43 Part 2

While I’m at it, I’ll bring hot water and a washcloth so you can wipe your body with it. I’ll help you wipe the places you can’t reach — eh, huh?!”

“Aine, you’re too kind that it hurts —!”

While screaming, Rita jumped out into the hallway.

That was weird. Did I say something wrong?

Leticia came toward the kitchen as Aine was peeking into the hallway trying to figure out what was going on with Rita.

Still in her sleepwear, Leticia yawned while combing her blue hair with her fingers.

She was Aine’s best friend who had been following her, even after Aine became a slave. Even so, Leticia’s attitude toward Aine did not change at all. She was trusted by Naa, Cecyl, and Rita; a friend Aine was really proud of.

“Rita just stormed out of here. What happened?”

“I don’t know. Nothing happened here.”

“She ran and climbed to the top of the tree in the garden while trembling.”

“I’m sure she’s helping me prepare so I can air out the laundry.”

I was just thinking of tying a rope between the trees in the garden so I can hang the laundry to dry.

As expected of Miss Rita. She’s so smart!

“By the way, I have a story to tell you, Aine.”

“A story?”

Aine asked back as she lowered the pot from the kamado.

Yup. The soup is almost done. All I have to do is let it steam for a little while.

I’ll keep stirring, while it’s steaming.

“It’s about Master Nagi …. He seems to have become intimate friends with Cecyl and Rita.”

“Oh, you can tell, Leticia?”

“Th-this building conducts sound very well.”

Leticia turned beet red while diverting her eyes. I wonder why?

“That’s why my heart was throbbing yesterday, and I couldn’t sleep — well, whatever. It doesn’t matter! What I’m worried about is you, Aine!”

“Me?”

“Don’t you think you’re off to a late start, Aine?”

“A late start? Why?”

“Both Cecyl and Rita had become intimate with Naa – they have performed “Engage”, you know?”

“Yup. As expected of Naa, to be able to complete the legendary ritual.”

“If the three of them go beyond the limits and become even more intimate, they may have children, you know?”

“Yup. I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure the children will be smart like Naa.”

Leticia sighed in disbelief as Aine answered with her sparkling eyes.

“Aine, are you really okay with that?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“But Cecyl and Rita are important fighters in this party. Who will take care of the children while they are out on quests?”

“Of course, I (Aine) will!”

“Taking care of a baby isn’t easy.”

“Of course, leave it to me. For me, it’s a reward.”

“Babies need milk, right? What will you do when they are away?”

“Of course, I will give it —.”

Clang!

The wooden ladle fell out of Aine’s hand.

It rolled on the floor.

The sparkles disappeared from Aine’s eyes.

Her vision began to sway.

I can’t believe it. I can’t believe such a thing happened!

No way, no way, no way ….

As everyone’s “big sister”, I shouldn’t have overlooked such a simple thing —.

Aine collapsed on the floor.

She put both hands on her lap and started to tremble. Sweat trickled down from her white forehead. As if she had just noticed, Aine involuntarily pressed her chest.

“… I don’t have breast milk ….”

“You finally notice, huh?”

“What should I do, Leticia? I can’t give milk to Naa’s babies!”

It was a blind spot. She was dumbstruck because it was unexpected.

Aine’s plan should have been perfect. Naa was like a younger brother to her; Cecyl and Rita were his important slaves. It was not a problem at all for them to be intimate friends. Aine was happy for them.

If the relationship between the three of them went well, they would have children; and Aine was planning to raise them.

It was a dream-like future for Aine.

After getting up in the morning, she would wake the children, make breakfast for everyone, and see everyone off if they were going on a quest. After that, she would do laundry, sew some new clothes, and clean the house. She would have such a casual daily routine. It was something Aine lost a long time ago and had been longing for the most.

Aine was fine as long as she could stay like siblings with Naa.

“Big sister slave.”

Yup, that’s new. Wonderful.

That’s why I’m happy the way we are.

I was supposed to live leisurely as everyone’s “big sister”, but ….

“Girls don’t produce breast milk unless they have children ….”

“Really, how can you not notice that …? As a friend, I’m shocked.”

“B-but if we can get milk from someone else —.”

“Oh, so as everyone’s big sister, you’re going to let someone else be responsible for such an important thing?”

“Huh!?”

“Oh, I can hear it. Nagi’s baby is crying because he’s hungry. He has sharp hearing because he’s Cecyl’s child. He’s screaming his head off. He’s hungry. Why does the maid big sister in front of me not give me any milk? I wonder if she hates me. Even though I love this big sister … why?”

“Stop, Leticia, stop …!”

It was as if Aine could hear the baby crying in her ears.

Translator’s note:

*Kamado is a traditional Japanese wood- or charcoal-fueled cook stove. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamado

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