The man that came with her then stepped forward and spread out a cloth. And then he began to skillfully prepare the fish. After a short while, the slices of raw fish were placed beautifully on a large plate.
“Prince Amia. How about this? I heard that the people by the coast have a custom of eating fish raw like this.”
“I don’t want it. More importantly, take me back to the lake. I’ve already talked to you for several days. You said you only wanted to talk for a short while.”
“Oh, but I have not been satisfied yet. Amia, you’ve barely told me anything but your name.”
“Are all humans so dull-witted? My father and brother will not be happy when they find out what you are doing.”
“What I am doing?”
“You are keeping me here as a prisoner.”
“A prisoner! I am only keeping you here as a guest. Is there anything that I can get for you, Amia?”
“I want to return to the lake.”
“But you’ll go away if I return you to the lake, won’t you?”
“This is going nowhere.”
After that, Amia refused to reply, no matter how much Chouze tried to talk to him. He just stared at the lake.
“Well, I shall visit you again later.”
Chouze said before going out into the hallway. She sighed. After they had walked a little, she turned to her maid and said,
“Oh, he was so beautiful today as well. Prince Amia. I don’t care if he doesn’t talk. As long as he stays here.”
“Still, Princess Chouze. I think you should return him soon.”
The maid said rather bluntly.
“In the first place, you ignored the warnings about it being dangerous this year and came to the lake. And then you captured a merman on top of that. Oh, when the others find out about this, you will be forbidden from going outside.”
“Captured! He is a guest!”
“He’s half fish. And yet you tried to feed him raw fish. How frightful.”
“I don’t see what’s wrong with it.”
“If you don’t return him to the water soon, he’ll get all dried up and die.”
“What a horrible thing to say! You’re the one that’s frightful!”
No, what is frightful is your obsession and will to keep him locked up, even when he could die. The maid almost said this but held her tongue. Recently, even the oldest and most loyal servants in the palace were being let go over minor issues. And so she hesitated in saying exactly what was on her mind.
Chouze had always been a dreamer, but was still an honest girl. The maid didn’t understand what had happened.
“If only Prince Norfe was here…or…”
He was gentle with his younger sister, and so she wasn’t sure that he would deal with the situation calmly. It would all be fine if he just returned the fish to the lake. But what if he hurt him instead? The maid shook the thought out of her head. And then she followed after the princess.
Amia watched Chouze and the others leave the room. Then he hit the sofa once with his tail and let out a deep sigh.
The lake was shallow. He had known this, and yet he was lured by the miasma and went close to the shore. It was his own fault. He was annoyed at his own stupidity for getting caught in the net. But had he really wanted to get away, he could have cut it and escaped.
“Would you please come to my villa?”
The young human girl had said. There was something about her that reminded him of the beloved children. That was his downfall. She didn’t even have the same hair or eyes. However, he thought there would be no harm in indulging her for a while. And now look where that led. His tail slapped down on the sofa in frustration.
She was probably doing it with pure intentions. However, her head was so full of herself, that she was incapable of thinking about anyone else. Even merfolk were like that at her age.
If she was an enemy, he could eliminate her. He didn’t care if she was royalty. He would get rid of anyone that he disliked.
He could also just slip out on his own, but the thought of the grieving child was too much for him. He was also unable to treat her coldly. It was a rare moment where Amia was truly unsure of what to do.