「…Good morning…good morning…!」
…It’s morning already?
My body feels heavy.
My stomach’s turned over…
My condition is too bad.
I wish to sleep further.
「…Get up! Yoshida-kun…!」
Yes…that’s, my name.
「…It’s morning already! Get up…Yoshida-kun!」
I open my heavy eyelids.
The first one I see is…
「Ehehehehe…you finally got up!」
The angelic smile of the three year old girl fills my vision…
「Good Morning! Yoshida-kun!」
「Ah, you can’t go back to sleep! That’s bad!」
…No, I’m completely awake.
What’s going on?
I’m on a fluffy bed.
Somehow…I’m in an amazingly luxurious room.
The curtain’s are closed so I can’t see outside the window, but…
Morning light is shot from the gap.
Yeah…night has already ended.
「You see…Mama said that you didn’t take a bath last night and just slept, so let’s take a bath!」
Mao-chan tells me.
「Do you get it…Yoshida-kun?!」
「It’s not just Yoshida-kun…Mao will join in too!」
Oh…the two of us.
「Hey…Mao-chan. Where’s Nagisa?」
Not just Nagisa.
Where’s everyone else.
Or rather…what’s this room?
At the moment the doubt comes to mind…
The door opens and Nagisa herself appears.
「Oh…awake? I’m glad」
Nagisa smiles gently
Looking at it, there’s one chair besides the bed I was sleeping on.
Nagisa was watching over me?
「We’re still in the hotel. It’s close to the top floor…I had Shige-chan lend us all three suite rooms. This is one of them」
Then that means…
Everyone else is in another room?
「Mao…get the bath ready」
Mao-chan doesn’t seem to want to leave my side.
「We’ll be coming right away…you can help out can’t you?」
I look at Mao-chan
Saying that, she head to the bathroom.
「You don’t have to run…it’s dangerous if you fall down!」
「I can run just fine〜!」
The noisy angel leaves the room.
Inside the room is only me and Nagisa.
Nagisa sits on the chair next to the bed.
「Were you able to get out of the basement right after that?」
I explore my ambiguous memory.
「It took more than two hours after you lost consciousness. That’s when the elevator was restored. But still, everyone were at the limit of their mind and stamina… It was impossible to use the escape route where it’ll take time to open. If we went that way, we can’t get any help from outside」
Taking the trouble of removing the lock from the inside one by one…
The only person in left in the basement who has the physical strength would be Megu…
「Is everyone safe?」
「Yes…they’re safe. Everyone is. Don’t worry」
Yeah…that makes my heart feel lighter.
「Misuzu and Yoshiko-san escorts her and went home first. She has to prepare for her father’s wake」
「Their guards are Seki-san and Michi-chan. Edie=chan wanted to go but Kyouko-san held her back
Sister Edie’s completely attached to Michi.
But…it’s worrying for that girl to be in the funeral of a member of Kouzuki family.
She’s likely to pick a fight with a guard of another family that came to burn incense.
In the first place, she doesn’t know the atmosphere of Japan funerals…
「The police are on the grounds of this hotel. But, Shige-chan doesn’t let the police enter above 19th floor. Therefore, we’ll be fine here. When we’re about to head out, we’ll just contact Yazawa-san and…Kouzuki security service car would send us off」
「It should be on the variety show this morning…」
Nagisa turns on the television with a remote.
In the screen…is the whole view of the hotel we’re at.
Oh, the messed up ー flooded first floor is reflected.
『A hotel in Odaiba is raided by a 120 men Russian Mafia murder group!』
Those were the headline.
「The situation’s covered by helicopters so don’t open the curtains」
I see, that’s why the windows are shut off.
Nagisa changed the channel, a moderator and commentator talks.
『But still, why would someone like Shirasaka Moritsugu try to borrow the power of Russian Mafia to destroy his enemies?』
『He must be getting impatient. They’re on the crisis of downfall after all…』
『But…for a newspaper person who believes that pen is mightier than sword, isn’t it surprising for them to hire a terrorist?』
『Well, we don’t know what’s going on inside Shirasaka house after all…』
Nagisa turns off the TV.
「Shige-chan made everything Shirasaka Moritsugu-san’s fault」
In fact, the people opposing Shirasaka house stayed here last night…
The kill request of Shirasaka Morisugu was a matter of miss Cordelia’s business…it was not the main purpose of the hotel raid, but…
「The people of Shirasaka house doesn’t know anything behind the scenes so they just forced the owner to retire you see? Shige-chan declared『It’s all your fault』so the media is reporting as Shige-chan says… It seems that Shirasaka house will pay for the hotel repair expenses and compensation pay for the closed down businesses.
…That’s very Jii-chan like though.
「Only this case, Shirasaka house also covers the situation of this hotel on the same tone as the other stations. Shirasaka house’s control on the newspaper and television companies is now over. The world will never allow Shriasaka’s name to become a top company…」
Then, the people close to Jii-chan will be holding down the newspaper and television companies either way.
Well, the head house will still be one of the major shareholders.
But, Shirasaka clan who works for group companies in the future won’t be ahead.
A dry laugh overflows.
「Anyway, the immediate worry is gone…」
Megu and Mana’s life is no longer in danger.
Nei-san…won’t be attacked anymore.
Cesario Viola’s dead after all.
I shot him dead.
「You really did your best」
「I haven’t done anything helpful to anyone」
「That’s not true. You haven’t received any special training…you’re just a high school student and yet, you’re such a kind and hardworking boy that’s why you did the impossible. You did all your best until you fall…」
「…That was my limit I guess.」
My body’s so dull.
My stomach feel sick…
My whole body’s screaming
I’ve been on an extremely dangerous place last night.
At the brink of life and death…
I was tense last night so I didn’t feel it, but…
I forced my mind and body to it’s limit.
「Right. I’m a normal human. No, rather, I have less power than an average person…」
The ones who actually fought are Margo-san, Michi, Seki-san and Reika.
I was being protected.
Kyouko-san was the one who saved the crisis…
Because of me hurrying things up…in the end, I felt like I was just interfering with Jii-chan’s plan.
I didn’t help out at all
The sense of inferiority and defeat wraps me up
Nagisa embraced me tightly…
Soft and warm body…
「You really did your best. I saw it. I think you should be proud of it…!」
Nagisa kisses me.
「Rather…it was us who didn’t do good depending on you too much. You bore the burden and went beyond your limit」
I…killed a person
「…I’ll tell you Minaho-san’s message」
Nagisa looks into my eye…
「First, you are free…understand that you don’t have to feel any obligation towards us」
「Yes. Minaho-san’s first proposal is…」
Nagisa continues to talk sadly.
「If, you want to leave our『family』…this is a hypothetical talk…Minaho-san will prepare a new family register for you. You’ll be given a sizable amount of money as well. You can live a new life with a new name…in a place far away from us. If ever you don’t want to see us again…we can move to a foreign country. We’ll never show ourselves to you again. Because, we want you to make your life to the fullest…」
「There’s no way I would wish for that!」
「Don’t think about us for now…think of your own life as a priority. Understand that you can redo your life as an ordinary high school student…! I don’t want you to think that your life is over!」
「…There’s no way I would abandon my family because of that!」
A life without everyone is just…
「Minaho-san’s second suggestion is…you have to chose a『family』to live with」
「If this continues…you’ll be crushed by shouldering everything yourself. If so…then, isn’t it better to limit it to the only family you think it’s comfortable and easy to live with?」
「…What do you mean?」
「Minaho-san said that it’s best for your mental stability to stay with me and Mao in my house but… You can live with Katsuko too. Katsuko-san, Megu-chan and Mana-chan. Renting a house for four people」
Rent a house?
Why not the『mansion』?
「Even Misuzu’s place will do. Shige-chan will prepare a house for it. She’s attentive and gentle. I think it’s good to live with Misuzu, Ruriko-san, Yoshiko-san and Michi-chan in places Shige-chan backs up.」
「Anyway…Minaho-san said that you should narrow it down to a range of people. If you’re always worried about everyone, you’ll fall down in anxiety. Of course, you can change on the places as you like. For example, you’re worried about Ruriko for now aren’t you?」
「Then, stay up with Ruriko until she’s settled down…when you think it’s okay then go with Katsuko. That is okay too」
「And, the last proposal…Minaho-san said that you should stay away from the criminal organization『Kuromori』. Therefore…don’t enter the『mansion』anymore, and never see Margo-chan, Kyouko-san and Minaho-san herself ever again…」
…There’s no way I’d do that.
「Minaho-san’s the most depressed now. Minaho-san wants to be your teacher forever. She regret that she put you into danger」
Dammit…what should I do?
「…Uhm, what about Nei-san?」
I ask Nagisa.
Nei-san’s name hasn’t come out
「Nei-chan’s on hold. Nei-chan is in state of shock right now…」
「Though the real Viola died…Nei-chan’s fear of Viola that has been eroding her all this time hasn’t disappeared yet. The balance of reality and mind is being tipped off」
「…is that so?」
「Yes…she can only take time to stabilize. Everything has changed so suddenly after all…」
It’s because I shot Viola in front of Nei-san.
「How about going on a trip with Nei-chan for a while, for about one month. There’s an option like that too…」
「Anyway…Minaho-san’s proposal is too long to be understood but…Minaho-san wants you to stop thinking『It can’t be helped』or『I have to do something』 It’s the same as giving up your life」
So I won’t have to give up on my life.
「Even I…I want you to choose what you want to do. We will support you whatever you choose I don’t mind feeling lonely as a result of it. We want you to be happy…」
「What are you going to do in the future?…take your time to think about it」
Mao-can pops out of the door.
「Ihihihi…it’s filled with hot water!」
「Please…come in with Mao」
Nagisa smiles at me.
「Since she’s three years old…she’ll be fine as long as you take care she doesn’t drown」
「It’s her long time dream to bathe with her father」
◇ ◇ ◇
「Bath! Bath! Rururu!!」
Mao-chan happily scatters around the clothes around the dressing room.
I think while taking off my clothes.
Nagisa’s last words…
Does Nagisa think that I will abandon them?
So, in order for Mao-chan to make her last memories…
I’m going to take a bath with her.
「Uwa, it’s a peepee」
Mao-chan looks into my crotch
「No, you don’t have to look at that part」
「Uh…Mao-chan’s embarrassed being seen naked, right?」
「I’m fine! It’s Yoshida-kun after all!」
「Yoshida-kun is Mao’s papa right?!」
Mao-chan smiles happily
Right…I promised with this girl.
Certainly…I made a promise.
「Yes yes, before you take a bath, wash your body properly first!」
Mao-chan tells me smiling.
「Take a shower」
「Pour out the water」
「It’ll be hot water right away」
「Yeah…it’s getting warmer. Okay, Yoshida-kun, take a sit here!!!」
Mao-chan makes me sit.
「I’ll pour in the shower!!」
She does to me what she usually do to Nagisa.
I just let Mao-chan do what she want in silence.
「Okay, I’ll wash your but too」
Her small hand washes my butt.
「Here, I’ll wash Mao-chan too」
I pour the warm shower on Mao-chan’s small body…
「That’s enough! I also washed my butt so let’s take a bath now!」
What should I do?
「Yoshida-kun, go in first! Then you hug Mao in front!」
I can hold Mao-chan in the bathtub.
「What small hands.」
Looking at it again…Mao-chan’s hands are really small.
It’s like a miniature of an adult’s hand.
「Not just my hand! Mao’s all small」
「Oh, well of course」
「No I’m not. I’m just around average in class」
「You’re bigger than Mao!」
「Hey, speaking of which, why is Mao-chan calling me『Yoshida-kun1』?」
「You see…Sensei tells me to do so!」
「She said『he has to go back to his starting point』」
So I won’t get trapped in『Kuromori』house…
So I can reset my thoughts once more…
「Hey hey, can you do this?」
Mao-chan sinks the towel into the hot water and makes a bubble/
「I’ll make you a bigger bubble」
I stuffed in as much air as possible and let the bubble flow out.
「Wahahaha, amazing, amazing!」
「Hey hey, Yoshida-kun…it’s fun!」
「No! It’s fun to take a bath with Yoshida-kun!」
「It’s fun to take bath with Mama but…there are times where Mama’s tired」
「What do you do at those times?」
「Mao gives Mama a massage!」
The mother daughter pair has a lot of troubles too.
「Ah, Yoshida-kun…you have to wash the back of your ears!」
Mao-chan climbs up my body…and rubs the towel she’s been playing until a while ago to my ear.
「You see…Yoshida-kun. Mao…has a request!」
Then, she looks straight to my face…speaking shyly.
「There will be a sports day in Mao’s kindergarten the next day. The other children have their, Papa, Mama, Grandpa and Grandma coming, Mao only has Mama. So…」
「Sure. Go. I’m coming too」
「…Yeah. I’m not lying I promise」
I made another promise.
Mao-chan happily smiled…
「Hm…What’s wrong? Yoshida-kun?」
In the end, I…
I’ve made so many promises.
I can’t just run away from those promises I’ve made.
Promises are meant to be kept.
I tell myself inside.
「…Does your stomach hurt?」
「Mao will give you a hug then…!」
Mao-chan’s small hand embraces me.
…What a good girl.
I’ll protect this girl for all my life.
I promised to be this girl’s Papa…
「I’ll be a good Papa for Mao-chan!」
I can’t speak about dependence.
I must protect her even on death.
I’ve got promises to fulfill.
I…will become Minaho-neesan’s brother.
Katsuko-nee’s brother, and man.
Nagisa’s man…Mao-chan’s father.
Misuzu’s man…and owner.
Megu’s lover…and husband.
Mana’s…brother, and master.
I promised to be Jii-chan’s grandson…
I made promises.
To make them happy…
I have to do all my best to do what I promised.
I can’t be dependent anymore.
Whoever I am…
Whoever I killed, are all irrelevant.
I’m no longer allowed to be depressed about such things…
In order to protect my 『family』…
「I’m coming in!」
Nagisa’s also naked…entering the bathroom.,
「Mama, Mama, it’s trouble! Yoshida-kun’s crying!」
Mao-chan reports to her mother.
「At such times, you give him a kiss! then, say『I love you』」
「I love you?」
「Mao…do you like him?」
「I like him! He’s Mao’s Papa!」
「If you think so then tell him in words and give him a peck. It won’t be conveyed if you just think of it!」
Mao-chan looks up at me smiling.
「…Yoshida-kun! I love you! Chu!」
Her small lips touches mine
「I love you too…Mao-chan!」
I also kiss Mao-chan on her cheek…!
- Mao-chan calls him in hiragana よしだくん ↩