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Sorry for the massive delay. Really stressed at work, and then got sick twice, so I found it hard to do anything productive. Mostly just lazy gaming.
Weâd even finished chapter 4.1 of the manga weâre translating, but nobody had enough effort to upload it for over 2 weeks.
But hey, at least itâs here before the Elder Scrolls 6, right?
The Inugami Clan
On his deathbed, ruthless pharmaceutical tycoon, Inugami Sahei, is surrounded by his family, including three grown daughters, by three women he never married, as well as an outsider, Tamayo.
Two of his daughters are accompanied by their husbands and sons, but the oldest, Matsuko, is alone.
When he dies before identifying his heirs, the will cannot be read until all the family is present, so Matsuko sends for her son, Sukekiyo.
When Matsuko's son, Sukekiyo, arrives, his face is obscured by a skintight, white latex mask which arouses the suspicions of the other family members until Sukekiyo rolls up his mask uncovering a horribly burned visage.
Sahei unexpectedly leaves the family fortune to the attractive Tamayo on the condition that she marry one of the Inugami grandsons â Sukekiyo, Suketake , or Suketomo â pitting blood against blood. If she doesn't, she will forfeit the inheritance.
Foul play ensues.
Sitting on my little finger was a gorgeous, lovely, pink gold pinky ring.
During our free day in Paris the girls and I all bought one each together.
While Enjou had been giving me advice, Serikchan and the others had gone off to look for something we could remember the trip by.
In the end they went with the most adorable design. Little flowers lined up along the ring.
When we were middle schoolers we had bought matching necklaces for the trip. This time it was rings.
The proof of our relationship.
Wah, so happy~
I was sitting there on the bus from the airport in Rome, smirking as I looked at my hand, when Kikuno-chan asked if I was listening.
âI just heard, but they say Kaburagi-sama visited a jeweller in Paris,â she repeated.
What was he buying jewellery for?
âKaburagi-sama was in a great mood this morning, wasnât it? Could it be that he bought jewellery as a present for someone special?â
âSomeone special!?â I shouted.
Donât tell me that because his date in Paris went smoothly he was planning on jumping straight to marriage!?
No, no, not even that guy could be so stupid.
The terrible thing was that I couldnât say for sure.
âWhat do you think, Reiksama?â
âEven if you ask me thatâŠâ
âEnjou-sama was there too.â
âEmjou-samaâŠ? Then in that case, perhaps it was Enjou-sama who was buying a present for someone special,â I suggested.
Like an engagement ring for Yuiko-san.
âEnjou-sama!? Please no!â cried Kikuno-chan.
âEven if you tell me thatâŠâ
âDonât you mind, Reiksama?â
âI suppose not.â
âEhhh!? Well we mind! Right, Seriksan?!â
âUwah!â I squealed.
Staring out from between the gap in the chairs was Serikchanâs eye.
Thatâs scary, Serikchan.
Youâre giving me the Shining flashbacks, okay!
âCould you ask Kaburagi-sama for us, please?â
âEh!? Me!?â I exclaimed.
No way! Ask yourselves!
âYouâre the only one who could ask about something like this. Pleaaaase, Reiksama.â
âReiksama~! We wonât be able to enjoy Rome if we donât know!â
âKikuno-san is right.â
âYou think so too, donât you, Seriksan?â
And so thatâs how, unable to refuse, when we arrived at the hotel lobby I found myself trudging towards Kaburagi.
I had to psyche myself up a little because he was literally surrounded by boys.
It didnât take long for him to notice my approach.
âWhatâs wrong, Kisshouin?â
âUm, Kaburagi-sama, could I have a wordâŠ?â
âA word?â he asked.
We left his group and after a momentary frown his expression turned agreeable.
âI want to say yes, but weâre about to be assigned our rooms. Come to the lounge in thirty. Weâll talk then.â
âEh!? Just for a small chat!?â
âItâs not something that can be finished in a few words.â
I was planning to just find some pillar to stand behind to ask about what he was doing yesterday.
A few words would have been fine.
But before I even had a chance to stop him he walked back into his ring of boys and headed up the elevator.
I had to come all the way down to the lounge just to hear about this pointless topic!?
Such a botherâŠ
When I told the girls what happened, their eyes sparkled instead. âAn invitation for teaâŠ!â
Thatâs really not it.
After unpacking in my room I headed down to the hotelâs cafĂ© lounge as per our one-sided agreement. Kaburagi was already waiting, and he raised a hand in greeting.
Sitting elegantly next to him was Enjou, who had a smile and a cup in his hand.
Mm? Why was he here?
âMasaya said he was having a secret rendezvous with you, and it sounded too interesting not to come,â he explained.
Even if you smile like that, it doesnât look cute on a schemer like you.
No sooner had I sat down did Kaburagi shoot me a knowing look.
âKisshouin. I know what you wanted to ask me,â he said smugly.
I was pretty sure that he didnât.
Leaning in, he continued full of confidence.
âYou wanted to ask me about my date in Paris, right!â he declared.
See? You had no idea at all.
Wow, what was this look of shock? He looked like a pigeon knocked out of flight.
Hmm. PigeonsâŠ My natural enemyâŠ
âI heard that you were a patron at a Parisian jeweller yesterday.â
âEh? Yeah, I went to one but?â
âMight I inquire about your purchase?â
âHuh? Why do I have to tell that to you?â
Iâm not asking you because I want to either. But you know, Serikchan and the others told me to, soâŠ
âUmmm~ Although I do not believe it myself, could it be that you bought a present for her?â
âHer? Ohh, no, I didnât.â
âIs that so.â
Haah, thank goodness.
My discipline might have no common sense, but I was glad to see he knew at least this much.
Still, if it wasnât for Wakabchan then I wonder what it was. I couldnât exactly go back to my group with nothing to show for it.
And so I sat there, staring at him silently.
âWhy do you even want to know?â he asked.
âA rumour has spread about your visit there, so I was asked to investigate.â
âWhat the hell? Are you the reporter for a gossip magazine or something?â
Well thatâs rude. Now I might just report that you two bought matching watches.
âIsnât it fine?â Enjou said. âItâs not a big deal so you may as well tell her.â
Oooh, good job, Enjou! âŠAh, but am I going to owe him another favour for this?
Enjou was like an amoral loan-shark. His interest rates were frightening.
Kaburagi just sighed.
âFine. I just went there to pick up a watch for my mother. She left it there for repairs last month.â
âEh? Is that all?â
âThatâs all. Itâs an antique, so only the main store in Paris had the experts for it.â
What the heeeck~ So it was just an errand for mummy in the end?
âI see. And you bought nothing else then?â
âAnd Enjou-sama, if I might ask?â
âMe? I didnât buy anything either.â
Realllly now~? No presents for Yuiko-san~?
Uwa! The intensity from his smile justâŠ! Okay, okay, Iâll believe you!
âŠBut maybe I could spread a rumour aboutâŠ
âPlease donât make up stories, Miss Reporter.â
He read my mind!?
âThank you very much for telling me. Well then, please excuse me.â
I had what I needed so I promptly made to leave.
âWait, wait!â Kaburagi stopped me.
What is it?
âThis ainât right. We havenât even gotten to the main topic yet! Donât you want to know about it? How my Paris date went!â
âNo, not particularly,â I said frankly, and was treated to a wide-eyed Kaburagi.
By his side, Enjou stifled a laugh.
ââŠDonât you want to know? You want to know, right?â
âNo, not particularly.â
âYou donât have to be shy. Donât you want to know?â
âNo, not particularly.â
Wow, what an unhappy look. Did want to tell me about his fun date with Wakabchan that badly?
ââŠYouâre my strategist. Itâs your duty to know!â
âAnd as I have said before, I have no recollection of accepting that role.â
ââŠIsnât your hair a god of love? Itâs your duty to know!â
âAnd you have never left any offerings.â
What was with that pout.
Was he sulking or something?
What a gwumpy wittle boy, you are~
I wonder if heâd hit me if I said that.
âNow, now, we gave you some information too, so couldnât you go along with Masaya for a bit?â Enjou persuaded. âAs for those offerings, would the desserts from this cafĂ© do? Tiramisu maybe? Would you prefer panna cotta? Shall I order both?âTiramisu is a coffee-flavoured Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers (savoiardi) dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa. Panna cotta is an Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded. The cream may be aromatized with coffee, vanilla, or other flavorings.
Uuu, tempting me with sweet things was cheating.
But since I was in Rome, I did want to try bothâŠ
Hang in there, Reika.
Itâll be dinner soon, and there are people watching.
Console yourself with just the tiramisu.
Enjou smiled. âA reporter for a gossip magazine, the host of a hair god of love. You sure have a lot of titles, Kisshouin-san.â
Both of those were just forced on my by your best friend.
Oh! The tiramisu was coming!
âAlright. Youâve had your offering, right? So anyway, about my date in Paris-â
âWhat a sudden transition,â I said.
âItâs all heâs been talking about,â said Enjou. âItâs actually endless.â
âShut up, Shuusuke.â
âFine, fine. Sorry for making you listen to this, Kisshouin-san.â
Kaburagi clicked his tongue before continuing.
âI did as you said and changed taxis to give everyone the slip, and met up with Takamichi where we promised.â
âIt might be best not to mention her name here,â I advised.
ââŠFine. Anyway, we met and then I led the way to the patisserie I mentioned. They were really happy. They said that they had fun the whole time.â
A gentle look replaced his normally severe expressions. He seemed really happy~
And wow, this tiramisu was pretty good~
âWhen we were in Japan they gave me a list of cakes that they wanted to try. They seemed so excited, asking if I thought they could go here or there while we were on the trip.â
He was trying to cover it with his fist, but I could still see him smirking like an idiot.
âWe tried different flavours of macarons and talked about which one was best. Then since there were still too many things they wanted to try we ended up sharing themâŠâ
By now the smirk he was trying to hide had turned into a full-blown grin.
Sharing a cake between two people was a nice, sweet, romantic clichĂ© after all.
âSince the day after tomorrow is another free day, weâre planning to sneak off and try dessert touring again, you know. Today she said to me, âI had so much fun. Every one of the stores you recommended was delicious!â. Geez, that girl.â
His little date in Paris was an even better success than Iâd expected.
The cool Emperor of Zuiâran was practically dancing for joy. I wouldnât be surprised if he screamed âLa vie en rose!â at any moment.
That might have been what he did last night, actually.
âThey loved the chocolat too. There are some good places in Japan, so Iâm thinking of inviting them when we get backâŠ
âAs for good gelato places in RomeâŠ
âThey said they wanted to try pizza too, so I could take them toâŠâ
Since Iâd finished the tiramisu, I was wondering if I could head back to my room now.
Next to the gushing Emperor, Enjou was sipping at his cappuccino like it was none of his business.
Was this what he went through last nightâŠ? Friends could be such a pain sometimes.
After a while, Kaburagi had finally stopped to catch his breath so it was time to leave.
Oh? You still havenât talked enough?
Well thatâs none of my business. Iâve listened enough to make up for the offering already.
Just as I had gotten out of my seat, Enjou whispered into my ear.
âRather than a couple, donât you think that going around and touring dessert places sounds more like two girlfriends?â
Damned venomous schemer.
When I got back to my room I let the girls know that it was just an errand for mummy.
After our grade all had dinner together, for some reason Kaburagi passed me a box of assorted macarons on the way back.LadurĂ©e. 75 Av. des Champs-ĂlysĂ©es, 75008 Paris, France btw.
âSince you said you needed offerings, here, Iâm sharing the joy. These are the macarons that they said were particularly delicious. Besides these thereâs alsoâŠâ
Apparently he was going to use the macarons as an excuse to talk about Wakabchan some more.
The way back to the hotel was filled with more of his sugar-sweet nonsense.
Enjou was right. It really was endless.
Speaking of EnjouâŠ
He was standing a ways away, waving at me with a smile.
So he escaped.
Anyway, thanks to all of this, for the next few days there was a rumour that Kaburagi had been talking to me joyously after handing me a gift.
Such a nuisance!
Incidentally, the dessert for dinner that night was tiramisu.
I should have gone for the panna cottaâŠ!
As for the macarons, I shared them with the girls.
Today we were sightseeing in Rome.
Amongst the places we visited were the Roman Forum,
the Mouth of Truth,
and the Colosseum.
The whole day was packed with famous landmarks.
The Mouth of Truth had a huge line in front of it, so I decided not to stick my hand in it this time.
It wasnât like anything happened once youâd stuck your hand in, so doing it once in my life had been enough.
Unlike me, this was Wakabchanâs first time in rome, so I spotted her in line with a camera in hand.
When we passed by the Trevi Fountain I throw in two coins just to be safe.An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidise a supermarket for Romeâs needy.
Please grant me marriage with somebody I love! Please grant me a fulfilling love life!
I want to go on a date where I share food with the boy I like too!
Ah! We were in a Christian country right now, but Iâd forgotten to put my hands together when I prayed.
Yesterday I said that Kaburagiâs Paris date was really more like a date between two girl friends, but the truth was I was envious of him.
It was too jealousy-inducing for the Chief of the Forever Alone villageâŠ
Moving on though, Rome sure was brown-coloured. At least thatâs the image I got.
Maybe it was all the historical ruins.
If Paris was Kyoto, then I guess that made Rome Nara.
Anybody who was a fan of Imperial Roman history was sure to be drooling.
But wasnât the culture of ancient Rome a bit too intense?
Like, the ancient Romans would eat up until they were full. But instead of stopping, theyâd shove a peacock feather down their throats, throw it all up, all so that they could enjoy more of the food.
Who came up with that. It was such a gluttonous concept that it was kind of disturbingâŠ
But the Vatican was nice.
The St. Peterâs Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were both solemn and amazing.Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peterâs is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. The PietĂ is a work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peterâs Basilica, Vatican City.
The Pieta was amazing, and the paintings on the ceiling were overwhelming.The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art.
The only downside was that there were so many people it was hard to just take your time and look. It was one of those places you could spend a whole day in.
As a postage stamp collector I couldnât resist the allure of the beautiful Vatican-exclusives. Since that was the case, I was going to use them to send air mail back to everyone in Japan.
Of course Iâd be back in the country before the mail arrived, but if you visit the Vatican you just have to get some stamps, right~?
Who could resist sending mail from here?
The day before Iâd gone to buy some lovely postcards from a store near out hotel.
They were of the paintings in the Vatican, and already had everyoneâs addresses and my messages to them.
I had expressly prepared them so that all I needed to do now was put on a postage stamp and send them.
Ideally Iâd have bought the postcards inside the Vatican City, but it would just be hard to find the time to write all my messages here~
Maybe I could just buy some of them as souvenirs.
Waah, there were so many pretty postage stamps.
Iâm gunna bring a bunch of you back for memories.
My blood as a stamp collector was just boiling~
Gosh, they were just drawing me in!
This was the one Iâd bought last time, wasnât it. But this one, I donât think I hadâŠ
Was it new?
Angel postcards were just perfect for Yukino-kun and the kids!
As for Oniisama and Ririna, Iâd go with the holy mother and child.
And I loved how beautiful this one was.
Iâd go with St. Peterâs Basilica for Otousama and Okaasama.
Sakurchan, Aoi-chan, and my mother friends thoughâŠ I think Iâd go with paintings for them after all.
Finally, Iâd send a few to myself in secret, too.
How are you?â
âKisshouin-saaaan. Itâs time for our class to meet up,â called Satomi-kun.
âOkaaaay,â I called back.
Sorry, Satomi-kun. Iâm supposed to be a class rep too.
âSay, Kisshouin-san, are you going to see any of the catacombs tomorrow?â
As if, idiot!
What do you mean âitâll be super fun, weâll get to see mountains of skeletonsâ?
Satomi-kun was definitely doing this on purpose, wasnât he!?
Maybe instead of purifying my room I should use what was left of my salt on Satomi-kunâŠ
âHmm? Kisshouin-san, together some of the curls on the back of your head turn into the number of the beast, you know? Isnât that pretty bad here in the Vatican?â
Iâll throw the rest of my salt at Satomi-kun!
The next day was free time.
Naturally we werenât going to anywhere dreadful like a catacomb, and instead we had enjoying delicious Italian food, and shopping planned.
âPizza is just a must in Rome, isnât it~?â
âThere was a great place I ate at the last time I was in Rome.â
âShould we go there, then?â
While we were walking along and having fun, sometimes people whistled at us, or messed around and said âHey! Japanese!â or âPizza? Pizza?â.
It was uncomfortable.
We were basically on the doorstep of the headquarters for Christianity across the world, so why were these guys messing around when it wasnât even noon yet?
Stop saying âsiesta, siestaâ and get to work!
We went to a trattoria that was well-known for its pizza and ordered amatriciana and margherita, before heading to the Piazza di Spagna for some gelato.
Next was tiramisu!
Once ours stomachs were sated it was time for shopping.
I decided to get Akimi-san some olive oil.
And I just wanted to buy all the cheese, from Pecorino Romano, to Parmigiano-Reggiano, the king of cheese!
Iâd even heard stories about some of the banks around Italy storing Parmigiano-Reggiano in their vaults. I wonder how true they were.
As for sweets, since Iâd already gotten a bunch in Paris I decided to lay off a little.
Not on the gianduja, though.Gianduja or gianduia is a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30% hazelnut paste, invented in Turin during NapolĂ©onâs regency.
Had to get that.
Wah! Stylish Italian stationery! I wanted sealing wax!
And the rose seal was just fashionable beyond belief!
I had to get one that said âRâ!
Isnât sealing letters with wax stamps just so âaristocratâ~!?
And the bottles of scented ink were just so cute.
I could get a glass pen and then give them together as a souvenir.
Maybe I ought to buy a quill too?
âWe bought too much, didnât we, Reiksama?â
My arms were being torn off.
On the last night of the trip we gathered in a room together and lounged around in masks, since the air in Europe had been a bit dry.
By now, we were all pretty beat.
âThe scheduled was a bit packed, but it was fun, wasnât it.â
âIt really was. But it wouldâve been nice to stay in each country a bit more.â
âLetâs all go again together. We can make it our graduation trip.â
Graduation trip! I wanted in!
I shot to my feet.
âA splendid idea! A graduation trip! Shall we go?â I said.
âWe should! Where do you want to go, Reiksama?â
âHmmm. Just Paris or London again would be fine too, but how about Spain or Northern Europe? If we go to Italy, then what if we visited Milan or Florence?â
âI want to go to Venice too.â
It was a minor dream of mine to ride on a gondola with my sweetheart.
Iâd be holding up a fancy parasol by his side, as he smiled gently and whispered sweet nothings in my ear. My future lover.
âGondolas come to mind, and the boat trip down the Seine was great fun, wasnât it?â
âIt was! Iâm glad we went.â
Me too. It was a bit cold, but it was a great time.
âQuite a few others took the boat tour as well.â
They did. But Iâd been hearing stories about couples forming because of it, in quite a few classes.
In the end, I didnât have a single romantic encounter during the whole trip.
Not even a single boy had suggested spending a free day together as a group.
Even the Kaburagi-obsessed Tsuruhansanâs group had enjoyed a Parisian sidewalk cafĂ© with some boys.
I thought I had heard her laughing at me when we walked past that. I wonder if I was just hallucinating because of my inferiority complexâŠ
So later, when I spotted Kemari Dainagon trying to talk to girls at the Piazza di Spagna, I made a beeline for him and stood right between them to get in his way. Kekeke.
But anyway, people did say that the couples that formed on trips like these broke up soon enough. It was just temporary, I bet.
Theyâd definitely be returning to my village soon enough.
âAre you okay, Reiksama? You started glaring into the distanceâŠâ
Ah, oh my. I accidentally let my jealousy show.
Since my mask had set in, it was time to peel it off.
Letâs see, how was my skin doing?
I was just about to marvel at how glossy my skin looked when I was hit with a horrifying discovery.
âItâs goneâŠ! My urna is gone!â
I looked over my hairline, again and again.
It was really gone!
My symbol of good fortune, my urna!
Back when my eyebrows had gone partially bald I received this symbol of fortuna in return, so why was it gone now!?
âWhatâs the matter, Reiksama!?â
âMy urna is gone! The urna I had growing on my forehead!â I desperately explained.
When had it disappeared!?
Had I taken it off along with the mask!?
But it was just a sheet mask! It shouldnât have pulled anything off!
âWhatâs an urnaâŠ?â
âItâs like a long white hair, apparently.â
âAh, like those old man eyebrows?â
Youâre thinking of a Taoist immortal!
The urna the curly one that Lord Shakyamuni has!
And strictly speaking the colourless hair I had wasnât an urna but a blessed hair!
A curse comes home to roostâŠ
Is this because I was too envious of the people in the Fulfilling Romance Village that my good fortune ran away!?
Was this an omen for worse luck in romance when I got back to Japan!?
âNow, now. Calm down, Reiksama.â
âYou must be tired, Reiksama. Come on, itâs time to sleep.â
âBut, my urnaâŠ! My blessed hairâŠ!â
âEverythingâs going to be *juuust fine~â
Still wearing their masks, Serikchan and the others pushed me into bed before surrounding it on all sides.
âItâs bedtime~ Thereâs a good girl~â they cooed, waving their hands back and forth.
Eh!? Was this some sort of black mass!?
âU-UmmâŠâ I tried.
âEverythingâs going to be juuust fine, Reiksama~ Itâs time for bed now.â
âReiksama is very tired. Sleep~ Sleep~â
âItâs okay, Reiksama~ Sleep~â
And so there I was, laying in a dark room, surrounded by a group of singing Sukekiyoâs.
What did I do now?
Could it be that Serikchan and the others were actually part of some demonic cult?
Were they here for the 666 in my hair?
Iâd already used all of my purifying salt.
And I had no urna to protect me.
I was helpless!