Resident of the Vine Mansion.
After Noah got tired from playing, we went to take a break in the treehouse. Dora and Killan who received permission from Fii were shocked when they walked inside. They couldn’t believe how well the inside looked as the living space seemed so small from the outside.
Fii came back with tea for several people. Noah’s was a milk tea with plenty of milk and sugar.
“Lord Fii, this is splendid. Did you do it all by yourself?”
Killan seemed to be familiar with Fii as they both worked under Father-in-law. Dora’s eyes were swimming all over the place.
“This is amazing. I can’t believe you could build a house like this.”
“Uncle is amazing, you know? He can make anything.”
Noah who sat well-behaved beside Killan and Dora was talking proudly as if he was talking about himself. It seems that Fii has become Noah’s uncle he can boast about.
It was after a while when everyone was having a silly talk. Noah suddenly spoke up.
“Say, Uncle. Why are you living here alone?”
Killan nearly choked and spat out the contents of his cup. I was curious about his reaction, but Dora who sat next to Noah leaned forward and matched my eyes.
“It’s easier that way for me.”
“Are you not lonely?”
Fii smiled wryly at Noah. I was also curious. I mean, he’s someone Father-in-law remembers, and he even got permission to build a house outside of the capital within the forest.
“I wouldn’t like it. I would feel lonely.”
“Indeed. There was a time I thought the same way.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. There was a time where I was surrounded by adults and felt protected, and I was happy thinking that every day would be the same.”
I felt like this was the first time I heard Fii’s life story. I was able to meet him only in the forest when we were children, and he never told me where he goes or where he lives.
However, he was too pretty for a villager, and his behavior was refined like a noble’s young master, but he was an amusing playmate to me, so I felt no more information was necessary. I think I had absolute trust for him that time.
Now that I’m an adult, why did I not feel vigilant when he, as a stranger, approached me again? I naturally accepted him as if we were children again, I wasn’t even going to pry where he lives now.
Thinking that, I started doubting Fii a little.
“Where did you live when we were children, Fii?”
“There was a village near the forest. Have you heard of the famous place called the Vine Mansion? It was a brick mansion covered in vines. I lived there together with my mother, and wet-nurse Hannah.”
“Vine Mansion? Oh, that Vine Mansion? I thought it was an old building overgrown with weeds that no one approached?”
I was startled by Fii’s confession. That residence was certainly big, but it was covered in vines. The garden was also overgrown with all kinds of weeds and plants. At times, the children witness bad-looking men entering and leaving the mansion, and everyone thought it was a place where bandits hid.
I never thought people lived there.