Volume 9 Chapter 24 Shirogane Aqua, I Picked Up A Stray Cat
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Even after getting married, I make sure to go back to my parents’ house once a week. Because if I don’t, I’ll get bombarded with emails from my mother like a demon.
In addition, I have another reason that I absolutely must go back home. Today, as usual, I was on my way to my parents’ house by office transport.
On the way… or rather, just before my parents’ house, I found a suspicious object in a cardboard box.
I didn’t want to notice it if possible, but I thought I couldn’t leave it like this, so I thanked the driver and got out.
”Hey! Boy, you came at just the right time.”
I freeze in front of the cardboard box. It’s definitely Kuga Reira. Huh? What is she doing here? Reira-san smiles at me with a sisterly face.
”Sorry, but… boy, can you let me stay over tonight?”
I really wanted to ignore her and go home, but leaving her here like this would only cause more problems, so I reluctantly took Reira-san home with me.
Come to think of it, Kuga Rihito-san also called her a runaway girl, so I wonder if she has nowhere else to stay…
”Waaa, it’s the real Kuga Reira…”
Lapis’s eyes sparkle when she sees Reira brought home. She’s still as cute as ever. I’m not exaggerating when I say I come home every week for this. Reira slowly approaches Lapis and hugs her small body tightly.
”Hey, Aqua-kun. Can I take this child home with me?”
”No no no, Reira-san. Lapis is mine.”
I pull Lapis away from Reira-san and hold her close to me. That was close. Even girls can marry each other in this world, so I have to be careful… Oh, but I’d rather have a girl than marry her off to a bad guy. However, Reira-san is beautiful and has assets, but she doesn’t seem to have much living skills… That’s the problem.
”L-Lapis is Nii-sama’s…”
What’s wrong, Lapis? Your face is red, are you okay? If you have a fever, your big brother will be happy to sleep with you and take care of you.
”I see. Well, if I and Aqua-kun get married, Lapis-chan will be mine too… not bad, right?”
”Yes yes yes yes yes!”
As Reira-san mutters something, my mother squeezes in between me and Reira-san. Seeing this, I and Lapis made a face that something was starting again.
”Detecting the ecchi waves!! MAR! MAR!”
Mother said ‘MAR’… It’s probably something trivial like ‘Marine Assistant Referee’ or something.
Lapis and I look at each other and sigh softly. No, no, we don’t need gestures like covering our ears. Who are you talking to…?
I wish she would consider Lapis, who is probably always being dragged into these long deliberations. As I watched with a squint, mother took out a yellow card from her kimono.
”Reira-san, that’s your first yellow card. Accumulate two, and you’ll have to leave this house, so be careful.”
Mother, you’re so meticulous. Reira-san is laughing too. It’s embarrassing. I thanked Reira-san for putting up with mother’s antics.
As we were like that, one girl laughed shyly. This is another reason why I had to come back here today. Since the night of the incident, Ayana has been staying at my parents’ house.
She can’t go back to her own apartment with all the media attention, but I can’t take care of a teenage girl at my place either. As a result, she ended up here. Ayana said she didn’t mind, but I was worried about her going back to her apartment alone after the incident, so I got permission from Ayana’s mom too.
There was also the option of going to Ayana’s mom’s place, but Kohina-senpai’s words stuck with me. She said that Ayana couldn’t rely on her mom because her mom is a manager. Given Ayana’s personality, she might endure, force herself, pretend to be okay, and make things worse. That would only make her bottle everything up inside.
”Ayana… Did you sleep well? Are you feeling better?”
I had a lot of things I wanted to say, but I avoided any words related to the incident as much as possible.
”Sorry, Ayana. My family… or rather, especially my mother, is really noisy, right?”
”No, it’s okay. Marin-san is really funny, Shitori-san is really kind, and Lapis-chan is really cute… Thanks to them, I’m having a really good time here.”
I nodded at the part where she said Lapis was cute. Both Reira-san and Ayana understood that. Ayana then looked at Reira-san.
”By the way, why is Kuga Reira-san here?”
”Well, I just happened to be there.”
Ayana’s reaction was right. I just made the same face as Ayana a moment ago. Reira-san spoke up.
”I don’t have a home to go back to, so I’m staying here tonight.”
”What about your parents? Rihito-san was worried too, you know?”
No, no, no, you can’t just give a childlike response like that.
”I don’t know anything about that guy.”
Isn’t Reira-san suddenly acting like a child? Where did the usual cool beauty go?
”If I’m really bothering you, I’ll leave. Just tell me when.”
”No, you’re not a bother at all, Reira-san… But right now, Ayana is using the guest room, so the only room available is mine.”
Upon hearing my words, Reira-san suddenly blushed. Wait, was there something in my words that could make her blush…?
”Aqua-kun is a boy, but he’s quite bold, isn’t he?”
For some reason, Reira-san takes off half of her outer garment’s jacket in a slightly sexy way.
”It’s fine. I’m a bit of an actress, and I have confidence in my body. I pay for my stay with this body…”
”Yes, yes, yes! No ecchi!!”
This time, not only mother, but also Lapis joins in.
I wonder if those two have become even closer since I left home.
”That’s another red card! You’re out!!”
”No room for MAR! No objection!!”
Hey, where did that red card come from?…
I calm the two of them down by patting their heads, thinking that my family is still doing fun things as usual and the conversation isn’t progressing.
”Hehe, Aqua-chan, more~”
”Nii-sama, Nii-sama, Nii-sama…”
Yeah, well, that’s about it.
With this, we should be able to have a proper discussion.
I turn my face to Reira-san again.
”So, Reira-san, what don’t you like about Rihito-san?”
”…He’s too preachy.”
Ah…yeah. Most likely, it’s mostly Reira-san’s fault.
But I know that the real reason Reira-san ran away from home isn’t because of that.
”Reira-san, that’s not it. Isn’t it because of the incident between Rihito-san and Amakusa-san?”
I remember the lovely expression on Rihito-san’s face when he talked about Amakusa-san.
That wasn’t the face of someone who had completely cut off their feelings.
And Reira-san’s reason for running away from home is probably related to that.
”Oh… Rihito, he talks about it that much, huh…? No, maybe Aqua-kun noticed. You’re sensitive to things directed at you, like Mishu-sama.”
Yukishiro Mikuni… I was surprised when I saw her on screen for the first time.
Many people were impressed by her captivating charisma, beauty, and acting skills that draw people into her world.
I thought, there’s someone like this, huh?
Reira-san is amazing, and Kohina-senpai is great too, but Mishu-sama is clearly one step ahead.
She was Shintaro’s co-star during a commercial shoot, but if given the chance, I would like to co-star with her too.
”If you understand, then let’s get to the point. Rihito still likes Shikimi-oneechan, but he’s pretending to give up and acting cool. So… Aqua-kun, will you help us?”
”It’s fine to help, but… what should I do?”
When I tilt my head, Reira-san also tilts her head in the same way.
When I tilt my head in the opposite direction, Reira-san also tilts her head in the opposite direction.
This person is quite cute… no, not that!!
No, Aqua, your bad habit is showing again. I mutter to myself ten times in my heart that I have Kanon. Even in a polygamous world, I feel like it’s not right to be with just anyone because of my personality.
”What are you two doing?”
Ayana, who was nearby, sighed as she watched our exchange. Oh! There was only one normal person in this piece of junk space!! I asked Reira-san for permission to explain about Rihito-san and Amakusa-san to Ayana. Then Reira-san started talking about the two of them in order.
”Our relationship is simply childhood friends among the three of us.”
It is a tragic love story between the next heads of two of the families, Sumeragi, Kokucho, Yukishiro, Fuji, Kuga, and Amakusa, which are considered the highest peaks among the aristocracy. It started from warm memories of their childhood.
”I immediately noticed that Rihito and Shikimi-oneechan were in love with each other. Because both of them were bad at hiding it.”
One day, there was a change in the relationship between the three of them. It was meeting with Kokucho Agewa-san, the current head of the Kokucho family.
”At that time, Rihito and Shikimi-oneechan had already started their education as the next heads, and Agewa said to them, ‘Heads cannot marry each other…” So I will become the head instead of Rihito, and he will become the son-in-law of Shikimi-oneechan.”
According to Rihito-san, Reira-san had a dream of becoming an actress at that time. If Reira-san became the head of the Kuga family, she would have to give up that dream. That’s why Rihito-san didn’t nod.
Similarly, Amakusa-san understood that and withdrew herself. Rihito-san also told Ayana about the reasons such as whether Reira-san, who seemed like a free-spirited person, could handle being the head of the six families and whether she could entrust her family’s faction to Reira.
”I’m not really angry at Rihito, but I’m frustrated that he’s useless when it matters most… If I had been more reliable, I might have been able to beat Rihito, who was good at everything since childhood, except for acting in the school play.”
Can’t face him, so can’t go home… I felt like I caught a glimpse of Reira-san’s true feelings.
”So I followed Mishu-sama and ran away from this country. I couldn’t bear to see the two of them, who still exchange loving gazes as if they had given up without confessing their feelings to each other.”
Even I, who was meeting her for the first time, could tell, so it must have been even more so for Reira-san, who was nearby. After receiving an explanation from Reira, Ayana thought for a moment before speaking slowly.
”I see… so what does Reira-san want from the two of them? Even as a third party like me, I think they should be together… but that’s not the case, is it?”
Reira-san nodded slightly.
”I… it’s my selfishness, but I wanted them to confess their feelings to each other. Because I heard Shikimi-oneechan’s and Rihito’s true feelings… In the end, it’s been years since then, but nothing has changed, and no one has taken a step forward. Neither Rihito nor Shikimi-oneechan…and neither have I…”
Is it her true feelings…? Reira-san, who was close to them, probably learned that both of them are regretting not being able to confess their feelings.
So, she couldn’t bear the pain of knowing those feelings and ran away from home… I see, I’m starting to understand the situation.
”I see… so, we just need to create an opportunity and atmosphere for them, right?”
It’s smooth to talk when Ayana is around. Things go faster when there’s someone reliable.
”Ugh, how sad of a story…”
”Mother, here’s a tissue. Come on, blow your nose. Good job!”
Ignoring my mother who had somehow come back to life and were listening to the conversation, I raised my hand to speak up.
”Well, there’s a great opportunity coming up…”
This weekend, Ayana and I have a surprise live performance scheduled as part of our monthly drama series. Ayana seemed to have noticed it too and nodded slightly at my words.
”Amakusa-san from the National Confidentiality Bureau will participate in the government-sponsored matchmaking event. I thought maybe we could somehow get Rihito-san to come with the Prime Minister.”
As the end of December approaches, there was a big move at this timing towards the climax of the monthly drama series. The two characters, Rina played by Ayana and Kazuya played by me, rapidly approached the protagonist, Sayuki played by Kohina-senpai, pushing her aside. They asked us to perform the song that plays at that moment at the government-sponsored matchmaking event.
”Is that even possible?”
”Well… it seems like it can be done if we try.”
I showed Reira-san the screen of my phone. I sent a message to the Prime Minister earlier, saying “Can you secretly bring Rihito-san with you to the live performance this time as a last resort?” and I got an OK reply immediately. The Prime Minister is too quick on her feet.
”So, all we have to do is to bring the two of them together and create a good atmosphere, right?”
I nodded at Ayana’s words. Fortunately, it’s a matchmaking event, so if we do it well, we can create an atmosphere that looks like it. No… I have a good idea.
”What if we let the two of them participate in the matchmaking event on the day and stir up each other’s jealousy? If Rihito-san finds it difficult to participate alone, I can even come as Sakura…”
When I said that, Ayana and Reira-san grabbed both of my shoulders.
”Aqua… if we do that, everything will be ruined.”
”Aqua-kun, do you want to turn the matchmaking venue into a battlefield?”
I gave up on that idea under their pressure. Yeah, no matter how much it’s for the two of them, it’s disrespectful to participate in a matchmaking event when you don’t have any intention of getting married.
”Aqua-kun’s natural side is just like Mishu-sama.”
”Do I really look like Yukishiro Mikuni-san that much?”
I was worried about being told that I look like Mishu-san, so I asked Reira-san, who knows her well, a question.
”Yeah, it’s the atmosphere, or the aura that surrounds you… and also, you smell the same.”
”Indeed, when I’m with Aqua-chan, I might mistake them sometimes.”
Huh? When Reira-san and I looked at each other, we turned our gaze towards my mother who calls me Aqua-chan.
Yes, it’s no use looking away. Your statement has been exposed, you know~.
I pulled mother, who tried to hide behind Lapis, out.
Lapis tilted her head, not knowing anything.
”Aww, Aqua-chan is bullying mom. Ayana-chan, help me~”
It’s useless to ask Ayana for help. Come on, just give up already.
As we were having that exchange, we heard a noise coming from the entrance.
”Aa-chan and mother, what are you doing together?”
”Help me, Shitori-chan!”
”Oh, Shitori-onee-chan. Welcome back.”
”Welcome back, Nee-sama.”
”Welcome back, Shitori-san.”
”I’m intruding. I’m Reira Kuga.”
Shitori-onee-chan, who came back from work, nodded slightly at Reira-san and then turned her gaze back to us.
”No, it’s because mother said she might mistake me and Mishu-sama sometimes…”
After hearing my words, Shitori-onee-chan tilted her head.
Then she understood something and clapped her hands.
”Oh! That’s right… Ah-chan has amnesia, so you must have forgotten. That means, mother… you might not have told him about that…”
Yes, it’s no use trying to escape.
Mother, please give up already. You’re being stubborn.
”Uuu… but I’m still fighting with Miku-chan!”
Miku-chan? Oh, right, Mishu-sama is actually called Miku.
”Is mother acquainted with Mishu-sama?”
”It’s not like we’re acquaintances, but Miku-chan is Aqua-chan’s other mom.”
I looked at Ayana, who was next to me, with a surprised face.
Ayana was also surprised, with her mouth wide open, just like me.
Then I pointed to my own face and asked if it was okay for me to have heard that.
I asked her off the record, placing my finger on my lips.
”Well, Lapis doesn’t know, so…”
There are a lot of things I’m curious about… For example, there are many things I want to ask, such as about Lapis’s other parent that I heard briefly before, and why Mishu-sama separated from my mom. But my head is too confused and I can’t express myself well.
Looking back, there were so many things about the Shirogane family that I didn’t know. It was probably because I was too conscious of them as women in my family that I didn’t try to get to know them better by keeping my distance.
In other words, it’s my fault. I regret that I should have asked about these things more properly. In fact, I didn’t even imagine that Mishu-sama was Lapis’s other mother, and I refrained from touching upon it because mother didn’t talk about it.
”Was it because she ate the ice cream that mom treasured without permission?”
”Yeah! Miku-chan ate the reward ice cream that I had carefully put in the freezer without permission! And she said she would buy more, but she didn’t come back! So it’s okay!”
Without thinking, Ayana and I almost fell over. It’s ridiculous! We’re surprised at the silly reason!!
Return my kindness that I was careful about!! But I also thought it was like mother. Lapis’s mouth stayed open in amazement at the contrast between Rihito-san and Amakusa-san.
It’s impossible for her to have been lost for more than ten years due to her lack of direction, and it may be impossible to repair their relationship here. Yeah… let’s just leave it at that. It seems like a hassle anyway.
While I was thinking about that, Reira-san hugged me from behind.
”Aqua-kun…you’re going to let me stay in your room tonight, right? Fortunately, today is my lucky day, so you don’t have to hold back. Let’s make Mishu-sama’s child… no, grandchild together!!”
Hey, Reira-san, calm down for a moment! Wait, where did you get that strength from?
”Beep beep beep! You’re out this time, completely out!”
Against angry mother, Reira-san had a wicked smile.
”Why don’t we all go together, mom?”
Even mother was surprised. Good job, mother, stop Reira-san’s rampage!!
”That’s not a bad idea.”
Wait a minute! Damn it, I was stupid to expect something from mother!! And doesn’t Shitori-onee-chan seem motivated too?
Thinking it would be bad if things continued like this, I asked for help from Ayana and Lapis. With their persuasion, we were able to calm down the situation. Of course, Lapis is reliable, but Ayana is also dependable.
”Ayana, if you want, you can stay at my house from now on…”
Wait, did Ayana’s face just turn red and fall backwards? Somehow I managed to catch her halfway, but it was dangerous.
I wonder what happened? Maybe changing the place where she lives made her tired.
”See, it’s Miku-chan. Aqua-chan’s natural charm…”
”Big sister think Aa-chan should do something about that part of you a little more.”
”Nii-sama, please think a little or take responsibility for your words.”
”Aqua-kun, you’re such a terrible man. Since you said it, I think you should take responsibility properly.”
For some reason, the four of them made a relieved expression, spreading both hands. I don’t understand…
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.