Starting off with Rio because I need my dose of super otaku host as quickly as possible. Rio’s route is a lot of fun, though it can get really frustrating thanks to a certain character. He also shows a different attitude towards the age gap issue.
Shirosaki Rio is the number one host of club LADY MAGIC, 29 years old. He’s an optimistic man with a high pride and loves everything fun. Rio is generally kind towards everyone, but shows no mercy towards the people he hates. He’s good at capturing women’s hearts through his actions, even more than using verbal seduction. Behind that exterior, Rio is actually a heavy otaku who loves anime, manga and games. His birthday is December 24 with cattleya as his birth flower.
• DECEMBER •
If Mai chooses the cattleya, Kyouga tells her to deliver the flower at night. She’s actually more curious about why he called her so early in the morning, but he only glares at her in return. Is she telling him to wait until she comes in the afternoon? Doesn’t she realize that it’s a million years too early for her to talk back to him? ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Knowing that she won’t be able to win, Mai quickly apologizes and asks who she should give the cattleya to… and Kyouga answers that it’s a host. This surprises her because while she doesn’t know much about hosts, she learned from a TV show that their job is to serve women. Kyouga further explains that Mai has to deliver the flower to a man named Shirosaki Rio, the number one host of club LADY MAGIC. Since she doesn’t get what a “number one host” means, he says it’s the most popular one in the club. However, this raises a question in Mai’s mind. As the most popular host, this man must be bathing in affection from a lot of women. Does he really need support for love?
Mai snaps out of her thoughts when Kyouga flicks her forehead for spacing out. For now, he wants her to go to school first. When she returns to Kamizono Shrine in the evening, he wants her to go and deliver the flower immediately. Yes, In her shrine maiden outfit. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ He says she needs to wear it since she’s working for the shrine. She actually wants him to know that it takes a lot of courage to wear it outside the shrine grounds, but she knows he wouldn’t listen. He’d probably just tell her that it’s her job and ends the conversation there. Kyouga sends Mai off after that, and she drops by the main shrine to put the cattleya in a vase. It wouldn’t wither even without water, but she’d feel bad if she leaves it alone. Kyouga also tells Mai to study properly, since having a dumb shrine maiden would only bring him to shame LOL.
On the way to school, Mai is joined by the poor boy who’s been in love with her since junior high—Mori Kengo. He comes early to help the baseball club with practice, and he feels lucky to be able to walk with her to school. Mori mentions that he’s currently saving up to buy his dream bike, and he doesn’t join any clubs because he spends his free time working part-time. Unfortunately, his joy doesn’t last for long. Just as he invites Mai for a ride in the future, they get interrupted by Mai’s best friend—Aihara Miki. Mori has to stop Miki from revealing that he entered their school to follow Mai, but sadly for the poor thing… Mai is completely oblivious to this fact. Miki laughs saying she loves how dumb Mori is, but since she already has a boyfriend in university… the compliment (?) obviously doesn’t make him happy LOL.
Upon arriving at school, Miki leaves to the archery club’s dojo. Mori is a bit concerned since the archery club seems busy with practice, and he wonders if she has any time for her boyfriend… but she calmly says they can go on a date after that. She can also tell him about “night dates” if he wants, though he rejects the idea right away. It only makes him feel sad for not having a girlfriend. However, Mori’s mood instantly goes up when Mai mentions that she can watch him practice from their classroom. He runs off in joy after that, and she goes inside the school building after parting with them.
At night, Mai brings the cattleya bouquet to LADY MAGIC. The place has a peculiar atmosphere around it, which makes it hard for her to go inside. After taking a deep breath and gathering up her courage, she takes one step forward… but suddenly she feels warmth wrapping her shoulders. At the same time, a voice whispers into her ears—welcoming her to LADY MAGIC and asking who she’s looking for. When she turns around, she finds a stunningly good-looking man in a purple suit. He winks and apologizes for surprising her, but his sudden appearance actually terrifies her. However, Mai knows that feeling scared won’t solve anything… so she shoves her fear aside and asks if he’s a host working for LADY MAGIC. The man looks surprised to hear this, and he asks if she’s not a guest who came to play in their club. When she nods, he shows a troubled expression, pulls his hand away from her shoulders, and steps back. He mistook her for a guest because she’s holding a bouquet and stands in front of their club, and once again apologizes for getting too close.
Feeling relieved, Mai explains that she came to see Shirosaki Rio and asks if he’s available. Upon hearing this, the man slightly frowns and asks what kind of business she has with him. She answers that she came to deliver the bouquet, but he only stares at it and tilts his head in confusion—muttering that he doesn’t remember ordering flowers. This brings Mai to the realization that he’s actually the man she’s looking for, and he smiles saying he is indeed Shirosaki Rio. He’s the number one host of LADY MAGIC, working under the alias of “Riou”. When Mai nods and hands the bouquet to him, Rio asks her about the sender… so she tells him that it’s from the Kamizono Shrine. The flowers grant blessings for love, and he’s been chosen to accept it. Rio smiles saying it’s a romantic legend, and he wants to tell his princesses—his guests—about this… but Mai can feel that he’s not taking this seriously. Somehow, she can sense that he doesn’t mean what he just said.
Since Mai came all the way here just to deliver the bouquet, Rio invites her inside as a token of gratitude. She quickly refuses since she’s still got work to do, and he smiles saying she’s so serious. He likes that side of her though, and he asks her to come closer—promising to pamper her. When Rio smiles at her, Mai can feel her heart racing and her face turning red. For a moment she wonders if this is the power of a host, but she quickly steps back, turns down the offer, and dashes off in a panic. However, this causes her to bump into someone. Or rather, a man who’s clearly not pleased about the collision. She instantly freezes in fear upon seeing his sharp gaze, since he has absolutely no intentions of hiding his anger. Not too long after that, Rio comes over to help Mai and recognizes the man as Seiya—also a host in LADY MAGIC. Seiya is supposed to accompany a client today, but she cancelled their plan because of work. He grumbles about how troublesome it is, but Rio reminds him that she’s a very important client to him. Letting her go would only put himself in trouble, so he should watch his words around her.
Ignoring Rio’s advice, Seiya only asks him about Mai. What’s a kid like her doing here? Is she a guest who is cosplaying to satisfy Rio’s shrine maiden fetish? Rio quietly says this isn’t related to his hobby, but Mai is shocked to hear Seiya’s words. She quickly explains that she’s wearing this outfit for work and not for cosplay, but soon realizes that both Rio and Seiya are staring at her with a blank look. As Mai wonders if her explanation wasn’t enough, Rio suddenly bursts into laughter. He says he likes her reaction, because it’s different from what other girls would normally be concerned about. Considering Rio’s position as the number one host, Seiya quickly whacks him in the head—telling him not to show his “stupid laughter” in front of the club LOL. After that, he walks up to Mai and stares down at her. He says he doesn’t know why she came here, but this isn’t a place for kids like her. He wants her to leave immediately, and he walks off after calling her an eyesore.
Mai is obviously scared, but then she notices that Rio looks a bit surprised. He actually finds this unusual, because Seiya usually never shows such kindness to a person whom he just met. Mai wonders if they can call that “kind”, but Rio explains that Seiya normally doesn’t tell anyone to leave like that… Maybe he fell in love with her at the first sight? (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ In any case, Rio is grateful to Seiya for stopping Mai because he has a question for her. He hasn’t asked for her name yet, and he can’t let her leave just like that. When she introduces herself, he smiles saying she has a cute name. Again, Mai is completely charmed and feels her heart racing upon seeing Rio’s tempting smile. Before he can say anything else, she quickly takes her leave and runs off. She glances back not too long after that, and she sees him walking back into the club.
Mai has only seen hosts on TV before, but now she can see that they’re really good at escorting women. The smile Rio showed and the words he whispered are something she never knew before, and she felt very uneasy around him—mainly because she has no experience with men. Mai can understand that women must be happy to be treated that way, but she also admires his princesses… because she just can’t feel at ease. She continues thinking about this as she walks back to the Kamizono Shrine.
The next day, Mai tells Miki and Mori about Rio during lunch break. The first thing Mori asks is whether the host is an otaku who loves anime and games, but Mai says he wasn’t like that at all. This throws him into panic since she might be dealing with a dangerous man, especially when she mentions that she was invited into the club. Afraid that the host might kidnap her and do suspicious things to her, Mori offers to pick Mai up for school and send her home starting from today… but Miki quickly stops his delusion from going out of control. He doesn’t need to worry, because Kyouga would never send Mai to a dangerous place. Mai, on the other hand, doesn’t think Kyouga cares about her that much since he doesn’t seem concerned about her safety. Upon hearing this, Mori sighs saying she’s so dense. Beside him, Miki nods saying that’s what makes her cute.
That aside, Mori asks Mai to tell him if she has any problems—he’ll help her anytime. Miki whispers that sometimes she admires how Mori never gives up when it comes to Mai, and Mori panics when Mai asks what she’s referring to. He quickly covers it up by saying that Miki is being incoherent, and this quickly turns into an argument between them. Miki refuses to take the blame for a “chicken” who can’t tell Mai how he feels, and Mori protests that he’s not a chicken. He’s just a little bit naïve. Miki says she would be a shy and delicate beauty if Mori is naïve, and he totally laughs at the image—which only pisses her off even more LOL. Mai tries her best to stop them from arguing, but none of them wants to back down. As the result, lunch break ends before they can finish their lunch.
When Mai is done cleaning up in the evening, she sees Kyouga coming from the shrine gate. He’s holding a very familiar cattleya bouquet, and he soon confirms that it’s indeed the one she delivered to Rio. As he hurls the bouquet at Mai, Kyouga explains that Rio came to return it. He only accepted it because he felt sorry for her, and he said he doesn’t need it. Even without the bouquet, he has absolutely no problems in love. Kyouga thinks Rio is really stupid, and Mai isn’t happy hear this either. She gets the impression that Rio isn’t taking love seriously. She knows it might be natural for him because to his job as a host, but she doesn’t like how he enjoys a relationship with lots of women. When Mai admits that she doesn’t want to deliver their shrine god’s flower to such a person, Kyouga laughs and pats her head. He’s happy that she cares about their god that much, but he wants her to give it another try.
Mai is surprised since Rio already said he doesn’t need it, but Kyouga points out that Rio was chosen by the god of Kamizono Shrine. Despite what Rio himself may think, the god believes he needs it… and Mai should understand the meaning. It’s just like how the god granted blessings for her parents. The one who determines whether it’s necessary or not isn’t Rio nor Mai, but the god of Kamizono Shrine. Kyouga’s role is to hear the god’s voice, while Mai’s role is to deliver the flowers. Mai eventually agrees to try again, and Kyouga smiles saying she’s a good girl. He reminds her that it’s her job to deliver the flower, so no matter how much Rio resists… she has to make sure that he accepts it.
That night, Mai returns to LADY MAGIC. She still feels intimidated by how dazzling the club is, but she drags herself to approach it. Just before she grabs the doorknob, a familiar voice calls her from behind. When she turns around, she finds Rio with two beautiful women. She politely greets him, and he asks if she came here to be his princess. She quickly says no and explains that she’s here to give the cattleya bouquet to him, but he doesn’t accept it when she hands it to him. He only smiles at her, and his hands remain wrapped around the women’s hips. Rio apologizes and explains that he doesn’t need the bouquet, so he returned it to Kyouga. Mai answers that she knows that, but he needs to accept the flower. Even if he doesn’t need it now, it’ll surely help him someday. It’s that kind of flower. Sadly, Mai can still feel that Rio isn’t taking her seriously. He believes he’d never need the flower, because as she can see for herself… he doesn’t need any help regarding love and relationships. He kisses both women on their cheeks as he says this, and they clearly look happy.
However, Mai feels both embarrassed and surprised to see the view. She wonders if kisses are meant to be given that easily, and she doesn’t like the idea at all. Just then one of the women walks up to her, saying it’s too early for a kid like her to play with hosts. That’s why she needs to stop approaching Rio. Mai can hear the other women cheering in agreement, but she shakes her head and explains that she didn’t come to play with hosts. She didn’t come to see Rio personally either. She only wants him to accept the flower. Upon hearing this, the woman asks if Mai still doesn’t get it. Rio already said that he doesn’t need it, and she’s only being a nuisance to him. Mai is surprised and glances at Rio, but since the woman is blocking her view… she can’t see his expression. As if that’s not enough, the woman angrily tells Mai not to look at Rio and orders her to leave—slapping the bouquet away from her hands. Mai panics and tries to catch it, but the bouquet falls onto the ground. The cattleya’s white petals are scattered everywhere.
WHAT THE HELL. ( ｀ω´⊂彡☆))Д´)ﾊﾟ-
As Mai sadly stares at the flower, the woman scoffs and returns to Rio’s side. She happily says that she’s going to drink a lot for him tonight, and he answers that it makes him happy. Then he follows her inside. After they leave, Mai squats down and picks up the fallen petals—apologizing to the cattleya as she does so. She feels terrible for failing to catch it, and especially because the woman slapped it so violently. This also makes her feel that Rio isn’t worthy of the flower. She knows she doesn’t have the right to make that decision, but he’s really friendly towards a person who treats flowers that way. She just can’t see him in a positive light, and she thinks about how she doesn’t like him.
Mai holds back her tears as she continues picking the cattleya petals, but soon she notices that someone has come to help her. Upon looking up, she realizes that it’s actually Rio. Similarly to her, he squats down and gently picks up the petals. She quickly looks away, but knowing that she shouldn’t ignore him… she tells him that she’ll do the cleaning up. Still avoiding to look at him, she asks him to just go back inside. However, Rio suddenly holds Mai’s hand and asks her to let him help. He has a serious tone, so she can’t help but to look up. When their eyes meet, she finds herself unable to look away—which really confuses her. After a long silence, Mai eventually breaks out of it and tells Rio to let her go. After pulling her hand away from his, she goes back to pick up the petals again.
Following Mai, Rio also gathers the petals and says he truly feels bad about this… but he asks her not to be angry at the woman from earlier. She thought he was troubled, so she slapped the flower in the hope of helping him. Rio says he’ll apologize to Mai and to the cattleya, and he asks her to forgive the woman in return.
無理です！(⊙ω⊙✿) Even though they’ve only known each other for two days, Mai can feel that Rio’s words right now are sincere and true. It feels really strange, but she believes that his words doesn’t hide any lies. When Mai nods, Rio smiles saying he can see that she’s even kinder than he thought. As he thanks her, he moves closer and plants a light kiss to her cheek.
Of course this causes Mai to blush and panic, while Rio laughs and asks if she’s not used to men. When she protests and says he shouldn’t do these things so easily, he apologizes saying he did it out of habit… though he doesn’t look sorry at all. Mai pouts as she picks the remaining petals on the ground, then she quickly grabs the ones in Rio’s hands and stands up. She tells him that she doesn’t need any apology for herself and for the flower, then she runs off while holding it against her chest—leaving him taken aback.
• JANUARY •
When the year changes, Mai is hoping to spend New Year’s with a bright mood. Unfortunately for her, it’s impossible… because Rio still refuses to accept the cattleya. This is probably her first time seeing someone resisting the flower for so long. One night, she’s sighing in front of LADY MAGIC. She’s gotten used to the club after visiting it so frequently, and she still remembers her conversation with Kyouga at the end of last year. Mai reported that Rio refused to take the cattleya, though she didn’t mention the reason why it got scattered. She thought it’d be meaningless even if she tells Kyouga, and when she thinks about how Rio treasures his princesses… she couldn’t bring herself to say it.
Kyouga said Rio is really cheeky for refusing the flower, and he asked what Mai is planning to do. She admitted that in all honesty, she didn’t want to hand it to Rio anymore. Kyouga can understand this too, but Mai then added that she won’t give up. If he wants her to deliver it, then it’d be her job to get it done. Satisfied with Mai’s determination, Kyouga grinned and told her to keep attacking until Rio accepts the flower. Resistance only makes him want to do it even more, so Rio shouldn’t underestimate the power of the Kamizono Shrine. The conversation ended with Kyouga’s proud laugh echoing in the shrine grounds, and Mai got a feeling that this will be a long fight… which was soon proven true.
It’s now been two weeks into the new year, and Mai has been visiting LADY MAGIC everyday. While Rio always treats her nicely, he keeps on refusing to take the cattleya. She even tried getting him to accept it as an apology for last month, but he rejected the idea right away—saying this is completely unrelated to that. Rio is a good talker due to his job as a host, so Mai finds him hard to deal with. He always turns her down with a smile, though this only makes her more determined to get him to accept it. She realizes that she’s starting to resemble Kyouga though, and as much as she dislikes it… it’s probably natural since she works for him LOL. In any case, she’s going to give it another go today.
Upon entering LADY MAGIC, Mai is greeted by two young hosts who are cleaning up the entrance. After visiting the club so often, she’s become familiar with both of them. One of them is Taiga, Rio’s helper, and the other one is Miyabi, Seiya’s helper. Both of them are 20, and they look after her whenever she comes to visit. They know Rio’s probably going to turn down the flower again, but Mai refuses to give up. From them, Mai learns that Rio actually hasn’t come today. A character song is available before the scheduled release date, so he went to stand in line and buy it. He said he doesn’t need Miyabi and Taiga’s help this time, but Taiga is a bit worried about him. Mai, on the other hand, is confused to hear this. Taiga quickly says it’s nothing though, and Miyabi asks if she wants to wait in their staff room… but she assures them that she’s fine. She’ll just wait somewhere nearby.
However, they don’t want Mai to force herself since it’s cold outside. Miyabi then suggests waiting in a café at the back of LADY MAGIC, and Taiga promises to mail her when Rio comes. At first she’s worried that she might be disturbing them at work, but they ask her not to worry. LADY MAGIC’s motto is to “be gentle to women”, though it clearly doesn’t apply to Seiya. Since they don’t have Mai’s e-mail address yet, both Taiga and Miyabi take out their phones and ask her to exchange addresses. She thinks they’re really kind and asks if they have a lot of guests, but Taiga answers that he’s still a novice. He knows a lot of guests since he’s a helper, but he doesn’t have any exclusive guests yet. Noticing that Mai is confused, Miyabi explains that “exclusive”, just as the term suggests, is when a guest chooses a certain host to serve her. More exclusive guests means more revenue, so Taiga is desperately doing his best to get one.
Both Rio and Seiya have a LOT of exclusive guests, and the number only keeps increasing every month. They can serve a large number of guests and keep everyone happy, so Miyabi really respects them. When Mai asks if Rio and Seiya are that amazing, he nods saying they’re the stars of LADY MAGIC after all. Since they have a lot of exclusive guests, they also earn a lot of money for the club. It seems like other host clubs are trying to get them, but their advances get completely ignored. Both Rio and Seiya have a long history with the owner of LADY MAGIC. They really trust him, and so it’s very unlikely for them to move to another club. The same goes to Taiga and Miyabi. The owner may look scary, but is actually a kind and caring person. His face is REALLY intimidating though. One look would be enough to make a kid cry. In fact, Taiga gets teary-eyed whenever the owner scolds him LOL.
Back to the problem at hand, Taiga asks Mai to send her e-mail address to them. She takes out her phone from her pocket, but she’s not sure if it’s alright to exchange addresses with them. Before Mai can make a decision, Seiya suddenly comes and snatches her phone away. He doesn’t look pleased to see Taiga and Miyabi approaching a kid like her, and they politely greet him before explaining the situation. They’re not asking for her e-mail address for business, but rather because they need it to contact her. Upon learning the reason, Seiya frowns and grumbles about how Rio drags this issue along. Miyabi also reports that he already retrieved Seiya’s suits from the laundry service, and he can find them in his mansion locker. After apologizing to Miyabi for the trouble, Seiya silently gives a sign through his eyes. Miyabi smiles and bows his head lightly, then he takes Taiga away to wipe the drink glasses. Taiga is obviously confused and asks if it’s okay to leave Mai alone, but Miyabi simply says it’s fine and drags him deep into the club.
Since Seiya looks as intimidating as always, Mai actually feels terrified of him. When she asks him to give her phone back, he frowns and throws it back at her—looking annoyed as she catches it. He’s not happy to see her visiting LADY MAGIC so frequently, so he tells her to give up and leave already. She replies that she can’t do that, and he warns her that LADY MAGIC isn’t a place for kids like her… but by now, she has learned that the club actually offers service for minors as well. They call it the “Little Princess Course”. All the drinks served in this course are non-alcoholic. The price isn’t that expensive either, and the service is only available from 5 to 8 PM. Seiya is clearly surprised that Mai knows about this, and he asks who she heard it from. When she answers that it was Taiga and Miyabi, he grumbles and reminds her that those two are hosts too. Of course Seiya is saying this as a warning, but Mai only nods saying she knows LOL. She also knows that both of them are new. They’ve only been working here for a year, and they’re doing their best to get exclusive customers.
Seiya sighs saying Mai is so hopeless. He doesn’t get why she can be so carefree, but then a voice adds that it’s what makes her cute. When they turn around, they find Rio standing behind them. Mai wastes no time and immediately hands the cattleya bouquet to Rio, asking him to accept it… but just as predicted, he refuses saying he has no intentions to accept it. She says she’s not giving up though, and she’ll keep coming until he accepts it. Mai keeps her gaze on Rio as she says this, with him looking straight back at her. She notices that whenever she does this, he never looks away. She can feel a strong determination in his eyes, and that’s probably why he keeps refusing the flower—no matter how many times she comes to see him. However, Mai can’t give up either. She decides to convey her honest feeling first, and so she tells Rio that she was ordered by Kyouga to deliver the cattleya to him.
Rio asks if he should ask Kyouga to release Mai from the task, but she shakes her head saying she wants to finish her job properly. Once again she hands the cattleya bouquet to him, asking what she should do to make him accept it. Upon hearing this, Rio looks surprised and amazed at the same time. At the same time, Seiya—who was quietly watching them—walks up to Mai and asks if she wants to hear something good. Or rather, a good way to make Rio accept the flower. ♪ヾ(＇∀＇o)ﾉ Mai’s expression lightens up the moment she hears this. On the other hand, Rio glares at Seiya and raises a protest… but Seiya only tells him to shut up. He doesn’t want Mai to keep coming to LADY MAGIC, so he wants to get this done and over with.
Rio thinks it’s unfair because Seiya is using him to protect himself, but Seiya simply brushes him off and pulls Mai closer. She’s a bit surprised, but she knows that she won’t run anything if she runs away. Seiya is Rio’s coworker after all, so he should know a lot about Rio. When Mai asks him to tell her, Seiya clearly looks surprised that she doesn’t run away. She has quite a lot of guts, and he finds it troublesome. In any case, there’s only one way to get Rio to accept the flower. Ignoring Rio’s protest, Seiya tells Mai that they have to accept all presents from their guests. Plus, they will never return those presents. For them, presents are the proof of their guests’ affection… and rejection is not allowed by the owner’s order too. This means that if Mai wants Rio to accept the flower, she needs to become his guest and hand it as a present. Since he’s not allowed to refuse or to return it, it’ll leave him no choice but to accept it.
Feeling happy, Mai holds Seiya’s hands and excitedly thanks him for the suggestion… though he seems taken aback for some reason. She then goes to Rio and asks him to take her as his guest, which causes him to burst into laughter. This is his first time meeting such a tenacious princess, and he finds her truly interesting. Rio gently pats Mai’s hair as he says this. Normally she’d protest since he’s treating her like a kid, and yet she can’t help but feel captivated by his smile. While she has seen his smile before, this might be her first time seeing such a warm and gentle smile from him. As strange as it may sound, she feels that his current smile really comes from his heart. Now that they’ve come this far, Rio says he can’t turn down Mai’s request. Seiya scoffs saying he’s talking big, and Rio tells him to shut up since he keeps on making unnecessary remarks LOL.
Rio then continues that if Mai wants to play in LADY MAGIC, she’ll have to take the Little Princess Course. He’s about to explain the service, but she tells him that she already heard about it from Taiga and Miyabi. This surprises Rio since they seem to have gotten close to Mai, while Seiya grins saying those two had to take care of her whenever she comes to see him. Rio seems glad to see them improving though, and this means they can escort guests properly. However, his price will be a bit high for minors. This reminds Mai that he’s a host, and of course she’ll have to pay for his service. When she asks how much she’ll have to pay for him, he grins and whispers the price to her… and she instantly loses all words. His price is REALLY expensive, obviously because he’s the number one. Rio grins and apologizes since this is his job, and Mai notices that he looks happy somehow. Knowing that he’s probably hoping for her to give up, she decides to discuss this with Kyouga first and takes her leave for today.
As she leaves LADY MAGIC, Mai faintly hears Seiya’s voice telling Rio to stop messing with her.
Upon reaching the Kamizono Shrine, Mai quickly catches Kyouga and tells him about what happened. When he asks what she wants to do, she says she wants to get Rio to accept the cattleya no matter what it takes. Satisfied with Mai’s answer, Kyouga grins and tells her to go all out. He’ll prepare the money for her to play with Rio. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Mai is so happy that she feels like skipping on the spot, but that’s not the only thing Kyouga is going to give her. He hums as he takes out his phone, and he calls the owner of LADY MAGIC to make a reservation. After ending the call, he tells her to go to LADY MAGIC tomorrow at 5 PM. He has booked Rio for her, and she should enjoy it because a high school girl like her doesn’t have much chance to play with hosts. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ However, Mai is more surprised that Kyouga is actually being nice for once. She asks if he’s sick or ate something bad, but he says he simply feels like being nice to her. She should just accept it with gratitude. Or maybe not, because she gets the feeling that he’ll send her to do something troublesome in the long run LOL.
The next day, Miki is surprised to hear that Mai is going to become Rio’s guest. Mai is happy because her task will finally end once Rio accepts the cattleya, but Miki is worried and asks if it’s alright for her to visit the club alone. Mai says it’s fine because the drinks are all non-alcoholic, and the service ends at an early hour too… but Miki points out that she’s going to be with a host. She’s worried that Rio might do indecent things to Mai, even after Mai explains that Rio won’t be sitting next to her. He’s simply going to talk to her from a certain distance. Miki even asks if she should come along and bring her boyfriend, Kazuki, as well, but Mai assures her that it’s alright. Since Miki seems to be really worried, Mai then promises to run away and call her if anything happens. She feels happy upon thinking about tonight’s plan though, because Rio will finally accept the cattleya.
In the evening, Mai goes to LADY MAGIC for the reservation and is served by Taiga. He’s impressed that she actually won against Rio, but is curious about her relationship to THAT Kamizono Kyouga. He asks if she’s Kyouga’s girlfriend, but she explains that she’s only working for him. Taiga is surprised to hear this because Mai is actually a super VIP guest in LADY MAGIC. Not only because she was sent by Kyouga, but also because the owner directly ordered them to serve he properly. Upon hearing the term “super VIP”, Mai realizes that it’s probably the result of Kyouga’s request to the owner. She has no idea why he knows the owner of a host club, but he’s always been mysterious like that.
As Taiga guides Mai into the club, she realizes that the view is a bit different than she expected. There are several women inside, but upon taking a closer look… she can also see male guests too. There’s a pair of salarymen in suits, as well as a group of five university students. They’re enjoying their meal while talking to the hosts. When Mai mentions this, Taiga explains that they’re different from a normal host club. LADY MAGIC has a really good chef. The food he makes is incredibly delicious, and so he has a lot of fans who come to the club just to eat his cooking. The hosts are serving them as waiters in this case, so they’re not charging any fees for this service. Since LADY MAGIC is open even at late hours, they also function as a midnight restaurant. Basically, they’re not a standard host club. Mai interest is piqued the moment Taiga mentions their delicious food, but she tells herself to hold back LOL. That’s not what she came here for.
From there, Taiga brings Mai to the innermost table. His task to escort her ends here, but he informs her that Seiya is coming to keep her company. Mai is confused since her reservation is supposed to be with Rio, but then Taiga explains that Rio is serving another guest at the moment. Mai’s reservation was pretty much forced into his schedule, and he can’t come to see her yet… so Seiya is going to accompany her in the meantime. Mai feels bad and apologizes for troubling them, but Taiga smiles saying she’s not causing them any problems. Starting from today, she’s also a fine princess for LADY MAGIC. After Taiga takes his leave, Mai quietly observes the interior of the club. It’s a bit dim with a sparkling chandelier in the ceiling, and she never imagined that a high school girl like her would come to this kind of place.
After a while, Seiya comes and asks if Mai can’t stay still for a bit—she looks really uneasy. He then takes the seat in front of her, crosses his legs, and throws the menu at her. It lists all of the available drinks, so she can order whatever she wants. As Mai reads the menu, Seiya grumbles about how he has to take care of her. He’s going to make Rio pay him back though, so it’s actually not a problem at all. Again, Mai feels bad and apologizes for the trouble. She didn’t expect Kyouga to force a reservation, but Seiya says that’s not her fault. Kyouga is a super VIP guest in LADY MAGIC. Not even their owner can go against him, and so they have to obediently accept anything he does to them. Mai wonders why Kyouga has that kind of connection to the club, but Seiya doesn’t know much either. He only heard that Kyouga saved the owner from a business crisis, though he doesn’t really believe it.
Seiya then asks what Mai wants to eat. When she picks the omelette rice, he immediately passes the order to Miyabi—who swiftly notes it and leaves. Seiya is amazed at how tough Mai is though, since she didn’t give up despite getting rejected for so many times. He thinks she’s really strange, because he doesn’t want to waste his time for other people. However, Mai answers that as long as she gets paid for her job, she has the responsibility to finish her tasks properly. Seiya’s expression softens upon hearing this, but it only lasts for a few seconds. He sighs saying she’s way too serious, and he thinks she should loosen up a little. Right after saying this, Seiya gets up and moves to sit beside Mai—putting one arm around her shoulders. She’s getting confused because the hosts aren’t allowed to get so close the Little Princess Course, but he calmly asks if she wants him to teach her that kind of game.
When Mai panics and reminds Seiya that he shouldn’t get this close, he says he’s not the type who cares about such trivial things. (*´艸`*)ｧﾊ♪ She gets nervous whenever he teases her, but she talks back to him anyway… which is why he finds it enjoyable to pick on her. Realizing that Seiya is making fun of her, Mai immediately stands up and moves to sit far away from him. He looks taken aback for a moment, but then bursts out laughing at her reaction. Of course she can’t say anything back to him, so she only pouts and glares at him from afar LOL. Just then Rio comes to their table, asking Seiya not to tease an innocent girl like that. What if Mai gets terrified of them? Seiya simply grins and tells him to shut up. He’s keeping Mai company in Rio’s place, so he should be allowed to have that much fun. Seiya then gets up and leaves to another table, telling Rio to keep in mind that he owes him a lot. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Mai wonders why he’s always so mean, but Rio says it’s simply because he’s Seiya. He’s always been like that, even from the first time he came to LADY MAGIC.
Now that Rio is available, he apologizes to Mai for being late. She says she doesn’t mind though, and she apologizes for Kyouga’s forced reservation in return. Rio seems surprised for a moment, but then he smiles and asks Mai not to worry. This is clearly her first time playing with hosts, but he’ll make sure to be gentle in teaching her. However, Mai doesn’t care about all that. Instead, she hands the cattleya bouquet to Rio and asks him to accept it. She’s really happy since she can finally deliver the flower, but he only stares at her with a dumbfounded expression. He completely freezes, and his mouth drops open as he blinks a few times. When he eventually returns to his senses, Rio laughs saying he’s been working as a host for a long time… but this is the first time someone ever ignored his verbal seduction. He finds Mai really interesting though, and he FINALLY takes the cattleya bouquet from her.
As Mai happily thanks him, Rio shrugs saying he knows the purpose of today’s reservation is so she can deliver the cattleya… but as a host, he probably lost a little confidence LOL. That aside, Rio feels bad for Mai because he can’t accompany her for a long time. In 10 minutes, he’ll have to move to another table. She asks him not to apologize though, since Kyouga made the reservation because of her wish to finish her task. Rio says he can understand that Mai takes her job seriously, but he doesn’t think delivering the flower is really THAT important. While he words it politely, his remark feels cold to her somehow. Pushing her hesitation aside, Mai explains that the Kamizono Shrine will never deliver flowers to people who don’t wish for love. If someone doesn’t wish to “love from the heart”—whether they realize it or not—the god of Kamizono Shrine would never choose them. Her parents truly loved and yearned for each other, which is why they received a flower that blessed them with eternal love.
Of course Mai doesn’t know how Rio really feels, but she believes that deep inside his heart, he’s actually wishing for love. That’s why she thinks it’s important to deliver the cattleya to him. He insists that he’s not wishing for something like that though, and he finds it hard to believe in the god of Kamizono Shrine. She can understand it too, but Kyouga told her that their job is to guide and give courage for the people who are lost in love. When she just started working for the Kamizono Shrine, he explained that the flowers are nothing more than triggers. They’re simply a form of support from the god. In the end, people will have to make their own decision. The flowers are similar to charms. They give people the courage to step forward, while Kyouga and Mai’s job is only to provide assistance. She feels happy whenever she sees the visitors smiling after receiving encouragement, and she always wishes them luck as she sends them off. She loves her job for that reason.
Rio quietly watches Mai for a while, then he averts his gaze and takes the menu. Her explanation gives him a clear idea of what she thinks about her job, and he thinks he can accept her in that aspect. When Rio asks if she wants to eat anything, Mai smiles saying she has ordered the omelette rice. She was a bit surprised to see their menu though. Since LADY MAGIC is a host club, she thought most of their food will be expensive… but their price is actually similar to a family restaurant. From Rio, Mai learns that the idea came from the owner. It seems that he wanted to get more guests from a different area, not just from host service. The alcoholic items are a bit expensive, but he made a good selection of food and make the price reasonable to some extent.
The plan was a great success. LADY MAGIC got a lot of guests and words of mouth spread about how good their food is, bringing even male guests into the club. The guests are free to choose whether they want to be accompanied by the hosts or not. If they do, the hosts will come to serve them with alcoholic drinks and food—as well as making sure they have a good time. If they don’t and only want to eat, the hosts will simply serve them as waiters. When Mai comments that LADY MAGIC doesn’t really feel like a host club, Rio laughs saying they get that a lot. It’s because their owner is a bit different, but they also do things normal host clubs would do.
Soon after that, Taiga comes to serve Mai’s omelette rice and juice. He whispers to let her know that it’s really good, then he swiftly leaves with a wink. Upon taking a bite, Mai instantly flies to heaven because the omelette rice is indeed very delicious. Rio seems pleased to see her reaction, and she gets completely absorbed in eating. The egg is fluffy, while the combination of ketchup and butter tastes really good—so much that she wants to come and visit everyday. Mai is savoring the taste when she feels someone sitting next to her, and she turns to see that Rio has moved closer. Before she can say anything, he touches her lips with his finger—saying that she has rice around her mouth. He smiles as he puts the rice into his own mouth, then he licks his fingertips to clean them up. ﾟ+.(*ﾉωヾ*)ｬﾝ♪+ﾟHe grins saying Tetsuya, their chef, did a good job with the seasoning as always, and he thanks her for the meal.
Once the shock melts away, Mai blushes and points out that Rio wasn’t allowed to do that. She also said it to Seiya earlier, but the hosts aren’t allowed to get too close in this course. Rio smiles in amusement as Mai moves away from him. Her reaction is exactly as he expected, and he’s relieved to see how stable her “characterization” is. She doesn’t get what he means though. Not yet. (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ Just as she said, he’s not allowed to approach the guest in this course. However, the host are allowed to help if their princesses are having trouble… which is what he just did. At first she’s not too sure about this, but decides to accept the close distance as a part of their regulations. She thinks eating the rice off his finger like that was going a bit too far though, which makes her wonder if he was just teasing her.
Just then Taiga comes to their table again, informing Rio that Ayaka has come. Rio nods and asks Taiga to keep Mai company, then he turns to her and recommends trying out their dessert as well. He takes the cattleya bouquet and takes his leave, handing it to another host before going to greet Ayaka—who turns out to be the woman who slapped the flower last month. As Mai watches them from her table, Taiga tells her not to worry about the bouquet. Rio might have handed it to another host, but it’s only a sign that he wants it to be put into his locker. All the hosts in LADY MAGIC always carries the presents home. Mai is taken by surprise since she’s actually not worried at all, so she quickly thanks Taiga for the reassurance. From there, Mai spends the rest of her visit talking to Taiga about TV shows. This makes her realize that a host’s job is by no means easy, but she also feels relieved that her task is finally done.
At the end of the day, Rio goes to the staff room and prepares to go home. He feels rather tired today, so he considers going for a massage tomorrow. Seiya soon walks in and opens the locker next to Rio’s, and Rio notices that Seiya looks calm despite drinking quite a lot. He’s well-known for his endless stamina, so Rio would like to see him reaching the limit for once. Seiya then mentions that he had to take care of Mai earlier, so he wants Rio to pay him back. When Rio asks what he needs to do, Seiya demands a ride home. His regular transport taxi is off-duty today, and he finds it troublesome to catch a different one. However, Rio finds this request really mild—considering it comes from Seiya. Whenever Seiya wants Rio to pay him back, he usually asks for expensive food or money. Feeling suspicious, Rio hesitantly asks if he’s plotting something. In response, Seiya grins saying he’ll gladly come up with an evil plan if Rio wants him to.
At first Rio doesn’t get why Seiya is being so nice, but soon he realizes the reason. Seiya has been looking grumpy ever since Mai started visiting LADY MAGIC. Rio knows the reason, but doesn’t say anything since it’s not something he can interfere with. Now that he realizes what’s going on, Rio says he’ll be happy to send Seiya home. Seiya is pleased to hear this. He then commands Rio to kneel before him, but of course Rio refuses since he doesn’t want to go that far LOL. After changing out of his suit, Rio thanks Taiga and Miyabi for the good work… then he drives Seiya to the latter’s mansion.
As Seiya gets off the car, Rio opens the window to say goodbye. Instead of answering, Seiya simply warns Rio to bring Mai’s cattleya bouquet home. Rio answers that he already accepted it, so he’ll put it in a vase once he gets home. Upon hearing this, Seiya sneers and asks if he finally gave up. Rio can only reply with a wry laugh, since he has no intentions of returning the bouquet again. Besides, it was Seiya who told her about the present rule. Rio still can’t believe in the god Mai mentioned though, since he’s not wishing for love in the first place. It’s just that after seeing her doing her best at work, he doesn’t mind giving up for her sake. However, Seiya asks if that’s the only reason. At first he doesn’t want to say it since Rio doesn’t seem to realize, but since Rio keeps pestering him to explain… he eventually asks if Rio is only interested in Mai because of her attitude towards work and not her as a woman.
Rio immediately answers that it’s obviously Mai’s attitude towards her job. He points out that she’s only his princess for today, and they won’t have anything to do with each other in the future. Not to mention she’s a minor. He just can’t see her as a woman. Seiya sighs saying this is exactly why he didn’t want to say it. He knew it’d be meaningless. After telling Rio to just sit alone and keep on waiting like that, Seiya turns around and walks away. Rio is obviously confused, but then he closes the window and drives off in silence.
• FEBRUARY •
In February, the city is painted with the colors of Valentine’s Day. Miki obviously wants to buy a chocolate for Kazuki, and since Mai is also planning to buy a lot… they agree to give each other advice. Mori offers to give advice for Mai too if she needs any, and he happily grins when she thanks him. Miki, on the other hand, is clearly not happy that Mori is tagging along for their Valentine’s Day shopping trip. It’s obviously an event for girls, so she doesn’t get why he’s following them. Mai explains that Mori was asked by his mother to buy some chocolates for her acquaintances. Of course the poor guy has no idea what kind of chocolate he should buy, so she invited him to come with them.
Mori averts his gaze when Miki glares at him, which proves her suspicion that he’s completely taking advantage of Mai’s kindness LOL. She rages at him and calls him a coward, but he quickly explains that he wasn’t lying. They can call his mother at home if they don’t believe him, and he’s about to invite them to come directly to his house… but then he glances at Mai, blushes, and drops the idea. (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ Since Miki knows he only wants to go shopping with Mai, Mori quickly silences her by promising to carry all of her luggage. Upon hearing this, Miki instantly smiles saying Mori is such an ideal man… though he can feel that she’s not praising him at all. (((壊ﾟ∀ﾟ)))ｧﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ
After a while, the three of them reach the destination. It’s a chocolate shop that’s only available for a limited period of time, and Miki heard about the shop through the internet. Aside from selling all sorts of chocolates, they also sell presents like handkerchiefs, mug cups, and accessories. It’s because chocolates alone aren’t enough for some people, and Miki falls into this category too. Since Kazuki is having a hard time with exams, she’s planning to buy a mug cup for him. Both Mori and Mai are envious of how close they are, but putting Mori aside… Miki thinks Mai can easily get a boyfriend if she wants to. Mori agrees and takes this chance to confess to Mai, but unfortunately for him… a group of girls walk past them and completely blocks his confession with their chatters LOL. When Mai asks him to repeat what he just said, Mori looks like he’s about to cry. Feeling sorry for him, Miki pats him back an tells him to cheer up. Mori you poor thing. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ
Upon entering the shop, Miki leaves them to see the mug cups. She actually does this on purpose because Mori really did his best to confess earlier, even though it ended in a failure. When Mai asks what kind of chocolate he likes, Mori says he prefers big chocolate bars since they make him full. He soon realizes that it’s not the purpose of Valentine’s Day chocolates, but she smiles and promises to buy a big one for him. Mori can’t believe his ears and asks if Mai is going to give him one, though her answer shoots down his happiness in no time: “Yes. You’re my precious friend after all!” (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ He’s clearly shocked to hear the word “friend”, but he also feels happy since she calls him “precious” LOL. As they head to the second floor, Mai mentions that she wants to get a big chocolate too for Kyouga. Mori nods saying Kyouga often asks for a lot of snacks when he’s drinking, so he’d probably be happy to get special presents.
This reminds Mai that Mori is working part-time at Siesta, a café on the first floor of her mansion. The owner—Sakita Takuto—is friends with Mai’s cousin who lives in her house, and he always looks after her like an older brother. Mori really loves Takuto’s coffee and cooking, so much that he won’t be able to quit his job as long as Takuto keeps cooking for him. Mai understands Mori’s feeling really well since she’s a fan of Takuto’s food as well, and she visited Siesta a lot just to eat his Christmas cake. She asks him to be careful not to eat too much, and he grins saying they should work out if that happens. As they talk about this, Mai takes a look at the big chocolates on display. After taking one for Kyouga, she notices that Mori is busy choosing chocolates for his mother as well. Aside from Kyouga, she also has to buy chocolates for her father, Takuto, and all the people who are always looking after her.
After looking around for a while, Mai eventually finds a corner for handmade chocolates—filled with a lot of ingredients to make your own chocolate. It reminds her that she made some truffles last year, and everyone seemed to like them. She can give them different tastes by using jams, such as strawberry and orange. If she puts in some rum, people who dislike sweets will be able to eat them too. She thinks it will be fun to experiment with different flavors this year, and she decides to make her own chocolates. When Mori hears about this, he gets REALLY happy and feels like dancing on the spot LOL. He also notices that Mai took a lot of ingredients, and she nods saying it’s for the people around her. Their modern literature teacher, Saiga Rui, is always taking care of her during supplementary lessons; and their infirmary doctor, Sano Fumiya, always waits for her chocolate each year.
Just then Mai recalls her encounter with Rio and Seiya in LADY MAGIC, and realizes that they’ve helped her too. She put both of them into a lot of trouble, and she wonders if she should give them chocolates as a token of gratitude. After giving it some thought, Mai eventually decides to make a chocolate for Rio. She doesn’t think Seiya likes handmade chocolates though, and since she doesn’t want to trouble him, she decides to give him a premade one instead.
On Valentine’s Day, Mai goes to LADY MAGIC after work. She doesn’t want to disturb them at work, and so she’s planning to hand the chocolates to the staff instead of giving them directly… but upon reaching the club, Taiga and Miyabi politely escort her inside. Mai quickly explains that she didn’t come as a guest. She asks them to deliver her chocolates to Rio and Seiya, but this only means they really have to take her inside. If a guest comes to thank them, the hosts in LADY MAGIC are not allowed to let them leave just like that. Especially in Mai’s case, considering she’s a super VIP guest due to her connection to Kyouga. If they don’t serve her any drinks and let her leave, they might get beheaded by the owner. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ This makes her curious about Kyouga’s relationship with LADY MAGIC’s owner, but she quickly stops thinking since it’s scaring her LOL.
Following Taiga and Miyabi inside, Mai notices that LADY MAGIC seems to be having a Valentine’s Day event. The club is filled with women today. Mai is taken to the innermost seat, where they serve her with juice and snacks… but she feels uncomfortable. She’s wishing for them to leave her alone since she’s not a guest, but Rio and Seiya soon come to join her. Rio knows Mai must be here to give them chocolates, while Seiya doesn’t care about what she needs—he only wants her to make it quick. She quickly hands her chocolates to them and tries to leave, but Rio asks her not to worry about disturbing them. As Taiga and Miyabi said, the owner told them to welcome her properly if she comes to LADY MAGIC. Mai doesn’t want to take advantage of them though, and she tries to take her leave again… but Rio quickly wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her closer. He says he likes how considerate she is, but it’s not necessary today. If she doesn’t agree to stay, then he won’t release her from his arms. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Behind them, Seiya also tells Mai to give up—because Rio really won’t let go.
Mai is obviously flustered and has no idea what to do. She can feel other guests staring at them though, and knowing that it’s dangerous to stay like this… she has no choice but to sit with them. Or rather, to sit between them. Rio takes the seat on her left, while Seiya sits on her right side. Feeling uncomfortable, she brings up that they can’t get too close when dealing with a minor. Seiya points out that she’s not a guest though, and so that rule doesn’t apply LOL. As another attempt to escape this situation, Mai asks if their guests aren’t waiting for them. She asks them not to mind her and just return to work, and Rio confirms that they are indeed very busy today. They can only stay at one table for 10 minutes, but that means they have that much time to spend with her. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.*
Upon seeing the disappointed expression in Mai’s face, both Rio and Seiya burst into laughter. They find her honesty amusing, and she feels really embarrassed as she apologizes. As Mai quietly lowers her gaze, she can hear Rio and Seiya taking out their chocolates. Rio smiles upon seeing the truffles inside, and he asks if Mai made them herself. She nods saying she made sure they taste okay, but he doesn’t have to eat them if they don’t suit his taste. Seiya, on the other hand, isn’t pleased to see the premade chocolate Mai bought for him. He has never seen such a blatant obligatory chocolate before, and she apologizes saying she thought he’d prefer one which taste is guaranteed… and he can’t deny this because it’s true LOL. Rio laughs at Seiya as he shifts closer to Mai, leaning closer to ask if she’s actually interested in him. After all, she gave him a handmade chocolate while Seiya only gets a premade one.
Mai: “No. Shirosaki-san’s chocolate is also an obligatory one.”
Rio blanky stares at Mai for a while, then he bursts out laughing again along with Seiya. He can’t believe she came all the way here just to give them obligatory chocolates, though she doesn’t get why they find it funny. Rio then decides to thank Mai for the good laugh, and he calls Taiga to come over—asking him to prepare something. After a while, Taiga returns with a pink-colored drink in a tall glass. At the same time, Mai can feel everyone in the club looking at her. As Taiga sets the glass on the table, Rio explains that it’s called “MY HEART ☆ DRINK”. The hosts only serve it to the guests they like, and the one served in front of Mai is Rio’s version of the drink. Seiya mentions that Rio was planning not to serve it though, because he wanted to treat his princesses equally for today.
This makes Mai realize why everyone is staring at her—they all want Rio’s drink. At first she feels reluctant to drink it, but then he tells Seiya that she’s not a guest. This is simply a token of gratitude since she made him laugh. After saying this, Rio gets up from the sofa, takes a mike from Taiga, and announces that he’s going to do a champagne call for the drink. Taiga happily agrees and calls Miyabi to come over, and Mai soon finds herself surrounded by them. Of course she doesn’t know what a champagne call is, but she did hear about it before on TV… and she panics upon realizing that they’re going to do it. Seiya looks amused as he gets up, and he tells Mai not to be scared. This is a rare experience, so she should look forward to it.
Before Mai can say anything, Rio winks at her and starts the champagne call. He takes the drink and lifts it up in one hand, then he starts singing with Taiga, Miyabi and Seiya cheering behind him. By the way, I can’t take champagne calls seriously so you should read the lyrics yourself LOL.
Once the champagne call ends, LADY MAGIC is filled with happy screams and applause. However, Mai is too surprised to react and can only blankly stare at them LOL. Seiya concludes that his work here is done and immediately leaves with Miyabi, while Rio hands the drink to her. He explains that it’s a carbonated strawberry juice, and she doesn’t have to worry—it doesn’t contain alcohol. Mai thanks Rio as she takes the drink from him, but then he smiles saying she looks so cute when she’s surprised. Before she can react, he leans in and plants a light kiss to her cheek. She obviously turns red and protests, but he simply smiles and tells her that it’s time for him to leave. Taiga and the others should come to accompany her later, so he recommends having a meal before going home. After promising to enjoy the chocolate Mai made for him, Rio gets up and leaves.
However, Mai isn’t too happy about the kiss. It was only to the cheek, but she doesn’t like how Rio kisses people so easily. Taiga soon comes saying it’s fun to help out with a champagne call, but she pouts and says she was surprised. Taiga thinks it’s such a waste not to enjoy it though, since it’s really rare for Rio to do a champagne call. The frequency has decreased ever since he gained more exclusive guests. Mai nods and glances at Rio. She can see him happily receiving a present from a woman, and he kisses her cheek in return. This makes her realize that no matter who he’s dealing with, he can do that sort of things with no problems. Taiga then asks if Mai wants to eat something, and so she directs her attention to the menu.
After returning home, Mai takes out her phone and calls Miki. She instantly picks up and asks if there’s something wrong, so after taking deep breaths to calm down… Mai tells her about what just happened. Including how she handed her chocolates and how Rio kissed her cheek. Right after saying this, she can hear the sound of Miki snapping her pencil out of rage LOL. Miki knows that it can’t be avoided due to Rio’s profession as a host, but she doesn’t like how he kissed Mai that easily. Not to mention he also did the same thing to other women. She believes it’s just wrong because Mai wasn’t a guest, and she thinks hosts are shallow and frivolous.
Mai feels better after hearing how Miki gets angry for her sake, but she admits that she’s not really angry over the kiss. It’s just it bothers her more than anything else, mainly because Rio kisses everyone so easily. Maybe it’s nothing much for him because he’s a host, but it’s an important thing for her… so she find his actions hard to accept. Mai wonders if it’s strange to think this way, but Miki says it’s not. She thinks it’s wonderful how Mai thinks of kisses as something precious, but she also points out that Rio probably has his own standards—which is why he can kiss people so lightly. Even if they have different opinions, Miki asks Mai not to blame Rio because of his profession. She still wants to slap Rio though, so she’ll be more than willing to help if the thought ever crosses Mai’s mind LOL. They change the subject and talk about champagne calls after that, but Mai can’t seem to forget about how Rio kissed her.
Even after Valentine’s Day has passed, things are still hectic for Kamizono Shrine. A lot of visitors come to thank the shrine for their successful relationships, while those who failed are praying for another chance. One evening, Mai changes back to her uniform after work and leaves the office. Outside, she sees Kyouga talking to a VERY CUTE MAN IN A HOT PINK VEST (人´∀`)☆゜’・:* beside the main shrine. Visiting hours are already over though, so Mai wonders if it’s Kyouga’s friend. At this hour, the only ones who can enter the shrine grounds are limited to the staff, his family, and his acquaintances. Mai then comes over and greets them before going home, but Kyouga quickly stops her—sending her to go to Siesta with the man.
Kyouga points to the man beside him, who’s wearing a hat and sunglasses for a certain reason. When their eyes met, he shows a friendly smile and greets Mai. She can’t see his eyes due to the sunglasses, but they can’t hide his cheerful, gentle and good-natured personality. He apologizes for getting her involved in this, but she says she doesn’t mind. Instead, she asks if he got ordered to fetch some coffee for Kyouga or something. She tells him that Kyouga often issues selfish commands, so he should refuse if he doesn’t want to do it… even though it’s really difficult to do. Kyouga is, of course, standing right in front of them LOL. He warns Mai that he won’t let her go so easily after bashing her own boss, but she points out that he never goes easy on her anyway—it doesn’t make any difference. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ
Kyouga sighs saying Mai is so cheeky, but he’ll let it slide for today. Right now his priority is not to make jabs at her attitude, but to keep an eye on the man beside him. The man protests that he’ll make sure to hand “it” to a certain person, and he’s been saying that the whole time—Kyouga just won’t believe him. In response, Kyouga simply glares at him saying he must be joking. The man didn’t come to see Kyouga until today, there’s no way Kyouga would believe him. Upon hearing this, the man flinches and instantly stops arguing—causing Mai to wonder what on earth did he do to receive this treatment. He looks friendly, but Kyouga seems to be very wary of him. When she takes another look at the man, she realizes that he looks rather familiar. She feels that she’s seen him somewhere before, but she can’t remember.
As Mai continues to think about this, Kyouga grabs her shoulder and explains that he gave something precious to the man. He doesn’t want that precious thing to get snatched away, so he wants Mai to keep an eye on him. The man pouts saying he wouldn’t do something like that. It’s true that he returned it late, but he came here just to give it back to Kyouga in person. Mai finds him cute somehow, and she decides to ask why she has to keep an eye on him—he doesn’t look like a bad person. The man smiles saying she’s really kind, but Kyouga only tells her not to spoil him. He’s an insolent man who borrowed Kyouga’s game for more than a month and didn’t return it until today. (#`Д´)ﾉｺﾞﾙｧｧｧｧｧ!! Mai is surprised and asks if that’s the only reason, but Kyouga rages at her for taking it lightly. He was planning to see people’s reviews and release the game for public! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
The man feels bad about that though. As a token of apology, he promises to do the commercial and sing the character songs for free when the game comes out. Apparently that’s not enough for Kyouga, since he demands the man to voice act, sing the theme song, act as the main character for the live action and do all of these for free. The man bows his head and promises to do anything, so he wants Kyouga to forgive him already. Mai feels really sorry for him, because it’s really clear that Kyouga is holding onto his weakness LOL. At the same time, she feels a bit closer to him as… uh, fellow victims. She then assures him that it’s not a problem to take him to Siesta, since it’s on her way home. When he happily thanks her and shakes her hand, she quickly grabs his hand and tells him that Kyouga would only bully them if they stay here. Kyouga is about to rage, but Mai already flees from the scene—dragging the man with her LOL.
Once they’re far enough from Kamizono Shrine, Mai stops running and apologizes to the man for fleeing like that. He grins saying she doesn’t have to apologize, because he knows she did it to protect him from Kyouga. If anything, he should be thanking her. When he removes his sunglasses and smiles, she notices that he looks stunningly cute. It’s as if he’s dazzling. He carries a grand atmosphere that’s similar to Rio’s, only greater. Realizing that he hasn’t introduced himself, the man politely bows his head and tells Mai his name—Tachibana Tomu. He already knows her name, so she only greets him back in return. Upon seeing her reaction, Tomu mutters that Mai doesn’t seem to be the person he’s thinking of. She shares “the same name”, but she doesn’t know him. He quickly brushes it off though, and instead asks if she’s a high school student—which can be seen from her uniform.
However, Mai is still curious about Tomu. She feels that she’s heard his name at school recently, and she soon remembers who he is. He suddenly looks nervous when she mentions this, but then she says that he must be the younger brother of her maths teacher—Tachibana Ryuusei. During a supplementary lesson, Mai was chatting with her classmates as Ryuusei marked their assignments. Back then they talked about names, and Ryuusei mentioned that his name might be unusual… but his younger brother’s name is even more uncommon. Now that she remembers, Mai feels satisfied to have her curiosity solved. Tomu, on the other hand, only blinks in surprise before bursting into laughter. This is his first time seeing someone who recognizes him as Ryuusei’s younger brother upon hearing his name. After wiping his tears, Tomu puts his sunglasses back on. He never thought that Mai would be his brother’s student, though he knew they’re in the same school due to her uniform.
Tomu and Ryuusei have very different personalities though, so Mai says she didn’t realize it at first. While Tomu is open and friendly, Ryuusei is more serious and strict. Tomu also says that they get that a lot, but people also say they resemble each other in terms of looks. Mai has a hard time comparing them though, as all she can remember is Ryuusei’s face when he’s scolding her for failing her test LOL. Tomu then grins saying Mai is a really nice person. He’s taken a liking on her, so he’d be happy if they can get along from here on. When he holds out his hand for her, his smile hits
my her heart so hard that it starts racing. She blushes as she shakes his hand, and they resume their trip to Siesta after that.
TOMU, YOUR CUTENESS IS A CRIME. _(:3」∠)_
Upon reaching Siesta, Tomu thanks Mai and goes to check if a certain person is inside. When she asks if he’s meeting up with someone, he nods saying it’s with the next person who’s going to borrow Kyouga’s game. They’ve been friends since high school, and said person is also volunteering to be a tester. As Mai follows Tomu inside, they’re welcomed by Mori—who’s obviously surprised to see them together. It turns out Tomu and Mori also know each other, since Tomu often visits Siesta for coffee on his day off. When Tomu asks if he can guide them to the usual seat, Mori quickly recovers from the shock and leads them to a quiet table in the innermost area. This confuses Mai because there’s a lot of other vacant tables, but she doesn’t have much chance to think about this.
After serving two glasses of water for Mai and Tomu, Mori asks why they’re together. Upon hearing her explanation, he grins saying Mai has gotten dragged into the trouble Tomu caused. Tomu pouts saying he really feels bad about that, and he asks Mori not to pick on him too. Mori apologizes, but quietly adds that he does feel like picking on Tomu for a bit. Mainly because he came here with Mai LOL. Mai doesn’t catch it though, and Mori quickly changes the subject by giving the menu to them. She refuses and says she’ll be going home now, but both Mori and Tomu ask her to stay for a bit longer. Tomu also points out that she has to make sure he hands the game properly, but Mai replies that he doesn’t look like the type who would do irresponsible things. She’s pretty sure he’ll give the game to his friend even after she leaves, and she also asks him not to worry—she’ll tell Kyouga that he handed the game safely.
Tomu: “…Mai-chan.” (*･∀･*)
Mori: “…huh? Isn’t this situation dangerous?”
Indeed. Your instincts work well, Mori. (ｏ´艸`ｏ)ｧﾊ♪
In order to prevent the birth of a potential rival, Mori quickly changes the subject and asks if Tomu has a day off today. It’s unusual to see him at this hour. Tomu nods saying he does, but it’s only for 3 hours. It took a while before they finally gave him some free time, and he sighs saying he wants to rest even if it’s only for a day. He looks exhausted, so Mai wonders if he’s busy with his job. They order some drinks after that, and Mori leaves to get it for them. When Tomu asks if she’s friends with Mori, Mai nods saying they have been friends since junior high… and it doesn’t take long until Tomu realizes that Mori has a crush on her. Sadly, Mai is completely oblivious to this. Poor thing.
Mai then asks about how Tomu became acquaintances with Kyouga. She wonders if he came to pray at Kamizono Shrine before, but he shakes his head saying it’s because they share the same hobby. However, Mai doesn’t know what it is because Kyouga has a LOT of hobbies. Not too long ago, he got addicted to beads craft. The office nearly got buried under his handmade bead flowers, and Mai was terrified of his endless abilities. Before Mai can ask Tomu about this, the door swings open and reveals a familiar figure in a purple suit—Rio. When Mori welcomes him, he asks if Tomu is here. Mori then directs him to the seat, but both Rio and Mai are surprised to see each other. When Tomu asks if they know each other, Rio nods saying they met each other through Kyouga… which is the same in Tomu’s case LOL.
After Tomu explains about what happened with Kyouga, Rio says it’s only obvious since Kyouga wants to release the game. Tomu is at fault here for dragging the testing for so long, and Rio tells him to reflect on his actions. Tomu answers that he already did, and he promised to do a lot of things for free to prove that he’s trustworthy. However, Rio laughs saying Kyouga is probably just bossing him around. As she watches their interaction, Mai is surprised to see Rio’s expression. She’s never seen him looking so relaxed before. Maybe it’s due to his job, but somehow his tempting gaze, sweet words, and intense skinship always feel fake to her. In contrary, she can’t feel any of those from the current him. He looks like a normal man they can see anywhere. Mai realizes that Rio probably turns this way when he’s interacting with his friends, but she actually likes this side of him better.
Just then Mori comes to serve Mai’s guava juice and Tomu’s coffee. Mai happily notes that the juice looks tasty, and Tomu asks her to let him have a taste… but Rio quickly smacks his head and tells him not to act spoiled towards a high school girl. People like him are probably the most dangerous ones LOL. Mori nods saying he didn’t even realize because Tomu did it in such a natural way. In fact, Mai didn’t feel wary at all and nearly said “okay”. (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ After ordering a cup of coffee, Rio holds out his hand towards Tomu. He says he took a break to leave LADY MAGIC, so he doesn’t have much time. It’s been a while since they see each other in person, so he actually wanted to chat more. Tomu tells Rio not to worry though, because he only has 3 hours as well. Since their time is limited, Tomu takes out a game DVD from his bag and hands it to Rio. Mai notices that Rio’s fingers are trembling as he accepts it, but before she can ask him…
Rio explodes with excitement. He’s been waiting for the game ever since he heard about it from Kyouga, and he turns to ask for Tomu’s opinion. Rio also adds that he’s been SUPER excited after hearing about the story, which involves infiltrating a hidden facility deep in a jungle and fighting genetically modified plant soldiers. Σ(ﾟーﾟ；) When he asks about the weapons, Tomu says the game includes basic selection of rifles… though he thinks it wouldn’t hurt to add edgier ones. He personally got super excited over the grenade launchers though, especially because the game provides quite a rich variety. Since Rio wants to hear more, Tomu lists out the available grenades: tear gas grenade, stun grenade, flash grenade, smoke grenade, and even the famous napalm grenade. The last one completely throws both Rio and Tomu into full-blown fanboying. Tomu says he regrets not playing the game sooner, while Rio decides to spend the rest of the night playing the game. Even if he doesn’t get enough sleep, he can just get a massage before work tomorrow. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
Since the game also offers versus and cooperative missions, Tomu says they should do it at Rio’s place next time. He might be able to take a day off next month. Rio excitedly agrees saying he’ll connect his PC to his TV, so Tomu and him can play on a large screen. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ This brings Mai to the realization that both Rio and Tomu must be connected to Kyouga through games—which is the hobby Tomu said earlier. Looking back, she has seen Kyouga playing games too on his spare time. Mai smiles and drinks her juice as she watches them, but Rio instantly stops talking upon noticing her gaze. He suddenly looks nervous and tells Tomu that they should calm down. At first Tomu only asks him why, but then he realizes that they’re currently in Siesta. They can’t bee too noisy, or else everyone around them would be troubled.
As Tomu closes his eyes and calms himself down, Mai notices that Rio looks pale. It’s as if she caught him doing something bad. He then apologizes for being so lame in front of her, but she smiles and says that’s not true. In fact, she feels more comfortable with this side of him. She also loves eating delicious food, so she thinks it’s nice to have a hobby that can absorb you in. Rio looks surprised for a moment, but then he smiles and thanks Mai—saying he feels relieved to hear that. His smile is so gentle and cute, and her heart starts racing since she never saw him smiling like that before. Feeling embarrassed, Mai looks away from Rio and drinks her juice. Just then Tomu remembers something, and he takes out a pack of concert tickets for Rio. There are 10 of them, and he apologizes that he can’t provide more. The tickets got sold out, not to mention some seats are either for staff or simply unavailable. Rio says 10 tickets are more than enough though. Some of his princesses are Tomu’s fans and they were crying when they couldn’t get the tickets, so this helped him a lot. In return, Rio says Tomu can request anything from him later.
On the other hand, Mai is really confused. Fans? Concert? What are they talking about…? Noticing that she looks puzzled, Tomu asks her to tell him if she ever gets interested in him—he’ll invite her. He also asks her to exchange e-mail addresses, so she can contact him if she wants to come. Once she’s done sending her address to him, he winks and thanks her—sending another hit to her heart LOL. Just then the alarm in Tomu’s phone starts ringing, which means he needs to go back to the studio. Rio offers to give him a ride, but he refuses and tells Rio to take it easy instead. He still has enough time to catch a taxi, and he thinks it’d be better to let Rio stay anyway. When Rio asks what he’s talking about, Tomu only grins and totally dodges the question LOL. Tomu says he’ll contact Rio again soon, and he also asks Mai to have tea with him again next time. Then he drinks his remaining coffee and leaves them with a VERY cute smile.
Soon after Tomu walks out, Mori comes to deliver Rio’s coffee and club sandwich. He apologizes for the lateness, but Rio says he doesn’t mind—he can wait all day for Takuto’s coffee. The club sandwich is a free service from Takuto, and Rio happily accepts it. When Mori asks if Tomu ran out of time, Rio replies that he’ll probably make it. It’s just he’s going to have a concert soon, so he must be busy. Feeling even more confused, Mai decides to ask whose concert are they talking about. Since they keep relating it to Tomu, she also asks if he’s working in that field. Both Mori and Rio look really surprised to hear this. Mori then asks if Mai doesn’t know Tomu, so she says she knows him as Ryuusei’s younger brother… and that’s it. Rio seems amused he asks if she said that to Tomu, so Mai nods saying she heard about Tomu’s name from Ryuusei. Did she do something wrong?
Upon hearing Mai’s answer, Rio bursts into laughter—saying that Tomu must be really surprised. From Mori, she finally learns that Tomu is actually a very famous idol. The girls in their class also talked about him before. This instantly throws Mai into panic. She believes it was really rude of her to recognize him as Ryuusei’s younger brother, but Rio asks her not to worry. Tomu doesn’t find her rude, or else he wouldn’t invite her to his concert. He’s probably happy to be treated as Ryuusei’s younger brother anyway, so she doesn’t need to worry. Mai still feels bad though, so she’s going to apologize to Tomu if they meet again.
After that, Mori leaves them and goes back to work. Mai feels uneasy to be alone with Rio, and she plans to go home right after finishing her juice… but then she realizes that he’s looking at her with a gentle look in his eyes. He grins saying her chocolate from the other day was really good, but this only reminds her of how he kissed his guests. Feeling uncomfortable, Mai lowers her gaze and asks Rio not to thank her for so many times—she already knows how he feels. However, Rio says he’d want to express his gratitude over and over again if he’s happy. As he places his hand on top of hers, Rio asks Mai to give him a chocolate to express her love next time—not an obligatory one. Right after saying this, he holds her hand and slides his fingers between hers. ﾟ+.(*ﾉωヾ*)ｬﾝ♪+ﾟ
This causes Mai to get extremely flustered. In a rush of panic, she brushes Rio’s hand aside and drinks up her juice. Then she stands up and glares at him, shouting that he should do only that kind of things to his princesses. Mai immediately rushes for the door and runs into Mori along the way. He looks confused and asks if there’s something wrong, but she only says goodbye and walks out—ready to go home. However, she soon realizes that she forgot something. After hesitating for a while, she goes back into Siesta—much to Mori’s confusion. As embarrassing as it is, Mai admits that she forgot to pay for her juice. Mori reveals that Tomu actually paid for everything though, and she can hear Rio exploding into laughter inside. Mai knows she really did something stupid, but she pouts and glares at Rio for laughing at her LOL.
After work, Rio returns home and enters the bathroom. The hot shower he takes washes off a lot of things, including the scent of his princesses and his own perfume. He actually wants to wash off his fatigue over anything else, but of course that requires sleep. Once he’s done taking a bath, Rio goes to the living room and checks out the recordings of various TV programs. In order to get various conversation topics for his princesses, he needs to gather information from TV, magazines and even the internet. While he can’t take it easy even at home, Rio has no complaints regarding his lifestyle. He’s been doing this for a long time, so his body has gotten used to it. Rio is thinking about how hungry he is when his phone starts ringing, and he knows who the caller is. There’s only one person who would call him at this hour—Tomu.
When Rio picks up, Tomu thanks him for today and asks if he has played Kyouga’s game. Rio says that’ll have to wait until he’s done gathering information, so he can enjoy it thoroughly. Tomu answers that he has a point, since he also rewards himself by gaming for 3 hours after work. It keeps him energetic for the next day, and he’s going to do his best too tomorrow… so he can clear the quest in the game he’s playing LOL. Rio simply calls Tomu stupid and tells him to work hard, especially because his concert is coming up. Tomu also asks Rio to come to his concert if he has the time. Every month, Rio does a show with Seiya in LADY MAGIC as the top two. They sing and dance to entertain their guests, so Tomu’s songs should make the show more lively.
Putting that aside, Tomu suddenly asks about Rio’s relationship with Mai. He noticed that Rio seems to be quite close to Mai, and he’s never seen Rio changing his expressions that much while dealing with a girl… so he wonders if Mai is Rio’s girlfriend. Rio simply says that’s impossible. Mai is in high school, and there’s a huge age gap between them. However, he also thinks about their relationship. He doesn’t see her as just another guest, and maybe it’d be the most accurate to describe them as acquaintances… but it also feels a little different somehow. She reacts to every single one of his actions and words, and her responses keep surprising him in return. Rio snaps out of his thoughts when he hears Tomu calling his name, and then he answers that Mai is just a girl who delivered a flower for him.
When Rio explains about the cattleya from Kamizono Shrine, Tomu actually finds it romantic. He ended up accepting it because Mai wouldn’t give up, but the flower doesn’t wither at all. Tomu wonders if that means the flower’s blessing is real, but Rio says that even if it’s true… he doesn’t need it and Tomu should know it too. Tomu is about to say something, but then he stops himself and apologizes for calling so late at night. Rio asks him to come over and play games when he has the time, and they wish each other good night before ending the call. Rio then sighs and quietly glances at the cattleya, which he put it in a vase near the entrance. As he told Tomu, it doesn’t wither at all and continues blooming.
• MARCH •
When March comes, Mai has her long-awaited spring break. She was planning to go out with Mori and Miki, but sadly it’s impossible because Kamizono Shrine has been really busy. Due to the large number of visitors, she gets exhausted and falls asleep in 3 seconds after returning home. One evening, Mai takes a break after handing out charms for the whole day. Unfortunately for her, Kyouga soon comes to give her a new task—completely ignoring her protests. His family members are all going out tonight, so he orders her to make dinner for him. When she asks why it has to be her, he doesn’t explain and simply assures her that he’ll pay her for the extra hours. Kyouga then throws a wallet at Mai, telling her that she can stop her shrine maiden duties for today. He’ll do them in her place, so he wants her to go shopping for ingredients and make sure his meal tastes good. He leaves before she can even protest, and she swears to get revenge by buying super expensive ingredients and cooking her own share LOL.
However, Mai ends up buying too much thanks to her revenge plan. She has to carry the shopping bags as she walks back to the shrine, and each of them is filled with a lot of ingredients. She’s thinking about how heavy they are when an expensive-looking car pulls up. The window slides open to reveal Rio inside, winking as he invites her to get on. Instead of doing so, Mai averts her gaze and asks if Rio isn’t heading to work. He nods and explains that he was supposed to meet up with a princess. Due to her circumstance, they had to move the meeting time to midnight. The initial plan was for him to spend the whole day with her, so now he’s driving around to pass time.
Mai simply nods saying it must be tough for Rio. What he just said really bothers her, most likely because she doesn’t like how he easily dates a lot of women. On the other hand, she knows it’s his job and so she shouldn’t feel annoyed over it. Realizing that Rio is driving alongside her, Mai then tells him that she’ll be going back on foot… but he says he can’t leave her be. She’s staggering due to the heavy shopping bags, so he wants to drive her to the shrine. At first Mai refuses, but Rio won’t back down either. It’s his principle to help girls in trouble, even if they’re trying to solve it alone. Besides, it’s almost White Day and he wants to thank her for the chocolate. Mai keeps insisting that she doesn’t need anything, but Rio just won’t take no as an answer—which reminds her of Kyouga. Why is she surrounded by people like this? ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
Since the road is one-way and small, Mai knows Rio’s slow driving would trouble all the cars behind him. Just before she can tell him to go away, a car comes and starts honking. The driver is clearly annoyed, but that doesn’t stop Rio at all. He simply smiles, as if asking Mai what she’s going to do. This leaves her with no choice, so she finally gives up and accepts his offer. However, Mai takes the back seat after putting all of her shopping bags into the car. When Rio asks why she sits at the back, she points out that his princess is going to take the passenger seat later. She probably wouldn’t be pleased if another girl sits there before she does. Rio thinks she’s really kind, but Mai says that’s how women’s feelings work. If he’s working as a host, then he should at least realize these things. Mai instantly regrets saying this though. She knows that she’s being harsh on Rio. She feels irked because they have different perspectives, but it’s wrong to take it out on him.
After thinking for a while, Mai lifts her head and apologizes to Rio. She wonders if he’s angry, but he’s not offended at all. In fact, he tells her not to worry. There’s no need for her to apologize. In a way, his job can be perceived as manipulating women’s feelings in order to earn money… so he doesn’t think it’s strange if she blames him for that. Mai can’t see Rio’s expression from the back seat, but he goes on to say that he’s probably a terrible man. He seduces a lot of women with sweet words, but only gives as much love as they ask for. That being said, Rio doesn’t want Mai to misunderstand one thing. When he’s interacting with a guest, he will love and treasure her alone. The society may judge his perception of love as wrong, but he believes it’s the best form of love. It satisfies both his heart and body, though a normal girl like her might find it hard to believe.
Mai can feel that Rio laughs as he says the last part. It’s true that she doesn’t understand his perception of love, because she wants a keep her love loyal and devoted—like her parents. Mai also knows that the value of love is different for each person. Rio believes that his opinion is right, so she can’t complain and say that he’s wrong. However, she notices that he looks terribly lonely as he talks about this. She doesn’t know why she can sense it either, but she feels sadness lingering around him. Rio then changes the topic and asks why Mai is carrying so many things, so she smiles and answers that Kyouga ordered her to cook dinner for him. This surprises him because she doesn’t look like the type who can cook, and she only sighs since she gets that a lot. It seems like people tend to mistake her for someone who spaces out a lot and is bad at housework. Mai says she’s actually a good cook since she often helps her mother, and Rio answers that it’s a bit unexpected.
Just then Rio suddenly gets a nice idea, and he asks if Mai can invite him to dinner. He has nothing to do until midnight anyway, and he wants to see what kind of food she’s going to make. She thinks it’s a good way to get revenge on Kyouga, but she’s too scared to go that far. She explains that she doesn’t mind at all, but this is Kyouga’s dinner… and so she has no rights to make any decisions. Rio says he understands. He’s going to ask Kyouga directly and give up if he gets rejected, so he asks if Mai is okay with that. She’s actually not sure if Kyouga would give his permission, but she agrees. He drives them to Kamizono Shrine after that.
As they leave the parking lot, Rio carries the shopping bags for Mai. She wants to carry them herself, but he says he can’t allow a girl to do that. She thinks it’s really kind of him, but it also gives her complicated feelings… since he’s a host after all. Near the gate, Rio suddenly stops and says he has something for Mai. He forgot to hand it to her earlier, but he takes out a small box from his pocket and gives it to her. It’s her White Day present. Rio grins as Mai accepts the present. When she asks if she can open it now, he nods saying he wants to see her happy. Inside, she finds two candies wrapped with ribbons and a mechanical pencil with flower pattern. When Mai happily thanks him for the wonderful presents, Rio grins saying her feelings always show through her face. He can see that she’s happy from the second she opened the box, which makes him glad to have bought the present for her. He then asks if he can give more presents since he wants to see her smile again, but she can feel that he’s only teasing her… so she refuses and walks into the shrine grounds. Behind her, he laughs saying she’s so strict.
Surprisingly, Kyouga doesn’t mind at all. In fact, he shows a wide smile as he asks Mai to cook dinner for Rio as well. When Rio thanks him, Kyouga says he doesn’t hate how Rio handles negotiations nicely. After telling Rio to take it easy, Kyouga leaves them and goes back to the main shrine. Mai makes sure Kyouga is completely out of sight before whispering to Rio, telling him that he should run away now. She’s certain that Kyouga is going to take advantage of him in the long run LOL. Rio assures Mai that it’s okay though, because he’s fully aware of that. When it comes to Kyouga, this kind of relationship actually causes less problems. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ This leaves Mai confused. She wonders if Rio is fearless or simply used to dealing with Kyouga, but upon remembering Kyouga’s connection to LADY MAGIC’s owner… she realizes that it’s probably the latter. Deciding that Rio is her comrade (of some sort), Mai clenches her fist and asks him to eat a lot tonight—she’ll do her best to cook a tasty meal. He seems taken aback for some reason, but then he thanks her and follows her to Kyouga’s house.
Ever since Mai was small, she’s always been allowed to enter Kyouga’s house freely. After guiding Rio to the living room, she changes into her uniform and goes into the kitchen. Today, she’s going to make beef stew with the expensive meat she bought, high quality French bread, fresh juicy salad and lemon sherbet for dessert. Kyouga often sends her to cook his meals, so she’s familiar with his kitchen. Mai hums as she slices up the meat, until Rio suddenly appears and comments that she’s indeed good at cooking—he can see that she’s doing it efficiently. Noticing that Mai is surprised to see him, Rio explains that he got bored of waiting and asks if there’s anything he can help with. She tries to refuse since she’s going to treat him today, but he points out that he was the one who asked for it—she doesn’t have to treat him like a guest. He grins saying she can use him however he likes. He’s pretty good with his hands, so she can ask him to do anything.
After giving it a thought, Mai decides to accept Rio’s offer. She realizes that it must be unsettling to wait alone in an unfamiliar living room, and she’d get bored too in his position. Mai then explains that she’s going to make the dressing for their salad, so it’d be great if Rio can help her. At first he seems surprised, most likely because he didn’t expect her to agree so easily, but then he grins and gladly accepts—calling her “milady” at the same time. When she asks why he’s calling her that way, he says it’s because he thinks it’s perfect for this situation. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ He wonders if she doesn’t like it, but she smiles saying she doesn’t hate it. She thinks it’s interesting, though he admits that he was being serious.
(Read: otaku fetish alert.)
For the first step, Mai teaches Rio to make Kyouga’s favorite garlic-flavored salad dressing. He nods and starts mixing the ingredients in a bowl, but asks her to tell him if he’s doing it wrong—he doesn’t want to be murdered by Kyouga LOL. Mai laughs and watches over Rio as she cuts up the vegetables. Just as she taught him, he blends grated garlic, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, nam pla, and ground black pepper in the bowl. As he said it himself, he really is good with his hands. Mai is quietly admiring Rio when she notices that the dressing has sprayed a bit onto his cheek. She finds it cute that he can make this sort of mistake, and she chuckles as she wipes it off his face.
Rio’s eyes widen in surprise, but then his lips slowly curl into a smile. Or as Mai puts it, a sexy, fascinating smile. (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ He thinks it was a bold action for her, though he’d prefer having the dressing wiped away with her lips instead of fingers. Mai can feel her cheeks burning upon hearing this, and she quickly replies that she’d never do something like that. Rio simply grins saying he knew it, and she tries to run away from the embarrassment by concentrating on cooking. After she’s done with the salad, Mai moves on to cook the beef stew. Rio follows her instructions perfectly, but when she asks if he cooks… he says he doesn’t. He mostly has his meals outside, with his princesses.
However, Rio adds that he used to cook for himself when he was small. That’s probably why he’s good at cooking. Mai finds it impressive, but Rio says it was simply because he had to do it. It was necessary, and so he doesn’t think of it as something great. Here, Mai notices that Rio looks really sad. He’s smiling, but it looks like he’s on the verge of tears. Why does he such an expression…? It really bothers her, but she can’t find any words to say. She feels that she can’t just ask why he looks so sad. After a while, Rio’s expression changes into a smile. He asks what he should do next, and Mai decides to start making the dessert… but she’s still concerned about him.
After dinner, Rio is relaxing at the porch. He’s really impressed by how good Mai’s cooking is, and she’s now washing the dishes in the kitchen. He offered to help, but she refused to let him do the cleaning up. Soon after that, Kyouga comes to join him—bringing two cups of tea for them. Rio finds this surprising, but Kyouga says he didn’t make it for him. It was simply because Mai forced him to do so. When Rio asks if he’s always using Mai like this, Kyouga grins saying it’s only obvious. She’s his shrine maiden, so this is one of her jobs. For some reason, Rio feels a burning sensation in his chest upon hearing this. He wonders if Kyouga is saying the words “his shrine maiden” on purpose, but it’s hard to read Kyouga’s mind.
Maybe it’s due to Rio’s job as a host, but he’s pretty good at reading people’s facial expressions. However, he can’t read Kyouga’s emotions at all. No one knows what he’s really thinking of. Knowing that he won’t find the answer, Rio decided to stop thinking. Instead, he admits that he’s jealous of Kyouga for having a cute girl like Mai to cook for him. He also notices that even though Mai complains about the way Kyouga treats her, in the end she properly looks after him—most likely because she trusts him. The realization that Mai is so close to Kyouga makes Rio feel envious somehow. Kyouga points out that Rio also has a bunch of princesses to look after him though, and Rio nods saying that’s why he keeps working as a host. He’ll always have someone at his side, and they’ll always tell him they love him.
Kyouga seems amused to see Rio’s reaction. He comments that Rio has quite a difficult personality, so Rio asks if it’s because he has the habit of seducing every woman he sees. Kyouga says that’s not the reason, though he doesn’t explain further. After drinking up his tea, he stands up and tells Rio that it was his duty as the head priest to send Mai to deliver the cattleya. Kyouga reminds Rio that he was chosen by the god of the Kamizono Shrine, so this is a chance for Rio to start a proper love. Rio says he doesn’t understand though, so Kyouga only sighs and tells him to keep that in mind. Before leaving, Kyouga also asks Rio to drive Mai home—like the host that he is. When Kyouga walks away, Rio is left pondering over his words. Proper love? Even if he does that, it’d only be meaningless…
• APRIL •
In April, Mai enters her 3rd year in high school. Since they don’t have class change, she’s still in the same class as Mori and Miki. One morning before homeroom starts, the three of them are talking about which university they’re planning to go to. Their school has a university level as well, so they can either go there or to other universities. Miki says she considered taking the entrance exam to another university, but since she’s also busy with club activities… their advisor might cry if she does that. When Miki asks about Mori’s plan, he dodges the question and passes it to Mai—who’s planning to enter their school’s university. They don’t have to do any entrance exams, but they do have to pass the required grades during their 3 years in high school. If they pass the requirement and the interview, they will be able to continue to the university. On the other hand, their path would be blocked if they fail too many exams or fool around too much. Mai herself often fails at a certain subject, but she makes up for it by taking supplementary lessons.
Mori looks really happy to hear Mai’s answer, and he announces that he’s going to their university too. Miki winks saying that must be great news for Mori. Since both of them are going to the same university, this eliminates the “other university” option for Miki as well—she’s going with them. Of course Mori knew Miki is going to disturb his attempts to approach Mai as usual, but he’s still happy anyway. He’s certain that his university life will be blissful. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Miki can only sigh in return, knowing that Mori is too happy to be bullied right now LOL.
Just then the door slides open, and their homeroom teacher—Saiga Rui—walks in to start homeroom. Rui teaches modern literature, and Mai likes him a lot for his friendliness and patience. Unfortunately, he has a very thin presence. Even when he stands in front of the blackboard, no one aside from Mai notices him. Not even Mori and Miki, since they’re busy talking about their after school plans. Feeling bad for Rui, Mai says in a loud voice that he’s their homeroom teacher—directing everyone’s attention to him. Both Mori and Miki are surprised since they didn’t see him at all, and they all apologize for not noticing. He says he doesn’t mind though, because he’s aware of his thin presence.
After the introductions, Rui asks everyone to move to the gym for the opening ceremony. Just before Mai leaves the classroom, he comes over to thank her for helping him. It’s all thanks to her that he got noticed faster than usual. Miki says they’re going to be more alert from now on, but he needs to do something to increase his presence as well—such as speaking louder. Mori suggests wearing flashier clothes or dying his hair blond, but Rui isn’t sure if he wants to go that far LOL. He wants to do his best as their homeroom teacher though, and Mai says she’s going to help. They can discuss about how to increase his presence, and he happily replies that she’s really kind. As Mai and Rui hold each other’s hands, Mori says watching them always makes him feel peaceful somehow. Beside him, Miki nods saying they’re spreading minus ion into the air. ﾟ.+:｡ヾ(o･ω･)ﾉﾟ.+:｡
In the evening, Mai goes to Kamizono Shrine for work. She sees Rio’s car in the parking lot but there’s no one inside, so she wonders if he went into the shrine grounds. Right in front of the main shrine, Mai finds Kyouga and Rio. Kyouga says he doesn’t mind since he can take care of the shrine, so all that’s left to do is for Rio to convince Mai. Upon noticing her presence, Rio’s eyes instantly light up. He then runs up to her and grabs her hand, asking her to help him. Of course she has no idea what he needs her help for, but his force is so great that she immediately says yes LOL. Rio is clearly relieved and repeatedly thanks Mai, until Kyouga smacks him in the head and tells him to explain.
The hit brings Rio back to his senses, and he apologizes for surprising Mai. He explains that an emergency situation has occurred, and that’s why he needs her help. Just as he mentioned several months ago, LADY MAGIC has a chef named Masaki Tetsuya. Apparently he’s a difficult person to deal with, so things didn’t go well between him and his part-time assistant… and his assistant suddenly quit the job. While he works fast enough to cook everything alone, he doesn’t have enough time to do the preparations as well. After his assistant left, he’s been running the kitchen all by himself—which puts him way behind schedule. This causes the food to come out late, and the guests will have to wait for their order. As much as they want to avoid this, none of the hosts in LADY MAGIC is able to become his assistant. They’re currently looking for a new part-time worker, but they’re going to need help for today.
This is where Mai comes in. Rio remembers how well she cooked dinner for Kyouga last month. Aside from her cooking skills, Mai can handle a very troublesome and difficult person named Kamizono Kyouga… so Rio believes she can deal with Tetsuya just fine. For a moment she’s worried that Kyouga is going to rage, but he doesn’t seem to mind at all. He’s simply watching them from behind, which is really odd since he’d normally explode upon hearing the insult. Once again, Rio holds Mai’s hand and asks her to help. It’s just for today, but everyone in LADY MAGIC needs her. Knowing that Rio is really troubled, Mai asks Kyouga if she can help them out. He grins saying it’s fine. He granted his approval the moment he heard about this, so she can go to LADY MAGIC if she wants to.
However, Mai finds this VERY suspicious. Kyouga looks so happy for some reason, so she slowly asks if he received anything in return. Just as she expected, he happily answers that Rio gave him a super rare wine. He couldn’t get a wine of that age, so he’s really looking forward to drink it. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:* Mai sighs as she turns back to Rio, and she squeezes his hand back. She’ll help them, and she asks him to take her to LADY MAGIC. They can just leave the “stupid head priest” alone. Rio is impressed by Mai’s courage considering who they’re dealing with, but Kyouga is just too happy to be bothered right now. He’s grinning to himself as he imagines the wine’s taste, so they decide to leave him alone and walk out of the shrine LOL.
A few hours later, Mai is helping Tetsuya in LADY MAGIC’s kitchen. She learns REALLY fast, and she does everything before he asks her to. When he’s about to ask her about the dashi stock for chawan mushi, she says she’s cooling it down in the refrigerator. It should be ready in 10 minutes, and she’ll inform him once it’s done. She’s currently grating the potatoes for boiled barley and rice, and she’s going to hand it to the hosts immediately after. She also notices that they’re almost out of rice, so she asks where they keep the stock. He says it’s in the staff room, and he looks like he wants to say something else… but knowing what he wants to address, she nods saying she’ll do it once she’s done with all preparations. Mai is glad to see everything running smoothly. Once she got used to it, she can read through Tetsuya’s instructions.
Just as Rio said, Tetsuya is a difficult person. Being a man of few words, he only gives short instructions without further explanations. In other words, Mai has to read his actions and predict what he wants her to do next. After observing him for a while, she realizes that his instructions are actually very simple… so it’s easy to understand what she needs to do. Kyouga is definitely MUCH more troublesome to deal with, so Mai actually finds Tetsuya tame LOL. As they work, Tetsuya asks about Mai’s favorite food. He can see that she’s working hard, so he wants to cook her favorite food for her dinner. This makes her happy since she’s been admiring his cooking, and he blushes when she thanks him. ｲﾔﾝ☆(*´∀`)σ)))))*3ﾟ),･´.､ He asks her to make a request before their break comes, and he’ll gladly cook anything for her. She happily nods, and they exchange smiles as they continue working.
Once the busy hours have passed, Mai eats the dinner Tetsuya made. Despite his offer, she chose to have the leftovers and put them on a single plate. He’s obviously surprised by her choice, but feels relieved that she seems to like his cooking. She thinks it’d be a waste to throw them away, especially because they look really delicious… but she doesn’t regret it at all. They taste as good as they look, and she’s happy to have such a wonderful dinner. Again, Tetsuya blushes saying he’s happy to receive Mai’s praise. Then he shyly asks if she wants any dessert.
DUDE. YOU’RE WAY TOO CUTE. WHY AREN’T YOU AVAILABLE!? щ(ﾟДﾟщ)
When Rio comes to the kitchen, he sees that Mai and Tetsuya seem to be getting along really well. Things have slowed down a bit for him, so he came to see how they’re doing… but it looks like there’s no need to worry. After glancing at Mai, Rio turns to Tetsuya and grins. For someone as shy as he is, Rio thinks he warmed up to Mai pretty fast. Tetsuya replies that Rio makes it sound so wrong. He acknowledges Mai as a competent assistant—that’s all. 壁|ω-o)ﾟ+. ﾎﾟｯ Tetsuya then asks about what kind of dessert she wants, but Mai says she’ll be happy with anything. She also adds that he doesn’t have to do that much for her, so Rio asks him to leave the dessert for later—he has something to discuss.
Rio then walks up to Tetsuya, folding his arms as he starts thinking. After a while, he asks if Tetsuya can make a cake that doesn’t contain any eggs. One of his princesses is coming with her friend soon, but her friend can’t stand eggs. Both of them might get concerned about this and end up not enjoying their meal, so he wants to remove the eggs right from the start. Of course it’ll depend on their order, but just in case. Rio says he feels bad for troubling Tetsuya, but he wants their guests to enjoy the food without having to ask if it contains eggs or not. As she listens to their conversation, Mai can’t help but feel impressed. While she already knows that Tetsuya is an impressive chef, this makes her realize that Rio actually works hard behind the screen. He’s making sure that his princesses can have a good time, and it’s really clear that he cares about them. At first she had a negative impression because he shares his love with a lot of women, but after seeing this serious side of him… she can’t say that he’s “the worst kind of man” anymore. As far as love is concerned, maybe he’s not as loose as she thought.
After they’re done discussing, Rio asks what Mai thinks of Tetsuya’s cooking. Meanwhile, Tetsuya has left to think about a non-egg menu in the staff room. Rio then admits that he’s jealous, because the hosts in LADY MAGIC can’t eat Tetsuya’s cooking until they’re done with work. He thinks the chawan mushi looks especially delicious, and since he keeps staring at it with envy in his eyes… Mai asks if he wants to have a bite. He happily cheers saying she’s really kind, then he leans in and opens his mouth. Noticing that she’s staring at him in confusion, he makes it clear that he’s asking her to feed him. Mai quickly refuses though. She just can’t see the reason why she has to feed Rio, and Taiga soon comes to report that Ayaka and her friend have arrived. However, Rio only grins saying he’ll go after Mai feeds him.
Taiga panics and asks Rio to give him a break, as they both know how hard it is to deal with Ayaka. Rio doesn’t budge though, and this causes Mai to feel bad. Taiga is clearly troubled, and she just can’t refuse in this situation LOL. Mai finally gives up and takes a spoonful of chawan mushi for Rio. He happily eats it and says it’s delicious—just as expected from Tetsuya’s cooking. Thanks to her, now he can do his best at work for a bit longer. Before leaving, Rio asks Mai to tell him if Tetsuya ever picks on her. Right after he walks out of the kitchen, she covers her face with both hands. She can’t believe how embarrassing he is! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ The next moment, Tetsuya returns and glances at the club floor. He looks surprised because he never saw Rio smiling like that before, and Mai is taken aback because she has seen it several times. As she turns to see the club floor, Mai recalls the smile Rio showed her earlier.
• MAY •
After school, Mai helps checking Miki’s appearance for the latter’s after school date. When Mai says that Miki looks as perfect as always, she smiles saying she’ll Kazuki out with her beauty and promises to share the details tomorrow. Miki leaves after that, and Mai wonders what she should do now. She doesn’t have work today, so she can either go straight home or do some shopping. Her wallet is still thick since she just received her paycheck, and she’s thinking of buying a skirt when she hears footsteps coming from behind. It turns out to be Mori, who happily runs over and asks if she’s not going home yet. He’s supposed to help the table tennis club with practice today, but apparently they’re going to have a meeting first. It’ll be held in the classroom next to the library, so he had to change out of his jersey and back into his uniform.
Soon after that, they see Rui walking through the hallway. The tall stack of books in his hands is blocking his view, and he staggers left and right as he carries them. He’s probably going to fall at this rate, so both Mai and Mori decide to help him carry the books. Rui is surprised when they take some of the books from his hands, but then he smiles and thanks them for the help. He then explains that he wanted to return the documents he borrowed from the library, but it seems like he brought too much. He thought he could see where he was going, even if just for a little bit, but since they rushed over to help him… probably not LOL. As they walk to the library, Rui suddenly remembers that Mai and Mori have been attending quite a lot of supplementary lessons lately. They both flinch when he asks if they’re reviewing properly, because it’s true that they’ve been failing their tests. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ They promise to study seriously starting from tomorrow, and he laughs as he asks them not to wait until tomorrow—they should start it today.
Just then a group of girls run from the opposite direction, excitedly talking about a really handsome man at the school gate. In fact, they’re so excited that they completely ignore Rui when he warns them not to run in the hallway. They just walk past him LOL. He sighs and wonders if he doesn’t have what it takes to be a teacher, so Mai and Mori quickly assure him that it’s not true. They’re just too excited because of the handsome man, and that’s why they didn’t hear him. Moved by their words, Rui holds back his tears and says he feels happy to have kind students like them. At the same time, it also leaves him wondering about who this handsome man could be. Mori is clearly concerned when Mai starts thinking about this too, but when he asks if she’s interested… she says not really. She’s only thinking that it’s probably someone from outside, because the girls wouldn’t make such a commotion if it’s someone from their school. Mori looks REALLY relieved to hear this. He even considered attending a beauty salon if Mai said yes, but luckily that wasn’t the case. (((壊ﾟ∀ﾟ)))ｧﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ
When Rui asks if Mai wants to see the handsome man, she refuses because helping him is more important to her. However, the handsome man—who is none other than Rio—soon comes to find them. While Mai is surprised to see him, Rio seems happy to find her and walks up to them. Upon seeing Rui standing next to Mai, Rio grins and greets him as well. Rui quietly smiles saying outsiders aren’t allowed to enter the school grounds, but Rio asks him not to worry. He got a permit from the receptionist. As Rio shows it to them, Rui only gives him a wry smile and says it’s all good. At first Mai is confused, because she never knew that Rio and Rui know each other. Noticing her expression, Mori explains that those two have met several times in Siesta before.
In any case, Rio says he came to see Mai. Or rather, to pick her up. Mori instantly turns wary and asks for the reason. He makes it clear that he won’t let allow Rio to lure Mai into becoming his guest, but Rio asks him not to glare like that—he’ll explain the reason. Feeling touched by Mori’s kindness, Mai pats his back and assures him that it’s alright… because she’s not rich enough to become Rio’s guest. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ The three of them look surprised to hear her words, but then they smile and the tense atmosphere melts away. Rui comments that Rio was saved by Mai, and Rio nods saying it’s just as expected from her. Mai is 100% confused, but Mori laughs saying he agrees with them. After apologizing to Rio for being so cheeky, Mori asks him to continue.
The reason why Rio was looking for Mai is because Tetsuya’s new assistant has quit… again. While Mai only worked in LADY MAGIC for a day, Rio says she’s the only one who can have proper communication with Tetsuya. That’s why he’s now asking her to help them again, but this time it won’t be for one day. He needs her to help until they find a new part-time assistant who can work with Tetsuya. After hearing this, Mai can understand why Rio went all the way to her school. If Tetsuya doesn’t prepare quickly, he won’t make it in time for the club’s opening hours. Unfortunately, Mai thinks it’ll be difficult for her to help out in LADY MAGIC for so long. She has to work in Kamizono Shrine too, and it won’t be so easy to quit that one. However, Rio grins and assures Mai that it’s been taken care of. He already got Kyouga’s permission. When Mori comments that he moves really fast, Rio replies that he had to act fast… or else LADY MAGIC would be in deeper trouble. That’s why he went to see Kyouga first before coming here.
Rio also delivers a message from Kyouga, who basically sends Mai to work in LADY MAGIC until they can find a capable assistant for Tetsuya. He even says it’s one of her jobs as their shrine maiden, so she has no reason to refuse LOL. Rui finds it strange that Kyouga granted his approval that easily, but Mai knows he must have gotten bribed with the expensive wine again. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ Mai then says she’ll go to LADY MAGIC after she’s done helping Rui, so Rio decides to help them too. After taking some books from Rui’s hands, he grins saying it’s been a long time since he walked inside a school—it feels so refreshing for him. Mori thinks seeing Rio in casual clothes is more refreshing though. He doesn’t have any reservations until much later, so he’s taking it easy today.
When Rio asks if he looks cool, Mori nods saying he does. That is, if his otaku side doesn’t come out LOL. Rio grins and says it won’t happened though. He knows he’d get arrested in no time once he gets excited over school-themed ideas, so he’s putting himself under control. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ However, this only causes both Mai and Rui to get curious. Obviously because they never knew one could get that excited in school. Rio glances around for a second, and his expression suddenly turns serious as he turns back to them. In order to give them a detailed explanation, first he’s going to tell them about the WONDERFUL culture of school uniforms. First comes the sailor-type uniform. He finds the pleated skirt absolutely beautiful, but the most moe part is undoubtedly the collar! ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.*
Before Rio can continue further, Mori quickly interrupts saying they’re almost at the library. They just have to return the books, so he says Mai can leave with Rio. Rui also thanks them for the help, but Mai isn’t too sure—she’d feel bad for leaving them behind. Rio, on the other hand, decides to take the offer. He says he needs her to help him with something, though it’s nothing urgent. When Mai asks if they have to shop for ingredients, Rio says it’s probably more like a research. Since Mai is a minor, Rui also reminds Rio to let her go home as early as possible. Mori then asks her to do her best, so Mai finally agrees and leaves the books to them.
Since Rio parked his car in a parking lot across the school, Mai walks with him towards the school gate… but she feels extremely uncomfortable. Everyone is staring at them, and she can understand because he’s really good-looking. Even the girls from earlier were in a rush just to see him. It doesn’t help that he’s also being really friendly, spreading his charms to every girl who comes to talk to him—probably a habit from his profession. Mai doesn’t like this at all. Her dislike for Rio when he’s working as a host isn’t as much as it used to be, but she can’t bring herself to like this side of him. When she tells him not to promote himself in a school, he seems surprised for a moment… but then he smiles, draws closer to her, and whispers that her jealousy is cute. He wants to hear more. (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ Needless to say Mai instantly turns red and panics. She quickly denies that she’s jealous and tells Rio not to whisper like that because it’s useless, but he only grins saying it doesn’t seem useless—it clearly has an effect on her. He laughs when she moves away from him, while she thinks about how much she dislikes it when he’s teasing her like this.
In the end, Mai keeps a distance away from Rio as they walk to the parking lot. She feels relieved to be released from people’s eyes, while he says they’re going to eat some ice cream—it’s the research he told her about. Mai doesn’t get it though. If they’re only going to play and eat ice cream, she’d rather go to LADY MAGIC right away and help with preparations. Upon seeing her reaction through the back mirror, Rio laughs and asks her not to be so cautious of him. Rio then explains that Tetsuya asked him to bring some ice cream, since he wants to eat and taste it directly. From him, Mai also learns that Tetsuya does this on a regular basis. He always checks new and recommended dishes from popular restaurants, and this one is no exception—it’s a popular ice cream shop that got featured in magazines and other media.
Mai smiles saying it’s just like Tetsuya to do that, and Rio nods saying he likes how hardworking Tetsuya is. They’re of the same age, but Rio respects Tetsuya… though he admits that he can’t be as stoic when it comes to himself. Despite her nervousness from earlier, Mai finds the situation comfortable. Rio is a really careful driver, so she finds it relaxing to be in his car. She remembers that he also gave her a ride before, but she couldn’t relax at all. She was even more wary of him back then, but she doesn’t get why she has dropped her guard a bit by now. Is it because she found out that he’s not just a frivolous host? Mai snaps out of her thoughts when Rio asks if she understands the reason now. She quickly replies that she does, and she doesn’t mind accompanying him. Rio nods saying that really helps, and he gives her a brief explanation of the ice cream shop. Apparently the shop is popular because celebrities often come to buy their ice cream. They also provide a lot of flavors, and the taste is undoubtedly good. As she listens to this, Mai continues thinking about why she has grown less wary of Rio.
30 minutes later, Mai and Rio reach the ice cream shop. There’s a very LONG queue in front of it, but he shrugs saying it’s actually shorter than usual. After all, the shop has been featured in magazines and TV. They handle the customers pretty fast though, so they won’t be waiting for too long. After they stand in line, Mai realizes that what Rio said is true. Despite the length, the queue moves really fast and their turn comes in no time. As soon as they reach the counter, Mai’s eyes immediately go to the colorful ice cream inside the glass case. They have a lot of flavors: strawberry, raspberry, mint chocolate, apple, lemon, and a lot more. As she checks all the flavors, Rio orders 3 servings of today’s limited edition ice cream—just as requested by Tetsuya.
Since everything looks so tasty, Mai soon starts thinking about which one she’d like to eat. Well… if she does get the chance to eat them, that is. The one that piques on her curiosity the most is the juicy “King Strawberry”, but she nearly gasps in shock upon seeing the price. It’s really expensive, as it costs 8 times higher than a normal ice cream. Just as expected from an ice cream shop frequented by celebrities LOL. Noticing that she’s staring so intently, Rio then asks if she wants to eat some ice cream. She blushes and tries to deny it, but then he smiles and orders ALL the flavors available. Σ(ﾟーﾟ；) He knows that she was observing all the different flavors, and he asks her not to hold back. However, she feels bad and quickly replies that she’s not holding back. The shop features around 20 flavors, so it’ll be really expensive to get all of them.
Mai then tells Rio that he doesn’t have to do that and tries to refuse, but he points out that she’s going to help out in LADY MAGIC from now on. That’s why instead of holding back, she should just take his offer. Since Mai keeps refusing, Rio states that LADY MAGIC has dragged her into their problem twice. He wants to thank her, and so he asks her to accept it. His expression turns serious as he says this, and she can feel that his feeling is genuine. Mai eventually gives in and decides to accept the offer, but she asks Rio to buy one serving only—it’s already enough for her. He smiles upon hearing her answer, then he nods saying he understands and thanks her for accepting.
From there, Rio buys the King Strawberry and mango-flavored ice cream for Mai. He also takes a single serving of lemon yogurt ice cream for himself. She feels bad for getting two flavors, but he tells her not to worry. The mango one was a free extra from the shop anyway, because LADY MAGIC always buys a large amount from them. Rio also says that at times like this, accepting the treat would be something like good manners… so Mai should just enjoy it. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ After leaving the shop, they lean against his car and eat their ice cream outside. Rio says his lemon yogurt ice cream has low sweetness and tastes refreshing. He looks so happy upon eating it, and he asks Mai to start eating hers too. She decides to start with the strawberry on top, and she nearly floats to heaven because it tastes really good. It’s sweet, fresh and also juicy—she’s got absolutely no complaints. This is the best strawberry ice cream she has ever eaten.
However, Mai’s excitement fades away when Rio laughs saying she’s so honest—just like a kid. Her chest is pierced by a pain, and she doesn’t understand the reason. He’s an adult, so it’s only normal if he thinks of her as a kid. She also got really excited just by having some ice cream, and she thinks it’s only obvious if he treats her that way… but it feels painful somehow. Mai keeps thinking about this until Rio points out that her ice is melting, so she might want eat it quickly. Realizing that he’s right, she immediately returns her focus back onto her ice cream. She’s aware that she’s being childish, but it’s just THAT good. After a while, Rio leans closer saying Mai’s ice cream looks so delicious. Knowing that he wants to have a taste, she then asks if they can trade—a bite for a bite.
By the way, Rio will steal a bite even if Mai says no. Refusing isn’t an option. ヾ(✿❛◡❛ฺฺ)ノ～❤
Rio seems a bit surprised that Mai agrees so easily, so she shyly admits that she actually wants to taste his ice cream too. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but since he has good intuition… she knows he’d notice even if she covers it up. Rio then allows Mai to eat his ice cream first. Upon taking a bite, she excitedly exclaims that it tastes really good. Lemons and yogurt go really well together. When she looks up, Mai realizes that Rio is standing really close to her. He smiles saying she has a lovely smile, and he’s glad he bought the ice cream—because she seems to like it a lot. Mai’s heart nearly leaps out of her chest. Knowing that her face is turning red, she quickly moves away from Rio. In the hope of hiding how she feels, Mai quickly says it’s Rio’s turn and hands her ice cream towards him. He thanks her and leans closer to eat it, then he gives her a satisfied smile.
However, seeing Rio’s face and lips from so close makes Mai realize the situation they’re in. He took a bite on a spot that has been eaten by her before, which means they just had an indirect kiss. The realization throws her into even more panic, and she blames herself for not realizing it earlier. If she did, she wouldn’t have done something so embarrassing! Now she wishes the ground would split open and swallow her up. Rio soon notices that Mai is blushing and asks her what’s wrong. He correctly guesses that she realized how they just shared an indirect kiss, and she feels like running away out of embarrassment… except she has no idea where they are. They came with his car after all LOL. Running away is impossible, so she can only throw her glance everywhere—panicking about what to do.
Upon seeing Mai’s reaction, Rio bursts into laughter saying she doesn’t have to fidget THAT much. It’s his first time seeing a girl who panics that much in situations like this, and he can’t seem to stop his laughter. Mai, of course, feels really embarrassed. As an attempt to cover it up, she quickly suggests finishing their ice cream and head to LADY MAGIC. She says Tetsuya must be waiting for them, and his ice cream might melt away if they take too long. Rio chuckles sayings he’s right, so they’re going to LADY MAGIC as soon as they’re done eating.
• JUNE •
When a holiday comes in June, Mai goes out to buy a dress in the city. It’s a pretty hand-knitted dress that she saw during a shopping trip with Miki and Mori, but it was too expensive for her to buy. She had to wait for her paycheck and was really excited to buy the dress, but sadly she read the wrong price tag. What she thought to be the dress’ price is actually the price for a bolero on the same mannequin, and she doesn’t have enough money to get the dress. She saves a certain amount each month, so she can buy it if she uses her savings… but it’s her emergency fund, so she doesn’t want to take it. This leaves her with no choice but to wait until next month’s paycheck, hoping that the dress won’t be sold out by then.
In order to cheer herself up, Mai decides to get some sweets and goes to a crepe shop. It’s located near the movie theater, where she sees a long queue. As she wonders if there’s an event going on, she notices two familiar figure standing in line—Rio and Seiya. When she goes to talk to them, Rio smiles saying he didn’t expect to see her here. Seiya, on the other hand, tells her not to roam around even if it’s a holiday. Mai quickly apologizes, while Rio nudges Seiya with his elbow—telling him not to take out his frustration on her. Feeling bad for Mai, Rio apologizes and explains that he dragged Seiya into accompanying him… and that’s why Seiya is in a bad mood. They’re currently queuing for an anime movie, which also comes with the director’s greetings and limited goods.
Noticing that Mai seems confused, Rio tilts his head saying she should have realized that he’s an otaku. When Mai answers that she didn’t get a clear picture before, Seiya confirms that Rio is a heavy otaku. He LOVES all sorts of anime, game, and manga, and he’s not afraid of investing a lot of time and money into them. As for why they’re standing in line, Rio says he failed to get a ticket during the early lottery drawing. The movie theater counter is his only hope, and he would die if he couldn’t get one. It seems that some of his guests want the tickets as well, so he dragged Seiya along to help him. Seiya is clearly not happy, but he’ll do it since Rio pays him with money LOL.
Rio suddenly realizes something and asks if Mai is free right now. While it’s too late to join the queue, she might be able to help by purchasing the tickets online. Since Rio looks so serious, Mai nods and agrees to help him. He happily cheers and calls her an angel, while she smiles saying people should help each other in need. Mai then asks Rio about the procedure, but she wants him to e-mail the details to her. If she tries to memorize them, she might remember things wrong. They exchange e-mail addresses after that, and the line soon starts moving forward. Rio has to move on with Seiya, but Mai soon receives an e-mail from him that contains the details and site URL. Despite the long queue in front of her eyes, it’s surprisingly easy for her to buy the tickets online. Following Rio’s instructions, Mai successfully books 4 tickets for him. Now all he needs to do is pay from a convenience store. She wonders if people only swarm the counters to get the tickets, but she’s glad that she managed to obtain them.
Soon after that, the long queue suddenly breaks apart. As people start leaving, Mai sees Rio and Seiya walking towards her. Seiya flatly explains that the tickets got sold out in 10 minutes, while Rio is clearly disappointed. He mumbles that he doesn’t know what to expect in his life anymore, considering he even took a day off from LADY MAGIC on the premiere date. He also feels bad for dragging Mai into this, but his mood instantly changes when she tells him that she managed to buy the tickets. His eyes widen as he stares at her, asking if she’s serious. When she shows him the confirmation e-mail, he happily cheers and says she’s the best. Rio repeatedly thanks Mai before clinging onto her, but Seiya quickly pulls him away and gives him a smack to the head—telling him to calm down. Rio apologizes saying he couldn’t help it. He thought the tickets got completely sold out, so he’s really happy that Mai got them for him.
As a token of gratitude, Rio says he’s going to treat Mai to lunch. She tries to refuse, but Seiya tells her to accept the offer. Rio has a lot of money, so they can eat expensive food for free. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Seiya has been planning to get Rio to treat him too, and he explains that it costs 10,000 yen per course. He looks so happy as he explains that they use high-quality beef and fish, but of course Mai doesn’t want to get such an expensive meal. Since Rio is insisting, Mai then asks him to buy her a crepe instead. It’s not expensive, so it shouldn’t cause him any trouble. He gladly agrees since it’s what she’s wishing for, though Seiya still wants the expensive meal AND money from him. They couldn’t get any tickets, but he’s using his precious time for this. Rio answers that he knows, and he sighs saying Seiya is so fussy when it comes to money.
From there, Mai guides Rio and Seiya to the crepe shop. They place her between them while walking, and she can feel people staring at them. Especially women. While this makes her feel uncomfortable, she does understand why they attract so much attention. Both Rio and Seiya are handsome and have really good figures, so they charm a lot of people just by walking. She wonders if they don’t feel uneasy to have a lot of people staring at them, but they seem to be completely fine. She soon realizes that they probably have their guests looking at them everyday, so they’re probably used to the attention. Now that she knows the reason, she can finally calm down.
Upon arriving at the crepe shop, Rio mentions that he has visited it before—based on his guests’ request. He remembers that Seiya knows about the shop as well. When Mai asks if Seiya actually likes sweets, he immediately denies it LOL. His guests took him along, so he has eaten their crepes a few times before. Rio admits that he doesn’t really like sweets, but even he found them delicious. Seiya recalls that they use low sugar for their whipped cream and dough, so that’s probably why. As for recommendations, Rio suggests the chocolate banana crepe for Mai. He thinks it tastes the best among all the crepes he ate before. Seiya, on the other hand, recommends the chocolate strawberry one, as he feels that more people seem to like it. Mai is free to choose the one she likes though.
By the way, if Mai says she’ll decide on her own… Rio will realize that the general store next to the crepe shop has been featured in a midnight anime before. He gets REALLY excited to see the real location, and he’s about to take pictures when Seiya kicks him from behind—effectively shutting him up. Mai is worried when Rio literally meets the ground, while Seiya tells Rio to think about them. Rio might find it fun, but since they’re currently together… people might think that Seiya and Mai are otaku as well LOL. When Mai says she doesn’t mind, Rio calmly gets up and puts his arm around her. He smiles saying Seiya can’t seem to reach their “dimension”, and they end up bickering with people staring at them. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ
If Mai chooses the chocolate banana crepe, Rio happily goes inside to buy it for her. While waiting, Mai looks up to Seiya saying she’ll try his recommendation too next time. She’s happy to have something to look forward to, and he mutters a short “I see” as he looks away from her. She notices a faint hint of red on his cheeks, but she wonders if it’s just her imagination. Soon after that, Rio comes back and gives the chocolate banana crepe to Mai. Upon taking a bite, Mai excitedly says it’s really delicious. She finds the combination of banana and chocolate simply irresistible. Rio smiles saying he’s glad to hear that, while Seiya sighs and says she’s such a kid for eating like that. Despite the embarrassment, Mai replies that it’s her principle to go all-out while eating something delicious. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
However, Mai soon realizes that Rio is intently staring at her. When she asks what he’s looking at, he says her cute lips are working so hard to eat the crepe… and it makes him want to eat them. Σ(ﾟーﾟ；) She can also see passion in his eyes, which obviously sends heat to her cheeks. Feeling embarrassed, Mai tells Rio to look the other way. He chuckles saying it’s too bad before turning away from her, and she feels relieved for a while… but then she realizes that Seiya is still looking at her. When she tells him to look away too, he protests saying he’s got nothing to do with this. Rio asks him to listen to their princess though. They can’t let her fall into a bad mood, so Seiya grumbles and turns around as well LOL. This finally makes Mai feel at ease, and she fully enjoys the rest of her crepe.
After that, the three of them walk back to the center of the city. Mai is heading for the station, while Rio and Seiya are going to the parking lot. Along the way, Rio asks what Mai was doing before she ran into them. She answers that she came to buy a dress, but she gave up since it was too expensive. Seiya points out that she’s working at Kamizono Shrine though. He asks if her wage there is that low, but she says it’s normal. It’s just that she only keeps a certain amount of allowance each month and saves up the rest. Rio notes that she’s quite strict with money, but Mai says it’s exactly the opposite. If she doesn’t limit herself, she’ll end up spending everything. That’s why she’s saving up her money to keep them off-limits. She feels embarrassed after saying this, but Seiya gently puts one hand on her shoulder and says she’s wonderful. It’s just beautiful how she’s saving up! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
Seiya then continues that saving up also plays an important part to protect money from yourself. He tells Mai that once you become an adult, you can never have too much money—you’ll always need more. In any case, she should continue saving up. More money means more help when she’s in trouble. That, and he finds it exciting to look at his passbooks and admire the amount of his own savings LOL. Mai says the advice helps her a lot, but Rio says she doesn’t have to listen to Seiya. |ω･｀)ﾌﾟｯ♪ However, Rio seems to have a plan and whispers something to Seiya—who replies that it’s not a bad idea. Rio then turns to Mai and asks if she can take them to see the dress she wanted. When she asks for the reason, Seiya says they get guests who are around her age from time to time… so they need information on what girls in her age range are interested in. Since she has plenty of free time, Mai agrees to guide them there.
The boutique is located inside the shopping mall. Mai says she loves the boutique since they always have pretty clothes, but sadly she can’t really buy them due to the price. Both Rio and Seiya seem familiar with the boutique though, and she’s about to ask when she notices a stir among the staff. Just then a man in a suit, who turns out to be the manager, comes out to welcome Rio and Seiya. He finds it unusual for them to come at this hour. Rio asks him not to be so formal though, because they’re not here for work. Noticing that Mai looks surprised, Seiya explains that they’re regular customers at this boutique—they often come here with their guests. They choose clothes and accessories that would look nice on their guests, and their guests are always glad to buy their recommendations. The boutique sells a lot of items whenever Rio and Seiya come, and that’s why they receive special treatment from the manager.
Inside, Seiya asks about the dress Mai wanted to buy. When she points to the dress, Rio nods saying it’s cute. The lace on the hems are really pretty, and the manager confirms that it’s 100% hand-knitted. They also used a material with a smooth texture. This causes Mai to want the dress even more, but she reminds herself to hold back for now. When Seiya asks if they only have one color, the manager answers that they actually have three—pale pink, pale purple, and pale silver with gold lines. He brings out all three versions while explaining, and Mai finds all of them beautiful. Rio then asks if she likes the pale pink one, and she nods saying she does. However, she didn’t know that the dress is available in three colors… so now she’s a bit torn.
While the pale pink dress would look good on Mai, Seiya thinks the pale silver one would suit her better. She’d look mature in it. Rio agrees, though personally he’d recommend the pale purple dress. It’d give her a cute and slightly impish look. Mai takes their opinions into consideration before making her decision. If she chooses the pale purple dress, the manager asks if she wants to try it on. She refuses because she has to hold back for now, and trying it on would only make her want it even more. Rio asks her to give it a try though, especially because Seiya is giving them a doubtful stare. Seiya believes the pale silver one would fit her better, so Rio asks Mai to prove that his fashion sense isn’t wrong. Unable to refuse, she eventually gives up and tries it on.
When Mai walks out of the fitting room, Rio smiles saying his choice wasn’t mistaken after all. She looks really cute in the dress. The way he looks at her causes her heart to start pounding, as she feels that he’s looking into her mind and body. Knowing that her face must have turned red, Mai lowers her gaze in the hope of hiding it. Seiya has to admit that it’s not a bad choice, though he still insists that the pale silver one would look better. Rio lightly answers that Seiya isn’t honest with himself, then he tells the manager that he’ll pay for the dress. Mai is obviously surprised. She says she can’t accept such an expensive dress, but Rio asks her not to worry. He’s really thankful to her for the tickets, so he felt bad for paying her with only a crepe. Besides, he’s happy that he can give her a dress that he chose himself… so he wants her to accept the present.
Before Mai can say anything else, Rio winks and leaves for the cashier. As she wonders what to do, Seiya scoffs saying Rio looks so happy just because Mai picked his choice… and it’s pissing him off LOL. When Mai calls him, Seiya asks if she’s still concerned about the dress. She says she feels bad since the dress is expensive, but he points out that Rio already told her not to worry. Rio has a lot of money anyway, so she should just let him pay. Besides, the tickets Mai got for him probably have that much value to him. Since Mai is clearly reluctant, Seiya then tells her to put herself in Rio’s position. It finally makes her realize that she’d probably do the same thing, and she’d insist too even if he refuses. That being said, Seiya thinks it’s a bit unusual for Rio to do this. When he’s dealing with other women, Rio usually listens to what they say and pulls back… so Seiya wonders why he wants to thank Mai that much. Naturally, she thinks it must be because he really wanted the tickets.
After leaving the boutique, Rio gives Mai the dress in a shopping bag. When she thanks him, he smiles saying he’ll ask her out on a date next time… and he’ll be happy if she wears the dress. Mai immediately turns down the invitation though, and Seiya laughs at how Rio gets rejected so quickly. It seems like his title as the number one host crumbles down in front of her LOL. Rio looks a bit embarrassed and protests that Seiya is laughing too much, and Mai can’t help but laugh too as she watches their interaction.
In the evening, Rio takes Mai home and continues driving to Seiya’s apartment. Along the way, he says today is the best day ever. Rio finds Mai’s honesty cute. She looked so happy when she was eating the crepe and trying out the dress, and for some reason it makes him happy too. While he did want to thank her for the tickets, he actually went that far because he wanted to see her smile. He thinks it’s refreshing how she wouldn’t let him treat her so easily, though he finds her stubborn as well. At the same time, Rio also realizes that he has grown interested in Mai—a girl who’s different from his princesses. Seiya seems irritated though, and Rio knows it’s because he likes Mai just as much. Both of them are interested in her. In a girl who’s still in high school. Rio wryly smiles as he clutches the steering wheel.
• JULY •
The weather gets hot in July, but LADY MAGIC stays cool thanks to their air conditioner. Unfortunately for Mai, it doesn’t affect her at all since she’s working in the kitchen. As she washes the dishes, Tetsuya asks if she can help preparing the ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner—they’re going to feature hamburgers as the main menu. Mai nods saying she’ll cut up the onions after washing the dishes, and Tetsuya apologizes for this. She’s supposed to be his assistant, but he ended up asking her to do the dishes. Usually it’s a task for the young hosts who are free. She smiles and asks him not to worry though, since she doesn’t mind at all.
After that, Mai goes to take the onions from the storage. However, she makes a miscalculation and ends up lifting a whole box full of onions. It’s obviously really heavy, making her realize that she should’ve put the onions into a smaller container instead of carrying the whole thing. Just before she puts the box back down, someone suddenly lifts the burden off her hands. When she looks up in confusion, she finds Rio in front of her—smiling widely. He’s impressed that she can carry it though, and he wonders if she’s actually quite strong. When Mai asks why he’s here, Rio says he came to fetch his princess’ birthday cake. Tetsuya mentioned that Mai knows where they put it, so Rio followed her to the storage. He then carries the onion box back to the kitchen for her. She chases after him saying she can carry it herself, but he asks her to rely on him for physical work like this.
Back in the kitchen, Rio mentions that Tetsuya should do these tasks instead of sending Mai. Feeling bad, Tetsuya says he’ll cut his stomach as an apology for Mai… and Rio lightly answers that he’s talking like a warrior. Mai can’t help but laugh upon seeing their interaction. It’s been a while since she started working in LADY MAGIC, and she has grown closer to the staff—especially Tetsuya. He has gotten used to her too, and he’d joke around from time to time. It appears that he likes historical plays, and so his jokes are often related to them. As Mai brings out the cake from the refrigerator, and Tetsuya asks for Rio’s opinion. It’s a roll cake filled with the guest’s favorite fruits, just as requested. When Rio asks if the whipped cream is low fat, Tetsuya nods saying the sponge is low calorie as well. It won’t be a problem even if it’s eaten at night, so his princess will be able to eat it without any worries.
After thanking Tetsuya, Rio moves on to discuss another guest’s birthday on the weekend. Tetsuya recalls that her cake will be a rare cheesecake, decorated with a picture of “glasses class rep” on top. Since Mai is confused, Rio explains that it’s his princess’ favorite 2D character. Tetsuya is going to draw the character on the cake with cream and decorate it with sculpted candies, which Mai finds impressive. Before leaving with the roll cake, Rio also informs them that the guests on table B should be ready for their desserts soon. Tetsuya nods and asks Mai to take out the strawberry mini parfaits they’ve made, as he wants to give the finishing touch. She can start cutting up the onions after that. Rio wishes Mai luck and reminds them that he’ll be taking her home in two hours, so Tetsuya shouldn’t let her work past that. Tetsuya says he knows, and so Rio leaves the kitchen with a smile.
Once Tetsuya is done decorating the mini parfaits, Mai puts them back on the refrigerator—keeping them cold until someone comes to take them. Here, Tetsuya reluctantly asks if Rio always picks Mai up for work and drives her back home. She nods saying she refused the offer before, but Rio insisted since it’s an order from Kyouga and LADY MAGIC’s owner. Tetsuya then asks if Rio ever did questionable things to her, and he seems relieved when Mai says no. Rio is a caring person who takes his job seriously, but Tetsuya was a bit concerned because he always hits on every woman he sees. The cause is unclear though. It might be a habit he developed as a host, or maybe that’s just a part of his personality.
In any case, Tetsuya wants Mai to tell him if Rio does something rude to her. Mai is a wonderful assistant who helps him flawlessly everyday. That’s why if Rio does questionable things to her, Tetsuya will give him a divine punishment. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Before Tetsuya can finish his sentence, Rio appears and hits him from behind. He protests that Tetsuya is feeding Mai with weird knowledge, though Tetsuya thinks what he did is even worse—he sneaked up and attacked from behind LOL. When Rio asks Mai not to believe what she just heard, Tetsuya quickly tells her not to drop her guard. Rio instantly objects and tells Tetsuya to stop it. It’s nice how Tetsuya likes Mai and looks after her, but he shouldn’t bash Rio in front of her. As the two of them start bickering in the kitchen, Mai smiles thinking they must be getting along so well since they’re of the same age.
Several days later, Mai says goodbye to her friends after school. Miki has club activities, while Mori has to attend a supplementary lesson. On the way out, she sees a cute couple walking together—talking about watching a movie together. The sight makes her feel envious, and she thinks about how nice it is to go on a date as a couple. Maybe it’s because summer vacation is around the corner, but the number of couples has increased at school—including in her class. While there should be a lot of chances to fall in love, Mai feels that she doesn’t have any. She’s working in LADY MAGIC too everyday, and it’s probably distancing her away from those things. It seems like they’re having a hard time finding a new part-time assistant, so she’s been helping them in the last few months. This makes her wonder if it’s really THAT hard to deal with Tetsuya, because she thinks he’s a very nice person.
Just then Mai notices that a group of girls are flocking to the school gate in excitement. Since Rio comes to pick her up everyday, she’s gotten used to this situation by now… so it doesn’t surprise her or make her feel uncomfortable anymore. Just as usual, Rio is spreading his charms and asks the girls to be careful on the way home. Mai sighs before walking up to him, and he says goodbye to the girls as he opens his car’s passenger door for her. When he calls her “princess” and asks her to get in, she can hear everyone around them shrieking in unison. Sadly, Mai doesn’t feel happy at all. She knows she must be scowling right now, but she quietly gets into the car—knowing that anything she says would only be useless. The girls wave at Rio as he gets behind the wheel, and he throws a smile at them before driving off.
While Rio drives carefully as usual, Mai feels very uncomfortable in the car. She then calls out to him and says she’s gotten tired of repeating this, but she wants him to stop picking her up at school. He says it’s a part of his job, but she promises to explain this to Kyouga and LADY MAGIC’s owner. Ever since he started doing this, she’s been getting flooded with questions everyday. A lot of girls want to know who he is, and some even ask her to introduce them to him. Of course she can’t say that he’s a host, so she doesn’t know how to answer. She manages to survive this far thanks to Mori and Miki’s help, but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re giving her a hard time… so she’s been asking him to stop.
Mai points out that Rio stands out a lot, and he’ll be in trouble too if they find out about his job. However, he only laughs and asks her not to worry. He won’t lure the students in her school into LADY MAGIC. Mai takes another attempt by saying Rio’s princesses might feel sad if they learn about this, but he replies that it’s not a problem either. He already told them that she’s helping LADY MAGIC with their kitchen crisis and explained the situation. They all understand and the situation hasn’t changed at all, so she’s probably the one who should give up. In the end, Mai just can’t win against Rio. Since he’s the number one host, she’s aware that it must be impossible to defeat him in an argument… but it’s still frustrating for her. She wants to win against him someday!
After a while, Mai notices that Rio is taking a different path today. He’s surprised that she notices, but she replies that she’s going to LADY MAGIC everyday—it’s only natural for her to remember the way. He nods saying he’ll explain later and continues driving to the movie theater, where he parks his car and opens the door for her. Mai is obviously confused and asks what this means, so Rio says he took her here to watch a movie. The moment she hears this, Mai immediately says they should leave. Rio blinks several times before breaking into laughter, as he finds it cool how she rejects the idea so fast LOL. Since he can’t seem to stop laughing, she pouts and tugs on his sleeve—saying this isn’t the time to be laughing. She has to help out with preparations in the kitchen, so she just can’t drop by other places. Tetsuya would be troubled, not to mention LADY MAGIC might not be able to operate as well.
Rio smiles saying Mai is just as diligent as always. As he wraps her hand with his own, he reveals that they actually found a new part-time worker today. It’s Tetsuya’s junior back in university, and so things should go well between them. Rio says he’s grateful for all the help Mai gave them until today, though she replies that she didn’t do much. She’s sincerely happy for them though, as it means Tetsuya will have less burden on his shoulders. He got really busy when she had to go home, but he always refused when she offered to stay longer and help—mainly because she’s a minor. She’s been feeling concerned because he looks tired everyday, and she was worried that he might just faint at work. That’s why she’s happy that they found a new assistant for him, because he wouldn’t have to force himself anymore.
As Mai sighs in relief, Rio gently tells her that she’s really kind. This sends her heart to start racing, though she quickly concludes that it must be because he’s the number one host. Everyone would feel the same if he’s looking at them like that… right? (｡-∀-)ﾆﾋ♪ Rio then puts his arm around Mai’s back and asks her to watch a movie with him, but her heart instantly stops racing upon hearing this. She doesn’t get how the good news leads to watching a movie, so he explains that both Tetsuya and LADY MAGIC’s owner asked him to thank her for helping them. At first she still tries to refuse, but he asks her to just accept it.
Rio then explains that Tetsuya is planning to thank Mai directly later, but he feels really grateful to her. He wants to do something for her in return, so he’s arranging a top dinner course for her tonight—asking Rio to escort and give her the best night ever. Rio says he’s doing this a a part of his job, and he wants Mai to cooperate. Who knows what Tetsuya would do if he doesn’t escort her, and he wouldn’t know what to do if Tetsuya refuses to cook for his guests. Rio then lets out a heavy sigh, while Mai wryly smiles and raises a white flag in her heart. He’s really good at getting her to agree, and she knows she can never win against him in this area. She finally accepts the invitation, and he smiles saying that really helps him.
Since Tetsuya wants to express his gratitude with a dinner course, Mai then wonders why they’re going to watch a movie instead. Rio answers that it’s because HE personally wants her to accompany him for this, and his expression turns serious as he stares at a certain poster on the counter. It’s a colorful poster of an anime movie, obviously. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Rio grins and admits that he’s been busy with work recently, and it leaves him with no time to spend on his hobby. He’s fully booked with reservations. Usually he’d move the reservations to different days, but he can’t do that in this case. He actually doesn’t have the time to watch this movie while it’s airing, so Tetsuya’s request has created a big chance for him to do so. When he asked the owner about this, he was told that he can serve Mai by taking her to see the movie. In other words, he wants to use the time to watch the movie instead of escorting her. (((壊ﾟ∀ﾟ)))ｧﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ
When Mai asks about this, Rio suddenly grabs her shoulders. He apologizes for bringing her here without asking, as well as for taking advantage of her time. He’ll even kneel on the ground if she wants him to, so he asks her to give him the chance to watch the movie. Mai has never seen Rio getting this serious before. She knew that he loves games, but this makes her realize that he loves anime just as much. He reluctantly asks if she finds him ridiculous, but she shakes her head. She doesn’t dislike reading manga and watching anime too, so she doesn’t feel that way at all… and he smiles saying he’s glad to hear that. After thanking Mai, Rio asks if she’s willing to keep him company. It’s obvious that he really wants to see the movie, but she finds it wonderful how he prioritizes his job over his hobby… so she gladly agrees to watch it with him. He always picked her up and drove her back home during her stay in LADY MAGIC, so she wants to repay him as well. The moment Mai says this, Rio gives her a very radiant smile—intensely shaking her hand out of joy and repeatedly thanking her LOL.
Rio’s smile remains sparkly as he runs off to buy the tickets, and Mai takes a closer look at the poster. He looks extremely happy, so she wonders what kind of movie it is. The poster shows a lot of robots in space, but soon she realizes that it’s an adaptation of a manga. She saw Mori reading the manga during breaks, and he recommended it to her saying it’s interesting. She came to like the manga after reading it, and she borrowed the latest volumes from Mori whenever they got released. She didn’t realize it since the title and the costumes are different, but now she’s gotten really interested in the movie as well. Rio soon returns to find Mai staring at the poster, and she excitedly tells him that she read the manga version. He looks really surprised to hear this, but they quickly get absorbed into talking about their favorite characters. Mai says she cried at the scene where Rio’s favorite character saved an enemy pilot, and Rio reveals that he cried a waterfall too. Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒(。A。)ｱﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ!!
Rio then realizes that it’s almost time for the movie to start, so he takes Mai inside—saying she should be able to enjoy the movie too. Their seat is at the very back row. After guiding Mai there, Rio says he’s going to buy some popcorn and juice. When she tries to give him her money, he only smiles and tells her not to worry about that. He’s the one who took her along, so she should just stay here and wait for him. He also winks at her before leaving, and this makes her feel embarrassed somehow. After a while, Rio returns with a bowl of salty popcorn, as well as a cup of cola and orange juice. Noticing that he prepared everything to make her 100% comfortable, Mai then asks if he always escorts his guests like this. He nods saying he probably does. He’s not doing it on purpose either. He naturally turned this way due to his job. Since he’s the number one host, he often goes on a date with his guests before heading to LADY MAGIC. It might be work for him, but it’s a date for his princesses—even though it’s not a real one. During the time he spends with them, he wants to make sure they feel comfortable and happy.
That aside, Rio says he basically wants to be gentle towards women. He always asks his princesses to rely on him during dates, knowing that women would be happy to have a reliable man by their side. It’s a nice thing for him too since he wants to be relied on, and he turns to Mai saying she can rely on him as well. It causes her heart to start racing, but she quickly covers it up by pointing out that she’s not his guest… and so there’s no need for her to do that. Rio chuckles saying Mai’s just as stern as usual, though he likes that side of her. She then grabs the orange juice to hide her panic, but she keeps thinking about what he said. Normally people would find it too embarrassing to ask others to rely on them, and she actually finds him pretty impressive for saying that. Mai is also a bit worried that she might be blushing, but luckily for her… the lights soon fade out. Rio’s attention has completely shifted onto the screen though. He didn’t gather any information beforehand, so he’s curious about how far the movie will follow the manga. In fact, he’s so excited that his heart might explode LOL. Mai can’t help but smile, as she finds Rio really cute when he gets immersed in his hobby. Feeling relieved, she chuckles and turns to the screen as well.
After the movie ends, Rio takes Mai to Siesta. They’re welcomed by Mori, who screams upon seeing them together. The poor thing tries to convince himself that Rio is just taking Mai home, but his hope instantly gets shattered when Rio grins saying they’re on a date. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ This causes Mori to scream so loud he gets scolded by Takuto, and he pulls himself out of the shock to guide them to a table. He looks really worried as he takes their order. even more so when Rio mentions that they don’t need any food. Mai then explains that they’re going to have dinner at a restaurant tonight, leading poor Mori to let out another scream. He receives another scolding from Takuto because of this, though Rio points out that Takuto is being even louder LOL. He instantly apologizes when Takuto threatens to stop making club sandwich for him though. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ
Mori leaves them after apologizing for being so loud. Since they still have some time before their dinner reservation, Rio and Mai decide to see the movie pamphlet together. He doesn’t want to get spoiled, so he always opens the pamphlet after watching the movie. Rio and Mai are discussing about a touching scene when Mori comes back with their drinks, and he’s really shocked to see the pamphlet. He says he wanted to watch it too, and he starts crying as he puts Rio’s coffee and Mai’s milk tea on the table. Realizing that Mori was planning to invite Mai to watch it with him, Rio suddenly feels really bad and apologizes to him. In response, Mori only sobs saying Rio is really mean LOL. However, Mai then tells Mori that she wouldn’t mind watching the movie again. It’s really good, so she’ll watch it with him if he wants. This instantly fixes Mori’s mood. He happily says he’s ready anytime, and they can go watch it when she’s free. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Rio is happy for him too, and he cheerfully leaves after thanking them for coming LOL.
From there, Rio and Mai continue talking about the movie. Mai seems to be enjoying their conversation, but Rio is hiding the fact that he’s actually quite shaken inside. Even after learning about his hobby, she’s not bothered at all and even goes along with it. Some of Rio’s princesses have the same hobby, and they always have fun talking about these things. It’s only obvious because they have the same hobby after all, but Mai is different. Her interest in manga and anime is normal, and clearly not as huge as his. Due to the wide gap between Rio’s appearance and hobby, most women would either avoid him or force themselves to follow him whenever they learn about this. However, Mai is honest—which can be both good and bad. Her thoughts always show on her face, so he’d know if she’s trying to avoid him… but there’s nothing like that. Her emotions comes out the most when he tries to flirt with her, which causes her to get angry; and when he defeats her in arguments, which always makes her pout. Rio loves how Mai’s expression always changes based on her feelings, and he finds her smile especially cute. Sometimes he even finds it hard to take his eyes off her… and now is one of those times. He can’t concentrate on what she says just because he wants to keep looking at her, but he doesn’t understand the meaning behind this change.
Just then Siesta’s door is jerked violently from outside, surprising both Rio and Mai. When they turn to see what’s going on, they see a familiar woman by the entrance—Ayaka. Mori greets her with a smile, but she ignores him and demands to know where “Riou” is. Mori is clearly surprised and confused, but Takuto tells her that Rio is sitting inside by the window. Ayaka immediately walks up to Rio and Mai’s table, glaring at both of them as she orders Rio to explain. He smiles and lightly greets her, but she angrily says she doesn’t want any greetings. They were supposed to have a date today, but he pushed it back to another date due to the owner’s request… so she can’t accept the fact that he’s spending the day with Mai. She wants him to explain properly. Rio agrees and asks Ayaka to calm down first, but she angrily says it’s impossible. It’s just unacceptable how he chose a girl like Mai instead of her.
Since Ayaka clearly won’t listen, Rio says they should talk outside. They’ll just cause a problem for Siesta at this rate, but she refuses thinking he’s going to run away from her. She won’t let him get away, and he needs to explain everything right here. At the same time, Mai feels really intimidated by Ayaka’s rage. She can only remain silent in her seat, but soon Ayaka turns to glare at her. She knows that Mai was working in LADY MAGIC’s kitchen for a while, as well as how Rio picked her up and drove her home everyday. Rio never gave this special treatment to any of his princesses before, so now Ayaka wants to know what kind of relationship he has with Mai. Definitely not lovers, right? Mori immediately answers that Mai isn’t Rio’s girlfriend, but Ayaka only glances at him before turning back to Rio—ordering him to answer.
Mai shivers upon hearing such a sharp tone from Ayaka. She never saw this kind of confrontation before, but despite the shock, she knows Ayaka misunderstands her relationship with Rio. Mai wants to clear this misunderstanding and is about to explain, but then Rio suddenly stands up and gently puts his hands on her shoulders. He says he kept quiet because he didn’t want to hurt Ayaka, but now that she “found out”… he decides to admit that he is indeed dating Mai. Of course Mai is really surprised. Mori instantly raises a protest in the background, but Takuto quickly shuts him up. Back to Ayaka, Rio says he’ll use this chance to answer her invitation—which she’s been throwing at him for quite a while now. As she can see, he has a girlfriend. He has no intentions of getting into a serious relationship with her, and so he asks her to give up on him. Noticing that Rio seems different from usual, Mai decides to stay quiet and keeps he lips shut. There must be a reason why he said that. Mai knows how serious Rio is when it comes to work, as well as how much he treasures his guests. That’s why she believes that he must be doing this for Ayaka’s sake.
That being said, Mai isn’t as good as Rio when it comes to acting… so all she can do is to keep quiet. As she observes them in silence, she notices that he smiles at her. Rio gently asks why Mai is being so quiet, and if she’s embarrassed to be introduced as his girlfriend. As he says this, he pats her head and twirls a strand of her hair with his finger. He then adds that her hair is so pretty, and it’s cute how she takes care of it for him. Then he kisses her hair and says he loves her. ﾟ+.(*ﾉωヾ*)ｬﾝ♪+ﾟ Mai can feel her own cheeks burning up in an instant. She feels REALLY embarrassed, but she knows she shouldn’t run away… so she only shuts her eyes and lets Rio take control. Ayaka bitterly glares at them for a while, but then she bites her lips and storms out.
Immediately after that, Rio sighs saying Ayaka finally gave up. He’s still standing so closely behind Mai though, and she asks him to move away since Ayaka is gone. Rio smiles saying he wants to enjoy Mai’s scent for a little longer, but Mori quickly comes over to pull them apart LOL. Rio lightly says it’s too bad, and soon enough Takuto also comes to join them. When Takuto mentions that Rio’s making a ruckus in his café, Rio apologizes to all of them for the trouble. Especially Mai, since he basically dragged her into it. When he bows his head, Mai notices that Rio looks really sad. Putting that aside, Mori then asks what the deal was with Ayaka. Rio seems a bit reluctant to answer, and noticing what’s going on, Takuto asks if Ayaka is aggressively making advances at him. Rio replies with a wry laugh. He was able to fend Ayaka off so far, but she’s a really possessive person.
From Rio, Mai learns that Ayaka likes him a lot. Sadly, her emotions soon escalated too far. After a while, she started forcing him to date her and love only her. She’s been attacking his other princesses since last year and even confront them out of jealousy, like what she did just now. While he doesn’t think of her as a bad person, she’s definitely the type who gets too devoted in love. The main problem is that she doesn’t listen whenever he tries to refuse, and Takuto points out that he can’t give her a harsh warning due to his job. She probably went out of control. Rio says he doesn’t want to hurt Ayaka if possible, but she’ll cause more trouble for his other princesses at this rate… so he turns to Mai and smiles, asking her to pretend to be his girlfriend for a while. While she does understand his reason, Mai isn’t sure about what to do.
However, Mori points out that Ayaka would definitely get jealous of Mai. When Rio nods saying it’s true, Mori snaps and asks what he would do if Ayaka starts harassing her. Rio replies that he’ll do as much as he can to protect Mai. Personally he feels sad if his princesses get harassed, not to mention it’ll affect his income as well… but if Mai becomes his girlfriend, Ayaka won’t bother his other princesses. LADY MAGIC won’t lose any revenue too, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Mai is obviously really shocked to hear this. It’s like someone just punched her in the head. She thinks it’s great how Rio wants to protect his princesses, but now he wants to use her to reach that objective. As Mai lowers her gaze, she sees her own hands trembling on the table. Mori notices this as well, and he angrily yells that Rio is the worst. He never thought that Rio is such a terrible person, but Rio calmly replies that he’s not nasty—he’s just cunning. Of this only causes Mori to get even angrier. When Takuto asks him to calm down, he says it’s impossible. He can’t accept how Rio is sacrificing Mai to protect his guests, and he tells her not to accept this.
After a while, Mai lifts her head and asks if Rio is serious. He firmly answers that he is. Even though what he said was undoubtedly cruel, his eyes look really dignified. She can see a strong determination there. It erases the confusion in her heart, and she agrees to play the role of his girlfriend. During her time in LADY MAGIC, she has seen how hard he works for the sake of his guests. She knows he actually doesn’t want to do this to Ayaka either. Besides, Mai herself also used an unfair way to deliver the cattleya to Rio—simply because she wanted to get her job done. Takuto wryly smiles and lightly pats Mai’s head. He knew she’d say that, but he asks her not to push herself too hard. He wants her to tell him should anything happens, and Mori quickly joins in. If Ayaka harasses her or it gets too hard for her to continue, she should let him know right away—he’ll come running to help her.
After thanking both of them, Mai turns to Rio and asks if she can call Kyouga first. She thinks they should tell Kyouga everything, so he says he’ll do it instead. Kyouga probably wouldn’t agree otherwise. As Rio moves away to call Kyouga, Takuto asks Mai not to worry too much. Rio said it like he’s only using Mai, but he has a strong sense of responsibility. Mori admits that he can’t really trust Rio, but Takuto says he’ll probably understand in a few years. Takuto then drags Mori to go back to work, and Rio comes back not too long after that. He managed to get Kyouga’s approval somehow, though Kyouga is going to end him if anything happens to Mai. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Rio then holds out his hand, saying he’ll be in Mai’s care until Ayaka completely gives up on him. She smiles and shakes his hand, promising to do her best.
Since it’s about time for their dinner reservation, Rio then escorts Mai outside. He also asks if she has any requests for him as his girlfriend, because they’re a couple from now on. She can’t come up with anything though, so he asks her to think about it. Next, he asks about the places she wants to visit. She doesn’t get why he wants to know about this, but she answers that it’s the aquarium or the zoo—because she hasn’t visited those places at all recently. Rio seems amused to hear this, so Mai pouts saying it’s okay if he finds her childish… but he smiles saying she’s cute. At the same time, Mai realizes that Rio always looks into her eyes whenever he’s talking to her. It makes her feel at ease somehow. Rio then takes Mai’s hand and says they should enjoy their date as a couple, even though it’s only for a limited time. Mai is a bit confused at first, but then she holds Rio’s hand and walks with him.
• AUGUST •
In August, Mai gets to enjoy her summer vacation. Or maybe not, since she’s having a difficult time doing her homework. She tries doing an assignment for a subject she dislikes, and ends up spending 30 minutes to make absolutely no progress. Maybe it would’ve been better if she makes a study session with Miki and Mori, but she can’t do that because she has to help Rio by acting as his girlfriend. She doesn’t know when he’s going to ask her out on a date, so she’s been keeping her schedule open. He didn’t ask her to do that though. It’s her own decision. She knows that when he asks her out, it means Ayaka is troubling him. So if she’s not available when he needs help, it’d defeat the purpose of acting as his girlfriend.
That being said, Rio hasn’t contacted Mai again ever since their dinner last month. Just as she wonders if the problem with Ayaka has been solved, her phone starts ringing. Mai immediately answers upon seeing Rio’s name on the screen, and her heart leaps when she hears his voice on the other side—though she has no idea why. Not yet, at least. (*´艸`*)ｧﾊ♪ Rio apologizes for not contacting Mai until now. He’s been busy with work and couldn’t get any time for himself, which reminds her that he mentioned this too last month. She says she doesn’t mind since she was able to finish her homework to some extent, and he tells her that LADY MAGIC’s guests are also enjoying their summer vacation.
Rio actually feels bad for disturbing Mai’s studying time, but he asks if she wants to go on a date today. A date as his girlfriend, obviously. She immediately agrees, and he notices that she seems rather excited. He doesn’t think it’s because she’s been looking forward to their date though, and she honestly answers that he’s right LOL. Rio mutters that Mai has no mercy, but then she explains that she keeps her schedule open for him. She has agreed to act as his girlfriend, so he doesn’t have to worry—she’ll do her job properly. He replies that she’s so reliable, but she notices that his voice sounds rather weak somehow.
One hour later, Rio takes Mai to the aquarium. Her last visit was during an excursion back in elementary school, so it makes her really happy. Even more so when she learns that he remembers what she said last month, and he brought her here to fulfill her request. When Mai thanks him, Rio grins and asks if she likes the aquarium that much. She happily nods saying it’s fun to watch the fish swimming in the tank and the dolphin show, but then he laughs and says it’s so cute how she gets excited… like a kid. This causes her to fall silent, lowering her gaze out of embarrassment. Noticing this, he gently pats her head saying he didn’t mean it that way. He finds the trip more worthwhile if it makes her happy, so he asks her not to hold back since it makes him happy too. Seeing that Rio is smiling at her, Mai also smiles and nods.
Before going inside, Rio holds out his hand for Mai. Since she’s clearly confused, he chuckles and points out that it’d be weird for a couple not to hold hands. Realizing that he’s right, she shyly holds his hand… but she panics and lets go when he entwines his fingers with hers. Rio looks just as surprised though, and he asks if Mai doesn’t know about this way to hold hands. It reminds her that her classmates were talking about how couples entwine fingers when they hold hands, and she finds it really embarrassing. However, she eventually decides to put up with it. There’s a possibility that Ayaka might be watching them from the shadows, so she might doubt their relationship if they don’t hold hands that way.
After telling herself to do her best, Mai grabs Rio’s hands and apologizes—saying she was only surprised. She’s now ready to give it another go, and he laughs saying it’s so cute how she takes on every challenge. He finds that side of her really charming. When Rio holds her hand and entwine their fingers, Mai tries as hard as she can to keep her heartbeat under control. She wonders if all the couples in the world don’t feel embarrassed when they do this, and she’s going to ask Miki next time. Mai soon senses that Rio is staring at her, and she lifts her head to find him looking happy. She asks if there’s something wrong, but he only says it’s nothing—smiling as he takes her to the ticket counter.
Inside, Rio tells Mai a lot of things about all the fish they see. He explains what kind of fish they are along with their traits, giving her a lot of information she didn’t know about. When she asks if he loves fish that much, he says it’s all because of his job. Whenever he goes on a date with his princesses, he always looks up information regarding the location and their features. He doesn’t want them to get bored when they’re with him, so he always makes sure to entertain them through conversation. Upon hearing this, Mai comes to realize that a perfect escort requires hard work—such as having a rich variation of conversation topics. It shows how highly Rio values his job as a host. While he does earn money from them, he basically works in the hope of entertaining his guests. Mai’s negative impression on Rio has completely disappeared after she learned about this, and she’s actually starting to enjoy his company. Also, she has accepted the fact that a high school girl like her would never win against him when it comes to conversational skills.
After walking around for a while, Rio asks where Mai wants to go next. The penguins are about to take a walk outside, but the dolphin show is going to start as well. They have two options. Mai actually wants to see both, but knowing that she can only pick one… she thinks really hard about this as they walk. Thanks to this, she doesn’t watch where she’s going. Despite Rio’s attempt to pull her out of the way, she ends up bumping into a pillar in front of her. As she staggers backwards, he quickly supports her and asks if she’s alright. She nods saying it feels more embarrassing than anything else, but then she winces in pain upon touching her forehead. He tells her not to touch it since it’s swollen, and this makes her feel both sad and embarrassed. It’s unbelievably childish of her to run into things get a swollen forehead.
Rio then takes Mai’s hand and guides her to a bench, where he takes a closer look at her forehead. When he asks if it hurts, she says it does hurt a little… but she thinks the pain will eventually disappear. However, Rio then leans in and gently blows his breath onto Mai’s forehead—wishing for her pain to go away. This actually helps easing the pain, but now her cheeks are turning hot instead LOL. While she’s not happy to be treated like a kid, she can’t ask him to stop since it was her own fault to begin with. In the end, she can only stay quiet and hold back the embarrassment. Upon noticing this, Rio smiles and moves closer to kiss Mai’s forehead. She’s obviously surprised and looks up, but he calmly pulls back and asks her to wait. He thinks it might be better to compress her forehead, so he’s going to wash his handkerchief for her. Mai is still blushing even after Rio leaves, but tells herself not to think too deeply about the kiss.
However, a man soon comes to sit next to Mai. At first she tries not to mind him, but then he starts hitting on her. He says he came here with a girl who ended up dumping him, so now he wants her to accompany him instead. This actually isn’t Mai’s first time seeing a flirt. When she went out with Miki, some guys tried to hit on them… but Miki rejected them right away. Back then she only thought that Miki is really popular with guys, but she never thought that someone would actually come to hit on her. Since the man is being really persistent, Mai answers that she’s here with her boyfriend. While they’re not a real couple, Rio is her boyfriend during this date… so she believes this is the right decision.
Unfortunately, the man then accuses Mai of lying since her boyfriend is nowhere to be seen. He laughs as he moves closer to touch her shoulder, but Rio returns just in time to pull Mai away—drawing her into his arms instead. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:* Rio then tells the man that Mai is his girlfriend, politely rejecting the invitation in her place. Mai can’t see Rio’s expression because he’s pushing her against his chest, but she can sense anger from his low voice. When he not-so-subtly chases the man away, the man immediately flees for his life. Rio doesn’t let go of Mai until the man is completely gone, and then he apologizes for taking so long. She quickly says it’s not his fault, and she pulls back a bit to thank him for saving her. When she looks up at him, she can see that he’s smiling wryly. He asks if the man did anything to her, but she says he simply invited her to walk around together. Rio isn’t pleased though. He wonders if he should’ve threatened the man a bit more, but quickly says it’s nothing when Mai asks if he said something. After that, Rio asks Mai to sit down again and compresses her forehead.
In the evening, Rio drives Mai back to her mansion. She thanks him for taking her home, but he asks her not to worry—it’s his job as her boyfriend. He says he’ll ask her out again when he has the time, and she promises to do her best to play the role of his girlfriend. Rio laughs saying he appreciates it, then he takes Mai’s hand and lightly kisses it. Of course she instantly gets flustered, but then he winks saying this is how couples say goodbye. He actually wants to kiss her on the lips, but he knows it’d be too much for her. Rio then bids Mai good night and escorts her out of the car, lightly waving at her before driving off. She feels really embarrassed, and she sends him off with a blush on her face.
One week later, Rio drops by Siesta before going to LADY MAGIC. When he doesn’t have any dates, he always drinks Takuto’s coffee before work. It’s been a while since he the last time he came during the day though, so Takuto asks if he was busy. Rio nods saying he was fully booked, and he could only have one date with Mai as the result. Upon recalling that Mai is acting as Rio’s girlfriend, Takuto frowns and asks if he’s doing anything that might trouble her. Rio lightly replies that he doesn’t. Maybe. He noticed that Mai gets embarrassed easily due to her lack of experience with men, but he didn’t do anything that surpasses her tolerance level. Rio actually took Mai to the aquarium because she’s a novice in love, but she seemed to enjoy the date more than he expected. Despite the accident with the flirt, she got really excited as they watched the dolphin show after that… so in the end, the date went smoothly. Rio was surprised that Mai didn’t know how couple hold hands though, and he finds her really pure.
Following Rio’s answer, Takuto gives him a wry smile. When Rio asks if there’s something wrong, Takuto says he’ll leave Rio with a warning. Mai has five guardians including Takuto himself. The remaining four are his friends from his high school days, and they’ve known Mai ever since she was small. One of them is a salaryman named Suoh Issei, and he’s not too overprotective of her—similarly to Takuto. The problem is the other three LOL. First comes Sano Fumiya, the infirmary doctor in Mai’s school. Rio has met him a few times too in Siesta before. The second one Mai’s cousin, Emori Chisato, and the last one is Kyouga. These three love Mai so much it’s terrifying. If Rio dares to make her cry, they might just crush LADY MAGIC and make him lose all of his guests. That’s why Takuto wants Rio to keep this in mind before he does anything that might trouble Mai. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
Takuto then starts wiping some cups, while Rio wipes cold sweat off his face LOL. He doesn’t know much about Fumiya and Chisato, but he knows how powerful Kyouga is. If he really wants to, Kyouga can kick LADY MAGIC out of business easily. Rio holds his breath as he promises to keep that in mind, and Takuto grins saying his punishment would be a ban from entering Siesta. That, and he’ll deliver nasty coffee and club sandwich to Rio’s house everyday. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Despite what Takuto said about himself, Rio thinks he’s just as overprotective of Mai LOL. Her guardians are so powerful, and he’s sincerely terrified of them. He definitely should avoid taking advantage of his status as her boyfriend to do questionable things… or else. He feels that no matter how many lives he has, it’ll never be enough to survive the consequences.
Just then Tomu walks into Siesta, cheerfully ordering iced coffee before sitting next to Rio. He apologizes for coming late and explains that his agency president called, even though today is his long-awaited day off. Rio doesn’t mind though, since he’s more interested in whether Tomu brought a certain object or not. Tomu nods and pulls out a box out of his bag, putting it right in front of Rio. It’s the limited edition maid figure of “Candy ☆ Nyan Nyan!” that Rio previously failed to get. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* He instantly screams out of excitement upon seeing this, while Tomu explains that he used his connection to get it. He became friends with a producer when he was working on an anime theme song, and said producer helped him to get the figure. Rio happily thanks Tomu saying he’ll definitely repay his kindness, but Tomu only asks Rio to thank the producer instead. He suggests inviting the producer to LADY MAGIC. While the producer is a man, the delicious food would make him happy. Rio agrees and says he’ll ask Tetsuya to prepare the best dinner, so he asks Tomu to pass the invitation to the producer.
Soon after that, Takuto comes with Tomu’s iced coffee. Since both Rio and Tomu were being loud again, he asks them to lower their voice a bit since there are other customers too in Siesta… then he leaves them to talk to another customer. Rio thinks Takuto is very friendly towards everyone, so there must be a lot of customers who wants to talk to him. Beside him, Tomu stirs the coffee with the straw—sending all the ice to hit each other. Now that both of them have calmed down, Tomu recalls that Rio is being stalked by a certain girl and asks about that issue. Rio says he’s putting some distance between them with Mai’s help, and recently things seem to be getting better.
When Rio explains that Mai and him pretending to be a couple to stop Ayaka, Tomu’s mouth drops open as he stares at Rio in shock. The next second, Tomu screams out that Rio now has a high school girl as his girlfriend… and he’s super jealous! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Rio says Mai isn’t his real girlfriend because they’re only pretending, but Tomu points out that they still went on a date. Since he finds Mai cute, Tomu then asks if Rio isn’t falling in love for real. Rio completely denies it though. There’s no way he’d fall for a high school student, and Tomu should know that he has no intentions of having a serious relationship. Upon hearing Rio’s answer, Tomu pouts and drinks his coffee. Rio actually knows what Tomu is trying to tell him, but he has no intentions of bringing up that subject.
Just as Rio takes his eyes off Tomu, his phone vibrates in his pocket. He takes it out to find a mail from his princess, with even more coming in after the first one. When Rio starts replying to them, Tomu comments that he really does make a good host. Tomu recalls that Rio was completely different when they first met, but then he started dating a lot of girls in their second year of high school. The girls never fought over him since he treated them equally, but Tomu asks if he knows that they all wanted his real love. Upon hearing this, Rio quietly closes his eyes and answers that he hates being restrained. He says it’s easier to have fun with a lot of women, as he finds it suffocating to be tied to one person only. However, Tomu answers that Rio actually gets lonely easily—even though he might not realize it. Rio places a lot of people around him just because he doesn’t want to be alone, and Tomu doesn’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s just he believes that Rio will be happier if he dates one person only, instead of playing around with a lot of women.
From his voice, Rio can tell that Tomu is serious. Tomu hasn’t changed at all. He’s always worried about Rio’s view on love, and he’s been saying the same thing all this time. Sadly, Rio can’t seem to agree with that opinion. He then opens his eyes and roughly pats Tomu’s head, thanking him for the concern. Tomu knows that Rio still won’t listen to him though, and Rio admits it too. He apologizes that he can’t go with Tomu’s suggestion. The idea of finding someone who’s willing to love him alone sounds rather vague for Rio, though Tomu doesn’t think so. Tomu believes there must be a girl out there who can understand and accept everything in Rio. The moment he hears this, Mai suddenly appears in Rio’s mind. He doesn’t know why though, and he quickly shakes her image off his mind—reminding himself that she’s just a kid. She’s a girl who’s living a “normal life”, which makes her really different from him.
For the next few seconds, Rio tries to convince himself that he’s only using Mai. Once Ayaka gives up on him, he won’t have anything to do with her anymore. Rio returns to his senses when Tomu calls his name in confusion, then he quickly puts on a smile and tells Tomu to drop this subject. It’s meaningless anyway, and he doesn’t want to talk about it any further. Rio then completely changes the topic by asking if Tomu has played an online game that came out not too long ago. Tomu looks like he wants to say something, but then he gives Rio a sad smile and doesn’t say anything—probably giving up. Again, Rio tells himself that having only one person who loves him wouldn’t be enough. Even if that person loves him alone, his heart wouldn’t be satisfied. He continues talking about the game with Tomu after that, but his heart feels cold somehow.
• SEPTEMBER •
When the weather gets cooler in September, Mai eats her lunch in the courtyard with Miki and Mori. Both of them are worried about her though. Mori asks if she’s doing okay as Rio’s girlfriend, as he’s afraid that Ayaka might do something to her. Mai nods saying everything is fine so far. Rio and her have been going on dates regularly since the middle of August, so maybe Ayaka has given up. However, Miki isn’t too sure about that. After all, Ayaka went as far as stalking Rio… so in the end they’re still worried about Mai. They ask her to contact them if anything happens, and they’ll pick up her call no matter what time it might be. Mai nods and thanks both of them, feeling happy that they’re always supporting her.
That aside, Miki comments that Rio’s car must make Mai’s dates with him really easy. Yesterday they went to an expensive restaurant, while previously they visited an outlet shopping center and the beach. He also pays for everything, and Miki thinks he makes perfect date plans—she’s got absolutely no complaints. On the other hand, Mai feels bad about this. Whenever she tries to pay for their dates, he always tells her not to worry about money. He thinks playing the role of his girlfriend must be troublesome, so it’s only natural for him to pay for everything. Beside her, Mori nods saying it must be different for each person. In his case he wants to get the feeling of “going out together”, so he personally prefers splitting up the cost. He wants to act all lovey-dovey while arguing over who should pay for the date. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
Miki thinks that delusion is just so Mori, but she decides to ignore him and asks where Mai is going to go with Rio this weekend. Much to Mori’s shock, Mai answers that she’s going to Rio’s house. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Miki quietly smiles, but she doesn’t seem happy with this choice at all—mostly because Mai and Rio are not a real couple. Mori instantly protests that it’s too dangerous, and Mai needs to be careful because men are wolves. Miki thinks it’s too early as well, and she wonders if they should tag along… but Mai assures them that it’s going to be okay. The reason why they’re having a home date is because Rio wants to play a new game at home, but just like before… he’s really busy with work and doesn’t have any free time for himself. That’s why Mai suggested using their date time to play the game instead, and there’s no need to worry as Rio wouldn’t look at anything else when he’s busy gaming.
Upon hearing this, Miki immediately takes back what she said about “perfect date plans” LOL. Mai finds it fun to watch Rio when he gets excited over his hobby though, as she finds that side of him quite childish. Mori thinks it’s a nice date plan too since they can be lovey-dovey while gaming together, but Miki simply him to stop sharing his stupid delusions. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ Mori protests saying Miki should’ve called it a “wonderful dream” instead, and Mai laughs as she watches their interaction.
In the weekend, Rio picks Mai up and brings her to his mansion. Before going to the parking lot, he stops his car to show her the building… and the view leaves her stunned. The mansion building looks absolutely gorgeous. It emanates the aura of luxury, like a building rich people would live in. This makes her wonder if working as a host can give someone THAT much money. From the parking lot, they take the elevator to his room on the upper floor. When Rio opens the door with a card key, all Mai can think about is how the security system resembles a hotel’s. The entrance of his room is made of marble, and it leads to a corridor that connects to an insanely spacious living room. There’s a huge TV there, along with gorgeous sofa and large windows that show a beautiful view outside. However, the shelves lining up along the wall are filled with various games, anime and manga. Mai finds this relieving somehow. She actually felt nervous upon realizing that Rio is really rich, but the tension instantly melts away.
Rio asks Mai to sit down while he hangs their coats and prepare some drinks, but she keeps observing the room even after he leaves. As she admires his collection, she notices a shoujo manga that she wanted to read before. The manga on the shelves aren’t limited to one genre only, because there are various titles for both male and female readers. Rio returns soon after that and finds Mai observing his collection, so he asks if there’s anything she wants to read. When she comments that his house looks like a manga café, he laughs saying his collection doesn’t lose in terms of type. The titles in the living room are only the ones he reads and plays on a regular basis, so he actually has more manga, anime and games. He just keeps them in a different room. Mai is surprised and asks how many rooms he has, and Rio answers that he has eight. One living room, one bedroom, two guest rooms, a study, and three more rooms for storage. He can show her around if she wants to, but she turns down the offer LOL.
After bringing some coffee and snacks, Rio takes Mai to sit on the sofa. There he happily opens the game package and sets it up, thanking her for giving him the chance to play it. He also knows that she’ll be left alone once he starts playing, so he allows her to read any of his manga. Of course she immediately thinks of the shoujo manga from earlier. When she asks if it’s really okay for her to read them, he grins saying it’s perfectly fine. He doesn’t hate the idea of having a relaxing time together for a date, so both of them can spend it however they want. Rio starts the game after that, while Mai enjoys her time reading manga next to him. There’s no conversation. They’re only sitting next to each other, and yet she doesn’t find it boring. In fact, she enjoys today’s date the most because both of them are being themselves. Other people—such as Miki—might find this kind of date weird, but Mai doesn’t mind since Rio and her find it enjoyable.
Eventually, Rio starts grumbling about how the difficulty goes up on the 6th stage. Mai notices that he’s starting to move around a lot as well, and she takes a glance to find him staring straight at the TV. There are a lot of enemy robots coming to attack him. Mai puts down the manga and decides to watch instead, and it doesn’t take long until she realizes that Rio is really good. He swiftly avoids the robots and counters their attacks. Even though she doesn’t play games at all, she can see that he has impressive controls. This makes her really curious about the game somehow, so she asks if she can play it too. Rio seems surprised to hear this and turns towards Mai, causing his own robot to explode. She feels really bad and apologizes right away, but he assures her that it’s fine. He still has more robots.
Rio is surprised that Mai wants to play the game though. She says she got interested after watching him play, but she’ll give up on the idea if she’s disturbing him. However, Rio quickly denies it. He’s really happy that Mai is interested, and he hands the other controller for her—asking her to play together. He explains that the game has a multiplayer feature, so he can help even if she has never played it before. Aside from teaching her the basic controls, he also tells her to pick up items that makes it easier for her to attack. Mai gets really excited after hearing all of this, and following Rio’s instructions, she presses the start button to join the game. Her robot gets shot and explodes in a few seconds, but he grins and tells her it’s okay. She still has two more robots, so it’s not the end. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
From there, Mai starts enjoying the game more and more as she remembers the controls. Rio always helps her whenever she’s in a pinch, and after a LOT of continues, they manage to defeat the last boss together. As the last boss explodes, Mai happily cheers and subconsciously hugs Rio out of joy. She doesn’t realize this until he calls her name in confusion, and she panics upon noticing what she’s doing. She quickly tries to move away, but then he puts his arms around her and hugs her back. ｲﾔﾝ☆(*´∀`)σ)))))*3ﾟ),･´.､ When he leans in and puts his forehead on her shoulder, she can feel his hair touching her neck. Rio then whispers that Mai has a nice smell, which sends her heart to start racing. She nervously points out that it’s a sexual harassment and asks him to move away, but he chuckles saying he simply said the truth. She replies that it’s even more dangerous though, and he laughs as he finally releases her. He winks saying that’s too bad, but she pouts and protests in her heart—knowing that he’s just teasing her.
In the evening, Mai realizes that it’s late and tries to take her leave. However, Rio suddenly grabs her arm and asks her to wait. Of course this surprises her, but she notices that he looks just as surprised. He seems confused as he apologizes, explaining that he didn’t mean to do that. Rio says he’ll drive Mai home when the time comes, so for now… he asks if she’s willing to stay for a little longer. She’s a bit confused to hear this from him. Usually when she suggests going home, he would agree right away. This leads her to think that he still needs something from her, and he totally uses this as an excuse. Apparently Tetsuya gave him a lot of ingredients from LADY MAGIC, but he doesn’t have time to cook due to his busy schedule… so the ingredients might go bad if he doesn’t cook them soon. Realizing what Rio is trying to say, Mai asks if she should cook for him. Rio’s expression instantly turns bright upon hearing this. He happily thanks Mai, and she smiles saying she doesn’t mind—it’s an easy task for her. She doesn’t know why he looks really happy though, so she wonders if he’s THAT hungry. In any case, she then calls her mother to say that she’ll come home a bit late today.
As Mai starts washing the vegetables, Rio comes to ask if she needs help. She refuses and asks him to just play his game instead, but he feels bad since he was the one who asked her to cook. However, Mai points out that Rio always treats her during their dates. She wants to thank him for that, so she asks him to leave everything to her. Upon hearing this, Rio grins and decides to accept Mai’s offer. He also allows her to use everything in his kitchen, and he leaves the kitchen after wishing her luck—saying he’s looking forward to dinner. Soon after Rio returns to the living room, Mai can hear the sounds of the game. Realizing that he’s really leaving everything to her, she feels happy and does her best to cook dinner.
Once dinner is ready, Mai serves her cooking for Rio. She made salmon meunière; salad with egg, shrimp and broccoli; potato consommé soup; and garlic toast. Rio’s eyes sparkles in joy upon seeing this, but he suddenly turns red when Mai asks him to eat up. Her mother always says this when she’s eating at home, so she actually said it to him out of habit… but she feels really embarrassed upon realizing that he’s not a member of her family. She quickly apologizes for acting overly familiar, but he says that’s not the reason. He’s just surprised because he’s not really used to hearing that phrase. When Mai tries to explain that her mother always does that at home, Rio smiles saying it’s a good thing. He’s happy to hear those words, as he actually admires having that kind of family.
Here, Mai notices that Rio’s expression turns a bit grim… though it only lasts for a brief moment. The next second, he grins and wonders which one he should eat first. He picks the salmon meunière and asks if the tartar sauce is handmade, because he doesn’t remember having any at home. She notices that he’s trying to change the subject, but she nods saying it’s because he has the necessary spices and ingredients. She’s curious as of why he has that much ingredients though, and he explains that Tetsuya often comes to test new menu on him and Seiya. Since Tetsuya cooks in his kitchen, he got a complete set of spices before he knew it. This also explains why the layout feels familiar to Mai, since she noticed that Tetsuya always puts them according to the Japanese alphabet order.
Mai gradually forgets Rio’s dark expression as she enjoys their conversation, and she’s relieved to see that he seems to like her cooking. Rio then says that it’s fun to have a meal while conversing with someone, so Mai nods and asks if he usually eats at home. He answers that he doesn’t. He usually eats with Seiya and his friends from LADY MAGIC, so he only eats at home on his day off. Aside from that, he often has meals outside with his princesses… because he doesn’t really like eating alone in a quiet place. Mai realizes that Rio’s expression darkens again as he says this, but it vanishes in an instant. Feeling concerned, she asks if it’s because he feels lonely.
Rio gasps upon hearing this. From his expression, Mai can tell that she hits the spot… but just like before, the expression disappears immediately. Instead, he gives her a bright smile and cheerfully says that she’s pretty sharp. He admits that she might be right, and the reason why he always takes his meals with other people is probably because he gets lonely easily. However, Mai can feel that Rio is only forcing himself to laugh… and it makes her feel terribly sad. She probably shouldn’t have asked that question, and it might come off as insensitive for him. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about it. Besides, she feels that it’s rude to direct such a question to an adult. Mai then averts her gaze from Rio and blames herself for saying that.
After dinner and cleaning up, Rio drives Mai back home. He thanks her for today and promises to ask her out again, and she also thanks him before getting off the car. Mai then goes inside and goes to check the mailbox at the entrance, in which she finds a letter addressed to her. However, she gets a very bad feeling upon reading the sender’s name—Ozawa Ayaka. Knowing the letter might be a prank, Mai hesitates for a moment. She doesn’t want her fingers to get cut by a razor when she opens the envelope after all, but she only finds a sheet of paper inside. In her letter, Ayaka warns Mai not to misunderstand. Despite what Rio said, she knows they’re only pretending to be a couple. She’s been watching Rio for a long time, and she knows he treats everyone the same way.
Ayaka wants Mai to know that she’s not special to Rio. She’s just one of his many princesses, which puts her in the same level as Ayaka. The problem is that Rio is using his private time for Mai, and Ayaka can’t forgive her for that. She finds it unacceptable that Mai is receiving a special treatment from Rio, because she’s the one who loves him the most. At the end of the letter, Ayaka swears that she’ll make it impossible for Mai to stay at Rio’s side. Reading the letter sends chills down Mai’s spine. She doesn’t understand why Ayaka is doing this, because she believes loving someone would feel warm and gentle—not full of hatred like this. However, Mai is also aware that she can’t understand Ayaka’s feelings because she’s never loved someone to that extent before. She doesn’t know what to do in this situation. In the end, she can only put the letter back into the envelope—even though her fingers are trembling.
A few days later, Rio calls Mai to come to his place again. It’s raining outside and he feels bad for taking her on another home date, but she doesn’t really mind. She’s only curious about the reason. Rio explains that when he mentioned their previous date and how Mai cooked dinner for him, a certain person started making a big fuss. Rio sighs as he opens the door to the living room, and inside they find Tomu playing a game on the sofa—desperately trying to avoid enemy attacks. He gets distracted when Rio mentions that he brought Mai along, resulting in him getting a game over LOL. As Tomu screams about how hard it was to enter the secret stage, Rio explains that Tomu has been staying over since yesterday. They were playing the game together when the topic of Mai suddenly came up.
After recovering from the shock, Tomu cheerfully comes over to greet Mai. She’s instantly charmed by his idol smile, but quickly pulls herself out of it and apologizes for what she did before—she didn’t know that he’s an idol. Tomu only asks Mai not to worry about it though, then he holds her hands saying he’s got a request for her. The reason why he forced Rio to call her over is because he wants her to cook for him. Rio said Mai’s cooking was super delicious, and Tomu got really envious. In fact, he wants to eat her cooking so bad. Tomu says It’s unfair that Rio is the only one who gets to have fun with Mai, so he asks her to give him some of her time too. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* However, Rio soon comes to slap Tomu’s hand and pulls Mai away from him.
Rio: “Tomu, I think it’s wrong for an idol to grab a girl’s hands and ask her to cook.”
Tomu: “It’s just as wrong for a host to ask a girl to cook, even if he has too much ingredients.”
Well said. (((壊ﾟ∀ﾟ)))ｧﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ
Tomu protests saying Rio should let this slide. He got a sudden day off since his movie shooting schedule got cancelled, and he wants to enjoy it to the fullest. Rio points out that Tomu is spending the whole day lazing off and playing games in his house though. Rio thinks that should be satisfying enough, but Tomu says it’s not enough. He wants to eat something delicious, and he asks for Mai’s answer. Despite what he said, Rio also asks if Mai is willing to help Tomu—describing his best friend as a “poor idol who’s too busy to eat a cute girl’s home cooking.” ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ When Mai says she doesn’t mind at all, Tomu happily thanks her while Rio apologizes for the trouble. Just like before, he has all sorts of ingredients in the kitchen… and she can use them as she likes. Before going into the kitchen, Mai makes it clear to both Rio and Tomu that she doesn’t need help. They nod in agreement and go back to the sofa, where they start playing the game together. She can hear their voices as she prepares to cook.
Rio begins by telling Tomu to reach the golden stage together, with no damage AND no continue. Tomu gladly takes the challenge and tells Rio not to make any mistakes, but he instantly gets into trouble when a UFO appears and attacks them with barrages. Tomu quickly calls Rio for help, and Rio grumbles about how Tomu did this after telling him not to make mistakes. Unfortunately, this gets Rio in danger instead… and he protests when Tomu takes a power-up item for his “Hyper Ultra Tomu Robo” instead of saving him right away LOL. Mai thinks it’s really cute how Rio’s childish side comes out when he’s with Tomu. It might be rude towards him, but she sincerely thinks that way—it’s cute how he gets immersed in games and has fun with his best friend. Mai finds it hard not to laugh as she watches their interaction.
After dinner, Tomu receives a call from his agency and goes out—though he says he’ll be back soon. Mai makes some tea and starts reading a fantasy novel that Rio recommended for her, but after a while… she realizes that he has fallen asleep next to her. Different from usual, he looks very peaceful and defenseless. She finds his sleeping face cute though, and he mumbles about “no place to escape” in his sleep LOL. She tries calling his name thinking he might have woken up, but he remains soundly asleep. The living room is filled with three types of sounds. The sound of the rain outside, the sound of Rio breathing softly, and also the sound of book pages being flipped. This makes Mai feel really happy somehow, and the moment lasts until Tomu returns and rings the doorbell.
Tomu cheerfully greets Mai when she opens the door, but she quickly asks him to keep quiet. He instantly covers his mouth before asking for the reason, so she explains that Rio is sleeping on the sofa. Tomu looks really surprised to hear this, and he quietly enters the living room to see that Rio is indeed asleep. He finds this hard to believe, because it’s “impossible” for Rio to fall asleep when he has company. When Mai asks about this, Tomu gives her a sad smile and explains that Rio can never sleep when he has someone by his side—including Tomu himself. It’s not because he feels disturbed by other people’s presence, but because he wants to stay awake and be with them. However, Rio is currently asleep—not to mention soundly. This brings Tomu to the realization that his suspicion has been right all along, but of course Mai doesn’t know what he’s thinking of. Tomu doesn’t explain though. Instead, he pats Mai’s head and asks her not to mind what he just said—she’ll find out when the time comes.
Putting that aside, Tomu says it’s time to wake Rio up. Mai is surprised since Rio is sleeping so peacefully, but Tomu points out that he shouldn’t just sleep when they’re visiting. Mai actually doesn’t mind that at all, but Tomu quickly walks back to the sofa and says: “Ri—o—? Isn’t it bad that you fall asleep when you have guests—?” (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Rio instantly jumps and opens his eyes, looking really surprised as he looks around. Upon seeing Tomu standing nearby, he slowly asks if he fell asleep. Tomu grins saying he did, but Rio only blinks a few times with a dazed expression. Mai finds this surprising. She thought Rio would rage and protest at Tomu for waking him up, but apparently it’s not the case. Rio recalls that he was reading a book before, and he asks if he fell asleep while sitting next to Mai.
When Mai nods and adds that Rio also talked in his sleep, his eyes widen in surprise… then he freezes for a few seconds before letting out a sigh. He can’t believe that it really happened, but Tomu lightly pats his shoulder and says it’s not something to worry about. Tomu then mentions that he bought a cake for them to eat, so Mai takes the box and brings it to the kitchen. She doesn’t get why Rio was so shaken though, and she continues to ponder about this as she makes some tea for them.
Unfortunately, Rio is unaware that Ayaka continues to harass Mai. Mai actually has been feeling upset, but she does her best to hide in front of Rio—knowing that he’d get worried. He probably would notice if they were alone, so she’s glad that Tomu was there with them. Since the day Mai received the first letter, Ayaka has been flooding her with letters everyday. The letters always say the same thing, which is for Mai to break up with Rio… but recently Ayaka is starting to write horrible insults as well. Of course this causes Mai to feel really down, though she knows Ayaka probably does this out of desperation. She always ends her letters with the words “I am the one who loves Riou”, and Mai gets a suffocating feeling upon reading that line. Is it because Ayaka is harassing her? Somehow she feels that it’s not the only reason.
Mai then gathers all of Ayaka’s letters and puts them into her closet. She thought about throwing them away, but she believes the letters are a part of Ayaka’s love. As a shrine maiden of Kamizono Shrine, she just can’t shove them away. On the other hand, Mai is really worried because Ayaka is getting more and more aggressive with each letter. She’s really terrified of how jealousy can change people that much, but she doesn’t want to reject Ayaka’s feelings either. At this point, she just doesn’t know what to do.
• OCTOBER •
After school, Mai stays behind to take a supplementary lesson for modern literature. She’s been sighing a lot lately. Rio has been busy with work again, so they haven’t seen each other at all… and Ayaka uses this chance to harass her everyday. Miki soon returns to the classroom. Upon seeing Mai alone, she asks if the supplementary lesson hasn’t started yet. Mai replies that Rui hasn’t come yet, while Miki explains that she came back to get her phone—she left it in her desk drawer. After taking her phone, Miki asks if Mai wants to walk home together. They can eat delicious cake in Siesta, and Miki is hoping it can cheer Mai up. Miki knows that Mai has been feeling down, and she won’t force Mai to share. She’s just worried and wants to do something to make Mai feel better.
Moved by Miki’s concern, Mai opens her mouth to explain everything… but then she stops herself. If Miki finds out about Ayaka’s harassment, she’ll definitely get angry and take action. Things will get blown out of proportions, so Mai doesn’t want to drag Miki into this. Miki is really kind, and Mai knows she’ll do her best to help if she gets involved. In the end, Mai only apologizes for making Miki worry—saying she’s just upset because she’s been failing her tests. Of course Miki doesn’t believe this at all, but she nods and says she understands. She points out that Mai is actually stubborn despite her looks, though she likes that side of Mai too. Miki then gently pats Mai’s head, asking Mai to call her if she feels like having tea. She leaves after wishing Mai luck on the supplementary lesson, and Rui walks into the classroom immediately after.
Feeling bad for being late, Rui apologizes and explains that the staff meeting dragged on. Mai smiles and says that it’s fine, but he suddenly stops preparing for the lesson. While this confuses her, she notices that he looks just as confused as she is. Rui then asks if Mai is feeling sick. She doesn’t look well, and he’s been worried because she looks exhausted recently. Mai is really surprised, as she never thought that Rui would notice too. At first she tries to cover it up, but he reveals that he overheard her conversation with Miki. He knows she kept quiet because she doesn’t want Miki to worry, but if she keeps carrying everything alone… she might end up making people worry even more. Mai still feels reluctant even after hearing this, but Rui assures her that it’s alright to share her problem. For now, she should go easy on her own heart—which is clearly exhausted.
Mai eventually gives in and tells Rui everything, starting from Rio’s request to Ayaka’s harassment. Ayaka has been making prank calls too lately. She calls Mai at home just to throw insults before ending the call, and Chisato eventually noticed since Mai is feeling down everyday. From then, Chisato has been dealing with the letters and calls, making sure they wouldn’t reach Mai. However, this only brought Ayaka to stalk Mai after school. She doesn’t say anything though, only glaring at Mai from afar. Since Ayaka doesn’t do anything, Mai can’t bring herself to discuss this to Rio… but the emotional burden is just too large for her. Rui thinks she should report this to Rio, but Mai firmly refuses. She doesn’t want to trouble Rio. She knows how much Rio treasures his princesses—including Ayaka. He wants Ayaka to give up on him and go back to normal, and Ayaka is doing this just because she’s in love with him. It won’t justify her actions though.
Instead of listening to Rui’s advice, Mai only says she’ll do her best. After all, she accepted Rio’s request knowing that she’ll get harassed. Upon hearing this, Rui sadly smiles and asks Mai to tell Rio everything. He believes Rio will approach Ayaka while keeping Mai’s feelings in mind. However, Mai notices that Rui refers to Rio by his name… even though she didn’t mention it. She only called him “the person who asked for my help”. Realizing that Mai is right, Rui is instantly thrown into panic. After a while, he apologizes to her and explains that he heard everything from his younger twin—Seiya. He was told not to reveal this to her though, so he’ll get scolded for sure. Of course Mai is shocked to hear that they’re twins, but Rui adds that they don’t really resemble each other. He says Seiya is worried about her too, so he was asked to pay attention to her at school—as unexpected as that may sound. It seems like Seiya knows that Ayaka tends to go wild. In any case, Rui asks Mai to explain the situation to Rio. Everyone is worried if she continues to shoulder everything by herself. She can’t bring herself to answer though, remaining silent until he decides to start their supplementary lesson.
The next day, Mai walks home together with Miki. They’re planning to visit the café in front of the station and get the new dessert, but soon they see Rio’s car in front of the school gate. Upon seeing Mai, Rio gets out of the car and walks up to her. He has a rather stern expression, but then he smiles and says he’s been waiting for her. He wants to talk for a bit, so he asks if she has time. Mai is about to refuse because of her plan with Miki, but Miki instantly backs down and shoves Mai to go with Rio. They can visit the café next time, and she leaves after asking Rio to take care of Mai. When Rio opens the passenger door for her, Mai knows she can’t escape anymore… and she has no choice but to get in.
Inside the car, a heavy silence lingers in the air. It’s really strange because Rio always brings up all sorts of topics to keep Mai entertained, and yet he’s not saying anything today. Mai wonders if Rio is in a terrible mood, or if Ayaka did something to him… but then again, she knows Ayaka probably wouldn’t harass the man she loves. After a long silence, Rio sighs and asks if Mai doesn’t have anything to tell him. He speaks with a serious tone, which gives her a bad feeling about this. He heard that she found out about Rui and Seiya, and she should know what this means—he knows about her issue. Rio explains that Seiya is pretty sharp. Seiya noticed that Rui was acting strange, so he forced his older twin (?) to spill the beans… which led them to Mai’s problem. Now that Rio has found out, Mai feels terribly awkward and holds her breath. Rio then asks if he can hear the details, and knowing that she can’t hide it from him anymore, Mai finally tells him about Ayaka’s harassment.
Even after reaching Mai’s mansion, Rio parks his car to the side and waits until she’s done explaining. He admits that he asked her to play the role of his girlfriend for the sake of protecting his princesses. It’s true that he was using her, but that doesn’t make it okay for her to get hurt… so now he wants to end her role as his girlfriend. Rio says those words without any hesitation, and Mai can feel pain running through her heart. Her throat is all hot, and she feels like she might break into tears anytime. Their “relationship” was a lie to calm Ayaka down, but it ended up backfiring instead. Rio says it’d be meaningless to continue, and Mai knows that his judgment is right. However, she’s really shocked by how easily he dismisses her. In the end, she couldn’t help Rio and Ayaka at all. In fact, she only worsened the situation. Emotions are welling up inside of her, but Mai shakes them off and forces herself to smile. She nods saying she’ll be graduating from the role today, and she apologizes for not helping much. Rio thinks Mai did her best and helped him a lot though, so she replies saying she’s glad to hear that.
Mai then excuses herself and comes out of Rio’s car, but she soon hears the sound of heels approaching. When she turns around, she finds Ayaka standing nearby—glaring at her in rage. Just as she always said in her letters, Ayaka angrily yells that Rio has no love to spare for Mai… so Mai shouldn’t be so conceited. Mai is about to explain, but then Rio comes over and stands in front of her—as if he’s protecting her from Ayaka. Rio says he’s heard about how Ayaka harassed Mai. He says he’s happy that she loves him to that extent, but he tells her not to hurt others and ask him to love her alone. He can’t give anything like that to her. Ayaka clings onto Rio as she explains that she did it because she’s really in love with him—she wants to be his only girlfriend.
Rio answers with a gentle voice that somehow feels distant as well. He points out that he’s a host, and he can whisper words of love to anyone in need—he won’t date one person only. If Ayaka wants him to love only her, then he can’t treat her as his princess anymore. Rio then tells Ayaka not to come to LADY MAGIC again. He actually didn’t want to say it, but she has crossed the line and sought for something she should never seek… so this is goodbye for them. Ayaka is greatly shocked. Her eyes are wide open, as if reflecting her shattered heart. Despite what Ayaka did, Mai immediately comes out to defend her—which obviously surprises Rio. Mai then asks Rio not to reject Ayaka’s feelings like that, because Ayaka is only in love with him. Rio doesn’t get why Mai is protecting Ayaka though, and he makes it clear that he’s rejecting Ayaka because of the same reason—because her love for him is real.
On the other hand, Mai doesn’t get Rio’s way of thinking either. She doesn’t get why he thinks it’s wrong to be serious in loving someone and seeking for their love in return. She finds it harder to understand him than Ayaka, who’s tearing up behind her. Ayaka is biting her lips to hold back her sorrow, and this makes Mai feel really sad. She doesn’t want Ayaka to cry. Mai then turns to Ayaka saying she knows that Ayaka is in love with Rio, but Ayaka should treasure her feelings more. She’ll only hurt herself by forcing her love onto people, and the voice of the person she loves won’t be able to reach her. Ayaka gasps upon hearing this, and she quickly runs off without saying anything… but Mai notices that she’s crying.
Turning back to Rio, Mai angrily says that it was so cruel of him. There’s no need to hurt Ayaka and make her cry like that. However, Rio only apologizes saying he doesn’t want to be loved by one person only. He wants a lot of love, and he became a host for that reason. He has no intentions of dating kids who can’t understand that, like Mai and Ayaka. Rio’s words piece through Mai’s heart like a knife. His voice feels so distant to her, and she clenches her fists to stop herself from trembling. She nods and tries to say that her view on love is indeed childish, but can’t bring herself to finish her sentence. She knows she won’t be able to enjoy that kind of love, because she wants to have only one person to love—just like her parents. When Mai expresses this opinion to Rio, he nods saying that sounds just like her. He says that kind of love won’t do it for him, but he does think it’s nice. He then adds that she’s cute, so he believes she’ll be able to find a wonderful love with a classmate or something.
Even though Rio smiles and speaks gently, Mai realizes that this is also a form of rejection. She wants to be devoted to one person only, while he wants love from a lot of people. Their opinions on love just don’t match. Upon realizing that Rio will never accept her view, Mai suddenly feels like crying again. At first she doesn’t get why she wants him to understand her feelings so badly, but then Ayaka appears in her mind… and it brings her to the realization that they’re the same. Just like Ayaka, Mai is also in love with Rio—she fell for him before she knew it. It’s also the reason why she couldn’t tell anyone about Ayaka, and why she couldn’t deny Ayaka’s feelings. Ayaka’s jealousy and desire to possess would have grown inside of her as well, and that’s why she ended up forgiving Ayaka’s actions. It’s all because they’re in love with the same person. Mai knows she would’ve gotten jealous too if she was in Ayaka’s place. While flirting with a lot of women is a part of Rio’s job, they don’t want to see the person they love seducing other women. It’s only obvious if Ayaka grew to resent her.
Up until now, Rio has been taking care of Mai as his girlfriend. Their relationship wasn’t real, but the time they spent together was fun for her. She wanted to stay with him. He took her to a lot of places, and also showed a different expression from time to time. Sadly, Mai knows that Rio doesn’t see her that way. For a person who needs a lot of love like him, she’s nothing more than a dreamy kid. Her realization won’t do anything, because a kid like her won’t be able to keep up with an adult like him. Mai returns to her senses when Rio calls her name, and she quickly puts on a smile. After apologizing for spacing out, Mai thanks Rio for everything. She had fun working in LADY MAGIC and going on dates with him. He also thanks her for helping him, but he doesn’t say “I’ll see you again”… and somehow she can feel that he’s putting some distance between them. Instead, he says goodbye and shakes her hand—to bid farewell.
Rio then goes back into his car and drives off for work, with Mai quietly sending him off. The moment his car disappears from her sight, tears start flowing out of her eyes. Her first love vanished before she could even confess, and she thinks it was a young love anyway—one that would never reach him. Will she ever learn to love like adults one day? Her tears keep falling down as she thinks about this question.
• NOVEMBER •
In November, LADY MAGIC has been redecorated for Christmas. Based on the owner’s order, all the hosts and staff are working together to clean up the club one day. The purpose is to improve teamwork, but Rio can see that everyone in LADY MAGIC are on good terms with each other. The hosts stick together despite of ranks, and they often go drinking with the other staff too—like Tetsuya. They’re just like a family, so Rio finds their company very comfortable. As he wipes the glasses on the counter, Rio can see Seiya mopping the floor with a desperate expression. Soon after that, Tetsuya comes and asks him to bring the glasses to the kitchen once he’s done wiping them—saying he wants to use them for cooking. Rio nods and puts the glasses on a tray, but ends up dropping some of them when he stands up.
Following this mistake, Rio immediately apologizes for breaking the glasses. He says they should get some new ones, but Tetsuya seems to be more concerned about him instead. Rio only broke three of the glasses anyway, so they don’t need any replacement. Tetsuya is about to say something, but he ends up stopping himself and says it’s nothing. At the same time, Taiga and Miyabi come to ask if Rio is okay. They’re going to clean up the broken glasses, so they ask him to get some rest for now. At first Rio refuses saying he’ll do the cleaning up himself, but Taiga immediately rejects the idea. Things will only get worse if they leave the task to the current Rio, so they want him to stand back. Miyabi also asks him not to worry, because they’ll make sure to clean everything perfectly. Their opinion is backed up by Tetsuya as well, and so Rio ends up getting shooed out of the club floor.
Upon entering the staff room, Rio sits on the sofa and sighs. He looks up at the ceiling before closing his eyes, reflecting on his bad performance at work. Nothing goes right for him recently. For some reason, he keeps making stupid mistakes. He scheduled two dates at the same time and made his princesses angry. During champagne calls, he dropped the glasses and bottles—breaking them like what he just did earlier. He failed to control his drinking pace, and he couldn’t serve his princesses properly due to hangovers. The worst one, however, is that he finds it hard to sleep at night. This causes him to keep running late to work, and it’s not a good thing because he might receive a penalty. Rio wonders out loud if he’s doing so badly due to a cold, but then a familiar voice answers that he’s really dense when it comes to himself—so much that it’s surprising how he can work as the number one host.
When Rio opens his eyes, he finds Seiya standing in front of him—looking amused. Instead of replying to Seiya’s remark, Rio only asks why he’s skipping work. He actually came to work early today, so he should go and mop the floor. Due to personal reasons, Seiya doesn’t come to work at a specific time. Sometimes he comes to work early, like today. Other times he comes after LADY MAGIC opens. Seiya has the owner’s approval though, and the other staff know about the reason as well… so they don’t have any complaints. Seiya then answers that he’s done cleaning up, so he came to see Rio’s depressed face. Rio denies that he feels depressed, but Seiya points out that he keeps making mistakes at work. Taiga and Miyabi are really worried about him, and they’re having a hard time cleaning up his mess.
Rio says he’s just not feeling well and will return to normal eventually, but Seiya is clearly not convinced since this has been going for a month. Speaking of which, it’s been a month too since Rio broke off his fake relationship with Mai. Rio quickly says it’s got nothing to do with Mai, and he tells Seiya to shut up before looking away. Ever since that day, Rio hasn’t seen Mai again. They used to go on dates, call and mail each other, and basically keep in touch everyday. When all those things suddenly disappeared from his daily life, he can’t help but feel uneasy. The parting left a hole somewhere in his heart, and loneliness is flowing in—bringing the sensation that he’s being left all alone. It actually feels nostalgic for Rio, even though he hasn’t felt it for a long time.
As Rio closes his eyes, the image of his past comes to his mind. For all his life, Rio has never known who his father is. He used to live in a tiny apartment only with his mother, who was working as a hostess. Due to the nature of her job, Rio was often left in a day care center. He was fine with it because he knows she did it to make a living, but she always felt bad and often apologized for leaving him alone. He didn’t mind at all though, since she spent all of her days off with him. Growing up with such a kind mother, he wanted to do anything to help. By the time he entered elementary school, Rio started taking care of the house by himself—believing it’ll make things easier for his mother. Unfortunately, there’s a limit to how much a kid can act tough. After a while, he developed a dislike of staying alone at home. No one was there when he came home. He took his meals and went to bed alone, and it felt terribly lonely. That’s why Rio decided to wait until his mother returns, and he always stayed at the entrance—waiting for her to open the door. He wanted to make her happy by welcoming her home, even though he was lonely and wanted her to come home as quickly as possible.
Sadly, Rio’s mother didn’t return until morning and he had to wait alone in loneliness. Despite how he felt, Rio couldn’t tell his mother that he felt lonely. Whenever she came home, all he could do was to welcome her back. Rio never had the chance to celebrate his birthday either, because she was always busy around Christmas. She bought him a cake each year, but he always had to eat them alone. He did all he could to convince himself that it’s fine, because she’d give him the present the next day. However, Rio’s mother did try to make a birthday party for him once. He was really happy thinking he can spend the night with her, and he was too young to understand that it’s simply impossible. On the night of Rio’s birthday, his mother didn’t come home. She returned in a rush the next morning, explaining that she couldn’t leave because of an important guest. The moment she came home, she hugged him and apologized in tears. She felt guilty for breaking her promise and making him feel lonely, and he couldn’t stand it. He didn’t want her to think that way and cry, and he didn’t want to hurt the person who worked so hard for his sake.
Rio smiled and assured his mother that it’s alright, but he also made a vow not to show his loneliness in front of her again. He decided to just kill the feeling, believing that his mother wouldn’t cry anymore if he holds back. Rio then told his mother that starting from next year, they can have his birthday party on the next day instead. Looking back, Rio realizes that he probably became a host because he doesn’t want to feel that loneliness anymore. By dating a lot of princesses, he wouldn’t be alone and wouldn’t feel lonely. However, the same loneliness has been lingering in his heart ever since he said goodbye to Mai. At first he thought it’s because they spent a lot of time together, and the loneliness would eventually go away… but somehow it just won’t disappear. Even though a month has passed and he receives a lot of love from his princesses, the loneliness won’t leave his heart.
Knowing that Rio actually likes Mai THAT much, Seiya then tells him to just take action. Sadly, Rio denies this again by saying his performance didn’t drop because of Mai. Besides, she’s only a kid. Unlike him, she won’t enjoy a relationship that involves a lot of people… which is why it’s impossible for her to become his girlfriend. Their perspectives on love are clearly different, so he has no intentions of dealing with someone like her—it’ll be troublesome to have a relationship with a kid. Seiya only scoffs upon hearing this, saying he can’t tell which one of them is the kid. As he gets up and looks down at Rio, Seiya tells Rio to just keep hugging his knees and crying over how lonely he is. The way he sees it, Mai is actually more mature than Rio. Seiya then walks out of the staff room, leaving Rio with a strange mix of anger and impatience.
Meanwhile, Mai isn’t doing well at work either. While sweeping up the fallen leaves in the shrine grounds, her working speed gradually drops. Before she knew it, her hands stop moving and she starts spacing out instead. She only snaps out of it when Kyouga calls her out for skipping work, but then he walks up to her and puts his hand on her head. He finds it irritating to see her moping around like that, not to mention it’s dumb how she fell in love with Rio and jumped to the conclusion that it’s unrequited. She only tells him to leave her alone though. She says he doesn’t understand the complicated feelings of a brokenhearted girl, and he immediately raises a protest. He’s the head priest of Kamizono Shrine, so his knowledge regarding a girl’s feelings is unrivaled! ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ
However, Mai only shoves Kyouga’s arm off her head and sighs. It’s been a month ever since she realized her feelings for Rio, but her heart remains broken. Mai hasn’t seen Rio again since then. A part of her was actually hoping that he’d contact her again, but he never does… and this is one of the reasons why she’s been feeling down. In the end, there’s nothing more to their relationship. If he doesn’t want to take her as a lover, then at least she wants to stay as friends. On the other hand, she knows that it’ll only hurt herself. Mai is pulled out of her thoughts when Kyouga places his arm back on her head. He asks if she’s seriously going to give up on Rio, and she nods saying that’s what she wants to do. Rio is an adult, and she doesn’t think he’ll accept love from a kid like her.
Kyouga answers that the Mai he knows won’t stop because of trivial things like that, and she’ll go to take the path she’s supposed to walk on. For a moment Mai wonders if Kyouga is encouraging her, but it turns out that he has another motive. Since she’s their shrine maiden, having her heart broken would only bring Kamizono Shrine’s reputation down… and he certainly doesn’t want that LOL. He gets really annoyed just by looking at her, so she should stop worrying about the age gap and just keep attacking Rio. Mai refuses to adjust her love life to fit Kyouga’s demands though, and they start bickering until they see some visitors in the shrine grounds. After telling Mai that they’ll settle this later, Kyouga goes to greet the visitors. Mai is watching Kyouga’s fake gentleman mode when she notices a solitary figure praying in front of the shrine, and her eyes widen in surprise upon realizing who it is—it’s Ayaka. The harassment has stopped since last month, so Mai hasn’t seen her again until today. Mai notices that Ayaka doesn’t look well though, not to mention she’s praying so intently.
Feeling concerned, Mai decides to talk to Ayaka. There’s a lot of things she wants to know, mostly about Ayaka’s feelings for Rio. Does she still love and long for him? Not being able to stop yourself from loving someone, even after they push you away, is very painful. Now that Mai has realized her feelings, she can understand how Ayaka must’ve felt. When Mai comes over to talk to her, Ayaka looks really startled and runs away. Mai sadly wonders if it’s impossible to talk to her, but Ayaka stops near the shrine gate… then she turns around and quickly walks back. Since Ayaka has a severe expression, Mai shivers thinking she’s going to get angry. However, Ayaka suddenly bows her head and apologizes for the harassment—even if it might be too late to ask for forgiveness. Mai is clearly surprised, and she asks Ayaka to lift her head. The fact that Ayaka is reflecting on her actions is already enough for her, so she assures Ayaka that it’s okay.
As Ayaka slowly steps back, Mai quickly grabs her hand and invites her to go to the office. Ayaka seems reluctant, but Mai asks her not to hold back. Mai says she can understand why Ayaka went that far, and she admits that she has fallen in love with Rio too… though he doesn’t take her seriously because she’s a kid. Ayaka looks really surprised to hear this, and Mai uses this chance to bring her to a bench in front of the office. It’s a quiet place that most people don’t approach, so they can finally talk. When Mai hands a warm cup of tea to Ayaka, Ayaka thanks her and quietly asks if Mai doesn’t hate her. Mai replies that she doesn’t, though she honestly admits that she was a bit scared. Upon hearing this, Ayaka chuckles saying something was really wrong with her. Once again Ayaka apologizes, but when she lifts her head, Mai can see that her eyes look very serene. It’s clear that she has calmed down.
Ayaka then says that after Rio rejected her, she’s been thinking up until today. She used to hold a grudge against Mai too, but then she came to realize that she was only drowning in love—all by herself. It’s just as Mai said. Ayaka realized that she was forcing her love onto Rio, and she failed to hear his voice as the result. When Rio introduced Mai as his girlfriend, Ayaka actually didn’t believe it at all. She knew that Rio wouldn’t fall in love with one specific woman, leading her to the assumption that Mai must’ve forced him into it. After all, Rio always treasures all of his guests. Ayaka harassed Mai in the hope of setting Rio free, but now she realizes that in the end… it was all for herself. Driven by her jealousy, she was struggling and took it out by hating on Mai. When Mai defended her from Rio’s rejection, Ayaka finally realized that she was chasing after love for herself—not for Rio. After running away from them, she faced her own feelings and found the answer.
Mai feels relieved to hear this, and Ayaka sadly smiles saying she feels really embarrassed. She became so hideous because of her love, so she wanted to apologize to both Rio and Mai once she’s calmed down. A few days ago, she visited LADY MAGIC to talk to Rio—who forgave her with a smile. He said it’s all good if she understands, even asking if she’s going to be his princess again. Ayaka refused though. She’s really in love with Rio, so she knew it might drive her to hate someone again. When she apologized for everything, Rio only said she doesn’t owe him any apology. Instead, he pointed out that she should apologize to Mai.
When Ayaka promised that she would, she noticed that Rio looked really sad. He muttered Mai’s name, saying he wants to see Mai too if he could. Ayaka has never seen Rio in such a state before. After drinking up her tea, Ayaka encourages Mai to confess. If Mai loves Rio too, then she should tell him before giving up. That will make it easier to move on, just like Ayaka herself. When Ayaka smiles, Mai thinks she looks really beautiful—so much that she can’t even look away. Ayaka then stands up and says she should find a new love. She asks if Mai can recommend a charm that will help her on the search, and Mai answers that she’ll be happy to.
In the evening, Mai sends Ayaka off with a smile. Ayaka has calmed down and pays more attention to her own feelings, and Mai feels really glad to see that. Kyouga soon pops out saying Ayaka should be able to find a good love very soon, though he can’t believe that Mai forgave her so easily. If it was him, he’d take revenge and put the other party through hell—making sure they’ll never do it again. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Mai is surprised that Kyouga knows about the harassment though, and he says it’s because Chisato came to ask for his help. Chisato was really upset because Mai kept insisting that she’s okay, and she wouldn’t let him do anything. In response, Kyouga only told him to leave her alone. Kyouga believed that Mai wouldn’t go down so easily, which was proven to be true.
In any case, Kyouga thinks they don’t have to worry about Ayaka anymore. The only problem left is what Mai wants to do. Is she going to confess to Rio? Or just give up without saying anything? Despite Ayaka’s encouragement, Mai finds herself hesitating. When she admits that she’s not sure, Kyouga sighs and pats her head. He says it’s good enough for now though. She can continue thinking about this, as long as she doesn’t stop. It’ll surely lead her to the answer. Kyouga then tells Mai not to run away from love, since it’s not something the shrine maiden of Kamizono Shrine would do. After patting her head and telling her not to lose, Kyouga walks away and leaves Mai to think about her own feelings.
That night, Rio is sitting alone in the living room. He usually plays online games after work, but he doesn’t feel like it today. In fact, he doesn’t feel like doing anything… though he doesn’t know why. He only stares at the ceiling as he lies down on the sofa. He doesn’t even feel like watching anime, even though he has a lot of titles to watch. He can’t figure out the answer, and it’s irritating him even more. Just then his phone starts ringing, and he picks it up to hear Tomu on the other side. Tomu says he didn’t see Rio online, so he was wondering if Rio isn’t home yet. When Rio answers that he’s home, Tomu tells him that they can take a quest which they previously failed. However, Rio only apologizes saying he’s not playing today… and so Tomu should invite Mori or Kyouga instead.
After a short silence, Tomu asks if there’s something wrong. Rio sounds rather down. Tomu asks if he’s not feeling well, and Rio replies that he’s thinking of the same thing. He’s wondering if he caught a cold, since everything feels troublesome to him. Tomu thinks it might be serious since Rio is always 1000% healthy all year round, but then he realizes that it might be something else. Tomu then correctly guesses that despite his bad condition, Rio doesn’t feel sluggish, feverish, or have a cough. At first Rio is surprised, but he does understand. Tomu and him have been friends since high school. They know each other’s personalities and behavioral patterns really well, so they share things they can’t tell other people about. Rio then chuckles and admits that Tomu is right. He’s physically healthy. He just doesn’t feel motivated to do anything. No matter what he does, he feels empty inside. He feels uneasy even when he’s talking to his princesses. Even if he has someone by his side, he feels… alone.
Upon hearing this, Tomu quickly stands up. The force is so great that Rio can hear it through the phone. Tomu says he’s going to Rio’s place right now, even though it’s almost morning and he just came home from work. Rio apologizes for making Tomu worry and assures him that he’s fine, but it’s not working at all. Tomu says he’s still concerned even if Rio tells him not to, and he points out that Rio is very awkward in the sense that he always holds back. Tomu is going to buy some food too along the way, so he wants Rio to talk to him. It can be about anything—the topic doesn’t matter. Otherwise, he’ll get so worried he won’t be able to work properly… and he has recording tomorrow. In the background, Rio can hear Tomu grabbing things—which means he’s really going to come. This makes him feel a bit better, realizing that he has a really good friend.
Rio eventually gives up and tells Tomu to wait in a family restaurant near the latter’s house. Rio will pick Tomu up there, and Tomu also asks Rio to drive him to the recording studio later. Rio jokingly comments that he’s so calculating, though Tomu protests saying he’s just reasonable. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* Rio laughs and puts on his jacket as he leaves the living room. It seems that for today, his best friend is going to save him from the mysterious emptiness he feels.
On a holiday, Mai goes to drink Takuto’s coffee in Siesta. She’d only space out if she stays at home, and that only makes Chisato and her parents worry. Takuto is happy that Mai came to visit even though it’s cold outside, and he asks if she wants to eat a cake too. He just made a new one, so he wants to hear her honest opinion. If it’s not good, he won’t include it in the menu. Mai is certain that it tastes good, but she accepts the offer as she wants to have a taste. Takuto gently pats her head before going into the kitchen. Upon taking a look around, she recognizes some residents of the mansion above and regular customers of Siesta—having a relaxing time at other tables. It’s probably because of Takuto’s personality, but Siesta always has a warm atmosphere. She finds it relieving, and she wouldn’t space out if she stays here.
After a while, Takuto comes back with a cup of coffee and a slice of strawberry shortcake. He thinks the amount of strawberries might not be enough, which is why he wants to hear Mai’s opinion. However, she can tell that he’s doing this on purpose to cheer her up. Strawberry shortcake is her favorite, as well as his number one specialty. He probably heard about her condition from Chisato or her mother. Mai smiles and Takuto before eating the cake. She soon realizes that Mori isn’t working today, and he explains that Mori went to an idol’s concert with a friend. Mori was really pumped up for it, and Takuto laughs saying it’s so nice to be young. ヾ(✿❛◡❛ฺฺ)ノ～❤
Just then Siesta’s door swings open, and Takuto welcomes the customer—who turns out to be Tomu in disguise. He scans the café upon walking inside, but immediately stops upon seeing Mai on the counter. After taking off his hat and sunglasses, Tomu rushes over to Mai and says he’s glad to find her here. She didn’t reply no matter how many times he mailed her, so he panicked. As he sits next to Mai, Tomu turns to Takuto and orders a cup of coffee. When Takuto asks if he’s not working, Tomu explains that he asked for some free time. Starting from next month, he’ll have to work without any breaks. After Takuto leaves, Tomu apologizes for sitting next to Mai so suddenly. She says she doesn’t mind, but she’s confused as of why he said he “found” her earlier.
Tomu answers that he has a question for Mai, and so he was looking for her. The search wasn’t pleasant though. Tomu wanted to contact Mai no matter what, and he discussed this with Ryuusei. From there, he was unfortunate enough to be introduced to Fumiya of all people. Of course Fumiya wanted to know why Tomu was searching for Mai, and he totally flooded Tomu with all sorts of questions. Tomu was surprised, and he finds it terrifying how Fumiya’s eyes flashed the moment he heard Mai’s name. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ He managed to get Mai’s address though, so it wasn’t for nothing. The next moment, Tomu’s expression turns serious as he brings up the main topic—which is none other than Rio.
Tomu tells Mai that Rio has been acting strange, and he’s wondering if she knows the reason. Mai hasn’t seen Rio at all though, so she answers that doesn’t know anything. Tomu frowns and sighs upon hearing this, and he mentions that he met Rio not too long ago. Rio said he doesn’t feel like doing anything, and Tomu felt that his mind was a bit unstable… but then it got even worse. Recently, Rio has been drowning himself in work. He plays with his princesses all night long, but he also drinks roughly and comes to work late the next day. However, the weirdest part is that Rio has turned indifferent towards the hobby he used to love. This has never happened before. If they leave him alone, he’ll sink into his own thoughts and stay that way for a long time—so much that it’s hard just to talk to him. Tomu is really worried about Rio, and Mai feels the same way after hearing all of this.
When Mai asks if Rio is feeling sick, Tomu says it’s not the reason. The problem probably comes from his heart. Rio is really terrified of being alone, though Tomu doesn’t know why he turned that way. Takuto soon comes to serve Tomu’s coffee, though he doesn’t say anything and quickly pulls away—only giving them a smile. After taking a sip, Tomu asks why Mai hasn’t seen Rio recently. Don’t they go on dates? This makes Mai realize that Rio didn’t tell Tomu anything about what happened, so she explains that she’s no longer playing the role of his girlfriend. Tomu’s eyes widen in shock, and he stares at Mai in silence before the reaction kicks in. He never heard about this, so he’s obviously really confused. Tomu then asks about when it happened, so Mai answers that it was in October.
After staring blankly at Mai for a few seconds, Tomu shuts his eyes and runs his fingers through his own hair. In a sad and yet mortified voice, Tomu grumbles that Rio is so stupid… because this is obviously the reason behind the slump. It’s gotten to the point where he’s too distracted to work properly, and yet he’s just too dense to realize it. Tomu eventually calms down when Mai tries calling him, and he asks if he can hear the reason why she quit the role. When she explains the reason, he sighs in utter disbelief saying Rio is really stupid. He then apologizes for Rio’s actions, explaining that Rio is trying to resist by treating Mai like a kid. It’s meaningless though, so she should just ignore it.
After making that clear, Tomu reveals Rio’s past to Mai. Tomu’s smile looks really sad as he explains that the environment Rio grew up in is one of the reasons why Rio wants a lot of love. He spent his childhood alone because of his family condition, but despite the loneliness, he always held back because he didn’t want to make his mother sad. The loneliness left a hole in Rio’s heart, and he can’t seem to fill it in—even until now. He became a host to receive love from a lot of women, but the effect is only temporary. It’s not enough to fill his heart, because despite what he says… ever since he was small, he’s always been seeking for one, devoted love. Tomu has been saying this since they first met, but Rio never listens since he’s not aware of it. Instead, he insists that he’s not lonely because he’s loved by a lot of people. Upon hearing all of this, Mai also comes to understand why Rio shows a sad expression from time to time.
However, Tomu believes that Mai is the only person who can heal Rio’s loneliness… and so he asks if she’s willing to save Rio. Feeling awkward, Mai asks why Tomu is requesting for her help. As much as she wants to, she doesn’t think she can do anything. After all, she’s only a kid who’s not suitable for him. This causes her to recall Rio’s rejection back in October, but she quickly pulls herself out of it. Tomu points out that he has mentioned this before. Mai might not understand it now, but he’s certain that she’s the only one who can give Rio the devoted love he’s been seeking for. Sadly, Mai is pretty much convinced that Rio doesn’t feel anything towards her—even if she loves him. Tomu tries to explain that Rio is just acting tough, but then he realizes that Rio never tells Mai how he feels… so his words alone won’t be enough to convince her. This leads Tomu to the conclusion that both Rio and Mai need to realize how they feel, and now he knows what he should do. Tomu suddenly stands up saying he’s going to make a call, asking Mai to wait inside before literally running out of Siesta. Takuto wonders what’s wrong with him, though Mai is just as confused.
Around 30 minutes later, Tomu returns to Siesta with an ally—Seiya. When Mai asks why he’s here, Seiya answers that Tomu called him. Tomu promises to pay him for his time and even taxi fee though, so he has no complaints. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ In return, Tomu wants Seiya to help them. Despite saying that he doesn’t like the idea of helping Rio, Seiya agrees because “it’s not fun to watch Rio acting like a wimp” LOL. Noticing that Mai is confused, Tomu asks her to forget everything about the age gap for now. There’s one question that he wants her to answer honestly: “Do you want to see Rio?” Mai has been suppressing her feelings for Rio, but this question pulls everything out of her heart. She tried her best to forget him, believing that her love is unrequited, but it was impossible. She can’t forget the person she loves—especially because she hasn’t told him how she feels. He always stays in her heart and mind. As she recalls all the different sides of him, Mai realizes that despite what happened, she’s still in love with Rio.
At the same time, Mai’s tears start flowing out and dropping onto the counter. Seiya grumbles saying this is why it’s troublesome to deal with kids, but he takes out his handkerchief and gives t to her… which only makes her cry even harder. Once she’s calmed down, Mai answers that she wants to see Rio. She doesn’t mind if he brushes her off again. She only wants to see him. Tomu smiles saying he was hoping she’d say that, and he thanks her for doing this for Rio. He looks like he might break into tears any moment, but he also looks really happy. Now that Mai has given her answer, Tomu cheerfully puts his arm around Seiya’s shoulders and drags him closer—saying they should devise the “Let’s Make Rio Honest~☆ Plan”. (。・ω・。) Seiya frowns and asks if they can’t fix that lame title, while Mai watches them in confusion. What kind of plan could that be? 三ヾ(*´ω`)ﾉﾞ ｳｯﾋｮﾋｮ♪
• DECEMBER •
On December 24, LADY MAGIC holds an event to celebrate Rio’s birthday and Christmas. They always do this every year. When Taiga opens the party, Rio receives a lot of birthday greetings—both from the hosts and the guests. Since all of Rio’s princesses always attend this event, it’s also an important chance for the club to earn money. Of course the guests also bring all sorts of presents for Rio. One of them gives him an expensive watch decorated with diamonds, while another one bought him a limited edition mug cup. Rio thanks them saying it makes him happy, but he’s actually not enjoying the party at all. Even though a lot of people are celebrating his birthday, he still feels lonely inside… and he doesn’t know why. The image of his childhood keeps playing in the back of his mind, showing the times when he was waiting alone for his mother to come home. One of the guests notices that Rio doesn’t look too well, but he quickly covers it up by saying he’s just thinking about how to pamper her today.
Rio then tries focusing on his job, hoping to forget the loneliness in his heart. However, he gets distracted again when Seiya appears in LADY MAGIC. Miyabi is surprised since Seiya is supposed to have a day off, but Seiya explains that he feels like drinking with his princess. Seiya then sends Miyabi to prepare a table for them in the innermost area, and this leaves Rio curious. Seiya took a day off saying he had something to do, but since he mentioned “his princess”… did he come here with a guest? Out of curiosity, Rio turns to take a look at the entrance—where a shocking sight is waiting for him. The person standing next to Seiya is none other than Mai. This surprises Rio so much that he immediately leaves his princesses and rushes to Seiya and Mai’s place. Upon seeing Rio, Mai awkwardly averts her gaze and gives him a small nod.
When Rio asks why Mai is with Seiya, Seiya immediately interrupts saying Mai is his guest starting from today… and so Rio shouldn’t get any closer. After giving Rio a warning glare, Seiya puts his arm around Mai’s shoulders and takes her inside—gently calling her “his princess”. Rio can’t do anything but to send them off with a blank stare. He’s really confused. What’s going on? Is Mai seeing Seiya even though she never came to see Rio? How did she become Seiya’s guest in the first place? Questions are popping up in Rio’s mind one after another, but he can’t answer any of them. He’ll never figure it out, unless he goes to ask Mai directly. However, Rio can’t approach Mai… because Seiya has claimed her as his guest. In LADY MAGIC, exclusive guests can only be approached by the host she selected. The owner created this rule to prevent the hosts from stealing each other’s guests, which might cause a fight between them.
While they’re free to accompany the guests who aren’t exclusive to a certain host, Seiya clearly said that Mai is his. He only says this whenever he’s referring to his exclusive guests, but Rio finds this really weird. Mai never showed any interest in hosts, and yet she suddenly become Seiya’s exclusive guest. This leads Rio to think that Seiya is doing this to mess with him, because he kept making mistakes at work recently. Feeling irked, Rio decides to just ignore them. Taiga soon comes to remind him that his princesses are all waiting for him, so he goes back to work after patting Taiga in the head. From there, Rio spends his time playing with his princesses—receiving presents, birthday greetings, and a lot of love from them. It doesn’t help distracting him at all though. His mind keeps wandering off to Seiya and Mai’s table instead, and it annoys him to no end. As he curses Seiya in his mind, Rio thinks Mai is really unfortunate to fall into the hands of a ドＳ.
Before moving to another table, Rio notices that Seiya and Mai are sitting so closely to each other. They lean even closer as they talk, and Mai smiles from time to time. The sight pierces Rio’s heart so hard that he finds it hard to breathe. At the same time, he can feel his anger towards Seiya rising up inside of him. Rio then wonders if he’s jealous that Seiya is getting along so well with Mai, but he quickly dismisses the thought as impossible. He tries convincing himself that he doesn’t need a kid like her, and that he wants mature love from his princesses. Rio is about to turn away when Seiya suddenly kisses Mai on the cheek, shocking him even more than anything that happened tonight. At the same time, something—or should I say, everything—is blown away from Rio’s mind. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.*
Meanwhile, Mai points out that Seiya is being a little too close. He only tells her to be quiet though, and she lets out a small moan when he pulls her even closer. Mai is actually just as confused, because Seiya suddenly called her to come to LADY MAGIC. She doesn’t know why he’s serving her either. It seems like they’re doing Tomu’s “Let’s Make Rio Honest~☆ Plan” tonight, but they didn’t share the details with her. Tomu only told her that everything will go well if they leave it to Seiya, so she should do her best. Before she entered LADY MAGIC, Seiya also warned her not to protest over his actions. If she can do that much, he promised to give her something good. Mai can’t really do anything because of this, while Seiya seems amused to see how uncomfortable she is.
After a while, Seiya notes that it’s about time. Of course Mai doesn’t get what he’s talking about, but he refuses to explain. Instead, he gives her a glass of juice—telling her to drink it and behave. Just then they hear a happy squeal from another table, and there Mai sees Rio kissing a guest’s cheek. She can’t stand the sight and looks away, but Seiya tells her not to mind that. Today is Rio’s birthday, so he’s only doing that for business. He has to go around thanking the guests for the birthday greetings, because it’s going to affect their revenue in the end. Mai believes Rio is sincerely happy to receive greetings from his guests though, since he cares a lot about them. The Rio she knows isn’t someone who only serves his guests for the sake of boosting sales. He does his best to make sure his guests are having fun, forgetting all the bad things that might have happened to them. That’s the reason why Mai fell in love with him. Now that she knows his birthday, she actually wants to celebrate it with him too. It’s impossible for now, but one day… when seeing him doesn’t hurt her heart anymore, she wants to celebrate his birthday with a smile.
Mai’s train of thoughts are interrupted when Seiya suddenly draws closer. The next moment, she feels a soft sensation on her cheek… and she freezes in shock upon realizing that he kissed her. He whispers that he’s doing it on purpose though, so she shouldn’t take it seriously. Since Mai is just too shocked to speak, Seiya teasingly says he can give her a real kiss if she wants to. ﾟ+.(*ﾉωヾ*)ｬﾝ♪+ﾟ Mai obviously gets really flustered and backs away, but just before she flees… Rio comes and tells Seiya to stop fooling around. He looks really angry, and he glances at her once before glaring at Seiya. Rio then points out that Mai is still in high school, reminding Seiya that they’re not allowed to get too close to guests who are minors. Seiya calmly replies that he remember the rules. It’s just he finds Mai really cute, so he couldn’t help but make a move on her.
In return, Seiya once again states that Mai is his guest. Based on the rules, Rio should know that he’s not allowed to interrupt them. However, Rio says it’s because he noticed Seiya ignoring the rules. As a host of high rank, he shouldn’t set such a bad example for those under him. Both of them are speaking in a really low voice, and a terribly tense atmosphere hangs between them. All the guests in LADY MAGIC, including Mai, can only hold their breath and watch in silence. Seiya points out that Rio was the one who broke the rules by disturbing him and Mai though. As he puts his arm around Mai and pulls her closer, Seiya asks if Rio isn’t interested in kids—just as he’s been saying. When Rio confirms that he’s not, Mai feels really sad. She already knows that, so she doesn’t want to hear it for so many times.
As Mai tries her hardest not to cry, she feels Seiya patting her head—running his fingertips through her hair. Seiya then grins saying Rio is the only one who thinks of her as a kid. As they can see, Mai can stay in a man’s arms and seduce him—she’s a fine woman. Seiya hugs Mai as he says this, and she instantly panics since he’s being way too close. She tries to pull away, but his arms lock her in place. Even if Seiya told her not to protest, Mai doesn’t want him to hug her in front of the person she loves. Just as Mai asks Seiya to let go, Rio’s low voice overlaps with hers—ordering Seiya to release her. This really surprises her because he’s referring to her as “Mai” instead of the usual “Mai-chan”, but his expression doesn’t change at all. Maybe it was subconscious.
Once again, Rio tells Seiya to stop messing around and pulls the latter’s arm away from Mai. When Seiya protests, Rio points out that he already told Seiya to release Mai. He won’t repeat it again. If Seiya really wants to pick a fight, Rio says he’s willing to accept. They can settle this in the back of the club later. Mai has never seen Rio with such a severe expression before. She finds it scary, and it’s intimidating enough to put Seiya into silence. However, Rio says he’ll deal with Seiya later. This isn’t the time for that. He walks up to Mai and helps her stand, but before she can thank him… he suddenly lifts her up and carries her in his arms. Yes, princess style! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ This sends all the guests to scream in shock, though it’s probably impossible to avoid due to his popularity. Of course Mai is just as surprised and asks for an explanation, but Rio only apologizes. He wants to talk to her in private, so she’s coming with him. His voice still sounds rather cold, and he carries her all the way out of the club—ignoring the commotion he caused.
Outside, Rio carries Mai into a back alley. He doesn’t respond when she asks him to let her down, and he keeps walking in silence until she tries moving around. Unfortunately, this causes him to lose his balance and nearly drops her. Out of panic, Mai puts her arms around Rio’s neck and clings onto him. He quickly stops to regain his balance, sighing in relief when he manages to support her. After that, Rio carefully lets Mai down. He then apologizes for taking her out without hearing her out, but he also averts his gaze and won’t look at her. Rio looks very different from how he was earlier, but Mai has never seen this side of him before. He cheeks are slightly red, most likely because he’s embarrassed. She doesn’t get why he feels that way though, since this situation should be more embarrassing to her instead.
When Mai lowers her gaze to the ground, Rio asks if it’s true that she chose to be Seiya’s exclusive guest. Since she’s clearly confused, he points out that Seiya referred to her as “his” guest—which should be the proof that she’s exclusive to him. He also explains the whole system to her, and even though she doesn’t know why Seiya said that… she knows this is probably related to Tomu’s “Let’s Make Rio Honest~☆ Plan”. Rio wants to know the answer no matter what, and he hesitantly asks if Mai really belongs to Seiya now. Did she really choose him? Before she can deny it, he adds that he will never accept that. Mai is surprised to hear Rio’s voice trembling, and especially because he looks really sad—as if he’s on the verge of tears. He admits that he doesn’t want that, because he can’t stand the thought of her taken away by someone else. He doesn’t want to hand her to anyone, not only Seiya. Rio then moves closer and pulls Mai into his arms, saying he won’t allow Seiya to take her away. She belongs to him and only him. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:*
Rio’s voice sounds terribly sad, and Mai can’t help but hold her breath. When she asks what he means by that, he’s incredibly surprised and quickly lets her go. As he turns away from her—most likely so she can’t see his face—he tries to deny what he just said. Instead, he tells her that it was all a lie. He was just joking, since there’s no way he’d claim her as his. He adds that he won’t deal with kids, at the same time trying to convince himself that he doesn’t believe in one, devoted love. As long as he can receive a lot of love, then he’ll be satisfied. Mai can see that Rio is clearly shaken, but it’s obviously painful to get rejected again. It makes her think that he’s probably just annoyed because of Seiya’s attitude, and so he didn’t mean what he said.
Even though Mai is crying inside, she forces a smile and says Rio is right. It seems like she misunderstood, and she feels really embarrassed for that. As an attempt to cover up the shock, Mai adds that Seiya must be using her to tease Rio. She tries her best to act like nothing is wrong, knowing that she’s going to cry if she doesn’t. Getting rejected repeatedly by the person she loves is just too painful. After asking Rio not to drag her into his conflict with Seiya, Mai says she’ll be going home and quickly turns around. She wants to leave as quickly as possible, then find a place where she can cry alone. Despite Tomu and Seiya’s help, in the end Rio just won’t accept her. Mai can’t hold back her tears anymore upon thinking about this, but she allows herself to cry. She’s walked away for a bit, so Rio probably doesn’t see her anymore.
Before Mai can go any further, a pair of arms suddenly grabs her from behind—turning her around. There she sees Rio with a panicked expression, and he seems taken aback upon seeing her tears. When Rio calls her name, Mai sobs and tells him not to look at her. She doesn’t think he cares about her anyway. He told her that he won’t deal with kids, so she asks him to leave her alone—saying he should just forget her. Just as Mai tries to cover her face, Rio suddenly grabs her hands, pushes her against the wall, and puts his lips against hers. Mai is really surprised and tries to get away, but Rio is holding her in place. When she opens her lips to catch a breath, he roughly slides his tongue in and deepens the kiss. Even though Rio is kissing her by force, somehow the kiss gives a firm sensation too… and Mai finds herself losing strength. When he finally lets go, warm, passionate breath flow out of their lips.
Mai almost slides to the ground, but Rio wraps his arms around her waist and quietly hugs her. He finds his own actions unbelievable. First he picked a fight with Seiya and said she belongs to him, but then he used her age as an excuse to reject her. In the end, he found himself chasing after her and kissing her by force. He didn’t understand the reason at all, but he finally realized after seeing her tears. It’s because he loves her. For him, she’s the first person he’s ever fallen in love with. Rio’s confession fill Mai’s heart with happiness for a moment, but then she recalls his denial from earlier. Afraid that Rio might be teasing her again, Mai shakes her head and asks if this is also a lie. He answers that he’s not lying, but she refuses to believe it. She points out that she’s a kid, and so she can’t give him the mature love he wants.
Rio nods saying he used to think that way too. He didn’t believe in loving one person only, thinking that it won’t be enough unless he receives a lot of love. That’s why he thought he’d be fine even if he doesn’t see her, but he’s been feeling lonely ever since their fake relationship ended. Even though he received a lot of love from his princesses, his heart always felt empty… and he couldn’t figure out the reason until he kissed her. It was the first kiss that ever touched and warmed his heart, erasing his loneliness in an instant. As he holds her even closer, Rio says he feels fulfilled just by hugging Mai like this. During their kiss, he thought about why it has to be her—why his loneliness won’t disappear without her. The answer was surprisingly simple. It’s because he loves her, and his heart is wishing for her to love him back. For the first time in his life, Rio comes to understand what Tomu has been saying all this time. His loneliness can’t be healed by a lot of love. The only person who can heal it is Mai, because she’s the one who he truly loves.
A single tear rolls down Rio’s cheek, but Mai wipes it away and asks him not to cry. He closes his eyes and relishes the sensation, then he smiles at her. He never received this happiness from anyone before, and he doesn’t want to let it go… so he finally asks if she’s willing to love him. Rio’s question brings tears to Mai’s eyes, and she hugs him back before answering that she loves him. Even if he didn’t ask her to, her love for him is real. Since the day they said goodbye, it never withered even once. She just thought that her love is unrequited, and that it’ll disappear without even reaching him. When Mai once again confesses that she loves him, Rio smiles and answers that he loves her too. They hug each other for a while before leaning in for another kiss. Or two. Or maybe more. ｲﾔﾝ☆(*´∀`)σ)))))*3ﾟ),･´.､
After that, Mai and Rio hold hands as they leave the back alley. She asks if he’s going to go back to LADY MAGIC, but he says he wants to go home instead. He wants to celebrate his birthday with her. As much as she wants to do that, Mai reminds Rio that his guests must be waiting for him. Realizing that Mai is right, Rio blushes and admits that he’s getting carried away—because he’s happy to have his feelings returned. He shyly adds that he’s so uncool, and she can’t help but smile since she actually finds him really cute. He answers that she’s the cute one though, and he gently kisses her forehead. (*´艸`*)ｧﾊ♪ Rio says he’s going to make some time after work, so he invites Mai to have a birthday party in his mansion—just for the two of them. He wants to eat her cooking again, and she happily agrees. She’s going to make all the food and his birthday cake, and she’ll wish him a happy birthday too. Of course it’s not only for today, because she will always stay with him and celebrate his birthday every year. Rio looks really happy as he says that he’s glad to have met Mai, and he pulls her in for another hug. As Rio’s warmth embraces her, Mai swears that she won’t ever let go of his hands.
Back in LADY MAGIC, Rio and Mai are confronted by Seiya. Taiga and Miyabi are watching as well as all the women in the club. When Rio apologizes for the trouble, Seiya moves closer and whispers that he was the one who set things up. That’s why Rio doesn’t have to apologize, especially because Seiya knows that he went a bit too far. Rio doesn’t mind though, because he finally got Mai thanks to Seiya’s trap. Rio then asks him to do what he needs to do, so Seiya grins saying he’ll do one more act. His expression turns cold as he pulls away, then he delivers a message from the owner. As the penalty for stealing Seiya’s guest, Rio will be fined and have his rank lowered. In addition, he has to take all the guests he left behind on a date. For free. Rio keeps Mai hidden behind his back as he accepts the penalty. While she actually wants to do something to help, she’s afraid the situation would only get worse if she speaks up. For now, she can only hold onto his blazer from behind.
After accepting the penalty, Rio apologizes to all the guests in LADY MAGIC. Some of them got angry and cried, but he doesn’t stop until they forgive him. He spends a long time apologizing and scheduling dates, and he can finally see Mai—who’s waiting in the staff room—after sending them off. From there, he takes her to his mansion. He flops onto the sofa upon entering the living room, then he puts his arm around her and pulls her closer. For him, it feels like a dream to be able to reach for her. He says he was lonely during their time apart, and he smiles as he kisses her hair. This causes Mai to turn red, but then she looks up at Rio and says she has something to tell him. When she was waiting for him in the staff room, she came up with the idea of working in LADY MAGIC. She’ll give all of her wage so he can use it to pay off the fine.
Rio is clearly surprised, but then he says it’s not necessary. While he does have to pay a lot, it’s not that he can’t afford to pay it off. He also points out that Mai has to work in Kamizono Shrine, but she promises to convince Kyouga properly. She doesn’t want to remain idle when he’s in trouble, so she asks him to let her help. It was her who got Tomu and Seiya’s help, so she also feels responsible for what happened. Besides, they are now lovers… so she thinks they should do this together. After a short silence, Rio smiles and hugs Mai. He agrees to let her help, saying he feels safe with a girlfriend like her by his side. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:* After that, they open his birthday party by cooking and baking the cake together. Rio looks so happy when he thinks about spending his birthday with Mai every year, and she smiles saying she’ll stay with him forever. Mai then wishes Rio a happy birthday, and he happily thanks her as they move into the kitchen.
The next day, Mai tells Miki and Mori about her relationship with Rio. Poor Mori is obviously shocked, so much that he freezes in place and drops his straw onto the table. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ He immediately raises a protest that it’s dangerous to date a host, and Miki admits that she’s a bit worried too. She believes Mai will be alright, but she points out that Rio hasn’t quit his job as a host. Of course Rio can’t quit that easily due to the penalty, but Mori asks if Mai is really okay with that. After all, her boyfriend has to spend time with other women. Mai can’t say she’s okay because she does find it unpleasant, but she’ll do her best to shoulder the penalty with Rio. However, Mai falls silent when Miki points out that Rio will have to take all of his princesses on a date. Of course she gets jealous, but she can’t ask him to stop. The penalty is partly her fault, and she doesn’t want to get in his way.
Miki eventually sighs saying Mai is so stubborn, and she asks Mai to tell them if it gets too painful to hold back. Mori and her are always on Mai’s side. ヽ(*´ー`*)ﾉ Mori also adds that if Rio ever dares to hurt her, he will ask Takuto to put a lot of mustard into Rio’s club sandwich. (((壊ﾟ∀ﾟ)))ｧﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ Mai bursts into laughter upon hearing this, while Miki says it’s a nice idea. It’s a suitable punishment for an insolent man who dares to make her best friend cry. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Mori grins saying they can leave it to him, though he admits that it’s partly because he wants to take out his frustration on Rio LOL. As the poor thing lets out a really sad laugh, Miki pats his back and gives him some encouragement.
• GOOD END 1: Towards a Happy Future •
One month later, Mai goes on a date with Rio. It’s been a while since their last date, and they have dinner in a nice restaurant… but he keeps getting calls for work. Mai isn’t happy at all about this, up to the point where she can’t enjoy her dessert anymore. Rio apologizes to her before leaving to take the call, while she thinks about how pathetic she is. Of course she feels jealous, and yet she can’t tell him to stop. Rio returns soon after, explaining that it was from a guest whom he’s supposed to see tomorrow. She has other plans for tomorrow, so she asked him to reschedule their date. He also mentions that her birthday is just around the corner, and he’ll have to choose a present for her. Since the guest’s age is close to Mai, he then asks if she can give him some advice.
However, Mai can’t take it anymore and snaps. She asks why Rio take work-related calls during their time together. While she did allow him to pick them up, it’s been a long time since they last had a date. He says he does feel bad, but he points out that she should understand his job too. He only has one more guest to date before the penalty ends, and she knows that. She answers that even if she understands, she still feels jealous. She doesn’t want to see the person she loves being so nice to other women. Mai then gets up and says she’s going home. When Rio tries to stop her, she scowls saying he should just get a lot of mustard in his club sandwich. Then she runs off and leaves him behind. Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒(。A。)ｱﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ!!
Outside, Mai reaches a park and sits on a bench—reflecting on her actions. She feels terrible because she promised to help Rio with the penalty, and yet she was taken over by her jealousy. She realizes that it was really childish of her, and she decides to apologize after cooling off for a bit… but Rio comes after her not too long after that. He was looking for her, but he’s glad that she didn’t go that far. Mai quickly stands up to apologize, but Rio puts a finger on her lips—saying she doesn’t have to. When she says it’s her fault for getting jealous, he replies that’s exactly why she doesn’t owe him any apology. He’d get jealous too if she prioritizes other men. Rio also admits that ever since Mai started working in LADY MAGIC, he always gets jealous whenever he sees her getting along with Tetsuya, Taiga and Miyabi. While he knows that it’s only for work, he can’t help it because he loves her. That’s why he doesn’t think it’s her fault, since it’s his own fault for taking her kindness for granted.
Rio smiles as he hugs Mai. Then he grins and tells her that once he’s done with the penalty, he’s going to quit his job as a host. Mai, on the other hand, is shocked. She asks if it’s because of what she said, but Rio says it’s because he doesn’t want her to hold back. He doesn’t want to hurt her, and so he decided to quit. Besides, a certain flirty salaryman picked a good timing to give a job offer. He believes Rio would do great in sales, so he’s currently inviting Rio to change careers… and Rio is planning to accept it. At first Mai isn’t too sure because Rio loved his job as a host, but he gives her a reassuring wink. Besides, changing careers will give him a better impression when he sees her parents. (ｏ´艸`ｏ)ｧﾊ♪ They’d probably refuse to let their daughter marry a host, so he thinks the decision is perfect.
It takes a second before heat starts rising onto Mai’s cheeks, and she realizes that Rio is proposing to her. Since Mai is only staring at him with a surprised expression, Rio asks if she doesn’t notice that he’s dating her with marriage in mind. When she nods, he sighs saying it won’t be convincing if he continues working as a host. Rio smiles as he takes Mai’s hand, kissing it before turning to look at her. He then makes it clear that he’s planning to marry her, and he asks if she’s willing to date him with that condition. Of course she happily says yes, and he grins at her in return. They lean closer to share a deep, passionate kiss after that, as if they’re telling each other that they don’t want to be apart. ﾟ+.(*ﾉωヾ*)ｬﾝ♪+ﾟ
At the end of their kiss, Rio says he always feels dizzy with happiness whenever he kisses Mai. As she puts her head against his chest, Mai tells Rio that she loves him. He smiles saying he loves her too, and then he invites her to resume their date. While she did get the permission to return home late, this still surprises her as it’s already late. She asks if there are places to visit at this hour, and he says they should be able to find some… but not for today. The restaurant from earlier actually has a hotel on the lower floor, and Rio asks if Mai knows what that means. (*ﾉ∀ﾉ)ｲﾔﾝ Mai instantly turns red upon hearing this, but it actually makes her really happy… because it feels like Rio is answering her desire to stay with him. When Mai accepts and says she still wants to be with him, Rio laughs saying that’s a deadly phrase. He kisses her forehead before holding her hand, and they happily walk side by side—towards their future together.
• GOOD END 2: You’re the Only Woman I Love •
Upon returning to LADY MAGIC, Rio tells Mai to wait at the entrance as he goes to apologize to Seiya. As the punishment for snatching Mai away, Rio says he’ll ask the owner to give him a penalty. If Seiya wants him to quit, then Rio will really quit. Seiya can punish him however he likes. Besides, he knows he needs to apologize to the guests. They all came to celebrate his birthday, and yet he left them behind. After making sure that he can really pick the punishment, Seiya grins and orders Rio to do LADY MAGIC’s punishment game—the “Ecstasy ☆ Show”! (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ He pulls Rio’s blazer off as he says this, and all the guests let out an excited scream that shakes the whole club. Mai, on the other hand, is confused. What punishment game? Why does it called the “Ecstasy ☆ Show”!? Rio looks a bit dazed for a moment, but then he glances at Mai and gives her an apologetic nod.
Rio turns back to Seiya after that, agreeing to take the punishment. He winks at his princesses as he asks them to enjoy his “Ecstasy ☆ Show”, and LADY MAGIC shakes once again when they shriek in unison. He takes off his tie as he walks onto the stage, and a lively dance music starts playing at the same time. Mai watches this in confusion, and her jaw drops open when Rio begins unbuttoning his shirt. His bewitching expression and toned body send the entire club into great delight. As Rio continues to strip with seductive movements, Mai feels her heartbeat going out of control. Noticing that she’s shocked, Taiga and Miyabi soon come to ask if she’s okay—she’s all red in the face. She quickly answers that she’s alright, but at the same time… not really LOL.
From them, Mai learns that the “Ecstasy ☆ Show” is a punishment game in the form of stripping—just as she can see. It’s one of LADY MAGIC’s punishments for the hosts who break the rules, and they really have to strip everything. Normally it’d leave them feeling down for about a month, but it probably won’t affect Rio. He never did it before though, which is why the guests are so excited. Of course Rio will be fined and have his rank lowered as well, but the show is a smart idea from Seiya to help him. In order to prevent the guests from getting angry, he’s basically sending Rio to give them some service. That’s why they want Mai to hold back for now, though it might be hard since she just became Rio’s girlfriend. Mai is more surprised that they know about that, but apparently everyone in LADY MAGIC knew that Rio is in love with her. His attitude clearly changed after parting with her, and they find it unbelievable that he didn’t notice.
Soon after that, they hear the guests happily screaming around the stage… because apparently Rio has taken off his shirt. Now that he’s fixed their mood, all that’s left is for him to accept the owner’s judgment. Both Taiga and Miyabi are a bit worried about the fine, because it’ll probably cost a lot. Rio is the number one host after all, and giving him a light penalty would set a bad example for the lower rank hosts. Upon hearing this, Mai clenches her fists and asks them to take her to the owner. Mai doesn’t want Rio to take the punishment alone, so she’s going to do it with him. When Miyabi asks what she’s planning to do, Mai says she’ll do everything she can for the man she loves. The fact that Rio is doing his best in the “Ecstasy ☆ Show” only strengthens her resolution.
Several days later, Mai returns to LADY MAGIC’s kitchen. Even though it’s a part of Rio’s penalty, Tetsuya is really happy to have her back. That night, Mai asked the owner to let her work in the kitchen. Her wage will be used to pay off the fine. At first Rio wanted to pay everything by himself, but she refused since it’s partly her fault. If she honestly confessed without relying on Tomu and Seiya, things wouldn’t end up like that. When Mai apologizes for troubling Tetsuya, he slams the counter saying she’s not troubling him at all. She’s a great help, and LADY MAGIC would be in trouble without her. His junior had to quit due to his family circumstances, while the girls who entered after that ended up falling in love with either him, Rio or Seiya. Tetsuya shouts that his kitchen doesn’t need weaklings who are controlled by love, then he chops a radish into two with great force. (((壊ﾟ∀ﾟ)))ｧﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬﾋｬ He quickly adds that Mai is different though, as she always gets her job done. That’s why he really needs her.
This reminds Tetsuya that Mai is dating Rio now, and he asks if they’re doing well. When she says they’re doing great, he smiles saying he’s glad to hear that. Tetsuya also mentions that Rio can be rather spoiled though, so Mai should scold him if he acts that way. However, Mai is actually a bit sad that her time with Rio has decreased. Since Rio’s rank has been lowered, naturally his fee also went down. This brings a LOT of guests to LADY MAGIC, because they can get an ex-number one host with a cheap fee. Thanks to that, Rio has gotten extremely busy and doesn’t have much time for Mai. It can’t be avoided since it’s a part of the penalty, but she still feels lonely. They can see each other at work though, so she’s going to hold back until they can have some private time.
Speaking of work, Tetsuya asks about Mai’s job in Kamizono Shrine. He’s afraid that she’ll get in trouble by working in LADY MAGIC, but she actually has Kyouga’s permission. When Mai told Kyouga about the penalty, he easily agreed and sent her to work in LADY MAGIC. He knows Tetsuya likes her a lot, and he’ll gain more gratitude from the owner as the result. (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ Apparently the owner of LADY MAGIC is an entrepreneur, so he owns a lot of business aside from the host club—including restaurants and clubs. In other words, more gratitude from him means more profit for Kyouga. That’s why he doesn’t mind even if Mai works in LADY MAGIC, as he could hear the sound of money rolling into his pocket LOL. That aside, Tetsuya is sincerely happy to have Mai back… and he asks her to take care of LADY MAGIC with Rio from now on.
After a while, they can hear things getting lively in the club floor. It seems like the show has begun, which means things will be less busy for them. The show is held at a specific time, and the hosts sing, dance and do other performances for the guests. Everyone stops ordering food during the show, and Tetsuya always uses the time to get some rest. Mai asks him to take a break and eat his meal first, so he accepts her offer and leaves. She’ll have her meal when he comes back, and she’s always looking forward to it because his cooking is really good. Mai cheerfully hums as she wash the dishes, but then a certain someone suddenly hugs her from behind. There’s only one person who does something like this, so she only throws a glance and reminds Rio that they’re still at work. Rio asks Mai to let him rest for a bit though. They’ve been apart for too long, and he feels like he’s going insane. He needs more of her, so he asks her to stay like this for a while. He does understand that he’s working for the penalty, but he can’t wait to get a day off. It’s going to take a month, and he’s not sure if he can wait until then.
Despite Rio’s warmth and sweet whispers, Mai tells him to do his best to endure it. She wants to be with him too, but she’s holding back. He points out that she looks rather fine though, and he snuggles up to savor her scent instead. Afraid that someone might see them, Mai panics and asks if Rio isn’t going to perform in the show… but he says he’s not participating. The stars of today’s show are Seiya and Miyabi, so he’s more interested in hugging her instead. As he says this, Rio’s hand slides down and traces Mai’s figure. She quickly scolds him saying he can’t do that here. They’re currently at work, so she’ll be really troubled if anyone sees them. Rio only grins saying he gets more excited if people are watching, but he instantly stops when Mai threatens to cancel “something” he requested for. She can feel him trembling, and he quickly apologizes. He promises not to do it again, and he desperately begs her not to cancel it.
The reason is because Rio actually asked Mai to wear her shrine maiden outfit on their next day off, and she’s going to spend the whole day in his place looking like that. ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀`ﾟ)ﾟ｡ｱﾋｬﾋｬ The first time they met, Rio actually found Mai very 萌え in her shrine maiden outfit… and he did everything he could to control himself. Staying in the same room with a shrine maiden is just like a dream come true for him LOL. Since Rio loves her shrine maiden outfit that much, Mai agreed in the hope of making him happy. She finds it embarrassing, but she wants to give him a reward for his hard work. She doesn’t want to recall Kyouga’s face when she asked to borrow the outfit though. ｱﾋｬﾋｬ｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀｀｡ﾟ(ﾟﾉ∀ヽﾟ)ﾟ｡´∀ヽﾟ)ﾟ｡ﾋｬﾋｬ Mai then asks Rio to go back to work, since his princesses are waiting for him. However, he only holds her closer and asks if she really wants him to go. When she tells him that he’s not playing fair, he admits that he doesn’t want to go back to work… and he knows she feels the same way. Even if he has a lot of princesses, she’s the only woman he loves. She’s the only person he wants to love.
When Rio’s lips touch her neck, Mai nearly gets swayed by the sweet temptation… but she remembers that they’re still at work. No matter how much she wants to be with him, as long as they’re paying her, she needs to get her job done. Mai quickly pulls herself out of Rio’s temptation and tells him to go back to work, or she won’t wear the shrine maiden outfit for him. Upon hearing this, he instantly lets her go and obediently says he’ll go back to work LOL. Before leaving, Rio whispers that he’ll give Mai a lot of love once he’s done with work. Mai smiles saying she’ll do the same thing, and Rio laughs saying he’s looking forward to it. They’ll always be together from now on, tied by the one, devoted love they share.
• NORMAL END: Last Embrace •
While Mai and Rio became lovers, their relationship doesn’t last long. Due to the commotion they caused in LADY MAGIC, Rio’s guests start harassing Mai—similarly to what Ayaka did. They flood her with letters and phone calls, as well as ambushing her just to throw insults. They even go as far as slapping her in the face, but she endures everything because she wants to be with him. However, Miki and Mori can’t bear to see Mai like that… so they report it to Rio. He quickly rushes over and apologizes to his guests, but they’re not willing to compromise. Rio is forced to choose between Mai and them. If he doesn’t choose them, they won’t come to LADY MAGIC anymore.
From there, Rio takes Mai to discuss this issue in his mansion. He admits that he doesn’t want to let go of his guests, because they’ve been supporting him for a long time. Mai can understand too, since they were the ones who helped easing Rio’s loneliness up until now. She knows what Rio is trying to say by bringing this up, but she also notices that he can’t let go of her either. She’s the only love in his life, and he doesn’t want to let her go… so she decides to say the words: “Shirosaki-san, let’s break up.” She doesn’t want him to suffer, and she decides to let him go. Rio is terribly shaken. While he really does love Mai, he can’t seem to shove his guests away either.
On the other hand, Mai remains surprisingly calm. She smiles and asks Rio not to feel lonely. Even if she can’t see him or stay by his side, she loves him… and she’ll always do. As she hugs Rio and wishes for him not to cry, Mai says goodbye. In return, Rio says he loves Mai too. He’ll continue loving her and only her, and then he bids her farewell. For one last time, Mai and Rio embrace each other. Even if they decided to break up, their one, true love will always continue to stay in their hearts.
• BAD END: Cheering in the Heart •
A month after Mai agreed to play the role of Rio’s girlfriend, she calls him to the park and admits that she can’t do it anymore. He’s not surprised though, since he actually saw it coming. When Rio asks if Ayaka’s assaults are that bad, Mai honestly nods. The day after they met her in Siesta, Ayaka started giving silent calls and sending threatening letters everyday. If Mai goes outside, Ayaka would come out and forces her to break up with Rio—following it with a rain of insults. Mai is obviously terrified, though she feels bad for Rio since she already promised to help. At the same time, Rio also feels guilty for forcing Mai into the role. He promises to tell Ayaka that they’ve broken up, so Ayaka won’t bother her anymore. After apologizing for dragging Mai into trouble, Rio thanks her for everything. Since Ayaka is watching, he’ll make sure not to approach her again from now on. Rio then says goodbye and takes his leave, and Mai bows her head towards his back—feeling bad for not being able to help.
Several days later, Mai sees Rio and Ayaka during a shopping trip. They’re linking arms, and Rio shows a gentle smile towards Ayaka. Upon seeing Rio doing his best at work, Mai smiles and wishes for his job as a host to always go smoothly. She doesn’t talk to him. She only watches him from afar, cheering for him in her heart.
This turned out to be much longer than I expected, but oh well. Rio deserves all the love that he can get! ♪ﾟ+.ｏ(*萌´д`从´д`萌*)ｏ.+ﾟ♪ The way he treats the age gap is kind of similar to Yousuke, in the sense that he’s using it to shut Mai out of his strike zone. It’s just the age gap isn’t the main issue with Rio, since his perspective on love is rather warped before meeting Mai. Not because it’s wrong, but because it’s not the kind of love he truly wants. I love how they show the contrast between Rio and Mai’s opinions though, as well as the importance of respecting other people’s values. Mai is still the sweet and mature girl she is, but I actually relate to Rio better in this route… because he’s terrifyingly similar to me. That includes his way of thinking, his obstinacy, and even his issue with loneliness. (´・∀・`；)ゞ My favorite part from Rio’s route is definitely his interactions with Tomu though. They’re just so cute, and Tomu is such a good friend for Rio. It’s so heartwarming to see them supporting each other, so I hope Rio will also appear in Tomu’s route.
While Rio’s endings are super cute, the normal ending can really hit you in the face if you get it by total accident… so be careful. It comes at the very end of the route, and it can be extremely painful if you think you’re heading towards his good ending. You should be fine if you’re picking the right options though.
Also, today is December 24. Happy Birthday, Rio! ☆*ﾟ畄ヽ(´∀`≡´∀`)ﾉ轡ﾟ*☆