Chapter Twenty: What He’s Asking Her to Wear Today (Part II)
Today, too, I sat on my knees with my back straight as I wanted for Reinhardt-sama.
I haven’t had to sit on my hands and wait as long as I did today, although I did a little while ago, around the beginning of the year.
The art of talking with Reinhardt-sama has wholly been reduced to this.
It was still cold, so I still wore Reinhardt-sama’s mantle on top of my naked body.
It was bigger than Annelier’s mantle, so if I didn’t move as much, I could stretch out the front and completely cover my body.
At night—Reinhardt-sama finally came into the room.
Ella and the other maids left the room on cue.
When they had closed the door and we were left alone, I took a deep breath, preparing to start a conversation with Reinhardt-sama.
No, he talked first…
“I heard you were acting strange today.”
Reinhardt-sama sat on the bed and reached out for me.
If I were cornered to the edge of the bed, I’d be caught entirely and might not have the chance to talk properly with him today, so I planned ahead and positioned my seiza to be barely reachable by his fingertips.
However, Reinhardt-sama, who usually does not do anything ungraceful, leaned forward unnaturally.
He reached out in such a manner, yet his fingers were barely still able to reach me…
I felt a thrill run through me, so I leaned closer to Reinhardt-sama.
I didn’t want to get caught, but I also couldn’t bring myself to hurt Reinhardt-sama unintentionally.
Reinhardt-sama’s fingers stroked my cheeks as if nothing had happened when I approached him to a point where he could reach me.
…It made me shiver.
“What’s wrong… Hm?“
However, this much was still okay.
The conversation shouldn’t take too long anyway.
“Do you really hate wearing my mantle that much?”
Instead, it was good since it was big.
Perhaps it was because I was surrounded by Reinhardt-sama’s scent that I couldn’t help but think about the things we did at night and why everyone had felt that I was behaving suspiciously.
However, I’d be digging my grave if I said any of this.
And even though I’m aware that I won’t be able to crawl out if I dived into this grave…!
“That, I was afraid of soiling Reinhardt-sama’s mantle, that’s why…”
“You don’t have to worry about that.”
“But I’m curious…!”
It was partly true.
It still frightened me to think about what the people who washed my mantles thought about, but then I started wondering what they’d think further if our activities shifted to Reinhardt-sama’s mantle…
“Reinhardt-sama, unlike me, you go outside… I don’t think it’d be a good idea for us to get your mantles dirty!”
“You’re just making up excuses because you don’t like it, aren’t you?”
Reinhardt-sama’s eyes turned cold as he squinted.
“That… That’s not it.”
It may not be the whole truth, but I was daunted by what would happen if I answered him thoroughly…
“Were you truly being honest?”
I stared at Reinhardt-sama, swallowing the spit that had started to form in my throat.
“…It isn’t good to lie, Anna.”
… How’d I get caught…
My shoulders dropped in shock despite myself, but then some unexpected words came out of Reinhardt-sama’s mouth.
“However, it’s not in my intention to break you. It seemed as though the clothing had put a heavier strain on your mind than I had anticipated. The cold season will soon be over. I’ll have something different for you from tomorrow on.”
“You’re still forbidden from going out. I’ll also cease trying to get you to wear a mantle; however, you are only allowed to choose between remaining naked or wearing what I’m to prepare for you.”
The naked mantle is finally over…!
Tomorrow, I don’t know what’s in store for tomorrow, but at least now, the naked mantle is no more…!
“Would you be alright with that?”
Reinhardt-sama’s so kind today…
It makes me wonder if something had happened.
“In that case, take it off now.”
I could take it off…!?
Reinhardt-sama really said I could take it off…
“Do you not want to?”
“No! I’ll take it off now!”
Without missing a beat and with light-hearted cheer, I took off the mantle.
“…You’re really that happy that I allowed you to take it off?”
After replying too enthusiastically, I gasped.
I timidly looked back and saw Reinhardt-sama looking at me with a smile on his face.
“You were happy just a second ago. What’s the matter now?”
Prince Reinhardt’s tentacles, which I was already familiar with, wrapped around my stomach and pulled me in.
“Yes… That… I’m happy…”
Am I going to be okay…?
No, will I actually be coming out of this alright…?
Uhhh. I couldn’t read whatever’s going on in Reinhardt-sama’s mind right now.
“You don’t have to be so scared.”
Is that right…?
Are you telling the truth…?
Even though I said, it wasn’t my intention to break you… It wasn’t like it was something that couldn’t be replaced. As long as you aren’t overburdened, you should eventually be able to regain your peace of mind, Anna.”
He’s being so gentle…
I couldn’t believe how kind Reinhardt-sama was being…!
“Do you feel relieved?”
…Somehow, it felt like this was a trap.