ReZero EX: Fortune Setsubun Hollow

I don’t see myself translating again for a long time, but I’ll be helping out Witch Cult Translations every now and then. Go support them, they’re awesome!

PSA(09/08/18): I’m super busy now and won’t be releasing anything for a long time. Thank you all so much for supporting my work all this time! And if you read this, one random important thing, don’t be afraid to go out there, get out of your comfort zone, and try something new! If I’d never done that, I would’ve never felt like I’m having what’s probably the happiest time of my life. 勇気を出せ!Pursue your interests, do what you’ve always wanted to do 🙂

ReZero EX: Fortune Setsubun Hollow

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Hi, haven’t been keeping up with rezero, but this is the Rem IF ex chapter that came out on her birthday around 2 months ago. Apologies if I have missed any messages, haven’t checked my blog in a month or so either. Next, I’ll probably do some of the short stories I have from the art book. I also bought the short story that came out on the twins’ birthday. Which brings me to a small thing I must mention.

Currently, I am not in a financial position where I can comfortably buy whatever rezero material I want. Not all the material I have translated were obtained for free, and I had to pay for them out of my own pocket. So I’d just like to quickly mention, if you enjoy this content and would like to help me be able to afford more content that comes out in the future, you can support me via the donation page on my blog at the top. Regardless of what happens, I’ll always try to find a way. That’s all. Thanks for the support. Also, ridiculously late on this, but thanks to Seika A. as well as my good friend Alex Z. for the donations in the past.

Let’s get right into it without any introduction. ――Setsubun season is here this year again.

Setsubun is the most feared day in the year for the “Setsubun King” Natsuki Rigel.

In Banan, Kararagi city state’s 2nd town, it was culture that was now well established, and you’d call it a strange festival.

――Throw beans should you come across an Oni, eat rolls should you face the good luck direction. This is where the idea of hiiragi iwashi3 comes from.

Dunno who said that, but that’s what Setsubun is likethe new culture in Kararagi.

[Rigel: I wonder what they’ll make me do this year……]

On the way back from the school “Temple Elementary”, Rigel, while clasping his hands behind his head, sighs about the upcoming misfortunate event in which he’d probably be attacked.

Wear outfits like Oni underpants and run through the whole town to get away from the hunters that’ll be hot on your tail to try and hit you with beans. ――Rigel does have that sort of role as the king, but that’s if we assume the standard turn of events of just the original bean throwing.

Every year, Setsubun culture goes downhill thanks to Natsuki Subaru’s―Rigel’s father’s―ideas, and now the damage doesn’t stop with just the bean throwing.

An event called ehoumaki where you eat futomaki in silence while looking in the good luck direction.

An event called hiiragi iwashi where you stab a fish head onto a tree branch and hang it at the entranceway to your house.

As a representative of the “Kararagi Culture Promotion Society”, Subaru had a very influential voice, and over the years the amount of those devilishly intricate revamps has increased.

On top of that, since they had an agreement to keep these sort of displays as vague information, occasionally the descriptions people give of the events are from off from what they actually are as a result of word being passed down like a telephone game.

Thus, Setsubun went through changes, and for Rigel it’s an event where stuff like beans, futomaki, and fish heads are thrown at him while he runs around town dressed as an Oni.

[Rigel: Nobody gets what Setsubun is all about! Plus, they all treat food so recklessly! If it were just beans it wouldn’t be that bad, but other things can’t be eaten once they fall to the ground……!]

While looking back at memories of Setsubun, Rigel showed his anger as he grinded his teeth.

This has been said before before, but Rigel doesn’t like the event Setsubun.

Every single time he just takes all the hits. Still, he had no intention of being a tank that likes it.

No matter how cruel the events may have been, the one thing we can say is that Rigel’s father started this. It really irritated Rigel how the original idea was changing into something different.

Letting them do whatever they want with no boundaries as a way to have fun in an event was the worst idea ever. And this event’s supposed to the event that considers tradition and hearts of the people…

――Though he did hate it from the bottom of his heart, Natsuki Rigel insisted on earnestly making Setsubun a success since he was born with the ability to be a hard worker.

Going off the subject, when it gets to the season near Setsubun when people cut back, in Banan town every family starts to stock up on beans. As a result, there are kids who misunderstand the point of Setsubun, and oftentimes they bring out beans from their home and throw them at Rigel a day prior.

There was also one act on the way back from Temple Elementary where kids saw Rigel and determinedly threw his beans at him which they’d found.


[Rigel: ――Woop, oh, oop]

The beans thrown, the size of them, the amount…Rigel knew the trajectory inside out, and dodged all the beans with the minimum amount of movement needed to do so.

If it were only one or two beans being thrown at him, perhaps it wouldn’t be anything to freak out about.

However, this time each kid was throwing a handful of beans at Rigel――even though they were kids, 21-30 beans a throw was rough.

In short, Rigel dodged a storm of over 100 beans without even looking at them.

[???: No way……] [???: Without even taking a glance……] [???: D-Does he have eyes on his back……?]

In response to them being stunned, Rigel looked back as he shrugged his shoulders.

[Rigel: Too naive, brats, try again. Just how many times do you think I’ve cheated death every year?]

Said Rigel as he faced the kids with a twisted smile on his face.

That instant, the kids trembled, shrieked as if to curse at themselves for just casually challenging the “Setsubun King”, then ran away in all directions.

[???: Eek! We’re gonna get killed!] [???: My god, those eyes!] [???: The “Setsubun King” is a heartless demon!]

[Rigel: Hop off with the eyes comment! Also, listen to what your parents said about the rules of Setsubun―participate using the right amount! Now I’ma throw them right back at you!]

Rigel threatened the kids running away on the verge of tears and sighed as he looked at the beans at his feet.

Having more of these misunderstood bunches pop up when Setsubun comes near would be troubling. When one does it, everyone else will too, no matter where he goes. Things can’t keep going on like this. He’ll always sense danger whenever he goes out to do a little shopping, or even when he’s taking a walk, and that also goes for when he comes back from Temple Elementary, of course.

Going off the subject again, apparently this is the only time when there are “bean gatherer” jobs for a short period, since oftentimes beans will be scattered all over town when setsubun approaches.

That’s what he’d heard from Clane, a mediator whom he knew. He vaguely remembers being told that they make a fair amount of money and are appreciated.

That being said, this also leads to Rigel’s senses being real sharp during this time.

Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to go out with cute little Spica in peace. This was probably one thing he developed as a result of having his life in danger.

As long as he’s with Spica, this whole “bean” thing won’t get him, even if they come at him at the speed of light.

[Rigel: Nothing with ‘bean’ in its name can even touch me now, huh.]

[???: ――Saying weird things while looking far in the distance I see. You’re just like Su-san.]

[Rigel: Oh]

Rigel, who picked up a bean and was listlessly murming, raised an eyebrow upon hearing that voice.

He’d heard this voice before. A Kararagian speaker that had a low tone and sounded somewhat witty――the moment he realized who the owner of this voice was, Rigel broke into a smile as he turned around.

[Rigel: Uncle Halibel!]

[Halibel: Aye, glad to see you’re full of energy, Rigel.]

Patting Rigel’s head with his big palm as he said that and ran up to him was a tall man who wore a kimono and had a dog face――no, it was a demi-human with a wolf face.

This man who was a wolf man―a race that was considered to be extremely rare―put a golden kiseru to his big mouth that had a full set of sharp fangs, and laughed as he looked at Rigel with his narrow slit eyes.

Halibel was a friend of his dad and mom, and to Rigel he was like a relative to him, too.

[Halibel: Kids around your age grow up so fast when you take your eye off of them for a second. So fast that I want you to succeed me if Rem-chan lets you.]

[Rigel: I told you this before, didn’t I? I need to find a stable job and support Mom and Spica. Can’t have myself walking around aimlessly like you, Uncle.]

[Halibel: Huh, you sure are harsh. For you to sway me that easily…The way you talk big is too much for me.]

Halibel laughed wildly with his big mouth open, and Rigel also was acting spoiled with a smile that was appropriate for his age.

Rigel was someone who was often pushed around by all the shackles in this world, too. Sometimes you can’t look and act like a child when you’re exploring the hardships of life.

So, that’s why you gotta have times when you’re just being spoiled, like how he was right now.

[Rigel: Guess that’s the least bit of peace you can get as a child whose parents have all their hopes on them……]

[Halibel: You’re getting super deep. Doesn’t sound cool for a child to say that.]

[Rigel: I don’t care about that! Anyway, where have you been, Uncle? You promised to train me, but you were gone for so long that I thought you’d fallen dead on the street or something.]

[Halibel: Haha, got me there. If I ever died or something, that’d be a serious concern for this country. It’d also seal my endangered kind’s fate, I’ve got big responsibilities.]

[Rigel: Yeah. And you’re my master.]

[Halibel: Yep. That’s an even bigger responsibility.]

When he was told something clever, Rigel also smiled at Halibel, who laughed in delight.

Rigel was fond of Halibel, as he was a sociable person and he’d be intimate with him like this.

Although he had a reputation of being an irresponsible person because of his behavior and the fact that he called himself an “Eternal Playboy”, it seemed that he was good at his job, and whenever he walked through town with him, he could tell that a lot of people loved him―so much that he couldn’t help but feel happy for him.

Rigel didn’t really know what his job was, though.

[Rigel: Even after you told me that shinobis fight dangerous people day and night to protect the country. You also said that you’re a wolf, an endangered race, right? You must be exaggerating!]

[Halibel: Well, in your case, you had no choice but to throw away your childish innocence to get through the days. It’s a bit unfortunate, but that’s the uncertainty of life for ya.]

Halibel puffed out smoke from his kiseru into the sky and gave a wry smile.

[Halibel: Oh right, have you been practicing the Substitution I taught you? It’s fine if you got tired of it.]

[Rigel: Of course I have. Why would I get tired of it? Can I show it to you? Though, the hiiragi iwashi that was thrown at me on my way back is the only thing I can use Substitution on.]

[Halibel: I see those fish heads every now and then. Su-san must have something to do with it.]

The iwashi head that had been thrown at him was very nice, so he thought to bring it home and show it to his sister for a memory.

When he took it out from his shoulder bag, Halibel nodded over and over as if to approve of it.

This wolf man has been friends with Subaru for a very long time, and just because of that, he was quick at figuring out what was going on.

[Halibel: He works for the Banan Culture Promotion Committee, right? I hear about him quite a lot in other towns. He’s gotten pretty famous. I’m proud of him.]

[Rigel: Hehe, dad may be how he is, but I mean, it is my parent’s job. I guess him being praised is kinda nice. Oh, but please don’t get carried away and tell my dad!]

[Halibel: Kids sure are complicated.]

Halibel, who put his hand in the front of his Kimono and was scratching his stomach, had a bit of a wry smile on his face.

Saved by his understanding attitude, Rigel started walking as he went “Oh yeah” and said,

[Rigel: Since you came over here, that means you’ll be staying in town for a little while, right?]

[Halibel: Yep, for sure. I’m gonna go say hi to people I know for a bit, and then I’ll show up at your house at night again. Tell Su-san and Rem-chan I said hi.]

[Rigel: Uncle.]

[Halibel: Hm?]

[Rigel: What about Spica? Nothing for her?]

Rigel frankly asked, smiling with his head tilted.

Upon hearing that, for some reason Halibel’s face stiffened up as though he’d been overwhelmed and said,

[Halibel: O-Oh, right. Tell Spica-chan to be a cute girl and wait for me.]

[Rigel: Ahh, gotcha, I’ll let her know! Oh, but I dunno…Spica is already as cute as an angel as it is. If she consciously tries to be cute and wait, she might just reach an unfathomable level of loveliness.]

[Halibel: That part of you really shows how you are Rem-chan’s kid…..]

Rigel blushed and worried as he imagined his cute little sister waiting at home. Halibel, faced with this scene, scratched his cheek with a dumbfounded look on his face.

[Rigel: Hah! I can’t be doing this! I have to come home and see Spica ASAP! Uncle! See you tonight! Don’t forget to bring Spica a present!]

[Halibe: Oh, okay, gotcha. I’ll pick something out and bring it home.]

Rigel waved goodbye with his small hand, turned around as if to say “My work is done here”, then started to zoom through town.

As Halibel watched him fade away while making clouds of dust, he smoked his kiseru and,

[Halibel: You were a sister lover before your sister was born, but after she was born, it’s gotten even worse, huh, Rigel.]

He muttered while giving a wry smile.

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

Ignoring Halibel’s murmuring―though, even if he did hear him, Rigel would be doing the same thing―he fiercely ran through town, and was rushing home.

[Rigel: Spica, Spica, cute li’l Spica.]

While excitedly humming to himself, Rigel ran faster than the wind.

Just by picturing my cute little sister in my mind, endless amounts of energy flows from my body. How about I call this the everlasting Spica engine?

The world ought to acknowledge Spica’s endless potential.

If everyone in the world were to see Spica, all kinds of things would come to an end through stuff like fighting.

While being possessed by such grand fantasies, Rigel repelled the beans that were thrown at him, waved at his neighbor who was nibbling on a futomaki to practice for ehoumaki, and when he put a fish head he’d been carrying on a hiiragi that had had only its fish head stolen by a cat, he’d made it back home.

Feeling that he couldn’t waste another second, Rigel opened the front door, and rushed in at once.

[Rigel: All riiiright, I’m hooome! Spica, Nii Nii’s home! I’m going to wash my hands and gargle right now, so be a cute girl and wait for me please!]

Rigel, with a big smile on his face, announces that he’s home while bearing with his urge to hug Spica right this instant.

Washing his hands and gargling was an obligation that he’d been taught since he was a baby.

He’d been told that he had to do it so that he didn’t get sick or something. And Rigel has actually never gotten sick before, though he wasn’t sure if it was because of that.

He had a feeling this was simply his healthy mom’s blood being just that tough, but in any case, he had to get to washing his hands and gargling. If he didn’t do that, he won’t even be able to touch Spica and――

[???: You’re real different indoors compared to when you’re outside.]

The one who greeted Rigel as he rushed into the bathroom, however, was neither his mom nor his sister. It was the voice of a woman that wasn’t in his family.

Rigel gulped, and then stopped himself from going to the bathroom. After that, he headed towards the living room while being more cautious, slowly put his hand on the double door shoji, and then opened it.

Inside there was――

[Spica: Oh, Nii Nii.]

[???: Welcome back. You sure are late.]

Rigel gazed in wonderment at the scene in the living room beyond the shoji.

A kotatsu was placed in the middle of the tatami-matted room, and it was an essential for the Natsuki family during cold seasons.

There was a woman with her feet in the kotatsu, and she was cradling a smiling angel in her arms.

The woman shook her milky white hair whose ends were uneven and was furtively giving Rigel a sidelong glance with her almond eyes. Her light pink lips slackened, and she made a very provocative smile.

[???: Can you not be charmed just because I’m cute?]

[Rigel: ――I mean, it doesn’t matter if there’s a beautiful person in front of me, I have my sister.]

[???: Look, you liking your sister is all fine and dandy, but people will think you’re an idiot if you’re always like this. Be careful.]

That moment, he came back to his senses upon hearing those words. What came back to him just then were the indescribable, mixed feelings he had about seeing that woman in her white kimono.

It was a frightening but well groomed woman.

In her case, well groomed may not be accurate, but it’s appropriate if beautiful is what’s meant by the phrase. She was not a result of a doll maker pursuing beauty; she was more like a natural beauty that was miraculously created by things that had been put together by animals that followed their instincts.

Beauty with a hint of crudeness…frankly speaking, that was all she was, but even Rigel, who still didn’t have much interest in women, was moved by just how much of that had to come from a miracle.

Although, that’d only be the case if this were his first time seeing her.

This was not the first time Rigel has talked with this girl.

[Rigel: Tia! What are you doing here!?]

[Tia: Huh? No reason, no reason at all, obviously. When I want to be somewhere, I’ll be there. It’s not like anyone has the right to tell me not to. Oh, there there, you’re so cute, Spica. ――I really want to kill you.]

[Rigel: You’re gonna teach her bad things, stop that!]

While sweetly smiling at Spica, the woman――Tia uttered some really bloodthirsty words.

Rigel thought that she was actually serious when she suddenly said that remark, and when he panicked and took Spica away from her, he made sure that she was alright as he gently patted her black hair.

[Rigel: Are you alright, Spica? She didn’t do anything weird to you, did she? Sorry for coming home late so much. ……What the heck is Mom doing!?]

[Tia: Rem let me take care of Spica and went shopping. I was thinking of going too, but this, uh, kotatsu, was it? It seems I can’t get out. To fascinate me this much…even humans do cool things every now and then, huh.]

Tia pouts over having Spica taken away from her, but she settled down with the kotatsu. She looked happy, resting the upper half of her body on the table as she moaned “Ahh” while smiling.

She looked to be around 20 years old, but the way she talked and acted were completely different. This beauty was also pretty friendly for how stingy she was―not the type of woman Rigel was very good with.

――He didn’t really dislike her, though.

[Rigel: Plus, look at how much of a bum she is, I’m dumbfounded…..]

[Spica: Nii Nii, Nee Nee.]

[Rigel: Yeah, you’re right, Spica. Don’t know how I feel about Tia being “Nee Nee”, but we shouldn’t fight. I’m sorry.]

Spica closed and opened her hand and pushed on Rigel’s cheek. Sensing that his sister was emotionally appealing to him with that, Rigel decided to stop fighting for now.

While watching that interaction, Tia took advantage of this and said “That’s right that’s right.”

[Tia: Reflect upon your actions. Be sorry. Since you’ve hurt me, I’d like to eat sweets.]

[Rigel: Don’t get carried away now. Besides, my kind mother must’ve already left sweets. Where’d they go?]

[Tia: Where, you ask? In my stomach.]

[Rigel: Then you’ll have to hold out until supper.]

Rigel had no words for Tia’s bossy behavior who was acting outrageous at another family’s house.

Tia is another one of Dad’s and Mom’s old friends, and she’s also someone Rigel has known for a few years. According to Dad and Mom, she’s apparently more like family than a friend.

But honestly, Rigel still had some doubts.

And that’s because――

[Rigel: Families live together. If you only show up every now and then like this, doesn’t that mean you’re a relative or a friend or something?]

[Tia: What’s this? Getting all pouty because I don’t come to see you very much? Your face does look just like Su’s, but I guess you have some cute points after all. I want to kill you.]

[Rigel: Don’t say such dangerous things!]

He also didn’t like how she would keep on randomly saying “I’ll kill you” and “I want to kill you” as if it was a routine that she just had to do at the end of her comments.

The way she spoke, the way she behaved…those aspects were ruining a lot of things.

If only she didn’t act that way, she’d look quite――

[Tia: ……? Did you get taller when I wasn’t looking?]

[Rigel: Gulp]

Tia got out of the kotatsu, instantly closed in, and stood in front of Rigel. She smelled pretty good. She nonchalantly reached her hand out and touched Rigel’s short blue hair.

Rigel’s silky hair was patted by her thin fingers, and he couldn’t move a muscle. Meanwhile, Tia, who seemed to be very pleased with how much Rigel has grown,

[Tia: Kids grow up so fast. Just a little while ago, you were a drooling little shorty, and now you’re only somewhat of a shorty.]

[Rigel: ……That stuff again, huh. People always tell me stuff like you and Halibel-san were there when I was born.]

[Tia: It’s the truth. I was there, and Halibel was there, too. I may have not been there during the most important part, though.]

[Rigel: ――――]

That’s when Tia squinted, and it seemed as though she was looking at something far away.

It felt like those eyes that were looking far away were not looking at what was in front of her, but at the past, and it made Rigel kind of upset.

Rigel couldn’t reach that place. Rigel didn’t like thinking about that place.

[Rigel: That stuff sounds too much like bull. Who’d believe that Banan town was going to be destroyed when I was being born?]

[Tia: Oh, it’s the truth. The map was this close to being rewritten. I wanted to kill you so badly at the time, by the way.]

[Rigel: You make it sound like you were going to destroy the town yourself.]

Rigel shrugged at Tia, maybe because she wasn’t careful with her word choice. Seeing that, Tia’s eyes widened as if she’d been caught off guard, and then she said,

[Tia: The way you do that kind of stuff, it arouses my sadism. Ahh, if I keep looking at you being bothered, I can’t imagine how much I’d be pleased. I want to kill you.]

[Rigel: I hate that part of you.]

[Tia: ――But, even though you don’t like me, you’ve kept my present for all this time.]

Said Tia as she broke into a smile and looked at Rigel’s left wrist. Upon hearing her point, Rigel choked, his cheeks became slightly red, and he looked away.

On Rigel’s wrist, he had a bracelet ornament made out of a beast’s white fur.

This was something Tia gave to him a few years ago when they first met. When she gave this to him, he said something.

[Tia: Do you remember? Do you remember what you said to me when I gave that to you?]

[Rigel: Id-! W-Well, umm……I-I have Spica, so…]

[Tia: That again? You’re so much like Su in that regard.]

Rigel gets teased, and he grinded his teeth hard. Spica, who was in his arms, innocently watched Nii Nii and Nee Nee1 glare at each other.

If I back out here, I lose my pride as a man. I can’t let Spica see me being pathetic.

Rigel made up his mind, and he pierced Tia with a sharp look.

And the――

[Rigel: That you love…..] [Tia: That as long as you have white bracelet, I will come running over whenever you’re in danger……]

They both speak at the same time, and the things that came out of their mouths were completely different.

Tia’s eyes widen in surprise, then her expression slowly turned into a mischievous one, then into a ferocious one a carnivore would have when it plays with a mouse.

[Tia: Hey, what did you just say? Hey Rigel, what did you say?]

[Rigel: Shut up! It’s not like that! It’s nothing! I lost myself! Dad set this up!]

[Tia: Ahaha, it’s okay. I love you. But I want to kill you.]

[Rigel: Goddamnit!]

With Spica in his arms and with a red face, Rigel turned his body and tried to run away from Tia, who was in front of him. However, Tia quickly prevented Rigel from doing so with quick movements, and when she got in front of him, she kept poking his red cheek with her finger.

[Spica: Owoo, Nii Nii. Nee Nee.]

Spica was the only one who was happily laughing and watching them act that way.

And their little act continued until Rem came home after she finished shopping.

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

[???: And so, here’s to Hal-san and Tia being back again!]

[???: ――Cheers!]

At night in the Natsuki home’s living room, everyone at the kotatsu made a toast.

However, the cups they made a toast with did not have alcohol in them, but tea and a kind of fruit juice. Due to various reasons, nobody was drinking alcohol at this gathering.

Halibel, who would even bring alcohol with him to the bath-house, was no exception either.

[Subaru: But man, coincidences really do happen. Who would’ve thought that Hal-san and Tia would come back simultaneously at the perfect time?]

[Rem: It really was unexpected. Thanks to that, we’re all here together at the dining table. It made me so happy that I’m worried about whether I was able to cook as well as I usually do.]

[Subaru: Oh, so you weren’t able to focus on doing your best, and you’re a bit worried?]

[Rem: Well, I’m always giving it my all to cook meals for our family.]

Seeing Rem smile slightly while being dreamy-eyed, Subaru scratched his head as he blushed.

Frankly, seeing his parents like this was bad for the eyes, but for Rigel this has been the usual since he was born, so at this point it was no big deal.

[Rigel: Uncle, hand me your plate. I’ll get some for you.]

[Halibel: Ohh, as smart as expected. Can you give a lot of meat? Also, don’t put too many vegetables.]

[Rigel: Aye-aye. But it’s not healthy if you don’t eat your vegetables, you know.]

While taking Halibel’s order, Rigel skillfully used his chopsticks and dished out hot pot ingredients into the bowls.

Tonight at the Natsuki family house, they were having hot pot, and there were also many side dishes arranged by Rem who’d been fired up and made them with her skills.

[Subaru: It’ll be a lot of people, and we’ll be using a kotatsu. We have to have a hot pot!] [Rem: Yes, that sounds great Subaru-kun! I’m convinced!]

This was what his parents were saying before they had the hot pot. He didn’t really disagree, so he let that be.

Also, Rigel liked hot pot. He liked being able to have lots of vegetables, though he wasn’t really a big fan of them.

[Tia: Hey, Rigel. Aren’t you giving me too many vegetables. Like Hal, I like to eat a lot of meat. Though, I did tell you to give me vegetables.]

[Rigel: What are you talking about? Eat your vegetables. You don’t want to get fat by eating only meat. Meat, vegetable, vegetable, vegetable, meat, vegetable, vegetable. Gotta go with the meat rhythm.]

[Tia: I can barely even eat my meat!]

Tia was served tons of vegetables, and she screamed in displeasure. Still, considering that she wasn’t putting stuff back into the hot pot, it seemed that she was being taught properly, and that’s more important than anything else.

Satisfied with what he saw in her bowl, Rigel served the next bowl, and then the next bowl, and continued to serve.

[Subaru: Man, it really helps that we have a someone taking charge.. Just watching him makes us happy~, and the hotpot running smoothly makes him happy. It’s a win-win situation.]

[Rigel: Stop being ridiculous. I want some hot pot too. Don’t make me do everything…..]

[Rem: I feel bad, so……Here, open wide, Rigel.]

Rem pointed her chopsticks at Rigel, who was neglecting his own stomach because he was too focused on serving the hot pot.

It was a bit embarrassing, but everyone here was his friend. Rigel wasn’t going to care about being embarrassed, and he contentedly accepted Rem feeding him.

[Subaru: Hey hey, what the hell are you making my Rem do? All right, I’ll feed you too.]

[Halibel: Oh, huh, Rigel, you haven’t been eating at all. I’ll feed you too.]

[Tia: Oh, okay then I’ll do it too. Here, eat this. Hey, c’mon, eat it!]

[Rigel: Nom nom! I can’t eat all that!]

Rigel accepting Rem’s food lead to all the adults stuffing his mouth with more food. Although Subaru and Halibel were horsing around, they were still choosing things properly so it could’ve been worse, but when Tia started doing it, she was only giving him vegetables from her bowl that she didn’t like.

[Rigel: Stop messing around! You’re all adults, so do it properly! Fooling around in the middle of a hot pot… Respect hot pot more! Tremble with fear at the power of hot pot!]

[Subaru: Wow, look at what an expert you are at being a hot pot governor. As your father, I’m proud of how you get into things so easily.]

[Rigel: Shut up! You’d never praise me, Dad!]

Rigel roared loudly and whacked the adults, starting with Subaru. However, the adults laughed and ignored it, and it irritated Rigel quite a bit.

There really was no one on Rigel’s side besides Spica.

[Rigel: And yet I still got Spica taken away from me by Tia!]

[Tia: Ahh, okay okay, don’t get so moody. Like, you, her brother, are the one Spica likes. I’ve only met her twice, you know.]

[Rem: She’s right, Rigel. Usually you keep Spica all to yourself to the point of being stubborn, so let Tia-sama have her for today. Instead, why don’t you just pet Halibel-sama?]

[Halibel: Am I still in that low of a position to you?]

Judging from the way Rem bluntly expressed who she had a better relationship with, it seemed Tia had won her support and not Halibel.

An easy to talk to, beautiful, proud mother. That’s who Rem is, but it’s rare for her to be this friendly to someone, so Rigel wouldn’t say anything if Tia were to stick his tongue out at him.

[Subaru: Hey, don’t feel down now, Rigel. Seeing Spica is a matter of life and death for you too, isn’t it? You won’t be seeing Spica for a little while. Don’t forget about Tia.]

[Rigel: ……You can’t call her family]

[Subaru: Hmm?]

[Rigel: Aren’t families family because they live together? She only comes over occasionally, so it’s kind of weird to treat her like family.]

Rigel whispered what he had said to Tia in the evening to Subaru.

That’s when it felt like Rigel was ratting her out, and he was disgusted with himself.

However, Subaru ruffled Rigel’s hair and said,

[Subaru: You’ve got a good point…is what I’d like to say, but that’s not quite right. She doesn’t necessarily need to live with us to be family. Tia has her own circumstances. So, she can only show up every now and then. But, she always comes when she can.]

[Rigel: ――]

[Subaru: Well, for now just spoil yourself with this awfully popular beauty that occasionally comes over to tease you. You’re so blessed.]

[Rigel: What are you talking about!?]

The sound of his tone changed. Once it clearly fell into the banter category, Rigel yelled. After that, he brushed away his father’s hand that was above him, then he thrusted his finger at Subaru.

[Rigel: Are you really being serious when you say that I’m blessed? I’m definitely going to have a bad time tomorrow at Setsubun, you know. I’m already so depressed……I won’t be able to sleep without Spica!]

[Subaru: What are you trying to demand here? The right to sleep with Spica is given by rotation, and tonight it’s supposed to be mine. And I’ll be giving it to Tia, so even in the worst case, you will have no right to sleep with her.]

[Rigel: Goddamnit!]

Rigel tried to take advantage of the mess and win some sympathy, but Subaru has known him for a long time; since he’s known him since he was born, his shallow plan was seen through immediately.

Then, while the father and his son loudly chatted with each other like that as if it was just the usual,

[Tia: Hm? What’s up? Need something from Rigel tomorrow or something?]

Tia, who was having her finger bit by Spica who’d heard the ruckus, tilted her head. Rigel wasn’t sure how to respond, but Rem took over, nodded, and said “Got it” with a smile.

[Rem: Tomorrow is Setsubun, and it’s actually the day of a festival Subaru-kun proposed. And, Rigel will represent the Onis as he runs around town dressed as an Oni while having beans thrown at him.]

[Rigel: That introduction’s so misleading!]

[Tia: Oh my, what the heck, that sounds like so much fun……]

[Rigel: Don’t get all enthusiastic about!]

Tia listened to Rem’s rough introduction, and her eyes shined.

Though you may be able to tell from the fact that she said something dangerous, Tia clearly liked the “bean throwing” part. She liked the part about being able to annoy Rigel, and like she says herself, the sadism in her was very strong. In short, Setsubun is――

[Tia: ――A festival for me.]

[Rigel: This is why I didn’t want you to ask about it! Who was careless and started talking about Setsubun!? Was it me!? It was me! I’m sorry!]

[Subaru: You have a lot on your plate……]

Tia looked at Rigel, who was crumbling with his head between his hands, with eyes that were like those of a young girl who was dreaming. Seeing Rigel’s self-destructing, Subaru nodded as he said, “Alright.”

[Subaru: Hey, listen up, Son. I really understand how you feel. It’s true that the Setsubun event hurts you to a very rough degree. As your parent, I can’t bear to see it.]

[Rigel: Chomp, this taste like lies!]

[Subaru: That’s when you’re supposed to lick. Don’t bite!]

Subaru got a bite mark on his hand from his son, and he had no idea what to do with Rigel and his distrustful remarks.

[Subaru: What made you become this much of a monster……]

[Rigel: Bad parenting! And bad treatment from the town!]

[Subaru: I’ll have you know I do dress up as an Oni too during bean throwing. You’re not the only one getting hit by kids throwing beans while walking outside!.]

[Tia: Wait, I can throw beans at Su too? I don’t know if I’ll be able to take this……]

[Rem: Tia-sama, Tia-sama, the meat is cooked now. Say ‘ahhn’]

[Tia: Ahhn.]

Tia, who couldn’t hold in her sadism, teased him, but in the middle of doing so, Subaru’s good wife splendidly saved him, and he continued as he cleared his throat.

[Subaru: Anyway, don’t interrupt me. What I’m about to tell you is the most important part. It’s rough that you suffer too much every year during Setsubun. So, I’ve come up with an elaborate plan this time!]

[Rigel: I’m guessing you’ve added another strange festival aspect to Setsubun……]

[Subaru: You really just don’t trust me at all! Still, I’m sure you’ll be surprised and you’ll accept it!]

Said Subaru, and when he got out of the Kotatsu, he looked for his work bag that had been placed at the corner of the living room. Then, he started taking out a round cloth from it.

[Subaru: Hal-san, hang on to that end! We’re unfolding it!]

[Halibel: Oh, what’s this, a banner? What’s in it?]

Accepting Subaru’s request, Halibel got up and held the end of the cloth. When they unfolded it in one go, some letters drawn with a writing brush came into his vision.

Written on it was――

[Halibel: Setsubun Ghost(せつぶんおばけ)……?]

[Subaru: The only thing is it’s written in I characters so that kids can read it. I actually wanted to write it as “節分お化け”(Setsubun Ghost). This is the 4th part of the Setsubun plan I produced. Makes you excited, doesn’t it?]

[Rigel: Makes me gets the chills.]

The phrase “Ghost” didn’t give him a good impression. It wasn’t something that sounded very familiar to him, but Subaru did tell him about them before――

[Rigel: Ghosts are Hollow, right? I don’t like the sound of it at all.]

[Subaru: Well, I get that. But, you see, this ghost is another kind of concept. With regard to that, Setsubun Oni have to take on another role…..]

The “Oni” in Setsubun don’t represent actual Oni. Instead, they give an Oni = disaster/misfortune sort of impression, and the purpose of the event of driving away Oni is to keep misfortunate away.

Honestly, as someone who’s descended from the Oni, I really feel like Oni being treated as the symbol of disaster is unacceptable, but now that the idea has taken root so deeply in this town, we have no civil rights even if we push for them.

[Subaru: There will be no more of that chasing away evil doers sort of thing, and now the Oni are the protagonists of Setsubun! That’s how it is now, so just let that go.]

[Rigel: And because I’ve let that go, now everytime Setsubun approaches life gets hard.]

[Subaru: You’ve had to pull through despite life getting hard, but I’ve got good news for you. The Setsubun Ghost event is going to save you.]

[RIgel: Oh really?]

Rigel looks at Subaru with dubious eyes.

Halibel, perhaps because he saw that this conversation was going nowhere, put lit his kiseru and said,

[Halibel: Come on now, let’s let him finish. The only knowledge of Setsubun I have is stuff I’ve heard from other people who also heard about it from other people, but how are they different from Hollow?]

[Subaru: About that…..this time, they’ll be allowed to disguise themselves as Oni.]

[Rigel: What!?]

Subaru raised his voice as if to say “I have an announcement”, and Rigel’s eyes widened.

The disguise part is what emphasized his surprise. This is because up until now, Rigel had only been allowed to wear yellow clothed Oni pants that had black vertical stripes, a red padded sleeveless coat, as well as a tremendously bold, bright green wig.

[Subaru: By putting on clothes that are different from the ones we usually wear, Setsubun ghosts can go through their Setsubun day without getting found by Oni―that’s the train of thought I had to come up with this.]

[Rigel: There you go making Oni the bad guys again!]

[Subaru: LIKE I SAID, I tried to switch them around this time. Basically, I got something in store for the Setsubun costume contest. I indirectly let the town know about it, so tomorrow all the guys, girls, old and young―everyone will flock to Setsubun in costumes. You’ll slip in and it’ll be like a game of “Where’s the Oni?” Whatcha think, sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?]

[Rigel: Kind of sounds like it’s become an even dumber festival…..]

Subaru’s face was practically asking him “Doesn’t it sound awesome?”, and it irritated Rigel. Still, he pondered.

With this, surprisingly, he felt like Subaru’s idea wasn’t so bad. In fact, maybe it was good. Dressing in a way that makes him stand out will be the reason for tons of people chasing after Rigel.

However, if he’s going to look nothing like a normal Oni――rather, if he’s going to have an appearance that doesn’t resemble Natsuki Rigel, perhaps he’ll be able to go outside with Spica in peace.

[Rigel: What happened to you, Dad? Has the father within you finally awoken?]

[Subaru: You say that as if the father within me hasn’t been awake until now. The father within me has been in bloom for a good 2 years now.]

[Rigel: 2 years…but that’s when Spica was born!]

Subaru’s teeth glistened as he gave a thumbs up, then Rigel gave a well-delivered comeback.

Anyhow, this was rare, really rare――in fact, this was the first time Rigel agreed with his dad regarding Setsubun.

[Rigel: A disguise! Alright, I’ll make it through tomorrow somehow!]

[Subaru: That’s the spirit! But well, it won’t be that easy, Rigel. To prepare for tomorrow, I’ve taken pics of what you normally look like with a “Metia” and sent them out. In other words, if you have a half-assed disguise, the town’s Rigelists will see through you easily, and you’ll be dead.]

[Rigel: Aren’t you going a little overboard!?]

Just when he started thinking better of him, he made him change his mind again.

However, Subaru went “tsk tsk” to Rigel as he waved his finger back and forth as he said,

[Subaru: Don’t be ridiculous. If this becomes a one sided game, that would be downright disrespectful towards the bean throwers who’ve trained their wrists up until today for Setsubun. They go all out, we go all out―only then will it be sportsmanlike. Yeah?]

[Rigel: Shut up! Then what!? In the end, this is just the same old Setsubun!]

Rigel’s appearance is actually even more well-known in town now than it was last year.

Rigel was ruled by that sort of sense of despair, having a feeling that he’d be killed by beans tomorrow.

However, Rigel was――

[Rem: ――No, Rigel. It won’t be like that. Leave it to your mother.]

The one who gallantly got up and came to the rescue was none other than Rem.

She was in a light blue kimono, and when she tucked up her sleeves, she clenched a fist with her game face on.

[Rem: Subaru-kun told you something. That they’ll be going all out, and we’ll be going all out. That’s exactly what’s going to happen. So, all we have to do is give it all we’ve got and play along.]

[Rigel: But Mom, what are we going to do? Wearing costumes is one thing, but I’ve never disguised myself before. They’ll easily recognize me, and I’ll be dead……]

[Rem: You’re so silly, Rigel. You don’t have to take on everything all by yourself.]

[Rigel: Huh?]

With a smile, Rem nodded at Rigel who was confused. She gently reaches her hand out, then Rigel’s mom’s hand touched his cheek. Then, their blue eyes met each other.

[Rem: Listen, Rigel. Leave this to me. Subaru-kun……Your dad thought hard to come up with this idea for your sake. So, it’s only natural for me to do my part as his wife.]

[Rigel: Mom…..]

Upon hearing those words, something warm started to fill Rige’s chest.

Then, Rigel thought for a little bit, and――

[Rigel: ――Alright. I’ll trust you, Mom.]

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

This was after Rigel, who believed in Rem, left it up to his mother to handle the matter.

[Rem: What do you think, Rigel? I did the best I could.]

Said Rem as she firmly nodded while appearing to be wiping the sweat off her forehead.

In response, Rigel took a good look at himself in the full-length mirror. In the tall mirror that reflected his whole body, there was a brand new Rigel.

[Rigel: This is me(atashi)2……?]

Reflected in the mirror was a pretty girl who was the same age as Rigel.

She had a kimono that was based around a dark indigo blue color, and a distinctively light red hair ornament. Her light blue hair was put up nicely, and she kind of looked like a rich girl.

She did have a sharp look in her eyes, but her long eyelashes and lightly rouged cheeks coupled with her slightly embarrassed expression created quite the charm that’d sway a man.

She turns around. Rem nods.

She turns around. Halibel breathed a sigh in amazement.

She turns around. Seeing that girl, Subaru grinned and said,

[Subaru: Let’s name this you Natsumi Rimmel!]

[Rigel: Shut up!! I was an idiot for trusting Mom!]

Rigel hated Subaru’s expression as he held in his laughter, so he stomped his feet with all his strength.

Of course, the pretty girl reflected in the mirror was a magnificent transformation of Rigel done by Rem. To be honest, it was so perfectly done that it made Rem’s skill scary.

[Rem: I saw nothing wrong with it. Rigel, I think you almost have the same potential as Subaru-kun……It’s a masterpiece.]

[Subaru: Yeah, it’s pretty cute. I was worried about your future when I saw that you were born with eyes just like mine I was worried, but worst comes worst, with this, there are also eyes that can do something about the future……]

[Rigel: As if there are! What do you mean “This’ll unlock a future for me”!? And what’s this about me almost having the same potential as Dad!? Dad’s going to crossdress too!?]

[Subaru: Natsumi Schwartz……Look forward to tomorrow.]

Rigel had no choice but to yield to Subaru’s vaguely confident reply.

Halibel taps Rigel’s shoulder. When the slit-eyed wolf man let a sigh out of his large mouth, he said,

[Halibel: You might not be very happy about it, but isn’t it well done? I mean, that kind of outfit may be useful for sneaking into places if you’re going to succeed me in the future.]

[Rigel: Stop trying to cheer me up ……In fact, just knock it off, Uncle. I have to do this.]

[Halibel: You’re getting pretty into it……]

Perhaps he just liked to laugh at himself. Perhaps he’s just the type to get totally immersed in whatever he did. Or, perhaps he was just used to it.

While wryly smiling at how quick Rigel switched to accepting reality, Halibel scratched his head as if to think for a bit, and he said,

[Halibel: Then how about I teach you the Clone technique for tomorrow? Dunno if it’ll go well if you only learn it on the spot, but you’ve got a feel for it, so maybe you’ll be able to make like one more of yourself.]

[Rigel: Is Clone the thing you used to make four of yourself?]

[Halibel: Yep, yep. I become 4 times the trouble, so it’s super strong. The thing I have to be careful of is, although I become more troubling the more clones I have, the wounds are shared. So if I get hit, I take 4 times as much damage.]

[Rigel: I can’t see anything coming out of it other than me being hit by two times as many beans…]

[Halibel: Wow, even your voice is higher……]

If that’s how it is, maybe I really do have a higher chance of surviving if I nail acting like a woman.

I should forget that I’m Natsuki Rigel and be so girly that they’ll hesitate to throw beans at me.

[Rigel: So I’m being a Setsubun Ghost to keep the Oni away……]

[Halibel: It’s not really like you’re going to fight against your own blood.]

[Rigel: Uncle, I won’t lose.]

[Halibel: Yeah, okay then. Go ahead and try your best. I like how you go all out in everything you do.]

Since Rigel was fired up, Halibel threw away his thought and was about to pat his head, but then he tapped his shoulders, perhaps out of worry that his hair would get messed up.

The way he cared about his hair made his heart skip a beat.

[Rigel: This is bad. I’m already losing doubt that this is who I am……]

[Subaru: The way you get influenced so easily is both one of your strong points and one of your weak points.]

Rigel didn’t touch on who that someone that influenced him was and just stuck his tongue out.

Anyway, if we disregarded Rigel’s own shyness, the Natsumi Rimmel―previously Natsuki Rigel―strategy surely will be effective.

If there was a problem, it’d be――

[Tia: ――Pant, pant, I’m going to die. I’m going to die. T-They’re going to try to kill me, what the heck, ahaha]

[Rigel: It’s not that funny! I’m going to get hurt too, you know!]

[Tia: C-Cmon, stop being so into it. Ah, my stomach hurts, it hurts……!]

Tia had been laughing ever since Rigel’s makeover had been finished. Although, it’d be kinda weird if she were to just accept it as if nothing was odd, so he was thankful that she was laughing at him.

[Rigel: ……Do I really look that weird?]

[Rem: I’m proud that it is pretty perfect. But at the same time, when I look at you now, I do get the feeling that I may have created an absolute monster……]

He turns around to the mirror, and makes a quick pose. He thought it was cute.

Even though Rem was satisfied with how Rigel was doing, she was starting to break into a bit of a cold sweat.

Seeing his parents reactions in the corner of his eyes, Rigel laughed inside, delighted with how things were going.

Of course, he didn’t actually like crossdressing. Well, he did think that it was pretty perfect, and he was surprised that he was pretty cute, but that was different.

When they realize that their own actions are going to put their son in danger, surely then his parents will learn to not have their ideas get out of hand.

By no means was he enjoying this cross dressing, since this chance doesn’t come all that often, and letting out his daily frustrations by intimidating his parents.

[Rigel: Heeey, Spica. I’m going to do my best tomorrow.]

[Spica: Aooo?]

Spica, who was playing around, going in between everyone’s legs under the kotatsu, turned around upon hearing Rigel’s words.

Then, she stared at her completely unrecognizable pretty brother, and put her finger in her mouth.

After that, she said――

[Spica: ――Nii Nee?]

And she had a crisis from perceiving his identity, making her sink.

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

――The boisterous dinner came to an end, and the night went on at Banan town.

Tomorrow’s Setsubun. Tonight is the night before the final battle.

Rigel’s the type that usually can’t sleep when he has plans the next day, so on the night before Setsubun he was especially nervous.

Apart from Setsubun, there’s also family birthdays. Still, my heart’s pounding.

Halibel, who had had an evening drink with his dad after dinner, has already returned to the tenement house. Subaru has gone to the “Kararagi Culture Promotion Society” for one last business meeting for tomorrow’s Setsubun, and Rem went with him too.

She probably requested “Please take good care of my son tomorrow.” She’s a conscientious and meticulous mother. Because of that, Rigel knew that he was going to be protected by a lot of adults.

Since they were pushing Setsubun so much, the adults, including Subaru, have probably made sure that Rigel won’t get into trouble.

They were thorough with the festival’s participation guidelines too, so they probably have some sort of means to prevent Rigel from being mistaken for an enemy in tomorrow’s “Setsubun Ghost” plan.

He should be ready for the worst scenario, which is a paper sticking on his back saying “This guy’s an Oni.”

And so, his parents were not at the Natsuki home at night. This is when Rigel would become the backup family head and steel himself to protect Spica the cute angel.

[???: ――Can’t sleep?]

A voice spoke to Rigel while he was sitting on the veranda, gazing at the blue moon in the sky.

The person sat straight down next to Rigel before he could turn around. A warm shoulder unreservedly touched Rigel, and he released a small breath.

[Tia: I’m not really sure about this, but don’t Human children sleep around this time? You’re going to be busy tomorrow.]

[Rigel: That’s true, but it’s fine. In my case, a little lack of sleep puts me on edge and I can move better.]

[Tia: But won’t your disguise be ruined if you get eyebags? Won’t it, Natsumi Rimmel-chan?]

Rigel was told that in a mocking tone, and his cheeks suddenly had a tinge of red.

He was being lead by the nose and played around with. Rigel turned away, not wanting to realize that. However, Tia chuckled, and gently pushed her nose onto Rigel’s nape.

[Rigel: Dawa!]

[Tia: Relax. ……Mm, the smell of nervousness. Can really smell embarrassment too. You’re so dishonest and cute. To the point that I want to kill you.]

[Rigel: ……That again? If you wanna kill me, just do it.]

Rigel sighed as if to send the message “Not like you can anyway.” Then, in response, Tia’s eyes opened widely.

After that, she bit her lip just for a moment, looked down, and said,

[Tia: You’re…right. I want to kill you, but I can’t]

Then, Tia’s lips slackened, and with a smile continued and said “Because…”

[Tia: I love you, after all.]

[Rigel: ――――]

They were the words Tia had said when he first met her. Upon hearing them, it really stirred his heart.

This was probably the first time he had someone that wasn’t in his family say “I love you” to him.

On top of that, it was from an stunning beauty. He’d be crazy to not think anything of it.

[Rigel: ――――]

Rigel fiddles with the bracelet on his left hand’s wrist, unwilling to acknowledge the turmoil in his mind. A bracelet made of white beast’s fur, another thing Tia has given to him.

She had said that as long as he has this, she will always come running to save Rigel.

[Tia: You’ve never used that. You’ve never called me over.]

[Rigel: ……’Cause, it’s kinda…pathetic. Calling you over just by crying for help…I don’t wanna do something like that.]

[Tia: Really? Doesn’t your dad Su tend to be quick to ask for help from others?]

[Rigel: Dad does do that, but Mom loves him for it so it’s fine. But I’m not like that. Thanks to Mom’s blood, I’m different from Dad. When I want to see someone, I don’t call them; I go see them.]

[Tia: Hmmm.]

Though it did take a lot of courage to say this, Tia had a negative reaction. She snorted as though she was ignoring him, and played with her milky white hair that was on her shoulder.

[Tia: What a cold night it is. I wonder when Rem and Su’ll be back.]

[Rigel: It’s the day before Setsubun, so they’ll probably drink a bit and will take a little longer to get back.]

[Tia: Is that so? Then I guess we should get to bed, since we wouldn’t want to catch that drunk smell.]

Tia stood on her tiptoes and got up from the spot.

The Natsuki family has a rule such that, at night, everyone must put their futons together and sleep in one room. Even on days when Tia stays over.

The one thing that changes everyday is who gets to sleep with Spica――

[Tia: Tonight, I get to sleep with Spica. You jealous?]

[Rigel: Yeah, I am. Who cares about Setsubun.]

[Tia: That was such a fast reply. You really are scary……]

This was about Spica, so he couldn’t possibly lie, and he couldn’t come up with a reason to lie either.

Tia squinted her eyes at Rigel, who had those sorts of thoughts as he curiously tilted his head.

[Tia: Earlier I’d figured this out by the smell, but…You’re nervous, and you’re only acting tough, aren’t you.]

[Rigel: ……Well, if I say you’re wrong, that’d mean I could be lying about a ton of things.]

[Tia: Tons of things or not, stop being stubborn. Here, come with me.]

[Rigel: ――?]

Tia, who’d gotten up earlier, pulled Rigel’s hand and made him stand up. Slender fingers, and the feeling of her smooth skin. Rigel, who was unexpectedly forced to stand up, was taken by surprise.

Then, Rigel, still shocked, had Tia’s smile coming close to him. She was right there, smiling at him, almost close enough for both of their noses to touch, and

[Tia: I’ll help you be brave. Today, I have the right to sleep with Spica, so I’ll give you the right to sleep with me.]

[Rigel: H―Huh!? If I do that…If I do that…what’s up with this?]

[Tia: You, me, and Spica can sleep together. I don’t want to give up being next to Spica, but I do feel bad for you, and when I look at your poor ol’ face, I’m itching, just dying to kill you……]

[Rigel: I get it! I’d like to go with your idea!]

Rigel, with an entranced look on his face, surrendered to the danger of Tia as she blushed.

In response, Tia nodded saying “Very well.”

[Tia: C’mon, if you’ve decided, then hurry up and get ready. I like to get some sleep without nightmares on my good days every now and then. I’ll even sing a lullaby for you, which I haven’t done in a while.]

[Rigel: A lullaby…..]

[Tia: Yep, the “Kill’em Song”!]

[Rigel: “Tia”!]

It seemed the lullaby that his mother had hummed to him long ago came from Tia, and clearly the girl herself was a dangerous.

Still, even though she was so dangerous, she’s never changed, and her presence has always saved Rigel.

If she could just stay the same as she was when she first met Rigel and left an impression on him, then maybe someday he’ll catch up to her.

[Tia: Rigel?]

[Rigel: I know, I’ll be there!]

As Rigel heard Tia’s wondering voice, the night sky hit his face, cooling down his hot cheeks and ears.

When he gets in the futon, he might be hot again, but by that time, he’ll be already be snuggled in the futon anyway. It didn’t matter.


[Rigel: ――Agh, goddamnit. Be quiet, heartbeat.]

While muttering, Rigel started walking to the futon where cute li’l Spica and Tia awaited him.

※※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

Incidentally, the next day, Setsubun incorporated with “Setsubun Ghost” turned out to be a huge success.

“Setsubun Ghost” was well known throughout town thanks to Natsuki Subaru suggesting it. So, many dressed up people got mixed together, even travelers from out of town came to enjoy Setsubun, and the bean throwing ended up being a big event.

As a result, stuff like a “Setsubun Ghost” contest and events to judge everyone’ costumes were held that was suddenly held were held to judge everyone’s costumes.

As a result, with the “Setsubun Ghost” contest suddenly being held, events and such were done to judge everyone’s customs, and――

――The Natsuki Family taking the victory stand remains as a photographic record taken with a “Metia”,

On it were a lovely little girl, a somewhat bewitching beauty, and a beautiful woman dressed as a dashing, gallant man.

With those three who stood together on that victory stand were a big wolf man, and a smiling beautiful woman carrying a baby.

1. [Nii Nii is a baby-like way to say big brother. Nee Nee is a baby-like way to say big sister.]

2. [Feminine way of saying I. Rigel usually uses Ore, a masculine way.]

3. [Hiiragi Iwashi is a Setsubun custom, and it literally means “Holly Sardine”