Trinity came home after purchasing some special sales desserts from the school convenience store. These delicious snacks were the perfect treats for the late night grind on her secret hobby. As the A-rank freshman opened the bedroom door, a sense of dread instantly filled the room.
In the bed was Amae — looking as grim like someone who had lost their entire life.
No response. Although her eyes were opened, they seemed so distant as if she was away from the present moment.
Trinity gazed over her roommate, who snuggled herself under the fluffy blanket like a muffin.
She smiled — it was obvious she was forcing it.
“What happened?” Trinity crouched down and asked in a concerning voice, “Did you fight with your big brother?”
“No, it’s much worse.”
What could be worse than that? Trinity thought back to how she much she raved about Onii in class.
Amae delayed her answer for a few seconds as if thinking of a way to phrase it.
“I’ve done something utterly horrible to my brother. And because of my actions, it might have cost our promise of a happy school life.”
Trinity wanted to ask about the details but it did not seem she wanted to explain but rather wanted someone to listen. Because sometimes, all people really need was a listening ear.
“Then let it all out~” Trinity smiled and held a pudding in front of her sad roommate. “Something sweet should cheer up your mood, right?”
“Didn’t you buy this for tonight’s deadline?”
“It’s special today… just for you.”
Trinity knew her best friend was a sweet tooth. She thought it was cute how Amae would think of various recipes to bake for her older brother during Culinary Arts Club. Not only that, they already ventured to a couple of dessert shops nearby the Academy, in which Amae would critique each dessert like a food critic.
“「 Levitation 」”
The white plate from the kitchen gradually floated over as Trinity peeled off the cover and plop it onto the dish.
“Then I’ll take you up on the offer,” Amae sat up on her bed as the shiny pudding seemed to be oozing in utter yumminess. “… Thank you, Trinity.”
Yes, she smiled!
A fifty Qian snack for a beautiful smile? Absolutely worth it. If she was Amae’s boyfriend, this certainly would be a picture-perfect moment.
“I’m dueling an S-rank tomorrow,” Amae casually took a bite, “Her name is Doragon. Fourth Seat of the entire school.”
Eyes widened and jaws open, Trinity was utterly shocked, causing her accent slipped out.
Seeing how nonchalant Amae was acting, it might not have been that huge of a deal. After all, Amae was a Fourth-Attribute Magic user and the elected class representative. But for something as major as a duel with an S-rank to happen on the first week of school? Impressive…
Is she aiming to become an S-rank in her first year?
That’ll be freaking amazing-! She’ll be the first one in a decade—
—Amae let out a chuckle, “It’s really not what you think it is.”
She explained the whole situation as Trinity could not help but nod in reverence. Like she suspected during the first day of introductions, Amae was truly someone amazing.
“Do you think I’m stupid for challenging Doragon to a duel?”
“Absolutely not-! This must be a declaration of war on love!”
“YES!~” Trinity’s eyes widened with passion as her voice heightened. “I think it’s absolutely courageous how you were able to confront Doragon. Being a delinquent, she’s one of the scariest and strongest people in school. The fact you challenged her shows that you aren’t afraid to stand up for yourself.”
If she was in Amae’s situation and had a perfect boyfriend and then some scoundrel slut wanted to steal him away…. would she muster up the courage and challenge her to a duel… knowing the conditions and how it might be nearly impossible to win?
“It goes to shows how much Onii means to you.”
Amae paused for a moment and let out a chuckle, “You’re right, big brother is the world to me. But to be honest, I am not sure if I’ll win. I specialize in elemental magic and I heard from the Senpais from the club that she is a hybrid — utilizing a mixture of magic and martial art in combat. I’ve also heard stories about her Half-Dragon form…”
Trinity presented a thumbs up, stopping her monologue that seemed to be moving downhills.
“Even then, do your best! I’ll be rooting for you.”
A couple of seconds later, the air of familiar camaraderie returned.
“You know I thought you were going to stop me if I told you. Given it’s a stupid decision to bet myself in the first place. Like what kind of sane person would gamble to become a servant on the first week of school?”
Trinity smiled, nodding empathically to everything she said.
If Amae chooses this path for herself, then what right does she have to criticize it? The best thing she could do right now was to support her roommate. Yes. Because people are illogical creatures. No matter how stupid and irrational a decision may be, people will still pursue it because of their emotions.
Amae did all this for love — despite all the odds and being afraid, she still chose to fight for the sake of her relationship. There was something admirable and even noble in people who fight for the one they care deeply about.
“Even if I were to stop you, you still have to see it through, right? As Onii’s little sister.”
Amae nodded and finish the pudding with a satisfying puff.
“Absolutely. As his little sister, I have to fight with everything I got.”
The seriousness gradually turned into giggles.
“Geez you’re such a brocon, it’s unbelievable.”
“Says the one who is a famous erotica author.”
“Psh, that’s a secret okay?~ You know you just gave me a bunch of materials to write.”
Trinity reflected on what happened throughout the past conversations.
The two girls laughed and moved on to talk about their days. In turn, Trinity began to complain about her deadlines and the readers who critique her story as s***. Amae provided similar mutual support as she listened attentively and offered her perspective.
I’m so glad Amae’s my roommate.
I didn’t expect anyone to understand, let alone be supportive about my passion.
Me being weird for writing 18+ novels and being accepted for who I am feels so… nice. I hope we can continue to be best friends!
♦ ♦ ♦
The thought of living under the same roof with the person who ruined his relationship with Amae… Absolutely, utterly frustrating. The concept of home was a place where Onii could be himself and at ease. But this place was the exact opposite.
“I hate you for putting me in this situation,” Onii said in a curt manner, staring at Doragon who was scrolling through her AI and enjoying a plate of pudding.
“I know,” Doragon smiled, unfazed by the coldness of his words. “After our duel, you are more than welcomed to challenge me. Having two servants sounds like a splendid way to spend the rest of my years here.”
“Speechless again?” She used two of her fingers as a spoon and licked scooped pudding like an animal, “I thought you would finally do something but I guess I was wrong about you.”
She’s so annoying…
All he wanted right now was to shut this woman up. For some reason, everything she said right now angered him. Her blunt personality. Her smirk expression. Her casualness. Her carnivorous desire to fight.
Her entire existence.
He was a “Hero-tier” after all. Someone like this arrogant small fry would not stand a chance against him in an all-out one on one duel. But yet, why did he feel so weak in front of Doragon?
So powerless. So useless. He could not even protect the girl he loved. And because of that, she cried.
A big brother should never make his little sister cry.
It’s because of Doragon, Onii thought bitterly to himself.
If only she wasn’t in the way, then everything would have been smooth sailing.
And we would be enjoying our school life.
Suddenly, Amae’s words reappeared into Onii’s mind, reminding him what he should do instead of what he wanted to do. Those words embraced him, slightly warming his heart because it was the only thing he had right now.
Throughout his life, Onii had never felt this stuck. He could not move forward or even step backward. The tides of his environment and those around him were the masters of his life decisions, not him. As someone who always made decisions, this was terrifying.
If only he did not raise his blade at Mich, then this wouldn’t have happened.
Oh right, winning the duel was the result of all this.
If only time-magic existed, then he could go back and change everything. Now that he logically thought about Mich’s confrontation, he was sure that Doctor Lirin would have handled it sooner or later.
Think of what you can do to help Amae win.
I made the wrong decision… I can’t afford the same mistake by challenging Doragon again. After all, my sister decided to take the consequences for me.
I must do what I can — as her partner.
As her big brother.
No matter what it takes, I will back her up with everything I have.
Another incident of Temecula must never happen again.
The pride of Duality — the symbolism of Yin and Yang was on the line. They had devoted their entire adolescent to their dream of adventuring the world. Duality was the result of their hard work, sweat and tears combined. It was not only a guild team but their deepest and most intimate feelings, woven together and created into a tangible representation of their love for each other.
To tarnish Duality by being selfish and acting impulsively was absolutely despicable.
No. Doragon was not the cause of this.
It was me.
And I have no one else to blame but me.
As of now, Onii had never regretted so much about his life decisions. Because at this point, winning the duel against Mich had crept up in ways that were unimaginable — shackling his decisions and imprisoning him in a luxurious dorm.
What an irony.
♦ ♦ ♦
Doragon’s right arm turned midnight-black as sizzling flames of mana surrounded her. The must be the infamous Half-Dragon form that Onii had heard about. For some reason, it reminded him of the Ancient Dragon’s power from the God-tier quest three years ago.
Now that it was finally revealed, there was something uncanny about her transformation — it brought back slight nostalgia.
Two hours earlier, the two siblings had discussed a battle plan that would increase Amae’s likelihood of winning. Although Onii had been sulking, he had also been paying attention the past week. Specifically, on Doragon’s behavior and learned some of her fighting abilities.
“Always keep your distance against a duelist,” Onii remembered his first meeting and how Doragon had blocked his exit with godlike celerity. “Her speed is formidable — you can expect her to be on the same level as me.”
“How about her Half-Dragon form? It will most likely increase her physical attributes and martial art skills. And there’s the possibility of new spells.”
“Formation A2, perhaps Tactic 13 or Tactic 37 if she chooses to go all-out.”
“I was thinking of bursting her down and then use Tactic 3. Since I’ll be at a disadvantage if it’s a duel on endurance.”
“You’re right — if she was the average fighter. That’s too much of a gamble given that she will be in her Half-Dragon form.”
Onii thought back to how much Doragon trained herself every single day. From meditational yoga to martial arts, when she was not sleeping or harassing him, she was constantly honing her body. Her thirst for power was not normal. In fact, Onii had never seen anyone so conscientious and disciplined.
If there was one word to describe her pursuit to become all-powerful, then it would be an obsession. An utter yet predatorial obsession. That alone was a grave danger factor.
“I would say to use earth and wind magic to alter the terrain. You can turn the open-field into your advantage as long as you kite her. If possible, use the combination elemental spells to catch her off-guard.”
“So Tactic 13 mixed with Tactic 14.” Amae paused and nodded. “Hearing what you said earlier, I’ll be using「 Blessing of the Iron Solari 」instead of「 Automatic Prismatic Barrier 」since she’s more of a fighter than a mage. And I was thinking of「 Conflageration 」and 「 Ice Blast 」, since the temperature intensity will not only be more effective and it’ll be impairing to her senses.”
Coldness. Hotness. Then constantly switch from the one end of the spectrum to the other.
This strategy was best described as being poured freezing water then instantly placed in scorching flames and then repeated over and over again. The human physiology would not be able to tolerate the vast switch in body temperature and eventually, shut down.
“I agree, those are good counterspells. If possible, prepare yourself for a brawl. Remember our training back at the Dojo and if anything, think of this duel as fighting against me.”
Although Amae was indeed that of a “Hero-tier” and talented in magic, it was not due to her abilities but their synergy with each other in battle. Onii was the same. It was not because of his swordsmanship but their teamwork and rigorous training that they achieved such heights.
Without each other, they were simply someone who possessed erudite knowledge and vast combat skills. And there were already plenty of those in the world.
“Good luck, little sister.”
“Is that all…?” Amae said in an unexpected voice, which caught Onii off-guard. Then she smiled confidently. “Just kidding, I’ll do my best and win this duel for us, big brother.”
I hope that’s the case.
I wonder what Amae wanted me to say earlier.
As of now, Onii spectated from the side safely while Amae stood at a respectful distance across Doragon. Luckily, there was only another person, which was an instructor that Doragon brought, acting as the overseer to decide the outcome.
Thanks to Amae’s status as an A-rank and that Doragon could care less for a crowd, it turned out to be a private duel. This was the best case scenario. No crowd meant no publicity. And no publicity meant their mission will be maintained secrecy.
“Uhh… so bare-handed attacks are okay. Any magical abilities that don’t cause bone fractures are good too… uh… spells that are fatal and cause really bad damages are not okay…”
The instructor seemed to be nonchalant about the duel despite how tense the situation felt. His long hair covered most of his face as he did not even bother to introduce himself.
Onii furrowed his brows, wondering if the overseer actually possessed the power to stop the duel if it were to escalate.
“So uh… conditions for the duel are Amae as a servant and Doragon’s room in Celestial Dragon… right?”
“Yes,” The both contenders said in unison. Their voice was backed with the resolution to win.
“Okay… uh… let the duel—”
“—Please let me handle it, Onii and Amae.”
A familiar voice called out before the duel could start.
Turning towards the source, a familiar girl walked in. Motes of yellow lights trailed around her like fireflies.
Her hair resembled threads of the radiant sun, and it grazed into a side-ponytail off her right shoulder similar to Amae. She twirled her index finger onto the signature red ribbon that tied her hair elegantly together. Above her head shined a pristine-white halo.
It was as if an angel had descended.
The same exact angel that reappeared again from five years ago.
♦ ♦ ♦
『 Amae (03/24/20): No relationship is without its conflict, even for the ideal siblingship. 』
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