“It’s pretty,” Lila said. “I really like it.”
“Do you, really? It’s such an old house…”
The white wooden house was enamoring to Lila, which was Hizette couldn’t seem to understand. This small building was the last place he’d expect her to want to live in, after living in a huge Duke castle.
“This is good enough,” Lila insisted, flashing him a bright smile.
She could still remember where she’d lived in the other world. Her house had been rather ancient, even for the plank house area. The apartment she’d lived in had been full of mold, with cracks in the walls. Compared to the house she was looking at now, it had been so much worse. How could she say that this wasn’t a nice place? It was much cleaner, for starters.
I used to imagine you’d have to win the lottery to live in a place like this, she thought. I’m so lucky.
But Hizette still wasn’t smiling. They looked around for a bit, then headed into the house.
“The furniture is quite nice,” Lila commented.
Hizette said nothing.
The house had only necessary furniture. It was perfect for living alone, the way Lila saw it, but Hizette didn’t look the least bit impressed.
“Isn’t this too shabby, though?” he asked. “No guards, plus the windows are too weak. It would be too easy to come in after breaking it with a rock…”
“Who would throw a rock at me?” she shot back. “I’m not even a duchess, just an ordinary woman.”
“…or kidnap you,” Hizette finished.
“Kidnap a quiet, normal woman? Why?”
“There’s always danger like that in the world.”
“Hizette, you’re a little overprotective,” she said with a laugh. “Besides, I have this.”
She waved her gun in his face, careful to show him the ring on the weapon, but the concerned look on Hizette’s face did not waver for a second.
“Isn’t the house too empty?” he tried. “You’ll be lonely, living in such an empty house without a maid.”
“Hm, you think so?”
Lila stared at him for a second, then clapped her hands together.
“How about we decorate the house together, then?”
His eyebrows rose. “I beg your pardon?”
“Let’s decorate it, you and me. Go to the market and buy furniture or decoration. Then it wouldn’t look so empty, would it?”
“I think I’d be more satisfied if I made a new house,” Hizette said.
“But there’s no time for that. You’ll be going back.”
Hizette bit his lip. As much as he would like to argue, Lila was right. He needed to go back, and to be satisfied, there was so much to be done.
“Aren’t you coming back next time, too? All we need to do is change one thing at a time. What’s the rush? All I have is time.”
There was something pleasant about the way she said change one thing at a time. Hizette nodded in agreement.
“By the way, do you have any idea where the market is?”
“I don’t, but we should be able to find it once we’re outside,” Hizette said. “Let’s go.”
It was just like he’d said. As Hizette was used to going to different places, he had an amazing ability of knowing where things were. Unlike herself. Lila was already struggling to get her bearings as she read the signs, but Hizette moved without hesitation and she followed him. And soon enough, she heard the sounds from the market.
“I think we’ve arrived.”
“Yes, it seems like it.”
The sound of haggling filled her with excitement.
Now, it’s really my life. A new beginning in a place where no one knows me.
Excitement came with fear, but Lila was confident. There was only one thing about which she lacked confidence.
Could I live a life without Lacias and Hir? What if I go crazy missing them?
She was already so close with the duo, it seemed impossible to imagine her life without them.
“Where do you want to go first?” Hizette asked, snapping her out of her thoughts.
“Hm. Where should we go first?”
Lila had been so lost in her world, she hadn’t been looking around carefully, so it was hard to decide on a store. She glanced about until one of the stores caught her eye.
It was a mostly pink dessert store.
Wow. It reminds me of the old days.
As Lila had been busy until now, this leisure time was a luxury. Of course, she knew dessert shops existed, but seeing it right there, and with such a sweet, lovely interior…that was something. Her eyes gleamed, fixated on the shop.
“Do you want to go?” Hizette asked.
“Mhm!” she said without hesitation.
How could she not be interested when this was the dream of the old Lila?
I also wanted to start a sweet looking-shop like this.
The interior seemed to scream I’m a dessert shop. Lila moved at the same time she answered. As they entered, the sound of a bell filled her ears, and the smell of sweet, rich butter wafted into her nostrils. Hizette flinched at the sudden smell, but Lila blushed like she’d entered heaven.
It seemed to have distracted her from her worries.
He could still remember Lila coming to the training ground to share cookies or dessert with the knights. The dessert knights received had been confiscated by Lacias, but some of the knights who tried it in secret had all complimented on how good it was. They’d remarked that Lila was quite talented.
“It’s not just interest,” she’d said. “I’m quite skilled.”
“I know. It’s well known in the order.”
The knights who liked sweet stuff were waiting for Lila’s visit.
“Mhm. There were regulars in the past.”
“Mhm. Past. A very long time ago.”
The life as a duchess was a happy one. She had a dependable partner in Lacias, as well as a lovely son. But, despite all that, Lila had nothing she could do proudly. There was nothing for her out of all that. However… her heart would bleed every time she remembers Lacias and Hir. But she believes it was all for their best interest that she leave.