Step 2: Meeting your family (and your Death?)
“Are you sure you’re okay, Ojou-sama?” Edna fluttered around me as she wrung her hands worriedly. I resisted the urge to sigh before giving her a wry smile.
“Edna,” I began calmly, even as some pesky butterflies revolted in my stomach. “That’s the fourth time you’ve asked me that. Don’t worry, I feel completely fine.”
Which…was kind of a lie. I was technically feeling quite jittery instead of ‘fine’, because, wow. It was going to be my first time meeting with my siblings after I got my…past…memories back. And even after a whole week of me seriously pondering, I still wasn’t sure as to how to tackle my problem of my ever pending doom.
On one hand, sure, I remembered the plans of the fictitious girls who were in my situation once. However, their solutions couldn’t really be applied to my problem. After all, though some of those protagonists resolved to make sure that the capture targets had no reason to get attached to the heroine (aka, solve all their problems themselves), well, this was 『Sutekina Nise No Genjitsu』! In this otome game, the capture targets fell in love with the heroine slowly and steadily over the span of a couple years, and nothing Lettice did ruined their love.
On the other hand, some of the protagonists just minimized the interactions between them and the capture target, but…
Two of the capture targets were my darling brothers who I lived together with! How could I not interact with them? Argh!
“Ojou-sama?” Edna stood awkwardly at the door as she waited for me to stop mentally ranting. I immediately gave her a bright smile, in hopes of finally dispelling that worried tone in her voice.
“I’m truly fine, Edna,” I reassured her before walking out. Like a splendid robot, Edna obediently shut her mouth before following quietly behind me.
The moment I walked into the dining room, a blur of light blue smacked right into me. I ruthlessly squashed down the urge to run away, even as I gently hugged back the child clinging onto me.
“Quinn!” Father scolded my younger brother, though it was in a light tone. “Let go of your older sister, she just recovered!”
The fists on my dress tightened momentarily before they released me. As if extremely reluctant, Quinn gave me a worried pout before he slowly stepped away.
“Is Onee-chan better now?” My younger brother asked me quietly, his pretty cerulean eyes roaming over my face. Whatever he saw probably displeased him, because the furrows between his eyebrows immediately deepened.
“I’m fine,” I started, my tone exasperated. Why did nobody believe my words? First it was Edna, now it was Quinn…
“Lettice!” Both my big brother and my big sister walked over, relief clear on their faces. Like Quinn, they hadn’t been allowed to see me when I was sick, though I often heard their voices as they argued with the guard stationed behind my door.
“Are you still tired?” Raimond asked with genuine concern after he raked his dark blue eyes over my thin figure. “You look very pale.”
All of my siblings sported pretty blue hair and pretty blue eyes, albeit in different shades. They were the ones who took after Father, at least in the hair department. On the other hand, only I took after our deceased mother, with silver hair tinted in light green. My eyes matched Quinn’s though, and were also a pretty cerulean blue.
“I’m fine,” I reassured them with the brightest smile I could muster. “Really.”
None of my siblings looked like they believed me. Thankfully, Father probably saw my discomfort because he took pity on me and called all of us over to the dinner table.
Unlike my siblings, Father had been given the ‘okay’ to approach me during the week I spent cooped up in my room. He was a good father, and he spent most of his time with me…and his paperwork. After seeing the mountain of paperwork my father dragged into my room, I almost felt glad that it was my brothers who were expected to become Prime Minister…
“How do you two like the Academy?” Father started off the evening discussion as he gazed keenly at the twins. “Lettice will be starting there soon, and Quinn as well. I’m sure they are interested.”
My two older siblings glanced at each other before they both shrugged. It was Lyna, my sister, who decided to speak up.
“Quite boring,” she said with a sigh. “The lessons are decent but the people there are not.”
“Oh?” Father raised an eyebrow. I also looked up in light surprise.
“Yeah,” Raimond agreed as he stared at his plate. “Some of the nobles make fun of the commoners, and when those commoners score higher than them, they become worse. It’s disgusting.”
I stared at my brother as he spat out those dark words, and for a second, I doubted. After all, ‘Raimond only killed his little sister by mistake’ … that had all been general conjecture created by fans, though that theory had been the most popular. Still…all those times he killed Lettice in the canon plot, were they really an accident? There was no doubt that Raimond hated the people who preyed on the less fortunate, and for Lettice to become one of those people, and for her to prey on Raimond’s darling heroine…
It was one thing for Quinn to kill me. Quinn’s mental state by the end of the game was extremely fragile, regardless of the heroine’s attempts to steady him. And that mental state was a result of Lettice anyway. But for Raimond to kill me, if it hadn’t been an accident…
Cold sweat covered my back. Raimond had seriously wanted to kill canon Lettice. All of those accidents were carefully calculated, and—
“Onee-chan?” Quinn’s worried voice cut through the silence left by Raimond as everyone immediately looked up. “What happened? Your face turned white.”
Biting my lip, I abruptly stood up. “Sorry Quinn, Onii-sama, Onee-sama, Father. I feel kind of tired…”
I guess I really looked pale because even Father looked alarmed as he quickly stood up. “You should lie down, Lettice. I’ll go and call over the doctor…”
I would have felt bad if I hadn’t felt like I wanted to throw up. Our peaceful dinner was thrown into chaos as Edna supported me back to my room while my siblings fluttered around me nervously. By the time I finally got back to my bed, the list of the ways Lettice died had already run through my head twice.
Strangled to death, slit wrists and major arteries, frantic stabs, sword through the heart, slit throat, drowning, pushed off of a roof…
After that, I couldn’t look either of my brothers in the eye that day.