The treetop is good.
I let out a sigh of relief after climbing the tall tree overlooking the premises.
As I’m going through a splendid growth as a lady, I haven’t been climbing trees recently. However, the large tree in the Noir house always calms me down. This tree has been alive since before my birth, which bears a great significance to the house. Whenever I lean my back against it, I can feel a warmth coming from it, as if it’s sharing its life force with me.
And most of all, its thick bushes and green leaves provide a good hiding spot for me.
“Relax, Chris. His Highness Charles isn’t coming after you. Michelie is keeping him busy with the help of my sister. It will surely take him some time and effort to get away from the place.
Surfania plainly reports the situation to me from below as I’m sitting on a firm branch and hugging my knees.
Michelie is surely talented in socializing as she is able to show her good behavior. That’s only natural as she’s never interacted with people before. Despite her unusual background as an adopted child, her innocent smile and friendly attitude are warm enough to dispel any ill feelings. One would smile without hesitation upon interacting with this angel. If Michelie were to use her angelic powers, even the evil spirits plaguing the political world would be purified in an instant.
I, on the other hand…
I ran away.
I, despite being born as a genius, ran away. I fled from difficulty without facing it. Yes, that’s right. I shall admit it. I took to my heels. I ran away without trying to hide it.
I ran away from Charles.
I bite my lips, but that does not erase my blunder. It’s too late for regrets, and I don’t have the courage to go back and face him either.
Was I ever this pathetic?
“By the way, I’d like for you to explain to my sister that I left not on my own will, but because you dragged me out here, and I had no choice because you’re one of the hosts. I hope you understand. I don’t want my sister to stick her nose into my affairs again, so explain it to her clearly, won’t you?
“I’ll explain whatever you want……”
It’s too much trouble to debate against Surfania who is much too persistent with the excuse of running away together. I nod my head in approval.
By the way, Surfania is unable to climb trees. But for some reason, she’s kicking the tree trunk. The tree is over a hundred years old, so there’s no way a weakling like Surfania can kick it down, let alone shake it. So why is she doing it?
“……Stop kicking trees in people’s houses. What kind of a brute are you?”
“Well, I was wondering if I could make the wild person on the treetop fall off.”
I pick up a grasshopper crawling my way and drop it on Surfania’s head. She makes a funny scream.
“Wh- What are you doing?!”
“Isn’t that great, Surfania? You’ve learned that kicking trees will cause bugs to fall. Serves you right for kicking the great tree of the Noirs.”
That’s all Surfania manages to come up with as a retort. She’s probably glaring at me from below, but her eyes are blocked by the thick bushes and leaves.
I get ready to drop another bug, but she finally stops kicking the tree and begins asking.
“How long do you intend to keep running?”
Her words hurt more than I imagined.
“To be honest, I didn’t think you would run away like that. There were a lot of people who saw you, and their evaluation of you would surely decrease. In fact, it is only natural if strange rumors were to be spread after today. Even so, do you still intend to keep running?”
“……I will until I have calmed down.”
“You haven’t calmed down a bit after two years.”
It is as she says, so I have no way to refute it.
“If nothing has changed in two years, how do you expect it to change in the future?”
Unable to muster the strength even to curse her, I bury my face in my knees.
I know that.
Even I know that. I can vaguely tell that if I continue letting my emotions roam free, there’s no way I will calm down. Letting time pass hasn’t changed anything. In fact, it’s only making it worse.
Surely, the best solution is to face Charles properly. As a genius, I come to this conclusion.
But, even still.
“But it’s been… two years.”
It’s simply an excuse, but it’s what I truly think nonetheless.
“I’ve been running away from Charles for two whole years, you know?”
I know the answer, but my emotions betray me.
I was simply embarrassed in the beginning. I became aware of my own feelings, and I felt so embarrassed from an impulsive kiss on the forehead that it felt like my head was burning.
But after running away the first time, it became increasingly difficult to see his face. I became lost on how I should look at him or what I should say next. I became stiff after acting without thinking, and gradually began to feel even more frightening emotions.
I haven’t been able to face him properly these two years.
I’ve simply been running away, leaving him to Michelie, sometimes to Father, and just once to one of the maids. How many times have I looked into Charles’ face and talked to him in these two years.
Has Charles grown to dislike me?
I remember when I saw him at the party just now.
He wasn’t smiling back then. He might have looked a little angry.
I’m afraid of that.
Even as a genius, I am afraid of knowing the true intentions of others.
“How am I supposed to face him now……”
It’s all my fault.
He did nothing wrong.
I had it coming, but when I think of the possibility that he dislikes me now, I can’t help being afraid.
Surfania sounds serious. Her cool voice reaches straight to me as I fear her answer.
“Why am I listening to your poem? I’m getting goosebumps listening to it. Although I would much rather read an anthology sold in a market-”
In the middle of her speech, I shake a tree branch and drop a variety of bugs on her head. She ends up screaming loudly.
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