Jii-chan and I paused.
I take a sip from the coffee Ruriko brought for us.
Oh, Misuzu and Ruriko are still standing.
I forgot to ask them to sit down since I got too focused on my conversation with Jii-chan.
I mean, should I be the one to tell them to sit down?
While I was thinking…
「 Misuzu, you won’t be able to drink coffee if you’re standing. Sit down 」
「 Yes, Grandfather 」
Misuzu finally takes a seat.
「 What about Ruriko? 」
「 I still need to accompany everyone over there 」
Ruriko’s seat is on the other table with the other young ladies?
That said, there are multiple tables here.
I look around, making sure that I don’t look at the girls.
My tension loosened up from my conversation with Jii-chan. Yeah, that helped. I can now observe in calm.
Oh, I see. Misuzu gathered only the girls in her school who have personal bodyguards with them.
That means, they’re all ladies from the noble-of-noble families.
Oh. I see.
Naturally, some girls aren’t that familiar with Kouzuki house.
Those girls have no other purpose in coming other than the individual lessons for the bodyguards…
Oh, there’s a girl separate from the other ladies, and have only her bodyguard standing right beside her in a table.
I think that girl is hostile towards Kouzuki house.
No, maybe, she’s just a lone wolf.
It’s not all ordinary young ladies, there should be some oddballs here too.
Like, Misuzu and Ruriko are quite perverted…
「 I see. You still have to look after your friends. You can go back to them 」
Jii-chan tells Ruriko.
「 Yes, if you’d excuse me. Grandfather, Onii-sama 」
Ruriko bows her head to us and returns to her seat while carrying the tray.
「 R-Ruriko-sama, I could’ve been the one to give Kouzuki Kakka his tea… 」
「 T-That’s right. Ruriko-sama, think that you’re doing such a thing 」
I got used to Ruriko doing that in the house recently…
They think that a lady of Kouzuki house shouldn’t carry tea.
「 No, it’s my role… 」
「 Grandfather and Onii-sama are dear to me. I cannot ask anyone else to do that 」
「 My, Ruriko-sama already calls him “Onii-sama”? 」
The ladies look at me.
「 Yes, he’s my big brother 」
It’s publicly acknowledged that I’m Misuzu’s fiance.
Then, Jii-chan and Ruriko both show that they accept it with pleasure.
「 That’s your apotheosis 」
Jii-chan whispers to me. He’s smiling.
「 Puff your chest with pride. Take a composed stance. 」
「 Indeed, there’s hardly anyone here who’ll do anything malicious 」
Misuzu whispers to my ear…
「 E-Excuse me!! 」
That one lady occupying the table alone stands up and comes over here.
Long black hair, tall figure. Wearing a purple dress and a pearl necklace. A beauty in her high-school, I think.
And behind her is her bodyguard, she’s short-haired and is wearing school uniform.
I-Is that okay?
I mean, would Ootoku-san and Choumoto-san stop the two?
The two giants aren’t moving.
That means, they don’t see the young lady and her bodyguard as threats.
Ah, I can see the short-haired bodyguard offended by it.
She sensed that they ignored her fighting strength.
「 Pleased to meet you. I’m Torii Mariko!! 」
The young lady greeted elegantly.
「 Father has been in your care. It’s a great honor to meet you today 」
Jii-chan ignored the lady and looked at Misuzu.
「 Who’s this lady? 」
Misuzu replies, calmly.
「 Torii Mariko-sama, or so she says 」
「 Is she your acquaintance? 」
「 No, we’re at the different school year. If I recall, she’s the daughter of the chairman of “Torii electronics” 」
「 Oh, Torii-kun… 」
Jii-chan speaks in ill humor.
「 Y-Yes, I’m Torii Youzou’s granddaughter! 」
The young lady continues her self-appeal, unable to read the mood that she’s ignored.
「 So, what about it? 」
Jii-chan speaks like he’s looking at an insect.
「 U-Uhm, I-I would like to express my gratitude for the invi-… 」
「 I didn’t invite you here. Misuzu and Ruriko are the hosts of this gathering? 」
Yoshiko-san’s name isn’t mentioned.
That’s because some people didn’t like about that sudden announcement that Yoshiko-san is Jii-chan’s granddaughter.
It should’ve been Yoshiko-san, Ruriko’s attendant who should’ve handed tea to Jii-chan and me. If it was back then.
Seeing that Ruriko brought it to us herself shows that Yoshiko-san is no longer her attendant.
Yoshiko-san, who never leaves Ruriko’s side back then, isn’t anywhere.
Maybe she’s with Shou-neechan and Rei-chan.
「 This is the mansion of the Kouzuki head house. I don’t mind if Misuzu and Ruriko invite their friends. Didn’t my granddaughters invite you? You’re not my guest, are you? 」
Mariko-san starts trembling…
「 H-However, K-Kouzuki-sama…Misuzu-sama’s grandfather is present… 」
「 So what about it? 」
「 I-If I don’t give my greetings, m-my grandfather will scold me! 」
「 That’s your circumstances. I couldn’t care less about it 」
He glared at Mariko-san…
「 Mariko-san, just apologize to Kakka and come back here!
Ah, the lone wolf calls out on Mariko-san from the other table.
She’s wearing a wine red dress, a mature-looking young lady.
「 It’s just Mariko’s reasoning. Kakka wouldn’t go out of his way to greet us all one-by-one. Do you really want to ask Kakka to do something that troublesome? 」
Oh, I see.
If he satisfied Torii-san…
Then, Jii-chan would have to greet every girl in here and talk like, “is your grandfather doing well?”
「 Well, forgive me, I’m the head of the longstanding Kouzuki family, I’m not royalty nor politician 」
If he was royalty or a politician, then, he would greet everyone, and have a short conversation with them, some service for popularity stunts, but.
Jii-chan isn’t obligated to do that.
「 This isn’t a formal party either. It’s just my house. It’s within my privilege to drink tea wherever I please as it is my house. I came here because I was having a conversation with Kuromori-kun, and you were here, that’s all. It’s within my freedom whether I greet or not my granddaughter’s friends 」
Jii-chan owns this house, and he’s also the head of Kouzuki clan. He looks down on all the young ladies in here.
Jii-chan can be friendly with their Grandfathers or parents. Still, the young ladies were only guests invited by Misuzu and Ruriko.
It’s Jii-chan’s decision on how to deal with the guests of his granddaughters.
Therefore, Jii-chan didn’t greet the girls, saying, “Everyone, thank you for coming today.”
He didn’t come here just to greet the young ladies.
He didn’t even come in while giving a slight nod to not be rude with them, he came, while still talking to me.
「 Do you not understand my position, do you? 」
Then, Jii-chan is a man of power.
Those who think that they can bow their heads thoughtlessly and speak to Jii-chan like they’re intimate aren’t allowed.
The gathering today is only for the young ladies in Misuzu’s school who has a personal bodyguard.
If Jii-chan were to have a good conversation with all these ladies, how would the other clan see that?
Misunderstandings must be avoided.
「 I came here to show up. I think that alone is enough for your gratitude 」
Jii-chan looked at Mariko-san.
「 When you come home, tell your grandfather that I showed up on a party Misuzu and Ruriko hosted. Torii-kun would be surprised 」
Shiba-san’s the one managing the Kouzuki group now, but still, Jii-chan is a busy man.
He’s busy, and yet, he still came to watch his granddaughter’s situation.
If the ladies deliver that to their parents and grandparents, it will send a message that Jii-chan loves his granddaughters.
Therefore, just from showing up, Jii-chan showed it all.
On top of that, Jii-chan doesn’t need to greet all the young ladies in here…
Torii Mariko-san was unable to read the situation and presented herself before Jii-chan.
「 If Torii-kun were to know that you tried to call out to me, he would be perplexed. He will surely scold you. No, if it’s him, he would call me to apologize. And that is just another trouble for me. If I recall, he has a weak heart. You shouldn’t make your Grandfather worry too much 」
Jii-chan speaks kindly, but it’s cold.
「 I-I’m very sorry 」
Mariko-san bowed her head and tries to return to her seat.
「 No, wait 」
Jii-chan called her.
「 Y-Yes?! W-W-W-What about me? 」
「 Is there anyone else? Also 」
Jii-chan looked at the girl who warned Mariko-san.
「 You, the lass who called out to her. Yes, you 」
The girl wearing a wine-red dress?
The mature lady stands up.
「 Do you have business with me? 」
「 Yes, I will be leaving now. Could you come here and accompany Kuromori-kun? 」
「 G-Grandfather? 」
Misuzu’s surprised too.
「 You don’t mind, do you? I think this lady is suited as a sample to show Kuromori-kun how the high-class ladies behave? 」
「 If that is alright with you… 」
The girl wearing a wine red dress bows her head.
「 What is your name? 」
「 Kanou Sakurako 」
The red dress lady named herself.
「 Oh, Kanou-kun’s daughter? I see. You do have the looks of your mother 」
「 Yes, Kakka 」
「 Hmm. Well, I’m giving you my best regards. Torii-kun’s daughter, too, will you? 」
「 Y-Yes….. 」
Mariko-san bows her head.
「 Now then, I will be heading out. Misuzu, make sure your guests have fun. Kuromori-kun as well 」
「 Yes, Grandfather 」
Jii-chan tries to leave with Ootoku-san following him, then.
「 P-Please wait!! 」
The girl wearing a white dress, sitting on the edge of Ruriko’s table, stands up.
「 Arisu, stop it! 」
A girl that seems to be the big sister, wearing the same white dress, stops the middle-school girl, but…
「 But, Onee-sama!! 」
The girl called Arisu shouts at Jii-chan.
「 P-Pleased to meet you! I-I’m Kurama Arisu!! 」
Jii-chan just talked about prohibiting direct greetings at him, and yet…
「 And this is my big sister! Kurama Misato !! 」
「 I-I’m very sorry for her, Kakka 」
The big sister tries to cover her sister’s mouth.
「 E-Excuse the discourtesy. I’m very sorry. Kakka, everyone 」
She bows to Jii-chan and the girls around.
Looking at where they’re sitting, these sisters are related to the Kouzuki group. Still, they have a weaker status compared to other girls.
「 Oh, you girls? I heard from Kurama-kun about you 」
Jii-chan speaks to the sisters.
「 Come over here. Bring your sister with you 」
「 Y-Yes, Arisu, Kakka’s calling us 」
「 Ah, yes, Onee-sama 」
The sisters look at Jii-chan with a serious face.
Jii-chan thinks for a moment.
「 Hmm, oh well… 」
He speaks in ill humor.
「 Sorry, but I couldn’t help you 」
「 K-Kakka!! 」
The sisters’ face turns pale.
「 Naturally, my answer would be no. I’m sorry 」
Jii-chan said. And looked at me.
「 And so, could you listen to their story, Kuromori-kun, Misuzu? 」
「 You can listen to them. I’m not telling you to do something for them. I’ll leave the decision to you 」
No, even if you tell me that…
「 I will talk to Kurama-kun myself. Seriously, what a troublesome man. I’m not a charity man. I’m only interested in business 」
「 Therefore, if the two of you are going to talk about business, then I’ll help you. If not, you can return 」
The Kurama sisters trembled.
「 If it was me, I would’ve turned them away at this moment. It’s that kind of circumstance. However, if it can become a business study material for Kuromori-kun, I wouldn’t mind helping those girls 」
「 Understood, we will have Danna-sama discuss with Kurama-san, and we’ll report it to Grandfather later 」
Misuzu speaks before I could respond.
「 No, you don’t have to. Deal with it yourselves. I couldn’t care less about the results 」
Then, he looked at the sisters…
「 I’m thankful for Kurama-kun’s longstanding loyalty. However, he’s paying for his mistakes. I don’t intend to do anything with your family 」
「 Uuuuu 」
「 O-Onee-sama?! Misato-oneesama?! 」
The elder sister started crying, the younger sister embraced her.
「 That’s all. Well then, I will be taking my leave 」
Jii-chan brings Ootoku-san and Choumoto-san with him and gets back inside the mansion.
Misuzu and I…and all the ladies that were sitting down just now stands up…
They all bowed to Jii-chan.
However, the Kurama sisters are still embracing each other, weeping.
When she was sure that Jii-chan’s out…
「 Since Grandfather asked, Torii-san, Kanou-san, come here 」
Misuzu calls the two.
「 Also, Kurama-san… 」
The two are still crying.
「 Hey, don’t make us wait! 」
Torii-san tells the sisters.
「 Kakka gave his command, now come 」
Kanou-san slaps the big sister on her shoulders.
「 If you continue to cry yourselves like that, you’ll only cause trouble to the other families. 」
She speaks kindly yet harsh.
「 I-I’m very sorry, everyone… 」
Kurama-elder speaks to the other ladies in the same table.
「 T-That’s right, hurry up and go to Misuzu-sama’s table 」
「 You don’t have to mind us 」
The daughters of the Kouzuki group on the same table just want to get rid off the nuisance as soon as possible.
Well, Jii-chan went that far to say that. It can’t be helped.
「 So it was true that Kurama-san’s family business is in danger 」
They even say that.
Oh, I guess so.
「 That doesn’t mean that they should make a direct appeal to Kakka at such occasion 」
「 You don’t have to return to our table anymore 」
「 I will report what happened just now to Father when we get home 」
「 My father won’t be making deals with Kurama-san anymore 」
「 Hurry up and stand! Come over here! 」
I tell the Kurama sisters.
「 For now, we can’t do anything unless we hear your problem 」
Kurama-elder looked at me as if she’s going to cling.
I hate that gaze.
「 I’m not saying I’m helping you. I’ll just listen to what you want to say 」
「 Indeed, we can only hear your story, but sorry, we can’t be of help to you. Please come here knowing that 」
Misuzu also pins them in.
「 Let’s go, Onee-sama 」
The little sister said.
「 Arisu 」
「 We’ve come this far. They’ll listen to what we have to say at least 」
「 Indeed 」
She takes a deep breath.
Then, the sisters stand up.
「 Come, Kurama-san 」
The lady in the wine dress, Kanou-san, looks like a caring person.
She held up Kurama-elder in her arms and walked together with them.
「 It can’t be helped… 」
Torii-san comes to our table.
Four bodyguards follow their masters, not saying anything.
「 Ruriko-san, you can come over there too 」
Huh? Yoshiko-san, who was inside the mansion, is now here?
「 I will be entertaining the people in this table 」
Leaving the daughters of the troublesome parents from the Kouzuki group to her.
Yoshiko wants Ruriko to go to our table?
「 But, Yoshiko-oneesama… 」
Ruriko looks at Yoshiko-san worriedly.
Yoshiko-san’s been Ruriko’s attendant for long.
Jii-chan acknowledges her as his granddaughter, but she’s still an illegitimate child of the late first son.
There’s that delicate reserve between her and the daughters of the Kouzuki group.
「 I will be fine 」
Yoshiko-san sat down on the table and looked at the young ladies.
「 They don’t expect me, the daughter of Kouzuki head house, announced at the very last moment, to be in this place… 」
This is Yoshiko-san’s fight to secure her place for herself.
「 I understand. Please entertain everyone in here, Yoshiko-oneesama 」
Ruriko tells her cousin.
「 Everyone, I give you my best regards with my precious cousin 」
She bows her head to the young ladies in the table.