In the end, I didn’t dip in the bathtub.
I just took a shower and that’s done.
I’m really tired.
If only I could just sleep right now then I would warm myself in the bath and go to bed right away, but…
I still have to work on the pastries after returning to the Kuromori mansion.
Katsuko-nee and Ai did say that they’re taking care of it but I feel sorry to let them do all the work.
Most importantly, the three good helpers in pastry making, Mana, Ruriko, and Agnes are still here.
The helping hands have increased thanks to the twins, the Anjou sisters, and Haiji, but…
There’s no time to teach them the basics of pastry-making.
Mitama and Kinuka are bad with such fine work I think.
Anyway, I have to return.
But, Momoko-neechan is still displeased.
It would be bad if I say that I’m going back home first in this situation.
Anyway, let’s start again using this tea break post-bath.
「 Papa 」
「 Sure, Agnes 」
No matter how tired I am, I still have to wipe Agnes’ body and put her underwear on her.
Misuzu and Michi guessed my state of health and so they wipe their own bodies.
Mana who’s wearing underwear and towel seems to have made preparations beforehand.
You can tell by the way the towels and clothes are folded.
Ruriko learned how to fold from Katsuko-nee but Mana’s different.
It’s the way of the Shirasaka house. Or perhaps I should say that Mana’s been living in medical treatment until the year before the last that she learned how to fold clothes from her relatives in Shizuoka.
Oh right, I should meet those people at least once.
Shirasaka Sousuke’s scandal is still in people’s memories so it would be impossible to do for now.
「 How’s your body Sebastianus? 」
Momoko-neechan who’s changing clothes at the corner of the room, out of my sight, asks her bodyguard.
「 Well, it’s in good condition 」
Sebastianus, Yamada Umeko-san rolls her shoulder and replied.
Edie’s massage restored the damage she received from the electric shock from the taser it seems.
「 Naturally, that’s what I did 」
Yamada-san showed a confused expression for a moment, but…
「 There won’t be hindrances on one’s duty. Momoko-ojousama, I’m very sorry to cause you to worry 」
She apologized to her Master.
「 Oh well. As long as you’re safe 」
「 No, I can’t let it end like that 」
Yamada-san looked at Edie and Michi.
「 Someday, I’ll settle it with the two of them 」
She speaks something dangerous again.
「 Then, I think that you need to fix your training a little bit 」
Rei-chan shows up.
She’s not wearing a Kouzuki SS uniform but a casual shirt and jeans.
It’s no longer the same extreme British gentleman look from before but still, her style resembles a man in his college days.
「 I’m finally done with work 」
Oh, Kouzuki SS.
Guarding the young ladies of nobility in their party from yesterday…
Rei-chan had an exhibition match with Kyouko-san.
After that, she captured the group dispatched by the Kansai Yakuza; Tendou Sadao, and Irokuchou Ichirou’s group, released them at night…
Then, they continued observing the two groups until they returned to Kansai.
「 Kansai Yakuza’s nearly destroyed. Kyouko-san attacked them while they’re still disturbed by Tendou Sadao’s attack on their boss this morning 」
Oh, Kyouko-san and Miss Cordelia went to Kansai, right.
「 Information where one boss changed sides to the Kouzuki house, and Kyouko-san wearing a disguise went and attacked the groups one after another that nearly everyone in the Kansai Yakuza doubts each other, they don’t even know who’s their enemy and who are their allies 」
「 Kyouko said that she’ll do the “bouncer tactics” 」
「 “Bouncer?” Oh, Kurosawa Akira 」
「 After a month of internal strife, they will be weakened. While at it, Miss Cordelia’s organization will come over from the America but… 」
「 Doesn’t that just mean that the American organizations will take away the territory of the Yakuza? 」
Mariko who saw the situation since yesterday knows what’s going on behind the scenes.
「 Can’t help it. Just because the Yakuza’s gone doesn’t mean that space will become free. If there’s a vacant territory, other organizations will try to take it away, and instead of letting other weird foreign mafias take over, it’s better to have Miss Cordelia take over since we can talk to her 」
「 It will never be in its ideal state and so you have to think of what’s best at the moment 」
「 Right. Even if you take down the whole organization, individuals will still remain. Those who are dropouts in life and choose the way of the Yakuza will continue to appear 」
Even if the current Kansai Yakuza organization is destroyed, the Yakuza themselves will never disappear.
The Yakuza who’s scattered around will make trouble if left alone.
「 Therefore, they need to have an organization that ties them together 」
And, that organization has to be a group that isn’t hostile to us.
「 The local Yakuza are uninfluenced from the old days, and if you let the young Yakuza take over, they will be reckless, not knowing their limits. If that’s the case, it’s better to let an American organization put pressure on them 」
「 Well, that’s true. People like Yakuza are the so-called necessary evil after all 」
「 That’s wrong, Mariko. Evil is evil. Absolute necessary evil doesn’t exist. It’s better if any of the evil is gone 」
「 Oh? Kou-chan, you’re from the Black Forest, an underground society, are you sure about that? 」
Momoko-neechan tells me.
「 Yeah. I’m on the side of evil. Of course, it’s better if all the evil in the world is gone but, we didn’t want to become evil, we fell here because of our circumstances. Many people fall into evil regardless of their will. But, just because you’re evil doesn’t mean that you have to commit suicide. I have things I have to keep safe too 」
I embraced Agnes who’s wearing her underwear.
「 Just because one is evil doesn’t mean that they won’t resist death. They’ll continue to carry on as long as they’re alive 」
Momoko-neechan looked away from me.
「 I-I see. Well, not that I care about it 」
「 Then, Minaho-san, I will be taking the children with me 」
Rei-chan tells Minaho-neechan who’s already wearing her clothes, listening to our conversation happily.
「 Yes, take care of them. I’m going now, Kou 」
「 Yeah. Don’t push yourself too hard Minaho-neesan 」
「 Thanks 」
「 Minaho-oneesama, thank you 」
Ruriko bowed to Minaho-neesan.
「 Oh? I haven’t done anything worthy of thanks though? 」
「 No, you went out of your way to point the troubles for us, and for that, we thank you 」
Misuzu bowed her head to Minaho-neesan said too.
「 Hold out for a bit longer, okay? 」
Minaho-neesan said and left the dressing room first.
「 Minaho-chan, good night 」
Lastly, Agnes speaks from Minaho-neesan’s behind.
Minaho-neesan’s been working non-stop since yesterday.
I wish for her to take a bit of a break and don’t push herself too hard.
「 Now hurry up and put on your clothes Agnes-chan. Mana’s special ice cream is waiting for you in the dining room 」
「 Ice cream! Papa! Papa! 」
「 Yeah, I know. I get it. So put on your clothes now 」
「 Our ice cream is homemade. We have a machine for it in the kitchen 」
Ever since Ruriko started cooking, they made a private area kitchen that only members of the main family of the Kouzuki house are allowed to enter.
It’s Ruriko’s fortress where no chef from the Kouzuki house can meddle.
「 Kakka seems to be pleased with it too 」
「 For the past two days, he’s eating meals everyone made 」
Oh right, Katsuko-nee and Nagisa displayed their skills, but…
Ruriko and Mana, and the small girls all helped out in cooking.
「 Geez, Grandfather, you could’ve just told us that personally 」
Ruriko speaks bashfully.
「 He’s embarrassed. It’s hard for him to speak of his true feelings after all 」
「 Right, I understand that 」
「 That’s why he had Minaho-oneesama convey his words 」
Ruriko. Jii-chan what?
「 Papa, Agnes put them all on! 」
Looking at Agnes, she’s already wearing her clothes.
「 Then, let’s go! 」
「 Ice cream! 」
◇ ◇ ◇
Returning to the dining room.
「 Okay, have some ice cream after taking a bath! 」
Nei, wearing an apron, welcomes us.
She’s not wearing a maid uniform.
She’s wearing her usual clothes with an apron, so we can return home right away.
But, this look is good.
「 Also, we have drinks prepared, just say what you want 」
Mana comes out wearing plain clothes and apron.
「 I’d be happy to take your orders too 」
Oh right. Karen-san is Misuzu’s pet.
She remained here, not going with the girls back to the Kuromori mansion.
She’s wearing a maid clothing.
Well, she went here yesterday wearing a party dress and remained here.
She has no change of clothes.
That’s the maid clothing for Luna and Koyomi-chan. I mean, it’s the same size.
「 Oh, you’re put to work right away 」
Momoko-neechan told Karen-san.
「 This is just part of my duty… 」
「 I see. It must be hard dropping from a member of the nobility to a commoner 」
Karen-san’s family, Mizushima house, had their rights as a noble family revoked because of the sin of letting an intruder come to the Kouzuki house’s party.
It was a gathering of the precious young ladies of other noble families so there are no circumstances put in consideration.
From here on, Karen-san will serve the Kouzuki house. And her goal should be returning to nobility with her next generation.
Therefore, Karen-san is currently Misuzu’s servant, her pet.
「 Give me hot coffee. Just black. I want to clear my head a bit 」
「 Certainly 」
Karen-san received Momoko-neechan’s order.
「 Okay now, those who want ice cream bring in your plates and get in line 」
Nei brings in an ice cream maker machine on a wagon.
She takes out a vanilla ice cream from the silver sparkle machine and rounds it on the plate.
「 Err, our guests are. Oh, it’s just Momoko-chan and Sebas-chan! 」
「 It’s Sebastianus 」
Yamada Umeko-san retorts sharply.
「 Oh right, sorry. Well then, you can have your share first, Momoko-neechan! 」
「 Here, enjoy 」
Ruriko grabs the ice cream spoon and goes before Momoko-neechan
「 Thank you 」
Momoko-neechan thanked Ruriko despite her ill-humor.
「 Yamada-san too, go ahead 」
「 Thank you. It’s Sebastianus 」
Yamada Umeko-san is confused as the young lady of the Kouzuki house is giving her priority.
「 Onii-sama too 」
「 Agnes can go ahead 」
「 Eh, Papa, go first 」
「 Oh, sure, I’ll go ahead 」
I scoop in some ice cream.
「 You sure are disciplined 」
Momoko-neechan looked at us coldly.
「 Okay, this is Agnes-chan’s share 」
She’s surprised that Ruriko gave Agnes the next ice cream.
「 Why this girl first? Shouldn’t it be Misuzu next to Kou-chan? 」
「 If you think of the order in this house, shouldn’t that be the case? 」
Momoko-neechan’s first because she’s a guest.
Misuzu should be next since she’s a member of the Kouzuki house and is the older of the group, but…
I’m Misuzu’s fiance so I received ice cream first due to male domination.
Then, Misuzu should be after me.
That’s how it should be if you think like the nobility.
「 It’s irrelevant. We’re a family. The small ones go first 」
「 Uhm, should Agnes help out with Karen-chan preparing tea? 」
Agnes asks worriedly, but…
「 No need. Agnes-chan’s role, for now, is to stay next to Danna-sama 」
「 Then, the next ice cream goes to Reika-oneesama 」
Ruriko hands over a plate of ice cream to Rei-chan.
「 Thank you 」
「 What’s going on?! Fujimiya Reika-san is a servant of the Kouzuki house! 」
She’s a top elite bodyguard among the top of Kouzuki house.
「 Because we’re family 」
Ruriko replies with a smile.
「 Next is Yoshiko-oneesama, Misuzu-oneesama, Edie-san, Mariko-san, Michi-san, and then Nei-oneesama, Mana-san, and Karen-san who prepared this, and then I will be the last one to take the ice cream 」
That’s Ruriko’s order in the family.
「 Is it okay for me to be in that family? 」
Yoshiko-san asks worriedly.
「 It’s okay. After all, Yoshiko-san is Misuzu and Ruriko’s cousin, and it’s nothing different. No matter the result of your conversation later, Yoshiko-san is still family to us. That won’t change 」
「 I-I’m sorry. I’m so incompetent 」
Yoshiko-san has fallen to self-hatred as she couldn’t find her place.
「 Yoshiko-san, don’t apologize, you’re family. Stop that 」
「 But… 」
This is deeply rooted.
Yoshiko-san never thought of anything this complicated before.
「 Here, black coffee, black tea, and oolong tea are ready! 」
Mana comes from the kitchen pushing a wagon full of containers of drinks and cups and glasses.
「 Here’s your black coffee 」
Mana hands over the cup to Momoko-neechan.
Then, she didn’t go to Yamada-san next.
Yamada-san seems to have ordered black tea.
Mana brings out the coffee first, then…
Then, she brings in the black tea.
Oolong tea is iced so Karen poured it on a glass.
「 You seem to be quite sloppy 」
Momoko-neechan speaks a harsh but honest opinion to Mana.
「 I know. It’s the order. I lived in a world that’s quite close to that area after all 」
Mana was a member of the Shirasaka house.
「 But, that’s just irrelevant. That’s why I’m doing what’s rational 」
「 Oh? It sure is relevant, isn’t it? 」
Momoko-neechan glared at Mana.
「 It’s irrelevant. I no longer have to honor the idea that the nobles are great so I don’t need to live with such weird common sense 」
「 This place only has family and their friends, so it would be weird to talk about the order or something like that 」
「 What’s this, are you mocking me? 」
「 That’s not really my intention but I just think that you’re dumb 」
「 Hey, Mana, you’re exaggerating 」
I intervened in a hurry.
「 That’s right, Mana-chan. Stupid people don’t know that they’re stupid. It’s useless to tell them about it 」
Nei said with a smile.
Guessing that Yamada Umeko-san is going for combat, Michi and Edie half raised their feet.
「 Misuzu, is the Kouzuki house this rude to their guests?! 」
Momoko-neechan throws her anger to Misuzu.
「 I see. Kaan house didn’t teach their people how to be a decent and polite guest 」
「 I’m talking to Misuzu! 」
「 Oh? I thought you were talking to Mana-chan? 」
「 I’m the daughter of the Kaan house! A member of nobility! 」
「 And we already said that it’s irrelevant here 」
Momoko-neechan and Nei continue their confrontation.
This is going to end up in a fight.
What do we do?
「 Oh, I see. So that’s how it is 」
Mariko suddenly speaks up.
「 Kaan-sama, I think you should work on your observation skills a bit more 」
She said and looked at Momoko-neechan.
「 Earlier, when Kuromori-sama suddenly appeared in the bath and talked about what she had to say, it might be painfully true to Kaan-sama and Kouzuki Yoshiko-sama, but… 」
「 What do you mean by that, Mariko? 」
Momoko-neechan speaks in displeasure.
「 No. That’s just the first message? 」
「 The second one is that Fujimiya Reika-san came over wearing plain clothes. She switched with Kuromori-sama. That means that she’s not in her working hours…This isn’t an official work, is it? 」
Mariko asks Rei-chan.
「 Of course. I’m just a member of the family right now 」
Not the employed bodyguard of the Kouzuki house.
「 Third. Nei-oneesama and the girls. This is why they’re wearing plain clothing under their apron 」
「 Correct. Besides, we’re unrelated to the Kouzuki house. The people in here are just family and friends, and so we’re bringing out ice cream and drinks for them 」
「 Oh, so this place is for the Kuromori house 」
Misuzu said upon realizing.
「 So that’s why Grandfather sent over Minaho-oneesama deliberately. “Kouzuki house will not deal with this problem anymore. Kuromori house should deal with it.” Is the message 」
「 Yes, you got it right. With that said, Kouzuki-ojiichan won’t touch this incident! We’ve got to deal with it on our own 」
「 So, this tea party is no-holds-barred, everyone can say all they have to say, throw out everything you’re hiding inside your heart! 」
「 W-What’s going on? 」
Momoko-neechan is surprised.
「 What I mean is that Momoko-chan’s snide remarks are so disgraceful and annoying. There’s nobody but us in here so it’s an event where we can argue with each other with all we’ve got! Just like how Minaho-oneechan did in the bathroom earlier 」
Minaho-neesan was quite harsh to Momoko-neechan and Yoshiko-san earlier.
「 Living as a young lady of nobility means that you never had an experience where people speak to you that harshly, have you? How do you feel? Frustrated? Are you angry? Now everyone’s gonna do it 」
So that’s it.
Momoko-neechan is too much of a young lady that she’s never been criticized by people.
So that’s why…
「 But, before that, let’s eat ice cream 」
「 It won’t be delicious unless you eat it before it melts 」