Without noticing me whose body stiffened, Saryuu said, “Ah,” and stepped forward. His voice sounded somewhat happy yet at the same time tiresome, and I heard that his voice was quite doubtful.
“Shikino’s Tou-sama1? So, you’ve come as well?”
“Ooh, Saryuu, you’ve come home. It’s good that you look lively.”
Looking at Saryuu’s face, the director… I mean, the person whose appearance is similar to him, intimately greeted Saryuu. The person whose voice is even similar to him, comfortably wore clothes resembling a gown with an embroidered red vest on top of it. If he removed that, I bet he’d look very similar to the director.
‘Shikino’s Tou-sama,’ is that how Saryuu called him?
That person is the current head of the Shikino family, Shikino Touya2.
He has the same name as the orphanage director, Shikino Touya3, who raised me.
…Also, the same face.
I feel dizzy. And strangely, it feels unpleasant.
For some reason, I felt like I was seeing something I shouldn’t be seeing.
Precisely at that time, Kaa-san, and then Tou-san also came out. Perhaps, they came out to see this person off.
“Oh my, Saryuu, you’ve returned? Seiren, too… what’s wrong?”
“Seiren? Did something happen?”
“I, I’m fine. I slightly felt sick from the journey in the carriage, perhaps.”
Towards my parents and my younger brother who rushed off to me in a panic, I tried my best to show them a smile. Since Minoa-san supported my back from the side, I didn’t end up showing an unsightly appearance by collapsing in front of other people. Yesterday, I fell sick due to the carriage journey, so there won’t be anyone who would doubt my excuse.
However, I felt a somewhat intense sensation. Since my body is fine, it seems like my mental state was the cause of it.
By the time I managed to somehow rearrange my posture, the one person whose face is exactly the same as the orphanage director deliberately turned over to face me. Whoa, they really look alike. Even their hair color, the expression of their eyes, their mouths, even their physiques are all exactly the same. Although with this current distance, I can’t see his eye color.
“Oh? Could you be Seiren-ojousama, Mondo-dono?”
“…Yeah. She is my adorable daughter who finally managed to return home this spring.”
Tou-san gave him the answer in my stead. Since I’m supposed to be [the daughter with frail body], so there won’t be any problem even if he said so. However, could it be that this person knew that it wasn’t exactly the case?
But, since I [was getting better, so I returned home]. That’s why, I need to properly deliver my greetings. I can’t afford being a burden to everyone.
“I’m Seiren. How do you do. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“…Yeah, how do you do. I’m serving as the head of Shikino family, my name is Touya. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
I properly pulled the hem of my skirts, as Kuon-sensei instructed, and slightly bowed down. The way he returned my greetings in a similar manner, it was like the introduction between two complete strangers.
Ah, I’m glad. This person isn’t the director. He’s just someone who’s similar to him.
However, since they are too alike, it frankly made me feel unpleasant. The ones who actually noticed it were Oriza-san and Minoa-san, perhaps because they have always been by my side.
“Seiren-sama? Ah, you look a little bit tired, let’s return to your room.”
“That’s right. Please excuse us, Seiren-sama’s health slightly deteriorated, so we will be taking our leave right now. Kuon-sensei, will you please come along with us?”
“Understood. Well then, please excuse me, Shikino family’s Lord.”
Oriza-san smoothly proceeded the conversation. While smiling, she grasped my hand.
Minoa-san also answered, and together with Kuon-sensei, they circled their hands to support my back. With that, somehow I felt relieved. Just like that, I headed towards the entranceway with everyone’s support.
I think that my parents might be making an anxious expression, but in order to send Touya-san off, they stayed in that spot. Saryuu, too, since it was his own biological father, he didn’t come with me. It can’t be helped though, yup.
As it is, I somehow returned to my own room. Minoa-san and Kuon-sensei put me down on the bed, and examined my complexion. When Kuon-sensei’s hand touched my forehead, it was somewhat cold and felt good.
“It doesn’t seem to be a fever… Seiren-sama, are you okay?”
“Oriza is taking some drinks right now. Do you have anything you want to have?”
“…Ah-, I want something warm so it could somehow relieve me.”
“Understood. Kuon-sensei, please take care of Seiren-sama for a little while.”
After they finished their exchange, Minoa-san left me in Kuon-sensei’s care and left the side of my bed half-running. And, Kuon-sensei once more examined me unblinkingly. Well, I understand her feelings, though.
“Did something happen?”
“…Uhm, the face, look alike.”
I couldn’t get the words out correctly. With just that, it’s no wonder if she can’t understand my words. Aah but, I can’t really mention his name, but if I don’t say it, then she won’t get what I mean.
“I have returned. Seiren-sama, Saryuu-sama has also come.”
And, at that moment, I heard Minoa-san’s voice. So fast, so I thought, but that’s right, she returned right after she conveyed my request to Oriza-san. Anyhow, she met Saryuu, huh.
Saryuu, eh. Did he come here because he wanted to hear the story from me?
“Yes. Please come on in, Seiren-sama has given her permission.”
“Thank you. Nee-sama, are you alright?”
Just right after hearing my answer, Saryuu leaped in my room as if he was brushing Minoa-san aside. Kuon-sensei stared in her amazement, perhaps it was due to my giving my little brother the permission to enter the room under this condition, I guess.
“Anyway, Saryuu, has father returned?”
“Yes. Uhm, did something happen?”
“You visited right now just to ask that, right?”
Kuon-sensei answered Saryuu and slightly moved sideways. And my little brother smoothly slipped into the empty space she made. His expression as he peered in my face—yup, he’s extremely worried.
“Their faces completely look alike. Their voices, too.”
Feeling calmer after looking at Saryuu, I finally managed to spit that out. Somehow or another, they should be able to comprehend it, right?
“Completely alike? …ah, could it be.”
After thinking for a moment, Saryuu raised his surprised face. He managed to properly realize it.
I guess it’s because he already knew the fact about their same names. However, I still appreciate him for understanding what I meant.
“Similar to Shikino Touya who’s raised Nee-sama, is it?”
Look. I’m glad, I don’t know if it’s just my luck, but I managed to make Saryuu understand it.
Now that I think about it, I haven’t told this to Sensei and my maids. It’s somewhat hard to say.
Because of that reason, Kuon-sensei had this wondering expression, as she exchanged her look between me and Saryuu.
“The person who’s raised me until I returned to Shiiya family. He’s called Shikino Touya.”
As I managed to mention his name even when I almost chewed on my tongue, Kuon-sensei and Minoa-san who was besides her, widened their eyes.
“He has the same name as the head of Shikino family? Oh my, my.”
“Is that true, Seiren-sama?”
“Although I don’t have any evidence, but I’m certain. They both have the same names, same faces, and same voices. Since he was like my foster parent for 18 years, I clearly remember him.”
Ah-, I somehow couldn’t bear to look at their expressions. I reflexively shifted my gaze towards my arms.
I couldn’t be crying right now, right? Although it’s not the first time it happened, but it was the voice and face that I missed.
“…It couldn’t be possible.”
I understand what Saryuu muttered.
Having the same names, similar faces, and voices that sounded alike. Although their worlds are separate, but there are two people with exact similarities.
Although they couldn’t possibly be the very same person, no matter how you think about it.
“Yeah, generally speaking, it shouldn’t be possible. However, since we have come to this conclusion, I can’t help but to think that there’s something behind it.”
Minoa-san said with a lower voice than her usual one, however she still clearly said that. I spontaneously removed my gaze from my arms and looked at her face.
She is not like her calm self even when she was confronting Gonzou, right now, she’s having a completely tensed expression.
Kuon-sensei, too, is gazing with her cold stare that she normally didn’t show, and I turned around to examine everyone’s expression.
“Saryuu-sama. I and everyone else will be careful, but you should be more careful, as well. Although I think it might be hard for you to do, since he is your biological father.”
“No. My father is Shiiya Mondo.”
Although Saryuu said so, but his expression was filled with uneasiness. I can understand, since he is his father by blood.
And that father of his, has something peculiar going on. At least he has the same figure and the same name as the person who raised me.
I’m sorry for involving you in such a trouble.
“It’s fine. Since Nee-sama [has a weak constitution], right?”
Referring to the ostensible reason as to why I didn’t show myself to the public for the last 18 years, my younger brother who was supposed to be a child, smiled at me.
When that expression suddenly overlapped with Taiga-san’s face, I was slightly surprised. Why would that person’s face come to my mind?
…It’s because he is Saryuu’s older brother. Perhaps, that’s why.
“Seiren-samaa, I’m bringing in the soup you requested-“
At the slightly idiotic tone of voice that Oriza-san, who didn’t listen to our conversation, let out, the tension we had from having that serious conversation was quickly interrupted all at once. I see, so she made me a soup.