Chapter 63 – Playing House
Since being invited to a tea party for the first time, I’ve been visiting the Minamoto family every few months. Today, we are playing house in the familiar tatami room under Kana-chan’s leadership.
“Hijiri will play dad, and Shizuku-chan will be the older sister. Yuya will be the little brother, and Kaname will be a baby!”
Kana-chan was enthusiastically deciding our roles. Since she’s the only girl when we are playing in our family’s house, she seemed to be excited to play with other girls. Yuya asked who would play the role of a “mother.”
“Me, of course!”
After being invited by my mother, the Tonobe family started to come to the tea parties from the second time onwards. Since Hiroko-san comes, Kana-chan naturally comes along, and her younger brother, Kaname-kun, is brought along as well.
“Big sister, take this bottle.”
“Baby doesn’t talk, okay? Here.”
It’s been two years since Kana-chan came to stay overnight at the Kyobe family’s house. Kaname-kun, who was born as the eldest son of the Tonobe family, has grown up quickly and can now play the same games as us. Influenced by me or the mature Yuya and Kana-chan, his language ability is growing significantly. His physical ability is also improving making him able keep up with playing with older kids. The Tonobe family’s future is bright.
At two years old, he has the intelligence not to disobey his older sister’s commands. For now, he’s obsessed with playing with toy cars, but in the future, he will become a good Onmyoji who would be able to build precise wards.
“I heard your dad cut your hair. Was it for the Shichi-Go-San festival?”
The host’s daughter, Minamoto Shizuku, spoke to me about my image change in her usual business-like tone.
At first, she resisted, asking if there was any meaning to this game, but she lost to Kana-chan’s stubbornness.
So, she reluctantly participated, and on the first day she was a bit awkward in her acting. However, she quickly adapted to the rules of playing house and became able to immerse herself in her role and have normal-sounding conversations.
“Oh, that’s right, Shizuku-chan. My father… your grandfather cut it all off.”
While playing with my now much shorter bangs, I answered her.
Thanks to my mother’s styling, it looked a lot better than a previous messy bob, but every morning when I washed my face, I felt a sense of strangeness at my unfamiliar appearance.
Other than that, it wasn’t a problem, and my mother smiled and said, “This hairstyle is cute too,” so I thought it was good. It would grow back soon anyway.
“I knew you offered your hair, but I didn’t know they would cut it so short. By the way, I heard a rumor that your Goddess performed a miracle. Is it true?”
“It’s true. It happened while I was receiving a prayer.”
It seemed that Shizuku-san was more interested in the miracle than my bangs. She asked me about what kind of phenomenon occurred, what kind of power I felt, and questioned me in detail.
My father should have shown as much interest as her. After we got home, we talked for a while.
“What did you do?”
“I infused spiritual power.”
For some reason, my father was satisfied with just that.
There were more things he should have asked his son, who possesses vast spiritual power.
“Are you also manipulating spiritual power, Dad?”
I was talking about the processed spiritual power, which I’ve been calling spiritual elements on my own.
I had been wondering if this was a universal concept in the world of Onmyouji, but had missed my chance to ask until now.
This was a good opportunity to ask my father.
“But doesn’t it separate when you try to move it?”
“You mean forming a seal?”
“No, not like that.”
Both of us had question marks floating above our heads.
No matter how much I explained it, my father didn’t understand. I also asked about mysterious creatures, but he didn’t know anything about them either.
In conclusion, it seemed that neither mysterious creatures nor refining spiritual power are common.
I had a feeling that they weren’t featured on the Onmyouji Channel, because they were maybe part of some family’s secret art.
Even my father, who knows a lot of secret arts, had no idea, so that probably isn’t the case.
I moved from my workroom to my bedroom and raised my fists in triumph.
“Yes! My own technique! Woohoo!”
Everyone should know how amazing this discovery was.
The discovery of a new technique is something that even large companies would invest huge amounts of money for.
The refining techniques that I had honed during my childhood idle hours are priceless, and I was overjoyed by this fact.
Even if the same thing existed in some other family’s secret techniques, the usefulness of the spiritual essence that had saved me from danger would not be shaken. However, the advantage of knowing this technique only by myself was immeasurable.
Thanks to the refining, the added value was so great that Goddess Chioharu no Fuai gave me a reward.
I must continue to improve my skills and use them to further my reputation and, by extension, contribute to the development of the Kyobe family.
While recalling the Shichi-Go-San day when I had thought about such things, I answered my current daughter’s question.
“Hey, isn’t it about time for you to go to work? Don’t just focus on our daughter, hurry up and get ready!” Kana-chan placed her hands on her hips and spoke in a tone of exasperation, dissatisfied with my attention on Minamoto-san.
From her excessively serious tone, it seemed that her Okasan and Otousan had been saying the same thing to each other every morning.
“Oh, is it that time already? Well then, my dear little princess, be a good girl,” I said.
“Yes, Papa. Have a good day,” she replied.
We had repeated this exchange so many times that it had become a routine. With Kana-chan’s supervision, Momi-san’s doting parent behavior had become common knowledge among the children.
“Take care, Dad. Come on, you two, eat breakfast. Ah, I’m so busy,” said Hiroko-san.
Kana-chan seemed to have observed Hiroko-san’s housework habits quite closely.
I moved a little away from everyone and started building and destroying blocks. According to Kana-chan, this was my work.
It seemed to be a reproduction of the process of building a ward, but it felt like the same madness as throwing rocks in a riverbed or digging a hole as a prisoner. Focusing on this task, which had no constructive purpose, was a waste of time.
So, I focused inwardly on refining my spiritual power.
“Hmm, I’ve completely lost the clues for the seventh refinement. What should I do?” I thought.
I had been searching for the technique for the seventh refinement for several years. I had found the technique for the sixth refinement relatively easily, but I couldn’t find it for the next stage.
It was like a processing factory that used the spiritual power produced every day as raw material and processed it up to sixth stage but stopped there. It didn’t feel complete yet, and I felt like there was still more to come…
The technique I had thought about before could indeed be it, but it didn’t produce the changes I had expected.
(“When I refine it, I don’t get that feeling of ‘this is different from the spiritual elements so far!’ Am I doing something fundamentally wrong? It feels like going from seeing the light to being lost in the fog.”)
Since there was no point in worrying about it any further, I focused my consciousness on the mysterious space within my body and reviewed the factory line that was constantly in operation. There were various processes such as centrifugation and polishing involved in refining around here.
Refining like this seems to be more efficient. Yeah, it feels good.
By improving the work through a sensory process that cannot be put into words, the sixth refinement – the production of gem spiritual elements – is being made more efficient day by day.
Even so, the amount of gem spiritual elements obtained from a large amount of spiritual power is minimal.
For emergencies, I wanted to have more in stock.
“Father should be coming home soon. Let’s call him on LI.E. Beep, beep, beep, beep.”
Oh, I am getting a call. I must have missed the scheduled time to return while I was spacing out.
“Yes, it’s Father.”
“What time will you be coming home today? I’m thinking of preparing a dinner soon.”
“I’ll be home soon.”
A three-second walk from work to home. A family-oriented father goes straight home without making any detours.
“Welcome home, Father. Do you want to take a bath or do you want to eat dinner first?”
“I’ll clean up first.”
It is difficult for a six-year-old to understand being asked “me?” Maybe Momi-san was asked the same thing by Hiroko-san during their honeymoon. …Thinking about acquaintances being lovey-dovey makes me uneasy.
“Mama, what’s for dinner tonight?”
“We’re having curry tonight. Come on, big sister. Bring your little brothers here.”
Kana-chan answers while pretending to cook with a play-kitchen set. She naturally interacts with Minamoto-san, who is quite unique compared to her kindergarten friends. Is this what they call a child’s adaptability?
“But Mama, Yuya went to play at a friend’s house, and it’s difficult for me to carry a baby with my arms.”
Yuya had already started playing with a slightly separate group without us noticing. Is it going to be at the friend’s house according to the play-house setting? Minamoto-san is good. She is fully immersed in her role.
“Hey, hasn’t Yuya come back yet? It’s already past 5 o’clock.”
I admire the innocence of being able to date without caring about the constraints of adulthood such as social status, academic background, and economic power.
I hope Kana-chan never forgets this feeling.
“Should we go get him?”
“Wait, Minamoto-san. … Yuya said he’s staying over at a friend’s house. Let’s just have dinner now.”
“If he’s staying over, then there’s nothing we can do! I’ve prepared dinner, so come on, you guys prepare your drinks too.”
When Kana-chan comes to play, she often stays overnight at the Kyobe house. It’s not like we do anything special, but she is at an age where just staying over is exciting.
So, if I say he is staying over, they’ll understand.
Yuya seems to have gotten bored with playing house, so let’s let him play with his friends.
“Big brother, beep beep, it’s amazing!”
“Wow, you have a cool one. Alright, let’s move a little. There!”
I grab Kaname’s side and move closer to Kana-chan.
Thanks to Body Strengthening, I can lift him up easily and safely invite even a two-year-old who is excited about floating experiences to the dinner table.
“What is it?”
Did something happen? Minamoto-san, who is sitting next to me in seiza, stares at me intently.
To avoid being heard by Kana-chan, she whispers to me.
“Do you do muscle training at the Kyobe house?”
“No, I don’t.”
“I see… I’m hungry. Is Papa’s sake okay with the curry?”
“I don’t think Japanese sake goes well with curry, does it?”
With just that question, Minamoto-san returned to role-playing.
Was that a little too powerful?
Maybe from someone else’s perspective, so it wasn’t abnormal for Minamoto-san to ask me that question.
I always play “high-high” with Yuya and Kaname because they love it, but…
I’m so used to Body Strengthening that I don’t know what’s normal for children anymore. It’s okay because children are light, right?
My self-reflection is interrupted by Kana-chan’s voice.
“Alright, dinner’s ready!”
Saying that, when I look at the served dishes, there is a real dorayaki on it.
When I looked at her, she was cutting a toy carrot, so it’s a kind of alchemy.
It must be the work of the servant who is making tea behind Kana-chan. Thank you very much.
” ” “Itadakimasu” ” ”
Mmm, today’s snack is also a luxury item.
The delicate sweetness of the fluffy dough and the flavor of the red bean spread throughout my mouth… it’s delicious.
As I enjoy the taste of the dorayaki, Kana-chan’s as a mother talks to Minamoto-san’s who is in this case a daughter.
“Shizuku-chan, do you like dorayaki?”
“Yes, I like it. Mom, you already knew that, right?”
“…Yes, I knew.”
Oh, Minamoto-san likes dorayaki, huh? I always thought she didn’t like sweet things because her expressions don’t change much.
Come to think of it, we’ve never talked about personal topics before. Maybe it’s because of her business-like tone that reminds me of my past workplace, we always end up talking about things related to Onmyoji.
It’s hardly conversation children usually have.
“I wonder what our princess does in her spare time?”
“Taking care of the baby!”
No, not Kana-chan.
“As for me… Besides my lessons, I practice Onmyojutsu.”
“Huh? And besides that? Do you have any hobbies or things you like?”
“I don’t dislike reading books, but I do it mainly for information gathering purposes… So, what does Papa do?”
(“I only practice Onmyojutsu. In my past life, I enjoyed playing mobile games, manga, and anime, but since I was reincarnated, I’ve been thinking only about Onmyojutsu. For me, Onmyojutsu is not only a way of life, but also a bridge to the future, and a hobby.”)
Hmm, I have no right to be surprised by Minamoto-san’s response.
“I only practice Onmyojutsu.”
“I am sure you do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have acquired such skills.”
“Don’t just chat during your mealtime! Eat well, okay!”
Kana-chan’s as a mother scolded us. As someone who loves lively meals, I wanted to argue, but it’s not a good idea to do so with Kana-chan. Father and daughter know that very well.
So, we quietly enjoyed our dorayaki.
T/N – Dorayaki –
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