Redeeming Oneself. Honourable Recovery? Real Feelings.
Mariko's smartphone accidentally fell to the ground during the lunch break. It wouldn't turn on as if there was no battery inside, but after I removed and inserted both the SIM card and the battery again, it started working.
It was fixed with such a simple method, I wonder if human relationships can be fixed as easily is what I thought.
After school I went back to the mansion and to the Room 501——I visited Sayuri's room for the second time.
I passed through the living room, prompted by the silent Sayuri. It felt awkward for both of us.
"H-hey Sayuri, it's been three days."
『"...want to die! I want to die!"』
As expected, it's hard. She silently sat on the cushion and murmured while staring at me.
"I thought we might not meet again."
While we were playing the game on Saturday, she continued to engage Tomomi in verbal battles. She must've been putting up a strong front, or maybe it was desperation.
"No such thing. Rather than that, there are things I want you to honestly answer. Can you tell me the real reason you want to be my little sister?"
"The real reason... is it?"
"Yeah. And please, be honest this time. Even if your aim is the money, I won't be surprised. Or rather, aiming for the heritage would be normal, that... um, Sayuri-san?"
As not to butt in as I spoke, Sayuri gently shook her head.
"Just like I said the other day, I'm capable enough to become a scholarship student. Even if the assistance is aborted, I won't have any problems because I've been saving money properly."
"Then why do you want to be the little sister? Are you... lonely?"
Sayuri gave a small nod.
"Of course, there's that as well. It's been only me and Kyuu-chan all this time. However... it's strange even to me. Once I learned that I have such lively sisters, I stopped feeling lonely."
"Certainly, the weekend was lively and enjoyable."
"I tend to get into fights with Tomomi-san... and go out of control but..."
Once again, Sayuri's words faded out and she looked pitiful.
She slowly raised her head and opened her mouth.
"I have a proposal for you, Onii-sama."
Her face reddened slightly.
"U-umm... that's... I... um..."
Sayuri was squirming on her knees as she sat straight in seiza, she played with her hands making them overlap one another, writhing.
"Earlier, Tomomi-san has said it but..."
"Tomomi has? What are you talking about?"
She nodded, stood up and moved closer to me. Her face was so close to mine I could feel her breath, and she stared into my eyes.
"A-aren't you too close?"
"If you'll forgive me, I wish to maintain this distance, think of it as a desperate effort of mine."
"Is this the sense of distance you wish to maintain as my little sister?"
"No. I have given up on becoming the little sister."
"You gave up... is that really okay?"
As if a burden fell off her shoulders, Sayuri nodded seemingly refreshed.
"Yes. I have worked hard to become a perfect little sister out of the manual that Murasaki-san gave me. As Onii-sama already knows, I... if I were to be compared to a vehicle, I would be a train."
"After being set on fixed rails, leaving and arriving at pre-determined times... something like this?"
The trains worldwide do not always go by the schedule and are often disturbed. So if anything, Sayuri is too serious when navigating so that she's always on time, a Japanese train.
After seeing that she managed to properly convey it to me, Sayuri nodded happily.
"Indeed. If I'm derailed, I will cause a major incident. Last weekend, I learned that about myself to a painful degree."
"Y-yeah. You need to be careful."
"It's just as Onii-sama says. I can't deny it at all. That's why I think that rather than becoming a little sister from the manual, I'd like to become myself."
"Not a little sister... then what?"
Her ears turned bright red as she hung her head and she spoke in an unnatural voice
Sayuri said so while stuttering, she blushed even further and writhed even more.
"Do not say that, I think being a lover is a good idea."
"Please stop thinking then!"
Suddenly, Sayuri spread her arms.
"From now onwards I will do my best to become Onii-sama's. That said, may I hug you?"
"It's fine if you don't do your best. More importantly, how did you reach such a conclusion?"
"The things I am able to do are studying and housework. I'm more eligible for the lover position than that of a little sister. And if Onii-sama wishes for it, I shall become both a little sister and a lover."
"That goes against ethics, law and common sense at the same time."
"We can't make love to each other as siblings then?"
"Of course not!"
There was not even a shred of hesitation in Sayuri's eyes.
"Please stop that 'Make me the little sister, if you don't I'll become your girlfriend' blackmail."
"It's not blackmail. I'm serious. I really love Onii-sama. Even though I've shown you my disgraceful behaviour, Onii-sama hasn't scorned me and is facing me directly like this."
Since I was keeping silent about the fact I knew about existence of manual, it was also my responsibility. I also knew that Sayuri was a good girl even if she was a bit clumsy. However, a lover is...
"Sayuri... I'm not that familiar with what lovers are, but it's people who love each other right?"
"I have already prepared my heart."
"Don't prepare it so quickly!"
"Does Onii-sama hate me then?"
Seeing a lonely and discouraged look in her eyes, sharp pain ran through my heart. Sayuri tensed up and seemingly wanted to depend on me.
Sayuri was... uneasy. She was trying to hold herself together, she wanted to be spoiled by me but she endured it, pushing herself too far.
"That question is unfair! I d-don't hate you. It's just that even if I were to say that I like you, it would be a feeling one feels towards his family, different from romantic love."
"But if there are little sisters who feel like a 'friend', can't there be little sisters who are lovers?"
"No, there can't be any. Also, why a lover of all things?"
She lowered her arms she previously spread to hug me, and muttered sorrowfully.
"I don't have a personality that would stand out. I can only dye myself with things like that manual."
"I-I see... no, is that how it is?"
I felt she was unique enough, but the person in question continued frustrated.
"Since I didn't have what it takes to become a little sister before, but now that I looked at it calmly, it seems Onii-sama has some preferences that are different from what was stated in the manual."
In fact, it was going very well until some point. Were it not for Selene who spoiled the manual's existence, I might have been done for... but let's keep this secret.
"That is why rather being dyed by the manual, I wish for Onii-sama to dye me with his colours."
"I don't know how well I can do it but I want to become what Onii-sama wishes for."
"In other words, a lover?"
"If not a lover, then please make me your love slave."
Sayuri said something outrageous with a straight face.
"If it threatens Onii-sama's social position, I don't mind if I'm held in captivity or erased from the public view and society. I don't mind if I'm an unofficial lover."
"S-STOP! You've started to go in a strange direction. No, it was strange from the very beginning. Anyway, why the talk about being a lover?!"
"Can it be... it's because you have that childhood friend person, Mariko-san? I don't mind if I'm the second lover. I'm not attached to hierarchy. Whenever Onii-sama likes it, I'll be happy to be yours any time. It's fine by me to be a mistress."
I started to feel a little bit sick. She continued to spit words at a very high speed.
"I'll do my best to coexist with the legal wife."
"Don't! For you to try becoming a lover because you can't be a little sister, why would you go that far..."
"That is because us being together has been decided by fate."
She placed her hand on her chest and drew close in front of me again.
"Fate you say... such a forceful thing is no good, is it?."
"B-but... it is fate."
Sayuri's eyes moistened as I said that. It felt like she would start crying at this rate. So as not to stimulate her as much as possible, I used a soft tone of voice.
"Were you told that by someone?"
She nodded with tears in her eyes.
"Who's that? Who would say such a thing?"
And my soft tone of voice disappeared. What an irresponsible person. Thanks to that person I'm being forced to make a lover contract with my real little sister and cornered with her gibberish.
"Does Onii-sama know about the Blue Bird of Happiness?"
"A foreign fairy tale... was it?"
"No. Not that. It's something like an urban legend, there's a fortune-teller who is called like that."
"An urban legend?"
"She appears all over the country and tells people what's their fate. She has come to be called the 'Blue Bird of Happiness' because she divines from a blue crystal in shape of a bird."
"Is it something that fortune-teller said?"
"Indeed. She said that it's destiny for me and Onii-sama to be together."
It seemed like Sayuri had a personality that made her easily believe those things and she has taken the words of the fortune teller as truth. So that's why she used the word 'fate'... nn? A Blue Bird of Happiness fortune-teller, can it be... no, it might be a coincidence, it's a famous urban legend so Selene might have found that on the net. However... let's make sure just in case.
"Is that fortune-teller famous? For example, is she a hot topic on the internet?"
"I know people who know about her."
"Is she a woman?"
"Yes. She was wearing a hood over her head and her face was hidden by a veil, but it is a woman."
"How old was she?"
"Her age... from her voice it seemed like she was a calm adult woman."
"Have you gotten anything like a business card? A way to contact her?"
"There is no such thing, there's only rumours on the net."
Is that so. It seems like there isn't a way to make sure whether it's Selene's mother or not.
"Can you tell me about how you met her?"
"To ask so intently, Onii-sama also seems to be interested in fate. Um... I have met her once last year. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. While I was on my way home to where I lived before, I have been suddenly called out and divined fortune."
"What exactly did it say?"
"It said that in the near future, I will meet the person I'm destined to spend a lifetime together with. It also said that I'll be very happy whenever we are together."
Quite ambiguous. But that doesn't have to be me. Also, there might be a lot of people she can meet in 'the near future'. It might be three days, six months or a year from back then.
Ah... it's been around a year since then.
"So you think that's me?"
"There is no one else."
Honestly, rather than whether fortune-telling was accurate, the problem was that Sayuri trusted in it completely. Seeing someone so trusting, I couldn't keep my calm.
"That's why Onii-sama, I will not apologize for inconveniencing you. I will do my best and give all of myself. I don't need any aid. Just allow me to stay by your side. Whether I'm a little sister, a lover; mistress or a pet, it's all good."
Sayuri's face turned pale.
"I don't think that would make you happy. I won't tell you to seek happiness from the fortune-telling, but where is your happiness in becoming only a convenient existence to me?"
"If I were told by anyone that they are happy by being with me, I would let them no matter who it was. But it somehow feels lonely. I can't phrase it well, but I want to have a better relationship with you than that."
"If I'm neither a little sister nor a lover, then what can do I for us to stay together?"
"It's fine if you're neither a little sister nor a lover. You don't need such a title. I'm not going to reject you. That's why it's fine if you don't force yourself. Just be the girl called Sayuri."
The weak me could only say something like that.
"I'm not confident in my personality."
"Aren't you good at cooking?"
"I just did it as it was described in the manual."
"There are people who can't do it despite using cookbooks. Just being able to do it is amazing. Also, the nikujaga Sayuri made was really delicious."
"T-thank you... very much."
She laughed in embarrassment and looked down.
"Also, being able to prepare like this and carry out such a plan perfectly is also amazing."
"I-if I don't plan it I feel uneasy. That's how I am so..."
"There are many people who don't know their own weaknesses. And yet, you are a hard worker who does her best in order to fulfil your ambitions and you try to overcome your weaknesses."
Sayuri's expression melted.
"I-I'm not a person Onii-sama thinks I am."
"No. You're an amazing girl."
Suddenly, the words that Father left behind for me came to my mind. Taishido draws rails and rules. At first I was taken aback by them, but I'll use them now.
"Hey, Sayuri. In life, there are times during which you derail. However, from the point you derailed, why not find a new path for yourself?"
"O-OO-Onii-sama. I can't stand any more than this."
When I thought she started to tremble, she suddenly leaped and clung onto me.
"Truth is, I really wanted to do this. Onii-sama... Onii-sama Onii-sama Onii-sama Onii-sama."
Sayuri buried her face in my chest. I gently stroked her head. I might have only used one pattern to show my little sisters some love, but it feels natural if I do this.
"Ahaa... I've been patted by Onii-sama. I'm so happy."
The one who said that was Sayuri, but that was a Tomomi-like reaction. They are sisters after all.
"Onii-sama, I... will do my best to become more honest. I understood... that being more honest with myself... is what happiness is."
Suddenly, she muttered something in my chest as if she came to a realization.
"Yeah, that's right. I think that's a good thing."
"Looks like that fortune telling was spot-on."
"I-it's nothing. Um, can you help me prepare dinner? For just a little more I want to be pampered by Onii-sama."
"S-sure! Whatever you say!"
With that said, I can't do anything difficult.
Sayuri reluctantly released my body, went to kitchen and wore an apron. In the end, I didn't even hold a knife, but I helped her with this and that as well as pulled out the tableware; we ate the dinner together after preparing it.
She looked very happy the entire time, and didn't say 'because it's fate' any more.
As we absent-mindedly watched TV, Sayuri quietly muttered.
"Onii-sama... nnn, Taishido Yoichi-san."
"Why are you so formal all of a sudden?"
"We have met like this because we're siblings. However, being a little sister makes it a bit difficult."
"I-Ii-it's nothing! Just now I was being weird. Please forget it."
She blushed up until the tip of her ears and downcast her eyes.
Why was she persistently saying 'please forget it!'.
Is she all right? I'm worried as her brother, but since she's insistent on brushing it off I'd feel bad if I asked. Also, something ridiculous might start again.
Scared of that... I didn't inquire any further.