New Director, Asami…is a too serious looking woman wearing a no-rim glasses. Kouzuki security service’s uniform doesn’t suit her at all. Rather than being a VIP bodyguard…she feels like the secretory of a section manager of a large company. Yeah, she’s not short in strength but…she has the presence.
「…Don’t stare too much, she’ll notice」
Margo-san whispers. I change my gaze hurriedly.
「Asami Mami-san1, 28 years old. I see…Coming out of the top seat from east-university, she entered Kouzuki group’s think tank’s『Kouzuki general research』 After studying economic policy, she changed membership to Kouzuki security service. That’s quite the resume…!」
Margo-san reads the information on screen.
「…She’s the ambitious type!」
Nei whispers to me.
「Why?」 「She wants to be a politician in the future I guess? Even though her specialty is economic policy, she didn’t become a bureaucrat…if she aims to be a researcher then she should’ve stayed in Think Tank you see? Perhaps, while she’s working in Kouzuki security service, she uses it to make connections with the elites to become a politician in the future…or something along the lines」
「Well, she must have some failures. If not, she won’t make this drastic change as she has this much history」
Margosan reads Asami-buchou’s data.
「Ah, I see. She’s a daughter of a big shot on the opposition」
「Her father…was sent to trial for violation of political funds control law three years ago, and died halfway. Oh, it was such a sudden death, that it has rumors that he was assassinated… Her father’s support…the committee on his local area, all, had been taken away by his personal secretary…and now, that person seems to be a member of the diet. Then, Asami-san seems to think that the former secretary was the one who betrayed and killed her father」 「Then…she wants to become a politician to avenge her father?」 「Well, guess that’s it. As long as the former secretary stays, she can’t be separated from the same party…the political funds, base, support, connections with influential people, she doesn’t have any of those now. She thinks that if she doesn’t bet on high stakes, she won’t reach her enemy」
…Haa True, she looks a very intelligent person but…『Everything will happen as I want』is what her strong willed eyes saying.
「She wasn’t at location back at the hotel. She must’ve wanted former-director Yamaoka to be out」
「Huh…Why?」 「No matter how you look at it, she doesn’t have the『armed power』to oppose people like Cesario Viola…But she’s got high skills, you see? It’s to the extent that she could be nominated as the next director after Yamaoka-san. I think she excluded herself from the hotel so she won’t have to participate with her own rival, Yamoka-san」
Yeah…former-director Yamaoka’s heart is quite small.
「But…perhaps, this is chief Tanizawa’s hobby…he chooses dull people for the top of the uniformed group as usual」 「Well of course! The『underground group』of Kudou-san’s look like messing around…so the uniformed groups should look like serious people!」
Margo-san smiles at Nei…
「True…the uniformed group has to be ordinary…」
Margo-san murmurs while reading the screen.
「There should be an opportunity on that regard. Yeah…Seki-san’s material is thorough. For example…just the arrangement map of the guards decided by the new director, you can see how Asami-san thinks. She’s much more refined than Yamaoka. But sadly…she doesn’t have enough experience. There are some dangerous points…」
Margo-san seems to be planning a strategy.
「That said…the new director, Asami’s management power won’t be understood unless hit…we must attack as hard as possible…」
While we’re having that conversation… The『funeral ceremony』begins Monks appeared…and begin chanting.
「What’s wrong?」 「As expected of Michi…she found Yo-chan in the middle of this huge crowd.」
Ah, true…Michi’s looking this way. 「Yeah」I nodded…then Michi who’s standing at the corner of the stage also nods. Wow, she really looks at me.
「That girl’s got hawk eyes」
Nei said…then cuddles with me. She holds my hand tightly…
「Then…let’s show ourselves flirting! Gushishi!」 「And then I’m the one who’s got to deal with the grumpy Michi later you know?」 「It’s fine…just deal with her!」
Nei kisses my nape. I smell Nei’s sweet scent.
「For now…you take care of me!」 「…Sure」
I gently rub Nei’s hand. Michi looks at us expressionlessly. Well, that expression is the most scary though… On the other hand, Misuzu…is dealing with the crying Ruriko. Instead of trying to find me in the middle of the hundreds of mourners…she’s following my order and does her best to watch over Ruriko. Yes, good…I’ll give Misuzu a lot of love too later. Or rather…my Misuzu’s really cute.
「Those guys are as usual…!」
Nei’s looking at… Jii-chan in his mourning clothes…holding beads and praying silently. Beside him is Yoshiko-san…inevitably worries about the crying Ruriko. But, the two seats on the platform are separated by a coffin. Yoshiko-san can’t do anything.
「Hey…how long will this prayer2 last?」
Margo-san asks me.
「…Glans2?」 「No, look…the Buddhist monks chanting spells」
Oh…prayers? Or rather, Buddhist Monks… No, Margo-san, are there various religious priests?
「Margo-oneesan, that’s a sutra」 「Sutra? Sorry, it’s my first time attending a funeral in Buddhist form…」
Margo-san smiles wryly Well…she’s an American, Indian ancestry
「You see, they read the story of what Buddha did」 「It’s like a Christian Ritual, biblical reading?」 「Yes, yes. It’s just that bible readings are just passages. The sutra’s are long…!」
Nei shows a tired face.
「Is it that long?」 「Err, I think it’ll last for 20-30 minutes…that’s how long it was with my Grandfather」
I answered. My maternal grandfather…wasn’t as much as Kouzuki house but he was still a president of a company… The size of the funeral was also large. However, father and I weren’t allowed to take seats on relative’s area… We were working as receptionists though. Mother sits beside grandfather’s coffin all the time… …I don’t want to remember anymore. Back with grandmother… There was no ceremony at the funeral.
「Oh, instead of a biblical reading, it’s a《chant》 I can feel the musicianship. I see, I get it. That’s interesting…」
I don’t know what Margo-san meant by that.
◇ ◇ ◇
「…Then, please burn your incense」
The incense burning starts from the announcement of the host.
「First, the family, relatives, please come…」
Jii-chan burns the incense first. Then, Ruriko’s mother… Yoshiko-san’s the third. Small groans comes from the mourners. Normally…the daughter of the deceased, Ruriko should burn the incense first. Following, Misuzu’s parents. …Misuzu. Ruriko burned the last incense for the bereaved family… At the moment she puts off the incense burner…Ruriko starts crying. Bad, if she falls down…her no-panty ass would be exposed to the audience. Yoshiko-san tries to jump in a hurry, but… Jii-chan stops her with his hand. Instead, Misuzu and Michi pops out. From the attendee’s seats…it can only be seen as the good cousin and her attendant came to save Ruriko. But, in reality…she’s being moved forcibly. Michi secretly hits Ruriko’s ass. Ruriko returns to her seat while enduring the pain of her swollen ass.
「Following…the relatives please」
First, Kouzuki house’s branch family…Kouzuki Souji’s father burns incense.
「What are they doing?」
Margo-san asks. Margo-san seems to be interested in funeral manners.
「Err…they’re laying the incense on fire?」
「It’s not done only once but multiple times. Why?」 「Hmm…I don’t know」 「I don’t know too」
「I see. If I knew this would happen then I would’ve studied about Japanese funerals last night…I was a bit busy last night after all」
Margo-san said, Nei…
「What are you saying, Margo-oneechan’s going to do that too…」 「Eh…why?」 「Or rather…everyone who’s attending here are going to do it. That’s the rule…!」 「It would be bad for the religious ritual if I don’t do it or something? If there’s a single person who doesn’t do it, would the zombie of the corpse come out?」 「Well…I don’t know about that. But, everyone’s going to do it」
Margo-san looks troubled.
「I wonder if I join the ceremony…will I also be a certified Buddhist?」 「That won’t happen. It’s fine…maybe」
「Is it okay?…I’m American though」 「I don’t think you have to mind that」 「Or rather…can I do that? What are they doing again?」
「Ahaha…I’ll just watch what the people ahead of me do and just imitate it!」 「Me too」 「Is that okay? Really? I won’t be responsible if I make a mistake on the ceremony and he becomes a zombie okay…!」 「It’s okay. If someone’s incense burning method is strange and causes the dead to become zombie…Japan would be filled with zombies!」 「True. It’s fine. Japan doesn’t have zombies…I never saw any before!」
Nei and I declared.
「Following…the incense burning for the attendees」
Everyone burns incense in turn as told by the announcer.
「Look, we’re going too」
Nei pulls us
「Ah…looks like it’ll be fine. There’s foreigner other than me coming」
Finding a white man’s face in the line of burning incense…Margo-san felt relieved.
「Speaking of which, the body’s holding a blade」
Ah…I feel like Grandmother’s corpse had something too.
「Well you see, if they don’t hold a blade…the devil will possess the body」
「Also, it’s said that cats also possess the body. They make the corpse dance or something…」
「Then that means…that might be the Japanese version of Zombies!」
The incense burning order comes close. As expected, with this much people…the incense burning is done by five people at the time. The attendees bow to Jii-chan, Ruriko, Misuzu, the bereaved families.
「Yeah…I get it somehow」
Seeing the state of people burning incense…Margo-san speaks. Now then, it’s our turn. Nei lets go of my hand she’s holding until then. Misuzu glare…isn’t there. Bowing to the deceased and the bereaved family…we burn the incense. Then, bow again. We bow to Jii-chan and others too. Ruriko who’s cried too much, has her mind half empty. That look invites the mercy of the mourners. Yoshiko-san’s glaring at us amazingly. She can’t throw the grudge from being pulled away from Ruriko to Jii-chan. That’s why she glares at us.
Nei pulls my arm. Ah, no no. I have to give way to the next people. We return to our seats.
「…That woman’s watching」
Margo-san’s talking about…the new director, Asami? Yeah, she’s looking at us.
「Well…we’re『suspicious people』after all!」
Nei mutters. The petite glasses woman is watching us. We have to outsmart this lady to『kidnap』Ruriko…
◇ ◇ ◇
「…My eldest son died in a foreign land. And now, my second son has passed away before me, his father…」
When the incense burning ended…Jii-chan greets the mourners.
「No matter what the reason is…there is no replacement for lack of filial piety」
Then, Jii-chan talks about memories with Kouzuki Shigeaki…birefly described Shigeaki’s achievements in Kouzuki group.
「Seeing this many people see him off…I think my son is very happy」
Actually…most of the mourners have come for Jii-chan. One of the leading houses in Japan, Kouzuki house…since this is Kouzuki Shigetaka’s son’s funeral, there would be this much people coming. There’s not a tenth of the attendees are Kouzuki Shigeaki’s own friends and acquaintances.
「…Lately, I’m being worn out. I won’t be doing it now but…I think of retiring from the position of the president of Kouzuki group during the shareholder meeting next year…!」
The entire hall becomes noisy.
「As for replacement…I recommend Shiba Okitachi-kun. He’s already obtained the approval from the board of directors…!」
Kouzuki Shigetaka’s intention to retire from the economic world…this will be a big article appearing in tomorrow’s newspaper
「By the way, Yoshiko, the girl next to me…there have been circumstances so far but, she’s my eldest son, Kouzuki Shigeharu’s memento. My granddaughter
At that moment… Ruriko cries out loudly… Yoshiko-san’s no longer Ruriko’s『attendant』
「I’ve raised Yoshiko similarly as Misuzu and Ruriko, as daughters of Kouzuki house. Everyone, please receive her …Yoshiko」
Yoshiko-san bows expressionlessly. She didn’t speak a word. Normally, she would be unwilling to be presented like this. Ruriko’s crying violently. However, the hall’s still shaken by the aftermath of Jii-chan’s retirement declaration. There’s not much who pays attention to Yoshiko. Rather, groans had spread towards relatives.
「Then that means…if I marry Yoshiko, I’d can become a successor of the head family?」
Kouzuki Satosohi…you’re too loud
「You idiot, call her『Yoshiko-sama from now on!』」
Look, Kouzuki Souji’s angry.
「Everyone, thank you for coming for my son today. He was a bad son but…I loved him. Really…what a pity. Miserable… Friends, please don’t forget about him. Please…」
Jii-chan speaks frankly his emotions. But, most of the mourners didn’t notice. No, that is why Jii-chan’s telling the truth.
「Shigeaki…prefers to drink Cognac. I won’t drink Cognac until I die. He can no longer drink Cognac…and yet, why am I allowed to drink?」
This is Jii-chan’s punishment to himself.
「No…even whiskey and brandy would be cut off too. All of the liquor Shigeaki loved…!」
I see light glitter in Jii-chan’s eyes.
「Thank you for coming today…!」
◇ ◇ ◇
The hearse is prepared outside the venue. Jii-chan and Ruriko, the bereaved families and relatives…after that, the friends who really knew Kouzuki Shigeaki gave their last farewell. The coffin’s transported. With matching funeral music. Kouzuki Souji, Subaru siblings, Kouzuki Satopshi…ah, Kouzuki Kenshi’s there too. The men of Kouzuki clan are carrying the coffin. Then…coming from the stage…to outside
「It would be troublesome if that guy finds you…!」
Ah, Kouzuki Kenshi? True, he’s troublesome
「Or rather, it’s about time we start moving」
Margo-san tells me.
「Eh…Yes?」 「The venue’s on the most confused state now…the new director, Asami would be concentrating on sending Kouzuki-san from here…」
…Yeah. Jii-chan would be moving to the crematorium along with the coffin.
「Let’s get out of that exit there while we have time. Seki-san’s waiting over there」
「Nei and I will be picking up Iwakura-san. The meetup is planned at the crematorium but…depending on Asami-san’s attitude, we might go to the shop where they end their abstinence」
「Anyway…don’t panic or hurry. Let’s just pretend we’re going to the toilet…and head there slowly」
The coffin goes through our side…
「Yo-chan…give Misuzu and others my best regards!」
「This time, it’s my turn to be jealous!」
「Okay…let’s start the operation!」
Margo-san said and pushed my back…and I stand up from the seat. The venue’s concentrated on the coffin’s transport. I walk normally…and head to the exit Margo-san pointed. Ah, Michi from the stage is watching me… Misuzu’s preoccupied trying to stop Ruriko from crying. Yoshiko-san’s looking down… Jii-chan’s gazing at the coffin…
「…I’ve been waiting」
When we head out of the exit…Seki-san’s waiting.
「Come, hurry…we’re going with my car」 「Err…where?」
「I’m amazed…obviously to the crematorium」
Crematorium? Anyone but the relatives can’t go there…
「Just now…Kouzuki security service guards are on their way」
「We’re breaking through…we’ll infiltrate before『Kakka』, Misuzu-sama, or Ruriko-sama arrives」
…I see. It would be strange for me to go to the crematorium together with Jii-chan if I’m not from Kouzuki house, but… Then, we’ll go ahead and get inside the venue.
「I’m making the arrangements so…anyway, let’s go」
Seki-san trotters and heads to the parking lot. …Me too
「It’s okay, the new director, Asami-san is only paying attention to Kyouko-san’s disciple, Margo-san. Margo-san will be restraining her well」
I’m just a high school student boy. The other party won’t be paying attention to me.