For a moment, there was a complete silence. The wind also didn’t blow, and it was really quiet.
I stared without moving at Fubuki-san who collapsed. This person who was still moving until just a moment ago—now, she isn’t moving at all.
Perhaps because I was raised at the institution, I wasn’t too involved in the so-called funerals. Since I had no relatives, I almost practically never went to the hospital to visit on someone who was ill, much less to be present at someone’s moment of death.
In front of me, around 10 or more lives disappeared in just the span of a few minutes. It was because this is such a world and that such a situation happened, but still.
Taiga-san’s voice as he called me was slightly stiff. He lightly shook his sword in order to make the blood drop before storing it in its scabbard. Then, he slipped next to me.
I tried to hold on and raised my face to let Taiga-san see it. I wonder if I’m smiling properly? I wonder if my face clearly conveys that I’m all right?
…I’m fine. It’s something that ought to be done, right?”
I’m not sure how it goes, but at least, Taiga-san nodded at my words. And since I noticed that the hand that wanted to touch me trembled and drifted away from me, I grabbed that hand and brought it closer to me.
“It’s fine. I’m all right.”
Because in order that I can stand next to this person, I have to be fine when facing this kind of a thing.
Leo-san’s voice resounded in the night sky. With that, our consciousness also returned to the reality. Ah, but I won’t let go of Taiga-san’s hand. I don’t know what else to say, though, damn it.
“Let’s hurry and clean up. Dear maids, I’ll be relying on you to take care of the two Shiiya siblings. I will properly handle the rest.”
“As the Shikino family’s servant, I’ll help you out.”
After they looked at each other and nodded, they started to carry the collapsed black-clothed people. Is this what they mean by cleaning up? Saya-san also lifted one person on her shoulder as if it was natural.
…Right? This is the reality, not a drama, so there’s no way they’d just disappear while collapsing on the ground like that. We have to properly clean everything up, right?
“Are you all right?”
“Never mind me. Please look after Seiren-sama. As expected, it seems like it was quite intense for her.”
Beginning with Alica-san, Oriza-san and Minoa-san also rushed over here. Taiga-san said that while pushing my back, but I don’t really want to be away from Taiga-san.
…Ah-, is this a woman’s feeling? To be honest, I don’t really know how much of [Shikino Seiren] still remans inside of me.1
Meanwhile, there were Maki-san and Kanna-san, followed by Tokino-san rushing over to Saryuu’s side. Saryuu’s knees were trembling, but he acted brave when he saw his maids. Males must be strong, right?
“Saryuu-sama, are you all right?”
“I-I’m fine. Just this much is fine.”
“Yes yes, you endured well-. Tokino, let’s escort him back to the room.”
“That’s right. First, calm down, and then please take a rest.”
“Eh, ah, …yes.”
…Strong, is it? He’s going to return to the mansion while being surrounded by his maids readily, huh? Well, it’s not like they’d be able to do something useful by absent-mindedly standing over here. I’m also included, though.
Leo-san glanced at me and also Taiga-san who was with me, and then he narrowed his eyes.
“Taiga-chan, go and stay by Seiren-chan’s side. As for the disposal or anything like that, these kinds of things can be done with just us and Saya-chan.”
“Even you could understand with just looking at Seiren-chan, right? She wishes to stay by your side.”
He said that to Taiga-san with a slightly angry tone. Yup, he managed to grasp the meaning behind my firmly grasping Taiga-san’s hand. The maids are reliable, too, though.
After smiling with his mouth alone, Leo-san looked at me with his usual facial expression. Ah, but his eyes aren’t smiling.
“Seiren-chan, it’s fine even if you don’t get used to such fighting scene, okay? Since if you get used to it, you’d want to deny your power (authority).”
“Well, if you happen to see it, then go and see it. At least you have to fully understand that such things exist though you’re not used to it.”
I wonder if it’s fine even if I’m not used to it? However, since Leo-san said so, I guess that’s fine.
At least, I was told that it was fine even if I see it. After all, I also have to see the dark parts of the world that I’m going to live in from now on.
Ayato-san and Minoa-san quickly tidied up the black-clothed people together. It really seemed like they’re used to it already, and I think that there was not much emotion in their faces. …Scary.
Then, the last one remaining was the collapsed Fubuki-san who lied on her face. Maito-san turned her up. At that time, I could see that there was something red brimming over her chest.
I opened my eyes in surprise.
The red thing spilled from the collapsed Fubuki-san. When I thought that it was blood, it seemed that there was something else.
There was the scarf that I gave her as a souvenir. She kept it with her.
When I gave it to her, Fubuki-san smiled awkwardly, and yet…
It finally became my first and last souvenir for her.
Aah, this is bad, My tears won’t stop.
Along with my tears, for some reason, my consciousness was also washed away.
When I recovered my consciousness, I was in the bed. Eh, was it… only a dream? Perhaps not.
“Seiren-sama, have you woken up?”
After all, if it was only a dream, this person wouldn’t be here right now. He’d be riding Genjirou outside the window, and Minoa-san would want to throw a basket on him.
…Eh, Minoa-san and the other maids aren’t here? Could they be sleeping?
“Uhm, what about my maids…?”
“They’re cleaning up while alternatively taking break.”
I guess so. The maids are also humans, so if they don’t rest, their bodies won’t hold on.
Then, there’s another question. It’s about this person who’s right in front of my eyes.
“Is that so… Then, uhm, why is Taiga-san…?”
“Everyone told me to accompany you. Saya even scolded me.”
…After an objective consideration, is it something like, ‘Your fiancee collapsed, so you—the head of the family, go and take care of her!’ Also, leaving only the two of us alone… No, is there even someone who’d think that far? Did I just think too much?
Inside the room where only Taiga-san and I are in, the light wasn’t lit. However, I could see Taiga-san’s face because the thing that resembled a small lamp at the bedsite was lit. Ah-, is this a portable magical light? It feels like a flashlight.
Now then, I wonder how long has it been since I collapsed?
“What time is it now? Is it morning already?”
“No, the sun hasn’t risen yet.”
Then, time hasn’t passed that much, I guess. Today, after eating a breakfast, I’d have to ride the carriage and return to the Shiiya mansion. Since today is the last day of the harvest festival, there will be a lot of people and that’d be difficult, right?
…Hmm? No, no, wait a minute.
“..Ah, I wonder if I’ll be able to go home?”
“Why is that?”
“Eh, I mean… wouldn’t there be an investigation and questioning of this matter?”
“You’d still be able to do that even if you return to the mansion, right? In the first place, Leo-sama is staying there, too.”
Ah, that’s right. Leo-san came to freeload at our place as a distant relative’s eldest son, was it?
Which means, Leo-sama would also return to the Shiiya mansion, and then he’d be able to conduct the questioning of the situation from there… I guess? Nah well, I’ll only have to narrate on everything that I have seen.
Everything that I have seen, huh?
Just the day before, the situation was completely different.
What I recalled was the deep crimson scarf and the person who received it with an embarrassed grin.
“…You see, about Fubuki-san…”
“When I gave her a present, she smiled awkwardly. And she also thanked me.”
“…Despite it, I wonder if that kind of a thing was still bound to happen?”
I know. No matter what I said, perhaps, she’d only feel indifferent and thought, “Aah.”
For what she believed in, even if I hadn’t spoken anything suspicious, surely she’d still strive for that belief.
“Fubuki… couldn’t be stopped.”
Those words were mixed with a sigh—and despite it was said with a very small voice, it properly reached my ears.
I know. After all, I was also present at that place.
“…I’m sorry. Although Taiga-san had it the hardest…”
“Thank you for your concern.”
My words aren’t empty words. Fubuki-san has always been working hard as Taiga-san’s—no—Shikino household’s maid. Then, Taiga-san also had faith in her and entrusted me to her.
With how things were, surely it’d be very hard on him, right?
However, towards me who was thinking of such thing—Taiga-san replied with a smile.
“I’m all right. If I were to say that this is too hard, then Uncle would surely scold me. He’d say that he won’t hand Seiren over to me that way, so…”
“Ah-, if it’s the orphanage director, it seems like he’d say that.”
Nah, when you said that as a joke… Truthfully, the orphanage director paid a great attention to me. It might be because he understands me to a certain extent.2
…Speaking of which, Taiga-san… did he realize that he just addressed me without any honorific just before? Or did he deliberately do that?
Hehe. Despite the circumstances being like this, I feel a little bit happy, maybe… just what am I thinking? I got so embarrassed that I covered my head inside the bed. Eeii, really, not being able to be aware of the surroundings is really troublesome. Good grief.
Then, I felt the sensation of Taiga-san’s hand lightly tapping on the bed. Ah-, this feels like a parent putting a child on the bed?
“Then, please take a good rest until the morning. I will be right here.”
“Ah-, yup, thanks.”
Taiga-san seemed to have misunderstood my gesture of covering myself deep inside the bed and thought that I was sleepy. No, well, I also thought that sleeping might be good for a change of pace. There’s still time before morning, so let’s try to sleep a bit.
…As expected, I couldn’t really put it into words. Taiga-san’s face as he looked at me like this, it was really similar to the orphanage director’s.
Nah, I wonder if it looks more like the face of a parent raising their child?