Friendly reminder, don’t go outside tomorrow. Everyone knows that the eponymously named Black Friday was named after the nordic goblins that come out to hunt those people who are still too stuffed from Thanksgiving to put up a decent fight. Don’t be a meal. Stay inside cowering all day with the lights off like me. I hope I made you laugh because this chapter killed about every ounce of holiday spirit left in me. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Time for a Decision Part 2
“Emilia, please calmly listen to me.”
Emilia stared at the suit of armor that walked into the room with a bit of embarrassment in her as she realized that just hearing her sister Monette’s voice was enough to calm down so much of the anxiety that had been building up inside her. If it were not for the heavy air pervading through the room, she would have been jumping for joy with heartfelt cheer.
But when Emilia peeked over Monette’s shoulder as the door closed behind her, she saw a guard lying on the ground. He was probably intended to guard this room. Who had defeated him? Did someone come there along with Monette, or…….?
Either way, it meant that Monette was somehow involved in this mess, and she had somehow interfered with the security of this room. Realizing that, Emilia called out to her beloved sister.
“Sister Monette, why……..”
“Emilia, are you aware that you are a witch?”
“Witch? I am?”
Who is? Doubt started to spread across Emilia’s face.
There was no trace of falsehoods or deceit in Monette’s tone, so for Emilia that doubt was more steered towards why a question like that would be asked under these circumstances.
But more than anything Emilia doubted the fact that she could be a witch.
Certainly the Idira family was a family of witches, but they had thrown away their magic and their name as witches long ago. Now the family was an aristocratic one who lived in society, and not a single one of them had something like a familiar. It was so long ago that none of their relatives ever really even talked about it.
The first Emilia had even heard about their heritage was when she found out that all Monette had taken with her to the old castle was the collection of magical books that her family still had.
In the first place, Emilia found it hard to imagine what magic was. She had never seen a witch before until her beloved sister had shown up before her once again claiming to be one–although even then she had not ‘seen’ her. Descriptions of witches were absent in their house, and there were even those who would shut down conversations with a, “That’s how they are,” leaving any information to hearsay and idle gossip.
For Emilia that was all magic was.
And even if she had been given an opportunity to learn magic, she would have much preferred to spend her time learning more about the proper mannerisms and beautiful behavior for a princess.
With these circumstances, why on earth would anyone think she could be a witch?
So Emilia appealed.
She tried to hold back her trembling voice, but all that did was make her hands shiver instead.
When he noticed, Rodel stretched out his arms before Emilia as if to protect her. It was to support Emilia, and it seemed like he believed he could protect her from anything. There was a strong alertness in his eyes.
Even though her sister would not hurt her………no, even though it seemed like she wouldn’t, Rodel’s presence was still comforting to her, and she unconsciously called out his name. His eyes were sharp with vigilance, but he still made sure to give her a sideways look and a comforting smile.
“Monette, why are you trying to deceive Emilia?”
“I am not misleading her.”
“Then what is your purpose? You have come here with my hated older brother and an enemy of the royal family, so why are you……”
Alexis, who once threw out nothing but insults towards Monette and abandoned their engagement, and Ordo, who was kicked out of the royal family due to the high risk factor of him starting a rebellion. It was a personal selection that should be unthinkable for Monette.
Monette’s response to that was a flat, “Ordo is just doing what comes naturally to him.” –At that moment Ordo, who was inside a luxurious mansion not far from them, released a violent sneeze and glared at the person standing next to Gina.–
However, following this was a very serious voice saying, “As for Alexis……”
“Those words were never his true nature in the first place.”
“……….Sister Monette, what does that mean?”
“Everything was caused by Emilia’s magic………….It was all your doing.”
Hearing Monette’s sudden accusal, Emilia gasped.
However Rodel looked like he wasn’t believing any of it. With hatred in his eyes, he looked as if he were about to blame Monette of some unspeakable crime.
No, he really was blaming her. In the momentum of this attack, here she was trying to pass the blame onto Emilia for all the misdeeds Alexis had perpetrated over the past year. It was impossible for him not to get angry, and even though he was unable to see inside the helmet, he did his best to meet her gaze with an intimidating glare.
Towards such a Rodel, Monette provided little thought and did her best to describe every terrible, indescribably thing that had happened.
Just like she was trying to only state the facts. As if she were forcibly repressing her own emotions.
From the beginning, right to this moment. Monette recanted everything that ‘Emilia Idira’s magic’ had caused.
To call the story shocking would do it a disservice, and Emilia felt the blood drain from her face. Her heart was writhing in pain, and her limbs felt cold and numb.
“That’s, I……..because instead of my sister, I…….”
Monette was abused as an ugly wretch because of her.
Monette was tossed away and her engagement canceled because of her.
Because of her wishes, Alexis had tossed away Monette in favor of her, and now she had tossed away Alexis in favor of Rodel.
Emilia’s voice came out in short croaks.
Then she looked down because she realized she was wearing fine quality sleepwear. Obviously it was not decadently adorned with jewels, but they were pajamas made from the finest quality fabrics and a design so intricate that it was a waste to only wear them for bedtime.
Originally, when she woke up, she had already taken out a gorgeous dress that she had been planning to wear. She was going to match that gorgeous dress with some flower embroidery and a necklace laden with a large jewel, or so she thought.
What was today’s schedule……..that’s right, she was supposed to meet up with some well known designers to make up the dress she was to wear for a party she was attending next month. After sharing a cup of tea, she was to change into another dress for the planned evening party Rodel had invited her to.
Changing from a high quality nightdress to a gorgeous dress, and then an extravagant party dress………
Certainly you would say a person living like this was living lavishly.
Just like a ‘sparkling princess’.
“But then, Alexis said sister…….”
“Alexis swore I was far too ugly, but Emilia, was I really ugly?”
“We were closer to each other than anyone else could ever dream to be, but do you remember what I look like Emilia?”
When she was asked, Emilia wondered what her sister could possibly be talking about…….and then her expression distorted in confusion.
“………Why, I cannot remember my sister’s face…….I can’t remember something I spent so much time with.”
Even though she tried to remember, the only face for Monette she could remember was something hazy as if someone had taken a pencil eraser to her memories.
She used to be with her from morning to end. When she went to bed, they would face each other under the covers and say, “Good night,” and whenever she woke up late in the morning, Monette’s bitter smile would always be there to welcome her.
Monette’s face was there at the beginning of the day, and it was there at the end of the day.
Even though she had seen her face more often than she had looked at her own in the mirror,
she couldn’t remember.
Her voice, the time they spent together, she could remember every single painting that they had drawn together.
Even though Monette’s face was famous for being hideously ugly, there was not a single memory that Emilia could dredge up where Monette’s face appeared.
“Emilia, you were so worried about me, but not once did you ever say, ‘You are not ugly,’ or ‘Who could think you are ugly?'”
“………..That is, no, I”
“It’s all because of a witch’s magic.”
“Everything was to make Emilia Idira a sparkling princess.
Everything was to keep Emilia Idira as a sparkling princess.”
With a clouded gaze, Emilia heard Monette’s final conclusion and felt as if someone had locked her in a cage. It hurt. All she could manage was a few shallow breaths, and it felt like her heart was about to tear itself in two it was tightening so much.
The question of ‘what on earth’ had evolved into ‘perhaps’. The memory of so many past events ran through her mind, appearing in new light with every doubt in herself that had been built up, and with each new doubt that accumulated in her, her heart continued to tighten until she had gone completely numb from the pain.
Certainly, she had never once told her beloved older sister, ‘You are not ugly,’ as far as she could remember. Encouraging or supporting Monette, the most she had done was feel a little anxious about her being alone in the old castle, and even then all she had done was send her a few insignificant letters. Even Alexis, the person who had supposedly driven her there, had tried to get in contact with her and sent her presents.
Why? She couldn’t understand. She had loved her older sister from the bottom of her heart, and she thought she wanted to spend time together with her again more than anything else in the world.
It wasn’t just Emilia. Nobody else had so much as sent word to Monette. Their family had not even attempted to bring her back out of the castle.
If she is hurting, then it is better to let her slowly heal on her own–was the thought process they had used.
But isn’t that too strange? Their parents were not people who were harsh or lacked in love. On the contrary, the two sisters had practically bathed in it.
Originally, would they not have tried to comfort and bring Monette back? Even if they were to remain silent on the matter, something as absurd as leaving her to stew all alone in the old castle without so much as an escort or a chaperone isn’t funny!
It was the same with Alexis.
Had he ever acted the way the rumors described him as?
He was always a kind person. He was always a respectable person.
He was diligent, and even though there was that act against her sister, Emilia had always held respect for him and longed to help him. She had always wanted to become a fine lady who could support him before those supposed transgressions of his were revealed.
But, when she thought about it, why would someone as gentle as Alexis ever use such a violent attack against Monette?
And she should have never believed that someone who loved his country and his citizens so much would ever act unfaithfully and steal from the national treasury.
When she thought about it once again, everything was strained and distorted.
And then the biggest distortion of all came to Emilia’s mind. Why had she never felt uncomfortable or sad that all this was happening to people she loved?
And the answer was,
“I am………to become a sparkling princess I…….”
Bit by bit, Emilia started to piece things together, and then the suit of armor in front of her nodded its helmet with a creak.
“……..I prayed for a long time. I thought about you every night. That is, my magic. I am your sister, and Alexis……..”
“Emilia, let’s go to Ordo’s place together. You won’t be able to live the life of luxury you have been until now, but I’ll talk to Ordo about making sure you are taken care of.”
“To Sir Ordo…….”
Emilia’s voice had some hesitation mixed into it.
There was a regret about the part of her that could still not accept the truth–mixed in the with the insurmountable guilt she felt over what she had done to Monette and her own inability to recognize what was happening because of her own arrogant wish. And then there was the fear about what the future held and the fear of her own identity as a witch.
Everything was getting meshed together, and she was feeling overwhelmed. Then, she raised her face and saw a silver-colored hand presenting itself forward with a crisp sound.
“It’s okay Emilia. Together,”
Monette’s words suddenly stopped.
It was Rodel who had interrupted her. He grabbed hold of Emilia’s rising hand and restrained her after she took her first step.
Rodel’s expression had never lost the vigilance he held in his eyes, but it had transformed into something holding hostility as if he were about to attack any moment now. When Emilia turned her gaze away from Monette to look at him, she recoiled after seeing the aggression in his expression.
“Rodel, with my sister I am……”
“What’s wrong with you Emilia!? Why are you believing all her lies?”
“My sister would not lie to me. And I have already understood…….this is all my fault.”
So I have to go, Emilia appealed. She then tried to push herself out from Rodel’s grasp and reached out towards Monette. A silver and slightly shaking hand reached out to meet her.
Then, at the moment when the beautiful white hand like porcelain overlapped with the silver-plated carapace……,
“Everything being because of a witch, there is no way something that convenient could be true!!!”
Shouting out in an infuriated voice, Rodel grabbed Emilia’s arm and tore her away with brute force.
A high-pitched scream escaped Emilia’s lips at that moment. She was torn away from her elder sister and looked on to her fiancee in astonishment. But in the next moment, her eyes went round because his expression, the one that usually carried a calm and gentlemanly smile, was distorted into one of rage and hatred.
She had never seen him have such a cold expression before. Fear began to gush up inside her, and the arm he was gripping started to ache.
“Rodel, please let me go……”
Emilia called out to Rodel in a hesitant voice. Following afterward was Monette’s voice who was asking him the same thing.
However, neither of their pleas reached Rodel’s ears as his crazed eyes turned towards Monette as if she were a bug in his way. In a flurry of movement, he rushed forward and swung his fist as if he meant to hit her, only for a sharp short knife to be pulled out in his hand.
It was probably something originally meant for self-defense. He probably thought that either he could not defeat a fully armored opponent without a bladed weapon or maybe he was just rational enough to realize it would hurt to punch a suit of iron armor.
A high-pitched screech echoed out as the blade of the knife collided with iron, the resulting resonation caused the armor to take a step back and shake. Did he mean to push the armor down and sink his blade into one of the armor’s gaps…….?
Everything was eerily quiet for a second before the sound of collapsing armor meshed together with Emilia’s screams.
“Emilia, get over here. You’re coming with me!”
Rodel jumped out of the room without even offering so much as a sideways glance to the suit of armor he had just stabbed while forcibly dragging Emilia by her arm. Emilia tried to shake herself free while continuously calling out Monette’s name, but there was no response to her cries and Rodel’s grip was too tight for her to slip away.
Even so, she continued to call out to Monette with tears in her eyes towards the collapsed body she had been talking to just a moment before.
The last thing she saw of the silver-colored armor that had fallen to the floor…….was a large spider rolling out of the helmet.