Everyone. Gathering. Deadline.
On the Saturday, the room 701 was busy since the morning.
The little sisters have come to the room all together.
This time everyone wasn't dressed in maid outfit cosplay, they all had their plain clothes. I wasn't really... expecting anything. Seeing they aren't the little sister maid troop, I was relieved.
Selene's clothes were very gothic. As usual, the gap between normal clothes for wearing inside room and hers was large.
Mika was in lolita clothes. As I thought, probably the one choosing clothes for her was Murasaki-san?
Tomomi was wearing boyish shorts, it suited her activeness well.
Even if she's got a boyfriend, she won't change the way she's dressing in just a day or two, will she. But, I wonder if she's gonna change the way she's dressing herself to fit her boyfriend's tastes.
Yuuki was in her classic style of a T-shirt and jeans. It seemed like she would seem stylish no matter what she wore. I felt like giving her a ban on wearing jeans in order to make her get used to wearing skirts.
With that said though, if I forced her into a skirt she might panic, so for now I'll just look after her as she acts independently.
As for Sayuri, she wasn't wearing the wig and appeared in a cute one-piece dress today.
Not too flashy and quite neat, I felt it was a choice that gave her a lot of feminine refinement.
And that Sayuri had worn an apron and immediately got to preparing for breakfast. Yuuki voluntarily helped her with it.
Selene and Mika together started watching anime on cable TV.
While yawning, Tomomi begun to arrange dishes on the table.
"Hey, Nii-chan help out too, c'mon on! Those who don't work won't eat!"
It was the usual Tomomi.
"What about those two?"
The two lined up were absorbed in watching the TV. The program was about a transforming heroine. Tomomi smiled with satisfaction.
"Selene is collecting data and it's emotional education for Mika so it's all right. Rather than that, aren't you hoarding laundry to do, Nii-chan?"
After finishing putting out dishes and glasses for a number of people, with a brisk pace Tomomi headed towards the washing machine in the bathroom.
I went along Tomomi. It was easier to ask when it's just us two.
As she stood in front of the drum-type washing machine with softener and detergent in her hands "Hmm. There's two of them, which one is which?", wondering, I spoke.
"Ah! Good timing Nii-chan. Where do I put each of these?"
"The liquid detergent goes here, as for softener, you need to pull here so that the tray comes out and put it inside."
When the washing machine started turning, Tomomi turned around and looked into my face.
"So, what's up Nii-chan? Can it be, unable to hug me you've gotten lonely and waited for us to be alone?"
"Then whaaat is it. Be honesst."
"Umm... right.... that's... uh..."
I couldn't continue. Is it true that you got a boyfriend? If I were to say that all of a sudden Tomomi will obviously get suspicious.
Who did you hear that from? When it comes to that, it'll be more than bad.
Tomomi made a blank look on her face.
"What is it Nii-chan?"
I hurriedly pointed towards the washing machine.
"Oh right! If you push this button for drying function, it'll be done automatically."
"Oh! Sorry 'bout that, forgot to press it."
After that, Tomomi still continued to look at my face.
"So, that's not all is it?"
"N-nothing really... but, let me apologize first."
"Can't be helped. It were some stormy days lately."
Tomomi laughed indifferently. Was she... not angry?
"U-umm... did something change recently?"
Staring at me intently, Tomomi suddenly clung onto me. She pressed her bulging chest against me. Soft. When I was in close contact wtih Tomomi, there was an indescribable good scent.
"H-hey! What it all of a sudden..."
"Nii-chan, if you raise your voice everyone will come, right?"
I responded while suppressing my voice.
"Don't threaten me. Please let go!"
"But it's Nii-chan who asked if something had changed."
"And I wonder, what does that have to do with hugging me?"
"A lot. I've become bigger recently. Of course, I didn't get fat though!"
"Got it. I understand. I have understood."
Smiling satisfactory, Tomomi finally let go of me.
As I was relieved, a presence had appeared behind me. When feeling chill I turned around, Sayuri's figure with an apron on stood there.
"Oh my, so Onii-sama was in a place like this?"
We were seen?!! With a dry smile, Sayuri spoke monotonously. It felt like she was clearly suppressing her anger.
Tomomi listened to it with a smile.
"What's up, Sayuri?"
"The breakfast has been prepared. You two, please do come."
As if to counter Tomomi's smile, Sayuri said that also with a smile and soundlessly left towards the dining room.
"C'mon, let's go Nii-chan."
Tomomi took my hand, with my mouth half-opened feeling like nearly half of my soul was drained I was dragged down the hallway.
The breakfast consisted of a croissant, scrambled eggs, boiled sausage and pumpkin potage. Also, to the menu there was a mini salad and vegetable juice.
All of it was delicious.
While eating, Tomomi had casually started talking with me.
"Nii-chan. By the way... I've made a boyfriend."
I know already. I couldn't say that. As I made an absent-minded look Tomomi puffed up her cheeks and pursed her lips.
"What's this. It's fine if you act more shocked you know."
"N-no, it's nothing. Sorry."
"If you apologize you'll make me troubled."
"It doesn't seem... like it's the first time others hear it."
"Yup. I already reported to everyone so Nii-chan is the last one. I didn't really intend to surprise you though. I'll be 16 in the summer as well, you know? It's just right that I get a boyfriend or two."
"You shouldn't be gettin' two!"
"I'm just talking hypothetically."
I looked around the table. Selene made a sleepy expression with half-closed eyes, as if it didn't concern her. Sayuri was squirming, it seemed like she was trying to put up with something.
Yuuki looked towards Mika worried. Speaking of Mika, she was in low spirits. For Mika, it seemed like a grave problem.
Tomomi continued towards me.
"And so, I have a request for Nii-chan..."
When Tomomi had come down to the main issue, the chime had rang out.
"Sorry Tomomi. It seems we have a visitor."
There was only one person I knew that could have visited. Tomomi's shoulders drooped. Selene's half-opened eyes opened wide. Sayuri had become even more anxious, Yuuki... nodded towards me with a serious expression. Mika stared at me intently.
"It's probably Murasaki-san."
After I went up to the intercom and unlocked the door, Murasaki-san had appeared in the dining room wearing a suit. Everyone stood up.
"My apologies for appearing during the meal."
With that as the lead-in, Murasaki-san confirmed with me.
"Were you able to decide on a single little sister?"
"I won't choose."
"Is that so..."
"I'll give up on the inheritance. That's what happens unless I make my choose before the deadline, isn't it?"
"Yes, it's as Yoichi-san says."
"The deadline... has passed already, hasn't it?"
Everyone including me awaited Murasaki-san's next words. She sighed lightly and without a single move of her eyebrow, she spoke indifferently.
"Does that mean the deadline hasn't passed?"
"That's how it would be."
"Then, why was it said that it's two weeks? Was it in fact a longer period of time?"
"I was the one who determined it to be two weeks."
"Was that too, in the testament?"
For a moment, Murasaki-san was speechless. As if she hesitated.
"When does the real deadline come?"
"I cannot respond with anything concerning the will... however."
Murasaki-san spoke to me with a look colder than ice.
"I recommend that you choose soon... so that you don't regret it afterwards."
"Regret... you say."
"None of the little sister candidates have a right of veto. Yoichi-san's decision is absolute. Do not forget that."
"I... won't choose."
A regret after choosing just one person and regret after losing the inheritance. Normally, the regret would be greater after losing the latter.
"Is that so. Well then, excuse me."
After a short apology Murasaki-san left. The tense atmosphere relaxed all at once.
I exhaled grandly and muttered.
"What was that... 'regret', she says."
During her today's visit she gave off even more business-like impression. Also, since it seemed like she had gone as far as to threaten, it felt suspicious.
As I thought, to Murasaki-san, the relationship with us was ultimately dictated by work, till the end she strictly intended on fulfilling the contract with her client.
The little sisters sat again in their respective seats.
Tomomi awkwardly muttered.
"U-um, Nii-chan, don't mind it!"
"Don't mind you say... I wonder, have I done anything wrong? Or is my existence in itself bad?"
Sayuri shook her head sideways.
"The asking something essential you are unable to answer to, was Murasaki-san. Onii-sama isn't at fault."
Yuuki repeatedly nodded to that.
"T-that's right, Nii-san. I'm not good with difficult stuff, but I'd say we should act optimistically."
Mika hugged Maple tightly.
"Is it okay for Mii-chan and others to stay together for longer?"
I slowly nodded in response to Mika's words.
"Yeah. It seems all right."
Still, being told "if you don't choose soon you'll regret it", I felt restless.
Then Selene murmured with a clear voice. Her pupils were hollow, as if she was looking at something we were unable to see, she had a mysterious look.
"...Onii-chan. Is there really a deadline?"
"Deadline, huh. Judging by what Murasaki-san said, I guess there is."
Selene nodded demurely in response to my words.
"...the reason...you have to choose is...."
As if time stopped, Selene stopped moving. Worried about her, I asked.
"I have to choose because?"
"...*suu*............*suu*...eh? Good morning, Onii-chan."
Selene rubbed her eyes with a large yawn. Can it be that she was half-asleep?
Sayuri pinched her small chin with fingers and opened her mouth.
"We were unable to find out was it that the selection is done as soon as possible. It feels like it would be difficult to elicit it from Murasaki-san."
Tomomi flared up with a smile.
"Well then, let's enjoy our current life until we're evicted!"
It was a pessimistic way to be positive about it, but she had a point.
No, can I let myself be swept by this recognition?
As I was astray, Tomomi continued brightly.
"So, back to the previous talk... can I request something from Nii-chan?"
With Murasaki-san's appearance Tomomi was interrupted, wasn't it. Once again I turned towards her.
"Speaking of which, we were in middle of a conversation. But let me declare ahead. I'll listen to the request... but I can't grant one that is beyond what I can do."
"You can do it! Go go, it's all right! Nii-chan... go on a date with me!"
"You know, before going on the real thing with my boyfriend I want to practice. Seems like there's still time until the deadline for choosing a little sister, it's a request from your cute little sister, you'll listen to it right?"
I checked on Sayuri's expression. It was meek. I felt she would be first one to oppose it, but it seems like it was truth that she was cooperating with Tomomi.
Sayuri noticed my gaze and smiled.
"It's Tomomi-san's earnest wish. Please grant it Onii-sama. Even more so that the time is finite. I wish for the happiness of my sisters. If each of them find a boyfriend, I shall give them my utmost support."
As Sayuri declared that with a smile, I felt my spine tremble.
Were to Selene, Yuuki, Mika find boyfriends and Sayuri was unable to get one...
I was drawn to Sayuri's view on future prospects, wouldn't it mean Sayuri and I are left alone together?
It's no wonder that she wasn't angry when coming across what could be called Tomomi and mine's secret meeting.
Hearing Sayuri's declaration tears appeared in Mika's eyes.
"I see. Mii-chan's thinking was shallow. Sayuri-neechama wanted Tomomi-neechama to be happy. Mii-chan respects Sayuri-neechama a lot."
Hearing Mika innocently say she respects her, Sayuri just for a moment made an uncomfortable expression, then with mild humility responded.
"Of course, we're sisters. We are a family after all... hahaha."
In response to Sayuri's dry smile Yuuki put up a troubled expression. Selene remained absent-minded.
Tomomi peeked into my face and leaned over the table.
"So, Nii-chan, will you cooperate?"
"G-got it. I'll try. I'll do it! Let me help!"
As long as my little sisters are close to me and want something, I'd like to grant it all to them.
"By the way, where do you want to go on a date? Near the station?"
"Nii-chan's still naive. A date on home-ground won't cut it. Since we're doing it, let's try challenging a high-difficulty map."
"A high-difficulty map you say... is there even difficulty on dates?"
"Well, there are even those too difficult to clear. Still, if we win in a major city I'll gain confidence. I think it's worth trying. If I surpass that difficult place, I'll be able to enjoy a date in any city! You see."
I wonder if dates are the same thing as games to her.
"And where's that major city?"
Tomomi swiftly pointed at the ceiling.
"It's Shibuya, Nii-chan."
"B-by Shibuya you mean, that Shibuya with Hachiko statue?"
"That's right Nii-chan. It's a holy land of dates, right? Don't you want to go on a pilgrimage there?"
I've never been in Shibuya. From the image I have, it vaguely feels like a scary place.
"Well, Nii-chan can leave it to me, you just have to get on the boat and enjoy it. I've already thought of a route for capturing. Also, in case we're in a pinch Selene will navigate us."
When I turned towards Selene, she nodded twice.
"...I'll provide support from the room."
"O-ohh. Thanks Selene. So, when are we going?"
"Tomorrow, Nii-chan! Strike while iron is hot, they say."
I once again looked at my little sisters. Mika held Maple in both her hands and raised it in a "banzai" gesture.
"Mii-chan wants to go on a date too! With Maple's company!"
In response to Mika's voice, Sayuri nodded.
"We'll accompany you tomorrow. Of course, we'll take distance and tail you as not to bother you two."
Hurriedly, Yuuki opened her mouth.
"I-I'll come as well. In Shibuya there are famous clothing and brand stores, it'd feel like I could raise my girl power."
And like that, it turned out that I... am going to go with my little sister Tomomi on a date tomorrow.
Since then, the Saturday had passed as if nothing happened.
Everyone together played a game Tomomi had brought, watched TV and also looked up on how to access Shibuya on the smartphone.
We finished a meal in the evening, then each of us entered the bath and did their preparations for tomorrow. Once again, all the siblings have entered that large bed.
I wondered if that's all I could do.
About Tomomi's boyfriend and the "regret" remark of Murasaki-san's. As I felt very anxious, the night had grown late on us.