7. For it’s an Emotion I Know
She reflexively held her breath. But the water certainly wasn’t deep. However, as there might be places where it’d suddenly get deeper, she was careful with her steps.
If I approach it in a hurry, the muffler will be washed away.
…I have to advance slowly, and also make sure that my steps are steady…
With trembling fingertips, Charlotte reached for the muffler.
She was about to lose her balance and collapse, but she managed to steady herself.
“I, it’s alright! It’s safe!”
“Please come back to the shore right away!”
Charlotte nodded after securing the heavy, soaked, muffler. Then, she made her way back from where she came. After she had reached the shore, the old man pulled her in a hurry.
“That was unreasonable of you…!!”
“That, coming from you!? You were gazing at the winter lake for such a long time just now! Even though it’s cold!”
“Come here! I will warm you with fire spell!”
At the same time as the old man said that, a magic circle appeared on the ground. From there, fire began to burn. Charlotte proceeded to crouch beside the old man. Thanks to not getting her dress wet, she could relieve the cold by being near the fire.
“Let’s make sure that the muffler is safe… I hope there isn’t any damage anywhere…”
Worried, Charlotte tried to spread the wet muffler. However, the old man stared at Charlotte with an embarrassed expression.
“Miss, first and foremost, we have to make sure you aren’t injured.”
From his words, she realized that the old man was concerned about her.
“…I’m sorry for worrying you. I’m alright! I’m not injured anywhere!”
“What a relief, then… Why would you do such a thing for a stranger…?”
Charlotte then replied.
“Grandpa is still in love with his late wife, aren’t you?”
“…What kind of question is that…?”
“Truthfully, I’ve fallen in love with someone recently.”
After recalling Oswald’s face, Charlotte smiled.
“…At the same time, currently, this love is all I have.”
She had no memory, after all.
That love for Charlotte was her sole precious possession as she had nothing—not even divine power—and had become empty.
“Afterwards, I received a gift from my beloved. Merely imagining that I might drop it somewhere tears my chest apart. I feel suffocated and go to the verge of tears.”
The blue cloak left in her bedroom was important to Charlotte.
Despite knowing that she’d have to return it soon, she still didn’t want anything to happen to the cloak.
The old man should’ve felt the same regarding the muffler. As such, she couldn’t just turn a blind eye.
“However, rather than crying without doing anything, you decided to ask for help to retrieve it, right?”
“However, in my case, unlike grandpa, I’ll inevitably get my heart broken! …Oh? But if you think about broken hearts…”
The old man laughed as if troubled when he saw Charlotte pondering.
Somehow, he seemed about to cry.
“As an elder, I have to advise you against doing anything dangerous. But more than that, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“P, please raise your head!”
“Thank you, your kindness will surely be repaid.”
Towards the old man, who bowed his head deeply, Charlotte shook her head.
“Don’t worry about it! Oh, but, if you like…”
“Do you need anything?”
“Uh, I’d like to ask about a certain man who lives in this mansion… it’s Oswald! Do you know Oswald?”
The old man seemed surprised.
“Of course I know, he’s the lord of this mansion. I’m not sure if I can be of help, but I know about him to some extent.”
“Are you sure!? However, this may be a very, very, difficult and unpleasant question!!”
“…I don’t mind…”
“As long as you don’t mind, then…!”
Charlotte dared ask the old man while looking down.
“…Please tell me Oswald’s full name!”
That was how Charlotte obtained a very important piece of information—the full name of her beloved.
After Charlotte had warmed up and was ready to return to the mansion, the old man saw her off.
The muffler she had retrieved was still damp.
Through a mere glance, anyone could tell that the muffler was pretty old.
In the winter when he got married with his late wife, the two of them visited the city for the first time.
At the sight of the city, which she saw for the first time, his wife sighed in admiration.
Then, she giftwrapped him a blue muffler—
“—This is the first time I’ve ever given someone a gift.”
The old man sighed while looking down at the muffler, which was his wife’s keepsake.
…What a reckless young lady.
Recalling the figure of the girl amidst the lake, a shiver went down his spine once again. She laughed and assured him that she wasn’t injured. She also looked happy.
But, for her to say that she’s in love… truly, you don’t know what will happen in life.
At that time, a man’s voice could be heard from the other side of the garden.
It seemed that he had been found out. Shrugging his shoulders, the old man put out the fire.
The red-haired man who had appeared was relieved to see the old man.
“Sure enough, you’re here! Are you still pretending to be a gardener…?”
“How noisy… You always come here to look for me. Even though I already told you that I’d return soon…”
“You’re an important figure. Please understand that.”
Thus, his weekly fun had come to an end.
The old man proceeded to grab his cane. Suddenly recalling something, he asked the man beside him.
“If I were to tell you to walk into the lake for me, would you enter without a moment of hesitation?”
The man immediately looked at the lake while shuddering.
“I, in this season?”
“—and that’s all the answer I needed.”
The man looked guilty. But his reaction was understandable. Even for his master, who he had served for years, there were things he didn’t want to do.
Therefore, I can say that there are only a select few who’d be willing to perform such deeds…
Perhaps because of his good mood, the red-haired man asked in concern.
“Did something happen?”
“Well, for the first time in a while, I made a new friend. As I thought, I should go out more often.”
“A new friend? What did you talk about? The garden’s trees?”
“…You’ll be a bit surprised to hear, but we talked about romance.”
The old man laughed a little and stared towards the mansion.
From the window, he could see the girl walking in the corridor.
The girl noticed too, and started waving at him. After responding with a polite courtesy, the old man started walking away.
***T/N: Betting my entire translation career on the assumption that this guy’s the king.
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