The next day, I requested for the delivery snake to deliver my letter. 'Sya-,' hissed the snake with a cry that sounded softer than the usual one, somehow or another. The snake that cried then nimbly rushed away. He-, it was truly grazing on thr ground, huh? It skillfully chose the corner, too.
"I ordered it to monitor the situation over there until we received a reply."
Kuon-sensei who ordered her own snake said that while smiling. Aah yup, she found out that I was worried about Taiga-san. …My face became stiff. Hahaha.
"Eh, did you think that you won't be seen through, Seiren-sama?"
When I told Oriza-san about it, I got such kind of reply. No, I got asked in return, I guess. In short, it seemed to be quite probable for it to be seen through.
"I didn't think so, or rather, I thought that my emotion didn't really show that much on my face. But how is it in actuality?"
"That's right… Your expression may not change that much along with Minoa, but how should I put it, it's still easy to tell-?"
When she brought up the example of Minoa-san, even I could understand. It was easy to tell that she had a sweet tooth since her reaction immediately showed up. Did I seem to be like that too, I wonder? …Haa.
Nah, even until now, I still kept saying [Ore] to refer to myself, perhaps it had become my speaking habit.1
But perhaps, my inner self had pretty much become that of a female's other than that aspect. I had become so used to using female undergarments, and I had come to like dresses and skirts as well.
Also, when I sat on a sofa, I sat with my knees glued together as if it was natural. But as for this one, even when I was a male, I properly adjusted my sitting position in accordance to the situation.
Or rather, since I was born as a female in the beginning, there was nothing weird about it, but I still became completely used to my female situation though not even one year had passed after I spent 18 years as a male. …Nah, I wonder if this is better, though?
"Thanks for your hard work, Ane-sama."
After noon passed, before Kuon-sensei arrived, Saryuu suddenly showed up. Maki-san came along with him, and on top of her hand, there was a whole cake on a tray. With the season being winter right now, the fruits were only a few, and it was a simple cheese cake.
"This is the cake made by my order. Kuon-sensei had examined it before, so I think that it should be all right."
"Thanks, Saryuu. Even you went through such a trouble."
"No. I don't really know the full details of things, but I'd hate it if I can't do anything for Ane-sama and if something were to happen to Ane-sama. Ah, once the cake has been divided, Mikoto-sama too, please enjoy it."
Saryuu said that and showed a very childish smile. Ah- really-, this cute little brother of mine, this big sister is really hoping that a good bride will come for you. Yup.
Since Saryuu had gone through all the trouble to bring us the cake, we took a tea break. Since Kuon-sensei had examined it, surely she'd understand. …Perhaps she might come over here to eat, too.
[Oh, I also got some, huh? Both Seiren and Saryuu are such good children.]
Mikoto-san who knew that she'd get her portion was really in a very good mood.
"Things have been hard for Ane-sama… is it not possible for Nii-sama to come and help out?"
"It's fine even if he can't. though."
While tasting the cheese cake that had been divided, I lightly tilted my head at my little brother's question. Of course, Mikoto-san's share was quickly brought over to the ceremony room, and now, this ancestor of mine was tasting it in a good mood. Well, leaving that aside.
Everyone had already thought of Saryuu's idea, or rather, it was the idea that came out at the very beginning. After all, I'm engaged to him.
But as for me, I don't really want to involve Taiga-san that much. Even if I don't involve him in this matter, I've troubled him too much.
"Taiga-san is also busy, and if he were to receive the evil spirit's influence, then I don't know what I should do…"
"That's right… Even I'm not sure about what I should do to stop Nii-sama. Ane-sama will definitely be distressed, too."
That is the concern, right-?
Eh, even Saryuu said it in the same way? Am I really deeply in love with Taiga-san?
Whoa, it's a problem for me not to realize that I'm in love with him, right, hey, me? I even have the thought that going to be his bride is fine, so please have a bit more of a self-awareness, Shiiya Seiren.
"If Taiga-san were to be influenced, we'd have no choice other than to ask Minoa-san. It would suit her as she wanted to throw a basked at him or something."
"What's with that?"
"No, at that time in the villa during the summer…"
In any case, I suddenly recalled the thing that happened in summer and tried to tell it precisely. As expected, Saryuu became greatly perplexed.
"…Nii-sama is really proactive in a strange direction, huh?"
"So you also thought that, too?"
Isn't that right-? Why did he suddenly intrude on the girl he just met right outside of the window of her sleeping room? If one were to think of it very simply, Taiga-san would be some sort of a stalker, right? But it's nice that he didn't take after Touka-san in that area. Also, Saryuu, too.
So, as we were having that kind of conversation, a knock on the door could be heard and Minoa-san went out to receive the guest.
"Seiren-sama, Kuon-sensei has arrived."
"Please come in."
Since it was expected for her to come around this time, I quickly asked her to come in. Kuon-sensei who entered the room while holding some documents under her arms then saw Saryuu's cheese cake and stared in wonder. She slightly gestured to adjust her glasses, and to be honest, she was cute being like that.
"Good afternoon. Oh my, Saryuu-sama also came over here?"
"Good afternoon-. We're having a tea break with the cheese cake that I had you examine earlier."
"Oh dear. Since it's been like this, would it be fine for me to join the meal?"
"It's all right. Oriza-san, please-."
"Ye-s, here I am-."
Well, things turned like this. Or rather, it was still within Kuon-sensei's class time, but… oh well, it's okay. Perhaps there had been so many things that we all needed to take a break. Or rather, Kuon-sensei even had the job of investigating things and monitoring Kaya-san and Alica-san.
Oriza-san prepared some tea for Kuon-sensei's share and had her sit next to me. The documents that were spread on top of the table had various articles written on them, but they were neat to see.
"Sensei, what's with these documents?"
"Yeah… I've got some things to report. However…"
In response to my question, Sensei went to look at Saryuu's direction. No, well, even I don't know to what extent he knows about the affairs.
"…Saryuu, how far do you understand of my current situation?"
"I only know about how Ane-sama is being targeted by the evil spirits and that Mikoto-sama is accompanying her as a guard."
[Ho, then it's good.]
Saryuu seems to know the gist of the situation. Well, we couldn't really be frank about what happened with Kaya-san and Alica-san, though.
Mikoto-san seemed to have scanned through the documents and showed an expression that said that it was all right.
"Mikoto-san has also said it, so I think it's probably all right."
"…Understood. Well, it's the result of investigation in the city."
Ah-, I see. If this were about the maids being looked after in the house of Kasai, then that'd be bad, yup.
Even so, the city, huh? I went there during the spring. …I'd like to go there again.
As I thought so, the thing that entered my ears was a report that was a bit astonishing.
"It's about the pharmacy's shop assistant that went missing. Late at night yesterday, there was a message from the garrison station who safeguarded the shop assistant. However, it's impossible to hear the story from them."
"Impossible? By safeguarding, so the shop assistant it still alive, right?"
"Yes. However, that… since the evil spirit's influence has progressed, they could only grumble words that made no sense."
Whoa. That was similar to acute poisoning from some drug, or something like that.
After being addicted and consuming the drug for quite a long time, someone would end up just like that. Nah, I only knew that from the television show I watched long time ago, so I can't really tell much about it.
"I don't really understand the details of the evil spirit's influence, but such a thing existed?"
[If you only get influenced for a short moment, then there won't be any after-effect, but this guy had received a much stronger influence. For the time being, it seemed that their soberness won't return.]"I see."
Which means, Kaya-san and Alica-san should be all right. Ah, I felt so relieved.
…Nah, I'm the victim of the assault, though. However, I understand the situation, so as expected I'd feel relieved from hearing that they'd be all right.
"As for the postal service, we haven't found any lead yet, so the investigation is still on-going. I can only report about that much for now."
"Understood. Thank you very much."
"Don't mention it."
Hmmm. It seems that we still have a long way to go.
"Ah, that's right. Saryuu-sama."
Sensei suddenly called Saryuu's name. "Yes?" he answered with a small voice and turned at her. Kuon-sensei raised her index finger and continued her words.
"The evil spirits can use someone's feelings towards Seiren-sama to their own convenience. That's why, Saryuu-sama, you have to be very careful, too."
"Eh? Ah, y-yes, I will be careful!"
Towards Kuon-sensei's warning, Saryuu reflexively straightened up his back and answered vigorously.
…Un, I'm also begging you. I'm honestly happy that you have a sister complex for me, though. For you see, I have never had a sibling up until now.
However, if that feeling were to be used, then… aah damn it, I'd be so angry.
Why is it that I don't have any physical or magic strength? If only I had either, then I'd be able to oppose them on my own.
Sensei went out of my room immediately in order to conduct more investigation. After that, I spent approximately 1 hour to converse about various trivial things with Saryuu, and finally, the tea party ended.
Since he had to practice his swordsmanship, I sent him off along with Maki-san, and Mikoto-san who hadn't opened her mouth that much suddenly said, [Seiren, be careful]. No, I have been extremely careful up until now, though.
"There's only 3 days left until the Week of the End-of-the-Year. It's no doubt that they'd come for you during that time."
"Eh, is that true?"
Speaking of which, I hadn't seen the calendar. When I tried to check it, it was certainly as Mikoto-san said. However, why?
[Once the end of the year is approaching, the year-end festival on the human side will start. No matter how much influence the evil spirits can give, the living beings will offer prayers to the God of Sun and the power is threatening them.]"I see…"
Whoa-, so it's such a thing, huh? But if that's the case, there's really a meaning behind the humans getting all lively during the festival.
Ah, speaking of festival.
"Is there also a meaning behind the cookies we wrapped?"
[That is—so to speak—provisions, the power needed in order to fight the evil spirit. For now, it has been reduced to a formality, but at least the children will be happy to receive the snacks, right? And their delight will become the power to ward off the evil spirits.]"Is that so… Oriza-san, Minoa-san, is that this world's common knowledge, too?"
"Uhm, well, more or less, yes. However, it's some kind of a legend-."
"We came from families with good enough faith, so we had been taught about it to some extent. However, I think that it depends on the family."
Hmmmm. Well, everyone knows that I'm the one most estranged from this world's common sense. I've learned and studied most of the unknown things and I have mastered considerably a lot, though.
[Well, it's better for you not to think of anything difficult. In short, it will be quite merriful during the Week of the End of the Year.]
Wa-. Thanks for putting it in a very easy way to understand, Mikoto-san. Well, in short, as long as we work hard until the Week of the End of the Year and welcome the new year in a clamour with everyone else, then it's all going to be OK.
Aah, that's why before that, the evil spirits are trying to chip off that power, huh? So they targeted babies or people like me in order to enhance their own power.
[Therefore, the evil spirits will try to attack you in some way or another before that time, and that'd be our match. Before that, my reinforcement should have arrived, but Seiren, you have to be careful.]"Y-yes."
Only 3 days left, huh?
I have to do my best!
- Ore means "I", but it's typically used by men.