note: I refer the crow with ‘it’ not ‘him’ even though Ilya said it’s a boy or that it looks like Soleil. For some reasons.
「I want you to protect my little sister」
Come to think of it, the crow is just strangely bending his head.
Then as it is, it gives me the question.
「Because I want to protect her」 that’s how I answer it, then the crow bends its head more.
Somehow its movement is strange.
It put on a black robe; it looks like a magician or a life-sized puppet.
Recently, the crow never fail to fly into my room, every day.
Different from the first time when it entered without permission, it enters politely by knocking the window by its beak then I’ll open it. I wait for it to come, but I never understand how it enters with those iron bars.
Just a moment I take off my eyes, before I notice it, it already enters my room.
And then, it suddenly becomes a human-like.
「…Well, it’s fine. If that’s what you wish.」
With a 〈fuu..〉the crow gives off a little smile in a bewitching way.
With an artificial like face that I can’t read- in which in some aspects resemble Soleil, but still somewhere reeks of human, that imbalance is strange to think of.
Speaking badly, it’s eerie.
「But it’s strange. Why do you cherish your little sister so much?」
Meaninglessly walking around the room, it’s not even important and yet I rummage the bookshelves and the dresser, the figure of the bird doesn’t change very much.
That’s why i feel that what this bird is talking about that man is true.
「It’s my little sister after all. It’s normal to cherish her, right?」
Replying its question, it vigorously boards on the bed I sit on and the crow laughs.
「Un, I see. But I think that’s some kind of sophistry」
「Yeah. Because it’s your little sister, you cherish her it’s such an incomplete answer, considering the reality」
It thinks that it’s more senior than me. But seeing how things are it’s clear who’s more senior-like.
If you see carefully, it has the face of a young boy, and while thinking so suddenly it changes to a mature facial expression.
It’s completely a strange boy, I think so.
「You like your fiance, right? She’s your love rival, right?」
It changes to the boy figure, throw itself down, then with it’s slit eyes it looks up.
「…I, Have I ever spoken about Soleil to you?」
「Nope. But just seeing, I understand.」
〈fufufu〉pleasantly the crow raises it’s voice.
Just, from where does it see things? At least I never talk about Soleil to it.
To begin with, the crow only appears at night. It only enters my room, and that’s why there’s no way it has the time to see.
Could it be that during the day, it uses another form?
That’s how it think it, but I realize that it’s not such a honest being to answer my question clearly.
「Even if she’s a love rival, there’s no reason not to cherish herー」
At least for me, there isn’t it.
For me who knows what will happen next, I have a reason to cherish her.
It’s still the same this time. For the sake of not losing my little sister, I’ll do whatever I can do. It’s no more than that.
Therefore, I’ll use everything that I can use.
It’s the same as the previous time.
「Besides, you said that you don’t need any compensation, right? You said you’ll help me.」
「Well, Certainly I had said so. I don’t need any reward. Although that’s in monetary meaning.」
「Don’t make that face. I’ll fulfill my promise… I haven’t hear your answer though.」
The crow suddenly wakes up and put its head on my lap, behaving like a child.
「But I want a reason」
「The reason for me to move.」
I feel the atmosphere and air become silent and frozen.
It’s not warm and not cold, if I must say, as if those pitch black eyes penetrates me.
Not giving you any chance to dodge it.
「Just for once, my life was rescued by my little sister」
That’s how it’s. So, I’m can’t be strong to my little sister.
I’m indebted. I’m indebted to protect that fragile little sister.
「When I was very young, the horse I was taking care of almost kicked me 」
Although I said I was taking care of it, it’s not like I did it seriously.
When taking a breather from studying, there’s a stable and there I just helped around. Even mostly, you could say that I was being a nuisance there.
Even at that time.
Therefore, on the spot no one’s prepared for it.
Usually, it was a docile horse; no one thought that it would act like that.
The stable boy was also there, holding the horse’s reins. That’s why it’s unexpected that the horse would be surprised of me tripping and falling down, and it raised its forefeet.
I remembered clearly my very young little sister’s hand pulling my back.
Actually my little sister wasn’t there from the beginning; she’s just passing there by chance.
As usual for some days before she was ill on her bed, she probably thought that being secluded in her room wasn’t good, felt like giving a light exercise together with her maid, she decided to go outside to have a stroll around.
Then, she found me who’s almost got kicked by the horse.
It’s truly by chance.
And then by chance she tried to protect me.
The horse’ neighing was loud and it’s big shadow. I could only tremble in fear, and them that my small little sister protected me.
In a close call, the stable boy realized the situation and pulled the reins, if not my little sister’s head probably got kicked.
Surely, it would be unsafe.
After hearing my story, the crow was giving me a dumbfounded face.
「ーーYes, only that.」
However, it’s enough even if it’s just that.
At that time, because my sickly little sister was almost always on isolation, the times we exchanged words could be counted.
Although we had different mother, being separated, and we barely had any physical contacts.
Even so. That child still called me 【Onee-sama】, and saved me. To the point of risking her life.
「So, it means that you were moved by her kindness」
「…Yeah. It’s probably that way.」
Sylvia protected me at once, but when she realized that both of us were safe, she trembled a bit.
I tightly held her slender arms, ‘it’s scary’, and she hugged me and cried.
That’s why, while hugging that fragile body, I swore.
That I would protect this small and weak little sister.
That if something happened next time, I would be the one protecting her, or so that how I felt.
「ーFufu, alright. Excellent. Very nice.」
Those deep-black eyes looking at me.
I don’t know what it’s thinking but its gaze loosen and it seems pleasant.
「I understand. OK. I’ll protect the imoutou-chan*」
I don’t hate those human-like sentiments, after all. The crow on my lap begins to move and enjoy itself.
Without noticing, I brush that forehead, at first it seems annoyed but before long the crow seems enjoying it and laughs.
Only after I graduate from the academy, it said.
If nothing happens, I will marry with Soleil.
And if so, after 3 years, that summer will come.
That summer when Slyvia will get attacked by the group of thieves and die.
What will happen this time?
Could I do it properly?
I think I’m only scared.
But, if I couldn’t do it properly I’ll receive Soleil’s judgment again.
The day, I and Soleil get married, my little sister as my relative, participates in the wedding ceremony.
At the end of the wedding ceremony, outside of the church, there’s a small garden where relatives and friends give us words of blessings.
The moment when she and my family said ‘congratulations’ in front of me and Soleil. How she looks like while she’s wishing us to be happy with a smile.
Even though it’s my wedding, I vividly remember the appearance of my little sister.
She loosely ties her silver hair with a thin red ribbon. Her white skin looks very attractive.
Same as the first time those two meet at that tea ceremony, she wears a white-like beige dress, and gives off a small smile.
With her petite and slender body, my little sister’s transient figure grabs the attention of others, more than me- the bride, she’s more standing out than me.
Soleil says ‘Thank you’ to Slyvia who had gave her congratulory.
He barely sees me with those cold eyes.
But under that face, there’s something that he couldn’t conceal.
That he couldn’t be with the one he loves, and he actually wants to change that.
I couldn’t see into that dace, glancing to the skies, and I see that there’s a big black bird rotating high in the sky.
As if it’s sneering at me.
Having sharp ears, Soleil turns his head to me and looks at me puzzled, as he hears me murmuring.
I shake my head implying there’s nothing; he let out a sigh and nod saying 「I see」.
He doesn’t have any interest of me, acting completely ignorant.
And just with that, his gaze returns to my little sister again.
Today is supposed to be one of the best days in one’s life.
Once, I believed in that way too.
Preparing for weeks for this day, I chose this dress. To some parts that I didn’t like I did the embroidery by myself.
Wishing so, the points of my lips began to rise into a smile, it’s my real feelings.
Without anyone noticing and knowing, pretending like nothing, even in fact I understand that some thought I was complicated.
To this degree. To this degree, Soleil doesn’t love me.
While making an oath of eternal love in front of God, staring at Soleil’s cold face, I realize that this is a man who even clearly able to deceive God.
He’s a person who choose political marriage over real love.
Rather than love, he’s a man who chooses to protect his fief’s territory.
In that way, He holds back his feelings by following rational conduct, probably becoming the ideal figure of a governor. There are many people who lose sight of the road because of love. But, if it’s him it isn’t like that.
For that reason, I was chosen.
Then, I’m the person who loves this kind of man.
I was captured by his cool-headedness, and there isn’t a moment I ever think of him in a low manner.
Therefore, from the depths of my heart, I make this vow before God.
That I’ll continue loving him in any situation.
Even if he doesn’t love me, I’ll vow for two person’s portion.
Then, probably someday… the day will come when all of it get repaid.
And so, I became Soleil’s wife.
ーーMy third life, if compared to the previous ones, I think it’s mostly quiet days.
I’m making the preparation for the coming summer, while joining the social life as the madam of the marquis house, without any failure fulfilling all the duties as Soleil’s wife.
I do everything I can to avoid the tradegy of the summer 3 years later. I make personal connections, and stengthen them if it’s necessary.
I work vigorously to make all the necessary arrangements.
「Because Ilya said so I investigated it, what do that group of jewelleries thieves do?」
The crow bends its head in a strange way.
But, I don’t give my reason to the crow implicit question, still I need its cooperartion to help me with the investigation.
「I don’t know what you are doing but since I’m bored I don’t mind it」and it laughs emptily.
ーーAnd then, one day.
An unexpected incident happened.
Because Soleil said there’s something he wanted to talk about, he brings me along to that place, where there’s my little sister.
As if protecting her, Soleil stands in front of that pale Slyvia who stiffen when she sees my face.
I keep staring at him, not knowing what’s the matter, Soleil with his usual indifferent handsome face looks at me.
「…Slyvia is not at fault.」
Suddenly cutting off, he asks my pale looking little sister to sit down first.
But Slyvia keeps silent and shakes her head.
From those big eyes tears starts to gather, she opens and closes her lips as if she can’t bear something, she looks like she will burst into tears anytime.
As if preparing for something, her back trembles a bit.
By a single breath, Soleil said so with a monotonous voice.
After I said so this spacious guest room, where we are standing, becomes silent.
Actually, in my head I already got it, my understanding just couldn’t catch up and reflexively I spoke so.
「Slyvia is pregnant with my child.」
This time, I hear what he said clearly and my head blanks out.
Yes, it literally becomes white.
Previously, I thought that there were only 3 people in this guest room.
That’s why my breathing become disordered, and the sounds are clearly resounding.
The word I force to squeeze out from my mouth is a loud 〈WHY〉with a trembling voice.
As if there’s a big stone inside my chest, I said that word feeling like vomiting, my reasoning is falling apart.
Slyvia body is weak, I remembered hearing that it would be difficult for her to wish for children.
That’s the very reason she doesn’t have any fiance.
She certainly couldn’t give birth to a heir in this noble society, she was in a very unfavorable position.
That’s how it supposed to be. Until this very moment.
I don’t understand why I keep repeating 「Why」 against the shocking fact, just like an idiot.
Then the reply I get is 「I’m sorry Onee-sama」 with a small murmur like it’s vanishing from Slyvia.
Turning around my field of view, stopping at that figure, I send Soleil a gaze.
Today it’s supposed to be our wedding anniversary.
Our second wedding anniversary.
It even hasn’t pass two years.
I’ve been preparing for the summer 3 years later, and to do so no one realizes, the two of us (TL note: with crow) have been secretly meeting up.
Here, the one who can stay calm is most likely only Soleil.
Even after doing such adultery, clearly saying 「I love Slyvia」with a voice showing no guilt at all.
Even in my previous life, and the other previous one, the words that I never able to get from him.
No matter how much I devote myself, no matter how much say I love Soleil, those words never return to me.
Then, my little sister, only 〈Slyvia〉can get those words.
Even after giving birth to the child that I couldn’t embrace with these hands, really, I’m just wishing to have a happy family.
That’s naturally something that I was supposed to do.
I scream loudly.
To the point that it would break this world into pieces.
There’s no way such a foolish thing could happen.
「…Ilya, why are you crying?」
I round my body under the sheets, and from above there’s a strange sweet voice.
If I raise my face, the crow’s beautiful face would be right there.
That time, hearing my screams, my escort hurriedly burst into the room.
Unconsciously searching for Al’s figure, but when it was my marriage, I think Al was staying in his parents’ home.
I remembered saying words that rather than protecting me, he was protecting my little sister, and in an instant his face disappeared.
Then, the guard of the marquis house without saying any words lift me up who was in confusion, tossed me into my room and locked it.
「… Crow, crow」
If I can make excuse, then I want to say that this time I’m already on my limit.
I’ve passed many critical points, I’ve tasted the real despair, and at that time the closest one beside me and showing me gentle face was the crow.
That’s why, no matter how hard it is, I talked to it about everything regarding that incident.
I surely just want someone’s sympathy.
To have someone say that I’ve done my best and comfort me. and telling me not need to be worried.
Anything is fine, I just need a reason to survive in this cruel reality.
I sobbed at some words, but the crow still listened to my story until the end, and it calls my name.
Will it believe my absurd story. But I want to be believed in. Or, otherwise.
It forcefully holds my chin up with its finger, and I see the crow’s face clearly.
What does that mask-like white face thinking, I couldn’t read its facial expression.
On those black eyes, reflected my own anxious face.
「If what you are saying is true,」
It licks the tears falling on my cheek, and it smiles.
What does that mask-like white face thinking, I couldn’t read its facial expression.
But, the words it said after weren’t gentle words of sympathy.
「That must be like hell」
It licks the tears flowing on my cheek , and the crow smiles.
「Hey, Ilya. When talking about hell, it’s a place where sinner goes, right?」
「It’s the place decided for the after life of humans who have committed sins, right? And there they will receive their punishment, right?」
Receiving…? (TL note: receiving punishment)
「If this is hell, and you are receiving punishment, just what kind of sins have you committed?」
The crow’s cold fingers, it shortly scratch its legs to the carpet, then it grasps my hand and pin me down.
「Why such a thing happen to you?」
「Why do you keep repeating the same time?」
The crow hand keep holding the shivering me, there are many tears dropping down.
If you said that it’s my punishment, that it’s the retribution of my sins.
My sin is probably that I wish for happiness for myself.
And that means I wish for Soleil and Slyvia’s misfortune.
At my first life, I certainly felt delighted hearing that Slyvia was dead.
But why does it make me live in this hell so much?
「Could it be that you think that you are the only unfortunate oneーー?」
How I supposed to answer to the crow’s question.
Right now, I don’t recall it being right here.
What I remember is that I’m alone standing in this room.
『Ojou-sama is not a person who chooses death.』
I remember Al’s words.
Even so, I’m the kind of person who’s always anxious, and even since my marriage I’ve always keep a cutlery in my bedroom.
That’s for if I feel like injuring myself. I never leave scissors, knives or razors.
That’s also why I tear this thin bed sheet with my teeth, and braid it into a rope.
It’s not my real character.
Even if it isn’t, I actually understand what I am trying to do.
The baby I never could embrace, my little sister would surely embrace it with her hands.
And together with Soleil, it’s very easy to visualize their faces laughing happily.
It’s bad. I’m so hopeless. I can’t bear her happy face, and that Soleil building his future with another woman.
If this is my punishment, if it’s the payment of the sin I’ve committed.
This truth is just keep repeating.
What I wish for would not come true.
I put on the rope on my neck.
I get on a chair and slip off my toes.
- the crow changes from time to time from the bird form to the human-like form
- I translate the crow as ‘it’ not ‘him’
- It’s clearly implied that the crow is just like Ilya’s imaginary friend because she’s lonely and depressed and you know what.
Wow, Ilya it must really hurts being you…
This chapter is really hard to translate actually, it’s too heavy both in material and for my heart. Even so glad I could finish it for 2 days!
Please give your comments! 🙂