I left Trundle Guild with the misunderstanding remaining until the end, I’m weeping. I’ll be at the royal capital tonight, and at school tomorrow. I’ll be binge eating then―!
“I’m back, Serafiona.”
Quite unusually for Older Brother, he is returning home. He is still a public servant in the library, but he used his pay to search for ancient archeological sites all around the world, seeking materials and rare books. It seems this ninja has turned to an Indiana Jones.
Wait, isn’t this the first time he’s home since I entered Knights School? Why does he come home?
“Welcome home, Onii-sama. I am surprised since I heard from Otou-sama that you would not be returning for a while.”
“Yeah, I was going to do that, but I heard that Serafiona came to the guild with a man, and I couldn’t just stand still, so I practically flew back here?”
A suspicious person just appeared!
After a long time, we parent and child dined together at the dining table. Older Brother’s favorite dishes from his journey occupied the table.
“Onii-sama, you smuggled yourself this time to the Northern Daisetz Federation and observed the glaciers?”
I wonder if I can return from there in an hour or so?
“Yeah, I have a bit of something I’m looking for. I wanted to observe the permafrozen ice there and magically create ice which is at the same level as them. It’s hard to cross the wall at minus 200°.”
(TN probably in ℃)
If you go beyond that, then what?
“Well, I excavated various by-products from the glaciers and icebergs, so see them yourself later. Wouldn’t it be nice to display a whole mammoth in our territory?”
“Yes. The children of the territory will be pleased. Larouza, you seem to have been doing great.”
Papa and Older Brother smile, giving me the impression that they are more like brothers than parents. Older Brother is 20 years old this year. Papa looks refreshed and relaxed after having given up his court position, his hair extends to shoulder length while his beard is untrimmed. Older Brother on the other hand is showing fatigue after returning home. Despite the two being of different types of ikemen, they both are black-haired and green-eyed, and their cups twinked as they drank. I want someone to praise me for not having a nosebleed.
“So, Serafi, you went to the guild with a male friend?”
Papa, not you too!
“That was because he’s a friend! He doesn’t seem to have much money in hand, so I just introduced him to the guild.”
“I heard that Serafiona took extra care of him?”
“I just helped him get along with everyone, and I also want him to start his guild life well.”
“Didn’t you give him a huge Junk Bear whole?”
“Dah! You don’t know what exactly was going on Onii-sama! Uuu!”
Really now, who’s leaking the information!
“Fufufu, you gave your friend the blood and nails instead of making him give up his sword to keep his pride intact. My Serafiona is still as thoughtful as ever.”
Declaring so, Older Brother kisses my cheek.
His beard hits my cheek, and I feel them with my hand.
It’s different… From the previous life?
Older Brother never had a beard. We spoke less and less when I went to school, and we were suddenly so distant from one another, and on the day of conviction, he stood beside Maribelle with the exact same adult face he has right now. And when I was thrashed by Cecil, he acted as the wall to hide my unsightly look from Maribelle. It was not me who was in his eyes, only Maribelle…
The same emerald green eyes. It felt as though I would be frozen had I look at them back then. But now, it seems to wrap me in a warm and refreshing breeze.
“What happened? Serafiona, you keep staring at my eyes so much.”
“Onii-sama’s eyes are as beautiful as jewels… I’ve always thought that Otou-sama and Onii-sama matching is a wonderful thing.”
Serafiona without her black eyes would no longer be Serafiona. Without these black eyes… My life would have been a little simpler.
“…I like your eyes, Serafiona. People can’t rest without the dark of the night. Serafiona’s gentle black eyes give me comfort.”
Older Brother gently stroked my head.
Moving to the lounge, the two adults taste the finest Granzeus whiskey, while I and Mofumofu eat a cake made by Matsuki with Older Brother’s favorite nuts.
Older Brother gave me iceberg souvenirs besides the <Whole Mammoth> from his <magic room>, I received them one by one and examined them with Lu.
…Isn’t this huge brown egg a dinosaur egg? If I hatch this, will the plot of Jurassic Park start anew? Flying isn’t possible in <Wild Rose You>, right? Shall I try to hatch it just this once?
I put it in my bosom and hug it tightly, “be born, be born” I chanted. I’m a cheat after all!
「Sera, I’m sorry to dampen your excitement, but it’s a Naumanni elephant.」
(TN: Palaeoloxodon naumanni – an extinct mammoth species)
Um, um, what? This ultramarine stone is…
“Isn’t this a lapis lazuli?”
“Well I’ve never seen a stone like that. It’s very beautiful, but it doesn’t have magical power. It’s probably ornamental.”
Lapis lazuli, Ruri (瑠璃) in japanese, a hugely popular power stone in my past life. A stone that brings good luck.
“Onii-sama, can I use it if you don’t plan to do anything to it?”
“Go ahead, but what do you want to use it for?”
“I’ll use it to make a talisman. For Otou-sama and Onii-sama.”
Let’s embed a charm on it. <Good Luck> and <Unwavering Will>. Don’t be affected by any <forced compulsion>. I want to believe that the power of the stone will help even just a little.
“Me too? Thank you Serafiona!”
Father smiles gently and tilts the glass on his hand.
“Father, Serafiona, can you listen to me for a little bit?”
Older Brother put his glass down and folded his arms.
“I went to the northern polar region this time because I came across a certain document.”
“About a sacred beast, like Lu-sama.”
Lu stops eating the cake and raises her head.
“The document wrote in detail about a pillar leading to the location of a Sacred Beast. Perhaps it was written by a former contractor… So that he or she could identify the approximate location of its home.”
“Did you go looking for it? To the north, for the Sacred Beast?”
Holy beast in the north… From the knowledge of my past life… Genbu (Black Tortoise).
「…Sure, he does not usually move from one place to another. But it is not a human who chooses the Sacred Beasts. The sacred beast chooses their contractors. To go looking for it is quite disrespectful of you, Lalouza.」
Lu’s voice is harsh. I conveyed his words timidly.
“I am prepared to be scolded by you. But as you can see from His Highness Ghilane and Ash-sama, the fact that Serafiona is a <contractor> can’t be hidden. And since I can’t do anything to a <contractor>, I wanted to do something. I wouldn’t deny that I thought it would be dangerous for the Sacred Beast to be in the hands of a person with malicious thoughts.”
……Older Brother read and fished for that information from his school days to this day… Strengthening himself and gaining useful information, all in order to keep me and Lu safe.
Lu suppressed his haki.
「Hmm. You have such reasons.」
“…Did you meet it?”
“It didn’t go so well. I didn’t find it in the sanctuary, but I’m sure it was the place. There was a clear air seeping out, similar to this house where Lu-sama had stayed for a long time.”
You didn’t meet it… How regretful.
“However… The sanctuary has footprints that seem to be from quite recently. Someone had arrived like me… I think it’s probably within the past year.”
“They were ahead of you? Lalouza?”
Chills run down my spine.
“Someone recently found and used the Northern Celestial Divine Beast?”
“It’s possible. His Highness Ghilane is a good example? Lu-sama, please tell us what you think.”
「As I’ve said earlier, that rarely happens. But if it does happen… It can only mean one thing.」
“To sign a contract with the Sacred Beasts, one needs the same amount and quality of magic power as Serafi. Are there still humans with such powers in this world?”
Papa creased his brows.
Is it Maribelle?
Of course Genbu does not appear in <Wild Rose You>. But Maribelle has an extraordinary passion for Sacred Beasts.
Conversely, won’t it be even scarier if it is not Maribelle’s doing? Who is it, and for what purpose? I can’t imagine.
Is it an enemy? Is it an ally?
I put my elbows on my knees and cover my face with both hands. As I closed my eyes and came up with the worst scenarios one after another in my mind, my body floated up and I was wrapped in a warm temperature.
“What happened, Serafiona? Don’t you have me? I’ll take care of Serafiona and Lu-sama for the rest of my life, okay?”
When I raise my face, Older Brother kisses between my eyebrows and gently rocks me on his knees to help me sleep like a baby.
Older Brother’s smile shows how confident he is in himself, backed by his unwavering efforts…… And his love for me.
Thinking about it tomorrow is good. And, maybe just for tonight… I will carve the memories of my good friends and Older Brother in my mind.