Chapter 8 – My stepbrother became a hikikomori shut-in
The day after I got carried away and sent flying by the earth golem. I headed to Keith’s room first thing in the morning to apologize, maybe he still hasn’t gotten up or something, there’s no reply no matter how many times I knock. Well, even if he is still sleeping, and I’m unreasonably trying to wake him up, I thought that surely he would come to breakfast.
Keith didn’t come to breakfast.
Since Keith had shut himself in and missed a meal, mother and father were also very worried.
Mother even suspiciously asked me “Katarina, did you do something to him when you visited him in the morning?” How rude! Man, I didn’t do anything!
But anyways, because I was worried as well, I headed to Keith’s room again as soon as I finished eating. Just like this morning, no matter how much I knocked or talked through the door there was no reply.
“Keith. It’s me. Katarina. Since you didn’t come for breakfast, are you in bad shape?”
Then from within the room, a feeble voice answered.
“Yes, it’s me. What’s wrong, Keith? Does your stomach hurt? Are you okay?”
“Nothing’s wrong with me. More importantly, are nee-san’s injuries okay?”
“Yep, I’m fine. It’s just a little bump on the head. Anyways, Keith, I have something to say. May I come in?”
I have to properly apologize to his face about the incident yesterday. However……
“I’m sorry. You can’t.”
I was flat out rejected by his answer.
“I can’t stay by nee-san anymore.”
Keith wouldn’t say anything else after that. Really, I have no idea what’s going on. What’s this, I think Keith hates me now.
Anyways, since I can’t do anything like this, I tried getting into his room, but the door knob wouldn’t turn when I placed my hand on it. Apparently, it seems that it is locked. Even when asking Keith to open it, there is no reply. What should I do? At this rate, if Keith becomes a shut-in and starts hating me…..
Keith becomes a shut-in → Keith becomes lonely → He enters school like this → Has an encounter with the heroine which heals his loneliness → Keith falls in love with the heroine → Katarina gets in the way → the nuisance Katarina gets exiled or gets finished off by magic.
Oh no! This is so terrible! This is heading straight towards a destruction flag!!
And as I was desperately trying to break the door open with all my might, I heard Anne’s voice.
“Ojou-sama, exactly what would you happen to be doing?”
“Well, Keith locked me out and I can’t get in.”
“Well, doesn’t that mean that he doesn’t want Ojou-sama to enter?”
Anne coolly sent me a look of compassion.
“Ugh, certainly, that might be so…… but, something seems strange about Keith.”
I’m also in quite the desperate situation.
“For the time being, if you want to get in that badly, there’s a spare key for each room in the servants’ room…… Ojou-sama.”
As soon as Anne told me, I dashed off to the servants’ room.
However…… Once there, it became clear that Keith was holed up with the duplicate key as well. How smart Keith is!
However, this has confirmed it. Keith has become a full-blown hikikomori. This is getting dangerous, so so dangerous~.
At this point, I have no choice but to use my last resort. And so, I went to a certain place.
I got the item I was looking for, and headed back towards Keith’s room.
“Ah, Ojou-sama. Did you find the spare key? Ojou-sama, what on earth!? What are you trying to do!?”
Anne who was still in front of Keith’s room noticed me and spoke up, but suddenly let out a surprised voice when she saw what was in my hand. Meanwhile, I responded to Anne with a rough snort.
“I’m gonna open this door. If Keith stays shut-in like this, it’ll turn into a big deal!”
“It couldn’t be that you’re going to open the door with that!? And if so, how are you going to open the door with that!? You’re not planning to break the door down, are you…… Anyways, please calm down, and put that thing in your hands down.”
Anne desperately tried coaxing me, but I paid her no mind at all. I mean, at this rate, the destruction end that I tried so hard to avoid at great length has turned into a straight path towards ruin.
“Keith. If you’re close to the door right now, get away from the door.”
I spoke towards inside Keith’s room.
And then – I slammed the ax that I brought from the garden shed into the door.
The crackling sounds of the door breaking mixed in with Anne’s screams.
After breaking down the door, when entering the room I saw Keith on his bed with wide, round eyes. It looked like he had no idea what was going on. It seems as if Anne who was behind me went off to find someone to tattle on what the Ojou-sama did. Well, I’ll leave the matter of the door for the time being, and apologize later. Keith comes first.
I drew close to Keith who had wide round eyes and his mouth open agape. And then……
“I’m so sorry about yesterday!!”
I kneeled down on the floor and bowed my head until it hit his bed. A so-called prostration. After all, it would not count as a sincere apology unless it was to this degree.
“Unreasonably asking you to use magic you could not control yet, I’m really sorry!! Moreover, not listening to your warning and trying to touch the earth golem…… Sorry for making you worry!!”
I desperately bowed my head as I said so. Before I realized it, Keith was crouching next to me.
“……Why is nee-san apologizing…… It was all my fault……”
“What are you saying? It was my fault! Because I asked such an unreasonable request of Keith!”
Looking at Keith next to me, he had his head down. Keith talked in a voice like he was barely squeezing it out.
“……Nee-san isn’t scared of me?”
What on earth would that mean? Well, if Keith continues shutting himself in like this, it will be extremely scary if he falls in love with the heroine and raises a destruction flag……
Somehow or other, for some reason, he’s already started hating me and wants to dispose of me early……? The destruction flag came early!?
“……In my previous home, I injured my stepbrothers with magic. And this time, I’ve injured nee-san. Even though my magic is strong, I can’t control it properly.”
I held my breath at Keith’s words. ……So, he probably hates me now because I unreasonably asked him to use magic…… Is the destruction coming? Is it coming? How about it?
“……Because I can’t control my powerful magic, it might keep hurting people. ……Nee-san isn’t scared of me?”
Involuntarily, I let out a funny voice. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like a destruction flag.
“……Oh, so it was something like this~~”
I was relieved, and let go of my breath, while Keith finally raised his face. There were such beautiful blue irises in his eyes.
“If you can’t control your magic, all you have to do is just work hard at mastering it now.”
In fact, in the game, Keith was able to properly manipulate his powerful magic. Keith is only eight years old now. From now on, if he trains properly, he will surely be able to control his magic before attending school.
“Since our magic tutor is coming soon, won’t you keep practicing magic together with me?”
Fully at ease now, I said to him with a foolish smiling face. Then, the silent Keith finally said something.
“……Nee-san still wants to be with me?”
“Of course! I’ll always be with you, or else do you hate me?”
Keith shook his head vigorously. Apparently, I don’t seem to be hated anymore. I’m so glad.
“As such, even if something’s wrong, in the future don’t shut yourself in your room…… Uh, Keith, what’s wrong?”
As I was looking at Keith with relief…… Tears were dripping from his such beautiful blue eyes.
“Keith! What’s wrong? Does it hurt somewhere?”
Suddenly, I panicked as Keith started crying. We were just talking normally a minute ago! I, I’ve done something wrong!? Even though I desperately rubbed his small back, his tears wouldn’t stop. And so, Keith continued to cry, while I was lost not knowing what to do.
“……Katarina, what on earth, are you doing?”
From the room’s entrance, I heard a low bass voice that was so low as if it was crawling on the earth. When I turned to look, I saw mother standing there with the face of a demon.
“Katarina, just the other day you had promised me to rest and behave until your injury healed…… What is this destruction to the door…… Moreover, your stepbrother is crying like this…… I wonder what on earth you are thinking.”
“Uh, uhh mother…… This is, well……”
It was as if all the blood had been drawn from my body. I felt like I had been thrown into a cage with a lion.
“Katarina. For now, please come to my room.”
“Keith, you must have been scared. Since I’m going to take this with me, it’ll be alright.”
While pulling me by grabbing onto my collar, my mother turned to me with the reverse of the gentle eyes she had for Keith.
“……Mo-, other, it’s not……”
Keith raised his face like he was going to say something, but he couldn’t speak too well because of all the crying.
Without realizing it, a lot of servants had gathered in front of the room. However, at this time only the doting father was not to be seen. As such, I was forcibly taken away by my enemy to mother’s room.
After that, I had to listen to my demon mother’s lectures for several hours straight.
After being released from mother’s grasp, I returned exhaustedly to my room, where Anne met me with some tea. Her kindness touched my heart. I told her everything that happened, words flowing from me like a river. I drank the tea, and was finally able to rest a bit. Come to think of it, was Keith alright after crying so much? I asked Anne whether Keith was okay.
“After a while, he seems to have calmed down.”
“Is that so, I’m really glad. But, suddenly crying like that, I wonder what it was?”
“……Ojou-sama, since Ojou-sama suddenly broke down the locked door, what will happen when you see someone invading your room with an ax in her hand?”
“If it had happened to me, I would be crying and screaming with fear.”
“…… I will go apologize to Keith later.”
“Yes indeed. Well, it might also be that he will cry and be scared again.”
Anne’s logical analysis made me depressed. Certainly, when looking at it calmly, breaking down the door with an ax was a bit overboard. I was a bit too hasty after detecting a destruction flag. First of all, it would have been much better if I had done something like stick a wire in the keyhole.
But, since I can’t take back something I’ve done already, for the time being, since Keith might have been rather frightened, I will try and recover my relationship with him.
However, betraying my expectations, Keith came to see me with a smile on his face. On the contrary, saying something like “Nee-san didn’t do anything wrong. From now on you’ll always be with me, right” is the absolutely cutest thing he could have done. Moreover, he seems to have defended me in front of mother, and my punishment of no dinner was able to be rescinded. My stepbrother is not only very cute but also so kind. He really is the best brother ever.
And as such, curtains were closed successfully on the “Keith became a hikikomori shut-in” incident. From now on, to make sure Keith isn’t lonely, I’ll be sure to love him properly!
However, due to this incident, mother decided on her own to strictly train me all over again in the rules of etiquette.
In this way, I avoided the destruction flag, but faced another trial in the form of my demon mother and her etiquette lessons.