「 “Lion is known for making strong herds among cats” 」
Ruriko translates what Edie says.
「 “The alpha male reigns at the top of the herd. This single male dominates all of the females” 」
「 It’s the same as Saruyama’s boss monkey. The boss drives away all the other males with sheer strength 」
「 “The alpha male does nothing but protect the herd from enemies. Lions hunt in groups but only females participate in the hunting. The male in most case will not participate” 」
Edie looks at everyone’s face.
「 “I think that this group closely resemble a group of lions” 」
Is our family a lion?
「 “There is one male, and all the rest are females” 」
Well, that’s true.
「 No, but Minaho-neesan’s the boss here. She’s our leader 」
Minaho-neesan is the one pulling the family together.
It’s true that I’m the only male here, but I’m not the leader.
「 “Lions are said to have females hunting together. It’s also said that there’s a hierarchy among the female in the herd. Each female shares a role in the hunting group. So there is also a leader among them” 」
Minaho-neesan is the hunting group leader?
「 I think that Edie-chan has a point 」
「 Because the concept of a family had only bud when you came in here 」
「 That’s not true though? Weren’t you living with Minaho-neesan as the leader even before I came here? 」
Minaho-neesa, Katsuko-nee, Margo-san, Nei , also Kyouko-san.
Since the suspension of activities of the brothel on the fall last year, they acted in this base to get revenge on Shirasaka Sousuke.
「 We were allies of the same objective. But to be honest, we didn’t reach the level of the family. I stayed here because of my hate, and I wanted to cooperate with Ojou-sama. Kyouko-san took the job as the auditor and felt fellowship with Ojou-sama, so she participated. Margo-san and Nei-chan, they were saved from their predicaments, so they want to show appreciation to Ojou-sama 」
Katsuko-nee smiles kindly.
「 To be honest, everyone was planning to get out of here once the revenge is over. We were prepared to abolish the group. Then, you appeared and turned things upside down 」
Is it my fault?
「 Earlier, Nei-chan suggested that the two of them should be adopted by Ojou-sama to Margo-san, didn’t she? 」
Oh, they did talk about taking the Kuromori name.
「 I thought that Margo-chan might be the first one to leave the mansion 」
Speaking of which, Margo-san told me about what she would do when the revenge is over.
Then, last night, the revenge against Sharasaka Sousuke was over.
「 Nei-chan asked Margo-chan to become real sisters. If both of them become adopted to Kuromori family then even if Margo-chan leaves, our bonds won’t break. Sisters will be sisters no matter where they go 」
「 Then, Margo-chan accepted Nei-chan’s offer. That was amazing. To think that Margo-chan who’s so fussed about sticking to her origins would want to be adopted as a Japanese? 」
She’s born as an Indian, but she has blonde hair and blue eyes, she was persecuted by her family and surrounding people and entered a facility from an Indian settlement.
Yet, Margo-san never abandoned her name “Margo Highway Starkweather,” she’s proud of it.
To add “Kuromori” in that name, no, becoming adopted by a Japanese family must be a pretty heavy decision.
「 That’s because there’s a family here. It’s not just Margo-chan and Nei-chan’s problem. Margo-chan wants to join our family. Therefore, she accepted Nei-chan’s offer 」
Katsuko-nee said then smiled.
「 It’s your strength. You’ve tied us, who lost their bond with their real family, and made us a family 」
「 I didn’t’ do anything 」
Edie tells Ruriko something.
「 “The alpha male of the lions don’t do anything usually. All he does is control” she said 」
Even if you tell me that.
「 But, when an enemy comes, the alpha male fights with all his power, right? I don’t have that strength 」
I’m just a helpless high school boy.1
「 Oh, I think that Onii-sama is always fighting with his all for our sake 」
「 Yes. If Onii-chan didn’t fight, then I’m long dead already 」
「 I wouldn’t be set free from being a prostitute at heart. Agnes couldn’t have gotten out of the basement 」
Katsuko-nee pats Agnes’ head, who’s sitting on my knees.
「 Papa embraced me and took me out 」
Agnes clings to me.
「 Took Agnes out from there 」
That’s right, I carried Agnes in my arms and left the basement.
「 I’m glad that Papa is Papa. I love you, Papa! 」
Agnes smiles at me.
「 Me too, if I didn’t have accepted Onii-sama, then I think I would’ve continued to be a burden to Kouzuki house 」
「 Besides, Grandfather has sold me to Onii-sama as a sex slave but, Onii-sama’s paying respects to me as a person 」
「 That’s obvious. You’re Ruriko no matter what 」
Can I even be cruel to such a lovely and sensible girl?
「 I respect Onii-sama because of that. I will follow Onii-sama forever 」
Ruriko smiles satisfied.
《 LION! 》
Edie mutters again.
「 “You need to be aware that you’re the alpha male” 」
Me, the alpha male?
「 “Without you, this group would collapse. Then, all the female lions here are somewhat troublesome women. Everyone talks a lot, laughs a lot, cries a lot. There’s a lot of unstable girls. I’m sure that these girls will make you go in all places” 」
Edie makes a prediction.
Yeah, I guess.
Everyone is laughing here today, but they might be crying tomorrow.
Just like Mana earlier: she might say extreme things from loneliness, and might’ve done it.
Every time that happens, I have to put care on them with all my life.
「 Yeah, I’m prepared for it 」
「 Everyone says that I saved them but, all l did is mess up with everyone’s fate. I’ll take responsibility for it even if it takes a lifetime 」
「 No, Onii-sama, we 」
「 That’s right, Onii-chan, we’re thankful! 」
Edie stretched out her hands and stopped Ruriko and Mana from speaking.
Then, she said something.
Ruriko and Mana both understand English.
Both of them looked down gloomily.
「 What did Edie say? 」
I ask the two.
「 She said that Onii-chan’s not smiling at all 」
「 Onii-sama smiles at us, but he never smiles from the bottom of his heart 」
「 Edie-chan has never seen Onii-chan laughing happily 」
Am I not laughing?
「 I know 」
Katsuko-nee speaks up.
「 It’s because of us, we involved him in our revenge, that’s why he has experienced a lot of scary and painful events, you’ve become a boy who can’t laugh 」
「 I see, Onii-sama is always so earnest and hard-working, he’s so desperate and eager, but Ruriko never saw him smile from the bottom of his heart 」
Since when have I not smile?
「 No, that’s wrong. Katsuko-nee, this has nothing to do with the revenge. I never smiled since my father’s disappearance. No, that’s not it. It might be even further when Grandma died 」
I feel like I smiled when I was living with Grandma.
When I was a child.
「 Does that Mean Onii-chan still hasn’t opened up his heart to us? 」
「 No, we worry Onii-sama too much that he can’t rest 」
《 NO 》
「 “You’re already the leader of the herd. You’re the alpha male of the group that’s why you’re not laughing” 」
Because I’m the leader.
「 That might be. It’s true, this isn’t something you can’t laugh at 」
「 Papa? 」
Agnes looks up at me worriedly.
I still have to undo Agnes’ mind control.
I must shoulder Ruriko to keep fighting her fate as the daughter of Kouzuki house.
I need to make a place for Mana to live on. A place where she can live without others knowing that she’s the daughter of Shirasaka Sousuke.
Katsuko-nee too, I need to help her to start working on her bakery so she could forget her time as a prostitute.
Even with just the family members in here, it’s a lot of trouble already.
My life has a lot of things I need to do.
I can’t laugh it off.
I’m just an ordinary high school boy.
No, I’m someone who can’t do anything, inferior to a man.
「 “Being aware of that, would you cast away from being a lion” 」
Edie wants an answer from me.
「 “Or could you live as a lion?” 」
「 Yeah. I’m the alpha male that protects his family 」
Edie smiles at my determination.
「 “Then, I’ll be your female lion too” 」
◇ ◇ ◇
That’s when Minaho-neesan and Rei-chan come in.
「 Good morning everyone. Katsuko, a light breakfast, please. Coffee too 」
Minaho-neesan’s speaking fast.
Isn’t she a bit tense?
Rei-chan is also a bit stiff.
「 Also, Mana-san. Your father has passed away 」
Shirasaka Sousuke died?
「 Oh, the TV here isn’t turned on 」
Minaho-neesan turns on the television in the dining room.
『 Err, to repeat the news from earlier. The person suspected to be Shirasaka Sousuke has died while being transferred to a hospital! Here is the information about it! 』
The newscaster makes a noise.
Shirasaka Sousuke’s been the topic of the media these past few days.
It started from a Japanese raping a local girl in Australia, causing him to be arrested.
He’s reported to be a director of an advertising agency and a member of Shirasaka house.
Then, the sex scandals of Shirasaka Sousuke involving entertainment circles and gangs spread on the internet.
The head of Shirasaka house’s newspaper company, Shirasaka Moritsugu made contradictory claims.
Then, at that conference, Shirasaka Sousuke’s alleged kidnapping and murder are announced.
Naomi-san’s body was found in Shirasaka villa.
After he was released by the police in Australia, he turned missing.
Even when Cesario Viola attacked the hotel, the society sees it as a terrorist attack on the opposing faction of Shirasaka Moritsugu who were in the hotel.
Even Yukino who was set-up to be kidnapped by the gangs connected to Shriasaka had declared that she was raped in front of the media.
Kyouko-san and Miss Cordelia raided that gang in their office.
Afterward, the dying Shirasaka Sousuke suddenly appeared on a live broadcast.
The Japanese citizens were filled with surprising news on the second half of golden week.
Then, now, the death of Shirasaka Sousuke is reported.
『 You’re connected on the headquarters! 』
『 Yes! We’re in front of the hospital in Tokyo right now. Just now, the death of the person suspected to be Shirasaka Sousuke has been reported to the media. It’s confirmed, Shirasaka Sousuke is killed! 』
『 Do we have confirmations? 』
『 Yes. There’s no mistake 』
Shirasaka Sousuke died.
Even though he was making so much noise last night.
『 Mr. Shirasaka Sousuke has been found left on the premise of a television station last night, he had some horrible injuries that he was delivered to the police hospital right away 』
The scene reported shouts.
『 However, for some reason, he was transported from the police hospital to a private hospital in Tokyo by 4:21 in the morning and it seems that he died 8:02 this morning. The details of the events such as his cause of death aren’t disclosed due to the patient’s privacy 』
『 Huh, if I recall, the police had reported that Shirasaka Sousuke may be gravely injured, but it shouldn’t have been life threatening? 』
『 Yes, that’s right. According to the police report, although his bruises and lacerations throughout his body and parts of his body are destroyed, they weren’t wounds that would lead to death immediately 』
『 Then, he was suddenly transported from a police hospital to a private hospital, and Shirasaka Sousuke suddenly died? There have been rumors that the hospital has some connection with Shirasaka Sousuke 』
『 Yes, the director of this hospital is a relative of Mr. Shirasaka Moritsugu! 』
Oh, Shirasaka house had their lawyers. Of course, they’d have doctors as well.
『 Understood, please continue your coverage 』
The camera returns to the studio.
『 What is going on, Odaya-san? 』
The caster asks the commentator.
『 Usually, that’s unlikely but, could it be that the suspected Shirasaka’s house had pressured the police and had him transferred to an affiliate hospital? 』
『 Is that possible? 』
『 Hmm. If it is, then it’s frightening. The house killed off the suspect Shirasaka to hush down the scandal. It’s usually unthinkable but as far as we see the situation goes 』
『 Either way, the suspect, Shirasaka has died, so there’s no doubt that the whole picture of the incident will go away 』
『 Well, that will be, if he was alive then we can ask him in various methods 』
『 I heard in the reports that his tongue was cut off so he can’t speak 』
『 That’s frightening. To think that this happens in Japan 』
『 Otani-san, have you inferred who the criminal group who left the suspect in the TV station is? 』
『 The culprit is from a foreign criminal group, I think. The suspect also had an incident in Australia. Japan’s organizations won’t do anything this horrible 』
『 Then, let’s review the incidents and the life of Shirasaka Sousuke until now 』
The screen transitions.
A photo of Shirasaka Sousuke during childhood shows.
Shirasaka Sousuke in elementary school is taking a transformation pose while straddling a bicycle with a steady handle.
「 Electronic flasher, five-speed transmission gear, semi-drop handle 」
「 Well, he’s born rich you see 」
Katsuko-nee speaks coldly.
『 Shirasaka Sousuke. Born in Tokyo, July 17, the 44th year of Showa era 』2
Minaho-neesan turns off the television when the narration started.
「 That’s enough, isn’t it? 」
Yeah. I’m not interested in Shirasaka Sousuke’s life either way.
If we continue to watch and see the adult Shirasaka Sousuke.
I don’t know how Agnes will react.
「 For now, that’s the end 」
「 I feel sorry for Mana-san, but 」
「 No, I’m okay. I’m already on this side 」
Minaho-neesan looks at me.
「 Comfort her 」
「 Yeah 」
All I can do is:
「 Mana, come here 」
I want to go but, Agnes is on my knees.
「 I’m fine 」
「 Just do it 」
I’m the lion.
「 Okay 」
Mana goes next to me.
I pat Mana’s shoulder, she snuggled with me and cried quietly.
「 What’s wrong with Mana-chan? 」
Agnes asks me.
「 My stomach hurts a bit 」
Mana’s being considerate of her little sister, so she answered that way.
「 Then Agnes will pat it away! 」
「 Sure, thanks 」
Agnes’s small hands gently pat Mana’s stomach.
「 Now then, the final curtain had Shirasaka house defile their hands, but 」
As expected, it was Shirasaka house who killed Shirasaka Sousuke.
They’re making sure that no more scandal leaks out.
「 We still have to do our cleanup 」
Minaho-neesan talked with Shou-oneechan yesterday, but.
「 What are we going to do? 」
「 The Kitakyushu gang Kouzuki security service has lured out, we’ll use them 」
「 We’ll lay the blame on those people the sun of abandoning Shirasaka Sousuke in that miserable figure 」
Does that mean?
「 It’s okay. They incidentally got caught in the trap Kouzuki security service made and went to Tokyo 」
Haa, she’s still lively when it comes to making conspiracies.
「 Then, Kouzuki security service will eliminate those people in front of the media. It’s the first job of the New Kouzuki security service, and they’ll use it for publicity 」
「 Up until now, Kouzuki security service was an institution created by Kakka to suppress Shigeaki-sama’s behavior 」
Jii-chan who had his eldest son killed in Los Angeles; doubted his second son for involvement, so he made Kouzuki security service to protect Ruriko.
The company that performs VIP exclusive protection is just a facade.
「 Kakka, chief Yazawa, and Shou-oneesama has concluded to operate as a proper security company from now on 」
「 That’s right. It’s regrettable to dissolve where such talented people are gathered 」
「 With the guard department as the main unit, the security department wasn’t in an excellent condition but, the underground side, the top elites and Kudou-san’s network are the best in the industry 」
Jii-chan used all the competent guards in the company to surround as top elites so his second son can’t do anything strange to Ruriko.
Those who dislike belonging to a company, being a lone wolf, Kudou-papa compiles them to a network.
Therefore, when Cesario Viola attacks, they were the main fighters versus the troops invading from a foreign land. The fight between the internal guards ended safely, and Old man Dai Grepher was hired again to fight the enemy back.
「 In short, Kouzuki security service will beat down the people from the Kitakyushu gang to restore their honor and clear their name, and also promote their renewed organization 」
When Cesario Viola raided the hotel, Director Yamaoka leading the security department couldn’t do anything.
The media only shows the horrible situation of the hotel.
Concerning impression, you can say that Kouzuki security service has failed.
They weren’t able to protect the hotel from a terrorist group.
「 However, can I do it? 」
Rei-chan looks at Minaho-neesan.
「 If it’s you then you can 」
「 She’s the new security head for Kouzuki security service due to your recommendation. Kakka and Chief Yazawa gave their approval 」
Oh, it’s decided already.
「 Those who were planning to raise their status declined inside but, they can’t do anything. Well, nobody would want to take over the position of the security director of the current uniform Kouzuki security service though 」
Director Yamaoka made a huge blunder thus he was fired. The second one was told by Yazawa-san to never work in security again.
If you show them that, you can tell that everyone would hesitate.
「 It’s okay. Rei-chan can do it 」
「 I recommended you to Shou-oneechan, I said that Rei-chan’s the most qualified 」
「 I’m in the same opinion as Onii-sama 」
Ruriko also smiles.
「 Congratulations, Rei-chan! 」
Ruriko said. Agnes looks at me.
「 Why congratulations? 」
「 You see, Rei-chan got promoted. Her achievements so far were recognized 」
「 Promoted? 」
Agnes doesn’t know what companies or titles are yet.
「 Anyway, it’s something to celebrate. Say congratulations too, Agnes 」
「 Yes, desuno. Rei-chan, congratulations! 」
Agnes smiles like an angel.
「 T-Thank you 」
「 The start of operations is at 7:30 tonight. Shou-oneesan is talking to the television broadcast already 」
A nationwide broadcast where Rei-chan leads to destroying a gang from Kitakyushu.
「 Got it, what should I do then? 」
Can I do anything to help?
「 Nothing 」
Minaho-neesan said laughing.
「 Or should I say that Kouzuki security service has to do all by themselves tonight. We won’t help out. I won’t send over Margo 」
「 It’s okay. Chief Yazawa, Shou-san, and Kudou-san are all there. The top elites will cooperate too 」
Well, I guess.
「 The police are monitoring us, so It’s better if we stay quiet for a while 」
Well, that’s right.
The police are investigating the actions of the international criminal, Kyouko-san.
「 We have a different job to do 」
「 We also need to do after-care for Kouzuki house, we’ll slip in at their party tonight 」
There’s a party for the political and business circles Jii-chan has to attend tonight.
「 We matched it with the time of Rei-chan’s fight. Making sure it moves at the same time. We need an alibi 」
We don’t want the police to think that we’re too close with the Kouzuki security service.
「 When Misuzu-san comes, Ruriko-san, please go with her to buy a party dress. Since we’ll take care of the bill, please pick something that would amaze Kakka 」
I’m unrelated to that too.
The point is, we want to show the public that Jii-chan, Misuzu, and Ruriko are getting along.
Then, that’ll calm down the internal unrest after the sudden death of Kouzuki Shigeaki.
We still need to do something about Yoshiko-san’s loneliness.
While at it, it’s nice if Jii-chan gets better.
「 Now then, there’s something I want you to do 」
Minaho-neesan looks at me.
「 It’s about Yukino-san 」