Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
It’s not that I wanted to go alone with Lucius, I just wanted to create an opportunity for the two brothers to actually bond some more. And judging by the fact that Lucius came all the way here from a different county, he surely wanted to do that as well, but maybe he just didn’t know how to get to it properly. It was good that that man decided to come with us seeing as we were about to head together, but wasn’t his attitude a little bit too cold?
Contrary to that, Lucius was full of enthusiasm and respect towards him, and it was the kind of attitude that I could get behind. There was just something in his attempts at getting his brother’s attention that just wanted you to root for him. That man should look at him more and maybe learn a thing or two from him. Become more open and honest with himself. Otherwise, isn’t it just lonely to be stuck inside of your own world all the time?
But whatever the case here, we decided to go to town together, so I needed to get myself ready first. Not that any of my preparation would be of any meaning here, since my companions were as beautiful as fairies from folk tales. Not that I was going to neglect my looks and dress. It is a matter of womanly pride to always look your best when you go out with your man, so I wasn’t going to take this matter lightly. Just like that, I put on my make-up and choose the right dress for the occasion.
Now, the only thing left to do was to clean up the silverware and cups after the tea and I was ready to go.
Before we went to visit the capital, the three of us did not forget to wear the hooded cloaks. As to the fact that we needed them in the first place, Lucius did not forgot to mention that in Negroland there would be no need for that. In fact, even though my hair weren’t black, I was advised to wear one as well. Looking now at Lucius, he seemed to be shining just as bright as a star in the middle of a dark night. So staying in between them would definitely make me stand out. Still, it was kind of a stressful situation and I could already feel that my stomach was starting to hurt because of that. But once we put on our hoods, we could finally go out.
At the current moment we were indistinguishable from all the other people visiting the royal capital. The market we were currently on was the largest I have seen so far, exporting food products from all the neighboring countries. It seemed so much different from the place I go almost everyday for groceries. The current season, the fall, was the market’s busiest time and it could serve as the microcosm of the whole country. I never would have thought that someone like Lucius would find it funny to go visit such a plain and ordinary place like that.
It also seems that his expectations were not disappointed, since Lucius was looking in every possible direction, taking new sights like a sponge would with water and listening to every single possible sound all around us. He even went towards every single food stand, admiring the products on display there. It was a really fresh and new experience, seeing someone like that frolicking like a little child at the sight of every new thing that managed to catch his eye. However.
Ever since we left the mansion we were a few steps behind Lucius, watching him from a distance. But all this time that man remained silent, not uttering but a single word. Instead he was gazing at Lucius so intensely I was afraid he might burn a hole through his back.
「What’s wrong? Why are you making a face like that?」
「That’s my usual expression.」
「Yes, it’s as beautiful as always, to the point that it’s actually troubling. However, you cannot fool me with all those wrinkles in between your eyes.」
It was hard to notice, but many wrinkles were actually there. Why was he so grumpy at the moment? Yes, I know that that man is mixed up in many different things and that not every single one of it is pleasant, but it was his decision to come with us right now.
「I think that catching some sunlight and fresh air is good for you. Maybe not every single day, but from time to time will not do you any harm.」
「I think that’s a good way of getting a nasty sunburn.」
「…… Why do you always look only at the negative side of things?」
The tone of his voice only confirms that he was feeling rather sullen about this outing. I could also see it in his eyes, no matter how hard he may try to hide it. I also know that it could have been his strange idea of being considerate, but I wasn’t so frail that a little bit of sun was going to cause me some serious harm.
But even in a carefree situation such as this the man chose to remain silent and keeping himself for himself. I times like that his attitude was really getting to me, but I knew that there was no use in getting mad about it. While I was thinking that to myself, Lucius suddenly turned around and spoke to that man.
「Nii-san! Filmina-neesan! Take a look at that! They look so pretty and delicious!」
Says Lucius while pointing towards a certain stall with lots of wooden boxes surrounding it. It was a stall that offered fruit that was really popular in this area around this time of year, the fruit that was big, red in color, and smelled absolutely mouthwatering. It was slightly smaller than a regular apple and because it was polished so well it shone in the sun like a precious gemstone.
「Lad, you’ve got good eyes there. These apples were picked by me personally this morning, so I guarantee that they are ripe and fresh. They taste so good that even palace kitchen orders them from time to time.」
The stall’s owner took one apple, polished it some more with his apron, and then handed the fruit to surprised Lucius. When he received the fruit he looked so dumbfounded by that that the stall owner couldn’t help it but laugh happily, seeing his sincere reaction.
「Here, Lad. You can eat it.」
「Really!? Is that really fine!?」
「Fine by me, fine by me. It makes me happy that such a beautiful lad is interested in my apples, so eat right up!」
For a moment out there Lucius seemed reluctant, but the smile of the stall owner finally encouraged him to bring the fruit towards his mouth and take a huge bite out of it. He chewed on it for a moment and when he finally swallowed it, his expression changed into that of pure bliss.
「Delicious! It’s so incredibly delicious!」
「Told you! That makes me even happier. Come now, Missy and Mister! Have a bite for yourself as well!」
There was no way for us to resist such an eager offer. So we did just that and as we got closer to the stall we were each handed a large and shiny apple by the stall owner, who’s smile was so bright that it was almost dazzling. I brought it closer to my mouth and took a bite. Then both sweet and sour taste spreads around my mouth, filling it completely. For people living in the capital, eating apples at this time of year was a true privilege. While I was eating my apple with great enthusiasm, getting my hands wet with its juices, the man quietly ate his share, but even though his expression was unchanged, I could see it in his eyes that he found them to be delicious as well. In that regard, he was really similar to Lucius.
「Could you give me a few more of these, please?」
When I finished eating, I approached the stall owner and picked a few apples, pointing towards the paper bag that was right next to the stall. The owner started to pack the apples right away, and Lucius came closer to me while looking at me with puzzlement.
When the apples were ready I paid for them and then went back towards that man. During this whole scene he was silent, not a single word out of him.
「Since the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to get some more of these apples. Just on a whim. I hope that you like them, Lucius-sama? Now, which one would you like?」
These apples were a little bit different. They were covered in a layer of molten sugar, which was now like a shell surrounding it. Personally I think it is a waste to use perfectly ripe fruit for something like that, but once upon a time, it was not so bad after all. Not to mention that it was a nostalgic treat that made loud cracking sounds with every bite, summoning memories from my childhood.
「Eh, umm, which one would you prefer, Nii-san?」
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