Yo! The middle part of Chapter 2~
A voice came from outside the room, and Yukino snapped his head up.
Izuna, whose name had been called, also turned his face towards that direction. It seemed like there was a corridor on the other side of the sliding door.
“A customer has come, what should I do?”
A slightly high-pitched voice. Almost like it was the voice of a boy before puberty…
“Customer? Well fine, first of all come in. I ought to get over with your introduction as well.”
As Izuna said that, the sliding door opened.
“Good morning. Izuna-sama, Okugata-sama .
 Okugata /奥方/ means lady or nobleman’s wife. In English those words don’t work as titles a servant would use in this situation. The only word I can think of to use here would be ‘Mistress’, but I think I prefer to leave it in Japanese. Sama is suffix that expresses respect and it’s attached to people’s names and some other words.
Standing there was a young boy around the age of an elementary student. Although one might say, of course, he was not a normal young boy. On his face instead of lips there was a beak and there were small black wings attached to his back.
“Should I help with your preparations, Izuna-sama?”
“Ahh, yes, please.”
The youth heard Izuna’s answer, rose up and walked up to the chest of drawers alongside the wall. Then he floated up moving his wings, and opened the highest drawer. While Yukino was surprised, the boy took out something like a kimono from inside the drawer, carried it and started to help Izuna get dressed.
“Yukino, this guy is a Karasu Tengu , his name is Saburouta. You should direct your question about daily things to this guy. Saburouta, stay here and help Yukino to get ready.”
 烏天狗 – crow billed goblin/monster/spirit. They’re creatures from Japanese mythology.
 三郎太 – the kanji mean ‘third’ then ‘son’ and ‘plump or thick’.
As Izuna said that to Yukino and Saburouta respectively, he promptly left.
Left there, for a moment Yukino felt forlorn. But, although Saburouta was clearly not human, his appearance was small, and to that extent he did not feel scary.
“Err…I’m Yukino. Let me see, Saburouta…kun?”
“Yes! Please treat me well.”
“It is I who should say so, please. How should I put it, umm, Saburouta-kun is probably…errr…not Izuna’s younger brother, right?”
The youth had used ‘sama’ with him and Izuna himself had told him to turn to the boy with daily matters. He guessed that if they were siblings Izuna would not have used such a way of speaking,
Sure enough, after Saburouta widely opened his eyes, the youth hurriedly shook his head.
“Absolutely not! Izuna-sama is the chief of this mountain and the Tengu village, and I am no more than a servant who works in this residence.”
Judging from his use of words, Yukino had thought that might possibly be the case, but as it was confirmed he was as expected surprised. After all, the boy was still around the elementary school age… Was that common amongst Tengu?
“How should I put it… is Izuna perhaps a person in a high position, no, a Tengu in a high position?”
“Were you not aware of this?”
He did not know it at all. No, now that the youth mentioned it, Yukino had a feeling that Izuna had said that this mountain was his holy precinct.
Moreover, this room was very grand. It was big, the ceiling was high and the futon was large and soft and fluffy.
However, since they had arrived deep into the night, he did not know what the outside of this room was like. Saburouta was also the first resident he had met besides Izuna. Yukino also believed Izuna had not really said anything about his social position.
“Well then, it seems you married into the family without knowing anything, is that so?”
“No, but I’ve not married into the family.”
“Oh, so that’s the case. You’ve not yet done it. I’ve been very discourteous. Then, first of all should I help you with getting dressed?”
That still was not the case…is what he thought, but before Yukino could deny it, Saburouta took out a kimono and brought it to him, so he did not feel like stirring things up and held his tongue.
“Will this one do?”
“Err, this, is it really for me to wear?”
At Yukino’s words, Saburouta tilted his head heavily and then nodded firmly.
“Yes. This is something Izuna-sama had ordered to be prepared for Okugata-sama.”
“Is…is that so…”
After nodding Yukino looked around the room, but unnoticed his clothing had disappeared. It looked like truly he could only wear this.
Unfolding it, it looked like a kimono but there was no undershirt. By classification this would be a yukata?
“Because Okugata-sama will be spending his time inside the house, Izuna-sama had said that comfortable clothing would probably be the best.”
Even though he was nodding in understanding, he was bothered by the words ‘spend his time inside the house’. However, even more worrying was the ‘Okugata-sama’ denomination.
“Umm, if it’s okay could you call me by my name?”
“By your name?”
“Yea. Okugata-sama is a bit…”
Honestly, he could not compose himself. To begin with, he was not the wife or anything.
Saburouta seemed confused for a moment, but in the end he nodded.
“Then would it be fine to call you Yukino-sama?”
“I don’t really need the ‘sama’.”
“No, all the same…please allow me to use it.”
“Ah, forget it. I’m sorry I said something unreasonable.”
Being told that apologetically, Yukino’s mood became apologetic. As Saburouta firmly shook his head, he unrolled the yukata.
“Well then, first of all, can you please stand up?”
For now, he stood up as he was told to, and decided to let Saburouta help him to get dressed. Because he had grown up in a temple he was familiar with Japanese clothing, but as it did not mean he could put it on himself, Yukino completely gave up on dressing himself.
“I’m sorry for troubling you.”
“No! It’s an honour to be useful to Oku…Yukino-sama. I have been looking forward to your arrival.”
Yukino tilted his head at Saburouta who had truly said that with pleasure.
“Looking forward…you knew of me?”
“Of course. —Ah, could you raise your arms to your shoulder height?”
“Ah, yes. Is this okay?”
“Yes, thank you. Earlier, I heard about Yukino-sama from Izuna-sama. I also heard that it was thanks to Yukino-sama that Izuna-sama felt inclined to diligently make an effort in his training as Great Tengu, everyone on the mountain is thankful to Yukino-sama.”
 大天狗 – this actually says ‘big’ Tengu, but that sounds weird in English.
“Ee? No, I don’t really think that such is the case…”
Like that while they spoke, and while he raised and lowered his hands as he was told to, in the blink of an eye they had finished dressing.
The Japanese clothing like Yukata that he was not used to wearing felt a little strange, but the feel of the material was nice and it truly seemed easy to spend time in.
“It looks very becoming.”
Saying that, Saburouta seemingly happily laughed with a friendly grin.
“Is, is that so?”
He himself was not too sure of it, but because he was praised, he thought better of it.
“Until Izuna-sama returns please stay here.”
Saburouta quickly arranged floor cushions and armrests, and urged him to sit there.
“Thank you very much.”
“No, no, the bridal gown for the wedding ceremony as well since it has already been completed, later on please try to put it on once.”
“Yea. …Ee? No, wait, what wedding ceremony?”
At the words he was told without any hesitation, Yukino was surprised and asked back.
“Of course, it’s Izuna-sama’s and Yukino-sama’s wedding ceremony.”
At the words that were returned to him as if it was an obvious thing, Yukino felt sorry.
No, well, since he had that many times called him Okugata-sama, Yukino guessed Saburouta himself was convinced he was saying an obvious thing, but…
What should he do? Even though he was troubled, in any event, he should probably say a few words here, so Yukino opened his mouth.
“Say, that is…”
“How to say this, to tell you the truth, this is troubling, I mean…”
He guessed that even if he told this to Saburouta it would be of no use, but the youth thinking with eagerness of his wedding with Izuna made him unable to compose himself in any way.
Moreover, if things went well he could probably ask about the authenticity of not being able to leave the mountain.
“Although you’re expecting it, I’m sorry, but I have no intention of becoming Izuna’s bride…”
The moment Yukino said that, Saburouta widened his eyes as if in astonishment. Maybe it was his imagination, but it even looked like the boy had somewhat paled.
As expected, it had been unwise to say it to Saburouta?
“That…but I’ve heard you’d made a promise?”
Being asked that in voice that seemed to imply the speaker was at his wit’s end that feeling grew increasingly stronger.
“I had promised that, but that was when I was a child…”
Yukino said that while having become a little flustered, and for a while Saburouta was silent as if he was perplexed, but finally as if he had made up his mind the youth raised his head and intently gazed at Yukino.
“This is probably not something you should hear from me, but…”
Prefacing things like that, Saburouta slowly began to speak.
“For us Tengu promises and laws are considered graver than anything. Age has no relation to that. If the person who made the promise….if Yukino-sama can’t accept being his spouse, Izuna-sama will probably lose his qualification as chief.”
This time it was Yukino’s turn to be surprised.
Izuna will lose his qualification as chief?
“What do you mean?”
“Only after a Great Tengu acquires a bride he becomes an adult. In other words, until the wedding ceremony his position as chief is no more than a temporary thing.”
Acquiring a bride, becoming an adult…
“Bu…but, it doesn’t have to be me, right?”
At Yukino’s question, Saburouta slowly shook his head.
“Everyone in the village knows that the person who made the promise to become Izuna-sama’s spouse was Yukino-sama. If the promise is not fulfilled, it’s expected he won’t be able to take the seat of chief.”
Izuna had not said anything like that.
Certainly, he had said ‘a promise is a promise’ as if to protect it, but…
“I understood Yukino-sama’s feelings. However…this thing just now I am going to store it in my chest, so please don’t speak of this with anyone else.”
Being told this in an admonishing tone, even though he was bewildered when Yukino nodded Saburouta also looked a little relieved.
However, it was out of the question for Yukino to be relieved.
—–If he broke the promise, Izuna will be deprived of his qualification to be the chief?
He thought such a thing was impossible. But, it also did not seem like Saburouta was lying.
But, all this because of such a childish verbal promise?
Originally, hadn’t Izuna said such a thing because he’d been crying?
But if that’s the case, hadn’t he done something terrible…
The more he thought about it, the more shocked he became.
And then, if that was true —– he felt like he had no right to reject Izuna.
“I’ve made an uncalled-for remark, I’m very sorry.”
“Ah, no worry. It was me who said something strange, sorry.”
Yukino hurriedly shook his head at Saburouta’s apology.
Had he been making a very gloomy face? It looked like it made Saburouta fuss over him. Certainly it had been a shock, but since originally it had been due to his carelessness, if what they had just spoken of was true, he was glad he had heard of it.
“I wonder, seems like being the chief is a very eminent thing?”
“That is, of course, the case. For generations the chiefs have lived in this residence, and the village and mountain too are all Izuna-sama’s property.”
Yukino, who hadn’t yet completely seen either the residence or the village or the mountain, vaguely nodded, still confused.
But, even though he did not comprehend the scope, he could see that to Saburouta the position of chief was a very important matter. No, even if it wasn’t big and magnificent, the fact that the place Izuna had earned would be taken away because of him, that is…
The moment he unintentionally sighed, the sliding screen opened and Izuna returned.
Till next time~
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