Where the Orange Went
After some time had passed, they returned to the inn from the front door. The person who was at reception looked up in surprise.
“I was so worried because you were late. It’s a good thing your older brother caught you and brought you back.”
The receptionist laughed at the sight of Maki’s pathetic expression as she was escorted by Edwy and Aaron.
“Sorry for making you worry.”
And then Maki was pulled into a corner.
“So, how did it go?”
“Don’t ask. She never even showed up…”
“Ahahahaha! Well, that’s too bad. But you know, merchants come and go. Perhaps this is for the best for whoever this girl is. She might have been someone’s younger sister, anyway.”
The receptionist said with a look towards Chiharu. You wouldn’t let your own younger sister go out at night, would you? That’s what it sounded like.
“That’s true. Next time, I’ll be calmer when looking for someone.”
“Indeed. But it seems like it would be difficult to keep those brothers of yours off your scent?”
“You don’t know the half of it. It’s annoying how they’re the only ones that are popular.”
“Hahaha. Well, keep trying.”
The receptionist patted Maki on the shoulder.
“Thank you for everything. Good night!”
“Aye, have a good night.”
The receptionist watched the four of them leave and then a thought suddenly occurred to him.
“Huh? Why is the younger sister there too? Did he take her with him? Surely not.”
He tilted his head in puzzlement.
“Well, maybe she just followed after him? In that case, it’s a good thing that girl never showed up.”
He decided. In a way, they were saved by the fact that he was nice. Maki and Chiharu hadn’t put too much thought into their plan, and it was full of holes.
Edwy and Aaron stopped in front of Maki and Chiharu’s room.
“Ahhh, what a shock that was. I didn’t expect those guys to combine like that.”
Maki said, ignoring what was important.
“Forget that. There was a lot more that I found shocking.”
Aaron said with exasperation. Next to him, Edwy chuckled.
“Maki, your hand.”
He said as he showed his own palm to her.
Maki put her hand on top of his. Edwy held it tight with both of his hands. They were warm.
“These are the hands that return monsters to magic stones. I am fond of these gentle hands.”
She could stand hardships. But kindness was no good. Tears welled up in Maki’s eyes.
“Uh, hey. Chiharu. Do something!”
“Huh? You do something Aaron. Or you, Edwy. Hug her!”
Edwy had been about to wrap his arms around Maki, when she finally returned to her senses. Maki pulled her hand away.
Then she wiped her face with her sleeve.
“Your turn, Chiharu.”
She said as she stretched out for Aaron’s hand. After everything that happened, Maki didn’t hesitate to extend her hand. That’s the kind of person she was. Chiharu thought this warmly. If it were her, she would be cowardly and that incident in the castle would have caused her to close up.