On the day of the Amour’s Festival.
Just as I was about to accept Onee-sama’s kiss, one voice brought us to a halt.
Everyone turned in the direction of the voice.
Following their gaze I looked in shock.
The voice belonged to the commoner, but that’s not what shocked me.
I was surprised by her appearance.
She was covered in wounds.
“Rei, you’re late.”
“My bad… Just took a bit longer than I was expecting.”
The commoner offered a lighthearted apology to MIsha who had been fraught with anxiety before coming between Onee-sama and I.
After breathing out in a huff, Onee-sama said,
“So you didn’t just turn your tail and run, I’ll at least give you credit for that.”
“Just who would run from someone like you.
Did I mumble when I said it? I told you there’s no way that I’d let myself lose.”
Uncouth as ever, the commoner stuck her tongue out to taunt Onee-sama while grabbing my hands, pulling me away from her.
As I hesitated over the warmth I felt from her hands, I sent a gaze filled with various emotions to the commoner.
“Claire-sama, please don’t worry.
There’s no way I’d ever give you up to someone like her.”
The commoner’s face was littered with wounds as she made that declaration, but her expression was very bright.
“No matter what you might say, our little contest has already been decided.
I don’t know what you intend to offer, but my offering will be a Floss Flower.
There’s nothing that weighs more than that, isn’t that right?”
Onee-sama lifted up a radiant flower.
Onee-sama had prepared the best offering possible.
“Even if you too brought a Floss Flower, I was here and present with mine first.
The fact that I won won’t ch―”
“This is my offering.”
Interrupting Onee-sama, the commoner pulled “that” out of her bag.
“That’s a… Branch?”
I just commented on the situation as I saw it.
The item the commoner claimed to be her offering just looked like a tree branch.
Face to face with my own disappointment, for the first time, I realized that deep inside, I had been expecting something from her.
“Is that all that you could get your hands on?”
“You’ve got it all wrong, this is what I had been searching for all along.”
The commoner was brimming with confidence, but everyone else gave her blank stares.
Their reaction only made sense.
The quality of the commoner’s offering was clear just looking at it.
“You’ll see once we each make our offerings.”
The commoner urged Onee-sama to proceed.
Once they had both made their offerings, there was no turning back.
If I wanted to stop them, it had to be now.
Just as I was at a loss as to what I should do, the commoner faced me and nodded firmly as though to ease my anxieties.
“Very well, let’s each make our offerings and see.”
With that, Onee-sama proceeded toward the scales.
The ancient scales held a refinement and dignity that one would expect from a sacred artifact.
“Alright then, I’ll go first.
May the depths of my heart be tried by the Spirit.”
With dramatic motions she recited the famous line from Amour’s poem before offering the Floss Flower to the scales.
The scales then bathed the already brilliant flower in a dazzling light.
Being the very item extolled in the legend, the scales greatly tipped toward one side.
“My turn then.
Here’s my offering.”
On the other hand, the commoner made no exaggerated motions and very simply placed her branch on the scales.
The scales―did not budge.
“To be expected, I’ve wo―”
Just as Onee-sama was about to declare victory, the earth rumbled.
To brace ourselves, we all dropped to the ground.
It wasn’t long before we realized that it wasn’t the ground, but the Love Scales that were shaking.
“Just what is happening?”
Someone spoke out in confusion.
I looked to see fresh buds sprouting on the branches, but it didn’t stop there.
One after another, roots sprouted from the branch as it continued to grow.
In the blink of an eye, the tiny branch had become a massive tree turning the scales.
“The Floss Flower lost…? This branch… Just what…?”
When Onee-sama muttered those words in shock, the commoner responded.
“It’s called a twined branch.”
According to the commoner it was a rare item dropped by one of the monsters inhabiting the nearby forest.
It was apparently very difficult to obtain, and she had done her very best to do so.
She had gone through a lot, and that effort was visible in the wounds that littered her now.
“You mean to say that there was something even better than the Floss Flower…?”
But as it turns out, there was something heavier.”
The commoner spoke proudly before turning to face me.
Unable to keep up with how the situation had progressed, I stood in a daze but the commoner’s voice snapped me back to reality.
The commoner really roughly wiped her face to make herself just barely presentable before continuing.
“In all honesty, I didn’t care how the competition turned out.”
Does she… Does she mean that she doesn’t really care about me…? My insecurities were about to get the better of me, but Rei continued.
“I can’t offer you a love like one out of a fairy tale.
As you’re aware, I can’t even say anything truly important without also playing it off.”
She took a momentary pause.
“Even if The Great Spirit’s Scales denied my feelings, I will continue to love you.
No matter who I may lose to, I will continue to love you and only you.
The commoner knelt down before me, took my hand and―
“Not as your maid, but would you please take me as your partner?”
Those words hadn’t come from a fairy tale, they were her own.
For the first time, the commoner sought my affections in return.
That fact made me tremendously happy.
“… Really, you’re so…”
I didn’t understand why, but I felt tears building up.
I wasn’t sad.
It was the opposite, my heart just felt so warm and full.
I should offer a proper response.
Then, once again, She’d walk by my side―the very moment that thought crossed my mind,
“Hahaha! Well, I lost, you got me good!”
Onee-sama’s carefree laughter echoed through the area, interrupting the ambiance that had just begun to settle.
We’re in the middle of something, could you read the room?”
Just as I thought, I want you, you’re the best!”
The commoner was clearly upset, but Manaria-sama gave an aloof response and hugged her.
My eyes opened wide in surprise.
“Hey, stop that, Manaria-sama!”
“Ah~ I always thought you were interesting, but to think that you’d go so far.
Yup, you’re the one that should be my spouse.”
Wha, wait, Onee-sama, what did you just…?
“O-, Onee-sama, what do you mean by that…?”
“Ah, Sorry Claire.
I always had my sights set on Rei.
Her reactions were always so fun so I ended up poking at you to get to her.”
Onee-sama stuck out her tongue and gave a quick, teehee.
Onee-sama’s sights had always been set on… the commoner…? Could that have been the other half of the reason that she mentioned the other day?
That was no good.
Just no good.
I didn’t know exactly what wasn’t good, but I knew that it was no good.
“Hey, Manaria-sama, let go!”
I’m taking you back with me to Sousa.”
Onee-sama and the commoner seemed to get along so well.
I felt my anger surging.
“Yup, yup, and the way you struggle just makes you that much more adorable.
That’s what I love about you.”
Then, unbelievably, Onee-sama’s lips approached the commoner―she tried to kiss Rei.
I couldn’t contain it anymore.
Shouting at the top of my lungs, I forced myself between the two and tore them apart.
“Rei is mine! Don’t take what’s mine away from me!”
The meaning of the words I blurt out only dawned on me a few moments later.
Just what nonsense had I just let slip!?
Rei timidly called out to me.
I felt my face burning.
“T-That’s not it! You have it wrong, all wrong! I didn’t mean it in that―!”
Rei leaped in to hug me.
Her actions were overbearing, sometimes even annoying―but at the same time they did make me feel a little happy.
Of course, being the person that I am, I refused to let any of that show and instead bore my thorns.
“Hey, let go!”
“Absolutely not! I love you, Claire-sama”
“Yes, and I hate you! So LET GO OF ME!”
“But didn’t you just say that I’m yours!?”
“Oh shut it! And forget it!”
Rei and I shared what had been our classic exchange.
Come to think of it, just how many days had it been since we had been able to do so?
“Manaria-sama, this may come off as rude, but this match seems decided.”
“Mmm… Yeah, it does seem so, doesn’t it.”
Onee-sama and Misha seemed to exchange some words as they watched over us, but I was feeling far too happy, and far too embarrassed to be able to directly address them.
“LET GO OF ME!”
This exchange was just the same as the many we had shared before… But unlike before, my heart felt incomparably warmer and so much more full.
Translator Comment: Aaaah, and so we’ve finally made it to the line… Oh Claire.
Also just something that really stood out to me is how until now, when Rei’s either teased or messed with Claire, it’s always been described as one sided.
Not the exact words I would’ve used, but Claire’s always kinda been like, “Ah, it’s the same BS again.” But this time it was, “Rei and I shared…” I really appreciate little nuances like that, and I hope I was able to convey that properly as well.
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