It was only a simple murmur, one so low that normal people wouldn’t have been able to hear it. But for all of them in the room, who were supernatural beings, it was extremely clear to their ears.
Basara squinted a little, carefully scrutinizing the back-haired woman, before shaking his head, “No. You just look like her.”
A perplexed frown settled on his youthful face. Even if it had been about seven years since he last saw her, it was truly embarrassing to have confused Suzaku with someone else.
Even so, the two of them were eerily similar and Basara only knew about one relative of Suzaku that looked identical to her— akin to a copycat. A cousin, someone who Suzaku wished to help more than anyone else.
He hesitated a little, fidgeting about what to do, but finally approached the black-haired girl before asking,
“Excuse me. Are you Akeno Himejima?”
Akeno showed a reluctant expression, not willing to disclose her identity. But, from his earlier words, it was clear that he was pretty close to Suzaku.
Her cousin and the only person in the clan that did not hate and discriminate against her.
“I am. Though, I am surprised you know of my name.”
If there had been any doubt, now she was sure that this boy was indeed related to Jin Toujou.
“Suzaku-nee loved talking about you. Initially, she wanted the two of us to meet, but sadly something happened to me and I was unable to participate in any further gatherings.”
Basara went on to explain a little more deeply about his connection to Suzaku.
Meanwhile, from his sincere words, Akeno understood that he didn’t know why she was so hated and how she was nearly killed by her uncle after wandering in Japan as a street urchin for a year.
Back then, if Rias had not saved her by taking her under her care, her uncle would have exterminated her without any regard to familial pity.
“Anyway, it was a pleasure meeting you. I would be happy to discuss with you more, but I have to go.”
Basara nodded at Akeno and gave her a genial smile before beginning to walk away.
It had been a pleasant surprise to meet Akeno here, but he was in no way related to her and he had nothing more to say to her.
But, just as he was about to leave the room…
“If you really want to discuss some more with me… would you like to visit my club?”
Gazing at Akeno’s back as he followed behind her, Basara couldn’t help but remember her sudden proposal just as he was about to leave.
He had been a little surprised, but he had no reason to refuse.
Of course, in order to not be rude, he had to promise to discuss with Sona at another time. But this much wasn’t a problem to him.
From what he remembered, from his small talks with Suzaku related to Akeno, the black-haired upperclassmen walking in front of him was someone that was extremely bullied and neglected by the members of the Himejima clan.
Suzaku did not explain exactly what the root of the problem was, but it seemed that Akeno’s mother had taken a lover without the permission of the family, and married him. And this husband, whom she married and bore children with, was someone her family could never approve of.
In his mind, Akeno should have been a frail and sickly girl full of resentments. But what he saw was far from his imagination.
Though the club room was in another building of the school, the walk from the student council room to there was pretty short.
When they reached the door, Basara showed a funny expression at the name that was indented on the door as a sign.
“Okay so…you guys — devils — opened a club about the occult? I wonder who thought about this bad joke.”
Akeno had the decency to blush a little at the clearly bad joke that was the name of their club room. But she couldn’t exactly throw her master and best friend under the bus now, could she? All she could do was act as if she didn’t hear him say anything and hope that he won’t press further about the issue.
Thankfully, Basara knew how to read the room and didn’t insist further. Either way, from her silence, he could already guess who the culprit behind this stupid and bad joke was.
“You can sit down. I will go prepare some tea.”
The club room was pretty cozy overall. He liked the decorations and the homely vibes it gave.
His gaze trailed everywhere before finally stopping at a certain door.
“Is that…a shower room?”
It seemed that they were pretty extravagant. Then again, they were noble Devils. Extravagance should be inlaid in their blood.
This much was pretty tame when compared to some of the things of luxury and weirdness he had seen when he tagged in during the mission when he was still the young prodigy of the church.
“Here, the tea. Fufufu~! Be careful, it’s hot.”
Seemingly having gotten back her composure, Akeno went back to her usual persona and showed a seductive smile while placing the steaming teacup in front of Basara.
Once she sat down as well, Akeno did not wait long before giving a slight bow.
“Before we continue, I would like to apologize on behalf of Rias.”
“Oh? What do you mean.”
“*Sigh* Rias can be pretty thoughtless in what she says when she doesn’t pay attention. But she isn’t someone bad nor does she see people as objects.”
Silence fell as Basara examined Akeno deeply with a stoic gaze. Then, releasing a sigh, he took the teacup and drank a little of it.
“The tea is delicious.”
Even though Basara did not give a direct answer to her apology, Akeno showed a bright smile.
The fact that he drank her tea was enough as an acknowledgment.
“Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what you really want.”
Basara wasn’t dense. He knew that Akeno used the fact that he knew Suzuka to set up this short meeting.
There was no way she would do something like this just for an apology.
Akeno hesitated a little before finally nodding to herself,
“Tell me, do you know the current situation of the Underworld?”