My Youngest Sister Emilia was a scholar who researched magic, divine powers, and abilities.
She’s well-known in Trovanza for her skills, but that’s not the point.
What I want to say is that thanks to her, I often found myself in situations involving potions.
The one François slipped into my drink was a potion infused with his own magic.
The color of the grape juice darkened, and it bubbled up.
I called out to her in protest, but she just squeezed my hand.
“It will make you healthier if you drink it.”
“It doesn’t look healthy at all.”
“It’s a common trait for medicine to be unpleasant.”
I pulled the straw away, and Youngest Sister pulled out a new one as if she expected my reaction.
Sniffing the grape juice, I could smell a bitterness instead of the expected sweetness.
“If you finish it, I’ll buy you everything you want to eat today.”
“Ugh… I don’t want to eat anything today.”
“You’d better eat soon.”
Pouting, I reluctantly sipped the drink.
Yuck! I barely tasted it, but it was so bitter that I gagged.
Youngest Sister, sensing that I wasn’t going to finish it on my own since I’d already tasted it, picked up the cup.
Then, she grabbed me and brought the cup to my lips.
“Ugh… I don’t want to!”
No matter how much I resisted, it was no use.
Youngest Sister pressed my chin and forced my mouth open, tilting the cup.
The bitterness passed through my mouth and flowed down my throat.
I wanted to escape immediately and struggled, but Youngest Sister held me firmly.
“I don’t want to!”
“Just endure it a little more. It’s for your health.”
“I don’t care! I don’t want it, let go!”
“Liliana, wait, it will be over soon. Just hold on a little longer, okay?”
It was the first time that Youngest Sister pleaded like this.
So, I closed my eyes tightly and forced myself to swallow, but I could only manage one or two sips.
“Stop that now. Or do you want an injection instead?”
As my struggles intensified, my sister’s grip on me also became stronger.
Tears welled up in my eyes, and my nose started running.
Just before I burst into tears, the cup was taken away.
I wiped my nose and angrily smacked my Youngest Sister’s arm with all my strength, but sister didn’t even show the slightest sign of pain.
“I hate you!”
Exasperated, I stood up, grabbed the cake plate, and moved to the table nearby.
Then, I lay face down on the table and buried my face, sobbing.
If I had known this would happen, I would’ve lied about my stomach ache even if it meant getting in trouble.
It tasted so bad… my tears flowed uncontrollably.
“Liliana, I’m sorry. Don’t be mad at me, please?”
Youngest Sister sat beside me and patted my shoulder, but I shook off her hand.
Then, I turned my head away in the opposite direction.
At that moment, a large blueberry-strawberry chocolate cream cake was placed in front of me.
My shoulders flinched in reflex, but François knelt on the floor and locked eyes with me.
“This uncle is sorry, Liliana. This cake is for you, so I hope you eat it and calm down.”
My eyes twitched, but it wasn’t enough to dispel my anger over the juice.
When I didn’t change my expression, François made a small gesture.
Then, a squirrel made of condensed light appeared in front of me, shaking its butt and dancing.
Its tail wagged gently with each shake.
The squirrel touched my nose with its nose, even though it was made of light.
It had a tickling sensation, even though there was no physical contact.
Hehe. I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh.
When I gently stroked its striped back with my fingertip, the squirrel pressed its face against my finger.
Maybe it was warm because it was a squirrel made of yellow light.
“Let’s make up with Uncle and Sister. Can you do that for me?”
It wasn’t because of the dancing squirrel that my mood suddenly changed.
It also wasn’t because François brought his handsome face close that made my heart skip a beat.
I just wanted to try and understand Youngest Sister because she was willing to play the villain for my sake.
In response to my answer, the squirrel perched on my finger and then climbed up my arm.
The squirrel hopped around on my shoulder, then nuzzled the nape of my neck.
Then it melted away like soap bubbles.
Just as I was about to pout in disappointment, François cut a piece of cake with a fork and placed it in my mouth.
When the strawberries, chocolate, and soft chiffon combined, the lingering bitterness in my nose gradually disappeared, replaced by a sweet aroma.
It’s so delicious! I felt so elated that I swung my legs in the air.
Seeing me like that, Youngest Sister looked at François with strange eyes.
With a smirk, he sat down beside me and explained.
“It tasted awful because it’s artificially structured to resemble divine energy. I thought you’d cry, but Liliana, you’re really brave.”
“Yeah! I’m a brave kid!”
Proud of the compliment, I lifted my chin.
François chuckled when he saw my reaction.
“It’s true! I’m not afraid of anything!”
“Indeed, you’re the best, little one.”
Emilia patted my head and started a conversation with François again.
I was supposed to keep an eye on them to make sure they didn’t get too close, but I was so stunned by the suddenness of the situation that all I could think of was eating the sweet cake to make me feel better.
Even if they became friends, their personalities were so different that they wouldn’t get along well. So, there was no need to worry.
“It’s her first time ingesting magic, so she might have some strange reactions as her body adjusts. If she complains of an upset stomach or a fever, just give her some medicine and let her get some rest.”
“Okay. How long will you stay in Trovanza?”
“Well, I came here for work, so I won’t be here for long.”
“Then, I’ll need you to see Liliana at least once a week while you’re here.”
“Sure. A contract is a contract. Above all…”
I couldn’t help but glance at the remains of the cake I’d scraped to the bottom of the plate, feeling disappointed. When I looked up, I met François’ golden eyes.
Unlike the smiles he had given me so far, he now had a very serious and calm expression. His smile had disappeared, and he seemed emotionless, like a porcelain doll.
“I hope Liliana grows up healthy.”
With a meaningful tone, he finished and reached out to pat my head.
The smile on his smooth face was mechanical, and I clung to Youngest Sister’s arm.
Despite it being a warm spring day, the air around me felt strangely cold.
* * *
“Older Sister, what are you doing?”
When I returned home, I slightly opened Regina’s room door and peeked my head in.
Regina was standing in front of the closet with the wardrobe door wide open, her clothes spread out on the bed.
She was picking out one outfit at a time, standing in front of the mirror and trying them on.
“Come here, Liliana.”
Regina held up two dresses, one blue and the other red, alternating them in front of her body.
“Is this one better, or is this one better?”
My pupils shook. It was a more challenging question than meeting the male leads from the original work.
“The blue dress has a floral pattern, and the red one has a butterfly pattern.”
I, Liliana Verchio, faced a very serious hardship at the age of six.
‘I have to answer it well.’
Of course, Older Sister was not one to blame me for this kind of problem. But as a younger sister who loves her, I wanted to answer that question more seriously than anyone else.
“Hmm. Sister looks good in everything!”
“That won’t do.”
“Are you meeting someone?”
Youngest Sister asked, flinging open the door on her way to the bathroom.
“Yeah, a guy.”
“Why are you worrying about your clothes when it’s not even a big date?”
Youngest Sister crossed her arms over her chest in disbelief.
The reason for my Youngest Sister’s reaction was understandable.
Unlike Eldest Sister, who was very interested in dating, Older Sister had no interest in romance.
Her dark-blonde hair and blue eyes, as sweet as honey, were a rare sight in Trovanza, and her beautiful appearance made her very popular.
Thanks to this, she often received gift sets of snacks from guys who wanted to impress her.
As a result, Older Sister always felt awkward in romantic relationships, but today she approached it with a completely different attitude.
While fiddling with her curly golden hair, Older Sister answered.
“I mean, he seemed really nice. He looked handsome, and he had a nice personality.”
“Are you trying to catch him because he’s nice or because you’re interested?”
It was a sharp question that really hit home, but Older Sister seemed even more excited.
“I’m interested because he’s nice!”
As if in disbelief, Youngest Sister raised her eyebrows and then pulled a white dress from the closet and handed it to Older Sister.
“This one suits you the best. Go with this.”
This time, I couldn’t help but sigh in amazement.
Youngest Sister, born a few minutes later than Older Sister, looked as beautiful as my Eldest Sister.
It was the first time I had seen Older Sister prepare for a date the day before, so I was curious about the sudden change in her attitude.
“Sister Regina, who is the guy? Do I know him?”
“I’m meeting Leo from last time.”
My mouth gaped wide in shock.
She’s meeting Leopold von Waltrachen? The male lead from the original work?
My plan was to have them meet the male leads and avoid the 0.001% chance of encountering the war and tragedy in the original work, but dating?
I never thought of such a development. But… is this a big win?
“Leo? Who is he? What kind of guy is he?”
“You don’t need to know.”
“What? Hey, who is he? Even little one knows. Why am I the only one who doesn’t?”
“Just wait. If things go well with Leo, I’ll introduce him to you then.”
The twin sisters started arguing with each other.
I was excited, and I couldn’t stop my feet from shuffling in place.
After the war between the Empire and Trovanza erupted, Leopold and Alice became the commanders of their respective countries.
In the original story, Leopold was the one who defeated Alice, but if Older Sister and Leopold got along, wouldn’t Eldest Sister be safe if the war broke out?
Besides, he was a pure man 100% unlike Marius, who became emperor with blood on his hands, or François, who suffered from madness.
After all, Leopold was a safe choice for Older Sister!
I jumped onto my sister’s bed in excitement.
They seemed to get along well, and when they met last time, it seemed like they were interested in each other.
Leopold kept stealing glances at Regina, and she maintained her usual smile while tucking her hair behind her ear.
“If it’s Uncle Leo, then I approve!”
Regina looked at me and burst into laughter.
At that moment, Youngest Sister came over and touched my forehead with her hand.
“Little one, let’s take some fever medicine. You have a fever.”
Youngest Sister held me in her arms.
Hearing that I had a fever made my head feel a little hot.
The problem was that after taking the fever medicine mixed with strawberry syrup, I developed a fever for real.
In the early morning when I cried because I was in pain, I had to be rushed to the local doctor on Sister Regina’s back.