It was a day like any other.
"Let's go for a walk."
"Down the beach again?"
"Don't say that. You like looking at the sea, don't you?"
"Hmph, you just want to look at women in bathing suits."
"You got me."
Rurik said with a smile.
My younger brother was always loved by the people around him.
My father, my mother and I loved my little brother, who was a little... Dumb.
But he was kind, honest with himself, and at the same time strangely insightful.
I closed my book and we went out by the sea as usual.
We were very proud of our country and this city.
Our home's symbol being the beautiful blue sea.
When we were sad or happy, we always looked at the sea.
"I don't know how much longer we're going to be able to see the ocean together like this."
I could not immediately respond to Rurik's words.
Sooner or later, my brother and I will have to go our separate ways.
I will become the head of the family, and Rurik will eventually leave the mansion to live an independent life.
We may never be together like this again.
But fortunately we were born into a noble family.
If you use the Eiban family name, it will be easy to find a job.
It would even be possible to serve the royal palace.
My brother is a good swordsman, it is not impossible for him to become a knight of the court.
"There's someone passed out over there!"
Rurik and I got up and ran to the shore.
He picked up a woman who was lying at the water's edge.
She was a woman in a white dress with black hair.
Her clothes could not be said to accentuate her beauty, but her face certainly made it clear that she could be an attractive woman to the human eye.
"She's not breathing! Clear the air out of her lungs, quickly!"
"But kissing an unknown woman..."
"Then I'll do it! You press down on her chest while I give her and clear out the water!"
Without hesitation, my brother placed his lips on the woman's mouth.
I belatedly put my hand on the woman's chest and began to press as fast as I could.
I thought the woman wasn't going to make it.
I have no idea how she got here, as I didn't see any ships nearby.
I thought it was just a drowned body that appeared by chance.
I was surprised when the woman spat out the water.
My brother always had a keen intuition, perhaps he instinctively felt she could still be saved.
The woman's body temperature had dropped considerably and she began to shiver.
Rurik took the woman in his arms and headed for the mansion.
I, who lagged behind, let out a sigh of dismay at my brother's habitual servility.
The woman had no memory.
She didn't even remember where she came from or why she had nearly drowned.
My younger brother named her Misty and took very good care of her.
Thanks to that, she was able to recover within a few days, and after a week, she was able to lead a normal life.
Misty then decided to work at the mansion.
My parents and I were against letting her work because she might be someone's daughter and they might be looking for her, but Misty stubbornly insisted that she wanted to work and repay us.
Rurik also concurred with her opinion that it would help his rehabilitation.
Moreover, we were convinced that her memory would somehow return.
"Keios-Sama likes books a lot, doesn't he?"
"If you don't mind, could I borrow one too?"
"I don't mind, but it can be a little difficult for women. My mother's collection may be better for you."
"It's just... I've already read them all."
I was very surprised.
Within my mother's library were more than a hundred books, all of them romance novels.
Hard to believe that she had read them all in less than a month after coming to this house.
So I decided to lend her one of my books.
I called out to her as she cleaned the window in her maid's uniform.
It had been a week since I started lending her books.
I wondered if she was actually reading them.
"What can I do for you, Keios-Sama?
"I would like to ask you about Rupene's book, 'Subhumans and Humans'."
"Well, frankly, I wonder if that author has made a huge mistake. First of all, he refers to humans as 'the ancient species', the original ones in the world, and the rest he labels as subhumans. I think it's prejudiced to try to denigrate other races."
"Why do you think that?"
"I don't think that just because something's an ancient species that it should be above the rest."
For the first time, I felt I knew Misty clearly.
I had developed a great interest in her.
I had never found any woman interesting before, but I found myself fascinated by her.
More surprisingly, she had finished reading my entire collection of books in just one week.
Every time I asked a question, she gave me a novel answer.
Sometimes the answer shattered the common sense I had maintained.
I was hooked on her.
Every time I bought a book, I would lend it to her.
Every time it was returned, there was always a letter among the books thanking me for it.
By the time a few months had passed, I was convinced that she was the one I would take as my wife.
"Rurik, I need to talk to you about Misty..."
I opened the door to my brother's room, and was surprised at the sight that awaited me.
It was Rurik kissing Misty.
There was an expression of ecstasy on her face that I had never seen before.
And my brother seemed happier than ever.
They both noticed my presence and looked at me.
"Oh, brother, what a surprise."
"Rurik… and Misty......... You're..."
"Yes, she and I are getting married soon."
"I apologize for the sudden announcement."
I was immediately driven to despair.
It was too late.
She had already fallen for Rurik.
Probably since the day he saved her.
"I'm very disappointed, Rurik."
I threw my gauntlet at my brother's chest.
I challenged him to a duel.
Rurik has never beaten me in a match.
I knew that, and yet I decided to challenge him.
You might say it was an underhanded and cowardly thing for me to do, but I loved Misty very much.
"Whoever wins gets to be with Misty."
"Stop joking about something like that, brother."
"I mean it. You are an Eiban, accept the duel with honor."
I couldn't look my brother in the eye.
Honor. How can I talk about something like that when I am doing something so despicable?
To try to take Misty away from your brother when you're sure he won't be able to win.
If I am victorious in this duel, Rurik will leave the house.
I'm trading my brother for a woman. Utterly pathetic...
But she's worth it.
Only she will understand me and truly love me.
And I can only love her.
She is the one who will be with me for life.
"I-It's my fault. I should have never stayed in this mansion."
Misty fell to her knees.
I couldn't bear to look at her pale face.
I know you are sad now.
But I'm going to make you happy.
The child you and I will have will be brilliant.
And then you'll know you were lucky you didn't end up with my idiot brother.
"Very well. I accept the duel."
Rurik picks up the gauntlet.
I turned around and said, "It will be tomorrow at dawn. Get ready."
I could not show him my face.
As I was smiling with barely contained joy.
My sword fell to the ground.
Blood was dripping from my arm....
Rurik was looking down at me with a cold stare.
How? How did this happen?
You've been hiding it, haven't you?
Your true ability.
You've lost to me on purpose all these years.
The rain that began to fall soaked me and Rurik.
My brother throws down his sword and walks away with Misty.
I could only watch their backs as they both walked away.
I have something important to tell you 👇🏻