I mentioned last chapter that Sarah refers to herself in the third person. I thought about keeping that in, but I decided against it. Referring to yourself in the third person is common for little kids to do in Japan, so it’s being used to show off how childish Sarah can be to contrast how grown up she is at other times. But since that doesn’t translate too well in English and there are times, especially later on, when that can get really confusing, I decided against doing it.
Section 4: Right?
When I opened the front door and stepped outside, a cold wind mixed with powdered snow brushed against my cheek.
“Hey, do you really need to leave?”
The door finally shut behind me. Toslin was putting on her usual mantle. Carol was already inside the carriage, and Rose-san had taken her seat on the coachman’s bench.
The Water Dragon’s Tail was still flowing through the sky overhead. The moon seen through the clear, flowing water was magnified as if you were looking through a crystal ball. Thanks to that, the road was much brighter than what it usually would have been during the night.
“Your home’s not an inn, and I’d feel bad packing so many people into it.”
“But, you’re my benefactors…….”
“If you’re going down that road, then you’re our benefactors. It’s okay, I already heard from your dad where the inn is, and we shouldn’t have any problem getting a room during this time of year.”
“What, Iris. Are you going to feel lonely if we don’t sleep with you? Hyaa, cold!! So cold!!”
Carol stuck her head out from the carriage and laughed. But while winter might be coming to an end, the night air is still freezing. So she immediately jumped back inside.
“I-It’s not like that…….but……”
“…..we’ll see each other again tomorrow, so there’s no need to look so lonely. Right?”
When it was just the two of us, Toslin smiled, “Right?”…….and then started gently patting my head. With one hand Toslin managed to calm me down. Meanwhile my hand had grabbed onto the end of Toslin’s mantle so I could keep being selfish. What is the difference between us? Where does that difference come from? Life experience? But she’s only two years older than me, so that’s a little hard to accept.
“O-Okay……sorry I said something so selfish. Well then, I’ll see you……tomorrow.”
Tomorrow everyone would be visiting the church. After that they needed to stop by the blacksmith and get their armor fixed. There was also the booty from the golem that needed to be sold.
That’s right. This isn’t goodbye. We’ll see each other again. Soon even. Thinking that way my heart started to feel a little lighter, and Toslin’s mantle naturally slipped out of my grasp.
“Right, see you tomorrow.”
“Then Iris-san, have a good night’s rest.”
Rose-san moved Goldmund’s reins, and the carriage started to move. Carol stuck out only her hand from the carriage and waved farewell. And so a new rut was cut through the lightly fallen snow across the cobblestone road.
Taking one last look at the carriage as it disappeared into the dark, I gave them a small wave before heading back inside.
*Splash* *Splash*…….I scooped up some of the hot water and unloaded it on my shoulders.
I guess everyone would’ve made it to the inn by now. They’re probably soaking in the tub, staring up at the ceiling while stretching out their legs. Even if I try not to think about them, it’s been so long since I’ve spent the night away from everyone that it just happens.
“What are you doing right now……..”
What are they talking about? Is Carol still hanging off of Toslin? And if so, has Toslin started poking and prodding Carol to get her to let go?
And then, what about Rose-san? As far as I can remember, Rose-san was always by my side. When I woke up each morning, she was always the first person I’d see, the morning light streaming through the window reflecting off her face. One time when I was half asleep and couldn’t decide whether to wake all the way up or lie back down, I thought I noticed her watching me.
(Back then, I felt a little nervous……it’s embarrassing having somebody see your sleeping face.)
But maybe, that was her way of getting back at me since I would always take a peek at her face as she slept. Yet I felt strangely happy about it.
And then when we faced off against a dragon, she was still right there next to me. And when I was about to eat that tail head-on, Rose-san was the one who saved me.
In the end, that person, those people have grown to be enormously important to me. And so even though I haven’t been away from them for even a single night yet…….I’m lonely.
“Onee-chan, can I come in?”
I was soaking in the bathtub, lost in my memories when a voice suddenly dragged my mind back to the present. When I looked, there was my sister, standing right in front of me. Naturally she was completely naked.
“Onee-chan, is it okay if I take a bath with you?”
“Oh, yeah. Come on in.”
I scooched over and made some space for my sister. Thereupon there was a small splash as she fit herself right in. Huh? It’s floating? And my body……I’ve never seen any part of me float on top of the water, especially not my chest, and yet right now before my very eyes.
“Ehehehe, it’s so warm♪”
“Yes, it sure is. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a bath with Sarah.”
I didn’t notice because she was wearing a coat, but Sarah, she’s really grown a lot in these last six months. I’m still taller than her of course, but her chest, it’s even bigger than mine……..
“Yeah, six months now right? I really was lonely you know?”
Sarah smashed one of her fingers into my nose while puffing out her cheeks and giving me a criticizing glare.
“Geez, I’m the older sister here♪ Quit messing with me Sarah”
“Sorry sorry♪ I just really love playing with you.”
Sarah glued her body right up next to mine. My sister was getting as close as she could, acting like a spoiled child and badgered me to hug her.
Fine, we’ll forget about her breasts for now. I’m still growing too. There is still a chance that I can maintain my dignity as the older sibling.
“I guess it can’t be helped then. But I wonder when Sarah is going to leave her older sister behind.”
“……That’ll never happen.”
“Aren’t you giving up on your future a little too soon there?”
“Probably, never in my whole life.”
“Your whole life…….then I guess Sarah will be taking baths with me from now on and always?”
“Of course? Forever and ever, Onee-chan and I will always be together.”
“That……no that’d be impossible I would think……. It’ll only be a couple years, and Sarah will run off to be somebody’s bride.”
“……..don’t you know? I’m going to be Onee-chan’s bride.”
“Aha, right of course♪ If I get married to Sarah, I’ll never have to do any housework again.”
“Right♪ Leave it to me. I’ll take care of Onee-chan and handle everything~”
“Eh~, but if that happens, I’ll stop being the older sister and become a worthless adult. So I should handle at least half of the chores. Right?”
Ah, right then I just said “Right?”¹ Perhaps I looked just like Toslin right then? Well, I’m not nearly as beautiful though.
“Mm, if that’s what Onee-chan wants, then that’s how it will be♪”
“Sarah really is such a good girl. I love you”
I started fondling my cute little sister’s head. I slowly and gently ran my hand through her red hair, wet from the hot water of the bath and the same color as my own hair.
“Me too!! I really…….love you Onee-chan!!”
Sarah suddenly let out a tearful voice and clung to me even more tightly.
“Welcome home……..welcome home Onee-chan……..”
Hearing the sobbing voice in my ear, I realized it once again. Just how lonely I had made my younger sister feel.
“………yes, I’m home. Sarah”
With only the echo of the occasional water droplet dripping from the spout to break the silence, us two sisters continued sitting there for a while, confirming each other’s body heat and heartbeat.
- Just for clarity’s sake, there isn’t some hidden meaning there or context that gets lost from translating Japanese to English. It’s just that the word they use in Japanese “Ne?” stands out more than our word “Right?”