The place where I arrived at was a disconnected site located a bit further after going out from the mansion. The site didn't have a stone paving, and it was located inside of a dark and a quiet forest.
I arrived here because I was being called by someone. A certain landmark was glittering with a magical light.
"Welcome, Maya's daughter."
My mother's daughter—there was only one person who would address me like that.
That person—Touysan was spreading both of his hands so happily with the background of a small black carriage that was the source of the light.
I was being called by this person and arrived here in order so I could jump into this person's arms.
"Now, now. Let's hurry up, get dressed and go on a prenuptial trip together with me, dear little Miss."
Aah, so that's it.
I was supposed to belong to this person, that was why.
Then, I have to go.
No, that's wrong. Hey me, that's not how it's supposed to be.
Aaah, damn it, my head is so heavy. Someone should be coming over here, and yet.
…Who is it, again?
Now, the person that I want to rely on the most…1
"Did you call me, Seiren-sama?"
There was a reply as I called out a name. The familiar, yet the calm and quiet voice managed to pull me back.
Wait, why am I here in front of Touysan?! Or rather, uncle, why's your face so red and why are you panting?!
This feels bad, so I thought, as I raised my foot.
I had a feeling like something soft and disgusting touched my toes, but I didn't notice it. No, well, even I could understand what a pain he must have felt, more or less. Though I didn't want to recall it.
Anyway, after stepping back further from Touysan who was holding his groin in agony, I suddenly tripped over something and lost my balance. No matter how wide the heels' surface might be, it was still quite tall, after all.
Taigsan securely caught my falling body. Just like that, I slowly sat on the ground. Then, I realized that I was holding my breath. Aah, I don't want to breath so roughly like I'm panting.
Take a deep breath, take a deep breath.
"Seiren-sama, are you all right?!"
"Ah-… yes. Thank you very much, Taigsan."
The feeling of having my back being supported was the same as that time when we rode on Genjirou together. For some reason, I felt relieved.
However… though I believed that somebody would surely come here, it was still scary, after all.
I mean, I wonder why did I even think of coming here in the first place? I can't understand it.
While thinking about it, Touysan who was enduring the pain with his teary-eyes in front of me suddenly ranted.
"Are you fine with it, Taiga?! That girl was a man until this spring, you know? In addition, she was raised in an unknown, uncivilized world!!"
"…Just what kind of an idiotic thing are you talking about?"
Taigsan answered like that as I felt like he was a bit flabbergasted. Uhm well, if he was suddenly told of such a thing… Besides, to think that he'd abruptly say that. It wasn't a wise move.
However, it was nothing but the truth. I have to tell him that someday, so I vaguely think, since I have to properly explain it no matter what. If it's now, since Taigsan is behind me, I can't see his face and it makes me feel at ease.
"Taigsan. You might not believe it, but the thing that Touysan said is the truth, so…"
"It's the truth that I was raised as a man until this spring. Since my body was that of a man's before I returned to the Shiiya family."2
"Seiren-sama, your way of speaking…"
So you were surprised with my way of speaking?! Well, the cat's out of the bag now.
"I'm sorry, Taigsan. This is me, Shiiya Seiren. I was raised as a man in another world for 18 years. I had been hiding the truth all this time. I'm sorry."
Taigsan who thought that it was surely just a joke became silent as soon as he heard my words. I can't tell what kind of expression he's making and to be honest, I don't really want to see it, but I wonder if he loses his presence of mind?
Ah-, yup. Obviously this would shake him. What a shock.
…I see, if I consider this as a shock, then perhaps I thought of Taigsan…
………Well, not that it matters. I was already prepared for it.
However, there's one thing that I want to make clear.
Certainly, I was transported to a different world as a man and was raised there as a man, but…
"Why would Touysan know about it?"
"Why, you ask?"
"Taigsan now knows about it. But among us, the ones who know about it are my father, my mother, Saryuu, and Jigen-san who brought me back.3 In addition, Kuon-sensei and the maids who are accompanying me. There's no way you could know about it."
Oh- well-, I just threw everything out. If I were to trust Kuon-sensei's words, then there's supposed to be someone else coming here with the exception of Taigsan. In any case, although people wouldn't come to this place that often, this site is still within our territory. Rich people are something else.
"Well, it's because I'm the mastermind who put the spells on Seiren-sama."
Look, here they come.
With a delivery snake riding on her shoulder, it was Kuon-sensei. She seemed to have not gone to the party at all from the beginning, so she was wearing her usual clothes, a thin one-piece with a cardigan on top of it. Which reminds me, did Alicsan say that she was checking things upstairs at that time?
Or rather, so Touysan was the mastermind, huh? I wonder if it's fine for you to do such a thing? Aren't you a feudal lord?
"I asked Taigsama to come here first, and I'm glad that you're all right."
Kuon-sensei who was making her rude entrance with her arms crossed was unusually full of force. The snake on her shoulder spread its wings, perhaps it was trying to threaten with all of its might. I see, so you called for Taigsan before, huh. Thank you.
While I was thinking about it, Kuon-sensei was already between us and Touysan. I think that she was glaring at Touysan. I understand that because that person seemed to be spooked for a moment. Obviously, I was talking about Touysan.
"If you're a man, then there will be no straight man coming after you. In other words, it's an excellent insect repellent."
"W-what did you say?!"
In this case, it means that there'd be no man approaching me.
"…In other words, I was turned into a man in order to ward men off me?"
"To make a long story short, that seems to be the case. Ah, I'm taking your testimony."
In response to Kuon-sensei's beckoning as she smiled cheerfully, Minosan's figure could be seen from the opposite site of the carriage with a sullen face. Just right under her arms, there was a man who was curled up as he was covered in something similar to a carpet. Or rather, when I took a closer look, his hands and feets were tied with strings that seemed like a rolled up carpet.
"…Who is that?"
"My father's close aide, Saiga."
The one who answered my question was Taigsan who supported me as usual. Nn-, for their names to be so alike, it felt bad somehow. Nah, it's not something I should say out loud, though.
"Saiga! You, don't tell me that you've confessed?!"
"I-I'm truly sorry…"
"Well, that's exactly what happened, I have heard the whole story from Touysama's close aide, Saigsan. It's natural for you to be bringing along your henchman to a place like this, after all."
Kuon-sensei's words were the same as always, but for some reason, it was honestly scary. I can't really tell how or why, but it's totally scary. Even though I can't see anything other than her back, but it feels like I can hear the sound effects like, "Gogogogogo…" (*rumble rumble rumble*)4
Or rather, Touysan, by you mentioning [confessing] earlier, isn't that the same thing as admitting that you did a bad thing? I wonder if this person is all right? Could it be that his mind freaked out because his objective was destroyed just right when it was about to be achieved?
"Aah, I haven't done anything rude. I had only asked him to tell me the truth."
"You shouldn't have been able to use magic inside that mansion!"
"The one who can use Contact Magic is not just you, Touysama."
I wonder if you're even allowed to interrogate by using magic? No well, I wonder if there's a magic spell that makes the target unable to lie? Anyway, I can understand it from the words, but it's my first time hearing that vocabulary being mentioned.
"It's as the name implies, it's a magic that can be put into operation as long as you make a contact with the target. Normal magic can be performed even when you're a bit distant, but you can't perform it inside the Shiiya mansion."
"Prepare the thing that's already been applied with that magic beforehand, then make a contact with the target. Afterwards, you just have to put the trigger into operation, and that magic spell will show its effect. In this case, perhaps there's something like a medicine being mixed into a drink, am I correct?"
Continuing Kuon-sensei, Minosan gave more explanation, perhaps it was something she learned from her magic lessons with Jigen-sensei. I think I should also study at least the knowledge of magic.
I mean, what I don't understand is that—it seemed like it was triggered only after I heard the sound of glasses hitting one another.
Could it be that he performed the magic spell during that toast? Did he mix something into the glass that he toasted in front of me before I even noticed it?
"By no means have I ever expected that the head of the Shikino family could use magic, and there wasn't even any limited information about it."
"…Me, to. I have never known that my father could use magic."
"Taigsan also didn't know?"
At the words I muttered, I heard him answering, "Yes," from behind. What the heck?
If even his biological son didn't know of it, that means that there was practically almost nobody knew about it. That's why, Kuon-sensei said that she [heard about it] from someone like his close aide. And then, did he try to obtain me by using magic?
…Well, that's it. In the first place, there's a more pressing issue at hand.
"Uhm. Still, why would you be troubled if there were 'insects' approaching me?"
"It's simple. In short, Touysama wanted to make Seiren-sama his own wife. Because Seiren-sama is Maysama's one and only blood daughter."
"About Saryuu-sama becoming Shiiya family's adopted child, too, it was done in order to deepen his connection to Meiysama. After all, it would give him a reason to come and visit us."
No, well, hello?
In other words, did he seriously want to take me as my mother's replacement?
Even Saryuu was used as an excuse so that he could come to see my mother?
What's up with this stalker? Not mine, but my mother's stalker.
From behind me who was still brooding over things, Taigsan spoke with a serious and low voice.
"…Father. I certainly know that you loved Maysama. However, it was already a story from roughly 30 years ago."
"With just 30 years, there's no way I can completely get over it."
For saying that 30 years is not enough, it looks like a serious thing. In the first place, it was a story from far before Taigsan and I were even born.
"However, as expected, it's not like I can just snatch away someone else's wife. Still, I thought that I could keep her blood-related daughter in my hands."
Sorry, my real thought slipped out of my mouth. No, well, isn't that right, though?
It's still fine if you can't get over the woman who rejected you roughly 30 years ago. That alone won't bother us. However, it aggravated to the extent that you wanted to make that woman's daughter as your own wife, and since you didn't want other men to get close to her, you turned her into a man? Don't joke around, try to stand in my position.
In the first place, that shouldn't be the reason why I should be brought up in a different world.
"Oh well. I know that you're more persistent than me, but I have never thought that you'd go this far. Really."
All of us turned towards the voice that was suddenly heard.
In front of our gazes which were quickly turned to that direction, one more person appeared. The person who shouldn't even be here, the person that I know so well. It's the person that has the same voice, the same face, and the same name as the person who I just kicked.
"Oh, you're Seiren?5 You've become so beautiful during the time I didn't see you, as expected from Mondo-dono and Maydono's daughter."
With his usual shabby T-shirt and jersey, it was the figure that I was very familiar with—the orphanage director, Shikino Touya.6 He was able to quickly recognize me and smiled.Fun fact: This sentence was all written in hiragana despite the characters having kanji. This indicates that Seiren is really confused and can't really think well. Seiren is blatantly using "Ore", the masculine way to address yourself—a.k.a the way males usually say "I". I'm not sure if the author made a mistake or Seiren deliberately included Saryuu here, because so far, it wasn't described in the previous chapters that Seiren had explained it to Saryuu as well. I just checked the previous chapters and found no indication of her explaining it to Saryuu. Or was the explanation done behind the scene? The sound effects of a menacing or threatening atmosphere. He addresses Seiren's name with kanji, meanwhile the other people—the people of this world, usually address Seiren's name with katakana. Again, different from the other Shikino Touya mentioned, this Shikino Touya was written with kanji, noting that Seiren was referring to the orphanage director.