「 I’m coming! 」
Michi head towards Tendou Otome.
「 Hiiiiiiiiiiii!!! 」
Tendou Otome’s frightened.
「 S-Stop it! Otome-chan’s… 」
Sonoko-san tries to stop Tendou Otome, but…
「 Sueeiii!!! 」
「 Hauuuu!!! 」
Tendou Otome dodges Michi’s attack.
Her body naturally moves with her martial arts.
「 That’s right. You have been training ever since you were young 」
Michi slowly cuts their distance.
「 Please stop! 」
Sonoko-san desperately pleads to me, but…
「 It’s okay. Michi-san’s not serious 」
Tsukiko speaks gently.
「 If she’s serious, her first hit would kill Tendou-san 」
I think so too.
But, that doesn’t mean that Michi’s cutting corners either.
She’s holding herself back like in ordinary freestyle training.
「 Suaaaa, haaa, haa! 」
Look, she’s purposely giving a tell before she attacks.
If Michi’s serious, she will only breathe. She will take down the other party without making a noise.
「 Yaa, haa, toaaa 」
Tendou Otome also catches Michi’s attacks while yelling.
It may look like an equal fight but Michi’s trying to match with Tendou Otome.
「 Is that all you’ve got? Letting me do all the attacks? 」
「 Kuuuuu!!! 」
Tendou Otome tries to give Michi a roundhouse kick but Michi guarded with one hand.
「 That’s not it. This should be the kick you’re doing 」
Michi flips the skirt of her uniform and hits Tendou Otome with a sharp kick.
「 Guwaaaa 」
Tendou Otome fell on the floor.
「 Otome-chan! 」
「 This is cruel! Stop it! 」
This time, she protests to Michi.
「 That’s not a lot of damage. I purposely made sure that the kick won’t hurt. I didn’t place my weight on it either. She only fell because she didn’t train her trunk 」
Michi speaks calmly.
Wait, is Michi thinking of taking Tendou Otome as her disciple?
Since her plan to take the Anjou sisters as her disciple is on hold…
「 In the end, your martial arts are just on the same level as a delinquent playing around. You can take hold of the thugs on the streets but you can’t fight us 」
Michi speaks coldly. Then, Tendou Otome who’s groveling on the floor.
「 Dammit, looking down on me 」
She stops the “frightened mode,” and she glares at Michi.
「 You look down on me. You’re just a young lady’s lapdog…Goddammit! You’re bullshit! You’re full of shit! Fuck you all!! 」
She stands up.
Then, she glares at me.
But, she looked back at Michi again.
「 Don’t look down on me! 」
As soon as she shouted that…
「 !!!!! 」
「 W-What happened? 」
AS soon as Tendou Otome stood up, Michi jumped at her as if she teleported, she grabbed her head and pushed her down the floor again.
「 Hmph!! 」
「 Gueeee!! 」
Michi pushes Tendou Otome with her weight.
Tendou Otome groans like a crushed frog.
「 You’re the one looking down on me 」
Michi grabbed Tendou Otome’s head with her strength and pushed her face on the floor.
「 Tendou Otome-san was about to use a Qi skill 」
「 Oh, so that’s why. Michi sensed it and she pushed Tendou Otome down before she could use it? 」
I said. Tsukiko smiled.
「 That’s not it. She’s learned a lot too 」
Tendou Otome learned?
「 Last night, she used her Qi skill and Edie-san warded it off 」
Tsukiko reads Tendou Otome’s memories.
「 Therefore, she was thinking of trying to do the same move if Michi-san used her Qi skill too 」
「 That’s why Tendou Otome-san threw her Qi to her… 」
Tsukiko points at Kurosawa-san.
「 W-Why me? 」
「 She tried to fire it to Kou-sama at first. But, she thinks that Michi-san is cautious that she might do it to Kou-sama, Torii-sama, or me, and so she changed her aim to you 」
So that’s why she looked at me for a moment.
Yeah, Torii-san, Tsukiko, and I are in one point, but Kurosawa-san’s over there.
Michi is guarding us and so she orients her position.
Kurosawa-san’s out of Michi’s area.
「 But why?! Why does it have to be me?! I have nothing to do with all this! 」
Why would Tendou Otome attack her friend, Kurosawa-san?
「 It’s because she thinks that it’ll create an opportunity if she hits her Qi to someone unrelated, like you 」
Michi continues to push down Tendou Otome.
「 Indeed. She thinks that she can create a counterattack on Michi-san if she finds a gap 」
So that was a feint?
She’s going to sacrifice Kurosawa-san to create a moment of opportunity with Michi?
Is that all the reason?
「 Have you ever thought that I would assume that you’d do that? 」
Michi can’t read minds like Tsukiko, but she can read the flow of Qi.
She can sense Tendou Otome’s accumulating Qi to fire it off…or the person she’s targetting.
Therefore, she jumped at Tendou Otome with all her strength.
It’s all to prevent harm from reaching Kurosawa-san.
「 You really are despicable 」
Michi said and let go of Tendou Otome’s head.
「 Hmph, what’s wrong with it?! If someone like me wants to fight people like you who have everything then I will use any cowardly means! A lapdog of a young lady will never understand 」
Tendou Otome shouts at Michi.
「 Dammit! Making me look like a fool! I…We do not have any other way! 」
She slowly gets up.
She’s still aiming for an opportunity to turn the tables.
「 Are you going to live your life with that pathetic excuse? 」
「 You’re trying to gloss over the fact that what you did is betrayal to your comrades. Am I wrong? 」
「 S-She’s…Naoko’s not my comrade! 」
She glared at Kurosawa-san.
「 She immediately swore obedience to your boss. She says that she’d gladly become a prostitute. Are you stupid?! She betrayed me and our parents first! 」
Kurosawa-san voluntarily accepted to become the Kuromori house’s prostitute.
「 She’s not my comrade! Naoko’s been looking down on Sonoko and me ever since last night. All night long. I know that 」
Hearing that, Kurosawa-san;
「 What are you talking about? You’re the one who looked down on me all this time! You’ve been bullying me and the other girls!! 」
Tendou Otome and the other daughters of Yakuza bullied Naoko-san.
「 That’s because you were weak! As if I care! 」
Tendou Otome turns her down.
At that moment.
「 And since you’re weak too, you have no say in this 」
Michi releases her Qi.
「 Ugyaaaaa!!!! 」
Tendou Otome’s in pain, but…
「 It’s just body paralysis. Your consciousness is still awake 」
Michi speaks coldly, Then she looks at me with a fed-up face.
「 Wait, is she trying to do it again? 」
「 Yes, her aim was at Torii-sama while the quarrel was ongoing 」
Tsukiko looks at Torii-san.
「 Huh, me? 」
She makes us think that since she’s fighting Kurosawa-san, she will not aim at Torii-san.
But, Michi can sense Qi with extreme caution, and Tsukiko’s also here.
Why does she think that it’ll work?
「 People are creatures that put themselves as the standard 」
Tsukiko read my thoughts and replied.
「 Tendou Otome-san also puts herself as the standard 」
If she thinks that it’ll work on herself, she’ll do it.
「 Kou-sama, you think that others are much smarter, much skilled than you, correct? 」
「 Yeah. That’s obvious 」
I’m quite dumb, I believe.
「 Tendou-san thinks that other people are below her 」
「 She puts herself as the standard and thinks that everyone else is below her 」
「 That’s why she hates Michi-san and Edie who is much stronger than her. She thinks that it’s unfair. In her world, she’s the strongest 」
「 It’s not just about their strength. She sees Kou-sama and all the young ladies of nobility, those who lived in a blessed environment as unfair people. That she should be on the top 」
「 Oh, a lot of people are like that recently 」
「 Therefore, she bullies the weak. And if she meets people who are above her, she gets angry because of her insecurity. She’s a problem child 」
She speaks as she looks down at her.
No, look, Torii-san.
You have that same insecurity too.
She’s not a real young lady because of her status as semi-nobility, but her attitude with those who aren’t from nobility is big-headed.
「 Kou-sama, people don’t notice it themselves 」
「 You’re judging me yourselves! Do you think that you’re so great?! 」
Tendou Otome’s body is paralyzed yet she continues to shout curses.
「 No we don’t, but we’re not going to attack our friends for whatever reason it may be 」
「 Allies are allies. Those who betray trust aren’t allies at all.
「 Yes. That’s right, Master 」
Michi said, then looked at Sonoko-san.
「 What do we do with this woman? 」
Sonoko-san looks at Tendou Otome collapsed on the floor with a pale face.
She’s listening to our conversation with Tendou Otome.
「 Otome-chan, you lied… 」
She speaks in a thin voice.
「 S-Sonoko, I-I’m 」
「 Quiet down 」
Tsukiko smiled and sealed Tendou Otome’s mouth with her power.
「 You kept on saying that you’re scared as you cling to me, it was just a lie 」
Sonoko-san looks down on Tendou Otome.
「 I think that she regressed to infancy yesterday 」
「 Yes. But it’s only this morning when she returned to her former state 」
「 But, you thought that it’s easier to regress to infancy and cling to Sonoko-san, right? You don’t need to stay away from Sonoko-san after all. You can take it easy feeling spoiled from Sonoko-san. Wait for our arrival and loosened caution, then escape together with Sonoko-san 」
「 Correct 」
Tsukiko affirms my guess.
「 Michi, how did you know? 」
Michi noticed that Tendou Otome’s acting. That’s why she picked a fight.
「 You can see it if you look at her. A person who is afraid and confused won’t have that look in her eyes 」
「 Otome-chan fooled me 」
Sonoko-san said. Tendou Otome shakes her head, frantically denying it.
She can’t shake it that well since her neck and below are paralyzed.
「 You lied. You fooled me. You think of me as stupid, don’t you? 」
「 Just so you know, I hugged Otome-chan last night, I’ve been thinking about you. Wondering what to do from now on. I was really scared. I was worried that Otome-chan might not come back, that you’ll have to rely on me forever, about what will happen to us 」
Tendou Otome looks away from Sonoko-san. She looks at the ceiling that has nothing.
Ah, she’s no good.
Why is she escaping the gaze of the other party?
Sonoko-san’s staring at Tendou Otome.
「 I will become a prostitute. There’s no other way out of this. My fate is tied there. I will endure five years, and I think that these people keep their word when it comes to contracts and business. They gave me time to think, and they don’t give orders without listening, they let me decide 」
Sonoko-san said. Tendou Otome looks at her in panic.
She shakes her head intensely.
“They’re fooling you. Don’t trust them” is what she’s trying to say.
「 I get what Otome-chan’s trying to say. But, sorry. But right now, I trust them more than Otome-chan… 」
Sonoko-san said. Tendou Otome hangs her head.
She looks back up the ceiling again.
「 Even if we’re together Otome-chan, I don’t think I’ll open up my life for you. Sorry, but I don’t want a life with Otome-chan anymore 」
And then, Sonoko-san…
「 Naoko-chan, I think you hate me, but we’re both going to become prostitutes. If we’re going to work together, we have to get along. It’s as you can see. Please get along with me 」
She bows her head to Kurosawa-san.
「 T-That’s, s-stop it. I-I’m the one who should ask for it 」
Kurosawa-san bows her head to Sonoko-san.
「 Oh, it looks like the situation’s better now 」
Minaho-neesan enters the room.
Oh, she’s been here since earlier.
She’s been eavesdropping the conversation and waited for this timing to enter.
「 It’s good that you two get along as fellow prostitutes. If you don’t help each other, it’ll only become hard for you 」
She goes inside as she speaks.
「 Later, I’ll be introducing another prostitute candidate to you girls 」
「 Other than us? 」
「 Yes. That girl is a genuine young lady. Her family has collapsed, and so she has no choice but to become my prostitute, even though she’s a young lady. Don’t you feel sorry for them? 」
「 Wait, Kurama-san? 」
Torii-san speaks without thinking.
Right, Torii-san didn’t know the details.
It’s her first time talking to Minaho-neesan this way.
「 Oh, it has nothing to do with Torii-sama 」
Minaho-neesan purposely stirs her up.
「 But Kurama house is a noble family! Doing that to a daughter of nobility is… 」
「 It doesn’t matter if they were a noble family, if they fall, it’s their end. Or does Torii-sama have enough assets to pay for the debts of Kurama house? 」
「 That’s… 」
「 Kouzuki-sama already gave his approval. Changes aren’t allowed anymore. Therefore, any more interference is futile 」
Minaho-neesan oppresses Torii-san with her cold smile.
「 Who are you? 」
Torii-san asks. Minaho-neesan;
「 I am Kuromori Minaho, Kou’s elder sister 」
「 Yeah, my elder sister 」
「 As mentioned in the conversation, the other prostitute that you’ll work with will be Kurama Misato. She’s been a young lady until yesterday, but could you get along with her? 」
Minaho-neesan asks Kurosawa-san and Sonoko-san.
The two looked at each other.
「 We will. It doesn’t matter if she’s a former young lady. After all, it’s just her past 」
「 Me too, if she will live in the same environment as the two of us, then we will get along with her. The three of us will work together 」
「 Right. She will live together with you two for the contract period, so get along, okay? 」
Minaho-neesan said. Then she looked at me.
「 Now they’re prepared to accept it. Kou, the plans with Kurama-san is a ‘go,’ best regards 」
First, arrange the two prostitutes as friends then make Kurama-san fall.
Right, Kurama Misato-san who depends on her sister and weeps a lot will burst if she has no allies to rely on.
Speaking of which.
「 Kurama Misato-san’s name is the only one mentioned, but… 」
Torii-san asks before I could.
「 What about Kurama Arisu-san, the little sister? 」
「 We don’t use girls who are too young in our brothel. Arisu-san is 13 if I recall? 」
「 Then, is she coming back to Kurama house? 」
Torii-san said. Minaho-neesan laughs.
「 No way. She will be a valuable item to earn money for Kurama house 」
「 What does that mean? 」
「 She will not become a prostitute. But, we will sell her as a sex slave 」
Minaho-neesan speaks that way on purpose.
It’s to make Kurosawa-san and Sonoko-san king to Kurama Misato-san who comes later.
「 T-That’s… 」
「 It’s okay. I picked a respectable man who’ll buy her. I’m not selling her to a man who’ll hurt her or kill her. I’m selling her to a man who will cherish her and love her. I’ve done my investigation and background check. If there were any abuse, they’ll incur the wrath of Kouzuki-sama. Torii-sama does not need to worry about her 」
I mean, I’m the one taking her.
「 B-but… 」
Torii-san still hangs on but Tsukiko;
「 If you speak any further than that, it will only be hypocrisy 」
The fall of Kurama house is definite.
It’s to prevent any spread to other nobilities.
Jii-chan had to show them a harsh punishment as an example.
That is to say; selling the Kurama sisters.
And since Jii-chan made the decision, nobody can stop it.
「 Benevolence is about what you can do with the best that you have. If you wish for something that you can’t do, then you’re only causing trouble to Kurama-sama 」
「 I… 」
Torii-san seems to feel that she’s powerless.
「 I was also a prostitute. Furthermore, it wasn’t actual work 」
「 Therefore, Kurosawa-san, Tokuda-san. And Kurama Misato-san who will come later. Kurama Arisu-san who won’t become a prostitute but sold off. I cannot change your fate. I’m only doing the duty given to me with all my best. But, I want to improve it to the extent that I can. I want you to experience happiness, even if it’s just a little bit, instead of the experience I had as a prostitute. You don’t have to trust me now, but I will promise you that 」
She tells Kurosawa-san and Sonoko-san.
「 Yes, I don’t trust it for now but I’ll remember it 」
「 I don’t get it either but for now, I look forward to working with you 」
Kurosawa-san bows her head.
「 Yes, my best regards to the two of you. And an apology. I didn’t come to see you until now. This building was busy until the case with your parents ended 」
Minaho-neesan apologizes for leaving them alone after the briefing last night.
「 No, I think that there were circumstances 」
Kurosawa-san is frank and she’s decisive, but she’s bad at thinking deeply and speaking politely.
Sonoko-san is timid and shy but she thinks a lot and is polite when speaking.
These two might be a surprisingly good combo.
While I was thinking about that…
「 By the way, Kou… 」
Minaho-neesan calls me.
「 What do we do with this rubbish? 」
In there lies Tendou Otome…
Michi paralyzed her body.
Tsukiko stopped her from speaking.