'Hahaha!' A massive pheasant bird, occupying a seat in the assembly hall, bowed deeply and turned its gaze towards me.
The voice belonged to Onitsuki Uemon, the leader of the Eastern Strike Force.
The pheasant haughtily looked down at me once before surveying the room and beginning its speech as if singing.


 It outlined many events of the recent tumult: the fact that I had released the Ezo, had gone to Hotoya village with the Ezo, and even invited the Ezo to come through Hina.
Some were true while others were misunderstandings; and some contained information that I myself had been unaware of.


 '…Ahem, these are the details of the recent tumult in Hotoya village,' Uemon concluded, ending his long explanation.


 At the same time, the room became restless.
Those around me whispered to each other, feigning indifference, while others stared at me with skepticism or hostility.
Yuusei restrained them and spoke, slowly opening his mouth.


Will you explain this recent tumult?”


 ”Of course.
Everything that happened was due to my orders,” Hina responded calmly and immediately.


 Once again the assembly hall stirred at Hina's detached words.
I too remained silent but was inwardly shocked at what she had just said.


 ”Actually, it all started with my thoughtless and rash actions,” Hina says in a simple way as if she is reporting.


 She told everyone that she had given orders to the servant regarding the punitive expeditions in all directions.
For the sake of her own personal ambition, she had attempted to steal the prey.


 Her subordinates had caught the wrong criminals, mistakenly capturing Ezo criminal in Hotoya village.
To make matters worse, a merchant's daughter who was completely unrelated to the situation was caught as well.
Furthermore, that Ezo had important information.


 'But, Princess Hina.
If what the Ezo said is true, wouldn't it be best to first report to the Head of the Hidden Group? And there is no need for violent action that would harm the Hidden Group by the servant, isn't there?' One of the attendees, or more precisely, the proxy, a sparrow's shikigami, interjected on Hina's explanation with a question.


 (This voice… is it Yajima?)


 Onitsuki Yajima, father of Onitsuki Ayaka, is one of the heads of the Onitsuki branch of the Onitsuki family, the Kinugasa Onitsuki family.
He did not appear in the original game, but his existence was depicted in the novel and manga versions as one who became depressed after losing his daughter.
By the way, in the novel version, he fought the youkai who invaded the mansion and was overwhelmed by their numbers, while in the manga version, he had his spiritual power abilities stolen and was cut down by Darth Tamaki along with several others.
As I recall, he was appointed as the leader of the West Strike Force, which is probably the reason why he participated in the meeting using a simplified form of shikigami.


 ”Lord Yajima (-dono)'s doubt is reasonable, and it is also due to my instructions.”


 'What is the reason?'


 ”As for the neutralization of the Hidden Group, it's partly because I feared that I wouldn't be able to obtain the approval of the head of the hidden groups.”


 'What do you mean?'


 The Pheasant Shikigami became obviously unhappy at Hina's words.
However, Hina continued her statement calmly, ignoring her uncle's gaze like a gentle breeze.


 ”There was a risk that the captured Ezo might try to trick the merchant's daughter with eye techniques or word techniques, and I could not imagine allowing a blindfolded and gagged meeting with the daughter of the trading company.
Furthermore, I had already conveyed the news of the criminal's arrest to the local governor…
For these reasons, I judged that there was little likelihood that the head of the Hidden group would accept the proposal.”


 In other words, Hina implied that she was afraid of being punished for suppressing achievements or for causing fuss, and she did not want that to happen.
In response, Uemon's expression was very unhappy, but it seemed to Hina that there was nothing wrong with that either.


 ”The situation at that time did not have time to allow for explanations such as the one we have here.
…After all, that was right after the suspicion of Ezo was cleared and we were informed about the existence of youkai threatening the village.
The head of the Hidden Group should know about the youkai that attacked the Shukuba City.”




 Uemon was so frustrated that it was evident from his expression, even through the shikigami.
Considering the blue demon, it's not hard to imagine Uemon and his men failing to defeat it and letting it escape.


 ”More than a dozen exorcists could not defeat this monstrous attack,” Hina relayed, her voice heavy with concern.
“In the midst of such an attack, it would not good to distract the leader of the Hidden Group with useless information.
Besides, it was just idle talk from an Ezo, which could easily be ignored if it was not corroborated by facts- which was not necessarily the case,” she continued, trying to emphasize the gravity of the situation.
“So, I made the executive decision that it would be better to leave the head of the Hidden Group alone as long as he did not know the truth.”


 Hina then says in a calm voice that she instructed me to actually grasp the situation with the Ezo and determine the truth of the story, and if it is true, to report it to Hina again…
She said it as if she was telling the truth.
Of course, this is the first time I've ever heard such a story.


 ”So, the Ezo's words were true?” Yuusei asked, his voice wavering slightly.


 ”Yes,” Hina confirmed with a hint of respect.
“So I ordered the servant to delay them and immediately rushed to him.”


 Silence flowed through the room, and everyone looked at the head of the house for the next word.
And after about ten counts of time, Yuusei spoke up again.
“Did the Madam Advisor know about this?”


 ”Yes, just before Hina headed to the village, I received a report,” Kochou confirmed.
“So I sent a shikigami to clean up the mess.
Right, Uemon?” she directed the question towards Uemon while she was smoking a pipe at the end of the room.


yes, that's right.' Uemon, the Pheasant Shikigami, responded reluctantly to confirm the truth evident in his pause.


 ”Hmm, I see…
Hina, this time’s matter was indeed hasty, wasn't it?” Yuusei said, his disappointment palpable.
There was a slight, really slight, stirring in the room.
Some of the participants clearly showed their doubtful expressions.


 Unlike in the original story, due to his years-long illness, his improper behavior towards his favorite Hina was not as frequent and many of the young attendees may not have known about it.
Even so, the total number of misdeeds committed until he became bedridden was not small, and those who knew about it were equally numerous, causing confusion and disturbance.


 ”The behavior that damages the face of the head of the Hidden Group is unforgivable,” Yuusei declared, his voice stern and unwavering.
“This is especially true for the incident that caused the loss of a family member.
So, I hereby sentence you…
Hina,” his voice softened as he addressed her directly, “you are under house arrest for ten days.
Later, you must also apologize to the Head of the Hidden Group.
Do you understand?” Hina's response was barely above a whisper.


 And then the given punishment.
Some people raised expressions of disbelief while others shook their heads.
Hina bowed reverently, oblivious to the reactions of those around her.


 I, too, was confused.
I was astonished by Yuuseii's words.
But in the next moment, I had no time to worry about it.


 ”So, head of the family.
What about the punishment of those lower-ranking servants over there?”


 As one of the attendees brought up about my punishment, I tensed up.
Yuusei will reprimand Hina and punish her.
And if something were to happen to me….
I had to prepare for the worst.


 ”That is unnecessary,” Yuusei interrupted smoothly, his voice carrying an air of authority.
“Yun-shoku simply obeyed Hina's orders.
Furthermore, no one clearly ordered him to stop.
Isn't that right?”


 ”Huh? No, I didn't receive such an order.”


 I never imagined that I would be asked a question and was momentarily slow to react, but I managed to respond dutifully as a servant.
Yuusei nodded at the answer.


A servant is a tool.
Who would punish a tool? Then it would be ridiculous to punish a servant.
What does the head of the lower-ranking servants think?”


 Yuusei's gaze shifted to the horned owl shikigami, Onitsuki Shisui's trusted sidekick.


 The horned owl paused for a moment, considering his answer carefully.
'Indeed, that is quite a reasonable point,' he finally spoke up, the calmness in his voice belying the complicated politics at play.


 Some people in the room nodded in agreement, while others groaned in dissatisfaction.


 (Reasonable point, huh…)


 As Shisui says, while Yuusei's remarks are logical, they are uncharacteristic of him.
The man I know is a yandere who would not care how many others would be sacrificed for the sake of Hina.


 ”Does anyone have any objection? If so, let's hear them here,” Yuusei asks to confirm.
There are various expressions among the people present, some clearly dissatisfied, but no one speaks.
After confirming the attendees for a moment, Yuusei nods.


 ”Very well.
Let us conclude this matter.
Both of you leave.
…Let us move on to the next topic.”


 The order was given for me and Hina to leave.
Following the order, we leave the meeting room.




 In an instant, I make eye contact with Gorilla-sama.
At the same time, she averts her gaze from me, looking uneasy.


 (Hey, hey, is such a cute girl?…)


 Wait, that's not the point.
If she had been in her usual arrogant and insolent manner, she would have snickered at me for sure.
So, if she had behaved like that, I would have been more worried about her.
No, what did he actually do to her? Please stop, will he? Since we've transitioned to the original timeline, this could turn into something troublesome.
I'm seriously puzzled as I walk down the hallway.


 ”Well then.
Now for the next topic on the agenda, let's introduce our new family members…” said Yuusei with an air of seriousness.


 Due to the closed sliding door as both Hina and I leave, I'm unable to hear the rest of the discussion by Onitsuki's attendees.
It seems that soundproofing curse has been applied since this is a discussion room.






 And at the same time, with no one watching, Hina and I silently stand alone in the residence's hallway.

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