Edited by: pnemnn
While walking, I stepped on a field of crystal flowers. As the flowers made a crisp sound before shattering, it gave me a strange feeling; its crystal fragments once again rising up to face the sky. My breath was momentarily taken away by the fantastic sight.
「Does Ray like the Antalos? 」
Gian nii-sama asked me that.
Of course, I do.
「These were the very first things that Gian nii-sama has given me, so I love them. 」
That’s right, when I first met Gian nii-sama in this garden, he gave me a Red Antalos flower.
At the same time as when the flower withers, it shatters from the tip of the flower petals and finally it turns into a shimmering crystal flower.
Even until now, I still treasure the crystal flower pieces that I received from Gian nii-sama.
「Ray, you still remember what happened when you were a baby? 」
I was afraid that Gian nii-sama would be weirded out by the fact that I remember events from when I was a baby, but he had a huge smile on his face.
「Fufu! I’m so happy. In that case Ray, do you remember what else I said then? 」
「……erm, was it about giving something to me? 」
I could not betray Gian nii-sama who was waiting excitedly to hear my answer. He then broke out into a big smile.
「Ray, come with me! 」
While giggling excitedly, Gian nii-sama took my hand and led me into the central part of the southern garden.
There was a huge glowing tree at the center.
I wonder if the diameter of the tree reached three meters? There were several smaller and thinner branches that intertwined to form a thick trunk.
The roots of the tree dug deeply into the ground, sucking up water for nourishment.
As the water passed through its trunks, the clear liquid glimmered faintly under the tree’s exterior.
The light from the water rose upwards, pulsing like blood flowing through its veins, spreading outwards from the tree trunk into the branches and leaves.
The tree’s brilliance was stronger in areas rich in water and was conversely dimmer in areas with lesser water.
It was truly majestic and my eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to it.
「Ray, over here. 」
Maybe it was because of his elven blood, but Gian nii-sama felt very familiar with the scenery here.
It seemed that he would melt away with the light, so I gripped his hand tightly.
Led by the gently smiling Gian nii-sama, we entered a gazebo, but it seemed that there was already someone there.
「I thought you were being somewhat secretive behind my back… So you were planning on meeting with this guy?」
「Jo..John!? Why are you here?! 」
The one who was drinking tea in the gazebo was a boy who closely resembled Gian nii-sama.
He was probably the other son of Sophia-sama; one of my brothers, Giovanni.
His fiery red hair resembled Father’s.
The blue eyes that stared coldly at my direction were probably inherited from Sophia-sama.
「Humph. You are the youngest, yet you want to be the Crown Prince? Know your place. 」
Giovanni nii-sama stared at me with scornful eyes.
Gian nii-sama hugged me to protect me from his hurtful gaze.
「That’s just what Maya-sama says, Ray has nothing to do with it. 」
「Is there any way to prove that? How do you know he doesn’t really want to be the Crown Prince? 」
「That is…erm…but! The Ray I know is not like that! 」
The strength of the arms that shielded me became stronger.
「Hah! He might just be using you. He’s the son of Maya-sama you know. 」
「Ray will not do that! He is my brother! 」
「Let me say something, you are also my brother! 」
「Ray is also John’s brother, you know? 」
「That may be so, but he is just a stranger related to me by blood. The one I care for is you, Gian. 」
I could tell from his words and expression how much Giovanni nii-sama treasured his younger brother. While I was happy Gian nii-sama was protecting me, I would hate it if their relationship became worse because of me.
「Ray, you’re not in the wrong! I will protec… cough cough! 」
I was trying to tell Gian nii-sama that it was alright but he suddenly got too worked up that he started coughing.
「Gian…!! This is all your fault! Stop making Gian push himself. 」
Bam! Giovanni nii-sama pushed me aside and I fell to the ground.
I thought about doing something but Giovanni nii-sama’s voice trembled as he gazed at Gian.
「Always…always! It’s because you are around Gian that he’s always pushing himself. 」
If I was not wrong, Giovanni nii-sama was 14 this year.
When you think of 14, that would be the age of middle schoolers in Japan. He was still a child.
I could painfully understand Giovanni nii-sama’s feelings that called out to his younger brother.
Of course, to Giovanni nii-sama, Gian nii-sama was his closest brother.
Furthermore, as the older brother, I think his desire to protect Gian nii-sama was even stronger.
In actual fact, the one who stayed by Gian nii-sama’s side protecting him as he was stuck inside due to poor health was Giovanni nii-sama.
「Gian! Gian! Are you okay? Where does it hurt? 」
I understood that he was flustered by Gian nii-sama who was coughing uncontrollably, but there was nothing we could do here. We should call an adult right now.
「Giovanni nii-sama! Maria and Cyril-shishou are at the garden entrance. Please go and summon them!! 」
Rather than letting the 5 years old me go, Giovanni, who was 14, could summon the adults faster.
However, Giovanni nii-sama’s distrust and jealousy of having Gian nii-sama taken away from him made him stare at me.
「You expect me to leave you and Gian alone? 」
「But we are powerless to help here! 」
「Hah? You are just saying to get me to leave so you can hurt Gian right! Don’t fuck with me! Gian is my brother! I will be the one to protect him!! 」
While both of us continued to argue, Gian nii-sama’s breathing became ragged and his face became pale.