Chapter 13 | New Year’s Day

The site of the mansion where Haruto lives is divided into three main sections.

One is, of course, the plot where Shigeto and Haruto live, which occupies about 35% of the total area.

A slightly larger area is occupied by the visitors’ section, where the guest house is located.

It is equipped with a number of guest rooms, halls, and gardens comparable to those of a luxury hotel, and also has a heliport. Basically, the guests of the Sumeragi family use the guest house.

The rest of the building is a section where the servants’ dormitories are located.

Although it is only about 20% of the total area, it is divided into two buildings, one for singles with private rooms and the other for families with three bedrooms, and in addition to the baths in each room, there is a large bath, a sauna, and a kitchen. In addition to the baths in each room, there is a large public bath, a sauna, a gym for fitness and training, an all-weather swimming pool, and even a martial arts hall. The only drawback is that there is no store. There are a number of vending machines, though.

There is almost no garden because the smallest section of the building has been crammed with so many facilities, but there are still trees planted here and there, and there is enough space to take a rest.

Each section is separated by a wall and a gate, and guards are stationed at each gate to prevent easy entry and exit.

Incidentally, each section has its own gate outside, and entry and exit are individually controlled.

Even though the property is located in an outlying prefecture in the northern Kanto region, where land prices are lower than in Tokyo or Kanagawa, the fact that it has this much land is a clear indication of the extraordinary wealth of the property.

On such premises, about 30 men and women were lined up in the martial arts area in the servants’ section.

About half were in their 30-40’s, the rest in their early 20’s. Half of the younger ones are women.

All were dressed in security uniforms.

“A new year has begun today, and during the New Year’s period, we usually have a constant stream of uninvited visitors who call to greet the master. Even when the master is not home.

Whenever we have visitors, we check with the main residence, but no matter how high the social or political status of the visitor is, we must never let anyone into the premises without permission from the main residence!

Moreover, this year is the first New Year’s Day since Aoi-sama’s long-lost son, Haruto-sama, finally returned home. No matter what happens, we will not allow anything to disturb Haruto-sama!”

Standing in front of the guards, a large man is giving the first lesson of the year, his voice several percent more forceful than usual.

In the middle of this, a young man at the back of the line whispered to a middle-aged man next to him.

“Team leader, you’re getting all worked up, what’s going on?”

“Yesterday, Haruto-sama came to observe the training of the security guards as a break from his studies.

The master had a boy he loves very much come to visit, and we were all training him very seriously. Then, Haruto-sama’s eyes lit up and he said, “Wow, he’s so cool.”

You know, Haruto-sama looks like a little kid who is not a third-year junior high school student, right? I was feeling good to have a child look at me with such longing in his eyes, and then he said, “Thank you for always protecting me and my grandfather. I can only say thank you, but please keep up the good work.” He also asked me “Will you teach me martial arts after I finish my entrance exam? I want to be as good-looking as you guys.” and I was even more taken aback.”

“Oh, so you mean you got completely swept off your feet.”

The young man sighed in understanding, and the middle-aged man cowered his shoulders.

“Well, it’s true that when a child you are protecting says something like that with sparkling eyes, even if you are not the leader of the team, you have no choice but to put in a lot of effort.

I don’t usually cut corners myself, but I was determined to take it even more seriously. I think everyone there must have felt the same way.

So there was no reason why that hot-blooded guy, who is usually so hot and bothered, wouldn’t be enthusiastic.”

The team leader continues to deliver what can only be considered a speech with an enthusiasm that is unmatched at any time, despite the conversation.

The attitude of the security guards listening to this is divided into two types.

Some are waiting for the end of the instruction with half-satisfied looks on their faces, while others are renewing their determination with serious expressions on their faces.

The difference is not in their attitude toward their work, but in those who have been inspected by Haruto and those who have been on guard duty or off duty at their assigned location due to their rotation.

However, as they have the opportunity to interact with Haruto, all of them will have the same expression on their faces in less than a month. Including those who are currently on guard duty and not present here.

“Yes! This will be fine.”

“Oh, thank you.”

Haruto thanked the maid for dressing him and looked in the mirror again.

“Uuu, don’t I look weird?”

“You look great! The master will be pleased!”

He checks it again and again, embarrassed by the unfamiliar outfit he is wearing.

Today was New Year’s Day, and although it was not so early in the morning for Haruto, he had cleaned himself up before dawn and was getting ready surrounded by several maids.

He was dressed in Japanese traditional attire, a so-called montsuki hakama (crested hakama), which, when worn by the petite Haruto, looked like a Shichi-Go-San, no matter how one looks at it. The same goes for Haruto’s own impression.

He is more embarrassed by his reflection in the mirror than by his unfamiliarity, but the maids seem to really like it.

Recently, the servants’ attitude toward Haruto has finally come to seem more like that of a child than that of an adolescent boy.

Moreover, it seems that with each passing day, they are becoming more and more overprotective, rather than lessening it.

However, until he came here, Haruto had never been pampered at home, so the only comparison he has is the depictions of parents, children, and families in novels and other books. Therefore, he is unable to judge how things are in the world in general.

“The Master is waiting for you longingly, Haruto-sama. He can’t wait any longer and is about to charge in, so let’s go.”

A woman with the title of “head maid” came to pick him up at his room, perhaps having grown tired of Haruto’s reluctance to come down.

Her name is Hisako Kushiro, and she is in her mid-40s, but she is a beautiful woman with dignified gestures that remind us of her good upbringing.

She is strict with herself and with others and is feared by the other maids, but she is basically caring and has the flexibility to be flexible depending on the situation. She is looked up to by Shigeto and the other butlers, and sometimes takes the role of giving Ayane a hard time when she gets too wild.

“Eee~! Hisako-san, just a little more!

“Let me see you in all your glory, Haruto-sama!”

Megumi Kaga and Kanako Oshima, the two maids who dressed him, protest with pouty lips.

Emi is the daughter of a kimono shop that has been in business since the Edo period and has worn kimonos on a daily basis since she was a child in the Heisei era. Naturally, she can dress in men’s kimonos as well as women’s kimonos, even if only with her own eyes.

Kanako studied kimono at a dressmaking school, which is why she was in charge of dressing Haruto this time.

Both of them are in their mid-twenties and look like models or celebrities, but the way they were booed by Hisako gave a very unfortunate impression.

The reason it took Haruto so long to get dressed was that he had to repeatedly change, or rather redo, his outfit without compromising a single millimeter, whether it was the pattern of the hakama, the color of the kimono, or the shape of the knot in the hakama’s cord.

“You guys, it’s the first day of the new year, and…”

“Oh, look, look, Haruto-sama, it’s over!”

“Oh, my God, it’s perfect! Please show your dignified appearance to Master!”

Seeing Hisako’s eyes fixed on them, Emi and Kanako felt a sense of urgency and, in a fit of desperation, changed direction and pushed Haruto out of the room while they themselves fled.

In fact, even though it was New Year’s, the girls on duty still had a lot of work to do.

“Ha, those girls are utterly hopeless. I’m sorry, Haruto-sama. I’ll tell them later.”

“No, no, it’s all right. Um, both Emi-san and Kanako-san have been very good to me, so please don’t scold them.”

Haruto felt bad if they were offended because of him, so he asked Hisako to do so. At that time, he unintentionally turned his moist eyes upward, but it was a completely unintentional action. Of course, he did not do this intentionally.

But because of that, the destructive power of the gesture was outstanding, and Hisako had to devote all her energy to preventing her inner impulses from coming out.

Without knowing of Hisako’s struggle, Haruto and the others descended the stairs and arrived at the living room.

They arrived at the living room, not Shigeto’s private room, but the shared living room.

“Excuse me. Haruto-sama has arrived.”

Hisako called out and opened the door without waiting for a reply.

In the living room, Shigeto was waiting with a smile on his face, dressed in a montsuki hakama similar to Haruto’s. 

Unlike Haruto, who is dressed up in a Shichi-Go-San style hakama, Shigeto looks very elegant in his hakama.

Although not well-dressed, he has a dignified atmosphere and good posture.

It was as if he was showing that a certain degree of dignity is required for Japanese-style dress.

“Oh, um, Happy New Year!”

The moment his eyes met Shigeto’s, Haruto’s greeting was delayed because he was so taken by his dignified appearance, but the old man, with his wealth of life experience, could easily read Haruto’s inner thoughts.

As a result, he was in such a great mood that there was no way he could blame him.

“Mm-hmm. Happy New Year. I feel very happy this New Year’s. I haven’t felt like this for decades.”

With a big smile on his face, he beckoned Haruto to sit on the sofa.

Both of them were dressed in kimonos, but the living room was completely Western-style.

Shigeto usually does not wear kimonos even during New Year’s. Of course, when he has to attend a tea ceremony or something like that, he has to wear kimonos.

Of course, when he has to attend a tea ceremony, he sometimes wears a kimono, but usually, he does not do anything special just because it is New Year’s. In the first place, he usually spends this season on an island in the southern hemisphere where the weather is good.

However, this year, with Haruto’s presence, it was decided to create a “Japanese New Year’s” atmosphere for Haruto, who may not have had such an experience before, by dressing him in kimono and serving him osechi dishes and ozoni (a traditional Japanese stew).

Incidentally, one of the rarely used guest rooms has been converted into a Japanese-style room, with a kotatsu and mikan (Chinese citrus fruit) ready and waiting.

“Oh right, speaking of New Year’s, you should keep the New Year’s gift. Keep it, even if it’s just a little bit.”

Saying this, Shigeto took out a bag that was supposed to contain New Year’s money from the side of his kimono.

But Shigeto is an old fool with an uncommonly large amount of money.

The bag placed in front of him is not a Pochi bag but a congratulatory gift bag. It was a large congratulatory gift bag, the kind not sold at ordinary stationery stores. The thickness of the bag suggests that it holds about 3 million yen.

Even Haruto, who had never received a New Year’s gift from a family member, knew that this was unusual, but he decided to accept it anyway, thinking that Shigeto would be disappointed if he refused. He decides to ask Ayane later what he should do with it.

After that, they moved to a newly built Japanese-style room to eat ozoni and osechi dishes, and while talking with Shigeto on the kotatsu with their knees together, they were told that they had a visitor.

As they waited, they were led to Haruto’s tutor, Marina, who was dressed in a formal kimono.

However, it was not a study session, but a pure greeting, as it was thought that no matter how many students were preparing for exams, they would need at least a day off on New Year’s Day.

On the third day after she began tutoring Haruto, Marina was officially hired as a tutor.

Her instruction is precise and easy to understand, and she is able to keep Haruto’s concentration as he studies for his exams.

In order not to waste time commuting to work, she currently sleeps in a room at the guest house.

Initially, she was supposed to be assigned to a servant’s dormitory, but because she was to be Haruto’s teacher, albeit a hired one, she was treated as a guest of honor for the duration of the program.

However, she started teaching early in the morning and ate meals with Haruto and the others, so in effect, she was simply going home to sleep.

“Happy New Year, Sensei! I look forward to working with you this year!”

Haruto bows his head with his hands in seiza on the tatami mats of the Japanese-style room.

“Cu, cute …… ha! Oh, um, Happy New Year to you too. I know it’s hard until you take the exam, but I’m looking forward to working with you.”

Marina’s true feelings were blurted out in a whisper, but she came to her senses and neatly greeted the guests with both hands in front of her.

Shigeto and the maids in the room nodded their heads in understanding.

After talking for a short time, Marina left.

The reason was that it would be hard to relax with a tutor sitting around on a rare day off, but in reality, it was because Marina’s reason was in danger, a secret that only she could keep.

Even if it was obvious to everyone but Haruto.


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