Actions

Work Header

When the Seraphs Cry

Chapter Text

MAIN FAMILY

charaa

 


 

COLORS CODE

GRAY: Head of the family.

ORANGE: Main possible successors.

GREEN: Outsiders who bonded with someone in the family.

BLUE: Juniors.


HIRAGI TENRI (50)

The old leader of the Hiragi family. In the past, he was able to amass a great fortune and now the Hiragi family is one of the most recognized in Japan.  He just has some months to left to live, but he hasn’t announced who will be the next successor. He’s a fan of the occult.

 

HIRAGI KURETO (25)

Tenri’s first son and the one who tends to lead the family conferences. Everyone thinks that he wants to take his father’s fortune just for himself. He owns one of the most successful resort chains. Doesn’t have a good relationship with his siblings.

 

JUJO MITO (23)

 Member of the recognized Jujo family. Her grandfather was Tenri’s subordinate and close friend, because of this, she is also considered part of the Hiragi family and is able to be chosen as successor. Isn’t in good terms with Kureto and usually opposes to everything he says and does.

 

ICHINOSE GUREN (24)

Member of the famous Ichinose family. Not in really good terms with all the Hiragis, but because of incidents in the past he is involved with the them and qualifies to be considered as the next head of the family. Tends to make his voice heard at the family conference to prevent Kureto from taking all Tenri’s fortune and power.

 

HIRAGI MAHIRU (24)

Tenri’s second child and Kureto’s half-sister. Because of not being of the same mother as Kureto, this gives her a weaker position at the family conference. Manages a design company and tends to be arrogant.

 

GOSHI NORITO (24)

Member of the recognized Goshi family. As Mito’s, his grandfather was Tenri’s close friend and now he’s able to be chosen as successor. He’s usually cheerful and quite down to earth compared to the other adults. Is the president of his own restaurant chain, which he started from scratch.

 

SANGU AOI (23)

Member of the distinguished Sangu family and Kureto’s wife. Usually manages the Hiragi’s household in Kureto’s place, who doesn’t care about that matters. Is in charge of the arrangements for the family conferences. Has a big sense of responsibility and carries a lot of pride.

 

HIRAGI SHINYA (24)

Tenri’s adoptive son and Guren’s husband. Was supposed to marry Mahiru, so Tenri adopted him into his family but later they broke the engagement. He also serves as Guren’s right hand in several businesses. He´s a pessimistic but quick-thinking and very trusted by Guren.

 

SANGU MITSUBA (16)

Aoi’s younger sister. It is thought that by the absence of either Kureto or Aoi, she will eventually inherit the headship of the Hiragi family, but she doesn’t have interest in it. She’s very confident and quite talkative. Wants to free from the “successor” role that her sister and his fiancée have given to her.

 

KIMIZUKI SHIHO (18)

 Jujo Mito adoptive son. Is oldest one of the juniors and tends to act as the leader and mediator. He is very diligent and smart, and everyone thinks that he’ll have a bright future even without the Hiragis fortune.

 

HYAKUYA YUCHIRO (16)

Guren and Shinya’s adoptive son. Because of his parents, he used to attend the Hiragi’s family conference when he was a kid, but they died in an accident and was sent to an orphanage. Six years have passed and his back because he was adopted by his father’s friend, Guren. Back then, he considered the others kids as family, so, this is a chance for him to renew his bonds with them after that many years’ gap.

 

HIRAGI SHINOA (15)

Tenri’s third child, Kureto’s half-sister, Shinya’s younger adoptive sister and Mahiru’s sister. Even though she’s a Hiragi by blood, she’s too young to be a candidate for the head ship, so, she just goes as a companion of her sister. Is interested in the occult and black magic. Has a great ability of memorization, tends to be sarcastic and in the worst case she can be very cold. Even if she doesn’t show it, she cares deeply about his friends.

 

SAOTOME YOICHI (16)

Goshi’s adoptive son. He’s studying as an assistant of his father’s company. He’s really cheerful and brings freshness to the family conference. He’s liked by everyone in the family. Avoid trouble and tends to be a coward in some situation, but even so, he has gained the trust of his friends.

 


 

SERVANTS

charas

SHIGURE (24)

The leader of the servant who work for the Hiragi family. Has served Tenri longer than the others and has gained his trust. Since she serves Tenri directly, Aoi and Kureto suspect her of being Tenri’s spy.

 

AKANE (16)

A young but experienced servant. Normally calm and performs her job with a smile, but tends to mess up when nervous. One of the two youngest servants and has a good relationship with Narumi. Was friends with Yuichiro when they were kids.

 

NARUMI (16)

A young servant who performs his duties silently and diligently. Has an unsociable nature and doesn’t speak if not needed. His first name is unknown by the majority except for Akane. Started to work for the Hiragis at the same time that Akane.

 

SAYURI (24)

A kind and cheerful servant who is liked among everyone. She performs her duties happily but tends to be shy. She’s protective and obedient to her masters. Has a good relationship with Shigure even if she doesn’t talk too much. Acts like an older sister towards her juniors. Had a crush on Guren when they were teens.

 

SEISHIRO (23)

The servant employed as the family chef. Hasn’t served the family for long. He tends to be grumpy and prideful sometimes, but still is highly regarded as a servant.  Was hired by Kureto and Aoi, so he is more trusted by them than the others that have served the family for longer. Tends to get angry for not being able to serve Tenri directly.

Chapter Text

TXT1

 

“So, you still haven’t overcome your love for the alcohol?” an old physician sighed as he removed the stethoscope.

Two old men could be seen in the somber and dusty studio.

In the corner of this room, there was an expensive bed, a man that was going under a medical examination and a physician conducting it. There was also what appeared to be a servant watching the scene.

“The bottle is my friend” the patient groaned. “It is no less of a friend than you, and it has stood by my side longer than you have” he said unapologetically while rearranging his clothes.

“Tenri-san, your body appears to be well thanks to the medicine” the doctor said concerned. “If you continue drinking like that, the treatment will be meaningless. Please, refrain from drinking”.

“Thank you, my friend. Shigure… another glass” the man raised his empty glass. “Water it down slightly, that way Goshi won’t scold me”.

“Are you sure, master?” the young servant asked.

The old family doctor, Goshi, let out a deep sigh as he watched his friend waiting for another glass of wine.

There was a smell filling up the room.

The sweet, poisonous aroma felt as it melted the heart. It was the drink that the man couldn’t bring himself to part from.

But it wasn’t just alcohol, it has something else.

“Goshi, you are a close friend, we have known each other for quite a long time” the grumpy man said quite calmly. “I’m very grateful for all that you have done to keep me alive”.

“I haven’t done anything. Anyway you never listen to what I say”.

“Master…” the servant handed the glass to the master.

“Thank you” he said while taking the glass. “I wouldn’t die if I ran out if your medicine, but I would if I ran out of this”.

Than liquid… had something dangerous.

“Be honest with me, Goshi” the old man said as he took a sip of his beverage. “How much time do I have left?”.

“Not much…” the doctor said as he lowered his gaze. “If you were a normal patient, I would recommend that you write a will at this point”.

“And what is a will, Goshi? Instructions to the vultures of how to devour my corpse?” the man said sarcastically.

“It’s more than for dividing your inheritance. You can write down your regrets and matters that you left unfinished” his friend explained. “Things that you want to tell and things that you want to be passed down”.

“Ridiculous. I Hiragi Tenri, have nothing I want to tell or leave behind!” the other man said coldly. “I born with nothing and I will die with nothing. There’s nothing I wish to leave to my foolish children”.

The man walked towards the other corner of his study.

“I created my fortune! My prestige! Everything!” he said with rage. “After I’m gone, there won’t be anything left! I desire no tomb, no coffin! Those were the terms of the contract I made with the sorcerer…”.

After reaching a furious crescendo, Tenri suddenly slumped over. His expression was dark, just as if some evil spirit had possessed him.

“However… I do have one regret” he said, now calmly. “There is something I cannot leave undone”.

“I’ll be okay to write it down. It would be the best of you finish it before your time comes” his friend explained. “You must leave behind your regrets so that they can be resolved even if you are not here anymore”:

When Goshi tried to gently par Tenri’s shoulder, the man flew into a sudden rage again and batted away his hand.

“It’s useless, useless, useless! It must be done while I’m still alive” he said furiously. “At the moment of my dead, my soul will be devoured by the demons of the contract and wiped out of existence! For me, there won’t be any peace or another world”.

The man approached the big window that was inside the room.

“I’d want to see it. I wat to see it one more time!” he said with despair. “I want to see Mikaela one last time!”

“I’ll return everything you have given me! I’m prepared to lose everything” the man said determined. “Mikaela, I beg you! You must be able to hear my plea… I beg you, show yourself to me!”

The man calmed down.

“You are here, aren’t you? listening to every word I say” he said serenely. “Please, appear once more. Feel free to scold me and even snatch away my life with your own hands if you wish!”.

Tenri look at the sky as if waiting for a signal.

“I don’t want to die alone like this. I can’t die until I see you once more!” the man pleaded. “Mikaela! I offer up this life of mine! I’m begging you”.

The man let out a long cry.

“Mikaela!!!!!!”.

Chapter Text

October 4th,1986

Chofu Airport

 

 “Whoa, can we really make the trip in 20 minutes?”

I scratched my head and appreciated how thing have changes in all these years. We used to go by boat and spend half a day on it before we could reach Niijima. Still, I’ve never been in such a tiny plane like this.

“It’s going to shake, right?” I said with a trembling voice. “People say that small boats shake more, so it’s the same for planes, right?”

“Hehe, don’t worry Yuu-kun” a calm and kind voice answered me. “I’ll shake less than a boat”.

I turned around to see a somehow familiar face.

“Whoa! Is that you, Yoichi?”

“Long time not to see you, Yuu-kun” he said with a smile. “You’ve change a lot since the last time we saw you”.

“But he’s still the crybaby he used to be” another voice interrupted.

“Oi, Kimizuki” I said. “Who are you calling a crybaby?”

“Haha” he let out a teasing laugh. “Good to see you again, idiot Yuu”.

“Oi…” I grumped.

This guy was always teasing me since we met, and I remember we used to get in a lot of fights, but still, I’m glad to see him again and Yoichi too.

Ah, by the way… my name is Hyakuya Yuichiro. Yuichiro means “kind son”, my parents spelled it with the kanji for “gentle”, hoping that I would grow up being kind and gentle to everyone I met. Hyakuya means “hundred nights”, weird I know, but that’s not my birth last name. I once were called “Amane Yuichiro” but my parents died in an accident and I was sent to an orphanage, later then I adopted the orphanage last name and became “Hyakuya Yuichiro”.

The two guys I was speaking to, are my childhood friends, Shiho Kimizuki and Saotome Yoichi.

“Whoa Yuu, look how much you have grown up” I heard a deep voice behind me.

“Oh, hi there, Goshi” I greeted.

This big guy is Yoichi’s adoptive father. I remember that he was quite nice with us children back then, he usually gave us some money and candies. He is like some kind of uncle to us.

“I imagine that now you have a lot of girls going after you, huh?” he said, winking.

“He’s just back and you’re already bothering him” a new voice interrupted, now from a woman.

“It’s just a question” Goshi said joking. “Aren’t you also curious, Mito?”

That one is Jujo Mito, Kimizuki’s adoptive mother. We used to call her “aunt” back then. She and Goshi used to attend the same high school, so they’ve know each other for quite long time, it may look that she doesn’t like him, but they are actually good friends.

“Yuu-kun” a kind male voice called for me. “Have you seen Guren?”.

“Huh? He headed to the bathroom a while ago” I pointed the way. “Isn’t he back yet?” I sighed. “I think he already died inside”.

“Hmm? This isn’t the first time he’s taken so long.” the guy teased.

This person is my father’s husband, and by father I mean the adoptive one. His name is Hiragi Shinya. Both also met when they were at high school and they have been together for a log time. He is usually quite chill and both of us tend to join forces to tease his husband. It’s still hard for me to accept this “new family” thing but I know that I won’t get anywhere by just ignoring them, so he told me that if I want, I can look at him more like an older brother than a parent, and somehow I thought that was the best option and went along with that.

“Oi, Yuu” the man we were badmouthing about just appeared.

“Hm? What’s up Guren?” by the time I finished the sentence, I felt a great amount of pain on the head.

“You’ve been talking trash about me with Shinya, right?” he said after kicking me in the head. “Show some respect to your savior”.

“Oi…” I said rubbing the back of my head. “That hurts, idiot Guren”.

“Now say “My god, please forgive me for being so rude”” he said in a superior tone.

This idiot is my adoptive father, Ichinose Guren. He was a good friend of my parents and when he knew that I was sent to the Hyakuya orphanage, he went and adopted me. He may look like he’s arrogant and full of himself, but deep inside he’s kind and protective towards his friends and family.

“Guren, Isn’t that child abuse?” Mito appeared from behind and pinched his ear.

“Ouch, that hurts Mito”

He’s lucky that he didn’t got punched. It’s rumored that Mito’s family is quite known for having super strength and a great ability for fighting.

Us, the young ones, just let the conversation flow until Yoichi spoke.

“Are we still waiting for the weather report” he asked.

The weather sign on the screen for our flight is still loading. From down here, it just looks cloudy, but not windy. But well, it’s probably different where the planes fly.

Suddenly a broadcast star streaming, informing that a typhoon was approaching Kanto.

“A typhoon again?” Guren groaned. “I guess we can’t avoid that with the family conference always being held in October”.

“Then why don’t you ask the leader to change the date for next year?” Mito asked him.

And with no notice, they started to argue just like if they were teenagers.

“And they are the parents…” Kimizuki said in an annoyed tone. “They just act like kids every time they gather for the conference”.

“Oh, you are the one who looks like a real adult, Kimizuki-kun” Yoichi said quite amused.

Suddenly, Goshi separated from the group to greet some people. Those were Hiragi Mahiru and Hiragi Shinoa.

“Yo, Mahiru-chan, Shinoa-chan” Goshi said cheerfully.

“Good morning, Goshi-san” greeted Shinoa.

“Hi, Goshi” her sister said next. “It’s a long time and… Oh my, is that you Yuichiro? Look at how much you have grown, hehe”

“Come on nee-san, he’s still a shorty” Shinoa said sarcastically.

“Oi, who are you calling that?” I said looking down at her. “It’s been a long time, but you are still a midget, Shinoa”.

“Yeah, that’s true.” Kimizuki continues. “I think you are not growing up anymore, hah”.

We start laughing loudly, mocking Shinoa.

“Come on guys…” Yoichi let out a timid laugh.

As everyone was happy because we were all reunited again, our celebration got interrupted by an announcement from the airport.

“Our apologies for the wait. The boarding for the flight to Niijima, will commence now”. The announcer said. “We ask the passengers to please form tow lines behind the white line”.

After we passed the metal detectors and all the chekings, we are now in front of the entrance of the plane.

“Boarding will now start” the staff announced. “Please take your seats as I call out your names”.

After some time, everyone finally got into the plane.

“Wait… what if the emergency door opens by mistake?” I asked preoccupied.

“That won’t happen, Yuu-kun” Yoichi laughed innocently.

“Come on, Yuu” Guren kicked the back of my seat. “Stop crying”.

“Stop complaining, idiot Yuu” Kimizuki groaned.

“This is your captain” a voice was heard. “We are departing now”.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Niijima Airport

8:00 AM

 “Ugh, I should have gone by boat” I complained.

“Oh Yuu-san, you were screaming quite a lot” Shinoa teased. “I should have taken a picture”.

“Ah, shut up. That thing was shaking too much”.

We split and took different taxis from the airport to the harbor, there, we are taking a boat to the island. The trip will just take around 30 minutes.

By the time we start approaching the boat, we see a silhouette waving a hand.

“Kimizuki, Yoichi, Shinoa” the person shouted. “It’s been so long”.

“Mitsuba-san, it’s been a year already since we saw you” Yoichi greeted.

“Yo, Mitsuba” Kimizuki said. “What’s up?”

“Mii-chan” Shinoa waved at her.

“Hey, you’ve got to be kidding me” I said with amuse. “That’s really Mitsuba?”.

“Eh, wait. Shinoa, is that…” she said surprised. “Is that, Yuu?”.

We stared at each other for a while. She really changed a lot.

“Ah. Yo, Mitsuba” I greeted. “You seriously look more mature”

“Hehe, he means that you look more like a woman now” Shinoa whispered to her.

“Shu-shut up Shinoa” a slight blush filled her cheeks.

“How cute” Shinoa laughed teasingly.

That girl is Sangu Mitsuba. She is Mahiru’s older brother’s sister-in-law and because of that, a direct heir of the Hiragi family. She tended to easily get mad at me, she even kicked me several times.

“Oh, what’s happening here?” a woman with a kind voice started approaching.

I stared at her, wondering who she was, until I remembered. Her name is Sayuri, she’s a servant at the Hiragis mansion.

“You remember her right, Yuu-san?” Shinoa asked me in her always mocking voice. “She’s one of the servants, Sayuri-san”

“Ah, of course” I replied. “She used to have a crush on stupid Guren, right?”

“Don’t say that, Yuichiro-sama” her face turned full red. “It wasn’t like that”.

“What’s wrong Sayuri?” Guren asked. “Your face is red”.

“Huh, there’s no doubt those two are alike” Goshi muttered. “Both are very dense”.

After some chat, we all are getting into the boat.

“Oh~” Shinoa exclaimed. “Are you going to cry here too, Yuu-san?”

“Shut up” I waved her away. “That’s just on airplanes”.

With everyone on, the boat started going. Mitsuba is confused about what Shinoa meant about me crying, so she starts explaining.

Suddenly, the boat sped up.

“Whoa! It’s shaking, it’s shaking!” I screamed as I hold tightly onto the railing.

“Hey Yuu” Guren called. “Maybe you should just swim to the island”.

“Hehehe~” Shinoa laughed. “Good screams, Yuu-san”

“You should take a photo, Shinoa” his sister added.

Mahiru is just like Shinoa, sarcastic and is used to tease everybody, the difference is that she tends to be quite arrogant and does everything to get what she wants, no matter what she needs to do. Somehow she gets scary sometimes.

“Shut up, stupid Yuu” Kimizuki groaned. “Just get inside and stop crying”

“No way!” I responded. “During shipwrecks, the victims are usually the ones inside”.

By the time we are about to arrive at the island, the speed starts to slow down. I calm down.

“Oi, Mitsuba” I called her. “How are Kureto and your sister doing?”

“A-Ah, they are fine, they just got married two years ago” she replied. “Now everything is annoying because they want me to always look and act as the heir of Hiragi family”.

Shinoa knew that that’s a thing Mitsuba doesn’t like to talk about, so she turns the conversation into another topic.

“Oh~ look, we can see the harbor” she exclaimed.

rokken

The island’s silhouette in front of us had gotten quite close. The island’s name is Rokkenjima, it’s located on the Izu Archipielago and it is property of the Hiragis, so just the Hiragi family and people connected to the can enter it.

Now… I suppose you wonder what we are doing here. Well everyone is gathering for the annual “family conference”, yeah I know, not all of us are family or have the "Hiragi" name attached to us, but we are somehow linked to them. The main purpose of this conference, is to decide who is going to inherit all the fortune the Hiragi’s head, Hiragi Tenri, owns.

This is a deep topic between the adults, but us young ones don’t really care. I used to come here with my parents before they died, that was because their company have some business with the Hiragis and eventually got called for the conferences, but I lived quite such a common life. Yoichi and Kimizuki got adopted by people of really important families, but either way, they don’t mind money at all. Mitsuba, she was born in an already prestigious family, but even if she complains about not wanting to be the next successor, she is proud of her family. Shinoa is a Hiragi by blood, but because she’s still young, she’s not qualified to be a successor yet, either way she doesn’t seem to be interested in that at all.

Somehow, all of us are like a family.

“Oh?” Kimizuki is looking towards the horizon, confused.

“What’s wrong Kimizuki?” Mitsuba asked.

Even though I haven’t been here for years, I know what he’s looking at.

“Ah, right” I joined them. “That was the place of the old shrine right?”

There’s a big rock located near the island, and there used to be a tori on it. A shrine for the god of the region.

“Maybe it was washed away by the waves” Shinoa added.

“Or perhaps a huge lightning bolt fell and smashed the shrine” Sayuri joined the conversation.

If there’s something she likes doing, is telling us stories, such as legends or myths.

“The fisherman used to say that having a thunderbolt fall upon that shrine would be a great sign of misfortune” she continued.

Misfortune, huh?

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Rokkenjima

10:30 AM

Finally, we docked at the harbor. By the time we are descending, we can see a man in a tuxedo waiting for us. I don’t recognize him, but judging by his clothes, I guess he is a servant.

“Welcome back, Milady” he said seriously. “You were quite late and everyone began to worry”.

“Ah, sorry” Mitsuba responded and looked at me. “One of us got scared and we had to slow down”.

That new guy is Seishiro, he’s mainly the chef of the family. From what I have heard, he does his job quite good and is helpful, he’s normally wearing a “work” smile, but he’s very arrogant and a dick towards his co-workers, especially de young ones.

After everyone was greeted, the boat started to steer away from the harbor.

“It’s weird” I said softly. “I can’t hear the seagulls cry”.

“Eh~” Shinoa said. “That’s true, that’s unusual”.

“Maybe Mitsuba turned them all into some kind of yakitori” Kimizuki added jokingly.

“Oi, Kimizuki!” Mitsuba exclaimed. “That’s not true!”.

I remember that when I was a kid, every time we came here, the seagulls greeted us with their cries. Now that I look at the sky, I can’t see any.

“Come on brats” Guren shouted from the other side. “What the hell are you doing. Let’s go”.

We hurried and joined the others at the beach stairway.

Imagen3

“I shall lead you towards the guesthouse where you’ll be staying” Sayuri said. “Please, this way”.

She called everyone and started leading us.

A serpentine, twisting path leads into a dim forest. After that, we can see a garden-style stone stairway. From here on, I have some memories.

Imagen2

We keep going and at the top of the stairway, we see a beautiful guesthouse. Its façade is quite beautiful, but what actually steals the heart of everybody, it’s the immense rose garden before it.

Imagen4

“Ah~” Mahiru exclaimed. “It’s as beautiful as ever, look Shinoa”.

“Yes, yes~” Shinoa joined her sister. “A real delight for the eyes~”

It is a delightful rose garden. Even Guren and Mito can’t help but let their wonder slip out. For me, it looks like a leveled-up version of the garden I remember from 6 years ago.

“This place is always amazing” Shinya added. “It’d be great to have a garden like this at home~”.

“Give it up” Guren interrupted him. “Who do you think would take care of it? Flowers are a real pain”.

Imagen5

“Hey guys, come here!” Yoichi called us from the other side of the garden. “Look at this one”

He pointed to a flower, at first glance, it just looked like the other ones, but when we came closer it was different. AI the midst of all the magnificent roses, just a single one was withering.

“Oh right, it isn’t healthy” Mitsuba said.

“It’s sad that this is the only one” Yoichi said a bit concerned.

He’s been always the type that looks into the small details, and we clearly know that this will make him feel bad for probably the rest of the day.

“How about we mark it?” Kimizuki added.

“Yes, and this way we can take special care of it until we leave” Shinoa responded, knowing exactly what Kimizuki was thinking.

Yoichi smiled at the idea and Shinoa and Mitsuba tied a ribbon around it.

“Oh Kimizuki” Yuu teased. “I didn’t expect you to become this soft”

“Shut up!” he mumbled.

He may seem cold and annoyed by us sometimes, but he’s actually really caring and understanding. I respect him, even if we’re always arguing.

“Now I shall be guiding you to the rooms” Seishiro pointed after everyone finished admiring the garden.

By the time we started following the servant, Goshi noticed somebody.

“Hey! If it’s Narumi-kun” he said cheerfully. “It’s been so long. How are you doing?”

In the direction he was waving at, there was a boy. I figured he was a bit older than me and by the atmosphere, that he was a servant too.

Sayuri noticed that our interest now shifted towards him, he went to the guy and introduce him to me.

“Yuu-sama, I shall introduce you” she said. “He’s one of the servants who serve the Hiragi head house. Narumi-san, greet our guest”

“I’m pleased to meet you” he said in a serene tone. “I’m the servant Narumi”

My first impression of him is that he’s not much of the speaking type, compared to Sayuri who likes to talk with everyone. He looks quite mature, but inexperienced at the job.

“Narumi. Could you give them a little more of a greeting?” Seishiro urged him in a whisper.

“No… because we, are furniture” he answered coldly.

It didn’t seem that he’s refusing to greet us out of spite, but rather, he gives the impression that he doesn’t know what to add to his greeting.

“Ah, umm, Narumi is the kind that doesn’t talk much” Mitsuba interrupted. “He may act cold, but he’s actually a good person”

“Ok. Hey” I said. “I’m Yuichiro, just call me Yuu, it’s weird when they say the whole thing”.

“All right, Yuu-sama” the servant answered politely and gave me a small vow.

After that, Seishiro still gave him a cold gaze.

“Well then, I still have work to do. If you’ll excuse me” the boy said.

Suddenly, by the time he’s leaving, the wheelbarrow he was carrying gets caught on a pebble and lost balance

“What have you done” Seishiro added angrily but with a low voice. “Now, quickly clean it up”.

The servant started picking everything up without complain.

“You’re so careless” Mitsuba said while handing him one of the items that felt. “Here”.

“Milady, you will dirty your clothes” the boy said, taking carefully the item. “Leave it to me”.

After he finished picking everything up, he apologized and left.

“Oh Milady~” Shinoa teased Mitsuba and let out her mocking laugh.

The rest of us joined her with the teasing, while Mito started a conversation with the other servant.

“Seishiro” Mito called. “Wouldn’t it have been better if you’d helped him instead of being a bully?”

“That hadn’t occurred to me” he answered. “I deeply apologize” he vowed, not even twitching his smile.

“Sayuri, how are we going to split up for our rooms?” Shinya asked, trying to change the mood.

“Oh, right. I’ll be the same as last year” she said smiling. “Please, come this way”.

We headed towards an elegant but simple guest house. Inside are our rooms for the night.

Imagen6

Sayuri and Seishiro are now showing us our rooms. Yoichi, Kimizuki and I, are staying in one room and Shinoa and Mitsuba, in another

“Hey brats” Guren called us. “We are going to the mansion, so don’t cause problems”

I feel this is personal…

The adults are heading to the main building to announce their arrival.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Mansion’s Dining Hall

Imagen7

The guests were already greeted, so it was time for some tea.

But the tea was late…

Having the guests talk about making it for themselves was an embarrassment for the host. Aoi bit her lower lip in frustration at the ineptitude of the servants who were taking too long.

The servant, Akane, having no idea what was happening at the parlor, came in pushing a dish cart with tea cups. Aoi giving her a death glare.

“E-Excuse me” she announced not knowing what she did wrong. “The tea is here”.

“Akane-chan” Shinya greeted. “It’s been a while”.

“Oh” she said shyly with a bow. “Welcome…”

“Leave the chat for after you’ve set the table” Aoi said coldly.

“I’m, I’m sorry, Madam”

The servant vowed so frightened that eventually she lost her balance and bumped against the serving cart, making some spoons fall down. This just made Aoi’s expression even worse.

Aoi, as the person in charge of today’s conference, allowing that clumsiness from the servants to be exposed like that, was a total humiliation.

“Hey Aoi” Goshi called. “Aren’t you being a little harsh? She’s trying her best”

“I’m not being harsh”

“That’s a nice smell” Mito said calmly.

She was trying to lower the tense mood, but at the same time, she was glaring coldly at Aoi. The rest of the adults followed her and the tension completely evaporated.

While everyone was having a chat, Akane managed to set the table and leave silently.

“It wasn’t your fault” Narumi was waiting for her.

“So, you were watching…”

The truth was that, indeed, it wasn’t Akane’s fault. The tea had been delayed because of some problems in the kitchen. It was Seishiro’s mistake.

He wasn’t satisfied with the first result, and obviously someone like him couldn’t give that type of tea to the special guests, so he wasted time making it again. Knowing that they will be mad at him because of the delay, he pushed the task of setting the table to Akane.

“It’s alright, Narumi-kun” Akane gave him a kind smile. “I don’t mind”.

“Akane” Sayuri called her from the other side of the corridor. “Please, hurry back to the kitchen”.

There was silence.

“Is something wrong?” she asked kindly. “Did something happen?”

“Akane” Narumi replied. “She did nothing wrong, but they…”

“Stop it please Narumi-kun” Akane interrupted. “I’ll immediately return to work, please excuse me”.

Akane left, followed by Narumi. Sayuri knew fact that Seishiro disliked them and have been making their lives impossible since he joined, also they are hated by Aoi. She felt sorry for them, and that she couldn’t do much about it.

 

October 4th, 1986

Guesthouse

12:00 PM

While the adults were having their discussions, us young ones, were having fun at the guesthouse. Suddenly, someone knocked at the door.

“Pardon me” a female voice said timidly. “Your meal is ready”.

“Oh, Akane-chan” Yoichi recognized her and opened the door. “Come in”.

She was a servant; whose age was about ours.

“Ne, ne, Akane-san~” Shinoa approached her. “Do you remember Yuu-san?”

“It’s been a while since the las time we met, Yuu-sama” she smiled kindly and made a small vow. “I’m Akane”

“Oh Akane” I waved at her. “It’s been a while. Good to see you too”

It’s also been 6 years since the last time I saw her. She used to play with us sometimes when we were kids.

“Shall we go to the mansion?” the servant asked. “You’re probably hungry”.

Under her guidance, we headed to the mansion…

 

October 4th, 1986

Mansion’s Entrance Hall

Imagen8

As we entered the mansion, another servant was waiting for us. I remembered her, Shigure, one of the oldest servants.

“From here, I shall take Akane’s planes and accompany you” she said after she greeted us.

Akane bowed and saw us go.

We started following Shigure and… I found something that I didn’t remember from years ago. It was an awfully big portrait, which was hung in front of the main stairs. It was charming and without knowing, I had stopped walking.

“Hey guys” I said. “Did that painting used to be here?”

“The last time you came here; it wasn’t there” Kimizuki responded.

“It got hanged just two years ago” Yoichi said.

“In April, two years ago, Tenri-sama ordered an artist to paint it” Shigure added.

The portrait matched with the Mansion vibe, and the person on it gave the room an elegant touch. I wasn’t able to guess his age, but he was young. This person had a radiant blond hair and didn’t look Japanese at all.

“So, who’s him?” I said pointing at the portrait.

“He’s Mikaela” Shinoa answered. “The sorcerer”

“Sorcerer?” I asked.

“Didn’t you ever hear about him, long ago?” Mitsuba asked.

“Oh…”

The Mansion is surrounded by a big dark forest, and for preventing us to go into it, the adult always told us a story. There’s a terrible sorcerer in the forest, so you must not go in, they said. He’s the master of the forest.

That unsettling feeling of misfortune that I felt when I knew that the Island’s God’s shrine got destroyed came back. At that time, I knew something. The ruler of the island weren’t the Hiragis, it was the sorcerer.

Mikaela.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Mansion’s Dining Hall

After the chat about the portrait, we made our way into the Dining Hall. Inside the room, there was a long table, which purpose was to position the guests according to their rank. The adults were already seat according to that order.

“You are late, brats” Guren said. “Hurry up and seat”.

The seat at the head of the table was reserved for the family head, Hiragi Tenri. It was still empty tho.

The seating order went from left to right, so, at the first row on the left, there was Hiragi Kureto’s seat. He hadn’t arrived yet, so his seat has also empty. On his opposite, there was Mito’s seat. At the second row on the left, was Guren’s seat, and opposite him was Goshi’s.  At the third row on the left, there was Mahiru’s seat.

The seats next to them were for us juniors. On the opposite of Mahiru’s seat, there was Mistuba’s. On the left side at the fourth row, there was Kimizuki’s seat, and on the opposite, there was mine. On the next row at the left was Yoichi’s and on the opposite, Shinoa’s. After ours, on the next row, there were Aoi’s and Shinya’s seats.

Table

“Oi, Mitsuba” I called. “Where’s the old man? he’s pretty late”.

“Tch, he was always strict about being on time” Kimizuki added.

“Well, he’s off in his own world lately” Mitsuba replied. “He doesn’t stick around family’s stud anymore. But I feel more relaxed without him”.

 “Mitsuba!” Aoi scolded her angrily.

 

Tenri’s Study

12:20 PM

The clock was already pointing at 12:20 PM, but the old man didn’t even attempt to get up from his chair. As always, the sweet, heavy smell of his poisonous liquor was filling the room.

The knock against the study’s door had been going for a while, accompanied with a voice calling “Father”.

Tenri sighed and snapped his hand on the table.

“Silence!” he yelled. “Who told you that the door will open if you knock?”

“Father” his son responded. “Today is the annual family conference. Everyone is already gathered”.

“Don’t bother me!” the old man snapped. “What do you mean everyone? The ones trying to drag me out? Then kill them so they don’t have to wait anymore!”

“Looks that he hates me” Kureto whispered to himself.

The man abandoned any hope of his father getting out, so he went downstairs to meet the others.

After his son left, you could still hear some yells inside the study.

“They are vultures! Just waiting for my inheritance to fall on their hands!” Tenri screamed. “Why? Why is everyone so incompetent?!” he turned towards the window, to face the sky. “Of course this is also part of Mikaela’s curse”

“Is this the revenge you planed for me?!” he cried. “Mikaela!!”

 

Mansion’s Dining Hall

12:40 PM

Imagen9

“Well ladies and gentleman, the Head of the family is not feeling well” Kureto announced. “I’m sorry for everyone that was looking forward to meet him. Seishiro, get the food ready”

“Alright”

The dinner started with the family head’s seat still empty. Let me introduce you to his story.

His name is Hiragi Tenri. Before the start of the Showa era, between the Meiji and Taisho eras, the Hiragi family was wealthy and prestigious. Sadly, during the Kanto Earthquake, the great mansion owned by the Hiragis flattened, the spinning mills they had in Tokyo burned down and the family lost most of its fortune.

After that, it became an important matter of who would become the next heir, and Tenri got chosen.  He was entrusted with the task of reviving the fortune, but the people weren’t expecting much.

Following the events, he started developing an extraordinary talent and good luck. He used all the family’s funds and his own ad revived the family’s business. With that, everyone thought that he’d revive the old mansion where it was located originally, but he went for a small island and stablished a marine headquarters for the war. He started being fluent in English, and later he developed a weird western obsession. Everyone thinks that his love for black magic also began back then, but none really knows.

At some point, he began making researches about black magic and filled his study with weird books, chemicals and magical items. The adults in this room, grew up knowing Tenri’s obsession and at some point they seem really relieved that he’s not eating with us today.

Anyway, enough of that story.

“Amazing!!” my loud voice filled the room. “This is so different from what Guren cooks at home”

“Oi, quit it Yuu” Guren scolded me.

The lunch went quite smoothly and before we notice, it was already ending. By the time we finished, we went for a walk outside and the adults stayed on the parlor.

 

Mansion’s Parlor

13:30

“So, moving on to the important discussion” Mito said and the room filled with silence and tension.

“Yeah” Guren added. “We need to talk about the main topic while the brats aren’t here. Last year we were told that the old man’s life expectancy was about three months and look where we are now”.

“The family head is in perfect condition” Aoi interrupted. “This is such an inappropriate topic. I can’t help but doubt your intentions true”.

“Well as you seem so concerned about father’s health” Kureto said. “Let’s hear it from Shigure”.

The servant was standing next to the window, staring at the conversation and waiting for orders.

“According to the doctor, measuring the remaining life time is just a prediction, not a promise. He can’t confirm he’ll pass away” the servant spoke. “His body is weak, but his mind is strong. That’s what has been keeping him alive, mostly.”

“Well then, I know he can’t give anything more than a prediction, but did he said if he has a chance of living until next year?” Mahiru asked.

“That’s something rude to ask” Aoi snapped.

Mahiru gave her a playful but arrogant gaze. “Haha~ Sorry, sorry. I was just concerned over father’s condition”.

Shigure shook her head.

“So, let’s just assume that his remaining time is still three months” Guren added. “In that case, the inheritance of his fortune isn’t a premature topic”.

“How can you discuss this matter like if he’s already death” Aoi said, now in a lower voice.

“Come on~ you know, when the time comes, his fortune must be carried out immediately, right?” Mahiru annoyed her.

“You don’t get it, Aoi” Mito said. “There’s a huge difference between this family’s wealth and yours”.

The tension rose even more.

“So, in summary. Father’s remaining life is short and you are eager to discuss about the inheritance” Kureto cleared his throat. “The Hiragis inheritance distribution is not a simple topic. But you are so impatient to split the cake tonight. Right, Gosh, Shinya?”.

Among all the adults, Goshi and Shinya were the one who remained in silence, just watching the conversation going on.

“We are not impatient, Kureto nii-san.” Shinya spoke. “But the decision between the members is important, you know, before father passes away”.

“You impress me, Shinya” Kureto said, trying to sound amused. “I didn’t expect to hear that from the most pure hearted of us all”.

“It’s obvious he has interest on it” Goshi added on a low voice. “He’s a Hiragi after all”.

“It’s a fact that the old man will die soon, but Kureto, you are too calm” Guren spoke. “It looks just like if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from the inheritance topic”.

“What do you mean?” Aoi raised her voice. “Are you accusing Kureto of something?”

“Calm down Aoi” Goshi said calmly. “Please hear what we have to say”.

“By the way, Kureto” Mito spoke. “Weren’t you building a new resort but you got into legal problems”

“What are you saying? His business has nothing to do with all this” Aoi said.

“Yeah, that’s true. We had problems with the construction company” Kureto responded.

“Yes, but even that, you borrowed money that you can’t return now” Shinya added.

“What are you trying to say, Shinya” Aoi asked.

The tension of the room rose more and more every time someone spoke. The servants in the room just glanced at each other, trying to find a way to scape.

“He means that we’ve been investigating about the failed business you dear husband have been into” Guren said. “And who know from where has he been obtaining the funds for them”.

“Hm, isn’t this an interesting story” Kureto replied.

“Kureto, you can’t just ignore his abusive accusation” Aoi said somehow desperately.

“Step back, Aoi. Let me say it more directly” Guren continued. “Kureto has been taking parts of Tenri’s private funds”.

“Stop it, Guren” Aoi responded.

“There’s nothing abusive about it.” Mito added. “That’s the truth, isn’t it?”.

“What Kureto nii-san is doing, can be criminally prosecuted~” Mahiru giggled. “Since he wants to make his business succeed, but he just fails and his debt is growing more, it’s logical that he just takes fund from the nearest source. You can say he’s betraying the Head~”.

“Betraying him? You can’t say something like that” Aoi said, shocked. “Leave this place immediately”.

Aoi had already reached the limit of her anger, she just wanted all to end, but at the same time, she wanted to let all of it go.

“Hey, Aoi-chan. Who do you think you are talking to?” Mahiru questioned,

She remained quiet for a while and suddenly spoke. “As the person in charge of the family’s kitchen, I cannot allow anymore of this”.

“In charge of the kitchen? ~” Mahiru giggled loudly. “You are just one more servant on this house. How foolish of you”.

Mahiru’s behavior during most of the meeting had been playful and challenging, but after that, her expression turned dark. “Bow down”

There were so many things that Aoi wanted to tell her, but the words didn’t make it to her mouth.

“Hm? Do you have something to say to me?~” Mahiru said with a provocative gaze. “Please say it. Come on”

Before anything else could be said, Kureto interrupted them and broke the tension.

“Oi, Aoi” he said. “Please leave your seat. You should cool off your head”.

Aoi was shocked that her husband didn’t come to her aid but sent her away. She wanted to speak back, but she knew it would be better to stay quiet and leave.

When the sound of footsteps grew distant to the room, the silence returned and the last bits of tension completely evaporated.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Mansion’s Main Hall

1:30 PM

As we were making our way back through the hall, we saw the portrait once again.

“So… this is the sorcerer, Mikaela” I said. “Is it really true?”

“Oh~ Yuu-san doesn’t believe” Shinoa teased and approached the portrait. “You should believe, Yuu-san~” she said while pointing to a plate that was below it.

I thought that the thing had just the name carved on it, but there was something else.

My beloved Mikaela” I read. “My beloved hometown, what is this weird epitaph?”

Below the title of the portrait was what it looked like a long weird epitaph.

“Weird, right?” Mitsuba said. “The Head had that written, quite deep, right?”

“Ho~ I know where the gold is hidden” Shinoa continued.

“Wait, is that the story about the Hiragi family’s hidden gold?” I asked. “Yoichi, is that real?”

“Hiragi Tenri had this written and was placed along with the portrait” Yoichi responded. “He never said anything, but everyone speculated that it points the location of the gold”.

“It’s also rumored that the one who discovers the gold, will relinquish the inheritance including the gold that they found” Kimizuki added. “About 10 tons of gold bars”.

I already told you something about Hiragi Tenri’s past, but there’s more of it. After the war ended, the old man managed to predict what the future would be like and won a quite big gamble, accumulating a vast store of wealth.

But there is a mysterious legend about how he got the funds for that… When somebody asked him about that he answered like ‘On a day I encountered Mikaela…’, and he continued talking about how he continuously researched on black magic in order to became a great magician. One day he was performing a demon calling ceremony and the result was the summoning of Mikaela, then, he made a contract where in exchange of his soul, he would receive fortune and honor. Mikaela granted him 10 tons of pure gold and use them to prepare a vast quantity of funds, use them to multiply his wealth and finally to revive the Hiragi family.

When the adults were still children, they explored the island all the time, expecting to find the location of the hidden gold, but since there was danger at the forest, Tenri’s wife began to spread rumors about Mikaela living in the forest.

“Oh, right” I said. “I remember that old story”.

“This epitaph was written by Tenri two years ago” Mitsuba added. “And since it was him who wrote it, it makes the Legend of the Gold more believable”.

The epitaph written on the plate was quite mysterious, it looked somehow like a long poem. The design was incredibly disturbing, it had carvings of black magic symbols, but that made the epitaph look like it actually was the key to the gold.

“You know, there’s another theory about who Mikaela is” Yoichi added with a giggle. “They said that he was also Hiragi Tenri’s first love”.

“Oh, so here is where you were all” Akane appeared from a corridor. “I was told that you left for the beach”.

Akane appeared with a basket that seemed to be full of food and treats.

“Ah, Akane-san~” Shinoa approached her. “This is the first time that Yuu-san has seen the portrait of Mikaela and he’s fascinated by it”.

“Right, it is fascinating” Akane responded with a smile. “Mikaela-sama is truly beautiful. I’m sure he also captivated Yuu-sama”.

“I suppose…” I said waving them away.

“Hee~, it smells pretty good” Yoichi said. “What do you have in the basket, Akane-chan?”.

“Oh, Sayuri-san gave some cookies” she replied cheerfully. “I thought we could eat them all together”.

 “Sure, let’s have a picnic by the beach” Mitsuba said.

“Sounds good” I replied.

“Yeah, let’s get some fresh air” Kimizuki continued.

As we were making our way out of the Mansion, I turned to look back at the portrait one last time.

 

Mansion’s Parlor

2:00 PM

Without Aoi in the way, the adults continued their chat about the inheritance.

“Do you all really believe the old man’s Legend of the Gold?”

“No, but we surely know that the gold exists” Mahiru replied. “The fact that father received 10 tons of gold bars can be confirmed by several sources”.

“Isn’t there a limit on how ridiculous you all can get?” Kureto laughed. “Where’s the proof of all that anyway?”

“That doesn’t matter, Kureto nii-san” Shinya responded. “Even if the gold isn’t real, there’s a huge amount of wealth that the Head has raised over the years”.

“Don’t tell me that even you Guren believe that story” Kureto asked.

“It’s not that I can prove that the old man really has the gold” Guren said. “But I’m interested on getting my part as one of the possible inheritors”.

“Oh, even you say it” Kureto continued. “Okay, maybe what you all want to say is that I’m keeping the gold to myself, right?”.

“Well, you maybe have already found the gold bars and you’re keeping them to yourself” Mito said annoyed by Kureto. “It looks that way”.

“But there may be a way to restore the “confidence” we had in you” Goshi said.

Suddenly the room went in complete silence. Everyone exchanged looks, ready to make their move.

“What is it then?” Kureto asked.

“We just want what we deserve as potential heirs, obviously~” Mahiru replied mischievously. “You aren’t the type who would steal our father’s property. You’ve always been a good son who have been looking for him”.

“Don’t be so roundabout” Kureto said. “Get to the point, Mahiru”.

“She means we have some conditions for you” Guren continued.

“Hah, that’s…”.

“Our first condition: Kureto, you must admit that you found the Head’s gold” Mito cut him off.

“Our second condition: Regarding the gold, take each of our portion and pay it to us” Goshi continued.

“Our third condition: The portion of the gold to the one chosen as the successor will be 50%. The remain will be split between the rest fairly” Shinya said.

“Our fourth condition: The divided gold will be included by the time the inheritance is distributed after the old man’s death” Guren added. “However a deposit of 10% of our portions will be paid before March of the next year”.

Everyone glanced at Kureto with superiority, knowing that he’s on a weak position since everyone agreed to go against him.

“What do you think, nii-san?~” Mahiru asked. “It’s the ideal chance for you to get back our trust on you to run father’s assets, right?~”

The fact that Kureto wasn’t trusted as the one in charge was so obvious that it didn’t need an explanation. He would abuse his privilege and violate the other adult’s shares. Everyone was striking back at him by working together.

“I’m sorry to tell you this, but there are further conditions, nii-san” Shinya added. “Our first condition is that the decision has higher priority than father’s will”.

“Our six condition or let us call it just a bonus” Goshi continued. “If you really manage to find the gold, you can monopolize it”.

“Hoh” Kureto exclaimed, thoughtful. “Well, if I’m going to accept, let me add a seventh condition: In case any of you find the gold, you will immediately give it to me”.

“Hehe, of course we will” Mahiru giggled.

There was a hidden meaning in all that. Everyone that was forcing Kureto to pay money for a possibly nonexistent gold, obviously would not ensure Kureto’s portion of they actually manage to find it. From the very beginning this was nothing but a threat directed to Kureto.

The possibility of Kureto using part of Tenri’s fortune for his own business was very high. When the time of Tenri’s death came, the inheritance would be distributed among all the adults, and that kind of situation would be fatal for Kureto. They threatened him to try and get a huge amount of money from him.

“Hahaha, if accepting this conditions our relationship will become friendly again, then I’ll gladly accept”.” Kureto said, sarcastically.

Even if he accepted the deal, after his last lines, nobody was able to wipe away the feeling of insecurity.

“Huh… how obedient of you” Mito said, harshly.

“Mito, you really think that I have some hidden motive?” Kureto said, letting out a dry laugh. “It’s just the same as all yours”.

Shinya analyzed Kureto’s expression, it was that ‘I have an idea at the same level as yours’ look and he knew that it wouldn’t end well if the conversation continued for longer. He urged to get the conversation to a conclusion.

“Then since we are fine, would you mind signing here, nii-san?” he said while taking out six contracts. “It has the discussion we had just have. There’s one for each of us, we’ll all sing for the same content”.

“And don’t worry, your seventh condition will be added too~” Mahiru stated.

Kureto was about to sign but suddenly stopped.

“Actually, to make sure this is effective, I would like to propose a single amendment”.

“Wait, we already decided, haven’t we?” Mito exclaimed. “Just sign it”.

“Why so impatient, Mito?” Kureto asked. “I do agree with everything except for the fourth condition. I can’t give you that money in that small period of time. Revoke that condition and I will sign”.

Everyone felt shivers starting to crawl up their backs.

“Why do you all put that face?” he continued. “Are you possibly afraid of something”.

Kureto gazed at the rest of the adults, and started evidencing their bad financial situation and problems with their companies, one by one. All of them, without exception, needed money urgently.

Now the situation was reversed. Kureto was able to turn the table because, compared to him, everyone had and urgent need of money, and he had hidden that knowledge to the very end after examining their attitude and expressions.

“In times like these, it surely would be nice to find father’s hidden gold” he added. “Tonight, let’s solve the riddle of Mikaela’s epitaph and discover the location of the gold”.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Tenri’s Study

After the ending of the adults’ long discussion about Tenri’s inheritance, Narumi went to Tenri’s study to report the deal they made.

“Hmm, so what are these conditions?” the old man asked.

“Whether Kureto-sama actually managed to discover the gold, he would pay certain quantity to the rest” the young servant explained. “However, 10% of that would be paid before March”.

“Hahahahaha Kureto got sink by the rest” Tenri laughed coldly. “Isn’t that pleasant. But their trap was naïve?”

“Yes. Kureto-sama exposed that the all the rest had an urgent need of money” Narumi responded.

“Hmm I wouldn’t call that exposing. What a incompetent man my son is” the man said. “SO, what are they doing now?”

“Mikaela-sama’s epitaph is being discussed” the young boy continued. “They are trying to solve the riddle and find the hidden gold”.

 “Will the miracle be fulfilled first, or will these fools expose the gold first?” he snorted. “Is they solve the riddle, I’ll be completely defeated. But if the fulfillment of the miracle comes first… Mikaela will be resurrected!”

Tenri let down the glass of wine he had been drinking.

“The sacred night when the miracle is wagered will come and the devil’s game will begin!” he continued. “I’ll give up the other people’s life. I’ll definitely win, I-“.

Tenri started coughing and choked, apparently in great pain. Narumi got closer to pat his master’s back, but Tenri waved him away in signal that he didn’t need to.

“Do you know why I went to the trouble of exposing the location of the gold?” the old man asked the servant.

“No…”

“It’s because magical power is decided by risk” he explained. “If there’s a great number of people who try to discover Mikaela’s gold and the danger of that happening is also high, the magical power will bring a grand miracle”

The man sat into his chair and continue drinking his glass of poisonous wine.

“In other words, magic is a game in which the most superior is not always the winner, but the winner is superior because he is granted magic. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

What Tenri meant was that the one who solved the mystery of Mikaela’s epitaph would get everything. Wealth, honor, prestige, gold and all the inheritance of the Hiragi family.

“Taking the riddle is the only condition, but it’s not limited to those fools” Tenri pointed at Narumi. “If you succeeded, you’d qualify to get everything”

“Yes. However, I couldn’t possibly understand such a difficult riddle” the servant said.

“No, you must challenge it, everyone must. That way magic will born and the miracle will happen!” Tenri added. “Give power to my magic and Mikaela will come back”.

Tenri repeatedly muttered to himself for a while. Narumi stayed there, alert and waiting until he got another order from his master.

“Well, leave me” Tenri said when he composed himself. “There are some sweets on the cabinet, you can take some as a reward”.

“I’m fine, Tenri-sama… After all I’m just furniture”.

The young servant bowed and left the study.

 

Rokkenjima’s Beach

3:00 PM

Imagen10

“So, at the tenth twilight the journey shall end and you should reach the Golden Land…”

I read out loud from some notes that Shinoa had taken about the Sorcerer’s epitaph. She may not look like it, but she’s really into magic and that stuff, I think is from family, but she’s not crazy as Tenri.

Thanks to her notes, we were able to challenge the puzzle of the epitaph while relaxing at the beach. Everyone else had already given it a shot long ago, but this was my first try so I was a little curious about it.

“My beloved hometown, the sweetfish running through it…” I read through the notes. “Hey. where was the old man’s hometown again?”

“Hmm… If I recall correctly, Tenri-sama’s family owned a mansion in Odawara, before the war” Akane replied, trying to remember.

She didn’t have any kind of afternoon chores, so she made us some company. It seemed that she was having fun spending her time with us.

“Okay, okay. So, there’s a sweetfish river in Odawara. What was its name?” I said thoughtful. “Ugh, whatever… Is there anything if you head down it?”

“If you follow it downstream, you’ll arrive to the ocean” Kimizuki answered uninterested.

“Right! An the next line says ‘If you follow the river downstream. You’ll find a village’” Yoichi continued. “In the past there was a very prosperous city, now Odawara castle is there”.

“Oh, how interesting~” Shinoa said. “Let’s see where Yuu-san’s reasoning can take him~”

Shinoa gave me a huge grin that basically said that, if the riddle could be solver so easily, she’d have already done it. Tch, I’ll definitely solve it and keep it all for myself!

Whatever, continuing with the epitaph, the next line:

‘In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.

There sleeps the key to the Golden Land’.

“What does it mean by ‘the two’?” I asked, intrigued.

“We don’t know” Mitsuba responded. “We didn’t get any further after this when we tried to solve it”

“Oi, Akane” I called for her. “Haven’t the old man told you anything about it?”

“Actually, Tenri-sama almost never speaks of his past” she answered giving me and apologetic look.

If we couldn’t decide the starting place, we couldn’t even begin to play the epitaph’s game.

“So annoying” I said, scratching my head. “Can’t we just throw away the first lines and start digging from the next ones?”

“Huh, let’s hear the rest of stupid Yuu’s reasoning” Kimizuki said, now looking more interested.

“The next part… It becomes quite disturbing” Akane frowned.

After looking again at Shinoa’s notes, I got what she meant.

‘The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules.

On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices’.

It sure did turn creepy out of nowhere.

‘On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close’.

“Does that mean to break a loving relationship or something?” I said, more to myself.

“It said that al least eleven people should become sacrifices” Yoichi said a little scared.

“Yeah, sacrifices to revive the sorcerer” Shinoa continued. “By the ninth twilight, the sorcerer shall be revived and none shall be left alive”

‘On the tenth twilight, the journey shall end, and you shall reach the capital where the gold dwells.

The sorcerer will praise the wise and should bestow four treasures.

One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.

One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.

One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.

One shall be, to put the sorcerer to sleep for all time’.

“Then what’s the point of it all if he’s going back to sleep again” I said. “That’s stupid”.

“Right?” Mitsuba continued. “I’ve been trying to say that to Shinoa but she’s really into it you know”.

Yeah, the existence of a sorcerer was just so ridiculous. Apparently for Shinoa the interesting thing wasn’t the gold, but the birth of the magic to revive the sorcerer. That’s why she wanted to solve the riddle.

“It can’t be helped. There are times when you start to think that he’s real” Akane giggled. “Some servants have seen golden butterflies dancing around”

“Golden butterflies? I asked more confused. I mean, a sorcerer was already a thing, but butterflies, really?

“Yeah, that’s the form that Mikaela-sama’s magic takes” Akane responded.

Right, I don’t think someone with ‘butterfly magic’ can be as scary as they portray him.

“Don’t give that look Yuu-sama, actually it’d dreadful if you don’t respect him” she continued, noticing the ‘you’re all stupid for believing it’ look that I gave. “I heard that just before I began working, some servant spoke badly about Mikaela-sama and felt down. They had to quit after receiving a severe injury in their back”.

“Right, there was a rumor that Mikaela’s anger was brought down upon this servant” Mitsuba said, trying to recall the moment.

“Then, anger definitely will be brought upon Mitsu and Yuu-san~” Shinoa said giggling.

“Oh my, sorry. I apologize, Shinoa and also I’m so sorry, Mikaela-sama” I said sarcastically.

“I apologize too” Mitsuba joined me. “Will the sorcerer be able to forgive us now?”

“I hear that he just forgives what he wants, but don’t wat he doesn’t” Yoichi added. “Hey Shinoa-san, isn’t there a good luck charm that could prevent them to have Mikaela-sama’s anger brought down upon them?” he giggled.

Motivated by that last line, Shinoa took out a book from her bag. It was all filled with magic stuff including spells and artefacts. She was seeking for some kind of charm capable of protecting us for the ‘sorcerer’s wrath.

When she finally found what she was looking for, she threw the book back into her bag and started seeking for something in it’s insides. When she found the items, she handed them to us.

As I reached out to grab it, I noticed that it was a very cheap looking charm, somewhat like a bracelet made of plastic with a scorpion medal attached to it. It looked like an item you’d get in a ufo-catcher. There were to of them, one for me and one for Mitsuba.

“Ah, ummm, thanks Shinoa” Mitsuba said, trying not to say more or Shinoa would start arguing about how magic is real and all that stuff.

“Isn’t the scorpion drawn as a magic repelling symbol in sorcery?” Kimizuki asked.

“Yes! The scorpion protects against bad magic and misfortune” Shinoa replied enthusiastically. “Wear it on your arm when you want a peaceful heart, put it on your wallet and your money wont decrease. I you hang it on your doorknob, bad thing can’t get in”.

“Wow, what a convenient charm” Yoichi said a little amused.

Everyone started making Shinoa some other questions about black magic, it was weird and all but I have to admit that it was quite interesting. I don’t believe in it, tho. Suddenly, the color in the clouds started growing gray.

“Huh?” Kimizuki rubbed his head and looked up at the sky.

The wind has gotten a bit stronger and it seemed that it started to drizzle. Akane looked at her watch and noticed that it was past the evening.

“I think we should head back” Mitsuba suggested. “Akane, is it time for you to return to work?”

“Yes. Thank you for letting me enjoy some time with you” she thanked cheerfully.

We folded the blanket we were sitting on, picked up the trash and helped Akane to clean everything up.

“Oh Akane-chan, it’s okay if you head back first” Yoichi said when we finished cleaning. “Looks like you’re out of time”.

“Right, Shigure-san can be very strict with time if you aren’t at the right place at the right time” Shinoa continued.

“Yeah, thank you” Akane bowed. “Then if you’ll excuse me”.

After Akane left, we made our way through the beach stairway end returned to the rose garden.

By the time we reached it, the wind became very strong and the roses shook throughout the garden, tonight’s typhoon was sure to ruin them.

“Oh” Yoichi exclaimed, noticing something. “The rose”.

Right, when we arrived in the morning, there was this ill rose that we were supposed to take care during our stay. Apparently, Yoichi remembered it and was searching for it.

We started searching throughout all the garden but we couldn’t find it.

“Are you sure it was this place?” I asked.

“Yeah, it was right here” he responded.

“Hoho, maybe Mikaela-sama took it~” Shinoa giggled.

As we where speaking, Mahiru came out of the mansion. She noticed Shinoa’s distinct giggle.

“Are you looking for something? ~” she asked mischievously.

We explained the situation to Mahiru. It wasn’t a big deal for us, but it kinda was for Yoichi.

“Isn’t that strange, nee-san? ~” Shinoa continued. “It could be part of the sorcerer’s magic”:

“Shinoa, stop it” Mahiru exclaimed as her sister continued to talk about magic and that stuff.

Mahiru looked angry and annoyed. I was a bit surprised to see her like that, I got used to see her just as a playful and sarcastic adult.

Mahiru took her sister to a place far from us, but still from the distance, we could see that they were in some kind of fight. After a while, we saw Shinoa walking away, Mitsuba and Yoichi wanted to go after her, but that wasn’t probably the best, so we stopped them.

Mahiru asked us to get into the building and we did as she said. We called towards Shinoa to let her know that we were returning to the guesthouse, hoping that our words reached her.

 

Tenri’s Study

4:30 PM

Imagen11

Tenri noticed the sound of the raindrops against the window. It had begun to rain later than the weather report predicted. The old man, like if being summoned by the rain, approached the window.

“You are late, Mikaela” he said. “So, shall we start?”

Those words seemed to be directed to the rainy sky. There was no one else in the room.

“Let us begin our banquet of miracles, now the island has been cut off from the rest world” he exclaimed. “There’s no one that can interrupt the ceremony and there are many sacrifices for you. You may eat as many as you please”.

He approached the window more and more.

“The key will select the sacrifices in accordance to the Demons Roulette” he continued. “First I’ll return the inheritance of the Hiragi family. Accept it!”

As Tenri violently opened the window, he took off a golden ring stuck on his finger and threw it away.

At that time, thunder resounded, giving the illusion that the lighting had accepted the ring.

“Welcome to the banquet, Mikaela”.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Guest House

6:00 PM

A news advertisement about the typhoon popped while we were watching TV. The report said that all prefectures near the coast were sending out rain, flood and wave warnings.

“Even if it’s raining to hard, it feels like it’s going to stop soon” Yoichi whispered, hoping his words came true.

“They said the typhoon is moving slow, so it may be like this also tomorrow” Kimizuki replied, watching the raindrops fall from the window.

“I don’t you’ll be able to head back on Sunday after all” Mitsuba added.

“Great, that means we can skip school on Monday” I said happily. “Living here is starting to look pretty good”.

I stretched and let myself lie on the sofa. It was a bad time, all the programs were filled with weather warnings and stuff like that, so we had nothing to do until we were called for dinner.

Shinoa hadn’t returned to the room yet, probably she was brought to the mansion by Mahiru. We thought about going back to the mansion to meet up with her, but the weather was on the way. There wasn’t much time until dinner anyway, so we stayed at the guest house.

“Yes?” Mitsuba asked after we heard a knock in the door.

“The preparations for the dinner are complete” Narumi spoke from the other side. “Please come to the mansion”.

 As we were leaving the room, Narumi made a silent and respectful bow.

“Shinoa-sama isn’t with you?” the young servant asked.

“No” Mitsuba answered. “We thought she was with her sister”.

 

Mansion’s Main Hall

6:05 PM

Imagen13

“What time is it now?” Mahiru asked to the servant in the room.

“It’s slightly after 6:00 PM” Shigure took out her pocket watch immediately after she was asked.

“Thanks, Shigure” Mahiru replied as she was looking outside through the nearest window. “I haven´t seen Shinoa. Did she return to the guesthouse?” Mahiru knew how stubborn her sister could get sometimes. She’s a Hiragi after all.

Outside really looked like a typhoon was passing by and was pouring down heavily. She knew that Shinoa didn’t have a umbrella with her when they fought, so she really hoped that she returned to the guest house with the others before the weather got worst.

 

Guest House

6:10 PM

“I’m worried about Shinoa-san” Yoichi said.

We hadn’t worried too much, thinking that Mahiru had taken her back to the mansion, but now that Narumi, who came from the mansion, asked us if she was with us, we got a little worried.

“I didn’t see her in the mansion, so I was sure that she was here” Narumi said. “I also couldn’t see her on my way here, my apologies”.

“Let’s better go and look for her” I said “Oi Kimizuki, why don’t we race over there?”

“Huh? Do you really plan on beating me?” Kimizuki said. “Alright, let’s do this, idiot Yuu”.

Each of us took an umbrella and flew out into the rain. Mitsuba, Yoichi and Narumi followed us.

Imagen12

“Shinoa! Please answer me!”

When we arrived back at the rose garden, we noticed Mahiru calling for Shinoa in the middle of it.

“Where is Shinoa?” she asked. “Isn’t she with you?”

“No, she didn’t return after what happened” Yoichi replied, catching up his breath.

We all agreed to split up and look for her. While I circled around one of the rose beds, something white unexpectedly turned to face me.

It was a golden umbrella…

Shinoa, holding a golden umbrella to be more precise.

“You idiot” I exclaimed. “Don’t tell me you are still looking for that rose?”

I started wonder if she had been there since the rain started pouring down.

“Yuu-kun, you found her!” Yoichi said.

Everyone gathered up and were relieved that at least she was carrying an umbrella with her.

“Shinoa!” Mahiru ran to the spot she was and threw her umbrella away so she could hug her sister. “I’m sorry… Let’s go inside”.

We took Shinoa with us and headed back to the mansion.

“I’m so relieved that you had an umbrella with you Shinoa” Mitsuba said.

“Oh no, I didn’t bring and umbrella” Shinoa replied.

“Huh? Then how did you get that golden one you’re holding?” Kimizuki asked, confused.

“I just borrowed it~” she answered.

It somehow looked like some caring person had brought her an umbrella.

“Right. I’ll have to thank that person” Mahiru returned to her usual self. “Who was it?”

“Mikaela” Shinoa responded.

The name that she mentioned was the name of the island’s sorcerer. Mahiru took a deep breath and asked again, trying to avoid any other discussion like the one before. To her luck, the answer was the same so she just threw the subject away for now.

 

Tenri’s Study

6:15 PM

“Father, please at least join us for dinner” along with a dull knocking in the door, the sound of Kureto’s voice could be perfectly heard.

“Master, won’t you come out to dinner?” Shigure, who was standing next to the wooden door, asked.

“Silence, Shigure” the old man said. “If you’re so eager to go down with all that idiots, then you can leave”:

That wasn’t really the reason, but she was a servant after all and had special duties assigned for tonight’s dinner. She bowed before leaving the room and give a last glance to her master, hoping that he’d change his mind.

The door of the study opened, Kureto was waiting, hoping that his father was actually coming out.

“Shigure, is my father coming out” he asked.

“I’m sorry Kureto-sama” she bowed. “Right now, Tenri-sama’s world is nothing but this room”.

“Father, can you hear me?” Kureto knocked the door one last time. “Please join us when you feel like it. Everyone is waiting”.

His voice was really loud and the knocks on the door were being noisy too. There was no way that Tenri couldn’t hear that, but he ignored it anyway. However, unlike when he was called for lunch, he didn’t get into a rage. He was actually quite calm.

“I’m not interested in dinner” he whispered. “I’ll only leave this room when Mikaela is resurrected or when I’m chosen as a sacrifice for the key”.

He laid down on his chair, facing at the window.

“The Demon’s Roulette has already started spinning”.

 

Mansion’s Dining Hall

6:30 PM

Tenri’s figure couldn’t be seen anywhere in the dining hall. Kureto and Shigure return back to the room, the first one wearing a bitter smile.

“Father is not feeling well” Kureto announced. “But he regrets missing this once a year opportunity to gather with all of us”.

All the adults exchanged look, relieved looks actually. Everyone thought that judging Tenri’s character, he didn’t regret it at all, and none of the presents regretted that he didn’t show up either.

“Let’s start dinner” he exclaimed. “Seishiro, begin”.

When Seishiro was ordered to begin with the family dinner, he nodded and told the other servant to get ready.

“By the way, I was wondering~” Mahiru said, cutting through the silence in the room. “Who was the one who gave Shinoa an umbrella?”

“Umbrella?” Shinya asked, curiously.

“Yeah, while she was wandering around the rose garden and it started raining, it seems that she borrowed a golden umbrella from someone” Mahiru continued. “I wanted to thank them”.

“It wasn’t one of us” Guren said. “After you went out we moved to another room to continue ‘chatting’”.

“Yeah, we were all together the while time” Goshi added.

“Kureto went up to the study” Mito said. “The rest of us went straight to this room”.

“Probably was a servant” Shinya suggested.

“Right, so, Seishiro?” Mahiru turned to look at the servant.

“My apologies” he answered. “I’ve been in the kitchen the whole time”.

He actually looked really disappointed about missing this chance to show off.

“Hoh~, then what about Sayuri or Akane-chan” at that time Akane and Sayuri appeared pushing a serving cart with a ton of appetizers.

“Yes?” Akane asked, confused. “Have I made a mistake?”

She shrunk, getting the wrong idea and thinking she was being accused of making some mistake.

“No, you haven’t, Akane-chan” Yoichi interrupted. “When Shinoa-san was in the rose garden and it started to rain, someone gave her an umbrella”.

“I told you it was Mikaela~” Shinoa whispered to herself, looking a little annoyed that we were still asking who it was.

Mahiru explained the situation once more.

“Oh, it wasn’t us” Sayuri replied. “We were preparing the rooms so we didn’t go outside”.

“Huh? Preparing the rooms” Kureto interrupted. “What do you mean?”

“I thought that because of the rain, it’d be difficult for you to return to the guesthouse” Aoi explained calmly. “So, I ordered the servants to prepare the guest rooms inside the mansion”.

“Yes, we were ordered by Aoi-sama and Narumi-san, Sayuri-san and I were preparing the rooms” Akane added. “Then it became time for dinner and we were ordered to get the people in the guesthouse. Narumi-san went”.

“Yeah, probably Narumi-san found her on the way and gave her the umbrella”.

Mahiru kept asking the rest but she didn’t find any answer. We explained to her what happened since we left to the guesthouse until the time we found her in the rose garden.

The older sister was confused, everyone’s answer to her question was a no, and there wasn’t anyone left in the island to ask. Everyone started whispering on how strange this had gotten.

“Why don’t we just ask the person who was given the umbrella?” Shinya suggested. Actually, that was what everyone had been thinking since the beginning.

Mahiru frowned a bit, knowing exactly what Shinoa’s answer would be.

“Mikaela~” she replied enthusiastically.

The dining hall stayed in complete silence for a moment, but suddenly all you could hear was the laughter from the adults.

“Haha, isn’t that amazing, Mahiru” Guren said while stealing some appetizers from the serving cart. “The great sorcerer, ruler of the island lent your sister an umbrella”.

“Wait…” Mitsuba asked me in a small voice. “Does that mean a witch really appeared and lent her an umbrella?”

“I… don’t know. I mean, Shinoa is usually messing around with us and our mind but still…”

We didn’t know if we should believe in her story or not, probably it was another of her jokes, but who knew. Thinking about it, she when she emptied the contents of her bag while we were at the beach, an umbrella never popped out.

However… it was really hard to explain what Shinoa said. This was getting really unnerving…

Once the appetizers where set on the table, the meal began. A couple casual chats were heard here and there, everyone immersed in their own group.

Akane and Sayuri pushed back the serving cart into the hallway, there they caught Narumi and Shigure in the middle of a conversation.

“Shigure-san…” Narumi said. “Did Mikaela-sama really return? I’ll inform the Master”.

“That’s not necessary. If he returned, he’ll eventually appear before Tenri-sama” the older servant replied.

“That means that the Master’s ceremony has already begun…”

“Probably, but that’s nothing to do with furniture like us” the female added. “We must return the favor that we received from the Mater until our final moments”

“Right… that’s furniture’s duty” Narumi said.

The thunder crashed once more and after the instant the lighting lit the sky, all that could be seen outside of the window was the darkness of the night.

Just as humans rule when the sun is up, the time when it goes down is ruled by those who are not human. The darkness that surrounded Rokkenjima wasn’t ruled by the Hiragi family, but by another master.

Narumi looked at the garden through the window, but the only thing he could clearly see was the dim lights in the outside. Looking at those lights felt like he was making eye contact with the sorcerer, and he couldn’t help but to advert his gaze.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Mansion’s Dining Hall

Can the weather change how people act? It’s common to hear stories about how stuff like atmospheric pressure can influence people’s behavior and health. For some time, everyone had been making efforts on clearing the gloomy atmosphere, but any conversation ended quickly and the room was buried by the sound of the rain.

The dessert that was brought to us, was a delicious chocolate cake. I wished that Guren could cook like that. The guest of honor, Hiragi Tenri, was absent, the weather was horrible and the person who lent Shinoa the umbrella was still a mystery.

Another serving cart entered the room, this time filled with coffee and tea. After that, dinner was over.

“Her everyone~” Shinoa called us. “Is dinner over?”

“Yeah, I think so” I replied. “Why?”

She suddenly looked really excited and that probably wasn’t good. We thought that maybe she was waiting to prank us or something like that. After she heard from Seishiro that dinner was officially over, a huge grin appeared on her face.

Shinoa stood from hear seat, took out her bag and started looking for something inside it. None of the adults were concerned about that, but we were. Who knows what she could be planning.

“Shinoa, where did you get that?” Mitsuba asked, surprised.

I turned to face her and noticed that she was holding an envelope. On the front of it, the Hiragi family crest, the One-winged Eagle, was done in gold leaf. It was sealed with a dark red wax that also had the crest printed on it.

Imagen14

“Shinoa-chan, what is that?” Shinya, who was sitting next to her, asked. He also noticed the strangeness of the envelope that Shinoa was holding.

If that envelope was held by Kureto, then that would be normal, but that person was Shinoa.

Everyone turned their attention to Shinoa, all seeming confused.

“That envelope has Hiragi Tenri’s…” even Kimizuki seemed startled.

The envelope that Shinoa was holding, was one of the Hiragi family Head’s custom-made envelopes for private use. It could only mean one thing… the envelope contained a message from Tenri.

We all knew that Shinoa was a Hiragi by blood, but even though… she never had any strong connection with the Head. The question that everyone stated in their minds was why was Shinoa the one chosen if it indeed contained a message from Tenri?

“Why is an envelope like that doing here?” Kureto asked. “Let me see that, Shinoa”.

As Kureto made his way to Shinoa’s seat, she quickly hid the envelope in her bag.

“No, no~” she said giggling. “I was told to read it to everyone”.

“Hey, Shinoa-chan” Goshi called her from the other side of the room. “Where did you get this envelope?”

“I got it from Mikaela” she replied. “She handed it along with the umbrella. She told me to read it to everyone after dinner was over. Isn’t that interesting~” she giggled.

It had to be a joke, she probably stole it from somewhere and was just messing with us. Guren seemed to be thinking the same and was giving her the ‘you’re taking it too far, idiot’ look.

Shinoa ignored him and casually opened the envelope. When she removed the wax, it felt on the table and Shinya picked it up. Alongside with Aoi, Mito and Goshi, they started analyzing it and confirmed what everyone were thinking.

“This is indeed… father’s personal crest” Shinya whispered.

Everyone started making theories of how someone could just use old letters wax seals as models to make a fake one, and that no matter how the seal resembled to Tenri’s, there was no roof that it was really from him.

Everyone was afraid. Tenri’s intentions were written in there and they feared that they would be an unfavorable announcement regarding the inheritance.

“It’s just a dubious letter handed by a suspicious person” Aoi exclaimed. “It’s not even worth reading”.

“Oi Mitsuba, it wouldn’t be a big deal if we read it, right?” I whispered to her, actually a bit curious on what could be inside.

Somehow Aoi managed to hear me and gave a cold death glare.

“So, in summary, the envelope wasn’t send by father, but by the sorcerer Mikaela” Shinya spoke. “Who cares who sent it, let’s just hear what’s inside before que decide anything”.

Everyone exchanged worried looks but agreed to let Shinoa read it since all were concerned about the contents of the envelope she was given.

“Then…” Mahiru said. “Sis, can you read it for us?”

Everybody in the room stared fiercely at Shinoa as she took out the letter inside. Shinoa started reading the letter, but she her voice sounded darker and the playful tone she usually uses was gone too. Everyone went silent suddenly.

“Welcome to Rokkenjima, members of the Hiragi family and heirs. I am Mikaela, the alchemist of this family employed by Tenri-sama himself.

I have served him for many years in accordance with our contract, but on this day, Tenri-sama has announced the suspension of that contract. Therefore, I ask that you acknowledge my resignation from the position of family alchemist from this day forth”.

“How foolish! That’s nonsense!” Kureto exclaimed.

“And now, there is one part of the contract that must be explained to all present. I, Mikaela, lent Tenri-sama a vast quantity of gold under certain terms. One of these terms specifies that all the gold is to be returned to me upon the termination of the contract. Furthermore, I am to receive everything of the Hiragi family as interest” Shinoa continued.

“This is ridiculous” Aoi interrupted. “This has been ridiculous from the very beginning”.

The face of all the adults were completely pale and shocked, while ours looked confused.

“After hearing this, you will may feel as though Tenri-sama has been savagely ruthless. However, Tenri-sama did append a special clause to the contract so that you would have a chance to preserve your wealth and honor. If and only if that special clause is fulfilled, I will lose my rights to the gold and the interest for all eternity.

Special clause: Mikaela retains the right to collect the gold and accumulated interest upon the termination of the contract. However, if someone is able to discover the hidden gold of this contract, Mikaela must abandon these rights for all time.

The collection of the interest will proceed shortly, but if any one of you fulfills the terms of this special clause, I shall return everything including the portion that has already been collected. Furthermore, as the first step in this collection of Tenri-sama’s debt, I have taken possession of the Hiragi family’s ‘Head Ring’, which signifies the passage of the Hiragi family headship from one individual to another. I ask that you confirm this for yourselves by examining the imprint on the wax seal”.

“Does it really say that?” Kureto said. “Is unthinkable that father would relinquish his ring…” he stared at the wax seal as though he was trying to burn a hole through it.

Guren and Mito were doing the same over his shoulder.

“I’m sure I had the odd feeling that something was missing from Tenri-sama’s finger when I was checking on him” Akane said and excused herself for speaking without permission.

“Akane! Don’t say something so careless just because of a vague memory” Aoi shouted at her.

“That doesn’t matter, in first place, the illusion of the gold itself is fake” Kureto exclaimed.

The dinning hall suddenly turned into a debating chamber, all the adults were saying this and that about how the letter could be fake or not. We just stood there, whispering to each other while Shinoa seemed to be immersed in her own world.

“Kureto…” Guren called him. “Is it a possibility that someone you don’t know is actually managing the old man’s assets?”

“Don’t said such stupid things, Guren” Kureto replied. “I’m the only one in control of them”.

“So, in other words, there are some assets that you are not in control of, Kureto nii-san?” Shinya asked.

“There’s no way that something like that exists!” Aoi exclaimed, trying to defend Kureto.

“No… it does” Mito interrupted. “That would be Hiragi Tenri’s, no, Mikaela’s hidden gold”.

After some more arguing, the adults concluded that there was some trusted confidante that Kureto didn’t know about and has always been in charge of watching and managing the gold.

“Could it be that this confidante called Mikaela is trying to test which of us is most fitting to be financed by his gold?” Goshi suggested.

What Goshi had just said was something that all the adults wanted to be made clear. They realized that the epitaph that was beneath the portrait always implied that the one who solved the puzzle would receive everything, but no one had never clearly stated it.

The idea of receiving the all the fortune after solving the riddle was just something that everyone hoped might be true, but now it had been clearly expressed by Mikaela’s letter!

“Let’s hear the rest of the letter before we made any decision” Shinya said. “Shinoa-chan, please continue”.

“Tenri-sama has already publicly displayed the location of the hidden gold within the epitaph under my portrait. The rules apply equally to all who can read the epitaph. If you discover the gold, I shall return everything to you.

Tonight, I ask that you enjoy your battle of wits with Tenri-sama to the fullest. I sincerely pray that this night will be both intellectual an elegant.

-Mikaela the Golden Sorcerer”.

 

Tenri’s Study

8:00 PM

Imagen15

“Father! I know you can hear me!” Kureto exclaimed while desperately knocking the door of Tenri’s study.

The door of the room was being violently beaten over and over again by the group of adults. They were trying to intrude Tenri’s study so they could question him about the meaning behind the letter.

On the inside of the room, Tenri was eating. An elegant tablecloth was set over the desk and the same type of food that was served to us for dinner, was now set in the table in front of the man.

“Everyone is calling for you, but… what should I do?” Akane asked, nervous about all the fuss that was going on outside.

“Should I silence them, Master?” Shigure asked.

“Leave it” Tenri replied. “There’s no need. It doesn’t reach my ears”.

“Since Shinoa-sama received the letter from Mikaela-sama and read it in front of everyone…” Narumi, who stood in reserve, spoke. “I wonder if they want to test its authenticity”.

“Those fools, did they start already?” Tenri laughed coldly. “Come, Mikaela. I don’t feel like losing” he continued. “The roulette has begun to spin. Which pocket will the ball fall into? Noir? Rouge? Or house takes everything?”

The man raised his glass as if he were toasting with somebody.

“You may begin, Mikaela. I’ll show you the power of miracles once more!”

Chapter Text

Behold the sweetfish river running through my beloved hometown.
You who seek the Golden Land, follow its path downstream in search of the key.

As you travel down it, you will see a village.
In that village, look for the shore the two will tell you of.
There sleeps the key to the Golden Land.

The one who obtains the key must then travel to the Golden Land in accordance with these rules.

On the first twilight, offer the six chosen by the key as sacrifices. 
On the second twilight, those who remain shall tear apart the two who are close.
On the third twilight, those who remain shall praise my noble name.
On the fourth twilight, gouge the head and kill.
On the fifth twilight, gouge the chest and kill.
On the sixth twilight, gouge the stomach and kill.
On the seventh twilight, gouge the knee and kill.
On the eighth twilight, gouge the leg and kill.
On the ninth twilight, the sorcerer shall revive, and none shall be left alive.
On the tenth twilight, the journey shall end, and you shall reach the capital where the gold dwells.

The sorcerer will praise the wise, and should bestow four treasures.
One shall be, all the gold from the Golden Land.
One shall be, the resurrection of the souls of all the dead.
One shall be, even the resurrection of the lost love.
One shall be, to put the sorcerer to sleep for all time.

Sleep peacefully, my most beloved sorcerer, Mikaela.

Chapter Text

October 4th, 1986

Mansion’s Parlor

08:25 PM

After all the commotion during dinner, everyone returned to the Main Hall. The adults continued asking questions to Shinoa and arguing about the inheritance distribution, completely forgetting that we were still there. From what I could hear, everyone wanted more money as soon as possible.

Since it seemed that no one needed us, we decided to leave our seats and go hang out somewhere else.

“Now I understand why Hiiragi Tenri never shows his face during meals” Mitsuba said.

After hearing their talk, everyone felt irritated and quite sad about the attitude that the people who raised us were taking.

“You are all minors, you might not understand but getting money is not and easy task” Kimizuki whispered. “Everyone is just doing their best in their own way…”

“Oi Kimizuki, what the hell are you talking about, you are just two years older than us” I exclaimed, irritated. “What’s with your all mature attitude out of a sudden?”

“I know that Kimizuki-kun is helping with his family’s business… but, does that mean that once you start talking about money, you turn into a shameless vulture?” Yoichi asked.

“No… I mean… when your family and employees are counting on you, there are sometimes you need to fight…”

It looked like Kimizuki was trying to understand what the adults where doing this all for, but still he seemed disappointed by the attitude of his own family.

“Let’s stop talking about this” Mistuba interrupted before anyone could say anything else. “All of that stuff about hidden gold and inheritance is the adults’ problem, not ours”.

The television on the room suddenly started broadcasting information about the typhoon, which caught the rest’s attention so they got closer to it. To be honest I wouldn’t care less about how the typhoon’s doing so I approached the nearest window and opened it a bit so I could take some breath after all the mess going on.

“Yo, Yuu-san” Shinya said while joining me at the window.

“Ah Shinya, how’s the vulture fest going?” I asked sarcastically.

“Not much progress has been done” he sighed. “Only the candidates for the family head can talk, and everyone pretty much want the same, but they won’t let go all the inheritance to just one person. Also, there’s a debate of who is this Mikaela person…”.

True, people like Aoi and Shinya can’t take big part during the negotiations because they are not direct candidates, but have to stay to bring support to their partners. Shinya lost his opportunity when they broke the engagement with Mahiru, even if his last name is still Hiiragi.

“Who is Mikaela, I wonder?” I sighed while looking at the rain falling outside.

“Yuu, do you think that someone called Mikaela really exists?” Shinya asked me. “Right now, there are 18 people in the island. Do you think the could be a 19th person?”

“What do you mean?”

“It looks like the person who lent the umbrella to Shinoa is not among us 18” Shinya explained. “Isn’t it valid to think that a 19th person exists and that they were the one who lent Shinoa-chan the umbrella?”

Well… that makes sense...

“Then, where is this person now? They must have come here before it started raining and right now taking a boat is pretty much impossible, so they must still be on the island hiding somewhere from the rain and without being spotted by any of us”.

“Right… all of us have been going around the mansion and the guesthouse but no one has bumped into a 19th person…” I said. “But this island is huge, there should be another place to hide beside the guesthouse and here”.

I began to realize what Shinya was thinking. He was denying that a 19th person could exist and that Mikaela was one of us 18. In other words, he thought that someone we knew was tricking us.

“If they were the same Mikaela from Father’s story, there’s no way that he wouldn’t give that person a warm reception. They would surely have been ushered into the mansion, but we haven’t seen anyone” Shinya added.

“Wait, isn’t this reasoning a little to hasty?” I said still trying to find an answer. “Yes, no one spotted them, but that doesn’t mean that you can deny the possibility that a 19th person exists”.

Maybe they landed on the island stealthily and have been hiding ever since. It’s the Devil’s Proof. It’s easy to proof that something exists, if Mikaela appears in front of us everything is resolved, however is not possible to proof that a 19th person doesn’t exist”.

“Yes Yuu, your way of reasoning is not bad. There’s not enough information to accept that a 19th person exists or not” Shinya said. “But if you turn the chessboard over we can be nearly sure that the existence of this person is impossible”.

 ‘Turn the chessboard over’ was one of Shinya’s characteristic phrases. The first time he explained to me he said that when you are struggling trying to find a move in a chess game, by turning the board over and looking from your opponent’s point, you could often see a strategy that would give you an exit. Basically, putting yourself on your opponent’s shoes.

“Let’s say that a 19th person called Mikaela actually exists and they managed to arrive stealthily to the island and remain hidden for a reason” he continued. “In that case, why did they troubled by appearing in front of Shinoa and giving her the letter?”

It was contradictory, if they had some reason for hiding themselves, they should have stayed like that all the time. Why appearing in front of Shinoa?... Oh, right…

“Wait, didn’t Shinoa said she was appointed as messenger?” I remembered.

“Right but, there’s no need for a messenger, they could have just mailed the letter to each candidate and they won’t ignore it that way. First, is Mikaela existed and wanted to make their presence known, then they could have just presented themselves to us” Shinya pointed. “They appeared in front of Shinoa, trying to give the impression that a 19th person existed, but there are contradictions. By keeping them in mid, you turn the chessboard over”.

In short, Shinya was trying to say that there is some scheme by someone who wants to give the impression that there’s a 19th person called Mikaela. All this started sounding creepy. Someone had lent Shinoa and the umbrella and handed her the letter and that person was hiding among us 18. The though of that made me feel sick, thinking that among the people that took care of me all these years, there was a person that could be doing all this.

What was that person planning, hiding their true form and pretending to be Mikaela?

“I suspected that this could be one of Shinoa-chan’s pranks, but this is much even for her” he continued. “But I can’t deny that there’s a possibility that she’s working with someone”.

“Wait… so you’re saying that Shinoa has a part on this?” I said. Actually, we all thought that at first, but now… “Even if she’s always pulling pranks on everyone and acting so mischievously, she wouldn’t do this much”.

“Think about it, Yuu. She’s also a lover of the occult, and we all know how much she believes in the Sorcerer of the portrait” Shinya pointed out. “Someone could have disguised so well as him and managed to trick Shinoa. Putting us all males as principal suspects”.

Learning the details of the encounter of Shinoa and ‘the Sorcerer Mikaela’ could bring and end to this riddle, but everyone pretty much denied the existence of the Sorcerer and she knew it. There were pretty low possibilities that she would talk about it with the adults.

 

Mansion’s Entrance Hall

09:00 PM

Tired of the nonsense questions of the adults, Shinoa abandoned the room and approached the old portrait at the entrance hall.

“No one believes that I met you, even when I showed them the letter you gave me” she said, talking to the portrait in front of her.

 

Mansion’s Parlor

09:30 PM

“So, this is where you were” Guren called from behind.

“What did I miss?” Shinya asked.

“Not much, we decided to take a break to cool our heads. It looks like it’ll last all night makes me want to cry” Guren said sarcastically and let out a bored sight. “But its pouring outside and I don’t want to go back to the Guesthouse. Seems that Aoi made preparations for us to stay here. What will you do, Yuu?”

“There’s no need for us to stay, I think will leave after the rest finish watching that typhoon broadcast thing” I answered.

“Alright. So, you won’t just be going to sleep that easily, right?” he asked.

“I think I’ll be up talking with the rest, catching up and all that”.

“Good, then if when the discussion is over and you are still awake, I want to have a little talk with you two”. His tone was the same as ever but he looked serious.

“A what? That doesn’t sound like you at all” I said, looking at Shinya, but apparently he was as confused as me.

“I’ll tell you later, don’t ask now” he said, looking firmly to both of us.

“Huh? You are freaking me out Guren” I said. “Don’t make a big deal out of it and spit it out”.

“Tonight, I will probably get killed”.

There was a huge crash of thunder. Guren’s expression, brightly illuminated by the lighting, was burned into my eyes. His face, which usually had this carefree look, was for some reason strangely frail.

“H-Huh? What are you talking about?” I asked. Guren turned around and left the room saying he was going for more fresh air and to not to follow him. “What did he say? Tonight he will be killed? Does that letter has actually scared that idiot Guren?”

“Look at the situation, Yuu-san, turn the chessboard over and tell me what you see” Shinya said.

Guren wanted to talk about something, but for some reason he let us thought that he couldn’t bring it up there. In that case, the ‘don’t follow me’ he told us meant the opposite… probably.

“After so many years of knowing Guren I can say that tonight he’s completely tired out from the discussion. He probably wants someone to lean on at the moment, and responding to that need is the duty of his partner”

“Then I’ll leave that idiot in your hands”.

“Yes, leave it to me”

“Hey, Shinya” I called out to his departing back. “Thanks to you my gloomy mood cleared a lot” I said, giving him an energetic smile.

“That’s good” he answered with a wink and followed after Guren.

Mansion’s Corridor

09:30 PM

Imagen16

Aoi could be found in the dimly lit halfway, her expression was completely worn out. She left the room of the discussion to clear her mind, but the conversation between the rest kept repeating inside her head.

She completely put aside that a 19th person, Mikaela, could exist. He was nothing than a character that Hiiragi Tenri used to pass a message that he wrote himself. Tenri had wordlessly admitted that the letter held his own message, proving by the wax seal on the letter that he gave up the Head’s Ring.

Most likely there was a probability that one of the servants had given the letter to Shinoa. Tenri could have made preparations for someone to dress like the person in the portrait.

Of all people Kureto had the biggest advantage to be the next Head, leaving the rest basically out of the list. But with this, Hiiragi Tenri was announcing that he would give everything to the person who solved the riddle, weakening Kureto’s advantage.

Aoi, as Kureto’s wife and only ally in this situation, wanted to fight alongside him. She kept telling him that the existence of the gold was all fake and that there was no need for him to compromise. Even so, Aoi’s words didn’t reach Kureto, he continued to fight by himself and was trying to compromise with the rest. Aoi wondered why she couldn’t be of use to him and started getting angry.

After a moment Kureto joined her, he had told her that he wanted to talk about something and invited her into a room that she was normally not allowed to enter. That room had been sealed with a heavy-looking padlock, and just the look of it made Aoi anxious.

“There’s no reason for you to worry about the rest and this Mikaela person says” she exclaimed. “The gold is just a tale made by your father. You’ll definitely be the successor of the family, why are you afraid of?”.

“Get in” Kureto removed the padlock from the door and motioned for Aoi to enter. “There’s something I want to show you”.

Aoi opened the door slowly with a dubious expression on her face. Kureto entered behind her, pushing her in and closing the door before turning on the lights.

“That is…” Aoi had her breath taken away.

The room had no windows, no decorations, except for a small, round table that had been set in the middle of the room. The lights brightened only on that table. On the top of it, was a red tablecloth with an elaborate design, covered with dust. And on top of that…

Imagen17

“It’s a gold ingot of incredibly purity. Without this, no one would have believed in the Legend of the Gold” Kureto said.

It was an ingot of solid gold.

In order to verify the purity of a gold ingot, it was standard to have the name of the bank that guaranteed it imprinted in the gold. However, that ingot didn’t have said seal but there was a thin imprint of the Hiiragi family crest, the One-Winged Eagle.

Aoi was shocked. She always believed that the gold was just a story, but reality was different. Because of this, Kureto was concerned about the possibility that one of the others could manage to find the rest of the gold.

“This is one of the legendary ingots that Father received from the Sorcerer” Kureto pointed. “The gold that Hiiragi Tenri received from Mikaela actually exists”.