Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
I wouldn’t even be able to hurt him if his life depended on it, much less for my own greedy need. But if he told me that it was something necessary, or that it was for our good, I would go together with him. But it was not my choice to make. And I’m sure that man would never understand if I told him any of it.
This is getting me nowhere. It was a huge gamble on my side to just leave those two to their own devices, but the only thing I can do right now is trust that that man will make the right choice in the end. And I must believe that his choice is going to be the best answer possible for me as well.
「…… Maybe I should go to the library.」
I should probably learn some more about the Negroland Empire, the home of those two. It would also serve to be a nice distraction from all the things that’s been happening recently. I nodded to myself and prepared myself to leave.
After getting myself ready to head out I boarded the carriage and headed out towards the capital’s library, the biggest such institution in the whole kingdom. I was a building filled to the brim with old books, where air was permeating with the smell of paper and dust. I walk alongside the isles, looking for the books that were of interest to me, and once I find the appropriate titles on geography, history, culture and everything in between, I go find a table where I could sit down and read in peace. It took me quite a while to go through everything I wanted to read and before I even knew it, it was already lunchtime. In that case, why don’t I eat some lunch in the city before returning back home?
While I was leaving the library with some of the books in my carrying bag, I saw a group of people in white coming through the main gate. I stopped and watched them for a moment. That group must have been the priests. I bowed my head and moved to the side, letting them pass, but near the end of the column, there was one person who stopped in his tracks and looked at me.
Hearing that voice that I got familiar with only the other day, I looked up to see the priest that we encountered inside of the Great Temple.
It was indeed the man who took Lucius from that man and I yesterday, now standing amongst the crowd of priests. While his eyes stared at me I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something unpleasant was crawling down my spine. That man said so too yesterday, that he didn’t like the look in his eyes, and now I finally understood what he meant by that. Owen was only looking favorably towards Lucius, and apparently looked down in displeasure at everyone else.
「Are you out alone today?」
「Yes. There was something I needed to look into in the library.」
「Oh? I must say, I find the idea of a woman walking around alone and unsupervised quite repulsive. I mean, what would you do if you found yourself in trouble and your husband was nowhere near to protect you from harm’s way?」
Hearing Owen’s words the priests around him start giggling and nod in approval, like a bunch of little children. And while I know that what he said was quite offensive and rude, there was a certain truth to his words as well. Whatever I would say here would only serve to make matters worse.
「Thank you for your kind words. I shall take them to heart.」
Remembering how my father used to deal with people like that, I bow down my head, grab the hem of my skirt and bow slightly. I could see that Owen’s eyes rounded with surprise. Certainly that wasn’t the reaction he was expecting out of me. He must have expected that I would try to talk back or break into tears. It was even clearer for me now why that man instantly disliked him so much. Besides, that level of provocation was simply silly.
In reaction, Owen’s eyes narrowed as if he was trying to say “Think you’re so clever, girl?” My, oh my, he must have been seething inside, but since he had to consider his current position, he couldn’t really fly off the handle here. I decided to pretend that I didn’t realize that and that I was oblivious. Instead, I just flashed him a polite smile. He looked as though he wanted to retort something to that, but then right behind him I heard another voice saying “Owen-sama! Filmina-neesan!” There was only one person in this city that could address me in such a way.
Looking towards the source of the voice, I could see Lucius rushing to our side. Once he got closer, he smiled at me in such a way that would make not only me, but also all the surrounding priests blush in embarrassment. That’s how powerful that smile of his really was. Seeing that, I couldn’t help it but laugh shortly.
「Owen-sama. Since yesterday was only for a brief moment, I suppose that this is your first meeting ever with Filmina-neesan?」
「That’s right, Lucius-sama. But weren’t you supposed to be together with Edi?」
To my question, Lucius turned backwards towards someone who was accompanying him. A tall, well-built man with a pretty impressive looking beard and moustache. It was none other than Ambassador Gabriel, the Ambassador of Negroland here in the kingdom. Owen and I both bowed down our heads in front of him.
「We happened to come across one another by a complete accident. And if that wasn’t the case, I was going to invite him to me. But what a coincidence to meet you here out of all places, Mrs. Lancent. Lucius, you should escort her for the rest of the day.」
「Yes! I mean, Yes, sir!」
Initially, once Lucius heard the Ambassador’s words he looked as though he couldn’t believe his ears. But he picked up on them right away and saluted with enthusiasm. That being said, what kind of business would an Ambassador have with someone like Lucius? Especially since the Ambassador’s job is a really busy one? At the same time, the Ambassador turned towards Owen.
「Well then, Owen. I guess you’ll be coming with me for a while.」
「Yes, in that case, Ambassador Gabril, would you like to have a tea together with me?」
「Yes, that’s fine with me. Well then, Lucius, Mrs. Lancent. If you’ll excuse us.」
「Y, yes. Have a good day.」
With that being said, the Ambassador Gabriel, Owen and the young priests left, with that last group looking as though they were wondering what just happened. Looking at Lucius, he was still gazing at the Ambassador’s back, looking equally as confused.
「Umm, Lucius-sama? Are you really fine with this? Please don’t worry about me, if you want to, you can go back Edi and……」
「No, since it was a request from the Ambassador Gabriel himself, I’ll do it.」
This morning he was so happy that he could go and spend some time with that man, but now his reaction to my proposition was completely flat and disinterested. I could also see on his face that there was also some other reason for that.
「It’s important for me to spend time with Nii-san, but I also know it is imperative to let him be alone sometimes as well. Besides, I was looking forward to talking with you over tea, Filmina-neesan.」
While he said that, Lucius smiled at me in an entirely different way than he smiled at Owen-sama a while before. What honesty. I was slightly concerned about him being forced to be with me for the time being, but his smile just now was so soothing that my mind instantly became at ease.
「Ara, ara, that’s good to hear.」
I know that people usually say words like that as a joke or cheap flattery. But Lucius looked at me with surprise in his eyes.
「Filmina-neesan, could it be that you don’t believe me?」
「Oh, no, not at all. It’s nothing like that.」
「Then why are you laughing like that?」
「I’m sorry, it’s just that Lucius-sama is so cute that I could barely even stop myself.」
It was a natural reaction for me, but apparently Lucius was unaccustomed to such things, because in response his face got bright red as he turned his gaze away from me in embarrassment. This reaction was awfully alike to that of that man, and I couldn’t help it but to think how similar they were. I guess they really are brothers, huh? Even when it comes to small details just like that.
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