Chapter 5: Her Reasons – Part 2
“38.1 degrees,” Suzutsuki said looking at the thermometer.
Yeah, a cold – the disease that was spreading around as Suzutsuki had said before.
And to make it more troublesome, my body was suffering from this illness. ‘Yaaai! I didn’t get late for this trend…’ Saying that was only a small consolation.
“Have you been eating regularly? Have you been overexerting your body? Did you eat some rotten food?”
Well, duh. It wasn’t hard to guess just how I contracted this illness.
Since waking up this morning, I’d been having a really bad headache, and during the match between Suzutsuki and Konoe, I’d also had this bad feeling. Thinking about it now, my body had just been giving an SOS.
Damn it, if you’re gonna send signals, do it properly. Something like the ’Let-Me-In-Signal’(1) or the flag signal. If you had done that I’d have realized it sooner.
I looked to Suzutsuki trying to get her to agree, but all I got was a puzzled look.
“Looks like the fever went up a bit. Well, just lay down for now. Since it’s Golden Week and the hospitals are not seeing patients, just drink your medicine and rest. It’s best for you.”
Saying that Suzutsuki put a cold towel on my forehead.
Huh? This is really creepy. I think this is the first time this girl is gentle to me. I hope this is isn’t a sign the world is going to end.
“Get well soon. Bullying you while you are weak isn’t any fun.”
“You sadist! You damn sadist!”
“I wish you were a bit more grateful. It was troublesome when you fell over. Kureha-chan broke down crying and was screaming ‘my brother is gonna die!’.”
“She just makes a fuss about everything.”
Kureha had been with us crying until a few moments ago. Konoe who woke her up was in the next room over – in other words she had been dragged to Kureha’s room. Well, it would be troublesome if I infected her – laying down in a bed with a cold would be bad.
“Now that I think about it – why was Konoe sleeping in my bed?”
“I wonder? Perhaps she was worried about you? After all, she was taking care of you all the time. You were also trembling a lot while sleeping, Jirou-kun.”
‘How much?’ I thought about asking that, but it didn’t seem like she was lying, since I was still trembling right then. Was it because of the fever? But I’d been having some chills for a while.
“Oh right. In the end, what about the match?”
If my memory served me right, I fell down just before announcing a result. Since Konoe was still in my house I could probably guess the answer.
“No result. Because you fell down it all became a mess, but… thanks to that, the situation is even worse.”
“Why is it even worse?”
“Subaru. When someone close to that girl gets sick, she just can’t leave them alone.”
“What about that? Isn’t it okay? Isn’t it okay to take care of someone?”
“That is okay but… Well, you will understand soon enough.”
Why was she saying ominous things like that? When I thought about asking what she meant by that, the door of my room opened.
Just when we were talking about her, Konoe appeared in the door. For some reason she was carrying a big bowl in her hands.
“Since Subaru is now here, I will be leaving. Bye bye, Jirou-kun. Try not to die.”
Changing positions with Konoe, Suzutsuki left the room. Hey, why did she say ‘try not to die’? Normally you say ‘take care’, right? I am not a soldier stepping onto a battleground.
“Is your body alright?” Konoe looked at me worriedly.
“Yeah. The fever is a bit high, but I think the medicine is working. It’s just a cold, you know? You don’t have to worry that mu—”
Konoe was looking at me with extremely serious eyes, and I fell silent.
“Jirou–. You can’t take it lightly just because it’s a cold. If you think like that, you are not going to get better.”
“Aaah, you’re right. Sorry.”
I apologized. Somehow my will power was restrained. From Konoe’s words I could sense that she was extremely serious.
“Also… Sorry about earlier. About… entering your bed on my own…”
“No, you don’t have to worry about it. Rather I am the one who should be apologizing, I made you nurse me all the time, right?”
“No, that is my duty. Since I am Jirou’s butler, I am going to take care of my master’s illness.”
Damn Suzutsuki! What’s the problem? I don’t see any problems here. Rather, if I am to be taken care of by such a butler, I am glad I caught a cold.
“The truth is… I made something for Jirou to eat, are you hungry?”
“Ahh, it’s okay… Wait… Food? You made it?”
At first I thought it had been Kureha or Suzutsuki who made it, but if you looked closely, you could see the band aids around Konoe’s fingers.
“I had quite a hard time making it, but I am sure that it is suitable for sick people to eat… You’re going to eat it?”
“Aaah, of course.”
There’s no way I’d refuse! This is a food made by the hard-working Konoe, who is not good in the kitchen—or with sharp things in general.
I took the plate with the bowl. From the looks, she had made Congee… or maybe Zosui?(2) Well, whatever it was, it seemed to be something like a rice gruel.
While keeping my expectations high, I opened the cover of the bowl.
Immediately, I held my breath.
It was pure red.
It was like a pond of hell.
Something pure red that I will call ‘substance X’ was dripping from the bowl.
Was it a Kimchi Jigae? There was some Kimchi left in the refrigerator if I remembered correctly… But, I just couldn’t identify the ingredients.
Konoe brought a spoon of that stuff that was giving off a plume of hot vapor directly to my mouth.
I tried to steel myself. I had some resistance to weird food due to Kureha’s ominous food sense, so I should be able to eat almost anything that is somewhat spicy.
I held my breath trying to not smell it, then I put it in my mouth all at once.
Guhaaaaa! It’s spicy! What is this? This is really spicy! This is beyond the level of a Kimchi. What do you have to put in for it to become like this. Even if an Indian eats this they will surely pass out.
“How was it?”
“Hmmm… It’s not bad I’d say… Just a bit spicy….”
Now I understood why a guy can never tell a girl that her handmade food is bad. My tears and my nose dripping wouldn’t stop. I’d probably get something better in a military field hospital.
“I see! I thought the spices would be a little bit too effective in a Congee. But I am really glad you like it.”
Ahaha, this is incredible. This is supposed to be a Congee. I think it’s not really good for digestion. Rather than medicine for my cold, I will need some for my stomach.
“You can eat more and more. It still have a lot.”
“Yaaay! I am happy!”
I couldn’t flee now. It was not really about the food anymore, it was training or a penalty, but I just couldn’t betray this smile. If I at least had some water!
“Water… I want some water.”
“You can’t Jirou, if you resort to water right away, you won’t become a great food fighter.”
“I am fine not being one! You can do anything, just bring me water!”
“Muu, I can’t help it. Then, if you eat all this I will give you water.”
That moment, I took the spoon from Konoe and dove into the bowl.
My tongue was going numb. I started losing feeling in my mouth, as if I had received anesthesia from a dentist.
I somehow finished eating, and soon after Konoe gave me a glass of water that I swallowed in one go.
“I am happy that you like it. I heard that it’s good to sweat when you have a cold, so I didn’t hold back on the spices in this food.”
Aaah, that explains it. Well, I am sweating quite a lot, but my chills and the headache have become worse.
“I already finished the food, so I think it’s better to go to sleep, right?”
“…Yeah, I agree. I really agree with that.”
I dove into the bed while holding my breath. For now I would rest. I didn’t want to think about it, but there was a chance that Konoe would also prepare breakfast. I had to gather some energy to prepare for the worst possible situation.
“I will stay with you until you are asleep so you won’t be lonely.”
Konoe brought a chair to the bedside and dropped her hips there. I was somewhat embarrassed – my case was not so dangerous.
“To help you sleep, I brought something that has been passed down in my family.”
“Heh? Is that true?”
Even if she didn’t use that I would probably sleep right away. Maybe because of having overcome such a tough battle just now, I was really sleepy. Even now, my vision was already becoming blurry…
And… from the edge of my field of vision, I could see Konoe pick up a black mass of plastic from her pocket.
What is that?
Since she said it was something to help me sleep, I thought it was going to be a pillow or something related, but… it was strange. From some reason, its form reminded me of a stun gun.
“Relax. When I use this, your consciousness will be blown right away.”
That was the sound of something being turned on.
At that moment a spark popped from the tip of that suspicious object.
Without hesitation, I jumped out from the blankets.
“Heh? What Jirou? Why are you holding the cover of the bowl like a shield?”
“Shut uuuup! Put that thing down right now! What do you mean, ‘it helps you go to sleep’? That is a stun gun!”
“You don’t have to be afraid. It was modified. It can take down a polar bear with one charge.”
“I’m going to die! If you use that I will really die!”
“Nah. What are you saying. This is a tool to help put someone to sleep that a butler should carry.”
“You know that thing doesn’t have anything to do with butlers!”
She’s nuts. I can’t believe that Suzutsuki usually sleeps using that. Is she planning to kill me and make it look like a medical accident?
“It’s fine. Even if you don’t use it I’ll sleep.”
“Really? If you say so I won’t force you to use it.”
She reluctantly put the stun gun down.
Well, because of the incident just now, my sleepiness is gone for good. And to add to it, my stomach is burning. Is this the result of the Congee just now? It’s good that I got to sweat, but can’t I do anything about this sweat that is dripping as if I were in a sauna.
“Jirou. You are sweating quite a lot. I will wipe it for you.”
I had the feeling that Konoe’s eyes sparkled.
This is bad.
I reflexively tried to flee, but it was already too late.
I felt the freedom of my right arm being taken. When I looked there, I could see handcuffs – the same that I had seen last month in the infirmary. A bright silver shinning hand cuff was restraining my arm to the bed.
“You can’t move. If you don’t be quiet you won’t get better.”
In my brain, I had a flashback of a memory of my childhood where I tried running from a vaccination, and as a result I was restrained by a few nurses like in a game of rugby.
No, that time was still okay. Now I was closer to being a sacrifice for a satanist cult. Or a marmot about to be used for experiments.
“He, hey Konoe-san?”
Konoe calmly turned to my trembling voice as if she were turning to a small child.
“Then, let’s strip down.”
It doesn’t matter how I take it, it sounds like a premonition of death.
No, I wasn’t just like a marmot. She was confusing me with her dolls whose clothes she was about to change.
“Wait, wait a minute! I can take off my clothes by myself.”
“Don’t be reckless. With this restrained arm you can’t.”
“You were the one who did that!”
“You don’t have to hold back. This is the duty of a butler.”
“I am telling you that butlers don’t ha—Wait! Why are you trying to strip my underwear?”
“There’s no other way, right? I also didn’t want to go that far, but this is just for the sake of healing you!”
“I don’t want to! Stop it! My underwear… My underwear I can strip by myself!”
That scream echoed.
Konoe was reluctantly stripping me down.
When those evil hands reached my final line of defense, I—I finally understood what Suzutsuki had meant.
I’ll be killed!
If this kept up, I would be killed by my butler.
(1) It’s talking about the movie ‘Let me in’. Since I didn’t watch the movie I don’t get the meaning at all.
(2) These are all foods for sick people.