And I ran as fast as I could to where Uncle was.
I came to a farther place than I thought and my heart sank.
Coincidentally, or perhaps he was looking at us, Uncle had already come out of the room and was coming this way.
I ran harder and hugged him.
At the same time, I felt a solid sense of stability.
Before long, Uncle’s heavy hand rested on my head.
Did that Peanut hit you?”
I hugged Uncle’s thighs and shook my head.
“L-Let’s go home now.”
Let’s go quickly, please?
I looked up at him with desperate eyes.
I winced at the sound of Uncle’s tongue clicking and tried to loosen my arms, but my body flashed.
In the blink of an eye, I was hugged, and uncle’s gaze became equal with mine.
“Anyway, you’re troublesome.
Are we going right away?”
It sounds like we’re going home.
I nodded broadly, then paused and shook my head.
“Can I just greet Russphe before we leave?”
“Where is he?”
Uncle strode in the direction I was reaching for.
But on the other side, Russphe was hurriedly running towards me.
I got off Uncle’s body and looked at Russphe, who had stopped in front of me.
Then he caught his breath and he pulled something out at me.
These were the three yellow flowers I saw while crouching with him earlier.
The stems were jagged and crushed arbitrarily, probably because they were ripped off a little too hard.
“Are you giving it to me?”
“I want to give you a present too.”
Saying that, Russphe’s face was the reddest I’d ever seen.
It seemed like he ran too fast.
His silky silver hair was more puffy than before.
Uncle snorted, saying, “Brat things.” But I ignored it and accepted the flowers.
It’s like proof that Russphe accepted me as a friend.
“Thank you! I guess I should go home now.
It was really fun today.”
“Hmm, then goodbye.”
At Russphe’s shy greeting, I waved my hand and went to Uncle, but then I turned back.
Do you come here often?”
“We’re friends now.
Let’s play more next time!”
Ruspe’s face brightened as if a light was shone on it.
“Yeah, next time.
Then bye, for real!”
As I finally turned around, I felt a force pulling me from behind.
Turning around, Russphe was pulling my clothes.
It was the first time he had acted first as he was shy when I spoke to him all day.
He was just like when he ran earlier.
“W-When are you coming back?”
“If it’s when…”
I don’t know.
However, Russphe was staring at her too closely for me to say I don’t know.
Maybe because his eyes were pretty, he even seemed eager to shine brightly.
“Ah, uh… T-Ten nights of sleep!”
I glanced at Uncle and nodded.
If he doesn’t like it, he’ll just say no.
I quickly rummaged through my bag and pulled out a handful of candy.
When I handed it out to Russphe, he made a puzzled face and spread his hands.
I stopped putting the candy on his hands.
No, I need to give him all.
I even took off the remaining candies and handed it all to Russphe.
“Yeah, this is a gift too.
I’ll sleep ten nights and come back.
Let’s meet again and play next time, just us.”
Russphe took the candies with his hands folded just like when he received a flower ring earlier and muttered, “Ten nights…”
The flower ring I made was still on his second finger.
He eventually nodded again.
“Then, goodbye, really!”
I hung around Uncle’s neck as if I was riding on him again, holding the flower Russphe gave me and waving it loudly.
“…See you again, Aika.”
As we strode away, Russphe’s small, shy voice was vaguely heard.
“Young Master, it’s time to go back.”
As soon as the backs of Aika and Marquis Leguier disappeared, Russphe’s attendant, Kamaye, approached just in time.
Maybe Marquis Leguier gave him some candy as a snack?
Russphe nodded at Kamaye’s words, yet he took one step at a time, worried that the candies in his hands might fall.
“I’ll hold it for you.”
Kamaye held out his hands to get the candies.
Russphe shook his head instead of handing out those candies.
“I’ll hold it.”
Not only did he say that, he was also afraid that it would be taken away, so he pushed it closer to his body.
As Kamaye watched Russphe’s unsteady gait, he couldn’t help but question him.
“By the way, where did you get so much candy?”
Russphe doesn’t like sweets very much.
Even when he pushed sweet and colorful candies and chocolates right in front of his nose, he always just stared at those and avoided them.
There were many times when he refused to eat warm cocoa or sweet cakes that those of his age enjoyed eating.
Moreover, he was picky, so most of the time he left snacks that Kamaye had brought.
Occasionally, the only things I put in my mouth were tea that was too light for his age and biscuits that weren’t sweet.
Even more, when he was asked, “Is it delicious?”, he would give it to Kamaye to eat.
Yet he doesn’t even let him touch it? And it’s candies?
That’s why, he’s just curious.
Now, the colorful candies piled up in Russphe’s palm looked foreign to the eyes of Kamaye, who watched him closely.
“Somebody gave me a present… A friend.”
Kamaye’s eyes widened slightly when he realized that the friend was Lady Valiott.
“So these are the candies that Lady Valiott gave you as a gift.”
I think I will need a pretty glass bottle when we get home.”
Seeing him walking stealthily, concentrating on whether even one of the candies would fall, Kamaye seemed to know why he needed the glass bottle.
Moreover, to think that the Young Master, who rarely expresses anything, would look like that.
Kamaye recalled the girl he had seen from afar earlier.
Her cheeks were soft and immaculate like peaches, her eyes were big, and her shiny, black hair was tied in two pigtails, making her look like a pretty baby rabbit.
How well her colorful, brightly colored clothes fit her.
She stood out, and his eyes couldn’t help but gaze at her.
Even among His Imperial Majesty the Emperor and Marquis Leguier, who were said to be the best men of the time, Lady Valiott stood out in particular.
‘Young Master Russphe also…’
“As soon as I get back, I’ll get you the prettiest glass bottle.”
Kamaye walked behind Russphe with a happy heart.
“Hm, a ribbon too.
Maybe yellow would be nice.”
Saying that, Russphe’s cheeks turned red again.
As soon as I got home, I was relieved to be out of harm’s way.
I changed my mind and went back to see Grandpa, but I heard that he had already entered a meeting with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor and wouldn’t be able to see me.
So I had no choice but to come home.
But what was that strange feeling?
There was nothing suspicious nearby…
“Ah, I saw a big tower and a willow tree covering it.”
Anyway, it was really weird.
I thought I might be seeing a dangerous scene again, yet the vision didn’t come to me all the way home in the carriage.
So I had no choice but to ask more questions.
“Miss, the bath water is ready.
Shall we go?”
I couldn’t get out of the scary thoughts for such a long time, and I was able to get out of it only after Zenda came in.
Then, until evening, while Zenda was busy, I spent time lying in bed.
I put the key to the Imperial Ancient Book room that I received as a gift today.
“Next time I go there, I must stop by the Ancient Book room.”
I wondered if it might be a place Mom often went to.
The flower Russphe gave me was a bit wilted, that’s why Zenda put it in a vase.
She even said that after a few days, she would dry it up nicely and put it in a book.
Then the face of the Emperor came to my mind, followed by his black hair.
He has the same hair color as mine.”
A little question slowly crept into bloom.
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