Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
「Yes. You see, there’s a small cottage right next to the ruins. I was initially thinking of letting Agedilus-dono use it for convenience’s sake in light of his investigation. But now it will come in handy since we can’t let him stay here and risk the people finding out about this. Nobody really goes by there, except for maybe once a week to see if everything is okay, so how about it? Pretty good place to hide our little “boy”, don’t you think?」
There wasn’t really anything I could say to that. If the rumors began to spread that a Court Wizard who came here to investigate the ruins ended up like this, there would surely be riot as a result. Moreover, while he was like that it was pretty much impossible for that man to carry on with his investigation, and the Governor must have been fully aware of that fact as well. Therefore, keeping this incident under wraps was top priority right now. I was about ready to burst into tears, but still I bowed my head to the Governess in gratitude.
「Thank you very much, Leticiela-sama.」
「Think nothing of it. Rather than that, I’m sorry that there’s not really any other way for us to handle this. Sorry about that.」
「No, please, don’t feel bad!」
I bow my head to the Governess in gratitude yet again. We should be the ones who should be apologizing because this situation was bound to cause the Governess some trouble down the road. But even so, her kindness was surprising. Could it be that this woman was as warm and kind inside as her looks might have indicated?
Then I turned back towards Juri-kun, who was on his way to the door.
「Juri-kun. Thank you so much for tonight.」
「Sure thing. Thanks a lot, big sister.」
I then saw them off to the door and after Juri-kun and the Governess left the room I made sure to lock the door properly, so that no one would be able to surprise me like that again. No, even with that being done I couldn’t feel at ease. Still, I was so tired that I couldn’t help but want to get some rest.
It was only now that I noticed just how tense I was all this time. I sat on the bedside chair and let out an exhausted sigh. I really wanted to get some sleep right now. I then looked down upon the sleeping face of that small child and I couldn’t help but feel amazed by it yet again. His features were just like I remembered them. His fairy-like beauty was still there, but right about now there was also something unbelievably cute to him. How should I put this? Rather than a little boy, he looked just like a little girl. Looking at him right now, I confirmed that his almost angel-like features that lingered in my memories were not just a mere prank my mind was pulling on me. It was real. Better yet, he was even more beautiful than in my memories.
… And just like that, while looking at the boy’s extraordinary features, my mind was yet again ridden with worry and anxiety. What if he stays like that forever? What if he’s not able to go back to his original appearance? I know that I shouldn’t be thinking about things like that, but seeing how I was reincarnated in this world, I should have known more than anyone else that there are no such things as “impossible” in this world. I was so anxious that I couldn’t hardly keep myself from worrying.
I gently stroke the boy’s cheek, thinking that maybe this small gesture would be enough to wake him up from his slumber. Looking closely, there was no scar under his left eye, the one that he said he received during their journey to subjugate the Demon Lord was gone. His skin was so smooth and beautiful. While I was stroking him like that, his eyelids shook a little and his eyes slowly opened.
I shriek in shock, looking into the small child’s eyes. I could see my own reflection perfectly reflected in them.
「Ahh, what a relief. You finally woke up…」
As soon as the boy’s eyes registered my face, a sharp light appeared in them. The boy’s hand slaps my hand away from his face and he raises himself up on the bed, his glare right now being as sharp as the edge of the sword.
When I said the boy’s name, he looked at me with even more hostility in his eyes than before.
「… Who are you?」
His voice was so high pitched that for a moment I couldn’t even understand what he said. While I was looking at his in astonishment, the boy continued to speak.
「What is this place? Why am I like this?」
Staying overly vigilant, the boy backs away on the bed to stay as far away from me as possible. At that moment the boy’s shirt, which was way too big for his current form, slipped off of his shoulders and his snow-white skin was exposed to me. Noticing that the boy blushed heavily on the spot, and tried to forcefully pull his shirt back on, as if not wanting me to see him in such a state. However, I had no problem with seeing him like that, since I was that man’s wife and knew him for a long time now.
「Edi? Don’t you recognize me? You don’t know who I am?」
I want to hear him say that it was just a cruel prank, but I could see from the look in his eyes that this estrangement was genuine. And with each passing minute the boy was becoming more and more suspicious.
「Don’t act so overly familiar with me. There are but a few people who can call me that…」
Suddenly, the boy’s body shook slightly as his eyes locked on me. At that moment, I felt as though his gaze was piercing right through me, gazing straight into the depths of my soul.
「–––––– Fil… mina?」
I was at a loss for words. Still, I was glad that he remembered me and as relief filled my mind, a smile returned to by lips.
「Yes. It’s me, your Filmina.」
The boy’s eyes open wide.
「What does this mean? Why are you all grown up?」
It seems that the boy tries to act in his usual calm and composed way, but since he was a child he had a hard time concealing his surprise and astonishment. The boy’s words manage to wake some bad feeling inside of me, but I didn’t want to say anything for now.
「That’s not it, Edi. I’m not the one who suddenly grown up. It’s you who suddenly got smaller.」
The boy just stood there for a moment, completely at a loss for words. I wish that I could tell him something more, but unfortunately that was everything I knew about his current predicament. Believe me, I would like this to be but a joke, but unfortunately that was not the case.
Ahh, there it is again. Just as I was beginning to feel relieved, I was struck with worries yet again. The more I tried to think about this whole situation, the more confusing it became. I also couldn’t stop thinking that if there was someone else with the man at that time, they might have noticed that something was amiss in the ruins and that whole situation didn’t happen. And it was all that man’s fault. Him and his bad habits. He was always trying to get everything done all by himself. Although I wanted to say that out loud, I bit my tongue and stopped myself. I wasn’t in the ruins and had no idea how it was there. So I don’t have the right to criticize anyone.
「…… Filminna? Umm…… Are you alright……?」
「Oh, y-yes. I’m terribly sorry. It’s nothing, really. I’m fine.」
I tell the boy that I’m okay, even though I was more embarrassed than anything. But seeing how the boy seemed to be worried about me, I just couldn’t do it. So I just forced myself to smile instead. Worrying excessively would get me nowhere, and besides, the boy should know more about that situation than I. Any further worry would only cause me more and more misery.
At that time, I heard knocking on the door.
「Yes? Who is it?」
「Filmina-dono. It’s me.」
The voice answered without trying to knock on the door again. It was the voice of the person who was here just a moment ago.
「I’ve prepared the carriage in secret. As well as some spare clothes for “him”.」
She works fast, I’ll give her that. I thanked the Governess while she handed me the folded child’s clothes through the gap in the door, and then I handed them to the boy who was still sitting on the bed.
「Edi, for now, could you change into that?」
Even though he didn’t seem to understand the current situation, the boy heeded my words and change into clothes that I gave him. I smiled and went back towards the door, all the while feeling the gaze of his eyes upon myself.
「Could you go into the hallway for a moment?」
His words made me blink my eyes for a few moments in surprise. I never would have thought that this boy could be anxious and embarrassed over something as trivial as this. He was always so calm and collected, so when I looked back at him it was actually surprising to see his cute face all embarrassed. It was even more amazing knowing how the older Edi would behave, so I knew that this sight will stay in memory for a long time to come.
「Yes, Edi. Of course.」
That is why I should do everything in my power to ease his worries and needless anxiety. So I said that to him with a smile while also leaving the room for a moment. Before I left I could actually see the boy’s expression relaxing a bit.
I quietly close the door behind me and join the Governess in the corridor.
「Leticiela-sama. Once again, thank you very much.」
「No need to worry about it, Filmina-dono. I’m just doing whatever I can to help.」
The Governess shakes her head and smiles. She was making even such small gestures in such an attractive way. But it was a completely different charm from that of the members of the royal family. When I said thank you to her one more time, her smile turned into a rather bitter one.
「Do you really think it is wise the let that Juri-boy go back home like that?」
「Yes. I do believe that was the best course of action.」
「Good. But the real question is: whatever shall we do with “him”?」
「… The situation seems to be even more serious than we thought.」
Hearing my words, the smile disappeared from the Governess’s lips, replaced by the look of utter concern.
「What do you exactly mean by that?」
For a moment there I was wondering whether or not I should answer truthfully to that question, but after a moment of thought I decided to come clean. This was the territory of the Isle, and no matter how you look at it, this wasn’t something that I could possibly hope to solve all on my own. The Governess should know what is going on. So I tell her while keeping my voice down.
「It also appears that not only his body, but his mind has suffered a recession as well.」
For a short while, the Governess was absolutely silent. But even in this state, when her forehead was cut with a deep wrinkle signalizing that she was deep in thought, she was still absolutely gorgeous. I wish I could have told her more, but sadly I didn’t know anything else besides that.
「I-II see. In that case, I think it would be wise to get in touch with the capital immediately.」
「Yes, that’s right.」
We both look at one another for a moment, apology visible in the eyes of the Governess and guilt visible in mine.
「Umm…… So it will be impossible to continue the investigation just like that?」
「I’m sorry for saying something that may be out of bounds. I understand that Agedilus-dono’s well-being is the top priority to you and that you would like to return to the capital as soon as possible. However, this situation is something that only the Court Wizard can help us on. For the purpose of the investigation, I would like for Agedilus-dono to stay here.」
I look at the Governess who must have had a lot of trouble with saying all of those difficult words just now.
「That’s not something I can decide on my own. I’ll have to ask my husband what’s his take on the subject first.」