Chapter 254 : Change
After refining her Crystal Branch for an hour, Celine lost consciousness.
I told her not to push herself but she kept going…
Instead of waiting for her to wake up, I decided to carry her to the bathhouse to save time.
I put her arms around my neck, grabbed her legs with both hands and lifted her up.
When we arrived at the bathhouse, I gently lay Celine down on the bench I made with earth magic and poked her cheek.
「O~i, Celine~ It’s time to wake up~」(Mark)
Celine slowly opened her eyes and raised her upper body up. She then glanced at me with an awkward face.
「Umm, Mark? Did you carry me here…?」(Celine)
「I did… What’s wrong? Ah, if you worry about your body odor, then you don’t have to mind it. It didn’t bother me.」(Mark)
「Geez, you sure are insensitive. But, thank you, Mark.」(Celine)
「Well then, I’m going home now. You two enjoy the bath~」(Mark)
I left Celine and Nicola at the bathhouse and went home.
The next day in the early morning, I woke up to the sound of someone knocking on the door. It seemed that Ester came to pick Nicola and me up to work as usual.
While looking at the morning sunlight coming through the window, I lightly stretched my body and headed for the door.
「G, G-Good morning, Mark…!」(Ester)
When I opened the door, I saw Ester’s red face.
She greeted me with a stiff face while standing up straight like a robot.
This is weird… She normally greets me with her usual bright smile every morning, but why is she acting so stiffly today?
「Good morning, Ester… Umm… You’re behaving very differently today. What’s wrong?」(Mark)
「Eh!? A, Am I? N, Nothing happened, really! And I’m behaving as usual!」(Ester)
「Is that so? I think there’s something different about you today…」(Mark)
「I, It’s just your imagination. Yeah, just your imagination!」(Ester)
While I was questioning Ester with a doubtful face, I heard Nicola’s voice in my head. It seemed that our voices woke her up.
『Onii-chan, girls have a lot of secrets, you know? You shouldn’t pry too much.』(Nicola)
「Y, Yeah… You may be right. It might be just my imagination. 」(Mark)
When I replied to Ester like that, she let out a sigh of relief for some reason.
She then moved her gaze to Nicola who was approaching us from her bed and smiled at her.
「Good morning, Nicola!」(Ester)
「Un! Good morning, Ester-chan!」(Nicola)
「Did you sleep well?」(Ester)
「I slept like a log!」(Nicola)
「Great. That means you’re ready to work today, right?」(Ester)
Hold on… Why is she talking with Nicola like usual but acting so awkwardly toward me?
Did I mess up at some point and hurt her feelings or something…?
The last time I saw her was when I gave her the Green Foxes yesterday morning because she would hand them to a seamstress at noon.
She thanked me with her usual smile and nothing weird happened between us after that.
Hmm… Something must have happened to her without me knowing…
Come to think of it, she didn’t come to play with me yesterday. Normally, she comes to my house at noon after I finish helping Celine refine her Crystal Branch.
Did something happen to her while we were at the Portal Crystal yesterday…?
「A, Anyway, I will wait outside.」(Ester)
She usually waits inside when Nicola and I are getting ready, but why did she choose to wait outside today?
After Ester went outside, Nicola and I started to get ready.
We washed our faces, changed our pajamas into our everyday clothes, and went outside.
「Ester, we’re ready. Let’s go.」(Mark)
I thought she would grab my hand and walk while holding hands as usual, but she turned round and walked ahead of me and Nicola right away.
Does she not want to hold my hand today…? But why…?
I don’t know why she is acting weird today but… Arrrghh! It’s bothering me!
Alright. I don’t care if she doesn’t want to hold hands with me today. I will just hold her hand and see what happens!
I walked faster to line up with Ester, stretched my arm toward her, and grabbed her hand.
The moment I held her hand, she let out a strange voice, and for some reason, her long ears stretched upward and her cheeks turned bright red.
「Are you alright…?」(Mark)
「Y, Yeah, I’m fine! It’s me, your usual energetic and cheerful Ester! Nothing changed! Aha! Ahaha! L-Let’s hurry, or we’ll be late for the morning market!」(Ester)
Ester didn’t let go of my hand, instead, she grabbed it firmly.
However, she exaggeratedly swung my hand and walked stiffly almost like a robot for some reason.
I don’t know why she is acting so awkward and strange today but she doesn’t seem to be angry at me, so maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about it… Should I?