A boy who had been sitting in a creaky carriage for a long time in a seated position suddenly jerked his body as his buttocks started to hurt.
The thin woman sitting across from him glared at him, and with her gaunt eyes, the boy had no choice but to adjust his posture.
It had been two months of suffocating travel, and while he had become accustomed to it, there wasn’t a single day where his buttocks didn’t ache.
Soon after, the carriage jolted on a large rock, causing the small body that couldn’t properly stabilize itself to fall off the seat and tumble to the carriage floor.
The sound of a short tongue clicking could be heard, and the boy tried to regain his balance somehow.
However, the carriage ran at an excessive speed for a child to withstand, and it didn’t take his situation into consideration.
“Prince Ryan, should I hold your hand?”
“…I need to go to the bathroom.”
Upon checking his red pupils, Matilda avoided his gaze and said it was the only way to stop the carriage.
With a shallow inner thought, she bit her lip and knocked on the carriage wall.
When the carriage stopped, Ryan was barely able to stand up.
“Please take your time.”
The carriage was too high to get off easily, but there was no one to help him down.
Ryan cautiously got off the carriage and headed to where people couldn’t see him.
Someone followed him but only watched from a distance.
Ryan tidied up his clothes with a slow touch.
It was the only time he could catch his breath, but since he had been warned against stopping too often or resting too long, it was important to use his time wisely.
Fortunately, the watching knight was too tired to pay much attention to Ryan and leaned against a tree.
Ryan glanced at the knight and then looked up at the sky, which he often did.
Sometimes he found things he liked in the clear sky.
Today, the sunlight was particularly strong.
When it rained a lot, he was scared of the thunder that rang every night.
In the palace, it was bearable to turn the blanket over, but with only one blanket covering him in the small carriage, he couldn’t sleep well out of fear.
Moreover, if the weather was bad, people’s moods also became irritable.
The number of times Matilda or the other coachmen complained increased, and Ryan suffered the most.
“If we’re done, let’s go back now,”
the knight said to Ryan, who was lost in thought while staring at the sky with his eyes closed.
Ryan reluctantly followed the knight back to the carriage.
Matilda, who had been talking to the captain of the guards, frowned when Ryan arrived.
It was an expression that seemed unhappy about something.
“Madam Matilda, we need to move the carriage to prepare for the arrival of the imperial knights on the designated date.”
“Yes, that’s right.
Your Highness, please come this way.”
As Ryan approached Matilda, she gave him a frosty smile, causing Ryan to tilt his head in confusion.
“Your Highness, I have some things to take care of and I’ll need to ride another carriage for a while.
Can you be alone?”
For a moment, Ryan hesitated before answering and then quickly got into the carriage.
As the door closed, Ryan looked around the inside of the carriage.
He was searching for a hiding spot or something to hold on to.
But inside the empty carriage, there was nothing but a chair.
So, Ryan squeezed himself into a corner of the chair as best he could.
“Ryan, it’ll be much safer for you to stay in the empire.”
Ryan thought his father’s words were a lie.
Living in the cramped carriage with no place to hide was too difficult.
Although the meals were served regularly, it was better to secretly steal food before due to the looks from the people.
He wanted to cry many times, but he didn’t want to make the situation worse, so Ryan didn’t cry.
Instead, he just lowered his head in despair.
As the carriage began to move much faster than before, Ryan grabbed onto the curtain of the window.
Although the sunlight coming through the window was bright, there was no light where Ryan was.
In the darkness where one can gaze upon the light, the child’s red pupils were locked in a deeper resignation than the darkness itself.
And the second paragraph:
I pursed my lips to show Rocky that I was annoyed.
As she drew her sword from her hip, she met my eyes and smiled helplessly.
“Tilly, are you still upset?”
“If you sleep for just ten nights, your mom will come back, okay?”
“Is ten nights the issue here? If I hadn’t woken up early today, my mom would have just left.”
Rocky realized belatedly that I wasn’t just upset because of her long business trip.
“I’m sorry for forgetting to tell you earlier.
My mom’s been busy lately, so she’s a bit scatterbrained.”
“… From now on, you should tell me the day before, no matter how late it is.”
“Yeah, I’ll definitely tell you.”
Rocky reached out to pat my head, but then realized she was wearing gauntlets and withdrew her hand.
When she wore armor, she never touched me.
I didn’t leave any lingering feelings in her leaving hands because I knew what she disliked.
Instead, I held onto Rocky’s cheeks and gave her a peck on the lips.
As I released her face with a smacking sound, Rocky opened her eyes wide and looked at me.
Since it was rare for me to initiate a kiss, her eyes were filled with an undeniable joy and surprise.
“You have to come back safely.”
The fact that she was putting on armor meant that there might be a chance she’d see blood.
Rock sana is a strong person, so I didn’t expect her to be seriously injured, but I hoped that her heart wouldn’t be hurt.
Sana seemed to understand my feelings and smiled.
“I’ll come back safely.”
As Sana and I gazed at each other with tender hearts and blew heart-shaped kisses, I felt the eyes of others on us.
Even Royina was staring at us, not just Julian.
“I want a kiss too…”
Unable to resist Yurian’s eyes that looked like she would burst into tears if she didn’t get a kiss, Sana held Yurian’s cheeks and kissed her on the lips.
The servants around us discreetly turned their heads, but I kept my mouth shut and watched their kiss.
Royina, who was held in Yurian’s arms, also forgot to suck on her pacifier and watched their loving scene.
When I started to think about getting some popcorn, Yurian kissed Sana on the forehead and their farewell was over.
Sana cleared her throat a few times and said goodbye before leaving the mansion.
I watched Sana ride away on her horse.
Although she had been absent for a day or two when she was busy with work, it was rare for her to leave the house for so long since I was born.
Honestly, ten days was not such a long time, but I felt like I wanted to see her.
As I stared at the closed door, Yurian pushed her lips onto mine.
“Tilly wants a kiss from daddy too.”
“No, not now.”
“Daddy’s not going on a business trip.
We’re going to play together.”
“But you’ll kiss me when you say goodbye, right?”
“I’ll kiss you when you say goodbye.
That’s the deal.”
“Then will you kiss me tomorrow when you go to work?”
I nodded my head, planning to play with her by kissing her on the cheek instead of the lips like Sana did.
The goddess’s kisses are precious, aren’t they, Princess?”
Yurian spoke and lightly kissed Royina’s cheek.
I tilted my head in confusion, listening to what he had to say.
Sometimes Yurian called me “goddess.” I had been okay with it until now, but why was I a goddess and Royina a princess?
“Dad, why am I not a princess?”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“Royina is called a princess, but I am called a goddess.”
Yurian smiled and gestured for me to come closer.
When I brought my ear close to him, Yurian lightly kissed my cheek.
“What? We said we would do kisses tomorrow!”
Caught off guard, I quickly wiped my cheek where he had kissed me.
“Tomorrow Tilly will do it, today is daddy’s turn.”
“…You didn’t even answer my question properly.
Why am I the only one being called a goddess?”
“Well, that’s because Tilly’s name is the name of a goddess in a play that your mother likes.”
“My name is from a play?”
“Yes, on the day that your mother and I got Tilly, we went to see a play.
It was a very impressive play with only two characters in a comedy.
We were wondering what to name Tilly, and we decided to name him after the main character if he was a boy, or after the goddess in the play if he was a girl.”
There is meaning behind every name.
As someone who was obsessed with giving the main characters names that matched their character, like giving the famous shield from Greek and Roman mythology, Aegis, to my characters, I remembered something.
“Taleia, come to think of it, I feel like I’ve heard that name before.”
As I reminisced, Yurian’s face lit up as if he had a good idea and asked me.
“Tilly, do you want to go on a date with daddy today?”
“Yes, that play is currently being performed.
You haven’t seen a play other than puppet shows, right? Let’s watch the play and have dinner.”
I thought we would just play pretend in the mansion again, but I couldn’t help but smile at the idea of watching a play and having dinner.
I used to be someone who would freeze up at the thought of watching a play.
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