Chapter 1. Prologue
“Did you rest well?”
“Yes, what about Bernique?”
“I had a good rest too.”
After yesterday’s incident, they made quite a mess saying they will sleep with me, so I scolded them a lot to stop.
As we were talking, Eryte appeared as the door of the dining room burst open.
Eryte, who sat on the opposite seat of me, made a flower cup pose and smiled continuously. Now I’m worried about what nonsense he’s going to say, seeing those Indian dimples.
“How was yesterday? I heard that the monster you caught was bigger?”
Because he ran out of the banquet, Eryte seems to have heard the news late.
Dad called his name in a stern voice. Eryte gave a signal by winking, as if saying, “Let’s talk later.”
Should I run away? I had a small concern.
“Rosiane, is there anything bothering you these days?”
My dad suddenly asked. I thought he knew what happened during the morning and asked, so I stopped my fork for a moment, then shook my head pretending to be calm.
“Okay. Be sure to tell me if there is.”
As if his inner thoughts were saying “Since Dad will get rid of it”, his eyes were shining. I definitely can’t say anything, with him being like that.
“Yes, I understand.”
As soon as my dad finished speaking, Leav and Bernick each picked up food and served it to me.
Both are indeed my favorites, but if I eat one first, there will be a war again.
“Oh, I like this one!”
Whether he noticed my troubles or not, Eryte, who jumped up from his seat, put Bernique’s food into his mouth.
What was meant for me disappeared into Eryte’s stomach in vain.
“Brother! What are you—”
“Oh! I like this one too!”
Eryte, who didn’t even listen to Bernique, took away the food from Leav’s fork this time and ate it.
Three storm-like confrontations passed by.
I watched it like a skit and when I filled my stomach to the point of feeling good, the butler who guided us, came in with a knock.
“What’s going on?”
“I apologize for this while you’re having your meal. Your Majesty. Baron Freiselben’s daughter has not returned ever since she went out for a morning walk.”
My father’s lovely forehead slightly crumpled. It was the same for me.
Unlike Bernique and Leav, who didn’t seem to be interested, Eryte continuously said ‘Freiselben? Freiselben huh’, as he tilted his head.
I quietly spoke to him.
“Freiselben is the last name of the lady you picked up from the forest yesterday.”
“Oh, it’s her! The one that looks like Rosiane!”
Eryte clapped loudly, perhaps because he just thought of it.
A girl who resembles me, as expected did he feel like that? Then dad, Bernique, and Leav, as well?
As I carefully looked around the area where silence fell, I heard my father’s chilly voice.
“They don’t look alike!”
“I don’t understand why you’re saying they look alike, brother.”
Eryte faltered and lowered his voice due to the fierce rebuttal.
“I mean, don’t they look alike? It kind of felt like that though?”
“I think it’s time to change your eyes, brother.”
“You’re only saying the right things, little brother. I should call the doctor right away to treat our brother’s eyes.”
The experienced butler stood silently with his eyes down, not changing his expression.
I quickly changed the subject for the sake of the poor butler who was in this mess.
“Dad, I think you need to send a search team. The monsters could have come down further.”
After yesterday’s incident, the knights were made to accompany the others so they would be okay, but if the lady moves around alone, she can get caught up in an incident any time.
Of course, this could be a lie by the baron to introduce his daughter’s presence, but it won’t hurt to be careful.
They decided to dispatch a search team following our father’s order, and after finishing our meal, we returned to our respective rooms. Eryte came to my room before I could even turn over two pages of a book.
At that moment I wondered if I was going to hear a story about monsters that I couldn’t hear about earlier, Eryte’s eyes, which was sparkling with playfulness, curved like the shape of a half moon in an instant.
Ah, this is a bad sign.
Like a cat that lowers its body and sways before hunting, Eryte would smile like that before playing around.
I don’t know what it is about, but I thought that I should firmly say it first and drew the line, Eryte shrugged and opened the window wide. Cold air flooded in.
“Let’s go find it!”
Without a moment to stop Eryte who was smiling, he lifted me on his shoulder and soon jumped over the window.
* * *
The topography here is a little unique.
There is a mansion in the center and a forest surrounds it, there is a sheer cliff to the west and a huge ridge to the north.
Eryte who had been running to the west of the forest for a while couldn’t beat me as I clenched my fist and violently hit his back and he finally stopped and put me down on the ground.
As soon as my feet touched the ground, I turned around without hesitation and walked towards the mansion.
Looking at my wrist that was held by Eryte, I slowly removed his fingers. The more I slipped away from his fingers, the more Eryte cried.
“I’m going back.”
“Why? It’s nice to take a walk!”
“A walk? It seems that Eryte doesn’t know the severity of things right now, but a monster could appear here even right now.”
Also, Lora, who had been called by dad, as well as Randy and Melissa, who went out of the room for a while to urgently fix the problem with the clothes I will wear at the banquet, would be very suprised when they return. The window is open and I’m gone.
“Rosiane, don’t you trust this brother? Something like a monster is just one hit for me!”
“That’s not the problem, Eryte. I’m saying that everyone would be worried that I disappeared without a word.”
Eryte pouted in my words.
“Then, you can just stay close to me!”
“Can you please understand the context? Anyway, I’m going back.”
As I kept taking his hand off, Eryte lifted my body up like before.
“Oh, come on!”
When I raised my voice to him for the first time, Eryte’s body stiffened and he shouted louder than my voice.
“Okay, okay! I can just take you back home then!”
I pinched his side as I was apalled at Eryte, who acted as if I was the one who did something wrong. I twisted it hard because he still didn’t budge.
He, who is not easily cold, was wearing thin clothes, so he finally squirmed and groaned as it hurt.
“Ah—! Ah, wait, it tickles! Rosiane! It tickles!”
…….. I guess it wasn’t because it hurt. How can you say that it tickles when I put so much strength in it? Is Eryte’s body made of steel?
“Put me down before I tickle your left side as well. I’ll walk on my own.”
At my threat, Eryte immediately put me down on the ground. Only then did I notice that only one of the indoor slippers were left.
I guess he didn’t notice because he was excited earlier. I could feel the coldness of the dirty ground under my thick socks.
“What happened, where are your slippers?”
Noticing that, Eryte opened his eyes wide.
“I don’t know. It must be somewhere.”
I roughly answered and assessed the direction we came from. However, it was all trees, so I couldn’t tell at all.
Eryte, who suddenly squatted with a snort, untied the laces of his boots. I stared at him, wondering why he bothered with the intact shoelaces, but when he took it off, he pulled my right leg and led it to his side.
At that moment, the balance of my body collapsed and I staggered and grabbed Eryte’s hair.
It was very tight too, to the point that Eryte, who rarely groans, felt pain.
I hurriedly lowered my hand down and grabbed his shoulder, expressing my apology to his scalp, which was pulled quite tightly.
“Wait, Eryte what are you doing right now?”
Eryte, who closed his mouth, squeezed my foot into the boots he took off and tightened the lace as much as possible. Even so, there was a lot of space left in the front and back so I have to walk clumsily.
“It’ll be bad if you get hurt.”
Eryte muttered something, but it disappeared after being swept away by a strong wind that blew at that moment. When I asked back because I couldn’t hear him well, he raised his head and smiled.
“What did you say, Eryte?”
“It’s nothing. I said my feet are freezing, so wear them well!”
Eryte raised his bent body only after tying a ribbon beautifully.
“Instead, can I walk on our way back?”
“Okay. Let’s walk.”
I want to go back quickly, but I thought that this would be okay, so I held his extended hand. The warm hands seemed to take away the coldness.
“But Rosiane. Why don’t you call me brother? You do that to brother.”
“Hm, I’m not sure?”
While walking silently, I suddenly got a question from Eryte.
“You’re not sure……? Is that it? Nothing else?”
At the clingy Eryte, I pondered while walking along the way. Both are my brothers, but how should I say, they feel somewhat different.
Nanuk feels like a truly reliable big brother so the word ‘brother’ comes out naturally, while Eryte, perhaps because he is wild by nature, the word ‘brother’ won’t come out at all.
“It’s just, Eryte is..”
“……. Because you’re so comfortable?”
[*to be around with]
But if I say it frankly, he’ll definitely be shocked, so I chose to avoid it as much as possible.
“Because I’m comfortable to be with? Is that all?”
“It’s not everything……. Why are you suddenly curious about that?”
“I mean, it’s a pity that you can’t call this cool brother, ‘brother’. This is a privilege only given to you, but because you don’t use it, I’m curious.”
It was the first time I realized that calling him brother would be a privilege.
As I rolled my eyes to find something to say, Eryte lightly shook my arm and urged me.
“….. Because you didn’t look like a cool older brother?”
Eryte’s face turned white, perhaps because it was an unexpected reply. But it’s not exactly wrong.
He frequently makes trouble, always getting me dragged into it, I know Eryte cares about me a lot, but sometimes it’s too much.
“More than that, is this the right way?”
“I mean, Rosiane. Don’t change the topic. What do you mean by I don’t look like a cool older brother?”
Unlike when he was always focusing on the new topics I would bring up, Eryte seemed to want to continue the previous conversation.
“Well, brother is brother but…… well, if you will look really cool someday, I’ll call you that. For now, let’s find the way.”
I think we’ve walked for fifteen minutes, but there are still trees all over the place. When it comes to this level, it is normal to hear the sound of people, but all I could hear was the sound of the trees as the wind blew.
“Eryte, can we really go this way?”
“Tch. You don’t even call me brother.”
Eryte murmured in a small voice as he followed. I stopped walking at the dreary surroundings.
Then, I looked back at Eryte, who had been pouting.
“Eryte? Are you listening to me?”
“Yeah…. I think we went the wrong way.”
When I stared at Eryte, who scratched his head and spoke calmly, he quickly began to make excuses.
“N, no. That’s not it! There’s probably a way this way too?”
When I repeated what he said, Eryte’s head quickly shook from side to side.
“There is! There must be!”
You said it. We walked for a few more minutes in the direction the muttering Eryte randomly pointed.
However, We were only heading towards a more thick forest, and I don’t think the mansion will show up at all. Eventually, Eryte raised his hands.
“This won’t do. I’ll have to climb up the tree and find out the location of the mansion.”
“A tree? Will you be okay?”
“That much is easy! Just trust this brother, Rosiane! You have to stay still and wait here, okay?”
“Okay. Hurry up then come back.”
He’s someone who would to break down trees with his fist, there’s no reason he can’t climb trees.
When I waved my hands at him to go and come back quickly, Eryte disappeared towards the top of the tree with light movements.
It was a light and flexible movement like a squirrel climbing a tree. Even though winter is not gone yet, it was still filled with leaves, so his body quickly became invisible.
I silently leaned on the trunk of the tree where Eryte climbed and waited for him.
Just then, a small sniffle came from somewhere.