Even though it was herself who got hit by the doll and I was the one who was slapped, As tried to comfort me.
The maid also tried to calm me down, but my crying wouldn’t stop easily.
When I kept crying and looking for my mother, the maid finally went up to fetch Roxana, leaving only me and As in the basement.
Ironically, my tears stopped abruptly at the sound of Roxana coming.
As breathed a sigh of relief and wiped my face with a handkerchief.
Though the touch was awkward but affectionate, I felt like crying again, but I had no more tears left.
“Is there something that’s bothering you?”
I was about to answer that there was nothing wrong, but when I saw the fallen doll on the ground, I gave an unexpected answer.
“Because I wasn’t born as a cat.”
“You didn’t hear me? I cried because I’m not a cat but a human.”
“…Do you like cats?”
Cats are a hundred times better than humans.”
“If I were a cat, I wouldn’t have been able to be friends with you.”
As’s expression fell at my words.
As asked the same question as before.
“Do you dislike me?”
“I don’t dislike you.
I like you.”
“Do I like you because I’m a Lemethion? Or because I should like you?”
“Are you sure it’s not? What you need to do is more important than what you like or dislike.”
“I said we’re the same, right? No, you and I are different.
We can never be the same.
I just want to be friends with you because I like you, but you don’t feel the same way.
I can clearly see what you’re thinking and how you smile at me.
If you keep doing that, I won’t be your friend.”
As I declared that I wouldn’t be friends, As seemed shocked.
He pursed his lips for a moment, then muttered in disbelief.
“I…won’t be friends with me?”
You won’t come to play anymore.
I won’t call you As anymore either.”
“…I said I like you.”
But I don’t like being the only one who likes someone.”
“I like Tilly too.”
It felt like the conversation was going in circles.
And now, the one with teary eyes was not me, but As.
Taking a deep breath, I changed my explanation to help As understand.
“When I said I was going to meet you, I thought I would never see you again after you made me suffer so much.”
“Why would I like the idea of suddenly getting engaged to someone I didn’t even know?”
“But then a cute doll-like girl popped up out of nowhere.
I was wondering whether to torture her or not, but my mom said she would never force me to get engaged if I didn’t like you.
So, I thought I could relax and like you as a friend.”
“If it wasn’t you, I wouldn’t have liked you.
But you would have treated the lady of Lemetrio the same way, even if she wasn’t me, right?”
As hesitated and shook his head.
Eventually, a tear finally fell from his blue eyes.
“I…I don’t know.”
Unlike me, who was crying uncontrollably, As was sobbing quietly as if trying to hold back his tears.
Just a moment ago, it was As who had been wiping my tears and comforting me, but now the situation had reversed.
“What should I do?”
“Think about what you like more than what you should do.”
“But I have to become a good prince.”
“It’s not about becoming a good prince, but about making As think that you are a good person and therefore suitable for the position of prince.”
“But honestly, whether you are a good person or not, I just like you.”
When I said that with a smile, As, who had been sniffling, stopped crying abruptly.
The last words I had said had come out unintentionally, but they had hit the mark.
I wished As were a little more selfish.
It was me who had created him as a kind and selfless character, but that wasn’t why I loved him.
It was just because he was my baby.
Even if he suddenly became a sub-main character and turned into a villain, he was still my lovable little one.
The words that I would like him no matter what happened to him, whether he had a complex for being a good kid or not, were the right answer for both As, who had a complex for being a good kid, and for me, who was born in the world I had created.
Through him, I realized why I was born in this world – it was to save someone.
I love everyone, whether they are the main character, supporting character, or villain.
“As, if you like me and it’s not because you’re a prince, but because As likes me, let’s be real friends.”
As seemed to be lost in thought for a moment at my words about becoming friends, then nodded vigorously.
I was so surprised that I asked him with a bewildered expression,
“Do you not want to be friends with me?”
“No… No, I do.”
“Then why did you lower your head like that?”
“I just don’t want to be just friends with Tilly.”
As if feeling embarrassed, As avoided eye contact at first, but with my urging, he spoke up courageously.
“I want to marry Tilly!”
“…Are you crazy?”
Without even realizing it, I blurted out a reaction, causing As to widen his eyes.
I quickly tried to make up for the words that had sprung out on their own.
“Well, getting married might be a bit complicated.”
“Why? We both like each other.”
“Well, there are various ways to like someone.
Marriage is something you do when that liking is something special.”
“I like Tilly especially.”
Honestly, because of As being too honest, I could only smile awkwardly.
I didn’t know how to respond to this.
“But not only me, Tilly has to like me especially to get married, right?”
“Then I’ll try my best to make Tilly like me especially.”
He must be a sub-male character in a romance novel.
His words were so adorable that it couldn’t be helped.
Of course, it was more amusing than thrilling because he said it while sniffling with a runny nose.
To hold back my laughter, I pressed my lips together and met As’s gaze, who was grinning widely.
“Well, give it your best shot.”
“Okay, give it your all.”
I got up after saying that.
Only then did I realize that Roxana was watching us.
She looked at me with an unreadable expression.
“Where did you hear it from?”
“Since the proposal?”
I heard myself say “crazy.” Roxana was a strict person when it came to such things, so I knew I was in trouble.
When my mother felt the scariest, it was when she called me by my full name.
Although it was rare for her to call me that, surprisingly her expression wasn’t too bad.
Since she didn’t seem too angry, it wasn’t too difficult to diffuse the situation.
If I acted as if I didn’t know that what I said was a bad word and apologized when Roxana pointed it out, I could promise not to say it again.
“Unless it’s right after crying and saying I want to see my mother.”
I deliberately mumbled in the dark before clearly pronouncing “ma.” Roxana smiled helplessly, understanding what I meant.
As Roxana kneeled down and spread her arms, I approached her.
My mood improved slightly as she wiped away the tears around my eyes with her cool hand.
“Where did you learn such bad words?”
“What’s a bad word?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know.
You know how to distinguish between good and bad words, right? Do you know what you did wrong?”
“I was wrong.”
When I admitted my mistake obediently, Roxana considered what to do with me.
There was an issue that was as important as my education.
“Tilly, why are you crying?”
“His Highness, the prince, told me to eat that.”
Although I told As that it wasn’t her fault, I didn’t think to blame her for not being born as a cat in front of Roxana.
When I simply told the truth, As couldn’t even meet Roxana’s gaze.
It was because Roxana secretly tried to give the cat coffee beans to win my favor.
Of course, she still seemed unaware of what was wrong with eating the coffee beans as they were.
Roxana looked unusually flustered in the ambiguous situation where it was hard to know how to react.
“Did you really cry because of that?”
Although the reason I cried was because of my family, As’s actions were the trigger, so it wasn’t a lie.
Roxana seemed even more embarrassed by my sincere answer.
The maid was watching to see if she should tell that I had hit As or not.
I rolled my eyes slightly and pretended not to know.
“It was my fault.
I gave Tilly something she shouldn’t eat.”
As approached Roxana and confessed to his mistake obediently.
Watching him, I swallowed my embarrassment.
“So, I hit the prince.”
As, the victim, tried to ask me, and the maid respected his wishes and remained silent, but both looked at me in surprise when I exposed myself as the perpetrator.
I picked up the rabbit doll, the weapon I had been rolling on the floor.
The rabbit doll’s face had changed due to the dust in the basement.
“I hit him with the rabbit.
Roxana’s expression hardened, and the atmosphere became heavy.
“Taleia Lemetio, do you know what you did wrong?”
It was the same question as before, but the tone was clearly different.
“I hit the prince, which is wrong to hit someone without reason.”
“Why did you do that?”
“My mom said that As needs a real friend.
I wanted to be a real friend to As because I like them, but As is only nice to me because I’m a Lemetion, and even gives me things secretly.”
“So I was going to stop being friends with As and go home, but I got angry and hit them because they wouldn’t let me go.
But I talked to As and made a compromise.
I’m sorry for hitting you, As.”
In response to my answer, Rosanna said that it was wrong to use violence and that I would be scolded at home.
I nodded my head resolutely, as if I had prepared myself for it.
After finishing the conversation with me, Rosanna kneeled down and looked at As.
“Your Highness, I apologize for my daughter’s rudeness today.”
“….No need to apologize.”
“And I’m sorry for causing unnecessary burden on Your Highness.”
“And to add one more thing, Yuli and I like Your Highness regardless of whether you are a good kid or not.
So you don’t have to try too hard.
Your Highness is worried, after all.”
“What, I heard it all along.”
When I opened my eyes and looked at Rosanna, she narrowed one eye at me.
Soon after, As shyly thanked us.
“Tilly, let’s go home now.”
At the mention of going home, I hesitated for a moment, but then smiled and answered.
“Yeah, let’s go home.”
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