Volume 4 Chapter 8-1: Bath
Afterward, we went back to Erucy, leaving only three teams under Roleau’s leadership. We kept two extra teams there alongside the one that is permanently stationed, as a precaution.
Since Roleau and the others had a significant number of small grenades, there shouldn’t be any major issues if a defensive battle were to occur.
Lucy was out for training today, leaving only Yukino and me at home.
「Yukino, you seem down. What’s wrong?」
Yukino was cleaning in her usual maid outfit but seemed more somber than usual. Her fox ears drooped slightly.
「Cyril-niisama, is it true that the fire foxes are causing trouble for the elves? Are you having trouble because of Yukino?」
She asked in a voice that seemed to be squeezed out, clearly worried about what Voldeck had told her when serving tea. I sternly told Kuu and Yukino to never mention outside what they had heard. Most of the elves wouldn’t blame the fire foxes for it, but some would undoubtedly harbor ill feelings. Besides, I didn’t want to burden the fire foxes with it too much, because they’ll begin acting as Yukino is now.
「Well, it’s true that the Empire can’t give up because of the fire foxes.」
Yukino’s small back trembled. It’s easy to tell a lie here, but that lie would eventually be revealed, hurting her even more.
Yukino didn’t say anything and tried to run away. I caught up with her and hugged her. Her fox ears stood up.
「But you know, you don’t have to be troubled by something like that. This is my responsibility.」
And that’s the truth, too.
「I knew that this might happen when I accepted the fire foxes. I knew it and accepted it.」
「Even though you knew it was dangerous, why did you accept Yukino and the others, Cyril-niisama?」
She asked with a delicate voice.
「It’s because I thought that with only elves, Erucy wouldn’t prosper. There were so many things I wanted to do, but I knew that elves alone couldn’t achieve everything. Because of the fire foxes, we were able to collect a lot of maple syrup. Because of the fire foxes, we could make delicious alcohol. Because of the fire foxes, we had the resources to raise goats and chickens. Because of the fire foxes, we had a bountiful harvest of turnips and potatoes in the spring. All of this was possible because the fire foxes could use their fire magic. It’s thanks to their abilities that Erucy is so prosperous now.」
「But you could still survive without them.」
「We could survive, yes. But it wouldn’t be fun. Besides, elves are generally introverted, If the fire foxes never came, the elves wouldn’t have known the outside world. That’s the most important part. They would have lived their lives quietly in the village, which is beautiful but boring.」
It’s significant that the first outsiders to come to Erucy were the fire foxes, with whom we already had some interaction. If it had been a completely unknown species, the elves might have rejected them more strongly. They’ll have to get used to it because we’ll have more interactions with other species in the future.
Even as I continued speaking, Yukino didn’t seem convinced. So, I tightened my embrace, trying to reassure her.
「It’s okay. Also, this isn’t just about the elves; I also got some benefits. I got such a cute little sister. That’s more than enough.」
「… Cyril-niisama, do you regret it?」
「Of course not. If I had abandoned you and the others, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. Besides, we only caught the Empire’s attention, right? Do you think the Empire can do anything to Erucy or me?」
Yukino shook her head repeatedly.
「No, Yukino can’t imagine Cyril-niisama losing.」
「Yeah, I won’t lose. Not before, and not in the future. But to win, it’s not enough to rely on just the elves. We need to combine the power of elves and the fire foxes. Of course, your power too, Yukino. That’s how we’ve managed to win until now, and I’ll need your help even more. So, Yukino, it’s not the time to be feeling down and crying.」
「Your voice is trembling.」
「Yukino is not crying!!」
Yukino turned away and buried her face in my clothes. She was probably wiping away tears.
「What is it?」
「You can squeeze Yukino’s tail.」
I was taken aback. Allowing someone to touch their tails is a sign of familiarity for fire foxes, but when it comes to gripping it, it holds a much deeper meaning. Only their parents and mates are allowed to grip their tails.
「Yukino, I don’t think that’s a good idea.」
「You can squeeze it all you want.」
She insisted, despite my hesitant denial.
「Do you not want to squeeze Yukino’s tail?」
Yukino, who had her face buried in my chest, lifted her head and looked up at me with a pleading gaze.
She was strongly appealing to my big brother instincts.
「I want to squeeze it, but you can only say those words to the person who loves you most in the world. I can’t be that person.」
Upon hearing this, Yukino shook her head.
「No, Yukino’s not asking for that. Yukino’s not talking about marriage. When fire foxes let their tail be held only by their parents and their mate, it means entrusting their everything. Yukino decided to give all of Yukino to Cyril-niisama. Even if Cyril-niisama doesn’t choose Yukino, Yukino has decided to be with Cyril-niisama forever. So, please squeeze Yukino’s tail and accept Yukino.」
TN: Yukino talks about herself in 3rd person in a slightly childish way, she is also laconic, so her speech comes across as a little weird. I tried to keep her character the best I could in my translation. If it makes it hard to read, please tell me and I’ll do my best to fix it.
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