The author edited in a prologue for the royal capital academy section. All that means is that they took the first part of chapter 11 section 1 and made it its own chapter. They did however add in an image which I’ve edited in to chapter 11 section 1 and added to the images page.
Section 14: Wrapped in Kindness 4
Side by side with Rose-san, we walked along the canal that cut through the royal capital.
Even if I call it a canal, it’s not nearly as thin as the one that flowed through my hometown. This one is wide enough to allow multiple ships carrying cargo to sail past each other. The sun had begun to fall, meaning the incessant rain of rays falling from the sky came at an angle, distorting the reflection on the water’s surface.
[Rose]: “Iris-san, do you need a short break?”
Rose-san glanced at me next to her with a slightly worried look.
[Iris]: “N-No, I’m fine.”
I say that, but my feet are starting to hurt.
But, that’s just a testament to all the time we’ve spent together today. I was determined to ignore the pain, but the fact she asked me that at all means my face isn’t doing a very good job of it.
[Rose]: “No need to overdo things. We walked quite a bit today. Let’s take a rest on that next bench, okay?”
Rose-san made a point to look directly into my eyes and smiled.
Her light, peach colored hair shone a bright white beneath the sun’s light. A tuft of that hair slid off her ear, brushing against her cheek and hiding half of her beautiful face.
Rose-san brought her finger up, hooking her hair back behind her ear.
It was a gesture that completely captured my fascination. An adult atmosphere and charm I lacked capable of drawing me in. I released a hot sigh without even thinking about it.
[Iris]: “Ah, sorry.”
I apologized on reflex and diverted my eyes away from her hair. Of course that meant I was staring directly into her deep, burgundy eyes instead.
[Rose]: “Did something happen? Are you feeling tired after all?”
I turned away my gaze once again. Noticing my eyes swimming in my head, Rose-san tilted her head.
[Iris]: “Ah, no, I was just, thinking how beautiful Rose-san’s hair is…….”
I might make her genuinely worried for me if I keep acting suspicious. So I commented on her fluffy hair.
[Rose]: “Oh, y-…….you were? It is getting a bit long, so I was thinking of having it cut……”
[Iris]: “Eh~? It would be such a waste to cut such beautiful hair. It looks great how it is.”
When I raised my head, my gaze once again locked with Rose-san’s. Ephemeral eyes and long eyelashes that shook ever so slightly.
[Rose]: “……does Iris-san, like long hair?”
Rose-san pulled on my hand a bit as she asked. I sat down on a bench sitting next to the road so that we can talk without getting in the way of any other passersby. Rose-san took a seat right next to me.
The bench had a flower box positioned next to it for the enjoyment of anyone who would want to take a seat such as ourselves. It was filled with beautiful sweet peas in bloom that came in pink, white, and violet colors. They smelled really good too.
[Iris]: “I suppose so. Although it wouldn’t suit me very well, whenever I see someone with long hair, I always think it looks nice.”
Now that I’m mentioning it, Toslin, Carol, Saluena, and Rose-san all have long hair.
It’s just Lapris and me who don’t. Mine doesn’t even reach my shoulders.
Clear water gently flowed down the canal, carrying away some petals from flowers that had fallen in somewhere upstream. The water’s surface ripples as boats pass through, forming a consistent clap as the waves strike against the shore.
[Rose]: “I wouldn’t go so far as to say it does not suit you though? An Iris-san with her hair grown out……fufu, I imagine it would look very nice.”
[Iris]: “You think so……? When I try to imagine it though, the only thing that comes to mind is me with a head full of frizzly hair…….”
[Rose]: “My hair can be a bit unruly as well, but it is okay so long as I brush it every day.”
The bench is a bit on the smaller side, so we have to sit close enough that our shoulders and waists are touching if we are going to both fit.
A gentle breeze carrying the sweet scent of flowers unique to the spring season brushed through our hair.
[Iris]: “Then…..should I try growing mine out too?”
I pinched my bangs between my fingers and pulled my hair down.
It would probably take a while for it to grow as long as Rose-san’s and having to take care of it every single day sounds bothersome. But when I think about how wonderful Rose-san’s hair is……I start thinking that maybe it’s worth a try.
[Rose]: “Then I won’t cut my hair either. Iris-san did say it was wonderful after all.”
The voice I’m always listening to. The smile I’m always looking for. They’re capable of reaching deep into my chest and shaking my heart.
Who is this…….adorable person?
Isn’t it too unfair that she’s older than me? It should almost be a foul to be this beautiful and cute.
Adorableness is the privilege of the young while beauty comes with age. Putting aside whether or not I qualify as cute, Rose-san, who is infringing on the rights of us younger people……is incredibly sly.
Out of nowhere, a moment of complete silence fell between us. Now that I think about it, this is the first long, continued silence between us since the day began.
I could feel Rose-san’s warmth through our shoulders.
Although it’s finally spring, the wind can still feel chilly as evening rolls in. I was feeling cold, so that’s why, for just a little longer, I got a bit closer, and leaned against Rose-san.
I watched as the water’s rippling surface expanded and contracted.
Then, out the corner of my eye, I noticed that Rose-san had turned towards me. Her slightly swaying hair gave off a good scent comparable to flowers in bloom.
[Rose]: “Are you cold?”
I responded with, “A bit…..” when she asked.
So Rose-san pulled one of her arms out of her cardigan and wrapped it around my back.
She then leaned more into me, wrapping the cardigan back around our shoulders as if it were a stole.
[Rose]: “How is this then?”
[Iris]: “Y-Yes. It’s……very warm……”
While wrapped in Rose-san’s warmth and aroma, I nodded.
I could feel my heart rate gradually rising.
Today’s Rose-san somehow feels more adult-like. No, I mean she is an adult, but she feels more so than usual right now.
She has escorted me, protected me, and now……worried for me.
If it was Saluena……I’m not sure if my heart would be beating like this. No, maybe it would? I’m not sure.
All of my blood has rushed to my head, and it’s making it difficult for me to think. This really is all Litzreich’s fault. Making me feel intentionally self-conscious by bringing up marriage and it being fine even between women, ah…….I’ve forced myself into a pretty terrible way of thinking.
Rose-san is a reliable companion. And someone I see as an older sister.
I want to be the person she searches for before everyone else. The person she watches more than anyone else. I want her to be more careful with me than anybody else. The only reason why I’m thinking such bothersome thoughts is because I want Rose-san to play the role of the older sister I’ve never had before.
Maybe it’s because we’ve spent so much time together today that I was able to so openly express my wish.
[Iris]: “Today’s Rose-san seemed just like an older sister.”
I deliberately said it like a joke so she wouldn’t notice how hard my heart is beating.
Thereupon Rose-san’s shoulder quivered.
[Rose]: “Me, Iris-san’s…….”
Rose-san looked down at me, and I looked up at Rose-san.
Our gazes remained locked for a long time.
Before I knew it, the light of the sun had gained a reddish tinge. Slowly Rose-san’s pinkish cheeks darkened.
How must my face look? I’m positive it’s red because of my real motives here and embarrassment, but maybe there’s a backlight there from the sun.
[Iris]: “Is it okay if……I ask to be spoiled a bit?”
With my true feelings revealed, I decided to take things a step further. To take advantage of the situation and my status as her temporary younger sister and satisfy my wish.
[Rose]: “Eh, yes……yes, I don’t mind.”
Just as I thought, Rose-san didn’t turn me down. She accepted me. She’s, always so kind to me. Sometimes she’ll get angry and chide me, but……she’s always kind in the end.
It’s why I like her.
[Iris]: “This is why I like you Rose-san.”
Today’s Iris-san is a very naughty girl. But I can’t stop myself. Even if I do get branded as naughty, I want Rose-san to spoil me. I want to be closer to you. I want to feel like I’m special to you. I want you to think of me as special.
[Rose]: “I, like you too.”
After I rested my head on Rose-san’s shoulder, she wrapped her arm around me, hugging me close to her while patting the top of my head.
Rose-san brought her free hand to her chest.
But after hesitating for an instant, she reached out for me. And grabbed the hand that was resting on my lap.
[Iris]: “……Ehehe, we’ve been holding hands all day long.”
[Rose]: “……do you hate it?”
[Iris]: “No, Rose-san’s hand is……really warm.”
I entwined my fingers around her and held her hand back.
[Iris]: “Could you…….pat my head a little more?”
[Rose]: “Of course.”
Rose-san quietly nodded………and kissed my hair.
[Iris]: “Ehehe, I do the same thing for Sarah.”
The sun gradually fell, and the city’s blue roofs were dyed red.
The two of us watched the water glitter from the light bouncing off of it with few words shared between us.
A short sigh escaped my throat as Rose-san patted my head and kissed my hair, causing her to embrace my head even tighter.
That just caused me to squeak again as my body squirmed further into her hold.
And then, she stroked my head again. My hair was kissed. Her grip tightens, and it’s a little painful. The same process, over and over again.
[Iris]: “…….can we go on another date sometime?”
The only thing protecting us both from the chilly wind is a thin piece of cloth draped over both our shoulders.
[Rose]: “If you are fine with it then, no……”
The sun setting on the horizon.
The wind grows even chillier as the city evolves from a deep red to a faded black.
[Rose]: “I would love to.”
Yet it’s still warm.
In this one spot……together with Rose-san.