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Lugunican Hustle Extra


“IIII’m bored! Mimi is leaving now! Farewell!” a small figure exclaimed as she rambunctiously ran out of the room.

“Ah! Big sis! Big siiiiis!” another small figure screamed, chasing after her. The chair the first figure had been sitting on toppled over. However, before it hit the ground, yet another small figure, who hadn’t run out of the room, prevented it from doing so.

“I’m very sorry for my big sister and big brother’s behavior, Joshua,” the cat-boy Tivey said, apologizing on behalf of his sister Mimi and his brother Hetaro for abruptly running out of the room as he supported the chair with one hand and fixed his monocle with the other.

Smiling bitterly at his apology, Joshua shook his head. “No, I had a feeling it might turn out like this. Do not worry too much about it. I did not expect Mimi to be able to sit still for a long period of time.”

“I’m sorely embarrassed as her younger brother,” Tivey said, slumping his shoulders. “However, I too had a feeling it would turn out like this. So I am in the same boat as you.”

Joshua couldn’t think of anything to say to Tivey, who was obviously feeling down.

In front of Joshua was a canvas with a painting of what would surely be a portrait of someone once completed. Mimi was supposed to be the subject, and Hetaro was the one who had requested Joshua for it. He wanted to put up the finished painting in his room. Joshua understood Hetaro’s sentiment and accepted the request. However…

“With Mimi like that, I reckon it will take forever to complete,” Tivey surmised.

“W-Well, let us continue this again when we have a chance,” Joshua replied. “I do not suppose Hetaro will be able to bring her back, will he?”

Tivey hesitated to answer for a moment. “I’m embarrassed to admit it, but no.”

Even if Hetaro managed to catch up to Mimi, being able to persuade her to come back was another story. Even I can tell the possibility of that happening is slim, Joshua thought. And if Tivey, who grew up with them, agrees with me, I can be pretty certain I am right. He decided to call it a day and pack up his painting equipment, when there was a knock on the half-open door.

“Joshua,” the person who knocked called out, peeking into the room. “I saw Mimi and Hetaro run out of the room. Is everything alright?”

“Ah, Brother,” Joshua said, noticing his brother, who had come to check what the commotion was about.

Julius looked into the room—Joshua’s art studio—then softened his expression upon noticing the paintbrush in his brother’s hand. “Seeing as how you have a brush in your hand, were you in the middle of painting? And were you accompanying him, Tivey?”

“I suppose. Although, I don’t know if ‘accompanying’ is the right word,” Tivey answered. “I was here to have a painting of my sister done by Joshua.”

“Of Mimi? I see, so that was what the whole ruckus was about.” With Tivey’s response, he quickly understood the situation.

Julius slipped his long legs through the door, entering the room, and approached his younger brother. He gestured at the canvas that had a cloth over it, as Joshua had begun cleaning up. “May I?”

“S-Sure,” Joshua replied, nodding hesitantly, “but I have only just begun working on it, and it is far from complete…”

“Let me guess, Mimi could not sit still and ran out before long, right? I can imagine,” Julius said as he flipped over the cloth, uncovering the canvas, then narrowed his eyes. Joshua stiffened, noticing the emotions that ran through his brother’s bright yellow eyes. After a thorough examination, Julius nodded in deep satisfaction.

“It is indeed far from complete, and I can tell you have only just begun, but I can already feel Mimi’s explosive energy through it,” Julius commented. “By the way, this appa she is holding…”

“She ended up eating it all the way to the core,” Joshua explained.

“I see. I wanted to say the color is striking and provides a great contrast to the overall portrait.”

“T-Thank you! I will be sure to prepare a fresh appa for next time!”

Julius smiled bitterly. “I was not trying to compliment the appa…”

Joshua fidgeted with his hands at Julius’s words. He took a moment to collect himself and accept his brother’s warm compliment. However, the next words from Julius would make him completely freeze up.

“Oh, by the way,” Julius started, as if he had remembered something important while looking at the canvas. “You said you wanted to paint me the other day. If you are done working on this painting of Mimi for today, would you like to—”

“YYY-You, Brother?! No, I’m not ready for you yet!”

“Is…that right?” Julius asked with a dumbfounded look on his face, to which Joshua nodded vigorously.

I know my brother did not have any ill will, but that proposal is way too sudden. It is bad for the heart.

“That being said,” Joshua began, “It is something that I said I will do. I have no intention of going back on my words.” It is just that painting him is a huge deal for me.

Through the fake “Sleeping Miderine” incident, Joshua had the chance to be more honest with himself about art. He even decided to explore portraits, something he’d always avoided, and declared he would like to paint Julius one day. But I did not mean right away. I want to paint him when I have more confidence.

“So, I was thinking maybe in ten or twenty years,” Joshua said.

“That is way too long of a wait,” Julius lamented. “Besides, I am not sure if I will even be around in ten or twenty years.”

“No! If it is you, Brother, you will be doing fine as ever in ten, twenty, or even a hundred years,” Joshua asserted, refusing to believe anything bad would ever happen to his older brother.

“To think Julius would be doing well in a hundred years is kind of scary,” Tivey said from the sidelines.

“Joshua,” Julius said, furrowing his brows, disconcerted by his younger brother’s assertion. “I am happy to know you took our promise so earnestly. But it is not like you have only one chance. You do not need to be so serious about it.”

“I have more than one chance?!”

“What are you so surprised about?” Julius said, closing one eye amusingly. “Did you think that I would be unable to sit still for a long period of time like Mimi and wouldn’t be able to finish painting me?”

Joshua vigorously shook his head. He would have never insulted Julius by saying he was as impatient as Mimi. The idea of getting to paint his brother over and over again just never crossed his mind. It was a rather obvious solution to his conundrum, but that still didn’t ease his mind.

“I cannot stand the idea of continuously creating an imperfect portrait of you. I would rather paint Lady Anastasia again and again instead!” Joshua fervently declared.

“Oh, Miss, what are you doing here?” Tivey said suddenly, causing Joshua to shriek. He turned around hastily, making eye contact with the girl peeking in through the half-open door.

Smiling gracefully, she answered Tivey’s question with a simple hum and shook her head. “Oh, nothin’. I jus’ thought I heard a party goin’ on and wanted to take a peek. But it seems like ya’ll are havin’ an interestin’ conversation.”

“Yes, great timing,” Julius responded. “Lady Anastasia, if you are not too busy, would you mind making some time for Joshua? He said he would like to paint your portrait.”

“Wha?!” Joshua exclaimed.

“Apparently, he can’t get started on me without painting you first…” Julius explained to Anastasia, misconstruing Joshua’s earlier excuse.

As Joshua stood stock-still as if his soul had left his body, completely lost for words, Anastasia put a finger to her lips, letting out a small hum, and faintly smiled, squinting her pale blue eyes. “Make sure to capture me beautifully, yeah?” she said, knowing full well she just led the situation down a path that was exactly the opposite of what Joshua wanted.


“My, it’s kinda ticklin’ to be stared at like that,” Anastasia said from the subject’s seat.

“Have you never had your portrait painted before, Lady Anastasia?” Julius asked, standing beside her.

“No, no, never. Apparently, there were sketches of me on billboards around the royal capital after news of the royal selection went public, but that’s pretty much… Oh, there was also the time with the Dragon Times.”

“Oh yeah, I remember the media artist passionately drawing you,” Julius said with a smile, to which Anastasia also smiled and agreed as she reminisced about the event.

As they continued their light-hearted chit-chat, Joshua agonized over the position he’d been put in. He’d kept his entire afternoon free to paint Mimi, so he couldn’t tell them that he didn’t have the time. He could’ve passed on their request by saying that, as an artist, he gets demotivated when the subject changes, but that would mean he would need to ask himself if he was fit to call himself a true artist. And he was not quite ready for that yet. As a result, he got cornered into this agonizing situation.

“D-Do your best, Joshua,” encouraged Tivey, who more or less empathized with him.

As a fellow monocle wearer and the youngest child of their respective families, Joshua considered Tivey a friend and was honestly thankful for the encouragement. However, he didn’t feel like the power of their friendship would be enough to take on the overwhelming expectations Julius and Anastasia had for him.

“No, I just need to concentrate on finishing it,” Joshua told himself. “Just keep moving my brush. Do not think about anything else. No matter how gruesome a path may seem, there is always an end…”

“Oh, I have an idea,” Julius suddenly said. “Lady Anastasia, how about we make copies of the painting once it’s done and display it in the Hoshin Company’s branches? Would it not be good for business if people were able to see you even if you weren’t around?”

“Brother?!” Joshua exclaimed.

“Hmm,” Anastasia hummed at his suggestion. “That’s a brilliant idea. In that case, I really need to be painted beautifully. But I’m sure Joshua will be able to meet our expectations.”

“Lady Anastasia?!” Joshua cried.

Julius and Anastasia’s high expectations further exhausted Joshua’s heart. What made it worse was that Julius had no ill will at all, while Anastasia knew exactly what she was doing. Even though they were saying the same things, they had different motivations. However…

“Lady Anastasia,” Joshua began. “If you are to actually take my brother’s suggestion, I recommend you hire an actual artist with the right set of skills and experience. Not me.”

“But Joshua, your skills are more than…”

“No, Brother,” Joshua interrupted. “I am afraid I am not skilled enough for such a task. I understand my own limitations better than anyone.”

This was his honest opinion as Anastasia’s supporter in her grand pursuit of queenhood. It was different from the childish tantrum he’d thrown when Julius asked for his portrait. If she truly wishes for victory, she must avoid nepotism. It would only burden her as a disadvantage.

“You’re right,” Anastasia responded solemnly to Joshua’s earnest words. “I got a bit carried away there. My bad, my bad.”

Joshua was relieved to know his words were properly heard. At the same time, however, he became anxious about whether he was out of line. The fact that he interrupted his brother also started to make him worry if he was being rather pompous.

“B-Brother, I just wanted to say…”

“No, you are absolutely right, Joshua,” Julius asserted before Joshua could finish. “I have no expertise in art. And yet, I tried making a suggestion to my mistress based solely on my biased opinion. Thank you for putting an end to it.” Julius bowed, apologizing for interfering in this matter despite his ignorance.

Joshua, flustered at the sight of this, searched for the right words.

“They’re so serious,” Anastasia remarked, watching the brothers’ interaction. “They’re almost identical… Don’t ya think, Tivey?”

“Yes, indeed,” replied Tivey. “They’re so different from my brother and sister.”

As siblings who weren’t real brothers, being told they were identical evoked rather complicated emotions in both of them. However, it was also true that they were more similar to each other than Tivey, Mimi, and Hetaro were. So…

“Joshua and I are determined to support Lady Anastasia with all our might,” Julius affirmed, raising his head from his bowing position.

“The same goes for my sister, brother, and me.”

Julius smiled gently at Tivey’s response. “As long as you share that part, all your other differences are insignificant.”

This is my brother’s greatest weapon, Joshua thought. Despite being hailed as the ‘finest’ knight in the kingdom and possessing distinguished skills, he maintains humility and never stops working on himself.

As he reaffirmed his brother’s greatness, he felt Anastasia’s gaze resting on him.

Upon noticing that, Anastasia pointed at Julius. “You were once wonderin’ why I was so confident in myself… Would ya get it if I said I got it from him?”

“That is…” Joshua uttered.

“Not jus’ him, though,” Anastasia continued, gracefully putting her hand on her cheek. “Tivey, Mimi, and Hetaro, too. What the hell, I’ll even add Ricardo to the list… And, of course, you’re in it too, Joshua.”

Joshua was taken aback, clenching his teeth. Her confidence comes from the people she surrounds herself with—no, from her confidantes—no, that’s not it, either. She probably sees everyone around her as her own possession.

As a person who doesn’t hold back on her desires, Joshua and Julius were no exception.

“We don’t hafta distribute it elsewhere, but how about we display it around the mansion?” Anastasia suggested.

“That is a great idea,” Julius agreed. “In either case, I still want to see your portrait painted by Joshua.”

So, there is no getting out of painting Lady Anastasia, I see. Well, I suppose I brought this on myself. I just need to suck it up and do it. It will be done before I know it. I just need to keep moving my brush—but, if I am going to do it, I might as well try to make it as great as possible. Looking back now, it feels like Lady Anastasia’s been constantly swinging me around like some kind of toy. It will be nice to paint something great, and see her taken aback for once.

“Do yer best, Joshua,” Anastasia said. “Ya don’t mind paintin’ me again and again, right?” Right when he was about to get started, Anastasia reminded him of his rude remark from earlier. As his expression grew bitter, she smiled elegantly without a hint of remorse. Unable to find the right words to reply to her with, Joshua firmly grasped the brush. At least now I have an excuse to postpone painting my brother for a while.