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Chapter 5: Once Again (Part 2)

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On the following afternoon, I arrived at the royal palace with my mother. I was wearing a sky-blue dress that had just been made. Both my mother and the servants had put in a lot of effort to get me ready, so it took quite a bit of time to prepare.

My father wasn’t with us because it was meant to be a “private visit by the daughter, not the duke.” The absence of my father was meant to signify this. Ideally, I wanted my mother to wait at our estate, but as this was my first visit to the palace in this life, it wasn’t socially acceptable for a 10-year-old like me to come with only servants.

After identifying our status to the guards and undergoing a light check by a lady-in-waiting who had come to receive us, we were guided through the castle.

Walking through the corridors of the castle felt much wider and larger than I remembered. I suppose it’s because I’ve grown shorter in this life compared to my previous one.

Eventually, we were led to a small reception room that His Highness often used for private meetings. It was small by royal standards, but it was still larger than the reception room in our estate.

Feeling nostalgic, I looked around as I walked in. I must have seemed quite curious to the lady-in-waiting who was preparing tea, as she smiled at me in a rather amused manner. Perhaps she found my behavior interesting. It was embarrassing.

While we waited, sipping tea, a knock sounded on the reception room door, and His Highness entered.

“Good day, Your Highness. Thank you for inviting us today.”

“Good day, Your Highness.”

Standing beside my mother, who gracefully curtsied in greeting, I also adjusted my dress and curtsied. I had practiced my curtsies well so I could present myself properly whenever I met His Highness. My posture should be impeccable.

“It’s been a month, hasn’t it?”

His Highness nodded with the same expression as in my memories. A wave of nostalgia washed over me once again.

But I mustn’t cry. Absolutely not.

I tightened my resolve, took a deep breath, and sat on the sofa facing His Highness. However, my attention was immediately drawn to the young man standing diagonally behind him.

He was slightly older than me, with vibrant red hair tied neatly in the back. His tall stature was quite impressive. There was something familiar about his hair color and his features.

Noticing my gaze, His Highness introduced the young man.

“This is my attendant, Spinel.”

…Hearing the name, I remembered.

He was Spinel, the fourth son of the Boulangerie Ducal family.

Known for his combat skills, he was the youngest of a prominent family with a strong martial tradition.

Since he was two years ahead of me at the academy, we weren’t particularly close. While he was capable, I remembered him as somewhat frivolous.

I found myself dumbfounded.

Since I’m not Linalight, it’s only natural that someone else would serve as His Highness’s attendant. But for some reason, this fact had slipped my mind until now.

The realization hit me so hard that I was shocked by my own surprise.

“Spinel Boulangerie,” he said, bowing his head. Seeing me staring, he looked puzzled.

“Is something wrong?”

“Oh…! N-no, it’s nothing.”

I quickly put on a smile, trying to hide my astonishment. Now wasn’t the time to be surprised. I came here to meet His Highness.

“Yesterday, I was truly impolite. Allow me to apologize once again.”

I bowed my head, and His Highness gave a slight nod.

“Yes. I also received a polite letter from your father. You needn’t worry about it.”

“Thank you!”

Receiving His Highness’s direct forgiveness, I felt a wave of relief.

My mother, who had been observing, chimed in with a chuckle.

“I’m truly sorry, Your Highness. It seems this child was so happy to meet you that she ended up crying.”

“…Is that so?”

His Highness seemed skeptical. I suppose my tears weren’t consistent with just being happy.

But I had to go with the narrative I’d already set, so even though I was blushing, I nodded in agreement.

Ah, so embarrassing!

“Well, if that’s the case, then it’s fine.”

His kind demeanor allowed the question to pass without further inquiry. I was truly thankful.

After that, we engaged in some small talk. Most of the topics were brought up by my mother.

However, His Highness was rather reserved, and his attendant, Spinel, generally kept quiet. As for me, I struggled to keep up with simple responses and nods.

…As a result, the conversation seemed far from lively.

Strange! It shouldn’t be like this!!

Inside, I was panicking.

During Linalight’s time, I used to have casual conversations with His Highness. Even the reserved His Highness would chat with those close to him to some extent.

So, I felt like I should be able to talk about something now too, but then I realized that the current me was practically meeting His Highness for the first time.

I tried to search my memories for some common topics, but all I could recall were rumors from within the castle that I couldn’t remember hearing or childhood stories that the present-day Linalight shouldn’t know about. There was no way I could bring up those topics in conversation.

Naturally, the conversation came to a halt, and an awkward silence settled in.

What should I do…

Even though I had finally met His Highness, if things continued like this, I would leave without achieving anything.

“…Um, if you’d like, would you care to see the palace’s backyard? The roses are in full bloom now.”

Coming to my rescue, Spinel suggested this, possibly noticing the awkward atmosphere.

I looked up eagerly, and he winked at me with a playful smile. He might be a frivolous man, but at this moment, he was incredibly welcome.

“I-I would love to see it…!”

I clenched my fist and said that, and His Highness gave a small nod, agreeing.

The rose garden in the backyard was, just as Spinel had said, in full bloom. The meticulously cared-for roses were blooming vibrantly in a variety of colors.

Feeling deeply nostalgic, I looked around the garden.

Since I quite liked plants, even in the past, I often visited this place during breaks and such.

As I gazed at the roses in awe, His Highness slightly narrowed his eyes.

That’s the expression he wears when he finds something adorable… It’s a little embarrassing.

My mother, seeming to regain her spirits, appeared relieved by my reaction.

“I’ll be going around there,” she said, walking a different route than ours.

Perhaps she did this to give us some space.

After that, the three of us, His Highness, Spinel, and I, walked around the rose garden.

At first, Spinel tried to tell me the names of the roses, but unfortunately, I knew more about them. After all, I had been coming to this rose garden for 15 years, so I was more familiar with it than a boy who had only lived here for five years.

However, a new issue arose here. His Highness hardly participated in the conversation.

Of course, he would acknowledge what was said, but that was it. Now that I thought about it, I couldn’t recall having a lively conversation about roses even in my past life.

Gradually, we reached the end of the rose garden, and I grew anxious.

If we left here, we would probably head back for real this time. This was bad. Although I felt we had grown somewhat closer than before, I hadn’t gained anything substantial from our interaction.

As I pondered this, the exit drew nearer and nearer.

…It’s no good.

While I had been avoiding it because it didn’t seem very ladylike for a noblewoman, there was no other option but to resort to that strategy…!

“Uh… um! Southern Acacia Frog eggs…!”

His Highness, who was walking ahead of me, suddenly stopped in his tracks. He turned around with a surprised expression. I continued in a rush.

“Southern Acacia Frog eggs, did you not see them? In the mansion’s garden?”

“…Did you see them too?”

Ah, as I expected. I thought that His Highness would have definitely noticed those eggs.

“Yes. They were under the leaves of the grass on the south side of the pond, right?”

“Ah, yes, they were.”

His Highness nodded vigorously. Clearly, he was excited about this today.

“What happened?”

“They hatched two days after Your Highness’s visit.”

“Did you see the one carrying the young?”

“Yes. They were so adorable.”


His Highness groaned in frustration. He must have really wanted to see that.

“Are you talking about the eggs on that leaf? Do frogs really carry their young on their backs?”

Spinel asked with a puzzled expression. Come to think of it, since he was an attendant, he must have been with His Highness during that visit. I didn’t remember that at all…

His Highness responded to Spinel’s question with a simple “Yes,” so I added a bit of explanation.

“The Southern Acacia Frog is a unique species in the Jarocis territory. They have a very unusual behavior of carrying their newly hatched tadpoles on their backs and taking them to nests they build on trees.”

“Oh… They make nests, just like birds? That’s unusual.”

“Exactly. And what’s more, the eggs they lay become food for the parent frogs.”

His Highness explained with a somewhat excited tone (though his expression remained mostly indifferent, as always).

“Eggs? They eat their own kind!?”

To Spinel, who seemed taken aback, His Highness shook his head.

“No, it’s not cannibalism. Those are infertile eggs.”

“It’s called ‘Egg Feeder.’ Since carrying food to the treetop nests is difficult, the parents provide it to the young ones. But since these are infertile eggs, even if they’re not eaten, no tadpoles would be born from them.”

I provided some additional explanation.

His Highness, nodding in agreement, looked at me with an impressed expression.

“You really know a lot.”

“Um, I’ve always been interested in living creatures… Especially those from our territory, since we have many unique species.”

I laughed and tried to play it off. Actually, it was mostly what I remembered from conversations with His Highness in my past life and from reading field guides.

His Highness appeared slightly pleased with my response. He probably thought he had found a kindred spirit.

Even in my past life, His Highness’s frog fascination wasn’t widely understood, and I was pretty much the only one he could talk to about it.

While I wasn’t particularly fond of frogs initially, I had developed an attachment to them by spending time with His Highness. As a result, I had quite a bit of knowledge about frogs.

“…If it’s alright, could we go see that garden again?”

He probably wanted to see the tadpoles in the nest. I responded with a smile, “Yes, of course!”

On the way back in the carriage, my mother, who seemed to have been observing the conversation from a distance, asked me about the content of our discussion.

While His Highness was likely trying to hide his fondness for frogs, I didn’t want to lie to my mother. So, I answered in a roundabout way, “We were talking about creatures from our territory.”

“His Highness really does love living creatures, doesn’t he?”

My mother said with a nod. Well, I suppose this level of interest wouldn’t be a problem.


“Egg Feeder is an actual reproductive strategy, but the Southern Acacia Frog is a fictional creature.”

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