So, right… where was I before I started out in a rant about my wife? Um… a normal afternoon, 5:00 p.m., saw my wife's pretty face… alright; I think I'm to speed now.

So, yeah, I encountered the epic beauty of my wife's face at the kitchen, as usual, where she gave me her usual greeting.

"Good Evening, Sweetie", she greeted me in a soft and tender tone.

Yep, still dealing with a new turn-on I have yet to get used to thanks to her…

"Ah… nice to see you again, Popuri! Eh, I'm sorry to have out and about for so long once again… have you seriously been keeping yourself cooped up the home all this time?" I asked nervously.

Popuri shook her head.

"No way! You know I still have the Poultry Farm to help out Mom with, and there's the occasional cooking lesson or two with Mary's Mom, Anna… I actually have plenty to do outside the house myself, y'know!" she teased.

And again, that odd mix of child-like earnesty mixed with an uncanny maturity gives way once more. Amazing how she can pull off those contrasting qualities with such appeal… but I digress to move the story along.

"Right…right. So, does this mean you've been seeing your brother, Comrade Rick, around these days? Surely now that you're a grown woman and he doesn't have the looming threat of a Kai Marriage lingering about to bother him, you two should be on pretty good terms now, right?"

"Actually…" Popuri started in a wispy tone.

Okay, now she has a wispy voice? Just how many sides does this woman have to her that I have yet to be turned on by? Right… awkward outburst.

"Actually, not so much. Lately, Rick has been leaving the Poultry Farm and staying out longer to hang out with Karen. You know those two have been getting along really well these days? It's been big gossip that a proposal could be happening sometime soon…"

Quite honestly, the whole Rick and Karen business wasn't new to me, but I was surprised to hear that it's started cutting into Comrade Rick's normal work hours. And being Karen's friend since the beginning of time, I'm surprised that out of all the people I've seen her with, she goes for the uptight guy with a zeal for chickens to match my own, but then again, that element of surprise was also something I've come to expect from her. In an odd way that only I probably understand, it actually works out in the end.

"I see…so it's been hard to catch up with him, huh?"

Popuri nodded.

"I don't mind all that much, really. I can tell he's perfectly happy with Karen… of course; I worry from time to time whenever he goes off to try her cooking…"

Makes sense. Karen isn't exactly the best cook around. Far from it, actually. Somehow, I've had a great deal of luck of not being exposed to the stuff too often, but from what I could remember, it's quite possibly one of the biggest health hazards in existence… and not because it's slathered in oils and fats to make it all good and tasty.

"…I'd actually offer to make him something myself if I found the right time, but you know… I think he's too used to Mom's cooking… and he probably still sees me as his "clumsy" little sis…"

And thus, another rare moment has arrived for this girl: In which she shows a genuine concern for her brother. It's another element of her newfound maturity, I tell you. In most of my previous time I spent with her prior to marriage, any mention of him would send her into a whining fit about how unfair he treats her. Half the time, I found myself wondering if all of this was mostly something from her perspective, but then once I got the full story on the issue, and had bits and pieces of it confirmed by her mother Lilia, it all ends up justifying itself. Of course, being a younger sibling myself, and dealing with similar issues regarding my older sister, maybe I should've been swifter to sympathize with her, even if I wasn't in love with her at first.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous! You're cooking is great, and it's not just a personal thing! Remember that piece of chocolate cake you made that I entered in the cooking festival that one year? Gourmet LOVED that thing, and he's one of the pickiest eaters--"

"--Y-you were the one who turned my cake into the Cooking Festival?"

Of course, I was momentarily frozen upon the stupidity I haplessly unleashed.

"That aside, the point is that you've grown! Not just as a cook, but as a lady! You should really take a tape recorder and listen to yourself sometime, honey! I bet you'd be pretty surprised what'll play back." I told her with a wink.

What followed up was a gasp with the most adorable expression I've seen since I've popped the question in perhaps the weirdest way possible.

"And I wouldn't count out Comrade Rick so easily. He may be an uptight nut half of the time, but that's because he's an upstanding guy at heart. I'm sure by now he'll come to terms with your sibling relationship and be able to accept you as an adult! Come on, you've been married to me for a while now, and I must say that you've been doing a great job taking care of me!"

"…Really? You think so?"

"Yes, really! Alright, how about this? Tomorrow morning, I'll stop by the Poultry Farm to reach your brother before he goes off with Karen somewhere and I'll invite him to a lunch at our place. He can see for himself how well you've grown up since." I suggested.

Popuri gave a single nod.

"'Kay, that sounds like a plan." She grinned.

"Good! Then Tomorrow Afternoon, make sure to prepare an extra plate for a lunch that'll knock the socks of that brother of yours!" I ordered.

"Yes, sir!" she saluted.

How sweet. Now she's a soldier.

Anyway, with my new mission under way, I left for the Poultry Farm early next morning, and to my lucky, Comrade Rick doesn't wake up earlier than the sun.

So, there he was, hanging out near the counter, right when he just finished tending the chickens. Good old Rick.

"Yo, Comrade Rick! Top of the morning to you!" I greeted, like some leprechaun with an American accent.

"And a good morning to you too, Mitchel." He greeted back. "I'm surprised to see you up and about this morning. What brings you here so early today, anyway? I'd figure you'd still be busy with your farm chores."

True, I still have quite a few things to take care of back on the farm, but I made my promise to Popuri my 1st priority of the day. Luckily, I'm able to cut back on some of my more problematic chores, watering and harvesting, thanks to befriending my little "budum" buddies called the Harvest Sprites. If you're wondering, no I don't get myself drunk in the morning, that's more likely Karen. If that was me, that would be one heck of a powerful illusion to will my farming done that way. Then that would mean I have really awesome super powers.

No, I'm sure it was thanks to those Sprite guys… who like saying "budum" for some reason… yeah.

"A very good question, Comrade. Actually, I--"

"No, wait. Let me guess," Rick interrupted for some reason, "It's about that little sister of mine, Popuri, right?"

I nodded quickly. Ah, so maybe he anticipated my little quest. He must be a sharper big bro than I thought.

"Yes! Yes! You see--"

"These first few weeks of being around with her must be starting to get to you, huh? I must say, I commend you for being the brave guy to be married to that bundle of energy. I'm sure by now you can understand when I say how much it can be a handful living with her." He told me as he gave me a lighthearted elbow to the side.

…Wait, what the hell was he talking about, anyway?

"I'm sure she must coming running up to you and whining about every little thing she could think about while she's off on her own. Geez, it always drove me nuts! I'm still glad that grease-monger Kai didn't get his hands on her when she had the chance, but I know I'd feel pity for any other guy having to deal with that for the rest of his married life." He lamented…I guess.

Seriously, Rick. My life with her isn't anything like that! I can admit to her starting to show some premature disposition of naggy-ness, but it's nothing seriously. If anything, she has this odd way of making me want to listen to her when she's bound to get like that. Weird, I know, but you'd kind of have to be there when she gets like that.

Now I just need to let him know that, damn it!

"Um… Rick?"

"But why am I going on and on about what you already know? You came here to get away all that whining and take a load off for a spell, am I right?" Rick grinned.

Oh, I wanted to take a load off, alright.

Clearly he had a hard time noticing my stifled frustration right now. Sure, to a good sum, I might be over-reacting, but for goodness sake, did he have to be so freaking obnoxious about her behind her back? I'd figure this much time away from her, he could at least show some outward concern for her, but I digress. With my clench fists, gritting teeth, and horrible temper, I don't think I'd have been able to invite the guy over to my house, let alone reach a civil resolution with Comrade Rick should I decide to carry our interaction on any further.

"…I think I'm done here now." I uttered in dead pan, before I made a hasty retreat.

Before I was all the way out, I took one last look behind me, seeing a very puzzled Rick. Maybe he needs a tape recorder to listen to himself talk, too….

So I headed back home in defeat. It seems my dear wife was eagerly awaiting her brother's response as she was sitting right at the table by the welcome door when I arrived. When she first saw me, she leapt out of her chair in a burst full of youthful energy, and looked pretty hopeful… until she noticed my expression. Yeah, I must still be mad.

"Uh, Sweetie? Is something the matter?" she asked me.

"Yes. Can you please do me a favor, honey?" I nearly growled under my breath.

She gave me a slow, nervous nod while as she looked at me with cautious eyes.

"…What is it?"

"Can you please hold me back for the next few moments while I try and refrain from punching your brother's lights out?"

Comrade Rick, as much as I try to understand your plight, I'd really wish you'd just get over yourself and realize your little sister's all grown up for change…