Though the redness around my eyes probably hadn’t subsided, I decided it was fine since it couldn’t be seen by anyone else. After Theodore gently stroked my back, my tears and breathing finally calmed down. It was about time to return and discuss things.
“To be honest, I want to take you back to Acardi like this. . .”
“Hehe, what are you talking about?”
I laughed off Theodore’s words, but I was actually happy.
“Is something wrong?”
“No. . .I’m just happy that Ester is talking to me like she used to.”
As he said that and scratched his head, I felt like my heart was being crushed.
I usually use honorifics regardless of the other person’s status – not using them makes me feel like I’m being arrogant and overbearing. The only exceptions are my siblings and Diark. Theodore used to be an exception too, but I thought it was just a nuisance to treat him specially after I thought he hated me, so I treated him like everyone else.
“I’m really sorry about that. I can’t tell you the details yet, but. . .well, when we get married, there will be things I can tell you, so please wait.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
I wonder what Theodore would say if he knew I had the ability to read minds. . .It’s scary, but I’m a little excited to see his reaction.
“By the way, this is for you.”
From the association of wanting to see his reaction, I took something out of my bag and handed it to Theodore.
“What is this?”
“It’s an ear cuff.”
Boldly enough, it closely resembles the color of my eyes. Although Theodore has never seen my eyes, he could probably guess the color from seeing my father and siblings.
Theodore looked dumbfounded as he gazed at the peridot ear cuff.
“Well, it’s kind of matching. Mine is with this…”
I wondered if it was presumptuous to buy matching accessories without even reconciling first. But then I remembered that Theodore’s ring was also the same.
For a while, Theodore looked dumbfounded, with an unusual and somewhat silly expression on his face as he stared at the earrings. But then, as if his consciousness had returned from somewhere, he suddenly put them on and smiled happily.
“Thank you, Ester. . .I’ll treasure them.”
“Um. . .Would you like to wear mine too?”
The paraiba tourmaline earrings were the same color as Theodore’s eyes. He gently put them on me. The slight sensation of them swaying by my ear and the light pressure of the ring on my finger lifted my spirits and gave me courage, dispelling the depression I had felt just moments before.
“. . .Thank you. I’ll ask one last time, but do you intend to be the partner of the princess tomorrow?”
“No. I don’t intend to be away from you even for a second, starting now.”
I knew he would say that, but his response was quite greedy, and I couldn’t help but laugh. He gently intertwined our hands, which were wearing each other’s rings.
“That’s why, please don’t let go. Even if it’s dangerous, I want to be your sword and shield.”
He would have refused to promise that to me before, knowing that I tend to rush into things alone. But because Theodore is important to me. . .I may need to be prepared to involve him in dangerous situations. He is not only one of the citizens to be protected, but also an equal human being.
“. . .I understand. But you must not get hurt.”
Once I made up my mind and agreed, Theodore’s eyes widened in surprise for a moment. Then he smiled happily.
“I will make sure not to. I can’t let Ester run out of magical power again.”
As he said that, I almost remembered something, but before his mind could change, he activated the teleportation magic.
“Theodore! Where have you been?”
The princess approached Theodore in a rage as soon as we returned. Although we had only been gone for about 20 minutes, it must have felt long for those waiting for someone who didn’t know where they went. Although he didn’t feel that way, her face was red with anger.
“. . .I’m sorry, but I can no longer listen to you. From now on, I will be by Ester’s side and attend tomorrow’s birthday celebration as her partner as originally planned.”
While holding my hand, Theodore spoke clearly, as if hiding me behind him. The princess was taken aback, as if she had never expected such words from someone she had threatened.
“What are you saying. . .Don’t you know what will happen if you break your promise!?”
“Oh really? What will happen?”
“Onii-sama, that’s. . .”
Anyone who knows Theodore would easily infer that even in the previous situation, he was by the princess’s side due to being threatened or something similar. However, her recent statement strongly implied that she had been threatening him.
When Diark pointed it out, she fell silent, unable to come up with a good excuse.
She then looked around, and her golden eyes stopped abruptly at a certain point.
“Why. . .why, why! What’s so good about that woman!?”
After freezing for a moment, the princess raised her voice again, trembling with anger. The people around her also looked at us, probably curious about what had triggered her anger.
It seemed that it was the rings we were wearing that had touched her anger.