Volume 4, Chapter 2: Deep Frustration

“Leon onii-chan…does that mean you’ll come with me?”

Sophia looked up at me with her deep red eyes. The way she’s anxiously grabbing onto my sleeve is really cute.

Obviously, there’s no way I can refuse her in this situation. I simply told her, “Of course.”

“…really?”

“Yes, really. We can make the time so all of us can go together.”

The moment I said this Sophia looked upset. It’s probably because I said all of us. I’ll just pretend like I didn’t notice.

…hmm, how should I put this? Seeing Sophia when she’s uneasy is nice, but when she’s upset she’s still cute. I want to see all of Sophia’s cute expressions.

The moment I thought this I could see Sophia’s crimson eyes shine brilliantly.

“I’ll forgive you if you sit next to me on the carriage ride there and back.”

“…umm, why are you saying that?”

“Leon onii-chan, have you forgotten about my ability?”

“Eh, no, I remember….”

Sophia has recovered since that day and her ability has returned to its previous level. That’s why she’s able to read my feelings by just being by my side.

But she’d usually never use her ability unnecessarily.

So why did she read my feelings without any reason….

“I try not to read people’s minds all the time. It’s just that you’re so hard to seduce.”

“What…..”

Is that it? Has she read my feelings before to help her seduce me?

“Yep, that’s right.”

Uwaaaa! How long has she been reading my mind!?

So that means — no, don’t think anything! First off, since when has Sophia been able to read someone’s feelings so clearly without even touching them?

“That’s right…. I’ve been learning all about what you like in a woman, even if you like to think that you’re hiding it. For example, recently with Alice onee-chan….”

Uwaaaaa! Wait, wait! This isn’t good! Stop reading my feelings!

“Eh, but you were thinking about all the things you wanted to do….”

“I never thought that! No, sorry, I did think that, but I never spoke about it!”

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“Eh? Then, would you like me to read Alice onee-chan’s feelings and you can try again…?”

“You’re too far gone at this point!”

Sophia’s ability allows her to read the true feelings of someone’s heart. She could even use it to read someone’s movements in an instant — it’s like she experiences their feelings and actions for herself.

It would be too dangerous for her to use that on Alice. It would be like trying to fit the contents of a thick book into a thin magazine.

“A-Anyway, you’re too young to be thinking about stuff like that, Sophia.”

“Muu…then, when will I be old enough?”

“Eh? Umm….j-just wait a little more….”

I decided to also accept both Sophia and Claire’s feelings, not just Alice.

But it’s not like I made that decision lightly. I care for Sophia and Claire just as much as I care for Alice. If it were anyone else my decision would’ve been different.

So, someday, if I also start dating both Sophia and Claire, I don’t want it to just happen. I’d like to properly convey my feelings to each of them and for them to accept those feelings.

I thought this, and Sophia showed a sweet smile. Is she still reading my heart…?

Anyway, we decided to visit the Sfir mansion to go to Carlos’ grave and speak with Elyse.

I left Sophia’s room and was trying to decide who to take with. That’s why I’m now at Claire’s office.

“Claire? It’s Leon, can I come in?”

“Otouto-kun? Of course you can come in.”

“…really? You’re not changing clothes?”

I remembered in the past she told me to enter even though she was changing clothes.

“It’s really okay, I’m not changing. Please, enter.”

“Really? I’ll be angry if I open the door and you’re in your underwear.”

I was afraid as I opened the door. I looked around the room and eventually came across Claire’s desk. She was sitting at her desk, twirling her finger through her platinum blonde hair.

“…otouto-kun, what kind of person do you think I am?”

“Don’t make me look like the bad guy. You told me to come in before when you were changing.”

“But I told you that I was changing before you came in, right? Why do you think I have to change clothes in my office in the first place?”

She did tell me before asking me to come in, but…it’s still suspicious.

“So, what did you need? And how does it involve Alice?”

“I just needed to ask you about something. It doesn’t involve Alice.”

“Fu~n, that’s unusual.”

“Guh–!”

She’s as tough as ever…. But I guess that’s understandable. Claire confessed to me before Alice but I’ve never given her a proper response.

Even so, I didn’t think she’d be angry.

“Claire, you know –”

“Sorry, I was just kidding.”

The words I wanted to say were cut short by Claire’s interruption.

“…Claire?”

“I want you to see me the same way you see Alice, but I have no problem with you being so close to her. I was just playing around.”

“Is…. Is that so?”

“It is. So stop making such a serious face. In the first place, I was the one that gave you Alice as a gift.”

“…that’s true.”

I don’t know if Claire’s words are her true feelings or if she’s just trying to make me not worry about her. But I think it would be better if I don’t say anything more just yet. For now, I’ll believe her and move past that topic.

“So, why did you come to see me?”

“Oh, right. Sophia wants to see Elyse.”

“…Sophia does?”

“I wanted to know why she was acting so strangely, so when I went to see her in her room, she told me she wanted to go back to the Sfir mansion.”

“…otouto-kun, are you serious?”

Claire’s jade eyes were filled with anxiety as she stared back at me. She doesn’t even have to say why. She’s worried about Sophia.

“I think you’re making it seem worse than it actually is.”

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“How so? If Sophia goes there to meet with Elyse, what are the chances that Elyse will tell her that she and Carlos loved Sophia? I feel like it’s more likely to be the opposite.”

“That may be, but you could just as easily be wrong. I can understand her desire, and if I still had the chance, I’d want to know as well.”

“…what does that mean?”

I truly believe that I want to do whatever I can to help Sophia move past that painful moment in her life. My own desire to know what Father thought of me may have a bigger influence on me than even I know. But Claire isn’t able to understand my meaning.

“I feel the same way as her. I wonder what Father thought of me. Did he love me or was I nothing more than a nuisance to him –”

“You think he hated you?”

“–that’s the problem. I don’t know how he truly felt.”

“…well, you can think whatever you want, but there’s no way to know for sure.”

“Yeah. That’s the most painful part.”

If he hated me, it would be better to just give up. If he loved me, I’d like to persevere with that feeling in my heart. But I don’t know.

Should I cherish his memory, or should I resent him for everything that happened early on in my life? I don’t know the answer.

“I can never know, but Sophia can still find her answer. I would never force her to do it if she didn’t want to, but if she wishes to know, then I’ll do everything I can to help her.”

“…I understand. If you’ve thought about it this much, I won’t stop you. I’ll let Sophia meet with Elyse.”

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