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* * *
After coming out of the pumpkin tower, my brother bought my sister the most delicious food she had, as promised.
“Laurentia liked what was made here, although it’s cumbersome, can you please make it?”
The person willingly accepted the request of my brother who was a little hesitant and apologetic.
[tn— the raw word used for “person” here literally means; ‘person living in a territory’]
Thanks to this, my sister was able to fill her growling stomach, while dangling her legs.
When she was full, she began to talk about her adventure today in the carriage returning to the duke’s mansion.
“Because they said that you went in, I thought that there was something really amazing inside, so I really wanted to go in!”
The moment my sister said that, my mother and father were startled at my brother’s gaze.
Of course, brother Damian did not act like a child who was so proud that he kept giving them looks.
He simply just made eye contact with my sister with friendly eyes.
I was in the arms of my sullen father in order to comfort him.
When I patted his hard and thick forearms with my hands, my father rubbed his chin near the top of my head.
Whenever my father moved, I could feel the hanging cotton balls on my hat had crumpled here and there.
‘In fact, my father mostly agreed with what my mother said.’
To think that it’s my father’s side that’s being stabbed more.
Even though my mother was a little sorry, she looked like she was secretly proud of my brother who knew how to stand his ground.
Anyway, my sister laughed and continued her tale.
“There were this much pumpkins piled up inside as well.”
It is natural that the inside of the pumpkin tower is also a pumpkin, but the look outside and inside were different, so it looks like my sister didn’t think it was the same.
“It was so high up like this! There was a pumpkin above Lara’s head as well, it felt like I went to the pumpkin country?”
My older sister exaggeratedly spread her arms and talked excitedly.
“But why didn’t you hear mom call, Laurentia?”
My mother asked while removing my sister’s disheveled hair on her cheek.
“Huh……..? Why is that? Lara didn’t hear though?”
My sister tilted her head with her hand on her chin.
It looked similar to when my mother gets worried, so I felt my father laugh lightly.
Because the big body hugging me slightly vibrated as if stifling it in.
Then my sister clapped her hands as if she realized something.
“Lara fell asleep!”
“…….. You slept?”
On the contrary, the one who was surprised was my brother.
“Uung! I was so sleepy all of a sudden. I guess it was because of Lara’s big stomach.”
My sister said that and giggled.
Right, my older sister was the type that once she falls asleep, until she’s hungry, she won’t get up even when being carried by someone.
When he learned the whole story of the incident, my older brother just made eye contact with our parents giving them a warning as if telling them not to do it.
And to my sister.
“Laurentia, from now on, you have to tell me when you go somewhere.”
It was just like my older brother to not tell her not to do it.
It was similar to what my parents always said, so I unknowingly pulled the corner of my mouth and smiled.
And my mother who heard all the stories.
“I hope our eldest would also do the same though?”
While hugging my brother, she said so with a small voice that only my brother could hear.
My brother’s face turned slightly red as if he was embarrassed.
However, my older brother nodded without further blaming our parents.
* * *
The next day after visiting the festival, my parents called my brother and had a thorough talk once again.
Even though it was settled, they seemed to have been quite concerned.
“I didn’t like it because I was also embarrassed. I don’t even remember it, so if my parents say so, I can’t say it’s a lie. I don’t want to be a person who blindly says no when I have no basis.”
Still, my brother was a very good child.
Perhaps because my sister and I weren’t present, my older brother hugged our parents and said.
“It’s not that I hate that my mother and father remember my childhood so fondly.”
“My younger siblings are precious as well, but I’d like you to leave it as a story just between us.”
Very unusually, my older brother behaved as the two’s seven-year-old child, instead of as the eldest, which is like a duty.
My mother hugged that kind of brother tightly and rubbed his cheeks.
“Okay, then will our Damian also occasionally make time for me? Our Damian acts more as Laurentia and Anastasia’s older brother than as the mother’s baby.”
“Were you sad?”
My mother deliberately spoke exaggeratedly.
“Dad, Dad, too. Damian.”
“Why don’t you answer your dad right away? Not just Mikhail, Dad also wants to see you come running saying you want to spar!”
At that strangely immature tone, my older brother smiled lightly and talked playfully.
“How could I fight with my father?”
Of course, my brother was a commendable child who did not forget to kiss his father’s cheek to cheer him up as well, while he burst into a smile that resembled his mother.
The time of the three people ended with my sister waking up from a nap and looking for those three people loudly.
* * *
Even as I spied in on the conversation between my parents and brother, Choco helped a lot.
That’s why I spent as much time as I wanted with Choco for three days as promised.
After Mikhail comes back, I can’t let choco wander around carelessly.
These days, it’s only peaceful, so there’s nothing else I can order Choco.
“Choco is so happy, can’t Choco continue to stay? Sleep with the Demon King, and when the Demon King eats, I’ll watch from the side.”
“Why? Whyy! I can make that arrogant little duke not come! Such a kid, is nothing to this Choco! Choco is the only family of the great and wonderful Demon King!”
If you say you won’t let him come, you mean you won’t let him breathe.
This is not such a harsh world.
Well, that’s why I’m cautious about everything I do.
Anyway, I looked at the flapping wings of choco and gently swept his back to soothe him.
—It’s because I somehow feel like I need Mikhail.
“Is it the Demon King’s grand plan?”
Actually, there is no such thing.
I am able to prevent the collapse of the world even by myself anyway.
And being afraid of dying too, umm, I’m not.
‘It’s been a while since I hesitated a little.’
It’s all because my family is so peaceful.
Even on the last day of the festival, they immediately said they would go down to the village one more time to watch fireworks together and enjoy the ball on the last day.
Even if it was a ball, rather than beautifully adorned nobles enjoying themselves in a hall, it looked like a big free dance in the village square.
“Hiing, so that arrogant kid is one of the candidates for the subordinate of the Demon King?”
Huh? It’s not like that…….
But I didn’t have to say that to Choco.
There are times when it’s more comfortable for my dog to misunderstand however he wants.
“Hyuu, then there’s nothing I can do about it! The fact that Demon King thinks he’s a subordinate candidate means he’ll be a junior to Choco, right? Choco is going to act really cool as the Demon King’s first subordinate!”
Then my dog flapped its wings and flew up again.
“I should prepare to firmly educate that arrogant kid so that he can listen very well if its Demon King’s words, Kyang!”
Choco then pushed his face toward my stomach as if asking for a compliment.
When I patted his head, my dog purred as if satisfied.
After all, there’s no possibility that you’ll meet with my dog that way. Probably.
* * *
On the last day of the festival, unlike the first day, my parents increased the number of knights and maids that followed.
As my father got on the carriage, he spoke to my brother with words of respect instead of an apology.
“As you said, Damian, it’s a mistake because it is only done once.”
My brother was embarrassed by those words but hugged my father tightly.
Only then did the rain clouds on his face clear up, just how weak is father to his family?
No, it’s not that, is he listening dearly to what (his) childen are saying?
Anyway, it was really a relief.
Because my brother’s face that day kept bothering me.
I always feel like my brother is holding back for his family.
As I recalled that time, my eyes caught the last night of the festival.
The colorful fabric wrapped around the lanterns was beautifully colorful.
A bright light was lit in the center of the village, and the best musicians from each village performed exciting dance songs.
In the middle, everyone sang songs with different lyrics and danced in a circle.
“Are you sleepy, Anastasia?”
I was sitting still among the maids, and my older brother, who danced with my older sister, approached me.
When I answered like that, my brother extended his hand.
“Then, do you want to dance with Brother?”
When I nodded, my brother took my hand carefully.
In the meantime, my sister was holding my dad’s hand and was dancing while giggling.
“I’m sorry, Anastasia.”
While I was looking at that scene and just thinking that it was nice, my brother’s apology suddenly flew to me.
“You must have been hurt a lot that day.”
My sweet brother seemed to have been bothered by dragging me without even thinking about me during that day which had already been a few days ago.
But in that case.
“Nwo, I owkay…… I sworry.”
[No, I’m okay….. I’m sorry.]
“Huh? Why is Anastasia sorry?”
My brother looked at me with a puzzled face.
And I confidently exercised my right to remain silent.
‘It’s not like I can say, “I peeked at the harmonious time between my brother and parents”.’
Since I’m clever, I know too well now what kind of behavior works for my family.
I showed a beaming smile.
Then my kind brother.
“Our Anastasia, you must be copying brother huh?”
He said that and rejoiced. Making me feel more guilty for no reason.
It would be nice if we could continue to be just peaceful and petty like this.
The festival is also fun and the faces of my family are full of smiles.
I somehow felt an anxious premonition.