Thank you raw provider: Esme
He seemed really desperate for alcohol. She thought for a moment before passing the glass. Their fingers brushed over the glass. Even though it was a light touch, she could feel his hard skin, utterly different from hers.
Judging by the back of his hand where his tendons protruded, she could see that he was someone who held a sword. Enya assumed he was a knight who entered the imperial palace for the first time. No matter what family he came from, he must have been bothered by nobles who liked pretty fledglings.
“It’s a bit bitter.”
He swallowed the drink and stroked his chin. No matter how thirsty he was, he swallowed it all in one gulp. Enya looked at the empty glass and widened her eyes.
“Did you drink it all?”
“… … Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t know… … .”
“Um, it’s all right. It’s cheap anyway. With His Majesty’s taste.”
Perhaps the mischievous emperor had said something impish to the newcomer; his eyes went dark momentarily at the sound of “His Majesty.” Enya silently waved her empty hand. It was because there was no reason to ask about his response to satisfy her curiosity.
“Give me the glass. I’ll eat some ice.”
When Enya mimed the action of eating ice while rolling her tongue in her mouth, he passed the glass as his ears turned red as if he was so ashamed. His immature appearance reminded her of herself from a few years ago, so her nerves, which were very sharp, relaxed.
Would he be offended if she laughed? She strained her lips not to smile and pointed her chin towards the fountain.
“Whatever that guardian spirit emits… … We can even drink its water.”
“Guardian deity…? … ah!”
The guardian deity Enya was talking about was the fountain statue across from them. In the fountain, a small statue of a guardian deity spewed water from its crotch. Seeing this, he burst into a small laugh. Enya, staring at the corner of his mouth that was beautifully parted, extended her hand.
“Please give me the cup.”
His eyes, still smiling, softened even more as they touched Enya. However, they did not look soft because of the fierce eyes he was born with. He passed the glass, looking straight at Enya. Taking the glass, she turned her gaze to the air and said nothing. She came here in the first place because she didn’t want to say anything.
As if it was the same for him, too, he sat still, feeling the breeze, casting his gaze at the dark sky or the well-polished garden.
As if they had promised, they enjoyed silence without inquiring about each other’s origins, status, titles, names, or anything else. Just when she thought it would be okay if it were a passing relationship, she heard his voice again.
“Actually. I ran away. From people.”
When Enya turned her eyes to him, he smiled awkwardly.
“I’m not used to this kind of place… … .”
Is it because he easily said something that could be embarrassing? Unconsciously, Enya gently smiled at him. At the same time, she was surprised that she had smiled, and she tried to keep her expression closed and wondered what to say. Even at first glance, anyone could tell he was a fledgling knight having his first palace dinner. She, too, was once a novice. Due to her natural personality and long seclusion, her sociability was terrible, but at least it was better than his.
Can I help you? I can help you.
Hesitating, her eyes met his—dark eyes, like a forest that embraces the night and melts.
Enya eventually spoke out of a kind impulse.
“Did you know that the center of a typhoon is calm?”
She continued, knowing that this was very unusual for her. How often would a mere knight and an archmage confined to their mage tower meet?
So meaningless kindness like this wouldn’t be a problem.
“But if you stray a bit from that center, chaos awaits. I felt the same way when I was among people. I’m quiet, but if I take one step, I feel like I’ll be cut sharply.”
“… … .”
“So now, relax and enjoy this center. Because it’s all right.”
He seemed more relaxed than before and took a deep breath. It’s a subtle change, but he came a long way.
“… … You can enjoy it.”
“… … .”
“It is something you can enjoy.”
The last words were more like whispers.