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"But, Onii-sama, you've truly changed, you know? If the old me saw the current you, I'd probably faint from shock!"

As time passed, the two naturally distanced themselves. However, what followed was... an intense sense of embarrassment.

‘Ugh, I said "dear little sister" to cheer up Onii-sama, but it's so embarrassing…’

Not knowing what expression to make or what to say, Ortansia pretended to be a little angry.

"Back then, you said, 'I've never once thought of you as a sister'... I was quite hurt, you know?"

Being able to say something like this almost teasingly might be considered significant progress. Indeed, it was good to have talked. Ortansia felt this sincerely from the deepest part of her heart.

“Well, for Onii-sama at that time, I was just a mysterious and dubious child. It's understandable that you couldn't see me as a sister, but—"


Mid-sentence, Gerard's voice interrupted. Startled, Ortansia raised her gaze, finding Gerard staring straight at her.

"When I said I don't think of you as a sister—"

Her heart thumped loudly. Ortansia was afraid to hear Gerard's next words, yet she wanted to know. With a mix of anticipation and anxiety, she stared intently at Gerard.


"...Never mind."

For some reason, Gerard, who was usually straightforward, muddled his words.

"N-No, it's not nothing! Please tell me, Onii-sama!"

Ortansia hastily pleaded, but Gerard's lips were sealed more tightly than a clam.

"It's not nothing! Tell me, please, Onii-sama!"

She said in a panic, but Gerard, unlike his usual honest self, attempted to brush it off.

"I forgot what I was going to say."

"That's, that's such a transparent lie! Please tell me, Onii-sama! I won't be hurt no matter what you say!"

"That's why I'm saying I forgot."

"Onii-sama, you usually don't lie, and when you do, you're terrible at it!!”

Pouting, Ortansia elicited a sigh from Gerard.

"...Right now, I consider you a precious family member. Is that okay?"


Feeling like she had been skillfully dodged, Ortansia inadvertently expressed her dissatisfaction. However, beneath that dissatisfaction, her heart was overflowing with joy. Gerard had just referred to Ortansia as a "precious family member."

So, carried away by the mood, Ortansia unintentionally let something slip.

"...Then, I have a request."

Whispering this, Gerard seemed to be patiently waiting for the continuation of her words. Despite feeling a bit embarrassed under such scrutiny, Ortansia gathered her courage and spoke.

"There's something I'd like to ask... Can you call me 'Sia'?"

As soon as she uttered this, Gerard's eyes widened in surprise. Embarrassed by his reaction, Ortansia naturally started speaking faster.

"...Mom used to call me that a long time ago. So, um, that..."

She wanted him to call her that with warmth. Surely, each time he called her by that name, it would reaffirm their connection as family.

...But, confessing that much felt too embarrassing.

‘Ugh, maybe that was a bit too casual... Onii-sama might be bewildered.’

She had made such a request to him, raised as the heir of a prestigious noble family, as if she were an unsophisticated commoner. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by this realization, Ortansia was about to hurriedly say, "Never mind, it's fine!" But before she could—


Gerard clearly uttered her name. The moment Ortansia heard it, her heart swirled with overwhelming joy and nostalgia.

"Was that all you were going to ask? I don't mind this much.”

"...Thank you, Onii-sama."

She felt like crying tears of happiness if she let her guard down, but Ortansia still mustered the best smile she could. As Gerard seemed about to say something, a knock on the door echoed through the room.

"Excuse me, Young lady, Master Gerard. I apologize for the interruption. There's an urgent matter that requires your immediate attention—"

It was Ortansia's maid, Pamela.


Gerard immediately sounded displeased, so Ortansia hastily addressed Pamela.

"Thank you, Pamela! You can come in!"

In a flustered manner, Pamela quickly entered the room.

"The matter is..."

"Well, you see... Young lady, there's a visitor for you—"

"Ortansia is still recovering. She shouldn't be meeting with every visitor."

"Well, that's true, but..."

Gerard, not bothering to hide his irritation, made Pamela visibly anxious.

"Onii-sama, don't scare Pamela! Pamela, if you came to inform us, something irregular must have happened, right?"

While restraining Gerard, Ortansia reassured Pamela, who nodded as if having made up her mind.

"Yes, young lady. The one who is currently here is…"

Pamela took a deep breath, then, as if gathering her courage, she revealed the name of the visitor.

"It's His Royal Highness Prince Victor.”


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