I stood in front of Sophia’s room.
I repeated the mysterious ritual of extending my hand towards the door and then pulling it back. No, in reality, I’m trying to knock on the door, but in such a situation it’s quite difficult to bring myself to do it.
That’s why, after repeating the ritual ten or so more times, I finally knocked on her door…..but there was no reply.
…..D-does this mean I can just leave?
“…..Pardon the intrusion.”
I quietly say this as I enter the room. The curtains are closed so it’s rather dark. As I looked around the room I spotted Sophia sitting on her bed with her knees held to her chest.
“Sophia, it’s been a while.”
“………Why are you here?”
She answered my question with an emotionless voice.
Is this really Sophia? The light is gone from her eyes and she now looks like a yandere.
I knew she had secluded herself, but was it really this bad……
“Sophia…..umm, are you okay? When I heard you had locked yourself in your room, I got worried. So I came to see you.”
“Liar. Leon onii-chan would never be worried about Sophia.”
“I’m not lying……you can understand if you read my mind, right?”
I rejected Sophia at that time, but I was only rejecting her actions, because I didn’t want her to kill anymore. I didn’t reject Sophia herself.
It would be hard to solve this misunderstanding under normal circumstances, but with Sophia’s ability it should be rather easy — but Sophia just shook her head side to side with her knees still held to her chest.
“Umm….is it possible, you can’t read my mind.”
She was betrayed by her family, and she believes that I rejected her. She’s still just seven years old, it’s only natural she would be afraid of reading my mind.
If I had just accepted Sophia at that time….
I can’t say whether Sophia’s actions at that time were right, but at the very least Sophia did save me. That is a fact, so I should have accepted her at that time.
As I was thinking this — Sophia began to speak.
“Leon onii-chan, before you said that I didn’t have to kill Father and Mother, right?”
“That’s…..umm, sorry. Sophia, you were working hard for me. So it was wrong of me to reject you then.”
“No, it’s better this way. Leon onii-chan, what you said was right.”
Suddenly, one single tear fell from Sophia’s eye.
“Sophia, disliked her mother and father. They always hid their true feelings, they were always afraid of Sophia in their heart.”
That…..may have been a misunderstanding.
I know Carlos was worried about Sophia. He may have even feared her ability, but I don’t think he hated Sophia.
If I were to tell her that now, it would just make things worse. I think this and continue to listen to Sophia.
“That’s why, I couldn’t forgive them for what they did to Leon onii-chan, because I couldn’t forgive them I wanted to kill them.”
“That’s……but, you were angry because you knew about how I had suffered, right? Because you were only angry for me, Sophia isn’t bad.”
Because it was for me, I truly feel this way. That’s why, I hope that Sophia’s feeling of guilt is at least a little lightened.
But Sophia shook her head.
“Father and Mother thought Sophia was a monster, they were afraid of me, so I thought it would be good to kill them, but……I was wrong! I didn’t think I would feel so sad!”
— I see. Sophia…..actually feels sorry.
“I was an idiot. Of course, it’s only natural Leon onii-chan would hate me.”
“What are you talking about, I could never hate you.”
“Well, why did it take you so long to come see me?”
I couldn’t answer.
Because I didn’t know how I could face Sophia when I came to see her.
But Sophia wouldn’t be able to understand that. It was only natural Sophia would misunderstand, it only makes sense that she would be worried.
Because Sophia can read people’s minds, I thought she’d be able to read my feelings without me even saying anything. So, I never even came up with anything to say to her.
“He~y, why? Is it because Sophia is the daughter of the people that killed Leon onii-chan’s family?”
“You’re wrong, you had nothing to do with that!”
Well, after I learned about what Carlos had done, it makes sense that she would expect me to hate her. However, I would never hate Sophia just because she is the daughter of Carlos.
“Hey, please don’t hate Sophia. Sophia wants to stay with Leon onii-chan. Leon onii-chan is the only person Sophia has left.”
I am the only one….she can depend on? I’m glad that she feels she can depend on me, but I’m not the only person she has left….
“Hey, how can we stay together? I’ll do anything if it means Sophia can stay together with Leon onii-chan.”
“…..Girls shouldn’t say such things so carelessly.”
“Sophia is serious. Sophia will do anything, if it means Leon onii-chan won’t abandon me. If onii-chan wants me to, I’ll kill my mother right now.”
Is that what she meant by anything!? No matter what it’s useless. No, if she had asked something perverted it would’ve been incredibly awkward.
“Hey, Sophia, you said you regret killing your father, right? Then, you can’t say you’ll kill your mother.”
“I know. I know I’d regret it, but Sophia can’t be hated by Leon onii-chan! Hey, please…..don’t hate Sophia…….”
This is bad…..I feel like she’s confused and becoming incoherent.
What can I do? How do I save Sophia?
Would it be wrong to make sure Sophia stops trying to depend on me so much? If not, can I truly accept everything and allow Sophia to depend on me?
……I don’t know. I’m not a counselor, so I don’t know which is right.
But there is one thing I do know, I can’t leave Sophia crying.
So I held Sophia as she cried.
“It’s okay, you’re fine. I absolutely do not hate Sophia. I didn’t come to see you because I didn’t know how I could face you.”
“It’s really the truth.”
“It’s really, really the truth?”
“It’s absolutely 100 percent the truth. I definitely do not hate Sophia.”
“…..Leon onii-chan…..Leon onii-chan..…Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
“Aah, there, there. It’s okay, you don’t need to cry anymore.”
I gently pat Sophia’s back until she stopped crying.
And so, Sophia’s dependence on me increased. As Sophia cried she never once tried to leave my embrace. But, after a while, Sophia fell asleep, as if she had become tired of crying.
And so, I asked the maid to give Sophia a message, so she wouldn’t be worried when she woke up. I then headed to Claire’s room.
I wanted to talk to her about the best way to comfort Sophia.
“Claire, is now a good time to talk?”
“Otouto-kun? I’m in the middle of changing, but you can come in.”
After hearing Claire’s answer, I entered the room. Claire was in the process of changing into an underwear-like camisole, that also acted as a skirt.
“Wha-! Why are you changing clothes!? I knocked properly!”
“Eh, I told you I was changing, but you could come in.”
“…….Eh? Oh, right you did say that……rather, isn’t that strange!? You’re changing but you told me to come in!?”
“I was in the middle of changing clothes, but it should be fine if it’s otouto-kun, right? There’s nothing strange about that, right?”
It’s strange, right? It’s definitely strange. Eh? Am I just too conscious of Claire as a woman?
Certainly, I am ten years old and Claire is eleven years old. We’d probably be in junior high school in Japan, even if the children of this world mature considerably faster.
The silhouettes slightly visible through the camisole, are only just beginning to grow. If I consider the fact that we are siblings, Claire changing in front of me shouldn’t be a big deal…
“No, no, don’t try to deceive me. Why do you think I knocked?”
“If you think so, then you should probably look away. Don’t you feel any shame staring at me so intently, otouto-kun?”
I quickly turn my back to Claire. After that, I could hear the sound of clothes rustling behind me, and then Claire began to speak.
“I’ve received reports about the things you asked me to look into, do you want to hear about it?”
“Let me hear it.”
“Which do you want to hear first, the bad report, or the really bad report?”
“….They’re both bad…Then, the really bad one first.”
“All sixteen of the knights that were responsible for guarding the Grances family, have been confirmed dead.”
They literally fought to the death. I didn’t even know any of their faces, but if they hadn’t fought I wouldn’t be alive now.
I closed my eyes and prayed for their happiness in the next life.
“…..We need to send money to the bereaved families.”
“If the families have lost the income brought in by the knights how will they be able to live? Have their been any guarantees made to the families that they will be taken care of?”
“Umm….I’m sorry, I don’t know. I will look into it later, you can leave it to me, okay?”
“Anyway…..are you done changing?”
“Eh, I’m still changing, do you want to look?”
“I’m just kidding. Otouto-kun seems to be worrying about something, so I was trying to lighten the mood a bit.”
“If you noticed I’m worried, then please don’t try to cheer me up by teasing me.”
“…..Do you want me to hug you from behind?”
After hearing this, I imagined myself being hugged by Claire.
…..Honestly, it would calm me down a bit, but I feel like I’ll become a useless man if I rely too much on Claire.
“I’m sorry, you’re right. Your teasing was already enough.”
“If that’s the case, you can turn around, I’ve finished changing.”
I cautiously turn around, doubting Claire’s words, but she really had finished changing.
“So, what’s the other report?”
“The majority of the Grances family’s servants managed to escape. We’re trying to care for all of them, but there are still some we haven’t been able to locate.”
They’re missing……Is it possible that some of the servants were helping the Sfir family? If so, I could never forgive them.
They must take responsibility for what they have done.
“We don’t have any idea where they could be?”
“We are doing everything we can to find them. The Grances family has only recently started functioning again, so it took us a long time to start investigating.”
I spent about two weeks travelling to and from the elf village. I stayed in the village for about a week. Then, the investigation didn’t start until a few days after the incident with Carlos. So, it took about a month before the investigation started.
Furthermore, since the wooden part of the Grances mansion burned down, so the area in the house the servants lived is currently uninhabitable……huh?
“Wa…wait a minute….the people that are missing, they’re not…..”
“….Yes. It seems some of the servants that were struggling sold themselves into slavery…..We’re looking for them, but…..”
Aaaaaaaahhh, I’m sorry for being suspicious of them!
I see, that makes sense. This world has no banks or welfare. So, if they were to lose their jobs and their place of living, most would end up on the streets.
“Claire, please do everything possible to provide for those people! You can use as many people as you need, it doesn’t matter how much it costs!”
“O-okay, that’s fine, but…..Even though these people helped keep you confined, you’re so desperate to take care of them. Otouto-kun is kind as expected.”
You’re wrong, I’m just overcome with this feeling of guilt. It wasn’t any of the servants fault that I was confined. And if you tell me I’m kind, the guilt will cause me even more pain!
“I’ll make the necessary arrangements, but why did you want to see me today, otouto-kun?”
“Ah, I met with Sophia, so I wanted to talk with you about her.”
“How is Sophia-chan?”
I told Claire what happened with Sophia.
“I see…..she’s really dependent on you.”
“You think so too?”
“Well, considering what happened with her parents, it makes sense that she feels like she can only rely on you after you forgave her.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“I’m not sure. At least she’s started talking to you like normal, right?”
“That’s true. I feel uncertain sometimes when talking with her, but I think I can speak with her comfortably.”
“Then, it’s all up to you. You need to support Sophia-chan properly, so she doesn’t make any mistakes.”
“That’s true, but….”
It’s entirely up to me. In other words, if I fail Sophia, she’ll become even worse. It’s almost too much of a responsibility.
When it comes to managing matters involving the Grances family, it’s rather difficult doing that from the Sfir home. Then, there’s also the matters concerning the servants from a little while ago. So, I can’t stay here forever.
“I’m concerned about the Grances’ territory, I want to do something about it as soon as possible.”
“Hmm~ then, you should speak with Alice.”
“Yes, she’s a high elf right? She may know of a solution that you haven’t thought of.”
I don’t know if Alice’s knowledge as a high-elf will be useful, but Alice also has memories of her previous life – she has memories of being Japanese. She also may be able to help me understand Sophia’s mental state a bit better.
“Alright, I’ll speak with her then.”
“Good, then please go ahead. I have a lot of paperwork to finish. If you need help with anything, remember you can always depend on me.”