Chapter 029 – Onii-chan
“…..How did this happen.”
I muttered in a soft voice so that no one could hear.
I placed both hands on my face in denial.
I mustered my courage and removed my hands to face reality….. Master is doing shadow boxing with nimble footwork despite his gigantic figure.
With all clothing removed from his upper body, sunlight could be seen reflected from his muscles, as though they were made of metal.
Between master and me stood Gigi-san who would be acting as referee.
On one end of the courtyard, a white table and 2 chairs were placed under a parasol. The madam sat in one of the chairs, while savoring scented tea that was brewed by Mercè-san.
On the table is a fruit pudding, a masterpiece made by Malcolm-san, to complement the tea.
She’s completely in spectator mode.
Furthermore, shifting my gaze upwards, ojou-sama could be seen looking down unto the courtyard from the window.
(Just because of what I said last night……)
I was once again hit with pangs of regret.
Last night, I invited Gigi-san to my room after the evening party had ended.
I wanted to let him know that ojou-sama held interest in observing our training session.
Upon hearing the news, Gigi-san……
He covered his eyes with one hand and turned his back on me.
In the instant he turned his back, was it just my imagination or was there something shining in his eyes.
Gigi-san continued the conversation with his back facing me.
“Alright. In that case, the training tomorrow will be done in the courtyard which is visible from ojou-sama’s room. Be there without fail.”
“It will be performed in ojou-sama’s presence tomorrow. I intend to carry out training that’s more fired up than it has been until now. Prepare yourself.”
After telling me that, Gigi-san returned to his room.
This is the first time I heard his voice so full of spirit.
To a large extent, he must have been happy that ojou-sama would be looking outside, even if it’s just from her window.
I shall work hard to make myself even a little more useful; I once again strengthened my resolve.
However, Gigi-san……was more fired up than I had imagined.
“Now then, we will now conduct a mock battle between master and Lute.”
As a result of Gigi-san being too fired up, he once again decided to conduct a mock battle against the master as my special training.
With the [Me vs. Master] mock battle as a trigger, ojou-sama started taking an interest in my special training. That’s why, in order to secure her interest, Gigi-san arranged this encore revenge match.
Of course, it……was not done out of any consideration to me.
As I remembered the fear from yesterday, my legs trembled like a newborn goat, as if they had been injected with muscle relaxant.
There on one side is the master and company……
“Darling, do your best. Do not forget to go easy though. If darling fights Lute seriously, it would be weird if there are any remains left.”
“Hahahahaha! Don’t worry, despite how I may seem, I am quite good at controlling my strength. As proof, Lute is still full of energy after yesterday’s mock battle!”
“Hmm, that’s true. His contained spirit could be seen from his trembling action. What a reliable child he is.”
That’s not it, madam.
What you see is not a warrior’s trembling in excitement, but uncontrollable trembling out of fear.
Should I just hide myself until the evening?
Ever since the master had officially purchased me, the magic prevention choker was removed for the sake of my training.
After the purchase, it is on the owner’s discretion whether the choker would be kept on, and so it was removed.
The possibility to escape still exists.
However, there is a magic formation in my arm that is set to allow my owner to pinpoint my location (In my case, that would be Chrisse ojou-sama).
I might get sold to another place from the bad impression, if I were to try to escape.
But, I should be forgiven if I were to hide until the evening, to avoid the mock battle with master……
Turning my gaze to my current owner, ojou-sama……
[Father, Lute-san, both of you please do your best. I shall cheer for you!]
The mini black board sent words of encouragement from the window.
I closed my eyes in embarrassment, while a small hand could be seen waving shyly.
Damn! Such cuteness AaAargghhhh!
I returned her wave with a smile.
As a man, Lute must not run away!
Gigi-san raised his voice when explaining the rules so that ojou-sama could also hear him.
“Then, the mock battle between master and Lute shall begin soon. It will be Lute’s victory if he can withstand the master’s attack for 10 seconds. Of course, other than evasion, attacks are also allowed. Master wins if Lute is defeated within 10 seconds. Is that alright with both of you?”
After hearing our reply, Gigi-san headed to the side where the madam was at.
He raised his right hand up high, and glanced back at us again.
“And so, mock battle……Begin!”
With Gigi-san’s signal, I flew backwards.
I used body strengthening magic on my eyes and legs at the same time, this is done to especially put emphasis on evasion.
With this, I should be able to hang on for 10 seconds……however, I was too naive.
Before I noticed, master was there right in front of me, his right hand was swinging towards me.
Even though I had strengthened my reflexes, I couldn’t react in time. Like the image of a film being suddenly cut off, he was already in front of me.
I gave out a war cry that sounds like a scream as I dodged the right straight with a side step!
Master’s side is open after his punch missed. Chance. Should I attack?
Master’s eyes are shut.
If I don’t increase the distance!
Where should I flee? To the back, right, left, or should I add an element of surprise and go upwards?
With the single desire to increase the distance with master, I poured all my magic into my legs and flew backwards.
However, I lost sight of master’s figure again.
When I noticed, a large shadow was blocking out the sunlight from behind me.
I burst into cold sweat.
My instincts envisioned my death.
That was all I could remember.
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“It’s impossible, impossible, impossible. To continue evading for 10 seconds with the master as an opponent. The master’s strength is on the level where it could be called a cheat.”
That day, I complained incessantly while doing my duty of waiting on ojou-sama with Mercè-san, at the evening party.
In the end, I was knocked out by the master in a single hit from behind.
I was defeated in the span of 3 seconds.
Although I was healed with healing magic, the second half of my training, which was supposed to be in swordsmanship, was cancelled just to be sure.
I was told to rest until evening.
When it is time for the evening party, I went to serve ojou-sama with Mercè-san.
The topic of conversation is of the mock battle this afternoon.
[But to last 3 seconds with father as an opponent is amazing.]
“Thank you very much. However, being barely able to avoid……Honestly, it is so embarrassing. Moreover, to have special training everyday until I can evade for more than 10 seconds. Gigi-san is being too unreasonable.”
Drooping her shoulder, ojou-sama looks flustered.
She looks so cute.
She wrote on the mini blackboard.
[How about closing the distance rather than increasing it next time? If you could deal with father’s feints calmly, I think you would surely be able to persevere for 10 seconds.]
“Was there a feint used?”
[Yes. After the first strike, he used a feint causing Lute-san to escape backwards, so that he could give pursuit.]
In other words, I thought that I was acting on my thoughts, but in reality it was all within master’s grasp.
(That is like herding fish.)
Master seemed to be able to pull off those extreme reactions because he knew of the actions I will take.
“However, ojou-sama has good judgement. Without even using magic,” I blurted out and frantically shut my mouth.
I am not sensitive enough and threaded onto her trauma.
Ojou-sama tilted her head.
To smooth over the words I blurted out, I hurriedly requested more advice to improve my condition.
“Is, is there any other advice? With ojou-sama’s input, I might be able to break through the 10 second barrier. If there is anything that you noticed, I’d appreciate it if you let me know.”
I do not distrust ojou-sama, I am willing to accept any guidance in order to fix the flaws that are observed in me.
In close range combat that is almost to the point of touching each other – arm’s length – bulging muscles from training will make it hard to throw fast punches.
There is certainly great worth in attempting close range combat.
I was also taught of the master’s minor habits.
Thus, the evening party turned into a location for the strategy meeting for the fight against the count tomorrow.
After that, I invited Gigi-san to my room just like last night, to inform him that ojou-sama will be observing tomorrow’s fight again. Incidentally, I also wanted to try asking a doubt that has been bugging me.
How could ojou-sama, who couldn’t even cast magic to strengthen her body, be able to keep track of the master’s smallest movements which even I couldn’t do.
Gigi-san was amazed as he explained.
“The vampire race not only has night vision, but also good eyesight and kinetic vision. Ojou-sama’s eyes seems to be exceptional even amongst them, the madam did explain that on the first day Lute arrived, didn’t she.”
I had forgotten about it.
But, that should not be a level that could be described just with ‘good eyes’……
To be capable of capturing the master’s every action without the aid of magic, from her bedroom window on the 2nd storey.
“Ojou-sama’s eyes are more outstanding than Lute can ever imagine.”
Gigi-san folded his arms while reminiscing the past.
Before ojou-sama became a hikikomori, she came came across the nest of Giant Bats in the forest behind the castle.
Giant bats are 2 meters large, enormous bats that could suck dry the blood of livestock, children, and adults.
The forest is situated around 1 kilometer away from the castle.
Master decided for their extermination after judging them to be dangerous.
At night, they waited for the giant bats to gather at their nest so that they could be eliminated in one fell swoop.
The master and madam stopped their smiles as they observed their surroundings, and proceeded on to the extermination.
They had taken 2 of their subordinates into the forest.
Head of security, Gigi-san was left at the castle as a precaution.
The giant bats would undoubtedly lose to master and madam, and a deafening roar that would shake anyone to the core resounded.
It was the sound that marks their victory.
But unfortunately, a single giant bat managed to escape.
It flee in the direction of the castle.
Although Gigi-san tried to defeat it with magic……
The giant bat swooped down at the plains between the forest and castle.
The giant bat was blazing towards ojou-sama.
Out of nowhere, she took out bow and arrows, and in that windy night, her single arrow pierced through the giant bat that had blended into the darkness of the night sky.
She even managed to accurately shoot through it’s eye socket which was only about 5 cm in size.
The forehead of the giant bat is very tough and arrows were unable to pierce through it.
Therefore, even though it is common sense for bow users to shoot the eyes, for a child to accurately shoot her arrow without mistake, is reason enough to cause anyone to shudder at such an impossible feat.
“As I stood in front of the giant bat’s carcass that was shot, I was convinced. If Chrisse ojou-sama had potential as a magician, she would have dwarfed even her parents’ already outstanding talent.”
Gigi-san hung his head solemnly.
But, he soon raised his head.
“Sorry, please forget that last part…… Anyway, ojou-sama has grown to look forward to observing the training session. This is a once in a lifetime chance. Lute has to break through the 10 second hurdle with ojou-sama’s advice during training tomorrow. In that way, we can create an opportunity for ojou-sama to renew her confidence by letting her taste a sense of achievement from completing this pseudo-goal. It is a very heavy responsibility.”
“Then please advise the master to go easy on me during the mock battle.”
I spoke in such a tone to Gigi-san who had placed additional needless pressure on me.
However, Gigi-san dismissed it with a “In that case, it wouldn’t be training anymore.”
Whew. Really, that is such an exhausting exchange.
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The next day, afternoon.
Another martial training……The count arrived when it is time for the mock battle.
Just like yesterday, master is half-naked while doing shadow boxing.
Under a parasol, madam is sitting on a chair by a white table, while savoring scented tea brewed by Mercè-san. The desert that came with the tea today is [Seasonal Fruits Filled Mille Crêpe].
Madam is carefreely drinking her tea as her unspirited cheer goes “Darling, Lute, each of you do your best”.
Ojou-sama’s eyes are shining brightly as she looked here from the window of her 2nd storey bedroom.
The cheers for me can be seen, written in large font, on the mini blackboard.
Gigi-san stood between master and me, and confirms the rules.
“The conditions are the same as yesterday. Lute wins if he perseveres from master’s attack for 10 seconds. Master wins if Lute is defeated in 10 seconds. Is that acceptable to the both of you?”
Both of us gave our replies of confirmation.
It is the same as yesterday up to now.
Why did master request a handshake before the mock combat.
“Hahahaha! Entertain me today, too, Lute!”
“L,Like wise please be benevolent to me.”
Master did not release my hands immediately after the handshake, and told me softly with a suppressed tone.
“I have heard from Gigi. The plan to help Chrisse regain self confidence by having her cooperate and have a pseudo feeling of having completed her objective.”
“The plan is strongly pushed by Gigi-san, although it is not known whether ojou-sama will be able to successfully regain her confidence even if we successfully complete it.. Perhaps, would it be possible if I am given a little more breathing room in today’s battle simulation?”
“Fufufu, that is not happening. That is because I enjoy having a battle simulation with Lute. I always take things that are entertaining, seriously.”
Of course. Even though I knew it.
Can’t I hold onto a sliver of hope.
After breaking the handshake with master, I went back to the starting position.
Gigi-san sat beside madam who is drinking tea.
I directed my line of sight to ojou-sama who is watching over here, at me, from the 2nd storey bedroom window.
Her eyes are shut.
She wore a nervous expression with her hand clasped on her chest.
……A cute girl is devising tactics until late night. I need to be resolute here, or else I’m a failure as a man.
Facing towards ojou-sama, I clenched my right hand into a fist and pumped it into the air.
Ojou-sama’s white cheeks blushed red.
We nodded to each other silently.
If all goes according to the plan set by ojou-sama, it will be possible to obtain 10 seconds from master, the A rank magician.
I took a long deep breath to circulate the air in my lungs and glared at the overwhelming wall-of-flesh-like master in front of my eyes.
Gigi-san raised his right hand up high.
“Hence, let the battle simulation……BEGIN!”
In contrast to yesterday, I charged straight up towards master.
Of course magic is injected to strengthen my eyes and legs.
It seemed that master did not anticipate such an action and only managed to dish out a half-baked right straight.
The reaction was captured by my enhanced kinetic vision.
I lowered my stance to evade!
Without stopping I continue to close the distance, then I strengthened my right arm and planted a punch into master’s abdomen.
My fist hurts when it hit the abdominal muscles that are as if they were made from a metal plate layered with rubber.
Master wasn’t fazed by an attack of this extent, and raised his left arm to catch the advancing me.
Compared to yesterday, his attacks were much slower.
As ojou-sama had said, his long arms and well developed, bulging muscles are a hindrance in close combat that is on the verge of touching each other, causing his movements to dull.
(If it’s like this, I could dodge it completely!)
To hit the persistent me, master swung his left fist down before doing a backhand attack upwards.
I had sidestepped to evade the fist before it had reached.
I felt a chill on my back.
Master shot me a piercing gaze, my body was filled with pressure. His left hand gave pursuit from above.
Even at this frightening distance, I am able to notice feints of this extent by discerning how much power is exerted into master’s attack.
I am impressed with how good the movement of the feint is.
I ignored my body’s orders to retreat backwards.
Sound came from my molars as I clench my teeth, I stopped moving as I failed to suppress it.
Master noticed my inability to move and switched onto the attack.
A left hook was swung to me who was circling around by sidestepping.
I bent my spine as the punch passed through in a close shave.
It was a hook thrown from an unreasonable stance and master’s body staggered.
Again concentrate magic power on my right arm!
I gave my all into the right straight and swung it in……but, there in my sight is ojou-sama shaking her head! Why!?
Master gave me the answer to that.
He with nimble movement, he parried my straight punch with his left hand.
It is a technique called “parrying” in boxing.
His body staggering is a trick, and I had totally walked into master’s trap! Ojou-sama noticed it early and shook her head.
It is too late to regret now.
After having my punch knocked off, this time it is my body’s turn to stagger.
In a flash, master’s hard fist assaulted me in the form of a right hook.
The sound of wind being pierced is not entirely different from those of a bullet.
There is no time to cast body strengthening magic to aid my head.
The future scene of my head being cleanly severed from the rest of the body in less than 1 second, floated into my mind.
“Stop right there!”
At the same time as Gigi-san’s voice rang out, Master’s right hook stopped.
The distance of the punch to my face is not even 10 cm.
“As 10 seconds had transpired, the winner of this simulation battle goes to Lute.”
A very narrow win!
I unintentionally let out a cry of victory.
Master shook his head in disappointment, and I shifted my line of sight onto madam. She was smiling as she looked at the scene.
Then I left them alone and voiced out to ojou-sama who was observing from the 2nd storey window.
I pumped both hands into the air and joyfully sent her words of gratitude.
“Ojou-sama! I did it! I managed to last 10 seconds against master! This is all thanks to ojou-sama!”
Compared to earlier, ojou-sama’s cheek had blushed and her eyes are moist, she clapped her hands vigorously, as if her life depended on it, while her body leaned out from the window so much that it seemed as if she might fall over.
In response to her clapping, I pumped my hands into the air continuously.
Both ojou-sama and me are being bound with a sense of accomplishment.
Just how long did we stare at each other.
It was probably just for a few seconds.
After I recovered my sense of reason, it is extremely rude to openly express my joy so excessively over the defeat of my master.
Moreover, for a servant and the daughter to stare at each other.
I hurriedly apologise after noticing my mistake.
“I, I’m sorry! I apologise for merrymaking!”
“Hahahaha! Never mind! It is the privilege of the victor!”
“Indeed, there is no reason to worry. Actually you should puff your chest out more. You became able to survive 10 seconds in just one day, that’s a significant improvement.”
“No, It’s all because of what ojou-sama pointed out. I did no more than move according to her advice.”
I used this chance to increase the hikikomori ojousama’s share value.
“You don’t need to be so humble. It’s hard even for a B- rank magician to hold out against Master’s attack for 10 seconds. Lute-kun should be more proud like Madam said.”
Gigi-san, who put me through this ordeal, patted my shoulders and praised me.
Unusually for him, his expression loosened and he made a smile.
Tears spontaneously collected on my eyes……but Gigi-san himself ruined that moving moment.
“Next you will have special training to be able to take 20 seconds of Master’s attacks.”
“Ha, haaaa!? Wha! What do you mean!? O, ouuuuch! Gigi-san’s fingers are digging into me! You’re putting too much power!”
As I raised my head, I saw Gigi-san’s eyes filled with definite bloodthirst.
“Lute…. You should know this already, but in the end you’re just a servant. Keep your attitude in accordance with your position. Understood?”
Even though both parents are okay with it, why is Gigi-san so angry!
Well he has been watching over ojou-sama since she was a baby, so he might think of her like his own daughter…. but still, a rematch against master is too much! It’s abuse of authority!
An ogre! A demon! Gigi-san!
I called him all the names I can think of in my heart.
But of course, Gigi-san did not take back his decision.
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The evening party that night.
Mercè-san and I were being waiters, as always.
The teacakes for the evening party was an assorted fruits platter.
The head chef Malcolm-san took an apple-looking fruit and cut it into a rabbit shape like I taught him.
Ojou-sama smiled delightfully at such a cute thing.
The evening party’s topic of talk was of course about the mock battle I cleared with ojou-sama’s help.
“Thanks to ojou-sama’s advice, I could somehow endure Master’s fierce attacks. Please allow me to thank you once again.”
[I didn’t do anything. It’s because Lute-san worked hard. Lute-san looked really cool today.]
Ojou-sama bashfully took her mini blackboard in front of her.
But it was obviously the result of ojou-sama’s advice.
If it were just me alone, I would have been crushed again without being able to retaliate against Master today.
In order to boost ojou-sama’s self-confidence, I gave her counsel.
“No, It was really thanks to ojou-sama. If it weren’t for ojou-sama, I would have been defeated again today. It was all thanks to ojou-sama that I could win today.”
[No, it was Lute-san’s hard work. Even without me you could settle things on your own.]
“That couldn’t be so. It was thanks to ojou-sama.”
[It was Lute-san’s hard work!]
“It was ojou-sama”
[It was Lute-san’s work!]
“It was ojou-sama already!”
Pfft――Both of us broke into laughter.
Ojou-sama shyly laughed while hiding from behind her mini blackboard.
I put on an awkward smile.
Ojou-sama ran her fingers.
[Then, how about calling today both our victory?
“Yes, it was both our victory”
Again we confirmed our compromise and once again smiled at each other.
Ojou-sama seemed to be in a good mood, and started writing with her cheeks dyed red.
[Actually, I always wanted to have an [onii-chan]… if it isn’t too much trouble… can I call Lute-san [Onii-chan]?]
As she said that to me, I took a glance at Mercè. …. She didn’t seem especially opposed to that. Maybe it was something like “It’s okay if it’s for healing ojou-sama’s hikikomori.”
“You are of course welcome to. Nobody would oppose getting such a cute little sister like ojou-sama. But, since we have our statuses to worry about, please try to not do it in front of people if you can.”
[Thank you very much! Lute-onii-chan.]
A golden-haired, loli, imouto-character I want to protect!
Truly a girl that triggers my protective instinct!
Suddenly, Snow’s words played back inside my head.
No no no, this is different.
Just a little sister! It’s only love for a foster sister’s cuteness.
I definitely did not mean that.
[Is there anything wrong, Lute-onii-chan?]
“N, not at all. I’m sorry.”
I put on a fake smile to sweep away ojou-sama’s worry.
It was a little scary how Mercè-san was silently watching us.
Thank you very much for reading this far!
Impressions, typos, and opinions are warmly welcomed!
I plan to update tomorrow, December 19th at 21:00.
This chapter is a bit long.
I wanted to split it at first, but then I thought that it would be more interesting to read this scene all at once. I would be glad if you enjoyed reading it.
Also, I’ve been busy IRL recently so I haven’t been able to do activity reports or fix typos. Please wait quietly a little longer until I can get back to you. Well then (￣^￣)ゞ