Chapter 10:

Koyuki Drank a Whole Bottle

Hanako won’t Grant my Wish!

“Do you drink, Ms. Hanako?”

“Ah, just Hanako is fine. And while alcohol is a staple of demon culture, I myself don’t partake very often.”

“Uhm, sure. Hanako then.”

The elder Suzuki sister brought a bottle of Sake to the mini-table which had been set up by my master the night before. She was in casual pajamas. It took little observation to tell she was very comfortable in her own home space. After pouring herself a small cup, she leaned back behind her into a space which had been occupied by tied garbage bags the night before.

Even if not directly, it felt as if my cleaning efforts had been acknowledged just a teensy bit. It made me quite happy.

“Now, let me just make this clear. I still don’t trust you. A child’s teen years are some of the most valuable in shaping their life and future, and all it takes is one bad influence to ruin all of that. The way I see things right now, you could very well be that influence. Considering these very strange circumstances, I hope you won’t find that to be an entirely unreasonable outlook.”

I didn’t have much experience with bonds of blood myself, but I could feel the passion between these two family members. They both had a desire to be cared for, and a respect for each other. Though it may not have translated well at a glance, their kinship was no less intact.

I couldn’t help but feel special for being able to understand such an unusual form of love, when even the Suzukis themselves may not have seen it. Perhaps I was a little envious.

“Of course. I appreciate your honesty. But that being the case, are you sure it’s okay to let me stay in your household after all? And these amenities too, I wouldn’t want to become an emotional or financial hindrance for you. I understand you work hard to provide for Shoutarou.”

I gestured to the bags of clothing and washing supplies, as well as the smart-device given to me earlier in the day. It was a wonderfully kind gesture on her part, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty being the one on the receiving end after everything talked about the night prior.

“After all of that big talk, now you’ve got doubts?”

Her professional attitude waned. She had already begun to pour her third cup of sake as well.

“Apologies. I will admit that I did want to look a little cool in front of the younger Suzuki. I would like to come off as a reliable personality to him as much as I can.”

“Believe me, effort like that is wasted on a kid like him. He doesn’t understand just how good he has it. I’ve tried and tried to be a good role model, and yet he’s only been getting worse and worse since… well, that incident.”

Her voice got low and quiet at the mention of Shoutarou’s middle school trauma.

“Forgive me for my rude inquiry, but for a while now you’ve talked as if you have very little faith in your little brother. May I ask why that is?”

She didn’t speak.

Not to my surprise though, as the topic was certainly a heavy one. But it was no less true, was it? Surely the elder Suzuki sister was willing to admit at least that much.

After downing her current round of sake, she seemed ready to speak again.

“You’re right. I don’t.”

The pajama-clad woman took her hands off of the bottle and cup which she had been gripping up to this point, and clasped them together as she looked down at the table.

I seemed to have opened up a wound of some sort. It was inevitable considering what I had asked, but I still felt a little bit of guilt regardless.

“Shou just doesn’t get it. No matter how much I try, he doesn’t get it. But everything I do is for his sake. Ever since I got custody of him, each and every day of my life has been dedicated to him being able to live normally.”

She returned to pouring another cup of Sake. Her fifth, to be exact.

“Or at least, that’s how I’ve been thinking up until now. But in reality, isn’t that just my own self-satisfaction?”

She looked up to me for an answer, but I held my words. My silence alone was surely enough for her to understand.

“Something you said yesterday really stuck with me. So much so that I didn’t get a thing done at work. I’m usually so good at pushing these things to the back of my mind when I need to, but I just couldn’t do it today.”

I wanted to apologize, but now didn’t seem like the right time to interrupt.

How he feels is the most important… When I took custody of him, he didn’t understand why. To him, it must have just looked like he was being pulled from the rest of his family.”

Guilt spread across her face and body language. It was a very different kind of Koyuki Suzuki than the one I had seen the night before. Different in demeanor, but with the same care and affection on full display.

“I know what I did was right. I don’t need to reaffirm myself of that. But at the same time, I can’t expect him to know just by telling him, and I can’t force him to realize it either. All I can really do at this point is hope he chooses me of his own free will, just like I chose him over our parents behind back then.”

After a brief pause to take a breath and down cup number six, she looked back up at me with a solemn expression.

“All this time I thought that I wanted to build a safe home for Shou. But when I saw him make such a hopeful expression towards you last night, I thought to myself, ‘I would much rather have that.’ I don’t know how you did it. I don’t know how you won him over, but I have to accept defeat in at least that regard.”


“I know I’ve been rambling here, but my point is that while I still don’t trust you, Shou clearly does. And I’ll be damned if I let somebody else replace me as Shou’s older sister; whether or not they’re human, angel, demon, or whatever.”

The elder Suzuki seemed to be getting a little riled up, but grabbing her Sake bottle managed to calm her down a bit. She took a deep breath as well.

“I figured I should start by placing more trust in him. If I can’t even do that much, then he’d probably be better off with another older sister anyway. So don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not you. It’s for him.”

She seemed to be finished, ending her long heart-to-heart with another cup of sake down the hatch. The seventh.

But despite the alcohol consumption, it was a really good speech. Not even I could match the level of care she had for her brother. Perhaps I would have to try harder.

It was highly motivating, if nothing else.

Of course, I bowed to show that I respected her words.

“Your trust in him is all I could ever ask for. You needn’t be worried about getting along with a lowly servant such as myself. Though, it would be wonderful if we could get along regardless.”

“Well, we’ll see. But if you pull even an ounce of sketchy, p-pervy demon shit with him, mark my words. I’ll have a priest here within the day to have you deported straight back to The Nether. Or exercised, or whatever.”

Down went the 8th cup.

Despite her rapidly increasing intoxication and brash behavior, she didn’t hesitate to avoid derogatives. I couldn’t help but smile. Like sister, like brother, I suppose.

“So with all of that said, you’ll… you know—teach me how to cook, right?”


“Come on, don’t make me say it a third time. It’s embarrassing…”

“I certainly don’t mind, but I don’t recall you asking such a thing before now. I may have missed it initially.”

She gave a long sigh.

“Did I not say something before this? That was why I called you out to talk to begin with.”

The woman’s face was beet red, though I wasn’t quite sure if it was embarrassment, or just the alcohol bleeding through onto her expression.

“Well, if that’s that, then I’ll get a futon out for you. No way I’m letting you sleep in Shou’s room anyway.”

Instead of pouring another cup, she went straight for the bottle this time.

“It’s too bad I work tomorrow. I would have liked to drink with you a little more.”

“You’re drinking this much sake the night before you work?”

“Oh, this is nothing compared to when I’m dragged out to social gatherings after hours, so don’t worry.”

Was it… normal for humans to consume this much alcohol regularly? I couldn’t even recall demons treating wine so harshly. No, perhaps Koyuki Suzuki could outdrink a demon.

“Would you perhaps like a glass of water?”

I figured I should offer.

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