Thud. Thud. The sounds could be heard from outside the door.
“Hmm. Still angry, I see. How long does Chouze intend on keeping him like this?”
“Norfe should be arriving soon. I’m sure that he will know what to do.”
The two guards in front of the door whispered to each other. Then, a smiling Chouze walked by. She was followed by two maids who were pushing carts and a serious-looking man who carried a big wooden box.
She didn’t even glance at the guards as one of the maids knocked on the door.
The thudding stopped, and the room fell silent.
“Let’s go in then.”
“We haven’t received permission yet.”
“It’s fine. I’m sure that he’s been waiting for us. We got some fresh fish today.”
Chouze ignored the maid who tried to stop her, and forced the door open.
The door opened to reveal a brightly lit room. There was was a balcony that faced the lake that had two glass doors. You could freely go out to the lake. The summer wind caused mild waves to appear on the lake’s surface, but it was very calm compared to the sea. There appeared to be a door to a bedroom to the left, but it was currently closed.
There was also a large sofa in the living room that faced a window. It was on this sofa, that someone who Chouze adored, slept.
Another thud could be heard as something hit the sofa.
“Amia. It’s me, Chouze. How are you feeling?”
“Do I look well to you?”
The thudding became louder.
“We brought fish from the lake today. I also brought a chef, so I am sure you will enjoy it.”
A thud was the only reply that could be heard.
Chouze went around to where Amia was and sighed.
Amia was wrapped in a thin cloth and lying down on the sofa. He was leaning on one elbow and staring at the lake. His hair was beautifully white, and it swayed in the air like seaweed in the water. His skin also shone in the light. He was muscular and well proportioned up to the waist. Everything below that was that of an impressive fish. The tail fin would occasionally hit the sofa, as if he was annoyed. That was what was making the thudding sounds earlier.
His face looked expressionless at first, but his eyebrows were slightly narrowed and his pale blue eyes suggested that he was not happy.
And yet, he was incredibly beautiful.
Usually, there would have been a lot more members of the royal family here. They always went to the villa by the mirror lake in order to escape the heat. But this year, many had gone to the highlands in the northwest, and the others remained in the royal capital. So it was just Chouze who remained here.
She had been so bored and even thought about going home. But then she heard word that some fishermen had caught a merman. And that was how she first met the beautiful Amia.
She had never seen anything so beautiful inland. Of course, you could easily go and see them if you took the train to the dwarf lands. But Chouze had never gone there. And there were no plans to send her. A short while ago, she had finally been able to visit Midland again. Ever since she was young, she had wanted to visit the other three territories.
And so she had become terribly excited when she saw Lord Zynis and Lord Aeris in Midland. Even Grudo seemed quite adorable to her, but dwarves were starting to show up more often even inland, so they were not particularly rare now.
But everyone seemed so busy and so she didn’t have an opportunity to talk with them. And if they did have any spare time, they spent it with the Saintesses. But her older brother and the inlanders who came with them disliked the other three territories to begin with, and so she wasn’t even able to ask if she could meet and talk with them. Even Prince Edwy wouldn’t talk to her like he used to.
On top of that, they had to leave before she got to enjoy the town of Tram.
She had been feeling quite low when the news of the merman reached her.
There had always been rumors about people seeing them by the lake. Of course, she wished she could see one too, but did not really expect it to happen. Chouze looked at Amia with an enraptured expression. Oh, how his scales glimmered beautifully in the light!
“I don’t want any fish. Return me to the lake.”