Chapter 35

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Author: lipzoldyck

 

As soon as His Imperial Majesty the Emperor saw us, he quickly approached us.

 

In an instant, he knelt down in front of my nose and on one knee, making eye contact with me.

 

I was startled and grabbed Uncle’s clothes even tighter.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

I nodded my head before answering.

 

“…Yes.”

 

“Are you hurt anywhere? Your uncle was very worried.”

 

“I made a mistake, Your Imperial Majesty the Emperor… Uncle.”

 

I glanced at Uncle.

 

He wasn’t even looking at me.

 

“Are you really okay?”

 

His Imperial Majesty examined me thoroughly and asked again.

 

I nodded my head broadly to answer more clearly.

 

“Yes, I’m okay.”

 

Only then did His Imperial Majesty the Emperor put his hands on my forehead.

 

“I’m so glad, that’s a relief. You were safe. I’m sorry. It was too short a thought.”

 

“I-It’s okay!”

 

I soothed the Emperor, who looked as if he would cry at any moment.

 

But even then Uncle was still angry, so I hesitantly cast a helping eye at the Emperor.

 

Interestingly, the Emperor immediately understood my meaning and nodded.

 

“Kassel, you found Aika, so bring her back first. Your time to sniff and snoop has ended.”

 

“…”

 

I met the Emperor’s eyes again.

 

Sniff?

 

I don’t know what he was talking about, yet Uncle’s expression subtly changed.

 

It seemed that there was a story that adults knew and I didn’t.

 

“Even Aika would have been very surprised. If you’re angry, even she can’t handle it, and Aika will be horrified. It’s my fault for not telling you about today. So don’t be angry with Aika. If she’s safe, then enough, okay?”

 

“…”

 

“Right, Aika?”

 

As I looked at Uncle and the Emperor alternately with anxious eyes, the Emperor smiled softly at me.

 

So I nodded too.

 

Before long, the Emperor stood up and patted Uncle on the shoulder.

 

“The Duke is waiting outside, so go back first. I’ll take care of the rest.”

 

I just watched and waited for Uncle’s answer.

 

It was then.

 

Uncle’s hand, which was on his back, reached out to me.

 

A large palm was pointed towards the sky.

 

I arbitrarily thought that was Uncle’s signal, then hurriedly reached out and grabbed his hand.

 

“Let’s go home, huh?”

 

With a terrifying threat, my waist was grabbed and my body was lifted.

 

I nodded 20 times, hugging Uncle’s neck tightly.

 

As I turned my head quickly, the Emperor was smiling brightly.

 

Then I can rest assured… right?

 

I finally felt a little more at ease.

 

“I will make sure that what happened today doesn’t leak out. Hurry up, go.”

 

I greeted the distant Emperor by nodding my head.

 

As soon as I came out, I saw Grandpa, Russphe, Zenda, Gerard, and Kamaye.

 

It was a moment when I was completely relieved even though the future was waiting for me to be scolded.

 

“My baby. My baby, come here.”

 

Grandpa reached out his hands to me.

 

I looked at Uncle again.

 

As soon as Uncle’s hand loosened, I moved on to Grandpa.

 

“Grandpa…”

 

“Come on, my baby. Are you okay? Are you not hurt? Wherever you want to go, you have to talk and go, you lil’ kid. Huh? You melt all this Grandpa’s liver. Why is your stomach so skinny! Are you really okay?”

 

“I’m sorry… Grandpa. I’m fine, really.”

 

I felt the gentle hand of Grandpa patting my back.

 

“If you’re not hurt, then it’s fine. As long as you’re safe.”

 

Grandpa hugged me and started heading somewhere.

 

Russphe was seen standing behind Kamaye belatedly.

 

‘Russphe…’

 

The round eyes were full of my worries.

 

I waved my hand at Russphe quietly and timidly.

 

Then Russphe’s face lit up and she waved his hand in the same way.

 

I was about to wave my hand again, but I met Uncle’s eyes.

 

I couldn’t even greet him anymore and buried my face in Grandpa’s shoulder as if to hide.

 

“G-Grandpa.”

 

“Yes, sweetie. Come on, let’s go home.”

 

On this day, Grandpa came to Uncle’s house to spend the night and left.

 

Thanks to that, I didn’t have to worry about Grandpa being in danger.

 

The assailant didn’t hurt Grandpa and Grandpa’s escort.

 

‘Who is the man with the bandage on his left hand and the assailant who attacked Grandpa?’

 

In any case, it was fortunate that nothing big happened to Grandpa.

 

Even when I got home, I was scolded by Uncle, but thanks to Grandpa who stopped him, I was able to get scolded only a little bit.

 

However, for the time being, I couldn’t avoid the punishment of being banned from going to the Imperial Palace.

 

And that night.

 

I dreamed that I was curled up by a black snake and rolled across the bed, howling in fear.

 

***

 

The next day came.

 

“What about Grandpa?”

 

“He left early in the morning.”

 

“In the morning?”

 

“Yes, he’s busy with work… He asked me to tell you to eat a good breakfast and have a good day when Miss wakes up.”

 

“I wanted to have breakfast together, but it’s too bad. What about Uncle?”

 

“He’s going to work now, should you wash up and eat first?”

 

Zenda said, grabbing a warm towel.

 

I nodded helplessly and closed my eyes while Zenda wiped my face.

 

After that, I didn’t see Uncle until daylight.

 

It seemed that the relationship between Uncle and I have become worse off than when we first met because of yesterday.

 

Yesterday after being scolded, I came to my room right away and couldn’t reconcile with Uncle properly.

 

In the morning, I woke up late because of a nightmare wrapped around me by a snake, so I couldn’t eat with him. After that, I couldn’t visit him because I was afraid.

 

But when I thought about it, it was a bit embarrassing.

 

It’s wrong to keep it a secret, but I never went in because I wanted to.

 

I meant to play with Russphe.

 

And I ran into a little problem.

 

“…Cold.”

 

I crouched down as I walked down the hallway looking for Uncle with my new doll.

 

Yesterday Lepus said I wouldn’t be sick, but since that night, I’ve been cold and hot over and over again.

 

When I woke up in the morning, I told Zenda that I had a fever, yet the doctor she brought in said there was nothing wrong.

 

Then I was cold again and the doctor came again and said nothing was wrong.

 

The doctor said it was a potion that made me healthy, so I took a strawberry-flavored potion, yet it was of no use at all.

 

He just said it was because I was surprised yesterday.

 

It’s really cold and hot…

 

Although I called out the snake several times, it didn’t even pretend to hear.

 

It just felt like something was creeping behind my back, and a ghost would cling to me, and then it would disappear.

 

When I call its name, it doesn’t even think about answering.

 

“I was trying to find Uncle, though…”

 

It got hot again and then cold as if the temperature had dropped suddenly.

 

I trembled and crouched down a bit more.

 

I don’t have time to be doing this.

 

I kept thinking of the rabbit’s words that the hunters could come to harm me, the seeker.

 

What if they come to harm me?

 

And I had to figure out if the hunters had really hurt Mom.

 

Protect Grandpa and also Uncle.

 

To uncover that secret, I need to become healthier and grow up.

 

If I grow up soon. If I get stronger soon.

 

I should have eaten more breakfast.

 

Today, I left none of the roasted vegetables, but it was lacking.

 

I thought that it would be nice if time passed quickly and I became a strong and big adult like Uncle.

 

“Have you decided to become a beggar now?”

 

I jerked my head up.

 

I saw Uncle with a crooked expression.

 

Uncle! When did he come?

 

“Uncle.”

 

I jumped up from my seat.

 

I looked at my uncle and said, “Heeㅡ” with an awkward smile that showed all my teeth, then his expression became even more crooked.

 

“What’s with that pretty smile. Why are you coming out of the room again?”

 

“T-To go to Uncle.”

 

As I twisted my body and said, Uncle passed me and started walking again.

 

I often followed him in case I missed him.

 

Uncle, who had been moving away in an instant, slowed down.

 

“Uncle, where are you going?”

 

“I’m going somewhere where there are no kids who won’t listen.”

 

He was obviously referring to me.

 

“If I listen to you carefully?”

 

“Well, I can’t believe it.”

 

Now he’s slow enough that I can get ahead.

 

“I’m really going to listen! I will listen to everything Uncle says.”

 

Uncle stopped walking.

 

“Only talk?”

 

“Really!”

 

I quietly moved one step closer to Uncle.

 

I reached out to grab his clothes, yet my body floated instead.

 

“If you stretch out your hand, who will hug you? You even listen to me badly. Huh?”

 

“No, I…”

 

ㅡdidn’t ask for a hug, though.

 

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Comments (1)

  1. Poor Uncle, went through the emotional wringer. Don’t know if the Emperor is Aika’s dad anymore, he doesn’t seem too attached to her. Which helps since the Emperor being Aika’s dad would make Russphe her cousin and he seems to be the ml for sure. Curious who her father is anyways!