‘Cute Little Sister’
The younger half-sister of my previous self, Lilith, continued to take her ‘whims’ out on me daily.
“Hey hey, big sister Maria, won’t you crawl on the floor over here for me!? …Jeez, hurry up now!”
Lilith’s cute smile matched her sickly sweet voice.
“The floor of the servant’s restroom got all muddy and yucky. Big sister, can’t you use your dress to clean it, please?”
The floor tiles had become slick with filth on purpose.
Lilith grabbed the back of my head and forced me to my knees, the smell of urine and feces at the time was so bad I almost retched.
I don’t want this. I don’t want to do this. Even though those were the thoughts running through my mind, there was a reason I was helpless to resist.
Chewing my lip, I crawled on the floor on all fours just like Lilith demanded.
The moment my hands touched the floor, I could feel the bile making its way up my throat. As bad as the smell was, that tepid warmth that seeped between my fingers was even worse.
“Ufufu~, big sister, you’re so cute. How can you tremble that much!?”
(…I hate this. I hate this so much, but, I can endure…)
I tried to touch the floor as gingerly as possible to reduce the amount of filth that stained me. But, I absolutely couldn’t avoid touching it at all, and my fingers became covered in it.
The skirt of my dress became drenched and I could feel the liquid seeping into my shoes. I somehow managed to stop myself crying out in disgust.
Lilith, meanwhile, looked down on me gleefully.
“But it truly is filthy, isn’t it. My adorable little sister, Nina… You’re hardly going to be able to see her like this, are you? I know! Since I am so kind, I will listen to Maria’s request to play with her in your place, if you like!”
Do not cry.
That’s what I told myself.
(It’s okay. So long as I protect Nina, it’s fine. If Nina doesn’t have to go through something like this, then this is nothing… This is fine.)
“Hey, hey, big sister Maria?”
Standing a safe distance away, Lilith looked down on me with her head tilted to the side.
“You and I are such great friends, big sister, but why is it that you’re trying to keep something from me? Hey, why is that?”
I felt a pang of fear stab through my heart at that question.
I wanted to run away. I wanted to tell her I didn’t know anything, I wanted to push her away with my filth covered hands.
But, if I did something like that, what would happen to Nina…
“I-I don’t know what you’re…”
I could barely stammer the words out.
“You’re saying you don’t know?”
Lilith’s face almost looked bored for a moment, but then it twisted into a malicious smirk.
“…Fufu, trying to trick me with were you? As expected of my big sister.”
She beamed an angelic smile towards me.
To me, though, that smile had only ever filled me with dread.
“Is it true that you’ve been engaged to the crown prince?”
It had been a few days before this incident.
When father had summoned me to his study then, he had told me that in no unclear terms.
“When big sister was crying so pitifully in the garden, the crown prince saw you and fell in love on the spot! Ufufu, isn’t that lovely? It’s just like a fairy tale. But, you know what, big sister?”
I trembled at the cold words that came next.
“This isn’t a fairy tale at all. Even if you happen to be father’s child, don’t you think that the idea of a daughter of some mistress becoming a princess is laughable?”
Her giggles sent a chill down my spine. Lilith’s cheery smile still shined down at me, wholly out of place.
“Big sister, you’re always so quick to cry, aren’t you? You must have tried hard, right? Fufu, just what kind of face did you use when you hoodwinked the Prince, hmm~? Did you look at him with tears running down your face and a runny nose? Oh? Perhaps you’d like to do it again, is that it? Then, let us help you? Isn’t that right, all you lovely servants?”
Watching Lilith as she turned around, I noticed that there were several men standing outside the door to the restroom.
They were all servants in the employ of the household. They laughed and grinned at me with vulgar smiles, as they watched me crawling through the filth and urine covering the ground.
(What…? Why are they looking at me like that…!?)
“Hey, what do you think about this?”
It was as if she were grinning with delight before eating a cake.
“If big sister becomes ‘damaged goods’, then perhaps your engagement with the Prince will be broken?”
It was then that I realized the true lurid intent behind the servant’s eyes, and I was gripped with dread.
The strong sensation of nausea that swept through me was far worse than what I was feeling from being covered in filth. I could feel their vile looks crawling all over my skin. As I hugged my shoulders in revulsion, Lilith’s laugh rang through the room as clear as a bell.
“It’s just a joke! Come on, everyone. Older sister, do have a bath, don’t you? …Ahh, it really was fun playing as maids in the restroom together with you.”
Lilith turned her back on me.
She looked back over her shoulder just me, smiling from the very depths of her heart as if she truly was having the time of her life.
“Please say hello to Nina for me, big sis~.”
When I entered the mansion proper from the back entrance, covered in filth, the maids glanced at me in disgust.
“…Young Miss, if Madam sees you in such a state, we will be the ones who get scolded.”
It only made sense they would say that.
At the time, I felt so filthy and disgusting that I just wanted to vanish into thin air. But, there was something I had to do.
“I’m sorry. Could I possibly trouble you to bring me a change of clothes?”
“My apologies, but everyone here is about to finish their shift in thirty minutes. Please wait for the members of the night shift to arrive.”
The several maids standing around did their best not to look at me as they left the room. As they left, two of the younger maids whispered to one another.
“Such an awful smell. Just what on earth did the daughter of that mistress do outside?”
“I don’t envy whoever has to help her get changed, if she’s going to roll around in the muck like that shouldn’t she at least change herself?”
I curled my hands into fists.
As the maid said, I changed by myself in the shadows of the room and after hurrying back to my room I washed as best I could.
I disposed of the stained and ruined dress in the incinerator and returned to clean up the servant’s restroom that Lilith had dirtied.
Before Nina and I came to this mansion, we had been worked as cleaners. So, I am used to cleaning things like this.
However, when mother collapsed after her lung infection took a turn to the worse, I ended up mostly working alone and leaving her care to Nina…
“Nina… Are you already asleep?”
After finishing cleaning and taking a second bath, I visited my little sister’s room later at night.
When I spoke to her softly, Nina whispered back happily.
“Big sis, I’m up… *cough* I’m awake.”
“Jeez, if you don’t sleep properly, the fever will come back, you know?”
“I slept lots this afternoon already. Anyways, I was worried about you today big sis, so I’m glad you came.”
When I heard that gentle voice of hers, I felt a little relief for the first time that day.
But when I sat down on the bed next to her, Nina’s expression clouded slightly in concern.
“…Did big sister Lilith bully you again today?”
“Lilith is just playing. Your big sister won’t lose, so don’t worry.”
“Anyways, I cheered up when I saw your face, Nina.”
That was the truth.
Nina and I had always been together. Even though our mother had died when she was still small, my adorable little sister always managed to warm up even my loneliest moments with that smile of hers.
All I could think of was that I need to protect Nina.
That was what I was going to do.
I found myself hugging my little sister tightly before I knew it.
(I might be at my limit.)
In order to endure all of this humiliation, I had to swallow my disgust and anger, and throw away any shred of pride.
Even if it was for my sister, I didn’t know how much more of that treatment my heart could take.
“…Should we leave this house together, Nina?”
Until now, I had managed to protect Nina.
However, how long would it be until Lilith’s claws ensnared this girl as well? Lilith knew about my engagement to the prince as well. Lilith was a girl who couldn’t stand anyone else standing out more than her, so I had no doubts she wouldn’t take this lightly.
“I’ll work really hard. So, I’m sure that I’ll manage to make enough for us both to eat. So, that’s why…”
Let’s leave this house and live together.
I wanted to open my mouth to tell her those words.
“Big si-… *cough* *COUGH* Uee, ahh….”
As I held Nina in my arms, she began to cough violently.
“*COUGH COUGH* Ughh… Ahh…!”
I knew that cough. It was the exact same hacking cough I heard when mother was bedridden. All I could do in that horrible situation was rub my sister’s back, as I noticed her try to wipe away a thin trail of red rolling down her chin with her small hand.
“Big sis… B-Blood…”
My younger sister understood exactly what that meant as her face twisted in fear.
“Nina…! It’s okay, it will be okay! Just wait, I’ll…”
“Ufufu. I wonder if you know what this means, big sister Maria?”
I spun around to look at the voice that came from the door. Just how long had she been there? Lilith stood there, with a smile like an angel’s.
“I will call a doctor. In fact, I’ll make sure to get the best doctor in town to come.”
“Lilith…! So, you really do ca…”
“…So, please make sure to play with me tomorrow as well, big sister Maria.”
Lilith’s lips curled maliciously.
“If you left this house, how could you ever hope to pay for Nina’s doctor’s fees?”