Author's note: I do not own Pumpkin Scissors or its characters. This is set after the end of the anime.
Solice sees it, and it makes her wonder what else they've missed about her youngest sister. She and Elis didn't grow up with Alice like they grew up together. And because of that, they didn't know each other so well. Alice had been sent off to their grandfather at age six when she had developed the symptoms of Rubella. Their mother had been in the early stages of a pregnancy, and everyone had feared she would get the illness as well. Unfortunately, she had, and they had lost both the baby and their mother. Alice had not returned home until she was nearly fifteen.
It hadn't been long after that that Alice had entered the military academy. Solice had already been married by that time, and Elis had married soon after, and the three of them had never really had a chance to bond as sisters. The family had always seen Alice's dedication both to the military and to Section III as an odd quirk. But maybe there was something more to it than that. Her unit cared about her; that much was clear. And perhaps it was the one place where Alice didn't have to stand alone.
She loves her little sister, and Solice knows that despite their family's best intentions, they could be wrong about what was right for Alice. Her own marriage had been arranged, though exactly the same as Alice's. Hers had included a courtship. Solice had met Captain Seath Warner a number of times before the arrangement had been finalized, and there had been mutual affection on both sides, if not love. Elis' marriage had been the same. Tonight had been Alice's first meeting with Lionel Taylor, and quite frankly, Solice hadn't liked what she saw.
Lionel looked at Alice like she was a toy or an exotic pet. Alice's men respected her at least, and Solice didn't miss the way the big one looked at her sister. He looked at her as if she was the only light in a dark night. And Solice didn't miss the way that Alice's unit took care of her, even if Alice was slightly resistant to the idea. She didn't know what this means for Alice's future, but Solice can't help but thinking that maybe Alice had found the right place for herself in the world.
Elis sees it, and it irks her to some extent. And she's glad that Alice doesn't see it yet. Nor does that big corporal of hers. The two complement each well, and Elis can't help but thinking that they look cute together. Also, Alice's Corporal did more to help her than Lionel had. She has to admit that she's disappointed with Lionel. Elis has heard a lot about the man who is supposed to become her brother-in-law, and she has met him once before. It didn't match up with what she saw when Lionel interacted with Alice.
Alice might be naïve when it comes to men, and she isn't exactly a typical young noblewoman, but Elis can't but help be proud of Alice. It isn't the path that Elis would have chosen for her little sister, but it does fit her. And her people do respect her. They don't quite treat her as the daughter of nobility she is, but it's clear that they like and respect her as an authority. And it's clear to see that Lionel doesn't see Alice that way. Not exactly.
Lionel was a predator, and while that wasn't always a bad thing, Elis has to admit she doesn't exactly like the way he treats Alice. He's insincere with her for one thing. Elis doesn't know what Lionel's actual opinions on things, but she sees how Lionel tries to manipulate Alice. And she doesn't appreciate it. Elis knows that her marriage to Adair is different than Alice and Lionel's will be. She might not like the path that Alice has chosen, but Elis can no longer fault her for it. Alice has chosen a path that really does suit her to a t.
But Elis isn't ready to admit that to anyone else yet. Nor is she ready to admit that she thinks that Alice and her corporal are better suited than Alice and Lionel. Still, Elis finds the way the corporal catches Alice and takes care of her rather sweet, and she wonders if Alice could find a happy medium between the various sides of her life. Maybe Alice would be more comfortable being feminine with someone who already loved the sides of her he knew. Elis isn't sure, but at least she knows that someone besides herself and Solice was really looking out for Alice.
Alice doesn't see it. At least, not consciously. An unconscious part of her probably knows. She allows herself moments of weakness around Randel Oland that she has never allowed herself around others. Despite the fact that he is the newest member of her unit, he is her staunchest supporter. Alice doesn't even think about it when she collapses into his arms after the duel. She knows that he'll catch her. She does wake up a little when she transferred into the car, but Alice is really too tired to try and rouse herself. Besides, Corporal Oland's coat is warm and quite comfortable. It has a soothing smell to it as well, and Alice is perfectly willing to let it lull her back to sleep.
She doesn't wake when they arrive at a hospital. Her sisters had insisted on taking her there. She isn't aware that Oland carries her inside and stays with her until a doctor takes care of her. It's only then that Oland lets his own injuries be tended. When Alice wakes in the morning, Oland's coat is hung on the corner of the bed. Elis and Solice scold her, but it's different than normal even if Alice can't quite put her finger on how. Alice asked about her men and is happy to find that Randel is the only one injured and that he should be out of the hospital in a week.
There is a change that she notices though. Actually, in some ways, everything had changed. They have a better idea of once of the reasons that the war relief wasn't going so well, and Alice was determined to put an end to the group. She was not going to let some conspiracy of corrupt officials and dishonorable nobility ruin her country. Not while she could do something about it. Alice had caught the importance of what that one man had said. Those who had attacked that party had been goaded into it, and whoever it was that had done that was Alice's real enemy.
But the hospital was not going to release her for at least another day, so Alice might as well relax for now. She reaches out to touch Oland's coat. She knows she's won't be facing this conspiracy alone. Her unit will be behind her, and Alice knows that together they'll manage to help make their country a better place.