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"Being here makes me feel at ease. All I hear is the sounds of the forest, and no one yells at me or rushes me."


Ortansia didn't know what to say to Viktor, who spoke with a childish expression.

'Victor is also having a hard time. After all, he must be the child of a noble family with a pretty name. Come to think of it, I think I've heard the name Victor somewhere before…'

It was not an uncommon name, so it must be someone else. Convincing herself, Ortansia exhaled softly.

'I remember when I used to hate Annabelle's reprimands too. I didn't have a secret base like Viktor, so I was usually depressed in my room.'

However, Annabelle's harsh treatment of Ortansia was an act of self-imposed duty and because of her expectations of Ortansia. Surely those around Viktor also do so because they have high expectations of him.

"You know... Viktor. There will be people who are hard on you, but I'm sure those people do so because they love you too.'

When she said this, Viktor puffed out his cheeks as if he was unconvinced.

"That's not right! If you love me, you should be nicer to me"

"I'm sure they're being hard on you on purpose so that you won't be humiliated when it matters. I think they do that because they really like you"

After saying that out loud, Ortansia regretted it a little.

'No, As a seven-year-old he wouldn't understand me! Huh, I failed'

However, as soon as Viktor heard what Ortansia said, he rolled his eyes in a strange manner.

"Well... that's one way of thinking about it. Sia's so smart."

"No, I am not. I just had a similar experience. I found out that people who I thought were really strict were actually very kind."

"Phew... you're the same as me."

After saying that, Victor smiled happily.

Ortansia also smiled happily.

Viktor fumbled and searched deep inside the hollow of the tree, and held up a brightly shining book, .

"Look, my secret treasure! I'll show it to only Sia!"

What he showed her was a picture story written in a language that seemed foreign to her.

'Gold leaf is used for the binding... Isn't this a book of great value!'

Even a mere book can be worth months of a commoner's salary.

She wondered if the boy in front of her really understood the value of the book

'Seeing as it's hidden here, he probably doesn't care.'

But such things make her smile..

As Viktor opened the book and showed it to her, Ortansia ran her eyes over it.

It was colourfully illustrated and the text was meticulously and beautifully decorated.

'Decorated manuscripts, huh? It's not unusual in an aristocratic home, but... I never thought I'd ever seen them like this, like playthings!'

Victor pointed to each picture and explained them to Ortansia, who looked on with a relaxed mood.

"I don't know what it says, but I like this animal because it looks really strong!"

'Is this... a cockatrice?'

'Sia, you know it!'

Viktor bit down vigorously, and Ortansia nodded, a little surprised.

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