The knights quickly approached Rex and I and apologized.
I panicked and stopped them. The fact that they were on the ground must have surprised them.
They reluctantly stood up when I urged them to, but they continued to examine my body.
“Master Rex, are you alright?”
Rex nodded while maintaining a somewhat stiff face when one of the Knights inquired. I wriggled my fingers.
They were skeptical and worried, despite my best efforts to reassure them that I wasn’t hurt.
What do I say?
I tightly shut my eyes. My mouth has dried up. Talking was simple, but I was afraid they would feel bad for not being able to protect me.
I was even more concerned because Rex had suggested we go for a walk around the lake, knowing how I was feeling. My gaze met Rex’s as I looked around.
‘Why is Mary Conler being a nuisance?’
The man’s earlier words popped into my head. He probably didn’t intend to say it in this situation, but it seemed fitting now, making me feel uneasy.
But, in this situation, I didn’t know what else to say. Before I knew it, Arsene was by my side, licking my hand.
The warm dampness wasn’t at all unpleasant. My heart warmed up because it seemed to understand my worries and comfort me.
“Really, nothing unexpected happened to you?”
“I met the god of the underworld.”
Everyone tensed up at what I said. I had anticipated this response, but when the moment arrived, I was at a loss for words and bowed my head.
Though nobody was at fault, it was a strange scene where everyone felt guilty.
Rex broke the silence.
“Did he put us to sleep?”
“I believe so.”
At the query, I shrugged my shoulders.
He put everyone else to sleep because he liked me and wanted to talk to me. Although it was a plausible explanation, saying it aloud was embarrassing.
“What did you talk to him about?”
“Miss Mary must have been shocked, and it would be best to discuss this in front of the Grand Duke, so let’s go to the mansion first and talk there.”
The Knight who was listening beside me stopped Rex when he tried to begin a full-fledged interrogation by grabbing me by the shoulder.
Rex nodded and slowly removed his hand from my shoulder, seemingly persuaded by what he had said.
“Now, excuse me.”
I was lifted up by the knight who had suggested that we return to the mansion. I twisted my body in his arms as I was startled.
I might not have developed as much as I had anticipated, but I’m not at the age to be carried around like this!
“It’s okay, just make yourself comfortable.”
“I can walk!”
“Please permit me to serve you in this manner.”
The knight who was holding me had a hopeless expression. He appeared to be quite angry about how easily he dozed off while I was alone with the god of the underworld.
Phew…… I sighed heavily and stretched my body.
The residents of the mansion will worry more if we continue in this manner. I couldn’t bear to refuse that hopeless look, though.
“But is he…… gone?”
“Most likely gone.”
“He just left like that, isn’t that odd?”
He disappeared as soon as Arsene arrived. I suddenly thought of Arsene, but there wasn’t a black tail anywhere.
I couldn’t even properly thank him before he vanished like this.
The knight asked me with a puzzled look.
“Rex, have you seen Arsene?”
“Ah… That black dog? Yeah. Where did it go?”
Rex, who was deep in thought, also looked around at my question.
How is it that neither a mouse nor a bird noticed his disappearance? Although Arsene always disappears like this, I felt sad once again.
I leaned back on the body of the Knights holding me again, which I had raised to find Arsene. I mumbled and then shut my eyes.
“Let’s hurry back to the mansion.”
I wanted to go back to the mansion and rest, but it would be difficult to rest immediately.
I want to process what I’ve heard, but with Rex standing next to me, looking at me like he can’t wait to interrogate me, making it difficult.
“Why are you carrying her?”
Perhaps the people who went to the village earlier finally returned. The moment Lucas noticed me from inside the mansion, he rushed up to greet me. The knight who was holding me carefully dropped me off.
When Lucas made a fuss about what was going on, people from all over began to crowd around me one by one.
“What’s all the fuss about?”
Grand Duke Estin was the last to show up. The people who surrounded me moved aside to allow Grand Duke Estin to approach me.
Grand Duke Estin bent down at eye level. He raised an eyebrow and inquired despite my efforts to smile and act as if nothing had happened.
“What? Are you hurt?”
“But why do you look like you’re going to cry?”
Uh-oh, did I look like I was going to cry?
As the tension in my body dissipated, the corners of my mouth drooped downward.
Along with that, my eyes got hot, and eventually tears fell. I could feel a murmur around me, as if confused by my sudden tears.
‘Estin Conler will die because of you.’
I had never felt so helpless, but as I remembered the man’s words, my mind went blank.
I couldn’t even wipe away the tears flowing down my cheeks, and suddenly I felt a warm body against mine.
Grand Duke Estin patted me on the back as if trying to calm me down, holding me with just the right amount of pressure.
“Huff, Ah, dad.”
“Yes, something bad must have happened to you to make you call me Dad.”
Grand Duke Estin patted me again and spoke softly when I cried and called him Dad.
I kept getting a steady pat. I felt like I was actually calming down as I wiped my tears on his shoulder.
However, I kept burying my face on his shoulder because I thought I would cry again if see his face.
“Okay, I’ll ask you what happened later, so calm down for now.”
Grand Duke Estin, who was holding me, hugged me. We were stumbling off somewhere, but I couldn’t really see because I was burying my face in his shoulder.
We didn’t take long to settle in, most likely on the couch in the drawing room.
“Franz, tell me.”
He appeared to be trying to get the whole story from the knights I had gone out with earlier, but he was unable to respond because he was unaware of the circumstances.
My mind was busy figuring out where to start and what to say, and for a moment I wondered if I should speak up.
That’s when I heard a cheery voice call my name.
“What’s wrong with the atmosphere……? Grand Duke, you’re here?”
Hestia was the owner of the voice. She came running in with excitement at the thought of seeing me, and she seemed surprised by the gloomy atmosphere of the drawing room.
She belatedly noticed Grand Duke Estin holding me and greeted him in a serious tone. In anticipation of seeing Hestia, I also lifted my head.
“Yeah. Did you finish your report well?”
“Yes. Is that Miss Mary you’re holding?”
In a solemn voice, Hestia asked as she turned to face me while I was in Grand Duke Estin’s arms. Grand Duke Estin nodded with his chin brushing against my head.
“You showed up just as we were attempting to figure out what had happened.”
“May I come closer?”
Hestia drew nearer to me with Estin’s approval. She touched my hair gently.
I turned to face Hestia when I felt a friendly touch, and she was grinning her distinctive smile.
“I brought a present for you.”
Hestia, who had just said as much, pulled something from her inner pocket and handed it to me.
It was a letter. I extended my hand with caution and took it. It was addressed to Astina.
“Miss Mary’s favorite friend, Miss Astina Borneau.”
“I hope seeing the letter makes you feel better.”
Hestia apparently thought I might like the letter so she brought it all the way here to the mansion. I carefully opened the letter, feeling appreciative of her thoughtfulness.
[Mary, how are you doing? I envy you for visiting Tahata. I’m thinking about taking a trip soon, but it won’t be as beautiful as Tahata! When you get back, please go into more detail about the scenery there. I’m actually at my best right now. Nevertheless, everybody is anxious. Take care, Mary, and don’t worry about me. Oh, and Sophia Bruno decided to visit our mansion to apologize.]
Sophia Bruno is going to apologize?
The name that had earlier been dangling from Arsene’s neck came to mind.
I jerked away from his embrace with a foreboding feeling. Grand Duke Estin withdrew his hand from patting me and gave me a perplexed look.
“I have to go.”
“I’ve got to go see Astina!”
“Why all of a sudden?”
Grand Duke Estin asked me with a questioning look.
“I met the God of the underworld earlier.”