Translator: Imlartis Editor: Queenie
Just as I was thinking that he was uncharacteristically giving unreserved praise, it was something like that. At his last words, so full of anger, I shrugged my shoulders slightly, so he wouldn’t notice. Surely the one who was the most irritated by his current condition and the one who wanted to solve this helpless situation as soon as possible, was that man. So even workaholics could bate their breaths. I clearly understood that more than finding out the cause, he just wanted results. I felt sorry that I didn’t have the power to do anything other than console him. However, even then I had some thoughts.
I looked up at the face of the man who turned his torso towards me.
「I don’t dislike your child form at all. However, I’m really happy to be able to talk with 「you」as we’re doing right now.」
One way or another I was able to talk to the man. Just this fact already made me so happy. There was no need to wear my smiling mask, because a smile naturally surfaced on my face. Me revealing my honest, innermost feelings caught the man off guard and for a second he forgot to breather. Then his pale, beautiful face twisted into a scowl.
「Is just that enough?」
I tilted my head at the unexpected question. This time the man turned his whole body towards me and tried to touch my cheek with his half-transparent hand. I couldn’t feel anything.
「Even though I want to touch you so much I can’t stand it.」
Those words were very straightforward but it took me a while to grasp the meaning. I knew my face belatedly started turning red without having to confirm it in a mirror. I put my hand on top of the man’s which was still on my cheek.
「I also want to touch you.」
As if those words were a signal, the man bent down and brought that beautiful face close. As always, I closed my eyes and welcomed the kiss. Of course, I couldn’t feel anything, but after opening my eyes, what I saw reflected in those sunrise coloured eyes, was my happily smiling face.
* * *
Thus, the days where I was spending the daytime with the boy at the ruins and nights at the side residence of the Nibbiella Family alone with the man began. In the blink of an eye a few days had passed since the first time I’ve reunited with the man and although I was lacking sleep, I wasn’t unhappy with this double life I was leading. However, I couldn’t reveal that man’s existence to the boy who was presently next to me, staring intently at the magical language while making the quill he was holding in his hand glide over the paper.
After all, I had no idea how to tell him about it. 「I’m now able to meet the「adult you」.」? If I suddenly said that, it would surely confuse the boy. Even if I were to wrap it in wafer paper, I didn’t know what to use as wafer paper, and even if I had something like that, I had no idea how to wrap it. Although he wasn’t a small child anymore, surely deep down he would be thinking that he was useless at such an important time.
Even though he’d been so seriously devoting himself to the investigation every day. That man too. Every night after the boy fell asleep, he would show up in that half-transparent state and try to put together some theory based on the magical language that the boy had deciphered. I, on the other hand… I got fed up with the transcription art and my hands stopped. Aaah, my head hurt. I felt a throbbing pain behind my eyes.
Haaaaaaa, I resisted letting out a deep sigh. At the exact moment I took my eyes off the boy and looked down at the magic square, the boy’s eyes turned towards me.
I lifted my face up from the magic square and when I looked at the boy agin, I saw him staring at me with a sullen expression. I tilted my head questioningly. The boy put down the quill and put his hands on either side of my face, fixing it in place, and stared at my face intently with those big eyes of his. In this situation where I stiffened and couldn’t even avert my eyes, the boy said.
「Just now, you were comparing me with the adult me.」
———– How sharp. I didn’t have the intention to compare them. It just came to my mind.
「—–Is that so?」
Then fine, he mumbled and returned to his task. However, this time it was with his back facing me. It seemed that I made him sulk. While thinking that I’d messed up, I was also somehow happy that he’d started showing his feelings so openly so I was torn. I baked cheesecake for today’s lunch, so maybe that’d fix the mood. Although I knew that trying to placate him with food was, as the boy said 「treating him like a child」, I just couldn’t stop.
Fufu, I laughed behind the boy’s back, so he wouldn’t notice. At that moment, from the passage I heard someone’s approaching footsteps. Like the other day, it was just one person. Both of us stopped what we were doing, put on our hoods and as we were getting ready, unexpectedly, a familiar face – in other words – Juri appeared from the passage while holding a big bag.
The last time I saw Juri was on that main road which was bright as during the day, even though it was evening. At that time, Juri had stayed behind and protected us, but I had no way to check what happened to him and could only worry about him. I was relieved to see he was fine.
I wanted to apologize for getting him involved and also thank him for protecting us. Before I could even start speaking, Juri energetically bowed his head.
He bowed with too much force and fruit spilled out of the big bag he was carrying. Not minding that, Juri continued while bowing.
「Because I unnecessarily forced you to go out, you had a bad experience and big sister even got hurt. I’m very sorry!」
「That’s… It wasn’t your fault Juri.」
There was no need for Juri to apologize. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. I came to the conclusion that it was just bad luck. The islanders had a legitimate reason to be hostile towards people with pure black hair, so it was something that couldn’t be helped. I understood that in my head. However emotionally, it wasn’t something I could accept. I wasn’t a person who could allow this hostility towards my husband because「it couldn’t be helped」.
Putting aside my personal feelings, Juri put down the big bag he had been holding on the ground.
「As a compensation I’ve brought you many delicious things. I thought we could eat together.」
“Is that not fine?” seemingly asking that Juri looked towards me. I wasn’t against it. However, the one who had the final right to decide wasn’t me, but the boy next to me who was sitting immovingly with his hood on. I looked down at the boy. He slowly got up while holding a water bottle in one hand. I thought he was heading towards Juri, but he passed by him without paying him any attention and finally stopped right at the entrance to the passage.
「… There’s no more herbal tea, so I’ll go get water from the spring.」
「Oh my, is that so? Then, please do.」
He nodded at my words and disappeared into the passage. Juri sent him off with my eyes, let out a big sigh and sat down while messing with his hair.
「Hey, big sister. It’s natural but… He’s angry after all, isn’t he?」
「No, I don’t think he is. He’s just not honest.」
「S’ that so?」
「Yes. If it wasn’t like that, he wouldn’t have gone out of his way to specifically bring water.」
After all, there was one more bottle of water. There was enough left for two people, but not enough for three. The fact he went to the spring to get water meant that he wanted to eat together with Juri. He had already forgiven Juri a long time ago.
As I told Juri about that, he went「Heee」, nodded while being impressed and muttered.
「Fufu, that’s right. I can’t deny it.」
「Big sister, don’t they tell you that you’re weird?」
「Hmm, I wonder.」
I’d already exposed my bad taste at the time I chose that boy, that man, to be my husband, but I didn’t know whether it could be called「weird」. I stopped smiling and asked Juri a question which had been on my mind for a while.
「Hey, Juri. Aren’t you afraid of the pure black hair?」
It was a question I definitely couldn’t ask in front of the boy —— no, even in front of the man. Bewildered, Juri blinked his blue eyes and looked up at me. They were straightforward eyes. He was looking at me with those eyes, which were so straightforward they were a bit scary. Then he narrowed those beautiful blue eyes the colour of the sea in surprise.
「Why should I be afraid?」
Having my question strangely answered with a question, I was at a loss for words. Not minding me, Juri proceeded to rummage through the insides of the bag. He took out beautiful red-yellow fruit from the bag and unreservedly put them down on top of the magic square.
「Rejecting black hair also means rejecting the governess.」
After the fruit, he took out a package with skewers he got at the stalls. He said that with a calm voice while putting the still-warm skewers down next to the fruit. I blinked in bewilderment at the unexpected mention of the woman.
「What do you mean by rejecting lady Leticiela?」
I had no idea. But, I see. Being wary of pure black hair – or just black hair in general – meant also rejecting lady Leticiela, who also had partially black hair.
「I like the governess, so I don’t want to do that. She’s amazing. She became the governess when she was 10, took over supervision over both trade and tourism and step by step implemented new policies. People say that thanks to that the island flourishes more than during the previous governor’s reign. Why would I fear a governess like this?」
Juri finished taking things out from the bag and looked up at my face.
「Big sister too, likes that guy and isn’t afraid of his black hair. Isn’t that right?」
「—— yes, that’s right」
That’s right. That was exactly it. It was a simple thing and in the end that was it. I laughed at the answer which I came to without even needing to think deeply and Juri tilted his head questioningly as he couldn’t understand why I was laughing. Right at that moment the boy came out of the passage.
「….. What are you talking about?」
Juri smiled meaningfully at the boy who was looking at us curiously.
「Hm? We were talking about how much big sister loves you.」
Even in the dim light I could clearly see the boy’s face turning red. Because of that, I started blushing too. Juri laughed.
「S-so let’s start the lunch.」
「Yay! I’ve been waiting to eat big sister’s homemade food!」
「…. You can just eat what you’ve brought.」
「Eh, don’t monopolize it.」
「Yes, yes. Both of you stop. Let’s share and eat together.」
The lunchtime which started like this, was the most memorable one so far. Let me just say, it was quite fun.