「 You don’t have to force yourself to become the young lady of Kouzuki house. Yoshiko is Yoshiko 」
Jii-chan tells his beloved granddaughter.
Yoshiko-san lived her life as Ruriko’s attendant until half a year ago.
Then, she suddenly discovered that she’s Jii-chan’s late eldest son’s daughter.
She now stands equal to Ruriko, her former Master.
「 But I… 」
Yoshiko-san looked at Ruriko.
「 If I can’t fulfill my duty as the daughter of Kouzuki house, Ruriko-sama can’t live freely 」
The duty of the daughter of Kouzuki house.
Does she mean getting married to a man of nobility to leave behind a blood relative of Kouzuki house?
「 There’s no duty. Yoshiko, you don’t need to push yourself 」
「 Oda Nobunaga already handed over the leadership to his son during the Honnoji incident. He was Oda Nobutada. When Mitsuhide Akechi attacked Honnoji, his heir son was in the vicinity of the temple and was attacked by Mitsuhide’s army and then committed suicide. However, there are theories that Nobutada isn’t Nobunaga’s eldest son 」
「 Oda Nobumasa, isn’t it? 」
「 Oda Nobunaga’s illegitimate child, meaning, a child not from his legal wife, is actually the heir son but he didn’t inherit the family, nobody knows whether it’s true or not, however. The latter half of the Edo period didn’t appear, and so there’s no person in the records according to Nobunaga’s life history 」
Huh, but, why are we talking about Oda Nobunaga’s son again?
「 I’m also an illegitimate daughter, and so I shouldn’t think of anything unnecessary as I am not the daughter of the legal wife? 」
Yoshiko-san looks at Jii-chan.
Yeah, Yoshiko-san is Jii-chan’s eldest son’s illegitimate child.
No, she’s an illegitimate child, and so she survived.
Cesario Viola murdered Jii-chan’s eldest son, his wife, and his children.
「 Yes, that’s right. Yoshiko, you don’t have to think about your path with the Kouzuki house. Naturally, you’re my granddaughter, and so you’ll receive enough fortune. However, you’re not going to carry the Kouzuki clan, Yoshiko 」
「 Is it because my blood is filthy? 」
「 Wrong. That’s not what I mean 」
「 However, it’s the truth the illegitimate child cannot have this position. The society is cold to illegitimate children. Currently, Yoshiko is always with me when showing up on public, and thus, they cannot speak harshly of you where it’ll reach your ears. However, there should be people who are already deprecating Yoshiko’s blood. There will always be people as such and so you have to give up on them 」
No matter what Jii-chan and we think…
There will be people who’ll deprecate Yoshiko-san because she’s an illegitimate child.
「 However, if you strike back because of the insults, that’s a different story. There are times when the legal wife couldn’t produce an heir, and so the illegitimate yet talented child inherits the head of the family. There are many cases of this if you look at the history of nobility. It’s nothing rare. Especially in cases where the illegitimate child has excellent vitality compared to the legal child. However, Yoshiko, you’re not that type of girl, are you? 」
「 You don’t have thick nerves. You’re no good unless someone keeps you safe. You’re not the type that stands on the stage and faces the world for the clan, the type that fights 」
I think so too.
Yoshiko-san is much more quiet, introverted.
「 Misuzu back then was delicate, but nowadays, she’s quite bold thanks to him 」
Jii-chan looked at me.
「 Ruriko has been a courageous girl from before. 」
「 Am I? Grandfather? 」
「 Yes, you have been a bold child since before. Or should I say that I was worried you were too bold? But, Ruriko now has a brake, which is this guy, and so I don’t worry anymore. 」
I’m putting on brakes for Ruriko?
「 If it was back then when Ruriko was living in a world where it’s just her and Yoshiko if she became the head of the clan like that, I think that she will be okay with any absurdity she does. But now, she thinks of this guy and the family first. I don’t think that she’ll make such decisions anymore 」
「 That might be true 」
「 Right. If it was Ruriko before meeting Onii-sama, then I think that I would thoughtlessly involve myself with various things 」
「 In the end, people aren’t about what they have to become. One has to look at their talent, abilities, and interests, and place the right person at the right time. If it’s not the right person at the right time, the organization will have to change. Of course, there will be training to become the right person for the job. You have to be flexible 」
「 Especially for the head of the Kouzuki clan, one must experience and understand the karma of controlling people and must understand it from childhood. We must face the horrible reality that we can change other people’s lives at our command. However, it must not reach that point. To protect the human collective called “family.” You can’t cut people down and turn someone into a sacrifice 」
It’s to keep the lives of various people.
Jii-chan removed the cause of the problems inside the family. Ruriko’s father, his own son.
He judged that if he can’t preserve the family unless he does so.
「 Misuzu and Ruriko have the nerve to withstand that. That’s because I raised them myself, and they have trained themselves after meeting him. However, Yoshiko doesn’t have that strength 」
「 Yoshiko, can you endure it? Everyone knows that you’re an illegitimate daughter of my eldest son. Let’s not talk about now as you’re still under my umbrella. No strange people will come after Yoshiko while I’m watching. However, I’m already old. I can’t be by your side all the time 」
「 Grandfather, what are you talking about?! 」
Misuzu said, but…
「 No, it’s the truth. I’m already past 80. It’s an age where you won’t find it odd if I pass away anytime 」
「 However, I don’t worry about Misuzu and Ruriko. These girls have him. They’re his woman. Minaho-kun, Katsuko-kun, and Nagisa-kun are all stubborn. They also have Kyouko-kun from underground society backing them. I already had the family lawyer join with Minaho-kun to take measures for when I pass away. I talked to Misuzu’s father too. I made sure that after my death, the branch families cannot seize the fortunes of Kouzuki house from Misuzu and Ruriko, no matter how much fuss they make. Kouzuki house will stay. Through Misuzu and Ruriko. I’ve taken measures to make sure that it is certain and done every possible assumption as well 」
Jii-chan’s going that far.
「 But the bottom-feeding people will raise a vindictive voice if things don’t go their way. The big shots will be jealous and resent Misuzu and Ruriko from inheriting the Kouzuki clan from me. However, I think that the two of you will be alright. Misuzu and Ruriko are gifted with the nerves to repel any jealousy or grudge 」
Yeah. I think so too.
「 But what about you Yoshiko? Can you do that once I’m gone? Currently, I’m watching them, and so nobody’s going to call you a mistress’ daughter. However, once my protection is gone, you will have to face all the people who will throw insults at you 」
「 I… 」
Yoshiko-san looked down.
「 So, instead of trying to be equal to Misuzu or Ruriko, I think that you should stay under Misuzu’s protection instead. That’s what I think 」
「 I’m merely making a suggestion. You should stop waiting for Misuzu or Ruriko, or even him to talk to you. These people don’t add people who can’t make a choice for their family. Even I asked to join in. I said, “Let me join in this family” 」
Right, Jii-chan asked to join this family himself.
We didn’t ask him.
Jii-chan made that decision.
「 You don’t need to answer right now. Give it some time. Think about it 」
「 Y-Yes, Grandfather 」
Jii-chan’s talk with Yoshiko-san is over.
「 Now then. Torii-kun, as for why do we have this conversation when you’re here… 」
Jii-chan looked at Torii-san.
「 I wanted you to know how much trouble it is to belong in nobility. Torii house is wealthy, but, you can leave only your assets to your children and grandchildren, am I wrong? In my case, I have to pass on the long history of Kouzuki house, all the responsibilities, and all the ties to these girls 」
Jii-chan smiles wryly.
「 Recently, I read an interview on an American businessman, it was interesting. There were various people in the business world who succeeded but the interviewer is the same person. Therefore, the interviewer asks a few similar questions to all of them 」
A successful American interview.
「 One of the questions piqued my interest, the interview is conducted not on their company office but in the businessman’s mansion, and yet, the interviewer asks, “do you feel uneasy with your current fortunes?” 」
Uneasy with the current fortunes.
「 Then, several of the businessmen answers “I’m in this mansion right now, but I’m haunted by the thought that an armed group suddenly attacks and kills my whole family.” It wasn’t just one person. Several people answered the same thing. Saying “Sometimes, I feel like someone with a gun might suddenly come to our house and attack us” 」
「 What do you think? That’s quite American, isn’t it? They sense the reality that it’s possible 」
「 I-Indeed, in Japan, you hardly think of those 」
Torii-san replies, but…
「 No. I often think of it too. To tell you the truth. I’m blessed right now but I have times where I fear that this happiness will suddenly end up horrible 」
「 I was still in middle school when the war was lost. Currently, the Kouzuki mansion still stands. The Meiji mansion on the other side is also standing. It only stands to this age because my father, the previous head of Kouzuki house fought with time 」
Torii-san listens to Jii-chan’s story earnestly.「 」
「 My father noticed that Japan would lose at an early stage. Therefore, during the war, he moved all the precious ancestral culture into this mansion. I’m also evacuated along with the treasures. Father left me to his most trusted subordinates. Not to protect me but to make sure that we won’t lose anything we inherited from our ancestors 」
The treasures of the family are more important than his own son.
「 Then, soon enough, there was an air raid around this area. The enemy plane dropped a bomb, but it seemed that even in this area, the bomb affected the plot of the current Heisei mansion. But fortunately, the main mansion didn’t burn. All the window panes shattered, but Father didn’t have them repaired. He purposely let the house remain dirty 」
「 Then, the end of war happened. The occupation army came to Japan. To tell you the truth, having foreign military occupy the land is fearsome. Japan lost the war, and so they intrude on the personal assets of the Japanese people. Your father’s house, Kanou mansion, was confiscated to become a house of a high ranked commissioned officer in the army. He’s kicked out of the house and the soldiers of the occupation army lived as they pleased. That mansion was fully furnished after all. They used ancestral furniture without permission. Furthermore, the high ranked commissioner was formerly a poor man, and so he has no manners at all 」
「 That’s weird. Isn’t the mansion a private property? Why would they use it without permission? 」
Torii-san asks, but…
「 But, that’s what happened back then. Most mansions of nobility are confiscated. Of course, after a few years, they regained ownership of their homes. Just like Kanou house. However, even after recovering it, most people from nobility lost their homes 」
「 Those who had a mansion were still better. In Yokohama, the occupation army used a bulldozer and destroyed a house they didn’t like and turned it to an empty plot. Then, the occupation army constructed a building for them. The area around the Yamashita part, the park where you can see the port, all received that treatment. All the residents were chased out 」
I didn’t know that.
「 There was that age. However, fortunately, they didn’t take the Kouzuki mansion. Well, not a single piece of furniture remained, and the plot has a hole from the bomb. The window glasses are broken, and the whole mansion is filled with soot. The occupation forces didn’t want the trouble of repairing and so they left it. It was on purpose 」
Jii-chan smiled wryly.
「 You can laugh at that underhanded approach. However, thinking about it, the occupation army confiscating the Kanou mansion and those events started their loss of power. The air raid destroyed most of the ancestral culture products we have inherited. However, Kouzuki house saved as much as possible. I thank my father for that. This age happened. The age where we lost supremacy in our country and the foreigners dominated. It was a fearsome age. You don’t know if one day, they take everything away from you. During the war, there we bombs and fires everywhere and it was scary, but the post-war period is just another fearsome period 」
We all listen to Jii-chan’s story in silence.
「 In the end, the occupying forces left, and the mansion returned to as it was before. We fixed anything broken and dirty, and returned the furniture 」
That was the Meiji era.
「 I was young back then, in middle school, and I had that experience. Thus, I don’t expect my happiness to last forever. Who knows how that happiness in front of me will break because of an absurd reason. With that understanding, I have two or three things prepared for that time. I can lose my power over the government once a foreign country takes control. The law and justice can’t uphold itself all the time either
「 I praise Minaho-kun highly because she’s a woman who understands that. Minaho-kun doesn’t trust in the law, the country, nor banks. You can’t entrust your entire fortune in one bank. You must decentralize it to multiple banks in multiple countries. Just because you know one influential person doesn’t mean that you have to stick to that person only. She also makes contact with the financer of those who are hostile to us. She has such connections 」
The former patrons of the Black Forest.
「 Having a strong connection with only the Kouzuki house is never a good thing. There’s always a risk of breaking up. I prefer someone like Minaho-kun in my organization instead of a yes-man who will listen to whatever I tell them, thus, I highly praise her. Willing to put in the effort to survive, and to have someone who isn’t negligent of preparations even though it might be wasted 」
「 By the way 」
Jii-chan looked at me.
「 As for the twins earlier… 」
Eri and Rie…
「 I think that those girls should start learning business 」
「 They have good senses 」
I look at the twins who are eating a meal happily with Agnes and the girls.
Yeah, that’s probably true.
Those girls are clever, and they always look from various sides.
They can find people who are truly horrible and fight them.
They were models of their father’s lolicon videos, but…
They managed to avoid prostitution until the last minute.
「 I don’t think they will lose anything from learning business no matter what they want to do in the future 」
「 Yeah got it 」
「 Also, as for Agnes-kun 」
Jii-chan. Agnes too?
「 You should raise her to become a princess 」
「 That girl is a flower. She has the talent of charming people with her bright and carefree attitude. If you want that to remain, raise her like a princess. Don’t show her the dark side. Don’t let any evil people reach her 」
「 Oh, you mean protecting her from getting involved with any weird people? 」
「 Correct. Some people would want to trample the flower garden because it is beautiful. Be careful not to let people such as them tarnish her 」
「 That means, not letting Agnes do business by herself 」
If she starts doing business, weird people will surround her.
The better the business goes the more likely it is to be bad.
「 Yes, do treasure that flower 」
Jii-chan looked at me and laughed.
I have to think about their future.
I need to give it a good look.
Thinking of how to make the best use of their talents.
「 I see, it’s their choice on what they want in the future, but I must make them try out various things to spread their choices 」
「 You must not let them try out others either 」
「 The line “It’s better to experience everything” is a lie. If you experienced something horrible, then the girls will lose the nature they had before 」
「 U-Uhm, Kouzuki-sama, I have one thing to ask… 」
Torii-san who listens to our conversation said.
「 What is it? 」
Torii-san sends me a glance.
「 I-I…Thinking about my nature, s-should I e-experience it with Kuromori-sama? 」
「 You mean sex? 」
Jii-chan asks back with a fed-up tone.
「 Y-Yes… 」
Torii-san nods with a serious look.
「 It’s wrong to ask me that question 」
「 I-Is that so? 」
「 Yes. Before you could think of that, you should think of becoming a cute girl where he would come after you 」
「 C-Cute? 」
Torii-san’s making a huge question mark on her face.
「 That’s right, you’re quite charming as a woman. You are a fast thinker, and your perseverance is straightforward. Your heart has no big wounds 」
Yeah, even her insecurities aren’t emotional scars.
Torii-san is raised in a wealthy family, and so she’s generous.
She takes things easy, and she’s not fussy.
She’s stubborn and her outlook is narrow, but she’s not a bad girl.
Or should I say that she’s too straightforward?
「 However, he doesn’t sense the woman that he would want to have sex with you 」
「 I’m not womanly? 」
「 Womanly or not, you’re a woman. Certainly, you’re not a man. However, the woman inside you still hasn’t awakened 」
「 Uhm, can I ask for a detailed explanation? 」
Torii-san looks serious. Jii-chan laughed.
「 That would be impossible. I’m no woman. If you want to ask about it, ask women 」
Jii-chan said. She looked at Misuzu and the girls.
「 Mariko-an, you need to like someone 」
Misuzu smiles gently.
「 You shouldn’t think of what you want to be or what you want to do, but think of what do you want to do for the person you like 」
「 If you stay like that, you can’t have sex with Darling 」
「 You can’t think of making only yourself feel good. You need to think of a good balance between wanting to feel pleasure and wanting to give pleasure 」
「 That’s right. Mariko-san, I think that you only consider your own feelings 」
「 True. You’re a girl but you’re not a woman. Mariko 」