Chapter 2

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The sunshine I haven’t been exposed to in a long time was dazzling. Rather, it hurt.
A shut-in uncle who lived next door to my parents’ house used to complain that the sunlight hurt him every time he went outside, but maybe that wasn’t just an excuse to not go outside; maybe it was the truth.

As I was walking towards the stagecoach stop I usually use and thinking about such unimportant things, the smell of grilled meat drifting from somewhere tickled my nostrils.
Looking around to find the source of the fragrance, I found a stall selling spit-roasted meat a short distance away, and at the same time my stomach grumbled.
Come to think of it, I hadn’t eaten lunch yet… I was too busy working.

However, I retracted my hand that was reaching for the wallet, turned my face away and passed by without stopping.
Of course I want something to eat right now. I want to eat, but if I spend my money here, I won’t have enough money for the stagecoach ride home and I won’t be able to leave.
Because my leaving of the job came in the form of dismissal, the country had confiscated all the large sums of money I had deposited in the bank.

To be honest, it’s very frustrating. If I was allowed to do this, I would release one of my bombing spells on the castle and blow up all the king and everyone else with him.
However, if I consider it as money I used to pay for my freedom, it’s not that bad.
Of course, I could have quitted on my own. But considering that I couldn’t do that because I felt like I was just escaping from something difficult, I believe dismissal was much better.

I was trying to tell myself the merits of suppressing the grudge of not eating food that was bubbling up, and before I knew it, I was at the stop for the stagecoach.
Looking over the time table, I saw that the stagecoach to my home town of Henschel was luckily to arrive in about ten minutes, so I took a suitable book out of my backpack and tried to pass the time when——

“Um, are you Lady Emiel?”

I was startled by a young voice that suddenly called out to me, and when I turned my attention to it, I saw a girl of about ten years old with sparkling blue eyes like a jewel staring at me.
I nodded my head, feeling something dazzling that was different from the sunlight.

“Yes, that’s correct… you recognize me?”

“Yeah, you have saved me before, after all.”

“Saved…?”

Did I ever save anyone? I don’t remember at all.
The girl seemed to guess that I didn’t remember, but rather than getting angry, she smiled happily.

“Just as I thought, Lady Emiel must be helping a lot of people. I can’t believe you forgot that you even beat a scary person like that with your magic.”

“… Ah.”

Speaking of which, I remember a few months ago on my way home from a business trip, I ended up freezing a horrible guy who was chasing after children while wielding a sword….
Right, I don’t know if it was this kid, but one of them asked me for my name, so I told them. So that’s how she knows me.
I tried to correct the girl who was making a terrible mistake along with my understanding.

“I’m not as good of a person you make me seem to be. Any normal person would save a child that was getting attacked.”

“But the people around did not help us, you know?”

“That’s… certainly true, isn’t it?”

Having my ship sunk, I was at a loss for words, and the girl laughed like a prankster.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a panicked-looking woman running towards me, and I guessed it was the girl’s mother, so I turned the conversation away.

“Isn’t that your mother?”

“Oh, you are right. Well then, Lady Emiel, please teach me some magic if we meet again.”

The little girl who bowed her head to me rushed towards the woman and then disappeared into the crowd.
As if matching the timing, the stagecoach arrived at the stop, I paid the fee to the coachman and took a seat inside.
I feel that I’ve made the misunderstanding bigger rather that correcting it, but I’m sure her mom will explain things to her… I hope.

I opened the book I had taken out earlier and began to read, as if to distract myself from the guilt that was bubbling up.
——Without even considering the state the castle was in.

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