“You’re only big, you don’t use your head. Eh, when will Celiana come back?”
“Does Father trust his daughter-in-law more than his son?”
“Son, you have to beat Shelly at least once to say that. Your record was 289 matches and 289 losses, right?”
“It’s because the compatibility is bad! And, there were 287 losses.”
“Eh? When did you win twice?”
“Not a win, two draws.”
“Oh, yes, 289 matches, 2 draws and 287 losses. Is that so? Proud of you, you bastard.”
“This is great for a wife.”
The babbling Archmage quietly stretched out his arm towards Ariadne. The Marques slapped the hand that was about to embrace her.
“When did you stop running away and started trying to hold her?”
“A guy who has taken over a child to his heart’s content all this time is greedy. Let me hug my granddaughter, you bastard.”
The Archmage closed his mouth and looked down at Ariadne.
The eyes looking down at her were soft and warm. Ariadne was somehow embarrassed and touched the hem of her dress.
The Archmage smiled.
“Got it? You don’t have to worry for your maternal uncle and grandfather. What’s so worrying about when you are this young?” whispered the old man, running his wrinkled hands through her hair.
“Baby, like a child, you just need to live comfortably without worrying. Stop trying like an adult already. huh?”
She held her breath for a moment.
‘A child that is not like a child.’ In her childhood previous life, when she returned home after memorizing the address, the words she had heard resonated in her head.
Unknowingly, she checked the expression of the Archmage. The old man was laughing. He still holds her in his arms. He probably didn’t mean it with the same intention as his grandmother in his previous life. Knowing this, she couldn’t help but feel anxious.
‘If I don’t act like a child, will they hate me more and more?’
But, she hadn’t thought of it before. The original Ariadne, when she was a real child, what kind of ending she met. She was a really normal kid, so if she had been scared by the Archmage who made an impression at that moment, it would have flowed as it was in the original story.
‘Maybe the reason I recalled the memories of my previous life is because that’s the only way I can survive.’
She thought so. If she recalled the memories of her previous life in order to live, she guessed she shouldn’t be living like a normal child from now on. Shouldn’t she be suspicious, careful, and not let go of tension? What if she cared about not being hated and then got betrayed? In the first place, she didn’t even have the confidence to continue to be loved, but if she relied on those feelings and changed people’s minds, it’s even more dangerous. As she frantically calculated what would be safer and more advantageous, she was suddenly disillusioned. It reminded her of the blank contract that the Margrave had given her. She felt disgusted with herself being weighed like this. She had no face looking at the faces of the Archmage or the Marquis.
She murmured softly.
“…I’m not like a child. I will try.”
The Archmage had an expression as if he had been beaten. Her maid, who was sitting across from her, looked blankly at her and jumped up from her seat.
He held her by the shoulders and called out softly.
“That is nothing for you to apologize for. It’s not a bad thing.”
“As a child… there must have been many moments when I couldn’t stand it. That’s probably why you’ve grown up.”
Ariadne slowly raised her head. The Margrave spoke quietly, with his face distorted strangely.
“It’s not your fault. If a child does not behave like a child, it is the adult’s fault.”
Looking closely, it was not a strangely distorted face, but a sad face.
“Ariadne, it’s not wrong that you’re grown-up, it’s sad.”
The Marquis looked really sad. Her power went into the arms of her archmage who held her. The Archmage gave a hoarse voice.
“My child, I wanted you to lean on us, so I said that. I’m not blaming you, I want you to feel a little more comfortable, so that’s what it is.”
Ariadne raised her head further to see the Archmage’s face above her head. The old man’s face was also sadly contorted.
“We are your grandfather and your uncle, huh?”
Why did they look so sad? Was it so sad that she didn’t lean on them, that she acted like an adult?
Suddenly, Ariadne looked down at her hand.
It was a little hand. Typical of a child’s body.
‘Because I’m still young.’
It was a new, but shocking realization. It was common sense, she knew it.
She deserved to be protected and loved. Even so, she had almost forgotten that she herself was also a ‘child’ corresponding to that proposition. To her, being young has always been a great weakness and shackle. She was like that in her past life, and she was like that in this life as well.
She looked at the Archmage and the Marquis, no, at her maternal uncle, who had given her a blank contract, and at her maternal grandfather, who hugged her and cried in front of the tainted water. These people were sad for her and made her realize she was a child worthy of love. That’s why they make that face.
People willing to be her guardians. The ones that told her that she could be a child. They were her family who loved her.
‘Don’t I have to endure alone now?’
A corner of her heart was agitated. She felt like it was tickling, as if she had stepped into a warm place after being outside. In an instant, she felt something that was suppressed kick in. She was overwhelmed by the memories of her past life and the difficult situation. She wanted to be loved for herself. Tears welled up in the girl’s blue eyes. It filled the corners of her eyes and overflowed. A drop of tear flowed down his cheek as if caressing it.
The Margrave called her in surprise. The bewildered Archmage picked her up and tried to meet her gaze. Ariadne stretched out her arms. The child’s slender arms clasped the old man’s neck.
She asked crying.
“Can I trust you?”
“Can I look forward to it? Can I hang on?”
The Archmage was silent for a moment, as if speechless, then hugged the child tightly. The child’s body was small and warm. He answered in the main voice.
“Of course. Of course.”
“Can I continue to live here?”
“As much as you like, baby.”
“Can I call you grandfather?”
“Please call me that.”
Ariadne buried her head in the Archmage’s nape. The child whispered softly ‘grandfather’.
OK. The Archmage responded in a trembling voice and comforted the child. His eyes moistened.
The Marquis interrupted as if in agony.
“And me? Aren’t you calling me? Call me your maternal uncle, too. Oh, yes! Give me a hug too!”
“This guy breaks colic!”
The Archmage gave out his temper. The Marquis ignored him and looked at Ariadne with a tearful smile. His expression was obviously different from when he was genuinely sad earlier. He was like a bear pretending to be weak and pitiful.
Ariadne laughed through her teary face, and she held out her hand toward him.
The Margrave grinned and tried to take her hand, but the Archmage grabbed her and twisted hiser body around her.
“Aren’t you doing too much, Father!”
“Do not touch. She is my granddaughter.”
“He’s my nephew too!”
“If you touch her, the stupidity will pass on to her.”
“It’s because my father’s standards are high, I was at the top of my academy days!”
Marquis Baek exclaimed as if the world was unfair. His expression looked so sad that Ariadne ended up laughing out loud.
The 8 year old Ariadne had changed. The snowstorm has subsided and spring is fast approaching. The cold hadn’t gone away yet, but through the melting snow, light green shoots were beginning to emerge little by little. Ariadne came out into the yard in her shiny, fluffy coat lined with snow fox fur.
A fine fur coat was one of the things she received from the Margrave as a gift for her 8th birthday.
Marquis Baek, who was waiting in front of the castle gate, saw her and opened hiser arms.
Ariadne approached him and hugged him. The Margrave hugged her lightly.
“I will pick it up. Wouldn’t it be better to just wait inside?”
“I want to meet them together. I want to see my aunt and cousin as soon as possible.”
“I’m sure you’re looking forward to meeting them in person. Letters can’t properly convey how lovely you are.”
The Marquis said with a big smile. The hired servants, who had gotten used to it, didn’t care whether the Margrave looked stupid or not. They were busy checking Ariadne’s attire.
“Miss, you lost your glove!”
“Oh my, your nose has turned red. What can I do?”
“What about the hand warmer that the Archmage made? Did you take good care of it?”
The maids, led by Lucy, made a fuss.
Hello there! This is RJR. Thank you very much for reading.
Next post will be released on April, 19.
If you like my work please support me in Ko-fi or Patreon.
Want to read more?