The last place to escape and hide from their eyes was that mountain village. She wished she could live a quieter life…
Only a sigh came out in the situation where she suddenly had to take care of the child. Even if she found out which family the child belonged to, that would be a problem. That was a remote place, so she had to cross the mountain unconditionally to go to another place. In other words, she would have to spend more than half a day climbing the mountain. Moreover, she couldn’t remember in detail which way she had come. Even with the help of the villagers, she didn’t have the confidence to find it. She didn’t even have the confidence to come back there again.
“…Whoa. Then what am I going to do?”
It was largely because of Elia Lawton’s savage temper that those around her stuck out their tongues. At least, it was fortunate that the remote villagers of Dera were ignorant of the outside news. If not, she would have been kicked out a long time ago.
Suddenly, a small boat horn-like sound made her look around. While she couldn’t find the source of the sound, she heard it again.
Only then did she realize that the noise was coming from somewhere near and looked down at the child’s stomach. Even though he was sleeping, the watch on his belly sounded like he had been starving for a long time. She should cook something. She carefully put the child on the bed and headed for the kitchen. After that she rummaged through the basket containing the ingredients obtained from the villagers.
There were various vegetables, bread, flour, and corn, so she chose what to do without difficulty. She was going to make soup. If so, even a child would be able to eat it safely.
She started making food diligently.
* * *
The child opened his eyes when the food was finished. The child who was looking at her while lying on the bed blinked slowly.
“Did you sleep well?”
The answering voice was also cute. She smiled inwardly and led the child to the table.
“Let’s eat first. Are you hungry?”
The child, sitting in a chair, looked down at the food on the table.
“Now. Try it. It’s properly cooled.”
The child hesitated for a moment, then he picked up the spoon in front of him.
“What do you think?”
The child diligently cut the spoon. He enjoyed the soup so much that she felt the reward of hard work.
“What is your name?”
“Lian? That’s a pretty name. I’m Elia.”
Apparently, Lian seemed to be an extra character just like her. Seeing how unfamiliar the name Lian felt.
“Where is your house? I think your parents are looking for you.”
Tears began to form in the eyes of the child who stopped eating at her words. She was taken aback by the fact that he looked like he was about to burst into tears. She couldn’t think of anything else to say, so she slowly opened my arms. As if the child had waited, he got down from his chair and was placed in her arms. She patted the child’s back slowly.
“I was very, very scared. It’s painful and scary…”
“Yeah. That’s right.”
“… I was sleeping in my room, and suddenly a man appeared and kidnapped me.”
The child let out a cry. He was shaking his body while holding onto her collar, and it felt very pitiful.
“Hey, let me see your face.” She said, carefully rubbing the boy’s face with her sleeve.
The child slowly raised his head. His tears and snot were all over his face.
“Still, you held up remarkably well. You did great.”
For a moment, the child looked up at her with blank eyes. He also seemed a little surprised.
“What’s the matter?”
“Eh. It’s nothing.”
The little mumbling child shook his head while she wiped his face.
“The soup is getting cold. Come on and eat it.”
She scooped the soup with a spoon and put it into the child’s mouth. The child opened his mouth and swallowed the soup. By the time the plate bottomed out, the child had tapped his own stomach.
“Are you full?”
“Yeah. My stomach is full.”
As she placed her hand over her child’s belly, she felt his swelling.
“Is your stomach round?”
At her words, the child smiled shyly.
“You know, Lian. Your house.”
Somehow, the child answered in a timid voice. She was a little puzzled, but she continued.
“I’m sorry in advance because I don’t think I can take you there, because this village is in a valley, so it’s very difficult to get out.”
“Yes. I have to walk for half a day. Depending on the situation, it may take longer.”
The child blinked his eyes.
“Your parents will surely find you. Until then, why don’t you stay here with me?”
“…Is that okay?”
“My, of course!”
The child hugged her neck with his flushed face. She was quite lonely because she was living alone, but it didn’t seem like she would be bored for the time being. She thought so as she held the child face to face.
* * *
Several days passed like that. In the meantime, there was no particular difficulty in living with a child. Lian was so docile and cooperative that nothing that would cause trouble occurred. If there’s a part that’s trivial. It was that the child would avoid any talk of his status. So, she still hadn’t been able to find out which house the child was from. If she pressed on, there would be something she could figure out, but she didn’t want to go that far.
After getting ready to leave, she stroked the head of the child who was looking up at her from the side and said.
“I’m going to the village for a while, so keep an eye on the house, okay?”
She checked the nodding child and went outside.
The food ingredients were almost gone, so she had to get more. She went down the mountain, lifting the bag slung over her shoulder. Every time she felt sorry she had to get them from the villagers, but it couldn’t be helped. Help was inevitable until they were fully settled. In addition, the vegetable garden she cultivated to become self-sufficient was now damaged.
Arriving at the village before she knew it, she looked around. It was because the village atmosphere did not feel like usual.
She grabbed a villager who was just passing by and asked.
“Has something happened here?”
A villager who recognized her shook his head and said, “Don’t say a word.”
“It’s because the knights went there earlier.”
“The duke’s son was kidnapped by a magician and is missing, so they searched the village.”
The duke’s son was kidnapped by a wizard and was missing?
“Uh, when did they arrive?”
“It was about an hour ago. Anyway, it’s been a while. Oh, and they found the kidnapper or something around here.”
The villager looked around for a moment before sticking his face out and whispering. “Honestly, I can’t believe it, but they say the kidnapper was lying at the bottom of the cliff over there.”
Her mind went blank for a moment.
“…Under a cliff?”
“The knights also said that there is a high possibility that there are other abductees around here. Oh, look at the time. I have to pour water on my dog’s plate, then I’ll go.”
A villager passed her after saying that.
She couldn’t move from the place she was on. In the first place, there was only one duke in that empire, so it must have been him.
Duke Kayden Nathan.
The fact that the duke’s son was kidnapped and was currently missing, and that the abductor was even found at the bottom of a cliff in that town…
“No. It won’t be. No way, it can’t be.”
She shook her head.
Yeah, that couldn’t be. Concluding that the child might not be Delian Nathan, the son of the duke, I diligently moved to get food ingredients.
* * *
It was when she climbed the mountain with both hands full of luggage and arrived in front of the house that everything changed.
“…huh? I’m here again.”
Seeing a little bundle crouching in the middle of the yard, she hurriedly moved his legs. The child who was squatting on the floor saw me and jumped up.
“Lian. I told you to stay home.”
The child was sullen at her words and lowered his head.
“I didn’t mean to scold you. I was afraid something dangerous would happen again. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
The child raised his head again. She smiled at the shy child and they entered the house together.
She put the ingredients she got on the table and thought about what kind of food to make. “Shall we make food together?”
Seeing the child snooping around the ingredients, she suddenly thought he may be bored because he was always at home
“Yes, I like it!”
She headed to the kitchen with the flushed child.
“How about making some bread for us?”
“Yeah. I don’t know if I can make it well.”
“I like them all.”
There was a stove in that house, so she wondered if they could use it to make bread somehow. She took out the bag of flour she had obtained earlier and poured it into a bowl. Add water to it and mix it around with a spatula. Then, in a small bowl, she scooped out a small portion of the dough and served it to the child.
“Come on, mix it up too.”
The child climbed onto the chair and thrust his hand into the tree trunk. She started mixing her own portion of flour while watching the child handling his. Flour was sprinkled on the table, and the finished dough was placed on it and shaped. The child followed her actions and asked.
“Will it really be bread?”
“I want to make it quickly and eat it.”
While chatting with the child, she put the finished dough on a flat wooden board and put it in the oven. She cleaned up the messy kitchen and wiped the flour off the child’s hands with a cloth.
“It will take some time for the bread to be baked, so let’s rest until then.”
She walked over to the old sofa, sat down with the child, and stretched her body. She was really thinking about taking a break, but the child was moving little by little next to her. Was he still bored? After thinking about it for a while, she thought of something suitable and got up.
She was worried about the handle of the basket breaking a few days ago, but when she told the villagers, they gave her a thick string to thread it through. She showed the child a basket and string and said,
“Look closely. That’s how you do it.”
After teaching him how to tie the string, he hander started wiggling hard. She was watching a child clumsily threading a string. Suddenly, smoke rose unexpectedly from the stove.
She woke up as if something was slightly burnt. Was the fire too strong?
She hurriedly walked over to the oven and inspected the dough inside. Fortunately, it didn’t seem like they were all burnt. She let out a sigh of relief and pulled out some of the firewood she had stored underneath. After confirming that the firepower was decreasing, she went back to the sofa. The child was just blinking his eyes with a puzzled face. He was tied with a string hanging around his body. It was as if the child had tied the string to his body after twisting it hard.
She smiled and stretched out her hand.
“Wait. I’ll release you soon.”
That was when she put her hand on the string tied around the child’s body.
The door bursts open, and knights armed with armor rushed in.
“I found Lord Delian!”
“Get that kidnapper right now!”
Being helpless captured by the knights, she had only one thought.
‘Ah, it’s ruined.’
Hello there! This is RJR.
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