Chapter 1 - ｢妙案だな！｣
"What a beautiful weather we have here."
I had decided to take a walk with my dear wife in this lovely morning. We took a tour around my—no, our beautiful garden. Though I didn't have a big interest in gardening, I always had people to keep it maintained. As we walked across the bridge, I recalled a moment in the past that made me aske, "By the way, I haven't seen Orihime for a while."
"Ah, I think Orihime is busy weaving, as usual," the woman beside me answered.
Orihime had been introduced to weaving by her mother since she had been young. I actually wondered why she liked it so much. She also shared my interest in painting and calligraphy. I remembered she had sometimes sat on my lap when I had been painting, then she would watch the brush with full attention, as if it would have told her how the paintings were done. I knew now she could paint as good as I did, but she still chose weaving as her main activity.
I remembered playing with her in this garden. She had been an active child when she had been little. She had even sometimes played with the guards and the maids when my wife and I had been busy. I guessed that was why she actually had a boyish side. Ah, I thought I missed those times.
I agreed when my wife said that the clothes she was wearing now was Orihime's weaving and it was very beautiful.
When we were done with the compliments, we had already finished our tour and gone back to the main chamber. I asked my wife to order the maids to summon Orihime.
We didn't have to wait for long before the maids came back with Orihime behind them.
"Father, Mother, you want to see me?" she called.
"Ah, that's right," I smiled.
"How are you?" my wife asked.
"I'm fine. Is there something wrong that you've called me?"
"Ah, no, no. There's no such thing. We just missed you," I honestly said. "I wondered why you worked so hard." And as I said that, I realized that I was just worried about her.
"The maids say that you are weaving all the time," my wife added.
"Ah, yes, Mother. I am currently weaving new clothes."
"Well, it is always good to work hard," I remembered teaching her that everything had to be done seriously. "But, mind your own health," my voice lower. "You're kind of pale. Don't you overwork yourself?" I wondered if I had overworked her with my ways. I had always told her that diligence would always bring a good result in return.
"No, Father. Please do not worry," she answered with a smile, her shy smile that I loved so much. "It is just because I am weaving, so I do not apply any make up."
She then left with my permission. She had said that she had to finish her weaving. As I watched her leaving the chamber, my lips echoed my mind. "She grows up without my permission, doesn't she?"
As I realized what had come out of my lips, I could imagine my wife smiling at me, especially at the possessive word I had used. She could always read me. But before I could turn and see her expression, she answered, "That is right. She has become a beautiful and very diligent daughter of us.
"But," I immediately turned at her. "Doesn't she a little bit look lonely?"
"Ah, yes," I unconsciously responded. "I wonder if we should find her a husband."
"Yes, I think that would be great, but she does not go out often, does she? How do you think we should find her a perfect man?" my wife sounded worry.
Yes, she didn't go out often. Her last leaving out of this palace was probably last month, when we asked her to join us attending a dinner party. She hadn't gone out often too since she was young, had she? Especially without us. I wondered if it was me. I might have been overprotective. I wouldn't let anybody hurt her, or even touch her without my permission, unless they wanted to taste the greatest punishment from me. I wondered if it was my own fault that now she seemed so lonely.
"Um…," one of maids' voice snapped me from my thoughts. It was clearly a wrong move to speak up without permission. And now I noticed that the one speaking up was a junior maid. She was scolded by the senior one, but then my wife let her give it a try, something that I actually would barely do. Maybe that was why she let a maid speak up, because she knew that I wouldn't, considering how stubborn I was.
And it was probably the right thing, because the junior maid really gave an actually good opinion.
An audition, she had suggested.
"Ah, that's a good idea. Let's think about how we should do it, then," I decided, suddenly excited.
And with that, we might have a way to cheer our daughter up.