The Prince Doesn't Cry From Mere Onions - Chapter 2.3
“Please sweep up the dirt a little.”
Bertram began sweeping obediently. He may not have the sense to do things on his own, but he was at least good at doing what he was told to do.
Because of that, Anna was caught off guard by his sudden question.
“Do you know where that old woman’s son is?”
“Huh? Are, are you asking me?”
“You told the old woman earlier that you would tell her tomorrow.”
“…….Obviously, I don’t know.”
“So you lied.”
Though his tone wasn’t that of reproach, Anna’s anger rose for some reason, and she spoke sharply.
“But there’s no other way. If I don’t say that at least, then she’ll probably dig into the ground until her fingers wear off her hands, searching for her son, you know?”
“She’s looking for her son who went missing during the war. It seems he was fighting somewhere near here before they lost contact.”
“That is quite sad.”
“Oh my, so you know how to say something’s sad or not?”
“I know how. I just cannot feel.”
At that moment, Anna looked at her face as it reflected back to her at the window.
Talking about the old woman, Anna was making a complex expression of sadness, bitterness, and also the tediousness she felt now having to deal with the woman so often.
On the other hand, the man who had mentioned ‘sad’ still had a face that was as indifferent as a chiseled stone.
Anna suddenly thought of a possibility.
“Excuse me…. But Mr. Bertram, have you ever hurt your head during the war?”
“I have fought much, and was hurt just as much. I’m sure my head must have been injured at some point as well.”
“Mm, I see. It’s just, I think I know why you don’t smile or get angry now, Mr. Bertram.”
Bertram’s head swung sharply. Though his expression remained indifferent, his reaction was surprisingly fast.
“Oh, sorry if that was rude. But there are a lot of people in our village, too, that were injured by the war. There are people who apparently laugh now even when they’re sad, and there’s someone whose mouth is fine but can’t talk anymore. So I was thinking that perhaps Mr. Bertram is similar to that, too.”
“It wasn’t rude. …..this may be rude, but, have you been harmed during the war as well, Miss Anna?”
“I was hit on my face while protesting when our village was being requisitioned. Right over here.”
Anna pointed to the bridge of her nose. It was a cute nose, like a clove of garlic had been placed on her face; however, at closer examination, you could see a fine, white crack.
“After my nose was broken, I’ve become mostly unable to smell. Even if I cook following what my hands remember, I’m sure it doesn’t taste as good. This isn’t what a restaurant owner should be saying, but Mr. Bertram, you just! So! Honestly, I find my food unsavory that I’m letting you know now.”
“Then in the future, I will say that it was delicious.”
“What? There’s no need for you to lie.”
But an unexpected story flowed out of Bertram’s lips.
“I am unable to taste as well. Accordingly, I have been answering honestly, but it seems that has made you sad. My indifference is no reason to wound other people. As late as this is, I apologize.”
After bowing his head, Bertram took up the broom once more. And Anna was truly at a loss for words this time.
A man who could not taste, and seemed not to have emotions. Couldn’t read the room, to boot.
Anna had dealt with all sorts of people in her life, but a man who presented this kind of irritation was a first for her.
However, it was also the first she’d seen someone who apologized and tried to fix his actions so quickly.
Plus, the words that he chose were strangely different from what the country people used.
As Anna pondered over this concern, which even she knew was useless—
The doors of the restaurant opened with a bang. A familiar voice travels through the restaurant.
“Anna, you wench! Heard you picked up a d*mn bum in the meantime again?”
Anna’s mother, Carla.
Perhaps she’d heard the news during her way back from the market: both her hands were still full of her things.
Soon, a piece of cloth was rolled up and held in Carla’s hand like a bat.
“I told you not to be tricked by noblemen, did I tell you to bring in beggars? You should know your limits by now and stop picking up people!”
“You’re the one who needs to stop! Look at what you’re doing at an age you should be marrying—”
“That person is still here!”
Carla belatedly discovered the man, standing there with the broom.
The bulky man, whose black hair despite his pale skin as well as his clothes made ‘pitch-black’ a word that automatically sprang up in the viewer’s mind.
In the silence, Bertram gracefully lowered his head towards Carla and spoke.
“Hello. I am definitely, definitely not a nobleman, and….. I am a d*mn bum, just as you have said.”
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