I woke up from my nightmare with a start, and began to recall vague memories of my past life. I feared that my condition was getting worse, even more so than yesterday.
Well, when I tried to recall the nightmare, I could remember that the world I was currently in was unnatural. Although I felt that the Ore-sama Prince resembled my older brother, I didn’t wish to remember too much about him. I was aware that I had died in my previous life, so I should have forgotten about it completely. I was driven out before I could learn why my wish to become a commoner had been considered a threat.
I couldn’t take a break from my job, even though I wasn’t in the best condition. After all, I was neither sick nor injured. Rather, it was merely a problem of the heart.
In this world, it was very difficult for commoners to be re-employed. If you made a blunder and were fired, then it would be impossible for you to find a job in the same town. Even if you explain that it was due to an illness, others would think that you had a weak constitution.
In addition, when your job was far away and you had limited means of transportation, you could only work for a short amount of time… Was it even possible for a commoner without any achievements or recommendations to work for so little time and be able to earn enough to survive? Hence, I rejected that idea. Even if I could abandon my own home, there was no way I could save up enough money in two months to rent a new one. I wasn’t foolishly optimistic enough to think that I would be able to get a good place to live and a job, nor did I feel like doing so.
In the first place, there were no telephones. In order to contact your employers about your absence, you would have to go directly to your workplace.
Commoners would put on rouge that they occasionally used to hide their pallid faces and leave the house as if they were fine.
The town was as harmonious as always, which made me wonder why I was worrying about it so much.
Even though I had died, I couldn’t detach myself enough to call it the end, and I was overwhelmed when I recalled the past that I could not move on from. I was quite optimistic in my dreams, though.
…I decided that I would like to find another dream after things settled down, something other than becoming a commoner.
I greeted Michelle-san with a smile as I arrived at the store. It was easy for me to hide the fact that I was feeling sick, since acting was part of my daily life.
Well, that was how it should have been, but for some reason, after looking at me, Michelle-san’s smiling face warped into worry.
“Fii-chan, aren’t you feeling sick…?”
I was at a loss as Michelle-san, who looked worried, approached me and asked if I was alright while looking at my face.
I couldn’t even feign ignorance. After all, I had believed that I could deceive her.
How was I exposed? I even knew where to put a bit of red on to make my complexion appear natural. I also didn’t think that there were any problems with my voice and facial expression.
“Certainly, it would help me a lot if Fii-chan is here, but I wish for you to work here happily and energetically. It is great that you are enthusiastic about working, but you should take your time and rest until you get better. Alright?”
Convinced, Michelle-san forcibly sent me home.
I turned around and desperately grasped her arm. With teary eyes, I looked into Michelle-san’s eyes as I asked.
“…how did you notice?”
I had to make sure. If I was deficient in any way, I had to hurry up and fix it.
She looked at me with an odd expression then answered as if it were obvious
“Of course I’d know if a girl who is like a daughter to me is feeling sick. Come on, head home, warm up, and sleep.”
I didn’t immediately follow Michelle-san’s words, and I absentmindedly stood outside of the shop for a while, having been forcibly kicked out.
After some time, I eventually staggered home.
I wasn’t very sure, but it seemed like I was supposed to head home. I didn’t understand what Michelle-san was talking about, though.
My head wasn’t working properly. It was certain that today was not going to be a good day. Tomorrow. I will try harder tomorrow. I am too weak today.
When I got close to my home, as I walked forward on the slanting path, I saw a carriage riding by, even though it was rare to see any in this remote part of the city in the morning. As I continued to stare, I realized that the carriage looked familiar and stopped walking.
As expected, the carriage stopped right next to me.
I narrowed my eyes as the man got off, his silver hair sparkling under the sunlight.
“…You look sick.”
Although two weeks had passed, instead of greeting me, he faced me and told me this. Before I had realized it, I had taken a step back, as if to run away.
I was convinced that Nika-sama had come here as an inspector, but I was relieved that his purpose was clear. Why had I performed such a suspicious move? I couldn’t afford to do this.
But, I mean… even Nika-sama noticed.
My thoughts were in disorder.
“I’ll send you home. The carriage… oh, right… you didn’t want to ride in the carriage. Lend me your hand.”
Had I ever said that I didn’t want to ride in the carriage? There was an accidental kissing scene with Nika-sama in the carriage, but… hadn’t I managed to avoid that before…?
As I wondered about this, Nika-sama grabbed my hand with a gentle firmness, as if to lessen my burden, and pulled me along as he walked ahead.
Despite being an honest gentleman, to think that Nika-sama, who was worried about my poor condition, would hold a lady’s hand… Well, I probably didn’t count as a female. Even though my engagement with the Ore-sama Prince was cancelled, it wasn’t possible that a flag would pop up, since I was an inspection target.
For a while, we walked in silence.
Nika-sama probably didn’t talk to me so that I wouldn’t have to speak. All I felt like doing was watch his silver hair as it shimmered under the sun.
If he started speaking to me, that self-satisfaction would end.
When we arrived at my home, the nausea was almost gone.
After making sure that I was lying on my futon (Japanese Mattress), Nika-sama, being the gentleman that he was, quickly turned to head home.
I suddenly grabbed hold of the cuffs of Nika-sama’s pants, but I quickly released it after realizing what I had done.
Since it was only for a moment, he might not have noticed. Please don’t notice it…! Unfortunately, this wish of mine was not answered as Nika-sama turned around with widened eyes. It was very obvious that he had noticed. His eyes wandered a bit before he crouched down next to me.
Well, even if I said that, I should have been the one who had something to say.
Even though I had kept my distance this whole day, my action just now was too strange. I had to explain.
I knew why, so… I should… explain.
I opened my heavy mouth.
“I… was always jealous of Seth-sama.”
Nika-sama raised an eyebrow. Well, that was to be expected. Anyone would wonder why I was bringing up the Ore-sama Prince right now.
“He had a wonderful and kind elder brother, who neither bullied nor looked down on him. I was… jealous of Seth-sama, who thought of this as something that was natural.”
Even though the memories of my past life were faint, I was now convinced that I had unconsciously felt jealous.
I didn’t know how much I had wished for such a brother, but it was difficult when they showed it off like it was something normal. I didn’t think much of it when I was playing the game, but this was now reality. I could see the bond and love between the siblings.
Nika-sama was, of course, better than my brother. I had desired a brotherly figure, but it was disgusting that I had not stopped wishing for a man to have the same temperament as my older brother.
“I also wanted…”
It was a stupid wish. Brothers were not something you could choose. That was obvious. This was meaningless nonsense.
I had to accept that and improve how I was now. In order to do that, I had wanted to get over my trauma and defeat fate. I hadn’t just decided to become a commoner. Even though I couldn’t remember when it started, I was fixated on becoming a commoner.
If I allowed myself to be spoiled by someone else’s brother and pretended that he was mine, I wouldn’t change.
“It’s alright even if we aren’t blood related. I, too… have thought of Fii as my sister. Is that no good?”
I smiled at Nika-sama, who spoiled me with the words that I had wanted to hear.
…I liked this person. Putting aside the fact that he was my ideal brother figure, Nika-sama was always kind and had always looked out for me.
That was why…
“That’s no good. No, Nika-sama is Nika-sama, and my brother is… uhmm… no.”
I had only one brother, who had traumatized me too much… and now, I was trying my best to erase the traces of his existence.
Nika-sama was not my elder brother. One was already enough.
“Fii… do you believe that fate can be changed?”
The topic suddenly changed. Nika-sama looked down at me as if he were lost. No, it was probably just me, who thought that the had topic changed. Perhaps, there was some connection that Nika-sama had seen.
If it were a normal day, I would say, “Were you influenced by some sort of religion?” or “Is that some sort of smug pick-up line?” and joke around politely to give a safe answer.
Right now, however, while feeling sick and seeing Nika-sama, who was looking at me with a serious expression, my mouth opened unconsciously.
“It can be changed.”
I couldn’t stand the fact that I couldn’t win against it. I didn’t want to give in, to obey, to live a life full of regrets and tears, and then die.
I disliked the word “fate,” but because I brought that hate with me, I wanted to change it.
I wanted to change the story, the scenario, and the fate of Kyuukoku no Lady Rose.
“…I see. That’s very like you, huh.”
Nika-sama smiled as if the dark clouds in his heart had been blown away. Although I didn’t really understand, I smiled back.
Just today. I will be weak just for today.
I gripped Nika-sama’s hand and closed my eyes. It seemed like I wouldn’t be having a bad dream today.
Let’s do our best again tomorrow.