「An......Fu~min, I like you......I love you.......」
After we parted our lips, Fujiwara-san looked at me with her melting eyes.
We were doing it in the back alley near her residence on our way home from school.
And ever since we became lovers, I've been walking her home after school.
I did it partly because she asked me to, but also because I had no choice.
After all, Teruya's sister had suddenly disappeared from the detention center where she was being held.
It seemed that Ryoko thought that I must have confined her up because it was such an unusual event. But I swear, I didn't do anything about her.
Then, when I think of the people that Teruya's sister who escaped might try to touch, the first person that comes to mind is Fujiwara-san. So, it was best to be cautious.
「Hey, Fu~min, do you love me? You love me, right?」
「Tell me you love me!」
「I love you, Mai」
Despite the fact that we were a terrifyingly stupid couple, we decided to do what lovers do and follow the normal steps of love. I can't just ignore it now that I've said it.
......Well, it's not that I don't like it, though.
Back to the story, in a dimly lit alleyway at dusk, we embrace and devour each other's lips over and over again.
As our tongues intertwine, and we slurp up each other's saliva, I feel her hands tighten around my body, and the blood rush to my crotch.
But I hold back the desire that is threatening to explode out of control, and let myself be burned by the urgency of just one more step.
It's a different kind of thrill than when I hold my favorite princesses.
I guess I could call it the process of love.
And I was enjoying it right now.
「So, let's go...... now」
「Eh~? I don't want to go home yet. I want to spend all my time flirting with you......」
「You've been clinging to me all afternoon」
In fact, Fujiwara-san sticks to me even during class. And, while the teacher who saw her initially warned her, the teacher now pretends not to see her.
「Geez......Fu~min, don't you want to flirt with me?」
「Well, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to」
「Bu~, you're not being honest. Ah, I can't wait to get married to Fu~min. Then we won't be apart for a second......」
I couldn't help but laugh and cover it up.
It seems marriage with me is already a definite thing in her mind.
「Oh, right, my stepfather wants to meet Fu~min」
I laughed at that, too, and covered it up.
The next day, Saturday morning.
My parents said to me with a serious face.
「Today, you must go to Mai-san's house」
「Because the company president ordered it」
My father told me that yesterday he was called into the president's office and instructed to send his son (me) to the Fujiwara family.
He said it was a pressure from the company with which he works. If he does not do it, the company where my father works will cease operations.
◇ ◇ ◇
「Shiratori...... can't you be a little more friendly?」
「What's the use of being friendly?」
Currently, we are on the way back from visiting my grandma's house.
I was told by my grandma or Shiratori's great-grandma, to bring Shiratori, who didn't want to show her face at all, so I had no choice but to drag her along.
But this girl, as usual, didn't even smile at her, even when she talked to her, she kept saying “nothing particular”. Her attitude was beyond unsociable.
Though, Grandma seemed to be happy just to see her, so that was okay......
Then, as I was walking in front of the long, long hedge, I noticed a suspicious figure hiding behind a pole, looking towards the gate of the house.
Unfortunately, the suspicious person was someone familiar to me.
「What are you doing, Kijima?」
The man there was Fumio Kijima.
He is the Confinement King, a man who, despite his dull appearance, has confined and enslaved many women.
When I called out to him from behind, he jumped up like an American cartoon character.
It was like a cat and a mouse having a friendly fight.
「W-what is it......Shima-san? Don't scare me」
He patted his chest, relieved.
Yeah, he's too scared to be a bad guy.
「Are you in the middle of stalking?」
「I don't know what you're talking about!?」
He doesn't know what I'm talking about? But I saw him doing a lot more than stalking.
Well, I couldn't help but turn my gaze to Kijima.
「If not, then what are you sneaking around for?」
Kijima's story was so far out of line that it made me wonder.
「You mean they held the company where your parent worked as a hostage in order to call you? What will they do to you, anyway?」
「I don't know, but I think...... they're either going to force me to marry Fujiwara-san, or force me to leave her」
If I think about it again.
If I'm rooting for Ui-chan, I think it would be better for him to break up with her here, but if by chance they end up getting married, Ui-chan will probably regress to infancy and cry again. I really hope she doesn't do that.
So, I gently told Kijima.
「If it comes to it, you're going to confined them, right? I mean her parents」
「Well...... at worst. But that would likely ruin what I and Fujiwara-san have built up.......」
「Haa~...... Hey, Shiratori, can you do something about it?」
「Before I answer, is Fujiwara-san someone called Mai Fujiwara? Is that your girlfriend?」
「Hmm, yeah, I guess so」
Shiratori began to look at Kijima with eyes that seemed to be observing a suspicious person. Then Kijima tugged at the hem of my T-shirt.
「Um, Shima-san, who is this?」
「Huh? Haven't you met before? She is Shiratori, second year track and field student」
Then Kijima looked as if he had an idea.
Well, I don't have to tell him that she's my niece. It's too much trouble to explain.
Then, Shiratori turned her head towards me and I gave a small nod.
「Is there any benefit.......? Oh, right. I'll go with you」
「Well, good for you」
「Wait, wait a minute, Shima-san! I don't understand it at all!」
I turned my back on the confused Kijima and decided to go home alone.
◇ ◇ ◇
It was a strange thing.
I was going to visit Fujiwara-san's house, but I was accompanied by a girl I've never met before.
And she was very unsociable.
（Shima-san, what the hell is she thinking......?)
「You're going in, right? Here」
At Shiratori-san's urging, I walked up to the gate and rang the doorbell.
Then a man in his thirties or so, dressed in a suit, answered the door.
「You must be Kijima-sama. Danna-sama is waiting for you. And you are...?」
「I'm...... his escort」
「So you are the right-hand. Please come this way」
Led by the man, we stepped into the house.
We were ushered into a large Japanese-style room with a view of the Japanese garden.
The atmosphere was so reserved that I couldn't help but feel nervous.
However, when I glanced over at Shiratori-san, there was no change in her expression.
After a while, a man and a woman who looked like Fujiwara-san's parents walked into the room.
The father was probably in his late fifties. His hair stroked back and dressed in kimono, he was slim but his eyes were piercing and intimidating.
The mother was in her late thirties. She looks a lot like Fujiwara-san. Her hair was trimmed to her shoulders, and she was also wearing a kimono. The kimono was colored like young greens.
As we sat down across the table from each other, the father looked at me and spoke.
「Mai, she's got a bit of bad taste, doesn't she?」
「Dear, you're being rude」
I don't think anything of it because it's an undeniable fact, but the mother bows her head apologetically.
「Excuse me...... Nice to meet you, I'm Mai Fujiwara's mother」
「Thank you for your kindness. I'm Kijima. This is my friend Shiratori-san, she's here to escort me today」
As soon as I mentioned the word “friend”, Shiratori-san glared at me. It can't be helped, I can't just say she was passing by, after all.
「Umm... what about...... Mai-san?」
When I hesitantly asked him, the father cut me off.
「I'm the one who invited you here today. Mai has nothing to do with this. She was sent out on an errand for me」
In other words, Fujiwara-san was not involved in this story at all. I was a little relieved.
As I though, she didn't use the company where my parents work as a hostage.
「Let me get this straight.......」
He took out a piece of paper from his pocket and slid it across the table toward me.
「Would you like me to write it down?」
I picked it up and stiffened involuntarily.
Because no matter how I looked at it, it was a marriage certificate.
「Yes, write it down.......」
Ignoring my bewilderment, the father began to speak at length.
「I'll get you a new house on our property, but for now you can live with us in Mai's room. I don't mind if you go to university, but after graduation, you will be trained at one of the group companies as one of the candidates to succeed me」
「Wait, wait a minute」
「Are you dissatisfied?」
「Before saying dissatisfaction or anything, please stop talking so fast!」
「When you were in trouble because you were tricked by a girl called Fukuda, I helped you from behind the scenes. I also helped you when you were detained by the police. And in exchange for helping you, I made Mai a condition: you would be my son-in-law and one of my potential successors」
「Without my consent?」
「No need. It's not necessary」
I was annoyed to say the least by his tone.
Even if he was Fujiwara-san's father, he was underestimating my ability to do what I wanted.
「I refuse. I'm in a relationship with Mai-san, not with you!」
Then he looked surprised.
「That's a strange thing to say when you can have a beautiful daughter as your wife. But that's all right」
I was taken aback by the father's easy retreat.
「Then I want you to return the money I spent to save you. Specifically, about 400 million」
「After all, you have no intention of accepting my offer. So, if you can't return the money, you'll have to be prepared to suffer the appropriate retribution」
This fox father...... is like hitting someone on cheek with a wad of cash.
Lili also forbade the sale of jewelry from the demon world because it would bring chaos to the market, but when push came to shove, it was unavoidable.
As I fell silent, the father said with a triumphant look on his face.
「Don't take it personally. It's just a little selfishness on the part of a father who loves his daughter, Kijima-kun」
However, in the next moment, Shiratori-san, who had never said a word until now, said with the same sullen expression on her face.
「Just pay the 400 million, is that all?」
I look up at her. And the father tilted his head.
「Can you pay? Can you?」
「I won't pay it. Not a penny. But I'll just teach him how to pay」
「Oh......? What are you going to do?」
「I'm going to make appointments with the top of the richest list and ask them to lend me money」
I was taken aback. There's no way anyone would lend 400 million dollars to a student like her.
However, Shiratori-san's tone was unwavering.
「Rather than trying to make 400 million, don't you think it would be much easier to persuade one rich person here with a few words?」
She broke off there and pointed her finger at Fujiwara's father disapprovingly.
「And you can't deny this method. Never」
A grim silence.
I gulped and waited for the father's reaction.
I was sure he would be angry.
However, contrary to my imagination, the father started laughing out loud.
「Hahahahaha! Interesting! You are an interesting child. You! Do you want to come here in the future?」
「No, thank you. I've decided that if I'm going to sell myself, I'm going to sell to someone who can sell me at a high price」
Shiratori-san then glanced at me for some reason.
「You think it's him?」
「Yes, it's an obvious 」
「Hmm, interesting! Very interesting!」
The father laughed out loud and left the room.
And then Fujiwara-san's mother and I looked at each other and tilted our heads.
◇ ◇ ◇
After that, I left the residence, not knowing what was going on.
「Umm... Shiratori-san, may I ask you to explain something to me? What the hell is going on here?」
The girl walking in front of me replied without looking back.
「That stupid method of making money…. was exactly what his father, Seigo Fujiwara, did when he was told to prepare 500 million dollars as a test from his previous generation」
「I can't deny it because it's a method that actually worked......」
「That's what I'm talking about」
I don't know how she know all that, but honestly, she saved my life.
「I mean...... thank you」
「If you're going to thank me, please return the favor in some form. I've decided that if I'm going to sell myself, I'm going to sell myself to someone who can sell me at a high price. I said so earlier. “Confinement-King-sama”」
I widen my eyes involuntarily.
「Did you know?」
「How many times do you think I heard about your favorite princess, Mai Fujiwara, while I was confined? So, if you say she's your girlfriend, then Confinement King-sama must be you, right?」
「Hahaha...... You've got me there, huh」
「If I do not obey, I will be confined. I mean, I'm now collared, so to speak, I'm yours. Then I will push my Master to the heights that I desire. Isn't that a constructive way to think about it?」
「Does that mean you will continue to help me?」
She replies without even turning around. It's really unfriendly.
「Then...... could you be a little more friendly to me?」
Then she turns around.
But her face is still as mushy as ever.
「Rare value is important. So, my smile is expensive. If you want to see that, please prepare a suitable price」