The Road Not Taken, Omake

The Great Secret is Revealed! Humor, I-1

Character(s): Kou Shouka, Shi Seien

Seien found Kou Shouka out in the pavilion on the pond, and came to stand before him, shoulders straight.

“Seiran,” Shouka-sama greeted him with a smile. “Isn’t it a lovely evening?”

“Yes,” Seien said quietly, “but I have something I have to tell you. I’m afraid…” he looked aside for a moment, “it isn’t as lovely.”

“Ah?” Shouka-sama’s brows rose. “Well, tell me, then.”

Seiran took a long breath. “I haven’t lied to you, but I haven’t told you the truth either. The truth…” another breath, “is that I am Shi Seien, the second Imperial prince.”

“Oh yes.” Shouka-sama nodded agreeably. “I know.”

The evening’s first cricket chirped in the dead silence.

Seien felt like he’d just run into a stone wall—an invisible one. Carefully he repeated, “You know?”

“Of course. But you didn’t seem to want to tell us your name when we found you, and it would have been rude to insist.”

“Rude,” Seien said flatly, staring at Shouka-sama. The man just smiled, and Seien was seized with a sudden suspicion. “Shouka-sama… are you teasing me?”

“Would I do that?”