Episode 5

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VOLUME 1

Season 1, Episode 5

Episode 5:

Since birth, Kobato Mikoto was destined to be a sister.

She was an only child, yes, but it was the soul that resided within her that made her into a sister. A blessed sisterly soul made for a perfect sisterly sister, one that everyone would want for themselves.

And because she was an only child, the only outlet that she had for all that sisterly love was none other than her dear little cousin, Shun.

With their families living next to each other as neighbours, she had practically watched him grow up, had taken care of every little thing that she could for him.

Such was the beauty of the kind and angelic sister, Kobato Mikoto.

When Shun was younger, he had once declared that he would marry Mikoto when he grew up. This, Mikoto would often bring up, always ending with the upbeat reminder, “Don’t worry, I still remember that!” (even though the bridegroom in question had no apparent recollection of it whatsoever).

The mess in the living room was of epic proportions, and yet, Mikoto swallowed the barefaced lie Shun told her about a Kamaitachi (1) having miraculously appeared, contributing to the damage in the room.

Her only reply to it?

“Ah, so it was a natural disaster.”

However, Mikoto wasn’t quite so quick to believe what Shun said about the girl that she saw, despite the fact that he had pulled the best excuses out of his book.

“Could you please tell me what I just saw again?”

Seriously, her insistency could easily rival that of an FBI agent on a top secret mission.

“And Shun, what is this large ink stain?”

Damn it all, why was she so persistent?

Cold sweat beading on his forehead, Shun had barely managed to hide Rosalie before lying to his cousin, saying that he had had no idea what she was saying.

“Phew, I guess that’s all the cleaning up finally done now, huh?”

Removing her headband Mikoto heaved a sigh of relief as she surveyed the room, now sparkling clean with nary a crack or dusty patch visible. Shun really had to hand it to his cousin – her house keeping skills were amazing.

“T-Thanks, Miko-nee.”

Stuttering out his thanks, Shun snuck a wayward glance at the cupboard on the side.

It was in there that he had hid the fair Rosalie.

Just when Mikoto was coming to he had dragged Rosalie over to that cupboard and, with a whispered warning to stay still, had pushed her in and closed the doors.

So far so good.

Maybe, he could get away without giving away anything that happened today after all.

“O-Ouch!”

A dull thunk, followed by a yelp.

Or maybe not.

Shun was willing to bet that that sound was made courtesy of the dear Princess Rosalie, who had with her usual idiosyncrasy, just stood up in that cramped little cupboard, and banged her head hard against the top of it.

Indeed, Shun could feel her pain. His own headache was already starting to break out, albeit, due to an entirely different reason.

“What was that?!”

It was too late to force in a pretend cough, as Mikoto had already heard the bump and was narrowing her eyes suspiciously at Shun.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

“O-Ouch! It hurts! It really hurts! I just went and banged against the table with my leg!”

A weak excuse, but Shun was a man on his last straws.

Fortunately for him, his pain seemed to have done the trick, bringing out the kind, motherly side of his cousin.

“Oh dear me, are you okay, Shun-chan?”

“A-Ah, I’m alright. You go ahead, don’t worry about me.”

Putting on a brave face for Miko-nee was one of the fail-safe ways to distract her and get rid of her suspicions.

“R-Really? You sure? You be careful then, alright?”

Turning her back on him, she resumed her task of puttering around the living room, straightening a little bit here and tidying the tools of that end there. Shun heaved a sigh of relief. Great, so now if he could just make it –

Bang!

“Shun, how long do you intend to – ”

Shatter!

“W-What in the world?! Shun-chan…?”

“All clear, Miko-nee! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the cupboard, no siree!”

“B-But, that sound I heard just now…”

“A-Ah, that? That would be my pal on the other end. Remember, the one that was selling like hotcakes weeks ago? The talking robot?”

Right, he was left with no choice. Time to bring out the big guns – a mention of the word ‘robot’ and Mikoto would not even come within 10 feet of the cupboard. She hated them.

“I-I see. Okay then, well, it’s a little late I guess, but how about I start preparing for dinner?”

Mission accomplished.

“S-Say, Miko-nee, how about we have dinner in your place today, seeing as my house is, well, you know as well as I do how my living room was completely thrashed today.”

Shun knew that Mikoto would never deny him of anything.

A job well done and nothing revealed today.

“No!”

Mikoto’s vehement denial clearly threw Shun in for a loop.

“Shun, there’s all that vegetable in the fridge that has to be used up by today. I’ve already thought up a menu for it, and even a theme. How does ‘Onee-san’s 10 minutes curry’ sound to you?”

Seriously, he gave up. How the hell was it possible for someone to say something so crazy it seemed sane? And that someone was wearing a ridiculous spotted apron whilst humming a jarringly perky song at that.

The only reason Shun was (barely) restraining himself from chasing her out, was the fact that she had been cooking his dinner for him almost every day for the past year.

His father, having quit his job as an average salary man since Shun entered high school, believed that one only ought to show unconditional love and care to their children throughout puberty, and after that, they were on their own. He then went on to pursue his true dream of opening up a joint specializing in western cuisine, with Shun’s mother tagging along to help.

“Oh my, Papa’s so hot and attractive when he’s being a responsible father!”

“Oh no, Mama, I could never be hotter and more attractive than you!”

“Oh, Papa!”

“Oh, Mama!”

Hugs and kisses went around, and pink heart-shaped loves floated around the happy couple.

Oh god. Just thinking about that conversation was enough to start up Shun’s gagging reflexes. Geez, couldn’t those people act their age and just stop kissing around –

Anyways, due to that, Shun’s parents now worked late into the night, and were always back late.

Mikoto, whose father too had been sent abroad for work, lived alone in Japan, and thus it became that both the cousins would always eat dinner together, with Mikoto being the one in charge of preparing the dishes.

Her expertise showed as she chopped the remaining meat and sliced the vegetables with practiced ease. Soon, the enticing smell of fried shallots wafted across the kitchen and into the living room.

Shun looked around.

Mikoto was completely absorbed in her cooking, and no one else was around. The coast was clear.

This was his chance.

He would grab Rosalie, make a run for it, and then hide her in the closest room he could find.

On the count of three, and one, two –

Growl.

The unmistakable sound of a stomach growling from hunger.

“Shun-chan, what was that…?”

Cover it. He had to think of a way to cover it.

“Oh man, I can’t believe you heard me! That’s so embarrassing!”

“Shun-chan, what is in that – ”

“Hahaha, well, I am going through puberty after all! Need lots of food to keep my spirits up, Miko-nee!”

Shun interrupted Mikoto, forcefully bringing her questions to a close.

Something strange was definitely up. This, even someone as trusting and naïve as Mikoto, could see. Shifting her gaze, she glanced suspiciously at the cupboard in the corner.

Shun took a small step towards the right, blocking her gaze with an innocent, smiling face.

“Hahaha, Miko-nee!”

Fortunately for Shun, a small droplet of oil sparked out of the pan and Mikoto was forced to direct her attention back to the stove.

Unconsciously, Shun released the breath he had been holding.

“T-That’s right, I’m going to watch television now, okay, Miko-nee?”

Without waiting for a reply, he turned on the TV and cranked up the volume. Hopefully, he’d be able to get away with things as they stood now, without explaining any further, with the noise from the telly covering for Rosalie’s rumbling stomach.

Peace reigned for about five seconds. That is, until Mikoto tore open the bag of curry powder and threw it into the sizzling pan.

Almost simultaneously, as the aromatic smell of curry saturated the entire room, another loud rumble was emitted from the cupboard. And this time, it was too loud even for the white noise from the television to cover up.

Mikoto whipped around.

There it was again. He could practically sense the spirit of investigation in her, rivalling even that of an FBI agent’s.

She strode towards the cupboard, determined to find out about its secrets.

“M-Miko-nee! Don’t!”

Shun knew he had to do something, and fast.

Reacting reflexively he lunged towards Mikoto, his arms flung wide apart, stance mimicking that of a goalkeeper, desperate to keep the opponent’s ball from entering the goal.

This time though, Mikoto was not about to be halted that easily.

“Move aside, Shun-chan.”

It was that voice. And whenever she used that voice, Shun knew that his cousin was dead serious about something.

He had to stop her before she reached the cupboard.

It was do or die time.

Wrapping his arms tightly around his cousin, Shun resorted to his last technique, physical impediment.

“S-Shun-chan!”

Mikoto’s face flushed red.

“N-No, don’t be in such a hurry – ”

W-What? What the hell was Miko-nee saying?

Shun could feel his cousin’s body shivering. The base of her neck looked flushed, too.

Hmm…

This was strange. Why would she –

Wait, could it be?

No way.

Shun had belatedly realized that those hands of his were pushing against something soft and large. Looking down, he found them pushing against his cousin’s voluminous breasts.

Oh great.

“N-No, Miko-nee! I didn’t mean to –”

The staccato beat of his heart could easily reach a million miles per minute. Head spinning, Shun’s eyes landed on the stove.

“Miko-nee, the food is burning!”

That apparently did the trick.

With a gasp of horror, Mikoto dashed towards the general area of the kitchen, in order to salvage her curry dish.

A short wait and the food was ready to be served.

“Come on Shun-chan! Dig in!”

Heartily piling the curry onto his dish, Shun ran a hand over his forehead, wiping away the cold sweat.

The most difficult part of the day was finally over.

As he spooned the first bite of curry into his mouth, his cousin had suddenly lifted her face, and remarked, “Ah, wait, I forgot to bring out the desserts! I’ve got to go and get it later!”

Shun nodded absently. Dessert sounded good.

“You’ll love desserts today, Shun-chan! It’s your favourite, cream puffs!”

Boom!

The cupboard door opened, and Rosalie appeared.

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TRANSLATOR’S NOTES

(1) Kamaitachi – An ancient monster native to Japan that has sickles for hands and is the harbinger of calamity and ill fortune.

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