Remember how I said that I would split this chapter into two parts? Well, I thought about it and because this chapter explains a lot of things, I decided against it and just released the entire chapter because it would be too cruel to split it. I know a lot of you will be happy that it’s so long, so I hope you enjoy.
By the way, the next chapter is actually really short, so look forward to that. Also, I have changed ‘institution’ (as in the institution that twins were a sign of calamity) into ‘superstition’ and I have already changed it on the other chapter as well.
There was an intense impact.
Because my shadow magic was swallowing up the raging wind bestowment magic, there were few injuries so far, otherwise, it would not just be a few elves flying away.
Amelia, who didn’t know what was going on, screamed in my arms.
I bore the brunt of it, so she was definitely screaming because of Kirika coming to attack us.
「Kirika! What are you doing to Akira!?」
Was her memories jumbled up, Amelia reached out her hand to Kirika.
I muttered this in my heart and my hand that was holding onto Amelia fell onto her neck.
I caught Amelia who fell in my arms again.
Right now, I didn’t have the time to explain.
Besides, I didn’t want Amelia to know.
The fact that her younger sister had planned everything up until now.
「Oi, Kirika Rose Quartz. Why is your sword crying so much?」
After making sure that Amelia was knocked out, I asked Kirika that.
It was a question that I had always wanted to ask after we crossed swords during the duel.
Commander Saran said that the sword contained all the emotions of the wielder.
At first, I wonder what he was talking about, thinking that, in the end, this person’s head turned strange, but I finally understood.
We encountered a humanoid monster who had a sword as a weapon around the sixtieth floor of the dungeon.
Some parts of its body was rotting, so it might’ve been a Liche or something.
While exchanging swords with them, the thoughts that they communicated through the sword was transmitted to me.
Monsters were thought to be just killing machines and had no thoughts, but that was not the case.
Certainly, I could only think of most of them as assassins.
However, they too had the feelings of『wanting to live』.
The immortal Liche wanting to live, probably meant wanting to return to being a human.
In any case, I could feel from the sword that the person himself was not aware of it either.
「Kirika, what are you crying about?」
Swords interlocked, the distance shortened from our grappling.
Kirika was blown away, but she twisted her body in the air and easily landed.
Her hollow eyes stared at me.
Kirika’s face warped.
「I’m crying? Do not say nonsense. Look, aren’t I smiling.」
Aah, that’s a smile, huh.
Was she trying to smile.
I couldn’t see it.
「Naa, you, did you hate Amelia?」
When I asked this question, Kirika looked down.
Before anyone realized it, the people, including the king, on which the charm had been removed, had stopped running away and perked up their ears, trying to listen to our conversation.
For now, I laid Amelia down in a place further away.
Kirika understood that and did not come attacking.
「Of course I hate her.」
「That’s, not because Amelia was an unwanted child, right?」
When I said that, Kirika once again came attacking with her sword.
However, because her emotions were in disarray this time, her magic was not even invoked, it was just a slashing attack.
Of course, I carefully stopped the attack so that nothing would happen to Amelia behind me.
Kirika’s eyes that were looking at me were much more hollow than before.
「Unwanted child? That kind of superstition, is made up. Certainly, there was such a thing a long time ago and it seems that one of the unwanted children was killed, but it was abolished after great-grandfather’s generation. That’s because there were no calamities and the like no matter how much time passed. To make matters worse, it is hard for elves to give birth to children. It would be disastrous to kill precious children because of an ambiguous superstition.」
Kirika said that and drew her sword back.
Those eyes were looking at Amelia who had been laid down.
「Aah, beautiful oneesama. No elf or high elf has the same hair and eye color that you were born with. You were born just a few seconds earlier than me.」
Kirika once again looked at me.
There was a fire burning in those eyes that were once hollow.
「You probably don’t understand. Up until several hundred years ago, the people who were discriminated against as unwanted children received a legendary occupation, something celebrated that would improve the continent. I, the younger sister, was just an enchanter. I would never be the miko.」
The inferiority complex and jealousy that she had always felt and had bottled up finally exploded.
In the corner of my eye, I could see the surprised look on the king’s face.
It seems that this was the first time he’s heard of all of this.
I admired the flawless acting ability that had not been seen through even by a blood relative.
「You wouldn’t understand. You, as well as oneesama! You people who are loved by everyone, and are properly acknowledged that you existed, and have been living carefreely up until now!」
Her impenetrable mask finally came off.
Kirika, who had been pretending to be an adult up until now, was sobbing as if she was a child.
「After all, I’m an accessory to oneesama. No one understands just how much effort I put in. Without fail, they would say, ‘as expected of imouto-san’. Most people wouldn’t even remember my name. No matter how much I refine my sword skills, they would only think that geniuses were skillful or that I did it to protect oneesama!」
I walked towards Kirika, step by step.
While crying, Kirika recklessly came attacking with her sword.
I did not stop it and received the attack with my body.
The spectators who saw that made a stir.
「I did not do that for oneesama! I did it for me! I did it so that I would be acknowledged! I polished my skills with the sword that was just as bad as the other elves! However! I am not a genius!!」
Her sword that didn’t have much strength weakly slashed down onto my body.
The resilience of my body was even on par with that of a monster’s, so I practically didn’t have any injuries, I just had a few scratches and the blade stopped before it reached the muscle.
Rather, it was Kirika’s sword that was the one that received damage, the blade of the sword broke in the end.
I stopped that hand, that gripped the sword, that now only consisted of the guard and handle.
「I, I…. Anything and everything was taken away by oneesama, even Liam-sama, the only one who acknowledged my efforts, was oneesama’s fiance. That’s why, I raised the level of my charm, and took everything away from oneesama. I snatched away Liam-sama, gained otousama as my ally, took the time to charm all the elves and had them betray oneesama. I had no such intentions of killing her, I just wanted, oneesama to go through what I went through. …no, I shot the arrow, thinking that it would be good if she died. Despite this, the arrow did not reach her, the charm was undone, and my prided sword skills could not do anything to you either.」
I too sat down at that place together with Kirika who had sank down onto the floor.
I patted Kirika on the head like I always did with Amelia.
Amelia would undoubtedly allow it.
Anyhow, it’s because she’s the younger sister who Amelia’s proud of.
「Naa, Kirika, why don’t I tell you about a folk tale for a bit?」
「Folk, tale? Right now?」
「It wouldn’t be good if it isn’t right now.」
I looked up at the sky that was gradually getting darker and smiled.
「In a certain elven country, that girl was born as a princess. And, as the older sister of a pair of twins.」
Kirika quietly widened her eyes.
Maa, she understood.
I’m, not good at making these stories vague.
However, Kirika needed to properly listen to it.
As well as the bystanders below the stage.
It seems that Amelia had already regained consciousness when Kirika’s mask was peeled off, and for her to not get up and come over until now meant that she entrusted it to me.
「The twins’ faces were exactly alike, but their eyes and hair were completely different.」
I slowly began talking.
The older sister’s name was Amelia.
The younger sister was called Kirika.
The two had such beauty that even among the beautiful male and female elves, even among the successive generations of high elves, they would be ranked at the top, the older sister excelled in her studies, and the younger in the martial arts.
However, there was one other difference between the two besides their outward appearances.
That was their occupations.
The older sister’s occupation was, a miko and in accordance with the name, a child of God.
Just with her existence, everything went her way, and she was endowed with an infinite amount of magic.
And, she could only use the bow, but she also had talent in the martial arts.
In contrast, the younger sister was a rare, but not uncommon, enchanter.
At this time, the elves were not yet a meritocracy, and because they were a peace-loving race, they did not care about the difference in rarity of the occupations.
And then, something happened.
Kirika was held in the arms of their father, the king, and escaped, she was a child so she probably didn’t remember any of it, but Amelia remembered everything.
That was, when seven years had passed after they were born.
The monsters had overflowed from the dungeon within elven territory.
It was because the younger sister had accidentally sprinkled bait that attracted monsters when she was training in the dungeon.
The dungeon in elven territory was the exact opposite of the one in human territory and there were nothing but monsters that could only be defeated by physical attacks, so it was ideal for intense training.
Elves also had items that could attract monsters.
The problem was the quantity.
The younger sister had sprinkled ten times the normal amount of bait.
Of course, the younger sister had no ill will.
It was probably because she thought that she could keep going since she could defeat the monsters by herself, it was just like children to do things without thinking.
At that time, they had reached the seventy-third floor of the elven territory dungeon.
However, because of that scattered bait, it even attracted monsters from an even deeper floor.
In addition to that, it was not several tens of them, it was several hundreds, even several thousands.
The king immediately had all the civilians evacuated.
A subjugation party was formed, and many elves died.
Among them, the older sister who should’ve evacuated was there, and she used magic creation, and gravitational magic, magic that existed only in ancient legends, and eradicated the monsters that were practically invincible against magic attacks.
Furthermore, a few days after that, she resurrected the dead with resurrection magic.
The damage on the elves’ side was essentially zero, and the people were grateful to the older sister and worshipped her.
The younger sister who didn’t know what she herself did or just how tragic it was developed an inferiority complex towards her older sister who was suddenly being worshipped.
The truth was, the incident was gradually forgotten by the people and should’ve faded from their memories.
However, a few hundred years later, an incident happened once again.
That was, when a minstrel came to the elven territory.
Because the minstrel wanted to hear about what happened, the incident was publicly exposed once again, and on top of that, all the elves now knew that the cause was the younger sister.
Although they were not happy, those who died remembered the moment when they had died and those who weren’t able to fight and those who lost limbs were also there.
There wasn’t anyone who was so driven by fear that they didn’t know what to do.
Perhaps the younger sister may have been exposed to danger.
The king, who loved his daughter, carried out a single action.
He used his own special skill to erase the memories of his brethren.
The older sister was not informed either, Kirika’s existence completely disappeared from the people’s memories.
Those who remembered everything were only the older sister and the king.
Kirika’s existence was erased from among the people, and Kirika, the person herself, was not aware of it and was suddenly ignored by her brethren.
…no, they had just treated her as someone they didn’t know.
That, was the truth.
Actually, I had heard this story from Amelia when we were in the dungeon.
At that time, I had thought that it was a made-up story, but the sense of reality grew after we came to the elven territory, and I had recalled the story itself when Kirika was screaming.
The reason why I had felt something out of place after coming to the elven territory was because of this.
「Why, why didn’t otousama tell me….」
The story was too long and as the stars were twinkling, Kirika muttered that.
Before anyone realized, the king was next to Kirika and was looking up at the stars.
Next to me was Amelia, but the other elves were standing where they wanted to and looking up at the stars as well.
It was not the starry sky that could rarely be seen due to the polluted air in places like Japan, but a dazzlingly beautiful and glittering starry sky.
「There were two reasons. The first was that, as said before, you didn’t remember anything, you only made a mistake in the quantity of the scattered bait. It’s because, it was the mistake of Kirika’s attendant who did not check it at the time. The second was that, although you were not at fault, it did not change the fact that our brethren were killed. I thought that you, who is kind-hearted, wouldn’t be able to accept that.」
Of course, the king planned to tell her eventually.
Even if there’s illness and they could die in battle, high elves lived almost infinitely long if they took care, so even the Amelia and Kirika right now would be considered babies.
Therefore, he was going to tell her after a hundred more years or something.
However, Kirika’s flawless acting tricked the king, and all the things that she bottled up finally exploded.
The king, who didn’t know that, believed in the lie about the training of the slacking soldiers and actually permitted the use of the charm, and Amelia was exiled from the elven territory and eaten by the monster that looked like a muddy slime, and then met me.
「O, nee-sama, knew everything? You knew and the charm…?」
「No. I did not realize that you had cast the charm. …as expected of Kirika. You practiced it a lot, didn’t you.」
There, there, Amelia patted Kirika on the head just like how it’s usually done to herself.
「Then, everything was my misunderstanding? Oneesama didn’t do anything wrong, and all my efforts were meaningless?」
「No, you’re wrong. The one who was wrong was me who had arbitrarily decided that you were still a child and didn’t tell you. I am truly sorry, Kirika. As expected of Kirika. I too, did not notice that I had been charmed because it was applied too thinly.」
The king said that and tightly hugged Kirika.
Kirika, who had not felt that warmth for a long time, shedded tears.
「I, did, something truly inexcusable to otousama, oneesama, and everybody else….」
「Kirika, I don’t mind it. I know how much effort Kirika put in, and how you do your best from early in the morning each day to late at night, so you did your best. At the time of the incident too, you fearlessly exterminated the monsters.」
When the smiling Amelia said that, Kirika broke down crying.
「Oneesama, otousama, Akira-sama, everyone, I’m truly sorryy! I’m, sorryy.」
The twins and Father hugged each other, while crying.
The surrounding elves were also crying.
I quietly slipped away from that place and climbed up one of the trees growing near the plaza and leaned against the trunk.
I couldn’t bear it.
I recalled my mother and Yui.
Actually, Yui and I, were also twins.
Immediately after I was born, the date changed, so Yui was a day younger, but we were born as fraternal twins.
Giving birth to two people, my mother’s already weak constitution got even worse, and my father practically raised us by himself.
It’s because I’ve grown up, that I understood.
Breakfast early in the morning, made lunch preparations and bento for three, woke us up, had us eat, sent us to kindergarten, and then went to work.
After work, he went to go get us at the kindergarten even though he was extremely tired, and when we got home, he made dinner, had us and mother eat, had us sleep, washed the dishes by himself and did the laundry, and then went to bed around midnight.
We probably cried at night as well, so he definitely did not get any sleep.
Even so, that guy raised us until Yui and I were in our fifth year in elementary school, until that time, he had always taken care of mother and the housework, and went to work.
He did it all by himself, without any help.
That’s why, I did not resent that guy who suddenly disappeared when I was a fifth grader in elementary school.
Certainly, I was angry that he left, but I was even more grateful to him.
That’s why, I was jealous of Amelia and Kirika.
And sympathized with them.
The matter this time, because each person shouldered everything on their own, a tragedy occurred.
If, they had discussed it, it wouldn’t have happened.
Just like with that guy.
After I return to that world, let’s seriously search for that guy, our father.
If he’s living happily, I won’t involve myself with him any more than this.
However, if, he’s in destitution, I’ll have him live with us once more.
Yui would definitely approve of that as well.
Let’s, do that.
After thinking that, my consciousness was submerged in darkness.