Limited Time, Kitchen Maid of the Fourth Knight Order ~I Got a Job Because I Don’t Want to Get Married~ – Chapter 117

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧

“I need to return the frying pan. . .”

“Yes, I’ll take it. I’ve been watching from the beginning, so I know where you borrowed this frying pan from. I’ll also pass on that you’re safe.”

“Thank you very much. Please do.”

A refreshing young man with white teeth offered to return the frying pan and ladle. Even though I can stand up now, the feeling in my legs tells me it would be a struggle to go and come back from auntie’s place, so I gratefully rely on him.

The young man has been watching from the start and seems to have followed me thinking he might help if something happened.

“That person wanted to know where I was staying, so could you please not tell him even if you know? If you see me somewhere other than the market, I want you to just watch me from afar with half-closed eyes.”

“Got it. It’s natural to not want your lodging known after something like this.”

“I’ll mention it to some others as well.”

The people around me nod agreeably, saying it was a misfortune while occasionally giving me food, and gradually disperse.

It seems like the stall owners gave me their products because there are many stalls here.

“. . .Really, thank you very much.”

In this country, one does not bow deeply. I resist the habit from my previous life of bowing and instead raise my hand.

To show everyone that I have recovered, I wave my hand largely and leave the square with a smile.

. . .Now, what should I do?

If Maurice is watching, going back to the villa would reveal my connection with the Valka family.

But staying at a hotel is also. . . What if Maurice breaks in during the night? Frankly, I couldn’t resist if I was attacked while sleeping.

I can’t decide on my own, so I need instructions on what to do.

I buy a large-brimmed hat at a store on the way, as a small comfort, even though it’s better than nothing.

After checking the anti-crime magic tool, I am about to start walking again when someone passes behind me.

“It’s okay, Alice. Go to the carriage.”

It’s Rene!

I stop myself from turning around at the last moment and walk towards the carriage. That’s good, the two of them were by my side after all!

I enter the house where the carriage is stopped, close the door, and somewhat hide in a corner. The too quiet space with no one around is a bit scary.

After a while, Rene slips in. He immediately closes the door and the lock, and brings me into his sight.

“Rene-sama!”

“Alice! I’m glad you’re safe. . .”

Rene rushes over and hugs me tightly. Normally I might be flustered, but now I also wrap my arms around Rene’s back, hugging him back.

It’s an embrace of victory and relief.

“How many times Shiro and I felt like our hearts were going to stop. . .”

“I’m sorry. But I thought if I didn’t answer, he would keep following me.”

“Alice’s judgment was correct. . . .Sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t come to help.”

“It was scary, but it wasn’t something that Rene-sama needed to show himself for. I was relieved that the two of you didn’t come. If only I’m found out, that’s fine.”

“That’s not good!”

In the corner of my vision, Rene’s dyed auburn hair sways. I still feel a sense of incongruity, as I thought pink was Rene’s color.

“That’s not good. . . I’m always being saved by Alice.”

“If I can be of help to Rene-sama, then I’m glad.”

 ㅤ

Through the shirt, the sound of the heart beating is audible—a rapid, throbbing heart conveying genuine concern. The sound of life itself.

Rene’s body warmth gradually melts away, and blood returns to the chilled fingertips.

“. . .Just like at the founding festival, we had such an experience. The warmth to regain composure and feel alive after being frightened. At that time, and now, Rene-sama has been my savior.”

A tightening embrace from the arms wrapped around the back. Rene is more adorable than cool, approachable, yet undeniably male.

“. . .Alice. Could you groan for me a little?”

“Eh? Ah, yes?”

Unsure, Rene covers both ears with his hands. Thinking if it’s alright to groan like a zombie, but never having imitated one, it seemed difficult.

From the other side, while making a groaning sound, Rene’s lips moved.

“. . .When we took refuge in the school, Alice, you said that during the founding festival, when you witnessed Dyson’s secret meeting with me, you thought of attacking with your shoe. I was so surprised to hear that. . . and so very happy. It meant you were willing to fight alongside me. That’s why I thought, I want to protect Alice. I want her to be happy.”

“Rene-sama, may I stop now?”

Nodded with a gentle smile.

Rene’s voice is inaudible, yet it feels unfair that he can hear mine. Should have studied lip-reading.

“I deliberately avoided thinking about my feelings. Even now, the name for these complex, mixed emotions eludes me.

I wished for it. I chose it.

Meaning. . . to remain as a knight, not Alice’s lover. Though I couldn’t be in love with Alice, instead, I received many wonderful things. Trust, friendship, being the first person to consult. It’s thanks to Alice that I fit in with the Fourth Knight Order and became a close aide to Prince Linus. They are all my treasures.”

Rene’s hands move away, and he closes his mouth. Wondering if it was alright to have babbled on, Rene appeared refreshed.

“I have something that concerns me in town, so I’ll stay behind. I’ll return tomorrow. Alice has already asked the townspeople to stay quiet. Shiro is currently pursuing Dyson. This, a memo from Shiro and me.”

Hands placed on both shoulders, squeezing tightly.

“. . .You can make it back to the villa alone, right?”

“Yes. Rene-sama. . . please take care.”

Inwardly, sending thoughts to Shiro.

Hoping for safety, no injuries, and to remain unseen by Maurice, life is precious! Life comes first!

“Alice should leave first by carriage. Once you reach the villa, please explain the situation.”

“Yes.”

Rene gazes intently for a while, then his gaze slightly shifts, an unusual hesitation for the typically decisive Rene.

“. . .Could you close your eyes?”

“Eh? Yes.”

“. . .You’re too obedient. Don’t just do as you’re told by others, alright?”

“Understood.”

Expecting Rene to change clothes, but then realizing that wouldn’t happen, at least not until after leaving the house or in a different room.

“Stay still.”

A presence draws near, and something soft touches the forehead.

. . .A familiar sensation.

Much like the goodnight kisses received in childhood.

 ㅤ

“Rene-sama?!”

“Ahaha, so even Alice can get flustered!”

“W, What are you talking about!”

“What am I talking about? The amulet. I don’t think it’s there, but if Maurice attacks, I’m not sure if I can win either. I’m not used to handling a dagger. Don’t worry, I won’t do it again.”

Is that really the problem?

I feel bad for wiping my forehead, so I press down the sensation that won’t disappear with the palm of my hand. My face is hot.

“Alice, thank you. I want to say sorry, but I won’t apologize. It’s okay to be angry.”

“I won’t get angry.”

The reason for doing this remains a mystery, but Rene wouldn’t do such a thing without meaning. Perhaps it’s truly dangerous.

“Please come back safely. We’ll all be waiting.”

“Yeah! Make something delicious when I get back.”

“I’ll make something that Rene-sama likes.”

Before getting on the carriage, Rene gave a dazzling smile and waved his hand grandly. It felt somewhat lonely that the door closed before I could wave back, and that feeling strangely lingered in my heart.

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