Translation by burnt.marshmallows
Editing by Team Foxsunes
「Great. It suits you well.」
As I spoke in a satisfied tone, Noct continued to blink repeatedly as he looked down at the thing on his neck with confusion.
The thing that I had placed on Noct’s neck was a lavender-colored scarf. I had used a cable stitch as the knitting method when knitting that man’s scarf, but I tried using a combination of cable stitch and rib stitch for this one. It was a long and soft yarn so it was fluffier than the one I made for that man.
I had been thinking about how I would use the other wool yarn that I bought when I bought the yarn for that man’s present. I suddenly had the idea when I was looking at Noct working so hard in his studies. 「Oh, it’d probably fit him well.」The moment I started to think that, I wasn’t able to think otherwise anymore. I started to knit it in secret and I finally finished it last night. And it seemed that my prediction wasn’t wrong. The kind-looking lavender color went really well with Noct’s ash-grey hair and citrine-like eyes.
「I would be really happy if you would accept it. Is that alright with you?」
「I-I can’t accept something like this.」
「It was something I made thinking it’d suit you so I have no intention of giving it to anyone other than you. This is already yours. You can throw it away if you don’t want it, but just accept it for now? That choker is something important to you right? You can just think of the scarf as something that’ll hide it.」
I had noticed that under the cravat that Noct wore every day without fail, the leather choker was always hidden there. Wearing a cravat all the time would probably make his shoulder stiff so I thought that he could use a scarf instead.
Hearing my words, Noct gasped once and pressed down on his neck, as his eyes swayed, looking lost. Hm, maybe I was being too rough.
「……Is it an inconvenience after all?」
As I asked softly, Noct shook his head vigorously, more obviously than he had up till now.
「I-I didn’t, that it was, an, inconvenience.」
「Oh, is that so? Then I’d be really happy if you would use it/」
It was great as long as it wasn’t an inconvenience. As I smiled cheerfully to make doubly sure, Noct nodded awkwardly. A complete win for me.
But, what I didn’t really expect was that, when I told that man that I had given Noct a scarf when he came home at night, that man childishly became a bit grumpy. I’ll just record it down here that I was glad that that man was sensible enough not to vent it out on Noct.
＊ ＊ ＊
A week had passed after Noct disappeared in front of me. The time that I spent with that young boy felt like it passed so quickly, yet this one week felt like it was dragging on forever. And another reason for that, was that during that time, a certain rumor had spread rampantly around the Royal Capital.
It was said that the Pure Black Royal Head Magician had been hiding a demon. Maybe that Pure Black Magic-User was indeed an agent to the demons. No, maybe he was trying to become the second demon lord himself. No, no, maybe the child that was about to be born was going to be the second demon lord. Mauve the demon that they were hiding was there to protect the child that was to become the second demon lord.
And the source of all these rumors was a certain mass-media entertainment magazine. The magazine wrote about the Royal Head Magician’s scandal using language so strong that it made you wonder if they really had to go that far. And that magazine sold like crazy throughout the Royal Capital.
The rumors were still contained within the Royal Capital right now, but it probably will spread throughout the country and reach the different provinces someday. That was the momentum that the rumor had. Usually, I would be able to give a smile and just say that it was a baseless rumor, no matter what people said to me. But this time, it was different.
「This has really become a troublesome thing, hasn’t it?」
In the reception room that was found in the corner of the Red Rose Court, where the royalty lived, the princess furrowed those beautiful eyebrows of hers, as she let out a somewhat depressed sigh. Having not seen the princess in a while, my eyes were blessed with her beauty. But it was not the right time to be captivated by her right now.
Today, I had been invited by the princess, together with the man I called my husband, who was sitting beside me. Of course, this wasn’t the type of relaxing tea party that we usually had. This was an interrogation in regards to the rumor that had been spreading throughout the Royal Capital, as if it were the truth. Thanks to the princess’s considerations, only the four of us were in the reception room. It was only me, that man, the princess, as well as Heinrich Jado Roberts, the officer who acted as the princess’s close aide, who was standing close behind the princess.
Narrowing his eyes, which were a mix of bright green and opal-color, Heinrich let out an unnaturally heavy sigh.
「For the Royal Head Magician, one of the heroes who defeated the Demon Lord, to be hiding a demon, it really is an awful scandalーno, not just a scandal, I wouldn’t be able to say anything even if someone called it an act of rebellion against the country.」
There wasn’t a trace of blame in Heinrich’s voice. Maintaining a calm composure as he always did, there was a gentle smile on that good-looking face of his. To him, he probably was just stating the facts as they were. But that was precisely why those words felt like they stabbed my heart even more sharply.
「I have no way to argue back. It was all because I did something careless that I caused all this trouble for everyone……」
The various members of the Adina family, as well as Uncle Lancent, had asked us who was responsible for this happening. Because we had asked my wet nurse not to say anything, they did not know that we were hiding Noct. That was probably all the more why, to them, it felt like a disaster that suddenly fell upon them.「Even though nothing had happened」. Even if I thought that, it was only in hindsight. When it came to dealing with demons, we had to think from the angle of「before something happens」.It really was too shortsighted of me to somewhat think of hiding a demon as something so simple.
As I squeezed my hands together tightly, placing them on my knees, a fair-skinned hand was immediately placed on the fist that I made. That was when I finally realized that I had been drooping my face down. As I slowly looked up to the side, I saw the face that I never got tired of looking at no matter how much I looked at it. It was the beautiful face that could bring anyone back to their senses.
「Do you regret the time that you spent with Noct?」
I couldn’t help but gasp. Because, even if it was just a coincidence, that was the question that I had repeatedly asked myself this entire week. No matter how much I thought about it, I couldn’t give an answer. But when he asked me again like that, I finally found my answer. It was probably an answer that, in the eyes of general society, was wrong.
「……No, no. Not at all. I should regret it. But I don’t. 」
At this point, no matter what anyone said, I still believed that the time that I spent with Noct was not a mistake at all. I just couldn’t forget Noct’s clumsy kindness. How could I abandon him just because he’s a demon, when he wore the scarf I gave him whether he was in or out of the mansion.
As I gave my answer clearly, that man grunted, as if to say he knew it.
「Then stop apologizing. It’s too late for that. In the first place, the one who allowed for that kid to stay was me. You shouldn’t be getting all the blame.」
「If you say anything more I’ll have to make you shut up by force」
That man didn’t say how he would do it, but I could instinctively tell that it was a method that would be a bit too embarrassing to be done in front of the Princess and Heinrich, so I immediately shut my mouth.
Heinrich looked at us in shock, He opened his mouth as if he was about to say something. But as the Princess gave him a glare, he just shrugged his shoulders in an over-exaggerated manner and fell silent again. Seeing that, the Princess held her delicate hand near her mouth and let out another small sigh.
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