「 Then, you are to tell everyone in the courtyard the results later 」
Jii-chan told Mizushima Karen-san.
Karen-san will tell the young ladies in the party today that she has become Kouzuki houses’, or rather, Misuzu’s servant.
That means taking away her status as the young lady of nobility, of Mizushima house.
「 Certainly 」
Karen-san bows her head.
「 Umu, then, you can stay for the room you were in before 」
Everyone’s still enjoying the party.
It will be for the best if Mizushima Karen-san reports that at the end of the party.
She can do it together with Agnes’ debut.
「 Yes, excuse me 」
「 I will send you off. It’s on Agnes-chan’s room, right? 」
「 Yes, please do, Katsuko-kun 」
「 Yes. Then, let’s go 」
Katsuko-nee smiles and leads Mizushima Karen-san out of the room.
The people remaining in the room are;
Jii-chan, and his two bodyguards.
Minaho-neesan and me.
「 Leave the room, you two 」
Jii-chan told Ootoku-san and Choumoto-san.
「 Kyouko-kun already left. There’s no danger in this room 」
「 Certainly, excuse us 」
Ootoku-san and Choumoto-san left the room.
As soon as the door closed.
「 So, what do you think? 」
Jii-chan asks me suddenly.
「 I might’ve done something futile 」
「 About nobility. I want to protect nobility, but I just decreased the number by one. Furthermore, most families are going the path of their own destruction 」
「 You saw Mizushima’s naive attitude, didn’t you? Thinking that I will never crush down nobility, so he’s under the impression that no matter how much of a scandal he makes, I will come to rescue his house 」
Yeah, he was underestimating Jii-chan.
He doesn’t understand how much of a trouble it caused when he sent over a spy from Kansai Yakuza to the main house of Kouzuki clan.
Also, he’s not even thinking of what the other families of the young ladies who came to this party would do.
「 Therefore, I had no choice but to demote her as a vassal instead of keeping her under Kouzuki house’s custody 」
Jii-chan speaks bitterly.
「 From the conversation earlier, Mizushima Karen is still decent. That kid can still fix herself. However, if she returns to her father and grandfather, then she will grow spoiled and become a troublesome adult 」
No, that girl…
I think that Karen-san is a decent girl.
She’s courteous, has a strong sense of responsibility, and is smart.
Just because the parents were a disaster, the children don’t necessarily become the same.
「 She needs to separate from Mizushima house and serve Misuzu until she’s 20, trained with the education on nobility. Unless I do that, Mizushima house’s asset will remain, but they’ll no longer have the pride of nobility. That only means that their house perished 」
Oh, I see.
Jii-chan’s pretending to talk to me, but he’s talking to the Kurama sisters.
「 Kurama house is the same. He ignored our advice and fell for the funding of the foreigners, demolishing the traditional Kurama Kaku, and tried to construct a high-rise hotel, and yet, asking for help because the foreigners deceived him? It’s ridiculous 」
「 I-I’m very sorry! 」
Arisu-san, the younger of the sisters, bowed her head.
「 I’m not talking to you. I’m having a talk with him 」
Jii-chan scolds Arisu-san.
「 I-I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! 」
Misato-san, the elder apologizes while crying.
「 Mizushima house sent in some lawless people into my house, and so they lost their business group. Their daughter, who will succeed in the house, is now a servant of Kouzuki house. Other families will not show consent unless I give that much punishment. Also, it’s natural to provide such a strict attitude, so this absurdity never happens again 」
「 Then, how do we punish Kurama house? Kurama house manages the Kurama Kaku group because the only one with worth is Kurama Kaku. The building and garden has history and tradition has its worth, and that is why the group’s other hotel and traditional restaurants were able to hold their high dignity 」
Worth and dignity.
「 And now that precious Kurama Kaku is lost, what remains in the group are ordinary hotels and restaurants you can find anywhere. The high-rise hotel building can complete itself in the former site of Kurama Kaku, but still, it doesn’t have the quality that the old Kurama Kaku had 」
They can construct a high-grade hotel, but the old one is something they can never take back.
「 To be nobility means you are to inherit property from your ancestors and to protect it for the next generation. In Kurama house’s case, that “Kurama Kaku” is the one they inherit and must defend. Losing that means Kurama house no longer belongs to nobility. They are no longer a clan I must help 」
Jii-chan said. The Kurama sisters trembled.
「 Truly unfortunate, to think that one of the traditional nobility would die out like that 」
Jii-chan will revive Mizushima house in Karen-san’s generation, and…
The business group will be split and sold off, but, Karen-san is promised that she will inherit the mansion and properties of Mizushima house from the ancestral era.
However, for Kurama house’s case.
Without anything to inherit, they’re declared as dead.
「 K-Kouzuki-sama! T-That’s too much!! 」
「 Aaaaaah! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Aaaaa!!! 」
The siblings lost control.
「 You’re too noisy, I’m not talking to you! 」
Jii-chan’s behavior is freezing.
「 Uuuuu 」
The little sister trembled in fear.
However, the elder speaks while crying.
「 I-I’m sorry. W-We do know that we can no longer save K-Kurama house, b-but… 」
Kurama Misato speaks while shedding tears.
「 We may be paying for our mistakes, but, I-I cannot let the people working in Kurama Kaku group be left out in the cold 」
「 Onee-sama? 」
「 I-It may be rude to ask but, please, could you save the Kurama Kaku group? If things go on, then they will reach bankruptcy. If that happens, perhaps, the workers will not receive any retirement money 」
Hearing Kurama Misato-san say that, Jii-chan…
「 Shouldn’t it be your father who asks that? 」
It shouldn’t be the high-school student daughter but the head of Kurama house.
The man managing the Kurama Kaku group is the father.
「 H-However, U-Uhm, Kouzuki-sama is no longer answering father’s calls 」
「 Obviously. Why would I go out of my way to save a man who I know will only ask for a loan of money? 」
「 T-Therefore, Onee-sama and I are acting on behalf of father 」
Arisu-san desperately pleads.
「 You can’t fill in for your father, can you? Using his daughters for persuasion by tears 」
Yeah, I think that’s the case.
「 If you were Kurama, what would you do? 」
Jii-chan asks me.
「 Well, Jii-chan’s the only man who can lend me money, so I’d try all that I can to get a chance to meet you, but it’s meaningless if it’s not personal. I think that using his daughters in Misuzu’s party is just plain wrong. Also… 」
「 What? Just say it 」
「 Kurama house never talked about severing himself at all 」
「 Severing himself? 」
「 That’s right. Don’t just say “If this goes on, everyone will be in trouble, please help us,” but instead, show that it was worth saving and make suggestions 」
「 Worth? 」
「 That’s right. Kurama-san, and also your father should know that Jii-chan has enough fortunes and he’s acquainted with various influential people, do you think that he would just save you for the sake of it? 」
That’s the reason why they only say, “Please help us.”
「 But you know, Jii-chan’s Kouzuki group is a money-making business, so why would they go out of their way to make such a deal? 」
「 However, Kurama Kaku group is… 」
Arisu-san tries to argue, but…
「 The original Kurama Kaku is already broken, but you still manage other hotels and restaurants, don’t you? 」
「 As mentioned earlier, Kurama Kaku is gone, and so the other facilities lost its worth 」
Arisu-san looks at me angrily.
「 So you say. Jii-chan sees it as an opportunity to strike a bargain.
I looked at her in the eye and said.
「 Bargain? 」
Misato-san and Arisu-san are surprised.
Geez, they’re really pampered.
They couldn’t even think of that.
「 Kurama house has no money, so they have no choice but to tell them. Jii-chan says that they’re worth nothing, but still, a few hotels and restaurants should have fair value. It’s never zero. Kouzuki group manages hotels and restaurants, don’t they? 」
I asked Jii-chan.
「 Naturally, it’s in our business 」
「 Then, if they say “please buy our hotel and restaurants,” instead of “please lend us money,” would Jii-chan talk to Kurama-san? 」
「 No. I’ll let someone else do the talk. But I will not ignore it. If it’s the best traditional hotel in the area, then it is tied to a get rich quick scheme 」
「 B-But, i-if Kurama Kaku group loses the hotels and restaurants, their only revenue now… 」
「 Y-Yes, Kurama Kaku group can no longer maintain itself 」
Misato-san and Arisu-san said.
「 No, look, that’s no longer the standard here 」
「 What do you mean?! 」
Arisu-san speaks angrily. I…
「 I mean, it’s too late for Kurama Kaku group 」
In the end, these sisters could become the head of Kurama house, and they’ll still think that the Kurama Kaku group will remain if Jii-chan moved.
「 Your father still has relations with the foreign investors while asking for my assistance 」
「 If they were to borrow funds from me, then they will complete the construction of the hotel on where Kurama Kaku stood. And when the hotel is completed, the management group can recover. If that happens, another foreign investor will sponsor funds to expand the business. That means he only sees me as a makeshift. He has no intention of listening to my advice hereafter, and he intends to betray us 」
「 T-That’s…father… 」
「 Our father isn’t… 」
Kurama sisters hesitate.
「 It can’t be helped. Your father wants to escape from the nobility after all 」
Escape from nobility?
「 As long as he’s in nobility, he will receive instructions from Kaan, me, or the other old nobles. We only want to give advice, but to him, it’s nothing but grumblings from old men. He wants to leave nobility, and become an ordinary businessman, testing his strength to his heart’s content 」
Jii-chan’s eyes turn gloomy.
「 Most young men who become heads of the family think the same way as Kurama-kun. Unable to notice that they’re a frog in a well, raised in this relaxed life as nobility, ignoring the advice of us, the old people, and behave stupidly. However, in most cases, the servants can stop their head. Kurama-kun’s incident was unfortunate. To think that there were no loyal retainers to stop him from the inside 」
Oh, I see.
「 You mean, he doesn’t just want to make profits from building a new high-rise hotel but, he doesn’t want to continue protecting the Kurama Kaku, which he inherited from his ancestors? 」
I asked. Jii-chan;
「 Perhaps… He thought that he can break away from his fate if he completely destroys the building. What a foolish man. It’s inherited from the ancestors, and that is why he has a wealthy life as nobility, and yet… 」
Kurama-san’s father wanted to destroy the history of Kurama Kaku.
Wanting to escape his blood as nobility.
Despite all that, when he reached a problem with money, he relies on nobility, asking for Jii-chan’s help.
「 That’s the reason why I cannot forgive Kurama-kun. He didn’t listen to our advice, and now that his house is collapsing, his business is reaching bankruptcy, and so, he will never receive any help. This will happen again unless we do this 」
Jii-chan and the nobilities inherit property from their ancestors.
And to not let the young heads throw it away without a care…
This is to send a message that if they have it their way, there will be no help.
「 I also loved that old Kurama Kaku. It had the memories our late Grandfather, but… 」
Kurama Arisu-san looks at Jii-chan.
「 Why does the old have to stay?! We can understand how Father feels! We’re at the new age, shouldn’t we need to make everything new? 」
「 Someone as young as you may not understand. However, there’s one fact remains. You can rebuild an excellent hotel, but Kurama Kaku is still worth more. That will never be overruled 」
「 Why?! A new hotel is father’s hard work, it could surpass the worth of Kurama Kaku, couldn’t it? 」
「 Impossible. The attribution of “old” is enough for it’s worth 」
Jii-chan answered flatly.
「 Anything is lost someday. People die. Objects break. There’s nothing in this universe that lasts forever. No, even the universe itself will end eventually 」
Jii-chan looks at me.
「 Do you know entropy? 」
「 No 」
It’s my first time hearing that word.
「 Matter changes to energy. If it is transformed into heat, it is lost. You can eat kilograms of food every day, but your weight doesn’t change drastically. Then, where did the weight of the food go? The answer is that it is converted to energy 」
「 Do you understand? Each time humans eat, the energy produced vanishes to the universe. Heat energy. Anything burned down vanishes. No, just sitting in this chair or the touch of the wind creates frictional energy. A heated matter diminishes. And all the matter in this world will become energy and disappear. Ever since the birth of the universe, matter keeps on vanishing, turning light. And someday, everything will gradually disappear 」
「 That Kurama Kaku had a century of history with it. Arts and crafts from the time were gathered in that building and garden, and it lived for a century. Do you not understand the worth of that? 」
Kurama Arisu-san gulped.
「 Anything is lost someday. Transient. Therefore, shouldn’t we teach the young ones about the old ones? Especially those entrusted by their ancestors. Us, nobility…
「 No, Kurama Kaku is lost. Kurama house which dropped the “old” that they should protect, is no longer nobility 」
「 I-I’m very sorry!!! 」
Kurama Misato-san left her chair and prostrates herself before Jii-chan.
She’s crying intensely.
「 O-Onee-sama?! 」
Arisu-san puts her knee on the floor as well.
「 Arisu, hurry and apologize to Kouzuki-sama 」
「 B-But… 」
「 No butts! 」
「 But, we can apologize to Kouzuki-sama all we want, but Kurama house is no more… 」
「 Oh? That depends on you girls though 」
Minaho-neesan starts to move.
「 Have you not seen Mizushima-san’s case? 」
She smiles at the sisters.
「 They lost their management group and everything, but they were allowed to stay as nobility. However, it depends on how Mizushima Karen-san performs 」
Jii-chan promised Karen-san to become the head of Mizushima house when she reached 20, and her nobility status will recover.
However, it only happens when she works as Misuzu’s servant and is accepted.
If Karen-san isn’t a loyal servant, the agreement will not come true.
「 D-Do you mean we should become Kouzuki house’s servants too? 」
Arisu-san, the strong-willed, asks Minaho-neesan.
「 You can’t become servants, can you? 」
「 Kurama house’s actions were a grave sin compared to Mizushima house. Kurama Kaku is a place with precious memories from the nobility 」
And they broke that sacred ground without a care.
Ignoring Jii-chan’s warnings again and again.
「 Mizushima house lost its status as nobility for a fixed period. Karen-san’s demotion to servant will someday return to nobility status. But, Kurama house abandoned nobility themselves 」
Minaho-neesan said. Kurama sisters embraced each other’s trembling body.
「 Then, what do we do? 」
Arisu-san does her best to ask, but her voice is trembling.
「 You will accumulate secret charity 」
「 Buying Kurama Kaku Group’s fine establishments. It won’t be the Kouzuki group, but instead, other nobilities will be the first to speak. There will be no bargain. The purchase will be by its cost. If not, foreign investors will buy it. That must be avoided. I know some foreign investors trying to talk to your father at this moment 」
「 T-That’s… 」
「 I don’t mind. It’s an enterprise for profit, so, naturally, one would prefer to sell in superior terms. Ordinary businessmen think that way 」
Jii-chan no longer states the sister’s father as nobility but as an ordinary businessman.
「 Therefore, the price will be higher than the foreigners. The employees will remain employed. I guarantee that. However, it’s no longer a mutual aid from nobilities, but just business. Kouzuki group don’t intend to go further than that 」
「 H-However that will mean that Kurama Kaku group will have nothing but the inferior establishments remaining, and the money earned from selling off cannot cross us over the crisis 」
Kurama Misato tells Jii-chan.
「 I don’t care. Kouzuki group will no longer involve themselves in anything other than business 」
He speaks adamantly.
「 H-However… 」
「 It’s no use, Onee-sama 」
Arisu-san gave up.
「 Arisu-san, you’re still 13, so you might not know 」
「 But, Misato-san is already 18, so I think she already understands 」
「 What about? 」
Misato-san looks up at Minaho-neesan.
「 I am Kuromori Minaho 」
Minaho-neesan introduced herself.
「 Have you heard of the organization named “Kuromori?” 」
「 I-I…. 」
Kurama sisters are dumbfounded.
「 We’re the ones who offer young and clean ladies to the people in political and business circles 」
「 O-Onee-sama? What does she mean? 」
Oh, Arisu-san doesn’t know about prostitutes who offer sexual service.
No, maybe, she has no knowledge about sex itself.
Ruriko is a precedent in that.
「 And I’m the owner of such high-class brothel 」
「 What do the people in that business need from us? 」
Misato-san asks with resolution.
「 No, if you have a problem with money, I think that you should sell yourself. All my clients are quite wealthy men after all 」
「 You mean, I’m going to become a prostitute? 」
Misato-san is offended.
「 I’m only talking about your choices. I’m not here to force you. I will not make any other move unless you come for me and ask me to hire you 」
Minaho-neesan speaks with composure.