Volume 8 Chapter 26 Morikawa Kaede, Bad News… My True Identity Is about to Be Reveale
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Although I had planned to return tomorrow, I suddenly found myself sweating on a luxurious charter plane heading home in the evening. At the moment, I was huddled between two women dressed in black suits, feeling like a captured alien.
”Thank you for coming today, Morikawa-san, despite the sudden invitation.”
At first glance, she appeared to be a kind old lady. However, her elegance overflowing from within and her strong, ageless voice made my spine naturally straighten. Mary Stars Goshenite, the former queen of Stars, and the grandmother of Shumi, also known as Kanon. Somehow, I ended up returning home on this charter plane with Mary-sama.
’The other guests are this way.’
The crew directed the other members of the production team to a different room. Wait, hold on a second, don’t leave me alone!! If I mess up and make a mistake, who will cover for me?! My wish went in vain as they abandoned me and fled to the other room. By the way, it’s not just us, the members of the national broadcasting team, who were invited on this flight organized by Mary-sama. She invited all the people returning to our country that day. It’s quite extravagant, or rather, the scale of what she does is just too large. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Shumi, in a way.
”Hehe, to be honest… I could have invited only you, Morikawa-san. But then, I thought if I did that, it might reveal your true identity because of me.”
I was confused by Mary-sama’s words. Huh? Wait a minute, does that mean…?
”I’ve actually been investigating my granddaughter. My daughter doesn’t seem to know, but I know very well that you, Morikawa-san, Kirika-san, Yukishiro-sama, and Kanon are all good friends on a certain bulletin board.”
Aaaaaaaaakh! Who was the genius who gave me that embarrassing tripcode, Chinposuki?! Ah, right, it was myself!! I remember that dark history I created when I passed the Ochinchin Sommelier exam at the youngest age in history and got overly excited. Seriously, Chinposuki… Couldn’t I have come up with a slightly better name?! (T/N: Tripcode => The hash code of a password, used for signing posts anonymously on imageboards)
”I’m so sorry!!”
Before I knew it, I was bowing down naturally. I messed up. It’s not a matter of whether I’ll mess up, but because I’ve already messed up. I really, sincerely apologize for everything…
”Oh my, why are you apologizing? If anything, it’s me who should be thankful.”
Mary-sama stood up from her chair and knelt in front of me. Seeing this, the SPs (Security Personnel) and secretaries panicked. As for me, I was not just panicking; I was frozen in place.
’Y-Your Majesty the Former Queen Mary!?’
’It’s fine. This is an unofficial setting, after all. Can I just be a doting grandma for this moment? So, can you please let it slide just for a little while?’
Cutely, Mary-sama made her request to the SPs, and she gently took both of my hands. Her hands were cool, but I felt a warmth in her touch that eased my tension.
”I… no, we’re really grateful to you. When Kanon went to your country from Stars, I’m sure it must have been lonely. Even with Pegonia there, she couldn’t depend on a common servant like she does now… Well, it doesn’t seem like that anymore.”
While Kanon and Pegonia-san are on friendlier terms now, when she first arrived, they still maintained the relationship between master and servant. I clearly remember that. I don’t know what triggered the change… well, maybe I just don’t know, but I think he was the one who might have changed their relationship. I hope it’s like that, or rather, I somehow feel that’s the case. Because, it’s Aqua-sama I’m talking about. He does things like that as naturally as breathing.
”And I’m grateful to you for continuing to treat her the same way even after her identity became known. Thanks to Aqua-sama and all of you, I think she was saved. So, you don’t need to apologize. In fact, I should be the one thanking you.”
Prompted by Mary-sama, who had already stood up, I got to my feet as well. Mary-sama once again took my hand.
”Morikawa-san, thank you for becoming friends with Kanon.”
She’s such a kind grandma. I’m weak when it comes to people like her.
”Now, let’s take our seats. Are you not thirsty?”
Ugh, even looking at the menu that Mary-sama handed me, I don’t know what to order. And I’m afraid to look at the prices, but I’ll just pretend I didn’t notice that. I ordered something random from the recommended list, and a finely bubbled champagne arrived. The à la carte that came with it was delicious, but I can’t come up with any comments other than “delicious.” That’s the extent of my vocabulary for food reviews.
”By the way, Morikawa-san, which Aqua-sama do you like?”
”Well… I think I like the Aqua-sama who walked the runway the first time I saw him live. That moment left a strong impression on me.”
This runway show and the previous one are both memorable, but that scene from before left a strong impression on me. Of course, I like all versions of Aqua-kun, but at that time, at that moment, when I was filled with despair or regret, Aqua-kun’s appearance felt like that of a hero.
”Hehe, indeed, Aqua-sama looked very cool at that time. By the way, I like Aqua-sama when he plays Yuujin-sama the most.”
Oh, right, I’ve heard that Yuujin-sama is popular even among Stars, and I wonder if there are a lot of people over there who are drawn to him regardless of age. I remember Kanon also saying that he likes Aqua-kun the most when he’s playing Yuujin-sama.
”Look at this.”
What Mary-sama took out of her bag was an old manga book with a worn-out spine. It was the first edition of “To You, Where the Flowers Bloom,” and on one side of the pristine double-page spread inside was the author Yakumo Itsuki-sensei’s signature, while on the other side was a brand-new signature from Aqua-kun. This is for real… it’s seriously the real deal.
”Hehe, thank you.”
Maybe it’s because I’ve been gulping down champagne to quench my dry throat, but I feel slightly more at ease now. Alright, might as well ask a few more questions!
”Mary-sama, which song do you like the most? For me, it’s ‘stay hear.’ I like the bright feeling. In that sense, I also like the song they all sang at the wedding, or the one where all the boys sang together, and the first song at the idol festival.”
Aqua-kun can sing a wide range of genres, but maybe it’s because of my positive personality that I prefer bright and rhythmic songs that make me want to dance. Of course, I like the other songs too, but I tend to listen to the ones I mentioned earlier more often.
”Well, I’d like to say ‘Maiden’s Heart,’ but ‘Glass’ Teenager’ is also good. You might think, ‘What is this old lady saying?’ but that song made my heart beat a little faster.”
”Ah, that’s a great one. But, Mary-sama… Can I say something?”
With a serious expression—or rather, due to the excessive drinking—my eyes locked onto Mary-sama, and she was taken aback.
”W-What is it?”
”Please don’t say things like ‘what is this old lady saying’ or anything like that. It’s okay for woman to feel excited no matter how old they are!! So, come on, say it with pride!!”
In the first place, you know, it’s all Aqua-kun’s fault. Aqua-kun should understand how charming he is as a young man and embrace it more.
Just having that appearance alone, it wouldn’t be strange for women to be conceited. So why is her self-esteem so low? It doesn’t seem like she has any complexes or traumas, and yet it’s as if our values are completely different… Ah, I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore, but I can tell that I’m getting pretty drunk.
”Yes… that’s right. Thank you, Morikawa-san. I had a great time talking with you today.”
”Don’t worry about it, Mary-sama. And can I ask you something? We women, in the presence of Shirogane Aqua, an absolute alpha male, are all just one of the females, equal!”
I then stood up and continued to passionately speak.
”Because we women are all equal in the presence of Shirogane Aqua, and played with our lady parts using eggplant, our positions, races, nationalities, and ages don’t matter! So… if you think about it, we women are all accomplices who have used eggplants!”
The SPs and maids who understood my country’s language were trembling at my words. Those who didn’t understand the language were asking others to interpret for them.
”Well, think about it. We can’t just tell Aqua-kun directly that we’re having weird fantasies about him. After all, he’s a minor, right? That’s why all of us women are accomplices who share the same secret.”
By the way, these words are borrowed from Hagetoru. Well, the first time I heard it, I was moved, thinking that she sometimes says good things.
”Morikawa-san… No, I’ll call you this way: Kaede-chan. Thank you, you’re really kind. Thanks to you, I feel much better.”
”Mary-sama… No, Mary-chan. Now, let’s drink! And let’s talk about Shirogane Aqua! He’s all the hope of women, the shining star. Come on, SPs and maids too!”
I started opening the expensive champagne one after another and poured it generously into glasses, handing them out one by one.
”To this meeting today and to Aqua-kun!”
Ugh… my head hurts. It seems that I unknowingly drank too much and fell asleep. I heard that the pressure inside the plane makes people prone to motion sickness, but is this what it feels like? Normally, I only drink occasionally, but when I gulp down nervously, well, this is what happens. If it were a regular flight, it might have been a big problem, but fortunately, this is a charter flight, and it seems like I didn’t cause any trouble.
”So, what is this…”
Maybe because I drank too much, I have absolutely no recollection from a certain point. But seeing that I’m alive and well, I probably didn’t do anything too crazy. If I had done something outrageous to Mary-sama, I probably wouldn’t be fine. So, let’s just assume I didn’t do anything. Yeah, let’s go with that.
”Look, Kaede-chan! Looks like we’ve arrived.”
”Oh, yeah. Right, Mary-chan.”
I called her Mary-sama earlier, but she seemed so sad when I called her that, so I reluctantly decided to call her that when it’s just the two of us. Hey, what’s wrong with me before I lost my memory? Ugh, I should probably write a resignation letter later to avoid causing trouble for the company…
”Well, shall we go?”
”Huh? Go where!?”
Huh? We’ve arrived, so shouldn’t we disperse…? While I was thinking about that, I was pushed into the car that had come to pick us up.
”It’s a tea party (Osakai).”
I’ve never heard that word before. Well… now that I think about it, when I was still a Mary student, I heard that noble women held such parties and stuff… Honestly, I’ve only participated in things like drinking parties or year-end parties, so is it okay for me? Hehe, despite appearances, I graduated from Mary, but I was completely unrelated to Mary’s world of high society….
”Wait, isn’t this place…”
We arrived at a familiar café. And for good reason, Mary-sama brought me to the café where I first met Aqua-sama. Huh? And also, why isn’t there a line on a Sunday? It’s usually so crowded that I can’t even get in…
”It’s reserved just for today.”
Is that even possible? I remember once discussing reserving a place with the Verification Team, but at that time, the café said they didn’t do such things. Or is this some kind of diplomatic privilege… No, I don’t think Mary-sama would do something like that.
”Long time no see, Mary-sama.”
Oh, wow… the moment I entered the café, I was greeted by Fuji Ranko, the president of Fuji Zaibatsu. Come to think of it, President Ranko originally came from a noble family and mentioned that she became friends with Mary-sama while studying abroad.
”Long time no see, Ranko. Is everyone doing well?”
Gwaaaaah! Whether I look left, right, or straight ahead, all I see are the CEOs and presidents of famous companies. There’s even Morinaga’s president… Wait, is this some kind of business council meeting or something? And now that I look closely, Yakumo Itsuki-sensei is here too. Phew, that’s good. It makes me feel a bit more at ease. Well, Yakumo-sensei is a big deal too, but compared to the pressure from the other people here, it’s quite manageable.
Alright! Let’s just sit at the edge, sneak into the so-called “Nee-san’ zone” by the window, and get through this safely. As I was thinking about that, Mary-sama pulled me firmly. Hey, hey, granny, your grip is too strong…
”Everyone, today I brought Morikawa-san with me. Let’s all have a good conversation.”
Whoa!? Wait, am I incredibly popular or something!? Could it be that the era of Morikawa has begun?! While I was entertaining such pointless thoughts, the door at the entrance creaked open. In that instant, everyone except Mary-sama immediately bowed their heads. Huh, huh? Who else could possibly be coming!?
”Oh, you’re here.”
”…Long time no see.”
The woman who appeared was younger than me and very beautiful… although her appearance was quite different, I could sense a similar atmosphere to Kanon.
”Kukuri-san, are you doing well?”
”Yes, Mary-san, you seem as lively as ever.”
”Hehe, that’s right. I’ve been told by the doctor that I’m healthier than ever in the past six months.”
Ah… there’s no doubt about it. That’s the Aqua effect. Shirogane Aqua’s presence has improved the health of this country, increased work motivation, boosted GDP (Gross Domestic Product), and filled the nation with the highest happiness ranking in the world. That’s what a great guy at the university said in a paper they published before I went to the Stars.
It might be hard to believe, but this data has also been supported by surveys from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. By the way, just recently, during the broadcast of the second episode of the newly started Monday 9 PM Drama, a new rule was applied to force everyone to leave work at their regular hours. In response, starting this week, overtime work on Mondays has been semi-compulsorily eliminated in all companies. It is expected that this trend will accelerate, and eventually, overtime work will disappear from all companies, not just on Mondays. As a result, the time spent on hobbies will increase, sleep time will be guaranteed, and stress will be reduced, leading to an improvement in the overall health of the citizens. Moreover, this will increase work efficiency as employees wrap up their work before regular hours, further enhancing the nation.
According to a news article I saw in the hotel, this flow is rapidly eliminating even notorious “black companies.” It’s incredible how Shirogane Aqua is trying to increase the GDP all by himself… Even I, unconsciously, sprayed coffee all over when I read this article in the Stars hotel. I did try to clean it up properly, but I’m really sorry to the cleaning staff.
”Well, raise your heads, everyone. Today, I’m just an ordinary person like Mary-san.”
”Stop calling me that; I’m just an ordinary person.”
An ordinary person? Is that what you call someone who’s currently trembling like me? At the very least, anyone surrounded by Fuji Ranko and the others with such composure isn’t an ordinary person.
”Hehe, Kukuri-san here is… Well, she’s the owner of this entire area.”
Come to think of it, the building housing Café Tomarigi was originally supposed to be demolished. I heard that a certain company bought the entire land in this area, including that company, to stop the demolition.
I thought it was an impressive feat, but huh? Is this girl the big shot from that company? Wait a minute, because isn’t she about the same age as Kanon?
”By the way, Kukuri-san is currently in middle school.”
Seriously!? When I was in middle school, my mind was constantly filled with d*ck… oh, I remember those days well. During my three years in middle school, I searched every nook and cranny on rainy days and windy days, checking if there were any erotic magazines lying around. I searched meticulously, but I never found any. Looking back, I think that’s what fueled my libido to become an Ochinchin sommelier.
”Now, standing and chatting is nice, but shall we take our seats? Let’s enjoy a tea party together today.”
The table I was forced to sit at was a nightmare. Mary-sama was beside me, President Fuji Ranko was diagonally in front of me, and Kukuri-san, the center of attention, sat right in front of me. Well, to be honest, sitting at any table would have been a nightmare, but this one might be slightly better. My tea cup shook with nerves. Because, let’s be clear, I’m completely out of place… To put it plainly, I don’t even know the taste of coffee, and I don’t remember what I talked about afterward. The one thing I do remember is that the conversation was lively, centered around Aqua-kun.
”See you later.”
It was evening when the tea party finally ended, and everyone was on their way home. By the way, when we left the restaurant, there were an incredible number of security personnel around, and black luxury sedans with drivers were lined up in front of the café. Hey, isn’t this some kind of business council meeting after all?
”Kukuri-san, goodbye. It was fun chatting with you after such a long time.”
”That’s right, but we played games together just the day before yesterday.”
Really? Mary-sama plays games? I was about to think that, but it turns out both of them are playing EPEX due to Shiro-kun’s influence. By the way, Kukuri-san’s character is called Sheila, a character who wields a highly lethal minigun. Mary-sama, on the other hand, uses Madness Maggie, a character known for her funky style. Geez, they’re really into it. These aren’t characters that noble people would typically use.
By the way, you’ll be entering Otomezaki next year. Congratulations in advance.
Mary-sama leaned in close to Kukuri-san’s ear and exchanged a few words, inaudible to those around them. I wonder what they’re talking about… I was a little curious, but it’s probably something private, so I distanced myself just a bit. I think it’s important not to report everything; there are some things I shouldn’t share, even as a journalist.
”Now, shall we go, too?”
”Huh? Go where!?”
This kind of flow is like the second time… After seeing everyone off, we were once again left alone.
”Of course, it’s my granddaughter’ new home.”
There’s no way I, of all people, have a right to refuse. I contacted Shumi just to be sure, and it turns out that Hagetoru and Aqua-sama had finished shooting a music video together, so we ended up going to the new house with all the Verification Team members. Shumi… even for me, it’s borderline, but Hagetoru is definitely way over the line. Is it okay to introduce that guy to Mary-sama? Even if she’s shot for blasphemy, I won’t be able to protect her. I hope nothing happens… Well, it won’t, right?
”Alright, I, Yukishiro Emily will dance for the celebration of the two of them moving into their new home!”
Phew… I kind of underestimated this guy. And nice, Nee-san, you stopped her in an instant.
”Hahaha, i-it’s just a joke! So, Nee-san, let’s calm down that killing intent of yours. People will die. Your killing intent alone could easily stop my heart, you know? Right… Huh? Hoge, isn’t that you? You’re alive! I’m glad, I’m glad!”
”Don’t just decide that I have died!”
This guy, really…
”Welcome back, Kaede-san. And thank you, Grandmother, for coming.”
”Since the wedding, huh? I wonder if you’ve gotten used to married life.”
Mary-sama warmly embraces Shumi. Oh, that’s nice. It seems that in Stars, because of the public eye, they couldn’t easily do things like this. I’m a bit moved to think that they could meet again as just a granddaughter and grandma after coming here. By the way, even the usually tear-resistant Nee-san and Hagetoru were crying, and I have a feeling that even that Pegonia-san had her tear ducts loosened somehow.
”Once again, welcome to your new home. Take your time today.”
According to Shumi, Aqua-kun, who still has some work left, plans to have dinner with everyone today, so he’ll be coming home later than usual. I have a hunch that Aqua-kun is doing this on purpose, trying to make things easier for us and Shumi. It’s because of Aqua-kun’s kindness like this that I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve fallen in love with him. That’s why I genuinely thought it was great that Shumi, who could marry such a kind and wonderful person, did.
”Well then, let’s toast once again.”
And so, the housewarming party began with the four of us from the Verification Team, Grandma, and the maid.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.