Don’t worry, Oniisama!
With her hair tied up as always, the servant’s young lord met her gaze through the mirror.
This little lord had a habit of quietly looking people in the eyes when asking them a question.
Those copper eyes of hers were still, as though devoid of any light of emotion.
When the servant stopped moving and tilted her head in wait, the question that came to her was beyond expectation.
“Hey, Keika. Between my father and I, who do you think will achieve more for the Ruzil?”
The small lord who had just turned nine, questioned her with a perfect smile.
The copper hair and eyes served to make the calm girl appear older than she was.
Her, and the clan head; just whom did Keika hold allegiance to? ―――Indeed, the girl was instigating betrayal.
Keika’s lord had suddenly matured over the last two years.
In the past she was already a girl brimming with talent, but ever since she took over responsibility for her deadweight brother, she had become completely absorbed in her magic studies.
Her vigour for studies seemed almost mad; enough that even the more power worshipping members of the clan drew away from her, to say nothing of her mother.
In terms of technique, she still had a long way to go.
However, even compared to the current clan head who was extolled as the most talented in history, it was clear that the girl was by far more promising.
Keika was a true daughter of the Ruzil, as well as a magician.
Her lord was the head of the Ruzil clan, and could be nobody else.
However, as though overturning such a taboo, the girl solicited Keika, as her copper eyes brimmed with dark emotions.
This was despite knowing that the close aides of the current head were set in stone, as well as knowing that Keika did not hope to walk a path above a maid’s.
The girl asked Keika. Would Keika betray the head and become her first retainer, or would Keika content herself to a lifetime of mediocrity?
Keika knew full well that she was not such a talented magician that she could afford to overlook this crossroad in life; this chance*.
Excited, Keika could dimly feel the blood rushing away from her arms and legs.
“…I-, I… swear a lifetime of allegiance to you.”
“Thank you, my dear Keika. There is something that I would like you to investigate―――”
With a smile, the small lord whispered a plan into the maid’s ear.
Trembling with fear and joy, the maid accepted her order as though in a dream.
Finishing my early morning training, after wiping down my sweat, as I was about to return to my room and was walking down the outdoors corridor, I found Gil-sama’s hand beckoning me over from the shadow of a pillar.
I wonder what he wants.
Even though he always avoids me because he’s scared of me or something. How rare.
I could just act normally and leave for my room after a glare, but I just happened to have needed a word with him as well, so while secretly feeling pretty elated inside, I accepted his invitated and headed over to the pavilion.
When I sat down, Oniisama who was sitting opposite me stared right at me, and frowned while looking a little troubled.
It’s cute, but I wonder what’s up.
Making such a cute troubled face, are you trying to kill me through moe!?
It’s fine to tell your esteemed little sister about your troubles, you know. If there are any guys that you have a problem with, I’ll burn them to cinders.
Thinking all this while waiting for Gil-sama to talk, what came out of his mouth next overturned my expectations.
“Origa, I don’t think overworking yourself like this is…”
“There is no need to hear this from *you, Oniisama. I am properly taking care of my body.”
“Your complexion didn’t look very good. If I was wrong, I’m sorry.”
I’m a little surprised.
Geez, so he’s advanced in the water element enough that he can tell this much about me.
Water magic is the magic of healing.
I’ve heard that just by looking at somebody’s face, a skilled practitioner can tell things like what ails them, or how much longer they have to live.
If this is what’s happening with Gil-sama, then although I haven’t noticed it myself, I probably am a little tired.
There’s the fact that I’ve gotten a healthy body after reincarnating as well, and since I don’t know what my limit is, I often overuse magic, or study for too long and hurt my body. I’d better be careful.
“…Understood. I shall take a rest later. Is there anything else?”
“Did you call me all the way over here only to say just that?”
Seeing him blink blankly, I accidentally muttered “How rare.”.
It’s not just that he knows that he’s bad at dealing with me, but there’s also the fact that there would be a high chance that he would be targeted by other clan members, which is why he normally stays away from me, but…
Speaking of which, I get the feeling that he’s been a little assertive lately.
As I thought, he’s probably getting along with his swordsmanship teacher just like in the novel, or so I was deeply pondering.
His face slightly flushed, he dropped me a bombshell question.
“Ahh… Ummm, hey. For a break, how about you come with me to the festival in the city?”
Huh. But I’m pretty sure that not once in the novel did Gil-sama invite Origa anywhere.
Then, is this an event that appeared because I pushed ‘fate'[the story] forward?
Or rather, being able to go on a date with the protagonist… If there were any fans in this world, they’d definitely strangle me.
That’s just how crazed his fans were.
“I had tried visiting town, and heard that there would apparently be a festival soon. You’ve never been there before, right? So since it was a good opportunity, I was wondering if you were interes… ted…?”
Is that okay? It’s okay right? Isn’t it okay?
Including the preparation period, I’ve been playing the Princess of the Inferno for five years now, so wouldn’t it be fine to be rewarded at least this much?
Even leaving out questions like, ‘Why is such an event occurring, even though his impression of my should be as bad as it gets?’, there shouldn’t be a problem.
I’m pretty sure that it’s an event that never occurred in the novels after all, and even if I take it as a side benefit for my position, I should be able to cover over an event *this trivial.
Even if I can’t hold hands with Oniisama, if it’s just accidentally doing something like saying ‘Open your mouth. Ahhhn.’, it wouldn’t be a problem, right!?
Because I suddenly started screaming in my mind as I leapt into delusions, I spaced out for a little.
Seeing his little sister suddenly fall into silence and cycling through various facial expressions, I’m sure he felt nothing but fear.
Because in front of me, Gil-sama’s face was a little cramped.
Anyway, while I was opening my mouth to try my best to reply, ―――unfortunately, I felt a signal being lit.
…Ah. This conversation is also being watched by one of Otousama’s subordinates.
It’s been happening more and more since that incident the other day, but lately it’s just been too bold.
Is this also a trap to test and check out thoughts?
With my head suddenly changing gears, being a little more conscious about it, I replied in a cold voice.
“No.” that is.
“…Are you failing to comprehend it, Oniisama? At present, war could erupt with the neighbouring nation at any time. One of the cornerstones of the nation wasting her time precious instead of improving her magic? Just what are you trying to say?”
Both the fact that war is coming, as well as the fact that the Clan of Fire will be necessary, is according to ‘history fact'[the setting].
There’s no way to change this.
That’s why there’s no denying that I need to become strong, even a moment sooner. I wasn’t lying.
As long as I recite 【Origa】’s lines according to memory, there won’t be a problem.
“You’re going to improve your skills and, burn, people?”
“Yes. If the Clan of Fire fails to burn away the enemies, the citizens of our nation will be trampled upon.”
Unlike the future saviour of the country who was now making a troubled expression, that’s the only thing I can do.
Fire magic is not something used to save people.
When I silently stood up and made to leave, my arm was caught.
When I slowly looked him in the eyes, I found that determination blazed in those eyes that pained my heart.
“Origa. I really do think that we should visit town. The people of this family are strong. But you need to get to know what normal people are like as well.”
“Get to know them, and learn the preciousness of their frail lives? Ridiculous.”
To show a sheltered girl a new world, and even if only a little, change this unfeeling family full of bloodthirsty power-worshippers.
The only one in this family that he could be face to face with was me, his little sister, which is why he called out to me.
I’m sure that’s the reason for his unusual behaviour.
But 【Origa】 will not be swayed―――that’s how the story goes.
“Enough. I will not humour your blather. It is a waste of time.”
“Killing people will give birth to hatred. That’ll just cause a cycle-”
“Oniisama. If you do not desire scars that will accompany you for a lifetime, then shut your mouth this instant.”
With a snap, I created a small ball of flames by my fingertips and held it to his nose, causing him to widen his eyes and stiffen.
He knew quite well the pain of these red flames.
He knew that this flame, this magic, could give birth to nothing but hatred and pain.
Hating, and being hated. History repeating itself.
I personally feel that prioritising lives is the right way of thinking.
In the novels, Gil-sama also took a stand under that belief.
I feel the same way, and it’s because he stuck to this belief that I admired Gil-sama.
However. Agreeing and fighting alongside him is not my role.
“If you hate to see blood running, then please become strong enough to stop it, before saying such things to me.”
“Our clan, no, our *country, has no other way but this. It is our best hand.”
I repeated this. To let the people in the distance hear, and to remind myself once again.
“As long as this is our best hand, Otousama and myself as well, will continue to light the other nations in flames.”
To signify that we had nothing left to discuss, I shook off Oniisama’s arm when I once again felt a signal being lit.
The meaning of that mild and quiet flame was, ‘capture’.
The signal from the maid that I had convinced to become my arms and legs.
To determine which of these people were listening in for Otousama, and to remove them from the stage―――this was my first act of resistance towards Otousama.
She joined me in training a few times and was a little whimsical, but Keika had enough magical ability to be chosen as Origa’s maid.
Since she sent a signal, identifying Otousama’s loyal follower was probably a success.
A success in identifying that little crow that was listening to things it wasn’t supposed to, trying its best to think, and quietly whispering to the clan head.
It’s terribly irritating having no choice but to do things reactively, but it can’t be helped.
If somebody powerful unconditionally spoiled the weak Oniisama, the other members of the clan would hurt him.
My maid Keika is a good example; this clan’s complex regarding power is really much too strong.
In this age, of the families once extolled as the Five Great Magic Clans, only the Fire, Wind, and Tree clans are left.
This trend of weakening blood and ability over the generations is something harsh to those who live for nothing but magic.
That’s why a boy who inherited exceptional talent but not a smidgen of the fire element was a strong symbol of decay to such people.
Because of that, everybody was overly conscious of Oniisama, wanted to get rid of him, and wished to forget about him completely.
There were only two ways to protect him.
The first was to declare that I was fond of Oniisama, and protect him with my own power.
――However, on top of this being terribly difficult, it wouldn’t be any good for his independence.
That’s why I took the other method, where I thrust him away and instead took the initiative to show my rejection of him.
So as to avoid stimulating their complexes about him, and so that things wouldn’t escalate beyond a certain point.
Mysteriously, this meant that I would be doing the same things as 【Origa】, but that was my best hand.
“Ah, I know. ―――If I hear nothing but nonsense, the ‘one who gave you this useless knowledge'[your teacher in swordsmanship] may find himself in a crisis as well, you know?”
‘Please watch your words’, I threatened him.
While hearing the sound of him collapsing onto the bench, I turned to the building and *this time made my way there.
I’ll probably be quite busy from now on, even with Keika at my disposal.
Gil-sama is beginning to hold his own beliefs, so I can take it to mean that the story is beginning to move.
It’s a few years earlier than planned, but as long as I make things fit together with 【Origa】’s actions, I can say for sure that I know what the future holds.
Although I know the setting and the story, I had better begin seriously dealing with anyone who might try to kill ‘outsiders’.
When I glanced backwards, I found Oniisama slumped lifelessly.
Once I think of the future path that Oniisama needs to tread, having a bad impression of me suits things just fine.
I was feeling ecstatic so I hadn’t noticed, but although this was set to happen later in time, it was part of the novels that we would face each other with opposing ideologies.
It would be fine to think of the events today as falling under that.
With this as the start, we’ll begin to grow further and further apart.
Just like in those books.
I can’t imagine just how wonderful it would be if I could help him directly.
However, Gil-sama is much too kind, so I’m sure it would pain him when it comes time to kill and abandon me.
That’s why it might be better this way.
It was two days prior that the girl had collapsed from anaemia, as a result of continuing to train in disregard of her growth-related mana imbalances.
Her room overflowed with get-well presents, and although the girl could see how important she was to the clan, she herself held no interest in this.
The feelings behind those gifts were not pure thoughts of consideration for her, and so there was no need to go out of her way to think of ways to thank them.
Just showing her healthy self would be plenty thanks, after all.
Upon forcing her still sluggish body to the terrace window, she found that something was lightly fluttering outside.
In wonder, the girl opened to window to find a get-well card and a ribboned bouquet.
The bouquet in her hand was made from field flowers and was terribly simple, yet she could feel from it a kindness that exceeded any other, no matter how gorgeous they might be.
The girl only knew of one person who would give her such a bouquet.
The girl couldn’t thank him directly.
Because if those around her witnessed such a thing, they would surely abuse the one who had sent these flowers.
Still, it meant that even when she forced herself to act well, there was still somebody who had noticed that she hadn’t recovered.
Because of that, the girl had no need to show her thanks.
Sinking into thought for just a while, she pulled out just one flower, and after glancing at the contents, she threw the card into the fireplace along with the bouquet.
Pressing the flower between the pages of a diary that nobody would read, the girl muttered something with a troubled smile, before walking towards the door.
Don’t worry, Oniisama!
―――I’ll give my best tomorrow as well!