“Yes, there’s the growing pains too, but they seem to be suffering from high fever.”
“Our Euel shouldn’t be sick.”
Elves are famous for being a healthy race. It is safe to say that they do not suffer from body-related diseases, but that point also applies to me as a mixed race.
Still, I don’t understand seeing my father worrying about it like this.
“But, Euel, Father is always worried about you.”
Sometimes the people in this house seem to care too much about me, so I have to ask.
The blue eyes that met me slightly, but definitely shook. As if trying to hide something.
“Because Euel is the cutest daughter in the world!”
But it disappeared so quickly that I thought it was an illusion, and I quickly forgot it because of my father’s act of putting his hand under my armpit and making me fly.
Because this childish and insignificant behavior was actually something I liked.
“Our Euel is flying! Maybe Yuel is actually a winged fairy?”
I saw my father talking nonsense while making a fuss. After all, I must have misunderstood the shaking eyes.
* * *
I avoid social gatherings as much as possible, but there are times when I have to participate as a member of the family.
It’s a regular tea party.
A tea party is not necessarily a meeting to drink tea, but refers to a gathering of powerful families to develop friendships.
“Yes, Hanil. Hello.”
As always, a smile for the outside world.
Meetings also vary according to age.
People from the age of six to fourteen or fifteen, before their debut in the social world, participate in these gatherings, but I belong to the other group where six to nine years old gather.
Next, there are regular and non-regular ones, and regular ones are hosted by the imperial family and some families in turn. Irregular ones are held when each family wants to hold it.
“It’s really nice to see you again since the Crown Prince’s Palace a while ago!”
“Me too, Hanil.”
It’s good for kids to get together, but the real goal of this group is to build friendships and exchange opinions with people from each family. In other words, my mother will be watching me somewhere in the back, so I have to play the role without any mistakes.
It’s not a problem as if I will tarnish my family, but that doesn’t mean that I should be locked up in a corner by myself with the kids.
“Hello, Euel. It’s hard to see your face.”
“Hello, Lord Bonart. I am Hanil of Hyacinth.”
“I am Bonart’s Ethyl. Nice to meet you.”
When I saw six or eight year-olds formally greeting each other, my mouth was bitter.
Everyone’s eyes were turned to one side at the sudden cry that filled the hall.
“Oh dear, shhh. You should be quiet, Kandal.”
“Uwaaaaah, I want to go baaaaacckkkk!”
A certain Count’s child sat down and wept,
“It seems that the Extri family did not have proper etiquette education.”
A girl approached me and said,
“What do you think, Lady Hardland?”
She was the eldest daughter of the Xuen family, who hosted today’s party, Aurin Xuen.
“I don’t know the situation well, so it’s difficult for me to say anything.”
“Is that so? Whatever it is, it is not polite to cry like that in a crowded place.”
As I said, she is nine years old this year.
I don’t like crying like that, but it’s not okay to be so cold to a child. Thinking about that, I’d be the weirdest.
“Hello, Lord Bonart.”
“Yes, hello. Miss Xuen.”
Aurin Xuen opened her mouth as if there was something she was going to say to Ethyl, and Ethyl asked Hanil.
“Have you talked to Euseniel? I have a story to tell with Euseniel.”
Hanil laughed. He seems to have lost his concentration and wants to go somewhere else, but then he leaves. But there were still people left by his side.
“You call me by my name.”
“Lord Bonart calls Lady Hardland by her first name.”
Aurin Xuen stared at us. Rather than me, it was stuck with Ethyl.
“Because we are close.”
“I’m also close.”
“Does being close happen because you wanted to? It comes naturally.”
Ethyl, is he really a kid? No, seeing that I am calm and no one is surprised, maybe this is normal.
I guess I didn’t know the average because I have been alone too often.
I’ll have to revise the standards I have in my head. I think this kind of meeting is not so bad. I don’t have to pretend to be cute to look like I’m six for nothing.
“It means that we should try to be friendly.”
“Thanks for the offer, but that’s enough.”
“May I ask why?”
Is it because her head is a little too big, and her father is the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
Aurin asked Xuen with a smile on her lips. Of course, she only smiles with her mouth yet her face hardens.
What was even more surprising was that Aurin Xuen kept talking to Ethyl after being rejected several times. Neither of them seemed to care about me, so I looked at them with interest.
Even children’s lives can have such a stimulating part.
What would Ethyl’s answer be?
“That’s because I don’t want to be friends with Lady Xuen.”
Aurin Xuen’s face was wrinkled.
“You talk too much, Lord.”
“Don’t you think it’s too much to keep asking to be friends?”
The two little children of about the same height looked at each other without an inch of backing down.
I tried to mediate, but they even pretend to not see me.
I couldn’t help but look at the ceiling. The Xuen family has a mural painted on the ceiling. Ah, I think that painting is the work of the famous painter Prache?
“You are so arrogant.”
“You are persistent.”
Oh, I want to faint.
Fortunately, Ethyl reached out his hand to me.
“Let’s go somewhere else and talk, Euseniel.”
I put my hand on the hand that was out in front of me.
In Ethyl’s hand, my hand was fully immersed. Clearly, there is a big difference in these age groups, even if we are two years apart. I almost forgot that my partner was eight years old, and I was a little excited.
“Then, excuse me.”
Aurin Xuen’s gaze stuck in Ethyl, and didn’t fall. She looked like she was about to cry.
“… What did you do to Aurin Xuen? Why does she keep looking at me?”
“Nothing? By the way, Euseniel, how are you going to train? Grandfather wanted you to continue learning swordsmanship.”
There’s no way I could say, ‘I can’t play with you because the Crown Prince doesn’t like you.’ It is also true that I want to continue learning swordsmanship. Because Tess can’t come, Sir Guard won’t come either.
“If you are worried, practice with me for a while. Shall I go to Hardland tomorrow?”
Apparently, Tess reacts that way because he feels like I’m his only friend being taken away. Tess won’t come for a while, so we’ll have to come up with a countermeasure in the meantime.
I agreed to Ethyl’s proposal, and I could see people slowly going out. Turning my head towards my mother, I smiled knowingly, and Ethyl and I agreed to see each other tomorrow.
As the carriage began to move, my mother grabbed my hand and asked.
“Do you like Ethyl, Euel?”
“Because he is gentle.”
The words, “For that age,” came up to my throat, but I held it in.
“Then how about an engagement?”
For a moment, I bit my tongue, perhaps because of the shaking of the carriage. Ouch, it hurts.
“Is it rare that Euseniel seems to like him?”
“I’m still six years old.”
“Umm, indeed. Everyone gets engaged at the earliest when they are around ten. Ethyl will be ten in two years, so wouldn’t it be okay if you got engaged now?”
My mother tilted her head to the side and asked, but she was pretty, so let’s not fall for it.
“In two years I will be eight years old, Mother. And ethyl isn’t good enough to make me want to get engaged.”
“If you get a fiance, you would be able to distance yourself from the Crown Prince.”
As expected, she knew I was annoyed with Tess. It might be strange if she doesn’t know.
“If you are engaged to Ethyl, even the Crown Prince will not be able to prevent Ethyl from coming to Hardland. Most of all, the Empress will remove the Crown Prince from you and make him meet with the other children. Then Euseniel can live doing what she wants to do.”
“In exchange for the shield of engagement with Ethyl.”
“Fufu, it’s an engagement. If you change your mind, you can dissolve it by mutual consent. Don’t think too hard, Euel.”
Having said that, Ethyl is a really good kid, enough to be mentioned by Mother. I don’t know anything else, but his heart is pure.
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