There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 1: Starting with the Happy Ending
Volume 6: Assailant from the Future
Grand Duchess Ermentrude Bates, the head of state of the Principality of Marineland, a tiny island country which lay east of the United Kingdom within the North Sea, kept very close contact with Amaterasu, the secret organization of espers.
The contents of her messages were quite trivial. “Breakfast was so delicious today.” “The flowers that I planted in my flowerbed bloomed beautifully!” “The wild bird that I’d been feeding for months finally ate straight out of my hand!” The large majority of the time, she was just sharing the little joys in her life, the stuff that didn’t mean much but could still bring a smile to your face.
Apparently Kaburagi-san conscientiously replied to everything. As the messages were in English, Shouta-kun gave up replying from the get-go and just left them on Read. I only answered when I felt like it because I was lazy. Touka-chan answered all of them, but because these were private messages from the head of a country, she got very nervous every time and her replies were always as stiff as business emails.
With how nonchalant, friendly, and laidback Ruu-denka — our nickname for the grand duchess — was, it was no surprise that her seasonal greetings — such as for birthdays, national days, and the new year — were also incredibly casual.
It had been less than six months since the Marineland Incident occurred and Marineland officially became a patron country to Amaterasu, but the two had already gotten very close. This had led Marineland to also approach Japan with the same sudden familiarity, which left the Japanese government very bewildered.
That said, the Principality of Marineland was only a country with a population of around 100,000. This was less than that of a rural city in Japan. As such, there weren’t all that many Japanese who even knew its name, much less paid attention to the sudden deepening ties between it and Japan. The tiny island country’s policy shift only took up a tiny corner in political and economic newspapers in Japan.
As part of the policy to deepen ties between the two countries — or maybe it wasn’t really relevant — Ruu-denka sent us a New Year’s greeting that basically said, “I’m visiting Tokyo tomorrow! Let’s eat dinner together! ☆”
My reaction was basically, Can you be any more sudden? Talk about moving fast! I know she thinks of this as nothing more than dropping by a friend’s house, but still! But well, she made good on her promise.
That same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the notification that the queen of a country was arriving. Thanks to the bureaucrats in charge pulling a sudden all-nighter, Kaburagi-san and I were now enjoying a fancy-ass dinner with Ruu-denka at the top of a high-class hotel with terrace seating. I could not tell if the place not being fully rented out was because of how sudden everything had been or because of how small Marineland was as a country.
How many beef bowls can I buy with the price of this one piece of beef slathered with this orange sauce-thingy and these artistically cut carrots? It’s the first time in my life using a finger bowl. What’s with the rich-people atmosphere of this place? I’m so nervous I’m breaking out in a cold sweat.
Classical music that I wasn’t sure if I recognized but definitely knew I had no idea how to appreciate played elegantly in the background. Obviously, I had no idea what the name of the piece was, and by the looks of things, neither did Ruu-denka. The only person who knew was Duchess Kaburagi, the person who was using her fork and knife even more elegantly than Ruu-denka, an actual queen. Kaburagi-san’s chic, long, black dress looked absolutely stunning.
I just felt entirely out of place. The big dude in a black suit standing near the staircase who keeps looking all around is Ruu-denka’s bodyguard, right? Am I just imagining it or do his eyes get really sharp when he’s looking at me?
[Say, I’ve been wondering about something all this time.]
Ruu-denka looked between Kaburagi-san and me while shoving the garnish parsley into her mouth as if it was gourmet from the heavens.
What is it, Your Highness? This humble servant shall answer whatever you ask.
[Aren’t you two going to get married?]
I barely managed to stop myself choking in reaction to Ruu-denka’s sudden punch of a question. Unlike me, however, Kaburagi-san answered right away in a matter-of-fact tone. Just how strong are you mentally?! There wasn’t even a hint of embarrassment or bashfulness on her face.
[Denka, that’s, uh, this is a complicated—]
[Whaaat? But you love Kaburagi and Kaburagi loves you, right? Why don’t you get married?]
[I mean, well…]
[Why? Say, tell me why?]
Hawawawawawa~ Ruu-denka, please stop! I get that you don’t mean any malice and you’re asking out of pure curiosity, but your questioning is really poking me where it hurts! And Kaburagi-san, what’s with that meaningful look you’re giving me?!
Don’t you get it, Denka?
This is Kaburagi-san we’re talking about. THE Kaburagi-san. The ultimate woman in the world.
I have to make it the best proposal ever with the best scene ever.
I’ve been preparing for it all this time— No, I suppose that’s an excuse. In the one in a million chance she rejects me, I know for a fact that my soul would shatter into pieces and those pieces would be sucked away into eternity, leaving me to pass into nothingness.
The truth is, our current relationship is just too comfortable. I end up taking advantage of the fact that Kaburagi-san is waiting for me, and so I am dragging things out because I’m afraid to take that first step. I’m aware of it myself. It’s like, “Just get hitched already!” right?
So yes, I know, Denka.
But, it’s just… you know? It takes a lot of courage to take that first step, right?
But how can I convey this?
Seeing me fall silent and fiddling with my fork while muttering to myself, Ruu-denka leaned forward, enveloped my hand — fork and all — in her own, and smiled brightly.
[If you’re not going to marry Kaburagi, then marry me!]
[The fu— Ahem. Excuse me.]
My honest reaction of “The fuck is this little girl smoking?” almost slipped out of my mouth.
Thankfully, she was bad at reading social cues and failed to catch my faux pas. She continued speaking while softly squishing my hand.
[I have to get married pretty soon, too, what with my age and me being royalty. So, I was thinking who would be good, and I thought of you! But then I thought no, I can’t, because you’re in love with Kaburagi. But if you’re not going to marry her, then that means you don’t really love her, right? So, marry me! I love you, Sago. You love me too, don’t you?]
Denka’s tiara-topped brown hair slid down as her beautiful blue eyes looked straight into mine. Her nice perfume gently tickled my nose and I felt the warmth of her soft hands directly on my skin. I felt like I had just heard a year’s worth of love put into words and packed into thirty seconds.
However, to my complete surprise, I felt nothing at all hearing those words.
I even had the presence of mind to calmly analyze why I felt nothing.
First, although Ruu-denka was a queen and was an incredibly cute girl, there was just no helping the fact that she paled in comparison when sitting next to Kaburagi-san.
Second, when Ruu-denka said “love,” it only came across with the nuance of a child’s love for their parents. It was the same as a little girl saying, “Daddy, I want to marry you when I grow up!” In other words, she was too immature to differentiate between “love” and “like.”
As a test, I grabbed her hands back and brought my lips close to hers, but she just looked baffled.
Yep! Just a child after all!
Mentally, Ruu-denka is basically just an elementary kid. I already knew that.
“Eep! No, this isn’t what—”
Kaburagi-san separated Denka’s and my hands in a gentle yet firm way that brooked no resistance, then placed a hand on Denka’s shoulder and pulled her back into her seat.
Although she sounded calm, her eyes were not smiling. In fact, her face wasn’t smiling either. She’s scaring me.
“Sago-san, I know I said I’d wait for you to propose. But I didn’t mean I’d wait for you to be stolen away by someone else.”
“I-I’m so sorry.”
“Are you trying to make me angry? You’ve never even pretended like you were going to kiss me. Even I get jealous. Give me a break.”
Oh, shiiiiit. Kaburagi-san is really angry.
The fact that she’s using her usual collected tone makes it that much scarier. I’d rather she just yelled at me.
[Sorry, I don’t understand Japanese. What’re you two talking about? It seems so fun, like you’re having a secret conversa—]
[Please, be quiet. I, am now, very, angry.]
[Okay! My lips are zipped!]
She’s seriously pissed off!
It’s my first time seeing Kaburagi-san like this!
“If you won’t say it, Sago-san, then I will. Give me a moment to prepare myself, then I’ll say, ‘Sago-san, I love you. Marry me.’ I really will.”
Kaburagi-san downed the rest of her wine, slammed the glass on the table, then turned to look at her reflection in the glass wall and started fixing her hair and clothes.
I mean, she basically already did the proposal just now! She’s so angry she doesn’t know what she’s saying anymore!
This won’t do. This just won’t do. I made her wait this long and strung her along all this time just to have her do the proposal?! That’s just way too scummy. There’s no time to be hung up on things like making it romantic or arranging the perfect setup!
The urgency of the situation — the thought that I absolutely had to say it first — made me raise my voice louder than I had expected. It reverberated throughout the entire restaurant, and all chatter died down.
NOOOOOOOOOOOO I FUCKED IT UP! Goddamn, this is so fucking embarrassing! Now all the other diners are looking at me! Don’t look at me, this ain’t a goddamn show! Wait, I have to do it now? Under these circumstances? Can I do it another—
No! I have to say it now!
“I, I-I-I-I-I-I LOVE YOU! PLEASE MARRY ME!”
“I’d love to!”
Kaburagi-san’s reply almost overlapped with my line as she circled around the table and leaped into my arms. She gave me the tightest hug she had ever done, and I returned it just as hard. I felt like I was about to go crazy. I had fretted over and done so much preparation for this, but when it actually happened, it was over so easily and in such a short time. In fact, the proposal itself had only lasted a few seconds.
It was a proposal that had completely skipped over the “I like you, please go out with me” part.
I did not have a ring on me.
The proposal speech that I had spent so much thought on had completely left my head, and all that came out was stuttering.
It had turned out to be a on-the-spot, go-with-the-flow kind of proposal that was basically provoked by Ruu-denka.
Even so, I had said the words.
And Kaburagi-san had said yes.
Sago Kinemitsu and Kaburagi Shiori were going to be married.
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.
Wow, such empty.