“Wow ~~~!” I cheerfully shouted at the scene spread out in front of me.
There were various multi-coloured vegetables, fruits, meat and fish being sold at the marketplace. There was also a shop that looked like it specialised in mushrooms.
Besides ingredients, there were also shops and stalls selling bread. The smell drifting about the place made my stomach grumble.
Although there were an abundance of ingredients, their cooking was like that. Things I’ve never seen before were also being sold, so it was interesting.
There were also various breads in the bakery and although there was only a small amount, they also had white bread.
The white bread is small and the price is higher than all the other breads, so is it treated as a luxury good?
The market was also called the capital’s kitchen. It was vibrant and crowded with people.
The road between the shops was big enough to fit eight people lining up, but it was filled with people and it was difficult to walk through.
I walked through the road and I was drawn to the interesting items on the shop displays so I looked at them.
It seemed that I was going to collide with the person walking in front of me.
When I smiled and thanked the Captain who was next to me, he sweetly smiled at me.
Even after we arrived at the market, he held my hand as we walked.
The market was crowded so I could get lost while looking at the stores.
Well, I want to escape from reality in various ways.
I didn’t think I was that inattentive, but if I staggered then I felt like I’d bump into the person walking in front of me.
So he casually released his hand and brought my shoulders closer to him instead……
What kind of torture is this?
I wonder if God is testing the power of my heart.
After we avoid all the people will he possibly hold my hands again?
Yeah, I’m scared of getting used to it.
This went on several times.
I may not be red anymore and my face was probably twitching, but I grew! I was able to thank him with a smile!
I think I tried really hard.
Shouldn’t I be concentrating on the shops?
If I don’t concentrate on the shops then I’ll concentrate on other things!
“Are you okay?”
“Ah, yes. I am okay.”
“Are you hungry?”
It was still a bit early for lunch, but we left early in the morning so I was a bit hungry.
We walked for quite a bit so my feet were also a little tired.
The Captain seemed to be fine but it was hard for a shut-in like me.
There were food stalls at the market, but the Captain was an aristocrat so I was a little worried.
He won’t eat something bought at a food stall, right?
Does he feel like entering a nearby coffee shop?
“I’m a little bit hungry.”
“Then why don’t we take a break and buy something from the food stall?”
Huh? The Captain is an aristocrat, right?
I’m happy but is it alright for him to eat something from the food stall?
The Captain took me to the place where the wooden boxes were kept near the food stalls.
The Captain asked me what I wanted to eat and left me to go buy food when I replied.
Isn’t he accustomed to this?
After waiting for a while, the Captain returned with several skewers and two fruit waters in a cup.
After I received the skewers and fruit water one by one, the Captain sat down next to me.
“It seems like you are used to buying things from food stalls.”
“Because I used to come here with Johan a long time ago.”
“Is that so?”
To my surprise, the Director and Captain came to the markets when they were young.
Even the aristocrats of this kingdom came to the markets?
When I asked about it in detail, he told me that they came to the market dressed as young rich merchants.
“Ah, come to think of it, how much was the food?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“Eh, but…… Thank you for the meal.”
I felt sorry about something and my words got quieter.
He’s laughing like he’s troubled.
Well it’ll be fine if I return the favour next time.
The skewers were only seasoned with salt, but it was still delicious.
There was a good portion of skewers and I ate the whole thing.
I took a sip of the fruit water, it had a gentle fruity smell to it.
I was a bit thirsty so it was also delicious.
It would be really good cold but ice was a luxury item here.
I stared at the fruit water while thinking that and the Captain made a dubious face.
“No, it is nothing.”
“Really? Does it not suit your taste……?”
“No. I just thought that it would taste better if it was colder.”
The Captain said and took my fruit water.
I watched the cup while thinking about what was happening. The fruit water in the Captain’s hands started emitting cold air.
Huh? What’d he do?
He presented the fruit water to me and I took it. There was ice in the cup.
I was surprised. The Captain urged me to drink it with his eyes.
I took a sip and as I thought, it was more delicious cold.
I smiled in satisfaction and the Captain also smiled.
“It is delicious.”
“Is that so? I’m glad.”
“What did you do?”
There were no refrigerators in the world, ice could only be left in the ice room in winter or made with magic.
There weren’t many people who could produce ice with magic, so ice was very precious.
I heard that it could be made with ice attribute magic, which was superior to water attribute magic. But I didn’t think that the Captain could use ice magic.
I never thought that I could see it being used right before my eyes.
“It is very delicious. Thank you.”
“I’m glad that it pleased you.”
The cold fruit water was very delicious and I quickly drank all of it.
I finished drinking it and said my thanks to the Captain, he laughed.
Like this, he didn’t look like someone who would be called the emotionless Ice Knight-sama.
He’s always laughing and somewhat sparkly.
No, sparkling has nothing to do with this.
He wasn’t wearing his Knight uniform right now. He was wearing normal clothes, but his aura was showing so he didn’t look like a commoner.
When I saw him in the morning, I thought he looked like a commoner. But after mingling with real commoners, I could see the difference.
Is it because they grew up differently?
The appearance of the fruit water that I drank was also beautiful.
If he dressed as a young rich merchant then he might’ve been able to deceive people. But if he dressed up like a commoner, then there was no way he could deceive them.
He slanted his eyes when I carelessly stared at him.
I shook my head in a panic and said it was nothing before averting my eyes.
Please don’t look at me with such gentle eyes.
I really want to run away.
After we finished eating, we left the market and walked along the street while looking at the shops.
There were mainly good quality items lined up inside the shops, they were expensive. I was a little hesitant to enter.
That’s why I only looked at the shops, but the Captain stopped in front of a certain shop.
“Sorry but could we go in here for a bit?”
“I do not mind.”
We’ve only been looking at the things that I’ve wanted to look at, so I didn’t mind.
Commoners could also enter the shop that the Captain stepped into but it was a somewhat luxurious accessory shop.
The inside of the shop was decorated with various accessories for both men and women.
The Captain went into the back alone and I walked around and looked at the items for sale.
There were hair clips and hair strings lined up near me. The hair strings stored in the boxes had a beautiful nine colour gradation.
I was so busy with work before that I didn’t have time to cut my hair. Even when I was summoned, I just let my hair grow out and it was so long that it was halfway down my back.
It’s a little expensive but I want to tie my hair up in this heat. I wonder if I should buy this hair string before going home.
While I was browsing around, I found a hair clip that I really liked.
It was an elegant piece made out of silver metal, there were blue gems inlaid in some of the fretwork.
The hair clip looked delicate and was very beautiful, but it was also very expensive so I was a little hesitant to buy it.
If there weren’t any gems then it would probably be cheaper. While I was browsing around, the Captain returned.
“Sorry for making you wait. Did you find anything you like?”
“No, I did not.”
I liked the hair clip but it was a bit over my budget and it was also bad to make the Captain wait so I gave up on it and decided that I would search for it again next time.
“Then shall we go?”
I followed behind the Captain when he left the store.
I came out a little late and the Captain held my hands again like it was the natural thing to do.
One way or another, I was able to slowly explore, so I had a good time. We found the carriage and returned to the royal palace.
It’s been awhile since I’ve walked around and I’m mentally exhausted.
The carriage was swaying and before I knew it, I fell asleep.
I could hear someone calling me so I slowly opened my eyes. The carriage had stopped.
I faintly looked up at the Captain and smiled softly.
“Have we arrived?”
“Ah. You seemed tired. You slept really well.”
No way, did I use the Captain as a pillow?
I stared at the Captain and his smile grew wider.
Ah, I did it right?
I used him as a pillow.
I can tell he saw my sleeping face.
I feel like I can’t escape from this. I casted my eyes down as I blushed and then I heard a puffing sound.
Wooow, I think I received the most damage today.
I groaned and glanced sideways, the Captain got out of the carriage first, just like in the morning.
I couldn’t stay in the carriage forever and when I got ready to get off, the Captain lent me his hand.
We walked towards the research institute and talked about the market and my impressions of the shops.
Various things happened but today was fun.
When we arrived at the research institute, I turned to the Captain and bowed.
“Thank you for taking me out today.”
“No, it was fun.”
He was called the Ice Knight-sama. But during the day, the Captain was in a really good mood.
He’s always smiling.
Of course today as well.
I feel like I dragged him around quite a bit but not once did he complain.
He’s such a nice person.
“It was also very fun for me. Goodbye.”
“Ah Sei, here you go.”
When I tried to return to my room, the Captain stopped me and gave me a big box.
What was it?
I couldn’t tell what it was by just looking, so for the time being, I received it with both hands.
“What is this?”
“Please use it. Wait until you get to your room before opening it. Bye.”
“Eh? Wait a minute. Hawk-sama!”
He ignored me when I tried to stop him and left.
It’s probably better if I ran after him but I’m tired from today. I don’t have the energy.
It can’t be helped, I’ll open it when I get back to my room.
If there’s something wrong with it then I’ll return it to him tomorrow.
I soothed my feelings, returned to my room and opened the box.
Inside was the fretwork hair clip that I liked from the shop.
“How was yesterday?”
The first thing the Director said to me when I entered the room were those words.
He had a teasing smile on his handsome face.
“It was fun.”
He bluntly reply with, “That’s good”.
He looked like he wanted to ask something, but I ignored him and placed the documents from the researchers onto his desk.
“These are the reports from the researchers.”
I quickly turned my back from the Director and just like I’d thought, he called out to me.
“Where’d you go?”
“What do you mean?”
What do you mean, “So”?
I turned around to face the Director and I knew it! He had that teasing smile on his face.
It wasn’t something for me to be troubled over, but it annoyed me how he was amusing himself.
That’s why I also grinned.
“Are you my father, Director?”
“What’s with that?”
“Well, you asked me where I went on my day off. It’s similar to a father worrying over his daughter.”
“Hey, hey. I don’t have a daughter.”
The Director also knew that I was teasing him, right? He’s smiling bitterly.
“I went into town. That is all.”
“Oh right I heard something about you, Director. You used to be very naughty, right?”
“Wait a minute. What’d you hear?”
I only heard what the Captain told me while we were eating at the stalls, but I said it in a way that could be misinterpreted on purpose.
Since he asked with a twitching smile, it seems that he’s guilty of many things.
It was interesting a while ago but now I’m irritated.
“We went to the market, ate at a stall and then looked at various shops lined up along the streets. We returned when it got dark.”
“I see. That’s really proper.”
I only went into town, I don’t know what was proper about that.
I thought and the Director dropped a bomb.
“Anyway, I’m glad you had fun on your date.”
I was flabbergasted with the bomb he had dropped. The Director had a dubious look on his face.
“I just went into town.”
“You went into town with Al, just the two of you. You ate lunch and looked at stores, didn’t you?”
“Isn’t that a date?”
I gaped while looking at the Director and then he delivered the final blow.
“When a man and a woman go out together, it’s called a date.”
I want him to wait for a bit.
No, no, did date mean something like that?
I thought back upon it. Other than my father, I never recalled going out with a man on my day off.
Was yesterday my first date?
When I realised that, my face got hot.
“No, I was only accompanying Hawk-sama into town, you know?”
“Accompanying…… Al invited you to go out and you left with just the two of you, right?”
“Yes, but Hawk-sama only invited me because he had spare time, right?”
“Well, even if he was free, he wouldn’t invite a woman he didn’t like to go out.”
“Is that really surprising?”
“Because he likes me… He likes me…”
My words gradually thinned and I looked down.
Because isn’t that so?
It’s impossible for the Captain to like such an unpopular woman like me.
Well, I don’t think I dislike the idea but……
Heaps of thoughts ran through my mind as I looked at my feet and the Director called in a quiet voice, “Sei”.
“Was Al cold to you?”
“No…… He properly escorted me when I got off the carriage…… But is that not something aristocrats here do?”
“Well, it is.”
“I thought so. He held my hand while we were walking and treated me to lunch.”
“When we returned he gave me a present.”
I took the box out of my skirt pocket and passed it to the Director.
Inside was the hair clip I received the day before.
When I looked at the hair clip I received from the Captain again, the gems embedded in it were different from the ones at the shop.
It was light blue. The blue-grey colour matched the Captain’s eye colour so now I was a bit hesitant to return it.
I could’ve bought the clips at the shop if I saved up since it was only that expensive. But I wondered if it was okay for me to receive something that expensive.
In the end, I put the box into my skirt pocket, worrying about whether or not I should return it or not.
The Director picked it up, opened the box and looked inside before returning the box to me.
“Sei, it’s common for aristocrats to escort woman while they’re getting off the carriage or while walking.”
“But Al never gives them accessories as souvenirs.”
He stopped laughing in a teasing manner a while ago. The Director said that in a serious tone.
From his attitude, I knew that the Captain didn’t just casually give me the hair clip.
I looked at the box in my hand again and my face heated up.
“Is it really okay for me to receive something so expensive?”
“Just take it if you don’t mind.”
I grumbled and the Director quietly smiled and returned it.
I didn’t say anything, I just moved my neck and nodded.
“How do you do, Sei?”
The next day, I went to the library to return the book I’d borrowed. I met Liz in front of the door.
She also seemed to have just arrived.
It was rare for me to meet her in the corridor.
We never arranged to meet. I came to the library for work, so the times I came also varied.
That’s why even if I went to the library, I couldn’t always meet up with Liz.
“Oh? You changed your hairstyle today.”
“Yeah. It’s hot so I decided to do it up.”
“I see. That’s a nice hair clip you have.”
The door squeaked open and I let Liz go in first.
Liz immediately went to find the book she was looking for.
As for me, I handed the book I’d brought with me to the librarian and looked for another book to borrow.
As expected, as soon as we met again, Liz pointed out that I’d changed my hairstyle.
Liz was really fashion-conscious, she’d noticed that I had my hair up just by glancing at me.
The hair clip was something I’d received from the Captain and it was somewhat embarrassing so I mumbled.
“Hey Sei. That hair clip is really pretty. Would you mind letting me have a closer look at it?”
“I don’t mind but……”
She called out from behind me when I was standing in front of the medicinal herb books.
When I turn around, Liz has a beautiful smile on her face.
I didn’t mind showing her, but it was a bit troublesome to do my hair up again after I unfastened it. But I didn’t mind showing her it if I didn’t have to unfasten it so I answered.
I couldn’t show her if I stood there, so we moved to where the desks were. I sat down on a chair and Liz stood behind me.
Although she didn’t touch it, she seemed to be looking at it very closely.
“This is good workmanship.”
“The embedded gems are really nice.”
“Yes…… Hey, who gave it to you?”
“Well, it seems a bit expensive for everyday use. That’s why I thought someone must have given it to you. Am I wrong?”
“No, you’re right.”
“Did Hawk-sama give it to you?”
“H-how do you know!?”
“How……? I think it is pretty easy to tell.”
She was right about the Captain giving it to me. I was surprised and turned back, Liz looked shocked.
Eh, what’s with that?
Easy to tell?
When I asked her about it, Liz sighed, she stood in front of me and lifted her index finger up.
“First, rumour has it that Hawk-sama has someone on his mind.”
“I think that person is you.”
I haven’t heard this rumour, you know?
And what’s with “that”, huh?
Liz lifted her middle finger up.
“Second, the gems on your hair clip matches Hawk-sama’s eye colour.”
“You looked at it really closely, huh……”
“Of course, the gems give the hair clip a nice finish.”
“No, not that I meant at Hawk-sama’s eye colour.”
“Hawk-sama’s eye colour is the Margrave family’s special trait so it is well known.”
“I thought it was you because of those two things.”
“Still, can people make a connection so quickly just because the gems match the colour of Hawk-sama’s eyes?”
“Yes, that is right. It is well known that Hawk-sama favours Sei.”
“Besides, it is common in this kingdom for men to give his colour to the girl he likes.”
“For example, his hair colour or his eye colour. It seems that men generally give gifts that match the colour of their eyes.”
I didn’t know this.
So that means, the Captain likes……
No, no. Wait, wait.
It’s impossible for me to think further than that!
What should I do? Was is really okay for me to receive this?
Director, you definitely knew this, right?
Why didn’t you tell me!?
I held my head in my arms while sitting and then I heard Liz giggling.
“Sei, you’ve become so red.”
“I’m…… I’m not used to this kind of thing!”
“Oh, is that so?”
Ah, I can’t believe Liz is lecturing me on love when she’s about 10 years younger than me!
Liz was watching me warmly when I lifted my face. I really want to run away.
Ah, seriously I want to run away!