Monday, March 27, 2023 @

Chapter 70, Part 1

 Kizuki Kozumi, also known as Madam Kizuki Uemon, is a character in the game "Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)". She is a sub-heroine that can be conquered, and... a character that shattered the sexual inclinations and minds of many players, driving them into the depths of despair.
 To be precise, Kizuki Kozumi is Uemon's second wife. His former wife was a tall, manly, and physically aggressive exorcist. She was a powerful exorcist with considerable skill, but this is a world where it is not uncommon for exorcisms to be useless at first sight or depending on compatibility. So, in the end, his ex-wife was stabbed to death and died in the crossfire.
 Although she does not appear directly in the main story or in the side stories, and from the few descriptions of her, it seems that she was often taken for a fool yet she and Uemon did not seem to have a bad marriage. Nevertheless, the shock of his wife's death was so great that Uemon, who was still quite young at that time, remained unmarried for nearly 30 years, and spent his days devoted to his work.
 He probably would have been fine with his life as it was, but the world does not revolve around one's own ideas. And his future wife came from an unexpected source.
 Uemon, who was also in charge of Kizuki's financial affairs, and who was more focused on money lending and business than on exterminating youkai, had lent money to a certain family of exorcists. The family had suffered a heavy loss due to the failure to exterminate youkai and borrowed a large amount of money from Uemon to recover. The problem was that they were still unable to rebuild their house, and the family could not bear the increasing interest and slow repayment of the loan, so they sent his future wife, Princess Kozumi, to take out a mortgage on the loan. At the time of her visit, she was eight years old.
 Princess Kozumi was the complete opposite of Uemon's former wife. His ex-wife was older, tall, strong-willed, and assertive. On the other hand, Princess Kozumi was small and timid even at her age and was a gentle and modest princess.
 She was literally the opposite of his ex-wife, as was the fact that she was sent to him as a form of a loan. At first glance, Uemon met with the other party calmly and reluctantly accepted the offer as a way of ingratiating himself, but inwardly, he was quite upset and confused.
 The result was that he treated his future wife as a kind of tumor. But not in a crude way. He took good care of her and provided her with all the necessities of the first class. There is no doubt that the luxury of the house was a far better life for the girl than her own home.
 But that is all. Uemon never approached her or even had a proper conversation with her. He knew that she was in debt to him, that they were too far apart in age, and that Uemon was not a handsome man. Perhaps he also felt guilty about his ex-wife too. Therefore, Uemon was reluctant to develop a close relationship with his small and young second wife. And the younger wife, who understood her husband's position, became even less assertive and shrinking because she felt that he was neglecting her.
 The cause of the tragedy may have been precisely their mutual recognition of each other. Both Uemon and Princess Kozumi feared that the other was alienated and disliked by the other. That is why neither of them interfered with the other, and neither of them was able to control or condemn the other's behavior.
 At the start of the original work, Kizuki Kozumi, a married woman who looks quite loli despite her age of sixteen, can be pursued as a sub-heroine, and this route is full of the production team's malice, considering her age. Players who enjoy this kind of taste have been trying to capture this princess who obviously has nothing but NTR elements. However, no matter how they tried, they could not find a way to capture her. They were eagerly searching for a way to capture her.
 Then, one player realized. No matter how much liking a player gets, it is meaningless to win her over.
 The route to capture Princess Kozumi is called the "Gedou Mara Nouchika Route" or the "Darth Tamakir Route" by players. To be precise, this route is a route in which the main character is corrupted by evil and becomes a b*tch rather than a route in which he attacks Princess Kozumi, although the attack on Princess Kozumi is just one of the events in the route.
 To diverge to this corrupted route, players have to get a bad ending with Aoi, Hina, Kochou, and Aoko the Blue Demon, learn swordsmanship from Hina and use it as a main weapon, develop a friendship with the Miyataka family's Magical Maboro-kun in the capital, forcibly r*pe Ako Murasaki together, and hang her naked on the riverbed. Then, contact the Minister of the Left in female clothing and get a good impression of him. It is necessary to contact him while dressed as a woman to gain his favor, to be registered in the Onmyou Dormitory, and to obtain the 'Aphrodisiac of Indulgence (Type A)' which is difficult to obtain as an item to be possessed.
 The main character, who gradually becomes addicted to power to make up for the sorrow of losing his family, becomes more transient by gaining a bad friend, and falls into the dark side as the Minister of the Left explains the charms of the ancient forbidden arts to him, finally falls completely into the path of evil when the heads of the Onmyou dormitory attempt to defeat the Minister.
 The Onmyou dormitory head tries to find out the identity of the Minister and kill him, but he is interrupted by the main character, and then the Minister, like some dark lord, says to him, "Take the infinite power of the law, eat!" Then, having made an unforgivable mistake, the main character, now unable to turn back, surrenders himself to the Minister of the Left, degenerates into a b*tch, and betrays the Imperial Court and the Kizuki family. As part of the plot to destroy the Kizuki family, Princess Kozumi is sacrificed.
 Then, after forcing the young princess to drink tea mixed with an aphrodisiac, the main character, together with the magical Marabo-kun, forcibly scatters the young princess's purity. What's worse, during the play, the princess herself thinks that her partner is her husband, and she has a face of debauchery.
 Naturally, when she comes to her senses, she despairs, and furthermore, she is literally subjected to daily lustful acts of blackmail and brainwashing. And as if to harass her, the illustrators have prepared a large number of still pictures of various abnormal plays and devilish situations for her, and they have done so with the utmost care.
 What is most outrageous is that Uemon begins to notice their physical relationship, but turns a blind eye to it. This is a terrible misunderstanding, as Uemon himself believes that his future wife is having an affair because he is out of shape, not good-looking, and too old for her. Well, the main character and Marabo-kun both have good faces... Anyway, princess Kozumi asks for help without hesitation, but the way she asks for help is too modest and is misunderstood, and her face becomes cloudy as the story progresses. She is later caught and is further drugged and hypnotized by Marabo-kun.
 Her end is nothing but malice on the part of the creators. She is drugged, and her body and dignity are violated and defiled in every possible way, but in the game's setting, aphrodisiacs are difficult to obtain and create in the later stages of the game. As one of the players discussed, no matter how efficiently the game is played, the number of aphrodisiacs will surely not last until the end of the story. And the day it runs out is the anniversary of Princess Kozumi's death.
 When she comes to her senses, she remembers and understands all the things she has done, and she despairs greatly and goes mad. In her madness, she kills herself in a fit of guilt over her own filthiness and her husband's guilt. Her suicide is a traditional throat-slitting suicide.
 However, one can imagine what would happen to such a timid and cowardly girl. Her throat bleeds heavily because of the half-hearted wound, and she suffers for a long time in vain, dying alone in grief, apologizing to her husband with tears in her eyes.
 "Dear (Danna-sama), I'm sorry I've been so ungrateful to you..."
 "I will atone for this unholy sin with my life from now on..."
 "Ah... my suffering, my life...."
 "My blood... it hurts... it hurts..."
 "I can't... Dear"
 "It hurts... it hurts..."
 "Help me..."
 "...I'm sorry."
 This scene traumatized many players who enjoy NTR. And I wonder why they made the movie in theatrical quality? The voice actor also gave a convincing performance. Of course, I was traumatized too.
 This elaborate trick was done for one reason only: to kill Uemon. The main character would have been killed in a second without even entering the battle screen in the other routes, but this event of humiliating Princess Kozumi is inserted to avoid the situation. Unlike the other routes, Uemon, who cares for Princess Kozumi for some reason, hesitates to kill the main character immediately. He is hesitant because he considers him to be his wife's devoted lover.
 On the contrary, even after the transition to the battle screen, Uemon was dull, and in contrast to his high status, he was considerably weakened. Even so, Uemon is difficult to defeat, but after a certain number of retries... Magical Marabo-kun comes to the main character's rescue out of friendship. He then tells Uemon everything that has happened so far. He tells what happened to Princess Kozumi, how much she needed Uemon's help, and her tragic end... Uemon's brain is literally destroyed mentally by this reveal, and then he is physically crushed to death by the main character... I mean, stop describing this sequence of events as "friendship, effort, and victory". At least, they can't put it in Shonen Weekly.
 "...Well, I guess I don't have to worry in this case."
 I mutter to myself with a wry smile as I sink into the sea of my thoughts while the d*mned white spider is sucking blood from my wrists in my hut. The other day, when I was reporting to Gorilla-sama, I met the young wife in question, which made me remember this brain-destroying setup. Apparently, she herself had not been told anything by Uemon, and I was asked a lot of questions by her.
 (He probably didn't want to worry her, but... he's a clumsy guy).
 Uemon loved Princess Kozumi in his own way. And Princess Kozumi, too... It can be seen in the novels and short stories that were released later on. Well, at the end of the main game is also kept in the dark, further destroying players' brains.
 I tried to play this game once, and it was mentally hard for me. Like Princess Kozumi, that route was a hellish place with only a few depressing events compared to the other bad endings. Well, in a sense, it is a route that I can safely ignore.
 In fact, the possibility that Kozumi would be NTRed is very small except for that route. And the prerequisite for that route is very difficult to begin with. It is quite easy to break the flag. Of course, this world is not a game but a reality...
 "Still, as long as I support the main character who lost his family and avoid the dark fall, there will be no problem..., right?"
 "Hmm? Tomobe-sama? Did you say something?"
 "What? Oh, I just thought... it would be a hassle if I had to go out and about again."
 Perhaps because of her good hearing due to her blindness, Mari, who was sewing at a little distance from me, responded to my little mutterings. I hastily tried to cover it up.
 But in a sense, that might have been a bad move. Because her expression turned cloudy at my comment.
 "I see. How many days will you be working for this time?"
 "? Well, I think... I should be prepared for about a month, right? The scope of the project is very large this time."
 The goal of the project is still unclear. The goal is to round up all the youkai who are making a racket in various places. The nature of this request is slightly different from the usual requests.
 "A month, huh...?"
 I stop the bloodsucking behavior of the d*mned spiders when not starving to death, but not too full. I pick it up by the belly and, perhaps angry at it for wanting more food, I throw the flailing white spider unceremoniously into the insect cage. I then close the cage, and I head toward Mari, which seems to feel discouraged.
 "What's wrong? If there's something wrong, you can tell me. Don't be shy."
 "No, no... It's not a problem."
 Mari is puzzled by my question. However, I have known her for a certain length of time. She immediately suppresses her opinions and feelings. She is self-punishing and self-deprecating. If I don't push her a little harder and ask her, she will swallow everything up inside herself.
 "What is it? Tell me. Or are you... hiding something?"
 "No, no! I would never... do such a thing, just..."
 "Just what?"
 "I still feel lonely without Tomobe-sama. Besides, I'm worried. I'm really worried... if you'll not return safely..."
 Mari turns over with her eyes closed. In a voice that almost disappears, she confesses. She has never had much interaction with people. Even when she lived in the capital, she never talked much with anyone other than her brother. And now, I was one of the few people she could talk to. But when I have to be away from home for a long period, and I don't know if I will come back alive, she might worry about me.
 "...sorry. But it's work."
 "No, I'm sorry for being so selfish. We have food, clothing, and shelter, and you're doing this to us..."
 When I was in the Capital, of course, I had to provide all of their own food, clothing, and shelter and even had to pay taxes. In contrast, now they have to provide their own clothes and food to a certain extent, but basically, Mari and his siblings were able to eat with the allowance that was given to them. Therefore, there was a very clear hierarchical relationship between me and the siblings. So it was natural for Mari to be reserved toward me.
 "Don't worry about it. Your work helps me too. You should be proud of your work."
 "No, that's... that's really selfish. I wish I could be of more help to Tomobe-sama like brother..."
 Mari smiles sadly, looking somewhat lonely. I could see her struggle. By the way, I heard before that her parents are gone and she was raised by her brother like a sheltered daughter because of her frail body... She usually does not show it, but sometimes she gives me a glimpse of her complicated feelings like this. And maybe she was even more self-loathing when she revealed it.
 "...Well, you've done a lot of sewing already, haven't you? Why don't you take a break?"
 Thinking of Mari, who was having mixed feelings inside, I suggested a change of pace.
 "A break, is it?"
 "Yeah. I'm a little tired too. I'd be glad if you could join me..."
 Actually, I'm a little anemic because of the blood-sucking by the spider brat.
 "Then, let's get you something..."
 "No, I'll do that. You go get a cushion or something."
 After asking her to do so, I went to the kitchen. I prepare two teacups and pour the boiled white water that I had prepared for supper. I think there was a pastry...
 "How's it going? Did you prepare them?"
 "Y-Yes! I'm preparing the cushions..."
 She walks on her knees, examines the surroundings with her hands, and finally finds a chest and takes out a cushion from it.
 "Get another one. Don't forget yours."
 "I-I understand...!"
 I pointed out, and Mari rushes to get another cushion for herself. I sat down on the cushion she had prepared and handed her a teacup and put a candy box between the teacup and the cushion.
 "Is this aroma... bean-arare(Mame-arare)?"
 "Yes. Magoroku made them for me the other day. Here, shall we eat?"
 I picked one and threw it into my mouth. I chew it with a crunchy sound. It tasted of beans and salt.
 "Then I'll have one too... Ah, it's delicious."
 Mari picked up a piece, too, and opened her mouth to take a small, crispy bite. At the same time, a small smile appeared on her face. The gesture reminded me of a rabbit.
 For a while, Mari and I drank some hot water and concentrated on eating the bean-arare. In silence, the only sounds were the sipping of the water and the cracking of the arare.
 "...Come to think of it, I'm still behind you in terms of wins, aren't I?"
 I mutter to myself when the arare is about half full.
 "Huh? Oh, you mean the... Tsume-Go (Go board game), right?"
 Mari tilted her head for a moment at my sudden remark but immediately answered as if she had just remembered.
 Tsume-Go, I guess most of the people in my previous life would not remember the name. They would know it if I called it reversi. I invented it as a pastime to kill time when I was a miscellaneous person since it was not yet known in this world, at least as far as I was aware. And partly because Hina was having a tantrum because she found it hard to understand the rules of ordinary Go.
 Even after I became a servant, I used to play with my colleagues to kill time, and I have a complete set of old Go boards and stones in my hut. I used to play with Maro and his siblings, as well as with Shiro and Shirowakamaru who came to visit me, including other games on the board. The best player among them was Mari...
 "Well, I'm surprised that you beat me the first time when I'm older than you, huh?"
 Despite her blindness, or perhaps because of her blindness, Mari was unusually strong in board games such as Shogi and Igo which do not involve the element of luck. The same is true of Tsume-Go, which is a close game even when played with a handicap, and in which the player loses four out of five times when played without a handicap.
 "No, I'm... ashamed that all I can do is play."
 "Oh, come on, stop it. Doesn't that make me look like a fool for training to become one?"
 I laugh and reply to Mari, who is very embarrassed. In fact, I have been studying in my own way during my free time, because Mari has beaten me in every game that I have proposed to her, not to mention Shogi and Igo.
 "How about it? How about we play a game? No handicap, of course."
 "Is that all right?"
 "Of course. No pressure, right? I'll show you how good I am."
 With that, I prepare a board and stones. By the way, Mari is blind and can't move the stones by herself. So I move her stones according to her judgment. I can cheat all I want, but of course, I'm not going to do that. But...
 "Y-you're still strong...!"
 I was getting pushed into a corner after the 20th move from the start of the game. I had already lost two out of the four corners.
 "Next, six-nine, please."
 I followed Mari's instructions and played the stones. In no time at all, six stones were taken. The board was now completely blank. I'm ashamed that I dared to play like this.
 "Tsk, not yet. If I give up, the game is over...!!"
 One of the few good things about me is that I am not a quitter. Even when I'm outnumbered, I don't stop struggling. I keep looking for a way to turn things around.
 On the other hand, Mari is quiet. She is sitting on her seat, silently leaning forward and staring at the board. However, her eyelids remain closed. She is probably concentrating on the board she has drawn in her brain. However, this is... Huh!?
 "...!? Mari, why don't you step back a little bit? You might hit your head on the board."
 "Huh!? Ah, yes! I understand...!"
 When I pointed out the problem, she hurriedly turned her head and looked down in embarrassment. I was embarrassed, too, though. I guess she is blind, and she is not aware of it because she does not have much contact with men. This girl is too careless.
 I wonder if she had noticed that she was leaning forward and the collar was down, revealing the cleavage of her breast. Since she was sickly and never went out, it was not good for my mental health to see her tanned white skin, not too big but not too small, and her blue and dangerous bosom peeping out at me without caution. Especially considering my position and hers...
 "Oh, yeah. I'll hit four or five."
 I remained silent, but Mari asked me with her eyes closed, tilting her head curiously. It was a gesture to seduce a man without realizing it. Yes, this is not good. I don't know if the chicken comes first or the egg comes first, but it's no wonder Magoroku didn't let her out much.
 "...I told you not to take it easy on me, but this is pretty impressive."
 The game went on, and the board was literally covered with white. It seemed impossible to reverse the situation.
 "I knew you were strong. As expected of Mari..."
 "No. Even if I can do this, I can't help you..."
 The blind girl trembles when I call her name. No, she doesn't need to be so frightened...
 "When I go out this time, can I request a lunch box? Your rice balls are delicious."
 Mari hurriedly replies to my offer. I can't help but giggle at her cute response.
 "Besides, it's getting chilly. Can you sew me some extra socks for layering?"
 "I-I understand! I'll get right on it!"
 "And I'd better practice a little more before the next game. I don't intend to lose this time."
 "Y-yes...! ...Ah?"

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