I had made the right choice in visiting the magic tower today.
The rabbit blinked and opened its mouth.
The rabbit began nibbling on my hair stealthily.
It must have mistaken my orange hair for a carrot. After a few squirms, the rabbit realized it too.
With a yelp, the mushy hair came out.
It must have been unappetizing, because its face crumpled up.
It became clear why it had come to me.
“I’m sorry! If you could give it to me–”
I was just making awkward eye contact with the rabbit when the owner approached me.
Unfortunately, I was about to hand over the kit who mistook me for food.
I glanced up as he stopped talking. My eyes locked with his stiffened face.
What was that ghostly look on his face?
I tried to talk to him, wondering what was going on, but…….
My opponent freaked out and collapsed.
Am I some kind of monster?
His legs gave out and he couldn’t get up. I couldn’t stand by and watch, so I helped him to his feet.
He grabbed my hand and staggered to his feet.
“Are you hurt?”
He stiffened like chopsticks and looked me over.
Although there doesn’t seem to be any obvious injury, the way they are treating me is concerning. Estelle had a gentle disposition, so it’s unlikely that it’s because of my appearance.
Does he know her? He looks like a frightened squirrel.
I picked up a rabbit that was hovering at my feet, fascinated by the color of my hair.
It seems like a good idea to hand them the rabbit and leave.
“You’re also a mage?”
“…I’m still an apprentice.”
“It’s impressive at such a young age.”
I had intended to leave, saying “Well then.”
But I liked it more than I thought. I halted my steps that were about to turn away from them.
I wondered if Mikke had been telling the truth. Perhaps the compliment I gave in a moment of sincerity resonated with them.
“Of course. But what about these rabbits?”
“They multiplied unexpectedly during an experiment…”
“Will they return to normal?”
“Yes! They should all disappear within a day!”
What kind of experiment would make them multiply like that?
I was definitely intrigued by magic. What kind of magic could make a rabbit multiply?
“E, Excuse me! Do you like rabbits?”
He rolled his eyes and looked at the rabbit in my arms.
I must have handed it over……. I glanced and saw that the child was holding a bunny in his hand.
So did I pick it up again?
The unconscious is scary. The rabbit stretched tiredly under my touch.
“……They’re cute, so I like it.”
“Let me show you more!”
He shouted with an attitude that said he couldn’t take no for an answer. His shoulders hunched at his fiery, aggressive demeanor.
I must have had a negative likability rating. Now, he’s like a puppy greeting its owner. Was it because he was young?
Knowing he would be disappointed if I refused, I decided to give him what he wanted.
“Just follow me!”
I wasn’t expecting to be dragged right away, but somehow he found the strength to pull me along.
This looks familiar. I can’t be kidnapped, right? What if this innocent behavior is an act?
Besides, I have to wait for Mikke. I was mesmerized by his cute appearance, and I snapped out of it.
But it was too late. My attempts to stop him were neatly dismissed.
Somehow, I don’t know why, but I like it that way, even though it’s hard to say.
Mikke’s a wizard, after all, and Diet can come from far away to find me, so why not?
He’ll come on his own. My footsteps were light as thought of a self-justification.
So, trusting Mikke’s abilities, I followed behind the child. And after a while, I realized that my choice was right.
The place he led me to was―
“Is this heaven……?”
It was heaven on earth.
It was definitely an ordinary room. But the inside was completely different. The room was decorated like a forest and filled with all kinds of animals.
I gave a thumbs up to the kid who shrugged his shoulders in pride.
I’m definitely going to make friends with this kid.
* * *
Mikke was exhausted, having just managed to clean up a few accidents here and there.
It was a daily occurrence, but he couldn’t help but feel tired.
He staggered to the break room. I should apologize for the delay.
But there was one thing he wasn’t expecting.
“Where did she go?”
There was no Estelle among the half-dead people. After a quick look around, Mikke turned quickly.
If Estelle went outside, it will be a disaster. It was obvious that I would be punished by Diet.
I’ll get caught digging the magic stone mine…
Mikke’s face was drawn from the dreadful future. It’s no different from manual labor because you can’t even use magic.
You’d collapse in half a day with your skinny arms. That’s a future that should never happen.
Mikke lit a fire in his eyes and began to search for Estelle. Please stay close…….
Luckily, he was able to find her quickly.
“….Where did you come rolling from?”
She didn’t look normal.
Mikke’s mouth dropped open at the sight of a woman who looked like she’d rolled in a pile of dirt.
Her orange hair was frizzy and filled with unknown strands. The static electricity making it look disheveled.
Her skirt was stained and spotted as if it had been splashed with muddy water. Meanwhile, the rabbit she was holding so dearly seemed bewildered.
As Estelle’s whereabouts became more of a mystery, she began to shout excitedly.
“Why didn’t Diet tell me about all this good stuff!”
Before Mikke could question her, Estelle spoke again.
Her blue eyes sparkled like a child’s.
“A kid named Bane took me to a place with tons of animals! It was the best!”
“Wait, calm down. Take a breath.”
Trying to calm Estelle, who was stomping her feet, Mikke concluded.
I think I have a pretty good idea now. Bane is a master at creating illusions.
He used it to turn his room into an animal kingdom. It shouldn’t be hard, given his magical skills.
I’m surprised he showed it to Estelle, but I don’t know how she managed to trick a child who was wary of outsiders.
Moreover, Bane even provided an illusion. Amidst the commotion, Mikke looked at the rabbit that was sleeping peacefully.
Illusions are advanced forms of magic. So, this one should disappear in about a day as well…
“You must have gotten close to Bane.”
“I don’t know why, but he likes me.”
Estelle gave an embarrassed laugh, seeming to realize her behavior.
So, when she gets excited, does she start using honorifics? The occasions where a noblewoman would need to show respect are few and far between.
There is now one more thing to report to Diet.
“Is it because of Mikke?”
“Yes, because I took your advice and gave him a compliment.”
Mikke stared at Estelle curiously, expecting her to dismiss it as a joke.
Since I spoke so casually and it wasn’t helpful to her anyway.
Who would want to befriend a wizard who symbolized disaster?
But Estelle naively believed it, and not only that, she didn’t discriminate against wizards.
Mikke could see why Diet was interested in her.
If he was intrigued, he must have found Estelle amusing.
“I’m glad you found it helpful.”
Perhaps Estelle should stay an amnesiac for everyone’s sake.
He grinned as he decided to research amnesia magic with Diet.
* * *
I walked back to the villa with Mikke leading the way. The rabbit that had settled on my head was with me.
I head out again as soon as I return. My destination is Noel’s room.
I pounded on the door, trying to keep my mouth shut.
But no matter how many times I knocked, no answer came. The maid I passed on the way in said he was surely in the room.
I hesitated and peeked inside. Then I saw Noel standing near the window.
Why didn’t he react? Didn’t he hear me?
I looked at him and saw a letter in his hand. I couldn’t be sure because I was behind him, but he was reading it with a serious expression on his face.
I called out to him again, and he responded. Angry and surprised, he turned around.
“Miss Estelle, what are you doing here…….?”
“I’m sorry, you didn’t hear me when I knocked on the door, so I thought I’d look inside.”
“I must have been concentrating and didn’t hear you.”
Noel relaxed his stony expression and hastily hid the letter.
A love letter? I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a new partner now. I was a little disappointed, but it was none of my business.
Quickly losing interest, I asked cautiously.
“Do you happen to have a moment?”
He didn’t seem to be being polite. This allowed me to move closer to Noel without fear.
“Then take a look at this!”
I thrust the rabbit in front of him. His eyes widened at the sight of the perky ears.
“It’s so cute!”
You didn’t think it was a hat because it was above my head like I was dead, right?
It was a reasonable suspicion to be surprised at seeing it move rather than a rabbit.
“It’s actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be.”
“Maybe next time we can… oh, sorry.”
In my excitement, I lost my senses and said something stupid.
Noel dislikes wizards. I thought it was simply an annoyance, but it’s more like a dislike.
I realized later that it was because he’d been treated terribly by wizards.
I rolled my eyes at the hindsight. He waved it off as if it was nothing.
“No, it’s not like that. While the Magic Tower is a bit tricky, we can go to a better place.”
“Is there such a place? Well, there were a lot of animals in the Magic Tower.”
Technically, it was Bane’s room, but there were a lot of animals I’d never seen before.
Flaming birds, translucent deer, pure white turtles, they were like mythical creatures.
That made me even more excited. Suddenly, I realized that it was a fantasy.
“They’re in the temple.”
“Animals in the temple……?”
“They say it’s a gift from the gods, so they send us lots of rare ones.”
Noel said casually and petted the rabbit.
There’s a high chance that they were deliberately gathered and sold at a high price, or that the worshippered offered them as bribes.
Corruption in temples is something we often encounter in fiction.
What mattered more was the breathtaking beauty of the combination of the rabbit and Noel.
Does it make sense for a magically advanced country to not have video recording stones?
I couldn’t believe that I would only be able to capture such a precious scene with my eyes.
“Can I go too?”
“You can because I’m here.”
There was no hesitation, just confidence.
It was Noel after all. I clapped my hands inwardly in admiration.
“Then you should definitely invite me over sometime!”
“I’m looking forward to that.”
Noel’s eyes wrinkled at the corners. The spontaneous laugh seemed to come from Noel, the person himself, not the priest.
Actually, I didn’t have much desire to visit the temple. My perception of it wasn’t great, and I didn’t believe in God either.
But seeing him like that, I suddenly started to look forward to it.
I looked forward to going to the temple with Noel. It was interesting and fun to see how my feelings could change in an instant, depending on the person.