“I think the Margrave would probably strike you if he heard you saying such things?”
“I have more reason to fear my mother, on that account. She is much quicker with the hand.”
I sighed heavily. Reggie chuckled.
“But, you really should get accustomed to it. I and the Margrave will not always be near you, what do you intend to do when you are left alone?”
“…What are you saying?”
It was unlike Reggie to say anything that suggested a dark future, Alan was a little startled by this.
“There are limits to everything in this world. I and of course, you. But there are things that we can prevent ourselves from losing, through being prepared.”
So, this is a warning. Reggie says.
But the unease that was now created in Alan’s mind would not leave. And because of this, he could not stop his mouth from running on.
“We cannot help that there are limits. But you, can you afford to be so defeated? What will Kiara do if something really does happen?”
Reggie’s eyes widened in unusual surprise.
“Huh? But, you… Uh.”
Alan wanted to tell him that he had only just left her room. But Reggie did not seem to be self-conscious about that at all, and so he hesitated to pursue it.
“You seem to be quite fond of her, and Kiara has taken to you the most of anyone here. Well… You have certain, responsibilities for helping her…”
“Kiara is not the type of person to wholly rely on someone who has helped her. She is capable of living even if I were gone.”
Reggie laughed. Alan started to sulk a little.
“But, Reggie. Clearly, you are very attached to Kiara now. Do you not spend most of the day with her, without getting bored? Does that not mean that you feel an affection towards her?”
Reggie’s facial expression hardly changed during Alan’s pressing.
“Yes, Kiara is an interesting one. If I could keep her by my side, I feel like life would be so much more carefree. But…indeed. The more important issue is what she wants to do.”
It was a most incomprehensible answer.
She is interesting and he wants to keep her by his side. But it was Kiara’s decision to make.
And it also did not answer all of Alan’s question.
He had wanted to know if they were lovers as well, but that question had been neatly ignored.
But Alan could accept that his friend was a complex person. Too complex even, it would sometimes worry him.
There were times like this, where Reggie would only give him answers that were more of a riddle than anything. Likely, he was afraid of revealing his true feelings, of being betrayed… It must have become a habit for him.
But Alan had also realized that Reggie would talk in this way when he had already made his mind about something but was not willing to talk about it yet.
(But, what and how did he decide?)
Had he decided to keep Kiara near to him? Had he decided to keep her as a friend, but maintain a distance between them? He would surely not answer these questions if asked now.
“Well… Just tell me, if something happens. Kiara is employed under our roof, even if you one day have to abandon her, we will take responsibility for her. See?”
“…Alan. To me, abandoning her would be the same as abandoning myself.”
Reggie answered, his face had suddenly turned very serious.
“To abandon yourself…”
Why did he feel so strongly, there was such a weight to those words that Alan did not know what to say after that.
“And so I won’t abandon her until the end. It the situation turns so bad, I will probably take her with me and leave. So the burden will not be on you.”
How far did he intend to take her? I could not ask.
I felt that if I did, I would hear something most frightening.
The next day, Alan saw Kiara, whose face looked a little puffy as if she had been crying. And his confusion deepened.
“It was probably…not about separation.”
He had said that he would not abandon her. I did not think that he had asked for an end to their relationship. But then, why was Kiara crying?
Alan did not know how to react to a woman when she was crying, and so he tried to avoid her until that parts under her eyes began to settle. His mind raced as he waited.
“Was it possibly because Reggie couldn’t make her his wife?”
But that too was not believable for Alan. Reggie would not stop until he had finished doing something that he had decided on. He would find ways to pass any barriers in place.
What surprised Alan, even more, was from that day on, neither Reggie or Kiara acted in a way towards each other, that could be interpreted as that of two lovers.
Regardless of such troubles that filled Alan’s mind, the day came for Reggie to end his stay and return to the royal palace.
“I will come again, next year.”
Reggie smiled, addressing Alan and Kiara.
“Alan, we have a chance to meet at the new year’s celebration. You will of course come?”
“I wouldn’t miss it.”
Alan nodded, he had finally come to terms with what was troubling him.
(I see, I understand now. Reggie sees himself as Kiara’s guardian)
One would not feel inconvenienced at having their child kept close by, one would never abandon their own child! There were many such fathers in the world. And those tears, it made sense to think that he was comforting a scared daughter after having been attacked.
The problem had been solved. And so Alan was able to send Reggie away, feeling refreshed and with a big smile.
And he turned to Kiara who stood with a slightly dark expression in order to encourage her.
“Well, what is it? Cheer up, Kiara.”
She had been surprised for some reason, but she quickly smiled back at him.
And so Alan did not realize that he had greatly misunderstood the situation.