It was an intense day.

I exhaled lightly as I thought of the time that had passed rapidly since I left the capital.
The fact that the reunion with my mother, who had been so anxious to see me, was so stunning was probably due to Hugh, although I couldn’t explain it.
Or was it because of the presence of ‘Orison’, Margaret? It might not have changed anything in the relationship between me and my mother, but it had made me feel much better.

In the simple but carefully maintained warmth of the guest room, I lightly cleansed myself with the toiletries provided.

The beds, with little design, had clean sheets and blankets with a friendly touch, and a small table was decorated with flowers that seemed to have bloomed in the garden.
Light curtains, wallpaper with watercolor-like flowers… I learned my mother’s thoughts once again, so different from the stately mansion in the royal city.

“No wonder they don’t match…’

The unintentional mumblings that came out were laced with self-mockery.

My parents were in a perfect political marriage.
I heard that my mother, who had been engaged to another man, had almost sold herself to my father, who was twenty years older than her, in order to support her family’s declining fortunes.
My father, who bought into the history of my mother’s family, barely maintained a reasonable relationship with my mother until I was born, his successor, and then left his own wife, who was not accustomed to life in the royal capital, as she should have been.

In the capital, my mother lived in that mansion until ten years ago because of me, her son.
If I had not been born, my mother would have been able to leave earlier, or whatever, and go to her fiancée, who still thought of her.
At least that would have been possible after my father’s death.

I knew this, but I pretended not to see it, and did not blame my ex-wife for blaming my mother for the failure of our marriage, so I was equally guilty.

There was no way it should be allowed.
I didn’t want to bother her anymore.

That was why I kept my distance.
That was the only way I knew how to do.

My body was tired, but my mind was clear.
I went downstairs to the kitchen to get a drink of water and noticed someone’s presence.

Looking in through the open door, I could vaguely see Margaret standing in the dark with only the light at hand, looking at the fire heating the kettle.

I was about to go back to my room, thinking it would be bad to disturb her, when I suddenly saw her profile, so fragile that I thought she might disappear.

I found myself calling out to her.

The tea she brewed tasted nostalgic.
It brought back memories of my mother brewing it for me, just a small child, on cold winter days or when I had a cold.

I wondered if the tea back then would have been made the same way my mother prepared this… I thought about it and concluded that it was impossible.
There were no such simple flowers in the garden of a royal residence.

As I was drinking while remembering, I was told something unexpected.
I didn’t realize she felt guilty about being here.
Even though they lived so close to each other, my mother would be sad if she left.

I hope my explanation had convinced her.
I feel like I said something unnecessary in my haste to keep her from leaving, but I was surprised when she suddenly opened her eyes and stared straight at me from very close quarters.
I was about to say about the distance between a man and a woman, but I realized that this situation, now that we were alone in a dimly lit room at night, was a problem before that, and I couldn’t say anything.

… I thought she was a strange woman.
She was not intimidated by my intimidating figure and face.
I was the kind of person who couldn’t say a single witty thing outside of work, yet she slowly weaved her words into my hand without any signs of being uncomfortable.

In this short time, she had gained the trust of my mother and Dr.
Reynolds.
Was the disposition of not liking conflict and seeking peace a characteristic of the Orison, or was it her habit?

I was surprised to find myself somehow liking the situation of being alone with an unfamiliar person of the opposite sex, a situation I would never normally welcome.
A moment before going to bed, we shared a cup of tea together without saying a word… I didn’t think I ever had such a peaceful time with my ex-wife.

“….Hgh?”

I came back to myself when a thin, white fingertip touching my eye.
She gave a smile that would make a flower bloom.
‘I wish I always did’, she wrote in black quill pen, and only then did I realize I was laughing.

While I was motionless, as if I were in a bind, she lowered the empty cup.
Her sleek black hair hung over one ear and her shimmering pearls glowed in the dim light.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the back of the washing machine, which was washing the dishes with a small sound, the scene overlapped with Mark embracing her.
A slender body that fitted comfortably in your arms.

… When I unconsciously stood up and extended my hand to touch her thin shoulder, someone stepped on my foot.

“Hgh, Buddy.”

My mother’s dog slipped between Margaret and me.
While he glanced at me, he naturally rubbed up against her and begged to be petted.
Margaret noticed and smiled happily, wiping her wet hands and stroking him as he pleased.
Buddy squinted pleasantly.

I was told to go to bed, and I quietly watched as Buddy and her left the kitchen, their footsteps light and quiet… I came back to myself and was surprised.

What did I just try to do?

“…That’s a pretty good bodyguard.”

Looking at my right hand, which had lost its way, the words came out with a bitter smile.

**

The birds of the forest were still waking up today.
Would the city-bred lad be able to endure this large chorus?

After getting ready, I went downstairs to find Lady Adelaide standing in the kitchen as usual.

“Good morning, Margaret.
Did you rest well? You washed the dishes last night.
You could have left it.”

I was relieved that Lady Adelaide, smiling at me, didn’t seem to be tired from yesterday.

When I wanted to help her wash the vegetables, she asked for tomatoes and eggs from the garden, and I was about to leave through the kitchen door when Sir Walter woke up.

“Good morning… You’re both early.”

“Well, good morning, Walter.
You could use a little more rest.”

“The bird… Ah, no, it’s just something I woke up from.”

Of course – I knew it.
When he saw me trying to go outside, he said he would go with me.
Sir Walter, really, I saw you were not leaving yourself be alone with Lady Adelaide! I told you to talk to her.

… Well, but.
It’d been eight years since they’d seen each other, and seeing that Lady Adelaide was not trying to force him to talk, I sometimes wondered if it was okay to take it slow.
First of all, just the fact that they came to this village was probably progress.

“I’d like you to show me around the house while you’re at it.
Because yesterday, after all, we only saw a part of the back.”

If you said so, it was hard to refuse.
As one would expect from a palace worker, a schemer.

Lady Adelaide also recommended me to go outside with him.
Although the morning air was cool, summer was near and the sun was still shining to a certain extent.
Wearing a straw hat to protect me from the ultraviolet rays that I am sure were also present in this world, I first headed to the chicken coop.

After I left, I realized I had left that magical tool in my room.
But since there was no way to go back, I would explain as usual by borrowing the palm of his hand.

The birds woke you up, didn’t they? Was what I asked him, and he replied with a bitter smile.
You could rest early tonight.
You were living in the sun.

I was going to ask him to help me pick up some eggs in the henhouse, but when this big guy entered, it was a tight squeeze! Especially the height.
I couldn’t help but laugh as he struggled to squeeze into the small space.
Sorry, sorry, change of workers.
Today, there were five eggs, five proper eggs.
I continued to go to the field behind the house with a smile on my face.

“What are you going to harvest?”

Tomatoes, tomatoes.
I showed him a sample of one of the ripe ones and gave him a pair of scissors.
I would be the basket attendant.

The first few tries were awkward, but as he took three or four, he got into it, and in no time, the basket was full of bright red tomatoes.
Oh, what shall I do with this quantity? Juice or tomato sauce to make and store away.

I asked him to take a break from collecting because it was about to get too big to fit in the basket, and I taught him all the parts I could see.
There were vegetables, flowers and seedlings, some of which he had never seen before, and he observed them with great interest, no wrinkles on his brow.

“…I’m sure I’ve been here before as a child.
Something I don’t remember.”

They looked different just because they were at different eye level.
First, I heard that Lady Adelaide turned this place into a field after she moved in.
I heard before that it was just a regular garden with flower beds.

I was a little impressed that he would naturally hold the heavier basket of tomatoes instead of the eggs.
We went around the front of the forest, talking slowly, and when we went out toward the main entrance of the mansion, we saw a familiar face.
Oh my, the wrinkles between his eyebrows were back.

“Good morning.
You’re looking healthy this morning, you two.”

You were up early too, Mr.
Hugh.
Today was a day off for the clinic’s nanny, but I wondered what was going on.

“What’s up? I suppose it’s still early in the morning indeed.”

“No, I just followed the young doctor because he said he was going to pick medicinal herbs.”

Young doctor… You mean Mark.
Hey, I thought he always came to the forest after breakfast, but wasn’t he early today? Their conversation continued as if my thoughts were being conveyed.

“I see.
Is he always this early?”

“You know? I told him I’d be over here, so he said he’d stop by when he was done picking.
Hey, young lady, the magic is still coming from the woods, do you feel anything?”

I shook my head and Mr.
Hugh seemed a little unsatisfied… I’m sorry, I’m so insensitive! I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

But what about breakfast? If you hadn’t already, please help us consume these tomatoes.

He didn’t expect to be invited to breakfast, and when I wrote it on his palm, Hugh happily nodded his head two times.
Mark said he hadn’t eaten yet either, so we would have two people stop by.

My mind was occupied with the additional tomato menu this morning and the sudden addition of two more people.
After saying no to the two men behind me, I hurried back to the kitchen ahead of them to tell Lady Adelaide.

“I’m not sure if Walter is going to do anything.”

“What is that something?”

“No, you see.
Margaret is a good girl.
And she’s cute.”

“You’re so quick to look at her like that.”

“And nothing has happened since then last night? That’s not true, is it?”

“…Nothing had happened.”

“Ah, what a subtle pause!”

“Shut up.”

“Eh, then she’s still free, right? And doesn’t look like the young doctor told her either.”

“You again…”

So their conversation did not reach my ears.

Lady Adelaide was an excellent cook.
I’d learned a lot of things from her, but one thing in particular I couldn’t copy was omelets.
I had never been a big fan of semi-cooked eggs, but Lady Adelaide’s omelet was exceptional.
There was not the slightest hint of fishiness, and the outside was fluffy and the inside thick.
What is this, another dimension?

This omelet was satisfying enough with just salt and pepper, and today we served it with a fresh tomato sauce.
What a luxury.

Peel tomatoes, cut into chunks, and mix with roughly chopped purple onion that had been quickly soaked in water.
Simply heat the sauce just enough to warm it up, add chopped parsley to finish, and season with salt.
But this made the plate suddenly looked gorgeous, like a bright red flower blooming on a yellow omelet.

The tomatoes were also ripe on the tree, so they had a rich flavor, but because they were a little early in the season, they were a little more acidic than sweet, which went well with the rich egg.

So, well, Mr.
Hugh was in the head count to begin with, so breakfast was ready without running out of ingredients.

They didn’t return to what they were talking about, and eventually appeared in the kitchen with Mark, who had apparently joined them at the front door.

So, Mark, you didn’t have to ask me how I was feeling at the outset.
I was not affected by the exploration or anything, I was fine! Therefore, don’t pet my head, don’t hold my face and don’t look at me.
I’ve been so embarrassed since this morning, I can’t stand it! I am twenty-eight.

Uh, I didn’t know what to do.
Ah, yes, Buddy! Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen Buddy since I woke up this morning.
I thought it was strange, because we usually had breakfast together, but when I looked for him, I found him sleeping soundly in his favorite space in front of the fireplace in the living room.

Lady Adelaide, I wondered what happened to Buddy.

“I guess he woke up too early and got sleepy because he was already up when I woke up.
Or maybe he’s just a night owl.”

“Walter, did you have Buddy stand on the night watch?”

“We have to work on that.
Well done, buddy.”

“…You’re out of your mind.”

I didn’t know what it was, but thanks, Buddy.
Let’s leave him alone.

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