Translation by burnt.marshmallows
Editing by Team Foxsunes
Around one week has passed since Noct started to live in the Lancent mansion.
Noct was eating meals together with that man, and helping with household chores together with my wet nurse. These were peaceful days. As though a lull in the sea, absent of waves or the wind, the days went by calmly. And as the days went by, the baby in my belly continued to grow steadily. I even received Dr. LIndeburg’s guarantee. Even so, it was still not the time for me to let down my guard yet, so my days of being trapped in the mansion continued on. But thanks to Noct, that wasn’t all that boring after all. I was truly grateful for that.
Even though that man was so unhappy with the situation at first, he started lending Noct books, and even explaining more difficult books to him before I knew it. At any rate, he was being kind to him.
It was to the point that I wanted to ask him what on earth had happened. Or rather, I actually did ask him the other day:「What are you trying to do?」. In response, that man just gave an embarrassed expression and answered in a single sentence: 「I can’t help it」. What can’t you help? What? I wanted to continue probing, but it wasn’t that I couldn’t understand that man’s feelings, so I just left it at: 「I see.」
Up until now, Noct hadn’t really…… or actually almost never interacted with books at all. Actually, not just books, he wasn’t even good at the very skill of reading or writing. It is certainly a rare sight, in this country with a high literacy rate.
I wonder if it meant that there weren’t any adults around him who would teach him how to read and write. In the first place, having been a「half breed」, as he called himself, even amongst the demons, how had he lived until now? It probably would be easy to just ask Noct himself that. But what would be difficult would be actually getting an answer. It seemed that Noct was embarrassed that he could only read a few words, so I couldn’t do anything like get him to explain the situation to me, and I didn’t think that he would willingly want to.
With that premise in mind, we started by reading picture books together. There wouldn’t be any down-sides to it, since he was going to live in human society from now on, and because knowing how to read would only benefit him.
It seemed that he had always been quite smart, so Noct could absorb the knowledge like a sponge. And because of that, it was very fulfilling to teach him. I also tried to teach him stuff when I had the time, but I’m sure it wasn’t just my imagination that that man was much more passionate and thorough in teaching him.
He did so not only because of how fast Noct was at understanding things, but more probably because of Noct’s awkward yet straightforward nature. I had commented that Noct was similar to that man, but in these few days, I realized that maybe that was too sweeping a statement to make. At any rate, that man’s nature had already become as complicated as a puzzle ring. He was vastly different from Noct, who, despite being a person of few words, was obedient at heart.
But Noct’s future was still undetermined. I boasted about being able to prepare「a place for him to aim for」. But if someone accused me of doing nothing but sitting around and folding my arms, I wouldn’t be able to argue back. It was not like we could continue to shut him inside this mansion forever. And it was even more impossible that we just put him up for foster care in some random place, considering those unhuman-like, black, beastly ears and tail that he had. The「place for him to aim for」must be someplace suitable for him.
Of course, it wasn’t that I had no ideas at all. If you asked me, I certainly did have suggestions on letting Noct go out into a wider world, instead of just leaving him in the mansion, or even the Royal Capital. I had already discussed it with that man, and was currently sounding out the opinion of the 「person」who we needed for this to work.
「He」had told us that he「needed some time to think it through」. We weren’t rushing for a reply. I felt apologetic that I was making him go through with my own whims, but as much as possible, I wanted him to take his time to consider carefully. For the sake of Noct, and also for the sake of 「him」, who I had asked to take care of Noct as well.
I would ask for nothing more than for this to end well as planned. But at the same time, that meant that Noct would leave this mansion, and that made me feel lonely too. As those thoughts filled my head, I rocked in my armchair and thread the mix of bright blue and bluish-purple wool yarn using the knitting needle through the scarf that I was making. The method of knitting with threads of different sizes was a simple, yet visually pleasing method that I personally liked.
This was a scarf that I knitted in the gaps of free time that I found this week, but I was finally seeing the end of it. I had really planned to finish it sooner, but it wasn’t that I was feeling very well either. Knitting while taking breaks in between, I ended up taking a lot of time. But all that was left was knitting the last ten centimeters, adding a fringe and managing the wool yarn, and I was done with it. At this point, my desire to want to give this as a gift was only growing stronger. That man had noticed that I was knitting a scarf. He didn’t say anything to me, and I hadn’t said anything either, but I was sure that he was looking forward to it. I think.
As I continued to move my needle, hoping that he would like it, I heard a light knock on my bedroom door. Come in. As I answered, the door opened gently and a voice called out. 「Filmina」
「Oh, Noct. What is it?」
「The laundry. I brought it.」
「Ah, thank you. You’re a big help.」
It had only been a week since he started living with us. Although he was still quite skinny, he had fattened up a bit compared to when he first started out and his complexion looked much healthier. Noct stood there easily holding up the basket with the laundry in one hand. It seemed that he had made the judgment himself to do so in the time when my wet nurse was out buying ingredients. It was something that I was supposed to do myself, so I felt bad about it. Knitting and embroidery were both hobbies that I enjoyed, but it really made me reflect that being too absorbed in something wasn’t good either.
「I guess I’ll have to fold it now. Noct, Suzette placed some baked goods on the table in the living room. Would you like to take a break while eating them?」
「No, I’ll help.」
「It’s alright. There isn’t that much laundry today.」
「Just let me help. I don’t think it would taste good even if I ate snacks alone while letting an expecting woman work by herself right?」
What an admirable thing to say. A smile appeared on my face in spite of myself as I nodded, saying: 「Then I guess I’ll ask for you help then.」
Spreading the laundry on the low table, we started to pick up the washed clothes and towels and folded them. When Noct first started helping out, his folding skills were not even good enough to warrant flattery, but he had gotten used to it by now.
He wasn’t wearing the clothes that made him look like a noble’s son that he wore at first. No, it wasn’t that the base had changed. He was still wearing the vest and the cravat, but not just that, he was also wearing a turban on his head and had the option to wear a drapery around his waist. He was exuding an exotic aura.
The flamboyantly colored drapery had a pattern that wasn’t often seen in the Royal Capital. And that was only natural. The cloth that wrapped around Noct wasn’t produced in the Royal Capital, but rather one of the souvenirs we had brought home from the Blue Sky Desert.
If you’re asking why he was wrapping those things around himself, well, of course, it was to hide those beastly ears and tail of his. It seemed that Noct had understood his own situation, as he never tried to leave the mansion. In that case, one would think that there wouldn’t be a need to hide. But we never where people might be watching from, so we made him dress like that just in case. It was only because of that that he could openly go to the garden where the laundry was dried.
Having been bathed in the sunlight for a long time, the laundry was still warm and toasty despite being exposed to the mid-winter wind. The towels smelled nice, having just been dried. If it’s sunny again tomorrow, I might even want to dry the mattress with my wet nurse and Noct’s help.
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