Taisho x Alice episode 2: Gretel

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Next route is Gretel (CV: Eguchi Takuya). He usually speaks politely, and is a pleasant model student. Perhaps because he is a sheltered son of a rich family, he is gentle-mannered and good at dealing with people. However, he also lets slip his true personality to those he has grown acquainted with……baking sweets is his hobby, and he tends to make too many and ends up treating other people. This follows from the PrologueAlso, this route contains elements which might be triggering.

Yurika is trying to confirm her current situation – she’s Arisu Yurika, 17 years old. She is tied up and in a cottage of sorts. She is unsure as she doesn’t remember how she was brought here. She woke up lying on the bed in an unknown place, so of course she’s terrified. But she soon realised that it’s useless to cry for help or for her parents so she just kept quiet. Or rather, she was at a loss for words, dumbfounded. A familiar voice asks if she has finally calmed down. She spots the figure sitting down on a chair, and has to question herself numerous times if this is a lie, a dream. But the reality won’t change.

The 15 year old Gretel shuts his book, and calls her “older sister” with a refreshing smile. That’s right, he’s her “younger brother” and the one who brought her here. Yurika politely asks him to untie the rope, but he’s unwilling as she will run away then. She swears to him that she won’t, but he easily dismisses her statement. He remarks that she has no need to speak politely around him, since they’re siblings. Or rather, she never spoke that way previously. She thinks to herself that he never acted like that previously – but her head hurts and she can’t really recall how he was like before.

Yurika: Are you……really Gretel-kun?
Gretel: What a weird thing to ask, sister. I’m your cute brother, Gretel.
Yurika: What do you plan to do with me, tied up like this?
Gretel: Nothing much. I’ll live here with sister. Honestly it’s no different than before.
Yurika: Nonononono……
Gretel: No? Do you refuse? Then what should I do. Shall I just leave sister here……
Yurika: You’re wrong! You’re wrong! “Year”!! “Year”!! Ah, perhaps it’s “here”!! Yes, that’s right! It’s “here”!!

(Note: She said “iya” in Japanese which is like “no/I don’t want it”. So it sounds similar to “year/here” which she said in English.) He laughs and says that there’s no way he will leave her here alone. Well, though he may be absent from time to time. Of course, he will put extra effort in locking up then. Her single hope has been turned into despair. Isn’t it weird to lock up your sister? As much as she wants to say that, Yurika decides against provoking him since he definitely has one or two screws loose.

Yurika: Why are you doing this?
Gretel: Why……isn’t it because sister wanted it?
Yurika: Nonononono……
Gretel: No? You’re refusing again?
Yurika: You’re wrong!! You’re wrong!! It’s “dear”!! “Dears”!! “Dearer”!! “Dearest”!!!

(Note: Again, she said “iya” in Japanese. And then said “dear” in English.) Surprisingly, Gretel blushes and smiles at her words. He thanks her for thinking of him as her dear brother – he feels the same way about her too. When she requests for him to untie her then, he refuses. He remarks that she would be perfect if she kept quiet. But it’s also like her to be this talkative and unattractive, which he likes too. Yurika thinks to herself that she would’ve kicked him if it weren’t for the situation. She asks him to at least untie the rope around her feet, but he’s reluctant since she’d kick him. She promises that she won’t, so he reconsiders it. It will be easier on him if she can freely walk. She shouldn’t be talking him, but anything is fine at this stage.

Yurika turns her back to him, wishfully hoping that he will untie the rope around her hands at the same time. Of course, that’s not going to happen. When he unties her, she flaps her legs around as they’re rather numb. Gretel tells her to act more lady-like, and she sarcastically replies that she will consider it if he frees her hands too. At that moment, he pushes her down and traps her legs with his weight too. When she asks what he plans to do with her, he states once more that they’re going to live here. It’s safe here, so she can protect her. She questions if this situation is safe for her, and he confidently says it is. She relaxes the tensions in her body, implying that she won’t resist.

Yurika: ……well I don’t really understand the situation, but I get it. I’ll believe you. You’re my precious younger brother after all right?
Gretel: As expected, you’re you.

Appearing satisfied with her answer, he gets up and offers to cook something for her if she’s hungry. Yurika takes up his offer, and watches him prepare in the kitchen. It’s a one-room cottage, so they can easily see each other from the other end. She stands up, and wanders around. He seems to pay no mind. Of course, since it won’t be easy to escape with her hands tied up. He knew this that’s why he freed her legs. She walks up to the window, and observes that they’re in the middle of a forest. No one will be able to hear her cries then. Then she observes the door, which is locked so she wouldn’t be able to unlock it in her current state. Well she could try unlocking the door (and the window too), but Gretel would capture her soon enough. Then she discovers the woodstove. It’s hard to manage it, so it’s rare these days. She gazes through the glass, watching the flames burning.

Having reassessed her situation, she is certain now that she wouldn’t be able to leave here if Gretel doesn’t agree. The cottage is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, bed and every other necessity. Her brother really means to live here. She look at the bird cage in the middle of the room, large enough for a person to enter. She can’t help but think of the word “prison”. Why does he say that he’s protecting her, by locking her up here?  Perhaps it means that she’s being targeted by another enemy.

Seeing Gretel busy making omelet rice, she offers to help him. Yurika spots a jar filled with konpeitō, and Gretel eats a few pieces. Noticing her intent gaze, he asks if she wants to eat some too. She eagerly says she does, but he refuses. He states that this is his, and that she’ll get fat if she eats. She has nothing to say in return, and he tells her to just sit for he doesn’t need her help. She obediently does as told. After all, her hands are tied anyway. She sits on a chair right next to the cage. Honestly, she feels down just looking at it. It feels as though she will immediately get locked up inside if she steps on a landmine.

He finished cooking, and presents her omelette rice. When she points out that she can’t eat like this, he reassures her for he will be feeding her. It’s delicious, but he leaves her no room to slowly savour it as he shoves spoonful by spoonful into her mouth. Yurika tells him that it’s enough, that she’s full already. Gretel eats the spoonful he had scooped out, and remarks that it’s not bad but it loses out to her cooking. She takes the chance to offer to cook then, but he smoothly ignores her suggestion. He says that he made dessert too, macaroons in fact. When she replies that she wants to have them, he goes to prepare them. He feeds her a pink macaroon, and she praises its taste. The sweets he make is really the most delicious. That moment feels déjà vu, it’s as though she had said the same thing before.

Flashback

Her name is Arisu Yurika, and is 17 years old. She has a younger brother, whose excellent in studies, behaviour, and looks. He has no flaws and is really a model student. A brother she’s proud of. Yurika quietly sneaks into his room. He’s studying at his desk. She takes the chance to hug him from behind, causing him to almost lose his balance. Gretel stands up and releases himself, telling her not to disturb him when he’s studying. She offers to teach him, and snatches his textbook. It’s not a textbook of his year, but one year ahead. He explains that he plans to go to the same school as her. She has confidence that he will pass the exam, since he’s already tackling such advanced problems. She can’t wait for spring to come.

Gretel: You seem happy.
Yurika: I am! Because it’s always been my dream! Going to the same school……ah, and eating lunch together! And and! Coming back from school together……
Gretel: If it’s coming back from school, don’t we already do so everyday.

It’s true. She goes to his school everyday to wait for him. He was startled at first, but now he looks fed up each time he sees her. Still, she thinks it’s better to be at the same school. Gretel feels embarrassed, asking her to separate herself from him. Yurika refuses, and hugs him tightly. When he struggles, she apologises and releases him. Her love for him went out of control. He reminds her to be more mindful, as he takes out a red candy from a jar and eats it. Yurika asks if he wants to eat anything for dinner, prepared to put her skills to the test for him since he’s preparing for his entrance exam. He replies that anything will do, and her food is always delicious. Yurika leaves his room, and heads to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

The wood creaks, reminding her of how old this building is. It was once a cafe, and now they’re living here. To be honest, they hardly use the cafe area, even the shelves. They’re currently living on the second floor, which used to be an apartment long ago. Her parents were peculiar people who liked rare items, so they bought this retro cafe in this scenic countryside. They basically were spending money for their own pleasure. Well, it’s thanks to that they can live here. Due to work, their parents are hardly at home. She recalls her good friend commenting that since her home is different, her living circumstances would change too. She feels the same way too.

Yurika takes out ingredients necessary for omelette rice, and considers adding chocolate sauce with it. She wonders if he will get angry at her for using his chocolate. The stacks of chocolate bars in the fridge all belong to Gretel. He’s a huge sweet lover, and always checks his favourite store for new items. If it’s a sweet in trend from a popular store, he will go there no matter how far it is. If it’s impossible, he will order it. She decides to return the chocolate. He will certainly be furious. There was once when she ate his cream puff since she wanted something sweet. He got so mad at her since he had to queue for it as it’s limited to 50 pieces a day. In the end, she had to order chocolate which costs 330yen per piece made by an award-winning pâtissier, to appease him. While he’s usually calm, he shows no mercy when it comes to sweets. She loses out for certain. She takes out spinach instead.

Gretel appears downstairs, joking that he lost the motivation to study since she disturbed him. In fact, he’s done for the day so he wants to help her. But she tells him it’s fine, so he decides to observe her – or would she rather him help her? Yurika pouts at him, knowing that he’s being mean on purpose. Soon, she spots him eating chocolate. She warns him that it’s before mealtime, and that he’s being rude to her. He replies that it’s fine since he has another stomach reserved for sweets. As he eats the expensive-looking chocolate, he comments that it’s so-so. He notices her stare, and asks if she wants it. When she nods eagerly, he tells her to ask nicely. She immediately does so, and he offers her a piece.

She finds it delicious, but he says that his creations are better. She’s more than happy to have his, so she hurries back to preparing dinner so that he can use the kitchen. And so her spinach omelette rice is finished. Gretal takes a mouthful, and comments that it’s delicious.

Yurika: Even more so than chocolate made by a famous chocolatier?
Gretel: No way.
Yurika: How harsh!!
Gretel: ……it’s a joke. Sweets are different from usual food. You can’t compare them. It’s not inferior even if you serve it at a restaurant.
Yurika: Is that so?

Those were peaceful and happy days. Both of them thought that those days would continue tomorrow, the day after, and forever.

End of Flashback

Yurika wakes up, and tries to stand up. But she feels dizzy and Gretel quickly supports her. Feeling relieved, she buries her face in his chest. It’s strange. Even though he’s the one responsible for tying and locking her up, she trusts him. He hugs her in return, as she explains that she dreamed of when she made spinach omelette rice for him. She wonders when it was, but he doesn’t answer. She can’t recall anything else. He gently tells her to rest as she’s tired, and carries her to the bed. He asks if she wants anything, and strokes her head. Rather than a brother, his gesture is more like a lover’s. When she asks him to untie her hands, his hand stops. His expression turns cold, and he refuses – she will run away.

She reassures him that she won’t as it’s dark already and they’re in the middle of a forest. Moreover, he’s supposedly doing this for her sake. So she promises not to do anything dangerous. Gretel goes quiet, so she reasons that her hands need to be free if she wants to bath. He agrees with her, adding that there’s no way he can bath her. Yurika is stunned by his direct comment, and flushes.

Yurika: W-w-wh……! What!?
Gretel: I said your body, didn’t I.
Yurika: Body!!

She thinks to herself that bathing someone while he/she is tied up is really erotic and an R-18 situation. It’s especially shameful when both of them are not even 18 years old yet. He teasingly points out that she’s all red, and laughs when she denies it. He remarks that there’s no need to be so self-conscious since they’re siblings. Yurika glares at him, though she’s aware that she’s still blushing. So she turns her back towards him. When Gretel asks if she wants to bath, she admits that she does. So he unties her hands. She presses down on her frizzy hair, saying that she needs to comb it. He thinks it’s fine, since no one will be seeing it anyone. In other words, he’s implying that he won’t let her meet anyone. She pauses, before replying that he’s here. He raises his eyebrows, asking if she will tidy up for her younger brother’s sake. She sees that he’s testing her. She answers that she will, before walking off.

But Gretel grabs her arm, advising her to strip as much as possible here. There’s no changing area, so it will be bothersome to change in the narrow bathroom. As much as he sounds reasonable, Yurika refuses. He points out that she has a zipper at the back, and offers to help her. While she desperately protests, he continues grinning and makes her sit on the bed. He first starts from her legs. When she resists, she ends up falling back on the bed. She begs him to forgive her, but he only tells her to remain still. Obviously she can’t though, and in the end he pins both of her hands down.

Gretel: ……darn it. It would’ve been better to strip before untying your hands.
Yurika: Gretel-kun……!

She can’t believe her ears, and looks at him with teary eyes. He tells her not to show such an easily-misunderstood face – if it were someone other than him, this would be assault. Yurika holds back the urge to rebutt him that this is an assault. Gretel grabs her waist, and she screams. Thoroughly embarrassed, she can only nod when he remarks that he’s going to remove her tights. She just wants this to be over. She holds back a scream as his other hand slips in, and he starts pulling. Yurika convinces herself that this isn’t an indecent scene, but an innocent, heart-warming one of him just removing the tights.

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With only the sound of cloth and each other’s breathing, it certainly warms the heart, in many ways. As his hand brushes past her skin, she ends up getting goosebumps. Noticing this, Gretel whispers that she sure is sensitive. Wondering if this is some erotic novel, she screams at him and he’s unable to hold back his laughter. Though he apologises, he’s laughing so much that he’s tearing up. It only embarrasses her further – she’s the one who wants to cry. He removes her tights completely, and she snatches it from him.

Gretel: Then next is the back.
Yurika: It’s fine!

She meant that he need not do it, but he deliberately interprets it as affirmation. He pushes her back onto the bed, and she ends up kissing the bed sheets. As Gretel remarks that her clothes are really troublesome, he starts to undo her corset. Yurika resists, but to no avail. He only comments that she need not be so reserved, it must be difficult to take it off and to wear it by yourself. She gives up struggling, and lies down like a frozen tuna.

Gretel: You should’ve done so from the start.
Yurika: Hurry up and remove it……
Gretel: Haha, what a bold remark.
Yurika: ~~!!

She taps him in response, and he replies that he just feels like bullying her more if she reacts cutely. She threatens to do a funny face, and he says that he will help her. Hearing this, she lies down again like a frozen tuna. As he hums, he undoes her corset and unzips the zipper. Gretel remarks that it’s white colour, and Yurika just buries her face in the bed sheets. It seems to have worked, as he appears bored and sighs. When he’s done, he finally gets off her and she heaves a long sigh. Her hair is a mess, she’s sure that if any stranger saw her, they will misunderstand. When Gretel says out that she need not hold onto her dress since she hasn’t removed the sleeves, she replies that it’s a matter of feeling.

He asks for her gratitude since he did help her, and she thanks him in a wooden voice. Yurika ignores his chuckle, and walks towards the bathroom. He points out that it’s the exit, and she quickly heads towards the correct door. Inside, she sees that there’s no window, but only a small fan whirling. There’s no escape route here. She undresses and turns on the shower, sighing as she warms herself up. Gretel calls out to her, and she yelps in surprise.

Gretel: What’s wrong? I’m opening the door.
Yurika: It’s nothing! So definitely don’t open the door!

As she hides behind the curtain, he tells her that he forgot to pass her a change of clothes and a towel. Yurika pauses – could it be? She hesitantly asks if it was deliberate, and he immediately says that it was.

Yurika: Leave it there!
Gretel: What do you mean by there? On the bed?
Yurika: NO! NO! That’s not what I mean!! I wanted to say is……umm, leave it near the door! (Note: The first part was said in English.)
Gretel: The entrance?
Yurika: The bathroom!!

He bursts out laughing, and agrees to do that. Once she hears him walk away, she quietly opens the door and reaches for the towel and change of clothes. Just in case, she’s still hiding behind the curtain – so she’s really in an awkward position. Thankfully, Yurika soon finds it and quickly shuts the door. As expected, her brother shouldn’t be that heartless. But she didn’t realise it then……after she’s done bathing, Gretel welcomes her back. He bursts out laughing again at her outfit. That’s right, she’s currently dressed in a white cat suit. Yurika punches him. As expected, he’s a demon.

Gretel: I-it suits you……! It’s cute. Yes, cute…………no but, I was at a loss between this and the prison clothes. Even though you’re my sister, you are a girl, so I thought that would be too pitiful.
Yurika: Cat punch!

While she does prefer this over prison clothes – this is still embarrassing. That being said, she would be more trouble if it had been a see-through babydoll dress.

Gretel: Ah, or would a pink babydoll dress have been better?
Yurika: Double cat punch!!
Gretel: Ahaha, well it’s fine isn’t it. If it’s that outfit, there’s no need to tie you up.
Yurika: …………

She thinks to herself that it’s great news, hooray for costumes. When asked if he specially bought this, he admits that he will spare nothing at teasing her. What a frightful child.

Yurika: I see. Thank you very much for going so far as to buy new lingerie. It must have been hard to buy women’s lingerie.
Gretel: No no. I tried to choose coquettish ones like black, pink or lacey ones so that sister can at least be more attractive. It’s good that you took a liking to it.

She can’t help but feel frustrated at his tit-for-tat, and silently admits defeat. When asked about the laundry, he offers to wash them. He widens his eyes in surprise when she agrees. But on second though it’s still embarrassing even though he has stripped her and bought her lingerie. Yurika marches in the bathroom to get her clothes. Gretel remarks that there’s nothing embarrassing since he’s already used to seeing her lingerie. She yells that she isn’t, and asks where the washing machine is. He replies that it’s outside. In other words, she can’t use it. She throws it in the shower, thinking that it’s better to hand-wash. She looks at him proudly, and asks for the detergent.

Once she’s done, she looks outside of the window once more. She can’t tell the time as there’s no clock. But it’s nighttime for sure. She asks Gretel what time it is, and he only shrugs his shoulders. Yurika draws the curtain close, and they retire for the night. However, for some reason later she finds herself lying in his arms on the bed. Does this mean that even when he’s asleep, he won’t let her go? Or is he using her as a pillow? In any case, there’s only one bed here. She looks at him, checking that he’s really asleep. He really looks like her cute younger brother when he’s quiet. Just then, her stomach growls loudly. She regrets not finishing dinner.

He does enjoy teasing her, but he did cook for her, prepare a change of clothes for her, and is locking her up for her sake……in the end she still doesn’t know the reason. But she’s sure that he has his reasons. So she isn’t afraid of him, and doesn’t hate him. Her stomach growls again. Gretel suppresses a laughter. It seems that he was awake after all.

Gretel: Sister. Are you hungry?
Yurika: ……it’s just your imagination nyaan.
Gretel: Shall I make something?
Yurika: Aah, it’s fine it’s fine. Don’t worry.
Gretel: There’s no need to hold back.

Still, it’s a bit odd to eat in the middle of the night. Moreover she did purposely not finish his food. Yurika asks if he’s fine, since he didn’t prepare any dinner for himself. He reassures her that he isn’t as greedy as her. She punches him in response, and he winces in pain. It appears that she was too forceful. Gretel looks at her with teary eyes, and ends up hugging her tightly. She struggles, and gasps for air when he relaxes his arms.

Yurika: Don’t you think you’re a bit merciless towards me……?
Gretel: Is that so? I think that I’m spoiling you a lot.
Yurika: Nononono
Gretel: No? If you hate being spoiled so much, I shall be harsher from now on.
Yurika: “Ear”! No, weather, feather, father!!
Gretel: Somehow it’s becoming more slipshod? Well it’s fine. I’ll also……never let sister go forever.
Yurika: Where is my free……

(Note: Again, she said “iya” in Japanese. And then said “ear/weather/feather/father”, and “free” in English. He also said “forever” in English.) Their conversation has become hopeless, and they end up giggling. It really looks like nothing has changed since the past. She sighs and shuts her eyes, gradually falling asleep in his arms.

Flashback

How would the world view their sister-brother relationship? One morning, Yurika hurriedly packs their lunchboxes as he says that they’re going to be late for school. When she’s done, he looks three lunchboxes, commenting that it must be troublesome for her. His lips curl into a teasing smile, as he speaks as though it’s someone else’s problem. But she knows that Gretel has already taken out the shoes for her, and even offers to carry the lunchboxes first. Feeling happy, she is unable to resist the urge to hug him.

They proceed to walk to school. The town has some well-known sights, and is overflowing with nature such as a lake and forest. As such, there are villas near the lake. There are numerous museums and historic buildings along the main street too, alongside shops and cafes. Of course,  in terms of entertainment and convenience it can’t be compared to the city. But she still feels happy to be able to walk with Gretel like this. Yurika asks how school is, and he replies that it’s normal. He doesn’t particularly have any problems. He directs the question back at her, and she replies that it’s fun. This prompts him to remark that she doesn’t seem the type to have any worries anyway. She finds his words rude, but she is unable to name any worries. So she corrects herself by saying that she may have worries.

Gretel: Why the question mark. It’s fine isn’t it, not to have any worries. It may not be very human-like, but it’s just like sister.
Yurika: Nn? Somehow the phrasing is slightly off?
Gretel: It’s not your imagination. I did mean to imply that you are stupid.
Yurika: That’s not implying it at all!

As they approach Gretel’s school, students from his school start looking at them. Since this happens every time, she has grown used to it. He remarks that she stands out, and she jokingly asks if it’s because she’s beautiful. He looks at her coldly, before sighing. He explains that anyone will stand out here if they’re clearly from a different school. Yurika says that she doesn’t mind it, and asks if he does. Just as he’s about to answer, someone greets them cheerfully. A bespectacled boy wearing a hood with wolf ears, grins at them.

Yurika: Good morning, Ookami-kun.
Ookami: Morning!! Arisu-chan!! ……and Gretel.
Gretel: ……why am I being treated like an extra.
Ookami: No, it’s just your imagination Gre-chan.
Gretel: How many times must I tell you to quit that nickname before you get it?
Ookami: It’s fine isn’t it. What’s so unsatisfactory about a senpai giving a wonderful nickname!
Gretel: It’s lame. And very cheap.
Ookami: What–!!

Opposite to Ookami’s high level of excitement, Gretel visibly looks irritated. Ookami is in the same year as Yurika, so he is older than Gretel. Though looking at them like this, they appear like they are in the same year. She ponders over his nickname: he’s Gretel, shortened to Gre-chan. He’s straying off the right path, a delinquent, so he’s Gre-chan. (Note: In Japanese, “gureru” means straying off the right path. Hence the pun.)

Gretel: Did you just think of something very rude?
Yurika: Eh!?

Gretel questions what Ookami is doing here, since there’s no direct path from his house to this school. The latter replies that he heard about it from Yurika, so he takes a roundabout every morning so as to disturb them. The former glares at his sister, hinting that she did something unnecessary. Yurika looks away, and he sighs. He says that it’s fine to part ways here, as it’s embarrassing to be accompanied by the two of them. He hands Ookami his lunchbox. As the older boy happily thanks him, the younger one drops his share.

Gretel: I’m sorry, senpai……my hand accidentally slipped.
Ookami: It’s a lie–!! It was definitely deliberate!?
Gretel: Oh no. There’s no way I’d do that to a senpai.

With a refreshing smile, he pats Ookami on the back. He hands Yurika her share, before walking away. She keeps watching out for him, as he disappears into the crowd. This prompts Ookami to ask if she’s that worried about him, adding that she’s over-protective. He thinks that it’s better to be more mindful, especially since they’re going to different schools. She asks if she should stop accompanying him for a while, and he replies that Gretel’s opinion is more important. He advises her to ask her brother directly next time.

Yurika: There may be rumours about Ookami-kun and me too?
Ookami: Bring it on! I welcome it in fact!
Yurika: Thank you, Ookami-kun!
Ookami: You’re welcome!
Yurika: By the way, Ookami-kun.
Ookami: Nn? What is it? Hah! Could you have finally noticed my charms……
Yurika: No. But perhaps, in a way.

It seems that he hasn’t realised it, while the other people are giggling at him. Yurika points out his back, and he discovers a piece of paper pasted there.

Ookami: What’s this……”Warning! I’m a stupid, perverted wolf. I will eat girls up! Roar–“. Damn it! That guy——–!!!!

But it’s too late to chase after Gretel. Yurika herself finds her brother terrifying, as she wonders when he managed to prepare this.

After school, she goes to Gretel’s school and waits outside. He’s a third year, so he isn’t involved in any club activities and should arrive soon. The other students look at her curiously. But she also recognises a few familiar faces, and waves at them. However, he’s late that day. After a while, a girl walks out and bows to her on the way. While Yurika tries to recall who she is, Gretel calls out to her. She cheerily assures him that she didn’t wait long, but he easily sees through her lie and hurries off.

She relays Ookami’s complaints to him, but he thinks that he didn’t write anything wrong. As she thinks back, she does agree that he likes girls and dirty jokes. While she secretly apologises to Ookami, Gretel stands in front of her. He looks serious, causing her to wonder what he wants to say. But she’s shocked when he scolds her stupid loudly. Who could’ve imagined this? He remarks that he feels better, but she finds him cruel. He only laughs in response, and stubbornly refuses to explain his reasons.

When they reach home, Yurika quickly wears her apron and starts the dinner preparations. She’s still bothered by Gretel’s earlier actions. They were talking about Ookami before that, could that be related? It appears that he really dislikes Ookami, or could it be……jealously? Her brother wonders why she’s grinning from ear to ear. She is startled, and uses the hammer she was holding to smash the rock salt she took out. Gretel is alarmed and tells her to put the hammer away. He had been studying, but somehow felt mindful of her. She bites on her lip, thinking to herself if he has sixth sense or something.

Yurika: ……d-did you hear me?
Gretel: Of course, I did. You said jealously right.
Yurika: Yes! “Shit”!! I said “shit”!!
Gretel: Please don’t use vulgarities.

(Note: In Japanese, “jealously” is “shitto”. Hence the pun.) He hits her head, and she quietly apologises. He sighs, reminding her to be more aware that she’s a woman. But he soon goes quiet, as he realises that he shouldn’t have said it aloud. Yurika pretends not to have heard it, asking him to repeat himself. Gretel finds her grin gross, but she doesn’t pay any mind to his words. As she persists, he exclaims loudly.

Gretel: Aah, seriously!! Sister is also!! A woman after all, so please act like a lady!!
Yurika: I see. That’s right. Yes, I’m a girl too, a girl! I need to be careful since I’m a girl!

She can’t hide her happiness, since he usually doesn’t treat her like a girl. He switches the topic, pointing to the rock salt on the table. He plans to use it too, to make salt ice-cream. Yurika points out that it’s winter, but he doesn’t mind at all since it’s warm indoors.

Yurika: I want to eat it too!
Gretel: It’s best to have sweets when you’re stressful.
Yurika: Nn? I see, Gretel-kun also feels stressful.
Gretel: ……I’ll punch you soon?
Yurika: I’m a girl!
Gretel: …………

His expression turns serious, and he volunteers to tell her the reason why he called her stupid. Before he can do so, a voice replies that it’s because she has a foolish face. It’s her older brother, who happens to be eating a lollipop. He returns the empty lunchbox to her. She wonders why he’s here, since he’s hardly around. He’s currently living elsewhere, closer to his workplace. He replies that their parents told him to return home from time to time. When she tells him not to worry, he hits her head.

Gretel: ……welcome home. Ryoushi-san.

He never calls him “brother”. When asked how school is, Gretel briefly replies that it’s good. Their conversation ends, so Yurika hurriedly asks if Ryoushi plans to stay the night, and what he would like for dinner. Ryoushi replies that it’s fine if she has already decided. Gretel excuses himself to return to his studies, as if implying that he can’t stay here any longer. When Yurika is about to chase after him, Ryoushi warns her not to let her guard down too much. She’s taken aback by his cold tone, treating Gretel like a dangerous figure. He replies that while their parents and she may trust Gretel, he doesn’t. After all, he’s not their real brother.

Soon, it’s dinnertime. Usually it’s just two of them but it’s fun even with just trivial talk. However, tonight is extremely quiet. Unable to bear the silence, she asks how her food is. But both of them ignore her question. If only Ookami was here, he’d forcefully brighten up the mood.

Yurika: Brother, how have you been?
Ryoushi: What do you mean.
Yurika: How have you been recently. You know. Your health, your work, your relationships with women, and anything else.
Ryoushi: My health is perfect, there’s not much up with work. And there’s nothing inconvenient about my relationships with women.
Yurika: Ah, I see. Brother often makes women cry. Remember, just recently a strong-headed woman barged in here and it was awful. Right, Gretel-kun!
Gretel: I don’t remember.
Yurika: ……ah, is that so?
Ryoushi: …………

Ryoushi glares at her, hinting that she should not say anything unnecessary. She quietly apologises as she seemed to have recalled wrongly. The atmosphere grows more awkward. But it’s not like her to be discouraged from this.

Yurika: Gretel-kun, you’re making salt ice-cream after this right? Is it alright if I do it together too?
Gretel: I’m sorry. About that, I wish to prioritise studying today.
Yurika: Eeh–……

Her whine causes Gretel to show a troubled expression, which she finds unexpected. Ryoushi remarks that it’s fine to do so, and Gretel immediately curtly replies that he has to study. He finishes eating, and puts the dishes in the sink. Yurika says that she’ll wash them. He thanks her, and shuffles out of the room. She scolds her older brother for acting that way, but he answers that it’s Gretel who hates him. It’s not as if they’re fighting, so there’s no need for her to try and intercept. She tells them to get along better then, but he sees that there’s no helping it.

Ryoushi: In any case, the reason I’m not at home, is also for his sake.
Yurika: …………

He leaves the kitchen, leaving Yurika all alone. Later, she goes to Gretel’s room. She hides something behind her back, but his keen nose sniffs out something sweet. She reveals the salt cookies she had baked. He returned to his room even though he’d wanted to make salt ice-cream. But since he’s studying, she decided to reward him with this. She feeds him a piece, and he slowly savours it.

Yurika: Is it delicious?
Gretel: …………30 marks.
Yurika: Saved from a failing grade!!
Gretel: It’s hard. It’s not crunchy enough. Cookies should make a light, crunchy sound the moment you bite them, this is not even close. And it’s powdery when you bite it. It’s obvious that it was mixed well enough. You need to mix it partway till it’s soft enough, and you need to knead it so that it’s uniform. Since it’s sister who made it, it’s extremely sweet. But it feels like an amateur made it. Well, it’ll be 60 marks if it were scored by someone else other than me.

She promise to improve, but he replies that there’s no need. When she questions why, he is hesitant on answering. Instead, Gretel snatches the jar of cookies from her. He asks if she gave that person too, referring to Ryoushi. Yurika says that she didn’t, since she made this for him. He appears happy, and eats another cookie. It looks as though he will eat everything despite his criticisms. She asks if he hates Ryoushi, causing him to pause.

Gretel: ……Sister is
Yurika: ?
Gretel: ……Sister is outstanding.
Yurika: Nn? That may be true, but why all of a sudden?
Gretel: You’re beautiful, stylish, cheerful, energetic, smart, and can cook.
Yurika: W-what’s wrong? It’s unlike you to praise me this much! Did you want to eat the cookies that much? Or did you study so much that you developed a fever!?

Gretel pushes her hand away when she tries to feel his forehead. He isn’t joking, and is merely expressing a third person’s opinion of her. Perplexed, she accepts the praise anyway and thanks him. He asks if she’s popular, and she doesn’t deny it. He doesn’t hide his irritation.

Gretel: I think that sister is perfect……except for your personality.
Yurika: Are you telling me to keep quiet?
Gretel: I’m not telling you to keep quiet. Rather, please keep talking, and perishing that illusion.
Yurika: My favourability will lower each time I talk!? Gretel-kun, could it be……
Gretel: It’s not jealousy. Please don’t interpret it to your own convenience.
Yurika: Ah, yes……

He shares that he was confessed to be a girl today, which explains why he was late. Yurika recalls the girl she saw leaving before him. It is expected for him to be popular, after all he is handsome.

Gretel: Unlike sister, she’s a cute girl. Obedient, and you’d want to protect her.
Yurika: …………

He seems to imply that she isn’t cute, is noisy, and can live on her own just alright. Her feelings are mixed since he had just praised her to the heavens just now. However, Gretel says that he rejected the girl.

Gretel: It’s the same as sweets. The more you eat something delicious, the more sharpened your taste-buds are. In doing so, you won’t be satisfied with normal standards anymore.
Yurika: Hah……
Gretel: When I’m with sister, my required standard goes up.
Yurika: ……does that mean
Gretel: …………
Yurika: In other words, you rejected her because she appears inferior when compared to me?

While it’s arrogant of her to say it, that’s how she interpreted his words. Gretel stands up and pinches her nose. He remarks that’s the reason why he called her stupid. Yurika has never felt this happy to be called that. She truly is a huge idiot.

End of Flashback

Back in the present time, a voice tells her to wake up. She refuses to open her eyes, and the person stops shaking her. Just when she thinks that she can continue sleeping, a voice whispers in her ear, threatening to do something if she doesn’t wake up. Yurika leaps up, and Gretel greets her with a bright smile. But she still doesn’t feel awake, and her eyes close again.

Gretel: Please don’t sleep.
Yurika: Cats are experts at sleeping when they want to nyaan……
Gretel: I’ll undress you again.
Yurika: Good morning! Gretel-kun! What a lovely morning!

He tells her to go and wash up, handing her a towel and a change of clothes. She takes it while suppressing a yawn, and walks to the bathroom. Honestly, she doesn’t want to respond to his pranks anymore. After all, this is his territory. She’s being locked up by him, so everything from food to clothes to bathing, is under his watch. But the clothes he had prepared for her is a cross between a kimono and an apron – with a frilly mini-skirt.

Gretel: It suits you. It’s cute.
Yurika: Eh, really?
Gretel: Yes. The sort from a dubious shop. The sort which will make perverted uncles happy.
Yurika: Return my happiness from a few seconds ago!!
Gretel: Ahaha. It’s fine. No one else but me will see your embarrassing figure. In other words, it’s a Japanese-style maid outfit. I thought that by wearing this, sister will become more obedient. Everything starts from appearance, sister. So, sister. Please come over here.
Yurika: W-what……?

She becomes cautious of his smile, despite him reassuring her that he won’t do anything. So Gretel pulls her over instead, and places a frilly headband on her. He explains that maids often wear this, and thinks that it suits her.

Yurika: Is Gretel-kun into this sort of thing? Do you like maids?
Gretel: Will you stay in this outfit if I say yes? Then I’ll say it as many times as you like. I love girls in Japanese-style maid outfits. To put it bluntly, it’s moe moe.
Yurika: ……it can’t be helped then, master.
Gretel: Yes, well done.

He pats her on the head as a reward. Honestly rather than siblings or maid and master, they seem more like a pet and master. Gretel then grabs his bag, saying that he needs to leave for school now. After all, he is preparing for exams. His normal remark throws her off. Usually a normal student wouldn’t lock his sister up. When Yurika says that she wants to go too, he tells her to stay here instead. He will be back soon, and adds that he prepared breakfast too. Before she can react, he’s reminded that he needs to tie her hands and easily grabs her arms. When she reasons that she needs to eat, Gretel says that she can bend over and eat like a bird. He’ll tie her hair up too so that it doesn’t get in the way.

Yurika: I’m really going to get mad!!
Gretel: I don’t like it when sister gets mad at me, but I’d hate it more if sister runs away……I’m sorry, sister. But you’re at fault too. I’d wanted to feed you while I was still here, but you wouldn’t wake up.
Yurika: …………

She glares at him as she remains lying on the floor. He sits her up, and lifts her chin, warning her not to go outside in a sweet voice. After he leaves the house, she kicks at the door with all of her might. She can’t be bothered by how unsightly she looks, since no one is watching. But the door doesn’t budge, and in fact her leg hurts now. Yurika sinks to the floor, calming herself down. It appears that there is an extra lock on the door. It’s highly likely to be a padlock. In any case, it’s impossible for her to kick the door down. That being said, as long as she can free her hands, she can escape from the window. Honestly, it’s easy for her to loosen herself from the cloth knot. But it’ll be difficult for her to redo it if needed. In the first place, what will she do if she does escape. Both she and Gretel are underage, so it would be difficult to move her here without someone’s help. She isn’t certain where exactly this cottage is. But the area they live in does have numerous villas, so it’s a possible hint.

Still, she doesn’t know the critical motive behind him locking her up. He says it’s to protect her, but she doesn’t know from what and it really makes little sense. Not that he would tell her. Though he teases her, he must be pretty serious to have prepared this cottage, the necessities, and even her change of clothes. Just then, her stomach growls loudly. Yurika spots some bread left on the table, as well as a cup of hot chocolate (which is cold by now). No matter how much she’s being teased, she still has her pride. She won’t touch the food, if it implies that she’s a pet. She decides to sleep till Gretel returns.

At that moment, there’s a knock on the window. She leaps up and sees a man in a black cape and hat, and a black cat. He calls her weird for staying locked up when she can escape. He adds that perhaps the normal standard doesn’t matter to her, since she’s isolated from the world now. He speaks as though he knows her and her situation. When she asks him, he replies that he knows Gretel, her, and of course why she’s here. He introduces himself as Wizard, someone who knows everything. He can tell her whatever she wants – but does she really want to know? Yurika quietly mulls over this, before answering that as much as she’s curious, she won’t ask him. She doesn’t think that he’s lying, but she wants to hear the answer from Gretel himself.

Wizard thinks that it’s fine, since he doesn’t know Gretel’s reason for locking her either. She bumps her head against the window, scaring the black cat away. He explains that he isn’t perfect. He has his limits too. He may look omnipotent, but he’s inflexible. She narrows her eyes, asking if he’s in colludes with Gretel. He only smiles at her, saying that he only knows the rough outline and the desired ending. Other than that, he knows but doesn’t know things. In other words, he may not be working with Gretel. He offers to help her escape, but thinks that she doesn’t wish for it. Yurika replies that she will refuse for now. Wizard shrugs his shoulder, finding it a pity that he can’t do anything for her now. To his surprise, she points out that he is – such as talking to her now.

Yurika: Wizard-san. If it’s alright, will you become my conversation partner? I’m really, reaaally free now.
Wizard: ………………sure! I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I will accompany you anytime for as long as you want.
Yurika: Thank you! Ah then, wait a bit while I bring a chair……

But her stomach growls the moment she walks away, and she’s reminded of the reality she’d forgotten. Noting her situation, he says that she could eat the food prepared for her. When she flaps her bounded hands, he jokes that she can eat like a cat. When she jumps about, he offers to feed her then. The next thing she knows, he’s inside the cottage and soon feeding her. He’s gently feeding her piece by piece, unlike someone else. Wizard laughs at how he seems to be feeding her (like a pet), and she stomps her feet in protest. When Yurika asks how he got in, he only winks and replies that he’s a Wizard. She decides not to pursue the issue for now if he won’t answer properly.

Yurika: ……what would Gretel-kun think if he saw this situation.
Wizard: Rather, you don’t know what Gretel-kun would do if he saw this situation?
Yurika: Both mean the same thing.
Wizard: Ahaha, that may be right–
Yurika: Or rather, it would be fine to untie me and then tie it again.
Wizard: If I were to tie it again, then either way are the same right.
Yurika: No, I think it’s pretty different?

He pauses then, before telling her that Gretel’s coming back soon. He asks what she will do, referring to her earlier statement. The word “adulterer” spins in her head, and Yurika pleads for him to return. Wizard waves his hand at her, exiting the cottage. While she has a lot to say to him, she first thanks him for helping her out. As he’s about to slip outside, she asks if they will meet again. He replies that that day may come soon. He says goodbye to “heroine-chan”, and locks the door from outside. Yurika locks it from inside. She finds him strange, as she sinks to the floor. While his identity is a mystery, he doesn’t seem to bear any ill will. But since he did lock the door, perhaps it’s better to think of him as in colludes with Gretel.

Just then, she feels someone else’s presence at the door and quickly stands up. Gretel enters, and she forces a smile and welcomes him. It’s just as Wizard had predicted. Gretel asks if anyone came by, and she nods in response. He frowns and asks coldly who it was, when, and if they talked. Yurika maintains her smile, explaining that she just said goodbye to a black cat. She gestures towards the window, where the sunlight creates distinct shadows of the trees. He stares at them, before asking if she saw the shadows as a cat. She snaps her fingers in approval, and he appears convinced. His attention is then caught elsewhere.

Yurika: What’s wrong?
Gretel: ……I’d thought that you would say that you’re not an animal and wouldn’t have touched it.
Yurika: I was really hungry! I was starving to death! I waited for Gretel-kun till the last minute!! But in the end I was so hungry I ate it! Yes, like a cat!!
Gretel: I see. I’m sorry. I will come back earlier next time. But I wanted to see it. Your embarrassing figure as you eat like a cat.
Yurika: I definitely won’t show you alright?

He makes hot chocolate again, and helps her to drink it. When she finishes it, he wipes her mouth clean with his thumb. She observes that he was early, asking if he really went to school. Gretel replies that he does, after all where else can he go. Yurika answers that he can go home. He corrects her, saying that this is their home. She remains quiet.

Gretel: Sister. You lied to me didn’t you?
Yurika: Eh?

Before she realises it, he wraps his hands around her face. He remarks that it’s useless to hide it, he’s sure that someone came in while he was away. She admits it honestly, and nods again when he asks if that person fed her the bread. She’s surprised at how calm he is, asking if he isn’t angry. Gretel asks if she wants him to be angry, and she earnestly denies this. He appears to be smiling, but his eyes are not.

Gretel: Ahaha. Actually I’m outrageously angry. Honestly I’m boiling with anger. But it was my fault this time. I was too naive. If I were to protect sister, I’d need to lock it up more securely.
Yurika: ……why is Gretel-kun locking me up? What exactly are you protecting me from?
Gretel: ……from the devil.
Yurika: Devil?

She wonders if he’s referring to Wizard, but Gretel doesn’t respond to that name.

Gretel: I’m protecting you from the evil devil who’s trying to eat the delicious-looking you.
Yurika: Trying to eat me?
Gretel: Yes. For example……

He shifts his hand to her neck, undoing her collar and drawing his face close. When Yurika resists, he holds her tightly and bites her neck. She flinches, but the words of protests are stuck in her throat. He remarks that it’s sweet, that she’s truly delicious. He kisses the spot, and looks at her with an alluring smile.

Gretel: Your neck is all red. And your eyes are so watery……it’s your fault for inviting people with your sweet scent.
Yurika: Gretel-kun……

She shuts her eyes tight, unsure of what to think of anymore as her heart beats rapidly. But she soon hears him bursting out into laughter. Yurika opens her eyes, and he admits that it was deliberate. He apologises, but admits that it’s fun to humiliate her each time. She truly wants to bury herself in a hole. She’s shaking with anger and embarrassment, and could almost tear apart her restraints.

Gretel: Aah, by the way I borrowed the lines and situation from a slightly erotic girl’s novel in sister’s room.
Yurika: You saw!?
Gretel: I did. I found it by chance when I wanted to borrow a dictionary. You hid it behind the books on the shelf. And even wrapped it with a cover.
Yurika: ……!! ……don’t tell me, that all the dangerous lines you used till now were from there……?
Gretel: To be accurate, I borrowed the lines and arranged them accordingly. I thought that perhaps it was your wish to be told that, but the result was outstanding. In any case, please think about it carefully. If those lines and situation were done in real life, it would be lame right?
Yurika: You’re wrong!! I only bought it because the cover was cute, I never thought that the contents would be like that!!

He recalls that the cover featured a prince, earl, butler, or patissier with shaggy hair, and a princess with fluffy hair. Despite claiming to be deceived into buying it, he knows that she read it rather intently. Yurika screams loudly in response. Gretel wonders if the prince in the novel is her type – a sharp-tongued, dishonest prince who locked the princess up. A horrible guy. As much as she’d like to tell him off for doing the exact same thing, it would be implying that the prince is just like him that’s why she bought it. That would be digging her own grave.

Gretel: And with this, the punishment is over.
Yurika: I hate this! I won’t talk to Gretel-kun ever again!! Be punished for toying with my innocence!!

She dives into the bed, burying her flushed face in the bed sheets. She hears the bed creak as he sits down, and he apologises for fooling around. Yurika refuses to turn over, as he shakes her. Gretel starts to call her “sister” in different ways, but she refuses to be won over so easily and remains silent.

Gretel: ……………………Yurika

She hides her happiness at being called by name, responding to him with a pout.

Gretel: Weren’t you never talking to me again?
Yurika: …………

She buries her face again, and he quickly says that he was kidding.

Yurika: ……do you know what to say during such a moment?
Gretel: I want you to show me your cute face.

After a brief pause, he replies with a line straight out of a girl’s novel. Yurika turns over, unable to suppress a giggle. Gretel look at her gently, but later whispers.

Gretel: Sister won’t hate me. No matter what I do, or what I say. Is sister, a masochist?
Yurika: Masochist……

She’d had hope for him to at least say that she’s big-hearted or tolerant. As she’s able to respond, he covers her eyes, telling her not to look at him. If not, he will……

Flashback

She and Gretel aren’t blood-related. So they can become lovers, and even get married. If they themselves wish for it, that is. On the way to school, Yurika confides in Ookami about what happened the night before. He was is one of the rare few who knows everything about her (family) situation. That’s why she often consults him, and vice versa. By the way, Gretel left the house early today so as to avoid Ryoushi. Ookami thinks that it’s fine, though other people may look at them strangely. She agrees, since they are siblings on the surface. He points out that it’s weird even for lovers to be this glued to each other though. However, he’s always ready to welcome her with open arms. She smoothly thanks him and accepts just his feelings.

He asks more about Gretel and Ryoushi, and she explains that they’ve been on bad terms since the start. They seem to put a distance between each other, and are always on guard. Ryoushi doesn’t seems to like the fact that she likes Gretel. Ookami thinks that he may have a sister complex, but she doubts it. He thinks that he does worry about his real sister, since she is living under the same roof with another guy. That’s right, she and Ryoushi are blood-related. In other words, Gretel is the only “different” one.

Yurika says that Gretel doesn’t know he’s adopted though, after all they treat him like family. However, she can’t help but feel that he has already realised the truth, but pretends otherwise. Moreover, other people like Ookami know the truth. So it’s possible that he may have heard about it from someone. She sighs, knowing that she should act more like an older sister. He thinks that she’s doing well, but she points out that he still warns her from time to time.

Yurika: Hey, do you think Gretel-kun has realised my feelings?
Ookami: I wonder. He’s smart but if Gre-chan really thinks that you’re real siblings, would he realise that his sister’s feelings for him are one of romantic love?
Yurika: He’d deny it right.
Ookami: Yes. Normally.
Yurika: Normally……

Gretel is not normal, so he may accept her hidden feelings. But just because she’s happy, doesn’t mean that he will be. It may be easy to deny the fact that they’re real siblings, but it may end up hurting him. It’s just her own interpretation, but Yurika thinks that his concept of family is centred around her. She’s usually the only one at home, and does all the household chores. So she’s playing the role of both sister and mother to him. In other words, he can’t go against her. Ookami teasingly smiles at her, pointing out that she gets played with a lot though. She cannot refute his statement.

Yurika: I’m an “ideal sister” to Gretel-kun. I’m beautiful, kind, stylish, sexy, cheerful, energetic, smart, and can cook……
Ookami: Ooh……! That overwhelming confidence which I don’t know where you get from! It’s the best!

She explains that Gretel uses her as a standard, which she finds dangerous. He thought that she would be happy, since she likes him. She nods in agreement, admitting that she does like Gretel as a man. She will never say this before him, but she can admit it in front of others. Yurika elaborates that to Gretel, she is absolute. If he brings this concept into the outside world, she would end up becoming his everything in the world. Simply put, he’s relying on his sister. He thinks that as a sister, she’ll always be on his side and protect him. So the moment she confesses her feelings as a woman to a man, it means his family is abandoning him. If that happens, he won’t be happy as his value of himself has crumbled. He would’ve lost his support.

Ookami wonders if Gretel is that fragile. But that’s what Yurika thinks. It’s her fault, and her family’s fault for making him like this. She was too protective, and her family was too negligent. She hopes that it won’t strike back at her one day. He advises putting some distance in between then, but she’s hesitant. She apologises for her complaints, and he replies that they’re friends after all. His grandmother often told him that friends need to help out one another.

Yurika: Wow! How reliable!
Ookami: Have you fallen for me?
Yurika: No.
Ookami: Eeh–……?
Yurika: But I will definitely help Ookami-kun out when you’re in trouble!

He immediately asks for her help, to restore his reputation which Gretel had destroyed. Speaking of which, students around them have been pointing at him and giggling. Much to his shock, Yurika conveys her regrets and gives up. After that, she went to school as per usual, and goes to Gretel’s school after the chime sounds. At that moment, a group of boys approach her. They appear like delinquents. They ask if she’s Yurika, and if it’s true that she and Gretel are not blood-related. She asks if they asked Gretel the same thing too, threatening to beat them if they did. But they burst out laughing at her words. She resists the urge to raise her fist.

Instead, she calls over one of the boys, who looks like the leader. She grabs his face, telling him to have a good look. When he resists, she steps on his foot. Yurika pulls his face close to hers, and the boy reddens. She then tells him to recall how Gretel looks like, and that they do look similar – such as their hair. She asks if he gets it now, and the boy swipes her hands away. As she praises him with a smile, the surrounding crowd starts making cat calls. She’s sure that they won’t be teasing Gretel for a while now. Just then, a voice calls out to her. It’s Gretel, and he quietly asks what they were doing to Yurika. One can easily sense his simmering anger, and the boys claim that they weren’t doing anything and shuffle away.

Left behind, he admits to Yurika that he’s angry. He advises her to just ignore such people. It’s not as if they’re his friends anyway. She remarks that she wasn’t told anything nasty, but pretends to have been hit on. He easily sees through her lie, and seems disinterested. After a brief pause, she asks if she shouldn’t come here anymore. Ookami’s words sting her heart – it is true that she’s over-protective. Perhaps he doesn’t trust her as much.

Gretel: It’s too late to be mindful of that now. I don’t mind it, so it’s fine for sister to act how you want.
Yurika: Okay……

He takes her hand, as they return home. Yurika looks at him, wondering about the future.

End of Flashback

Gretel pushes her onto the bed, pinning her legs down. She wonders just how many times he has to push her over – she swears to herself that she isn’t reciprocating because she enjoys it.

Gretel: Please don’t struggle too much. I can see your underwear.
Yurika: Idiot!!!!
Gretel: Yes, indeed. I’m a huge idiot. Please don’t worry. I don’t mean to hurt you.
Yurika: Idiot idiot idiot!! You’re the worst!!
Gretel: Ahahahaha.

He lifts one of her legs up, and ties a green ribbon to her ankle. He remarks that it’s just a cute ribbon, but to her it’s like a fiendish item – since the problem is how he will use it. After tying it around her ankle, Gretel holds onto the other end of the ribbon. The length is pretty long. He bought it for her, and carefully chose this colour. He thought that white suits her, but he actually hates white. So he chose his favourite colour in the end. To him, green is calming. Also, the material is silk, so it’s pretty pricey. In fact, the ribbon around her wrists is the same too. Yurika hesitantly asks what he’s going to do with the other end, and he redirects the question back at her. Frankly, she knows. But she hopes that she’s wrong.

All that’s left is to tie the other end to the cage, like a shackle. So she won’t be able to easily escape. In response to his sadistic smile, she firmly recalls that her novel didn’t contain any SM play. Gretel makes the excuse that it’s similar.

Yurika: Stop! Seriously, stop!
Gretel: It’s fine. I tied the ribbon so that it’s easy to undo it.
Yurika: That’s not the problem!
Gretel: ……what is sister unsatisfied with? Do you hate living here with me?

She replies that she’s angry at him for ignoring her basic human rights. He wonders if her rights are so easily shaken from being tied up. Yurika furrows her eyebrows at his words. She tells herself to be calm, and confirms if he really plans to live here with her from now on.

Gretel: Yes, that’s right.
Yurika: Yet I’ll be tied up forever? Robbed of my freedom? Isn’t robbing someone else’s freedom against their will, ignoring their rights?
Gretel: That may be the case. But if you want to be free, it all depend on sister’s future attitude.
Yurika: Attitude?
Gretel: Sister broke my promise again today, and let a stranger in right?
Yurika: That’s true but…………

She directly asks him who that person is, but Gretel admits that he doesn’t know. He’s only making use of him. Yurika’s at a loss of words, seeing the lengths he went to in order to lock her up. He knows that she’s smart enough to start realising where this is. She hesitantly answers that it’s a villa somewhere, and he only smiles in return. So she adds that 2 days have passed since she’s here, but perhaps a bit more too. He said that he went to school, but it felt like he returned home too early. So she asks what he was doing outside then. He whispers that she’s really clever. Yurika’s aware that he has a strong motive, but is this all really necessary? And this can’t continue on forever. Gretel’s eyes waver at her statement.

Yurika points out that since they both suddenly vanished, their parents and brother will search for them. But he coldly replies that they won’t – they abandoned the two of them. She feels suspicious, there’s no way family would abandon you. Or rather, it feels as though he hasn’t said the truth at all. He remarks that it doesn’t matter if she believes or not, he’s doing what he wants and not following any orders. He then ties the ribbon to the cage, commenting that she’s wonderful all wrapped up too.

Later, as she rolls on the bed, Gretel is reading a book. She can see that it’s a math textbook. Should she call him serious for studying at a time like this, or crazy? Honestly, the more she spends time with him, the less she understands his real intentions. A bitter sort of sweet, that’s her image of him now. He teases her, provokes her, restrains her, but he hasn’t done anything else. He orders her, but doesn’t do it forcefully. Well, he has sexually harassed her on a few counts. But if he seriously wanted to do something to her, he would’ve done so by now. Even if she’s tied up, she could burn it when the time comes. She can still escape – he should know that.

In hopes of erasing the awkward atmosphere, Yurika brightly offers to teach him. But he doesn’t even look over, and refuses her flatly. When she frowns, he looks up and asks if she’s free – in that case she can sleep. He soon goes back to reading his book. But she doesn’t feel like it, and kicks her feet around. She’s bored as she has nothing to do. But she soon lies still since there’s no response from him. She whispers that she was always busy with housework. Gretel thinks that she’s lucky to be free of those troublesome chores. But she never once found them troublesome. She asks him to pay attention to her, and he finally closes his book. He suggests playing cards, but she points out that her hands are tied.

Gretel: Then let’s play shiritori. Shiritori, alright please start sister.
Yurika: Ringo
Gretel: Gohan
Yurika: …………ntosu
Gretel: ……suiton
Yurika: Nkashihaberabushi
Gretel: Shian
Yurika: Njamena
Gretel: Nairan
Yurika: Nmawashi
Gretel: Shuuseian
Yurika: Ngoundere
Gretel: Why do you know so many words starting with “n”?
Yurika: I remembered them thinking that such a time would come!
Gretel: You sure did a useless thing……
Yurika: Do you admit defeat? Do I win–?
Gretel: It’s fine. Because there are way more words that end with “n” than those that start with “n”.
Yurika: …………

She lies down again, turning her back to him. Gretel suggests taking a bath now, and she leaps up again. He proposes taking a half-body bath so as to detox herself. Yurika asks if he’s implying that she needs to lose weight.

Gretel: Not at all! One of sister’s good points is your breasts, so it would be a minus if you lose weight.
Yurika: …………

She suppresses the urge to scream. It isn’t odd for him to know her size, since he did prepare her lingerie. Instead, she questions if she says such harassing remarks to other girls. He reassures her that he treats the rest like a gentleman. While she replies that he could do the same for him, to be honest she’s a bit relieved. It means that his rude? behaviour is reserved for her, so she’s special in a way. Even if that’s only because she’s his sister. He tells her to go ahead, as he already has a change of clothes prepared. She can only wonder what cosplay is next.

Yurika provokes him by asking him to bath together, but he immediately refuses as he wouldn’t want to get hit. She’s rather disappointed by his lack of response. As she glares at him, Gretel replies that he wouldn’t mind if she remained tied up. In an attempt to change the subject, she suggests for him to bath first. He agrees and pats her head, checking if she plans to do anything while he’s inside – perhaps a prank? She says that she isn’t like him. The moment he disappears inside the bathroom, she stands up, ready to take her revenge. She laughs aloud, saying villain-like lines. But she yelps as Gretel appears half-naked, and shuts her eyes.

Gretel: How unladylike……shouting “gya–“. You’re still a woman, so please at least scream more cutely. What exactly are you doing……
Yurika: That’s my line! At least wear something, or hurry up and close the door–!
Gretel: Alright, it’s closed.
Yurika: You say that, but you only closed the door right!?
Gretel: Hmm……it looks like sister also learned.

He points out that she was fine washing his underwear though, and she replies that she isn’t fine with him being naked though. He corrects her, saying that he is wearing his underwear. In the first place, a half-naked man and the heroine were also locked in each other in her novel. She squats down and screams with all of her might, till she hears the door closing again. She peers around, confirming that he has already entered. She hears the sound of the shower too. But she swerves around, knowing that this is a feint too. However, his figure is nowhere to be seen. Yurika recovers herself, and wonders what she should do next. She can’t possible prepare a cosplay for him. Instead, she decides to search the place.

First, she checks the cage. It doesn’t look like there’s any special contraptions, but it catches her interest the most. She enters it, and it does feel more suffocating. She heads to the kitchen next, checking the drawers and fridge. All the utensils and stuff are made out of paper or plastic. There’s nothing dangerous like a kitchen knife inside, either to avoid her getting hurt – or him getting hurt. She looks under the bed, but it’s too dark to see anything. She narrows her eyes, but can’t find anything.

And then she opens the closet. Her clothes from yesterday are hanging inside. It looks like he washed them, and dried them out properly. Besides that, there are other pieces of unfamiliar clothing. Below, she finds a bag filled with newly-bought lingerie. Looking carefully, all of them still have a price tag attached. Though she knows that he bought it as a change of clothes, she still can only think of him as a pervert. Honestly, he could’ve just taken the lingerie from her room instead of specially buying new ones. Was there a special reason for him to do this?

Finally, she stands before the wood stove. She peers inside, noticing that the fire’s barely burning. She can’t open it with her hands tied. But since the fire’s dying out, she does feel a bit chilly now. In the end, she found nothing of interest. She did search a bit yesterday too. But she can’t do anything with this. Left with no choice, she resorts to her last option – a funny face. She gets ready as she waits for Gretel to come out. But it backfires as she laughs at his new look – a waiter look. It’s taking all that she has to hold back her laughter.

Gretel: It doesn’t suit me?
Yurika: No! It suits you a lot! Fu……fufu……I-I’m sorry……but I never expected you to appear in that outfit……
Gretel: It’s a matching look with sister’s.
Yurika: Ah, that’s true. Both of us cosplaying? Ku……ahaha……

Thinking about it rationally, it truly is a hilarious situation. She’s having a hard time stopping herself from laughing. He tells her to go and bath now, untying the ribbon around her ankle. Yurika smells a sweet scent, similar to vanilla or honey. Gretel remarks that it’s the same for her, since it’s the smell of the soap. He hurries her along, while gathering a towel and new change of clothes for her from the closet.

Yurika: ……is this lingerie also to Gretel-kun’s liking?
Gretel: Of course. I’ll prepare the food while sister is bathing. Do you have any requests?
Yurika: ……Gretel-kun’s best dish would be good!
Gretel: Understood.

When she’s done, Yurika finds rose cupcakes with plenty of cream, and rose jam filling. He also prepared tea with hints of rose petals and mint leaves. When asked for her opinion, she answers delightfully that it’s delicious.

Flashback

She smells cigarette smoke when she arrives home. An annoyed-looking Gretel says that he’s going back to his room first, and he disappears upstairs. Yurika heads to the kitchen, where she finds Ryoushi smoking, as expected. He welcomes her back with disinterest, and she grabs his cigarette and puts it out in the sink. She reminds him sternly that smoking is prohibited here, and to eat a sweet instead. Speaking of sweets, he hands her a jar filled with colourful sweets. Ryoushi wants her to handle it, since Gretel eats too much.

At that moment, Gretel remarks that it’s unnecessary. He had realised that it was missing from his room – in other words, Ryoushi entered his room. He reckons that it’s a violation of privacy. Ryoushi replies that there’s no such thing as privacy between them. The younger boy snaps that he hates him precisely because he acts this way, snatching the jar from him and marching off. Yurika glances towards her older brother, but he reasons that someone needs to guard over him. She isn’t quite sure about his choice of words, advising him to be more kind.

Ryoushi: Sometimes it’s necessary to push them aside too.
Yurika: Even though you’re family……
Ryoushi: I’m not family. And so are you. You don’t see him as family don’t you.
Yurika: …………
Ryoushi: That’s fine. It’s your feelings. Do what you like. But Yurika, he isn’t the good kid you and father think that he is. It’s true that his circumstances were pitiful. It’s not as if I don’t understand the feeling of wanting to care for and spoil him. But that’s a twisted love. It’s for sure that he’ll be twisted, being raised with twisted love. You can see those signs in him now. It’s no good to be too close. It’s not a laughing matter if it’s mutual destruction. Listen well. This is a warning. Don’t spoil him too much. Don’t make him rely on you too much. If not, there will come a day when the aggression in him is directed towards you.

Later, Yurika finds Gretel by the lake. She sits next to him, and points out the jar he is holding. It has a lot less candy in it now. He replies that he it eases his irritation and uneasiness when he eats it. But just like Ryoushi mentioned, she also advises him against eating too much. He won’t be able to eat her food too. He agrees, except that he has a separate stomach for food and sweets. Rather than that, he remark that she knew exactly where to find him.

Yurika: I know everything, if it’s about Gretel-kun.
Gretel: That’s an invasion of privacy.
Yurika: Even family?
Gretel: Even family.
Yurika: …………
Gretel: ……well, sister is special. I’ll forgive you.
Yurika: Hooray! Thank you for the special treatment! Gretel-sama!
Gretel: This part of you……
Yurika: What part?
Gretel: This part of you is really hateful.

He pinches her nose upon his last remark, and she whines in return. Gretel chuckles, and offers to let her lie down on his lap. Yurika freezes at his abrupt suggestion, questioning him as she mimics Ookami’s tone. In the same tone, he replies that there’s no special reason.

Gretel: Are you unsatisfied? Aah, so you don’t really need it.
Yurika: Nononono!! I need it a lot!! Please, I beg of you!!
Gretel: I see. Then, please go ahead.

After some hesitation, she lies down on his lap. To be honest, she’s more distracted by his face above hers than how comfortable his lap is. When he asks if this is the first time a guy has done it for her, her reply is vague. He mulls over this, before telling her to relax and forcing her to lie down completely. Yurika hurts her neck a bit, but she endures it. She asks if his legs are numb, and he replies that he will push her away when it does. When she pretends to sob over this, Gretel says that it’s just a joke and takes her hand.

Gretel: Your hands are cold……I’ll warm them up for you.
Yurika: Eheheh……

He entwines his fingers with hers, like lovers do. She unwittingly grins at this, but quickly switches back to a straight face. He chuckles at this.

Gretel: If other people look at us, they won’t think of us as sister and brother.
Yurika: W-well, there aren’t any sisters and brothers who do this right?
Gretel: Yes, that’s right. Normally.
Yurika: Yes……normally.

They emphasise the word “normally”, they know best that they aren’t normal. It’s nighttime already, and he asks what she will do if they can no longer return home.

Yurika: Gretel-kun doesn’t want to return?
Gretel: I’m the one who asked the question.
Yurika: That’s what I meant.
Gretel: Hah?
Yurika: If Gretel-kun wants to return home, then I will too. If Gretel-kun doesn’t want to return home, then I won’t.
Gretel: We’re in the same boat?
Yurika: Perhaps we’re of one heart and mind. How about……leaving home together?
Gretel: Uwah, what a bad temptation. What will you do by ensnaring me in a sweet trap?
Yurika: I may deliciously eat you up.
Gretel: What a bad witch.
Yurika: Perhaps.

They laugh, and soon Gretel starts to feel sleepy. She offers to switch places, but he replies that it’s fine. Yurika tells him to sleep a little while, and that she will wakes him up later. He closes his eyes, and she holds his hand tightly.

Gretel: Please don’t leave me while I’m asleep.
Yurika: Don’t worry. I won’t let go of this hand no matter what.
Gretel: ……no matter what? Really?
Yurika: Yes.
Gretel: No matter what I do?
Yurika: Of course.
Gretel: Even if sister dies in my place?
Yurika: Yes. I’ll die in your place.
Gretel: …………
Yurika: What’s wrong?
Gretel: ……honestly I’m turned off. It’s scary.
Yurika: Eeh–. How cruel……
Gretel: I’ll only be troubled if you say such a serious thing so casually.
Yurika: Even though it was Gretel-kun who asked.
Gretel: …………why would you go so far for me?
Yurika: Because I love you. I love you a lot. So I’ll do anything.
Gretel: ……can you also say that to other family member?
Yurika: I guess not. Only Gretel-kun.
Gretel: I’m special?
Yurika: Yes. Only Gretel-kun is special.
Gretel: I see……

He knows that Ryoushi still suspects him, that he may hurt someone. Her heart leaps at his words. He asks if she’s also uneasy and suspects him. That the reason she is always with him is because she was told to watch over him. Yurika insists that she’s only worried about me. But Gretel points out that it’s the same thing – she’s worried because she’s uneasy. She said that he was special – but in what way is he special? She can’t read his expression, and struggles to find the right words to satisfy him.

Yurika: ……I like it, giving special treatment.
Gretel: ………………I suppose. I may like sister giving me “special treatment” like this.

He bends down, and kisses her forehead.

Let’s go back to half a year before this happened. Similarly, Gretel behaves like a model student. He would score almost full marks for all subjects, is skillfull enough in any task, and is always calm. He treats others well, knowing how to make the other person happy. His form teacher even adds that he has a charm which attracts all types of people. Both her parents and her, all think dearly of him.

One afternoon, he receives a phone call from their father. As always, he asks if Gretel has any difficulties. As always, Gretel replies that everything is fine. After the call, he comments that it makes him uneasy instead as he wonders if he’s not trustful enough. Yurika is sure that he just thinks of Gretel as important. While their parents are busy, they would still call and visit from time to time. And they buy and prepare anything he needs, so that he can live comfortably. The same applies to her too. She will do anything for him and attends to him kindly, so that he can live freely and happily. One can say that she’s pampering him. Gretel seems to hold no suspicion towards this, and lives his life freely.

In his room, she teaches him as per requested. He’s impressed by how easy it is to understand her. He also wishes that he went to the same school as her, but she replies that it can’t be helped since they’re in different years. However, it may be possible to skip grades if it’s an overseas university. He ponders over this, saying that it may be nice. It’s not that he dislikes his current school, but he feels that everyone else around him is too dumb. Yurika thinks to herself that he is pretty boastful of his own excellence, though it also can’t be helped. But if he gets into her current school, they can be together even more. Gretel agrees, and she tells him to rely on her whenever he needs to.

They may be a bit different, but she thought that they were doing well as a family. And that it would continue forever. Till that day came. The incident happened at Gretel’s school. Gretel and his classmate were both hurt. The perpetrator was……Gretel. After school, Gretel got into a fight with the classmate, and the damage inflicted was severe enough to warrant several stitches. All the adults gathered later that day, to discuss what to do with him. It was decided that he will be suspended for 2 weeks. The adults all feared that he had a mental disorder, and decided to temporarily quarantine him. Ryoushi drags Gretel away, who is struggling.

Gretel: No!! Let me go!! Let me go!!
Ryoushi: Just come with me!
Gretel: No!! I don’t want to……!!
Yurika: Gretel-kun!!
Gretel: Sister! Help……!! Please help me!!

Ryoushi shuts Gretel inside a small room. She blames him, asking why he has to lock Gretel up here. He could just let the younger brother stay at home. The older brother says that it’s a necessary measure, and reassures her that all the necessities have been prepared. He refuses to let Yurika see Gretel. In the end, she couldn’t do anything. He asked her for help, yet she couldn’t.

She finally sees him one week later, and he’s extremely frail. He seemed to have refused food and water. She asks if he needs anything, and reassures him that she will be here. She will protect him. After that, Gretel safely returned home and she paid even more attention to him. Yurika would accompany him to school everyday, and remove anything that would become a burden to him. Thankfully, he appears cheerful again and they led their life as they did previously. But the bad relationship between him and Ryoushi worsened, and it showed each time they met. And one other thing changed. Gretel no longer let himself be spoiled by her.

End of Flashback

She finally realises it. This isn’t a cottage in the woods, it’s the place he was locked up in. Why couldn’t she recall it immediately?  She wakes up and makes out his blurry figure. She saw a dream, but he places his finger on her lips, preventing her from speaking any further.  Gretel sits on the bed, cutting up a pancake with a fork. He offers to feed her, and praises her when she eats it. He continues to feed her, treating her kindly as if she’s an injured little bird. After Yurika finishes everything, he takes the empty plate away. She observes that the curtains are drawn.

She then asks why he kissed her then, when he let her lie on his lap. He goes quiet, and then hugs her. She doesn’t struggle, since she doesn’t hate it. Despite the odd situation, it doesn’t change the fact that the person she likes is hugging her. Gretel whispers in her ear, asking if she’s happy to be hugged by him. She honestly admits that she is.

Gretel: Pervert.
Yurika: Pffft!
Gretel: How dirty……
Yurika: W-w-w-……what!? P-p-p-pervert!?
Gretel: You’re happy to be hugged by your younger brother. And even in this situation. I’m moved by the amount of nerves you have.
Yurika: It’s Gretel-kun who did it!!
Gretel: ……that’s right. I locked sister up. In other words, I’m a big pervert.

He presses down on her legs, even though her legs are already tied up. He smiles at his last remark, even though it’s nothing to laugh about.

Gretel: But, well…………how would it be if someone who aren’t sister and brother and are just strangers, hug each other?

Yurika looks at him in surprise, tensing up. She is speechless. It’s as if his cold eyes have the ability to turn people into stone. After a while, she finally finds her voice.

Yurika: ……you realised?
Gretel: Of course. And I also know that sister likes me. Of course, in a romantic way.
Yurika: …………!!

She ducks under the covers, but he pulls it away, asking her to look at him. She shakes her head, and apologises. He asks why she is apologising. Thinking about it, it’s true. She hasn’t done anything to apologise for. But those are the only words she can speak.

Gretel: Please look at my face.
Yurika: …………it’s impossible.
Gretel: Please show me your cute face, sister. Look at me.
Yurika: Don’t look at me……

When Yurika still stubbornly refuses to turn over, he grabs her forcefully, turning her chin upwards to face him.

Gretel: Why did I kiss you? Of course it’s because I treat you specially. I wanted to spoil you. I thought that if you like me, you’d be happy. It was a service. The special of a special treatment, is romantic feelings. Sister is bad at hiding things. Or was that obvious attitude deliberate? I often get annoyed at that. On the whole I respect sister, I like you a lot, but I really hate that part of you. Even though you can guess what I’m thinking without me saying it most of the times, why doesn’t that sink into you. I thought many times that I wanted to love you. No, that’s not it. I love you. I love sister. If I wanted, I could kiss you, and even have sex with you.
Yurika: !

She lets out a silent scream, as he grabs her chest.

Gretel: I like sister. I love sister. There’s nothing strange if we became lovers. No one will criticise us. No one will blame us. After all, we’re not blood-related. But we can’t. We can’t. Sister knows that right……?

Gretel starts tearing up, and she blinks in surprise.

Gretel: Sister…………I……don’t want to be abandoned by you alone……

taiali2g-3

Flashback

It’s the 24th time she has sighed that day. Ookami shakes her, asking what’s wrong for it’s unlike her. Moreover, it’s rare for her not to leave school immediately to fetch Gretel. He’s shocked when she answers that she stopped. Yurika decides to ask him as a representative of men, if men can kiss women they don’t like. Without any hesitation, he answers with a beaming smile that they can. It may have been wrong to ask him, since he represents the wolves. After parting ways from Ookami, she thinks back to yesterday. Why did Gretel kiss her then? What did he mean by that? But it’s a given between family right? She feels depressed by her own thoughts, and squats. Even if you’re family or a Westerner, do you suddenly kiss people on the face? Surely not. Personally, she can’t imagine kissing anyone else besides the person she loves. She sighs for the 25th time.

Just then, a boy calls out to her. It’s the delinquents from the other day. She checks her surroundings – it’s filed with students going home, so it’s fine for now. They want to talk about Gretel, and ask her to follow them. Yurika refuses, but her arm is grabbed by the boy she had provoked the other day. She threatens to shout, but he says that he will do something to Gretel if she does, adding that he isn’t her younger brother though. She demands to know what they did to him. He replies that they were annoyed with Gretel, and called him out to beat him up. As they starting beating him up, he started crying and apologising, and cried out for her. He claims that they’re taking good care of him now, and shows her a video what looks like Gretel getting kicked, and crying out for his sister. There seems to be trees in the background, and recognises it as the forest near the lake. One of the boys flinches at her words, confirming her suspicions.

Before she can call for help, her mouth is covered and an electric shock is sent to her back. They tell her to be quiet, they just want to fetch her cute brother. In fact, they say that Gretel also knows that she’s not his sister, but a complete stranger. Yurika remains calm, seeing nothing wrong with that. She looks around, but the surrounding people draw back, intimidated by the boys’ glares. This is obviously a trap. But she can’t abandon Gretel. She has no other choice, and agrees to follow them. She swipes their hands away, saying that she won’t run away. At that moment, her phone rings. One of them grabs it from her, switching it off. While they confiscate her phone, she secretly drops her belongings one by one without them noticing. If anything happens to her, hopefully someone will see this and come for her.

They lead her into a dark forest. Her alarm signals are going off in her head, but she can’t escape till she confirms Gretel’s safety. Soon they stop in their tracks, and direct the flashlight to a tree. Yurika checks the person tied to it – but it’s not Gretel. It was a trap. Before she can escape, one of them grabs her. When she pushes him away, the boy supposed to be tied up grabs her instead. When she resists, her hair gets pulled and she gets kicked to the ground. She’s hardly able to bear the pain, and one boy pulls her hair and slaps her with a sadistic smile. Fear overwhelms her, and she trembles. For the first time ever, she felt that she was going to get killed. She screams for help, but her voice is hardly loud enough. They laugh at her.

When she tries to crawl away, they turn her over and shine the light at her. She’s blinded for a second, and asks them to stop. Her plea only makes them more abusive, and the one who appears to be the leader straddles her. When she’s held down, she scratches and bites on their hands. She receives a punch in return, and soon feels blood flowing out of her nose. Her vision blurs and her consciousness drifts, so she bites on her lip to stay awake. The boy recalls what she did to him the other day, and reaches for her top. As much as she wants to cry out, she can’t form her voice. And she cannot find the strength in her to resist. She can’t think of what to do  next, and is irked by the breathing on her neck and the hand up her clothes.

Yurika shuts her eyes in an attempt to reject reality. Just then, someone shouts at them, saying that they’re the police. A bright light shines over her. The boys flee the scene, and Akazukin rushes to her side. He helps her up. Unlike before, his touch doesn’t feel disgusting to her. He widens his eyes when he sees her face, and says that they need to go to the hospital. She grabs him, she can’t stop trembling. He pauses, before placing his hand over hers and comforting her. He will protect her no matter what. She’s overwhelmed with relief and fear, and starts crying. Flustered, he tells her to get a grip and covers her with his red hood for now, before gently carrying her. After that, he brought her home. He persuaded her over and over to go to the hospital, but she insisted on returning home first.

There wasn’t anyone at home. After refusing Akazukin again, she goes to take a shower. Her wounds hurt, but more than that she wanted to wash away the dirt stuck to her. She cleans off all of the dirt with warm water. Once she’s done, she goes downstairs and finds Akazukin waiting with a first-aid kit. He hands her an ice pack for the swelling on her cheek, and proceeds to check on her wounds. She reassures him that it doesn’t hurt. When asked why he was there, he answers that he happened to find her dropped belongings. He had a bad feeling and followed, plus he is confident when it comes to acting in the forest. He knows that she dropped the items on purpose. He shouldn’t be saying this when she’s hurt, but he questions why she still followed them knowing of the possible dangers. After all, all men are wolves. He’s glad that he made it in the nick of time. Yurika can tell that he’s sincerely worried, and apologises.

Despite that, she doesn’t regret it. Even if she was assaulted, she’s fine if the one she loves is safe. Even if it’s a 1% possibility of saving him, she will cling to it. She doesn’t even mind dying. That’s just who she is. That being said, she should’ve thought more carefully and hedged her own risks. She fully understands now that she can’t do anything against multiple people with weapons. She’ll think of this pain, fear, and shame as the price.

Akazukin: ……I’m sorry. Anyone would’ve been scared if they were threatened. Yet I said such an inconsiderate remark.
Yurika: ……no. It’s not wrong that I was at fault. I’m sorry for worrying you. And thank you for saving me.

She smiles at him, and he pulls his hood down. He then asks her to close her eyes, while he checks the injury on her face. Thankfully, it looks like her eyes weren’t hurt, and she can hear him just fine. Akazukin treats her wounds carefully, before asking if she’s hurt anywhere else. She recalls that she was kicked in the stomach, and that there was a bruise.

Yurika: Do you want to see it?
Akazukin: N-no!! It’s fine!!
Yurika: Fufu……

She is able to forget all the horrible things when she’s with him, and the mood around her softens. He looks at her curiously, finding it unexpected that she’s this energetic. Yurika tries to reply brightly that the past can’t be helped, so she should look to the future. And at least she’s safe. He looks at her with a serious gaze, before looking at the floor and remarking that she’s strong. But she should not force herself. While she may be stronger than other people, she is still a frail lady. She giggles at how contradicting his statement is, but she knows that he’s thinking for her and thanks him. He blushes, and continues tending to her wounds.

Yurika learns from Akazukin that those delinquents often hide in the forest to smoke and drink. He asks if she intends to take revenge, and she reassures that she won’t do something that dangerous. She explains that those kids seem to have some connection with Gretel. He thinks that the incident Gretel was involved in in the past may be related. Thinking back, she realises that perhaps one of those delinquents’ friends may have been involved with Gretel. Akazukin firmly reminds her not to get involved any further. She should leave this to the police and focus on resting. Of course, he intends to report this case since it was a crime – those who commit crimes need to be punished. But first she should go to the hospital.

Out of the blue, Yurika asks if you can tell that she was hit. He hesitates. She saw her face in the bathroom mirror, and almost cried at how ugly she looked. Honestly, she doesn’t even want to show it to Akazukin. She begs Akazukin to keep this a secret from Gretel. There’s no telling what he will do if he finds out. He eventually agrees, but asks what she plans to do in the meantime. She thinks that she’ll have to avoid Gretel till her wounds heal. She’ll ask her parents to contact Gretel, pretending that she has returned to their home for now. And she’ll take time off school. In any case, she needs to hurry. She goes upstairs and packs her things. But it was careless of her to have avoided the police and hospital, and coming home instead.

When she opens her door, Gretel is already at home. He’s shocked to see her face, asking who did it. He refuses to believes her excuses, and grits his teeth when she hugs him instead, telling him not to worry. He drags her into the room, checking all of her other injuries. He confirms that someone did this to her, and questions if she was raped. She screams that she wasn’t.

Gretel: Then, what was done to you? Why did sister have to end up like this?
Yurika: This was brought upon myself.
Gretel: What do you mean brought upon yourself!! It’s impossible……for the outstanding sister to have this brought upon yourself.
Yurika: I’m not as outstanding as you think I am……
Gretel: Why didn’t you tell me……? You told Akazukin-san right? What is the reason that you could tell him, but not me?
Yurika: You’re wrong……
Gretel: What is wrong!! ……is it my fault? Is it my fault that sister ended up like this? That’s why sister…………
Yurika: You’re wrong!
Gretel: Then please tell me! If you’re thinking for me, tell me straight who did this to you!!

She can’t escape, but she keeps a straight face and replies that she was hit by a car, and Akazukin saved her. He asks why she didn’t go to the police or hospital then. Yurika points out that her wounds were treated, she did go. But he says that it’s a lie – he saw that the supplies in the first-aid kit had went down. He trembles, and starts to cry.

Gretel: Please don’t lie……

When she reaches out to him, he takes her hand and kisses it.

Gretel: Sister…………sister, sister, sister…………!! Poor sister……you were beaten so badly……it hurt didn’t it? It was scary right? I’m sorry that I couldn’t save you……sister……!

He sobs into her chest, and she can feel herself tearing up too. But she tries to stop herself from crying, not wanting to show her weak side to him. After a while, Gretel sits up. His eyes are swollen. He takes out a bottle, opening it up as he smiles while still crying.

Gretel: This……please eat this. Let’s erase the bad memories.
Yurika: Gretel-kun……?

She slowly shakes her head, but she can’t run away as he clings to her. He says that she will only sleep for a bit. He puts a few pieces in his mouth, and kisses her, forcing his tongue in and making her swallow the pills. After a long kiss, their lips part but they’re still feeling heated. Gretel continues to kiss her.

Gretel: Sister……I’m sorry……even though we’re siblings……doing such a thing…………but…………today……just today is special……you like special things right……?

She starts to feel sleepy, and dazed.

Gretel: ……don’t worry. If you fall asleep like this, you will think that everything which happened today was but a dream. This is a bad dream. A nightmare which the devil showed you. When you wake up, let’s happily live together again?

He gives a peck on her lips, and the bottle from his hand rolls down. The colourful pieces spill out on the bed and floor. Almost like a sweet dream. Gretel dashes out of the house, and Yurika struggles to chase after him. Midway, she sticks her fingers into her throat and tries to throw up what she was made to swallow, but to no avail. She can only cry. She knew this would happen. After that, she loses consciousness.

She wakes up in the hospital – is this a dream or reality? Ryoushi rushes to her side. He had received a call from the police and rushed back, only to find her collapsed on the floor. He called for an ambulance then. Someone reported to the police that she had been attacked. Yurika thinks that it’s most likely Akazukin who reported it. Gretel is not at home, and probably went to exact revenge on those delinquents. He had given her a mixture of sleeping pills and anti-anxiety pills. It would’ve been dangerous if the dosage was off. He tells her to wait here while he goes to search for Gretel. Even though it’s ideal to work with the police, he hasn’t told them anything yet due to the situation. Yurika thanks him, and he pats her head before leaving.

Despite her headache and lethargy, she sits up. It’s most likely been a day since then. Only her injuries were treated. It seem that stomach pumping wasn’t done as she didn’t consume that much drugs. She observes that the sky is already dyed orange. She needs to find Gretel and return home. Yurika leaps out of bed, and wanders into the forest. It’s nighttime already. She has a bad feeling. She needs to find Gretel before her older brother does – and locks him up again. If that happens, Gretel will lose himself for sure. Soon, she smells alcohol. She also hears weeping, and a familiar voice laughing.

Gretel: I said I won’t hit you anymore. Did you know? Wine with a high enough alcohol content, is flammable if you set fire to it. Shall we try?

Yurika spots Gretel with the boys lying on the floor, in a pool of blood. They plead with him, but he refuses. He’s not the devil, they are for trying to assault her. He needs to take care of the trash. now. She hugs him from behind, telling him to stop. Looking closely, there’s blood on him too. But he only smiles and wipes the blood off his face. He advises her not to touch their dirty blood, there’s no telling what infection she’ll get. He tells her not to worry as he’s done soon, and lights a match. She tries to grab it for him, and it falls to the ground. But he takes out another one.

Yurika: Please. Don’t do this……
Gretel: This? What I’m doing for sister’s sake? Don’t mind it. I won’t let sister take on the dirty tasks.
Yurika: I’m sorry……sorry……I was wrong……
Gretel: Why is sister apologising? It was these worms who hurt sister right?

He kicks one of them, and she screams at him to stop. They will die at this rate.

Gretel: Hah? It’s fine if they just die. These trash of the society, will only become hopeless adults if they live on and grow up. They’ll act according to their desires, as if unable to distinguish right from wrong. There’s no worth in their lives. It’s exactly that.

Yurika shakes her head, and can’t stop herself from crying. He questions why she’s speaking up for them, when they had attacked her. She was almost sexually assaulted. They scarred her body and her heart. She may have almost been left with one for life.

Yurika: I’m fine.
Gretel: I’m not fine!! It makes my skin crawl to think that the people who hurt sister can keep living comfortably!!
Yurika: Please……stop……if you do anymore than this, we won’t be able to return home together……
Gretel: Sister……

The moment the tension in Gretel relaxes, Ryoushi finds them and hurts Gretel. He grabs the younger boy by the collar. He also shouts at Yurika for leaving the hospital. He has lost his usual composure, and it makes her shirk a bit.

Gretel: Scold me if you want. Despite being scared, sister chased after me.
Yurika: Gretel-kun……
Ryoushi: ……Gretel! Do you know what you were about to do!? What you were doing is murder!!
Gretel: I know. What’s wrong with that.
Ryoushi: What’s wrong……

He’s speechless, and decides to leave the lecture for later. Ryoushi checks that the boys are still breathing, and calls for the ambulance. Gretel questions what he’s doing, thinking they should just be left here.

Gretel: They assaulted your sister!!
Ryoushi: But that doesn’t mean that violence can be forgiven!! These people whom you were about to kill, also have family!!
Gretel: Family…………then is my existence less than that of worms’ (them)?
Yurika: Gretel-kun!
Gretel: Isn’t that right? Because I don’t have any family. I know that we aren’t family, without anyone telling me. Unlike you all, I’m not outstanding or anything, I’m equivalent to a pebble (worthless existence). That’s why I worked hard didn’t it! Studies! Sports! Didn’t I desperately do everything I could so that you all, who are so outstanding, would acknowledge me!!
Ryoushi: Gretel……
Gretel: Shut up shut up shut uupp!!!! I knew. I noticed……I’m different from you all, I’m not outstanding and nowhere near a genius. Studies and sports, I built up my position today by working hard in the shadows……I just, wholeheartedly wanted to catch up to sister, and wholeheartedly built up my ideal self (brother figure) as I wanted to connect to sister. Why……why……did you all have to go and destroy that!! Sister…………sister, sister…………I just don’t want sister to abandon me……please don’t abandon me……

Yurika’s heart hurt more than anyone else’s, seeing him crying tears while stained with blood. For her sake, and it was her fault, that he was hurt and hurt others. There’s no other way out if she doesn’t want him getting hurt anymore. She reaches out to him and kisses his cheek. She takes his hand and starts running, ignoring Ryoushi. She doesn’t need any signs indicating the way home. Because she has abandoned her home.

This is a lost forest. Even though the moon is shining brightly, the siblings who have lost all signs can’t return home anymore. She doesn’t know where they’re going, but she reassures Gretel that she will protect him. Just then, a black cat appears, waving its tail while walking deep into the forest. It comes back to them, and walks deeper again – it seems to be guiding them. Soon, they discover a small house. The black cat leaps onto the roof, but it disappears when they approach the house. Welcome to sweet home.

End of Flashback

Upon seeing his crying face, Yurika’s hazy memories become clearer. She remembers what he did, what she did. He leapt into hellfire in order to protect her.

Gretel: I don’t want to be abandoned by you alone……I don’t mind being hated by my parents and brother who left me in that house……I don’t even mind being abandoned by them……but I just don’t want sister to let go of my hand…………yet, I……think this every time I look at sister. Aah, how delicious-looking. To the point that I want to eat you.
Yurika: …………

Eating her. That would be the end of their sister-brother relationship.

Gretel: ……sister didn’t know right? That I had always thought this way. Or did you already know, and deliberately pretended?
Yurika: …………
Gretel: You’re cunning. Sister. You tempt people closer with a sweet scent, but it’s dangerous to eat you……is there such a cruel thing? Sister, I can’t help but want to eat you. I’m so hungry that I can’t bear it. Sister……Sister, please reject me. That we’re blood-related, that’s why we can’t. Sister, please admonish me. That I can’t eat you. Sister, sister, sister…………save me…………
Yurika: Gretel-kun……

She’s the one giving him pain. It’s her sin for loving him as a man, and not as a brother.

>> Eat me: She says the forbidden words, words which she truly desires from the bottom of her heart. Hearing this, Gretel kisses her and wraps an arm around her waist. The ribbon tied around her hands gets released. Their fingers, legs, tongues, are all interlocked in sweet pleasure.

Gretel: Sister……so delicious……I’ve always, always, wanted to eat you……sister also……wanted to be eaten by me right……?
Yurika: Yes……

taiali2g-4

Later, Yurika wakes up to a burning smell. Gretel is not there. There is smoke coming out from the cracks in the wall. Uneasy, she screams for him but he does’t appear. Wizard shows up, saying that he won’t come back. Gretel has thrown himself into hellfire.

Wizard: Even though he said he didn’t want to, you ate him because you wanted to feel better. When he held you, he probably felt happy. He probably felt exhilarated. But when he woke up, he was filled with despair. By desiring a physical connection, an intangible bond was cut off. She was the one who pushed him. She shoved him into hellfire. That’s why, I shall give you the push. (BAD END)

>> You can’t eat me: She tells him that he can’t. She won’t look, no matter how sweet a dream she wants to see. If he won’t eat no matter how delicious the food is, so she will endure too. She can become any role if he wishes it – be it lovers, friends, or family. She will create the person he desires for. She is willing to give up herself for him.

Yurika: Gretel-kun is my cute, cute brother. My important family.
Gretel: That’s right……to eat sister, such a terrifying thing………………

Suddenly, his hands tremble and he has difficulty breathing. Gretel quickly heads to the kitchen, and takes out a familiar-looking bottle.

Yurika: That is……
Gretel: ……this is sweets specially-made for me, given to me by that person. When I eat this, my sickness seems to cure. Sister knew it too right?
Yurika: …………
Gretel: I seem to be sick. What a weird story right. Even though I’m this healthy……

He takes out a handful and swallows it all, ignoring her warning.

Gretel: ……I know it too what’s wrong with it. But I feel uneasy if I don’t eat this……
Yurika: Gretel-kun…………
Gretel: Does sister want to eat it too? You will feel calmer if you eat this. Or do you want me to feed you like that time?
Yurika: …………

She slowly shakes her head, and he realises that she has remembered after all. Even though he took the trouble to make her forget everything.

Yurika: ……you made me eat that?
Gretel: Yes. This is magic candy. If anyone else besides me eats too much of it, their memories will get clouded. A strange candy. Hahahaha, strange–……there, please laugh too, sister?
Yurika: Haha……

(Note: In Japanese, candy/sweet and weird/strange have the same pronunciation.) She had a slight realisation since before that those were medicine. But now he has finally admitted it. Gretel asks if she isn’t angry, and she asks if he wants her to be angry. He remains quiet, and looks away.

Yurika: ……I’m not angry. I was the one who pushed you to this extent, I was also the only who gave the push. I wasn’t brought here, I came here on my own will. Why do I need to be angry?
Gretel: Sister always spoils me.
Yurika: I like you that’s why I spoil you.
Gretel: That’s why I’m being melted to liquid……sister, please let me spoil you. Please need me. Be spoiled by me so much that you can no longer do without me.
Yurika: Alright. If you want to lock me up it’s fine, it’s fine to do what you like. I shall accept your everything.

(Note: In Japanese, the character in “to spoil” is the same as “sweet”. Hence the double meanings.) There’s no light in the room. The curtains are drawn and the cracks are even taped up. The room is even darker than outside at nighttime. It’s as if they’re in a world swallowed up by darkness. Yurika can’t tell what expression Gretel is wearing since it’s dark, but he sounds cheerful. He tells her to be careful when walking lest she trips. But if she does, he will take care of her. Even though he was just crying a while ago, he seems to have returned to his usual self due to the medicine. She doesn’t know if she feels relief or fear, as her feelings have grown somewhat numb. But now that she has her memories back, she knows now what Gretel wants to do.

Just like he said, he want to spoil her. By restraining her movement, switching off the heater, fending off the light – he robs away everything she can do and forcefully shuts her out from the world so that she will not be able to live without him. The closest expression would be that he’s raising her. Gretel sits next to her on the bed, and strokes her hair. Yurika lies her head on his shoulder, and stops all thought. They are siblings, not lovers. She was almost caught in his trap.

Gretel: Please don’t hold back and tell me if you want anything. Be it milk, cocoa, or delicious, delicious sweets. There is everything here. Let’s live together amusingly. Sister.
Yurika: ……yes.

(Note: Gretel says 面白可笑しい which means amusing, funny.) She closes her eyes, and can feel his presence even more closely. It’s a fake happiness. A twisted happiness. But she thinks that it’s fine as it’s still happiness. They’ll continue to live here happily, the end – not. She thinks back to when Gretel’s temperament grew unstable. It’s abnormal, the way he’s eating so much medicine. His trembles and signs of sweat is also a symptom of his dependence of them. The more one takes them, the less effect they have – and one ends up taking more. As the cycle continues, it grows more uncontrollable. Or so that’s what she heard. It looks like Gretel has grown reliant on the sweet, sweet candy, and grown strange.

Yurika opens her eyes, and adjusts to seeing in the dark. She asks him for a sweet dessert, and he looks surprised. After all, he had just admitted a while ago to having given her sweets to muddle her memory. Gretel agrees, and walks to the kitchen, asking if she has any requests. As per usual, she replies that anything will do if it’s made by him. He starts preparing it, after lighting up a lamp. She observes him closely, trying to catch the moment he mixes in the poison. But he’s done in a flash. She takes a bite, and it’s delicious – nothing else. He recalls his earlier words about the tampered sweets, asking if she isn’t scared. She replies that she isn’t.

It’s true that her memories weren’t clear when she first came here. But she remembers everything vividly in these past few days. There’s a limit to his medicine. If he had also mixed it into her food, the amount should have decreased quite a bit. As of now, his bottle is only 1/3 full. He was probably afraid that he wouldn’t have enough for himself, and avoided giving it to her these past few days.

Yurika: I like you no matter who you are.
Gretel: Even if I’m a villain?
Yurika: Yes.
Gretel: Even if I’m abnormal?
Yurika: I like you.
Gretel: ……perhaps it’s sister who is abnormal for saying that you like me without any hesitation at all.
Yurika: Gretel-kun is wonderful. You think for me and work so wholeheartedly for my sake, you’re a brother I’m proud of.
Gretel: Sister……

She warns him not to eat too much sweets though. The way he’s taking them is dangerous, and it may even cost him his life if he isn’t careful. But he doesn’t think that he can stop. So she replies that they will slowly cut down on it. It would’ve been best if she could consult Ryoushi, but it can’t be helped. They threw away a lot of things to get here. They weren’t abandoned by their family, they abandoned their home.

Episode of Gretel (aka Gretel’s POV)

Yurika is sleeping closely next to him. He chuckles when she snuggles further into the blanket when he pinches her. He enjoys seeing her reactions when he teases her, it makes him want to tease her more. Her cheek feels cold, even though her body feels warm – who is really the one feeling hot? Gretel hugs her, feeling her warm breath and chest against him. He heaves a sigh. He wants to touch her, to bury his face in her neck and kiss her. This is a trap. If he gets crushed by his beastly instinct, he will end up losing what’s most important to him. He’s afraid of that the most. Gretel whispers into her ear, calling her stupid.

When he separates himself from her, he’s attacked by a wave of anxiety and uneasiness. He hurriedly eats the candy, and swallows the illusion of Yurika telling him not to eat. He laughs wryly, kneeling with his hands on the ground.

Siser, sister, sister. My only family. My non-blood-related sister. I can’t eat you. Even though you keep whispering to me to eat you, with your delicious-looking body. But the moment I eat you, “sister” will no longer exist. Sister is a witch. I can’t go against or resist the witch. If I tie the witch’s hands and legs, cover the witch’s eyes and mouth, and rob the witch of everything, can I be free? ……can I protect sister?

He gazes at the jar – the amount of sweets have gone down. How many more days can this last him? He knows that this is a fake happiness. He can still control himself with this, but what will become of him when it runs out? Perhaps he will lose his sanity, become the devil and eat Yurika. He needs to get more supply before that happens. Ryoushi has it. It means that he’ll have to leave his sister. He’s lucky if it’s just a temporary separation. He may be killed in the worst case scenario. In any case, he has no other choice.

All of a sudden, Wizard appears and greets him – the black cat (witch’s familiar) who led them here. Gretel can’t tell what he’s thinking, so it’s better to be on his guard. But as if reading his thoughts, Wizard remarks that he isn’t thinking of anything. He’s only a wizard (pawn) who is both easy and difficult to handle. An mere insignificant role (familiar) who guided them to the witch’s house. He asks how is life with his beloved sister, and is glad to hear that everything is going well. After all, he prepared all the necessities for them and any other requests he had – including the request to appear in front of Yurika when he’s absent and to tempt her.

Wizard: Despite saying how much you love your sister, you sure don’t trust her. You’re uneasy. If your sister will leave you behind. If you’re not needed by her. That’s why you tested her. You purposely teased your sister, played pranks, and lied……in the end, she didn’t leave. As expected of my sister! She’s on my side!
Gretel: You’ve been going on and on since just now, how noisy. What do you want? Hurry up and answer!
Wizard: Hahaha. Your sister may be baffled if she knows your true nature. “Gretel-kun. I didn’t think that you were this sort of person.”
Gretel: Shut up!
Wizard: You act like a model student, but you’re an extremely vicious beast on the inside. Plus you’re a junkie. To borrow the words of Ryoushi, you’re an abnormal, problematic delinquent.

Gretel instinctively raises his fist, and Wizard nimbly dodges it. The latter warns him not to cause a ruckus, lest Yurika wakes up. The former immediately turns to check that she’s still sleeping soundly, before taking a deep breath. He tells Wizard that he has no time to play around, and to return. The cloaked man is aware that his sweets are running out.

Wizard: Gretel-kun, you’re a pitiful boy. Even though you just wanted to protect it. Even though you just didn’t want to be robbed of the amusing days with your sister, the days which shone and dazzled like jewels. Your outstanding sister. You admired the beautiful, smart her who could do anything. You thought that you were connected to her by a deep bond. But that was your misunderstanding. When you knew the truth, were you sad? Or……
Gretel: Shut up!!
Wizard: Gretel-kun. If you wish, I can give you the sweets.

Out of nowhere, he reveals a jar full of the candy. But it isn’t for free. There needs to be a give and take. Gretel feels like it would be rude to ask at this stage how he got it. It’s much stranger that no one else but Wizard has approached this house. It’s already been over a week since they came here. They should already be searching for them now, yet only Wizard has visited. He doesn’t know what he’s thinking, what is his motive, why he’s assisting them, or what means (magic) he uses. But it doesn’t matter to him. They’re both using each other.

Gretel: ……what do you want?
Wizard: I want your shining and dazzling jewel. If you let go of that which you’ve been continuously loving, I will give you your sweets (reward).

He was born into an outstanding family, and had all the freedom he wanted. He could get anything he wanted – pretty clothes, delicious food, bright reputation, and even warm love. He was aware that his family circumstances were different compared to others. He lived in a house in the countryside with his sister. Due to work, their parents lived in the city. Others found it unethical to let two minors stay out by themselves. But they themselves were fine with it. Their parents also regularly sent them money, and would sometimes come by to see them. In fact, he’s grateful to his parents. It’s thanks to them that he can lead a more extravagant life compared to others. But that’s all he thinks of them, he doesn’t even have significant memories with them. They’re more like supporters.

After all, it was his sister who gave him the love and education one would normally receive from their parents. She cooked for him, taught him, watched over him kindly. She would always give him the bigger share of the cake, and praise him each time he does something. She gave him everything he wanted. He doesn’t really feel lonely without his parents, since he has her. She is an extremely outstanding person. She’s always more skillfull than others at anything, and she always scores full marks even though she hardly studies. Plus she’s beautiful, cheerful, and has many friends. A person who can gain success without putting in special effort. A person whose worth is like a shining and dazzling jewel. He truly respects her from the bottom of his heart.

That’s why he did his best to be outstanding too so as to get as close to her as possible – be it studies or sports. He did his best to catch everyone’s attention, by acting dignified, serious and calm. Each time she praised him with a smile, he felt that he was someone worthy of her. That he really does have the same blood as her. That he is outstanding just like his family.

One day, he’s pacing quickly down an empty school corridor. A teacher gave him a task to do, and he ended up going back late now. He sighs. Being a model student, he’s often given such tasks. He can’t stand the teachers and the schoolmates, they’re all hopeless. He doesn’t hate this school, but he’s getting tired of dealing with them. If possible, he wants to go to the same school as Yurika – take the same classes, do things together, and go home together. He knows that it’s a preposterous dream, but it’s not impossible. He won’t give up as long as the possibility isn’t 0%. That’s why he wants to hurry up and return home, eat her home-cooked food and have her teach him.

As he passes by a classroom, the smell of tobacco makes him draw back. A classmate is smoking in the classroom. The student is a delinquent who hardly comes to school, and always hangs out with bad company. He doesn’t want to get involved, but their eyes meet. He reminds him that he’s still a minor, and the classmate spits the cigarette out and steps on it. Gretel is already feeling irritated, but he just glares at him and walks away. But the student laughs at how they’re not real family – everyone knows that he’s adopted. He mocks Gretel at how repulsive that he and his sister live alone in the same house. The latter suppresses his rage, telling himself that he has no time to deal with such stupid provocations. He clenches his fists.

But then the boy taunts him further, calling him a pervert for always masturbating as he looks at her naked body. Before Gretel realises it, he has thrown a chair at the classmate. As the boy cowers in fear, Gretel lunges at him and punches him over and over again. The student begs for mercy with a bloody nose, but it’s too late for that. He has to make sure that he doesn’t speak that way ever again. Just then, a teacher spots them and restrains Gretel. How miserable that the boy is asking an adult for help, when he usually mocks them. Gretel steps on his outstretched hand with all of his might, and a scream echoes in the classroom – serves him right.

Later, Ryoushi apologises profusely to the boy, his parents and the teacher, while forcing Gretel to bow. He was contacted in place of his parents who are too far away. Moreover he’s an adult, unlike Yurika. Honestly, Gretel can’t deal with him. Though he lives separately from them, he would pop in here and then to interfere with their lives. And unlike the kind Yurika, he’s cold and doesn’t pamper him at all. He finds Ryoushi disagreeable. An intruder like a needle which pierces into his and his sister’s happy lives. He isn’t thinking of Gretel’s feelings at all. If it were Yurika, she would ask for his side of the story, and surely she would speak up for him that he wasn’t at fault.

Two weeks of suspension. He wasn’t unhappy over it. Even though the other side started it, he gave into his feelings. He has reflected on it. He should’ve done it better, so that no one would’ve found out and he wouldn’t have needed to be punished. Well, he just needs to not make the same mistake again. Moreover, being at home means spending more time with his sister.  He can avoid those hopeless people, and focus on studying at home. Gretel heads back home with a sudden sense of motivation. But he gets stopped by the devil.

Ryoushi sees that he’s smiling, and asks if he really has reflected on himself for hurting someone else. The younger replies that he has. But Ryoushi thinks that he needs to calm down for a while. He points out that it’s goes against the society to beat up a defenseless person. Gretel argues that it goes the same for the classmate who was smoking despite being a minor, and provoking him after the warning. But Ryoushi refuses to agree, saying that he lacks ethical and moral values. And instead, he drags Gretel to a small place he owns. Gretel thinks to himself that he has always been like this. He doesn’t think of him as his younger brother, but an abnormal person.

Their parents have approved of this, but he didn’t tell Yurika, knowing that she would object. As expected, only she is on his side. But she is not here. He struggles against the devil, refusing to go along. At that moment, Yurika appears and he pleads for help. His saviour, his Maria. But they were separated by the devil.

The devil traps him in a small white room. The door won’t budge no matter how much he knocks or kicks it. No one comes to help him no matter how much he screams. His clothes are stripped away, and he is made to wear a patient gown and strapped to the bed.

Save me

It’s humiliating. Everything here is under surveillance.

Gretel: I’m not abnormal!

He at least wanted to refuse food. But they forced him on a drip. When he was given medicine, he slowly lost all resistance and thought. The next day, his parents visits him. They sternly scold him for resorting to violence, and then gently hug him. But none of it resonates in him. No matter how prettily-decorated or comfortably-sounding the words were, they wouldn’t let him out. They abandoned him. When asked what he wanted, he replies that he wants to see Yurika. But that wish wasn’t granted.

Sister, sister, sister, sister. The only one in this world who is on my side. Who understands me. Who is my family. At this rate, I may not see her ever again. I need to avoid that at all costs. What should I do to return home.

He concludes he needs to act obedient. He eats everything given to him, and obeys everything. Everything is for his sister’s sake. Each time he looked at the pills, he would think of his favourite sister and his favourite sweets. No matter how difficult it is, it’s delicious if it’s his favourite item.

Gretel finally gets to meet his sister, all according to his plan. But he’s so lethargic, and can’t quite express his happiness. Yurika seems to be worried about him. She asks if he needs anything, and he shakes his head. She’s here – he’s happy enough with that. She promises to be with him, saying that it’s fine to cry. She will protect him. He’s finally filled with a sense of relief, as his favourite sister hugs him.

When, the man who claimed to be his father, says that they will live together for a while. He will do something about work, and apologises for Gretel is more important. But to Gretel, only sister is his family! To think that he can’t be together with her now. But he would get chased out again if he says this, so he accepts it. He continues to act like a model student, knowing that his parents will soon return to the city anyway. While his father spoke such ideal lines, he never did ever prioritise Gretel over his work. It’s fine to Gretel, it’s just like before. It’s fine if only his sister is by his side.

Yurika wouldn’t go to school when he’s at home, and would stay by his side all day. He was happy, that she prioritised him above the rest. He came to realise something when they were separated – how much he needed her. And what he meant to her. And so he started to refuse her when she offered to teach him. He really wants her to, but that would be the same as before. He needs to gradually change for her sake. She is kind to him. But, if……if she ever grows disappointed in him, he will be chased out for real this time. He will be discarded. That’s why, he needs to become someone who will spoil her – instead of how it has been. If possible, he would like to make her rely on him. Just like how he needs her, he hopes that she will grow to need him too. So no matter what happens, Yurika won’t hate him. She won’t abandon him. She won’t reject him.

But he wasn’t the only one who changed. After his suspension, everyone at school who used to praise him, treated him with fear. They’ve applied the same label to him, as to the delinquents. He feels infuriated. They don’t know anything. They wouldn’t understand him, not when they’re worthless pebbles. He would eat his candy when he feels irritated, and read during his break time. Thinking about it rationally, he should’ve done this from the start. He, who is more outstanding than any of them, now has no need to deal with them anymore.

After school, Gretel is surprised to see Yurika waiting for him. He can tell that she’s worried – and he feels both happy, and also annoyed at himself. He suppresses his feelings, and acts calm. When asked how school is, he lies that it’s fine. He won’t tell her or his parents about the truth. He doesn’t want to worry them, but more than that it’s embarrassing to say that he’s being shunned. He will never say it. As for the delinquent, apparently he’s shut in his own house. Serves him right. But at the same time, Gretel feels envious. That trash-like fellow has a blood-related family who brought him up warmly, and didn’t abandon him despite the ruckus. How irritating. He starts to eat his candy. The more he eats it, the more hooked he is.

As expected, their parents returned home after a while. It’s just the three siblings. But once Ryoushi confirmed that he’s being obedient, he too went back. Finally, it’s just the two of them again! On the surface, nothing has changed. But life is slightly different. He really wished for it to continue forever. Half a year passes by since the incident. They continue to live their lives peacefully and happily. Gretel now knows how to handle his sister. He needs to be a bit more proactive and take the initiative. A bit of salt is needed to draw out the sweetness.

One night, he lies to her that a girl confessed to him. No one would do that. When Yurika came to her own conclusion, he thinks to himself that it may be true. He pretends to be mad and pinches her nose. She looks at him with bright eyes, sparkling like a jewel. Rather than love is blind, to think that even an outstanding person like her could be deceived by men. He long knew that he saw him in a romantic manner. The way she looked at him and his movements, vividly showed how much she loved him. She would easily react at his every action and word. Of course, he’s happy to know that she loves him. No other girl is better than her. No matter how brightly they shone, compared to her they’re like pebbles to him.

But he can’t just accept her feelings. If he does, they will no longer be sister and brother who shine and dazzle like jewels. That bond would be broken. But he also can’t have her seducing other men. He doesn’t want other hopeless men to see her defenseless figure. So knowing that she loves him makes him feel at ease, and he hopes this will continue. But their peaceful and fun times are fleeting like an illusion. One day, he spots her caught up with the delinquents after school. He hesitated on rushing over, once he saw her bringing her face close to the boy’s. She doesn’t know, just how much influence her actions will affect the others who are like trash. One incident after another irritates him, moreover his most hated brother is there when he returns home. Ryoushi had been warning him not to eat too much of the candy. Gretel ignored him, after all Ryoushi was the one who first gave it to him. Why is everyone making him so irritated.

Soon after, that incident happened. And of all days, it had to be when Yurika decided to stop fetching him from school. When she went to give him his lunchbox that morning, she said that they should go back separately from now on. It seemed that she misunderstood that he found it bothersome. Was it Ookami who advised something unnecessary? Gretel was annoyed, but he pretended to be calm. That night, he spots Akazukin outside their home. It’s rare to see him here. But Akazukin says that it’s nothing and walks away. Inside the house, he sees the first-aid kit on the table – it had just been used. Yurika’s shoes are there, which means she’s home. He also smells soap, and wonders if she took a bath. When he looks inside the bathroom, he spots her clothes. It is covered with mud.

Gretel heads upstairs with a bad feeling. Just then, he sees her leaving her room all battered up. She’s carrying a suitcase. She must be planning to leave. He grows agitated when she insists that it’s nothing, dragging her into the room to check her injuries. He confirms that someone did this to her, and questions if she was raped. She screams that she wasn’t.

Gretel: Then, what was done to you? Why did sister have to end up like this?
Yurika: This was brought upon myself.
Gretel: What do you mean brought upon yourself!! It’s impossible……for the outstanding sister to have this brought upon yourself.
Yurika: I’m not as outstanding as you think I am……

He doesn’t want her to say that. If the sister whom he thought was outstanding isn’t outstanding, then what is he? Trash?

Gretel: Why didn’t you tell me……? You told Akazukin-san right? What is the reason that you could tell him, but not me?
Yurika: You’re wrong……
Gretel: What is wrong!! ……is it my fault? Is it my fault that sister ended up like this? That’s why sister…………
Yurika: You’re wrong!
Gretel: Then please tell me! If you’re thinking for me, tell me straight who did this to you!!

She keeps a straight face and replies that she was hit by a car, and Akazukin saved her. He asks why she didn’t go to the police or hospital then. Yurika points out that her wounds were treated, she did go. But he says that it’s a lie – he saw that the supplies in the first-aid kit had went down. He trembles, and starts to cry.

Gretel: Please don’t lie……

When she reaches out to him, he takes her hand and kisses it.

Gretel: Sister…………sister, sister, sister…………!! Poor sister……you were beaten so badly……it hurt didn’t it? It was scary right? I’m sorry that I couldn’t save you……sister……!

He sobs into her chest, and she hugs him back. His kind sister. She is the one in pain, yet she always prioritises him above all else. What can he do in return for her? After a while, Gretel sits up. He needs to do it. He takes out a bottle, and shows it to her.

Gretel: This……please eat this. Let’s erase the bad memories.
Yurika: Gretel-kun……?

She slowly shakes her head, but she can’t run away as he clings to her. He tries to speak kindly, so as not to scare her. He says that she will only sleep for a bit. But he doesn’t have much time either. He puts a few pieces in his mouth, and kisses her, forcing his tongue in and making her swallow the pills. After a long kiss, their lips part. It was their first kiss. The eyes of his favourite jewel are glazy. Unable to resist, Gretel continues to kiss her and she doesn’t resist.

Gretel: Sister……I’m sorry……even though we’re siblings……doing such a thing…………but…………today……just today is special……you like special things right……?

She starts to feel sleepy, and dazed.

Gretel: ……don’t worry. If you fall asleep like this, you will think that everything which happened today was but a dream. This is a bad dream. A nightmare which the devil showed you. When you wake up, let’s happily live together again?

He gives a peck on her lips, and the bottle from his hand rolls down. The colourful pieces spill out on the bed and floor. Looking at that sight, he thinks that it’s almost like a nightmare. Gretel leaves the house to deal with those who hurt her. He has a hunch, that they’re linked to the delinquent he got involved with before. The more he imagines what they did to her, the more a dark flame burns inside of him.

Gretel finds one of them, and he easily admits what he did after a little threat. After getting him to spit out where the rest where, the rest unsuspectingly went to the forest when they were called out. It was easy to round them up. They easily confessed what they had done. It took one day. He had thought that he had cleared everything up without anyone noticing, but reality didn’t go as planned. Their hideout was hidden well in the forest. After beating them up, he checks the video they took. They grabbed her hair, shoved her to the ground, kicked her stomach, and slapped her twice. One of them even shoved his face in her neck and put his hand up her clothes. Someone discovered them then, and the video gets cut.

They look at Gretel fearfully, their faces all swollen and bloody. He sarcastically thanks them for the video, now he knows what punishment to give them. He shall do 100x of what they did to her. He starts kicking one of them, over and over again. When he grows tired, he laughs wryly at how exaggerated he is for coughing up blood. He steps on the boy’s face, who cries for help. Gretel looks at him coldly, asking if he thinks he’ll be forgiven with just that for hurting Yurika. He thinks that this is way better compared to what they did to her, ganging up on a weak girl. He questions how they were raised to become such trash, and is sure their parents are trash too. One of the boys remarks that he wasn’t raised well either, and Gretel grabs him by the collar. He says that he was raised by a perfect person – beautiful, smart, kind, skillfull at anything, can cook. Surely he won’t meet anyone else who can surpass her.

After he throws the boy down, Gretel confirms if there is only one copy of the video. The youngest-looking member says that it is, and Gretel asks if he will swear on his own finger – which took that video. The boy begs for him to stop, but Gretel proceeds to crush that finger. He then kicks the boy in the stomach to shut his screaming. When he asks once more if there is only that video, another boy points at someone else to say that he took photos. The one who is outed cries and shakes his head. Gretel sneers at how he sold out on his friend, thanking him for the information. He shall have to crush his finger too. The boy apologises over and over, and wets himself in fear. Gretel is disgusted, and comments that he shouldn’t have done it in the first place then. The boy screams aloud, and Gretel stuffs a stone in his mouth, telling him to be quiet with a smile. The former tears up while nodding profusely.

He destroys all of the evidence. With this, his sister’s secret is safe. But he glances at them again, saying that he has to delete it from their heads too. Shall he step on them too? The leader calls him crazy, and Gretel throws that word back at him. He’s despicable to have taken it out on Yurika, instead of just confronting him. The only thankful thing is that the act wasn’t carried out till the end. The voice he heard when the video was cut off was probably Akazukin. Gretel pulls the leader’s hair and shoves him against the ground. He especially wants to crush this guy. The scene from the video replays in his head, of how he sucked on her neck and touched her breasts.

Gretel: You liked sister right? That’s why you brought her here and tried to assault her. I know that sister is popular, but there’s no need for her to be liked by such trash. Well, I do understand how it’s like to be attracted to outstanding people. You admire them because they have what you don’t.

He has destroyed the evidence, but the memory in their heads remain. Anger surges in Gretel, as he recalls Yurika’s swollen face and how they tainted her. He asks if her chest felt good, and the boy replies with a mad smile that it was. Gretel shouts at him to die, kicking him hard in the stomach. He proceeds to punch him over and over again, till the boy’s blood flies onto his face. How much time passed? Gretel finally stops hitting as his own fists hurt. He laughs at the boy’s face, swollen to the point that he’s unrecognisable. Perhaps his nose is broken, perhaps his eardrum has burst. But Gretel thinks that it serves him right, it’s punishment for what he did. The other boys are sniffling and crying, and Gretel thinks that he is the one who should be crying.

Just then, he spots a bottle nearby and picks it up. The label writes that its alcohol content is 96. The boys whimpers in fear, and he reassures them that he won’t hit them with the bottle. He thought that if it was brain contusion, then all of their memories will be erased – but it seems that it won’t work. As long as they are alive, they will remember. So there is only one solution. He pours the alcohol all over them, reassuring them again that he won’t hit them. Gretel takes out a matchbox, and shows them a matchstick. He comments that wine with high alcohol content is flammable. Their faces turn into looks of despair. He asks if he should try it, and one of them begs for forgiveness. He refuses. He’s not the devil, they are for trying to assault her. He needs to take care of the trash. now.

The moment he’s about to light the match, Yurika appears and hugs him from behind, telling him to stop. She finds blood on him, thinking that he’s hurt too. So he smiles to reassure her and speaks in a brighter tone. He advises her not to touch their dirty blood, there’s no telling what infection she’ll get. He tells her not to worry as he’s done soon, and lights a match. She tries to grab it for him, and it falls to the ground. He’s surprised, but he takes out another one.

Yurika: Please. Don’t do this……
Gretel: This? What I’m doing for sister’s sake? Don’t mind it. I won’t let sister take on the dirty tasks.
Yurika: I’m sorry……sorry……I was wrong……
Gretel: Why is sister apologising? It was these worms who hurt sister right?

For her sake, he kicks one of them, and she screams at him to stop. They will die at this rate. He sees that she isn’t worried for him, but for these people who had hurt her. She’s too naive, so much so that he feels nauseous.

Gretel: Hah? It’s fine if they just die. These trash of the society, will only become hopeless adults if they live on and grow up. They’ll act according to their desires, as if unable to distinguish right from wrong. There’s no worth in their lives. It’s exactly that.

Yurika doesn’t answer. He questions why she’s speaking up for them, when they had attacked her. She was almost sexually assaulted. They scarred her body and her heart. She may have almost been left with one for life.

Yurika: I’m fine.
Gretel: I’m not fine!! It makes my skin crawl to think that the people who hurt sister can keep living comfortably!!
Yurika: Please……stop……if you do anymore than this, we won’t be able to return home together……
Gretel: Sister……

She’s crying. Honestly, he can’t tell if she’s crying for his sake, her own sake, or for those who had attacked her. But he knows that he made her cry. Suddenly, Ryoushi hits him from behind. Gretel tastes blood in his mouth, spitting it out. He glares at the person he hates the most – the real blood-related brother to Yurika. He shouts at Yurika for leaving the hospital, and she shirks behind Gretel. Gretel finds her figure pitiful.

Gretel: Scold me if you want. Despite being scared, sister chased after me.
Yurika: Gretel-kun……
Ryoushi: ……Gretel! Do you know what you were about to do!? What you were doing is murder!!
Gretel: I know. What’s wrong with that.
Ryoushi: What’s wrong……

He’s speechless, and decides to leave the lecture for later. Ryoushi checks that the boys are still breathing, and calls for the ambulance. Gretel questions what he’s doing, thinking they should just be left here. Unlike him, they’re real siblings related by blood. He had always been envious, jealous of that.

Gretel: They assaulted your sister!!
Ryoushi: But that doesn’t mean that violence can be forgiven!! These people whom you were about to kill, also have family!!
Gretel: Family…………then is my existence less than that of worms’ (them)?
Yurika: Gretel-kun!
Gretel: Isn’t that right? Because I don’t have any family. I know that we aren’t family, without anyone telling me. Unlike you all, I’m not outstanding or anything, I’m equivalent to a pebble (worthless existence). That’s why I worked hard didn’t it! Studies! Sports! Didn’t I desperately do everything I could so that you all, who are so outstanding, would acknowledge me!!
Ryoushi: Gretel……

The mocking words from that classmate replays in his head. That he isn’t their real family, that everyone knows that he is adopted.

Gretel: Shut up shut up shut uupp!!!!

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Even without being told, he himself knows it best. That his parents aren’t his real parents. That his sister isn’t his real sister. He’s but a stranger to them. He doesn’t quite remember when he realised this. But honestly it doesn’t matter. The important thing was that he and Yurika weren’t family, and not related by blood. It means that he isn’t special.

Gretel: I knew. I noticed……I’m different from you all, I’m not outstanding and nowhere near a genius. Studies and sports, I built up my position today by working hard in the shadows……I just, wholeheartedly wanted to catch up to sister, and wholeheartedly built up my ideal self (brother figure) as I wanted to connect to sister. Why……why……did you all have to go and destroy that!!

If he accepts her feelings, they may be able to be lovers – but they would no longer be sister and brother. He would be acknowledging the fact that he isn’t an outstanding person. Rather than becoming her lover, he even thought that it would be better for Ookami to eat her.

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Gretel: Sister…………sister, sister…………I just don’t want sister to abandon me……please don’t abandon me……

Yurika reaches out to him and kisses his cheek. To his surprise, she takes his hand and starts running. She ignored her blood-related brother, and took the hand of the brother she isn’t related by blood and leads him into the deep forest.

Sister. Sister……the most cherished person in my world. I will follow you wherever you go.

Back to Yurika’s POV

She is woken up by a loud shout. Her eyes meet Gretel’s, as he collapses to the floor. Yurika rushes to his side, but trips over as she’s pulled back by the ribbon. It’s even worse when it’s dark, and her hands and legs are tied up. He helps her up, and hugs her. She’s surprised to see his glazy eyes. He presses her head against his chest, as if not wanting her to see his face.

Gretel: Sister……I don’t want to hand over sister to anyone else. Sister is……my treasure. I won’t have anything left if sister is gone. That’s why……that’s why I have to protect with my own two hands……I won’t hand over sister to anyone else……

Gretel seems to be whispering these words to himself. As usual, she can’t do anything – even hugging him in return or wiping his tears. But it’s his wish that she remains tied up and without any freedom. Soon, he separates himself from her and she sees a faint gleam in his eyes. He says that he’s going to leave her now, but doesn’t answer where. In his place, Yurika replies that he’s going to where Ryoushi is. He nods. She knows that he’s going there for his candy, if not he won’t be able to suppress himself anymore. Gretel asks if she will wait here till he returns.

Yurika: Don’t go.
Gretel: …………
Yurika: ……don’t go.
Gretel: …………
Yurika: Don’t leave me alone.
Gretel: ……sister. ……sister, please bear with it for a while.

He takes out the bottle with konpeitō, and takes out a few. Yurika tenses up thinking that he’s going to feed her like last time, but he catches her off-guard by holding her head and putting his fingers into her mouth. She tries to bite on his fingers, but he only winces and doesn’t remove them. His fingers reach till the end of her tongue, and she tears up as she feels like throwing up.

Gretel: Please eat it……I’m sorry. I really want to treat you more gently, but I wouldn’t be able to endure it……
Yurika: …………

Seeing that he won’t move, Yurika swallows the pills from his fingers. After confirming that she has done so, he finally removes his fingers and she gasps for breath. Her saliva is dripping out, and she quickly shuts her mouth. She feels deeply ashamed. Gretel holds her chin up, and cleans her up with his sleeve. He then carries her to the cage, and locks her inside. He reaches out to her, touching her hair.

Gretel: ……please stay inside here for a while. I can rest easy if you’re inside here.
Yurika: Rest easy?
Gretel: Yes. If you’re here no one can take you away, and sister can’t leave here on her own will too. You can’t do anything dangerous too right?
Yurika: …………
Gretel: The candy will soon take effect, and you will feel sleepy. I will have already returned by the time sister wakes up.

As he’s about to leave, Yurika stops him and asks him for one request.

>> Be sure to come back: Gretel asks if that’s all, and she asks if he will fulfill her selfish request. He immediately agrees, for he can’t go against his selfish sister. After he leaves, she soon feels sleepy. By the time she wakes up, surely he will be back and serve her his dessert specialty. She will just wait and open her mouth like a chick for him to feed her. She doesn’t need to do anything for his sake. She doesn’t need to think. Because that’s what he wishes for. He will lock her in the cage, whisper words of love, and they will live their amusing lives.

Yurika wakes up to a burnt smell, and sees fires burning before her. But she doesn’t feels shocked. The fire probably started from the chimney, from the flammable tar on the inside of the chimney. The chimney was probably not cleaned. She had expected a fire to occur sooner or later, but did not tell Gretel anything of this. Because she is an evil witch who had wanted to eat her beloved brother, and now she will be burnt for it. She whispers his name. She had cut off many ties till now except one. Her treasure (love). Her beloved. She had always cherished her treasure. But he is different from her. He was born without any bonds, and always believed in their bond (sister-brother). Unlike her, his treasure is his bond with his sister. That’s why she has decided to cleanse the witch, who tried to seduce him and make him obey, with fire. If so, he won’t be eaten by the witch, and should be able to live freely.

She hears Gretel shouting from outside, promising to save her now. But the door won’t open. She hopes that he will escape before he gets hurt. Yurika has difficulty breathing, and her eyelids grow heavier. She just needs to wait for the flames to consume her. With this, she can continue to be the ideal sister in his eyes. And so, she closes her eyes.

Elsewhere, Wizard remarks that she had chosen to throw herself into hellfire. A bond may also signify a tie, curse, shackles. Gretel (brother) who is left behind, may be free from the witch (desire), but he can’t escape from the single bond with his sister. It’s no good for both the witch and sister to die at the same time. (BAD END)

>> Don’t hurt yourself for my sake: She explains that each time he tries to protect her, he himself gets hurt. She asks if he will fulfill her selfish request. He immediately agrees, for he can’t go against his selfish sister. After he leaves, Yurika spits out the candy she had kept in her mouth. While she feels sorry towards him, she just couldn’t swallow it. She then proceeds to loosen the ribbon around her hands. She spends a while struggling with it, as her arms grow tired. She takes a small break, and continues again. Finally, she unties it. Fortunately, Gretel didn’t tie it very tightly out of consideration. She quickly unties the ribbon around her legs. However, the cage door is locked from the outside and won’t budge. She feels a bit chilly, and looks towards the wood stove. Gretel had lit a fire in it, so that she wouldn’t get cold.

Episode of Gretel (aka Gretel’s POV)

He had left his sister in the strange/candy house, and is walking alone in the dark forest. (Note: Strange and candy have the same pronunciation in Japanese. Please note this pun whenever you see “strange house” from now on.) The moon shines down brightly, so he has no need for signs like white pebbles as he trudges towards the exit. He wasn’t uneasy when he and Yurika came here and were lost, yet right now he’s being overwhelmed with uneasiness and anxiety. He’s about to eat the candy so as to calm his feelings, but he realises that there isn’t much left. It will get even lesser if he eats it now.

Gretel lets out his frustration by punching a nearby tree. He had give some to sister so as to make her obedient. It couldn’t be helped, but he regrets it a bit. And he grows to despise himself even more. If he has the time to hesitate, he should hurry up and leave the forest. He knows this, but can’t move from that spot. As he looks at the candy, he thinks of Yurika. He knows that she has realised everything. How he relies on the sweets, and how it has been getting lesser over the days. He laughs wryly, as expected he can’t win against his sister. He returns the handful of candy to the bottle, and continues trudging in the dark.

He starts to recall the last moments before he left her. The way she had licked his fingers, taking the candy from his fingers. He can’t forget her moist lips, her hot breath, the sensation of her tongue. He trembles at recalling her warmth, and feels himself heating up. The devil inside of him starts to incite himself.

Gretel: “Hey, let’s not do such a trouble thing such as going back to take the candy. Let’s return to the strange house where sister is waiting.”
Gretel: I can’t do that……I need the candy so that I can live with sister in that house……
Gretel: “It’s fine. You don’t need to take such a strange thing, your beloved sister will welcome you.”
Gretel: That’s a lie……
Gretel: “It’s not a lie. Didn’t sister say that she will accept you. You tied her, teased her, robbed her of light, and even put her inside the cage? Your kind sister accepted it all no matter how cruel the treatment. She didn’t hate you right? So, sister will forgive you even if you eat her. Won’t she also accept your sexual desire with her body? So, Gretel! What are you waiting for! Hurry, eat your sister!!”
Gretel: No. I don’t want to eat……

Gretel shakes his head with a teary face, his head is going crazy.

Gretel: “Right now sister would be sleeping thanks to the medicine. And her hands and legs are tied. You can do as you like! Eat as much as you like! Do it as much as you want!”
Gretel: Stop!!
Gretel: “It’s fine isn’t it. Why are you pretending to be a good kid. In any case, sister likes you so she won’t mind it if you do it. Moreover, she isn’t your real sister.”
Gretel: I told you to stoooooop!!!!
Gretel: “Ahahahahahahahahaha!!!!”
Gretel: Die!! Damn it!! I’ll kill you!!!!

Gretel hits with all of his might, but the devil’s voice doesn’t disappear.

Gretel: “Try it if you can. Even though you can’t, coward. In the first place, why were you so angry then?”
Gretel: What…………
Gretel: “That time. Remember, when you snapped and sent a trash to the hospital?”
Gretel: I don’t remember……
Gretel: “There no way you don’t remember right? Since then, the ideal you (brother figure) you can built up, was destroyed. The ideal you is smart, athletic, gentle, has a strong sense of responsibility, and is relied on by everyone. Ahaha, how wei–rd. The real you isn’t like that at all, even though you desperately created your character (yourself).”
Gretel: Shut up……
Gretel: “Aah, that’s right. I remembered. A pervert who masturbates everyday as you look at sister’s naked body……was that it?”
Gretel: I told you to shut uuuuup!!

His head is a mess, he can’t stop his body from trembling.

Gretel: “It’s because those words were the truth right? Right, Gretel-kun who can’t control himself from provocations?”
Gretel: Wrong!! Wrong!! Wrong!! Wrong!!!!
Gretel: “It’s not wrong. You had been using the sister who you were living together with as an outlet for desire. How repulsive–. You looked at your beloved, beloved sister with such indecent eyes.”
Gretel: Wrong……!!
Gretel: “Even though you blamed your sister for not seeing you as a brother, you also never thought of her as your sister right? And when that was pointed out, you snapped, and everything became weird since then. You brought everything upon yourself.”
Gretel: That’s not it……!!
Gretel: “When you knew that sister was almost raped, you were actually envious right? You wanted to devour that body yourself. You were vexed right? Even though you had endured and waited like a dog, she was almost eaten by those stray dogs.”
Gretel: Shut uuuup!! You bastard!!!!
Gretel: “There’s no way I will shut up. Because this voice whom you reckon is the devil’s, is your own voice.”
Gretel: Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!

The memories which he wants to erase. His shameful past. Gretel begs for the voice to stop, to not taint his sister.

Gretel: “……when was it. When I saw her as not a sister, but as a woman.”
Gretel: It wasn’t from the start……at first I didn’t suspect that she wasn’t my real sister……but when I realised that we were not blood-related and are complete strangers, the devil inside me was born.
Gretel: “The devil whispered. That I wish to eat the delicious-looking sister.”
Gretel: But, perhaps that is also not the truth……
Gretel: “The truth?”
Gretel: Perhaps, it is because I thought that I loved sister, that I realised that we may not be related by blood……
Gretel: “It’s the reverse.”
Gretel: Because I’m the only one who isn’t similar……of course I’d know……
Gretel: “When you lived with sister in the strange house, you pretended to enjoy her reactions, but you were pretty desperate on the inside.”
Gretel: Of course……how could I resist, seeing those reactions……if I were to use an analogy for the days in that strange house with sister, it would be a heavenly hell. Sister is attractive, defenseless, and really is telling me to please eat her……
Gretel: “But I endured.”
Gretel: I suppressed the urge to embrace her, and chose to always remain by sister’s side.
Gretel: “You desperately pleaded with her to not abandon you because you didn’t want to be abandoned.”
Gretel: I thought that being sister and brother would be better than lovers……
Gretel: “Because you thought that you could always remain by her side?”
Gretel: Aah, that’s right……lovers are strangers after all. Moreover I thought that blood relation was much more precious.
Gretel: “Even though you’re not related by blood.”
Gretel: I know…………but if I pretend not to know, and to not acknowledge, if I wish for it sister will always remain as my sister.
Gretel: “Aah, that’s right. My very kind sister said that I was her cute brother.”
Gretel: Aah……
Gretel: “But I can’t kiss or have sex with sister forever. Because it’s weird when you’re sister and brother right?”
Gretel: Shut up……

Gretel eats the remaining candy in one go. And he can no longer hear the voice. Before he realises it, he has left the forest and is standing in front of a house. He questions himself if this is his home. Or rather, it was his home. Strictly speaking, he had no home from the start. He was abandoned by his real parents, and is was his sister who took him in and raised him. He doesn’t even remember his real parents’ faces. He doesn’t care if they’re alive or not.

Because he has someone irreplaceable to him. His sister who gives him, who is starved of love, sweet, sweet candy (love). His witch. The place where she is, is his candy (dream) home. He easily opens the door, and remembers the strange days just like yesterday. When he enters, his sister dressed in an apron welcomes him back with a smile. He replies that he’s home.

Back to Yurika’s POV

Several hours have passed since Gretel left. With the room being warm now, Yurika starts to feel sleepy. Just as she’s about to drift off to sleep, she hears a knock on the door. She wakes up, wondering if it was just an illusion. It couldn’t be Wizard, since he wouldn’t knock on the door and would just enter. Once more, there is a knock and someone asks if anyone is in. She recognises the voice as Akazukin’s.

She takes a deep breath, and shouts that she’s Yurika and asks him to enter. Akazukin breaks open the door and enters. She had waited for him, the appearance of the police of justice. He stares at her in shock though, even more so when she greets him with a smile. After all, she is trapped inside a cage. He asks if it’s those delinquents again, but she explains that it was Gretel, who is away at the moment. Yurika asks why he’s here. She never thought that someone else (besides Wizard) would visit. After all, no one passed by all this while. She had assumed that there was some strange force at work. Akazukin explains that he was patrolling the forest and found this suspicious-looking house. After she had that incident, he decided to be more on guard just in case. Feeling touched at his heroic ambitions, she thanks him. He pulls down his hood, replying that it’s nothing.

He says that he will save her now, but she points out that Gretel has the key. After a brief silence, he states that he will break it. He walks outside, and soon returns with an axe. Without him already telling her, Yurika immediately backs away. He raises the axe and bring it down on the lock. But to his surprise, there is hardly a scratch on it. She says that she will have to wait for Gretel to return then. He looks down and apologises for not being useful. She tells him not to be too bothered, and is happy with his sentiments. When it looks like he’s still thinking of how to save her, she repeats that it’s fine as she didn’t intend to escape in the first place.

Akazukin: ……is it for Gretel’s sake?
Yurika: Nn?
Akazukin: Could it be that you purposely remain imprisoned for his sake?
Yurika: Yes. I agreed in coming here. That’s why I have to gain Gretel-kun’s permission when I leave, he who locked me up here.
Akazukin: …………in the first place, why does he have to lock you up like this?
Yurika: He says it’s to protect me from the devil.
Akazukin: ……the devil?
Yurika: ……I wonder?
Akazukin: ……honestly, I don’t really know but it looks like you’re that important to Gretel. Even if he becomes the villain, perhaps it is his justice to protect you.
Yurika: …………
Akazukin: ……I’m sorry. I speak as if I know it all. Just because he has locked you up, doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a villain.

He glances around the room, noting that the place is rather odd. Everything is white to the point that it’s stuffy. And there’s a weird smell, as if something’s burning. But Yurika says that nothing is abnormal, as she looks towards the fire burning in the wood stove. He agrees, but adds that one can hardly remain sane while being locked here.

Akazukin: Ah, no! I never thought that you’re weird, or that you’ve gone mad alright!? ………………

Yurika sees that he did though. She clears her throat, and admits that it is queer. She has no freedom of movement, has to obey, and has to swallow things she doesn’t like. Perhaps it can’t be helped if one is broken upon such forceful treatment. She looks around, the scene from inside the cage is all in stripes. It is really suffocating. She recalls the moment Gretel was separated from her. Because of her, he was treated as abnormal and shut inside a narrow, narrow room. Just like her current situation. How uneasy he must have been to have his hands and legs tied up, and to have lost all sense of time. The more she thinks about it, the more her chest tightens up.

Akazukin calls out to her worriedly, and she tries to answers brightly. She apologises to him, even though he came all the way here. He asks if he can do anything for her. Yurika ponders over this, before asking if he can run an errand for her.

Episode of Gretel (aka Gretel’s POV)

Alice: I’m not her (Arisu). Well, though I am Alice too.
Gretel: You…………
Alice: Is it fine for you to leave your beloved sister behind and return home alone?
Gretel: ……this isn’t my home. My home is where sister is.
Alice: As long as you don’t release her, your sister will remain inside that cage.
Gretel: I plan to release her when I return.
Alice: Simply put, are you prepared to do it?
Gretel: Prepared?
Alice: The courage and resolve to beat up the devil. Gretel. You are a pitiful fellow. You were abandoned by your parents, only to be seduced by sweet candy and controlled by the devil. Now. In the end, who exactly is the devil? Your brother (Ryoushi) who gave you the candy? You yourself who wish to eat your sister? Or is it your sister who obeys you?
Gretel: There’s no way I would know.
Alice: I see. Well, there is a term called fight or flight response. When placed in a threatening position, you unconsciously draw out strength which you normally can’t imagine. When the time comes, you may also be able to change.
Gretel: Change? …………me?

Just as Gretel wonders what needs to be changed, Ryoushi appears before him. Ryoushi greets him, and Gretel unwittingly calls him “brother”. The older man notes that it’s the first time he’s ever called him that, jokingly asking if he should welcome him back. In any case, he’s aware why Gretel is back. He takes out a jar filled with candy. The younger boy laughs weakly at how both siblings are really sharp. He wants to snatch it away, but he doesn’t have any strength left. Ryoushi beckons him to the kitchen, wishing to talk for a bit. Gretel asks about their parents, and Ryoushi replies that they’ve been tirelessly searching for them.

Gretel goes to boil some water, while staring at the jar. He needs to snatch it as soon as possible, return to Yurika, and continue living together in that strange house. But for some reason he can’t move. Ryoushi clicks his tongue as he can’t find any coffee powder. Gretel redirects him to the correct shelf, commenting that he doesn’t know anything in his own house. The older man replies that it’s because he’s hardly at home. Soon, Ryoushi serves their cups of coffee.

Gretel: …………
Ryoushi: ……what? It’s not like I put any poison in it.
Gretel: ……aren’t you going to capture and kill me?
Ryoushi: I won’t do such a vicious thing.
Gretel: …………I can’t believe it.
Ryoushi: Believe in it. Well……that being said, you’re a risk. If you were to cause harm, I did think of forcefully removing you.
Gretel: …………
Ryoushi: But it’s not that simple you know?
Gretel: Is that so? You’re a hunter so it’s your job to kill your prey.
Ryoushi: I’m not suited to be a hunter. I’m not particularly smart, and not particularly skillfull with my hands. Honestly I didn’t want to become a hunter, but I didn’t have anything else I wanted to do.
Gretel: That’s incomprehensible. It’s fine to not do it if you don’t want to.
Ryoushi: That’s true. But I’m from a family of hunters.
Gretel: That’s why you chose to become a hunter?
Ryoushi: Aah, that’s right.
Gretel: …………

The word “barrier” floats in Gretel’s mind. That unknown to him, this person is also trapped by something. But he couldn’t care less about that now. Ryoushi asks how Yurika is, and he replies that it’s troubling how energetic she is. Ryoushi had expected that.

Gretel: Are you worried?
Ryoushi: In a way, yes.
Gretel: ……you’re siblings after all.
Ryoushi: Yes. I was also worried about you. Not just me, but our parents, and Ookami (friend).
Gretel: Is that so. However, when I was with sister, I never once thought of you all, not even 1mm.
Ryoushi: Because we’re not family.
Gretel: Yes, that’s right.

Ryoushi calls out to him, and he responds after taking a deep breath.

Ryoushi: You’re a pitiful fellow. You don’t have any blood-related family, and the only existence to give you, who is starved of love, love is your sister (Yurika). You wholeheartedly accepted her love, but along the way that love blew up, and you no longer acknowledged anyone else besides your sister. Sister is right. Sister is smart. I won’t get lost if I follow sister. You were always doing what your sister said.
Gretel: ……what’s wrong with that?
Ryoushi: Gretel. Where is your will?
Gretel: I have my own will, right here.
Ryoushi: Is that really true? I don’t know how you feel, but that personality of yours was created as a result of being overly-spoiled by your sister. You lack ethics, and your morals are twisted. It’s a result of bad influence from her.
Gretel: Are you blaming your own sister?
Ryoushi: Aah, that’s right. She is an idiot. Frankly, she’s weird.
Gretel: That’s not true. Sister is very kind, and always thinks for me……
Ryoushi: I’m saying that that’s bad. Even in this situation it’s abnormal for you to speak up for your sister. To put it bluntly, it’s brainwashing……well that being said, I’m also in the wrong. At first, I thought that your violence and verbal abuse was due to illness. I thought that you would have to take candy for the rest of your life, but relying on it only makes people worse. Even when I noticed that you were taking too much of the candy so as to suppress yourself, I didn’t stop you. It was me who drove you into a corner. I’m sorry.
Gretel: ……it’s too late for that now.
Ryoushi: Aah, that’s right. You’re already addicted. A tempting, powerful drug called candy. Gretel. You’re being controlled. By the candy, and your sister.

Gretel replies that he’s controlling Yurika now though. He has shut her inside a cage, and stolen her freedom. But Ryoushi questions if that’s really the case – can he really escape from her control? Gretel is perplexed.

Ryoushi: ……back then, back then, when I had locked you up, why do you think that you were released so quickly?
Gretel: That’s because I listened to you……
Ryoushi: There’s that, but that’s not all. It’s Yurika. Your beloved sister went on a rampage for your sake.
Gretel: ……hah? What do you mean……

Ryoushi recalls how Yurika was also at home when he was suspended. That wasn’t because she took time off school. She made herself get suspended too. Without any notice or warning, she earnestly broke the classroom window. When she was finally restrained and calmed down, the teacher asked why she did this. And Yurika replied that she wanted to repeat another year in school. The classmates who had respected her until then, were all put off. As they don’t know the situation, they will find her crazy. But surely Gretel understands the implications.

taiali2g-7

His dream. He wished to go to the same school as her. Did she try to fullfill his dream?

Gretel: ……that’s a lie. I never knew of that.
Ryoushi: We were told to keep it from you.
Gretel: Why!?
Ryoushi: Probably because she thought that there was no need to tell you. She said this to me and our parents. Will you immediately release him, or send me to the same place as him. She is abnormal, but not mad. As expected we couldn’t send her to the same place as you, so we brought you back home in the end.
Gretel: That time sister, lent her hand to me……?
Ryoushi: That’s right.

And Gretel destroyed that dream with his own hands. Ryoushi states once more that’s he’s still being spoiled by her, and being controlled by her. And along the way, he lost sight of his true self (sanity). Gretel admits that he long knew that.

Gretel: That person has captured me, and is torturing me……to me, that person is a poisonous drug. The more I thirst for it, the more I want it……
Ryoushi: Then you have to refuse.
Gretel: …………how?
Ryoushi: What do you think you should do?
Gretel: You won’t tell me the answer……
Ryoushi: I’m not your sister.
Gretel: ……if I return, you will keep me inside that place again right?
Ryoushi: It looks like you can judge rationally. Well, yes. You did something irreversible. That’s why your sister escaped with you.
Gretel: …………
Ryoushi: You’re always being led by your sister while holding her hand.

For the first time, Gretel sips the coffee without any sugar. He coughs at its bitter taste.

Gretel: ……sister will do anything for my sake. In other words……it’s because sister is trapped by me? Is sister also abnormal like me?
Ryoushi: ……aah, that’s right. That being said, her case is a bit special. You……no, everyone else says that she’s outstanding, but to me she’s a huge idiot. On the whole, she only thinks of the person she loves. To her, everyone else is nothing but chess pawns which she can make use of. Me (her brother), her parents, and friend.
Gretel: …………I……
Ryoushi: Nn?
Gretel: Can I save sister one day……?
Ryoushi: You can. Rather, I think that you’re the only one who can do it.
Gretel: …………
Ryoushi: Gretel. You did something irreversible. But you can start again from scratch. First, don’t rely on the candy, and learn to control yourself. Suppress the fluctuation in your feelings, and learn an average person’s ethics and morals again. Then decrease the amount of candy even further once you’ve grown accustomed. Maintain your reason. Gretel. Release yourself from the sweet control of candy. And don’t rely on your sister from now on, and carve out your path with your own strength this time.

Back to Yurika’s POV

Yurika wakes up to a burning smell. There is smoke coming out from the cracks in the wall. She mutter that it’s finally caught fire. There is probably fire coming out from the chimney. It started from the flammable tar on the inside of the chimney. And it soon spread to the surrounding walls, and will eventually consume the whole place and her. Gretel isn’t here. There is no one who will save her either (Akazukin). The preparations are done. She whispers Gretel’s name, and looks back on the past.

When he had first caused an incident at school, she did the same soon after. When she was in class, she suddenly wondered why she’s here when her beloved is going through a hard time. How can she release him from the cage? She kept thinking and thinking of how to bring him back home. And then she thought of it.

If he has gone mad, I will go mad too.

And very naturally, she took her chair and smashed it against the classroom window. She did take caution, so that the people around her wouldn’t get hurt. How weird. Even though she’s mad, she can still think for others. She said this to her parents who came for her.

Choose. Will you immediately release him from that place, or will you send me to the same place as him.

Just as intended, he was brought home for the rest of his suspension and she was suspended too. Of course, she didn’t tell Gretel this as he would be sad. She giggles as she recalls how angry Ryoushi was and scolded her stupid over and over again. That’s life. After that, all her other friends except Ookami shunned her. Of course, it’s not normal to casually talk to someone who had swung a chair. Not that she minds. Rather than the pain of being separated by friends, the pain of being separated from the one you love is much more. She once told Ookami that to Gretel, she is his justice and absolute, his whole world. But the same goes for her. To her, he is her justice and absolute, her whole world.

They’re not blood related siblings. But having spend time in the same environment as him, the two of them are too alike. But with this, it’s over. Because she realised something – she is the one controlling him. If she is a witch who is tying him down, then she will throw herself into hellfire. Perhaps she is stuck in between being a sister (sanity) and a witch (insanity).

Episode of Gretel (aka Gretel’s POV)

Gretel heads into the forest to fetch Yurika. He is deep in the forest, but there’s no need to worry. Because the red flames which are rising up, show the way to the strange house.

Gretel: Release myself from the sweet control of candy, don’t rely on sister and carve out my path with my own strength this time. Not following anyone else’s orders, but acting as I want to……

After parting ways with Ryoushi, Gretel returns alone to where Yurika is. He had prepared himself to get his hands on the candy, yet all he got was a lecture from Ryoushi. If he’d wanted, he could’ve forcefully taken it. Is it because he ate a lot of candy just now, that he couldn’t even feel angry? Or is it because he didn’t want to hurt Ryoushi? Did he truly see him as his older brother? Gretel denies it. His world is only made up of Yurika. The only bond he has is with her. His single treasure. He doesn’t need anything else. Only her existence is tying him to this world. There’s no way he can feel for the family who abandoned him. In the end, what does he want to do? Does he want to continue living with Yurika in that strange house? Can he? He has finished his supply of candy. He wouldn’t be able to endure it without the candy, and may eat her. In that case, he will defile the treasure which he had been protecting till now with his own hands.

What is he doing? It was him who locked her in that cage because he didn’t want to eat her. It was him who left her to get the candy. He’s afraid. The more he thinks about it, the more his hands and legs tremble. He’s overwhelmed with fear that he may end up eating her. The only one who can save Yurika who is trapped in the cage, is him. Or should he leave her locked up, so that he won’t eat her? Can he remain loyal like a dog and wait, even with the bait laid down in front of his eyes?

Just then, Gretel notices something burning brightly in a distance. He realises that it’s fire, and starts dashing. He bumps into an unexpected person – Akazukin. The latter says that he had been searching for him, and tells him to hurry to the burning house. Before that, Akazukin gives him something Yurika had passed to him – it’s the green ribbon. This wasn’t the one prepared by Wizard, but something he had secretly bought for his sister as a surprise present. Gretel realises the truth then – she was the one who planned the fire, and plans to die for his sake.

Back to Yurika’s POV

Yurika coughs, and the smoke causes her to tear up. She lies down flat, trying to breath. It’s getting difficult to do so, and the flames are approaching her. It will be only a few minutes till it reaches her. Or perhaps she may pass out from the lack of oxygen first. It may be easier that way, since she would be burned while unconscious. As she thinks of Gretel, her mind grows dazed. She wonders if Akazukin has already met Gretel, and given him the green ribbon. The reason she did so, is merely because she’s worried. She has cut off many ties till now, and only one remains. Her treasure (love). Only his existence ties her down to this world. Yurika whispers that she had also wanted to go to the same school as him.

At that moment, Gretel rushes in. He says that he’ll get her out immediately, and takes out the key. He won’t have her die here. However, the lock isn’t opening. Perhaps the shape has changed due to the heat. Yurika touches his hand, implying that she doesn’t mind. She remarks that she was the one tying him down, and asks if he will feel better when she’s gone. Gretel bites on his lower lip and glares at her. He confirms his suspicions that she planned this fire. Just like Ryoushi said, she’s mad. She winks and agrees brightly, she needs to defeat the witch.

Gretel: ……if not, I’ll be eaten up?
Yurika: I’ll roast you and eat you whole.
Gretel: …………
Yurika: ……Gretel-kun. You’re always in pain because of me. It was the same that time. You resorted to violence for my sake, and let your dream slip away. I know that you worked hard. Because I’ve always been watching you. I liked your hard-working figure. I wanted to do anything for your sake. But that backfired and I hurt you in the end. I’m sorry. It’s my fault that you were hurt.
Gretel: You’re wrong……it’s not sister’s fault……

He shakes his head, denying this. But she remarks that he’s a kind child. No matter what others say, he’s a very wonderful boy to her. That’s why she wanted to fulfill his dream to go to the same school. If possible, to be in the same year, and lead an amusing school life. His dream was her dream. But it’s about time for him to be released by the witch. He can have a dream even without her. He can shine even without her. He won’t notice that if she’s here. She will eventually eat him, if she’s here.

Gretel: ……you’re spoiling me again.
Yurika: Because I’m your witch.
Gretel: What a bad witch……
Yurika: Yes. I’m a bad witch who wanted to eat the delicious-looking you.
Gretel: Sister……
Yurika: Gretel-kun. You look very delicious to me. I like you a lot, very very much. I want to touch you, even more so. But if you wish for me to remain your sister, I will give up on the treasure I’ve been searching for, the treasure I’ve longed for. If we have to give up either yours or my treasure, I will burn my treasure (love). With this, I can continue to remain as your treasure (sister).

At that moment, the flames approach them steadily. Yurika tells him to escape, but he refuses. But she points out that they will both die at this rate. So she wants him to at least survive. But he stubbornly refuses to leave her behind.

>> Abandon your treasure: (Note: You need to choose “don’t raise your voice” for the previous choice. Hence, Akazukin doesn’t notice that Yurika is there.) Yurika asks if the two of them should die here then. Gretel replies that it may be a good idea. He picks up the green ribbon and ties their hands together across the cage bar. He had always thought about how to resist her sweet temptation. He asked for her not to abandon him then, and she kindly took his hand and led him to this strange house. The days they spent together here were fun, but also painful. It seemed that it was impossible for him to always remain as siblings. Even now it’s this painful, surely he wouldn’t be able to endure from here on. But if they both die here, he can always remain her cute brother.

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Gretel: Sister, no one will break our bond. Not by sister, or by me too.
Yurika: …………I see.
Gretel: Sister……please forgive such a horrible me for being unable to defeat the bad witch.
Yurika: ……Gretel-kun. I’m also sorry for being a stupid sister.
Gretel: Sister……as long as I have sister, I’m fine without candy. We’ll be together even as I starve to death.
Yurika: Yes……if we remain trapped here, we’ll always be together.
Gretel: Sister……

Elsewhere, Wizard remarks that as the red fire consumes the strange house, the sister and brother are burnt. The strange house without its witch (owner) had many treasures in it. The two of them died happily, happily, in the strange house with the discovered treasures. And they lived happily ever after. (BAD END)

>> Don’t abandon your treasure: Gretel doesn’t want to wait for death, but he also doesn’t want to abandon her. In that case, he shall abandon his treasure. He smiles sadly. In the first place, it was a strange thing. He had always wanted to go to the same school as her. In that case, he could’ve just passed the admission test and graduated from his school. But he wanted to be in the same year as her. In other words, he didn’t want others to see him as her brother, but as her childhood friend, lover. It’s impossible for him to always remain siblings. She is too attractive for him to remain her cute brother.

Gretel: I have always desired you……I wanted to kiss you, have sex with you.
Yurika: ……even now do you still think that way?
Gretel: I do. I always do. To the point of saying don’t underestimate a teenager’s sexual drive. But to kiss and have sex……you can’t do it unless you live on……Sister. If you’re going to burn something, please burn the flames of life. If you are going to set fire, please set fire to my desires.
Yurika: ……is it fine to burn it?
Gretel: It’s fine. In exchange, I’ll devour as much as I want. Accept all of the desires I have accumulated till now. Please be prepared……
Yurika: ……Is it fine for me to eat you?
Gretel: It’s definitely better than starving to death……
Yurika: I will no longer be your sister you know?
Gretel: It’s fine.
Yurika: ……Is it fine for me to no longer be a dazzling jewel?
Gretel: ……it’s fine. Even if you are a worthless pebble, to me you are an important sign which shows me the way back.
Yurika: We may be separated if we return home?
Gretel: I don’t mind.
Yurika: ……you won’t be connected to anyone, and may become all alone?
Gretel: …………even so…………even so, it’s definitely better compared to the pain of losing you……Yurika.

He gives a smile with resignation, and adds that he had decided to spoil her since then. If she’s here, he doesn’t mind even if he has no candy. He can endure any bitterness. Gretel asks her to return together. Yurika knows that it may be him pretending to endure. Unless he has resolved himself greatly, he couldn’t possible abandon the treasure he had treasured and desperately protected till now. Yet he is choosing to do so for her sake. His words and feelings make her feel really happy, and she starts to cry.

Yurika: Yes……let’s return. I want to return together with Gretel-kun too……!

At that moment, the locks opens and drops to the floor. Gretel opens the door and stretches out his hand towards her. Yurika takes his hand, and finally leaves the cage. Outside, Akazukin is relieved to see them and douses them in water. Gretel appears surprised to see him. Akazukin tells them that the firemen are coming, and tells them to evacuate first as it’s dangerous.

As they’re escaping, they turn around and see the strange house burning brightly. Gretel hugs her, commenting that it’s burning. And all that’s left will only be the burnt remnants of the house. But with this, they’ve beaten the bad witch. They’re saved. Yurika agrees, and thanks him. They smile at each other, their faces stained with soot. After that, the firemen came and put out the fire before it could spread to the forest. They were questioned thoroughly, and finally returned home after several days. Their parents broke down in tears of happiness upon seeing them. Looking closely, they’ve grown thin. Apparently they didn’t eat anything as they were so worried and sad about their disappearance. Gretel apologises to his parents.

Ryoushi slaps both of them, angrily saying that they’ve troubled others a while lot, and worried everyone a lot. Both of them kneel down and apologise. He has every reason to be angry, so they have no room for excuses. He heaves a loud sigh, and suddenly ruffles both of their heads.

Ryoushi: ……well, in any case, it’s good that you’re both fine. Welcome back. Yurika……Gretel.

He shows a relieved smile. Even Yurika has never seen him smile before. She and Gretel look at each other, and both reply that they’re back home.

Elsewhere, Wizard says that the younger brother Gretel let go of his most important treasure in order to save his sister. He may have lost his family, his only bond. But in exchange, the treasure which his sister had, formed a new bond. And so, the two of them lived happily with the treasure they had brought back from the strange house. And they lived happily ever after.

Once upon a time, there was a boy called Gretel in the mirror world. Gretel had an older sister he was proud of. She was smart, beautiful, a human whose worth is like a shining and dazzling jewel. He desperately worked hard in studies and sports, so as to get closer to her. Gretel played an outstanding brother role for his outstanding sister, but he had another side to him. Hidden behind his polite conduct, he had a violent and destructive side. And due to trivial causes, he was exposed.

One day, a classmate’s vulgar comments infuriated Gretel and he hurt him extremely with violence. That greatly messed up the path he was on. Having caused that incident, his brother shut Gretel in a white room and gave him great amounts of medicine. Gretel initially resisted, but he endured for his beloved sister’s sake and pretended to be obedient. After being released from the white room, he stopped spoiling himself with his sister, and decided to spoil her instead. He was extremely afraid of being abandoned by his beloved sister. Because Gretel knew that he wasn’t her real family. He took the candy in order to always remain calm. He thought that he wouldn’t need anything else as long as he had his sister and the candy. The peaceful, gentle and happy days continued. He thought that it would continue tomorrow, the day after, and forever. But it was so fragile that it could collapse with the slightest mistake.

He had hurt someone again. The friends with the classmate he had hurt, kidnapped his sister and assaulted her. Seeing his beloved sister hurt, Gretel lost all reason and beat up the boys till they were bloody. It was irreversible this time. Gretel cried while begging not to abandon him, to his sister who had witnessed everything. And so his beloved sister, took the hand of the non-blood-related brother, and wandered into the forest. Even with the moonlight shining down brightly, the siblings who had lost all signs couldn’t return home. Because they themselves abandoned their home. How long did they wander in the forest. Finally, they discovered a small house. It was a very strange house. The four walls were white, and all the furniture was white. Everything in that small house was white, white, white……in that terrifyingly white space, everything necessary was provided. Food, clothes, and a warm wood stove too. This was their sweet home, and the siblings started living happily in that strange house.

But Gretel grew stranger after they started living in the strange house. He secretly mixed his candy in his beloved sister’s food, and made his sister’s memory hazy. And he tied his sister’s hands and legs, and stole her freedom. He earnestly fought with the desire to eat his sister. But that didn’t last for long. Gretel suppressed his true nature to eat his sister with the candy, but that candy grew lesser and lesser. With the effects of the strange candy gone, his sister recalled everything. And feeling pity for Gretel who was in pain because of her, she chose to throw herself into hellfire. She, the witch who controlled Gretel, and wanted to eat Gretel.

Gretel was driven into an agonising decision. To abandon their sister-brother relationship and to live as lovers, or to remain as sister-brother and burn to death together. To Gretel, his sister’s existence is his only bond, his treasure. After hesitating, Gretel let go of the treasure he had for the sake of the one he loves. In that instance, his sister who was the witch, transformed into a princess, and became Gretel’s new treasure. And so, the two of them returned home with the treasure they had brought back from the strange house, and lived happily ever after.

(After the credits)

Gretel finishes tying the green ribbons around her hand, and as her hairband. She’s happy, since he brought the ribbon for her. He’s glad that it’s being used for its original purpose. Though he had preferred to tie it around her whole body, such that she is a present for him. Yurika’s put off, but he notices that she’s still happy.

Yurika: That’s not the case! Probably……
Gretel: I can hear it. When you react that way, I can’t help but think, ah, so it’s really fine if I do it……seriously, you don’t know just how much I’m enduring.
Yurika: You’re enduring?
Gretel: I am. Isn’t it obvious. I won’t recklessly devour you. Because you are important to me. I am the type to leave delicious things till the end.

Yurika remains quiet, before asking if he’s spoiling her. Gretel admits that he is, though her older brother told him over and over again not to spoil her as she would let it get to her head. But he can’t help it, since he loves her so much. While he feels bad towards Ryoushi, he will continue spoiling her. Yurika questions the way he addresses Ryoushi. Gretel explains that he’s his brother-in-law, once he marries Yurika in the future. At the same time, her parents will become his father-in-law and mother-in-law. He sighs, wondering why he didn’t realise such a simple thing. Even though it was the fastest way to create a family.

She asks if there is no sister-in-law. Gretel replies that in exchange, he has a bride, or a wife. But since they can’t get married now, they’re still lovers. It’s a rehearsal. He’s grateful to her brother, and parents. Thanks to them protecting him with all of their might, he has this moment with her now. While it may be impossible to be in the same year as her, it looks like he can go to the same school as her next year. It may be a short period, but since he can go to school together with her, he has to act as a model student more than ever before.

Gretel: Of course, I will pay for everything which I’ve done till now, including sister’s share. If it’s for sister’s sake, I can kneel down, go on a pilgrimage and do anything.
Yurika: …………
Gretel: Ah–……ahem. I said it wrongly. If it’s for Yurika’s sake……
Yurika: It’s fine to say sister.
Gretel: ……are you making fun of me?
Yurika: I’m not.
Gretel: ……thanks to the fact that I kept calling you sister, sister all this time, it’s became a habit which I can’t cure.
Yurika: It’s fine isn’t it. Calling me sister.
Gretel: No it isn’t. Yurika is my lover. So it won’t be suitable to keep calling you sister right……well, but if Yurika insists so, I can sometimes return to calling you sister……?
Yurika: Yes. Please.
Gretel: ……seriously. What will you do by spoiling me so.
Yurika: Because I love Gretel-kun so much. You’re my treasure, so it’s a given for me to spoil you right?
Gretel: You…………

Yurika asks what he would like in return for the ribbon. Gretel replies that it’s fine, but she insists. She likes being spoiled, but as a lover she can’t stand just being spoiled. He asks for a matching ribbon then. She’s puzzled at his answer, for he’s a boy. He replies that there’s a reason he gave her the ribbon. It was like a prayer of his to form a connection with her, so that he will always be connected to her. It represents the connection to him, and it’s also to curb off other men from touching her as he claims her as his treasure. After all, she’s well-aware of how clingy he is.

So this time, he asks her to tie a ribbon on him, and to wish for them to always be together. Yurika says that she has always wished for that since before, for this happiness to last forever. Gretel says that he has to fulfill it with all he has then. In order to do so, he shall endure and work hard from now on too. Because he is soft on her, he will end up wanting to fulfill all of her wishes. The days with her, is an irreplaceable treasure to him. He will keep treasuring it, and asks her to stay with him from now on too. ……and they lived happily ever after.

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Overall thoughts

I wonder why this post turned out longer than Kaguya’s when technically this route has less scenes. ;; Anyway again, please let me know if you spot any typos. This route…was surprising in many ways. Like the previous route, I wasn’t sure how this would mirror the original fairytale. I mean, it isn’t obvious who is the witch right? But the role of the witch, family, the theme of (eating) sweets, the symbol of the candy house, the fire, the treasure, even the stones……they really integrated all those into the story. But still, I didn’t know what to expect – wasn’t sure how they would resolve this story into a happily ever after ending.

I don’t feel that this was as painful as Kaguya’s, but it definitely made me cringe at certain points because…hahaha. It didn’t help that since I was writing this, I had to make sure that I didn’t just skip through all the details. As mentioned, this route contains possible triggers for people. Likewise, this route makes you play through bad ends if you want to get all the CGs. (Speaking of CGs, I felt that Gretel got short-changed of one CG because…why is that scene a CG? I know its significance but…yes I still feel that was short-changed.)

I have to say that so far, this series overturns your expectations of the characters. I mean, look, we all know what stereotype Gretel fits into right? :’D And a certain item was even thrown into the route to seal the deal haha. But the reason behind his actions tells a different story to the usual one we get. I can probably say the same thing for the other characters thus far.

As I played this route, I was wondering when Alice would show up. And honestly his scenes grow more and more suspicious. With this, I am finally halfway through this series. It may take me a while to get to episode 3 as I have a busy week ahead. But I am excited to play it since it features Shirayuki – and Wizard. Till then~

2 thoughts on “Taisho x Alice episode 2: Gretel

  1. aseriaa says:

    Oh wow, this is great Yume! Considering all the um… negative controversy surrounding the E2 localization of the game, this provides a fantastic alternative – which is super awesome of you😀 I haven’t started this series yet, but I think I might wait til you finish and then get sucked into the world of taisho alice haha. But who’s your bias and what’s your fave route so far from the game? ^_^

    • Yume says:

      Thank you for your kind words! ^^ Honestly, I’m sure we all wish for a successful and decent localisation of the game but…yeah. If people have to get the Japanese version, I hope my posts do some justice. :’D

      Sure, no problem! I hope to finish the other episodes by the end of the year – if possible haha. My gut feeling is telling me that my bias will be either Wizard or Alice. But since I haven’t played their routes yet, at the moment my bias is Akazukin! I loved all the routes so far, but was most impressed with Kaguya’s route.❤

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