Chapter 8 – I tried forming a different relationship than last time

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“Well then.
Start!”

And with that, it’s over.”

“…Eh?”

It ends in a second like it always did, but this time with a different winner.

Labrys is completely frozen, and her eyes are wide open.

And pointed at the white nape of her neck, is my sword.

“…Can we call it here?”

No one answers.

Labrys is frozen, unable to understand what’s happening, and Mister Sirius is just looking on with a look of amazement.
Surely even he didn’t expect it to end like this.

“…W-what…?”

Labrys finally manages to squeeze out a word.

“What do you mean what? I just moved quickly.”

What I did is actually simple.

I activated a speed multiplying technique and quickly got close to her.

No matter how fast Labrys is, she can’t keep up with the ‘quickness’ of time magic.

“So, is it over?”

I try to confirm it again, and Labrys gulps, like she came to her senses.

The rules dictate she must be unable to fight or give up, but I’m pretty sure this is already…

“…Give up.”

Mumbles Labrys, and she lowers her swords…

“There’s no way I will!”

Suddenly, a pink fire that looks like a storm of cherry blossoms rises from her swords.

“Five Boost! (physical strengthening five)”

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I undid my speed multiplying technique because I thought the match was over, but that was a bad idea, and my reaction is a little too slow because of it.

Thump.

My heart jumps.

Two swords rapidly approach, and then…

“That’s enough, Chrom.”

Mister Sirius’ voice brings me back, and I hear the sound of a sword hitting the ground.

“Ahh… Ahh…”

I look down, and see Labrys sitting on the ground.

Her face looks pale, and she’s looking up at me while her body trembles.

Next to her, I see two swords smashed to pieces…

“…Chrom.”

Mister Sirius places his hand on my shoulder.

“…Calm down.
You released too much bloodlust.”

I finally notice that my face is really stiff.

…I moved reflexively.

I spent too much time on battlefields the first time around, and that feeling of fighting to the death is too deeply entrenched in my soul.

(…What am I doing?)

I scared Labrys like this right after saying I want to be her friend…

“Sorry… Are you all right Labrys? Are you hurt?”

I extend my hand to Labrys, but she hangs her head and stays still.

“…What!? What was that power…”

She mumbles.

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“Are you really… Chrom?”

“…Yes, I’m Chrom.”

It makes sense that she can’t believe it.

I’m sure it feels weird for someone who was always so weak to suddenly become strong.

“…Have you been fooling me all along? Have you been pretending you didn’t have power, pretending that you were a failure…”

She looks up at me, and her eyes look a little red.

“If you have that power, why… Why didn’t you stay with me…? You promised…”

“…”

I finally realize something.

(Ah… So that’s your problem with me.)

Labrys always reminded me of a little bunny that doesn’t take to anyone but is actually lonely.

I should’ve known that better than anyone, but…

Past me decided on his own Labrys became very strong, including her heart, and that he wasn’t fit to be by her side.
So I distanced myself from her.

So to her, it probably just seemed like I betrayed her.

“I don’t know if you’ll believe me… But I really was weak until yesterday.”

“…Eh?”

“It’s also true that I couldn’t use any magic.
And as for why I distanced myself from you… I got it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to stand next to you, so I ran away.
But…”

I look directly at her face.

“I’m not running anymore.
I’ve decided that from now on I’m going to make things right.”

Labrys also looks me in the eyes for a while.

And eventually… She turns away like she always does.

“…I give up.”

And with those words, our mock battle comes to an end.

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“…Sorry, for everything.
And, hum, I said some pretty bad things before too.”

“No, it’s fine.
I’m actually thankful.”

“Thankful…?”

“I mean, you were concerned about me, right? You have a point in that old me would’ve probably died right away if he became a knight or an adventurer.”

“…Chrom, do I really look that nice to you?”

Labrys says self-deprecatingly.

“Yes, you do.”

“…Eh?”

“I know you’re actually a nice girl.”

I put my hand on her head.

“You’re clumsy, but kind, and you always try very hard.
I like that about you.
It’s because you’re like that that I want us to be friends again.”

I pat her head gently to reassure her.

This kind of feels nostalgic.

(…I used to do this to her a lot.)

I would pat her head when it looked like she was about to cry, and she’d feel better and smile…

“…!? …!?”

…Oh? This reaction doesn’t seem quite the same.

Labrys’ face turns red, and she lets out a scream that sounds like she’s trying to say words but can’t.

“W-what… What are you doing!? Seriously…!? Y-you failure! I don’t get it!”

Labrys jumps back and glares at me.

“There’s something weird about you today big brother Chrom!!”

“Eh? Big…?”

“Ah…”

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Labrys closes her mouth with her hands.

“Ah… Ahh…”

Her face gets even redder.

“C-Chrom you idiot!”

She says before zooming out of here.

Labrys is a really fast runner.
She’s not even using a speed multiplying technique.

(D-did I make her mad?)

I was just patting her head like one would do to a little sister…

But then again, current me is only one year older than her.

I guess it should be obvious that a teenage girl doesn’t want a boy her age that she doesn’t even like to pat her head.

(But… It’s been a while since she called me big brother…)

I get the feeling that I did run my mouth too much, but I also feel like we’re a step closer to being the way we used to be.

But then again, Labrys isn’t soft enough that I can suddenly change her from not liking me to liking me.

“I think you became a little closer.”

“M-maybe a little…?”

Mister Sirius was watching this whole scene unfold from the sidelines, and for some reason his face is twitching.

“But still, you really did manage to defeat Labrys.
It feels to me like you jumped to the top of your generation in terms of strength.”

“Well, Labrys also got careless.”

“True, it’s very easy for her to become self-conceited, but… Your movements were not normal, especially at the end.
I have never seen something like that.”

Mister Sirius silently looks at my face for a while.

“…Chrom, will you face me in a match?”

He says all of a sudden.

“Show me your true strength, not as your master, but as a fellow swordsman.”

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