m not a kid who doesn’t know anything.”


Whenever Talaea is confronted with a child who pretends to know nothing and tries to comfort them, she always takes a step back and returns to her usual self.


“So, do you not want to be friends with the prince?”




“Tilly, I can’t force you if you don’t want to.
I said this was the last time, so I won’t try to make you be friends with him anymore.
If you don’t like it, let’s go back home.”


“I’m not lonely even if I don’t have friends.”


“No matter how good friends I have, they can’t be real to me.”


Even though she felt like saying that she wanted to go home right now, she couldn’t go home anyway.
So Talia smiled and reassured Roxana that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to play with the friendless sub-protagonist for a while.


“But if As is lonely, I can be their friend.”



After finishing talking with Roksa, Talaea returned to find As sulking with a mouthful of strawberries.
Julian and Charlotte were trying to cheer him up and offering him more strawberries.
When As made eye contact with Talaea, he quickly wiped his mouth and hands, and then offered her the basket of strawberries.


“Sorry, Talia.”


“For what?”


“I gave you strawberries, and then asked you to marry me.
Even if you don’t want to get married, it’s okay to be friends, right?”




‘Aw, he’s so cute.’


Who would have thought the protagonist’s childhood would be this adorable? Talaea picked the juiciest strawberry from the basket.


“Ah, say ‘ah’.”


As received the strawberry awkwardly, but ate it happily as Talaea continued to feed him.
He didn’t even have to say anything, as Talaea kept giving him more and more strawberries.


As’s cheeks swelled up as he ate, and Talaea couldn’t help but giggle.
Her laughter caused everyone else to start laughing as well.
As’s face looked like a doll, with his red-stained cheeks resembling the strawberries he was eating.
He didn’t even realize that he was the one making everyone laugh as he chewed on the fruit, smiling at Talaea.


“Um, if it’s not too presumptuous, can I call you Tilly?”


“… Huh?”


Calling someone by a nickname was something that was not easily allowed unless you were really close friends.
Asking if it was okay to call them by a nickname the first time you met was technically rude.
However, that wasn’t what surprised me.
I couldn’t believe that a five-year-old was using the word “rude” and being polite.


Looking at the polite and kind sub-male lead that I had created, I felt a strange feeling.
But I didn’t have time to think about it.
As my silence grew longer, As’s expression began to look sullen, as if trying to hide it.
I felt bad for refusing, as I was already calling him by a nickname in my mind.


“Instead, I’ll call you As too.”


“Okay, great!”


Seeing As’s face light up at my permission, Mom smiled and reached out her hand to him.
As seemed unsure of what to do with the heavy strawberry basket he was holding in both hands and handed it over to a maid before taking my hand.
As was a few months younger than me but taller, and his hands were slightly bigger than mine.
But no matter what, it was still the hand of a five-year-old that couldn’t reach the adults.




“Why are you being like that?”


“Because my hands are small.”


“Yep, Tilly’s hands are small and cute.”


I had just mentioned that Ash’s hands were small, but Ash seemed to accept that my hands were small and responded by taking my hand and nodding along to my words.
As I felt the gazes of the adults around us, I coughed to hide my embarrassment.


I’ve seen plenty of aristocrats flaunting their wealth, but seeing the other aristocrats beaming with joy over their first friendship made me feel oddly bashful.
To escape the gaze of the adults, I suggested to Ash that we go play somewhere else.
Sharlotte, who was smiling happily, clapped her hands in agreement.


Will Ash show Tilly around the garden?”


“Yes, of course.”


Ash kindly accepted Sharlotte’s proposal and led me somewhere while waving goodbye to Julian and Roxana, who were standing there.
I clutched the neck of the rabbit hanging from my arm and watched them leave.
My goal of breaking off the engagement had been achieved without tormenting the poor sub protagonist, thanks to the appropriate actions of the adults.
Now, the only thing left in my hands was a little sub protagonist.


Whenever our eyes met, Ash would smile brightly.
While Aigis was naturally characterized by her bright smile, Ash’s current smile seemed more like a mischievous little imp than a bright one.


Every time I saw that smile, my own wickedness in wanting to torment this innocent child pricked at my conscience.
I sighed in peacefulness as I admired the pretty purple garden.


“I want to go home.”

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