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A soft whisper came from a young girl.
Sitting on a chair, Shougo Mikadono, who was about to enter the world of dreams, suddenly opened his sleepy eyelids and glanced at the four corners of the room.
"Is there anyone here?"
However, there was no one in the room aside himself—what's going on? Did I mishear?
Today is the day when the funerals of the internationally-known Mikadono group's representative, Kumagorou Mikadono, are held.
It's February, where the cold weather hasn't left yet. Shougo still didn't have the time to feel saddened by his father's death, and since the early morning he has been running around, busy taking care of multiple matters with his mother.
As things finally came to an end, Shougo could take a break in the visitors' room. He was so busy that he didn't have time to change into his funerals' clothes, and became sleepy with his school uniform on him—at that moment, he has been waken up by a mysterious voice.
"Onii-sama, I'm here."
The voice came to him again, this time with the noise of the windows being knocked on. It seems that it came from the outside.
Shougo turned his body and lifted his head. Above the bookshelves, there was a small window. Outside the window, snowflakes were rustling and falling. There was someone below the window who was knocking on it, and the clenched fist was barely visible.
This window was made to gather sunlight, and was even higher than Shougo's height, and there seems to be someone raising her hand outside the window----
"Who is it?"
"It's wonderful, I have always wanted to see you, but I couldn't meet you with that many people. Finally, I can finally talk with my brother, do you know how I was longing for this day, wuuu..."
"That's why I'm asking, who are you?"
"I'm Onii-sama's little sister."
"Little sister? What do you mean, I'm an only child."
"Really, Onii-sama won't be alone. From now on, I'll always be together with you."
"Together? What the heck do you mean?"
"I'm here in order to marry Onii-sama."
-- Why would I get married to you? If you are my younger sister, how could we possibly marry!
Baffled, Shougo ran to the side of the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the voice's owner.
But the window was too high to see outside without standing on something. Shougo moved a chair over and stepped on it.
At this time, there was a knock at the door and a woman entered -- her name was Seri, the secretary of his mother.
"If I may ask, did something happen?"
Seeing Shougo with one one on the chair, Seri showed an expression of intrigue.
Her tall figure in a suit, it was the splitting image of a capable career woman. Somehow exuding an air of icy cool beauty, it was well-matched to her funeral attire.
"I just heard a voice from outside that sounded like it was calling me, but who could it be?"
Shougo replied as he stepped on the chair once more, opening the window, and sticking his head outside.
The first thing that entered his view was the inner garden of the funeral home. Ahead was a wall of accumulated snow extending into the distance.
"Eh, no is there. Strange, but there definitely was someone here?"
"Somone suspicious appeared?"
Secretary Seri asked warily. Could it be Seri's appearance that drove her to escape?
"No, just that I heard someone's voice. Perhaps it was my mistake, hahaha."
Forcing a laugh to tide things over, Shougo got off the chair.
He had no idea what had happened, perhaps it was just his imagination.
The existence of a sister, I don't have anything like that.
"Shougo-sama, Kanoko-sama would like to see you."
Shougo followed Seri out of the room.
Shougo's father -- Mikadono Kumagorou had been hospitalized in bed since half a year ago. Having inherited the business from Shougo's grandfather, he had become the Mikadono Corporation's CEO, and in very short time cultivated the business into the world famous commercial enterprise "Mikadono Group."
Spending virtually every day on the move around the world, building trusting relations with people from all places, expanding the business of "Mikadono Group" without pause, the "Legendary CEO" was what people called him out of respect.
However, this lacked longterm consideration and took its toll on his body, ended up massively cutting into his lifespan. On day he collapsed unconscious in a conference room and was rushed into the hospital. The doctor's diagnosis was: Kumagorou had only half a year left to live.
Six months later, on the day he reached the age of fifty, he passed away.
When his father passed away, Shougo found himself unexpectedly calm. It wasn't because he didn't feel sorrow, just that he didn't feel excessively depressed.
"Father lived his life to the full, putting effort into every day."
Working several times harder than anyone else, his life was full of accomplishment, there were definitely no regrets.
As if proving Shougo's assertion, the face of the father resting in the coffin bore a satisfied expression.
Led by secretary Seri, Shougo entered the room of his mother.
The funeral home's third floor had a waiting room. Looking down outside from the massive window, there were many visitors dressed for the funeral, standing beneath the swirling snowing sky, carrying umbrellas.
It needed no mention that the employees of Mikadono Group, all the CEOs of famous Japanese enterprises, and minister-level government officials were all gathered here. Seeing all these participants, Kumagorou's greatness was clear to all.
Standing before the window, Shougo's mother -- Mikadono Kanoko, turned around to face her son.
"You came, Shougo."
"Mother, is there anything I can help with next?"
"Pay attention to your words, for all the guests are watching."
Mother spoke with great seriousness. Mother and Father had been supporting the Mikadono Group together all this time, and was now the acting CEO.
Even though today was her husband's funeral, her resolute attitude was no different.
"Yes, sorry, should be acknowledged."
It felt a bit embarrassing and unnatural to use respectful speech with Mother.
"After the funeral, it is hoped that you can attend the farewell banquet with all the guests gathered for tonight."
"Of course, I will also help out with Seri-san."
Shougo deliberately answered cheerfully, hoping to raise the spirits of his mother who was likely emotionally exhausted.
However, Mother's next words were completely unexpected.
"After the banquet, all the members of the core committee will be gathered for the announcement of Kumagorou's will. However, before that, I need to confirm your will."
"My will?" "Last night when the family gathered, the will was read witnessed by the lawyer. In his will, Kumagorou hopes that Shougo will inherit Mikadono Group." "Inherit Mikadono Group? That means I will become the next CEO?"
"Of course, this is no easy task, and the will did say, if Shougo decides to accept the inheritance, you must undergo special training for it."
Shougo began to wonder, inheriting the business, do I really have that ability? Do I have to ability to lead a company of this scale?
Thinking that, his legs felt a little unstable at that moment.
However, he then thought, aren't I just escaping?
"I, will inherit -- no -- I want to inherit the company, and Father's will."
"Understood. Then I shall inform the Group's core management of Kumagorou's will for approval. Shougu, from today onwards you will begin special training to improve your aptitude for becoming the CEO. In this one year you have to produce a result that is acceptable to the Group."
"Of course, I don't want to sit in the CEO position just like this."
I wonder how intense and strict the upcoming special training will be, but to be able to compete on the global stage, it must surely be a harsher challenge.
"At the same time, Kumagorou has an additional condition for your inheriting his will."
"An additional condition, what is it?"
"Shougo must find the girl he loves before high school graduation, and become lifelong partners."
"To become lifelong partners with the girl I love! Isn't that telling me to get married?"
"Precisely. Get engaged during school, and immediately marry after graduation. Once you marry and have a family, you will show composure and solemnity despite your age, and will have the ability to lead the Group."
"But getting married is not one person's decision. If there's no other side..."
Shougo did not have a girlfriend. Let alone marriage, he didn't even have a first crush.
"There is no cause for worry on this issue. To facilitate the special training, Shougo will be transferred into Miryuuin Private Academy.
"...Miryuuin Private Academy, isn't that the famous school where all those ojou-sama are studying?"
"Precisely, the place where Kumagorou once studied, a school with an excellent tradition. Going to school there, you will surely find a girl that suits you."
Yes, it was true, in the merciless commercial world, marriage was a way to build esteem and respect.
"I understand, I will accept this condition, and surely find someone I like during high school, and propose at graduation for a favorable answer."
"I look forward to your good news, Shougo."
Timing just at the end of the conversation, secretary Seri walked in from outside.
"Kanoko-sama, it is almost time to head to the crematorium."
Mother nodded, took her briefcase, and as she walked to the door, Shougo suddenly remembered something and asked her a question:
"By the way, Mother, I have a question I wanted to ask you..."
"What is it?"
"It sounds a little unbelievable, but do I have a little sister?"
Mother frowned as she turned back to look at Shougo.
"That kind of thing cannot possibly exist."
Making her declaration, seemingly angered, Mother left the room.
"Right... Eh. Doesn't Mother look a bit angry?"
After some thought, secretary Seri walked over, and whispered:
"The matter of a little sister, where did you hear that from?"
"Ah, no one really. Anyway, has anyone else mentioned such a thing before?"
"Actually, within the Group, there has been rumors of Kumagorou having an illegitmate daughter."
"An illegitimate daughter, really?
"Only a rumor. I will do everything I can to eliminate baseless rumors, so please do not let this worry you."
In other words, the voice just now was just my misunderstanding.
"The unknown little sister doesn't exist. As long as I know that I can be assured."
For a long while after that, Shougo did not entertain the notion of having a little sister again.
Of course, this only persisted for year or so later, until that particular spring when he met those girls.
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