Until the second spring in Flotina, Persis lived as he had prepared.


Do not be swayed by emotions.

He always maintained a poker face, lived for his own benefit, and rarely engaged in conversation except for important matters with his child.

But as time went on, he became familiar.
It was since the spring when May turned twelve.
Feeling a void in his relationship with May, he wanted to communicate, to alleviate the emptiness.

Living for his own benefit for a while, Persis’s wealth in Flotina doubled, and he had an abundance of possessions.
Now, he no longer needed material things, so he began to desire the “communication with his children” that he did not have.

When he thought about distancing himself from May, he surprisingly tried to have a meal and communicate with his child.

Of course, he was not the type to lead conversations passionately, so most of the time, the meal ended without much conversation.
Feeling disappointed, he blamed himself for changing into someone who did unnecessary things.

However, since the spring when May turned fifteen, Persis was again captivated by strange emotions.
He wanted to talk to May a little more.

It wasn’t just a desire to obtain the “communication with his child” that he did not have, but a genuine curiosity about May.

‘When did that child grow up like that?’

Now, the child who had surpassed his waist had lost some of the innocent appearance from before.

‘How did she grow up like that?’

During the time he didn’t properly pay attention, the child seemed to have grown up on her own, and he felt regretful and wanted to know.

Sometimes, when he met Heint, who came to Flotina to show off his daughter, Stella, Persis felt envious and impatient.

It seemed like Heint knew everything about his daughter Stella.
But Persis and May seemed different.

Now realizing that having such thoughts was selfish, he wanted to get closer to May before it was too late.

***

Several seasons had come to Flotina while I trained hard to become a guardian knight.
Waking up, I, who had turned fifteen, was once again dueling with the family guardian deity with swordsmanship at the Flotina training ground.

Tak, tak!

The sound of my wooden sword and Floa’s wooden sword clashing was cheerful.
As I aimed for his opening and pierced his side, he quickly blocked my sword.


Tak!

As a swordsmanship master, his skill was excellent, but my swordsmanship had also grown to the point where it made me wonder if I had changed in the past five years.

When I aimed for his neck, Floa received my sword and stumbled slightly.
He looked at me with surprise.

“You’ve improved a lot.
Until last year, you were prone to dropping your sword, but now it seems like your skills are better than mine, young master.”

“You flatter me.”

It was natural for my skills to greatly improve, since I had been practicing swordsmanship diligently since I was ten to become a guardian knight.

Floa smiled and put away his sword.

“That’s enough training for today.”

‘Has the time passed so quickly already?’

I loosened my grip on the sword and wiped the sweat off my forehead.
Sweat trickled down along my short hair.

I was already fifteen years old.
I had grown so much in height that I could pass for an adult, and I had grown up healthy thanks to consistent training and physical fitness management.

Now I was quite a capable young girl, no, young boy.

Unlike me, Floa remained the same as five years ago.
He didn’t age because he was a guardian deity.

“You’ve worked hard.”

As Floa showed a relaxed smile, I also smiled meaninglessly

“Floa too.”

These days, when I sparred with Floa, it always ended in a draw.
I wished it was because my skills were on par with his, but it still seemed like he was going easy on me.

I left the training ground, wiping the sweat off my brow with a white handkerchief, and Ellen greeted me as I entered my bedroom.

“Master, how was today’s training?”


“It was fun.”

Comparing Ellen to five years ago, she hadn’t changed at all.
While her appearance might have been affected by the passage of five years, in my eyes, she looked the same.
From her innocent looks to her warm personality, everything remained the same.

But then she delivered unwelcome news.

“Master said he would have lunch with you today.”

“… Again?”

“Yes.”

Since the day I overheard Persis saying I was useless five years ago, a wall had formed between us, and we couldn’t easily approach each other.

During those five years, we didn’t make an effort to meet, and even when we did have conversations, they were limited to necessary matters.
Occasionally, Persis would make awkward remarks or behave in ways that seemed unnecessary, but I didn’t understand why.

But recently, he had been acting strangely.
Despite being busy with monster hunting, he insisted on having meals with me.

This was already the sixth time.
He wanted to be with me, even when there was no specific reason.

It felt like he was treating me as someone he wanted to be closer to.

“If you wash up and go to the dining hall, it should be the right time.
I prepared water in the bathtub, so why don’t you take a bath, Master?”

As I looked at my sweat-drenched training attire and replied, “Okay,” Joan knocked smartly and entered the bedroom.

“Master, a letter has arrived from Young Lady of Nazrat.”

As I grew older, Joan also matured little by little.
While she used to act lively no matter what, she now behaved calmly, like Ellen.
But she wasn’t as composed as Ellen, still maintaining her cheerful and lively demeanor.

Joan handed me the letter.
When I unfolded the lavender-colored paper, Stella’s distinct handwriting appeared.

“I made homemade cookies, so come to our house quickly.
I will bestow upon you the honor of tasting these cookies personally.”

Even after five years, Stella remained my one and only friend.
As fellow hosts, we had become inseparable friends.

“P.S.
If you don’t come quickly, I won’t let it slide.”


Reading the postscript, I couldn’t help but chuckle.

She hasn’t changed a bit.

After five years of knowing Stella, I had an idea of her cooking skills.
There were times when she cooked something meant to be baked at 180 degrees but accidentally baked it at 300 degrees, almost burning it, or the food ended up being too hard that it could break your teeth.
So, I wasn’t particularly excited about the cookies she made.

But still, I should go.
She said she would give them to me.

After finishing reading the letter, I placed it on the table and followed Ellen towards the bathroom.

“Ellen, you don’t have to accompany me for the bath today.
I want to bathe alone.”

“Really?”

When Ellen arrived at the bathroom and asked if I would be fine, I gently pushed her back and ushered her out of the bathroom.

“Yes, I want to bathe alone today.”

“Then make sure you rinse off the bubbles properly.
Last time, you didn’t rinse behind your ears properly, remember?”

Ellen’s advice made my lips curl, but…

“Ugh, when are you going to stop bringing that up? It’s been two more years.
I’m fifteen now.
I’ll be an adult in three months!”

Although I responded with a firm voice, trying to reassure her not to worry, Ellen still looked at me as if I were a child.

“Okay.
Take your time and come out slowly.”

“Mm-hmm.”

I heard the sound of Ellen closing the bathroom door and leaving.
I turned my body towards the bathtub.
Steam filled the air in front of me, thanks to the warm water filling the tub.

I started unbuttoning my white short-sleeved shirt one by one.
As I took off the shirt, the bandage that covered my chest and protected it became visible.

It was a chest binder.
As my chest grew during adolescence, I had to wear a chest binder.
Even if Floa had cast a spell to conceal my gender, for now, I was still in male attire.

As I released the pressure of the chest binder, it felt like my breathing suddenly improved, as if the functionality of my respiratory system had improved.


“Ah, that’s better.…”

Even in my previous life, I found bras uncomfortable, and now I was wearing an even more uncomfortable chest binder.

Just endure it a little longer.

I immersed myself in the bathtub, keeping only the word “patience” in my mind.

After washing up, I went down to the dining hall.
It was to have a meal with Persis.

Persis was still the same.
His appearance hadn’t changed much thanks to his magical abilities.
With the delay of aging due to possessing magic, despite being in his mid-thirties now, he looked like he was in his late twenties.

When I made eye contact with Yohan, who was standing behind Persis, he showed me her usual gentle smile, just as he always did.
Yohan was still kind to me.

Perhaps the one who had changed the most in this household was me, who went through adolescence.

Persis and I started our meal without any conversation.
I, as usual, kept my gaze fixed on the table.

“…”

Lately, Persis had been looking at me more frequently during meals.
I couldn’t figure out the exact reason, but what was clear was that it wasn’t because we lacked conversation.
We never had conversations to begin with, so it couldn’t be because of that.

Once again, we finished the meal without exchanging a single word.
I quietly got up from my seat.

“I’ll excuse myself first.”

“…”

Persis pursed his lips as if he had something to say to me, but ultimately gave the same response as usual.

“… Okay.”

I lowered my head towards him and then left my seat.
Seeing the back of my head, which felt somewhat prickly, it seemed like he was staring at me.

Why does he feel so frustrated? If he has something to say, he should just say it.
It’s not like he’s someone who hesitates to speak.

With that thought in mind, as soon as I stepped out into the hallway, I erased those thoughts about him from my mind.

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