Chiharu had known it from the start. She saw that the new girl was drawn to him. And he was clearly not oblivious to it. But she wanted to believe. That there was a real bond between them. It was not something that could be broken so easily.
Ultimately, she realized that bonds were brittle things. Chiharu made a tight fist.
Chiharu thought. She had known, but had she done enough to stop it? It was he who had confessed to her. Had she been so sure that he wouldn’t betray her? Yes, Chiharu had been testing him. And she lost.
Maki quickly washed up and came out of the bathing room.
Maki watched her with concern as she went to take a shower.
She knew that Aeris cared for her in a way that was different from a guardian. It wasn’t just because she was a Saintess. And she liked it. Aeris was important to her as well. Aside from Maki, she felt more relaxed with him than anyone else. But she wasn’t sure if that was love or not.
She touched the large button and the water stopped. Chiharu asked herself.
What if someone, say the princess from earlier, what if she took Aeris away? Just like she had lost her old co-worker?
If it’s not enough to just watch. Will you fight? This time.
A drop of water fell to the floor.
It’s not about winning or losing. It’s not even a fight. I don’t want my feelings to be rushed because of someone else.
Chiharu lightly dried herself off and left the room.
Woah? Chiharu couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yeah, that’s better. You had such a severe look in your eyes so I was surprised.”
Maki said as she helped dry Chiharu’s hair.
“I don’t have to rush, right?”
Maki said, even though she didn’t know what Chiharu was talking about. If that’s what Chiharu wanted to do, then she should do it.
“Let’s show our foreheads.”
“Hmm? Are you in battle mode?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
It wasn’t a fight. However, if the only way for her to go against those beautiful people was to use her status as a Saintess, then she would do it. Maki raised her bangs and Chiharu tied her long hair up so that her forehead showed. They were wearing the clothes they got at the Midland castle, but she didn’t mind. It was pretty enough. They looked at each other and nodded.
“Let’s say hello and then go sightseeing!”
When they opened the bedroom door, the men all turned around at once. Their eyes widened a little. Their foreheads were usually covered with a ribbon, but they were completely exposed now.
Aaron couldn’t help but mutter.
Maki laughed. But Chiharu walked straight towards Aeris and looked up into his green eyes. Such kind green eyes. Eyes that looked only at her. Aeris raised his right hand and slowly touched her forehead as he moved towards her just a little.
The princess taking him? Impossible. There was no need to even fight. What those green eyes gave Chiharu was unwavering confidence. She smiled. Aeris breathed in and there was a heat in his green eyes.
But before he could do anything, Chiharu moved away. And he slowly lowered his hand, as if with great regret. While it was a small sprout, there was something there that could grow. He felt as if this was proof of that.
Edwy had been watching this quietly.
“Now, let’s hurry up and meet the king so we can go exploring!”
“I want to leave this castle and relax in the town!”
The two said. Edwy hid the slight hurt he felt and said,
“Really, you two are supposed to be part of the research team. You said so yourself.”
He didn’t forget to remind them. Oops. They said with a laugh, not knowing what was in Edwy’s heart. Still, Edwy was happy to see them laugh. He had matured a lot on their travels.
“Well, let’s go then. To this place where the hunters wait.”
“Don’t scare them, Aaron. It’s just a simple greeting.”
Maki had still not learned that things do not go away so easily.