Alexei came to meet Ekaterina when she was moving to the school building after the entrance ceremony.
"Brother!" Ekaterina happily ran to her brother's side. "Brother, your speech was wonderful."
"Hmm? Ah. I was a sudden stand-in, so I didn't say much."
Her guess about substituting someone else was a bingo. But even if Alexei didn't prepare for the speech, he was so calm before.
"Rather than me, aren't you more interested in the prince?"
"His Highness Mikhail gave a speech right after me, right? What do you think about him?"
Why did he suddenly mention the prince? Did Brother find out I was having weird thoughts during His Highness' entire speech?
"Ah… His Highness, eh. Right, uh, his speech is great…"
No good. I sounded so suspicious.
Let's be honest here. So that Brother wouldn't get angry at me.
"Um… It didn't… really leave an impression on me…"
Oh, a silent pause.
Maybe he was stunned. But, but, Brother was better than the prince! It couldn't be helped!
"Uh, Brother! Rather than that, can I ask you something?"
"Y-yeah, of course."
"Brother, are you engaged with anyone!?"
No, Brother. Please don't give me such a blank look.
"Um, I know that it's not something I can interfere with. But let me tell you this, Brother. No matter who is Brother's wife, I will never be mean towards her! I promise that I won't start a feud between women and trouble you!"
('Don't bully the in-law!' I had tattooed this slogan in my heart!)
Ekaterina inwardly emphasized, clenching her fist.
"Feud…" Alexei muttered, then he laughed.
...How rare. This was the first time Ekaterina saw her brother laughing out loud. He looked younger than usual, adorable.
But this was not the time for him to laugh. The in-law problem was probably a fundamental problem for women! Well, she never became a wife or mother-in-law, though.
A little farther away, Ekaterina could see the students heading to the school building were looking at Alexei in a daze.
"I-I'm not engaged," Alexei answered, removing his monocle and wiping his tears. "I'll consider it after I graduate. Since I have to focus on my job as the Duke and my studies, it's not the time for me to get engaged. Besides, I will get married only after I marry you to a proper family. So there's no need for you to worry about feuds or anything."
Ekaterina was relieved to hear that. And when her brother removed his monocle, he looked even cuter.
"I'm going to be a bride after seeing my brother's happiness with my own eyes."
"That means both of us won't be able to marry, right? Then we will always be together."
"That's nice! For me, that'll make the happiest!"
(Because Brother was my number one favorite!)
"You're such a child," Alexei said with a bitter smile, but he looked happy. "When you're a little older and have someone you like, tell me. As long as he can make you happy, I will do as you wish."
Thank you, Brother.
Actually, a part of me was eleven years older than you. I'm sorry about that.
Not to say, I was an idiot who died after playing an otome game and spent too much of my spare time to watch the scene where Brother appeared even if just a little because I liked you although you weren't the capture target. So there's a big possibility that I would stay with you forever.
I also planned never to leave your side to break the death from overworking flag from you!
After parting with Alexei, Ekaterina rushed to the freshmen's building.
She was definitely late. Almost all the students were already in the school building. She could only see a few backs of people.
When Ekaterina sprinted to chase them, her eyes were pulled to the back of a girl.
She was a student with a delicate body.
Her fluffy semi-long hair was the pale pink color, resembling the cherry blossoms. Ekaterina could see that she was pretty only from her back.
The color of her eyes was bright purple like amethyst. She had round eyes and long eyelashes, the cute uniform suiting her perfectly.
The information that Ekaterina wouldn't have known just by looking at the girl's back from a distance sprung up in her head like angry waves.
But it's normal that I knew that. Because that was me.
It's also normal that the uniform suited her. Because it was designed to match that character.
Why did she walk even if I hadn't entered a command?
(No, it's the heroine! I'm not playing the game right now! Get ahead of yourself, me!)
Wait, who am I again?
My legs lost their power.
(Oh no, I got locked out!)
I felt like I could hear Alexei's voice from a distance.
But before I could confirm it, I blacked out.
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