“Yes… What about Sister?”
But Sister took off her gloves and hugged me tightly.
“I’ve been well.
That’s a relief.
I’ve missed Aika so much.
Thanks for coming back…”
Then she gently patted my back.
Tears welled up on Sister’s face as she looked back.
The flower shop sister had a brief conversation with Zenda and held my hand again.
“I will show you the flowers.”
“Yes! I’m giving them to three people tomorrow.
They need to be very pretty flowers.
And today I have someone to give presents to, my uncle! Ah, and I have to give it to Gerard too.
“I’m fine, Miss.”
“Haha, a present for your uncle? Alright, I got it.
I’ll pick the freshest and prettiest flowers for you.”
After a while, I brought flowers for Uncle and Gerard, and Zenda brought one flower I picked out and another bouquet for tomorrow.
Then Sister held out a single rose to me.
“This is a gift for Aika.
Then come and visit me again next time, Aika.”
I nodded and hurried out to go to Uncle.
In the distance, I saw a tall figure standing with his hands in his pockets.
Uncle was talking about something with Gerard, who appeared before I knew it.
I quickly ran.
“Is that it?”
“Yep! Uncle, this is yours!”
And popped out the biggest sunflower to Uncle.
It was the largest one in the flower shop.
“No! It’s a gift for Uncle, why would you eat it? Keep it by your side when Uncle is working.”
Then Uncle received the flower sourly.
“This is my money, anyway.”
Although I had nothing to say, I glared at him with my cheeks inflated in displeasure.
Uncle is really mean to me.
Then he picked me up.
I hurriedly handed out a flower to Gerard as well.
“Such a temper.
Can we go now?”
“You thought well, Peanut.”
“I told you I’m not ‘Peanut’?”
“If you feel unfair, grow up.”
I tugged at Uncle’s hair, who was so obnoxious, as he timidly strode towards the carriage.
Uncle didn’t seem to feel much of a blow, though!
The next day.
I asked Zenda ahead of time yesterday, and got up two hours early.
Because it was the day I finally promised to meet Russphe at the Imperial Palace.
After breakfast, we hurriedly prepared to go to the Imperial Palace.
I brought flowers for Russphe.
I also brought flowers for Grandpa.
I also brought flowers for the Emperor.
I brought candies and handkerchiefs.
And I’ll make sure Uncle brings the key.
“Ah, Zenda, you know.”
“What happened to the sister who came here yesterday? Did it go well?”
Come to think of it, when I returned home, there was no one at the front door.
“Yes, I think so.
It’s no big deal, so don’t worry about it.”
“It’s not something bad? That sister came to the banquet hall yesterday, right? Her voice was like the one I heard there, though.”
I told the truth.
Because I’m going to get scolded anyway!
Zenda opened her eyes wide.
“Did you remember that?”
If I had gone with Zenda, you would have seen her face.”
“Well… I think she’s really one of the people you saw.”
I jerked my head away.
“W-Why is she here?”
“Hmm… I’m not sure if I can tell you…”
“Please tell me!”
Then Zenda reluctantly opened her mouth.
“They made a big mistake to you, Miss.”
“Uuumm… It was fine, though.”
That’s why the shops and stores run by Valliot and Leguier have blocked the entry of the four families.”
“Because they made a mistake.
They said that perhaps, the family of the one who visited yesterday was also included.”
I heard that all young ladies who were eligible to attend the banquet in the capital rushed to order dresses from the stores owned by Uncle and Grandpa.
Even they have the best jewelry and shoes.
“Is that such a big deal?”
Enough for her to come here?
“In the case of young ladies who are sensitive to fashion, they can even make reservations with extra charges.
Yet she’s even blocked from entering the stores.”
“Furthermore, it seems that all businesses that had any connection with the four families, including the Green family, were withdrawn.
I heard that if they keep going like this because they can’t get enough money, they might end up in debt.”
Maybe it’s the reason she came here to ask for forgiveness.
That’s why people are afraid of Valliot.”
No, you’re telling me things have gotten this big?
“Because of me…?”
Zenda added to my question.
“No, they’re paying the price they deserve for their wrongdoing, not because of the Miss.
That’s why, please don’t worry.”
“Then what if people all hate and avoid us?”
“There is no need to worry at all, as there’s a line of families who want to fill the new vacant positions and do business together.”
“How does Zenda know so well?”
“I heard it from Gerard yesterday.”
[Learn it right now.
How to dispose of garbage.]
Suddenly, Uncle’s soft words echoed in my ears.
How to dispose of garbage…
I don’t know if everyone understood it correctly, and I think it’s scary, but I decided to keep it as Uncle said.
It could be a way to protect Grandpa and my family.
After breakfast, Zenda took me to the room where all the toys and dolls I had seen at the toy store the previous day had been moved.
“Zenda, look at this!”
“Fufu, do you like it that much?”
“Yes! They’re all new!”
I sat down in the middle and turned my eyes everywhere.
It really was all there.
I took a look at each one of them at the toy store yesterday.
Everything but one.
Except for the doll I picked out.
I searched hard through the pile of toys, yet there was no doll I had chosen.
Why isn’t it here? Everything I saw yesterday is here, though?
I trusted Uncle, though.
As expected, Uncle can’t be trusted.
This can’t be.
It’s time to send a letter to Grandpa asking him to buy the doll.
I stared at Zenda, unable to hide my dejection, with my shoulders drooping.
She burst into laughter.
Zenda, is this funny? I’m frustrated, you know!
It’s good, but not enough.
Oddly enough, out of so many toys, I was drawn to it.
It’s neither a puppy nor a polar bear, but a chubby white fur doll with black eyes.
No other decorations, just a metal button dangling as a necklace, below the neck, exactly like my name tag!
On the button was a large claw shaped like a tiger’s claw.
“How about going to the Master?”
“Yes, maybe he knows where the doll is.”
At that, I jumped up and went out to find Uncle.
I actually trusted Uncle.
Originally, the only person I could trust was Uncle.
Hearing that Uncle was on the first floor, I rushed down the stairs.
He was sitting leisurely on the sofa in the hall on the first floor.
Holding the doll I longed for.
Panting, I went to my uncle and stretched out my hand.
“Uncle, give it to me!”
But Uncle raised the hand holding the doll.
Then he grinned obnoxiously.
You know I can’t take it even if you told me to!
As if climbing a mountain, I stepped on Uncle’s thighs, which were like rocks.
He said, “Ugh.” and made a short, painful noise.
“Hey, is your uncle a street? That you can step on like that?”
At the same time, I caught the doll.
Oh, got it.
Fortunately, it came into my hands in vain enough that I didn’t have to use any force.
“You like it that much?”
“Yep, I like it best in the world.”
After holding the doll in my arms, I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction.
Yeah, this was it!
“Alright, so come down.”
I grabbed hold of Uncle’s clothes as if I was ripping off his clothes to keep my balance so that I could get back down to the floor, but my body staggered for a moment.
A firm hand touched my back.
It was then.
Regardless of my will, my eyes became hazy.
Not in front of Uncle!
I thought it was quiet for a few days, but I never got used to this phenomenon no matter how many times I went through it.
Although I’ve been so comfortable for a few days!
Mom said it was our secret, but this was never my will.
What should I do when my eyes change at will?
Mom didn’t tell me this.
No, she couldn’t.
How should I deal with this situation?
I was so scared to have this ability.
Like, what if I can’t escape this illusion?
The only possibility now is to go to the Ancient Book room with the key Mom gave me.
Mom said I could see them.
Maybe it’s just my thoughts.
“Peanuts, hey, Aika…”
Uncle called my name, but his voice became distant.
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