It has been one week since the meeting between Kyousuke and Tsubaki. The two playing tag with each other is already a common occurrence in the Mizushima residence.
Looking at the two with warm gazes, the servants would even sometimes join in on their play time and tell Kyousuke’s hiding place to Tsubaki.
Kyousuke didn’t have much choice in the matter of playing with Tsubaki. Tsubaki always appeared where Kyousuke wanted to go and she would talk to him persistently, even if he did ignore her completely. Unable to endure the little girl’s relentless attempts of getting close with him, he reluctantly gave in and started playing with Tsubaki.
It was rather easy for Tsubaki to find out where Kyousuke would go though. He always prefered silent and quiet places like his own room or the greenhouse.
Perhaps because he always looked at his mother’s weak figure, laying on her bed looking sickly, he was given the impression that a woman was a frail creature. This was the reason why he never reacted violently towards Tsubaki.
Even if Kyousuke did have a violent personality, Tsubaki already knew when to step back when dealing with Kyousuke so before he could snap she’d already made her tactical retreat.
That is why Kyousuke found Tsubaki as annoying, but she never forced him to go with her so he was troubled on how to deal with Tsubaki. Still, inside his heart, there was no hatred towards Tsubaki.
Even though he didn’t trust people, he didn’t like to be left alone. That was how troublesome Kyousuke’s personality was.
Different with the Kyousuke in the game, the Kyousuke that Tsubaki was together with right now had slight distrust of others and was arrogant, but he still lent his ears to Tsubaki.
Although it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that the Kyousuke in the game was heavily influenced by Tsubaki’s negative influence, the Kyousuke right now was just a cheeky, obstinate, and slightly arrogant brat.
Even Kyousuke didn’t realise that he, the one who was always thinking of ways to spend his free time, was now busying himself with Tsubaki to the point that he wanted to think of ways to have free time for himself this past week.
After he lost his mother, he always wished for someone to care for him, someone to love him, someone who would look at him straight in the eyes.
Towards his grandson, his grandfather only thought of him as a successor of Mizushima. Their relationship with each other was very far from a familial relationship.
His father, Haruki, began to distance himself from Kyousuke as well. Separately living everyday lives together, Kyousuke began to close his heart and distanced himself from others. He began to live in solitude.
But then, in this lonely world here he alone stood, appeared Tsubaki. She would always go to Kyousuke’s area and talk with him as if she knew how he felt.
[Let’s play together.]
[What’s in that room?]
[What’s this flower’s name?]
[You know, today’s snack is Mont Blanc. Tsubaki is looking forward to it.] and so on.
Even if Kyousuke tried distancing himself away from her and kept on ignoring her attempts of social interaction, just like a phoenix, she would come back and talk with Kyousuke every day.
He was defeated by Tsubaki’s persistence and he, although unwillingly, played together with Tsubaki. This was only an excuse he used on the surface.
In fact, deep down in him, he was very happy on how Tsubaki always meddled with him. One could say that Kyousuke had a favorable feeling towards Tsubaki, who was related to him by blood and always faced him properly.
However, since Kyousuke had the title as the successor of Mizushima, he hesitates to let out his true emotions. It was because his grandfather, almost every day, told him, “Men of Mizushima cannot show their real self to others. You should always be composed and calm, always stand high in front of others.” Being able to have fun and enjoy the feeling of excitement, Kyousuke was glad that Tsubaki came into his life.
And today too, just like always, Tsubaki was talking to Kyousuke in the greenhouse.
“Hey Kyou-chan. Do you know what a Sasabune is?” (TN: Sasabune: bamboo-leaf boat)
After thinking for a moment, Kyousuke nodded his head. Although he never played it, he knew it from a book he once read before.
“Then let’s make Sasabunes and have a race with Tsubaki.”
“Don’t wanna. Why should I play a game that commoners play?”
It was an immediate refusal. Nevertheless, Tsubaki thought it was easy to deal with a kid. Boys mostly have a high sense of pride so they hate to lose, and that applied to Kyousuke too.
“Hmm~ I see, Kyou-chan is scared losing to Tsubaki huh~”
“HAA!? As if! There’s no way I would lose to you.”
“Ehh, you will race with Tsubaki then?”
“… It can’t be helped. If you want to so much then I’ll do it.”
This was how he acted just with a little provocation.
Tsubaki plucked two thin, long leaves that was close to her and gave one to Kyousuke.
Taking out a pair of scissors meant for kids, Tsubaki bent the leaf and made holes at both ends.
After that, it was complete when one end of the leaf slid through the hole of the other end.
Tsubaki passed the scissor to Kyousuke.
Kyousuke watched how Tsubaki made the Sasabune so he began to mimic how she had done it. Although his handling was still clumsy, he somehow finished to make the Sasabune.
Just looking at them once he can do it too? Impressive. Like he said, Kyousuke had never played or attempted playing Sasabune before yet he was able to make one. This raised Tsubaki’s amazement towards Kyousuke.
At the river inside the greenhouse flowed toward outside, the two held their clumsily made Sasabunes and after the countdown, they release them at the same time.
The two began chasing their Sasabune that moved by the river’s stream.
However, after the Sasabunes passed through a part of the greenhouse that lead outside, they can’t chase them anymore.
“Ah~ it’s gone. Tsubaki’s sasabune was ahead right?”
“I lost because this is the first time I made it. Next time is my win.”
Even if that “first time” part was removed, for Kyousuke, losing is very frustrating and he requested a rematch to Tsubaki.
Because Tsubaki doesn’t have any reason to refuse, she gladly accepted it.
Afterwards, Kyousuke keeps on requesting for a rematch to Tsubaki until he wins.
Just how much do you hate losing? Tsubaki was completely exhausted by the time Segawa called them for dinner at the greenhouse.
“Oi Tsubaki! We continue this tomorrow you hear! Don’t run away.”
After saying that, Kyousuke ran and went back to the mansion.
To the remaining Tsubaki, Segawa said “It is above all that Tsubaki-sama and Kyousuke-sama are getting along.”
On the other hand, the discussion of Yuriko’s divorce was going well.
At the time Yuriko left the Kurahashi residence, Mio and her mother had already left too and had returned to Mio’s maternal grandparents.
What’s surprising though was the story behind Mio’s mother. Why did she choose Tsubaki’s father, and why did his father chose her instead of Yuriko? Even though she could just brush him aside, why did she still stick with him? And the mere action of the Mizushima family not giving Mio’s mother any repercussions at all was also intriguing.
About these matters, Tsubaki doesn’t know anything about the long dispute between the Mizushimas and the family of Mio’s mother, considering that she only knows so much just from the game itself.
With the lover gone, they could only redirect the trouble towards Kurahashi. He, who was abandoned by his wife and child, became like an empty husk. He could only blankly nod at the conditions the current Mizushima family head presented to him.
And Kyousuke’s grandfather who was gone abroad, seems to have difficulty in returning back home immediately due to work, and everything was entrusted to Haruki so he has the final say of this.
“Thank goodness that Father isn’t here. If he was, not only would it end in sanctions, but total ruin for the Kurahashi’s company for sure. I really want to avoid an unnecessary grudge from their employees.” Haruki murmured as he gave a sigh of relief.
Tsubaki was still a little kid so she can’t participate in the conversation, but she was able to grasp the general situation as she was eavesdropping to the story her uncle tell to her mother and Fumiko.
Tsubaki decided to not think about the matter regarding her father anymore. If she left it to her uncle, it will only be a matter of time before everything was settled.
One month passed since they had a Sasabune race. Kyousuke slowly accepted Tsubaki in his heart, but Tsubaki felt that it was still lack something.
It wasn’t necessary for Kyousuke to fall in love for Tsubaki, but if she doesn’t have Kyousuke’s full trust, by the time Mio begins to make her move in the near future and Kyousuke starts falling in love for her, Tsubaki can’t became a stopper for Kyousuke.
The legal wife’s child, Tsubaki, or the lover’s child, Mio. In the case that he chooses the lover’s child, it can be regarded as an act of betrayal towards Tsubaki. And so, there was only one safer way where Mio has to be the one who gives up on Kyousuke. Otherwise, it will progress exactly like in the game—- the Eloping event.
The uncle doesn’t have any intention of remarrying even until now and if it is left as it is, there’s a high probability that Kyousuke would remain as the only child like this.
In case the world progressed toward the Eloping event, it would be a very troublesome situation for Tsubaki where she has to choose a groom later.
To begin with, Tsubaki can’t leave Kyousuke to that Mio. Rather, she didn’t want to at all.
Kyousuke and Tsubaki has spent a lot of time together during these past few weeks, but since they were almost under the servant’s watch, Kyousuke couldn’t really talk about the things that he was thinking to Tsubaki.
That’s why up until now, Tsubaki doesn’t have time alone with Kyousuke where the servant’s’ eyes didn’t reach them and does not know what Kyousuke is really thinking..
Since this situation is unclear, Tsubaki doesn’t know anything about what Kyousuke was thinking and can’t make any countermeasures. At this point whether Kyousuke wanted to make up with his father or not, Tsubaki wanted to ascertain this first.
Preparing herself, Tsubaki threw herself on the dining room’s floor, flapping her limbs about, where her mother, Kyousuke, Fumiko, and Segawa was present.
“NOO–! Tsubaki want to sleep together with Kyou-chan–! Tsubaki want to sleep together with Kyou-chan——!”
“Tsubaki-chan. The floor is dirty you know, stand up.”
“Yuriko-sama, that is not the problem here.”
“That is what Tsubaki-sama said but, how about it Kyousuke-sama?”
Even after getting a warning from her mother and the others, Tsubaki didn’t stop and kept flapping her limbs on the floor.
She was always reminded to behave like a proper young lady would but since she never received any training about that until now, what she was doing now was within range of being inconspicuous.
Seeing Tsubaki like that, Kyousuke backed away from her a little bit.
“If you wanted it so much, I don’t mind.”
Kyousuke, who took his gaze away from Tsubaki, murmured and Segawa conveyed what Kyousuke said to Tsubaki. Hearing that, Tsubaki stood up from the floor in a beat and latched herself into his arm.
“Yaaay~! It’s a sleepover in Kyou-chan’s room–“
“Don’t cling to me! You just lay on the floor, it’s dirty!”
Despite saying that, Kyousuke didn’t show any sign to swing his arm.
Like that, they entered Kyousuke’s room, and Tsubaki jumped at the big bed that was too big even for a kid.
“You really do have bad manners….”
“It’s fine~ It’s fine~. There’s only Kyou-chan here after all.”
Hearing Tsubaki’s reply, Kyousuke sighed and got on the bed’s empty space.
Kyousuke pressed a switch on the bedside and the room’s light were cut, in return the room was lit with a single lamp.
A dim orange colored light illuminated the room.
The silence in the room continued for a while, and Tsubaki was the first to break that silence.
“Nee. Are you not sad?”
Even without explain about what she meant, Kyousuke understood it clearly.
“… I am the next successor of Mizushima. I was told that I cannot show my sadness.”
“Who told you?”
Perhaps because Tsubaki was suddenly talking with in a serious tone, Kyousuke was surprised and fixed his gaze to Tsubaki.
“Are you angry?”
If asking whether she was angry or not, it was the former. She was angry towards the person who told a child to hold their emotion like this.
“Because what sad is sad. When Tsubaki is thinking about mother dying, Tsubaki was really sad.”
“Is that… so?”
“Yes, it is!… Nee Kyou-chan, what does your mother look like?”
It may be cruel to ask Kyousuke about his mother, but if Tsubaki didn’t hear them directly from him, she would never understand what Kyousuke was really thinking.
“My mother is a very kind person. Every time I visit her, she will always hug me and pat my head. Father too, he always talk kindly to me. But since mother passed away, Father rarely returns home. I rarely met with my Father. Father hates me.”
The words Kyousuke muttering was like a knife stabbing Tsubaki’s heart.
Basing on what Kyousuke said, between the death of his mother and the matter about his father who always avoided him, it could be said that the latter weighed in his mind the most.
It has been a year since his mother’s death and it seems like Kyousuke already understood that he would never be able to meet with his mother anymore.
That’s why, he was seeking for his father’s love.
“Kyou-chan, do you want to make up with uncle?”
“Of course! But, Father doesn’t want to meet me.”
Tsubaki thought that her uncle did not hate Kyousuke when looking at how her uncle loved his family. Otherwise, it’s impossible for her uncle to talk about his son inside the car when they were on their way to the Mizushima residence.
If that was the case, it’s probably because there was no bridge between them, something or someone that will help the the father and son to connect with one another, and Tsubaki was intending on taking that role.
“Jaa, how about put your feelings in a letter and give it to uncle? Tsubaki will ask mother to pass it to uncle too.”
“Even you if you say that, what should I write?”
“Nnn–. That’s right. How about [Thank you for your hard work] or [Please take care of yourself] or [I want to go at such-and-such place together] like these? The point is, it is okay as long as Kyou-chan writes what you really feel in the letter.”
“Is it not going to bother him? Is father really going to read them?”
“It’s okay! Uncle is really loves you. Tsubaki heard them from uncle you know.”
Tsubaki nodded her head strongly many times and reassuring Kyousuke.
Kyousuke, who suddenly became motivated, wanted to immediately write the letter, but the night was already late so Tsubaki began to calm Kyousuke down and they lie down together on the bed.
Honestly, what she heard from her uncle talking about Kyousuke was only at the time they were inside the car, she never once heard anything about her uncle saying that he loves Kyousuke or anything. But, it is certain that he really cares for Kyousuke. Even if that was a lie, she only needed to make them become reality.
After this, I only need to push his back and everything will go well for sure. Believing that, Tsubaki closed her eyes.
The next day, Kyousuke finished writing a letter for his father and gave the letter to Tsubaki.
At that time, he kept saying “Don’t read it, you hear!? DO NOT read it!” to Tsubaki.
Without opening the letter, Tsubaki passed it to her mother and after making her mother promise to give the letter to her uncle, she came out of the room accompanied by Fumiko.
Making decisions and actions, people from the Mizushima are really fast huh. Tsubaki has that thought while looking at her mother’s back who was moving out from her room.