She and her Childhood Friend
Somewhat clearer after talking to Delris, I quickly tried to get back to the mansion. I walked on the edge of the paved road with a quick pace. There was still some distance to the gate.
If I don’t get back before lunchtime, it’ll be discovered that I left my room.
Taking out the watch attached to the pocket, I checked the time.
Because I stayed at Delris’s house for too long, quite some time have passed.
“This is bad”
At this rate, I won’t make it in time for lunch. My father will be at the castle at this time, so that won’t be a problem, but my mother was still at the mansion.
I was just scolded this morning, so if possible I wanted to avoid being scolded again.
Above all, I didn’t want to see my mother’s sad face again.
As fast as possible, I passed through the middle gate, and somehow made it through the inner gate as well.
Afterwards I just need to get back to the mansion.
Behind the flustered me, a confused voice called out.
Looking back to the familiar voice, my childhood friend was looking out from among the carriage that carried the coat of arms of the Duke of Pellegrini.
The Duke’s eldest son, William, current Head of the Mages.
It was rare to meet in this kind of place. Thinking that, Will who was wearing a dark blue robe with silver embroidery, indicating his status as the Head Mage, slowly got down from the carriage.
“I didn’t think I would meet you here”
“True, but sorry, Will. I’m sort of in a hurry to get back to the mansion. See you later.”
I felt sorry that he’d especially came down from the carriage for me, but I seriously did not have the time.
After briefly explaining the situation and putting my hands together apologetically, I tried to leave. However, Will pulled my hand towards him. For a moment, I felt the coldness of his hands.
“Wait, Lidi. ……..I was just thinking of heading to house right now. It’s fine to ride together.”
Hearing Will’s words, I halted.
“But I didn’t hear you were coming today?”
“I apologize for not notifying in advance…….but, I had something I wanted to talk to you about.”
Pressing on his trademark monocle, Will nodded. This seemed to be his personal magical tool.
He wasn’t in his usual Duke’s heir appearance today, but rather came in his uniform as the Head Mage.
What in the world happened for him to be in such a hurry.
“Sorry. I’m grateful for the offer but, I can’t go with you. I think you can tell from this appearance, but I went out without permission.”
Hearing my apology, Will made a slightly nervous expressions.
“….then, lets just stop a little before.”
Saying that, Will, still not letting go of my hand, nodded.
“……..then, I’ll be in your care.”
I felt that arguing any further would just waste more time.
Because Will was unexpectedly stubborn, it was no use to say any more.
Based on our many years of relationship, I was escorted by Will onto the familiar carriage.
“Stop a little before Duke Vivoir’s place.”
Will told the coachman and sat down in front of me.
Still holding my hand, he fell silent. Nevertheless, because he kept staring at me as if he wanted to say something, I couldn’t help but to be worried.
“……what’s wrong Will?”
Unable to bear it, I asked, but was only stared back at silently.
Will was originally not a talkative person, but this kind of silence was a first.
“This morning……about your engagement with the Crown Prince, there was an official announcement from the Prime Minister.”
Will, who once again started speaking, said so in a murmur.
Instinctively, I widened my eyes.
I was surprised to hear that engagement was already made public.
It’s easily to predict that this was probably the work of my father and Freed. Those two, are they really planning on having the wedding in the shortest time possible?
I was speechless at the lighting like speed of the matter.
Even if they were that impatient, it’s not like I intend to run away at this point, though saying that, I really didn’t have the confidence.
While I was occupied thinking about other things, Will once again sank into silence. Only the walking sounds of the horses could be heard.
The silence was heavy.
I needed to say something, but what should I say?
While I was thinking that, the carriage slowly came to a stop.
The coachman opened the carriage door and bowed.
“…….. thanks, Will. Then see you later.”
Taking my hand, I got off the carriage.
I noticed Will’s look, but it’ll be fine to just talk about it when we meet later.
More than anything right now, I need to get back to my room.
Following the same path I used when I left, I skillfully reached my own room.
I threw on the dress from this morning and easily reworked my hair.
Checking my appearance in the mirror, I nodded once.
At the same time, there was a knock on the door.
“My lady, Sir William has arrived. Madam has asked to have lunch together.”
“I understand. Tell her I will head there right away.”
The voice that called out was the head maid of this house. Replying nonchalantly, I headed for the door.
While I headed towards the dining room, my mother and Will were already waiting for me.
“I apologize for making you wait.”
“No same here, I apologize for coming unannounced like this. Despite the sudden visit, thank you for accepting me.”
Towards Will’s beautiful display of manners, my mother smiled in reply.
“Let’s just stop the formalities there, and have a casual meal with everyone.”
And so the three of us continued our meal without an incident. My mother mostly spoke, while I devoted myself to listening. Will politely responded to my mother’s stories, and lunch ended with an peaceful atmosphere from start to finish.
After that, my mother separated from us and returned to her room.
Will and I sat facing one another in our mansion’s palor.
My father was especially proud of this room.
Despite the well-formed environment for conversations, as usual Will said nothing.
Because I was admirably smiling the whole time when my mother was there, my mouth had become tense, so I expressionlessly fell silent.
I understood Will was a man of few words.
But as expected, given the silence until now, the atmosphere was becoming painful.
Because there was only the two of us, I spoke in my usual manner..
“What’s wrong, for you to come here today?”
At this rate, we won’t make any progress. Thinking that, I brought it upon myself to start the conversation.
Will slowly opened his heavy mouth.
“Just as I’d said. Because I heard about your engagement.”
“Then, you came because you were worried?”
Affirming it as such, he stared at me. Then once again, he fell silent.
It’s the same as always, but today it feels even more unbearable.
Will’s gaze was too painful.
Thinking perhaps that was the reason, I nodded. Will knew about me not wanting to marry into the royal family after all.
As I thought, Will thinking that I might be depressed, decided to pay me a visit. Even though he was a man of few words, Will was kind. That was definitely true.
As usual, Will expressionlessly continued in an anxious voice.
“……..the other party is the Crown Prince. …….is it really alright?”
“It was an arrangement my father decided on, my opinion does not matter, and I have to marry eventually someday anyways.”
“But even so, you hated it so much……”
Feeling that I would be criticized for trying to appeal to reason, I let out a bitter smile.
It can’t be help for him to think that since I had thoroughly complained to him before about this matter.
“When we met, because he didn’t seem like a bad person. And this was already a decided matter. ……it’s fine. If it’s me, I’ll work something out somehow.”
(TN: Lidi needs to reevaluate what she considers as ‘bad’)
I pounded my chest affirmatively. Will turned away as if he was avoiding my gaze.
“……if you say so then. It seems there was no need for me to have worried.”
“There’s no such thing. I’m really happy that you came for me. ……actually I did feel overwhelmed a bit. But thanks to Will I feel better now.”
Nodding as if that was the obvious, it was silent again.
I couldn’t to continue the conversation up until now, and the silence resumed.
Unable to endure it, I hung my head.
……..what is this, this is awfully depressing.
Letting out a soft voice, I turned my head. And there he was, with a cool and serious expression in eyes.
“You, will you be happy?”
“I do intend to be”
Of course, I intended to try my best to get married. Quarreling is no fun after all. I will spare no effort on working for a compromise.
Someday we will come to understand one another.
Seeing how I’m clearly declaring it as so, Will’s eyes wavered as he let out a sigh.
“…….if that’s what you’ve decided on then it’s fine. You have the resolve to be happy.”
Slowly his lips curled into a smile.
To Will’s smile that he rarely showed, why does my chest hurt.
Smiling at me while nodding, Will stood up.
Once again, he returned to his usual expressionless self.
“…..I’m returning to the castle”
“Aah, come to think of it, you sneaked out in the middle of work just to come here?”
Recalling his outfit, and pointing it out, for a moment, he made a face.
We got up together and I saw Will off at the entrance. Before getting on he carriage and leaving, Will turned back to look at me.
“If there’s anything, tell me. …….I will get rid of all your troubles.”
“The same as always, Onii-chan. But I’m happy with the thought. Thank you.”
I relaxed my cheeks at the familiar line that Will had been saying since childhood.
To my reply, Will didn’t say anything further and silently got into the carriage.
After that, I looked to the maids who for some reason looked as if they were holding back, giving me a reproachful look. There was too much to think about.
……..eh? Did I do something wrong?
Translator: Broken Jinsei