Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 2 Chapter 16: The Boy Confronts His Regret
It was a cheerful greeting, one that sounded as if nothing bad had happened yesterday.
As Elvie responded in confusion, Aru’s smile grew even broader.
「Well then, I am, going this, way……」
Since Elvie’s mind was obviously not prepared for this, he was trying to quickly get away, but he was unable to, not with Aru firmly holding onto his sleeve.
Elvie was honestly surprised by how strong his grip was, even though he was so small.
「Senpai. Would you like to, ditch school together?」
For a moment, Elvie was speechless.
「What, are you even saying?」
「I knew it, I don’t like it. The fact that my beloved Marca and my beloved Senpai can’t come understand one another. I don’t like that at all, it’s too sad!」
Elvie was at a loss for words, looking into Aru’s golden eyes.
「That is why, let’s go see Marca right now!」
「What, Aru, wait just a moment!」
At this rate, Elvie was basically being dragged away by Aru, and he tried to step back reflexively.
But it was no use, for Aru’s small body held was mysteriously strong for someone his age.
Elvie was still trying to reason with him, seeing how other students who were passing them by were giving them the strangest of looks.
「Aru, this isn’t good, we have a test today! You’re going to get in serious trouble if you just skip it!」
「Senpai, you are more important to me than some test. I can fix my grades later, but you can’t fix human relations as easily as grades!」
Aru’s straightforward words, so characteristic for children who were yet unaware of the rules governing the world, has struck a soft spot in Elvie’s heart.
It hurt. It hurt so much that he was unable to withstand it anymore.
「El-senpai and Marca are both my precious friends! That’s why I want you two to get along! Why don’t you want to meet her!?」
「You don’t have a single clue! About the things that happened between us!」
While trying to get out of Aru’s grip, Elvie realized a little bit too late that he had said too much.
However, while looking at Elvie, Aru’s eyes began to fill with tears, the bracelets on his wrists are shaking.
「I, too, have things I can’t say to any of my Senpais.」
「That’s why it’s fine. I want Senpai to get along with Marca, and so I have invited her to the clubroom.」
Aru’s words were making Elvie even more shocked.
「Senpai, you have taught me many wonderful things. You also protected me from many bad things. That’s why it is fine! No matter what you may think, Senpai, for me you will always be a gentle, caring and wonderful person!」
「So this time around, it is my turn to help you, Senpai!」
Aru declared that with fire in his eyes, way more powerful than anything else.
Elvie crouched down beside the boy and held his forehead. Ahh, so that’s why, it was always about that. He, he was always being helped by someone. First it was Iori, then it was Mikoto, and now it was his underclassman Aru.
「I’m so pathetic.」
「That’s not something to feel down about, Senpai. Before they got married, my Mother and my Father have caused problems for many people, and asked many more for help. So when you receive help, you should always give help in return!」
He wanted to smile and laugh at Aru’s words, but instead he himself began to cry.
「I’m so stupid. You, saying that you’re going to help me. You cheeky little brat.」
「It’s not only about you, Senpai. It is also about Marca and myself. So it’s okay for you to not say anything.」
「That, you sound just like Iori.」
「Ehehe, I always wanted to say that.」
「I doesn’t suit you all that well.」
Saying that, Elvie laughed while looking at smiling Aru.
Both of them had tears in their eyes, so they didn’t really care how awkward this must have looked.
「I’m so sorry, Aru. You see, I’m too scared to meet with Marca.」
Aru frowns his brow, but then Elvie interrupts him.
「Once the school is out, will you listen to my story? Although I am sure it’s really boring. But who knows, maybe you’ll like it?」
「…… Yes, of course!」
Aru nodded with a smile so beautiful that it could put blooming flowers to shame, and Elvie thought that maybe this whole situation was not so bad after all.
After that, when they agreed upon meeting once the school was out, Elvie entered the school building a little bit later than usual.
Even though so much has happened, they still had a test from the compulsory subject to write, something that they could not afford to simply let pass.
Still, Elvie had no intention on bombing the test, and as if to renew his determination, he kept on staring at Aru’s back all the way towards the classroom.
Then, when all classes were over for the day, Aru was right by his side.
He was smiling wryly, as if to show that he couldn’t wait for what his Senpai wanted to tell to him.
「I see you didn’t run away, Aru.」
「It’s alright. Now, let’s go! Everyone is waiting.」
Then they went to their clubroom, Elvie being dragged by Aru most of the way, and once they were there, Iori and Mikoto were already waiting for them.
「Oh, hi, Aru. And here I was afraid I would have to go on a hunt and catch you.」
Aru quickly followed up with Iori’s joke.
「If by any chance you’d managed to capture me, Senpai, you’d had to deal with my Elder sister for that!」
「You, I had no idea you had an elder sister.」
「My Mother’s best friend.」
「Good job, Aru.」
Elvie’s head began to hurt hearing that exchange, while Aru did a double thumbs up while smiling broadly.
「You guys, why……」
Leaving that matter be for the time being, Elvie spoke to his friends, to which Iori only crossed his arms at his chest.
「We knew about your little charade, and it’s only because we knew you were a nice guy that we decided to follow up with it.」
「I feel sorry for your sister. I understand the hardships of dealing with stupid brother.」
Even though Iori and Mikoto said all that, Elvie kept his mouth shut and didn’t say anything.
Otherwise, he might have said something he would really come to regret later.
「That’s an awful thing to say to someone.」
Instead, Elvie gently returns the words just like that.
Then, all three of them nodded their head while smiling simultaneously.
「Well then, Aru, will you hear me out? About my pathetic story?」
「Yes! Just bring it on, Senpai!」
Like that, Elvie took a deep breath and prepared himself to speak.
At that moment, the sound of knocking onto the door could be heard.
It was very quiet and modest, but you couldn’t mistake that sound for anything else.
All of the people present looked at one another, and ultimately it was Mikoto who got up and went to open the door.
「…… Onii-chan, are you in here?」
Elvie’s face went completely pale when he saw his sister Marca entering the room.
Aru was the first one to stand up and rush to Marca’s side, to which the girl seemed strangely relieved, as she looked like she calmed down a little bit.
「I was going to go see you after the break. Are you alright?」
「Yeah. I’m fine. Since I wasn’t able to find myself a dorm teacher, I will have to go home. I thought I might talk to Onii-chan before I left.」
While Elvie was wondering if Marca was really alright, she turned her green eyes towards him.
Even though her complexion looked poor, she was still firm and stiff, and she managed to raise her face and say:
「Onii-chan, I promise it won’t take a while. Please listen to what I have to say.」
Hearing Marca’s words, Elvie didn’t know how to react and he just stood up, to which Marca’s face changed. She looked like she was about to cry.
Marca made a step forward, and then Aru gently took her hand in his own and held it.
At the same time Iori also stands up and put his hand on Marca’s shoulder.
「Come on right in, don’t just stand there, Little Sister. You’re very much welcome here, right, Elvie!?」
「Right, well then, Mikoto, could you prepare the tea for five people?」
「Yup. I’ll get some snacks while at it.」
「I’ll help you with that.」
While the two of them go to prepare tea and snacks, Iori sits Marca on an old sofa, and places Elvie on a chair right in front of said sofa.
Then, Mikoto handed everyone their respective cups, some snacks were placed on the table and everyone else sit in the vacant chairs.
However, after that there was nothing but silence.
Marca was sitting on the couch while shivering all over, clearly confused by this sudden development.
Elvie also had no idea what to do, having Marca right in front of him all of a sudden.
But he was still rather surprised.
Marca that he knew, she was so shy and reserved that she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without him.
However, ever since he left home, she had to manage all on her own.
If Elvie was in Marca’s shoes, he would have probably given up long time ago.
In the first place, it must have taken so much courage of her to leave home and come to live here in the dorms.
Considering that, Elvie noticed for the first time just how much his little sister was shaking.
He wanted to say something, but Marca shook her head, interrupting him.
「In the end, I was all alone when I arrived at this Academy.」
「…… Yeah. I remember that I was exactly the same.」
「I was really surprised. It was so big and spacious.」
He spoke honestly, to which Marca only nodded.
「That’s right. I can do things that I wasn’t able to at that time.」
As he felt suddenly embarrassed, Elvie went silent, while Marca was looking at him with a mysterious light in her eyes, giving off the power of her own resolve.
「First of all. Onii-chan. I’m sorry.」
「Sorry for what ––––……」
「I was aware of it this whole time. That you were unable to use magic.」
While Marca confessed everything, a faint smile bloomed on her crying face.
「Because. I’m a Magician in training. I can’t really help it but to sense magic, can’t I? And since I have always been with my Onii-chan, I can’t help it if I sense that his magic became different, more difficult to sense. It was only logical for me to realize that it was gone.」
「If so, why didn’t you tell me!?」
「Because I didn’t wanted to believe it! That it was because of me that Father died, and that it was because of me that Brother can’t use magic! So I decided to keep silent, seeing how Onii-chan was doing his best to be kind to me! By doing that, I thought that nothing would change!」
Everyone in the room were overwhelmed by Marca’s words, as she continued to speak without stopping, as if trying to get all of the feelings she has been bottling up inside of her chest.
「But, Onii-chan went to school and would refuse to come back home. He would only send me letters. And even those began to grow shorter and shorter. So I was worried. I thought Onii-chan hate me. That he thought that I can’t forgive him that Father was killed because of him. Or that maybe he was angry with me because the reason he can’t use magic is because he was trying to protect me.」
「That’s, not it.」
Elvie tried to deny it almost immediately, but the look in Marca’s eyes made him swallow up those words.
「The day I learned that Onii-chan can’t use magic, my vision went black, I felt like fainting and I wanted to run away. Because somewhere in my heart, I was blaming myself that it was all my fault. I was so shocked that I wanted to hole up in my room and never again leave. ‘Why?’ I thought to myself. But as I was thinking, I realized it was okay. Even if my brother hates me, I still love him. True, he sometimes is loud and obnoxious, but he is still my brother.」
Marca was not looking away. Not anymore.
Her back was straight, and she was looking straight at Elvie, with strangely warm smile on her face.
「That’s why, even though you might hate me, please, just stay with me.」
Then Marca finally noticed that Elvie’s gaze was cast down, as if he couldn’t bear this anymore, with tears running down his cheeks.
Then he rose his head, tears pouring out of his eyes. Looking now at Marca, after she said all this, made him feel as though a terrible weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
Right now, Marca was no longer the little sister that needed to be protected.
Right now she was someone who was capable of standing up on her own two feet.
Yes, it’s been four years since that moment.
It was natural for both of them to be bothered by that after all this time.
But, seeing her right now, Elvie could finally feel at peace with himself.
He spoke up, and Marca felt scared again.
「I’m so sorry, Big Brother. I swear that I won’t bother you anymore, but I just wanted to say that. Now, if you’ll excuse me.」
「I, I don’t hate you in the slightest.」
Marca stopped in her tracks, tears in her eyes and face froze up in astonishment.
「That’s right, Marca. It’s too early for you to leave. You haven’t heard what El-senpai have to say.」
Says Aru while rushing to Marca’s side, urging her to sit back down and listen. While Elvie was struggling with his own emotions.
It was really painful, but it needed to be done.
Yes, nothing was going to start unless he goes and say it.
Elvie bowed in front of the bewildered Marca.
「Sorry. I was so worried about you. I lied. I wasn’t able to protect you at that time.」
「Onii-chan, you have nothing to apologize for.」
To Marca’s voice, Elvie just shook his head.
「Our Father was dead and you were hurt. So when I realized that I couldn’t use magic, I felt completely broken inside. And so I hid the fact that I couldn’t use magic anymore.」
「For, my sake?」
「No, it was nothing like that. I just didn’t wanted to show you how weak and lame I really was. I just wanted you to think I’m cool and reliable. I’m such an idiot.」
Elvie bore the wound in his heart before Marca, and began to reopen it.
「I couldn’t save you then, but I also couldn’t stand the fact that I was unable to use magic any longer. But I still wanted to be strong, and so I chose the course that would allow me to achieve the strength I was longing for. I didn’t wanted to lose ever again. But walking down this path, I began to grow distant from you. I just couldn’t bring myself to write to you that I was learning how to fight monsters and demons. In the first place, I was afraid that you would want to join me there.」
To his somewhat fake smile, Marca shook her head violently.
「I’m sorry I just kept on saying I wanted to protect you, even though I didn’t know anything.」
「No, it’s alright. It is perfectly normal for older brothers to want to protect their sisters after all.」
She again shakes her head, and her green eyes look straight at Elvie.
「Big Brother, you did say that you don’t hate me, right?」
「And what about you? How can you still say that you love such a horrible and unreliable older brother like me?」
Marca and Elvie just kept on staring at each other, trying to guess each other’s feelings, but it was finally Iori’s voice that broke the silence.
「Aaagh, don’t you guys understand!? It’s all just a huge misunderstanding!!」
「El doesn’t hate his sister. His sister is strong enough to be alright on her own, even if El is not happy about that.」
Elvie had no other choice but to reluctantly agree to Mikoto’s thorny words.
「Aaah, that’s right. Marca is not the same little sister I used to know.」
「That’s right. I changed. I studied a lot. I hope that one day I can be of use to you, Onii-chan.」
Hearing Marca proclaiming something like that, Elvie smiled wryly.
And although he couldn’t bring himself to treat those words seriously, he was delighted to see that she was now able to say something like that.
「Being protected by my little sister is something I absolutely cannot allow to pass.」
「Why is that?」
Hearing Elvie’s words, Aru raises his head.
「That is, you know, something you’ll come to understand once you grow older.」
Not entirely understanding, Aru continued.
「Why should I refuse the help of others? If anyone of you were to be in trouble, I would do anything to help you, even if it meant flying to the end of the world!」
Aru said that completely seriously, to which everyone looked surprised.
For a moment he thought he might have done something bad, but then Elvie smiled at him reassuringly.
「It’s alright. It’s not like we are going to be in need for help anytime soon, though.」
「But it’s the truth ––!」
Hearing Aru’s voice of protest, Iori looked at Elvie and suddenly he looked as if he got an idea.
「No, but, when it comes to Elvie, you can’t believe his words. See, this time he needed your help.」
「This is, yeah, that’s right.」
Said Elvie while all embarrassed, bright red even at the top of his ears.
「Thank you. Aru. But you know, it would be a whole lot better if there was never another time for you to save anyone of us.」
He responded with a smile, his eyes shining with mysterious beauty.
Speaking of which, Elvie thought it might have been awkward, but maybe it was just in his mind.
「Now, now, it’s a really good snack, so you should eat it while you can. No need to be shy, Marca-chan.」
Hearing Iori’s advice, Marca looks to be troubled while taking a cookie from the plate.
「B, but. I need to go back to my room before my dorm teacher comes in to check on me.」
「Wouldn’t it be alright if you told them that you were with your Big Brother? He can even escort you back to the dorm, so they wouldn’t be angry.」
「But nobody in here knows that we are brother and sister.」
「But haven’t you already reconciled? If so, then you might as well drop the act.」
「Iori, what’s with that reasoning?」
Elvie laughs while listening to Mikoto’s words.
There was no need to hide anymore. Elvie felt relieved knowing that.
Suddenly, Aru raised his head, as if he has come up with some great idea.
「Yes! Marca should definitely join the club! Like that, you can spend as much time with El-senpai as you want!」
Even Elvie seemed to be astonished by it, even though he probably suspected that something like that might happen.
「Oh, it’s not that bad of an idea, but Marca is still in elementary school. Will the school even allow it?」
「Iori, don’t you think it’s a little bit too early to call my sister by her name only?」
Elvie said something that he wanted to say for quite a while now, to which Iori responded by making a rather sour face.
「Hey, hey. I understand what’s going on. Your brother is simply jealous, Little Sister.」
Marca smiled vaguely, the expression of determination clearly visible on her face.
「I will try my best at studying. Then, if my abilities can match that of Aru’s maybe the teacher will allow for me to skip the grade as well.」
「If that happens, please let me also join your club, Onii-chan!」
Seeing Marca like this for the first time since forever, Elvie couldn’t really help it but smile.
「Well, if it can be done, that is.」
「Hooray! I am going to study really hard…… But, I wonder if there’s anything that I can actually do?」
「You, what’s that supposed to mean?」
Marca laughs brilliantly.
「Ehehe, but, I can now finally be with my brother.」
「Hey, you know this is no fun and games, right?」
「Sure thing, I understand!」
With a bright smile on his face, Elvie laughed.
Right now it seemed so unbelievable that they weren’t able to have a conversation like this before.
He looked at Aru and Marca, eating cookies in a carefree manner.
They have made a huge step forward today. But will they ever be able to go back to how they were in the past?
For the time being, Elvie thought that he might as well immense himself in this feeling of fulfillment.
A loud school siren rang.