Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
I watched in silence how Lucius took a sip of his tea to go along with the sweets, and after a moment or two of just admiring the combination of tastes he turned towards that man, looking him straight in the eyes.
「Nii-san, I would like to ask you once more. Will you…… Will you consider coming back with me to Irogrant?」
His words and tone of voice were clear as they have never been before. Upon seeing the look in his eyes, I was certain that this was no joke and that Lucius was speaking seriously. So right now I was afraid that the strength of his conviction might be more than enough to convince that man to his idea. I was also afraid of how exactly he might react were that man to deny him his request.
Looking down at the man himself, hi just squinted his eyes, his long eyelashes batting quickly. I felt like I wanted to call his name, but I also felt that it would be hugely uncalled for right now. We didn’t wait long for his answer, but for me that time felt more like an eternity than anything else.
Lucius looked as though he was sure that that man won’t refuse his plea. While still looking straight at him, he put his cup down onto his saucer.
「…… Certainly, this is quite an attractive offer.」
「In that case……」
Hearing the man’s words, Lucius started to look really happy. His eyes began to shine as he leaned forward, anticipating what that man would tell him. Then that man spoke, and his words were rather direct.
「But I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right here.」
「I don’t need to tell you every single thing, now do I?」
To that man’s cold words Lucius also responded in earnest without hiding his emotions. Rather, the man’s words only seemed to act like adding fuel to the fire, causing Lucius to grip his wrist so hard that his hands turned white as a result.
「This is, this is just…… Nii-san!! You don’t have any reason to stay in a country that doesn’t appreciate what you do for it! You know this better than anyone else!! So why!?」
Lucius’s words were trembling with both anger and sadness, and seeing the way the people acted today towards that man I can hardly even blame him for feeling that way. Personally, I did not like it either, but there was nothing I could do about it besides gripping my own hands helplessly. Still, I thought that the way that man was so stoic about it was really cool.
「You’re not the one to decide what I’m going to do.」
The man declared that in a clear voice. Looking at him right now, his expression was as cold and emotionless as always, but there was not even a single trace of hostility on it. Rather, Lucius’s expression was much worse than that man’s. He just stared at that man, clearly at a loss for words. In the end, he could only watch that man in silence, unable to put his emotions into words. Eventually he shook his head and opened his mouth.
「Does that mean that you’d deny my request even if Filmina-san wanted you to do just that?」
Hearing those words, both that man and myself held our breaths. Also, when he looked at me next really suggestively, it was then that I knew that the healing effects of the herbal tea would not work at all in here. And while it wasn’t anything serious or threatening, it was still something that shouldn’t be said lightly in a conversation such as this.
「Lucius-sama, this is……」
I wanted to say something here, but Lucius just wouldn’t have it. Instead, he just stood up and looked towards the man with iron-like determination visible in his eyes.
「I won’t give up. Not until you recognize that this country is treating you horribly, Nii-san.」
He then added “If you’ll excuse me.” And Lucius stormed out of the living room. I kept on looking after him before eventually I realized that I was still clenching my fists tightly. I then managed to loosen up a little bit and I felt a tremendous amount of tension escaping from inside of me when I let out a deep sigh.
For some reason, I felt really tired. Just like the first time we’ve met, Lucius was truly a walking time bomb with an unknown timer. But even so, there was absolutely no reason for that man to act this unfriendly towards him like that.
I took a sip of the tea, hoping it would help me calm down a little bit. I ended up drinking it all at once and then looked at that man right next to me. Surprisingly enough I saw his hands shaking slightly, and when he noticed that as well he hid them away and turned his gaze away from me.
「Are you okay?」
「…… What’s that now?」
「Again with that? That’s probably the only thing Lucius and you have in common.」
With Lucius gone for now, I thought he might behave differently. But still he was no good at being honest with himself. He was silent for a moment, frowning his brows as if in conflict about something, before he eventually opened up his mouth and spoke up.
「If Lucius made the Marquis uncomfortable with an attitude like that, there would only be trouble later on because of that.」
「You’re right. But aren’t you forgetting about something here, Edi? This matter concerns me as well, and I do believe I have a say in it. It’s one of your bad habits to try and do thing on your own even if they go wrong.」
If you are worried about something, you can talk to me and we can try to think of something together. Surely, I’m not like my father, and I don’t think I could be of that much help, but it’s still better than nothing. And solving problems together is definitely better than having to suffer them alone, where you would be prone to frustration and maybe making mistakes because of all the stress.
The man rose his gaze and looked at me, and then after letting out a sigh he finally muttered:
「I know that he thinks about me and cares about me deeply. That much is true.」
It was more like something you’d tell to yourself rather than to someone else. But I knew that he was doing his best at trying to open up, even though he’d rarely do that even in front of people he knew and cared about. He was clumsy at is, but at least he was trying to move forward.
So far, it’s only been three, days, so the two of them had plenty of time felt in order to try to understand one another. And any effort towards that goal was not wasted, for I could see it clearly: Lucius slowly but surely was making progress in getting into Edi’s heart, slowly but surely. They might not be aware of that, but it’s the truth.
And it was hurting me to see that man still refusing to accept that fact and that he was still trying to lie to himself like that. That boy…… Lucius was honestly trying to do his best as well in that regard. If he was happy, his eyes would shine with bright light. His expressions were direct opposite of that man’s, who would most of the time try to keep his emotions under control and play it cool and expressionless. And for me it certainly didn’t feel like acting on Lucius’s end. That man must have felt the same. And even though he was yet to notice the relaxing herbals scent of the tea, I was sure that he would pick up on it sooner rather than later.
Lucius’s presence was a great unknown for that man, who was more than accustomed by now to be the object of everyone else’s malice. And even though the two of them were brothers, it seems that that man was totally oblivious to that bond and the love it would naturally bring with itself.
That man might be prodigy when it comes to magic, he may know many different ancient languages, but when it comes to family, he was still as inexperienced as anyone else. He may not be ready to treat Lucius as “family”, at least not yet, but from what I saw today, it seems to me that the roots of familiar bonds have finally started to take place in his heart. Sure that must have been it.
「Just like you said, Lucius’s words and behavior surely were inappropriate given the time and place, but honestly speaking, I think he was saying those words honestly and from the bottom of his heart.」