Mushoku Tensei (WN) Volume 11 / Chapters List

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    It was morning, I opened my eyes.

    Sylphy was sleeping using my arm as a pillow.


    White hair and a white nape.

    If you look closely long eyelashes.

    This cute of a girl is sleeping using my arm as a pillow without even a single piece of underwear to be seen.

    She's sleeping so peacefully while defenselessly showing me her sleeping face.


    It's just that much of a situation, but I already feel a hustle coming on this morning.

    I flip up the blanket and glance below it and I can see Sylphy's cherry blossoms.

    Just a bit above that, a small bruise is remaining.

    It's the so-called kiss mark.

    It's something that I put on her last night.


    In my previous life, I always wondered what was so fun about adding a kiss mark though.

    Just like this, waking up in the morning and seeing the kiss mark you've created yourself is really enjoyable.

    I guess it's the DQN sensation of putting a tattoo or piercing on your own girlfriend. [1]

    The feeling of conquest comes rising to the surface.

    Sylphy is my woman.

    I won't hand her over to anyone.


    And while I was thinking such things, my son had started morning radio exercises. [2]

    Even though he did that much intense exercise yesterday, he sure is energetic.

    In my previous life, it was nothing but solo training, even though he was just a hikikomori these past few years, recently when it comes down to the time to act he's been quite energetic.


    No good, no good, I can't serve it up in the morning.

    Sylphy has work today as well.

    I'll work it off on my end with my morning routine.

    I removed my arm from under Sylphy's head and placed a pillow there.


    "Nnn... Rudi, that isn't something you drink..."


    Sylphy stirred, tightly shrinking her body.

    Her sleep talk is cute.

    I wonder what I'm drinking in the dream.

    I have the feeling that I could drink any amount of Sylphy's Mineral Water. [3]


    Somehow or other, I touched Sylphy's chest and stroked them a bit.

    If I do it too strong in the morning, she'll wake up. So tenderly, gently.

    Almost like touching tofu as you filter it. [4]

    It's a modest sensation.

    To think that I would get to touch something this good in the morning. I might be the happiest person in the world.

    This is real sufficiency huh?


    "Nn... Rude...?"


    Sylphy faintly opened her eyes and looked at me.

    And then she grabbed my hand, and with an absent-minded face laughed blankly and said,


    "...Have a safe trip."

    "I'm heading out and I shall be back."


    I left the room.

    The next time we'll be able to sleep together is three days later huh?

    I'm looking forward to it.


    Recently here, I've lived truly peacefully.


    There's been no incident-like incident.

    If you could say there was one, it would just be about the level that Rinia and Pursena introduced me to a first year.


    Somehow, this boy is a delinquent of the first years and within two months he had put the squeeze on all of the delinquents in the same year as him.

    After that, he was getting full of himself and thought he'd put his hands on the Bancho Group, it seems he was harshly beaten by the first assassin Zanoba. [5]

    As a result of that, it seems a variety of things happened and it was decided he would enter under my group.


    That's quite the surprising and unexpected story. [6]


    According to the story I heard, it seems our school has an existence like the Four Heavenly Kings, called the [Six Demon Group] ruling over it. [7]

    The one ruling over the summit of that is me it seems.


    It seems if you manage to defeat all of them you can gain the privilege to challenge me, the boss.

    It's a composition like a delinquent manga.

    I better not have some name like Gakuensai Festival or something with that kind of feel attached. [8]


    Incidentally, those six are Zanoba, Cliff, Rinia, Pursena, Fitts, and Badigadi, these six.

    If you're speaking of all of them, I wonder if I'll end up having to face an opponent that can defeat a Demon King.

    I don't really like that.


    In any case this first year student boss was pitiful, since he was defeated by the first man.

    By the time he had made it to my place, his tail was curled up, his head was rounded, it was truly a meek attitude.


    This first year student head, it seems he was able to give a somewhat decent fight thanks to the fact that he kept his distance and fought Zanoba using magic.

    Zanoba somehow endured it, then approached when his opponent had exhausted his magic power and sunk him with one punch supposedly.


    Nothing can be done about the fact that long ranged fights end up being close for Zanoba.

    Next time I thought about teaching Zanoba the ultimate technique to swing a rock with a golf swing and send the opponent flying to China. [9]


    In any case, at some point unknown to me people really started to treat me as the Bancho.

    But you know, thanks to that the delinquents all listen to what I tell them, so it's quite helpful.

    The other day at the time when I found some guys lurking behind the school it was the same.

    If I say one word after readying my stance, their faces suddenly turn pale and they stop.

    If I say just a single line to someone bullying, then the bullying stops.

    It's not a bad position.


    Within my field of vision, I don't forgive guys who harass the weak.

    Even if for example, the bullied side was the problem.


    One such day.

    A letter arrived.


    It was from Paul.

    It seems to be a letter that was sent a year prior finally making its trip here.


    [To Rudeus.

    I saw the letter. That you're going to attend the Magic University. Congratulations!

    Various things happened, but I feel happy that you're walking down your own path.


    I'm sure you've heard from Elinalise, but it seems like we can somehow or other manage things with Zenith.

    It's thanks to Roxy, Talhand, and Elinalise's help.

    Please tell Elinalise thanks in that regard as well.

    Well, I'm sure she'll just make an unpleasant face anyway though.


    Well then, right now we're in East Port.

    We're getting ready to head towards Begaritto Continent after this.

    I've never been to Begaritto Continent before, but it's supposedly the next harshest land after Magic Continent.

    Crossing over with children makes me a little bit uncomfortable.

    Norn and Aisha are still nine years old after all.


    So, the idea came up that we would send just the children up to your place.

    Even though I say that, I know that letting the children journey on their own is dangerous.

    Ginger said she would act as the escort for them, but I don't know what could happen.

    It's dangerous, but if we're going to be separated again and worry about it, then it's better to take them along.


    Just about the time I thought that, we reunited with a certain individual.

    It's a person you know as well.

    That person said he would take over escorting the children, so I left it to them.

    I think you'll be surprised when you meet as well.

    It's a reliable person.


    Honestly, it was a mortifying option.

    If something happens in the middle of the journey and it becomes something terrible when my eyes are off them.

    When I think that, the feeling that I want to take them together with me is large as well.

    But, after all I really want the children to stay in a safe place.

    Including you as well.


    After Norn and Aisha get there, I'd like for you to prepare a place for them to live and to commute to school from, it's fine even if it's small.

    I've left money for school fees and life expenses in their possession.

    It's a considerably large amount of money.

    Don't buy a woman or anything.

    ...Like that could be the case. Well, I'm sure if it's you then you'll be able to handle it well.


    Rather, it's something that I really should be doing myself though... sorry I'm a bad father.

    I'm sorry, but I'm depending on you.


    Thinking about it, you're already 15 years old, by the time this letter arrives you should be 16 huh.

    You're an adult.

    I feel bad that I wasn't ever able to congratulate you on your birthday.

    I can't congratulate Aisha and Norn for their 10th birthdays as well.

    But well, that's something grand we can do at the time when we reunite.

    Together with all of our family.


    It's alright for you to leave this side to us.

    In reality, the Fedoa Region search group has disbanded, all that's left are Lilia, Talhand, Roxy, Vera, Shera, and I.

    We should have enough combat potential to return from Begaritto Continent.

    If things proceed favorably, with a one or two year delay we'll be able to head over there I'm sure.


    In the beginning, I thought about having Lilia go together with the children on the journey, but it seems that Lilia is more worried about me than the children.

    It's something I can't really accept. How pathetic.

    Even though I say that, Lilia trusts in Aisha.

    She seems to have taught her most things that she has to be taught.

    Aisha is a genius.

    Between you and Aisha, I'm scared of my own seed.


    But, Norn is a normal child.

    A bit different from you and Aisha.

    That's why I'm sure you might feel impatient at many times, but please look at it over the long term.

    Also, probably because I was spoiling her, I think she has some selfish points.

    She also seems to hate you as well, along with that, her relationship with Aisha isn't very good.

    Since that's the case, I think there's the possibility that she might end up being isolated, but... as an older brother I'd like for you to look after her without hating it.


    Just in case, I've left the same letter with both of them.

    I think it will be fine leaving it to that person, but if six months pass after the time this letter arrives, I'd like for you to search for them on your side.


    For the time being, something along those lines.

    It's come down to where I'm leaving every little thing down to you, I do feel apologetic about that.

    I leave it in your care.


    From Paul Greyrat.]


    It was a letter overflowing with apologies.

    Paul you... really now.


    It seems Norn and Aisha alone are heading here.

    I'm a bit worried, but I think it's probably better for them to come here instead of going to the Begaritto Continent as well.

    But, I wonder if it would have been fine if they were left in the care of Zenith's parents in Milishion.

    No, I think that in itself might have had its own problems associated with it.

    Putting aside Norn, Aisha doesn't have Zenith's blood flowing in her after all.


    The journey is, well it should be alright.

    Comparing the Central Continent to the Magic Continent, the degree of danger is pretty low after all.

    If you were to call it a worry, then I am worried that there are many kidnappings in this world, but kidnappers fundamentally only target the weak.

    If there are two of them and they have an escort with some amount of skill, then I'm sure no one will try to forcefully abduct them.


    It was written in the letter that they have an escort with them.

    Ginger was a female knight imperial guard belonging to Zanoba.

    I don't remember how skilled she was.

    It's just that, since the knights of Shirone had learned the Water God style, I'm sure she'll be useful for the duty of escorting.


    And then, there's one more.

    It's written that it's a person I can trust.

    I wonder who. Maybe Gisu?

    There's no way it could be Eris right.

    Thinking about other reliable people that Paul and I know... ah, maybe it could be that person.

    They did say they were going to search the Central Continent after all, it could be that luckily they managed to encounter each other.


    If it's that person, then I can leave it to them.[10]

    To the point where Ginger is unnecessary.


    In any case, I could really feel Paul's trust in me from the contents of the letter.

    It won't be good if I don't respond to that trust.

    I'm the eldest son after all!


    However, if that's the case it's really a success that I already bought a house.

    We have plenty of leftover rooms as well.

    We can receive them without any problems.


    If there was going to be any problems, it would be that my two younger sisters are still young.

    Sylphy's and my love life might not go very well in regards to their education.

    Well, it should be fine as long as we prepare a room for them away from our bedroom.


    It's something to look forward to.

    I wonder when they'll come.

    Maybe about two months later.


    And before that.


    "It's no good if I don't properly discuss these things."


    I'll go discuss it with Sylphy.

    Around this time she should be in the kitchen cooking.


    After looking into the kitchen, a girl with a small build was chopping vegetables with a [chopchop].

    Short height, small shoulders, a slender and well-proportioned body.

    After seeing such a figure from behind, I started to feel a bit turned on.


    "Sylphy...!"


    I embraced Sylphy from behind.

    I put my hands inside the hem of her apron and groped her soft chest.


    "Ouch!!"

    "Ah."


    After looking Sylphy cut her finger.

    The red blood was creating a glob and dripping down on top of the chopping board.

    In the moment I embraced her, she cut her finger.


    "...Geez. Rudi, that's dangerous when I'm holding cutlery."


    Sylphy said it in an unusually criticizing tone.

    The cut on her finger was healed in no time at all.

    She seems to be using chantless healing magic almost subconsciously.


    "I'm sorry. I won't cling to you when you're in the middle of cooking."

    "Yeah. Please endure it when I'm cooking. It will be done soon after all."


    I retreated from the kitchen and waited in the dining room.

    I was a bit nervous.

    I ended up getting her hurt.

    I was getting a bit too ahead of myself.


    I sat on the chair and waited.

    And then, since Sylphy came out from the kitchen, I lowered my head.


    "I am very sorry for just now."

    "I'm not that angry. If you're going to apologize just do it normally."

    "Yeah. Sorry."

    "Yes. It will fine as long as you're careful next time."


    We sat together on two chairs and started eating.

    The distance to Sylphy is close.

    It seems she isn't angry.

    Recently, I might have been loving her too much, I'm afraid of the recoil from the time when she gets tired of courtesy.


    "So, what is it? It's unusual for Rudi to be that cheerful."

    "Yeah, I received a letter from my father."

    "Eh!! From Paul-san!?"


    I handed Sylphy the letter while she was surprised.

    With a tense expression she started reading the letter and then looked a bit disappointed.


    "Ah, it seems like the news that we got married still hasn't arrived yet."


    It seems she wanted to know my family's reaction to our marriage.

    However, after she continued reading it her face turned serious.

    In the end she whispered, "I see."


    "That's great isn't it, Rudi. Everyone's safe."

    "Yeah."


    Come to think of it, it was said pretty nonchalantly, but Sylphy already lost her parents.

    I might be lacking a bit of delicacy.

    After seeing my face, Sylphy made a bitter smile.


    "Really, Rudi, don't make that face. Certainly my mother and father died, but now I have Rudi and Elinalise-san here as well, so I'm not lonely."


    While saying that, Sylphy grasped my hand and smiled with a "yeah~"

    Recently, Sylphy has been getting even more adorable.

    Her very short hair has grown a bit and is just short now, it's making her seem even more girlish.

    Her white hair is silky and the long ears that extend out from the sides of her hair are cute.

    This kind of girl is my wife.

    This isn't a dream right.


    "Sylphy..."


    I want to make a new family with this cute girl.

    Such a desire is naturally rising to the surface.

    All the more since we're doing it almost every night on the days we're together.


    Even though I say that, the one who will be troubled by childbirth is Sylphy.

    Her butt is small and cute, but it's far from the easy delivery type.

    Since there's healing magic in this world, I think there are few death incidents during childbirth...

    However, not dying and the difficulty of it are also different matters.


    No, the problem rather than that, is if we can manage to raise a child.

    Honestly, Sylphy and I are both still immature as people.

    Of course, in terms of age we're already considered adults in this world and we can earn money.

    However, as a single human parent, I wonder if we can manage it.


    ...It's alright, it's something all the living beings in the world are doing.

    Even I should be able to do it.

    Even if I can't, Sylphy is here as well.

    It'll be fine if we give it our best together.


    Two years later, Paul and the others will return as well.

    Lilia has her own personal views on child raising after all, so there's nothing to worry about I'm sure.

    The problem is the mother-in-law though.

    I had heard that Zenith and Sylphy got along well together, therefore, I want to think that nothing bad will happen.

    In Paul's case... well if you just show him something like his grandchild, I'm sure he would be simple-mindedly happy about it.


    Oh, that's no good.

    Putting that aside for now.


    "I'm sure you understand after reading the letter, but my two little sisters are coming. I'd like to let them live in this house, but is that alright?"

    "Of course it is. This house will become busy as well."


    While saying that Sylphy laughed shyly.

    And there's no problem.


    After we finished eating dinner we moved to the living room.

    It was time to study magic.


    As usual I can't use healing magic chantlessly.

    However, I've learned the incantations by heart in preparation and stored the theory as knowledge in case it's needed to survive later.

    Chantless isn't the only technique.

    There's no need be fixated on it, it's better if I don't try to think about getting skilled at it in a hurry.


    I think I'm the type who has talent in regards to this world, but I'm sure I can't reach the peak either way.

    Since that's the case, I need to make sure I fortify my foundations and be careful so I don't fall down.


    "Fununu...!"


    Currently, Sylphy is trying to extinguish the Water Ball I've made with her Disturb Magic.

    Her fingertips are facing my hand with her face bright red as she groans.

    I maintain the Water Ball I created with magic power in order to try and prevent it from being extinguished.

    It feels kind of like load training.


    If the Water Ball twists and bends then flies off, it's Sylphy's win.

    Then she acquires the privilege to do anything she likes with me on top of the bed.

    Even without that privilege, if she just says a word about it, then I will go with it.

    In reverse, as long as I can maintain it then it's my win.

    Then I acquire the privilege to love Sylphy to my heart's content on top of the bed.

    Though I possess it even without winning.

    Incidentally, I generally win.


    Currently, it seems Sylphy can use Advanced level attack magic of everything except fire.

    Furthermore her healing is Advanced and Detoxification is Advanced.

    It's this sort of feeling.


    ---


    Fire Magic: Intermediate

    Water Magic: Advanced

    Earth Magic: Advanced

    Wind Magic: Advanced

    Healing Magic: Advanced

    Detoxification Magic: Advanced


    ---


    They're exceedingly high spec.


    It's something I learned recently, but these six types are called the "Basic Six Types" in the Magic University.

    Although they're called basic, they're the types of magic that are used the most frequently.

    In regards to the Magic University, in your first two or three years you're supposed to get these six types to Elementary level as your goal.


    After you've achieved that, in the remaining few years you decide on your major type, and learn it up to Advanced level.

    Or at least that seems to be the standard flow for it.


    Even if you devote yourself to a single one of them, without talent you'll reach a dead end at the Intermediate level.

    For example not having a high enough aggregate magic power or stumbling on melded magic...


    After taking any of the types to Advanced level, there are almost no individuals who make it up to Saint class.

    Although, it seems there are outstanding talents like Sylphy and Cliff once every ten years.

    Outstanding talents once every ten years.

    That means every 10 years there's one guy like that.

    If they're a genius then I guess you could call them a genius, but it's a general category.

    They'll never reach the level of the monsters known as Gods.


    I wonder about myself.

    After putting together the stories I heard from Badigadi and Kishirika, it seems my aggregate amount of magic power is in the realm of God class.


    However, that absolutely doesn't mean that I myself can be considered God class.

    In my case, it's almost like attaching a passenger plane's fuel tank onto an average car.

    No matter how long it runs it won't stop, but the speed won't increase.

    Along with the fuel tank, if you throw on the jet engine as well, this time the body of the car won't hold together.

    From a design standpoint it would be a piece of junk.

    Being able to run as much as it wants without stopping is a great advantage though.


    "Come to think of it, Sylphy."

    "Wh, what? you know I'm concentrating..."

    "It's about our child, but I wonder if they would have talent in magic."

    "Faa-!?"


    Sylphy's concentration power was disturbed.

    The unskilled Disturb Magic scattered and the Water Ball was created to its complete orb form.

    I froze that and then sunk it into the cup in front of me.


    "Th... That is something we won't know until it's born..."


    Sylphy's face was bright red, she was restlessly squirming with her thighs together.


    "In order for it to be born, that is, it's essential for the Danna-sama to give it his best, you know?"


    While laughing and trying to cover that up Sylphy came over and rubbed my thighs.

    Sylphy's thin hand tickled.

    In exchange, I rubbed the back side of Sylphy's shoulders as well.

    These days this kind of contact somehow makes me happy.

    In an instant, the mood in the living room became pink colored.

    Sylphy buried her face on the top of my shoulder as she embraced me.

    Cute.

    Danna-sama wants to give it his best right now.


    Le... let alone talking about when it's born, it's too soon to be talking about it when it's not even made yet isn't it.

    An un-captured tanuki or something or other. [11]

    If I don't capture the tanuki first.


    "Yeah. But, since my elf blood is strong, it might be hard to make it... That is, I know that Rudi wants a child, but it seems there are cases where it can take a considerable amount of time to make it. Grandm... Elinalise-san said it as well, but, that is, the probability that we won't be able to make it soon is higher right..."


    Sylphy separated her head from my shoulder and cast her eyes down with a somewhat worried face.


    Several months since we were married.

    Sylphy's and my sexual relationship has been proceeding favorably.


    It's just a bit of naked talk, but in the instant I'm about to pull the trigger on my magnum, I use lines often said in ero games.

    Not with any particularly deep meaning, simply because I just wanted to try saying the lines, and while I'm aware that they are considerably disgusting, and somehow or other the interest takes a hold and I suddenly end up blurting them out.

    Sylphy might be interpreting those seriously.


    It seems she's still not to the point of worrying about infertility, but she might be holding worries about it in her own way.


    "Th... That is if I'm unable to have a child, it's fine if you accept a mistress okay?"

    "For the time being, there's no expectation for that at all."

    "But Rudi... you want a child right?"


    I'll try thinking about it with the positions reversed.

    If it were to come to light that I was infertile and Sylphy felt by all means that she wanted a child.

    Sylphy was led away by a different man and made a child.


    I might commit suicide.

    I can't afford to let Sylphy feel those sorts of things.


    "You sure are foolish Sylphy. What I want isn't a child, it's the crystallization of love with the partner that I love."

    "Rudi..."

    "I love you Sylphy. My princess."


    Even for me, those are some pretty toothy lines.

    The back of my neck is itchy.

    However Sylphy... Or more like, the people of this world are weak to these kinds of lines.

    The other day as well, as a joke I said, "Cheers to your eyes" and Sylphy's face went bright red.

    The effect is outstanding.

    If I'm too embarrassed to say it then we can't move forward.


    "...I love you as well."


    Sylphy's eyes were clouded while she was clinging onto my arm.

    Her face was bright red, the area around her mouth was linked like she was extremely embarrassed.

    Perfect Communication. [12]


    Well then, now that we've gotten a rise we should move up to the second floor.

    I picked up Sylphy and carried her princess-like.

    Sylphy put her hands around my neck.

    In those clouded eyes, I could see my reflected figure trying to appear as attractive as possible, my heart was pounding like an alarm bell.

    That she's given in to the arousal as well, is the best of all.

    In these cases, the most important thing is that both sides' feelings are in it after all.


    Now then, tonight it seems that it's going to be a hot night.



    The incident occurred one month after the letter arrived.


    ---


    Early afternoon.

    I was helping out with Nanahoshi's experiments.

    Just, this day, it was proceeding a bit different.


    "If this magic circle succeeds, we'll be able to proceed to the next phase."


    Nanahoshi declared that and displayed a magic circle much larger than any of the previous ones.

    Far more enormous, even though I say that, it's still only about half the size of a tatami mat.

    On an unusually large page for this world, delicate patterns were drawn closely packed together.

    It was a masterpiece that took over one month to draw.

    In regards to Nanahoshi, it's the compilation of two years of work.


    "For the time being, is it alright for me to hear what this magic circle is intended to do?"

    "...It's to summon an object from the other world."

    "The metastasis disaster won't occur again right?"


    Because Nanahoshi was summoned, that metastasis disaster occurred.

    That would mean, it might happen even if it's with just a small object.

    Is what I was thinking, but Nanahoshi shook her head.


    "It's alright... in theory at least."

    "For the time being would it be alright for me to hear that theory?"

    "In all of the experiments until now, in order to summon something more complex and larger, I confirmed that it requires more magic power. In other words, the magic in this world falls under the category of the laws of energy conservation. This time what we're summoning is a small and simple object. If we were to use the assumption that the amount of energy used during the time I was summoned was enough to annihilate an entire region, in theory at most only an area of 1 meter or so around the magic circle would be teleported this time. And then, honestly I can't imagine it happening though, even if by chance the same thing happens again, I've prepared a safety within the magic circle. I already know how much magic power it will use after all."


    The laws of energy conservation huh.

    I see now. What was that again?


    "Energy conservation... and, what was that again?"


    Was it different from the law of conservation of mass...?


    "...I'm not so knowledgeable about it that I can explain it to a person who doesn't know about it, but in other words all of the strange things that happen in this world, generally have magic power as their cause. That thing you use often, Rock Bullet was it? That as well, you're suddenly materializing a rock in mid-air, but the reality of it is that you're changing the magic power into rock."


    I guess that would mean I was mistaken on the laws I thought of in the past.[13]

    I see, Energy Conservation.

    I see now, the more magic power you pour into the more it becomes, fire magic's temperature rises, the weight of earth magic increases is what that means.


    "And then...?"


    After that, Nanahoshi explained it to me, but honestly it was too difficult so I didn't understand it.

    Since you're applying the usage of some law, the magic circle's size and effect are something or other.

    Also, after applying the something or other law, something or other happens.


    Honestly, even if there was a hole somewhere in the theory, I wouldn't get it.

    All that I understand is that Nanahoshi is full of self-confidence.

    If she has self-confidence, then I'm sure the probability of success is high.


    Well. Even if it fails and I end up being thrown somewhere as well.

    I'm sure I can somehow or other manage to return.


    "If it fails and I end up being teleported somewhere, I'm leaving it to you to contact my family."

    "That's why I said, there's no chance of that."


    After that exchange, I stood in front of the magic circle.


    "Well then, I'll start."

    "Please do."


    I wonder if that wish was something made towards me.

    Or else something towards God.


    I started to pour magic power into the magic circle.

    The ends of the magic circle on the paper started giving off light.

    Then the entire magic circle began to release a dim light.

    I knew that my magic power was being sucked up continuously from my arm.


    However, something was a bit strange.

    I felt something was out of place.

    I felt like there was some kind of stagnation in the way the magic circle was shining.

    One portion doesn't seem to be shining as well...


    Psht!!!


    A small sound was let out.

    Suddenly the magic power stopped passing over.

    The dim light from the magic circle stopped.


    "..."


    With that it was over.

    After that, the magic circle returned no reaction.

    After taking a good look, a part of the paper had a fissure made in it.

    I guess it would mean it short circuited, and the safety or whatever started working.

    In any case, this is...

    A failure.


    "...How about it?"

    "It's a failure."


    Nanahoshi said it quietly.

    And then, fell into the chair, put her elbows on the desk.

    She made a deep sigh.


    "Fu...."


    She just kept staring at the paper placed on the floor.

    The paint had disappeared from the paper and all that was remaining was the rough draft of the magic circle.

    And the remaining fissure in the paper.

    She just kept absent-mindedly looking at those without any movement.

    After a short while, she looked this way and said it.


    "Thank you for your work. Today is already... fine for you to return."


    Roughly two year's worth of compilation.

    It ended in just a matter of only a few seconds.

    However, failures go along with experiments.


    "Well, these sorts of things happen."

    "..."


    Nanahoshi wasn't responding.

    ...I wonder if it's my fault.

    No, I shouldn't be related.

    I just kept sending magic power into it.

    I didn't do anything different, as long as they have magic power anyone should be able to do it.

    If that was no good, then it's Nanahoshi's fault for not explaining it enough.


    "..."


    Nanahoshi wasn't saying anything.

    In any case, for today it goes this far huh.


    "Well then, please excuse me."


    I stood up.

    Just before I left the experiment room, I looked at Nanahoshi once more.

    She's been in the same posture as just before, without a single movement.

    I passed through the storage-like room filled with a mix of things as I left the research room.


    After several steps I stopped my feet.

    Nanahoshi has been considerably tense over these past several months.

    With this failure, she might actually be considerably shaken I wonder.

    That posture, that behavior.

    Could it be, rather than thinking about the next experiment's failure, she was just staring in a daze?

    No, even if she's like that Nanahoshi is reasonably strong it seems.

    She should have the capacity to accept a failure as a failure I'm sure.

    The instant I thought that,


    "Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh......!"


    I suddenly heard a screaming voice from the research room.

    Simultaneously, I heard the sound of something breaking.

    The sound of someone raging.


    I turned my heels around and quickly returned to the research room.


    "Aaaaaaaah!"


    There, Nanahoshi was half in a frenzy with her hair disheveled.

    She was tearing the books she wrote herself into pieces and scattering them, as her temper was going up, she pulled over the shelves, throwing the contents of jars all over the place.

    She took off her mask and threw it on the ground.

    While trying to scratch off her face she staggered into the wall.

    While beating on the wall she staggered and tripped over the contents of the jar she threw everywhere.

    She continued to slam the contents of the jar on the ground, stood up and then tried to tear off her hair.


    I panicked and went up behind her and grabbed onto her, constricting her.


    "Wai... calm down!"

    "I can't return, I can't return, I can't return..."


    Nanahoshi was muttering it in a whisper with hollow eyes.

    All of her muscles were stiffening, like she was saving up all of her power to start raging about at any time.


    "I can't return, I can't return, I can't retuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn!"


    Nanahoshi was struggling.

    To the limits of her power, she was struggling to try and release my restraint on her.

    However, it was just the level of strength of a hikikomori female high school student.

    Feeble.

    There's no way she could shake me off.


    Before long she released her strength and went limp.

    When I started to release my hands, she started to bend towards the floor.


    "Hey, are you alright?"


    After looking at that face, I felt intuitively that it was dangerous.

    The color of her face was pure white, her eyes were blank and had a shadow over them, her lips had lost their color, and they dried up and cracked.

    This is the face that someone makes during a considerably severe emotional breakdown.

    She might try to kill herself.


    "...."


    I can't deal with this by myself.

    What should I do?

    Who would help me at times like this...?

    Sylphy.

    It's Sylphy.

    If it's her then she'll lend me a hand somehow or other.


    That's right, today she has no night shift.

    Alright, today I'll return home with Nanahoshi.

    Let's do that.

    No, but before that, it would be better to calm her down somewhere.


    "Are you alright?"

    "..."

    "You've been working a bit too hard you know. Rest for today."

    "..."


    Nanahoshi wasn't responding.

    I turned her shoulders around and partly forcibly stood her up.

    Just like that, I left the research room while dragging her along.

    The lock is... No, I'll do it after.

    I'm sure it'll be fine for one day or so. Probably.


    Just like that, I was heading towards the place Sylphy was at. The aim is the fifth year students' classroom.

    Maybe I should have someone call out to her.

    Or else, I can call her myself.


    I continued to walk while lending my shoulder to Nanahoshi, the surrounding gazes were gathering on me.

    Just then I ran into the lot moving between classrooms.

    They were talking loudly.

    We stand out.

    Is it because I'm lending my shoulder to a woman?


    Right now Nanahoshi doesn't have her mask on.

    It would be better if we don't stand out too much.

    But what should I do.


    "Shisho!"


    I heard a voice from behind.

    After turning around. It's Zanoba.


    "Shisho... what's wrong!?"

    "Zanoba. Nanahoshi's in danger, help me out here."

    "...Is it illness!?"

    "Something similar to that."

    "Then, we should move her to the infirmary for now."


    Yeah, first we should go there.

    Infirmary, it's the infirmary. [14]

    Alright.


    "Shisho, I'll carry her."

    "Do it courteously."

    "Of course, now, Silent-dono."


    Zanoba picked up Nanahoshi and carried her like a princess. [15]

    It was a solid and stable holding style. Nanahoshi didn't resist at all.

    She was completely limp with an expression like her soul had been drawn out.


    "Clear the path!"


    We went straight through the crowd while Zanoba was yelling.

    The people split like the sea.

    I followed along through there.


    We arrived at the infirmary.

    We laid Nanahoshi on the bed.

    She was making a blank face.

    It was a terrible face.

    It looks like the shadow of death is coming out.

    For the time being, I conveyed the important parts to the healing magician that was on duty.

    Emotional conditions can't be cured with healing magic.


    After suddenly looking at my feet, Julie was pulling at my cuff.


    "Grandmaster, your face looks terrible."


    After hearing those words I touched my own face.

    Right now, I wonder what kind of face I'm making.

    Ah, no, I'm probably considerably disturbed as well.

    If I don't calm down a bit.


    "Yeah, since I'm ugly after all."


    I put my hand on top of Julie's head and patted it.

    To think I'd even be making this kind of little girl worried.


    "By all means, Shisho."


    Suddenly, I was handed a cup from the side.

    It's Zanoba.


    "Thank you."


    I received it with thanks and drank the contents.

    It seems he got it from a pitcher that's reserved in the infirmary.

    I felt a sensation like my tongue was coming undone from the top of my mouth.

    It seems at some point unnoticed my mouth got completely dry.


    "Fu..."


    I sat in the chair and took a deep breath.

    Zanoba was standing at my side and quietly asked.


    "Shisho, what happened? It's the first time I've seen Shisho panicking this much."

    "Ah..."


    I explained the things that happened in the experiment room.

    The experiment failed and that Nanahoshi started to act violently.

    Since it seemed like she might die if I left her alone, I saved her.

    After Zanoba heard that, he looked over Nanahoshi with a complicated expression.


    "I guess she must not be doing her research because she wants to do it?"

    "...That's right I guess."


    No-no it's not like she's doing it.

    It's not like she's doing it because she wants to do it.

    She can't return if she doesn't do it.

    If it doesn't go well, it can't be helped that it ends up like this.


    It's been six years since the metastasis incident.

    She's tripped on the first step.


    "..."


    I sighed and then reclined on the chair.

    Somehow I'm tired.

    Zanoba didn't say anything more than that.

    We just blankly stared at the ceiling in front of Nanahoshi, just able to do nothing but stand still.


    After a short while, Nanahoshi closed her eyes and fell asleep.

    Around the same time as that Sylphy appeared.

    Ariel wasn't around.


    "I came to confirm the story that Rudi and Zanoba-kun brought a female student to the infirmary."


    It seems it was becoming a rumor.

    I knocked a female student unconscious, brought her to the infirmary, and that I might end up doing something terrible to her.

    That sure is cruel, why are they so lacking in trust of me. Is it because I'm the Bancho?

    Though I haven't really done anything to earn their trust.

    Well, it's fine.


    I told Sylphy about the things that occurred in the research room. [16]

    The experiment failed and after that Nanahoshi went berserk.

    And then, it ended up at the current situation.


    "That sort of thing happened??"


    Sylphy made a serious face and looked at Nanahoshi.


    "Since it would be dangerous to leave her alone, I thought to let her sleep at our house for today."

    "Wouldn't it be better to let her sleep in the infirmary I wonder?"

    "At the time when she wakes up, it's better if there's a face she knows."


    At the very least, during times like these it's no good if they're alone.

    She'll fall as far as she can fall.

    Nanahoshi is young. She doesn't seem like she has any sort of resistance to these sorts of things after all.

    It could be that up until now several similar cases of irritability have happened as well.

    However, I could feel that the shock was largely different this time.

    The thing known as a person's heart, when it's shaken this violently it will fall as far as it can.

    The place it will look to is, in other words, suicide.


    "I don't know how long it will take for her to calm down though. I feel we should look after her for a bit and let her sleep over at our house."

    "Umm, is it alright if I leave it to you?"

    "If it's at the level of meals, then it's fine."


    It's just keeping her quarantined until she calms down.

    It might be good to let her escape from reality a bit as well.

    Averting your eyes during painful times is occasionally important.

    It's the so called strategic retreat.


    "...It's not like I'm particularly planning to cheat."

    "I understand that. Or else, is there something you're feeling guilty about?"

    "Nothing."


    There's absolutely no feeling of guilt.

    Even though I say that, I'm bringing a different woman to our home.

    Not only that, but a completely limp girl not putting up any resistance.

    But, it seems Sylphy isn't going to doubt me.

    So this is faith huh.


    "I'll leave it to Rudi. Today are you going to return just like this?"

    "Yeah. Shopping, I can't go together, but can I leave it to you?"

    "Leave it to me."


    I greatly nodded to Sylphy's trustworthy response.

    As expected of Sylphy.


    After leaving the school and hurrying to my house.

    Zanoba offered to transport Nanahoshi.

    Just now it was carrying like a princess, but this time he's carrying her over his back.

    Zanoba is a prince, but carrying on his back sure suits him. [17]


    "I'm sorry about this Zanoba."

    "No, since I'm only useful in these sorts of ways."


    Zanoba who was effortlessly carrying the limp Nanahoshi.

    Behind that, Julie was toddling along.

    If you put diving clothes with a drill attached to Zanoba, I'm sure it would be fine to call him Mr. Bubbles. [18]

    As a test, I decided to try lifting up Julie.


    "Hyaa! Grandmaster, what is it?"

    "Nothing."


    Zanoba just made a fleeting glance this way.


    I walked along while carrying Julie in my arms.

    Julie's body was unexpectedly fluffy.

    A year prior she was like skin and bones, but it seems she's properly been eating.

    She's lacking a bit of muscle, but it's not like I'm going to demand something massive from a seven year old child.


    "Julie, is Zanoba treating you well?"

    "Yes, Master is giving me a lot of food."

    "I see I see. Master is giving you lots to eat is he?"

    "Master is giving me a lot of good food to eat."

    "Very good."


    Come to think of it, I wonder if Nanahoshi is properly eating her meals.

    During the time when I was carrying her, I felt she was considerably thin.

    I won't say as light as feather, but she was considerably light.

    She might not be eating any decent food.


    Meals are an emotional stability drug.

    Eating the things you like, eating together with someone.

    Just with that, people can become a bit happier.

    I don't think Nanahoshi has done those sorts of things almost at all.


    "Fu..."


    I let out a sigh.

    I wonder what kind of lifestyle Nanahoshi has been living.

    Secluding herself alone and not eating anything decent.

    Without having conversations with anyone, an everyday life of just drawing magic circles.


    "It's not Shisho's fault, don't let it bother you too much."

    "Yeah, I get that."


    It seems Zanoba was caught by my sigh in a different meaning.

    He was looking at me with an overly serious face.

    It seems he's more worried about me rather than Nanahoshi.

    Well, I'm sure Zanoba hasn't had almost any conversations with Nanahoshi after all, it can't be helped huh.


    "..."


    For a short while we walked silently.

    And then I heard the sound of Julie's heart beating.

    Since Julie is a child, her body temperature is higher than mine and warm.

    Listening to a heartbeat is strangely relaxing.

    Next time, I'll buy Julie something.


    After a short while, we arrived at the house.

    We went inside the room I prepared for the sake of my little sisters and placed Nanahoshi inside on one side.

    She was completely limp stretched out on the bed.

    Her eyes were open.

    It seems that she woke up at some point.

    But, it's still blank. I don't know where she's looking.

    It's almost like a corpse.


    I wonder if she'll really return to normal...


    According to my diagnosis, it's still, just barely alright.

    It's a considerably dangerous condition, but she's still alright.

    There was a time where I fell into a similar place, but I was able to return from there.


    Acting out is something like a spasm.

    Those sorts of furious situations don't continue.


    But for the time being, I grope around her clothes, and take anything that seems like it might work as a weapon.

    She was holding onto a small knife.

    I don't think you would die with this, but for the time being I'll hold onto it.

    Inside the room there's nothing dangerous.

    The window is... it's the second floor after all, a bit dangerous.

    I guess I should fix it in place with earth magic huh.

    Though if she shatters the glass of the window it would end there, but I want to think that right now she doesn't have that much energy.[19]

    Since Nanahoshi wasn't moving, I went down to the first floor.


    "Is she going to be alright?"

    "Well..."


    When I went down to the first floor Zanoba asked somewhat worriedly.

    This guy seems like he'd be indifferent to gloom after all.

    Though you can say he has weaknesses, but he's fundamentally positive after all.


    "In any case, you helped me out there Zanoba."

    "No, since I'm always depending on Shisho after all. There's nothing to worry about with this much."


    Zanoba declared it with his same composed face as always.

    As expected, he's a reliable man.


    "Shisho, you as well, are you alright?"

    "Me? Why?"

    "It looked like shisho received some kind of shock when Silent-dono collapsed."


    I've received some damage.

    I wonder if that's the case.

    Yeah.

    I guess it is.


    Nanahoshi was raging about in insanity.

    After I stopped that, she became something like an empty shell.

    Seeing that from start to end, I remembered things from the past.


    In Nanahoshi's case, the shape is slightly different from me, but it's mental agony.

    I'm feeling empathetic.

    If the circumstances were a bit different, the one like that might have been me.


    "Somewhat. I remembered something painful from the past."

    "Is it fine for me to listen?"

    "...During the time when I was small, I became like that, and just got lethargic and shut myself off."

    "It's a sensation that I couldn't understand."


    It was a forsaken way of putting it, but I don't want to simply be told that he understands.


    "I'm sure."

    "In any case, if there's a time when you need my power again, please ask, since I'm only overflowing in just power after all."

    "Yeah, I'll rely on you."


    I feel grateful to Zanoba's good will.

    This guy as well, even if it doesn't involve dolls he's a good guy after all.


    After that, a short while passed and Zanoba returned.

    Since I had nothing to do, I spent the time reading in the room where Nanahoshi was sleeping.

    I hesitated a bit whether to leave her alone or not.

    In my case, during these sorts of times, you really want to be alone.

    However, she's always been alone up until now.

    She was alone.


    Until Sylphy returned, I was at Nanahoshi's side.



    One week has passed since we started looking after Nanahoshi.


    She would just stare blankly throughout the day.

    However, it seems the worst period has already passed.

    Her appetite is thin, but she's eating and if we press her she even goes into the bath.

    She goes in without trying to drown herself.


    However, maybe because her stretched tension was cut, but I can't feel the willpower she previously had.

    It's a feeling like she would simply break when pushed.

    She has no energy as well.

    If I were to say it, it's the kind of mood of someone who was deceived by the yakuza and found themself the star of an adult video in no time at all.

    I can't leave her alone.

    I need to be cautious not to let her meet someone like Luke.


    The only thing that I can feel from the current Nanahoshi is resignation.

    That experiment failed, but it seems she was enduring it to that degree.

    She seemed so self-confident, it might have been a firm theory.

    I wonder if that failure had enough meaning in it for the past several years she spent to all be pointless.


    I've never experienced a setback that big.

    The closest thing I have is when my data from a net game I continued playing for several years to the point of being an invalid, was deleted.

    The instant I got the Bad Login message and Account Suspension mail, my heart's pounding got intense, I spent almost a full day unable to think of anything.

    After protesting to the administrations, crying out thoroughly, and finally crying myself to sleep.

    After that, I couldn't motivate myself to do anything for a month.

    That time, I swore to myself that I would never seriously play net games again.


    Nanahoshi's case is different from a net game.

    She has the objective of returning to the previous world.

    If she had to give up on that, I'm sure she wouldn't be able to live.


    Thinking that, I looked here and there for ways to help but...

    She was just spending everyday blanking out.

    I don't even know if she was able to hear my conversation.

    Is what I was thinking though.


    "I thought I had closed it all up..."


    One day, she suddenly said that.

    I didn't respond and just listened.


    "Magic circles, if I were to put them into words of our previous world, they're something like circuit boards. By joining together a number of patterns of circuits you can create a single function. However, no matter what, that one point, the circuit wouldn't connect together. No matter how much I changed the wiring, a certain single point and another single point wouldn't connect. I tried forcefully connecting them together, but then some other place always has a malfunction remaining."


    For the sake of connecting together a circuit that isn't connecting together, she enlarged something that would normally be half the size.

    And then in order to fix a single distortion, she added another circuit.

    In the end it was a magic circle with a malfunction remaining in a single part.

    Even though it shouldn't seem hopeless at a glance.

    Just a single part isn't connecting together.


    "It goes against the laws of physics. In other words, it means I won't be able to return to my home."


    It was a magic circle full of patchwork almost like paper mache.

    I'm sure Nanahoshi put quite a bit of effort into it.

    At a glance, if she were to put a bit more effort into it, you might think that the circuit that's not connecting, would connect.

    However, I'm sure if you were to do that again, a different circuit would stop connecting.


    "It's already impossible..."


    Nanahoshi said it like that and fell prostrated on the bed.


    I proceeded towards Nanahoshi's research laboratory, I decided to gather some plans.

    After hearing her story, I remembered a certain thing.

    It could be that it can be resolved.

    Even though I say that, I don't want to give her false hope.

    First I need to think of what I can do and check into it.


    Next day. I called Cliff to Zanoba's research room.

    If three people meet, then they say you'll gain transcendental wisdom after all. [20]

    I decided to borrow the intelligence of the Genius-sama.

    In the research room, naturally as it was, Elinalise followed along as well.


    "To think that Silent would end up in that sort of condition, it's hard to believe."


    It seems she stays in Cliff's research laboratory, but I wonder what's going on with classes.

    It seems like she's advanced years, but I wonder if she might end up dropping out of school soon.

    Well, it's her individual freedom I guess.


    "She looked like a bit stronger of a girl to me though."

    "A truly strong person wouldn't seclude themself alone and worry about things."

    "Well, I guess that is true."


    Elinalise shrugged her shoulders.

    It doesn't seem that Elinalise has had much contact with Nanahoshi as well.

    Asking her to help us find some kind of breather might be a good idea as well.


    "Well then, you two. First please take a look at this."


    I show Zanoba and Cliff the diagram.

    In that moment, Cliff made a sullen face.


    "What a filthy magic circle."


    Saying filthy, what an interesting expression.


    "Is there such a thing as filthy and clean?"

    "Obviously. When creating magic tools, it won't be settled if you don't create them small and cleanly. If it were me I'd draw it cleaner. For example, here, if you were to connect them here, this area would be able to work with more refinement."

    "Oh?"


    Cliff pointed his finger at the magic circle and boasted fulled of confidence

    Well, anyone can criticize something that's already completed.

    Probably, if we did just as Cliff says, the malfunctions would increase again I'm sure.


    "Ah, but, the idea is amazing indeed. To think of making a loop in this part, normally you wouldn't think of that... I see, it's because of this description that this side has become complicated...?"


    Cliff was muttering some things while looking at the magic circle.

    This, for example, that for example, or then around here for example.

    It was all those kinds of words.

    I wonder if it would be better if I study more.

    Though it's not specifically guaranteed that I'll understand even if I study it.


    "And then, Shisho, what sort of magic circle is this?"

    "It's a summoning magic circle that Silent is researching. Since she's reached a bit of an impasse, I'd like to borrow your knowledge."


    After saying that, Zanoba tilted his head.


    "However shisho, summoning magic is outside of our area of expertise?"

    "Well, it's fine even if we can't come to a resolution."


    Just, if it's something that you can't understand alone, if several people think about it you might figure it out.

    In reverse, if the field is different, the ideas that come out might be different as well.


    "For the time being, please look at this part here, it seems that the magic circle cut off around here, but do you get it?"


    I pointed my finger at the part where it tore during the experiment.


    "...Eh? Yeah. So it cut off here, I didn't realize it. This magic circle is incomplete. Ummm, where this should be connected to is... here?"


    Cliff was surprised.

    It seems even though he calls himself a genius, he couldn't recognize that part right away.

    I guess it's that kind of thing.


    "In order to connect this circuit, do you have any ideas?"


    After asking that, Cliff crossed his arms and gave it some thought.

    This and that are and started muttering to himself.

    He was writing various things on the memo in his hand.


    "This is a difficult problem. If you were to redraw it from scratch... No but... it's impossible."

    "Could it work if we went with a multiple structure?"


    Around the time when Cliff arrived at his conclusion, Zanoba interposed.

    Cliff made a puzzled expression.


    "Multiple structure? What kind of talk is that?"

    "In the doll that I'm researching, several magic circles are layered to give birth to a single result. Even though I say that, since I've only just started my research as well, I've never even properly drawn a magic circle before..."

    "Wait just a second, doll you mean, the one from the other day? Show it to me for a bit."

    "Shisho, is that fine?"


    For some reason after asking for my permission, Zanoba returned with the round slice of the doll's arm.

    Cliff looked at the cross-section round slice of the magic circle with great interest.

    And then declared it.


    "The guy who created this is a genius."


    For the excessively self-conscious Cliff to say it, it seems it's that amazing.


    "I've never seen a magic circle like this before...ku...I don't get the theory at all. Are there two magic circles overlapping... No, it's different, there's even more. It seems without them all assembled together it wouldn't move properly... But, even though it was broken it was still moving after all... Why? ...Shit, what's going on with this magic circle."


    Cliff was grinding his teeth in a mortifying way.

    It's almost like the prince-sama of the vegetable country laying his eyes on the legendary superman. [21]


    "I don't really understand it in detail yet though. According to the book, it seems to be a magic circle solely for the sake of controlling the movements of the elbow."


    After Zanoba nonchalantly said it, Cliff seemed like he was about to sob.

    I'm sure he's mortified over Zanoba understanding something that he doesn't know.

    Immediately, Elinalise rushed over to him.

    She pulled his head into her chest and stroked it.


    "Yes Yes, I understand that since Cliff is a genius, if you investigate it a bit more you'll understand it in more detail."

    "I... I know that!"


    Cliff turned bright red and regained his energy.

    As expected of Elinalise. She's reliable.

    But, since it's a considerably hectic time right now, I'd like you to do that after you return.


    "Cliff-senpai. If you use the technique used in this doll, do you think you can solve the problem in Silent's magic circle?"

    "I don't know. But, I think there's a possibility."


    It doesn't seem he knows for certain huh.

    However, I'm sure it'll become some kind of clue.

    Until now, Nanahoshi has only ever drawn magic circles with a single plane.

    If she were to layer them, I guess such upside down ways of thinking never came to her.

    Or else she might not have tried it for some other kind of reason.


    I'll be praying that this talk was a blind spot on Nanahoshi's end.

    And then, it would be good if she'll regain her motivation.


    The next day, I took Nanahoshi out.

    The destination was her research room.


    The disorderly room was left in the same arrangement as yesterday's occasion.

    It's a room with a mixed feeling still remaining, Zanoba and Cliff were on standby.

    What the two were looking at was the research materials that Nanahoshi had investigated until now.

    After Nanahoshi saw that she suddenly laughed with her nose.


    "What's this!? With three men, do you intend to rape me or something?"


    Rape you say.

    Exactly how far in self-abandonment are you?

    After just a single failure...

    Well, all it takes to drive someone mad in their life is just a single large mistake.[22]


    "What was that! I am a devout Milis adherent! You know!"


    Cliff was enraged.

    The Milis religion is similar to Christianity on the idea points of chastity.

    In one's lifetime, they only love a single woman, and absolutely never resort to adultery.

    It sure is abstinent.


    "Ah, I see."


    Nanahoshi walked with an unreliable stagger and sat on the chair.

    And then leaned on it completely limp.


    "Cliff-senpai, Zanoba, for the time being please start with the conversation from yesterday."


    I showed Nanahoshi a number of ideas that these two thought up last night.

    Nanahoshi listened to the explanation uninterested.

    The magic circle revised by Cliff.

    Layering the magic circles proposed in regards to Zanoba's research.

    It was a three-dimensional magic circle, that I suggested the idea of.


    While looking at those uninterested.

    Without a single change in her expression.

    She looked fixed on them.

    Fixed.

    There was a point her eyes were focused on.

    It was no longer uninteresting.

    It was just expressionless as she concentrated.


    "Ah."


    Suddenly, Nanahoshi raised her voice.


    "It might work...?"


    And whispered that as such.


    From there Nanahoshi suddenly leaped and stood up from the chair.


    "I see, I see I see, there was no necessity to be so fixated on a single plane. Well, that's right. I can write multiple papers and then stick them together. If I laminate layer them, I can draw a magic circle of any size. I wonder why I couldn't think up something this simple!"


    She started pacing around the room three, four times without composure.

    She took the pen and paper on top of the desk in her hand.

    And then, started drawing a diagram with a clatter.

    She was drawing something that looked like a calculation formula, then sloppily erased it and redrew it.


    "Ah, it's different, not like this!"

    "Hey, isn't it like this?"


    Towards that Nanahoshi acting like a bear in the zoo, Cliff suddenly stuck his head in.

    At some point he had been using the red ink pen he was holding to add notes to Nanahoshi's memo.

    As expected of Cliff-senpai.

    Naturally unable to read the suddenly different atmosphere.


    "Ah, I see... you are clever."

    "Of course, since I'm a genius after all."

    "Then what about this? What would you be fine with doing? I've had some doubts about it since before though...?"

    "Eh... wait just a second..."


    Cliff and Nanahoshi with their shoulders side by side had started getting along together while scribbling on a single paper.

    I took a peek at it but I couldn't see it as anything other than a child's scribbling.


    "Zanoba, do you get it?"

    "At that level, I don't understand it at all..."


    We've been left out of the loop.

    In any case, Cliff sure is amazing.

    I don't think it should have been all that long since he started researching magic circles.


    Well it's fine.

    It seems like Nanahoshi has regained her energy after all.

    ...If it's like this, then even if it doesn't succeed, I'm sure she'll get some kind of foothold.


    "Zanoba sorry about this, but please look after things here."

    "Shisho where are you heading?"

    "I'm going to call Elinalise-san. If she knows that her own man is getting along well with another woman I'm sure even that person will find it unpleasant after all."


    While saying that I face away from him.

    The time when I was leaving the research room, I could hear Nanahoshi's cheerful voice.


    It might be the first time I've heard Nanahoshi make that kind of voice since we first met.


    One week later.

    Nanahoshi completed the magic circle.

    It was a magic circle almost like cardboard, with five pieces of paper layered together.

    Each of those was drawn separately and then they were glued together with some kind of paste.


    While Cliff and Zanoba were watching over, I started to pour magic power into it.

    My magic power was being sucked out continuously.

    The magic circle started to release light.

    A radiant light.

    The room was illuminated almost like broad daylight.

    Inside the light. The shape gradually started to appear.


    By the time the light had settled, something from the other world had been summoned to this world.

    A PET bottle.

    It has no label or cap, it's a PET bottle with a simple shape.


    "Oh, this is amazing isn't it."

    "What is this?? Glass? It's different?? More..."


    Zanoba and Cliff couldn't hide their excitement at seeing a 500 ml PET bottle for the first time.

    Elinalise and Julie as well, were peeking with very interested faces.


    Nanahoshi as well, after seeing the thing summoned, she clenched her first, and in a small voice whispered, "good, good."

    Looking at the PET bottle.


    It's nothing but a PET bottle.

    Even so it's a PET bottle.

    In that moment we knew with certainty that this world and our previous world were connected.

    It was an inorganic substance that's not a living being, an object with an exceedingly simple structure.

    However, something that doesn't exist in this world was summoned here.


    "It's a success isn't it."


    I called out to Nanahoshi with those words.

    And then she deeply nodded.

    Very pleasantly.


    "Yeah, it's a success, with this we can finally proceed to the next phase! A magic circle that uses a layered structure, if I continue following through with this, most likely it'll be able to summon anything. If there's more organization put into the magic circle, just by changing the second and third pieces of paper and..."


    And then Nanahoshi turned back and looked at me.

    She avoided my gaze and made a face full of retribution.


    "...I'm sorry about that. I... I've depended on you."

    "It's give and take right? Next time, if I'm in trouble please help me out as well?"

    "...Of ...Of course."


    A meek Nanahoshi sure is a good thing.

    After suddenly taking a look, Elinalise was staring over here without moving.


    "Somehow you seem intimate don't you."

    "Elinalise-san, just like that, you always tie things together to love affairs quickly."

    "It's between a man and woman after all. But, that isn't very good you know."


    Mother-in-law's eyes were shining.

    Even though I don't have any intention of cheating.

    Even though Sylphy knows about today.


    "I guess so, they are newly-weds after all, it would be terrible if his wife misunderstood."


    Nanahoshi took one step away.

    Elinalise laughed with a smile and put her arm around Nanahoshi's shoulder.


    "Ufufu, there's no need to be that bothered by it. That's right! Let's go to a bar today! Of course it's this lady's treat!"


    Nanahoshi let out a bitter smile to Elinalise's proposal.

    Normally she would have made a bluntly reluctant face as she refused it.

    However, well, she can't really refuse today.


    "It can't be helped can it. But, with that we'll call it even with you all."

    "Of course, right Cliff?"


    Cliff who was squeezing and clutching the PET bottle turned around after being called out.


    "Eh? Ah, that's right! Yeah, we can call it even. But, since you're considerably excellent, next time, it would be good if you can lend your power to my research as well!"


    With those words, Elinalise giggled with a smile.


    We all set forth to the bar in the middle of the day.

    For some reason Rinia and Purusena joined up with us within the school building.

    They said they didn't want to be left out so we should bring them as well nya.

    I wonder where they managed to catch wind of it.


    When she noticed such a large group, Ariel came along asking us what was going on.

    After explaining the details, "Then I'll provide you with an overseer." she handed Sylphy over to us.

    The overseer was just in name, it was Ariel's form of being considerate.


    By the time we left the school gate, Badigadi was lined up in the back before anyone realized it.

    No, really before anyone noticed...


    On the way we dropped by the Magic Guild and Nanahoshi withdrew some money.

    It seems, she's left a considerably large amount of money in the care of the Magic Guild.

    Using it as a substitute for a bank.


    Badigadi was a regular of the bar.

    It was midday, but for the most part there were regular customers.

    However, Nanahoshi wasn't bothered over things like that at all.

    On the counter she dropped the bag full of money and left it with a [Don].


    "Reserve the bar."

    "Eh?? Eh??"


    Towards the troubled shopkeeper, Badigadi declared, "Wait wait".

    He took the bag of gold coins from his own pocket and placed them down with a [Don]. Doubling it up.


    "Today is a celebration. Serve all of the customers that come into the store today for free."


    He declared it as such.

    What dignity.

    As expected of a king. That makes me go numb and admire you. [23]


    Demon King-sama was making a face like it was only natural and went to occupy the largest table in the bar.

    And then declared.


    "Bring out all of the food on the menu this store has!"


    It's a line that anyone would want to try saying at least once.

    It's fine since I'm not the one paying, but I wonder if they can feed these numbers?

    Well it's fine.


    Around the time the first cuisine came out, the Demon King stood up.

    And then said it.


    "And, what was the celebration today for?"

    "Silent's research has succeeded."

    "I see now, then Silent, was it. Open things up with a speech."


    Nanahoshi was raised up.

    With a bit of a reluctant face.


    "....Thank you very much for today."

    "Alright, let's toast!"

    "Cheers!"


    It progressed kind of like my marriage ceremony and the banquet started up.


    It was a fun banquet.


    During times when good things happen, it's good to make some noise and drink alcohol.

    The things these hands now possess are things I never once experienced in my previous life.

    In this world, I've experienced it countless times.


    During my Adventurer days I socialized and drank as necessary.

    However, I always felt that somehow it was just troublesome.

    And that those guys who get drunk, make a racket, and struggle about are fools.

    And that they should think a bit about the trouble they're causing to their surroundings.


    However, after I've entered into the vortex of that, I finally understand the feeling.

    People have a time when they really need to undo their bindings and let loose.


    I think that.

    I think that while watching Nanahoshi sing Anison in Japanese as she strokes Rinia's ears.

    If you don't act like that and forget about everything occasionally, you can't possibly go on living.

    Since life is full of painful things after all.

    Even if it's forcibly, if you don't create some good times then you'll be crushed.


    I'm sure, around Elinalise and Badigadi's age they understand that idea very well.

    As expected of the so called old-man's wisdom.

    Well, there are guys among them that are stuck on the pot they're drinking from though.

    Alcohol is the best of medicines. [24]

    Occasionally it will cure illnesses of the heart.


    Today Sylphy and I drank without reservation.

    We don't drink alcohol at home.

    Since we don't have any habits like that.


    That's not particularly why though.

    For the first time today I understood how bad Sylphy's drunken behavior was.

    No, it's not bad.

    It's not so much bad.

    Just, she's a bit of a clingy heavy drinker.


    "Hey, Rudi, stroke my head."

    "Yes yes, alright alright."

    "It's fine for you to eat my ears?"

    "Thank you for the meal."

    "Awawa, it tickles."


    Since some time ago, Sylphy has turned into an extraordinarily sweet creature.

    Wonderful.

    Next time we should start progressively drinking.

    Ah, but if it's like this, then if she started drinking when I'm not around I'd be worried.

    I guess I should tell her not to drink outside of the house.

    I wonder if those sorts of restrictions are fine.

    It's fine, I don't mind.

    She's mine, what's wrong with doing as I please.


    "Rudi, squeeze me tight?"

    "Yes Yes, I'll hold your hips."

    "Uee~ I sure am happy..."


    I felt Sylphy's laughter had become somewhat slovenly.

    Ah, but embracing a drunken girl close sure is that, I can feel the reason why the world is overflowing with love songs.

    N ban ba, me ra ssame ra ssa. [25]

    Alright, for today I'll have this girl as takeout. Our house is nearby after all.


    "Rudi umm, you know. I was you know, the other day you know, feeling jealous."

    "Eh, seriously? Towards who? I'll never approach them again, I'll cut off ties with them."

    "Yeah, Ruijerd-san. That other time you told me stories about him right? During the time when Rudi was talking about Ruijerd-san it was somehow amazing, you know."

    "No, since I really respect that person, please pardon me on that."

    "No way... only look at me..."


    Only look at me, you say, it's somewhat different from what she was saying the other day.

    I guess this would be Sylphy's real feelings.

    I did think that it was going good for my own convenience to the point where it was scary, but it seems that Sylphy might have been exerting herself.

    Well, I can think about the difficult matters later, for now I want to enjoy myself with this adorable creature.


    After putting Sylphy on top of my lap and flirting together with her, Nanahoshi approached us.


    "What's with that, Baka-couple. Stop flirting around. How many years do you think it's been since I last met with Aki."


    She came to pick a fight. She's drunk.

    I wonder if she's already done with the song.

    If it's a famous one then I might know so I'd be fine with a duet though..

    I might end up feeling the generation gap again.


    "If you're going to flirt, then do it in a place where people aren't looking.

    "Well don't say it like that. Right now this is a place to drink. Let's put it all aside."

    "In the first place, I've been wanting to say it since before, from my room, flirting and more flirting. What, marriage? What is that, it's fine, but what is with that, even during the time when a person is feeling down... The sound was resounding all through the night, really... kya?!"


    Badigadi lifted Nanahoshi up onto his shoulder.


    "Fuhahahaha! You're over here! Today is the day to listen to your strange song!"

    "It's not strange! In my world, these sorts of songs are popular!"

    "That's a very interesting story! I don't know what world it is, but I'll offer it up to you! Now, sing to your heart's content!"


    "Wait just a bit, before that I have to talk to Rudeus..."

    "Fuhahahahaha! Even though you were helped out, if you're going to resort to complaints you're better off just singing! Sing sing!"

    "That was just the introduction for the talk??!"


    It seems Nanahoshi is shouting about something.

    I wonder if she wanted to thank me or something.

    Well during times when we're in trouble it's something that goes for the both of us. Thanks are unnecessary.


    In any case, being abducted by a Demon King, isn't that a good position.

    Almost like a princess from somewhere.


    Just, the place that princess was being abducted to wasn't a prison.

    It was the stage of a certain bar.


    A short while after and Nanahoshi's song came flowing by again.

    It's a bit late, the accompaniment started.

    Was there a troubadour, is what I was thinking, but the one holding the musical instrument was Badigadi.

    Can that guy really play an instrument?

    Rather, even though he said he was going to offer it to her, he's going to play an instrument?

    After all I don't get that guy.


    In any case, it sure is a nostalgic piece.

    What was it again...


    Yeah, that's right it was gan...ra. [26]

    It's not really that generation, I'm surprised she knows it.

    No, for the time being it was famous, it's not all that strange.

    However, it sure is being sung lousily.

    I guess it's because the accompaniment doesn't know the melody.

    No, it feels like the accompaniment isn't even trying to match up with Nanahoshi's lousy singing.

    But, it seems fun.


    Well, for today, Nanahoshi is the main attraction.

    It's fine isn't it. Being lousy.


    It's a lousy song, but the feelings are being transmitted.


    So you want to return that much.

    It's not a feeling I can't comprehend.

    But the country of love, in my regards, is right here and now.


    In any case, it was a good banquet.

    If a celebration happens, then have a party.

    It's a good custom.

    I should remember it for next time.


    The party dispersed when the leading actor Nanahoshi was completely smashed.


    It seems that Rinia and Purusena were going to carry Nanahoshi to her room in the dorm and sleep over there.

    Others scattered in groups of twos and threes.

    Also, a certain heavy drinker intended to go drink at a different establishment it seems.


    Sylphy and I decided to return home.

    The drunken Sylphy was laughing with a, dyufufu, and clinging to my arm.

    Since her footing was shaky, I was properly keeping her steady around her hips.

    Sylphy was completely entrusting her body to me.

    If I were at a goukon right now, "I can do it!" I understand the feelings of a careless guy full of confidence. [27]

    Although, I have no feelings of guilt.

    For now that is...

    After we return to the house, it will be different.


    "...Rudi, doesn't it seem noisy somehow?"


    Suddenly, Sylphy said something like that.


    "Hn?"


    After being told that and clearing my ears.

    And then, I heard the sound of something being pounded and the voices of a dispute.

    I wonder if someone is having a fight somewhere.

    It seems kind of like the sound made when cats fight as well.


    While wondering what it was, we gradually approached our house.


    And then it was there.

    Someone was striking on the front door of my house.

    From a distance, I couldn't see anything but a silhouette. Certainly they're there.


    A brat from the neighborhood or else a kind of robber maybe.

    While thinking about it with my intoxicated head, I at least made sure to open my Demon Eye.

    Sylphy dusted off her face as well and while she was still staggering, stood on her own legs.


    "Rudi, I'm going to use detoxification."

    "Understood."


    I accepted the chantless detoxification cast by Sylphy and all the alcohol remaining in my body was dispersed.

    It doesn't completely remove the intoxication, but it's no problem.


    In order to keep from being found, we stealthily approached them.

    I heard a voice.


    "It's because Norn-ane made a mistake with the road that we ended up coming at this time!"

    "...Even Aisha said that there was no mistake going that way."

    "In the first place, we don't know if it's really this place! What are we going to do, the inns are all probably closed! We might end up having to camp out in this cold!"

    "...I don't want to do that either. But, in the first place, Aisha was the one who said we don't need an inn since we can stay over at his place. Even though I don't particularly want to stay over at his house, I was forced to come along."

    "After all, Ginger-san said it would be alright! Even so, if only we were to take an inn we would look like idiots!"

    "...Aisha you always end up resorting to that kind of vanity."


    A glinting and noisy voice.

    It was a child's voice that I had a bit of recollection of.

    In the middle of that conversation, there was a name I had heard.

    And then.


    "You two calm down, this place isn't mistaken. What a nostalgic presence."


    A calm man.

    The instant I heard that voice.

    An unknown feeling came rising up in the center of my chest.

    I breathed a sigh of relief and walked out in front of them.


    "...Ah."

    "Onii-chan!"


    My two young sisters that have grown were there.

    They were wrapped in winter clothes with matching colors, almost like Ice Climbers. [28]


    Norn Greyrat and Aisha Greyrat.

    Norn made a bit of a difficult face after seeing me, and Aisha was making a really happy face and sparkling eyes filled with determination.


    "Onii-chan! I wanted to see you!"


    Aisha came jumping at me.

    Almost like the crying old man, she put a solid hold with both her arms and legs on my body. [29]

    And then, just like that, she rubbed her cheeks against mine.

    They were soft and squishy cheeks that were pressing against me.

    I wonder if it's because I'm drunk that they seem awfully cold.


    "Uhi~ah, onii-chan you're warm! You smell like alcohol!"

    "I'm cold... Let go of me for a bit."


    After peeling Aisha off, I look at Norn.

    She was tightly sealing her lips and greeted me with her jaw facing down.


    "...Were you drinking alcohol?"

    "Yeah, there was a bit of a celebration."


    It was a pretty displeased face.

    It doesn't seem like she's just being shy either.

    I did hear I was hated, I guess it can't be helped.

    And then, from behind Norn,


    "Rudeus, it's a been a while hasn't it."


    A bald man with a scar on his face was there.

    Holding a three-pronged spear, a proud warrior.

    With an appearance that hasn't changed since three years prior.


    "Yes, it's been a while. Ruijerd-san."


    The feeling overflowing from the center of my chest was nostalgia.

    The days we three traveled together.

    Meetings and separation.


    "..."


    I wonder what would be good to say.

    While I was trying to choose my words, Ruijerd suddenly looked behind me.


    "I had heard the information that you married at the Adventurer's Guild, but... it doesn't seem to be Eris."


    The one being reflected in Ruijerd's eyes was Sylphy.

    She made a surprised face and lowered her head quickly.


    "Umm, Rudi. For the time being, how about inviting them in?"

    "Ah, that's right. Come inside."


    I undid the lock on the house and showed the three inside.


    I couldn't have imagined that they'd end up coming with this timing.

    It's only been a bit over a month since the letter arrived.


    They were far faster than I expected.



    Currently, I'm sitting on the sofa in my living room.

    The one sitting in front of me is Ruijerd.

    Sylphy is putting Aisha and Norn in the bath.


    Sylphy and I have already come down from our intoxication.

    I'm sure our breath still smells a bit of alcohol, but Detoxification magic has the power to sober one up from intoxication.


    "..."


    Looking at Ruijerd's face as the fireplace illuminated it, I remember back to the time we first met.

    Not only that, but the time when the three of us traveled together including Eris, vividly.


    "It's been quite a while hasn't it, really."

    "Yeah."


    Ruijerd narrowed his eyes as well, and the corners of his mouth rose in a small smile.

    How nostalgic.


    "For starters, I'll say thank you very much for escorting my little sisters."

    "Thanks are unnecessary. It's only obvious to protect children."


    That's right. Ruijerd was this sort of person.

    In the middle of the journey, I made jokes about his love for children and made him out to be a lolicon, didn't I.


    The escort written about in the letter from Paul ended up being Ruijerd after all.

    I thought there was the possibility of it being Ghyslaine as well, but speaking of an escort for children, it has to be Ruijerd.

    There's no other man as reliable as him.

    Almost to the point that I want him to protect my little sisters forever.


    However, it's really been a long time since I last talked to Ruijerd.

    Last time, what kind of things did we talk about?

    Since Ruijerd is pretty silent, we never really talked about the world at large.


    "By the way Rudeus, what happened to Eris?"


    Ruijerd unreservedly came out asking about the topic I was hesitating over.

    It's something I don't want to be asked about very much.

    However, in regards to Ruijerd, I'm sure it's something he wants to know.


    "...A variety of things happened. If I talk about them in order then..."


    I told Ruijerd about the things in the Refugee Camp after we separated.

    That I did it with Eris.

    After that, she disappeared, and as a result, I fell into the depths of despair.

    The fact that I couldn't get it up.

    I spent two years as an Adventurer looking for my mother.

    I met with Elinalise and heard about the situation.

    Following Hitogami's advice, I decided to attend the Magic University.

    There, I met with Sylphy, and she cured me.

    And then, we ended up getting married.


    "I see..."


    Ruijerd listened quietly without giving any signs.

    And then, in the end, he just said one thing.


    "It is something that happens often."

    "Is it something that happens often?"


    When I ask it in reverse, Ruijerd nods.


    "Most likely, it's an illness warriors catch. I'm sure that Eris by no means hated you." [30]

    "But... she said that we didn't match up and..."

    "I don't know what Eris' real intention was. It might have been a meaning just as the words said, or else, you might have just misunderstood something."

    "A misunderstanding?"

    "Yeah, Eris was by no means someone who was good with words after all."


    Ruijerd as well is by no means someone who can be considered good with words.

    Since it's him saying it like this, then, it could be that Eris' words might have had some other different kind of meaning packed into them.


    "However, at the very least, during the journey, she liked you. If a time comes when you meet her once again, you should try to calm down and talk to her."


    It could have just been that I simply misunderstood.

    The fact that we don't match together, in reverse, could have meant that [Eris can't reach where I am.]

    She might have gone off to train in order to even things out before returning.

    Therefore, wait for me, is the sort of meaning it might have had.


    "..."


    ...Even though I say that, even if I hear that sort of thing at this point...

    Putting aside what kind of meaning it had, I suffered for three years.

    There was no letter from Eris for three years.

    The one who saved me wasn't Eris, it was Sylphy.

    Since it's a misunderstanding, throw away Sylphy and start over again with Eris like that.

    There's no way I could do that.

    It's already at this point.


    Besides, honestly, I'm a little afraid to meet Eris.


    It's not as if I don't believe in Ruijerd's words, but it's a real possibility that she was tired of me.

    If I approach her with the intention of reconciliation, and she starts beating me up without looking at me...

    I would, as I thought, feel hurt.


    ...Already, I want to stop thinking about it.

    Regardless of what the truth is, reality is in the present.

    It can't be helped even if I idly think about it here.


    "Ruijerd-san, what have you been doing?"

    "...Ah."


    I changed the topic.

    I wanted to listen to Ruijerd's story.

    He made a face like he still wanted to say something, but he deeply nodded.


    "For the past two years, I was in the dense forested area of the south."


    It seems Ruijerd decided that the place where the Superd race may be hiding on the Central Continent would be in a forest area.

    For starters, he decided to move around the dense forest area that spreads out on the southern side of the Dragon King Mountain Range. There, he spent two years searching around scouring the area.

    He wasn't able to find any of the Superd race.

    However, it seems he discovered articles of the deceased of several individuals believed to have died from the metastasis incident.

    Afterwards, he would bring those to the nearby town and collect information there.


    In the end, the two years he spent searching in the dense forest area ended with no results.

    Ruijerd started following the coast going south and moved until he made it to East Port.

    His plan was to collect information from the direction of Milis, and after he finished that, he intended to go north and search the strife zone.

    However, he luckily encountered Paul and the others there.


    After that, it is just as what was written in Paul's letter.

    For Paul who was hesitant to let two children go on a journey, it seems Ruijerd offered to be an escort for the two.


    "Come to think of it, I met your Shisho as well."

    "You met Roxy-sensei?"

    "Yeah..."


    Ruijerd made a bitter smile.


    "The impression I got from her was a bit different from what I heard from you."

    "Is that so, in what way?"

    "After telling her my race name and showing her the eye on my forehead, she was openly afraid."

    "Ah."


    Thinking back to it, the one that taught me that the Superd race was a dreadful race was Roxy wasn't it.

    Even though Roxy said all of that, she's still of the Demon Race. The ones most afraid of the Superd Race are the Demon Race after all.

    It can't really be helped.


    Roxy was timid and frightened after seeing Ruijerd...

    I also wanted to see that...


    "And then, you came along together with Ginger-san until here."

    "Yeah, we arrived in the evening and we went to the Magic University, but we were unable to find you."


    The four of them thought I was living in the dorm and would be at the Magic University.

    However, by that time, we had already moved to the bar.

    It seems many of the guys they asked didn't know where I went, so it seems they asked for my address.

    In order to not pass by each other, they separated with Ginger there, and it seems the three of them went looking for my house.

    But, along the way, Aisha or Norn made a mistake with the road, or in the first place, maybe the person who explained it to them was mistaken, but they ended up getting lost.

    Around the time they were aimlessly wandering in a strange place, Ruijerd searched for my presence, and it seems they managed to arrive at my house.


    "I see... in any case, once again let me say my thanks. Thank you very much."

    "Thanks are unnecessary. You and I are close."


    Ruijerd who said that grinned.

    The fact that I'm recognized by this man is one of the things I'm proud of in my regard.


    "In any case, you were considerably fast weren't you."


    The letter only just arrived last month.

    Even at fastest, I thought they would arrive after another two or three months.


    "Your little sister was enthusiastic."

    "Which one?"

    "Aisha. Thanks to that child, we were able to move very efficiently."


    According to the story, following Aisha's suggestion, it seems they made use of a caravan of merchants to move around at night as well.

    Just, such caravans of merchants fundamentally don't accept outsiders.

    It seems in exchange for allowing Aisha to ride along, they offered Ruijerd to be used as an escort.

    With Ruijerd and Ginger acting as escorts.

    The pay for that was allowing the load of the two young girls.

    It was a good purchase, is what it means.

    Although, it seems those negotiations weren't all that simple.


    In any case, they would move, and then when the merchant caravan came to a stop, they would find another merchant caravan to travel to the next location.

    By getting on one merchant caravan to the next, they were able to move very efficiently.

    Each place's merchant caravan schedule was placed at the top of the list for information collection. Occasionally, they would go back a portion of the way to a previous town and then move to the place where a different merchant caravan was it seems.

    After the other three asked why they should return, it seems Aisha responded like this.

    "It's because this way is faster."


    I see now, a genius.

    That sure is amazing.


    "But, if that's the case Ruijerd-san, wasn't it difficult? During the night you had to guard the merchant caravan, and in the day, you had to get up in order to move as well."

    "No problem. In the past, I would frequently continue on without resting for several days at a time while moving.. but.."

    "But?"

    "For the first time in a while, I felt like I was being worked pretty hard."


    After saying that, Ruijerd let out a weak laugh.

    I wonder if he's remembering the Human-Demon war period.

    Nevertheless, that Aisha...

    To think she would work Ruijerd hard so conveniently.

    Who does she think she is?


    "That is, how do I put it, my little sister has greatly troubled you..."

    "It's a funny story."


    Ruijerd is as soft on children as always.

    Even if he's fine with it, it's no good if she grows up into an adult that works her seniors hard.

    Later, I'll make sure to have an intense talk with her.


    "But, during the time when Ruijerd-san was desperately working, my little sister was sleeping peacefully right?"

    "She wasn't sleeping. She was always calculating the most efficient route to arrive here."


    Hmmm.

    It seems that she wasn't just working Ruijerd alone and playing around herself.

    I guess that would mean she was doing nothing but calculations for days straight.

    Writing all throughout the night.

    ...Then it's fine I guess.


    "However, she's still a child."


    Aisha was joyfully making plans without any spare time for rest, but since things like physical strength didn't enter her calculations, on the way, scenes like Norn or both of them ending up unable to go on any longer required them to rest.

    According to Aisha's mental schedule, it seems she planned for them to arrive here before winter.


    In other words, it was a plan aimed at getting here faster than the letter.


    "I'm sure it must have been difficult for Ginger-san as well, what did she say?"

    "She was rather delighted. There's nothing she wants more than to quickly reunite with his highness, like that."


    It seems many people in this world have muscle for brain.

    Rather, Ginger has been following through with the order Zanoba gave out and protecting her until now.

    She sure is a devoted person.

    I wonder if she has managed to reunite with Zanoba around this time.

    I wonder what kind of reaction she'll have on seeing Julie, I kind of want to see that.


    "It seems just like that, she intended to return to being the prince's subordinate."

    "I see now. Come to think of it, Ruijerd-san, how long do you intend to stay around here for?"


    I nonchalantly asked to hear about it.

    About a week maybe.

    If I go around introducing him to my friends, it shouldn't take all that much time.

    I'm sure Zanoba will be delighted.

    I wonder what the likes of Rinia and Pursena will say.

    I don't know how Cliff will feel though.

    He might be an acquaintance of Badigadi.


    "I'll depart tomorrow."


    Those thoughts were quickly drowned out by Ruijerd's words.


    "That's considerably sudden isn't it."

    "Yeah, the other day, I heard information that a monster was seen deep in the forest of the eastern part of the northern lands. I intend to search and see what that's about."


    It seems that Ruijerd has already found his next objective location.

    It's a bit gloomy, is what I don't want to make him think.

    No, trying to restrain him is unrefined isn't it.


    "Besides, I don't have any intention to intrude on you."

    "Intrude you say, such a thing."


    Something like treating Ruijerd as a hindrance, I won't let anyone do that.


    "...It's just a bit... painful here after all."


    That tone of voice, after all it's a bit lonely.

    It seems the fact that Eris and I weren't close together was a bit of a shock to Ruijerd.


    "..."


    In my own mind, things from three years prior, memories of the journey with Eris and Ruijerd are still strongly remaining.

    I don't know about Ruijerd though.

    If I was in Ruijerd's position and I saw the figure of Sylphy and I spending time flirting, it might be a bit of a bitter spectacle.


    "That is, I guess it can't be helped..."


    I felt kind of like a crack in my friendship with Ruijerd had appeared.

    The friendship between Ruijerd and I might have been something that Eris held onto.


    "Rudeus."


    After being called, I raised my face.

    It seems before I realized it, I had started looking downward again.

    Ruijerd let out a weak laugh.


    "Don't make that sort of face. I'll come back again."


    I couldn't do anything but return a bitter smile.

    I don't regret the fact that I married Sylphy.

    I feel kind of like I made some kind of large mistake.


    "If I meet with Eris, I'll listen to her side of the story as well."

    "...Please do."


    I looked into Ruijerd's eyes and said that.

    There was a kind light in Ruijerd's eyes.


    Soon after that, Sylphy came out of the bath.


    It seems Norn fell asleep inside of the bath.

    It seems like Aisha was in high spirits in the middle of the bath, but soon after getting out she collapsed into sleep.

    As expected of the bath's relaxing effect, is what I'd say.

    Warm water works well on a tired body.


    "Thanks for your help."

    "Yeah, it seems like Aisha-chan still remembered things about me. With just a single glance she correctly guessed I was Sylphy. It's a big difference from a certain someone right."

    "There are the differences of the color of the hair, the sunglasses, and the cross-dressing, so it doesn't count."

    "Though it seems Norn-chan couldn't remember."

    "I think it would be rare for someone to remember a neighborhood Onee-san from the time when you're three or four years old."

    "I guess so."


    It seems the two are currently getting along and sleeping in the same bed after being changed into pajamas by Sylphy.

    I'll listen to the story of the two tomorrow.


    "Umm, it's nice to meet you, I'm Sylphiette Greyrat."

    "Yeah, I'm Ruijerd Superdia."


    Sylphy offered an awkward handshake to Ruijerd.

    The two who suffered over their emerald green hair.

    Now neither of them have it green.


    "Ummm... Ruijerd-san what do you intend to do about a room?"

    "It's fine with whatever is convenient."

    "...Rudi, should we let him use a large room? He's an important visitor in regards to Rudi right?"


    In Ruijerd's regard, I don't think the size of the room really matters all that much though.

    At any rate, I'm sure he won't use the bed after all.


    "Please sleep wherever you like. Think of it as your own house."

    "Ah, I'll do just that. Well then, I'll go ahead and rest."


    Ruijerd stood while saying that.


    "Yes, good night."


    Sylphy and I, the two of us just kept staring firmly, listening to the sound of him move.

    It seems he entered the room where the two children were sleeping.

    That lolicon!

    No, during the time when we were on the journey as well and the time when we were asleep he never took his eyes off us.

    He's that sort of man.

    This time, he especially went out of his way to make it so we could hear his footsteps.

    If he had something to feel guilty about, he's a man who would have erased his footsteps and presence before invading.

    I'm sure he doesn't have anything to feel guilty about.


    "I wonder if I did anything rude?"


    Suddenly, Sylphy raised her voice with anxiety.

    Certainly Ruijerd's attitude just now was a bit cold.

    Normally if it was a person seeking a handshake, then he wouldn't have allowed it to turn awkward.

    After all, it seems he has some thoughts about the marriage between Sylphy and I.


    "No, Sylphy didn't do anything wrong. He's a person who isn't all that familiar with people he meets for the first time, he's that kind of guy."

    "Then it's fine though..."


    It seems like Sylphy felt just a bit hurt.


    "Let's go to sleep as well."

    "Yeah."


    We haven't eaten dinner, but I'm not hungry.

    Ah, at the very least it would have been good to serve Ruijerd some kind of snack wouldn't it.

    Well it's fine.


    I put out the fire in the fireplace and confirmed the front door was locked.

    The best and most useful security guy in the world is in the house, but it wouldn't be good if I don't properly lock things up.

    After that I put out the lights and went upstairs together with Sylphy.

    We slipped into the bed together.

    Then, suddenly Sylphy said it.


    "Today, that is, I'd like to stop there."

    "Eh? Ah, I guess so."


    That day I didn't embrace Sylphy.

    It was the first time for a reason other than menstruation.


    Next day.

    The same as always I woke up in bed.


    Sylphy was still sleeping.

    Usually she would be rounded into a small ball using my arm as a pillow to sleep, but today she was normally using a pillow and seemed a bit uncomfortable.


    Usually then I would unconditionally feel her sweetness, and together with just a bit of sexual desire, touch her slender chest.

    Feeling a woman's body from start to finish sure does leave one with a happy mood.


    However, mysteriously today I don't get that sort of feeling.

    Today the feeling is bad weather.

    It's a bad day for the rising dragon.

    Even though I should be happy that Ruijerd visited.

    After all it seems the things with Eris are bothering the mood.


    Somehow I feel a bit gloomy and uneasy.

    I guess it might reduce some of it if I do a bit of exercise.

    For the time being, I decided to start my daily training.

    But, I'm not feeling all that motivated.

    No, even so that will change with just 5 minutes, no 10 minutes, of preparation exercise I'm sure.

    While thinking that I go outside.


    A scene of chills plunged into my sight.


    We had a visitor in front of the entry hall.

    Two people.

    Two people who are taller than I am.


    One of them is a bald warrior.

    A man who shaved it in order to hide his green hair and just continued on like that forever.

    Without wearing any winter clothes on his body, clad in some kind of casual wear outfit of his race and a three-pronged spear in his hand.

    It's Ruijerd.


    And then the other one is.

    A muscular structure and large build with pitch black skin. Violet hair.

    With his six arms crossed, he was standing in front of Ruijerd full of dignity.


    "..."

    "..."


    The atmosphere was extraordinarily bad.

    It's dangerous.

    Explosive situation. [31]

    If the janitor had come by he might have been stabbed.


    "..."


    There was no smile on Badigadi's face.

    His mood was bad.

    It's something unusual.

    The usually laughing Badigadi was completely not laughing.


    I wonder what is going on with Ruijerd's face.

    I can't tell from just his back.


    Rather, these two, are they acquaintances after all.

    They were both living since the Laplace Campaign after all.

    One of them was the head of the Laplace Imperial Guards and the other side was in a faction on the opposite side of Laplace.

    Now Ruijerd hated Laplace completely as well, but at the time there must have been a variety of things that happened I'm sure.


    "...Hmmm."


    Badigadi took a glance at me.

    And then looked at Ruijerd once more.


    "So that's how it is huh."


    Badigadi came to a conclusion on his own and nodded.

    And then, without saying anything after that, silently turned and left.

    Just like that treading on the snow, he disappeared down the path.


    "..."


    Ruijerd quietly turned around.

    It seems that face was somewhat tense.

    An unusual cold sweat was being drawn.


    "Did something happen with His Majesty Badi?"

    "...In the past."


    I somehow or other guessed it based on those short words.

    The Superd Race of that time would attack enemies and allies alike, without discretion, that entered their sight so to speak.

    Most likely, he killed some people from the region Badigadi ruled over as well.

    No matter how little he pays attention to the land he rules as a Demon King, he's still a ruler.

    If your own territory has been attacked there's no way you can overlook it.


    I wonder what happened to their relationship after that.

    I really can't imagine that optimistic Badigadi would viciously persecute the Superd Race.

    No, it's the opposite.

    Precisely because he's optimistic, the probability is high that he wanted to lend his power to the people without power who were trampled.


    For example, even if Laplace was involved in it as well.

    Ruijerd killed them and Badigadi wanted to return that grudge.

    I'm sure that truth isn't a mistake.


    No, wait a second.

    It could be the probability is high that Badigadi doesn't know that incident with the Superd race was caused by Laplace's hand.

    Things in that area, next time we meet I'll ask him about it from my side and see.


    ...Rather, if I said in the future that I was planning to mass produce Ruijerd dolls and sell them I wonder what kind of face that Demon King would make.

    It would be good if he just laughed it off.

    Hmmm...

    At any rate, I'll be troubled if things between Ruijerd and Badigadi are bad.


    "Ruijerd-san, for the time being, since his majesty came to this city, I've gotten to know him pretty well, though I can somewhat imagine what might have happened in the past..."

    "Don't worry, I don't have any intention of fighting him."


    Ruijerd said that while making a bitter smile.

    He said it, but since a while ago Ruijerd has been clearly releasing some blood thirst.

    Could it be, if I hadn't come out one of them might have made a move?


    "However, I couldn't have imagined that guy would be in this kind of place."

    "Somehow, it seems he came to meet me."

    "Ah, he was that sort of man wasn't he."


    Ruijerd made a bitter smile and returned back into the house.

    To think that the relationship between Ruijerd and Badigadi was that bad.

    It was a blind spot.


    I thought that Badigadi could get along together with anyone.


    After returning inside of the house, Sylphy was awake and preparing breakfast.

    For some reason, Aisha in a maid outfit appearance, was by her side helping out.

    It seems like Norn is still sleeping.


    I thought to go wake her up and was climbing the stairs.

    I knocked and then soon after turned the doorknob, but since I had some kind of bad premonition, I didn't open the door. [32]


    "It's almost time for breakfast, so please come downstairs."


    There was no response, but after listening closely I heard the sound of rustling clothes.

    After all it seems she was in the middle of changing.

    I didn't induce a lucky pervert.

    I'm already no longer the insensitive type after all.


    "...Yes."


    After hearing a voice come out from inside I descended down to the first floor with peace of mind.


    We ate breakfast with the five of us.

    Aisha's manners were considerably good for her age, she was eating in a neat manner.

    Ruijerd was the same as always, unable to use anything but a fork.

    Norn still seemed to be half asleep and her style of eating wasn't very skillful.


    Well, you could say it's plenty for just using a fork.

    If I compare it to stabbing meat with a knife just like that and bringing it to your mouth.


    "Well then, it's about time for me to leave."


    Soon after the meal ended Ruijerd decided to depart.

    His belongings were as few as ever and his body was light.


    The four of us saw him off to the exit of the city.

    Ruijerd said it wasn't necessary, but it's not a problem of it being necessary or unnecessary.

    It's only natural to see off a friend.


    We didn't really talk about much, the five of us were walking through the city.


    Eventually, Norn grabbed onto the area around Ruijerd's cuff.

    It was a reserved holding method, it seems to have a compact sound effect attached as well. [33]

    Ruijerd's walking got somewhat slower.

    Matching his pace, we walked slowly as well.


    It seems Norn doesn't want to separate from Ruijerd.

    I understand the feeling, I'm the same.

    I wanted to talk to him some more.

    I wonder if it would be better to restrain him.

    Honestly, even I want to spend more time with Ruijerd.

    It seems like we have things to talk about that couldn't be spoken in just a single night after all.

    There are a lot of people I want to introduce him to and things I want to show him.

    But, after all we're caught on the things with Eris.

    I don't want to leave Ruijerd with any kind of unpleasant feelings.

    It's not like it's Sylphy's fault, but...

    I have the feeling that he wouldn't be able to talk without the situation with Eris being made clear, almost like it's lurking in the background.

    But, I don't even know where Eris is right now.


    While I was thinking about that, in no time at all we reached the exit of the city.


    "Then, stay well."

    "Ruijerd-san as well, stay well..."


    We said our farewells with short words.

    Even though there's a lot of things I want to say, when it comes time somehow the words won't come out.

    Well, it's not like it's a separation of a lifetime.

    It'll be fine if we talk at a time when things have calmed down more.

    Incidentally, it seems that he had already said farewell to Ginger at some point in time yesterday.


    "Thank you very much for your assistance!"


    Aisha lowered her head energetically with proper manners.

    The method for moving that she thought up wouldn't have worked if it weren't for Ruijerd.

    It seems she properly understands that.

    I'm sure, in places where Aisha and Norn weren't aware, Ruijerd was protecting them.


    "Aisha. Don't ask anything too unreasonable of Rudeus."

    "Yes! I know that!"


    Ruijerd made a bitter smile and stroked Aisha's head.


    "U...Umm. Ummm, Ruijerd-san..."


    Norn wasn't letting go of Ruijerd's sleeve.

    She showed him an uneasy face, its clear that she didn't want him to leave.


    "Don't worry, we'll meet again."


    Ruijerd made a small smile and put his hand on her head.

    It's a spectacle full of nostalgia.

    I had my head stroked like that by Ruijerd when I was making a face full of anxiety.

    Norn looked downward then raised her face.

    Wanting to say something, but she kept silent.

    Her expressions were changing with many faces, before long, she decided to say it and opened her mouth. [34]


    "I... I want to go together with you...!"


    She declared that.

    Ruijerd caressed her head with a troubled face.


    "..."


    Without saying anything, just caressing her head.

    However, in Norn's eyes tears were quickly building up.


    "After this, rely on Rudeus, not me."

    "But, even though! He... towards Oto-san!"

    "It's something that's passed. He's already reflected on it. Your father as well. You heard about his troubles during the journey. You should understand it as well."

    "But, yesterday he was drunk, and the woman who was by his side before is different! I can't believe him!"


    The woman who was with him during the last time that she saw him is different as well.

    After hearing that, I thought the atmosphere froze.

    However, it seems the only one who thought that was me.

    Thinking about it, I had already talked to Sylphy about the things with Eris.

    It's not like I'm being unfaithful or that I'm putting on airs of a playboy.

    However, I guess that's how it looked to Norn.


    Ruijerd looked mutually at Sylphy and I and made a bitter smile.


    "It's the time between a man and a woman. Those sorts of things happen. It's by no means because your older brother is insincere."

    "..."


    After Ruijerd said that he took his hand off Norn's head.

    Norn as well let go of Ruijerd, reluctant to part.


    "That person is... please tell me your name once more."

    "Ah, Yes. I'm Sylphiette."

    "Sylphiette. Together with Rudeus I entrust things to you two."

    "Wa, Yes!"


    In the end Ruijerd exchanged some words with Sylphy.

    In regards to her, I wonder what Ruijerd thought.

    I just pray that what he felt wasn't any sort of bad feeling.


    "Well then, we'll meet again."


    I saw Ruijerd off until he was out of sight.

    Once again, I was filled with the same feelings of gratitude that I felt the last time I saw him off.


    I'm sure, Aisha and Norn felt the same as well.


    After seeing off Ruijerd, we headed home.

    On the way, we separate from Sylphy.

    I want to be with her, but she has work to do.

    It's not good to skip work without notice.

    To inform Ariel of the situation, she heads off to school.


    By the time we reached home, it was already noon.

    Time for lunch.

    Staying with Norn is a bit awkward right now, so I'll make the meal instead.

    Aisha offers to help, but I'll cook alone this time.

    The finished food was totally 'bachelor cooking.'

    If I am going to name it, it'll be 'Bean Fried Rice,' or something like that.

    Well, there is no helping it. Unlike Sylphy, I haven't seriously learned cooking.


    "Is it good?"

    "This is delicious!"

    "......"


    Aisha is eating cheerfully.

    Norn is eating without complaint as well.

    It's worlds apart from what Sylphy cooks, but it's not bad.


    After finishing lunch, we went to living room.

    Norn and Aisha sit beside each other and I in front of them.

    I take a breath before I began.


    "Well, it's a little late, but first, good job finishing the long trip to here."

    "Yes, it's good to see Onii-sama in good health as well."


    Aisha said, with a clear expression.

    She's dressed in maid outfit.

    Though compared to last time I saw her it's now a perfect fit for her.

    It's patched up in some places, but it's probably the remnant of events of that time.[35]


    I guess this room is a new and interesting thing for her, since she is looking around with sparkling eyes.

    Her brown ponytail is swaying back and forth.

    Her ponytail is decorated with a white ribbon, but it's a bit rugged and turning gray in some places which makes it even more eye-catching.


    "......"


    Norn is looking down, just like a normal child. [36]

    Her clothing is normal children's clothing as well.

    It's blue clothing with a cute design.

    In Millis Kingdom I saw a lot of children dressed like this, but it might stand out a bit here.


    Her blond hair is a little longer than Aisha's.

    She has her hair behind her head with a large hairclip, very fashionable.


    "It seems Aisha has worked fairly hard during the trip."

    "Yes, it was all in order to see Onii-sama. It wasn't hard work at all."


    Said Aisha earnestly.

    But why is her tone weird today.

    I wonder why she is acting so strange?


    "We are a family and from today onward this is your home, so there is no need to refrain from anything, make yourself at home."

    "Yes, but even though we are family, this is Onii-sama's house, so staying without doing anything is troubling, so I was thinking about helping with cleaning and house chores."


    Somehow I feel a great distance[37] between us, I wonder why. Did I do something. Maybe it's because she is using honorifics?

    "Hey, Imouto-sama."[38]

    "What is it, Onii-sama?"

    "That way of talking, will you please stop it?"

    "I don't want to, it's the right way to talk to those older than you, is what you have said before, so why should I quit?"


    Is it because of me, since I am using honorifics[39] she won't stop using it either?

    "I get it, I won't use honorifics."

    "I understand, after all honorifics aren't suited between relatives. You will feel the distance, but Onii-chan I'll be using it, since you are older after all."


    Oi, isn't that where you go with the flow and say 'I won't use honorifics either'? Well, it's okay. Learning how to use it from a young age means you know how to converse in the future. It's a good thing.


    Hearing the words 'feeling distant' I wonder, maybe Ruijerd and Eris felt like that as well. Though I believe using honorifics is the smoothest way to communicate between humans.

    Well, next time we meet, let's talk a bit more relaxed.

    [Hey, Ruijerd, HOW'S IT GOING.
    You have changed a lot. You were so thin and had no beard. What? That's not your name? Did you even change your name?]

    ...... something like that.[40]

    Ruijerd is someone I respect. Talking to someone you respect should be by using honorifics.

    That's a given.

    If I talked like that to Ruijerd or Roxy in a parallel world I would probably be beaten to death.

    "Aisha, Norn, this is our first time living like this together, there will probably be things that we don't know about each other... well... let's get along well."

    "Yes!"

    "......"


    Aisha nodded cheerfully.

    It kind of feels like when I give Pursena meat. I can almost see her[41] tail. It feels like she is saying, I'll listen to whatever you say.

    In contrast, Norn is grumpy. That's the kind of face that says, she didn't want to come live with me at all.

    Well, it can't be helped since our reunion wasn't a good one. I was drunk and had a woman along with me. I better treat her cautiously for now.

    "I never thought Onii-chan would marry Sylphy-ane, I was very surprised, Norn-ane agrees, right?"

    Like that, Aisha turns the conversation to Norn.

    "I ... I don't really remember much about Sylphy-san."

    Said Norn while shaking her head.

    No helping it, huh? Since she is unlike Aisha, and didn't take etiquette lessons together with Sylphy and didn't have much contact with her.

    "Ne..ne, Onii-chan, did something happen? What happened to the Eris-san who was with you before?"


    Said Aisha leaning in. Well, I guess everyone is curious about Eris.

    "Yeah...."

    After that, I explained everything that happened to me after returning to Fedoa Region, Eris leaving me, and me becoming an adventurer.

    Then getting sick[42], and to heal myself being referred to Magic University, and then seeing Sylphy here and getting healed.

    Well, I did hide the fact that my sickness was ED and how it was treated. After all, it's not something for 10-year-old girls to hear.

    After that, I explained Sylphy's situation and the fact that she has to hide her gender in public.

    Well, as for whether or not I can tell people about this, Ariel gave me the right to do so based on my judgment, though my little sisters might be too young for this.

    Since we are living together, they would find out about it sooner or later.

    It's not wise to lose their trust by hiding things from them, and this way, getting their cooperation is easier.


    "That's how it is."

    I finished my monologue.

    Norn is looking down with a serious face, and Aisha is looking at me worriedly.

    "So, is your disease okay now?"

    "Oh, it is completely cured. No worries anymore."

    Although I still take a treatment once every 3 days, and Aisha clapped her hands in understanding.

    "Oh, I know!"

    "N~?"

    "Dad gave me something to pass onto Onii-chan when I see you."

    Saying that, Aisha jumped up and went to the second floor and brought a trunk back with her.

    "Yes, this is it. Take it please!"


    The trunk is tightly locked, with three big locks put on it. Was it caution toward those who would try stealing it? Nah, in this case, it was probably to prevent Aisha and Norn from frivolously opening it.

    "Oh, the key ......"

    "N? Oh~"

    It seems that Aisha has the keys. I get the keys from her and put them in the keyholes.

    "Oh."

    There was a treasure chest full of silver and gold.

    Saying it like that is going too far, but it was a lot of money.

    A few dozen of big bars from Millis Kingdom made of precious metals.

    It's difficult to guess the value just from looking, but if sold, it would be worth a lot.

    This is the lot of money Paul mentioned in his letter, with this much we can live for 10 years, but I have to be careful to not spend it wastefully.


    In the other side of the trunk there are 2 letters, let's check them out.

    One is the same one that arrived the other day.
    The other one is from Lilia, it's regarding Aisha and Norn's education and personalities.

    Aisha is a brilliant kid and won't make any mistakes, but since she is a bit mischievous, I need to be strict with her.

    Norn is a common girl, but since she gets compared to Aisha in school a lot, she might have a rotten[43] personality. But it's better to treat her kindly, is what is written in the letter.

    Lilia seems to be a bit hard on Aisha. I think it's because she thinks of herself as the lover (mistress), and spoils Norn for that same reason.

    But I think you have to treat both sisters the same.


    However, Aisha's really excellent.

    After just a year of study, there is not much to teach her anymore.

    She is at a fine level in reading, writing, history and mathematics. Additionally she is skilled with cleaning, laundry, and cooking. Her swordsmanship is at elementary level in Water-God style and she is at the elementary level for all six basic magic.

    Although she went to school in Millis, since Roxy arrived and Paul went on the trip to find Zenith she shouldn't have a been there for a long time.

    With just that much Aisha is like this, no wonder Norn lost confidence.

    Norn is normal, not so good nor bad. Though she is better than Eris was at the same age, I think she is average, no, maybe a bit below average.

    Norn was caught in the Mana Calamity incident, and from then on she has given it her all. There is no reason to lose her confidence at all [she did do well.]

    There is no other letter, I was expecting something from Roxy as well but....

    Well, this is a letter from family members to each other, so she might have refrained because of that.

    "Be that as it is, after you have settled in you should attend school."

    "Ehh!"

    Says Aisha with a displeased voice, does she have a bad memory from school?

    "There is nothing more for me to learn at school, I just want to serve Onii-chan at home."

    "But you know..."

    "But I only want to take care of Onii-chan! Remember the promise from that time, here, I always held onto it."

    Then she lets her hair down and shows me the ribbon, it's the headband I gave her when we separated from each other.

    Part of the metal has been bent so it could be used as a hairband, though it's kind of unrefined and rugged looking.

    Seeing what I have given her being treated preciously, kind of makes me feel happy.

    Be that as it may, I wonder about her not wanting to go to school.

    To be honest I don't think it's that necessary for her to go to school. The important thing is the will to learn. If there is no will, going to school is a waste of time. Just like me back in middle-school.


    That said, it is written in Paul's letter to have them both to go to school.

    There is no such thing as compulsory education in this world but...

    "Then, at least take the Magic University's entrance exam, we will decide based on the result of that."

    "Yes... Oh? I understand."

    Said Aisha while grinning.

    She seems to be confident in getting a high-score. Well, if she can get a high-score before going to school, then not going is fine. I'll say that to Paul as well.

    "Norn, how about you take the exam as well?"

    "......"

    When I turned the conversation to Norn, she avoids looking at me and stays silent. I wonder if I am hated... maybe she won't ever talk to me again? While I am thinking that, she whispers ...

    "... but I might fail the exam."

    I think it's the first time she talked to me, I might not be hated, well anyway I am happy.


    Yes, being ignored is not good after all.

    "There is no need to worry. That school, even if you fail, as long as you pay tuition you can get in."

    "Erm... It's not like I want to go to school that much!"

    I was yelled at, maybe because I mentioned the back door to get into school.

    "Eh, Norn-ane, what's with that way of talking to Onii-chan."

    "But, you heard it as well, he said he would do something about it with money."

    "It's Norn-ane's fault for not being able to study!"

    "I can do it!"

    Norn started yelling and grabbed Aisha's hair.

    Aisha grabs Norn's wrist and stretches her hand to Norn's face, scratching, pulling hair.

    A cat fight, no it's the way children fight.

    Nah, it should be like this, this is good.

    Getting punched in the chin and mounted on can't be called a child's fight.

    Quarreling in moderation is fine, but this time my way of putting it was bad.

    Let's stop them.

    "Please stop."

    A voice lower than what I intended came out, both of them stopped their hands while trembling.


    "......"

    Norn still wanted say something, her downcast eyes were welling with tears ...

    ....Hmmmm.

    I guess she has a more severe complex regarding me and Aisha's existence than I thought.

    "Well, you see Norn, this city's school will accept students who pay tuition regardless of their talent, race, or social standings, so it's not like I was trying to get you in by bribing them."

    "......Gusu~tsu"

    She tried wiping her tears while sniffing.

    "You remember Roxy-sensei, right? She was attending this school as well. It's a very good school. Studying a lot, you might find something that you like as well..."

    ...Something that you can beat Aisha in, I refrained from saying that, in these situations it's best not to compare children with each other.

    Norn kept looking down for a while and then said.

    "...I understand, I'll take the exam."


    Eventually, after saying just that, she stood up and left the living room.

    Aisha said with an irritated voice to her back.

    "Norn-ane, we still haven't finished talking!"

    "Shut up!"

    Then we heard her running up to the second floor and slamming the door.

    I get it.

    She is a difficult kid, in a difficult age with a difficult personality.

    I wonder if I can get along with her ...

    "Ah~h she is always like this. I don't like difficult kids. Onii-chan agrees too, right?"

    Aisha seeks my agreement while shrugging her shoulders.

    Aisha as well, her attitude of looking down on Norn.

    It's no good.


    "Aisha."

    "Yes, what is it?"

    "Starting now, stop saying 'you don't study' or stuff like that so highhandedly to Norn."

    "Ee~h......"

    When I say that Aisha pouts and says with a displeased tone.

    "But Norn-ane isn't even trying."

    "Well, from your point of view it might look that way, but maybe Norn is giving it her best in her own way..."

    "Well.......... If Onii-chan says so, I'll be careful."

    She nods unwillingly.

    Well, me saying it probably has no power to convince her, since I don't know much about these two.

    But, how am I going to treat these young girls, it's hard.


    Afternoon.

    I left my two sisters at home and went to school. I visited the staff room to talk to vice-principal Jinas regarding the exam for my sisters.

    "If they studied at another school before, they should able to catch up with the curriculum, so let's schedule their entrance exams as soon as possible.

    That's why, we arranged for them to take the exam in a week's time.

    It's like a pop-quiz, but it's all right I think.


    "I bet they are excellent students, since they are Rudeus-san's little sisters."

    "One is excellent, but the other one is a normal child."

    "Don't be modest, I bet they can even use voiceless incantation?"

    "No way."

    While chatting like this with Jinas, I suddenly remembered something.


    "By the way, vice-principal, is Badigadi-sama at school today?"

    "His majesty... I haven't seen him today."

    "Is that so."

    He is an elusive fellow.[44]

    However, he causes a ruckus where ever he appears, so I can find him quickly.


    "If you have some business with him, I can pass along the message if you want?"

    "Nah, nothing specific, I just wanted to have a talk with him, just us alone."

    "I understand, if I see him, I'll pass on that message."

    I left vice-principal Jinas with those words.


    I planned to go back after that, but since I had a bit of time, I decided to show up in Nanahoshi's place for a bit.

    I knocked and went in, but surprisingly, she is not in the room. That hikikomori is not in the room.

    Just to be sure, I take a look at the laboratory as well in vain, since entering the bedroom was forbidden, I just knock there to check.

    "N... Ugh"

    I heard a groaning sound, she seems to be in pain.

    I was hesitating to go in or not, then Nanahoshi opened the door with a pale face.

    "Hey, are you okay?"

    "...... I feel sick ...... ...... ...... My head hurts ...... A"


    Wow, it stinks of alcohol.

    Hangover?

    Well, it's not surprising, she drank a lot.

    Even to the extend of alcohol poisoning, I wouldn't be surprised.

    "Sit down a bit, I'll fix you right up."

    I said that and took her back to the laboratory and sat her down on a chair, grabbed her head, and chanted detoxification magic. After that, I eased the pain with healing magic.

    "Phew..... I'm saved."

    Nanahoshi thanked me while holding her temples.

    Then she puts on the mask on the desk and becomes the masked woman, "Silent Seven Star".

    "What do you want today? If it's the reward, I haven't prepared it yet."

    It's a cool response, but a bit of dere is mixed in. Is this the rumored kuudere?[45]


    "The other day, when I went back home, my little sisters arrived from their trip. Since I have to make preparation for them to enroll in the school, I came today..."

    "... little sisters? Do you mean the ones from our world? Did they make the trip[46] as well?"

    "No way. They are the little sisters from this world."

    "Is that so?"

    Nanahoshi stared at my face.

    "If they are your sisters from this world, they are probably pretty cute, right?"

    "Is it possible that just now, you complimented my face?"

    "I meant it as in our senses. I don't know how you looked in our world and in this one you look more like the western side of our world."

    "Ohhhh, yeah."

    I was praised, damn, she's a dangerous gal.

    In my past world, I would definitely misunderstand this as 'maybe this girl loves me...'

    But the me right now, am not a virgin nor am I single, I won't be shaken by a single praise.

    "How old are they?"

    "If I'm not wrong, they should be 10."

    "I see... I have a little brother of the same age back home, if the time flow of that world is the same as this world, he is probably older than me by now."


    After saying that Nanahoshi narrowed her eyes nostalgically.

    I wonder if she is remembering Japan.

    I don't have any fond memories of the word 'Little Brother'.

    "I want pudding."

    Nanahoshi said abruptly.

    Well, the topic just jumped somewhere else.

    Why pudding?

    "Do you have some special memories from pudding?"

    "The one I left in the refrigerator was eaten without permission, it was an expensive one..."

    It seems all the little brothers are the same, but Nanahoshi seems to miss even this kind of memory as well.

    She is facing slightly up, maybe she wants to cry. I will look the other way.


    "Well, I will come again "

    "E~e... the last time, I caused you trouble. Now I have a better impression of you."

    "Fufufu, if you fall for me, you'll get burned..."

    "What is that, are you trying to act cool?"

    Nanahoshi laughed a little after saying that, it's that Generation Gap, well, I'll ask about the experiment next time after she is a bit more settled.


    After school.

    I am returning home with Sylphy, I have a lot I want to ask for Sylphy's help in regards to my sisters, since their age is close she probably understands a lot more about them than me.

    "Oh, Rudi, let's go shopping. Since the number of people increased, we need to buy a bit more."

    So I go along with Sylphy to the market.

    When we set foot in the market, the first thing we notice is the sweet fragrance of beans being fried.

    Market district is in full swing even in the evening.

    My image of a Market district was that it would be crowded in the morning. But here, the fresh ingredients are the meats, and it's provided by adventurers and hunters who hunt during the day and return in the evening.

    In other words, they stock up during the day to sell during the evening.

    Though it's not that there are that many different products, and the prices are comparatively on the high side.

    Still, in the [Magic Triumvirate] you can get anything you want with money.

    But if you head east to the more impoverished countries, even if you have money you can't find anything to buy.


    By the way, freezing the ingredients here is easy, since you can just request it through the guild.

    Well, those are the requests of the students who are just learning magic.

    I start talking to Sylphy about what to do from now on while we are shopping.

    "I see, so their relationship isn't all that good, huh?"

    "To be honest, I have no idea what girls of that age are thinking at all..."

    "Really."

    "Aisha does not want to go to school and insists on being a maid at our house. What do you think?"

    "Since I am kind of out of the house mostly, if she says she's gonna help, I am kinda happy about it."

    Sylphy said while laughing, it does not seem like she's worried about losing her role in the house.

    "That said, Sylphy, we are supposed to be responsible adults."

    "Yeah."

    "Isn't it our job to at least provide Aisha with the opportunity of attending Magic University?"

    "Un, I see. Then having her change her hair color and attend Magic university is a viable solution as well, right?"[47]

    Sylphy puts her hand to her chin as if thinking about what to do, but in the end she decided to buy ham for dinner, despite the price being a bit high.


    "Sylphy, we are having a serious conversation, please think about it seriously."

    "Of course I am thinking, but you know, I think Aisha-chan is way more outstanding than Rudi imagines."

    "So what if she's outstanding?"

    "I am sure, regardless of going to school or not, she will do well..."

    "O~h."

    "So, I think it's better to let her do what she wants, instead of just thinking about this and that."

    Sylphy seems to have a lot of confidence in Aisha, come to think of it, Sylphy knows Aisha pretty well.

    I mean, the younger Aisha that is, I heard a lot about how she was an outstanding child.

    "The problem is Norn-chan, being separated from Paul-san and Ruijerd-san, she is uneasy. We should look after her properly."

    "That's right."

    When I saw how calm Sylphy is, I realized how nervous I was behaving.

    Somehow, Sylphy looks so reliable, just like Fitts-senpai. Eh, she is Fitts-senpai after all.


    "Let Aisha do as she pleases, and put Norn on the right rail, hah?"

    "Rail?"

    "It means making a road."

    "I think yeah, that sounds good."

    But doing that means treating the sisters differently, is that really okay?

    But there is a big difference in their abilities, so treating them the same forcefully is the bad thing, I shouldn't confuse discrimination with distinction.

    "I wonder if I said something arrogant?"

    "No, you helped me a lot. I managed to sort out my thoughts."

    "But, I have to guard Ariel-sama, so I can't look after them as much..."

    Said Sylphy with a troubled face while scratching behind her ears.

    Because she has to guard Ariel-hime, she said that with a troubled face, she might be actually troubled about it, like after getting married I ask her to stop working for Ariel-hime.

    Oh, I suddenly decided to ask about this.


    "Hey, Sylphiette-san..."

    "What is it, Rudeus-san?"

    "If I asked you to stop being Ariel-hime's guard so we could get married, what would you have done?"

    I asked as lightly as I could, Sylphy stared at me with a straight face.

    "...I might have refused to marry Rudi."

    Eh?

    ...That's a little shocking. Maybe if I took my time and asked in a better way, but I see... so she would choose Ariel over me... I see Ariel is more important than me...

    "Ah."

    Seeing my face, Sylphy suddenly panicked.


    "Don't misunderstand, I love Rudi. No, it's more than that. It's a complicated feeling that I, myself, don't understand."

    Panicking Sylphy is cute as well.

    "Well, I think both of them is love, and I naturally would like to have Rudi's child as well..."

    Sylphy stroked her stomach while saying that.

    Hearing that, I feel my body getting hot. Today's Sylphy is so bold, saying that in public.

    "But I like Ariel-sama as well, it's a different like[48] from Rudi... right, it's in the sense of a friend..."

    Said Sylphy, come to think of it, this is the first time I've heard Sylphy's feelings regarding Ariel.

    "Ariel-sama, despite how she looks, has many things she's not good at. If I am not with Rudi, I am sure you could do something about life by yourself, but if Luke and I are not around, Ariel-sama will probably die soon, so I don't want to abandon her."


    After saying that, Sylphy is scratching behind her ears again.

    And she adds to that [But the life I have now is the one I had dreamed about my whole life, so ... if possible I'd like to stick with Rudi.]

    Sylphy seems to be thinking that what she is saying is a selfish thing.

    She thinks she used my good will to gain something that normally would not be possible, and because of that, she's trying her best to become the woman I love.

    Though there is no way that's true.

    "......"

    Instead of answering that I kiss Sylphy on the cheek, the moment I do that we hear 'Hyu~u, Hyu~u' and some sleazy comments, without us noticing we had gathered a group of onlookers, Sylphy had her sunglasses on from the get go, Fitts-senpai looks cute as always.

    After a few minutes, Sylphy calmed down and we resumed our shopping, though our conversation went a bit off-track.



    Well, the things I wanted to talk about are mostly done, so as long as Sylphy gets along with those two, my hardship will reduce as well.

    To be honest, I don't have the slightest idea what these young girls are thinking about.

    "Since I don't understand the girls very well, I'll be relying on Sylphy again..."

    "Un~... we are married after all, helping each other is a given."

    Said Sylphy while laughing coyly.

    My wife is so reliable.

    But [Rudi will be fine without me, but Ariel-sama will die.] Hah, I bet Sylphy would be able to live without me just fine, unlike before.


    A week later, Aisha got a perfect score on the exam.

    Aisha's Ability:

    She might not look it, but in truth she has already reached the skill level of a royal maid.


    After the end of the exam, leading Aisha and Norn, I returned to our house.


    It was a written exam.

    It wasn't something that corresponds to your age.

    It was an orthodox entrance exam that combines general knowledge and the basic six types of magic.

    Targeting all ages.

    It's different from the time with me.[49]

    Naturally, I guess.


    Aisha got full points on her exam.

    The culture is somewhat different between here and Milis.

    In other words, that means there's a gap between the general knowledge.

    Even so, she took full points.

    I have nothing to complain about.


    Jinas as well was saying if this is how it is when she's 10 years old, then with some conditions attached, she could be a Special Student.

    Although, the promise with Aisha wasn't about that.


    "Then, just as promised, I'm going to serve Onii-chan, right!?"


    After we returned to the house, Aisha declared that triumphantly.

    That expression was one full of pride.


    "That means you intend to become the house maid? Even though we're family?"

    "That's wrong. I'm not going to become the house maid - I'm going to become Onii-chan's maid!"


    Her dream for the future is to become Onii-chan's maid.

    That is... I really wonder about that.

    I can't help the feeling that something is warped.[50]

    However, a promise is a promise.


    "Alright. Then make sure you listen to whatever I tell you."

    "Yes! Looking forward to serving you, master!"


    Master, it has a good sound to it.

    If it wasn't my little sister saying it to me, I'm sure I'd be getting very excited.

    Even though I have a beloved wife.


    "Even though I say that, if you think of anything that you want to learn, say it without reservation."

    "At that time, does that mean master will teach me all about it?"


    Aisha put one of her fingers against her lips and made a flirtatious glance.

    I wonder if what she wants to be taught is something erotic.

    If she says something like, "Onii-chan... teach me how children are made." I'll go ahead and teach her properly all about sex education.

    Of course without eroticism.


    "Although, what's with 'master'?"

    "Since I'm going to be serving you, it's no good if we don't make the distinction."


    Oh? It's honorifics.


    "Is the usual Onii-chan no good?"

    "That would be mixing work and private affairs."


    As expected of someone who earned full points.

    She sure knows some difficult words.


    Well, it's fine I guess.

    Though, I might end up being looked at with weird eyes by Sylphy.

    She did take full points after all, I'll let her do as she pleases.


    "I understand. In regards to the job, please consult with Sylphy, and decide on it."

    "Yes. I've learned the jobs of a maid from my mother. Please leave it to me."


    After saying that, Aisha stood up and crossed her arms in front of her body, then deeply bowed her head.

    It's the birth of the little sister maid. [51]

    Little sister maid.

    What a moving impression the sound of those words give off.


    Well, she will still be taught as well, so in my previous life it would at most be called, "helping with chores."


    On Norn's side, they were scores you can't really call good.

    According to Jinas, they were average, or maybe even a bit lower for her age, but it seems it's not bad.

    Even though I say that, if we were to compare her to Aisha, saying there's no inferiority would just be sugarcoating it.


    Well, she did come here after journeying for a year. It was an exam she took soon after settling down, it can't be helped.

    I'm sure at least she would have liked a chance to study and review.


    Eh, there's no need to rush.

    It's fine as long she improves from here on.

    Even if she can't become number one, setting average as the final goal is not a problem.

    Human society is made up of compromises like that.

    It's fine if you're not superior. It's fine if you're just average.


    "Norn, which subject do you want to study?"

    "..."


    Norn didn't respond.

    Just continuing with her eyes cast down, averting her eyes with a sullen face...

    It seems she still doesn't like me.

    I'd like to close the distance a bit more between her and me.

    However, well, I wonder what can be done about it.


    "I'm not all that familiar with the subjects that can be studied though... If I remember correctly, after studying the common knowledge class work for three years, you're allowed to choose. In our school, there's some pretty interesting lessons you can take. For the time being, try attending for a few years and see if you can find something that you would like to do. If there's nothing, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to try and specialize in healing magic. Mother was a healing magician as well after all. Since there's few healing magicians around this area, you'll be able to find work in a doctor's office or hospital."

    "..."


    Since there was no reply, I was just going on and on talking myself.

    And suddenly, Norn looked this way.

    It was somehow a gaze that wanted to say something.

    I kept silent.


    "...I want to try living in the dorm."


    Norn quietly said that with a nervous tone of voice.

    I started to think over those words.


    "Living in the dorms, huh."


    That's no good.

    Though, it'll be simple to just reject it.

    However, I'll try thinking about it seriously.

    It seems that Norn went out of her way to gather her courage after all.


    First off, it's having a 10 year old young girl living on her own.

    Regardless of other things, that's too soon.

    However, living in a dorm isn't living alone.

    Fundamentally, there are two people per room.


    Since Norn came over here, she only has a few acquaintances.

    She has no friends as well.

    If she were to live in the dorm, she might be able to make friends.


    I'm sure there are more or less some problems in regards to her age though.

    There are kids in that school who start living in the dorms and attending from a younger age as well.

    The dorm has some extent of precise rules and is a safe place.

    Even saying she's 10 years old, I'm sure she won't be inconvenienced.


    I want to get along a bit better with her, but if things continue in this state... I have the feeling that even if we manage to get closer physically, we'll just remain at the same distance emotionally.


    In my previous life I was always secluded in my parents' house.

    Secluded, rejecting everything.

    My family tried making plans for this and that in order to try and close the distance between us.

    Fishing using expensive items, bringing delicious tasting things, talking about the future with sweet words.

    Each time, I felt like my heart was getting further away from my family.

    I got the feeling like I was being treated as an animal.


    Rather than living in the same place, seeing each other's faces everyday, and speaking of each other's complexion, living in a somewhat separated place and watching over her from a distance might be the better option wouldn't it?

    Isn't it important for each side to mutually calm down and look over things in regards to the other side?


    Aisha took on a natural attitude that looks down on Norn.

    I've told her to be careful about it, but since the person herself doesn't seem to be self-conscientious about it, the disposition is a bit bad.

    I'm sure there's no other option than to try and fix it over a long period.


    Being looked down on by Aisha inside the house, continually unable to face me whom she hates...

    I don't think I can stand at the top myself, but in this world, I am considered excellent as I go about.

    The bitterness of trying to grow up surrounded by superior siblings...


    There's no option other than running away from home.

    I already know the fate of a young girl who runs away from home.

    Being pulled in by a bad man in exchange for letting her stay over, requesting these sorts of things and those sorts of things.

    If that's the case, then from the start, it's better to have her stay in a place that is safe I'm sure.


    Besides, Sylphy is in the dorms as well.

    She stays at home once every three days, but in reverse, that means she's at the dorm two out of every three days.

    If a time ever comes up where something happens, I'm sure she can quickly support her.

    Fortunately, it seems Norn doesn't hate Sylphy.

    I guess the naked socializing on the first day was having an effect. [52]


    Yeah, after thinking about it, I don't think it's a half bad suggestion.

    Living in the dorms at 10 years old.

    I wonder if she can properly learn to be independent and socialize properly.


    "I get it. It's fine for Norn to live in the dorm. I'll submit an application."

    "Eh!! Onii-chan!?"


    The one who raised her voice in surprise was Aisha.

    She was making a face like she couldn't believe it.


    "Why! Norn-ane's scores weren't good at all!"


    Her maid tone from just before had crumbled.


    "Aisha??"

    "Even though I put that much effort into it! It's no fair for just Norn-ane!"


    It's not that sort of problem.

    However, looking at it from Aisha's side, it might look like I'm showing favoritism.

    In order for her own wishes to be fulfilled, she took full points on the exam.

    It could be that during this past week, she's been reviewing and preparing for it in a place where I wasn't watching.


    Norn didn't do anything.

    And yet, I'm allowing Norn to do as she wants.

    That is unfair. It is favoritism.


    During times like these, I wonder what my parents said in my previous life.

    I can't remember.

    For example, listen to what I tell you or listen to what I say. I have the feeling I was told something like that.

    I wonder if I was able to agree with that.

    I'm sure I wasn't able to.


    I wonder about Aisha.

    Would she be able to accept it with that way of talking.

    I'm sure she wouldn't be able to.


    No, she's a superior child.

    I'm sure, if I told her what I was thinking, she would understand it.

    That's what I think, but that might just be my arrogance.

    In any case, I'll try talking to her and see.


    "Aisha. It's not like I'm particularly listening to Norn's selfishness. Just, I thought that living in the dorm would be better for her sake."

    "But."

    "Norn hasn't made any acquaintances since she came over here... Well, I can't really say much myself, since things don't really balance up with me as well. I'm sure you've seen this past week, but it almost looks like breathing has become difficult."

    "But, Otou-san said... we should live together with Onii-chan."


    Hm.

    After being told like that, I feel like I have no choice other than to tie Norn to the house.

    No, there's no way that's the case.

    There's no way it's better to always do as one is told.

    Paul is often mistaken after all.

    I can't really say that my decision is correct as well though.


    "Of course, I have no intention of abandoning my duty of looking after you two. But, if things continue like this, things won't end up well for Norn. By living in the dorm, she might be able to obtain something."

    "...."


    Aisha cast her eyes down.

    For some reason, those eyes had tears building up in them.


    "...Showing partiality to Norn-ane, is it because my mother is a mistress?"


    Abruptly, Aisha said those things.

    Mistress.

    After hearing those words.

    I instinctively felt that this is bad.


    "By mistress, you mean Lilia-san? Aisha, who told you that? Was it Otou-san? There's no way Norn could have said it right?"

    "Mother and also Norn's grandmother..."


    Large tears were falling from Aisha's eyes.


    Speaking of Lilia and Norn's grandmother, in other words, Zenith's parents' home.

    I can't help that Lilia has said it.

    She feels one step drawn back in regards to Zenith and I.

    It seems she intends to pass things through completely with the position of a maid.

    Therefore, it can't be helped if she makes the request for the position to be one step back in regards to Zenith's daughter.

    I'm sure Paul would connect with them equally, but by no means does that make them equivalent.


    Zenith's parents are nobles.

    If I remember correctly, it was a house with a considerable pedigree.

    My aunt, Therese, was by no means a bad person.

    However, it's not like everyone has a lenient way of thinking about the social position.

    In the first place, they have reason to be affectionate towards Zenith's daughter, but if it's Lilia's daughter, then there's no reason to be affectionate.

    They're not related by blood after all.


    It's not a matter of blaming either side.

    It's that sort of culture.


    "Is it because I'm only connected half by blood...[sniffle]..."


    However, there's no way a child wouldn't be hurt over things like that.

    Aisha with her face completely crumpled up started hiccuping.


    I might have misunderstood something a bit.

    Aisha is a difficult child in Aisha's own way.


    "I don't think of Lilia-san as a mistress at all. I feel that both you and Norn are equally my little sisters."

    "But... I, gusu... worked hard, studied, and took the exam, Norn-ane is??"


    Aisha was appealing while crying between pauses.

    After all it seems she studied for it.

    Even though there was only one week before the exam.

    She was able to take a good score...


    "Aisha."

    "What is it?"

    "You might not understand if I put it into words, but I intend to recognize your hard work. Therefore, I permitted the fact that you don't have to go to school."

    "But, you said Norn-ane is allowed to stay in the dorm??"


    [Sniffle], Aisha's nasal voice is sounding in my heart.

    However, this isn't favoritism.


    "In regards to everything, I intend to make decisions based on that time. For example, if you were to say you wanted to go to school starting now or wanted to enter the dorm, I would allow that. But in reverse, if Norn said she doesn't want to go to school, or says she wants to do work around the house, I won't allow that because you got full points on the exam."


    After saying that, Aisha bent her lips and kept silent.

    And then,


    ".....I understand."


    Having said that, it seems like she still has some dissatisfaction.

    However, in the end, she accepted it with a nod.

    Norn watched over this situation in a way that she wasn't finding anything amusing.


    However, I feel like I can see a bit of the setting.

    Zenith's family were looking down on Aisha as an illegitimate child.

    And with that, Aisha gave it her best in order to not lose to Norn.


    As expected, Paul never made any sort of distinction though... [53]

    It seems that in a place I wasn't aware, the relationship between my two little sisters turned into something distorted.


    There are no longer any nobles nearby.

    There's no one to look down on Aisha.

    If I properly keep them company, then with time, things should be resolved.


    "For the time being, I'll add a condition onto that. Norn, at least once every ten days, you need to show your face in this house."


    After saying that, Norn lowered her eyebrows.


    "...For what reason?"

    "Because I'll worry."


    Also, I have responsibility as the overseer.

    I wouldn't be able to show my face in front of Paul if I left her in the dorm and abandoned her there,


    "...I understand."


    Norn nodded with an unwilling feeling.


    My new lifestyle started to include my two little sisters.


    I put in an application at the dorms for Norn's sake and prepared for her to be accepted there.

    I talked with Sylphy about it as well, and if anything happens within the dorm, I sincerely requested for her to take care of it.


    "Are you going to keep Norn-chan at a distance?"


    Sylphy used a bit of a condemning tone of voice.

    In her regard, she might think it's best for Norn's sake that she remains in the house and does various things.

    Even I think that's a possibility as well.

    But, if I think about the things that occurred the other day, I can't think that's the best decision.

    I told Sylphy about that matter.


    "It might be better not to keep Aisha and Norn together. It seems like a variety of things were said about a mistress and such. It's not like I'm pushing her to a distance. We're just suddenly far too close, so I'm putting a bit of distance between us."

    "Hnnn... those sorts of things happened... I get it. As much as possible, I'll try to keep an eye on Norn-chan as well."


    Sylphy pleasantly nodded in agreement.

    It would be good as long as this continues in a good direction.


    Aisha has become our house maid.


    She is superior.

    Ever since Aisha has started taking care of things in the house, the burden on Sylphy has largely been reduced.

    Aisha is doing all of the cleaning.

    The laundry is done by Aisha as well.

    My jobs have been taken away by Aisha.

    This means that I can't stroke or rub my cheeks against Sylphy's used panties anymore.

    Giving up on it, unable to explain it, I have no choice other than to move on just like before.


    There are duties which we couldn't hand over to her though--shopping and cooking are done by Sylphy.

    Aisha is a helper.


    Other than that, arrangements for cleaning the chimney, greeting the people who live in the neighborhood, and all these other things that I never realized were being done in succession as well.

    She's really excellent.

    She stands out and makes no mistakes. She has no faults.

    I'm sure she's putting in effort in places I can't see as well.


    It seems Aisha intends to take being a maid seriously.

    Taking off the mask of a little sister, doing her duty with a steel will.

    It's the result of Lilia's education.


    She would generally take care of various things around the house. When we return, she would help Sylphy with making meals, help me out with preparing the bath, prepare a change of clothes before Sylphy and I enter the bath, help Sylphy after getting out of the bath, brush and set her hair.

    Even on the days of her night shift, she would put on winter clothes and head out saying, [I will now conduct myself to the madam and return.]

    It seems Sylphy somehow feels a bit troubled by it.

    It's actually quite enjoyable to watch those two.


    Also, during times when visitors come by, she looks after them as well.

    Though I say that, the only one that has come these past few days is just Nanahoshi.

    The other day she came to formally say her thanks again.

    She said she wanted to prepare something as thanks, so I requested some kind of useful magic circle that makes use of summoning magic.

    On the occasion that the experiment proceeds to the second phase, it seems she'll give me an explanation.


    In regards to Nanahoshi, Aisha was truly diligent in looking after her.

    Preparing the bath and a change of clothes, even up to washing her body...

    It seems Nanahoshi was considerably irritated by it.

    In response, I was sarcastically told that working my little sister so hard is something a fiend would do.

    In her regard, the bath might be isolated, rich, and something that she can't help but be appeased by.

    The next time Nanahoshi comes to enter the bath, I'll tell her to try and keep her distance.


    Later on, when I do something in the living room, she goes around doing this and that to take care of me.

    Confirming the situation of the fire in the fireplace, bringing out some kind of warm drink...


    I really do feel that it's a bit odd to be taken care of like this by my little sister.

    However, Aisha is doing it so happily.

    I'm sure it will be fine to continue like this for a while.

    It's not like I'm coercing her into it...


    Is what I was thinking, but if you use magic from the time when you're young, your aggregate amount of magic power will increase.

    I remembered such rules.

    If she's not going to school, then at the very least, I think it would be good if she just trains her magic power.

    After reaching 10 years of age, it won't grow all that much, but even then, it will mean her future growth is still positive.


    Taking the opportunity as well, I'm sure it would be for the best if she can use attack magic up to the intermediate level.

    Though there's no problems living with just elementary level, intermediate is the easiest to use in actual combat.


    "Aisha, come over here for a bit. I'm going to teach you magic."

    "Onii-chan is going to teach me!?"


    Aisha was making a face like she was really happy.

    When her feelings are greatly moved, her tone tends to get disturbed.

    She still hasn't reached Lilia's level it seems.


    "It's just in case you ever need it. Even if you say no..."

    "There's no way I would say I don't want it!"


    Saying that, Aisha jumped on top of my lap.

    Oh, cute.


    "I'm in your care!"


    It became that Aisha would be taught magic by me.

    Even though I say that, she's already learned all the basics.

    Just because she hasn't learned it yet, if she just reads a magic textbook, she can quickly learn intermediate magic I'm sure.

    Incidentally, she was unable to use voiceless incantation.

    It seems to be impossible to do by 10 year old after all.

    For the time being, I obligated her to use up almost all of her magic power everyday.


    During the night, Aisha would come crawling into my bed.


    "Onii-chan, is it fine for me to sleep together with you?"


    Since that one thing happened just the other day, I'm being a bit too sweet towards Aisha as well.

    Well, something like sleeping together is fine I'm sure.


    "Sure it is, now come."


    I didn't make any complaints in particular and invited her into the bed.

    Aisha's body is smaller than Sylphy's and she has a high body temperature.

    Since this region is cold, she's the best as a hugging pillow.


    Of course, nothing on the erotic side goes on.

    Honestly, I don't feel like I can get into an erotic mood.

    In the first place, she still hasn't finished developing her secondary sexual characteristics.

    It seems she does have the knowledge itself though, but the point of sexual desire is still in the future I'm sure.

    I have nothing to feel guilty about.


    Well, if Aisha ends up holding sexual desires towards me, then she'll have to give up on it at that time.

    I have nothing to say about anything in relation to near relatives though.

    I just don't want to destroy the relationship with my family.


    Well, while the days when Sylphy isn't around are fine, the problem lies on the days when there's no night shift.

    My night life together with Sylphy once every three days...


    Since my little sister is here as well, I thought we should hold back for a short while.

    However, after thinking about how there's a defenseless girl sleeping next to me, there's no way I can endure it.

    No, in reality, I should be able to endure it though... If I were to take care of things myself.


    Nevertheless, inside of the house, Aisha is always hanging around me.

    There's no way I could take care of it in the toilet at school.

    Even though I have a wife, taking care of it myself is somehow a waste.

    And in the end, while worrying about things, it ended up saving up.


    In this young body with strong sexual desire, if I don't take care of it within a week, it will be on the verge of spontaneous discharge.

    Next to such a young body, try putting a cute sleeping girl.

    Not to mention that girl is all okay without NGs. [54]

    She's giving it her best to try and make a child. With her saying such lovable things, trying to endure seems stupid.


    "Fu..."


    As a result, the hustle was overdone to the end.

    For the time being, I did make sure to lock the door, and I enhanced the soundproofing of it with earth magic as well.

    ...I just have to pray that Aisha doesn't try to peek from her side.


    "Rudi, today you were amazing..."


    Afterwards, Sylphy was left quite listless.

    Soaked in sweat, her slightly disheveled hair was just a bit glossed.


    Now that the sweet pillow talk has ended, I begin wiping her body down with a wet towel while sitting on top of the bed in room clothes. [55]


    The room clothes were made with a soft material - they're clothes with a bit of a plain feeling to them.

    Rather than sweats, they're close to jerseys.

    [They aren't very sexy are they?] is what Sylphy said, but that's completely wrong.

    For Sylphy's sex appeal rather, these sorts of outfits in specific bring it to life.


    It kind of feels like a track & field club girl is sitting down on top of the bed.

    Precisely because the sexiness is sparse that in reverse accelerates the arousal.

    It's the so-called artistic inclination. [56]


    For example, if this was the black negligee that Eris wore, Elinalise were wearing it saying some kind provocative words, or Rinia and Pursena with their voluptuous flesh, it wouldn't end up like this.

    It suits Sylphy's lack of sex appeal.


    "..."

    "Hn? What is it Rudi?"


    When I realize it, I'm caressing Sylphy's slender body from behind.

    It sure is a good body.

    There are few uneven spots, but it's not a plain.

    There's some fat, but for some reason, it's soft.

    Just by embracing and caressing her like this, my lightning rod faces upwards.


    "Umm... Do you still want to do it more?"

    "No, Sylphy has work tomorrow as well. I'll endure it. Tomorrow morning, I'll be satisfied with groping them a bit."

    "Really... it's fine if you don't endure it though, okay."


    Sylphy fell over onto the bed...

    And then faced me and held out both of her arms towards me.


    "It's fine, Rudi. Come."


    Sylphy said that shyly and full of bashfulness.

    My patience turned into a gestalt collapse in an instant.

    I already don't know the meaning of patience anymore.

    I matched both of my hands together, and then while jumping straight out of my clothes, I dived in aiming at Sylphy. [57]


    The night has that sort of feeling to it.


    Now.

    Speaking of Norn, during the time when all of the preparations for the dorm were being done, she was docile for several days.

    She didn't say anything in specific towards me.

    Even though I say that, it's not like her attitude was specifically bad either.

    If I say anything, she would do it, and she honestly listens to what I say.

    Just, if you were to ask if we were getting along well, it's a difficult place.


    In my regards, I'd like to deepen my friendship with Norn a bit more.

    Which is why I tried asking her once, "Do you want to enter the bath together?"

    The so-called naked socializing that is.


    "...No."


    However, Norn refused it with an extremely unpleasant face.

    In exchange, Aisha said, "Ah, I'll enter together with you," and then washed my back and even ended up giving me a massage.

    Aisha can handle everything easily without slipping up.

    Even her washing method is skillful. She will become a splendid soap lady. [58]

    No, I'll be troubled if she becomes one though.


    The preparations for Norn to enter the dorm were completed after several days.


    It seems her roommate is a fourth year student.

    In the same year as Nanahoshi huh.

    If it was at least a fifth or sixth year, then I have acquaintances though.


    Her roommate had a cap almost like a cockatoo's, it was a girl like a small parrot. [59]

    Matching up with that feeling, she moves with a jumpy feel.

    She's either a Demon Race or a bird-type Beast Race.

    Her name is Melissa.

    She wasn't a person who had any bad rumors about her.


    There are many half and quarter races in this school.

    I need to make sure Norn doesn't say any sort of discriminating statements.


    For the time being, it might be better to just leave her with greetings.

    Thinking that, I approached her with a smile, but she was frightened.

    She couldn't even talk.


    That frightened.

    It might be better to keep it hidden that I'm related to Norn in the school.

    I'm treated as the Bancho in this school after all.

    It would be pitiful if she was feared and unable to make any friends because of that.


    Well, I want to think things will work out somehow without worrying that much.

    If I overlook things from one to ten, then I might end up excessively caring for her after all.


    If it comes down to it, she can rely on Sylphy and Luke, or Ariel.

    Those three are popular in the school.

    If you're together with those three, people gather.

    If a person enters into that group, naturally, they'll be associated with its social interactions and make friends as well.


    No, in reverse, if it's those three, there's the possibility that she might be jealous.

    No-no, just like that, treading through those stormy seas is also something that connects into growth isn't it?


    Hmm.

    How difficult. [60]

    Social disposition is really difficult.


    In any case, it won't be good if Norn doesn't manage to do something about it herself.

    I'm sure it would be better to not interfere until something happens.

    For a short while, I'll wait-and-see.


    Even though I say that, yeah, I'm worried.

    After all, wouldn't it be better for her to commute from home.


    The day we sent Norn to the dorm, I told Norn, who was holding her bag while wearing a uniform, about various points to be careful on.


    In the dorm, you need to abide by the rules.

    She needs to give it her best when studying.

    Even if she sees a Demon Race, don't be discriminatory.

    There were a lot of things I wanted to say, but if I say too much, she won't remember them all.


    "Norn. If something troubles you at school, please tell me or Sylphy."


    For the time being, I'll at least say that much.


    "Yes."


    Norn responded like that without looking me in the eyes.

    I wonder if the day will ever come that I can get along with her.

    I'm uneasy.


    "Also, when you wake up and before you sleep, properly brush your teeth."

    "Yes."


    I need to say this as well.


    "Enter the bath as well."

    "Yes."


    I need to say that as well.


    "Do your homework as well."

    "...Yes."


    That's right, there's things about illnesses as well.


    "Don't catch a cold." [61]

    "..."


    She was looking at me with extremely annoyed eyes.

    As I thought, I'm a bit worried.



    Around the time when Nanahoshi was troubled and Zanoba settled it,

    He had actually explained one secret of the doll a while back.


    This happened about a week earlier, before Nanahoshi went berserk.


    "Shishou, take a look at this."

    That day.

    When he entered the research lab, Zanoba was happily carrying a box.

    His expression was many times more boastful than usual.

    "What's this?"

    "It's the arm of that doll from the other day."

    Zanoba put the box on the table and took out the contents wrapped in cloth.

    When the cloth was unwrapped, just like Zanoba said, there was an arm of a doll.

    However, it looked as if it was cut into round slices like sweet bean jelly.


    "I saw there was a joint on the portion where the paint wore off, so when I split it thinking that was the case, it became like this."


    Zanoba showed me the cross-sections of the arm.

    A pattern like a QR code was compactly written on there.

    It's a magic circle.

    It's completely different from what Nanahoshi draws.

    It's a mysterious pattern.


    That were different patterns on the cross-sectioned parts.

    The back and the front.

    The patterns were slightly different.

    Even though they were part of the same joint, they were not the same.


    "I see... the magic circle was compacted even at the arm. It's interesting that it differs at the surface joints."


    It's like seeing the cross-section of meat.

    Like a vivid view of a human body cut into round slices.


    "Still, I didn't realize there were joints to this."

    "Even I wouldn't have realized this if the paint wasn't falling off."

    "I see."


    Zanoba seemed very excited at making such an important discovery.

    I am rather calm myself.

    I knew that it couldn't move without applying some special craft to it.


    "I see, with that many magic inscriptions written, it can only move so little."

    "Oh? Shishou, do you understand these magic inscriptions?"

    "Nope, not a clue."


    These magic circles, they were only meant to move the arm.

    Or rather, if those inscriptions weren't written on the arm, it couldn't be controlled?

    Or was it something else?

    I wouldn't know unless we researched it.


    In any case, this doll was loitering inside the house in the middle of the night, going around and cleaning.

    If it found enemies, it would go and eliminate them.

    Once it finished cleaning, it would return to the charging station to recharge.

    It had that sort of function.

    Even a Roomba didn't have that kind of efficiency.

    To have an ability like exterminating enemies, that's already like a Roach Motel.

    It's not like the doll was completed merely by scribbling inscriptions on its head and body.


    I don't want to make a Roomba.

    I want to make a moving doll.

    I want to see one in action.

    If I can make one that moves, it will sell well.

    I can probably sell it for a pretty high price.

    No, it's not like I want a large sum of money.

    I like money as much as anyone, but even if I have a lot of it, it's wasted on someone like me.


    Although it's a different story, if I was to make a doll that could restore the honor of the Superd Race...

    That was one of my dreams.

    Another dream was of having a maid robot.


    "There must be a magic circle to control the movement in the head or torso. If you locate it, please 'break' it carefully."

    "Yes, Shishou."


    Zanoba nodded and wrapped the pieces of the arm and placed it back into the box.


    Thus, with that kind of discovery, Zanoba came up with a theory.

    With that theory in mind he helped Nanahoshi complete her layered magic inscription.

    Even though she was about to give up, she successfully summoned something from another world.

    I am sure I can complete my maid robot soon.

    That reality is not far away.


    When that thought comes to me, I become motivated.

    Today, like any other day, I headed to Zanoba's laboratory.

    My steps were light.


    "Zanoba, I'm coming in."


    I knocked once, and then I entered into Zanoba's lab.

    There was a girl standing there acting as the gatekeeper.

    Although not a beautiful woman, it was a woman that I recognized.

    "Ooh, Ginger-san, it's been a while."

    She had eyed me with suspicion, but when I greeted her, she bowed her head with a straight face.

    "If it isn't Sir Rudeus. It's been a while."

    A former knight of Shirone, and a bodyguard of the Third Prince Zanoba:

    Ginger York.

    How nostalgic.


    "I had thought about greeting you at least once, but it's been a little hectic."

    "Not a problem. In fact, I apologize. I had not thanked you for guarding my sisters without compensation..."

    "Thanks to Aisha-dono, our trip was very quick. That is already my compensation."


    Ginger waved me in, and I entered the lab.

    Zanoba and Julie were working as usual.

    Zanoba was transcribing the magic circles, and Julie was chiseling a figurine.

    In any case, Julie seemed to be nearly finished, so I went to take a look.

    "How is it?"

    "Yes, it's almost complete, Grandmaster. What do you think?"

    "This Zanoba doll is pretty good. But doesn't he look a bit too attractive?"

    "Master is cool."


    Yup.

    She's still unrefined, but she's got good taste.

    She has been learning quickly.

    Zanoba was taking a bit more time.

    When I looked, Ginger was suddenly looking at me.


    "...What is it, Ginger-san?"

    "No, it's nothing... just that, you seem to have grown a lot."


    "The last time we met was about four years ago I think? Of course I've grown."


    Recently, I felt that many people have said that I looked cool.

    It could be that my sex appeal was flowing out.

    If I hadn't married Sylphy, I would probably have had a harem by now.

    No, having a harem would be a disaster in its own way.

    It doesn't seem like I can casually raise kids in that scenario.


    "Come to think of it, what will you do from now on, Ginger-san?"

    "I am thinking of staying by Zanoba's side."

    "So you mean to go back to being his guard?"

    "Yes, since I have completed my mission."


    The mission of guarding Lilia and Aisha.

    She was loyal in protecting the both of them, for a mission that spanned many years.

    What admirable loyalty.

    Zanoba should reward this lady more.

    A blessing and duty.


    "Zanoba, shouldn't you give her some kind of reward?"

    "No, Rudeus-dono, I am..."

    "Hmm. You're right. Ginger, is there anything that you want?"


    Zanoba asked that question.

    Ginger stared in puzzlement.

    Surely, she had not received anything from Zanoba up till now.

    She thought for a moment, then knelt on one knee with her head bowed down.

    Then, she spoke.


    "In that case, please allow me to educate Julie. While she is the disciple of Sir Rudeus, to have her work for Zanoba may be slightly rude."

    "Very well, I give you permission."

    "Yes! Thank you very much!"


    Permission to teach, huh.

    Different from what I expected.

    In the end, it's all for Zanoba's sake, no?


    No, it may be that slaves were not meant to receive higher-quality education.

    Humans ate the fruit of wisdom and were chased out from the Garden of Eden.

    Before obtaining wisdom, human beings were happy-go-lucky and did not have any doubts.

    To a ruler, it's good that people under them remained stupid.

    That's why slaves don't receive education.

    The risk of rebellion would increase.

    Although in exchange, their productivity also increases.


    Well, it's fine.

    It would be troubling if she were to demand a plot of land.

    I don't hate a loyal relationship where one doesn't ask for much.


    "Now, let's talk about the research. How's it going?"

    "I'm thinking of starting on the feet next."


    "I was just thinking that as well, but wouldn't it be better to research the inscriptions on the arms thoroughly before starting the feet? Once you break it apart, you can't put it back together."

    "Yeah, you're right."

    "If we show this to Cliff-senpai or Nanahoshi, they might know something."


    Zanoba and I started to disassemble the second arm.

    Suddenly, Ginger was standing next to me.

    Looking at her, she showed an expression of wanting to say something.


    "What is it?"


    "Rudeus-dono... Um, even if Zanoba may be comfortable, he's still Shirone royalty. No matter what kind of master-servant relationship you guys have, isn't it impolite to ask in that manner?"

    "Hmm?"


    Impolite.

    Come to think of it, I've been speaking to Zanoba in a casual manner today.

    Normally, I think of speaking using honorifics.

    But after speaking with Aisha a few days back, I might have relaxed my awareness a bit.


    As a retainer, to hear such impolite words directed at her master, she would probably feel irritated.

    It can't be helped, guess I'll use honorifics when I am in front of Ginger.


    "You're right, I apologize. I've been careless and spoiled by Zanoba's goodwill..."


    When I said that.

    Zanoba moved.


    "GINGERRRRR!"


    Zanoba grabbed Ginger's neck.

    She was lifted up and pushed against the wall.

    It made a loud thudding noise.

    Julie was surprised and stopped moving her hands.

    "You bastard! Even though Shisho has opened his heart towards me! What are you saying?! Apologize! Apologize to Shisho right now!"

    "Guh... uughh...!"

    Ginger was in pain.

    ...Hey.

    Hey, she's seriously being choked.

    This is overdoing it!


    "Zanoba! Zanoba! Let her go!"


    When I shouted, Zanoba released his hands.

    Ginger's neck showed Zanoba's grip marks very clearly.

    She tried grasping at her neck, and her pale face grimaced at the pain.

    She couldn't lift her hands. It seems when she was pushed up against the wall her shoulder bones had broken.


    I immediately chanted healing magic and healed her wounds.

    Ginger knelt in front of me and bowed her head.


    "Cough... Cough... Rudeus-dono, I apologize."

    She apologized to me.

    Even more so, after being strangled...


    "..."

    I couldn't endure this feeling.

    You're apologizing to me, isn't this wrong?

    Ginger shouldn't be blamed for this.

    I turned to Zanoba.


    "Zanoba! Are you an idiot?!"

    "Huh...? B-but Shisho, she selfishly said those things without any regard to our relationship..."

    "Even so, just words would have sufficed!"

    Ginger had served for a long time.

    She had protected my family for four years in foreign lands.

    She came all the way back here despite suffering hardships during those years.

    However, with just one word of impoliteness, her throat was crushed, and her shoulders were broken.

    This was too cruel.


    I treasure the fact that he and I get along.

    It even makes me very happy.

    However, he shouldn't make light of a woman who has remained faithful all this time.


    "No, Rudeus-dono, it's fine. Although I had not seen him for a while, Zanoba has grown up splendidly. I am not upset at all."

    Ginger said that with a straight face.

    ...Huh?

    Was I wrong?

    I had thought she should have been rewarded more.

    Was I thoughtless in saying that?


    "...Zanoba."

    "Yes, Shisho."

    "I think that you're a great friend."

    When I said that, Zanoba's face lit up.


    "However, Ginger has protected my family. Ever since we had parted, for the past four years, she has always looked over them. She's someone I am indebted to. Please don't make light of that."

    "I understand Shisho. Ginger, I apologize."

    Zanoba made a meek face and nodded.

    However, Ginger spoke.


    "No, Sir Zanoba. Those words are unnecessary. As I've sworn allegiance to you with my entire being, I will not be discontent even if I were to die. I apologize for my impertinence."

    With Ginger's formal attitude, I can no longer say anything.

    So this is another form of a master-servant relationship.

    If Zanoba was wrong, should I give advice properly?

    No, it's fine.

    It's not something I should be worried about.

    As I don't know the common sense of Shirone's hierarchy, I would just be making a mess of things if I were to cut into this.


    Putting aside Ginger and Zanoba's relationship, the research on the autonomous doll was going well.


    "Now, although I said to focus on the arms, you can proceed at your own discretion."

    "No, let's go with Shisho's plan. Rather than breaking it apart and reassembling it, it would be safer to recreate the same arm."


    Thus, it was decided that we analyse the arm.

    I should get Cliff and Nanahoshi to help out as well.

    Otherwise, Zanoba would probably proceed by himself.

    Although I wanted to meddle around a bit, it seems like he can handle it himself, so there's no need.


    "Please leave it to me. It seems that I am becoming quite talented at this."

    "Oh, is that so?"

    "Yes, even though I surprised myself, recently, I've been enlightened every day."


    Doing his favorite research all day long.

    Next to him is a doll making specialist.

    So to him, it must be his ideal everyday life.


    However, what will happen after he graduates?

    Will he be settling down here?

    Well, that's not for me to decide.

    Even if one of Zanoba's reasons to do so was me.


    "Well, keep it up, I'll come by again."

    "I'll be waiting for you."

    "Please treat Ginger gently."

    "Of course."

    With that exchange, I left the laboratory.

    ---

    Thus, the research on the doll continued.





    That being said, a month has passed by.

    Today at Ronoa Magic University the Delinquent Group held a meeting.

    ...In other words.

    It's the Special Student Homeroom session.


    ---


    Currently, I am worried.

    About my sister Norn.



    Even since she started living in the dorms, our relationship hasn't gotten any better.

    On the contrary, when we see each other in the hallway, she ignores me.

    At times she seems to gaze at me frankly with scornful eyes.

    Well, that might just be my persecution complex taking over...

    In any case, we aren't getting along.



    Well, that's fine.

    It's fine.

    Even though I'm a bit lonely, it's fine.



    It's not like we absolutely have to get along as siblings.

    Even if we don't normally get along, I'll protect Norn if anything happens.

    Even if something happens I can't become an over-demanding parent.



    Yeah.

    Being in position of the leader of misfits sure is convenient.

    Aside from bullying homeroom teachers, I can do anything.

    And since I know Jinas, I can consult with him.

    That is to say I can consult with them about many things.

    I should probably send some gifts to Jinas this time.



    However, over the span of this month, Norn has not made a single friend.

    Even though I see her in the hallways, she's alone most of the time.

    Even though she doesn't seem lonely, seeing that makes me worried.



    Well, I'll think of something even if she doesn't make any friends.

    But, is she doing ok in class?

    Is she ok living in the dorms?

    I am really worried.



    Having said that, it would be wrong for me to get too involved.

    Speaking of first years that I know, it would be that first-year representative delinquent.

    If I use her to forcibly help Norn out, she would definitely find out and hate me.

    Besides, what's that first-year rep's name again?

    All I remember was that she looks like a Siberian Husky puppy.



    "Boss seems to be down lately nya."

    "Yeah nano."


    While I was worrying, Rinia and Pursena peeked at me with their heads.

    The noisy bunch, the two of them.


    These girls are the idols to the males of the Beast Race.

    Ever since I went and reconciled with Princess Ariel, they've been surrounded by underlings frequently in the hallways.[62]

    They definitely don't have to worry about a lack of friends.


    "Since you're like this, boss, we've prepared a present for you nya."

    "It took us a month to prepare it nano."


    Saying that, Rinia placed a bag on top of the desk.

    It was pretty big.

    I wonder what's inside?



    "Oh, don't look inside until you get home nya."

    "Open it when nobody's looking nano."



    Hey, that's suspicious.

    What is it?

    Is it that? That powder?

    Happy Turn Powder? [63]



    In the northern lands to the east, in one part of the Demon Continent, there was a powder circulating in the markets that brings you happiness.

    In this country, there are no laws specifically forbidding drugs.

    As far as I know, Milis and Asura have laws regarding that, but there are none in this region.


    Of course, I won't go out of my way to get powder.

    If it's poisonous or if it makes me go into withdrawal, my intermediate detoxification magic won't work.

    I heard that Saint level detoxification can suppress those withdrawal symptoms, though.


    In the beginning, it's not like I really need to rely on powder.



    However, I might need to use for something.

    I'll keep it for now.

    If I run into financial troubles, it'll sell pretty well.


    "Thank you very much."

    "It's nothing at all nya."

    "Boss is having trouble down there as well nano."


    Ah.

    That's right.

    Speaking of which, these two live in the dorms.

    Living in the dorms for six years, they should know various things.

    I should consult with them a bit.


    "Actually, I am worried about my little sister."

    "Little sister? Ah, we met her the other time nya. The girl that's dressed like a maid."

    "She was at the marketplace. We knew by her smell. She smelled like the boss."


    It seems like the two of them had met with Aisha in the city.

    The maid sister frequently sleeps together with me, which would explain why they could smell my presence on her.


    "It's not her, it's my other sister who started living in the dorms last month."

    "Eh? There was another nya?"

    "She's living in the dorms nano?"


    The two of them exchanged glances.

    They haven't been introduced to Norn, but it seems they wouldn't have realized it even if they had met.

    Since she hasn't been around me, they probably couldn't smell my presence from her.


    "Yes, but she seems to hate me, and recently hasn't been talking. What can I do to get along with her?"

    "Eh, ummm... let's see nya. It's a difficult problem nya."

    "As long as we advertise Boss's good points it'll be fine nano."


    Manipulation of information.

    If people speak of Rudeus in the school as a popular super hero,

    then would Norn want to speak with me?

    Even if Rinia and Pursena did this, there are already stories of [Rudeus the leader of misfits] floating around.

    I want to have a more child-friendly story where I rescue a puppy or something.

    Maybe a story like when I first met Julie would be good.


    "Ah, that's right. My sister doesn't seem to have any friends. Even though it has only been a month, and I know I shouldn't be anxious. However, as a transfer student, I am worried that she isn't adapting to the class."

    "I, I see nya. But you don't know for sure nya."

    "It might just be that she doesn't have a chance to talk nano."


    Ever since we started talking, Rinia and Pursena are acting strange.

    As if they were flustered about something.

    When these two are stammering like this, it means they're hiding something.


    "...Don't tell me you guys laid a hand on my sister when I wasn't looking."

    "Th, that's not it at all nya!"

    "That's right! Totally unthinkable! Boss's advice to 'Never bully the weak', we take it to heart!"


    I see.

    Then, why are they flustering?

    Something's strange.

    But, since I've told them now, if Norn happens to get bullied, these two will protect her.


    "B, boss's sister, how old is she nya?"

    "Is she older than the maid nano? Or younger?"


    They asked something weird.

    Although she's older, she's only older by a couple of hours.


    "She's of the same age, she's ten."

    "I, I see nya!"

    "Then we're alright, we didn't do anything wrong nano."


    It seems they felt guilty.

    They probably were acting bossy towards the freshmen.

    Well, if they're just glaring at them, then it shouldn't be a problem.


    Those two were trembling in fear.

    Usually when giving other people presents you would be looking with anticipation.

    I've got a bad feeling about this.

    I feel like I want to open it now.


    "Preparing something like this for me, there's no way I would be angry."


    Even if there's a corpse of a rat inside... Well, I'll be shocked at the very least.

    Then, I saw Cliff sitting next to us.


    "What do you think, Cliff-senpai?"


    I decided to ask him on a whim.


    "...Hmph, you can survive even if you don't have friends!"


    When Cliff says that, it feels kinda heavy.

    I don't want you to worry, you're not alone.

    Elinalise is also with you.

    ...Ah, and me as well.


    But, even if Cliff can't read the atmosphere,

    My heart as a brother wants him to know he has at least one person.

    Lunch break.

    Nanahoshi brought her own lunch to the cafeteria.

    She's realized that eating with people is important.

    Then again, she's very quiet when she eats.


    "What is it...?"

    "No, it's nothing."


    When I looked at her she stared at me.

    Even though she prepared her own food, she hasn't eaten much up to now.

    Although she doesn't seem to mind the taste, she doesn't act like it's delicious.


    "That seems awful."

    "Yeah, even though it's a recipe I made myself, it's the worst."

    "In this world, there aren't any good ingredients compared to Japan."

    "Yeah."

    "Do you have anything you like to eat in this world?"

    "Well, there's the potato chips I ate at your house. Those were delicious."


    Sylphy made those.

    Certainly, it's simple to make and the taste isn't very different.


    "Should I make some again?"

    "...No thanks."


    Alrighty, I'll prepare some the next time you come for a bath.


    However, this past month, Badigadi hasn't shown up.

    I haven't seen him once in the cafeteria.

    I wanted to speak to him about Ruijerd.


    Though, thanks to his absence, Julie's table manners have improved.

    Ginger taught etiquette to Julie.

    When Badigadi was around, this proved difficult.


    But, without Badigadi around, something felt off.

    That laughter was really enjoyable after all.

    I think it was written that laughter brings forth the substance of happiness.


    "Fuhahahahaha!"

    "W, why are you laughing suddenly, did I do something?"

    "Master?"

    "Grandmaster...?"


    Though I suddenly laughed,

    I just felt embarrassment swelling up.

    I just can't do it like Badigadi.


    "What are you laughing about?"


    Luke suddenly appeared.

    He was good-looking as ever, but he didn't have his followers today.

    Sylphy isn't with him either.


    "Since the Demon King isn't here, I tried to laugh like him."

    "I see... Rudeus. Can you please come to the Student Council Room?"


    Luke was putting on a complicated expression.

    Did something happen?


    "Understood."


    I quickly gulped down my food and followed Luke.


    Luke seemed angry.

    His footsteps were violent.


    When we entered the Student Council room, there were two other people waiting.

    Ariel's expression was the same as usual, although her face was a bit pale.

    Sylphy was also looking uneasy.

    In front of them on the desk was something like a small pouch.

    It seems something happened shortly after the new school term started.


    "Thanks for bringing me. Did something happen?"

    "Yes..."


    Ariel nodded.

    It was mixed with her sigh.

    Seems like it's a difficult subject.


    "Recently, the freshmen faces in the women's dorm have been pale lately."

    "Oh."


    Freshmen in the women's dorm.

    It seems this is related to Norn.


    "When I asked them, these students put on a worried expression."


    Perhaps Norn was involved?

    If that's so, I will cooperate as well.

    If I can resolve this problem in a splendid manner,

    then as a brother, I can be someone that she can respect.


    "Today, among the people I questioned in detail, about Rinia and Pursena, um..."


    It seems Rinia and Pursena are related to this as well.

    I told them not to bully the weak though.

    Maybe they were extorting other students?

    Something like cornering female students who had meat or beef jerky.


    "It seems they were coercing freshmen into giving up their panties on the spot."


    Panties?


    "..."


    In an instant, my gaze flew over to my bag.

    No way.

    But, it can't be.


    "And when I got more information, those two seems to be talking in the cafeteria saying [Boss will be happy] and such."

    "..."


    That means, there are panties in this bag.

    Moreover, ones that have not been washed.

    Oh My God.

    Who was the one that wanted this?

    Ah, I hate the me that's slightly happy.


    "Also, I heard the underwear they collected was put into a bag..."


    When Ariel said that, she silently looked at the bag that I was holding.

    Everybody in the room also gazed at the bag.

    They probably connected the information they just heard to this bag.

    They are probably quite certain that it's full of panties.

    My dream of a bag filled with panties has come true.


    "Rudeus-sama, pardon me, but..."

    "This bag is something I had received from Rinia and Pursena this morning. I was told not to look inside it until I was alone at home, but now that you said that, the contents inside this bag is most likely what you've guessed."


    I took the initiative. If I were to say it later it would be bad.


    "I see, then I just want to confirm... did you order them to do this?"

    "No, you're mistaken."


    I answered flat-out.

    Any hesitation in replying is unforgivable.

    I must answer firmly.

    Otherwise there'll be misunderstandings.


    "So you're saying you're not involved in this."

    "Correct."


    In the first place, why would I hatch such a crazy plan like this?

    Especially when my sister is in the dorms.


    Damn it, what excuse can I give?

    A way to clear this misunderstanding...


    "I understand, I'll believe you."


    Ariel sighed lightly as she spoke.


    She believed in me.

    Even though I didn't have any proof.


    "Thank you very much."

    "No, it's just that I thought too that this was strange. Having an intense night with Sylphy yet attacking other girls..."


    Did she overhear about our hot night?

    In that case, even my embarrassing lines from last night too?


    "...Sylphy. Did you talk to the princess? About our lover's talk last night."

    "No, not at all. I didn't say anything! Princess Ariel, what's the meaning of this!?"


    Sylphy was shaking her head in a panic.

    Well, even if they got along well together, one wouldn't talk about the details of her and her husband's night life.

    Though even if she did talk about it, I wouldn't be bothered by it.

    As long as Sylphy wasn't grumbling about being unsatisfied.


    "No, I was just teasing. It's good that your married lifestyle is going well."


    Ariel said that like nothing happened.

    Well, whatever.


    However, why did those two do this...

    Gathering panties, it's not something an ordinary person would come up with.


    No, come to think of it, I remember saying something like that a long time ago.

    About gathering up girls' panties or something...

    I had certainly intended that to be a joke, I didn't think they'd carry it out.

    Yup, it's not my fault.

    I have no part in this.

    Let's leave it at that.


    "Well, I think they did this rashly but acted out of good faith, so I'll go ahead and scold them. Ah, please give these back to the victims, Princess Ariel. By the way, I did not look inside, nor have I touched any of them."


    I said this while giving Ariel the bag.

    Rinia and Pursena had not done this out of malice.

    I must tell them properly.

    That there are other ways of taking them off...

    That if they want me to be happy they should take it off in front of me.

    Wait, that's not it.

    This is wrong.


    "Yes, certainly."


    Ariel nodded when she opened the bag.

    With this the case is settled.


    "However, with only this amount of underwear, aren't you regretting it?"


    Ariel said that.

    While looking over at Sylphy.


    "You're mistaken. I have no interest in underwear and the like."

    "...I see, I apologize."

    "No, it's all good if this clears up any misunderstanding."


    Phew, too close, too close.

    If I brought this back home I would have trouble disposing of it.

    Surely, being at the end of my wits, I would've soaked all the panties in alcohol and burned them.


    "But, I'm glad. I thought that I wasn't able to satisfy you."


    Sylphy said that straightforwardly, making the atmosphere in the room a bit lighter.

    Sylphy immediately realized what she just said, and turned bright red.


    Then, the bell signaling the end of the lunch break rang out.


    "Oh, that's no good. I'll be late for class."

    "I apologize. It was Rinia and Pursena's fault."

    "No, things like these happen sometimes."


    Luke opened the door, urging me that I leave.

    I went along and left the room.

    After that, Ariel and Sylphy followed.

    When Luke was the last to leave, he locked the door.


    "Let's go."


    As I walked out, Ariel was walking next to me.

    Sylphy and Luke followed behind.

    Ah, in this scenario it might have been better if I was in the rear as well.


    "Ah."


    While I was thinking that, Norn appeared when we turned around a corner.

    She was looking around restlessly with an anxious face, then when she saw me, let out a small gasp.


    "Norn, what's wrong? Classes are about to start."

    "..."


    Norn turned her face away with a huff.

    She was facing towards Ariel.


    "Nice to meet you. I am this school's student council president. My name is Ariel."


    Ariel smiled gently, and Norn's face turned red.

    As expected of her charisma.


    "My name is N, Norn Greyrat..."

    "Okay! Norn-san, what's wrong? It's almost time for lessons to start."

    "Ah, um, I didn't know where the third practice room was..."

    "I see..."


    It seems Norn was left behind when they were moving between classes.

    I feel sorry for her.

    That's obviously painful.

    So it seems she's been left out in class after all.


    "Luke, please guide her."

    "Yes. Please come over here."


    Luke gave a gentle push on Norn's back, and escorted her.

    Norn turned red, and seemed to be embarrassed.

    Luke is good looking, after all.

    But Luke's no good. He's a womanizer.


    "..."


    Suddenly, Norn turned around and looked at us.


    Me, Ariel, and Sylphy.

    She looked at each one of us.

    Then, she turned away again with a huff.


    What did I do wrong...

    After school.

    I called Rinia and Pursena behind the school.

    After today's debacle there are things I need to say.


    Back of the school.

    A place that's used as a movie scene for students in their youth.

    Rinia and Pursena came by acting triumphantly.


    "What is it Boss, calling us here nya?"

    "Making a love confession nano? If you're confessing to us you better talk to Fitts-chan, or she'll get mad."



    The two were acting quite boastful, but...



    "About the bag from the other day, I gave it to Princess Ariel this afternoon. I told her to return the stuff inside back to their original owners."



    When I said that, their expressions quickly changed,

    then they started to point fingers at each other.



    "See, I told you it was no good nya!"

    "It's Rinia's fault nano. You said Boss would definitely be happy!"

    "That's because Pursena was so eager nya!"

    "I said to first test it out with your panties nano!"

    "It's unfair if it's only me nya!"

    "That's why I got them from the other students nano!"

    "I had meant for you to take off your own nya!"

    "My breasts are too big so they're no good nano!"



    They were starting up an awful comedy sketch.

    What do you mean I have a small breast fetish?

    I love big breasts too.



    "Shut up!"



    In any case, I shut the both of them up.



    "Haven't I said this many times before? Didn't I say not to bully the weak?"



    The both of them were trembling.



    "W, we didn't bully the weak nya!"

    "T, that's right nano, we properly asked to get them..."



    'Asked', huh.

    When these two are asking, there's no freshmen that could have refused.



    "The disgrace of taking off someone's clothes, surely you guys of the Beast Race should know best..."

    "W, we gave them underwear to replace the ones they wore nya!"

    "Weren't there plenty of freshmen who weren't happy, though?"

    "It must be because the sizes were different nano. We didn't take any underwear from the ones who refused strongly."



    Hmm?

    There seems to be a difference in stories from what I heard from Ariel.



    To be honest, if they had forcibly stripped them, I would have been disgusted.

    I would have made them strip naked in public if that was the case.

    They need to understand the damage they've done after all.



    "I, I told you not to be angry if you weren't satisfied nya."

    "This was an unhappy misunderstanding nano. Please forgive us..."



    The two were cowering.

    However, thinking about it, these two did it for my sake.

    I had been looking unhappy, so they gathered the panties thinking that it would make me happy.

    Though I did not appreciate what they did, the act itself was not evil.



    Well, of course, if I were a victim I'd be disgusted as well.

    However, Rinia and Pursena had done this with good intentions.

    Unlike me in my previous life, they were not attempting to disgrace the others with their actions.

    To use an analogy, they were like children gathering cicada husks.

    It would be overreacting to severely punish them.



    "If I find a child who was really hurt by this, I will have you both prostrate naked before her."

    "I, I understand nya."

    "I'm sorry nano..."



    Well, all that's left is to follow-up with Ariel.

    For my part, I won't get angry at them.

    I wonder if it's because they're my followers?

    It seems like I am also showing signs of favoritism as well.



    "So, why did you think of giving me underwear as a present, anyway?"



    When I asked that, the two stared at me in puzzlement.

    With a face that said [Isn't that obvious?]



    "Boss's religion is the God of Panties, right nya?"[64]

    "You seem to worship them very seriously nano."



    Ahh.

    I see, so it's my fault.

    The cause of this was because I showed them the [Divine Artifact] some time ago.



    "That's different. It's not like I regard panties as something taking the place of God. That particular one was worn by someone who I deify. In other words, it's sacred cloth."



    I love panties.

    But, this and that are different.



    "That's why, I ask that you don't do this again."

    "I understand nya."

    "We'll be careful nano."



    And then, I suddenly added.



    "If you really wanted to give me underwear, it'd be better if you actually took them off in front of me."

    "Eh?"

    "Eh?"



    Crap, my tongue slipped.

    Rinia and Pursena were grinning.



    "So you really did fall in love with us nya"

    "It can't be helped. Boss is a male beast, he can't be calm when we're around nano."



    Tch, shut up.

    That reaction saying that I want panties.

    These guys, maybe they like me...?

    No, that's wrong.

    It's something different.

    It must certainly be something like goodwill.

    Different than Sylphy getting close to me.



    Even though I say that, I don't understand the difference.

    Since I don't understand, I'll just chalk it up as a sign of friendship.



    In any case, we finished talking.

    We moved away from the back of the school.

    Although some gossip as a result of this incident damaged my reputation a bit.

    Well, it's not like it's a big problem.

    I'm the type that doesn't particularly care about rumors.



    When the three of us left, we saw a group lined up outside of the school building.

    It's the freshmen.

    They're probably lined up to retrieve their panties.



    We went around them so they wouldn't notice us..

    Walking past the end of the line was Norn.



    "...!"



    Norn looked at me, then at Rinia and Pursena beside me.

    Then, with an expression like [I don't believe this!], glared at me with all her might as she passed by.



    "What's with that first year, acting so mighty nya."

    "Fakku nano. Let's show her that she needs to respect her elders."

    "I'll say this right now, that was my sister."



    Just when I said that.

    Both their ears drooped.



    "W, well, it's good that she's energetic nya."

    "She's quite cute nano."



    They're so easy to understand.

    I pat both of them on the shoulder.



    "Well, please get along with her, okay?"

    "Of course nya."

    "We won't do anything bad nano."



    However, though I wanted to talk with Norn, how should I go about that?

    Well, even if I can't, I hope there won't be any problems later on.



    ---



    And so, the days passed by without incident.

    I hadn't gotten along any better with Norn.

    But, she kept her promise to show up at home every ten days.



    Although she hates me, she obediently listens to what I say.

    I thought she would be more rebellious, but at least she wasn't opposed to meeting face-to-face.

    Even though she doesn't look like she wants to.



    Hmm...

    If I think about it, apart from when they were too young to remember, I've met them only once.

    It's probably a mistake to think that we could just suddenly get along as brother and sister.

    My relationship with Aisha is rather strange.



    Just because we're family doesn't mean we can get along unconditionally.

    I understand that all too well.

    Rather, it's because we're family that there are things that couldn't be forgiven.

    Like the time when I beat up Paul in front of Norn.

    Me and Paul have reconciled our differences.

    However, from Norn's perspective, that is something that still could not be forgiven.



    ...If.

    If she brings up that matter, I'll apologize.

    I'd apologize and explain what happened honestly, but bringing something up from that long ago is no good.



    Well, there's no need to rush.

    We'll be together for many years.

    Over a year or two, we'll slowly get along.

    As siblings it's not like we need to be attached to each other.

    We'll get along slowly, while being aware of our distance.

    Closing the distance will take time.



    While I was thinking that.

    Norn became a shut-in.



    When I went to school with Sylphy,

    I learned that Norn became a shut-in.


    The ones who told me were Rinia and Pursena.

    They waited at the school's front gate first thing in the morning.

    They told me that ever since yesterday, Norn secluded herself in her own dorm room and wouldn't come out.


    "...I'll go see her!"


    When she heard that, Sylphy quickly headed towards the female dormitory.


    When I heard that, I stopped moving.

    Even though I could've gone with Sylphy.

    The fact that 'Norn became a shut-in' made me lose my wits.


    To me, becoming a shut-in has a heavy meaning.


    "Boss...shouldn't you go nya?"

    "Are you going to leave her alone nano?"


    I was overcome by this turn of events.

    What is there to do? What is there that I could do?

    I don't know.


    During my life, I never came out when I was a shut-in.

    Why?

    Because outside was full of enemies.

    If I went to school, I would be bullied again.


    Yes.

    It must be bullying.

    Even if a shut-in was to go outside, she'll just suffer.

    In that case, I need to get rid of the source.

    Instead of meeting up with Norn, I need to get rid of the reason why Norn became a shut-in.

    I instantly started thinking.


    Reason.

    The first and foremost was that she's being bullied.


    My memories of that time were clear as day.

    The cafeteria at high school.

    Waiting in line for 5 minutes and then, when I thought it was finally my turn, some scary looking delinquents cut in front of me.

    I told them off with my stupid sense of justice.

    The delinquents acted dumb, saying [Huh? Like I care.]

    Then I raised my voice, so that other people around could hear me, as I spread word of what they did.

    People then started looking our way.

    I became proud that my sense of justice was asserted.


    Then, I got beaten to a pulp.

    I was beaten to the point where I couldn't stand up again.

    After that incident everyday life was hell.


    If Norn is experiencing that same kind of hell, I wish to rescue her from there.

    I'll beat those misfits down and give her a place to belong.


    I'll fight those who would protect the delinquents.

    I don't care if they are nobles or royalty.

    I'll fight them with all my strength.

    I'll make them regret making me fight seriously.


    Even if Norn's actions or words started it.

    In this world there are those who do good and those who do bad.


    Norn is my sister.

    Even though she hates me, even though she hates Aisha, and even though she can't stomach our present situation...

    She's my sister.


    An elder brother is someone that must protect his younger brothers and sisters.

    An elder brother must not abandon them.

    I took along Rinia and Pursena, and headed towards the freshman classrooms.

    Though it would have sufficed to go alone, I do not have any confidence in my own appearance.

    If I am with Rinia and Pursena, no one will make light of me.


    "Boss..."

    "Rinia, stop, he's really angry, it's scary."


    The two had some doubts towards my course of action.

    It's not like I don't know.

    Even I am aware these actions are unbecoming of me.

    It's not like I don't understand the feelings of concern from those around me.


    But, right now, I am an overprotective parent.

    I will throw away my shame.


    In the first-year classrooms, I arrived at the room that Norn attends.

    It seems homeroom has already begun.


    "Excuse me."


    I opened the door, and boldly went inside.


    "Ru, Rudeus... We're in the middle of class."

    "I wish to borrow a bit of your time. Is that fine?"

    "But..."

    "I said, is that fine?"


    I brushed aside the teacher, and stood in front of the podium.

    I surveyed the classroom.

    Everybody had puzzled expressions.

    Surely among them were those that bullied Norn.

    Did they punch her, did they kick her?

    They might also have verbally abused her.

    I came here to tear the person who hurt Norn limb from limb.


    "Everybody, you may know this already, but there was a person who didn't attend yesterday's class."

    "..."

    "Everybody, whether or not you are aware of it, she is my sister."


    The classroom was murmuring.


    "While I have not heard the circumstances from her, there are not many reasons for her to skip school. Like a reason where she doesn't want to come to school. A person here has given her such a reason. That's what I believe."


    I looked around the classroom as I said that.

    Upon meeting my eyes, many of them turned away.

    Even though we're wearing the same uniforms, I'm rather intimidating.

    Suspicious. It must be her.

    She's the first suspect.

    Though I can't remember her name.

    Could it be...?

    No, it's still too early to tell.


    "To those responsible, I am not asking for much. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding. Or perhaps my sister was in the wrong."


    I kept a watchful eye on the classroom.

    Who was it, who was it that did something so cruel?

    Is it her? That noble that looks like bonbon?

    Or is it her? That Magic Race fellow with an evil face?

    No, those normal looking groups of girls are suspicious.

    Those who bully look like normal children at a glance after all.


    "If possible, please name yourself. I will not be angry. I only want to know why my sister was hurt, and for you to apologize."


    Once they name themselves, I'll tear them apart.

    There are a few the same age as Norn here.

    However most of the class is older.

    Some of them are over 15.

    Did they pretend they didn't see anything? Or did they participate in the bullying?

    Against a ten year old child?


    "..."


    Nobody said anything.

    They were taken aback in astonishment and just looked at me.


    "Uh, um..."


    A girl nervously raised her hand.

    I reflexively wanted to hit her with a rock bullet, but I restrained myself.

    It was a very timid looking girl.

    She seems to be about 13. A raccoon-type from the Beast Race.

    She had a short bob[65], looked somewhat slow-headed, and chubby.

    In fact, she seems like a person that would be bullied.


    "D, during that time, I talked with Norn-chan..."

    "Did you say something bad by mistake?"


    If it was just a quarrel, then it can't be helped.


    "N, no, um, I, I know about Rudeus-san. But, Norn-chan is a normal girl. That's why, when I said she's totally different from her brother, she got really angry..."


    Angry?

    When Norn was told she was different from me?

    What's up with this?


    "Ah."


    Suddenly, the teacher next to me spoke up.

    I looked at her.

    She was a middle-aged teacher.

    Don't tell me, did she say something?

    Bullying does not only occur between children.

    It's possible that the teacher may have been leading it.


    "Do you remember anything, teacher?"

    "The other day, Norn-san turned in some homework..."

    "You gave out a lot of homework, and since she wasn't able to finish it in time you made her stand in the staff room naked?"

    "N, no way! Just that, her grades were somewhat bad, so I told her to be more diligent like her brother."

    "..."

    "Then, with a face that's about to cry, she said [I'll do my best.]"


    Huh?

    She wanted to cry?


    "Come to think of it. I too..."


    After the teacher finished, other people in the classroom also spoke up.

    We left the classroom and went to the cafeteria.

    Since classes are in session the cafeteria is deserted.

    I sat somewhere and buried my face on the table.


    I was slightly overwhelmed.


    It was all my fault.

    Norn was being compared to me and wanted to cry.


    The students in that classroom realized that Norn and I were brother and sister.

    Of course.

    Unlike Aisha, Norn and I come from the same father and mother.

    Our faces are quite similar.


    And Norn hates being associated with me.

    Of course she would also hate being compared to me while my name was being praised.


    Ah, of course, they were not in the wrong.

    At the very least, it wasn't like they were making comparisons with ill intent.

    There were those who were close enough to her to say those things.

    That she was different from that infamous leader of misfits.


    However, I am a celebrity in this school.

    And, being famous, it was easy for people to make comparisons.


    However, for Norn, that comparison was painful.

    Even at their previous school, she was always being compared to Aisha.

    She must have built up a lot of stress from constantly being compared to her sister.


    Entering a new school, living in the dorms.

    She was finally able to separate from Aisha.


    Or so she thought, but now she's being compared to me.

    No matter where she goes, she sees herself as the inferior sibling.

    It must be painful for her.


    Not to mention that incident with the panties.

    None of the freshman involved in that incident were scarred by it.

    Thanks to Ariel's follow up it merely became a funny story.

    Although there were originally rumors that they were coerced into stripping, it was actually a cheerful spectacle of Rinia trading them new panties.

    That was what Ariel reported to those watching from the sidelines who thought there was extortion going on.

    I left the follow up to Ariel.

    She had the ability to do so.


    Even so, Norn must have received an indescribable shock.

    That such a pervert was above her.


    "Haa..."


    What am I even doing?

    Getting ahead of myself, going to the classroom.

    Saying all those things.

    What kind of overprotective parent am I?

    Wasn't I just a big idiot?


    "Thank you, both of you. It seems I am an idiot."


    For now, I thanked them.

    They were following an idiot.

    I had made them do such useless things.


    "You're not an idiot for acting on your sister's behalf nya."

    "But that was surprising. I've got a better opinion of you now nano."


    I made a cup, and poured water into it.

    Then drank.

    There was no taste.

    But it managed to help me relax a bit.


    "Hey, Boss. What will you do now nya?"

    "There's nothing I can do. It's my fault that she became a shut-in."


    She shut herself in.

    Yes, she's confined herself.

    Although it's only been one day.

    She has shut herself in.


    "We must make her attend class by force nano."

    "That's right nya."

    "If she doesn't come out she'll become a moron nano."

    "Right nya, Right nya."

    "She'll become a moron like Rinia."

    "It's as Pursena says nya...What!?"


    I have no time for this comedy duo.


    I understand the difficulties of a shut-in.

    It's not like anybody likes to decide that they don't want to leave their room.

    To not come out, there's a reason that makes them not come out.

    Even if you forced them to come out, nothing will be resolved.

    It'll just make the situation worse.


    Even so, remaining as a shut-in is no good.

    She'll definitely regret it.

    After a month or two she'll realize that time has been permanently lost.

    Since I'm the one saying this, I can't be wrong.


    But even if I explained it, she won't understand.

    The regret that you can't return is something you can only see in hindsight.

    If she becomes a shut in for one year, or ten years, no regrets will form.

    And then, when she does begin to regret, it will be too late.


    That's why parents are always making their children do their best.

    Because they will more or less regret it.


    "As siblings, as one with the lowest ability, what can she do when other people say things like that?"


    When I asked Rinia and Pursena, they just shrugged.


    "...I'm not an idiot so I don't understand nya."

    "We do reasonably well nano."


    Come to think of it, these guys were idiots and not leadership material, so they were sent here.

    The patriarch probably told them to study and be suitable leaders.


    Though they are idiots, if they're that optimistic then it's not a problem, I guess.

    However, Norn is very naïve.

    I'll be troubled to lump her together with them.


    "Ah, but, there's one other thing nya."


    Rinia proudly boasted that name.


    "Aunt Ghyslaine was a violent person that couldn't do anything well, but when she began swordsmenship she became a Sword King nya."

    "Ah...I see."


    Ghyslaine was a bit of an exception.

    However, it was probably an unexpected talent that she had.


    To begin with there's no need for her and Aisha to do the same thing.

    If you don't want to be compared, just do things that can't be compared.

    Though I can't think of anything for her to do.

    However, the world is big.

    Be it magic, or swordsmanship, one can discover anything.


    Or perhaps she can find a passion for something despite having no talent.

    Like Zanoba.

    Even though Zanoba has no talent in making dolls, he happily appreciates them each day.

    Creating dolls, viewing them, loving them, and even collecting them.

    That is enough for him to live happily.

    Living happily like that is fine.


    However if I said that, she wouldn't accept it.

    If it was me, I wouldn't accept it.


    "Be as it may, what can I say?"

    "There's no need to think about it so hard nya. Just say it straight out nya."

    "That's right. Tell her to come right out and take classes."


    You guys can say it so easily.

    But, if that's the case...

    Is it because I'm overthinking this?

    Norn is only ten years old.

    She might just be throwing a tantrum.


    In the first place, even though she's still shut-in, it's only been a day, and this is only day two.

    If it's only to that extent, rather than being a shut-in, isn't she merely secluding herself?

    Anybody would seclude themselves when they feel down.


    It's not about talking.

    It's not about taking action.

    Thinking about it, isn't this just running away?


    As a brother I should support her and make her life as comfortable as possible.

    If this is what she wants to do, then isn't it alright?

    Isn't it alright to have some gloomy thoughts?


    But Norn isn't old enough to be considered a middle schooler or high schooler, she's still an elementary third grader.


    "Alright, let's meet with her."


    Before I realized, I had already decided.


    "Then that's good nya."

    "A quick slap to the face is good nano."


    Though I said to meet, will she listen to what I say?

    I was the cause.

    I can't think of anything to say.

    No, I won't think of it right now, but I should say something when I meet her.


    "How can I meet with her?"


    Norn was in the female dorms.

    Even if I ask at the front of the dorms, I will probably won't be allowed to go in.


    "We'll just enter by force nya."

    "We'll sneak in nano. Let us guide you."


    Rinia and Pursena thumped their big chests.

    Infiltrating.

    Though, it wasn't all that difficult.

    I have a lot of allies on my side.

    Sylphy and Princess Ariel were here too.


    When I told Ariel about the situation she willingly became an ally.

    Even so, aside from Goriade, the girls' dormitory vigilante patrols were not sympathetic to my cause, so we had snuck in.


    The spies were Rinia, Pursena, and Sylphy.


    Sylphy was downtrodden.


    "Sorry, even though I told you to leave it to me with Norn-chan in the dorms...I hadn't asked her anything..."

    "No, it's not your fault Sylphy, I am the one to blame."


    I explained to Sylphy what happened.

    That it was my fault that Norn became a shut in.

    Sylphy had a dark face, and shook her head.


    "It's not Rudi's fault."

    "But, I..."


    I had...

    No, I hadn't done anything.

    What I should do, I don't know.

    But, I must do something.

    Night time.

    I headed over to the girls' dorm during dinnertime.

    Currently, a majority of the female students are at the cafeteria.

    Ariel is making a speech there.

    In order to hear her, people have gathered there to listen.

    However, it wasn't everybody.

    The cafeteria can't hold that many people after all.


    Even so, as a plan to draw out the vigilante patrols as much as possible, it was successful.

    I moved as close as I can to the entry point that we established.

    The window frame is decorated with one flower.

    I moved towards that window, then threw a small pebble from below.

    When the pebble hit the window frame, the window quickly opened.

    I used my Earth Magic <Earth Spear>, lifted myself with it, and quickly went in.

    At the same time, I released the earth spear, and it returned to the ground.


    The moment I entered the room my nose was filled with the smell of an animal.

    Though it smells, it's not a smell that I am revolted by.

    That is to say, it's the smell of beast girl going through puberty.

    As living beings, it's a smell that males are tolerant with.


    "Good work."

    "Welcome nya."


    Rinia welcomed me.

    Her eyes were glittering in the darkness.

    Those were cat eyes.


    I surveyed my surroundings.

    Fundamentally, it's the same as any other room.

    A double-bunk bed, a desk and chair, a closet.

    Although it was dark, I can see things are scattered around.


    "Please don't stare at me like that nya, it's embarassing."

    "Pardon me."


    In the darkness, I fumbled around for the exit.

    My hand felt something.

    The material felt quite soft.


    "Ah, that's Pursena's bra."

    "..."


    Pursena wears this size?

    It's big.


    "Hmm, it's ok if you bring that along, you know?"

    "No it isn't."


    I threw Pursena's brassiere away.

    Normally I would take this chance to sniff it, but I don't have time for that right now.


    Rinia knocked on her door from the inside.

    A knock was returned.


    "It's okay now."


    At the same time she said that, she opened the door and I dove into the cart that was prepared for me.

    It was a cart used to carry laundry.

    I slipped into the sheets covering it.


    I understood from the smell.

    These are sheets that Sylphy uses.

    In order to hide me completely, it was packed with blankets, shirts, and underwear.

    All of them belonged to Sylphy.


    However, for some mysterious reason, I wasn't excited at all.

    It's about Norn right now.

    Currently, Norn must be feeling quite bitter.

    Being a shut in, secluding herself, being alone.

    I must save her.

    As her elder brother I must save her.


    "Alright, let's go nya."


    The cart began to move.

    In the meantime, I thought about Norn.

    It's fine if it's just a child's temper tantrum.

    However, if it was something far more deeply rooted...


    I wonder if I can do anything.

    At the least, before my brothers drove me out, I never left the house.

    Now, in a position of an elder brother or parent, I could not think of a way to make her come out.


    "We've arrived nya."


    Before I could collect my thoughts,

    the cart already arrived at its destination.


    It's Norn's room.

    I went inside.


    It's dark.

    The lights weren't on.

    I lit up a candle that was in the corner of the room.


    The light dimly illuminated the place, and I saw a girl sitting on the bed hugging her legs.

    Within the darkness, a pair of eyes were seen.

    Norn just sat there, and stared at me.


    "..."

    I walked cautiously, and sat on a chair.


    In times like this, what should I say?

    What can I say that would make her listen?

    I do not know.


    The things I thought I wanted to say were all blown away.


    The only thing I remember was that she'll hate it if I said those words.

    It was not something that I could easily say.


    At the very least, it's forbidden to talk without first listening to her.

    <Go to school.>

    <Who do you think is paying for you?>

    <Don't cause trouble for others.>

    Those words would have an opposite effect.


    Like Rinia and Pursena said, it might be good to hit her once.

    Norn is still ten, and she might even listen to me.

    However, that won't solve anything.

    Perhaps, in the near future, something like this will happen again.

    And at that time Norn will become even more stubborn.


    In the first place, the cause of her becoming a shut-in was me.

    What kind of face should I make when saying that?

    Should I hit my arrogant face when I say that?


    Then, should I apologize first after all?

    But if I apologize, would that solve anything?

    Rumors of me won't go away, and Norn will still be compared to me.


    "Norn."

    "Nii-san."


    Our voices were strained.

    I wanted to listen to Norn's words, and kept my mouth shut and stayed silent.

    Norn too, also kept her mouth shut.

    It felt like a once in a lifetime chance went away.


    I decided to speak up first.


    "Norn. I'm sorry. It's been painful ever since you came here, right?"


    Norn didn't say anything.


    "Even though you just entered into a new school, but because of me, all of this happened. I don't know what to say..."


    Norn didn't say anything.


    "I, didn't know what you were going through..."


    Norn didn't say anything.


    I didn't know what else to say.

    Even though I was thinking of various things to say before I came here.

    In the first place, I didn't know a single thing about Norn.

    Being distant, being unfeeling, I did not even try to learn about her.


    "...Even though things became like this, I don't know what to do."


    Norn kept silent.

    I don't know what she was thinking.

    Nor do I know whether or not she was listening to me.


    So it's no good after all?

    Should I leave her as is until Paul returns?


    Yes.

    That's right.

    I should withdraw for now and consult with various people.

    If I ask Nanahoshi for her opinion, since she's similar to Norn, I might learn something.

    If it's Elinalise, then she might be able to draw Norn out.

    It's not like I have to take it upon myself to solve this.


    "...Ah."


    Suddenly, I remembered my past.

    When I was a shut-in, I remembered when my older brother came to my room.

    During that time, he faced me and made logical arguments that hit close to home.

    I had spit on that from the depths of my heart.


    Even so my older brother stayed with me for a while.

    Looking at me, with his eyes that wanted to convey something.

    Thinking that he didn't understand my feelings I rejected him to the very end.


    ...So this is how my elder brother felt.


    Me, who didn't react to anything, and my elder brother who was silent.

    I don't know how many hours my brother was there until he left.

    From then on my elder brother never contacted me again.

    After that, I didn't know what my elder brother thought.


    However even though he no longer came, many others did.

    Perhaps that was his way of trying to help me out.

    In the end, I didn't even lend an ear to what the others have said.


    ...Perhaps.

    If I leave here, I won't be able to come back.

    Norn will also remain a shut-in.

    I must not leave here.


    Within this dimly lit room, I continued to wait for her.




    --Norn's POV--



    I wonder when I started to become afraid of my brother.

    At the very least, it wasn't like that at the beginning.



    When I first met him, brother was hitting my father.

    I loved my father.

    Although he was useless in many aspects, I knew that he loved me with all of his heart.

    Even if it wasn't like that, as a five year old child, he was a father that I loved without a doubt.



    My brother punched that kind of father.



    Appearing all of a sudden, and then punching my father.

    I didn't understand the conversation at that time.

    Even though I now understand that my brother had a lot of hardships before he finally met with father,

    I also knew father made a fool of him and got into a fight with him.




    These things were unrelated to me at that time.

    My brother hit my father.

    When I saw him on top of father pummeling him,

    I thought that my father would be killed.



    Then, I came to a conclusion. The one and only truth for me at that time.

    This person, I could not recognize him as family.



    It wasn't from fear.

    It was from hatred.




    The feelings of hatred continued long after.

    Because everybody was praising my brother.

    Naturally from father, and then from my little sister and the maid that I met after as well.

    The more they praised my brother, the bigger that stubborn part in me grew.



    Like my brother, I hated my little sister.

    At the school that we went to, she was my rival in everything.

    Be it studying or physical exercises.

    And then, excelling in everything, she looked down on me.

    I had thought that we will never get along.



    I was tormented by my inferiority complex.

    The one who didn't approve of this was my grandmother.

    At the same time that she was despising my non-blood-related little sister, she held excessive expectations for me.

    No, perhaps it wasn't expectations.

    It was just what my grandmother said.



    "As a lady from the House of Latreia, you must possess talent that won't shame us."



    And then I was forced to study etiquette and detailed ceremonies.

    I wasn't able to do them well, and each time I failed, she got angry.

    Each time, my grandmother would say:



    "If you become enthralled by an adventurer, you will muddy our blood."



    I knew immediately that she was talking about my father and mother.

    My grandmother despised my father who worked with all of his might.

    I then hated my grandmother.



    That's why, when a person calling herself my brother's Shisho came and and revealed my mother's whereabouts, rather than stay with grandmother I decided to follow my father.



    Yes. My father was at a loss.

    He wondered if he should leave me with my grandparents.

    My mother inherited the blood of Milis nobles, and my father descended directly from Asura nobles.

    There were no problems with my lineage.



    My grandparents seemed to have wanted to welcome me into their household.

    But, I hated that.

    That's why I begged father, I clung to him in tears and followed him.



    And yet.

    And yet, my father sent me away to my brother's place.

    He said that it would be dangerous from here on.

    He said that my brother had prepared a base up north, so I should wait for him there.

    He said that once he finds my mother, he will definitely catch up later.



    I cried.

    I said I hated it. I cried that I wanted to be where my mother was.

    I thought that I must not separate from my father no matter what.



    If Ruijerd-san hadn't appeared there, I might have been together with my father.

    And then, I would have gotten sick at the Begaritto Continent, and become an inconvenience for my father.



    Ruijerd-san.

    I remember him quite well.

    The first time I met him, was on the same day I met my brother.

    He gave a helping hand to me who looked like I was about to collapse.

    He patted my head with gentle hands.

    He gave me an apple.



    At that time, I didn't know his name.

    After learning that he was a guard for my brother, I didn't ask for his name.



    Nothing about him changed since that time, he patted my head, and persuaded me gently.



    And thus, it became that I headed towards my brother's place.

    When we began our trip, my little sister was in excessively high spirits.

    She threw off her the mask that she never took off in front of father and her mother, and took on the mask of a leader, then made unreasonable plans one after another.



    She was doing foolish things was what I thought.

    That there's no meaning being this enthusiastic when there were two grown-ups here.

    That's what I had thought.

    But, Ruijerd-san and Ginger-san, obeyed my little sister.



    I thought it was unfair.

    They went along with my little sister's demands, yet they don't go with what I say.



    However, since Ruijerd-san was attentive towards me, I was able to bear it.

    He was always watching over me.



    But, even he was praising my brother.

    Saying that he was an amazing person.

    That he was looking forward to seeing him.

    Even though he rarely smiled, he was saying that while smiling.



    I was sure that my brother that I knew, and my brother that he knows were different.

    That's what I had thought.



    Ahh.

    That being the case, it must've been during this time.

    I started to become afraid of my brother.



    My brother is strong.

    Everybody says that he was a person to be respected.

    However, the brother within my heart, was a brother who hit and beat down my father.



    Perhaps.

    And maybe perhaps.

    Would my brother also hit me as well?

    If I said something that he couldn't stomach, would I get hit?



    I became afraid of meeting him.

    To be living under him for who knows how long made me afraid.

    I was anxious and couldn't sleep, and I woke up in the middle of the night many times.

    Each time, Ruijerd-san would console me.

    He would place me on his lap, then he would tell me stories from the past while looking at the night sky.

    There were many sad stories, but for some reason I was able to relax and sleep peacefully.



    ---

    When we finally met again, my brother was drunk and had a woman beside him.


    That person was a childhood friend of his from Buina Village, and he had married her.

    I did not remember this person at all.

    Though I remember vaguely that there was a person that stuck close to my little sister and her mother.

    I had thought that she wasn't that type of person.

    I thought that she would be something else. I felt that something was different.



    My brother seemed happy.



    When I saw that, my feelings of hatred began to well up within me.

    My father did not lay his hands on any woman.

    He said he was postponing that until he found my mother.

    He never laid hands on my little sister's mother, nor did he lay hands on that woman who was always with him.



    And yet.

    And yet, my brother was a hypocrite.

    I was filled with hatred.

    But, I couldn't say anything.

    Because I was afraid.

    If, I said something, I thought I would get hit.

    If my brother hit me, Ruijerd-san might have gotten angry.



    When Ruijerd-san met my brother he seemed very happy.

    Perhaps, he wouldn't get angry at all.

    Perhaps instead he would get angry at me.

    That he would tell me not to be selfish.

    I couldn't say anything.



    And then, that next day, Ruijerd-san left.

    I thought that he would be with us forever.

    I had thought that I didn't want him to disappear.

    But, he left.



    I became even more afraid.



    In the house, my brother, my little sister, my brother's wife were there.

    My little sister was in high spirits meeting my brother.

    I thought that my brother's wife was a gentle person.

    But, she was not my ally.

    In this house, I had no allies.



    Until my father came back, I had no choice but to live here in fear.

    My little sister was affectionate towards my brother.

    I was certainly not like that.

    My little sister was pampered, and I was told to work harder.



    My little sister said that I wasn't able to do things because I don't put effort into them.

    But things that can't be done, can't be done.

    No matter how well I do, no matter how hard I practised, I was no match for my little sister.

    What was I supposed to do?



    To make sure they wouldn't get angry with me, to make sure I wouldn't be compared to my sister, I lived like I was in hiding.

    I was afraid of being thrown out of the house into the snow.



    At my brother's words, I went to school.

    Different than the school I went to in Milshion, it was a little special.

    Even though we were in the same grade, rather than children close to my age, there were people of all ages studying.

    Honestly, I didn't want to go.

    In the end, I would be compared to my little sister again.



    However, it seemed that my blessed sister had no intentions of going to school.

    To me, that was a bright light of hope.

    If my little sister isn't there, perhaps I could work diligently.

    That's what I had thought.



    My brother faced my little sister, and gave her a condition.

    There was an exam.

    In order to enter school, an exam was necessary.

    I was to take it as well.



    I was in despair.

    Even if I took the exam, I would certainly not get a passing grade.

    When I told him that, my brother said he would sort it out with money.

    Hearing something that insensitive, I accidentally raised my voice.

    My little sister got mad, and we fought.



    "Stop it."



    With my brother's cold voice resonating through the room, my fear of him grew.

    I thought that I would get hit.

    I was scared.

    I was in tears.

    That from now on I had no choice but to always live in fear of him.



    On the day of the exam.

    I heard about the dorms from my brother.

    Students would leave their homes and live independently.

    It seems there were facilities such as this in this school.

    That's what I had thought.



    My little sister would definitely pass the exam.

    Then, she won't go to school.

    If I were to live in the dorms, I would not have to face my brother.

    I would not be compared to anybody, and would be able to live freely.



    When I thought about that, I thought that would be the best outcome.



    A few days later, the examination results came back.

    My brother asked me what I wanted to do.

    I timidly suggested, "I want to try living in the dorms."



    I thought that he might get angry.

    My father had said for me to live with my brother.

    The letter that my brother received should have said the same thing.

    That's why I thought he might get angry and tell me not to be selfish, and hit me.



    But, that my brother had so easily given permission was beyond my imagination.

    The one who got angry was my little sister.

    My little sister shouted that was unfair, that it was favoritism.



    She was always treated more favorably than I was until now,

    And was unable to stomach that only she was asked to try taking the exam.



    But, why did my brother give his permission?

    I don't know.

    I don't understand my brother.

    Thinking about it, aside from the time I got into a fight with my little sister, he didn't get angry even once.



    ...Perhaps, my brother had no interest in my affairs.

    Thinking that it would be a bother to take care of me in the house, he probably threw me out into the dorms.

    Even if I hadn't suggested it, I probably would have ended up in the dorms regardless.



    When I thought that, for some reason I felt sad.

    Even though this outcome was convenient for me.



    ---


    Everything felt fresh living at the dormitory.

    First, my roommate was fresh.

    Melissa-sempai was from the Magic Race.



    My grandmother said that the Magic Race were evil.

    I was taught that the Magic Race were existences that should be rejected, and an evil that must be destroyed.

    If I had not met Ruijerd-san, I would definitely have thought so up to now.

    That's why, when I met Melissa-sempai, I understood that I should have a courteous attitude towards her.



    To me who was able to greet her properly, Melissa-sempai welcomed me.

    She warmly received me, who had entered in the middle of the term, and helped me with many things.

    Things like how to eat our meals, how to use the restrooms, what the dorm rules were.

    Everything was taught by Melissa-sempai.

    The Senpai from the vigilante corps said that everybody living in the dorm was family and that we should all get along.

    She was a person from a scary looking race, but had a strong sense of responsibility.



    My heart leapt in joy at this lifestyle I will have from now on.

    While it's a pain to have to show my face at my brother's house every ten days,

    My brother wasn't going to ask in detail about my school life, so I felt relieved.



    My life at the dorm began.



    First, the classes were difficult.

    I think it was because the way of teaching was different than the school in Milis.

    While it may have been different if I learnt things from the beginning, since I came in the middle, there were many things that I didn't understand.



    Although there were religious classes in Milis, Ranoa had none, and instead it had magic classes.

    Since this class also wasn't from the beginning, I was not very good at it.



    If my grades were bad, I would perhaps be forced to move back into the house.

    Thinking that, I studied even harder to stay in the dorms.

    For parts that I was at a loss with and couldn't understand, Melissa-senpai kindly taught me.



    Then for the first time I began to understand the parts of the classes that I had missed.

    Surely my little sister would have understood immediately.

    I was fed up with my lack of power of comprehension.



    The school grounds were big as well, and I got lost many times.

    Especially for physical and magical classes that the Milis schools don't have, I was perplexed as to where the classrooms were.

    Each time a person from class would come search for me, or a senpai or teacher I don't know will assist me.

    I also saw my brother once.

    At that time, being seen with my brother who was the greatest person at the school, I felt ashamed.



    My brother was feared in the school.

    It seemed he would take along six of his henchmen and do whatever he liked.

    Among them were two people that acted pridefully in the dorms.

    Even Melissa-senpai warned me that I was better off not to defy them.



    It seems that my brother used those two to gather panties from cute girls.

    Does my brother's wife know about this?

    She may not know.

    Although I don't know what he planned on doing with those panties he gathered, even though my father was suffering at this time, my brother was playing around like this.

    I was filled with hatred.

    I disdained him.



    However, even though he does these things, despite my expectations, my brother's reputation was good.



    He isn't violent towards regular students, and even though he did what he liked, it seems he did not make anybody unhappy.

    On the contrary, it seems he told the school's delinquents not to bully the weak.

    The scary child in my class was talking proudly about my brother.



    He was better at magic than anybody, and his teaching methods were great.

    And it seems that he taught someone much smaller than me as well.



    My classmates, Melissa-senpai, even my teacher.

    They all said to become like my brother.

    That I should aim to become like him.



    I didn't understand what they were thinking.

    To become like my brother that I feared, hated, and scorned.



    I didn't want to be like him.

    But, more than that, I was frustrated.

    My brother, like my little sister, was above me in everything.

    He was an existence that I could not hope to reach no matter how much effort I put in.



    Even though I hated him.

    Even though I disdained him.



    But,I was an existence that was lower than even him.


    ---

    That day.

    I went back to the dorms, and fell on the bed.



    Various emotions were jumbled up inside me.

    Bitterness. Sadness. Helplessness. Anger.

    My feelings became tears that overflowed.



    After a while, Melissa-senpai came back.

    She kindly asked me, who was crying, what was wrong.

    I rejected her, saying nothing was wrong, and covered myself with my blanket.



    What is it that I should do?

    Is my attitude towards my brother a mistake?



    ...I see.

    Maybe my brother was not a person that I had first imagined him to be.



    That day, the day when my brother hit my father.

    I was very young.

    After that, no matter how many times my father said, "Your brother also had it tough," I was unable to understand.

    But right now, especially right now, I was able to understand a little of how he felt.

    Because, right now, it's painful.

    Being here, doing my best, doing things to my utmost effort.

    Being full of energy, and then being told, [You were just playing around without a care, right?]

    Even I would have become angry.

    Even if it was my father, we would have gotten into a fight.



    But, that being the case.

    What kind of face should I show to my brother?

    What did my brother want me to do?

    How did my brother and my father make up?



    Think.

    Think.



    My stomach was in pain.

    As if the area below my chest was squeezing tightly.

    I became nauseous.



    I passed the time curled in bed.

    I couldn't do anything.

    Just merely facing my brother, I couldn't do it.



    In times like these, it was always my father that came to the rescue.

    Whenever I curled in bed from hateful things, my father would come and gently comfort me.

    When I separated from my father, it was Ruijerd.

    He would place me on his lap, and while patting my head, he would talk about various things.



    Here, I have nobody.

    Melissa-senpai had helped me a lot.

    However, she's not an ally.

    [Let's go see your brother], or [You should show up in class.]

    She was saying those things.



    I understand them.

    But my body refuses to move.


    ---


    I wonder how long it has been since I became troubled.

    Thinking, getting tired, then sleeping.

    While repeating these actions, it felt like many days have passed.



    I sat at the end of the bed.



    When I realized, I saw my brother in front of me.

    He sat on a chair, his elbows on the backrest.

    Then he looked fixedly at me.



    "Norn."

    "Brother."



    For the first time, it felt like I called my brother "Brother".

    [66]



    Many things came into my head.

    This didn't seem like an illusion.

    This is the girl's dormitory.

    Why is he here?



    I was confused.

    My brother was fixing his gaze at me who was confused.

    We looked at each other for a while.



    Like this, it may have been the first time I truly looked at my brother's face.

    It was a face of anxiety.

    It looked a lot like my father.

    A face that gave me a peace of mind.

    Of course, since they're father and son.



    "Norn. I'm sorry. It's been painful ever since you came here, right?"



    My brother opened his mouth quietly.



    "I, didn't know what you were going through. Even though things became like this, I don't know what to do."



    My brother was saying these things with an uneasy face.

    A figure that looked exactly like my father.



    "..."


    And since then, my brother did not move at all.

    He looked at me uneasily.

    But, he never moved from his seat.

    If it was my father, he would hug me without restraint,

    And if it was Ruijerd-san, I would likely be patted on the head.



    However, my brother does not approach me.



    "Ah..."


    For some reason.

    I understood.

    He couldn't approach me.

    He was scared of being rejected by me.



    When I thought that, the feelings inside me mysteriously cleared up.

    The feelings of hatred and fear towards my brother never gushed forth.

    I no longer felt afraid.

    My brother was just like my father.



    My brother, would definitely not hit me.

    And surely, he would never again hit my father.



    "...Uuu..."


    I have to forgive my brother.


    "U...hic..."



    Before I realized, tears were welling up and dropping

    My throat trembled, and I began to cry.



    "I'm sorry, brother...I'm sorry."



    My brother timidly came up and sat next to me.

    Then, gently, he placed his hand on top of my head, then hugged me close.



    My brother's hand was warm, and his chest was big and tough.

    And, he smelled just like my father.



    On that day, I cried in my brother's arms all through the night.



    --- Rudeus's POV ---



    In the end, I couldn't do anything.

    She wouldn't say anything to me.

    What she was unsatisfied about, or what she was troubled by.

    I did not understand her true feelings.



    Norn just kept crying.

    When she finished crying, she just silently said "I'm fine now".

    Her face seemed refreshed contrary to what I imagined.

    She looked into my eyes.

    Deeply and directly.



    When I saw that, I felt relieved somehow.

    I thought that everything will be fine.

    That's why I left Sylphy to take care of the rest, and left the room.


    ---

    The next day, Norn became cheerful again.

    It wasn't a noticeable change.

    When she sees me in the hallway, she'll at least say, [Brother, good morning.]

    She doesn't converse much, nor does she carelessly cling onto me.

    Compared to me, who hasn't changed one bit in this situation, it seems that Norn no longer minded that at all.



    I couldn't understand her.

    I couldn't say anything, and couldn't do anything.



    It was disappointing.

    I had thought that I could understand the feelings of a shut-in or a person that couldn't do anything.

    But when facing the real thing, I became like this.



    Probably,

    And just probably,

    Norn had probably sorted out her own feelings.

    And from sorting her own feelings, she overcame this situation.



    She's an amazing girl.

    Paul and Aisha might have thought that Norn wasn't particularly good at doing anything.

    However, I didn't think that.

    At the very least, in my past life, she did something I wasn't able to do.



    If, in my past life, I was able to sort out my feelings like Norn,

    Would things have changed?

    Would I have been able to avoid that future where my gentle elder brother hit me?



    I don't know.

    I don't know about events in the past.

    It's different than the situation between me and Norn.

    Even if I did sort out my feelings, I don't know if I could have headed outside.

    Reincarnating to a different world, if I hadn't met Roxy, I would surely have remained a shut-in.



    In the first place, I can't go back after all this time.

    The past won't change.

    My soured relationship with that family won't go back to normal.

    My elder brother's intentions will remain lost in the dark.



    ...However, it felt that something that prevented me from speaking clearly has been taken away.



    If, Nanahoshi ever manages to go back to our original world,

    At that time, I wish to send my older brother a message.



    Thank you for worrying about me at the time, and I am very sorry.


    One year has passed.


    The seasons are changing, it's become a warm season.

    It's the second summer since I came to this city.

    It's not hot enough to call it summer, but the people have started to wear much lighter clothes.

    The outfits of the female students at school and Aisha's maid outfit have become short sleeved as well, it's a treat for the eyes.


    Sylphy is often wearing sleeveless shirts around the house as well.

    She didn't have such plain clothes before, but recently it seems she's been buying them for my sake.

    A Sylphy with lots of exposure. It's truly fresh.

    After looking at Sylphy's short build and white shoulders, I start to feel like spontaneously embracing her from behind.


    It's a good season.

    This country doesn't have any black insects that come home and stay without notice after all.[67]


    Speaking of black, recently I haven't seen Badigadi.

    I wonder where that guy went.

    Well then, in one month there have been a variety of changes going on.


    First, Norn has made some friends.

    It's not just a man, she's been involved with girls from a different class as well, I've caught sight of her moving around in a group of about two guys and three girls.


    A girl about 10 years old is speaking girlishly with giggles.

    Regarding Norn, they are her first friends.

    As her older brother, I'd like to at least greet them once.

    Which is why, I told her to at least bring them to see me once, but Norn refused.

    It seems it's a bit embarrassing to let her friends meet her family.


    In any case, it seems that nothing has become strange because I marched into her classroom.

    I'm a bit relieved.


    The relationship between Norn and I is going favorably.


    The most conspicuous point in that regard, the other day, she asked me to help with her studies.

    I was enthusiastic over that proposal.

    I thought that I would instruct her on all of my secret techniques.

    But, I considered that if I'm too enthusiastic, Aisha will most likely get angry.


    We made it so that after school, I would teach her in the library.

    In terms of time, it's for about one hour.

    She reviews the things that she learned throughout the day and prepares for tomorrow's lessons.

    Just with that, there should be a large difference.


    Norn was working very hard, but it can't be helped that a lot of it was fruitless effort.

    I guess she doesn't know how to apply it.

    Even though I say that, it's not as bad as Eris and Ghyslaine.

    If she gives it her best she'll soon be at the average level.


    "Come to think of it, Ruijerd-san said his hometown was in the Babinosu Region, but Nii-san you traveled in the Magic Continent right, do you know where it is?"

    "Hn? No clue. I had heard that it was close to the Biegoya Region though. I've never gone there."


    Through studying Norn has become capable of idle talk.

    Even though I say that, what Norn talks about is almost always on the topic of Ruijerd.

    Speaking of a common topic between Norn and I, it would be Ruijerd.

    After all, it seems that having a topic you can understand is important.

    I feel happy as well, having a partner to share stories about him with.


    "I see... what kind of a place is the Magic Continent?"

    "All of the monsters are huge. The culture is considerably different as well, but I guess it's not all that different from around here. It's a normal place where people live."


    Norn often talks to me with good manners.

    I guess she would be the respectful younger sister.

    Since we don't use honorifics when I talk together with Aisha, she might be adjusting the distance she feels towards me.


    "Ah, nii-san, did you hear the story about the spear from Ruijerd-san?"

    "That huh. It was a story filled with tears right?"

    "That's right... I wonder if there isn't something we can do."

    "...Yeah."


    It's about time I advance one step forward with that plan.

    Creating dolls of the Supard race and selling it together as a set with a book.

    This plan still exists.


    Although it's still impossible to mass produce dolls with Julie's aggregate amount of magic power.

    However, it might be a good time to make some prototype goods.


    In regards to creating a book about the Supard Race, the problem is the time it takes to write.


    The other day, I mastered Advanced healing magic and Intermediate detoxification magic.

    Even though it can be said that I'm skilled at memorization, it took a considerable amount of time.


    I wonder what I should learn next.

    If I'm going to take on classes for Advanced level detoxification magic, it would only be if there's nothing else I want to learn.

    Might as well just try finding someone to teach me Fire or Wind Saint class magic.

    No, the Saint class fundamentally deals with manipulating weather, they're never thoughtlessly used.

    It's fine to learn them, but I want to learn something with a bit more practical use.

    Like horse riding... [68]

    Just around the time I was thinking that, it was just right.


    I decided to allocate the time that opened up to writing.

    In addition, I started writing during the time I would teach Norn as well.


    A book that frankly tells of the Supard race's past.

    I'm not really all that skilled at putting order into writing, but I'm sure I'll be able to do it somehow.


    ...Is what I was thinking, but now that it's come down to write about the past, I don't know how it would be good to write about it.

    I wonder if it would be good to gather it all together, documentary style.

    Maybe it would be good to write about it diary style.


    First, it's often said that it's better to not write and write an epic from the start.

    I guess around 10 pages would be good.

    Then we'll copy those like a magazine, attach them to the figures, and distribute them.

    Then, I'm sure a light literary style would be good.

    I guess going with the feel of a good vs evil theme and Laplace as the evil guy...

    No, wasn't Laplace made out to be the hero of the Magic Continent.

    If I make him out to be too evil, I might buy into some animosity.


    "Nii-san, what are you doing?"


    While brooding over this and that, Norn came out asking.


    "Yeah, I thought of writing a book about the praiseworthy exploits of Ruijerd. But, I don't know where it would be good to start writing."

    "Fuu... nn..."


    While saying that, Norn looked at my handiwork.

    The manuscript I was writing had the title, "History of the Great Warrior Ruijerd's Conflict and Persecution" on the paper.

    I had still only written just about one page of the manuscript, and it was just an outline of the person known as Ruijerd written there.

    Since it was passing through my own bias, he was considerably close to a saint. [69]


    "Is it just this much?"

    "Hmm, not yet, there's more after this."


    I don't know where it would be good to write about from the start.

    The story about his manner of fighting during the Laplace Campaign still remains in my memory, after that I know about his history of persecution as well.

    However, since it was something I had heard several years prior, it's somehow become hazy.

    I thought it would be a good idea to leave something like memos.


    "Wo... would it be alright for me to help out as well?"


    Norn started talking about that with a nervous feeling.


    After listening to her story, it seems every night Ruijerd would put my little sister on top of his lap and talk about stories from the past while caressing her head.

    How could this be.

    Even though I was never able to sit on top of Ruijerd's lap, just Norn-imouto, how unfair. [70]

    No-no, that's not it.


    "Oh, that would be a big help. But, make sure you don't neglect your studies."

    "Yes."


    Just like this, it became that Norn and I would make a book together.


    Since that day, in the interval between Norn's studying, we started to write stories about Ruijerd. [71]

    The literary style was clumsy and full of rough places.

    However, mysteriously while I was reading it, I would remember things about Ruijerd and tears would come out.

    It was such a composition.


    It might be the case that Norn has literary talent.

    No, that might be the bias of an idiot older brother. [72]


    However, like itself will make one skilled. [73]

    Such words exist as well.

    Just like this, if she continues on with it, it could become the case that she grows up into a great writer.


    For the time being, I just continue revising the parts where the literary style is incorrect and decided to watch over her writing activity.


    Rather than writing it by myself, it seems that with Norn we could create something several times more interesting.

    Well, now that I've started to get along with Norn, there was a bit of a change with Aisha as well.


    Though I say that, it's not like she's started to come along in regards to Norn.

    Same as always, their relationship isn't very good; but, maybe because I said it, things like looking down on her or fighting with her have lessened.

    Since it's come down to this, I'm a bit worried.

    She might just be holding back what she really wants to say after all.


    "Aisha. If there's anything you want to say, please tell me?"


    For the time being, I'll just say that.

    Even if my relationship with Norn has gotten better, I don't have any intention to slight my relationship with Aisha.


    "Things I want to say, you say?"

    "Yeah, for example if I'm minding Norn too much, you want me to look after you more as well. Or if you want to take a rest because your job is painful. Or if you want to sleep throughout the day..."

    "Does that mean something I want?"


    Aisha put her finger against her chin, tilted her head and listened.

    It's a sweet behavior.


    "That's right. It's fine if you ask for more selfish things after all. Don't restrain yourself?"

    "Selfishness... Then, just one thing."


    Aisha laughed in a teasing manner.

    I wonder what she intends to request.

    I wonder if she's aiming for my body.

    I did say I would listen to it, but I didn't say I would grant it, if I said such things as expected she might get angry.


    "Please pay me wages!"


    After hearing those words from Aisha, I felt somewhat confused.


    "Wages...?"


    Thinking about it, she's been working promptly as a maid.

    Almost to the point that it's strange I haven't paid her money up until now.

    No, since she's family after all, there's nothing strange with that.


    In other words, this is that isn't it.

    An allowance right.

    Since I help out around the house, please give me an allowance.

    It's that sort of flow.


    "Alright, I get it."


    I pleasantly accept it.


    Just, in regards to the amount, together with Sylphy, the three of us discussed and decided it.

    We considered giving Aisha a somewhat large amount, but she refused it.

    Rejecting it because it's too much, is this fellow really 10 years old I wonder?


    In the end, we went with not too much, not too little.

    We settled on a fair amount of money.


    "Receiving something like wages, what do you intend to buy?"


    For the time being, I'll try asking.

    For the time being, just in case.

    It's fine whatever you're buying though, for the time being.


    "Various things."


    However, Aisha's reply was immediate.

    That is, I'd like to know the contents of those various things though...

    Just as I was thinking that,


    "I understand. Then, next time I go out shopping, please come along with me."


    And I was invited along.

    It's a date.

    Date with my little sister.

    What a splendid sound those words make.


    Just in case, I made sure to let Sylphy know that I was going out shopping.

    Even though it's a day off, I leave behind Sylphy with work to go on a date.

    Somehow, I feel really apologetic about it.

    But, since it's my little sister it's alright.

    It's not cheating.


    However, I wonder what Aisha intends to buy.

    For example, I wonder if it could be a brawny male slave.

    I don't really want to get all that involved with some difficult guy.

    Even though there is a large, dark, and muscular guy who occasionally shows up for meals.

    No, though recently that guy hasn't come by.


    The day of the date.

    The place Aisha was heading towards was the general goods store.

    A place in the corner of the market, a small store that stocked common goods.

    Inside of the store there were things overflowing from the shelves, but there were no customers.

    It gives off the impression of just old goods left out everywhere.


    There Aisha bought three small flowerpots.


    "What are you going to do with those. Are you planning to drop them on the head of a Demon King passing by?"

    "No, I was just planning to normally raise flowers in them, but is it strange?"


    Aisha asked that with her eyes upturned.

    My response was naturally already decided.


    "There's no way it's strange."


    Just, it was a bit hard to imagine Aisha growing flowers.

    My image of Aisha is an energetic, young, genius girl.

    Things she likes are cleaning, budgeting, and profit and loss calculations.

    I have that sort of image.


    Gardening is something you carefully enjoy.

    While entrusting it to the power of nature, it's something you do slowly and carefully.

    No matter what kind of genius they are, there will be many times where it doesn't go according to plan.

    No, it might be gardening for that reason.

    I wonder if it's interesting because it doesn't go the way you want.


    "Then, wouldn't it be good to buy some earth? The earth around here, since it's considerably infertile, it's probably not suited for gardening."

    "...I was thinking I could get Onii-chan to make that with magic and give it to me though, is that no good?"


    Upturned eyes.

    The reply is already decided.


    "It's not no good."


    Since I'm a man after all, I really like plowing through dirt and sowing seeds.

    I'll prepare some amazing earth for you that will make a Baobab tree grow from the seeds of a Tulip. [74]


    "What are you going to do about seeds?"

    "I have some from our journey, where I was gathering up seeds a bit at a time."

    "If they're picked in the wild, they might not sprout?"

    "Hn? It's probably fine."


    While we are having such a conversation, we were looking around inside the store at whatever was relevant.

    I bought some earrings as a present for Sylphy as well.

    They're teardrop shaped earrings with a blue colored gem.

    I'm sure it'll suit her.


    "Those, are they a present for Sylphy-ane?"

    "Yeah. I'm a man who values his wife."

    "Sylphy-ane is a blessed person isn't she. Great ani-sama, if you have the spare time please bestow your affection upon me as well."


    Upturned eyes.

    Naturally my reply is already decided.


    "No way, I'll be hit by oyaji[75]."

    "Cheh..."


    While talking about such things, we finished things at the register and left the general goods store.


    The next destination we were heading towards was a store that specializes in the treatment of fabric.

    It was a store that had a large quantity of handwoven cloth rolled up into sheets.

    On the occasion when I bought carpet for my house, it's the store that Ariel informed me of having quality goods.

    The variety of prices is vast as well, it's not particularly aimed at high class stuff.

    It's a roomy store.

    I wonder where did Aisha find information about this sort of store.


    There, Aisha bought some curtains.

    They were the pink kind with frills attached, a bit expensive.

    Aisha haggled that price down as much as she could.

    Using my name, Ariel's name, she used everything she could use to haggle it down.

    In the end, the price being suggested was still a bit high.


    "If you don't have enough, then should I pay for a portion?"

    "Hnn, it's alright, it's exact after all!"


    And she ended up buying it at the same amount as her remaining spending money.

    She managed to match up the amount she used to the exact amount of money she was given for allowance.

    I guess this is what they call good business sense, I feel some kind of dreadful thing.


    "I think it would be good to leave a bit of your spending money remaining? Just in case the worst ever happens."


    For the time being, I left her such advice.

    Since you never know when or what will happen after all.

    You might end up suddenly being teleported to the Magic Continent.

    As a matter of fact, I'm hiding money all over my body in a variety of places as well.

    For example, the sole of my shoes.


    "Then, next time I'll start doing that!"


    In any case, to think it was flowerpots and frilly pink curtains.

    The image of a genius is taking priority, but her sensitivity might be of a maiden.


    "I wanted these sorts of cute things."

    "Lilia-san never bought any for you?"

    "Oka-san said it wasn't allowed. Maids aren't allowed to have any preference in furniture she said... is it not allowed?"


    Aisha is skilled at making use of other people's kindness, not to mention she's clever.

    With some upturned eyes added in, it was a performance where she was clinging to my waist.

    My reply was already decided.


    "It's not no good."


    If I was a strange old man, then I'd have already taken you away.


    Since that date, there has been an increase in maiden-like items in Aisha's room.

    It seems Aisha likes accessories.

    Raising a small flower in a small flowerpot, lining up fist sized dolls on top of a shelf...

    Before I realized it the end of her apron had a small embroidery on it, she must be sensitive to fashion as well.


    In the future, I wonder if she will become a gal. [76]

    Onii-chan is still just a bit worried.


    My two little sisters have that kind of feeling.

    Nanahoshi had regained her pace as well.


    The last experiment was the time when the PET Bottle was summoned.

    Currently, that PET Bottle had turned into a vase and was left on the window of the research room.

    Making use of this success, the research has proceeded to the second phase.


    "Next we're going to try and summon "organic matter" from our previous world."


    Nanahoshi declared that.


    "Organic matter?"

    "Right, organic matter. Food would be good."


    It seems that after the events from last time, Nanahoshi's degree of trust towards me went up.

    She talked to me in regards to the research phases after this.


    One. Summoning "Inorganic substance."

    Two. Summoning goods with a composition of "Organic matter."

    Three. Summoning "Vegetation" or else "Living Things" like a "Small Animal."

    Four. Summoning a living thing from this world with "detailed conditions attached."

    Five. The final one is an experiment to try send the summoned living thing, "back to it's original location."


    Strictly speaking since the PET Bottle isn't an inorganic substance, it seems there's some adjustments required, but it seems to be a trivial matter.


    "That is, are the [detailed conditions attached] requirements?"

    "Yeah. When I'm sent to the other side, if I was suddenly thrown into a foreign land it would be troublesome right?" [77]


    In other words, the summoning targets get gradually closer to humans and the final goal is to pinpoint a return to Japan.

    You could say they're experiments just for that.


    Incidentally, it seems the current summoning already can have some degree of conditions attached.

    However, supposedly it's broad and there are some differences that come out in the individuals.

    For example, if we were to use "cat" as the condition for the summoning.

    Then three cats, a tabby cat, tiger, or a leopard might come out.

    It seems that the research in that area is meant to nail down those details more.

    So that, instead of something of the cat family, an actual cat comes out.

    And even within the cats that you can specify, there are even more details on the variety.


    "In order to research these attached conditions, it won't be good if I don't meet that person again."


    Nanahoshi said that in passing.

    Speaking of that person, it probably means he is the person that is an authority on summoning techniques.


    "That person, is he knowledgeable on attaching conditions?"

    "I guess so...?"


    Nanahoshi put her hand on her jaw and thought about it for just a bit, then nodded to herself with an, "Yeah", and started to explain one thing.


    "I'll explain. The summoning techniques in this world are split into the types of Magic Beast summoning and Spirit summoning."

    "Oh."


    It seems that Magic Beast summoning refers to summoning monsters.

    Summoning a monster with high intelligence is dependent on the magic circle, and then through some sort of compensation they serve you.

    You could say it's the type of image that one gets when they hear the thing generally known as summoning magic.


    There are many varieties in the existences that are called with Magic Beast summoning.

    The monsters sitting around over there, ones living in another world, even up to legendary creatures.


    Of course, it doesn't stop at just living things.

    As a matter of fact, the PET Bottle we summoned the other day was classified as Magic Beast summoning.

    You can summon things as well.

    If I were to master this, I'll summon the panties Roxy is wearing! This might be possible to do.


    In comparison, Spirit summoning is a different disposition.

    Spirit summoning is a type of magic where you use magic power to create the existences known as spirits.

    You create the existence with magic power.

    It seems it's close to programming.


    "But, it's better if you don't reveal very much of this."

    "Why?"

    "In society, it's said that spirits are in the world of the void and they're being called from there."


    In other words, it seems they're treated the same as Magic Beast summoning.

    On the magic beast side, control is difficult, but they move according to your thoughts, and application is effective.

    On the spirit side, controlling them itself is simple, but they can't do anything but the programmed actions.


    However, if you actually produce a spirit with a complex program, it seems they'll move almost as if they're people.

    It seems she has actually seen spirits such as that in reality.

    By the side of that [That person] it seems.


    "I see now."

    "And this is changing the conversation a bit though. This, is the magic circle you asked about last time."


    While saying that, what Nanahoshi gave to me was a single scroll.

    On the single piece of writing paper, a subtle magic circle was drawn.


    "This is?"

    "It's a magic circle to summon a spirit of light."


    Speaking of a spirit of light, it's a spirit that floats behind the user and continues to release bright light. [78]

    It can follow simple orders like "shine over there", but after time passes the magic power will dry up and it disappears.

    It seems it's such a frail existence.


    It seems the more magic power you pour into it the longer it will last.

    However, it sure is plain.

    I do feel that it's a bit of a stingy reward for the experiment's first phase...


    "That magic circle is something that no one at the magic guild can use, it's an original of the person I was talking about before."

    "Oh, is that how it is?"


    Zapanizu whose heart dances when told it's a limited item. [79]


    "If the next experiments succeeds, the next one I give you will be more amazing. Therefore, I'm depending on you."


    While saying that, Nanahoshi clasped her hands together.

    What a nostalgic pose.

    Naturally, I have no intention of abandoning Nanahoshi on the way.


    "You can probably use your earth magic to create something like a potato stamp and mass produce those. If you were to take that sheet to the magic guild, you should be able to sell it for a considerable price."

    "Sell you say? Wouldn't the person who made the original get angry?"

    "It's alright since they're not a narrow-minded person who would get angry over that."


    However, a potato stamp huh.

    I wonder if it's fine if magic circles aren't hand-written.


    "If you're going to sell it to the magic guild, then please use my name. If you do that, then you won't get involved in any kind of weird fraud."

    "I understand."


    Just like this, I gained one means of a source of income.


    In any case, to think that all spirits were artificial spirits.

    I have the feeling that it might be somewhat related to Zanoba's research as well.

    If we were to combine them, it might be possible to give birth to a robot that can crawl or something.

    The dream is spreading.


    "Ah, that's right. If we were to summon some kind of random inorganic substance from our world, couldn't some kind of useful thing come out?"


    I suddenly thought of it, so I proposed it.

    And then, Nanahoshi shook her head.


    "Though I say it's inorganic substance, making use of the foundations from the current phase, we can only summon things composed of a single material. Since we managed to summon a PET bottle, I think there's a pretty wide range of things we can summon."


    A single type of material.

    The PET Bottle didn't have a cap or label attached did it.

    But, if the research on attached conditions proceeds, I have the feeling we'd be able to summon just components and assemble something.


    "Also, I said it once before, but bringing things from our world into this one isn't something all that desirable."


    That thing about history changing or something huh.


    "Though I think you're just overthinking that."

    "If you think that, then feel free to test it after I return. I don't want any part in it."


    How distant.

    Well, I guess it can't be helped.

    Speaking of Zanoba.

    The other day, he finally managed to complete the Red Dragon figure.

    There's differences from the Red Dragon I saw, but since the angle it's framed at is cool, I decided it was a good gift.


    The amount of time it took was considerable, but Julie was delighted.

    She's a child that doesn't laugh all that much, but after holding her up and showing her it from below she let out, "oh...!" a voice of admiration.


    "Master! Grand Master! Thank you very much!"


    Julie said that somewhat awkwardly, but she lowered her head in a graceful gesture.


    "Humu, from here on out work hard okay."


    Zanoba nodded exaggeratedly.

    Truly greatly.

    Julie as well nodded happily again.


    "Yes!"


    In any case, Julie's human language has improved considerably.

    Rather than saying my method of teaching is good, it might be because Ginger is correcting her way of speaking at every point.

    After all, it seems if you quickly revise the words at every time you make a mistake, you'll quickly learn it.


    "That's great isn't it, Julie. Make sure you treat it preciously."

    "Ginger-sama as well, thank you very much."


    Ginger is always on standby at the edge of the room, she brings out drinks for Zanoba and corresponds with visitors.


    If I remember correctly, she's renting an apartment room nearby the school.

    There's a single room next door to Zanoba's that is intended for escorts, but she refused it saying it was too awe-inspiring to stay in a room next to Zanoba-sama.


    Rather than a knight, it's more like a commuting wife.


    Otherwise, maybe the feeling of a fanatic worshiper.

    It kind of feels like if she was told to die she'd gladly cut open her stomach.


    "What is it?"

    "I was just wondering why Ginger-san swore loyalty to Zanoba."


    I just suddenly decided to ask and Ginger nodded like, great of you to ask.


    "I was asked personally by Zanoba-sama's mother to look after Zanoba-sama. Since that time, I made an oath. That I would serve Zanoba-sama with all of my effort."

    "Oh, that sure is a beautiful story isn't it..and then?"

    "That's all there is to it though?"


    With just that, you continue to follow through on that oath even when you're looked at with terrible eyes huh.

    No, I guess that itself could be what it means to remain loyal to an oath.

    I guess that means if it's a loyalty that will waver even a bit, you're better off just throwing it away from the start.


    No, wait.

    Come to think of it, I think I read about something like that in an old manga.

    Something like feudalistic society is composed of a portion of sadistic people and countless masochistic people.

    I wonder if Ginger is a maso. [80]


    After thinking about it like that, I think I understood it a bit.

    Although, I guess it's not that juicy of a story.


    Some progress can be seen in Cliff's research as well.


    It seems, of all things, he's managed to complete prototype number one of the magic tool that can suppress the symptoms of the curse.

    Cliff had become quite the braggart when he came to report that to me.


    "It sends magic power from outside counterbalances the magic power inside the body. It's not quite to the point where it can completely suppress it, but it's become possible to lengthen the curse's limit by several times."


    It seems to align the magic power outside with the magic power on the inside and then the magic power of the curse inside of Elinalize's womb it does something or other with.

    And it was explained to me in a difficult way.

    In regards to the theory, since I'm not a theoretical person like Cliff, I'll leave it out.

    In any case, it seems it's not yet possible to negate the symptoms of the curse.


    "But, there are two problems."


    While saying that, Cliff showed me the actual thing.

    It was a rustic mawashi almost like the one a yokozuna would have attached. [81]

    In regards to looking at it, it looks like a diaper.


    "I see, one of the problematic points would be..that it's unfashionable right."

    "That's right. I can't let Lize put something like this on."


    It seems that Cliff and Elinalize uncharacteristically got into a fight over that.

    Elinalize said she wasn't bothered over things like that, but Cliff wasn't willing to yield.

    It seems he was bothered over letting his girlfriend wear a terrible looking outfit.

    I'm relieved since its reason is just like Cliff.


    Incidentally, it seems they reconciled after a single night.

    Baka-couple.


    "For the time being, thanks to receiving collaboration from Zanoba and Silent I've managed to make a small type as well. The effectiveness still has a ways to go though, but if you leave it to a genius like me, then it's a piece of cake."


    It seems the aim is the size of panties.

    I don't know how far they'll actually be able to shrink it, but if they were able to gather it together into something the size of a glove, I'm sure Zanoba would be delighted over it as well.

    If his own hand was made so he can work on the dolls.

    No, since that guy was probably clumsy in the first place, even if the curse disappears it might be impossible.


    "What's the other problem?"


    After asking that, Cliff made a bitter face.


    "This time that's the reason why I called for you. Rudeus."

    "Oh."

    "As a matter of fact, this magic tool, the amount of magic power it consumes is too large."


    Magic power consumption.

    Magic tools activate as the user sends magic power into them.

    If that is too large, it seems they'll have no practical use.


    The ideal is having the consumed magic power enough that Elinalize can always have it on.

    However, currently putting aside Elinalize, it seems not even Cliff's magic power lasts more than an hour.


    "After this, since I'm going to improve it a bit at a time, each time I'd like to perform some tests. If it's just us, then there's a limit to the number of times we can do the experiment each day."

    "I see now, leave it to me."


    Cliff doesn't just call himself a genius, he should have a reasonable amount of aggregate magic power.

    And yet, even then it's nowhere near enough.

    I guess that would mean it's my turn.


    For that reason, since this day on it became that I would be participating in Cliff's experiments.


    Incidentally this magic tool.

    It seems it doesn't have the effect of suppressing sexual excitement.


    Recently, I feel like I've been living a good life.


    Wake up in the morning for training.

    Eat breakfast.

    Go to school, meet Zanoba, meet Cliff,

    Listen to progress with the research, occasionally offering something like advice.

    After eating lunch, meet with Nanahoshi and help with experiments,

    After school I help Norn with her studies for about an hour.

    On the way home I go shopping together with Sylphy,

    After returning home, we greet Aisha,

    I enter the bath together with Sylphy, the three of us eat dinner together.

    And then, we all start training our magic together while chatting.

    After putting Aisha to sleep, I work together with Sylphy at making a child.

    And then, I fall into a deep sleep while using Sylphy as a hugging pillow.


    Each and every day is just a bit different, but while taking one step forward at a time we proceed living our lives.

    I guess this sort of lifestyle would be what they call "happiness."

    It was something I never obtained in my previous life.

    After another year or so when Paul returns, I'm sure we'll be even happier.


    The incident occurred on a certain day.


    In the morning, just as always, I was doing my training.

    I haven't seen Badigadi, but it's nothing to worry about.

    That guy is whimsical.

    It can't be helped, bothering over each and every thing.

    ...At least that was what Elinalise was passing on, but I'm sure that's just how it is.


    After returning home from my training, Aisha and Sylphy were waiting for some reason with serious faces.

    After seeing me return, the two were fixed on my face.


    "...Ah."

    "Rudi..."


    What is it I wonder.

    Did some kind of problem or something occur.

    I'm feeling a bit uneasy.


    "Umm, awawa, now that it's come down to it, I'm somehow a bit scared."


    While Sylphy was scratching the back of her ear, she made a bitter smile.


    "There's nothing to be afraid of. Look, Sylphy-ane, gather your courage!"


    After being pressed by Aisha, Sylphy stepped towards me.

    While fidgeting with her hands in front of her chest, she came directly in front of me with a red face.

    And then she placed her hand on her stomach.

    She said it.


    "Umm, Rudi. I... these past two months, it hasn't come."


    Hasn't come? What?

    Isn't what I asked.


    "And then you know, my physical condition was just a bit bad so I thought perhaps it could be."


    I was fixed on Sylphy's stomach.

    It's a slender stomach.

    It can't be.

    No, it can't be.


    "An... and then you know, yesterday Aisha told me I should properly go see a doctor nearby... That is, probably, it's congratulations they said."

    "...O..."


    My voice was trembling.

    My hands were trembling as well.

    Even my legs were trembling.


    Congratulations.

    I guess that means it was conceived.

    This isn't a dream right.

    I'll try pinching my cheek. Ouch. It's not a dream.


    I swallowed deeply.


    I see, that's right isn't it.

    That combination said it as well didn't they.

    You can do it if you try.

    I did it with that intention.

    If you were to say it's just as planned, that would be correct.

    Since I had heard that elves can't conceive easily, it was unexpectedly fast, that I'm just a bit bewildered.


    "Umm, Rudi... what do you think?"


    Sylphy was making an uneasy face.

    Somehow, I wonder what kind of reaction would be good for me to have.

    I don't know since it's too sudden.


    "Is... is it okay for me to touch?"

    "Eh? Ah, yes, please do."


    I caressed Sylphy's slender stomach.

    It's the same sensation I always feel when I caress it.

    Slender waist, little fat, a tight stomach.

    After touching it, a warm and soft sensation is returned.

    After hearing it said, it does seem just a bit larger I guess.

    No, it might just be my imagination, it shouldn't be something that I can tell just from touching yet.


    "I see, inside here, my child is..."


    After trying to put it into words, it felt like something deep within my throat was coming up.

    There was something boiling up.

    What is this.

    I want to shout out.


    I have a child.

    A child was made.

    There's no sense of reality.


    However, what is this, I'm amazingly happy.

    No, the words of happiness can't possibly express it entirely.

    What is this, what is it...


    "Onii-sama. Isn't there something you should say to the madam?"


    From Aisha's words, I returned to myself.


    "Eh?"


    Things to say.

    I wonder what.

    Congratulations?

    No, that's not it.

    Thank you.

    That's right, it's thank you.


    "Sylphy, thank you."

    "Eh? Thank you?"


    While making a bit of a bitter smile, Sylphy was smiling.

    Was it different?

    Then I wonder what the correct answer is.

    Searching through my knowledge, what did Paul say to Zenith again.

    Remember the words that Paul said at the time when Norn was made.

    [You've done well.]

    [You've done it.]

    It was words with that kind of feeling.

    That guy, I wonder why he has to use words like he's looking down from above.

    Did he think pregnancy was something that depended on the effort of the woman?

    That's possible, if it's that guy then it's possible.


    ...Pregnancy.

    Sylphy is pregnant.


    This cute girl with a short haircut has my child.

    Mine.

    That's right, just by thinking about it, I feel moved to the point where I can't say any words.

    Somehow, tears are coming out.


    "Sorry, somehow, somehow, I can't say it well. Sylphy..."

    "...Wa ...Rudi?"


    I embraced Sylphy.

    Just like that, I lifted her up and felt like spinning her around.

    No good, it's no good if I handle her too recklessly.

    Gently, that's right gently.

    It might adversely affect the child in her stomach.


    "...Fufu, Rudi, you were always saying you wanted a child right."


    Sylphy put her hands around my back and patted it.

    After tightly embracing her, I released her body.

    My eyes were fixed on Sylphy.

    I was reflected in those round eyes.

    A terrible face overflowing with tears.


    Sylphy's eyes soon shut.

    While caressing her head, I kissed her lips.

    The soft sensation of her lips.

    This is love.


    "[Cough]."


    With Aisha clearing her throat, I returned to myself.

    By the time I realize it, I'm groping Sylphy's chest and butt.


    "Onii-sama, since it might hinder madam's body, for a short while please prohibit your sexual negotiations."


    No good, no good.

    During this period, it's no good if I lay my hands on her.

    No matter how much love we have, it's no good if I lay my hands on her.

    Ah, but if it was just two months prior, then not all that much time has passed yet, just a bit should be. No, that's no good. I'll endure it.


    "Yeah. Of course."


    I hammered down the nail.

    Aisha suddenly laughed and lifted up the hem of her skirt.


    "Since that's the case, during this time it would be fine if I was the partner."

    "Leave the sleep talk for when you're sleeping."


    Aisha dropped her head downwards.

    I'm grateful for the invitation, but for some reason I feel no desire towards you.


    Although, it's not like I specifically think it's wrong to lay my hands on my little sisters.

    Therefore, it's just right.

    In this world, I don't want to do anything that would be related to breaking up the family.


    "Then Onii-sama, after this I will go to convey this to Ariel-sama and return. Madam as well, it would be best if you take a rest from your job."


    Aisha said that with a clear face.

    If she's pregnant, then she can't guard.

    Certainly, it would be better if she takes a holiday.


    "No, I'll go. I'm sure it would be proper for me to explain it."

    "Ha... Onii-chan, don't you need to stay with Sylphy-ane and talk about more things?"


    My little sister made a sigh as if she was tired.

    Things to talk about.

    I see, about things from here on out, if we don't talk about various things more.


    "Then, I'll conduct myself and return."

    "Yeah. I leave it to you."


    Aisha departed, Sylphy and I were left behind.

    I was sitting on the sofa lined up with Sylphy.

    When I nervously grabbed onto Sylphy's hand, she returned the grasp as well.

    And then she leaned on me.


    "..."

    "..."


    I don't know what to talk about.

    Thoughts about words of taking responsibility are coming to mind, but we're already married.


    "That is, Sylphy."

    "What is it, Rudi?"

    "I'm sure it would be difficult after this, but, that is, please take good care of me."

    "Yeah, leave it to me."


    Sylphy laughed with a puff and placed her head on top of my lap.

    With the hand I wasn't holding her's with, I caressed Sylphy's head.

    I was feeling around the area behind her ear when...


    "Hey Rudi."

    "Yes?"

    "Would a boy be good? Or would a girl be good?"


    After suddenly being asked, I was bewildered.

    That's right, there are two varieties of children.


    "Rather, it's not really something you can choose right."


    While saying that, Sylphy shyly laughed.

    A boy or a girl.

    I wonder which would be good.

    I wonder which will be born.


    After all, for the purpose of succeeding the house, I wonder if a boy as the eldest would be good.

    No, it's not like we're a samurai family.

    It's not like there's any particular problem with letting a woman take over.

    Things for now, even speaking of my assets, there's a limit to it at most.


    No, I guess it's fine not to think about it too much.

    A boy or a girl.

    If it was me in my previous life, I'm sure I would have said a girl without hesitation.

    With my mind in the gutter, I'd probably say something about keeping an observation diary and photographs everyday about how a girl grows up in a girl's way.

    What a foolish man.


    However, now it's good either way.

    As long as they are energetic. That is fine.


    "But you know, Rudi. I, somehow I'm a bit relieved."

    "Why?"

    "With this finally, I feel like I've properly become Rudi's wife."

    "..."


    I guess that means in any world, doing their job would mean leaving behind offspring.

    It seems Sylphy as well, more or less might have been holding some anxieties, or was rather in a bit of a hurry.

    Since she has a constitution that makes it hard to do.

    Of course, such worries are pointless.


    "But, after this Rudi will be forced to endure it right. In that way."

    "It's not a matter of enduring it."


    It's the so called natural responsibility.

    I'm different from Paul.


    "If I ever put my hands on another woman, then don't be concerned about seriously getting angry with me."

    "...I won't particularly get angry, but I might feel a bit lonely."


    Is it something you finish with just feeling lonely.

    No, but you know.

    I won't betray her I'm sure. Thinking about it logically.

    Think about it with the positions reversed.


    "If another man put his hands on Sylphy, I feel I would be angry."


    After saying that, Sylphy laughed with a, "Nfufu".

    This smile is only shown to me.

    I'm happy.


    For a short while, we passed the time quietly without words.

    Evening, Aisha returned bringing along Norn.


    "C... Congratulations, Sylphy-san."

    "Yeah, thank you, Norn-chan."


    While facing Sylphy, Norn quickly lowered her head.

    Sylphy grinned with a small laugh and stroked her head.


    Having her head stroked, Norn's mouth loosened up.

    It was a face that meant she wasn't totally against it.

    I wonder if she likes having her head caressed.

    In any case, it's good that they're getting along well.


    "Everyone, today I had intended to go around greeting everyone, but I decided to leave that for another day."


    Aisha informed us indifferently.

    It seems she was trying to follow my idea and just go with family for today.

    So, she returned only bringing Norn.


    I don't remember proposing such an idea though.

    Well I'm sure it's fine.

    Certainly, going around here and there at this time, telling people would be pretty embarrassing.

    It's something best left for a few days.


    "I notified Ariel-sama that madam would need to take a rest for at least two years. I also made sure to request an absence from school. On that note, great aunt Elinalise-sama, gratefully decided to undertake the part of a guard." [82]

    "I wonder if that's alright with grandmother. For example, the stuff about the curse..."

    "She said she'll manage somehow, so there should be no problem."


    Elinalise is good at self control after all, there's the magic tool as well.

    I'm sure there's no problem.

    In an empty classroom, the gym warehouse, and even during classes. There are plenty of places they could use after all.


    "Zanoba-sama will come over during the evening in five days. It seems he intends to eat over here, we should prepare. Ariel-sama will come over in ten days, during the evening as well. When I asked if she would be staying for dinner, she said it would not be necessary. Cliff-sama and great-aunt Elinalise-sama will come together with Ariel-sama it seems. Rinia-sama and Pursena-sama will show their faces a short while after, at an appropriate time. The specific agenda is unknown. Nanahoshi-sama had said congratulations. Just a single word, 'Congratulations'. Badigadi-sama couldn't be found, but I left a message." [83]


    Completely indifferent.

    It's almost like a secretary.

    Aisha sure is excellent.


    "I see, thank you for your work, Aisha."

    "Yes, Onii-sama."


    After saying that, Aisha snorted with a "fufun" while looking at Norn.

    Norn stared back at Aisha with an offended face.


    It seems Aisha wants to keep up a good face in front of me, so she often makes these sorts of behaviors.

    The fact that they are siblings of different mothers seems to be lurking in the back a bit.

    I have told her not to be bothered by it and I treat them with impartiality.


    I know these two often get into disputes over pointless things.

    They do say, fighting is proof you get along, I'm sure it'll be fine as long as it doesn't become a cold war situation.

    In the middle of the fights as well, they haven't said anything fatal after all.


    "In any case, if you say a child is going to be born at the time when Oto-san returns, I'm sure he'll be surprised."

    "Oto-san!"


    After saying that, Norn's face suddenly brightened up.

    Norn is a father's child[84].

    I'm sure at one point, she has said her dream for the future is to marry father.


    "Oto-san's surprised face, I want to see it!"

    "Yeah, that guy is the type who would be considerably sweet to his grandchildren. I'm sure he'll be delighted. During the time when Norn and Aisha were born, he was completely deredere after all." [85]


    After saying that, Aisha and Norn suddenly felt awkward.

    I guess it would be a bit awkward talking about a time that doesn't remain in their memory.


    "It's something to look forward to right, nii-san."


    With those words from Norn, we smiled.

    Sylphy and I married.

    Paul, Zenith and Lilia here.

    And then my two little sisters here as well.

    The dream-like ideal from the time we were in Buina Village, seemed like it was immediately before us.

    ---


    The bad news arrived two months after that.

    An emergency express post was delivered, the date that was on that letter was stamped half a year ago.

    The sender's name was Gisu.

    The characteristic of an express post is that they're made up of extremely short content.


    "Difficulty rescuing Zenith, requesting assistance."


    The instant I saw those words, everything before my eyes went pure white.


    ---


    By the time I realized it, I'm in a pure white room.

    I had returned to my fat and menial figure.

    Simultaneously, I felt like my spirit was being splintered.

    I focused the irritation in front of me.


    That guy was there.

    The one hidden in mosaic while continuing to smile, the Hitogami.


    "Yo!"


    Hey, what does this mean.


    "What do you mean?"


    That letter.

    The one from Gisu.

    It said difficulty rescuing Zenith.

    What does that mean.


    "There's nothing to what it means, I'm sure it's been difficult."


    You!

    You said it didn't you!

    If I go to the Begaritto Continent, I would regret it!

    What was with those words.

    Did you trick me!?


    "I haven't tricked you. If you go to the Begaritto Continent, then you'll regret it. That still hasn't changed, even now."


    Ah, I see.

    I get it.

    In other words, it's that right. This is what you want to say.

    If you go to the Begaritto Continent, then you'll regret it.

    But, even if you don't go you'll regret it, like that.


    "That's not the case. Actually speaking, have you ever regretted it until yesterday? You've made a lot of friends. Met with a variety of people, even you yourself have grown a bit. You've fixed the bad condition of your body as well. Gotten along well with both of your littler sisters. Moreover, you've gotten married and even have a child coming."


    ...Certainly it's not bad, it's not bad.

    But you know!

    You were the one that said it!

    That it's better if I don't go to the Begaritto Continent.

    You tricked me.


    "I haven't tricked you. In fact, I'm here now just to say the same thing again. It's better if you don't go to the Begaritto Continent. You'll end up regretting it."


    But, but.

    My family is in trouble.

    Please, at least tell me the reason.


    "I can't say that."


    Shit...

    Come to think of it, you were that sort of guy.


    "That sure is a terrible way of putting it. Even though you've always been helped by my advice."


    Talk about whether I've been helped or whether I'm being tricked are different.

    Hey, at least tell me something about it.

    What am I going to regret?

    If it's like this, then I can't even balance things out properly.


    "Normal people don't even weigh out their options you know. You sure are extravagant."


    Extravagance or whatever is fine.

    I don't want to regret it.


    "If you just think about it a bit, I'm sure you'll understand. You've spent one and a half years during your school life. Your little sisters spent one year in order to come here. There's no mistake that it's become a misunderstanding right?"


    No.

    My little sisters saw the letter from me and came this far.

    If there hadn't been a letter, they should have remained in Milis or remained in one of the port cities.


    "Nope, even without that letter, Paul was going to send his daughters to Asura Kingdom. Since Lilia's family is in that country after all."


    ...I see now.

    After you say it, I get it.


    "Even now it's the same. If you were to leave on a journey now. Then, what are you going to do about Sylphy and your child? Going to the Begaritto Continent and then returning. During that time, do you intend to leave your own wife alone?"


    You mean no matter how I move, I'll end up regretting it in the end.


    "That's right. Even if you think you can avoid the regrets, you can't avoid them. If you go to the Begaritto Continent, you'll miss a large opportunity as well. That's why it's better if you don't go."


    Cheh...

    If you're going to say that much, then it's certain I'll probably regret it.

    I get it.


    "I see, then, will you listen to the advice?"


    Yeah, for the time being, tell me.


    "[Cough]. Rudeus, during the next mating season, wait on standby. Then, Rinia and Pursena will come to draw near you. Create a relationship with one of these two. If you do that, I'm sure you will become even happier."[86]


    Hey, suddenly bringing up talk about cheating.

    I already decided to protect Sylphy's honor you know!

    My relationship with those guys isn't like that!


    I'm sure... I'm sure... I'm sure.

    With the echo left behind, my consciousness faded out.

    I woke up.

    Sylphy was looking down at my face with concern.

    I realize that I'm sleeping on top of the bed.


    "Ah, Rudi, are you alright? You were having a nightmare."

    "Yeah..."


    What happened after I received that letter, what was it again.

    I don't remember well.

    I remember going into a dumbfounded state of stupefaction.

    Probably because things here have been proceeding so well recently.

    The shock was big.


    The letter from Gisu.

    The words requesting assistance.

    Something must have happened.


    However, there are the words from the Hitogami as well.

    Even if I start traveling now, there's the possibility that it's a misunderstanding.


    It might be too optimistic, but that letter might just be something Gisu sent out in a panic.

    That's right, the sender wasn't Paul. It was Gisu.

    It was newbie, that monkey bastard.

    I wonder why that guy would send this sort of letter to me.

    It's because he said he was going to search for Zenith.

    At least, there was never the name Gisu in Paul's letter.

    It might be that Gisu is searching for Zenith alone and he found her.


    The time the letter was sent was half a year ago as well.

    It could be that, the time when he sent the letter was before he met up with Paul and the others.

    That time he might have thought there was nothing he could do, so he sent the letter.

    It could be that he sent a similar letter to Paul as well.

    However, soon after that, he met up with Paul and it ended just like that... that might be the case.


    All of them are "might be possible".

    I wonder what the actual case is, for I'm in a distant land, I can't even make a guess about it entirely.


    There's also the matter of Sylphy and our child.

    In order to get to the Begaritto Continent, no matter how fast we go, it'll take a year.


    It's a road I've once taken down to the port city of East Port.

    Therefore, it might be possible for me to shorten the time more.

    But, even if for example, I were to say it will take half a year one way, a round trip would still be a year.


    After all it's impossible.

    There's no way I can leave behind my pregnant wife and depart.


    "As I thought, it's about that letter right."

    "..."


    I couldn't reply.

    There was my promise with Sylphy as well.

    That I wouldn't suddenly disappear.

    I certainly promised that.


    Saying that I'm leaving a notice of it behind before-hand, so it's not sudden, is just sophistry.


    Even if we discuss it well.

    Or if I leave behind a letter hoping for her to understand as well.

    The side left behind will still find it painful.


    "Hey, Rudi, if it's about me... it's fine if you don't let it bother you too much? Now Aisha-chan is here as well, right."


    Sylphy said that with a somewhat painful looking face.

    There's no way she couldn't be uneasy about it.

    Naturally as it is, she doesn't have any experience with pregnancy.

    A stomach which gets bigger everyday.

    Days where even climbing the stairs gets harder.


    It might be possible that I could die at the destination.

    I might never come back.

    She has no choice other than to fight against such worries.


    "...I won't go. I'll stay with Sylphy."


    After saying that, Sylphy made a troubled face.


    The Hitogami's words were resonating in my head.

    In the end, regardless of which one I pick, there will be regrets remaining.

    Those words.

    And then three days passed.

    Sylphy, Aisha, and Norn are all making uneasy faces.


    I declared that I wouldn't go to the Begaritto Continent.

    However, whether that is really fine like that, I don't know.

    I can't make the distinction.

    I may have declared it, but I'm still hesitating.


    There aren't all that many people I can consult with.

    One among them.

    Elinalise said this.


    "I guess so, it's probably better for you to remain here."


    You.

    From those words, I understood Elinalise's real intention.


    "Elinalise-san, could it be that you plan to go?"

    "Rudeus. Sylphy is my grandchild. Please allow me to pitch in and help for the sake of my grandchildren."


    It seems that letter seeking assistance arrived at her place as well.

    However, she says she will go.

    Even though there are those who will be left behind.


    "What do you plan to do about escorting Princess Ariel?"

    "If it's while she's inside of the school, then there's almost no danger. Almost to the point that the need for an escort is stupid."


    No matter how low the danger is, it's for when the time comes to it, isn't it.

    No, the one who thinks about that is Ariel.

    Elinalise is escorting out of good will, there's no reason to restrain her.


    "What are you going to do about Cliff?"

    "I'll separate from him. He might end up resenting me, but it can't be helped."

    "Why don't you explain it to him? If you say it, I'm sure he'll understand."


    Elinalise quietly laughed.

    It wasn't her usual bewitching smile.

    It was a lonely smile.


    "Cliff is a pure child. He has talent as well and faces forward. He has the potential of becoming Pope in the future. The love he feels towards me, it's a moment of getting lost in his feelings during his younger years... Leaving it as such a case, it's for the best."


    Putting it that way is pitiful for Cliff.

    The doctrine of the Milis Church, is for them to love only a single partner.

    If, Elinalise disappears, Cliff's faith might be shaken.

    That guy is a man of heart, but if he were to lose his faith, I don't know what will happen to him.


    "Also."


    And Elinalise said it in the end.


    "The one who said for you to remain here is me. Please, at least let me do something like cover for you. Therefore, you'll leave things to me and it would be fine for you to wait at ease. At the time when we return, please show me my energetic great-grandchild, okay?"


    Those words which I was told were used to close this matter.

    It seems Elinalise's feelings are something that will stand firm.

    I consulted with Zanoba as well.

    Even after he heard that, his expression didn't change a bit.


    "Is that so. If it's Shisho, then I'm sure you'll quickly resolve it and be able to return."


    He said that completely indifferently.


    "Since I'll be waiting here as I continue with the research, I'll be wishing for a quick return."

    "I thought you would say not to go or else that you would be coming along."


    Previously, the time when we separated at Shirone, he was clinging to me in tears.

    This time as well, I might have been wishing for something like that.

    However, Zanoba's words were the opposite.


    "If Shisho desires a companion, then I won't turn it down, but... since I'm unfamiliar with journeying I might slow you down, besides..."


    With a glance, Zanoba looked at Julie.


    "It's not like I can bring her along on a long journey."


    Julie is still young.

    There's also the option of leaving her behind in the care of Ginger.

    If it comes down to that, the research will be delayed.

    If he leaves on a journey, he'll end up using his magic power down to the last drop, which is dangerous as well.


    "Zanoba... I say, should I go?"

    "That is, something Shisho should decide."


    Something that I should decide.

    It sounded like words that were intended to push me away.

    Though I wanted to consult with him.

    And then Zanoba suddenly said it.


    "However Shisho. There is just one thing I will say."

    "Hn?"

    "Even if the father isn't looking, a child will be born. If you're worried, then you should go and during that time, I will take responsibility and watch over your wife."


    Zanoba's words had his actual feelings mixed into them.

    I see.

    I'm sure a king doesn't specifically oversee each of his wife and concubine's pregnancies himself after all.


    "Of course, I always want to remain by Shisho's side though."

    "I see... Thank you Zanoba."


    Sylphy isn't alone.

    Aisha is here, Ariel and the others as well.

    She's not alone.

    It's not like she's alone.

    Should I go to the Begaritto Continent?

    Or should I not go?


    Elinalise said that she would go and I should wait.

    Zanoba said to leave things to him, go help and then return.


    I wonder what I should do.

    I guess I should go.

    What Zanoba said is quite right.

    Certainly, if the mother is healthy, then the child will naturally be born.

    Even if the father is or isn't there.


    No, there's no way that can be the case.

    I'm not a king or anything.

    It's already decided that it's better for the father to be there.

    Sylphy said not to mind it and go, but it's her first childbirth, she should be uneasy.

    In reality, she should want to cry and shout at me not to go.


    Moreover, I said many terrible things about how I desired a child from Sylphy.

    If I were to speak of how much I actually wanted one, even I don't know myself.

    But, Sylphy properly received that and gave it to me.


    After that, she's pregnant and now I'm leaving on a journey.

    Wouldn't that be a betrayal.


    However, until now I feel like I've been putting off things with Paul and the others.

    Putting priority on myself.

    Thinking of curing my ED and going to school.


    For this reason, this timing itself, shouldn't that be the reason I conduct myself and go to save my family?

    Wouldn't putting things off for the time when it came, balance it out?


    ...I don't know.

    I have a feeling I'll end up regretting it regardless of which I pick.

    While I was worrying about it, it became the fourth day.


    The days where I couldn't sleep continued.

    Early morning, I couldn't get motivated to do my training and just passed time absent-mindedly in the entranceway.


    In this city, even summer is considerably cool.

    Especially in the early morning, when it's even a bit chilly.

    I was absent-mindedly watching the morning sunrise.


    "...?!"


    Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind.

    After turning around, the entranceway was opened.

    The one standing there is Norn.

    She has the large bag I used during my adventurer days on her shoulder.

    Since the inside is completely packed, it's an appearance that gives the premonition of a long journey.

    However, because she's only ten years old, it's almost like she's going on a picnic...


    "..."


    I silently looked at her.

    Norn avoided my gaze awkwardly.

    It was the face one makes when they're found at the scene of a prank.


    "Where are you going?"

    "..."


    Norn wasn't replying.

    I asked once more.


    "Where are you going?"


    Norn looked at me and then opened her mouth after deciding what to say.


    "If ni... nii-san isn't going, then I thought I would go."


    I looked at her seriously for a second time.

    Go, going, to the Begaritto Continent I wonder.


    I look at Norn once more.

    Norn is small.

    Far too small.

    She's still ten years old.


    "..."


    The luggage she's prepared, it doesn't seem like she's prepared all the necessary things she needs at all.

    It seems she has money, but I wonder if she knows how to use it.

    Does she know the routes.

    Does she have a means to avoid danger.

    After she leaves this city, wouldn't she be abducted soon after.


    "Norn, it's impossible for you."

    "But, even though, nii-san... oto-san and oka-san are having a difficult time!?"


    Norn's eyes with tears piling up were aimed towards me.


    "Why, why isn't nii-san going to save them!?"


    Why.

    That is because my child is going to born.

    I have a family.


    "Nii-san, even though you're very strong, even though you can make the journey! Why?"


    I can go on the journey.

    I won't say as well as Elinalise, but I came along as an adventurer for five years as well.

    I have a considerable amount of know-how.

    If I were to look up, there's still a ways to go, but I should have a reasonable amount of skill.

    Even without Ruijerd, I should be able to conquer the Magic Continent.


    "..."


    That's right.

    I can do it.

    It's not about thinking about the choice if I'm going or not going.

    Just like Norn, even if she wants to go, she can't, but that's not the case for me.

    I have the ability.

    I have the ability to make a round trip from here to the Begaritto Continent.

    For this reason, Gisu sent a letter requesting assistance to me.

    Not to any other person, but me.


    "...Norn. I get it."

    "Ni, nii-san...?"


    There are other people who will help me look after Sylphy.

    However, there's no one else who can assist them but me.


    There's no one else other than me.

    I'll travel to the Begaritto Continent and proceed to the Labyrinth City Lapan.

    I'm the guy who can resolve the problems that happen there.


    "I'll go. Norn, is it fine if I leave things with the house to you?"


    Norn's face was suddenly shining.

    And then, soon after she tightly closed her lips.

    She nodded with a serious face.


    "Yes."

    "Don't fight with Aisha and please help things with Sylphy."

    "...Yes!"

    "Alright, good girl."


    I feel I'm going to do something bad to Sylphy.

    Towards the child that is being born as well.

    It could be that she gets tired of my courtesies.


    No.

    That's wrong.

    Here I need to have faith.


    "I'll go to the Begaritto Continent."


    There, I'll save my family.

    Right, I made my decision.


    The Holy Land of Swords. If from there you walked north for about an hour, you'd arrive at a nameless peninsula. There stood a single girl doing practice swings. It was not one of the Sword God Style's forms, nor was it anything else; it was just practice swings. Her name was Eris Greyrat.


    "..."


    Eris Greyrat was swinging her sword. She stood in a place with no one else around.

    She did so single-mindedly, completely single-mindedly.[87]

    Practice swings where you had unnecessary thoughts were useless practice swings.

    Practice swings where you simply imitated someone else had no meaning at all.

    As long as you continued to swing your sword single-mindedly, without a single other thought, with each swing you could sharpen yourself.

    The amount you could improve by was a tiny amount, like a tiny layer of skin, completely transparent; even so, you could sharpen yourself.

    Though it was just like a tiny leaf of skin; you would strengthen yourself.

    But for how long would you have to pile these layers up?

    How long would you need to continue this to reach Orsted's level of strength?

    Eris didn't know.

    No one knew.

    ―――― It could have been that no matter how many of these layers you piled up, you would still never reach Orsted.

    But it was exactly this idea that was an 'unnecessary thought'.


    "...Tsk."


    Eris clicked her tongue, shook her head, and sat down. Then she began to think.

    It was something troublesome. She wanted to defeat Orsted. The more she thought this, the further away Orsted became.

    In the past, Eris's Shisho, Ghyslaine, had said this;

    [Think]

    she had said.

    However, Eris was bad at thinking. No matter how much she thought about it, she couldn't come to an answer after all.

    In light of this, her second Shisho, Ruijerd, was a godsend. 『Understand?』 he would ask. Beating Eris down, and then asking only [Understand?]. Until Eris understood, they'd repeat it, and repeat it, again, and again. Even when her head no longer worked, she'd stand up on the spot and repeat it.

    Eris respected Ghyslaine. She respected Ruijerd as well. Because the Sword God's lessons were irritating, she came to understand the good parts of the two that she respected.

    She continued to swing single-mindedly. She'd swing her sword until she was tired, and then she'd sit down and rest whilst thinking. Then when she was tired of thinking, she'd stand up and continue to swing her sword.

    This was what the Sword God had ordered of Eris. Eris swung her sword as she was told. She'd swing, she'd sit, she'd swing, she'd sit. When she grew hungry, she would eat something. She'd then swing again, sit again, and continue to repeat this. At first she did so in the dojo. However, someone or other would always interrupt.

    The ones who interrupted were mostly other women in the dojo.

    [Hey, you join in on our morning sword rallies as well.] for example.

    [Hey, the food is done so come eat.] for example.

    [Hey, come practice with me for a little.] for example.

    [Hey, you smell so go have a bath.] for example.

    Because it got irritating, Eris left the dojo. After leaving the dojo, she walked straight forward. She found a peninsula with no one else around, and there she did her practice swings. For food she would eat what she brought from the dojo's kitchen, or she would kill and eat monsters that attacked her. Because it was winter she brought firewood from the dojo which she'd light with magic. When she became tired she'd return to the dojo and slept as much as she wanted.

    Eris had already continued such a lifestyle for half a year.

    She'd swing, she'd think, she'd swing, she'd think. There was one thing that Eris had come to realize as well: swinging a sword was difficult.

    When she was small she had thought that it was a lot easier than studying, and that she was a lot more suited for it. That thought hadn't changed even now. She was more suited for swinging a sword than studying.

    However, at the very least, it wasn't easy. Thinking about it, since it was just learning things that others taught you, studying might be easier.

    Just raising her sword, and swinging downwards. Though it was just that much, she couldn't become good at it no matter what. That she should be raising her sword faster. That she should be swinging down faster. Thinking these two thoughts, she'd swing her sword.

    She had become a lot faster than she was half a year ago. However, Ghyslaine was even faster. Ruijerd was even faster. The Sword God was even faster. And Orsted was much, much faster.

    Eris sat down. She began to think. She began to think about how to swing her sword. She recalled the Sword God, Ruijerd, and Orsted's figures.

    How was it that the Sword God moved? How did Ruijerd, and Orsted?

    She would try to imitate them, imitate their every cell from their fingertips to their shoulders. Then, whilst aiming for even greater heights, she'd imitate them. She wanted to transcend them.

    However, she didn't know how to do so. She didn't know. There was no way she could know. Eris was bad at thinking.

    Once she got tired of thinking, she'd stand up and continue swinging her sword. Without thinking a thought, she'd swing her sword.

    -Raise it up, swing it down.-

    [It has to be faster.]

    -Raise it up, swing it down.-

    [It has to be faster.]

    Tens of times, hundreds of times, thousands of times, she'd repeat this. When she did, worldly thoughts would interrupted her. This happened when she was tired.


    "...Tsk."


    Clicking her tongue, Eris sat down. Her hand hurt. Her mind wasn't working properly. She produced a cloth from her chest and carelessly wrapped it.

    Eris didn't think that this was tough. She would always recall that incident three years ago, at the Lower Mouth of the Red Dragon. When she compared it to that, she felt like she could endure anything else. That's why this wasn't tough. Whether it was the pain, the harshness, or the frustration, it wasn't tough. Even if it was the fact that she was now alone, or that he wasn't by her side, it wasn't tough.


    "Rudeus..." she muttered.


    However, she didn't think about anything further. Eris was bad at thinking after all. It wasn't as though she was someone who could only think optimistic thoughts; she understood that if she thought about it more deeply, she would break.


    "Phew..."


    3 years.

    Though she thought that she had gotten stronger, there was still a long way to go.

    Eris stood up again and started swinging her sword again.


    Fighting off the urge to sleep, Eris returned to the dojo. When she did, she found an unfamiliar man standing at the entrance of the dojo.

    He was an eccentric man. He was wearing a rainbow-coloured coat, shorts that barely reached his knees, and four swords at his hip. He had a peacock tattoo on his cheek and his hair was styled in the shape of a dish antenna.

    When he spotted Eris, he lowered his head a little and gave his greetings.


    "I am the North-"[88]

    "Move it."


    Eris spoke only one line to the man who was stopping her from entering the dojo. She didn't have the energy to speak further.

    Because of the practice swings, Eris had been sharpened to her limit. The glint in her eyes was like that of a beast. Killing intent welled out from her whole body, like a glow. There stood a wild beast that would allow no one near her.


    "...!"


    The man immediately drew his sword.


    "You're in the way; move it."


    Eris spoke as she took a step forward. Eris could recognize the man before her as nothing but a hindrance; a rock that stood in the way of the shortest place to her sleeping place.


    "Wh-, what's with this woman...?"


    At the time, the man hadn't realized that Eris was speaking. A starving beast was before his eyes. While the hungry beast was out searching for prey, he had unfortunately come across it. That was the conclusion he had reached based on his experiences.

    He hadn't thought that a beast would speak. However, after a few seconds Eris prepared her sword, and only then did he finally realize her true nature. It seemed that she was human, and a swordswoman.


    "I am 『Peacock Sword』 Auber. 'I am here to meet the disciple of the Sword God Style.' Could you please convey this to Sword God-sam-..."

    "I told you to move."


    While irritated, Eris advanced another step. "Move" she said. However, that line didn't reach the man named Auber. All that reached him was her bloodlust.

    Speaking to her was useless. This idea floated through this man's mind. It was likely that after her next step, he would be in her range.[89] Realizing this, Auber's right hand grasped his sword tightly, whilst his left hand moved to the shortsword at his waist. However, the swords he held were pointed the wrong way; the side that faced Eris was the back of the blade.

    He was now in her range. In that instant, Eris decided to remove the rock in front of her.


    "Shh!" [Sfx: He's exhaling through the teeth]


    Eris's blade flew. It was the 『Longsword of Light』 that had been sharpened to the limit because of her practice swings. It was a technique that the average person could do nothing against: the Sword God Style's certain kill technique.


    "Fhh-!"


    But that was only for the average person. Auber swung the swords in his hands and parried it. Sensing this, Eris moved for a return swing.


    "...!"


    Eris's sword was checked by the sword in Auber's left hand. Auber was dual-wielding, whereas Eris was using a two-handed grip. The power of their strikes couldn't be compared. Eris simply swung. However, she was parried. Her sword stopped near the man's dish-antenna hairdo. Eris was parried and because of that she stumbled forward.

    In that instant, Auber's right sword moved. It was aimed at Eris's neck and moving at a terrifying speed.


    "Tsk!"


    Eris let go of her sword and fell to the ground in a squat. Auber's sword cut through the space where Eris' neck had been.

    Like a cat, Eris rolled her body. She was aiming for her sword. Auber immediately kicked it away. It was buried in the snow.

    It would've been his victory. Normally, that is.

    However, Eris didn't stop. Seeing that she couldn't attack with a sword, she leapt at Auber barehanded.

    Auber immediately slapped Eris away with the flat of his blade. It was a strong enough impact to break the bones in one's neck.

    However.

    However, Eris wouldn't stop.


    "Gahhhhh!"


    Eris swung her fist at the chip of Auber's chin. Still grasping his swords, Auber moved his left arm to stop it.


    "Mu-!"


    Auber's right hand was caught by Eris. Her fingers arrived at the sword's pommel. She was trying to take his sword.

    A chill ran down Auber's spine. He realized that this beast couldn't be stopped unless he killed her. He kicked away the woman who was holding him and righted the swords that he had been holding backwards until now.

    By luck, Eris had been kicked to where her sword was. Her breathing wild, she picked up her sword. There was no choice but to kill her. The moment Auber readied his sword and seriously meant to kill,


    "That's enough."


    suddenly, a voice rang out. The bloodlust stilled. Eris as well received that killing intent and stopped her movements.

    At some point, the Sword God had been standing at the entrance of the dojo. Auber sheathed his sword, and Eris collapsed onto her back with a flop. Breathing wildly, she looked up at the sky. Her face was warped into an expression of frustration.

    Auber placed his right hand to his chest and bowed.


    "It has been a while, Sword God-sama."

    "You've come, 『North Emperor』."

    "I saw your letter and... And then that girl..."

    "Yeah, amazin' right?"

    "It's my first time meeting such a serious swordsman. She was like a beast... Ahh, is this the Mad Dog that you mentioned?"


    Whilst Auber chatted with the Sword God, Eris stood up, swaying like a ghost. Seeing that figure, Auber readied his sword.


    "..."


    Eris glared at Auber and entered the dojo.


    "..."


    Without even sparing a backwards glance to the dumbfounded Auber, Eris entered the building. Whilst wiping the gash on her cheek, without even shaking off the snow, she walked down the corridor and entered her room. She then tossed her sword near her pillow and collapsed onto her hard bed. Like that, she slept like a log.

    She was bitter about her loss. However, right now that was a trivial matter to Eris.

    That evening, Ghyslaine arrived at the [Space of the Present] audience room.

    There sat the Sword God Gul Farion and a guest, 『North Emperor Auber』.

    He had an eccentric hairstyle and odd clothing. Ghyslaine was frowning a little. However, she didn't pay it any heed and rudely entered. She then immediately got to the point.


    "Shisho, why aren't you teaching Eris?"


    Hearing that, the Sword God gave a short laugh.


    "I am teaching her, aren't I?"

    "How to do practice swings?"

    "No, how to forge herself."


    The Sword God answered as if natural. His voice had none of the usual wildness. It was a calm reply. Ghyslaine couldn't stomach such an attitude. That's why she racked her dull mind and chose her words.


    "This is something that Shisho always says. [Do everything rationally], you say."

    "I did say that."

    "Eris spends everyday doing sword swings like an idiot; just what part of that is rational?"

    "Hah...?"


    The Sword God looked at Ghyslaine like she was a nuisance.


    "When did you start to talk about annoying things like this?"

    "Before I returned here!"

    "...Will you no longer listen to what your Shisho says?"

    "However... Uh!"


    Before Ghyslaine had noticed, a sword was pointed at her. To an ordinary person it would've looked like the sword had suddenly appeared. Ghyslaine had seen the movement of the sword. However, she hadn't been able to respond. Even if she was a Sword King, in the face of the man who was this generation's fastest, she wasn't skilled enough to react properly.


    "Ghyslaine. You know, I kinda regret teaching you a little."[90]

    "..."

    "That old Ghyslaine who was like a hungry tiger lost her fangs and turned into a little kitten. Even though had you stayed as you were, you'd be a Sword Emperor by now."


    Ghyslaine gulped at the Sword God's words. Lately, Ghyslaine herself had sensed that she had become weaker.

    However, it wasn't something that she had thought of as a bad thing. Indeed, her growth as a swordsman had stopped. She wouldn't become any stronger than this. However, in exchange she had gained something great: they were wisdom and knowledge. They were things that she would never gain from swordsmanship.


    "I won't pull out anymore fangs."


    The Sword God was dedicated to the sword. He expected Ghyslaine to understand with just that. However, Ghyslaine irritably asked,


    "I don't understand. Why aren't you training her? Isn't Eris pitiful like this?"


    The Sword God sighed. He sighed as though Ghyslaine was a child who wouldn't understand unless you spelled it out from A to Z for her.


    "Listen up, Ghyslaine. If you just wanted to surpass me, then following rational methods to the end, you could surpass me one day. I myself ended up where I am by following rational methods, after all. Well, of course to become a Sword God you'd need effort and talent as well, but let's leave that aside. What that girl is aiming for is the Dragon God. The Dragon God Orsted. He's 『an existence beyond rationality』. HE's a monster in a completely different league. With only my teachings, you'll never defeat him."


    The Sword God narrowed his eyes as if recalling something nostalgic. He himself had actually fought with Orsted once. It was before he had become a Sword God, back when he was still a stubborn Sword Saint. Though it had been a complete loss, for some reason his life wasn't taken; on the contrary, he didn't even know why he was left without even a limb missing. His stubbornness had been completely broken, and after that he continued to train with Orsted as his goal. The result of that was his ascension to Sword God. It was exactly because of this that he didn't feel like being interrupted further on this topic.


    "Hey, Ghyslaine. Training isn't the same as practice, yanno? Even more so if you have a goal. There's no point if you just blindly accept what someone else tells you. Right?"

    "...Shisho always speaks of difficult things. I don't understand."

    "Hah!"


    Ghyslaine replied. The Sword God snorted.

    That's right. She's an idiot who won't understand even if you carefully spell it out from A to Z.


    "Well, the point is that she's not just gonna be taking lessons from me. For that purpose, I've prepared various things. To start with, this guy."


    Saying this, the Sword God pointed at Auber. Auber gave a small nod and greeted her.


    "I am the North Emperor, Auber Corvette. I'm known as 『Peacock Sword』."


    Ghyslaine frowned. It was because an indescribable odor was coming from Auber's body. It was a strong, citrusy smell. It was probably a perfume. To a member of the Beast Race like Ghyslaine, it was an unpleasant smell.


    "What business does the North God Style have here?"

    "I've been called here by Sword God-sama. He wanted me to train one of his students, he said."


    Ghyslaine made an even more doubtful expression. She then questioned the Sword God.


    "Why the North God Style? Eris isn't suitable for their kind of makeshift style."

    "Because the Dragon God uses it."


    The doubt on Ghyslaine's face deepened. She had never heard that the Dragon God used the North God Style. If he were a North God Style, then the Second Place was likely the North God.


    "Just what kind of person is the Dragon God?"

    "Like I'd know... But that guy, whether it's the Sword God Style, or the North God style, what he uses incorporates all of that. Of course if you can use it, then you can deal with it, and that guy uses it. In that case if we don't learn to use it too, we won't be able to fight evenly against him."


    The grimness on Ghyslaine's face disappeared. After all, learning to use the techniques that the enemy used was an extremely rational approach.


    "I see, so in the future you'll call for the Water God Style as well?"

    "Yeah, I'll send a letter."

    "I see."


    Ghyslaine's tail started swaying in a good mood. Seeing that, the Sword God chuckled bitterly. As long as it was a reply she could easily understand, she would consent. In this respect, she hadn't changed at all since the past.


    "Well then, North Emperor-dono, please stay at your leisure."


    Because her doubts had cleared, Ghyslaine had stood up and greeted the North Emperor. She got down on one knee and performed the particular etiquette passed down in the Sword God Style.


    "Mmn, Sword King-dono. I'll be in your care."


    Auber once again placed a hand to his chest and returned the greeting. And so like that, Eris would begin her training from the beginning again.


    ------


    Eris would eventually become a 『North Saint』 a year from that point.




    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DQN
    2. Radio Taiso
    3. Mineral Water in Engrish, you just can't make this stuff up.
    4. I'm not sure how tofu works, but strain/filter through a cloth?
    5. Bancho = Delinquent Leader/Head http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banch%C5%8D_(position)
    6. Expression: nemimi ni mizu, water in the ears.
    7. "roku ma ren"
    8. 愕怨祭 reference to Sakigake!! otokojuku? can't read it those kanji/kana but Gakuensai would generally mean school festival, though the way the line is worded would be like, "School Festival Festival School Festival" making no sense on my end.
      Vanant: The kanji read 'gakuensai', but it's basically a joke lol. The kanji sound the same as 'School Festival' (学園祭, gakuensai) but are actually just random 'tough' words that have the same sound, Fear Grudge Festival (愕怨祭, gakuensai). It's basically the same stupid stuff as 'nice to meet you' 夜露死苦 (NIGHT DEW DEATH SUFFERING, yoroshiku) or 'Hello Kitty' 覇狼鬼帝(Conquering Wolf Demon Emperor, harou kitei).
    9. Clearly some kind of reference.
    10. Why is Rudi playing the pronoun game here? It's plenty obvious!
    11. Wow. Pro style expression usage there Rudeus. He literally breaks it off with something or other. Googled: Toranu tanuki no kawazanyou, the expression means something like calculating your profit before you capture it. Now go get them tsuchinokos!
    12. IN ENGRISH~
    13. Ed: I think this is referencing back to the 1st Volume in which he wondered why mana cost increases with decreasing size. The question would be interesting here but it seems Rudeus has forgotten about it :/
    14. Right it's the infirmary right? We can all thank Skuizaan for the name change from "doctor's room" at least I think it was Skui?
    15. I really hate that ohimesama dakko line, it makes me think of some wrestling move even though I know that's not the case... Princess Choke hold!
    16. Research Room OR Experiment Room make up yo damn mind! Same place I know, but it keeps switching back and forth.
    17. I don't know if we consider Princess Hold = Princess Choke hold then it might suit him as well. Being a prince and all.
    18. Bioshock reference.
      "Big Daddies are human beings who have had their bodies directly grafted into antiqued, heavily armored atmospheric diving suits. They are mentally conditioned armed escorts to the Little Sisters, little girls who gather ADAM from corpses. The girls in turn interact with the Big Daddy, referring to it as "Mr. Bubbles"."
    19. Euphemism for suicide via glass shards.
    20. Zhuge Liang? Or three heads are better than one? ED: Might be the Confucian concept 'Three people walk together, there must be a teacher of mine among them' laclongquan: Chinese idiom, 3 tailors working together can bring greater wisdom than Kong Ming.
    21. Was that another super obscure DBZ reference? KAKAROTTTT~
    22. Important life lesson right here. Darker: I think this actually a Batman reference. To be more specific a reference to one of the origin stories of the joker. I think it was the silver age one :Ü™
    23. The line he uses here is the exact same one Daru from Steins;Gate uses when Okabe tries to write off his sexual harassment in episode 3, I'm not sure if there's a deeper meaning to it.
    24. Some kind of proverb alcohol, sake wa hyakuyaku no chou = best medicine + worst poison
    25. If you recognize this song, Uncle Sam needs you! No really though, I'm not touching this line (song) feel free to fix it if you know it. Door to Hope (希望への扉)?
    26. Not sure on the reference. Maybe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhara_%28song%29. Now I have to go watch Monkey...
    27. And here I thought those were called yarikons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konpa
    28. http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140227054043/ssb/images/6/6b/Iceclimbermeleeclear.png Ice Climbers
    29. konaki jiji http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konaki-jiji
    30. Ruijerd are you referring to Eris catching the Warrior Illness and thus being vague or hinting that you're impotent as well?
    31. No clue... 即発 Rudeus you're driving me insane since this last part with all these odd descriptive words...
    32. Dude, Rudeus you must be the first protgaonist to EVER straight up reject that flag.
    33. Line # 97 that I have no idea how to translate what was being said in this chapter. Can't we just go with "She grabbed his sleeve modestly" without making obscure sounds or movements that dont exist in reality? Darker: You're dealing with a japanese text... HOW DARE YOU DEFY THE WEEB DIRECTIVE?! BE PURGED!
    34. hyakumenso, 100 faces, or 100 masks expression.
    35. Refers to Shirone Kingdom's rescue
    36. normally children look down when they are left in the care of someone they don't know, and do not have their parents with them
    37. Emotional distance
    38. leave this as Jap here . Just in case, Imouto = little sister
    39. Keigo
    40. This should sound funny, I.e. Ruijerd avoiding him because of his strange and overly familiar speech. Like "I don't know you!"
    41. this is Aisha
    42. He is trying to Hide the ED by saying Sick/Ill
    43. Bad personality, troublemaker ???
    44. Like Nurarihon
    45. Kūdere (クーデレ?)
      A character type, mostly of a female character, who is normally cold and unassuming but later reveals a softer and kinder side. See Tsundere.
      Darker: Wrong, you described the dandere. The kuudere is only cold/sarcastic to her love interest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8MIvq84Ic0
    46. She means the Trip from Earth to this world
    47. I think Sylphy is making a pun using herself as a reference
    48. Ed: In japanese there is only 1 word for like and love. It's 'suki' (the u is silent)
    49. The mock duel with Fitts-chan
    50. Thanks Liliabama!
    51. WRONG THAT WAS VOLUME 5!
    52. Good ol' Japanese furo~
    53. Rather it's questionable if he even realized this was going on. SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT IN THE LETTER, MAN!
    54. literally NG (no good) nashi, oruokke (all okay) in Engrish
    55. Room Clothes.... Seriously... I can't imagine anything but a bath robe, glass of wine, and a pipe?
    56. Yeah. wabi 侘 wabi わび suki 数寄 suki すき , the closest guess I have is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-cha
    57. The only mental image I could get from this line was Lupin, technically it was just a bit different though... quickly taking off clothes.
    58. Every house needs its own personal soapland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soapland
    59. omu no yo, inko no yo, do we really need to compare her to two different types of parrots?
    60. You and me both Rudeus. Let's just stop thinking about it there.
    61. Darker: *gasp* You can't tell people not to get cold! It's like telling them not to get raped! Hmm, I think I went from ridiculing to sarcastic in an unfitting way :/ Feel free to edit this out
    62. Ariel, via Fitts, crushed their old delinquent group so they were alone until Rudi came and only got some followers after things were smoothed over with Ariel. I guess the other students didn't want to get expelled like the last bunch.
    63. Happy Turn
    64. They seem to have fundamentally misunderstood Roxyism.
    65. A type of haircut.
    66. TL note: She has been referring to Rudeus as 兄(Ani) rather than 兄さん(Nii-san) before this in her inner monologue. The former is a more distant way of addressing family than the latter. She has never truly called Rudeus "Brother" at any point up till now.
    67. Japanese centipede also called Mukade
    68. Or piano
    69. iromegane, rose-colored glasses or flowered vision, I believe this is referring to his bias at least... sounds a bit odd leaving it in original form though.
    70. He uses a tone similar to Aisha here. Oh, and it's an ironic meaning, not direct meaning. It's not like he want Norn imouto to sit on his lap or anything, you know~!
    71. Half of which were BL fanfics.
    72. Rudeus always sports his rose-colored glasses.
    73. Proverb/expression, suki koso wa mono no jozu nare, not perfect but I think that works.
    74. Of all the obscure trees... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baobab It is not that obscure. When ones talk about giant trees, ones must talk about Baobab, right?
    75. dad/father
    76. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyaru
    77. Or a wall in the form a green goo.
    78. It may or may not also periodically shout "Hey! Hey Listen! Hey!"
    79. Yes, it says Zapanizu in Engrish. Not Japanese.
    80. She was pretty delighted after that strangling incident in the side story after all...
    81. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mawashi
    82. ...*bangs head against wall* Assume this line was said by a butler who you pay $1,000,000 a year just to talk to you like you're God. That would match how formal it is intended.
    83. Oh, hey look grey matter is actually grey! If someone wants to TLC this and make it as formal as it's intended, feel free. I'll just be over here on the ground.
    84. daddy's child
    85. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsundere because we're all otaku here anyways.
    86. Carrot and the stick
    87. Note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushin
    88. Note: He uses soregashi as a personal pronoun, which is apparently samurai-ish. I don't watch chanbara, so this is just from wikipedia.
    89. Note: maai, if you practice martial arts like me
    90. Note: Noting again that the Sword God refers to himself as ore-sama