Author: Byuon

Escal’s voice was heard amidst the commotion that was painful to the ears.

Surrounded by children, Escal was confronted with a stranger.

“Are you sad? If you feel embarrassed, go ahead.”

A child with a head bigger than Escal threw a wooden sword.

“Why are you just staring at me? A handsome master doesn’t even know how to hold a sword, don’t you?”

“I won’t leave you alone!”

“Escal!”

My urgent cry was not heard, buried in the voices of the children.

Escal, who picked up the wooden sword, pointed at the sword with a serious face.

“Ugh, are you really going to try it?”

The child sarcastically raised a wooden sword as if Escal was absurd.

“Hey!”

The child with the wooden sword ran first.

Escal, who was staring at the opponent without moving, turned around in time for the sword to be struck.

The sword that lost its target cut through the air.

“Ugh!”

The child aimed at Escal’s side and swung his sword.

However, Escal calmly struck the sword again.

The child who failed both attacks looked completely embarrassed.

“Who is he? It’s the first time I’ve seen Emile pushed back.”

“He is the son of a nobleman. He’s pretty small.”

“Isn’t that how Emile loses?”

Even the children who were watching murmured as if they were surprised.

There is no one who taught him, but just reading books and having that level of skill is a different kind of genius.

I clasped my hands and cheered for Escal.

However, as the fight continued, the situation gradually deteriorated.

The child has been attacking Escal, maintaining distance with his tall and long arms.

Escal’s back foot, which had been holding up the power to press from above, began to be pushed little by little.

A smile appeared on the boy’s face, who had won, at that time.

“Ah!”

Escal kicked the child in the shin, aiming for a moment when the opponent was off guard.

The child who missed the sword in the sudden attack fell to the floor.

In the blink of an eye, Escal pointed the sword at the child’s neck and said.

“I won.”

“You, coward…!”

“Don’t gossip about it again.”

Escal threw a wooden sword at the child’s feet and turned around nicely.

At that moment, the child who picked up the fallen wooden sword ran towards Escal’s back.

“I won’t leave you alone!”

“Escal!”

Tak! A blunt hitting sound was heard, and for a moment the surroundings became as quiet as a dead mouse.

“Helios?”

It was Helios who sat down with Escal wrapped around him.

Helios, who had been attacked by the child instead of Escal, raised his head.

“Uh, Duke…?”

“Are you hurt?”

Escal shook his head in surprise.

Only after confirming that the child was safe did he release the hand he was holding.

Wrinkles formed between his neat forehead, as if pain was rising in the place he was hit.

Helios got up by grabbing his injured arm and stared at the child wielding the sword.

The child stepped backwards with a pale face.

“Emile, you bastard!”

“Aww!”

A scream erupted from the child’s mouth. It was Baron Rockefeller.

The Baron grabbed the child’s back and shouted.

“What are you doing! Come take him!”

“Yes!”

Men appeared out of nowhere and disappeared with the child.

The children, who had been flocking like a swarm of bees, run one by one.

Then I came to my senses and ran to Escal to check the condition.

Fortunately, there were no injuries, just a little startled. Rather, it was Helios who was hurt.

“Are okay?”

“I’m okay. What about you? You must be  very surprised.”

“Is that a problem now? Roll up your sleeves.”

As I forcibly rolled up his sleeves, Helios glanced at the Baron.

“Alright, later.”

It was a glance that told him not to develop a job in front of the Baron.

Sadly, he only caressed his arm, but the Baron who cleaned his surroundings came back.

“Are you okay, sir? Come on treatment….”

“That’s enough.”

Helios did not hide his displeasure.

“That’s not what I heard.”

“I’m ashamed of myself. He’s always a troublemaker.… I will teach him so that this will not happen again.”

As if fearing that the Duke of Anthemion had been hit by a commoner’s child and that it would make things worse, the Baron bowed and his head touched the ground.

Helios, who looked at him with contemptuous gaze, turned coldly.

“Let’s end it for today.”

 

  ****

 

Helios refused my request to see a doctor and returned to the mansion.

I brought Escal, who was frozen the whole way back, into the room, and ran to Helios to find a first aid kit.

“Look at me.”

“It’s okay.”

“Come on. I’m upset if you insist.”

Helios pulled up his sleeve reluctantly at my urging.

As expected, there was a blue bruise in the area where it had been hit by the wooden sword.

“It hurts, right?”

“It doesn’t hurt at all.”

What do you mean it doesn’t hurt? You thought I wouldn’t know that you’re pretending to be okay.

Feeling upset, I hurriedly took out the ointment and applied it to the bruised area.

“Can I really not call the doctor?”

“Call a doctor like this. The doctor will laugh at me.”

“If you are sick, you have to say it.”

“Okay, I will.”

Helios, with his sharp eyes softly bent, put his hand on my face.

The warmth of his hand stroking my cheek finally relieved the tension.

“Thank you for earlier.”

“What?”

“You wrapped Escal.”

“If Escal gets hurt, you’ll be worried.”

He said it as if it was no big deal, but he looked embarrassed.

“Still. You were so cool.”

“I’m sad. I’m always cool.”

A man who was confident kissed me arrogantly.

The touch of the lips that touched briefly and fell was as sweet as chocolate.

“I met a woman like you because I’m so cool.”

“… Again.”

My face got hot for some reason, so I avoided the seat.

“I will go to Escal.”

 

  ****

 

“Escal.”

Did you fall asleep?

Even after several knocks, Escal did not respond. I quietly opened the door and saw a child squatting in the corner of the room.

Even though he knew I was in, he didn’t move.

I approached Escal and spoke carefully.

“Are you hurt?”

Nodding. His head shakes up and down

Even in the carriage, he was silent and still looked gloomy.

What happened to that child?

He didn’t want to say anything, but I couldn’t let it go.

I need to know what stimulated this gentle child so I can take care of his wounds.

“Escal.”

Escal, who raised his face at the friendly call, soon avoided his eyes.

I asked, stroking the scratches on his pretty face.

“Why did you fight with him?”

“……”

“What did he say to you?”

“……”

The tightly closed lips opened and then closed.

I gently comforted the child so as not to sound like a push.

“I don’t mean to offend. I’m worried.”

“Hic….”

The child, who shook his head saying it was nothing, burst out crying.

An unclear, trembling voice mingled with crying.

“… Please.”

“What?”

“Don’t throw me away…”

I stopped breathing at the hard words that flowed out.

When I was embarrassed and couldn’t answer, Escal grabbed my skirt and hung on.

“I will listen to what you say. Please don’t throw me away.”

“Escal, what do you mean? Who will leave you?”

“He said you would leave me there. All the kids there were abandoned like that….”

Now I know.

That’s why this gentle child was so excited.

It wasn’t the child’s fault. It was all my fault.

My fault for not explaining it to Escal, and making the child anxious.

I hugged Escal, who wept bitterly.

“Escal, it’s not like that. How can I..… Don’t think like that again.”

“I will be quiet. I won’t get into trouble, I won’t eat a lot, and you don’t even have to buy clothes. So please let me stay here….”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to be quiet, and you can make trouble. It’s my fault. If you don’t like it, I won’t let you go. I’m sorry, Escal.”

“Hic…”

Where did so many tears hide in this small body?

The tears that could not be stopped poured out, soaking up the body and mind.

I held the baby and comforted him until he fell asleep.

 

  ***

 

Exhausted from crying, Escal fell asleep holding the hem of my dress.

I was upset again when I saw his face with dried tears.

It must have been a happy day until he went to the academy.

Riding a carriage for the first time, buying new clothes, and having a short conversation with his father.

It would have been nice if it had ended there.

All the good memories would have turned into bad memories because of the academy.

Like me, my mom who bought me a hamburger but couldn’t eat it since she disappeared.

But Escal, I won’t leave you.

I will never be such an irresponsible parent like my parents.

“Don’t worry. Escal.”

I kissed the sleeping child’s forehead and quietly came out with blessings.

Returning to the room, Helios, who was lying on the bed, got up.

“What about Escal?”

“He fell asleep a while ago.”

“What did he fight for?”

Helios asked in an indifferent tone.

I looked at Helios and remembered his attitude towards Escal.

If he really didn’t have affection for Escal, he wouldn’t have covered the child or been hurt instead.

So I decided to be brave.

“Helios, I want to be Escal’s mother.”

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