The sky dyed in twilight.
The grasslands which the knight’s carriage went across were tinted red.
Rinna was swaying in one of the said carriages, deep in thought.
The girl, who was now exhausted was fast asleep on her lap.
Rei’s dedication to herself was, to put bluntly, illogical.
But of course, Rei couldn’t thank Rinna enough either.
But, even so…
Letting out a sigh, she patted her head.
With the reflection of the evening light, Rei’s hair seemed as if it were glowing red.
Rinna once again reconsidered her actions.
How was it like the first time they met with the flame dragon?
Her actions at that time were a little too much for an ordinary girl. It was something she could wrap her head around.
Why did she risk her own life?
If she hadn’t fought, Rinna would have died right there and then.
And what about what she did in the forest?
Rei fought valiantly, using her body as a shield to protect Rinna.
She placed Rinna’s life as a priority as compared to her own.
Would a normal girl be able to do that for a person who they’ve only met for a week?
「The only possibility I can think of is…」
This is something which she would probably never be able to tell Rei.
Why do summons put their lives on the line to fight for their summoner?
To be called to a place where they’ve never seen nor known about before, to fight for someone who they don’t know.
And if that is the case, why don’t these summons were fight back against their summoner?
The answer to that is that when they were summoned, they will have an effect of 『holding amicable feelings towards the one who summoned them』.
The range of emotion varies, but at the very least, it is unheard of for summons to attack their summoner.
This effect was probably placed on Rei as well.
If this was the reason why Rei would put her life on the life to protect her…
Her name slipped out from Rinna’s mouth.
If it wasn’t just the desire to protect, but the reason why she would face Rinna with a smile, to treat her like family, if it was everything…
If everything was just a fake created by the summoner…
Her legs started to tremble.
A splitting headache entered her mind.
It could be a bond forged from brainwashing tactics.
Even so, it was something which she did not want to lose.
Rinna felt a mix of guilt and indebtedness towards Rei.
The insides of her mind were turning into a mess.
Rinna’s tears started overflowing and spilled forth.
「Mnn… Rinna? Are you crying? 」
「Rei, I’m sorry, did I wake you up? 」
Rei got up and peered at Rinna with worry, while Rinna wiped her tears and feigned calm.
「What’s the matter? Did something happen? 」
「Nothing at all. Sorry to make you worry.」
「There’s definitely something. You were making such a pained expression earlier.」
「All right, I’ll ask you…」
She was afraid of hearing the answer, but it wasn’t something that she could ignore.
「Why do you push yourself so far, just to protect me?」
Rei thought about that question for a bit.
Why did she so desperately protect Rinna?
She thought long and hard, to the extent that twisted her neck, and even her body.
And then, the answer which she came to was…
「I kinda fell for you at first sight…」
「I’m being serious here.」
Rei rushed to give an explanation as Rinna stared at her with wet eyes.
「Wait! I am being serious! Nothing else came to mind after all. Being summoned to another world, meeting Rinna for the first time, I thought that it must be fate. I thought that if I don’t protect Rinna, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, I see you as someone very important.」
Rei was beaming and blushing when she said that.
Rinna’s doubts weren’t cleared, but her words brought some solace to her.
While hoping that the crimson light from the evening was covering her blushing face, Rinna jumped into Rei’s arms.
Letting out a 「Oof」 as Rinna jumped into her arms, Rei returned the hug.
「Rinna you’re such a little baby」
Even if it started as an imitation, she was certain what would happen from here on out was real.
As she prayed, Rinna could feel Rei’s warmth.
Rei and Rinna parted ways from Hilde and the other knights at the west entrance of the capital.
After collecting their reward from the summoner’s guild, they ate their dinner a store.
When they got back home it was already completely dark outside.
「We’re back~~ I’m too tired」
Rei returned to the room and jumped on the bed, lying down and falling dead asleep.
It seems like she couldn’t even move another step.
「Take a shower at least. You rolled around in quite a bit after all.」
「I can’t move anymore Rinna.」
「There, there, you did well」
Rinna patted Rei’s head at the side of the bed.
She narrowed her eyes and slowly turned to Rinna.
「Thanks! That cheered me up a bit.」
「Fufu, that’s good.」
「So, would you like to bathe together?」
Rei got coldly shutdown and headed towards the bath.
The only reason why Rinna has been rejecting her offers till now was because the bath was too small.
But today, she was feeling a little embarrassed.
The reason behind that was, for now, something she couldn’t put her finger on.
Rinna went into the shower after Rei, and after that it was time to sleep.
The two changed into their pajamas, with their hair
Rei was using the hairbrush in front of the mirror, tidying up her hair.
「Rinna you’re gonna use it too right? Gimme a second」
「Nah, I think I won’t for today. I’m tired, I just wanna sleep.」
「That won’t do, you have such beautiful hair! Come over here.」
Signaling her to come over, she took up Rinna’s hairbrush.
After making Rinna sit in front of the hairdresser, she went to her back.
「If you’re tired then I’ll do it for you!」
「I’m pretty sure you’re more tired than I am」
Rei stroked the brush through Rinna’s long hair.
It went through her fine light blue hair, which flowed through the air.
「It must be nice to have such beautiful hair…」
「I think Rei’s is pretty too though」
Hers was brown with a tint of red.
When the evening light shone on it, it would glimmer like a red gem.
「Ehehe, it’s the first time someone’s said that」
While shyly smiling, she took up some of Rinna’s hair.
Her smooth hair had naught a single tangles, and fell apart between her fingers.
「It kinda feels like, when Rei tidies my hair, I feel really at ease.」
「That’s good, I’ll do it again sometime.」
As her hair was brushed, a calming silence fell over the two.
While that happened, Rei opened to speak.
「You know, when Miss Hilde came to save us, I felt really at ease but at the same time I was a little regretful too.」
Rinna’s shoulder moved with a jolt.
While continuing to move her arm, Rei continued speaking.
「My strength wasn’t enough and I was unable to protect Rinna on my own.」
「…I too was regretful」
Hearing those sudden words from Rinna,
Rei’s hands which were brushing Rinna’s hair stopped dead in their tracks.
「Rei’s the only one who’s always put in danger while I’m just watching. I can’t do anything. I won’t be able to catch up to my sister like this.」
「I want to help Rei more. Not only to be protected by you, but to fight alongside you.」
Rei put her small arms around Rinna’s shoulder, and hugged Rinna from behind.
With that, the fragrance of the soap wafted through the air.
「You’re right, the both of us are still lacking.」
「I wanna be strong」
「Let’s become strong together.」
Rei turned her hand towards her chest.
Rinna placed her hand on top of Rei’s and nodded.
The single bed which the two of them slept on, was something which Rinna no longer found to be small.
Snuggled up, hand in hand, the two embraced each other’s warmth and drifted deep into sleep.