13 years ago.
During a summer sunset, a little girl stood still as her older brother gently secured a hat on her head.
It's done, my little Rose.
Shall we go?”
Wells lightly hugged his baby sister in his arms.
A carriage waited for them in front of the Honeywell Manor; their parents, the former Duke and Duchess of Honeywell, were waiting for them.
Rose, having spotted her mother, ran to her, her arms outstretched.
“My Rose! You must be late because your brother put on a pretty hat for you.”
The bow the young Wells tied on Rose's hat was sloppy.
“Wife, come up.
We must leave now if we want to enjoy the founding festival in time .”
Today, an event was held to commemorate the founding of the Tristan Empire.
Over time, the founding festival became known as one of the festivals symbolizing the making of their empire and was celebrated from early in the morning until late at night.
The Hooneywell family boarded the carriage and set off to watch the fireworks display held in the evening at the capital city square.
“Brother, are we going to see the fireworks?”
Rose's small hand tugged at her brother's sleeve.
Bending down to match his sister's height, Wells nodded.
Rose, do you remember the fireworks from last year?”
“I remember! They're like very, very pretty flowers blooming in the sky.”
“Yes, that's right.
Today, we will go to the plaza and watch the fireworks.”
“Wow, I like fireworks.”
“I like it too.”
A smile settled on the lips of the Duke and Duchess of Honeywell as they admired the closeness of the siblings.
The carriage stopped at the entrance, unable to enter the busy plaza with the crowd, while the Honeywells naturally got off the carriage as if they were used to it.
The coachman left after receiving an order to pick them up at a specific time.
Rose's face, as she stood beside her brother, was eagerly looking at the crowded plaza in the distance.
“Brother, what is that?”
As if she had discovered something mysterious, Rose insistently pulled Wells.
Wells, dragged along by a body much smaller than himself, looked back at the Duke and Duchess of Honeywell.
“Go on, just don't let go of Rose's hand.
Do you know the restaurant we reserved? Come over there with Rose around the time when the fireworks start.”
“Okay, let's go, Rose.”
Taking the pouch of coins from the Duke of Honeywell, Wells put it in his pocket and walked away, holding Rose's hand.
The pair of siblings wandered to and fro, and when Rose complained of leg pains, Wells carried her in his arms, and the two continued to enjoy the celebration.
Even if it was a festival the family celebrated every year, Rose exclaimed with excitement with every familiar sight she saw and every time she took a step.
Wells loved Rose, and so he purposely headed deeper into the plaza.
The closer they got to the center of the plaza, the more diverse the types of street vendors were.
There was a small performance on the side, attracting the attention of those who watched.
It's so much fun here!”
“I'm having fun too, my Rose.”
While holding Rose's hand and enjoying the celebration, Wells noticed that it would not be long before the start of the fireworks display.
The crowd in the square was busy looking for a place where they could see each other.
“Rose, let us go back now.”
“The fireworks will start now.
Father made a reservation in a restaurant with a good view of the fireworks, so let's eat there.”
Rose nodded vigorously.
Although young, Rose clearly remembered the fireworks she saw last year, and she urged Wells to return quickly.
As they returned to the restaurant where their parents waited, something unexpected happened.
A man carrying a variety of luggage did not see anyone in front of him, and in his rush, he bumped into Wells.
The objects clutched tightly in the man's arms fell and scattered with a loud sound.
“Are you okay?”
“Oh my, how could you do this?”
The man frantically picked up the dropped items, and Wells also tried to help him with a puzzled face.
In the chaos of the moment, the linked hands of Rose and Wells loosened and fell apart.
“Thank you very much.”
“No, it's alright—oh! There's one over there.”
Rose watched Wells and the man as they picked up all of the items.
There were quite a few people around, so the speed at which the two gathered their fallen items was quite slow, and Wells gradually moved away from Rose.
Rose, waiting close by for her older brother, saw an object that had fallen at her feet.
Assuming that it was one of the things the man had dropped, Rose bent down to pick it up.
“Brother, I picked one up too—!”
With her hands closed around the item, Rose was about to start walking to Wells.
“Hey! What are you doing here!”
A strange hand grabbed her wrist.
Instantly, being dragged by an unfamiliar hand, Rose looked at the person pulling her.
A middle-aged woman she had never seen before dragged Rose away.
“Uh, I have a brother over there…”
Rose, who belatedly assessed the situation, looked back.
However, Wells was nowhere to be seen, lost in the masses of the growing crowd.
Suddenly, she felt her heart sinking.
Rose braced herself with both legs, forcing her body to resist the lady's strength.
Only then did the woman look back at her.
“Why aren't you following—Oh my! You, who are you?”
The woman who discovered a frightened Rose couldn't hide her surprise, bewilderment, and perplexity at seeing the horrified girl.
She looked around restlessly.
“Where is my child? No! There are a lot of people…
I can't lose our child.”
The woman began to look around in a hurry, and Rose's fear increased after hearing her words.
…Lose a child? Then I won't be able to see my brother, mother, and father anymore?
Rose urgently grabbed the sleeve of the woman who was about to leave to find her child.
“Please, take me to my brother.”
“I'm sorry, dear.
I need to find my child…
The woman led Rose again.
The place the woman went was an article in charge of public order.
“Knight! This child has lost her way.
Please find her parents.”
Where did you first meet the child?”
“It was in front of the building with the red roof over there.
I have to find my child too.
I will go first.”
The woman who entrusted Rose to the knight quickly disappeared into the crowd.
Left alone with the knight, she felt herself further drifting away from Wells.
“Little girl, can you tell us a little about your parents and how they look? You don't look like a commoner from the way you're dressed.”
The knight bent down on one knee in front of Rose.
The sword at his waist dragged against the floor with a crackling sound.
It sounded louder to Rose, who got frightened and looked at the knight, terrified.
The stranger alone had terrified the child, but then the knight's shaggy beard and large scars on his face were enough to amplify the fear Rose felt.
Eventually, Rose burst into tears and rushed backward.
“Wait for a sec, kid!”
The voice of a knight urgently calling her came from behind, but to Rose's terrified ears, it was only the roar of a monster that was surely coming to eat her.
More people flocked to the plaza for the upcoming fireworks display, and Rose Honeywell's small frame ran into the crowd of adults and families and managed to get out of the crowd and away from the knight.
Standing in front of a store that closed early, Rose looked around.
No matter how many times she turned around, it was an unfamiliar place.
She couldn't see a single familiar face.
Brother, mommy, daddy…”
Rose shed tears, sitting down on her knees.
If I wait here without moving, my family will surely appear.
She began to weep bitterly.
But the fear didn't go away, so all Rose could do was whimper and weep.
The moment she cried, shoulders shaking, the sound of firecrackers hitting Rose's ears.
The fireworks started.
When I saw it last year, it was very beautiful, but now, even that beautiful flame feels scary.
Rose buried her face in her lap.
“Brother, mommy, daddy.”
As if it were a spell to calm her mind, Rose constantly called out to her family and raised her head only when she felt a light tap on my shoulder.
Are you lost?”
The first thing that imprinted in Rose's eyes was the blue hair.
A boy who looked younger than Wells gazed at Rose's face in surprise.
“Are you a Honeywell?”
It was a boy who knew Rose's last name.
Rose held the boy's hand as if it were a rope.
“Yes! I'm a Honeywell.
Big brother, do you know the Honeywells? Please help me.
I lost my brother! I want to go home.
Finally, someone who knows me appears.
Tears fell from Rose's eyes again.
The relief she felt did not stop the tears.
The boy took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped away the tears.
The boy's hand wiping the tears was clumsy, and his soothing voice was tinged with embarrassment.
“There, there, don't cry.
I know where the Duke of Honeywell is.
I'll take you.”
I saw Duke Honeywell and Wells desperately looking for you.
Can you walk?”
The boy pulled Rose's hand.
I try to stand up, but my legs hurt, and I keep falling.
“No, I can't move my legs.”
When Rose panicked, the boy gave up his back without hesitation.
“Is that okay?”
Maybe this way, we will go faster.
Rose carefully placed her arms on the boy's back.
It was the first time he had been carried by men other than the Duke and Wells.
Rose, who was carried by tall men, was unfamiliar with the low vision of being carried by a boy.
“It would have been very high if my brother or father were carrying me.”
The boy let out an airy laugh.
“Do you know how expensive it is to ride on my back?”
“My father and older brother are also expensive.
The memory of her family made Rose's mood darken again.
I want to go quickly and be embraced by my family.
The boy must have heard Rose's sobbing and hurriedly changed the subject.
“Look at the sign for that store over there.
Doesn't the blue remind you of the sea?”
Rose shook her head.
“I have never seen the sea.”
“What? You've never seen the sea?”
Books were all Rose could use to see the sea.
The capital they lived in was in the inland of Tristan Empire, and the sea was far away, so it was not an easy distance to come and go.
Rose did not answer because she was somewhat embarrassed by the boy's surprised question.
A boy's voice filled with laughter was heard.
“Then I will definitely take you to the sea someday and show you around.”
The voice was very sweet.
Rose was drawn to it and raised her head.
All I see in front of me is blue hair.
It was then that a streak of light touched his hair.
The blue flame dyed the boy's blue hair even bluer and brighter.
Looking at the color, Rose recalled the sea Wells had shown her in the book.
The sea, which she had never seen before, opened before Rose's eyes.
The wind of early summer and the slightly muggy heat.
It was definitely something she never felt until just now.
Everything felt new and different.
It was difficult for Rose to tell whether the loud sound was the sound of fireworks rising in the sky or the sound of her heart.
Feeling this strange and unfamiliar feeling, Rose buried her face in the boy's back.
Before she knew it, Rose couldn't hear any noise from the people or the sound of firecrackers.
Right now, the only thing that surrounded Rose's ears was the sound of her heart beating like crazy.
Rose, not hating the feeling, slowly closed her eyes.
I was curious about the boy's name, but I don't have the energy to fight how sleepy I am.
…When I wake up after a little sleep, I'll ask him what his name is.
However, in the end, Rose did not get to hear the boy's name that day.
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