Chapter 21 : A New Friend Or Foe?
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“Mira, are you done yet?” A muffled yet casual male voice came from the outside.

 

This can’t be good. Without a second thought, I was placing myself in front of Mira, facing the door. Protectively covering her body with mine as there was only silence in the room. 

 

“Mira?” The voice repeated itself becoming slightly down hearing from its tone. 

 

At this moment, many scenarios were running through my head. As if I would let anything harmful happen to her. I might have to fend off the offender with myself

 

“Who’s ther-” I was cut off with Mira lightly tapping on my shoulder and smiled at me.

 

“It’s okay, Miss Lenna. I know that voice, he’s my friend who I was talking about,” She whispered, peeking from the back as she held on to my right arm.

 

She then turned her head towards the door, “I’m here. You can come in, the coast is clear,” She spoke out, jumping in front of me gleefully.

 

Before I could oppose anything else, the door opened by itself. Revealing to my eyes a lean and rather well-compact upper body of a man. Dirty blonde hair with the roots of the hair colored Dark Chocolate that is tied up to a loose man bun. His tanned skin went along with those laid-back Hazel pupils of his. A white shirt with long sleeves, buttoned at the wrists, a gun harness strapped on his shoulder and wide across his chest.

 

His half-gloved hand was holding the door by the sides as he quickly peeks inside with a troubling gap on his mouth. Just by looking at him, I can sense his friendly and easygoing aura floating around him. Kind of like flowers emitting their own unique essence, and his is the more approachable one.

“Sooo... It’s safe?” The man whispered, and Mira excitedly nodded.

 

“Yup! And look who I finally got to meet here!” Mira linked her arms around my right one.

 

The man’s face brightened up with hers, “Whoa, that’s great, Mira-” He stopped his mouth when he made eye contact with me.

 

His eyes were fawning all over me for a second there, although his gazes are much less disturbing than those people from the reception. It was a good several seconds he was taking in to take hold of me in his eyes. It was subtle…. Too subtle….

 

“Ludwig?” Mira tilted her head, still linking her arms around me.

 

Snapped out of reality, he briefly shook his head.

 

“O-oh right!” He quickly snooped in through the door and closed it with his combat boots.

 

“My apologies, Lady Lenna,” He folded his right forearm into the front of his chest as he stood up straight like a soldier before bowing his upper body towards me.

 

Somehow, his calling of me didn’t really bother me at all. I bet it’s got something to do with his aura.

 

“So this is the friend you’re talking about?” I pointed my left thumb at him as I looked at the enthusiastic and now relaxed Mira.

 

“Yup!” She energetically bobbed her head.

 

“You know, Mira. Don Corleone and Alvar would be pretty upset if you wander around like this under their noses,” The simplistic man straightened back up and his face looked worried, placing his hands on his hips.

 

“Ludwig… All that I wanted is to see my new sister...” She whined and pouted, plopping her head against my arm. 

 

The man’s face began to twist with guilt and nervousness, “B-but, of course, your meeting with Lady Lenna is faaaarrrr more important than that!” He stuttered as his hands scrambled in front of him frantically, hoping it would only cheer Mira up.

 

“Hehe, you bet!” Mira giggled as she squished her cheeks against my arm.

 

God, I don’t know how I should react, whether I should be awkward about it or be casual seeing them interact. But when I gazed at Mira, her fluffy cheeks were just adorable. Her delicate expression with her eyes as whole and cutesy as a kitten’s 

 

...Wait… 

 

Why am I suddenly acting like Alphonse when he’s around me? Great, now Al’s vibes are just getting into me, it’s like I’m turning into him. But it just feels like bliss now that I know I have a younger sibling-in-law.

 

“It seems that Mira hasn’t told you anything about me, has she?” The man spoke up with an uplifting voice, turning his head to me.

 

“Other than saying that you're a friend of hers, I think not,” Although I already catch on quickly on what Mira calls him though.

 

“More of a good reason for me to introduce myself then, Lady Lenna. Since maybe we would meet each other often,” He smiled wide.

 

“The name’s Ludwig Castello, part of the Flammia Family Security Forces. Which means I’m Lady Mira’s official personal bodyguard, nice to meetcha!” He patted his whole palm in front of his chest with a proud and welcoming grin.

 

Security Forces? Ooohhh…. It all makes sense now, how Mira could slip away and be here without alerting anyone. Her “friend” is actually her own personal bodyguard, noted that one down.

 

“It’s an honor to meet the underboss’s newly wedded wife in person,” He bowed his head towards me with a respectful gesture.

 

I was taken aback by these title proclamations, in the Esmond Family, it was only between dad and Kalem who exchanged formalities like this. But other than that, the whole crew are treated equally by us Esmond siblings. Or maybe Al would terrorize them if any of them would do anything to me. So... it’s kind of weird.

 

“It’s nothing really, I’m just another individual. You don’t need to act so formal or call me that name. Just Lenna is fine,” I replied with a sincere honest tone.

 

“A-are you sure? I mean, your title is above mine and us crew are expected to act as we are told to the ranks above us. Including calling names as such,” Ludwig’s face was compelled with a bashful blush on his tanned skin.

 

Is it really necessary? That may also explain Mira’s formal nickname for me. Just how strict are these title rules? Well, I have to be cautious with it, I don’t want to involve people if I made a mistake.

 

“Well, if you say it like that… Perhaps you can call me Lenna whenever others who mind it aren’t around. For safe measures, you don’t mind it right, Mira?” I replied casually.

 

“Uh-huh,” Mira bubbly bobbed her head.

 

Ludwig rubbed the back of his neck with his gloved palm, “Guess it’s worth the shot at least… Lenna,” His voice cracked at the sound of my name coming out of his mouth. His eyes shot wide when he realizes what his voice sounds like.

 

“G-GAAHH!! PLEASE EXCUSE MY VOICE!! I-I DIDN’T MEAN ANY DISRESPECT TOWARDS YOU, L-L-L-LADY LENNA!!” He stuttered loudly as he bowed down deeply on his knees.

 

“...PFFFT-” I quickly slammed my palm against my lips as my body is shaking unbearably

 

Okay, this is too funny to be true. His expression and tone made me get shaken by humor. Who knew that someone from the Flammia Family could be this hilarious on accident? I thought all of them were stern, disciplined, emotionless, or even boring. One thing that I got from his behavior, he’s a good guy.

 

I excused myself from Mira for a moment as I approached him, “You don’t need to bow like that, come on, get up,” I lent my right hand to him as he lifted up his head while he’s still in a bowing position.

 

His terrified face transpired as he hesitantly took my hand and slowly made his stand. As he had completely stood up straight, his hazel eyes went down to look at my hand in his. He instantly pulled back his own palm and let out a nervous chuckle.

 

“Sorry bout that, work habits,” He added with an agitated smile.

 

“I don’t mind it, I could pretty much imagine why you’re like that,” I replied as I looked back at what happened at the San Angela Docks a few weeks back.

 

How the man of the Flammia Family begged for his life towards the Godfather. It’s latching some frightful sensation into the back of my head.

 

“I think we would get along just fine, Ludwig. It’s nice to meet you too,” I spoke up and gave him a quick nod.

 

When I glanced at his face, boy was he getting flustered. His eyes slightly wide as his whole face screams gratitude... And a huge relief.

 

“T-thank you,” He replied with a bashful voice, and smiled wide.

 

“Anyways, Mira. I think it’s best if we go back for now,” Ludwig turned to Mira, signaling her to follow him.

 

“Huh, already? But I just met Miss Lenna, can’t I stay longer, Ludwig?” Mira whined, to which Ludwig shook his head in return.

 

“Look, Mira… I do want you to spend time with... Lenna... but if we go unnoticed any further, it might alert the others including Alvar. You wouldn’t want him nor the others to get mad at yourself, would you?” Ludwig explained, sounding as if he’s in a depressing mood as he approaches Mira.

 

“Besides, there’s still lots of time that we both can arrange for another meeting. But for now, it’s best if we fall back. Before anything bad stirs up at the reception hall,”

 

Mira’s expression went gloomy as she unwillingly nodded her head in disappointment, ”...You’re right. Big brother would be worried if someone told him I was gone, others could blame you for what happened, Ludwig,”

 

“O-oh, I’m fine if I took the blame. You don’t need to worry about that part, Mira” Ludwig instantly replied, reassuring Mira of his willingness to take one for the team. He smiled at her with a lingering kindness blooming from it

 

I can sense some connection between these two, kind of like Alphonse and Julia. By looking at the expression he makes towards Mira every time he reassures… I guess the bodyguard has personal feelings towards the Lady he’s serving. Or maybe he’s just concerned about his well-being and position in the Flammia Family, who knows.

 

And again, I wouldn’t want them to be involved in such a messy situation. From what I can conclude from our first meeting, they are really good people. Untainted from the dark sides of what the underground community is like.

 

“I’m sure we can meet again soon enough, Mira. It would be a delight for both of us to talk more. To get to know each other, okay?” I spoke up which my words seemed to work a charm for Mira.

 

Her gloomy expression was lit up by a slight joy as she heard me talking. 

 

“Okay,” She shyly replied with a modest smile.

 

“Then, shall we get going?” Ludwig flicked his head towards the door as his legs are also dragging his body to it.

 

“W-wait a moment! I have something to say before we leave,” Mira exclaimed, turning to me with a demure frown on her face.

 

She was tightening her shoulders as she swung her body from side to side. Her head hung down as her hands fidgeted

 

“I-if I may...” 

 

She lifted her head up and stated her words with a profound but diffident tone.

 

“C-can I call you Big Sister Lenna?” Her body shrunk as she shut her eyes close, dust of red began to surface on her cheeks.

 

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Big Sister…

 

She wants to call me Big Sister…

 

Big… Sister……

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BIG SISTER?!

 

My eyes shot wide at her request, the increase in my heart beat as well as I was melting in ecstasy overwhelms any emotion I was having at the moment. This over to the roof sensation could almost make my pupils turn into hearts. Tears of joy could have flowed through my cheeks if I wasn’t holding back. Her calling me her sister was more than enough… it’s heavenly

 

Big sister Lenna, recalling it in my mind sure makes it worth a while. I took her hands in mine almost immediately whilst being hypnotized by her adorableness.

 

“Call me whatever makes you feel comfortable around me, Mira!!” I said enthusiastically, shining glimmers from my eyes to her.

 

As soon as I finished delivering my sentence, Mira’s lips curled into a jubilant smile. She hummed and nodded at my answer, while Ludwig just watched us both from afar.

 

“Big Sister Lenna!” Her voice is light and unparalleled to any other, it could stab my heart continuously without me ever getting tired of that nickname.

 

Now I know how Alphonse feels, I mean we’re both brother and sister. We ought to have the same connection and behavior. Maybe getting married to Alvar wasn’t so bad after all. In addition, I got a cute and fond little sister.

 

Little did I know that was only a small relief of this whole new beginning

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