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I Don’t Care About Being Liked by the Capture Targets. I Will Be Myself and Free! – Chapter 19

Chapter 19: Encounter with a Mysterious Boy (Part 2)

At the same time,

Steed, who arrived late at the summer resort Plum, went straight to the Duke family’s country house.

He had thought that Chloe, who was bored and in a bad mood, would greet him with a cute pout, but unfortunately, that wish was betrayed.

“Oh. . .Has Chloe already gone out?”

“Yes. It seems the gardener saw Ojou-sama heading towards the forest.”

He couldn’t help but darken his expression at the maid’s response.

To go out alone so soon after arriving at the summer resort where the heroine was. . .

“Well, of course she wouldn’t just sit still. I knew that.”

Roland, who had come with him, gave him a look that seemed to say he didn’t understand even that. Steed was inwardly annoyed.

(I knew that too. That’s why I warned Chloe about it.)

And yet, she had gone out before Steed’s arrival.

Even though the event wasn’t supposed to happen until tomorrow, both the heroine and Oliver had already arrived at the summer resort.

What if Chloe accidentally ran into one of them?

He couldn’t help but feel like his request for them to have as little contact as possible had become a bad flag.

(I know I’m overthinking it. . .)

With complicated feelings, Steed turned his gaze towards the forest.

“Chloe really went to the forest, didn’t she?”

When he asked the maid, he heard a sigh mixed with exasperation from next to him.

“Hey, you’re not thinking of going to look for her, are you?”

“Of course. It’ll be too late if something happens to Chloe.”

“Are you stupid? How are we supposed to find her in this vast forest? It would be a coincidence if we just happen to cross paths.”

Thrown a logical argument, Steed feels a frustration akin to impatience.

Roland can say that because he doesn’t know what fate Chloe will face.

“What? Do you have something to say?”

“No, nothing.”

Steed weakly shakes his head.

He can’t talk to Roland about the game, and he shouldn’t be frustrated with him either.

He needs to think about what to do now.

If they know the place where the two of them are, they can make an estimate.

Should they wait there?

(. . .But that’s not a good idea.)

It’s not good to have contact with them unnecessarily, regardless of the event.

It would be the worst if it had a negative impact on the subsequent development.

“You still don’t seem convinced. It should be obvious if you think calmly. Instead of blindly searching, let’s wait here.”

He can’t bear to just wait while Chloe may be in danger.

However, as Roland says, doing nothing now is the most correct choice.

“Hey, brother. You’re surprisingly passionate, especially when it comes to Chloe.”

Roland, who doesn’t know what’s going on, twists his mouth in amusement.

With mixed feelings, Steed glares at his half brother.

“It’s not surprising. I always think passionately about Chloe, brother.”

As he gazes at the forest where Chloe went, he lets out a small sigh.

While praying that nothing happens――. 

❂❂❂❂❂❂

Meanwhile. . .

Chloe, who has no idea about Steed’s worries, is excited about the boy she met by the water.

“Hey, what are you doing?”

“Huh?!”

The boy screams in surprise as Chloe suddenly speaks from behind.

“I saw you secretly doing something while being conscious of others. I figured you must also like pranks, right?”

“Huh?! Pranks. . .?”

Feeling a sense of camaraderie, Chloe peeks at the boy’s hands.

Let’s see what kind of prank he was planning. 

“What?! What is that?!”

The boy was holding a small shovel that Chloe had never seen before.

Moreover, upon closer inspection, the tip was divided into three prongs like a hoe, unlike a normal shovel.

This tool would be more efficient for digging in the water than a regular shovel.

“I’ve never seen a tool like this before.”

“Uh, well, I made this myself. . .”

“Huh?! You made it?!”

“Yes, I did.”

“That’s amazing!”

Excitedly shouting, the boy widens his eyes and blinks repeatedly.

He doesn’t seem to understand why he’s being praised.

Although Chloe also makes prank tools, she can’t say that they are good.

“You’re very skilled with your hands! And you’re very good at coming up with ideas!”

Chloe can’t lose either.

In order to become a top villainess, she must also experiment like the boy.

“I feel like being with you will be a good stimulation!”

She definitely wants to exchange information with him.

“I’m Chloe. I’ll be in Plum all summer, so let’s be friends.”

When Chloe extends her hand, the boy blinks his big eyes several times.

“So, does that mean you’ll be my friend. . .?”

He asks hesitantly.

“Fufufu! Why are you so shy? It’s actually me who wants to be friends with you.”

“Well, you see, I’ve never had any friends before. . .”

“You don’t make friends on principle? Then I won’t force you. If we’re not friends, we can be rivals instead. . .”

“No!! I want to be friends! Please, let’s be friends!!”

Interrupted by his response, Chloe is surprised this time.

The boy himself seems surprised by his own actions, and his previous momentum disappears as he becomes visibly flustered.

His cheeks turn bright red with embarrassment.

“Hehe, ahaha! Your ears are red too?”

The boy quickly covers both of his ears.

His honest attitude is endearing.

Chloe, who has developed a favorable impression of the boy, extends her palm again.

But this time, she doesn’t wait for him to grip back.

She quickly grabs his hand, squeezes it tightly, and shakes hands.

“Oh! But. . .”

“What’s wrong?”

“To be honest, I wasn’t planning a prank. I was just looking for something I lost. I’m sorry for not being your friend. I guess we can’t be friends. . .”

The boy’s shoulders droop as he repeatedly apologizes with a look of regret.

(Oh no, did I misunderstand and jump to conclusions. . .?!)

As a result, it seems that she has hurt the boy’s feelings.

“I’m the one who should apologize. And if you’re okay with it, I still want to be friends with you.”

“. . .! Really?”

“Yes!”

Chloe had completely taken a liking to this honest boy.

Of course, this also included the wonderful handmade shovel held in his hands.

“Now we’re friends.”

“Wow! Thank you very much!”

“We’re friends, so no need for formal language.”

“Yes! No, I mean, okay!”

The boy bowed his head, shaking his shoulders with joy.

“I’m really happy. Thank you! I’ve always longed for a friend.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. That’s why you’re a very special person!”

She was surprised by his innocent words.

Chloe didn’t have many people she could call friends.

(Only Steed and Roland are my friends.)

Even so, she felt curious about the boy who longed for the existence of a friend, as she was fine with it.

(Is it really that different to have two friends instead of zero?)

“Just having a friend makes me so happy and feel blessed!”

“Is ‘blessed’ a bit too much to say?”

“No, it’s not! I’m very happy!”

Feeling a ticklish sensation, Chloe coughed and forcibly changed the subject.

“Anyway, you still haven’t found what you lost, have you? I’ll help you look for it.”

“Eh! Are you sure. . .?”

“Yes. We have nothing to do today. What did you lose?”

“Uh, well. . .a sapphire ring my mother gave me. It’s about this size. . .”

(. . .Huh? He lost a ring. . .)

Steed’s words came back to Chloe’s mind. 

[The heroine dropped a ring she inherited from her mother somewhere at Plum. Oliver volunteered to help find the ring] 

She was startled and froze. 

As Steed said, both the heroine he described and the boy in front of her were looking for the exact same thing. 

If the boy is looking for the lost item of the heroine. . .

(Could it be this child is Oliver?!) 

But Oliver was supposed to start helping find the item from tomorrow. 

(Did Steed get the date wrong? But still. . .)

She stares at the boy in front of her intently.

[Oliver is a womanizer and a sarcastic person. Moreover, he is a dangerous person with a nihilistic mindset. Even if he is friendly on the surface, he thinks of incredibly terrible things behind the scenes, so be careful.]

Steed explained Oliver like that, but this boy seems innocent and doesn’t seem like that type at all.

(What’s going on. . .)

Chloe is still confused and swallows nervously.

“Hey, what’s your name?”

She asks nervously, and. . .


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