Chapter 62 – Visiting the ill
Just because the rebellion has ended, it doesn’t mean that father will no longer need to work.
Or rather, his workload has actually increased now.
In addition to his usual duties, he also needs to handle the people who participated on the rebellion; find new people to substitute the rebels from the magic institution, as those people lost their posts; handle the necessary administrative tasks to properly take the helm of the institution; figure out what happened to some funds that disappeared without being used for anything; and he also needs to establish a new research laboratory.
… I feel like some of those things are not supposed to be my father’s job though.
That said, everything is a mess right now due to the head of the magic institution rebelling, so it’s unavoidable that my father ended up receiving a considerable amount of extra duties during this aftermath.
Father was grumbling about it and said he’d request his majesty to raise his salary.
While cheering on my father who was so busy with work, I withdrew to the confines of our house.
In fact, I was actually told to avoid going out as much as possible.
Nobody finds it strange that I decided to stay cooped up inside my house though, since as far as the outsiders know, I’m just a poor unlucky girl who was kidnapped and assaulted.
In those circumstances, it makes sense that I wouldn’t want to leave at all.
That said, there is a bit of a problem here… Namely, the actions of the third parties are being really annoying.
I couldn’t help frowning when looking at the numerous gifts and letters that were packed up inside a vacant room.
The gifts were primarily flowers, letters and fruits, which is actually pretty close to what you’d give to a sick person back in Japan.
However, they are coming from either complete strangers, or people I know from name only.
Seems like this is happening due to my father’s important role in suppressing the rebellion.
After all, the mastermind of the rebels was none other than abbot George, and he apparently went through a public execution.
I didn’t see it though, since I was at home.
Nonetheless, the rebellion created a split within the magic institute. And now that all the rebels were purged from it, the institute is suffering from a severe shortage of manpower.
And the one who has to solve this problem is none other than the previous deputy director, my father. The person at the top has been executed after all, so father has now become the new head of the magic institute.
Moreover, with the abbot gone, there is no one who can match father’s magical prowess. Father is now the best mage in the country.
And well, considering those circumstances, I suppose it’s only natural that many people will try gaining father’s favor by approaching me.
Basically, they’re trying to make the most of this opportunity… It’s way too annoying.
I mean, I already got enough gifts to fill a whole room.
If it stopped at that it wouldn’t be much of a problem, but then they also try to talk to father during his work in order to show their concern towards me… That’s not a good way of currying his favor though. It’s just a way of painting yourself as an annoyance that is getting in the way of his work.
Seriously… I wish there was a good way to make them stop being a bother.
“Lady Liz, you have a visitor.” Gilles suddenly told me.
I was sighing when he called out to me, so his voice ended up startling me quite a bit.
I pushed that surprise deep within my heart and covered it with a smile though, “Who is it?”
“It’s lord Cecil.” Gilles replied.
“I see. Then please tell him to come to my room.” I told him.
Even though I had to put my all into not letting my voice tremble when I replied to Gilles, his response was just a simple ‘Certainly’ that had no change in intonation whatsoever.
… Am I the only one being overly self-conscious? Gilles is treating me normally, but my heart starts beating incredibly fast each time we meet.
Simply looking at his lips is enough to make me turn my face away in embarrassment right now…
On the other hand, Gilles is calm. He is behaving as if nothing had happened.
Meanwhile I have to desperately try to not show how troubled I am in my face. My heart is filled with incredibly conflicting feelings right now…
“Lady Liz, your ribbon is bent. You’ll be meeting a guest now, so please make sure to take care of your appearance.” Gilles told me.
I am so anguished over those feelings, yet Gilles seem to not notice it at all.
He calmly moved closer to me and started touching the ribbon that was on my neck.
I could hear our clothes touching one another.
He quickly adjusted the ribbon without changing his expression. He simply kept a gentle smile the whole time… Am I really being too overly conscious? Should I not be raising my guard once he gets closer?
“… Is something the matter?” Gilles asked me.
“No, it’s nothing.” I replied.
I’m a bit discontent with how nothing of this seems to be impacting Gilles, but… I think this might be fine.
At that time, he was just needing some comforting, right? That was… That was all there was to it. I’m sure of it.
“How are you doing?” I asked Cecil.
“That’s my line, you know?” Cecil replied.
Cecil may have been the one that came to visit me, but I think he also needs to be asked that.
I mean, he probably came to see if I was well, but… He too went through some harsh things recently.
His grandfather was executed for treason, after all.
Sure, Cecil never had any affection towards abbot George, but even then, one of his blood relatives recently went through a public execution.
At the very minimum, I think it’s likely that people might look at Cecil with reproaching gazes due to his family ties with the abbot. Some people will probably try blaming him for the rebellion simply because he and the abbot were connected by blood.
That said, I’m just happy that Cecil wasn’t punished for this whole ordeal.
Comparatively, my situation should be much better. My wounds already healed and I’m fine for as long as I am not touched by a stranger, so shouldn’t Cecil be in much more pain than I am?
“I don’t particularly care about what the bystanders say.
“Also, I can always tell them that I saved you if they get too bothersome.” Cecil shrugged his shoulders.
Seems like he isn’t bothered by what happened with his old man.
“Besides, aren’t you the rumored tragic girl?” Cecil gave me a teasing smile.
“Please stop that!” I refused his words with all my might.
I actually don’t know the specifics of it, but Gilles told me that the aristocracy seems to have a bit of a warped view of my situation.
The girl who was kidnapped by the rebels, who endured a horrible treatment and helped defeat the mastermind behind the rebellion… The rumor seems to go along those lines.
They seem to be thinking of me as a meek and pitiable girl, but I was the one who kicked the earl’s son between his legs and set up an advantageous situation afterwards, so I don’t think I fit into their expectations at all.
“Well, I can’t say that they’re completely wrong in calling me like that…” I muttered.
“The story is beautified, but it’s true at its core. Even if you don’t look like a tragic heroine at all.” Cecil told me.
I pouted a bit at his words… Isn’t he being a bit too rude?
Though well, I’m definitely not a weak and helpless girl.
It’s still bothersome to hear that to my face though, so I puffed my cheeks in protest to Cecil’s words.
However, he just gave me a troubled laugh in response.
He was still smirking; not looking sorry at all; he is confident in what he just said.
I can’t deny his statement though, so there isn’t much I can do about it…
“You’re just not the kind of woman who despairs when faced with a troublesome situation.” Cecil stated.
“… Well, I’d rather act than mourn.” I replied.
“And that’s why you stood up for yourself. I’d say that’s way better than a woman who does nothing.
“Therefore, you shouldn’t be sulking about this.” Cecil told me while poking my bulging cheek with his fingertips.
He then started giggling a bit… Cecil is really kind, isn’t he? At first he had a pretty sharp tongue and was very moody and grumpy, but he has progressed a lot since that time, hasn’t he?
“… I feel like you’re quite mature now.” I told him honestly.
“I could say the same to you… Well, maybe you were actually more mature back in the day, actually.” He replied.
“So cruel!” I exclaimed.
I’m more childish now!? How come!?
… Well, I think my behavior may be a bit more childish now than it was before, actually.
I mean, if I keep on being treated like a child, it just can’t be helped that I’ll naturally start acting like one, right!?
He may actually be right that I may have lost some maturity… I pursed my lips at that thought.
And at this point, Cecil suddenly started ruffling my hair. I think he is ridiculing me.
I then started frowning at him, but Cecil just gave me a gentle gaze in response.
But then, he seemed to suddenly remember something, “Let me ask you something. What happened between you and Gilles?”
“Hae!?” I exclaimed.
I didn’t mean to shout like that, but… Because of this sudden reaction, Cecil seems to have been convinced that something did happen between us.
“You two look awkward next to each other. You don’t make eye contact at all.” Cecil told me.
“Well, even if you say that…” I muttered.
“What did Gilles do?” He asked.
Cecil’s words reminded me of that time… My cheeks became hotter just from thinking of it.
I tried to not think much about it, but the more I tried avoiding it, the more I remembered.
… That was just because he needed some comforting.
“… Gilles kissed me.” I told him honestly.
“Ha!?” Cecil seemed to be quite surprised by my words.
I couldn’t keep looking at him when talking about this, so I averted my eyes…
“… I told you the other day, didn’t you? You two are excessively close to one another. I told him that to him too, you know?” Cecil said.
“… You did.” I replied.
“Why did things go as far as kissing though…?” Cecil muttered.
Even if he asks me that… I mean, it was Gilled who kissed me, and I just didn’t feel like refusing him.
I didn’t hate it, and Gilles looked pained, so… I wanted to accept it.
“… You didn’t tell Welf, did you?” Cecil asked me.
“I didn’t.” I replied.
“Don’t ever tell him about it then. Welf will definitely destroy your master-servant relationship if he hears it.” Cecil told me.
Cecil was pressuring me with that, but I didn’t have any intention of telling others about it anyways, so I nodded.
I mean, I can’t say that Gilles kissed me… It’s embarrassing.
I may have told Cecil, but I’m not gonna tell anyone else.
“… You let yourself be taken by the flow way too easily.” Cecil sighed.
“Uuh…” I just groaned in response.
“For example, what would you do if I tried to do something to you?” Cecil asked me.
“… That would be troublesome.” I replied.
Though I can’t imagine Cecil trying to do something to me, since he already stated that he has no romantic feelings for me.
We may be good friends, but things won’t go beyond that.
“That’s the problem. You can’t give such a half-baked answer.
“If you don’t like the idea, then refuse it firmly.” Cecil told me.
“I don’t hate you or anything though. I just think that it would be troublesome.” I replied.
“And that’s why I said you let yourself be taken by the flow way too easily, idiot!” Cecil flicked his flinger against my forehead.
“Ouch!” I exclaimed.
He may have held back with the flicking, but it still hurts.
When I looked at Cecil while groaning in pain, I saw that he had a stunned look in his face.
What do I even say to that…? It’s hard to make a proper complaint when he looks so surprised.
“You should be a bit wary of the people you allowed to get close to you.” Cecil told me.
“Okay… Though you kinda feel like a big brother to me, you know?” I replied.
“Then don’t complain when things go wrong.” As he said that, Cecil flicked his finger against my forehead again.
… I started rubbing my pained forehead while pursing my lips.
Cecil can, unexpectedly, be very caring and kind, so he does feel like a proper older brother.
However, he will probably get angry again if I say that, so I stayed silent and focused on relieving the pain.