What happened afterwards was that a few days passed by, while me and the man were on our way back to the royal capital. I know it was sudden I think so too. However, it was an obvious result as we had already been delayed a lot compared to our original plan and had stayed on Nibbielatta for days longer than we expected. Both the magic cast on that man and the real purpose of our trip – the mysterious ruins – have been solved so there was no reason to prolong our stay.
We arrived at the port with the small luggage we brought with us from the royal capital and the souvenirs I’d bought on the island in our hands. The Governess who came to send us off bowed deeply to us.
「I am truly sorry for getting you caught up in those situations. Please tell the Princess that I will accept any kind of punishment for the repeated misconduct which has occurred at the island.」
Hearing those words I looked up at the face of the man standing next to me. The weariness from grudgingly writing a report till late hours yesterday night wasn’t visible on his placid countenance. With no change in his ever usual iron-clad expressionlessness he opened his thin lips.
「What I intend to report on this case, is that deciphering the magic square required time and while I was doing that Elizabell’s and the white flowers’ existence came to light.」
「No, but this…」
「Of course that’s what will be reported「outwardly」. I will tell the Princess the whole truth. After that, please await further instructions from her.」
The man closed his lips showing that he had no intention to say anything else. I thought it might have been a bit too cold, but it was a natural reaction when I thought of all the days on the island which had brought us to this moment. One might even say that this was quite a mild reaction considering this man’s narrow-mindedness.
「Fufu, that’s a matter of course. I will be ready.」
That man’s cold words hadn’t ruined her mood and the Governess let out a somewhat relieved smile. The man narrowed his eyes a little but he showed no other reaction. I smiled bitterly on the inside and once again looked at the Governess.
「Um, lady Leticiela…」
「…….Are you fine?」
The Governess blinked her eyes at my question. There was no way I wouldn’t have noticed how red those eyes were. I had no way of knowing how many tears she shed or why she had shed them, but that wasn’t a reason not to worry about her. However, as if to tell me that my worries were unnecessary the lady smiled softly but with determination.
「Lady Filmina might not know this but women of this island are all bad at giving up.」
The Governess smiling as if to say “that’s why I’m fine” was truly beautiful. Then she stretched out her hand in which she was holding a paper bag towards me.
「This won’t be enough as an apology, but please accept it as a farewell gift.」
「Well, thank you very much.」
At the same time I took that bag, which was even lighter than it looked, a whistle sounded out. The crew raised their voices telling us we had to leave shortly. So it was time. The man grabbed my hand as I was turning around.
「E, Edi even if we don’t hurry…..」
Not paying my protests any attention, the man pulled me by the hand and dragged me towards the entrance. Since I was being dragged along I couldn’t even properly say my goodbyes.
「Lady Leticiela! Please be well!」
「Both of you too!」
I slightly turned my upper body around while walking, bowed my head and in response the lady waved her hand widely. I couldn’t watch her smiling face anymore because I got pulled onto the ship and the ship set off before long.
We both stood on the deck and felt the sea breeze with our whole bodies. The sea was calm and the weather was clear. It felt like it’d been a while since I’d seen either one. The man hugged me from behind as if it was the most natural thing. I couldn’t say anything because of embarrassment. I felt it was bad to be so flustered by myself since that man wasn’t embarrassed in the slightest, however even then I was happy so I could only resign myself to his embrace.
Taking advantage of the fact that the man’s previous sourness lifted slightly, while still being embraced from behind, I opened the paper bag the Governess gave me earlier. Inside I found dried indigo-coloured flowers. I wondered for a second but immediately remembered what they were. It was the unusual tea that I’d drank with the Governess. The name was Drop of Dawn, I think. It was a very valuable thing and she gave us so much. While thinking I need to drink it carefully, I shook the paper bag. As I did that a white piece of paper appeared among the petals.
「Nothing. There is a letter inside the bag.」
Just what could be written on it? I took out the letter while feeling that man’s gaze on me. I opened the paper which was folded in half and found a text written in a distinctive handwriting. After following the letters with my eyes for a while I was at a loss for words. Feeling my body stiffen up the man frowned. I looked up at his face and mumbled softly.
「——– Elizabell’s Tears」
He blinked his sunrise-coloured eyes. I pointed at the letter.
「Those white flowers are named like that.」
「Ho? That’s quite a poetic name.」
I smiled bitterly at his voice filled with ridicule. That’s right. I didn’t know if it was meant to be an atonement or a lesson, but I think it was quite an ironic naming sense. Just who named them like that? As I continued reading that those flowers won’t be exterminated and will just be supervised, the man suddenly took the letter away. Ah, I protested weakly but the man ignored me, glanced at the letter with a bored expression and crushed it in his hand. Then, just like that, the letter soundlessly flared up in his hand. In the blink of an eye it turned into ash. The man opened his hand and the ash got swept away but the sea breeze.
I considered asking him just what he thought he was doing, his sunrise-coloured eyes as he was watching the ash disappear, and the sea which glinted with a light which made it difficult to say anything. So in the end I kept my mouth shut. I knew that this man also had a lot to think about in relation to the existence named “Elizabell”.
I managed to free my hands and lifted them up to stroke his face. Although until this moment he’d disliked it because I was treating him like a child, now that he became an adult….. His figure as he welcomed the touch with his eyes narrowed from the pleasant feeling was very cute. I chuckled without thinking. The man put some strength into the arms which were encircling me and buried his face in the nape of my neck. Although there weren’t many people on the deck, it didn’t mean it was completely empty but it seemed that man didn’t care.
「Good grief, what honeymoon? It was a disaster.」
His sulky voice sounded somehow young and childlike. It was a familiar voice. There was no way I could forget it. It was exactly like “that child’s” voice.
「What’s so funny?」
「It might have been a complete disaster for you, but not for me.」
His body shook slightly and he slowly lifted his head. His hair tickled my neck so I started to squirm and the man looked at me reproachfully. Aaaah, his beautiful face was wasted on him. I leaned back into his embrace and laughed.
「I was happy to spend time with the smaller you and see this unknown side of you.」
Although it was something I couldn’t say publicly. To be honest, while that man was in his child form the princess repeatedly asked「How about you return to the royal capital?」. I hadn’t noticed it at the time, but the reason why I didn’t agree to the princess’s proposal was probably that somewhere inside my heart there was a part which didn’t want to lose the days I could spend with that child. After all, he was really cute. He was really lovable.
As if my inner mumbling was somehow conveyed to that man his eyes opened wide. The scar under his left eye, which that child didn’t have, was stretched. His pale face turned red. His lips moved like he wanted to say something but in the end no words came out. He forcefully lowered his head and once again buried his face in the nape of my neck. Aaaah, what to do? I couldn’t stop laughing.
His low voice made me laugh even harder. After all, his words while he was blushing so much even his ears were red weren’t scary at all. Which part of this cute man could be scary or terrifying?
Do you truly believe you can keep living together with a black-haired existence forever?
「I believe.」, I once more repeat my answer to the young voice which reappeared in my heart. Of course it wasn’t absolute. However there was no lie in the fact that I wanted to keep living together, that I wished to keep living together. That’s why today, tomorrow and all the days after I’ll stay by his side and live happily.
I continued laughing until that man directly stopped my mouth with his.