「 Here 」
Katsuko-nee took me to the room where Mana’s sleeping.
「 Thanks, well 」
It’s better if I talk to Mana alone.
「 I’ll stay here. If something happens then call me 」
Katsuko-nee says, sensing what I’m about to say.
「 If you can’t talk it well alone then you might need an adult 」
「 Of course, you should be able to talk with each other honestly but, you don’t know when she would need a woman in the conversation 」
I’m a man.
I can’t say that I understand all of Mana’s feelings.
「 Can I listen to the conversation inside? 」
Katsuko-nee takes out an earphone.
She’ll be able to hear the sound from the hidden microphone attached to Mana’s room with that small radio-like device.
「 Sure, please. Katsuko-nee. 」
I asked for Katsuko-nee’s help.
「 I’m also reassured that way 」
She’s different from Misuzu and Ruriko who were both from Kouzuki house, or Megu who was born from the mansion.
She’s Shirasaka Sousuke’s daughter.
The shock to the end of Shirasaka Sousuke must be intense.
「 Then, I’m going 」
「 Yes 」
I knock on the door.
◇ ◇ ◇
「 Mana, I’m coming in 」
I enter the room without waiting for a reply.
The air is stagnant.
I decided to leave the door open.
The room’s curtains are closed, it’s dark.
「 Mana? 」
Mana’s’ sitting on the bed, wearing a bathrobe instead of pajamas.
She’s curled her body, eyes cast downward.
「 Onii-chan, you’re back? 」
Mana said while still looking down.
「 Since an hour ago. I ate breakfast and sent Megu and Nagisa out. Mana didn’t come, so I got worried 」
「 I see, sorry 」
Mana’s not lively.
I get to the window side and open the curtains.
「 Look, we have beautiful weather outside. Agnes is playing in the garden. How about you eat breakfast, Mana? 」
「 Yeah, you’re right 」
Ah geez, it’s not working.
Well, if she stays where Agnes is then Mana will have to be considerate.
「 Thanks for taking care of Agnes and Mao-chan last night. I heard from Nagisa that Mana worked hard 」
「 That’s because I’m the older one, and I promised Onii-chan too 」
「 Did you watch the TV last night? 」
The miserable appearance of Shirasaka Sousuke.
「 Everyone watched on the lower room 」
「 I see 」
Mana’s still looking down.
「 Look, Onii-chan 」
「 Hmm, what’s up? 」
Mana’s hand grips the sheet tightly.
「 I’ll go to Ichikawa-ojiichan. With Yukino-oneechan 」
「 I’ll beg them to not put Yukino-oneechan in the mental hospital. Because we’ll live at Ojii-chan’s house together 」
「 No, wait, Mana 」
「 I’ve been thinking about it since last night. What’s the best course of action For everyone’s sake, for Onii-chan’s sake 」
For my sake?
「A lot is joining in the family so it must be rough for Onii-chan, right? I’m only causing trouble for Onii-chan, so I thought if it might be better if I get out of here 」
「 No, I don’t think of Mana as troublesome 」
「 I am. I can’t do anything useful for Onii-chan 」
「 I don’t have the power of Kouzuki house like Misuzu-san. I can’t be next to Onii-chan for encouragement like Megu-oneechan. I’m not an adult like Katsuko-san or Nei-san, I’m just a drag 」
Mana’s looking down all this time.
She’s not looking at me.
「 Besides, I did something wrong to Yukino-oneechan 」
「 You see, yesterday, I thought that Yukino-oneechan would be disposed of together with Papa until the very last minute. No, I thought that she should just die 」
Tears fall down to the sheets.
Mana’s shoulder is trembling.
「 Onii-chan is trying all his best to save Onee-chan, and yet, the more I watch her, I thought that Onee-chan should die. Even though we’re sisters 」
「 When Mao-chan and Agnes-chan went out, and I’m alone in the bed in the morning, I was able to think calmly, and I shivered. I shivered to my yesterday self. It made me think that I had to atone for what I’ve done for Onee-chan with my life. I thought of living in Ichikawa-ojiichan’s house, taking care of Onee-chan for the rest of my life 」
Her guilt towards Yukino.
「 No, wait. Mana! 」
I try to get close to Mana.
「 Don’t come! Onii-chan! 」
「 If Onii-chan hugs me then my resolution will waver! 」
Then that’s better.
I hug Mana’s body from the front.
I hug it tight.
「 Even though I said my resolution would waver 」
「 Sorry 」
I apologize to Mana.
「 What should I do? Staying here just hinders Onii-chan, I feel sorry for Yukino-oneechan, I also feel sorry for Ichikawa-ojiichan and Mama. 」
We don’t know anything about Yukino’s future yet.
Minaho-neesan is probably planning something, but I don’t know it.
Old man Ichikawa and Mana’s mother, they will live in the future being talked behind the backs of others as relatives of Shirasaka Sousuke.
No, all the members of the Shirasaka clan were burdened with damage.
「 Even so, I think that it’ll only be painful for Mana to return to Ichikawa house 」
Old man Ichikawa saw me have sex with Mana.
He’ll treat Mana as a girl who’s stained by a prostitution organization.
Mana will live under the cold gazes of her relatives every day.
Besides, if Yukino is there.
If Mana’s the only one Yukino can complain her dissatisfactions on then, it’ll only make Mana suffer.
「 You also have the problem with the school 」
Old man Ichikawa is already monitored by the media.
Even if Mana abandons her Shirasaka surname and becomes “Ichikawa Maika.”
The middle school she’ll attend will be identified right away.
That information spreads on the internet immediately.
If she’s discovered to be Shirasaka Sousuke’s daughter, then there’s no hope for her school life.
「 If you stay here, Minaho-neesan will do something about it. I can even borrow Jii-chan’s power. I’ll ask him to get you a new identity 」
「 That’s the reason why I’m a hindrance to Onii-chan 」
「 I can’t repay anything, and yet you’re doing all those things, I feel inexcusable with myself! 」
「 It’s enough to have you by my side 」
「 You don’t need to repay anything! Just stay here! You can stay with me forever! 」
I hug Mana with all my strength.
「 Onii-chan thank you 」
Mana speaks in a small voice.
「 But, I can’t I already made my decision 」
Mana looks up.
Her big eyes look at me.
「 No matter how painful it is, you have to do your best on living 」
What should I do?
If this is the answer, Mana has decided on then.
Do I have to accept it?
I don’t think that Mana will be happy living in Old man Ichikawa’s house with Yukino!!
「 Then, that won’t make you happy 」
「 It’s inevitable. This is my destiny, I just have to accept it 」
Is that really the case?
「 I can’t run away. I’m sure 」
「 Oh, you can. Or should I say that you should run at full power 」
Katsuko-nee enters the room showing a smug smile.
「 Fuck the reality that’s only pain! You should run towards your happiness with all your best! 」
「 I don’t need to be happy anymore 」
Mana tells Katsuko-nee.
「 That’s something you say because you don’t know what true despair is 」
Katsuko-nee replies as she shows an earnest look.
「 Up until now you’ve been spoiled by his warmth, so you came up with such bizarre things. So, if you go to Ichikawa-san’s house with Yukino-san, then it’s too late to taste the true despair. If you lose your escape, then you can’t run away 」
「 I’m already prepared for it 」
「 Children aren’t allowed to say conceited things! 」
Katsuko-nee smiles at Mana.
「 The ladies in this mansion were all kidnapped and turned to prostitutes but, even after retiring as a prostitute a lot of them chose not to return to their families. Some lost their relatives while captured in here just like Ojou-sama but, even though there are some who still have their families remaining in their hometown, they did not return 」
「 If they return to their hometown this late after being kidnapped, can they tell anyone how they were until now? If they tell anyone, what would they do? Can you say them that you were made to take customers as a prostitute and got better only in sex? 」
Katsuko-nee stands by the window and looks outside.
「 We didn’t choose to become prostitutes. We’re different from stupid high school girls escaping the house to just play compensated dating. But, how can we tell that story? From the perspective of the society, we’re no different from those girls. “I wasn’t able to see my girlfriend for a while, but apparently she seems to be prostituting herself in Tokyo,” or some kind of rumor comes to the neighborhood then the family has to endure that 」
The society is cold.
「 They can’t return. Especially when your parents are working on a stable company, your brothers and sisters wish to go to college, get to work and get married, etc. They think that it’s better for the family to stay missing instead of going home 」
「 That might be true for the for the former prostitutes but I I have a place to return to 」
「 Oh really? 」
「 Does Ichikawa-san, and your mother wish for Mana-chan and Yukino-san to return? Would they gladly accept you? 」
「 That’s 」
The answer is no.
Old man Ichikawa values his house more than others.
If that’s not the case, then he won’t be considering confining Yukino to a mental hospital.
「 But, I’ll do my best. I’m their family. I can’t do anything even if it’s painful 」
Mana looks down again.
「 We’re blood-related. So they should understand one day. Ojii-chan, Mama, Yukino-oneechan too! 」
「 Don’t believe in blood relationship 」
「 Onii-chan? 」
「 People don’t save others just because they’re blood-related! That’s just a phony! 」
「 Nothing will happen even if you believe that! Blood doesn’t equate love!! 」
Mana looks up at me surprised.
「 I was abandoned by my mother. My father also gave up on me. He only left a passbook and ceased to exist! I had nowhere to go! 」
I shouted in a loud voice that even I am surprised.
「 I lived alone in such a dark house, I didn’t know what to do!! 」
「 Onii-chan 」
Mana looks at me.
「 It’s okay. You have us. This is your home now! 」
Katsuko-nee hugs me from behind.
「 Everyone’s here for you 」
「 But, Katsuko-nee. Mana 」
I embrace Mana with my trembling hands.
「 Mana’s abandoning me, she’s going away! 」
「 She won’t go! It’s okay! 」
Mana looks at me.
「 You see, his mother never poured any love on him. 」 Then, while he was boarding on his middle school, his mother divorced his father and never came back. Without contacting him at all 」
「 She’s not my mother! 」
I speak as if spitting out.
「 Then, his father disappeared on the high school entrance ceremony 」
「 Disappeared? 」
Mana looks surprised.
「 The adults abandoned him. Even though they left him some money, a high school boy can’t live alone 」
I remember the dark nights I sleep on the worn out sofa.
「 This man pours all of his tremendous love to us, his family because there’s a big hole in his heart. This person wants love in reality. But, he doesn’t have much experience of being loved by other people so, on the contrary, he gives his love 」
「 Mana, I beg you, don’t leave me. Don’t abandon me, don’t leave me 」
「 Onii-chan, I 」
「 If you’re gone I’d feel sad, lonely, I want you to stay by my side!!!! 」
I know that this is just my ego.
「 What will you do Mana-chan? Even though he needs you so much, are you going to someone who doesn’t want you? 」
Katsuko-nee asks Mana.
「 I 」
「 Very well. Let’s take a break. Let’s go to the dining area and drink tea. I think that the girls in the garden haven’t returned yet 」
Katsuko-nee smiles at us.
◇ ◇ ◇
Katsuko-nee prepares tea in the dining room.
Mana sits down on a chair, still wearing a bathrobe.
「 Speaking of which, have you two go to the library of this mansion? 」
「 Library? There’s one here? 」
「 There is. Even though it’s a library, it’s just a collection of books all the prostitutes have read 」
Books for the prostitutes?
「 There’s nothing to do for everyone trapped in the mansion. Even though there was no internet, you could order books. In the past, it seems that you just make a request on Morimoto-san, the clerk and he’ll order it from a bookstore. There’s book from the Showa era. Well, most of it is manga 」
The manga the successive generations of prostitutes had been reading are still here.
「 Reading or watching movies are the pastime of the prostitutes. There’s a lot of old videotapes and even laser disks. Have you seen a Betamax or VHD? Of course, there are Blu-ray movies here too. This brothel is operational since the fall of last year, in the first place, the number of purchase has decreased since you can watch on the internet on the past few years 」
Katsuko-nee said laughing.
「 Nei-chan hangs out there a lot. Also, Kyouko-san. Both of them love old manga and movies. Margo-chan only views films. She seems to not like Manga 」
Oh, that’s why Nei knows a lot of strange stories.
Nei’s been in this mansion all the time for the past two years.
「 You see, when I was brought here, Ojou-sama told me: Make sure to read “Glass Mask,” “Rose of Versailles,” and “Kingdom’s Crest” 」
「 Huh, why? 」
「 That’s a necessary knowledge so I could talk with the elder ladies 」
「 That is a particular book one have to read for work. Back then, the books bought were business and economic books, and manga and movies for the young guests. It’s a necessity for conversation 」
「 Huh, why? 」
「 Hmm, “Ninja martial art book,” or “Igasaki Kagemaru,” or “The father’s soul,” or “Tomorrow’s Joe,” and “The giant Star” are necessities. My customers were in their youth in the 60s. So I have to study the customs of that era. Also, “Golgo 13,” and “Lone wolf and Cub.” Even the presidents of a big company read those 」
It’s a lot of trouble for the prostitutes too.
「 Therefore, well, there’s not only Shoujo manga in the library but also a manga for boys. There seems to be a lot of the ladies who read boy’s comics. 」
「 Because of that, well, I read them too. I read the books from A-Z. Then you see, there’s this men’s love comedy manga work 」
「 This boys manga started to produce love comedy from the 80s, I knew that from looking at the publication year of the manga 」
「 Love comedies at the start have both main characters become conscious of their love for each other, of course, a lot happened in the middle, but the story ends with the two kissing each other 」
The ending is a kiss.
「 Then you see, at the past mid-80s, the first kiss is done in, so the final chapter ended with their first sex 」
It ended with sex.
「 They had sex or should I say that it was heavily implied that they did. It’s a manga for boys. But that ended there 」
「 They developed so far that the end of love comics turn to a negative. If it were a manga for young men, then they’d draw a romantic relationship beyond having sex 」
You can’t serialize that on a young boy’s magazine.
「 However, the shoujo manga back then have dealt with the problem of sex long ago 」
「 Having sex with a lover, getting pregnant, also rape, for a girl, it’s a matter of urgency. If it’s a shounen manga, then there would be contents that a PTA is seeking claim but in shoujo manga, it’s drawn as a theme. Well, their problem is that it’s overdone 」
「 But you see, in shounen manga love comedy, it was amusing to have sex with the heroine 」
「 Why? 」
「 Because us prostitutes do sex as our first way to have a relationship with a man. Isn’t that the final round from the start for everyone? 」
Katsuko-nee laughs sadly.
「 Or should I say that I don’t like the idea of kiss and sex showing the stage of relationship with girls. No, there are girls like that too, there are girls who say “my relationship with him is only until kisses” 」
A relationship that reached kisses.
「 But, I wonder if there’s someone who would say “My relationship with that person is only until sex,” if so, then what kind of relationship is above sex? 」
Katsuko-nee said laughing.
「 Isn’t that marriage? 」
Mana takes the bait.
「 You may give them your body but don’t want to get married. That’s what sexual relationship is 」
「 Yeah, it’s the so-called sex-friend 」
「 That’s right 」
「 But, what do you think Mana-chan? You can differentiate between “My relationship with him is only until kisses,” or “until sex,” or “a relationship where we can marry” 」
「 That’s impossible for me 」
Mana looks at me.
「 I can’t use that “Stages” 」
「 Me too. But look, a prostitute is only forced to say “a relationship of only sex” 」
Mana suddenly realized.
「 Speaking of which, some ladies never kissed their customers. That one can use that kind of “stages” 」
In that case, what will be Mana’s relationship with me who started with rape?
I suddenly deflowered her and cum inside her.
「 What do you think about love comedy romance? 」
Katsuko-nee asks me.
「 I don’t know well whether kissing or sex is a deep-rooted relationship. Every time I have sex even now, I discover something as I look at my partner. I know more or should I say, I don’t know a lot 」
「 Onii-chan, you don’t know? 」
「 You see, everyone’s changing a lot. Women change. The response of their mind and body, the way of thinking, consciousness change. I have nothing but to discover 」
I keep discovering and finding new things that I have no choice but to pursue.
「 If I don’t keep on chasing then I won’t know anymore 」
「 Even though we have a relationship through sex, I think that it’s a good thing to always try to feel your partner directly 」
「 That’s right, a real romance continues forever. Sex is nice to do but if you don’t keep your effort to understand then even love can be gone or change 」
「 Katsuko-san, what does that mean? 」
「 “Inseparable relationship” If people are together even idly, even when the love ends, an attachment is born 」
「 Now then, shall we enter to the main course, Mana-chan? 」
Katsuko-nee looks at Mana.
「 Do you like him? Love? Or infatuated? Or are you just feeling an obligation? Or is it just attachment? 」
Mana looks at me.
「 If you’re feeling only gratitude then leave him. It’s a troublesome attachment. It’s only a bother to the other girls 」
「 I 」
「 But on the other hand, if you love him, need him, then stay. You can drive away different things. Your blood relatives, fate, they’re all meaningless in front of love 」
Katsuko-nee looks at me this time.
「 You too, answer the same question. Do you love Mana-chan? Or do you just feel sorry for her? Or is it only attachment from having sex? Which is it?! 」
「 If you think naively like “It’s like this so I can’t help it,” or “it’s like that so have no choice but to do this,” you’ll regret it later. At worst, 10, 20 years from now, after you made a child, you’d think “Oh, I should’ve done this back then” Would you raise a child from a relationship of just attachment? 」
「 That’ll only increase children like you! 」
My parents didn’t love each other.
That’s why they can’t love their own family.
My existence, their child, was just an eyesore for them.
Mana’s the same.
Shirasaka Sousuke and Mana’s mother don’t love each other.
Shirasaka Sousuke always womanizes outside.
Mana’s mother had an affair with the manager.
「 So, what is it you two? 」
Katsuko-nee asks us.