From the next day onwards, El followed the butler's example and started working.
Though, besides still being a child, since the count's house wouldn't pay him, it was just for show. After being taught by the head butler for a few hours every day, he laid down and lazed around in my room. Is this really fine?
What was surprising was that in front of other people, El acted like an unbelievably obedient child. He would speak like an adult and carry out any orders without hesitation.
The head butler praised him to be unlike a ten-year-old. Whether El actually was ten years old was a bit suspicious, though.
First of all, his attitude. He certainly hated working. Despite that, besides being in this house, El couldn't help it and did his job, to my relief.
However, another issue arose. As soon as my younger sister, Samantha, first laid her eyes on El, she said she wanted him.
He was certainly more beautiful than any jewel. For anyone loving beautiful things, it was understandable for them to like him.
The whining that I was being unfair troubled even the Count and Countess.
Usually, they would tell me to hand it over to Samantha, but perhaps it was impossible to have their cute daughter near a boy of unknown origins.
"Samantha, I'll buy you whatever you want, so don't say that."
"No! I only want Elvis!"
Hearing my stepmother and Samantha speak like this wasn't rare. If she had the money to buy anything, I'd want her to first do something about Rodney.
To my relief, El skillfully dodged Samantha each time and didn't seem to care about her though.
She started to relieve her stress on me by ripping my clothes to shreds or pushing me when passing me by and did pretty much whatever she wanted. A few days ago, even though she bought excessive clothing, she didn't feel bad about it.
Seeing that Samantha wouldn't give up on him soon, I heaved a heavy sigh.
This was a few days after El had come to Count Hartfield's manor.
While having a strategy meeting with Ruby and taking a leisure walk in the garden, I saw El, who seemed to have just finished work, approaching us.
"El, good work today."
Whenever I called him from afar, he would answer me like this.
Soon after running into El, I lost my balance. Maybe because it was raining the day before and the ground had become wet.
Still, since El was there before I fell down, I felt relieved for a moment. But El nimbly avoided me.
As a result, I fell hard into the mud.
"Miss…! Are you alright?!
"Y-yeah. I'm fine, but…"
Confused, I clung to Ruby and stood up wobbly. Even my hair was covered in mud, though it would be fine after a shower and a change of clothes.
Rather than that, I had something I was curious about.
"Hey, El. Why did you evade me?"
"No, rather, why should I hug you?"
"It's your fault for falling down. I don't want to be bothered to fall in the mud and have to wash my clothes."
El said matter-of-factly.
It was undoubtedly my fault. I had stumbled and fallen down on my own. However, if El had lent a hand, we could have avoided this. Actually, the problem wasn't that he had evaded me.
El seriously said that there was no point unless it was for his own gain. That was what I worried about the most.
I feel like El is missing something important.
That was a problem that definitely had to be solved one day at a time. While thinking that, I watched El's back as he passed me by with an innocent expression.
Since Ruby seemed to have only seen El's good side, she became surprised and showed an angry expression. Even though I said that I was fine, I requested her to prepare a bath.
After returning to my room to wash and change my clothes, I met El. He was apparently scanning my bookshelves.
Since there were too many rooms in this residence, he had gotten his own personal room although small. Despite this, he frequented my room a lot. I couldn’t really understand him.
… From now on, I wonder how I can change him for the better? Since I noticed that his condition was worse than I had thought, I had been racking my brain.
"Woah, this book that’s always giving me chills. So it still exists to this day.”
El was holding my treasured tattered picture book “The Kind Great Magician”.
To call it disgusting was beyond rude.
“How could this still exist after 100 years…”
“El, have you read this picture book? It’s my favorite book I received from my late mother and my most prized possession.”
This picture book brought happiness with the kind and great magician helping many people. My favorite part was when the Great Magician met up with the princess with kind eyes.
During harsh times, I reread it so many times and also imagined myself replacing a character in it. It was my best support.
"...I know it more than anything else.”
"Nevermind. I've never read about this before. Rather, aren’t you too old to be reading picture books? How silly.”
El sighed deeply and returned the book to the bookshelf. As soon as he had done that, he collapsed on my bed.
However, meeting another person who knew of the picture book, I became overjoyed.
“Listen, I hear Great Magicians live long lives, but I wonder if the person in this book is still alive…”
“... He’s alive.”
“Really? Then how old is he?”
“Probably past 150.”
“How do you know so much about him? Are you perhaps a fan…”
“Don’t say that, it gives me chills.”
El flopped to the other side of the bed and scowled at me.
“That thing is just filled with lies to improve his image. He only looks the same.”
“How do you know about that?”
“That’s what I’ve heard.”
I couldn’t help but wonder about El’s judgment of the book. Though he didn’t look like he was lying.
“To begin with, Great Magicians don’t use magic to make others happy.”
El’s words were on my mind. I knew that there was always only one Great Magician.
However, I didn’t know why that was the case.
“...To begin with, shouldn’t a girl be longing for a prince and not a magician?”
“Is that so? I prefer the Great Magician.”
As expected, El laughed scornfully at me.
“I wonder what kind of person the Great Magician is.”
“I’m sure he’s not the type you’re imagining.”
“Are you disillusioned?”
It was interesting, but I liked the Great Magician no matter how he was. It didn’t change the fact that he has saved me so many times.
“I’m thrilled that he’s in this world somewhere.”
“What do you mean by that? You’re really weird.”
El muttered, “Time for a nap”, pulled the futon over his head, and wouldn’t come out for a while.