「 You’re right, we were mistaken 」
「 We think of Megumi-san as obstinate, as someone who doesn’t understand, and so we ignored Megumi-san’s individuality and the way she accepts things, and gave our arbitrary evaluation on her 」
Nei and Misuzu are smart, and so they understand right away. They comprehend the issue at hand. They think of how to deal with it right away.
But, Megu’s not like that.
Despite all that, Nei and Misuzu continue to move forward before Megu could understand.
It’s not just towards Megu.
Nei and Misuzu don’t explain anything to me and just continue to make schemes with the two of them.
「 And since you two love scheming, it saves the trouble if you explain first and gain consent, don’t you think? 」
「 I know that you want to implement your ideas as fast as possible, but that’s not good. As mentioned earlier, your plans are only useful to people who follow the same rules as you 」
Misuzu and Nei are strong in the world where the laws are strict.
They’ll follow their plans, and everything will smoothly make progress.
Everything would be within the range of their assumptions.
「 But, if you come across with a person who breaks the rules without care, and all of it will fall 」
Just like how Jii-chan trampled over the rules of the Yakuza, the surface, and the underground society’s standards.
「 Indeed. I think we got carried away 」
「 You two are similar. Minaho as well. Therefore, you make conspiracy plans whenever together unconsciously. However, if it’s only a gathering of people following the same rules, then you’ll miss a lot 」
「 That is why Minaho has Katsuko-san and me. Minaho knows that she’s overly theoretical. She never takes action unless she consulted with us 」
「 If you want a diverse view, then you need people who live under different rules 」
「 Well, recently she likes to discuss things with Shou-oneesan. Minaho thinks of herself as a realist, but, she’s come up with some unexpected and unpredictable actions. She’s more of a romanticist 」
「 Indeed. Shou’s clearly the realist. Shou’s job doesn’t allow wishful thinking after all 」
The top elites in Shou-neechan’s class don’t think “well, we can manage” in their job.
If their task has a 99% chance of success, then they’d still fill that last percent. They think of all the possibilities.
And they don’t care how much expense, or people it needs.
They must keep their subject safe no matter what.
The people Shou-neechan protects are near the class as Jii-chan.
「 Thus, you two are smart, and have some good ideas, but, you mustn’t commit to it until there’s a “GO” signal for a while 」
Margo-san tells the two.
「 You still don’t understand about other people’s hearts 」
I looked at the two.
「 Yeah. It’s a bit troublesome, but if you came up with something, consult with me first 」
「 Don’t think of giving me a surprise or whatever. I’m not that smart, and it’s hard for me to catch up with what Nei and Misuzu thinks. Think first if your plans are for the good of the family, or for the worse. No, I’ll also think about if it’s risky or not 」
Nei and Misuzu have a different point of view, after all.
「 I understand, Danna-sama 」
Misuzu replied right away.
「 Yeah. Got it, sorry, Yo-chan 」
「 People prefer those who think the same way as them. Therefore, Misuzu and Nei started sticking together before they noticed and even pulled Kana in 」
「 Kana’s the same type as Misuzu and Nei. She’s a thinker, and she always considers what’s best for herself. And she’s also a conspirator. Just like these two 」
She immediately thought of a plan to have the first-year tennis club girl get raped.
「 Okay, I’ll tell her to stop it. And I’ll also warn Kana-chan not to do anything strange 」
Nei who’s feeling down says that but,
「 That’s for Yoshinobu-kun to decide, Nei 」
Margo-san smiles wryly.
「 Didn’t we just tell you not to decide anything on your own? 」
「 O-Oh. Sorry 」
Nei talks to me.
「 Yo-chan, what do you think? Actually, I’ve made decisions with Kana-chan while we’re driving her home, but, 」
I thought so.
「 I don’t know what to do with that girl for now, But, we’ll do something about that Judo guy that’s sexually harassing her 」
He forced the girl to go out with him.
He’s asking her to send her nude images of her,
Then, he sent over a picture of his dick.
「 I don’t think my conscience could just ignore it after knowing that the girl is in trouble 」
「 Besides, I promised Kana-senpai. I’d rather not betray her trust. Nei, you should keep up with your promises with her as well. Don’t say “I think we should stop” 」
「 O-Okay 」
Nei never had friends until now.
And I don’t think that she understands how to accumulate trust between friends.
「 Besides, if anything happens in the school, I’m sure that it also goes through her 」
「 Her? 」
「 Iwakura-san 」
Minaho-neesan’s vulgar pet, and our student council president.
「 If you get her angry, things are going to become troublesome again 」
That woman hired hitmen to kill me back then.
「 Let’s leave the Judo guy to her 」
「 Yeah, that woman will surely take him as another dick slave 」
「 See? If it’s Nei and Misuzu, you think that you’re the only players, and so you try to make the situation advantageous, but, Yoshinobu-kun feels of the other factors and the people that may get involved in it. That’s the difference in viewpoint 」
Margo-san tells Nei.
「 Seriously. Just what happened to me for these four months. It seems that it was me who got carried away and got impudent 」
「 Misuzu, you now recognize it, that’s good 」
「 Danna-sama? 」
「 It’s just four months since we all became family. Understanding it today is good enough. We haven’t done anything irreversible yet 」
「 I mean, it feels like Margo-oneechan would pull us back before we could do that 」
「 That’s natural, That’s what family is 」
「 Right. We can still go back. I’ll apologize to Megumi-san 」
「 Ah, wait, I’m coming too 」
Misuzu and Nei said, but,
「 Don’t do that 」
「 Why, Yo-chan? 」
「 We caused pain to Megumi-san 」
「 Yeah, I have to apologize 」
「 Indeed 」
I get how you feel, but,
「 Don’t just settle it with “sorry” 」
「 You two cornered Megu with the same method. Therefore, if you just apologized, it won’t go through Megu 」
Just “words” won’t change anything.
It’s the same with Mana.
At first, Mana kept saying that she’s allied with us.
But, it was different inside her head.
It took a lot of action,
until Mana trusted us from the bottom of her heart.
I showed that I’ll never abandon Mana again and again.
Thus, Mana finally had a change of heart.
「 Megu will not understand it unless you show it in action 」
「 Action, is it?
「 Yeah. You’ll have to rebuild the mutual trust, even if it takes you a year or two 」
「 You’re right. She doesn’t trust me right now, does she? 」
「 Earlier, when I watch Megumi-san have arguments with Yukino-san while looking like they’re having fun, I remembered the past
「 When I first entered this mansion, back when I just met Danna-sama 」
Back in May.
「 Back then, the family was still small, and I’m the only one from Kouzuki house 」
The original members of Kuromori, Megu whose mother was a prostitute in this brothel.
It’s only people involved with the brothel, and Misuzu, the lady of Kouzuki house.
「 Back then, I felt lonely, because I feel like everyone’s leaving me out. I try not to stand out as much as possible 」
Yeah, she’s like that back then.
「 Therefore, I brought Michi with me, and now I have Ruriko, Shou-oneesama, and Reika-oneesama. I get along with Nei-oneesama, and nowadays, I forget about the sadness from back then 」
The air between the family had changed before anyone noticed.
The members from Kouzuki house has increased. Ruriko’s living in here, getting along with Katsuko-nee, Mana, and Agnes.
Megu feels she’s left out from the family.
Megu herself isn’t the problem.
The atmosphere of our family has changed.
「 I seem to have pushed my loneliness from back then to Megumi-san 」
From Megu’s standpoint.
She feels that Misuzu and the Kouzuki group are turning the family into what’s convenient to them while she’s busy in her club.
「 Therefore, Yoshinobu-kun’s right, apologizing to her now will only backfire 」
「 Megumi-chan will only look at everything suspiciously, she might think that you’re trying to deceive her. That if she lowered her guard, you two might kick her out of the family 」
「 That’s 」
Misuzu unconsciously speaks.
「 Haa, I get it. Yeah, that’ll take a year or two 」
Nei brushes up her hair.
「 It can’t be helped. Megu-chan doesn’t like us now. We need to gain her trust with our actions and attitude from every day 」
「 That’s right. A cheap apology will only hurt Megumi 」
「 Even if you apologize in words, it may turn to be an impolite act 」
「 It can’t be helped. Anyway, let’s take it easy. And if anything happens, discuss it with Yo-chan. Don’t do anything without permission. That’s good enough, Mii-chan? 」
「 Yes 」
The two promised.
「 Ah, that won’t be enough as expected 」
「 Huh, Yo-chan? 」
「 What’s wrong, Danna-sama 」
「 I mean, I don’t think I’m the only one you should discuss it with. I don’t think I can judge Nei and Misuzu’s ideas on my own 」
Didn’t I just realize that I shouldn’t carry everything on my own?
「 Indeed, the two of you might talk it out with Darling if he’s alone 」
Yeah, I’m an idiot after all.
「 Then, we’ll consult it with Margo-oneechan and Edie as well 」
No, that’s not it.
「 Look, earlier, Minaho-neesan talked about “counter-partners” with me 」
「 What’s that, Yo-chan? 」
Nei wasn’t listening to my conversation with Minaho-neesan in the bathroom earlier when she was in the car with Margo-san.
「 The family has a partner for each and every one. Agnes and Luna, Yomi and Mana 」
「 Oh, yesterday, Luna-chan became Agnes’ friend, right? 」
Yeah, she knows that one.
The two are smart, and so it helps a lot.
「 Each one has someone close to their age that’s easy to talk to, right? Of course, I listen to everyone’s suggestion, but I can’t decide on everything. There are others that’s easy to discuss between women. Therefore, the family’s partied up two by two 」
「 Oh, I get it now. Yo-chan wants Mii-chan and me to find someone to discuss ideas other than Yo-chan, right? 」
「 That’s right 」
I smiled wryly.
「 Then, Misuzu 」
I looked at Misuzu.
「 Yes? 」
「 Who do you find hard to talk to in the family? 」
I ask her purposely.
「 D-Danna-sama, that’s 」
「 It’s Tsukiko 」
Edie said. Misuzu twitched.
「 Thought so. The only one who can deal with the lady of Kouzuki house is the Takakura shrine maiden 」
Since she’s the successor of a distinguished family, it has to be the shrine maiden of an old shrine.
「 Tsukiko can also read minds. You can never lie nor scheme against her. She’s also at the same age as Misuzu, I think she’ll be a great partner 」
Even if Tsukiko returns to Kyoto, she can hear about Misuzu’s situation from her sisters.
「 Indeed, Tsukiko-san would be the hardest to converse for me 」
「 But, that’s right. I think that having Tsukiko-san monitor me can polish me to become better 」
Misuzu will take over the Kouzuki house.
Jii-chan has the assets, authority, and the power of Kouzuki SS.
Ruriko or Yoshiko-san has no interest in inheriting that power.
If that’s the case, nobody can go against Misuzu.
Misuzu needs a barrier to make sure that she doesn’t act wildly.
「 I understand. I’ll get along with Tsukiko-san. I’ll discuss my ideas with her 」
「 Yeah, do that. I’ll tell Tsukiko about it too 」
Although, I know that Tsukiko can read my mind anyway.
She’ll just read it before I could say it.
「 Yo-chan, what about me? 」
「 Oh dear. Nei forgot about me 」
「 Is that okay, Yoshinobu-kun? 」
「 Yeah. Margo-san knows Ya-chan the best 」
「 And Nei’s the one who understands me best 」
「 Margo-oneechan 」
Nei’s eyes become teary.
「 Recently, I no longer rampage from being unable to hold my emotions back 」
Margo-san’s weakness was like that.
Her destructive impulse has stopped.
「 I think this is all thanks to the family who lives a happy life every day. The family’s precious to me too. Thus, it heals my heart quite a lot 」
「 If I have this much lovable family with me, then I won’t be rampaging without thought. The elder group has no time to trouble the family, as they’re the one who worries. Oh, Katsuko-san, Nagisa-san, and I worry about Minaho as well 」
It’s the thought of people.
「 Worrying about someone lets you become stiff and slack-less. Having a family is wonderful 」
Then, she looked at Nei again.
「 Even so, Nei. You’re the one I worry the most 」
She smiled at Nei.
「 After all, you’re my first little sister 」
「 Margo-oneechan!!! 」
Nei jumps to Margo-san.
Margo-san hugs Nei tightly.
「 Really, you always make me worry, Nei!! 」
◇ ◇ ◇
In the end, I think that the past four months has been the first trial for our family.
It’s to see what are the changes when the family start living together.
Looking back at the past, and reexamining the present.
And we have to fix what needs fixing now.
And we can leave everything that we think is okay.
We’re people, and so there’s always someone who we don’t agree with.
But, that doesn’t mean that we have to coerce or expel them.
Look at the other party, and accept them.
Naturally, if it’s not okay, then we’ll scold them.
But if that’s the individuality of the person, we’ll put up with it.
We’re living together.
We all want to live together.
We’re a family, after all.
「 Wow! 」
「 What’s up? 」
Returning back to the dining room…
There’s a huge sign on Misuzu’s chest saying, “I won’t make schemes anymore.”
And Nei has “I’ll consult people next time.”
「 Uhm, I won’t conspire anymore 」
「 Err, I’ll consult stuff with everyone next time 」
The two said and bowed their heads.
That’s good enough.
There’s no need to talk about anything unnecessary.
They don’t have to apologize either.
What’s left is for them to show it in their actions.
「 Kukuku, what’s that?! LOL 」
Yukino’s laughing loudly.
Megu looks away.
「 Okay, let’s continue eating 」
Nagisa lets the two sit down.
I return to my seat as well.
「 Hey, there’s still some hot pot left, eat a lot 」
「 Okay 」
「 Thanks, Nagisa-san 」
Okay, the two started eating now.
「 Master, welcome back 」
Michi snuggles up to me again, wanting to be spoiled.
I guess her counter partner, is,
Hmm. I can’t think of it.
I think she’s being spoiled a lot recently.
「 Now then, I’ll start eating as well 」
Margo-san goes to the edge of the table and sits next to Rei-chan.
「 Ah, sorry, this pot is almost empty now 」
Wasn’t that pot the one we left for the late people?
Furthermore, there are fewer people assigned to that one.
「 Haruka-san and I started eating. 」
「 I-I won’t lose! Ugh! 」
Kudou Haruka wearing her judo uniform, holds her stomach, looks like she’s sick.
「 Do you have a death wish? Trying to challenge me in eating 」
Rei-chan’s a glutton, she’s mold-breaking.
However, she eats elegantly.
「 I mean, I thought that I could win at least in food! 」
Haruka hates to lose, after all.
Though she always loses.
「 Margo, there’s still some remaining in this pot 」
Minaho-neesan calls Margo-san.
「 Oh, then I’ll take up on that offer 」
Margo-san leaves her seat.
「 Hey, Dear 」
Katsuko-nee comes close to me.
「 What’s up? 」
「 As for the pastry tomorrow 」
Tomorrow’s Monday already.
I need to stock up again.
「 Didn’t we talk about selling bread with a 50-yen cheaper recipe? 」
I see I’ve got to stock up on that too.
「 Okay. Once we’re done eating. Oh wait, I’ve got my promise with Edie, so after that 」
I promised to give Edie an hour.
After that, Edie will go with Misuzu and the girls to Kouzuki house.
Michi’s still in this state, so I think that Edie has to go.
「 Anyway, teach me how to do it, I’ll do them all 」
It’s been hard today.
「 No, I’m done stocking up already 」
「 You know, the home-sitting team had a lot of free time while you’re away 」
「 Everyone talked about testing it out. But, Ruriko-chan and Mana-chan have experience in it, Yoshiko-san’s hand is quite skilled as well. Misuzu-chan also helped out 」
「 Agnes also helped out! 」
「 Mao too! 」
「 Me too, although I can’t get it right 」
「 Then, Ruriko-chan looked after the first-timers, and so I had the time to make them. Therefore, we already have tomorrow’s share prepared 」
Katsuko-nee said and smiled.
「 And so, you can take it easy through the night. Everything’s done already 」
Everyone thought that I’m tired.
And so they took over my job.
「 I mean, it’s going good. The 50-yen cheaper bread I mean. Compared to when you and I do it, Agnes and Yukino-san make it rough, slightly torn, and it has an overall round taste, Well, I’m still making the dough, and so the taste doesn’t change. But the appearance is the problem 」
「 We’ll help out Papa from now on! 」
「 Me too! Onii-chan! 」
「 Me too, Onii-sama 」
「 Kishishi, making bread is fun! 」
Hearing her daughter say that, Nagisa;
「 Mao, the bakery is nice and all, but the flower shop is much more fun, isn’t it? 」
Then, she looked at Katsuko-nee.
「 Katsuko’s bakery can’t take away our poster girls! 」
「 Oh, Mao-chan, you prefer bread than flowers, don’t you? 」
「 Hmmm. They’re delicious, but 」
「 M-Mao?! 」
「 The flowers are beautiful though, mumumu 」
「 Can anyone come and help us out in the flower shop tomorrow? 」
「 I’ll go. It’s been a while 」
Misuzu raised her hand.
「 Really? I think that Misuzu can’t go in the storefront for now 」
There’s still the problem with the Yakuza, and so Misuzu, a lady from Kouzuki house cannot show herself in the shop.
「 Yes. And therefore, I’ll work on the storage room, and as for the front 」
Misuzu looks at Tsukiko.
「 Tsukiko-san, could you help us out? 」
Tsukiko stares into Misuzu’s eyes.
「 Yes, If you’re okay with me 」
Oh, she seems to have read her mind.
She can’t come to school for a while, and it’s an excellent opportunity to look at worlds other than being a shrine maiden.
「 Then, let’s get along 」
Misuzu bows her head to Tsukiko.
It helps that they take action to get along.
「 That’s nice, I want to go to that flower shop but, I can’t, I’m famous after all 」
Yukino laughs loudly.
「 Geez, you’re too noisy, Yukino! 」
Megu scolds Yukino.
「 Why not?! You’re also noisy, Megumi 」
Now that I don’t have anything to do tonight.
「 No, you really are noisy, Yukino 」
「 Can you not quiet down unless someone scolds you? 」
Yukino’s eyes shine when she hears that.
「 Could this be a punishment? 」
「 Right. This is punishment 」
「 Yoo~ No pain please 」
That’s natural, we don’t want it to impact negatively to the child in the womb.
「 But, Edie’s first 」
「 Sure, Ufufu, punishment time, yay~ 」
「 Hey, Yukino! Don’t dance around while we’re eating 」
Yukino scolds Megu, but I.
「 Megu, you’re in it as well 」
「 Huh?! 」
Megu looked at me.
「 Megu, you’ll be punished together with Yukino 」
「 O-Okay 」
She nods bashfully.
「 You can dance with me now, Megumi! Punishment time~ Yay~ 」
「 Punishment time! Yay~ 」
Mao-chan started dancing instead of Megu.
「 Hey, don’t teach our child strange moves! 」
Nagisa gets angry.
「 Oh wait, is that more punishment for me? 」
「 Yeah 」
「 Punishment time, Yay~ 」
Mao-chan dances happily.