“Doll? What’s this?”
The one in front of me was a doll I’ve never seen before.
“Is this an animal, too?”
“Yes! I got it from my dad when I was very young, and it’s in a faraway country.
It’s called a penguin!”
What? What’s that?
“P-Peng… Peng? Hmm?”
“They live in the ice.”
“Uh, do animals live on ice?”
“Yes, they live well in very cold places!”
It’s amazing that there were animals with pink fur, but they lived on ice.
They lived well in the cold.
“Wow, that’s amazing.”
“Well, let me tell you about penguins! Penguins like to hang out with each other.
Because of the cold weather, they sometimes stick together whenever they have time.
That’s how they protect each other.”
“So I’ll protect you like a penguin from now on, so you can always be next to me.”
I really liked his smile.
Could someone’s smile be this good?
I would feel better and better when I’m told to keep my shoulders upright and believe in myself.
“…You’re so nice.”
“But why does she hate you?”
“I’ve just thought about it, and I think I know why.”
“You think you know?”
“Maybe it’s because I don’t go to political meetings.
At first, she didn’t hate me that much.
She doesn’t call me Brother, doesn’t she? But she doesn’t like me because I don’t do it like Lexit.
But she’s as good as Lexit.”
Come to think of it, I remembered what I heard while passing through the secret passage.
Lexit’s voice did not hesitate to speak when in a room full of aristocrats.
“But I’m fine! Harris is just whining.
But you Bebe, my sister hates.”
“Well…aren’t we, like being on the same side?”
“Yes! That’s it.
Bebe and I are on the same side!”
Allen, who smiled brightly, could not hide his expression as if he was really happy.
That’s not how it worked though.
He was just laughing without hiding his feelings.
Somehow, looking at him made me keep smiling.
“Bebe is so cute when she smiles.”
“…It’s not cute.
And since you gave me a gift, I won’t stop you from coming.”
“Instead… don’t come to me this early in the morning.
I was so surprised.”
“Oh! Yes! I guess I came too early so I could come see you before the training.
I’m sorry, Sis.”
Only then did Allen look at me and quickly hand me an apple.
A single apology contained sincerity.
I was so nervous that I was about to cry the first time I received it.
How much I’d like to receive such an apology.
If I had at least received such an apology from the knights and the Emperor who beated my mother and me, I wouldn’t have felt this anger fill my heart.
“Bebe…! What’s wrong? Your eyes turned red like a rabbit.”
“…It’s not red at all.”
“My cute sister.
You’re beet red.
You’re like a golden rabbit.”
So go now.
You said you had to train.”
“Actually, I can play a little bit, but… I have to look like a great brother, so I’ll be on my way!”
As if he remembered something urgent, Allen rushed to the other side of the hallway after saying goodbye.
Standing at the door, staring at Allen for a long time, I waved softly and greeted him.
Even after Allen left, Cecilia didn’t come to visit.
It was certainly not time for me to wake up yet.
I woke up early in the morning thanks to Allen, but I didn’t feel so bad.
I lifted the doll in my arms.
“Penguin… that’s an interesting name.”
I had read many books in the past, but I had never heard of penguins.
It even looked strange.
The thick ones that look like wings instead of hands were so short that they felt like they were not enough to use for them to fly.
Not only that, but there are beaks like birds.
“Is it a bird? But can it fly with such a short arm?”
Even the color was strange.
Overall, it’s pink, but only the belly was white.
“He looks like Allen.”
It looked harmonious, but at the same time not.
But I didn’t hate it.
Somehow, the squishy yet soft doll comforted me.
It was the first doll I’ve ever had.
I didn’t hate it at all.
“Mom, I got a doll as a gift.
You’re curious who gave you the present, aren’t you? Allen is one of the Grand Duke’s twins… and he’s nice! He is a good brother.
By the way, I’ve never felt this way before.”
It was the first time I thought of someone else as my whole family other than my father, who passed away, and Mother.
“I want to show this first thing when my mom wakes up.
I’ve got a good brother, and most of all… a family.”
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