Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
「You cannot be serious about wanting to actually eat them?」
「But, since there are the flowers you gave me, it would be a shame to not put them to good use.」
The man might have said that he was forced into buying this for me, but I know that he would never be forced to do anything. It was of his own volition. He also probably knew that I would like to preserve them as food. And normally, I wouldn’t be able to get my hands such fine roses like this, not even on this market under any normal circumstances. He was well aware of that fact. So it was a buy of his own volition. It was a gesture that meant more to me than any words alone, and I felt glad that he did that.
I do believe that Lucius and that man’s herbal tea might go especially well when paired up with rose jam like that. I don’t know if he was aware of that fact as well, but somewhere in my heart I would like to believe that was the case.
I giggled a little bit and then buried my face in the bouquet, enjoying its scent to the fullest. Lucius also looked at me and then at that man, and he started to laugh as well.
「I see that you really like Nee-san, Nii-san. I’m actually jealous that you’ve found someone of who you can think like that.」
–––– Normally people would mean something bad or offensive by those words, but coming from Lucius, they sounded as naturally and sincere as they possibly could. You could also sense a certain kind of embarrassment in his voice, which made his reaction even cuter. Now if only that man could react in such a way, I would be fully satisfied. But my own face got bright red as a result and looking at the two of us, Lucius’s expression shifted to panic, as he thought he might have said something wrong.
Later, I would come to realize that it was on this day that the man actually started to change. I’m sure he was aware of the fact as well, but he couldn’t bring himself to talk about it, so for now we just stayed just like that, without prying to much into the matter.
From the market square, we took the carriage and headed towards the Great Temple. It was the obligatory landmark that anyone should visit when they come to the capital. The structure was erected more than nine hundred years ago, but it was still as magnificent and grand as during the days when it was first built, and it was famous throughout the kingdom and abroad. Not to mention that the temple erected from white stone withstood the trial of time, engaging the visitors with images of fairies, four great spirits, butterflies and floral motives everywhere, so no matter where you look you can get bored. I was to the temple a dozens of times throughout my life in capital, and every time I was visiting again I would find something new and interesting here.
That is why it was easy for me to give Lucius a tour around the place, and it was actually surprising to see that someone of his age was showing interest in a place like that. In fact, he showed great interest. So much that he even said that he would tell everyone about this place back home. But it would be great if he actually saved the snatcher story for himself.
I was glad that he liked the place so much. If he said it was boring, I don’t know what I’d do.
Incidentally, the man was now carrying both the flower bouquet and the bag with apples. I wanted to carry those myself, but he opposed the idea quite strongly. Then he just took them away from me, and I could see with the corner of my eye that Lucius smiled upon seeing that
Anyways, it was remarkable to see that the man was still wearing his hood, even inside of the Great Temple. But I understood. Lucius and I could do that with no real consequence or worry, but the position of that man was complicating the matters for him. He may be a Court Magician, the Hero Who Saved the World and a real beauty just like Lucius, but I do believe his looks would attract attention way more than any of the above facts. And we couldn’t prevent people from staring. So this was for the best.
Now then, as for our plans for the nearby future, we were going to stay at the temple for a moment and offer a prayer to the Goddess, then eat dinner at a nearby restaurant, go to watch the nightly panorama of the city and then finally return home by carriage…… And it just so happens that the restaurant nearby is so well-known that not only commoners, but nobles visit the place from time to time in secret. One of my friends told me that during the last tea party. And because that friend was very proficient at gossiping and information gathering, it was the source that could be one hundred percent reliable. I wanted to go there for a while now, but since that man was always busy the opportunity was never there, but now it was a whole different story. And since Lucius was with us as well, I was sure that the food would taste even better.
Of course, it would be nice if we could go just the two of us, but with our current situation it was as good of a situation as any. When the tour around the Great Temple comes to a close, we then go to the restaurant. While we were walking down one of the corridors, some person approached us after noticing us.
「My, my. If it isn’t Lucius-dono.」
The one to approach us was a young man wearing a white robes embroiled with silver thread, the uniform of the priest of the highest rank. The man greeted Lucius with a smile and a warm voice, but contrary to that, Lucius’s face twisted in a frown.
「I’m terribly sorry. Have we met somewhere before?」
His voice was also quite harsh and unfriendly. In front of us Lucius could be himself and act childish and immature, but when it came to interactions with other people, he was giving the impression of a well-trained military hound, ready to bite your and at any command. It was a necessary façade for someone of his position and who came from a different country. And his current behavior and tone of voice proved to be effective, for the priest stopped acting so friendly and backed away a little. It was also for the fact that that man was right next to Lucius, and since they were dressed more or less the same it was giving a slight aura of intimidation. But then the priest extended his hand and shook Lucius’s energetically, mumbling something about there being no need for hostility. He also smiled broadly.
「Oohh, my sincerest apologies. Where are my manners? My name is Owen. I’ve heard a lot about you from Gabriel-dono and Minoru-dono, but please forgive my rude behavior. It’s only because I saw that you’re so young.」
The priest – his name was Owen – apologized once more with a broad smile on his face.
Listening to his words, I cocked my head a little bit. Who is this Gabriel person? While I was trying to remember the name, Lucius’s eyes opened wide as he muttered: “From Ambassador Gabriel?” I see, THE “Ambassador Gabriel”. …… Ahh, yeas, I remember now. The Ambassador Gabriel, who was sent here as the representative of Negroland for the celebration. We’ve met him during the festivities earlier. I couldn’t quite remember his name since it was so long, but his baritone voice and extravagant mustache were more than enough to at least remember his name. It seems that this Owen person was somehow connected to that man.
Thanks to the defeat of the Demon Lord, the existence of the Goddess of this country became much more significant. And since the victory was not the effort of one person but a whole group coming from different environments, the religion and its envoys, the priests, grew in importance as well. Therefore, it was not all that uncommon for the ambassadors to want to talk to the Head Priest as well aside from the Royal Family. And while Lucius was not a part of the official delegation, his position, and his unique family ties created a very peculiar spot for him to be in. So much that officials would like to get on his good side.
Apparently this Owen person was here on a mission assigned to him by the Emperor of Negroland himself, the country from Lucius came from. He then said that since he heard so much about Lucius from Gabriel-dono, he would like to talk to him in private, and he was awaiting Lucius’s response.
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