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Brother and Sister
I felt like I had a long and realistic dream…
The moment I woke up, I saw a ceiling that I hadn’t seen in a long time.
My whole body was sweating, and my eyes were wide open in one go.
What was the dream that I had?
I sat down on my bed and was met with the reflection of myself in the mirror just across my bed. Then, I saw… myself, but why did it feel like I returned into a younger version of myself? Besides, this room… Yes, it was my room when I was still living with my parents as a Grabberton.
My eyes darted to the calendar hanging on my wall.
Day 14 Month 4 Year 963.
This day… was the day when my little sister, Reinst, was going to die!!
With that realization, I woke up and dashed off to Reinst’s quarter, wishing with my everything that she still hadn’t left the premise. If she had already gone out today, would I be able to chase after her and prevent her death?
By the time I reached the entrance to her room, I was running short of my breath. I gulped down as I braced myself to knock the door and…
That was when the door was opened.
Then, standing right in front of me was… That short brown hair, that straight face, with a pair of amber eyes that looked a little bit startled.
“Reinst, are you going to—”
“Clyde, what a coincidence. I was just looking for you.”
Her words interrupted mine.
Huh? What did she say? Certainly, that wasn’t what had happened…
Before I could say anything, she continued, “Let’s spar this afternoon.”
And again, before I could say anything, she closed the door.
The time that I spent after that until the time when I stood on the training field was so fleeting. My mind was fuzzy, I couldn’t process it all. Was the knowledge about her death today just a dream? But my dream was so long and realistic, and I assumed I was somehow sent back to the past to alter things… But why did ‘today’ go far from what I knew so far?
That afternoon, Reinst and I met again on the training field. Both of us were wearing our casual sparring attire, and in our hands were our beloved personal swords.
Usually, there would be others watching or supervising our sparring to give us feedback, but there was nobody around us now. Was it Reinst who requested this sparring session to be private? This had never happened before.
“Are you ready?” Reinst asked as she prepared her stance.
I dismissed any thoughts that were forming in my head as I readied myself too.
A moment of silent enveloped us as we looked at each other in the eyes.
Then, Reinst made an abrupt movement—she launched her first attack on me. I quickly changed my stance to a defending stance. When there was an opening, I quickly switched my position to offense, and Reinst would adapt by defending.
She was really, really good at swordsmanship. While wielding her sword, her normally disinterested face would show passion, a sign that she indeed liked swordsmanship, and wasn’t merely doing this out of tradition and obligation.
“Clyde, you’re not focused,” Reinst suddenly said as we continued our sparring.
“Reinst, you know, I had this very long and realistic dream and…”
“Cut to the chase.”
“…Why did you come looking for me today? It’s never happened before, it’s weird and I…”
“Is that really what you want to tell me?” She cut my words again.
As my brain digested her words, a question popped in my head. Am I that easy to read?
I am still not sure if this is just a dream or if what I ‘had lived’ for years is the long and realistic dream instead.
However, I know that when I see Reinst again, no matter when and how, there’s something I want to tell her. I don’t want to regret again.
“Reinst… I—I’m sorry,” I said with a weak voice.
“What for?!” Reinst asked loudly as she increased the power in her attack, overwhelming me.
I defended her as I continued, “For being a bad brother to you.”
“How so?” She asked again.
“I… All this time, I never did anything for you.”
“Are you sure that is really the case?” Reinst suddenly asked.
“Then, I am a bad sister to you, too,” Reinst’s words startled me so much that I lost the strength in my hand. Naturally, I was disarmed. My sword fell to the ground, I fell to the ground due to her strength and my lack of power in my body—then Reinst took back her sword. She turned her back on me as she said, “Let’s continue our conversation while we’re having some tea in the garden, okay?”
It didn’t take long before I finished cleaning up and went to the garden. There, sitting on the table that was prepared for a relaxing tea time, was Reinst. She was sipping her tea calmly. There was nobody there—did she just dismiss them?
I walked to the chair in front of her and sat there. A cup of hot tea was right in front of my seat, so I took a sip as well.
“Clyde, you’re wrong about never doing anything for me. You did your best for me already, didn’t you?” Reinst suddenly said.
“You held back for my sake, knowing that Mother would punish me if we were together. You were watching over me from the distance, weren’t you?”
How did she know?
“It was I who was too foolish all this time. I was too engrossed with my own obsessions that I hadn’t paid any attention to the others around me. To Nicole, and to you…,” Reinst said as she turned her head to the side, gazing as if she was seeing something so far away from here.
“No, it’s my fault for not being more courageous…”
“It’s not entirely your fault. I am to blame as well. Besides, you were courageous enough. I still remember that before I… I mean, during my coming-of-age ceremony… Yesterday, you asked me to dance with you.”
“……Thank you, Clyde. And I’m sorry as well…,” Reinst said as she put her hands on the table and leaned her head on top of both her hands.
“There’s nothing you should apologize for. It’s all good… Hey Reinst, does this mean… my feelings get through? I… Do you not hate me? Can I… Can we be brother and sister?” I asked nervously.
This was something I had always dreamt of asking. Would she say ‘no’, or would she accept…?
Either one would be better than not getting any answer at all.
A hint of surprise could be seen in Reinst’s expression. How odd. Reinst was never this easy to read.
“What are you talking about, Clyde?” She said with a low voice. I instinctively hung my head down and cast my eyes on my lap—both of my hands were balled up in a fist, right on top of my knees.
“Aren’t we already brother and sister?”
A gentle voice of hers that I never knew then rang in my ears.
I quickly lifted my head and looked at her—and aah, she was gazing at me with gentle eyes that were somewhat melancholic, a thin smile could be seen there.
If this were a dream, I don’t want to wake up from it.
“I’m so sorry, Clyde. For not doing this sooner…,” Reinst said as she closed her eyes and hung her head down.
“It’s alright, Reinst! It’s never too late! From now on, we can start over…”
“—It is too late.”
Her firm words caused my eyes to go wide.
Reinst slowly opened her eyes—this time, it was clear to me that her eyes radiated sadness and regrets.
“What do you mean by ‘it’s too late’?” I asked, although deep inside my heart, I knew why.
Please, deny it, please please let it be a lie…
I prayed with all my hearts.
“Clyde, you know it yourself, right?”
No, no, I don’t. What are you talking about, Reinst?
My mind was so noisy with my own voices, yet my mouth couldn’t move.
A sorrowful smile was plastered on Reinst’s face as she said the words that I never wanted to hear or admit.
“I was long gone. I’m sorry, Clyde.”
No, no, what are you saying? You’re right here before my eyes. We could still start over and get along really well as siblings from now on, right?
“Lies!” My body moved on its own as I stood and banged my hands on the table. The tea cups clattered due to the impact.
“…It is the truth,” Reinst said firmly.
“I—this world, this moment, is the truth. The reality,” I said.
“Clyde… Please stop your wishful thinking. It’s never going to come true.”
As Reinst’s words ended, the surrounding disappeared and it was just pure white—with me standing still.
“I’m never going to return back to life again. We won’t be able to start acting like a brother and sister…”
I heard Reinst’s voice from behind me, so I turned around as I said, “Don’t say that, you are here and we—”
Then I stopped as… Instead of Reinst, I saw the image of Nicole and Ein from far away.
I know the future where Reinst is alive is… nothing but an illusion. It’s never going to happen, yet here I am, still hanging on my small wishful thinking. It’s all because of how strong of a regret I harbor…
I wanted to turn around to the source of the voice when I felt someone hugging me from behind.
“It pains me to see you like this,” She said.
“What happened to me was never your fault at all. It was all destiny, I suppose. There is no ‘what ifs’. I… am really gone. It’s my fault for never realizing that you were there for me, really. I only realized this after I was gone, and it left me with regrets, too,” Reinst continued to talk. It was after these words that she let me go, and I turned around to see her standing in front of me with both her hands behind her.
“But it’s time to let those regrets go, okay?” She said as she smiled.
“…” I couldn’t answer her words.
“Please let me go, will you?”
Her words pained me so much.
“And promise me you’ll continue to live your life to the fullest, for my part as well. I don’t want to see you being overcome by feelings of sadness and regrets again, alright? What is done can’t be undone.”
“……,” I closed my eyes as I tried to find my determination. Once I found it, I opened my eyes and looked at her.
“Alright Reinst, I promise. But can you tell me truthfully… How do you feel about me as your big brother? Have you seen me as one, or I’m just your rival, enemy, or stranger?”
Reinst went silent as she looked down. I continued to look at her.
She then quickly turned around and quickly walked away from me, towards the blinding light.
Just as I was about to take her silence as her refusal to give me closure, she stopped and abruptly turned to look at me.
Then, with a very wide and sincere smile that I had never seen once, Reinst said, “Silly Brother! I won’t forgive you if you don’t do as I say, okay? I will beat you up in the afterlife if you don’t do so!”
I was too mesmerized with that smile that I couldn’t say anything before she turned around and quickly disappeared into the blinding light.
But honestly, her words and expression were more than enough of an answer.
I… My feelings got through her?
We are indeed brother and sister.
I smiled as I held back my tears.
“Big brother promises. Thank you, Reinst, for coming to see me…”
It doesn’t matter even if it took this long.
All that matters is that my feelings eventually got through her, and she was willing to see me.