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My Male Lead was Building up an Impenetrable Wall (3)
Adele came to pick up the Duke before noon. I couldn’t help smiling the moment I saw the boy who reminded me of a white birch tree.
He blushed slightly, avoiding my eyes.
“Well then, I’ll take my father home. I’ll see you next time, Anastasia.”
You only showed up 27 seconds ago, though?!
The sound of my heart breaking was audible. Seeing me frozen in shock, Adele started to say something, but then immediately gave up.
I took a bath! I washed myself so clean that the bathtub overflowed!
But Adele didn’t hear the cries from my heart and left with the Duke. I had slept for two whole days, so it was hopeless to dream of getting permission to go out. It was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to follow after Adele.
Soobbbb. I’m so upset!
My parents were busy catching up on some overdue work and my brother had run away, so I was left to my own devices. With nothing better to do, I trudged towards the garden.
My sole consolation was that I was able to wander around the estate as much as I liked during the day. I had the garden to myself while the gardener was away. I wanted to take a full lap around the garden, but it was exceedingly large and my stamina was so tiny that even an ant would find it sad. I lay down in the grass instead, looking up at the sky as my thoughts became progressively more complicated.
Is there another reason why Adele is avoiding me?
Maybe I was too faithful to my own desires and now his affection for me has cooled off… But he said that he’d see me next time, didn’t he? Doesn’t that mean he’s not too mad? Auuughhh. My head hurts!
Luminous, pure-white clouds floated by as warm sunlight gently caressed my skin. I breathed in and out steadily, enjoying the scent of flowers and grass.
As I lay, unaware of how much time was passing, my stiff muscles loosened up.
Blink, blink… My eyes started to close.
[[Do not keep my possessions near that thing any longer.]]
I shot straight up at the horrifyingly grating voice that sent shivers up my spine. But no matter how much I glanced around me I didn’t see an enormous, monster-like horse or a helmet-less ghost knight.
“… What was that? A dream?”
It was strange. That voice, like a mixture of every bizarre and uncanny noise together, wasn’t one I could have imagined.
I tilted my head while rubbing my ears. It was disconcerting enough to suddenly hear Kylis’ voice out of nowhere, but the contents of what he said were also incredibly strange.
Don’t keep his possessions near that thing? ‘Possessions’ as in his helmet?
It’s at the Duke’s residence right now…
I suddenly remembered that Kylis had once referred to Adele as ‘that thing’. Although some things still didn’t add up.
I had stolen Kylis’ helmet. Worse still, I had even walked around wearing it. But Kylis didn’t give me a warning at the time.
Or actually, was it a warning? It could just be a threat to bring him his helmet quickly.
Either way, I don’t know how he knew that the helmet was in Adele’s possession and not in mine. Does he have an invisible third eye? 
I decided that Adele should know as well, so I returned to my bedroom.
Writing a coded message telling him to be wary of the black and faded object I had left with him was simple enough, but without really meaning to, I paused before calling Ilina.
Adele was a fairly cautious person anyway, so even if I didn’t send him a letter, he’d probably still be careful. Besides, Adele was currently avoiding me.
I recalled the look on Adele’s face earlier. He had seemed flustered and had even shown signs of being embarrassed. Yet they hadn’t seemed like fake emotions that had been plastered onto his face. Adele didn’t fake his expressions in front of me.
“I’m worried, so I’ll just send it! Ilina!”
While Ilina asked a servant to take care of the letter, I checked over my physical condition to make a guess about how long it would be until I could go out without worrying my parents. At the very least, I’d have to act cautiously through tomorrow. Even though the day after tomorrow was pretty close, I wasn’t sure if it would be possible.
Please, I really hope I won’t cough up any blood for a while.
That evening, Lynette-eonni unexpectedly came to visit me. I dashed outside like a shot.
As I called her ‘Eonni’ without any hesitation now, Lynettia Bliss greeted me with a smile.
“It has been a while since we’ve seen each other, hasn’t it?”
It seemed as though she also knew that I had slept for two full days. I started to apologize for worrying her, but she spoke first.
“To be honest, I have been in rather low spirits recently, but I feel better after seeing you, Anastasia.”
I stared at Eonni. She absently touched the corners of her mouth as if she hadn’t smiled in days.
“Is something wrong?”
“Well, who knows.”
As usual her voice was buttery smooth as if it would melt away, but there was a subtle difference about her. I glanced over her dress, which had a surprisingly modest design, then reached out towards her. A ribbon on her sleeve had come undone.
“If you ever feel like talking to someone, come over. I’ll be here.”
I retied her ribbon as I spoke. I had no dexterity to speak of, but she waited patiently. She gave me an amused smile when I straightened up after finishing.
“Do you mean, if you listen to all of the details of whatever circumstance I am facing and are absolutely certain that I’ve been falsely accused, then you will try to give me help?” 
Ash, you big-mouthed jerk.
“Eonni, you know the criteria to help you out are a lot more lenient.”
I narrowed my eyes. Eonni smiled much more naturally than she had earlier.
“As expected, I am glad I came.”
Lynette-eonni turned down my offer to come into the mansion and returned home. I was feeling a bit regretful that she had really just said hello and then left, but Oscar-oppa’s head suddenly popped out from behind me.
“Since when have you had a sister like that without my knowledge?”
“Are you back now?”
You’re not even a kid. You ran away because you didn’t want to train, but aren’t you the same age as Lynettia Bliss?
Seeing my face and realizing what I was thinking, my brother hastily tried to explain himself.
“I mean, I didn’t have a choice. Whenever I go to train I wind up laid up in bed for three days.”
What a crybaby!
I made a sour expression. My brother had been a fairly skilled knight in the original novel. It was obvious that he was just making excuses because he wanted to play around. I dragged my brother away, but I couldn’t help glancing back in the direction that Eonni had left.
The next day it was impossible to see Adele. He said that the young nobles, who had been patiently holding themselves back, rushed over to drag him out when they heard the news that the Duke had returned.
Was I monopolizing Adele too much?
He said that wouldn’t be back until late in the evening, so there wasn’t even any time for him to come in contact with the helmet anyway.
I fiddled with the small wooden box that Adele had sent via a servant late last night. Inside was a thin, musical pipe about the length from the base of my middle finger to the knuckle that was tied to a string. It was an accessory that gave off a feeling of elegance rather than flashiness.
It was tinged a translucent white color and was transparent enough to see the structure inside. I thought it might be a replica of a real musical pipe and when I blew into it, as expected, no sound came out. Adele had said that he was going to give me a present and although it didn’t make a sound, it seemed too sophisticated for him to have made it himself. The clear crystalline material that was neither diamond nor glass was particularly questionable.
In any case, I was a little relieved to know that Adele wasn’t genuinely angry with me. I still didn’t know what the problem was, but maybe we would be able to discuss it properly next time.
I hung the pipe around my neck and started writing down the reasons that I wanted to live so that I could use them to persuade Kylis. I also tried to calculate the odds of Kylis not letting me die, assuming the warning I’d heard yesterday was real.
First I’d need to get the helmet back so I could clean it up.
I should be able to touch it since Kylis only mentioned Adele, right? I’ll have to touch it if I want to give it back anyway.
My mother knocked on the door just as I started writing down the reasons that I wanted to live for the fifth time.
“Anastasia, are you busy?”
I opened the door. My mother was getting ready to go out.
“I’m not. Where are you going?”
“I am going to the Imperial palace with Will. Let me know if Oscar runs off without going to train.”
I knew the reason why my mother was specifically asking me that request. My brother was affable and had a comfortable air about him. The servants were extremely fond of him, so they had a tendency to stealthily cover for him, even to our parents.
“I will,” I reassured my mother as she shook her head cynically.
Her gaze came to rest on my hair, which had been gently tied back.
“Oh. I really like this,” I said, tapping the hair tie with my finger.
My mother smiled.
“I will be back.”
Seeing my parents off, I sat back down at my desk, but it wasn’t long before I had to get up again.
“Miss, Lady Floresense has come to see you.”
Both Lynette-eonni and Olga were masters of the surprise visit. Actually, it would be more surprising for either of them to send a notice before showing up.
I felt a little guilty. I had promised to hang out with them when my private lessons finished up, but our plans had gone awry when I suddenly fell asleep for two days.
I made my way down to the parlor. Buried in flowers, Olga smiled broadly and waved at me.
“Anastasia! You’re really awake! I came at just the right time.”
“Olga, are you hurt?”
“Eh he he. I had a little fall.”
Olga hid her hand, which showed clear marks of being skinned, behind her back. Her skirt was soiled, so her knees must be bruised too.
“It wasn’t a little fall. Come here so I can see.”
“I’m fine! I’d rather give you this first.”
Olga held out a crown made of fresh flowers. It appeared to be woven together from common wildflowers that bloomed by the side of the road, but the look was well balanced and it was as pretty as one made from flowers that had been purchased from a market.
“Did you bring this for me?”
“It’s my first time making one, so I don’t know if you’ll like it.”
I glanced down at my cursed hands with bitter eyes.
I clearly have ten fingers exactly like she does, so how can the results be so different?
Olga excitedly asked, “C-can I put it on for you?”
I stood still while Olga carefully arranged my hair. Before long a finely woven mass of flowers had been settled atop my head.
I gently ran a hand over it to make sure it was secure while Olga admired the final product.
“Wow. Anastasia, you look really pretty.”
I smiled with Olga, but then said firmly, “I want to lose myself in the scent of flowers right now, but I need to see you get treated first.”
I called for the family doctor and he attended to Olga’s injuries. As expected, her knees were bruised.
Seriously, how badly did you fall?
Even when I sent her questioning glances, she just smiled at me bashfully. After the doctor left and it was just the two of us, I carefully moved on to a new topic.
“Olga, do you know any tricks for persuading someone to do something?”
“Using good looks,” Olga replied without a moment’s thought.
I stirred the tea in my teacup with a spoon.
 In some religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism, a third eye refers to an invisible, intangible eye that provides perception and enlightenment beyond ordinary eyesight. It is sometimes associated with clairvoyance.
 This is in reference to chapter 46 wherein Anastasia offered to help Ash in the future… so long as his innocence was absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably indisputable.