Chapter 20: Thus it begins, you and me
I turn around towards the voice that called me. The hair that’s carefully combed cascades to my cheek.
The person who showed up from the hallway’s direction was Isidore. I then thought about that time when we waited for him following us.
“I’m fine with ‘my lamb’ too, though?”
“Ugh…… Please, spare me.”
His flinch made me giggle.
At last, both him and Kaid called me ‘my lady’ like they used to.
“A long time ago, I’m in your debt,” was the only thing that Kaid offered as explanation. Thinking about his age, that long time ago was the time when he was barely a child, but he slippery dodged. Everyone came asking about it, but he weathered all questions and only said, “It was a very, very long time ago.”
I’m no longer wearing a working uniform now. It wasn’t a long, lacy-laden dresses like a long time ago either, but I’m wearing a one-piece-like dress. It’s light blue.
I’m not permitted to go back to be a maid. When outsiders aren’t looking, we’ll continue acting as usual, so please at least please spare us from returning as a maid, was what Caron and her co-workers petitioned for.
At first, I thought being resented was a given, since a newcomer like me stole their precious lord, but I was bewildered when they were so amiable. It was such an anticlimax.
Like Jasmine, who said, “It’s a great help if the master knows the hardships of being a maid!”, or Samua, who said, “The head butler has been crying happily, being in a high spirit everyday, so the job has been easy,” or Caron who said, “A Mistress who has the servants on her side is strong, you know, so defeat Master in one swoop.”
I’m really glad that people are so amiable, but, Caron, I’m not really here to wage war with Kaid, though?
The festival was over, the mansion sent off the honored guests, and finally returned to its peaceful atmosphere. I did say “return”, but the time is pressing for another event now.
Kaid decided to return here to sleep normally. Until now, he stayed at a building that looked like a fort near his office, but from now on, it seems that he’ll properly use the lord’s mansion.
That’s related to what he wants to do from now on.
Kaid has been thinking about many things about this time around, he has started to allocate the tasks he has been doing on his own to those around him, gradually.
Joblin said that as long as he was here, it would suffice. In other words, if he alone was gone, everything would collapse. Kaid said that it had no difference to dictatorship.
Now, little by little, Kaid assigns his tasks to the others.
“Is Kaid available?”
“No, he was just summoned somewhere else. He would return in a while, I’m sure, should I tell him that you are here?”
“Ah, no…… It’s fine to tell you instead. Can we talk for a moment?”
His voice frowns slightly. I nod and turn to look behind me.
When I turn around, looking at Jasmine behind me, she could guess what’s in my mind. With a grin, she bows her head.
“I’m sorry, Jasmine.”
“Don’t be~ Well then, Isidore-sama, please excuse me.”
Isidore waited until Jasmine’s figure was gone from his sight, then started to speak.
“I’m returning home tomorrow.”
“Yes, I was told so. I will send you off as well.”
The honored guests and others were already gone while I was bedridden with fever. That was actually longer than expected, though. Despite that kind of uproar, the original agenda of the festival which was supposed to have passed were still around, so I must be thankful.
“Have you known about what Kaid is doing right now?”
He’s gradually allocating his tasks to others. The job he has been doing on his own until now is impossibly excessive.
“……The succession won’t be what it used to be, huh?”
I knew what he was trying to say.
Because this topic can’t be spoken in the hallway, I open the nearest door and lead us in. It’s only a small guest room, but it’s messy with various packages.
“Is he trying to get rid of the feudal lord system?”
“I think, he feels that it will be a good thing. ……I think so, too.”
It’s not going to happen in an instant. It’s about sometime far in the future.
However, someday, there will come a day when a lord is no longer necessary. Whether it’s a land where a single lord can make or break it, or a land where a single lord fattens up himself, they are both warped.
“……Did you understand what that means? Other fief’s lords, even the king, will surround you as enemies.”
A land that can hold itself without a lord. Developing a similar system to a parliament, where a single person’s absence won’t affect the whole system. That’s what I want to build. Kaid said that if we could make it so that a single person wouldn’t have to be burdened, or be able to burden themselves alone, that’ll be good.
That, however, means that even a lord’s presence is unnecessary. It will shake the very core of the current system. The change of Laius won’t remain in Laius only.
It’s not about changing the lord. If it comes to the point where the lord becomes unnecessary, the lord from other fiefs will surely oppose it. If the summit of that system is deemed unnecessary, and the idea is spread in that land, there’s even a possibility where it will shake even the existence of the king.
Kaid didn’t say that it wasn’t necessary. A person who holds the position of responsibility is absolutely necessary. However, people turn anxiety into malice. To change that unintentional malice, the titles have to change. It meant that the lords and the king are unnecessary. The idea will possibly spread.
“……No matter what we do, we have a lot of time. Laius itself is vast on its own. In ten years, or twenty years, even beyond that, we want to try to change a lot of things, that’s what we decided.”
“Even if you’ll accomplish that far, it will probably revert to what it was. The populace is going to look for a man to bear the burnt. Just the slightest violation from the parliament, the inability to bring the expected result, will make them hold grudge to you two who change the system, or demand to revert to the old feudal system. Then, when the lord makes the slightest violation, they’ll demand to revert again to the parliament system.”
“That might be the case. The path chosen by someone else is the easiest to take. However, it’s suffocating to live without the ability to choose. Isn’t it sad to live without knowing the freedom to choose?”
I’m still learning, too. Right now, I’m learning about a lot of things from Kaid. About Laius, about feudal lord, Kaid taught me without holding back. My head even heated up from all the complicated matters. He taught me about the helpless, fruitless, piercing decisions to make.
No matter how many years it takes, I must learn. Not just the knowledge, but how to properly use the wisdom.
“……The two of you must selflessly sacrifice a lot more things, even your peaceful lives.”
“That’s true. I’ll tell those things to Kaid.”
“I’m telling this to you, too.”
“Oh, my. But I am terribly selfish.”
After I said that, Isidore made a face that looked like he refrained from telling me that I was still young. I’m sure that the next lord couldn’t be too readable from facial expressions. However, we aren’t in a public space. Isidore and I aren’t in a relationship where we would spy out each other’s internal affairs either.
Having this kind of person by my side, I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart. Living without lying is, surely, a very blessed life.
“For me, no matter what happens, I’ll be together with Kaid until the very end. This time around, I’ll bear in mind to do anything I can to stay married with him throughout this life. To be liked by the people, to keep Laius from its nightmare, I want to learn, to know, and to choose…… However, in the worst case, if the world becomes his enemy, at that time, I will betray the world and become the demon with him. It’ll be different to becoming the demon back in the past where I saw, heard, and knew nothing. This time I will properly turn into the demon with full awareness.”
“Kaid will definitely never allow that thing to happen, though.”
“That’s why, so that he won’t be able to let me go in the middle of it, I need to gain more wisdom. ……Moreover, I’ll be working hard from now on so that it won’t have to come to that. I’ll be working hard with everyone. There are cruel people. There are people who can’t see beyond the instant profit they could gain. There are also foolish people like me. However, there are also kind, wise, and strong people. There are many kinds of people even just in a single fief. At the very least, Laius already knew the fear of being under someone’s domination, the dread of being ruled under a powerful individual. Laius knew, more than anyone else in this kingdom, the horror of undiminished power.”
“That’s certainly true. In your previous life, it was a necessary reformation, but is it necessary for the two of you now as well?”
“Once this era has passed, people are bound to forget, aren’t they? The pain, the sorrow, as long as the same incident doesn’t happen before their eyes, the masses who live their busy ordinary lives are bound to forget. No one is willing to live only by seeing the sorrow. However, Isidore. We aren’t exactly planning to suffer, you see? Me, Kaid, and even Laius, we are different to what we were fifteen years ago. We can’t become heroes, nor we plan to. We’re just trying to throw a small stone amidst this ever flowing era.”
“……Honestly, the two of you.”
Isidore wryly smiles while shrugging.
“Have you told your story to the maid just now, or the male butler that you’re close with?”
“Once they pass twenty years old and decide to keep working here, I will.”
It was something I decided with Kaid, Caron, and the others.
It’s not that we can’t trust the two of them. It’s simply that, the moment they know, they cannot escape anymore. They’re still too young to be bound. I think if they want to escape, it’s better if they do. Dragging them out of their will is cruel.
We still have the time to wait, I’m sure. Because, you see, we haven’t even started anything yet.
Outside the window, men are passing through while carrying the goods. One of them notices me and waves his hand. I wave back at him while smiling. It seems that Isidore at my side doesn’t realize what’s going on. Ducking his head, he runs as if rushing over. I hope he doesn’t fall over. As I think so, I hear the sound of something huge being toppled over.
I shut my eyes in reflex. Then, I peek on the swaying window towards the outside. The angle doesn’t seem accurate, though, since I cannot see his figure anymore.
What kind of place, I wonder, will this place turn out to be? At least, it won’t be a place where the servants are always nervous and pale.
“My symbol of happiness in Laius is the two of you. Do you remember? I was lost in the garden, looking for our rendezvous point.”
“Rendezvous…… Yes, I remember.”
I gloss it over with a light cough.
“You made a flower crown, then put it on top of Kaid’s…… of Helt’s head. Helt sulked in embarrassment. You laughed. In my childish mind, I already thought that it was beautiful. I don’t know any sight as beautiful as that. I thought, that was happiness, that was peace, a lord existed to protect that sight. But when I opened the lid, I saw people precious to me crying, only the lord’s family was singing happily. Kaid clenched his teeth, grind them, moved on only by saying that it was as expected from the fief’s lord. They thought that whatever happened could be pushed to your family. That somehow things would be just fine if things were left to your family. Because, you see, it always worked that way.”
“I will become an admirable lord. Then I will save my lady and her family!”
The boy laughed while saying that. Leaving a trace of that time, growing up splendidly.
Even though things won’t stay the same. But, still.
“Therefore, I fully supported the cause to erase all of you, the fief’s lord.”
I’m sure, just as the same, everything has changed.
He was a serious child. Serious and kind. His sadness must have been really deep. And he was scared too, I’m sure. How much pain did his tender heart bear alone, I wonder?
“Personally, though. I agree to the abolition of the lord system. There’s a limit to what someone can bear alone. It’s great if someone capable could succeed, but people are born different. Moreover, there’s the inability to give birth to the same person, which makes the impracticality of using the same system inevitable. A hero can be born. But the same hero can’t be born again. It’s not like heroes can be born in succession either. In which case, it’s a given that the omnipresent system is impossible. I’m not saying that the masses cannot become a hero. Rather, it’s about the lord being demanded to be a hero. Before making someone into a hero, if we rack the wisdom of a hundred ordinary people, a good idea should be born, even if it’s a little, right? In that case, it’ll be better if the whole population can be involved. It may need a longer time, but that’s everyone’s responsibility. It’s good if everyone can share the responsibility. If a lord has to be troubled, decided, and taken responsibility by himself, the population would only be a burden. By relying on everyone, we will have the resolution to face any result together. If no one wants to take the responsibility of the decision and outcome in the fief’s matters, then it’s better to be demolished.”
“Kaid does make bold decisions, but you also say outrageous things without hesitation, don’t you?”
“I’m just huge on nepotism. Anyone would prioritize his own happiness than a complete stranger’s, you know? Moreover, we’re supposed to kill our hearts for the sake of the fief’s population, but they take that as a given. No one will ever kill their heart for our sake, nor move into action for that. That’s why, at least, I decide to think, kill my heart, and act for myself.”
Isidore holds his chest with one hand, bowing down.
“I can’t give you the promise of the lord of Gimmi, but as an individual, I vow to be the ally of the two of you until my last breath. Please, my lady, take care of Kaid. I saw his selfishness in that cliff for the very first time. He threw everything away to run to your side, made a move for his own sake for the first time since he became the lord…… Please, this time around, live a happy and peaceful life.”
“And you as well, Isidore. You can’t become unhappy either, you know?”
After saying that, Isidore lifted his head up and winked at me. That joking face looks so messy that it looks cute.
“My family is well, my friends are well, the person I admired has returned. I’m happy, you know?”
“Oh my, how wonderful! I wonder who it is. Is it someone I knew of?”
“Kaaaid, I can’t saaay .”
Cheerfully clasping the hands together, Isidore bursts into laughter and turns around in exaggerated sigh. When I look at his back, moving out of my reach, I realize that Kaid is already here since who knows when. He leans on the open door and chuckles.
“Can he bear to tell that easily? He hasn’t even told me yet.”
When I saw Kaid laughing gleefully, I became happy. I already held out my hand, and he picked it up all at once, swiftly pressing a kiss to the fingertips. Our matching rings reflect the light. It’s not the sight I’m used to, so I feel the tingles, somehow.
“I’m home, my lady.”
“Welcome back, Kaid.”
He’s bending down, so I can reach his forehead to return the kiss, while Isidore visibly shrugged.
“Now, now, this bug is going to disappear. Kaid couldn’t stop pestering me to go home sooner either.”
“You’re only free from Gimmi for one month anyway. I received an urging from there, you know.”
“That’s because Father is desperate to be succeeded by me.”
“…………You jerk, did you come here because you ran away from that?”
“That’s just because Mother said that she wanted to retire by traveling around the world. Wouldn’t you be upset if you’re in my shoes? I’m here for my active duty, too.”
While shaking his hand, Isidore went out of the room.
Kaid let out a deep sigh. However, in his face, he expresses a wry smile as if saying that the guy is a handful. Somehow, Kaid really spoils Isidore. He really had a good friend. I’m really glad that in these fifteen years, there’s Isidore in Kaid’s side, always.
I don’t know since when, but Kaid’s room has become filled with nothing but books.
Since Kaid never really uses this room until now, there’s barely nothing, except for the basic furniture. However, now he comes back with a massive amount of materials. Rather than saying that Kaid moves back his bedroom here, it’s more like he moves his office here. I finally understand what Caron told me before.
The mansion is undergoing various repairs as well. This place should be surrounded like a fort too.
But, with this, whenever there’s something I don’t understand from my night studies, it’s easier to borrow a book. It feels like I’m stealthily obtaining a bargain.
“Hey, Kaid. When Kaid isn’t around, what should I do if I want to borrow some books from this room? Is there any place that I must not touch?”
“If it’s for you, my lady, even the access to the vault room is open.”
“So you have something like a vault room?”
Even if I look around inside the room, I can’t find the carpet. Kaid, who said ‘yeah’ to my tilting head, makes a small beckoning gesture. I scoot closer to him and he points at the spot below the painting leaning on the wall.
Then, he suddenly kicked that spot. With a heavy and lumping sound, the wall caves in. I thought it was smashed broken, but when he hooks his finger and pulls something there, the wall at our side is moving. Beyond the wall, a large iron door calmly awaits.
“It’ll open with a password and a key. This is the only key, but next time, I’ll get my lady’s copy ready.”
“No, that’s unnecessary! I can’t possess something that important!”
“If somehow this mansion is under siege, this is the safest place, so please escape here. It can cram up to three people.”
“So it’s a shelter……”
“For the time being, it was built to be the vault room, though. Next time, I’ll think about how to open up a ventilation from the inside.”
He enters the password that I repeat again and again in my head so that I won’t forget. There’s no way I can write it down, so I have to remember it. Looking at me, Kaid makes a smile. I know he’s not a person who’ll laugh at my bad memorization, but I feel uncomfortable.
“Now then, it’s already open, so.”
The condition to open a heavy looking iron door makes me frown. Kaid notices that and leans down.
“I wonder if I can open this door. Perhaps I can if I train like Kaid?”
“……My lady is adorable no matter how you look like, but if you look like me, I’ll probably cry a little. Besides, my lady, your hair color has changed, hasn’t it?”
“It seems so. It looks more like the past, somehow.”
Reaching out his hand to touch my hair, his eyes narrowed as if it was on the verge on breaking.
The fodder-like brown color has become lighter as if it starts turning to blonde. I was told that my face looked changing too. I think, that’s because I’m eating properly, making my face look rounder.
The head chef, noticing that I make the effort to increase my meal little by little, also put on a lot of effort. The decoration that looks cute-ish keeps adding up. When I see that the stew looks like a poisonous soup with skulls stirred in grudge, I can’t forget that those are carrots, carved to look like cute small birds. I wonder what kind of small bird it was made to look like. Gathering up the courage to ask, I got the answer that it was supposed to be a small, pink bird. How they turned into skulls was a mystery to everyone.
I want to be able to do things, little by little. In my study and meals, also, if I can be honest, in sword practicing. If I can become more careful, Caron and Jasmine promised to take me to go shopping with them in the town. A festival is coming soon for the girls to give chocolates to her crush, I want to choose it with them. I want to try the things I haven’t done yet. I want to do things together with the person I love. I want to play with my friends, talk with them. I want to run, I want to enjoy sweets. I want to braid my hair, pick colorful clothes, and do make ups too.
Also, just a little bit, I want to try getting into a fight with him. I’ve had enough of a fist fight, but I want to try reconciling with him. But, I truthfully don’t want to feel sad or make him feel sad, so I don’t want to do it as much as possible.
Inside the vault room that he led me to, there are shelves attached to thick iron walls, mainly to story important documents and keys. Rather than things that could make money, they look more like things that are essential to manage a fief.
Let’s treat this well too. While nervously looking around, I saw one distinguishable spot. It’s a small and cute looking glass box. With flower decorations, it’s put on top of a piece of clothing, unlike others which are littering around.
I don’t know if I can touch it or not, so I ask by gesturing with my palm. Kaid, following the line of my sight, jumped in a startle. Seeing that, I also jumped.
“Wh, what? Is it something I couldn’t ask? If it is, I’ll forget about it right away.”
“Ah, no, that’s.”
Looking at Kaid becoming incoherent and drenched in cold sweat. I feel flustered too. If it’s something thatimportant, so much that he doesn’t want me know, I’m really sorry to carelessly ask about that.
“It’s fine, I already forgot about it! I already forgot what I ate for dinner yesterday, and even the cute dog you drew on top of the pancake to erase the morning resentment is way forgotten!”
“Even if you don’t become forgetful from being that flustered…… That thing in the morning, if you forget it, that’s great. No wonder everyone said that they had no appetite back then.”
Kaid pressed his forehead, but immediately shook his head. Then, slowly, as if holding a really fragile article, he took the glass box with both hands.
It looks like he’s going to put it right in front of my eyes, so I shyly fix my gaze upon it.
“Please open it.”
“Yes. But please don’t laugh?”
Kaid holds up with both hands a tiny, cute-looking box, softly caressing it. The box that was kept inside the cool vault room was as cold as ice.
So that he wouldn’t scar it in one per ten thousands chance, he uncovers the lid very carefully. Just what did he put inside? While my heart thumping hard, I peered inside, and felt let down instantly.
A small paper, ribbon, light yellow paper, and handkerchief.
If the handkerchief isn’t there, I would’ve thought that they are trashes, but why are they kept so securely, as if they’re treasures? I tilt my head, but I can’t look away. It interests me, somehow. I think I have seen them somewhere before……
I lift my head in an instant. Kaid doesn’t say anything. Yet he gave me a slight nod, which confirms my thoughts.
My eyes and nose are burning up. I couldn’t resist the heat from travelling up to my eyes.
“I’m more skillful now.”
“You’ve been skillful since that time, though.”
“That’s a lie. The flower was slanted and the cookies were slightly burnt.”
“I no longer lie to you, my lady. I’m looking at it everyday, but I can’t tell where the slanted part is, and I hid the cookies from everyone so I would be the only one who ate them back then.”
I control my trembling lips, desperately trying to reply. I was really against showing him this kind of pathetic face that I preferred being overturned, but, no matter what, I want to see it.
The letter I wrote in a rush for our rendezvous. The ribbon I used to wrap the cookies that I was too troubled with, so much that I barely made it to our rendezvous. The handkerchief that I was mulling over, because I had no spare if that one ended in failure.
I gave those to you. A very, very long time ago, fifteen years ago that felt just like yesterday, I gave them to you.
Even though you should’ve just thrown them away.
They were being a burden, right? It was really painful, right?
It was better not to hold the things in your arms when you couldn’t go back to them again. You should’ve just thrown them away, lessened your burden, and moved on.
I think of these things, but at the same time, I feel happy too. Really, I’m such a selfish woman.
While thinking that he was such an idiot, I wiped the tears and suddenly realized. I wiped my tears once again, and looked closely into the box to confirm it. However, no matter how many times I look at it, I can’t find it. I even opened the handkerchief, but there was nothing but a slanted flower, swaying as if it could be blown away by the slightest wind.
Kaid keeps gazing at me who is looking for something.
I’m sure I heard that he took a bunch of my hair, but there’s nothing resembling hair inside this box. Since I have this opportunity, I want to wash that hair at least.
And yet, Kaid somehow avoids my eyes, putting up a futile iron wall.
“I won’t be mad, so tell me?”
“My hair, what did you use it for?”
My eyes are looking at him, soothing and conveying that it’s okay, I understand.
“Hold on, my lady?”
“I didn’t read in details, but in the book I read a long time ago, there seemed to be a lot of recordings about using hairs in good luck charms. You used it for that, didn’t you?”
“You’re mistaken! In the first place, using hairs for good luck charms is considered black magic, isn’t it?”
It’s about a long time ago in the past, and I didn’t exactly plan on getting executed, so I don’t remember that clearly. I only read carefully about love charms. Like, using the hairs of one’s crush to create a paper doll and let it bathe under the full moon’s light, or like, braiding them into a misanga, braided bracelet, putting it against your skin without being noticed by anyone else for a month, or other things.
However, I didn’t remember anything other than the charms would make one’s feelings returned by one’s crush.
“Making a straw doll and inserting the hairs to it.”
“I understand the gist of it from that, but that is done to send a curse.”
“Sticking the hairs into a paper doll and burning it without being seen by anyone.”
“That’s also to put a curse.”
“In the novel I read a long time ago, the main character, a mysterious thief, can turn into a person by eating their hair, or……”
“Eating someone else’s hair needs a considerably strong will power, indeed…… My lady?”
“……I heard this from Jasmine before, but her mom read it in the popular novel when she was a child.”
“…………Well, it might be.”
I wonder if I radiated grief, because Kaid pat my back in return.
“So, then, what kind of charm did you use the hair for?”
“Just the usual kind, a plain protecting charm that I can carry everywhere.”
Inside the pendant that he took from his chest’s pocket, there were three small strands of golden hair. I stared at them without blinking, confirming for once that there were no noticeable dirt on them.
“……It’s repulsive to you, after all?”
“I think my hair has no protective effect, actually.”
“I wasn’t looking for the effect.”
I think it’s unfair that Kaid is the only one who has it, so I told him that I wanted his hair too and obtained them from him.
Somewhat limping, Kaid led me out of his vault room. He said that this place could be an evacuation shelter if something bad happened, but I wonder if the tightly shut door can be opened in times of emergency, especially with the door being that heavy, so it will only increase my anxiety. First of all, the way that the very first wall has to be kicked from the side already leaves much doubt. Next time, I’ll definitely ask him to give me a kicking training.
A nice wind blows in from the opened window, caressing my hair as my eyes flutter close. I remember the feeling of looking at a far, faraway town.
“I want to go back to Kayna.”
I heard a loud rattle from Kaid, who was examining the walls’ condition. As I turn around in surprise, I wonder if he’s trying to fix the bent wall, because he smashes the painting frame in his hand.
Kaid wasn’t looking at the pitifully broken frame before dropping the painting.
“Did I, perhaps, do something?”
“A, ah, yes. You just smashed that frame.”
“That frame is nothing of importance.”
“It looks extremely valuable, though……”
Declaring a quite dire condition of the wooden chips as nothing of importance, he quickly paces himself over here. His hands reached out to my shoulders before he realized that there were wooden chips in his hand, which he threw to the back.
I’m conflicted over continuing or not, but since Kaid has made a waiting stance, I continued. I look at Kaid’s straight-laced back as he stands still, frowning, then I look to the neglected painting on the floor. Somehow it makes me feel a little restless. It’s in a maid’s nature. I want to tidy it up.
“I sent a letter, but as I thought, I want to directly express my gratitude. The orphanage manager is someone who raised and loved me, this kind of an eerily uncute girl who never smiled. Not only was I unpleasant, I was always worrisome. So I thought that I must show my face at least once to express my gratitude.”
“Is that so? In that case, please let me give you company. I also wish to express my gratitude to the person who raised my lady.”
“You’re so busy though, is it okay?”
“The head butler said that I was never free enough to take several days off, even for the honeymoon, so I quickly assign the tasks. I think it’s okay.”
“………………So you’ve been busy for that kind of reason?”
“Well, half of it.”
“It takes half, even.”
I didn’t even know that that kind of motive could occupy half of his reasons.
Oh, well, under the pretext of a medical care, he should decrease the frequency of showing up at work, so even if he allocates the tasks, it shouldn’t be strange.
With a somewhat extremely relieved expression, Kaid tilts his neck. I’m worried if he feels anxious, so I grab Kaid’s hand, but what I got in return was a wry smile.
“I thought you wanted to return home.”
“Home? Ah, that’s right. That place has become my home. Fufu, saying it that way makes me feel the tingles.”
She was truly kind. After all these years, she has grown much older, her body might no longer listen to her anymore, disturbingly. Yet, against all those mischievous children, she never even shown any unpleasant behavior. She was genuinely worried about the child who wished for an unhappiness on her own, without feeling uncomfortable. Even I, who shook away people around me, could notice that.
The wise, kind, and gentle woman.
I think Isidore will like her too.
If there are selfish people, there are people who aren’t. If there are terrible people, the kind ones are also there. There are people who will loudly scream their complaints, but there are also people who will endure and keep believing. There are people who won’t work for themselves, but there are also people who will reach out to support the others.
I can’t say that it’ll become reality unconditionally. Maybe in one generation or two, not something right before us.
I think it’ll be good if Isidore also has his wonderful destined meeting. I truly think so. If he comes into the conclusion of not wishing to succeed his fief, not at the price of sacrificing his whole life, I think that’ll be good too.
If he can choose the path that he won’t regret, that’ll be the best.
I’ll do anything so that there will be a choice for that sake. Not for Isidore the next lord, but for the sake of our precious friend, Isidore.
When I think about Isidore, my forehead gets bumped against and I close my eyes without thinking twice. My hand, which was grasped, somehow had its fingers being intertwined now.
“I’ll be very happy if you can think of this place as your home as well.”
“You’re right. This place is my home, that place is my home too. I have to introduce myself to the orphanage manager. Telling her that my lord-master (dannasama) has become my lord-husband (dannasama).”
“Then, my master (goshujinsama)?”
“That’s a little too much too.”
“Just use the usual, please.”
“The one who becomes my lord husband?”
“That’s weird, I feel extremely uncomfortable.”
“The one who became my lord husband?”
“I feel that it strays even further from the usual.”
“What should I call you, then?”
“What should you call me, indeed?”
The corner of eyebrows lowering to the center, Kaid was even more troubled than me. If he has a tail, it’ll probably be lowered while feeling dejected. As I think so, somehow, I burst out laughing.
“Pfft…… Oh, Kaid, it’s funny…… Pff– ahahaha!”
“……Go ahead, you may laugh at me…… Your laughter, it hasn’t changed.”
“P-perhaps so…… Pft…….”
“Unexpectedly, your low funny barrier hasn’t changed either.”
He uses a pouting voice, but the golden eyes gazing down on me look unexpectedly gentle, so much that it makes me blush.
I wonder if he has realized that I lost my ability to laugh, because now Kaid’s lips turn up to a smile. They said yawning is contagious, but laughter seems to have the same effect.
That hard staring makes me tingle, but I don’t want to be separated from him either. Embracing me with an ‘up you go’, his large figure envelops me without leaving gaps. He’s large, warm, and calming me down more than anything, but my heart beats fast at the same time.
“……This time, I will definitely make you happy.”
When the reflective words came, it made me frown. I push his chest away, he let me go without resisting, though his face looks puzzled.
“That’s not good, Kaid. Fix it.”
I pull both of his grasping hands, tiptoeing to reach his looming face.
Our lips crash together, my lady, he said under his breath.
“Let’s be happy. The two of us. I’ll tell you this, but I cannot be happy by myself. I won’t be. I’m a troublesome woman. Please be prepared.”
“…………Pardon me for that. Let’s become happy, my lady. Together, with me, please be happy.”
“Yes, with my pleasure!”
Gleefully hugging his nape, the arms that encircle my body stays there, embracing me. My toes are dangling in the air, swaying. Albeit twirling in that position, I don’t feel anxious at all. I have no fear of being dropped, and if I stay this way, I feel happier.
“My lady, I wish to correct one thing.”
“What is it~?”
Without realizing it, Kaid was already holding the back of my knee, turning me into a sitting-like position in his arms.
Putting my hands on his shoulders, I’m looming over him in puzzlement. Those golden eyes are too dazzling, but I’m still looking at them, narrowing my eyes in spellbound.
“That is, not with you as the troublesome woman, but as an adorable lady, you know?”
“You’re the only one who thinks that, Kaid.”
“If not, I’ll be more troubled. Also, I’ll tell you this: I’m a truly troublesome man, so prepare yourself.”
“……Somehow, when you’re the one who said that, I feel a little afraid.”
“Yes, please be more afraid of me.”
However, it’s not the gentle smile he showed just before, it’s a disturbing smiling face with his canine tooth peeking from his lips.
“Anyhow, all men are wolves.”
Saying that, the wolf lord laughs towards his most precious person in the world.
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