I stopped in my tracks at the sound of approaching footsteps and turned around.
Dylan and Fay were walking towards me side by side. Unlike earlier, when she had nearly caused a major accident and looked like she would faint any moment, she now seemed much more composed. She even had a leisurely smile on her face.
“Dylan, on a day like today, you should have let her off early, shouldn’t you?”
“Hm? I was going to, but she told me she’ll wait for you.” Dylan shrugged.
“Yes! That’s right! I told him I want to wait for you… Are you leaving now?”
“Yes, I was about to say goodbye to Dylan and leave, though it’s good to see you.”
Fay blocked my path and hesitated.
“Do you have something to say? Are you curious about some spells? I’ll be here tomorrow anyway.”
At that, Fey smiled bashfully.
“It’s not that, but since you took the time to help me, I wanted to repay you somehow…”
“Hm? You don’t have to worry about repaying. And if I were to receive anything, it should be from Dylan, not you. Are you worried about that?”
“I’m really grateful. And you saved me today. I-I’d feel less burdened if I could treat you to a nice meal at my place. Would that be okay?”
“What? No, why would you go to such lengths…”
As I spoke, I suddenly had a strange feeling.
Wasn’t she not on good terms with her family? And if my memory serves me right, didn’t she say that she was abused as an illegitimate child? In that case, wouldn’t it be difficult for her to invite me?
To be honest, she wouldn’t be able to do it at all. She would have been kicked out of the family before inviting me. Of course, everyone is different, and it might be possible. Still, knowing that, I felt like I would just be a burden if I went. Perhaps I was just overthinking things.
“It’s not a burden, and one meal is fine, don’t you think? Can’t I?”
Fay nonchalantly grabbed my hand.
I looked down at my captured hand and smiled faintly before gently pulling it away.
“I appreciate the sentiment, but I have something to do today, so it’ll be difficult. I’ll definitely accept your offer in my heart.”
I couldn’t possibly accept an invitation from someone I wasn’t even close to when I was feeling so awkward.
“Then, I’ll make sure to accept your hospitality when you can properly use the spells. Does that sound good?”
“When can I properly use the spells?”
“That’s right. It’s not just about showing an illusion but making fire hot enough to actually burn, water cold enough to freeze, and thorns sharp enough to hurt. That’s what it means to be a knight of the Imperial Palace.”
Fay’s face turned pale.
She seemed to be thinking rapidly. She’s barely a toddler when it comes to her abilities, but was that too much… Did I say too much?
I only mentioned the minimum requirements, but it might be different for Fey.
“Um, or even just one of the spells. Then I think Dylan would be satisfied with you. Let’s talk about it later again then, okay?”
“Yes! Then I’ll w-work hard and make sure to treat you to a meal to repay you! Before you leave the Capital!”
“Okay, let’s do that. Dylan, you worked hard today. I’m going.”
“You worked hard today as well. Go and rest.”
“Yes, I’ll see you tomorrow, Fey.”
As I gently patted Fey’s shoulder as she stood blankly and turned to hail a carriage to the hotel, I could feel her gaze fixed on me from behind. Why was she staring at me like that?
Her gaze followed me until I turned the corner.
* * *
That evening, Sid glanced at Kairos.
His master had been unusually calm since yesterday.
It was as if he had returned to the time before Hazel Love existed. It wasn’t that he was particularly down, and it wasn’t that he was particularly happy either. It was the Kairos Hadid of those days when he had incredible control over his emotions. He was like a calm sea with no waves. He used to change his emotions dozens of times a day, making it difficult to predict him.
This was odd.
He should be exuding an air of terror, shooting him a glance from time to time.
Did something happen last night? He brought a perfect report today in case he might be annoyed with him. He even strictly ordered his colleagues not to bring Popo around him. He took care of everything so that nothing annoying would happen.
Today was a perfectly prepared day.
However, when Kairos didn’t show any signs of a bad mood, the tension that had been building up in him loosened up.
Meanwhile, Kairos was not in a calm state of mind, contrary to what Sid had thought. He had barely slept since Hazel left for the Capital, and the only time he felt better was when he contacted Hazel through the communication device.
Then, Kairos began to reflect on the confusion he felt.
How did he become so unable to control his emotions? Yes, he was now being swayed by his wife, a prisoner he had captured himself—that part was confusing and very unpleasant. Originally, he should have been the one in the better position. He should have been the one who had nothing to worry about, but it was the opposite.
She was just a prisoner. She was supposed to move at his command and pay the price.
Was it wrong of him to give her time? Should he have just gotten rid of her?
…No, he didn’t feel like doing that either.
In fact, she knew all this and was bewitching him. Still, there was no way that small and delicate girl could be a witch. Anyway, that woman was the problem. In the midst of all this, the thought of getting rid of her and the thought that it was crazy kept crossing his mind and tormenting him.
What on earth did that woman do to him?
What did that small and frail woman do to him? It was really embarrassing. If he had just gotten rid of her, there wouldn’t have been any problems. It seemed that he had gotten too caught up in acting as an affectionate husband.
So, Kairos decided to cut off his feelings for Hazel Love from now on. If he did that, he would be able to return to his original self. Then, all these headaches would disappear.
He didn’t feel like doing it now, but maybe he would get rid of her when she got back.
“I guess that would be better.”
It would be easier to get rid of the problematic part.
“I’ll finish the report… Yes? Master? I’m sorry. Did I hear you wrong?”
“No. Get out once you’re done with the report.”
“I’ll report the afternoon report as soon as the information arrives!”
“You don’t have to report anything from now on, so you don’t need to go here and report separately.”
Sid’s eyes widened.
“But it’s about Lady Hazel Love…”
“That’s why I told you not to do it.”
When did he ever tell him to do it? Sid looked at him for a moment and then looked down before making eye contact.
“So, stop this until she comes back?”
It was so questionable, but if his Master said not to…
Sid bowed his head.
“Yes, I’ll do that. Then, please call me whenever you need me.”
“Don’t answer even if I ask.”
“…Are you serious?”
“Have you ever seen me say things I didn’t mean?”
“Huh? Never. Then, I will never report about Lady Hazel Love! No matter what happens! Even if the sky splits in two!”
Sid bowed his head again and backed away. Kairos didn’t change his expression until Sid closed the door.
“…He’s really weird.”
Sid shook his head and quickly walked down the hallway.