24. — Between Greed and Conscience (1)
Translated by Nabi
"I think my lifespan has been shortened."
I glanced at the imperial palace in the distance and murmured, then glanced at Lily’s eyes. Then, I quietly added my words to the image of Lily sitting opposite me, whose eyes were wide open, gazing at me.
"…About 200 to 100 years old."
"Don’t say that, even as a joke. Every time the Young Lady says something like that, I get surprised."
…I feel like every time you stare at me with those big eyes, Lily, there is a hole in my face.
Eventually, I let out a shallow sigh, swallowing something she could not say to her. I am really just an extra, so why do I keep getting involved in the original novel content—
My hand, which was about to move toward my head in frustration, stopped again in the air at Lily’s gaze. When I slowly lowered my hand, twitching my fingers, she let out a sigh and opened her mouth.
"Before you pull your hair out, just know that I spent an hour this morning decorating your hair."
"… I’ll try."
"Yes, please do your best. For as long as the two are away, you’re the face of our County of Blaise."
As I watched Lily clasping my hand while saying that, I thought it was almost a request of a seven-year-old kid. I pouted my lips in frustration and turned my head to the touch of something tapping my arm. Noya, who was going to the Imperial Palace in a carriage with me, was standing as if clinging to my arms.
"Noah? Why? Do you want me to hug you?"
When I held Noya, who was nodding his head quickly into my arms, Lily, who was peering at me quietly, tilted her head and asked.
"Oh, come to think of it, today is going to be a goodbye to Noya."
"Didn’t the Young Lady say Noya’s only under temporary protection with you? Aren’t you in charge of him for a while before entrusting him to His Majesty the Emperor?"
At Lily’s words, I gazed at Noya for a moment.
In fact, to be precise, Noah was going to be sent to Irene through the Emperor because he was still a child. After all, he is a young child who still needs help from an adult.
However, I did not know how to help him or how to raise him safely. First of all, I am not a believer in divine power, and I do not even have much faith in it. So, would Irene, who has the same divine power, not be more helpful to Noya than me…? Of course, later, when she returned to Aren and the novel proceeded, she would need Noya’s help, so they would be helping each other as well.
「 "No, I’m not going." 」
I glanced around, startled by the clear voice in my ear for a moment. There was a voice I had never heard before from the carriage, which had only Lily and I, and Noya.
Unlike me, who could hear it clearly, Lily did not seem to hear anything.
…What, what is this?
As I blinked in an incomprehensible situation, I could feel Noya wriggling in my arms.
I stared at him, clinging to my arms and rubbing his face. Noya was holding me tight as if he did not want to be apart. Seeing that, Lily said with a playful smile as she looked at him.
"He seems to think of you as a mother."
"No, you know. From the three days before the Young Lady returned to Aren, Noya had eaten only with you and slept only with you?"
"No, I can’t. Noya is not min—"
「 "I like Adelia." 」
At the same time as the voice heard again, Noya’s eyes met mine for a moment.
I am crazy, really…
No matter what it seemed like, the owner of the voice was Noya.
ﾟ· : * ✧ * :· ﾟ
Have I ever seen a scene where Noya had a heart-to-heart conversation with Irene…?
…No, I have never seen one.
Then, have I ever read a situation similar to this in a novel…?
…No, I have not. There was never even a hint of that in the book in the slightest.
Ever since I got possessed into this book, have I ever heard that it was possible for shapeshifters to listen to people’s inner thoughts or have a conversation in their minds…? If that was possible, would they be deceived by that bastard, Jo Malone?
And, finally, the situation right now… I have never seen, read, or even heard of it so how could I understand this?
As I headed to the audience room to meet the Emperor, I swallowed a scream I could not help but swallow. When I swept my face and let out a groaning sound, Noya’s voice was heard again in my ear.
「 "Adelia doesn’t like talking to me?" 」
Noya was gazing at me with a look of dismay. I felt sorry seeing him like that.
"…No, I don’t hate it."
「 "Then?" 」
I focused my gaze on Noya, who asked that. The answer came naturally from my mouth, with clear eyes that had no lies at all.
"I don’t want to be any more special than this. If I stand out more here, I think the life of an extra that had been peaceful would collapse."
「 "What does it mean to be special?" 」
"The main characters… No. To be noticed—noticed and paid attention to by important people?"
「 "Is that a bad thing?" 」
"Isn’t that supposed to be the case? I’m just an extra young lady, so it’s good to live a long life with a blurred presence."
Afterwards, he blinked his eyes as I sighed and spoke to him. Noya, who had been glancing his eyes away for a moment as if trying to understand what I was saying, opened his mouth cautiously.
「 "But, from the first time I saw you, Adelia was shining brightly?" 」