We arrived in front of Sophia’s bedroom. In front of the door, Alice checked for signs of anyone else in the room, before confirming that there was only one child.
“Sophia…I will enter first, then Alice follow after me.”
“Okay, once we enter I will ask the spirits to keep our voices from leaking out.”
“Please do. Now then, let’s go.”
We quietly enter the room. At that moment, the surprised Sophia stood up from a chair and rolled up the hem of her skirt to reach for a dagger.
“Wait, wait! It’s me Sophia.”
Sophia realizes that the intruder is me and becomes surprised. The moment she realized who I was she immediately ran up to me.
“Leon onii-chan, why — *mugu*”
I quickly cover Sophia’s mouth before she can raise her voice. Alice ‘s spirit magic should be enough, but I don’t know how well it will conceal our voices.
“Sorry, Sophia. Please keep your voice down.”
Sophia had started to panic when I covered her mouth, but I guess due to her ability she was able to tell what I was feeling — and quickly dropped any hostility towards me.
She quickly nodded and turned her eyes to Alice.
“Nice to meet you Sophia-chan. We’re not going to hurt you, so don’t be scared.”
“Don’t worry she’s a friend. Sophia, you can tell she’s not a bad person, right?”
Sophia nods. I then slowly move my hand.
“…..Leon onii-chan, why are you here?”
Sophia rolls up her skirt and puts away the dagger that she pulled out earlier. Hmm…why does she have that in the first place.
……That being said, I was told that Sophia received some sword training from Regis. Maybe that’s why she was so quick to pull it out.
I wonder if she’s more skilled with a sword than me….After seeing her actions just now I wouldn’t doubt it.
“Ah, well ummm…..I came to bring Claire back, do you know where she is?”
“Claire onee-chan is in the south wing in the innermost room. Anyway, Leon onii-chan are you okay? I was worried about you when I heard the Grances mansion was attacked.”
“Is that what you were told….?”
It’s somewhat true, we were attacked. So Sophia had no reason to doubt what she was told. She doesn’t know anything about the attack after all.
“…..Leon onii-chan? Are you trying to hide something from Sophia?”
I realize my mistake and try to think of something else immediately.
“…..You realized you made a mistake and are panicking. I can tell you feel anxious about Sophia. Are you trying to hide something from Sophia?”
Sophia can read other’s feelings and so I was too late. It can’t be helped. Well, I did consider this may be a possible outcome.
“……To be honest…I have been hiding something from you. But, the only reason I’m hiding it is to protect you, can’t you tell? So, please, don’t ask me to tell you.”
I try to put forward all the emotions I have of wanting to protect Sophia, and I look her straight in the eye.
“If you say it like that, I’ll just want to know what it is more.”
“I know, but Sophia, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you.”
Sophia’s father may have killed my family. There’s no way I can tell her that. So, this should be the right thing to do.
However, Sophia was still dissatisfied and puffed out her cheeks.
“…… Mouu, fine. If Leon onii-chan won’t tell me, I’ll just read it myself.”
Sophia grumbled and grabbed onto my hand.
“ —- Leon, get away from that child!”
“The sooner the better!”
I’m grabbed by my neck and pulled away from Sophia.
“What’s wrong so suddenly?”
“Do you remember when I told you I can adjust the power of sensory sharing? I’m guessing Sophia does the same, she usually suppresses the full power of her ability!”
“Th-that’s not possible.”
I quickly turn my gaze back to Sophia.
Sophia’s eyes were opened wide in disbelief.
“No, that’s, that’s a lie, it’s a lie! Daddy would never do that!”
“Sophia calm down!”
“No, no, no, no, no, nooooooooooooooooooooo!”
“ — Right. Spirits!”
Alice calls on the spirits causing Sophia to fall asleep suddenly.
“Was that just now…..because she was able to see my memories?”
“I don’t know the full extent of her ability, but……if she was only able to see your memory I don’t believe she’d be so upset.”
“If she could only see my memory?”
“I’m guessing Sophia…….she was reliving your memory Leon.”
“Reliving…….Just in a few seconds she relived everything I saw that day?”
If that is really what happened to Sophia, I’m afraid of what else she may have seen.
I have the memories and past experiences from my previous life. Then there’s all of the sorrow and anger that I’ve experienced, Sophia experienced it in only seconds.
If that is the case, then I can’t imagine how shocked Sophia must have been.
“……Sorry, I should’ve noticed earlier.”
“No, it was my fault.”
If I think back, Sophia had a habit of grabbing my hand.
Thinking back to the time Claire said she wanted Sophia to be her sister-in-law. Sophia grabbed onto my hand. At the time I thought it was because she was feeling anxious, but in reality it might have been so she could read my mind. I should have noticed it sooner.
“Will Sophia be okay?”
“……I’m not sure, but we don’t have time to find out — !”
Alice quickly turned to stare at the door.
“….Is it the guards?”
“In the hall, one, two…… four people in total, it seems like an ambush.”
“So —- do they know we’re here?”
“Probably, I’m guessing this room was already being watched.”
“….Damn it, so this was a trap?”
If you want to prevent an attack, you would need to put a lot of guards around the mansion. However, if you intend to capture an intruder, the further you draw the intruder into the mansion the less chance of escape they have.
The rooms with Sophia and Claire were under watch before we even arrived here.
This is the third floor, but the jump down would be possible with Alice’s spirit magic. I thought so, and ran to the window, but it wouldn’t budge.
“It’s no use, the window seems to have been blocked, they were anticipating this as well. What should we do? If we jump out now and attack we may have a chance if we take them by surprise.”
The people outside don’t know that we are aware of the ambush. They’re just waiting for us to leave the room.
I don’t think we’d be able to surprise them by rushing out.
“…..We can ask them what their goal is, if it’s reasonable we may be able to negotiate.”
“And what if it’s impossible to negotiate? If Claire-sama really is being held hostage?”
“In that case……”
“Don’t even think of telling me to run away on my own.”
I let out a sigh, Alice was able to tell what I had been thinking.
“If the negotiations break down, neutralize them with spirit magic. After we break through we will go to help Claire, even if she is being held hostage.”
Alright. We’ll save Claire and escape together.”
If Claire is being held hostage, it will be even harder to get to her. If that is the case I may have to make a hard choice.
I push such thoughts to the back of my mind and place my hand on the sword hanging from my waist.
It’s a sword that I got from Alice’s mother, it’s not the sword I picked up at the Grances mansion. The sword isn’t a magic item, but it is easy to use because it is made for someone my size.
My skill level with swords has not improved……I can only use spirit magic at an elementary level. I’ll need to find time to say the incantation to use any magic.
I took a deep breath as I placed my hand on the doorknob.