Inside the dark forest. Among everyone’s dressed-up figures after the party, the only person with a shabby clothes—the orphanage director briskly approached me with a nonchalant face. Noticing that, Taiga-san who was behind me talked close to my ears.
“Seiren-sama, can you stand?”
“Ah, yeah. I’m all right.”
Despite saying that I was all right, in the end, I slowly stood up with the help of Taiga-san. When I finally got to my feet the orphanage director was standing right in front of us. The face that looked at me once more with his usual grin was unmistakably the person who was like my father figure, the one who raised me for 18 years.
“…But, orphanage director, why?”
“If you ask me why, well…”
The director who seriously took my question which only consisted of a few words, was scratching his head as if he was being awkward. And then, he put away the small cloth that he was holding in his other hand as he heaved a small sigh.
“I was summoned here unexpectedly when I was in the middle of cleaning up the room. I have never thought that I’d come here again while I was still alive.”
In other words, the orphanage director was a person of this world?
“Seiren, are you all right?”
It was suddenly lively with the sound of footsteps, as my parents ran here, guided by Saryuu. There were Alica-san’s figure still in her dress and Yuzuruha-san behind them, as if protecting them. Just like this, everyone was surprised upon seeing the orphanage director’s face. I have talked with everyone else except Yuzuruha-san, but as expected, being told about it is different from looking at it yourself, huh?
…Eh, only Saryuu nodded as if he just came to understand something. I wonder why?
“I’m all right. Taiga-san and Kuon-sensei saved me, after all.”
“Seiren-sama has me at her back. Please rest assured.”
Taiga-san also answered as his voice covered my answer just a little bit.
…behind, I couldn’t turn my head there. I don’t want to see what kind of face Taiga-san is making right now.
Perhaps, it’s a dejected expression, right? Because I’m right here after going through such weird sequence of events.
Amidst all this, the orphanage director looked at my father and my mother’s faces and then smiled fondly as if he was in a nostalgia.
“Mondo-dono, Maya-dono. Long time no see, huh?”
“Long time no see, you mean…”
“…Eh, could it be, Touya-dono?”
“Haha. Well, it’s not unreasonable for you to be surprised. After all, [Shikino Touya] has always been here, right? I heard it from the old man who summoned me here.”
From the orphanage director’s tone of voice, he was certainly their old acquaintances. However, for some reason, hmm-.
While I was still pondering over things, Saryuu turned up and asked me.
“Ane-sama. The one who raised Ane-sama, it was this person, right?”
“…Is that so. It means that what Jigen said was true, huh?”
Oi, don’t you go becoming convinced of something by yourself. Give me an explanation.
Or rather, isn’t Touya-san the person whose groin I kicked just now? Ah, which reminds me, Touya-san…
“It’s pointless even if you try to run away now, you know? This Kasai Jigen’s granddaughter won’t let you get away, after all.”
“L-let me go! Damn it, your magic spell, gwoo!”
…ah-, I finally could see Kuon-sensei’s face, but although she was smiling, I could tell that she was angry. Anyway, Touya-san was being turned round and round as it felt like his feets were about to be rolled up with a rope that came out of nowhere. Since he said that it was a magic spell, I wonder if it was one of Kuon-sensei’s magic?
The orphanage director’s eyes were directed at that Touya-san. He lightly shrugged his shoulders and stated something strange.
“…I’ve said enough from long time ago that we were not twins, but you apparently managed to disguise yourself well, huh, Touka?”
Eh, it’s a name that I’ve ever heard before. Or more preciously, it’s a name that I heard from Taiga-san.
“If I’m not wrong, Touya-san’s younger brother hasn’t been reburied yet…”
“Speaking of which, [Shikino Touka] was supposed to have passed away, huh? What a clever thing to do.”
The one who said that with an amazed face was the orphanage director. He exchanged glances with my father and the others, and his facial expression turned grave.
Touya-san was supposed to have always been here all the time.
Touka-san was supposed to have passed away.
The orphanage director said so.
Then, apparently, Touya-san and Touka-san looked so much alike. Even my mother who had ever met Touka-san roughly around 40 years ago also said that the two of them sure looked so much alike.
When I mentioned his name, the orphanage director narrowed his eyes and praised me just like the time when I got 100 points at a test.
The orphanage director’s real name is Shikino Touya.4 …In other words, he is the real head of Shikino family, Touya-san, is it?
If that’s the case, the person who abducted me and gave his name, Touya, was, in other words…
“Father wasn’t Shikino Touya—he was actually Touka all along, was it?”
Taiga-san muttered the conclusion with a sigh. Well, I guess it’s something like that.
Wait, no, no, no. If it’s serious, then isn’t it bad?
“In other words, Touka-dono ostracized Touya-dono into another world, and pretended to be Touya-dono. It was something like that.”
“Well, that explains why all the servants and employees were replaced. In addition, you properly erased any trace of it, didn’t you?”
Tou-san said as he was scratching his head. Kuon-sensei bluntly stated with a smooth cold tone.
Come to think of it, Taiga-san said that he couldn’t contact any of the Shikino servants who quit after receiving a large sum of money.
“S-shut up, shut up, shut up! I’m the son of the legal wife, and I can even use magic, I’m the superior one! Despite that, why was Aniki the successor, don’t kid me!!”5
Whoa, he broke down.
Or perhaps I should say, he put all of his power into his family quarrel.
The little brother who wasn’t chosen as the successor was pissed off and expelled his elder brother into another world, then he snatched away his name and his everything, such a thing, huh.
I wonder if he didn’t feel empty for having to live for 30 years by taking a false name?
…He probably didn’t feel that way, right, this person?
He was under the impression that the position belonged to him, and if he could obtain that position, then…
Touka-san who felt an outrageous anger once more towards Touya-san who seemed to have snatched away that position—turned to face the orphanage director. Well, if only he hadn’t come out here, then things won’t turn out this way.
“In the first place, you bastard, why are you still alive?! Were you able to fly into a decent world under my half-baked transference magic?!”
“That’s well, fortunately, I fell into a world with humans and met kind people there. Besides, it’d be different if you threw a kid there, but I was already a splendid adult, you know? I somehow managed to live and get used to such a different life style.”
The orphanage director suddenly shrugged his shoulders and answered totteringly. Well, I probably can understand why would that person get angry with such attitude that the orphanage director displayed.
But well, that seems to be the case. Touka-san doesn’t know anything about the world over there, after all. There are people who can still live through the day despite not having house there, even if it is by rummaging through the thrash can. If you get to think that way, then you can survive in one way or another.
Or perhaps I should say, so the one who threw the orphanage director in the other world was Touka-san. From his wording—about how the orphanage director managed to end up in a decent world with a half-baked technique, in other words, he didn’t care about where the orphanage director would end up at all. He is very detestable.
“Well, that’s enough about me. The problem is you, Touka.”
By the time Touka-san got considerably tired from clamouring about and closed his mouth, the orphanage director gave his counterattack. He slowly approached Touka-san and coldly looked down on his own little brother who was being tied and rolling over on the ground.
“I’m not so concerned about the fact that you replaced me and succeeded the Shikino family. You have properly done your job as a feudal lord, haven’t you? But well, let’s save it for later.”
The gaze that was pointed at me for a moment was the gentle gaze from the orphanage director that I was familiar with. But, how do I say it, he was overflowing with aura that he looked extremely scary. It wasn’t inferior to Kuon-sensei’s, but… well, it’s because he’s the person concerned, after all. That also applies for me, though.
“No well, even I also like Maya-dono, and thanks to that, even after 30 years have passed, I’m still unmarried. However, it turned out that Touka also liked Maya-dono. His mother was so noisy about it that I had never talked about my feelings so openly.”
If I’m not mistaken, the orphanage director and Touka-san had different mothers. Touka-san’s mother was the legal wife, but because Touka-san was born only several weeks later than the orphanage director—or Touya-san, the one who became the heir was Touya-san instead.
But, can that alone decide the heir? For some reason, I felt like there were other considerations such as their personalities and such.
For example… For a feudal lord to want to lay a hand on the daughter of the woman he loved even after 30 years had passed, even after she had become someone else’s wife, what would people say about it?
“Touka remained here. He then became the head of the Shikino family in my stead, and was thinking about taking some measures of an event that was drawing near.”
“Yes. Just a while after that… Seiren-sama was born. Maya-sama’s one and only blood-related daughter.”
Touka-san tried to obtain that daughter which was me. And then now, things have turned out like this.
“If it’s impossible to get the mother, then go for the daughter, huh? I’m not a fool who’s willing to go that far like you!”
“Since there is no witness here, this is only my grandfather’s conjecture, but. Perhaps in the beginning, the magician Doumu was supposed to act according to his master’s plan, which was to take Seiren-sama back to the Shikino house on his own.”
Eh-, what is that?
If you said it like that, then his visit right after I was born was something like a preview, wasn’t it? Eh, could it be that…
“Then, our magician tried to stop him by resisting.”
“Yes. Perhaps there was a certain kind of a barrier put up, and so any interference from outside couldn’t be done. The ruins that resulted from the resistance were only of a small amount, but they remained.”
By ruins, now that you mention it, Jigen-san reported that there were some strange magical remnants found. By barrier, it was a magician’s wall, so I wonder if the ruins were parts of something that formed the wall?
Uhm, as usual, I was trying to run away from the reality, huh? I wonder why I could be calm at this kind of time only. …Could it be because there was Taiga-san behind me?
“So, our magician performed the transference magic in order to protect Seiren-sama at any cost. His attempt on trying to escape from the inner side of the magic wall resulted in Seiren-sama being transferred to the other world, is it?”
“That magician perhaps noticed my presence at that time. Then, he sent Seiren to my place. However, right before that, Doumu performed a magic spell on Seiren and turned him into a man. It was so that no man other than Touka would ever lay a hand on her even if she were to go to a different world, is that so?”
The orphanage director nodded and continued Kuon-sensei’s words. Aah, that’s why I was picked up by the orphanage director.
Because the magician sent me to be picked up by someone who was also transported from the same world.
“Are you an idiot? What are you going to do if Seiren didn’t return until her death?”
“Then, that’s it. That way, she won’t be someone else’s woman other than mine, anyway.”
Touka-san’s nasal breathing resounded as he replied peevishly.
…I feel bad for Taiga-san who is his biological son, but this person is really revolting.
- Again, he’s addressing Seiren’s name with kanji, which means—he’s addressing Seiren as he did during when they were in Japan. ↩
- Yup, Seiren’s stating his name and it’s written in kanji, the name he used while in Japan. ↩
- The name is written in hiragana, as if Seiren is trying to think things thorough. ↩
- The name is written in katakana, refering to Shikino Touya’s name in this world, implying that Seiren finally understood. ↩
- Aniki means elder brother. ↩