Oritate Town Juunishima Mansion, aka Daimyo Mansion. Sakura was visiting this residence, and a servant took the lead, showing her to a familiar room. This was the most formal room in the house.
“Sakura-sama has returned.”
The room’s interior was beautiful. She heard a stiff voice coming from within, however. Sakura had become used to this voice after many years. It was Youran, wearing a kimono with her hair down, sitting at the seat of honor. Although Sakura was used to seeing her like this, she stopped in awe for just one second.
Juunishima Shingetsu no Kami Youran. As befitting of such an extravagant name, she was beautiful, refined, and had an overwhelming aura of dignity about her. The next moment, Sakura regained her composure and gave a bow, as was the etiquette.
During that time, the servant who had guided Sakura silently exited the room, leaving the two of them alone.
“Lift up your head.”
“So dost thou know the reason that I called you here?”
“I must be candid. I can think of too many reasons and could not pinpoint it.”
Unlike when she was with Taiyou, Sakura answered in a simple, clean manner.
“As thou saith, there is many a matter that must be dealt with. I shall discuss one of them, starting off.”
Sakura showed that she was listening, and so Youran began. Before they were sisters, they were also master and retainer. Everything they were discussing right now was a part of work.
“That is all.”
“I have indeed understood the particulars.”
Sakura meekly bowed her head. The next moment, the atmosphere in the room completely shifted.
“Kay, so the next thing I wanna discuss is…”
Youran’s choice of words had changed. She was no longer Shingetsu no Kami, but was now just Youran. Although Sakura was a bit taken aback from Youran speaking that way with her hair still down, she did her best not to let it show.
“Is what, pray tell?”
“There’s one thing I wanna ask of you. I want to build a new building right here in Oritate. Have you heard this before?”
The new Taiyou Castle. Youran was referring to the new residence shared between Taiyou and his seven brides.
“Yes, I have indeed heard of this.”
“Right, so I want you to do all of it.”
“You want…me to do it, Shingetsu-sama?”
“Yep. The only one among us who can listen to everyone’s preferences and skillfully combine them together is you, wouldn’tcha say?”
“Very well. However, I will require some time for this, Shingetsu-sama.”
“Take all the time you need. This is the important house we’ll be living in with Master, after all.”
“Right, it is as you say.”
“Kay, do a good job.”
“To the best of my ability.”
“Alright, next topic.”
“How much longer you gonna act like that?”
Sakura was surprised. She could tell that Youran was getting slightly irritated.
“What on earth could you be referring to?”
“I mean how much longer are you gonna keep calling me ‘Shingetsu-sama’.”
“I mean, look at me, I stopped talking all stiffly, right? And the same goes for the house. I’m pretty sure you get what I mean, right?”
Sakura was a bit stumped. She understood what Youran was getting at. Both of them were to be brides in the same house with one man, so she intended for them to act more casual in private. Sakura understood that, and even agreed it was what they should do.
But it wasn’t that easy for her. To Sakura, ‘Shingetsu-sama’ was a name that she both respected and viewed with hostility. Therefore, stopping all of that was difficult, and she found herself go silent from the pressure.
“Okay, time to practice.”
“Practice, you say?”
“Yep, practice. Practice for calling me a different name. Anything’s good, just try calling me something other than Shingetsu-sama.”
“What’re you waiting for? C’mon.”
Sakura couldn’t deal with the sudden pressure of the situation and was rather inconvenienced. After she moaned briefly, she forced her mouth open and…
“That’s the frickin same thing, innit?”
“…I am very sorry.”
“Is it really that difficult?”
“Honestly, this is very sudden.”
“I mean, I’m not all that against it.”
“Cuz you know, Master always makes this weirded out face whenever you call me Shingetsu-sama. So to him, you calling me that implies there’s still a wall between us, yeah?”
“And so he doesn’t like that, nor do I. Honestly, if you keep calling me that around family I dunno if we’ll ever really feel like family.”
Youran nodded. She was speaking very nonchalantly but her appearance was as beautiful as ever.
“And of course I don’t mean as members of the Juunishima family. I think you get that.”
“Yes, of course. You mean the Natsuno family, yes?”
“Yup. Although, well, that still doesn’t sound quite like what I’m going for here.”
“Doesn’t sound like it?”
“I don’t care whether you call it Natsuno or not, cause in the end I identify as Master’s girl, and not a wife of the Natsuno family.
“Got off topic, whoops. See, Master loves seeing us getting along, so I want the same for us.”
“Well? Is it so hard? Maybe I should start off?”
“You will, Shingetsu-sama?”
Sakura tilted her head in confusion. In contrast, Youran was looking at her with a placid, unreserved expression as she then responded.
Sakura was astonished to hear this. Who would have thought Youran would ever call her something like that?
“Why are you so shocked? You’re my big sis, aren’tcha? Sure, maybe just half, but the other half is us connected by blood. What’s wrong with me calling you Big Sis?”
“Are you sure?”
“I mean yeah it’s kinda irritating.”
Sakura had a mixed expression on her face. Of course Youran was having difficulty with this. But her next words were even more unexpected.
“I’m just wondering why the heck I gotta call you Big Sis when I was the first one to do it.”
“I was the first one to be Master’s girl, so I should be your senior, and yet calling you Big Sis is kinda…”
That was what she meant!? Sakura was flabbergasted. And then the next moment…
She couldn’t help but burst out laughing. It was just so absurd and likeable. Sakura could not control herself.
“Alright then, I will gratefully…or rather, nonchalantly, accept you calling me Big Sis.”
“So whatcha gonna call me?”
Youran nodded satisfactorily. In response, Sakura smiled mischievously and replied,
Youran was taken aback, her eyes wide open in surprise. The two of them stared at each other briefly until they both burst out laughing.