Section 5: Mean-Spirited
“Oh, that’s right. I have to thank you Sarah.”
Getting out of the bath, I started drying off my body in the dressing room. But when i suddenly remembered something, my hands stopped moving.
“Eh, Onee-chan needs to thank me?”
Looking at her straight on and face-to-face like this, I can fully confirm that my little sister’s growth rate is overtaking mine, albeit only slightly. But I deliberately ignored that fact and continued on.
“Those wool panties you gave me six months ago turned out to be super helpful.”
“Really? So you actually wore them.”
“I never thought I’d use them as much as I did. I didn’t think I’d even need them until I got to Rifront.”
When I first left Solretta Litta on my errand, this area was still warm, and it would be a little while before summer would come to an end. But Sarah thought that since we lived in the northern part of the country and it would soon be autumn, it might be cold at night, yet I never would have imagined that the wool panties she gave me would end up being so useful.
“Autumn had only just started, and we suddenly got that huge blizzard. It caused all sorts of trouble for everyone. I heard the farmers all had to harvest their crops way ahead of schedule.”
I had delivered the book and was just about to return home when somebody suddenly told me, “Carriages can’t travel through this snow.” Then on top of that we received reports that there was a dragon in the area, so once my brain finally started working again, I gave up on making it back any time soon.
“Oh, then they’re probably really worn out by now right?”
But given that I was able to meet Toslin and the others as a result, I wouldn’t say this was a negative turn of events. Although I do feel terrible for worrying my sister like I did.
“Yeah, I mean……they’re decent.”
As a matter of fact, I have one of them with me right at this very moment, and it’s starting to fray here and there. I have a total of five different pairs of wool panties, and they’re all in this condition.
“Fufufu, then I’ll need to make you some more. I’ll knit them later, so I should probably reconfirm your size.”
“Eh, now? We can save it for later…….”
That’s right. Those wool panties of mine were actually all handmade by Sarah. And more than panties, Sarah’s also knit together sweaters, mufflers, and even a pair of sandals once.
“You’re already naked, so wouldn’t it be more efficient to measure you now? Here, I’ll be quick about it, so turn around.”
Sarah was just doing whatever she wanted and forced me to turn my butt towards her.
“Hyaa!? Come on, this is embarrassing”
“I can’t measure you without touching you though? So stay still”
Obviously there isn’t going to be any measuring tape in a room like this. So Sarah’s hands ran around my thighs, measuring out the size of my waist. Because she’s getting a hand measurement, it’s only natural that her hands would need to grab hold of my hips, buttocks, and thighs……but this is still extremely embarrassing.
“A-Aren’t you done yet?”
“Just a little more……. Oh, has Onee-chan gotten a little more plump?”
“Fufufu, no I haven’t, n-not at all……..right? I-I mean maybe, but…….”
“Ah, sorry. I worded that wrong. I was just thinking your waist has some meat on it now. I’ve always thought Onee-chan was a little thin and should eat more.”
It’s certainly true that I haven’t grown out that well. Although I’m not as slender as Carol, I’m certainly in a more modest group compared to Toslin and Rose-san.
(Saluena would fall into Toslin’s group as well…..)
“Yosh, I got it. I’ll make them a little bigger this time, so look forward to it.”
“Right, thanks Sarah. You’re a big help.”
Even if I get laughed at, I can’t live without them anymore. Sometimes you have to sacrifice shame for the sake of comfort.¹
(But Rose-san told me they looked cute, so maybe they’re unexpectedly fashionable……?)
“Is something wrong Onee-chan? If you don’t hurry up and put on your pajamas, you’re going to catch a cold.”
Without my noticing, Sarah had already put on her underwear and was currently slipping her arm into her pajama’s sleeve.
“O-Oh, yes. Of course.”
I put on my underwear and then slid on my wool panties right over of them. At this point the movement is as natural for my body as breathing.
Sarah giggled while she watched me change my clothes, so I asked why. Buy my sister only shook her head, not saying anything.
*Clunk*…..the door shut firmly behind me.
The coldness of the room was just right for my warm body after having just gotten out of the bath. I turned my eyes away from the flickering light of the candle that lit up the room and towards the window where a light snowfall soundlessly struck against the glass……before finally looking at Saluena who was sitting on my bed. Her long, beautiful purple hair looked pure white under the moon’s light.
“That took a while”
“It’s because my sister jumped into the bath halfway through. We spent some time talking to each other.”
When I heard that Toslin and the others would be staying at an inn, I thought Saluena would go with them. But Saluena insisted on staying with me. She cannot leave her master, was the reason she gave.
“Aren’t you cold like that? You could’ve gotten in bed.”
We have stoves in the guest rooms, but there isn’t one in here. If you’re feeling cold, you have to put on some extra clothes or slide under the covers. But Saluena was lightly dressed, and moreover she was sitting right next to the window having apparently been gazing out into the town until now.
“I need to be able to respond at any moment.”
“……is that, in order to protect me?”
“Would there be any other reason?”
It’s hard to come up with a follow-up answer when she says it so confidently.
“R-Right…..of course. But this is my house, which is in the middle of Solretta Litta, a city surrounded by a wall that has soldiers performing regular patrols, so there won’t be any monsters attacking us. We’re fine here.”
“Is that so……”
“Yes, it is.”
Now that I think of it, this might be my first time being alone with Saluena. I always imagined she would act pushy and there’d be no use in arguing with her if it was ever just the two of us, but reality is turning out to be a little different.
Ah, and it’s not like I thought she would be pushy as in she’d push me into bed? I had tried getting her to sleep in the guest room, but I’ve already mentioned the excuse she gave for her firm refusal.
Our voices overlapped, cutting off what the other wanted to say.
I was getting a little worried over how unusually quiet Saluena was being, so I let her go first. Saluena visibly hesitated for a moment before shyly opening her mouth.
“……no, it’s nothing. Rather, you should get in bed. You’ll catch a cold.”
No, rather than being shy…….would it be better to say she’s scared?
“Ahaha, Sarah just told me something similar.”
It was really warm underneath my comforter, maybe because Saluena was sitting on top.
“What are you doing Saluena? Get in.”
She was shivering slightly, so I patted on the spot right next to me to invite her in. Her long hair swayed as she finally looked directly at me…
“Is it okay?”
and she asked me that.
“It’s fine as long as you don’t try anything.“
Saluena looked at me for a bit before nodding her head.
“Then I won’t hold myself back and head to bed.”
“What would you have done if I had said it was no good?”
“There’d be nothing for it. I am your knight, and I serve at your pleasure.”
Saluena got under the covers and placed her head on my pillow.
“…..it’s cold in here.”
“Yes well, it is snowing outside.”
The two of us quietly listened to the wind-blown snow hitting the window. But after a moment, Saluena stopped staring at the ceiling and turned over here.
“Hm? Hand? Is there something wrong with my hand?”
I pulled one of my hands out from under the covers. The ring I had gotten after forming a contract with Saluena dully reflected the moonlight off its smooth surface.
“Can I……hold your hand?”
In my heart, I thought about how she said she wasn’t going to try anything, but I didn’t say it out loud. Because, Saluena looked like she was about to cry. It might be my imagination, a trick of the light. But I couldn’t refuse her when she looks like this…….
“Okay? But what’s wrong? You usually just grab it without saying anything.”
I grabbed Saluena’s hand. But, it was really cold.
“I thought you might be angry with me.”
“Is this, about what you said earlier?”
At first I didn’t know what she was talking about, but I realized soon after she was talking about her self-introduction to my parents.
The apology that managed to make its way out of Saluena’s lips left me stunned. I had been thinking this ever since she had bowed and apologized to Toslin and the others, but Saluena is a really honest person.
“Then why did you say it?”
“……..my relationship with you is important, and I didn’t want to lie about it. I wanted to be sincere.”
It’s because she’s so honest that she can say those kinds of things while other people are watching. But even if she tells me that……I don’t know what face I’m supposed to make here. Saluena’s deep blue eyes were pointed right at me. It’s a good thing the room was so dark right now. Otherwise she’d probably notice how my eyes were swimming and refused to catch her gaze. At this point my face is probably so red that I can’t even use how I just got out of the bath as an excuse anymore.
“…..what should I do?”
I kept deliberately diverting my gaze while holding Saluena’s hand. I am more than ready to forgive her, but the current Saluena is somehow really cute, so I decided to be a little malicious and make her sweat.
“……I’m really sorry. Please forgive me…….”
Saluena’s grip around my hand tightened. That always calm and confident voice had fallen to a thin wisp.
“Sorry sorry. You are forgiven, I forgive you. I mean, I wasn’t actually angry or anything to begin with.”
“Yes, but…….I wanted to see you flustered, so sorry?”
“……Iris is mean.”
“That’s right. And I’ve been feeling even more so lately.”
My real feelings got leaked, and I laughed causing Saluena to get an embarrassed look on her face. That face was fresh in its own right and made me want to tease her even more.
“Well then, good night.”
“Ah, night. Sweet dreams.”
I closed my eyes with my fingers still entangled with hers. The cold air filling the room went unnoticed with the two of us sticking as close together as we were.
And so I feel asleep in no time at all.
1. Put this on a cat poster.