At the end of the day.
Beginning around the afternoon of the day where I first stayed in the bed, from then on, I became a bedridden person along with my stomach ache for around 4 days. Stomach, or should I say, around the insides of the area between my legs, that place gave me a tingling sensation and a dull pain. I’ve had enough, would I be experiencing it for every month? It’s hard, you see.
Also, regarding the hot-water bottle… or in this world’s term, the hot water container has such a tremendous power. After pouring hot water into it, I wrap it in with a slightly thick cloth and placed it on my stomach. After a short time, the warmth spread gradually. Because of that, somehow I felt more comfortable. Nah, really, the ancestor’s wisdom is incredible!
Thanks to the hot water container, I somehow managed to eat my meals. I received foods that are made tender and easy to eat, the ones made using ingredients similar to stew or pot-au-feu, and I got to eat them on my bed with ease. I felt relieved that my foods were warm.
Ah, I also properly went to the toilet. After putting on the gown, I asked someone from the maids to accompany me. Then, once I was done wiping, I was like, “Whoa!”. The same thing happened whenever I needed to exchange my napkin.
The toilet paper used in this world is more like cotton or scraps of fiber gathered, it looks like a paper but it is soft and thin. It seems that in order to increase the volume of the material and to reinforce it, they also mixed the textile made of the plants that were usually used for making papers, but I think I feel guilty from using several sheets.
“It’s a get-well gift from Saryuu-sama. It looks like a souvenir from the spring festival.”
On the second day, or if I name it, the next day after my bed rest day, Minoa-san brought me a small glass bottle. The content is… aah, it’s the Viola preserved sugar. The one that was on top of the cake and that Saryuu placed into his tea.
Did he realize that I took an interest in it? What a good little brother he is, indeed.
“I have received a message from him saying that when you get better, please drink a tea with this. I also have told him ‘thank you’ in Seiren-sama’s place.”
“Yeah, thanks. That tea was totally delicious… Would it also be delicious even when I drink it just like a normal tea?”
“Sometimes there are the types of tea that you drink after putting in the preserved sugar, so it’s alright.”
I feel relieved by Minoa-san’s words.
I know that preserving salt is used in preserved foods, but it looks like the same case for the preserved sugar. It can be kept for quite a long time, and it has to be placed in a cool place like in the shade. Once I am feeling well, I’ll call Saryuu and ask him to drink the tea together with me. As brother and sister, would it not be strange?
On the day where it seemed like my circulation ended, I entered the bath after a while. Although my body was wiped properly every day, it still got dirty in the end, as one would expect.
During the time I left my bed, it seemed like the sheets and the pillows were completely replaced. Minoa-san said strongly to me, “Leave it to me. So that Seiren-sama can have a very pleasant rest, I shall tidy them up,” but could it be that she was boasting her capability?
“Since we’re not watching, please wash your body thoroughly, okay?”
Before soaking myself in the bathtub, Oriza-san and Alica-san put up cloth on my surroundings while saying that. …Nah well, that saved me, thank you.
Anyway, as for washing my private parts… It has to be done with no exception at all even during the time I was sick and in a bed rest, there was a tub where I could thoroughly wash it myself. This situation is normal, but I feel bad for having to rub it. Also, it reeks the smell of iron.[1. Iron or metallic odor. It’s normal to have this kind of smell around that area during menstruation because blood contains iron.]
Also also, I felt somewhat a strange sensation for having to scrub that place by all means, but that is well, nah…
Please don’t say anything, it’s quite embarrassing since I’m talking about my own body that I will have to compromise with for my whole life.
So, feeling refreshed after having my whole body thoroughly washed, I’ll be having a meal together with my family for the first time in a while. Wearing a deep green dress with a short-coated jacket that looks like a white bolero, I timidly entered the dining room.
“Seiren. Are you feeling alright now?”
Saryuu looks happy, while my mother’s voice indicates that she’s worried. I somehow laughed and said, “I’m sorry for making you worried,” while bowing my head. As for my father… he folds his arms on his own seat and keeps silent. My mother squinted her eyes in an instant, and then called him out with a slightly angry tone.
“…Unh. Se, Seiren, that, is your body, alright, now?”
“Yes. It’s all thanks to everyone.”
Errr, Tou-san, I was thinking as to why you were slightly mumbling, but as I thought, it must be awkward to bring yourself to ask about the female’s body, right? Well, this is indeed a complicated situation. The situation between a maturing daughter and her father, I mean.
“I, is that so. Then I’m glad. From now on, try not to force yourself too hard.”
What he means by “don’t force yourself too hard” is not just about my physical condition, I’m sure of it. Really, I need to be more careful, too.
I really shouldn’t go outside too much, eh…
Then then, a few days later.
After my health was stable, in accordance to what I thought during my bedrest, I invited Saryuu to have a little tea party in my room. I also have some shortbreads my mother gave me and the Viola preserved sugar that Saryuu brought for me.
Bringing along Kanna-san who also went to the spring festival together with us, my little brother entered my room with a slightly tense expression. Ah-, it must be because he’s entering the room of someone of an opposite gender whose age is only slightly apart, so of course he’d feel nervous. I’m his older sister, although deep inside I’m supposed to be a brother, though.
“E, excuse me.”
“Yeah, come inside. Saryuu, thank you for the festival’s souvenir.”
When I took the Viola preserved sugar from its storing place and showed it to him, Saryuu sternly straightened his back. O-i, it’s not parents’ day or an entrance examination, so there’s no need to be that nervous-. …Nah, it doesn’t seem like this little brother of mine has ever experienced things like that, though.
“N, no problem! Since Kanna was the one who recommended it to me…”
“Eh, is that so?”
“Yeah. Seiren-sama, it’s all because when you imitated Saryuu-sama dropping the preserved sugar into the tea and drink it, your face formed a really gentle expression!”
“A-h, haha, is that so. Thanks, Kanna-san.”
Even so, I see… a boy around his age won’t be too sensitive for things like that. When I was around his age, I was also quite insensitive. Yup, people said that people lacking self-consciousness usually turned insensitive, I think.
Well, anyway, Saryuu finally took a seat and proceeded to drink the tea that Oriza-san brewed after dropping in the preserved sugar. Kanna-san also enjoyed her tea and snack while happily saying, “Thank you so much, ya-y!”. Although she was not in the same table as Saryuu and me, she was sitting somewhere else slightly apart from our table.
“Speaking of which, my biological father came during the time Ane-sama was in a bedrest.”
After eating one shortbread, Saryuu suddenly mentioned it. Which reminds me, he came to this family as an adopted child to succeed this house after I went missing. That being the case, it won’t be weird for his biological parents to come and meet him, I guess.
“Biological? Aah, I heard that you were our distant relative. So, he visited you?”
“Yeah. It has been quite a long time, but he visited me and strangely asked about Ane-sama. That’s why, I’m a bit bothered by it.”
I spontaneously pointed myself and Saryuu nodded firmly. Why me, as I was about to think about that, I immediately realized about how I was known for.
“Well, of course he’d be curious. Even if they all said that I was recuperating, in truth, I was a daughter who went into somewhere nobody knew.”
“No, that is…”
When I answered like that, my little brother’s expression strangely turned serious. I faltered and decided to drink one sip of the tea. After that, I noticed from his discerning eyes that it might be something quite grave.
“He said something like, ‘so she has come back from a really faraway place, hasn’t she?’. His eyes were like gazing into the very distant place.”
Finally returned, from a faraway place.
I’m supposed to be known as [the frail daughter who was recuperating] outside the mansion.
There was nothing wrong with the way he said that, but somehow the nuance of his sentence, doesn’t feel like he indicated my recuperation.
“…Uhm. Did Saryuu’s biological father… regarding my getting abducted…?”
When I asked, Saryuu shook his head. Flatly.
I’m really saved on the fact that the gestures used in this world are all the same as the ones I know.
“He shouldn’t have known. I haven’t even heard anything about it until very recently, despite the fact that I have been spending some years in the Shiiya family.”
“…I thought he was referring to my returning home after recuperating, but the way he talked about that was quite peculiar…”
I wonder if the place I had been to was discovered?
The reason why we were hiding the fact that I was abducted and sent into a far, different world is because it won’t be weird for various problems to arise should anyone find out.
The ones who know about my being in the other world are only my parents, Jigen-san, and Kuon-san.
While the ones who know that I was abducted are only the people inside the Shiiya house, and also the servants.
“…how should I put it… is it okay, Saryuu?”
Realizing something, I questioned my little brother.
To say such things, regarding how suspicious was his own biological father for the way he spoke.
“No, I mean, the one who said that was Saryuu’s biological father, right? For you, he must be a very precious parent.”
“Even so, my father right now is Shiiya Mondo. Also, my name is Shiiya Saryuu.”
“That is true, but still…”
I couldn’t think of any respond to Saryuu who answered decisively.
Since before coming here, I was also Shikino Seiren, so I can somehow understand that feeling.
But, my parents right now are none other than Tou-san and Kaa-san.
“That is why, for me right now, he is just a distant uncle, Shikino Touya.”
At that moment, I can’t believe my own ears.
Just now, what did Saryuu say?
“Err, what did you, just say?”
“Did you just say Shikino Touya?”
“Yeah. The direct distant relative of Shiiya family, the feudal lord of a remote region, the head of the Shikino family is Touya, my biological father.”
Saryuu reacted with a nod to me who was wide-eyed and was about to gnaw at the name he mentioned just now.
Shikino Touya.[2. The first line was written with katakana, while the second line was written with kanji. Katakana: シキノ・トーヤ。Kanji: 四季野冬也。]
The same surname, the same personal name.
Saryuu’s biological father and the orphanage director who raised me have the same name.
“…are you serious? Having exactly the same name…”
“Having exactly the same name?”
“The one who raised me was also called Shikino Touya.”
This time, it was Saryuu’s turn to be wide-eyed. That is a natural reaction.
Since someone who’s supposedly in the faraway place that Saryuu doesn’t know, to have the exactly same name as his own biological father.
“Coincidences really do exist, huh?”
“……T, that’s right.”
I can only nod in response to Saryuu who said that in his blank amazement.
That day, the back that I found and chased after.
The director, could he be?