Rose picked up the scarf that had been draped over the back of the sofa and wrapped it around her neck.
She wrapped it around her neck twice, then looked back at Anne with slight excitement.
“Let's go out now, Anne.”
Her maid stumbled and miss-stepped.
“Young Lady Rose, Master will not allow it.”
“Are you alright going alone? Is the escort knight, Sir Nelson, going with you?”
“Naturally, Young Lady.”
From Anne's point of view, Rose's plan seemed to be in line with doing something wrong without the knowledge of the master of the Honeywell family.
Rose's lips quirked at Anne's behavior.
“My brother is in the Imperial Palace right now.
Receiving a notification of permission by letter would take a long time, when all I have to do is speak to the butler, and Anne, look out the window.”
The warm winter sun was streaming in through the window.
“Today is such a sunny and clear day, there's no guarantee that things will or won't happen.”
Lady Rose Honeywell, whom I serve, is especially stubborn today.
It was the first time she'd seen Rose insist on something.
Anne had no choice but to go out with Rose, along with an escort knight.
Rose did not stop peeking out of the carriage window during the entire ride to the capital city.
She didn't express it outwardly, but just by looking at her eyes, Anne could see that Rose was enjoying her outing.
Anne smiled and gave up.
“Young Lady, do you like going out so much? You look like you're in a good mood.”
“Huh? Ah, no.
Rather than feeling good…”
Embarrassed, Rose fiddled with the hem of the curtain and pulled it back in front of the window.
Rose collected her thoughts before she chose to reply honestly.
“I'm excited to go to the store.”
“Store? Is there anything else you'd like to buy?”
Rose shook her head.
Her long blond hair gleamed with the motion.
We're only on our way to the store to pick up something that had been forgotten.”
“Ahh, the brooch must have made the Young Lady feel better, but what are you going to use that brooch for? Was there any dress that went with it?”
Anne seriously recalled the dresses in her mistress' dressing room.
Rose waved her hand in denial.
“I just ordered it because I wanted to keep it.
I liked it because it was pretty.”
A sword-shaped brooch inlaid with diamonds was not suitable for a woman's dress, nor for personal use.
Any woman with a unique taste could purchase it, and Rose's taste was not different from most noble ladies.
“Even to me, it was really pretty.”
Fortunately, Anne didn't question whether she liked the brooch that much.
…I want to present it to His Majesty.
It's like a peace offering, but there are too many eyes around me to send a gift.
And there's no particular reason for me to send one.
The carriage stopped outside a boutique.
Anne pulled open the curtains and inspected the area just outside the door.
“Young Lady, we've arrived at the square.
It's so crowded, we may have to get off here and walk.”
The coachman opened the carriage door, and Anne jumped down with a light jump.
The knight who was following them reached out and assisted Rose.
It was a warm day, so the square was packed with people browsing through various shops that lined the streets for the upcoming year-end celebrations.
Rose clung to Anne's side, her hand gripped tightly to her sleeve.
In a place where there are so many people, it is scary to get lost like before.
Anne moved quickly to and fro through the sizable crowd.
Thanks to this, Rose, who was right behind Anne, and the knight who followed them could easily walk through the square without bumping into others.
There was quite a distance to the shop from where they got off the carriage, but they were able to reach the store with Rose, who had weak stamina, breathing heavily.
The store's entrance and walls were all made of glass; the inside was clearly visible from the outside, and right at the front of the glass wall, the items sold by the store were displayed, and many people were walking down the street and were looking around.
Looking at the sign on the door, Rose whispered in Anne's ear.
“Anne, did we come to the right place?”
“Yes, Young Lady.
This store is the right one.
“How should I say it…
I don't think this is a place to sell jewelry.”
As Rose said, the items displayed in front of the glass wall were not valuable.
There were many items related to winter, such as snow balls, kites, handmade dolls in winter clothes, and lanterns.
Anne smiled, understanding what Rose meant.
“Those are on display for the citizens, and for the things we need to receive, we have to go deep into the store.”
Anne entered the store as if she had been there several times, and went inside without hesitation.
It was only after going around and around the maze-like corridors that Rose was able to meet the clerk who greeted them.
Once Anne showed the certificate with the merchant's seal and explained the incident at Honeywell Manor, the clerk apologized and handed over a small box.
A box that looked luxurious even at first glance was then placed in Rose's hand.
Rose carefully opened it and inspected a finger-sized, sword-shaped brooch neatly packaged, reflecting the lights hanging from the ceiling with the diamonds shining brilliantly.
Because the texture was so similar to the slightly transparent but close to white color of diamonds, Russell's silver hair comes to mind.
…Will it suit you?
Unknowingly, when her thoughts drifted to Russell, Rose covered the box, startled as if she had been burned.
It was fortunate that Anne and the clerk did not catch sight of her reaction.
Rose carefully put the box containing the brooch in her bag and went back the way she had come with Anne.
“Where is Anne supposed to go now?”
“I need to go to a watch repair shop.
It's not far from here.”
Again, Anne took the lead, and Rose clung to her like a cicada on a dead tree.
As Anne said, the watch repair shop was not far from the store.
The small repair shop had glass walls, just like the one they had just visited.
Rose walked into the store to the sounds of the bell chiming at the door, an old man with white hair was wearing glasses that seemed to have high prescriptions and was repairing his watch.
“I need to get my watch fixed.”
The old man took the watch from Anne to examine while Rose glanced at the various watches on display.
From the wall clock hanging on the side to the wristwatch and pocket watch listed on the table, at some point the watch, at which Rose was staring at while taking short steps around the room, reflected a bright light.
Only then did Rose realize that she was in front of a glass wall.
Unable to open her eyes properly due to the sunlight pouring through the window, Rose put her hands over her eyes to shade them.
And with shadows forming around her eyes, she could clearly see beyond the window.
It was just around lunch time, and most of the people had gone to eat, so the streets were quieter than before.
It was an ordinary street that was no different from usual for them, but to Rose, it was a peaceful place.
She was taken by the peacefulness and became lost in thought, staring off into space, when a tall man entered Rose's red eyes.
The man was wearing a cloak, and his head was covered by a hat.
Although covered by a cape, he appeared to be tall and well-built.
Rose's eyes twinkled as she stared at the man before she accidentally caught a glimpse of silver hair through the hat.
Maybe it was the silver hair of someone she didn't know, but when Rose saw that silver hair, which she had only seen briefly as it turned golden in the sunlight, she knew.
Well, the silver hair of the royal family is particularly good at taking different colors.
Led by a voice that suddenly appeared in her head, Rose moved slowly.
The door of the watch repair shop opened, but the clear bell did not ring.
Because of this, Anne and the old man did not find out that Rose was leaving the watch shop.
After leaving the repair shop, Rose stepped onto the street with only one person watching.
The people passing by did not enter her sight.
The man Rose followed was getting farther and farther away.
As the distance increased due to the difference in stride length, Rose strengthened her legs.
A quick step gradually changes to a jog.
Rose ran with her red eyes wide open, worried that she might miss them if she blinked even just once.
Looking ahead as she ran, Rose eventually bumped into something.
A shriek left Rose's mouth.
“Hey, watch where you're going! Look straight ahead!”
Rose's vision returned to normal after the scream that fell on her.
Her eyesight, which had been obscured by nothing but the man like a hazy fog, finally began to perceive everything around her.
“You'll get hurt if you run recklessly like that!”
The other person raised his voice once again, then left.
Rose, dazed and absent-minded, belatedly turned her head in the direction the man was walking.
This time, many people were placed in Rose's field of vision.
The man was no longer visible.
Rose hesitated and took a step back.
She didn't know when Anne would appear, but being left alone among people reminded Rose of the fear of childhood.
She looked around desperately for the escort knight but didn't see him in plain clothes.
Rose searched for the watch repair shop she went to with Anne, but there were only unfamiliar buildings and signs surrounding her.
Rose's heart sank with a thump.
Like a child who has just taken her very first steps, Rose advanced shakily.
…I'll just have to go back the way I came.
Where did I come from?
The street, which felt peaceful in a watch repair shop, suddenly felt like a street straight from hell.
Like a foreigner alone among strangers in an unfamiliar space, Rose couldn't think of any solution, as if all thought circuits had stopped.
Panic-stricken, Rose covered her head and closed her eyes tightly.
The noise around her echoed loudly, making her head fuzzy.
It was then that Rose heard a light sound running towards her in the midst of that strange, dizzying noise.
It was the sound of feet spurring across the floor, and they were running directly to Rose.
Rose slowly opened her eyes.
Before she could turn her head in the direction of the sound, a firm hand grabbed Rose's arm.
Her body was tugged; her long blonde hair and the hem of her winter skirt went flying into the air.
Rose couldn't take her eyes off the other person who held her arm.
The inside of the cape's tightly tucked-in hood was a shade that contrasted with the sunbeams overhead, but the purple eyes inside seemed to emit their own light.
Rose saw her reflection in those eyes.
It felt strange, as if time had stopped, but Rose had a strange thought that it would be okay if time stopped as it was.
Then I can look into those eyes for a long time.
But contrary to the wind blowing her thoughts away, the man's voice quickly brought Rose to reality.
Rose called out to Russell cautiously in a low voice.
Russell's surprise remained, even though he called out to Rose first.
His eyes carefully examined Rose and seemed to suspect that he was looking at an illusion.
However, soon after, he realized that the Rose Honeywell in front of him was not an illusion but an actual person.
He released her hand in surprise.
“Miss Honeywell, what are you doing in the plaza?”
“I came because I had something to pick up from the store.”
Russell looked around.
No matter how many times I search, I can't feel the presence of the 'escort knight' that's supposed to be protecting Rose.
Russell looked down at Rose again.
Upon meeting Russell's eyes, Rose smiled awkwardly, as if a little shy.
With that one subtle reaction, Russell's heart began to beat crazily.
He felt perplexed.
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