―――― What should I do, Lidi is just too cute.
After I recovered Lidi from Prince Maximilian within hair's breadth, I feel like her attitude towards me has changed just a little.
It might be just my hubris. However, I feel an obvious affection has begun being mixed in her gaze directed at me.
Yesterday in the office too, now as she's watching from behind a pillar too.
A gaze mixed with feelings clearly different from before.
With an impossible to hide affection she's intently watching me.
I can't help but find her looking at me with such eyes hopelessly ticklish.
Her face shows she intends to be hiding. Alex had a complicated face as he came to me.
… I mean, I can't help it, can I.
Until now Lidi has never pointed such a direct look at me.
I'd like to see a man who can keep his composure when watched by the woman he loves with eyes filled with heat. Supposing there was such a man, surely he doesn't like that woman that much.
Unable to endure, I raised my face and met her eyes. When she sweetly smiled at me in a fluster, I returned a smile as if enticed.
Her cheeks dyed deep red like an apple.
… Cute. Too cute.
That bashful appearance is marvelously adorable. To think that I am suffering from a troublesome illness called love. I understand. I understand, but I can't stop, I don't want to stop.
Thinking she felt scared last night, I only slept hugging her close.
She'd gone through such an unpleasant experience. I didn't want to force her into the act when both her body and mind must've been tired.
Her body that I firmly hugged was gently warm, her scent as she spontaneously snuggled up to me tickled my nostrils, it felt unbearable.
I'd be lying if I said it wasn't painful, but thinking about her I could endure.
I don't regret not embracing her, but there's no denying I was starved accordingly.
―――― It couldn't be helped.
I laughed at myself for only wishing to see the indecent her.
And, Lidi's eyes moved off me.
When I followed her gaze wondering what happened, I saw Alex walking towards her.
We had a precious good mood going.
I scolded myself for having such regretful thoughts. No need to be impatient. Finally, her feelings that I couldn't understand took a clear form. Still, I don't know their degree.
Even so, it's unbearable she faced away.
It doesn't matter if it's little by little, I want her to come to like me. And at the end, I want to obtain her love.
If it's her, when that time comes, she'll surely give me those words.
That's why until then, no matter how starved I am, I won't ask. I don't want to rush her.
Until she tells me, I intend to treat her like until now to make her fall for me and obediently wait.
That time is probably not that far. The way she was looking at me now has me believe so.
"I'll be waiting so…. fall quickly, Lidi"
I muttered so, and shaking off my reluctance returned to the office.
"What's that out of nowhere?"
An hour later.
Alex came back with a dejected face.
When he opened the door, he uttered those words.
"No… What do I say… I think you have it hard too"
"With what. I don't understand what you're getting at"
As I frowned not understanding what he meant, he shook his head with a tired expression that it was nothing.
"You… Well done loving Lidi, I could say… I respect you"
"What's that out of nowhere. What do you mean"
Even if he's her older brother, I won't forgive making fun of Lidi. When I scowled at him thinking so, Alex laughed dryly.
"I ain't really making fun of her. It's because what Lidi says is too distorted. I just got tired a little"
"Ah, isn't that a cute aspect"
When I affirmed that with a straight face, Alex dropped his shoulders crestfallen.
"… After all you're incredible"
I'm leaving my little sister to you, as he patted my shoulder with that, although I felt suspicious, I nodded.
Of course I'm willing to accept all of her. Rather, I want to accept it now.
"After all I still don't understand what you're getting at, has Lidi said something?"
"Something like that. But I know nothing. Figure it out yourself"
"I don't quite understand what you are saying"
"It's fine if you don't. You'll understand sooner or later anyway"
"Is that so?"
While approaching my desk, Alex let out a large sigh.
Then he shook his head several times to switch over.
"Ah, that's right Freed. Have you checked the state of the barrier? … How was it?"
"Ah yeah, it was amazing"
Recalling what I saw a while ago, I also switched over my thoughts.
After hearing Lidi's story yesterday, I reviewed the state of the barrier in the depths of the royal quarter garden.
"The barrier completely disappeared. There was no trace. It looked like nothing had been there from the start. Honestly, I'm flustered about the existence of the secret path being leaked"
A path between the general area and royalty quarter can't be left as is.
I put up the barrier again, but why in the world had that happened.
"Certainly, like that it couldn't be helped Lidi strayed. There's no point in hiding it when it turned into a completely ordinary path. Especially if it was leaked out to assassins, it could be used to trespass. It's scary to think how long it'd been in that state"
You can use it to easily reach the deepest part of the Royal Palace. I can't keep calm thinking that such a path could have been exposed for longer.
"When did you last check the barrier?"
"… Like two months ago. It was when I went to that masquerade ball. On the way back, I put up the strongest barrier rather than a simple one. I didn't think I'd ever use it again"
"At that time, huh…"
I used that secret path when going back and forth to masquerade balls. From the start I'd intended that ball to be my last, but after I met Lidi I could only think of her, so the moment I returned to the castle I sealed the path with a barrier.
Even if I couldn't find her, I'd never embrace a woman other than her. It was filled with such determination.
"Honestly, I'm shocked that barrier was unraveled. I intended to put up the best barrier I could"
A barrier that couldn't be easily unraveled even by myself. Because it was also a testament to my determination, I used everything I could. It being easily unraveled is a blow to my pride.
"Do you have any idea about the culprit?"
"There's no way I do"
When I declared that, Alex returned isn't that right.
"Will is the only one I come up with thinking of who could solve Freed's barrier"
"I think it wasn't a magician. There was no trace of magical arts left"
"Then, how was it unraveled?"
"I also want to know that"
There was no trace of magical arts at all. If somebody uses magical arts, a trace always remains. And yet, there was none, on the contrary, nothing of the barrier I'd put on remained. It was as if the barrier didn't exist at all.
"Let's see… Rather that it being unraveled, it may be more correct to say it was erased"
As I said so while recalling the scene from a while ago, Alex also began pondering.
"Erased… huh. Did you have an impression like it had never existed?"
"Ah, that's right. That might be the most accurate"
"… Neutralization user, perhaps"
I rejected Alex's words on the spot.
Neutralization user. Although literature certainly clearly mentions them, in reality they're a rarely seen existence.
"No, I think so too… But the feeling you described seems similar to the phenomenon neutralization users cause"
I can't deny it.
As Alex says, what's written in the literature about the ability of neutralization users neatly applies to the present situation.
Nevertheless, it's difficult to imagine a user of such an ability would be near. In the first, a user of such an ability would long ago be under the protection of a country… Not necessary ours.
After a little groan, Alex stood up.
"Nn, I dunno… I'll try asking Will a little"
"Ah, sure. If there's even a slight possibility, we can't afford to ignore it. While at it, ask about yesterday's magical tool"
As I took the opportunity to instruct him, Alex spoke while scratching his head.
"Got it. Well, I may have said that, but I don't think it's a neutralization user either"
"Still, as long as the possibility isn't zero, we must investigate. That is that, but just to be sure I'd like a listing of magicians who could unravel the barrier. Of course, both inside and outside our country"
Hearing my words, with tightened expression Alex briefly demonstrated his acknowledgment.
"Yeah, I got it. Our innermost place may have been invaded. I'll investigate thoroughly"
Unintentionally I complained to such Alex.
"But really, trouble started suddenly. In the year you weren't here it was never so hectic"
Hearing that, Alex meaningfully smiled.
"Of course, you decided to involve yourself with Lidi. I've said it before, but she's an extraordinary troublemaker. As long as you're involved with Lidi, you're not fated for peace and quiet"
That's how it's always been for me, as Alex happily laughed it off, I felt jealous.
If she gives me a trouble, I'll accept it with a smile. As long as it has to do with her, troubles or whatever are no problem.
Rather, I can't leave it up to others. It's for me alone.
"If Lidi is the cause, I'll take of everything. You don't have to do anything"
"Oi, I was just joking. Don't make such a serious face"
I smiled cheerfully at the flustered Alex and declared.
"There's no problem even if I'm serious, right?"
"You… If Lidi so wished, you'd seriously conquer the world…"
I thought a little about Alex's shocked complaint.
Lidi wishing me to conquer the word… huh. Having reached the conclusion, I nodded once.
"If Lidi really wished so. But it's a meaningless question. She'd never say or wish anything like that"
"Of course I understand that. I'm still her older brother, okay?"
"If you insist so, don't ask foolish questions. Now then, shall we finish quickly? I want to return to my room quickly"
As I implied that I want to return to Lidi's side, with yes yes Alex shrugged his shoulders and began moving.
"To hear from you that you want to return to your room. The fiancée effect of my little sister is immense"
"… That's right. Even I'm surprised"
Thinking that's it's just like that, I nodded without denying.
Really, I'd never thought such a day would come.
I'd never thought that I would wish to be on the side of somebody I love so much.
My days are happier than I had imagined, every day is sparkling and colorful.
"I'd have never thought your partner would be Lidi but… I'm glad"
―――― I pray you can find your beloved.
One year ago, these were the words he left with.
It's still fresh in my memory how during our farewell just before he went to his territory, I replied that it'd be difficult as he said that .
At that time I had no expectations.
Recalling that and reflecting on my current happiness, once again I told him the words of gratitude.