“I’m greeting Your Imperial Majesty.”
Uncle got up first and greeted him.
“It’s not easy to see you in private, Marquis.”
“As you know, I’m busy.”
I grabbed the hem of my dress, put one leg slightly behind me, and bowed.
“Your Imperial Majesty, hello! I’m Aika de Valiott!”
And I raised my head.
“…So you’re Aika.”
The Emperor bent down on one knee and met my gaze.
The clothes worn by the Emperor were more splendid than any clothes I had seen while passing through the Imperial Palace.
Winchester Gaia Selledor.
Mom told me I must know the name of His Imperial Majesty, the Sun of the Empire, that’s why I memorized it.
His purple eyes, which were said to be the symbol of the Imperial Family, were bright and mysterious.
Curiously, his black night sky-like hair was the same color as mine.
Mom said it was the prettiest color in the world.
The Emperor stared at me with that posture for a long time.
And only after a longer period of time did he ask, as if he was spitting out something with difficulty.
“If you don’t mind, can I hug you?”
I nodded my head without hesitation.
Because it was such an easy thing.
Contrary to my thoughts, however, the Emperor hesitated with his arms open.
It wasn’t until I took a step closer that very large arms covered me.
I felt a small trembling along with a low, long sigh, as if he was holding my breath and then exhaling it.
“I didn’t even know you were this big… I’ve been looking forward to the day I can meet you so much.
Thank you for coming.”
I was held there for several minutes as if time had stopped.
But how long do we have to stay like this?
Unable to bear the wait, I raised my head and opened my mouth.
“Your Imperial Majesty the Emperor?”
“Ah, I’m sorry.”
He hurriedly removed me from his chest like a frightened person.
Even then, the Emperor shuddered like a man in the cold.
“How nice of you.”
The Emperor was smiling softly, yet he had a strange expression on his face.
It had a lot of emotions, but it was such a sharp face on which I couldn’t tell what kind of emotion it had.
I quietly blinked.
“…Are you really Mom’s friend?”
I’m close to Seria, and also Kassel.”
Even as I nodded, I couldn’t take my eyes off the black hair that shimmered in front of my nose.
The Emperor’s eyes went down my chin.
“Your necklace is cute.”
It was because of the large necklace.
I felt like my face was burning up.
“U-Uncle told me to.”
“How very nice.”
With a belated thought, I rummaged through my bag and took out a brooch.
“This is a gift.”
The Emperor’s eyes doubled in size in an instant.
I held out my two hands and carefully placed the brooch on it.
“Yes, thank you for inviting me.
I made this!”
Then, his eyes widened like crescent moons.
It’s the most special gift I’ve ever received.
I’ll keep it carefully.”
“Should we eat something delicious now?”
“I’d love to!”
“I don’t know what you will like.”
The Emperor rose from his seat and waved his hand at someone.
After a while, drinks and snacks were set, much more than there are now on the table.
I passed the time sitting next to Uncle and talking to the Emperor.
He smiled more than I had imagined, was warmer, and seemed more curious about me.
For example, the food I like to eat, my favorite color, my favorite things, and the things I like to do the most.
“I think I know why it’s hard to see your face.
Even if someone like me is with Aika, it won’t be a waste of time.”
“Uncle doesn’t play well with me.”
At this time, I wanted to tell him Uncle’s atrocities.
He was higher than Grandpa and Mom, so it’s good to tell him at times like this.
The Emperor laughed again as Uncle twitched his eyebrows.
“Kassel doesn’t play well with me either.
He has a lot of excuses for being busy.”
So I hope Aika will visit often and play with me.”
“Can I really come again?”
You can come whenever you want to.
Then your uncle will take you.
If you put your mind to it, you can know all about my schedule.
“Why are you involving me there? How annoying.”
“Oho, what you just said to me is so rude.”
“I was talking to a close friend.”
The Emperor smiled kindly, and Uncle pressed his temples with a bewildered face.
“Then, Your Imperial Majesty the Emperor and I will be friends now?”
The Emperor raised his eyebrows and nodded his head as I did.
If your uncle bothers you in the future, you can tell me.”
Gasp, such a good thing!
I was so happy that I was about to run around, but I noticed Uncle and motioned to the Emperor to lend an ear.
I whispered to the Emperor, who leaned towards me, cupped his hand in his ear.
“Your Imperial Majesty, if Uncle is harassing you, you can tell me.
We’re friends, you know.”
Then he burst into laughter again.
“Hey, what did you say?”
Uncle, who looked like he had all the complaints about the world from earlier, asked.
I turned my eyes and shrugged my shoulders.
“It’s a secret between us.
I quickly nodded my head.
And seeing the Emperor like that, I thought that it would be nice if he could share only half of his personality with my Uncle.
Solar, bring me some of that.”
“Yes, I understand.”
A dark green bobbed hair sister, who was neatly buttoned up to the top of her neck, bowed and quickly brought out a small box.
The Emperor took it and handed it to me.
“Now, this is the gift I was going to give you.”
It was a box covered in velvet cloth.
“What is this?”
When the Emperor opened the lid, a long silver key was revealed.
“It’s the key to the Imperial Family’s Ancient Book room (古書室).”
“What is the Ancient Book?”
“It’s a very old book.
It tells us the wisdom we didn’t know and holds many things.”
“I’m finally giving you the gift because Seria asked me, she said Aika is so smart that she will really need it.”
I paused as I took out the key from the box.
I looked back and forth between Uncle and His Majesty the Emperor.
Uncle nodded his head as if he was fine, not angry as he usually does.
“She said if it’s Aika, maybe you’ll find something special in it that only you can know.”
“Did Mom… really?”
You can come and see it anytime if you’re curious.
Other than this, you can ask me for anything.
From now on.”
A gift Mom asked for.
A gift from Mom.
I hugged the key with both hands and held it to my chest.
For some reason, I seemed to feel Mom’s warmth.
I hugged it for a while and bowed my head when the key got warm.
Ah, geez, I should thank him.
I put the key back in the box and gave it to Uncle.
“Uncle, have this.”
Even if Uncle was a bit picky, he was the only one I could trust.
“And now you’re bossy.”
“If it’s gone, we’ll have a big problem.”
“Sir Russphe has arrived.”
I heard a man who seemed to be the Emperor’s subordinate speak quietly in his ear.
“Oh, he’s here.
Tell him to come in.
Just as my nephew entered the palace, I thought he could become friends with Aika, that’s why I called him here.”
And a little later, a boy who seemed to be my age came in with the subordinate who had left quickly.
“I’m greeting Your Imperial Majesty, the Sun of the Empire.”
The Emperor rose from his seat as if to welcome him.
The boy bowed down and greeted him with a clear voice, then took a few more steps this way.
His hair, which covered half of his eyebrows, was a very light silver.
‘It’s like moonlight.
The tip was slightly curled, so it seemed to be fluffy and soft to touch.
And the purple eyes, a symbol of the imperial lineage, felt like a new look with sharp eyes.
The boy who was approaching me stopped walking as if he was startled when his eyes met mine.
The eyes, which felt coy, quickly became round and pretty eyes.
Why is he looking at me like that? Is there something on my face?
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