「 I won’t ask you to sit down. Our conversation won’t take that long anyway. Remain standing there 」
Momoko-neechan, the young lady of the Kaan house, told the man of the Takahashi house, who announced breaking off his engagement with Kanou Sakurako-san.
「 U-Uhm, why? 」
Takahashi’s surprised as Momoko-neechan, Misuzu, Ruriko, and Yoshiko-san, the young ladies of Kaan and Kouzuki house, which ties the nobility together, are gathered here.
Then that means that he came here only to meet with Sakurako-san.
He heard that Sakurako-san has come to this hotel, and so…
「 Oh, about Sakurako’s outfit? I think they’re practicing for their show during the sports day. Not that I know much about it 」
Momoko-neechan referenced Sakurako-san, Ruriko, Mariko, and even Shiranui-san and Misato’s matching cheer girl outfits with their midriffs exposed and miniskirts.
This shows that Sakurako-san isn’t that shocked that Takahashi broke off the engagement and that she’s still doing well, even practicing with her school friends on cheerleading.
You can call it a “It’s not working,” appeal.
Although, Sakurako-san’s looking down with her pale expression as her former fiance came over.
The only reason she’s keeping her composure is that Momoko-neechan and Mariko are holding her hand.
「 Takahashi-san, I think you understand why Sakurako’s here, don’t you? 」
Momoko-neechan talks to Takahashi with a superficial smile.
「 That’s because I asked the Kouzuki house, and they told me that Sakurako-san was here 」
Kouzuki house has Kouzuki SS, a private army, and an information-gathering organization, which is supposed to provide security to the nobility.
Since they know all details on each of the nobility, then they should also know Sakurako-san’s current location, he thought.
「 Oh, Takahashi-san, I thought you said your goodbye to Sakurako-san through the mail? Why would you want to meet Sakurako-san this late? 」
Momoko-neechan knows what happened.
Well, Takahashi house has reported the whole broken engagement with Kanou Sakurako-san to the Kouzuki house, so…
Jii-chan sent the details to Kaan-san, and Momoko-neechan heard it too.
「 Well, that, for Takahashi house, the concealment of Kanou Sakurako-san’s birth is a serious flaw against our family, and so they have come to the conclusion that they have no choice but to break off Sakurako-san’s engagement with me, but… 」
The secret…that Sakurako-san isn’t a legitimate child of the Kanou house.
That her father was indeed the current head of the Kanou house, but her mother was a college student who worked as a part-time hostess at a Ginza bar.
Meaning, a child of an affair.
Furthermore, Kanou house disregarded that mother, and she resorted to prostitution.
「 Yes, so I heard. But, Takahashi house has already announced the breaking off, haven’t they? Despite that, why does Takahashi-san want to meet with Sakurako? 」
「 Well, about that 」
Takahashi speaks looking confused.
「 Takahashi house had to decide that they have to break off the engagement due to the incident, but… 」
「 Isn’t that also your decision? 」
Momoko-neechan asks to agitate.
「 No, that’s not the case. I follow Grandfather and Father’s decision. I mean, I think the decision is a fair one, Takahashi house isn’t equal to Kanou-sama, Kaan-sama, or Kouzuki-sama, but we still have our lineage 」
Meaning, he can’t marry a child of an affair, and a daughter of a prostitute.
「 And so, as a member of the nobility, I thought of telling Kouzuki-sama the details of why the engagement was called off, and so, Father did, but he seemed displeased about it 」
Jii-chan’s taking various actions every day for the survival and protection of the nobility.
And so, they have to report about the marriage between nobility to Jii-chan.
And if it comes to breaking off engagements…
And if Jii-chan learns the fact through the Kouzuki SS’ information network before they make a direct report.
It’ll invoke Jii-chan’s anger.
Therefore, Takahashi house’s head reported the details to Jii-chan first.
「 Our Grandfather is quite angry too 」
「 And that’s why I’m here 」
Takahashi house right now is under bad looks from the two of the biggest noble families in this society, the Kaan and Kouzuki house.
「 B-But, the flaws were on Kanou house, and the Takahashi house had no choice… 」
Takahashi tries to explain in a panic.
「 I understand how you feel, but isn’t there a better way of doing this? 」
Momoko-neechan’s words sting.
「 Don’t you feel sorry for the 16-year-old girl that you were engaged with by just sending a one-sided mail? I think it’s pitiful 」
「 T-This is why I came here to meet with Sakurako-san directly 」
「 Don’t you mean that you’re trying to create an established fact that you came to talk to her directly just so you could calm down Grandfather and Kouzuki-sama because they were angry beyond your expectations? 」
Momoko-neechan corners Takahashi.
「 No, uhm, what I mean is that the whole incident should have the Kanou house apologize to the Takahashi house! I said it multiple times before but it’s the Kanou house’s flaw that forced the Takahashi house to break off the engagement! 」
Takahashi talks a little angrily.
Sakurako looks down feebly, like a child getting scolded.
「 I think you’re misunderstanding something 」
「 Do you not understand? Look at what’s inside the room 」
She ridicules Takahashi.
「 I think of Sakurako as my little sister. I’ve done so so far, and will do for the rest of my life 」
Momoko-neechan gripped Sakurako-san’s hand and said.
「 I feel the same way. Sakurako-san’s my little sister 」
「 And she will always be my precious big sister 」
Ruriko said with a smile.
Yoshiko-san remained silent.
「 Do you understand, Takahashi-san? You say that Kanou house has a serious defect, but that doesn’t exist 」
「 Sakurako-san’s birth isn’t her fault. It’s irrelevant. But, Sakurako’s a cute girl. Don’t you agree, Mariko? 」
「 To me, she’s a gentle cousin. She’s always caring and helping me out. She’s precious family to me 」
Mariko said with a smile.
Right, during the party in the Kouzuki house, it was Sakurako-san who tried to help Mariko when she broke the mood by trying to greet Jii-chan.
Mariko is Sakurako-san’s cousin as her mother comes from the Kanou house, but…
Sakurako-san’s much kinder than that.
「 We don’t recognize the “flaw” that you keep talking about. After all, Sakurako’s a good girl, and she has the elegance that young ladies of nobility should have. She’s a girl you can send to any country in the world as the representative of the nobility in Japan and she will deliver 」
Momoko-neechan has no problem with Sakurako-san’s parents.
She only looks at Sakurako-san, her charm, and her worth.
「 However, the truth, Sakurako-san’s mother… 」
Takahashi said Momoko-neechan stopped him.
「 Do you still not understand? We don’t care about the facts 」
「 Sure, Kanou house is certainly weaker now, but they’re still the clan that’s equal to my Kanou house and Misuzu’s Kouzuki house. They still stand above your Takahashi house. They may have no assets now and so they had no choice but to engage with families like yours, but if this were 200 years ago, then Kanou house and Takahashi house’s engagement would be impossible 」
「 The rebuilding of the Kanou house is one of the top priorities of Grandfather and Momoko-oneesama’s Grandfather in their noble protection program 」
「 Our grandfathers gave the Takahashi house who started late in the nobility a chance to form a connection with the Kanou house, and yet, you revoked your engagement with Sakurako-san. Takahashi house is such a disappointment 」
「 It’s Takahashi house who lost its chance 」
Hearing the Kaan and Kouzuki ladies say that, Takahashi trembles.
「 I’m sorry to say but Sakurako-san’s birth mother will become buried under the Kouzuki house’s darkness. If anyone were to leak this information outside, we will not tolerate it, even if it is Takahashi-san himself 」
「 The woman from the Kanou house who leaked the secret to the Takahashi house is already transferred to an isolated Kouzuki house’s owned hospital 」
If I recall, it was Kanou house’s main family’s great-aunt, who went hysteric, and leaked the information, but…
「 She will not be allowed to leave the facility until her death 」
「 Thus, Kanou house will know what happens if they don’t keep secrets. What’s left is the Takahashi house 」
Hearing Rei-chan says that Momoko-neechan continued with Takahashi.
「 Was it just you and the head who knows the secret? Oh right, your bodyguard knows of it too, right? 」
Momoko-neechan talks to the bodyguard standing behind Takahashi.
Seeing Michi and Yamada Umeko, bodyguards are always with their Master, and so they know various secrets.
However, most of the nobility have bodyguards who came from families that have been entrusted with guarding the nobility for generations, and so it’s unlikely for the guard to reveal any secrets.
「 Fujimiya-san, what happened to the detective agency Takahashi house hired? 」
「 They’re already dealt with 」
「 You won’t say that they’re all dead, would you? 」
Momoko-neechan asks lightly, then,…
「 No, the detective agency admitted and apologized that the report they submitted to the Takahashi house was wrong by showing the facts that have been omitted from the investigation 」
「 Oh, a new fact has been fabricated 」
「 Yes. The fact that Kanou-sama was dating a woman in Ginza can’t be overwritten as there are multiple witnesses, but it doesn’t prove that Sakurako-sama is a daughter of that woman 」
Rei-chan said. Sakurako-san looked up.
「 The DNA test results show no parental relationship between Sakurako-sama and that woman. The woman was also involved with another man at the same time as Kanou-sama, and furthermore, there were witnesses that the woman was pregnant, but the doctors at the hospital testified that it was stillborn 」
Parts of the investigation that can’t be changed are left intact.
But, we can falsify the new information we can control and change the result of the investigation.
Even if Sakurako-san’s father had an affair if that can’t prove that Sakurako-san is a child of an affair.
「 If there’s no clear evidence, then we’ll tell them to stop spreading false information, and if they threaten us from the other side, then we’ll keep their mouths shut 」
Kouzuki SS also has a unit on the other side, Kudou-papa, and his group who’s specialized in illegal stuff.
「 And how will they continue to keep their mouth shut? 」
「 They will be under observation all the time. Even if any problem arises, we can deal with them instantly 」
「 For example, if someone posts slander on the Kanou house, then we can immediately disseminate the information to counteract, look for the person who posted it, and take action as soon as possible 」
That’s a declaration that Kouzuki SS will thoroughly protect the secret to Sakurako-san’s birth.
「 With that said, it’s only the Takahashi house left. I wonder if you’ll agree to keep your mouth shut about it? 」
Momoko-neechan looked at Takahashi.
「 If Kaan-sama and Kouzuki-sama give an order to keep quiet, then we’ll follow. Takahashi house is also part of the nobility 」
Takahashi speaks in displeasure.
「 However, if that’s how it will be? Does it mean that I still have to marry Sakurako-san? 」
If the reason for the broken engagement, Sakurako-san’s birth, has been covered up, then…
Does Sakurako-san’s marriage with Takahashi have to continue?
「 I said this earlier, we’re disappointed in the Takahashi house 」
「 I can’t let someone like you marry our precious sister 」
She embraces Sakurako-san, who’s next to her
「 Really, Kanou-sama, no matter how much your family’s struggling, you’re out of your mind to let the daughter of the Kanou house marry to such a useless man 」
「 His eyes must’ve been clouded 」
「 We’ll keep the canceled engagement. If other families ask for a reason, then tell them that Takahashi house has displeased the Kaan and Kouzuki house. Because it’s the truth. Our Grandfathers have decided that Takahashi house can’t marry the young lady of the Kanou house 」
「 W-Why is it that we have to take the blame? 」
「 You don’t seem to know the history of your home 」
「 What do you mean by the history of the Takahashi house? 」
Momoko-neechan’s attitude makes Takahashi rebel even more.
「 Takahashi house has joined the nobility because of their achievements during the Meiji period, weren’t they? And even before that, your family was from the nobility, but in the Edo period, you were only a lowly noble family in Kyoto 」
「 What about it? My ancestors started a business in the new era after the Meiji restoration, and our family has produced several people who have held important government positions 」
「 That doesn’t matter. Takahashi Keiki who laid the foundation of the Takahashi house should be your direct ancestors. Do you know who his wife was? 」
Takahashi fell silent.
「 Keiki’s wife was a Geisha, wasn’t it? No, it’s nothing rare. Even in the former days of the Meiji era, many of the low-class nobles or samurai lived in poverty when they were young. Many of them had a Geisha wife. I heard that many of them who came to the party in the Meiji era were former Geisha 」
「 Besides, it’s common for wealthy merchants in the Meiji era to take a courtesan from the red light district as their wife. It’s common for politicians and businessmen to have concubines. Wasn’t there a journalist in the Meiji era who published a list of people’s concubines in newspapers? 」
「 I think it was Miyatake Gaikotsu 」
「 Yes. And even those concubines, who used to be mostly prostitutes and geisha, were often forced to give birth to children by political and business leaders. Of course, there are times where there are no children born and so theirs took over the family 」
So even children born from the women in the bars or brothels have become heads of nobility?
「 You also had the blood of a Geisha in you. Despite knowing the history of Takahashi house, you can’t accept Sakurako because her birth mother was working on a bar in Ginza, and even announcing that you’re breaking off your engagement right away. It makes you think twice 」
「 In her case, her mother’s not just a hostess. After Kanou house chased her out, that woman… 」
Right, Sakurako-san’s mother became a prostitute in Kyushu.
She died a prostitute.
「 And I already told you that it’s irrelevant to Sakurako herself! 」
「 But, if this fact were to be discovered, they’ll call Sakurako-san a child of a prostitute! 」
「 And we already told you that this fact will no longer spread!! 」
In the end, Takahashi himself doesn’t want it.
Marrying a daughter of a prostitute.
「 I believe that you need a suitable amount of pride to be a member of the nobility, but your pride is misplaced 」
Momoko-neechan speaks in displeasure.
「 Above all, I don’t feel the high class of nobility from you. Noblesse oblige, the duty that nobles have is something you lack 」
「 After discovering the secret about Sakurako’s birth, you didn’t want to marry her anymore, but you see, Sakurako’s still sixteen. She’s a woman. Have you ever thought that you would hurt her feelings for saying that you’re breaking off the engagement? And you sent her a single mail, not letting a response, and after that, you attached the detective agency’s report in it? Are you stupid? 」
「 I’m the victim here! I was forced to this scrap of Kanou house! What’s wrong with making a complaint. 」
After getting cornered, his true intentions leak out.
This guy’s no good.
「 In the end, you’re such a narrow-minded man who can only think that way. Sakurako, isn’t that great that you don’t have to marry this man anymore? 」
「 Anyway, calling off the engagement with Sakurako-san has been disrespectful to the Kaan and Kouzuki house. That was Grandfather and Kouzuki-sama’s decision, is that clear? 」
「 No, that would mean that I’m going to lose my status! I can’t agree with that! 」
「 It can’t be helped, that’s all we can do to keep Sakurako’s honor 」
Momoko-neechan speaks coldly.
「 I can’t agree to this! I’m going to protest! If it comes to this, then I’m going to tell the other families the truth! I’m going to tell everyone what kind of woman Sakurako-san really is! 」
In the end, he only thinks of himself.
「 Kou-chan? 」
Momoko-neechan suddenly called to me.
「 I’m sorry for not telling you beforehand but I knew that it would come to this so I had them come 」
「 Takahashi-san can’t keep quiet like this. Fujimiya-san 」
「 Yes 」
Momoko-neechan gave instructions, and Rei-chan opened the door.
「 Excuse us 」
「 Well, whose mouth should I seal? 」
◇ ◇ ◇
「 Your girls are amazing, Kou-chan 」
Momoko-neechan who talked a lot felt a little thirsty, and so she asked for ice coffee.
She sucks on the straw as she watches Yomi erase the memories of Takahashi and his bodyguard.
「 If it were my servant who has this ability, I would’ve gone for world conquest already. But since Kou-chan has no tall ambitions, you can be the master of these girls 」
「 Momoko-neechan, I thought you don’t like it when Yomi and the girls are near 」
「 I don’t really mind them now. I can understand Kou-chan’s personality now, and I know that these girls will never do anything that’s against Kou-chan’s will 」
Momoko-neechan smiled at me.
「 Kou-chan, you won’t erase my memories, right? 」
「 No. That’s troublesome 」
「 Right, you could’ve brought your girls with that ability for today, and yet… 」
Momoko-neechan looked at Sakurako-san next to her.
「 Well, if I bring girls like Yomi, then it would be really easy to deal with Sakurako-san 」
They can read minds and memories, and even rewrite them.
「 But, that won’t solve the problem 」
Hearing my response, Momoko-neechan smiled.
「 That’s what I like about you Kou-chan. You have such a noble soul, even compared to that man 」
She said and looked down on Takahashi, who has a dazed look as his memory is erased.
「 Oh, I hate him 」
「 He never looked at Sakurako-san while talking 」
Yeah, this guy.
「 Well, I get that his conversation with Momoko-neechan is important, but he never looked at Sakurako-san despite her being the topic 」
「 Takahashi-san doesn’t see Sakurako-san as a person 」
「 As it’s a political marriage between two noble families, the Takahashi house only thought of the history of the Kanou house, and Kanou house seeing Takahashi house as an asset, and so that’s why it’s come to this 」
It’s a contract-like kind of marriage.
And so, he complains that Sakurako-san’s birth secret like it’s a breach of contract.
He had no affection towards Sakurako-san from the beginning.
「 And Kou-chan’s so much different. You worried for Sakurako-san, and you kept looking at her from the sides, right? 」
「 Well yeah, I’m worried 」
I replied. Sakurako-san shows an embarrassed look.
「 Grandfather’s already dealing with his parents, the head of Takahashi house. They’re not as stupid as him so I don’t think that there’s a need to erase their memories 」
Jii-chan and Kaan-san will both order the head of Takahashi house to keep Sakurako-san’s secret.
「 The head should know how scary our Grandfathers are. This one’s still young, and so even if Grandfather scolds him, he would rebel and do something crazy. Therefore, I called them for him 」
「 I thought that she should meet him, so Sakurako can sort out her feelings 」
The shock from the broken engagement should be overcome through this somehow.
After seeing how much of a boring and useless man he is, breaking off the engagement was the right call.
Kouzuki SS already assured that the scandalous news about Sakurako-san won’t leak outside.
「 Well then, Sakurako, what are you doing after this? 」
Momoko-neechan asks Sakurako-san.
「 Are you still going to play with Kou-chan? 」
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