T/N: This is the continuation of the translation by UnicornGalore (Chapter 1) and Ainushi (Chapter 2-7)
A/N: I changed some of Sakuya's tone of voice.
The story remained the same.
"Good morning, Saya."
"Good morning, Chiharu-sama....... You looked exhausted."
Chiharu smiled bitterly at Saya's understanding and nodded.
It had been almost two months since Saya Hiiragi officially became Saya Kudou and was taken in by the Kudou family.
She was originally the age to attend school as a first-year junior high school student, but she had already got a university graduate degree while at an overseas academy, and there was no need to attend a Japanese academy anymore.
She had already graduated from the boarding school she had attended in March, and Chiharu had already canceled her plans to go to the middle school affiliated with the boarding school.
She didn't seem to have any desire to continue attending, so Chiharu let her do as she pleased.
"However, while I'm sorry for your own circumstances, I'll still give you an education as a child of the Kudou family."
When Chiharu told her to think of it as the duty of a well-known family, Saya just replied with an emotionless expression on her face that she understood.
She said she didn't mind that much because she was indebted to them, so that was okay.
Manners were not taught anymore, and there was not much emphasis on the art of common sense.
However, she said that she seemed to have a hard time remembering the Kudou Family and their relationships, and that it was difficult to match names with faces in interpersonal relationships.
Other than that, she had an excellent memory and could memorize almost everything once it was taught, so they focused the teaching only on interpersonal relationships.
As such, she had yet to open up completely to the people of the Kudou family.
Initially, she called them "Lord", "Lady", and "Next head," but now she called them "Chihiro-sama," "Manyo-sama," and "Chiharu-sama" by name.
Still, they had more casual conversations.
The stubborn expression on her face broke down, and she smiled more often.
She said caring words to him, as she did then.
It's only been two months, so isn't that enough for now, Chiharu told himself impatiently.
It had been a long time since they'd been together at the breakfast table. Before they could start eating, Chiharu said something about his subordinate, who was probably more exhausted than he was.
"That's right, Saya. I've got one of my men staying in the guest room who came to report to me late yesterday. Would you mind if I invite him to join us for breakfast?"
"If this is a business matter, would you like me to leave you alone?"
"Ah no, I'm off work today, so no need to worry about it. I just thought to let him say hi, since I'm sure he'll be coming to our house in the future.......Is it alright?"
The point seemed to be that he wanted to have a face-to-face meeting between Saya and his subordinate.
Understanding this, Saya hesitated for a moment before replying that it was fine.
The reason for Chiharu's concern was because he knew that Saya's heart had become unable to trust people easily due to the painful treatment she had received from when she could remember, mainly from her relatives.
Chiharu judged it would be useful for Saya to meet the person ......who dared to meet her after knowing that.
While waiting for the servant who had gone to the guest room to run an errand, Chiharu told her that his subordinate was very capable despite his young age, born and raised in Japan except for a period of study abroad, his name was Sakuya Kiryuu, his appearance was a little peculiar, and concluded that he considered him a friend.
At that moment, there was a knock at the door.
As soon as permission was given, Sakuya appeared wearing the clothes that Chiharu had prepared, with a dull expression on his face, as if he was still reeling from yesterday's events.
"Good morning, Kiryuu. Did you get some sleep?"
"Good morning. I'm grateful for your concern but......"
"You couldn't sleep, no question about it.......Anyway, sit down. Let's eat first."
"Yes. Please excuse me...............hgh!"
Sakuya's gaze was glued to Saya as she pulled her chair back into position.
He didn't even respond to Chiharu's question, he just stared at Saya as if he was transfixed.
Saya also tilted her head in confusion and stared back at Sakuya.
She wondered which of them had been the first to speak.
Both of them called each other with the word for "cat" and they were speechless for a while with stunned expressions on their faces.
"......What. So you two have known each other for a while."
"Yes. I spent six years there, starting when I was ten, and in the second year, Kitty ...... Saya-sama transferred in."
After urging the confused pair to finish their meal, Chiharu moved to his study, thinking that it would not be a good idea to talk in public.
As he had done when he received the report last night, Chiharu sat in the chair in front of his desk, Saya moved to the sofa, and he tried to get Sakuya to sit across from him, but Sakuya quickly sat down next to Saya as if he had trouble leaving her.
Even Saya, who was supposed to be distrustful of people, didn't show any signs of disliking it.
Chiharu knew that they were familiar with each other, but when he talked to them, he found out that they were both from the same institution.
The facility where Sakuya spent 6 years from the age of 10 to 16 and Saya spent 7 years from the age of 2 to 9 was in the U.S. It provided education tailored to children from all over the world who did not fit in with their surroundings or had problematic behavior.
It seemed that everyone there had abandoned their normal names and were called by their nicknames, especially the two with different hair colors, who were called "Kitten Kitty" and "Cat Katze" respectively.
"Kitty was the youngest in the facility, but she was smarter than anyone else. The people there were at a loss for how to handle the situation, so I took on the role of caretaker. We were both from Japan.............I felt we were similar in some way."
Sakuya was eleven years old at the time, and Saya was two years old before she could remember anything.
The two, who had similar loneliness, spent time together and built a bond that only they could understand.
"The day before I was called back to Japan, we went out and bought matching straps. That's......."
"Oh, you mean that one."
The strap that Natsumi girl somehow called "Memories of the Dead" was the one that he and Saya had bought together before he left America.
By it being destroyed, Sakuya might have felt that his memories were being trampled on.
It was for this reason that he had been so discouraged, Chiharu thought as he looked at the two of them snuggling together, feeling satisfied at last.
"Kitty, I'm sorry............that strap was......destroyed yesterday."
"......Katze, actually, so is mine. As soon as I got back to Japan, my 'brother' took it away from me. It was destroyed on the spot. So I'm sorry, too."
"I see. Then let's buy something together again next time. Next time, I want something less fragile."
The conversation was between a young man of 21 years old and a girl of 12 years old.
These two people, who were far apart in appearance and age, were conversing with each other in a much more intimate atmosphere than "siblings" and "friends".
(What is this uncomfortable feeling. It's like I'm in the way.)
Should he be smart and leave, or should he pretend to not notice and return on topic?
The young man, who was supposed to be the owner of the room, sat in a daze for a while, feeling uncomfortable.
"... So, do you mind if we get back to the topic at hand now?"
Seeing that the dramatic reunion of two people who had been apart for five years was over, Chiharu interrupted the conversation with a soft voice.
Two people had shared a similar loneliness, but they were from very different backgrounds. Normally, he'd like to give them more time to talk, but that would have been pointless.
Sakuya's work was finished yesterday, and Chiharu had some time off today, but even so, there were many things he wanted to do as the next head of the family and places he wanted to visit that he could only do on his day off.
Chiharu told them to leave their private conversation for later, Sakuya and Saya also returned their gaze to him and nodded in understanding.
"Come to think of it, it's convenient that Kiryuu was acquainted with Saya. I thought we'd just have a face-to-face meeting today, but it looks like it's safe to proceed. Kiryuu, would you mind escorting Saya for a while?"
The moment he heard the word "escort" Sakuya's expression turned grim.
"Is there a problem that requires an escort?"
"Nothing yet. I just don't know what's going to happen in the future. Especially after hearing your report, I do not know what they're going to do to us. Worst of all, if harm comes to Saya, I can't remain silent as a member of 'Kudou'."
"... You don't have to keep quiet, do you?"
In other words, why don't we just destroy it while we can?
That's straightforward, said Chiharu with a wry smile. "No" he denied.
"I understand what you mean, but it doesn't work that way. I don't care if it was before she was adopted. I have a connection to Shijou's family now, no matter how far away we are. If I were to destroy it without permission, it would cause trouble for Yurie as well. If we're going to do this, we have to be thorough and make sure no harm comes to Shijou... I'm sorry, Saya. It's something you know about."
Chiharu knew Natsumi was the only one who pretended to be her friend, and that Saya had kept her distance.
That was why he dared to call her an acquaintance, but Saya shook her head, "No," without seeming to take it personally. "I understand that there are some things that are acceptable and some that are not for her annoying behavior. I just didn't dare to stand on the same stage as her and fight, so I just did as I was told. If Chiharu-sama has given me the assurance that you can destroy it, then be my guest."
"That's harsh... Maybe she was right about you 'hating' her?"
"Yes, in the beginning."
However, as she began to see what kind of person "she" was to some extent, she lost interest in her, Saya said plainly. I don't know who's older, Chiharu laughed with a shrug.
"So, about the escort. I want Kiryuu to leave the company for a while and become Saya's escort in an exclusive contract with us. There will be opportunities for you to go out in the future, and you will basically be the driver and chaperon, but if she has no choice but to go out socially, you may accompany her as a partner. My father has also told me it's time to introduce her to my relatives as the daughter of the Kudou family. The number of such places will increase in the future."
What do you think? When he asked formally, Sakuya looked at Saya lovingly for a moment, and then nodded enthusiastically.
Both Saya and Chiharu looked at Sakuya with an unprecedented sense of trust, and their expressions relaxed in happiness.
(So can we please put that private moment behind us for a moment...I can't stand it.)
He knew he was in trouble, but that didn't stop him from wanting it to stop.
He didn't know how it happened and what kind of bond exists between the two of them, but he didn't mind seeing two people who have been abused by their relatives, betrayed by the people around them, and with wounded hearts looking happy, because he really felt that way.
T/N (Again): Hello! This would be my first translation on the site. I chose this novel for translation for its interesting summary and completion. It's pretty short too! I hope everyone will enjoy the story.