「 Uhm, I 」
We’re in Jii-chan’s exclusive hotel room, where we don’t have to worry about wiretaps.
Even so, Kanou Sakurako-san is nervous.
「 T-That… 」
「 Sakurako-san, if you’re hesitating, then shall I do the talking? 」
Mariko is Sakurako-san’s cousin, and so she knows about her secrets.
Naturally, Shiranui-san, who’s standing next to her, should know too.
She’s warned to stay quiet earlier, and so she’s staring at her master, Sakurako-san, with a worried expression.
「 No, It’s okay 」
Then, Sakurako-san looked straight into my eyes.
「 Kuromori-sama, Kouzuki Ruriko-sama, please promise me to never tell anyone what I will tell you 」
That’s a problem
「 Does that include Misuzu? 」
「 Yes, what I’m to tell is an embarrassment for the Kanou house 」
In our case, the Takakura sisters can read our minds even if we don’t tell them.
Oh, I guess that’s okay too. I’m still keeping my promise not to tell anyone.
Tsukiko, Yomi, Luna, and Koyomi-chan, are girls who know what to do, so if I think that “don’t tell this to anyone,” then they will keep quiet.
Still, I’ll order them to quiet down just in case.
「 I understand, I promise. I won’t tell anyone Kanou-san’s story 」
「 Me too, I’ll stay quiet 」
「 Michi too? 」
「 Yes, I’ll never tell others 」
Michi is Misuzu’s bodyguard, so she knows about the world of the nobility.
Kanou-san’s saying that it’s an embarrassment to the Kanou house, so I understood that it’s going to be bad if it’s exposed to the public.
Mariko and Shiranui-san already know Sakurako-san’s secret.
Only Ruriko, Michi, and I promised to not leak her secret.
Thus, that’s everyone in the room.
Kanou-san takes a deep breath.
「 Well then, I’ll tell you my story 」
She looks at Ruriko and me again.
「 The truth is that I’m not a legal child of Kanou house 」
Not a legal child? What does that mean?
「 No, Sakurako-san is definitely a child of the Kanou house legally. Your father is certainly Kanou-sama. The results of the DNA test should make that clear 」
So they had a DNA test.
So something happened around Kanou Sakurako-san that created that turmoil?
「 However, I’m not my Mother’s daughter 」
Sakurako-san speaks with an expression of pain
「 I’m not a child born from the lawful father and mother of Kanou house 」
Does that mean…
「 I’m a child of my father’s mistress from a Ginza establishment 」
Meaning, an affair’s child?
「 When they discovered that the woman was pregnant with me inside her, it was already beyond the abortion period. Then, Kanou house’s previous head, my grandfather, was still alive and well, and he decided to put me in the Kanou family register as my Mother’s child 」
「 Though we lost our former momentum, Kanou house still has a lot of vassals helping out, so… 」
Oh, that happened to Erica when she was born too.
Erica isn’t a child of her parents too.
Her mother was a former prostitute of the Black Forest.
Erica’s mother faked her birth in a hospital abroad.
In Kanou Sakurako-san’s case, she must’ve probably been covered up in a hospital that’s acquainted with her family.
「 Therefore, the fact that I’m not a legitimate child of the Kanou house had been a secret between Kanou house and the doctors so far 」
「 I also knew about it. My mother was from the Kanou house after all 」
Oh, I see.
So that’s why Mariko and Sakurako-san are got an awkward relationship during the party in the Kouzuki house.
Mariko has the noble blood in her, but…
Her home is the Torii house, and they’re a family that’s an upstart during the Showa era, so they don’t belong in the nobility.
That was Mariko’s insecurity back then.
She’s in the upper class, even attending the school for the young ladies, but the ladies of nobility treat her differently. She’s received various privileges, like bringing a bodyguard to school.
Sakurako-san is also enrolled in the same school, so Mariko had her insecurity rubbed to her since childhood.
Furthermore, even if they’re from the nobility, Kanou house is already in a collapsed situation.
On the other hand, Mariko’s Torii house isn’t in the nobility, and yet, they’re a family that owns a world-famous company, Torii Electronics, so they’re quite wealthy.
Mariko is proud of the Torii house and her father.
「 Mariko, when did you discover that? 」
「 About two years ago. When the second year in middle school was ending 」
I see. So that’s why
It must’ve been shocking for Mariko to learn that Sakurako-san, the girl she thought is a daughter of the Kanou house, is actually a child from an affair.
Meanwhile, she’s a daughter from her father, who’s the current president of Torii electronics, and mother, who came from the nobility, both are splendid parents.
Therefore, she has that complicated emotions towards Sakurako-san.
She’s not a daughter of nobility, and yet, she took some reckless steps to bring Haiji, her bodyguard, to school.
「 Mother told me about it, but of course, I never told anyone. I’m keeping it a secret from Father too, Sakurako-san said it herself, it’s an embarrassment to the Kanou house. I know that I shouldn’t leak it outside 」
Kanou house’s embarrassment.
「 Kanou house currently is in a state where it’s managed to maintain its family status with the help of other noble families 」
True, Kanou house itself hardly has any assets.
I hear that they’re given honorary positions in various foundations and so on, but they’re barely maintaining their status as a member of the nobility.
Along with Kouzuki and Kaan house, they were also one of the big three nobility, and so they’re allowed to survive only because of that status.
「 It would be a betrayal of their goodwill to have a relationship with a woman from a shop and gave birth to a child while the house is still in that state 」
Oh, they will incur the wrath of the other noble families saying “Everyone’s trying to help you, and yet, what are you doing?”
「 Therefore, we’ve kept my secret from the outside world so far 」
Sakurako-san seems lonely.
「 Some people inside the Kanou house speak horrible things to Sakurako-san. I wasn’t getting along with Sakurako-san either 」
「 That was until I met Kou. Recently, I’ve come to realize that being cold to Sakurako-san is wrong after discovering the circumstances of the people who were living in Kou’s home 」
Minaho-neesan, Katsuko-nee, and Nagisa, women who were forcibly kidnapped and turned into prostitutes.
Yukino, Mana, the twins, and the Kurama girls who lost their homes.
Agnes had no place to return to from the beginning.
Many of them grew up in terrible circumstances.
「 That’s why I started talking to Sakurako-san in school to get close to her. Sakurako-san’s problem isn’t her fault. I thought of it that way 」
Mariko’s changed a lot in the past few weeks.
She knows thinks of how other feel.
「 I can understand Sakurako-san’s secret now, but… 」
I look at Sakurako-san.
「 So, why does Sakurako-san want to do prostitution? 」
I can’t connect them.
「 Oh, well, that’s because Kou… 」
「 That’s because of her Great-Aunt in Kanou house 」
「 The previous head of the family, our grandfather, is already dead, but it’s his sister. 」 She’s already 80, and still healthy 」
Oh, it’s their Grandfather’s sister, so it’s Great Aunt.
「 She was someone from the early Showa era when the Kanou house was still doing well. Therefore, she still looks down on people from the other noble families, and won’t even talk to me because I’m not from the nobility. She’s quite mean, pompous, and a nasty tongued woman 」
「 That Great Aunt of ours was married off to another family, but… 」
「 There was a quarrel in the family she’s married into, divorced and moved back, and she’s been staying at a detached home ever since 」
Sakurako-san said. Mariko added.
「 Though it’s called a detached home, it’s completely separate from the main house, she has her own kitchen, bathroom, and even entrance 」
「 Usually, she doesn’t show up to Sakurako-san and everyone at all. They’re living in the same property and yet, they live separately, something like that? 」
「 And so, a few times a year, there are family gatherings at the Kanou house’s main residence 」
And so that Great Aunt comes too.
「 Great aunt, believes that the decline of the Kanou house is due to the mismanagement of her brother, meaning when Sakurako-san and my Grandfather were the head of the family. She always speaks out loud during family gatherings. Then she says “If I knew that it would happen, then I should’ve taken over as the head.” Despite her coming home due to her failed marriage. Great Aunt had no qualifications to be the head of the family, she never ran a company before. She’s just saying whatever she wants 」
Mariko seems to hate that woman.
「 She sure is a troublesome woman, however, since she’s the oldest in the Kanou house, is on the main bloodline, nobody can resist her despite finding her annoying 」
She’s the sister of the late previous head.
Therefore, her attitude towards Sakurako-san’s father, the current head, is arrogant.
「 So, that Great Aunt of ours went all out during our gathering recently 」
「 My mother and I were there too. It was Grandfather’s memorial service. And so, it’s just the main and branch families of the Kanou house, but… 」
Mariko’s expression turned cloudy.
「 I don’t know what bothered her, but during the middle of the gathering, the “Great Aunt,” started criticizing the late predecessor’s death, during his memorial service. Then, she started cursing the current head, Sakurako-san’s father 」
Sakurako-san’s expression turned dark.
「 And in the end, she pointed at Sakurako-san, and said: “This girl’s a daughter of a prostitute” 」
「 Wait a minute, I thought Sakurako-san’s mother was from a store in Ginza, right? 」
That was what I heard earlier.
「 Yes, how do I say it? I don’t know the details, but I heard that it’s a place where women dress up and pour alcohol to their customers 」
「 So, she’s the so-called hostess or something? It’s a high-class club or something 」
「 Yes, that, it’s that kind of shop, Kou 」
Then that means…
「 Well, I get that they’re also in the nightlife business, but I think that they’re different from prostitutes, right? 」
They don’t sell their bodies for money every time.
No, not that I know much about it.
But, I don’t think you can call them prostitutes.
「 I thought so too, but, this Great Aunt 」
Mariko looked at Sakurako-san, who’s looking down.
「 Great Aunt kept calling Sakurako-san a daughter of a prostitute, loudly, and she doesn’t stop even when others tried to. I don’t know what made her mad, but, anyway, she kept pointing at Sakurako-san and kept calling her that. “The head of the house has a daughter of a prostitute as her child, Kanou house is already over,” “Why are you not expelling this daughter of a prostitute?” “Kanou house is being stained by this daughter of a prostitute,” and she kept rambling
「 If she speaks ill of me, it only troubles Father and Mother, and so Great Aunt must be finding pleasure in watching the head family look troubled 」
「 It’s Father’s fault for having an affair and making a child from an outsider woman 」
However, for her to make a fuss about that during a family gathering.
「 But, since Great Aunt’s hysteria has become too loud, the people from the Branch family got angry and decided to take Great Aunt from the main house and back to her detached home 」
Mariko said and looked at Shiranui-san.
「 Shiranui-san and her family received that order 」
「 I’m ordered because the men of the branch family can’t hold her back, and ordinary women aren’t strong enough 」
She’s an elderly woman with a status of the head.
Only a woman bodyguard like Shiranui-san can touch her and bring her out.
「 Women of the Shiranui house and I took her out 」
Shiranui house is a clan with the role of Kanou house’s bodyguards.
Shiranui Shie-san is Sakurako-san’s bodyguard.
The other women of her clan are probably in charge of guarding the women of the main house.
「 But, that didn’t go well. The fact that Sakurako-san’s bodyguard, Shiranui-san, participated in her deportation, heated up the Great Aunt even more 」
What did she do?
「 I have a fiance 」
Sakurako-san speaks suddenly.
Oh, Misuzu had one too before.
Misato, the young lady of the Kurama house was the same.
The nobility marries their children to strengthen their relationship with other families.
Even when Kanou house already lost its momentum, they still have a high level of prestige, so many families would love to get married to them.
We have the previous case of Mariko’s mother married to the Torii house.
It’s not weird to see that Sakurako-san already had a marriage partner in another family since childhood.
「 No, I ‘had’ one 」
「 Great Aunt has spoken to that house about me 」
That angry Great Aunt exposed Sakurako-san’s secret?
「 Yesterday, they canceled the engagement 」
Oh, so that’s why.
Shiranui-san’s being weird with Sakurako-san.
Even the driver from the Kanou house was worried about Sakurako-san.
That’s because Sakurako-san’s become mentally unstable due to her broken engagement.
「 That family had been a long time friend with the Kanou house so they promised not to tell anyone about my secret, but… 」
Sakurako-san speaks in pain.
「 They seem to be unable to accept that they’re marrying a daughter of a woman in a nightlife business 」
「 Even in nobility, there are families who think that way 」
「 Yes, they say that they can’t allow her to their home unless it’s a legitimate daughter of the Kanou house 」
Sakurako-san’s face turned pale.
「 In exchange for not speaking of the secret in public, I was told to never see who was my fiance ever again 」
「 They were engaged ever since childhood, and yet… 」
Mariko knew who that fiance of Sakurako-san is.
「 I don’t think that he cares about such things, but the head of their family is a very serious person 」
He can’t accept the fact that she’s a child from an affair with a woman from a nightlife business.
「 No, he and Yoshihiko-san agree with Father 」
Sakurako-san told Mariko.
「 They sent a mail. Their family did their research and confirmed that my real mother was the woman from that shop. And so, they can’t forgive that it’s been kept in the dark for so long… 」
So that’s what the serious person was angry about.
「 However, Yoshihiko-sama loves Sakurako-sama from the bottom of his heart 」
「 If you talk to him, he will understand!! 」
That her being a child of an affair isn’t her fault.
That it was the inconvenient circumstances in the Kanou house that she couldn’t tell her fiance about it.
That he shouldn’t blame Sakurako-san herself.
「 That’s enough, Shie 」
Sakurako-san says with a dark expression.
「 I’ve given up already 」
Is that why?
Is that the reason why?
When her fiance since childhood broke off their engagement.
Sakurako-san’s become pessimistic.
「 So, that’s why Sakurako-san wanted to do prostitution? 」
Becoming a prostitute girl for real.
No, she had no interest in the act of prostitution itself.
「 That’s not the case, but… 」
Sakurako-san smiled feebly.
「 Yoshihiko-san’s mail had an attached file 」
「 An investigative report about my real mother they found using a detective agency 」
The hostess from the Ginza high-class club.
「 I called the person, and it shocked me 」
「 First, I never really thought what my real mother would be like 」
「 I also feel that my mother, who was a hostess, was a filthy woman. As a daughter of nobility, she should be from a different world. And so, I never wanted to meet my real mother. Rather, I thought that she was a bad person because she deceived her father. On the other hand, I assumed that it was my mother who was a lascivious and greedy woman. No, I couldn’t accept my birth unless I think of it that way 」
Sakurako-san’s eyes start tearing up.
「 I thought that my mother abandoned me after giving birth, and gave me to the Kanou house for money. No, I was under the impression that my mother approached Father, deceived him, and gave birth to me to gain money from the Kanou house 」
「 But, that wasn’t what you saw in the report? 」
「 Yes, I misunderstood everything 」
Tears spill from Sakurako-san’s eyes.