Yuki’s Ambition: Finale
The castle I constructed ended up proving itself far too out of scale for our everyday use. Of course, its size was entirely intentional. Half the structure’s dignity came from its sheer mass. Unfortunately, dignity and practicality didn’t always go hand in hand. I failed to realize my failure at first. I was too busy basking in everyone’s praise to notice that I’d made a mistake.
The corridors were too long; the amount of distance between any two locations was ridiculous. Living in the newly constructed castle was nothing short of an obnoxious inconvenience. A good bit of time had passed since its creation, but not a single one of its many rooms had been claimed for personal use. In fact, all the adults had basically stopped visiting it altogether. Illuna visited it with Shii and Fluffrir to play and explore every day, but that was it. They were the only ones that’d gleamed even the slightest bit of benefit from my efforts.
All the dungeon’s residents still lived in the throne room, and not the newly constructed one. Having two throne rooms made it pretty difficult to distinguish which was which, so I decided to call the castle’s throne room “the throne room,” and the dungeon’s original throne room “the true throne room.”
Fortunately, not all my effort had gone to waste. Anyone that ventured into the cave containing my dungeon would see a massive castle looming in the darkness, and I was certain it would at least intimidate them enough to deliver a blow or two to their confidence. To that end, I’d also given the castle a bit of decoration. I lined its halls with western-styled suits of armour and even used my earth magic to craft a beautiful garden. The castle’s courtyard and interior served the exact same purpose as its exterior. It was all there for the sake of grandeur; it only existed to crush the resolve of any that dared to intrude.
Thinking back on it, I should’ve known that the castle wouldn’t see much use. The Demon Lords in JRPGs didn’t wander about their domains or use their own facilities. They simply remained seated on their thrones and majestically awaited their challengers. It would only make sense for the demon lord and their close companions to reside within the throne room.
Creating the castle was an idiotic decision. But I was fine with that. I understood and accepted it as fact. The only reason it’d come to be in the first place was because I’d wanted to create something fantastical. Fantasy was something that existed to make people’s hearts flutter with excitement. Like D*sney Land and many other places that delivered on fantasies, my castle was built to entertain. No one lived in Disn*y Land. Thus, it was only natural for my castle to be free of residents as well. That was all there was to it.
Okay, yeah no. Dis*ey Land, my ass. I’m just trying to convince myself that all that time and effort hadn’t gone to waste.
I heaved an exasperated sigh as I slumped down onto my throne.
“There is no need for you to be so depressed, Yuki. I can attest that your castle is the most magnificent I have ever laid eyes on,” said Lefi.
“You don’t have to lie to me, you know? I can tell that you’re just dying to ask why I decided to make it so needlessly large.”
Hearing my reaction caused Lefi to stifle a giggle.
“What?” I groaned.
“This is the first time I have ever seen you in such a withered state. Admittedly, it is quite amusing to observe.”
I saw her lips momentarily curve up into a smile as she turned around and plopped herself onto my lap. She then relaxed and naturally allowed her slackened back to fall against my chest.
Both the touch of her skin and her pleasant, familiar scent filled me with a sense of warmth.
“Do you mind it?”
“E-Er… I don’t.”
She sounded really calm. A part of me felt that getting flustered would be akin to losing some sort of unexplained challenge, so I tried my best to put up a front and pretend that nothing was wrong.
Neither of us said another word.
We were silent, but it wasn’t awkward.
In fact, it was comforting.
“How warm,” Lefi suddenly broke the silence.
“Well yeah, I’m alive, so…”
My awkward reply caused Lefi to chuckle.
“Indeed you are.”
I didn’t quite get where she was trying to take the conversation, so I lowered my gaze and looked down at her face. She seemed to notice, as she promptly half turned towards me and returned my stare.
“You know, Yuki?”
“The time I spend with you is enjoyable. You are a very interesting man, and you bring me no shortage of amusement.”
“What’s this all of a sudden? Are you trying to cheer me up or something?”
“Precisely so. You’ve spent the better part of the last few days sulking. I believe that, as your elder, it is my duty to revitalize your spirits.”
She shrugged, as if to say that she’d spoken the line in jest.
“Well then. I didn’t think you’d actually admit to it.”
A wry smile appeared on my face.
“Though you tend to remain level-headed, it is impossible for me to deny that there is an idiotic side to you as well. That is why I will continue to watch over your actions in a manner befitting my status as a responsible adult.”
“Says the person that starts throwing a tantrum every time they lose at anything.”
“T-That has nothing to do with maturity!” Lefi shouted. “Taking a game seriously is a wholesome part of the fun!”
Her lips twisted into a pout as she started indignantly glaring at me. My response was to snicker as I dropped a hand onto her head.
She smiled as she turned more towards me and pressed a cheek against my chest.
“No fair! I wanna get on Onii-chan’s lap too!”
Having returned from her expedition, Illuna interrupted us with a shout.
“I fail to see the unfairness of which you speak, Illuna. There is enough space for two.”
“Yay! Then I want a hug too!”
Illuna pitter pattered down the hallway before kicking off the ground and transitioning into a leap with all her momentum still intact.
I blinked a few times in surprise as she suddenly crashed right into me. I went from supporting one person’s weight to two in an instant.
“I-I dunno about having both of you on me at once. This is starting to get kinda weighty.”
“You are a man, Yuki. Act like one.”
“I know right! You’re not supposed to call girls heavy!”
“You guys say that, but this chair is hard, and getting my legs pressed into it is kinda painful,” I groaned.
“Don’t worry, Onii-chan! I’ll hug it better!” Illuna wrapped her arms around my waist. “Pain, pain, go away!”
“Wow, that was really effective Illuna! I’m all better now,” I said as I forced a smile.
“Pedophile,” Lefi’s eyes narrowed in disapproval.
“I’m not quite sure that’s the kind of thing you’re supposed to say to someone’s face…”