Chapter 17 That’s Why You Always Get Called Clumsy
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
I feel overwhelmed by the daily treatment I’ve been receiving.
What’s difficult is restraining myself from attacking Viola and Frau.
It’s pathetic to think that I’m such a weak person when it comes to desires.
Of course, I don’t have any lustful feelings towards Fiine, but even so, I’ve noticed that she can be by my side in a more grown-up form when I least expect it.
I can’t help but be conscious of women anymore.
Especially Viola and Frau, who are overflowing with charm, to the point where I hesitate to even approach them. I have no confidence in resisting their allure.
Even if I were to defile them, they would just smile and forgive me.
…Maybe it would be better to just cut “it” down.
As a last resort, it might be worth considering.
If I ask Kanon, she could probably cut “it” down without any pain.
* * *
I know very well what I need to do now.
He is my weapon.
He is my greatest obstacle.
If I can get hold of his heart, my wish will come true.
* * *
”Hey! Welcome… You look a bit worn out, huh?”
”Do I…? Maybe… yeah.”
Responding to Alto’s energetic greeting with a forced smile, she furrows her brows, reminiscent of Viola, and shows a concerned expression.
”Is it because of your sister causing trouble?”
”…It’s more like I’m the one causing trouble. Viola never causes any trouble.”
”In that state? Lute-sama’s kindness truly knows no bounds.”
Alto lets out a sigh, “Come, have a seat,” and pats the space next to her on the sofa.
Without much caution towards Alto, I sit down beside her.
Now that I think about it, I strangely don’t feel nervous around Alto from the start.
Even though she has the same face as Viola, I wonder why that is.
”You seem tired.”
”…Is it that obvious?”
”Yeah, you’ve got dark circles under your eyes.”
But that’s just a normal conversation at a comfortable distance. Sitting casually beside each other, having someone scrutinize my face up close, makes me break into a cold sweat instantly.
As Alto said, it’s true that I might be tired. Even though she is Viola’s sister, it’s thoughtless to sit right next to a woman I haven’t had much conversation with.
”Are you able to sleep?”
”W-Well, not really… I do have a bit of trouble falling asleep…”
”Then go ahead and sleep. What do you have planned after this?”
”I have a meeting in the afternoon…”
”I’ll wake you up. So, here.”
Looking at Alto, who lightly tapped my thigh and smiled, my body froze.
Even if asked what’s wrong, I don’t know how to respond. It seemed like a gesture to offer me a lap pillow, but maybe I misunderstood.
”Just lie down already. I’ll give you a lap pillow.”
It seems like I didn’t misunderstand.
”No, it’s fine.”
Even if asked why, I don’t know how to respond. Rather, I want to ask why she thought of giving me a lap pillow.
”Come on, here.”
And on top of that, Alto today is wearing short pants that expose her thighs, paired with a sweater as her loungewear.
Though I hadn’t noticed when standing, the gown draped over her, now that it happened, the sight of the white skin lingers on the edge of my vision.
Certainly embarrassed. Even with such provocation, it brings neither regret nor frustration.
”I appreciate your feelings, but there’s no need for such… or is there?”
As soon as that clear sound rang out, a force like a shoulder push sends me down, my view tilting diagonally.
A soft sensation came to my cheek. Looking up, Alto’s face, or at least half of it hidden behind her chest, gazes at me with a smile.
”What… is this?”
Another clear sound echoed. My legs lifted, gently placed on the sofa. In view, a faintly shining emblem carved into Alto’s left hand.
”This is… Kingdom’s mana manipulation. Lute-sama, have you never seen it before?”
”What about Viola? Hasn’t she used it?”
”Not even once…”
”I see. She’s actually better at it. I wonder if it’s because her mana circuits in her limbs are damaged? I have no problem using just one hand though.”
The kingdom’s mana manipulation allows amplification of targeted mana and remote control without physical contact.
”…It’s amazing, how can you do it without passing through the body…”
”It’s not that impressive. Your magic tools are much more amazing.”
”Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to be sarcastic. And I certainly don’t blame Lute-sama. It’s genuine admiration.”
”Yeah, but more importantly, what do you think?”
”My lap pillow, it’s the first time for me too.”
Even if you ask for my opinion…
It’s incredibly nerve-wracking when I’m conscious… I don’t think I can sleep, at least not like this.
”I said it before… I appreciate your feeling, but…”
”Oh, come on. You’re ruining the moment with your resistance.”
Even when I try to get up, Alto pushes my head down.
Why is she so insistent on this lap pillow thing?
If you want me to sleep, it would be more appreciated if you let me sleep normally.
”Hey, let me go…”
I tried to lift my body by placing my elbow on the ground, but my head wouldn’t come up. The strength in Alto’s arm, pressing down on my head, was tremendous.
Suddenly, Alto’s body jumped, and a charming voice echoed, halting her thoughts. As I struggled to get up, I realized my hand was placed on Alto’s bare thigh, gripping the soft skin tightly.
”…Your hands are cold. Is your body cold?”
Panicking, she removed my hand, losing the support for my body. My slightly lifted cheek returned to rest on Alto’s thigh. Despite the panic from the sensation on my cheek, Alto didn’t release my head, didn’t stop emitting that charming voice, and gradually, she found herself unable to resist.
”Don’t give up. Come on, be a good boy.”
As I stopped moving, I became increasingly aware of the feel of Alto’s skin and the sweet scent emanating from her body.
The pressure from the hand that had been pressing on my head is gone, and in its place, those fingers gently comb through my hair.
”Your hair’s gotten a bit long… should I cut it for you next time?”
”N-no… I’ll, I’ll do it myself.”
”You cut it yourself? Quite skillful.”
Although Frau did it for me last time… I’m not lying about that. More importantly, the moment I stopped resisting, Alto covered me as if she were enveloping me…
”Can’t sleep unless you close your eyes?”
Her breath is near my ear, and my heart…
”Yeah, that’s right… you’re a good boy.”
Her hand moves from my head to my shoulders, then to my back, changing the places she strokes one after another. With my eyes closed, I can hear her quiet breath right next to me, and I can feel the quiet heartbeat from the pressed chest.
For quite a long time, only the sounds emanating from her reach my ears.
Occasionally, the chirping of birds outside the window, the footsteps of Kanon’s servants walking through the mansion, and the distant sound of someone cleaning are the only things I can hear. I realize that it’s been quite a while since I spent such a quiet time.
”…a good boy.”
The sunlight streaming through the window, her hand, the warmth radiating from her thigh.
Everything is warm and soft.
Alto’s voice can be heard right next to my ear,
”What do you think of Viola?”
With those words, I can no longer close my eyes.
When I slightly open my eyes and shift my body, Alto’s face is peering at me from a position so close that our noses could touch.
Deep crimson eyes, just like Viola’s.
The color is darker and more captivating than Fiine’s brown eyes, as if I could be enchanted by them.
”Do you like her?”
I respect her as a person.
I am infatuated with her as a woman.
I am painfully aware that if she were to be with another man, I would be consumed by intense jealousy.
But, I also think that if I were to confess my feelings for her in my position, she would be troubled.
”That girl, she was always lonely, you know?”
”Before she could even speak, she controlled mana and caused destruction, it was tough.”
the Sword Princess of the Raging Fire.
At the age of 10, she entered the knight training school as a skip-grade student, and she graduated at the top at the young age of 14.
”She didn’t have any friends of the same age. She was treated like a tumor, as if handling a delicate object, and every day felt like it could be crushed under the expectations of those around her.”
The first time I saw her was at the exchange meeting between the Divine Princesses, the Knights, and the nobles of both countries, held despite the state of imminent war.
Kanon’s faction, trying to prevent the war, organized it, and each person clearly indicated their stance on the war by attending or not. Ironically, this decisive act ultimately led to the war that followed.
”That girl didn’t even realize she was in a difficult situation.”
”She developed a habit of biting her nails. Before the end of the war, both of her hands were in terrible condition. When I saw her again after a long time, her nails were neatly done, and I realized in a strange way that she really couldn’t move her limbs…”
After several small clashes, the situation that had been in a standoff suddenly tilted in favor of the Imperial Kingdom in a large-scale battle on the plain along the river on the border.
At that time, the Imperial Kingdom deployed a magic tool in battle that forcibly closed the exit of the target’s mana circuit. It was a weapon adapted from the medical device technology that Kanon and I jointly developed when treating Beth with Bottle Neck Syndrome.
”Viola… doesn’t talk about her worries, huh?”
”…Yeah, she’s scared. If she doesn’t appear strong, she’ll be crushed.”
Not only does she not talk about her worries, but she has never even clearly expressed complaints. She calls everything she puts out delicious, smiles and says everything she buys is cute, and never tires of looking at them.
”You see, when she was little, she never asked our parents for anything.”
Huff… Well, when I started taking care of her, there was only one time she vehemently showed her emotions and begged.
She cried miserably and shouted to feed her a dish mixed with broken shards of plates.
Only at that time.
”That girl was always giving to others. By the end, there was nothing left. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
”I’ve never seen Viola, who always has such a calm face.”
”All lost… truly everything.”
While feeling Alto’s tears fall on my face, I didn’t know what words to say to her. It wasn’t just Viola who lost everything. I took it away myself.
”…I don’t understand anymore.”
”When I look at Viola, my heart wavers.”
The tears streaming down my cheeks one after another, what are these tears flowing for?
’Lute-sama, you don’t understand anything about women.’
Is there no way I could understand her like this?
”I feel… incredibly small.”
Is wanting to understand just arrogant and self-righteous?
As she gently pressed her lips against mine while crying, I couldn’t understand anything about her inner thoughts.
But that kiss was so pure, my heartbeat didn’t accelerate, but instead remained calm, as if performing a sacred ritual.
Surely, her heart must be somewhere far away from here.
Thinking such a thing, I must be making another big misunderstanding for sure.
* * *
Why did I end up coming to a place like this?
This is betrayal.
An extremely cowardly deed.
My stomach hurts.
I am fully aware that I am doing something wrong.
It feels like the soup and salad I had for lunch might come up.
”…I, I guess”
Maybe I should go back…
No, I can’t… I came during my hesitation.
The moment I call his name, I can feel my heart beating louder. What should I do? I didn’t expect him to come so early, and there’s still a lot of time until the meeting with Aria-chan and Lute-sama…
Should I casually approach and talk as if by chance?
Oh, but… I dressed up a bit too enthusiastically.
Rahter, why did I go through the trouble of leaving work early yesterday just to go shop for clothes… Even got my hair done, spent two hours on unfamiliar makeup…
And now, I have a bag with Lute-sama’s coat in my hands. If I hand this over, even if I pretend it’s a coincidence, the lie will be exposed. But if I don’t speak up now, coming here would be meaningless.
’Forte-sama? Hey, are you on a day off?’
’Yes! I wanted to return the coat I borrowed the other day, so I heard that you and Aria-chan were meeting here today, and before that…’
’You didn’t have to worry about it… I feel somehow sorry.’
’No, no!! Here, this… there’s a thank-you inside too!’
’…? Lu, Lute-sama?’
’W-What’s wrong…? If you look at me like that… it’s embarrassing…’
’Well… it suits you.’
As I walked by, I got strange looks from a passing child, but I couldn’t shake the slightly embarrassed face of Lute-sama from my daydreams. I don’t care about such glances.
W-what should I do… If, if it happens. If today, after finishing things with Aria-chan, she suggests me going on a date with him, what should I do? I can’t smile and accept the proposal. Absolutely impossible. I’ll get all flustered and say something weird.
Ahhhh… Why don’t I understand anything about these things? If it were Aria-chan, she could probably handle it…
Or rather, if it were just a date, it would be fine, but… an inn and, um, the other day I invited him to my room… What if he says he wants to go… So, just to be sure, really just to be sure… I bought cute underwear yesterday and put it on.
I checked in the mirror many times, and I don’t think it looks bad. And I cleaned my room thoroughly and made it smell nice…
On the bed, I confirmed this morning that not a single hair remains on the futon…
Well, even I… even I’m not at an odd age for such things…
If anything, I’m on the later side…
Everyone in my hometown village… they all said they’ve already experienced it…
Many have even married…
This is normal.
If you’re a bit curious, invite them, everyone said.
And if it doesn’t work out, you can just stop. Men don’t really mind, they said…
Once you become an adult, it’s not uncommon for bodies to connect before hearts do…
Is that really true?
If I do something like that and the other person is disappointed, I think I won’t be able to recover for a while… but is it because this is my first time doing something like this?
’Forte, you seem quite interested, but can you invite a man or something?’
’No way Forte can do that… a naive girl like her is rare these days.’
’Stop making fun of me!!!’
’Can you invite someone then?’
’Hey, stop bullying Forte, you guys. Starting next month, she’ll be the Divine Princess, you know.’
’That’s why I’m even more worried. You know, the Divine Princess, she uses men, right?’
’That’s a misunderstanding!’
’No, it’s not. I don’t know how it works, but they say it can steal anyone’s heart. Won’t there be more opportunities for you to do that kind of thing?’
’I-I guess so… but… I don’t like it…’
’Shouldn’t we all teach you? Like how to invite or refuse… and techniques?’
’Hahaha! That’s a good idea! Whose house should we do it at?’
’Let’s go to Forte’s house!’
’Wait a minute!!’
’Let’s go, let’s go!! Hahaha! Then I’ll be the one to attack Forte!’
’No way! Don’t get too carried away!’
…What was said again…
Anyway, that night turned into quite a situation with only women present…
But before that, I suddenly noticing,
Marcato-sama, with her blonde hair in vertical curls, approaches Lute-sama standing in front of the fountain in the square, gently swaying.
Divine Princess, Marcato.
It seems that recently she has stopped walking around with the draconia named Oratorio-kun, and now she’s closing the distance to Lute-sama all by herself.
Just noticed, but Lute-sama… seems a bit down…
I wonder what happened…
She called out…
Lute-sama seems surprised too, so it doesn’t seem like we had made any promises after all.
Well, that makes sense, right? Lute-sama has plans with Aria-chan later…
Is he declining something?
Lute-sama is shaking his hand sideways and seems flustered…
I wonder what he’s saying… I can’t really hear from here…
Should I try to get closer, blending into the crowd a bit more…?
When such thoughts crossed my mind…
Marcato-sama whispered into Lute-sama’s ear, and as soon as she did, Lute-sama’s face quickly turned pale.
Marcato-sama stepped back and started walking away. Lute-sama, dragging his heavy legs, followed after her while scanning the surroundings, possibly searching for Aria-chan.
But there was still plenty of time until the promised meeting. Aria-chan should have finished her morning errands and wouldn’t have left the church yet.
Something doesn’t feel right. I discreetly stepped away from the shadows and left a message with the Divine Princess’ common mana where Lute-sama had been sitting, then followed after Lute-sama and the others.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.