Jumping the Gun
“Something troubling me?”
There was a miniature-sized chair, one that could likely fit in someone’s palm, on top of the desk.
Tia parroted back my words from her position sitting deeply in that chair.
“Yeah. Not just about magic either, anything. Like if there’s anything about daily life that’s inconvenient for you, if there’s anything just not working—or any relationships?”
I sat in front of the disk Tia was on, matching my height to hers as I spoke. After taking the matter concerning Yutaka and Aqua into consideration, I wanted to officially give everyone chances to consult with me about anything. There appeared to still be many things not working out properly when asked carefully about it, so it was important to do.
That said, what worried me the most was the matter between Tia and Lufelle. Nina had told me to leave it alone, but I wanted to do something if it was in my power.
“Something troubling me, huh…”
Tia held a finger to her lips and crossed her legs in thought. Although she was short, her body itself was that of a mature woman’s.
Which is exactly why now that I was staring at her so closely, I could see how her unexpectedly bountiful chest was being pressed into by her arm, as well as her slender, healthy legs.
Tia responded lightly after a moment of thought.
It wasn’t like I thought she was lying about saying she didn’t have anything to say.
“Really? So… there’s nothing giving you a hard time?”
Even setting aside the matter with Lufelle, there’s no way she could have it easy with such a small body. However, hearing my question, Tia just laughed before giving her response.
“Mentor. You know, you all are arrogant.”
“Yeah. There’s no way she could have it easy with such a small body—that’s what you’re thinking, right?”
Stuck right in the bullseye, I couldn’t help but let out a sigh.
“It’s the opposite. You’re all too big. I’ve been this size from the moment I was born, so why would I only start being troubled now? It’s more like, well, you’re all so giant and slow, so I’m feeling sorry for you, you know?”
I think I understood what Tia was getting at.
“It’s the same with me saying I want to be strong, you know. I’m not really troubled or anything. Elves, giants, even dragons, none of them scare me… However.”
Tia shot me a sharp glare.
“You all just keep thinking I’m afraid of things. I hate being told that something’s dangerous so much, alright? It’s sickening.”
“Alright, I understand. I’m in the wrong.”
I raised my hands to show my surrender. It was as Nina said. Tia was a much, much stronger child than I’d thought.
“Well… I also thought that I wanted the strength to fight for when there were people not as fast as me and couldn’t keep up, but there’s probably no reason for that anymore…”
Tia spoke as if forcing the words out, her voice somewhat lonely.
“Of course there’s still a reason—Lufelle believes in you, she counts on you, too.”
Tia stared at me silently after I followed up with that. For some reason, I got the feeling like I’d seen the way she was looking at me before. It was how Nina often looked at me, her eyes filled with what felt like astonishment.
“You know, Mentor…”
Tia continued, albeit hesitantly.
“What… do you think about Lufelle?”
“What…? She’s a serious, talented young girl. One of my beloved students.”
Hearing my response, Tia sighed.
“… So she’s too big for you to see as a girl after all?”
I’d finally realized what she meant now that she went so far as to say that.
“It’s not about her size… I mean, Lufelle doesn’t see me in that way, right? It’s the same for me.”
“But she’s thinking about you constantly!”
Slamming her fist down on her desk, Tia bent forward.
“Tia… were you thinking that Lufelle likes me and purposely tried to get her to be with me?”
“… So what if I did? Am I wrong?”
However, she simply pouted in response to my question.
“I wouldn’t say you were wrong… but unfortunately, you were off the mark.”
“What are you getting at?”
“I’ve lived for a very long time. I can make the distinction between what is and what isn’t receiving goodwill from someone as the opposite sex.”
Although it wasn’t something to be proud of, it’s something I’ve experienced twice. Even if they were trying to hide it, I would never mistake that.
“If you don’t trust me, how about we try asking her? Lufelle!”
I opened the door and called the giant girl who was waiting for her turn next.
“I’m here, is it my turn?”
“Yeah, but could I ask you a question first? Tia said that she likes me, what do you think about that?”
“Hey–what are you…!?”
“Really? That’s great! We match then—I love you so much too, Mentor!”
Lufelle’s expression turned into a delighted one faster than Tia had a chance to finish voicing her protest.
“You know… do you even know what that word means?”
“Huh? Mentor’s like a dad… umm, so he’s like an older brother for you, Tia?”
Tia just deflated upon hearing her answer.
Patting her on the head with my finger, I spoke.
“But still, Tia said she likes you even more than me.”
“Yep! I love Tia, too!”
Her smile grew even brighter than before as she declared as such.
“… If mentor’s the dad, what am I?”
Tia asked that question after looking like she’d just mustered whatever strength she had left in her. Her smile looked all too forced.
After thinking for a moment, Lufelle finished answering.
“My little sister!”
“I’m obviously older though!?”
“But I’m bigger.”
Seeing them both declare that they were, in fact, the big sister, I let out a sigh of utter relief.