"Oh my, she stares as me so meanly, what ever shall I do?"
"Are you there, Shiki-sama?"
I can hear Hisui's voice along with a knock at the door.
"Yeah, I'm here. Come in."
Hisui enters with a bow.
Music: play track 1
"I have come to make the bed. You may not enjoy watching it, so would you mind relaxing in the sitting room for a while?"
"No, I don't mind watching. I'll just behave myself in the corner, so just go ahead and do your job without minding me."
Bouncing up from the bed, I move into a corner.
Hisui looks like she wants to say something, but thinks better of it and silently begins to make the bed.
Shiki likes to watch.
"Please, just talk to me while you work. I'm beginning to feel bad because it seems like I'm interfering with your work."
"I'm beginning to realize I'm bothering you, so if I'm going to be annoying you can at least entertain me."
"If you say so, Shiki-sama, then I will comply."
Hisui silently returns to making the bed.
"Not even walking around in the mansion? ...... Well, I've got no complaint with that, but isn't that kind of harsh? Akiha and I aren't children, so I don't think you have to go that far."
"...... Indeed. It is a rule, however, so please abide by it. You are aware of the recent disturbances at night, are you not, Shiki-sama?"
...... Yeah, that vampire thing Arihiko was talking about.
Well, as long as something like that is happening, I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.
"Do you have any other questions?
Hisui finishes spreading the sheets, and turns around to face me.
"Eh... Let's see---"
I have all sorts of questions, but I know nothing about Hisui and Kohaku-san.
"Do you mind if I ask an off-topic question?"
"Yes, what is it?"
"I'd like to know what kind of work you and Kohaku-san do around here."
"I am here to serve your needs and my sister Kohaku is to serve the Lady Akiha-sama.
In our spare time, we do the maintenance chores around the mansion. Is there anything more you would like to know?"
"...... To serve... So that's what it is after all."
...and back to the repeat text. Separate paths really do get separate and awesome later on, but the beginning is usually very same-y.
"...... By serving me, you mean you're a personal servant?"
"Yes. Please do not hesitate to ask anything of me."
"...... Well, I get it. Going by how Akiha was talking about you, it doesn't seem like I can dismiss you, so I'll just obediently let you serve me..."
"Is there anything in particular you would like?"
"Nothing in particular, but could you stop calling me 'Shiki-sama'? To be honest, I get chills down my back when I hear it."
"But Shiki-sama, you are my master."
"That's what I'm saying I hate. I've been living a normal life up until yesterday. I have no desire to start living a life where a girl my age addresses me with '-sama'."
"I see." Hisui's response was less than enthusiastic.
"Just call me Shiki, and in exchange, I'll call you Hisui. Let's do away with the formalities and be more casual with each other."
Still expressionless, Hisui lowers her eyebrows as if she's being troubled.
"But, you are my employer."
"It's not like I'm hiring you. You're the one doing the things I can't, so you're the great one."
"I see." Hisui gives another unenthusiastic reply.
...... It looks like I won't be able to talk her into it in just one day.
"---Anyhow, that's how it is. Don't be so formal towards me. I'll be grateful if you'd tell that to your sister Kohaku-san, too."
"Very well, as you say, Shiki-sama."
Expressionless, Hisui bows her head.
She completely failed to understand.
"I will be leaving now. Please rest now for tonight."
Bowing, Hisui puts her hand on the doorknob.
---Oh, I forgot to ask something.
"Ah, hold on for a second."
Running towards the door, I put my hand on Hisui's shoulder before she leaves.
In an instant---Hisui's arm pushes away my arm with incredible momentum.
Freak Out, the sequel.
"Eh... Did I just do something wrong?"
"...... I am very sorry..."
Hisui's voice sounds very nervous.
"...... I am not used to being touched. Please forgive me."
Hisui's shoulders are faintly trembling.
I feel like I just did something really terrible.
"Ah... Yeah, I'm sorry."
I apologize without thinking.
I don't understand why myself. I just feel sorry for Hisui and I lower my head.
Hisui says nothing.
I get the feeling her stare is calm again.
"---You have nothing to apologize for, Shiki-sama. I am the one to blame."
"No, well, maybe, but I just..."
I scratch my head.
Hisui stares at me, pausing only to blink for a second.
"Um... What was it you wanted to ask me, Shiki-sama?"
I stopped Hisui because I wanted to ask her something.
"Oh, I wanted to ask about Akiha. Doesn't she go to a boarding school?"
"That was only during middle school, Shiki-sama. From this year onwards, Akiha-sama has special permission to attend school from home."
"Eh... You mean she goes to school from here?"
"Yes, but it is uncommon for her to come home before dusk like today. Akiha-sama has practice up until dinner, so she is always home before seven.
What on earth is that?
She's not some upper-class lady or anything, so why should she have to do something as bothersome as---
"...... Oh wait, she is an upper-class lady."
Yes. Come to think of it, my sister, Tohno Akiha, is a natural born upper-class lady.
In my memories, she was always the obedient, ever-uneasy sister constantly following me around.
As a child, she was always quiet, never having even the courage to express her own desires. She was a frail girl who would always live in fear of a scolding from our father.
"---Yeah, people really do change after eight years."
After eight years, I've become the me I am now.
Akiha has become the person she is right now, too.
---Eight years is a long time.
It's half of our lives up until now.
I was absent from this mansion during that vital period where a child becomes an adult.
"...... I'm sorry, Akiha."
I think things would have been better if I had been with her during those eight years.
I unknowingly mumble an apology.
Shiki tries to sleep, but he wakes in the middle of the night to the sound of howling dogs. After spying a noisy crow staring at him through his window, he's finally had enough. He goes outside to investigate and finds a strange man not far outside of the mansion, where he heard the howling from. The man leaves and the howling ceases. Shiki returns to his room and passes out due to anemia.
Because of the strange, black lines he saw before passing out, Shiki dreams of his time with the woman he calls Sensei, the same woman that gave him his glasses in the first place. He remembers the lessons she taught him, and thinks about just how close to breaking everything is. Hisui wakes him up and informs him that her sister changed him into his pajamas after he passed out the previous night. That's right, she saw his penis. Embarrassed, Shiki goes out to the sitting room to inquire about breakfast.
This choice doesn't matter, but last time I believe we picked Kokahu.