Chapter 1 part 2
“Don’t joke with me! Why is there no other option than having Konoe stay at my house?”
After standing still for five seconds, I started yelling into my cellphone.
“Why are you making so much noise? There’s no problem, since Subaru is a guy.”
“…There is a problem.”
“Why, you say, huh? That’s because… Konoe is a girl!”
It’s these times when she always acts dumb.
Normally she attends the academy in boy’s clothes, but that’s to hide the fact that she is a girl.
To be Suzutsuki’s butler, she has to do such a troublesome thing like living her three academic years without anyone finding out that she is a girl.
She was able to hide it from everyone the first year, but during the second year her secret was discovered by me, her classmate, in an accident.
And plus, when Suzutsuki proposed an exchange like, “If you keep quiet about Subaru’s secret, I will help you cure your gynophobia”, a deal was created. In other words, we’re partners in crime.
“Isn’t this a good opportunity? If you live together with Subaru, maybe you can make some headway regarding your gynophobia.”
Heh, as expected from Devil Suzutsuki, saying things like that and trying to forcefully make me accept them. Well, if I live with another girl who is not my family I can gain some immunity, but the hurdle is too high.
That’s because now that Kureha went to a training camp, I am alone in this house.
“Besides, weren’t you lonely without your sister by your side?”
“There’s no way that I would—”
…huh, stop, stop. If you think calmly, there’s something strange. How does she know that Kureha isn’t home?
“There’s nothing to be surprised about. Before the holidays, I heard directly from her that she was going to a training camp today. We have quite a good relationship, you know.”
Their relationship is so good that Kureha calls Suzutsuki “Onee-sama”.
Kureha first started calling Suzutsuki that because she thought that we were going out, but even though the misunderstanding had been cleared, they still cling to each other like real sisters. They should change Kureha’s family register as soon as they can.
“First of all, why does Konoe have to stay at my house?”
Since it’s the highly anticipated Golden Week, they should relax at Suzutsuki’s mansion.
“Didn’t I tell you that some problems had happened?”
Suzutsuki continued with her usual calm behavior.
“The truth is— yesterday, Subaru was kicked out of the mansion.”
What’s with thaaaat!!
“What happened? What’s the cause? Why was Konoe kicked out of the mansion?”
Konoe’s family lineage has served as Suzutsuki’s family’s butler for generations. They wouldn’t kick her out for minor reasons.
“Cause? Isn’t that obvious?”
Suzutsuki took a deep breath.
“It’s the Lehman Shock’s fault!”(1)
“Lately we’ve been having hard times, right? So we thought about reducing the number of house workers.”
“That’s too pragmatic. To think that you would fire your own butler for such a reason…”
“Fire? That’s not it. More precisely, we are restructuring.”
“That’s the same! Or rather, I’m sure that this is all bullshit. That much even I can realize.”
If you were to represent the human Konoe Subara as a pie chart, eighty percent would say: “I want to be the butler of Suzutsuki Kanade.” If it was the truth, it wouldn’t be strange to see her burn out in bright white like tomorrow’s fireworks show.
“Let’s leave the trivial things alone for the time being.”
“Like I thought, it was a lie.”
“The truth is, my father forced Subaru to do SM play and various kinds of perverted fetishes.”
“If you don’t stop with that, I’m going to cut the call.”
“Ufufu, isn’t it okay, Jirou-kun? Things like detailed circumstances…”
“Don’t try to deceive me with laughter.”
“… Well— like that, Subaru has no other place to go…”
“So then, can’t you let her stay at your house? Just the two of you will be living together for a short time, but there shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
Hum, as expected from Devil Suzutsuki. She intends to push the conversation and ignore me, huh? …But just the two of us? Just the two of us would be bad… I’m still a lively adolescent guy. Hey, there’s also a proverb saying that boys and girls should not something when they reach seven years old, right?(2)
“There’s no need to worry.”
Suzutsuki said that like she was seeing through my uneasiness.
“Even if you say that you two would be alone together, the chances of a chicken guy like you laying your hands on Subaru are close to zero.”
I felt like a sharp blade had pierced my chest.
Uwaaa, what kind of things will this devil keep saying? That was a prohibited word(3). As a man, I feel like something important to me was smashed into little pieces…
“There’s no way I will allow it.”
I refused Suzutsuki’s proposal once again. I felt really sorry for Konoe who was standing in the corner of the entrance hall like a hamster thrown into a new home, but this is my Golden Week, which I have waited for so long. I won’t have many chances like this. I also want to appreciate my time alone.
“Huh. In the end, I want to talk to Subaru. Can you put me on speaker phone?”
She asked me that while lowering her tone. As expected, she gave up.
Hmm, I guess I can do that much.
Like she told me, I switched the cell phone to speaker phone mode.
“Hello? Can you hear me, Subaru?”
“You heard the conversation, right? As I thought, plan A failed.”
Konoe became awkwardly silent. Or rather, what is this ‘plan A’?
“That’s why… You will have to go with plan B.”
Konoe’s body trembled a little. And is it me, or is her face becoming strangely pale?
“As expected, there’s no other way…”
“That’s right. If you don’t do it now, there will be no meaning in giving you that equipment.”
As she answered, I wondered what she was thinking, but she left the entrance hall and *blam* closed the door.
I could faintly hear a *gongon* like sound. There’s something happening in front of my house, but I’m in a blind spot so I can’t see anything.
“You’re having sinister ideas again, aren’t you?”
“Don’t say rude things. Did I do something to trouble you before?”
“…Errm… Excuse me, but I have a lot of clues about what you are thinking.”
In fact, I had enough clues that I’d probably win the trial if I brought this to court. If there’s a lawyer who is confident that he can beat this woman, please, appear now. I will pay you a daily wage of five hundred yen.
“Relax. You’ll find out what plan B is soon… with your body.”
Suzutsuki made an ominous statement. Are they really planning to take drastic measures? By the way, her statements have more credibility than Nostradamus(4). Since it’s come to this, let’s fight without thinking about retreat.
Right about the time I was planning the escape route, *chari* the door opened once again.
At that moment, I became speechless.
She was wearing cat ears.
She was standing there wearing cat ears that matched her hair color, and there was also a tail sticking out from her body.
…What do I do?
There were so many points to tsukkomi on that I didn’t know where to start.
There is only one thing that I am certain of- that Konoe doesn’t want to go along with this plan. I say that because Konoe is so embarrassed that she is silent and her cheeks are dyed pink from the shame.
But, this is somehow so innocent… And it’s not bad.
Besides, what she is wearing is a butler uniform, providing a great contrast between white and black. And the cat ears and tail were an additional external element, creating a refined fusion of wild revolution and dignity.
A cat-eared butler.
What a thing. To think that this seemingly unbalanced pairing would have such destructive power…!
“Hey, Subaru. Do it exactly as we practiced.”
From the other side of the radio waves, a Nazi instructor-like, merciless order came.
The cat-eared butler, with her face dyed pink and almost crying from the embarrassment, gathered all her might to move her soft lips—
“Ma, master. If you let me stay at your home… I will serve you a lot, nyan.”
With this, they could even try to aim for the top rankings of Nico *beep*co videos…!
Even though she trained for it, her body made a perfect cat pose naturally. Moreover, the cat ears and tail look like they’re moving on their own. It’s too natural. I didn’t expect that unsociable and confident Subaru-sama to be into this kind of shameful play…!
“…huh, that’s dangerous!”
I recovered my conscience in the heat of the moment.
That was dangerous—
I was about to be taken in by the enemy’s plan. I almost thought “Ah, if it’s like that, I don’t think there’s any problem in having a butler.” My brain was hurriedly holding an emergency meeting…
“I’m surprised. To think that we’d fail with plan B.”
‘Tch’, a regretful tongue click could be heard from the other side of the line.
How fearful, Suzutsuki Kanade.
To think that she’ll come once again with these cowardly measures. If she put paw gloves on her, it would be a sure-kill. If Konoe did it right, I wonder how the world would react.
But—it’s a little strange.
To think that Suzutsuki would make Konoe do these things in a place where her eyes couldn’t reach. Normally she would be watching the scene from the front chairs of the VIP seating while eating popcorn.
“I wonder why it turned out like this even though I made her rehearse it a hundred and fifty times. I even filmed it on my video camera.”
And so, Devil Suzutsuki appeared down from the heavens. This girl, she had enjoyed herself so much that the sight of Konoe was probably burned right into her eyelids. And what’s more, a hundred and fifty times? … Damn, I am so jealous. You have to get a copy of the DVD for me.
And if I were to get the video, can I pay it in full next year? As I was wondering that…
A sound that attracted my attention resounded through my mind.
“…That just now was…”
Maybe the sound of a stomach? But whose? At least I can say that it’s not mine. And I’m guessing that it’s not Suzutsuki’s. I know that lately the specs of cell phones have been high, but they won’t catch the sound of a stomach growling.
That said, the only one left was…
“Uwaaa! Wrong! You’re wrong! It was not me just now!”
The cat-eared butler frantically waved both her hands, trying to say that it wasn’t her.
She was so easy to read.
I didn’t even have to ask and she was already black with guilt.
“What’s up with those eyes… Don’t tell me that you are suspecting me?”
“But no matter how you think about it, that sound just now…”
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything.”
Konoe turned her eyes away to look off into the far distance and started whistling(5).
Wow, it’s so easy to read her…
“Why don’t you just spit it out? You’ll feel much better.”
“Fuu. Who are you to say that? The mouth of a butler is not so loose.”
“Honestly speaking, I will give you some katsudon.”
“Are you trying to fool me?”
“Ah—Konoe, you are drooling.”
*Pa* Konoe touched her mouth to confirm if she was drooling, but there was no trace of it. That’s natural. It was a misleading sentence.
“Yo, you fooled me…”
When Konoe realized that she fell into a trap, she started moaning “Damn…” like a sulky kid while looking my way.
But I didn’t feel any trace of her normal pressure. That’s right. The one who was standing in front of me right now was the cat-eared butler. That kind of appearance couldn’t exude any pressure at all.
Even so—as expected, she was undoubtedly a hungry butler.
Konoe eats very well considering her little modeled body. The remaining twenty percent of her pie chart is probably filled with thoughts about delicious foods like “hamburgers” and “omelet rice”.
Even so, despite her appearance, she seemed to be lacking energy.
Now that I think about it, there’s one thing that I overlooked.
Suzutsuki said, “Subaru was kicked out of the mansion yesterday.”
And she came to visit my house this morning.
My question is— Where did Konoe go in the time in between?
“Don’t tell me that you spent the night in a park sleeping below some playground equipment or something like that?”
That was a pretty random guess, but Konoe widened her eyes like a criminal who had had his deception exposed.
Hey hey, don’t tell me I nailed it? I was almost imagining the scene of Subaru-sama sleeping under playground equipment, covered by a cardboard box… but I stopped. It was much too surrealist. Imagine if the fans of Konoe from the academy saw her in that scenario. They would run to an ophthalmologist right away. Or the psychosomatic department.
“Don’t tell me you haven’t eaten anything since last night?”
“We, well, something like that, I guess.”
“But there’s the convenience store. You should have bought something to eat there.”
“I lost my wallet immediately after being kicked out of the mansion. That’s why I am broke.”
That’s why you’re so lost.
“With this, you understand, right? She is only at your house today because I desperately asked her to do so. I won’t say the reasons why, but this girl doesn’t seem to want to come home either.”
“No intention of going back, huh?”
What’s happening here? I understood everything up to the point that she was kicked out of her home, but she doesn’t want to go back? If you put it like that, it looks like she was personally against going back to Suzutsuki’s house.
“Besides, there’s a nasty cold spreading, right? There’re a lot of people who caught it in our class. I’m sure that if she sleeps outside again tonight, she will catch a cold.”
“Come on, Jirou-kun, you are Subaru’s friend, right? Isn’t helping each other during hard times the meaning of being friends?”
Saying that, Suzutsuki became silent.
I will surrender.
The reasons remain unexplained, but if they say that much I can’t simply refuse, and even if she is wearing a boy’s clothes, Konoe is still a girl.
There’s no way—that I could let a girl sleep outside like this.
Good bye, my very precious Golden Week.
Let’s see each other during next year’s opportunity.
“Come on— get inside.”
I said that to Konoe who was still standing in the entryway with her head down.
“But don’t be disappointed. We only have apples and cup ramen here now. Though it’s better than having nothing outside, it still does not compare to Suzutsuki’s mansion.”
Besides, Mother’s room is free now. It’s been half a year since anyone has used it, but if we clean it now it should be okay for someone to sleep there.
“…un. I’m sorry, Jirou.”
She looks calmer. She even loosened her cheeks a little.
I wanted to ask the reasons for her being kicked out of the mansion, but I will stop right here. She doesn’t seem to want to talk about it, and I’m not the kind of person who tries to pry into other people’s secrets. Unlike some Ojou-samas.
“But— don’t worry.”
Konoe proclaimed that confidently with her hands on her flat chest.
“I don’t intend to stay here for free.”
“…? What are you saying? Didn’t you just say that you lost your wallet?”
“I’m telling you that I will pay with my body.”
When I asked back, Konoe said “Ah!” as if she had realized what she said.
“Why did you only put emphasis there?”
“But, you said with your body…”
“It’s not like that! It’s more like, err… It’s not in lewd taste…!”
Perhaps to calm herself down, Konoe put her hands on her chest and took a deep breath.
“I’m telling you that I will serve you with this body.”
“Mu. Even if I say this much, you still don’t understand? Then I will tell you clearly. In the time I will be staying here, I will be this house’s—Jirou’s butler. This will be my act of gratitude.”
“That said, I will be counting on you from now on, Master.”
The cat-eared butler bowed politely.
“—Ara, looks like it will be a fun Golden Week.” My body petrified and my mind went crazy in response to such an ominous prophecy.
(1) Lehman Shock – term given to the global financial crisis in 2008 when the Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. The largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, the Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy affected many areas of the Japanese economy.
(2) The original saying is, “Boys and girls should not sit next to each other when they reach seven years old.” It is a part of Confucius’s doctrine.
(3) Jirou is referring to Suzutsuki’s use of the word “chicken”.
(4) Nostradamus, or Michel de Nostredame, was a French apothecary and supposedly a seer. He published a book Les Propheties which “predicted” future events. Although there are a few followers, most academic sources regard his “prophecies” as invaluable.
(5) The literal translation of the line would be something like “Konoe turned her eyes away as if to look to the day after tomorrow and started whistling.” It’s a Japanese saying that doesn’t translate too well into English.