I asked Margo-san when she stopped the Maserati in the parking lot of『National theater』
Margo-san asks back while turning off the engine.
「No…it’s still 4 o’clock」
I look at the wristwatch I got from Minaho-neesan. Misuzu’s『Konpeki class symposium』should be held at night. Anyone but the parties concerned can’t enter the theater before opening…?!
「Isn’t it bad to come here this early?」
「Well, don’t mind that…Misuzu-san’s already here too」
Misuzu’s already in the venue to…
「Kouzuki Security Service’s timetable says that the performers gather at 1PM. They’ll have a stage rehearsal at 1:30 They should be practicing respectively at the lobby」
Even though the symposium is at night… Isn’t 1PM a bit too early?
「Today, the students who will appear at the symposium are over 50 in total…!」 「Eh…that many?」 「Well, they’re starting from six years old. It seems that the small girls would be dancing together」
I see…even if you say it’s a class, there are also elementary school students Even if the scale is big, there’s no change that it’s a Classical Japanese dance class. However, everyone’s a child of a big name in politics or business…
「That’s why…the『stage rehearsal』before the performance would take some time」 「Stage rehearsal?」 「…They would dance in the stage just as you can see in the real performance…there would be lighting and sounds too. Then, they will repeat it several times. This is probably the first time for the younger ones to dance on such a big stage so they need to get used to the venue. Since the apprentices in the classroom aren’t professional dancers…it’ll take a lot of time to organize the schedule. They’re more than 50 people after all」
The actual『presentation』…would take three hours at longest. And yet, the『stage practice』…would take more than twice.
「Then…of course, the the apprentices are all from good family so they’re not coming to the theater alone…!」
…I see Everyone has their guardian and escort coming with them.
「Therefore…even if we blend in with them, nobody would think it’s strange」
Minaho-neesan, Katsuko-nee, Margo-san, Nei-san, they look like they’ve been dispatched from some house… Megu, Mana, Michi…they look like friends of the apprentices. The problem would be Yukino and me.
「What do I look like?」
I asked honestly. I don’t look like guard at all… That said, I don’t have the character of being a friend of a famous person.
「What is Yoshida-kun to Misuzu-san?」
Margo-san asked with a smile,
I am Misuzu’s『man』
「Walk with your chest puffed out and with dignity…otherwise, it would be rude to Misuzu-san」
…Right. I don’t need to care about what the people around me think. There’s a『bond』between Misuzu and me …That’s enough.
「Well, you feel like a rich kid more than you think so don’t worry」
Margo-san looked at my appearance then said.
「That suit is tailored nicely, Katsuko-san’s repair is perfect too. You’ve got shoes prepared too, right?」 「Yes」
This suit is Minaho-neesan’s grandfather’s suit, Katsuko-nee fixed it to my size. The leather shoes, and the Y-shirt were prepared before I noticed. Katsuko-nee, thanks.
「Well…the hall’s already filled with people…aside from the performers’ attendant attendant, the people from Kouzuki Security service would be in swarm too. You don’t have to mind it so much Your identity is checked by Kouzuki security service so your status is guaranteed」
「But,there were only three people in front of the gate, right?」 「Well, if there are are a lot of them…it would be exposed that important people gather here today. That’s unpleasant to the eye. The big names mind that kind of thing. Actually, I think that there’s a group gathered around the gate when something goes wrong」 「Then, the easy check we saw…」 「That’s only a pretense. When the inspector misbehaved, they purposely lead someone suspicious to wait. That way, they can see the attitude」
Suspicious people… I get the reason why on Kudou-papa. Were we that suspicious?…
「Normally…when a person like that comes at such time, it’ll be shut-out completely. In an assembly like today…the mass media, journalist…or, a spy, or a imposter who just want to get close to a famous person…those kind of people creep in the venue somehow, they come in the gate one after another. The guards would be in a big problem…」
I see…the cast and the attendants are supposed to be at the venue by 1:00. If a man comes at such an unfinished time, it can’t be helped to be thought as suspicious.
「Also…Kouzuki Security Service’s Director Yamaoka came out immediately right? He’s watching over a security camera」
Speaking of which, he did.
「Actually, they’re making second and third checks at the same time」
「Therefore…Viola’s staff won’t disappear in this hall…so be at ease」
Margo-san smiled at me.
「But…the theater has a lot of people working there. If they disguise as a cleaner, or a restaurant staff…」
Margo-san laughs at my worry.
「Yoshida-kun…this is the『National theatr』 Security towards that is thorough」 「…Is that so?」 「Today, this reserved by『Konpeki class』…the stalls and restaurant are on a day off. Then, the staff in the theater and clean up, and lighting, are all people arranged by Kouzuki security service」 「…Eh?」 「…The people from the upper class like to go to the theaters quite often. Watching from the audience or their children on the stage. Therefore…Kouzuki security service has a department which holds staff that does theater work」
Everyone’s from Kouzuki security service.
「In a genuine professional drama, opera or musical, staff for sounds and lighting that are not professional won’t do but…if it’s Japanese traditional dance presentation, Kouzuki security service can do it」
Margo-san told me.
「That’s why, as long as you’re inside the theater, you don’t have to worry about Viola」
…Is that so? Let’s put Cesario Viola’s raid on the corner of my mind for the time being… Let’s concentrate on another problem for now. …In short. …Misuzu. Misuzu’s grandfather, Kouzuki『Kakka』… As expected, he’s not here yet… …Also. Today, Misuzu’s『fiance』will come too…
Margo-san and I aren’t getting off the car so Mana knocked on the window of Maserati with a worried face.
「…Oh, I’m getting off」
I forced a smile and open the passenger seat’s door. Minaho-neesan, Nei-san, Megu and Michi are already outside of the car. Katsuko-nee and Yukino too. I get off the Maserati in a hurry. …Hm?
Megu asks me
「Nei-san and Margo-san are wearing the same shoes」
Both of them are wearing the similar leather black shoes. Low heels…
「Oh, it’s easier for us to move with this…we focus on functionality」 「That’s right, you can easily run when something happens!」
Both of them looked at each other and smiled.
「This is a custom design. It’s made according to the shape of our feet!」 「This also has the latest sports shoes tech. They look like normal leather shoes however」 「…Hee」 「Kudou-san’s shoes is the same, isn’t it?」
Margo-san asks Michi.
「Yes…is it easy to know?」
Michi answered calmly.
「We first look at the shoes when we meet the people from the same profession」 「…Why?」
When I ask…
「Yoshida-kun, take a look at the people’s shoes. You’ll immediately understand…!」
Minaho-neesan told me.
For the time being…I take a look at Michi’s shoes again.
Unlike ordinary leather shoes…it’s not flat?
「Yes. My shoes are for combat. The sole isn’t made with leather but with rubber. Furthermore, since my combat is limited to urban areas…this isn’t a military sole but a custom-made special sole pattern」 「We’re the same!」
Nei-san whos me her shoe sole. It looks like ordinary clean leather shoes but…the sole looks like jogging shoes.
「This is fine with asphalt and concrete but…it’s a problem since it doesn’t grip on slippery linoleum or even waxed wooden floor. The rubber shoe sole itself is special made. Because of that, the decrease is also fast…」
Margo-san taught me.
「The shoe sole Kudou-san’s wearing right now has the same material from what we’re using before I think. Want to test the bottom of the rubber? If you’d like then I’ll introduce the workman doing ours…!」 「Thank you very much」
So specialist guards thinks this much on their shoes.
「Now, it’s about time we go」
Minaho-neesan calls out everyone… We head to the theater from the parking lot.
◇ ◇ ◇
Kouzuki security service guards were standing even at the entrance of the theater but they let us through without saying anything. It seems that all of the guards already know about us.
Misuzu came to meet us in the wide lobby. Misuzu’s wearing a Yukata for practice.
「I’ve been waiting!」
Misuzu comes near me.
「Yuzuki-sama…everyone, thank you for coming today」
Misuzu bows to everyone.
「We’ve arrived a bit early. Sorry」
「Everyone’s my『family』so don’t mind it」
In short…we’re formally registered as Misuzu’s『attendant』 With this, we won’t have any problem before the theater opens… Looking around the lobby…girls in Yukata here and there are practicing independently. Each of the girl has a guard around them.
「…Does Misuzu have anyone from her house coming with her?」
When I asked her.
「Father and my parents will be here at the opening time but…?」 「No, not that…I’m talking about guards」
「Everyone from the Kouzuki security service…!」
I-I see. True, Kouzuki security service are tasked to guard the『Symposium』today… In the first place, the people from Kouzuki house would be the top priority… They even made Yamaoka who’s the head of guards, there’s no need for anyone else…
「Also…Michi has returned」
Michi stands before Misuzu.
「…I’ll return to guarding Misuzu-sama」 「Please… Michi」
he guard exclusive to Misuzu returned to her duty.
「Then, I’ll be having a chat with director Yamaoka…!」
Minaho-neesan told us. Information exchange with Kouzuki security service. But…I don’t think director Yamaoka has any information we want to know. Minaho-neesan said that it’s a『chat』
「Katsuko, Margo, come with me」 「Yes, Ojou-sama」 「Nei…go with Yoshida-kun and others」 「Roger!」
Nei-san jokingly salutes to Minaho-neesan. From a distance, Minaho-neesan looks Misuzu’s guard…and Nei-san’s a subordinate.
「I think you know it already but don’t approach windows. There might be a guy on a lens」
Margo-san said worriedly.
「It’s fine! I know it already…!」 「Then…Yoshida-kun, take care of them」
The ladies along with Minaho-neesan went to the headquarters.
From the entrance of the lobby, a girl carrying a cart calls Misuzu
「What’s wrong, Kanako-san?」 「Could you help us if you’re free? The pamphlets to be distributed to the guests today on the rehearsal hall has arrived but we have to fold it into two」 「Okay, I’m coming…!」
So the apprentices work on this. They’re making preparations during the breaks from the stage rehearsal.
Megu calls Misuzu.
「Could you let us help out too?」
「…Is that okay?」 「Well, aren’t we…Misuzu-san’s『family』?」
Misuzu and Megu looked at each other…then, smiled.
「Then, please…!」 「I-I’ll help out too!」
「Yukino-san will be helping out too!」
Mana told her sister sadistically. Yukino’s just silent all the time.
「Now, let’s go」
Michi stands behind Yukino then forced her to move forward. We head to the girl with the cart.
「Hello, I’m Horaguchi Kanako」
The very mature and elegant girl bows her head to us. This person is perhaps a lady from a good family too.
「Everyone…are you Misuzu-san’s relative?」
「Yes, that’s right」
She answered clearly while smiling.
「Hello, I’m Yoshida Mana…!」
Mana greeted loudly.
「Y-Yoshida Megumi…nice to meet you」
Rivalling Mana…Megu also introduced herself as『Yoshida』
「I’m Yoshida Nei! Nice to meet you!」
Nei-san too… No, is this okay? Since we’ve got Cesario Viola’s case…we shouldn’t give out our real name.
「Are you all sisters?」
Kanako-san asks in surprise.
Nei-san happily lied…
「Ah, that one’s different!」
Mana points at her sister. …Err …What should I do? It’s bad if the name『Shirasaka』appears here… As expected, people from Shirasaka family won’t be coming after the fuss they made yesterday… In a place where it’s only celebrities…If someone calls themselves『Shirasaka』, everyone would think that it’s related to『Shirasaka house』 Then, when I’m hesitating…
「This person is Kishima KurokoYellow Stripe Black Dress…!」
Michi said. Wait…Michi Isn’t that just how she looks…!
Yukino greets Kanako-san. Then, can’t be helped. Yukino’s 『Kishima Kuroko』here…
「Kishima-san’s quite an oddball so don’t mind her! She’s lived in foreign countries for long!」
「She’s a returnee?」
Kanako-san asks Nei-san…
「Yes, she is…she’s been living in the republic of Val Verde1 for ten years until last year!」
Where is that place?
「…Then, This one’s Kuromori Kounosuke-san」
Michi points at me and said. …W-Why? But…it would be strange to deny it here… Michi doesn’t look like she’d say a joke… Hey, can’t be helped.
I bow my head.
「Kanako-san’s father is Horaguchi Fumiya an actor」
Misuzu introduced her.
「Is that so?! My father’s a fan!」
Megu speak out loudly. My father…she means her foster father.
「Thank you very much」
Kanako-san seems to be used to this kind of reaction.
「Oh, is that so? I also look at Horaguchi-san’s movies」
Even Nei-san said that so he must be a famous actor. I don’t know about him though… I hardly watch television nor movies…
「Kanako-san…how old are you right now?」
「Fifteen years old…I’m on my third year in middle school」
Eh…she’s that young? She’s very mature so I thought she’s at the same age as Misuzu.
「I’m 18 years old but I’m in second year in high school. Don’t ask why」
Nei-san said with a laugh
「This girl, him and me are in first year high school」
Megu points at Yukino and me then said
「I’m in second year middle school! You’re 15 years old so you’re in the same year as Kudou-san, right?」
Misuzu-san’s in second year high school… Ages from 14 to 18 have gathered.
「Then, shall we all work on this pamphlet?」
Misuzu who’s the oldest speaks.
「How many is it?」 「3500 copies」
Wow…that’s a lot.
「With this number, we’ll be finished immediately」
「Where should we work?」
「Saito-san said that the desk there will do」
Looking at it…there are several desks for reception lined up.
Mana and Megu runs in short steps then heads to the desk.
「Hey, Kuroko, come here!」
As usual, Mana’s harsh with her sister. Placing the pamphlets on the table…
「We only have to fold it into two, right?」 「Yes, that will do」 「Will there be a fold-in tuck today?」 「Yes. From what I’ve heard…Yoshinaga-san’s starring stage…Emiko-chan’s movie will be inserted it seems. There might be others however」 「Should we do that too?」 「Ah, Yoshinaga-san and Emiko-san have their managers take care of it and they seem to fold it themselves. It won’t arrive until 5 o’clock」
As expected of the class of Konpeki style. There are apprentices who are doing business entertainment related. Then…
「Kanako-san! It’s about time for your『stage rehearsal』!」
Another girl in Yukata comes from the stage.
「Eh, Manami-chan? I thought my turn shouldn’t be coming yet…!」 「Mayumi-chan and Toshiko-chan’s dance took more time than expected…Akira-san’s『Dojiji』2was decided to be postponed Therefore, Kanako-san and my『light adjustment』is moved ahead…grandmother said」 「『Light adjustment』…shouldn’t we be wearing proper costumes?!」 「That’s right. It seems that they have to check the color adjustment. Make-up is okay so you have to wear your costume as is」
Misuzu interrupts the conversation of the two…
「Kanako-san, go ahead…we’ll be taking care of this」 「Sorry…Misuzu-san」 「Don’t mind it. Once we’re finished folding this…is it fine to leave it on the desk?」 「Yes, Saito-san will be taking care of it later」 「Got it」 「…Then, I’m sorry」
Kanako-san goes to the girl who called her.
「Thank you Misuzu-san…the others too, thank you」
The other girl bowed at us. Then, the girls in Yukata headed to the dressing room.
「It’s hard to run when you’re wearing kimono!」
Nei-san said while looking at the girls running in short steps, worried about the hem of their skirt.
「The one that just came is Manami-san…the headmaster’s granddaughter」
Misuzu said while taking out a bunch of pamphlets.
「What should we do with this/」
Megu asks Misuzu.
「This one will be the cover so please fold it here」 「Un, got it…」
Each of us put down a pamphlet and started folding. Yukion’s the only one who’s staring at the pamphlet placed in front of her.
「Hey, Kuroko-san…you shouldn’t stop your hands from working!」
Mana told her then finally, Yukino started working.
「By the way…Michi. Why am I『Kuromori Kounosuke』?」
I asked while folding the pamphlet.
「I thought that it would be strange for Kuroko-san being the only not a Yoshida」
True…it would be strange of everyone apart from Yukino are from the same house. Four siblings…
「Also…that’s what’s embroidered in the suit you’re wearing right now」
…Eh? I look inside my suit. True…there’s an embroidered『Kuromori Kounosuke』in gold thread inside the pocket. This suit is originally owned by Minaho-neesan’s grandfather…
「Well done noticing it…Michi」
I’m surprised at Michi’s observation power. …Then
「My my…what are you doing at this place?」
Suddenly…I heard a voice.
「I don’t think a prostitute and their family is suited to come to this place…!」
The source of voice filled with malice…!
1. Val Verde is a fictional country or city used by Hollywood writer and producer Steven E. de Souza when his stories require a South- or Central-American locale that will not cause legal or diplomatic problems. The location first appeared in his 1985 film Commando. ↩ 2. Dōjōji is a famous Noh play of the fourth category (“miscellaneous”), of unknown authorship. Traditionally it is said to be written by Kan’ami and revised by Zeami, while others assign it to Kanze Nobumitsu; there are many variations in different texts, and a popular adaptation for kabuki theatre. It is practically the only Noh play to use a substantial prop — a huge bell.