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Chapter 155 – True Victor

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Author: Hidsuki Shihou Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3595 characters
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1675 words
Editor(s): Fire

It’s been several days since my successful escape from the Kisaragi mansion. I planned on going home after staying for one night, but mom and the twins wouldn’t allow it. Moreover, I didn’t expect my grandparents to join their side as well. They wanted to hear about how I’ve been doing, but I had no idea what to talk about.

“In the end, my stupid father didn’t come out of his room, huh.”

I guess the punch really hit him hard. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to see me, who knows? Personally, I’m just satisfied that I achieved my goal. I have no interest in how my stupid father will change from here on.

“Koton~e, lunch is read~y.”
“Ye~s, I’ll be there.”

And right now, I’m in the middle of work at the cafe. As I thought, peaceful, uneventful days are the best. Going wild like I did during the start of the year isn’t bad either, but I always feel sorry about it afterwards. Still, I have no regrets.

“Thanks for the food.”

I joined my hands together and then began eating lunch. Ms. Saori’s cooking is great, but I love Kaori’s cooking too.

“Yup, delicious!”
“I’m sure you ate better stuff during New Years at your family home.”
“That’s true, but your cooking doesn’t fall far behind, Kaori.”
“Thanks for the flattery.”

True, the ingredients they use are high-class, and the cooks are also top-class, so there’s no way it could taste bad. Still, if I only eat food like that, I’ll no longer be able to enjoy normal food. That includes my own home cooking as well. Wouldn’t that be boring?

“Peaceful normal days really are the best.”
“You have the guts to say that after your New Year antics.”

The kidnapping incident ended up being covered on the news. I managed to stop the news helicopter footage from being spread, but there was no stopping other information sources. I had to choose one or the other. As a result, the incident made the news, but nothing more.

“Let’s just be glad that awful footage didn’t get broadcast.”
“Just what else did you do?”

I went over the helicopter’s camera footage, and the idiots causing a mess were absolutely caught on tape. As well as them fighting the security people, there were some things that shouldn’t be shown on television. So, I’m really glad that I captured them.

“Basically, freaks vs armed forces.”
“I can’t imagine that at all.”

If you could imagine it that easily, you’d be one of us. Kaori is a completely normal person. She’s neither part of the twelve families nor some freakish superhuman like the rogue’s den folks. She’s an indispensable existence for normal everyday life.

“Kaori, your existence heals me.”
“What are you on about?”

I won’t push myself or do any more stupid stuff, that’s what I promised to Kotone. I have to conduct myself in a way that won’t influence Kotone’s future. Still, I’ve mostly given up on this. After all, the people around me have a strong ability to influence.

“It was pretty fun, but I never want to do that again.”
“No one would ever want to go through an attempted kidnapping, you know.”

Well that’s true; it’ll make a lot of people worry, after all. What made it to the news was the attempted kidnapping of the popular actress Ayaka. My name was not made public. Kaori only knows the details because I partly explained what happened after my visit to the family.

“Sorry, got a call.”

I took out my phone and winced upon seeing who called. Displayed on my phone is Aya’s name. She hasn’t contacted me since the start of January, why is she calling me at this time?

“Yahoo, Kotone. Where are you now?”
“I’m eating lunch at Kaori’s home.”
“In the middle of work, I see. That’s convenient.”

What exactly is convenient about this? Besides, even if I don’t tell her my location, she’ll just find me using her mysterious information network. In that case, it’s better this way, so I can at least estimate her time of arrival. She’ll definitely come by the time my break is finished.

“I’m coming there with Kotori, so you better be ready for it.”
“We will be awaiting your arrival.”

I’m glad that the call was short. I was expecting that I’d lose my whole break time at worst. Putting my phone into my pocket while feeling a bit bummed, I see Kaori looking at me with a contemplative look. Did something happen?

“Who was it?”
“Aya. Apparently they’re coming this afternoon.”
“You and Shimotsuki seem close all of a sudden; did something happen between you two?”
“Akane’s husband is Aya’s older brother, you see. Must’ve had something to do with that.”

She probably got curious from the things Akane’s husband talked about me. Then, after meeting me in person, I caught her interest. As for why, I don’t know. Maybe Aya just wanted someone similar to her who she can show her true self to.

“Now then, which one is it going to be?”
“Which what?”
“The ladylike Shimotsuki or the rowdy one?”
“Wait, is it like that split personality thing?”
“It’s more like how I’m different at the academy and in private. Aya has an upgraded version of that.”
“I see? Eh?”

I decided that it should be fine to tell Kaori the truth, but it was so surprising, her thought process froze. Yeah, that’s the natural reaction for people who only know Aya when she’s at school. In my case, the rowdier version of her has become the norm to me.

“The twelve family people are pretty weird, aren’t they?”
“You’ve gotten pretty used to them if you can sum it up like that.”

A normal person would have doubted first, so with Kaori only reacting like that, she’s gotten pretty accustomed to the twelve families. Did she grow more accustomed because of her interactions with me, or was it from seeing how the twelve families act when they visit the shop?

“Let’s use this opportunity to get you used to Aya as well.”
“I won’t be showing up to the cafe front.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll guide them here.”
“Stop roping me into this!”

The word ‘convenient’ is really bugging me, you know? If she just wanted to see me, she wouldn’t have said that. I suspect that she has some other objective for coming here. Since I don’t know what that is, I’m really concerned about it. I guess I’ll know when she arrives. So I headed back to work for the afternoon, but…

“We’re here!”
“Pardon the intrusion.”
“Welcome. Allow me to guide you to your table.”

To prevent the rowdy customers from troubling the others, I lead them into the back. Kotori doesn’t have anything with her, but the paper bag that Aya has caught my eye. Just what did she bring with her?

“Is Kaori not around?”
“She said that she won’t come to the cafe.”
“Could you call her here?”
“I don’t mind. Have you met Kaori before, Aya?”
“I’ve never spoken to her. Still, I need her presence for this time.”

What are you planning? I can clearly tell that she plans to interact with Kaori without her mask on. After all, she would have camouflaged herself to begin with otherwise. The one thing I’m most curious about is why both Aya and Kotori have such wide smiles. I have a bad feeling about this.

“Happy New Year, Ms. Shimotsuki, Kotori.”

Kaori has arrived, but her face is a bit stiff. Aya gives off an elegant, unreachable flower kind of impression at the academy, but I just laugh it off as a joke. If I had to describe her, she’s a boundlessly cheerful and energetic upperclassman.

“The truth is, there’s something I wanted to show you, Kaori.”
“What is it?”
“Tada! It’s Kotone’s Super Secret New Year Footage and Photo Collection!”

She took out a tablet from the paper bag. Wait a damn minute. My New Year Footage, does she mean the singing festival at the Shimotsuki residence? Also, are the photos the ones from the fashion show at Kotori’s place? Aren’t both of those just records of my humiliation?

“Don’t go exposing people’s shame on your own!”
“So many wonderful Kotones!”

Following my protest, Kotori replied with some nonsense. Crap, there’s no one to stop them. Kaori looks at the tablet with interest. I glared at the grinning Aya holding the tablet, but there was no effect at all.

“Oh, and miss server. Could you get us your recommended food and drinks, pretty please?”

When I was about to intervene, she gave their orders, so I had no choice but to back down. If this were my room, I would’ve given them some super spicy or sour stuff, but I shouldn’t insert personal feelings into my work. It’ll only trouble the cafe.

“The video footage is a bit long. Here, earphones.”
“I was actually curious about what Kotone has been up to during the New Years. She wouldn’t tell me the details, you see.”
“With everything that happened, I’m sure she was just too embarrassed to talk about it. But no need to worry, we’re going to give an extra detailed commentary!”
“I remember everything, so don’t worry! I’ve already watched the video, so I know the best parts to talk about!”

I really want to scream at them, but there are still other customers to serve. While I’m out here working, I hear “Uwa…” and ”I can’t believe it.” from the back room, so I couldn’t concentrate at all.

Why did these two have to drop a bombshell into my peaceful day? Needless to say, Aya and Kaori have gotten close due to this. I guess in the end, the true victors of the New Year incident are Aya and Kotori. Haaaa…


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