2. Rosa Wants to Meet a Friend (2)
Sensing premonition in her mirror image, Rosa’s heart beat faster.
No sooner had she raised her face, the man also turned to look at her.
He wore silver-rimmed glasses, and stared at her for a while.
Then, he broke the silence.
“…Just now, what did you do?”
“U-uh, that the relationship between the two main characters—the childhood friends, is precious…?”
Rosa hesitated, but clenched her fist and looked straight at him.
Could it be, he is…?
“Actually, it’s very moe…!”
The man gasped.
Rosa could see a surge of wonder, excitement, and joy behind his glasses.
Her heart was pounding.
In an instant, the scenery around her vanished, as if they were the only ones left in the world.
“Y, you…! The appeal of this relationship—no, the charm of a same-sex couple, did you understand it!? Did you understand such an unconventional love!”
Listening to his words—which was akin to an affirmation, Rosa shivered.
“Yes, yes, I, in fact, dooooooo—!”
Her voice was hoarse, while her eyes were moist.
Excitement ransacked her entire body, and a swirl of emotions shot through her.
Aah, it’s been over 14 years since I was born into this world.
As she paved her way through the way of the rotten, there were days where she was frozen in solitude. There were also days where she almost gave in to the hardships of exploring uncharted territories.
But today, at last—!
I met a rotten persoooooooooooooooooooon—!
Rosa released a copious amount of dopamine—the pleasure substance in her brain—as she squealed in delight and took the man’s arm.
“It’s my food for the soul! No, it’s my reason to live! I, I…!”
“I, it’s alright, say no more…! What a miracle, oh, what a miracle this is…!”
To Rosa, who was so moved to the point of speechlessness, the man spoke in a quivering voice—as if he was deeply moved, and shook her head as he tightly grasped her hands.
Perhaps because the two had a considerable age gap, and could be considered a parent and child, there was nothing sexually offensive about the exchange.
It was merely an intense, firm handshake between comrades.
“Uhm, can I say something strange? I, I really want to get closer to you…”
“Can I say something even stranger? —YES!”
The two whispered passionately to each other. Taking advantage of the fact that the opera was about to take a break between acts, they slipped through the door.
Due to the short five minute break, most of the audience remained inside the theater, leaving the lobby mostly empty.
Still, just to be safe, Rosa and her new friend went to the corner, and settled behind the shadow of a pillar, which was considered a blind spot. They smiled at each other, akin to accomplices.
Aah, he’s truly my comrade—as can be seen from the fact that he can pinpoint the exact place to have a rotten talk!
Since introducing themselves was a hassle, the two cut straight to the case, and shared their impressions about the opera.
“Uhm, as for me…! The chemistry between the childhood friends especially struck a chord with me…!”
“I know, right!?The moments they shared together, their inside jokes, or even the way they spoke to each other—those attested to the time they’ve spent together! In fact, the two have been together for far longer than even with their respective partner! At that point, that can already be considered romance in itself…! They’re the stars of the show…!”
Rosa nodded with tears in her eyes.
As expected, they were in the same wavelength.
Aah, I’ve always wanted a friend such as him…
“The harmony between the two best friends, it seems to represent the relationship between two people who complement each other, it’s truly amazing…”
“I know! What a brilliant rendition…! The contrast between the dissonant male and female couples is also stunning…!”
“There was also that back-to-back pose that implies deep trust…”
“From time to time, there’s also a refreshing clash of hands…”
Upon realizing that they were into the same thing, the two leaned towards each other even more.
“In contrast to the frosty relationship they had with their partner, they trust their best friends deeply!”
“After all, they have grasped each other’s weakness and strength…!”
“Sweet and sour, yet also unwavering—yes, that’s what it is…!”
“A childhood friend…!”
The two clasped each other’s hands while shouting, “Moeeeeeeeeeee—!”
As their palms overlapped, their heat was transferred to each other, and their soul bonded.
…How long have I been waiting for the day where I can bare my soul?
But after a while, the two let go in panic.
“I, I’m sorry, a gentleman shouldn’t do something as uncouth as touching a lady’s hand. Even if we’re good friends, I should’ve been more careful.”
“N, no, it’s fine…”
She was a bit flustered about the notion that they were good friends. However, upon thinking that he may also have had a strong sense of camaraderie with her, her heart went aflutter.
Rosa, like a maiden in love, cupped her blushing cheeks and spoke while fidgeting.
“Uhm, I know this may come off as brazen, but can we talk a bit more? Whether it’s for tea, or dinner—no, if I may, I’d like to invite you to my house…”
After the sudden proposal, she realized that by ‘home’, she’d be referring to the detached palace, since she had let go of her mansion in the royal capital.
As much as she preferred to kidnap him to the Langheim territory, it’d be difficult, considering that she’d been working in the royal capital for two years.
Or rather, even today, she was imposed with a strict curfew, as such, it’d be difficult to even invite him to a café.
However, when Rosa timidly told him that she was presently working at the royal castle, and that they could have a conversation in what could be called a dormitory, a beautiful smile spread on his face.
“That’s a lucky coincidence. Truth to be told, I live in a neighboring country—a small kingdom by the name of St. Julia. I was just looking for a place to stay in Berg. If you can let me spend a few days, it’d be very fortunate.”
“Oh, my! Well… If you’d like to spend the night, I’ll have to get permission from my employer…”
“Don’t worry about that, either. For I’m the archpriest of St. Julia. In terms of formality, the strict Julian religion was higher than the mainstream Bergian religion. Therefore, as a priest, I can get preferential treatment at any place—whether it’s the royal palace or the church.”
“Wow, how marvelous!”
At her new friend’s unexpectedly splendid background, Rosa beamed in admiration.
…As I thought, people who polished their soul in rot will naturally emerge from prominence—
—I’ll do my best as well!
“Haha… I started from the very bottom ladder. However, because I believed in true love and gave my best efforts, God didn’t forsake me. Even in the Church of St. Julia, I’m a self-made priest.”
The hardships he experienced during his time in the monastery made him lose weight, and even hair color.
While smiling wryly at the man, Rosa suddenly realized something.
“…Oh, right, excuse me. I was so immersed in the topic, I forgot to introduce myself. Belatedly, my name is—”
“—Rosa, what are you talking about?”
She was surprised. After all, she had never given him her name before!
Also surprised, the other person tilted his head, and Rosa grew even more confused.
It took her five solid seconds to register what the man said next.
“Oh, perhaps, you didn’t recognize me? This is me, Anton, your uncle. I’m the ally of women. Although, after I was exiled, I called myself Anthony.”
In Rosa’s frozen brain, information overload raged like a storm.
The ally of women—
During her childhood, she had only met him a few times.
He’d meekly held her in his arms, and caressed her. Yes, a man with soft, plump cheeks; delicate blond hair and bright skin, along with round eyes. The man who, despite being an adult, resembled a pig.
…The yuri-loving Piggy Duke.
Rosa screamed—though, inwardly. In reality, she was so shocked that only a short gasp managed to escape her lips.
“…A-a, An, An—”
Uncle Anton!? Didn’t he get exiled from Berg because he loved the romance between women a tad too much!?
For the first time in her life, Rosa was at a loss for words over something besides rotten excitement.
He’s TOO different!
After all, not only did the man in front of her have silky, silvery gray hair, he also wore a sophisticated pair of glasses. Meanwhile, his appearance itself exuded a honest, intelligent, and handsome vibe—
—That Piggy Duke, where is he!?
Despite Rosa’s stuttering, Anton cheerfully continued.
“I recognized you right away. You’ve become beautiful, Rosa. No, you’re perfect. Even more so when considering that beneath your first-class beauty, there’s an entirely hidden side… I’m truly happy that you’ve awakened to the beauty of lily (yuri)…”
…Rosa was dumbfounded, but something stood out to her in particular from her uncle’s words. Something incredibly disturbing—
Just now, he had used the word lily.
“Do you know what ‘lily’ means? By that, I’m neither referring to my family crest, or a virgin—but love between women. I named it so because of the purity and nobility that women exude.”
…After hearing him speak so extravagantly, the turbulence of emotions within Rosa subsided.
Apparently, even after being banished, Anton didn’t change.
In that case, the “same-sex romance” and the “same-sex pure love” that he’d been gushing about since a while ago…
“What a miraculous resonance of sensibilities—! For us to be able to appreciate the romance between two women… I wish I had come to see you sooner, Rosa!”
So that’s WHAT this is abouuuuuuuut—!
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