Something must have happened, Onee-sama and the commoner now found themselves against one another in a magical duel and the apprehensions that I held ever since being appointed referee became a reality toward the end of their match.
The moment Onee-sama cast that spell, the entire area sank to silence.
Any trace of magic was extinguished, and any signs of the water spell that the commoner was casting vanished.
The next moment, blood gushed out of numerous wounds that appeared on the commoner’s body and she collapsed.
I rushed toward her unmoving body.
“Commoner, you, Rei! Hey, pull yourself together!”
Paying no attention to the thought that her blood might dirty me, I propped her body up with one arm and slapped her with the other.
There was no reaction.
She was completely out.
“Claire, move, I’ll heal her.”
When I turned in the direction of the voice, Onee-sama stood there completely composed.
For the first time, I felt afraid of her.
But it wasn’t the time to worry about that, with each passing moment warmth was draining from the commoner’s body.
We were in a race against time.
“Please! Save Rei!”
“Yes, of course.”
Onee-sama held her hands out toward the commoner’s body and cast healing magic.
The blood that once gushed out from the commoner’s body quickly formed scabs.
Shortly after, the bleeding stopped and color gradually returned to the commoner’s pale face.
“She should be fine now, there’s no need to worry.”
Just after having lost Lene… The thought that she too may leave my side was too much for me.
I could feel the warmth returning to her body as I held her tightly.
Along with the relief, I felt my anger surge.
“Onee-sama, you went too far!”
My anger was, of course, directed at Onee-sama.
She appeared to be surprised, but that didn’t matter right now.
“Wasn’t the gap between your abilities clear enough!? Onee-sama, you should have been able to overwhelm her just with Spell Breaker and regular magic!”
“No, I really don’t think so.
Rei is quite strong.”
“Yes, I’m aware that the commoner is at least somewhat capable when it comes to magic, but the gap was more than evident! Despite that, Onee-sama, I can’t believe that you’d go and use Dominator―!”
Onee-sama’s Dominator was a lethal anti-magic technique.
There were no casters that could take that attack and come out unscathed.
From the moment that she had used Spell Breaker, the match had effectively been decided.
I didn’t believe the commoner had any chance of winning, no matter how much she struggled.
Yet, despite that, Onee-sama had gone so far as to almost kill her.
“Just what was your intention there, Onee-sama!?”
“If I didn’t do that, Rei wouldn’t have stopped.
Claire, you understand that too, don’t you?”
Onee-sama maintained her composure as I laid into her with my words and responded with a question.
Unable to parse her intent with that question, I was at a loss for what to say, so she continued.
“Weren’t you already aware that Rei loves you, Claire?”
“That’s… I thought the commoner was just teasing me.
She always does.”
Her feelings for you are genuine.
That’s why she was willing to fight to the end.
Her feelings are earnest, they definitely aren’t half-baked, okay?”
Onee-sama claimed that’s why she had no choice but settle things with Dominator.
“Even then, you’ve gone too far! What would you have done if things took a turn for the worse!?”
“Have you forgotten? There’s a barrier that dampens the effects of magic in place.
Even my Dominator wouldn’t truly put someone in critical condition.
Though I do admit that Rei’s magical capacity was so high that the spell had a greater effect than I anticipated.”
“You genuinely do care for this girl, don’t you, Claire?”
Onee-sama said that in a quiet―perhaps even a solemn tone.
It felt as though she was gently letting go of something important to her, at least that’s how it sounded to me.
I found it a tad unsettling, but I managed to rein myself in and respond.
“She’s one of my retainers.
As her master, it is obvious that I concern myself over her well being.”
“Is that really it? You never seemed to place much importance on your other retainers.
In fact, for a time you were practically cycling through them.
The one exception being Lene.”
“So Rei is special to you, isn’t she, Claire.”
“No! There is simply no way!”
For some reason a wave of embarrassment washed over me and I snapped back at Onee-sama.
“I have a hard time believing that you would go so far for a simple retainer.
Just look at yourself Claire, with no regard for appearances, you rushed straight in to try and help her.
You have blood all over, you, you’re a mess, Claire.”
“That’s… Like I said…”
“Your responsibility as her master? Claire, the old you would have just gotten fed up, sighed, and left.
Am I wrong?”
I was dumbstruck.
My lack of a proper response was clear evidence that Onee-sama was right on the mark.
When I once again sank to silence,
“Please just stop, Manaria-sama!”
“Please don’t bully Claire-sama!”
Two people―Pipi and Loretta burst out from the audience and rushed toward us.
“Claire still needs time! She’s yet to realize how she truly feels!”
“Manaria-sama, I understand that it may be vexing to watch, but you’re being far too forceful!”
Loretta and Pipi both criticized Onee-sama.
While they had gotten past their previous apprehensions, their voices were shaking.
After witnessing that fight, I couldn’t blame them.
Anyone who had witnessed her supernatural display of force just now would know fear.
And yet, as though to protect me, the two stepped between Onee-sama and I.
“… I see.
So Claire is still only at that stage… In that case, it does seem that I’ve gone too far.”
With that, Onee-sama seemed to regain her usual composure.
“I apologize, I’m sorry Claire.
Sorry to the two of you as well, Pipi, Loretta.”
“N-No, it’s nothing… Or rather, just what are you――”
“Are you alright~~!”
Both Loretta and Pipi clung to me and began crying.
It appeared that I was the only one left behind, unable to grasp the situation.
But before all else, I held the two of them close to calm them down.
Ahh, goodness! Now we’ll all have to find a change of clothes!
“What is it, Onee-sama?”
“You’ve really found some nice friends.”
“… Eh? Well, yes, that’s… Yes.”
I still didn’t have a grasp on the situation, but it appeared that Loretta and Pipi had somehow saved me.
When I agreed with her, Onee-sama returned a satisfied smile.
“Claire-sama~ It’s alright if you take things at your own pace, okay…!”
“That’s right, that’s exactly right~! No matter how dense you may be Claire-sama, we’re here for you, okay…?”
“Th-, thank you…? Wait, wait just a moment.
Just what are you all talking about?”
Also, I got the feeling that they said something that I really shouldn’t ignore!?
“See…? Absolutely no self awareness~!”
“But that part of you is cute too…!”
“I keep asking, but just what are you all talking about…!?”
I wanted to question them both, but at that very moment,
The commoner opened her eyes.
“… Claire… Sama…?”
“Rei! I’m so glad…”
The moment the commoner woke up, everything else just fell to the wayside.
But I was fine with that, because, more than anything else, I was just happy that the commoner had returned to me.
While still being entirely unaware… Just how strange that happiness should have been.
Translator Comment: Even Pipi and Loretta realize Claire’s feelings before she can realize them herself…!
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