After the tear-stained, joyous divorce ceremony, she calmly returned to the annex as if nothing had happened. It was just dinner time.
As soon as she entered the dining hall she was taken aback. Twice as many servants than usual noticed her and their eyes lit up.
‘Ah. Come to think of it, there were a lot of people who saw Leone while he was walking… walking on two feet.’
“What is this? I didn’t know Sir Leone was so handsome!”
“I thought Lou was talking nonsense. Because I was surprised earlier.”
“No. Something was shining outside the window. It’s a forest, so there’s no sunlight anywhere. So I looked up and saw Sir Leone-sama…!”
Everyone knew now. Well, Leone’s beauty was that much. It’s not strange that she almost lost her mind sometimes. But she was not a bad protector! She was a victim who almost got possessed for a good reason!
“Right, everyone? Sir Leone is really beautiful.”
Everyone had their eyes fixed. Unlike the three men in the main building, who were too docile or strange, the reaction of the normal person was more touching because it was the first time. So she smiled happily.
“Yes, Trixie. I envy you. You can see Sir Leone right next to you every day!”
It was an unexpected reaction. Like that, things would work out.
She shook her head in wonder and appreciation for Leone’s appearance.
“Because he walks on two legs, he is just a prince. Prince!”
“I didn’t know that Sir Leone was so handsome.”
“I thought so too.”
“You are laughing. I was busy being scared all the time.”
They’d always been lively people, but today they’re even more lively. The above two cheeks were lovely. Especially the girls around Lou’s age seemed very excited.
In the meantime, Lou’s sly laughter penetrated.
“Now you know, everyone.”
She looked down at people with her stern face and posture. It was a mysterious ability how she could look down on everyone despite her short stature.
“Ah, that’s right. Besides, Lou went to the main building today.”
However, everyone easily ignored Lou’s smirk and continued talking as if they had remembered something important. It seemed that Lou was used to doing that.
“Isn’t it really dangerous now?”
“So. That little kid goes to the main building without any problems.”
“Who is smaller!”
Lou protested, but her seeds were not eaten. Girls of her age started to make fun of Lou, and the adults chatter away at her with their excited faces.
“If it’s safe now, I’d like to stand next to him.”
“Oh. I can see him inside.”
“What, what is it?”
“What if you can see inside? This will be the first and last chance to be next to such a handsome Young lord.”
The atmosphere warmed up. It was a big help that Lou came to her main building today. The world has turned so well. That was her normal life now. She had been so unlucky until now, that she decided to intervene at that point.
“Hmm. To be honest, I was thinking of accepting applicants…”
“Are you accepting applicants?”
As she started rhyming, Lou asked with her twinkling eyes. Everyone’s attention was focused on Trixie.
“Can I volunteer for a walk?”
She knows how to lighten the mood. Lou was such a perfect talent…!
If she had made up her mind to go to the imperial castle, she would have taken Lou with her unconditionally.
“Yes, Lou. I thought I’d go for a walk with Sir Leone with someone more… maybe three new people just once.”
‘Just once’ that’s the magic word. A word that makes even the uninitiated think, ‘If it will be only once, isn’t it a loss if you don’t apply?’ Besides, there was a limit of ‘three people’? Even people who had no idea were bound to get excited for no reason. She had seen a lot of blood in this trick too.
“Sister! You know I’m number one. I made a reservation a long time ago. It’s me, me!”
“Huh. You did. With Lou, there are only two positions left.”
She laughed ‘haha’ and answered naturally. Her mind was anxious. Would someone be swept away by the atmosphere and shake off their fear of Leone? She looked back at the servants, but most of them had hesitant faces. Well, it would be difficult to completely shake off the fear. It seemed that even the magic of ‘just once’ basis and limit couldn’t overcome fear.
At that time. A girl muttered and raised her hand.
“Oh. Sophie! Were you interested in Leone too?”
“I thought you were quiet, but you seem to like handsome men too!”
Lou laughed brightly and shouted.
“Then let’s have Sophie. There is only one seat left.”
At the same time, words erupted from several places. The air between people changed slightly. Everyone paused and looked into each other’s eyes. There were not one or two of them moving back and forth in the air as if their hands were about to be raised or hesitated. Because the two special seats became one in an instant.
Did she succeed? Whoops. After all, her skill was-.
Then, a thick voice was heard that cooled the heated atmosphere.
In the place where the eyes were focused, there was a grim woodcutter who sat in the corner every day to eat. Except for mealtimes, he always worked outside, and since he lived in a corner room on the first floor, there was not much to see.
“You guys forget everything easily.”
She didn’t know the story, but she could tell that he didn’t like the current situation.
“Do you think he will change? You don’t know him. He is not a man, he is not a person who can communicate with words or emotions.”
The man gritted his teeth and said something, looking frightened. At his words, the atmosphere in the room became heavy.
“Is there anyone else who can help? Don’t worry too much. Sir Adler is there too, and the safety system is certain.”
She deliberately spoke cheerfully and opened her mouth again. But nobody answered.
“No, Uncle Luther. It’s good if Leone changes, do you really have to blow the candle like that?”
Lou stepped out bravely. Embarrassed, Lou’s sister dragged Lou away.
“No, sister. I’m right. Uncle Luther only met Leone once. Sir Leone didn’t do any harm.”
“Because everyone who got hurt quit, kid.”
The woodcutter, Luther replied calmly. Boys and girls only looked at each other, and shadows fell on the adults’ faces.
Unless one was an idiot, they could tell that the flow was going badly.
She tried to organize the atmosphere and moved to receive food. And Lou followed her with Sophie.
“Sister, I will definitely go for a walk. Sophie will too. Right, Sophie?”
Anyway, since the dining hall was so big, there was no way anyone could hear it, but Lou started talking to her in a whisper.
“I understand that grown-ups are scared. It’s because they couldn’t see how great my sister is. Buttler Jen also acknowledged you.”
“Thank you, Lou.”
“Everyone is a coward, really.”
“Lou… You can’t talk like that.”
“Whew. Sophie, lets think. It’s been a long time since Sir Leone didn’t harm people.”
“But, Lou. Because they didn’t see… It’s easy… They’re not adults…”
She knew best that not everyone could face fear. No matter how hard she tried, in the end she spent a year and a half submissive under Jamie. She couldn’t blame the fear that had settled deep in the annex.
“I’m just glad Lou and Sophie accepted. It’s not good to force it. Everyone has their own reasons. Sir Leone, me, you, and the adults too. So don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Lou replied sullenly. Unfortunately, she was the same, but she had already safely completed training with Jen. And she would do her best to keep Lou and Sophie out of harm’s way. Just keep showing those two girls that being near Leone was safe. She didn’t know if she could make it before leaving.
Her mind got complicated. She wanted to create an environment where Leone would not be lonely and leave. It left her with regret in many ways. But with Benjamin, it would be all right. All she had to do was help Leone become more comfortable with others and lower his aggression.
To be able to go to the imperial castle and not be overly preoccupied with strangers.
* * *
Was she happy? As if trying to tell her it was okay for her to leave, everything went pretty well. Face-to-face training with Lou was no problem. When she started training to go for a walk with Jen, Lou, and Sophie, she got a little sensitive because there were a lot of people, but it got better in the end. No, rather than getting better, it still felt like dealing with an inanimate object.
“You are doing well… That’s right.”
Leone didn’t look particularly strange. He wasn’t near her, and he wasn’t far from her either. He stood up every day while maintaining a reasonable distance. He spoke quite fluently now, and his form when walking on his two feet was natural. He got to the point where he said it would be great if he could just sit and eat his food. But something very important hadn’t changed. Leone was… Just like the first time, it seemed that he was thinking of other people as “tree 1” or “a rock standing tall in the distance” rather than “human beings.” And that’s only for women.
After taking a walk with Sophie and Lou, they sat down on the lawn in front of the main building and welcomed the sun.
“Thomas wants to go for a walk, too.”
“Really? As for Thomas…Is it Tom’s son who puts the firewood in?”
“Yes. He said he’s interested too.”
It was a pleasant sound to hear. Somehow, all face-to-face training was conducted with women, so they couldn’t test Leone’s dislike of men. Lou seemed to be a salesperson for Leone, and she went around persuading boys and girls who were less reluctant. At first, the children who noticed her parents and family were a little more interested when they saw that Lou, Sophie, and Jen were fine every day.
“I’m so glad… It was a man what was most needed.”
“I need? Other… worker.”
“Ah, that. It’s not for me, it’s for Leone’s sake.”
She stroked Leone.
Leone groaned and fell on the floor.
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