"Tifaliza, has Kuro-sama contacted yet?"
Elterina seems strange today.
She's usually the calm, cool, collected and commanding manager of Echigoya Firm, yet today she's humming unconcernedly like she's going to dance.
For her to be this merry, something really good must have happened.
I wouldn't have fallen into a slave if I had the inter-personnel skill to ask her, "Did something good happen?", but it's quite hard to change my personality and sense.
Someone appeared in the center of the office--it's our master and the owner of Echigoya Firm, Kuro-sama.
"Kuro-sama! Welcome back."
Elterina quickly rushed up to our white-haired Master.
I and the executives favor Kuro-sama, but I don't think it's at her level.
However, suddenly grasping Kuro-sama's hand, I think she lacks moderation as an employee.
Even though Kuro-sama doesn't mind it, your fingers! Having your fingers entwined is just too much!
The fingers that Elterina holds are moving toward the chest--I have to prevent it!
"Kuro-sama, this is the high-priority report. Please confirm it."
Kuro-sama breaks loose from Elterina's hands and receives the documents I presented.
Elterina glared at me reproachfully, but this can't be helped--you were too much.
"Kuro-sama could I have your time for a bit?"
When the report reached a point where we could take a break, Elterina asked Kuro-sama while blushing.
"What is it?"
"Forgive me for talking about my personal affair, but I want to inform Kuro-sama about the matter of my engagement."
The engagement that Elterina talked about is probably about the one with the neighboring Viscount Satou Pendragon.
He's a Mithril explorer and also the vice minister of the Tourism Ministry that the prime minister founded. He's also engaged to the biological little sister of the crown prince Soltrick, the sixth princess Shistina, a promising young noble.
"It's about Sir Pendragon isn't it."
"Yes, it was safely broken off!"
She was always melancholic ever since the engagement was brought to her house by an upper noble.
It seems she was that frolic because it was called off.
"I'm happy that you're pleased."
I slightly frowned hearing what Kuro-sama had said.
That's as if--.
"Did Kuro-sama do something to it?"
My chest feels fuzzy even though it was a good thing.
--This is perhaps jealousy.
The things that happened during the first day of labyrinth training flashed in my mind.
At that time, I felt the same thing when I saw Elterina and the other executives being held in Kuro-sama's arms.
And, embarrassment that made me feel like running off and delight, when I was being embraced.
--It looks like I'm really also in love with Kuro-sama just like Elterina.
I caught the waist of Elterina who was going to hug Kuro-sama with her arms open.
"Kuro-sama is still talking."
Toward Elterina who turned to me looking wondering, I told her that as if that was the reason all along.
"Have you noticed that this appearance is not my true figure?"
Elterina and I affirm Kuro-sama's question.
It was usually perfect, but when he was looking sleepy during the end-of-year, the cheeks part was slightly loose, the number of seam was different, and there were some times when his speech was different.
I think only Elterina and me noticed it.
"This figure was something I made so I could act without being tied."
"So Kuro-sama was really the same person as Hero Nanashi right."
Elterina trembles in delight hearing Kuro-sama answer.
I understand how she becomes like that hearing the one you love is the kingdom-saving hero.
However, I think that Hero Nanashi is also a temporary figure just like Kuro-sama's usual appearance.
"And, this figure is my true appearance."
"Wha! N-no way!"
Elterina opened her eyes wide and inched back.
Of course it's not that he's ugly.
His face is a bit plain, but a face is just a piece of thin skin. It's nothing but something used to attract the opposite sex.
In place of the shocked Elterina, I speak the words that she wants to say.
"So Kuro-sama is Viscount Pendragon."
"Yeah, I'm sorry for being like I fooled you."
Viscount Pendragon appeared under Kuro-sama's mask.
There are certainly too many common points between the two.
Distinguishing themselves in a short amount of time, having no greedy desires, and no political aim, yet they became the center of the authority, and, that their strength seemed bottomless.
--The fact that he's surrounded with only women is also the same.
"Ku-Kuro-sama.... S-since the engagement was called off, um, th-that mean, I'm--"
"It's not because I don't like you. I'm currently courting the queen of the fairy, so I don't intend to go forward with other marriage proposals."
Queen of the fairy?
Starting with the elves, most of the fairykin have parliament system with their elders, so the only ones that are monarchy are the Spriggan and Leprechaun kingdoms.
Either way, since they're not of the same race, the possibility of the other party agreeing with the proposal is nil.
Although, even excepting Princess Shistina who was announced to be his fiancee, there are Sera-sama the daughter of a duchy house, and the daughter of Muno Earldom, the [Aloof Beauty] Karina-sama.... Elterina has a lot of rivals.
I can't help but sympathize with Elterina, but it has nothing to do with me who's a slave.
"--Do you hear me? Tifaliza?"
"I'm sorry, I was thinking about something else."
"Then, I'll say it again okay. I'm thinking of freeing you from slavery. I want you to work at Echigoya Firm as an executive."
--freeing from slavery?
"I'm a crime slave, so freeing me should be impossible."
"I've got the permission from the king. Of course, for Nell too."
Kuro-sama returned a smile to my panicked words.
"I-I--don't want to be freed."
Going against that smile, I conveyed my wish.
"Why, could you tell me?"
I shake my head to the bewildered Kuro-sama.
--I'm a coward.
Kuro-sama probably will do bigger and bigger projects from now on, getting to even higher grounds, expanding his places of activities.
Unlike Elterina who's resourceful, the only thing that I can do is filing documents.
Without the bonds of slavery, I do not have the confidence to stand beside Kuro-sama.
And, I cannot honestly express the favor I have like Elterina.
I'm a "coward" who couldn't even pull Kuro-sama's hands when he brought me to the bed.
"Right now, not yet. Someday--"
--When I have enough confidence to tell my feeling straight.
Once I cross that, I will discard my slave position and tread my foot on the battlefield called love.
Someday, standing in line with Elterina who should be respected, I want to walk that road.