Yesterday had been rough with Azami-chan’s arrival. My first impressions of Kaya-san and Azami-chan were slowly getting ruined.
No… to me, that should’ve been a good thing. Kaya-san and I were like enemies at first, and Azami-chan and I acted strangely around one another in a way that was different from “Love Flowers”. The fact that we became close after that should’ve been a good thing, but…
But what was this… this indescribable worry, or rather, the vague worry that we were going in a weird direction…
As I thought, I walked inside the classroom and exchanged greetings with Satsuki-chan, who arrived earlier than me as usual. I felt like Satsuki-chan had become more gentle recently. This also should’ve been a good thing. Just a little more and we’d become like the trio in “Love Flowers” consisting of Lady Sakuya and her close aides Satsuki-chan and Azami-chan.
I sat down, waited for a bit, and more people started coming in. Then, an always-energetic voice rang out.
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“Ggyxk-pyxy, tsse xsadkdt.”
Mbl rsrwzya Ggyxk-nbyd alnlkhle ps xydu alrzklp vbyv vbl obszl nzypp oyp rascyczu alrzukdt vs bla. Rd pbyar nsdvaypv, yzxspv lhlausdl ktdsale xu tallvkdtp yde sdzu y qlo rlsrzl ynvwyzzu alrzkle. Rv bye tsvvld xwnb clvvla obld usw nsxryale kv vs clqsal, cwv… tlvvkdt lhlausdl vs srld wr oyp pvkzz y pvawttzl.
“Qsse xsadkdt, Fyjwuy-pyxy!”
Fbl oldv kd qasdv sq xl yde csole bla blye zkjl wpwyz. Fbl bye esdl vbkp lhlau xsadkdt ps vbkp bye clnsxl vayekvksd yde ds sdl oyp pwarakple. Mblu olal rascyczu yzz vbkdjkdt “Mbkp ytykd?”.
“Mbydj usw hlau xwnb qsa kdhkvkdt xl vs uswa assx! Rv oyp iwkvl qwd! R oyp vbl qkapv sdl usw byhl kdhkvle vs uswa assx, ulp?”
“Huh…? Yes… Apart from my family and their people, you are the first person…”
Once she’d greeted me like usual, she went up to my seat but started talking loudly about what had happened yesterday. She could’ve talk about this during break times or lunch, but… her voice was pretty loud too. It was so loud that I was wondering if she wanted someone to hear.
“I am very touched! I am also looking forward to our outing this summer break! Let us buy a cute set of accessories!”
“Y-Yes, let us do that?”
I mean, your voice’s pretty loud… Wasn’t everyone looking over at us wondering what was happening… Even Satsuki-chan, who was usually unconcerned with her surroundings, was looking at us… Wasn’t she surprised that Azami-chan was so near me, but talking so loudly?
After that, we’d talked about various things, and Azami-chan returned to her seat.
At lunch, the usual members started eating at their usual seats. There was a seating arrangement now for some reason. Beside me were Azami-chan and Satsuki-chan, with Akane-chan and the other three across from us. Today, everyone was absorbed in what Azami-chan was talking about this afternoon.
“You went to Sakuya-chan’s home alone, Azami-sama? How cruel.”
“Oh? Then, what about you meet with Sakuya-sama too, Tsubaki?”
Tsubaki-chan said that, and Azami-chan replied nonchalantly. But that wasn’t how I wanted this to go, you know? I thought we’d keep the fact that we played together a secret from everyone.
Well, maybe it was my fault because I didn’t tell Azami-chan not to tell everyone about our play date, but… if five of us were to play together again, then it’d be hard to organise a date and time… This time, Azami-chan was also hoping something, so we played together, just the two of us, at my house.
“Then, Sakuya-chan, would you like to play with me?”
“Umm… if I am able to find a day and time… mother has become slightly stricter as I have been playing all the time recently, so I cannot give you an immediate reply…”
That wasn’t a lie. My mom got interested in Azami-chan and plans went off without a hitch, but she’d pointed out afterwards that I was playing too much. Of course, she didn’t actually say that directly, but she implicitly mentioned it too often, so maybe I should think about it.
I had also socialised, so you couldn’t really call it playing. Rather, it was normal for a young lady to play with her faction and allies like that, and the problem came with not participating at said places. But my mom forbade me from attending parties, and she strongly emphasised that I shouldn’t go outside on my own volition.
If I didn’t consult with my mom when I played with people, I didn’t know what she might say afterwards. It’d be great if I found an ideal day, but I had to tell everyone I couldn’t make any definite promises without my mom’s acknowledgement.
“Sakuya-chan, your family’s rather strict~.”
“Yes… I suppose…”
I gave Yuzuriha-chan a vague answer. I didn’t know too well. I might’ve been mentally an adult, so I understood what my mom was saying and what she was worrying about… and in my past life, I had been a commoner, so I knew nothing about this upper-class world. If someone said this was normal, I’d have to accept it as fact.
“But… I want to try playing leisurely at your house, Sakuya-chan, and going out to buy things.”
Oh! The fact that even Renge-chan said something like that… Renge-chan was reserved, or rather, terrified of me, so she seemed to avoid me sometimes, but the fact that we were talking like this made me feel like we’d gradually gotten closer.
“Yes! Let us play next time.”
Renge-chan nodded meekly. The only one left was the slightly stiff Akane-chan, right? Akane-chan was the only one who was distant from me, or rather, was acting stiffly towards me… If only we could become closer…
Huh? Why did I feel someone looking at me from the side…?
When I looked beside me, I saw Satsuki-chan looking closely at me. No food was in her mouth, but her mouth, or rather, cheeks were slightly puffed. Was she mad?
“What is it?”
She was mad after all, right? She had replied too bluntly. Maybe I did something to make her mad?
“Have I… done something to anger you?”
“No, not particularly… I was not mad in the first place.”
No, she was mad… she was definitely mad. But why? She’d been acting sullenly since before today’s lunch. I didn’t remember doing anything to make her mad, but…
“Saionji Satsuki is sulking because she is not getting attention from you, Sakuya-sama, and others are taking the things that should’ve been a secret between you two and a prized memory for her.”
From my other side, I heard Azami-chan say those things while looking provocatively at Satsuki-chan for some reason.
“She has gone shopping with you and bought a matching set of items with you, Sakuya-sama. She felt superior because she had you all to herself, but I have entered your room first, and you have also arranged that we would go shopping together. Once we do go shopping, you have even promised that we will buy a matching set of items. That is why Saionji Satsuki is feeling jealous and sulking. Is that not true?”
Huh? From that? Well, if I said that, she’d get mad… right? But I just wanted to be friends with everyone… but did Satsuki-chan dislike when one of her good friends became better friends with some of her other friends?
If only I could play with everyone, including Satsuki-chan. But it wasn’t like I didn’t understand Satsuki-chan’s feelings. When people I was close with distanced themselves from me and got closer with their other friends, I felt somewhat… depressed? Jealous? I could understand feeling that way. Maybe Satsuki-chan was feeling like that now…
“I am sorry, Satsuki-chan. I was not thinking about your own feelings.”
Lately, Satsuki-chan had become a part of this group and went, talked, and ate with everyone. But this was originally Azami-chan’s group, and Satsuki-chan was an outsider. If everyone else here got motivated, then it wouldn’t be strange for her to think that she wanted to be the only one close to me. I wasn’t considerate enough.
“Y-You are wrong! I would not do such…”
Satsuki-chan denied it with a red face, sounding flustered, but I thought that her attitude revealed it all… well, it was cute, so I was okay seeing it, but I didn’t want to make Satsuki-chan remember something painful or sad because of that.
“Then, let us do this. The seven of us here will all play together, whether by coming to my house or going on an outing to buy goods.”
It was going to be near-impossible to get a date that’d be convenient for everyone here. When I thought about the play date that we’d have, it’d need to be very far in the future. Even so… everyone would play together… These seven… The group that was always around Lady Sakuya in “Love Flowers”…
At lunch, the seven of us gathered and we were talking about playing together, but… naturally, we couldn’t decide on a day and time, and a day when we could all gather was rather far in the future, so we had to talk again to reach a conclusion. We’d leave the matter for today and talk about it later. After school, Satsuki-chan, Azami-chan and I went to the salon together.
When we entered the salon, I went to my usual seat in the back corner, and Kaya-san immediately approached me.
“Sakuya-chan, you’ve already invited Tokudaiji-san to your house, right?”
When she suddenly said that, I gave a vague response and nodded. Kaya-san was there when I asked Azami-chan about the date she’d come over, so it wasn’t strange of her to remember, but… Even so, she clearly remembered everything, down to the day… And I didn’t know what she was trying to do.
“Then, as we have promised before, I will be the second one to go to your house. When can you invite me? Tomorrow? The day after tomorrow? Can we do this Saturday? We can, right? We can relax on a weekend, so let’s do that.”
“Huh! No… um…”
Of course we’d talked about it, but it was way too sudden. I still had plans tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and this week …
And more important than my plans… Azami-chan and Satsuki-chan were really looking! They were looking at us! And they were standing somewhere where they could hear! They were absolutely listening to us!
It was fine if Azami-chan heard. She had come to my house yesterday, and she was there when Kaya-san was talking about how she’d be the second one to go to my house or something. She might’ve been interested, but she knew about it, so it should’ve been fine. But Satsuki-chan was glaring really hard! She was absolutely glaring!
You didn’t call me but you’re calling Kaya-san first? was written all over her face… Wh-wh-wh-what to do… what should I do?
But I had definitely made an appointment with Kaya-san first. I couldn’t tell Kaya-san this late that I could not have her over. Rather, I had no reason to refuse. I didn’t not want Kaya-san to come over and play. I had no reason to refuse her invitation.
“What? You’re going to play at Sakuya’s house? Then I’ll go too! When?”
Then Ibuki cut in… you’re not coming! By not coming, I meant not coming into my house, but don’t cut in here! This whole thing had gotten complex! Don’t bother me anymore!
“Konoe-sama, please do not come. This was an appointment made between Sakuya-chan and I. You are not involved, Konoe-sama. Do not poke your nose in unnecessary things.”
Both my and Ibuki’s voices overlapped. What did Kaya-san just say? DIdn’t she just say that Ibuki wasn’t related at all and for him not to come?
Kaya-san… the Oogimachisanjou family is part of the Konoe monryuu, yes? And, Kaya-san, you got involved with me because you got angry with what I did to Ibuki, yes? But what were you saying just now? It is as if you do not care about Ibuki, or rather, see him as a disturbance?
“Did you not hear me? Please do not come in between Sakuya-chan and I. And please do not get too close to Sakuya-chan. My Sakuya-chan will be corrupted.”
Huh… she went that far? Was that okay? Wouldn’t it be a huge problem if Ibuki got mad and snapped?
Oh… Ibuki slunk off, depressed, and returned. Wasn’t he mad? The Ibuki in the game “Love Flowers” would absolutely hit someone, no matter man or woman, if they said contemptful words like that to him…
Maybe, like how Azami-chan, her group, and Satsuki-chan had changed from how they were in the game, Ibuki had changed too?