Chapter 11 That’s Not Like You, But
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
Today, various things happened, and I ended up feeling tired.
So, I’ll go to bed early.
…Speaking of which, I haven’t seen Duke the mouse lately.
I wonder if he moved somewhere?
If he (or she?) set off to a new land aiming for it, I hope for many blessings on Duke’s path.
You are my one and only best friend.
If you ever want to come back, you can always return.
…I hurt Frau.
I received an apology from Frau, but it’s me who wants to apologize.
Not understanding what was happening to my own body is a disgrace unbefitting of a mage.
Still, why didn’t Kanon tell me? She must have noticed, right?
…No, it’s unfair to blame her. It’s all because my perspective was narrow.
With a gloomy expression, Frau confessed her actions to me. I told her that my inability to control mana was the cause. However, she remained with a dark face. If our positions were reversed, I would certainly be depressed as well. I keep telling her that I don’t mind, but I should also show it through my attitude.
I want to cheer her up somehow, but nothing I say seems to brighten Frau’s mood.
Viola is by my side, but I wonder if it’s okay to rely on her completely…
For the time being, I decided to attach a mana control device to my body and administer first aid.
There’s one more thing.
Beth successfully rescued Viola’s sister, Alto.
I made her do something dangerous, but she confidently said, “Thanks to Kanon-sama’s guidance and assistance, it was honestly as easy as yawning.” Beth is truly amazing.
Speaking of which, Alto is indeed Viola’s sister and seems to be an amazing person. I was surprised by her appearance, which resembled Viola’s at first sight, but I admire her calm inner nature more than her outward beauty.
Viola’s purity and generosity must have developed because of Alto.
Now, she should be spending some private time in Viola’s room after a long time.
There must be a lot to talk about.
I hope the two of them have a happy time.
* * *
”The two of them have become quite miserable, haven’t they?”
In the darkness of the night, Alto-Ooneesama, who had laid me on the bed, said so with a wry smile and slid her body beside me.
”What happened to your eyes, Onee-sama?”
”Oh, I got cut during the defense of the capital. I can’t see anything anymore. The opponent was Marcato, one of the special class divine princesses. She’s quite cunning. Among the Empire’s magic weapons, our magician was useless, so surviving was fortunate enough.”
”What about your arm?”
”Well, I did get a wound, but it was nearly necrotic, so I had to cut it off myself.”
Casually saying that, Alto-Ooneesama propped herself up on the bed and smiled as she peered into my face. A face slightly more mature than mine, but still resembling me.
”Please don’t make that face. Viola is probably more seriously injured.”
”…Lute will heal me. I may be inconvenienced for now, but it’s not a problem.”
I’m not pretending.
Since Lute said he will heal me, I’m sure I’ll be fine.
So, I’m not worried.
When I looked straight at my sister’s face and said that, she momentarily widened her eyes and then burst into laughter.
”You really trust him, don’t you? You’ve changed. When you were in the kingdom, you used to snap at anyone and everyone.”
”I can’t believe this is the same Viola who was famous for hating men.”
”You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”
I even think I’ve changed. I used to not care about what others thought of me. I was hailed as a genius, called the Sword Princess of the Raging Fire, and wasn’t afraid of anything.
”What do you like about him?”
”That’s so cliché.”
”N-noisy! It’s fine, okay!”
That’s why I can’t help but be concerned about every move Lute makes. I don’t want him to hate me, I want him to like me, and I’m constantly thinking about it every day.
Falling in love at this age is something I couldn’t possibly imagine back then.
”…He even took care of my bathroom needs.”
”At first, every time Lute tried to take care of me, I would bite him…”
”Oh… I wondered what those scars on his arm were from, but Viola, you gave it to him?”
”You’re still as tomboyish as ever… I’ll apologize to him later too.”
I used to only be interested in honing my sword skills, but now I don’t care about such things anymore. The only things that interest me are the things Lute does for me.
I wonder what kind of dishes he’ll cook for me.
I wonder what kind of books he’ll choose for me.
Will he compliment me on how well a new outfit suits me?
Am I cute right now?
Do I have bedhead?
Everything that comes to mind is revolving around Lute.
”But then, when I bite too much, he defended himself with mittens.”
”That’s true. Viola is like a fierce beast. You should still be thankful that he didn’t wear armor.”
”…I’m really annoying, right?”
”Is that so?”
”…Well, it’s not wrong…”
Even though I’ve always looked down on people who think about such things, now I’m pretty confident that I’m worse.
”Also, listen to this. I was made to wear diapers.”
”Hey, don’t laugh!”
”You couldn’t just say you needed to go to the toilet? You didn’t actually let it flow freely, did you?”
”W-Well, I did…”
”…Your level of stubbornness is something else. Even I would find that embarrassing.”
Now that I say it out loud, I’m showing an unbelievable side of myself. I can’t believe I expect Lute to like me after this.
…Am I crazy?
”So what happened?”
”…Lute, he learned how to cook.”
”Oh, I see. I thought he looked a bit slimmer, but was he in an even worse state?”
”It wasn’t just bad. I think it wouldn’t have been strange if he had died.”
”At first, he could only make rice porridge. But Beth… the girl who saved you. He learned from her and now he can cook anything…”
”The gratin he made earlier was delicious, too.”
”So basically, he won you over through your stomach, right? The roles of men and women are completely reversed.”
”W-Well, it’s not like that, okay?”
Despite doing such horrible things, I’m happy that he desperately tried to help me. Amongst all the people who abandoned me after losing everything, only Lute stayed by my side.
”He… he makes everything for me. Not just cooking, but even that wheelchair. He’s willing to remodel the house for me.”
”…Isn’t he blessed too much? Could he be a god?”
”…I think so.”
Wait, hold on a second.
”Why… does Lute go to such lengths for me?”
”…Haven’t you asked him?”
Come to think of it, I haven’t.
But then, why did he bother with someone like me?
I couldn’t move my limbs, I was emaciated… and covered in dirt.
I was supposed to have no value as a consolation at that time.
The only one who bid on me at the auction was Lute, right?
The sales pitch was like, “If you want to take revenge, definitely!”
I wonder why it’s impossible?
I don’t even understand it myself.
”…It seems to be serious.”
”W-What do you mean…”
”Well, I think he’ll tell you eventually.”
”…Is that so?”
”Yeah, I think so.”
”…What? Do you understand Lute better than me?”
”Oh come on… are you jealous even of me? You haven’t changed in that essential aspect.”
With a sigh of exasperation, my sister laughed and stopped leaning on her elbow, wrapping her arm around the back of my neck and pulling me closer.
”I’m happy, Viola.”
My sister’s eyes, which gently touched my forehead with a thud, were incredibly beautiful under the moonlight.
The most beautiful thing in this world is my sister’s eyes.
”Just you being alive makes me happy… and you look so happy.”
I feel the same way too.
I’m glad my sister is alive.
I never thought I would be able to meet like this again in my dreams.
”Do you like him?”
As I stared into the eyes of my sister who asked me that, I smiled and softly nodded.
I was happy that I could nod honestly, and it was strange that I felt relieved.
* * *
”…My stomach hurts… I, I might not be able to do this… Aria-chan, can I go back?”
”That does sound like a bad lie, Forte.”
”I-It’s not a lie!!”
”Okay, I see you don’t look well.”
”Ugh… no, that was just…”
”Enough, we’ll finish the business quickly. There’s no turning back now, so give up. If it was an order from Kanon-sama, you could refuse and be forgiven, but this time it’s an order from the Cardinal.”
”Ugh… why me… I’m so nervous…”
As I heard something outside, I peeked my face from the kitchen window, and I saw two figures wearing navy blue cloaks adorned with the crest of the Divine Princess over their armor.
”It’s because it’s work. We can’t send subordinates to deal with Lute-sama, can we?”
One person has straight black hair that extends to the shoulders, staring at the other person with a cold expression.
Although the elegant face resembles Viola-sama in some ways, Viola-sama seems warmer. This person’s expression carries an overwhelming sense of intimidation. I remember seeing this person once at the Imperial Festival, she was definitely the divine princess Aria-sama.
”It’s because it’s a job that I can’t easily dismiss… If the timing were different, this mission wouldn’t have landed in my lap.”
The other person has loosely tied ponytail with a gently waving bluish-green hair, and a timid face that is further distorted in a pitiful manner as she lowers her shoulders.
As she lifts her face with a sigh, her gentle eyes suddenly meet mine through the kitchen window.
Our gazes lock, and her eyes widen in surprise.
”Um… I’m, well… Forte, a Divine Princess belonging to the Holy Knight Corps of the Holy Empire…”
It’s a general term for the priestesses chosen by the Imperial Orthodox Church through divine revelation.
Candidates for the Divine Princess, who excel in various fields such as martial arts, magic, and academics, are used for the propaganda of the Empire. At the same time, they all undergo the Empire’s special baptism.
The girls who endure the baptism, which has a pass rate of less than 10%, are pushed to the brink of mana hypertrophy, and it is said that they possess an unimaginable amount of mana in their bodies, artificially guided by what the Empire calls the guidance of the gods.
It is said that even enemy prisoners, who should be enemies, will risk their lives for them, and it is widely known as the so-called Succubus Syndrome.
”Um… May I, um, disturb you?”
In this recent war, tens of thousands of men were devoted to and sacrificed their lives for them. Husbands, lovers, beloved sons. They all went mad for the Divine Princess and died.
I have heard that even my stepfather died like that in the past.
”Oh, I won’t take up too much of your time…”
The symbol of the Empire,
And the enemy of all women in the Empire, the Divine Princess.
Seeing her face turn blue in a flustered manner, I think my expression must have been horribly distorted and ugly as I glared at her.
* * *
”Here you go.”
”Th-thank you. Well…”
”I am Frau. Forte. Be composed.”
”I-I’m sorry… Thank you, Frau.”
”No, I am just a Sister, so please don’t worry about me. Please feel free to let me know if there is anything I can do for you.”
”N-No, it’s not… You came to serve at Lute-sama’s house, right?”
”…Officially, yes… But I’m useless.”
”Ah… I see… Well, um… But this tea has a very pleasant fragrance…”
Lately, whenever I hear the word “tea,” an unpleasant scene flashes back.
A sweet and alluring sensation, as if my mind is being dominated by desire, as if I am not myself.
I wonder if the men who pledge their loyalty to the Divine Princesses are constantly controlled by that sensation.
”W-What’s wrong…? Are you feeling unwell…?”
”…No, it’s alright. Don’t worry about it.”
Forte-sama looks at me with a worried expression as my face changes. I feel like I could trust those gentle eyes, but I mustn’t let my guard down.
I don’t know why she came to Lute-sama’s house, but Lute-sama is currently wearing a mana control device.
Beth said there shouldn’t be any problems, but without realizing it, Lute-sama’s reason could be taken over by the Divine Princesses and twisted in their favor. I, being a woman, must keep a close eye on our conversation during the meeting with Lute-sama.
As I stand there, watching the two Divine Princesses sipping their tea, these thoughts weigh heavily on my mind. After a while, Lute-sama, dressed in formal attire, comes down from the second floor of the house.
”I apologize for being late. It took me a while to get ready in unfamiliar attire…I’m terribly sorry.”
His black, short hair, usually disheveled, was now slicked back with oil. He looked great in the pure white ceremonial attire with the emblem, which only officially recognized mage from the empire were permitted to wear.
”Oh, um, thank you…”
”…Hello, Lute-sama. It’s been a while.”
”Hey there, Aria-sama. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Forte-sama. I’ve heard a lot about you from Kanon.”
So… cool… I want to fly over there right now and praise him.
But I don’t have the qualifications for that.
How happy would I be if someone like Lute asked me out in that outfit? Strolling in the park, going to see a play, enjoying dinner at night… and then…
No, I don’t have the qualifications for that.
”Thank you for taking care of Frau as well. Excuse me, but may I ask you both if it’s okay to have some more tea?”
This is no time to be lost in thought.
Even though I am a Sister, the task I’ve been given is the household chores, essentially, a maid.
A maid’s mistakes reflect poorly on the master. I have to make sure I do a good job for Lute-sama’s sake.
Taking the pot from the nearby cart in a panicked state, I pour tea into the cups of Forte-sama and Aria-sama, who are sitting on the sofa.
”T-Thank you very much…”
I bow my head to Forte-sama’s gratitude and reach out my hand to the cup of Aria-sama, who is sitting beside her, and as I lift myself up, I am surprised and turn around as Aria-sama whispers in my ear,
”…Lute-sama looks wonderful.”
She gazes at my eyes with a slight smile.
”Y-Yes… Th-Thank you very much.”
”Hehe… No, no.”
Why am I thanking her? She smiled at me as if I were funny. It’s embarrassing.
But still, I didn’t expect Aria-sama to make jokes like this. I had an image of her being more cold-hearted…
…No, maybe it was a joke? Or is it disrespectful to call it a joke? But the fact is, there is no doubt that Lute-sama is wonderful.
Lute-sama looked at me with a puzzled expression, and Aria-sama chuckled at my blushing face.
Even though I felt embarrassed all of a sudden, my role starts here. Be firm, Frau.
From here, I can observe any change in Lute-sama’s expression and quickly notice if something is wrong. I must remain calm.
”Well then, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule, Lute-sama.”
”Yes, thank you!”
”Oh no, it’s not at all busy compared to the two of you. We would have come to you if you had invited us.”
”I couldn’t possibly be so rude to Lute-sama. It’s already impolite enough to come here today after yesterday’s contact…”
Lute-sama lowered his head in response to the two Divine Princesses, wearing a troubled expression.
Although I don’t feel it in our modest everyday life, when I see scenes like this, I realize that I’m not someone who should be able to talk to someone like him.
…….No, no, it’s not a time to be proud.
After all, Lute-sama isn’t my boyfriend or anything…
I’m actually a s*xual criminal who r*ped Lute-sama…
…I don’t know why, my chest hurts.
”So, what can I do for you today?”
When Lute-sama spoke at the moment Forte-sama and Aria-sama looked up, Forte-sama’s face quickly showed signs of tension.
On the other hand, Aria-sama remained expressionless.
Although she looked incredibly cute when she smiled earlier, seeing her remain expressionless like this is somewhat intimidating.
”Um, well… I have something I’d like to ask…”
”You want to ask something? If I can answer, feel free to ask.”
Lute-sama maintains a calm expression, but unlike Aria-sama, she doesn’t come across as cold…
Maybe he’s just used to it?
I know that Lute-sama is a kind person, and I know he’s not good at expressing emotions. That’s why when he blushed when talking to me that time, I was happy, and I couldn’t help myself.
”To put it briefly… Well, actually, during my mission, I made a mistake…”
”Y-yes… In a certain town, there was a base of anti-empire forces, and I was assigned the task of annihilating them. However, even though I managed to capture the enemy leader, they escaped from the prison…”
”Y-yes… I’m sorry…”
Lute-sama’s expression remained unchanged.
He had received information from Beth beforehand, and this story was already expected.
”So… What’s the connection between that story and me?”
”W-well, you see… um…”
Forte-sama, who was being stared at directly by Lute-sama, blushed and stammered.
It was unclear who was interrogating whom in this situation.
Forte-sama, who had become flustered, eventually turned her pleading eyes toward Aria-sama.
”What is it? Listen carefully. You’re keeping Lute-sama waiting.”
Forte-sama, who had started to tear up, looked like some kind of small animal.
Although she is quite tall and has a great figure, her gestures and expressions are like those of a young girl.
”Forte, you know… it’s because of your negligence that things have turned out like this, right? There’s no point in me asking, is there?”
”W-well, I understand but…”
With a sigh, Aria-sama turned her gaze sharply towards Forte-sama and then ultimately shifted her gaze to Lute-sama, correcting her posture.
”The one who was captured is Risoluto Alto. She is the former captain of the Third Knight Order of the Royal Kingdom. Do you know her name?”
”That’s quite a big shot. It must have been quite a struggle to capture her, right?”
”Y-yes, it was… the damage on our side was considerable too…”
Forte-sama, flustered, nodded as she tried to keep up her poker face.
Is this person really okay?
Can someone with such a straightforward personality properly fulfill their duties as a Divine Princess?
”So, you see. The reason I took up Lute-sama’s time this time is because I wanted to examine the relationship between Lute-sama and the slave he recently acquired…”
”Oh, you mean Viola, right?”
”So, it’s true. Risoluto Viola-san. The younger sister of Risoluto Alto, right…?”
Forte-sama asked hesitantly, and Lute-sama nodded with a calm expression.
”I see, so you suspected that Alto might be hiding here?”
”I-It’s not really a suspicion…! I-I mean… Please forgive me… It was just a confirmation… I don’t think that Lute-sama is sheltering anti-imperial forces or anything like that…”
I don’t know how the information got out, but it’s clear that Forte-sama is suspicious, right? Well, Lute-sama isn’t trying to hide Viola-sama’s existence either. Considering that the Divine Princess is acting, it must be the higher-ups in the church who have doubts.
The higher-ups in the church…
Is it my fault that the Divine Princess is acting?
How did the information leak? Was it because of me? Viola-sama’s name was in the report.
”What’s wrong, Frau? Are you feeling sick?”
”N-No… It’s nothing, Lute-sama…”
I feel so foolish.
No wonder Beth was looking at me with such an indescribable expression. I didn’t even realize that I had been disrespectful to Lute-sama… But then again, I didn’t know about Alto-sama at that time…
Seriously, why am I always failing like this?
”Frau doesn’t seem to be in good condition, so please forgive me for asking directly. Do you happen to know anything about Alto’s whereabouts, Lute-sama?”
”No, I don’t.”
”I-I see! Well, that’s… good… N-no, in that case, there’s no need to stay any longer!! Let’s go, Aria-chan!”
While Forte-sama stood up in confusion, Aria-sama continued to gaze at Lute with an unreadable expression. What could she be thinking? Even in the face of that cold gaze, Lute-sama’s expression remained unchanged.
”Lute-sama. Would it be possible for us to meet with Viola?”
”Just be quiet, Forte.”
Slaves are personal property.
Moreover, it is common for slaves like nobles and wealthy merchants to not expose their personal hidden interests, as they often reflect personal hidden interests like sex slaves.
It is considered a breach of etiquette to even show interest in the slaves owned by the other party, and it is nothing more than an abuse of power to demand that someone like Lute-sama show his slaves, even if he is a godlike figure.
Looking at Forte-sama’s panic, it is hard to believe that this demand came from the church. It is probably Aria-sama’s unilateral decision.
However, Lute-sama casually nodded and stood up, then disappeared towards a room at the end of the corridor.
”A, Aria-chan… this is bad…”
”Stay quiet, Forte.”
”But even if you say that…”
As Aria-sama’s gaze was fixed on the door beyond which Lute-sama disappeared.
Creak… The door made a creaking sound as it opened, and there stood…
Covered in dirty clothes, Viola-sama had scars and bruises all over her exposed skin, which was stripped from her shabby clothes.
The body that Lute-sama is holding seems to be shaking due to fear.
”I am Viola. Please forgive my rudeness. My limbs cannot move.”
”Eh!? N-no… W-we’re the one who should apologize…”
As Lute-sama stares at Viola-sama expressionlessly, both Forte-sama and Aria-sama turn pale.
”Do you know that the former kingdom’s knight order has acquired a special mana manipulation technique?”
”A-ah… Y-yes… I-I know that…”
”They have mastered the art of manipulating mana outside of their bodies without it passing through their bodies. This mana manipulation, which is considered to be top-secret, has long been a coveted knowledge for us magic technicians.”
As Lute-sama gazes at Viola-sama in his arms, Viola-sama shrinks her body as if fearing being hit.
Her tightly closed eyes and trembling shoulders.
It’s as if her fear is being transmitted to me just by watching.
”If the technique to manipulate mana from outside the body can be applied to magic tools, remote control becomes possible. There will be no need to perform maintenance on magic tools for mana replenishment, and it is obvious that a revolution will occur in magical tools once the method of manipulating mana is understood.”
”So, obtaining Viola in this Great War was a stroke of luck for me.”
Saying this, Lute-sama made Viola sit on the sofa he was sitting on. Although there was nothing particularly suspicious about his movements, from my perspective, knowing how he handles delicate objects, it was clear that Lute-sama was trying to handle Viola rather roughly.
Lute-sama’s poker face is good, but he might not be able to fully act out his movements.
Should he make her sit more casually, or should he not make her sit on the sofa at all?
Of course, he can’t go so far as to trample on her.
”Furthermore, as a secondary byproduct, Viola also has excellent looks.”
”Y-yes, that’s true…”
”S-she is indeed very beautiful…”
Forte-sama and Aria-sama are looking at the special makeup applied by Beth.
Bruises on the face, painful marks of ropes on the wrists.
Numerous scars that clearly indicate regular abuse.
”As a research material, and also as a slave, I am satisfied. It would have been perfect if all four limbs could move.”
”So, it’s about Alto…”
Seeing Forte-sama tremble and flinch as Lute-sama’s face turned towards her, Lute-sama placed his hand on Viola-sama’s shoulder with a smile, maintaining his expressionless demeanor.
”If she is captured, could you hand her over to me?”
”The more research materials, the better. Even if this Viola becomes useless… I can continue my research if there is a replacement.”
”No, I don’t intend to use her up. But there may be unforeseen circumstances.”
”Ye-yes… I see…”
”Or will she be executed by the church?”
”Um, well… It was a contentious issue even at the church, so I can’t say for sure… But if someone as esteemed as Lute-sama were to voice his opinion, maybe…”
”I see. In that case, could I ask for your support at that time?”
”Yes, of course…”
”Thank you. I appreciate it.”
Lute-sama, you’re quite skilled. Your hard work in practicing with Beth and me while looking a bit blue has paid off.
Viola-sama is also good at maintaining a vacant expression…
I wonder if I might be the worst actor among us.
”So, do you have any more questions?”
As Forte-sama looked at Lute-sama, who had returned to his expressionless state, she shivered and turned pale.
”No, we’re good… Thank you.”
Aria-sama seemed to wear a somewhat sad expression as she lowered her head, and the visit by the two Divine Princesses came to an end.
But what caught my attention was Aria-sama’s expression at the end. She’s the Divine Princess who seems to have the most interaction with Lute-sama. I wonder what she was feeling as she left.
I have heard rumors that Lute-sama is getting heated up. There are also rumors that his father is eagerly hoping for an engagement between Lute-sama and Aria-sama.
…If those rumors are true, it must have been quite a shock.
Or rather, are you okay, Lute-sama? Aria-sama is, well… the daughter of Maraketh-sama…
Well, though… if I had seen Lute-sama’s state after the two of them returned, any misunderstandings would have been quickly resolved.
”Vi… Viola… I’m sorry… forgive me…”
”Why are you apologizing? It went according to plan. There’s no need to apologize.”
”But still… it’s not my true feelings… forgive me…”
”I, I understand! I don’t think that way at all!”
”Hey, Lute-sama, that was some convincing acting! It was a little scary, you know! I can’t believe you would treat Viola like that normally?”
”Onee-sama! Please go over there for a moment! Lute, it’s okay! I’m not really serious!!”
That evening, when Viola-sama refused me and said she wanted Lute-sama to bathe her today, her expression was so adorable. Even someone like me, it becomes foolish to feel jealous.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.