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Sorry for the massive delay. Really stressed at work, and then got sick twice, so I found it hard to do anything productive. Mostly just lazy gaming.
We’d even finished chapter 4.1 of the manga we’re translating, but nobody had enough effort to upload it for over 2 weeks.
But hey, at least it’s here before the Elder Scrolls 6, right?
The Inugami Clan
On his deathbed, ruthless pharmaceutical tycoon, Inugami Sahei, is surrounded by his family, including three grown daughters, by three women he never married, as well as an outsider, Tamayo.
Two of his daughters are accompanied by their husbands and sons, but the oldest, Matsuko, is alone.
When he dies before identifying his heirs, the will cannot be read until all the family is present, so Matsuko sends for her son, Sukekiyo.
When Matsuko's son, Sukekiyo, arrives, his face is obscured by a skintight, white latex mask which arouses the suspicions of the other family members until Sukekiyo rolls up his mask uncovering a horribly burned visage.
Sahei unexpectedly leaves the family fortune to the attractive Tamayo on the condition that she marry one of the Inugami grandsons – Sukekiyo, Suketake , or Suketomo – pitting blood against blood. If she doesn't, she will forfeit the inheritance.
Foul play ensues.
Sitting on my little finger was a gorgeous, lovely, pink gold pinky ring.
During our free day in Paris the girls and I all bought one each together.
While Enjou had been giving me advice, Serika-chan and the others had gone off to look for something we could remember the trip by.
In the end they went with the most adorable design. Little flowers lined up along the ring.
When we were middle schoolers we had bought matching necklaces for the trip. This time it was rings.
The proof of our relationship.
Wah, so happy~
I was sitting there on the bus from the airport in Rome, smirking as I looked at my hand, when Kikuno-chan asked if I was listening.
“I just heard, but they say Kaburagi-sama visited a jeweller in Paris,” she repeated.
What was he buying jewellery for?
“Kaburagi-sama was in a great mood this morning, wasn’t it? Could it be that he bought jewellery as a present for someone special?”
“Someone special!?” I shouted.
Don’t tell me that because his date in Paris went smoothly he was planning on jumping straight to marriage!?
No, no, not even that guy could be so stupid.
The terrible thing was that I couldn’t say for sure.
“What do you think, Reika-sama?”
“Even if you ask me that…”
“Enjou-sama was there too.”
“Emjou-sama…? Then in that case, perhaps it was Enjou-sama who was buying a present for someone special,” I suggested.
Like an engagement ring for Yuiko-san.
“Enjou-sama!? Please no!” cried Kikuno-chan.
“Even if you tell me that…”
“Don’t you mind, Reika-sama?”
“I suppose not.”
“Ehhh!? Well we mind! Right, Serika-san?!”
“Uwah!” I squealed.
Staring out from between the gap in the chairs was Serika-chan’s eye.
That’s scary, Serika-chan.
You’re giving me the Shining flashbacks, okay!
“Could you ask Kaburagi-sama for us, please?”
“Eh!? Me!?” I exclaimed.
No way! Ask yourselves!
“You’re the only one who could ask about something like this. Pleaaaase, Reika-sama.”
“Reika-sama~! We won’t be able to enjoy Rome if we don’t know!”
“Kikuno-san is right.”
“You think so too, don’t you, Serika-san?”
And so that’s how, unable to refuse, when we arrived at the hotel lobby I found myself trudging towards Kaburagi.
I had to psyche myself up a little because he was literally surrounded by boys.
It didn’t take long for him to notice my approach.
“What’s wrong, Kisshouin?”
“Um, Kaburagi-sama, could I have a word…?”
“A word?” he asked.
We left his group and after a momentary frown his expression turned agreeable.
“I want to say yes, but we’re about to be assigned our rooms. Come to the lounge in thirty. We’ll talk then.”
“Eh!? Just for a small chat!?”
“It’s not something that can be finished in a few words.”
I was planning to just find some pillar to stand behind to ask about what he was doing yesterday.
A few words would have been fine.
But before I even had a chance to stop him he walked back into his ring of boys and headed up the elevator.
I had to come all the way down to the lounge just to hear about this pointless topic!?
Such a bother…
When I told the girls what happened, their eyes sparkled instead. “An invitation for tea…!”
That’s really not it.
After unpacking in my room I headed down to the hotel’s café lounge as per our one-sided agreement. Kaburagi was already waiting, and he raised a hand in greeting.
Sitting elegantly next to him was Enjou, who had a smile and a cup in his hand.
Mm? Why was he here?
“Masaya said he was having a secret rendezvous with you, and it sounded too interesting not to come,” he explained.
Even if you smile like that, it doesn’t look cute on a schemer like you.
No sooner had I sat down did Kaburagi shoot me a knowing look.
“Kisshouin. I know what you wanted to ask me,” he said smugly.
I was pretty sure that he didn’t.
Leaning in, he continued full of confidence.
“You wanted to ask me about my date in Paris, right!” he declared.
See? You had no idea at all.
Wow, what was this look of shock? He looked like a pigeon knocked out of flight.
Hmm. Pigeons… My natural enemy…
“I heard that you were a patron at a Parisian jeweller yesterday.”
“Eh? Yeah, I went to one but?”
“Might I inquire about your purchase?”
“Huh? Why do I have to tell that to you?”
I’m not asking you because I want to either. But you know, Serika-chan and the others told me to, so…
“Ummm~ Although I do not believe it myself, could it be that you bought a present for her?”
“Her? Ohh, no, I didn’t.”
“Is that so.”
Haah, thank goodness.
My discipline might have no common sense, but I was glad to see he knew at least this much.
Still, if it wasn’t for Wakaba-chan then I wonder what it was. I couldn’t exactly go back to my group with nothing to show for it.
And so I sat there, staring at him silently.
“Why do you even want to know?” he asked.
“A rumour has spread about your visit there, so I was asked to investigate.”
“What the hell? Are you the reporter for a gossip magazine or something?”
Well that’s rude. Now I might just report that you two bought matching watches.
“Isn’t it fine?” Enjou said. “It’s not a big deal so you may as well tell her.”
Oooh, good job, Enjou! …Ah, but am I going to owe him another favour for this?
Enjou was like an amoral loan-shark. His interest rates were frightening.
Kaburagi just sighed.
“Fine. I just went there to pick up a watch for my mother. She left it there for repairs last month.”
“Eh? Is that all?”
“That’s all. It’s an antique, so only the main store in Paris had the experts for it.”
What the heeeck~ So it was just an errand for mummy in the end?
“I see. And you bought nothing else then?”
“And Enjou-sama, if I might ask?”
“Me? I didn’t buy anything either.”
Realllly now~? No presents for Yuiko-san~?
Uwa! The intensity from his smile just…! Okay, okay, I’ll believe you!
…But maybe I could spread a rumour about…
“Please don’t make up stories, Miss Reporter.”
He read my mind!?
“Thank you very much for telling me. Well then, please excuse me.”
I had what I needed so I promptly made to leave.
“Wait, wait!” Kaburagi stopped me.
What is it?
“This ain’t right. We haven’t even gotten to the main topic yet! Don’t you want to know about it? How my Paris date went!”
“No, not particularly,” I said frankly, and was treated to a wide-eyed Kaburagi.
By his side, Enjou stifled a laugh.
“…Don’t you want to know? You want to know, right?”
“No, not particularly.”
“You don’t have to be shy. Don’t you want to know?”
“No, not particularly.”
Wow, what an unhappy look. Did want to tell me about his fun date with Wakaba-chan that badly?
“…You’re my strategist. It’s your duty to know!”
“And as I have said before, I have no recollection of accepting that role.”
“…Isn’t your hair a god of love? It’s your duty to know!”
“And you have never left any offerings.”
What was with that pout.
Was he sulking or something?
What a gwumpy wittle boy, you are~
I wonder if he’d hit me if I said that.
“Now, now, we gave you some information too, so couldn’t you go along with Masaya for a bit?” Enjou persuaded. “As for those offerings, would the desserts from this café do? Tiramisu maybe? Would you prefer panna cotta? Shall I order both?”
Uuu, tempting me with sweet things was cheating.
But since I was in Rome, I did want to try both…
Hang in there, Reika.
It’ll be dinner soon, and there are people watching.
Console yourself with just the tiramisu.
Enjou smiled. “A reporter for a gossip magazine, the host of a hair god of love. You sure have a lot of titles, Kisshouin-san.”
Both of those were just forced on my by your best friend.
Oh! The tiramisu was coming!
“Alright. You’ve had your offering, right? So anyway, about my date in Paris-”
“What a sudden transition,” I said.
“It’s all he’s been talking about,” said Enjou. “It’s actually endless.”
“Shut up, Shuusuke.”
“Fine, fine. Sorry for making you listen to this, Kisshouin-san.”
Kaburagi clicked his tongue before continuing.
“I did as you said and changed taxis to give everyone the slip, and met up with Takamichi where we promised.”
“It might be best not to mention her name here,” I advised.
“…Fine. Anyway, we met and then I led the way to the patisserie I mentioned. They were really happy. They said that they had fun the whole time.”
A gentle look replaced his normally severe expressions. He seemed really happy~
And wow, this tiramisu was pretty good~
“When we were in Japan they gave me a list of cakes that they wanted to try. They seemed so excited, asking if I thought they could go here or there while we were on the trip.”
He was trying to cover it with his fist, but I could still see him smirking like an idiot.
“We tried different flavours of macarons and talked about which one was best. Then since there were still too many things they wanted to try we ended up sharing them…”
By now the smirk he was trying to hide had turned into a full-blown grin.
Sharing a cake between two people was a nice, sweet, romantic cliché after all.
“Since the day after tomorrow is another free day, we’re planning to sneak off and try dessert touring again, you know. Today she said to me, ‘I had so much fun. Every one of the stores you recommended was delicious!’. Geez, that girl.”
His little date in Paris was an even better success than I’d expected.
The cool Emperor of Zui’ran was practically dancing for joy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he screamed ‘La vie en rose!’ at any moment.
That might have been what he did last night, actually.
“They loved the chocolat too. There are some good places in Japan, so I’m thinking of inviting them when we get back…
“As for good gelato places in Rome…
“They said they wanted to try pizza too, so I could take them to…”
Since I’d finished the tiramisu, I was wondering if I could head back to my room now.
Next to the gushing Emperor, Enjou was sipping at his cappuccino like it was none of his business.
Was this what he went through last night…? Friends could be such a pain sometimes.
After a while, Kaburagi had finally stopped to catch his breath so it was time to leave.
Oh? You still haven’t talked enough?
Well that’s none of my business. I’ve listened enough to make up for the offering already.
Just as I had gotten out of my seat, Enjou whispered into my ear.
“Rather than a couple, don’t you think that going around and touring dessert places sounds more like two girlfriends?”
Damned venomous schemer.
When I got back to my room I let the girls know that it was just an errand for mummy.
After our grade all had dinner together, for some reason Kaburagi passed me a box of assorted macarons on the way back.
“Since you said you needed offerings, here, I’m sharing the joy. These are the macarons that they said were particularly delicious. Besides these there’s also…”
Apparently he was going to use the macarons as an excuse to talk about Wakaba-chan some more.
The way back to the hotel was filled with more of his sugar-sweet nonsense.
Enjou was right. It really was endless.
Speaking of Enjou…
He was standing a ways away, waving at me with a smile.
So he escaped.
Anyway, thanks to all of this, for the next few days there was a rumour that Kaburagi had been talking to me joyously after handing me a gift.
Such a nuisance!
Incidentally, the dessert for dinner that night was tiramisu.
I should have gone for the panna cotta…!
As for the macarons, I shared them with the girls.
Today we were sightseeing in Rome.
Amongst the places we visited were the Roman Forum,
the Mouth of Truth,
and the Colosseum.
The whole day was packed with famous landmarks.
The Mouth of Truth had a huge line in front of it, so I decided not to stick my hand in it this time.
It wasn’t like anything happened once you’d stuck your hand in, so doing it once in my life had been enough.
Unlike me, this was Wakaba-chan’s first time in rome, so I spotted her in line with a camera in hand.
When we passed by the Trevi Fountain I throw in two coins just to be safe.
Please grant me marriage with somebody I love! Please grant me a fulfilling love life!
I want to go on a date where I share food with the boy I like too!
Ah! We were in a Christian country right now, but I’d forgotten to put my hands together when I prayed.
Yesterday I said that Kaburagi’s Paris date was really more like a date between two girl friends, but the truth was I was envious of him.
It was too jealousy-inducing for the Chief of the Forever Alone village…
Moving on though, Rome sure was brown-coloured. At least that’s the image I got.
Maybe it was all the historical ruins.
If Paris was Kyoto, then I guess that made Rome Nara.
Anybody who was a fan of Imperial Roman history was sure to be drooling.
But wasn’t the culture of ancient Rome a bit too intense?
Like, the ancient Romans would eat up until they were full. But instead of stopping, they’d shove a peacock feather down their throats, throw it all up, all so that they could enjoy more of the food.
Who came up with that. It was such a gluttonous concept that it was kind of disturbing…
But the Vatican was nice.
The St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were both solemn and amazing.
The Pieta was amazing, and the paintings on the ceiling were overwhelming.
The only downside was that there were so many people it was hard to just take your time and look. It was one of those places you could spend a whole day in.
As a postage stamp collector I couldn’t resist the allure of the beautiful Vatican-exclusives. Since that was the case, I was going to use them to send air mail back to everyone in Japan.
Of course I’d be back in the country before the mail arrived, but if you visit the Vatican you just have to get some stamps, right~?
Who could resist sending mail from here?
The day before I’d gone to buy some lovely postcards from a store near out hotel.
They were of the paintings in the Vatican, and already had everyone’s addresses and my messages to them.
I had expressly prepared them so that all I needed to do now was put on a postage stamp and send them.
Ideally I’d have bought the postcards inside the Vatican City, but it would just be hard to find the time to write all my messages here~
Maybe I could just buy some of them as souvenirs.
Waah, there were so many pretty postage stamps.
I’m gunna bring a bunch of you back for memories.
My blood as a stamp collector was just boiling~
Gosh, they were just drawing me in!
This was the one I’d bought last time, wasn’t it. But this one, I don’t think I had…
Was it new?
Angel postcards were just perfect for Yukino-kun and the kids!
As for Oniisama and Ririna, I’d go with the holy mother and child.
And I loved how beautiful this one was.
I’d go with St. Peter’s Basilica for Otousama and Okaasama.
Sakura-chan, Aoi-chan, and my mother friends though… I think I’d go with paintings for them after all.
Finally, I’d send a few to myself in secret, too.
‘Dear Reika, How are you?’
“Kisshouin-saaaan. It’s time for our class to meet up,” called Satomi-kun.
“Okaaaay,” I called back.
Sorry, Satomi-kun. I’m supposed to be a class rep too.
“Say, Kisshouin-san, are you going to see any of the catacombs tomorrow?”
As if, idiot!
What do you mean ‘it’ll be super fun, we’ll get to see mountains of skeletons’?
Satomi-kun was definitely doing this on purpose, wasn’t he!?
Maybe instead of purifying my room I should use what was left of my salt on Satomi-kun…
“Hmm? Kisshouin-san, together some of the curls on the back of your head turn into the number of the beast, you know? Isn’t that pretty bad here in the Vatican?”
I’ll throw the rest of my salt at Satomi-kun!
The next day was free time.
Naturally we weren’t going to anywhere dreadful like a catacomb, and instead we had enjoying delicious Italian food, and shopping planned.
“Pizza is just a must in Rome, isn’t it~?”
“There was a great place I ate at the last time I was in Rome.”
“Should we go there, then?”
While we were walking along and having fun, sometimes people whistled at us, or messed around and said “Hey! Japanese!” or “Pizza? Pizza?”.
It was uncomfortable.
We were basically on the doorstep of the headquarters for Christianity across the world, so why were these guys messing around when it wasn’t even noon yet?
Stop saying ‘siesta, siesta’ and get to work!
We went to a trattoria that was well-known for its pizza and ordered amatriciana and margherita, before heading to the Piazza di Spagna for some gelato.
Next was tiramisu!
Once ours stomachs were sated it was time for shopping.
I decided to get Akimi-san some olive oil.
And I just wanted to buy all the cheese, from Pecorino Romano, to Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheese!
I’d even heard stories about some of the banks around Italy storing Parmigiano-Reggiano in their vaults. I wonder how true they were.
As for sweets, since I’d already gotten a bunch in Paris I decided to lay off a little.
Not on the gianduja, though.
Had to get that.
Wah! Stylish Italian stationery! I wanted sealing wax!
And the rose seal was just fashionable beyond belief!
I had to get one that said ‘R’!
Isn’t sealing letters with wax stamps just so ‘aristocrat’~!?
And the bottles of scented ink were just so cute.
I could get a glass pen and then give them together as a souvenir.
Maybe I ought to buy a quill too?
“We bought too much, didn’t we, Reika-sama?”
My arms were being torn off.
On the last night of the trip we gathered in a room together and lounged around in masks, since the air in Europe had been a bit dry.
By now, we were all pretty beat.
“The scheduled was a bit packed, but it was fun, wasn’t it.”
“It really was. But it would’ve been nice to stay in each country a bit more.”
“Let’s all go again together. We can make it our graduation trip.”
Graduation trip! I wanted in!
I shot to my feet.
“A splendid idea! A graduation trip! Shall we go?” I said.
“We should! Where do you want to go, Reika-sama?”
“Hmmm. Just Paris or London again would be fine too, but how about Spain or Northern Europe? If we go to Italy, then what if we visited Milan or Florence?”
“I want to go to Venice too.”
It was a minor dream of mine to ride on a gondola with my sweetheart.
I’d be holding up a fancy parasol by his side, as he smiled gently and whispered sweet nothings in my ear. My future lover.
“Gondolas come to mind, and the boat trip down the Seine was great fun, wasn’t it?”
“It was! I’m glad we went.”
Me too. It was a bit cold, but it was a great time.
“Quite a few others took the boat tour as well.”
They did. But I’d been hearing stories about couples forming because of it, in quite a few classes.
In the end, I didn’t have a single romantic encounter during the whole trip.
Not even a single boy had suggested spending a free day together as a group.
Even the Kaburagi-obsessed Tsuruhana-san’s group had enjoyed a Parisian sidewalk café with some boys.
I thought I had heard her laughing at me when we walked past that. I wonder if I was just hallucinating because of my inferiority complex…
So later, when I spotted Kemari Dainagon trying to talk to girls at the Piazza di Spagna, I made a beeline for him and stood right between them to get in his way. Kekeke.
But anyway, people did say that the couples that formed on trips like these broke up soon enough. It was just temporary, I bet.
They’d definitely be returning to my village soon enough.
“Are you okay, Reika-sama? You started glaring into the distance…”
Ah, oh my. I accidentally let my jealousy show.
Since my mask had set in, it was time to peel it off.
Let’s see, how was my skin doing?
I was just about to marvel at how glossy my skin looked when I was hit with a horrifying discovery.
“It’s gone…! My urna is gone!”
I looked over my hairline, again and again.
It was really gone!
My symbol of good fortune, my urna!
Back when my eyebrows had gone partially bald I received this symbol of fortuna in return, so why was it gone now!?
“What’s the matter, Reika-sama!?”
“My urna is gone! The urna I had growing on my forehead!” I desperately explained.
When had it disappeared!?
Had I taken it off along with the mask!?
But it was just a sheet mask! It shouldn’t have pulled anything off!
“What’s an urna…?”
“It’s like a long white hair, apparently.”
“Ah, like those old man eyebrows?”
You’re thinking of a Taoist immortal!
The urna the curly one that Lord Shakyamuni has!
And strictly speaking the colourless hair I had wasn’t an urna but a blessed hair!
A curse comes home to roost…
Is this because I was too envious of the people in the Fulfilling Romance Village that my good fortune ran away!?
Was this an omen for worse luck in romance when I got back to Japan!?
“Now, now. Calm down, Reika-sama.”
“You must be tired, Reika-sama. Come on, it’s time to sleep.”
“But, my urna…! My blessed hair…!”
“Everything’s going to be *juuust fine~”
Still wearing their masks, Serika-chan and the others pushed me into bed before surrounding it on all sides.
“It’s bedtime~ There’s a good girl~” they cooed, waving their hands back and forth.
Eh!? Was this some sort of black mass!?
“U-Umm…” I tried.
“Everything’s going to be juuust fine, Reika-sama~ It’s time for bed now.”
“Reika-sama is very tired. Sleep~ Sleep~”
“It’s okay, Reika-sama~ Sleep~”
And so there I was, laying in a dark room, surrounded by a group of singing Sukekiyo’s.
What did I do now?
Could it be that Serika-chan and the others were actually part of some demonic cult?