Chapter 31: Kazemiya Kuon


Translated by Dawn

 

Chapter 31: Kazemiya Kuon

Kazemiya Kuon.

A singer-songwriter who went by the name of Kuon.

Her popularity was so great that she had been called a social phenomenon, and not a day went by without seeing her on TV or the Internet today.
In addition to singing, she had been active in TV dramas and movies, and her talent was so versatile that she had been praised in every field.
Last year, as I remember, she even participated in an end-of-year singing show.

Currently, she was performing while attending college, and that college had doubled the number of applicants for the next year.
Well, in other words, she was, roughly speaking, a very famous person.

I compared the face on the TV screen playing in the living room with the face on the intercom monitor.

She had a beautiful face that looked just like Kazemiya’s.
She had long golden hair that looked just like Kazemiya’s.
The only difference between her and Kazemiya was…that she had blue mesh mixed in with her golden hair.
And her right eye was gold and her left eye was a blue odd eye.

Exactly the same face as the one on TV right now.
If this were a disguise, it could have been done by a thief, but this person said, Kazemiya Kohaku was her sister.

“Big sister…?”

Seeing Kazemiya’s confusion, it seemed that her sister’s visit was unexpected.

“Ehh? Kohaku-chan’s big sister? She is?”

“It’s Kuon, right? Is she in front of our house? Huh?”

Mom and Dad started fidgeting, alternating back and forth between the TV and the monitor.

Well, of course.
With such a super celebrity in front of our house, it was only natural.

“Both of you, please calm down.
Brother, please deal with this for now.”

“…sorry.
Please wait a moment.
I’ll be out in a minute.”

I told her to wait for now and turned off the monitor.

Kotomi was surprisingly calm.
Come to think of it, I had never seen this girl show any interest in celebrities or anything like that.

“…Kazemiya, you coming too?”

“Yeah.
I will.”

Kazemiya, who apparently still hadn’t caught up with the situation, nodded her head in confusion and went to the front door while Kotomi calmed our parents down, and the moment I opened the door…

“Ko-ha-ku-ch—aan!!”

A golden entity flew toward Kazemiya with a vocalization from her abdominal breathing, as if she had been trained as a singer to the fullest.

“Aah~~~~! It’s Kohaku-chan, it’s Kohaku-chan, it’s Kohaku-chan~~~! Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank goodness! I’m glad you’re safe~~~!”


“Wait, Big sister!?”

“When that old hag said she kicked you out of the house, I was worried! It was too dangerous for you to leave the house alone at night! I wondered where you went! And what if you got involved in some kind of incident……!?”

“…I’m sorry.
I didn’t think it through.”

“That’s right.
You have to think about it a little bit.
Haa, I thought my heart was going to explode into a million pieces, you know……I understand why Kohaku wanted to do that, and the worst person in the world is that old hag.
So I don’t want to say it too strongly……but even so, there are always things that I could have done to help!”

Kazemiya Kuon hugged Kazemiya with tears in her eyes, which more than adequately conveyed how worried she was about her little sister.

“Uu…Kohaku-chan…”

“Big sis…um, I’m really sorry…”

“….sob, sob, sob, haa, sob, haa.”

“Big sis.
Stop it.”

“Aahh~~…hiks…now I can do this seven times a day……when I’m tired Kohaku-chan……even when I’m fine Kohaku-chan……all seasons Kohaku-chan…….”

“Big sis…!”

Maybe she was a little bit of a crazy person.

“Hm? Kohaku-chan I smelled a man I don’t know mixed in with Kohaku-chan’s sacred scent…did you have a boyfriend, perhaps?”

“No, I don’t! I mean, get away from me already! We’re in front of my friend!”

“Aahn… It’s a touching reunion…”

The moment her sister’s hands pulled her away from her, she and I locked eyes.

“My Kohaku-chan is indebted to you.
This is her older sister, Kazemiya Kuon.”

“…I’m her classmate, Narumi Kouta.”

It was too late to put on such a crisp, full-fledged showbiz aura face, now…No.
Let’s just pretend I didn’t see anything and proceed.

I saw nothing.
Let’s forget that Kuon was a bit of a dangerous (in an oblique way) person, though there was not a day that went by that I didn’t see her on TV or the internet.

“Let’s not stand around here and talk here…….would you like to go in for the time being……?”

***

“….So, that old ha…I have already spoken with my mother.”

“Right.
No one is at home because of your job…….It certainly sounds like you’re very busy.”

“I’m sure she’s worried about having her daughter home alone during the summer vacation…I understand, please leave Kazemiya in our care.”

“Thank you for your willingness to accept my request even though it was sudden and inconvenient.
Please take good care of my dear sister during the summer vacation.”

Kazemiya Kuon, who put up a full-fledged outward appearance of a celebrity aura, acted as a perfect “guardian” to my dad and mom and finished explaining the circumstances that she must have been fabricating.

“I brought a change of clothes for Kohaku-chan from home and most of the things she needs for daily life.”


There were two suitcases that Kazemiya Kuon must have brought all the way from home.

“Ah, this.
Kohaku-chan, you forgot your wallet.
I put some allowance in it and some……cards.
Use it for your living expenses during the summer vacation.
It has cash, cards, and electronic money……yep.
That should be enough to handle most things.”

“Thanks…”

Kazemiya’s wallet, which I had seen several times at a family restaurant.

But it was a lot thicker than what I usually see.
It was as if a wad of cash had been forced into it, and it was clearly beyond the scope of “allowance”……let’s not think about the limit of the card that seemed to have been put in it.

“…Big sis, this is too much.”

“There’s a pinch of love from your sister in there.”

“A pinch…?”

It was Kotomi who was tilting her head.
After witnessing what she did at the entrance, I knew it would be a “pinch” and not a “handful”.

“Oh, can I come by often to check on Kohaku-chan? Of course, I’ll bring a souvenir!”

“Yes, of course.
You are always welcome.”

“Thank you very much…….Well, it’s about time for me to go.
Well then, I’ll take my leave.”

A sudden glance.
I could mysteriously sense that it was a signal.

“…I’ll accompany her out.
I’d also like to stop by a convenience store on the way.”

“Thanks.
Then, I’ll take your word for it.”

“Ah…M-me too.”

“Kazemiya, you’re not going out dressed like that, are you?”

Kazemiya in her current T-shirt was a bit of a sight for sore eyes to walk around outside.
She would probably be ashamed of herself.

“Then I’ll get dressed right away.”

“I’d like to take my time to capture it in my eyes if I could, but I don’t have time for the next shoot.
Sorry.”

I left the house, following Kazemiya Kuon’s back as she cut her off somewhat forcefully.
A silent pause followed for a while, and we spent some time walking quietly, keeping at least enough distance to hear each other’s voices.

“So.
What do you want from me.”

“Haha.
You are very perceptive, aren’t you? I can tell by the way you look at me.”

“Well, sort of.”

It was strange to me that I somehow understood that Kazemiya Kuon wanted to talk to me alone.
I had honestly thought I was being overly self-conscious until she actually said this.

“It’s not that I have an errand, it’s more like……I’ve been wanting to take a look at it for a while now.
I wanted to take a look at Kohaku-chan’s new friend.”

“I see.
…So, how was it?”


“Hmm? About what?”

“From your point of view, did I pass—as Kazemeiya’s friend?”

The morning streets were so quiet that the sound of cars driving across the street echoed loudly.

“…Heh.”

When the woman walking in front of me turned her head.
What I saw was not “Kuon, a singer-songwriter who captures the hearts of the masses on TV and the Internet”.
She looked like a living creature named “Kazemiya Kuon”.

“You’re more perceptive than I thought you’d be.”

“When you look at me like that all the time while I chat with Kazemiya or talk in the living room, you’ll understand even if you don’t like it.”

“Most people don’t understand.
I mean, this is the first time that someone has noticed me that much when I first met them.”

Kazemiya Kuon’s gold and blue odd eyes captured my whole body.

An abyss.
No, different.
The opposite.
It was as if they were looking down at me, the creature, from a height that could reach the heavens.
Such eyes.

“Yup.
Right.
You passed.
Or maybe even more than that.
You, as a person, have been more than I could have ever hoped for.”

“…..”

This is bad.
Even though she smiled more brightly than she did on TV, I couldn’t smile at all.
I even broke out in a cold sweat.

“You may have heard this already.
There are a lot of people who approach Kohaku-chan just for me.
…No, really, I’m glad you’re not one of them because it’s going to be tough to get rid of you around Kohaku-chan.”

“Get rid of? That’s a very disturbing word.”

“I’m just going to have a little chat and ask a favor of an acquaintance.”

I doubt if it was really “just a little chat”, but let’s not go into it.

Wake not a sleeping lion.

“…You cherish her, don’t you? Kazemiya that is.”

“She’s very important.
The best in the world.
More than anyone else.”

In response to my words, Kazemiya Kuon said without hesitation, not even pausing for a breath.

“I was able to do everything since I was a child.
I was able to do everything from a very young age.
I’m what you call a……genius or a child prodigy.
But there was one thing that was pointed out to me that I just didn’t have the talent for.
That was—singing.”

Surprising was all I could say.

I had no idea that a singer-songwriter who was now a social phenomenon was said to have no talent for singing.

“I was really tone deaf.
I had a talent for most things and could play any instrument, but I was clearly told that I should give up singing and that I had no talent for it.
…But, I loved singing more than anything else, and my dream was to become a singer in the future.
Even when I told them that, the adults around me were vehemently against it.
They wanted me to do something else.
Well, I understand how they felt.”

It was a natural reaction to let children do what they were suited to do, not what they were not suited to do.
It was not to say that the adults around them were wrong.
I was sure that Kazemiya Kuon herself knew that.

“Not a single adult agreed with me, and the one thing they all said to me was, [Give up].
I kept practicing and practicing, but I never got any better.
I was tired of continuing to make unrewarding efforts, and I thought I would just give up….
However, Kohaku-chan was the only person in the world who supported me in my dream.”


As if she treasured it.
As if cherishing a memory.

“She said, ‘It’s not like you to give up, big sis.’”

Kazemiya Kuon smiled a smile that she had never shown on any TV show, on the Internet, or in any magazine.

“She also said, ‘You have a beautiful singing voice, big sister, and I like it.’ Or, ‘I’ll go along with your practice, too.’ Even back then, she was already crying behind my back because people were comparing her to me, but she encouraged me.”

Ah.
I had a similar experience.

I wasn’t getting along with my family either, and I was running away from home.

She pushed me to face my family.

“It’s just like Kazemiya, isn’t it?”

“Right? She should be more hurt than me.
It must be hard for her to be compared to me, who can do anything.
She should have been crushed by a sense of inferiority.
But she still supported me.
I was more than happy about that.
It was worth more than any trophy, more than any certificate, more than any adult praises.”

I could only imagine.
Thinking back, that girl might have spoken out about her inferiority to her sister, but that didn’t make her hate her sister.
In fact, on the contrary……she hated herself for feeling inferior to her sister.

“Then, as I practiced, I started to get better at singing, little by little, and now I’m better at it than anything else.
And you can see the rest.
I became a singer-songwriter Kuon and became very successful.”

“I see.
I see how much you care about Kazemiya.”

“Yes, Kohaku-chan is.
Kohaku-chan is my precious family member who gave me something precious.
So I have decided to use my life to make Kohaku-chan happy by any means possible.
But, Kohaku-chan’s happiness is for Kohaku-chan to decide, right? I can’t prepare happiness for her, and even if I could, it would only be an imposition of happiness.
So, I’ve made up my mind.”

Kazemiya Kuon’s smile remained unchanged as she talked about her memories.

“I’m going to get rid of everything in Kohaku-chan’s life that she doesn’t want, everything that makes her unhappy.”

She spat out those words, casting a dangerous shadow over them.

“As I said, you passed.
More than that.
But my mother didn’t pass.
I don’t need that one anymore.” (+)

“I’ve let her off the hook so far because she’s our parent and because of Kohaku-chan’s unfulfilled love for her family, but……this time it’s just too much.
I thought I knew what kind of person she was, but I didn’t think she’d be this irredeemably stupid.
……Really, it’s so annoying, isn’t it? The chains called family.”

I didn’t know how, and I didn’t know exactly what, but this person would put that something into action.
That much seriousness was sorely felt on my skin.

“You are quite talkative, aren’t you? Why did you go to the trouble of telling me this?”

“Because it made me happy.”

“You were happy?”

“Yes, I was.
I’m glad that there were people other than me who thought of Kohaku-chan and acted in her best interest.
…Thank you Narumi Kouta-kun.
Now I have no more regrets.”

A car pulled up on the side of the road and Kazemiya Kuon got into it.

It was probably a pickup from the office she had called in advance.

“The only people left to make Kohaku unhappy are my mother and—one other person.
Once I get rid of them, it will be the end.
It’s a little earlier than I planned, but I’ll make sure it’s done by the end of this summer vacation…….until then.
Take care of my precious sister.”

With parting words, the car carrying Kazemiya Kuon drove away.

The last thing she left behind was a fragile expression on her face as if she was about to disappear, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

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