Chapter 1 - Part 1
“Hey, is it real?”
When Lelia got angry, the kids laughed a lot.
“Because it’s really childish… Are you the same age as us? I’m really suspicious sometimes.”
Lelia shuddered when she heard Griffith. To be honest, she felt like she was stabbed. Because unlike these guys, she was seven years old. But she considered herself to be mature compared to them because she could think like an adult as she had memories from her previous life.
[I can’t believe I heard this!]
Lelia let out a deep sigh and covered Oscar with a blanket as he lay on the bed. Like an older sister.
“Good night, Oscar.”
“Won’t you wish us good night too?”
“Captain, are you showing discrimination?”
“Well, it won’t be his first time discriminating.”
Lelia grumbled and said good night to the rest of the boys and left the room. She then went to her room, which was right next door, and went up to the bed. When she saw the white rabbit doll, she smiled.
“They are childish, so no matter what they say, they are children and still keep those dolls by their bedside.”
Lelia soon fell asleep, hugging the doll tightly.
It was dawn. Outside the window, it was pouring rain, and lightning flashed.
Lelia woke up in surprise at the sensation of someone shaking her. As she rubbed her eyes, she saw Romeo with a bewildered face.
“What, what’s wrong?”
“Oscar’s having another seizure. I was going to call the priests…”
At his words, Lelia jumped to her feet. It was too much to call the priests every time Oscar had a seizure. If it keeps repeating, they’ll suspect Oscar was possessed by the devil.
Lelia ran to the next room with the bag on the table.
The children who woke up turned on the lights and watched Oscar in bewilderment.
Lelia approached Oscar who was shaking on his knees and quickly checked his pupils.
“Oscar, it’s okay. Don’t listen to anything.”
Lelia, like last time, calmed Oscar by grabbing him on the cheeks and patting him gently.
Trapped in the nightmare, Oscar was afraid to look in the air, and tears fell incessantly from his red eyes. Lelia grabbed Oscar’s face and fixed her eyes on him.
“It’s okay here. Is it because it’s raining? It’s okay. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Lelia kept whispering. Very slowly Oscar’s pupils began to return.
“It’s all right, good job.”
After breathing out a sigh of relief, she brought the bag to Oscar’s nose and let him breathe slowly.
He was calming down much faster than before.
“Phew… It’s the rain and sound of the thunder…”
“Are you afraid of the sound of thunder?”
At Lelia’s question, Oscar nodded his head.
“When it rai-rains… my father…”
It seems that it rained on the day that scarred Oscar.
“There is nothing to be scared of. It’s just raining. Nothing happened.”
Lelia said, and she brought the doll, which was placed on the bed.
[I didn’t think it would work from the beginning, but…]
Oscar received the doll Lelia had given him and hugged it.
“From now on, whenever you get scared, look at the doll and talk to it. Just as if I were talking to you.”
Lelia laid Oscar down on the bed and covered him with a blanket. When she turned around, she saw children with white and tired faces. Romeo had seen this before, but the other children seemed to have seen it for the first time today.
“Isn’t he possessed by the devil?” Kalix suddenly grimaced, and Lelia quickly turned aside.
Oscar just blinked, perhaps because he was used to this.
Lelia went to Kalix, grabbed him by the cheek, and pinched him.
“Watch what you say! What do you mean by devil?”
Griffith held Lelia’s arm and asked, “Then what’s wrong with him, do you know?”
Lelia let out a deep sigh. It was still raining outside the window.
That night, Lelia eventually brought her doll and sat by Romeo’s bed. She stayed up all night talking to them. To put it bluntly, most of the time Lelia was talking alone. It was like she was giving advice, and by advice, it was mature advice.
“Do you understand me? It’s just a trauma. I’m sure there’s one thing you’re afraid of.”
Romeo nodded unusually violently.
Oscar also listened, blinking his eyes, and Kalix and Griffith remained calm.
“What are you most afraid of?” Griffith asked Lelia.
[They will think it is weird if I were to say it’s hunger.]
“I… for the people of the Empire starving. That’s the scariest thing.”
“You’re going to be Emperor.” Kalix frowned and criticized.
“It’s different because you’re the Crown Prince.” Griffith, however, said unexpectedly.
“So what are you afraid of?”
“I, I, uh, father….”
Oscar answered Lelia’s question first. Then it was Romeo.
“I… the Devil?”
Lelia looked at Griffith next.
“…I don’t have one.”
[I don’t think you’d say even if you did…]
Lelia looked at Kalix next to her.
“What am I afraid of? I’m the one who defeated my uncle, even if he sent a beast to kill me.”
[You… know what you’re afraid of.]
Lelia blankly stared at him and shook her head.
“I, I know… what Kalix is afraid of…” Oscar, who remained silent, said, slowly raising one hand.
“What? What are you saying?”
Kalix was embarrassed while frowning his eyebrows.
Lelia asked as if she couldn’t miss this time, “What is it?”
“He is afraid to talk to girls. Well, last time a girl came to talk to him, he ran away.”
“Hey, I’m not!!” Kalix leapt to his feet and tried to jump on Oscar. Romeo and Griffith quickly grabbed his arms one by one and stopped him.
Lelia giggled looking at them in such a situation.
The five of them talked about various things, including likes and dislikes. It was time to get to know each other more. Until morning came, the room was filled with children’s loud noises. Outside the window, it was still dark and raining, but no one cared about the sound of rain or thunder.
Lelia just wanted to comfort the frightened Oscar, but it was an unforgettable night for the child. One day after many years, even before a battle that might cost him his life, he would remember this time and laugh at ease.
It was a long, memorable, and precious night.
Children grow up quickly day by day.
The five children also grew incredibly fast every day, and as they spent so much time together, they became more familiar and closer to each other.
They spent two years like that.
It was about six months before they returned to their home country.
“Hey, Prince Leo.”
“Oh, Lady Julia.”
“Can you accept this?”
The girl, who braided her hair on both sides, gave Lelia a letter envelope shyly.
“Thank you. I’ll cherish it.” The cute boy called “Leo” smiled and turned around.
“Prince Leo is really nice.”
“I’ll write to him again!”
The latest trend among girls from all over the world staying at the shrine was to write a letter to “Prince Leo.” Even though they didn’t get a reply, the girls eagerly wrote letters. It’s because they can at least get to hear his kind greeting and friendly smile.
The boy called Leo sighed as soon as he turned the corner. He had a twitching smile and his cheeks tingled. It was hard to get used to but still. Lelia stroked her tingling cheek and headed to her room. When she came back to the room, she saw a stack of envelopes on the table. She added a letter to it that she had just received.
Then the door burst open.
“I’m going to the library. Have you been there?”
The first person to come in was Kalix followed by Griffith, Romeo and Oscar.
They seemed to have taken a shower after practicing swordsmanship. Everyone’s hair was wet.
Lelia gave them a complex look.
They have all grown up.
The children were originally not much taller than Lelia, but now grew by more than one inch taller than her.
Lelia clenched her fists and trembled.
[Weren’t girls naturally taller at this age?]
However, the three-year difference seemed to be non-negligible. The official age of Prince Leo, currently disguised by Lelia, was twelve. It was the same for the four children who were close to Lelia.
But Lelia’s real age was nine.
That doesn’t mean Lelia hasn’t grown up. She has grown a lot since before while she has been eating well and doing well here.
It’s just that those kids had a lot more growth.
Even Oscar, who had been shorter than Lelia, surpassed her height.
[It hurts my pride.]
And from some point, the frequency of them calling her ‘captain’ had reduced too. Sometimes they called her ‘captain’, but somehow, she couldn’t feel the sincerity. It felt like they were all teasing her.
[Is it because everyone is taller than me?]
Angrily, Lelia squinted and glanced at them as if they were nasty.
“Did you cry again?” Romeo smiled mischievously and asked her.
“I didn’t cry!” Lelia yelled and went straight to her bedroom.
In fact, she felt a little uncomfortable dealing with them because of what happened recently.
[Why did I do that?]
Lelia lay on the bed and grabbed her head. And she remembered what happened a few days ago.