School Arc – Chapter 17 (Shade’s POV)
Turning her head after being called 「Elder Sister」, Lycoris wore a slightly anxious expression when she saw my face. Only when I’d smiled, did a slight, almost non-existent smile creep up the corners of her mouth in small relief.
It’s an appearance that must never be shown to the likes of those guys in my class who’ve commonly treated her like a flower on a cliff.
Even though my sister was going in and out of the female dormitory’s medical office with the reason being that she was in poor health, every time I’d return to the male dormitory, my friends would keep pestering me with a “how is she?” to no end.
I feel like I should be the one pressing someone for answers. Like, “what the heck is going on right now?”.
It’s only hearsay, but based on what Miss Lilium had apparently said, the order of events which occurred in these past few days, went like this.
The day Art harassed her, Lilium chased after the bird. She’d said that, while chasing after the blue shadow, her feet took her to the guest house, and then, she moved further and further underground. If she considered the bigger picture, this would’ve been the moment she realized that there was something strange, but by then, she might have already been under some sort of spell. (1)
About this blue bird, it seems like it’s a kind of probing magic that the lunatic continued casting even while he was practically unconscious, this was according to the guest house’s librarian assigned as the watchdog, Mr. Hemlock.
In any case, when Lilium chased after it, it purposely led her to the innermost part of the basement. When the bird came crashing down, having used up its power, Lilium directed all the healing magic she had on it, which resulted in the revival of that sleeping lunatic. From that moment on, the madman began using Lilium’s eyes to view the outside world.
What happened after that had some conjectures mixed in, but it likely went like this.
When that guy, who seemed to be crazy about Miss Lilium, awoke, he immediately took action. It seems like the guy was some sort of genius in magic. Not only mind magic, but even wind magic was up in his forte. He likely used a mind manipulation magic on Art to make him fall down the stairs. As for Art’s entourage, if you look at it from the lunatic’s perspective, they’d been caught red-handed. With no room to argue, glass shards poured over their heads.
On top of all that, he was even courteous enough to fire off magic at someone’s sister in place of a greeting before he left.
Be it day or night, Lycoris was tormented by nightmares — Wolf was too, but that’s besides the point…
When she slept, without fail, she’d see dreams that condensed all her fears and insecurities. This was already on the same level as a mind attack. Since this spell wasn’t information inside the magic system owned by the association, no one knew how to deal with it.
It seems like my sister had turned to strongly fearing the things she was dreaming of. As a result, during these two days in reality, her condition was visibly poor and her mind was unstable.
Of course, even the school couldn’t afford to just fold their arms and watch, but they couldn’t come up with a substantially effective measure against it.
On the same day that Gift – the lunatic – appeared, it seems that several people, including Mr. Hemlock, had gone down to the guest house’s basement. What they saw there was the black fog that attacked Lycoris and Wolf. They’ve been going back again and again, and were at their wits’ end with it.
The black fog seemed to have also begun causing a considerable influence inside the school. Maybe thanks to my aptitude in mind magic, I still haven’t shown any signs of it, but be that as it may, I could feel unrest in the air through my skin. Fights, while trivial, were becoming frequent in the male dormitory. Although they were brought up as young masters from well-to-do families, it wasn’t strange for quarrels to happen when men around my age assemble. Nevertheless, the frequency of commotions today had been abnormal.
Although they haven’t shown as much remarkable symptoms as Lycoris and Wolf, I don’t know what will happen in the future. Perhaps in the end, it would be an epidemic of nightmares.
For now, Art, who was known to be synonymous to the『source of mayhem』, had to be tied down, even if it was to the bed.
「Shade, how’s Lily?」
On top of the bed with her back supported by the cushion, Lycoris inquired.
「It’s useless. It looks like she still hasn’t woken up」
Right after Lilium had spoken about the situation, she fell into a coma, as if having used up all her strength.
I don’t have the heart to say this in front of my sister, but from the words that lunatic left behind, I’m guessing that until the very day the madman from the basement comes for her, she’ll likely continue sleeping.
「I see. But Lily isn’t seeing nightmares, right?」
Her voice was so anxious that I couldn’t make myself reply with something like, ‘if you’re so worried, go take a look yourself’.
「She’s fine. By the way, Elder Sister. I’ve applied for you to recuperate from home today」
Even when I informed her of what I did without consulting with her even once, Lycoris’s reaction was dull. Since it was out of character of her to be so out of it, this simply made me more uneasy.
「Even if you stay here in that condition, you wouldn’t be of any use, right? At any rate, it’s better for you to be away from the academy right now」
With a lecture that was just a little stern, those black eyes clouded.
Please stop it. Honestly, I’m begging you, please stop it.
「Seems like Duke Lilia will come pick you up himself. You’ve had him worried」
Now that I’ve hit her weak spot, I finally got her attention, so I felt relieved.
「Will you… also go home with me?」
「I won’t. I’m sort of a prefect, so I have work to do at times like these」
「I’m… the dormitory head」
「The management of the dormitory is basically the prefect’s work. Since the the dormitory head’s work is pretty much to lie back and relax, it doesn’t matter whether you’re here or not」
「… I wonder what Wolf would do」
That… was the source of many headaches.
It had been only yesterday when Elder Sister cried to me saying『Wolf won’t meet with me』.
Not fully grasping the situation since I had just gotten up, I grumbled to myself wondering why I had to act like some sort of messenger for these two while I took my sister along to see Wolf, who was usually hanging around the training fields early in the morning.
Since Wolf had a bad habit of simply working out on the training fields whenever he was angry, I did wonder whether something had happened. But, the complexity of the situation had far exceeded my expectations.
To start with, as soon as Wolf saw that I was followed by my sister, he glared at me with a brutal look that was all but ready to kill. Coupled with a terrible complexion, it was an incredibly evil expression.
Although I didn’t know what had happened, when I looked at Lycoris’s face, it made me wonder whether it cheered her up, but even then, strangely enough, my sister kept her distance and didn’t really approach Wolf.
After seeing my sister’s behaviour, Wolf’s expression became increasingly steely, and this, conversely, made my sister wither even further. I’ve been with these two for along time, but this is the first time I’ve seen the two fall into a vicious cycle. It’s a different matter if it were the opposite.
Since that was how I felt, even though I was only a bystander, I wonder just how bewildered the actual people felt.
Finally, Wolf, who looked like he was putting up with a great deal of pain, uttered these words.
『… sorry, Lycoris. Please don’t come to me. Right now, I’ll… likely only hurt you』
While uttering those words, he stared at Lycoris with a burning gaze. Since he was making excessively sparkly eyes, if the situation had permitted it, I’d have joked around like usual saying,『if you’re that frustrated, then just sleep with a girl or something』, but, well, I’m glad I didn’t say that.
For the time being, before Wolf could say anything else that would hurt Lycoris even more, I pulled her hands and turned back. Of course, the gaze piercing my back had been very painful.
After that, Lycoris hadn’t said anything about wanting to meet Wolf. Since the actual people hadn’t said anything about what they were seeing in their nightmares, I could only try to guess, but from the state Lycoris was in, her dream was probably related to Wolf.
「At any rate, please get plenty of rest at home, Elder Sister. I’ll try to deal with it till then. If it comes down to it, Wolf will sleep if I hit him hard in the head with a blunt object, anyway. As for Miss Lilium… I don’t know whether she’ll wake up with a prince’s kiss, but I’ll try it out」
「… are you okay, Shade?」
Without even scolding me for the inappropriate words, Lycoris anxiously looked up at me.
「Really, you lost your cuteness as you grew taller… your inappropriate jokes grow worse when you’re driven to a wall, right?」
With a gentle smile creeping up the corners of her mouth like a surprise attack, I couldn’t bear to look down.
「… for now, please prepare to go home」
Saying only that, I drove my sister away from the medical office.
I resisted the reckless urge to hit a wall.
I don’t care whether he’s a lunatic or a mummy, but, selfishly involving my sister in his love affair was no joke.
I don’t know whether the choice to make Lycoris go home was the right one. Wolf’s nightmare was certainly a dream about her. If she’s separated from him, his mental state will likely only get worse.
Even then, this was the only way I could help her right now, even if it’s just a second quicker, I want to pull her out of this chaos. If she’s with her father, then even Elder Sister should feel a little at ease.
If someday, even I start seeing nightmares…
It’ll surely be a nightmare of my own powerlessness.
A small tidbit that might calm you down: the『prince’s kiss』that Shade was referring to, came from a bedtime story Lycoris-oneechan told him a long time ago.
(1) I was told that it might be referring to Lily’s eyes changing color to Gift’s(the bird’s eyes) but since there was no mention of any special characteristics with the bird’s eyes, I couldn’t agree with it. It does mention the bird’s overall color, which was lapiz-lupis(blue), but not much about the eyes. You can try translating below and tell me your thoughts on it. Until someone can convince me how this sentence would be able to fit the flow of the paragraph, I’ll stick to my guess.
I translated 鳥の目という特性 as a characteristic of a bird’s eyes. I thought that maybe it wasn’t specifically referring to the blue bird. I thought over and over, and decided with the interpretation of ‘seeing in a wide/broad perspective’ since you know, birds can fly and they should be able to see at a wider angle.
I may be off though… *gets shot*