Hokuto has disappeared from Chiwa’s life ever since leaving that morning. Meanwhile Chiwa is back at her own home, scolding her father for not waking up despite it being the middle of the day.
“Don’t you have work?” he asks.
“Hmm, the company told me to rest since it seems I was going through a tough time. Guess they’ve caught me out. Everyone’s concerned,” Chiwa says sheepishly.
“Chiwa…” her father begins with a worried look on his face.
“Hm, what?” she flips around with a smile.
“Nevermind, it’s nothing,” he says.
“You sure? Well since I’m free anyways, I’m going to weed the garden,” Chiwa replies.
Chiwa reflects back on the events since that day as she starts weeding. Asahina had dragged her out of the house, saying he had received an email of the story from Hokuto. After that, Chiwa had personally gone to the public office to check the family registry and found that indeed Hokuto has cut all ties with her. The bodyguards assigned to Chiwa’s father remains though since the threat of them being targeted does not disappear with divorce.
She ponders, “If Hokuto had begun this because of his mother’s death, I had begun because I wanted to protect this garden. But somehow the things I wanted to protect became all related to Hokuto. The goals he wanted to achieve, my life with him, and his smile. Father’s letter had taken Hokuto away from our future together. And I thought I had won already.”
Sweet memories of her times together with Hokuto and the promises he had made her regarding their future flash across her mind, and she pulls the weeds out furiously.
“Liar,” she mutters as she continues to think, “I thought I couldn’t live without Hokuto anymore…What on earth am I doing now? I’ve lost all the things I want to protect.”
Her reverie is interrupted by Asahina.
“Mamiya! Ah sorry, I was used to calling you that,” he blusters.
“Asahina-san. What’re you doing here? What about work?” she turns around alarmed.
Asahina notices that her hands have become all bloody from weeding.
“I had something to tell you, and then I had met these two, who told me to look here. They guided me since the streets here were confusing,” he says.
Grandpa and Souma appear behind Asahina with worried expressions and Chiwa invites them in.
“I didn’t know what to do after that. Sorry, I know we’re don’t have the kind of relationship anymore where we can just intrude upon you,” grandpa apologizes.
“No, no, please don’t say that,” Chiwa reassures.
“Okusama, we’ve deployed all means to look for Hokuto, but we haven’t heard anything back yet,” Souma begins. (T/N: Okusama is a respectful term to call someone else’s wife. It’s really hard to translate into English. Madame or missus didn’t seem quite right to me, and didn’t confer the same meaning, so I decided to leave it as is.)
“Souma-san, I’m not okusama anymore,” Chiwa says.
“I’m sorry, but even now I cannot think of any other way besides okusama to address you. Please excuse my whims. He’s the same. Even though I know he’s not related to the Mamiya family, he’ll always be the little master of the house I’ve looked after ever since he was a child. Hokuto may disagree though,” she smiles.
“I agree,” grandpa says. “Ever since Seiji introduced that kid as his successor, I’ve thought of him as my grandson. No matter what the truth is, I still think of him as my grandson. I’ve never questioned the story of Youko-san dying in an accident. It was my first time hearing from Souma that Seiji and Hokuto had doubts about it. I’m very sorry that you had to get caught up in all our troublesome family affairs. As the head of this family, I’ve come here to bow down before you. Please accept my…”
“Please don’t!” Chiwa says as she stops him from bowing. “Umm, I have to thank you too. If you haven’t saved me that time from debt collectors, I don’t know what would have happened. And besides, I was able to marry and fall in love with him. I was very happy.”
“Was?” grandpa asks as tears fill his eyes. “It seems that Yuuko-sama and I were not meant to have any bonds after all. No, I’m sorry for saying such selfish things even now.”
“I’m the same. I may not have any ties to the Mamiya family on the family registry anymore, but I still hold grandpa and Souma close to my heart. I’m glad for the time we’ve spent together, and if it’s still acceptable, please allow me to contact you in the future too,” Chiwa attempts to cheer grandpa up.
“I’m so sorry! Having to subject you to caring for the elderly,” grandpa once again erupts into tears.
Just then, Chiwa’s father interrupts them. “I have a message from the chauffeur. He says that he’ll move the car a bit. The streets are narrow here, and the neighbors may complain when such a big car is parked in the middle.”
Grandpa turns around to look at Chiwa’s father before turning back to Chiwa.
“This is your father?” he asks.
“Then that means he’s Yuuko-sama’s son?”
Grandpa looks Chiwa’s father up and down before sighing, “I couldn’t tell that Hokuto wasn’t my grandson even if he had such high resemblance. I don’t think I understand genetics very well. Let’s go, Souma.”
“Okusama, we’ll come visit again,” Souma says.
“Alright,” Chiwa bows to her guests…when she notices Asahina standing beside her.
“Were you here the whole time?!”
“I told you I had to talk to you. Did you disinfect your hands yet?” he asks.
“Yes, look,” she shows him her bandaged hands.
“Anyways, Sakuraba-san was saying how we should have a company trip. Considering your circumstances, it may not be that important…”
“…couldn’t you have told me this on the phone?” Chiwa asks.
“But thank you. Tell Sakuraba-san not to worry too much either,” Chiwa says.
“Hey now! I’ve come here to see you not because the president told me to. Sakuraba-san and I both equally want to support our cute kouhai during these times. Don’t misunderstand though, I don’t have any motives this time. So much time has already passed. Well then, I’ll come over to see you again. If anything happens, call me,” Asahina waves goodbye. (T/N: Kouhai means junior. Japan is a bit hierarchical in the workplace)
As she watches him walk away, she thinks, “Everyone is so good to me. Time…where has the time Hokuto and I shared gone to? He was just beside me not long ago.”
Chiwa drops by the hospital the next day, waiting in line to be seen when she hears Dr. Katagiri’s voice. Not wanting to have to speak to him, she tries to creep away when he calls out to her.
“Hey. Aren’t you Mamiya’s wife? Why’re you here?” he says cheerfully.
They walk out of the hospital to talk.
“I come here once a week, since it’s my clinic’s off day,” Katagiri explains.
“But to think something like that has happened. That bastard hasn’t told me one word, and we’re supposed to be good friends. It was quite a shock,” Katagiri continues mumbling as Chiwa tries to bear it in.
“Is that all you’re having for lunch?” she asks, trying to steer the conversation away.
“Hm? Yea, today’s especially busy,” he explains.
“You’ll ruin your health,” she warns.
“Coming from a person who went to the psychosomatic department for barbiturates is a bit rich,” he comments casually.
Chiwa’s shocked that he knows before she pastes on a smile.
“Don’t say such cruel things. I was worried about you,” she says.
“Why’re you smiling foolishly like that? It’s sickening. It’s the first time I’ve seen you smile like that,” he criticizes.
“Then what expression do you want? Everyone’s been so nice, acting so cautiously around me. There’s no way I can show all my misery to them. I’ve thought about that day over and over again and I still don’t get it. I can’t sleep. What should I do? I’m not hung up about the divorce, but what should I have done to make Hokuto stay beside me?”
Chiwa begins to tear up. “His whole life has just been overturned by the letter. And I know he’s hurting inside, so much that it’s probably beyond my grasp. But that’s why I want to be there for him. Yet he can’t depend on me, not even just a little…”
Chiwa suddenly stops and catches herself. “What am I doing spewing my heart out to him?”
“Umm, I’m sorry,” she blusters.
“”No, it’s alright. You’ve really reached your breaking point. I’m not from the psychosomatic department, nor do I like crying women, so I can’t say anything comforting. But I don’t dislike you either. That guy has never promised anything he cannot do. He’s fulfilled all of his words. He’s not one to speak of empty hopes, but I think you know that since you’ve lived with him. I understand your feelings, but maybe you should give it some more thought?” Katagiri says and looks at his watch. “Oh, it’s time for me to go.”
He stands up to say goodbye, “See you. If you ever feel unwell, do come visit.”
Chiwa’s left sitting on the bench pondering Katagiri’s words.
“I know he doesn’t lie. Then did he really mean it when he said he would redo it from the beginning? I wasn’t able to think clearly when all I thought about was myself. Why did he disappear? Why did he have to face this himself? I…”
Sometime later, Chiwa goes off to the port city where Hokuto grew up to visit his mother’s grave. The bodyguard has also accompanied her on this excursion.
“Now that I think of it, if the bodyguard is still with me, it means I haven’t lost all ties with Hokuto. If Hokuto chooses to stay silent and go off on his own, there must be a reason why I’m not allowed to know. He hasn’t disappeared for no reason. He probably has something he needs to achieve…”
Chiwa approaches the grave and realizes with a start that the flowers there are still relatively fresh.
“That means Hokuto was here not just long ago. He hasn’t given up yet. I miss him so much.”
She kneels down before his mother’s grave with tears in her eyes.
“If Hokuto’s words from then were true, please let me meet him mother. It doesn’t matter how long it’ll take. Please let him come back to me so we can have a future together. And from then, I’ll protect him.”
A few months pass by, and the Mamiya family have gathered at the main house to discuss about Hokuto.
“We still haven’t managed to find Hokuto. And now, we’ll have to decide on rearranging personnel concerning Satoru’s temporary position as the president of Mamiya Tourism. There’s also the issue of the successor to the group,” the uncle explains as Satoru and his wife look down in disappointment.
Suddenly Chiwa steps into the meeting.
“What are you doing here? You’re already divorced!” one cousin says angrily.
“Silence! I gave her the permission,” grandpa says as he too enters the room. To Chiwa, “Sorry, this is all I can do for you.”
“No, thank you so much,” she replies.
She faces the rest of the Mamiya family.
“I’ve come here today because there’s something I want to ask regarding my father-in-law Seiji and my ex-husband Hokuto. I have here a letter from father, and a matter of great importance is written inside. That matter is that Miura Youko-san, father’s lover and Hokuto’s mother, has been murdered by someone inside the Mamiya family. More correctly, she died covering for Hokuto, who was being targeted.”
The Mamiya family is shocked by Chiwa’s statement, and everyone begins at once whispering to themselves.
“What are you saying? Are you insane?” the angry cousin stands up. (Sorry, I forgot his name, so he’ll remain as angry cousin for the rest of the summary.)
“It’s the truth,” Chiwa says.
“Do you have any proof?!”
“That…It seems that father had always encountered obstacles from a certain someone in regards to his career and advancement. When he made contact with Hokuto, that person went so far as to target Hokuto. He tried protecting both mother and son, but he failed, and Youko-san…”
“What is all this? You don’t even have any proof. We can sue you for defamation,” someone else says.
“But doesn’t anyone here have an idea as to who it may be? That person may be trying to harm Hokuto as we speak,” Chiwa continues, a little shaken.
“Enough is enough! Hey, someone call security and throw her out.”
“Wait!” Chiwa screams as two men take her arms.
“How dare you touch Yuuko-sama’s granddaughter?” grandpa shouts in anger.
“My apologies,” the guard says, confused as to what to do.
“I still have things to say! Hokuto…” Chiwa says once again.
“I don’t care, throw her out,” the angry cousin says.
Satoru and his wife looks on helplessly, as angry cousin stalls grandpa.
“He wanted to become president to find out who killed his mother! It wasn’t because he was power hungry or because he wanted the fame. He thought that he couldn’t find out the truth if he doesn’t ascend to the very top. Who is it?? Who wrecked our marriage? Who turned his life into a mess? Who is it?? I won’t be thrown out!” Chiwa yells desperately as the guards continue to drag her outside.
Suddenly she crashes into someone.
“Hey now, that’s a pretty mean thing to say. I don’t think my life was that bad,” Hokuto smiles down at Chiwa.
Commentary: I was kinda hoping Hokuto would disappear for a little longer, so maybe Chiwa could become the courageous brave heroine to save the day by solving the whole damn mystery herself. Ok, maybe that was stretching it…but the realization that Hokuto may have a reason for leaving her is a bit sudden. I mean, people just don’t do that after having a 5 minute conversation with his best friend or something. Isn’t there supposed to be some doubt? Especially when your husband has left you for a few months? On one hand, I’m glad I don’t have to see her mope for another 50 pages, but on the other…I don’t know, it wasn’t really realistic to me. I’m so glad she does the confrontation, but on the other hand, I want to see the events that build up to it. You know, gathering tidbits of evidence here and there, preparing for all the counterattacks, researching and investigating perhaps? But no, she just marches in with Seiji’s letter. I mean, did she really have to wait a few months to do it? If she didn’t have any evidence anyways, she should have done it a few weeks after Hokuto had disappeared. Not a few months…and though she was brave and all, I would have totally been on the Mamiya family side and ask security to throw her out. She was just waving empty accusations (although the reader knows they’re probably not). Has she just been moping during those months without taking action? I don’t like it sometimes how Hokuto always has to be the one to save the day…tsk tsk. This is Chiwa’s story too! I’m looking forward for the next chapter, and maybe just a bit glad it’s going to end soon. We’ve been stuck on this whole mystery-murder-angst for wayyy too long.