I was Born the Unloved Twin
I'm very used to this sight.
The room is stale and far too warm as we walk in from the hallway.
At the side of mother's bed is a large bassinet, not dissimilar to a low crib. It reeks of medicinal herbs made stronger by the heat. It's unnaturally warm with no windows are open for fear of a chill affecting the delicate little creature inside.
It's a pathetic sight. An infant girl lies there huffing and puffing through an uneasy sleep, red all over and very visibly suffering. Occasionally she lets out a low squeak of pain or weak strain breathing.
If I wasn't used to such a sight from the last life I might honestly think she was actually dying.
Poor Lilyanne, lying there in a fit of a fever. Even though she has a long line of servants to wait on her hand and foot, has mother and father's never ending love, she can't enjoy it through the fog of physical pain.
Honestly, because I'm so used to the sight, seeing it for years as Rosalia, it doesn't affect me much. Sorry, does that make me a bad person? At most I feel sorry for her because of her age, it must hurt a lot right? Just because I know she'll be fine doesn't mean she's actually ok.
As a physically healthy person, I can't judge. As cursed as my fate is in this life, if there was one thing the Gods or whatever gave Rosalia it was a healthy body. This is the ironic trade-off between us sisters and our lives.
I wonder how times people wished it was the reverse? Meh old news, had nothing to do with me.
With a prompt order from mother the maids shuffle out in a line, head bowed, not a single one out of place. Full obedience.
Mother's maids are really a different level.
When they bow to my parents I realize that they don't even knowledge Gable. I don't think anyone besides my parents have...he must have made himself selectively invisible. Were the servants just watching my parents speak to thin air like crazy people this whole time?
The door almost closes when it's stopped by a familiar muscular frame. Grampa enters, alone this time with a nod towards Gable. He locks the door with a smack and it resonates around the room in a way that can't be natural. Sparks of green lightening confirm that thought but Grampa stands by the door, steady as an imperial guard.
"I need to be clear now, that everything you see and hear shortly will stay between us. It is of utmost importance that this stays quiet. For everyone's safety, but especially the children. "
Mother clenches even tighter against father's side, near melting into him and where he holds me in the crook of his other arm. It's too warm to be comfortable but they stay in this position even while vocally agreeing.
"Yes of course, of course Gable. Papa."
"I swear, anything for my family."
Gable stares past us and I know it's grampa staring back. It's as if they're conversing without any words, a language of their own, and it's honestly very unnerving. As if this awkward tension wasn't bad enough.
"I must ask you all again, does this happen often and had the child's symptoms ever been so severe?"
"Yes! My Lilyanne has always been weak since birth! We were warned from the start that she might not make it long, I fear for her each day that passes."
Father both hush and comforts mother at once, shushing her back to some semblance of sanity before taking over. I can feel myself rock in tandem with his soothing gestures.
"Indeed the clergy invited from the church warned off of such things, but I saw no real reason to fear. Not after the first few days that is. Lilyanne does indeed prone to bouts and sickness but no more serious than many children."
"Dear, how could you say that?!"
"Ssshhh Maria, I must speak as I see it. Lilyanne is small but no smaller than the average child her age. She's weak but not in a life threatening manner like we so feared at first. Certainly, in comparison to Rosalia she seems overly sickly, but to another child? It's not uncommon."
What a surprise! I had no idea father analyzed to this point. Though he's not as viably emotional or fussy as mother I always thought they were more along the same mindset.
Did he think this way last time too?
"What do you think Rosalia?" prompts Gable.
He looks at me sincerely, speaking to me as respectful as any adult. Though he does treat me like a small child most of the time he's never doubted my mind. Such a thing makes me oddly eager to please.
But what to say? In the past life Lilyanne was always bursting in fevers and taking ill. If it was before I would certainly say so along the same lines as mother. But isn't that just blindly repeating mother?
But about the Lilyanne of the present?
"I think.... I think Father's right. Most of the time she gets sick she bounces right back! It's never...serious. She's always ok soon after a nap."
This is not an exact repeat of the last life, I've been slow to realize that but I'm the one most making sure we're not repeating things. She's significantly healthier this time around. I'm not sure what's really changed but something definitely did this time around.
"Maria, you're the most concerned one, is this true."
"I...I suppose but, she's always been so frail and gets ill so often. She should be burning up so much in the first place. "
"And do you remember the bouts of illness you would get as a little girl? Does it feel familiar?"
"I...I don't recall so clearly...papa?"
She turns as much as she can in father's hold, a teary look back towards grampa standing tall at the door. He smiles at her tenderly, soft in the way I've seen him look at Lilyanne, the other Lilyanne.
"You grew out of them love, as soon as you were old enough to hold a sword they stopped. Haha, I admit that took a lot longer than the girls now."
"Is that so Papa..."
Gable interrupts again, temporarily clearing the strange mood mother is in.
"Rosalia, it's been a long time since you last have seen each other, would you like to sit and comfort your sister?"
It's phrased as a question but I get the feeling it's not, especially since Gable's already outstretched his hands to take me from my father. He's also sharply suspicious, still to save the mood I nod and comply.
"But am I allowed to?"
I recall how they isolated us back then. Lilyanne needed her space to rest and it would do no good for the both of us to be sick. I had so many lessons to attend to after all.
"Yes, it's not contagious. I'm sure of it," assured Gable.
The heat radiating from Lilyanne is much more uncomfortable than being cradled like a baby into anyone's arms. The sheets are a tad damp from her sweat and whatever fluids I don't want to think about. I'm more than certain she cries in her sleep, which I know from experience of course.
Her forehead is as hot as it looks, and her whimpering lulls at the touch of my hand. At the temperature she's at it might as well be fresh snow, can we wet a cloth or something to cool her down?
But father continues with his observations before I can ask.
"Typically her fevers, if it gets to that point. are short. Taking no more than a few hours and nothing but a full night of rest couldn't solve. The longest she has ever been continuously sick has been three days at most and that was only once before. While it hurts my heart as a parent to see her suffer contentiously, for this child to have a fever here and there is nothing new."
"This...whatever she has now is actually serious. It's been going on for over a week, far longer than usual. We don't know how much further it can hold, it as if we're back to when she was just born. I beg of you, whatever it is if it can help our little girl, please. Please let us try."
"Over a week, would you say it began while you were traveling back?"
"Yes, we rushed home as soon as possible using magical aids but she progressively got worse and worse over time. "
"Oh, we should have never taken that trip!not when she's so small. I should have stayed and kept us behind, it's all my fault"
"Maria my love no, no it's mine. I should have done better and gone alone. "
"Of course not my darling Frederick, it's me wo-"
Blah Blah Blah there they go again.
Oi stupid couple, we're still here. Stop going off in your own world. Shut up and let Gable explain things already. Hey rather than say I was neglected because of the attention on Lilyanne, would it be safer to say they forgot about me due to each other?
Father stupidly waits upon mother at all times, mother frets over Lilyanne, Lilyanne being near always sick and need fretting on, huh that all kind of makes sense.
"That's quite enough the both of you! It's no one's fault but Ronald's."
Huh.? What the hell?
Well that shocked everyone silent, the world's grossest couple included. Like a bad comedy, all eyes go to grampa, who only scratches his cheek in a way that says he's not too bothered. Oi guilty party, what's with this dragged out silence? We want some answers here!
*sigh* "The clergymen weren't wrong. it's a miracle your youngest has survived. This much pure mana output would have killed a grown adult, magically enhanced or not, many times over. It's too much, too concentrated for any one vessel let alone a newborn baby. Blame Ronald's freakish genetics."
Again, what?! What's with this revelation?
Except for Grampa and the unconscious Lilyanne, the Ventrella family must have the same empty shocked faces.
"As a mere child, she's nowhere near a large or strong enough vessel for the source of pure mana her body is creating. Being a pure non-elemental type, she has no natural outlet for the mana, to escape nor can she control it yet, this causes it to pool and overflow, often resulting in fevers."
"Such a thing, does this also explain my own childhood sickness?"
"To some extent yes, it's normal for blessed children to struggle with controlling their gifts in the early years. Generally, they either perish too soon or have a body capable of storing and using their gifts , as you did when you started to grow up."
Mother would have bitten through her lip had father not stopped her.
"The power of the Dawn then," he whispers.
"Her gift is too strong." Gable agrees, nodding solemnly.
"But that's not papa's fault, it's...this is too cruel. Oh the goddess, this is too cruel." mother sobs.
Tense moment but hey spoiler alert: Lilyanne lives.
Girl gets her cake and gets to eat it too. She'll live and grow up to be very blessed. Her excessive power pool is a good thing once she figures out how to use it. I don't see how cruel the Goddess supposedly is towards Lilyanne. I mean sure these fevers hurt now but she's going to be fiiiiine, trust me.
But I'm the only one who knows these spoilers.
"Ronald, hand me one."
A rough plain uncut stone flies through the air, no larger than a softball. It looks different than the one Lukas used to make the world snow but I have a feeling it serves a similar purpose.
"Even without a strong enough pool, the body can typically outlet the mana back into nature and the elements around it. More often then not people struggle to close these channels to hoard these pools. Lilyanne, however, does not have these natural channels."
He presents the stone to my parents, who are still attached from hip to chest as if it were a delicate treasure rather than the ugly rock it is.
"This material is unknown but it is the only substance that can naturally siphon pure magical mana."
"Then we must use it right away!"
"No my Buttercup, Save this for a day when the child needs it most. Today is not that day."
"She's going through such a fever! How could she not need it yet?!"
"You mean it can get worse."
Father reasons, struggling to keep an anxious mother still. With his free hand, he gently accepts the rock and hands it over to mother, as if asking her to safe keep their daughter's life saving treasure.
"Yes, it can always get worse. Besides, didn't I say by normal means your child should have perished by now. Why do you think that hasn't happened yet?"
Everyone turns to look back at the still unconscious Lilyanne. While she's still flushed, her breathing seemed to have evened out and her sleep a lot less restless.
Actually I don't think they're staring at her so much as they're staring at me. What the hell did I do now? Gable, a little clarification here, please?
But it's grampa who speaks up from across the room, that tone of voice running shivers through me.
"What the Goddess gives, can just as easily be taken away. "
"It's my fault Maria, Frederick. If I hadn't taken Rosalia away for so long then Lilyanne would haven't gotten to this state. I make no excuses for myself. "
Guilty, honest sincere guilt, is not a good look on him. As ridiculous and insane as this man is, I think I prefer to see him with the usual carefree air over this. But the more pressing question is, what does this have to do with me?
Is this....is this the power I've been dreaming of for two lifetimes?
"Well, what's done is done. It was a rather conclusive experiment. Treat it as a bad cold and give the child plenty of rest but keep the girls together. They don't need to be directly touching though that may be of help if the distance is a thing."
Gable waves off. in the same way, he brushed off Yuna's venomous bite. As if Lilyanne's life defining illness that made her the pitiful maiden she is, really was nothing more than a bad cold, and I'm the common antibiotics. No biggie....
Hey, your explanation sucked! What going on? Tell me my long awaited cheat power!
Ah did I scream that out loud? Whoops.
But the mood lifts and clears like a rainstorm has just passed, grampa's laughter the lingering thunder rumbling.
"Haha ah we're not too sure about that yet either! Right Gable!."
"Indeed, more observation has to be made to be certain. But rather than a 'power', it may be more accurate to say it's a lack of one. A negative if you will."
"...So I don't get to wield any magical powers?"
"No, that's directly opposite to how your supposed element would work."
"Any enhancements? Cool passive abilities? Anything?"
"Well, you can offset your sister's output for one...."
Grampa's interrupting voice booms out again, sic kingly nice and overly cheerful.
"That means NOPE!"
The tiny blooming hope that cracked through in my heart has been crash-landed and burned with a falling asteroid. It is now a sad sad murder scene, Top 10 saddest anime deaths should consider me on the list. Here lies Rosalia's hope and dreams.
"Rosalia dear, your face."
My father reminds me, already half recovered from his shock. Ah, what sort of funny expressions did I do now? I'm allowed to go through all my stages of grief here okay, I was misled!
"Oh no Rosa, you're crying. My baby no, does it hurt somewhere? Is it the mana flow?! Papa! Gable dear fix it!"
Mother rushes up wipe my face that is indeed showing how I can't control this body's tear ducts. Yes of course my pride hurts, I wanted magic too!
"Well, I don't know if it will help but there is one more thing I'd like to try confirming today. Ronald."
Gable rolls his eyes before three other similarly sized rocks fly over. They're all rough and unpolished but it's clear they're different colors and most likely different minerals. One of them looks exactly like a small version of the ice rock from earlier.
"These are different elemental stones. Naturally, Lilyanne's pure mana can't runoff back into nature, however with Rosalia's effect..."
The rocks gently plop down between my sister and I, Upon contact, they light up immediately. Just a zap and glow, like someone plugged the lights in.
"Together, the output into the air is compatible with anything. "
Gable lets out a very out of place grin, one of a satisfied mad scientist. It matches grampa's crazy one too eerily well.
Does this make me, well us, essentially a human battery? Ahh I think it does, what a sick joke .
Wait a damn minute!
Living battery + positive and negative traits + twins + cute and tiny = _______
Are we fucking Pokemon?!!! Oh my god we're the little red and blue pikachu rip offs! I don't even get to be one of the cool Pokemon, I'm a support type! God I don't even get to evolve! This is an even sicker joke! WTF!!!
Seriously, what sort of cheap rip off power is this?!
...At least I'm cute.
Author: *throws next chapter out there*
Pokemon funfacts: Plusle and Minun have almost identical move sets. Plusle is a bit more attack stacked while Minun more defense.
However, a Plusle can learn/use Last Resort. On the other hand Minun can learn Charm and Trump Card.
Does this mean anything in this story? Who knows? Certainly not me, the author!
Also in most games, the description of Plusle has it draining telephone poles for power. There are no telephone poles for Lilyanne to drain right?