Author: lipzoldyck

 

“Happy birthday, Ellen.”

 

A swing hanging from an oak branch swayed slowly back and forth in the wind. The swing looked exactly like Eleanor’s memory.

 

“This was my favorite when I was a kid…”

 

Eleanor was speechless and just stood there staring at the swing. The memories of her childhood came flooding back.

 

Eleanor quickly adjusted to her new life, but sometimes she needed some alone time. As she sat on the swing all day and slowly swayed back and forth, she remembered one by one the events of her previous life, when she lived as the late Yeo-Jin in Korea.

 

Adrian gave Eleanor a light push on the shoulder.

 

“You sat there all day. You were so deep in thought that I couldn’t even call you. Sit down.”

 

Eleanor approached slowly and sat on the swing. It was the same as before, even feeling a little squeamish.

 

“My goodness. This even feels the same.”

 

Adrian naturally stood behind Eleanor and started pushing on the swing.

 

“Do you remember? When the swing was blown away by the storm, you cried so sadly. A kid who has never been like that before.”

 

“Obviously. I remember. Was it around ten years old?”

 

“Eight years old. We were exactly the age of Sienna and Demian right now.”

 

“Wow, time really flies.”

 

At Eleanor’s words, Adrian smiled lowly, agreeing. Eleanor forgot that she was in a bit of an awkward situation with him, and she rode the swing he pushed for a long time.

 

“How did you come up with the idea of giving a swing as a gift?”

 

Eleanor asked, stretching her legs forward.

 

“I thought a lot about this and that…”

 

At that moment, Eleanor’s hair fluttered and lightly scratched Adrian’s cheek. A tickling sensation bloomed with the thick floral scent. Adrian clenched his fists tightly.

 

Adrian, who stood for a moment to choose his words, parted his lips.

 

“I’m your friend. I know what you will be happy to receive, of course.”

 

Because we lived through the same time.

 

Past events flashed through Adrian’s mind like a kaleidoscope.

 

Good memories, bad memories. No matter where he picked up his memory, Eleanor was there. Even at the moment he hated it and tried to escape, she was there.

 

Eleanor stopped the swing with her feet on the ground.

 

“I like you, but we’re still friends.”

 

“Rian.”

 

“I just wanted to tell you the story. It may feel awkward, but in fact, nothing has changed.”

 

Adrian walked over and stood in front of Eleanor. Eleanor asked cautiously, fiddling with the swing rope.

 

“…Me being awkward, was it obvious?”

 

“Mmhm. Very much.”

 

Adrian nodded his head without hesitation.

 

“I’m sorry. I just didn’t know how to look at you. Should I just act calmly as if nothing had happened, or should I answer something?”

 

Eleanor let out a short sigh.

 

“You know, I’ve never thought about it like this before.”

 

More precisely, there was no opportunity to do it.

 

“So I don’t know how I should act in a situation like this. I don’t know how I feel.”

 

Eleanor poured her feelings out to Adrian.

 

Kaidel’s, Izmel’s, and Adrian’s hearts. Eleanor now knew their feelings. However, her heart was still in the labyrinth.

 

“You can do whatever you want. Check and recheck…”

 

At Adrian’s words, Eleanor tilted her head. Her green eyes filled with confusion vibrated finely.

 

“I really can do that? I don’t think so.”

 

“What can you do? As long as you like the most popular girl in Bellium, you should handle it.”

 

Adrian shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

 

“Think slowly. Take as much time as necessary. I won’t rush you to an answer when you’re not ready. There will be no estrangement between us.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yeah, really. So stop avoiding me.”

 

“I won’t avoid you.”

 

Eleanor grabbed Adrian’s sleeve and asked.

 

“So, are we still friends?”

 

“You’re my best friend.”

 

Adrian readily replied. A smile of relief spread across Eleanor’s face.

 

Adrian laid his hand on Eleanor’s head and met her eyes.

 

“Happy birthday again this year, Eleanor.”

 

***

 

Dwight gently hugged Demian, who was sleeping on the couch. Eleanor followed after Dwight, she said.

 

“He must have been tired.”

 

“I know. Father was a bit overbearing. They took a two-hour walk.”

 

“I didn’t know Father would love Demi so much.”

 

“Ellen, it was just like that when you were little.”

 

Dwight carefully laid Demian on the bed in the guest room.

 

Instead of following Dwight, Eleanor sat down on the edge of the bed and gently brushed off a few strands of Demian’s hair from his forehead.

 

‘No matter how mature he is, he’s totally like a baby when he’s sleeping.’

 

Demian, who slept with his fists tightly closed, looked like a baby angel.

 

She watched for a while and tried to get out, yet somehow she couldn’t take her eyes off him. From the first moment she saw him, Demian was a child who was as lovely as strange he was.

 

Then Demian opened his eyes. He met Eleanor’s eyes and gave her a slightly surprised expression.

 

“Shh. You can sleep more.”

 

Eleanor pulled the blanket over him a little longer.

 

“You want me to go out?”

 

Demian shook his head.

 

“Alright then. Let’s talk for a minute.”

 

Eleanor nodded her head and she moved a little closer to Demian and sat down.

 

“I heard you went for a walk?”

 

“Yes. We went very far.”

 

“When Father gets excited, he doesn’t stop until someone is there to dry him. If you feel it’s difficult, you must tell me.”

 

Otherwise, he might not let you go until the sun goes down.

 

Eleanor whispered and Demian laughed softly. “Yes,” he answered, and the sleepiness on his face went away a little.

 

“By the way, Demi. I have a question, can I ask you?”

 

After a moment of hesitation, Eleanor asked cautiously. She had something she wanted to ask for a long time.

 

“When we first met, Demi didn’t want to go to the Academy. Why was that?”

 

Demian was taken aback, but he didn’t cower like before. After hesitating for a while, he whispered in a very small voice.

 

“Because I have to get out of the house.”

 

“Are you afraid to be far from home?”

 

Demian shook his head.

 

“I’m afraid I won’t be able to go home again…”

 

“You won’t be able to go home again?”

 

Demian bit his lip.

 

[Send Demian to the Academy as soon as he gets older. It will be better for everyone that way.]

 

His maternal uncle tried to send Demian away as soon as he had a chance. Kaidel wasn’t friendly with her maternal uncle, yet he seemed to take the advice somewhat well.

 

[The Academy. It must be better than the Duke’s residence.]

 

Demian’s heart sank when he heard Kaidel’s muttering. It sounded like thunder from the sky to Demian, who believed that Kaidel hated him.

 

“It’s fine now.”

 

Demian said forcefully. It was because he knew now that Kaidel hadn’t intended that to be the case. Although it was still a bit difficult, he could feel that Kaidel was genuinely concerned about him.

 

“I’m a little bit scared now. Very little. It’s okay because my friends will go with me.”

 

Demian made a small circle with his thumb and forefinger. Eleanor, watching him twitching fingers, burst into laughter.

 

“Wow, that’s very brave of you.”

 

Eleanor muttered as she placed her hand over Demian’s head.

 

“I think you’ve grown a lot. More than the first time I saw you.”

 

“Grown?”

 

“Mmhm.”

 

“I want to grow up to be as big as Brother.”

 

“You will grow up to be bigger than your brother. To do that, I must eat a lot of meat and vegetables and exercise.”

 

Kaidel was taller than most people by one head. Demian is dwarfed by his peers, but there’s something called genes, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he suddenly grew up.

 

‘I’ll have to ask Kaidel later. If he’s been tall since he was little.’

 

“And now you talk like this. Your heart has also grown.”

 

Demian laughed bashfully at Eleanor’s words.

 

“I think it’s because of Luke and Enna.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Those two talk too much. They talk without taking a break.”

 

“It’s kind of like that. Are you uncomfortable?”

 

Demian shook his head.

 

“That’s why I like it. It’s nice that Enna listens to my story. She doesn’t just talk.”

 

Eleanor burst out laughing and hugged him tightly. Demian smelled like dry sunlight. It felt like her heart was becoming soft like a marshmallow.

 

‘I like you too. Because you’re really, really cute…’

 

***

 

“Eleanor.”

 

Eleanor quickly turned around at the sound of Dwight’s voice behind her. Dwight in his pajamas was approaching.

 

“You surprised me.”

 

“I went to your room, but you weren’t there.”

 

“You searched for me? Why?”

 

Dwight popped out a box. It was a gift box he received from Kaidel during the day.

 

“I don’t think this is mine.”

 

Eleanor took out what was in the box. It was a music box shaped like a jewelry box. A single tulip was painted in a light pink box.

 

“That’s right. So unlike you…”

 

When Eleanor opened the music box, a card inside dropped. Dwight bent over and picked it up. His eyes narrowed slightly.

 

“I don’t think this is what he’s saying to me either.”

 

Eleanor quickly snatched it away.

 

“Anyway, thank you for telling me. Good night.”

 

Eleanor half-hopped into her room and slammed the door.

 

When she entered the room, she saw a potted plant by the window. Next to Izmel’s neatly placed gifts, there was a tower of small gifts that Albert and the maids had left behind.

 

Eleanor picked up the notebook Izmel had given her. On the first page, she saw that he had left his signature small.

 

[- Izmel Biden Pontius de Bellium, Imperial Year 475, to my dearest friend. With love from the deepest part of my heart.]

 

Love from the deepest part of his heart.

 

Eleanor smiled slightly, blushing slightly. It was a very Izmel-like expression.

 

“They were all nice presents.”

 

Eleanor wound the music box and set it down on the bedside table. A lyrical melody flowed from her that she seemed to have heard somewhere.

 

‘Oh, right. I had a card.’

 

Eleanor opened the box again and took out a card. It slanted slightly to the left, but the neat feeling resembled that of Kaidel.

 

There were no patterns drawn on the thick, stiff paper. There was only one line written on the faintly ivory-colored card, without even a signature.

 

Should I even say that this is just like him?

 

After Eleanor wound the music box again, she looked at the card.

 

[I want you to just sleep soundly, without any worries or fears.]

 

That one line of letter, a bit out of the blue, stuck inside Eleanor.

 

It was a bizarre night.

 

Table of Contents
Reader Settings
Font Size
Line Height
Font
Donation
Amount
lipzoldyck

Ko-fi Ko-fi

Comments (0)