Two days before the main event of the Founding Festival, the city was filled with a somewhat soothing and tingling atmosphere.
Something akin to anticipation…it secretly filled the place.
Every now and then, somewhere in the distance, you could hear the names of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and His Majesty the King.
…Everyone seems to be waiting for His Highness to ascend the throne.
The thought of that made my cheeks loosen up in wonder.
…It’s kind of fun just looking around the city like this.
But I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more if I had been with His Highness.
Well, I wouldn’t be here now in the first place if I was with Nigel-sama!
I don’t think it’s possible for His Highness Nigel to get lost.
“…Miss, can I have a word…?”
“What is it?”
“Because it was just lunchtime, customers are sparse, and the stalls around there, including ours, are deserted. So no customers have been coming to the area…”
Giallo indicated to the other side of the avenue with his eyes.
“Don’t worry about it. Over that way, we’re home.”
“…I think it’s okay to slow down a little because of the materials involved, but are you worried?”
“I’m not saying I’m worried, I’m just saying that it’s a bit of a mouthful.”
“Too much to talk about?”
“Yeah…well, maybe you’ve already heard about this…but everyone in the orphanage, including me, is an abandoned child.”
I nod a little in the sense that I know.
“We have no place to go back to, unlike Miss. We only have an orphanage…So, you know, being abandoned means they didn’t choose us.”
“You didn’t get a choice?”
“Yes. I don’t know what it is, but I was thrown away for something more important than myself. It means I couldn’t be the best.”
It would be easy to say that the ranking doesn’t matter here, but I felt it was useless.
“Our sweets are definitely better, but it’s a shame that they don’t pick us. The other ones are just imitations, and they’re completely different.”
“It’s all looks and no substance.”
“I’m beyond upset and sad about why I wasn’t chosen.”
That’s not candy anymore, it’s about me…
“…You know what, Giallo?”
“Don’t put yourself in the same boat as the candy. Giallo may be serious about it, but it makes me laugh a bit.”
“That’s terrible, Miss. I’m serious…”
“You know, there’s nothing I can do about the abandonment, Giallo.”
I told him—I can clearly see Giallo’s eyes widen.
Then he took a breath and continued.
“Because that’s all in the past, and it’s all over now.”
“…It’s not over yet.”
“No. It’s over…No matter how painful it is in your mind, no matter how hard it is to admit, it’s long gone.”
I also said in a small voice that I was a child abandoned by my parents.
“There’s nothing I can do to change the past that’s been thrown away…so I’ve decided to forget about it.”
Or rather, I actually did forget about it.
“Yes…I forgot, and now I have a new life in a new environment. And I’ve started a new family of my own.”
My only family is His Highness, and His Highness’ family is me.
I’m fine with that.
“I think you should think about being the one who chooses, not just waiting to be chosen forever.”
Otherwise, you’ll always be tied down.
“I think that’s a waste of time.”
I’m sure Giallo already knew that long ago.
He just couldn’t admit it.
“Let’s get those people to buy these cookies.”
“What? What are you doing?”
“It’s just a call to arms.”
I have no confidence. But if I’m really a signboard girl, I should be able to at least do that much.
The most effective way to sell food is in kind.
In other words, I think tasting is the best way to go.
I admit the objection…But ‘delicious’ is the best, so there’s no other way but to continue to recommend it this way.
“…Welcome, please have one.”
I walk in among the people who are about to turn toward the cheap food stalls and encourage them to sample the food.
A child and an old man smile as they take a bite. The older man, who was a bit stiff, held out his hand several times to get more, and when that wasn’t enough, he came to the stall and bought more.
When people eat it, they understand how delicious it is.
But of course there were people who wouldn’t eat it.
Some people would go to the cheap food stalls and say, “I don’t want it.”
“Please give me one.”
I don’t pay much attention to those people and keep recommending them with a smile.
“Isn’t fifty dee a bit expensive? They sell it at thirty-eight dee over there.”
“Because the quality is different…I think you can understand if you eat and compare.”
It can’t be helped if they compare the two and still choose the imitations. That just means that the person’s taste was for the other ones.
“If you don’t mind, I also recommend these molasses beans…The fegs are in season right now, and they are wrapped in a sweet sugar batter. It’s crispy and crunchy.”
When the baskets are empty and there’s nothing left to recommend for tasting, I finally turn around.
At the stall, Giallo and one other person were desperately trying to deal with the customers who were pushing in.
I was about to go back and help with the stall when I was pulled back by a stranger.
I was grabbed by my arm and pulled to him.
The strange man was looking at me. The glare in his eyes was somewhat of an empty heat.
“Let go, please.”
My mood, which had been a little uplifted, suddenly cooled.
When I tried to release my arms, he forced me into a hug and held my mouth to keep me from screaming.
…I hate it.
I stepped on the toe of that foot as hard as I could.
The hand against my mouth loosened and I bit down.
“Pervert! Molester! Kidnappers—!!!!”
I scream at the top of my voice.
“Shut up. Be quiet.”
If I kept silent here, they would kidnap me. Even if I tried to escape, the overwhelming disparity in size and strength wouldn’t allow me to escape.
And in spite of all the commotion, no one was willing to help me.
…because they think of me as a child in an orphanage…
There are people who aren’t sure what to do. But there are just as many people who look away or pretend they don’t see us and walk past us.
And we were also surrounded by buzzards who weren’t actively trying to help but couldn’t ignore us either.
“Miss! Miss! Let go!!”
I can hear Giallo’s voice being held back by the people around him.
“An abandoned child should just sit quietly in the corner of the cathedral like an abandoned child. Don’t disturb our business!”
“I’m not disturbing you. It’s a legitimate competition.”
If it’s called a business, then you should be able to compete as normal.
Free competition is the basic principle of business.
“…If it weren’t for you…”
The man stared at me hatefully.
He harshly squeezed my arm as if he wanted to break it.
It could be a trail…
“I don’t know if you’re a signboard girl or what, but if you can’t see your pretty face, you won’t be able to say it’s a signboard.”
A man accustomed to violence sneers.
…Nigel-sama! Nigel-sama! Nigel-sama!
Help! Instead of praying, I chanted the name in my mind as if it were a spell.
…Nigel-sama! Nigel-sama! Nigel-sama!
A fist raised high, and I thought that I was going to be hit.
So I quickly turned my face away and closed my eyes.
A dull rumbling sound came up close, and the hand that had been holding me loosened.
I opened my eyes with trepidation.
The light of the midday sun is harsh in my eyes, and I squint as I block the light with my hands.
A man was lying on the ground with a screaming yell. His hands were shaped in a funny way.
“Yaaaaahhh!! My hands are…hands are…”
I looked up, wondering what had happened.
My eyes widened. And I stared seriously.
The man is still on his feet, falling several times over.
And yet, rather than being wary of that man, I just stared at the person in front of me, stunned.
I blinked and blinked many times and squinted my eyes, staring at him— I wasn’t mistaken.
His Highness gently places his index finger on my lips as I try to say, “Nigel-sama.”
‘Be still,’ he told me with just his lips.
I nodded my head meekly.
Why are you in such a place, Nigel-sama…?
Then His Highness Nigel gently picked me up, as if it was natural for him to do so.
When I rushed to get out of his arms, he said a single word, “No,” and put more pressure on the arms he held me up with.
I’ve decided that I’m an adult now and I’m not going to be picked up and moved around like a child forever.
Giallo, who had been stopped from approaching me, rushed over with a very pale complexion.
“Oh, um, thanks for the help.”
“There is no reason to be thanked by you.”
His Highness said with a sullen expression.
“Giallo, you know what? There’s a ride for you. ”
“Yeah…isn’t it heavy?”
I nodded to Giallo, then turned to His Highness and asked.
“Oh” he said…”I’ve said it before. You’re light as a feather.”
No, that’s not the point! Although I’m sure I’m lighter than usual now…
“…This is still a growth period for me.”
Even my height is growing a little bit, and I’m aware that my body is gradually getting softer and more mellow…I’m aware that the flesh is coming along.
His Highness said, not sounding very amused.
“You, how dare you…”
The man who had tried to strike me stood before us, grabbing his hand as if to protect it with the one that was safe.
“Move. You’re an eyesore.”
“…I’ll sue you.” (***Lmao, imagine accidentally suing the king)
His Highness laughed mockingly at the man’s words.
“To whom do you appeal? What do you say to those who tried to commit violence against innocent children?”
His Highness said with a heartfelt wonder.
I guess he didn’t mean to make fun of him, but to His Highness, it must have seemed like a question from the bottom of his heart.
I was lifted by His Highness’s arm who stroked my back many times to gently soothe me, and I was finally relieved.
…Oh no, the tears…
…I wasn’t really aware of it, but I was scared.
A drop of tears spills over.
I didn’t want him to see my crying face, so I hugged him tightly around his neck.
His Highness didn’t say a word as he put all his strength into his arms to hold me.
…Already, it’s okay…
No matter how much I was in a pinch, no matter how scared I was, as long as I was in these arms, I would be okay.
My body was shivering and shaking in small increments.
It seems that I was starting to feel the horror now.
“Let me tell you something…There is no law in Dardinia that would protect someone who tried to use violence on a child.”
Then, in a small voice that only I could hear, he muttered, “Hurting Luthia is worthy of all death.” I was glad that he felt that way.
“What are you doing?”
A calm voice sounded.
It was His Eminence, Archbishop Shion.
“What is this about?”
The wall of people who had surrounded us in a wall, opened to reveal His Eminence the Archbishop, dressed in a glittering holy robe, dazzling with gold and silver thread.
“Your Eminence, the Archbishop.”
“His Eminence Shion.”
People around me fell to their knees, calling his name out of their mouths.
“Oh, Archbishop, Your Eminence, this guy suddenly attacked me.”
The man who tried to hit me appeals about Nigel-sama for the mercy of His Eminence Shion.
“I don’t know who you are, but the man is my bodyguard.”
His Highness Shion said without changing his expression.
When I looked at His Highness, he gave a small nod, as if he was right.
Perhaps he had been forced to come outside under the guise of being His Eminence’s guard.
People around me are saying that it’s Cepharis Remus.
No, it’s not. Nigel-sama is Nigel-sama!
Of course, no one can hear me when I argue in my mind.
The man who was about to appeal to His Eminence was speechless as soon as he heard that he was His Eminence’s bodyguard.
His Eminence Shion turned his gaze to Giallo.
“Yes…What’s your name?
“Okay…Then Giallo, I’ll take her with me…you guys, capture this guy.”
Then His Eminence Shion ordered the official guards behind him to capture him.
“He said he would take me…It’s so sudden! I haven’t even properly thanked everyone yet.”
Giallo looks confused, saying that everyone wants to say their greetings.
“You guys do what you have to do. She’s going back to where she belongs.”
“…Giallo, thank you. I’m sorry. I don’t have time to thank you. Thank you for everything, too…please say thank you to Ragg and Rufa for me.”
“And also Fee and Lenalee.”
“And Faye and Lela Adele and everyone else.”
“All right, I’ll take care of it. Leave it to me…Miss, are you sure you’re going home?”
I nodded as I nuzzled His Highness.
We didn’t say, ‘See you later.’ We didn’t know each other well enough to promise to meet each other again.
And… I knew that if by some miracle we met again, then I would be in contact at a greater distance!
It was a regret that I couldn’t see everyone at the end and that I didn’t finish selling out the stall until the end.
His Highness picked me up in his arms and turned his steps toward the cathedral.
The fact that he was holding me up didn’t bother me as he walked quickly.
All cathedrals are very similar in construction, and even this one, which I had never been in before, had a sense of déjà vu.
His Highness stood in front of the altar in the chapel and finally lowered me to the floor.
His Highness, who stood me up and kneeled in front of me, took my hands and looked up at me.
I looked straight at His Highness and he also looked straight at me.
“…No injuries anywhere?”
I nodded, and then added.
“…because Nigel-sama came to see me. Thank you.”
“I’m glad I made it in time…”
I let out a breath of relief.
I realized again that it really was His Highness Nigel who was here.
The back my eyes were so hot that I didn’t know what expression to make.
I couldn’t put it into words, and I hugged His Highness Nigel’s neck again.
A confused voice…But without unraveling my arm, His Highness gently stroked my back.
I call that name over and over again as if it were a broken record.
I was scared, I was happy to help everyone, and then there were so many other things I wanted to talk about, but in the end the only thing I could properly say was His Highness’ name.
Oh…but I just want to say this.
I let go of my body slightly and then looked His Highness straight in the eye and announced.
“…I’m back, Nigel-sama.” (***says “Tadaima” which can also mean “I’m home”)
“Welcome back,” Luthia.” (***says “Okaeri” can also mean “Welcome back home”)
I smiled back at the faint smile directed at me.
T/N: Finally they reunite~ ♡＼(￣▽￣)／♡
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