Stop Running Away!
That evening, in my chamber of the royal castle, I had a direct conference with the Gods, along with Finne and Baldur.
“These past few days, Liselotte Onee-sama has been having nightmares again.”
『Being jerked awake by those horrible dreams, softly calling out Sieg’s name in her sleep, she’s only honest with herself then… Somehow, we have to help her…』
『Following the game’s plot, the Ancient Witch should appear at the end of autumn. It’s almost time for the enemy to get serious as well… The Ancient Witch has to be defeated, without fail.』
Finne, as well as the Gods Endow and Coebayashay. All three of them shared my deep concern for Liselotte’s wellbeing… wait just a moment, why do all of them know so much about Liselotte’s sleep? Were they watching her? Especially you, Endow? I felt that frustrating boiling up inside me again.
“Even I can see that Liese seems quite unstable recently. She’ll go from threatening me with grave consequences if I ever let Finne go, to complaining to me about how she doesn’t feel ‘cute’ at all, then she would go and apply that strict ‘instruction’ of hers to Artur Richter… actually, isn’t that last one just stress relief?”
“It should be alright since Richter-senpai is sturdy. If he wants to be as strong as me, that kind of near-death experience is necessary. Well, I can’t deny that probably is how Onee-sama lets off steam as well.”
Listening to Finne and Baldur’s conversation, as much pity as I felt for Art, the first thing on my mind after all was what I could do for Liselotte.
In any case, Art had originally wanted to train with Miss Finne, which was probably a far worse fate than whatever Liselotte was putting him through.
Besides, I doubt Liselotte would go too far and even if she did, Art’s recovery magic was on-par with the best of them. I felt sorry for Art as a friend, but it was important for Liselotte to relieve her stress somehow.
Me thinking that Liselotte was the cutest person in the entire world is completely irrelevant to that, alright?
“…Still, we have to do something quickly…”
As I muttered that to myself, the Riefenstahl pair nodded seriously.
『In the game, the thing that is necessary to save Liselotte from being possessed by the witch and for no one to die is for one person to protect Liselotte’s heart from the Ancient Witch’s power, as well as having enough party strength to defeat it outright.』
『This level of strength should be fine, right? I mean, in the Baldur route, you can win just with Finne and Baldur once Finne awakens, right? Actually, if anything, I think we might have gone overkill now…』
『No, because in that route the Ancient Witch had already possessed Liselotte’s body. The Ancient Witch doesn’t have a physical form so regular attacks won’t have an effect. Well, its not too strong without a host, so we should have enough strength? I think so, anyways. But the most important thing, for now, is protecting Rize-tan’s heart! In the game it was Finne, but here it has to be Sieg! We’re counting on you!!』
I felt a little restless as I heard the words of the Gods.
Finne and her adoptive father General Riefenstahl and Liselotte with Fabian Ortenburg, both had won powerful allies over to my side, and now the rest relied on my own effort. I knew just how much weighed on my shoulders.
Despite that sense of ugly jealousy I felt at how close Liselotte and Fabian had become, I wanted to make Liselotte my partner not just in name but in reality as soon as I could.
“But, Onee-sama is still running away, right!?”
As Finne said that with a laugh at the God’s voices, I hung my head silently.
Yes, she’s still running away.
The more I try to show Liselotte how much she means to me, the more she pushes me away.
All of the presents I gave her she only received on behalf of the Riefenstahl house, every time I pay her a compliment she thinks I’m trying to make her a fool of her, and even today in the carriage she wouldn’t let me touch a hair on her head.
“Yeah. A flustered and fleeing Liselotte is cute as well, but, to be blunt, it’s a little frustrating that she can’t be more honest with her feelings…”
When I said that, Baldur heaved a sigh.
“I can’t apologize enough. Liese has always been dedicated to studying as hard as she could so that she could stand next to you, without really having anyone to confide in. So when it comes to personal relationships, she doesn’t really have that much experience… even when it comes to something like ‘having friends’…”
Apparently, Liselotte never really had friends around her age growing up.
Even if she seemed to make good connections in high society, it was less friendship and more paying reverence to those above her station and being admired by those below her… never anyone she could be on equal terms with.
『Is this the result of her love-at-first-sight finally becoming complicated after ten years…!?』
『Mmm, well, maybe it’s just that she loves Sieg too much? ‘I’m scared of being too happy!’ Something like that? ‘Happy endings like this don’t just happen!’ Or like that?』
“I agree with the opinion of the great Kobayashi. Onee-sama holds His Highness Prince Siegward on quite a pedestal, right? Even though you’re only human, Your Highness, she holds you so dear that you’re probably more like a God to her? Actually, maybe her love is reaching the level of faith? Well, even if she’s running away from you, she definitely doesn’t hate you, so maybe you just have to corner her like a hunter and not let her escape?”
I was a little stunned by Finne’s blunt response to the Gods’ words.
“But if you do that, she might have a heart attack…?”
Baldur spoke seriously, but Finne just laughed and smiled at him.
“It’ll be fine! Even if her heart stops, Richter-senpai and I can just heal her!”
So she says, but I’m fairly sure she’s the only one Finne is the only one ‘fine’ with that outcome.
That’s what I thought to myself, but so far as I know no one has ever died from a heart attack due to embarrassment before, so it may actually be fine after all.
“Well, the fact of the matter is that I can’t afford to hold back anymore, so even if I have to do something unreasonable, I’ll have Liselotte recognize my feelings.”
As I made a declaration, Finne nodded with a smile and Baldur looked at me in surprise.
“Your Highness, to go so far for Liese… in fact, if I may, it’s surprising to see you be so concerned with one person at all.”
As I listened to Baldur’s words, I remembered Art saying something similar a while ago about me having changed.
“Even I can fall in love with someone… or feel jealous. Well, it’s true that until now I’ve been in a position where it would be troublesome for me to show my emotions too much… But why would showing my future Queen Liselotte my favour be a problem? If anything, it’s what I should be doing.”
At my words, Baldur nodded firmly.
But, as I thought about my own words, perhaps I really wasn’t that good at really showing my favour when I wanted to, since I had gone so long without letting my feelings show?
“Honestly… I guess I just have to do my best…?”
To no one in particular, I muttered that.
『Do your best, Sieg!』
『Sieg is the only one who can really make Rize-tan happy! Do your best! We’re rooting for you as well!』
Encouraged by the sage words of Endow and Coebayashay, I felt my determination come back in waves the next day.
Today being a holiday from the Academy, when Liselotte invited herself to the castle with the words ‘I have something I wish to tell you, so can Your Highness spare a moment of his time?’ I accepted without a second thought.
“Because I love you, I will never lose to the Ancient Witch.”
And so, this girl who had been bashful and on the verge of fleeing every time we talked recently, suddenly declared such a thing to me boldly completely out of the blue.
Even though she told me that she loved me, there wasn’t anything sweet about her words… those violet eyes of hers were cool and hard… rather, don’t they look angry?
Umm, what is exactly is going on suddenly…?