The Little Duchess' Home Tutor (Novel) - Chapter Intermission 6
Volume 1 Segment 2
Intermission 6 – Stella Howard
I had never had confidence in myself.
Of course, I believed that I had put every endeavour I could as the eldest daughter of the Howard House. However… it was all nothing but mere self-complacency in front of real difference in ability.
And today, a strong wake-up call slapped me.
Lidya-sama’s swordsmanship was truly beautiful, it was like she was dancing with her sword.
Allen-sama’s magic was tremendous, he deployed countless basic spells of every attribute with supreme control, truly a god’s work.
Karen’s Physical Enhancement spell was as magnificent as always, it truly was enviable.
However, my inferiority towards them was brushed off by simply saying that the three of them were too superior, that there was nothing that could be done about it.
For a long time, I had been actively gathering stories about Lidya-sama and Allen-sama’s accomplishments, every one of them sounded superhuman. And towards my best friend Karen, too, I couldn’t help but think I was no match to her.
What made me despair was when I saw the three younger girls.
“Please take back what you just said!!”
“…Your Highness, I don’t mind any disdain directed towards me, but I can’t overlook any that you address to Nii-sama.”
“Allen-sensei isn’t that kind of person!!”
The three of them unhesitatingly challenged His Highness Gerald, the second prince, for what he had said about Allen.
Why would you do that?
You’re facing against the second-in-line successor of the throne, you know?
Any wrong step and your life is—It was then that Karen stood up from her seat next to me.
“—Lidya-san, I’m taking up this one.”
“Nice to meet you, I am Allen’s little sister, Karen. You must know that any insult towards my brother means that you are insulting me, my parents, and my race. Even if you’re Royalty, that sin cannot be overlooked!!”
Never in my life have I ever seen Karen become so enraged.
The prince and his attendants shuddered as they finally understood who they had turned into an enemy.
—Then, as the mock battle began, my despair only deepened.
I was aware that Tina now could wield magic.
I was elated by the news, my heart jumped in joy when I first heard of it.
…After all, I knew how tormented that sister of mine had been for a long time by her incapability.
And, at the same time, a thought floated in my mind; “Isn’t Allen-sama just like the ‘Magician’ that shows up in bedtime stories?”
…He had truly, really fulfilled a ‘miracle.’
My sister who couldn’t even conjure the most basic of spells just 3 short months ago, now wielded ‘Icesnow Wolf’ as naturally as breathing, the magic that I didn’t even know how to begin to learn of.
Even Ellie, a normal maid, now could construct magic formulas denser and more beautiful than I ever could. She deployed countless advanced grade magic in terrifying stability, controlling over the space with it.
And Linne, her sword exceeded the prince’s whenever they clashed, and she masterfully operated ‘Flaming Bird’ while at it.
When I saw the three of them standing their ground, I could hear something inside me crumble.
…I couldn’t remember how I left the Royal Palace.
When I came to, I was already walking towards the Academy’s dormitory.
—Just, what do I do now?
Ever since a long time ago, Tina had always been a much, much smarter child than me.
She had already done a lot of work in developing new varieties of crops and introducing new farming methods.
However, granted that she was incapable of magic, I thought I would be the one to inherit the Duke name.
My family, the House of Duke Howard, was a lineage of warriors who protected the North.
The head of the house couldn’t be incapable of magic.
Father opposed me, but I made my resolve to enroll in the Royal Academy for that reason—And yet, Tina now overcame me by leaps and bounds.
I, just what do I….
“Cold! K-, Karen!? Why are you…. here? Weren’t you with Allen-sama and the rest…”
“…I’ve always been here, you know. After all, I can’t leave you be. What a terrible face you made there, Stella. Drink this for now.”
Karen handed me some iced fruit juice.
I took a sip—it was sweet.
“When a bad thing happens, get something sweet into your mouth, take a long bath, get warm, then jump into your bed! If you do, everything will be alright tomorrow. You will be back on your feet.”
“…Is that really how it is?”
“Of course. I learn this straight from Nii-san, after all.”
“…Does Allen-sama even get frustrated or depressed over something?”
“Stella… You’re making him seem like too much of a fantasy. Nii-san is a wimp coward, you know? He gets depressed easily and will try to run away at the drop of a hat. Almost like the current you.”
“I’m not lying. I mean—”
Once I put my feelings into words, my mouth wouldn’t stop.
…Every ounce of my pent up frustration was pouring out.
“Just how many people in this country do you think can compete with Lidya-sama?! Just how do you think he makes Tina who’s been called ‘Howard’s shunned child’ because she can’t use magic to be able to wield the culmination magic in just three months?!! Do you think I can believe that a person who can accomplish ‘miracles’ like that is like me…like this me…who doesn’t have anything……”
What a really gentle voice—Karen then embraced me and tenderly stroked my head, murmuring “it’s okay, it’s okay” into my ear.
“…A long time ago, when I was like you are now, Nii-san would do this to me all the time until I calmed down.”
“…You, Karen? Like me?”
“You’re overestimating me, Stella. Think about it. Whose little sister am I?”
“…I used to hate it. I always wondered why my brother is a humankin. Not only that, he could study better than me, his magic was always greater than mine, and I couldn’t even match him in taijutsu either. However, only him… only my parents and him would always believe in me no matter what.”
Karen gave me a smile that I had never seen her made before.
—Aah, I see. She has an absolute, unwavering foundation in her heart.
“Someone like me who couldn’t study, couldn’t use magic well, and was totally helpless in taijutsu despite being a wolfkin… I was on the verge of giving everything up, and yet… Nii-san, he believed in me. He said to me that I would be fine. Why? I’m his one and only sister after all. I know that it’s nothing but bull, still—I believed in his words, and because I did, here I am now.”
“Do you understand now? That’s what it’s all about. So, what do you wish to do?”
A sincere question from my best friend.
—I gritted my molars hard.
“I…I don’t want to stay like this!!”
“I see, then—our course ahead is settled.”
Karen smiled daringly.
What is this bad premonition—In the next second, my heart almost leaped out of my chest, but I couldn’t blame it at all.
“—Stella, let’s have Nii-san teach the two of us like Linne and the other two. It annoys me when I think about younger girls monopolizing him, after all.”