Translator: DarkHeartedAlchemist Editor: Weasalopes
【Episode 1: Mansion and the Murder Case, Part 8】
As I thought, even though I have so many members of the opposite sex around me, I am still not used to receiving flattery from them.
「Now that’s a good reaction. At least I know you’re not a hopeless womanizer, Monjiro-san. Fufu~~, this is good news for both Yugao and Shiki-sama, very good news indeed.」
Asagao said half-jokingly as she continued to fix her hair, which were messed up by the rain and wind.
「And, I guess I should thank you properly. Thank you for helping me back there, Monjiro-san, you were a huge help. If there’s anything I can do to thank you, anything at all, then please, don’t hesitate to ask.」
This made me crack a smile. I got to witness firsthand that another thing my sister taught me was true: girls were really fast to change their moods. So fast in fact that it was actually kind of scary.
「Yup, anything! Oh, but the pervy stuff is absolutely out of the question. I don’t want to make Yugao sad after all.」
So you want to say you’d be all up for it as long as you had your sister’s consent? But wait, she was supposedly in love with me, so would that kind of thing really be all right with her? No, even if it was that would still be the worst kind of Netori (TL Note: Basically reverse NTR, where a girl steals a man from another girl.) possible, not to mention that Asagao and Yugao were even younger than Kuhoh and Shiki, who were in truth my kouhai’s, so laying my hands on them in any sexual way could be considered a crime that would brand me as a lolicon, and that was something that I wanted to avoid at all cost.
Even though I was raised in a family of assassins, who basically had committing atrocities embedded as a part of their job, I have never heard of a single one of them being a pedophile. In other words, my family was proud of not having any such deviants in their midst, and I intended to uphold that honorable tradition.
「Oh, that reminds me, your moves back at the courtyard were pretty inhuman, like that of an action movie stuntman or a trained martial artist! Could it be that you’re actually a trained assassin or something like that?」
「A descendant of a family of assassins, to tell you the truth. I’ve received proper training, but aside from situations like that one at the courtyard, I don’t have that many occasions to actually strut my stuff.」
「Is that so? Then I hope you’re not planning to use it to force yourself on me since in your eyes I’m probably a defenseless little girl?」
Asagao-san, just what kind of scum do you think professional assassins are?
「Allow me to reprise then, in case you misheard me the first time: I am not an active assassin. I’ve never killed anybody, and I sure as hell did not force myself on anybody. Assassins are not like that, we have our pride and reputation to uphold after all.」
「Ehhh, really? And here I thought that all assassins are criminals selfishly using their skills for their own gains.」
That was one sick burn that made my heart hurt, but I guess I can’t blame her for having such preconceived notions. After all, assassins are purposefully portrait like that by the media to prevent children and young people from going down the way of crime.
「Some assassins are just like what you described, but they are the lowest of the low who constitute a minority in our profession. Unfortunately, since their actions speak louder than words, they are the ones who the public perceives as a majority, so I can’t really blame you for being scared…」
「Ahahaha, I’m not afraid of you, Monjiro-san, and while we’re at it, I’m not afraid of your companions either. Though I have to admit, I first heard about Lords and Knights and all that complicated stuff I was shocked to boot, but now that I look at it from a broader perspective, it does look pretty fun.」
「Since you know those terms, is it correct to assume that you are familiar with the affairs of the Nightkin?」
「The members of the Yahata clan were servants of the Yatono clan since the day they were both established, so of course we know about it. Lords are the beings that far surpass mortal comprehension, and they bestow their Gifts to those they deem worthy of being their Knights based on their combat prowess and natural abilities. In every generation, Yatono clan chooses its Knights from the ranks of the Yahata family based on that very rule.」
I see. Going with that logic, Kuhoh and I were chosen to be Knights of our respective Lords because of our assassin abilities, and Shiki was probably chosen by Shiinamachi-senpai due to her immense knowledge and analytical abilities. Yet another useful piece of knowledge about the world that I didn’t even knew existed up until a while ago.
「Ugh, look how it’s raining out there now, it’s like a torrential downpour. We were lucky we managed to get out of there before it got this bad.」
Asagao was right. The droplets of rain were banging against the window’s glass as if they were being shot from a machinegun, and the ground was not totally soaked. As she said, we were really lucky we were not caught in the middle of it.
「That reminds me, did everyone find their yukatas to their liking? Did they made your heart skip a beat? I helped everyone put them on, and all I could hear from them was wondering how you are going to react to seeing them, Monjiro-san.」
I casually exclaimed and fixed my glasses. Such a development was to be expected since I am the only guy here, but honestly, knowing that the girls wanted to know my opinion made me feel happy and honored at the same time.
「Ahaha, someone’s happy from being popular with girls I see.」
「Can you blame me?」
「Nope, not really. Knowing that you have friends who are affectionate towards you is a wonderful feeling is it?」
I don’t know why, but when Asagao said the words 「wonderful feeling」 my heart began to ache for some bizarre reason.
「Being happy, having fun, feeling embarrassed… these are all precious feelings that make us who we are, and therefore they need to be treasured and not be taken for granted. Don’t you think so too, Monjiro-san?」
「… You’re right. You’re absolutely right…」
「Wow, you really think so?!」
「Yes, but I think that even the negative emotions need to treasure equally deeply as the positive ones. Shame, irritation, regrets, sorrow, as long as that emotion moves your heart even a little, I feel its your duty to treasure that emotion and all that comes with it.」
Of course, that was only my self-indulgence and wishful thinking. After the battle against Fujisato where I had to use my family’s secret technique, my soul and emotions, everything me, my sister and my friends worked so hard on building, was destroyed, and returned to me by a miraculous occurrence. But even now as I take off my glasses, I can still clearly feel them slipping away from me as I become a prisoner of rational judgement over and over again. That is why I try to avoid taking them off for longer periods of time: because I’m afraid that if I won’t have them on, my 「normal high-school student’s」 mind might disappear forever, never to return.
That… is what I’m afraid the most now.
「Hee, so that’s how you think about it, Monjiro-san. It’s a good way of thinking, I like it. Everyone has some emotion that he treasures the most, be it a positive or negative one. You could ask a million people about it, and you would probably get a million different answers, each dependent on the person asked. That is why understanding and bonding with each other is such a tedious task. But in my opinion, that’s what makes it all the more worth it.」
Asagao’s words hit me hard, to be honest. I didn’t expect to hear such insightful words filled with wisdom from such an energetic, bright and cheerful girl. They made me feel like I was being not grateful enough for having all those important to me by my side, always when I needed them.
They say that each encounter you have in your life is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, because you might not meet the people you met in this life in your next one. That is why it’s so important to treasure every friendship and nurture it properly.
「Hearing something so serious from someone like you is really unexpected.」
「What, can’t a girl say something smart-sounding from time to time? I know I don’t look like it, but I have more than that came from.」
Asagao pouted her cheeks and tightened her lips, throwing a fake tantrum.
「I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I guess… I guess I’m just happy that we seem to have similar world views, that’s all.」
「I-Is that so? Then you should’ve said so right off the bat! Monjiro-san, could this be your hobby, by any chance? Making girls all flustered like that?!」
Today is such a strange day. First Yugao-chan, then Shiinamachi-senpai, then me, and now Asagao, it looks like everybody is blushing for one reason or another at some point, why is that? Once we return to the first floor, I’ll have to ask Shiki about it. Or Fujisato. Or perhaps Kuhoh. Yeah, she’s less likely to probe me for a reason behind such question or turn it into a comedy skit bordering on sexual harassment, so Kuhoh it is.