While digesting various things that happened, the spring has ended. Incidentally, I have had The Circulation several times. Little by little, it’s true that they really get more comfortable, so I’m saved by it.
As of now, we are in the middle of the 6th month, so after half a month later, there will be the week of Summer Purification. If I were to replace it with the terms I’m familiar with, it’d be the Obon Festival, but if it’s really similar to Obon, I wonder why there seems to be quite a lot of people—including the servants—who return home. From my house alone, there seem to be quite a lot of people who are taking their days off during that period.
“Hm? What’s wrong, Alica-san?”
Alica-san came this morning and timidly reported something. Well, I wonder what it is.
“Uhm, actually, I would like to take some days off for the week of Summer Purification…”
“Days off? That’s fine… ah, are you returning home?”
“Y, yes. Uhm, it’s okay if it’s impossible…”
“It’s no problem, no problem at all. You are going home, right?”
I see, returning home, huh. If there is a home to return to and you want to go back, then you should better return home.
To me, up until just recently, the home that I could return to was the orphanage.
“So, why are you asking for days off to me? Shouldn’t you ask it from my parents?”
“Usually, it’s like that, but since we are now accompanying Seiren-sama, first we should ask for Seiren-sama’s permission.”
“Oh, so it’s that kind of thing, huh. Understood, I will ask Kaa-san after this.”
“Sorry for the trouble.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. In exchange, I’m looking forward for your souvenir.”
“Ah, yes. Please leave it to me.”
There seems to be a custom of giving souvenirs, and so Alica-san smiled pleasantly at my words. The maid uniforms that she and Minoa-san wear are thinner than the ones they wore during the first time I came here, and the blue color was also getting brighter.
I thought that these kinds of uniforms would stay the same all around the year, but it seems that they change depending on the season. Well, I also change my clothes according to the season. That’s obvious.
By the way, the male employees including Yuzuruha-san also changed their uniforms to jackets without any lining, although in the first place they’d wear vest inside the mansion. The sleeves are still long, but I think that they feel refreshing to look at.
“Seiren-sama, too, please don’t miss your dance practices even during the Summer Purification week.”
“I know. In some way or another, I think I’m getting used to wearing high heels.”
Yeah. I also thought that I was going to be told that, as expected.
By the way, somehow I managed to walk without wavering, and I have begun my practice on the dance steps slowly. Saryuu also seems to be practicing hard, but I wonder when will he be my dancing partner?
Now then, Alica-san takes a few days off during Obon. Speaking of which, the other two didn’t say anything. Since it’s a day off for Oriza-san, the only one inside the room is Minoa-san.
“Minoa-san, aren’t you taking some days off, too? Oriza-san too.”
“Well, I’m originally from this town, so as long as I go home during my days off, then it’s okay. As for Oriza… now that I think about it, I haven’t heard about her. She doesn’t seem to be taking days off during this time, too.”
“Is that so?”
I see. If that’s the case, I wonder if it’s alright with Minoa-san? I think that it’s alright for her to take days off and stay at her home once in a while.
But, it’s my first time hearing that Minoa-san was born near here.
Hmm, ah! So, that’s the case.
“…could it be that it was a custom in your family to eat the Spring Festival’s cake, even before you came to work here, Minoa-san?”
Sorry, it’s my bad for bringing that up again. Minoa-san’s face is turning red right now.
But, it can’t be helped if you’ve been eating it year by year.
I wonder if she can eat it as usual next year. Me, too.
“Alica is taking days off? Understood. I will properly arrange it.”
“Thank you very much, Kaa-san.”
During lunch time, I asked Kaa-san about Alica-san. Since it seems to be fine, I feel relieved.
Today’s lunch consists of sandwiches and scrambled eggs accompanied by fresh salad, and in addition, there’s a consommé soup. I wonder if it’s added because it might upset the stomach if we only eat cold things.
After taking a spoon of the soup, Tou-san seemed to remember something and said.
“Ah, come to think about it, it’s the Summer Purification soon. Yuzuruha is staying, but some people are having their days off requests.”
“If there are people who want to go home, then please let them. Because I also understand the saying on how your own house is the best.”
“…I see. Then let’s properly arrange it for them.”
When I requested my father that, he nodded after thinking for a while.
For me, I feel that the Shiiya house has gradually becoming [my home]. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I have forgotten about the director and the orphanage that brought me up for 18 years.
That’s why, if there’s a home to return to, then I wish to let the people who want to go back home to return. I think that’s quite important for them.
The sweets that appeared after the meal was a jelly with a pretty color similar to lemons. When I try to eat it a little using the spoon, it tastes like a sour orange.
Anyway, while eating the jelly, Tou-san said this to me.
“Seiren, there’s a villa in the mountain. Would you like to go there during the Summer Purification?”
“Eh, a villa, is it?”
“Well, to be accurate, it was our former residence. Since it was quite inconvenient, we built this mansion and moved here.”
“I have ever been there during summer. I think that it’s a perfect place to spend the time during this period. Since it’s on top of the mountain, it’s nicely refreshing.”
Ah, so Saryuu has ever been there. That’s right, he must have spent countless summers after coming into the Shiiya house. But for me, this will be my first summer.
Also, there was another reason as to why Tou-san recommended me to go to the villa.
“Our ancestor’s grave site is near there. In this chance, it would be good for you to give your greetings.”
“That’s right. The grave site is located in the spot with good scenery, so you can go while taking a leisure walk.”
“Visiting the grave, huh… Yes, I understand.”
Yes, the week of Summer Purification also serves as the time to visit graves. That’s why, it feels like Obon.
By the way, apparently the hottest time is indeed around the 8th month, as one would expect it’s the same way in this world. But, Obon comes first before that. That’s why, it seems like there is a separate holiday for Obon and summer holiday respectively. People who don’t take their days off during the week of Summer Purification usually take their days off during the summer holiday in August.
Since the incident that happened during the Spring Festival, I haven’t taken any single step outside this mansion. Nah, the mansion itself is really vast, so there wasn’t a problem in the first place. The flower garden’s variety changed alongside the changing seasons, as the green color steadily grew deeper, and it was fun to watch the process every day.
As one would expect, the farm is outside the premise, or so it seems, and there, we kept what were known in this world as goats and chickens. More or less, the goat also had the same four legs, and the chickens were very small birds but they had two legs, so, when you put it like that, it was quite understandable.
Well, since there were dance lessons, language studies, etc, I was good even without going outside, but it doesn’t seem okay to my parents who are looking at me from my side. Ah well, since it’s bad for me if I were to honestly say that they are such doting parents (oyabaka), so I won’t say it.
In other words, it seems like they gave me that recommendation in order to give me a change of pace, since I haven’t been outside the house.
“About how it was quite inconvenient in the mountain, is it about how cold the winter could get?”
“Well, things like that. Although the temperature doesn’t rise during the summers, it remarkably grows cold during winters. It was good nevertheless in the past.”
“I have heard about it from the previous supervisor, it seemed that snow piled up during winter and it became nearly helpless to move in the middle of it. So when it turned to spring, in order to prepare for the next winter, they began to collect fire woods.”
And I was told that here, it could pile up until the ankle. But there, the snow would pile up at the level of being completely helpless to move. So, I wonder how far is the mountain, and furthermore, how high is the mountain?
Or rather, if that’s the case, then it doesn’t look like that we can just say something like, “let’s go skiing”. Well, I am an indoor person so it’s fine either way.
…By the way, Saryuu. You haven’t spoken anything ever since your small talk a little while ago. And unexpectedly, the jelly isn’t reduced that much. Did something happen? But as I was about to get worried, my little brother timidly opened his mouth.
“What is it, Saryuu?”
“The villa over there, it’s close to the Shikino’s territory, right?”
So that’s it.
Now that I think about it, they are feudal lords of the border territory. So, the mountain is located in that border. Or perhaps I should call it the national border?
Well, it seems to be located deep in the snowy mountain, and roughly it is the boundary to the neighboring country, or so it seems.
But, is that so? A person with the same name as the director is governing it, the border territory.
“…Saryuu, we don’t mind if you want to visit your parents’ home.”
“No, I’m fine, but that’s… my big brother is…”
“Big brother? Ah, the person who’s going to be the next head of the Shikino family?”
I do not know anything about the person who suddenly came up to the talk, other than the thing I’ve heard during the conversation.
His age is about the double of Saryuu’s, and despite his age, he still remains unmarried. Come to think about it, I wonder what kind of person is he?
“Yes. That big brother of mine, he previously wrote in his letter that he wanted to meet with Nee-sama at least once.”
No, please wait.
Why me? I threw that question inside my mind.
Let me guess, is it about a marriage meeting to be his partner? Nah, or is it more likely that he’s interested to know about the stepsister of his biological brother?
While sloppily thinking about that, Tou-san who’s sitting besides me glances slightly with an expression that I can’t read whether or not he’s thinking about that too, and then answered.
“…Isn’t it fine? You should try meeting him.”
“Eh? Well, I’m fine with it, so long as it won’t gradually become a marriage meeting.”
“That won’t be the case. I still haven’t given you enough affection, after all.”
Oyabaka, banzai! (Long live, doting parents!) But there is no need to say that while exhaling so roughly, Tou-san.
Nah, it’s not like I hate it for being loved, though.
Or rather, I’m also interested about what kind of person is Saryuu’s biological Onii-san?
“By the way, Saryuu.”
The reason behind why the next head of the Shikino family said that he would like to meet me.
I’m certain that it’s written in his letter, but let’s try to hear it out, anyway.
“Why would your biological Onii-san be interested in me?”
“Ah, that. It might be because I’ve been writing quite a lot about Ane-sama in the letters. About how you’re a good big sister who’s attentive and refreshing.”
“So, it’s because of you-?!”
“B, but I’m not writing anything important!”
“Isn’t it obvious?!”
Good grief. Even so, Saryuu, just how did you describe me in your letters? It couldn’t be… you wouldn’t write compilation of flattery in it, right?
It’s fine to meet him, though, it’s roughly my first time meeting someone from outside. So that the important things that Saryuu didn’t write wouldn’t be exposed, I have to work hard to cover it.
In other words, where I’ve been living up until spring, things like that.
Somehow, I feel strange, like how I want the week of Summer Purification to quickly come, but at the same time I also don’t want it to come.