Chapter 41 – Tea Party
By the time I was getting used to the daily routine of attending kindergarten, I received a rare invitation from the mother to go out with her.
“Hijiri, this coming Saturday, there is a tea party at Minamoto-sama’s house, would you like to go with me?”
Minamoto…… the only people I know with that last name are the heroine of the anime named after the cat-shaped robot and the long-time supporter of the Abe family, who is a powerful figure in the Onmyoji world…….
What? Isn’t she one of the biggest names in the Onmyoji world!
A VIP that even the Onmyoji Channel, which is supposed to be a children’s show, introduced.
“You see, there was the madam who greeted you at the end of the social gathering. That’s her.”
“Hmm…….. Oh, that person?”
At the end of the gathering, my mother took me to greet many of the other wives.
At that time, mother introduced me to their sons as casually as if she were introducing me to a mother’s friend.
I had thought that she was of the same family status as the Kyobe family, but then I realized that she was Minamoto-sama.
I wonder if she’s doing okay, I don’t remember her being rude or anything.
And this tea party …… tea party is really …….
“What do you do at a tea party?”
“It is a gathering where we talk over tea and sweets. Children should be allowed to play as they please, but it may be a little different when it is in the Onmyoji’s home. But Hijiri is a very well-behaved child, so there is no need to worry.”
I am pleasantly surprised at the trust that my mother has placed in me.
Yes, of course I will behave.
Does this mean that the wives and their children who were invited to the get-together will be there to further socialize with each other?
Maybe some of the talented kids I spoke to at the reception will be there.
I can’t help but want to go to this event to make connections for the future.
“Understood. Minamoto-sama asked me and Yuya to come also, so the three of us will go together.”
Thus, the next Saturday, we visited the Minamoto family.
The day of the tea party.
I had assumed that we would take public transportation to get there, but it seems that was not the case this time.
“Here you go, ma’am. Please get in.”
“Thank you for having us. Come on, Hijiri, go ahead and get in.”
This time, to our surprise, there was a car to pick us up from the Minamoto family.
A man claiming to be the exclusive driver of the family opened the door for us.
This kind of service is reserved for VIPs, like the president of a big company.
I never thought I would be able to experience this before becoming a professional Onmyoji.
I got into the car, impressed.
From mother’s point of view, it must have looked like I was excited to ride in a private car for the first time.
In fact, Yuya was very excited to ride in a car for the first time. He was so excited that mother warned him not to jump on the seat.
“Then we will depart for the Minamoto family.”
The mother’s behavior toward the driver was very familiar to me.
I had already noticed this, but I wondered if the mother came from a good family.
For some reason, she always spoke politely, had clothes for a small party in advance, and always wore an aura of affluence. Even though our house is shabby.
I heard that my grandparents on my father’s side have gone to heaven, but I have never met or heard of my grandparents on my mother’s side.
Shall I ask my mother about them someday?
While the car is not a limousine, it is a high-quality domestic car that is acoustically quiet and comfortable.
I am not a stranger to second-hand cars, as I only bought pre-owned cars in my previous life.
The fact that they have a full-time chauffeur shows the wealth of the Minamoto family.
“The cars, they’re moving. Hurry, hurry, hurry!”
“Don’t put your face on the window.”
Yuya is really composed for his age, probably because he is imitating me.
He would not do anything wrong.
Even if I make a mistake, I have nothing to fear now that I have the best excuse ever: “I’m just a kid”.
It is only in the second year of working that I should be afraid of making a mistake.
For now, all I can do is move forward.
“The black roof over there is the Minamoto family mansion. We will be arriving soon.”
The driver’s voice made me turn my head forward and I saw a Japanese house with a black tiled roof at the foot of the mountain. Like the Abe family’s house, it has vast grounds, a well-kept garden, and a main house that evokes a sense of history, all of which represent the authority of the Minamoto family.
Witnessing such a downgraded version of the Abe residence, it suddenly occurred to me.
“There’s going to be a lot of mysterious creatures here.”
Now I can”t see any mysteryous creatures at all. However, I can tell if there are any mysterious creatures out there by using my tentacles and spirit-filled shed hairs.
As a result, it turns out that there were none in kindergartens or parks, but there are some in my house and Tonobe’s house.
There are mysterious creatures in Onmyoji’s houses. Perhaps, on the contrary, the houses are built in the places where there are mysterious creatures. It is a very interesting question.
I might try to set a trap during the tea party.
If I extend it to the maximum distance possible to get the maximum number of visitors, I could determine if there are a lot of mysterious creatures.
It doesn’t matter whether I understand it or not, I want to unravel all the mysteries about Onmyoji.
To satisfy my pure desire for knowledge, I decided to experiment in my spare time.
“Thank you for riding with me. We have arrived.”
At any rate, I patted my brother on the head who was able to exchange proper courtesies.
Once the driver opened the door for me and I got out of the car, I felt like a real VIP.
When we passed through the open entrance, we were greeted by a servant, just like the Abe family. We followed her lead across the corridor facing the Japanese garden and entered the tea ceremony hall.
“Welcome to our house. I am very happy to see you here today, Hijiri, Reika, and Yuya. We have been looking forward to seeing you again.”
Stopping to chat with the madam who presumably came before us, the host of the tea party, the madam of the Minamoto family, greeted us with a welcoming speech.
She was obviously dressed in a kimono of good quality, which she wore naturally. Her strong-willed, pinched eyes and neatly coiffed, glossy black hair gave her the air of a work-ready businesswoman.
She was about the same age as mother and already possessed the dignity befitting the wife of a great man.
Although her appearance may give the impression that she is a strict person, from the first time we greeted her, she always had a smile on her face, giving the impression that she is friendly, despite her high status.
The gap between her strong-willed, dangling eyes and her smile is enough to make a man fall in love with her.
The head of the Minamoto family must have been charmed by her smile.
“I’m so glad Hijiri-san came to see us. My daughter was looking forward to meeting you, too.”
“Ha, ha …… thank you for inviting us to the tea party.”
After the greeting, the first thing Minamoto-sama did was to speak to me, not my mother.
I was surprised. I couldn’t believe I was greeting a socialite, something you wouldn’t expect from a four-year-old.
“Thank you for having me!”
“Ummm, as I thought at the reception, the Kyobe family is doing a great job of educating their children. I must make my daughter learn from you.”
“No, no, we are doing nothing special. Our children are growing day by day by themselves–”
Using the child as a topic of conversation, the mother talk began.
As one would expect from the wife of a great man, she is very shrewd.
The servant who had brought us to this point showed us to the next room, saying, “Please take the children to the next room,” and we were released from holding on to them.
The children’s play area is connected to the room where the wives gather, and by removing the sliding doors, the view is completely transparent. If anything happens, anyone can rush to the room immediately.
However, there is no need to worry about that, because a babysitter is standing in the corner of the room, keeping an eye on everyone.
When we arrived, there were already about 10 kids there.
Half of them were sitting on cushions watching TV and eating snacks while the other half were spreading out their toys and playing.
While holding hands with Yuya, I was pondering which one to join, when a servant called out to us.
“You must be Hijiri and Yuya. It’s snack time, so please come this way. After you finish your snacks, you are free to play.”
It was snack time, which is appropriate for a tea party.
The children are having a pseudo-tea party.
Following the servant’s instructions, we headed for the table.
Once we were seated on the cushions, the servant quickly offered us a cup of tea and some sweets.
“Ni, what is this?”
“It’s a Yokan*.”
Is it something you serve to children?
I didn’t realize how good Yokan was until I was much older.
This slight sweetness and the flavor of azuki beans that fills your mouth, it’s so …… delicious. This is definitely a luxury item. It’s not something you would serve to children in another sense of the word.
The tea is also selected to go well with the Yokan. It is probably a luxury item.
This is the hospitality of the rich.
“Not tasty. ……”
That’s right. It’s a flavor we’re not used to.
Cookies and stuff are better for kids.
“Big brother will eat the rest. You can go play.”
Yuya walked to the toy box with a apologetic look on his face.
We learned from our mother to take good care of our food.
Looking at the children sitting in front of us, there were some who were so engrossed in the TV that they stopped eating, but none of them looked at the Yokan with a reproachful gaze, and they all seemed to be eating it with relish.
They all seemed to be accustomed to eating it. I would like to take a peek at other Onmyoji’s houses to see what kind of eating habits they have.
The Tonobe family is an ordinary family, similar to ours.
*Yokan – is a wagashi (Japanese confection) made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar.