Someday, my prince will…
First Published on Ainushi
*First half is from Kudou Chiharu’s POV, Second half is from Natsumi’s POV*
『Well then, what is the situation ?』
After apologising for not being able to return home today as well, Kudou Kazuha, Chiharu’s mother and an active prosecutor, asked about the circumstances of the proposal that her son had made a few days before.
Judging by the force behind the tone she used to convey her intolerance, the conversation more closely resembled an interrogation of the Kudou’s heir rather than a conversation between a mother and son, thought Chiharu smiling wryly.
「According to Sanazaki sensei, who was kind enough to negotiate with the other party over the formalities, it seems to have gone unexpectedly smoothly. Even if they had declared that they didn’t want her, the ones that are adopting her is us, Kudou, right? I was so sure that they would make things difficult, but it took only a few minutes for sensei to receive their signature seal. He himself was rather disappointed.」
『Although the Hiiragi household is a branch of the Shijou clan, they’re quite a distant one, aren’t they? Don’t you think it’s possible that they couldn’t connect the name Kudou with the【ninth】 house?』
「That makes sense… I missed that possibility.」
The reason why Chiharu was able to attend the betrothal announcement party of the Hiiragi and Tachibana families was because he could be described as a connection of sorts being a plus one of a plus one.
To put it simply, the one who received an invitation to the party was Yurie, because of her status as the daughter of the Shijou family given their connections with the Hiiragi. Her fiance Aogiri Takuma attended as her partner and Chiharu was able to attend as well since he was friends with Takuma and Yurie.
Basically, the guest list was full of people linked to distinguished families or corporate dignitaries. Thus their escorts or bodyguards were allowed to participate as well.
As a result of Chiharu’s choice not to disclose himself as a representative of the Kudou family, a lineage that had no connection to the Hiiragis and passing himself off as Takuma’s friend, he managed to stay out of the spotlight until the last moments of the party.
… Well to be frank, as both of them were considerably attractive young men and had been standing close to each other, they had received quite a fair amount of attention from the young ladies.
(Even if they aren’t aware of the significance of the Kudou name, those parents didn’t have any concern for their daughter till the very end.)
If they had at least the instincts of a 『normal parent』, they would have been more or less worried about the identity of the party that had announced that they would adopt the daughter that the Hiiragis had discarded or enquired after why that party would choose to declare it in such a situation.
But according to Sanazaki’s words, instead, they had readily given their signature seal with a relieved expression. Not only that, but before parting ways, they spat out, 「Who would expect such a benevolent house could exist that wants to take in even ‘that thing’!」.
Their behaviour was so cruel that the information claiming that they had loved her, even though it was just for a short period of time after she was newly born, seemed unreal. That’s what Sanazaki, a man who normally didn’t mix emotions with his work, uttered.
『… Only, this information was received from the family court.』
「As always mother, you have an extensive information network, don’t you? Was that also from that ex-subordinate of yours?」
『Well, of course. But more importantly… It seems that the Hiiragi family were even faster than Sanazaki sensei to submit adoption documents to the family court! You understand what that means, don’t you?』
「Of course. … It’s that, isn’t it? It’s natural for this to occur because their goal was to have an engagement in order to strengthen the ties between the two families.」
Just as Chiharu was about to point out how annoying all of this was, a muffled laughter could be heard from the other end of the phone call.
To begin with, Tachibana Takayuki and Hiiragi Saya’s engagement was a joint political manoeuvre by both families, done with the intention to reap the benefits that both houses of equal status could gain in alliance.
That was precisely why Takayuki had justified terminating that engagement, reasoning that 「There’s someone else whom I love from the bottom of my heart」. If this were under normal circumstances, this would not have been something that was accepted easily. That is only If this were under normal circumstances though.
Not only was the person that he broke his engagement for from a lower-class family, you could say that she was a commoner’s daughter. The benefits the Tachibana family could obtain from establishing a relationship with Amou Natsuki’s family were practically zero.
However, using this golden opportunity, the Hiiragi family disowned their own daughter and quickly arranged to adopt Natsumi after negotiating with the Amou family. It seems that soon after the decision, they submitted a written adoption application to the family court.
If Natsumi becomes the daughter of the Hiiragi family then the uproar surrounding Tachibana Takayuki’s engagement would come to an end.
Rather, by just replacing the name of their 『daughter』, the agreement between the two families would remain the same. So there were no disadvantages in this, even for the Tachibanas.
As Chiharu was venting out his annoyance, his mother replied with a laugh from the other side of the phone as if mocking him.
(I don’t know from when it began, but it looks like that girl had it all planned out.)
For the sake of Saya’s adoption, the Kudou family had quickly drawn up the necessary documents and the very next day, Sanazaki went to the Hiiragi family to finish the formalities.
To be able to submit the documents to the family court one step faster than even the Kudous could only mean that the discussions of Amou Natsuki’s adoption into the Hiiragi family were ongoing even before the uproar surrounding the termination of the engagement.
Natsumi had regularly visited the Hiiragi house since her childhood and it was well known that she was close to Saya’s brother Masaru, who was the cause of Saya’s abandonment.
That’s how she had obtained the approval and affection of the members of the Hiiragi family while simultaneously deepening her relationship with Tachibana Takayuki and by casually mentioning this to the Hiiragis, she ascended from being a commoner from the Amou family to being the adopted daughter of the Hiiragi family who were an offshoot of notable lineage.
『…I wonder how early she had planned this out… What a fearsome child』
「Yeah. But after all, she is no match for us…. The Kudou, Aogiri and Shijou families.」
Hearing her son’s murmuring something about being able to crush Natsumi at any time, once again Kazuha muttered 『What a fearsome child you are!』 and this time, gave a cheerful laugh.
“Everything is going just as planned” Natsumi laughed under her breath.
In order to commission a haute couture dress, she was now being treated like a mannequin in one of the rooms in the Hiiragi mansion.
The pure white dress that Natsumi had worn at the engagement party was a present from Takayuki. However, her Hiiragi parents had called in a couturier to expand her wardrobe as it would be inconvenient in the future if she only had one set of suitable clothes. The whole room had been filled with bright coloured fabrics like the pink and orange that Natsumi loved so much and they were discussing which ones to choose.
Her surname had already officially been changed from 『Amou』, the name she was born with, to 『Hiiragi』.
Taking over from Saya who was a shut-in… or more like who was never introduced openly by her family, Natsuki would instead be appearing as the Hiiragi family’s daughter in high society and in social gatherings between the families from now on.
So you can say that the whole thing was part of the spadework for this very moment.
In the first place, it was not like Natsumi was thinking of driving Saya away initially.
Because she knew that eventually the 『Hiiragi』 family and 『Tachibana』 family would try to strengthen their relationship in the future, first she ingratiated herself with Masaru for that purpose. She showed sympathy towards the complex he bore against his sister and thus became close with him. In this manner, she created a reason for herself to frequent the Hiiragi family and enter their house often.
By nature, Saya had the temperament of a genius and so she didn’t behave like an ordinary child. Knowing this, Natsumi got on the good sides of the Hiiragi family by having the opposite personality. Acting like a moderately spoiled child, she succeeded in being loved much more than their own daughter.
Next, she studied extra hard to raise her grades so that she could get into the same school as Takayuki. After being accepted into the school, not only did she approach Takayuki, who was the student council president, but she approached the other staff as well. In order to clear 『the darkness in their hearts』, she consoled each one of them on their various problems and finally awakened their love for her.
If she had responded to everyone’s feelings, she would most likely have been labelled as a promiscuous 『bitch』. However, while skillfully pretending ignorance, she narrowed down on her target, Takayuki. She then approached him and brilliantly drew out a love confession from him resulting in him telling her “You are the only one for me.” and that he wished for her to be present at the party where his engagement to Saya was to be announced.
Although Saya being picked up and taken away by a young man from an unknown family after she was abandoned by her own parents at the party and was a phenomenon beyond Natsumi’s expectations, as previously requested by the Hiiragi family, she became their adopted daughter.
So, everything up till now has followed Natsumi’s plan.
(But that’s strange… There shouldn’t have been a scenario where Hiiragi Saya is taken in by another family.)
In the golden age of smartphones, otome games finally went beyond the limits of solely computer-based games and progressed into smartphone apps.
【True or False? ~ It’s boring just following the script! ~】
After getting into the game in her last life, Natsumi had finally managed to achieve an “All complete” using money in-game to obtain the extra scenarios and help items.
The otome game she had played was based on the trope of “The reincarnated heroine who has her memories from the time she cleared the game uses that knowledge to become invincible”.
Although the story serves as the base for the game, there was a bit of different content included. Depending on whether the heroine chooses the best options from her previous life’s memories, the story could diverge greatly.
The game’s tagline itself stated clearly that ‘Following the script is boring, so by purposely choosing options that are not in your previous life’s memories, you can experience a thrilling romance with your capturable targets’.
Of course, even if you decided to pick the answers that followed the script you could still achieve a ‘happy ending’ but it would be just the commonly seen 『love confession ending』like in every other otome game.
Natsumi believed that she had reincarnated having retained memories of that game from her last life.
The moment she had realised that her own name was the same as the default name for the heroine in the game – Amou Natsumi, her intuition kicked in and just like a divine revelation, she realized that this was the world in the game app.
And just as her intuition had whispered to her, the house next to the one she moved into when she was a child was the house of the Hiiragi family, who happened to be a branch of a notable family.
Natsumi(the heroine) learned that this family had a son named Masaru, a helpful character, and a daughter named Saya, who would one day become Natsumi’s rival and try to stand in her way.
The other party with whom the Hiiragis wanted to establish a connection, Tachibana Takayuki, was one of the capturable targets.
Not only was he the main hero of the game, his scenario was the longest one, and to add the cherry on top, he was the capturable target that Natsumi liked the most.
Seeing her favourite scenario and with her good-looking target being within her reach, isn’t it only natural for her to want to reach out and capture them?
With just that, everything went pretty much as she had expected.
In order to capture Takayuki, she first had to improve her trust and likeability levels with all of the student council members – the supporting capturable targets – beyond the prescribed limits. Moreover, an essential condition was that she mustn’t answer their romantic approaches.
Only after the supporting characters had been cleared could the events like “Going on a date alone with Takayuki, the student council president!” or “Hearing about his family circumstances!” be generated.
Unlike the game, here you couldn’t see anything like a “love gauge”, so Natsumi had to pay close attention to the small adjustments. Even so, she finally managed to get Takayuki to talk to her about his worries, including his betrothal with a very young girl. While pacifying his dissatisfaction, sometimes by acting like she was dependant on him, she succeeded in enslaving him.
But, there was something that games meant for all ages didn’t include and this was 『the special traits of boys in puberty』. So in the end, they developed a physical relationship before their engagement that was not within her plans.
(Well not that it matters. After all, Saya, who was going to be an obstacle, has left the stage for now.)
However, it had been outside her expectations that Saya was an overly 『good girl』 and did not try to enact the (heroine’s) harassment upon Natsumi at all. This was beyond her calculations.
Hence Natsumi purposely showed off as much willfulness as she could, so that she would receive Saya’s warnings in front of the others.
She had to slap her own cheeks to make people misunderstand that Saya did it.
And finally, the impetus that caused Takayuki to lose every last bit of sympathy he had towards Saya, was the 『Pushed from the stairs』 event, which she magnificently enacted using the blind spots of the security cameras.
「Miss Natsumi, is this colour to your liking? This light peach colour is closer to a sakura colour than pink. There is no doubt that the finished product will look refined on you.」
「Yes, this one is pretty as well. Can I leave it up to you?」
The official marriage ceremony between Hiiragi Natsumi and Tachibana Takayuki would be held 4 years later when Takayuki graduates from university.
However, up till now, Natsumi had kept choosing options that would lead her to her desired 『thrilling love story』.
The thing she was striving for was not your average lovey-dovey happy ending.
「Come faster, my prince ?」
The hehehe from the laughter Natsumi gave as she said those words led the designers to interpret it favourably as a maiden waiting for the visit of her fiance. 『What a charming couple they are』, they wagged their tongues.