Part 331: Sisters (IV) / ChoiceMusic: Surrounded by Smiling Faces
In the kitchen
With the refrigerator at her back, Sakura speaks timidly.
"I see. Then I'll make mapo tofu."
Tohsaka cuts her off and selfishly starts cutting the tofu.
HF Rin is secretly Kotomine in drag, and everyone's in BIG trouble.
Ilya sits Japanese-style on the cushion and speaks without reserve.
Hm. It seems even Ilya can tell Tohsaka and Sakura are tense.
"It's just going to get worse if you leave them be.
You should know that, so how did you let it come to this?"
"It just sort of happened.
We were wondering about lunch. Tohsaka said she'd make it, and Sakura said it was her job. Neither one would back down, so I took both their ideas and suggested that they make lunch together."
"You said that? I see. No wonder they can't back out now."
Ilya seems to understand and takes a sip of tea with proper manners.
As expected from a princess. She shouldn't know the proper etiquette, but she's elegant even with something as simple as this.
He may only have one arm, but lunch is something he can do.
"That was only up to yesterday. Tohsaka is working with us because she doesn't want to fight Sakura. And they aren't enemies. They get along, and I entrusted them with lunch because I thought it would go well."
"Huhthey get along!?"
" ? Is that so surprising? Ilya and I are friends even though we were enemies, right? Then it should be the same for Tohsaka and Sakura."
"Eh Well, Shirou and I are special "
"Being special has nothing to do with this. You'll understand if you watch. Tohsaka is being more blunt than usual, but she warns Sakura every time she does something wrong. It means that "
" She's concerned about her. But she's putting on a cold face and ignoring her because she doesn't want her to find out."
"Right. And Sakura knows that, so she's making mistakes she normally doesn't. She's concerned about Tohsaka too."
" Now that you point it out, I can see it. Then what? They want to get along, but they're too embarrassed to start talking?"
I don't know about Tohsaka, but I know how Sakura feels.
Sakura likes Tohsaka, and she wants Tohsaka to like her.
Or she would never call her Nee-san.
" I see. So Rin is clumsy, in spite of her appearance."
Impressed, Ilya murmurs and looks in the kitchen.
One holds the frying pan while the other holds the ladle, but neither says anything.
And after a silence that even gets us nervous
"Hey, Sakura," "Um, Tohsaka-Senpai?"
As expected from sisters, they start talking at the same time.
"Oh um, it's really nothing. Didn't you want to say something?"
" It's nothing. Well, different people cook differently, right? So I thought it might be useful if you can teach me some of your flavorings."
"Y-You're right. I'd love it if you could teach me your recipes, Tohsaka-Senpai."
It's scary that I can't deny the possibility.
Tohsaka is normally dominant, but why is she so shy when it comes to Sakura?
And Sakura too.
She calls Tohsaka Nee-san when she's with me, but she's reserved when she's actually with her.
"No, being outside isn't the important part. I just wanted to talk secretly."
"Um talk secretly ? Um, is this something you can't let Nee-san hear?"
"That's it. That's exactly what I want to talk about."
"I'm talking about how you address Tohsaka. You don't call her Nee-san when you're with her. It's obvious that you really want to call her that."
"Ehyou mean it's obvious to Nee-san!?"
I just made that up, but it seems Sakura is more reserved about her sister's feelings than I thought.
"N-No, Tohsaka doesn't know. I don't know why, but she's really dense when it comes to you. But in the worst case, she might think that you hate her."
"T-That's not true ! It's natural for Nee-san to hate me, but I'm happy to be with her. I never even dreamed that we could make lunch together "
"Right. Then why don't you just be honest with her? Even someone as dense as Tohsaka can't possibly miss it if you tell her straight-out. Then you should be able to "
Sakura should be able to realize by herself that Tohsaka wants to get along with Sakura.
"It's nothing. Just go call Tohsaka Nee-san.
I'll bet you she changes so much that it's funny."
" Would it really turn out like that? I think having someone like me calling her 'Nee-san' will only bother her.
I'm a magus of Matou, and I can't do everything like Nee-san can. Tohsaka-Senpai is probably disappointed that a failure like me is her sister."
"You idiot. Don't bring other things into a sister's relationship. You like Tohsaka, and she's your big sister, right?
Then there's nothing more important than that. I'll guarantee it. There's mutual love between you two. To be honest, there's so much love that I'm a bit jealous."
"Eh I-Is that so?"
"Yeah. So you call her Nee-san.
I think Tohsaka believed in it, just like you did. So there's nothing to be scared of. It's for her sake too. Please call her Nee-san."
"For Nee-san's sake."
I don't know what's going on in her mind.
But after putting her hands together, as if praying, and thinking it over
"Okay. I'll do my best."
She smiles softly in thanks.
"Welcome back. Sakura's tensed up. What happened?"
"Hm? The rest depends on her courage. Well, I'm sure it's going to go well."
I sit down on the cushion.
"Yes, all that's left is to fry it, so I'll leave it to you wait, Sakura, did you just "
"Okay. If I'm doing the chicken, can you cut the lettuce, Nee-san? I'll leave the serving to you."
"OOkay, that's fine, but "
Everything goes still.
They both fall silent, and the tension is much greater than before.
Not even breathing, they stare at one another.
" Um, is it strange, Nee-san?"
"Uhi-it's not that. I was just surprised because I've never been called that way."
" Then, um "
"I-I have nothing against it. You're free to call me whatever you want, and I'm calling you by name. Well, it could get confusing because there are two Senpai here, so that should make things clearer."
Tohsaka makes it sound like it can't be helped and looks away.
But Sakura should be able to tell that she's blushing and can't hide her smile.
"I'm going to take measures against Zouken with Ilya's help. It should take some time for the crest to familiarize itself with your body, so you can rest for the whole afternoon.
You'll just get in our way even if you're here."
Sakura has returned to her room.
Sakura was feeling dizzy while we were cleaning up after lunch.
I wasn't worried because she seemed well this morning, but Sakura is no different from a sick person.
Tohsaka and I told her to rest if she's feeling even a bit tired, so Sakura is back in her room now.
I check out how my arm's doing.
It didn't move at all before, but I can manage to move my elbow now.
It's still numb, but I feel no pain.
If I'm to talk about pain, the crest Tohsaka planted hurts more.
My shoulder, throat, and belly button.
It feels like bolts are in those areas as if I'm Frankenstein.
"My left arm is borrowed, and my body is held together with bolts, huh?"
It reminds me of cyborgs one would see in science fiction movies.
It's an interesting idea, but I can't laugh it off.
I was going to check how my arm's doing, but I didn't even stand in front of the mirror.