Author: lipzoldyck

 

A ten-year-old child asking for a job to repay the favor.

 

It was a bold thing.

 

But for some reason, the Duke felt a cold freeze in one side of his chest.

 

He said while looking at Liriette with a cold face.

 

“I will think more about it and give you an answer.”

 

Although it was an ambiguous answer, it was no sudden denial, so Liriette nodded her head.

 

And from the next day, Liriette started to find and do all sorts of things in the castle.

 

She got up early in the morning and cleaned all the windows in the castle, the nooks and crannies the maids didn’t pay attention to.

 

“A fairy must have appeared in the castle. If I take a moment to look away, the job is done!”

 

At first, the maids purred, asking what was going on, but after learning that the fairy’s true identity was Liriette, they screamed.

 

“M-Miss Liriette. I will do it!”

 

The maids tried to block it, yet to no avail.

 

Liriette was doing all sorts of things to avoid people’s eyes.

 

Simon said.

 

“Because Miss Liriette wants to work so much, even among the maids, there are those who secretly turn a blind eye to seeing Miss Liriette working.”

 

Simon looked at the Duke with narrow eyes.

 

An expressionless face showing no emotion. However, Simon felt it.

 

The cold energy of the Duke.

 

Simon said, swallowing his saliva.

 

“Should I instruct the maids to never let Miss Liriette work?”

 

The maids will immediately obey their master’s words.

 

But when that happens, Liriette can’t do what she wants.

 

‘Returning the goddamn favor she has mentioned.’

 

The Duke raised one eyebrow and said.

 

“Let her be for now.”

 

“Yes, I understand.”

 

One day after a few days like that, the Duke furrowed his eyebrows.

 

It was because of a scar on Liriette’s cheek.

 

Liriette, sensing the Duke’s gaze, covered the scar with her face flustered, said.

 

“It’s nothing. I dropped a glass statue while cleaning it, and some of the shards splattered.”

 

Although both the maids and Simon said it was fine, Liriette’s heart was heavy the whole time.

 

“I apologize. A precious statue shattered because of me. I will be careful in the future.”

 

At that moment, the Duke’s low voice was heard.

 

“That’s not the problem now.”

 

“…!”

 

Liriette’s heart sank.

 

It was the first time she had heard the Duke’s voice so cold.

 

‘It was my fault. So, of course, I thought I would get scolded.’

 

But why?

 

She felt like she was about to burst into tears.

 

‘Cry to wonder what I have done well.’

 

Looking down at Liriette, who gritted her teeth and tried to hold back her tears, the Duke furrowed his eyebrows.

 

After a while,  he let out a small sigh and said.

 

“I just got annoyed. I’m sorry.”

 

“N-No. I’m the one at fault. I apologize.”

 

Even though the color on her face was gone, even though her hands were shaking, Liriette still didn’t cry.

 

It caught on his chest, and the Duke clenched his fists.

 

***

 

The Duke asked while looking at the parfait with colorful fruits on white ice cream.

 

“What about Liriette?”

 

Simon replied with a troubled face.

 

“She stayed in her room all day today.”

 

After the Duke shouted, Liriette was so downhearted that she stopped working while babbling.

 

After hearing the story, the chef made a parfait to cheer up Liriette, but to no avail.

 

Liriette didn’t blink her eyes when she said she’d never seen such a pretty dessert, nor shed tears when she said it was so delicious.

 

All she could say was ‘thank you.’

 

“The maids in the kitchen are swinging their fists at him, saying that the chef couldn’t comfort Miss Liriette because his skills weren’t enough. The chef is acutely aware of his guilt and is quietly giving himself away.”

 

Simon’s words raised one of the Duke’s eyebrows.

 

He didn’t care about the situation of the chef whose life was threatened by the beatings of the maids, but he was concerned about Liriette’s condition.

 

In the end, the Duke got up from his seat without taking a bite of the parfait.

 

 

Click.

 

Liriette turned her head at the sound of the door opening, and her eyes widened.

 

“Duke?”

 

The Duke approached with his long legs in strides and moved in front of Liriette.

 

Glancing at the table, there was more than half of the parfait left.

 

He frowned slightly and said.

 

“The long winter is over and spring is approaching, so the days are getting warmer.”

 

Spring.

 

Liriette muttered with a curious face.

 

“It’s strange to hear that word in the north.”

 

The Duke said to Liriette.

 

“So, why don’t you go out with me today?”

 

Her eyes widened at his unexpected suggestion.

 

 

 

Upon hearing the news that Liriette and the Duke were going out, Marie and Simon moved busily.

 

Simon draped the cloak over the Duke’s shoulders and said quietly.

 

“If it’s just the two of you, it will be uncomfortable, so it’s better for me to accompany you…”

 

“Only the two of us are going.”

 

Simon bit his lip tightly at the firm words.

 

At Liriette, the atmosphere was different.

 

Marie smiled brightly as she steadfastly waited on Liriette amidst the envy and jealousy of countless maids.

 

“This is your first outing since Miss Liriette came to the castle.”

 

Liriette replied with her slightly flushed face.

 

“Yes.”

 

“To be honest, I felt sorry for Miss Liriette because she stayed only in the castle. All children grow up healthy when they go out and play, you know.”

 

But at the same time, she was worried.

 

‘Miss Liriette is too small and weak compared to the northern children.’

 

So, Marie paid attention to Liriette’s warmth.

 

First she put on thick underwear, then she put on a fur vest and dress over it.

 

On top of that, a thick hat, scarf, and even the fur-lined boots.

 

It didn’t end here.

 

Marie slipped a pair of fluffy furry gloves over little Liriette’s hands.

 

Liriette’s eyes widened.

 

“The gloves are warm!”

 

“Because a magic stone with the ability to keep warm is decorated on top of the glove.”

 

“A magic stone?!”

 

“Yes. It’s an item prepared by the Duke. He said that seeing that Miss Liriette kept wearing gloves even in the castle, your hands seemed to be very cold.”

 

“Ah…”

 

Liriette blinked her eyes.

 

It wasn’t for that reason that she wore gloves every day.

 

The first day she came to the castle, she cut her hand to heal the Duke, and it was only a habit that she put on gloves to hide it…

 

‘I didn’t know the Duke would care about that.’

 

Liriette’s cheeks turned red at the Duke’s unexpected consideration.

 

Marie looked at her and smiled happily.

 

“You’re wearing this much, so it won’t be too cold when you go outside.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

At Liriette’s greeting, Marie’s huge muscles twitched.

 

‘How cute!’

 

It was even more so because her figure, with the clothes wrapped in layers, was round and furry.

 

‘I want to pick up the fluffy Miss Liriette and fly her round and round into the sky! Then, when she comes back to my arms, I want to hug her!’

 

However, Marie barely held back the urge and sent Liriette off.

 

“Then, please be careful.”

 

 

Liriette left the castle.

 

Could it be because she was wearing warm clothes? Is it because spring is approaching?

 

‘It’s not colder than I thought.’

 

There was no wind and the sun was warm.

 

The  air was still cold and the bridge of her nose protruding over the curled scarf was cold, but she even felt cool and nice.

 

After a while, Liriette covered her mouth with a surprised face.

 

For the Duke brought a huge deer.

 

It wasn’t the first time Liriette had seen a deer. Even on the day she came to Windsor-Ice Castle, she rode in a carriage drawn by deers.

 

Even so, she couldn’t hide her surprise.

 

“Are we riding a deer?”

 

The Duke nodded his head.

 

“In the north, where there is a lot of snow and many mountains, deers are more useful for moving than horses. Even if we get out of the north a little bit, it’s hot and we can only ride them here.”

 

Ride a deer instead of a horse

 

Knowing that fact, most people in the capital laughed, saying it was unfashionable. However, Liriette’s reaction was different.

 

Her light blue eyes twinkled.

 

“It’s really cool!”

 

“…Really?”

 

“Yes!”

 

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