School Arc – Chapter 9 Shade POV
「I really want to know who’s the person that made you make that kind of face」
My words made her gaze back with a startled look.
Prior to this, she had glanced towards my elder sister and the person who I fear will be my future brother-in-law, flirting with each other. Placing the standard distance from there, were the onlookers, who were watching them, while blushing for some reason; but, I dare say, they were probably a Lycoris or a Wolf fan. Those two had whimsical devotees that thought things like『I want to watch over the pair’s romance』.
I really want them to stop it. In various meanings of the word.
「May I invite you for a dance?」
Even though I invited her with my best smile, the girl– Lilium’s answer was blunt.
「The purpose of your invitation isn’t for a dance. It’s to have a talk with me, isn’t it?」
She’s a smart girl.
「Could the talk be about staying away from your elder sister」
「No way. I don’t have the right to say such a thing」
「But, the reason why she doesn’t have any special friends even though she’s been yearning for them for so long, is because you have been an obstruction, is it not?」
She’s not only smart, she seems to be fairly strong-willed too.
「That’s a misunderstanding. Neither I nor Wolf had ever considered a thing like wanting to keep Lycoris a loner, you know?」
「But, if she had your cooperation, she should’ve found it easy to cultivate an understanding with those around her」
「Well, it’s... like, you know. It’s not as if I proactively made her a loner or anything, but still...」
I dipped my voice a little lower.
「If that person ends up spending all her time on other people, wouldn’t it be lonely?」
Is she going to ridicule, or reprimand?
But, Lilium’s reaction was neither one of the two.
「I can also understand that kind of sentiment」
Maybe it was because I showed her my true intentions, Lilium’s expression became a little calmer. Even so, it was only to the extent that I turned from a 『threat』 to just another 『stranger』.
「You can understand why we’re jealous. Then, what kind of sentiment would be difficult for you to understand?」
I decided to try to get one step closer to her thoughts.
「For instance, familial affection, perhaps, or maybe friendship?」
「It seems you know a great deal about my past, don’t you?」
Without flying out into a rage, she showed a provocative smile. It was a smile I’m sure was an expression that was the opposite of an 『it was supposed to be impossible for you to find out』expression.
The knowledge I acquired about Lilium Valley’s childhood, was that since she possessed power 『inappropriate to her life』 , perhaps with that, her relationship with other people, which was supposed to be depicted as decently peaceful, collapsed.
Her abilities came to light in the form of an accidental discharge of power. From what I learned about the state of affairs at that time, it seemed every one of them had said that it was something short of a miracle that no one turned up dead.
And then, her mother, not able to bear the terror of her daughter’s power, left the house. Her relatives, terrified of being connected to her, cut off ties with her. Her friends, regardless of knowing her innermost thoughts, whether it was out of fear or jealousy, all distanced themselves from her.
Her father, in particular, was the worst. That man took great pains to determine whether Lilium had any value. Without ever handing her over to the care of the association, it seemed he kept her confined for who knows how long while he went looking around for a person who would buy his own daughter for the highest sum.
「If you know about my past, then I guess you’re uneasy having a person like me by her side, right?」
「Well, to be honest, I am worried. That’s because I can’t read your intentions」
She was aiming to get into a career in the association right after graduation. Since her will and her intention, which was wanting to monitor strong magic holders at the association, were consistent, that was an almost decided fact.
For people entering into the association, I wonder if there was some significance in having the status of being a friend of Lycoris, the duke’s daughter. Of course, it wasn’t like being a friend of an influential person can be disadvantageous, though.
「Though you say intentions, I never thought of such a grand thing ... certainly, it still hasn’t been long since she and I met. But, I’m completely fascinated by her. Even though it looks like she’s surrounded by a lot of people, she seems alone, one way or the other. Although those girls around her love to look at her from a small distance away, despite that, it looks as though Lycoris doesn’t realize this and it only makes her feel lonely」
「Do you like lonely people?」
When I asked this jokingly, she sent back an exceptionally serious look.
「Yes, that’s right. If you were to ask me, flickering between things like kindness or affection is easy. I like people who take the trouble to seek me. I like people who yearn for something earnestly」
I couldn’t laugh at her.
「... but, she isn’t really alone in the truest meaning, right? After all, you’re here, and he’s around too 」
Lilium sent back another glance towards Lycoris and her companion, those fresh verdure eyes narrowed with what looked to be sadness.
「If it’s a command, I’ll place some distance from her. But I don’t want to hurt her so I won’t ignore her, just enough so all of you won’t feel uneasy」
Staring at me with eyes that radiated some kind of tragic determination, I felt kind of bad. Whether I say something or I don’t, I’ll feel troubled, so eventually, my mouth opened.
I really am soft on women.
「That person — Lycoris, is someone that makes you sort of believe in things like kindness or affection, you know?」
Lilium had on a face that could be described as having been caught off guard.
「So, why don’t you try getting along with her as best you can?」
「...Is it alright? That I... still continue to be at her side」
「Like I’ve been saying so many times, the right to decide that isn’t with me, you know. To begin with, no matter what I say, that person would eventually do whatever she wants anyway」
「Would her lord knight also allow me to stay by her side?」
「To people who inflict harm to my older sister, it’s honestly– it’s honestly terrifying, and Wolf would have persistently pried up their past and continuously tormented them or something, but other than to those people, he’s pretty lenient」
「... I’ll bear that in mind」
The moment Lilium left my side, she waved her hand at me, carrying the first cute smile befitting her age on her face.
While waving back a hand in return, I thought. By all means, I want her to do her best.
Rather than seeing her flirting with a guy (Wolf) , isn’t it a given that seeing her get along with a girl (Lilium) is infinitely better for my mental health?
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