Chapter 2-1

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Volume 2

Chapter 2- Don’t call me Master

Chapter 2 Part 1

“Jirou… Is this okay?”

Konoe said that from the stairs that lead to the second floor.

The outfit that she was wearing now wasn’t the same butler uniform that she was wearing before, but a more girlish outfit. Also, over that she was wearing an apron with a cat drawn on it; it was a very feminine style.

“But is it all right? Taking it without asking?”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. She also enters my room without asking for permission. This much won’t hurt her. I thought that the size would be a little small, but it looks like it worked out somehow.”

The clothes that she was currently wearing, including the apron, were Kureha’s possessions. A butler in a normal middle-class family would be a great mismatch, so I let her use the shower, and gave her a change of clothes.

I recommended some clothes that were easy to move in, but it seemed like she wanted to wear the school’s girl uniform. I wonder if it’s because she usually wears male clothing, but I unexpectedly found that Konoe has very girlish taste.

Making breakfast while wearing a high school uniform was better than making it while wearing a butler’s uniform, but the simplicity of this appearance made it feel like she was part of the family.

02_053

Well, this kind of thing should be okay sometimes.

And I made her call me by my name since I couldn’t relax with a girl calling me “Master”. Making her call me that would make me feel like a criminal.

“But entering a girl’s room without permission is a little…”

“I told you not to worry about it. Besides, even though you wear boys’ clothing, you’re still a girl, so there should be no problem.”

If she were a guy, there would be a problem, but if they’re both girls it is different. That’s an advantage of being of the same sex. If I were the one to do that, I would be crucified.

“Ah, that’s right… I forgot that I was a girl.”

Huh? Why is Konoe acting all shy while saying such an obvious thing? I wonder if it’s because she dislikes using other people’s clothes.

“Okay, let’s eat some cup ramen. You’re hungry, aren’t you?”

I called Konoe to the living room.

Since our living room belonged to a normal middle-class family, there weren’t expensive or big things. Even our television was a CRT TV (1), and it still uses analog broadcast.

It’s strangely embarrassing having our family pictures on the wall. When I was a kid, we took some pictures of Kureha, Mom, my old man and me smiling together.

“Your family looks nice. Everyone seems to get along well.”

Konoe said that while looking at the pictures on the wall.

Hmm, now that I think about it, if I’m not mistaken she doesn’t get along well with her father…

Konoe Nagare.

There’s no way that I would ever forget about it.

Last month, that old man thoroughly beat me up.

From what I remember, he was a bit of a… no, he was a complete oyabaka.(2) Even if Konoe dresses up like a man, she is still an adolescent girl. That’s why I think that her cross-dressing should be troubling him.

After looking at the pictures, we went to the living room and sat down at the table. On the table were the cup ramen that we had already poured boiling water on. It had been two and a half minutes, so we should be able to start eating.

“…I’m so sorry. It would be better if I could make some kind of food.”

Konoe was feeling depressed as she looked at the instant food.

Damn, I completely overlooked.

For a certain reason, Konoe is completely useless when it comes to cooking.

Cutlery phobia.

Putting it simply, she is completely weak to knives; she can’t even look at or touch them.

But this is strange.

According to what Suzutsuki said, she should have already gotten over this fear.

“Well, I started getting used to using blades little by little, but it’ll be a long way to being able to make food.”

“Is it like that?”

“Uugh. A while ago, I failed to make microwaved food…”

“………”

This is completely unrelated to your fear of blades.

“But before that, I failed to make toast.”

“We- well, there’s no need to blame yourself like that. Even if you wanted to make something, all we have in our refrigerator is apples. Let’s forget about it and eat.”

I split my chopsticks while thinking if it wasn’t better to evacuate the electrical disposals. *fua* After a little blow, a nice smell and a little steam drifted out. Mmm, it’s the best. As expected from cup ramen, the greatest invention of this country.

I put flavored oil in it while capturing that great scene.

“Mu—…”

Konoe was staring at my cup ramen with the eyes of someone staring at a time bomb. She looked like a cat eying its prey.

Don’t tell me— it’s her first experience… with cup ramen.

“You just put the contents in it and eat. There’s no need to be so cautious. There’s no poison inside it.”

To prove what I said, I slurped the ramen. Konoe also made her decision and put flavored oil in it, then put the ramen in her mouth awkwardly.

“!!!”

In a single moment, she changed from that petrified, suspicious gaze to a brilliant expression and started slurping the ramen.

Looks like she liked it. As expected of Super *beep*up, impressing the palate of a butler. But this was her first cup ramen. Hmm, a slight culture shock.

“Jirou, give me more.”

“Ee, that was fast.”

Uooo, it’s really empty! Even the soup! And I‘ve only had one bite.

“Fuun, that was pretty good.”

Konoe was nodding in satisfaction.

I’m very happy that it was to her tastes, but isn’t her pace a little too fast? And you want seconds? This Super *beep*up is five times the normal price.

“Jirou.”

While I prepared another helping, Konoe made a serious face.

“Err, I want to introduce myself to your parents.”

*Pafuuu* I spat all the chicken broth I had in my mouth and started breathing incredibly fast.

“Is this so surprising? Even if it’ll be for a short time, I will be the butler of this household. It’s natural for me to want to meet the masters of this house, your parents.”

This butler said that like it was nothing.

She picked such misleading words to say it.

I started coughing while retorting inside of my mind.

“You don’t have to do that. My mother is traveling overseas, and my father is…”

“Your father is…?”

“………”

I failed to put it in words.

Now that I remember, both Konoe and I have a single parent. And if I’m not wrong, we both lost our parents at the same age and for almost the same reasons. For me it was my father, and for Konoe it was her mother.

I also told her at the leisure land that my father was dead, but at that time she thought it was a joke.

………

Then, what I should do?

“My father is on a business trip for the company he works for…”

Finally, I made up some excuse.

It would be troublesome if she was too considerate about me not having a father, and I also don’t want to remember the death of her mother.

Well, I can’t bluff as well as Suzutsuki, but I try to bullshit as well as I can.

She won’t find out the lie so soon, so I think it’s ok for the time being.

“So it’s like that. Then there’s no way. By the way, where’s Kureha-chan? I haven’t seen her at all.”

Believing my lie, Konoe changed the conversation’s subject. Although glad that she didn’t discover the lie, my half-relieved heart now had a new worry.

How does she not know that Kureha is at a training camp?

I wonder if Suzutsuki forgot to tell her that.

“Starting from today, she will be staying two nights and three days at a training camp with her club. She will be coming back on the day after tomorrow.”

I told it like it was, but for some reason, Konoe stiffened and said “heh?”

“… Hey, Jirou.”

“What?”

“With the situation like that… Until Kureha-chan gets back from the training camp, it’ll be, err, just the two of us living here?

………!

I completely forgot about it!

“What’s going on? I haven’t heard about this!”

“Well, since Suzutsuki knew, I was sure that…”

“I haven’t heard about this!”

With her mind completely bewildered, Konoe energetically hit the table with both her hands.

Aaah, I’ve done it now.

The calm home life scene suddenly turned into a catastrophe. Don’t tell me that Suzutsuki didn’t tell her about Kureha because she wanted it to become like this?

It can’t continue.

I have to say something to change the mood.

“Well, let’s calmly talk about this later. Once you’re done eating, discard it in that trash can. When I finish eating, I’m going back to sleep.”

I said that, preparing to run away from that place.

But the moment she heard it, Konoe stood up, shaking the chair.

“Sle, sleep? Wait a minute! I certainly said that I would become this house’s… I really said that I would become your butler, but suddenly asking me that… Err, I won’t accept such lewd requests…”

“!!!”

Aaaah! I’ve dug my grave now! With this energy I will dig through the earth and end up on the other side in Brazil. Maybe I’ll be able to join the local Samba Carnival.

“Tha, that’s not it! That’s not what I meant! I just want to take a nap, you can do whatever you want! My mother’s room on the second floor is open if you want…”

The sinking feeling in my chest resembled the sinking of the Titanic. But I somehow managed to get up, desperately take the cup ramen, and drink the soup in it…

“…Take a nap? What does that mean?”

Konoe tilted her head, looking like a little chipmunk clinging to a walnut.

Well, the meaning of that is exactly what it sounds like.

“I’m saying that I’m going to sleep now!”

“Sleep? But it’s already past nine in the morning.”

Konoe asked that while looking at the clock in the living room. She was petrified like she had laid her eyes on something that she shouldn’t have. She was standing upright like a lesser panda, giving the feeling that her gaze was turned towards me.

“Don’t be so surprised. It’s a little lazy, but every normal high school student does it.”

Almost every student stays up late the night before a test, and I think that everyone has already experimented with a day/night life reversal at least once. Modern high school students have, at least.

“Ojou-sama has never done something like that.”

The butler-kun easily proclaimed that.

“No matter how late she stays up at night, Ojou-sama always wakes up at six in the morning. Because that is the proper habit.”

“Even if you say that to me, since I’m feeling sleepy, let me sleep.”

Why do I have to hear about my life habits from other people? Are you my mom?

When I tried to turn towards my room-

Too indolent.

Such words were thrown at my back.

When I looked back, the one who was standing there was an angry Subaru-sama. The butler looked at me with a blunt look, and said “Muu” with her mouth turned in the shape of the kanji for “e”(3).

“I see. I understand pretty well that your life is too indolent. That’s why— I will beat this screwed-up lifestyle back into shape. It’s also a butler’s duty to lead his master in the right lifestyle.”

“Beat it back into shape, you say…”

Are you a blacksmith? Are you planning to schedule my life? This isn’t a primary school. Besides, correcting the lifestyle of a high school student who has fallen this much is practically impossible.

“If I’m correct, your house has a dojo below it, right? Then let’s train kumite there.”(4)

“Kumite…?”

That really is nostalgic. I remember that when Mom was here, we used to train it every day…

“…Huh. Understood. A little training after a meal is also good.”

I declared that while *cruck cruck* cracking my wrists.

Change of plans.

I hate pain, but it’s already been half a year that I haven’t received Mom’s Spartan training… I think that my body is becoming weak.

Besides… What happened last month in the leisure land…

Stand by me.

It’s not like I’ve forgotten the meaning of these words.

That’s why training my body isn’t a bad thing.

“………”

—But I have to make sure that I don’t hurt her.

Biting myself inside my mind, I left the living room and went to the dojo.

Yeah— The me until now was still calm and composed.

Not hurting Konoe. That kind of worrying was naïve, as I discovered half a day later with my body… and the meaning of that is exactly what it sounds like.

 
 
 
♀♂

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TRANSLATOR NOTES AND REFERENCES

(1) An extremely old-fashioned and outdated TV. CRT stands for cathode ray tube. This is where the terms “tube TV” and “watching the tube” come from.
(2) Means an overprotective/overly fond parent. In this case, it refers to the father.
(3) The kanji for “e” (translates to “to”) is へ. It looks a bit like a frown.
(4) Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, using the techniques learned from the kihon and kata.

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