Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 53 (Part 1)
“I was jealous… of onii-san. He’s a dark attribute user and should have been hated, but he’s so pure1. I couldn’t help but be jealous of onii-san who was strong enough and noble enough to survive on his own. I’ve always stolen things, ever since I was little. I’ve done a lot of unsavory things. After joining a group of thieves, I had only been deceiving others. Every day, I was either betraying or being betrayed. I had no choice but to live such a miserable life.”
“Nina… that must have been hard.”
Noel squeezed Nina in a hug. Miranda also sat down, kneeling on the floor next to Nina and patting her back.
“You’re an orphan, right? So you had no other choice. You were just desperate to survive, so don’t look down on yourself like that.”
“Mm, I understand. But even if you say I’m an orphan, I lived a normal life until I was five, you know? I lived in a small town with my mama and papa and my grandparents. There was even a baby growing in mama’s stomach. That was when we were the happiest. My little brother though… he was born with the dark attribute. Because of that, everything was ruined.”
Because of his attribute, Nina’s father and grandparents decided to tell people that it was a stillbirth and to kill the child. The mother, however, resisted and the instant they tried to lay their hands on the baby she chanted a spell. As a result of that, the father, grandparents and midwife were gravely hurt. Due to the commotion, people found out about the baby’s attribute.
As the village was small, the news spread fast and Nina’s family was ostracized. In the end, her little brother was killed and her mother was scorned by the entire village for giving birth to a devil. Nina’s grandparents and even her father, who should have loved her mother, abandoned her and violently disparaged her.
As they didn’t even have food to eat, Nina and her mother had no choice but to leave the village. However, on the way to the next town, they were attacked by a monster and Nina’s mother died. Nina barely managed to escape with her life, but she became an orphan at the age of five. She then settled in the slums and became a thief.
“I’ve always thought that I was the only one who was miserable. I even thought that those people who had a happy life should just die. But onii-san, he was imprisoned in a basement and didn’t even know his own mother’s face. And to top it off, he was abandoned in the Great Forest when he was nine? It’s a much crueler fate than I’ve endured, and yet he’s still pure… I’m so, so jealous. If only I was as strong as him, then I could’ve stayed pure as well.”
Nina was probably not referring to just physical strength, but strength of spirit as well. If she’d been strong enough to defeat monsters and strong enough to endure solitude, she might have been able to live without resorting to crime. She might have stayed pure.
“I thought that if onii-san walked around with his hair exposed, everyone would hate him. I thought he would be despised like I had been. A lot of people pointed their fear and hatred at him, but he kept looking forward without faltering. So strong and beautiful. And he’s being protected by Luca and the others, and the four grand dukes seem to be on his side? Even this city’s lord has been following the papers. That’s why today’s been so peaceful, right?”
I was also surprised by that. I thought the air around us would be filled with a more brutal sense of ill-will. I thought that people would hurl abuse at me and that some would try to attack me, like what had happened to the former Zagan.
“How enviable. I’m jealous. My little brother was killed because of his attribute, so why is onii-san alive? Even though he has the dark attribute, he was loved by his father, is respected by his sister, and is protected by Luca. And why won’t Luca betray him? Why are they still in love? Mama and papa should have loved each other, so why…? How did I become such a person?” Nina spat these words out as she cried.
Her words were too pitiful — I didn’t know what to say.
I wasn’t the only one. Luca stayed silent, with a sorrowful expression on his face. Camilla and Cindy were the same.
Bennet just stood there crying. She didn’t go to Nina’s side, perhaps because she understood that, even if she did, she had nothing to say and would only trouble Nina.
Nina was in Noel’s arms and Miranda was hugging them both. I couldn’t see their expressions though. Were tears streaming down their cheeks like those falling from Nina’s eyes?
As no one spoke, Nina sniffled and continued talking.
“Mama, just before she died, she told me that God would definitely save me. That I had to live. God didn’t save me though. I always thought that it was only natural because God didn’t really exist… but he does. And he was betrayed by the humans and is trying to kill them all. Someone like that wouldn’t save me…”
God will save you.
If those had been her mother’s last words and her support, then our current realization about God must have been difficult for Nina. It was natural for her to grow angry at her own irrational circumstances. And then she could no longer hide her jealousy towards me.
Noel suddenly lifted her head up. Her eyes were not wet with tears. On the contrary, she was looking at Nina with a strong gaze.
“Nina, thank you for continuing to stay alive despite the pain. I was able to meet you because you didn’t give up. I was able to make a dear friend. I have no way to go back in time and save you from the past, but from now on I can stand by your side. I’ll be with you always and will help you. So don’t rely on God — rely on me instead. Please, Nina. My dearest Nina.”
I hadn’t been around Luca and the others for long so I didn’t know how Noel and Nina’s friendship had developed. But, cooperation between people was necessary when forming a party and clearing dungeons. Trust was paramount. When fighting together bonds are made and you become able to leave your life in another person’s hands. The friendship born from such a place must be a strong one.
“I-I don’t deserve to be loved by Noel. I was horribly envious of your wonderful brother and… and even jealous of Noel. That’s how ugly I am.”
“It’s only human to be jealous! I am jealous of Luca. I don’t have that much mana and I can only use recovery magic, so when I was little I was always jealous that Father taught Luca magic. To top it off, he has a vast amount of mana and is good with the sword — that’s too much! I can’t reach his level.”
“If it’s like that, then I was jealous of Zagan. We’re the same age but I’m only an A rank adventurer while he’s an S-rank. I can’t help but be jealous.” (Luca)
That’s the first I’ve heard of it. No, even if you tell me about it, there’s nothing I can do. The only thing I could tell the two of them was to train hard and get stronger.
Luca also probably didn’t know that Noel had felt that way, and he looked at me with a mixed expression on his face.
In the meantime, I used my tentacles to push Bennet, who was hesitating, closer to the three on the floor. She let out a panicked voice as she was pushed closer and the three of them looked up at her.
I could finally see Nina’s face and, despite her eyes being swollen from the crying, she seemed more refreshed.
“Em, um. I-I there were times when I got jealous of everyone because they were regular girls. But you all welcomed me with open arms. Especially Nina-san. Whenever I was troubled, you always supported me… u, uwaaaaaa, Nina-saaaaaan.”
Bennet cried and gave Nina a hug.
“Nina-san, I love Nina-san toooo!”
“Bennet… sob… Thank you. Me too, I also love everyone…”
Nina returned Bennet’s hug and then Noel and Miranda joined in as well.
It seemed that this matter had been settled. I was worried about what would happen, but was glad things didn’t get complicated.
As I looked at the four of them hugging and talking, Luca came my way and hugged me tightly. When I returned his hug, he buried his face in my shoulder. We exited the room so Noel and the others wouldn’t see us and I stroked Luca’s back that was filled with silent anger.
Perhaps unable to overlook Luca’s state, Cindy called out to us.
“Luca-kun, Zagan-kun, I’ll go downstairs and make us some warm milk. Let’s drink some and calm down, hmm?”
“Thanks. Camilla, can I leave the rest to you?” (Zagan)
“Of course. I’ll make sure you get an apology tomorrow so don’t be too upset about it.”
I wasn’t upset, but because of Luca’s current condition, I agreed to her consideration.
Cindy went downstairs ahead of us.
I patted Luca on the back and he sluggishly lifted his head, looking at me with a pained expression on his face. After a slight hesitation, I gave him a peck on the cheek. Luca blinked, unable to hide his joy despite his furrowed brows.
“Let’s go back down, hmm?”
Before it was too late, I grabbed his hand and led him back down to the living room. As Cindy was still preparing the milk in the kitchen, we sat down on the sofa. Not side by side, but with me on Luca’s lap. He was acting spoiled, burying his face in my neck and I stroked his hair.
Not long after, Cindy came in holding a tray with some mugs on it.
“Here, Luca-kun. Zagan-kun too. I put a little rum and honey inside.”2