45. A Hungry Young Lady
The man turned around curiously and looked at me. When his eyes met mine, he shouted in surprise and stood up.
“Who are you?”
Of course, it would be like that. I’m sorry.
I was so embarrassed that I wanted to run away at any moment, but I, the culprit who made the sound, opened the door and walked in, holding my abdomen tightly.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I smelled something good, and…peeked in unintentionally.”
“Eh? …Ah, is that it?”
He looked at something that resembled miso soup poured into a cup and tilted his head. So that really nice smell is really miso soup? I see. There was a black thermos by his side, so he probably brought it from home, but still, it was unexpected that a young man would bring miso soup.
“Would you like to eat together?”
“This is quite a lot.”
He smiled softly, giving off a reserved and gentle atmosphere. His uniform was from high school, but I wonder who he was? He has a handsome face, and he would definitely stand out.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you.”
I felt bad and said no, but the worms in my stomach started raging again. I beg you, please be quiet!
It seemed that the sound of my stomach had been heard, and he was laughing while shaking his shoulders.
“Umm, that is, well….”
“If you’re hungry, let’s eat together.”
I felt embarrassed, and my face got hot, but I couldn’t think of any excuse, so I decided to take it honestly.
“Please sit there?”
I sat down on the seat in front of him, and he lent me his chopsticks and said, “I haven’t used the chopsticks yet.” Moreover, he seemed to only have one set of chopsticks. He smiled and began to eat using his hand. He said it was okay because it was just the two of us. I’m sorry for being the cause of his bad manners. But he was a really nice person.
Even so, it’s too strange to be sitting across from a man I don’t know well and poking the food boxes.
“Can I ask your name?”
“My name is Maria Kumoruiwashi.”
“I see, so you’re Kumoruiwashi.”
He sounded like he knew of me. Ah, this egg roll is delicious. The refined seasoning was very much to my liking. I prefer lightly flavored foods. The meat and potatoes were also delicious. Japanese food is the best.
“May I ask your name?”
“Sorry, I haven’t told you my name yet. It’s Keito Kiryuu.”
When I furrowed my eyebrows at the familiar surname, the man in front of me added.
“I’m Takuto’s older brother.”
The reason I thought he looked familiar was that his facial features were vaguely similar to Kiryuu. Kiryuu never smiled, and his facial expressions and tone were completely different, so I couldn’t connect them well.
To think that Kiryuu, who always has a sour face, has a kind older brother like that… Hmm? No, wait. If I remember correctly, Kiryuu’s older brother was mentioned briefly in the original story.
He had met Asami when she encountered someone who was rumored to be a ghost. He is the older brother who attends the counseling room because of special circumstances.
My palms were sweating, and my face was stiff. I might have gotten involved with a dangerous person. I had completely forgotten about it and just remembered about it.
Kiryuu’s older brother, Keito, is now in the first grade because he repeated a year as he did not attend school.
“Takuto, is he rude?”
Rather than being rude, he makes me angry over and over again. Your younger brother, that is.
“Takuto always has a sour look, but he is actually kind. I’m a little sickly and can’t go to school much, so I’m always troubling him, but he does a lot of things for me without looking unpleasant.”
The smile on his face was even shadier than Amamiya’s face, with a full on good-person aura. How dare he, but well, I do this kind of acting. Now that I’ve connected who he is, to me, his smile can only be seen as something that was made up.
It seemed I had stolen the heroine’s (Asami) event. In the original story, Asami gets involved in the problems of the Kiryuu brothers. And in the end, the older brother, Keito Kiryuu, also liked Asami.
…He is not the culprit, right? I want to think that even though he liked Asami, he wouldn’t go as far as to kill Maria, who was bullying her.
“If I’m not mistaken, you have a younger brother too, right?”
Suddenly, Aoi became the topic. I stopped eating and held my chopsticks in place. I looked up to see Keito smiling at me.
I desperately held back a grimace and smiled back at him as if saying, “So what?”
Even though he was repeating a year, it didn’t seem like there was any connection between Keito and Aoi. Keito, who is originally one year older, doesn’t show up at school that much and rarely interacts with anyone.
“Do you get along well?”
“I think we get along well.”
“I see, how envious.”
I don’t feel like he is being sincere. I wonder what this guy is after?
“When I was little, I overheard my relatives talking about your house.”
I guessed what he was trying to say with that.
In other words, he was trying to say that he envied me for being close to him even though we were not “real” siblings. And I, who knows his character, could understand the meaning behind it.
“You want me not to tell anyone that you’re here?”
“I don’t mean to scare you, but I’d appreciate it if you kept it a secret. I’m sure he doesn’t want anyone at the school to know that he is not the “legitimate” son of the Kumoruiwashi family.”
What do you mean you’re not trying to scare me? Isn’t it like ‘if you want me to keep a secret that you and Aoi aren’t real siblings, then shut up.’
“Ah, also, Takuto shouldn’t find out about you and your little brother’s matter. I don’t know if it’s like an unspoken agreement, but it seems like the adults don’t really want to talk about you guys.”
And yet you talked about it and threatened me with it.
Well, they probably know that if they were to spread strange rumors, the Kumoruiwashi family would stare them down. So, few people would do such a thing, but I guess there are adults who talk about it secretly. However, I’m sure that few students at the school know that Aoi and I are step-siblings.
I don’t really want to tell anyone that this person is here, but what I don’t like the most is the fact that he used my relationship with Aoi as a tool to threaten me.
“Do you really mean what you say?”
“What does it look like to you…?”
As if to test me, Keito lifted one corner of his mouth and bit his cheek.
“You seem to be forcing yourself to use pretty words.”
“You want to tell me that if I spread the word that you’re here, you’ll also spread the matter that I want to keep as a secret, right?”
I spit out the rest without looking away from Keito, who was staring at me.
“Why don’t you just say it? Don’t praise Takuto Kiryuu on purpose. Just say that he is a foolish younger brother. He’s carrying everything you’ve thrown at him, and he endures it without complaining, right?”
Keito’s eyes narrowed slightly in vigilance.
I really didn’t want to get involved. But then I remembered that I owed Takuto Kiryuu. When I drowned in the pool and thought I was going to die, Kiryuu jumped into the water and saved me. I have to repay that debt properly.
Let’s break the event that I’ve taken upon myself without fail!
“Do you know something about us?”
“No, I don’t know anything.”
That is, I don’t know anything except the knowledge of the original story. I don’t know how true this world is. But, he was wearing a mask without a doubt. The sharp gleam in his eyes seemed to tell me that he was not really a gentle person.
As we talked, I gradually began to remember. The story about Kiryuu’s brothers was mentioned in the third volume of the original story. It wasn’t mentioned that deep, but Tengenji told the heroine that the reason Kiryuu was so stern was because of what happened to his older brother.
“And the ‘ghost’ that comes in and out of this place comes here to see you, right?”
“I didn’t expect the hungry girl that came here to be such a scary girl.”
“I didn’t expect such a frightening person to be waiting for me when I followed the good smell either.”
Keito smiled boldly and folded his arms. His sharp, intimidating gaze pierced me, and I desperately tried to suppress my trembling hands.
I-I’m not scared. It’s easy. On the contrary, bring it on.
“Just like you say, he is a foolish younger brother. He is carrying the weight of everything that I gave up because I got sick of it.”
“Not being able to go to school much because you were sickly is also a lie, right?”
“When I was in elementary school, I really hated it. So, I confined myself. However, in middle school, I slipped out and started playing hooky. In high school, I didn’t have enough attendance days, so my parents made me repeat a year as a warning.”
For Kiryuu’s family, he should probably be able to advance to the next grade if they pile up money. But Kiryuu’s parents probably thought it was a bad idea to let him do whatever he wanted as it was. Even in the original story, he must have been the kind of person who hangs out at night.
“They gave me conditions and said, ‘it’s fine even if it’s just the counseling room, for now, as long as you attend school for three years and take all the tests properly, you can do as you want.’ If I didn’t agree to that, they would put all kinds of troublesome restrictions on me, so I had no choice but to accept it.”
“So, that means the ‘ghost’ is the one that is watching you?”
“She’s just doing it for Takuto’s sake. Truly a stupid person.”
Even though he said that I could tell from his words that he didn’t hate the ‘ghost.’ Rather, the ‘ghost’ is the reason why he obeyed his parents and went there.
And then, the ‘ghost’ probably chased away anyone who came near this place. It’s to hide him so no one can see him.
“So, as the Chairman’s niece, what do you want from me?”
“I have no particular interest in interfering with the affairs and methods of your house.”
“I guess so. You don’t seem to have any interest in me.”
“That’s right, I don’t. But I am indebted to you for the delicious food you shared with me when I was hungry.”
He could have turned me away. And yet, he didn’t. I know about the relationship between the Kiryuu brothers because I have memories of my previous life. As far as I Know, Keito Kiryuu was still hiding his true feelings.
“That’s why I won’t spread the word that you’re here.”
“You’re a weird person. Is sharing lunch that important to you?”
Of course, it’s important! Because I was staggering in hunger! He doesn’t know the value of having food made for him, this damn young master! Moreover, the meal he shared with me was very delicious. Please give me more.
“Then, can you do another favor for me?”
What a difficult thing to say, this guy.
“If you can’t do it, there might be a rumor going around that the daughter of the Kumoruiwashi family who was hungry is wandering the third floor of the school’s east building,” he said while looking at me. I stiffened my face in amusement.