We then left the catfight venue, which ended prematurely.
Hayato’s walking speed finally slowed down when we reached the fountain square in the center of the city.
At the same time, the tense atmosphere has eased.
“… I’m sorry.”
The one word I finally squeezed out was so mercilessly drowned out by the city, I was worried he will mishear it.
But Hayato’s replied in a calm voice.
“That I took the liberty of getting involved in your personal affairs and then made you feel uncomfortable by calling myself your partner.”
“Uncomfortable? A personal affair?”
“…was that not the case?”
“No! you’re wrong! Oh… you thought that’s why I was angry back then? no, Alice, that was something different… however I…”
“…I don’t like to deal with noble that will give me that kind of promise.”
He tried to soften up his wording, but I could tell there was a deeper meaning to his words.
We feel like we should somehow have a conversation with each other, and so we sat side by side on the edge of the fountain.
“You know… I always view nobles as liars.”
Like me, just like now, I was selfishly calling myself his partner and putting up a smug face without a shred of shame.
“why Alice apologizing? I was talking about people who tried to use us as disposable pawns.
When I was younger and still immature, some of my friends at the orphanages try to curry the favor of nobles, and then they just disappear. I’ve seen that countless times.
the girl just now made me remember those times again, and I got angry….
However, Alice…, you and Stuart family is different, thanks to Stuart, I’m aware that not all nobles are evil, I’m sorry that I scared you.”
[So, no more apology!] he said it in his cheerful voice, then Hayato ran across the square to buy some ice cream.
He leaves me seated alone while casting a warm protective ward around me.
Magic Ward had slightly different temperatures depending on the person’s state of mind.
Hayato’s ward, which views the nobles as “not good”, is strong, yet warm and gentle on the inside. It’s comfortable.
For some reason, I felt like I was going to cry.
Hayato came back with ice cream in both hands, and the ward disappeared like a soap bubble popping as soon as it touched him.
“Here you go, an ice cream. Would you like some?”
“Hmm. Do you want milk or chocolate?”
“… here you go.”
He smiled bitterly and didn’t give me both, but gave me the chocolate one.
What I need to give now is gratitude and not an apology. I make a smile to change my mood.
“Don’t worry about it. By the way, what’s your personal history with that girl? It’s been bothering me so much since a while ago.”
You’ve directed the conversation to a different topic, so I’ll be grateful for the ride. The feud between Maria’s faction and me is well-known gossip in the aristocratic society; it’s no use hiding it.
There was some gag order from the king, but that was part that had nothing to do with me, and as far as my knowledge on that matter, I know pretty much nothing.
“Where should I start… let’s see… did you know that I once had a fiancé, even though it’s just for the sake of political marriage?”
It’s not the topic most people want to listen to while eating ice cream in the sunny fountain plaza, but I continued my story. When I finished rambling on about how baroness Maria managed to snatch my fiancé and why it leads me to my banishment from my home, Hayato commented so sincerely, “That’s some amazing story …”
“I thought the story would end there, but when I saw her trying to drag Hayato to her problem, somehow… I just snap.”
“and so you interfere like that?”
“Yes, I had shown you something shameful.”
“I don’t think there’s any shame on that… But I was certainly surprised. I didn’t expect a Lady would cling to me like that.
… Hey Alice, I don’t know anything about the rules of nobility, so I want to know what is the safe limit for a man to touch a girl?”
“Yeah. That one earlier is certainly no good, right?”
I feel uncomfortable, as if he being innocently opening dark pages of my youth, but I regain my composure. I deserve this, it cannot be helped.
“… Yes, that’s true, …I suppose the upper limit is man and women holding hands together.
That’s not the case when it comes to dancing, but …”
“Holding hands? …… like this?”
Saying that Hayato places my hand in his own palm.
Come to think of it, this is the second time I’ve touched him.
I forgot to tell him, but I usually wear gloves when I do touch another man’s skin, so bare skin to bare skin contact is not so common.
It’s not that there aren’t case of it, but just laying your palms on top of each other in the fountain plaza in the daytime when people are coming and going is embarrassing, and my cheeks got hot, and I looked down.
“And this one?”
His other hand was placed on my head, and his fingertips gently stroked my hair.
Okay, I just hit my limit.
They say you will get used to someone’s beauty in three days, but I’m not sure if I’m had reached that point yet.
“Oh, that’s out! No good!”
“What? Really? I see, patting your head is not good.”
It’s not good for my heart!
Besides, I feel that was something a bit more than JUST innocent of a pat on the head.
Pretending to be scared, Hayato chuckled, and gently pulling his hand back.
“I’ve wanted to do that so many times before this, but it’s no good, huh? I’m glad I didn’t do it.”
This is hopeless, I’ll admit it.
I fell for him.
4th wall breaking dialogue.
Alice: “eh What…? I’m too easy?”