Our car was parked on the underground parking lot in the hotel of the Kouzuki group.
Oh, this floor in the underground parking lot has no other cars parked other than ours and Jii-chan’s.
They emptied the whole floor since Jii-chan is visiting.
As expected of Kouzuki SS.
Jii-chan gets off the black car, sends us a glance, smiled without saying anything, and went into the VIP elevator with his guards and went up.
Among the guards, Yazawa-san comes to us.
「 You lot should come with me 」
We followed Yazawa-san and waited for the regular elevator to come down.
「 Sorry, there are subordinates around so Kakka had to go first 」
Jii-chan’s the head of the Kouzuki house after all.
This is an establishment of the Kouzuki house so he has to make a clear distinction.
「 Papa! 」
Agnes clings to me worriedly.
「 It’s okay, we’re coming too 」
Luna cheers her up.
Well, this place is under Kouzuki SS’ control so there should be no problem.
The elevator’s here.
「 Let’s go 」
Yazawa-san got on the elevator and pressed the open switch.
「 T-Thanks 」
I pulled Agnes and got on the elevator.
Katsuko-nee, Luna, Yomi, and Koyomi-chan are here.
Yazawa-san pressed floor 47.
The elevator door closed.
「 So, what are we doing? 」
I asked Yazawa-san while we’re going up on the elevator.
Yazawa-san looked at me and smiled.
「 Well, it’s just a simple thing. Although, it’s important for the Kouzuki SS. Well, Kakka will tell you the details 」
A job for me, from the Kouzuki SS?
「 Kakka gave his orders, so I agree with your takeover on Kouzuki SS> It’s for the better future of Misuzu-sama, Ruriko-sama, and Yoshiko-sama too. However, nobody other than me knows much about you 」
This is another test.
I have to show my qualities as the owner of Kouzuki SS to its people.
「 What’s wrong? 」
Agnes looked up at me.
「 It seems that I have my entrance exam too 」
I smiled at Agnes.
「 What kind of entrance exam? 」
「 Well, it’s for a new job other than the bakery 」
That’s my response for now.
「 Really? 」
「 Don’t worry, Sensei will surely pass no matter what test it is! 」
Yomi smiled at me.
Well, I hope so.
「 It’s going to be okay. I’m sure 」
Koyomi-chan read my thoughts and replied.
Oh, I can’t show a timid attitude to the shrine maidens.
「 Yes, that’s right Nii-san. Fight! 」
「 You’ll manage, you’ve always been clearing your fate using your own strength 」
The elevator arrived on floor 47 without stopping on any other floors.
I think that someone in the control room of the hotel is watching us.
This was the hotel where we fought Cesario Viola half a year ago after all.
And so, we reached the floor without stopping on other floors.
「 Well, it’s this way. Let’s hurry 」
The elevator door opens and Yazawa-san leads us.
「 Everyone, go off first 」
I’ll press the switch this time and get off after confirming that everyone’s out of the elevator.
If I get off first, someone could suddenly close while someone’s still here and then bring them to another floor.
「 Hmm, you’re still cautious 」
If it’s a test, then it’s already started.
If that’s the case, even if we’re in a hotel that’s under Kouzuki SS’ control, then I should behave that we’re surrounded by enemies.
「 It’s not a problem just for me after all 」
My assessment is tied to Misuzu and Ruriko.
I have to be cautious.
「 Hm! 」
It seems that my tension’s passed to Agnes too.
「 Anyway, let’s not make Kakka wait. This way 」
We followed after Yazawa-san.
The hotel corridor has uniformed guards from the Kouzuki SS stationed at every point.
「 Oh yeah, Seki-kun is waiting for the classes to finish and will bring Misuzu-sama and the girls here 」
Yazawa-san told me while still walking.
Misuzu and the girls are coming here too?
So that’s why Shou-neechan stayed at the school.
「 It’s this room 」
Yazawa-san knocks on the door.
Choumoto-san opened the door.
He probably peeked at the hole and confirmed that it’s Yazawa-san.
「 Kakka’s inside 」
「 Yeah, good job 」
Yazawa-san goes inside.
We also enter the room timidly.
I see. There’s another room inside.
Yazawa-san knocked on that door too.
「 It’s Yazawa 」
「 Come in 」
That was Jii-chan’s voice.
「 Excuse us 」
Yazawa-san opens the door.
「 Wow!! 」
Inside is a beautifully lit and clean room.
There are also gorgeous furnishings around. This is a VIP room.
Ootoku-san is standing by next to the wall.
Facing Jii-chan is another person.
It’s a white-haired thin old man.
He’s smiling but his eyes look sharp.
Agnes trembled, clings to me.
「 Uhm, hello. Nice to meet you 」
I greeted him.
「 H-Hello! 」
「 Hello 」
「 Excuse us 」
「 Pleased to meet you 」
「 Hello 」
Agnes, Katsuko-nee, Koyomi-chan, and Luna greeted the old man.
They’re all stiff.
「 Kouzuki, who are these? 」
The old man called Jii-chan “Kouzuki”
「 Oh, that one’s the man who snatched my granddaughter. Then, that that blonde girl is an illegitimate child of my son 」
Jii-chan smiled, pointing at Agnes.
Is that what Jii-chan said during the interview about Agnes at that school?
「 Well, that was the hint I gave them so they think of it that way. She could’ve been my illegitimate child, but that’ll bring some trouble differently 」
If rumors of Agnes being Jii-chan’s illegitimate child spreads out. There will be more heirs.
I’m sure that people with weird intentions will come after Agnes.
「 I haven’t given official recognition, besides, if she’s an illegitimate child of my late son, then we can create lies as much as we want 」
「 As always, you’re such a rascal, Kouzuki 」
The old man laughed.
That smile made Agnes and the girls nervous.
「 And then, the other girls are her bodyguard and her attendants? 」
「 Well, that’s how it will be 」
The old man looked at Luna and the girls.
「 Oh, if they’re that cute, then you could’ve just asked me to make them my illegitimate children 」
「 Oh? I could’ve asked you and others as their sponsor as an option. I’ll do that next time 」
「 Is there a next time? 」
「 Depends on this boy 」
Jii-chan looked at me.
「 I see. Then let me take care of it when the time comes 」
The old man and Jii-chan laughed out loud.
What’s their relationship, I wonder?
「 U-Uhm 」
As soon as I spoke, the two old men looked at me.
「 I’m sorry for the late introductions, I’m Kuromori Kou 」
「 Agnes 」
Agnes bows after me.
「 Luna, hurry and make your greetings 」
「 No, uhm, we’re just 」
They’re attendants and guards, so they have no need to introduce themselves unless the other party asks.
They’re just their Master’s accessories.
It would be impolite for them to introduce themselves every single time.
「 Just do it, introduce yourselves 」
I ordered them.
These girls have to be treated like people too.
Yomi and the girls are attendants of Agnes only when going to that school.
But the truth is that there’s no master-servant relationship.
Yomi, Luna, Koyomi-chan, and Katsuko-nee are all my family.
「 Okay. I’m Takakura Yomiko 」
「 Takakura Luna 」
「 Koyomi 」
The three bowed their heads.
「 Yes. It’s an honor to meet the renowned Takakura shrine maidens. To think that they’re all such cute girls 」
The old man knows about the Takakura shrine?
「 Katsuko-chan, you should make your greetings too 」
Agnes said, but…
「 It has been a while 」
Katsuko-nee bowed to the old man.
Katsuko-nee knows this man? Then that means…
He must have been a customer of the Black Forest before?
「 Indeed, I’m glad that you’re in good health. Your face has lost its harshness. You look much more refreshed. It seems that you’re living your life to the fullest now 」
「 Yes, thank you 」
Katsuko-nee replied to the old man.
「 Kou, this man is… 」
Jii-chan tries to introduce the old man.
「 No, no, Kouzuki, don’t finish that 」
He stops Jii-chan.
「 My name is Kira. I’ve been granted the title of a monk when I went past 80. Despite having my hair 」
「 You see, when this one became a monk, he shaved his head, but when he peeked at the mirror, he said that being bald doesn’t suit him, so he started growing it out again 」
「 Geez, what a degenerate monk 」
Jii-chan smiled wryly.
「 Don’t say that. Styling has its importance 」
「 That’s just worldly desires, and you’re a monk 」
「 I became a monk to erase my evil passions, but it’ll take me forty to fifty years of practice to do that 」
「 You can’t live that long, can you? 」
「 So this is okay. I’m a priest, yet, covered with worldly desires 」
The white-haired old man, named Kira, said and laughed.
「 Katsuko-kun, call the room service and give the children something sweet to eat. Yazawa, where’s the menu? 」
「 It’s here 」
Yazawa-san opens the writing desk and takes out the hotel’s menu.
「 Back then, Misuzu and Ruriko often come here before returning home from school. They eat sweets on that table there. Ruriko’s favorite dish is… 」
「 RUriko-sama prefers this tea longue deluxe parfait 」
Yazawa-san replies immediately…
「 Yes, that one. So, you should pick whatever you like 」
Agnes looked at me.
「 Sure, go ahead. Jii-chan said it’s okay 」
「 Is it really okay? 」
「 Yeah, Jii-chan is family too, right? 」
「 He even went to the interview just for Agnes earlier 」
「 That’s right 」
Agnes speaks to Jii-chan.
「 Thank you for earlier! I’m sorry for the late thanks 」
「 Thank you 」
Luna and the girls followed and thanked Jii-chan too.
「 No, it was fun for me too. I’ve become a guardian of such cute children 」
「 That’s right, Kouzuki-ojiichan took care of us a lot during the interview! 」
「 So, we’ve been in your care already, and then, we’re also treated with sweets, we feel bad for that 」
She gave me an earnest look.
「 Agnes heard that the sweets in hotels like this cost a lot! 」
Let’s leave the one who she heard that knowledge from behind for now.
「 Don’t mind the money. I have more money than you could ever think 」
Jii-chan said with a smile.
「 Besides, you see. I love watching cute girls eat delicious food happily 」
Jii-chan replied. Agnes got dumbfounded.
「 Agnes, do you like delicious food? 」
「 I do 」
「 And, you girls are cute. So, go eat as food as you like to make me happy 」
「 Uuu 」
Agnes looked at me.
「 Yeah, it’s okay, Agnes. Go eat what you want 」
I told her.
「 Really? 」
「 Yeah, Jii-chan said that it’s okay, don’t hold back 」
「 Luna too? 」
「 Luna and the girls too 」
「 Okay, desuno! 」
「 Thank you Ojii-chan. I’ll eat 」
She bows her head to Jii-chan.
「 Luna, Koyomi-chan, let’s 」
Luna and the girls too
「 Then we’ll take the offer 」
「 Thank you very much! 」
「 T-Thank you 」
They bow their heads to Jii-chan
「 Go ahead 」
Jii-chan smiled happily.
「 What should we eat? What’s delicious? 」
Agnes goes to Luna and the girls.
「 Hmm, those girls are well raised 」
Old man Kira is impressed.
「 Right? Those are good girls 」
Jii-chan brags to Kira.
「 Katsuko-kun, take the children with you to that table. Kou, we’ll talk 」
「 Yes, Kouzuki-sama. Girls, this way 」
「 What about Papa? 」
「 I got to talk to Jii-chan for a bit 」
「 Yes. We should go there so we don’t disturb him
Katsuko-nee brings Agnes and the girls to the long table on the window-side.
「 Oh, of course, you can ask for what you want too, Katsuko-kun 」
Jii-chan told Katsuko-nee’s back.
「 You’re still at the age where parfait suits you 」
「 Katsuko-chan, let’s eat parfait! 」
Agnes told Katsuko-nee.
「 I guess so. Then I’ll take one too 」
「 Katsuko-oneesama, this is the menu 」
Yomi hands the menu she received from Yazawa-san to Katsuko-nee.
「 Well then, Kou, sit here 」
Jii-chan presented a seat next to him.
「 Excuse me 」
I told old man Kira and sat down.
「 What did you hear from Yazawa? 」
What? The job?
「 Well, it’s about a job from Kouzuki SS tasked for me, and that it’s important? 」
Since it’s a test, it’s a task for me.
「 That’s right. I want you to do something 」
「 Sure, anything. What is it? 」
I replied immediately.
「 You see, someone with my status always has people who ask to talk directly to me every day 」
「 Well, most of them only want my support, that’s why they want to meet me. More than half of them are looking for money, some of them make crazy demands like “invest in my business,” or “donate money for social organizations,” or even “donate” to some unknown organizations 」
Yeah, everyone knows that Jii-chan’s rich after all.
「 If it’s not about money, then, they will ask to introduce them to someone influential or recommend them to a government agency, or international organization. What a selfish bunch 」
Jii-chan’s the head of the Kouzuki house, the group that ties the nobility of Japan together. And he owns huge enterprise groups.
He has the honor, fortunes, and connections to influential people in politics and business.
「 Of course, some of them are people I have to meet for the sake of the Kouzuki house and the Kouzuki group. Some come with genuinely meaningful business plans, and sometimes, you have to give a donation to socialize with people. Those meetings are inevitable, but 80% of them are worthless, and a waste of time to talk to 」
There are a lot of scoundrels who want Jii-chan’s money.
「 Naturally, I refuse meeting with suspicious people from the beginning. Or should I say that I don’t meet with people without any introducer at all? That’s the safest way 」
「 But then again, there are those peculiar referrals 」
「 People from the nobility and managers of other companies ask me saying “they’re this kind of person, meet them,” but of course, even with such introductions, I don’t meet with overly suspicious people. However… 」
「 There are a lot of complex cases. Some make plans to meet me by getting to know my acquaintances. It’s not overly suspicious, but it’s not a clear identity either. Even if I refuse, I would have to do it in the face of the referrer so I can’t just say no for no reason 」
There’s no definite proof that they’re suspicious people, but since there’s a referrer, then he’s forced to meet them.
「 In such cases, it would be difficult to refuse 」
「 Umu, I can understand that 」
Old man Kira nodded.
「 In such cases, what do you do, Kira? 」
Jii-chan asked the white-haired monk.
「 In my case, I first have my secretary meet them instead of me. My secretary will check on their character, and if they’re worthy to meet with me, and if they are, then we can meet up 」
I wonder if this old man is from a nobility? Or maybe, he’s an owner of an enterprise.
「 Anyway, if they can show results when talking to my secretary, then that saves the face of the referrer 」
The old man said. Jii-chan.
「 That’s how I basically do it too. However, I give that role, not to my secretary but Yazawa 」
Yazawa-san’s the one meeting with people in place of Jii-chan.
He makes the decision whether they’re worthy of meeting with Jii-chan.
「 Meaning, to the Kouzuki house, this role is the job of Kouzuki SS 」
One of the duties of Jii-chan’s guards.
「 So, I want to pass Yazawa’s job to you, Kou 」
「 That said, the people who want to meet with me are in this hotel. You’re going to meet with those people, and make your decisions on whether they’re worthy to meet me or not 」
I’m checking people?
「 Of course, you can’t just say “good,” or “bad.” You’ll have to be clear with what made you decide whether you pass or reject them from meeting me 」
「 Umu, indeed. If you can’t verbalize how you feel from the other person, we won’t be able to understand 」
Old man Kira told me.