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Chapter 236 : Naked heart

Misuzu holding a bouquet embraces me on the stage.
The whole theater fell silent.
Everyone doesn’t know how to respond.
The audience gaze concentrated on Kouzuki『Kakka』who’s on the second floor seat./

「…Danna-sama, please embrace me tightly」

Misuzu whispers to me…
Misuzu is widely announcing the『fiance』set by『Kakka』
Nobody knows who the『fiance』before…
Therefore…the audience are imagining two cases in this situation.

Case 1: I’m Misuzu’s『fiance』…and this performance is to show me off
Case 2: Misuzu’s going against『Kakka’s』will…and she tried to make it an established fact that she has a lover other than her『fiance』

But…Case 1 can’t be true.
There must be nobody among the spectators think that I’m Misuzu’s『fiance』
I’m not someone who has a good blood lineage that suits『Kakka’s』eyes…
I’m stupid…just a while ago, I did an act that disturbed the place
Among the people in this hall…I’m someone who didn’t follow the rule of the upper class people.
Such a dangerous and stupid man…there’s no way Kouzuki『Kakka』would entrust his treasured granddaughter to him.
…Besides.
If Misuzu’s『fiance』is in this place…he’s supposed to be among the elite young men『Kakka』educates personally.
Actually…the true『fiance』Shiba Takahiko is in there.

「…W-w-w-w-w-w-what’s going on?!」

A shout coming from the second floor seats.
The handsome boy with an intellectual looking glasses is stunned.
Yup…as expected, elite people are weak to sudden accidents.
He’s named as Misuzu’s『fiance』 he must be thinking that he’s already a life winner by 20 years old.
…Sorry but,
Misuzu’s mine.
I’ll never give her to you.
I embraced Misuzu strongly.
…The hall remains silent.
Kouzuki『Kakka』is looking down at us expressionlessly.
Nobody would react without knowing how『Kakka』will move.
Far from booing or making a fuss…everyone’s just paying attention to『Kakka』holding their breath.
Minaho-neesan too…they’re not moving.
If it’s discovered that I’m a member of『Kuromori』here…it would be bad
Megu and Mana are just silently watching the stage.
…Then.
Clap…a sound of applause.
…It’s not from the audience seat.
The sound can be heard from the stage side.
Ruriko-san who just finished her turn appeared on the stage.
She’s smiling…
She’s applauding Misuzu and me…
Following…Yoshiko-san.
The clapping sound became two.
After that…from the audience seat as well.
It’s Nei-san.
The world doesn’t know that Nei-san’s in『Kuromori』…she’s applauding us with a full smile on her face.
Joining the applause…Megu, Mana, and Michi.
Margo-san too.
Yukino’s looking at us with a stunned expression.
The other spectators are puzzled.
Ruriko-san walked towards us without hesitation.

「…Ruriko’s impressed by Misuzu-oneesama’s courage」

She told Misuzu.
I…

「…Misuzu」
「Yes, Danna-sama」

Misuzu looks up.

「Can you share your flower with Ruriko-san?」

When it comes to this…
What I want to do…No, I thought I’d do everything that I should do
Misuzu noticed my aim right away.

「Yes…Danna-sama」

Smiling…she presented the bouquet of roses to me
I pulled out a flower from that.

「Ruriko-san…here」

I offered a rose to Ruriko-san in front of the big crowd.

「Uhm…Me too?」

Ruriko-san’s surprised.

「Ruriko-san practiced really hard…so you can dance on this stage today, didn’t you?」

I said clearly.

「The elementary school girls got flowers from practicing hard…I think it would be strange if Ruriko-san doesn’t get any flower from anyone…」

Misuzu follows up.
Misuzu also pulled one flower…

「Please take one from me too」

…Ruriko-san.
She received the two flowers from Misuzu and me.

「It’s my first time in my life accepting flowers like this…」

Ruriko-san smiles.

「Thank you very much. Onee-sama…Onii-sama…!」

Ruriko-san called me『Onii-sama』in front of the audience
Kouzuki『Kakka’s』granddaughters…the successors of Kouzuki house.
The daughter of the eldest son…Ruriko-san.
The daughter of the second son…Misuzu.
There are no other successors of Kouzuki house.
The two granddaughters who pretended to be fighting for succession because of『Kakka』is getting along well.
Ruriko-san has also shown and accepted me as Misuzu’s lover.
The ripple of unrest spreads in the theater.

…Clap clap clap clap.

An applause occurs once again.
It was『Kakka』
『Kakka’s』clapping at us
His face is still expressionless.
Perhaps…he’s violently angry at Misuzu and me.
But…for him to applause here…
『Kakka』is thinking that he has to show the depth of his tolerance.
The elite people around『Kakka』also joins in the applause.
As expected, Shiba Takahiko’s not joining in.
Everyone’s making a sour face.
For them, I’m an outrageous outlaw.
This man is making a move on Misuzu and Ruriko-san.
Normally, it’s an act absolutely unacceptable for a man with a status like me…
But…just to smooth this atmosphere…
In order to not be crushed by『Kakka』and Kouzuki house…they reluctantly clap their hands.
That applause continued to the percent of the people in the venue.
A mindless applause happens just to follow Kouzuki house.
A percent of them are dumbfounded…
The remaining people pretended they didn’t see anything or think about the future.
This is the adult’s…the world of the upper-class?
In that situation…only Nei-san and Megu and girls are continuing their sincere applause.

「…Onii-sama, you really are a courageous one」

Ruriko-san said while looking at the two roses

「It’s not…Ruriko-san. It’s not courage」

Misuzu tells Ruriko-san.

「This is love」

Looking at her own bouquet…Misuzu speaks.
Ruriko-san shows a「?」face

「…Please return soon. The program will be hindered if you stay here」

Yoshiko-san tells us
Right…Manami-san and the headmaster has to dance…

「Un…you’re right」

I tried to get off the stage in a hurry.
But…Misuzu doesn’t let go of my hand.

「Danna-sama…don’t go there」

I-I see…
It would be bad if I return back to the audience.
The spectators will notice Megu and others…
It’ll become impossible to join back with Minaho-neesan.,

「Let’s go to the side together」
「Got it」

Misuzu pulled my hand and we went to the stage side.
Ruriko-san and Yoshiko-san too…
After we left, the stage assistants prepare for the next dance in panic.
The next dancer…the granddaughter of the headmaster, Manami-san’s already in standby.

「I’m sorry, Manami-san…I’ve disturbed the atmosphere」

Misuzu apologizes to Manami-san.

「It’s okay…please don’t mind it」

Even though it’s her turn…Manami-san smiled at us with a soft expression.

「Rather than that…I’m moved. Your beloved has come and you jumped on his chest. I envy you. Misuzu-san, please be happy…!」

…Manami-san?

「Manami also can’t decide her own marriage partner on her own…」

…I see. Her too.
She’s forced to marry against her will for the sake of Konpeki school?

「Don’t assume that it is your fate…」

Misuzu said.

「I’ve always thought of the same thing. That I have no choice but to live in the condition set by my Grandfather… But, I’m mistaken」

Misuzu’s seriousness is being conveyed to Manami-san.
On the side, Ruriko-san is listening to the conversation of the two.

「Then…I can’t be happy」

Misuzu’s happiness.

「Even if the house is peaceful…I…there’s no meaning if I’m not happy. We are all born to be happy after all」

…Misuzu.

「Therefore…love and courage. If you have to se two, no matter what happens, you’ll be able to live happily…!」

Manami-san’s body trembles.

「You’re right, Misuzu-san…I must not just arbitrarily decide that the it’s inevitable because it’s my fate」

Manami-san smiles.

「Love and courage to be happy…Manami has learned something. Thank you very much」

Manami-san shows a refreshed look…Ruriko-san’s face isn’t clear.

「Manami-san…please」

The stage assistant talks to Manami-san.

「Yes…I’m coming right away!」

Manami-san turned back to Misuzu and Ruriko-san.

「I’m going…Manami will dance with her best. With love and courage…!」

Then…Manami-san heads to the stage.

   ◇ ◇ ◇

We watch Manami-san’s dance from the stage side.
Then…everything has gone away.
At the moment she started dancing…she grasped the hear of the audience.
After thirty seconds…everyone’s concentrated on Manami-san’s dance.
Nobody’s thinking about Misuzu and me anymore.
No…they can’t think.
The dance of the future head…is on a completely different level from the disciples of the class.
Until earlier, I thought that I can see the person’s nature by watching their dance.
Every Japanese traditional dance has it’s own story.
The dancer is playing the character in the story.
Even though they should be dancing as someone not themselves…
For some reason, you could see through the dancer.
Yoshiko-san’s dance…and the current Yoshiko-san…
Ruriko-san and the current Ruriko-san
Misuzu’s dance and the current Misuzu’s mind and body…
They’re exposed…
The more they perform…as if taking of their clothing piece by piece…
The mind and body of the dancer has become naked.
As for Misuzu’s dance…I see a naked Misuzu.
Therefore…I thought that she’s expressing her naked mind and body.
But…looking at Manami-san’s dance…
That thought of mine is a mistake.

「Our dance only passes as an amateur’s practice…」

Misuzu mutters.

「Manami-san will become a first class Japanese dancer…」

Manami-san on the stage.
She’s completely nude at once…
After revealing Manami-san’s nature…
She has dressed as the person in the story expressed by dancing.

「Everyone’s wearing『clothes』on top of their true nature」

Misuzu said.

「On their naked self…they wear clothes that would『make them dominate socially』or『I’d like to look good in front of everyone』so they wear『clothes』to hide their heart. Dressing up that way…it’s our usual appearance of concealing our true self」

…Un

「When trying to express something…the fake『clothes』get in the way. Wearing those clothes for your daily life, you become a creature that must act one’s expression on top of wearing『clothes』 But, just by wearing it…you can’t express yourself freely anymore」

While Manami’s dancing seriously…Ruriko-san’s also listening to Misuzu’s talk.

「Therefore…the headmaster told us『When you’re dancing, you must release your mind and body first. You should take off all of the fake clothing you usually wear』」

You can see it well when you’re watching from the stage side.
Manami-san’s completely holding the atmosphere of the theater.
Manami-san’s『Qi』…and all of the audience have their『Qi』concentrate and matches with Manami-san.
The weight of the stage is equal to the weigh of the audience.
The dance of the girl swallows hearts of this many people.

「We’re still inexperienced…our hands are already filled by just taking it off. But, Manami-san’s a genuine dancer…she can take everything off, get naked…and wear the 『clothes』of the person she has to act…!」

That’s right.
The dancing Manami-san right now can’t be seen as Manami-san at all.
I can only think of her as a completely different person from the one we talked to just a while ago.
No…she’s not a girl living in the modern day Japan…
The story of the dance…is a woman living in the ancient era.
A very attractive person from the first time you see her.
It’s not Manami-san…it’s a charming woman dancing on the stage.

「I also want to dance like that」

Ruriko-san said

「I want to become…not myself」

…Oh
As expected…
She’s suffering from the life forced to be the daughter of Kouzuki house.
Just like the former Misuzu

「…It depends on Ruriko-san」

Misuzu said.

「I have changed. No…nothing has essentially changed. I have taken off my false『clothing』…and Danna-sama has accepted the naked Misuzu」

Misuzu said…Ruriko-san turns around

「I’m always naked in front of Danna-sama. It feels very pleasant. I won’t let go…!」

Misuzu cuddles to me.

「And…Danna-sama as well. Danna-sama is someone who’s always naked in front of anyone at anytime. I love that part of him…!」

Misuzu rubs her cheeks on my chest.
Ruriko-san didn’t reply…
Her face shows she’s thinking…
After that, she returned her eyes to Manami-san’s dance…
Manami-san’s expressive dance that goes beyond space and time continues
…Before long.
Just like the flow of water…
Without any stagnation…Manami-san’s dance ended.
At the moment Manami-san bows to give thanks…
The hall was filled with thunderous applause.
…Un
The event with Misuzu and me was completely blown away.
Manami-san’s has small children bringing her bouquet.
Since young men didn’t come…she’s on the same situation as Misuzu and Ruriko-san, she’s not allowed to freely mingle with men.
Holding the bouquet, Manami-san once again thanked the audience.
A big applause happens in the theater again.
Pushed by the cheers…Manami-san comes back to the stage side.

「That was wonderful…Manami-san」

Misuzu praises Manami-san…

「It’s love and courage…Misuzu-san’s words has cut off something」

She said and laughed

「You danced carefree more than usual. It was a good dance but don’t be conceited」

Turning back tot he voice…The headmaster of Konpeki school, Konpeki Nadeshiko-sensei stands wearing her costume.
Right, for the conclusion of today’s event…
The head will be dancing after this

「Yes…grandmother」

Manami-san lowers her head to her grandmother

「…Nadeshiko-sensei. I’m very sorry for making a fuss」

Misuzu apologizes to the headmaster.

「My…did anything happen?」

Nadeshiko-sensei plays dumb

「I might not be able to attend the class anymore…」

…Misuzu
She’s prepared to be chased out of Kouzuki house after invoking『Kakka’s』wrath…
I hold Misuzu’s hand softly

「Thank you for everything up until now. I won’t forget Sensei’s kindness」

Misuzu’s not thinking about the possibility that I’ll be forcibly separated from her by『Kakka』
Whatever happens…I know that she intends to be by my side.
Nadeshiko-sensei…

「Misuzu-san…the wafuku’s kimono is structured to envelop the human body, isn’t it?」
「…Yes?」

Misuzu’s puzzled from the sudden words of the headmaster.

「When dancing, the dancer gets distracted by the state of their bodies but…the guests can only see the body line of the dancer wearing the Kimono」

The headmaster smiles.

「Therefore…try to devise and dance showing the kimono line clearly. Then…concentrate on the thumb of your foot when turning. Think of it as an axis…」
「…Nadeshiko-sensei」
「There’s no need to stop…let’s see. Suppose that happens, you can pay for the tuition when you succeed in life. From now on, come to practice like usual. You have danced so much already, it would be a waste to stop」

Nadeshiko-sensei said.…

「T-Thank you very much」

Misuzu’s moved…
Ruriko-san, Yoshiko-san…Manami-san too

「You…what’s your name?」

The headmaster looks at me.

「…Kuromori」

I have no choice but to answer that

「Please help Misuzu-san okay…」
「Yes, I’ll make her happy!」

At that moment…it seems that setting the stage has finished.

「Then…I’ll be going」

Watching the young disciples…Nadeshiko-sensei heads to the stage…
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