24. Phil’s Circumstances
That day, Phil wore a gold ear cuff.
For him to keep that on, rather than performing knightly duties, he was fulfilling his obligations as ‘Phil.’
Perhaps, he had forgotten to remove it before arriving.
I don’t think I should have seen it, but I saw the pattern of the ear cuff.
It looked like a flower—something rare for men’s ornaments.
If it was a family crest, I would have expected it to be an animal. Thus, I decided to take a closer look.
Wanting a better view, I leaned closer.
“…Lucia, I can’t help but think that you’re attacking me in my sleep.”
“Y-you were awake!?”
As I quickly withdrew, Phil opened his eyes with a click.
“I’m sorry. I never expected you to get that close.”
“If you are awake, open your eyes! I was trying to ask you about your meal!”
…So, he was awake from the beginning!
As I stared at him, Phil, with a troubled expression, stood up in a flash.
He quickly folded the blanket and tightly held it under his arm. Then, he stared back at me.
“I don’t need food. Upon being was caught by my brother, I was told to eat a lot at the place of my sister and my brother’s wife. I’m not a growing teen anymore.”
“What about something to drink?”
“I’ll just drink some water later.”
Phil gave a small yawn.
He looked tired.
Although he could hear me, the part where he was asleep seemed to be true.
“Are you going to get married?”
Phil, who had untied his necktie, paused, and only turned towards me after a brief period of time.
“Did Alves tell you?”
“Yes, he said that he didn’t want to hear it, but you told him anyway.”
“I see. Oh, well, the two of you spoke really quietly, I didn’t notice at all.”
Still completely drowsy, Phil set down his blanket in the corner of the room and sat down in a chair.
He contemplated for a while, but when he noticed I was standing, he drew a nearby chair.
As I sat obediently down, he combed his messy silver hair with his fingers and sighed deeply.
“…I don’t want to get married, yet. At least, not to the one recommended by my brother. Nevertheless, I won’t be allowed to comfortably live alone forever. If I’m alone, people with weird ambitions will appear… it’s quite troublesome.”
Phil wasn’t staring at me.
He was watching the flame of the fireplace.
“It’s a miracle that I didn’t have a fiancée before, but maybe in the near future… I will get married within a year. Well, it’s alright. I understand what kind of house I was born in. Still…”
“…Once I get married, I wouldn’t be able to come here. It’s tough.”
His voice sounded so lonely, I leaned forward unintentionally.
“I’m sure my brother will still welcome you! I will also welcome Phil’s wife and children!”
“Thank you, but it’s still troublesome. I don’t want you to get involved in a power struggle. Afterwards, I really shouldn’t visit anymore. I’m aware of how comfortable this place is, besides—”
—Amidst his words, he suddenly shut his mouth.
It was as if he was about to say something he shouldn’t.
As if he had reigned those words with all his rationality.
Phil was still watching the flame.
Eventually, Phil stood up.
When he turned towards me, he was already back to being the usual Phil.
“Forgive me. I’m really exhausted, it seems. I’m heading to bed! I want to cool my head, so I’ll be borrowing some water from the well.”
“You should take a bath. It’ll refresh you.”
There was a voice at the doorway.
With a cloth over his shoulder and dripping wet hair, Alves strutted into the room.
At first glance, he looked laidback, but he was staring intensely at Phil.
…How long was he here?
“Lucia, you should go to sleep, now. We’ll clean up the rest.”
“Indeed, you should retire for the day, Lucia. Or, would you like to watch my half-naked self, drenched in water? I’m confident in my physique, so you can stay here.”
“I, I’ll go to sleep, I’ll go to sleep, thank you!”
I turned my back to my brother and Phil.
As I passed by my brother, Alves sighed and then went inside.
“Lucia, forgive me for yesterday!”
The next morning, as soon as I left the room, Phil apologized.
The corridor was still dimly-lit. As soon as I opened the door, I was surprised by his apologize.
My drowsiness disappeared all at once, but my heart was thumping.
“My family spoke a lot to me, as such, I was acting strange. I spouted some nonsense. I’m truly sorry!”
“Umm, I don’t really remember yesterday’s conversation well. Besides, you’re behaving just like your usual self… mostly?”
Even though it was a pathetic one, I had decided to lie.
Various things happened in one’s life.
Thus, even someone like Phil needed to vent what he had accumulated in his chest. If he only had Alves and I, then we should rightfully listen to him.
Afterwards, we would forget about it.
I looked up at Phil.
He looked a little depressed and sick.
Looking closely, there were bags under his eyes.
“Could it be, you couldn’t sleep? I never knew you were such a delicate person!”
When I said that and laughed, Phil chuckled a bit.
“Even I can be nervous, you know?”
“When it comes to combat, it’s a different story. I bet the others never believe I can look like this.”
…What was that?
…Then, I should help him recover back to his usual self as soon as possible!
“It’s unusual for you to be up so early in the morning. Can I ask you to fetch some water?”
“As you wish, my princess.”
Phil put his hand on his chest and gave a dignified reply.
As expected of an active knight.
I felt like a princess.
***T/N: Hmm… but I wonder how effective turning a blind eye to it is in the long run.
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