Mushoku Tensei Redundancy / Mushoku Tensei Redundancy Chapter 27 extra
Aisha Greyrat was a genius at birth.
From the earliest days she could understand words.
Not just in language, but she quickly picked up everything her mother taught her.
She was also quick to understand why a subject might be useful.
Cleaning, laundry, language, math, history, geography, science.
She soaked up knowledge like a sponge.
She continued to excel even after the Teleportation Disaster.
Lilia and Aisha were transported to Shirone Kingdom.
Locked up by Pax Shirone for the crime of being acquainted with Roxy Migurdia and made into a maid.
Even though Aisha was still so young, Pax didn’t concern himself and made her a maid.
But it worked out for her.
The maids of Shirino Kingdom pitied Lilia and young Aisha for how Pax persecuted them.
So they were more than generous to them, even though they popped out of nowhere.
Especially Aisha, they pitied her circumstance and went of of their ways to teach her all kind of things.
Aisha learned from them a variety of things.
Mostly on how to deal with people.
How to be polite.
How to thank people, how to make requests, how to refuse demands, how to welcome visitors, how to entertain guests.
The brilliant Aisha quickly appreciated how important these people skills were in life.
From Aisha’s perspective, the world was simple.
She only needed to be taught once, and what wasn’t she could easily copy and learn on her own.
Soon she realized everyone around her are far less capable.
Even though the maids taught her many things, they don’t think very hard. Knowledge without intelligence.
Even though she had few chances to meet peers of her age, as far as she could tell, they’re all lacking in both knowledge and intelligence.
Basically, Aisha thought everyone as a bunch of idiots.
As such, she was very pessimistic about her future.
Understanding her imprisonment by Pax, she saw a future clouded in darkness.
The alternative of serving her brother as her mother told, the one she no longer recognized and only memory of was that his fetish for girls’ panties, was not much better.
But Pax was even more terrible than brother, that she could tell from Lilia’s and the maids’ actions.
She knew her fate if she had stuck around.
That’s why, she acted to escape this predicament.
Even though there’s little could be done using her little body.
If she didn’t act soon, there might be no escape.
It was then she encountered Rudeus Greyrat, her older brother.
From then on, Rudeus became an special existence for Aisha.
The greatest person in Aisha’s eyes.
Because Rudeus was always ahead of everyone.
Doing the impossible for average folks.
Even better than the self-professed genius Aisha would ever be capable of.
Top class magic, gentle demeanor, gaining great allies.
Yet he never shown conceit, always looking at things with a even keel.
Unlike her original assumptions, he’s a respectable person.
With a brother like that, serving him won’t be all bad.
Even the panties fetish was only minor details.
Maybe it’s the Suspension Bridge Effect.
Since Aisha was in midst of her first crisis.
Even though she learned many things from the maids, many others were still foreign to Aisha. Wandering in a strange city, caught by a man twice her size, and even seeing her life-saving letter tore to threads.
Princess rescued in that moment, of course she would like him.
It didn’t actually matter to Aisha whether she would worked as a maid.
Aisha thought she would serve Rudeus, and like mother did, eventually gives birth to a son.
That wasn’t ignorance.
Everyone have their own walks of life.
She’s well aware of that fact, just that given her birth and upbringing, she just assumed that she would follow her mother’s footsteps.
Of course, if Aisha wanted to do something else, Aisha could certainly developed in that direction.
But Aisha didn’t have any particular dreams, nothing she couldn’t have lived without.
What she desired, can be fulfilled with a small salary, which her brother were more than ample in providing.
Working under such a respectable person, getting paid for it, and given plenty of freedom. Isn’t that enough, she thought?
Since Aisha was capable of making it a reality, she easily accomplished it.
Then on, Aisha lived a comfortable life.
Housework, gardening, decorating.
And a particular knack for nurturing plants.
Soil, seeds, sunlight, and water.
The perfect combination to grow the ideal plant.
Even when the combinations are exactly the same, the flowers they produce will be different.
Nurturing plants no one have ever seen before was a challenge. But there always exists a reason for crop failures. There is always a better way to nurture a plant. Taking up that challenge gave Aisha plenty of fulfillment.
But most importantly, plants never complained.
Because Aisha hated unreasonable people that complained.
They just lagged behind.
That’s right, from her youngest days, Aisha were already looking down at those less capable than her.
She liked competent people.
She hated incompetent people.
Only exception she made are for those, although less capable, still managed to accomplish something.
among those she acknowledge as her betters, the best was naturally Rudeus, and of course she liked him the best.
And of course, this “like” was different from love, a slightly twisted sort of feeling.
What twisted Aisha the most though, was being Lilia’s child.
No matter how great Aisha was or what she accomplished, Lilia would never praise her. Always putting Norn first, putting Rudeus first.
This messed with Aisha’s mind.
Because she was always discriminated against, she was particularly sensitive to personal failure.
Constantly anxious that any failure would left her discarded or destroy her world view.
Because of this, she learned to quickly remediate every failure, or at least place the blame on someone else.
Of course, her feelings as Rudeus’ little sister or desire to serve as the family maid were not faked.
She also felt joy, loneliness, and sometimes anger or tears.
It’s just that her judgemental nature was always there.
She knew how to find capable people.
But she didn’t understand what “love” meant.
She didn’t understand what it meant to love someone.
She didn’t understand what love was.
Two turning points happened to that Aisha.
First was the birth of Ars Greyrat.
By then, Aisha already had plenty of experience with labor, having helped deliver Lucy and Lara.
The moment when life begins truly touches Aisha deeply.
Wow, how incredible!
Only on this particular point, but it truly touched her.
But Ars’ birth was different.
Rudeus was not present then.
Even though that was Eris’ first child, but she had plenty of strength, and Lilia and Aisha was assisting their third delivery.
If Rudeus there, Eris might had wasted her strength over frivolous things, so it probably would been counterproductive.
But because of this, the first person who to hold Ars, was Aisha.
When she held him, it felt different from Lucy or Lara.
When Ars first cried out, an emotion she never felt before blossomed in her chest.
An indescribable feeling, a little painful, a little sad.
That feeling remained, after the safe delivery, after Eris fell back to sleep from relief, and even after Aisha went to bed.
She was up all night, eyes wide awake.
Stretching her arms above her, she tried to recall the sensation from carrying Ars.
The feelings on her hands were similar to Lucy and Lara.
But also subtly different, was it because he was a boy?
She didn’t know.
But Aisha understood how happy it made she felt.
Tomorrow, come quickly, and let me greet that crying and bothersome Ars soon, she thought.
For her, there’s something special about Ars.
But she couldn’t say why…
Aisha changed that day.
No longer did she concern herself with what occupied her time in the past – her maid work, her hobbies, Onii-chan’s requests, and consultation with the mercenary corp.
When asked for Aisha, the answer was always “taking care of Ars.”
Maybe it’s part of her maid work.
But for Aisha it was different.
Maybe it’s a hobby of sorts? No, also different.
Because what she wanted was to see Ars. If possible, chat with him.
Grow up soon, she eagerly anticipated.
In that moment she realized, this was the first time she liked someone, for a reason other than their capabilities.
The other turning point was Norn’s wedding.
Norn Greyrat and Ruijerd Supardia got married.
A marriage partner Aisha couldn’t ever imagine.
A completely different race, and such a large age gap.
But Norn had said.
How she liked him since long ago.
Aisha didn’t understand this word call “love.”
Romance and love, these feelings were foreign to her.
Mother and Father, and of course she liked Rudeus.
Since their reunion in Shirone Kingdom.
But thoughts of marriage or kids were never on her mind.
If Rudeus wished to wed her, she certainly wouldn’t refuse, but for her it would be a natural extension of her role as a maid.
Luckily, Rudeus wasn’t interested and maintained a happy distance with her.
So she never understood what love meant.
When she told Norn that, Norn drew a blank.
Why you mean you couldn’t understand? Her face seem to say.
Seeing that expression, Aisha felt a sense of defeat.
From a long time ago, Aisha disliked her older sister Norn.
Since very little, Norn was often more emotional than rational, and frequently made selfish demands.
Instead of being so demanding, she could had worked for it, but nary did she make the effort.
Compared to Onii-chan, She was just an idiot.
But whether it be mother or Zenith, they both treated Norn so much better than her.
Their birth had long decided their treatments.
Even if she accepted that, serving an idiot like Norn caused Aisha to pent up much stress.
Because Norn just kept tormenting Onii-chan and her.
That’s why she didn’t respect Norn.
Aisha would always tell the slow-witted Norn, “Why don’t you get it?”
From their reunion at Milis, until Norn start boarding at Magic University, she always said to her.
Aisha must held the same blank expression back then too.
It’s not like Aisha always wanted to win, just that sense of superiority was always there.
But this time, she felt defeat.
“Ah, I lost. It’s my loss this time, Norn-nee.”
Aisha came to conclusion.
Losing to Norn.
First time in her life admitting defeat to Norn.
Surprised she might be, she didn’t regret it.
Because Norn must have matured too, while she’s not around.
Norn must had learned many things in the Magic University, which Aisha did not attend.
Not just in magic, sword, history, math, and other subjects.
Because Aisha understood knowledge alone wasn’t maturity.
And if needs be, Aisha could always catch up on knowledge.
Maturity came from something more fundamental.
Norn joined the student council and met many different people.
After listening to many other point of views, she no longer made selfish demands.
She learned to not let her emotions get the better of her decision making.
Yet she remained sensitive to the feelings of others, and always treated her juniors with respect.
Just like Rudeus…
Not as much as Rudeus, but no longer someone she could easily dismiss.
That’s why she doesn’t regret it.
Rather than regret, she felt envy.
Even if it’s just a part of it, she understood something Aisha didn’t, a place Aisha couldn’t reach.
But even so, Aisha couldn’t do it.
Because ultimately she didn’t understand how “love” felt.
No marriage prospects.
That’s why even though Aisha felt envy for Norn’s marriage, she wouldn’t do the same.
She would never experience the happiness that Norn has.
But that’s alright.
She was plenty happy, no reason to change that.
After that, everyday remained to the same.
Working as a maid, taking care of Ars, occasionally making an appearance at the Mercenary Corp, or fulfilling Onii-chan’s requests.
Just like always.
Probably till death.
Even after Lucy, Lara, and Ars got married.
Even after Lilia and Zenith pass away.
She would never get married, and live out her life as the maid of the Greyrat House.
Because she must had already decided.
No matter who she liked, she could never truly find happiness.
Until she rid herself of the curse of her past, until she stopped treating people beneath her with contempt.
Or else she would never had purposely ran to Norn’s room and asked her, “what does ‘love’ mean?”
That’s how it should be.
“I want to marry Aisha-nee!”
Yet when she heard that from Ars, the only boy that she treated without contempt, it moved her.
Ars’ confession moved Aisha.
An emotion she couldn’t fathom welled up in her chest.
She kept asking.
What was this feeling?
Ars was special.
No matter how often or how badly he failed, Aisha never despised him.
Of course, she was equally forgiving with other children of Greyrat House.
When Lucy failed, when Lara failed, Aisha’s evaluation of them did not drop. At worst, only slightly.
But Ars was different.
When he fails, Aisha’s evaluation of him rather rises.
But he does succeed, it rises doubly so.
Her evaluation rises regardless of his ability.
Just wholeheartedly likes him.
Wholeheartedly likes…. so love?
Maybe that is love.
When she realized that, nothing else seemed to matter, and that didn’t bother her.
Aisha and Ars finally did that and cemented their relationship.
Initially, she did said to Ars that it was practice.
She shouldn’t be doing those things to Ars, her instincts told her.
Rudeus was someone who deeply abhor that sort of relationship between family.
Even though she didn’t know why, making a move on Ars would certainly made Rudeus angry.
After all, Ars was the firstborn son, and also Rudeus’ precious baby boy.
One day he’ll perhaps take over as head of the Greyrat House.
Or perhaps, like Ars mentioned once, married off to a princess of Asura Kingdom.
Aisha didn’t think it was unreasonable.
Whether in Shirone Kingdom, Holy Kingdom of Milis, or even in Rude Mercenary Corp, political marriages were commonplace.
Political marriage didn’t necessarily lead to unhappy ones.
Or rather, more often political marriages ended up mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Whether in wealth, or finding peace.
After the wedding, it’s up to the newlyweds to make the effort.
As long as they showed each other proper respect, a happy marriage shouldn’t be a problem.
In truth, Aisha knew many happily married couples that came from political marriages.
Even though her mind told her this, her body wouldn’t cooperate.
Soon it happened a second time, and a third.
Ars began ditching school, but she failed to scold him, and Aisha herself quit doing work at the Mercenary Corp.
Initially she thought it shouldn’t be continued, but on the other hand, she believed that she could put a stop it anytime she wanted.
But she couldn’t.
Carried away by impulse, and unable to control her passion.
Even knowing they shouldn’t let it continue, they did.
Without any sort of planning, they could at best exercise only the most temporary of caution.
In such circumstance their relationship was impossible to conceal for long.
Only that Rudeus discovered it even earlier than anticipated.
It was just practice.
Those feelings were mere practice.
Neither Ars nor I were genuine, just carried away by a momentary lust.
That hurt nobody.
But Sylphy saw through the act.
Having her true feelings exposed, Aisha couldn’t help but scream out how she loved Ars.
But she was too naive.
Even though she knew Rudeus would get angry, she thought that he would discuss and eventually forgive her.
Maybe even as far as permit their relationship.
In truth, that was where Sylphy was hoping to lead the conversation toward.
But the reality was completely different.
Rudeus refused to allow their relationship.
Showing a stubbornness she never saw from him, he forcefully split them apart.
Aisha never saw Rudeus like that before.
Unreasonable, irrational, stubborn.
First time in her life, she found Onii-chan refusing to reason.
But the expression on his face was a familiar one.
One she would never forget.
It was the same grimness as he build the magic armour for battle with Orsted.
Seeing that expression terrified Aisha.
In that moment, she felt, maybe she had made an enemy of Rudeus.
Because she had destroyed what Rudeus worked so hard to build.
With that thought, she pretended to appease Rudeus.
But that fear remained.
Returning to her room, regaining her breath, Aisha felt a pain piercing her heart.
Ars and her would be tore apart thereafter.
Ars would attend school abroad and find a marriage partner there.
Or she would be married off to someone else.
Because she would have done the same, given the situation.
Both Ars and Aisha would be happier that way, right?
Suddenly she thought.
What is happiness?
How could I find my own happiness..?
Aisha also realized.
She made a mistake.
If their relationship were to continue, the only future that awaits them is an unhappy one.
Rudeus was right.
Ars and I need to separate.
No matter how it pains my heart.
If not, not only Rudeus, I would be betraying the whole family.
It was Sylphy, Roxy, and Eris that entrusted Ars’ upbringing to me.
The kids that so respectfully called me Aisha-nee.
They’re not special like Ars.
But they’re also irreplaceable part of Aisha’s life.
But Aisha also realized.
Without Ars, she definitely couldn’t find her happiness.
She could no longer go back to the life she once had.
If she saw Ars finding happiness without her, she would certainly regret it.
If only she did something back then? She would think.
Thus Aisha found what her heart desired.
She decided to elope with Ars.
That day she settled on a plan, and in that night she and Ars absconded.
Spreading misinformation till dawn, then they headed to Asura Kingdom as planned.
From Asura Kingdom they took another teleportation circle to the Kingdom of Dragon King.
In Kingdom of Dragon King, she made contact with Perugius’ underling and gained their cooperation.
She snuck in the Mercenary branch at Kingdom of Dragon King, and used the teleportation circle there to return to Orsted’s office.
From there, they teleported to Holy Kingdom of Milis.
Using contacts at the local Mercenary branch, they headed to a unnamed rural village.
They changed their names and identity, while maintaining the flow of false rumours, and her life with Ars began.
A place even Rudeus could not find.
Going this far to erase their tracks.
Adding all the disruptions behind the scene.
Even though she could do little about Perugius or Kirishika, at least Perugius agreed to cooperate.
Short of a promise, but at least he agreed not to actively involved.
A village located in the midpoint of a lumbering route.
Unrecorded on maps, in a few years it would simply disappear all together.
Based on the lumber industry, so when the industry shifts, so will the village.
Of course their identities were kept secret, and Aisha always kept abreast of latest intel.
If her intelligence network notifies her of any sign of trouble, they’re readied to pick up and leave, erasing any traces they left behind.
Even with Rudeus as opponent, she had the confidence that he could never find her.
She would not fail.
So Aisha told herself.
A couple’s life with Ars.
While very fulfilling, is this truly happiness?
Because a pain remained in her heart still.
Not due to her new life with Ars.
Although Ars was no longer as dependent on her.
Even though he smiled, there’s always a tense mood about him.
A smile like Rudeus’, a smile like Norn’s.
But also different from their fulfilled smiles.
Her own smile was probably the same as Ars’.
Indeed, something is wrong.
This isn’t happiness.
Why is this wrong?
I haven’t failed.
Refusing to get to the bottom of it, because she only did what she wanted to do.
Aisha refused to admit defeat.
Accepting that was impossible for Aisha.
Then Aisha got pregnant.
Her body grew heavier, and movement became more difficult.
No longer able to collect intel, it’s only a matter of time before Rudeus found them.
Only then she did finally admit defeat.
Her life’s greatest error, one she couldn’t place on anyone else.
Because even in failure, she refused to blame Ars.
Her beloved and special Ars, she could never fault him.
Aisha’s personal evaluation hitted a low point.
She might as well had abducted Ars.
Even though Ars might have came on his own accord, without a doubt they had betrayed Rudeus.
She could no longer look her family in the eyes.
Even if they meet again, there’s no doubt she had betrayed everyone. She doesn’t deserve to meet her family.
Ran away for a year, and now pregnant to boot.
Aisha gave up.
— Rudeus’ Point of View —
Aisha lays flat on a bed.
It’s small and modest.
The blanket and bed sheets are in Aisha’s preferences.
A small figure and potted plant lined the windowsill.
From there sunlight shines, bathing Aisha’s face and hair.
Seeing Aisha, I could understand.
How we managed to find Aisha and Ars.
If she really tried, I don’t think anyone would ever find them.
In truth, they have already hid themselves for well over a year.
So was they suddenly found?
The answer was obvious with just one look at her.
Lying flat her back, a bump is visible on Aisha’s belly.
Hampered by pregnancy, she could no longer maneuver freely about.
A chink in the armor.
“… So unexpected of Aisha.”
Those words snuck from my lips.
Rare to see a mistake by the normally flawless Aisha.
She couldn’t move if she’s pregnant.
Aisha should had anticipated that.
After helping Sylphy and others with their pregnancies, she’s no doubt aware.
Even if she hadn’t experienced it personally, she could have at least expected it.
“That was what I thought too. Spent rest of my life with Ars. Even brother would never find us…”
“But I can’t do anything right…”
Aisha looking down, rubbing her own belly.
“Because I like Ars. Even knowing the consequences of getting pregnant, I still desired it. It was wonderful. Because I love Ars.”
Dark circles under Aisha’s eyes.
She must have struggled.
She knew what can’t happen, but she couldn’t help herself.
Even if her mind was set, her body could do little to resist, and this was the consequence.
She couldn’t help herself.
“Hey, Onii-chan, what’s it all about, anyways?”
“Who knows, really? But I was the same way when Sylphy and I got married.”
“Really… Then, it really was love.”
Is it? I don’t really know.
I suppose love and lust are two sides of the same coin.
Ultimately, they’re both instincts.
“Why didn’t you tell anybody?”
“They wouldn’t approve. I knew it from the start.”
“They won’t. I done wrong. No one would support me.”
Even if Lilia strongly rejected them, Sylphy might had approved.
If we talked it out beforehand, maybe even I won’t have been so stubborn.
“Hey, Onii-chan, is Ars alright?”
“… Yeah, but he did get a beating from Eris.”
“I see. Ars is her baby boy… I’m glad he’s fine…”
Aisha could finally breath a sigh of relief.
“Onii-chan, what’s going to happen next?”
“Still thinking about it.”
“No way for you to ever forgive me?”
“Sure I can.”
“How? I’m about to birth a child for your precious baby boy!”
“The fault wasn’t yours alone, that you had elope. I was wrong, and so was Ars—”
“Ars did nothing wrong. He was small. I seduced him and got him to do as I desired. It was my fault. Onii-chan, surely you knew that?”
“… Ars isn’t a little kid anymore.”
Even though he’s still not yet mature, he’s no longer that timid boy he was.
That boy decided on his own accord to be here.
No lies could decide that for him.
“Certainly Onii-chan refuses to acknowledge the baby in my belly.”
“True, I hate to accept it. But, well, it can’t be helped. What’s done’s done.”
“You’re not going to cut my belly open, pull the embryo out, and kill the baby?”
“Nobody would do that…”
“They do. The aristocracies in Milis do. If there’s an unwanted pregnancy, they’ll drug the mother, cut the belly, abort the baby, then use healing magic to stitch her back up. But with a degraded healing magic to ensure that she may never be pregnant again.”
“Wow, how horrifying… Eh, well, I guess it’s a form of abortion.”
“Then you’ll split Ars and I apart… No, wait, you’re going to kill me?”
“I won’t kill you. Stop that! Why do you keep imagining all these terrible things? Don’t! Do you really think I would do anything like that?”
“But I betrayed you, Onii-chan! I seduced and abducted your most precious, that made you took arms against Orsted-sama, and made him my own! I knew family is everything to Onii-chan! You would never forgive the ones that caused us harm! I knew it when I saw Onii-chan’s anger a year ago! I took your most precious, ruined it, and became your enemy. Yet, I thought I could survive, as long as I run away. But with my belly growing bigger by the day, I could no longer move about freely. No longer able to keep tabs on intel or the Mercenary. So terrified, I can no longer sleep, only wondering when Onii-chan will finally show. I could do nothing. My legs even refused to move today…!”
Aisha’s voice was filled of sorrow.
I don’t remember Aisha ever so pessimistic.
What changed in the past year?
No, perhaps it’s morning sickness talking for her.
I should calm her down.
“Aisha, it’s purely a fight between siblings. Yes, we might have overdid it a little, but I never saw you as my enemy, ever.”
“But that day a year ago, you looked so terrifying. Like if someone had the audacity to belittle Roxy’s race in front of you.”
I unconsciously rubbed my chin when I heard that.
I looked like that?
Eh… I did that to Aisha…?
Yes, that did happen. I was irrational, and my emotions got the better of me. Perhaps I did act that way.
“… Well, how about now?”
“Like the day Norn got married.”
“Okay, that works.”
Saying that, I sat myself by the bed.
Lightly I paddled Aisha’s stiffen legs.
Even though it sent shivers down her spine, Aisha did not resist.
Thin, yet strong. In the past year, these legs had traveled many roads. Her skin was a bit dry.
She’s still shivering.
“Aisha. That kind of relationship between siblings is something I still can’t get a handle on.”
“But that was due to my life’s experience. Just that in my case, it was far worse, shameful, more one-sided, and even less unforgivable. So naturally I was yelled at, beaten, and abandoned… It was because of what happened back then, that I found it so instinctively repulsive.”
If we’re going to talk, I probably should start from the very beginning, but these words easily slipped out my mouth somehow.
In some ways, that was the start of it all.
And I guess it ended up well for me.
Even though I could never erase what had happened.
Nor could I ever apologize for what I done.
But how do I explain my past?
If I just declare in such a solemn situation, “Actually, I came from a different world!” Certainly no one would believe me.
Rather, they’ll just be flabbergasted and wondering what game I’m playing.
“Ah, this was about Onii-chan’s previous life in another world?”
I stopped patting her legs out of surprise.
“… I mention this before?”
“Based on the conversations with Nanahoshi, and the actions of Onii-chan with Orsted-Sama, I figured it out.”
“Oh… I see.”
So Aisha would understand?
She certainly has a knack for figuring things out…
“You been hiding it.”
“I’m afraid to tell, especially with mother. All the pain she suffered for her baby, whom turns out a grown man. She’d despise me… Wouldn’t you think so?”
“Not really. Orsted-sama also has memories of his past lives. It’s rare, but it does happen. It’s not like your personality changed suddenly or something. To me, Onii-chan has always been Onii-chan. Even if you end up a few years older, it’s not a big deal.”
“I see… Thank you.”
I guess you could think of it that way.
Certainly, this world has had quite a few reincarnations, including Orsted.
Nothing so strange about adding me to that list.
“I doubt anyone would be overly shocked. Sylphy-nee will be fine, Roxy-nee will be fine…. Eris-nee, I am not too sure about her.”
Eris already overheard about my past…
But she promised to kept it a secret.
She must had kept it.
“So why not tell them? Everyone would probably just say, ‘is that all?'”
“Because I’m already Rudeus? Imagine if the baby in your belly have memories of his previous life, won’t you find that repulsive?”
“If he protects us as well as Onii-chan did, I won’t mind.”
Is that all?
I thought it would be repulsive.
But maybe I just hate my old self.
So I keep imagining someone like me.
Aisha raised herself up and dragged her body next to mine.
“Want to tell me the whole story?”
With that said, I stood up, grabbed a chair nearby, and sat myself in front of Aisha.
Sitting in front of Aisha, I took a look at her belly.
Looks like she’ll be in labor soon.
“In my previous life, I was a human scum. When I was young, I was pretty normal, but starting middle school—”
One by one, I told her everything about my past life.
What kind of person I was, my state of mind when I came to this world.
What still pained me in my heart, and what I managed to overcome.
It wasn’t a long conversation.
Even though I spent thirty-four years in my previous life, it was nothing special.
While I was at it, I also talked about this life.
How Paul helped me.
How I felt when I found Norn.
How I felt about Lilia and Zenith.
And how I accepted Aisha as sister, as family.
Aisha listened in silence.
She chipped in the conversation at time, but mostly listened in silence.
“That’s how, I ended up with a happy life that I didn’t have in my past life. These days are precious to me.”
I said in summary.
“Onii-chan is really incredible.”
“If Onii-chan kills me right here, and I reincarnates, I wouldn’t have tried so hard.”
“… I said I won’t already.”
“I can’t start a family.”
“Yes. Even though I love Ars. I definitely can’t start a family with Ars here.”
What’s this all about?
Ars love Aisha, swore to protect her.
But Aisha thinks differently?
“When Ars was born, I was so happy. But that wasn’t love then, not what I feel now.”
Now it’s Aisha’s turn to tell her life’s story.
How excited she was when Ars borned.
Eagerly waiting for him to mature, protecting his everyday happiness.
Watching him grow day by day.
Then one day, out of the blue he confessed to her.
Since that day they threw caution to the wind.
Even though it’s wrong, they lived uninhibited lives.
Then I found out.
Rejected in the family meeting, utterly defeated, yet she still likes Ars… wants happy lives with him.
So they eloped.
Then she got pregnant, and realized she’s wrong.
This won’t lead to happiness.
They just trapped themselves in misfortune.
Aisha’s voice felt faint.
She seemed ready to give up the struggle.
“… There’s two things I must ask you.”
“Has Hitogami ever contacted you?”
During our discussion, I suddenly thought of the possibility.
Hitogami could easily interfere during the weakness bore by pregnancy.
If they eloped under the advice of Hitogami…
That’d make me really happy!
It was all his fault! So come home!
I would say.
“No, never. It was my idea.”
“Is that so…”
Well, of course.
I have always cautioned them against Hitogami’s advice.
Even without Hitogami’s prodding, Aisha would have decided to elope anyways.
“And the other?”
“You didn’t use contraception?”
“Onii-chan, there’s only so many ways to buy the contraptions you made, I’ll leave a trail if I did.”
“Oh, you’re right.”
Even though there’s a stash in the basement, for everyday use they’re difficult to acquire.
“Can I ask one more?”
“But you already asked two… okay, fine.”
“Are you happy?”
Aisha looked down after listening.
Her mouth closed, her face serious.
Then she said.
Aisha is, even though she knew this happiness couldn’t continue.
No, it was because she has no other choice, it was for happiness that they eloped.
“If I didn’t find you, would you have stayed happy?”
Aisha shaked her head meekly.
“To this day, Ars lets me control him like a puppet, and I probably would never change either… In that case… probably…”
I cleared my throat and stared right at Aisha.
“… Time for the main topic.”
Aisha also looks back at me.
Even with the dark circles on her eye, there’s an intensity in her eyes.
Different from before when she’s ready to face death.
“I have two wishes.
Please forgive Ars.
And also, the baby in my belly, please let him live.”
Aisha rubbed her belly when she mentioned it.
She will be in labor any time now.
The baby will be born soon.
“I… I deserve death… or at least, punishment. I’m grateful that Onii-chan still sees me as family, but what I have done was unforgivable.”
From a forward position, I leaned back.
With my back against the chair, I looked up towards the ceiling.
Trying to organize my thoughts.
Quickly organize what I want to say.
It’s been a year. I had a year to think it.
“I think, given my past, I can’t accept your relationship with Ars.”
“Even without my past, I can’t help but feel that you have betrayed my trust.”
“But I’ll give you my blessings.”
“Even though I still find it difficult to accept, but I also understand my own internal scars. It’s a emotional thing, so let’s put emotions aside.”
“No, that’s not right. You shouldn’t forgive me… This isn’t just an emotional issue… If you forgive me, it’ll ruin the reputation of Greyrat House. Greyrat House’s fame was hard won; we must protect it.”
“I don’t really care about that…”
“It’s not just Onii-chan. Lucy, Lara, Sieg, Lilia, and Zenith… They would also be unhappy. It might even cause them harm… That’s why, punish me. So you can speak the truth when asked.”
It kind of bothers me that Aisha insists on this.
Has she ignore how I treated her as family?
“No matter how twisted I become, I’ll never abandon my family. If anyone ever dare to demand you killed, I will kill him. Doubly so if anyone dare to touch my children.”
I straighten up, and looked towards Aisha.
Aisha stared at me wide eyed.
“Aisha. This time, you made a mistake. Eloping was the worst choice. But you also said it too, you had no other. It might be the first time you felt so trapped, but for average folks like me, it’s common place. The mind is telling me no, but my body is telling me yes. Even when you know it, you can’t do what’s right.”
Staring right at Aisha, I continued.
“If you have eloped with someone else’s son, or if Ars became an invalid as a result, even I don’t know what I would do to you. But Ars has become strong. He’s maturing properly. Ars is a child of my house, but so are you. Because both of you belong in my household, I instinctively find it repulsive. But also because you’re both in my household, this problem should stay in the family.”
I laid out every scenario.
Even though I don’t want to be emotional, I guess it’s an inherently emotional topic.
Now that I laid it all out there, I reached for my conclusion.
“This was a family problem, nobody has to die.”
Aisha listened in silence, lips wired tight.
Tears began to flow from her eyes.
But Aisha quickly wiped them away.
“Let’s figure it out, one problem at a time.”
Let’s resolve this rationally.
Let’s speak calmly and composed.
“First problem is Ars. He’s my precious son, and he’s still young. Making a move on him was wrong.”
“But everyone grows up eventually. Even though you said Ars hasn’t changed, I can tell how much more capable he became in the last year. Even if he’s still immature in some ways. But same goes for everyone. Everyone is a little immature. Same goes for you. Do you accept your own immaturity for what happened?”
“Since he’s still immature, Ars should continue his education. I hope that’ll help him grow up. I will not allow for marriage before he reach adulthood. This I’m adamant on.”
At the minimum, Ars still can’t protect Aisha.
Even though he wants to, even though he has the will, he’s still incapable.
He needs to toughen up, but I’m sure he’s aware of that now.
That is plain to see, given the state of Aisha.
Even emotionally, he’s not there to protect Aisha.
… Wait, was I ever there for my wives emotionally?
Put that aside for now.
“Until he graduates and become an adult, until he has a job and be independent, then I’ll allow for your marriage. No, marriage alone won’t be enough, since you would already have a child. I won’t accept anything but complete effort.”
“Ars is the firstborn son. What about the family legacy?”
“Greyrat House has no rules about that. We can have Lucy lead the family, or Ars can with you as his supporting wife.”
“Surely, that’s impossible? I’m just but a maid.”
“If being maid is an issue, I’ll just fire you. Honorable discharge as result of marriage.”
Barely there, but she smiled.
“Next, your problem.”
“First, you didn’t discuss it with anyone. Whether it was making a move with Ars, or eloping, you never discussed it with anyone. If you did your ground work, someone would have stood up for you when I won’t budge. If you did that, I could have prepared myself.”
“… That’s right. Why didn’t I do anything? … Maybe with Onii-chan as my opponent, I didn’t want to use tricks?”
Why are you asking me?
Well, it would really have bothered me if someone stifled my objections.
“And your eloping caused everyone a lot of trouble.”
“… Everyone’s angry?”
“Everyone is worried about you.”
“… Then what should I do?”
“Well, reflect on your actions. What to do after making a mistake. How to correct your errors. Apologize.”
“Would I be forgiven if I apologize?”
“Talk it out first. That’s up to the other side to decide.”
In particular, Lilia.
The grandmother of the house was emotionally scarred by what happened.
There’s no escape from that discussion.
“And you should have waited. Ars was just too young for that.”
“… I know.”
“But maybe you’re at that age when it made you anxious.”
“No, that’s not… Probably not. I can’t explain it…”
“… Regardless, at least wait until he becomes an adult. When Ars comes up to me and say, ‘I’m independent now. Let me marry her.’ and even I’ll.. promptly refuse, but ultimately I’ll cave. Because nobody will be doing anything wrong then.”
Well, I might still be unreasonable and refuse. Lilia certainly wouldn’t approve, but put that aside for now.
But at least I won’t demand their separation.
And they won’t have to elope.
Ultimately, Sylphy or Roxy would make me reconsider.
“And finally… my problem. I was also wrong.”
“Onii-chan did nothing wrong.”
“I always told you to live as you like. Yet as soon as we have our disagreement, I expected you to relent. That was wrong. I should have sorted my own feelings first before deciding.”
“It couldn’t be helped that things turned out that way. I was timid.”
Em, I should remember that.
I need to reflect on my actions.
“Is there anything else, now that we said all that?”
“… Onii-chan, you need to communicate with your kids better.”
“Ahh… You’re right. Em… even though I don’t know what to talk about, I’ll try to make the time.”
Looking over what happened, I could have talked more with Ars.
If Ars trusted me more, maybe this wouldn’t have to happen.
Not just Ars.
Other children as well.
I should be more aware of what’s going on with them.
“If not, how about we head home?”
“What to do with you and Ars, how about we decide it as a family again?”
Aisha held a troubled expression.
Is there some concerns we haven’t discussed?
But without bringing up anything else, she nodded.
“Okay. I understand.”
“Then I’ll tell them to come in.”
I stood back up.
After we get home, convince Lilia and let things return to normal…
That’s not going to happen.
There’s no going back.
Because a lot has changed.
The family grows by one.
And when that happens, all we can do is move forward.
While I was thinking that, Aisha called for me.
Turned around, Aisha’s face a mess, in tears she said.
“I’m sorry… I’m an idiot… So sorry.”
I walked toward Aisha, whose tears gushing out, and patted her on her head.
Aisha kept crying.
Sylphy and the others, who came in out of concern, were also crying.
Maybe because of how exemplar she always been, I never noticed, but my youngest sister might be a bigger baby than her older sister.
With that, the case of Aisha and Ars running away came to a close.