Takane no Hana Chapter 29

TL/ED : Bogdi

After Hinako collapsed in the bathroom, I quickly carried her body to her room and called Shizune-san.

At first I thought she had just had a heart attack, but she was breathing hard and seemed to be in a lot of pain. After drying Hinako’s body lightly, I asked Shizune-san to check her condition.

“It’s just a mild fever.”

Shizune-san said as she looked at Hinako lying on the bed.

“I’m sure you are happy to hear that.”

“…… Yes.”

Shizune-san had already prepared the tools to nurse her.

She quickly changed Hinako into a nightgown while I was out of the room, and then gave her a pill to drink along with water. I felt a small sense of discomfort in her familiar movements.

“‘Is something wrong?

“No, I mean …… you’re calm.”

“That’s right, because it happens on a regular basis.”

“Regularly …?”

Shizune-san explains to me.

“The reason why the young lady collapsed is the stress of her daily acting.”

I didn’t understand the meaning of her words for a while.

“Stress caused by acting? …… You mean by that acting she always does?”

“Yes”

I was surprised to hear her affirm it so easily.

I was surprised, but Shizune continued.

She continued, ” She’ s playing a character that is so far removed from her true self. It’s natural for her to be stressed.”

Shizune-san tells me plainly. Those words sent a shockwave through my head.

It was true that Hinako was thoroughly acting on a daily basis.

However, as soon as she got home, she was back to her normal sloppy self, and although she looked like she was in trouble, she didn’t seem to be in pain. I knew that acting would make her feel confined, but I hadn’t imagined that it would be such a burden that she would collapse …….

“I’m not sure what to say. Why are you being so casual about it? It’s a burden that can cause her to collapse.There’s no way you can just overlook it like this. ……”

“It’s just a fever that will pass in a few days. There’s no need to worry about it.”

“No, but if she’ s going to collapse like this, she should stop acting.”

“I’m sure you can understand.”

Shizune stared at me.

“This is the will of the Konohana family. It’s not something that can be managed by individual feelings … Of course, the miss is aware of it.”

Hinako is aware of it. Those words pierced my head strongly.

My anger dissipated as I realized that I was doing this for Hinako’s sake. She knows it, and she’s acting to the point of collapse. Then who am I supposed to be angry at? Where should I direct this feeling?

“When she’s performing in public, the Miss is concentrating on her acting and when she is at home, she is taking a break to relax. It’s no exaggeration to say that the reason why the Miss is trying to slack off when she’s at the mansion is because she’s tired from her acting.”

“…… So you’re saying that Hinako’s reaction to her acting is to become lazy when she’s not in the public eye?”

“That’s what happens. Of course, there is also her true personality, but …… on holidays when she doesn’t have to act, she is more energetic than usual.”

In other words, the acting is definitely taking its toll.

I didn’t know anything about it.

“Itsuki-san. If you don’t go to bed by now, it will affect your classes tomorrow.”

I rolled my eyes at those words.

“I’m going to the academy while Hinako is sick?

“Of course. Considering your academic ability, you mustn’t be absent as much as possible.”

“But I’m Hinako’s caretaker …”

“I’m the best person for the job. I know exactly what to do in the event of Miss’s collapse.”

With that said, Shizune-san looked straight at me.

“I will concentrate on nursing, so please return to your room.”

 ◆

 The next day.

I went to the Academy alone.

“Yeah, Nishinari! It was yesterday was fun!”

“……Yes,it was.”

As I sat down in the classroom, Taisho called out to me in a very innocent way. As soon as I started talking to Taisho, Asahi-san came over too.

“By the way, Konohana-san hasn’t come today.”

Asahi-san looks around the classroom and says.

“Oh … probably the usual”

“The usual?”

I tilted my head to Taisho’s words.

“You don’t know Nishinari-san, but Konohana-san occasionally takes time off from school.”

“……Really?”

“I’ve heard that she helps out with the family business.”

It seems that Hinako’s regular collapse is a secret from her classmates. I don’t know to what extent they keep it a secret. The homeroom teacher might know about it, but it’s possible that the fact is being kept from everyone involved in …… the academy.

But then nobody is going to worry about her, right?

Even though Hinako is acting and hiding her true nature.

Who on earth will stand by Hinako?

Who can help Hinako when she’s having a hard time?

With a complicated feelings in my heart, I start my day.

 ◆

“Thank you for your hard work”

Shizune, sitting in the passenger seat, calls out to me as I get into the car that came to pick me up.

Since Hinako was not there, I had the spacious back seat to myself. However, I didn’t feel so good.

“Shizune-san. How is Hinako’s condition ……?”

“She’s still resting comfortably.”

In other words, she’s still recovering.

I’m not sure how long it will take for her to recover.

“…… How long do you think it will take for her to recover?”

“Well, …… from the looks of it, I think she’ll be fine by tomorrow or the day after. Fortunately, tomorrow is a holiday, so I expect she’ ll be better by Monday.

Thank goodness today is Friday. …… No, no.

On Monday, Hinako will have to go to the academy again. In other words, she has to perform.

Why is this happening?

The name of the person who knew the answer for sure passed through my mind.

“Um … isn’t Kagen-san coming?”

 When asked, Mr. Shizune, who sits in the passenger seat, answered while looking straight ahead.

“He’s at work. He’s at the main residence right now.”

“But Hinako has collapsed, you know?”

“Kagen-sama is the head of the Konohana Group. He is not in a position to simply suspend his work just because his daughter has collapsed.”

My common sense does not work here. I’m not sure what to say.

“I’m not sure if I’ve ever asked this before, but …… where is Hinako’s mother?”

Shizune-san paused for a moment before answering.

“She has already passed away.

“…………, is that so?”

Again, I didn’t know that. 

No wonder. I’ve only been a caretaker for a short time. You can’t blame me for not knowing a lot of things.

But her father, Kagen-san, never visited her, and her mother has already passed away.

So, how many people can be there for Hinako who is suffering now?

Can’t …… I be one of them?

“…… Can’t we cancel today’s practice?

“No, we can’ t. Izuki-san still has a lot to learn.

“Then could you please finish earlier than usual?”

I say to Shizune-san, whose eyes become slightly rounded.

“I will try my best.”

“…… I’m impressed. Let’s do it at 1.5 times our normal speed.”

It was going to be a hellish schedule, but I couldn’t turn my back on it.

After arriving at the house, Shizune-san did what she said she would do.

That day’s practice was really conducted at 1.5 times the speed. Preparation, review, etiquette class, and self-defense. After finishing everything, I was so tired that my head hurt, but instead I was able to have my free time at 8 p.m., two hours earlier than usual.

“Today’s lessons are over.”

“Oh, thank you …. Can I go to Hinako’s room?”

“No problem. I’ll be there later to take care of her.”

After I left the dojo, I went to my room to wash off my sweat quickly, and then headed to Hinako’s room. The room was dimly lit by an orange nightlight. I watched my step and approached the bed where Hinako was sleeping.

“Oh, Itsuki …”

Hinako, who was sleeping on the bed, noticed my presence.

“I’m sorry. Did I wake you?

“I’m fine. …… I’ve just been in a daze since a while ago. ……”

 According to Shizune-san, she slept almost all day today, so she probably has enough energy.

“….Thank you …”

Suddenly, Hinako thanks me.

“I’m glad you came …”

“… It’s natural. I’m your caretaker.”

“……Ehehe.”

Hinako, who had looked somewhat uneasy and lonely, smiled with relief.

“If there’s anything you want me to do, just let me know.”

When I say that, Hinako turns her body toward me and opens her mouth.

“Then ……… my hand, hold it…”

 Hinako slowly extended her hand.

“It’s a reasonable request.”

(TLN: Hand holding, how lewd!)

 As I was told, I’ll hold my hand.

 It’s a very small hand. Hinako’s hand was so thin and small, that  I think it could break just by touching it.

“… Have you fallen asleep?”

I looked around while holding her hand.

Having only one person in such a large room may increase their feeling of loneliness. It’s a common story to feel lonely when you get sick. That’s why someone has to be there to take care of them.

…… Is it okay, if it’s me?

Such thoughts pass through my head.

Is Hinako really relieved just because I’m by her side? After all, caretaker is a job. I don’t know what Hinako really thinks of me.

That’s right, I don’t know how Hinako really feels about me.

A replaceable servant. A convenient servant. I want to believe that …… she does not regard me that lightly. However, our sense of distance is close to that of a mere servant and his master, not that between a man and a woman. It’s not uncomfortable, but there have been a few times when I’ve wondered about this relationship.

 …… I guess I can’t help but think about it now.

 At least I know that she trusts me.

 Then for now, I just need to respond to that.

“Hinako……, it’s going to be okay.”

The amber hair was sticking to Hinako’s forehead due to sweat.

I brushed her hair to the side and stroked her head.

“Mmm. ……”

Then Hinako giggled.

“…………………… Papa… ………”

When I heard that little sleepy voice.

I understood my role as her caretaker.