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Chapter 23: Chapter 23: The Correct Viewpoint

Since I wanted to make Aki feel less embarrassed, I visited a salon to touch up my hair and beard, buying some hair and beauty products there.

I got a pretty perfume with a heart-shaped bottle and a sweet but light scent for Mom and aftershave for myself.

The saleswoman was a great help and let me sample various scents—because of my increased senses, the stronger ones hurt my nose or seemed to smell horrible.

Maybe I could get a job designing scents if the dungeon goes badly!

Luckily my suit didn't get stained and smelt fresh after last night...

[Well, I am glad you had fun and got the release you needed]

'Mmmm.' I replied while turning right on the busy road, my black M2 humming moderately.

I thought that Eternia might be angry or shout at me, but when telling her about having sex with Elizabeth, she accepted it with a smile.

She said, "Good for you—I can see more light and peace in your smile now."

I would probably find out whether she truly felt that way or not.

Yet it felt nice to hear I looked good because I felt more at peace—although the darkness still lingered in the depths of my mind, it felt contained.

My mind was a coffee machine—gradually filtering it through dealing with my troubles piece by piece.

[Are you sure about meeting your sister?]

'...'

'The honest answer?' I smiled with a meek look, feeling defeated while grasping the steering wheel to avoid running, turning away from her again.

'I feel ashamed, worthless and like dirt whenever meeting Aki since she started studying...'

[Why?]

Brrrr!

Subconsciously my foot pressed down on the pedal, turning to overtake the car ahead of me—I could feel the agitation in my stomach churning away, acid and self-hatred building with each yard closer to the University.

When I was about to lose it, feeling like lashing out, Eternia's soft hand stroked mine.

Her gentle eyes were more like a mother, a slight glaze shimmering in the late morning sunlight.

[Do not worry]

[I am with you, take a deep breath.]

[Aki doesn't hate you, it's all in your mind, you are your own worst enemy]

'...'

'How do you know?'

The many years of her shunning us to leave the house and hang with her friends, ignoring the fact we struggle to make ends meet, then having mother give her money to socialise...

I watched as Mother worked herself to the bone yet could barely support the interest.

[Rai]

Her soft hands seemed so vast and powerful as I turned the car and stopped in the parking bay, looking at her quietly.

[My adorable and weak Champion]

[Your sister never spent any of the money given to her by you or your mother]

'Eh?'

But I have seen her take the money—then she would have new clothes or jewellery and drink with her friends at the weekend without care for us...

[I have seen, watched and observed all there is to know about you...]

'...'

[Have faith]

[That the world you saw with your clouded eyes twisted by poverty and desperation]

[Were merely illusory sights, images meant to break your own will]

[To convince yourself, "Ah, that's how it is... Then I only need to endure until I die"]

'How can it be that this world doesn't have magic?'

'Then what made me see these so-called illusions you speak of?'

My hands around the steering wheel gripped tighter each time Eternia's words came close to even the surface of truth. It felt painful, a wave of dark anger, jealousy, envy, anger and the desire to hide my pathetic self from her eyes.

[You already know the truth, those demons, the darkness...]

[Isn't it all your creation to keep your past self from having any hope?]

[Without hope, you didn't need to feel inferior, watching your mother with dead eyes]

[That is the Shibuya Rai... Before you met me.]

[A useless coward, deceiving himself with lies and convenient misunderstandings, ignoring the truth even before his eyes...]

The words from her mouth felt like a sniper's perfectly accurate shots from 400 metres, each one digging deeper into my heart.

Yet her beautiful face stared at me with no blame, anger, nothing but her warm smile as her tiny hands stroked my fingers.

Her little body was sitting between my hands on the steering wheel.

'Eternia....that...'

[Listen to me... I am not your enemy—I am here to protect you. Protect your heart and mind]

'Like a guardian angel...'

'But again... Why?'

She shrugged at me, kicking her small legs and looking upwards before giving me a wry grin and placing a hand on each of mine.

[Who cares, I am here, and that's all that matters, right?]

'I guess.'

[Even if you wish to stay stagnant and remain in that dark place without light, people, or love.]

[I can no longer let you stay there... So I will drag you from that depressing place if I must]

'...'

[So smile, imagine you were reborn again today... Meet Aki with your best smile, and be the brother you couldn't be before.]

[If you make a mistake, I will follow you up to ensure you no longer misunderstand and run away because you are scared.]

Somehow her words were a little too grand for me to take in completely, but I felt a warmth in my chest, and the churning of nausea and stress in my abdomen faded long ago.

Staring into her soft eyes, she gave me a little wink; it was abrupt and honestly caught me off guard, her little body fluttering into the air...

Once again, she stole a kiss from my lips.

A gentle peck, nothing like the thick kiss with Elizabeth, yet my heart rapidly beat like a drummer's solo at a concert.

[Please don't think you are worthless and have no value]

'Eternia?'

[The Rai in your reflection may be worthless...]

[But you set me free...]

[In my eyes, you are a small star that needs some help to get back into the sky, then you'll shine again...]

[Like when you were younger]

[Mister, National Boxing Under 15s Champion]

'Can I do it?'

I looked down at my new car, the scent of my aftershave and the handsome reflection in the side mirror.

The suit made me look like those suit thugs and cool martial arts actors from the movies when I was a kid...

Back before Dad died and left us...

[So you finally stopped lying to yourself, saying he left you, abandoned you?]

'...'

'As a kid, it felt that way, he was there, and we were happy, even if they weren't my true mother and sister...'

Thankfully I could somehow avoid letting tears run down my cheeks, always feeling annoyed and angry at my father, but it wasn't his fault—he didn't choose to die...

And the debts were from his cancer bills...

Seeing him as some monster...

It was only me...

'It was to justify my immature and lazy attitude wanting someone to blame, be it dad, Aki's college money... Mother's job...'

[Do not blame yourself—nobody is perfect. Even a goddess like me, fufu.]

'Well, you needed to get plastic surgery...'

[Hmph!]

The fairy flicked me, but it didn't hurt because I scooped her tiny hand into mine, stroking the delicate skin and looking into her beautiful eyes.

"Then I'll give being normal a try."

[Normal is no good!]

She crossed her arms in an "X" fashion, pouted, and then spoke with a mumbled voice while curling her silky blonde hair.

[Do you truly believe it a coincidence you found the dungeon, we met and I....]

'Hmmm?'

[Nevermind...]

[Have more faith—it's okay to have hope... to wish for a better tomorrow.]

[I will guide you!]

'...'

[Now, let's meet your sister]

Snap!

Her finger's snapped, and like magic, I heard the sound of countless panes of glass shattering.

[Do not hide your darkness or incompetence—embrace it and seek to conquer those weaknesses with your actions.]

'Wise fairy of the lake, was it this axe you dropped? Or this one?'

[Shut up! Little bastard, smile like that more often, and it wouldn't just be me falling for you]

The fairy vanished into the drawer where my snacks were stored for later and started eating them, now sitting in the passenger seat with a loud crunching sound...

'Goddess, please... don't get crumbs on my seats!'

[Mmmm~ so delectable! Rai, get me more of these... cheesy poofs!]


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