Why did this happen?
The daughter of the duke, Lydia von Ernest, was indignant while stuffing her face with afternoon sweets. Usually, you would mind your manners and eat little by little but, only today she can’t care about it.
She still isn’t calm about the rude fellow from this morning. Further, the maid also couldn’t be fired. Even now while frightened they serve her black tea. The tea leaves changed depending on the day according to one’s mood, and served after the temperature was exactly right. As far as tea was concerned, out of all the maids, she was the most skilled.
Now, in the garden, during the early afternoon, on the visible terrace, Lydia is the only one having tea.
The duke, her father, is busy with work, and her mother just gave birth to her younger sister so her attention is focused there.
As for Lydia, for manners and so forth, there were several people in charge of teaching her. However, in her schedule there is some time for herself. There isn’t a need for a large number of maids.
Her afternoon is vacant. She always prepares for the next day’s lessons, reading in a room but, she once again she complains about the rude person.
So far, the servants have not made a retort, that being the case this morning she was at a loss for words, this time she was enthusiastic about surely talking down to that guy.
Then that being said, she noticed it.
That rude fellow, what house was he from, she wondered.
Because he was meeting with her father, she was certain he was a servant, but if she doesn’t know what kind of job he has, she won’t find him in this large estate.
「Hey, the rude guy from this morning, just who is he?」
When she looked at the maid a little bit and listened, the maid froze up a bit and answered.
「That boy……? He came together with Baumgartner-san, that being the case, is he an apprentice gardener, I wonder?」
With the maid’s statement, she gradually remembered there was a person in the house nearby. If she wasn’t mistaken, there was a bear-like man who was bigger than her father. He was Baumgartner, wasn’t he?
Was he a gardener, or that is to say, today would he also be in this garden, she wondered.
Extending her gaze to the other side of the terrace, cutting the shrubs exactly right was someone Baumgartner-like, as the figure of a large man was there.
With her gaze searching these surroundings, she found a small figure crouching over.
Lydia put her fork down, leaving her seat after she finished the remnants of her black tea.
「I will be taking a small walk.」
Understanding she was implicitly saying not to follow her, the maid said to take care to her back. Lydia is still very young, and will not leave the grounds of the estate without her parents. The extent of her “stroll” is the grounds of the estate.
Leaving the garden at a somewhat fast pace, she found the boy she aimed for. He didn’t realize her and next to some flowers he was crouched over, silently doing something. Little by little, slowly he shifted horizontally.
Come to think of it, the man named Baumgartner wasn’t here. Other work separated them, it seems.
「……what’s wrong, I’m out of breath.」
With that voice the boy who lifted his head responded, out of breath, mysteriously saw a heavily breathing Lydia. He didn’t talk to her immediately as she found him, because he was catching his breath. It is expected that a daughter like Lydia could not use an unpaved road such as following the fence, and it is a considerable range from the terrace. This was the first time her own feet had walked a long distance here, as she had gone past the extent of her usual stroll where she would immediately turn back to the estate. Partially because she was hurrying, she couldn’t make a sound for a while when she found the boy.
「For what reason are you at such a faraway place!?」
「Tell it to your large garden.」
Making a complaint, his gaze returned from Lydia to his work. Naturally, a gardener apprentice would be in the garden. The “garden” of the state is just considerably large.
「Well. What are you doing over there?」
Even while dropping his gaze to his task at hand, there is the appearance he is listening to the conversation. His voice just went in her direction.
「Ah, I went out to give you an opportunity to apologize.」
「That is, because your father spoke, I was saved trouble, however, going out especially for you…… you have free time, huh?」
「Today, by chance, I do not have afternoon lessons.」
He couldn’t play the part of a person with a lot of free time and immediately replied.
「As expected of the nobility, from the time you’re a small child you’re immersed in study. Difficult, huh?」
Even though what she’s doing is just natural for the nobility, Lydia is bewildered hearing such feelings for the first time. If that’s the case, you would feel like you’re persevering and trying your best, subconsciously.
「That is right! However……」
「Ahh, sorry. I am unskilled at formal language. I am very sorry.」
When she tried to demand an apology so she wouldn’t be prominently confused, she was simply apologized to. Her words were dampened.
However, even if he apologized as it is, showing the back of his reddish-brown hair that looked like feathers, it was still rude. Thus, a central part of the apology is not there.
「You must face towards me when you apologize! Additionally, you must say the something you are apologizing for, isn’t that right!?」
「Eh, that’s unreasonable. I won’t finish the quota set by my father..」
You must finish it by the time the sun falls down, he said. From some time ago his hands doing something slightly shifted, repeating some action.
「……which reminds me, from time ago, what are you doing?」
「I’m pulling out weeds, you know. Later, I’ll be culling overgrown insect repellant herbs.」
With a second look, next to him are two baskets, which according to some rule separated each type of grasses.
「Why is there a necessity to pull even the herbs?」
The insect repellant or such mentioned some time ago, Lydia did not understand the reason for decreasing them.
「That herb is also a weed, so it multiplies quickly.」
If it was the case that a herb was a weed, Lydia didn’t know about it. To that unexpected truth, she was surprised and said nothing.
In the time she was silent, the crouching boy who was turning his back to her pulled weeds, setting them aside in their respective baskets. Lydia’s understanding was to only the extent that mint-like blades of grass exists. Perhaps there was a type of mint in the baskets, it seems? The basket of weeds hasn’t reached its capacity, but there is a considerable amount.
「……with lots of herbs like that, what do you do with them?」
Lydia had only seen a pinch of herbs, or the amount of herbs as tea leaves. The amount seen doesn’t match up to that kind of usage.
「Hmm…… firstly, we ask the kitchen if they need any, then the remnants I entrust to my mother. Maybe, tonight, we’ll use the herbs for cooking, and after drying them to use as something like tea leaves, you know?」
It seems Lydia realized he was doing this work for tonight’s meal. To Lydia, something like meals could be changed if she asked. For the making of tea leaves, she didn’t have a general understanding. The boy in front of her is so different from Lydia, that she was surprised many times over.
「……then, aside from that, properly apologize!」
The things that were just on her mind that she asked about caused her to lose sight of the conversation, however, she had not finished asking for his retraction.
「How I said your personality is ugly?」
「That is right!!」
With her apology demand, the boy’s working hands accidentally stopped, and for a moment he pondered.
「Hmm, for example, however, that because the king suddenly decided to war with the adjoining country, your father was ordered to the battlefield to fight, what would you think?」
It was an abrupt question, but using her family as an example, Lydia answered immediately.
「That kind of order is tyranny! That kind of king is a foolish king! Since, to what extent does war damage its citizens… above all else, I could not forgive such a thing like sending my father to the frontlines!」
「What you said to that maid, it was something like she was terrible, yes? For ordinary people, the presence of work is life or death, even if their origins are from nobles, there is certainly a reason they turn pale.」
The maid she tried to fire and chased after her, Lydia didn’t know her. At that time, she didn’t notice because had turned on her heel and wanted to quickly leave. However, he knew the maid’s complexion, that is to say, that sort of thing.
He was able to notice in that instant the maid’s circumstances, it seems. From a third party it seems, but the truth was he had a wider field of view at that time. Realizing her childishness, Lydia’s face was colored in shame. By all rights, it was age appropriate as a child but, as one raised in the house of a noble, it was not permissible for Lydia. Even if later she looked back on and understood, Lydia didn’t want to look back on it and hung her head.
「Do you know that maid’s name?」
It isn’t necessary to know her name, she hadn’t memorized things like the maid’s name. She knew the face.
「Then, do you know that maid’s good points?」
「……out of all the maids I know, she’s the best at making tea.」
She knew even tastes she prefered, it seemed. However, for her, it was a delicious experience.
「If she was fired, you would become unable to drink that tea, and you’d be in trouble, right?」
「……I would be… troubled.」
That tea that was brewed as if it was ordinary would be lost, and when she thought about it she became sad.
Because she tried to do something troubling, Lydia was regretful.
「Mhm. You’re properly watching over your subordinates, aren’t you? It’s small, but it’s admirable.」
Lydia unconsciously lifted her head, doubly surprised she heard a voice closer than she thought and that she was unexpectedly praised by him.
Looking up, she clashed with bronze eyes. That kind of smiling while laughing hadn’t been seen by nobles.
「Besides, that’s it, it seems. In all seriousness, I didn’t want to be fired, and then at any rate, I want to keep my lonely father company.」
Even if the next one is a better excuse, suddenly his hands in cotton gloves patted her head, making a ponpon sound.
Also more importantly, with him unconsciously hitting the bullseye, her facial temperature suddenly went up.
That, she hadn’t realized.
By saying it just like that, she realized there was nothing more.
Her father’s work, her mother being busy taking care of her sister, and her with her studies, the amount of meals where all of them were present had decreased. The times she was alone increased. There is no way that a five year old was feeling lonely although, Lydia herself, saying 「I’m a noble, so therefore」 unconsciously didn’t see she was pretending.
This morning, she wanted to have a reason to meet her father. She wanted for him to care, but with only that reason it would be no good to meet with her father, she thought. On further realizing her true feelings, it can’t be helped she was embarrassed this reality was found out by this guy before herself. Then, in what way he understood, she questioned, as the bronze eyes she stared at became firm.
「You’ve become a nice shade of red, huh?」
「Whose fault is that!?」
With something like admiration in his voice to calm her down, the hand that was patting her brushed something aside, and then he replied.
「Me, I’m only talking normally, right?」
「That kind of normal is strange! I am a noble, and you are a commoner, you know!?」
「‘You’, that’s a rude way of calling people, huh. Using a name is the right way, so I’m Isaac. You’re Dia, right?」
「That’s a nickname only family members are allowed to use! I have the splendid name my father gave me, Lydia.」
「Lydei…… it’s hard to call out…… a nickname is easier.」
「That is not allowed.」
「Ehh, then, how about ‘Ojou’?」
「You must call me properly!」
「Ojou, you’re like a teacher, huh?」 [T/N: The raw has his say ‘daughter’ in a polite form, so I got nothing. The only real alternative is ‘Lady Daughter’ which makes me have an aneurysm when I read it because it sounds so clunky, so oh well]
「Y…… I do not think Isaac is by any means older than me……」
She was somewhat worn out.
With him, the emotions going up and down accidentally became intense. From the first meeting where he did not act very noble-like, he would usually forget gracefulness as he talked like he was with an ordinary girl. Then, with an attitude towards nobles unbefitting a commoner, while still paying attention, being appropriate with him was absurd.
「I think it’s fine for the Ojou to be more childlike.」
What was he saying? Even when he exposed his own childishness.
「To the Duke and your family, it will be good to say ‘I want you to care about me’.」
「I cannot say that!」
To a proposal of something she cannot do, she unconsciously raised her voice.
If she were to say that sort of thing, it could cause trouble. Then, they might hate her.
As for Lydia, her temper up until now could still be called noble.
「That reason it is also unreasonable is……」
It was frightening. That is, rejection.
「How? Wanting to be together with your family is enough of a reason, right?」
Is that a reason?
Saying something like that?
Lydia’s eyes are calm when she simply affirms her feelings.
「That duke, especially, I think he’ll be delighted.」
Other family members she didn’t know, but they are fine, and this is the basis she approved this line of thinking.
How was he so secure in this?
If she asked that, if she looked at herself, she could easily answer.
「Because, Ojou, if you notice it, you shouldn’t be disgusted by other people. You were raised by a good family.」
She only stopped calling him by a disagreeable name.
Perhaps it also included already reflecting on the one matter of this morning. However, concerning that matter, he was also unable to apologize.
「Besides, it’s better than badmouthing other people, right?」
「…..That isn’t it!」
As if to respond, like he understood, he laughed with a smile. Somehow, his way of seeing through things was frustrating.
All there is are unchanging bronze pupils that look back at you, even if you glare into them, it’s ineffective.
Anyhow, if it’s the case he sees through things, one more complaint is also good, isn’t it?
「At this point in time, it’s too late to apologize to that maid, it seems……」
He picked up on that brief fearful and small muttering.
「Though, compared to knowing her name, not apologizing isn’t as good, right?」
That’s right. Even though she didn’t know her name, she was trying to get her fired. By properly knowing that the other party was one person of the human race, she could properly take responsibility. And because of that, if she desired it, she could talk to the maid to have her leave.
「Nevertheless, immediately, Isaac should withdraw his ‘ugly character’ remark.」
Now isn’t the time. At least, not until she finished apologizing to the maid. She declared war on him, so her decision to apologize would not waver.
Starting to say that, he loudly said things like 「Ah—」 and 「Uh—」. What on Earth was it.
「…..I have a bad mouth.」
She knew that. Currently, when talking to someone of a higher social status, he wasn’t using formal language at all.
「You say this way of talking is undesirable…… I say it’s good, you know, because the Ojou is especially cute, but she’s even more cute when she is smiling.」
Maybe because she was unused to saying it, she was worried about her positive expression, knitting her eyebrows while she assembled words.
But, it was frank words without any flattering component.
She heard those familiar words of praise, but for the first time it was like experiencing a hallucination.
Blood rushed to her face.
Just how many times does she want to blush?
「Are you okay, Ojou?」
When she was worried and extended her hand, she touched the point his hand had patted some time ago. Certainly her hair felt different.
Strangely, she thought, and then lowered her hand to in front of her eyes, and something like light brown dust was attached to her fingertip. It was dirt.
Why exactly, was there dirt in her hair?
「Ah, sorry. It was the state my gloves were in.」
No good, says the boy gardener’s apprentice whose gloves were covered all over with dirt due to working with weeds, flapping them together.
It was a fraction of a proper apology but, the truth was it was careless behavior. Then, Lydia’s boiling emotions couldn’t be contained to that point.
In order to spill out her flowing and seething emotions, Lydia raised her voice.
In the duke’s vast garden, the hidden anger of the young lady crashed down on the gardener’s apprentice.
What a hectic day, it seems.
Due to just one boy.
However, the day isn’t over yet.
When she went back, she had to ask that maid’s name, and apologize.
After she cleaned the dirt from her hair.
Holy CRAP this one was long and definitely made my brain spin. Damn, dude. 9 friggin pages I want to die lmao
Not too much to say for this chapter, other than my choice to leave “Ojou” as it is. It gets really bad later on if I had left it as “Lady Daughter” because lmao holy crap it’s so clunky. I could have just used “she” or something like that, but I wanted to at least convey the use of some kind of politeness or title.
But other than that, that’s another chapter in the 3 week timeframe that I’m trying to commit to for this novel. Man, these chapters are rough. Either way, see you guys next time! Let me know if there’s any egregious errors I need to fix!