Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Editor: Team Foxsunes
As I continued to look him in the eyes, that man let out a sigh and finally opened his mouth.
「You seem to be getting along with Lucius rather nicely. Is there a reason for that?」
That is something I believe should only be natural and shouldn’t even be questioned. But thinking about it, during dinner that man looked rather distressed when he heard that I went to the market together with Lucius. Maybe it was just him overthinking things, assuming that something must have happened for the two of us to go somewhere without him. But it wasn’t that much of a big deal, so there was no real reason for him to be worried about anything. Besides, during the tea afterwards, the topic just naturally drifted sideways.
So just to be clear with him I summarized my today’s outing. When Owen’s name came up, the man’s forehead got twisted with wrinkles, and with each consecutive word those wrinkles started to grow deeper. But aside from our trip to the market, it was not really anything worthy of writing home about.
「Are you concerned about the fact that this priest and the Ambassador are so interested with Lucius?」
「Maybe not concerned, but it is certainly unnerving……」
That is something that I can agree with. It’s not all that unusual for special individuals to be in the center of interest when it comes to others, but there was something especially different, or maybe even wrong, about the kind of attention Lucius was receiving from those two men. That man must have read my mind, because he laughed in a dry way.
「Most probably, they want to use him in order to get close to me.」
What’s that supposed to mean? I thought the one they wanted to get close to was Lucius himself. But now it turns out that he’s only a tool in their eyes? Or a stepping stone?
「They want to keep Lucius in their pockets, thinking that by doing so they would get some sort of leverage or advantage towards me. It’s quite simple and obvious if you stop for a moment and think about it. Now the question is: just how valuable is my existence to him?
I guess it goes to show just how valuable, or how arrogant, that man really is, but it was all true. His magic is indeed powerful and his knowledge is wide. That is enough of a reason to make him a valuable asset. That is why it is important for this country that that man is to stay here, so that his knowledge could be their advantage. Even if it means that he was to be personally persecuted because of his hair color.
That is why I wanted him to spend some time with Lucius since he had the chance to do so. While thinking that I knelt in front of that man who was sitting on the stool. He’s just human, and he must get lonely and sad as well sometimes. Right now I can see my own face reflected in his eyes.
「Is it such a bad thing to be useful to someone?」
He frowns his eyebrows and I smile at him in response.
「I want to believe that it is a precious thing to believe in someone, even if you’d get hurt as a result of your faith. Say, Edi? My sweet little Edi. Do you feel the same way about me?」
I enclose that man’s hand in my own hands. They were cold, nearly as cold as Lucius’s earlier. But they were also warm. It was a gentle kind of warmth, one that reassures you.
「Is there any way in which I can be useful to you? Is there any way in which I can help you?」
I can see his eyes open wide in astonishment. I was no joke, I really meant what I said. All this time that man had been protecting me, but that was wrong. I didn’t want for him to be alone anymore. I want to stay by his side.
Certainly, by myself I might not be enough to properly protect that man’s glass-like heart, but at least he wouldn’t be alone with his problems. Besides, it is something that only I can do, not anyone else. This man is powerful and wise, but that is exactly why he is so vulnerable and prone to getting hurt. I wanted to spare him that if I could.
「I’ll always be there by your side. No matter what it is or how bad things may get, I’ll always support you. So please, keep giving it your very best so that I can do the same for you.」
The man did not say anything to that, but he smiled faintly and his eyes seemed to be saying “Some encouragement it is”. Well, maybe I’d said too much without actually thinking it through. But those were my honest feelings, so I wasn’t going to withdraw them or correct myself. The man blinked a few times in a quick succession. This scene somehow reminded me of a time when we were both younger.
「…… Really? You mean it?」
「Yes, I mean it. Or maybe you don’t think I’m actually up to the task?」
「 –––––– No, I would never think like that.」
Apparently he thought I was joking, even though I was quite serious there. Looking at him right now, all of my anger seemingly washed away somewhere else. Just because I could see that man smiling. I was so glad to see him like that that I gave him a kiss on the forehead without much thinking. He didn’t back away and instead enclosed his arms around me, hugging me tightly.
He said that he believes that I can be his aid. Just like he believes in me, I was sure that that man wanted to believe in Lucius the same way. That was enough for me to believe that no matter what may happen in between the two of them, I would be able to protect him and make him happy.
Whatever he’s going to do, I’ll support him and respect his wishes. Thinking like that, I gradually let myself become lost in the warmth of his embrace.
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