52. Phantom Thief Maria Great Runaway (?)
Good day. Maria Kumoruiwashi finally made one summer plan! Tee-hee! It was a week ago that I was so excited. And today, I was kneeling.
My house is supposed to be cool and comfortable even in the middle of summer. There I was, sitting on my knees and dripping in a cold sweat.
I couldn’t see my mother’s face who was standing in front of me. But looking at the floor was also a bit complicated. There was a printout on the floor. There was a score of fifty points on the make-up test marked with a red pen. I barely passed, but it was the lowest mark.
“I wonder what the make-up lessons were even for?”
“If you had been taking make-up classes properly, you wouldn’t have gotten this score, right? Maria.”
I’m scared of my mother, so I became like a doll that only said, “Yes, mother.” I was also surprised when I got the test back! I didn’t think the English teacher would tell me that I barely got the passing mark on this test.
“Stay at home and study for the rest of the summer vacation. I won’t allow you to go out and play.”
“Don’t say, ‘ehhh!’! It’s natural, alright?”
Even though I finally had a summer plan with Asami and the others! I was looking forward to it!
I don’t want to cancel it. I have to figure out how to get out of here somehow.
“You’re in no position to ask for something.”
“At least, please give me one day of freedom!”
“Go ask Aoi to teach you well.”
Oops. What’s more, the fact that Aoi was the one who would teach me was troublesome. When it comes to studying, Aoi is more spartan than anyone else. So, no, but this was a chance to show her how serious I was! And I have no choice but to somehow get permission for the promised thirtieth!
“Understood! Mother! I will study!”
“…Please don’t think anything strange.”
I’m being suspected completely. The way Mother is looking at me is cold and piercing. But, I’m not going to do anything strange. I’m just going to study seriously.
First, start with the style. These things are important.
“…Sis, do you have any motivation?”
“I have. Teacher, please give me the next problem.”
I had put my hair into pigtails and wore glasses with no lenses. I looked like a genius at a glance. I felt like I could solve the problems easier with that getup. From then on, let’s do this when I studied at home. I was filled with motivation! Whoo-hoo!
“You’re wrong there.”
“I just taught you that, though.”
Why do I become so dumb about things that don’t interest me!?
When I held my head and stared at the English textbook, I was starting to feel a sense of discomfort in the bridge of my nose where I put on the glasses. The edge also felt like it was blocking my vision, and it was annoying. As expected, glasses are not good! You’re fired!
I took off my glasses and took a breath, but then I felt discomfort in my hairline. Maybe it was because I had braided my hair so tightly when I rarely tied it back. It felt like it was being pulled, and it hurt. I felt like my scalp was going to get out of control. As expected, pigtails are not good! You’re fired too!
When I untied the hair band that was tying my hair, my straight black hair was back to normal in a blink. Fortunately, there was no trace of it either.
Apparently, the style was unnecessary. The important thing was motivation.
“Sis, you’re planning something, right?”
“It’s unconvincing when you say that while looking away.”
It’s not like I was planning something bad. I was just trying to show that I was serious and get them to allow me to go out for just a day.
I straightened my back and faced English once again. I couldn’t afford to lose here. I would fight English in order to play with everyone.
“Sis, please do it properly. If you do it seriously, I will grant your wish.”
“Aoi! You are such a good boy!”
I have a good little brother, after all! With Mr. Aoi as my teacher, I was sure English would be a piece of cake!
“Be quiet. let’s do it quickly, so we don’t waste any more time.”
Sis would do her best so as not to get scolded by Aoi.
After that, I studied frantically. I’m fed up with my own stupidity because if I had shown that concentration in the make-up classes, this would not have happened.
Even Aoi praised me, ‘You can do it if you try, so why didn’t you do it earlier?’ albeit a little exasperated. However, when I asked Mother for permission to go out to play, she rejected it. At this rate, I can’t go out! My whole summer’s memories!!
And yesterday, I received a wonderful invitation from Kinoa, “Maria, let’s go out together.” I had to study, so I rejected her tearfully. Ugh… I wanted to go to a cafe with Kinoa. Kinoa is quite familiar with popular cafes. I also refused to go on vacation with the Flower Princesses at the Dahlia’s villa. Sumire, Hitomi, and Ryuune said they were going, so I wanted to go too.
After studying, I got a call from Hitomi before I went to sleep, so we talked a little over the phone. I couldn’t go out to play, so it had been a while since we had talked like that.
“I see. So, you’re not sure whether you can go or not.”
“I will keep trying until the last moment!”
“Please don’t push yourself. Be careful you don’t go getting hurt, okay?”
I wondered what Hitomi actually imagined I would do? Even though there was no way, I was going to do something dangerous that could hurt me.
“According to Asami, he had been able to rent a nearby children’s center, so he said we should gather on the rooftop.”
“Rooftop! I’m looking forward to it!”
“It seems that he sometimes helps out as a volunteer on his days off, so he got special permission.”
Asami’s talk the other day was an invitation to watch fireworks with everyone. It seemed the fireworks display in Asami’s neighborhood was going to be held on August thirtieth. She said there was a secret place where we could get a good view of the fireworks. I guess it was probably the rooftop of the children’s center that Hitomi was talking about.
“But, it’s somewhat strange, isn’t it? To think that, unrelated to the Flower Princesses, we, the kashifure, Asami, and even those three will get together.”
“Well, it’s because Asami gets along well with Tengenji and the others.”
“That’s true, but they all also often show up in the second tea ceremony room. Somehow we’ve been spending a lot of time together, haven’t we?”
Amamiya comes to have fun, Asami comes to talk about books with Sumire and the others, so I’m sure Tengenji comes together because of Asami. Right? And I guess Kiryuu is just an escort.
The love between Tengenji and Asami must have started without my knowledge. According to the original story, the two will go through twists and turns to find happiness. That being said, I don’t know how their ending will be, but based on the development, the one that will end up with Asami is probably Tengenji.
“Say, Maria… Do you have someone you like?”
I thought I misheard for a moment, but I guess not.
“Errr… What’s wrong so suddenly?”
I didn’t expect Hitomi to talk about love, so my reaction was quite dumb. I took a deep breath to calm myself down.
“No, well… Those three are quite popular, so I wonder if you also liked one of them.”
Come to think of it, Hitomi doesn’t know I have a fiance, right? We didn’t talk about that until now, so maybe I haven’t told her.
“You see, Hitomi. I have a fiance.”
“Eh!? Is that so!?
I was surprised because Hitomi rarely raises her voice.
I have a fiance according to the original story setting, but I think there aren’t many people who have a fiance, not because of their own will but because they were chosen. Both Hitomi and Sumire don’t seem to have a fiance either. Even Kinoa didn’t have one.
“Well, as for me, I want to break the engagement if I could, though.”
“…By the way, who is it?”
“Do you know Kotaro Kuze?”
“Kuze…Eh, you mean that Kuze!?”
As expected, Hitomi is bewildered. I guess it’s surprising because it is such a close person. Ah, that’s right. Kuze and Hitomi are in the same class, aren’t they?
“Honestly, I’m quite surprised because I’ve never seen you talking to him.”
“Yes, we don’t get along well.”
I think it’s better than the original story, but it’s not like we get along well enough that we chat at the school. Sometimes he sends me messages on the phone, but all he says is, “Choose which souvenir you want.” Then sends pictures of souvenirs. And, If I choose one, he will send the one that I chose.
The other day, I sent a picture of myself eating as a thank you. He sent an emoticon with the “~” mark in the eyes. I didn’t understand it, so I ignored it. Yes, we were not on good terms after all.
“I’m sorry for asking such an insensitive question.”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”
It was decided a long time ago, and I wanted to start working towards breaking the engagement after graduation. That being said, what would I do? My aunt and Kuze’s parents are enthusiastic. I wondered if Kuze would find a girl that he likes and ask me to break the engagement? And if she’s a certain young lady, then it’s even better!
Then, I wished a handsome man would appear, say, “Please go out with me with marriage in mind,” and persuade my aunt.
Then, I wished a handsome man would appear, say, “Please go out with me with marriage in mind,” and persuade my aunt. It’s going to be very difficult to make my ideal come true. I need to think of something more realistic.
“They’re probably still not aware that we spend time in the second tea ceremony room, but it might be better if we don’t let the Flower Princesses know that we’re there. Ryuune is probably fine, though.”
“There are people who adore Tengenji and the others, eh….”
“Well, that much is cute, but I’m sure there are dangerous people among them. They might be more dangerous than the people who don’t like Asami.”
I’m sure it’s Miyabi and the others that Hitomi is talking about. Maybe she thought that I liked Asami or something when they asked me who I liked? Hitomi doesn’t know that Asami is a girl, so it’s not surprising that she’s suspicious.
“Hitomi. As a friend, I want to protect Asami from doing dangerous things as much as possible.”
In the original story, I was the one who bullied Asami, but if someone else was going to do something to Asami, there was a possibility that I, knowing the future to some extent, could be useful. I didn’t want to leave her alone when I knew they were going to do something to her.
But, according to the schedule, Miyabi and the others wouldn’t be making any real moves until later, so I think it’s still okay. However, sometimes there are differences with the original story, and that’s what scares me.
“I like that about you.”
“I will also keep an eye on him as much as I can.”
I was in the position of being hated in the original story, so I was very happy that Hitomi said that she liked me. It’s slowly changing thanks to the previous life memories that I’ve regained, right?
“Then, let’s keep in touch on the planned day.”
“Yes. See you later, Hitomi.”
After finishing the call with Hitomi, I laid down on my bed and yawned.
I had to be careful so as not to have people think that I had an interest in any of the three of them. I’m glad it was Hitomi who asked me this time. I don’t know what would happen if it were other girls who suspected me. If it were Miyabi and the others, it would be quite troublesome, and if the culprit was someone who liked them. It might give them a motive. I wasn’t involved with them much outside of the second tea ceremony room. I was pretty sure I was still okay for the time being.
The thirtieth of August had finally arrived.
However, my mother did not give me permission to go out. At this rate, the yukata I had secretly prepared would go to waste. Seeing me dejected after being forced to study hellish English from morning till evening, Aoi told me to take a comfortable rest today. I don’t want to see English for a while.
I did my best until today.
I don’t like to sit at home obediently as it is. Women are courageous!
I really wanted to go, so I gave up on the yukata reluctantly and snuck out of the window into the garden in an easy-to-move-in outfit. The blue sky turned red, and the night was about to fall. Time would come if I didn’t hurry. Since it had become that way, I would slip out splendidly and sneak back quietly!
Heat rose from the ground, and my body temperature, which was cooled by the indoor air conditioning, was raised. Hiding in the shadows so as not to be spotted by anyone, I made it to the gate and faced my last enemy. I look like a phantom thief, so cool!
Normally, I need to enter in the security code to open the gate. The drivers usually do it for me. I didn’t need to do anything to open the gate from the inside, right? I always rode through this area, so I don’t remember much about it. This is also a reward for my habitual laziness. I should have taken a good look.
When I cautiously put my hand on the gate, I was surprised to find that it was much heavier than I had imagined. I clenched my teeth and pulled it back desperately to make enough room for a person to pass through. The gate has a stylish European design. Although it doesn’t seem to be heavy at first glance, it appeared to require more strength than expected… Eh, come to think of it, I think the driver always had something like a switch and pressed it.
As I sneaked through the gate, I realized something. I forgot my phone, which was essential to keeping in touch with Hitomi and the others. While being fed up with myself, for being such an idiot, I had to go back to the house to get it.
I had no choice but to go back to the house through the gap in the gate, which was still open when suddenly an alarm went off. I looked around in panic at the loud sound.
“D-Don’t tell me…a thief!?”
It was without a doubt the sound to inform about an intruder. It’s a disaster that such an incident happened, particularly on an important day. They had some nerve to rob the Kumoruiwashi residence. Ah, but what if I meet a bad ending here by a very brutal guy? Also, I don’t want Mother and Father or Aoi and the servants to be in danger. If anyone around me is in danger, I have to do something about it.
As I looked around restlessly, the servants ran toward where I was from inside the house. Aoi was among them, and I wanted to hide from him because I felt guilty for trying to sneak out, but he was obviously watching me, and I didn’t think I could escape.
“Aoi, it’s not good!”
When I rushed to Aoi to tell him about the intruder, I was grabbed by both wrists for some reason.
“Yes, it’s not good.”
“You’re under arrest.”
Aoi squinted his eyes and had an exasperated expression on his face. I had a bad feeling about this. Perhaps, I was the one who sounded the alarm? Was it a bad idea to go back to the gate after all!?
“I didn’t think you would sneak out.”
“I don’t know what you did to set off the alarm on the way out, but it would have gone off anyway on the way back. You also did something reckless, eh….”
I wonder if it wouldn’t ring if I hadn’t gone back? Or perhaps, did I open the door too long, and it rang? I don’t know, but it seems I’m the culprit, and I can’t escape the fate of giving up tonight.
While I was talking to Aoi, several security guards were dispatched outside the gate, “Are you okay?” “Please tell us the situation!” I was shouted at… It seemed I had done something terrible.