The next day the police visits for a brief round of questions. Chiwa has but taken a slight wound, and there doesn’t seem to be any negative prognostic symptoms, although she did have stitches. After the detectives leave, Chiwa asks Hokuto what he would like to eat for lunch. Since she was advised to rest at home, she suggests it’s probably better to take out delivery. Hokuto doesn’t answer and spaces out, always back to his mother’s accident. He blames himself for not being able to protect Chiwa, just like he wasn’t able to protect his mother. Chiwa calls out once more.
“Hokuto! I just want to say this. Even if I’m injured now, I’ve never for once thought that it would have been better if he stabbed you. I jumped out in front of you because I wanted to. If I hadn’t, I would have blamed myself. Anyways, let’s have lunch. You have to go to work in the afternoon soon, right?”
Hokuto leans over Chiwa and takes her into his arms.
“I’ll never forgive myself, for letting you get injured by the likes of that guy. I’ll never…”
Chiwa sighs to herself, having heard these words countless times since the accident. She decides to put off showing Hokuto Seiji’s letter for a while.
They visit the Mamiya estate, where grandpa frets over Chiwa’s injuries. They’ve been called for an emergency meeting, though Chiwa is clueless as to why. She asks Saori (wife of the nice cousin), but she doesn’t seem to know either. Saori comments that Hokuto looks sour, but Chiwa assures her that he’s always like that. In reality, Hokuto has been in a grim state ever since the emergency meeting has been called. Chiwa surmises that it’s probably because he thinks the person who plotted the stabbing incident is here. Chiwa herself is scared too, but she’s more scared that Hokuto may turn back to his past self. She looks over her back, seeing that the other Mamiya cousins are snickering over something.
At the table, the uncle beings troubledly, “There is but one reason as to why we’re assembled here today. I’ve received a report of enormous importance the other day. I’ve been thinking about it ever since as to what to do with it. For our family, it’s not something we can ignore. But as to the truth of it…”
A cousin annoyingly interrupts, “Stop with all the pretense. Just spit it out already. I apologize for my manners, chairman, but it’s the fact that the bastard who calls himself Mamiya Hokuto is actually not uncle Seiji’s son or anything.”
Hokuto and Chiwa pause, their eyes wide with surprise. The other family members also are rattled by this news. Grandpa immediately stands up, angry at Kunio (ah, we finally have a name for one of the annoying cousins), scolding him for saying things with no basis.
“I’m sorry grandpa, but it’s the truth,” Kunio continues, “I’ve received uncle’s medical records through under certain circumstances. Uncle Seiji was sterile, so he shouldn’t have been able to father any children. He had known that, but yet continued to hide that bastard’s lineage. We’ve been deceived all this time by uncle Seiji!”
Grandpa sinks down to his chair in shock.
“Whatever it is, that bastard doesn’t have a drop of Mamiya blood in him!”
Chiwa begins to tear, horrified that her father-in-law’s secret was exposed in such a fashion in such a place.
The cousin slams his fist on the table, “I absolutely cannot accept the fact that he will succeed the Mamiya Group as the next heir.”
Chiwa flips around to look at Hokuto, but there’s not a hint of anger or surprise on his face. In fact, he looks quite spaced out.
Kunio quickly cedes into the next topic, “I propose that we strip Mamiya Hokuto of his duties as president of the tourism division as well as discuss the qualifications of the next president.”
Satoru (nice cousin) protests hurriedly. “Please wait! I don’t know about his lineage or anything, but look at how much he has contributed to our group. Look at all the achievements he has made for Mamiya Affairs, and the results with the tourism division. He’s someone we can’t afford to lose.”
Hokuto stands up and signals for Chiwa to leave.
“We don’t have any more business here.”
“Eh?” Chiwa looks startled.
“It’s we who should be saying that,” retorts an angry Kunio.
Chiwa meekly follows Hokuto, frustrated that his twenty years of hardship has just been dispelled and disregarded like that.
Hokuto says, “You knew, didn’t you. About father…”
“You didn’t act as surprised, even though you should have been the one most affected. Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?”
Chiwa looks down. “Sorry. I didn’t know if I should have said anything about it.”
“Tell me everything when you go home then.”
They sit down in silence as Hokuto reads over the letter at home.
“In short, there has always been someone trying to distance my father from succeeding the group from the past, creating obstacle after obstacle. That person has been so bent on the fact I might be the next heir that my father went to warn my mother and I of any danger. But his warning went ignored, and the security he placed around us proved useless. And my mother died protecting me in the accident. My mother was never the target…but me instead,” Hokuto comments.
In the letter, the following is written by Seiji. ‘I cannot properly apologize to that child. If only I hadn’t reached out to him back then…”
Chiwa hunches over with tears in her eyes.
“I…it’s not fair. Whatever the truth was, I didn’t want it to be thrown out in the open like that. It not only put your twenty years to waste, but hurt grandpa and a lot of others…”
Hokuto looks to her, “Waste…? Did you just say that? Would you have rather married one of my other shitty cousins?”
“Let me remind you, out of all the grandchildren, I had the most promising future and that’s why gramps picked me to be engaged to you. Satoru was out of the question because he’s already married. If I didn’t fit your standards, you would have probably been forced to marry some leftover. Do you still think it was a waste of my life?” Hokuto comments offhandedly.
“Ah…no…” Chiwa mutters sheepishly.
He pats her on the head. “Look up and don’t cry. You would play right into their hands if you cried.”
More determinedly, he continues, “You were the woman I met, and I’m the man you met. There’s nothing wasteful about it. Whatever the truth is, we haven’t lost anything. We haven’t lost to anything, so raise your head up high.”
“Alright!” Chiwa smiles, relieved that he would not be caught up in the past again.
“Well then, I have to think about the future now…”
“What did you think about father now? I think that he wanted to atone for something by taking you in and raising you. Even so, his feelings towards you were sincere. Ummm…”
“Don’t worry, I still think that we’re father and son without a doubt. He was probably more troubled by our relationship since he knew I wasn’t his actual son. I feel better now that I know why his scrupulous organizational skills haven’t passed down to me.”
Chiwa smiles shyly, “That again…” She thinks, ‘He’s always the type to act strong.’
Hokuto leans in to kiss Chiwa.
“I’ve been thinking for a while now. I’ve always thought that the person who targeted me and threatened you was one of my cousins. But now I’m sure that it’s not. He’s probably satisfied now he has dethroned me. The one who did it was the culprit from twenty years ago. He had somehow learned that you were closing in on the truth about my mother’s death, and besides he didn’t want me to become the next chairman. It all makes sense now. What I don’t want to think of is that someday you may also be run over like my mother…that probably…”
Chiwa looks down in consternation, reflecting that this was what Shitara-san also thought.
Hokuto kneels down in front of Chiwa.
“Chiwa…would you please divorce me?”
Shocked, Chiwa ventures, “Eh…what are you joking…”
She quickly recovers though, seeing as how there’s no reason for him to say this.
“No! What are you saying all of a sudden?!”
“You just told me we’re not going to lose to anything.”
“But I’m not an actual Mamiya…”
“That doesn’t matter. You told me you would never leave me! I will never leave you! No, the answer is no!! No!” Chiwa cries out desperately.
“Calm down,” Hokuto says, pulling her in for a hug. “Who said I would leave you? I’m just saying we should become lovers.”
“How many times have you been thrown about now by the Mamiya name? And to suffer such an injury for me…This is the only way for me to completely pull Mamiya’s negative influence out of your life. I’m not going to let you suffer the fate of my mother. The Mamiya name has always haunted our marriage. We’re just going to cut away cleanly from it and redo everything from the start.”
Chiwa looks down with tears in her eyes. ‘From the start huh…’
“Then…would you marry me once again?” she asks.
“When things have died down and the danger has passed, I would do it in a heartbeat time and time again. You’ll always be the only wife for me,” Hokuto reassures her and holds her tightly.
‘To fill in the divorce form three times in my life is bewildering…but this time it’s for real.’
Later that night, they proceed to make love.
“Is your arm alright?” Hokuto asks.
“It’s alright. Even if it isn’t, that doesn’t matter,” Chiwa says. “This is the last night we’ll spend together as wife and husband. I want you to make love to me throughout,” she closes in with a kiss.
“Chiwa…I’ve made you cry and spun you in circles countless times. I know I’m not a good husband, but having married you was my greatest happiness.”
‘I know that you are more than hurt by this, but you wouldn’t say it. I know you don’t want to show anyone your weak spots, and that’s why I didn’t question further. Instead, I’ll always stay by your side and never leave you. Even if you have lost your family and everything else, even if the whole world turns its back on you, I’ll always be yours. I will…”
The next morning, Chiwa wakes up to find that Hokuto has disappeared.
Commentary: I love love love the fact that the author has not resorted to some deus ex machine for Seiji’s letter. It’s getting more and more intriguing…but now I wonder who on earth the culprit could be! If it’s not the family… Hokuto is so sweet as always, and omg, we may get a proper wedding in the last chapter after all! And a ring to boot! And a baby. Ok, maybe my wish list is getting out of hand, but like all the readers out there who have stuck with all the angst in the last 37 chapters, I would have to say we deserve it. Oh, and one more thing. I read the comments on Minchi’s website too, and though I don’t know definitely what happens in the next chapters, I hope no one misleads us again. I’m not sure if there are websites or groups or newsstands that release chapters ahead of the serialization in the monthly magazines for a subscription fee (there may just be), but to post about events that don’t happen next is deceptive and not very nice. Anyways, I look forward to the next chapter. I hope Hokuto hasn’t disappeared to do something stupid, or to take it all upon himself to solve the mystery.