The Ojou-sama

I do not own the light novel, the anime or the manga. Personally, I think the writer is a brilliant action-writer but he's really horrid at romance! I mean seriously... what's with the masculine Mary-sue? I secretly think that he shipped this pair if Miyuki isn't so perfect.

Summary : Saegusa Mayumi grew fascinated with him after she had the opportunity to speak to the Enigma before the entrance ceremony. Their fates were entwined (forged by her steel will) and her captivation blossomed. It was already too late when she realised that he was the direct descendant of that rival family. A vignette in Saegusa Mayumi's perspective.

Her hands were clasped together as the petite girl wandered around the picturesque compound of First Magical High, savouring the fresh breath of freedom. The other members of the Student council knew her well enough to assign the duty of directing new students to the hall to her. The willowing wind caressed the thick wavy mass of hair that tumbled down her small back. Under the sun, the lush curtain of wavy hair were a spectrum of colours—ebony, slate-grey, jet-black and charcoal—as they caught the light. Absently, she swept the tendrils that were obscuring her vision to the side, parting her fringe distinctively. Most of her locks were held firmly using a large polka-dotted bow, allowing them to cascade down her shoulders with the rest of her hair.

She blinked owlishly, glancing around the compound. She was more fascinated with the way Spring had painted the compound with fresh new bright colours—pink petals pivoted and dipped around like snowflakes among healthy green trees.

The corners of her lips lifted to form a small smile. This was the last time she could savour spring in First High.

Remembering her duty, she roamed around the school.

"Beautiful," whispered someone, his worship affecting his inflection.

Sounds of agreement, both masculine and feminine, punctuated that comment.

The older students, clustered in groups, whispered furiously whenever she walked past them. Due to her upbringing, she handled those intrigued, star-struck stares respectfully and elegantly. The petite President would occasionally flash a warm smile at them whenever someone met her gaze.

There's the fifth one, noted Mayumi absently, tucking her hair behind her ear. The second-year student blushed and averted his eyes when she acknowledged him with polite smile. Besides her close friends, that was the usual reaction from her peers. Dealing with these reactions was a part of her identity as the eldest daughter of the Ten Families Clan.

Taking her duty seriously, the diminutive girl continued making her rounds around the school.

The Student Council President smiled mischievously whenever she made several freshmen blushed with her approach. It seemed as if they were very enchanted with her appearances, or were star-struck. She was, after all, the eldest daughter of the Saegusa family. Her family was one of the few families who kept a public persona, like those movie stars of the previous century.

Would she have the chance to meet him? Mayumi could not construct an image of a man who aced all his written papers with grades that was unparalleled in the history of First High. The genius achieved perfect scores for Magic Theory and Magic Engineering, the two most challenging papers in the Entrance examinations. A seed of rapt fascination was planted in her when she spotted his grades when she looked through the results of the accepted students.

"Shiba Tatsuya," murmured Mayumi under her breath, allowing the wind to carry the whisper of his name away. She couldn't help recalling the identical look of intrigue on A-chan's face. How could she, a student enthralled with engineering and magical theory, not be? However, she was busy preparing the younger sister, Shiba Miyuki for her opening address.

Would the older brother be as flawless as she? Shiba Miyuki was the very picture of grace, poise, and beauty, and power— the pinnacle of feminine perfection. Her skin was as fair as her name—snow—with a flawlessness that astounded her. Underneath that well-practiced veneer of civility, her eyes betrayed an intriguing character, proving that she was not a breathing porcelain doll. During the brief introduction, she was quite certain that she detected a flash of disdain that she was selected as the representative for her year, an honour. Inevitably, Mayumi asked the question and watched her ice-blue eyes light up with worshipful warmth and excitement when she had casually asked her about her relation to Shiba Tatsuya.

"He's my esteemed older brother," replied Miyuki, lowering her head respectfully.

The enigma was a brother, respected by a reputable, brilliant, and powerful lady. That fertilised her fascination of him.

Then, she spotted a sombre student sitting alone on the bench in the shade of a large tree. The air of despondency and bleakness —as if he was a stray—drew her to him like a moth to the flame. Before she knew it, she found herself standing before him.

"Are you a freshman?" She clasped her hands in front, a formal posture, "It's better to head over to the venue."

The man rose to his feet, with a feline and lethal grace, towering over her. She estimated from a glance that she had barely reached his broad shoulders. He looked like an imperious man who carried himself in a way that wrung grudging respect. An air of dangerous indifference clung to that freshman as he regarded her carefully.

His eyes were a shocking ice-blue, reflective and analytical.

Mayumi blinked owlishly when she noticed that he wasn't blushing, in fact, he was staring keenly at her right wrist. Was there something on her right wrist? That was strange…

"Ah! I haven't introduce myself. Pardon me."

He lifted his gaze to meet hers. His Eton-blue eyes lost some of their intensity.

"I'm the President of the Student Council, Saegusa Mayumi. Nice to meet you," smiled Mayumi politely.

Silence stretched between them. Mayumi was baffled by his lack of polite response: he didn't seem star-struck or flustered by her. Her head tilted slightly as she tried to discern the reason for his lack of response.

Suddenly, he snapped out of his ruminations and sank into a deep and formal bow.

His answer, like his gaze, was stoic. "I'm Shiba Tatsuya."

Her heart stopped. Great Kami-sama! Her pitch rose with her explosive excitement as she clenched both of her fists. "You're that Shiba-kun?!"

Derision flickered in his eyes. Was that a trick of the light?

Her thrilled and chirpy verbose of his grades overwhelmed him. Shiba-kun was flabbergasted that she was astounded by his grades. Why would he? He was certified genius! Mayumi was almost disarmed by his apathetic downplaying of his achievements.

Her brows furrowed. How could he not see how brilliant his feats were? She shook her head vehemently. "No, you're awesome!"

Her proclamation seemed to snap something within him. He flinched and stiffened as if she had seared him with her praises.

If it was even possible, he adopted a more formal hauteur. There was a hint of self-depreciation in his eyes. Abruptly, Tatsuya marched past her after excusing himself.

A tiny furrow appeared on her brow. What kind of environment did Shiba-kun grew up in that he couldn't accept the praises? It took her a moment to realise that Shiba Tatsuya did not smile once during their brief encounter.

"I guess that's what a younger brother will do."

Mayumi wouldn't mind if Tatsuya looked at her the same way he gazed at his sister: undisguised affections and warmth. It was the only occasion his countenance reflected genuine emotions. She had been observing him closely, pushing his buttons openly so that she could wring a genuine emotion from his stoic countenance and failed spectacularly. She was almost certain that the intelligent older Shiba was aware of it yet chose to indulge her by playing the helpless victim. It was, the only reason, why she continued to be so riveted with him.

Her pulse raced when she pictured him gazing at her tenderly. She discarded that mental image immediately. She had a match to win and she needed all her focus. It did not help that Tatsuya-kun lingered on the peripherals of her vision as she warmed up muscles.

He looked so distracting, dressed in a jacket that identified him as an Engineer. By a chance of luck, she had the privilege of being looked after by Tatsuya-kun. It was an honour she was too noble to request since she was expected to put the needs of the team before her selfish desire. Miyuki and the rest of the first-year girls needed his assistance. In addition, Mayumi did not want to use him as if he was merely a powerful tool, rather, she desired to know him.

"I need your help."

Wordlessly, he walked to her and helped her to stretch her muscles, as if he knew what she needed. His large hands felt impossibly warm on her shoulders while they maintained a conversation on the magical activation sequences she had installed in her CAD and his work.

The petite President was happy that he was fulfilled. He thrived as a magical engineer.

The CAD he had adjusted was harmonized impeccably with her magic. She was impressed by his brilliance in engineering.

Chirpily, she completed her routine with Tatsuya's help. He seemed to know what she needed to do to warm her muscles up. He stepped aside and stood like a faithful help, looking at her expectantly for her next instruction since he had accomplished his duty as her assistant.

It felt like overindulgence to be the sole focus of his attentions. However, she wasn't too coy to ignore such a perfect opportunity.

Mayumi intentionally remained on the ground after she had completed her exercises, levelling an expectant gaze at him. It felt like the only blip in their perfect synchronization.

He rose a brow.

Pouting, she extended a hand towards him.

His ice-blue eyes became fixated with her outstretched hand. It reminded her of their first meeting since he was fixated with that part of her body rather than her : the ojou-sama of the Saegusa family. In a warped sense, he had truly seen her, rather than meeting her public persona. The petite President couldn't help that smile from blossoming on her face.

He met her gaze and she noticed that the corners of his eyes had softened with tenderness. Then, his gaze became analytical as if he was finding a way to complete his new task. Swiftly, he stepped closer to her and reached for her.

Their hands touched. She was shocked at his electrifying touch. His long fingers carefully curled around her slender digits pragmatically but that platonic gesture sent her pulse racing. With infinite gentleness, he pulled her to her feet.

Jolted out of her thoughts, Mayumi stumbled and fell into his warm and comforting embrace. He had wrapped his arms around her to steady her. Unconsciously, she relaxed in his arms, allowing his presence to soothe the anxiety she did not know she felt. Mayumi was so used to the pressures of performing that she grew simply numb to that unease.

"You'll be fine, President," whispered Tatsuya, looking at her kindly.

She blinked owlishly. She was astounded of his intimate knowledge of her.

His assurance in her ability to secure a victory for the team was reflected in his eyes. She felt strangely assured by his vote of confidence. He was assured of her abilities not because she was the daughter of the Saegusa family, but her. Besides, he was confident that she could rise to the occasion, securing the victory and maintaining the persona of Saegusa Mayumi, descendant of the Ten families.

Mayumi righted herself before a dazzling and predatory smile crept on her face. Her desire to confront her challenges boldly was set aflamed by his unwavering confidence.

"Wish me luck, Tatsuya-kun." With her back straight, she strode out to the playing field, ready to maintain her public persona. A new anxiety blossomed in her as she became too conscious of the way he was watching her from the stands.

A part of her was glad that he wasn't assisting her in her Speed-shooting event since he would be too distracting.

Her heart thumped violently in her chest as Mayumi balled her hands into fists. The wind, blowing from the other end of the alley, whipped her hair.

He was watching her with emotionless eyes. "I can't let you live."

His callous words sent chills down her spine. It was the confirmation she needed: he was a member of the Yotsuba family. Was this a sick joke? Their clans were at odds with each other due to the acrimonious past shared by the Heads, Yotsuba Maya and Saegusa Koichi.

No, she ought to expect it since the family of Yotsuba was enshrouded in mystery unlike her family. Both Shiba siblings, especially Tatsuya, were conundrums. Goaded by a fierce need to protect him and an insatiable desire to discover who he was, she had been paying attention to him.

Each time, he left her astounded. He blew her expectations away as if they were chaff. She admired his engineering ability, his rationalising capability, his brand of magic, and the temperament to deal with every single problem calmly. Her dependable kouhai. Mayumi could never understand why he was so self-depreciative and jaded. That fierce sense of protectiveness, coupled with her profound admiration translated into great affections for the man.

His blank but piercing gaze made her flinched, instead filling her with warmth. It tripped all of her warning alarms: Mayumi fought against the urge to fight or flee. Unconsciously, her finger itched to compress the button of her specialised CAD and activate the magical activation sequence. Her mind drifted to the time when she had showed him her constantly active CAD when he escorted her to the station.

Her finger halted of its own accord. Then, her arms fell to her sides.

She couldn't do it. She couldn't do it to him.

Mayumi sucked her breath, trying to control the way her body quivered.

How could she attempt to hurt him, even if it was for defensive purposes? Mayumi was mesmerised with him—her executioner—even though he was eyeing her like a target he had to terminate. She swallowed visibly when she noticed the way he had dropped into a combative stance.

Mayumi laughed inwardly. He couldn't be a stray cat. Shiba Tatsuya was a ferocious, cunning, and dangerous panther, not a lost and helpless kitten. Every inch of him was streamlined for combat, even his magic. Shiba Tatsuya was a weapon.

Her heart thumped violently, threatening to explode from her chest.

Unhurriedly, Tatsuya withdrew his silver pistol, his favoured specialised CAD, the CAD that he had designed as Mr Taurus Silver of FLT. Impassively, he pointed the gun at her head, a finger on the trigger.

Was this the end for her?

No, he wasn't Death.

Her scarlet eyes drank in his countenance. There was no hint of morbid pleasure in his eyes, unlike the bodyguards who her father had employed. It wasn't who he was. That realisation nearly knocked her off her feet. Shiba Tatsuya was a dreamer who aspired to change the perception of the magical communication. He was an inventor that took pleasures in breaking the limits of magic and pioneered new brands of magic. He was dangerous, not due to his combat abilities but his quick mind, passion and even presence—he challenged the status quo of the society.

The fog in her mind cleared immediately and she gritted her teeth.

It felt almost surreal that she would unravel the puzzle in the form of Shiba Tatsuya when she confronted death.

Mayumi eyed the muzzle of the pistol calmly before returning her gaze to him. He was observing her emotionlessly; studying her reactions as if they were magical activation sequences.

Her heart fluttered. Shiba Tatsuya possessed the ability to unnerve her with just a glance. Her stomach sank when she read the grudging acceptance in his eyes. Shiba Tatsuya had resigned to his fate of being the weapon.

A spark of irritation flamed in her, dousing that overpowering fear. How dare he give up! He was more than the shackles the society had bound him with—strategic-class magician, or tool of the Yotsuba family—he was a law of his own, the Misfit, the Revolutionary. Her hands balled into fists. Bravely, she stepped closer to him, allowing the muzzle to press on her clammy forehead.

Tatsuya towered over her like a Goliath.

The corners of his eyes had tightened—a hint of irritation.

Mayumi expelled a breath and relaxed visibly.


"I'm just Mayumi, Tatsuya." Her voice did not tremble as she gazed at him steadily. He did not react visibly to her familiarity. She wanted to be transparent with him. He deserved her honesty. "You're more than a tool of the Yotsuba family. Don't be shackled."

He shook his head, his long bangs obscuring his eyes. "No, I'm constructed this way." A brief hint of anguish darkened his eyes.

Her mind drifted to the first time she had met him. He was watching her with the same tormented eyes. Instantly, Mayumi's gaze softened.

It wasn't unheard that the Ten families would conduct experiments to construct powerful magicians to maintain their social status. After all, the Numbered families birthed from the society's manipulation of magic users as weapons.

Mayumi shook her head vehemently, her eyes gleaming with passion. "No, you're Shiba Tatsuya, the brother to Shiba Miyuki, the misfit at First High, the magician that defied every convention I knew, the excellent magical engineer, the brilliant strategist, my eccentric but dependable and gentle junior… the only man that could frustrate me with his lack of self-worth besides causing my heart to race. No, I can't fight you."

With a 'click', her CAD bracelet fell to the ground. The sound reverberated in the valley.

There was a sense of profound liberation, like wind beneath her wings. It was up to him. She was contented to leave the decision of her life entirely to him, rather than her father.

There was no need for pretence as she took her time to memorise his features—the only man she had profound admiration for, possibly, the very last person she would see. Her heart swelled at that thought.

Her gaze trailed from his distinguished nose to his high and distinct cheekbones before making a pit stop in his thinned lips—Tatsuya was definitely annoyed. She completed the circuit by visually tracing his square jaws before concluding on his pointed chin.

She established eye contact with him. Desperately, she tried to suppress her smile. Tatsuya was trying his best to hide his irritation and confusion from her. When would he learn to be transparent with her? Didn't he notice that he could never hide his feelings from her?

A gleam of steel flashed in her garnet eyes. "I'm a Saegusa. I understand the importance of duty to family." A sense of peace washed through her with that emphatic declaration.

Tatsuya's pistol shook.

With that, she closed her eyes and stretched both her arms out, placing her fate entirely in the hands of her executioner, the man she admired the most.

I'm sorry, father.

Silence stretched out between them.

"No," snapped Tatsuya loudly. He allowed his tone to pitch with his escalating irritation.

Her heart stopped. Did she hear correctly? Curious, she cracked an eye open.

"No." Tatsuya lowered his pistol and turned away. "I'll not hurt a defenseless woman." His gaze bore unwavering gentleness, tugging her heartstrings.

Oh, Tatsuya…

"W-wait! What about the order of the Yotsuba family? You can't disregard it—"

Tatsuya shook his head, his gaze impossibly tender. There was a hint of amusement in his eyes. She knew it must be ridiculous that she was trying to convince him to exterminate her. Carefully, he stowed his pistol into its holster under his school jacket.

"I can defeat the Queen of the Night if it is needed."

Tatsuya wasn't going to kill her. She was safe. She was safe and alive. He didn't mind taking on the strongest magician for her.

A disconcerting gush of emotions overwhelmed her. Something in her snapped like a twig. Her body quivered and shook with the violence of her emotions.


Tears blurred her vision, before they gush down her heart-shaped face in torrents. Her bawling subsided when she felt him wrap his arms around her protectively.

The fresh forest scent of him was a balm to her soul. A sense of security filled her as she pressed her face into his firm chest. Soothingly, he rubbed her back, comforting her.

Unable to suppress her emotions, Mayumi vented all her suppressed emotions through her tears. She soaked the front of his uniform completely.

Sniffling, she withdrew slightly, cognizant of her environment. The cleansing helped her to vent her fear and anxiety. Naturally, it helped that Tatsuya had alternated between running his hand through her hair and rubbing her back soothingly.

Kami-sama! What would he think of her? She actually lost her composure in front of him. Embarrassed, she burrowed her head into his chest, expecting him to make an awkward comment about her unladylike behaviour.

There was only silence in the alley.

Bashful and inquisitive, Mayumi lifted her head from his chest and shot a glance at him.

Tatsuya met her shifty glance with gentle and empathetic eyes.

She buried her face into his chest again, earning a deep chuckle from him. He was amused with her reaction.

She scoffed. Irritated, she squeezed his narrow waist with both of her hands.

The talented junior smiled wryly at the petite girl in his arms.


He cleaned the tears away from her cheeks with his thumbs as Tatsuya revealed the last piece of secret. "I'm only loyal to Miyuki. It's the only emotion that they didn't take away—my love for my younger sister. She's the only reason why I obey the head of the family. You're not a threat to Miyuki. President—"

"—Mayumi," pouted she, looking miffed.

Tatsuya smiled at her as if he was trying to let her down gently.

Determination gleamed in her eyes. "Tatsuya, you're worthy of my affections, even if you can't reciprocate my feelings," declared the petite girl, her cheeks dusted pink. She didn't know how to explain her desire to see him happy and free. "Please let me stay by your side. I'll not interfere with your duties."

Tatsuya arched a brow as if he understood the weight of her statement.

"What about your obligations to your family, Mayumi?" There was no reproach in his eyes. The warmth in her blossomed when she realised that he was looking out for her.

Mayumi blushed since she knew that he was referring to political alliances through marriage. She coughed into her hand. "Well, I don't think that might be an issue…" Her mind darted to the conversation she had with Juumonji Katsuto, the apparent heir of the Jummonji clan, during the celebration party of the Nine Schools competition.


The hint of hilarity in his eyes irritated her. How dare he tease her! No one besides Mari and Rin-Chan dared to do so. She drew away from his embrace. Without a warning, she smacked him on his arm and she was rewarded by a genuine smile.

Soon, a heart-stopping smile appeared on her face, matching his.

The silence that enveloped them was soothing and comfortable as they gazed into each other's eyes. Words were superfluous when they had an understanding.

Wearily, Mayumi closed the embellished doors behind her as she leaned heavily on its mahogany surface. For a moment, she closed her eyes, as if she was trying to recover her composure. She needed a respite. Although she was accustomed to her father's ways, her heart hammered violently in fear in her chest when the Head of the Saegusa Clan, Saegusa Koichi made that entreaty.

Her father wanted to meet him officially.

Her eyelids fluttered open. Her pulse raced at the thought. She couldn't do anything but obey her father's wish. Clasping her hands before her in the flawless posture of poise, she made her way to her sanctuary. With practiced ease, she smiled at the servants, housekeepers and bodyguards working in her family before she finally reached her room.

The moment the doors shut behind her with a 'click', the emotionless façade she had maintained crumbled into fine dust. She flung herself on her large and comfortable bed, paying little care to deportment.

Here, she was simply Mayumi.

Unceremoniously, she flipped over so that she could stare at the periwinkle ceiling. She had deliberately requested for this shade since it reminded her of him—the hue of his eyes when he was pleased or contented.

After that incident that happened in the alley, she had the opportunity to see him happy more frequently. He would laugh with his eyes when she was throwing a hissy fit. Tatsuya would smile with his eyes whenever they were together. Absently, he would play with her hair whenever they were sitting close to each other. She loved sharing the reading booth with him.

Mayumi hummed with joy.

Her mind drifted to the short and terse conversation between her and her father. Immediately, she frowned. She did not like the scheming gleam her father's eye when he made the request. It took her all her will to remain relaxed—her father was sensitive to the nuances of a person's mood. The corners of his lips lifted slightly to form a smirk—one that sent shivers down her spine instead.

Her father had been fascinated with him since the Nine schools competition. His interest compounded and intensified after the Yokohama incident.

Mayumi shot into a sitting position immediately, a frown on her face. Gracefully, she rose to her feet and padded into the walk-in closet attached to her bedroom. Rows of clothes, suitable for different occasion took three sides of the room, leaving a wall for a full-length mirror.

Her scarlet-hued eyes inspected her hair and outfit as she fixed her appearances. Her thick wavy hair tumbled around her shoulders, unrestrained. Her royal blue dress remained unwrinkled. Satisfied with her attire, she returned to the bedroom and initiated a call.

It took all her self-control to remain composed as the dialling tone echoed in her large bedroom. Suddenly, the image of he appeared on the screen.

Her heart fluttered as she drank in the sight of him relaxing on the white couch, his legs crossed. He was in a casual outfit of loose cotton shirt and trousers. Despite his relaxed posture, he conveyed a sense of vigilance and power. His punishing body, made only of taut and hard muscles, cemented his image of a hardened and disciplined warrior.

Mayumi barely resisted the urge to swoon over him.

Tatsuya was observing her coolly as she was scrutinising his appearance, as if he was trying to ascertain the purpose for the call. However, his probing gaze didn't unsettle her, unlike her father, since it held a hint of tenderness.

She clasped the hem of her dress, not giving into the decadence of exhibiting her emotions—the joy that seemed to fill her being to the seams at the sight of him.

The corners of his periwinkle-hued eyes crinkled slight—he was laughing inwardly at her.

How dare Tatsuya make fun of her! She pouted as she glared at him.

A smile blossomed across his face. He seemed thrilled that he teased a candid reaction out of her, just like a cat that caught its canary.

Mayumi shook her head in amusement as she relaxed into her seat.

"Good evening, Mayumi," smiled Tatsuya. "You look beautiful."

Blush dusted her cheeks as she averted her gaze.

"You had duties?" He relaxed into his seat, contented to ask about her day.

Mayumi was secretly happy that he was taking the time to inquire about her. It was his habit to be concise.

"No, I dressed up for you." Her smile fell from her face when all she got was his expectant look. "You could tell huh?" groused Mayumi, making a face. She expelled a sigh. "Itsuwa Hirofumi-san was here for dinner."

"Oh?" He lifted a brow while his body stiffened. Indifferently, he raised the delicate teacup to his lips and sipped from it.

"At my father's invitation. I didn't know he was coming," clarified Mayumi, running her hand down her hair absently. She had reluctantly entertained them in the past because her father had insisted so. Since that fateful night, she tried her best to avoid socialising with them as a prospective partner because she felt as if she was betraying Tatsuya.

She could read his disapproval from his laconic response. She knew that he was altered to not feel jealousy but he could still be mildly irritated. Her eyes drifted to the other teacup on the coffee table. Her brow narrowed. "I don't see any reason why you should complain. I didn't like it. I had to deal with Hirofumi-kun's subtle advances while you get to enjoy coffee with Miyuki."

Mayumi couldn't help the tone of bitterness at the mention of his perfect sister. Tatsuya had admitted that he only had real devotion to her. They had an understanding that she was allowed to be with him if Miyuki approved of her. Besides, she would rather have coffee with Miyuki.

Tatsuya lifted his shoulders in a shrug. His stance had relaxed slightly. "It's not exactly his fault. Who could resist a beautiful woman like you? You deserve to be placed on display."

Mayumi lowered her gaze. "Tatsuya!"

He was impenitent about embarrassing her.

"You're incorrigible," complained the eldest young mistress of the Saegusa Clan. "What am I going to do with you?"

His eyes gleamed with hilarity. His voice dropped into a husky whisper. "I'm still waiting for my invitation. How about letting me dig in? I remembered you didn't quite mind it." He was referring to the tête-à-tête they had while they shared a small reading booth in school together.

Her face turned beetroot-red. "Shiba Tatsuya!"

His gaze grew gentle suddenly, as if he realised that he had pushed it too far. "Is there a reason why you needed to speak to me?"

She grew anxious immediately. With all the bantering, she had forgotten the purpose of the call. Mayumi assumed proper comportment, sitting with her hands on her lap and her back straight. "My father would like to invite you to our humble residence for dinner."

His eyes widened slightly. Absently, he stirred his coffee before lifting the teacup to his lips, his posture tense.

She understood his hesitance. "I don't know the reason why he wants to meet you, Tatsuya. I don't think he knows your identity." By piecing all the scraps of information she had gained about the elusive Shiba siblings, especially the elder Shiba sibling, she tumbled into the startling truth.

He looked surprised at the disclosure. That was the only thing that Tatsuya should be worried about, right?

Tatsuya crossed his legs. "It's fine. When does Saegusa-sama wish to meet me?"

Mayumi was glad that he understood the importance of duty.

Her eyes scanned her father's schedule.

"Is tomorrow evening all right? Is seven okay?"

Tatsuya inclined his head politely. "You can expect me at seven. Thank you for the invitation." He keyed the information into his schedule with a hand adroitly.

For a moment, she took the time to admire the ease he had around technology.

"Is that all?"

Excitement gleamed in her eyes. "While I don't know the purpose of the invitation, I look forward to showing my home to you."

His gaze grew gentle.

"You'll be dressing up for me. It's something I'll definitely look forward. Well, it's good that I'll get to see more than just your bedroom—"

"—Tatsuya, you make it sound so scandalous!—"

"—I hope I'm a better company than Itsuwa-san or Juumonji-san," joked he playfully, meeting her gaze. "I look forward to meeting you, ojou-sama." Tatsuya inclined his head in a bow.

Shaking her head, she rolled her eyes. "Don't you live with one? You know the ojou-sama whom you'll date if both of you aren't siblings." She remembered that remark he made in the student council room. Months later, she realised that Tatsuya meant that it was impossible not to date a woman as desirable and wonderful as his sister. Well, impossible for a young man as confident and talented as him.

Tatsuya smiled wryly, folding his arms before his chest.

"I do. I'm curious. I have never seen you conducting yourself as the Saegusa Mayumi," admitted Tatsuya honestly, looking away. "I've seen hints of her occasionally." He referred to the battle and the Nine-school competition.

Mayumi smiled. "You'll get to meet her. I'm quite sure you might like her." She winked at him.

"I do. She's impressive. Didn't you hear? She ignored her safety and tried to gather the resource needed to halt the invasion at Yokohama."

She blushed at the compliment.

"It's getting late, Mayumi. Let's talk tomorrow."

"Have fun with your projects, Tatsuya," bid she sweetly, leaning closer to the screen. "Try to stay safe if you have to go out. I can't help worrying even though I know you're nearly invincible."

The corners of his eyes softened. "I'll. You know, your father might want to meet me because of his daughter. Sweet dreams, my ojou-sama." With that salutation, his image blinked away.

Mayumi sank into her seat, a large smile adorning her face. She was his Ojou-sama. Inwardly, she swooned. What did he meant when he said that her father might opt to meet him because of her? She considered his deliberate change of address for her father, as if that identity of her father was relevant. Remembering her duty, she sent a message to her father before she changed out of her outfit and turned in for the night.

The Saegusa household was quite busy, preparing to host a guest for dinner. Mayumi could barely pay attention to her revision since all she could think about was the impending visit of Tatsuya, her special friend. She gave up and busied herself by searching for the perfect dress for dinner. By five, the eldest daughter of Saegusa family had showered and dressed in magnificent and revealing teal dress that accentuated her femininity and her creamy skin.

She spent another half an hour on her hair and her make-up. Tatsuya preferred her usual hairdo—the hair at the sides of her head swept back and held by a large gaudy ribbon, leaving the rest to tumble down in a wavy curtain. He had admitted it was easier to reach her hair when they sat close to each other.

Mayumi examined her reflection in the mirror. It didn't seem quite befitting of an Ojou-sama. She was determined to maintain that image for him. Finally, she decided to sweep all her hair into a tight and elegant French knot, revealing her pale neck.

After she had completed her outfit, she was happy to see an elegant young woman staring back at her in the mirror. It left her plenty of time to busy herself with other important things. However, Mayumi chose to stare at her timepiece in her bedroom and willed time to go faster.

A housekeeper announced the arrival of the guest through the intercom. With her pulse racing, Mayumi could barely keep up her formal hauteur when she was tasked to greet him at the door.

A wave of self-consciousness unhinged her. She couldn't help but feel bothered if he liked her appearance or this particular facet of her.

It took her a lot of effort to maintain her composure. She was careful in assuming a less affectionate smile when she went to the door, knowing that her father would be observing them.

Unknown to the guests, the areas that were used to host guests in the principal seat of the Saegusa family were equipped with cameras so that the master of the house could observe them.

Mayumi nearly swooned when she caught an eyeful of Tatsuya in a bespoke evening cocktail suit. His suit enhanced his masculinity by emphasising his narrow hips, his broad shoulders, and his lean and powerful body. His usually messy and long hair was swept backwards, exposing his forehead, giving him a more suave look.

Her fingers itched to reach for his face.

Like her, he was scrutinising her appearance. Her heart fluttered when she saw approval in his eyes. Slowly, he closed the distance between them.

Mesmerised, she reached for his face, desiring a contact.

Holding her gaze, Tatsuya grasped her hand mid-air and directed it to his lips.

Her heart swooned at his chivalry. Mayumi never knew this side of him.

"Ojou-sama," intoned Tatsuya formally, inclining his head.

She returned the greetings, curtsying gracefully.

Tatsuya smiled appreciatively.

For a moment, she was only conscious of the way he was looking at her and the sensations his touch were evoking within her.

"Is Saegusa-sama waiting for us?"

Reluctantly, she snapped out of her ruminations and assumed a passive countenance. "Yes, Shiba-kun. Please allow me to lead you to him."

Like a switch, the hint of tenderness in his eyes disappeared as he assumed the role of a friend and honoured guest at her house.

Deliberately, Mayumi stepped away from him, surprised that she had not noticed how close they were. How could she have forgotten about her duty? She guided him wordlessly to the dining room, paying close attention to the way she was behaving around him.

Tatsuya barely paid attention to the opulence of her family home. She wasn't surprised. She would think that his income as Mr Taurus Silver allowed him to acquire such a house if he desired. Mayumi used to dislike the sheer extravagance because it felt so pretentious as it was crafted to wow the guests. Appearance mattered, warned her father. Two of the housekeeper bowed when they spotted them before throwing the doors to the dining room open.

A long table sat in the middle of the large room. The chandelier gleamed and shone, its light reflected by the marble flooring. The large arch windows that lined both sides of the room were open, allowing the breeze to enter.

It was too much for a dinner for three.

Mayumi bit her lips.

With large and well-practiced gestures, Saegusa Koichi, the head of the esteemed Saegusa family, welcomed Tatsuya into the house.

Tatsuya, the guardian of the heir of the Yotsuba family, would be exposed to such settings. Politely, he returned the greeting, without a hint of hesitation.

Mayumi could tell that her father was very impressed with him since lesser individuals would cower at the sight of her father. She took the time to scan the dining room. Her jaws nearly dropped. Is her father trying to match make the two of them?

Her heart raced at the idea.

Despite the vastness of the table, her father had placed her close to Tatsuya, whose seat was directly opposite her father, on the other end of the table.

Elegantly, she sat down when Tatsuya seat her. She flashed him an appreciative smile, careful not to be too affectionate since she could feel the weight of her father's scrutiny. He inclined his head at her, playing the part of a gentleman well.

Mayumi had to admit that she never had the opportunity to see this aspect of him. It was very flattering. She smoothed the crease on her dress almost nervously.

Like a well-oiled machine, the housekeepers served the appetizers immediately after enquiring about their preferences of drinks. She felt as if a noose was around her neck and she was a hairbreadth away from her execution.

Mayumi was conscious of the way Tatsuya was keeping a close eye on her through the peripherals of his vision. He was worried about her. Cordial conversation between her father and Tatsuya flowed effortlessly throughout dinner. They were careful to talk about superficial topics.

Tatsuya paid just enough attention to her to be polite and carefully included her in their conversations to ease her discomfort. Naturally, Tatsuya would know that she was edgy from observing the interactions between both men.

Beneath her anxiety, Mayumi was touched by his concern and his effort in making her comfortable.

The eldest daughter of the Saegusa family could tell that her father was impressed by Tatsuya's fine manners, sharp mind, and ambition. They covered a range of topics, ranging from magical theories to his family and her father seemed to be impressed with his insight in regards to the current problems plaguing the magical society.

Those were the topics that Mayumi and Tatsuya liked to speak at length in private and it drew her in, like always. Slowly, tension ebbed away from her body as they engaged in a three-way verbal spar.

The tension returned in full force when her father subtly directed the direction of the conversation to Tatsuya. Mayumi noticed that her father was paying rapt interest when Tatsuya spoke about his family. It sparked her curiosity. She knew that his father remarried half a year after the death of his mother, Yotsuba Miya, to a researcher in Four Leaves Technology. He asked many questions about his lineage, as if trying to discern if he came from a distinguished line of magicians.

Light reflected from her father's spectacles eerily as Saegusa Koichi probed about his family. "Are you certain, Shiba-kun? Both your sister and you are such powerful magicians. It's hard to imagine that you are not a descendant of one of the Ten families."

Mayumi's heart nearly stopped. She knew what her father meant. She came into the conclusion that the Shiba siblings were descendants of the Ten families due to the same reason. The Ten families always produced powerful offspring. Would he conclude that he came from a family whose number was stripped from their names?

Tatsuya smiled politely. "My sister and I are simply different. I'm not from the Ten families."

"That's strange. Could you be affiliated to one of the family? Is it correct that your father manages Four Leaves Technologies?"

Mayumi clenched her hand as she looked at Tatsuya. Did her father discover the truth of Tatsuya's identity?

Tatsuya nodded his head, sipping from his flute. "That is correct. I do not pay much attention to the dealings of my father. He doesn't live with us any longer."

Saegusa Koichi rubbed his hands as he grinned. "I'm happy to hear that. It would have been most unfortunate if your family had dealings with the Yotsuba family."

He looked convincingly puzzled. "Unfortunate, sir?"

"Yes. I have some issues with the head of the Yotsuba family." He tapped on his spectacles before smiling widely. "You're a fine young man, Shiba-kun. If you don't mind, I would prefer if my daughter spends more time with you."

Mayumi's pulse began to race. She fisted her dress as she desperately tried to maintain composure. So, her father had really decided to match make her to him.

"I have always appreciated Saegusa-senpai's company. She's an admirable lady," replied Tatsuya carefully, allowing a hint of admiration to lace his tone.

The smile on the head of the Saegusa family's face widened. "That's excellent. I'd love to meet your father soon if you're not disagreeable to the arrangement."

Her heart fell at the thought. Would her father realised that Tatsuya was a direct descendant of the Yotsuba family? His father couldn't possibly lie about his parentage. She suppressed the urge to protest against that.

"It'll be our pleasure. I thank you on my father's behalf," smiled Tatsuya. She couldn't help but notice the predatory edge to his smile. Was Tatsuya planning to do something outrageous?

"Splendid. We can work out an arrangement in the near future. Why don't you show Shiba-kun around, Mayumi? I'm sure he would like to have a tour of our house to walk off the hearty dinner. You're always free to visit, Shiba-kun."

Mayumi nodded numbly, rising to her feet when her father stood up. Tatsuya continued with some pleasantries and a gracious smile.

It was almost over. All she needed to do was to maintain her composure for a few more minutes. She could do it! She could hold on for a few more minutes. She could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. She had many questions she needed to ask him.

After exchanging some polite pleasantries, Tatsuya and Mayumi were sent to their way.

"What would you like to see?" offered Mayumi politely, smiling. "Would you like to see the shooting range?"

She clasped her hands before her, an elegant pose, barely able to hide her excitement. Tatsuya had once pointed out that she would assume that pose whenever she was nervous or excited.

Tatsuya lifted a brow. She was certain that he could look past her façade and sense her anticipation.

She nearly exploded with eagerness when he agreed to her wishes.

Rapidly, she led him through the door at the back of the mansion into the lovely grounds outside. Tatsuya fell in step with her, choosing to keep a polite distance from her while he indiscernibly counted the number of surveillance cameras they had passed. The night sky looked like an inky canvas filled with blinking stars. She lead him to a long and narrow building which housed a state-of the-art shooting range for her personal use.

That distance became nonexistent when she locked the door of the shooting range. He looked around the facility curiously. Her specialised CAD, in the shape of rifle was placed neatly on the racks next to a machine that could perform basic CAD maintenance. The layout mimicked both parts of the speed shooting events—the preliminaries and the finals.

"Father built this after my first victory at national level," explained Mayumi nonchalantly. She led him to the couch at the back of the facility so that they could sit down. It imitated a functional sitting room and came with its own HAR. Obediently, he scooted next to her.

"It has been a while since I witness your magnificence on the range," commented Tatsuya wryly , looking at the range. It was lighted up by spotlight to ensure that she had optimal visual of the entire range. "It is beautiful."

Mayumi pouted before resting her head on his shoulder. "Do you mean I'm not when I'm not on the range?"

"You know what I mean," returned Tatsuya smoothly, used to her childish moods. "I've always been impressed by the precision and the splendour of your magic."

She buried her head into the crook between his neck and shoulder. "Not quite like yours. You're a highly efficient magician." She couldn't discern any waste of Psions when he employed magic. A part of her realised that she had missed him terribly.

"Not by choice," returned Tatsuya, relaxing into his seat. He closed his eyes, as if enjoying their proximity but his arms were by his side.

Her brows furrowed.

"Are you really going to arrange that meeting between our parents? Wouldn't the head know about it?"

His eyes shot open before an unnerving smile crept on his face. "I'm hoping for a confrontation with my aunt. However, she may endorse a match between both of us to separate me from Miyuki. She had made Miyuki her heir and assigned a new guardian to her."

"Then why are you here tonight? Miyuki-chan needs you." She grasped his hand with hers. "You're planning to challenge her because she's trying to manipulate Miyuki-chan? What can I do?" She frowned at the thought of Tatsuya taking on the entire Yotsuba family alone.

He shook his head. "No, you can't interfere—"

"Unless I become your family," interrupted Mayumi, determined. She wasn't repulsed by the idea of being with him.

Tatsuya shook his head again. "It'll deepen the rift between the Saegusa and Yotsuba families. It isn't good for the magical society. Besides, I'm sure Saegusa-sama will attempt to manipulate and weaken the family. It will not be beneficial to Miyuki to be allied with such a family."

"But you need intelligence and influence to suppress the protest from the minor lines," interjected Mayumi. "I can help you with it."

"Miyuki-chan may choose to accept the offer from the Crimson Prince, Ichijou Masaki," clarified Tatsuya, frowning. "With such an alliance, it would be easier for her to suppress any dissident within the family."

Mayumi looked confused, moving away from him. "I didn't know that Miyuki-chan looked at him favourably. I know he's a powerful magician like her. I noticed how he looked at her during the nine-school competition. He's enamoured by her. It'll be a brilliant match."

She hated the sound of her voice since she was speaking like a descendant of the Ten Master Clans who were groomed to focus on producing powerful magicians. Mayumi knew that her beautiful Kouhai would hate such a marriage because she was already in love.

"She's willing to settle for him if that is my wish," returned Tatsuya, narrowing his eyes. He tensed slightly. "However, it isn't necessary. I'll ensure that she's safely installed as the Head of Yotsuba family and has the freedom to choose what she wants to do."

Mayumi squeezed his hand but she didn't like the harsh gleam in his eyes. "So it starts with the meeting of the parents?" She entwined their hands together.

The talent CAD engineer shook his head. "It starts now. My aunt knows I'm here. She probably sent my cousins to investigate the connection between your family and me. They'll discover us."

She averted her gaze, staring at her teal-coloured dress. "You didn't tell me." Mayumi climbed on her feet, wrapping her arms around herself. "You kept everything from me when I have the right to know!"

He remained on the couch. "Mayumi, I didn't want to upset you. I want you to enjoy this evening. If it works out, we'll be together. Isn't that what you're hoping for—"

"It isn't about that," hissed Mayumi, throwing her arms into the air. "Don't you think we should talk about these things when it concerns your safety and us?" She gestured wildly between them. "I don't care if your aunt discovers about us. I don't care if father learns of your parentage. I want to know when I unconsciously put your life in danger. I want you to be happy."

Her outburst silenced him.

She hated it when he looked so calm and so sure of himself.

Huffing, Mayumi picked up her specialised CAD and a pair of information-blocking goggles, planning to vent her frustration on the shooting range. She halted when he grasped her hand gently.

"I'm sorry, Mayumi. You know that Miyuki's safety and welfare is my priority," interjected Tatsuya calmly. "I'll give her everything that she needs."

She spun around, glaring at him.

"I don't mind! I understand that she's your priority. You're Miyuki-chan's brother. I'm not your sister. I don't need to be coddled," protested Mayumi loudly.

He arched a brow, earning a growl from her.

"Yes, I love it when you indulge me when we're together. I don't need to be pampered when it comes to vital things like deposing your aunt."

He stuffed his hands into his pocket, a wry smile on his face.

His lack of response was sufficient as an answer.

Her hands balled into fists. "I really ought to injure you. Miyuki-chan told me that she would hurt you badly whenever she was too frustrated with you. I've seen her effortless use of Class A spells so I guess that you'll be able to take it." Her eyes narrowed into slits, pointing the muzzle of the rifle-like CAD at him.

He chuckled, as if pleasantly surprised that his sister would share such intimate details with her. "She doesn't use Inferno or Niflheim on me."

She tapped her feet in irritation, lowering the muzzle of the CAD so that it faced the ground.

"I know you're not Miyuki," insisted Tatsuya.

She sensed that Tatsuya seemed to be troubled. "Did something happen? How did Miyuki-chan react when you advised her to consider the Crimson Prince?" Mayumi walked elegantly to the range. She keyed in the settings and positioned her CAD as Tatsuya trailed after her.

Immediately, a dozen of discs flew from random direction into the field.

They crumbled into dust the moment they appeared on the field.

"Not very well." He rubbed the back of his neck. "She did something shockingly inappropriate. I didn't know she felt that way for me."

Mayumi ended the round so that she could give him his full attention. "What happened exactly? She confessed her feelings to you?"

"I suggested that it was a better idea for her to be allied to the Ichijou family now instead of the Saegusa family. She became visibly upset and…"

She wanted to shake her head at how obtuse he was, despite feeling so flattered. Miyuki wasn't entirely upset that he wanted her to accept their offer, rather she was distraught that Tatsuya had subconsciously accepted her as his future partner. She recalled his justification for keeping her in the dark—he desired to be with her.

"We were having this conversation last night after I'd adjusted her CAD. She removed her clothes and told me that she saw me as a man before she threw herself on me."

Mayumi covered her mouth, backing slightly away. The facility at Shiba's residence was state-of-the-art, which meant that Miyuki was already in her underwear before she removed her clothes. She should have known that Miyuki would have taken such extreme actions to keep him. Her heart sunk. How could she compete with Miyuki? She expelled a breath.

"W-we…I-I. I'm sorry—"

She lifted her hand to stop him from completing his apology: he need not apologise. "No. I expected it since I learn that you are a Yotsuba and you have only real loyalty to Miyuki. I understand why you don't wish to call off the meeting. You don't have to arrange for our parents to meet." She averted her gaze, trying to keep it together. Her vision started to blur at the thought of their parting. It wasn't his fault and Miyuki would never let him go. It was their circumstances.

"Mayumi—"He inched forward, trying to reach for her.

"—Shiba-kun, please." Her vision blurred. Hastily, she wiped them off her face. Her heart was breaking into pieces but she maintained a cordial smile.

Tenderly, he tipped her chin so that their gaze would meet. He cupped her face before he gently cleared those tears away. He looked so determined yet so gentle.

"Will you wait for me?"

"What about Miyuki-chan?" breathed Mayumi, closing the distance between them. She could feel his warmth breath on her face as their faces draw closer.

"She wouldn't shackle me forever. One day, she would meet a man who would astound and unnerve her all the time. Mayumi, I couldn't kill you that night even though I knew that you were dangerous. I justified that hesitation with your cordial friendship with Miyuki. I know now that I will never be able to lay a finger on you." His ice-blue eyes deepened.

Her heart fluttered. It was a love confession from Tatsuya. Suddenly, she realised that he had always intended this to be a farewell; therefore, he had kept it a secret from her. "You planned, from the beginning, to meet me so that you could say your goodbyes?"

He shook his head, his nose brushing against hers. "No farewells. I'll see you again." Wordlessly, he closed the gap between them, sliding his lips against hers gently. His arms wound around her small frame tenderly, holding her close to him.

With that, she closed her eyes and surrendered her entire being—her present and future—to him, placing her fate entirely in the hands of her executioner, the man she loved, allowing their love to blossom.

Her hands were clasped together as the petite girl wandered around the picturesque compound of First Magical High, savouring the fresh breath of freedom. First Magical High did not change since she had graduated a few years ago, despite the changes she had experienced. She was invited by her siblings as a special guest.

The billowing wind caressed the thick wavy mass of hair that tumbled down her small back. Under the sun, the lush curtain of wavy hair were a spectrum of colours—ebony, slate-grey, jet-black and charcoal—as they caught the light. Absently, she swept the tendrils that were obscuring her vision to the side, parting her fringe distinctively.

She blinked owlishly, glancing around the compound. She was more fascinated with the way Spring had painted the compound with fresh new bright colours—pink petals pivoted and dipped around like snowflakes among healthy green trees. She was glad that her appreciation of nature was not tainted by her memories of this place. It felt so surreal to return to the genesis after so many years.

Never, had she, for the past three years, passed a minute without thinking about him.

It was almost three years ago since she first met him here. She remembered clearly as if it was yesterday. He looked so out of place and miserable, dressed in a uniform that identified him as a Second-course student.

He didn't need to attend high school due to his credentials as Mister Silver of FLT, and Special Lieutenant at 101 Independent Magic-equipped Battalion.

Both Shiba siblings disappeared after that magical but heart-wrenching night.

She was never quite the same again.

Naturally, she came clean with her father about her relationship with Shiba Tatsuya which allowed her to remain blissfully single. Father was disappointed with her but she had put her foot down. It helped that she took her duties as a Saegusa more seriously. She put her back into gathering intelligence about the events that were troubling the magical society, which pleased her father. Mayumi contributed to the downfall of that family that had started the third World War through her newly-acquired skills.

She had discovered that they weren't quite destroyed, as the Yotsuba claimed, and they were behind the Yokohama incident, the parasite dolls and other crisis that plagued Japan. The elusive new head of the Yotsuba family saw to their utter annihilation, resolving all the issues in one go, after it was announced in the meeting of the Ten Master Clan. There were whispers that the military was involved to resolve the problem—the soldier they call 'God of destruction' was dispatched to assist in the fight.

She couldn't sleep that night after she learnt of that news.

Mister Silver continued contributing to the magical society by pioneering new magic.

Her twin sisters were graduating from High school and they were somewhere in the compound, doing some last-minute preparations for the Entrance ceremony. Absorbed with her thoughts, she did not realise that she had halted before the bench where she had met him.

The petite woman was so fascinated with him then and had hoped to meet him. For some odd reason, Fate granted her silent request then.

Would it work again? She missed him desperately.

"Shiba Tatsuya," murmured Mayumi under her breath, allowing the wind to carry the whisper of his name away.

Her magic picked up the entrance of another individual. Immediately, she activated the sequence on her CAD, ready to cast the magic. Her scarlet eyes widened dramatically when they fell on a graceful warrior approaching her. He towered over her, watching her stoically with his ice-blue eyes, partially obscured by his long fringe.

Her heart stopped. It couldn't be.

Reflexively, she reached for him.

He gasped her hand mid-air and lifted it to his lips as he dropped a knee on the ground.

She covered her mouth with the other hand in shock. He was dressed in a bespoke suit that fitted his new frame.

His periwinkle eyes gleamed with joy and determination before withdrawing a small box from his pocket. "Mayumi, I remembered the two fateful nights when you bet your entire being in us. I was too incomplete as a human being to reciprocate your feelings. Would you bet your entire being in us and honour me by being my wife? Please let me stay by your side. I'll not interfere with your duties."

She guffawed loudly, partly amused, and touched that he remembered her first confession.

There was something different about him she couldn't put a finger on.

"Is that a yes?" He asked hopefully.

"What about Miyuki-san?" asked Mayumi. Absently, she tugged her hair behind her ear.

"My younger sister set me free. She made me whole."

Her eyes widened. "What do you mean by whole?"

A brilliant smile stretched across his face as his gaze became impossibly tender. "I love you, Mayumi."

Her vision blurred. She couldn't believe that she would live to the day in which her beloved would reciprocate her feelings. She covered her mouth as tears began to gush down her cheeks. "I-I…"

His arms wound around her, swaddling her in his warmth. "I'm sorry, Mayumi. I know it's a little sudden—"

"—Yes! I've been waiting for three years. It's a yes!" She threw herself around him and allowed him to twirl her around wildly as she giggled madly. She had never felt happier. "I love you, Tatsuya."

He grinned madly at her before placing on her feet. "I know. Your father nearly killed me when my father and I visited him at your house and asked for his blessing. He was playing with a handsome little toddler. I didn't know that your half-brothers had more children." Lovingly, he lifted her left hand and slipped a beautiful ring into her fourth finger.

She chewed the bottom of her lip as she averted her gaze. Mayumi clasped her hands before her.

He lifted a brow.

"Tatsuya, he's not my brothers'. His name is Gin, Saegusa Gin," whispered Mayumi bashfully, squeezing his trim waist with her arms. (1)

He blinked owlishly, pointing to himself. "Mister Silver? He's ours?" Tears began to well up in his eyes as he tightened his arms around her. "I-I-I…"

She knew that he knew how difficult it was to raise the child by herself. "Shh. It was my decision and I want no apologies."

Mayumi wrapped her arms around his neck, stood on the tip of her toes and kissed him tenderly. Her heart thrummed when he surrendered and responded with equal fervour.

When they finally separated, he was smiling at her. "My Ojou-sama, I think we're fashionably late for the ceremony."

She laughed brightly, nudging him on the rib before dragging him off for the Entrance ceremony. Maybe her sisters wouldn't kill her for being so late when they spotted the new ring on her finger.


(1) 七草 银 Saegusa Gin. It means 'Silver'

A/N: Thank you for reading. I had this brainwave after completing all 13 volumes of the light novel. I'm considering about writing a sequel in the POV of Miyuki, filling the gap of three years and the abrupt reason for Tatsuya's departure. I'll see if there is enough responses to do so. Anyway, have a blessed day.