First route is Cinderella (CV: Hirakawa Daisuke). He appears to be an arrogant and extravagant man, who plays all day and leaves the business to his brothers. But he is actually fragile as glass on the inside. This follows from the Prologue.
In the mirror world, there lived an extremely arrogant and selfish nouveau riche. His father was a commoner who founded an ash-covered silk business. (This is likely to be a play on words on the Japanese title of “Cinderella”.) Truly a success story of someone who earned a fortune in a single generation. The second generation, Cinderella, was raised and left to be very selfish hedonist. He holds a dance party every weekend, splurging his money and wearing branded and expensive goods. Everything is within his reach. He’s always surrounded by a crowd. Even when a woman admires his ring, he casually offers it to her – in exchange for her company for the night. Or when a man reminds him about a financing proposal, he casually agrees to loan him the money. An extravagant lifestyle where everyone admires him, respects him, fears him, and is desperate to get on his good side.
Cinderella has two younger brothers who aren’t a bit like him, Gretel and Shirayuki. He makes them work in his cafe, doing all the hard work from dishes to cooking. The older brother finds Shirayuki reading upstairs, instead of doing his waiter duties. The latter replies that it’s past closing time, and it’s his own private time. Cinderella remarks that it’s forever his private time, and asks about Gretel. The younger brother guesses that he must be busy baking sweets, and the older one wishes he could pour that much passion into work. Shirayuki points out that he himself has retreated here despite being the host. Cinderella proudly defends himself, that it’s precisely because he’s the host who is the owner of this place and spent all the money – so everything operates according to his own rule. He looks forward to seeing the troubled faces of those people who kept asking him for favours, only to realise that he’s missing. He badmouths the woman and man from before, finding great pleasure in being able to deal the finishing blow to such people. Shirayuki finds it distasteful, and mutters that his brother is blind to his own short-comings.
Cinderella: ……aah, enough is enough. Whatever’s fine. I’m thirsty. Give me something to drink, give me–
Shirayuki: There’s nothing here. Why not go back downstairs. You can drink to your heart’s content?
Cinderella: If I go back downstairs, those people will sponge off me.
Shirayuki: Then instead of coming to the second floor, you should’ve gone outside.
Cinderella: I don’t feel like it.
Shirayuki: Then just give it up and be extorted.
Cinderella: Really you, despite having such a girly face……
The younger boy glares at him, and the oldest backs away. Just then, Gretel appears and informs Cinderella that guests are looking for him. The latter orders him to get a drink, to which Gretel flatly refuses. He also gives him some shortbread he made but doesn’t need anymore, telling him to take care of it however he likes. Cinderella tells him to do it himself, after all he just came up from the ground floor. Gretel remarks that he made it in his own time, but he’s already full from sampling so these are all extra. He’s giving them to Cinderella, as the other older brother won’t eat anyway. The oldest frowns as eating those will only make him more thirsty. The youngest directs him to go downstairs for a drink then. Moreover, it’s against the law for those under 18 to work on off days and at night. Unless Cinderella himself goes to appeal for a change in law. Cinderella is upset at their attitude towards their oldest brother, but both of them chime in that they don’t want to be told that by him. Just then, a guest calls aloud for Cinderella. Left with little choice, the oldest brother disappears.
Cinderella: ……tsk. Just you wait!
Shirayuki: ……his parting remark is really like a villain’s.
Gretel: In other words, the lines of a loser. A hetare like always.
His heart has been dyed “ash-grey” along the way, and he spends his “ash-grey” days with the “grey money” he has. As such, people call him “covered in ash” (Cinderella).
Elsewhere in a mansion in the mirror world, Arisu Yurika is sneaking around. Just as she’s about to open the front door, Kaguya catches her red-handed. When questioned, she replies that she’s merely going out for a breather – not that it’s convincing when she’s carrying a huge luggage. Of course, her attendant easily realises that she was planning to leave home as he grabs the luggage from her. He guesses that the reason must be the matchmaking from before.
A few days ago, Kaguya showed her a book with the photos and details of an unfamiliar man. It hasn’t been decided yet though. Yurika flips through, wondering why the man isn’t looking at the camera in the photos. Her attendant replies that he secretly took the photos, and assures her that he hasn’t been caught. She notices that the man is called Cinderella, and asks what he’s like. In response, Kaguya lets it all loose, even the unnecessary information. He adds that she’s only 17 though, so she can refuse. Though of course everything will be settled for them if she agrees, as the partner is filthy rich. Yurika shuts the book close, and agrees to the meeting.
Back to present day, Kaguya thought that she had already decided. Yurika corrects him that she agreed to the meeting, but not the marriage itself. He finds no difference between the two though. She admits this, and knows that it will benefit them – her family is rich, but Cinderella’s is even more so.
Kaguya: If so, then why? ……as expected, was I wrong in saying that Cinderella is an arrogant, overbearing, dimwit son of a wealthy family?
Yurika: Kaguya-san. Your bad-mouthing got worse.
Kaguya: Nn–? That’s weird–I wonder why?
Yurika: ……you know, Kaguya-san. I don’t think it’s right to badmouth someone you don’t know. The same with rumours. That’s why I want to confirm with my own eyes what sort of person he is.
Kaguya smiles at her words, but asks if she knows where to find Cinderella. She proudly takes out the book he had given her, answering that the address is inside. However, Kaguya points out that it only states his family’s address. Right now, Cinderella is living separately from them. Yurika goes quiet at this new revelation, wondering how to act next.
>> Give up: Yurika decides to give up for today, and will properly investigate the address later. Kaguya forbids her from acting like this from now on though, asking how she exactly plans to learn more about Cinderella. She couldn’t possibly plan to infiltrate the house itself. She reassures him that she will just watch from afar, but Kaguya refuses to give in. She shrugs and agrees to give up, and he pats her head in return. She wonders if Cinderella’s truly a good person, and Kaguya lightly agrees. A few days later, word comes that Cinderella’s side has rejected the matchmaking. While she sighs deeply, Kaguya appears to be in good spirits. He tries to cheer her up. She’s still young and he’s sure that someone better will appear. Yurika smiles in return, not wanting to worry him further.
She returns to her room and flops on the bed. To be honest, she was secretly looking forward to see how her partner would be like. Would things have been different if she had gone to see how he was like? A voice replies that it would have, and Yurika instantly sits up to see a man dressed in a black cloak and hat, with a black cat. He introduces himself as Wizard, noting that she must be quite clumsy to have made a mistake on the first choice – or a rather twisted person, or perhaps an adventurer. In any case, she just needs to understand that this is a bad end. So Wizard advises her to try again and aim for a happy end, he’ll be supporting her. (BAD END)
>> Request for him to share his address: Yurika tilts her head while asking him the favour, and Kaguya finds himself unable to reject her. In the end, he leads the way to the mansion. She reassures him that she will protect him if her parents, who are hardly at home, get mad at him for this. He remarks that it’s his job to protect her though, and promises to be on her side. He brings her to the shopping street, where it is well-known for its villas for summer get-aways. There are also plenty of historical buildings, museums, and of course shops and cafes. That being said, everything is already closed at this hour in this countryside.
Yurika is fascinated at the sight, as the buildings are still lit up at night. Despite Kaguya’s warnings, she gets caught in the moment and ends up tripping and falling. He quickly helps her up, dusting off the dirt. Soon, they reach Cinderella’s cafe. Yurika is immediately impressed at how serious and hard-working the boss must be, but Kaguya remarks that he merely bought the place and leaves the cafe management to other people. All Cinderella does is play around. Yurika tries to shake off the negative impressions, wondering if Kaguya hates Cinderella. The attendant denies this, making her wonder if it’s jealousy then.
She peers inside, observing that a party is taking place. She can’t find any signs of Cinderella though. Just then, a voice asks what she’s doing. She jumps in fright, and insists that she isn’t anyone suspicious. Yurika is speechless at the sight of a pale-looking boy, and as the silence falls over both of them, the boy shifts his gaze to the ground. She asks if he’s from the shop, and he confirms this. Unfortunately for her, Kaguya has already hidden himself and she’s left to deal with the awkward situation. Yurika is about to ask about Cinderella, but she stops herself lest things backfire. Silence proceeds once more, and the boy tells her to go in if she needs to. She firmly refuses, but can’t explain the reason. Amidst the silence, her stomach growls even though she’s sure that she had eaten her dinner. Sighing, the boy takes her hand and leads her inside. Yurika tries to look for Kaguya for help, but he’s no longer in sight.
In the end, Yurika is led through the backdoor and finds herself sitting in the kitchen. The boy sits opposite her, reading a book. Meanwhile, another boy serves her a plate of shortbread cookies which he had baked. She is full of praises as she tastes it, and finds it a waste that he’d planned to throw them away otherwise. The boy expresses that he was surprised when Shirayuki brought her in, but he’s glad that she enjoys the cookies. He introduces himself as Gretel, and Yurika is about to say her name too – but she quickly introduces herself as “Arisu”. The two boys may be related to Cinderella, so she decides to hide her true identity. Shirayuki remarks that someone who is renting a room upstairs is also called “Alice”. When asked what Alice is like, both brothers agree that he is eccentric. Yurika finds them both rather different already, so she can only wonder how Alice is like.
Having observed that they’re brothers, she asks if they’re renting rooms here too. Gretel corrects her, explaining that the owner, Cinderella, is their brother. Yurika can’t hold back her surprise and leaps out of her chair. As they gaze at her queerly, she quickly clears her throat and sits down. As expected, their brother is well-known. Though sadly, his own brother badmouths him just like Kaguya.
Gretel: Aah, it’s true that he’s famous. For being arrogant, selfish, and extremely hateful.
Yurika: …………you speak poorly him even though he’s your own brother?
Gretel: It’s because his my own brother that’s why I speak poorly of him. ……more importantly, are you not going to eat?
She acknowledges this, and continues eating. It doesn’t take long for her to feel thirsty, but she can’t just easily ask for drink in this situation despite this being a cafe. Thankfully for her, Shirayuki tells Gretel to get her a drink. Yurika looks up in surprise, but finds Shirayuki still reading his book. The other brother quickly gets her some water, and she thanks him. She asks if she can brew them some tea in return. A few minutes later, she serves them tea. Gretel praises its taste, observing that she’s used to making tea. However, Shirayuki abruptly leaves to return to his room. Gretel explains that his brother doesn’t like eating, and doesn’t even eat the sweets he makes. He himself isn’t sure what his brother usually eats since he isn’t skilled at cooking and has never seen him cook before – but he did spot Shirayuki eating an apple once.
Yurika thinks that must be the reason why Shirayuki is so fair and delicate. Before she can add the phrase “almost like a girl”, Gretel puts his teacup down. He advises her not to comment on Shirayuki’s appearance before the person himself. He hates it even more than eating. Saying that he’s cute or pretty isn’t exactly a compliment to a man.
Yurika: Indeed if it were me, I may frown if someone told me “you’re so manly”. But I would be really happy if they told me I was “cool”.
Gretel: But you would be happier if you were told that you were cute or pretty right?
Yurika: That’s true. I may be extremely happy.
Gretel: You’re surprisingly honest.
Yurika: It’s more fun living that way.
The gentle atmosphere is broken as a person barges in, demanding for water. Yurika recognises him as Cinderella, reeking of alcohol. Gretel refuses to lend him a shoulder, saying that he deserves it. The oldest brother grumbles that none of them respect him, and Gretel tells him to act accordingly if he desires it. He asks if the guests have left, and Cinderella confirms this. Yurika can’t help but ask if he’s alright, and he throws a precarious gaze at her unfamiliar face. Before she can decide on her answer, he dismisses her. Cinderella refuses her help, but he soon bends over and feels like throwing up – much to Gretel’s displeasure.
After the incident, Yurika is washing the cloth while the brothers are seated at the table.
Gretel: Up till now I didn’t even have a shred of respect for you, but at the very least, I still thought of us as brothers. But today right now, let me say this clearly. To be honest if I could cut ties with you, I want to right now, immediately, without delay.
Cinderella: Hey……don’t shout……my head hurts……
Gretel: Is that so. Then I shall stop admonishing you and strike back. Aaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!
Cinderella: Are you a demon, a devil, or a sadist……
Gretel: How horrible, brother. I’m an angel.
Cinderella: I wouldn’t stand for it if there was an angel like you. Ugh……feel sick……damn it, those people brought cheap alcohol……
When Yurika asks how he feels, Cinderella admits that he does feel a bit more refreshed after throwing up. Gretel raises his fist, offering to send him to sleep so that he’d feel more refreshed. Yurika offers her handkerchief to him, but Cinderella bluntly rejects it. He has a rule to not accept charity from others, especially poor people. While surprised, Yurika calmly keeps her handkerchief. Cinderella questions who she is again, adding that it’s rare for Gretel to bring a woman back. The latter replies that it was Shirayuki, which Cinderella finds unexpected since he hates people. Unless his mistook her for a cat or dog.
Yurika: I’m human.
Cinderella: I can tell that by looking.
Yurika: Um……don’t you know who I am?
Cinderella: Hah? There’s no where I would. Me, know a poor person like you?
Gretel: Why don’t you choose your words more wisely? She did clean up after your filth.
Cinderella apologises half-heartedly, asking how much she wants. Yurika refuses, and he shrugs it off. Feeling thirsty, he drinks the tea which was meant for Shirayuki. He finds it delicious, and asks what tea leaves was used. Yurika explains that she used the ones from the kitchen, and the taste is probably different due to the method. He muses over this, and asks if she would like to work here. After all, Shirayuki isn’t much help and Gretel can only bake sweets. He asks if she likes cooking and cleaning, both of which Yurika agrees. She instantly grabs the chance, though Gretel voices that it’s odd to hire a stranger. The oldest doesn’t see the problem, and Yurika pleads with Gretel. The latter sighs in resignation, since the shop belongs to Cinderella anyway. Cinderella arranges for her to live upstairs, though the fee will be deducted from her salary.
The owner guides Yurika to her new room. She had been expected a dusty room filled with cobwebs, but to her surprise it’s a lovely room fit for a lady. Though Cinderella may speak roughly, perhaps he is quite the gentleman. Just then, his face turns serious.
Cinderella: Hey, you. Remove your clothes.
Yurika: ……pay with my body?
He flicks her forehead, remarking that he won’t bother with a poor person like her. He just doesn’t want her going on the bed with her dirty clothes. Yurika glances at her dress which is dirtied at the hem, recalling that she did fall down earlier.
Yurika: ……I’m sorry. Um, but would you embrace me if I wasn’t poor?
Cinderella: I won’t! What’s with you. You want me to embrace you?
Yurika: No, not really.
Cinderella tells her to quickly strip and wash herself up then. He wants her to start working tomorrow, and won’t show any mercy in firing her if she isn’t capable. She promptly salutes him, and he nods in satisfaction before exiting the room. Yurika smiles widely at this unexpected development. The brothers seem to think that she’s a commoner, or rather a homeless person. Plus she can see for herself what Cinderella is truly like. She does feel bothered by Kaguya and is uneasy, but she is filled with anticipation for what is to come.
Yurika starts to unzip her dress, wondering where she can wash her clothes. Just then, Cinderella enters to tell her where the bathroom is. An awkward silence follows, and he quietly dismisses himself. She secretly takes back what she said – it looks like it will be a tough road ahead.
The next morning, Yurika reintroduces herself to the two younger brothers. Gretel explains that he’s in-charge of the kitchen, while Shirayuki handles the tables. But since she’s here, that duty will go to her. She acknowledges this, but hopes that Shirayuki can still help her when it’s busy. The boy nods at this. The other brother explains that the job isn’t that much different from other cafes, but she definitely cannot look when he’s making sweets. Yurika promises, as he smiles while refusing to explain the reason. He soon retreats to the kitchen, leaving the floor to the two of them. She panics lightly, asking what she should do if a customer places an order.
Gretel reassures her that there won’t be any customers anyway. Even if there is, there won’t be a problem as their menu doesn’t list any refreshments – only drinks and today’s dessert. And she can easily brew tea. But he will call her when the dessert is ready, so she should keep refusing orders for it till then. In other words, the only menu will be tea till then. Yurika checks if this is really a cafe, and Gretel confirms this. This place is only run as Cinderella’s hobby, and they can only serve what they can prepare. She gestures to the coffee siphon, and he replies that she’s free to use it. Not that it’s on the menu. She’s also free to use the cooking stove in the kitchen, when he’s not cooking that is.
He leaves the two of them in the middle of a messy cafe, obviously not cleaned up since last night’s party. Yurika ends up cleaning the place till it appears new. All that’s left is the kitchen, not that she can interrupt Gretel. She makes a turn, and bumps against a shelf. She quickly catches a glass item that fell, and replaces it on the shelf. It’s shaped like a cute mouse, and she wonders whose collection it belongs to. Yurika observes that there really is no customers even though it’s lunch hour, and Shirayuki replies that it’s always like this. Though he’s reading, he did help out initially. It’s just that he kept breaking plates and making messes, Yurika decided to do it herself in the end. Apparently, he never helped out with chores before. It’s a mystery as to who has been cleaning till now.
She’s reminded of Cinderella, the very person she wanted to observe. But according to Shirayuki, he’s probably playing around outside. Yurika starts to converse with him, and his answers remain vague and disinterested. But he asks why she would want to cook and clean for them when she’s being hired here. She remarks that it doesn’t feel like she’s working now. Shirayuki thinks that she can do whatever she wants, and she smiles in return. She’s happy that he’s replying her, as she thought that she might have hated her after yesterday. He doesn’t like nor hate her, and in fact he thought that she hated him – since he rejected her last night. Yurika thinks that it’s reasonable to do so since she was a stranger though. Shirayuki adds that he caused her trouble too, referring to her doing all the cleaning in the end. She answers that he’s just more clumsy than others, and won’t get mad and hate him for that.
Out of the blue, Shirayuki asks what she thinks of Cinderella then. Yurika muses over this, and honestly replies that he’s a generous person. The younger brother comments that she’s the first one to say that. Usually, people say that he flaunts his success, has an ash-grey heart and is covered in ashes. (In Japanese, there is a rhyme and play on the Japanese word for Cinderella: haikaburi.)
Shirayuki: That’s right. The beautiful you doesn’t realise it. The heart is a dirty person covered in ash.
Yurika: …………me, beautiful?
Shirayuki: You’re beautiful.
Yurika: Thank you! I’m really happy!
Shirayuki: You’re an innocent, pure white. Who doesn’t know impurity.
Yurika: ……it’s a bit embarrassing when you go to that extent. But thank you. Ah, then what about Cinderella? As expected, ash-grey and grimy?
Yurika: I like ash-grey. I like dull colours. I like the incompleteness from when black and white is mixed together. Do you know? There is a metallic luster in ash-grey, in other words it will become silver if there is a strong directivity. Even if he is “covered in ash” just like everyone says he is, it may be just that his heart has been clouded throughout the years he has lived. Moreover, I don’t think of him as someone hateful. No matter how much he liked the taste of my tea, normally one wouldn’t just hire a stranger like me.
Shirayuki: Even if he judged you to be a poor person just because your clothes were dirty?
Yurika: That can’t be helped. It was true that it was dirty……huh?
The flow of the conversation and his alert gaze appears as though he’s aware of her true motives. But Shirayuki makes it clear that he does not know her. But he knows that she isn’t poor like his brother said. Her movements, speech, and clothes (if they weren’t dirty), all point to the fact that she’s from a well-to-do family. He isn’t sure about Gretel, as he isn’t the type to pursue things further if he isn’t interested. Shirayuki himself can’t be bothered since she doesn’t appear to be dangerous. Yurika asks him to keep it a secret, and takes his silence as consent. She finds him kind, though he himself doesn’t think so.
Yurika: Is that so? I thought that I was being treated kindly though. Moreover, you have a really kind gaze.
Shirayuki: I hate being judged just based on my appearance.
Yurika: I see. It would be good to take advantage of it though.
Shirayuki: ……are you a bad person pretending to be good?
Yurika: Do I look like a good person? Or a bad person?
The boy remains quiet, especially when she asks if he doesn’t mind judging others based on their appearance despite hating it himself. Yurika goes on to add that it can’t be helped to a certain extent. After all, your first impressions are formed based on the appearance. Animals act like that – the bigger one’s feathers are, or the more beautiful one’s cries are – they find it more attractive. But what makes humans interesting is that that’s not all. Even if you may be unsatisfied at first, you may start to develop feelings over time. In doing so, your first impressions may be overturned. She’s sure that all of them here have hearts which can’t just be understood on the surface.
Shirayuki remarks that it’s all idealism, and she admits it. But she believes that it’s fated to be, they will soon understand each other. She believes that it’s already fate that they met. Yurika asks why he brought her here, and he replies that he did so on a whim. Shirayuki stands up, and leaves the room as he wants to be alone. Left behind, Yurika wonders if she can get along with both of the younger brothers.
In the end, not one customer came that day. That night, Yurika asks to make dinner, to which Gretel easily agrees to. All that’s left is for Cinderella and Alice to acknowledge it. Speaking of Alice, she has yet to see the person despite knocking on the door several times. Soon, she finishes up and calls Gretel. He’s amazed at her skills, and she replies that she merely likes it. He remarks that she can call it a forte of her if she’s this good. After which, he bluntly comments that she’s like a slave to do all the chores without asking for anything in return. Yurika points out that she’s doing it on her own will though, unlike a slave. When asked for whose sake it is then, she answers that it’s for herself. Though from the sidelines, it looks like it’s for their sake. Just like his hobby is baking sweets, this can be considered her hobby too. Gretel observes that she’s truly honest, and she can say the same for him too.
When asked where Alice is, Gretel replies that the person hasn’t left at all. But he doesn’t advise telling Alice that the food is ready. But if she’s willing to try, he’ll tell her how to get a response. Yurika heads upstairs, and tries knocking on the door. As usual, there’s no reply. She then takes a deep breath, and starts scolding him as a freeloader and to pay up. Immediately, the door opens and Alice appears – a boy.
Alice: Aah–!! Enough, you’re so noisy!! You ignore the fact that I was enjoying a comfortable sleep and keep knocking without any consideration. On top of that you badmouth me at the top of your lungs! You sure do have a nice hobby, I’m not pleased at all! In fact, why don’t you get that I have no intention of answering after one minute has passed since you knocked? Even delivery nowadays will take that you’re absent and leave without waiting one minute!
Yurika: ……a boy?
Alice: That’s a rather extreme response. ……aah, that’s right. Can’t you tell by looking? I’m a boy. Or do I look like some other creature besides a boy? Even if by chance, you have gone insane and see otherwise, I am biologically a male. By the way, please spare me the stupid girly nonsense like “you look like a girl”. Because the only men who will be happy to be called cute are only okama, homo, or cross-dressing perverts.
Yurika: Alice is a girl’s name right? That’s why
Alice: So you only judged based on the name? There’s a limit to not thinking. You’ve given up on thinking. There are always stupid parents in any era who give rare names to their children. Like Jugemu-jugemu, Paipo, Shūringan, Gūrindai, Ponpokopī, Ponpokonā.
Alice: Of course, there are also names which are unisex. Like Akira, Hikaru, Kaoru, Nagisa, Rin, Rei, Makoto, Haruka. So there’s nothing unnatural about a boy named Alice, when nowadays the name Hekkopopī is in trend.
Yurika: A boy Alice whose name is Hekkopopī?
Alice immediately pinches her cheek, and once more when she tries to rebutt him. When she explains what she’s here for, he starts to scold her for being too sudden and not asking in advance. His unrelenting words give Yurika no time to defend herself. In the end, he orders her to prepare his share and quickly bring it back here. She dashes off, and makes it back just as Alice is sleepily counting till 348. He scolds her for being late, though Yurika stresses that she didn’t want it to be a mess. Naturally, he refuses for that to be the case. Either way, he praises her for not serving the stew with rice. He stresses that he prefers bread over rice any day.
Yurika: I prefer rice with curry though.
Alice: A challenger in a two-party system. As expected, we’re fated to never understand each other. With that, farewell. Rice lover!
He grabs the food, and shuts the door close. But he opens it again to tell her to just serve the food in front of his room at a fixed time. He locks the door this time, and Yurika quietly heads back downstairs. Gretel could hear their conversation, and she remarks that Alice was indeed interesting. The youngest brother thinks that she’s too kind, and she could’ve just described him as good-for-nothing or trash. Alice is always like that, though he isn’t sure since when he started living there. To be honest, the owner is Cinderella so the two brothers just obey. Moreover, he isn’t interested in getting to know Alice.
Yurika muses that perhaps Cinderella is the strangest of them all. Gretel tells her to take responsibility till the end, since she decided to first reach out to Alice. She acknowledges this, and checks what Gretel likes. He replies that he likes sweet things, as it helps with his brainstorming. After that, Yurika waits for Cinderella to return. It’s way past dinnertime, and her stomach can’t help but growl. She’s tempted to heat up the stew now, but she dismisses the thought since she decided to wait for him after all. Just then, Cinderella returns but apparently he’s eaten already. Yurika explains that she’ll be doing the chores, and without much interest, he replies that he’ll just increase her pay then. Just as she says that she doesn’t need the money, he leaves the kitchen.
In the middle of the night, Cinderella gets up as he’s feeling hungry. He had last eaten at an odd hour. He finds the leftover stew in the fridge, and vaguely recalls Yurika’s conversation from before. He has a taste of it, and finds it delicious.
The next morning, Yurika is preparing breakfast and has served Gretel’s share. Cinderella walks in with a loud yawn, and quietly sits down. He gazes at her, tapping on the table for his share. She quickly prepares a Western breakfast for him, adding that she can prepare Japanese style if he prefers it though. He remarks that he doesn’t as it appears cheap. Yurika secretly thinks to herself that the Western breakfast is cheaper in terms of cost though. She was thinking of having the leftover stew for her breakfast, but strangely the amount has decreased. Cinderella freezes at her words, replying that she’s imagining things, or it may be the works of a fairy. Yurika is convinced by his words, but Gretel finds it strange as it must’ve been quite a big fairy. After all, he saw Cinderella heading towards the kitchen last night. The older brother remains silent.
Yurika only giggles, and he averts his gaze from her. She goes to serve Alice’s share, and sees Gretel doing the dishes when she returns. She offers to prepare coffee for them, and heads towards the cafe section. Soon, both brothers are behind her and Cinderella is in disbelief at the sight of the cafe. He’s also surprised to see that Yurika can use the siphon.
Yurika: Why do you have a siphon if you don’t use it?
Alice: It’s just for the interior. To create the atmosphere, atmosphere.
Yurika: If you don’t use it it’s interior. If you use it you get delicious coffee. A siphon sure is convenient!
Cinderella frowns, unable to tell if she’s doing it on purpose or not. It isn’t long before she tells them to sit down as it’ll soon be ready. Gretel remarks that she’s not a simple person, and that he’ll be cornered if he underestimates her. Cinderella insists that he won’t. Soon, the three of them are enjoying the coffee. Out of the blue, Cinderella asks for her name. Gretel admonishes him, but the older brother answers that she never did say it. Yurika refrains from pointing out that she was never given the chance to do so, and instead introduces herself as “Arisu”. When asked for her surname, she hesitates and her voice cracks.
The oldest brother shrugs it off, but Gretel doesn’t seem so happy with this. Cinderella points out that they never did sign a contract anyway. The younger one doesn’t like the idea of being treated as an accomplice if he gets caught for anything though. Yurika reassures him with a thumbs-up, that she will just insist that she’s a household helper. Gretel takes her hand, and Cinderella tells them not to assume that he will be caught. She remarks that it’s just a joke, but Gretel is dead serious.
Yurika brings up the topic of the cafe, thinking that it isn’t good for them to have no business. Cinderella doesn’t seem bothered though, as it makes little difference. When asked why he hired her then, he guesses that it was on a whim. In any case, the value of this land will continue to rise. So they can sell this place for a high price when things come down to it. Well, she may be troubled when that happens. But the world is unreasonable, so she can only blame the fact that she was born into a poor family. Yurika is unsure of how to reply, knowing that this man is her engagement partner. Cinderella explains that he only bought this place for its land and to stay here. The cafe section is just an extra and a passing fancy – almost like charity for a rich person like him. But he ponders that it might be possible since she’s skilled at cooking.
He asks if she likes interesting things, and Yurika eagerly raises her hand in approval. Cinderella elaborates that he likes fun things, as well as new and rare things. That’s why he can’t resist interesting things. She makes a mental note that he’s the curious type. Cinderella suddenly slaps his thigh, deciding to make this cafe the best in the country. Gretel frowns at this, but Cinderella continues to tell Yurika to do whatever she wants. He will finance everything. In exchange, she shall earn so much that it will make him groan.
Later, Yurika explains the situation to Shirayuki and asks for ideas. He curtly replies that he has none, but she stops him from leaving. Cinderella tells him to help since he’s free anyway. After all, he’s the owner and letting them live here. In that case they should know who to obey. Both of them obediently sit down, and Yurika apologises for involving them. Gretel laughs it off, stating that he doesn’t find what she did unnecessary. But clearly he’s angry. He decides to get things done and over with, and first asks for her opinion on how to increase customer flow. She thinks that it’s better to change the atmosphere, such that it’s more inviting and easier for customers to enter. After all, there’s no menu nor signboard. People wouldn’t know that this is a cafe.
Cinderella is sure that there was a signboard though, and asks the younger brothers. Shirayuki recalls that he wanted to remove it, and the oldest remembers that he found it lame when he wanted to host a party. As of now, the signboard is in the storage room. At least that’s one problem solved. Next, Yurika hesitantly asks if they never had any customers before. Gretel recalls that they did have some at first, but then the crowd died down. He directs her attention to Shirayuki, since he’s in-charge. Silence proceeds, till Yurika politely guesses that his service was probably not friendly enough. Cinderella causes her consideration to go to waste though, as he bluntly remarks that no one will come again no matter how delicious the food is, if the service is poor. She can’t help but pinch him, using the excuse that she’s just training his face muscles for a smile. He returns her the favour, and Gretel interrupts them by concluding that they need improve on their customer service – first by serving with a smile.
Shirayuki ignores Cinderella’s reminder, and so he asks Yurika to demonstrate. She wears her best possible smile, earning a 10 from Cinderella and a 12 from Gretel – out of 100. On the flipside, they think that it’s okay for Shirayuki to continue as he has always acted.
Yurika: Ah, then how about Gretel working in the hall? You’re very refreshing (looks-wise), and gentle-mannered (on the surface). So you’ll surely be popular among the female customers.
Gretel: ……somehow there seems to be a catch in your words.
Yurika: You’re reading too much into it—
Gretel doesn’t mind, but that means the kitchen will be empty. She volunteers for Cinderella to take over then, but he refuses as he’s providing the funds. Yurika points out that many owners nowadays also work. The three of them vote in favour of this, forcibly deciding that Cinderella shall work from now on. His protests die down as they clap in support, and Yurika reminds him to wear a smile. When asked for further opinions, Shirayuki says that they don’t really bother about this business or monetary issues, as whether this place is popular or not doesn’t affect them. But that’s not the same for other cafes. Yurika reinterprets his statement as learning by observing other popular cafes. The rest agree, and Shirayuki tells Cinderella and Yurika to go out and observe now while the two younger brothers remain behind.
Casually accepting the idea, Cinderella drags Yurika outside. It feels as if they were chased outside, and the oldest brother says that it precisely is the case. After all, those two hardly have any motivation. Moreover, they can’t eat anything since they just had breakfast.
Cinderella: Anyway just be quiet and follow me.
Yurika: What a domineering husband?
He ignores her, and Yurika chases after him. They end up at a restaurant. Cinderella states that it’s to observe the rivals. But she observes that there are no other customers besides themselves. To be honest, the interior and the menu look decent. But she notes that this place is located in a back alley where there’s hardly any traffic – hence the lack of customers. Cinderella immediately calls for the waiter, and orders everything on the menu. Naturally, both the waiter and Yurika are in disbelief. So Cinderella flaunts his money, so as to prove that he will properly pay for everything. The waiter acknowledges with a troubled expression and leaves.
Yurika stares at Cinderella, checking if he intends to finish everything. He swiftly replies that he does not, it’s just to observe the rival. She feels that they could’ve just ordered the recommended menu though, this is just a waste. To be honest, she isn’t very pleased with this. His response appears disinterested, so she adds that there are many out there who want to eat but cannot. Does he not feel the least bit sorry towards them? Cinderella curtly replies that he doesn’t, causing her to become speechless out of shock.
Cinderella: Look here, does my share get passed on to them if I hold back on my order? If I don’t eat, will the food get passed onto the poor?
Cinderella: It doesn’t right? There’s no way it would. This isn’t a facility nor a battleground, it’s a restaurant. Even if I don’t order, it’s the same if other people order. If no one orders, then the food will just rot and get disposed of. You pay the price with money, and receive the goods. That’s the way this world operates. Don’t go around saying such daft things.
There’s a lot Yurika wants to say in return, but she cannot as he made perfect sense. All she can do is glare and he smirks in response. In the end, they could hardly finish the food. But feeling bad, Yurika couldn’t help but try her best till she finished five plates. Thanks to that, she’s now stuffed as they exit the restaurant. Cinderella notes that she would relate more to the chef, but she will soon get used to it. After all, their investigation is just starting. She stares at him, before heaving a loud sigh as she resigns herself. He acknowledges this, adding that she overthinks things. It’s the first time she’s been told that.
Just then, two boys run past and bump into Yurika. She loses her balance, but thankfully Cinderella catches her in time. He warns the children to be careful, who pretend to get scared. While she should be touched by his kind gesture, to be honest she feels nauseous after the sudden movement. Noticing this, he stretches out a hand. Yurika shakes her head at this. In the end, he leads her to the lake side. She soon feels better, though this has put a bit of a damper on Cinderella’s motivation.
Cinderella: Be quiet. Aren’t you feeling unwell?
Yurika: It’s probably easier to burn the calories by talking……I think.
Cinderella: Move instead.
Yurika: That’s what’s strange. I feel worse when I move.
Cinderella: That’s just a lazy bum. You’ll become fat.
Yurika: Oink oink.
Cinderella: That’s a pig. ……wait, both imply the same meaning. ……tsk.
Yurika asks what he usually does, as she admits to being a bit curious about him. He grins at her, asking if that’s a confession. To his surprise, she seriously replies that it might be. Cinderella shrugs as while he might be extremely attractive, he has no interest in her though he values her cooking skills. She corrects him, in that she’s not in love with him but is just purely curious. Not that she can clearly explain the reason why, which makes him speechless. Yurika tries to rephrase her words, saying that they’ve just met so she wants to know more about him. But Cinderella remains unconvinced since they’re basically strangers, and refuses to give away any hints as to what may convince him to do so. Left with little choice, Yurika uses her last resort.
Yurika: …………didn’t you see it.
Cinderella: Hah? What?
Yurika: Ah. Are you playing dumb?
Cinderella: What exactly?
Yurika: My naked body.
Cinderella: *chokes and coughs*
She asks if he’s okay, but not forgetting to remind him of the topic. He vaguely replies,before eventually admitting. However, he insists that it was unintentional. Yurika pretends to be hurt and cry, though he easily sees through her crocodile tears. Cinderella questions why she’s bringing it up now, if she didn’t do so back then. She answers that she tried her best to forget about it as it would make the first meeting awkward. But as expected she is still affected, plus he still hasn’t apologised. So she plans to use this as her trump card. Cinderella gives in, and asks her to name her price. Yurika refuses as it would make this like a business transaction, so she asks him to take responsibility besides using money. He reluctantly agrees, and this time Yurika drags him off.
It’s their 15 match of jankenpon, and Yurika wins once more. Cinderella is in disbelief that he has yet to win a single time, and demands a rematch. But the results are the same. She happily notes that he’s weak, having learnt yet another new side of him. He feels that she’s just too strong. In any case, due to this he has to carry the large amount of shopping. When Yurika offers to help, he rejects it since he did lose the match. She points to the next store, after which they’ll play jankanpon again.
Cinderella; Hey……you’re still continuing?
Yurika: Yes. I am. I will keep searching for my fated meeting with delicious tea leafs and coffee beans. It is necessary if we are to overtake other cafes. And are you still planning to buy, Cinderella?
Cinderella: Aah. I am.
His reply is indifferent, despite the fact that most of their shopping is his own personal goods. The extravagant way he shops surely resembles that of an Arabian oil tycoon. He plans to use what he can, but he will keep the rest in the closet. Yurika asks if he bought unnecessary things then. Cinderella says that everything is necessary, but it’s up to him as to how he uses them. She can only secretly think to herself “as expected of a celebrity”. He shrugs, noting that poor people will probably never understand. Yurika casually acknowledges it.
Cinderella: Aren’t you stupid for using your trump card on this?
Yurika: I used it precisely for this. Isn’t it the best timing?
Cinderella: I want to go shopping with you……to be honest, I don’t understand what you’re thinking.
Yurika: Non Non! This is a date.
Cinderella: There’s no date that’s as dull or boring as this. This is just shopping.
Yurika: That’s what good about it. Moreover, I can properly enjoy the scenery.
Cinderella doesn’t find anything special about the shopping street and crowds. She acknowledges this, but things are different and more fun when you’re together with someone else. He shivers at her cliche poetry-like words. While she feels hurt, Yurika’s attention is caught by something else. She gains his approval, before skipping towards a display window that is decorated with lights. There’s is a gorgeous chandelier with a pair of high heel shoes placed on a column below. There are miniature glass houses around the shoes, and all of them are brightly lit-up. It appears that the theme is “mirror world”.
Yurika can’t hide her admiration at the beautiful display and the new shoes. She points it out to Cinderella, wondering if he will appreciate it as he is a man. But instead, he agrees that it’s beautiful. His calm voice and gentle gaze take her by surprise. It’s as if his selfish attitude till now was all but a lie, as if she had been mistaken. He asks if she wants those shoes, and offers to buy them. She is startled, for she has no reason to receive them from him. Cinderella agrees, adding that he should be on the receiving end instead. Indeed, he has given her a place to stay and work at. But he observes that she seemed to really desire it. Yurika can’t bring herself to correct him that she only found it interesting. Still, she insists that she can’t accept – they’re not even lovers. When he remarks that it doesn’t matter, she pulls him away from the display.
They are stopped in their tracks as a black cat brushes past Yurika’s feet. She strokes it gently. While Cinderella says that it’s not cute at all, he still reaches out his hand towards it. Unfortunately, the cat fiercely bites him, and he collapses to the ground in pain. She realises that his hand is bleeding, and quickly leads him away to wash his hand. He quietly accepts her handkerchief when he’s done, and complains at how terrible the day has been. His expression shows no traces of the gentleness from before. Yurika can’t help but feel both regret and relief at the same time. Cinderella notices that the cat has followed them. It nimbly leaps onto Yurika’s shoulder, and he guesses that it must belong to someone since it’s used to humans. Soon, a voice calls out for the cat. A man dressed in black takes back the cat, and thanks them for finding it.
Yurika: Is it your cat?
Man: No, he’s not. He’s my friend.
Cinderella: You call it your friend, which means your pet right. You should properly train it as the owner.
Yurika: It’s good that you found it.
Man: You’re a good person aren’t you. ……the man over there seems rather twisted though?
He sees that Cinderella appears angry, and the latter explains that it’s all because the cat bit him. The former quickly apologises, persuading the cat to do so too. While Cinderella isn’t entirely convinced, he leaves it at that and tells Yurika that they’re leaving. But the man calls them back, wanting to offer a form of apology. Cinderella refuses, and doesn’t appear surprised when the man shows knowledge of his name. After all, he’s pretty well-know. However, the man points out that he knows all about Yurika too. This prompts her to instantly volunteer her name as “Arisu”, and the man plays along. Cinderella mistakes him as some shady fortune teller, and pulls Yurika away. All of a sudden, his body freezes and Cinderella is unable to move an inch. It’s clear that it was the other man’s doing, and Yurika tells him to undo it at once.
The man obliges, and a furious Cinderella confronts him about his tricks. The man says that it’s magic actually, not that Cinderella believes him. He explains that he does want to apologise to them, and introduces himself as Wizard. He adds that he refers to Yurika as “Heroine-chan”. She almost lets out a sigh at this remark, but before that Cinderella comments at how lame it is. In any case, Wizard offers to tell Cinderella’s future (which only makes Cinderella more suspicious that he is a shady fortune teller). By right his services come with a payment, but he does it for free this time since he was hurt due to his friend.
Wizard: Cinderella. You will lose many things in the near future. Money, honour, property……the things used to gather people around you will disappear, the penniless you will have no one left around you. Your tailor-made fashionable clothes will be replaced with modest clothes, you will be all by yourself and covered in ash, working from day to night. And even when a ball is held at the castle, you cannot attend it. The reason being that you are “covered in ash”.
(Note: Reminder that “covered in ash” = Japanese title for Cinderella)
He ends his prediction here, remarking in a light-hearted tone that his future is rather dark. Cinderella finds it bogus, but Wizard states firmly that it’s the unchangeable future. But he welcomes them to call for him whenever needed. He will appear when he feels like it.
As they’re walking back, Yurika remarks that Cinderella is rather sociable to have stuck around till the end and even acting as the straight man, instead of just leaving. She means it as a compliment. He questions if she’s trying to comfort him. Since he saw through her, Yurika directly speaks her mind. She doesn’t believe in fortunes that speak of bad things. While Cinderella says that he doesn’t believe such a suspicious person, he does agree that it leaves a bad aftertaste. To be honest, he’s more irritated that the man didn’t hold back at all in his words. Cinderella is determined to outwit him by having the cafe business prosper. He tells Yurika not to compromise anything, and to use the best ingredients. They’ll continue with their investigations too. She fully supports him, punching her fist in the air.
Back at the cafe, Yurika serves seafood rice bowl to Cinderella. He’s impressed with its taste. Just then, Gretel asks how it went. Both of them agree that the popular places have delicious food, treat the customers well, nice atmosphere etc. There’s even customisable options to the menu. – like magic. Cinderella frowns at that word as he’s reminded of Wizard. Gretel asks for their conclusion on how to improve their cafe’s business, and Yurika proposes that at the very least they need to expand their menu. For starters, the standard sandwich item should be listed. Cinderella adds that it’s easy to add variation too, such as changing its bread.
Yurika: That’s good! As expected of Cinderella-san!
Cinderella: Of course. How about praising me more?
Yurika: Brilliant! Cool!!
Cinderella: More! More!!
Yurika: Great! What a man!!
Gretel: ……you’re getting along surprisingly well.
Yurika feels the same way, but Cinderella begs to differ. He’s the employer, and she’s the employee. She can’t deny that, but thinks that it’s part of the employer’s role to build on their trust too. He finds her phrasing arrogant, and tells her to be more humble. Yurika positively accepts his point, and promises to keep it in mind. Gretel brings the topic back on track, and Yurika suggests increasing the blends of tea. Cinderella points out that it’s why they bought so much tea leafs and beans. They’ll outsource their bread too. Yurika feels that she could try to bake her own bagel or bread rolls though, and will work on that.
That being said, the main focus of the cafe should be the sweets. They turn their attention to Gretel, who doesn’t seem willing. While it is a hobby, he doesn’t fancy turning it into work like a lonely adult. As Cinderella rebutts him and the conversation gets heated, Yurika calms them down. She tries to persuade Gretel, who still displays reluctance. She replies that she’s alright with making the sweets too, but asks if she really should do so – what if she steals his spotlight? Plus, she’ll end up fully occupying the kitchen. As they stare at each other in silence, Gretel finally sighs and agrees to do it. He emphasises that it wasn’t because of her provocation, and she nods in return. The reason doesn’t matter, as long as he’s helping out. Cinderella wonders what to do about Shirayuki. Yurika believes that Shirayuki’s presence alone makes the atmosphere brighter, and surely he will be able to learn through practice. Both Cinderella and her are motivated, while Gretel wonders if things will really go that well.
A few days later, the cafe is bustling with people and Gretel can’t hold back his surprise. In the first place, the cafe’s location is good. So once the customers spread the word, more customers keep pouring in. When the cafe’s closed, Yurika finally finds the time to take a breather. Shirayuki appears, and she thanks him for helping too. Gretel agrees that he’s a great help, and Yurika thanks him for helping out with the sandwiches too. He points out that the main person who started this isn’t here though. Cinderella was absent the whole day. Yurika tries to change the topic, and she also prepares some milk tea for the brothers.
Some time later, Cinderella returns. He smells the fragrant tea, and asks for a cup too. Yurika obliges, and notices that he went shopping again. Gretel tells her not to prepare tea for him, while the rest of them were busy the past few days. Cinderella reminds her to realise the real person she should listen to though. Yurika decides to listen to Gretel, drinking the tea instead. After all, those who don’t work don’t get to eat. Cinderella clicks his tongue, commenting that he’s tired too. In return, he drinks the remaining tea in her cup.
Without even time for her to realise that it was an indirect kiss or time to complain, Cinderella heads upstairs with his shopping. Yurika chases after him, asking where he went today. He answers that he just wandered here and there, as she can see, but refuses to say anymore. He then asks how the business was like, and if she requires anything else. Cinderella readily agrees to prepare the items she requests. Yurika can’t help but voice her concern – why is business so good from the start? It seems overwhelming. He only gives a vague answer, but she doesn’t back down.
Yurika: I see. You don’t know. So this is what I think. That this is a chance given by god. That surely a good person from somewhere secretly did all the work.
Cinderella: That’s amazing. Meaning that person specially gathered all the people for your sake?
Yurika: Our sake?
He frowns, realising that he had fallen into her trap. Yurika takes it as her cue to leave, and when he calls out to her, she promises not to tell anyone. Though she suspects that Gretel will be sharp enough to realise it by himself. She will inform Cinderella once dinner is ready.
The busy days continued, and Yurika continues to work hard so as to make this cafe the best in the mirror world. It’s not as if she has forgotten her initial goal, and she has been getting to know Cinderella. As of now, she knows that he dislikes green peas, prefers Western to Japanese, and prefers meat to fish. But of course, being so busy, her initial goal seems secondary now. Just when she’s wondering what to do about this, the incident occurred on a sunny afternoon.
A woman walks into the cafe, firmly asking for Cinderella. Yurika mistakes her for a customer complaining, but soon realises that she knows Cinderella personally. The woman insists on waiting till he returns, and plants herself on a window seat. Shirayuki comes out from the kitchen due to the commotion. She asks him to tell Gretel to prepare some scones, and serves tea too since she is a guest of Cinderella’s. Towards the end of the day, the last customer exits the store. Yurika refills the lady’s tea, and the latter observes that their business is doing well. She apologises for interrupting when they’re busy. Yurika politely says that it’s okay, moreover her beautiful presence alone helps with their business. The woman is speechless for a while, before remarking that she can’t say anything in return at that comment.
As she sips the tea, she asks Yurika if she’s going out with Cinderella. She denies this, and remains unfazed when told that he’s well-known for being a playboy. But for now, they are employee and employer. Hearing her words, the woman asks if she’s interested in Cinderella. Yurika acknowledges this, and is asked why she started working here. She can only reply that things unfolded as such. The woman notes that it’s odd for someone who doesn’t easily trust people, to leave the cafe to her who is as good as a stranger. Yurika adds that his brothers are present too. The lady laughs dryly at how the person himself is slacking, and calls him scum. She can only laugh nervously in return – while she isn’t sure if he’s slacking, it is true that he is hardly around. In any case, the woman seems determined to catch hold of Cinderella.
Curiousity gets the better of Yurika, and she can’t help but ask if they’re going out. The woman only says that they made a very important promise, emphasising the last few words in a meaningful tone. She finds it boring when Yurika’s reaction is mellow. She explains that she only met Cinderella at a recent party, and it was there that they made a promise. At that moment, the man in question returns. The woman instantly approaches him and reprimands him for inviting her to spend the night, yet leaving her all alone at the end. He weakly gives the excuse that he was drunk, but she sharply points out that he probably didn’t mean it anyway. He didn’t apologise after that, plus he suddenly opened this cafe for the girl here. She calls him a pervert and a lolicon at that. Cinderella quietly denies it, plus it’s not like there’s a big age gap.
Yurika honestly answers that she is 17 years old, and the woman threatens to sue him if he does anything to her. Though Yurika says that there’s nothing between them, what about him? After all, he’s been handing out money so as to draw in customers. Cinderella is at a loss of words, and Yurika is not sure what she should do. The woman then calls him a liar, saying that he’ll give her everything she wanted. Immediately, Cinderella’s tone drops as he sees that she was just after his money. He’ll give it to her, and tells her to hurry up and get out. Agitated, the woman raises her palm. Yurika instinctively leaps forward, and gets slapped instead.
The other two are taken aback, and Yurika remarks that resorting to violence is no good no matter how angry you are. It’s better to cool down and talk things out. The woman calls him shameless, having to hide behind a girl younger than him. Cinderella’s face’s shows remorse, and he tells her to go back first and will give her the ring if she wants. In response, she snaps that she doesn’t need such a lame-looking ring. As expected, money is all he has going for him. No one will approach him anyway if it weren’t for that. He insults her back, that she’s just one of those women who will do anything for money. As the argument gets heated again, Yurika raises her voice and tells them to calm down. She’ll need to tell both of them to leave at this rate, for it is still opening hours. She stands firm even when Cinderella points out that he is her superior. The woman sighs, and takes her leave. On her way out, Cinderella throws the last remark, that they never asked her to come in the first place.
Yurika tries to step in again, and the woman glances at her before saying that she’ll forgive him on Yurika’s account. She apologises to Yurika. While she doesn’t know her reason for being with such a useless man, perhaps it would do Cinderella some good. She’s sure that things will be tough, but tells Yurika to hang in there. She compliments the tea too. Before exiting, the woman quickly flips around and has the last word while sticking her tongue out. Cinderella frowns at this, but Yurika finds her style rather cool. She adds that it is his fault too for provoking women. To her surprise, he agrees with her and gently touches her swollen cheek. Soon, Shirayuki appears with an ice pack and a towel. Cinderella immediately takes it and cools her swollen cheek down. He worries that it may leave a scar, and apologises.
He offers to make it up to her, and will buy her anything she wants. Annoyed, Yurika smacks his face and he’s startled by this. She remarks that it’s extremely rude to her, for it’s not like she did this as she wanted something in return. She seeks for her apology instead, and he quietly does so. Yurika pats his head like she would to a child, and Gretel muffles a laugh at this. Both younger brothers pretty much witnessed what happened, and Gretel tells Cinderella to take responsibility. The latter insists that he did, but she refused his offer. Gretel thinks that it’s because he lacks sincerity, and Shirayuki tells him to directly ask Yurika. Cinderella turns to her once more, but she doesn’t want anything to be honest. He insists, and she decides to just take it that he owes her a favour for now.
Later, she is preparing dinner while singing a random tune. She gets startled when Cinderella comments on it, and embarrassed too. He volunteers his help, and starts peeling the taro. She’s impressed with his skills, and resumes her singing since he knows about her habit already. But she tells him to keep it a secret from the others. He guesses that she’s often told that she’s weird, and Yurika takes it as a compliment. Surely he must be noticing her charms now. Cinderella doesn’t see it as a compliment, but she believes that being yourself is a good thing. They proceed with the preparations in silence, till he softly questions her reason for taking the hit for him. She admits that it was instinctive and not for anyone’s sake. But perhaps she couldn’t stand watching any longer. Yurika looks down, and whispers that the woman truly liked him. Cinderella is in disbelief, but she believes that the woman wanted him to look her way.
Cinderella: Her aim was money. She took the joke seriously, that I would give her the jewelley in exchange for spending the night together.
Yurika: But in the end, she didn’t accept anything right?
Cinderella: Her tiny pride got in the way.
Yurika: ……If Cinderella-san truly feels that way, then she is really pitiful. The person Cinderella-san should apologise to isn’t me, but her. It’s meaningless to try and return me the favour. Please go and apologise to her immediately.
Cinderella gaps at her words, asking if she really means immediately. She emphasises it again, and will not serve him any dinner if he doesn’t do it now. They stare at each other in silence, till he gives in to her words and leaves the kitchen.
Later, Gretel asks where Cinderella is. Yurika answers that he just went out for a bit – but actually it’s been 1 hour already. She tells Gretel to go ahead with dinner first, and heads outside. She rubs her hands together, as the temperature drops once the sun is down. Despite it being early winter, this place is known as a summer retreat for a reason. But she settles for waiting outside the cafe. It feels strange. Just while ago, she knew nothing about him. Yet now she thinks of him this much. But it’s not as if she dislikes this sudden change of feelings. Soon, Cinderella returns and he asks if she was waiting for him. But she only smiles in return, lying that she was just taking out the trash. It would seem to much like a stalker to admit it, when she was the one who chased him out in the first place. Yurika tells him to go inside to eat, though Gretel may have already finished. But he grabs her hand suddenly, and feels how cold they are. He sees through her excuse easily, and she eventually admits that she was worried. Cinderella tells her to just say the truth then.
Cinderella: ……I properly apologised.
Yurika: I see……
Cinderella: ……aren’t you curious about the conversation?
Yurika: It would be a lie to say that I’m not, but it doesn’t concern me.
Cinderella: You were the one who was hit, and it was also you who told me to apologise.
Cinderella: I was confessed to. That she liked me.
Yurika: I see.
His manner lacks his usual flair, and she tells him to be more confidence. After all, he’s cool and people often fall in love with him on first sight. Yurika grabs his hand in return, smiling. All she can do now is to encourage him. Cinderella weakly agrees that it’s a given that he’s cool, and she’s satisfied to hear his usual self again. She gestures him inside, while he remains quiet.
An hour ago, Cinderella had went to apologise to the woman. She bursts out in laughter, for she guesses that he only came since Yurika told him to do so. In any case, he apologises, and the woman acknowledges it. But to be honest, it feels more humiliating to be on the apologising end. She remarks that Yurika is surely calculative, and wonders if it’s in return for the slap or it’s just unintentional on her part. Seeing how confused Cinderella looks, she explains that she had liked him – if not she wouldn’t have pushed herself on him. Of course, his money was a factor. But it’s not as if he’s the only rich guy she knew. She did genuinely like him. Yet he didn’t notice that and stepped on her feelings, moreover here he is apologising to her because someone told him to. Cinderella can only apologise once more. She lets it go since his money was a factor, but she feels annoyed since Yurika was surely well-aware how humiliating this would be for her.
Yurika didn’t do this as she felt pity for her. It was most likely to let Cinderella know that there are women who like him for who he is, and not just for his money. It was all for his sake, while using her as a stepping stone for that and knowing that Cinderella isn’t interested in her. She insists that she wouldn’t have fallen for him though, if she knew that he was like this. He softly agrees. But the woman adds that there is a peculiar woman who would actually like him, so he had better hold onto her and treasure her.
Back inside the cafe, Cinderella sits quietly at the table. When asked what’s wrong, he questions Yurika if she actually has a poor personality. Confused by his words, she wonders if he’s fallen sick, or she had unintentionally offended him. He denies this, and tells her to forget what he had said. She agrees, and he sighs while bringing up the topic of the favour. He’ll start working in the cafe from tomorrow. He remarks that he doesn’t like owing favours to women like her, and adds that he could’t help her with dinner preparations too. Yurika realises his reason for helping her earlier, and adds that his brothers would surely be happy. Of course, so is she too.
The next day, Cinderella is serving the customers. Gretel is horrified, while Shirayuki calmly observes that he could actually speak politely. They ask Yurika what they talked about last night, though she replies that she didn’t do much. But both younger brothers are certain that she’s the key factor. Cinderella tells both of them to get back to work, and Yurika reminds him to keep smiling. He forces one, and says that with this he has returned the favour. She acknowledges this. While Gretel isn’t sure of what happened, he doesn’t mind seeing his brother acting humble before another person. Shirayuki agrees.
Once the day is over, Yurika serves Cinderella some coffee. She’s happy that the customer flow is steady as ever, but he warns her not to be complacent. Once a new store is up, surely they will flock there instead. After all, customers love new things. Both of them are determined to avoid that from happening, but Cinderella also admits that he’s exhausted. He glances at her, before asking if things aren’t tough for her. She’s busy everyday with the household chores and the cafe. Yet their place still remains cleaner than it was before she was here. She doesn’t think so, as she finds it fun and fulfilling. He can only wonder what sort of boring life she was leading before. Yurika admits that perhaps she was rather numb to everyday life before. But over here, she doesn’t even have the time to feel that things are tough. Cinderella averts his gaze, while fiddling with a small item on the table.
Yurika admits that she did take the easy route by choosing to do sandwiches and roast tea and coffee only. Moreover, Gretel and Shirayuki are helping out too – and Cinderella too. Time freezes for a moment between them, till she remarks that he’s always helping out till late. She’s aware that he made the effort to call in customers, and always checks the stock at night and makes sure that there’s enough for the next day. While his younger brothers may see him as a slacker, it appears that he’s actually rather serious and hard-working. Cinderella remarks that it’s just a passing whim, and it won’t continue forever. Since he plans to sell this place in the future. He continues looking away. Yurika acknowledges this, but even so it doesn’t explain his reason for working this hard now. She herself feels motivated to work even harder now. He finds her terribly optimistic, and she answers that it’s more fun that way.
Cinderella finally looks at her, admitting that it might be true with a gentle smile. It causes her heart to leap out, and her face to redden. She diverts the attention to the glass item in his hand. Yurika finds it pretty, and asks if he bought it. She recalls the soft expression he had while they were looking at the display with glass items. He vaguely replies, before asking what the item looks like to her. She stares at the round item intently, which seems to resemble an animal. Yurika answers that it’s a bird, perhaps a dove. Cinderella remains quiet, and she wonders if she got it wrong. She was pretty confident though. He places it on her hand, saying that he’ll give it to her. His unexpected gesture puzzles her, but she accepts it anyway, asking if it’s alright. Cinderella replies that it’s fine if she doesn’t mind an item which amounts to nothing. Yurika thanks him fervently, promising to treasure it for life. He wryly laughs at this, finding her comment an exaggeration.
Yurika: It’s not an exaggeration!
Cinderella: ……you sure are a cheap woman to be happy over such a thing.
Yurika: That’s wrong. I’m not a cheap woman, I’m an economical woman.
Cinderella: Neither are compliments.
Her mood is too good to be spoiled, and she can’t stop smiling. Just then, she recalls something important, but swallows back her words. The cafe is not the only thing with a deadline. Surely these fun times would end once he realises that she’s his engagement partner.
At night, Yurika lies on her bed. It’s true that these days are fulfilling, but it’s built upon lies and can be easily shattered. In the end, she couldn’t confess. It’s not good to lie. But exposing herself will mean that this current relationship will end. She can’t see anything good coming out from telling the truth. She wonders if he will be at a loss of words, tired of her, angry, or hate her. It’s all so fragile, just like a glass work which shatters when it falls to the ground. She picks up the glass item from Cinderella, realising that he probably won’t like her anyway if things continue like this.
The next morning while she is preparing to open the cafe, a delivery arrives. It’s not rare for this to happen (most of it is usually Cinderella’s personal things), but to have this much delivery is. After signing the papers, she checks that everything is indeed for Cinderella. Yurika carries it upstairs, and to her surprise Cinderella helps her out. He remarks that she could’ve just told him, questioning if she thought of him as a brute who wouldn’t even carry his own things. She falsely denies this, and he tells her that he’ll remember this. Back downstairs, Yurika’s cheek gets pinched by him. He soon lets go, and tells her to carry on with her stuff while he shifts the rest of the boxes. She can’t help but be curious about the contents, and asks him about it. Cinderella replies that it’s got nothing to do with it, so she leaves it at that.
But he calls out to her again, beckoning her to come over. He kneels down to open a box, and hands her a kimono. Yurika is pleasantly surprised at how cute it is, and notices that it has a Western flair with the mini-skirt and frills. Cinderella explains that she can’t keep wearing her own clothes at work, and that a cafe needs a uniform. He tells her to change immediately and to show him later. She obliges, and when she’s done she finds Gretel and Shirayuki downstairs too. In fact, they’ve changed clothes too. Cinderella praises her new look, but Gretel can’t help but whiff the smell of crime. He admits that it looks cute on Yurika, but one can’t help but question Cinderella’s sense – since he chose it. Moreover, Cinderella admits that it’s custom-made.
The younger brother places a hand on his forehead, before pointing out the short length of the skirt. Plus, her legs are bare with no knee-length socks. The older brother smirks at his comment, saying that natural is best. One is meant to show off the legs if you have it. Covering up the upper body and only showing the legs also highlights it further. Gretel reminds him that it is winter now. But Cinderella finds it cute when women dress up like that for fashion despite the cold. Moreover, Gretel himself eats ice-cream when it’s winter. They start to argue over Gretel’s dessert eating habits, as the topic has completely derailed.
Yurika decides to ask for Shirayuki’s opinion, seeing him as the most level-headed person (without any fetishes). He thinks that it’s alright if it suits her, and finds it cute. While she pretty much made him say that, she still thanks him. Shirayuki remarks that it really fits her size, and Yurika realises it too. Cinderella jumps at this remark, and reasons that he could tell by looking. Gretel is completely turned-off, and Shirayuki decisively says that it isn’t good.
Gretel: Brother, please take care to not lay your hands on your staff. It’s sexual harassment. Wait, these uniforms alone make it sexual harassment……haa. How deplorable.
Cinderella: It’s fine isn’t it! I’m the owner! What’s wrong with deciding things based on my interests!!
Gretel: You admit it then? Haa, how horrible. This is why having a fetish for legs……
Cinderella: Aah-aah-this is why a child with a sweet tooth is! How pitiful to not understand the beauty of slender and white legs!!
Their quarrel unfolds once again, and Shirayuki notes that it’s almost time to open the store. Both he and Yurika return to work. More time passes by, and the business continues to do well, especially with their new uniforms. It almost makes her forget the inconvenient things, though she knows that she can’t. She freezes when she sees Kaguya asking for her to take his order, and hides her face with the order form while awkwardly recommending the royal milk tea and scones. Before she can escape with his order though, he grabs her hand and reminds her to smile. Soon, she finds time to slip outside and questions what he’s doing here. Instead, Kaguya praises her look and how she’s completely gotten used to the cafe. He’s truly happy to finally see her again. Yurika tells him not to avoid the question, and asks if he’s here for her. He denies this, and is just here to see her. But there are people who are troubled by her disappearance, and they are aware that she’s here.
But he was told to just observe things for now, so at the very least she won’t be forced to return for now. Plus, he apologises for suddenly disappearing on her. But Yurika knows that it was thanks to that, that she could get close to Cinderella now. She asks if he purposely did so, and Kaguya replies that he isn’t that skillful. While there will come a time when he will take her back, he will let her do what she likes for now. He pats her head, as she thanks him. He abruptly hugs her, remarking on how cute she is. But even Yurika finds it sudden, till he whispers to her that Cinderella is watching. He tells her to stay still, as she wouldn’t want to expose their real relationship. She nods at this, but realises that this will only have an opposite effect. Kaguya smiles teasingly in return.
Yurika is about to separate herself from him, when Cinderella forcefully does so first. Before she can ask what he’s doing here, he pulls her towards him. He warns Kaguya not to do anything to his staff, but the latter flippantly remarks that just a bit won’t hurt. Stuck in between them, Yurika is unsure of what to say. Is Cinderella misunderstanding something? Cinderella says that their place isn’t one of those cheap stores, and walks off with Yurika. In return, Kaguya says goodbye in a carefree manner.
The two of them continue walking in silence, till Cinderella asks if they’re going out. She refutes this, and instead he asks if Kaguya likes her. He heard her say something like that. Yurika panics, realising that he completely misheard their conversation while Kaguya told her to “do what she likes” – it’s a completely different nuance. Cinderella finds her tastes poor, to be with such a foolish man. Unable to stomach the insult to Kaguya, she remarks that he’s a wonderful person. He releases her hand, telling her to return to his side then. When asked why he’s angry, Cinderella replies that he was merely bothered by the fact that his staff was called out by a man during working hours.
Yurika: Were you worried?
Cinderella: I was troubled that you were skipping work.
Yurika: So you came to settle things?
Cinderella: ……at least say that I chased after you.
Yurika: ……you chased after me?
Cinderella: I just happened to pass by.
He looks the other way, and she can’t hold back a smile. Doesn’t this look as if he’s jealous of Kaguya?
Cinderella: In the first place, it’s because you were careless that such a man approached you.
Yurika: It’s the basics to smile around customers. Moreover, didn’t you say that my smile was only worth 10 marks.
Cinderella: So you’re satisfied with a cheap and stupid man who is easily moved by a smile worth 10 marks?
Yurika: If you think about having someone in the palm of your hand, isn’t it easier if the person is cheap and stupid?
Cinderella: Are you a villian? It’s boring if the man is easy to handle right.
Yurika: It’s motherly instincts. Cinderella-san. Men who are in the palm of a woman’s hand are cute.
Cinderella: Even though you’re just a brat.
Yurika: By law I’m of a marriageable age.
Cinderella: Such lines are more persuasive if you speak it more sexily. Enough to make you remark “this bitch!”.
Yurika: It’s regrettable for you to say that since I’m still a pure maiden who hasn’t gone out with anyone before. ……but that’s true. Just like Cinderella-san said, I will do just that if I become an experienced adult.
Cinderella: Is that so.
Yurika: By the way, how many marks does it take to move Cinderella-san?
Cinderella: Of course it’s 100 marks.
Yurika: What about me now?
Cinderella: 40 marks.
Yurika: It went up!
He’s taken aback by how happy she is, and smirks at her. He tells her that they’re going, and she obediently follows after him.
Episode of Cinderella (aka Cinderella’s POV)
When they return to the cafe, a male customer is happy to see her. Gretel reprimands them for disappearing as they can’t handle the crowd. Yurika apologises and hurries back to work. Cinderella’s especially irritated. The reason being? He’s being led around by the nose by a tough woman who acts like an idiot. It’s not as though he’d planned to chase after her. It doesn’t matter to him who she is, or what her motive for being here is. It’s all just to temporarily pass time. That’s why it doesn’t matter to him if she seems like she’ll disappear one day – or so it should’ve been. Yet why did he chase after her when she had disappeared? Surely she has noticed it too. That the magic will been undone one day.
A long, long time ago…all he can recall is the luxurious house which is comparable to a castle. And the parties held every night. His extravagant parents and way of living. They bought him anything he wanted, and let him do whatever he wanted. For as far as he can remember, he was special. His family was rich, his looks were above average, and his future to take over the family business has already been decided since he is the eldest son. His life was surely on easy mode, and a bright future awaits him – or so he thought. It was a sparkling, dream-like world. But one day, he noticed that it was so fragile like glass and can be easily crushed. The people who gathered around his parents flattered them, but spoke bad of them behind their backs. They weren’t drawn to his parents due to their characters – it was for the money. The lavish way of living, the happy times, the fine clothes, beautiful jewellery, and the fancy dance parties – it was all a miracle made possible with money. As long as you have money, even if you have no special talents or are not smart, you can become the star. It was truly like magic.
Late at night, Shirayuki finds Cinderella in the kitchen. The latter offers him freshly brewed tea, and adds that Yurika prepares his share of meal everyday. The younger brother is aware of this, but it’s not like he can do anything about it. Cinderella doesn’t mean to force him anyway. Gretel appears, and asks for some of his unpleasant tea too. Though Cinderella thinks that he said one too much, he still offers him tea. Gretel remarks that it’s been a while since the three of them sat down for tea together like this, and the oldest brother answers that Yurika is here after all. Gretel observes that it’s been 2 weeks since she came here. Though it’s a short period, it feels as though she’s been here a long time already. Her existence has grown, since she does all the chores and manages a large part of the cafe. Shirayuki agrees.
Gretel: It’s troublesome so I’ll ask directly, what do you think of her?
Shirayuki: She’s strange.
Cinderella: I pretty much agree. But in addition, “you can’t tell what she’s thinking”.
Gretel: Then I’ll add “talkative and impertinent”.
Cinderella: Haha! It’s as if she has no good points!
Shirayuki: But if you change it around, it’ll be mysterious and smart.
Cinderella: Ooh, in an instance she seems like a fine woman.
Shirayuki ask when Cinderella plans to continue this farce. Gretel elaborates that he pretty much left her here and started the cafe even though he had no motivation. Cinderella replies that it will be till he’s bored with it. Gretel concludes that it will be till her true identity is revealed then. Since he’s taken a liking to her because she’s full of mystery. Shirayuki agrees that Cinderella is attracted to her because she’s mysterious and not an idiot. The oldest brother denies this, but Gretel points out that he went after her when she was with Kaguya. Cinderella claims that he’s just educating her, but Shirayuki observes that he was rather irate. He continues to deny it.
Gretel: Well let’s leave it at that. ……but once her disguise is gone, surely you will be disillusioned.
Cinderella: ……perhaps. It is true that I like fun things. I won’t be bored as long as she continues to give me excitement. If you ask me if she’s stupid or clever, I’ll say she’s clever. So I won’t say it. I won’t speak of it. But that can’t last forever. Because eternity doesn’t exist. It’s not me who is moved by her, it’s both of you.
Cinderella: ……see you then. Don’t stay up too late. You need to work tomorrow.
Shirayuki: ……or so he says. He saw through it all, Gretel.
Gretel: ……as expected, this tea tastes bad.
Shirayuki: Once you know the real thing, you won’t be able to drink the fake one anymore.
Back to Yurika’s POV
That day, Yurika sets a trap like a hunter would, and waits for her prey from the shadows. Soon, Alice opens his door to get his breakfast, complaining that it’s sandwich again while eating it. Immediately, she leaps at her prey (Alice) while he took the bait (food). She grabs his arm, while insisting that she clean his room this time. He chokes and shakes her off, quickly going back inside. She quickly stops it from closing, while he throws his usual insults at her. The moment she releases her grip though, the door slams shuts on him. He appears once more with a red nose, demanding for compensation. He tells her to just leave breakfast here and to disappear from his sight. But Yurika refuses to give up, and he tells her that it’s none of her concern. Moreover, she has no proof that his room is a mess. She returns the same logic to him, that he has no proof that his room is clean. Alice remains firm, claiming that she has no right to enter since she isn’t the owner.
Yurika: That’s true……but it’s been a while since I’ve been staying here, and I’m bothered that you haven’t stepped out of your room the whole time……
Alice: That’s your true motive!
Yurika: Ahaha. Yes!
Alice: You admit it huh, wicked person. It’s none of your concern. No, that’s not it. It’s a bother! Also I just recalled, but haven’t you been cutting corner too much for breakfast? Don’t think that I don’t notice that it’s leftovers from the cafe!
Yurika: I did change the taste and type of bread though? And I thought it’s okay since you love bread.
Alice: It’s not okay! Are you stupid? No matter how much I love bread and am in the bread faction, it’s a given that I’ll get tired of it if I eat sandwiches every meal! You cutting corners in cooking is worthy of a thousand deaths!
Yurika: Then how about coming downstairs to eat? Today’s breakfast is marinated horse mackerel (namban style).
Alice restrains from the temptation, as she adds that rice is delicious. He dreads the thought of eating together, and she happily praises him for not choosing not to eat.
Yurika: Um……but you’ll get fat if you don’t come out of your room once in a while?
Alice: Hah, please don’t associate me with those fat people who have a BMI above 20. I have a slim body type which doesn’t get fatter no matter how much I eat even if I don’t exercise, enough to make all the girls in the country go mad if they hear of it!
Yurika: The normal BMI is 20-24 though.
Alice: Idiot! The model type which looks slim is usually 18-19! Any lower than that is gross, and any higher than that is fat to me!!
Yurika: That’s extreme……ah, and it’s unhealthy if you don’t exercise. You need to bathe under the sunlight once in a while, if not calcium will stop generating.
Alice: Is that it. Are you trying to hint that I’m like that! Well perhaps I am slightly under average……no, just a tiny, weeny bit lacking, but my body is still growing! ……as expected, you are my enemy! Hurry up and let go!
Yurika points out that if she lets go, her fingers may get caught and his nose may get crushed. And his breakfast will get overturned. He refuses to let down his guard, so she suggests both of them letting go at the same time. At that moment, the door breaks off the hinges. Unfortunately for them, Cinderella witnesses it as he came to check due to the commotion. Later, the owner is surprised to see how clean Alice’s room is. Alice is offended, asking if he thought that he was a useless person who can’t clean, organise and doesn’t throw anything away.
Yurika: Umm……yes. (Note: the only game choices are はい or yes.)
Alice: Don’t answer! I can see through your thoughts! In any case the only choices you had were はい or yes right? Aah, that’s right. You’re that sort of nasty person.
Yurika: That’s not true.
Alice: Hey hey, didn’t you forgot to add (monotonous) at the end? (Lol)
He blames her for everything, saying that she lied about letting go at the same time and was planning to smash his nose. Yurika denies this, saying that it was a coincidence that the door came off at that moment. Alice concludes that it was indeed all an unfortunate accident, and directs Yurika to insist the same thing to Cinderella. The owner asks if they truly understand the situation, causing both of them to kneel and apologise. Alice immediately blames it on her, unlike what he had said earlier. Yurika apologises once more, and promises to fix it later. If she can’t, she will compensate. She will work hard for it.
Cinderella: That’s originally my money though. So it’ll return to me after one round. ……well it’s fine. Basically, you’ll pay back with your body.
Alice: What a misleading way of speaking. It resembles a pervert speaking to a girl who is selling her body to repay a debt. You’ll be sued for sexual harassment.
Cinderella: You too, Alice.
Alice: Me? Why do I have to sell my body to you! Uwah, I’m trembling, trembling……ouch!
Cinderella hits him on the head, clarifying that it’s labour work. Alice agrees, while clicking his tongue. When asked if he wants another hit, Alice quickly utters an apology.
Cinderella: Aah……speaking of which, the door.
Alice: Speaking of which!? As expected, the door doesn’t matt–gah!
Cinderella covers his mouth forcefully, and Yurika is worried as Alice’s face is turning pale. Cinderella remarks that they owe him a favour, so they will return it when he asks for it. This shall be his trump card. Yurika notices that he emphasises on the the word “favour” for some reason. She recalls that she used that against him too, when he saw her naked and when she was slapped. Cinderella admits that it’s his payback. In any case, they’ll leave the door be for now as in the first place the fitting was bad. Yurika blinks at his words, while Alice breaks free from his grasp and gasps for breath, asking if he deceived them.
Cinderella: I didn’t. I just didn’t say so beforehand.
Cinderella: It’s a fact that you destroyed my house though! If you two didn’t do something unnecessary, it wouldn’t have come off!
Both of them have nothing to say in return. Once more, he stresses that that they owe him a favour and will repay with their body. Yurika remarks that he really did it this time, and he answers that he does have to plot on his side when he’s with them. Alice tries to desperately fix the door to avoid this, instructing Yurika to join him. But it doesn’t go well, and Alice gives up. However, the moment he lets go, Yurika is unable to support the weight of the door. Thankfully, Cinderella helps her and leans the door against the wall. He reprimands Alice, who says that he will repay the favour while lying on the floor and eating.
Cinderella: As usual, your manner of speaking is infuriating……
Alice: Are you blind? There’s no way I’m suited for labourious work. First of all, I haven’t finished breakfast. As the saying goes, you can’t go to war on an empty stomach.
Yurika: Then come downstairs……
Unable to take him dirtying the floor she had just cleaned, Yurika brings Alice to her room. He glances through, and finds it girly. It may be okay now, but he can’t say the same for when she becomes a single in her late 20s, or even 30s. It reeks of an old maid who will never be popular. Yurika warns him that his comment was very rude to the ladies, but he shows no sign of remorse. She can only laugh dryly in response to his words, that will surely make enemies out of everyone. He spots the glass item she received from Cinderella, and remarks that it’s poorly done. It totally reflects how unskillful the maker was. Yurika finds it cute though.
Alice: Cute? How is this cute. Are you blind? Or is this that. What they call ugly-cute. I find it incomprehensible. In the first place, I hate doves. They’re said to be a symbol of peace, but how can those flocks of creatures which scatter their droppings everywhere be cute. Moreover the fact that it’s used to humans and has no regard for making fools out of people resembles you, makes me angry.
Yurika: That’s right! It is a dove!
Yurika: But why is it a dove?
Alice: Like I would know. Ask the person who made it.
His words shed light, as all along she had assumed that Cinderella bought everything. Could it be that Cinderella made this? At that moment, the man himself steps in the room.
Cinderella: ……aah, that’s right! I’m sorry for being so lousy!
Alice: Oh, did I say that it was lousy? I thought I’d said that it was pretty avant-garde……
Cinderella: You don’t need to cover up. Even I know that others would see it as mere garbage.
Alice: Aah, it truly is lousy. I barely was able to differentiate this as a dove, which basically reflects that you have no talent owowowowowow! ……hey! What you’re doing is different from what you said! Owowowow! Ouch!
Cinderella points out that it’s a problem with his phrasing, and that this is just a hobby. So having a talent or not doesn’t matter. Alice manages to escape, and replies that there’s talent too then it’s practical. Cinderella begs to differ, since you wouldn’t know if you can earn a living from doing what you like. It depends on one’s skills and profession. Yurika agrees.
Cinderella: Right? That’s why I will definitely not touch it. I won’t long for it. A hobby is just a hobby.
Yurika: ……is that how things are.
Cinderella: That’s how things are.
Alice asks why it is a dove, and Cinderella answers that the shape was simple. Alice nods at this, seeing that it’s a decision to be expected of simple-minded single-cell organism like him. This causes Cinderella to pinch his cheek in return. Yurika asks if he has other items he has made then, and Cinderella immediately releases Alice as he acknowledges this. She smiles widely at him, waiting for him to ask if she wants to see it. She excitedly asks if he would, earning herself a hit on the head. He claims that he didn’t say anything because he knew this would happen. He then realises that it’s late, and hurries back to prepare the cafe. Before Yurika leaves, she turns to Alice. Before she can say anything, he says that he’ll stay here for the time being since she broke his door. But she should not misunderstand it as him wanting to live with her. It is just a temporary measure. Alice pushes her out of the room, ignoring her pleas. He locks the door, telling her to hurry with the repairs if she wants her room back. He can’t guarantee that he won’t do anything to her important items if she takes too long. Cinderella pats her shoulder, telling her to work hard.
Episode of Cinderella (aka Cinderella’s POV)
After the day has ended, Cinderella returns to his room and heaves a long sigh. The cafe was busy, but it’s not as if it was especially busy. But the day itself probably has tired him out. He gazes at his desk, littered with glass items yet to be completed. Many glass items line his shelves. He recalls her appealing to him to show her. If she saw these, there’s no way she would cling to him. Not that he wants her to, but he wouldn’t want her to see anymore of his weaknesses.
While they were preparing the store, Yurika kept staring at the glass items. Shirayuki noticed this, and she remarked that she’s moved by how one can produce such fine art. So she’d like to know who made it, how it was made, and what feelings were poured into it. Shirayuki asked if she wants to see the process itself, and she agrees while glancing at Cinderella. She claimed that it was nothing though, when he asked her what she wanted. After they had closed the store, Yurika asked Gretel if he knew what was like glass. Confused, he asked if she meant glass itself, and she replied that perhaps that’s the case.
Gretel: In that case, there are many on the shelves there. Is your head alright?
Yurika: No……perhaps I have a fever due to overwhelming desires.
Gretel: ……are you really alright? Did brother make you work too hard so you’re tired? I think it’s better to rest a bit.
Yurika: Ah, no. I’m fine I’m fine. I’m sorry for worrying you.
Once more, she glances over to Cinderella and claims that it’s nothing. And after dinner, Yurika kept staring at him. He tells her to say what she wants, before remarking that it’s no good after all. In this day alone, she kept looking at him over and over again. Surely it’s intentional. Cinderella recalls what happened in the morning too, and how decorated an obvious place with his glass dove. He smiles at how she treasures such a worthless item. It was his first attempt at making one, thinking that its shape would be easy. But he overestimated his skills and failed terribly. Still, he couldn’t throw it out and kept it till now. In the end, he pushed it onto her since he didn’t need it. Yet she smiled unknowingly and treats it with care. From his perspective, it’s truly ridiculous. Cinderella looks at his unfinished pieces, and thinks that he has improved since then. Though it’s meaningless anyway since there’s no one to show them to. Thinking that way, perhaps even if it was a failure, it has some value if someone treats it with care like that.
When was the first time he saw glass works. It was probably when his father bought one as a souvenir from a foreign country. Cinderella had always liked shiny things since young, so he probably thought his son would like it. It was a pair of birds. Indeed, Cinderella was instantly enraptured by its beauty. It was created by a master of Venetian glass, and he could tell that it was extremely valuable. His father told him that it’s a pair of wagtails. The couple is always together, in other words husband and wife. This country’s name used to be Koioshiedori. It came from a mythology that the gods learned the way of being husband and wife by watching these birds. These birds are always together, so he told Cinderella to treasure both of them. The son nodded earnestly. His father patted his head, telling him to give one bird to his important person later on – that way they will never be separated.
(Note: Google “wagtail”, “Izanagi”, “Izanami” and you can find the story.)
Thinking back, that was the last fatherly action his father did for him. As told, Cinderella treated it with care. He placed it in the living room, and gazed at it everyday and did not let anyone touch it. But one day, he had dropped one bird. It was an accident. He merely wanted to touch it, but he lost his balance while standing on a chair and the impact caused one of it to fall. It shattered on the floor, and he was worried about his parents getting angry. Not wanting to make them angry, sad or disappointed, he scrambled to pick up the pieces and didn’t even notice that he was hurt. He hid the pieces in the cupboard. But naturally they soon found out, and he confessed the truth while tearing up.
In the end, he wasn’t scolded. The pieces were thrown away, and Cinderella gazed at the other wagtail left behind. It seemed to be crying sadly, all alone. Of course. It had lost its important partner. He had broken it. Now it will never meet its partner, it will be forever separated. It was his fault. The broken glass pieces sharply ripped through everything.
Back to Yurika’s POV
Yurika hypes herself up, and she readies herself to fix the door. Cinderella spots her standing on a chair, and she explains that a customer had taught her how to fix it. He points out that she could have just asked the customer to do it, but she replies that it will be the last resort. She should try it first, and if she succeeds it will be for free. Cinderella remains quiet while looking down, before finally telling her that he can see her underwear. Yurika hurriedly tucks her skirt in, and he appears to enjoy her flustered response. She weakly gives the excuse that it’s actually bloomers, worn over her underwear. And he remarks that he’d already seen it all on the first day anyway, laughing at how embarrassed she is since she’s usually the one with a straight face. She remarks that she does get embarrassed, and tells him to face the other way. He tells her to come down instead, but she carelessly forgets that she was standing on the chair.
She loses her footing, but fortunately Cinderella catches her in time. Yurika gazes down, and realises that she was holding a hammer in her hand. Thankfully it missed Cinderella. She checks if he’s really unhurt. He asks her to get off him soon, and she realises that it looks as if she had pushed him down. But as Yurika tries to stand up, a sharp pain runs through her ankle and she falls on him again. Cinderella observes that she’s twisted her ankle, and brings her to his room. She gets excited when she sees all the glass figurines, almost forgetting that she was hurt. He sits her down on his bed, while he sees to her injury.
Cinderella: ……the heroine who had lost her balance, was saved by the hero. And afterwards he treats her injury. An event as promised.
Yurika: Indeed. It’s like a prince and princess.
Yurika: How mean……I’m hurt.
Cinderella: Even more so than when I saw your underwear?
Yurika: T-that! ……yes, that’s right. Even more so than when you saw my underwear!
Cinderella: Haha! Taking the defiant attitude!
He pats her head, concluding that it isn’t as serious and it should heal soon with a compress. Cinderella gently pastes a compress over her ankle, but he doesn’t let go of her foot. He observes how small her feet is, and thinks that all types of shoes would suit her. It’s the first time she’s been told that, and he adds that it’s the first time he’s told someone that too. Yurika softly thanks him, and an awkward silence passes through them. She directs their attention to the glass items, admiring them. She asks if he made them all, and he confirms this. She asks how he made them, and if she is able to make them too. Cinderella explains that a glass rod is melted over a burner, while you use a pair of tweezers to shape it. Yurika expresses interest in trying her hand at it. She also asks what he’s making now, but he answers that it’s a secret. However, he promises to show it to her once he’s done – not that he’s sure if he can finish it.
Yurika giggles, having noticed that he brought her here since she’d wanted to see her works. Moreover, he’s very serious and a gentleman. She glances at the door which was left slightly ajar. But she doesn’t dare say that it’s for her sake, and instead remarks that his brothers would tease him if they found out. After all, he thinks a lot for his brothers.
Yurika: And……you’re always working hard……and treat me gently like this… ……………I’m sorry to have caused you trouble……
She looks down, feeling a sense a guilt over the fact that she’s lying to him, each time he treats her kindly. Cinderella wonders why she’s so meek all of a sudden, asking if her injury hurts. She says that she’s been rather persistent, and tends to go overboard on her words. He remarks that she knows herself well. Yurika slowly looks up at him, asking if she’s a bother. Her heart leaps at his serious gaze.
Yurika: If……I’m a bother, it would help me if you resign yourself and accept it.
Cinderella: What’s with that……
Yurika: Because I am who I am.
Cinderella: Fu……well I actually don’t dislike that part of you. ……I don’t find it a bother at all. Ever since you came here, it’s gotten more lively and I find it fun.
She remarks that he’s not like himself today. Cinderella admits this, probably because he hit his head while catching her. But if she says that, then what sort of reaction is like his usual self? Also, she probably assumed his personality on her own account. Yurika is at a loss for words, since it’s true that she wouldn’t know what his true personality is like.
Yurika: It has just……it has just been 2 weeks. Since we met. Surely, there are still many sides of you which I don’t know.
Cinderella: I suppose so. You don’t understand me at all. But will one understand someone else over time?
Yurika: Usually one would think so, that you would understand the person more if you’ve been together longer.
Cinderella: I don’t think that way. In the end, it’s all the same. No matter how long you’ve been together, you won’t understand what you don’t understand. You won’t know what the person is thinking, as long as you can’t peer into the person’s heart. Even if you have proof in words, there’s no real guarantee. It’s easy to cover things up. That’s why, you actually don’t know the other person if you say you do. You are just pretending to know. The same goes for me too.
Yurika: ……that you don’t know me?
Yurika: ……do you want to know more about me? Or are you more attracted to someone you don’t know anything about……? Does it fire you up more if you know nothing and can only imagine about the other person?
Cinderella: ……I wonder.
Yurika: ……Cinderella-san. I have to return before the clock strikes twelve. That’s precisely why I’ve been a bit forceful, because I have no time left.
Cinderella: ……that’s right. The fun times will pass by in a flash. The magic will be undone someday.
He quietly stands up, and takes out a book from the drawer. It’s the photos of his arranged marriage partner. He’ll be getting married to someone he doesn’t know. Yurika tries to hold back her surprise, asking what the person is like. Unexpectedly, Cinderella says that he hasn’t looked at it as he has no interest. In any case, one can’t know how the person is like based off photos alone. Yurika remarks that one can’t be so sure, prompting him to ask if she wants him to get married.
>> That’s for Cinderella-san to decide: Upon her answer, Cinderella lights up the burner and starts burning the book. Forgetting about her injury, Yurika tries to stop him. But he says that he doesn’t need it – not that he really understands why. His face in the glow of the flame, looked just as melancholic as the first time she knew of him (from the photos).
Later, Yurika tells Alice that his door has been fixed. He complains that she’s slow, but stops mid-sentence when she quietly apologises. She heads back into her room, wishing him goodnight. She sinks to the floor, wondering if the cat has been let out of the bag. Cinderella said that he didn’t see the photos, but who really knows? What was he thinking then? She wonders what she should do. But to be honest, she already knows the answer. Magic had been cast on her. The princess of the mirror world had longed for a prince, and had magic cast on her so as to see him – with a fake identity. She knew from the start. The enjoyable dance was bound to end, and the magic would be undone when the clock strikes twelve.
The next morning, she did her morning preparations as per usual. To her surprise, Kaguya was waiting for her outside. He’s here to bring her back, as per ordered. Yurika clings to him desperately, since she thought there was more time left. But he explains that they received a call from Cinderella’s side last night, and he had rejected the marriage arrangement. So there’s no longer a need for her to remain here. Yurika bites on her lower lip, holding back the tears. She doesn’t like the idea of leaving everything midway, plus she hasn’t confessed the truth. Kaguya asks if she expects everything to end happily if she does so, and she shakes her head. He agrees, for surely they won’t easily forgive her. Not wanting to worry him further, she takes a deep breath and forces a smile. She chose this path, so it’s her responsibility. Kaguya points out that she can’t remain here further, letting her realise that it would only worsen the relationship between the two families.
Yurika: I won’t be able to see Cinderella-san anymore……?
Kaguya: ……nn. That would be the best for everyone.
Yurika agrees to return home, and he apologises for being powerless. He pats her head gently, telling her to get her things while he waits outside. Yurika finishes packing, and wonders what to do with the glass dove. Did she make a mistake from the start? Would everything have gone well if she had told the truth from the start instead of lying? She is startled by the presence of a cat, and Wizard observes that it’s rare to see her feeling down. He casually remarks that he may have used some magic, and is here to give her some advice. She had made a wrong choice, and will have to redo if she wants a happy ending. It’s fine to start from midway too. She needs to aim for a happy end. Bewildered, Yurika asks what he means. Wizard elaborates that all fairy tales end with a happily ever after, and she is the heroine of a story. And a princess’ fate is to be united with her prince. But it’s up to her to grab it. So she needs to keep making choices, and not just go with the flow. She will surely understand his words one day, when the time comes. In any case, he looks forward to seeing her again – whether it be minutes later, hours later, or even further. (BAD END)
>> I want you to: When Cinderella asks why, she replies that she can’t answer. Upon her answer, Cinderella lights up the burner and starts burning the book. Forgetting about her injury, Yurika tries to stop him. But he says that he doesn’t need it – not that he really understands why. His face in the glow of the flame, looked just as melancholic as the first time she knew of him (from the photos).
Later, Yurika tells Alice that his door has been fixed. He complains that she’s slow, but stops mid-sentence when she quietly apologises. She heads back into her room, wishing him goodnight. She sinks to the floor, wondering if the cat has been let out of the bag. Cinderella said that he didn’t see the photos, but who really knows? What was he thinking then? She wonders what she should do. But to be honest, she already knows the answer. Magic had been cast on her. The princess of the mirror world had longed for a prince, and had magic cast on her so as to see him – with a fake identity. She knew from the start. The enjoyable dance was bound to end, and the magic would be undone when the clock strikes twelve.
Episode of Cinderella (aka Cinderella’s POV)
Cinderella goes to see his father is a desolated-looking room. His father guesses that he’s here to talk about the arranged marriage, and adds that the partner is the daughter is a long-time acquaintance. It’s been a while since he’s met them, but the family background is well-off and such a good offer come by rarely. Cinderella quietly expresses that he wishes to reject it, and his father reassures him that he may feel otherwise when he meets them in person. The other side has taken a liking to him, and even praised him. Cinderella says that he’s fine with a meeting, but marriage is another issue. He’s still young, and has things he wants to do. So he doesn’t want to force a marriage now. His father raises his voice, calling him naive and that marrying the girl is his only option. Cinderella weakly answers, and his father tells him not to worry. If they marry, everything will go well.
Back to Yurika’s POV
Ever since that night, the relationship between her and Cinderella has changed slightly. Firstly, every night after the cafe has closed, he teaches her how to make glass art. Tonight, he’s teaching her how to blow glass. His guidance is very thorough, and their bodies are in close contact. To be honest, she can’t help but be mindful of it even if she pretends otherwise. Cinderella’s expression, tone and every gesture is always more serious than usual – which really reflects just how much he likes glass art. Tonight’s lesson is pretty successful, and Yurika thinks that she may have talent. He remarks that it’s not interesting and not worth it when she’s so skillful – and also not cute. She pretends to be hurt at his words despite how perfect she is, and he hits her head in response. She replies that it’s also thanks to his guidance.
Cinderella tells her to return to her room, and that he’ll clean up the rest. He averts his gaze away, and she notices that it’s almost midnight. He says that they spent more time than usual. Yurika thanks him for always teaching her despite being tired, as she helps him to clean up. He says that he’s fine, and is worried about her instead. Yurika reassures him that she enjoys it, so she doesn’t really feel tired. Their eyes meet, and he asks her to go shopping tomorrow. They’ll close the store for the day. Thinking carefully, they’ve been working without any rest since they didn’t decide on a fixed rest day. She feels that it’s alright not to decide on one though, since no one is complaining. He’s taken aback at how she’s the one suggesting that. In any case, she should rest too. It’s not like he’s particular about profit and they don’t spend a lot on wages (since it’s his family helping out).
But Yurika doesn’t particularly feel tired, and in exasperation Cinderella tells her that he wants to go out with her. So tomorrow is a rest day, that’s the owner’s orders. She meekly agrees, and he passes her a hat. He wears it on her, and nods in satisfaction at how good it looks on her. He asks if she isn’t happy, and she answers that she is – but he had just given her a brooch the other day. He tells her to throw it away if she doesn’t like it, and she denies this. So Cinderella says that she should accept it happily, it’s cuter that way. Yurika tips her hat at him, thanking him in return. The second thing that has changed – Cinderella often gives her presents now.
When Yurika confides in the two younger brothers about this, Shirayuki directly points out that Cinderella is giving her financial aid. At this rate, he’ll go bankrupt. While the man is stupid for doing so, the woman isn’t innocent either. She crosses her arms, mulling over this. Gretel advices that she should just say straight out that it’s bothersome. She is worried about hurting his pride though, plus she is happy to receive gifts. Gretel tells her to happily accept them then, after all shopping is Cinderella’s hobby.
Shirayuki: Though he spends money lavishly.
Gretel: That’s true. Even though he can’t drive, he buys luxurious imported cars.
Shirayuki: Collects precious stones even though he doesn’t really like them.
Gretel: Even though he prefers cheap glass works over precious stones.
Yurika: You knew?
Gretel: Of course. We’re brothers after all.
Yurika observes that they admire their older brother after all. While the items are all small ones now, Shirayuki thinks that the scale of items will slowly escalate. Gretel lists examples like branded bags, precious stones, cars, and even a house. Yurika finds that that will be troubling. It’s not as if she did anything for Cinderella. Both brothers are surprised to hear that, thinking that something had happened between them. She vaguely replies that it’s not as if nothing had happened. The other two shrug their shoulders.
Gretel: ……well, we can sort of tell that something happened between you and brother, and suddenly brother started giving you gifts. We’re working for free and he’s giving you gifts with the profit from it, so rather than from Cinderella it would be more correct to say that it is from us brothers.
Yurika: ……should I repay?
Gretel: No thank you.
Yurika: Even though I’m told that I’m good.
She wears the hat from Cinderella, asking if she looks weird. Gretel thinks that it looks good, and Shirayuki tells her to smile before saying that it’s fine. Yurika admits that she’s nervous, after all it’s been 3 weeks since she went out with Cinderella. She’s excited, but nervous and uneasy. She asks if they have any plans, like going out with a cute girl. Gretel asks her to call Alice over here, and she quickly apologises while kneeling. After all, she can already imagine what he would say.
Alice: Thank you very much for that condescending remark as someone who has a fulfilling life. As expected, it seems that half of you is made up of sarcasm. As thanks, I shall read you break-up stories so that your merry mood will sink even a little. Listen with gratitude while prostrating.
Yurika looks up, finding Gretel’s smile terrifying. She politely says that she’ll return in the evening. Since she didn’t ask about their plans beforehand, she could only prepare something simple for their lunch. Also, she did leave a letter for Alice saying that she’s going out. Gretel tells her not to worry and will keep it in mind. Before she leaves, Shirayuki points out that her ribbon is astray. He undoes it for her, but his eyebrows furrow as he’s unable to retie it. Speaking of which, he’s rather unskillful with his hands. She says that she’ll do it herself, but he doesn’t seem to be listening and is fiddling with it. Yurika recalls that if Shirayuki hadn’t called out to her, she may not be here now. She was worried if she’ll get along with the brothers, but it seems like things are going smoothly now. All of a sudden, Cinderella bursts in and grabs Yurika, asking what they’re doing. Shirayuki frowns at this, saying that she doesn’t belong to him. He replies that she made a promise with him though.
Yurika: Cinderella-san. I gathered the two of them here as I had something to say……
Cinderella: You too! A lady your age shouldn’t invite men into your room!
Gretel: Even though you boldly entered.
Cinderella: I’m fine!
He checks if she’s finished talking to them, before helping her retie the ribbon. The two of them leave the house, and they first visit a clothes shop. She’s unable to refuse, when he picks out a bunch of clothes and tells her to try them out. After 30 minutes of changing clothes, Cinderella remarks that all of them looked okay, and tells the attendant to ring them all up. This startles Yurika, and she quickly changes back into her clothes, as Cinderella remarks that they need to get accessories next. He sees that she’s changed back her clothes, saying that she could’ve just kept the new one on. He asks if she did not like it, he thought that this brand was well-liked by ladies. Yurika is aware of that. Unable to say that she doesn’t need it, she says that she wants something else more than this brand. Cinderella asks what it is, but she replies that it’s a surprise for later. They should stop buying now since there will be too much luggage. He remarks that they do delivery, and the attendant confirms this.
Yurika: ……Cinderella-san. Time is limited. I don’t want to waste any minute or second.
Cinderella: That’s true.
Cinderella: Sorry. Cancel everything.
Yurika: I’m sorry! We won’t buy this time!
They safely exit to the streets, and he asks her what she wants. Yurika replies that it’s a secret, asking where they’re going next. He says that any place she wants to go is fine, and she answers that anywhere is fun with him.
Cinderella: Even the North Pole?
Yurika: That’s fine. We can see glaciers and emperor penguins.
Cinderella: I wouldn’t want it to be any colder than this.
Yurika: Then let’s take a walk here. It feels good under the sun.
It feels like a date, and he replies that it is one. She feels shy to hear him say it, recalling that he denied it the previous time. Cinderella answers that he feels differently now, so she asks if this is their first date then – since he didn’t count the first time as one. So this is her first one. He asks if she never went on one before, to which she replies that she went out before – but those weren’t dates. Cinderella thinks that the other party saw it as a date too, calling her cruel. He asks if she has no relationship with the flippant guy from before, and it takes her a while to register that he’s referring to Kaguya. It appears as though he’s still misunderstanding, and Yurika explains that they are just friends.
Cinderella: Then what about me?
Yurika: Of course I like you.
Cinderella: I know that. I don’t mean that…………
Cinderella: Haah……never mind.
He takes her hand instead, saying that she can shake his hand away if she hates it. Yurika whispers that she doesn’t, and they walk toward the lake. She reveals that she had prepared lunch, making him comment that she didn’t rest then. They could’ve just eaten at a restaurant. She points out that this is a date, so it’s a given that they have a girl’s handmade lunch. Cinderella admits that her food is more delicious than the restaurants.
Yurika: Did my bait work?
Cinderella: Don’t speak as if I’m a dog.
Yurika: It’s a joke. Then let’s start from the classic “Here, a—-h”.
She picks up a piece of fried chicken, and hands it to him. He refuses firmly, while she tries to reassure him that no one is around so there’s nothing embarrassing. Yurika remarks that she’s hurt, and he calls her a liar. She remains unfazed, saying that she has a fragile heart. She then suggests him feeding her instead, and he points out that the issue is still the same. Yurika shuts her eyes and opens her mouth, waiting for him to feed her. But nothing happens, and she opens her eyes again. She’s startled to see his face up-close, and even more so when he suddenly pushes her down. He appears to be a bit angry.
Cinderella: ……you should really do something about that attitude of yours, provoking people like that. I may still have reason, but not all men are like me. What can you do if a man pushes you down like this?
Yurika: I……didn’t mean to provoke you.
Cinderella: If it’s spontaneous then your disposition is poor.
Yurika: I have the natural makings of a bad woman?
Cinderella: Certainly. An enchantress.
She can’t help but giggle at this, though she stops when he remarks that it isn’t something to laugh about. Unlike the warm sun, the air around her feels chilly. Yurika tells him that she doesn’t act this lightly around everyone. Cinderella tries to ask her about something, but stops mid-sentence. He gets up, and helps her up. As she thanks him, he reminds that it’s only because he’s a gentleman. He tells her to hurry up with it, as he opens his mouth for her to feed him. Yurika quickly feeds him the fried chicken, asking how it is. When he answers that it’s okay, she gets ready to feed him the next one. She plans to continue till he comments that it’s delicious. This is her usual self. As she winks at him, he chuckles and opens his mouth again. This is the usual Cinderella, and their usual selves.
With a full stomach, they continue to enjoy their date. Soon the sun sets, and the date is drawing to an end. They live together so they don’t have to part, but it still feels lonely. Yurika pulls him towards the display window, and sees that it has changed. Now there are many sweets and glass items to represent a party image, probably because the party season is nearing. Cinderella says that these things regularly change, and it’s proof that a certain amount of time has passed since she came, even if it was short. She agrees, adding that new items are nice too. Once more, she observes that his expression softens when he’s looking at glass objects. Cinderella feels embarrassed by her intent gaze.
Yurika: ……Cinderella-san shines the brightest when with glass art.
Cinderella: Because I like it. Besides, this is window art, not glass art.
Yurika: But part of it uses glass art. That too right?
She points towards a piece of glass with a snowflake drawn on it. Cinderella explains that it uses a technique called sandblasting. It require a lot of skill and special equipment, so it’s impossible for her. She pouts at this, making him comment that he’s grown used to handling her. He pats her head, asking what was it that she wanted in the end. Yurika feigns ignorance, and he tells her not to pretend. She kept giving an excuse each time he tried to buy her something. She laughs sheepishly, since he’s figured it out.
Cinderella: ……is it a bother? If it is then say so directly. It would be getting my priorities wrong if I bother you when I wanted to please you.
Yurika: Was it because you wanted to see my happy face that you gave me presents out of the blue?
Cinderella: ……aah, that’s right!
She giggles at his words. He asks what he needs to do to make her happy, and she replies that she already is. Today was fun, and his words just now too.
Cinderella: That’s a lie. ……you may be trying to hide it, but I’ve seen through it all. You have a secret. And I know that the secret is why you cannot be happy from the bottom of your heart.
Cinderella: And that……when I know this secret, this charade will end too.
She can tell that her smile has faded from her face, and his painful whisper at the end hurts her too. As expected, he had noticed the truth. And he also didn’t want this to end, that’s why he never talked about it. Yurika clutches her hand into a fist, asking him the same thing.
Yurika: ……what are you thinking of now? Me? You? Or the past? The future? Are you tormented with uneasiness? Are you filled with a helpless feeling of loneliness? Do you wish for someone to be by your side? You know, Cinderella-san. You say that you want to please me, but I can say the same to you. I want to please you too. No, rather……I want to save you.
Cinderella: Save me? ……what a grand story.
Yurika: Yes, that’s right. Just like a hero in stories.
Cinderella: What do you want to save in me?
Yurika: I don’t know. But I know this. That you have something you desire so deeply.
She knew from the moment she saw him. That this person appears bored at something fun. And over time she realised that it wasn’t because he disliked fun things, or found it boring. He was probably lacking something. That is why he cannot truly enjoy.
Yurika: It can’t be bought with money. Everyone possesses it, but not everyone has it.
Cinderella: A mystery within a mystery.
Yurika: Yes. Surely you will be happy once the mystery is solved.
Yurika: Yes. A happy end. You will live happily ever after. I believe it. That at the end of a story lies happiness.
Cinderella’s eyes glisten with a lack of hope, and she stretches her hand out to him. It’s about time they return, the rest will worry. He agrees and takes her hand. Yurika tells herself that she will never let go of his hand.
On the way back, she lightens the mood by asking what he wants to eat for dinner. She’s thinking of buying the ingredients now. He listlessly replies that anything will go, making her teasingly ask if it’s alright if she cooks something with lots of his hated green peas. He jumps at this, asking how she knows. She proudly explains that she’s the cook, so she will notice even if he tries to hide it. When asked what he likes, she confidently replies that it’s meat. Cinderella honestly answers that roast beef will do. He sees that she really does observe him, and she remarks that she is highly observant and smart after all. He hits her on the head in response.
Just then, a group of suspicious-looking men dressed in black appears. Cinderella freezes, as the leader recalls that it’s been half a year since their last meeting. He observes that it’s rare to see Cinderella not buying anything. When Yurika asks if Cinderella knows them, he pulls her away. One of the men grabs his arm. When Cinderella tells him to move away, they encircle him and Yurika instead. The leader apologise for frightening Yurika, and reveals their identity with a matchbox. He remarks that with her looks, she’ll be able to get numerous customers. He invites her to his store if she’s ever troubled with money. Cinderella grabs the matchbox before Yurika can look at it, telling him not to speak to his staff. He insults them when the leader tries to speak again, provoking his subordinates.
Uneasy, Yurika pulls at Cinderella’s sleeve. In return, he grips her hand. He says that he’ll listen to what they have to say at their end, so the leader tells his men to retreat. He’s sure that Cinderella already knows what the issue is about anyway. He looks forward to when they meet again, and wouldn’t mind seeing Yurika again too. After they completely disappear, Yurika calls out to Cinderella. The latter apologises for spoiling the mood, and they quietly return home.
Ever since they returned, Cinderella shut himself in his room. No matter how many times she calls out to him or knocks on his door, there’s no answer. But the reason is most likely what happened earlier on. She can only question who those men were, and their relationship with Cinderella. She returns to the kitchen where the younger brothers are waiting. Yurika says that their brother is probably tired and sleeping, which prompts Gretel to ask if their date was fun. She happily nods at this, and he stops her from going any further. She doesn’t want to worry them, but it doesn’t seem to deceive the more observant Shirayuki. Instead of reading his book, he’s looking at her. When asked what’s wrong, he merely comments that they’ve really had a lot of ups and downs recently.
The next morning, Cinderella yawns loudly while coming out from his room. He’s quiet at her usual chirpiness, and apologises for last night. She reassures him, saying that she saved the food from last night for breakfast. But first, she wants to do the laundry, and has him hand over his bed sheets, pillow cover and yesterday’s clothes. Cinderella readily does so, asking if he can help out with anything. Yurika asks him to help prepare breakfast, and he nods in return, telling her not to expect much from him. Once he has gone downstairs, she quickly checks the pockets of his clothes and finds the matchbox. Putting aside the matters of invasion of privacy, she knows that he won’t answer her honestly. Even if she is hated for this, she knows that there won’t be a happy ending if she doesn’t find out the truth by herself. Yurika finds the following words written on the matchbox: “Match Finance”.
(Note: The name is most likely a play on the Japanese title of The Little Match Girl.)
Later, Yurika secretly visits the written address. There is no answer when she rings the doorbell, or when she knocks. All of a sudden, there’s a loud noise from within and someone shouts at another to retrieve something at once. The other person whimpers, before dashing outside and knocking Yurika over in the process. The leader growls at her, but immediately welcomes her when he recognises her. He asks where Cinderella is, and she explains that she came here alone to ask him things. The leader openly welcomes her if it’s to borrow money, or to earn money. She replies that it’s about Cinderella, and he tells her to ask the person directly. He doesn’t have time for her. In a dangerous tone, he questions if she thinks that she can return just like that, while cornering her against a wall.
She replies that she isn’t stupid and didn’t come here without any preparations. She informed the police to come if she doesn’t see them in 30 minutes, as she came here to break up with a violence-prone boyfriend. He smirks at her challenge, saying that he’ll go along with her on the account of her boldness. The leader invites her in, but she flatly refuses. She questions if he thinks she’s lying, and says that she doesn’t want to waste time. 10 minutes have already passed since she informed the police, so surely he wouldn’t really want the police to come. He threatens to kill her instead, but she chuckles at this, asking if he can really do it. After an exchange of glares, he relents and tells her to lead the way.
Soon, Yurika learns that Cinderella borrowed money from them, a consumer finance company. They’re sitting at a cafe with an open terrace, as he shares that Cinderella had borrowed about 120 million yen. He deliberately comments that she isn’t surprised, and she says that she’s surprised at how calm she is. But she had more or less guessed the situation already. Apparently their interest rate is 10% every 10 days. She remarks that they’re like loan sharks, and he strongly denies this. They’re much kinder compared to places which charge 50% interest rate every 10 days. She points out that it’s still exorbitant, questioning if they have no idea about the bank’s usual rates. He says that they’re not a bank, and they’re not illegal because there are still people who use them – even if all of them are trash. People who are gamblers, who gave up everything for someone else, who failed at their dreams, who stained their hands with crime. Normal places won’t lend them money. So they need a business like theirs, and vice versa – it’s a win-win situation. And Cinderella is one of those trash.
It’s true that his family was rich. A well-known tale that his father built up the ash-covered silk business from scratch, and everything was smooth-sailing with his beautiful wife and children. But happiness didn’t last for long. With the repercussions of a financial crisis, the stocks crashed and they incurred a lot of debt in one go. They did everything to bounce back, from stocks to futures trading to store management – but nothing went well. Their debt has accumulated, and now they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Which explains why Cinderella loaned money from them. To be accurate, the person is his father. But Cinderella is his joint guarantor. If anything happens to his father, it means that the debt will be passed onto Cinderella. But the son is also at fault for continuing to live lavishly despite the debt. Yurika asks if they regularly collect it back, since it doesn’t seem that way. The leader explains that they don’t enforce that rule within the 12 months. She also learns that the deadline is 12 days later. If they don’t repay, naturally they will do anything to collect back the money. Be it selling one or two organs, or working them to their death. Yurika thanks him for answering.
He observes that she’s truly calm, shouldn’t she feel betrayed? He had investigated about her, and knows that she’s Cinderella’s marriage partner. Her family is pretty well-off, with both parents being hunters. Her father knew his father long ago when they were overseas, and met again 10 years later. They got so involved in their talk, they soon agreed on their children’s marriage. It would truly be fate, if she and Cinderella had met as kids before. He bluntly states that they’ve been deceived by Cinderella’s father. If they get married, her father would have to help out. If not, they would make her or her father their guarantor. That way, they would escape their debt. He claims that this was the father and son’s proposal. Yurika thanks him for the extra information she didn’t ask for, and he’s unamused by her lacking reaction. He asks if she likes Cinderella, to which she confirms so. But she doesn’t feel betrayed. She thanks him for his time, and insists on paying the bill since she brought him here – plus she wouldn’t want to owe him money. Yurika returns to the cafe, and her legs give way in the back alley.
The truth was shocking, but for some reason she’s calm. Perhaps it’s due to her nervousness, or due to the fact that she could sense Cinderella’s sorrow from time to time. Up till now, she kept lying as she was afraid of being hated by him, and to lose the time now. She kept escaping from reality and living this dream, as she didn’t want it to end and for the magic to be undone. But it looks like the end is here. The clock has struck twelve and it’s time for her to return to her real identity as the magic comes undone.
Yurika enters the cafe, and Cinderella welcomes her back. She had lied that she wanted the afternoon off, and he gave her the break without any questions. In fact, he had even cooked omu rice for dinner. She’s delighted at this, though Cinderella recounts how Gretel complained that it was childish and that anyone could’ve cooked it. Yurika begs to differ, and comments that he must be skillful as its shape looks good. She finds it delicious too, giving him the thumbs-up. He offers to cook for her again, but only when he feels like it since he still wants to eat her food. Yurika stops eating after a few mouthfuls, commenting that she’s truly happy. What could be better than having the person she likes cook for her, and saying nice things? She wants this happiness to last. Taking a deep breath, she asks if he has time after this.
Later, the two of them are walking in the streets at night. She deliberately remarks that it’s cold, and he offers to take her hand, putting it in his pocket. When asked if she does this with anyone else, Yurika reminds him again that she only acts this way with him. Cinderella wonders how she developed her charms, asking if she’s popular. He pouts when she admits that she is, and reluctantly admits that he is jealous. He thinks that she doesn’t seem to act jealous around him, like the time when he was confessed to. It’s as if she doesn’t have these negative feelings. Yurika denies this, saying that she’s sad when he gets along with other women. But she doesn’t mind as long as he is happy. Not even if she is his last priority, or he hates her. To be honest, she wouldn’t want to be hated, but she will be relentless in making sure that the person she likes is happy. Even if she is hated, or the fun times have to end.
Cinderella: Even if you get hurt?
Yurika: That’s my desire.
Cinderella: ……that’s quite some self-sacrifice.
Yurika: I wonder about that. I feel that it’s self-satisfaction in the end. After all, I’m not a cute girl.
Cinderella: ……that’s right. You think too much to be a cute girl.
While struggling to keep a straight face, Yurika keeps a distance between them and looks at him.
>> Confess your love: Before she can finish her sentence, Cinderella interrupts her. He’s going to sell the store. After all, he did tell her that it was just to kill time. He’s grown bored of it already. This is where they part. Yurika clings to him, saying that she can’t accept such a sudden separation. He gently untangles himself from her, telling her not to trouble him. After all, she is a sharp woman, and knew that this would have to end someday. He played along with her, but not anymore. He can’t be with a person who lies without batting an eyelid anymore.
Yurika realises that he knew – her true identity, what she was about to confess, and that she knew his secret. She bites on her lower lip, asking if those were his true feelings. He acknowledges this, and she can only reply that it can’t be helped then. She finds him cruel, for not letting her confess. She says that she’s going back to her real home, and he smiles at this. Clinging onto her last hope, she asks how will the store operate tomorrow without her. He reassures her that he will be selling it, so it will be closed – forever. Yurika sees that she has lost this bet. She tells him to apologise to his brothers on her behalf, and to thank them too. She didn’t have much belongings anyway, so she tells him to throw them away. Cinderella offers to see her back, but she refuses him. She separates from him, but soon turns around to call out to him. But he is no longer in sight.
At that moment, Wizard appears to comfort her. He recognises her as someone who always smiles and tries her best no matter how tough it is. So it must truly hurt for her to cry upon being rejected by the person she loves. But he advices her not to give up, for no stories will come to an end if she does so. He will give her as many chances as she needs, as long as she doesn’t give up. He tells her to close her eyes while he casts his magic, and she can restart from the beginning or midway. He believes that she will surely reach a happy end. (BAD END)
>> Confess the truth: Cinderella senses that it doesn’t seem like a love confession, and Yurika knows that she will be rejected if she does so anyway. She observes that the stores are all closed. But even if they don’t go in and don’t buy anything, they can enjoy window shopping.
Yurika: You know, Cinderella-san. You have a hole in your heart. You are always filled with uneasiness, and have no self-confidence. So you desire something, something to fill your heart. That’s why you bury the emptiness in your heart by shopping. When you shop, you feel elated and can forget the uneasiness and loneliness. The reason why you’ve been giving me presents recently, is also because you want to escape your sense of guilt even a little bit right? You know that your bad points is your impulse in buying things. That’s why, you tell yourself that this isn’t for you, when you give it as a present to someone else. You want to think that it’s for the other person’s sake. You wanted to put the blame on me.
It hurts her to see him look so sad, but she has to confess the truth. Yurika apologises, as she takes out the matchbox. He doesn’t look too surprised. Despite knowing that he will be hurt, she went to investigate. Cinderella raises his voice, alarmed that she had gone to see that person. She reassures him that she didn’t meet with any danger, but he can’t hide his worry.
Cinderella: Why are you acting so calm as if this is someone else we’re talking about!! What would you have done if something had happened!!
Yurika: I am calm because it is not someone else, but myself.
Cinderella: …………That strangely calm side of yours, will trip you up one day……
Yurika apologises once more, and takes his hands in hers. Previously, he had said that they knew nothing about each other. Or rather, they had pretended not to know anything.
Yurika: But, let’s put an end to this?
Cinderella: ……even if this story comes to an end?
Yurika: Yes. That’s right.
Yurika: Cinderella-san. My real name is……
Cinderella: ……Yurika. That’s your name right. I realised it from the start. That you’re my arranged marriage partner. That night, when you appeared and gave a fake name. It was convenient for me too, that you didn’t want to reveal your true identity. Because just like you, I didn’t know anything about you.
Yurika: That’s why, you generously let a stranger like me stay here, and started the business for my sake even when you had no motivation.
Cinderella: Aah, that’s right. You wanted to observe me, and I also wanted to observe you.
Yurika: I see that we’re both the same.
Cinderella: ……that’s not it. We’re totally different. I tried to make use of you! You know that right? It’s not that I truly loved you……I was eyeing your family’s money!!
Yurika: I see.
Cinderella: I see……?
He is speechless at how unaffected she is. But she smiles, trying to ease the tension even a little bit. She did say that she doesn’t mind being hated if the person she likes can be happy. But she would at least like to know his reasons for doing so. After a short silence, Cinderella quietly recalls that it was before Shirayuki and Gretel were born. His father’s business failed and they had a huge debt. And in order to repay it, they loaned even more money – it reached to a point of no return. Both his brothers are not aware of this. This had all happened already when they were born. That’s why he looked after them, and they stayed at his place. That’s all they have. But to be honest they’ve reached the limit. His mother seems to have decided on a divorce, and the deadline is nearing.
When it looked like the end was near, talks of marriage with her came up. If they get married, her father may help them. If not, they could make them their joint guarantor and loan money again. That way, they could still continue their lives. If things go wrong, they could even escape. After all, he only married her for her money. He has no attachment to her. He finds it ironic how he belittled those who approached him for his money – he’s doing the exact same thing.
Yurika: ……So Cinderella-san wouldn’t have bothered with me if my family wasn’t rich?
Cinderella: Aah, that’s right……
Yurika: Then what about now? What do you want from me now? My family’s money? Or my forgiveness? Do you want me to get mad at you? Do you want me to cry? Do you want to be hated because you betrayed me? What do you want me to do?
Cinderella: Why are you asking me that…….even I, don’t know anything anymore!
Yurika: Please think carefully. You should know yourself best.
Cinderella: I would…………?
He widens his eyes at her words, but she remains quiet while waiting for his answer.
Cinderella: …………I…………! I……really hate you……!! You always appear relaxed, put on airs, and seem to always see through my thoughts……even now! At any rate, deep down inside you’re making fun of mearen’t you!? You think that I’m hopeless trash, even I think so too!! I should’ve pushed you away……I should’ve chased you you from that house!! If I’d thought for your sake, and if I didn’t want you to hate me……but I couldn’t say it……!! At first it was just curiousity……I thought of teasing you, who had unexpectedly showed up when I was at a loss over the arranged marriage. I didn’t mean to fall for you at all. I really planned to chased you out immediately. But as I lived with you and got to know you……I started to find it fun from the bottom of my heart. Why did I find it fun with you, want you to be by my side…………I wanted to be liked……I wished for you to love me. I actually want you to stay with me…………
Yurika: Are those your true feelings?
Cinderella: ……aah, that’s right! You thought that I would hate you if you said the truth! But it’s the opposite. If you knew the truth, you would hate me! That’s why, I couldn’t say it! The more you wanted to keep things a secret, the more assured I was! Aah, that these fun days could still continue on!! That I could still be by your side!! But it’s all over……I knew. That this couldn’t continue forever. I have nothing left……Yet why is it that despite knowing the truth, you act as if you still have an interest in me!? Why are you smiling like you always do!? Are you teasing me!? Making fun of me!? Why…………why won’t you disappear from my sight……
Yurika: I won’t disappear. I won’t disappear. Because I love you.
She leaps towards him, bringing her lips to his.
Yurika: ……Prince. It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re rich or poor. I have fallen in love with you. It doesn’t matter who you are, or whether you’re eyeing my family’s money. Is that alone not enough of a reason? Is that enough proof that I love you?
Yurika: ……please don’t cry, Cinderella-san. I love you so much. I’ll stay with you. By your side. For as long as you wish. No, I will follow you even if you refuse me. Didn’t you say that I was persistent before? That’s why I definitely won’t let you escape no matter where you are. Cinderella-san. I love you.
Cinderella: Yurika……Yurika, Yurika, Yurika……!!
He embraces her tightly. In return, she wraps her arms around him – as if filling up the loneliness in him, as if answering his pleas.
Long, long ago, in a far away place, there was a boy with skillful hands and a very fragile heart. His family was the richest in town, and the boy lived freely. It was an elegant and luxuriant life like no other. The boy was extremely happy. But the happiness didn’t last long. One day, his beloved father came down with a huge debt. Now that his father had no money, people changed and distanced themselves. No one lent a helping hand to his father. Sadly, no one truly respected his father, and were only drawn to his money. With that, his beloved father seemed to change into a completely different person, and treated him and his mother coldly. When their money was gone, the debt collectors came knocking on their door everyday. The boy shut his eyes to the incessant knocking. There was no longer the luxuriant life, the happy days, or his kind father. The happy times eventually come to an end.
The boy’s pure white heart, was stained with a drop of black, and had been dulled into grey. And somehow, he came to be called “covered in ash”. And he started to spend money before he realised it. He got what he desired, what he didn’t desire, and became extravagant. His heart was always plagued with uneasiness and loneliness. It supported him, and begged him for more, even more. Following the voice (in his head), he bought many things, as if to fill his hollow heart. When he shopped, he felt like he was in the past, and could forget all the bad things. In the end, he didn’t buy because he wanted the item – but because he wanted to buy. Even so, he couldn’t gain what he truly desired no matter how much he bought. Because even he himself didn’t know what he wanted.
Cinderella said that he wanted to make use of her. But Yurika knows that he can’t. Because he is a serious person, and a coward.
Yurika: ……Cinderella-san. Do you remember what I said to you previously? You have something which you want. It is something that can’t be bought with money. Do you know what is it that you want?
Cinderella: …………I don’t.
Yurika: Then, I shall accompany with you till you do. I will give you everything I have if you want it, be it money, my body, my heart.
Cinderella: I can’t give anything to you……
Yurika: I don’t wish for any repayment. Because I love you.
She soothes the sobbing Cinderella kindly.
The next morning, Yurika sorted out all the items he had bought. They will return what they can, and sell the rest. Plus, they will discuss with the lawyer. Cinderella softly agrees, saying that he won’t splurge anymore. He will also work hard to repay the money. She nods at this, saying that they can’t be pessimistic. He promises her, and his manner is like a child who was scolded. Yurika takes his hand, and promises him that she won’t let go of his hand.
They also confessed the truth to the brothers – that she was his arranged marriage partner, and about the debt. Their reactions were polar opposites. Gretel was taken aback, but Shirayuki had some inkling. He had sort of heard about it from their mother, and comments that Gretel never took an interest in their parents. Yurika is surprised at this, but he replies that their family is a bit complicated. She doesn’t pursue the matter. Cinderella questions if they aren’t appalled, and Gretel says that they’re already used to him. If he was going to regret it, he shouldn’t have done it in the first place – then again, he only regretted because of Yurika. He looks towards her, as if saying that he’ll leave his brother to her. She nods in return.
Silence proceeds, as they mull over what to do next. Shirayuki tells them to follow their mother – that way they can cut off ties and need not repay the debt. Cinderella says that he’ll remain here, since he has a hand in this. Plus he can’t just leave their father like that. Gretel announces that he won’t follow anyone, and will live alone. Even if his father has a debt, it doesn’t mean that he will follow his mother. Being the youngest, both of their existences meant little to him the moment he was born. He plans to leave, adding that he doesn’t belong here.
The next day, the two younger brothers are about to leave the house. Shirayuki asks once more if he really plans to remain. The oldest brother says that their father will be alone if he leaves. He will be too pitiful if he’s left alone. To the two of them, their father was never there from the start. So they shouldn’t worry. It’s not as if they’re leaving the country, so they can meet up whenever they want. Gretel agrees, adding that they are brothers related by blood after all. With their encouragement, Shirayuki smiles and remarks that their bond won’t break no matter what. He tells Cinderella not to make Yurika sad, and Gretel to watch his health even if he can live alone. Both brothers answer affirmatively. He says farewell to Yurika too, leaving Cinderella in her care. Shirayuki leaves the store, and Gretel gets ready to leave too. But before he does so, he pulls her hand and kisses her on the cheek.
Gretel: Arisu-san. You are an attractive woman. If our positions were different, I may have been drawn to you too.
Yurika: ……thank you. Gretel-kun is a very attractive man too.
Gretel: Thank you.
Gretel: Thanks for the meal. It was pretty delicious.
Gretel: Ahaha. …………then, till we next meet.
He waves goodbye as he leaves the place. Cinderella complains about his younger brother, while telling Yurika off for letting it happen while she has him. As he glares at her, she shrugs that she can’t treat them bluntly when they’re going to become in-laws in the future. Of course, that is just one of the many futures of theirs which they can’t rule out. Cinderella mellows down, and agrees. She observes that they’re all alone now, and leaps into a hug. No one can interrupt them now, after all, they both confessed their love for each other.
Yurika: In other words, we’re officially a couple now. What do you think we’d do after becoming a couple?
He just dropped a bombshell. Yurika remains silent, which makes him worried as it’s unlike her not to respond. Cinderella asks if she’s ignoring him, and she nods. He quickly apologises, and she forgives him. She asks him the same question once more, and this time he carefully answers if it’s a hug. Yurika snaps her fingers in approval, and spreads her arms open, welcoming a hug. Cinderella gently hugs her, and she feels blissful. He then asks if he can kiss her, and she’s startled by his sudden question. He says that he’d always wanted to touch her, and asks if it’s alright once more. Yurika is thrown out of her usual pace, since he’s usually forceful, or would one say persistent, or sadistic. He pouts at her silence, pointing out that Gretel did so earlier. When she tries to excuse it as a foreign greeting, he replies that they aren’t overseas. In any case, she can’t find it in herself to reject him and she closes her eyes. She feels his hand touch her cheek, and his breath draw close. Yurika thinks to herself that she’s finally climbed the adult staircase (though to be accurate, she already did it once).
Alice: I’m here, you sickening love birds.
Cinderella: Ah, s-sorry!! Are you okay!?
Yurika: Yes……kind of……
Cinderella asks since when he was present, and he replies that unfortunately he had witnessed their whole conversation about kissing.
Alice: This is why I hate couples. Furthermore I find it very gross how newly-formed couples are engrossed in their own world.
Cinderella: Speaking of which, we forgot that you were still here……
Yurika: It’s so rare for Alice-kun to leave his room.
Alice: It’s a whim. Do I look like I stay in my room all day long? It’s true that I’m a delicate and pretty boy with fair complexion, but I have no intentions of not bathing in the sunlight and getting osteoporosis. Or rather, don’t try and casually change the topic.
Yurika can only sheepishly admit this, while he remarks that he’s seen through a wicked woman like her. He asks Cinderella just what is her good points, and the latter endlessly praises her. It’s hard to imagine that he had marked her smile as 10 points just a few weeks ago. She happily remarks that she loves him, and he responds with the same too. They hug each other, no longer bothering about Alice’s presence. Alice splits them up forcefully, noting that the others have left. He reassures them that he’ll continue staying for the time being.
Cinderella: In any case, you have nowhere else to go.
Alice: Shut it, you classic henpecked hetare man.
Yurika: I’m the type who properly supports a man to be independent.
Alice: And you control him as you like from the shadows? In this world, that’s called leading someone by the nose. How nice for you, Cinderella. That you’re not a bald uncle with a potbelly or a decrepit old man. For argument’s sake, despite being poor, unreliable and a hetare, I’d say your good point would be your looks? Thanks to having such mortifying specifications, for the time being it’s proven that she isn’t after your money.
Cinderella: ……why did you fall in love with me?
Alice: Probably your face. And……your voice. What you’d call a handsome voice.
Cinderella: I see……Aah–……ahem. I love you, Yurika. Come here.
Yurika: You don’t need to force your voice.
While the above points are true, that’s not all she likes about him. He has many good points too. Alice tells her to try listing them.
Yurika: He’s actually kind.
Alice: Normally I prefer his kind side.
Yurika: He’s actually serious.
Alice: Normally his serious side is serious.
Yurika: He’s very skillful with his hands!
Alice: Though he doesn’t use them for work.
Yurika: ……I don’t think there’s any reason to like someone!
Cinderella: ……did you two just casually look down on me?
Alice/Yurika: It’s just your imagination.
Seeing Cinderella look down, Yurika comforts him, saying that she’ll still love him even if he’s a fat uncle or a decrepit old man. Alice tells him to continue dancing on the palm of her head like a clown. He will never understand them, perhaps their personalities just happened to click. Cinderella tells him not to disturb them then. But Alice plans to keep disturbing them, he won’t let this place become a lovers’ nest. Even if they’re in separate rooms, he will start banging the walls the moment the atmosphere becomes lovey-dovey. He exits the room, leaving them speechless for a moment. When Cinderella asks about the kiss, Yurika thinks that it’s best to put it aside for now. He sighs heavily at this.
And so their new life starts. They’re somehow managing without the two brothers. Gretel left behind the recipes for his sweets, so Yurika’s managing with them. And Cinderella’s handling the rest. She may sound boastful, but he’s really good at work. He’s a great help be it in cleaning, washing, preparing the store, or serving customers. In the middle of work, Cinderella tries to ask her something. But she’s too busy to properly listen, and asks about the next order and such. And when he tries to ask her about after work, a customer rings for him to take the order.
After work, he collapses on a chair, and Yurika recalls that he was trying to ask her something earlier on. Just as he’s about to bring it up, a boy enters the shop. He unwittingly gets irritated at being interrupted, which triggers the boy into crying loudly. Yurika comforts the boy by hugging him, and sits him on her lap. Cinderella tells them to separate, and she says that it’s fine for he’s just a child.
Cinderella: No it’s not!! Why, when I……
Yurika: When I?
He looks the other way, and she finds it a pity that she couldn’t tease him further. She asks if he’s unable to handle children, despite being an older brother. Cinderella remarks that his brothers are much older. Yurika soothes the child, saying that Cinderella isn’t that scary. The boy stares at him, causing him to reluctantly reply that he’ll be forgiving today. She hugs the boy once more, much to Cinderella’s displeasure. They learn that the boy is lost, and he manages to share little details about his parent’s looks and the place he had eaten at – it’s similar to their store which explains why he entered it. The boy sadly wonders if they’ve abandoned him, because he was selfish. Cinderella emphasises otherwise.
Cinderella: …………it’s not as if parents will abandon children just because of a little selfishness. People aren’t rubbish. They won’t simply throw him away just because it’s inconvenient. No matter what, your own child is cute to you. Because a family’s love and the need for someone else is priceless.
Yurika realises that this is what Cinderella meant that time. Love is priceless, but there’s no guarantee that it will be continuous. Cinderella reassures the boy that his parents must be looking for him desperately. He interacts kindly with the boy, and Yurika sees that he is an elder brother after all. They head outside to search for the boy’s parents. Cinderella had pretty much guessed the restaurant the boy ate at, and it turns out to be where he had brought Yurika the last time. Unfortunately, the boy’s parents were here just a while ago. They decide to wait a while longer, and asks the waiter to tell the parents to wait if they return.
The three of them take a walk outside, and the boy’s attention is captured by the toy store. He looks at a toy locomotive longingly, and Cinderella is about to offer to buy it for him till he gazes at Yurika. To their surprise, the boy replies that he doesn’t need it if his parents come for him. She praises him, and he asks if she should be praised too as she was hungry earlier but is enduring it. In reply to his innocent question, Yurika says that she probably is since she wants to have dinner together with the person she likes later. The boy pats her head too, and asks if she’s referring to Cinderella. She happily acknowledges this, and Cinderella reluctantly agrees that he likes her too when the boy asks.
At that moment, a voice calls out to them and it turns out to be his parents. They talk Yurika and Cinderella for their help, offering to show their gratitude. Cinderella refuses, and the boy thanks him too. He asks if he can visit their store again. The mother asks more about it, and recognises it when they answer. It appears as though their place is more well-known than they’d thought. The boy describes their store as sparkling, referring to the little glass animals Cinderella made. Yurika tells the boy to drop by anytime, and Cinderella promises to give him one glass item next time. He can make him a locomotive one, and tells the boy to be good till then.
After parting ways, the couple head to the lakeside. Yurika finds children cute, and thinks that their own child would be much cuter. He replies that men are usually turned off by such a remark, but she points out that he isn’t like normal men. Cinderella remains quiet, before calling her name. Before she can react, he covers her eyes and kisses her. Thinking carefully, they can do it outside too. She wants him to remove his hand, but he refuses. Out of the blue, he says that he loves her, a lot. He never really confessed his feelings aloud, and it’s always her drawing it the words from him. It’s cunning on his part, so he wanted to take the initiative this time. Cinderella observes that even her ears are red, and she replies that her heart isn’t strong enough to withstand this blindfold play. He tells her not to term it like that, and that he is too embarrassed to look at her in the eye to say it all too. He tells her to keep quiet while he continues, kissing her again.
Cinderella: ……you’re a surprisingly fine lady. When we first met, I was really drunk right? And I threw up after that, and you cleaned that up……usually you’d hate it. You’d even find your own vomit dirty. But you didn’t show a hateful face. I also said some rude things to you. That you were poor and dirty. You weren’t bothered at all at those words, even though you were a well-off lady. How should I put it, you’re too generous. Normally things would end right there and then when your arranged marriage partner says such unreasonable things. You would hate it. But you weren’t bothered by it, and even happily went along with my impulses. You were everyday at the cafe as a main staff, and even did the household chores……and along the way you even coaxed my two problematic brothers. The first dish of yours I ate, was it stew. It was extremely delicious. I didn’t plan to eat it at first. At that time, it was just a whim of mine to leave you here, I thought that you’d grow bored immediately and leave……you were tired from work and housework, and I knew that you waited for me to return without eating dinner, but I didn’t want to feel a strange fondness for you. Still I was hungry that night, ate it out of curiousisty, and was surprised at how delicious it was. I truly realised that you weren’t just another lady. Well, I can cook stew too, but it just tastes different. Speaking of which, you’re a lady yet not lady-like. You look like one if you keep quiet, but you’re cheerful like a fool and talkative, and active or what should I say……in any case you’re strange. You were also hit in place of me. And after that, you pushed me to go and apologise……what did you think she said? That it was more humiliating to be apologised to. That it wasn’t because you took pity on her, but to realise that I had my own charms. I seriously don’t know if your personality is good or bad. Usually one wouldn’t think of that. And it’s so roundabout. But……thinking back, you understood me since then……you thought that I wouldn’t understand or believe you even if you told me? Aah, that’s right. Exactly. I wouldn’t have believe you no matter what you said then. I was truly always uneasy, and had no self-confidence. Yet I desired for something…………you saw through me, who was like a selfish kid, and still stayed by my side. You always thought of me first. There’s no way I wouldn’t fall for you. Anyone can see that you’re cute, cheerful……but that’s not all. You’re cunning, crafty, and blatantly tempting……yet you shrewdly draw the line. Just when I think that you’re leading me by the nose, you only look at me, only think of me, act for me……understand me. I don’t know when it is that I fell for you. Before I realised it, I did so……that’s why I was irritated when I saw you with other men, even when we weren’t dating. And why I wanted to monopolise you. Did you know? That some of the male customers at the cafe came for you……well you probably do. You’re terrifyingly sharp. And you’re a cruel woman for pretending not to know. I really wanted to show off to all those men that you were my fiancee. I wanted to tell you not to smile at anyone else but me. But I couldn’t……because I’m a coward. I love you, Yurika. I love you. I love you a lot. I want to always be by your side, more than anyone else. Honestly I want to always hug you. Kiss you. Touch you. You know right? That I’m selfish. Just now, you mentioned about our children. I thought about it before too. What would it be like if we marry……I’d rather be like lovers than husband and wife. Everyday I’ll eat your delicious food, see and hear the same things, laugh together……we may fight sometimes, but we’ll make up immediately as if nothing had happened. We’ll go on dates on rest days, and I definitely want to celebrate our anniversary. We’ll dress up and eat delicious food somewhere together. It wouldn’t hurt to enjoy a bit right? Even when we have children, I want to cherish our time together. Of course, I will spend time with the family too. It’ll be nice to go on a trip together too. To pack lunch and go on a picnic……it’ll definitely be fun. Don’t think that it’s unlike me. It’s fun when I’m with the person I like. I want to create memories together. And I want to bring our children to many places. I want to create many fun memories for them. I want to let them learn anything, and let them do as they like. If they come to have a dream, I want to support them so as to make it come true. I want you to consult me if anything happens. I will do the same too. And……yes. I want you to always stay beautiful. Make me think that you’re number one even if we age.
He finally removes his hand, and Yurika looks at him. He wryly smiles, saying that it sounds like a proposal. Cinderella comments that he likes her eyes, but he’s weak to them and tells her to close them first. As she does so, he gently kisses her again.
Another day of work has ended, and Cinderella beckons her over. They hug, each of them recharging their energy. But he sighs as they have customers in the day and Alice is around at night, so he can only touch her now. They also haven’t had the time to do any glass art, since they’ve been so busy. But he warns her not to enter his room, since he isn’t sure if he can stop himself if they’re alone in his room. Yurika answers that he’s fine, and he sighs at her cruel words. His sigh seems rather tired though. She worries if he’s sleeping enough, and he directs the question back at her. Cinderella thinks that it’s fine to sleep in the same room from time to time, since both brothers aren’t here anymore. She reminds him that Alice is around, and he sleepily acknowledges it. He falls asleep, and she giggles at this while patting his head.
It’s been terrifying happy. Both of them told the truth, and their feelings. They will be able to overcome any hardship as long as they’re with each other. They will continue to live happily together. …Really? Will it really end like this? They still haven’t solved many problems. Cinderella’s father, the debt, and her family. To be honest, they should’ve found out about the debt if they investigated. Or did they know all of it already and still chose this path?
Cinderella wakes up, asking what she’s thinking about. Yurika tries to avoid answering, but he can tell that she’s thinking about her family. He is always thinking of what she’s thinking since he wants to understand her, that’s just how much he loves her. Since it’s like that, Yurika admits that he’s right. Her family knew that she left home to find out more about Cinderella. It’s most likely that they already know about his family’s debt. Cinderella agrees, saying that it’ll be easy to find out if they investigate. Yet they still want him to marry their daughter. Yurika suggests going to see her family. They’ll explain everything. He’s worried, since they tried to deceive her family. But she points out that it’s different now. They may still object, but they’ll think of a solution again then. At the very least, it’s better than leaving their relationship unsettled. After some thought, Cinderella says that he wants to apologise to her father too. He agrees to her idea. She adds that they’ll gain approval of their relationship and it’ll be a happy end.
He then checks if Kaguya is really just a friend, and she notes that it’s his 3rd time asking. Well, not that she doesn’t mind him being jealous. Cinderella wants her to repay the favour too, and she points out that he can’t do things like cheating on her though. He remarks that there’s no better woman than her, and she says the same back to him too. She explains that Kaguya is an important attendant, like family and a good friend. When prompted, Yurika says that Cinderella is her lover. He hugs her in return, asking if this is a happy end. She readily approves.
Their next rest day, is the day she’s returning to her house. Yurika hums cheerfully while packing her things. He comments that she’s too relaxed, but she says that she’s nervous and offers for him to feel her heartbeat. He flicks his fingers at her forehead, telling her not to sell herself so cheaply. He’ll grow tired of her soon. She checks if men prefer to be kept in anticipation, and if she is attractive. Cinderella reassures her, for he wouldn’t have fallen for her otherwise.
Cinderella: You’re too charming, you never know when I may push you down.
Yurika: I actually am anticipating it though?
Cinderella: …………in contrast to your looks, you’re aggressive.
Yurika: In contrast to your looks, Cinderella-san is passive.
Cinderella: Sorry about that.
Yurika: No no. I think that we match. Aggressive and passive, we make up for what we each lack perfectly!
Cinderella: ……that’s true.
After the preparations are done, they head towards her house. It feels peculiar. 1 month ago, she walked down this road to see Cinderella. Now she’s walking back together with him. She spots Cinderella gazing at the different shops, and asks if he still feels the desire to buy. He replies that he doesn’t, since he already has her. She also asks how much is her smile worth, and to her delight he values it at 120 marks. When they arrive at her house, Cinderella remarks that she’s pretty well-off. She remains modest, seeing that they’re just only above the middle class. When asked how his house was like, he fondly recalls how big it was, and that it had a dance hall for the regular parties. He was bored as his parents always talked to the guests and there were no other children. But he admired it, and wanted to blend among them one day. Which explains why he held parties when he grew up. He promises that she’ll be his dance partner next time, and will properly lead her since she has no experience.
Kaguya appears from the front door, welcoming them. The two of them wait in the living-room, while Kaguya goes to call her father. Seeing that he’s clearly nervous, Yurika tells him more about her family. She the eldest daughter of a family of four, and everyone else but her is a hunter. He feels even less confident at her words, noting that her family is rather elite. She admits that she was made to study. When asked if she plans to be a hunter too, she answers that her dream is to be a bride instead. Her parents just told her to do what she wants. So she’s sure that they’ll understand their situation. Cinderella is hesitant, for normal men would be already intimidated by her family background. She remarks that her brother has inherited the business and is living separately, and her parents are busy, so you’d hardly see them. Usually it is just her and Kaguya. He turns to her, confirming if it’s really true. He can’t help but be jealous, since he isn’t that big-hearted. Yurika breaks into a smile, resisting the urge to leap into his arms. She likes him more than he thinks.
Yurika’s father appears at that moment, observing that they’re getting along well. Cinderella awkwardly introduces himself, but her father is already well-aware of who he is. He tells them to have a seat, and they start drinking the tea – not. A tense silence flows past them, and Cinderella is having difficulty breaking the ice. Just as Yurika is about to speak, her father recalls that he met Cinderella a few times when he was young. The latter doesn’t really remember though. As her father is about to light a cigarette, she restrains him firmly, and he places it away. But now she knows that while he appears calm, he’s probably secretly nervous too. Her father directly asks if they like each other, to which they both say yes.
He proceeds to ask if they agree to the arranged marriage then, and they’re hesitant in their reply. To be honest, he was unsure of whether to simply agree based on their own decision. He had not met Cinderella since he was young, and Yurika was still young. Plus, since young Yurika didn’t act selfishly – which helped them but at the same time he could not tell what she truly felt. He knew that she would not reject the proposal immediately, but this is marriage they’re talking about. So he first showed her the photos, and as expected she did not reject. Instead, she left her house to confirm the truth about Cinderella. The reason he allowed her to be there for a month, was to see if they could live together smoothly during that test period. If so, he would welcome Cinderella into his family as his son-in-law.
Yurika’s father: How is it? Cinderella-kun. Do you wish to become my son? I know your situation well. It’s likely that I can help you.
Cinderella: You mean……
Yurika’s father: Aah. It appears that you’ve suffered a lot till now. It was hard wasn’t it. But rest assured. I don’t wish to inconvenience you. I will support you financially too. Moreover, my daughter and you aren’t completely dissatisfied right?
Yurika nods in response, but surprisingly Cinderella refuses. She quickly tries to salvage the situation, saying that he must be troubled at the abruptness of it all. Moreover, he’s the eldest son. She doesn’t mind marrying into his family instead. But Cinderella denies this, and her father asks what he means. He remains silent for a while, before saying that he doesn’t plan to marry Yurika. He only accepted the meeting, but never said that he would marry. He came here today to apologise for everything, and to return her home. Yurika gets agitated, prompting her father tell her to calm down. Cinderella knows that he must be aware of his debt, and he has to work hard if he is to repay it. Her father points out that it’s his father’s debt, so he doesn’t need to repay it – if he cuts ties. And if he marries, at the very least they can help to solve his problems. Cinderella says that it’s very tempting, but he wanted to make use of them at first. Her father is aware of it, and asks if Yurika knows too. Cinderella replies that she does, and she forgave him. Her father feels that it isn’t an issue in that case.
Cinderella: But, I don’t have the confidence of going forward with her……it’s no good. When I’m with her, I feel as if the hopeless me gets worse, and I lose confidence.
Yurika’s father: Do you not love my daughter?
Cinderella: ……truthfully I’m not confident either. I can’t help but think that I do, because she’s kind, rich, and it’s convenient for me. That I love her because of these reasons. I can’t possibly marry her like this.
Her father agrees that they can’t be happy if he feels that way. And Cinderella remarks that he doesn’t have the confidence to make her happy, and tells him to close the topic. Her father finds it a pity, but accepts. Yurika chases after Cinderella, but he doesn’t turn around – till she shouts.
Yurika: Why? Didn’t you say that you love you……!
Cinderella: Aah, I do. But sometimes you have to separate precisely because you do. The magic cannot last forever, Princess. Both of us knew that from the start. That this can’t continue forever. No……not just us. Probably everyone knew. Your father, and my father……that’s why they let us do as we liked till now. The magic cast by the wizard will soon disappear. Once it does, I need to pay the price.
Yurika: I will pay the price!
Cinderella: ……I’m happy to hear that, but that won’t do. You know right? It’ll be so miserable……I’ve always been miserable till now, but I’ll be even more so if I……accept you and your family’s help. Unable to do anything, I will hate myself, and will feel like dying. I will become even more hopeless……it’s thanks to you, that I’ve finally resolved myself. I want to properly face reality. But, I don’t know how long that will last. It’s like walking on thin ice. I don’t know when it will break and I will sink into the cold water.
Yurika: If so, isn’t it alright to help each other!
Cinderella: If you’re here, I will drown and never rise up again. If we continue this way, you will stray off the path too.
Yurika: I don’t mind!
Cinderella: Understand it already! I’d hate for that to happen!
Cinderella: I told you before……what we’d do if we marry. That was just a dream. A desire. If you’re with me, I can’t buy you pretty clothes and dress you up. I can’t easily buy your your favourite things, I can’t even buy you your favourite food. And the children……I can’t let them do what they want. My life was messed up by money, but money is necessary to live on. I know that better than anyone else…… Please……don’t spoil me anymore than this……don’t make me into a hopeless fellow……don’t make me hate myself……
Yurika: Cinderella-san……I can’t carry your burden……?
Cinderella: It was never your burden to carry to begin with.
Yurika: What will you do……? I’m not there, Shirayuki and Gretel are not there too……can you carry on alone?
Cinderella: I can. Because I’m skillful. I can do anything.
Yurika: If so……!
Cinderella: Yurika. Just as you wish for my happiness, I wish for yours too. That is my happiness.
Yurika: You’re too cunning……I can’t chase after you if you say that.
Cinderella: That’s fine. I can’t make you happy. I don’t have the confidence to do so. So, at the very least while the magic is still cast, I wanted to leave you here.
Yurika: What about my feelings? Do I also leave my feelings for you here?
Cinderella: ……you’re a fine lady. The men who will love you are as plentiful as the stars.
Yurika: It’s no good if it isn’t you!!
Cinderella: ………………it’s time. I need to return. Goodbye. Princess. Thank you for the time that was like a dream.
He turns to leave, and she chases after him. But she trips on the staircase, and her shoe’s heel snaps. A sharp pain prevents her from standing up. In that instance, Cinderella has disappeared.
Yurika: Cinderella-san……wait……please wait……I still want to be with you. I didn’t want to let go of your hand even for a moment……yet why, did you let go of mine……?
And so, the person she loved disappeared before her eyes.
“It is past the time we agreed on, but he hasn’t come yet.”
After parting, she desperately tried to locate Cinderella. Strangely, the Match Finance’s office vanished without a trace. When she tries to ask about it, the people speak as if it was never there to begin with. Everyday when Kaguya returns home, she asks him if he has found Cinderella – but to no avail. The cafe only had a “closed” notice pasted on it. And neither his brothers nor his acquaintances know where he is. It was as if magic was cast and he disappeared. Kaguya apologises for not being helpful, but she apologises instead for making him run all around. He’s more than happy to do so though, if it can make her happy. He heard that Cinderella’s father had escaped abroad, and wonders if the son did the same too. Yurika firmly believes otherwise, and Kaguya agrees since he did refuse their tempting offer and chose the hard way out. The world say him as “covered in ash” and hopeless, but in truth he’s actually pretty sincere. Yurika nods at his words. He’s definitely somewhere in this country, and she will find out where.
At night, she goes to the cafe again. She knows he is not here, but perhaps she still hopes ever so little that he may return. Yurika uses a spare key she secretly kept to enter the cafe. The quiet space makes the bustling days appear like a lie. She heads upstairs, seeing “seized property” labels stuck everywhere. Her heart aches, as those days really feel like an illusion now. But even if those fancy clothes, sparkling horse carriage, luxuriant dance party were lies, surely the dream-like time she spent with Cinderella was not a dream. Yurika enters Cinderella’s room, and is surprised to see a glass shoe – something more valuable than any jewel to her. She’s certain that he made this. But there’s no answer when she calls out his name. She removes her shoe, and confirms that it fits her size perfectly. But for some reason, there is only one shoe. She wonders aloud when he made this.
All of a sudden, a familiar voice calls out to her – it’s the man dressed in black. He’s aware that she was searching for him, or rather Cinderella. He claims to not know where Cinderella is, but she doesn’t believe him. Moreover, if he didn’t plan to tell her, he wouldn’t show up now. He notes that she’s calm as ever. Yurika asks where he is once more, saying that she’ll give anything – even herself, if it means that she can see him again. He sees that she’d willingly sacrifice herself for him, and remarks that she’s really “Heroine-chan”. Yurika pauses at those words, before realising who he really is – Wizard. He instantly transform to his former clothes, and she tries to register the sudden change. He happily shakes her hand at their reunion. So it was him who lent Cinderella the money, and told her the truth. He claims it was magic, and that it is now undone since it is past midnight. So Cinderella is paying the price.
Yurika: ……that isn’t magic at all, but just a disguise?
Wizard: It’s magic. In an incomprehensible, unreasonable destiny-like way.
Yurika: ……by the way, since when?
Wizard: Of course, before you met Cinderella-kun.
While wrapping her head about the situation, Yurika asks where Cinderella is first. He asks if she won’t question his motives, but she’s aware that he won’t answer anyway. All those questions about him take second priority.
Wizard: You want to know at any cost?
Yurika: At any cost.
Wizard: In that case, you want me to cast magic on you.
Yurika: ……telling me what you know is magic?
Wizard: It is to me.
Yurika: …………a price is necessary in exchange for magic?
Wizard: You’re clever.
She closes her eyes, contemplating what course of action is best to take, before finally coming to a conclusion.
>> I don’t want magic to be cast: Yurika decides against it, for she can’t believe him, or magic. And having made it this far, she wants to believe in her own strength and in Cinderella. She’ll find him herself. Wizard observes that she’s a real hard worker, but she won’t find him no matter how much time passes. She doesn’t believe in miracles. She desires for it more than anyone else, but she thinks that it can’t possibly exist. That’s why she refuses magic – magic is like a miracle. Yurika wants to believe in a person’s strength more, but he points out that there are some things which can’t be achieved just by working hard.
Wizard: You know, Heroine-chan. You can’t gain happiness, if you don’t have the resolve to make use of anything or to sacrifice anything, whether it be miracles or magic. Cling onto anything, even if it may be straws. Even if those straws are necessary to someone else, you will sink if you don’t kick the person down and cling onto it.
Yurika: ……Is it really happiness if it’s gained from sacrifice?
Wizard: Sacrifice and compensation is needed for any story. You can’t achieve anything if you fear for your own ruin.
Yurika: My own ruin……?
Wizard: And so, this is goodbye. Farewell. We shall meet again.
>> I want magic to be cast: Yurika asks him to let her meet Cinderella once more. He warns her that his magic has a limit, but she doesn’t mind. She will use anything to win this gamble, be it any despicable means, or magic (miracle). He asks what she plans to do, since Cinderella did leave her behind. Yurika emphasises that he didn’t, and she plans to bring him back. Wizard remarks that she’s cruel and selfish to ignore Cinderella’s wishes, since Cinderella finally resolved himself to leave her for his sake. But she still insists. Even if what he said is true, he still said that he loved her. That’s why she’ll go find him, and make him happy. Wizard snaps his fingers in approval, asking what her compensation will be.
Episode of Cinderella (aka Cinderella’s POV)
Cinderella remarks that it’s rather lively, and Alice answers that a dance party is being held at the castle. The princess is looking for the family’s son-in-law. Apparently his two brothers are participating too. Cinderella received an invitation too, from the Arisu family. Cinderella points out that there’s no way he could go, not when he’s covered in ash. He’ll be a laughing stock. Alice points out that he was from a rich family, but Cinderella says he isn’t anymore. His father has left him behind with all the debt. In the end, his father didn’t care for him at all. Alice wonders about that, since it’s impossible to ask now that he’s disappeared. In the end, he was betrayed. Even though he’d thought that he had love. Cinderella isn’t bothered by it, since everything is gone. Alice says that indeed, he has nothing. Cinderella is quiet, but thinks that he has something – a glass shoe which he had made for her. He had secretly left the other one in the cafe.
Alice questions if he wishes for her to find the shoe, and Cinderella replies that it doesn’t matter. One day when he has repaid the debt and becomes a professional, he will give her the other shoe. Surely it will take years. Alice doesn’t think that she will wait that long. Cinderella says that it’s fine, even if she falls for someone else and marries him. He still loves her, but that’s also why he wishes for her happiness more than anyone else. Alice finds his sacrificial spirit hard to imagine from when they first met. Cinderella agrees, thinking that Yurika probably influenced him. But he admits that he’s still uneasy, that he may still buy impulsively. His time was stopped when she loved him. But not that he’s alone, he fears that he may start at it again.
The blonde boy agrees, saying that his compulsive buying was like a disorder. It only seemed to cure temporarily because he relied on her. Cinderella knows this, and that he can’t rely on her kindness just because it’s easier that way. That’s why he left her, because he loves her. Being loved isn’t love. Relying on the other person isn’t love. Desiring the other person isn’t love. Not seeking any benefit, anything in return, is true love. But he’s weak, and will still hope to cling onto something. If he does so, he can overcome any difficulties or sorrow. Something to make him remember that resolution and promise.
Alice realises that he’s referring to the glass shoe. Cinderella berates himself. He left her, yet he doesn’t her to forget him. In the end, he’s still seeking for something in return, hoping that she’s waiting for him. He’s hopeless. Alice shrugs at this, commenting that he isn’t a god. But Alice finds him too naive and weak. Despite being a man, he’s too passive and pessimistic yet he’s complacent and leaves it all up to other people. Yurika will surely find out where he is. After all, she’s the princess of the mirror world who fell for him at first sight.
Out of nowhere, Wizard appears. When asked why he’s here, Wizard says that he’s here to bring Cinderella to the ball. He takes the glass dove, pumpkin and mouse, and brings them outside to transform them into a golden carriage, horse and coachman. Kaguya shows up too, thankful to have found the future prince, and adds that the princess is waiting at the castle. Wizard also changes Cinderella’s clothes, but warns him that the magic will only last till midnight. While Cinderella is hesitant and having a hard time grasping the situation, Alice urges him to go. After all, he had always admired balls, and the princess. He also hands Cinderella the glass shoe. Cinderella is taken aback when they arrive at the cafe. Even more so when a crowd of people warmly welcomes him when he enters, including Gretel and Shirayuki. They explain that she hired them after reopening the cafe.
(Back to Yurika’s POV)
Yurika enters, confirming that she bought the place – though to be accurate, she borrowed the money from her parents. She will just have to slowly pay them back. He’s unable to comprehend why she’s here, and why she bought the store. But first, Yurika asks him for a dance. He hesitantly agrees, and notices that she is wearing the glass shoe. She replies sarcastically that her heel of her usual pair of shoes broke, twisting her ankle. He apologises for not helping her then. Cinderella kneels before her, wearing the other shoe on her foot. It fits perfectly. He then asks for her hand, as he leads her into a dance. He notes that she’s doing well for her first time, and she admits that she had secretly practised for this moment.
The same amount of time they had spent together, had went by since they parted. He’s glad to see her well, and she deliberately steps on his foot in response. And she will gladly do it again if he really thinks that way. In a trembling voice, Yurika questions if he knows how much she thought of him each day. Cinderella appears shocked at her comment, and she even finds his reaction dear. She had been desperately searching for him, calling him cruel for disappearing on her. Even though she had believed that he was her fated prince.
But she didn’t give up, and found out that he was taken in as a disciple under a glass artisan. Yurika admires him for doing what he likes, but he replies that his master only gets angry at him everyday. It’s hot even in winter, and he could almost scald himself from the burning glass. In a way, he’s truly covered in ash. Plus there’s still a long way to go before he’s a professional. But everyday is fun, and he hopes to create something dazzling enough to capture many people’s attention. Yurika is sure that many difficulties await in fulfilling your dream, but she believes in him. Upon mentioning the cafe, Cinderella thinks that it’ll be hard since previously they barely made any profit. Yurika remains positive, saying that they can start saving now.
Cinderella: Haah……you haven’t changed.
Yurika: So do you hate me?
Cinderella: ……and cunning as always.
Yurika: Cinderella-san. Why do you think words exist? Even if I observe it, I can’t be sure unless you put it into words. That’s precisely why people whisper words of love. That I love you.
Cinderella: ……I love you.
Yurika: I love you a lot too.
The reason she bought this store, unlike him it isn’t for a pure reason like a dream. Of course, this business is fun and she wouldn’t mind doing it for life. But surely he has noticed that she prepared this stage so as to welcome him. Cinderella averts his gaze, saying that he can’t accept as he recalls the very reason he had left her.
Cinderella: ……I can’t be allowed to see such a convenient dream.
Yurika: Isn’t that fine. Humans are dreamers. They can’t live on without a dream. And they work hard to realise their dream, and sometimes miracles occur.
She brings up the topic of the glass shoe he had left behind. Didn’t he do so because he wanted to see her again? He agrees, after he had repaid his debt and became a professional, then he would present the other shoe to her. He admits that he wanted her to wait till then, to not forget him. Yurika tells him that his dream has already been granted then, since she’s with him now. And his dream is her dream too – to be with the one she loves. In order to fulfill her own dream, she searched for her prince and welcomed him here.
Cinderella: ……when the magic is gone at midnight, I will return to my ash-covered self, you know?
Yurika: I don’t mind.
Cinderella: I deceived you, you know?
Yurika: Yes, you did. I also deceived you, so we’re even.
Cinderella: I’m a weak, pitiful and really useless man, you know? Even though I parted ways from you for your sake, I’m a weak-willed man who kept regretting.
Yurika: That part of you is irresistibly dear.
Cinderella: ……You plan to turn my resolve to make your happy, and to leave you because I love you, all into naught?
Yurika: Everything is meaningless in the face of love.
Cinderella: I don’t want to turn you into a convenience woman.
Yurika: I don’t mind.
Cinderella: ………………the path ahead may be much more difficult with me you know?
Yurika: Even so, it’s much better than losing my fated prince. Cinderella-san. I can overcome any difficulties ahead with you. I was always looking for you. My Prince. Please. Won’t you take my hand from here on too?
At that moment, the clock strikes twelve. Cinderella thinks that he cannot after all. Yurika remains unfazed, saying that she will search for him again – and again. Even if the magic is undone, it doesn’t mean that you can’t keep dreaming. After all, her dream is to be with the person she loves.
Yurika: Cinderella-san. I don’t mind if you are covered in ash. I love you the way you are.
Hearing her words, he finally realises what he had wanted all this time.
Cinderella: I……have always wanted to my real self. Even if the magic is undone at midnight, the gorgeous clothes turn into shabby clothes, sparkling jewels disappear, and I’m covered in ash……I wanted my hidden true self to be noticed. The world is full of unreasonable things. It’s more often that your dreams don’t come true. That’s why I gave up on dreaming from the start……I filled up that desire with material items. But there’s no way they could. Since it isn’t what I desired. And along the way, my heart was stained ash-grey, and I spent “grey” days with the “grey money” I gained. And you’re the princess who appeared before me when I was in despair over the hopeless reality and future. Yurika. The times I spent with you was fun. You loved the hopeless me. I wanted to keep dreaming……It may be too late for me to realise having lost everything……
Yurika: That’s not true. You haven’t lost everything right?
Cinderella: Aah……I don’t have money now but I have a dream. And……I have a princess who came for me. I thought that I wouldn’t be allowed to see a convenient dream. Because no matter how much I’ve reflected, the actions would still be the same as before. Even so…………Yurika. Will you let me dream again?
Yurika: Of course. I want to keep dreaming with you too.
Cinderella: Yurika. I love you. I promise. I won’t leave you again. I don’t disappear from your sight. So……please go out with me with marriage in mind.
Applause breaks out the next moment, blessing their reunion. Outside, Wizard sees that it is a happy end. He sure did good. What was the compensation? The very first glass art (the first shard of dream) Cinderella, the future genius glass artisan, made.
Once upon a time, there was a rich boy in the mirror world. He had everything. A big house, gorgeous clothes, delicious food, he had everything which others envied him for. But that happiness didn’t last forever. The reason being that everything was ostentatious, and fragile like glass. Sadly, the life which appeared luxurious was actually built upon a mountain of debt. And the day it all collapsed, his heart was stained ash-grey. The man called “Cinderella” couldn’t forget the luxurious days, and continued to splurge. He bought things he didn’t want, treated people, and continued his arrogant days. But he knew that it couldn’t last forever. No matter how much he decorates it or puts on airs, the time will come when he returns to his shabby self.
One day, Cinderella met a princess. The princess had hidden her identity, came to his house, and started working at his store. Unlike her appearance, she was truly a rich princess. He’d thought that she would leave immediately, but she lived rather happily. Eventually they fell in love, and revealed their true identities when it became too painful to lie. The poor girl was a rich princess, and the rich prince was a poor man covered in ash. Their love didn’t change despite the truth. But the more Cinderella loved the princess, the more he realised that he can’t make her happy. Despite having his life messed up by money, he knew that it is necessary to live. For her happiness, he left behind a glass shoe and returned her to the castle.
And Cinderella sold off everything he had. He no longer had a place to live in, nor anymore gorgeous clothes.Even though Cinderella had gradually lost all those important to him, he did not lose everything. He could dream. In order to fulfill the dream he had once lost, he became a disciple under a master artisan, and worked to the bone. He had a dream. It was to become a professional one day, and to meet the princess again.
One day, he heard that the princess was holding a ball so as to chose her husband. And he received an invitation. The princess had not given up on him, and searched the country for him. But he could not enter the castle in shabby clothes, no matter how much he wanted to go to the ball to see the princess. Just when he was about to give up, thinking that he wasn’t allowed to see such a convenient dream, a wizard appeared. He granted Cinderella’s wish by transforming his glass works into a carriage and a coachman. He also changed Cinderella’s clothes, and saw him off to the castle. He was surprised to see that it was actually the store they had worked at before. The princess was waiting for him inside with a gorgeous dress, and one glass shoe. Cinderella puts the other glass shoe on her foot, asking for a dance with her.
The elegant music plays as they dance. They never let go of each other’s hands even when the music stopped several times. But the fun time flew by, and the clock struck twelve. The magic will be undone at any moment. Concealing his sorrow, Cinderella bid farewell to the princess. But she didn’t release his hand, declaring that she doesn’t mind even if he is covered in ash – she loves him the way he is. The princess had lowered herself to his level, prepared to throw away everything for his sake. And so, Cinderella who was saved by the princess’ love, lived happily ever after.
(After the credits)
There was a man named Cinderella in the mirror world, who wore a pale grey expression like ash. He was always empty. For his heart was stained ash-grey. But that is a story of the past.
The couple is saying their wedding vows as Cinderella slips on the glass shoes on her feet. This is not the real wedding yet, though Yurika feels satisfied even with this. After all, these glass shoes are one of a kind. She doesn’t need a ring. It is just an item as proof of their love, so she is fine with anything she receives from him. And she’s taken a liking to these shoes a lot. Because he left one shoes there, she knew that he still loved her. He replies that it contained his desire to see her again. It’s probably fate that they met again.
Cinderella recounts the story behind the wagtail, which is said to always be together – husband and wife. He had a pair of glass wagtails when he was young, and treasured it. Its other name is Koioshiedori. (Note: the kanji is literally “love, bird, teach”.) It’s said that the gods learned the way of being husband and wife by watching these birds. These birds are always together, so he was told by his father to treasure both of them and to give one bird to his important person later on – that way they will never be separated. But he had broke one of the birds, and blamed himself continuously as the birds could never be together again. And when he had forgotten all about this as time passed, he met Yurika and remembered it. But he no longer has the bird to give her, even if he’d wanted to. Similarly, he’d couldn’t met his loved one anymore. Wanting to change that fate and restart, he made the pair of shoes in place of the birds. Like the birds, two shoes make up a pair. So surely, they will never separate anymore. Those birds probably taught him, how to connect with is loved one.
Yurika asks if he plans to make a wagtail next. He answers that it’s probably too difficult now, though he’ll try. She warns him not to push himself too far. She was really worried that he’d collapsed. He can rely on her when he’s troubled. After all, he’s not alone, and only he can fulfill her dream. Cinderella remarks that if she’s the one who watches over his dream, he can overcome any difficulty – their hearts will be one be it happy or tough times. He tells her to close her eyes, as he vows to always make her happy, and to always treasure and love her, before kissing her. ……and they lived happily ever after.
The first route is over…!! I feel that I made some typos along the way (like typing “was” instead of “wasn’t”…), so sorry about that in advance. Please let me know if you spot any. Anyway, the story certainly turned unfolded nicely! I shall avoid saying spoilers here. I was wondering if the plot was really just that at the beginning, but then another layer was added in the second half. And another layer was added again just when I thought that it’s happily ever after. I really liked how the original fairytale was modified for his route, in which certain parts mirrored the original and others were switched around. In the same way, I liked that while the couple met at the ball for the first time in the original – they made this scene occur near the end. And of course, the writer doesn’t leave out the nuances and metaphors in words like ash, glass.
The other thing I really liked was the character interaction. I only realised later that each character role mirrors the ones from the original story. Cinderella, the prince, the two
step-siblings and parents, the fairy godmother, as well you could force in the prince’s attendant – except for Alice haha. To my surprise, I ended up liking all the characters. For now, my favourites are leaning towards Yurika and Alice because haha, the conversations between those two. 😄
Anyway, I know that this title is supposedly getting an English localisation…but if you ever decide to get the original PC or Vita port, I hope that my post helps.
And I hope that the same issue of copying doesn’t happen, as with what happened for my DMMd posts. Anyway, naturally I will be playing Akazukin’s route next! Till next post~