It seems like Flora had fallen asleep eventually, I could hear her rhythmical breathing.
I fix up her bed and watch her slightly worn out side-profile.
If not for her disease, she would have been enjoying her youth as a templar right about now. The small and cute Flora was popular in her generation, but since the time she caught the chaotic magic disease, even the friends that came to visit her have barely come now.
The chaotic magic disease is apparently a disease that was thought to have occurred from being hated by the Spirits.
According to the doctor, that’s complete superstition, and it is totally different from the Hated Ones that are born that way, but there’s still a lot of people in the city that believe that superstition.
There’s even people who think the chaotic magic disease is infectious.
Because of this, even guests coming to the house to visit have decreased since Flora got ill.
If I were to pass the templar exam, I would have to support this household as a templar.
Get a husband, just like my mother.
I am the eldest daughter, and I have to look after my little sister from here on and forever.
When I was with Hikaru, I put that at the corner of my mind, but…that’s reality.
Hikaru said he couldn’t be with me and I was against it, but I myself had circumstances that made me have to return.
It is because of that that I didn’t want to go back.
If I were to go back…and see reality, I wouldn’t be able to return.
I wouldn’t be able to abandon my family.
“Hikaru…I…what should I do…?” (Rifreya)
I sat at the corner of the bed and muttered this.
Even though I wouldn’t have anything to hesitate if I had been an explorer with nothing binding me…
Would Hikaru come to me instead?
If he were to come here, it would all be resolved though…
(It would be impossible…) (Rifreya)
He is a Loved One.
My house is right by the side of the Great Church. The Great Light Spirit-sama hates men, but it should be an exception for Loved Ones.
A sad sigh leaked out, and I drowned in the ocean of thought for a while, but I heard a voice from the lower floor, and I was brought back to reality.
The voices steadily grew closer and the door was knocked on. The maid Sasha showed her face.
“Rifreya-sama, Flora-sama’s doctor has come.” (Sasha)
Being told this, I stand up.
The doctor that comes to visit has researched the chaotic magic disease for a long time, and is a person that has been travelling the whole continent searching for medicines. The treatment expense is pretty high, but their skill is the real deal.
Well, even with that, the state of my little sister is barely showing signs of getting better, but that she isn’t getting worse either is proof that the treatment is working.
The chaotic magic disease is one that hinders the growth of the person, and it steadily makes it harder to move the body more and more.
“Hello, Rifreya-san. It has been a while.”
“It has been a while, Sensei.” (Rifreya)
“Now then, let’s get right to it. We will have Flora-san wake up to—”
Sensei was about to take a seat by the side of the bed in order to do their check-up, but they stopped moving.
Their gaze was fixed on the unwilting flower that Hikaru gave me.
“…Eh? T-This flower… Why is this here…?”
“Is something the matter with this flower?” (Rifreya)
“C-Can I see this for a bit…? It properly has…its roots too…”
Sensei was confirming something with trembling fingers.
Not only their fingers, but even their voice was trembling. Even the nurse by their side is covering her mouth with watery eyes.
(W-What’s going on…?) (Rifreya)
At any rate, this is not normal.
“There’s no doubt… This consistent light, the Spirit Energy circulation… This is the Mallow Moon Silver Flower…”
As if worshipping an idol, they held the flower Hikaru gave me with both hands respectfully, and were making an ecstatic expression.
“Rifreya-san! Is this something that you got, Rifreya-san?!”
“Y-Yeah. More accurately speaking, it was something given to me.” (Rifreya)
Delight showed in Sensei’s face.
“You were given it?! Who?! N-No, where?! Where did they get it?! Even though I went through the places where I might be able to obtain it, it was to no avail.”
“A-As I said, I was simply given this by someone…” (Rifreya)
“Did that person not know the worth of this?! N-No…did he give you this knowing the disease of Flora-san?!”
“W-What is it? Please explain!” (Rifreya)
Sensei had their whole face flushed and was getting excited all alone, but I don’t get what’s going on at all.
“The roots of this flower can serve as a cure for chaotic magic disease! Flora-san can be cured!”
“Moreover, with a share this splendid, you could save 10 chaotic magic disease patients! Please give me this! Of course, I will pay you! Please!”
I couldn’t hear the latter half of Sensei’s words.
This flower, the cure?
My little sister’s disease… The chaotic magic disease that is said to be incurable…can be cured?
“S-Sensei…are you kidding? There’s no way something like that can be done with a gifted flower—” (Rifreya)
“I am not joking! This flower…the Mallow Moon Silver Flower is the only thing that can cure the chaotic magic disease!”
“T-Then my little sister…Flora can be just like before…?” (Rifreya)
“She can be cured. She definitely will. Soon… She should recover in a few days.”
That last one came from my little sister.
It seems like she had at some point in time woken up and was listening.
“It isn’t a lie. It is thanks to Rifreya-san. You can be cured. I have been travelling around the world in search of this plant, but to think that your sister would be finding it. This must be the blessing of the Spirit King-sama.”
“I-I…can be cured…? Really?” (Flora)
“Really. You have a great sister.”
On that day, I heard the cries of my little sister for the second time. This time, not from sadness, but joy.
After that, it was pretty hectic.
The unwilting flower apparently would wilt if the roots were to be completely gone, so only a part enough for one person was cut off to have Flora drink it.
Sensei took out tools from their bag, and chipped the cut root finely. This time they placed this chipped root into a small kettle, heated it, and a peculiar sweet scent covered the room.
“Nice scent, right? It is said that this scent is the same one the Spirits smell from Loved Ones. I kind of understand why the Great Spirit-samas would want Loved Ones.”
Sensei’s slight chit-chat.
Does Hikaru have this kind of scent too? I should try smelling him next time.
We have Flora drink the well boiled liquid medicine.
According to Sensei, the circulation of her Spirit Energy should be steadily returning to her.
“Now then, I would like you to please give the remaining 9 times to me.”
Sensei wrapped things up and said this.
Only Mother and I were here. Father shouted that he would be preparing a celebration and went off somewhere.
“I heard that that flower is something Rifreya had received. What do you say, Rifreya?”
“Right, I of course don’t mind. You have watched over Flora well, and if this can save those seriously ill patients that are suffering, I am sure the person that gave it to me would also accept it.” (Rifreya)
At the time when Hikaru gave me that flower, I certainly remember him saying it worked for some sort of disease. But it was a different name from the chaotic magic disease, so he probably didn’t know either that it would serve for it.
From his personality, if his gift can serve as a cure for the disease, he would say to use it well.
“Thank you very much. Then, about the price…”
“Yes. It is a precious thing, so I will of course be buying it at the appropriate price.”
“I see.” (Rifreya)
At that moment, my mother and I thought that they could just take it as payment for the treatment of Flora.
But the price that Sensei put out was far more than we could ever imagine, and Mother and I thought at first that this could be a joke of some sort, but it seems like Sensei was serious.
“I am grateful for that, but with that price, won’t there be many people who can’t take the treatment?” (Rifreya)
I threw out the question.
With the treatment expenses, our household has been tilting unfavorably in terms of finances. Honestly speaking, the more coin the better. The maintenance of the house has had its priority lowered, so the surroundings do feel as if our household is slowly falling into ruin.
But if only rich nobles can get the treatment, then we would be having our priorities backwards here.
“No, we are not getting our investment back from the treatment costs. This flower can be sold for a rea~~~lly high price to nobles. Using this flower to the bare extent where it doesn’t die, we can sell what remains to a noble and we would be able to recover from the expense. That’s why, rather than saying I will be buying the flower, it is more like I will serve as an intermediary to sell it to a noble, and my pay to be that intermediary will be the roots for the medicine. With that, everyone profits.”
“Nobles would buy this at that price? As a flower only?” (Rifreya)
“Yes. The flower that doesn’t wilt and continues emitting light is the symbol of eternal prosperity. It is also highly praised as a present for royals, so there’s a lot of nobles who desire it. This flower is a true rarity after all. By the way, this is only my 3rd time having used it.”
“It was such a precious thing, huh…” (Rifreya)
Hikaru gave it to me with a casual mood of being a parting gift, but to think it was such a valuable thing.
He gave me a thing of such value.
Isn’t that proof of how much he values me?
Even though we were in the middle of an important talk, my lips were loosening into a smile.
“Rifreya, are you listening?”
“Ah, yes. It is okay.” (Rifreya)
“Thank you very much. Well then, regarding the money, I will be bringing it on my next visit.”
The talk finished and Sensei left.
They will apparently be going around providing medicine to the patients they have around the country.
Flora should be alright now, so they told us that she should just move her body little by little at the beginning.
“Rifreya, where did you get that flower? You said you got it from someone, right?”
“Yes. At the time when I left Meltia, I got it as a parting gift.” (Rifreya)
For Mother, he would be the person that gave us the cure and saved her daughter.
And for me, Hikaru is my life savior. To think that he would even become the savior of my little sister…no, the savior of this family…I doubt he himself would have expected that.
“You remember the family precept of our Ashbird household, right?”
“Of course. Always repay a debt.” (Rifreya)
“That’s right. This debt must be repaid. However, we won’t be able to pay this back with ordinary means. We have received something of this much value after all. You understand, right, Rifreya?”
If Flora makes a recovery, the problems of the household will all be resolved.
There’s no need for treatment expenses, or rather, you could even say our treatment expenses until now will be paid back in full and more. That’s how much the price of the flower will be covering for us, to the point that we have surplus.
Flora can succeed the family as initially planned, and I can go off to return to Hikaru.
Now then, no matter how we are going to repay him, we can’t have him come here.
He is a Loved One.
This house is right by the side of the Great Church. He would be noticed by the Great Spirit-sama.
“He has his own circumstances that don’t allow him to leave the city. I think there’s no choice but to go to him.” (Rifreya)
“I see… Can’t be helped then.”
Whichever the case, we are the ones who will be doing the thanking, so we can’t be calling Hikaru to come all the way here.
“And so, Rifreya, you said ‘him’…right? Meaning that the one who gave you this flower was a gentleman?”
“Y-Yes…that’s right…” (Rifreya)
“A lover you made there, right?”
“Yeah…wait, could it be…” (Rifreya)
“You are fast on the uptake. Rifreya, marry that gentleman.”
Mother said this plainly and with a straight face.
“Marry him…offer your heart and body to him…and pay this debt with your whole life.”
“A-Are you serious…?” (Rifreya)
“If you don’t want to, I don’t mind it being Flora, you know? No, Flora is the one with a direct debt to him, so that way would be—”
“No, I don’t dislike it! I welcome it! With big wide open arms! I -Rifreya- will repay this debt in great length!” (Rifreya)
To think it would turn out like this.
But that’s just what I wanted.
Even so…as expected of my mother. She thinks just like me.
Or more like, I have been poisoned by the way of thinking of Mother without me noticing.
But well, Mother doesn’t know Hikaru, so there’s the need to think about the way to do it itself.
Even if approached straight on, Hikaru would no doubt refuse it.
You have to slowly but surely approach him and make it an established fact.
That said, it is not bad to be in a situation where my mother seems like she would cooperate.
With this, I don’t need to become a templar anymore, and I can return to Meltia without the need to think about my family.
This is the best.
At this moment, I think the juices in my brain were circulating at the fastest speed ever recorded until now.
It may not have been for long, but I have a decent grasp of Hikaru’s personality.
If I go in tears to his side and tell him that I have been told to marry him by my pushy mother, and that I have lost my place to return to, I am sure he will be leaving me by his side.
What’s next is…if I were to do this and that, and get him in the mood…I can do this!
Who cares about that stuff of being seen by the people of his original world.
What if they are watching? Watch your fill then. I don’t even feel the reality of it anyways. It is wrong to scrape away on my own life just because of something that can’t even interfere with us.
More importantly than that is me being able to stay by Hikaru’s side.
And then, I will have him understand that the present is a whole lot better than his original world.
I may be told I am way too self-conscious, but I want to be together with him and share the wonders of life.
No matter how much he says he can’t stay with me and how much he avoids me…
No matter how much he runs away…
I will chase him to the ends of the world and marry him for the rest of my life.
You can call me annoying. You can call me selfish.
That’s how much worth he has.