A white light.
Hanging from the ceiling was a chandelier that I had never seen before.
With a blurred line of sight, I opened my eyes.
A pain that seemed to be splitting me wracked my body. My body was wrapped in carefully applied bandages. I don’t know who did it, but it seems that I received careful treatment and was changed out of my swimsuit.
Well, I am really grateful, but what the hell is this?
I put on my glasses that were lying on the bedside (fortunately, it seems like they were fixed). I lifted my upper body and looked around to check the situation. Expensive furniture and a refined carpet. A splendid room that looked straight out of the castles that appear in fairy tales. And I was sleeping in the enormous, soft, and fluffy bed in the center.
“Sup, already awake?”
A rough voice sounded from the corner of the room.
A man with neatly combed hair and silver-rimmed glasses stood there.
The man who was said to be Konoe’s father was glaring at me like he was staring at his prey.
“How is it? Does your body hurt? You love comedy bastard.”
“Love comedy… you say. What do you mean?”
“Aah? You touched my daughter’s breasts in an empty science room and had a nosebleed. Such a lucky bastard only exists in the love comedy world.”
The sound of footsteps was raised and Konoe Nagare spat that out as he walked.
On closer inspection, he looks too young. If he is Konoe’s father, then even if he is young he should be in his late thirties, but no matter how you look he can only be in his twenties. Don’t tell me that he had plastic surgery?
“Be grateful to Kanade Ojou-sama. If it wasn’t for her, you would be on the garbage pile. And your injuries weren’t severe. You also didn’t break any bones, and the treatment was excellent.”
“Excellent, you say… Weren’t you the one that beat me up?”
He beat me up to his heart’s content. Even an inappropriate remark from a politician wouldn’t hurt so much.
“There was no helping it. I had intended to make you faint in the first blow. You are at fault since you didn’t lose consciousness right away, and I did hold back.”
“Liar! You were hitting me seriously!”
“Don’t be a fool. I somehow restrained my will to tear you to pieces. I was controlling myself so I didn’t kill you!”
Aah, I will probably never get along with him.
I immediately thought that. I think that should have nailed it.
Standing at the bedside, Konoe Nagare was looking down at me. A black vest and tight pants, and a loosely tied necktie; this should be a butler uniform. Looks alone, this suited him so much that it’s frustrating.
If he is wearing these clothes, then that should mean this is Suzutsuki’s house. As I predicted, it’s an expensive mansion befitting of rich people.
“Calm down. She is sleeping in the next room. The scenario was planned so that she wouldn’t get hurt.”
As I thought, the situation that happened in that leisure land was all Suzutsuki’s plan.
And the reason for going to the extent of such a troublesome thing was…
“Hey, can I ask a question?”
“What? I will listen to anything besides [Can I call you father-in-law?]”
“…I won’t ask that. What kind of human do you think I am?”
“A pest that tries to haunt my beloved daughter. If I had a pesticide that worked on you, I would spray it all over the world.”
Oyabaka.(1) Looks like this old man hates me from the depths of his soul. Well, I don’t care anyway. I also hate him. There’s no way I would like such a hostility-filled adult.
“Old man. Even if I happened to marry Konoe one day, I would never call you father-in-law. ‘Old man’ is enough for you.”
“Don’t talk like you are superior, you shitty brat! If you called me father-in-law, I would die from allergies. And even if the world would come to an end, I would never hand my cute Subaru to you!”
Konoe Nagare… No, the old man raised his middle finger at me. And in response, I turned my thumbs down and made a [Fuu] sound to provoke him.
“I’ll tell you straight up, I hate you.”
“Don’t worry, I also hate you.”
“Huh. You said that, you damn brat!”
“Huh. I will say it however many times you want, Oyabaka!”
We clashed our lines of sight and they started to release fireworks. I was going to ask about the leisure land, but I suddenly didn’t give a shit anymore. If you want something, just hurry up and do it. The one that makes the first move wins. I have to decide this in one blow…
“Looks like you are both getting along well. Won’t you let me join?”
When I was seeing myself in a dangerous situation, a voice that I was used to hearing came from the open door.
It’s Suzutuski. She was wearing the same clothes as in the morning.
“Nagare. You can go back.”
“Understood, Kanade Ojou-sama.”
He bowed his head exaggeratedly, and left through the door. As expected from a butler. It’s only correct to act politely in front of your master.
“He is not a bad guy, but when it comes to Subaru, he overreacts a bit.”
“A bit, you say… No matter how you look at him, he is an Oyabaka. If he continues like that, no one will ever propose to Konoe.”
Before, he raised an eccentric voice and hugged her. The reason Konoe said that she doesn’t have a good relationship with her father is probably because he is always clinging to her. If he acts like that, he will be seen as a creepy father.
“But Nagare really does look like Jirou-kun.”
What is this girl saying? That old man and I look alike? Aside from having glasses, I don’t think we have anything in common.
“You really are similar. Like how you both really care about your family. Well, for Nagare it is not too hard to be so overly protective about Subaru because she is his only family.”
Now that she mentions it, Konoe’s mother…
“Konoe’s mother died when that girl was five years old. Well, she had a weak body in the first place, and giving birth to Subaru was the trigger…”
So this was the reason for Konoe saying that she didn’t have any siblings. Since her mother was in such a condition, she wasn’t able to give birth to other children after Konoe. Even though they probably wanted a boy to be the heir.
“Now that I think about it, the time that Subaru pleaded so much to become my butler was around then. The people of my household told Nagare to marry once again, but Konoe rejected that idea while crying. [I don’t need a new mother!], she said. I am sure that she was afraid that the existence of her mother would be erased.”
–I need to be Ojou-sama’s butler no matter what.
I am pretty sure Konoe said that the first day we met, in the infirmary.
It seems like it’s just as Suzutsuki says. She wants to be a butler to protect the existence of her own mother. That’s why she was so desperate to be Suzutsuki’s butler…
“But—The reality was not so sweet.”
She said those bitter words.
“Because of the kidnapping at the leisure land, Konoe developed a blade-phobia. Since then, there have been two feelings clashing inside of her. The ‘I want to stay as a butler’ feeling and the ‘Is it okay for me to stay as a butler’ feeling.”
The feeling that she had to be a butler in order to protect her dead mother’s existence and the feeling of helplessness from being unable to protect her master with her blade-phobia.
This is the so-called ‘dilemma’.
To think that she was struggling with these two feelings…
“We also tried many ways to cure her blade-phobia, but we weren’t able to do that. To be honest, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thought about telling Subaru to stop being a butler.”
“But now I think that not saying that was for the better.”
Suzutsuki said that while looking at me.
“When you met Subaru, I thought that I would never get such a big chance again. I thought that by keeping in contact with you, who has the same kind of problem, Subaru’s phobia could somehow be cured.
“That’s why you told Konoe to help with my treatment…”
“Exactly. But as I thought, it didn’t go so smoothly. I thought that she might change a bit after helping with your treatment, but Subura was still as scared by blades as ever. Then I thought about changing the approach a bit.”
“That’s today’s kidnapping?”
“Hiahaha! Exactly, Jirou-kun!” Once again, the voice of the wolf was heard. Looking closely, I saw that Suzutsuki was talking with a little machine close to her mouth.
…Aah, that irritating voice was this girl’s doing. I bet she put a speaker and a radio inside that mask, and surely she was checking our movements through the security cameras and talking. To make sure that Konoe wouldn’t discover that the old man was behind that wolf, Suzutsuki went through the trouble of becoming the voice.
“Sure enough, the plan went well. Subaru was able to overcome her own phobia in order to rescue her friends that had fallen in danger. Well, it’s not like she is completely cured, but for now it’s already a big step.”
“And as a bonus, you were able to develop a better relationship with Konoe.”
Geez, what a tactician this girl is. She used me and Kureha as she liked to help in the treatment of Konoe’s phobia.
“Well. I am truly… thankful to the both of you. Because Subaru was able to continue being my butler.”
“Thank you,” Suzutsuki said politely.
Will we always be dancing in the palms of her hands? I somehow feel irritated. If she had asked, I would have gladly helped!
“You shouldn’t talk too much about Konoe’s father. When it comes to her, you also become unaware of your surroundings.”
I just threw that out with the intention of provoking her.
But—for some reason, she started laughing…
“I see, that’s true. Because I truly love Subaru.”
What’s up with such profound words?
If you say it like that, it sounds like you see Konoe as a love partner…
“That’s true. My first love was Subaru.”
What is she saying?
No matter what, I won’t be fooled. She seems to be wearing a serious facial expression, but this has to be another facade. Yeah, there’s no way that this wolf girl would have such a…
“Oh. Since you are already here, how about having dinner here? Once the preparations are done I will come by to call you.”
Saying that, Suzutsuki walked towards the door without even hearing what I had to say. And right when she was about to open the door, she turned around.
“Jirou-kun. We will be helping with your phobia’s treatment from now on as well. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair. Because of you, Subaru can stay as my butler. And more importantly…”
“Thank you for being friends with my butler.”
Suzutsuki left the room, smiling.
…That’s against the rules.
This means a red card.
My heart is beating so fast that it feels like it was shot.
She was incredibly cute. How can she make such a carefree expression? Uwaa! What I do? I feel like something important will be pulled out from inside me.
While I was agitated from the shock, the door was softly knocked.
“I am entering, Jirou.”
A crystal clear, alto voice.
It was Konoe.
Wearing a butler uniform- in other words, the same clothing as the old man. This really suits her. As I thought, this absolutely suits her more than that old man… Heh? Somehow… It seems like she has some red stains here and there. I wonder why.
A red stain was stark against her white shirt, as if she had showered in blood when she got back.
“Aah, this? This is nothing big. I just fought with my father back there.”
“I also said, ‘I hate you so much, father!’ to his face.”
I wonder if she is repaying him for the hits he gave me. This certainly makes me happy, and my heart skips a beat, but even so… I wonder if it’s okay for that old man. I hope he won’t hang himself if she says something like that to him.
“But more importantly, Jirou, does your body hurt?”
“Aah, only a bit, but I am already used to it. I am sure that it’ll heal quickly.”
Since long ago, I have been quick at recovering from injuries. A gift from my family.
I wonder if Konoe came to see how I was doing because she was worried about me. Aah, problems aside, in the end this girl is always a good girl.
“I see. That’s good. If you weren’t able to move because of your wounds, you wouldn’t be able to fulfill your promise.”
“Aah. That ‘I will listen to anything that you have to say later’. You definitely said that to me, right?”
Konoe had a bright smile on her face.
This is dangerous, what is it supposed to be?
A horrifying feeling ran down my back. Well, I did say that, but… but that was in the heat of the moment. You don’t have to take it so seriously…!
“Ahaha. You don’t have to take it so seriously, Konoe. That was like a lighthearted promise and…”
“[Konoe]? What are you saying, Jirou?”
She said that while smiling from ear to ear.
“It’s not [Konoe] but [Ojou-sama], right? Now, Jirou is absolutely obedient to me. If you don’t get that, it’ll be bad.”
You’re kidding, right? Konoe-san?
I wanted to say this, but there was no mood for that.
This is dangerous. This girl’s eyes are serious. Kuuh, is this really happening? To think that such a lighthearted words would raise such a death flag…!
Compelled by fear, I did as I was told.
“Yeah, it’s okay like that. Now, Jirou-kun is absolutely obedient to me?”
“…Yes. Just as you said, Ojou-sama.”
“That means that you are prepared to endure a little pain?”
Hii! She said such an outrageous thing with such a face! And what did she mean by ‘a little pain’? Don’t tell me she still holds a grudge against me because I hit her at the pool!?
“Which is it? Are you? Aren’t you?”
“I am! I can endure a bit of pain!”
I nodded awkwardly. Because, I didn’t have any way to say ‘NO’ in such a situation. Yes yes yes. Aah, dear God. Please save this pathetic me. At least tell this girl to stop with the torture.
“Then, I am starting. Don’t move.”
Uwaa! This is bad. She’s going to hit me! Thinking that, I steeled my body.
Suddenly, my body experienced an unexpected sensation.
A light sensation on my skin. The smell of flowers floating gently in the air. When I opened my eyelids that I had previously closed, there was Konoe Subaru.
Konoe was hugging my body.
Without thinking, I addressed her normally. There was nowhere to retort.
This was somehow a more shocking scene than if I had been beaten by her.
Konoe was—pressing her face into my chest and sobbing.
Konoe softly said that in a trembling voice.
“I was- I was so scared…. I was so, so scared…”
This is not even worth saying, but it was probably of the blades.
…Of course. Blades are her biggest trauma. No matter how much you say that it was to protect Suzutsuki, she had to face her trauma directly. She must be trembling with fear now.
“Don’t cry, Konoe.”
I ended up using gentle words.
“Didn’t you protect Suzutsuki this time? You are not a failure anymore. If you put time and effort into it, you can even get rid of your fear of blades.”
At that moment.
Konoe suddenly looked up.
Those tear-filled eyes were gazing intently at me with an angry expression.
She suddenly threw that out and I became completely lost. Wrong? What is wrong? Wasn’t she afraid of blades?
“Wrong, wrong wrong wrong! I wasn’t afraid of that! That moment… what I was afraid of at that moment was…!”
…That Jirou would disappear right in front of me.
She said that, completely beaten and teary-eyed.
“That moment… Do you know how I felt when I woke up at that poolside? Do you know how I felt when I realized that you went to save Ojou-sama and Kureha-chan by yourself?”
“I was scared. I was so scared. I thought that you could disappear from my sight just like that. I thought that we would never meet again. If… if you were stabbed by that knife while I was sleeping…!”
“When I thought that… I was scared… I was so scared! Ji… Jirou could… My first friend at the academy could… When I thought that you could die, I was so scared…!”
I silently hugged her trembling back.
I wouldn’t be able to stand that situation if I didn’t do that.
“Sorry, my bad.”
“…Fo, fool. Even if you apologize… I will never forgive you…!”
Her light hair shook.
Although she acted tough on the outside, everything about her was frail on the inside.
There was no trace of that Subaru-sama that fought with the wolf—Of that always cold and cool Subaru-sama that calmly fought with her own phobia.
Standing there was only a girl.
So small, so slim. The image of a girl that, if hugged too tightly, would break apart.
“Moron, moron moron moron…”
With her throat crying from the dryness.
…I want to protect.
For some reason, I thought that.
I thought that I should protect Konoe… That I should protect her.
So weak. The me with this appearance, covered in bandages. The me who was beaten so easily at that time. I am so weak…
That’s why… I should become stronger.
Strong enough that that they won’t have to worry about me anymore… I will become so strong that this girl will never cry again. I will become a man strong enough to the point that even if any kind of danger comes, I will stand by her side and protect her…
I finally get it now.
The meaning of your last words.
Fique sempre ao meu lado.
Stand by me.(2)
That is… to become a man that could say those words to someone important to you.
Become strong enough to be able to protect the people important to you.
So strong that you can stick out your chest and say, I will protect you, so always be by my side…
She calmly raised her head.
Her face was covered in tears.
Her eyes were slightly blurred.
Our lips were close enough to touch each other.
That moment, I held my breath to her lovely outline.
…The moment I held.
Suddenly my vision turned red.
The red torrent that I had managed to hold back until now finally burst.
“Are… are you okay, Jirou? That’s why I asked you if you could resist this pain.”
Konoe released my body and went to grab a tissue.
Don’t tell me that I am such a pathetic chicken bastard that I broke up the mood like that. To tell the truth, I had been enduring it since the moment I hugged you.
But this was my limit.
But… you know. A~ah, from now on, I will never mistake her for a guy again.
It was when I was holding back the nosebleed that was coming.
The door opened abruptly without even being knocked.
While I was thinking what could be happening, I saw standing there a girl who looked good in a short skirt.
It was Kureha.
“A, are you okay, Konoe-senpai!?”
Kureha ignored me and got closer to Konoe as fast as she could. What is up with this cold-hearted little sister? No matter how you look at it, I am the one who has heavier wounds, and I am even having a nosebleed…
“I heard from Onee-sama that, ‘Right now, Jirou-kun might be raping Subaru.’ Aah, Konoe-senpai. With his red and inflamed eyes, you were probably scared… Then let’s have a meeting for the victims right now!”
That devil Suzutsuki. She told another lie. And besides, a meeting for the victims? If you want to put it that way, I look more like the victim here!
“And Nii-san is a bad Nii-san! Even though you are dating Nee-sama, to think that you were going to tempt Konoe-senpai while I was out anemic…!”
Aah, I get it, it’s probably Suzutsuki’s doing. Looks like she did a good job of hiding the truth from Kureha in order to not let her know what happened today.
“Calm down, my little sister. You are being deceived by that woman.”
“So, so cruel! To be unable to be faithful to his own lover, Nii-sama is done for as a human being.”
Hey, hey. What are you saying to your brother? But this situation is really bad. If Kureha had a pipe chair right now, she would come rushing to beat me with it. If I don’t do something really fast…
The butler that had been silent opened her mouth.
“What do you mean when you say that you are going out with Ojou-sama?”
Uwa, I forgot that she wasn’t supposed to know that Suzutsuki and I were pretending to be lovers.
This is bad.
I don’t know why, but I have a really bad premonition.
“Hee… So that’s how it is. Jirou and Ojou-sama were in such a relationship…”
An extremely enraged voice pierced the room.
The mood froze.
Even though we were inside a room, I felt a cold wind blowing.
“I must kill. To lay a hand on Kana-chan… I will pierce a stake through the chest of such a pervert and kill him in order to not let him be reborn again.”
Konoe had her head down and a cold smile on her face.
I will be killed.
If this continues, I will really be killed.
The moment I judged the situation to be like that, I moved my wounded body as fast as I could and vacated the bed.
“Aaah! Nii-san is running away!”
Of course! This mansion is already like a cursed palace for me! For every additional moment that I take to flee, the more my life is in danger.
With a vigorous shout, I forcibly opened the window of the mansion and jumped from it. The orange-colored sun entered my vision. It was sunset. The setting sun that burned calmly was shining for me who was flying from the second floor.
Ahead of me was a two meter long sky dive.
I took a defensive posture in preparation for the unexpected height and managed to land somehow. The trimmed lawn made a good cushion.
What was there was a garden that looked more like a sports park.
Right, first I have to leave this huge site. I’ll think about this afterwards.
“Ara. You certainly are in high spirits.”
At the moment that I tried to start running, I heard a voice that I didn’t want to hear. When I forcefully turned to my side, there was the culprit that had made the situation like this.
“I thought that it was about time for you to come jumping from the window, but I never expected that it would go so smoothly.”
The devil was laughing amusedly. This is a crime for pleasure…! How much will she toy me until she is satisfied?
“Suzutsuki! You… screwed me over again!”
“Don’t say such things that can be easily misunderstood. Even though I only did it with the best of intentions.”
“Thanks to that, my life is about to disappear!”
Yes, without a doubt the cause of all of my misfortune is this Ojou-sama. The situation is like this because this girl kept making explosive remarks like a B-29 (3). If this keeps up, my spirit will be crushed to ashes.
“Anyway, you’re coming with me!”
I started running hastily while pulling Suzutsuki’s arm. Of course, when I say arm, I mean that I was grabbing above her sleeve. If I held directly onto her hand, I would collapse from blood loss.
“What do you plan on doing to me? Don’t tell me that you plan to elope with me just like this?”
“I don’t! You are a hostage! Because if I just run away like this I will be killed by them!”
This is what they call ‘using leverage’. I feel like the villain of a late-night drama broadcasted overseas, but I have to pray that this will not develop into a car chase.
“Well, leaving that aside, Jirou-kun.”
“Errr… Please, stop pulling so forcefully. It feels a bit embarrassing when a man does that to me.”
“Why is the person who keeps toying with the bodies of other people getting embarrassed by this kind of thing?”
We ran onto the green lawn while I screamed.
Suddenly, I felt a heavy pressure from behind. When I turned back without thinking, there were the heads of my little sister and classmate who had turned into two hunting dogs.
Kureha and Subaru.
The ones that were chasing us with the expressions of two demons were abruptly trying to scream something.
“Heeey! Stop there, Nii-san! If you stop now I will forgive you with only one blow of Shungokusatsu!(4)”
“Isn’t that the same as telling me to die!?
“Jirou! Don’t think you can run away! I will use the butler memory-erasing technique on you once again!”
“I have the feeling that instead of forgetting I will remember the memories of my previous lives, so please give me a rest!”
I rapidly dashed while continuing to scream ‘hiii’.
The moment I am caught, it’ll be a dead end. This situation is the same as being chased by a
shinigami. Death is— my death is unmistakably imminent….!
Suzutsuki was laughing like a little kid while being dragged by me.
“Aaaah, I knew that I wouldn’t be bored if I was with you. I hope that I can feel this amused every day from now on!”
“Shut up, you wolf girl! This situation is all your fault, because you keep spewing bullshit…!”
“Ara, but I only told the truth! For example—when I said that my first love was Subaru.”
When I turned around, surprised, she was smiling with her tongue sticking out. My cheeks turned red from gloom.
I can’t stand it anymore.
The butler, the Ojou-sama and the little sister.
When I think that I will have to endure two more years of this messed up academic life, I start to cry, even though I never thought that I would live such a life until these last few days. I wonder if we can cure my gynophobia like this…
“Shit. This is probably what they call a shitty daily life.”
If I had to say only one thing, it would be that this noisy daily life doesn’t seem to be ending soon. And as Suzutsuki says, it looks like ‘bored’ is the only thing that I won’t be.
Maybe I should be a little more serious.
The sunset reflected in my eyes.
The setting sun in the madder red sky illuminated us.
Inside of this orange shine—I screamed with all my might.
–As I thought! Girls are terrifying!
(1) Overly fond parent
(2) The text is flipped here, and I wrote the upper sentence in Portuguese to give meaning to the sentence. If I left it in English… it would be messed up. In the Japanese text, the upper sentence was in English, while the second sentence was Jirou translating it into Japanese.
(3) I think it’s related to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-29_Superfortress
(4) Or “Instant Hell Murder.” The trademark special attack of Akuma from Capcom’s Street Fighter series.