The next morning, Philia and I walked the main streets of the Imperial Capital where many stores stood. Philia watched the happenings in the Imperial Capital curiously, which have been filled with crowds of people since morning.
She had been stuck in the Imperial Palace for a long time, so I thought it would be interesting for her to see this kind of situation. We came to the Imperial Capital to buy Philia’s magic wand. I wanted to avoid taking Philia to a crowded place as much as I can because it would be dangerous. But if we wanted to buy the best magic wand for Philia, it was better to bring the person herself to check the finesse. Therefore, it was necessary for Philia herself to come with me to the stores.
Of course, Philia was dressed in the style of an adventurer, her face hidden behind a black hood. So she wouldn’t be recognized as a princess.
Philia muttered, “I’m worried I might get separated from Solon in this crowd.”
“It’s okay. I’ll be careful.”
“There’s a better way. It’s fine if we are holding hands, Solon.”
Philia stared up at me. I thought it was exactly as Philia said.
It was a simple move, I thought the best course of action would be to hold hands so that she wouldn’t get lost. But still, it was a little embarrassing. When I nodded and extended my hand, Philia looked happy and she intertwined her small fingers around mine.
“It feels like we’re lovers.”
“… Let’s go.”
“Eh? Solon, are you embarrassed?”
“Really?” Philia smiled happily.
“Let’s just go to our destination quickly.”
I pulled Philia’s hand and started walking. After a while, we broke away from the main streets and continued further to a small alley. There was an old building with a small sign. It was a store I had worked with.
When I opened the door, dust flew everywhere. I have visited many times, but still, I couldn’t get used to the air here. There were no other customers in this small store.
Only a young woman was sitting at the dark brown counter with a bitter expression, wearing a simple black jacket and white trousers. She was Verse, the mistress of this store.
She was my business partner, who had helped the knight order considerably to obtain and distribute supplies.
“Oh my, Solon-san. Welcome.”
Verse stood up and smiled gracefully. Her tall slender body made for a strong presence. Her hair was a beautiful pale blue and her mysterious golden eyes stared straight at us.
Verse shook her head.
“Is she Solon’s lover?”
And then I noticed that I was still holding hands with Philia. I tried to release her hand in a hurry, but unexpectedly, Philia held my hand tighter.
Philia’s eyes were twinkling. I didn’t know what she was thinking, but she was probably poking fun at me.
This is a problem. She was reluctant to release my hand.
I said to Verse honestly, hiding the fact that Philia was a princess.
“This girl is my disciple, Leah. I was holding her hand because she said she would get lost if we didn’t.”
“Hee, so she was Solon’s disciple,” Verse said, a little surprised, staring at Philia. After a while, Verse sighed.
“Again, you chose a strange child as your student. Isn’t this girl of ‘’dirty blood’?”
Philia trembled, looking surprised. She stepped back frightenedly. I tried reassuring her by strengthening my grip on her hand. ‘Dirty blood’, a calling for humans who had the devils’ blood.
Philia looked at me worriedly and asked, “So-Solon, how did she know I was a devil’s daughter?”
“Verse is both a merchant and a top-class appraiser. It’s her specialty to see how a person is, and there’s also another reason.”
“Verse is not a human, she’s a devil,” I said, gauging Verse’s expression. She was staring at me with her golden eyes, then smiled.