Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Eroge Villain 41 (Part 2)
The next morning, I was making breakfast in the log-house kitchen when Noel came down from the room in the attic. Cautiously, she peeked into the kitchen and let out a sigh of relief when she saw me.
“I’m glad you’re here, Nii-sama. Good morning.”
“Good morning, Noel. Sorry for scaring you. After you fell asleep, I remembered I have this mobile home and moved you here. Did you sleep comfortably?”
“The bed was extremely soft and very comfortable. And it was my first time staying in an attic room! It was really exciting – like going to a different world.”
“If you like it, you can sleep up there tonight as well.”
“Th-thank you so much!”
Noel smiled, perhaps because she was well-rested, or because she liked the attic room. We ended up having breakfast in a cheerful atmosphere.
However, once we were outside and the log-house was put away, we faced each other again and the air around me changed completely.
I took my dagger out and pointed the blade at her.
“I’m just going to say this first – I don’t plan on going easy on you. No matter how much you want to make your wish come true or how much you make me sympathise with you, I won’t lose. That’s how I’m going to fight until the time is up.”
I threw some harsh words at her.
Noel bit her lip, her brows creasing.
“Why…? Nii-sama treasures me. I can tell that much just by spending time with you. So why won’t you let me be by your side? I’m not strong enough to defeat you…”
Exactly. Noel couldn’t win as long as I was unwilling to lose. That’s the reason I chose this method. It wasn’t a way to get me to stay by her side, but a way to make her give up on her wish.
“To be by your side, I must stay in the capital. But for Luca and I to be together in the capital, we’d have to live in hiding, constantly wary of the eyes of others. The people won’t allow someone with black hair to stand next to the prince. I’d be confined indoors for the majority of the time. There’s also the possibility that they’ll separate me from Luca. Your wish is to tie me down – am I just supposed to accept that?”
“N-no. That’s not what I wanted! Besides-”
“If you think you can gather the star fragments and make a wish to the king… if you think that such a thing will solve this, then I can only call you naïve. Those that will be pardoned by the king aren’t the majority, but a single person – me. Do you know how easy it is to ostracise a single person? Are you going to protect me? Are you going to protect the dark attribute users that have been branded as evil and discriminated against for hundreds of years?”
She couldn’t. If the daughter of a count went around desperately telling others that it’s bad to discriminate against dark attribute users, they’ll just think of her as an oddball or a lunatic. Their gazes will only wear her down. Then should I still choose to go down that path? The path in which my sister’s spirit will be broken? Never.
“Fight me with all that you’ve got. Fight me until you give up on that wish on your own accord. I’ll stop you with everything that I have.”
“I… I will!”
Though she looked like she was about to cry, Noel finally swung her sword for real, and as I told her, I blocked it every single time.
After nine days, on the afternoon of the 25th, Luca called. They’d beaten the boss, collected the star fragment and were on their way out of the dungeon.
“It’s over. We should head back as well.”
“Yes… Thank you, very much.”
Noel lowered her sword, her breathing erratic, and bowed her head as she always did. Today though, she didn’t immediately lift it up and remained like that, staring at the ground.
Her body was trembling and drops of water dotted the ground. Was she crying?
It must have been frustrating for her. For ten whole days, she fought against me and couldn’t even land a single scratch, let alone win.
The sight of her made my heart waver a bit about my own helplessness.
However, she’d definitely grown stronger in these ten days. The others will surely be surprised if they see Noel now. They’ll admire her well-honed and beautiful sword skills.
I gently patted Noel’s head as she cried in frustration, despite having achieved so much growth.
“You fought well. You tried your best. Your form was good until the end. Noel, you are a sister that I can be proud of.”
“Nii… sama. Uu… sob… uuu.” Noel lifted her head and immediately jammed her face into my chest.
I hugged her small back that heaved with sobs and stroked her head. Then, I kissed the top of her silver hair, like I used to do when we were small.
She looked up in surprise and I placed a kiss on her forehead as well – exactly the same as in the past.
Noel started crying even harder.
“Uwaaaaan. I love you, Nii-sama!”
“Yeah. I love you too.”
“Ah! Noel and Zagan are back! Welcome home, Noel. Good work on your training! Wait, huh? Your eyes are kind of swollen.”
“Eh? They’re still swollen even though I put a damp towel on them?”
Nina, who’d been standing at the house’s gate, ran up to Noel and started talking as soon as she saw us. I walked past the two of them and headed to where Luca was standing, waiting for me. He opened his arms wide and drew me closer into a tight hug.
“Welcome back, Zagan. You’ve worked hard.”
“Luca too, welcome back.”
“Mm, I’m back. I missed you the whole time. Ah, I finally have Zagan. I’m happy.”
He pecked me on the lips, nuzzled against my cheek and kissed my hair. Wrapped up in Luca’s warmth after a long time, I breathed out in relief. His touch was calming and made my heart warm and fuzzy. It felt like coming back home.
While Luca hugged me, I got a bit curious about Noel’s situation so I snuck a peek behind me. Nina was touching Noel’s face. She seemed to be massaging her eye area.
“There, that’s better. But why were you crying? Even though you were together with your brother.”
“It’s embarrassing, but Nii-sama is so strong I couldn’t even touch him. For ten whole days! I was so frustrated…”
“Ooh. Your brother is strong, huh? And harsh.”
“It’d be rude to my opponent to go easy on them.” I cut in.
“Ahyes.” Nina responded as one word, making Noel giggle.
“I was really happy though, getting to live with Nii-sama. We’ve never gotten to spend a whole day together until now. Also, the attic room in the log-house was super exciting!”
“What’s this? It feels like you’re saying that on purpose to make me jealous. Ah~ah, I also want to spend some alone time with Zagan.”
“S-sorry, Luca. Ah! I properly sent the letter to my father. I also wrote to the crown prince about the goddess Lune, so I think we’ll get a reply by the time we get to the next city.”
“Thanks, Noel – great work. Ne, Zagan, next time let’s spend some time together, just the two of us.”
“We weren’t just playing around, you know? If you want to train, I’ll be your partner, but in that case we’ll be sleeping separately at night.”
“Eeeeh!? You really are harsh…”
Nina and Noel laughed at Luca’s pitiful cry.
The front door opened as I was busy trying to comfort the sulking Luca, and out came Bennet and Camilla.
“You’re back! Welcome home.”
“Why don’t you hurry inside and change your clothes? Then you can come help us with the preparations.”
“Ah, we’re having a garden party. Miranda and the rest have already started drinking.”
Without me noticing, the sun had begun to sink beneath the horizon and the sky was gradually turning orange. It was a bit early for dinner, but it would definitely be fun to hang out with everyone as we got the party going. Nibbling on this and that, the party will surely start before we know it.
“I too am in the mood for drinking today!”
“Alright! Then I’ll mix together some cocktails that are easy on inexperienced drinkers.”
“We’re also going to grill some dragon meat. We finally get to eat it!”
“Really? I’m super looking forward to it.”
For the first time in two weeks, I entered the house while feeling the bustle of activity around me.