This is a day later than what I scheduled, but from now on you can expect chapters for Liz on Wednesdays 12 AM (+7 GMT). Enjoy!
ED: clover, eristol
“And so, what’s your affinity? What kind of spirit would you summon?”
Since we already were talking about her contract with a spirit, I asked her something I figured would be in line with the topic.
I knew I had an affinity for dark spirits, but I wanted to know which one she was going to make a contract with.
Hearing my question, she replied with a smile:
“A light spirit. Apparently, I have a really strong affinity for those.”
I muttered lowly.
That was one more thing that fit Chloe incredibly well.
I even felt slightly jealous, even though I knew I had a strong affinity for darkness.
She heaved a sigh, then carefully asked me.
“Lily…um…can I ask? Do you have any affinity too?”
Having an affinity for spirits is something really important for nobles. It isn’t really shameful to not have one, but there are some people who develop a complex when not having one. It could end up becoming a really delicate topic.
—How should I reply?
I really didn’t want to talk about my failed contract. If it came to it, the best would be to just say the same thing I repeated to my brothers.
“…I do have an affinity. But I still haven’t performed the contract. It seems my father is waiting for the best date for it, so I’m waiting for now.”
I felt bad for lying like that, but when she heard me, Chloe stared at me with respect.
“Huhh…! It’s really different for dukes! In my family I was just told to do it as quickly as I could, they never mentioned choosing a suitable date.”
I felt as if Chloe’s undoubting words were piercing my heart.
It was hard to endure her innocent stare, having lied about waiting for a specific date when that had never been the reason.
The guilt started to gnaw at me.
I wanted to change the topic as fast as I could. As a way to do that, I sprang up from the couch.
“…Oh right! D-do you want to come with me to choose a book to read to the children? Would you like to come to the library?”
“I want to!”
I changed the topic somewhat forcefully, but Chloe replied immediately.
I kept feeling bad seeing how happy she was as I guided her towards the library. Of course, Luke also came with us. By chance, Victor-niisama was also there, reading a book with a complicated face.
—I’m in luck.
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My eldest brother always likes to dress elegantly, even when indoors, and today he was as neat as ever.
I felt relieved since I had hoped I could let the two of them meet.
After I called him, he lifted his face from the book and looked at me.
“Ah, it’s you, Lily…and that is…the friend you said you’d bring with you…Miss Carlisle, was it?”
His gaze turned towards Chloe. As soon as their eyes met, her face turned completely red, but she still somehow was able to greet him.
“T-thanks for receiving me.”
Maybe because she was incredibly nervous, her voice sounded like the cry of a mosquito, but it seems my brother was able to hear her. He nodded pleased, then spoke to me again.
“Well? Do you need something from the library?”
“We came to look for picture books we can read to the children.”
He nodded again satisfied when he heard my reply.
“That reminds me, I told you about this before when you spoke about the orphanage. But I prepared the books I don’t need anymore in my room, I forgot to tell you about it though. I’ll get Luke to fetch them later, so you can take those as well if you want.”
“Really? Thank you.”
He had said he would prepare those books before. I felt happy knowing he remembered that promise.
“Well, I’ll gladly take them then.”
“Go ahead. You can return them any time you want.”
I thanked him again, then took Chloe and went outside the library. I didn’t think it was necessary to look for more books if we already had my brother’s. On top of that, Chloe was almost drooling looking at my brother and wouldn’t do anything useful, so I had to do something with her.
Nothing good would happen if we remained there. I only thought the best would be to leave as quickly as I could, and that probably was the correct choice.
“Chloe, Chloe…. I understand you’re happy you could see Victor-niisama, but can you come back to this world?”
I started shaking her shoulders when we arrived in my room. Then her eyes finally focused on something, after vacantly staring into space for so long.
“Don’t ‘huh’ me, seriously…”
I smiled seeing her finally begin to react again. I really couldn’t understand how my brother could still be aloof about it.
“Wh-where am I…?”
She turned left and right trying to orientate herself as I told her while feeling slightly annoyed.
“You were completely entranced by my brother. But whatever, guess it’s okay. In either case, I think it’s about time you go back home, are sure you’re okay?”
“Eh? Ah, you’re right!”
We were probably too lost chatting as a lot of time had passed and it was already past dusk. I asked her if the Earl, her father, wouldn’t be worrying if she was too late, and her usual face suddenly changed.
“My father will get mad! Lily, I’m really thankful for today, but I have to go now.”
“I know. If you want, you can come again. Today was fun.”
“I enjoyed it too!”
I went with her to the place where the Earl’s carriage was waiting, then stayed there with Luke as we saw her off.
Afterwards, we turned around and headed to my room.
As we went through the hallway, I called Luke who was a few paces behind me.
I quickly glanced around to check the surroundings, when I was sure no one else was around, I continued speaking.
“…? What are you talking about?”
His voice sounded like he really had no clue, so I didn’t know how to explain it to him. But in the end, I figured I should just be straightforward.
“…You like Chloe, don’t you? And I knew that, but I still ended up letting her meet with my brother, and I thought you might not like that. Even if you’re my exclusive butler, I still didn’t think about you. I should’ve left you waiting in my room.”
“Oh, you were worrying about me?”
I turned around and saw him chuckling.
“I don’t know how much you’re misunderstanding things. But I don’t really have any romantic feelings for Chloe. I have enough stuff on my plate from taking care of you. I don’t have enough time for romance and things like that.”
I’m sure he had romantic feelings for Chloe when he first introduced me to her.
It was clear from his attitude, and I was sure it wasn’t something he could wave off so easily.
That’s what I honestly thought, and that’s why I said that.
“…Some feelings are rewarded, and those that aren’t can be put aside, but you don’t have to be so forceful about it…”
“I’m sorry if Milady’s mind is only thinking about romance, but all I ever look for in other people, men or women, is just to build a friendship. I think of her as a really good friend, but nothing more. Milady, can you please stop thinking the wrong thing? It’s becoming annoying.”
I stared at Luke after he said all of that as seriously as he could. There really didn’t seem to be any lies concealed in his expression. It only looked like him being annoyed at the fact I was misunderstanding the way he liked Chloe.
originals on starrynightnovels.wordpress.com
“…Eh? Huh? Wait, does that mean I was wrong about it?”
“It would seem so.”
“…I can’t believe it.”
That made me feel really embarrassed. His reaction had been so unexpected I felt slightly dizzy.
Luke kept talking with a composed expression.
“Milady, it’s because I have you that I don’t have time to idle away in romance, and also don’t think those feelings are needed. If you can understand that, please try not to confuse things or misunderstand like this ever again.”
“I…I understand. And umm…I’m sorry I misunderstood.”
“You apologized honestly, so I forgive you.”
For a moment, I felt weird about apologizing like that and being forgiven by my butler, as I was his master, but I knew I was the one who misunderstood, so I didn’t think it was appropriate to say anything.
—Still, I’m glad.
I somehow felt relieved.
Prince Wilfred likes Chloe, and Chloe likes Victor-niisama. If Luke were to also like Chloe on top of all of that, I could only imagine how much of a wreckfest would unfold.
I was glad Luke wouldn’t get involved.
“…Hey, if that’s the case, can I be blunt for a bit? You probably noticed as well, but Chloe likes Victor-niisama… What do you think he feels about her, from what you saw?”
He was aware of the circumstances, so I could ask him. When he heard about it, his face took a complex turn.
“…I don’t think he has any specific feelings, he just thinks of her as your friend. That’s it.”
“So, you think so too…”
My shoulders drooped hearing the reply I had already guessed.
I had thought the same.
After all, his manners hadn’t changed a single bit from his usual. He hadn’t noticed at all how much Chloe blushed and looked at him with a cute face. He was either too dense or weird.
Luke’s face turned somewhat bitter, probably thinking of the same thing.
“Victor-sama seems to especially enjoy his times with you and Yugo-sama lately. And that’s after having ignored his family until recently. But now he seems to like it so…thinking about love so soon after that is probably expecting too much.”
“…Yeah. I think that’s probably it.”
I only had a vague idea of what Luke meant.
Yugo-niisama, Victor-niisama, and then, me.
The times the three of us spend together have increased. Our tea parties for the three of us only, while surrounding Noel, take place almost every other day now. And I enjoy them myself but…
“…I guess it’s better if I don’t stress about it for now.”
After thinking about it, Luke seemed to agree with me as he nodded with a serious face.
“Even if your first time with a lover went well, if you do the wrong thing now, you could end up making Chloe cry and you don’t want that now, do you?”
I wanted to say something back about the way he put it, but I couldn’t deny anything so I just remained silent.
Chloe and my brother, then Prince Wilfred.
I had no idea what the three of them would do, but my thoughts kept taking weird turns, and if I tried to pry into them I only got worried, so I convinced myself to only watch where things would go for now.