Tsugumi is a sheltered girl who witnesses an accident with her brother due to a cursed book. From there, she joins this group known as the “Fukuro/Owls” in order to uncover the mystery of these books and her journey starts there. So this is a story which takes place around 1913, I believe. Basically a Taisho era story of mystery and suspense.
It starts off with the heroine named Tsugumi, talking with her little brother, Hitaki. Apparently she’s supposed to marry some rich guy in order to protect their family name. Her brother is pissed that her sister is more or less a sacrifice to inherit money for their family. So Tsugumi is all “boy what about our linage?!” and tells him he’s the one who will inherit the family name next.
So the next day after going out to buy books for her brother, she comes home and he tries to commits suicide by burning himself along with a special book known as Maremono. Its a book that contains the memories and emotions of the author and can affect those who read it. Two guys part of a group known as ‘Fukurou’ come to tell her the situation around her brother and that this is an ongoing case since it not only happened to her brother, but the prime minister’s son too.
So when her butler brings out the book her brother was holding, it bursts into flames–or so Tsugumi thought. No one but her could see the flame-like glow surrounding the book. Apparently that’s a glow of emotions called “aura” within the maremono. She can see it now due to her brother’s death. Apparently she left that book for her brother so she feels responsible for her brother’s accident. So Hayato requests she join their group Fukurou, which is a information assets administration. Its an organization that used to be a national library but now its sole purpose is to find these maremono.
Tsugumi takes time to think about and finally decides she wants to help these people out. So she cuts her hair as her own resolution. Afterwords she heads to their facility and she shows her around and explains there’s two departments, one that finds the maremono and one that researches it. She gives her a tour of the place and shows her a giant library, a greenhouse, kitchen, bathroom, and finally her own room she’ll be staying in.
Afterwords, she falls asleep in the greenhouse and when she comes out its already late. She then encounters Shizuru who’s already flirting with her on the spot. Akira interrupts and is all “yo shizuru wtf you doing” and so he tells him that’s she’s a new recruit. She then encounters Hitsui who’s practicing burning paper with his fire power.
Later, Nabari shows her a room full of collected maremono, so it looks as though the entire room is glowing. After that, Tsugumi encounters Hayato again who is glad to see that she decided to join. They celebrate her being there by eating sushi together.
Next day they go on their first patrol with Tsugumi and meet with a guy named Kuina. He jokes about her having a guy she’s interested in but she says she’s not interested in marriage. Unfortunately they don’t find a maremono there so they leave to go to another shop. Its then Hayato asks why she’s not interested in marriage and she says how she was supposed to marry into money essentially but the deal was off after what happened to her brother. Next they go to a bookstore that a guy named Sasagoi runs. And apparently he’s a writer. Unfortunately, no luck in finding a maremono there either so they leave. They later visit a cafe to take a break and eat. Its there Hayato explains about a group called Karasu (crows) who sell maremono off to the black market.
So the next day they go on another patrol but no luck throughout the day. They suddenly encounter an attack and rush to the scene and find a guy on the ground. His name is Sagisawa Rui and he’s a medical student at the imperial university. His book was burned by someone who wants to burn all the watoji books. They believe they’re serving “justice” in their own way. So Rui asks that they don’t contact the police since he’d rather not make it a big ordeal.
Next morning Tsumugi makes miso soup for herself and Shizuru. She offers to make breakfast for the rest of the Fukuro group and while Hayato expresses how thankful and glad he is to suggest it, its more or less every man for themselves while living there. So they go on another hunt but with no luck. Its already late and Tsumugi suggests they stay out a little longer to look. But they tell her no can do cause most bookstores are closed past 7:00 PM anyway.
So after work she goes to that cafe again and encounters Rui there. He asks to treat her as thanks for yesterday. They discuss the events going on and how it also relates to the prime minister’s son whom he actually knows. He tells her that he’d like to hear more about their investigation although she also mentions she’s still a newbie so she’s got a lot to learn. He goes on to mention he was interested in becoming a doctor thanks to his late father and had the dream of becoming useful to people like he was.
Anyway, that night Shiori tells them the prime minister’s son named Shougo (who attempted suicide due to the maremono) will be staying with them. He’s a law student at the imperial university and will be under their protection.
Next day is Tsugumi’s forth day on the job. Hayato says she might as well call them by their first names and speaking more casually and tells her “this is an order from ur senpai” lmao. Anyway later that night they come home with Shougo settling in the apartment. Or rather, blasting music like an annoying next door neighbor lmao.
Hayato bangs on his door to turn it down and when he finally manages to get in his room he’s all “wtf do u all want?” already snarky demeanor lol. Hayayo introduces himself and tells him he appreciates his love for music but that shit is too loud so pls turn it down. Of course, he just gives him a sass remark and basically tells him to back off. Before Hayato can lose his shit any further, Shiori intervenes and tells Shougo to calm down. Shougo’s servant named Arata appears as well and he’s all “where the hell were you!?” lol oops. So yeah, he may have been a victim but don’t judge a book by its cover lmao.
Next day they still have no luck but Tsugumi encounters her childhood friend named Masaki. They catch up at the cafe Tsugumi often visits and she tells her she’s now a news reporter. Tsugumi gets a bit jealous seeing her so firm on what she wants and her aspirations. But regardless, she’s happy for her. She also gets on Tsugumi’s case about marriage and how she shouls find a fine man. Tsugumi is like “lol no” but not like she believes it. Anyway, when she returns home she decides to use a pole as a naginata and Hayato catches her and laughs his ass off.
Next morning Tsugumi encounters Shougo who has the audacity to say Tsugumi seems more like a servant girl rather than an actual member of Fukuro. Tsugumi straight up tells him off and says woman can work just as good as men can. Once she uses Shiori as an example, Shougo is all “OK I get it!!” and storms off. Hisui calls Tsugumi over for a meeting and apparently a guy named Taro was a police officer dispatched to their team and will be working along side them.
So they all go on their first patrol together. First they visit Kuina who teases Taro and Tsugumi about why he hates police officers. The “doll” on him also takes a liking to Tsugumi much to her surprise. After that they decide to visit Sasagoi and see a suspicious guy near his shop. Unfortunately they’re unable to catch him. On their way to another store, Taro drops his button and Tsugumi picks it up. As she puts it back on him he gets extremely embarrassed and flips out. Hayato gets jelly ad fuck and decides to get mad at Taro for being upset over it. Tsugumi realizes what she’d done and apologizes while saying its a habit she’d had as an older sister. Best moment was when Hisui was like “what a kid” when Hayato was losing his shit over nothing lmao.
So Tsugumi finally gets her own identification card but before giving her signature, she asks Mashiko who was affected by the maremono. Apparently Shiori was because her husband died due to it. He tells her that his death wasn’t in vain though, because they discovered a lot due to it. So she finally signs the paper and becomes an official member. Shiori thrn gives her a dagger as a present (well more for self-defense) so she can use it when needed.
Thoughts: So, that covers the prologue. From there, individual routes are straightforward as to how to choose. Not much happens truthfully, but this pretty much gives you a good introduction of all the characters.