Private talk after the party
First Published on Ainushi
「Ah so funny. Did you see the faces they were making back there? Their mouths and eyes were wide opened just like those haniwas… Though that would be an insult to haniwas, wouldn’t it? Their expressions were ridiculous.」
Ahh ha ha!
His laughter spilled out uncontrollably and filled the luxurious, black car.
The man ruffled his hair, which had been neatly combed for the party, loosened his necktie, and with an 「Ah」 leaned back on the seat.
Then, as if he suddenly remembered something, he gently stroked the girl’s head lying on his lap several times. She didn’t stir, so he was about to slide his hand towards her cheek, but just then from the seat across he heard a voice scolding 「Chiharu」.
「Even if she has fainted, please refrain from sexually harassing her. Don’t forget that this girl is not 『ours』 yet.」
「Aa… then let’s call Sanazaki-sensei right away! We have to carry through the adoption quickly. We already received father’s permission and mother too was in high spirits, talking about how much she had always wanted a daughter anyway.」
「Is that so. Poor thing. I can imagine how you and your whole family will overwhelm her with your care.」
「Rude, aren’t ya? At least I think it will be several times better than being with those detestable parents who neglected their own child and that sly bitch calling herself a self-proclaimed friend.」
“That’s true…” This time the response that came, unlike the previous joking tone, was filled with bitterness.
『They』 had known about Saya’s pitiful situation since a long time ago.
Originally, the story begins with Saya’s older brother who was dearly loved by their parents and the daughter of the Shijou main family, of which the Hiiragi were a distant branch. Those two were classmates.
Being a well mannered and intelligent child since a young age, Hiiragi Masaru, Saya’s big brother, was favored by everybody.
「What a considerate child」, 「Truly a very disciplined young master”」The opinions of the adults about him were splendid.
Having a good perception of what he had to do to receive a compliment and how to act so that someone would take him under their wing, after displaying fairly good knowledge and abilities and getting into an escalator-type high school, he continuously avoided stirring up anyone’s animosity and worked around getting on the good sides of anyone with 『power』.
The day his sister was born was the first time in his life that he felt endangered.
The baby named Saya, just like Masaru at the same age, was a calm and obedient child. Without crying at night, without giving any troubles, without having picky tastes, she was favored by the servants.
His parents too, started to focus their attention on her, comparing the selfishness of Masaru with Saya who never gave them any worries.
Seeing how she was so well liked, for Masaru, Saya became a being that threatened his status.
Thus he recognized his little sister as his enemy.
Then one day, pushing away Saya, who had begun reading a book in imitation of her studying older brother, he cried out to his parents with tearful eyes:
「What is this?…Disgusting! This is not something an infant would do.」
At first they tried to assure their son.
「She is just a cute little sister imitating you, her big brother」
But every time they heard a pleasant report regarding their daughter such as that giving her a book would keep her busy for the whole day or that she was lately looking puzzled while watching the news, images of their crying son ran through their minds.
In the end, they became haunted by doubts that, 『Maybe there really is something wrong with our second child』.
From then on, it all went as their son had planned.
A child that doesn’t fit in with her surroundings. A child that always stands out among the other children of her age. Hearing rumors about a famous research facility that gathered and tutored children like these, her parents threw away their daughter before she could even develop an awareness
The servants that had favored her were dismissed, and those that remained firmly held their tongue.
Only one person didn’t stay quiet. The one that had driven away his little sister with his own hands.
Feigning as though he was suffering from extreme guilt, he lamented to his then classmate, Shijou Yurie, 『I have a little sister… Because of some small, immature tattling of mine, my sister was sent overseas』.
「As her brother, telling you this may be strange… but my sister is a little bit weird. Even before she was a year old, she looked coldly at me and my parents and she preferred watching educational programs rather than children shows… I… I was scared. That should have been my little sister yet somehow… it was like she was a different organism.」
Now, sympathize with me! Am I not pitiful?
However with a theatrical confession like that, Yurie was not moved.
Instead, she was touched and felt pity towards the little girl that was labeled as a 『different organism] by her own brother』.
Yurie had some people she could call her brothers as well as her friends.
Children born in the same generation from a『numbers』 family, had regular chances to meet each other. But children of the same generation as Yurie’s were born in only two other families – 『Aogiri』 and 『Kudou』.
The 『Ichinomiya』 heir was 10 years older than them, and the 『second』, 『third』, 『sixth』 and 『seventh』 houses were now famous only in name. Their bloodline was already severed.
The heir of the 『eighth』 house, 『Yakumo』had only just held his marriage ceremony a few days ago and had not yet been blessed with a child. So in the end, it was always only these three – Yurie, the daughter of the Shijou family, Gotou Takuma, the 『Aogiri』 heir and Kudou Chiharu, the 『ninth』house『Kudou』’s firstborn son – that gathered together.
Asked by Yurie, the girl that they considered as their own sister, they immediately started investigating the Hiiragi family.
And it was then that they realized it.
The person by the name of Hiiragi Saya was a young girl with no support system who was helplessly played by the people around her.
「… But still, that stupid son of the Tachibana family fell brilliantly for that bitch. Don’t tell me this was part of the plan as well?」
「Of course not.」
With a devilish smile engraved on his lips, Chiharu denied Takuma’s words.
Readily relinquishing their daughter at a young age, the Hiiragi parents had abandoned her completely in a research facility overseas.
It would have been for the best if this was where the story ended. Yet, seeking to establish a connection with families of similar lineages, they forcefully brought back their daughter, who finally got used to her 『orphan』-like lifestyle and arranged a political engagement with the son of the Tachibana family, who were of the same status as the Hiiragi’s.
Both the side that suggested the deal and the ones who accepted it were not in their right minds.
Thus, as a result of the stupid son of the Tachibana family, Takayuki, declaring his engagement cancellation, the thin thread tying the two families together was severed.
「Youngsters in puberty are no different than dogs in their mating season. If you toss a female dog in heat into the same cage with a male dog, what will happen? Well the answer is obvious, isn’t it? He couldn’t touch his fiancee, even if he tried. For him to be swayed by a bitch wagging her tail within his reach was a very likely outcome.」
「And what if this bitch was gunning for another cur?」
「Yeah. Didn’t he say that? 『She is popular』. In other words, before another guy could snatch her away, he quickly jumped on her, banging her… Ah… If I continue won’t this be considered sexual harassment?」
Amou Natsumi was indeed sly, cleverly currying favor with the people around Saya.
The first one she ensnared in her web, using his complex against his sister, was none other than Saya’s brother Masaru.
Through him, she captured the hearts of his parents, and then pretending to be close with Saya who had just returned home, she displayed her selfishness as much as she wanted.
Then, when Saya softly advised her, 「I don’t think you should do this」, she threw a tantrum as though she was bullied.
And so, winning the sympathy of others, she slowly impaired Saya’s reputation little by little.
It isn’t clear why she approached Takayuki. It may have been because of Saya or for some other reason.
But in no time, she managed to get under his skin. Using his power as the student council president, she managed to ease her way into the hearts of the student council members and soon she was always in his vicinity.
It seems there were those that harbored animosity and those that softly advised her, but surprisingly, they were condemned by the members of the student council and silently disappeared from the campus.
Did someone say that it sounds like an otome game?
If that’s what it is, then it’s better to call it a side story? Behind their forced smiles, both Chihiro and Takuma agreed.
Piriririri – the default ringtone of a cell phone which is rarely heard these days, rang out, and Chiharu picked it up .After a few words, interjecting a few yeses and yeahs in, he returned the cell phone back to his pocket.
「It was from Sanazaki-sensei. He said that all documents for the adoption are prepared and that we can go to the other party tomorrow to get their signature.」
「As expected! The Kudou’s family lawyer works fast as usual. But if they knew that they were dealing with the Kudou family, won’t those stupid parents make things difficult?」
「That is also within my calculation.. Did you forget Sanazaki sensei’s last job? The man earned grandfather’s respect for his negotiation ability. He’s a well-seasoned negotiator!」
「Right. That was a silly question.」
「That’s how it is. You can say that it’s only a matter of time before this child becomes 『one of us』.」
Saying this, Chiharu corrected his hold on the still unconscious young girl’s frail body so that she wouldn’t fall off the seat and lightly patted her head.
The Kudou house was definitely one of the notable number family houses, but since they concealed the 『九』 character with 『久』 they’ve stopped appearing in the limelight and the same goes for the 『fifth』 house 『Aogiri』.
There was a time when, just like the 『second』 and the 『third』 houses who are now famous only in name, they too nearly fell into ruin. But since one of the heads of the family became connected to the police bureaucracy, as a clan famous in that field they gradually regained their power, and are now they are renowned and feared for being the face of bureaucratic society in the political and business circles.
The Aogiri family too, for a period of time, were in quite a weakened state. However again, that was until one of the heads of the family mingled with the chief of the Shijou family. Since then the friendship between the two families continued and in the current generation, Yurie and Takuma are engaged.
Leaving that aside, what would happen when those parents learn that their daughter will be taken in by the very same Kudou family?
Most likely, ignoring the disgrace they demonstrated, they will undoubtedly plead for a relationship with the [Kudou]s simply with the excuse of 『that is our daughter』.That’s why, knowing this, the formalities were left in the hands of Sanazaki – a lawyer skilled at negotiations.
「Being abandoned by her parents as soon as she was born, used as a tool for political purpose, betrayed by the partner she was engaged to… and in the end, having her family publicly sever ties with her… What has this child done to deserve all of this? Even though she’s still so young」
「…Most likely because she was just too clever. Seems like she is one of those so-called prodigies. It may be because she mingled with the older kids and the education she received had an impact on her but she’s unusually mature for her age… If that’s the truth, then she’s still…」
Beautiful pure black hair, silky to the touch.
A lovely pair of amber-colored eyes decorated at the edge with long eyelashes which were now hidden under closed eyelids.
Long and slender limbs compared to the other kids of the same age.
The ruggedness of her frail body did not remain unnoticed under the dress she wore. Even with her lying on the back seat of the car with her legs stretched out, there was still some room left.
Hiiragi Saya, 12 years old.
An age in which one still goes to school wearing a 『randoseru』 in society. A young girl who’s fiance Takayuki was six year older than her and whose consciousness was still wandering inside her dreams.
How many of you here watch Mahouka? If you have, you’re probably familiar with the Numbers family and how the numbering system works with the Ten Great Families.
In this story, the same applies in which the prestigious noble families have a number in their names. Whereas the branch families may adopt similar names to the main family.
Keeping most of that information in the text would have been difficult so on behalf of Loka, I’ve moved it down here:
『九』 and 『久』: Both can be read as ‘Ku’ singularly. The first character is the number but the Kuon family decided to adopt the other character to mask their identity. Though as you can see, the characters are quite similar. For Japanese learners, you may recognize the second ‘Ku’ from the word hisashiburi – 久しぶり.
『梧桐』: Here’s another tricky one. Aogiri has the word five 『五』as one of the components in the first character of their kanji. Do note that Aogiri is the word for phoenix-tree.
『四条』: Shijou is a lot more obvious. Note the word 『四』in the front. This is shi which means four.
Fun facts! Tachibana『橘』is a type of mandarin orange and Hiiragi『柊』means holly. Natsumi’s family name Amou『天羽』consists of the character heaven and feathers. Her first name contains the character『美』 for beauty.
Lastly in Japan, all primary school students are expected to carry a randoseru, a type of standardized backpack. As it’s used for the entire duration of their primary school, randoseru are quite sturdy and can typically cost up to 7,980–25,200 yen.