Chapter 032 – Brothers
Together with Ojousama, we walked around the busy town.
While browsing through some small miscellaneous goods, we also looked at the colorful flowers in the flower shop.
We came to a well reputed clothes shop.
Some female students who remember young lady then came over and some idle chat was exchanged through the mini blackboard.
From my delusions, it seemed as if I was having a date together with her.
Speaking of which, the thing that made Ojousama’s eyes sparkle the most today was some fried pastry being sold at a food cart.
It’s close to what is known as ‘fried bread’ in my previous life.
The bread-like food is fried in oil and then smeared with sugar and spices, it seemed to be bad for the health.
It’s about the size of a meat bun, with the price of 2 copper, or about 200 yen.
It seems like she used to buy and eat it often when going out to town with Karen and the others.
It’s a well known item that, if you’re a kid, you should absolutely have had it at least once, or something like that.
Instead of the afternoon tea party, we bought two well-made fried pastries.
They were wrapped in napkins which looked like the oak leaves used in rice cakes, even though it was bad manners, we ate it as we walked.
Ojousama ate it delightedly with gobbling noises, using her small mouth.
I felt happy just by looking at her doing that.
When I realized, Ojousama had already eaten all the pastry.
It seemed like she hadn’t had enough and stole glances at my half-eaten one.
“….. Ojousama, if you like, do you want to eat mine?”
[B, but eating Onii-chan’s share is just… unforgivable]
“No, don’t worry about it. I’m actually full so you can have it if you like.”
[Then I won’t hold back, thank you very much!]
“But before that, there’s sugar on your mouth so let me wipe it first. Ojousama, say [u~n] please.”
Ojousama obediently pouted her mouth as if going for a kiss.
Because of her meekness and cuteness, I almost went in for that kiss, but regained my senses and stopped.
If I kissed her here, Gigi-san who’s watching from somewhere would tear off my lips.
I took out a handkerchief from my pocket, wiped Ojousama’s mouth, and handed her the fried pastry.
Not caring that it was half-eaten by me, Ojousama unhesitatingly put it in her mouth and smiled as if saying it’s delicious.
When it seemed like we both got tired from walking at the same time, we took a rest and had tea.
The eatery was so crowded there was no space inside, so we sat on a bench outside.
I bought a couple of wooden cups filled with fruit juice and went back to Ojousama.
Ojousama didn’t look tired at all, and happily swung her legs back and forth while watching the people passing by.
That appearance of hers completely didn’t seem like that of a girl who had stayed indoors for about two years.
The figure of a cute little girl appropriate for her age that you can find anywhere.
Unintentionally, I kept gazing at the side of Ojousama’s face while holding my cup with both hands.
[Is there anything wrong, Lute onii-chan?]
She showed me her mini blackboard and tilted her head.
“Ojousama looked so cute, I unintentionally became fascinated.”
As I praised Ojousama, her pure white skin seemed to change colors and became red.
[Geez, Lute onii-chan, please don’t tease me]
“I’m sorry, my true opinion seemed to have leaked out by mistake.”
[I said stop teasing me already!]
Even though I apologized to Ojousama, for some reason she puffed her cheeks like a hamster.
She’s cute even when she’s angry.
However, her face turned completely pale like a ghost.
I turned my head towards where Ojousama was looking—there were two adult men standing there.
One of them was tall and thin like a dried fish.
The other one was short and considerably wide.
An odd pair that seems to appear frequently in games or manga.
They both had a dumb smile pasted on their faces and dark desire gleaming out of their eyes. The quality of the clothes they had on were good but regardless, there’s no elegance.
Their fingers, arms, and wrists were heavily decorated with jewels as if showing off, totally advertising their [crooked characters who had become wealthy suddenly].
These are characters that I don’t want anything to do with if I had the choice.
I wanted to ignore them, but Ojousama’s eyes were fixed on them, and Gigi-san who should be guarding from a distance came running in panic.
Gigi-san stood in front of the men as if to protect us.
“….. do you have some business with us?”
“We were just going out to town and saw a familiar face, so we went to give our greetings. Right, elder brother?”
“That’s right. So don’t make such a scary face, Gigi.”
Still wearing a scornful grin, the pair answered Gigi-san.
Their manner of speaking is like that of a master to their servant.
(Gigi-san, who are these two?)
(…… Master’s siblings—The head of the Vampire Clan Pylkkänen Vlad-sama, and the second son Ravino Vlad-sama.)
Gigi-san indicated with his line of sight that the fat man is Pylkkänen and in turn the thin man is Ravino.
If you say the eldest and second sons of the Vlad house, they were the siblings who held a grudge towards Count Dan Gate Vlad because his assets far outstrip theirs, and once had a fight over it.
I finally see why Ojousama was startled and Gigi-san was wary of them.
There’s no way these two would have goodwill towards Ojousama who was the count’s daughter.
The fat man—Pylkkänen snorted like a pig and turned his gaze towards me.
“Is that brat the slave Dan bought the other day? Hmph, he looks withered and pale. Evidently, that Dan didn’t give him enough food.”
That’s just because you’re too fat!
“It’s just like elder brother said, that Dan is such a stingy fellow.”
The second son Ravino was sucking up to the eldest brother.
If master is stingy, then most people in this world would be total cheapskates!
I wanted to object, but a mere slave can’t possibly raise his voice against his master’s siblings.
Perhaps also enduring the insult, Gigi-san rolled his hands painfully into a fist.
The two’s gazes turned away from me and towards Ojousama.
“Chrisse, we were worried since we heard you became a hikikomori. But you seem to be okay and can go outside. As your uncles we’re happy to the limits. Right, younger brother?”
“Yes, elder brother. It is a most joyous occasion.”
“Both of you, Ojousama has only just gone outside. it is probably best if you do not give her too much provocation–”
“Shut up Gigi! It’s fine even if you hadn’t said that just now!”
Gigi-san’s expression turned bad at Pylkkänen’s explosive remark.
Ojousama’s slender shoulders trembled because of the angry voice.
“…… I beg your pardon.”
“Tch, even though you’re just a lowly beastman. Ah… right. Chrisse, as your uncles we’re greatly moved that you’re able to come out of your room just fine.”
Pylkkänen continued his talk.
“But you see, it’s not like we don’t get why you’d want to stay indoors.”
Pylkkänen made an ugly expression with his greasy face.
It was the face of a low-life who finds absolute joy in other people’s suffering.
“At any rate, despite having our Vlad’ house’s superior bloodline, you don’t have talent as a magician. If it were me I would’ve killed myself long ago. Right, younger brother?”
“It is really as elder brother said.”
“Or maybe it could have been that, huh~”
“Hoo, what is that elder brother?”
“Younger brother, do you know about a bird called a cuckoo? Cuckoos have a trait called [Brood Parasitism] where it leaves its eggs in another bird’s nest replacing that bird’s own. It might have been possible that… my younger brother Dan could have suffered something like that. That man is stupid, just as he looks. He might not have noticed if his wife slept with another guy.”
“As expected from elder brother, such worldly wisdom.”
A blood vessel in my seemed seemed to have burst.
I don’t care even if it’s Master’s brother, he’s ridiculing Ojousama as a “talentless child born through madam’s extramarital affair”!
I unintentionally rolled my hands tightly into a fist.
As I looked back because of Gigi-san’s panicked voice, Ojousama ran away, covering her ears.
She went running in the opposite direction of Pylkkänen and Ravino.
I’m going to lose sight of her like this!
“Lute, leave this to me. You go after Ojousama!”
“A, all right!”
I left the wooden cup in my hand on the bench and ran after Ojousama.
As I went, I let out a fierce glare at Pylkkänen and Ravino.
Because she didn’t have much exercise, Ojousama’s legs soon gave out.
Even so, because a vampire’s base ability was higher in comparison to a human, I wasn’t able to catch up immediately.
“Watch where you’re going! Pay attention!”
Ojousama bumped into a man carrying a wooden box and fell to the ground.
Unfortunately she fell into a moist patch of mud.
Her freshly washed white clothes, face, body, and hair became dirty with mud.
Because she fell down I could finally catch up to her.
Ojousama made no attempt to get up from her fallen state.
As I rushed over to pick her up, I saw her eyes empty and lacking energy—she was languid.
This girl’s face who was smiling brightly just a few minutes ago was now gloomy and devoid of emotion.
Even when I met her for the first time she had a better expression.
“Ojousama, I beg your pardon.”
I excused myself and carried Ojousama in my arms and then ran to the place where we left the coach.
Once we managed to arrive there, I seated her on a bench outside.
I paid for some water and washed her clean of mud, starting with her hands and face, then her hair.
On Ojousama’s palms that were red like the leaves of autumn, blood was oozing out from the grazed skin.
It wasn’t a big injury.
If it’s something like this, it can be healed with Gigi-san’s healing magic without leaving a scar.
And yet my heart was furiously struck with sorrow.
I washed away Ojousama’s filth, wiped her clean, and placed her on the coach.
Gigi-san turned up 30 minutes afterwards.
He healed Ojousama’s wounds with healing magic.
We left town on the coach as if running away.
There were just Ojousama and I inside the coach.
Ojousama was hugging her knees, making herself small.
I was also silent and just continued to sit across from her.
—As Ojousama looked up, she wrote on the mini blackboard.
[… my classmates used to tell me the same thing back when I still went to school.]
What the vampire family head and second son had said earlier was [Chrisse’s parents are magicians and yet, why is she talentless as a magician?].
[I had also resisted at first. There’s a chance that abilities don’t get inherited even if both parents are magicians. But every time I said that they just laughed at me without properly listening to me…]
Ojousama wrote with trembling fingertips.
[Lute onii-chan, Am I a despicable existence for not inheriting magical talent? Am I unnecessary?]
I shook my head sideways.
I was also bullied in my previous life, so I knew exactly what Ojousama wanted to hear.
So I looked straight into her eyes and declared.
“I don’t know about other people, but master and madam definitely doesn’t think that way. Also Gigi-san, Merry-san, Mercè-san, Malcolm-san, and all the other servants, including me of course, none of us care about whether or not Ojousama can do magic! We all love Ojousama! We’re happy just from seeing Ojousama smiling!”
It’s tough on Ojousama being looked down by others and being the topic of malicious gossip.
But the most frightening thing of all is how her parents think of her.
Maybe, just maybe, they think she’s a [good-for-nothing] because their magician’s abilities didn’t pass on to her.
When I became a hikikomori because I was afraid of being made a target by those delinquents, I was afraid to even find out what my parents think of my miserable self.
So I did all I could to stay inside and reduced contact with family members as much as possible. I came under the impression that they didn’t care about me, and finally our relations soured.
That’s why I told Ojousama this.
We’ll be her allies, even if she can’t be a magician, even if the whole world would turn against her.
We will always be by her side.
Those feelings seem to have reached her, and Ojousama once again burst into tears.
She slowly reached her hands out, grabbed my butler suit, and pressed her face down onto it.
Ojousama continued crying while trying to muffle her voice.
As if she was letting out all the sadness that’s been filling her chest.
I continued to gently stroke her soft hair the whole time until she stopped crying.