I Became The Childhood Friend of the Obsessive Second Male Lead - Chapter 54
With a handkerchief in one hand and a muffler in the other, he went out into the garden cheerfully.
Rieta could be seen in the distance.
However, there was a dark shadow— invisible from the window or perhaps unable to catch his eye— and it was with her.
Elisha . . .?
The two were standing to the side of the garden, having a conversation.
The atmosphere was rather serious.
Words in the language of the empire, words that Noel did not understand were pouring out of their mouths.
Were they fighting?
A little worried, Noel approached them.
His steps were somewhat cautious.
Just then the wind blew. It was as sharp as a knife, slicing into his cheek.
The muffler had retained some of its previous warmth. Noel gripped it a little tighter in his hand.
Suddenly, a familiar word was heard in the wind. Surprisingly, it was in the empire’s language.
As he had unintentionally overheard the conversation of others, Noel became a bit troubled.
Should he go back? The thought crossed his mind.
The cold imperial wind carried the rest of Elisha’s words.
“When the Princess returns to the kingdom, I hope I will be able to stay by your side.”
. . . ?
Noel recounted the startling words that had entered his ears.
When the Princess returns to her kingdom . . .
Return to the kingdom . . .
To the kingdom . . .
Did that mean that Rieta would be leaving this place someday?
No, I don’t think so.
He thought it over in his mind, gazing at Rieta all the while.
She was a member of the Duchy.
His Majesty the Great Emperor ordered it, and his father accepted it.
So it was absolute.
No one would be able to interfere.
He waited for Rieta to shake her head, to say no to Elisha.
No matter how long he waited, however, there was only silence and the howling wind.
Noel dropped the handkerchief he was holding.
Oh dear, he had to be careful with the family emblem.
He hurriedly picked up the handkerchief from the ground.
And when he straightened himself . . .
“. . . !”
Rieta and Elisha’s eyes were on him.
His face suddenly turned red.
He was embarrassed and he was somewhat angry.
He didn’t even want to give Rieta the handkerchief.
He didn’t want to talk. He didn’t even want to see her face.
He took a step back, his legs trembling.
“. . . Noel?”
Rieta called him.
She even took a step toward him.
Really mean girl.
Noel whirled around and started running.
His head seemed to rattle with every pounding step.
It was because the wrong words unrelentingly filled his mind.
It was all because of Rieta.
He heard Rieta— unaware of the circumstances, as she was— calling to him from behind.
There wasn’t the slightest hint of an apology.
He leaned his body a little further forward.
To escape from this chaotic darkness.
But in the end, Darrell’s muffler tumbled from his grasp and was stomped on by his foot.
Noel slipped, his falling motion almost as though he was flying downward.
His chin slammed into the rough ground. His head was dizzy, his limbs all hot.
Rieta approached him. She had been chasing after his running figure.
She tried to help Noel up from his sprawled position on the ground.
Noel lowered his face onto the ground and bit his dirt-soiled lips.
He was so very ashamed.
He hated all of this. He wanted to disappear.
“Noel, get up. I’ll bring you inside . . .”
Rieta gripped him near his shoulder again, trying to lift him up.
Words of concern were on her lips.
That flat imperial language . . .
He really hated to hear it.
If she was going to return to the kingdom, he didn’t actually have to learn it.
“. . .”
Noel managed to move his body, burning with pain though it was.
And, refusing Rieta’s help, he stood up alone.
Rieta’s worried gaze, standing right in front of him, was the first thing that caught his eye.
He closed his eyes tightly, turned around and started running again.
Rieta called his name again, but it was in vain.
Noel did not halt in his running.
* * *
[I’ll be back when the weather warms up.]
Noel remembered his goodbyes to his mother.
He was young enough that he couldn’t recall everything, but three or so details remained clear in his mind.
A promise to return from the Duchy in the spring.
The view of her back as she left the mansion.
Noel having to force back the words don’t go like a good child.
It had been several spring cycles, yet his mother did not return.
Not even today.
* * *
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