Chapter 3 – The lost dog Husky
Chapter 3 Part 1
“Funya… Munya… Heh? Nii-san?”
“Oh. Good morning, Kureha.”
An hour had passed since the bathroom intrusion.
Lying on the living room sofa, Kureha was still blinking in disbelief.
“Err… What am I doing here? I was fighting with a bear during the training camp, and broke a bone… So I had to return home early… Heh? That’s strange… I can’t remember anything after that.”
This is my chance.
What good luck.
When she fell, she must have hit her head and lost her memories.
“Didn’t you just lie down on the sofa and fall asleep? I’m sure you were just tired. You were already here went I got out from the bath.”
That was clearly a lie. Konoe and I had brought her here from the bathroom. Of course, we were wearing clothes.
“Hmm, I wonder if that’s really what happened. I wasn’t that tired after all. But I did have a very strange dream.”
“I had a dream where Konoe-senpai was in our bathroom.”
Pinch, pinch. Looks like she didn’t lose her memories completely.
“I bumped into Konoe-senpai in the bathroom…”
“And then Konoe-senpai said, ‘Kureha-chan, want to enter together?’ and I was finally going to climb the stairs to-”
“You didn’t climb anything! Just relax! It was just a dream!”
Even though half of her story was true, the unfortunate memories were gone.
“Ahaha. That’s true. There’s no way that Konoe-senpai would be in our house. There’s no way that such a dream-like event would happen…”
“Phew, that was a good bath.” Konoe entered the living room wiping her hair with a towel. She was wearing a pair of black pajamas that she brought. Once we had finished carrying Kureha, Konoe had entered the bath once again.
Seeing that scene, Kureha’s eyes widened.
“E–Erm, this is strange, maybe it’s because I’m half asleep, but there’s an unbelievable illusion in front of me.”
Kureha couldn’t believe what she was seeing, and she started rubbing her eyes. Accept it, my little sister. This is what we call an irrational reality.
“Are you awake, Ojou-sama?” Konoe asked, in her cross-dressing butler mode.
At that moment.
Our house’s little monster suddenly opened her mouth, dumbfounded, and squealed like a hungry cat that had its food taken away.
“Why… Why ish Konoe-senpai in our house?”
“My bad, Kureha. This guy is going to stay here from now on.”
From the intense shock, Kureha fell back onto the sofa and let out a scary scream. I wonder if she will be okay. She looks like she was about to pass out again.
“N–N–N–N–Nii-san! What’s happening? Why is Konoe-senpai staying at our house?”
“It’s not something to get so surprised over, alright? Konoe is my male friend. Didn’t Kurose come over a lot of times before?”
“Don’t put Konoe-senpai and Kurose-senpai on the same level!”
Uwaa, why is she saying such cruel things? It was as if she was saying ‘Don’t wash my underwear together with father’s underwear!’ Well, the levels of Kurose and the prince of the academy are completely different.
“B-By the way, Konoe-senpai! Why are you calling me Ojou-sama?”
“No, rather, it could become a habit. Heh? No! That’s strange right? It’s as if Konoe-senpai has become the butler of our house!”
“It’s not ‘as if’, that’s what’s actually happening.”
“What I’m trying to say is that from today onwards, I will be the butler of this house.”
She fell on the floor of the living room, looking like someone who just got cross-countered (1). Normally, a stretcher would be brought for someone who just collapsed, but we are talking about the first daughter of the Sakamachi house here. Even while trembling from the shock, she got up dizzily like a newborn fawn.
“Th–Then, can I suppose that the current Konoe-senpai is completely obedient to me?”
“Yes. That’s exactly it.”
“Then… Say ‘I am Kureha Ojou-sama’s butler’.”
“…? Fine, I will do it.”
After pondering for a moment, Subaru-sama understood what she meant.
“I am Kureha Ojou-sama’s bu—”
“Stop it right there!”
Kureha immediately fell backwards after hearing Konoe’s words.
“I can’t. This stimulation is too strong for me. Please stop with the honorifics.”
“I’m begging you! I can’t go to heaven at this age!”
It was probably a tough decision for her. *Ah ah* Kureha was breathing and pressing her hands on her chest. I don’t care either way, but she looked incredibly sick.
“Are you okay, Kureha-chan?”
“Ah ah, yeah, somehow. But… Why is Konoe-senpai our house’s butler?”
“Why, you ask… Isn’t it already decided?”
“…I’m here to repay my debt with my body.”
Konoe said that like it was nothing.
She’d really done it now.
Didn’t I just tell you that way of phrasing things could be very easily misinterpreted…?
“P–Paying with your body? What do you mean by that?”
“The meaning? It’s exactly like you heard it. Since I’m this house’s… Jirou’s butler, it’s natural for me to serve with my body.”
“B–But, even though Nii-san and Konoe-senpai are both males?”
“You ask some strange things, don’t you? There’s nothing weird if both of us are males.”
“Uwaaaaa!” Kureha let out a strange voice like a broken tape recorder.
This is bad. She is completely misinterpreting what Konoe just said. If this keeps up, it will look like Konoe and I are in a male-male relationship.
“J–Just calm down Kureha! Konoe and I don’t have the kind of relationship you are thinking about!”
“Nii-san, just keep quiet!” *Gulp* Suddenly, the water pressure increased. With water accumulating in her eyes, Kureha pressed, “Konoe-senpai, I need to ask you something. What kinds of things did you do with Nii-san today?”
“What kinds of things…?”
Konoe became completely silent.
Almost all I did with Konoe today was just training. If she explains that correctly, there will be no more room for misinterpretations…
“We moved and sweated together.”
Suddenly, a cold drop began dripping down my back.
Hey, excuse me, can you say less something less misleading?
“Yeah. For almost the whole day.”
“The whole day?”
“There’s no other way, right? I also thought that a whole day was too much, but Jirou kept saying ‘The more we do it, the more fired up I get!’”
“…B–By the way, to be precise, what were you doing?”
“We did a lot of things, like pinning techniques.”
“Well, I preferred doing it while standing up, but Jirou kept pushing me down to the ground. Since Jirou is bigger and stronger, it was a hard fight.”
In contrast Konoe’s lighthearted responses, Kureha looked like she was going to collapse again.
Yeah, collapse. Collapse and hit your head once more. And dump all memories of this conversation to the other side of the Universe.
My hurried prayer was useless. My little sister glared at me with her blood-red face.
“Nii-san, I told you to not bring girls home… But for you to do it… With Konoe-senpai – With a guy…!”
“It’s not like that! Everything is a misunderstanding!”
“What’s the misunderstanding? Besides… He said Nii-san is bigger…”
“Hey, damn it! Why are you shocked by that part? I mean, he’s saying my body is bigger!”
“I… I understand that! It’s just, Nii-san was forcing Konoe-senpai down, and he was against it.”
“You don’t understand anything! Training! Everything he said just now was about training! Since Konoe is experienced with martial arts, he helped me train!”
Even though I never suggested it! I didn’t insist anything against her innocence!
“Yeah… Even you know that Konoe is strong. Since my body was getting rather weak lately, we decided to train more frequently!”
“…Konoe-senpai, is this true?”
“Yeah. What I said just now was about Kumite… What happened to you both, especially you, Kureha-chan? Your face is bright red. Did you catch a cold?”
“No! That’s not it! Aah, sorry, I’m going to go to my room for a bit.”
Leaving the conversation, Kureha started running up to the second floor.
I removed my glasses and wiped my face. The cold sweat finally stopped. If the conversation continued like that, I could have ended up dehydrated.
“Can’t you speak more precisely? The way you spoke just now was very strange.”
That subject aside, her way of speech was very awkward.
It was like her behavior in the academy.
An anti-social actor that didn’t let anyone besides his master be at his side. The Lonely Prince, the academy’s top handsome guy Subaru-sama…
“There was no other way, right? I’m still not good at talking to her.”
“Not good? At talking to Kureha?”
Well, as expected, Kureha has a higher energy level than most people, so much so to the point of intimidation, but she is rather friendly and easy to talk to.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I hate her or anything. I like talking to Kureha-chan. I enjoy talking to girls close to my age. But…”
“Kureha-chan doesn’t know my secret”
That was why she was so nervous.
Konoe’s words echoed loneliness.
No matter what, Konoe had to hide the fact that she was a girl.
That was why when Konoe was dressed as a man, she didn’t let anyone who didn’t know her secret get close to her. She didn’t want her secret to be exposed.
And it was the same when she was talking to Kureha…
“I think it’s because I’m too nervous. I keep thinking that my secret will be exposed, so I can’t help but to be anti-social. But to tell you the truth, since we are both girls, I want to get along with her…”
A gloomy face clearly showed her depression.
What kind of… These words were a complete waste of time.
This girl was worrying about something so trivial.
“Hey hey, it’s not something to get so depressed about.”
There’s no reason to think so deeply. You have me after all. You can rely on us.
“Don’t be so harsh. You realize that I know your secret? I can help you, at the very least.”
Right, I have to help.
If Kureha found out about Konoe cross-dressing as a man, I just had to help her. It was the same as soccer and baseball. Team play. If one of the members had a weak point, another member can cover it up.
“That’s why I want you to relax and talk to her. If you do, you’ll have fun, won’t you?”
“…I’m sorry, Jirou.”
Konoe nodded slightly.
We were interrupted by the sound of footsteps descending the stairs.
Okay, I’ll make sure that her secret won’t be exposed.
“…Huh? Why are you dressed like that?”
I couldn’t help but to respond sarcastically to the clothes Kureha was wearing.
A white one piece.
The hem lace was a cute design; Kureha looked like a doll while wearing it.
Clothes that you usually don’t see in our house. Clothes that displayed competition.
Her broken right arm seemed fragile, but no matter how you looked at it, she was dressed in her outdoor clothing.
“Ahaha, don’t say such weird things. Aren’t these my usual clothes?”
No, what you wear normally are completely rough clothes, like T-shirts and half pants. You don’t need to show such a competitive spirit and sport such a hairstyle.
“What? Did something happen, Nii-san? Did you want to say something?”
She asked, with an ear-to-ear smile.
But inside of those big pupils, there was a clear threatening message. If I say something improper, I will die. It was intimidating.
Konoe wasn’t the only one with her guard up.
Well, if it’s going to be like this, they will balance themselves out, so everything should be fine.
“Then, let’s start the preparations for dinner.”
It was a little after seven in the evening and I had been training on an empty stomach the entire afternoon.
“Yeah, let’s. And why are there only apples in this house’s kitchen? Is there some religious reason?”
How did you come up with ‘religious reason’? That’s actually an unusual precept.
“No. This is for the sake of the apple diet. Kureha said that lately we’ve been getting a little fa—”
Before I could finish, I heard a strange sound coming from my spine… Uaaa, my internal organs! I could feel Kureha’s Iron Claw pressing my spine against my stomach.
“Yeah, it’s exactly that. Lately Nii-san has been getting a little fat, so I’m adjusting the diet.”
“I see, so that’s how it is. Kureha-chan really is a gentle little sister concerned for her brother’s well-being.”
“E– Ehehe…I don’t thinik I am really gentle…”
Konoe was wearing a gentle smile and Kureha was wearing an embarrassed face.
I wondered why. It was finally happening, the happy event that had I hoped for, but I simply couldn’t enjoy this. And please, Kureha-san, could you let go already?
“Well, it’s pretty late for us to go buy something, can’t we just eat the same cup ramen we ate at noon? I liked it so I’m fine but…”
“No, that won’t do. Actually, Kureha hates any kind of cup ramen—Uaaaa!!”
It’ll come out! I’m saying that’s dangerous! Seriously, stop with the jokes! If it goes on like this I’ll be able to say goodbye to my internal organs!
“Yeah, there’s no problem. I love cup ramen!”
“Then it’s decided. By the way… Are you okay, Jirou? You’ve been making a very strange face for a while now.”
“It’s nothing. Nii-san always acts like this before meals. He’s probably so hungry that his back and stomach are clinging to each other.”
Saying that, Kureha finally released her hands.
That was close. I really thought that my stomach and my back would cling to each other forever. The two of them weren’t supposed to meet but were just about to make an exciting encounter. Just like the Tanabata (2) Stars, Vega and Altair.
I prepared the cup ramen for everyone present while suppressing the pain around my abdomen.
Geh, that damn Kureha, she poured the boiling water starting from her cup. Even though she was normally so against it! Looks like there’s a big difference between when Konoe was around and when he wasn’t.
We waited for three minutes.
Soon, the cup ramen was ready.
Saying our grateful words for Ace*beep*ok we started eating the cup ramen. Aah, as expected, Super*beep*op is completely different. No matter how much I eat it, it’s still good.
When I looked over to my side, I saw that Kureha was having a hard time with her cup ramen. Looks like she couldn’t grab the ramen well. I wonder if she was always so bad at using chopsticks.
I see. She couldn’t use her dominant arm because it was broken. Instead, she had to use her left arm to hold the chopsticks, and she wasn’t used to it. Because of her clumsy movements, every time she tried, the ramen slipped off from the chopsticks.
Geez, there was no other way.
“Hey, if you keep that up, the ramen will spill. Here, I’ll feed you.”
I picked the ramen with my own chopsticks and brought it to Kureha’s mouth.
“Eeh, I don’t want it. I’m not a child anymore.”
“Don’t complain. Say ‘aah’.”
“Aaan… It’s hot…”
“Ah, my bad. This time I will be sure to cool it.”
“Au—, be careful. These clothes are one of my favorites.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t spill any soup. But in exchange… *Glup glup*. As expected, miso (3) is also incredibly good.”
“Aah! That’s cruel, Nii-san! You took my miso soup!”
“I was just tasting it a bit. I’ll give you a bit of mine later.”
After *Fuu fuu* blowing a bit on the ramen, I brought it to Kureha’s mouth.
I felt like I was feeding a chick.
Well, I also felt like we were kissing indirectly, but since we’re both family, it wasn’t a problem.
*Munch munch* Kureha had her cheeks stuffed with ramen.
“…This is unfair.”
I heard a little objection.
When I realized, Konoe was staring at me with a sharp glare.
“What? Don’t tell me you also want to eat miso?”
Konoe’s noodles had a soy sauce base. Hmm, she might have wanted to eat miso. I met her hateful glare.
“N–No, that’s not really it, but… I was just wondering, Jirou and Kureha-chan have such a good sibling relationship.”
Konoe kept eating the ramen, but she was displeased. What? If you want to eat miso you only have to say it straight up. It’s not good for you to keep it in.
It was when I moved the chopsticks to my own portion.
A deflating sound echoed the room.
“…That just now was…”
Another stomach sound?
But it was strangely different from the one I heard before…
“W–Why are you looking at me? I swear that wasn’t me!”
I reflexively looked at Konoe, but she denied the suspicion immediately.
Then, who was it?
At least it wasn’t me. I’m sure it wasn’t Kureha too. And I’m also sure that the sound wasn’t coming from the neighbors.
Then the only one left was…
When I tried to confirm the source of the sound, Kureha suddenly screamed.
“Since we finished the meal, what about taking a bath?”
“No, I’m fine. I already did.”
Or rather, we haven’t finished yet. I still had almost half of my portion to eat.
“Don’t say such things. Since we’ll be going together this time.”
“Why do you have to go with me?”
“But Nii-san, didn’t you write ‘My dream is to enter the bath together with my little sister’ on your primary school graduation anthology?”
“I didn’t write that! Don’t go around fabricating people’s dreams!”
High school. If I could, I would re-do it from my first year.
“Besides, you’re the one who should take a bath. Konoe and I have already gone, so…”
“Heh…? Ah, I’m okay! I also have something to do now.”
“Something to do?”
Kureha awkwardly averted her eyes.
That was peculiar.
To be precise, it was very suspicious.
It looked like she was hiding something from me.
“You… Are you hiding something from me?”
This was the first time I heard someone saying ‘Giku’ in person. But the one who said it was my little sister. It made me rather confused.
Leaving that aside, there was no doubt that Kureha was hiding something.
I wonder what it was.
Maybe it was related to that sound just now.
A noise echoed in the living room once again.
It sounded like something being scratched. When I turned towards the source of the sound, my line of sight landed on Kureha’s rucksack.
It was somehow… Bulging in an unnatural way…
“Ah, au! You can’t look!”
*Gatan* Kureha rose from her chair, and swiped her rucksack with one hand.
Something squirmed inside the rucksack which was now wrapped up by her arm. It seemed like something was desperately trying to get out.
“Aah… You can’t! You can’t leave!”
Kureha tried to restrain it desperately, but with only one hand, it didn’t too go well. From the chuck of the rucksack, a wet black nose poked out.
Unexpectedly, a living face appeared from the rucksack. A bushy black figure with white hair and big glass-ball-like pupils. And with a scared face.
A Siberian Husky
No matter how you looked at it, the animal that left Kureha’s rucksack and was now energetically sniffing around the house was a Siberian Husky.
TRANSLATOR NOTES AND REFERENCES
(1) Seems to be a boxing technique.
(2) Japanese festival celebrating the meeting of Hikoboshi (Altair) & Orihime (Vega). Further information here.
(3) Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a stock called “dashi” into which softened miso paste is mixed.