Ever since the incident when I threw a tantrum, the servants in the mansion have been somewhat kinder.
They would watch me play with Ryuu with a smile on their face, secretly giving me sweets behind Patrick’s back and treating me like a child. As I pop the sweets in my mouth, I wonder: Why can’t I eat sweets.
To find out what was going on among the servants, I decided to talk to Rita. She was the only one who didn’t change her behavior, for the better or the worst. I hope my unsightly behavior won’t dissipate her loyalty. Fortunately, today was business as usual.
While chewing bread filled with sweet cream, I said.
「What’s going on here? What’s with all the sweet I’ve been getting?」
「Please swallow before you talk.」
「Hold on, I’ve got five more. Do you want some?」
「No… please take your time to finish them.」
In less than a minute, I finished eating and asked Rita again.
「Can you tell me why everyone was nice to me?」
「It’s because of what they saw the other day. It was the final straw when they saw Yumiela-sama throwing a tantrum.」
「Is that the only reason?」
「In his spare time, Patrick has been telling everyone stories about Yumiela-sama. I see he’s been continuing his habit since we arrived here.」
I was aware that Patrick and the servants in this mansion were on good enough terms to chat. But I had no idea that he was talking about me.
I’ve seen something like this happen before. I heard he kept talking about me when we were in the academy to Prince Edwin when he suspected that I was the Demon King.
I know what he’s trying to do. He’s going around clearing the misunderstanding that I caused. I’m grateful that he’s doing all of this but at the same time, I feel ashamed that I have a hard time letting people know what kind of person I am.
If that’s the case, I guess this situation makes sense.
At that moment, two maids passed by in the hallway. I couldn’t help but overhear their idle chatter.
「Eh? So, she broke through the window and jumped out because she was embarrassed?」
「I heard Patrick-sama was really concerned her.」
「But is there anything that could be more embarrassing than what happened last time? If there is any, then anything is possible.」
「Well, that’s Yumiela-sama for you.」
Breaking through the window, throwing a tantrum, it seems like the embarrassing memories of it started coming back.
I’m still not convinced. I can’t get through this without alcohol.
Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ve had alcohol in my life. The only drink available at the academy parties was juice and I didn’t drink at the Duke’s party either.
My interest in the unknown beverage was rising, so I went to look for Patrick and asked.
「Have you ever drank alcohol?」
「Yeah… what’s with the sudden interest?」
I found someone not of age who had drinking experience. But there is no law determining the legal drinking age in this kingdom. Of course, kids aren’t allowed to drink.
「I thought I’d try a little drink.」
「…Sure, I’ll make some arrangements for tonight.」
His expression sharpened slightly before he hurried away. Arrangements, huh… didn’t he only need to buy some alcohol?
◆ ◆ ◆
That evening, Patrick took me out of the mansion. We strolled through the darkness.
I assumed he had booked a table at a restaurant somewhere, but the road he took led us out of town.
「Wait, where are we going?」
「It’s alright, just follow me.」
He was more pushy than usual. Suddenly, he held out his left hand?
「I don’t have anything dangerous on me.」
「…That’s not what I mean.」
After that baffling interaction, we kept walking under the night sky.
We finally made it outside the town and made our way through the wind-swept meadows.
And we ended up—
「…It’s so pretty.」
There were two chairs and a round table in the middle of an empty meadow.
On the table, there were ice-cold bottles and glasses lined up and plates of finger foods.
The table was in a perfect place to watch the moon and the stars.
The sight was absolutely fantastic like the world had been sliced in half.
「This is your first time drinking, so I decided to do this.」
He was romantic to a fault. While I have no romance in my bones, he’s such a hopeless romantic…
The dream-like sight of the table had my eyes glued to it, but I shifted them to Patrick. With a gentle smile that I really like, he continued.
「This way, you don’t have to worry about breaking things or get violent when you are drunk.」
That being said, the drinking started.
While he was worried about what kind of drunk I am, I didn’t think all of this was necessary. As a matter of fact, alcohol is a kind of drug or poison. Since I have a high tolerance for that kind of thing, I’m pretty sure I won’t get drunk.
As I sat back in my chair, I was given the smallest glass.
I was hoping to act like an adventurer, drinking from a miniature wooden barrel mug. But I’ve heard beer and ale taste bitter so this was probably for the best.
He picked up one of the bottles and opened the seal.
「What kind of drink is that?」
「It’s champagne. It’s easy to drink for a first-timer—」
The moment I heard the word Champagne, I immediately ducked my body under the table.
That was a close one, he would have warned me in advance before opening the bottle. I heard when you opened the seal, the cork pops out and the contents spurt out like a fountain.
「…What is it this time?」
「Champagne is the one that explodes, right? Didn’t you learn in the academy to duck under the table during an earthquake and when opening champagne?」
「I never learned that.」
I crawled out nervously after I heard a faint pop sound from above. Then I saw Patrick had finished pouring the champagne into a glass.
「I guess I was trying to be careful?」
「Yeah, but I’m used to it.」
Are you saying that you’re used to people scared of opening champagne? I’m relieved to know that this event is uncommon, and I’m not the only one.
Returning to my seat, I admire the glistening gold liquid inside the glass under the moonlight.
What an exquisite way to enjoy a fancy drink in an elegant place… with your favorite person. I wonder if I can afford to be this happy.
The glasses clinked gently like they were kissing, making a nice little sound.
When I tilted my glass, the luscious liquid flowed into my mouth—
「Cough, cough uwaaaa.」
I coughed profusely. Patrick stood up in a rush and came to my side to pat my back. He handed me a handkerchief to wipe my mouth and I thought.
I can’t drink carbonated drinks, can I?
「Are you okay? If your body can’t handle the alcohol—」
「No, it’s the bubbles.」
Any recollection I had of the faint drink was ruined by the carbon dioxide. Should I reduce it?
I want to pull myself together and try another drink, but he’s worried.
「Don’t worry, I’m fine! Wine—Wine isn’t carbonated, right?」
「If you want to try wine, should I get white wine?」
When it comes to wine, obviously it’s red.
The wine is a stunning shimmering crimson with a decadent floral aroma.
Pouring the alluring divine blood into my body—
A grimace crossed my face. What is this tannin, sour and rancid taste? I hate to break it to you but I don’t have the stomach to eat and drink spoiled foods.
「Eh, isn’t this spoiled?」
「That’s how it tastes. You can eat finger foods while drinking.」
As he said this, Patrick ate some cheese and drank the wine.
I tried to follow him but the taste remained the same. Cheese and grape juice is definitely a better combo. Compared to potions it tastes better but there is nothing to recover from drinking wine.
「Um, I can drink it if you want me to.」
「I thought I would choose a brand that was easy to drink. The white wine is more palatable, though.」
He recommended that I drink white wine. I realized that I couldn’t put my trust in the red wine. It tastes putrid.
The golden-colored liquid is tamer than champagne, it has a refreshing fruity aroma… let’s stop here. I’m expecting the punch of the unpalatable taste.
I drank it with gusto since I couldn’t enjoy the taste properly anyway. Thankfully, the white wine was easy to swallow.
「…Eh? You can drink it normally.」
Is it… delicious? I’m not sure I can wrap my mind around this, so I tried to drink the rest of it slowly, the glass is half full.
I popped a ham cracker into my mouth then sipped the wine.
「This might be delicious.」
「Really? I like it.」
We made another toast and leisurely enjoyed the tranquil moment.
Until now, I still don’t know what it feels like to be drunk. With my tolerance, my body seems to have recognized it as a poisonous substance. I may not achieve my original goal of erasing memories, but I’m content if I can have such a wonderful time.
When I asked for a third, he stopped me.
「This is your first time, maybe it’s time for you to quit. I’ll get you some juice—」
「I’m fine, I’m not drunk.」
Despite his apprehension, Patrick poured me another helping. He’s a worrywart, but that’s what I like about him. Oh, it’s getting kinda fun. I’m pumped up!
「Nothing, I’m just calling your name.」
Nevertheless, it’s indescribably fun. The mood is uplifted and I can’t help but the corners of my mouth turn up by themselves. Oh, my facial muscle is still functioning well.
I stared at Patrick, smiling. His emerald eyes were shining with just a hint of light.
He turned away, clearly feeling embarrassed, and said,
「We’ve known each other for quite a while now, haven’t we?」
「Yeah, I’m glad to meet you.」
「…Really? Since it’s been a while, um… I-damn—」
He pulled out a small black box from his pocket. I can’t even imagine what’s inside the palm-sized box.
He looked unusually shifty. His wandering gaze and nervousness were endearing. Soon he made eye contact with me as he prepared himself. Just looking at each other made me happy.
Revealing what I normally hide out of embarrassment.
「Patrick, I love you.」
The embarrassed Patrick began to act suspicious again.
I felt a sense of euphoria after just putting my feelings into words. I couldn’t suppress my laughter anymore.
Let’s laugh together, I’m having a good time, I smiled and he replied with a serious look on his face.
「You’re drunk, aren’t you?」
「I’m not drunk, not even a little. I just have a little fun.」
「That’s what every drunk says.」
「I know, I know. It’s unbecoming, isn’t it?」
There are several things I remember about drunks who don’t admit they’re drunk. Why can’t I look at myself objectively? Even if the alcohol has impaired my judgment, why can’t I stop drinking before reaching that point? At least, I should’ve kept track of how much I’ve been drinking.
I mused as I poured myself a glass of wine, which I didn’t keep track of.
「So, what’s in the box? Sweets? Is this a box of sweets?」
「No fair, how sneaky! You’re going to eat it all by yourself!」
「Um, this is… you know what, let’s call it a day.」
The fact that he tried so hard to hide it makes me even more curious. He tried to take the glass from my hand but his outstretched right hand went in the wrong direction. Wow, I didn’t know Patrick learned to create an afterimage.
「Stop drinking, do you want some water?」
「Nooo! You’re going to take my drink away! Do you hate me that much?」
「Haa, I like you.」
The way he replied made him sound really annoyed. Hehehe, he likes me. I like you too.
「Then, how much do you like me? How big is your love?」
「It just went from endearing to annoying.」
「…Do you hate me?」
He told me I was annoying. Then out of nowhere, tears started streaming down my face and dropped onto my glass.
With a sigh, he said.
「I like you. Please don’t cry.」
「You said I’m such a troublesome woman… that means I’m annoying, right?」
「That question is way more complicated than its worth.」
His hand wrapped around mine. I reciprocated so I could feel his body heat even more.
「You don’t have to say how much, I just want you to answer it honestly.」
「But I’m being honest? What’s wrong?」
「…What do you think of me?」
「I love you.」
What a natural response. My feelings are no different than the usual.
Then he covered his face with his free hand and said,
「Please tell me that you’re sober right now.」
「Mhm, but… more importantly, don’t you feel a little bit self-conscious saying what do you think of me? It’s embarrassing, but I like it.」
「…Isn’t that poles apart?」
When I tried to pour another helping, he grabbed my other hand as well. I’d like to drink more alcohol but I’d much rather be holding hands with him.
I’m sure the reason why I was in such an inexplicably happy mood wasn’t that I had some drinks but because I was spending my time with Patrick.
We spent some time staring at each other’s eyes. The silence didn’t bother me.
「Shall we go back now?」
When the moon finally reached its peak, Patrick stood up and asked me that.
I stood up in reflex… huh? The ground shook. He supported me as I started to wobble. I can’t seem to walk.
He held me up without saying anything. I wrap my hands around his neck and hold on to him.
This is the closest our face will be today. There’s only one thing to do.
「Look at me.」
When he looked down to stare at me, I stared at him…
And I don’t know what his reaction was after that. Because I fell asleep in his arms.
◆ ◆ ◆
The ceiling was the first thing I saw as I woke up. Holding my aching head, I got up and found myself in my room.
「…Was that a dream?」
I had an intense dream. He told me his feelings on his own will… No, something that unrealistic can’t happen.
Still, it was an amazing dream. No matter how much I think about it, it will never happen. I wish I could tell Patrick I love him in person, just like I did in my dream.
Just then, there was a knock at my door and I heard his voice.
「Yumiela, are you awake? Can I come in?」
「I’m up! You can come inside.」
He came into my room carrying a jug and a glass on a tray. When I remember what happened in my dream, I could feel my cheeks heating up.
When he offered me a glass of water, he said.
「Do you remember what happened yesterday?」
「…Yesterday? What are you talking about?」
「Nothing, it’s okay if you don’t remember.」
Huh? It’s a dream but at the same time, it’s not?
I quickly answered that I didn’t remember what happened last night and I tried to ask him.
「What did we do yesterday?」
「We had a drink together, are you sure you don’t remember?」
So, I wasn’t dreaming. Seriously? When I looked down, I saw the clothes that I was wearing yesterday hadn’t changed. This is my chance to take it off! No, this isn’t the time to think about such things.
Without thinking, I lie. I continue pretending that I don’t remember.
「Umm… I think so? Did I get drunk and rage?」
「…You fell asleep after a sip. Next time, you should refrain from drinking.」
If his lie is a white lie, then what kind of lie is mine? A cover-up? I made up my mind and put my thoughts into words.
「Okay, I’ll try not to drink.」
「Yeah, that’s a good idea. You may not have fully recovered yet, so lie down a little longer.」
Whether he believed me or not, Patrick tried to leave my room after that.
I get off the bed and follow him. He was about to leave the room and close the door when he finally noticed me and stopped.
The half-opened door opened again but I forced it shut as hard as I could.
「What do you want?!」
Conversing through the door. I feel like I can convey my feeling better with us separated by the door, even if I can’t look at him directly in the eye.
I squeezed the doorknob to make sure that he wouldn’t open the door.
「I like you.」
「…I like you, too.」
I could hear him walking away from behind the door.
There, I said it. I could finally say it. It’s probably the first time I could express my feelings directly, even if it was in such a roundabout way.
「I have to be able to say it without this barrier, I have to break it down.」
As I muttered to myself, I heard something snap.
When I looked at my hand, the doorknob I was clutching was broken. This isn’t what I was about to destroy, though.