Onii-ai vol 4 will be released in Japan on 25th October. I was quite apprehensive about how bad the cover will be, since it is Nikaido's cover, but surprisingly, the cover is much better than anticipated.
To think I was still deciding on whether to start Sayonara Piano Sonata as buffer between Hyouketsu Kyoukai's chapters...... Looks like I can postpone making that decision for now (maybe, depending on how fast the translations for Onii-ai comes out).
Anyway, here's chapter 6. Akito needs to grow a pair.
The me who had spent a good amount of time clearing the remaining work, will be heading down to the huge courtyard of the hostel next.
Mainly roses and rhododendrons were grown in the courtyard, that is big enough to hold a mini sports festival. Still, there were other plants there as well, including huge sized trees such as oak and beech. It was said that up till ten years ago, there was a lawn and garden of sorts, which would be used to hold events such as a garden tour for the nearby residents during the right seasons.
Needless to say, those were all in the past.
Currently, the place is merely a wasteland putting on the name of 'courtyard', filled with weeds everywhere. I am in full awe of the sheer will of nature, but if possible, I do hope they will be slightly more considerate when they are growing lushly. The invasive nature of the weeds are rampant, resulting in quite a bit of problems when we were trying to secure a place for drying of our clothes, back when we had first moved into this place.
The person in charge of the number one most difficult place, is vice-president Nasuhara Anastasia.
Quite some time had already passed since the start of spring cleaning, so how is her progress?
Honestly speaking, this place should be quite difficult to handle. It has reached a state where I felt it would be more realistic to hire some gardeners to handle it, but there is the rule of 'all residents should try their best to resolve their own problems by themselves'.
Well, Nasuhara did say something like, "Just leave the courtyard to me". She should have quite some self-belief or confidence to be saying that. Let me take a good look at her abilities then-
While thinking of that, I walked into the courtyard.
Nasuhara was sleeping soundly on the dead grass.
"Wadda heck, you are goofin' off!?"
I yelled that in Kyoto dialect without thinking.
From just a brief scan at the scene, it seemed like nothing was done. What exactly was she doing during the few hours that had passed?
"Hey Nasuhara! Nasuhara!?"
"...... Guu, guu......"
"Whoa, this lass is actually snoring...... I say, oi! Wake up! How can a girl sleep at a place like this!? You'll catch a cold, you know!?"
"...... Umm...... I can eat no more......"
"Just snoring is not enough, now you are actually sleep-talking!?"
And that was some horrifyingly old-fashioned sleep-talk.
From her current looks, one cannot imagine her as the talented beauty who emerged victorious from the school's beauty contest - it was so bad, she should kneel down and apologize to those who had voted for her.
"Oi Nasuhara Anastasia! Wake up!"
"...... Munyu munyu......"
"You are a daughter from a well-to-do family, and you are our vice-president in the students' council too, right!? Please think about stuff like these!"
Nasuhara opened her eyes in a flash. There was finally some sort of response from her.
Her upper body sprang up as though it had springs installed in them. She looked left and right for a few times,
"...... Ahh. I've entered a dazed state unknowingly."
"No way. It's not something as cute as being dazed. You are practically sleeping with all your might."
"That can't be right. Ultimately, I was just taking a short rest. Please do not slander me."
"That's not slandering, alright. Your snores had shook even the skies."
"Fufu, that's a really good joke. An absolute beauty like me would actually snore...... I can't help but laugh just by imagining that scene - that's a really marvelous combination. That imagination of yours is better than I had imagined."
"No no. That's not my imagination. That's a fact."
"Alright, I shall award you high praises for that talent of yours. I'll write a letter of recommendation to the higher-ups of the Kyoto Manzai Association. You should go for an audition." [TLNote: Manzai (漫才) is a traditional style of stand-up comedy in Japanese culture. Wiki if interested]
"...... Sometimes, you act as though you have some sort of connections within the circles of the comedy industry."
Her golden hair and blue eyes, together with a permanently expressionless face.
Also, although she has a wicked tongue, she does know when to act silly.
It seemed like I had stumbled on a rather tantalizing possibility?
"In any case, I am not joking. You were really snoring."
"Fufu, so you are actually trying to force that ridiculously silly stand of yours to me. However, that sort of forcefulness is perhaps just what is needed from you in the comedy industry today."
"So you are going to continue on with that gag......?"
"As long as you do not play along with it."
"So my attempt to be polite has backfired...... oh well. In any case, you snoring is the truth. And not just that, you were dream-talking as well."
"That is a really humiliating insult. If you do not wish to be charged to court, and end up with the verdict of having to compensate me with huge amounts of cash for the damages done against me, then you better start by retracting those imprudent words of yours."
"No no, that's not an insult or anything. You had really said it."
"Do you have proof?"
"Since you are so insistent on it, you should at least have some sort of proof to substantiate your claims, right?"
Of course I had nothing like that. Not to mention, there was only Nasuhara and me in this place then.
"I see. You have no proof."
"Indeed, I have no proof. But the truth is still the truth-"
"Then tell that so called truth of yours to anyone you like, and try to see if they will believe you. Me, the finest beauty of St. Ririana Academy ever in history, and someone who has received all sorts of gifted education, has actually done something like rudely sleeping in the courtyard of the hostel, accompanied with snoring and sleep-talking. Like that."
I shut my mouth after she said that.
I was not too sure of the situation due to me having just transferred over, but it is without doubt that Nasuhara Anastasia is someone who enjoys the highest appraisals in St. Ririana Academy. She normally gives the act of a 'mysterious and intellectual beauty', so I will probably be snuffed in the face by everyone if I am to actually do as she had suggested.
"Hmph. Looks like you have finally understood your stand. You should be in awe of the difference between the trustworthiness between us in the hierarchy pyramid, and just run to a corner and cry your guts out while cursing your poor luck."
"What's with that look of detest coming from you...... Speaking of which, you had said something like 'Ultimately, I was just taking a short rest', right?"
"Yes. So I did."
"When exactly did that start?"
"Let's see. It should be from about eight in the morning."
"It's already ten-thirty now, you know?"
That can be considered to be a deep sleep, no matter how you look at it.
"Ten-thirty? What an interesting joke."
"It's not a joke. You can take a look at my watch."
"Fufu, so you had changed the time on your watch in a desperate attempt to continue with that joke of yours - that's a pretty impressive resolve from you. I'll write a letter of recommendation to the higher-ups of the Kyoto Manzai Association. You should go for-"
"No, enough of that already."
"Ara, is that so. What a shame."
"Continuing on, you have been lying dead here since about eight, and it is currently past ten-thirty already. Do you admit that?"
"Well, that's quite common. Things like your watch displaying the wrong time."
"Well, my watch just so happens to be a radio-controlled watch. It is said to be accurate right down to within a second in a period of ten thousand years."
"Ara, is that so. Then there must be something wrong with the radio frequency. Or perhaps it is the laws of the universe that is wrong."
"That's a really grand way of pushing away your responsibilities."
Looks like Nasuhara will not be admitting her mistakes, no matter what happens.
Then again, there is actually no reason for me to be going through all these. I could have easily obtained the correct time from a brief check.
"...... Well, let us end the topic here."
"Since you have put it that way, then let us just leave it as that. Even though I am perfectly fine continuing on that topic for a few more hours, judging from your abilities, it is indeed too cruel to be expecting that from you."
"What's with that look of grace and superiority coming from you...... Ugh, well, in any case, can you please brief me on the situation? What is the status of the cleaning of the courtyard."
"Just as you see. Nothing was done at all."
"That isn't something you should be saying proudly...... Urm, still, a few hours have already passed since I had left this place to your care, right?"
"Even if you had spent half your time sleeping, there should still be plenty of time available for you to work, right?"
"Mmm, yes. So there is."
"What had you done within that period of time?"
"Work. The job of cleaning the courtyard, which you had assigned me to do."
"...... If so, isn't things progressing a little too slowly?"
"I have gathered a lot of dead grass, you know."
"...... That is neither cleaning nor tidying. It is just you staking them up so that you can use it as a bed to roll around in it, right?"
"How rude. I'll be calling the police."
"Don't disturb the policemen for mundane matters like these."
It is precisely due to people like you, that has resulted in the policemen of Japan being overworked, thus causing an increase in crime rates.
"All in all, can you please tell me the reason for the lack of progress?"
"Let's see. It must be because it is all physical work, and I was working bare-handed."
"Then use tools. You know, tools."
"I have no idea what tools to use for the job."
"Well, it's just...... For example, putting a pair of protective gloves, and using a sickle to cut the grass. Isn't there plenty?"
"I have no idea where the tools are."
"There's a small shed at the corner of the courtyard, right? They are all kept there."
"Ara, is that so. Lesson learned."
What's with this?
Should I say that I was so astonished that I did not know how to reply, or that we somehow could not connect.
Or rather, there is a serious problem concerning Nasuhara, and the problem can be easily noticed if I had put in effort to do so, and yet I could not notice it just yet.
"In any case, I have handed over the task of cleaning the courtyard to you, and you yourself had said, 'Please leave the cleaning of the courtyard to me' as well. Please put more effort into it. Akiko, Kaichou and Ginbe are all doing their best in their assigned jobs."
"...... Fu. Looks like I have no choice."
Nasuhara gave a sigh, and shook her head gently.
Her long lashes drooped, and she said sullenly.
"Looking at how things are right now, it will be better if I come clean. At the very least, you have the right to know."
It was my first time seeing her like that.
Her anguish was as if she was about to announce the world is coming to an end. For Nasuhara Anastasia to be that gloomy - what exactly was she planning to say?
"Listen carefully. Please do not faint after hearing what I am about to say."
"W-What's with that? What are you going to say? Please don't scare me, I am faint-hearted."
"You can no longer escape. Since you are the caretaker of the hostel, you should at least be prepared for things like this?"
"So I say, please don't scare me-"
"Actually, I am a girl who cannot do any sort of housework."
I was helplessly stunned.
"Eh? Huh? What did you say?"
"Actually, I am a girl who cannot do any sort of housework."
Nasuhara nodded without a change in expression.
That was indeed something of quite some impact. Though it was rather different from what I had imagined.
So Nasuhara Anastasia does not know how to do any housework - no, upon thinking deeper, that is not something that surprising. She is the daughter of famous Nasuhara Industries, so that is quite understandable. It's the same back when I was doing a house visit to her house - her having bodyguards and maids was something that is quite natural. There's various other things as well. She does indeed feels like a pampered lady.
No, but even still, the members of the students' council are all extremely capable. My younger sister, Kaichou and Ginbe are all doing the housework normally, so I had assumed that Nasuhara is the same as well.
"I don't know any sort of housework - honestly speaking, I am a girl who is absolutely not suitable to be living together with others in a hostel. Ahem."
"No, that is not something you should be saying proudly...... if so, you should have just said so earlier. There was no need for you to volunteer doing it with an air of confidence."
"It's not like it is something that can be done by a person. I had thought it will turn into a situation where the gardeners will be taking care of it all."
"Well, it is a pretty huge courtyard."
"In short, due to various reasons, I had decided to bluff my way through during the job assigning - that's how it is. I had a motive for doing that as well. I thought that I'll be able to keep it hidden, about the fact that I am a girl who can't live by herself, due to me being too fragile and not flexible from growing up in a pampered environment; that I am a girl who will be at my wits end if I am to be thrown into the society by myself, right now. Hmph, go ahead and laugh at me if you want to."
"No, I have no intention of laughing at you."
"I can lick your shoes if you wish."
"No, that is just stooping too low."
She was actually still looking down on me not too long ago. She sure changed quickly.
However, she was still her expressionless and monotonous self, so my impression of her was not too different, regardless of her looking down on me or looking up to me.
"Then again, don't you need to clean up in school? No matter how pampered you are, it still can't be that you have zero experience in cleaning at all, right?"
St. Ririana Academy is a school that emphasizes on respecting the autonomy of students.
Despite their large funds, they did not use a single cent of it to hire cleaning companies to take care of the cleanliness of the school. Due to that, even someone like Nasuhara should have a chance to learn techniques on cleaning.
"That is because I am treated like a goddess in my class. All the cleaning which I am supposed to do, is all done by my devotees."
"Ah- indeed. You do give others that sort of impression. As long as you do not open your mouth to speak."
"Or rather, they had no intention of letting me do chores like cleaning. 'It is a sacrilege for Nasuhara's hands to be stained from cleaning', that's what they said."
"You are really raised to high heavens...... Do those people ask for any returns from you?"
"Mmm, they will be happy as long as I show them a brief smile? Probably just once in a month will do."
That's really little.
Those people do have not much desires, if they are satisfied from something as simple as that...... Forget it, that's what the devotees and worshipers are all about anyway.
"Have you understood the situation now?"
"Mmm, well, generally. Being treated specially do have its own problems as well."
"That's how it is. I am your so called victim from the twisted current-day society."
"...... I just can't accept that frankly, seeing the sort of expression you have when you are saying that."
"As such, I have a request for you."
"Hmm? What request?"
"I hope you can offer me all sorts of assistance, in regards to me not knowing a single thing about housework."
"Mmm. In exact, what are you looking for in my assistance?"
"Hmm. For example, you are to help me finish all of my tasks by yourself. Things like that."
"No, I am not your devotee. And also, I am very busy."
"I think it's just too terrible. You've exposed all of my secrets, and now you are leaving me to die by myself."
"No, it's not like I was the one who exposed them...... instead, you are the one who had revealed them all, right?"
"Indeed, I understand. I must be foolish for trying to negotiate without showing my sincerity - that's what you are trying to imply."
"Actually, I don't mean it like that at all."
"Well then, how about offering you my body as a gift?"
"I humbly decline."
"Why must you decline? Are you saying my body lacks any sort of attractiveness?"
"No, I don't mean it like that."
"I understand. You are saying that just once is not enough. You want me to offer my body and soul to you from now onward. Though it is very difficult for me to make the resolve...... alright, I accept your request."
"No, like I have said, that's not it."
She had said that it was difficult for her to make the resolve, but there was not a slightest waver in Nasuhara's expression.
Uhh- mmm. I still think it is better for girls not to make that sort of statement as and when they like. Even if it is a joke.
"Whatever, I understand. Let's not dwell on the details for now. I'll just try to make it as easy for you as possible. That's what I had intended to do initially anyway."
"I see, thank you. I am grateful of your decision. As such, in return, allow me to use my body-"
"No, I've said there is no need for that already."
"You don't need it? You are actually giving up on the rights to do as you wish on me, just like that?"
"You can actually do as you like? You can just release your desires and do beep— and beep— to me?"
Nasuhara was so irritatingly persistent.
Also, the "beep—" sound was made by her, but it just somehow feels surprisingly realistic. Perhaps she is good at mimicking sounds? She's a girl with quite the strange talents.
"Forget it. In any case, I don't need it. Really."
"Mmm. I don't think I will."
"You won't regret in the future?"
Nasuhara stared at me intently as she said that.
Her expressions didn't change, and the same goes for the looks of her eyes. As usual, I had no idea what she was thinking about, but,
"...... So this won't work. Yet another lesson learned."
"Hmm? You saying?"
"Nothing at all. Well, you are willing to make things easy for me without asking for anything in return. Can I interpret it that way?"
"Mmm, no problem. You can't expect me to do all of your tasks, but I'll try to assist you as much as I can."
"Generally speaking, what sort of help will you be offering me?"
"Let's see...... First, I'll definitely help to safeguard your secret, that's for certain. However, since we are living together, it is not quite possible to keep it hidden forever."
"So it is."
"Which means we have only one way to get out of this. You will have to know how to do housework, before the secret is revealed."
"But, there is a possibility that I am not born with the talent to do it."
"That may be the case, but I don't think there is anything that you can't do. Also, this is purely just a matter of experience."
"I don't think I can do it."
"No no. Nothing of that sort."
Nasuhara was surprisingly uneasy about it.
"You are good in studies and sports, and a beauty who has won the beauty contest, right? In sort, you are an elite, right? Also, you are more capable than my younger sister in just about everything, right? So you can do it. Even if you are not good at it, you will get it someday if you keep trying to remember it."
"Which means, no matter how poor my memory is, you will never give up on me, and will teach me properly until I am able to do it?"
"Eh? Ahh, well....... Yeah, just like that."
"You will take care of me?"
"Well...... that's the only option. Though I think it will definitely be much better if you are taught by Kaichou, Ginbe or Akiko. But whatever floats your boat."
"Is that so. I see."
Just for a brief moment, Nasuhara smiled vaguely.
It has been a while since I had seen her smile.
Well, that expression of hers. It is indeed great.
"Hey. I have been thinking since then."
"Nasuhara, that expression of yours is much better, isn't it?"
" ? What do you mean by my expression?"
"Urm. I am not talking about the indifferent expression that you have currently. That smile of yours earlier, it is definitely much more charming than usual."
After a short moment of silence, Nasuhara turned around so that her back is facing me,
"We have wasted quite a bit of time to talk about unnecessary things. Alright, let us start on the cleaning. Can you teach me how to do it now?"
"Eh? Ahh, mmm. That's not a problem."
"My incompetence will come to light if we do not have any sort of progress. Hurry."
Due to that, we hastily started to work on the task again. During that period of time, Nasuhara's face was faintly red for the whole time.
That was due to her working in the cold weather - I'll leave it to everyone to decide if that is the sole reason for her blushing.