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'Onii-sama is crying...!'

It was as if heaven and earth had been turned upside down.

Gerald was always expressionless, and even his father and Ortansia could only manage to guess his emotions from the slightest difference in his facial expressions.

But presently… 

She never thought he would shed tears like this...


'What happened!? Is my stomach hurting!? There's no way this could be happening, right!?'

(What happened!? Why does my stomach hurt!? There's no way this could be happening, right!?)

Unexpectedly, Ortansia found herself in a bewildering situation. And then, she unintentionally took an action she never thought she would.

"Bi-Brother... Please don't cry..."

With her other hand, she ended up patting Gerald's head. It wasn't her dominant hand, and even though she was used to being caressed, she wasn't accustomed to doing the caressing herself. Her touch was most likely incredibly awkward.

However, as Gerald was gently caressed by Ortansia, he slowly raised his head. His expression seemed more divine and majestic than any religious painting Ortansia had ever seen. It left her breathless.

Gerald gazed intensely at Ortansia, and quietly muttered, "You're here."


Ortansia didn't fully understand what was happening, but she nodded. Gerald reached out his hand and gently touched Ortansia's cheek, as if he was confirming her existence. His touch was delicate and tender.


"The doctor said that you were in a state where you could die at any moment."


It was unclear how much time had passed since the day she rode into the Duke of Linie's mansion, but Ortansia must have been in a dangerous situation. Dangerous enough for the goddess to propose a new reincarnation destination.

"When I thought you might die, my mind went blank. Even when my... mother died, I didn't think anything of it."  murmured Gérald in a flat voice.

Oransia listened attentively to his words.

"Until now, I believed that I was fulfilling my duty as the heir of the Ducal family. I thought I would continue to do so... But just thinking about a world without you made me realize that everything is pointless."

Slowly stroking Ortansia's cheek, Gerald whispered in a sincere voice.

"A world without you has no meaning."

'Ah, he's …'

Ortansia gently placed her hand on top of Gérard's hand that was stroking her cheek..

Born with extraordinary powers as the heir of the ducal family, he had a tumultuous childhood, unable to fully embrace his parents' love.

Perhaps that's why.

He was like an unsheathed sword.

Fragile as a shard of glass, anyone who touched him could get hurt.

He was an incredibly unbalanced being.

He could be a sword that protects the nation, or he could be a disaster that destroys everything.

Yet, encompassing all these aspects, he remained Ortansia's beloved brother.

'Perhaps the goddess has reasons to be wary of my brother, but…'

With just a slight push, he could easily veer off the right path.

Ortansia was genuinely happy to be the one who could anchor him, despite understanding why the goddess might be cautious.


"It's alright, Onii-sama," she spoke slowly.

She wanted to convey that she was here, that she had returned to his side.

"I'm right here. Right by your side, just as promised."

Gently touching Gérard's hand, Ortansia noticed it was unusually warm.

Well, just a while ago, she had been on the brink of life and death.

Perhaps Ortansia's hand was cold.

However, their body heat gradually mingled, and that brought her an indescribable joy..

"We'll always be together, Onii-sama. Forever and ever…"

Hearing Ortansia's words, Gerald froze for a while looking surprised.

But she waited patiently and he eventually gave a faint nod.

Ortansia will probably never be able to forget what she saw after that.


He smiled, quietly affirming Ortansia's words.

The Gerald she knew, for the first time in a long time, wore a smile that could genuinely be described as such.


It was like a plant that had survived a harsh winter, gently budding and blossoming.

A ray of warm wind blew through Ortansia's heart as well.

'Ah, perhaps…  I was able to melt the ice that covers my brother's heart, even a little'

More than defeating the demon, witnessing her beloved brother's smile was the greatest reward for Ortansia.



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