An Enemy Here Too?
So, there was an enemy here as well…!
Despite diligently following the directions of the Gods and making contact with Fabian Ortenburg, I’m feeling more irritated than I have ever felt in my entire life.
Yes, even in such a place, there was another enemy.
“Liselotte Onee-chan, what should I do if I get attacked by ice?”
“Well, let’s see, ice attacks don’t just change the temperature in the air, but also inflict a physical ailment also…”
As I watched my fiancee Liselotte and the young prodigy Fabian Ortenburg excitedly discuss a hypothetical magical battle with each other, I felt a strange sense of alienation in my gut.
『What’s thiiiiis!? Unexpectedly, it seems like these two are very compatible with one anotheeeeeer!?』
Even the great God Endow is shocked.
『Thinking about it, maybe Liselotte, the greatest older sister of all time and the cute young Fabian-kun were actually a perfect fit…?』
Since Liselotte’s mother was more of a free spirit, she had to take on a lot of the work at home so had developed a strong sense of responsibility and duty. It may be that, seeing the young Fabian Ortenburg who has had to go through a lot of hardships despite unfitting for his age, she was filled with a sense of wanting to take of him?
No, well, considering how much she fawns over Finne, she might just be weak to younger people in general. That said, Liselotte and Finne were technically in the same grade and Liselotte was only the older sister because she was born some months before her, although Finne does have that quality that makes you think of her as ‘cute’.
I heard Liselotte mutter that word more than a few times in Finne’s company.
I see, so that’s it…? Liselotte is just weak against anything she thinks is 【Cute】…?
The boy sitting in front of her, who always looked up at my fiancee with those big upturned eyes certainly did seem to have that quality. No matter how much I tried, I don’t think I could be cute like that. No, perhaps when I had only just met her, maybe then I would have been adorable…?
It’s no use. I can’t think straight. For some reason, my thoughts are going to a strange place.
As I was busy fighting against the strange thoughts flooding my mind, those two looked like they were getting along even more.
It seemed like my plan to use Liselotte to help Fabian Ortenburg open up was a great success, but in another way, it was an almighty failure.
Remembering back, just how had it come to this in the first place?
Fabian Ortenburg was a child prodigy.
That was something that everyone on the royal capital could plainly see.
He was only eleven years old, still too young to clear the minimum age requirement to attend the academy.
For young children of common birth, they would receive a basic education either from the church or the state depending on where they lived, whilst for the young children of the nobility, they would be tutored at home in whichever subjects their parents pleased, such as the martial focused schooling favoured at the Riefenstahl home intended to induce a sense of self-discipline.
But, because of his genius, he was permitted to attend the school despite his age as an exceptional case. In fact, considering just how dangerous the magical power he possesses is for his young age, the academy was instructed by the state to focus on teaching him to control that power of his.
Even though he was still developing as a mage even now, if he got serious he could probably reduce an entire town to cinders.
Despite that immense magical ability, though, his physical ability is about as weak as one would expect from a young child.
To put it bluntly, considering his vast potential, a viscount house was woefully inadequate to protect him alone.
His father was given the title of a Court Mage, and is working in tandem with both the Academy and the state in order to protect him. Him, being Fabian Ortenburg.
『That’s why, we were hoping Sieg could ask Fabian-kyun to help out during the battle against the Ancient Witch.』
The Goddess Coebayashay interjected as I was talking to Liselotte one day, but the thing that struck me the most was the name 【Fabian-kyun】.
I did take notice when she started calling Liselotte that strange name ‘Rize-tan’, but Coebayashay’s naming sense certainly is… unique?
Treating an 11-year-old boy genius who was an unparalleled genius magus with such a cute-sounded nickname, as expected of a Goddess. Well, it’s true that he does look quite adorable.
With glossy and long raven-like hair that came down to his shoulders and blue gem-like eyes that shone like sapphires, it was difficult to discern his gender at a glance. In fact, one might be expected to think he was a lovely young girl at a first meeting. It wasn’t just his ability that meant he had to be guarded tightly since there had already been several attempts by perverted noblemen from other countries to steal him away.
Well, of course, there were a number of people who tried to abduct him for his abilities as well. There was no shortage of people scheming to brainwash him whilst he was young for all sorts of evil purposes.
My voice came out involuntarily as I realized a problem in fulfilling the Goddess’ request.
After numerous abduction and kidnapping attempts, some of which very nearly succeeded, Fabian Ortenburg had developed a fear of tall, adult men.
I wasn’t yet recognized as an adult since I was still enrolled in the academy, but I did recently just turn eighteen. Right now, I look like an adult.
If it were me, he might not want to listen to what I have to say.
“Is something the matter?”
Liselotte looked up at me worriedly, as I trailed off in the middle of our conversation.
“Ah… Right, sometime soon I’ll have to greet Fabian Ortenburg, but I just remembered that he isn’t good around tall adult men, so…”
Leaving aside the fact that this was a duty ordained by the Gods, I told her all the rest.
Then, after only looking to think about it for a moment, Liselotte’s face brightened as she proposed an idea.
“If that’s the case, then perhaps I shall act as His Highness’ substitute.”
As she said that with a haughty smile, I realized that although as my fiancée there wasn’t anyone more suited to act in my stead, she could be quite easily misunderstood like this.
Actually, wouldn’t Fabian be afraid of her too…?
As I thought something rather impolite, Liselotte must have noticed on my face as she got angry.
“No matter what you may think of me, I do have four younger sisters, I will have you know? I virtually raised three of them, so I am quite good at looking after small children.”
She calmly told me those words as if they were the inscrutable truth. I suppose she’s not wrong?
“Then… I will leave it in your care.”
With those words, that proud looking smile returned to Liselotte’s lips.
“You’re gentle and kind, I’m sure that you’ll become an excellent mother one day.”
『Uh oh, the Crown Prince is going in for the kiiillll!』
『Even though he said that to his fiancée, I feel like there was a little bit more to that line than merely stating fact. Indeed, there was a hint of sexual harassment in it as well.』
But as Liselotte went completely stiff and bright red, I didn’t pay much attention to the words of the Gods.
Honestly, I just told her what I felt in my heart.
“W-what ridiculous things are you saying!? O-of course I would love my child dearly, but it’s still too early to… No, wait, there has been a trend of marriage amongst students lately, but His Highness still hasn’t graduated… N-no, I can’t!”
『Ah, it isn’t sexual harassment at all, is it? It seems like Rize-tan is fine with it, so it’s O.K.』
As Liselotte flailed her arms around and Coebayashay sounded happy, I barely managed to suppress the grin I felt tugging at the ends of my mouth.
Ahh… cute. Yeah, depending on the circumstances it was possible to marry before both parties were legally adults, depending on things such as age difference, wasn’t it? Once I graduate, I wonder if it would be possible to push forward my marriage date…
“Ahhh! Jeez!! Enough thinking about this foolishness, I’ll be going at once!!”
Liselotte interrupted my thoughts that were once again wandering someplace strange as she stood up bolt straight suddenly with a shout, and made for the door. It seemed like she was going to go and look for Fabian straight away.
When I tried to chase after her, she suddenly came to a stop.
Turning around on her heel, she looked at me hesitantly before she opened her mouth again.
“…I will make sure to live up to His Highness’ expectations.”
Having said that, she once again turned around and walked away, showing me an unassailable back.
Were those words about making the acquaintance of Fabian Ortenburg… or about a future child we may have together? I realized that was a question not even I could ever ask her, so I merely shut my mouth and jogged to catch up to her.
After that, well, it didn’t take too long for Liselotte to become fast friends with Fabian Ortenburg. On the contrary, if anything, they’re too friendly.
In the meantime, she started to just call him ‘Fabian’ and he called her ‘Liese Onee-chan’, with all manner of polite speech and titles disappearing between them. How could this have happened?
『Yikes, Sieg has an expression that I’ve never seen on his face before…!』
The venerable Endow’s voice trembled. Was he making fun of me?
Certainly, I’m all too aware of how awful my face must look right now. Finne is a girl, she is treated like a sister and they do have a blood relation. However, Fabian Ortenburg is none of these things. The sense of crisis looming over me felt altogether different this time. My expression really must be like nothing I’ve ever worn before.
He may be still a child, but I can’t help what I dislike.
『No, I think Sieg should be okay? For now, at least. But, in ten years, who knows…?』
Coebayashay said that with a little laugh.
In ten years, Liselotte would be 25 or 26 years old. Fabian would be 21. Ah, no, no good at all.
Finally unable to bear the frustration anymore, I called out to her.
“What can I do for you, Your Highness?”
Either she’s pretending not to notice my impatience or she really didn’t sense it, as she cocked her head to the side. Fabian looking up at me with those big innocent eyes of his only made me feel more frustrated.
“No, it’s nothing, I just noticed that the two of you seem to have gotten quite lively. What exactly were you discussing?”
Trying to swallow down the feelings raging in my gut, I asked Liselotte that with a smile.
“We were discussing my younger sisters. I am older than my twin sisters, but only by one year. My youngest sister is two. Considering their age, doesn’t His Highness agree that they would be perfect as fiancée candidates for Fabian?”
“No, a young lady from a Marquis house is too good for someone like me…”
“My sisters don’t act like young ladies at all, so I am sure you will be fine.”
Please don’t say that about your own family.
But for some reason, Fabian breathed a sigh of relief at Liselotte’s words.
As he did, Liselotte quickly sidled up and whispered softly in my ear.
“In regards to my younger sisters, I am sure that they can act as excellent guards for him. In fact, other than my sisters, there is no one truly suited to stand next to him, is there?”
It was as she said. A young lady who would be willing to associate with someone who was so often the target of kidnapping would be a rare existence indeed. Whilst the daughters of other houses may have issues either politically or when it came to their ability to defend themselves, there wouldn’t be any issues like that with the daughters of the Riefenstahl house.
Her sisters’ positions were once up in the air due to their potential engagement to Baldur, but because of how that’s progressed they were completely free now.
“You’re right. I also think that it’s a good idea.”
When I smiled, Liselotte blushed hard for some strange reason as she slowly edged backwards.
『She just realized how close she was to Sieg, so she’s embarrassed, isn’t she?』
Oh, so that’s what it was? Having once more confirmed that my fiancée was impossibly cute with the Goddess’ words, I quickly ran over the idea in my head of turning Fabian into a future brother-in-law, rather than a future rival.
“…Then, Liese Onee-chan would become my real big sister?”
Fabian Ortenburg tilted his head to the side as he looked up at Liselotte with those big eyes. How cunningly cute.
“That’s right. That would be such a wonderful thing, don’t you think?”
As the two of them smiled at each other, Liselotte and Fabian Ortenburg looked like the perfect big sister and little brother. But, as I watched, I realized that they were way too close. I’m not sure my mental health can take this, perhaps I should have him marry some other Lord’s daughter, not one of the young ladies of the House of Riefenstahl?
『If he’s going to make a face like that, why doesn’t he just finally tell Liselotte how he feels…?』
Endow’s words cut straight through me, as if he was disgusted with what I was feeling.
I know. Despite being in the position of her fiancée, I’m constantly keeping up this narrow-minded jealousy without letting her know my true thoughts. Even I realize that.
『No, if Rize-tan is pursued too aggressively, she wouldn’t be able to handle the embarrassment of it. Just like before, she might faint again.』
The calm and gentle words of Coebayashay made sense.
That being said…
“Well… By the end of autumn, I want to catch her.”
Before the witch interferes between us in autumn, I want to take Liselotte in my arms. I will never let her be taken away from me. Filled with determination, I muttered that vow to myself.
Liselotte is mine. I won’t give her up to anyone.
As I realized the dark and selfish greed that was spreading through me, I watched the peaceful scene of that young boy and my fiancée happily chatting with that same old smile on my face.