This is the start of Arc 2
41. Somewhere inside a traditional room
At the end of April when cherry blossom petals were fluttering.
In Karasuma street of Kyoto, passers-by sometimes pinched the cherry blossom petals in their hair with their fingers and looked up, saying, “Haaaa, they bloomed well this year too.”
The cherry blossom trees lining the avenue expressed the fragility of life as it dried up.
Those flower petals fell down everywhere, even to the roofed mud wall surrounding a mansion with a large garden.
It was impossible to see inside the wall from the street.
Even if it were possible, no one would attempt it.
After all, it was the residence of the family that ruled Kyoto. That was why, anyone would pass it quickly. It was for their own good.
Inside the mansion, two women were sitting facing each other.
And smiled at each other before starting a discussion…
“It seems like the head of the Ogasawara family is in a good mood.”
A graceful and elegant woman in her late forties bowed her head.
“I welcome you for coming all the way here, Hoshouin. I thought you were busy.”
The woman looked like she was in her thirties at a glance, but she was in her sixties.
“Thank you very much for your kindness. It’s not been settled yet, just that I have something to talk to you about. Could I have some of your precious time?”
The woman named Hoshouin, never ceased to smile.
“Is it a good story? As you know, I can’t stand a nonsense story.”
A woman called Ogasawara was sitting on a higher level and keeping her weight on the armrest while slowly putting down her smoking pipe.
She pretended not to be interested in what Hoshouin wanted to talk about.
After a brief silence, Hoshouin smiled.
“Well, what do you think? The detailed story is… ah, the weather is nice today.”
Hoshouin looked out into the garden through an opening in the paper sliding door.
“You don’t need to start with small talk. Speak to the point. I shall give you my time.”
Hoshouin nodded and began to speak.
“Not long ago, the ‘pheasant’ that ran away to Tokyo, came to show her face.”
“Pheasant?…. Ah, that traitor of the family. What’s about her?”
There was a branch of the Hoshouin family that moved to Tokyo.
But the ties with that house had already separated. The circular about it had been spread around.
“Yes… In short, she asked for us to support a project ‘Special Ward Neo’.”
“ ‘Special Ward Neo’? What’s that? Is it something complicated? If so, I don’t want to hear it.”
“I don’t know the details, but… in short, it’s a plan to create a Special Ward in Kyoto, so she asked for approval.”
Hoshouin said so with a blank expression.
“Wait a minute. There’s one already, Special Ward Osaka. We don’t need another one, more so, that nearby. Does she think that I will let her do as she wants?”
Saying that, Ogasawara slammed the tip of the smoke pipe into the ash bowl as if she wasn’t interested.
Truth was, she felt a strong dissatisfaction as Hoshouin seemed to be always in control of the story.
“Well, well, she said we’ll need it… So, how about reading more about it first?”
Saying that, Hoshouin slipped the document she had in her pocket to Ogasawara.
“Hmmmp… well, I’ll read it later.”
It was a paper folded in three.
“If this succeeds, she would like to be pardoned.”
“Oi oi, that’s….. It’s not that I want to be a bad person. But she threw the family away herself, so isn’t it natural to spread a circular?”
Hoshouin, of course, was still smiling.
Silence filled the room.
“…… Alright, this story is over. Let’s ‘play’ for a while.”
With the sound, a woman kowtowed in the corridor.
“Bring me some.”
Saying so, the woman bowed her head and left.
“Ah, did you get some new ones?”
“Exactly. This time, it’s really good”
“Oh my, how unusual.”
As Hoshouin leaned back slightly to straighten her posture, footsteps could be heard from the hallway.
And, six young men entered.
Their ages ranged from late teens to mid-twenties.
All of them were wearing thin yukata made from silk.
It was clear that nothing was underneath.
Two men went to Ogasawara’s side. And, her hand slipped into the yukata.
“Since the main government got moved to Tokyo, the chance to have this kind of ‘delicacy’ has decreased.”
Two men were on the side of Hoshouin.
“As you said. It’s sad… But well, thank you for the ‘meal’.”
The remaining men kneel in front of each of them.
“The era has changed, but… occasionally, don’t you feel like wanting to give those politicians a surprise?”
“Well, I’ll think about it… Now, now, let’s enjoy the feast.”
Thus, two women’s sweet voices echoed through the room.
TN: Join my discord channel if you want.