Translated by Mojo of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
He wanted to cool his head a little bit, so Masazumi went outside the house. He intended to suppress his agitated emotions and take his seat nonchalantly at dinner. If he accused them all of this prank which not even an elementary school student would think to do, without knowing who the culprit was, he would be gossiped about, made fun of, looked down upon, and hated by everyone. Still, he didn’t have any intentions of running away.
He didn’t deny that he had thought for a second, “As if I could stand to be in a place like this any longer”, but if he tucked his tail between his legs and tried to escape now that would be even more humiliating and he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself. So he fixed his mindset.
The villa was surrounded by mountains, so the temperature was lower than on flat land. There were enough lush trees that it was difficult to see the sky plus it was chilly because of the breeze. However, it was still three o’clock on a summer afternoon, so dashing outside without a hat had been a reckless idea and he would wind up regretting it.
He knew that there were no more houses until the foot of the mountain, so he thought it might be better to try ascending, but it was also possible there was nothing beyond Sagano’s house.
The further he went, the more he found that there was nothing but asphalt road. He couldn’t see any buildings. There had only been one car going up and one car going down, and both of them seemed to look at Masazumi strangely as he walked along the shoulder of the road.
From that, he was able to imagine that there was nothing but mountain passes at the other side, and even if he crossed those passes it would be a long distance before he reached anything at all.
He was wearing formal clothes, as if he had just attended a tea party, so it was no wonder that he looked odd walking alone along a mountain road. There was no way he looked as if he were just enjoying a hike.
The incline was steeper than it looked, it could hardly be called a nice walk either. His breathing gradually became rougher, and no matter how much he wiped it his sweat kept dripping. With his fingers he brushed away the strands of fringe which had stuck to his face.
Despite this, the reason he kept stubbornly walking was because he didn’t feel that he could keep calm if he faced the other members of the community right now.
“It’s fine, really. That kid, he might be an omega, but he’s a rich bitch in a different world to ours.”
Hearing a laugh that sounded like it had deeper meaning, and a sarcastic tone as if showing off its influence, Masazumi had stopped a few feet from the door and listened closer. Though about forty minutes had passed since they drove him out, it seemed they were all still in the living room. He had been about to enter the room and make some protest against whoever had put the toy in his bed, but his enthusiasm was killed upon hearing this.
Once his motivation had been lost, it was not easy to get it back. Masazumi was an outsider of this group, they were all older than him and he knew nothing about their real attitudes or personalities. It was the most unsure of anything he had ever been in his life. There was nobody to rely on and nobody to protect him, and being a noble son of the Count family or being the mate of the Marquis’ successor was probably the only thing protecting him from any worse teasing. If he had been the son of any other family it probably wouldn’t end with a toy mouse. He was certain of that now.
The door of the living room hadn’t been shut properly and still remained open a little, so the sounds of the conversation inside leaked out. The people inside were unaware of this, and they were all gossiping about Masazumi, laughing and bad-mouthing him, and making statements of jealousy. The volume of their voices kept escalating.
As he continued walking along the road, its steep inclines beginning to hurt his body, Masazumi couldn’t get their words out of his head and he grew increasingly irritated. He remembered every hurtful word and the insults grated at him.
“Fine or not fine, it’s not like we really did it with bad intentions, right?” Arita spoke, he sounded at first like he was just getting carried up in the conversation. The only one who spoke without any hesitation was Sagano. He spoke like a Sophist, it was irritating. Though his voice was pretty it was completely malicious. To think that he had been even a little bit moved by this voice, that he had heard it and thought that he wanted to meet its owner, Masazumi abhorred his own naivety.
He felt guilty for eavesdropping but he couldn’t just turn around and leave. There was also no way he would open the door and proclaim “I can hear you”, so he had no choice but to stay where he was.
“It was a physical fact that I had to give him the smallest room. You can’t give what you don’t have. That kid is just a guest and not a member, plus he’s so much younger, just a highschool student. When he turns eighteen, I’ll put him in a nice room but currently he’s only half-fledged so he is not that high a priority.”
“Yes, yes. But Sagano-san, from the start, you didn’t really intend to let that kid in the community did you? A male omega from a noble family is much more of a rare species than any of us, so you just wanted to see what he looked like, I guess.”
“You guess correctly.”
“How was he? Personally he was prettier than I thought, I didn’t expect such a fairy-looking boy so I was quite surprised.”
“Hmm, well if I were an alpha, I’d be a complete slave to him. Even if he wasn’t in heat, probably.”
“Earlier I got a weird sensation from his scent. I’m an omega though. It wasn’t a good scent at all though, I thought he must have sprayed something on top of it.”
“No way. Aren’t you imagining it?”
“… Is it actually alright, that we put that thing in his bed?”
Their voices dropped to a whisper so Masazumi had to strain to listen.
Following the flow of the conversation, Masazumi was able to work out who was speaking without thinking about it. But the last voice surprised him. It was the gloomy Yanagimoto, who had not said a word the entire time he was in the room with Masazumi. Like a lot of the members he didn’t seem to be completely in agreement with Sagano, he had just enough reason to be hesitating about the degree of the prank they had pulled. But still there were no signs of opposition to Sagano, nobody had the power to stop his actions against Masazumi.
“It’s just a toy. And it wasn’t me that came up with that plan, it was Sakurano.”
Masazumi had completely believed that it was the work of Sagano, so the fact that it was Sakurano’s doing surprised him and he almost blurted out, “Huh?” but swallowed before he made a sound. To think that Sakurano, who had sat next to him and talked to him about various things, would pull such a prank… had he been foolish to think that Sakurano was treating him kinder than the other members? Masazumi was in shock. He was afraid of how quickly he had opened his heart to someone who only showed him a little kindness. Now he knew that he couldn’t trust anyone here.
“Still, that kid hasn’t made a fuss yet.”
“Since he’s a delicate princess, maybe he just fainted without even letting out a scream.”
“He didn’t seem that weak. He’s probably just quiet out of shock.”
“It’s been bothering me for a while now but Sagano, how come you know that kid?”
“An underclassman from my old tennis club told me in secret. He lost his sports scholarship and couldn’t go to that school anymore, and it seems it was all Nirei Masazumi’s fault. He resents him. That person knew I was an omega, and wondered if information about another of this rare species would be useful to me, he offered to sell it. I thought it was kind of brash but I knew he had to find work after this so I felt bad and bought the information off him.”
“And so you had to get your money’s worth.”
“It’s not just that. Omegas like him really piss me off. He’s from the Count family so he’s a noble, and top of his class at that elite school, apparently. He must be some kind of mutation but he pretends to be a beta to attend that school, as if he needed to add more to his prestige. And as soon as he graduates, he’s paired up with the Marquis’ successor? It’s like he’s God’s favorite.”
“Should I have called two or three of my beta friends over here?”
“Hah? Oi, Arita, what are you thinking?! Don’t say you were thinking of attacking him. Do you understand what kind of repercussions we’d get for doing something like that, you moron?”
“That would be the ruin of all of us, including Sagano.”
Since Arita had blurted out such a trashy statement, Hara and Yoshizaki quickly reprimanded him with tense voices.
“How about someone goes and sees what our princess is up to. He might just be sleeping soundly without a clue what’s in his bed.”
“That’s right, Yanagimoto. You stepped out a little while ago to take a call, did you hear anything then?”
“No, nothing.” Yanagimoto gave a cold, blunt response. Someone clicked their tongue, sounding bored. Whether that was in response to Yanagimoto’s attitude, or whether they were annoyed with the lack of commotion from Masazumi, it was impossible to tell.
“Well. After a little while, I’ll go check on him. That kid probably thinks I’m the closest to him, so it makes sense for me to go. Just let me finish my drink first.”
“Take your time, Sakurano, there’s no rush. Take the master key when you go, since the room might be locked if he’s sleeping.”
“Don’t wake him up if he is, just leave him be.”
“Are you planning to do anything else?”
“I’ll leave that up to your imagination.”
“I want to see his crying face.”
Without a shred of remorse they continued their selfish conversation. Masazumi became fed up at that point and silently left his spot. Now that the unexpected details behind the scenes of his situation were arranging themselves in his mind, he felt confused and couldn’t think straight. His chest was swirling with various emotions. Should he resent them, or should he be disappointed and sad, should he distrust the people who betrayed him or just stop trusting people so easily in the first place. He was distressed and wanted to cry but if he cried he would feel like he had lost to his own emotions. His pride wouldn’t allow it.
He ground his teeth and snuck out of the entrance hall, breathing in the outside air.
Then he felt like walking somewhere, so he faced the top of the mountain and set off. He had been walking like that for about fifteen minutes.
Right about now Sakurano had probably realized that Masazumi wasn’t in his room, and made a fuss to Sagano and the others that he had disappeared. They probably thought that since he had left his luggage he would eventually return for it, but knowing that Masazumi felt like returning even less. He knew he was being stubborn.
Luckily he had time before sundown and he would try and make it in time for dinner. The landscape in front of him became wider and he could see more of the sky, so he thought he must be getting close to the mountain pass.
He decided to go at least as far as the pass, and continued to step forward, his heavy breathing making his body tremble. Suddenly, on his right side a lookout came into view. A blue car which he had seen earlier was parked there. Two white lines were printed on the side as well, and that was enough of a characteristic feature that he was able to recognise the car as one that had passed him earlier.
A couple got out of the car, stepped into the small observation area, and began walking towards Masazumi.
“Hey, why don’t you take a break and look at this scenery. The view is nice from here!”
He had thought to himself that if he found a spot like this he would take a break. It was just that the couple had been there, there wasn’t a lot of space in the lookout, and he thought that it would be tactless of him to join them. He was thankful that they called out to him.
“Over here, over here.”
The girl in particular seemed like a friendly person. She had spoken to him, a complete stranger whose name she didn’t know, as if they had known each other a long time, and managed to close the gap between them. They beckoned to him, and he went to stand by them, embarrassed. He surveyed the deep green mountain landscape which spread out before his eyes, unconsciously letting out a sigh of wonder. A nice breeze blew against him and his hair fluttered.
He could see the winding road which he had come from, and the group of villas and other buildings farther away. Maybe it was the wrong angle, but he couldn’t see Sagano’s villa. It might be hidden by the trees. Even if cars passed along here it must be rare to see a person so Masazumi thought that the couple must find him strange.
“Where were you planning to walk to?” Placing her hand on the safety railing, the short haired girl questioned Masazumi. She looked about twenty-five, twenty-six. For a girl, she was rather tall, and a little chubby, but shapely. She had a sleeveless dress on and Masazumi was confused where to look. The only women close to him were his mother and sometimes their servants, so he didn’t know how to act in front of one. Plus this woman was of a completely different type to his mother.
The man on the other hand seemed quiet and mild-mannered, without any special features. Maybe about thirty years old. His face wasn’t bad, but he had a medium build and uninteresting clothes, so he didn’t leave a lasting impression.
‘Where’, she had asked, but Masazumi was at a loss for an answer. He had planned to think about what came next while he was taking a break here. However, if he answered truthfully then they would probably worry about him. If any decent person saw a high school aged boy walking along this deserted road, then they would not be able to leave him alone. This lady had most likely called out to him because of that.
“I was going to go back the way I came, to my friend’s villa. I just came out for a walk,” he was about to say that there was no need to worry, but the woman spoke over him in an intense voice.
“Then we’ll give you a ride! You’ve had at least a ten minute walk. It’s going to get cloudy, and the forecast said there will be rain in the evening.”
Masazumi was confused by how strongly she had spoken her suggestion.
“Er, no, I would feel like I was troubling you…” He tried to refuse and make it seem like it would be a bother but they just kept smiling welcomingly, as if saying there would be no problem if he rode with them.
“You won’t trouble us at all! Don’t worry about it.”
Masazumi disliked how they were able to be so kind without restraint. By car it was four, five minutes to Sagano’s villa or maybe even shorter than that. As he considered the offer the sky did indeed grow a little shady like the woman had said it would. Though it had been so sunny a moment ago, the grey clouds were increasing, and the light became dimmer as the sun hid behind them. The weather on the mountains was changeable, and Masazumi knew that rain was almost inevitable now.
He sat in the back seat of the blue car. The woman was driving, and the man sat in the passenger seat. The woman seemed to be more dominant in the relationship anyway so it wasn’t that strange that they sat like that. The man looked like the type to do whatever he was told and devote himself to his partner.
“The villa you mentioned, could it possibly be that boxy looking concrete building, that’s halfway up the mountain?” Putting the car into reverse, the woman asked Masazumi, and with skilled steering she pulled back onto the road.
The driving style was rougher than he had expected, and he had to struggle to put his seatbelt on before answering.
“So, you’re an omega right?”
It was such a blunt question. A quiet “eh” left Masazumi’s mouth in shock. Why had she said something like that, and how had she guessed? Had she known he was an omega from before she called out to him, even? For what purpose then? It was unlikely, but was she planning to abduct him or something, and that’s why she made him get in the car? So many suspicions came over him at once that he could barely think.
“Excuse me! I think I’ll walk after all. Let me out.” He instinctively felt that he was in danger and shouted out. He had been so stupid to get into a stranger’s car. All he could do was self-deprecate in fear.
“What? What’s the matter, all of a sudden?” The lady laughed at him and pressed the accelerator. Their speed increased.
“Stop the car!” Masazumi almost screamed. There was something wrong with this situation. No matter what they said, he resolved not to believe them.
“Ahh, we managed to get him in the car and it was going so well. It’s because you asked him something unnecessary that he’s going to make a fuss.” The man, who had seemed so gentle, said such a suggestive sentence while smiling strangely. His insignificant act had probably been meant to lower Masazumi’s guard. The thought sent a shiver down his spine.
He didn’t know what was happening to him and he was filled with despair from all the events of the day. He lost hope at his surroundings.
“If I hadn’t asked that I wouldn’t know he was an omega, and I would be too uneasy to bring him anywhere.”
“No matter how you look at him, he’s an omega, this one. And he’s staying at Sagano’s villa so he has to be connected to that ‘community.’ Right, kiddo?”
The man turned around in his seat to look at Masazumi.
It was clear that it would be pointless to deny it. Masazumi just bit his lip.
“We’re going to bring you to this lady’s sister, that person’s an alpha. It’s rare, right? And, since she was lucky enough to be born an alpha she wants an omega mate no matter what. A guy if possible. She likes the feeling of conquering them.”
The car continued along the curving road, the brakes had barely been pressed once. The woman began talking unashamedly, “It’s pretty hard to find one though, plus my sister is pretty impatient. I did some research and finally found out about a group made up of only male omegas. They gather every year at that villa, so I stood watch to see if there were any pretty young ones she would like the look of. And then you came out all by yourself.”
So Sagano and the others were unrelated to this but that meant that the seriousness of the situation had increased dramatically. Masazumi was going to be forced to be with an alpha by these two. He knew that among the alphas there were those who saw omegas as the lowest class of society, and even those who treated omegas as if they had rights sometimes really intended to force them to be their mate.
Realistically, the majority of omegas have a weak standpoint in society, and their rate of poverty was high, so many who were unable to sue over their poor treatment just gave in. Having many people around him like Sagano did, was another better option. If he told these people that he was the son of the Nirei Count family there was a chance they would meekly let him go. But if possible, Masazumi didn’t want to reveal the name of his family.
Sagano and the other omegas were unsatisfied with their unequal positions, and hated him enough to go out of their way inviting him and then teasing him, and he had been honestly quite damaged emotionally by it. He had been the enemy of Nashiba at school but that was different. These people were supposed to be comrades of the same gender but he had been made into an outcast. This was the anxious feeling of not having a place to belong. Isolation.
Of course, Masazumi had a family who treasured him, and a mate who he was overflowing with love for. However, to have a friend was an entirely different sensation. Maybe it was selfish, but he placed importance on all of these things.
It was too late to change anything, and this situation might be irreversible. He knew that but having heard the real thoughts of the community members from their own mouths, he grew stubborn. His family were his family, and he was himself. If he was hated over his flaws then there was no helping it, but to hate him because he was born into a well-off environment and not in destitution like the rest of him, that was too illogical.
It seemed like Masazumi hadn’t been targeted from the beginning, he had just been the one to leave by himself and get kidnapped. So it was possible that someone else could have met the same fate in his place. If it were one of the others, what would they do when trapped inside a car? They would have to do something with their own power. Then Masazumi would not borrow his parents’ influence, he would first try to solve this by himself. If he could never stand in the same position as other omegas then he could never get them to understand him.
“Um. I think an alpha like your sister will already know this, but I have a partner who I’ve become mates with already.” Masazumi spoke cooly, of his own accord, in a last-ditch attempt for them to realize that this was pointless.
“Oh, is that so? Well we weren’t told to check that before bringing you.”
Masazumi couldn’t find anything else to say to such an indifferent response.
“It shouldn’t be a problem, really. I’ve heard that only the alpha of the pair can break the contract, but if we threaten to harm you then your partner will have no choice but to do as we say. It might be a little cruel, but since my sister only wants to force you to have her child, there won’t be an issue with cutting off a few of your fingers or crushing one of your legs. You look like a smart kid so I’m sure you understand what I’m getting at.”
No matter what he said it would be useless. These people must be used to this kind of dishonest work. Fear shuddered through Masazumi’s body, and the feeling of being cornered made his fists clench nervously. He kept thinking that it would be better not to reveal the Count family name in this situation, since as a result of revealing it he might be used as bait to exploit his family.
The only solution was to escape, so he prepared himself.