『Haah?』even as I returned that, I was being mature.
After all, what left my mouth was a very realistic objection.
「But Uncle, I already have a splendid… fiancé…」
My engagement with Wolf had already been made public. There’s no way Uncle didn’t know about this.
By the way, the face I currently had on – was already magnificently cramped from twitching. But, it’s not as if Uncle notices anyway, right? Thus, I had sulked internally.
Whether or not he was aware of the voice of my heart (No, he absolutely isn’t aware, I’m sure of it), he developed his own pet theory with eyes that gazed into the distance.
「However, the rumour of why Kaffir was trying to marry you off to another family, was that it was because there was no one who could be your partner in this family. If that’s the case, there is a potential with Shade. After all, at that time when Kaffir was worrying about your engagement partner, he had yet to know about Shade」
I wonder why I felt obliged to pursue this conversation even though there was such a gap in our communication.
Whatever conjectures he might have, the engagement has already been decided. Even though I already told him about this, was it that difficult to understand?
「… but, Uncle. That wasn’t what I meant at all… it’s not like I fell in love with Shade, and neither did he with me. And, I think the blood relations are too close to marry my cousin」
「No, I don’t agree」
Uncle adamantly insisted.
「Marrying a cousin should be the obvious thing to do. Rather, it’s precisely because the effort of inbreeding is being stopped that we are losing the『 Red of the Duke Family Lilia』」(1)
『Red of the Duke Family Lilia』
Though the words were unfamiliar, I somehow understood the meaning. It was as Shade said, former members of the Duke Family Lilia tended to have hair or eyes of the color red.
「Uncle. Neither my eyes nor my hair are red. They’re pitch black」
That’s why I’ll be troubled if I were expected to revive the『Red of the Duke Family Lilia』or whatever it was, was what I was about to say, but Uncle cut me off.
「But, that black hair and bright red lips are exactly like Grandmother’s. It’s definitely Elder Sister’s blood. You know, even among our clan, it was said that Elder Sister was especially similar to Grandmother. So for certain, Grandmother’s blood flows deep inside of you」
「Well, I’m often told I look like Mother. But I don’t really know about Great-grandmother」
「It appears you don’t understand the value of the『Red of the Duke Lilia Family』. In the old days, the people in our Duke Family, who were born having that red color, possessed strong magical ability with almost no exception. Even if I were to say that it was due to the power of the color red which led the Duke Family Lilia to prosper in the past, it is by no means an exaggeration!」
Uncle’s fervent speech, I felt, gradually grew eerie.
I had already had enough, I need not use logic when arguing with Uncle. Generally speaking, I really want this conversation to end.
「I’m… getting along well with my fiance. I like him」
I didn’t use the word『Like』because it was convenient. I certainly do like Wolf. Those feelings went back and forth between friendship and love, though its standing position was something which was ambiguous.
Although it wasn’t expedient, if I plainly refused his idea with just this, I certainly thought that Uncle might give up.(2)
「No, if you have a person you love, it’s better if you aren’t bound to them」
Uncle’s words became more and more incomprehensible.
And yet, Uncle rebuked me with a tone as if he was using some universal logic.
「I heard Grandmother was this way, but my older sister had already been a person damaged in some aspect. Rather, by only looking at one person, it was a deep terrifying jealousy. Kaffir, in some way, suffered too. However, my older sister, who looked so much like Grandmother, had to be married off to a man inside the family. This was in the hope of getting a child with thicker blood. Even among those of the same generation, the voice of influential was strong. By an overpowering figure, Kaffir became the scapegoat… and when it was decided, everyone around him pitied him」(1)
What was this? What was it with this man?
It was no good to believe anything this person says.
「You’re very similar to Grandmother, as well as Elder Sister. Don’t you think that your disposition would be similar to theirs as well?」
It was as if those were, words of a curse.
If I continue to listen to Uncle’s words any further, I’ll likely become weird.
I rushed out of the dining room.
Out of the dining room, I had rushed.
I couldn’t bring myself to return to my room alone.
If yesterday didn’t happen, I would have asked Crinum for help. However, even that was impossible right now.
Wanting to be healed by the trees for the time being, I headed to the unvisited garden of the Rankgerüste house.
Today, because of Uncle, no matter how beautiful the flowers were, I didn’t want to see them. I don’t even want to be near the flowers that Uncle took care of.
Whenever I caught a glimpse of the vivid colors of the flowers, I would continue to walk by changing my route. Occasionally, when I saw a bench that had the comfort of shade underneath the trees, I would remain sitting there, viewing the scenery and searching for a good leaf to make as a reed pipe. Then when I grew tired of it, I would get up to walk once again.
Before I knew it, the sun was already high up; but at that time, it wasn’t that I was lost in my contemplation. Instead, I believe that for the entire time, my exhausted mind completely blanked out.
And so, around the time that I kept on walking unsteadily on my feet, I encountered Shade.
Somehow, I didn’t think I would meet him outside.
It was probably because the impression that he had been locked up by Aunt was intense in my mind, that I thought so. In addition to that, was probably because his skin was almost transparent in its whiteness.
But, in any case, his appearance was that of an ordinary boy. There was nothing strange about him coming outside to play.
Instantly after his face came to view, I’d perhaps put on an awfully unpleasant face. It was because I had remembered Uncle’s ridiculous proposal.
However, just by lightly shrugging his shoulders, Shade instead showed his concern for me.
「You’re terribly pale. I’d have thought you’d seen a ghost」
A fair amount of time had already passed, yet any stranger who looked at my face could still tell that I seemed pale.
「… there might be some in this house for all we know」
「Who did you get bullied by?」
「It was Uncle. Your honourable father」
My voice was heavy with resentment.
「Why do you need to apologize for?」
「For the time being, it’s because he’s my father. Since we’re on that topic, would you like to accompany me in making idle complaints about him?」
When I considered that he was another victim that Uncle took advantage of, I relaxed.
Upon deliberation, I told him about the conversation I had with Uncle.
Spilling all my complaints to『Shade』 was something that I would never have imagined I’d do when coming to this mansion.
But now, to Uncle’s ideas– to the ridiculous idea of Shade and I getting married to each other or whatever else, the fact that the other party was here laughing together with me at the『nonsense』 , was a lifesaver.
It was fun having him listen to my stories about Wolf. By now, just mentioning『Wolf』 made my heart feel at ease. I am… considerably tired.
All the same, I didn’t intend to tell him about the conversation about Mother. In the conversation I had with Uncle some time ago, this was the topic that damaged my feelings the most, but even inside, I wasn’t able to sort it out.
「And after that, Uncle said something about my mother.」
「He said Mother was similar to Great-Grandmother, and that both of them had been horrifyingly jealous people. On the contrary, in what aspect was the damage that he would say such a thing? For Father to have had no intention of marrying Mother… then, wouldn’t that be like saying that I… was- I didn’t intend to tell you these sort of things」
Shade smiled sweetly, and my, what a lovely smile it was.
「It doesn’t matter what the story might be. I’ll happily hear it. Surely, it would be better to talk about it and become at ease. Once all the talking is over, it’ll be fine to leave the rest to me. You want to rest, right? Your face looks incredibly tired」
Shade’s thin fingers trailed my cheeks.
With a do or die spirit, I broke free from his hand.
His voice was sweet. I knew following his voice would’ve been much more pleasant. Just thinking about going against it had been discomforting.
But somewhere in my mind, alarm bells were sounding. These were the kind of alarm bells that must never ever be ignored.
「I’d thought if it was a case of a steel-hearted woman, but was it more of the case of a strong will? No, that isn’t it – Or, maybe it’s a problem of a magical disposition. Whatever the case, this is troublesome」
Holding my jaw with a jerk, I began to look into his eyes.
I ended up once again, peering deeper, and deeper into those rouge-colored eyes. I couldn’t look away.
My whole body was rigid, my heart was thumping as my pulse raised. Not able to control the strength of my clenched fist, my nails were biting into my skin.
「You’re a good girl, after all. Just listen to what I say, and I’ll be sure not to do anything naughty」
When he whispered so closely in my ear like that, I–
Punched the side of Shade’s face with all the strength in my fist.
And from there, I enacted my suicidal escape.
Since Shade was momentarily taken aback from being hit in the face, I ran towards the house. After noticing this, he gave chase.
Having someone seriously chasing me was a truly frightening affair. Moreover, I was wearing a dress. Why were skirts made to be difficult to run with?
But thankfully, Shade was not quick on his feet. By dashing with all I had, the distance between us did not shorten.
（But, who in the world would I get help from?）
There was no way I can keep running all the way to my house. However, if I escaped into a place inside this building, would there be anyone who would lend me a hand?
As my bearish sentiments reared its ugly head, my feet’s movement slowed down.(3)
You could say that, in the nick of time, I was yanked to the side by a pull on my hand.
With a determined look ahead, he stepped forward, passing me from the side, revealing himself, somehow catching my feet from falling over as it got tangled up.
This person… who protected me by yanking me behind his back, without even making a sound, hit Shade who was running from behind!
There was no way I could have been mistaken at that moment. This person, was Wolfgang Eisenhut.
After Wolf hit Shade, his arms quickly twisted around Shade, locking him in place.
「My hand acted out instinctively… but is this okay?」
「Right on! Ah… what I mean is – that’s… in this case, at the very least, Wolf isn’t in the wrong!」
I corrected my statement, because right behind Wolf was the Rankgerüste house butler, who was looking at our direction with perfectly round eyes.
「When Duke Lilia told me『I’ll entrust my role as Lycoris’s knight to you』, I thought the duke was joking around, but…. what on earth is going on?」
「I really love Father and Wolf!」
「L-love…? Ah – no – I’m not unsatisfied, though…」
(1) Basically I think when he meant by thicker blood, is that the bloodline is kept within the family, so that the descendents will inherit the powers of Narcissus’s grandmother.
(2) This is an unknown word to me, so I’m not sure if I used it right…
expedient is an adjective which means useful for effecting a desired result; suited to the circumstances or the occasion; advantageous; convenient
(3) bearish: the thought that things will fail. That is, pessimistic.
Does anyone read notes? This is a small one, extra line from light novel it seemed, thanks to kazeyuki for giving me this info.
For those who read till the end…
“Wolf’s face turned visibly red”