Surfania was still playing and seemed to be having fun. She had won several games consecutively and didn’t look like she would lose any time soon. There was even a small crowd of spectators surrounding her table now. Mishuli looked like she had also successfully infiltrated the beginner’s area. Other children that were her own age were there, learning how to move the pieces.
As I was viewing all of this, I hear someone mumble next to me.
“You’re pretty close with Mishuli, eh?”
Leon would say the most obvious things, so I answered him in kind. It was the most normal thing in the world for sisters to get along well.
But, perhaps I and Mishuli had been too close. You could say that it was the result of living together in such a small world as the mansion.
A dependence. Or codependence.
We were so close that even such words that came from knowledge from my past life would come to mind.
“We came out here in disguise, so that Mishuli could make some friends.”
As I really had nothing to do, I decided to talk to Leon a little.
I wanted Mishuli to be able to talk to people other than me. I wanted her to have someone else that she could open her heart to.
It wasn’t possible with nobles. Aside from people that I was a bulwark for, we could not get too close to anyone who was in a position to go sniffing around, once we became well acquainted. It didn’t matter who they were, it was the house behind them that was dangerous. As far as Charles and Surfania, well, they only knew her through me.
And so for Mishuli to be able to talk with someone as herself, she would have to hide her status. But perhaps I was being too simplistic in thinking this.
I thought this much, but then suddenly a completely unrelated question entered my mind.
The setting of ‘Labyrinth Destiny’ was eight years from now, at the Royal Academy. The story would begin with Mishuli being enrolled.
But, why was Mishuli able to go to the Royal Academy?
It was not mandatory to enroll. Mishuli was supposed to be in hiding, so why would she be sent to a place where she would be forced to come in contact with so many people–
“You look like your thinking of all sorts of things. That’s unexpected. To be honest, I thought you were just really self-important.”
My mind was brought back to the present by his words.
But anyway, I didn’t have enough information to answer this new question that had entered my mind. I put it aside for now and answered Leon.
“I am quite important, so you aren’t wrong. I’ll forgive you for that one.”
“Haha. …But, I don’t think it’s possible for her to make friends in one day.”
“So you know…”
Leon sounded exasperated, but there was no way a genius such as me would not have predicted this.
But it was fine as a momentary pleasure. If she could mingle and laugh for even just a short while, in a single meeting, then Mishuli would know something more about others. She would understand that the whole world was more than just me.
This would become a memory and an experience for her.
“But, you… Uh, Christina, was it?”
“That’s right, commoner.”
I answered him with a deliberately sardonic tone to see his reaction, but he only laughed wryly.
The fact that he laughed like that, instead of firing back meant that he knew it was a joke, which was something I could appreciate in a person. It was the reaction I had expected, and so I nodded with satisfaction.
“So, Christina. You’re telling me you set up this whole troublesome incognito affair, just for your little sister?”
“Hm? Yes. That is exactly right.”
Leon’s black eyes looked at me as he talked. His eyes contained nothing but genuine curiosity.
Ah, they were the same color as mine.
Nothing had led to this thought, it just popped into my head.
“Don’t you have anything that you want to do yourself today?”
The words were so unexpected that I became confused.
What I wanted to do.
Leon saw that my mind had become blank as I was speechless. And so he continued.
“Yeah. Christina. Isn’t there anything you want to do for yourself, and not for Mishuli? I don’t have anything to do after this. I could be your guide, if you’d like?”
“…What is it with you? Don’t you have any friends?”
“Of course I do, idiot.”
I shrugged as his replies became less and less reserved. I was well aware that I had purposely dodged the question.
“I see. Something I want to do…”
I turn the question over in my mind a little.
Something I want to do without Mishuli.
I didn’t think that I would be able to think of anything, but then one surprising idea came to me.
“I know. I want to walk around and eat.”
“Walk around and eat… But you could do that any time you want.”
“No, I can’t.”
I was dumbfounded by Leon’s negative reply. The only time I had been able to walk around and eat was when I was invited to a buffet. That was completely different compared to what I had always wanted to do.
“That may be, but walking around and eating isn’t special in the least. Today is the festival, why don’t you… Um, are your parents very strict then?”
Perhaps he had become worried if there were any activities that we were prohibited from doing. But I shook my head.
“No, quite the opposite. I would even say on an unbelievable level. I’m generally allowed to do whatever I want.”
“Are you serious?”
My father spoiled us. He would let us get away with almost anything.
However, he was still a noble first and foremost, and also one with authority. He usually did not seem that way, but that was one area where he could not be moved.
Of course, that had nothing to do with the present.
“I’m sure I’ll find something I want to do as I walk around eating. First things first, take me to a nice food stall.”
“Aye aye… Wait, just how much money have you brought with you anyway?”
At these words, my eyes began to blink in surprise.
Oh, yes. Money. It was that thing that elevated this concept of finance in the world. It was without a doubt in the top three inventions of mankind. One of the things that were the most highly circulated in this world.
“Hmph. That’s right.”
I checked inside my pockets just in case, before proudly puffing out my chest.
“I have no such thing!”
Leon nodded with a great smile. He seemed happy for no reason at all.
“So, there will be no walking and eating!”
This inhumane rejection of my wishes caused my lips to pout.
I see. You apparently needed this thing called money in order to get things that you wanted in this world. I had never actually held money up until this point, and so I had forgotten about it. This was purely due to a lack of experience.
Of course, if I asked the servants who had accompanied Surfania, I was sure to be given something. But that was most unfashionable for me. They were the servants of House Calibrachoa, and I did not want to rely on money borrowed from a place that had no connection to me.
“Well then. Why don’t you play a game with me?”
“I would get bored playing against someone who lost to Surfania.”
His sympathetic look had gotten on my nerves, and so I lashed out.
Money, money… So eating and walking required money. I didn’t have any of that, but I didn’t want to give up here either. My eyes wandered about for a way to make money out of nothing, like alchemy, when my eyes stopped in one corner of the game house.
“Leon. Do you have any money on you?”
“Well, I do have a little…”
He had come to enjoy himself at this festival, so of course, he would have some. He clearly thought I was about to rob him because his expression turned sour.
But I wish for none to misunderstand me. I had not fallen so far into ruin that I would use my authority to steal coins from a peasant.
Knowing that we had some capital made me smile mischievously.
“Leon. I shall increase your allowance for you as a favor then.”
If we didn’t have enough, we should increase it.
I grinned as I pointed over to the gambling corner.