In the darkness, I gasped for breath.
There was no sign of people around.
It might be the first time since I woke up as ‘me’ that I was alone like this, even if it was superficially. Because ever since the fall at Elzevert’s castle, everyone has been so afraid of leaving me alone.
Whether this is because of a broken promise to the crown prince or another premonition is a bit difficult to discern for myself.
When I look at the two moons hanging in the middle of the sky in a daze, I don’t really think about it anymore. At first it was a shock.
I guess that means I’ve gotten used to it…
To live in this world…and to be Arthirea.
My breath was white.
Even though it was indoors, it was quite cold at this time of year, even at night, and I rewrapped my scarf.
My fingertips are warm thanks to the thin leather gloves. Even though I was indoors, I was fully protected with my coat.
Underneath the coat, I borrowed Julia’s dress because I thought it would be easier to move around and more convenient to do so.
Julia’s dress was a bit too big for me, but it was easily threaded and re-sized. Even though I just quickly fastened it in a few places, I hardly felt any inconvenience.
Julia, you’re so dexterous…
Sewing is one of the most important skills in this country.
Especially embroidery is one of the cultures of the nobleman’s children, and it is said that if your embroidery skills are good, you will be blessed with a good match.
Everything was done by hand in the world of handicrafts, so even dress decoration was done by hand. The basics of decoration were embroidery, and then sewing braids, lace, and jewelry.
There was even a maidservant who specialized in sewing to help with the skill of sewing, and it could be said that the skill of the maidservant was directly related to the level of fashion of the mistress.
In my case, it was Julia and Alice who were in charge of that.
However, I wasn’t that interested in that side of things, so I was always left it to them, and so far, I hadn’t had much of a chance to realize their skills. Tonight, I can say that I was unexpectedly reminded of it.
Maybe next time I can get them to make some stuff for me.
It would surely be more convenient to have a simple, less ornate, dress made that was easier to move around in.
A small tap on the glass.
I felt a tremor in my body.
Even though I was prepared for it, I was still surprised.
The window of the terrace opened quietly.
“…Are you there?”
The voice that was stifled was His Eminence Shion. As we discussed, he left the palace once and sneaked back once again after leaving the palace.
Since this was a secret outing, it had to be disguised accordingly.
I answered in a few words.
His Eminence looked down at me as I sat with my back to the wall by the window, holding my knees. I stood up, flapping the hem of my coat.
“It looks strange, doesn’t it?”
His Eminence Shion, who looked at me and thought for a moment, chose his words and said so.
“Is that so? This coat was given to me by His Highness.”
I pinch the hem of my coat and look around. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it…
Well, if I had to say so, this grey hooded coat is the simplest item I own.
It was given to me by His Highness after that outing, and it was specially tailored to my size. It’s light, but also repels a little water, keeps out the wind, and has a lot of pockets in the back for my convenience. It’s very functional, considering that we don’t have synthetic fibers here!
His Eminence Shion’s shoulders slumped disappointedly.
“Is there something wrong?”
“…It goes without saying that the coat is for men, but its design is a military item.”
He murmured with a sigh, “It’s an article adopted for the servants of the knightly order, and not something to be worn by someone like Her Highness.”
“It’s fine. I can’t even move around easily in my usual fluffy coat.”
It looks like a dark gray teru-teru bozu*. I think it’s pretty cute. (***A kind of Japanese cloth doll–see link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teru_teru_b%C5%8Dzu)
The color is inconspicuous so it doesn’t stand out too much, and I like the simplicity of it.
I don’t have a problem with the design, even if it’s for the military. In any case, I am wearing a maid’s dress under the coat, anyway.
“I’d like the presents for Her Highness to be more romantic…”
Romantic from His Highness!!
I stifled the urge to blurt it out.
You must be dreaming, Your Eminence Shion.
“Here you go.”
I gently put my hand on the proffered hand.
As expected of a former prince, he is a very good escort.
Earlier, there must have been so many people in the garden that it was as bright as daylight, but now there was no one here anymore. I wondered if he paid someone off?
I was wondering if I’d have to go more quickly.
“…There’s no knights or guards.”
“Oh…I’m just now doing an interim report of the investigation, behind the scenes.”
The perfect time to get out, so to speak.
Accompanied by His Eminence, I walked in the darkness without stumbling.
This might be the first time I’ve ever done this.
His Highness…rarely lets me walk…
I’ve only been out with His Highness once, but I’ve had a few walks in the garden and such…but I’m not sure if I’d call that a walk because I hardly ever walk on the ground.
I think His Highness thinks I’m an incredibly small child, and I feel like I’m always being picked up by him before I notice.
Well, it’s easier to talk to him that way.
…When I remembered that, I naturally smiled.
“What is it?”
I’m sure His Eminence Shion could see that I was smiling at him.
“No…I was just remembering something.”
His Eminence immediately agrees without saying who it is.
“Are you worried about my brother that much?”
“…No. It’s not really like that.”
Because the prayer for his victory is just an excuse. Then, with a snap, His Eminence stopped in his tracks.
I almost bump into him.
“Then…why are you here?”
A flat voice sounds.
I got the impression that he was forcing himself to hold back the heat in his words.
“…I wanted to have a private conversation with His Eminence.”
I nodded and smiled at him.
“What did you want to talk to me about?”
A strong voice.
“The first person, not ‘I’, but ‘I’. His Eminence may not even realize that he is saying that. (*** He changed his formal way of speaking when referring to himself. It doesn’t show up in English.)
I felt like I heard a breathtaking sound.
It’s easy to understand…
It may be that these brothers have a lot in common that they plot behind their smiles…except for His Highness Al, but His Eminence Shion is very straightforward as far as Lilia is concerned.
I’m sure she’s that important.
That fact was the most important thing to me now.
And that was the very reason why I had followed His Eminence in this way.
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