Writer: 日日日 (Akira)
Black Tea Chapter 6
Location: Garden Terrace
Previous Year, Sometime Later, Late Spring
Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

I heard something interesting, Ritsu-kun.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mm~ Like what?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say I "found out" something. Which is to say, I found out that every utterance that leaves your mouth is a complete and total lie.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Ehhh~ Who said that~? How mean! Aren't I harmless? A friend to all creatures~? Ecchan, you believe me, don't you?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

I would love to believe in you. Personally, I've begun to grow fond of you after sitting around a table with you so many times.

Even if I ignore the fact that you're the Rei Sakuma's younger brother, I do consider you both an exceptional individual and asset who's of great interest to me.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Yeah, thanks. ... Tch~ Guess you caught me.

Okay, yeah, all that stuff about my brother abusing me and me running away to escape it was all a lie.

I'm just sick of going home and having to deal with my pain in the ass of a brother, so I just made a nest at school and sleep here sometimes.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

You can't sleep at school without permission. Honestly, you're just as much of a problem child as your brother— you're both very much the same.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

We are not...

A~nyway, this suuuure throws a wrench into your plans, huh? I figure the only reason you went out of your way to approach me was because you wanted to get ahold of my older brother's weakness, right?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

I won't deny that was my intention, yes.

I was entirely tricked by your claims, so I hired a professional detective to investigate your household for any evidence of abuse.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Well, stop. I know it's my fault that this is happening, but... my clan is extremely sensitive to that kinda thing.

If we had our way, we'd catch any outsiders trying to investigate us and skewer them alive.[1]

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Mm, I do feel I'd been too hasty. It was a little rash, even for me...

Though the detective in question is exceptional in his field, he was caught near instantly. Even worse, it looks like your clan got him to cough up my aim.

To add insult to injury, they formally allowed him into your home and let him search it top to bottom.

They made him swear that he wouldn't breathe a single word more than necessary about them to anyone else, and only then did they allow him to peruse your clan's records of the past.

The result of the investigation on your clan's history sounded more like a work of fiction than anything real, but, as fascinating as it was... In the modern era, your clan's activities are without fault, and they have no darkness lurking hidden in their affairs.

In fact, it turns out your clan is a vulnerable, at-risk social minority.

Your clan's situation, as well as your physical condition, is something quite difficult for anyone to believe in this day and age, never mind how awfully suspicious it all sounds...

But I'd like to avoid harming or discriminating against minorities of any kind.

From hereon, this will be policy within fine as well.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Yep, that's how it is. ... So leave us alone already.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

I understand that much. "Involve yourself not in the affairs of gods and no divine punishment will come to you," as they say.[2] To beings beyond human comprehension, my greatest weapons—my authority and assets—mean nothing.

I imagine I should probably avoid rubbing your clan the wrong way, lest they charge at me with bombs in hand with the intent to take both me and them down.

Even my father scolded me. There are some things you oughtn't get involved with; nothing good comes from disturbing a hornet's nest, after all.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Exactly. If what you want to know is how to actually beat my brother, you'll need to cut him off from our clan first, yeah?

Come up with some task or something to lure him as far away as you can… Get him to leave the battlefield here of his own free will.

And then, if my brother collapses, it'll look like it's his own fault and he's just reaping what he sowed. If anything, our clan'll just look at him and go, "Serves you right," and celebrate it.

They’ll drag him back home and make him quit being an idol.

Then what they'll do is scold him and say he’s played around more than enough.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

... How unexpected. Are you giving me advice, Ritsu-kun?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Of course. I've said it plenty of times already, haven't I? I loathe my brother with all my heart.

Oh yeah, also, you'll need to set up a "friend" or "enemy" for my brother. Someone that can stand as his equal; someone who won't break easily.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Hmmm.... Can't you become that "someone"? You should know fine is currently recruiting new members.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Nope, not possible. This is my brother by blood we're talking about. We've gone through real persecution together; waging war on our own family is the only thing we can't do. If we fought one another, we wouldn't have anyone we could trust.

A~nyway, it's way too late for me to try being a friend or an enemy to him now.

To my "darling onii-chan," I'll aaaalways be nothing more than a "cute little brother" he has to treasure and protect at any cost.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Hmm. That must be frustrating... Ritsu-kun.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

... That wasn't like me. Forget I said anything. Could you get me a refill of tea maybe?

Might as well drink 'til I burst, seeing as this’ll probably be our last tea party.

Now that you know that I'm nothing but a liar, there's no reason for you to treat me anymore.

With this, we can finally end this strange relationship. Thanks, Ecchan... It's been pretty fun— Well, I guess you helped me kill some time.

Being able to pass some time means a lot to people like me.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

... I'd like if you didn't go ending things of your own accord.

Ritsu-kun, this is just a suggestion, but why don't we start a club together?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

A club? Why would we... Oh, yeah, huh, I guess there's that weird new school rule that makes doing club stuff mandatory or something...?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

There isn’t really a penalty for ignoring the rule, though, so that’s what most students are doing. However, given my position, I’m somewhat obligated to follow the rules.

Even so... in Yumenosaki academy's current state, the vast majority of its clubs don't have any proper club activities.

Most of them are unremarkable wastes of space. I'd rather avoid involving myself with those clubs, lest my reputation be tarnished.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Yeah, I can see that. Guess that’s the point of a rule that makes people join those kinda clubs, huh?

"The heavier the baggage, the weaker the enemy gets," is your logic, I'm assuming?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Exactly. So I thought I'd avoid joining any pre-existing clubs and start one of my own.

A brand new club, like a newborn infant, nice and clean.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mmm~mm... Why not? No skin off my back. I keep skipping class and ignoring school rules all the time, so I’m already in danger of being held back a year.

That said, someone lazy like me probably wouldn’t fit in to a real club, but yours is just gonna be a cover that’s a club only in name, right?

If I sign on, I could just be a ghost member and not bother do any club activities. You'd be the only other member, and I get how you tick, so I'd have nothing to worry about...

Plus, joining a club means I won't be breaking any rules anymore, so it'd be a pre~tty good deal for me, huh.

So, sure. Negotiations complete. I'll join your club, just don’t expect me to do the paperwork for setting it up or whatever. You can do all the stuff that takes effort yourself, Ecchan.

I won't do a single thing. And even when the club's all set up and official, I won't participate in any club activities.

... That fine by you?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Of course. In fact, it's a dream come true. I'm grateful that we could resolve this matter so cleanly.

Ritsu-kun. Given all this, I hope you'll have tea with me tomorrow.

I'll bring the papers to officiate our club, so I'd like you to sign and seal[3] them, if you would.

Naturally, all the food and drink at the tea party will be my treat. If something as simple as that will help the matter go smoothly, it's a small price to play.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Ya~y, got it. You better not forget.

I'll leech off you for just a little bit longer... O great heir.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Mm, go ahead. ... All that said, we'll need to note the club's name and what our club activities are supposed to be on the forms.

Would you have any ideas, Ritsu-kun?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mmmm... What about a club where all we do is sleep...? How does "nap club" sound?

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Shocking as I'm sure it isn't, there's no chance that proposal would pass.

... Why don't we simply create a club based on what we're doing now, enjoying ourselves with refinement and grace? We could call it "tea club."[4]

It'd be easy to say our club activities pertain to researching the history of tea, the proper etiquette of it, and so on and so forth.

I often hear about there being tea ceremony clubs in some places,[5] but our school doesn't have anything like that.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Sure, we can do that. Anything's fine by me. You can do whateeeever you want, Ecchan.

Eichi Tenshouin 2nd Year School Dialogue Render

Mm. I think I will ♪

  1. Perhaps worth noting that the method of murder Ritsu suggests here is literally "impalement" (kushizashi), and the title of Vlad the Impaler, the original inspiration for Dracula, uses the same word (kushizashi) for "Impaler."
  2. This is a Japanese idiom meaning "let sleeping dogs lie," but since Eichi refers to Rei as a god frequently, it seemed like the literal meaning of the idiom might be somewhat intentional here.
  3. Referring to a signature stamp. See:
  4. Of note, "tea club" is literally koucha-bu, or "black tea club," hence the name of this story.
  5. This might not necessarily be an Ensemble Girls! reference, but the Ensemble Girls school does have a tea ceremony club which was also connected to the "war" at their school, so who knows.
Translation: adriessene
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