「 There, there…there, there 」
Ai pats Megu’s head.
Again and again. All with a gentle smile.
「 Ai-san… 」
Megu stopped crying and looked up at Ai.
「 Yes? 」
「 It’s okay now, you don’t have to keep patting me 」
「 Okay 」
Megu looks at me in tears.
「 I now understand why I didn’t realize what Yoshi-kun and everyone tells me 」
「 I see 」
「 I’m sorry. I wonder why did I not understand it until now? That’s so shameful of me 」
「 That happens 」
Edie smiled gently.
「 You can’t help but oppose what the elders tell you. Like, you’re scolded as they look down on you 」
「 Well, your big sisters do love to speak bossy after all 」
「 I also understand that Mana and the younger girls are just worried about me 」
「 Well, aren’t you looking down on Maika and the girls? 」
「 That’s right. I reject the elder sisters because I can’t beat them, and I look down on the younger girls, I’m not even listening to them. And Yoshi-kun… 」
「 I thought that you were just going with the flow with whatever the big-sisters were saying, that you were looking down on me. I’m sorry 」
「 No, Well, I’m an idiot, yes 」
「 That’s right! He’s a real idiot, so you can look at him like an idiot! Right, stupid? 」
Well, who cares.
「 It must be hard for someone at the same age to scold you. You live in the same period as them after all 」
「 That’s right, especially… 」
Megu looked at Ai.
「 I’m scared of Ai 」
「 Scared of me? 」
Ai looks dumbfounded.
「 It’s the first time I’m told that. 」
「 Right 」
I never saw someone as harmless as Ai.
She’ll make you feel that you want to protect her, not feel scared.
「 I thought that Ai-san would take away the role of Yoshi-kun’s pride if I stay stubborn 」
「 Well, Ai did find her power to heal 」
Megu said. Edie agreed.
「 If it goes on, Megumi will only continue to trouble Darling, right… 」
「 Right, I think that everyone else will accept this girl. I mean, having her as his official partner 」
Like, Ai becoming my fiance instead of Megu?
「 Huh? Why would it turn like that? 」
「 Darling, you need to maintain your life as Yoshida Yoshinobu… 」
I do have two names on paper right now.
Both of them aren’t Yoshida.
I’ve already abandoned that name.
However, that’s a secret in our school.
Nobody knows that I’m adopted in the Kuromori house now.
「 We need to hide the Kuromori name as much as possible. Therefore, you can’t abandon the camouflage, the name Yoshida Yoshinobu 」
「 I know that, but… 」
But why does it have to push Megu away and have Ai as my bride instead?
「 I know. I just happened to be at the right place to become Yoshi-kun’s camouflage, and so, I became Yoshi-kun’s fiance 」
No, Megu, that’s not it.
That’s not the only reason.
I need Megu.
「 Darling, quiet down for now 」
Edie stopped me.
「 That’s right. We don’t care if it’s Megu or Ai as long as someone becomes Darling’s partner in paper 」
Oh. I see.
Megu’s poking on Megu’s insecurities on purpose.
「 Nei or I won’t do. We’re out of the ordinary. Darling’s official partner needs to be an ordinary girl. And naturally, Yukino’s out too 」
「 Indeed. I’m an extraordinary woman after all! 」
「 That’s right, I’m ordinary. Unlike everyone, my merit is being that ordinary girl, and that’s why I became Yoshi-kun’s fiance 」
「 But Megumi, you thought that your status is secured, and that’s why you caused a lot of trouble to Darling 」
「 And to everyone, I’m really sorry 」
Megu apologized to everyone.
「 Ai is also an ordinary girl. She’s a bit cuter, but she’s just like Megu. Someone who can keep Darling company without feeling hesitant 」
「 Furthermore, she’s casual 」
Edie said. Yukino added.
「 Unlike Megumi, this girl doesn’t make a lot of noise. She’s docile and quiet. I think she’ll do anything this idiot asks her 」
「 I will. If Yoshida-kun wants me 」
「 That’s the problem. Megumi, you know who’s better if the two of you compete, right? 」
「 I know that I can’t go on like this… 」
「 Do you want to change? 」
「 I do. If I don’t, Yoshi-kun will surely leave me 」
「 No, I… 」
Megu looked at me.
「 I don’t want to stay like this. I also want to do something for Yoshi-kun 」
「 A helpful woman who doesn’t just fawn on Darling 」
「 Ai wants to be like that too… 」
「 I can’t always ask for someone’s help. I’ll do things myself. And then have fun together, and lastly, I want to be of help to people too…Ai… 」
「 Yeah, do it. We’ll work for it together 」
I hold Ai’s hand.
「 Yes, that’s why, let’s do our best together, Megumi-san 」
「 Right. I’ll do my best, so I won’t lose to Ai-san 」
She accepts Ai as her rival?
That someone she underestimated as a girl who can’t do anything until recently.
「 I won’t get swayed by my emotions too much. When I’m shaking, that’s when I look at the other party, calm down, or else, I’ll only cause trouble to Yoshi-kun. To everyone 」
「 When your heart beats fast, and you feel restless. Take a deep breath. If that didn’t work, chant “shuffle” to yourself, and you’ll feel refreshed 」
Well, shuffle only works on Ai. But I guess it’s okay.
To think that Ai, who trembles at anything back then, now gives advice to people.
「 I get it. Thanks 」
Megu thanked Ai.
「 Err, w-welcome 」
Ai replied bashfully.
「 Are you done?! I want to go out and buy some grocery though 」
Katsuko-nee’s voice comes from below.
「 I’ll be leaving the house for a while, there are no ingredients for dinner here 」
Looks like they’re done cleaning up
Now they’re making dinner for AI’s father who’ll return home after work in past 8.
「 Okay, we’ll get down there! 」
I replied to Katsuko-nee in a loud voice and get up from the bed.
「 Put on your clothes, girls. Ai, where are the towels? 」
Need to wipe the sweat, love nectar, and semen.
「 I think it’s over there 」
AI points at a cabinet.
Her mother, Makoto-san, takes care of her clothes and where to store them.
She doesn’t know every detail, even though this is her room.
「 Ah, this one! Get one! 」
Yukino, who didn’t have sex with me here, pulls the towels and throws it at us.
「 Ah, thanks! Megu, Ai. Here 」
「 Yoshida-kun, I’ll do it myself… 」
Ai tries to wipe her crotch, but…
「 You know, let Darling do this 」
「 Don’t just think of doing everything yourself, you need to think of how to please your partner too 」
「 O-Okay, Yoshida-kun. Please.. 」
「 Sure 」
I clean up Ai’s body.
「 I’ll also think of what pleases Yoshi-kun the most 」
Megu reflects on what Edie said.
「 I think that’s good. Megumi 」
Edie smiled happily.
「 I finally got along with Megumi 」
「 Huh? Edie? 」
「 Let’s get along from now on, okay? 」
Megu starts crying again from hearing that.
「 Sorry, I caused so many troubles, didn’t I? 」
「 Not really? It just had me worried 」
「 Sorry, I really am 」
Megu apologized to Edie from the bottom of her heart.
「 And this is the list of what you need to buy. Let’s see, it’s Megumi-chan, Edie-chan, and Ai-chan? 」
After everyone put on their clothes and went down…
Katsuko-nee gives instructions.
「 What about me? 」
「 How about you clean up the bathroom? It needs some manpower to scrub away the dirt. We want Ai-chan’s father to take a good bath, don’t we? 」
He must be pleased if the bath is clean after coming back from Sendai.
「 As for the security duties, Edie-chan can do that, right? The supermarket is just close by. Ai-chan, do you know where it is? 」
「 The shop close to school? 」
Ai probably never ran an errand to buy something.
「 Yes, that’s right 」
「 I know where it is. We’ve gone there back then to buy something for our club 」
The women’s track and field club bought something there.
「 It’s the supermarket next to the drugstore, right? 」
「 Yes. The closest one 」
Megu asked.. Makoto-san nodded.
「 Then, if you’d please. Here’s the money 」
Katsuko-nee hands Megu a wallet.
「 Ai-san, hold to this 」
「 Me? 」
「 That’s right. It’s your responsibility. Make sure you don’t drop it 」
「 O-Okay 」
Ai takes the wallet.
「 It’s okay, I’ll be watching them 」
Edie whispered to me.
I’m left out this time.
Megu, Edie, and Ai, the three girls will work together.
Yukino’s face is known by the people, and so she can’t come together.
「 Yeah, be careful 」
「 Yes, Yoshi-kun 」
「 Okay, Darling 」
「 We’re heading out 」
The three went off.
「 Then, I’m in charge of the bath, right? 」
「 Yes. Come here. Makoto-san, please deal with the kitchen. Watch the fire. 」
Katsuko-nee tells Makoto-san
It looks like they’re already cooking something.
I wonder if it’s a hotpot?
「 Ah, yes 」
「 Makoto-san, what do we do with this? 」
Koyomi-chan comes out from the kitchen.
「 Ah, yes, I’m coming right now 」
I’ll entrust Makoto-san to Koyomi-chan…
「 I want to drink something cold 」
Yukino told me.
「 What about you? 」
「 No, not now. Maybe when I’m done with the bath 」
「 ‘kay 」
Yukino heads to the kitchen.
I went with Katsuko-nee to the bathroom.
「 Yo-chan, good job 」
Nei and Luna are already cleaning up the bathroom.
Nei took off her skirt and is just wearing underwear as she crawls on all fours.
She’s grinding the tiles.
She’s working diligently.
Luna’s also cleaning up the tiles like she’s having fun.
「 Isn’t this nearly finished? 」
「 Yeah, well, I just wanted to talk to you 」
「 So, did things go smoothly? 」
「 On who? 」
I ask back.
「 Both 」
I guess it’s Ai and Megu. They’re the targets from the start.
「 Then, the two have no problems. For now 」
「 I see. That’s great 」
「 Well, I know that things will be okay if we leave it to Yo-chan 」
「 In the end, I always mimic Minaho-oneechan unconsciously 」
「 Yeah, I scold them with a self-important attitude 」
「 Yeah. I thought that Katsuko-nee would come in halfway after listening to our conversation 」
Or maybe, Minaho-neesan.
Usually, that’s the development.
「 We won’t use that pattern anymore. We’re reflecting on it. Especially on Megu-chan 」
「 You know, Megu-chan has high perception, and she’s also smart, I get the reason why she doesn’t like the big sisters telling her off 」
「 Yeah, once she thought that the preaching is annoying, then she’ll never accept any reasoning 」
「 No matter what opinion she hears, it’ll only go from one ear and out the other 」
Therefore, Megu never changed no matter how many times she’s told.
「 Someone who’s reasonably smart gets like that 」
「 If it was Ai-san, she’ll accept it obediently. If it was Misuzu, then she’ll look at herself objectively 」
If she can’t look at herself from an objective point of view, she can’t proceed as the daughter of Kouzuki house.
「 And if it was Yukino-san. Her sheer will not break. But, Megumi-chan’s not like that 」
The insecurities and self-hatred stir her up.
If someone older tells her off, she’ll say, “You don’t have to tell me that. I already know it,” and she’ll close her ears.
「 She’s weak. Just like Ai-san 」
「 She’s like that, and that’s why she doesn’t listen to Mana-oneesama or my advice 」
Hearing opinions from the younger girls make her feel miserable, and so…
She refuses them…
「 I guess it has to be someone at the same age… 」
Yukino, Edie, Ai, or me.
If it’s someone younger or older than her…
「 I think that Ai-san’s existence has been a good stimulus for her 」
「 Yeah, it was the right choice. Looks like she’s able to endure the thought that Ai might surpass her 」
「 I knew it 」
「 Well, I believe that things will go smoothly from now on 」
「 I think that Megu and Ai will be good friends. Ai’s slow thinking and her way of healing people is a good influence for Megu 」
I think that being together is also a positive thing for Ai.
「 Besides, if you add Yukino and Edie, I think they’ll be good friends 」
「 Yo-chan too 」
「 Yo-chan is also a member of that group you know 」
「 Well, I think that Megu-chan should be okay. When you have friends at the same age, it makes you feel at ease. And Tsukiko-san is also there if she wants an older person to consult. Although, if it’s something more significant, Minaho-oneechan’s also there 」
「 Yes, having various people to consult is a good thing 」
「 I guess people have levels of worries. If it’s insoluble without your parents, but you can’t talk about it with them. You can tell your teacher but not your parents 」
「 Like, you can tell your sibling or a close friend, something like that! 」
「 But, in our family, that level is ambiguous 」
We’re not a real family.
We don’t have parents either.
「 Yo-chan’s the one tying up this whole relationship, and so it has to be a spiderweb, or else, the connection between women becomes weak 」
Yeah, someone told me that…
A spider web…
「 But…the closest one becomes a friend one can consult with, no matter how embarrassing it is 」
「 Indeed, I think that is the most essential thread 」
If you can’t discuss it with Minaho-neesan, the parent figure of the family, then talk with those of the same age.
Oh, from now on…
I think that everyone can follow up, no matter what happens to Megu.
「 If Megu-chan’s okay, then the other one should be okay to 」
「 Yeah, Ai’s… 」
As soon as I said that, Nei made a “Huh?” face.
「 Huh? Ai-chan? 」
「 Yeah, isn’t it AI? 」
I said. Then Luna laughed.
「 Nii-san, he’s been misunderstanding since earlier 」
「 Ai-chan is okay now, isn’t she? I mean, she already received a lot of love from Yo-chan 」
「 Indeed. I think that Ai-san has settled down since noon 」
「 She can speak out her thoughts in front of everyone already. There’s no need to worry about her, is there? 」
Well, yeah, but…
「 Then, who were you worried about, Katsuko-nee? 」
「 Edie-chan 」
「 Did she make friends with everyone now? 」
「 That girl’s too smart that she can make connections with the girls, right? Like, Mitchan’s younger… 」
「 Besides, there’s also Michi-san’s master, Misuzu-san 」
I see. Edie.
She took care of the younger children in the assassination cult, and that’s why she’s caring.
She gets along with Michi. Edie can listen to Michi’s problems, but not the other way around.
Edie needs someone of the same age that she can have a heart-to-heart talk.
「 Edie’s okay now too. She talked about her worries to everyone 」
She showed her weakness to have Megu open up.
She’ll never speak like that to Michi, a younger girl.
Not with the elders either.
That was a turning point for Edie.
I’m sure that Edie will change.
「 I think that they’ll continue to get along 」
Us of the same age will get along.
I think that’s great.
Katsuko-nee smiled happily.