The useless maid made a pained look at my merciless words.
…I actually know.
Not only this theft event, even the personality of this useless maid, her actions; everything was decided by the guys that created Nekomimi Neko.
That’s why it might be a mistake to put the blame on her alone.
Even so, I couldn’t stop.
“I understand that you wanted to save your acquaintances that are suffering from illnesses. I understand that you wanted to do something about the thorny relationship between Shizun-san and the others. But no matter the reason, stealing from your benefactors, stealing something so important from them…is a horrible thing that you must never do! You took the wrong method!!” (Souma)
The useless maid faltered as if my words had physical form.
“Don’t ‘but’ me! Do you really think the easy way out like stealing would make everyone happy? Even if you did succeed and saved them with the money you got from betraying your benefactors, would the children be truly happy? Also, the ring probably wouldn’t have come back ever once you gave Karma the ring.
Did you really think Shizun-san and the others would return to a happy relationship after having the ring stolen without knowing anything?
And even if you managed to clear all those obstacles by some miracle, you would have to shoulder that sin for the rest of your life. Can you really say that’s a happy conclusion?” (Souma)
My words that were being shot like a machine gun were certainly piercing the heart of the useless maid.
Tears began to overflow from her eyes.
“…I-I knew I was doing the wrong thing here. But then…what should I have done? What could I have done that would make everyone happy…?” (Rirumu)
“Isn’t that obvious?” (Souma)
You don’t even need to think about it.
It is a simple solution that you would find unbelievable to even hesitate about it.
“You should have spoken to them. Properly opened up to them about this.” (Souma)
The useless maid warped her face in shock, but I won’t let her say she didn’t think about it.
“Rirumu, you have people that would laugh at your endless mistakes, and people who would support you no matter the circumstances. Shizun-san, Mizu-san, even Fuu… I am sure all the family would have lent you their strength if you had told them.” (Souma)
I didn’t show any mercy even when seeing the useless maid grow paler.
I throw her strong words as if finishing her off.
“And yet, you couldn’t believe in the people that treated you practically like family. You escaped to the worst method that was stealing!” (Souma)
The useless maid fell on her butt as if she lost strength in her legs.
Tears rolled down the face of Rirumu who seemed as if her soul had escaped her.
“Please stop it already!!” (Mizu)
Mizu jumped out and hugged her as if covering her from me.
“I…I have seen this girl shutting herself the whole time, worrying all by herself, and suffering! As someone who doesn’t know about this, you have no right to blame her!!” (Mizu)
“…That’s right. I probably don’t have the right to act like a superior here.” (Souma)
It is true that I have done as I pleased since coming to this world.
I also made a plan that trampled on the feelings of others in the matter of Leila.
“I hold my head high in the fact that I have done my very best no matter the situation to bring out the best result I can. No matter how hopeless the situation is, I continued struggling to find the conclusion where everyone is happy. That’s why I can’t forgive Rirumu who escaped to the easy path and threw away any such effort!” (Souma)
I shouted this as if smashing those burning emotions of mine in my chest onto her.
Even with all that, Mizu continued standing in front of me as if protecting the useless maid from me.
“In that case, I am equally at fault for not extending a hand to her when I knew that she was suffering. If you are going to blame someone, blame us two.” (Mizu)
The useless maid opened her eyes wide at how Mizu continued covering for her despite everything.
“Mizu-sama…even though I-I betrayed you…why…?” (Rirumu)
Mizu smiled kindly at that useless maid.
“Isn’t that obvious? For me, you are a high maintenance little sister. You have been a part of my family for a long time now.” (Mizu)
Big streams of tears flowed out from the eyes of the useless maid, and Mizu wiped them gently.
A sight like that of actual sisters that get along.
Being shown such an endearing sight and on top of that, being told to blame her instead of the useless maid, there’s only one thing left for me to say.
“That’s right. You are ALL to blame here!! No, it is because of you guys that Rirumu ended up going the route of stealing, so your sin is heavier! Reflect on your actions, you hopeless idiots!!” (Souma)
This way too insulting statements not only made Mizu and the others raise their voices in surprise, but also my comrades.
I myself am aware that I am saying something out of character here.
But I can’t stop.
“I was already beginning to get annoyed by that thorny atmosphere like that of the last episode of a home drama. The dispute to become the next successor of the Aken family, was it? Good grief, talk about stupid.” (Souma)
Fai exploded at my unhinged scorn.
“You bastard!! Say that one more time! You don’t know shit about our situation—” (Fai)
“I know! More than anyone here!!” (Souma)
I crushed him with even more pressure.
“In the middle of my investigation, I also heard about how the barrier room is being used. That gave me a good grasp of your relationships.” (Souma)
This is a lie.
My understanding of the relationships between the people of the Aken family is from the days it was a game where I gathered 10 times more information than in this occasion.
However, I am going to push through here.
“What are you saying you understood…?” (Fai)
“Fai, you actually already know, right? The fact that Mizu can already use two barrier magic elements.” (Souma)
When I said this, Fai, Mizu, and Fuu made shocked expressions.
“I-Is that true, Mizu?!!” (Shizun)
Mizu averted her gaze at Shizun-san.
That reaction spoke clearer than anything about the truth.
“But how does the outsider Souma know about this…?” (Shizun)
I shrugged at the words of Shizun-san.
“A simple deduction… Didn’t you tell me before, Rirumu?
Mizu has brought Fuu into the barrier room once. Mizu probably asked her to restore the dispelled barrier at that time.
Mizu succeeded in earth barrier magic, and she wanted to reactivate the wind crystal.” (Souma)
When I said this, Fuu opened her eyes wide.
Looks like I am correct here as well.
“But Mizu-san had Fuu keep silent about her being able to use two elements. There’s actually one more person who knows about this… That’s you, Fai.” (Souma)
“Onii-sama?! But why…?” (Mizu)
Mizu was confused.
I explain point by point as if untying the knot in this situation.
“Mizu-san was training from 3pm to 5pm. And the time Fai was training was between 5pm to 9pm. Fai-san began his training at the time when Mizu-san ended her training. That’s how Fai-san must have coincidentally learned that Mizu-san succeeded in her spell.” (Souma)
That’s when their gears were disarrayed.
“Since then, the frequency in which Fai and Mizu-san went to the barrier room decreased, Fai began to get more short tempered, and the instances where Mizu-san would say provoking words towards Fai increased. Why do you think that is?” (Souma)
I faced Mizu, and Fai and Mizu -the two who would throw snarls at each other like fire and water- began speaking.
“I-I thought she wasn’t coming out and stating herself as the successor because she was refraining cause of me… Then, if I am a totally hopeless case, I thought Mizu would become the next family head without minding…” (Fai)
“No way! I have seen up-close just how much effort you have put in becoming the next family head, Onii-sama! I wanted you to get back in form somehow even if you were to hate me, and then assist you once you became the family head…” (Mizu)
The two of them disclosed what was deep in their chests for the first time.
“That’s right. This is the result of the both of you thinking about each other, thus creating friction. But because of that, Earth did his best in his barrier magic training to stop the fight between you two, and as someone who knows everything, Fuu went to the barrier room every day to stop Earth.” (Souma)
“Ah, Fuu-chan, that’s why you came to the barrier room every day…?” (Rirumu)
Fuu nodded with a red face at the words of Rirumu.
The reason why she followed Earth only when she wouldn’t go close to the barrier room on her own was because of this.
For the sake of the wish of Mizu to make her brother the family head, and for the sake of a peaceful sleep for Rirumu, she would do her best to stop Earth every day.
“This is…” (Mizu)
“You were thinking in such a manner…?” (Fai)
Mizu-san and Fai leaked out those words.
All these siblings were moving for the sake of someone.
However, they were all disjointed and created this tragedy as a result.
The 4 were frozen in place, not knowing what to say.
The one who broke this ice was their father.
“I am sorry, everyone!!” (Shizun)
Shizun-san jumped out and apologized to his children with head on the ground.
“It is…it is my fault! I was chained by such a pointless tradition like making the person who undoes the barrier as the next family head and didn’t think about your futures! I am the idiot here!!
My shallowness made you suffer!
Sorry…I am sorry!!” (Shizun)
Seeing this, Shizun-san’s children quickly ran to where he was.
“P-Please stop that, Pops! I-It is my fault.” (Fai)
“No, if I thought about it a bit more…” (Mizu)
“No, it is me…I…uwaaaan!” (Earth)
“E-Everyone…don’t cry…” (Fuu)
The rest was a complete mess.
The 4 siblings and Shizun-san.
Elm-san standing by the side, and even the useless maid in the arms of Mizu-san were having an apology tournament.
The adults and children were spilling out everything they couldn’t say until now to their most beloved family.
I silently took distance from them and muttered this at the sight of a family becoming one.
“You all were way too clumsy. Even though you could have just been more honest with each other…” (Souma)
After 10 or so minutes, Fai came to the front as if representing the family and stood in front of me with red eyes.
“Finished your talk?” (Souma)
When I asked this, he smiled as if a bit embarrassed.
“Yeah. About the next family head, we decided to discuss it with everyone before making a decision. But I think I will become the successor once I am able to use two elements. Mizu said she would coach me every day.
Good grief, the next head of the family being taught magic by his little sister. There’s no glory in that though.” (Fai)
But that smile of his didn’t feel thorny like the ones until now.
It is a kind and reliable smile that really showed his actual personality.
“Also, Rirumu will be working for us again. Of course, she will be getting proper punishment.” (Fai)
“Yeah, the really harsh punishment of calling Mizu and I as Onii-chan and Onee-chan for the rest of her life.” (Fai)
“Wow, that’s harsh!” (Souma)
“Oi, what do you mean by that?!” (Fai)
We chatted and laughed again.
But Fai suddenly made a serious face.
“There’s one more important thing I want to talk about. You see…I am really grateful for your help here.
If not for you, we would have been in discord the whole time, and we might not have forgiven Rirumu ever.” (Fai)
“Oi oi, what’s that all of a sudd—” (Souma)
I was about to say this, but I was stopped.
“That’s why I want you to take this.” (Fai)
Fai gave me a familiar jet black ring.
“Isn’t this the Immortal Oath?! It is the proof of the family head, right? You have to treasure—” (Souma)
“That’s why! It is important, so I want you to have it… Please. Think of it as helping us out here and accept it.” (Fai)
My throat rang at the plea of Fai.
I look at the jet black ring on his hand.
I stretched my hand out as if I was being swallowed by that black luster and…
“I am sorry, but I can’t accept it.” (Souma)
Pushed back the offered hand of Fai.
Fai opened his eyes wide at my unexpected action.
“Why? No, for the people that know about the history of this ring, this might be a cursed ring! But for us, this is—” (Fai)
“I know!” (Souma)
I cut off his words with a strong tone.
This is a painful decision for me.
I calmed down before I began to speak slowly.
“I also know the worth of that ring. When you told me that you were going to give me that ring, I thought from the bottom of my heart that I wanted it…but I can’t accept it.” (Souma)
“And I am asking why!” (Fai)
I said straight to Fai who was shouting in excitement.
“…Because I wouldn’t get the best result I want if I were to take that.” (Souma)
Fai was going to continue shouting, but he fell silent after hearing that.
“…I understand the worth of this ring. Even so, I also think I understand just how big of a meaning this ring holds for you and your family.” (Souma)
“But I…we are saying it is fine…” (Fai)
“And I don’t like that.” (Souma)
Fai made a face as if he didn’t understand what I am saying here, so I try to explain as best as I can.
“What would make me far happier would be to imagine you guys seeing this ring and having smiles on your faces rather than me getting this ring.” (Souma)
I felt my face heat up the moment I said this.
I am aware I said something cheesy there.
But those are my honest feelings.
Hearing what I said, Fai clicked his tongue and turned his back towards me.
He said this as if talking to himself while returning to his family.
“You damn samaritan! …I won’t forget you, ever. Thanks.” (Fai)
The tsundere bastard said this with a face as bright as red as his hair.
I felt as if something hot like fire was left burning in my chest as I watched his retreating back.
Shizun-san tried to bring the shield crest to me posthaste from the residence after that and we had our last conversation at this time.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t know what to expect when I saw you people at first… I am truly glad you are the ones that came to replace Spark Hawk-san.” (Shizun)
Shizun-san told me those words as he gave me the shield crest and returned to the manor.
After that, Fuu lowered her head to me, Earth gave us a V sign, Mizu held both of my hands without saying anything, and they all left respectively.
The next one to come was the useless maid.
I thought she would be pretty scared from being bullied a whole ton just now, but…
She hugged me the moment she approached.
Chest and chest collided, and it went ‘boyon’.
This is really…that’s not it.
“Rirumu, uhm…” (Souma)
The useless maid took over before I could finish.
“Souma-san, you truly have my gratitude. I can continue working there, and it seems like the children will be taken care of somehow with the assistance of Shizun-sama.
This is all thanks to you, Souma-san!” (Rirumu)
Then, there’s nothing to say anymore.
I decided to direct some words of encouragement.
“Do your best. Make sure not to fail a whole ton and get fired again.” (Souma)
“Yes! But I think it is going to be okay. Everyone calls me their f-family…and I also have my main occupation.” (Rirumu)
“Main…occupation…? You did something else aside from being a maid?” (Souma)
When I asked this, the useless maid…no, Rirumu smiled from the bottom of her heart.
“Geez! There’s no way they would hire a clumsy maid like me otherwise! It is true that I have more work as a maid, but my main occupation is bodyguard! Bodyguard! I am deceived often and end up being a regular at the slums, but I am actually a former veteran adventurer!” (Rirumu)
Now that she mentions it, she did lift up the floor and the armor, so I thought she was strong but…eeeeh…
“See ya then. If anything happens, call me! I will do my best for your sake, Souma-san!” (Rirumu)
The useless maid -I mean, the bodyguard Rirumu messed me up until the very end as she left.
And then, the last one to approach me was the butler that kept tabs on me like I was a mortal enemy of his, Elm-san.
Elm-san stood upright in front of me and began talking with his sharp gaze still present.
“I will be frank here. I couldn’t throw away my suspicions until the very end that you might pull something. Even at the time when Fai-sama offered you the ring, I thought you would take it. Or maybe act as if you were returning it and switch it for a fake one inside your hand.
I went as far as to doubt you in such a manner.” (Elm)
“I see. I have been hated quite a lot.” (Souma)
In the end, this butler-san is the only one I couldn’t get along with.
I responded with a dry laugh.
“…But that was my misunderstanding. Your actions have been fair and pure until the very end. Not only did you not take the ring, you didn’t switch it either, and returned it to Fai-sama without touching it once.” (Elm)
Elm-san took an action that I didn’t even imagine.
“I apologize for my many acts of rudeness from the bottom of my heart.” (Elm)
He lowered his body 90° with hand on his chest like out of a manual.
But I chuckled and told him to raise his head.
An apology doesn’t suit a happy end.
The capable butler that accurately read this lowered his head again.
This time around, at 45°.
“My apologies. Thank you very much, Souma-sama… Whenever you want a butler, please go ahead and step into the Aken household.” (Elm)
After saying that, he returned to his masters with his dandy mannerisms.
“…It is over.” (Souma)
I muttered this, and lethargy took over me at the same time as the sense of accomplishment seeped in me.
I did something outside the game’s development, but when I look at that united family walking together, I felt from the bottom of my heart that I was glad I did my best here.
“…That was well done.” (Mitsuki)
“…Souma, good work.” (Ringo)
And then, my comrades who were taking distance from me, reading the atmosphere, came over to me and congratulated me.
Happiness welled up from me at those words.
But before I could digest it, Mitsuki looked at me with narrowed eyes and said this.
“Also…it looks like you achieved your real objective.” (Mitsuki)
I flinched unconsciously at those words.
Mitsuki continued speaking while giving a side glance as if she wasn’t bothered by this.
“If you had the Eye of the Heavens on you right now, you would have asked me to check the location of Leila the moment we left the residence.
The fact that you didn’t means that you erased it, right?
The Eye of the Heavens…you erased it in that barrier room.” (Mitsuki)
The sharp eyes of Mitsuki saw through the very depths of my heart.
“The timing was when I took my eyes off you. Most likely after you went to the room of Rirumu-san with her and Maki-san. At that time, you left the Eye of the Heavens in the barrier room and…” (Mitsuki)
“So you saw through everything, huh. It is as you say, Mitsuki.” (Souma)
I gave up and nodded.
That was my number one reason to take this quest.
I used the trait of the room about recreating itself right before the moment of the crime, and got rid of the Eye of the Heavens which is an indestructible item.
It is true that it became harder to delete important items.
That’s because it was made impossible to just leave it for a long time in a field or throw a whole ton of items on the same field.
However, that just means the important items don’t disappear after a time limit or the max amount of items on a field is reached.
You just have to do it with other means.
That’s where the recreation of the barrier room comes to play.
In the first place, recreating the room means to delete the whole data of the room at that time, and brute force it by changing it to the data of a past room.
It doesn’t matter at all if the items in that room are indestructible or not.
The moment the recreation happens, the things inside the room will disappear into the sea of data, or in this world, it might be into a separate dimension.
“Good grief, you really are…” (Mitsuki)
I hear the baffled voice of Mitsuki.
I don’t feel like I did anything to be ashamed of here, but I didn’t expect it to be discovered this fast.
I am probably gonna be reprimanded again.
Thinking that, I lowered my head and…
“You really are my pride and joy.”
My head was grabbed and I was enveloped in a soft sensation.
“Eh? Eh?!” (Souma)
I heard the ‘Ah!’ scream from Maki on the side, but I didn’t have the leeway to mind it.
I couldn’t understand what was going on and was about to raise my head, but…
“P-Please don’t move! Despite appearances, I am really embarrassed here!”
My head was sunk even deeper.
I don’t know what’s going on.
My head was eventually freed and what was in front of my eyes was the bright red face of Mitsuki.
A faint smile could be seen there.
Mitsuki tilted her head at my words.
“Did you think I would reprimand you?” (Mitsuki)
“Obviously. I used this request as an excuse to achieve my own objective! I took this quest for the sake of myself to begin with—” (Souma)
“And what’s so bad about that?” (Mitsuki)
She asked in return clearly and I was dumbfounded.
“You might have thought of yourself first and foremost. However, that doesn’t erase what you have achieved… ‘I will continue struggling in order to obtain a conclusion where everyone is happy’, those words of yours resonated in my heart.” (Mitsuki)
It wasn’t only Mitsuki.
My comrades came to where I am and spoke one after the other.
“Souma-san! You really are amazing, Souma-san! Amazing!! I admire you!!” (Ina)
Ina showered me with praise all gleefully.
“Hmph, you see…sorry about what happened at the blackout. I will at least acknowledge that…you are a somewhat reliable guy…or like, uuh…” (Sazan)
Sazan said this while looking the other way.
“This is vexing, but you were a bit cool today, Souma. You already knew the answer, so it feels a bit unfair, but…but you looked like a great detective from a novel.” (Maki)
Maki pouted and commented on this.
And so, the last one…
“…Souma, I am sorry. You are a…decent human.” (Ringo)
Ringo said this and lowered her head.
“What’s with everyone…? Even if you tell me that all of a sudden…” (Souma)
I choked on my words.
It is a weird feeling.
I have been praised by a whole ton of people as a hero for defeating the Demon Lord, but I received exasperated gazes from my comrades most of the time.
Now that I think about it, this might be the first time I have been praised by them.
I could feel something hot accumulating at the corner of my eyes at the unexpected warm words of my comrades.
“…Souma, are you crying?” (Ringo)
Being told this by Ringo, I hurriedly rubbed my eyes.
“I-I am not crying! I am not!” (Souma)
No one laughed even when I exposed such a pathetic sight of me.
They are watching over me with warm expressions.
(Accepting anything I do…so these are comrades, huh.) (Souma)
I thought no one understood my thoughts until now.
Not only that, I even partly gave up on sharing my thoughts since my way of thinking had been poisoned by the game.
But that wasn’t the case.
“Thank you. I…I…” (Souma)
Even though I wanted to tell everyone my feelings, I couldn’t put it in words and it was mortifying.
But Mitsuki placed a hand gently on my shoulder.
“It is fine as long as you understand. Now, please smile. You just have to be proud of your own achievement and smile boldly about it as usual.” (Mitsuki)
“I see. Right.” (Souma)
A moody atmosphere like this really doesn’t suit us.
Having acknowledged this, I shook my tears away.
Let’s just do as Mitsuki says.
“Hold this for a bit.” (Souma)
“Eh? Okay.” (Mitsuki)
I gave the shield crest I got from Shizun-san to Mitsuki. I then take out the spoils of war this time around from the bag and raise it high up, shouting with a cheerful tone.
“Now then, everyone, we got what we wanted, so let’s go back!!” (Souma)
At the place where my comrades were looking at, with my hand raised high up, there’s the Immortal Oath shining a mysterious luster under the sunlight.
Author: The perfect happy ending!!