My home is in the Siltion city that was made at the mountainside of the holy mountain that is the Lux Mountain as if clinging to it.
It is a city that doesn’t have much of anything noteworthy aside from the Light Great Church. Even so, the grace of the Great Spirit is big. Even though it is clear that this is a city that’s hard to traverse to, the city was thriving decently.
I don’t know how many times I have sighed along the way.
“I really came back…”
Now that I have arrived at the base of the Lux Mountain, it won’t be taking even a few hours to arrive at my home.
I have stopped countless times before getting here, and have hesitated that I should turn back.
I was in agreement to separate from him, but rather than regret, I don’t even feel as if it is real. I left the other half of me that didn’t want to go away…
That’s the only sense of loss I had.
I understood the circumstances of Hikaru…intended to.
Also, I thought that maybe he would get lonely and come meet me real soon after separating from him for a bit.
I myself thought that I can just go back soon after I pass the templar exam. It wasn’t really a farewell of a lifetime.
Even when I knew the logic, my heart didn’t clear up.
The longer I am apart from him, the stronger my feeling of longing was.
He is strong, but the dungeon is a dangerous place.
If he dives alone, accidents are possible any time.
If something were to happen while I am not there…
“Uuuuh~~~ Aaaahh~~~” (Rifreya)
I was completely swamped in my own thoughts.
Even though it has only been 4 days since I parted from him, I already feel like I am dying to meet him.
This pain can be dealt with by a single sight of him.
I am sure of that.
Even so, I can’t go meet him at once.
He has his own circumstances, and he doesn’t think ill of me, and yet, even with that, I still chose a temporary farewell.
I don’t think I should throw that decision away.
I cursed my own diligence.
“If I were to return without taking the templar exam, I am sure he would scorn me… I want to meet him… I am dying to meet him, but…I don’t want to be hated even more…” (Rifreya)
I went up the sharp mountain road with my heavy armor while I muttered this.
Anyways, I will show up at my home, take the templar exam, and pass it.
That way, I can wave off and meet him again.
I have absolutely no intention to give up on this first love after all.
My home is right by the side of the Light Great Church.
They are adjoined to the point that a part of the site is being used by both the Great Church and us, but maybe it is right at the break time of the Great Church’s cafeteria, there was a nostalgic face smoking tobacco at the bench under the shade.
“Master! Rifreya has returned!” (Rifreya)
When I spoke, Master slowly raised her head and looked at me with eyes as if she were looking at something dazzling and smiled. She put out the fire of the tobacco by rubbing it on the ground, and stood up.
That figure of hers with her hair tied up and left growing, and a cloth wrapped around her head was no different from the time when I left the house 1 year ago.
“Welcome back. I am most glad to see that you are okay. I was worried, you know? It is weird to say since I am the one who suggested it, but the dungeon is a dangerous place after all.”
“Yeah, it really was. I almost died countless times.” (Rifreya)
I laughed, but if Hikaru hadn’t saved me, I would have lost my life in that dungeon against the Mantis.
Master confirmed the muscles of my arm and smiled happily.
“You have become stronger. I don’t think there are many who have this much Tier even in the knights around here, you know?”
“It is thanks to learning the blade with you, Master.” (Rifreya)
“I only taught you the bare minimum. Life is light in the dungeon after all. Just the fact that you survived means that you have the talent.”
She is my master.
In the dungeon city, there was no one who didn’t know about her. The Salamandor Rank Explorer, the Dazzling Canopus.
In the time when I couldn’t use Spirit Abilities well and sulked by swinging a sword the whole time, she taught me battle techniques utilizing a giant sword, and the strength of living.
For me, she isn’t only my sword master but also my life master.
“At any rate, you have a good face now, Rifreya. Did you get a lover over there or something?”
“Eeh~? Ehehe… You can tell? Figures you could.” (Rifreya)
“Yeah, your face has become that of a warrior in the short time I didn’t see you. The dungeon must have been a good training place, right? And so…you can use it now, I assume. The Photon Ray.”
“Yes. Perfectly.” (Rifreya)
“I see… The stigma of dark gray is going to be cleared up then.”
“If in the future there’s someone who calls me that, I will shoot them with a Photon Ray.” (Rifreya)
Actually, not only Photon Ray, but I can use all the way to the 5th ability.
For someone like me who thought I didn’t have talent in Spirit Abilities, the reality that in just a few weeks I managed to get 3 abilities even felt as if it were a dream.
However, the fact that this served as one of the reasons to separate from Hikaru must have been some prank of fate.
“Have you met Flora already?”
“No, I just got back. I still haven’t met my family yet.” (Rifreya)
“I see. Today is the day when the doctor comes. Show her your face. If Flora hears that you can become a templar, she will be more at peace.”
Master says that, but I think my little sister is simply going to be more mortified by it.
The reality is that she should have become a templar faster than me after all.
“Then, I will meet up with her. Master, spar with me later, okay? I think I could get at least 1 hit on you.” (Rifreya)
“Haha, I haven’t rusted out so much that you could overcome me in just 1 year.”
I bid farewell to Master for now and reached the front of my house’s gate.
It is a noble family that has raised many templars for generations, but templars having a good salary was a thing of the past. Now it doesn’t have much meaning aside from it being a tradition of the house.
Even so, my mother has lived with pride being a templar, and thus, a person like me with no talent experienced extreme pressure.
I psyched myself up and opened the entrance door.
“Rifreya has come back home!” (Rifreya)
When I declared this, the maid Sasha, who was cleaning the entrance hall, made a completely shocked face and ran over to me.
“Rifreya-sama! You were alive?!” (Sasha)
“Of course I am not dead. Why am I being thought of as dead?” (Rifreya)
“Because you said that you would be returning soon, but you were not coming back at all…” (Sasha)
“Aah…I see. A lot happened. More importantly, congratulations, Sasha. You managed to return to being a maid.” (Rifreya)
“I was lucky. It is because Patra-san retired.” (Sasha)
“So Patra quitted, huh.” (Rifreya)
After we were attacked by the Mantis, I had the girls of my party leave first, and told them that I would return as soon as I thanked my life savior, Hikaru.
And yet, it has been close to 3 weeks since then, so it might not be strange to misunderstand this as me having died.
By the way, my previous party members were 2 maids that worked in my household and a local friend, making for a total of 3 people.
The reason why the 2 maids were fired was simply because, with me now gone, the work that has to be done is less. Moreover, the treatment of Flora requires money.
And so, they came with me to the dungeon city in order to strike it big…or more like, in order to get marriage funds.
At the time when I left, there were only 2 maids remaining who were Wendy and Patra, but according to Sasha, Patra has retired.
Sasha was reemployed, and so it is Wendy and Sasha now here.
“What about Claudia?” (Rifreya)
“That girl is searching for a marriage partner together with Anne-sama and the others. They are apparently going to settle soon.” (Sasha)
“Eeh~, really? Even though that girl was so timid.” (Rifreya)
“Well, that girl didn’t like working either.” (Sasha)
She is the former maid that went to the dungeon with me and Claudia.
She was a Water Spirit User, had a whole lot more talent than me in Spirit Abilities, and was a reliable healer, but to think she would be marrying… I can’t go losing here.
My friend Anne also said that she would use the money she earned for marriage funds when she was leaving. Everyone is most likely going to stop the dungeon lifestyle and settle themselves in this city.
My name was voiced out in a way as if stabbing me, and when I turned around, Mother was standing there.
Mother was a former…no, she is from the reserve units, so she is on paper still an active templar. She is already past 40, but her standing form is prim and has no openings.
She hasn’t missed a single day of training -at least in the time before I left. Most likely her skills with the sword and even her abilities aren’t any inferior to the time when she was still a templar.
She is a person that’s strict on herself…and on others.
And I am not that good at dealing with her.
“Mother, Rifreya has come back home.” (Rifreya)
“Welcome back. And so, can you use the ability now?”
“Yes. If you wish to, I could show you right here.” (Rifreya)
“…Stop joking. But…that’s a relief. Well done. Show your face to Flora too.”
Mother turns around and leaves after saying only that.
A dry greeting one would find hard to believe comes from a mother that hasn’t met her daughter for 1 year.
“Mistress is as cold with you as always, Rifreya-sama… Even though it has been 1 year since you have met…”
“It is okay.” (Rifreya)
I didn’t miss the fact that the face of Mother, who has only shown me a cruel expresion, had loosened faintly there.
I am not my past self either.
By meeting Hikaru, I learned that my family is only one part of my life. That’s most likely the reason why I felt like trying to talk to Mother properly. 1 year ago, I thought that it was pointless no matter what I said to that mother of mine, and I even had the thought of getting back at her if I were to become a templar.
Right now, it truly doesn’t matter to me.
She is also just one more weak human.
The truly strong ones are kind; just like Hikaru.
I returned to my room and put down my luggage.
My room has not changed in the 1 year I left. It doesn’t have dust piled up, so the maids must have been cleaning it.
I bring out the things inside my bag.
I take out the potion bottle, which was at the uppermost part in between clothes in order to not break it, and slowly put it on top of the table.
At the time when I left Meltia, Hikaru gave me medicine for the chaotic magic disease.
He said ‘this might work’. It is something he gave me, so it shouldn’t be anything weird. I don’t know if Flora will be drinking medicine that I brought, but it might be good to try and be a bit forceful in making her drink it.
Just that there’s barely any medicine that heals chaotic magic disease. Even if he is a person that came from a different world, the chances of him having something like that coincidentally are low.
(But he did give it to me, so I should try bringing it to her tomorrow.) (Rifreya)
The doctor is coming today, so it wouldn’t be good to have her drink medicine on my own account here.
I managed to put the unwilting flower I got from Hikaru into a vase.
This flower really didn’t wilt at all, and would continue to release faint light in my travels. If I put it as decoration, it should serve to console me for a bit.
“Flora, I am back.” (Rifreya)
“Eh? Onee-chan?! You were alive?!” (Flora)
When I knocked the door and entered the room, Flora showed so much surprise it was almost as if she would jump off from the bed.
So they really thought I was dead.
When thinking of it like that, Mother’s attitude could be said to have been truly cold. Her actual daughter had come back alive, so she could have been a little happier, you know.
“Of course I am alive. How are you feeling?” (Rifreya)
“Not bad, but…not good either. It isn’t changing at all, unfortunately.” (Flora)
“I see.” (Rifreya)
Chaotic magic disease is a disease that makes a mess of your internal Spirit Energy.
According to the doctor, rather than a disease, it is mostly because of using way too much Spirit Abilities when young, making the necessary Spirit Energy for growth not flow anymore. It is close to getting injured so much that the wound doesn’t recover anymore.
Flora can’t walk on her own anymore, and without the help of the maids, she can’t even get off from her bed. Spirit Abilities would be the least of her worries.
“And so, you can use Photon Ray now?” (Flora)
“Somehow. It was really close though.” (Rifreya)
“Then you are going to be taking the exam, huh. Or more like, your sword was on the level that you could pass 1 year ago, Onee-chan. Your Abilities were basically just for show, right?” (Flora)
“Right. But I won’t become a formal templar. I will be registering for the reserve units.” (Rifreya)
“Eh?! Why?!” (Flora)
In the templars, there are the formal templars that are always working in the church, and the reserve templars that are only called when necessary. The templars that pass the exam become formal templars just like that, but it is also possible to register as a reserve templar in various circumstances.
Of course, even in the reserve units, you are still without doubt a templar. At the very least, it should be able to keep the house’s…more accurately speaking, Mother’s pride.
Moreover, I would be able to return to the side of Hikaru. The perfect plan.
The only regret is that I would be leaving my little sister here alone again.
“Onee-chan, even though you wanted to become a templar that much…a reserve unit? Are you worried about me? If that’s the case, stop it.” (Flora)
“Flora, it has nothing to do with you. This is my own selfishness. I still haven’t told Mother yet though.” (Rifreya)
“Did you actually…not want to become a templar?” (Flora)
“No, I did…for the longest time. But I have found something more important.” (Rifreya)
Just by speaking it out loud, I could feel something warm envelop my heart.
I can’t stop this impulse.
Even when in front of my sickly little sister, I am craving a life with him.
It seems like Flora noticed that I am different from 1 year ago, she made a face filled with surprise. Maybe because of the sixth sense of a sister, she must have understood the meaning of what I meant by ‘something important’.
“Something important…huh. It was the right choice to go out of this city, wasn’t it, Onee-chan?” (Flora)
“Yeah, you might be right about that. So I say, but it was technically at the very end of it though.” (Rifreya)
It truly was just recently that I met Hikaru. Just a few weeks ago.
The 1 year until then, it truly was desperate… There were fun times, but even so, it is true that I was living with the objective of becoming a templar.
It is simply that, after meeting him, my sense of worth had been overturned from the very roots.
“…That’s nice. This is the first time I feel jealous of you, Onee-chan.” (Flora)
“……Sorry for being a bad big sister.” (Rifreya)
“It is okay. I was a bad little sister the whole time. I was getting it over my head being called the Splendorous Flora, so the Spirit King-sama must have seen that.” (Flora)
Being told in that way, I couldn’t say anything back.
It is true that Flora was being praised greatly as a genius, and it would be a lie to say there wasn’t a time when she got it over her head.
But there’s no way there would be punishment for that.
Even if there were, she has already suffered plenty enough.
“Ah, this, it is something I got from someone. Pretty, right?” (Rifreya)
I decorated my little sister’s room with the shining flower I got from Hikaru.
In that dark room, the faintly shining flower was beautiful, and I thought that maybe this could serve to console the heart of my little sister.
“Got it, you say? A man gave you this flower?” (Flora)
“Eh? Yeah.” (Rifreya)
“…I see. It really is beautiful… There’s a flower like this in the outside world, huh.” (Flora)
After muttering this, Flora covered herself with the blanket.
A muffled wail resonated in the dim room, and I couldn’t move.
I learned Spirit Abilities and can become a templar.
But that doesn’t solve the problems of my little sister.
I don’t know what Flora has been thinking and how she has lived in this 1 year. Maybe she even dreamed of a miracle like me finding a treatment for her…
The chaotic magic disease is a disease where Spirit Energy circulation doesn’t run well, and you can’t move your body as you wish.
My little sister can’t even move without assistance, and there’s no means to cure her.
She has no choice…but to live for the rest of her life on top of a bed.
I was so over the moon in my meeting with Hikaru that I thought that, once I passed the templar exam, I am going to return to Meltia right after…
That would mean abandoning my family…and at the same time, abandoning my little sister.
But with my little sister crying in front of me, I felt as if my sinfulness was being put to shame here.
(…I really am a bad big sister.) (Rifreya)