Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai!:Volume 2 Prologue
Even in a family, there will still be secrets.
This probably counts as a good thing. Probably.
It might be because we're living together that secrets must exist.
Even so…… If possible, I hope that it won't be something too shocking for me.
I— Segawa Yuuta, who is nearing twenty— experienced three turning points in my life.
The first turning point was when my parents passed away.
You could say that my life full of trials and tribulations started just then.
From that time, I lived with the person who could count as my only relative, my sister, living a life of destitution.
…… No, that might be too much.
My sister, Yuri, who raised me, was a very reliable person. Though we had to live a rather frugal life, she never let me feel any obvious financial pressures.
And because of Nee-san's efforts, I could still have a personality that was said to be optimistic by my friends, even with my upbringing.
The second turning point in my life was probably when I chose to live alone after Nee-san married.
To me, who did not undergo too many hardships because of Nee-san's protection, that might have been the first time that I had to face the ferocious waves of society directly.
And I could only tide over all these difficulties with my newly acquainted friends and senpais.
The third turning point—
Was a significant incident that had the most impact on my life full of trials and tribulations.
On a certain day in summer, I became the father of three girls.
Three months after that—
"You can't open it!"
Early in the morning, the voice of a girl rang throughout the peaceful residential streets in a corner of Ikebukuro.
As most of the residents here seemed to have lived here since long ago, coupled with the fact that most of them were rather wealthy, it was unexpectedly peaceful here even though the residential district was near the famous Ikebukuro downtown, and the public security was fine as well.
It is now dawn, and the neighbors could probably hear the piteous cry quite clearly.
The person who noticed me walking out of the room and giving an ultrasonic scream is the eldest daughter of the Takanashi family, Sora-chan. It's rather unbelievable that she has such an amazingly loud voice inside that petite body.
Though it was still at the crack of dawn, Sora-chan's brownish hair that reached her shoulders were already neatly combed, the ribbons that could be considered as Sora-chan's trademark were already tied on her silky hair.
Though the middle school girl that would be deemed cute in the eyes of eight or nine people out of ten isn't related to me by blood, she is a person that could be best described as my 'niece'.
And I am her guardian at the same time. However……
Even though the ringing in my ears did not fade yet, I still tried to inquire.
"Onii-chan! You can't open that door!"
"Eh……? Err, but…… Isn't it more like the door that can't be opened in the first place?"
I looked at the door before my eyes.
I had no intention of opening the door, it was just that the door came into my view when I walked near it, so I naturally took a closer look. Even so…… When we moved in from Hachiouji, the door was deemed the 'door that can't be opened', even though it was actually Nee-san's room. Sora-chan probably took the clothes from that room when she borrowed Nee-san's clothes as well.
And because of that, it made me curious to what the room contained……
"T- That's right! Because we lost the key!"
"That's why I asked if we should get a locksmith before this."
"I- It's okay! You don't need to go to such trouble! There isn't much that can be used in the room anyway!"
Sora-chan said while forcefully pulling on my arm, trying to drag me away from the room.
Hmm…… This is just too suspicious. With such a heated response, it would make people think that something was inside instead…… Oh?
"What is it? Why are you making that strange noise?"
Sora-chan raised her head, looking at me in displeasure, but I had already got used to her stern expressions.
Although Sora-chan is much cuter when she is smiling compared to now, she is still a bishoujo even when she frowned.
She tugged forcefully on my arm while being at an extremely short distance from me.
And naturally, my arm felt like it was tightly hugged in Sora-chan's arms, her small but growing breasts sticking close to me, while of course I couldn't tell that to Sora-chan. If I spoke out, I would definitely be scolded as a pervert.
With my stand as 'Papa', the happy but troubling feeling really made me have complicated feelings.
As a guardian, it would really give me a headache if Sora-chan becomes even prettier in the future…… I couldn't help but think that in my heart.
As I was thinking about all these matters in my mind, the 'door that can't be opened' slipped from my mind.
I walked to the kitchen from the living room and opened the fridge. After taking out the PET bottle of a beverage, I took a sip, enjoying the refreshing morning that I exchanged with the life of waking early that doesn't fit the life of a college student at all.
"Phew— That's nice."
"Ah! I bought that, and I was planning to drink it!"
But just the next instant, I heard Sora-chan's second scream of the day. Her voice was startling, as usual.
Sora-chan's gaze fell on the bottle in my hands.
Whoops, it seems that I haven't changed the habits from the days when I lived alone.
"Err…… Sorry. But I just had a sip……"
I extended my hand, planning to hand Sora-chan the open bottle, but she walked backwards with a greatly troubled expression on her face for some reason. Sora-chan's gaze shifted from the bottle to my face a few times. And then, her face turned completely red, like a kettle.
"H- How can I ever drink this! Onii-chan, you huge idiot!"
You really don't need to say that.
"Oji-san, you're really lacking delicacy."
The person who said that is the second daughter in the Takanashi family— Miu-chan.
With a bottle of mineral water in her hands, she sat on the sofa, watching a morning talk show.
Her blonde hair inherited from her mother was tied into pretty twin tails, presenting a dazzling luster as usual.
The idol-level bishoujo who, ten people out of ten would doubt we're related by blood, was actually my niece that wasn't related to me by blood in reality as well.
"Miu, are you still drinking that?"
"Oji-san, do you want to try it? I bought a whole box."
Though I couldn't comprehend why she specially bought plain water, according to Miu-chan, drinking a cup of mineral water each morning seems to be the secret behind her beautiful skin.
Well, since Miu-chan bought it with her own pocket money, I don't have anything to say.
"Oi-tan! Hina too, Hina too!"
A young girl sat by the dining table behind me, repeatedly shaking her chair self-importantly. The part of her hair tied into a ponytail swaying with her body looks unbearably cute.
"Hina, do you want milk? There's orange juice as well."
"Uuu~ Hmm~ …… Milk!"
Hina raised her hand, saying loudly.
I would ask Hina the same question every day, while she would ponder in the same manner every day, but the final answer would always be: "Milk!"
Though about five out of ten people would believe that she is my niece, people who knew her mother would definitely say 'She looks just like her mother.'
Takanashi Hina, the only daughter that my sister Yuri left, is the only niece I am related to by blood.
After the little princess in our family took the glass filled with milk, she hurriedly drank it all in big gulps. Just seeing her frantic expression would make a smile surface naturally on one's face.
The three-year-old was always so serious no matter what she did, she's so cute.
"Miu, stop watching the television and come here. We're having breakfast now."
Miu-chan switched off the television, and sat at the dining table along with her sister.
After I said that, the three sisters said at the same time: "Itadakimasu."
During breakfast, which we always tried to have together, we wouldn't forget to say 'Itadakimasu' and 'Gochisousama'.
It's a daily routine that we did every morning.
Apart from that, the job of preparing breakfast was done in turns.
By the way, it's my turn today.
"Really, you cooked it way too long."
Sora-chan said while taking a piece of bacon.
"Eh…… Really? I think it's tastier when it's crispier like this……"
"I think it's better when they're softer as well."
Miu-chan complained after her elder sister finished speaking.
Right after that, even Hina said that. Hina who was trying to chew on her bacon fell into a bitter struggle.
"…… I'll take note next time."
At these times, I have no other alternative but to apologize.
"Ah, that's right, Onii-chan. Did you forget to take out the rubbish last week?"
"Eh……? I did."
Even if nobody reminded me about this, I remembered that today was the day they collected flammable rubbish. Though the weather was rather cool nowadays as it's late fall right now, letting rubbish like food waste and the like pile up at home is a foolish decision for anyone. Just last week, Sora-chan did not forget to order me directly: "Remember to take out the trash."
"I'm telling you that you're doing it wrong."
"Eh!? How so!?"
"You must take it out before eight in the morning, and you must tie up the garbage bag properly, and you must cover it with a net as well. The Onee-san who lives opposite to us complained about this to me after helping us do it. It's really embarrassing for me."
That was Sora-chan's explanation. That's quite embarrassing, indeed.
It seemed that even taking out the trash followed strict rules at a district near the center of the city.
"Please remember today. If you do it too badly, the neighbors would complain."
"…… I'll take care."
And this time, I have no other choice but to apologize as well.
"Oji-san, you seem to be apologizing quite often."
"Oi-tan, were you a bad boy?"
"Yeah, Onii-chan is so clumsy."
"Oi-tan is cwumsy~"
The cute three-year-old toddler said happily while clapping her hands.
Hina's smile made me feel relieved.
From the time when the plane Nee-san and Shingo-san were on went missing, less than half a year had passed. The lives of the four of us living together that started from that time gradually stabilized.
Ever since we moved out from the rented room from Hachiouji, we have lived together in this house for about a month now. As you can see, although I'm a guardian with little say in anything, seeing that Hina is able to smile naturally again made me smile in relief as well.
Miu-chan energetically said that and walked to the other side of the alley.
No matter how you looked at it, the bag of a primary schooler didn't match her mature demeanor.
"Sora-chan, be careful on the road as well."
As for Sora-chan, she gave a humph in displeasure, and left rather quickly.
Sigh…… It's all because of me making her angry early in the morning. I must remind myself to take care tomorrow.
"Nee-tan, bye bye~"
Hina said while waving her hands repeatedly, while Sora-chan turned around and waved at Hina with a gentle expression on her face.
Why are you especially stern towards me, Sora-chan? Is it because I'm too unreliable!?
However, I didn't have the time to reproach myself, as I had another task to complete. I must send Hina to the kindergarten.
"Well…... Let's go."
At the moment I held Hina's hand and was about to move—
It was an inexplicable feeling.
Though it's physically unreasonable, however…… I indeed felt someone's gaze.
"Oi-tan, what's wrong?"
"Ah…… No, nothing. Okay, let's go."
It must be my imagination. After telling that to myself, we set out.
When I thought about it, my attitude of lacking awareness might have been the start of all those troubles.
Even so, it was already difficult for me to take care of my duties of being a college student and the father of the three sisters, so I didn't have any energy remaining to perceive this truth.
The girl looking outside through the curtains looked very troubled.
The house that was still full of laughter during early spring changed after a certain day.
The doors were tightly locked, and not even a shred of laughter could be heard.
After asking around, she found that some relatives of theirs had an accident.
Though she wasn't a neighbor that was too close with them, thinking that she couldn't see the happy family anymore, an indescribable sorrow welled up in her heart.
However, some time before this, laughter returned once more to the house.
It seems like the news of the accident might have been her own misunderstanding, and they probably just went for a long vacation.
When she thought about that, she finally stopped worrying.
The person living together with the three sisters right now was neither the gentle father nor the cheery young mother.
It was a man, a young man that gave her a frivolous and unreliable feeling.
"Strange…… This is just too strange……"
The girl muttered to herself in the room that was dark because of the closed curtains.
Though she wasn't sure of the suspicious man's identity, she was certain that the three sisters must have been lied to.
The proof was the piteous cries that could be heard from there almost every morning.
"It happened two times today, two screams in a row…… There must be something wrong."
And it was a scream that spread throughout the whole town.
What kind of abusive treatment were the three sisters put through?
Abuse of children? No, it could be more terrible…… That's right, the teachers in school once taught me that 'When you see men, you must treat them all as wild wolves', it's that kind of horrible…… Dirty…… Thinking about that, the girl hurriedly flung out the delusions in her mind.
"Things might not be so, but……"
She might be the only person who noticed the dangers surrounding those girls.
Although she is only a high school student, even so—
I must find out about the truth, and protect the innocent beauties from the wolves' claws.
At that moment, the heart of the young girl who swore to herself in her heart was like the female lead in the TV drama that she watched yesterday, full of courage.
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