Megu points at a house. The sun has already gone down… The cloudy night sky comes. On the corner of the low-lying residential area…entering a compact shopping district, right at the back of the alley. An old small house was built there.
Maika says. Perhaps, there’s only one or two rooms on both floors. The first floor is the parent’s living room and the second floor is Megumi’s room and the storage? The glass door has a crack and is patched by a brown packing tape. The lamp in the front door is burning darkly. The paint on the wooden wall has faded away considerably. It’s a rag house with poor light inside. By standards…You can’t think that they’re relatives of the famous family Shirasaka.
「Right…It’s smaller than Maika-san’s house」
Yuzuki-sensei told Maika.
「Ah…Sorry. I didn’t mean it like that」
Megu smiles at the apologizing Maika.1
「It’s fine. Yamamine house is being aided by Shirasaka house on the livelihood…」
「The head of Shirasaka house…the second wife of the founder of the newspaper company was coming from Yamamine house」 「Yes, she’s originally a daughter of an employee of the company. The founder fell in love with her then…as far as it goes, they put her in the family register and made her a concubine」
Megu answers Sensei question
「Yamamine house has become Shirasaka house’s relative like that but…because other marriage proposals other than Yamamine house has been on the distinguished families…they’ve become a complete luggage of the clan」
Yamamine house who came from commoners has been looked down by the people of Shirasaka house all this time.
「My foster father, and all of his brothers are all employed in a company affliated to Shirasaka house」 「Did any of them enter the newspaper company?」
Megu shook her head?
「…People from Yamamine house will never be hired in the newspaper and big companies. They’re appointed at the place that is the subsidiary of the subsidiary of the company group. Even if they work for that company for years, they cannot get anything higher than section chief. They’re driven to the standpoint where they can’t go against the people of Shirasaka house」
They’re such a clan who do such things without concern…
「They’re like idiots…Even Shirasaka house was just a commoner until the founder made the newspaper company succeed. Mistaking that they have risen to such nobles, they justify such foolish things, but…!」
Sensei speaks out.
「Maika-san…Misuzu-san will have her symposium the day after tomorrow. Go with Yoshida-kun and Megumi. That’s where the genuine nobles of the country gather」
Sensei tells Maika.
「Take a look at the genuine first class people. You will understand that Shirasaka who’s an upstart isn’t the real one」
Misuzu’s learning the Konpeki style traditional dance from the headmaster2 The headmaster’s class would be performing the day after tomorrow. It’s just a presentation of a traditional dance class and yet, they’re using the 『National Theatre』 The girls dancing with Misuzu are all students of the headmaster…They must all be daughters of prestigious families. Naturally…Their family would come to see the presentation. Japan’s…wealthy socialites.
「Right, I think it would be a good study for you. You should go there」
Katsuko-nee says so, however…
「Nei-sama and Margo-sama will be coming too…If I recall, Nagisa will do the same?」 「Huh, Katsuko-nee won’t come?」
I asked instinctively.
「I cannot go to such places…. Nagisa is already 『Retired』for years so she can pass…But I’m still in 『Active service』 There’s a lot of people I would be troubled to face」
Katsuko-nee choses her words carefully in front of Maika. …I see Katsuko-nee will have lots of her guests coming in there too…
「I will be alright but…those people」
The guest would be coming with his wife and daughter and yet, he would see Katsuko-nee’s face…That’s certainly hard.
「Therefore, I will be just a support on the day after tomorrow…!」
…Eh? Not 『House watching』…But 『Support』 That means that there’s something scheduled to be executed at that day… As 『Kuromori』…
「…Katsuko, how’s the rear?」
Sensei has been observing the state outside the car since a while ago. She’s been staring at the darkness where the street lights doesn’t hit.
「There’s no abnormality on the rear as well. There’s no lookout or ambush it seems…」
Katsuko-nee is also checking the outside through the rear window.
「It seems that Shirasaka’s head doesn’t begin to move yet…」 「Yes. Shirasaka Sousuke from Australia cannot contact Japan…the clan and the company still thinks that he’s on a normal business trip」
Sensei turned to us.
「Okay…We’re about to go. Megumi and Yoshida-kun will be with me. Katsuko and Maika will wait inside the car」 「…Okay」
「I’ve brought a hidden microphone so Maika-san will be listening with Katsuko in here」
Sensei tells Maika.
「…Maika-san, you still don’t trust us from the bottom of your heart, don’t you?」
…Eh? Maika swallows her saliva.
「Therefore…I’d like you to listen to my talk with Yamamine-san. You don’t think that Yamamine-san is also conspiring with us just to fool Maika-san, do you?」 「Well…Yes, I think that uncle Yamamine won’t do that」
Sensei looks straight at Maika…
「Then…Listen. I want Maika-san to understand the truth about Shirasaka house」 「Yes…understood」
Katsuko-nee handed me a small digital camera
「Take photos of Megumi-chan’s family and her room as well」
「Megumi-chan will be parting from this house today…take a commemoration photo」
Megu can no longer return to this house The house she lived for ten years. She’ll part from her foster parents.
「I’ll quote a famous photographer I respect…『Take as much photos as possible. We’ll forget about it anyway』…Human’s are quite forgetful. Therefore, you should leave it as a photos as much as possible so you won’t forget it3」
「Got it…I’ll take photos」
I hold the camera firmly.
「It’s okay…I’m here with you」
I kiss Megu.
◇ ◇ ◇
The glass door opened with a rattling sound…And Megu calls out. Footsteps can be heard from the house A middle aged man and woman with an age around fifty shows up.
Megumi bows to the two.
「I’m sorry for staying overnight yesterday…Father, Mother」
Megu’s parents…doesn’t look like Megu at all. That’s obvious however. Megu’s foster parents have a third of their hair white. They look like decent people. They must’ve been back just from work. He’s still wearing a necktie on his gray suit. A shabby worn out suit. It feels like he’s wearing an RTW from a bargain sale for very long. The mother is just a usual simple mother. Short hair and no makeup. She looks at Megu in worry.
「I’m Kuromori…the one who contacted you the other day」
Yuzuki-sensei greeted Megu’s foster parents
「You…?」 「Yes…I’m the current head of Kuromori」
Sensei answered with her usual cold eyes.
「Well…whatever it is, let’s talk inside…dear」
Megu’s foster mother talked to her husband.
「Y-Yes…we should. Kuromori-san…please come in」 「…Excuse me」
Sensei took off her shoes…
Megu’s foster mother looks at me
「Yes. I’m Megumi-san’s classmate. And…A person of 『Kuromori』house」
Megumi’s foster parents might not know the name 『Kuromori』as a crime syndicate. That’s why I answered like that.
「He’s not a suspicious guy…He came with us to help Megumi-san carry her luggage」
Sensei explains. I see…if we’re going out of this house We have to take Megumi’s luggage.
「It’s okay, father, mother…he’s a trustworthy person」
Megu told her foster parents with serious eyes
「Understood…please come in」
I took off my shoes as well
The room next to the door is the living room There’s a low table in the Japanese style room. Megu’s foster mother puts out a floor cushion. When everyone sits on a 8.42 square meter room4, it’s narrow. There’s a Kokeshi, and a wooden bear on the cupboard. There’s a simple calendar on the wall. Somehow, this looks like Showa era. When tea was distributed to everyone, the foster father started the talk.
「Megumi…Are you sure that they’re the people you stayed with before?」 「Yes father. There’s no doubt. I’ve been indebt with Kuromori-san before I came to this house. I was small back then but I remember it well」 「Megumi-san’s mother…Keiko-san has been kind with me. I think that this is the time to repay the kindness she has given me」
Sensei talks to Megu’s foster mother…
「I think that you already know this but…Megumi’s real father, Shirasaka Sousuke will make her a prostitute. I will never allow that to happen. I will take custody of Megumi. And, I’ll protect her at a place where Shirasaka house cannot reach」 「But…Kuromori-san. Weren’t you managing the prostitution organization with Sousuke-san?」
Megu’s foster father seems to hold clear distrust.
「I’ve already stopped the operation of the prostitution organization already. At the same time, I’ve already banished Shirasaka Sousuke from our organization. We’re currently separated completely from Shirasaka Sousuke」
Sensei answered clearly.
「…You say that but…I cannot trust you」
The foster father declared so.
「To be honest…I don’t want to hand Megumi to Sousuke-san. There’s no parent who wants to make their treasured daughter a prostitute. But…Kuromori-san and Sousuke-san are in the same prostitution organization, weren’t you? There’s no guarantee that if I leave Megumi to you, she won’t become a prostitute」
For normal people…There’s no difference between Shirasaka Sousuke and Sensei. Both of them were managers of the prostitution organization 『Kuromori』… It must be unreasonable to trust them…
「…Shirasaka Sousuke has already been caught in a trap」
Sensei declared with cold eyes.
「He’s captured by our people in Australia. His trouble with the gangs will be found out soon. Shirasaka Sousuke will lose his position certainly. Shirasaka house will banish him」
Megu’s foster mother is startled.
「If that happens…Megumi-san will be taken over by the head of Shirasaka house. For the head of Shirasaka house, Megumi-san is Shirasaka Sousuke’s shameful child. She’ll be likely to be hidden from the world. I think that she’ll be separated from Yamamine-sama too. I think that she’ll be entrusted to someone in the province that’s under Shirasaka house and she’ll be kept there until she dies」 「That’s better than her being a prostitute!」
Megu’s foster mother shouted.
「Megumi-san should be the one to decide which is better and what life she’ll live. Megumi-san…what do you want to do?」
Sensei looks at Megu. Megu…spoke to her foster parents.
「Father, Mother…Megumi will be going to Kuromori-san」
Megu bowed to her parents.
「I don’t want to live being dragged around by Shirasaka house anymore. Megumi wants to leave Shirasaka house no matter what result it gives me」
Her foster parents look at each other.
The foster mother tries to persuade Megu somehow. But, Megu is…
「I’m sorry, Mother…I’ve already decided. Megumi right now has been living, obediently following fate. But, not anymore. I’ll fight my own fate. I want to be happy…!」
「I will get out of this house without your permission. If I ran away from home…that way, the head of Shirasaka house won’t be blaming father」
…I see Her parents would be suffering… If they handed Megumi to Sensei, Yamamine house would be erased by the head of Shirasaka house.
「Megumi-san…you don’t get it. If you do that, Shirasaka house won’t be forgiving Yamamine-san. I think that they will attach various false charges and make Yamamine-san suffer」
Megu is at loss.
「…Therefore, I will take Megumi-san by force. Please report to the head of Shirasaka house 『Megumi-san has been kidnapped by Kuromori』 We have already restricted Shirasaka Sousuke so it’s okay to tell the head of the house」
「I understood the feeling of Yamamine-san not being able to oppose Shirasaka house. Yamamine-san’s brother, kinsmen…are all working on companies related to Shirasaka house. I can understand that you cannot betray Shirasaka house by all means」
Sensei…said with a strong tone
Megu’s foster father tries to object but he can’t speak.
「Kuromori house is a genuine criminal organization. Because we’ve committed such crimes multiple times, Shirasaka house will surely believe Yamamine-san’s report」
『Kuromori』kidnapped Katsuko-nee and Nagisa-san. And…turned them to prostitutes. It’s not just the two of them. A lot of women…
「…The young lady has been kidnapped by a crime syndicate. Yamamine-san’s a victim…not our a cooperator. Please contact Shirasaka house at the moment we bring Megumi-san out of this house. And, there would be no more worry about the sparks falling to Yamamine-san」
…In exchange. 『Kuromori』will confront the head of Shirasaka house…
「…Then, Kuromori-san and Megumi」 「There is no need to worry…We are prepared to fight Shirasaka house. We’ve already taken a hold of Shirasaka Sousuke himself」
Saying that, Sensei took out her phone. She pushed the call button.
「…Katsuko, Phase 3」
That’s the only line she told over the phone.
「With this, Shirasaka Sousuke on Australia will be imprisoned to a place we only know. We will negotiate with Shirasaka house in exchange for Shirasaka Sousuke…!」 「…That’s unreasonable. Kuromori-san doesn’t know the terror of Shirasaka house!」
Megu’s foster father muttered.
「I agree that it’s unreasonable. And, Yamamine-san should know this too…we’re a group of people who knows true hell」
「We’ve fought existence far more frightening than Shirasaka house. We don’t intend to lose…!」
And, she took out a white package from her back. She puts it on top of the low table.
「Of course, we won’t just tell Yamamine-sama to give Megumi for free…This is 10 Million in cash」
Sensei presented the package to Megumi’s foster father. Megu’s foster parents are at loss.
「You want me to sell my daughter?」 「This is a reward for reporting a lie to Shirasaka house. We will be kidnapping Megumi-san in paper however. It’s regardless of Yamamine-san’s will…」
Sensei looks at Megumi’s foster parents.
「…Check would be traced by banks. We’ve prepared bills that’s not in the circulation. It would be dangerous to leave the full amount on the same bank. Subdivide it little by little and put it in different accounts with your name」
Megu’s foster father looks at the package silently.
「I’m asking you father, please take it」
Megu spoke powerfully.
「That’s saying that you want to sever connections with us?」
Her foster father says sadly.
「…That’s not it. Whatever the situation becomes, Megumi is father and mother’s daughter」
Megu told her foster parents
「……Please think of Megumi being sent off as a bride」
Megu looks at me. I nodded.
「…Father, Mother…I really thank you for loving and raising me until now」
Megumi takes off the cushion, puts her hand on the floor and bows to her parents
「Megumi…will marry this man…!」
Megu looks at me. Megu’s foster parents look at me in blank surprise… …I I removed the cushion, imitating Megumi. Putting my hands on the mat…I bowed to Megumi’s foster parents.
「…I’m Yoshida. Please let me have the priviledge to marry Megumi-san」
I said clearly.
「…I’ll make Megumi-san happy. I will never let her feel sad…Please let me have your young lady…!」
I… I don’t like saying『Please let me have your young lady』 Megu…is already at the age where she can decide her own future. Someone who’s will is being controlled should be liberated. From Shirasaka Sousuke… From Shirasaka house… And…from her foster parents. I look at Megu once again.
「…Megu, marry me…!」
「We will hold a proper ceremony when the time comes. At that time, please attend as Megu’s parents. Please…!」
I promised Megu’s foster parents.
Megu’s foster father asked me.
「Yes, I’m serious」
I answered clearly.
「Father, Mother…I’m also serious. I love this person. I believe him. I will be with him throughout my life…!」
Megumi bowed to her foster parents again and again.
「Dear…What do you think about them?」
Megu’s foster mother asked her husband.
「I think we should give Megumi as a bride」
The foster father turns to his wife.
「…Are you sure?」
The foster mother nodded.
「It’s much more better than being taken and becoming a prostitute or being kidnapped… It’s a celebration as well…」
Her foster father sighs. Then, he looked at me.
「…Yoshida-kun, was it?」 「…Yes?」 「I leave Megumi in your care」
The foster father bowed to me. …I …I steeled myself.
「I’ll protect Megu with all my best…!!!」
I created another big resolution.
◇ ◇ ◇
「This will be a slightly adult talk so…get the luggage」
Sensei told me and Megu.
「Right…I think it’ll take at least half an hours, pack everything by that time. Just pack up the minimum necessities」 「…Okay」
Megu answers Sensei.
「Yoshi-kun My room’s on the second floor…」 「Ah…Okay」
Coming out of the living room, we climb the narrow and steep stairs… We can hear Yuzuki-sensei’s voice from the living room.
「…As for the contents that Yamamine-san have to report for the head of Shirasaka house…」
Sensei didn’t blame Megu’s foster parents but instead…it seems that she has prepared the minimum information that would be the content that they would report to the head of Shirasaka house.
「This is my room」
…Megu’s head. A six-mat Japanese style room…A study desk, bookshelf, and a bed… There’s nothing else. There’s nothing that looks girlish…
「My luggage has already been packed」
There’s two travel bags in line on side of the bed.
「Look…I should be taken by Shirasaka-san5 after the golden week. That’s why…I’ve already finished preparations」
…Megu She was prepared for it. His biological father making her fall to prostitution. That’s why, Megu is… She has given up on her life…
「Wait. I’ll gather my school stuff. I thought that I cannot go to school anymore after all. Therefore I didn’t pack my school stuff」
Megu said… All of the books and notebooks are piled up on Megu’s desk. Her uniform and spare gym suits are stuffed in a sports bag… The packing ended in just a minute. I took photos of Megu’s room.
「…What are you doing Yoshi-kun?」 「Well…This is the room Megu has lived since she was six, right?」 「Yeah…I lived here for ten years…」 「Then…I have to take photos」 「Right…I cannot go back here after all」
Megu said sadly.
「…The room you’ve lived for ten years is really clean」
Or perhaps should I say there’s nothing but the minimum. There’s no magazines or manga or even a novel on her bookshelf either. Other than old textbooks…It’s empty. There’s not a single stuffed toy, poster, or something that’s like a high school girl would own. And, the windows are cleaned beautifully and there’s not a single dust on the floor. It’s perfectly cleaned.
「I think that I’m just borrowing this room from Yamamine-san…」
When we were alone in the room…Megu calls her foster father 『Yamamine-san』 In short…She never heartily think that her foster parents are her own parents. They’re just the people who raised her. She wasn’t thinking that they’re living together.
「It’s just a borrowed room so you must not let it become dirty, right?」
Megu said seriously.
「Also…I thought that somebody would come to pick me up someday」
「…Someday, I’ll come back to the mansion and become a prostitute. Ever since I was a child…!」
「Therefore…I was prepared to get out of this house since I was a child. I’ve been prepared all the time. Someday, someone will come to get me so I put my things on two bags and have it next to my bed」
These two bags have been prepared all this time.
「This is the bag that I brought when I was taken from the mansion to this house. Mama’s bag…!」
Megu’s mother…Keiko-san’s bag.
「I came here with just two bags…so I thought that I should just have two bags when I will leave as well」
Megu’s two old bags. Somehow, I remember my cardboard boxes. My private properties are collected in just one cardboard box… Megu and I are same existence.
「Because the bag I use in school was added…It became three」
Megu smiles wryly.
「I’ll take all of it」
I’ll carry it out of the house with Megu’s thoughts.
「It’s okay…let me have half of it」
Megu said bashfully.
「I want to be Yoshi-kun’s half」
Megumi and I want to share the sorrow and the harsh memories.
「But, I’m glad. Thanks to Minaho-san…I will be able to continue going to school」
「…I’ve always thought of it. I’m able to live just like a normal child for now…I have to do all of my best while I’m living on Yamamine house. Thus…I do my best in study and sports. My foster parents are very pleased when I give good results…!」
Thus…The honor student, Yamamine Megumi was made. Megu believes that her life ahead has the hell of prostitution waiting for her…
「…Megu doesn’t need to become a prostitute anymore…you’ll be my bride」
I embraced Megu.
「Un…I’m glad I met Yoshi-kun…I’m happy」
I kissed Megu. Megu returned a kiss to me…
「It feels strange…I never thought of kissing a boy in my own room」
Megu said laughingly.
「Speaking of which…It’s my first time in my life entering a girl’s room」 「Sorry…My room’s just a dull one」 「That’s not true…This room has Megu’s scent in it」
Yup…This room definitely has Megu’s scent soaking in it.
「Yada~…Don’t say embarrassing things」 「It’s true…look」
I lay down on Megu’s bed. I sniffed Megu’s smell from the futon… I spread my arms and legs and shoved my face on Megu’s futon.
「It smells good…I feel like Megu’s wrapping me up…」
…Then I can hear rustling sounds from the back… When I look up…Megu’s taking off her clothes…?!
Megu then said.
「Take a nude photo of me in this room」
Megu’s eyes are serious.
「Then…I want to be embraced by Yoshi-kun in this room…!」
「…I want to have sex here…!」6
1. The author might just still be adjusting on whether he would write Megu or Megumi ↩ 2. We’re still in a debate on what should we change the “Head of School” into ↩ 3. I guess Megu’s a big photo of Yoshida ↩ 4. That means Rokujouma for those who ask ↩ 5. Yes, Megumi’s saying “Shirasaka-san” ↩ 6. With my parents downstairs. I promise, it won’t be awkward. ↩