Was that the case …? That evening I was sitting beside my husband so I didn’t notice that but could young Lucius have spotted such a small change in his face expression? Many would think it as nothing special, but for me the fact that he was able to notice that meant more than any words.
「It would have made me so happy if he could have shown me the same face expression while drinking a cup of tea that I had brewed.」
This finally made things clear for me. It was as if somebody poured a bucket of fresh and clean water onto my mind filled with muddy and unkempt thoughts.
「…….It’s a lame excuse, but the truth is, when I face my brother, I notice how scary he is, but…」
He had never shown signs of such feelings before, so what part of that man did he find scary? Surely it could not be his jet black hair. Not after all this time. I had to admit that his expressionless face tended to be intimidating, but they shared almost identical features so he couldn’t have been scared of a face so similar to his own. I tilted my head and Lucius chuckled seeing my confusion.
「Yes, I’m scared. Because I am sure that my older brother hates me.」
He said such an unexpected thing that once again I found myself at a loss for words. He seemed to have expected this reaction and added in a playful tone「Surprised, huh?」.
「Well, maybe it’s not exactly hatred that I’m scared of, perhaps it’s something a bit different. It might be that my existence is something he’s utterly indifferent to.」
He seemed to think that for that man there was no difference whether Lucius was dead or alive. But truly, that was even worse than hatred. He clearly thought that for that man the opposite of like was indifference. It was actually really brave of that young man to try to face such an intimidating person and to try to change his heart. Actually, it was praiseworthy.
「…….Why are you trying so hard to impress that man?」
Young Lucius showed nothing but deep kindness towards my husband. The boy must have been proud to have a brother who worked as the kingdom’s Head Magician and who was a hero who had saved the world. I could understand this pride. But the problem was that, apart from that, the man was just a stranger. Apart from the fact that they shared one parent, there was nothing else tying them together. And what is more – that attitude. Even though that young man had shown clear signs of trying hard to impress that man, I couldn’t say the same thing about Edi. He showed no sign of trying to impress Lucius whatsoever.
The sunrise colored eyes blinked to my question. And finally I saw a puzzled face expression from the boy.
A familiar beautiful voice cut in. Lucius suddenly stopped talking in surprise. There, at the entrance, stood my husband. I laughed and greeted him.
「Oh my, Edi! Welcome back!
「W-welcome back, older brother.」
Without saying a word in reply he turned on his heel and left the kitchen. It seemed like he just wanted to show his face and let me know that he was back. Usually I greeted him outside when he came back home, but that day I got too absorbed in my conversation with Lucius and I had not noticed the magical gem lighting up to indicate that he was on his way home. It did not escape my attention that he didn’t even reply with 「I’m back.」so I assumed he was still in a bad temper, just like in the morning. Perhaps we weren’t worth a bother for him – not greeting him outside and only focused on brewing herbal tea. He really was a helpless case.
Lucius stared at that man’s back in painful regret. I smiled bitterly thinking that it wasn’t all Lucius’s fault and started to collect the tea brewing utensils.
「Well then, master Lucius. Let’s finish here for today, shall we?」
「Yes. Thank you very much.」
「And likewise. Let’s work hard next time too.」
「Yes, of course!」
He made an energetic nod and exited the kitchen. I saw him off and proceeded with the supper preparations. A short while later the man reentered the kitchen. I noticed him leaning on the door and staring at me and I stopped mid-peeling a potato and looked back at him. Honestly, he had really good timing.
「How long are you gonna continue meeting with that guy?」
He said it in a low voice and frowned. Again it crossed my mind that he must still be in a bad mood.
「What do you mean?」
「The herbal tea. You know very well what I mean, so don’t even ask.」
「Ara, I beg your pardon.」
When he saw my amusement, the wrinkle between his eyebrows got deeper. I could understand his feelings. The fact that Lucius had been living in our residence for two days and we spent all this time on brewing tea was all that man’s responsibility. Even though I myself feel like we had already reached a point when it’s almost unbearable and awful, both Lucius and I are deadly serious about this.
「Master Lucius works really hard. Even you would notice it.」
Both today and yesterday young Lucius , being very popular among our kingdom’s high society, was busy fulfilling his social duties. I was sure he must have been tired after all the calls he had made. But even though, he kept on practicing the herbal tea brewing with me, regardless of his fatigue. And moreover, it wasn’t just practicing. Even though I was explaining dull and uninteresting things (even though I say so myself) he didn’t get annoyed or angry with me. He was very obedient, listened carefully to every word I said and eagerly moved from one subject to another. I thought he was going to give up after the first day, but now I can safely say that he was quite determined and not going to resign.
「We were invited to a garden party tomorrow with master Lucius. Would you consider going?」
Since coming here Lucius had no time to enjoy himself and he had been constantly fulfilling his duty towards other noblemen with a bright smile on his face. But tomorrow was finally a time for him to relax. A garden party was being held in Marquis’s household. Both me and my husband were invited, and so was Lucius. Actually, to put it simply, we were invited as young Lucius’s protectors and patrons.
It was already well known among the high society that Lucius was not only staying in Lancent residence as a guest, but also that he was that man’s half-brother that shared one father. A brother of a hero that saved the world and who has become our kingdom’s Head Magician. It was very clear that by inviting both of them, the hosts, that is Marquis and Marchioness, wanted to make their authority and political power known to everybody present at the party. It was an obvious scheme to raise their social status. For noblemen in our country it was already a great honor just to be able to invite the hero who saved the world. And what is more, Lucius, the 「younger brother」, was a son of a grand noble family from the neighboring country and looked remarkably similar to the 「older brother」. It was truly a thing Marquis and Marchioness could be proud of and it was enough of a reason for other people to want to be associated with them.
This charming physique was what made others fascinated by my husband. But while beauty indeed has its advantages, an equal amount of hardship comes with it. I knew it all too well already. Edi was probably thinking about the same thing. As he frowned, the wrinkle between his brows deepened even more. I poked it with my finger and laughed.
「I look forward to seeing you in your best clothes, not your usual robes.」
He never cared about the garments that he wore and every day he put on his black robes that were affiliated with magicians of Black Lotus Court. Truth be told, he looked picture-perfect in anything he wore, but once in a while I wanted to see him dressed up. Perhaps it was selfish of me…
To my words he whispered in a small painful voice 「That makes two of us」. So we both wanted to dress up… but I was the first one to take the initiative. I gloated and laughed at him again.