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    “Huh, I’m already tired before we even left…”

    I threw myself onto the bed with a flop. The king-size bed, already spacious, felt even more expansive now that my body had shrunk. Rolling around on the sheets just for the fun of it, the edge still seemed far away.

    “Wow… the bed feels bigger than usual, what a great deal!”

    I ended up lying spread-eagled. Lifting my head, I looked around the room. The furniture and decorations also seemed larger than normal. This familiar scene somehow feels exciting now!

    “Anyway, I’m really grateful that Felix’s mom lent me clothes.”

    The pajamas I’m wearing now, as well as the clothes packed for the trip and those planned for tomorrow, were all lent by Felix’s mom. After explaining the situation to the Earl of Alpharetta’s house, Felix’s family home, his mom said, “Felix and his two older brothers’ old clothes are here, so feel free to come and pick them up.” However, I initially hesitated to borrow them, thinking it’s not right to take something that holds family memories. But Felix’s mom insisted, “Takumi, you’re family to Felix, so you’re family to me too. No need to be shy.” So, I gratefully accepted her offer. But…

    “…this is the first time in my life I’ve tried on so many clothes…”

    The Countess of Alpharetta, Felix’s mom, who welcomed the shrunken me, lit up with excitement upon seeing me. Her gaze was so intense that it almost made me step back in fear. She grabbed my hand and quickly started dressing me in various outfits she had prepared. Halfway through, I looked at Gazelle and Felix for help with my eyes, but they were busy discussing among themselves.

    “――Oh, this outfit suits you, doesn’t it?”

    “Indeed, it suits Takumi, but I’m worried it might attract the wrong kind of attention.”

    “Ah, right. Since we’re going on a hunt, Takumi’s small size might make fighting different… How about this one?”

    “That’s good. Let’s combine it with this hooded jacket…”

    They kept chatting and didn’t come to my rescue at all.

    They’re really close, aren’t they! True to their roles as the captain and vice-captain of our Black-winged Knights.

    But it would have been nice if they had paid a little more attention to me!

    “…It was really tough… Felix’s excited mom even dressed me in girls’ dresses and one-pieces…”

    Why did the Alpharetta family, supposedly three brothers, have such clothes? Could it be that Felix wore those kinds of clothes when he was about my current age? I should have asked the Countess more about that. I might have missed the chance to hear some interesting secret stories about Felix.

    As I was thinking this, there was a knock on the door.

    “――Takumi, are you okay?”

    “Yeah, I’m fine.”

    I quickly got up, fixed my hair, and responded. Gazelle entered the room as I opened the door.

    “You’re taking a bath, right? Everything’s ready, so I came to call you.”

    There, I tilted my head in confusion. Usually, one of the servants comes to call me when the bath is ready. Even if it’s late, they’d return to their quarters, but it’s not that late yet.

    “Got it, thanks. But it’s rare for Gazelle to come calling.”

    “No, I was just wondering if you needed any help. Preparing for the trip must have been tough with your current size, right?”

    It seems Gazelle was worried about me. I answered with my chest puffed out.

    “I’m fine, I had prepared everything beforehand. I’ve also finished packing clothes and haven’t forgotten anything.”

    I’ve got my handkerchief, toothpaste, toothbrush, rain gear, and identity documents. The money is split into three parts and stashed in both the travel bag and the portable bag. Perfect! However, Gazelle, standing at the door, seemed somewhat pale. I looked up at him curiously, but with my current shorter stature, it was hard to meet his eyes. I was only tall enough to reach his stomach. Noticing this, Gazelle crouched down to my level.

    “This time… I’m sorry. I didn’t expect things to turn out like this.”

    Surprised by his sudden apology, I blinked in confusion. Gazelle, on his knees, looked frustrated.

    “I wanted you to enjoy your trip without any worries, but it backfired. Sorry for this outcome.”

    “It’s not something you should apologize for, Gazelle. No one could have predicted the mix-up with the medicine, and we wouldn’t have known unless it was consumed.”

    I shook my head hastily. I’d be troubled if Gazelle looks so down, even though he’s not at fault! Troubled, or more like sad! Besides, until just now, I was happily thinking, “Wow, the room feels bigger than usual, what a great deal☆”… Ah, I’m a bit embarrassed about my carefree attitude!

    “Don’t make that face, Gazelle. I’m not that bothered by this incident. I never once thought it was your fault.”

    “Takumi…”

    “Or… do you dislike me now?”

    As I asked, Gazelle lifted his head and shook it vigorously, then reached out his arms and wrapped them around my back. I was small enough now to be completely embraced by his arms. Gazelle seemed to feel the difference too and muttered, “You’re so small.”

    “It’s not that I dislike you. It’s just, you’re so much smaller now… I’m worried about you more than usual.”

    “Gazelle…”

    “Promise me, Takumi. Don’t stray from me or Felix on the trip, okay?”

    “Sure, I promise.”

    I nodded firmly. Of course, I had planned to stay close to them anyway. After all, I can still get lost in Ritzheim city! Whether I’m small or not, I have no intention of leaving Gazelle and the others, so they can rest assured.

    “I promise, so please don’t look so sad. It’s supposed to be a fun trip, and seeing you so down… makes me feel lonely.”

    Hearing this, Gazelle suddenly looked startled. Then, he awkwardly smiled.

    “That’s right… My bad, I came to apologize to Takumi but ended up making you anxious instead.”

    Finally seeing Gazelle regaining his composure, I smiled with relief.

    “It’s okay, Gazelle. I’m happy that you’re worried about me. But what’s done is done, so I’ve decided to enjoy this situation as much as possible. I’d be happy if you could feel the same way.”

    “Enjoy it?”

    “Seeing things differently than usual is quite fun. The bed feels bigger, and you seem larger than normal.”

    I stretched out my arms, wrapped them around Gazelle’s neck, and hugged him tightly. Just doing this, I could feel the thickness of Gazelle’s shoulders and neck, and the suppleness of the muscles on his body more than ever. As I played with his wine-red hair with my smaller palms, Gazelle let out a sigh.

    “Gazelle?”

    “…Geez. You really don’t get it, do you, Takumi? Your obliviousness is what worries me the most.”

    “Did I… do something wrong?”

    “No, it’s not that. …Yeah, you’re right. It’s not like me to worry this much. Alright! If that’s the case, I’ll thoroughly enjoy the current Takumi!”

    “Whoa!?”

    Suddenly, I was floating in the air.

    Looking up, I saw Gazelle holding me in his arms. I grabbed his neck tightly in panic, and Gazelle laughed as if amused.

    Wait, Gazelle, what do you mean by “enjoy”? Where are we going now!?

    “Hey, Gazelle. Where are you taking me?”

    “What are you talking about? Didn’t I come to tell you the bath is ready? You’re so small now, I’m worried. So, I’ll join you.”

    Wha-!?

    Wait, join me in the bath!? 

    I mean, it’s not like my mind has changed just because my body shrank. There’s no need to worry about me!

    And, hasn’t something like this happened before…?

    “Hey, Commander Gazelle. What’s going on with Takumi?”

    While being carried in Gazelle’s strong arms, Felix approached us from the opposite end of the corridor. He looked puzzled seeing me and Gazelle. It seemed like he just got out of the bath, as steam was still rising from his body. Ah, I see. Felix just finished his bath, so Gazelle came to call me.

    “Hey, Felix. We’re about to take a bath.”

    “Eh? Are you and Takumi planning to bathe together?”

    “Yeah, Takumi just told me to ‘enjoy this situation.’ So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to fully enjoy little Takumi.”

    “That is…”

    Felix furrowed his brows, looking troubled. Yes, Felix is my last hope! Maybe he’ll say something like, “Even though Takumi’s body has shrunk, he’s still an adult, so there’s no need to coddle him so much,” to Gazelle!

    “Does that mean it will just be you and Takumi together?” asked Felix.

    “Yes. Sorry, but I’ll leave this to me this time. In exchange, after the bath, I’ll send Takumi to your room,” Gazelle replied.

    “Understood. If that’s the case, I don’t mind.”

    Don’t agree, Felix!?

    What exactly are you agreeing to!? I don’t understand anything!

    Why is it decided that I will go to Felix’s room without any reflection of my wishes!?

    However, Felix said with a happy smile, “Then, Takumi, see you later. I’ll be waiting,” leaving me speechless.

    It’s hard to say no to such a sparkling smile from Felix…!

    “Ah, yeah… See you later, Felix.”

    Unfortunately, Felix was not the help I hoped for.

    Not only did he not help, but I was also made to promise to go to his room after the bath. Seriously, why?

    And so, I ended up being carried by Gazelle to the bath…

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