The news of the arrest of the eldest son of the Tachibana family, a branch of the famous Yakumo family, spread quickly.
When word of his son’s disgraceful behavior spread, his father stepped down as president of Tachibana Corporation, and his mother, Mitsuko, stayed away from the gossipy social scene.
The Yakumo family indeed could not protect the Tachibana family, or rather, they had no intention of protecting the Tachibana family, so they threw the Tachibana family out of the branch family... On the contrary, by doing so, they kept the Tachibana family away from the framework of the famous family so that they would not have to appear in public any more and would be free from unnecessary socializing.
And so began Takayuki’s trial.
As expected, Manyo did not sit at the prosecutor’s table because she was a family member of the parties involved, but the prosecutor’s office was still in serious mode and took a confrontational stance with the defense for her sake, as she was well-liked in the workplace.
The defense argued that Takayuki was in a diminished state of mind, while the prosecutors went back to his one-sided outburst to his former fiancée, his kidnapping and confinement of his current fiancée, and his attempt to kill his former fiancée after taking the current fiancée words to heart. He claimed that he was fully responsible.
“My, isn’t that natural? This is a trial that the prosecutor’s office worked on in full force and in earnest, so what if we don’t win?”
The result was a victory for the prosecution.
Takayuki’s sentence was guilty... Since he was sentenced to jail with no probation, the news was all over him, poking and prodding him from every angle.
What was your upbringing like from birth until now, what was your surrounding environment like, what were your friendships at school, about the episode where you had a fiancée that your parents arranged a marriage but someone else came along and you got engaged to that person, and so on.
Although most of the people involved were introduced under pseudonyms, the background of the criminal named Takayuki Tachibana was exposed to the viewers.
Although he thought it was cruel, Chiharu had no intention of feeling sorry for him.
Rather, he just thought of it as a waste of time.
“... Why does the victim have a face like that? Sooner or later, the press will tire of it.”
“ I know that.... Still, I’ll take it as a good thing that we’re not in the spotlight like the other cases.”
“The media seem to know what to expect when they poke around the scandal of a bureaucratic family. Well, it’s quiet.”
“Scandal... It’s not that interesting.”
Chiharu was the victim of a one-sided stabbing. If you only looked at that, you might end up feeling sorry for him.
But if you poke him, that was where Saya’s existence comes in, and the result was a story that was a bit scandalous.
She was the one to whom the murderer, Takayuki Tachibana, broke off his engagement, and the child who was later adopted by the Kudou family, a genius girl with rare abilities who was once in an academy overseas.
It was hard to believe that the media would leave a story that would come out so interestingly if they poked Saya.
In fact, when she entered the university, the weekly magazines that wrote about her amusingly sold like hotcakes.
“It’s scandalous enough. After all, they’re talking about adopting a child who was once adopted by another family, and then marrying her back into our family. If people knew what was going on behind the scenes, they’d be very curious about it.
“... Even my mother, can you please stop picking on your son with that stuff? I’ve had enough of that with Yurie and Takuma.”
Takuma teased him about being a pedophile at first.
Yurie also gave a lukewarm look and was able to respond in an indifferent tone, ‘I see’.
As expected, Chiharu apologized to his long-time friends for the way he treated them, even though it was not their fault.
(Pedophile? No, that’s wrong. I have no interest in infanticide.)
The one he loved was Saya. Because she was who she was.
When she, too, responded to his feelings in a confused manner, his mind finally came back to reality.
She was his sister in the family register.
What do they do now? How was he going to get her?
Strangely enough, he didn’t have to think about how to convince his parents.
He was sure those parents had already figured it out with an eye as good as or better than Sakuya’s.
He had this unfounded confidence that they were watching over him on top of that.
“I’d better get going.”
“Is it that time already?... Well then, have a good day. Just go for it.”
His mother laughed and slapped her son on the shoulder as he slumped down.
Today, Saya would graduate from university.
She was the youngest student ever to enter the school and had always been one of the top students to graduate first in her class, and she was only 17 years and a few months old. In general, she hadn’t even graduated from high school yet.
Therefore, the graduation ceremony was held on high alert, with all the press shut out, which made him feel a bit tense, but the person in question went into the ceremony with a sense of freedom and a bit of sadness at the same time.
Wearing a navy blue suit instead of a kimono or hakama, she was no longer the skinny little girl she was when her last name was Hiiragi.
Under the guidance of a nutritionist, she continued to eat nutritious meals in a well-balanced manner, and at the same time, learned every exercise she could think of that would be useful, from self-defense to Shorinji Kempo, to keep her body flexible.
Thanks to her efforts, she now had a firm and toned body with a feminine figure, and she had become a beautiful woman who attracted the attention of those around her.
In a couple of years, she would definitely be a beauty, and many of the students were stretching their noses in delight, even though it was her graduation day.
But they would soon be confronted with reality.
“Saya, I’m here to pick you up.”
“Congratulations on your graduation, Saya.”
On one side, a blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty.
On the other side, a very handsome man with dark hair.
The two of them stood on either side of her, intimidating the people around them.
This meant that the reckless young men who had planned to take a shot at her in the end had no choice but to give up, and the foolish women who had been so attracted to the men that they had turned their jealous eyes on Saya had no choice but to give her a cold stare and slink away.
In the car, Saya heard the results of Takayuki’s trial.
Three and a half years had passed since then... In the period leading up to the conclusion of the trial, she had been somewhat restless and anxious.
However, when she was told of the guilty verdict, she seemed to realize what the consequences would be, and responded, somewhat sadly, ‘I see’.
“Takayuki-san, as a criminal... Even after atoning for his crimes, he still carries that brand.”
Wherever he went, he was pointed back at, and even his family was constantly blaming her.
What he did was what he did, and even if he was legally recognized as rehabilitated, he would probably have to live with the burden for a while.
Then she suddenly remembered about the other party, who was not named.
After his arrest, the people around Saya had never once mentioned ‘her’ name.
That was why she wondered what that girl was doing now that this had happened. Saya decided to put the question directly to Chiharu.
“Uh, yeah... Her, huh... She’s... Well, whatever. Hey, Sakuya.”
“Why do you pretend to not be here, you... Yes, it’s not like Saya is unrelated either. I’ll tell you what.”
Saya was honestly surprised at the fact that was told to her.
A girl named Natsumi Amaha, who was born with memories of her previous life, skillfully won over the people around her, kicked out those who got in her way, and was adopted into the Hiiragi family, the last branch of the famous Shijo family.
While being doted on by Takayuki Tachibana, who had got the status of her fiancé, she had tried many times to get close to her true love, Sakuya Kiryuu, but had failed in every attempt.
Eventually, her health deteriorated, and as her mind gradually became distorted, she resented Saya, even going so far as to ambush and verbally abuse her like a stalker.
She was locked up by Takayuki, who brought her back to life, and then the incident happened.
And the episode up to that point was already known to Saya.
That was when she was surprised.
“...Not guilty?... I mean, that’s...She still is.”
“Yes, I’m sorry to say it, but it’s out in the open.”
Objectively speaking, she was a victim of being held captive by her fiancé.
However, Natsumi was undoubtedly the cause of Takayuki’s outburst, and even if she couldn’t be held legally responsible for it, it would be normal to keep her away from the real victims by imprisoning her somewhere or sending her to study abroad for fear of publicity.
But in reality, that was not the case.
This time, Natsumi was sent back to Hiiragi’s house through a reliable hospital, and although she didn’t go on to university, she was slowly sheltered in Hiiragi’s house as a domestic helper, and gradually returned to her normal life.
Now, she was just barely able to get a job at a medium-sized company through the help of the Hiiragi family, and as usual, she was sitting comfortably in an office chair while making good use of the men around her.
To set the record straight, office work was not a relaxing job.
Because Natsumi had connections, she had no choice but to leave the people around her alone.
That Natsumi, as expected, had not approached Saya until now, thanks to Kudou’s able lawyer, Masaki, who had ordered her not to approach Saya and her surroundings.
However, from now on, Saya would also be involved in society, and they didn’t know where and how she would be involved.
The restraining order for the time that Saya was attending the university would expire today, so it was increasingly unclear what would happen in the future.
“Ah look. Speak of the devil.”
“...She hadn’t given up on Sakuya yet?”
They stopped at a convenience store for a cup of coffee.
What they saw was Natsumi getting out of the mini-car and running into the store with high footsteps, as if she had followed them from somewhere or had been staking them out.
She rushed straight to Sakuya who was at the cash register and was talking to him about something as he looked annoyed at her crowding.
His troubled gaze suddenly turned to the two people in the car for a moment.
Please go ahead.
After receiving the message, Chiharu moved Saya, who was not yet old enough to get a license, to the passenger seat, and got into the driver’s seat and quietly started the car.
Sakuya was trying to keep a low profile because he was afraid of disturbing the people in the store, but as soon as he was done with the checkout, they were sure he would quickly shake her off to catch a cab and come after them.
He knew where we were going, so it was fine, Chiharu explained to Saya, while inwardly enjoying the situation of being alone with her for the first time since graduation.
“What is it? Chiharu-san.”
“Shall we make a quick detour?”
Saya responded to the mischievous gaze with a small sigh.
“...Just for a little while, maybe. Drive safely, please.”
“Very well, my lady.”
The age difference, the warmth of the people around her, the fact that she was still a bother, and that he said it was a check on Sakuya, who officially became Saya’s family in terms of family register.
She wanted to get away from those things, if only for a moment.
The moment they stopped at a red light, they looked at each other and laughed out loud.
This is the end of the story, but there will be one more story about the heroine’s side.
If you don’t have enough of heroine-sama and are okay with whatever happens, please move on.
If you don’t want an unpleasant aftertaste, or if you want to fill in the blanks with your imagination, you might want to stop here.
T/N: There's actually another if story that branches of the main story after the heroine's story, so it's not over yet!