The very next day the man received a call from the castle, summoning him to a formal convening. Even without being called so unexpectedly, he was always extremely busy fulfilling the duties of the Head Magician. This time the call came with the sovereign’s seal, what was that about?! I couldn’t help but wonder if it was somehow connected to the events of the previous day. Unconsciously, I got a little suspicious. He handed me the note and as I was reading the beautifully written words, he suddenly snatched it away from me.
「I think that’s enough. Stop making such a serious face.」
The man was already dressed and about to leave.
I looked up at him and spoke without thinking.
「How could I not look serious? A covening summoned by an imperial command from His Majesty himself… There wasn’t one since the suppression of the Demon King, was there? I know it’s not likely, but I can’t help but wonder, could it be….」
Perhaps this order was given unnecessarily.
I thought so, as I felt a sudden and very delicate touch on my forehead. I stopped talking with surprise. He kept his usual emotionless expression on. With no regard to what I was trying to say he snorted and for a moment he pressed the tip of his lips on my forehead.
「It probably was not a sudden or hurried decision. Since the representatives from other countries are watching us right now, it could be merely putting on a show. 」
「That’s what you think? But Edi, you don’t like being made a spectacle, do you?」
「Oh well… Still, I understand what is expected of me.」
He looked as if he wanted to say the words: Which is why you stay here and wait for me, as usual. I stretched my back to kiss him on the cheek. This time he blinked in surprise as my lips touched him. He said「See you later.」and turned on his heel.
「Have a good day!」I replied while laughing, as I knew he wasn’t angry with me for that.
After that I decided to stop thinking about the events of last night and continued with my day as usual. The things the boy said yesterday were still fresh in my memory, but I couldn’t just keep thinking and fixating on it. Going about my day as I always did was the best way for me to calm myself down.I kept saying that to myself as I chose the appropriate time to go to the market to buy the ingredients for that day’s dinner and as I was planning the meal.
Suddenly, the magical stone on the wall shone brightly, announcing the return of the master of the house. Oh? My hand stopped mid-air as I was cutting the vegetables. This was very unusual. The sun was already setting, but the outside was still considerably light. Based on his past habits, it was far from his usual time to come back home.
Perhaps, as I was thinking this morning, it was an unnecessary summon.
I put down the knife and rinsed my hands slightly. I don’t like to be interrupted while cooking, but it’s a different story when it comes to welcoming him back home. I rushed up to the entrance and greeted him.
「Welcome home, Edi. You’re back surprisingly early to-」
…day. I couldn’t finish the sentence when I looked at the tall man standing at the door. He tried to hide his expression but I could see his face was in fact filled with dissatisfaction, as he bore a sour look. I stood with my mouth open. I wasn’t able to hide my surprise as I looked at the young man standing next to him, with his beautiful, wine colored hair and that man’s sunrise colored eyes. He put his sweet smile on. There was a difference in age and general atmosphere between them. There was no doubt that everybody would find his smiling face charming. But since I was that man’s wife, I shouldn’t be deceived.
I spoke showing my confusion, matching my words to the expression I surely had on my face. I tilted my head unconsciously. The young boy turned to face me and gave me a slight bow. I knew who he was. There was no way I couldn’t know, since his speech yesterday night, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Even now I wasn’t able to get his words, his face and figure, and his conduct out of my head.
There stood Lucius Igur Bradott, looking so much like my husband. He was gazing at me but surely not noticing much. The gentle smile on his face deepened.
「Good evening. Please forgive me for this sudden visit. Allow me to introduce myself once again, my name is Lucius Igur Bradott. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.」
「Uh… Thank you for your kind introduction. My name is Filmina Von Lancent.」
Holding one hand by his chest he bowed once more. I, too, hurriedly took the hem of my dress and gave a bow. As I raised my head I looked at the man next to the boy. He looked as if he was about to sigh at any moment.
「I am to look after the delegate from Nerogrant Empire during their stay here.」
I said it in a high-pitched voice and in disarray. He, on the other hand, spoke in a voice calmer and quieter than usual, which meant he was extremely displeased. His words were full of discontent. The boy didn’t notice — or he might be a person not being able to distinguish that man’s changes of emotions in the first place, so it would be only natural that he didn’t notice. He simply smiled in a way that would surely mesmerize not only the women in this world, but also the men. He said cheerfully 「Please take good care of me.」and continued to smile.
Wait a moment, what was that? While I looked at them inquiringly, he opened his mouth with a grave expression.
「The delegation from the Nerogrant Empire is staying in our country for about two weeks. They are all staying at the imperial residence, however…」
For a moment the man’s eyes looked down on Lucius. The boy didn’t seem to mind my husband’s reproachful gaze in the slightest… but indeed, he was just trying to look unbothered, but I could notice that his cheeks blushed ever so slightly with embarrassment.
「I requested it. During my stay in this country I wanted to spend some time in master Agedilus… well,in my older brother’s residence. I know I am causing you trouble, but would you be so kind as to somehow pardon me and forgive my insolence?」
He was taller than me, but even so he looked at me timidly. He looked just like a spoiled puppy, that was given his favorite treat but was also ordered to wait, so it frantically urged its owner to let it eat the food.
Amongst the party of Nerogrant delegates, he must have led a privileged life. How are we to have him here, in such a modest and simple household on the outskirts of the capital? One could even say that it’s too modest a residence for the Royal Head Magician. From a security standpoint, it was also difficult. But however much that man would wish so, we couldn’t simply deny that self-indulgent boy’s request.
Actually, the fact that the man had brought the boy back home with him meant that the matter had already been decided, which is why there was nothing I could say now to change this decision. It didn’t matter that I was the lady of this house. In this case I knew what I should and could do.
「Master Lucius, allow me to welcome you to our household. Since I manage the residence myself, you will find it imperfect in many ways. Please forgive my carelessness. And now, how would you like to drink some tea?」
In a flash, Lucius’ face brightened with a wide smile. We headed to the parlor. I was leading the party and as I was walking, I repeatedly heard the boy say smilingly「Brother, older brother」at every opportunity he got. When addressing that man, his voice was full of kindness and affection which he didn’t even try to hide. The man himself looked uninterested and unconcerned. Knowing this man’s history I could understand why he behaved like this, but still, considering how open the boy was with his friendliness my husband could have become at least a little bit more civil. Even though I wasn’t without my suspicions, neither the boy’s voice, nor his expression showed any signs of poisonous falsehood. I was bewildered by that.
「Well now. Master Lucius, while I prepare the tea, kindly wait in this drawing room for a while. Edi, after you get changed, will you drink a cup?」
「Yes, thank you.」
We left the boy in the parlor and left the house through the corridor. After closing the gates carefully, I asked the man in a quiet voice.
「Edi, what is all that?!」
This time, to my question, the man sighed deeply. It was more meaningful than any words. I could say it showed his feelings. He opened his eyes and spoke, with the sigh still resounding in his words.
「….I was forced to take him in.」
「Yeah. He is a member of the delegation, even though he is still young. This trip is like a study abroad for him, so he has considerable liberty to do as he pleases. Bradott house is one of the most distinguished families in the Nerogrant Empire. I can’t bluntly refuse a Bradott’s legitimate child’s wishes.」
It appears that the call he received this morning was concerning this matter. He was murmuring in his tiredness. I was sure he must have tried to oppose the boy’s family’s influence as much as possible. I knew well already, how protective he was of his own territory and how he hated letting other people in. It was also because he wanted to protect me.
Once again I thought about the scene that had happened last night during the celebration. Even if he was forced to accept Lucius’ request, his mind would be planning strategically. I looked at his beautiful face as he let out another sigh, utterly depressed, and I smiled at him.
「Well in that case, there really is nothing to be done.」
If he didn’t have any say in this, it was only natural that I too did not have any. I had a lot to think about in regards to that boy
calling himself Edi’s 「younger brother」, but at that moment I had to put it aside, as I had to prepare the tea for the boy and that man.
「Now, Edi, please go and change and then join us. I will now go make the tea.」
「Right. Sorry about that.」
It was such an unusual thing for him to apologise with an awkward face expression, that I laughed it off, saying「Oh my, what’s that now!」and kissed his cheek. He blinked his sunrise colored eyes. I left him standing there with a sidelong glance and headed to the kitchen. I thought it very unusual for him to behave in such an embarrassed manner and while fussing in the kitchen trying to find an excuse for it.
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