’s probably something lewd!”
“I see…I didn’t expect this from you, Kitamikado-san.” Kisa’s eyes were looking at Mikado like he was the scum of the earth.
“Don’t just scorn me like that! And it’s not something lewd!”
Mizuki tilted her head a bit as she thought.
“So a year’s supply of girls’ panties?”
“How many pairs is a year’s supply?!”
“I think that Mikado-kun can’t live without 5 pairs a day, so around 1800?”
“So you wanted that many panties…Kitamikado-san, I’m shocked.”
“I never said a word about wanting that!”
Although he hated being treated like a panties addict, he couldn’t tell them of his real plans. If he did tell them, they’d eventually find out about his first meeting with his fiance. He couldn’t allow Kisa to become a hindrance, because she would definitely do everything in her might to deny their meeting. Naturally, it’s not like Mikado didn’t appreciate that, since he had no intentions of marrying that girl, but the trouble that came with it would complicate things. If the two families started a full blown war now, it would definitely result in lasting damage.
“Anyway, I’m making the car wait, so I’ll be on my way now.”
“Ehhh, so stingy! No splitting up!
“Just go there on your own.”
At this point, Mizuki was just acting petty.
“See you later, Kitamikado-san. It’d be great if it turns into a pleasant weekend, right?” Kisa smiled faintly.
Standing in the depths of the bamboo thicket, inside a closed off space of tranquility, there was the traditional Japanese restaurant ‘White Dragon’, offering the highest level of Japanese cuisine, with select ingredients, created by master chefs exclusively. And, with the incomparable beauty of the waitresses, it only accepted the most influential people of political origin and was sometimes used for discussions that could bring forth a great change in this world. Currently, in one room of this establishment, Mikado was sitting next to his parents.
“We are incredibly grateful that you could come here during your busy day to let us meet Shizukawa-sama.”
The head of the Kitamikado Family, Mikado’s father, bowed deeply. Past the table he was seated at was the head of the financial conglomerate Shizukawa, his wife, and daughter. In response to those words, the head of the Shizukawa Family smiled calmly.
“Don’t be, we have waited a long time for this day to arrive. The two of our families combined will surely restore Japan and turn it back into a strong country of this world.”
A marriage for political reasons. With romantic relationships not being permitted in the Kitamikado Family, marriage formed based on any reason besides politics would not be allowed. This time however, it had a very special reason. The Shizukawa conglomerate had their hands in reliable industries like trains, cars, newspapers even, giving them great influence in Japan. Their own finances are quickly surpassing those of the estimated country’s sum. With the Shizukawa conglomerate who are giants in the industrial world and the Kitamikado Family, who stood at the top of the political pyramid, if those two families were to be intertwined as one they would grow even stronger, becoming very capable of moving Japan all on their own.
“It has been a while. I am Kitamikado Mikado.” Mikado lowered his head at the three people present from the Shizukawa Family.
Being born into a powerful family, meetings with industrially influential families weren’t rare. He had been in contact with the Shizukawa Family before, where he had played with their daughter when they were still at a young age.
Being in the middle of his game with Kisa, this certainly wasn’t the time for an arranged marriage like this, but he could not report that to his parents yet. For now, he had to play the part of the Kitamikado Family’s successor.
“Dear Father-in-law, dear Mother-in-law, dear Mikado-sama, my name is Shizukawa Rinka. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
The girl that introduced herself as Rinka bowed down ever so slightly. Just from the looks and tone alone, she gave off the feeling of a Yamato Nadeshiko, the ideal woman. Her jet black hair reached down to her waist and it was sparkling without a single speck of dirt in it. Cool and collected eyes, beautiful eyebrows. Her graceful body was wrapped in a supreme kimono, as she smiled at Mikado. Her neck, sometimes visible through the gaps of her long hair and her slender fingers, was so white it almost seemed transparent. Being the complete opposite of the teasing girl that was Kisa, Rinka had the atmosphere of an angel having descended upon earth.
The head of the Kitamikado Family spoke up.
“Rinka-san, you are at the same age as our Mikado, right? What school are you attending?”
“Shirase Girls Academy.”
It was a school only daughters of noble families attended, a girls’ school with an ancient and honorable history. Be it the teachers themselves or the leaders in power, every person involved was in fact a woman, making this school completely shut-off from a world with boys. Sometimes liberally called the ‘Bride School’, people also critique this policy, but demand for the graduates of this school is incredibly high. Just by being a student of this school you gain prestige, hence all the parents that sent their daughters to Shirase Girls’ Academy.
Naturally, the head of the Kitamikado Family gave a deep, satisfied nod as he heard that.
“Shirase, huh. That is very relieving to hear. Do you have any hobbies?”
“The qin1, and a bit of flower arrangement.”
The head raised his head at Rina’s calm response.
“Oho. Now that, I look forward to seeing in the future.”
“It pains me to inform you that my level is that of a mere beginner, so it is nothing I should be showing you.” Rinka replied modestly.
Her every reaction in this conversation was the perfect role model of a wife. Seeing her not rebutting anything and acting out the flawless fiance, Mikado felt a yawn already begin to leak.
“Mikado-san, what are you planning on doing once you succeed the Kitamikado Family?”
This time it was the head of the Shizukawa, the man who owned hundreds of businesses and employed hundreds of thousands of employees beneath him, voiced a question towards Mikado.
“First, I will eject all the incapable people out of our politics and administration. All the old people that have engraved themselves with relations will disappear from the political stage through the usage of money. What Japan needs the most right now is a cleansing.”
“Like a purge almost.”
“The footwork in today’s Japan is too heavy. First we have to push out the unwanted luggage. With that done, we can start real change.”
“I see…What if those old people were like me…and your own father?” He asked in a testing manner.
Although he might be smiling, his features weren’t.
—You’ll get crushed if you give a half-assed answer here kiddo, his eyes were speaking for themselves.
Including his own parents, the attention of everyone in the room was directed at mikado. Although the proprietress and the chefs were carrying the food in, their movement stopped as they were hit with the heavy atmosphere.
“Of course I will remove you as well. To bring this country back to its former glory, I cannot hesitate because of my feelings.”
The head of the Shizukawa relaxed his face.
“That’s what I want to hear from the successor of the Kitamikado Family. I feel safe passing my motherland into your hands.”
“Fufu, he’s been trained well in our family.” Mikado’s father laughed.
“Wonderful, Mikado-sama. While being your wife, I will support you with everything I have from the shadows.” Rinka put her hands together, as she commented.
Both the parents of Rinka, as well as Mikado’s own parents were more than pleased with his response. Outside, the flowing of water could be heard on top of the soft twittering of the birds.
—I’m bored, thought Mikado.
Of this place, this atmosphere and this fiance more than anything. He knew that Rinka wasn’t a bad person by all means, but he couldn’t help but compare her to Kisa. That stimulating and intriguing devilish girl. If it was Kisa, she would never say ‘I want to support Mikado from the shadows. What would sound more like her would be ‘I want to control Mikado from the shadows’. If one were to ask Kisa for her hobbies, she would say ‘thinking up strategies’ and if you told her to play an instrument, she would do her best and flush bright red once you gave her a standing ovation. Being born into the family reigning over the darkness, the Nanjou Family, she instead held incredible radiance, that’s who the young maiden Kisa was.
“Mikado, what’s wrong? It’s pretty rude for you to space out in front of the Shizukawa Family.”
Being scolded by his father, Mikado forcefully separated from his thoughts of Kisa. His mother put her fingers to her mouth and gave a faint snicker.
“Fufu, Rinka-san is so beautiful, so he couldn’t help but gaze at her, right?”
“W-Well, something of the sort.”
Mikado quickly covered it up. He certainly couldn’t blurt out that he was thinking about another girl.
“I am honored, Mikado-sama.”
“Ha ha ha, you two are a good fit I see. Seems like my eyes haven’t failed me yet again.”
“Indeed. I am looking forward to the day when Rinka-san will enter our family as my daughter-in-law.”
Both parents were pleased again. However, Mikado wasn’t looking forward to it in the slightest. He knew very well that the ban on romantic relationships was to lessen the danger of a scandal and he also knew that love can be tempting and blinding. But… a future together with another girl besides Kisa, Mikado really could not imagine it.
Mikado’s father turned towards him slightly and spoke up.
“In order for the two of you to get to know each other better, you’re fine to take a walk. Mikado, properly escort Rinka-san, will you?”
“Please treat me well, Mikado-sama.”
Ordered by the head of the Kitamikado Family, Mikado and Rinka left the restaurant.
A bit of a ways away from the restaurant was a wide open park. Unlike the small parks you could find in your neighbourhood, it was a few kilometers wide and resembled a small forest. Said park had a pond, a wide open place, a sports ground, a flower garden, even small stalls and restaurants were open in case one had any wants.
And now Mikado was walking down the alley of trees, next to him was his fiance Rinka. Although this could be seen as his first date with a girl, being here only because of an instruction, Mikado’s heart didn’t react in the slightest.
— I’m sure that both our parents won’t be satisfied if this doesn’t take at least two hours…At the very least one hour and 48 minutes from now…
Although it was more than just being rude, Mikado couldn’t help but make calculations because he didn’t want to stay any longer than he had to. That being said, he wouldn’t feel comfortable just wasting those two hours.
“Rinka-san, do you like being outdoors?”
“What places do you like to visit?”
“A lot of places.”
“A lot, huh.”
It’s been like this for a while and no proper conversation blossomed. Rinka would leak no information about herself whatsoever and only muttered her replies. Mikado almost thought that his fiance hated him.
—That being said, it would make sense.
This pairing was only decided for Rinka by her parents. There’s no way she would have any affection for that person and there might even be a person she has feelings for. However, this being the orders of her family, she had to throw away her own feelings and agree to this marriage, and it’s not like Mikado couldn’t understand her feelings.
Mikado let out a sigh. In response, Rinka whispered in an unsure tone.
“I-I’m sorry…You must be…bored…”
“No, that’s not it, but…”
Letting out a sigh during a date was indeed bad manners on his part.
“I’m just a bit…nervous…I don’t know what to talk about…Even though I was looking forward to talking with you on this very day, Mikado-sama…”
“Looking forward to…? To this meeting arranged by your parents?”
“Is that…not good?” Rinka looked up at Mikado, her gaze filled with worry.
Her small hands were pressed together tightly. If only Kisa was this honest, Mikado caught himself thinking yet again.
“Ummm…I’m happy that you were looking forward to it this much…”
But, he wasn’t sure how to interpret that. They haven’t had many interactions recently, so her reason for looking forward to this was a mystery to Mikado.
Rinka tilted her head at Mikado’s silence. In the past, he had met the girl at parties and the like, but those memories were more vague than anything. Not to mention that unlike the young girl she was back then, she had grown into a fine flower.
“Mikado-sama, do you…dislike this whole marriage arrangement?”
“No, it’s not about hating it…”
“That’s a lie.” Rinka said, like she had seen through a child’s dishonesty.
“Mikado-sama, you were always distracted today. You’re not looking at me at all.”
Sharp. Maybe this is what a woman’s intuition is capable of, Mikado pondered.
“It seems like…you already have someone you like.”
But, there was no resentment in Rinka’s voice.
“I don’t want to force you to respond to me. I am well aware of your feelings Mikado-sama. But…knowing of this meeting today, I was very much looking forward to it.”
“I’m sorry…” Mikado felt a great amount of guilt burning inside him.
Although it was set up by his parents, the person herself wasn’t unbearable in the slightest. He sure enough couldn’t lie to his own feelings, but seeing that she had been anticipating this, he wanted her to enjoy herself at the very least. That is the responsibility that the serious Mikado felt. Taking out his smartphone, Mikado checked the surroundings and decided on where to go next.
“…For now, how about we go to a more open place? It seems like they have a flower garden here as well.”
“Okay…” Rinka answered, as she turned around for a second.
“I feel like someone has been trailing us for a while now…”
As he traced Rinka’s gaze, Mikado spotted rustling bushes in the distance. What caught his eye past that was the lens of a camera, a well-endowed chest and familiar sharp eyes.
— It’s you again, Kawaraya?!
Mikado screamed out inside his chest. Hiding in the trunk of his car to spy on him, she sure was the egg of a family of information gatherers, but her actions were too unpredictable and her energy way too high for Mikado’s taste.
“Well, I don’t think that there is a big problem with that…”
Disregarding the scenery of what would happen if it was Kisa, even if she found proof of him taking a walk with his fiance, that wouldn’t trouble Mikado in the slightest. On the contrary, if that was leaked, the Kitamikado and Shizukawa Family would be more pleased than ashamed.
“Is there not, I wonder…?”
“She’s a perpetrator that often tails me. Peeping pictures, spying, wiretapping, stalking and much more, yeah, but she doesn’t hurt anybody while doing so.”
Though it might have sounded a bit insulting, the scary part about Kokage was that it wasn’t a lie in the slightest.
“Even with all that, there really isn’t any damage? Mikado-sama, you are far too kind, we should be calling the police instead.”
“N-No, I don’t want to turn this into a ruckus…”
She was a classmate after all, or so Mikado wanted to argue. However, he held off on that because he didn’t want to worry Rinka as to what kind of class he was actually in.
“Is that really the case I wonder…?” Rinka’s face grew a bit pale.
Unlike the Nanjou siblings who were born and raised in this world, Rinka was a normal girl, only born into a rich family, so this whole situation no doubt must be a bit tough on her.
“Then, how about we run away?”
Mikado grabbed Rinka by the wrist and started running. Kokage panicked as she went to chase after them, but the belt of her camera got stuck in the bushes, leaving her unable to move for a few seconds.
“It’s fine, just follow me.”
Mikado pulled Rinka into the corner of a shadow, hiding both their bodies. Still having her wrist held by Mikado, Rinka grew stiff like she was frozen and held her breath.
“Ahhhh?! Where did Mikado-kun go?!”
With the branches of the trees stuck in her hair, Kokage ran along the way with her camera in hand. Having jumped out of the bushes, her shirt was half-pulled down to her shoulders and the upper buttons were opened, revealing a bit too much of her white skin, which gathered the attention of people passing her.
“Mama, there’s a pervert over there!”
“Don’t point at her or she’ll jump at you!”
Mikado even heard the exchange between a mother and child. As Kokage’s back was finally out of sight, Mikado and Rinka stepped out from the shadows.
“That was really heart-racing…” Rinak said, as she put one hand on her chest.
“I’m sorry, suddenly grabbing you like that.”
“N-No! I didn’t mind that at all!” She quickly shook her head.
“Rather, this is the first time that a male has ever taken the lead like this with me… And it was Mikado-sama of all people… I thought my heart would stop. Of course, not in the bad sense.”
“I-Is that so…?”
“Yes…I was…very happy.”
Yet again, her reserved, yet flustered way of behaving gave her the vibe of a Yamato Nadeshiko. Her face was burning red. Seeing this, even Mikado grew a bit embarrassed.
“So you always take the lead with girls like this, Mikado-sama.”
“No, that’s not the case. Romantic relationships are prohibited in the Kitamikado Family.”
“That’s a lie. You are weirdly used to this, aren’t you?” Rinka pouted slightly. “Mikado-sama…my hair has gotten a bit ruffled so would you mind if I went to fix it?”
“I’ll be right back.”
Giving a short explanation, Rinka walked off to a nearby toilet. On the way, her jet-black hair radiated against the sunlight. Maybe if he hadn’t met Kisa before, he would have been able to develop feelings for Rinka, marry her and build a normal family.
—Anyway… the biggest priority is to let this meeting end safely.
And it happened just as he thought that.
“My, if it isn’t Kitamikado-san. What a coincidence to meet you here.”
With a fiendish smile, she appeared like a fairy.
“You…Why are you always meddling in other people’s businesses like this…?”
Mikado felt all the strength leave his body.
“Eh, what? Am I being praised here?”
The girl flashing her usual teasing smile was none other than Nanjou Kisa. The most troublesome existence he could have run into.
“As if that was meant as praise! I have some important business here, so let’s meet again next week! Arrivederci!”
With those words, Mikado cast his gaze downwards as he leaned against the wall of the building. While doing so, Kisa stood next to him in front of the wall.
“Why are you still here?!”
“Because you looked like you definitely didn’t want me to stay?”
“Are you the devil?!”
“Yes, indeed I am. Seeing Kitamikado-san troubled like this is what I love the most in this world.” Kisa snickered.
Today, the girl was even cuter than usual. Right now, she wore a very feminine black one-piece, not missing the frills and laces. Pairing that with black knee-socks going above her knees and black high heels, it was a perfect contrast to her snow-white skin. A black spangle hair accessory decorated her head and she had a cute shoulder bag designed after a cat’s face hanging down her back. Having properly coordinated her hair style, Kisa gave off the atmosphere of a small, black cat. It looked like she had put a lot of effort into it, like she was on the way to an important date.
“What are you doing here, Kitamikado-san?”
“Nothing special. Just taking a walk.”
“Then I’ll join you for that walk.”
“No, I’ll be going on my way alone.”
“Then I will be walking after you, also alone.”
“That still makes it the two of us!”
“You don’t have to pay too much mind to it. I’ll keep a distance of 5cm.”
“That’s pretty close if you ask me! Makes it even more awkward than if we were walking next to each other!”
Mikado panicked. The longer he kept talking with Kisa, the higher the risk that Rinka might return and see. If Kisa were to find out that Mikado was out on a meeting with his fiance, she would definitely try to obstruct it at all costs. Naturally, if the Shizukawa Family found out that Mikado was unnecessarily close with Kisa, that would equally spell trouble. He could definitely not allow the two girls to meet. At least not with Mikado present.
“What’s wrong, Kitamikado-san? You’re sweating quite profusely.”
“It’s pretty hot today after all…”
“Is that so? I feel like it’s more on the soothing side.”
“…Hey, if I asked you to leave me alone just for today, what would you do?”
“Stay by your side at all costs!”
“Figures… If I asked you to give up?”
“I’d definitely not give up!”
Kisa’s eyes were sparkling, a very lovable expression. But at the same time, Mikado didn’t have the leisure to enjoy that, as he was racking his head on what to do now.
—For now, keeping Kisa away from Rinka-san holds the utmost priority.
Arriving at that conclusion, Mikado decided on the most effective way of achieving that.
“Can’t help it then. Let’s take a walk together.”
“Very well! I wanted to feed the kois and birds at the pond anyway!” Kisa happily nodded along.
—So Nanjou even says cute stuff like that. She really is a girl.
Mikado once again had to correct his view of her.
“Fu fu fu, so you want your food that desperately…? How gluttonous you are. Look, even I am showing sympathy to you. If you aren’t thankful, I will step on you.”
As Kisa was laughing to herself, she scattered the (100 yen) fodder. Spotting that, the kois in the pond were frantically swimming towards the surface.
“How much more do you want to eat? But, I can’t say I dislike servants that are true to their desires…”
The servants (kois) were flapping their mouths open as they swam at the surface, waiting for more fodder. Putting a coin in the vending machine at the bank of the pond, Kisa took out a small capsule.
“I was an idiot to even think of you as cute…” Mikado muttered.
Kisa being girly, heavens no. No matter who it was, Nanjou Kisa was the same Nanjou Kisa as ever.
“Eh, what did you just say?” Kisa turned around to face Mikado with an un-Nanjou-like expression, almost innocent, as she tried to get the fodder out of the capsule.
Yet again, Mikado barely held himself back from directly calling her cute.
“You called me cute right now, didn’t you?”
Mikado desperately tried to deny it, but Kisa didn’t give up that easily.
“You definitely did! I have enough confidence to hear that even in the darkest parts of this world, if Kitamikado-san calls me cute!”
“Those are some sharp ears you have there…” Mikado sighed.
—Eh, wait, doesn’t this mean that she gets happy if I call her cute?! Is that it?! So Nanjou does…No no, it’s still too early for that.
Mikado told himself that he had too much self-confidence there and couldn’t act rashly. Normally, he’s calm and collected about this sort of stuff, but as soon as it involves Kisa, he can’t help but be reckless. In the meantime, Kisa started waving her index finger at him.
“I tell you, I haven’t misheard…You definitely said it…That I am the cutest living being existing in the entire universe.”
“I never said that much!”
Mikado gazed at the clock in the park. Around 10 minutes had passed since they left the place where he split up with Rinka, so she should be returning soon from the toilet. If he doesn’t get back soon, she might think that she was stood up. And right then, the ringtone of an incoming call resounded from Mikado’s smartphone…Inside Kisa’s bag.
Kisa took out Mikado’s phone from her bag like it was the most normal thing in the world.
“Hold on a damn second! This is definitely weird! Why do you have my phone?!”
Mikado screamed at her, a mixture of panic and confusion filling his voice, but Kisa didn’t pay that any heed. She just pressed the phone button and accepted the call.
“Yes, hello? Eh…? Who am I? Nobody worth mentioning. Where is Mikado-sama you say? What might you be talking about? You know, I don’t like it when people pull prank calls like this. Yes, I feel very offended right now.”
“When did you steal it?! Hurry and give it back!”
“Can’t you wait a second? I’m in the middle of an important call right now. Though, I don’t know this person.”
“If you don’t know her, then don’t act like it’s an important call!” Mikado succeeded in stealing back the phone.
He immediately put it to his ear and whispered while hiding his mouth.
“Hello, Kitamikado here.”
He certainly hoped that it wasn’t her, but the person that answered his voice was without a doubt Rinka. Since being separated while going to the park would have been bad, they had exchanged contacts once they stepped out of the restaurant, but Mikado didn’t anticipate that it’d stab him in the back like this.
“I’m sorry, I happened to step away from the toilet. I’ll be right back.”
‘No, I was the one to make you wait. It must have been boring to wait for me.’
An apologetic voice arrived at Mikado’s ear, making him start a sweat out of guilt and frustration. But, Kisa completely ignored that and just brought her ear closer to the phone as well so that she could listen in.
“Shhh…she’ll be able to hear you.” As Mikado glared at her, Kisa put her index finger on her lip and whispered.
Being this close, Kisa’s shoulders were about to touch Mikado’s. The long tips of her hair tickled his cheek and he felt his own heart beat accelerate fiercely. The sweet aroma that came flying over from her directly toyed with his reason. Before the situation grew too dangerous, Mikado protected his phone as he quickly separated from Kisa. While feeling a bit frustrated at not being able to enjoy her contact a bit more, he yet again focussed on the ongoing phone call.
“No, I’m the one at fault. Wait over there for a bit, I’ll be right back.”
‘No need for that. I would feel bad making you do all the moving, so I will come towards you. Where are you right now?’
“That’s…Ummm…a bit difficult to explain…”
Kisa waved her hand at Mikado with a smile, as he looked up at her. Explaining his location was no big feat, but there were certain circumstances that made it more difficult.
‘Is that so…Then, who was that girl that responded on the phone just now…?’
“That’s also a bit difficult to explain…”
Mikado started sweating more profusely, while Rinka continued in a heavy manner.
‘It sounded like a very adorable girl. Around the same age as me… Is she an acquaintance of Mikado-sama…?’
He wasn’t able to find a fitting excuse. To be frank, Mikado was always bad at covering things up, or lying even. If the other person was someone proper like Rinka, he felt an even greater resistance. Although things were different if it was Kisa.
‘Is that so…? Then, Mikado-sama I will be waiting here, so make sure to return quickly.’
And even now, she acted as the perfect Yamato Nadeshiko, not prying any further.
“Yes…I’m really sorry about this.”
Mikado reflexively bowed down while ending the phone call. He then proceeded to hang up and let out a long sigh.
“…Hey, Kitamikado-san. Who might the girl that you were on the phone with just now be?” With a grin, Kisa immediately closed the distance between her and Mikado.
It seemed like another hell awaited him before he could even return.
“Let me be clear with this… She isn’t a girl.”
“But you’re calling them ‘She’?”
“Ugh… She is but… it’s complicated…”
“That follow-up didn’t help you that much, Kitamikado-san.” Kisa calmly pointed out.
“Were you on a date with someone today? While having me, Kitamikado-san? Leaving aside the enemy of your love game, you’ve been out playing with another cute girl?” Kisa poked Mikado’s cheek.
Although the gesture was adorable, her eyes were mad. Rather, they were serious.
“I wasn’t playing with anyone…”
Mikado carefully chose his words. Since this was actually his fiance, him not playing around was the truth.
“I see… So you’re properly going out. Even though you have me.” Kisa got the wrong idea completely.
Now Mikado had almost no chance to run away anymore.
“I’m sorry, but this is related to my family so I have to go no matter what… I’ll be seeing you at school…”
“No can do.” Kisa tightly grasped Mikado’s hand.
Feeling the cool, yet also soft and warm touch of her hand, Mikado could feel his face getting hotter.
—She could just do that any other time! Why now?!
Mikado cried out tears of blood inside his heart.
“I want to see that person as well. Kitamikado-san, you’ll certainly introduce me, right?”
“Don’t ask for the impossible!”
“Why? Would it be that bad for me to meet her?”
Mikado swallowed his words. Mainly because it would be incredibly bad. There would be no merit whatsoever for him.
“Then there should be no problem,
right? I’ll be docile and I’ll make sure that she stays docile
during our game as well…”
“You’re going to eradicate her or something?! I really can’t let you meet her!”
“Not eradicate, just educate her a bit…”
“Is that really that much better?!”
While tightly holding Mikado’s hand, Kisa muttered. Her eyes were watery and almost despairing, as she glared at Mikado. Seeing that sent a current of pain through his chest. Naturally, this might all just be her acting during the game. She might only be showing sadness to lull in her target. But even so, Mikado didn’t want to keep watching a saddened Kisa like this. After letting out a sigh, Mikado spoke up.
“It’s not someone that will bother our game, so don’t mind it. I won’t quit your game halfway through. The other party is just an acquaintance from my parents.”
“She’s your fiance Shizukawa Rinka-san, right?”
“?!?!?” Mikado was at a loss for words.
Kisa let go of Mikado’s hand and put one finger on her beautiful lips as she smiled.
“Ara, was I wrong? After the initial meeting of the Shizukawa conglomerate with the Kitamikado Family at 11am in the restaurant ‘White Dragon’, the two of you moved to this park. You probably went to take a walk to deepen your relationship. You went shopping for new clothes for this very day, right? That time you said you went shopping. By the way, you brought the new clothes from ‘Bloomani’, in the store next to the Arakawa station, didn’t you?”
Do you have my schedule perfectly marked down—? Mikado was about to ask, but couldn’t force it out of this throat. Because of the shock, just opening and closing his mouth like a fish was the best he could manage.
“Wow, you’re just like the koi fish in the pond. There is no way that I would not have the schedule of my enemy marked down to the greatest detail. Anyway, you’ll introduce me to your fiance Rinka-san, right?”
“What are you planning to do… once I do…?” Mikado took a step back.
In response, Kisa took a step towards him.
“You don’t have to be so wary. I
just want to become a bit more familiar with her…Yeah, that’s
really really really really really really really really really all
there is to it!”
“The amount of ‘reallys’ in there makes it more suspicious than anything!”
Mikado ran. He ran away at max speed, never turning around once.
“I’ve… returned…I’m sorry…for making you…wait like this…”
Having arrived at the toilet where they separated, Mikado apologized to Rinka with his breathing out of rhythm. He could barely stay standing by supporting himself with one hand on a nearby tree, but sweat was dripping down his forehead like a waterfall. Because Kisa kept chasing him for awhile, he had to run at his maximum speed to escape her and was now completely burned up.
“You seem to be really tired, did something happen?”
“Ummm…I had to work overtime a bit…”
That excuse made him sound like a cheating husband, but Mikado couldn’t come up with anything else. However, Rinka smiled down at him like a goddess, as she put her hands together.
“I see, so that’s what it was. I was worried that something might have happened to you, Mikado-sama.”
“You believe me?!”
“Of course I do. It’s a wife’s job to have faith in her husband. Even if you were sleeping in the same bed as another woman, I would still believe you, Mikado-sama.”
“No, you should doubt that…” Mikado’s guilt heightened even further. “Then, let us walk to the flower garden. I will guide you.”
“Yes, please take me there.” Rinka nodded happily and lined up next to Mikado.
The sun filtering through the trees illuminated certain spots on the ground as the two of them walked along the line of trees. Mikado didn’t even have to match his speed with Rinka, because she was always next to him, matching her own speed to his. When Mikado would speak up, Rinka answered him, but she maintained a quiet smile once Mikado got silent. That was the atmosphere she gave off. A girl to honor and praise the boy, not ever becoming a bother for him.
Mikado could already see the calm and enjoyable life he would have if he took Rinka into the family as his wife. Peaceful, nothing rampant, just being able to focus on work, the ideal lifestyle for a man. But something, or rather someone, violently pulled him out of his thoughts.
“Ara, Kitamikado-san! So you were here! How cruel of you to just leave me behind!”
It was the personification of chaos and disorder walking towards him. With a radiant smile, she stopped in front of the two.
Mikado took a step back.
“Mikado-sama? Who is this person?” Rinka tilted her head.
He should have properly shaken off Kisa already, but apparently he was too naive in thinking that. And now that the two of them have met, he couldn’t pass their relationship off as just mere acquaintances, so he loosed a fed-up sigh.
“She’s a classmate from the Sousei Academy I’m attending. Her name is Ki—”
“Kitamikado-san! You’re being too cold! I’m Nanjou Kisa!” Kisa forced herself in between Mikado’s phrase.
“Eh…Nanjou…Don’t tell me…From the Nanjou family…?” Rinka was clearly flustered.
Having been in contact with the Kitamikado Family for a long time, the Shizukawa Family were well informed about their rivalry with the Nanjou Family.
“Haha, please don’t joke around—” Mikado panicked.
“Yes, that Nanjou Family! Being in his rival family, I am Kitamikado Mikado’s arch nemesis…That is me, Nanjou Kisa. But, as of right now, we’re classmates…very, very close and friendly classmates.” Kisa giggled confidently.
“W-Why would you emphasize the close part…?”
“Because it’s the truth! We’re almost always together during the day, you know? Since we’re in the same committee, we have to work together all the time. We are spending more time together than with our respective parents!”
Rinka’s body started to shake ever so slightly.
“S-Spending more time together than with your parents… So you are basically family…?”
“Excuse me?! What are you just agreeing to here?!”
As the situation grew more confusing, Mikado threw Kisa a sharp glare.
—You, are you planning on completely breaking up the marriage talk?!
—Of course I am!
Kisa returned a glare. They were now fully capable of holding a conversation via eye contact alone. Rinka watched the two of them, looking worried.
“You seem to be…fairly familiar with each other…”
Kisa shrugged her shoulders.
“At the very least, I’m closer to him than the person his parents decided for him is. Unlike a certain someone, we’re talking in informal language2.”
“……!” Rinka’s hands formed fists.
The calm and collected girl from before had vanished, anger and rage took her place.
Mikado unconsciously stood straighter as he was called out.
“Please talk normally to me as well!
Using formal language with your future wife is something I cannot
“But, we just barely met…”
“Not just barely! Haven’t you played with me ever since we were young!? Just speak to me normally! I beg of you!” Rinka was incredibly serious.
In response to that, Kisa muttered a surprised “Ohh~” with an intriguing expression.
“A-Alright, I get it, Rinka-san. From now on, I’ll talk normally with you.”
“Your way of addressing me as well! Call me Rinka! Otherwise I won’t feel like I’m worthy of standing side to side with the future head of the Kitamikado Family!” Rinka pushed her body forward.
Mikado was overpowered as her beautiful gemstone-like eyes gazed straight at him. After gulping once, he nervously responded.
“I-I get it…Rinka.”
“Ah…” Rinka’s cheeks went red. “T-That is fine then…How do I say it, it’s a bit embarrassing…”
Seeing that kind of reaction, even Mikado felt the blood rushing to his head.
“U-Um, it seems like you’re still speaking very formally, Rinka…?”
“I-I don’t mind it… I don’t
want to be treated like a ruffian by Mikado-sama…”
“Is that so…?”
Inside the center of this park, the two of them were wrapped up in an awkward and embarrassing atmosphere.
—Hey hey…isn’t she pretty cute as well…?
Even though the other party was decided by his parents, Mikado couldn’t help but feel that way. After exhaling a deep sigh, Rinka turned her gaze away from Mikado onto Kisa.
“How about that? We are calling each other by name now. What about you? Nanjou-san, you’re still calling Mikado-sama by his family name, are you not?”
“Ughhh…” Kisa grit her teeth.
And Rinka wasn’t done with her attack.
“No matter how close you are, Mikado-sama and Nanjou-san are just normal classmates…You aren’t lovers or anything. There is a wall that you can’t overcome no matter what.”
“T-That’s not true! If it was
necessary, I’d break through any cell wall in his body to move
forward! Even the inner wall of his stomach! That’s how prepared I
“I would die if you did that though!”
But, Rinka wouldn’t waver even after such a ridiculous attack.
“What about the wall in his heart? You are still calling him ‘Kitamikado-san’, right?”
“Ah, no, wait! I’ll do something about that right now!” Kisa put one hand on her chest and took a deep breath.
She then turned over to Mikado, and spoke up in a loud voice.
“Mimi?” Rinka tilted her head in confusion.
She probably wanted to call him by his first name, but couldn’t make it past the first syllable. At this point, she was just an ear3 fanatic, nothing more.
“Mi…Mimimimi…Mika…Mika…Ahh, I can’t!” Kisa’s face went as red as a tomato as she hid it with her hands, crouching down on the ground.
“Ehh………?” Rinka was dumbfounded.
Kisa started shaking furiously.
—What is this? She’s way too cute!
Mikado complained. At first, Mikado thought that she was calling him by his family name to keep the feeling of distance they had, but that wasn’t the case. It was out of embarrassment. Even now, Mikado was unsure if she was bold or tender. Kisa slowly got up from her crouching position and pointed at Rinka with her index finger.
“D-Don’t think that you’ve won because of this! I haven’t taken any damage yet! There is no way I would give in to a dark horse that invaded our game!” She got teary-eyed.
“Game…? Dark horse…?” Rinka’s expression was the reflection of her confusion.
“Now that it’s come to this, it’s time for a duel! Whoever can win over Kitamikado-san first! The time frame will be during this date! We will walk around the park as a group and bring an end to this!”
“I-I won’t lose! Mikado-sama is my precious future husband! I will not allow him to fall into the Nanjou Family’s hands!”
Sparks flew between the two girls. On one side, the Yamato Nadeshiko, akin to a narcissus blooming by the lake shore. On the other side, the fascinating devilish queen. On both sides, be it their looks or their aura, there weren’t many that could match their beauty.
“Why was it just decided that we’ll be going on a date with the three of us…?” Mikado was bewildered.
The three of them headed to the wide open space they decided upon. The area was surrounded by a big lawn, with several other guests relishing their holiday. There were families playing with a ball and others that put down a sheet on the grass and were enjoying a nice picnic. On top of that, seniors taking a normal walk and young boys just gazing up at the sky were also present. It was a soothing atmosphere to watch, with a calm breeze and passing clouds that dotted the otherwise beautiful blue sky. Or rather, that’s what they should have been enjoying, but…
“Fu fu fu…so, how about we start with a battle of girl power…?”
“You say girl power, but you probably mean showing our feminine charm, right? If it’s about that, the girl of the Shizukawa Family, me, will not lose!”
Both Kisa and Rinka showed ferocious motivation, generating a tense atmosphere.
—Was Rinka ever the aggressive type…?
When Mikado spotted her at parties or the like and during their meeting at the restaurant, he had had the impression that she was a calm and docile girl. However, being able to show great fighting spirit when it came down to it is what made her even more Yamato Nadeshiko-like. And, right when he thought that, an old lady walked towards them with a dachshund.
“Now, the first battle! We will show our girl power in our reaction towards that animal! Naturally, Kitamikado-san will be the judge!”
“Of course! Who else could be the judge for us? Shizukawa-san, have you prepared yourself?”
“Yes…I have finished my mental preparations.” Rinka gave a mysterious nod.
At Kisa’s command, the two started dashing. In this battle…the first one that gets to the dachshund will be the winner!—Or so they believe, hence explaining their insane dash. Though it is true that the first person to arrive has the freedom of choice. Because the person arriving after can’t take the same approach again, it puts them at a disadvantage. As a result, the two of them grew desperate. They ran like their lives depended on it… Naturally, for the dachshund, the two of them were like giants attacking him, so—
“Bark Bark!” It made sense that the poor dog ran for his life.
Following that was the old lady, as she was pulled along by the dog’s leash.
“Old people recently sure are fit for their age…”
Mikado watched the back of the old lady grow more distance, as he muttered in admiration. At the same time, Kisa and Rinka were left in confusion.
“Why did it run away I wonder…? It must have been because Shizukawa-san is too scary!”
“That’s not true! It must have felt the killing intent coming from Nanjou-san!”
“No, it’s both your faults!”
Mikado felt like he saw a completely new side to Rinka today. And, as they kept walking for a while, they finally arrived at the flower garden. The flowers were both rich in color and beautiful, giving off a sweet aroma as if to greet the travelers.
Kisa laughed confidently.
“Now, Shizukawa-san. Show me your girl power. That dog just now was nothing but a small obstacle… Being put in front of these flowers is where your true girl power is supposed to shine!”
“I feel like that couldn’t even be counted as a small obstacle… But, I understand!”
Rinka tightened her expression and leaned over inside the flower garden. Her posture was dignified and she was careful not to dirty her kimono in any way. Her slender hand reached for a white flower and pulled it towards her. She then softly closed her eyes and enjoyed the scent of the flower, smiling.
“Mikado-sama, their scent is wonderful. Please, come over here.”
Mikado couldn’t stay strong against that way of calling him over, even if he had to cross a river by swimming through it to get to her, he’d gladly do it. However, Kisa crossed her arms.
“Zero points! Out of 10 billion points, that’s a complete zero!”
“And why is that?!”
Having been denied by Kisa, Rinka raised her voice in disbelief. Kisa responded with a snort.
“You’re still naive if you even have to ask for the reason! If you can’t arrive at the answer yourself, you don’t have permission to boast about your girl power! That’s minus 50 billion points!”
“What kind of grading system is this?! Please properly explain it to me!”
Rinka was bewildered, but Mikado judged that it was probably just a whim of Kisa’s. And on top of that, Mikado was supposed to be the judge but Kisa got the jump on him. Again, that was probably just because of her mood.
“Then, watch my perfect example… My girl power, admired by the whole galaxy!”
“You sure put up quite the hurdle for yourself just now…”
Rinka and Mikado swallowed their saliva in suspense, as they watched over Kisa. With all that big talk, you’d expect something overwhelming, even if you didn’t want to. Kisa took out her smartphone from her bag, operated it for a second and put it against one ear.
“Do you have a helicopter at your disposal right now? I won’t accept no as an answer. Yeah, can you bring a flamethrower here? What do I need to use it for? To burn down a flower garden of course! Hurry up! You have 3 minutes!”
“What are you doiiiiing?!” Mikado jumped at Kisa in panic.
Stealing her phone, he immediately cut the call.
“Why would you stop me!? I was in the middle of the phone call!”
“Why are you trying to burn down the flower garden?! Are you a demon or something?!”
“Burning down a flower garden is the perfect way to show my feminine charm! Do you not understand that?!”
“I sure don’t!”
“Please do! Try to understand my
“I really really want to, but that still doesn’t help me!”
To make sure that she couldn’t reach it, Mikado held his hand with the smartphone up high above him. In response to that, Kisa tried her best to reach it while jumping.
“Just give it back already! I’ll definitely kill you if you look at my data! And everyone that is related to you as well!”
Her acting desperate was also cute in Mikado’s eyes, but her threatening, not as much. Just Mikado was one thing, but all the people related to him weighed down on him quite a bit.
“I don’t mind giving it back, but you better promise. That you won’t set the flower garden on fire and that you’ll properly explain the reason why you were trying to.”
“I-I understand! I will give up on burning it today!”
“Not just today, but for all eternity, alright?! Do not dare burn this down, okay?!”
As Mikado emphasized that, he returned the phone to Kisa, who let out a relieved sigh after she safely stuffed it deep into her bag. Thoroughly closing off every possible opening of the bag, she tightly grasped it with both her hands to protect it.
—Just what kind of data is in there?
Seeing this many security measures, even Mikado couldn’t help but get curious. However, opening Pandora’s Box would lead to a great calamity, so he decided to hold off on that. After she calmed herself down, Kisa coughed once to start the conversation anew.
“…See, girls cannot allow anything else to exist that is more beautiful and admirable than them, right? That’s why, whenever I see a beautiful flower, I just feel like stepping on it… No, wanting to eradicate it from the face of this earth is a completely natural reaction! A flamethrower is a girl’s strength!”
“That is not true!” Rinka denied that argument at full force.
“No, I am not in the wrong! Even the queen in the fairy-tale tried to kill Snow White, right?! Basically, beauty has its price… The beauty of everyone around you, that is!”
“You know that the queen was supposed to be the bad guy, right…?” Once again, Mikado was astonished at the fiendishness of the Nanjou Family.
At the same time, Kisa glanced at a family who were currently taking a stroll through the open field.
“Now, let’s continue the battle. There is a cute baby in that buggy over there… We will measure our girl power with that gem of beauty. Yes, our deadly girl power!”
“Can we drop the whole deadly and killing part already?!”
“I-It’s fine already! I don’t need a competition about girl power anymore!” Rinka went pale.
She was scared that Kisa might pull out the flamethrower against that innocent baby.
“Ara, you’re giving up now? That means that you have accepted defeat, doesn’t it? I can still fight after all.”
“Uu…Y-Yes, I accept my defeat…”
“What a shame. For the last battle, I was planning on a girl power punch death battle…”
“What do girl power and death battle have in common for you to bring them up now?! You’re completely disregarding the whole reason for this!” Rinka was about to break out in tears out of shock and frustration.
“Kitamikado-san! I won! I did it! I have more girl power after all!” Kisa’s eyes were sparkling as she reported to Mikado.
“Good for you…”
–You win the battle, but lose the war, I guess.
Mikado thought to himself, as Kisa won the girl power match, with not a single fraction of girl power inside her.
Being guided by Kisa, Mikado and Rinka arrived at a cliff with an observation platform. Close to it were several stalls, offering great menus. Around them were several benches to rest on, already occupied by families, couples, or just groups of girls, all eating ice cream to take a break. Having walked for quite a distance, Rinka spoke up to Mikado, slightly out of breath.
“I’m sorry, Mikado-sama, I have gotten a bit tired… I would be delighted if we could take a short break here…”
Kisa raised her eyebrow at that.
“How troublesome…Why are you so
tired…? Whose fault might this be…?”
“It’s clearly yours, Nanjou!”
Although it might have been a bit dull, if Mikado and Rinka spent these two hours alone, their calorie consumption would have been significantly lower than now with Kisa. Being constantly on edge wondering when she might call an armed helicopter or when this beautiful park might be wrapped up in a sea of fire, Mikado had his hands full with keeping the reins on Kisa.
“For now, we can take a break. They
have some delicious looking stuff here anyway.”
“Thank you very much.” Rinka put one hand on her chest as she sighed in relief.
For someone like her from a prestigious, dignified rich ladies school, this time spent with Kisa must be tough on her in a lot of ways.
“I want to eat some crepes! Let’s try it out, the crepes!”
“I don’t really like sweet stuff that much, but it should be fine once in a while…”
Or so Mikado said, but he always admired the food called crepe. As someone from the Kitamikado Family that loved Japan, sweets-wise, a dango dumpling shop was the limit for him. He never tried these kinds of girly sweet foods. Mikado took out his wallet from his pocket.
“What do you want, Rinka?”
“I will have the same as Mikado-sama.” She responded like it was obvious.
“Hold on a second! If Kitamikado-san said that he would eat dog food, so would you?!”
“Is this your duty as a wife?! Are wives there to eat dog food?!” Kisa was shaking in fear.
“When did it turn into an established fact that I’m eating dog food?!”
“It’s fine, Mikado-sama. If you order me to, I wouldn’t mind eating cat food either, so don’t refrain from saying which you prefer.”
For some reason, Rinka’s eyes were a bit scary.
“No…this isn’t an order or anything. You can eat whatever you want.”
“If Mikado-sama says so, then I will take it into my own hands to choose.” Rinka walked towards him.
Naturally, Mikado didn’t mind silent following, but there were limits even for him. Now, Mikado and the others were lining up in front of the shop, ordering what they wanted. Kisa chose blackberry custard, Mikado chose the beef cheese and Rinka had the strawberry cream. Then, when it came to paying.
“I’ll be the one to pay.”
“I’ll be the one to pay.”
Mikado and Kisa held up their wallets at the same time, which resulted in a current running between them.
“Um…Kitamikado-san? Establishing dominance by treating us isn’t going to work out, you know? Just from this, someone from the Nanjou Family won’t feel like there’s any debt to repay and I’m not going to be moved by this or anything… So just let me treat you.” Kisa glared at Mikado.
“Being treated by Nanjou is like giving away my soul… So I’d rather not. If you don’t feel like this is a debt needing repayment, then just keep quiet and let me treat you, alright?”
Mikado didn’t take a step backwards and equally glared at Kisa.
“Ara ara, why are you that against it? Your pride as a man? To think that your small pride would get crushed by being treated by a girl… You can’t even accept my kindness?”
“It’s not about pride… I’m just
maintaining the minimum amount of wariness… I do know that in the
Wall Street crash of 1929, which caused world-wide chaos, the Nanjou
Family had their hands in it…”
“Just give in and let me treat you!”
“No, I will be the one to treat you!”
Both of them kept adding reasons why they wouldn’t back down, and nothing changed. Mikado had a 10.000 yen bill in hand, while Kisa was gripping a black card, glaring at Mikado. The employee could only watch over them as she started shaking.
“H-hey, you two! You can’t just pay at a shop like this with a 10.000 yen bill, nor that weird card!” Rinka couldn’t keep watching and stepped between them.
“Why!? You can use this card in any country of the world! Are you saying that this isn’t earth?!”
“Paying at a normal stall with a huge bill is just troublesome for the change, and they don’t even use credit cards here! I will be the one to pay, so just treat me another time.”
Rinka took out a white wallet, and finished the business with a 1.000 yen bill and some coins.
“I see… So for a small stall like this, I should prepare smaller bills so that they can give back the change easier…” Mikado learned something new today.
“Does this mean that I am indebted to the Shizukawa Family…? She has grabbed a weakness of mine… What will she ask for in return…?” Kisa was lost in thought, seriously wondering about something.
The employee made the crepes at high speed, pushed them into the hands of Mikado and the others and escaped into the back of the stall. After accepting them, the three went to take a seat on a bench.To Mikado’s left and right were Kisa and Rinka, and while observing the two of them, Mikado munched on his crepe. That being said, it wasn’t exactly an atmosphere to relax in. Finishing half of her crepe, Kisa spoke up.
“Kitamikado-san, your crepe sure looks delicious. I’ve never eaten any non-sweet crepes before, how does it taste?”
“How…? It’s pretty difficult to explain…” Mikado certainly wasn’t a gourmet or certified food tester.
“Then, can I take a bite? I’ll give you some of mine as well. Here.” Kisa said with a smile, as she pushed her blackberry custard towards Mikado.
On the crepe, there were still spots where Kisa had nibbled at in a cute manner. Seeing the hesitating Mikado, Kisa flashed a fiendish smile.
“Ara, what’s wrong? Kitamikado-san, are you flustered by chance? Doesn’t this mean that you are conscious of me? Or do you like me that much that you’re too nervous?”
“…That’s not it.”
That was exactly the case. Just thinking about his lips touching the same spot where Kisa’s had taken a bite, made blood rush to Mikado’s head.
“What is it then? Come on, accept it. You’re so embarrassed about sharing an indirect kiss with me. You’re like a grade school child, aren’t you?”
While teasing Mikado with a cute voice, she kept on pushing the crepe towards Mikado’s mouth. If he let the topic go, it’d end up as an indirect kiss. If that happened, Mikado didn’t have to blame himself, but he still felt that Kisa would have gained the upper hand in this battle. No, it certainly would end up like that. Thinking that things might end up badly, Mikado planned a turn-around.
“I’m perfectly fine right now, so you can have a bite of mine first.”
“Eh…?” Kisa raised her eyebrows. “I-I’m good, so you can go ahead and eat first.”
“Why? You wanted a taste, right? Don’t hold back.”
“B-But…I-I’m already full…”
“Just when did you get full? Isn’t that a bit inconsistent? Come on, take a bite.”
As Mikado pushed his crepe towards Kisa, she froze up while watching the cut end. The color of her ears slowly changed.
“…Are you embarrassed?”
“I-I-I-I-I’m not embarrassed in the s-schlightest!” Kisa bit her tongue as she hurdled over her own words.
“Don’t lie. Just take a bite now. If you don’t want to, that means that you’re conscious of the other person right? You were the one who said that before, weren’t you?”
“W-Wait! Wait just a second! You’re wrong! This is different!”
As Mikado pushed his crepe further towards her, Kisa bent her body backwards on the bench, as if she was trying to escape. Her face was blushing red and her eyes were watery. She was panicking way too much. Enjoying Kisa going from calm and collected to full-on embarrassed like this, Mikado felt a bit sadistic and decided to tease her a bit more. Without thinking, he leaned forward to softly whisper into Kisa’s ear.
“Your face is red, Nanjou. Aren’t you a bit too easy? Being so so embarrassed because of one single, indirect kiss, isn’t that too much? Right, Nanjou?”
“S-Sto…p…Kitamikado-san…I-I’ll apologize…so please forgive me…” Kisa tried her best to push her arms up to protect herself as her body twitched every time Mikado spoke.
She looked like she was being molested, making Mikado even more excited for this.
“If it’s something that you brought up yourself, you have to properly follow through with it, you know? Even if I have to force you. Now, open wide.”
“Ah………” Kisa’s eyes were fixated on the crepe closing in on her.
But, instead of trying to run away, her lovable lips were just slowly but steadily opening up. It happened the second her lips were about to touch his crepe.
“If you don’t want it, then I will gladly take a bite!” Rinka jumped in between them, teary-eyed.
Sinking her teeth into the crepe in Mikado’s hand, she took a bite, chewing on it like a hamster. Although it looked like she really was forcing herself, she finally finished the bite and sighed.
“An indirect kiss with Mikado-sama is
nothing for me! Our mental preparedness is different I see,
“W-What do you mean by mental preparedness…?”
Rarely enough, Kisa was pushed back in the argument. Rinka put one finger on the lips that were part of the indirect kiss just now.
“I’m talking about being mentally prepared to be his future wife. Rather than just an indirect kiss, we will be having direct kisses after all.”
“W-What are you…?” Kisa winced.
“I’m just stating the obvious. Mikado-sama and I have this sort of relationship after all. Right, Mikado-sama?” Rinka whispered enthusiastically.
“Even if you say that…” Mikado himself was a bit flustered.
He thought that she was just a docile and quite frankly, boring woman, but she could be quite bold if she wanted to.
“I-I’m a bit surprised. To think that Kitamikado-san’s fiance would be a girl like this!” Kisa pointed at Rinka.
“I am just preparing myself to eventually marry Mikado-sama. We will be having our engagement ceremony soon, so when that time comes, Mikado-sama and I will be proper fiances!”
A confused voice leaked out of Kisa’s mouth.
“Eh…engagement ceremony…? W-When will that be…?”
“In two weeks! Basically, in two weeks, breeding between me and Mikado-sama will start!”
“You’re being way too vivid!”
Even Mikado felt bad for Kisa. This certainly wasn’t the type of vocabulary you would hear from a female student, attending a prim and proper girls only academy and it didn’t suit Rinka either. She was probably just losing herself in the heat of the moment.
Kisa muttered to herself absent mindedly.
“Two weeks… In two weeks, Kitamikado-san will graduate from his virginity… He will stop being a virgin…”
“Hey, stop it already!”
It’s true that he was a virgin, but it still hurt being referred to as one. A girl close to them, sitting on a bench, tilted her head.
“Hey, Papa. What is a virgin?”
“E-Eh, that’s…” The father didn’t know how to respond.
“Hey hey, tell me! Papa! What does it mean?”
“I’ll tell you, so calm down! Being a virgin is… something very embarrassing…”
“Is Papa a virgin?”
“No, Papa isn’t a virgin!”
“Yay! Mai’s Papa isn’t a virgin!”
“Yes, it’s all thanks to Mama…”
“Amazing! So because of Mama, Papa doesn’t have to be embarrassed!” The girl was hopping up and down on her father’s lap.
“Being a virgin is something very embarrassing…” Mikado fell down into the abyss of depression.
“It’s fine! You have me, Mikado-sama!”
Rinka suddenly acted so reliable.
“I-I’m…going home now…”
Kisa on the other hand was the exact opposite, waddling away on unsteady feet. She bumped into a nearby tree, letting out a shriek and almost tumbling over her own feet.
“You seem to be really tired, you okay? Should I call a car…?”
“I’m fine…I have to watch the evening episode of Isono-san6, so I’m just leaving early…” Kisa smiled, but her eyes were dead.
—Is she that shocked about this…? No, that can’t be… Is she thinking that once the engagement ceremony is done, it’ll be harder to win in the game…?
Mikado got up from the bench and gazed at Kisa’s back. In response, Rinka muttered faintly.
“So the person Mikado-sama likes is Nanjou-san I see…”
“N-No way…” Mikado gulped.
Rinka let out a saddened sigh.
“Even a kid would be able to tell. Your gaze, your voice, your attitude, everything is overflowing with affection for Nanjou-san. And I think that she…”
“…What?” Mikado asked, as Rinka suddenly stopped.
But, she immediately shook her head.
“No, it’s nothing.”
“Is that so…?”
Mikado felt like he was about to hear something very crucial, but it wouldn’t feel right to just question her. With a girl like Rinka, she’d probably keep quiet now that she had decided against talking. That very Rinka got up and gazed directly at Mikado.
“Mikado-sama…you’re going to be engaged with me, right?”
“…What’s with you so suddenly?”
Her expression was serious, not giving off any atmosphere of joking around.
“No matter how much you love Nanjou-san, that fact will not change. Neither the Kitamikado Family, nor the Shizukawa Family will pull back now… No, I will not step down from this.” Rinka’s gaze showed determination.
“Are you really fine with this? It’s been the Kitamikado Family’s thing to get fiances for their spouses, but the Shizukawa Family is different, right… Shouldn’t you be against this?”
“You’re wrong about this! This is something that I…!” Her long black hair danced through the quick motion of her head shaking.
Her slender body jumped into Mikado’s arms, pressing her head against his chest, she tightly embraced him.
“…This marriage talk is what I have wished for. Although my father might be the one who brought it up, I have chosen this. I was not forced into this.”
“Out of your own will…?” Mikado’s eyes opened wide.
The Kitamikado Family didn’t offer that much freedom. He couldn’t choose the person he loved. That’s why he expected it to be the same for Rinka, unable to freely choose.
“I can imagine your feelings, Mikado-sama. That’s why I won’t force you to forget about Nanjou-san immediately. However… I will definitely…I promise I will definitely make you forget. I don’t mind how you want to use me for that end…Mikado-sama…” Rinka brought her lips close to Mikado and whispered.
Mikado could perfectly see himself reflected in her eyes. Her white, slender neck and her sweet scent that wafted up from there attacked Mikado’s brain through his nostrils.
—Is there anybody else out there…that would feel this way towards me…?
Mikado was completely overwhelmed at the heaviness of Rinka’s feelings. If he were to marry the person that his parents chose, he would become truly happy. No, no matter what was necessary, Rinka would use everything at her disposal to ensure that Mikado would find happiness while being with her. And even now, Rinka showed no signs of separating from Mikado.
Inside the Nanjou Family’s wide bath house, a sigh escaped Kisa’s lips. She was currently resting in the bathwater, surrounded by a jet-black marmor. As she soaked herself in that water, it felt like she was about to be wrapped up by space if she went any deeper. In this luxurious bath, which only allowed entry to direct daughters of the Nanjou Family and the unmarried women of those, the bath water traversed long distances until it would finally flow in here. In this sacred place, the person holding a goddess like body that every girl on earth would be jealous of, Kisa, was comfortably stretching, but her heart was heavy.
—Kitamikado-san didn’t look like he hated it at all…
She saw it. That time. She might have been dashing away from Mikado and Rinka, but her curiosity got the better of her and she checked in on them from the shadows. Yes, she saw the moment when Rinka was embracing Mikado. It was plain as day that Rinka was trying to seduce Mikado, and the boy didn’t show any signs of trying to push her away. There is nothing standing between them. Even their parents are supporting them, or rather, are encouraging them.
“My chances of winning…are despairing…”
As Kisa let out another sigh, Mizuki joined her in the bath.
“What’s wrong, Onee-chan? Sighing like that.” She took a closer look at Kisa’s face as she tilted her head in confusion.
“…Nothing at all. I am just a bit tired.”
Kisa didn’t have the energy nor the willpower to properly explain the situation to her little sister. She hated to show anything related to weakness anyway. Even if the other person was her little sister, the successor of the Nanjou Family shouldn’t give off any sense of powerlessness.
“Hmmm, is that so? I thought that you might have tried to hinder the date between Mikado-kun and Rinka-chan, but the enemy was unexpectedly strong, so you had to run away in shambles or something like that!”
“Why do you know all of that?!” Kisa jumped up from the bath in shock.
Mizuki laughed innocently in response.
“I don’t~ I really just guessed!”
“I don’t believe that at all! You were tailing us, right?! It must be that, right?!”
“Oh come on~ I didn’t tail you. I was just going out together with Onee-chan and kept it a secret from you~”
“That’s what you call tailing! Do you have too much time on your hands or something?!”
“Yeah, lots. I sent Mikado-kun a message asking if we could do something today, but he declined.”
“When did you exchange IDs?!”
—Even though Kitamikado-san and I haven’t…
Kisa wanted Mikado’s contact information so badly that an arm was about to reach out from her throat, but she was constantly too embarrassed to ask. Finding it out through other means was easy, yes, but there was no meaning in that.
“But, thanks to that, the four of us could play lots today.”
“The only one who thinks like that is Mizuki…”
“If I think so, then it’s fine.”
Kisa wasn’t sure if she should treat her little sister as just an idiot or an enthusiast that was taking it a tick to far. Mizuki sat down at the washing area of the bath, moving her towel over her body.
“Still, this is pretty weird. For Onee-chan to admit to losing against another person.”
“W-Well…Shizukawa-san is really beautiful and so feminine…”
“Her breasts are bigger than Onee-chan’s as well!”
“Don’t remind me!” Kisa moved to hide her own chest. “And even more so, she’s good at being helpful and all that… I feel like every man would fall in love with her.”
“And unlike Onee-chan, she’s also pretty bold, right?”
Being told this straightforwardly, Kisa sank deeper into the water. Mizuki laughed as if she found this funny.
“Even though you see yourself as the queen all the time, you’re actually pretty weak and sloppy, right? Also, that’s exactly why you’re scared you can’t stand at the top, right?”
“B-B-Be quiet! Don’t just calmly analyze me!”
The scary part was that Mizuki was mostly on point.
“Also, I can’t become bold and aggressive! In our game’s rules, it says that ‘Openly showing affection results in defeat’, you know! No matter how much I want to, I can’t!”
No matter how openly Rinka presented her feelings to Mikado, there was no problem whatsoever, no repercussions. She wasn’t weighed down by this rule, able to attack Mikado at all times.
Mizuki put one finger on her lips, tilting her head in puzzlement.
“Are you really the type that would confess head on, even if that rule didn’t exist?”
That was exactly the case. Kisa hugged her knees as she whispered.
“This competition… is getting worse by the second. In two weeks, Kitamikado-san and Shizukawa-san will properly be engaged and it looks like they’ll be doing this and that, so once that happens, it’ll be my loss…”
“Onee-chan, you idioooooooooooot!”
Mizuki raised her hand and swung it down at high speed towards the cheek of the sobbing Kisa. But, before that connected, she quickly swung her hand around and hit herself right on the face. A long, slapping and painful noise rang out in the bath house.
Kisa was more bewildered than if she was the one who got hit. As Mizuki’s right cheek was turning beet red, she snapped at Kisa.
“Onee-chan! What is this?! Pull yourself together! Listen! No matter how strong your opponent might seem—”
“You’re just continuing your lecture?! What?! Eh?! What was that just now!? Why did you hit yourself!?”
“This is Onee-chan’s share!”
“No I get that, but why didn’t you hit me?!”
“I feel like I’ll get killed from the counterattack if I actually hit you!”
“A-Ah, I see…That’s a good point…” Kisa muttered, as her heart beat like crazy.
Mizuki pointed at Kisa, as she declared.
“This isn’t like you! Onee-chan, were you always this weak?! You weren’t, right!? Rather, if the country became a bother for your plans, you were ready to destroy it at all times…You’re that kind of fiendish devil, aren’t you?!”
“Mizuki…are you really scared of me? You aren’t, right?”
But Mizuki just kept going.
“Are you fine with having Mikado-kun stolen by Rinka-chan? Are you fine with watching them, living a happy life, getting lots of cute kids and rubbing that in your face…? You aren’t, right?!”
“O-Of course not…”
Just by thinking about it, Kisa grew agitated.
“Then, what is it that you need to do? Isn’t it the Nanjou way to get whatever you want, no matter what method you have to use? This is how YOU always do it, isn’t it?! Aren’t you frustrated losing against a beautiful lady, with no demerits?! Having her do all the perverted things with Mikado-kun, do you really endorse that?!”
“Of course I’m… frustrated…!” Kisa’s clenched fist was shaking in anger.
Even if she felt herself losing the battle, those feelings wouldn’t disappear so quickly. This wish of hers to get Mikado into her own two hands was not something that would be stopped by a mere wall or two. Kisa grit her teeth as she spoke up.
“From the very beginning, my fight was riddled with obstacles standing in my way… So all I have to do is remove everyone and everything that obstructs me…”
“Yeah yeah! That’s my Onee-chan!” Mizuki smiled gleefully.
The damage during their date on Kisa was too great, making her almost lose herself, but thanks to this, she finally got back on her own two feet. All you need is a kind little sister.
“…Thank you, Mizuki. I have to stop this engagement at all costs and get Kitamikado-san into my own hands.”
“You can do it, Onee-chan! I’m cheering for you!” Mizuki raised one arm in the air.
Seeing that, Kisa felt the sudden urge to pat her cute little sister on the head.
“But… Is this really fine? Haven’t you also taken a liking to Kitamikado-san?”
“It’s totally fine! When Mikado-kun becomes my Onii-chan in law, we can do perverted stuff whenever we want!” Mizuki gave a suspiciously sly smile.
She might seem like an idiot most of the time, but she still is a full-fledged member of the Nanjou Family. She would do whatever it took to get what she wanted.
“I won’t share Kitamikado-san with you, okay?!”
Kisa gave Mizuki a sharp warning, but she just blocked her ears with her arms as she continued to grin.
1 7-stringed Chinese zither
2 Rinka is speaking very politely, which is pretty hard to convey in English. At the same time, so does Mikado while talking to her.
3 Mimi (耳)= Ear
4 Taisho period: 1912-1926, naginata = a weapon similar to a glaive
5 Originally worn by men, but nowadays made for both sexes.
6 Really not sure on this one, but I’d imagine it’s a reference to the very old TV show Sazae-san, where the protagonist is called Sazae Isono