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IMDR Vol 1: Chapter 4

Confrontation

 

 

He was still in his early teens.

 

The boy was wearing a white shirt, with a black vest and trousers, and dark brown leather shoes. The collar of his shirt was loosened, and the ends of his untied crimson ribbon tie occasionally swayed in the wind as he recalled.

 

Asleep on a white cushion, a German-language foreign book sat open on top of his chest.

 

Rihito picked up the black-coloured coat that had fallen to the floor while he was sleeping and was curled up under the bench. Then, up close, he saw the boy’s face.

 

His black hair, cut slightly longer, swayed gently in the wind. Having a small oval face that retained its innocence with a small but well-shaped nose and pale red lips.

 

Even though his eyes were closed and framed by long eyelashes, he was a well-built boy who could be mistaken for a girl.

 

If this was a beautiful woman, it would have been like a scene from a fairy tale.

 

The rose-scented sunroom was an ancient castle covered with thorns.

 

The boy was a princess of thorns who had been sleeping for 100 years.

 

In that case, Rihito would be a prince who came to save the sleeping princess―was that so?

 

When he let out a sly smile at his fairy tale imagination, the boy on the couch seemed to notice the presence and slightly shook his head. A small crease formed between his smooth brows in his peaceful sleeping face.

 

Before long, the boy’s white eyelids trembled slightly and slowly opened.

 

What appeared were wet fawn-like black eyes. Blinking and focused eyes caught Rihito.

 

“Hi, good morning”

 

When Rihito called out to him, the boy remained silent and looked up with round eyes that tended to be black.

 

The surprised expression was childish and defenceless, and it tickled his mischievous heart. His rationale made him lean over the back of the couch and whisper into the boy’s ear.

 

“Princess of Thorn Castle, wake up. Is a wake up kiss necessary for entry?”

 

When he asked with a superlative smile that most women would be fascinated by, the boy who had just woken up widened his round eyes and a slight blush ran down his white cheeks.

 

At first, the boy’s eyes blinked as if he was confused, but eventually his expression returned to normal.

 

His deep dark brown glow and black eyes lit up with a light of understanding, and his lips formed a gentle smile.

 

“If you are my prince and the curse can be lifted, I would gladly wish for it.”

 

“…”

 

Rihito, who had expected the boy to panic, was taken aback by his reaction.

 

It was because the boy knew the story of Princess Rose, and his unique counterattack and quiet gaze were awfully mature.

 

He intended to ridicule the child, but it was returned to him, and he felt like he was done.

 

Rihito smiled wryly and stood up. The boy also tried to get up from his couch, so when he held out his hand, he obediently grabbed it. His arms conveyed a lightness that matched his slender hands.

 

Rihito handed over the jacket he had picked up while he was at it, and the boy accepted it and thanked him. The clear, high-pitched voice typical of children was calm.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

“By the way, who are you?”

 

After putting the sleeves on the jacket and sitting properly on the bench, the boy asked, even though it was too late. Rihito lightly shrugged his shoulders at the boy who tilted his head.

 

“Are you sure it’s not your prince?”

 

“Oh, that’s a pity.”

 

The boy’s turnaround was quick.

 

“Do you take the speed of your brain as cheeky or funny?” Rihito was the latter.

 

“I think I can pass the time while waiting for Mrs. Otoki.”

 

Rihito placed the foreign book he was carrying on the table, sat down on the one-person rattan chair across from the boy, and crossed his legs. He laid his fingertips loosely together and looked at the boy.

 

“Then, can you guess who I really am?”

 

“…understood”

 

When Rihito asked him to play, the boy didn’t seem to be confused; rather, he just got on with it.

 

The boy closed the foreign book that had been left open and stared at Rihito. He felt his gaze for ten or twenty seconds. After a short silence, the boy opened his mouth.

 

“Gender is male, age is mid twenties. The height is about 6 shaku and 1 sun, you’re quite tall. A suit suits you well. That Ginza’s Sanseido clothing was tailored well.”

 

Sanseido was a well-known dressmaker in Ginza.

 

He had a reputation among the upper class for making suits that combined functionality and dignity with his skilled staff who had all trained overseas.

 

“Correct. I understand well.”

 

“It’s very well made, and the star button is unique.”

 

A small silver mark on the left cuff of the jacket button had three pentagrams embossed.

 

“There was always one thing attached to the clothes made by Sanseido. I noticed it well. An acquaintance of mine is a fan of Sanseido.” added the boy.

 

“It’s a single three-button shirt with a peak label on the collar. The colour is Rikyu-gray. Judging by the fading and rubbing of the fabric, it’s been at least two or three years. I think it had been made within a year.”

 

“Well, I guess so. But I guess that’s about the suit, not about me.”

 

When he pointed it out, the boy only smiled lightly.

 

“Not really. A few years ago, you had the financial strength to make a fine suit at Sanseido. You seem to be accustomed to wearing Western clothes. However, in recent years, it seems that you haven’t had much leeway. That suit is patched with a slightly different colour thread and a different type of button. Originally, you would have asked Sanseido to repair it, or better yet, to make a new suit. So I can guess that you don’t have the financial strength to do that right now. Well, if you’re just a person who is skilled with his hands and cares about things, rather than a hobbyist, then you’re missing the point.”

 

“…I see”

 

It was quite an observation. Rihito rearranged his legs and urged the boy to continue his answer with his gaze.

 

“Then let’s continue. An ordinary office worker wouldn’t visit Mrs. Otoki’s salon during the daytime on weekdays. People who enter here are art dealers and dilettantes… but you are not one of them.”

 

“Oh, how is that?”

 

“Because they all seem to have no commercial temperament, no passion or obsession with art. And if the suits were right, they probably wouldn’t have the financial means to buy art.”

 

“You say painful things.”

 

“I’m sorry. Now, the rest are artists who are allowed to come and go by Mrs. Otoki. If you’re a painter, sculptor, or potter, you won’t come here dressed like that while you’re working. Your hands are neither windy nor rough with pigments and dirt, and you are a writer or a poet.”

 

With a faint smile on his face, Rihito listened to the boy’s words as he approached the correct answer.

 

E/N: Terribly sorry for the slow update, everything should pick up now. Also I’ll try to improve my editing skills so be patient..

 

https://ko-fi.com/chaoticdream


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