「Yes. You don’t have to. I will leave this house and will live with Danna-sama after all…!」 「Then…what do you intend to do?」 「As discussed earlier…I will live with Danna-sama at Nagisa-sama’s house. I will enter Tokyo University and become a national bureaucrat. When grandfather’s no longer healthy…then everyone from Kouzuki clan will need me. I only have to endure for ten years. I will leave Kouzuki house for ten years. Then, I can be with Ruriko-san again…!」 「Are you saying that you’ll just wait for me to age?!」 「…Grandfather, you seem to not understand, do you?」
Misuzu glares at her grandfather with strong eyes.
「Grandfather’s already old enough」 「Misuzu…do you understand what you’re saying…!」
Nagisa whispers to Mao-chan.
「Look, Mao…do that!」 「Okaay~」
Mao-chan goes in between the two and shouts!
「Noo! Fighting is a no-go…!!!」
The two were dumbfounded by the intrusion of the cute little girl.
「Really…your personalities are alike」
Nagisa looks at the grandfather-granddaughter and said.
「Strongly obstinate…always trying to stand in the superior position…yet, both of you are quick-witted…so it becomes an endless argument…!」
『Kakka』looks at Nagisa.
「Misuzu wasn’t a child like that before. She’s bright, gentle, and a docile child. This is because she went to your place. She has turned to such a audacious daughter…!」
Misuzu protests against her grandfather.
「I’m a girl like this since a long time! I can’t show the real me to anyone until I went to Nagisa-sama’s place! Nagisa-sama and Danna-sama has accepted me as I am」
The last phrase was in tearful voice.
「I was finally able to say what I think freely!…I’m already tired playing the『good girl』just to please grandfather and the whole clan…!」
…Misuzu Misuzu embraces me tightly.
「This man has accepted me as I am. I’m able to expose everything in front of him. No matter what I do…as long as Misuzu is Misuzu, he will smile and embrace me! I’ll never let go of him!」
I rub Misuzu’s back.
「…Calm down…I’m here with you. It’ll be fine…」 「…Danna-sama」
Nagisa speaks to『Kakka』
「Misuzu’s heart is too gentle, and she’s too smart…she’s always been acting as the daughter Kouzuki-sama and everyone around wants. Always holding down her emotions, enduring. You did well…Misuzu」 「…Nagisa-sama」 「But…Kouzuki-sama knows that he’s forcing Misuzu that much. Therefore…you let her come to me」
「Yes…I thought that you could heal Misuzu’s broken heart. I trusted your power. And yet…you betrayed my expectations and handed her to a man…!」
「Oh…after she met him, Misuzu’s worry in her heart have all been resolved. What Misuzu really needs isn’t a『woman』like me but a『man』like him…!」
Nagisa looks at me.
「That man is just deceiving her. Furthermore, isn’t that man a『Kuromori』…!」 「Though he’s a『Kuromori』…he has joined in just recently, he’s not involved in any business of Kuromori, Kouzuki-sama has already investigated that, have you not…?」 「…Ugu」
It seems that it’s a bull’s-eye Just as Nagisa said…I am not related to do with any of the main business of『Kuromori』at all. Of course, I’m no male prostitute either.
「He’s just a normal high school student1 A normal boy…!」 「That ‘normal’ is a problem…for Kouzuki house…!」
Misuzu shouts at grandfather.
「Misuzu needs this man!」
Oh, we’re going back in circles. If this continues, we can’t make any progress…
Nagisa speaks with a suppressed voice.
「Does it feel that frustrating that this boy has stolen Misuzu…?」
「”For Kouzuki house”…it’s all an excuse isn’t it? 『Kakka』just wants to have his granddaughter under his control forever, right? And yet, Misuzu found a man you don’t know, and she’ll become independent, that’s why『Kakka’s』in panic…!」
「…Am I such a small guy?」 「Humans are obsessed when it comes to their blood relative…especially when it’s their dear granddaughter…!」
Misuzu opens her eyes wide.
Nagisa talks to Misuzu.
「Think about Kouzuki-sama’s feelings too…Misuzu has seen only one side of『Kakka』」 「…Nagisa-sama, what do you mean by that?」 「I’ve been entertaining various famous family heads you know? That’s why I know them well. When it’s just the two of us, those kind of people speak their grumble to me…」
Nagisa was once the most popular prostitute of『Kuromori』
「Of course…I’ve heard a lot of Kouzuki-sama’s grumble too」 「Hey, you…!」
「Do not worry. It’s not that I will speak it from my mouth…but, Misuzu, try imagining it for a bit」
Nagisa gently looks at Misuzu’s eyes…
「Earlier…you said that you’ve always been in pain to keep acting as a『good girl』to meet the expectations of your surroundings, didn’t you?」 「…Yes」 「Do you think you’re the only one who feel that pain?」
Misuzu looks at Ruriko-san
「…No. I’m sure that Ruriko-san feels the same. Everyone in the Kouzuki house’s bloodline…!」
Ruriko-san nods at what Misuzu said.
「…Is it only Ruriko-san?」 「…Eh?」
Misuzu’s surprised. Nagisa laughs.
「Kouzuki-sama as well…he’s making such a gallant face but…he also had a childhood. The eldest son of Kouzuki head house…when he was a child」
Misuzu’s taken aback.
「When Kouzuki-sama was young, the society is also different form now…I think that he grew up in a much harsher environment than what you have experienced…」 「…Grandfather?」
The two granddaughters look at their grandfather 『Kakka』…
「When I was young…there were still many old customs from the feudal perior. I was born as the eldest under the Kouzuki head family. I had two younger brothers and three younger sisters…I’ve always been eating on the same dinning room with only my father. My mother and younger siblings are eating in another room. I never had a good conversation with my siblings… The eldest son, the heir son is a special existence at that time…」
『Kakka』…keeps talking with a bitter expression.
「Even when the relatives gather…I am the only one sitting next to my father. Everyone around me are adults. I had to keep quiet so I don’t get in the way of the adults. Despite all that, I should be dignified and majestic. 『You must never laugh. You must never show your expressions. You must not show what’s in your mind』…My father often tells me. 『If you show a gap, there will be a lot of people who will try to rob Kouzuki house. The owner must be strong to be able to protect the house from such evil』…」
I don’t get that kind of life. But…I understand that『Kakka』has spent his boyhood in solitude.
「The work of the famous house’s head doesn’t change since the old times. It’s adjusting the interests inside and outside the house. Making the vassals be relieved, gaining absolute trust from your allies…be a ruthless and formidable opponent to the enemy. Above all, fairness is required. An unfair leader will be killed by the vassals. The head who’s not meeting the expectations is pushed into confinement and is made to die in resentment. There’s a lot of them in the long history of Kouzuki family. The vassal judge those whose mind and body is weak, those who are egoistic, those who are negligent and they’re banished in the darkness. Because of that system…『Kouzuki』house has remained until the present age. A thousand years…is a very long time you see…」
From the aristocracy dynasty in Kyoto…a noble after Meiji Era…a leading family surviving the post war distudbance. 『Kouzuki house』…has preserved themselves like that?
「Do you know what is the『Fairness』wanted by the vassals? It’s not just merely giving a suitable reward for those who do good at work. It is to give a thorough punishment to a traitor. And…If there’s a weakened enemy in front of you…you have to mercilessly slaughter. The vassals are greedy…therefore the head must show more greed than the vassals. It’s ruthless greed. Their head is an aggressive one therefore it’s possible to satisfy the greediness of the vassals…」
…That means 『Kakka』has to act such a personality to be the owner of Kouzuki family? No, it’s not…in case of『Kakka』 『Kakka』needed to have a personality of a person requested by the surroundings.
「In a sense…I’ve lived to suit my own convenience as I wanted. Lives of people have changed for better or for worse. To make the world and the vassal think as such…」
Misuzu and Ruriko-san listen to their grandfather’s talk seriously. Of course, me too… Seki-san and Fujimiya-san as well…
「However, in a different sense…I wasn’t allowed to do as I like. Even if it looks selfish…all of my actions are a norm of Kouzuki house’s head’s『fairness』 To influence the lives of people…I have to continue living for the best of the『house』 I keep『adjusting』in『fairness』as my vassals seek. I have to put a ruthless, and cruel, fearful『man of power』… !」
「No. I enjoyed it. I had fun with this living. Living as the head of Kouzuki house…this solitude…!」
『Kakka』looks at Misuzu.
「Just like Shiba’s son earlier…I’ve gathered the children of the subordinates and the clan to『educate』… The parents offer their children to me as hostages. In exchange…they all think that someday they can get a important position in Kouzuki group. It’s an outrageous story. To be honest…I think that it’s unbearable for those young men to take my precious time…」 「Then, why have you gathered them?」
「it can’t be helped…That’s what Kouzuki house seeks」
「Ruriko’s father…though he’s supposed to be my successor, he doesn’t have a strong personality. If he becomes the head, the house will be divided. The current Kouzuki house is divided into the branch family and vassals from old groups, someone who’s a rising power becoming a new vassal since the last 30 years…in short, it’s divided into Shiba-kun’s group. Ruriko’s father can’t resolve the conflict in between the two groups. Rather…both groups will use him and destroy the authority of Kouzuki head family」
『Kakka』briefly speaks about the problem inside the Kouzuki house
「Therefore…I cannot retire and stay as a strong leader. I have gathered the children from both groups under the pretext of education…I know that whatever shape of the issue is, it can be cancelled anyway. If it’s the level of their sons, the old faction and the emerging factions are already gone. The friends they can talk easily exceeds the framework of their parent’s generation. Of course…the first topic of the youngsters are their complaints about me. Even that can be a motive for their interaction. The mix of the children will be spreading to the parents soon. That’s what I’m aiming for…!」
Misuzu looks at her grandfather.
「Therefore…you engaged me with Shiba-san’s son, the top of the emerging rising group. And perhaps…Ruriko-san’s fiance is chosen from among the old faction…!
The grandfather answers.
「There’s no other way…that’s the only measure that can be done for Kouzuki clan’s harmony」
To save face of both groups…he engaged his two granddaughters with the sons of each factions. Misuzu’s 『fiance』is Shiba Takahiko…their age are close, and it’s considered that Shiba would be the face of the rising group. Ruriko-san is the eldest son’s daughter so she’ll be the face of the old faction. It was intended to wait until the two were adults until he announces Ruriko-san and Misuzu’s『fiance』
「Do you think that will happen?」
「Even if we gain time for now…don’t you think that Ruriko-san and my『fiance’s』can be used as a flag to intensify the conflict in between the two groups?」 「It may be. It may be not…that will depend on the steer of the future」
「No…Shiba Okitachi-san is ambitious so he’ll aim to rule the entire Kouzuki family…the harmony grandfather wants is impossible」
Misuzu analyzes. True…if the head of the conflicting group is going to resist tot he bitter end…then it’s useless on whatever conciliation policy used.
「Then…what would you do?」
「It’s easy…I’ll make Shiba-san’s group independent from Kouzuki house」 「…What?」 「The two factions on conflict wants to grab the leadership of all Kouzuki house’s companies, don’t they? Then we divide the Kouzuki house into two. Shiba-san’s just a stockholder in Kouzuki house so isn’t it better to leave all the management to Shiba-san?」 「Then…Shiba-kun will increase his stocks someday and lower the Kouzuki house’s shareholding ratio. The companies would be robbed by Shiba-kun」
The grandfather responds.
「That won’t happen. If Shiba-kun and Kouzuki house’s relationship is good…then there’s no need to bother to weaken the power of the good shareholders and attract another investor. Shiba-san himself doesn’t have the financial strength to buy the stocks… Shiba-san should hate to have a new ambitious investor pin down majority of the stock」 「But…if the Kouzuki enterprise is divided into two, an external force…」 「Since it’s ruled by the shares held…an external evaluation won’t change it. Grandfather said that you don’t want the Kouzuki group you have brought up and raised to become small even for just a bit, right? You just can’t agree that the extent of your influence will increase. In short, you’re just obsessed…!」
Misuzu’s words are harsh.
「Even if we make Shiba-san independent…the owner will remain as Kouzuki house. We’ll leave all of the management to Shiba-san but the profit are of course ours. If Shiba-san fails then he just have to resign as a matter of taking responsibility…he should have that resolution to become the manager of an enterprise」
Misuzu talks indifferently.
「Kouzuki house should stop the method of directly managing all of the companies under them. Let’s leave each of the company to the talented ones…we should change to that method」 「You…don’t understand. Business management is…」 「It’s already different from when grandfather was young…!」
Nagisa interrupts the debate of the grandfather and granddaughter.
「Okay~! That’s enough!」
The tense air in the room snaps off.
「You should keep debating about economy with your grandfather more!」
Nagisa tells Misuzu.
「Kouzuki-sama as well…you do now understand that Misuzu’s suitable as a successor, don’t you?」
I see…Nagisa’s purpose is… To create a place where Misuzu and『Kakka』can talk with each other frankly…
「You’re a disappointment as a woman…Misuzu. If you were a man…then I can retire at ease」 「Grandfather…in modern times, being a man or a woman doesn’t matter. There are a lot of women in the world’s political and economic world…!」
Misuzu objects her grandfather…
「Hmph!…Is there a female head in this current era? That’s right. I might’ve been thinking of the old standards of Japan…!」 「…Grandfather」 「But…your current insight in economics and corporate management still have ways to go…I will thoroughly teach you those…!」
…Does that mean?
「…Nagisa-kun is right. Misuzu’s personality is really similar to me」
Misuzu’s going to succeed Kouzuki house…?!
「Misuzu-oneesama…I will support Onee-sama!」
Ruriko-san said loudly.
「Onee-sama is the most suited to be grandfather’s successor…!」 「Thank you…Ruriko-san」
Misuzu faces her grandfather.
「Then, grandfather…please withdraw your nomination on Ruriko-san and my『fiance』…!」
She holds my hand tightly.
「I’m already this man’s『woman』…Ruriko-san should marry the man she likes as well…!」
「The concept of 『Close kin』is the strongest strategy in group formation in the past and even in the present.」 「But…we won’t happy with that」
Misuzu said clearly. The strength of her grip increases.
「I see…then it can’t be helped. I’ll let you free…」
He looks at Misuzu… Finally…『Kakka』yields to Misuzu.
「To be honest…I don’t understand what’s good with that man… It’s true that he changed Misuzu to『just a doll』to such a lively girl. I can tell his sincerity to Misuzu. It must be good for you to have a gentle and docile husband…」
Gentle and docile husband…me? Does he see me that way?
「Thank you very much grandfather」 「However…you have to do a proper wedding ceremony. If you plan to take over Kouzuki house, then you have to do that. I will attend it. I don’t mind if the political and financial parties line up…」 「Yes…of course」
I’m startled. I promised to marry Megu though… Eh?!…Marriage with Misuzu too?! Also…the political and business world…???!
Nagisa and Mao-chan… Or rather…is this okay for you Nagisa?
「Seki-san, Fujimiya-san…I think you two already know but do not leak this matter outside. I know your abilities and your loyalty to Kouzuki house. I’ll give you two my best regards in the future」
Misuzu speaks to them as the successor of the next generation of Kouzuki
Fujimiya-san answers immediately. Seki-san…
「M-M-M-Me too…I understand. I get it already…」
Seki-san’s confused by the fact that the next『successor』of Kouzuki house is decided in front of her eyes.
「I’ve always wanted the two of you to work under me. I would like you to be guards of Kouzuki family without any relation to the Kouzuki security service company…」
Misuzu wants the two of them to report directly to her?
Michi who’s silent all this time looks at Misuzu with lonely eyes.
「Don’t worry. It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with Michi’s work. We’ve got to grow our family, right? Michi will always be on our side so we have to increase our guards as well」
Misuzu smiles… Michi seems to be relieved…
「You don’t need to make a reply right away. We are currently being targeted by a criminal named Cesario Viola… After that matter has resolved…let’s talk again…is this favorable for grandfather as well?」 「Umu…it’s painful for the two to be taken out but…Misuzu’s guards in the future needs to have the skill. We can’t let something happen to the future head of Kouzuki family. I’ll ask you two as well…take a leave from Kouzuki security service for a while」
『Kakka』tells the two…
「Thank you for appointing me…!」 「Ah, me too…!」
Then, Fujimiya-san and Seki-san became Misuzu’s full time guards. The formal appointment will be later though…
「Now then…I feel sorry to ask but, could the two of you play with my child on the neighboring room?」
Nagisa tells Seki-san and Fujimiya-san
「…Nagisa-kun, what do you mean by that?」
「We’ll have a little ceremony with just the『family』!」
「Mama? Mao’s not family?」
「Mao-chan’s of course『family』but…Mao-chan is still small, and I think that Onii-chan would feel shy if Mao-chan is here. Therefore, please play with those ladies for now okay?」 「Eeeh~!」 「If you’ve grown bigger than I’ll also let Mao in too…I promise that」 「…Really?」 「Have mama ever lied to Mao?」 「…Never」 「Then it’s fine isn’t it? Believe your Mama」 「…Got it」
Nagisa looks at Seki-san.
「With that said…please go to the next room with this child」 「U-Uhm…what’s going on?」
Nagisa answers Seki-san’s question…
「It’s about the noble house, Kouzuki family…and a lot of other things」
「No…Uhm…what is your involvement?」
Seki-san doesn’t know what’s Nagisa’s relationship with Kouzuki house. Well, you won’t understand usually.
「…I’m Misuzu and this man’s『family』」
「…What are you planning to do?」
Even『Kakka』is asking Nagisa feeling strange.
「Therefore…it’s a family ceremony!」
Misuzu looks at Seki-san and Fujimiya-san…
「Anyway…please take a leave. I’ll leave this girl to you」 「My best regards!
Mao-chan heads towards the two in trotting steps.
「…I get it. Let’s go, Seki-san 「O-Okay…」 「Later then!」
Seki-san, Fujimiya-san, and Mao-chan goes to the door to the next room