Family Arc – Chapter 9
Following that, Wolf leapt in and, with his help, Father immediately tied Uncle up.
In the aftermath, starting with Aunt, Crinum and Mr. Butler, each and every member of the Rankgerüste family assembled. Several people within were completely ignorant of what just occured, thus had on confused faces.
With the relevant people assemebled in the living room (of course, excluding Uncle), the details of the matter, after we settled down, had been explained like this.
First, why had Father been in the Rankgerüste mansion at this hour?
Frankly, after he’d finished work at the capital (the work’s detail was to escort a guest of honor to a night party) Father had already decided that he was going to return here by this evening from the start. The reason why I’d been informed that it was tomorrow morning or so was because to complete one more errand of his, it didn’t look like he’d be able to return before I went to bed.
The one more errand referred here was, an anticipated private conversation with Aunt in the Lilia mansion.
Even though I said that, it wasn’t for a tryst.
It seemed Aunt had to say it at all cost, the contents of the conversation was a confession of sins. Aunt started from what she did to Shade and continued as far as Uncle’s plans on wanting to hasten my marriage with Shade at any cost.
That idea of Uncle’s looked like it made Father raging mad, while absolutely thinking of knocking Uncle out, it seemed he rushed to the Rankgerüste mansion in the middle of the night.
As for why Wolf was here, somehow, after parting with me at night, it looked like Uncle expelled him out of the house. He had been confused. A ten year old child, moreover, with the title of the prime minister’s son that Wolf possessed, to be driven out in the middle of the night from a house – in various senses, the absurdity was in a level of its own.
But you could say Wolf had considerable guts. After pretending to return to the inn by the abandoned road, it looked like he tried and succeeded to sneak into the house.
First, he headed to my room, but found it completely empty. Thereupon, he met up with Father and Aunt.
Wolf:「Lycoris isn’t inside!」
Father:「What did you say? I also can’t find a trace of Narcissus」
Aunt:「Shade isn’t around either! Don’t tell me – did that man force the two of them to get married!?」
The conversation sounded like it went something like that.
Aunt’s thoughts lacked common sense.
Though, I think that was within the bounds of the situation that led to being told in the middle of the night to『hand over your eyes』among other things and chased around.
Right then, Crinum came into sight, testifying that the sound of clattering was coming from the direction of the attic for some reason. Even the servants, who slept in a separate building, gradually gathered straight to the attic room, that was how it seemed.
To sum it all up.
The reason why Father punched Uncle without any time to argue sounded like it was because a misunderstanding played a part in it.
Geez, my father was too magnificent. His figure as he snappily instructed the Rankgerüste servants within the intervals of the conversation was awfully cool.
Incidentally, as we listened to the story, Shade was wrapped in a blanket with a warm drink in hand and, it goes without saying, I was clad in a blanket on top of Father’s lap the entire time .
Wolf stared in this direction with an envious look, but just for today, even if Wolf was the one who wanted this seat, I wasn’t willing to give it up. Sorry, Wolf.
「Father, your help was honestly appreciated」
When I once again voiced my gratitude, Father smiled shyly.
「No, actually, I couldn’t have imagined that you’d call me in that setting... I was really happy」
「Just before I jumped into the attic」
Now that he mentioned it, I might have said something then.
I mean, well, I probably did.『Father, help!』or something.
Embarrassed by my own childish behavior, I pressed my face against the bottom of Father’s neck.
「You don’t have to make that face. After all, I’m more or less an adult man and a father. I had only a slight superiority in terms of abilities」
Whatever it was that he’d considered, Father’s words had been directed at Wolf.
「Thanks for your concern. But this happened because I wasn’t by her side then」
Speaking of Wolf, really.
Him saving me from Shade was a story of just half a day ago, had he already forgotten about it?
For the sake of passing what I’d also recalled of the events, I explained how Wolf played the role of a cool knight to Father.
Thus, while talking with Father and Wolf, I truly felt like we’d passed over a terrible storm at last.
Eventually, Crinum left the room so as to support Aunt. Just before then, she bowed her head apologetically towards me and my heart was exhilarated. Supposing that my friendship with her really returned to the way it was, then it would be a completely joyous affair.
Even after Crinum settled down in this room, it didn’t seem like she’d try talking to Shade to get closer to him. ‘Was this because of the rejection or was it because of the confusion?’, the conclusion was difficult to say. (1)
In Aunt’s case, I knew that it was the fault of that uncle that she faced a lot of hardships. Still, the things she did to Shade ought to be her wrong.
What will happen to Crinum and Aunt? That was probably a matter the ladies would have to decide themselves, though Father wouldn’t be unwilling to lend his help, and there might be something I can do to help as well.
Then, when the butler was about to urge Shade in the same way to leave the room, he suddenly began trudging his way here.
Thanks to the blanket wrapped up around his body, the flush on his lips and cheeks returned.
I greeted him by going down from the top of Father’s lap.
The first thing Shade did was to turn about and politely lower his head towards Father.
「Duke Lilia, thank you very much for your help earlier」
「No, you’ve suffered through a lot, didn’t you? I hope you’ll be able to sleep well even if it’s just by a little bit more from now on」
Shade gave a troubled-looking smile. The thin fingers that were tightly grasping the blanket were, in some respect, pitiful.
「Lycoris. I truly regret involving you in all this. At that time, you were the only one I could count on...」
「...no. It’s not like you were the one at fault」
「Thank you. If you weren’t around at that time. I shiver at the thought. If I’d been alone, around this time...」(2)
Shade, who was looking frightened by his wild imagination, took out his hands from under the blanket and reached out to mine. Perplexed by having my hands held, I call out to him saying “it’s going to be alright now”.
Speaking as a person who equally tasted that fear, I knew that it was truly a terrifying feeling. I knew that, but...
At that moment, hearing our conversation, Father spoke up in a somewhat high-spirited voice.
「In front of a boy younger than her, Lycoris-chan properly acts as an older sister, doesn’t she? Having similar outfits on, the both of you are adorable. It’s like the two kids standing next to each other are angels, you know」
It was impossible.
An impossibly spontaneous remark.
By the way, the 『similar outfits』he was referring to, was this sort of appearance where we were awkwardly clad in blankets.
Before I could even say a word, Wolf plainly reminded Father.
「Duke Lilia. He’s using fascination magic. Please take note」
I nodded my head while sounding my agreement. No matter how scary the future he’d have suffered was, Father had considered Shade’s behavior too admirably.
「It’s alright. Fascination magic doesn’t work on me」
To have Father clearly assert with a denial – I, Wolf, and even Shade widened our eyes with shock.
「Even if I look like this, I was an honor student in the magical academy. Since I had a good conduct and the aptitude, I was even allowed to use fascination magic. However, to be pushing your luck with opponents who hold suspicions, you’re still quite green. This... magic, you see, if you were to say, use it here, you have to absolutely let no one know you’re using it in order to display its true value」
Having said that, Father showed Shade an awfully gentle smile. Shade’s expression was dyed in bewilderment.
「Ah, don’t misunderstand, Lycoris. I’ve never used unnecessary magic in my life, and even after this, I definitely won’t. You see, in the case of magic that works on the mind, it’s an act that twists human relationship after all. If all of you study earnestly in that school as well, I’m sure you’ll learn to use magic with a purpose and a reason」
Isn’t that like saying he’s using it moderately at work? Of course, Father is only engaging in diplomacy though.
Since it’s kind of scary, it’s probably better to leave it unasked.
While shelving it away in my mind, I nodded at Father’s words.
Now then, as for Shade.
He drew back a short distance away from Father.
Maybe for him, this could be the first time he met an opponent whom his own magic truly couldn’t pass through.
Yet, instead of turning his heels and escaping, he remained.
「What will become of me?」(3)
「I also feel responsible for what was done to you by your father and mother at this house. I deeply apologize. What’s more, I’d wanted to introduce you to a reliable caretaker, but...」
「Is it difficult?」
I cut into the conversation, and Father gave a troubled-looking smile.
「To tell you the truth, if I left him under the poor care of a relative unintentionally, I’m afraid a second or a third Narcissus might surface」
My face cramped from twitching.
「F-Father, please stop joking」
「It’s not a joke...」
While saying that, Father gazed at Shade’s red eyes.
As for me, I despaired at the muddled ways of the relatives of our house.
「Of course, even so, there are still family members who can be trusted. Unfortunately, in this case, by leaving you in their care, you might end up standing in a maelstorm」
「Then wouldn’t it be better to find a completely unrelated family with no blood relation? 」
「In that case, it would probably become a tremendous blow for us. After all, it would mean revealing the 『Red of the Duke Family Lilia』to the outside」
With those words, a little bit of cynicism left Father’s mouth.
「But Father, if that’s done...」
「The choices are roughly the same. In other words... our family will take charge of him or something of the like」
With Father’s words, I thought about the game character called 『Shade』.
Huh? Had 『Shade』been 『Lycoris』’s step brother? No, no matter what, I think I’d remember if there was that sort of setup. So, this might be a development that became different from the game.
Though, now that I think of it, I couldn’t remember『Shade』’s last name in the game entirely. That was not a problem of my memories or anything of that sort; in the game, he might not have used his own last name. Even in the character introduction, he was only introduced as 『Shade』... was how it felt like.
I was hoping this was a development different from the game, yet, I didn’t have that conviction.
Once again, 『Shade』, was someone I fully realized was a character who spoke little about himself. Secretive characters were a pain!
Indifferent to my confusion and raising his voice in loud repulsion, was Wolf.
「You must be kidding! Lycoris got manipulated by him, you know!?」
Because that vigour was excessively strong, I thought to the extent that『Huh? If this conversation was setback because of Wolf’s objection, wouldn’t the aguish I suffered today be of waste?』 .
「Of course. It would be different if Lycoris objects. And there’s also a problem that has to do with the court rank; frankly, as it is now, there are also other bothersome alternatives」
Father’s, Wolf’s, then Shade’s glances collected towards me.
Somehow, the matter on whether Shade will be welcomed to our house, seemed to rely on me. Give me a break.
「... what does Shade want?」
I was swayed by the adults who had their own various circumstances, however, comparatively, I swayed the surroundings from myself, the relative villain, to turn it around to my bothersome cousin.
「I... don’t need the court rank. However...」
Shade hesitated to say it then refused to talk. But, at the very least, I knew he wasn’t opposed to this idea.
Even if it was by a process of elimination, there probably wasn’t any other option for Shade but this.
「How about your mother’s place...?」
「Mother no longer has a place for me by her side」
So it was like that. He already knew about it.
That the mother who handed him over to his father had already run away with another man.
He had already come to the point where he was unable to rely on either of his parents.
Shade was still considerably shorter than me, so when he lowered his head, the whorl of his head was the only thing I could see.
In connection to him having done so, I ended up recalling him quivering as he curled his body up in that attic room...
After I’d been on the receiving end of his fascination magic, I’d thought that I’d absolutely never approach this guy again. Yet, in that escape drama, I’d come into contact with the weakness that Shade had been hiding away.
I gave Wolf a side-long glance. He had on a sulky expression, he must’ve probably known what I was thinking. Moving just my lips, I conveyed the words『sorry about this』to him.
「Oh yeah, which reminds me, Shade. First, as a condition, you’ve got to ask to have your magic sealed by the association」
To my words, Shade clicked his tongue with a “tsk” and promptly scowled at me.
「What’s with that face? Isn’t that obvious? After all, even if Father was fine with it, I’m not」
「... for me, this power is my lifeline」
「But, you can’t even control that magic, can you?」
「Well, I understand your anxiety, but if you come with me and Father, you’ll be given a new power」
Shade resolutely pulled a suspicious look.
「A new power... was it?」
「Right. That is, you see... knowledge and... skill!」
I had planned to say some good things, but, Shade’s objection had little hope for it.
「Are you actually saying that mundane thing is equivalent to the power I’ll lose?」
Making it sound like I was a fool, I huffed indignantly.
「Far from being equivalent, you’ll be hiding away an even more magnificent potential. Let’s say you escape from here today and used that magic as much as you like from now on, who’s to say you won’t make another disaster like what you did to Crinum? If you run away from the association, you won’t be able to study in that magic academy, you know?」
Shade kept silent on the matter without objection, however, he did whisper in retaliation.
「... quarrelsome woman」
「What was that!? I’ve got to say this to you, you’ve been underestimating women way too much for a while now. You’ve been thinking something like『once I show a slightly sorrowful face or a smiling one, it’s a cinch』, haven’t you? It’s extremely irritating!」
「That’s false accusation, you know」
「As if. You’re definitely faking it. Thinking something like『The Great Angelic Me is the best~』! (4) With that, since there’s no proper opponent to be faced, if anyone was going to be the favorite to win, it would be this effeminate man who can’t even flat-out express love!」
「...honestly, isn’t this false accusation?」
「Huh, getting angry? I hit the mark, didn’t I?」
It was at this moment that we glared each other at close range.
Facing the sound of clapping, we saw Father with a wide grin on his face.
「The two of you seem to get along exceedingly well」
Wolf approached us in silence and, continuing without a word, pulled my hand, distancing me far away from Shade.
Thus, having been alone in my family, this became a matter in which the members of family increased.
(1) It isn’t directly implied, but I guess it’s the rejection from Shade’s magic and the confusion of the current situation...
(2) He said “boku” when he referred to himself here... he’s trying to act like a cute kid...
(3) He reverted to his normal way of speaking...
(4) One more translation would be “The Magnificent Angelic Ore-sama is the best~”, how do you translate Ore-sama?
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