I left Claire’s room and headed to look for Alice in her room, but she wasn’t there. So, I decided to wander around the mansion hoping to find her.
“Well, I don’t know what Alice usually spends her time doing here at the mansion.”
When we were still at the Grances mansion, we were together all the time — Even when we were deceiving Mary and pretending to sleep together, things weren’t awkward like this…..Ever since the confession it’s been like this.
Alice and Saya.
Both of them are important to me, I honestly want to stay with Alice forever….Knowing they’re the same person, it makes me hesitate a little.
Things really can’t seem to go my way in this world.
“Ah, is that you Leon-kun?”
I was surprised by someone suddenly calling out to me. Eric-san was standing in front of me, I seemed to have walked up to him while I was lost in thought.
“Hello, is everything alright?”
“I know I’ve already told you this, but thank you. Thanks to you, the Sfir family can go on, I really appreciate it.”
“Like I’ve said many times, it’s fine, I can’t forgive what Carlos did, but I don’t want to take out my pain on someone unrelated.”
“Unrelated, but I’m his son.”
“But you knew nothing of Carlos’ plans. If I had destroyed the Sfir family you, Sophia, and all of the family’s servants would be ruined. So, this is fine.”
“I see….thank you. I sincerely thank you. Though, you’ve already helped a lot, but I have a favor to ask of you.”
Eric looks at me apologetically.
“What is it? If it’s something I can help with, I’m more than willing to listen.”
“It’s about Sophia. I understand why you broke off the engagement, but she has become very attached to you. Would you consider taking her with you when you return to the Grances territory?”
“Take her home with me…..”
When I turn my eyes to Eric, he gave me a small nod. Well, should I take Sophia with me? I’ll need to think about it……
“Can you wait a little while for my answer?”
“Of course, I don’t mind, but……it’s a little surprising. I thought you’d accept without any hesitation.”
“I am worried about Sophia, but Sophia has become entirely dependant on me. I’m unsure if increasing her dependance is a good thing, or if it is even possible for me to get her to become less reliant on me. So, please give me some time to think about it.”
“I see, I’m sorry for asking you this so suddenly. I expect a favourable answer.”
“I’m sorry for making you have to wait.”
“It’s no problem. I’m sorry for asking this favor of you. I hope to repay you for all of your help eventually.”
Eric-san said this and bowed once more. This favor really isn’t inconvenient to me, so I’m not worried too much.
I parted with Eric and started searching for Alice again. I wandered around the mansion for a while before I spotted the silhouette of someone that appeared to be Alice on a balcony on the second floor.
I began to approach Alice, but as I went to call out to her — I saw her profile and I was left breathless.
Alice was leaning against the railing and looking up into the sky with a listless expression, her cherry-blossom colored hair was blowing in the wind. The moment I saw this, my chest tightened.
“…Hmm, Leon? What are you doing here?”
Alice noticed me and turned to smile at me. At that time, the gloomy atmosphere surrounding Alice disappeared, and she returned to her normal calm atmosphere.
I’m at a loss. I should’ve thought of something to say before finding her, but the moment I saw her I was completely at a loss for words.
Before I knew it, Alice had knelt down in front of me and was looking straight into my eyes. Her deep blue eyes, that seem like they can see right through me, look at me.
“……Perhaps, are you still worried?”
“That’s…..I’m still worried about it. Is it okay that the person I like, was my younger sister?”
“I think you answered your own question, when you said the person you like.”
“No, no the person I came to like turned out to be my sister, no matter what you say that is too much for someone to get past.”
“Well, that’s because you think of me as your sister, so it’s impossible.”
“…..Hmm? What do you mean, Alice is — the reincarnation of Saya.”
I confirm nobody is around and finish my sentence in a whisper.
“That’s true, but let me say it like this…..If you like someone, but found out they did something in their past you don’t like, would you then dislike them?”
“……When you say it like that, I’m honestly not sure how I’d feel.”
My feelings wouldn’t waver even if I disliked something from Alice’s past! Even if the person I like was my real sister in her previous life!
I feel like I’d lose somehow if I said that.
“No matter what your answer is, my feelings won’t change. I am always on your side, Leon. So, you don’t need to rush and give me an answer.”
……Damn, Alice is too cute. I wouldn’t have any reason to hesitate if I didn’t know she was my sister from my previous life. It’s truly annoying.
I’m even more frustrated I can’t give Alice an answer.
“Mou, shouldn’t you be saying thank you instead?”
“Right, thank you, Alice……One day I will give you a proper answer, so please wait until that day.”
“Well, that’s impossible.”
My thoughts stop after hearing her unexpected answer.
“So…sorry, could you say that again?”
“Like~I~said, it would be impossible to wait.”
“Eeeeehhhhh!? Why!? The way you were talking sounded like you’d wait for my answer, right!? After all, you’re an elf and have a long life, so you could wait for a very long time.”
“……It sounds like you plan to make me wait decades.”
She stared at me with scornful eyes.
“…..No, I don’t plan on making you wait that long, but can’t you wait a little while?”
“No way! Didn’t I already wait an entire lifetime?”
“Aaahhh, you did die, so technically that’s a lifetime!”
“Exactly, so that’s why I’ve decided not to hold back anymore.”
Did she just decide this earlier? Is that why she had such a listless expression?
“Didn’t you just say that I don’t have to rush and give you an answer a moment ago?”
“I did say that, but I didn’t say I’d wait. Even if I have to force you, Leon will only have eyes for me.”
That far!? Rather, what does she mean by force me!? As I was thinking this, Alice began to blush and smiled a little.
“Leon, I’ve loved you ever since my previous life.”
“Fufu~, Leon is red?”
“B-b-b-be quiet! Do you expect me to accept, if you confess so suddenly!? Besides, Alice is the one turning red!”
“I just confessed my feelings. Even if I’m embarrassed, I’m determined”
I had to respond to her, but her counter was too much for me! Calm down, I need to calm down. If I lose my composure here, I’ll fall right into Alice’s hands.
“….*Haa*, *haa*, do you think that’s enough to change my mind?”
“It’s fine. I’ve told you how I really feel. So, this is enough for now.”
“R-really? Then, that’s good, but…..”
“Yep. Instead, next time I may have to play dirty. So prepare yourself.”
“What are you planning to do?”
“It’s a secret.”
“Give me a break…”
I am afraid of what my younger sister is going to do next.
“By the way, Leon, did you need me for something?”
“Ah, right. I wanted to talk with you about Sophia.”
“Is there something wrong with Sophia-chan?”
Actually — and I told Alice the same thing I told Claire.
“Acute stress disorder, ASD…..”
“Acute stress disorder, ASD? You don’t think it’s posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD?”
“Ummm…..I’m not that familiar with it.”
“It’s still a good thing. I think we’re the only ones in this world that know anything about either condition.”
“Well, that’s true. Umm….If it’s a sudden accident or tragedy, it’s possibly ASD. If a person is facing abuse, or similar circumstances, for many months, it’s usually PTSD.”
“They’re symptomatic disorders?”
“I think that’s roughly the case.”
“Fumufumu. Then, it’s definitely a stress disorder?”
“I can’t say for sure, but……You said Sophia-chan can’t use her ability to read people’s minds, right? Avoiding the cause of a trauma is a symptom as well.”
“Then…what can we do?”
If we were in Japan, “Take her to the hospital” would be the correct answer, but …. There is no hospital in this world, let alone a psychiatric hospital.
Even if there were, Sophia would probably have to be confined there for the rest of her life. I wouldn’t let Sophia be taken to a place like that.
“What do you think we should do, Alice?”
“Well…..I think it’s good for her to rely on you, but I also feel that it’s dangerous if she feels you are the only person that she can trust.”
“You’re right. I can’t let her be completely dependent on me.”
Originally, Sophia could use her ability to determine if she could trust someone. Ever since the incident, Sophia has avoided using her ability. So, she feels the only person left she can trust is me.
If things were to continue like this, I feel like — everything I say, would become an absolute truth to Sophia.
“If you don’t mind, can I meet with her?”
“You’re going to try to become friends with Sophia?”
“Yes. See, when we first met in the mansion, you told her to use her ability to see that she could trust me, remember? So, I think there’s a chance that Sophia-chan may trust me more than other people.”
Ah~, that’s true.
……I see. Now that Sophia can’t read other people’s minds and she has become afraid of touching people more than before, Alice, who gained her trust earlier, may be one of the only other people Sophia feels she can trust.
“Well, then…..she’s sleeping, so do you want to visit her tomorrow?”
“Hmm~, I think Sophia-chan will become defensive if I try talking with her so suddenly.”
“Is that so? Then…..what about having a tea party?”
“Ah, it may be good to talk over a cup of tea and let her stress slip away. Would you be able to make some sweets?”
“Well, Sophia really liked the pudding I made. Though, there are no refrigerators here so I couldn’t make the chilled version.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem, I can use spirit magic to cool it down.”
“Oh, you can do that?”
If Alice is around, there’s no need for a refrigerator.
Though, it’s been one month since those events. I’ve continued training with spirit magic and I feel like I could also manage to chill things.
Like this…I would like to be able to make ice cream. Sophia was delighted with the custard pudding, I’m sure she’d be even more pleased with ice cream.
For the time being, should I attempt making new sweets?