Chapter 61 – A mother remembers
“We need to deal with this quickly.
It will be a big problem if she dies.”
I hear a voice.
I am laying down on a bed, with no strength in my body.
Why Why did this happen to me, the mother of Alice, the miko It’s the same thing that happened years ago.
Alice has always given me blessings, and has always been like an angel.
It is thanks to her that I have been living in perfectly good health.
As I think this, I stare at my husband, who is next to my bed, looking at me with a worried expression, and start to think back to my past.
My family used to be a noble family back in my grandfather’s day, and my mother never missed an opportunity to tell me about it.
She would say that even though we lived in the middle of nowhere, we should never forget our noble hearts and respect for our ancestors.
I heard her say the same thing so many times, I could recite her speech from memory.
The ancestor my mother liked the most was a person with beautiful golden hair and clear blue eyes.
Because of this, said person also held a special place in my heart.
Eventually, my mother passed away, I met my husband, and we got married.
At this point, I was not physically well.
My body was never very strong to begin with, but that year’s winter was particularly harsh, with some even going as far as to say it was the coldest in many decades.
Suffice to say, something like this affects weak bodied people like myself the hardest.
I was ready for death.
We somehow got a doctor to examine me, who told me my condition was worsening that night.
But somehow, all of a sudden, I started feeling a lot better.
The doctor called it a miracle, and not long after, I discovered I was pregnant.
I felt like this life inside of me had saved mine.
I loved this child inside of me, and felt their life was connected to mine.
This did not change when I learned this child was actually twins.
Ah, there were two lives inside of me.
I was going to have two children, how fortunate.
My husband and I looked forward to seeing who they would look like the most, but regardless of how they were, we would love them with all we had.
I would be these children’s ally no matter who turned against us.
That is how I felt at the time.
But… I was completely fascinated by the child that was born first.
She looked not like my husband or I, but instead I felt like she looked exactly like the ancestor that my mother told me about countless times.
Giving birth to twins was not easy, and I was told it could kill me, but I was not worried.
I faced death once before, and was saved by these children.
As strange as it may seem, I felt as though they would get me through this as well.
My heart was drawn to the older sister, Alice, but I was going to cherish the younger sister, Lerunda, as well.
But slowly, as they grew up, I started feeling like Alice was special.
Alice did not look like me or my husband, but she was a beautiful child.
Some of the villagers started gossiping, questioning whether or not Alice was even our daughter, but there was no doubt about it.
She was my child, and I had to protect her.
I kept telling people Alice was special, she was my child, and she did not look like us because she was a throwback to our ancestor.
I kept saying it, protecting Alice, and along the way I neglected Lerunda.
But it was fine, as Lerunda looked like us and any other villager you could find anywhere, so Alice needed to be protected a lot more.
As a result, Alice was accepted by the villagers, and loved by them.
In the meantime, rumors started circulating that my other daughter, Lerunda, was strange.
She was not beautiful like her twin, and too normal to be the twin of such a special being.
At first I was upset at people saying such things, but Lerunda really was a strange child.
At some point, there was a child that tried to mess with Lerunda, but not only did it not work, but something bad ended up happening to that child.
I knew I shouldn’t think such things about my own child, but Lerunda was strange… And creepy.
Lerunda developed a little faster than Alice, which also rubbed us the wrong way.
One time, my husband and I accidentally left her alone for an entire day, and after scrambling to look for her, we found her, and she was acting as though nothing was wrong.
A child like her should have been completely helpless on her own.
What a strange, creepy child.
Even as I thought she was creepy compared to Alice, I still thought of her as my child.
But my husband, who should have felt the same way, said something.
“That kid is strange.
Alice is such an adorable girl, so how did she end up like that”
Not only was my usually kind husband saying that, but the fact that deep down I thought she was creepy was making me see her as unpleasant.
The fact that the lovely Alice, the child that saved my life, became upset when we looked after Lerunda was also one of the reasons.
Alice looked special, and there was no doubt in my mind that she saved my life.
As Alice grew, special phenomena started happening.
People would give us things, as they thought Alice was special, and because someone said that harvests had been abundant ever since she was born.
I thought from the bottom of my heart that Alice was a special child, and she blessed us all.
Lerunda on the other hand was creepy, but she was still a child, so I was reluctant to abandon her.
We would let her stay with us and give her food and clothes from time to time, but we didn’t want a sacred being like Alice to come in contact with her too much, so we kept them apart.
Lerunda did not talk a lot.
My husband and I were often irritated by her silence, her disheveled hair, and her indifferent expression.
Maybe she would be more lovable if she cried and screamed more.
Not long after they turned seven, we were visited by priests, who told us the miko was in our house.
We had two children, but we immediately thought of Alice.
It had to be her.
The twin sister of such an important being as the miko was not needed, so we abandoned Lerunda.
After that, we were taken to the temple, and started leading a life worthy of the miko’s parents.
I started feeling like there was something wrong with my body, but did not think much of it.
After all, there was no way something bad could happen to the miko’s mother.
When I told my husband, he said…
Could it be that our little angel is going to have a brother or sister”
Someone worthy of being Alice’s brother or sister, not like Lerunda.
But that was not it.
I fell ill.
All I can do is wonder why.
I am the miko’s mother, and Alice is so dear to me.
Alice should be giving me blessings.
“Was it true after all”
“…It certainly is starting to look like it.”
I hear voices of people from the temple, but my consciousness is fading, and I can’t hear them very well.
—A mother remembers
(The mother of the girl that is probably the miko is ill, and she cannot understand why.
She mistakenly believes her health was due to the sister’s influence, and can only lament and ask why.)