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After finishing our visit to the grave, we returned to Eric.
Claire and Eric still seemed to be in a serious discussion about the matters they mentioned earlier.
“ — why? I’m looking at two of my close friends, but for some reason, my chest hurts. Claire is my sister….”
I gave Alice a light tap on the forehead after hearing another one of her bizarre monologues. It’s not like I’m a siscon that’s jealous of seeing his sister speaking with another guy.
…but I am a brother that’s starting to see his sister as a woman.
“Otouto-kun, you’re back already.”
Claire cast a fleeting look over Sophia. When she saw Sophia looked happy and energetic, relief swept across her face.
“I’m back, Claire. Are you still speaking with Eric?”
“Yeah. It seems like a pretty big opportunity, so we need to talk things over carefully. Actually, I was wondering if I could consult with Alice.”
The main reason we came here, was to visit Carlos’ grave and to speak with Elyse. However, Alice and Claire – especially, Claire – wouldn’t want to see Elyse.
This should be obvious but Elyse played a large role in murdering our parents.
We decided we’d leave Alice with Claire in the drawing room while Sophia and I will go visit Elyse.
Somehow, our group is about to split up. If this were a horror movie, now would be the time bad things start to happen.
…there’s no way something like that will happen in this mansion.
“Eric, is everything ready for our visit?”
“Yes, everything’s ready. My mother isn’t staying in the main house so I’ll have a maid guide you to her.”
The maid was ready for us to follow her, but Sophia stopped to speak with Eric before leaving.
“Eric onii-chan, how is Mother doing?”
“…it’s hard for me to say, but…I’m hoping you’re meeting with her will end well. It would be best for you to see her for yourself.”
“…I understand, Eric onii-chan.”
Sophia spun around on her heel before hooking her arm through mine.
“Well then, let’s get going.”
Her golden hair shook side-to-side as she began walking forward while pulling me.
I looked down at her face and was surprised to see she didn’t look anxious. I was still concerned about her interaction with Eric.
“What was that with Eric?”
“…what do you mean?”
“Did you use your ability to read his feelings?”
“No, I didn’t. I told you before, I only use my ability when I really feel it’s necessary.”
Isn’t that a good thing? I mean, it certainly is beneficial to read someone’s feelings. It would make it a lot easier to avoid a tragic event. But at the same time, in this situation, it’s best for her to go into this without knowing anything.
Now then, stop reading my feelings — after thinking this, we followed after the maid.
We left the Sfir mansion. In the distance, there was a smaller house. I felt nostalgic seeing this as the house was a similar distance between my childhood home and the Grances mansion.
We stepped through the doorway and entered a corridor in the building.
Even though she’s being confined here, there was no sign of any guards inside the house. There was a single guard standing at the entrance but that was it.
Shortly after entering, we walked down to the end of the corridor and were met with a single door.
“This is Elyse-sama’s room. I will be waiting at the entrance. Come find me when you’ve finished speaking with her.”
“Please, take your time.”
The maid said this and bowed before walking back down the corridor. I watched her leave before turning my attention to Sophia. She was starting to look nervous again. I gently stroked her head in the hopes of calming her down.
“I’ll go in first. After that, you can come in.”
“…thank you, Leon onii-chan.”
Sophia grabbed onto the hem of my shirt as I knocked on the door three times. After a brief pause, I could hear a faint voice telling me to enter.
I opened the door and took one step inside. Elyse’s room was large and extravagant. A single couch sat next to a nearby window but Elyse was nowhere to be seen.
I turned my attention to the large bed in the centre of the room. Beneath the bed’s canopy, I could see Elyse’s figure lying beneath the sheets. I’m not sure if this is due to her confinement, but she looked unwell.
“Impossible. I never expected you to come and see me. What business could you possibly have with me?”
The moment she noticed me, the aloof atmosphere surrounding her changed to that of disdain.
“It’s been a while. About five years have passed since then.”
“…I asked you what business you have with me. Or have you come here to mock and ridicule me?”
“I have no intention of doing that, but…why would you think I would?”
“I’ve heard all about the great accomplishments of the Grances family.”
…oh, I think I understand. The reason things ended like this is that Carlos and Elyse never believed what I told them all those years ago. If she knows how my family is currently doing, it’s understandable that she’d expect me to laugh at her.
“I still think it’s regrettable that you didn’t believe me back then. However, I’m sure to you I appeared to be nothing more than a child trying to find a way out of a horrible living situation. But I have no desire to mock you.”
“…then why are you even here?”
“I didn’t come alone.”
After saying this, I looked back at Sophia. Sophia nodded and walked up beside me. After seeing her, Elyse’s eyes opened wide in shock.
“Sophia…what are you doing here? Leon, why would you bring my daughter to see me in this state!?”
Elyse became irate believing that I had forced Sophia to come here to hurt the both of them even more.
“I didn’t bring her here.”
“Don’t be stupid! Sophia would never want to meet with me!”
“– he’s not lying. I asked Leon onii-chan to take me to see you.”
“What did you just say…?”
Elyse fell silent as she stared at Sophia.
What could she be feeling at this moment? There appeared to be so many emotions floating across her pale face that it was impossible for me to tell.
“…Leon, please take that girl and leave immediately.”
“What are you talking about? Sophia came here just to see you.”
“Don’t you understand? I can’t have my daughter reading my feelings right now!”
Is she…trying to say she really does hate Sophia?
I can’t know.
Or at least, I can’t tell how she feels just by reading the complex expression on her face.
If Elyse really does hate Sophia — if Sophia will get nothing but pain out of meeting Elyse — I might have to take Sophia and leave.
I thought this, but —
“It’s fine, Mother. I haven’t been able to use my ability since that day.”
As I stood there perplexed, Sophia lied to her mother.
I don’t know if she plans on using her benefits secretly or if she’ll refrain from using them, but…either way, Sophia doesn’t want to leave.
…well, we came so far just to see her. I’ll allow this to continue as long as Sophia wishes.
“Is that true? Are you really no longer able to use your ability?”
“Yes. I’ve been too scared to read anyone’s feelings since then.”
“I..see…. *cough* *cough*”
Elyse let out a few dry coughs.
“It’s *cough* nothing.”
Another deep cough. Elyse said it was nothing but that’s clearly not true. At first, I thought it might just be due to the surprise she felt after seeing Sophia, but…is she actually sick?
And it seems like I’m not the only one that thought this. Sophia looked worried about her mother but Elyse didn’t say anything else.
“Why have you come to see me, Sophia?”
“That’s, umm…I’ve come to visit, Mother.”
“I know that much, but why are you here?”
“Umm…I thought it would be nice if we could make up….”
Despite faltering slightly, Sophia was able to tell her mother the truth. I sincerely hope that this will turn out well for her.
But after hearing her words, Elyse looked displeased.
“…Sophia, what you’re saying is ridiculous. You want to be with Leon even though your father and I are the people that killed his family.”
“I know that.”
“No, you clearly don’t. The grudge one feels against the person that killed their loved one won’t disappear easily. Carlos and I killed his family –”
Sophia was beginning to tremble and I couldn’t stop myself from speaking up. Elyse just gave me a sharp look before returning to Sophia.
“Sophia, you’ll be turning thirteen this year. You’re already a wonderful young lady. By trying to remain a part of the Sfir family, you’re greatly disrespecting Leon.”
“Go home. You’re no longer a member of the Sfir family.”
Sophia called out to her mother again, but Elyse ignored her and returned to her original position on the bed.
Sophia silently stared at her Mother before turning back to face me and grabbing onto my sleeve.
“Let’s go, Leon onii-chan.”
“…are you sure?”
Sophia only gave me a slight nod in response. I don’t think this is really what she wants, but…I think this is enough for today. I turned around and walked out of the room with Sophia following closely behind.
But, just as I thought, Sophia was still worried about her mother. As I was closing the door, Sophia looked back one more time at Elyse.
“Mother…. I really can’t forgive her for killing your family.”
“…if that’s how you feel, don’t worry about me. She’s your mother.”
“No, I won’t forgive her. I can’t forgive her. She is my mother, and I’m grateful to her for giving birth to me but that’s all…. Thank you for raising me….”
She was on the verge of crying as she gave one last look at the door before turning around to leave.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.