Pre-Chapter Note: The MVP for this chapter’s translation is Sachi Komine, the best girl from the Fruit of Grisaia. I’m not joking.
「I came for you.」
When she opened the front door, Ojou had a self-satisfied look on her face.
Katherine-san is wearing an overcoat with a hood attached for the purpose of protecting her from the rain, but behind her Ojou is not getting wet due to holding an umbrella.
「What are you saying, Ojou?」
No one would be thinking about how Ojou would launch a surprise attack at the employee cabin on a rainy day. Duke-sama said it was good, so does the Ernest house have a habit of surprise attacks? From the site in the middle of the Duke’s grounds to the point where this cabin is, it’s the distance you’d get good exercise. I have a feeling due to me, Ojou’s stamina exceeds the limits of what you would expect of her.
「When it’s raining, I have free time, it seems. Therefore, I will come to teach you grammar.」
It seems that somehow or another, Ojou’s circumstances are that in the rain, the tutor will not come.
Since we’re standing and talking, I’ll guide them to the living room. Because we don’t have things such as towels, I handed over two finished laundry towels, Katherine-san wiped Ojou’s hair and the hem of her dress, and then wiped where Ojou had gotten wet. I encouraged them to sit on the sofa that is smaller compared to the one in Ojou’s home, but Katherine-san refused, standing diagonally behind Ojou.
Since that’s the nature of her work, it can’t be helped and I quickly give up and call out to Ojou.
「You’ve come often, haven’t you. Being devoted to coming to this place, Ojou is amazing, huh?」
My praise of Ojou’s stamina doesn’t seem strange, but because I understood that despite the rain Ojou persevered, I patted her head. Because both of my parents would pat my head when they praised me, I also make sure to do the same thing.
「……it is not something significant.」
The truth is she wanted to put on airs, but because she blushed and hung her head while talking, it’s obvious she’s embarrassed.
「Please wait a moment, I’ll prepare tea.」
「If that’s the case, I will—」
Katherine-san immediately makes an offer at my words.
「Today, Katherine-san is also a guest, so it’s fine.」
I absolutely refuse her, then I descend to the kitchen on the first floor. Incidentally, I stop by the warehouse where my father is doing tool maintenance.
「Father, I’m making tea, but will you drink it?」
When I asked after suddenly opening the door and poking my head in, father nodded, checking for loose ropes.
At the kitchen, I boil hot water, and then take out four mugs.
Should I use the newest tea leaves?
Our house’s tea leaves are ones for basic herbal tea. My mother makes tea leaves from extra herbs gathered at work. Because they’re no more than handmade leaves, even Ojou should worry about the best-by date.
I removed the lid of the sealed container and smelled lemon grass. Stopping the flame that is getting the pot heated up, I put in the proper quantity of tea leaves. It’s only the bare minimum but because we don’t have cookware, the method of making tea is this way. After I put the lid on the pot for a moment to steam it, I pour it through the tea strainer into the mug.
Setting the mugs on a wooden tray, after giving one to my father I return to the second floor. Opening the door, restlessly looking through her surroundings, Ojou’s body froze. Even if she was searching for an ero-book, I’m not nervous. The me from my past life would be, though.
「Thank you for waiting. I’m not angry, so you can look as you like.」
「That is something improper……」
It seems she wanted to say she wasn’t doing it, but after obtaining permission, Ojou’s eyes which were curious again looked around her surroundings. Because her curiosity is age-appropriately strong, after coming to a place she didn’t know, she’s trembling nonstop, it seems.
If I’m not mistaken, this cabin was built in the era of the Ernest family’s great grandfather for the exclusive gardener, it seems. The great grandfather was also huge, it seems, as the ceiling that even my father’s head does not hit is high. Or was it because generally the noble estate is built tall, and then the same outline was used here?
I don’t understand what is so unusual about being small, but Ojou seems to be having fun above all else.
I put one mug on the table in front of Ojou, and hand another one to the already standing Katherine-san.
「Thank you very much.」
I confirm that Katherine-san received it, then I drink tea from the remaining mug. However, I feel someone’s gaze and stop.
「What is it?」
When I looked up at Katherine-san, who was talking, she hesitated but opened her mouth.
「Can’t you sit down…..?」
「Because the guest is standing, I can’t sit.」
When she laughed that she could drink as it was, Katherine-san lowered her eyebrows as if she was in trouble. Looking Ojou’s way, from the back of the couch, she is showing her face with her eyes held steady. It’s evident she’s upset at the situation of being left out.
With only one’s gaze, how will you do it?, I ask Katherine-san, and she sat down, feeling obliged, on the side of the couch Ojou was patting. After confirming she’s sitting, I also sit down on the opposite couch for one person. It’s absurd to be so humble even though the host in a commoner’s house doesn’t care. More or less, we’re inside the grounds of the duke’s estate, however no one is looking so it’s fine, it seems.
Ojou starts to drink tea with satisfaction. Katherine-san subsequently tries from the mug, breathing out a small sigh of relief. There’s a small bit of tension but if it loosened up, that’s good.
At Ojou’s relaxed expression and mumbled words, Katherine-san agrees. I’m relieved at the approval of two people who are particular about their tastes.
「That’s great. My mother will be delighted.」
「……I think, certainly, the tea leaves made by Isaac’s mother are good quality, but for tea the way of making them is important.」
I was scolded for not honestly accepting compliments sent to me. As such, to Ojou I happily smile.
「It is an honor.」
「It is still below Katherine’s level though.」
「You’re comparing to a pro, though—」
I return a forced smile to Ojou who is aloofly looking unconcerned. Katherine-san, who was just compared to, only shyly and silently drank her tea.
After taking a breath, I asked how she was going to teach me grammar. Because in the rain, books would get wet and so forth, so she didn’t bring books, and at the time of visiting, Katherine-san isn’t bringing any luggage.
Ojou, sticking out of the white lace from her upper sleeve, takes out an unsealed envelope.
Rather than the contents, I care more about the construction of the dress’ sleeve that seem to spread out from the dress. What, did she reach into an inside pocket?
Because my gaze completely isn’t on the envelope, and doesn’t leave from the place it came from, Ojou grows impatient, and pushes the envelope in front of my eyes.
「Quickly, ask what it is.」
I catch the pushed out envelope like a sword with both hands, then from the received envelope take out its contents. Inside are two sheets of writing paper. When put side by side, the handwritten letters line up.
It’s the first language of the Argon Rotate. Surely the neighboring country uses the second language, but it’s to be expected that more Latin-like languages exist. Common people can speak the second language, but that is only for merchants who cross over the country who live by the national border. Generally, only knowing the first language won’t cause any problems. Because classical language are used only to the extent of hymns you hear, for now it’s fine, it seems.
On the first sheet are uppercase characters, and on the second sheet it seems like there are lowercase characters.
「Ojou, your handwriting is lovely.」
My seven-year-old hand is small, but for Ojou who is only five years old, it’s smaller. Even if it seems it’s hard to hold a pen, there’s no indication she stumbled drawing the lines. I wonder if she also practices penmanship. I genuinely admire it.
「For the daughter of the duke, it is natural knowledge to have.」
Naturally, as for Ojou who was puffing her chest with pride, her face turned a little red. She’s happy, it seems.
Today, she will likely teach reading this alphabet.
「Then, incidentally, I will also teach you handwriting.」
「It will be fine.」
Because Ojou hasn’t also brought a pen, I’m confused. I say to wait a little bit, then go to the first floor to pick up the necessary things. I prepare the whole set, getting permission from my father to borrow it before returning to the second floor.
Ojou saw me return with a stick-like pole in a shallow bow, and looked like she did not understand at all what it was, and Katherine-san also is making a strange facial expression.
Because there is something on the table, I put it horizontally on the floor.
When the two peer into it and confirm the contents, it seems they can’t figure it out.
At the bottom of the wide tray, soil is spread out, and two T-shaped objects made of ordinary tree branches accompany it. Because there is dirt, I couldn’t put it together with the table where there is tea.
「Then, what will you do?」
I hold the branch, and then attach the branch tip to the dirt and move it, and in that portion a line is drawn in the dirt.
Next time, with the T-shaped tool, if you use the long rectangular area, the dirt is flattened. It was only scribbles in the dirty, but it was essentially the same. I just substituted the tray used for sprouting.
Ojou was silently as if she had seen a groundbreaking thing. Katherine-san said 「I see」, nodding with understanding.
It’s nothing major, but……
There shouldn’t be this much of a reaction. However, because she’s a person who didn’t think of it, she’s therefore surprised to this extent, it seems. What is this sort of thing, Columbus’ egg? The scales have fallen from your eyes? Even though I only practiced earlier, it was like presenting my one talent, and I felt a little like running away.
[T/N: Columbus’ egg refers to an amazing discovery that seems very simple after the fact. “Scales fallen from your eyes” is a reference to the Bible’s New Testament, being able to see a situation clearly. Sachi from The Fruit of Grisaia uses this phrase a lot. That phrase was a pain in the ass to translate because it literally was just “From eyes, scales?” But, in fact, the only reason I was able to understand this one was Sachi.]
「Isaac…… in reality, are you a genius?」
「The truth is that’s what it’s like, isn’t it? In reality, this is the wisdom of ordinary people.」
I can supply it with this.
Because Ojou is familiar only with paved roads, marble floors, and arranged lawns, the ground hardly was a contender, it seems. Returning to my house’s neighborhood, with dirt and gravel walkways, you can search for something like white chalk you can write with. I’m certain that Ojou has never done anything like that.
If she were to visit my house, that would be good, even though……
If it’s Ojou, with me and the neighborhood kids, if we play together, we’ll absolutely have a good time. A lot of various games that would please her come to mind, but I can’t make a suggestion. As a child, I can’t guarantee her safety.
For daughters, when travelling incognito to parts of the city where the standard of living is low, an escort is essential. Because Ojou is cute, and because her thin blonde hair and pale blue eyes stand out, her social status would be exposed and a kidnapping risk would follow her around.
How cool would it be if I could say something like Because I’m here, it will be okay? I have that kind of feeling of wanting to baselessly show off. But, memories of my previous life just barely stopped me in time. Even if Japan was peaceful, I can’t think little of risks that can’t disappear.
Wanting Ojou to be able to do such childlike things is so difficult.
I became a little frustrated at my own sense of helplessness.
「Nn. It’s nothing.」
Ojou tilted her head in confusion at me, who was strangely silent. In addition, I smile and conceal my inner thoughts.
「For now, it’s fine that I write while looking at the example.」
I ask Ojou how to read them while I, one at a time, write one character and then erase it, over and over again.
I begin writing and immediately am told how to identify them.
「The stroke order is different!」 [T/N: Don’t even get me started on how much it’s a pain to memorize kanji stroke order.]
It’s said that the way to memorize is to speak the letter you’re reading while writing,
「The pronunciation is different! For this pronunciation, use your tongue more……」
Again I receive a pointer. It’s also called avice.
「That one should be more round……」
「Ojou, you’re very strict.」
「Wh—!? I’m being generous…….!」
At the joke I said, Ojou who was teaching with all of her effort suddenly turned red and got angry.
Dangerous. As it is, she’ll cry. Or, really, I’ll get struck by lightning.
「I’m really sorry! I’m a fool, so therefore just saying it isn’t enough for me to understand. Ojou, let’s write them together, yes?」
Since I write while looking, I offer her the branch. Ojou, so that I will understand, after puffing her cheeks, glared at me, and then afterwards took the branch and sat down next to me.
「You really are an idiot, aren’t you?」
「Yes. It’s good that Ojou is wise.」
Receiving horrible treatment with a smile, I’m, as expected, not very intelligent.
With the two of us, arguing about this and that while writing, rather than studying it was like playing, and I had fun. Ojou also seems to be having fun writing in the dirt, her pupils glittering.
When I received a passing mark from Ojou about the character I wrote, after getting accustomed to writing it by practicing by repetition, I went to make tea for the two of them and then practiced alone.
As for Ojou, who was looking over my current state while drinking tea, her eyelids seemed to be drowsily falling, persevering in deliberately keeping her eyelids up. In the room that was full, with the sound of dirt intermittently being scraped, from outside the gentle sound of rain came through. The sound of the rain, which is normally gloomy and displeasing , feels comforting today.
「Ojooou, you should lie down.」
Because we’ll wake her up if it becomes time for her to return, while practicing writing the letter and saying them out loud, Ojou slowly shook her head in refusal.
「I am, I am sorry, I will sleep, ha……」
At her declaration of intent, Katherine-san separates Ojou’s hand from the mug in order so it doesn’t spill, although there is no resistance. Katherine-san puts the mug on the table with a kotori sound, together with Ojou’s eyelids completely shutting.
Then, sitting back down on the sofa, Katherine changes Ojou’s posture to lean on her. After showing a slightly weakening gesture, Katherine gently guides Ojou’s head to on top of her knees for a comfortable sleep. For a little while, Ojou slightly stirred, and with that being the case, Katherine-san is worried, but when the sounds of breathing from a sleep person could be heard, she relaxed.
She looks a little like a cat when she’s rolled up.
When I let a smile show, Katherine simultaneously smiled. We mutually exchange glances, and then so we don’t make a sound, smile.
While taking care not to wake Ojou up, I return to grammar practice.
For a moment, Katherine starts talking with the volume of a whisper.
The sound of the rain is softer, but that being the case the question reaches my ear. I respond with about the same level of volume.
「For that time, thank you very much.」
As for that time, I understood.
「No, my actions, depending on how you look at it, instead made Katherine-san’s position worse. I’m sorry for being so inconsiderate.」
「That….. I was scared and couldn’t make an explanation for myself. However, you, a stranger, for my sake, pointing me out for Lydia, I’m very happy……」
At her words, I was surprised but Katherine-san covered her amused lips with her mouth.
「It’s because I received a fist from my father, you know.」
It was excessively painful, and with a bitter smile, I recalled it, which seemed to have the effect of making Katherine-san amused to the point her shoulders began to shake.
As for that matter, it’s fine that it can be an amusing story.
After some time, Katherine-san apologizes for having laughed, and begins to speak with a few words.
「……as for me, I look different from my sisters, which isn’t good, and given that, my father is dealing with a lot of troubles towards his wife……., and unlike my older brother, I can’t succeed the house……, at that time, if I had lost work, I would cause trouble for that place.」
At that, Katherine-san laughs at herself.
When I asked Lydia before, Katherine is from Duke Lehar’s house, it seems. Basically, they don’t have territory. However, as for the exception of children who will receive the inheritance, generally they go outside. Daughter can marry, or work for those of a higher social position. Expanding one’s personal connections for the sake of a political marriage is the preference, but because Katherine-san has freckles, her father gave up on her, and it seems she voluntarily selected the road of working.
Her father is terrible if that’s the case, I think, but in this aristocratic world, it isn’t rare that a child is treated as a tool. From the fact Katherine-san is also not doubting her treatment, I can infer that.
That’s my assumption, however if she had been fired, what would have become of her? At her next place of employment, the rumor of her being fired from the duke’s house would have been discovered, and because she could not go become a commoner, she would be sent to the monastery to get rid of someone troublesome. The kind Duke-sama may possibly be able to get to the bottom of things, but because of Katherine-san’s personality, she may have left voluntarily.
I heard that Katherine-san is five years older than Ojou. At that age, nobles have to think very hard about whether they want to pursue marriage, find a job, or enter the monastery.
「……therefore, for me, right now, being able to serve Lydia is a blessing.」
Reflecting the girl on her lap, her jade pupils gently relax. It looks like a flower has bloomed, bordered by her black hair.
She softly strokes the thin blonde hair like it was a fragile object. Their looks are completely different, but when they’re seen like this, it’s completely like they’re sisters.
After that, the result of Ojou’s preservereance and transformation is right before me.
If you cut away only that time, it might be a bad thing, as it has now become a necessary occasion for the two of them.
I didn’t do anything, but I’m happy that I can see the result of them persevering and meeting halfway.
「You’re like a daisy.」
「I, it was when I saw Katherine-san laugh for the first time. With that laugh, it’s like a daisy that bloomed, you know?」
It’s the kind of flower that is extensively common, but its blooming form calms people down and produces a tender color.
「I don’t have such things as a wife, but Katherine-san and her father don’t have that perspective.」
It seems to be popular for therapy. In my past life, because aggressive women were the trend, us guys became afraid of our circumstances. At those times, it was no exaggeration to say yamato nadeshiko were extinct. It can’t be helped with there being many guys who ran to 2D, you had the feeling or so that men’s mentality is weak. [T/N: “Yamato nadeshiko” is the name given to a woman who embodies the traditional, conservative Japanese expectations for a woman. It’s hard to come up with a good translation for it.]
Especially in Japan, there’s considerable demand for therapy. Surely it’s to be expected that even in this country the amount of men looking for comfort is many.
That isn’t it, Katherine-san said, her voice quickly vanishing. If it’s my true feelings, a misunderstanding was sent, but Katherine-san who was hanging her head, whispered those words of denial in a voice not as weak as the sound of the rain.
Something like this is modesty, isn’t it? In my past life, because I hadn’t seen a girl make this kind of response, at last I understand the meaning of those words. Maaah, my attitude in my past life was also playful, so it’s expected the other person couldn’t show such a look. Katherine-san, furthermore, doesn’t seem to have the energy to talk, so I return to practicing handwriting. Sometimes I peek at her, and it’s a good feeling, as the sleeping Ojou has her hair stroked by Katherine-san. The calm times flow.
「She’s sleeping well, huh?」
She hasn’t woken up, when I finished my practice in a convenient spot, smiling while looking at her facial expression, and I couldn’t bear to wake her up.
「The evening is slower than usual……」
It can’t be helped, said Katherine-san with a bitter smile, and I tilted my head to the side in confusion. Why is she staying up late? Sleep is the most important thing for a child. If I eat a meal and then take a bath, I sleep like a dead battery.
Katherine-san, perceiving my doubts, informs me with a glance. Her gaze stops over a certain piece of stationary in my hands. [T/N: AAAAAAAWWWWWWW.]
「Until she was satisfied, she wouldn’t give up.」
She neatly wrote the entire alphabet. With this many characters, it would be a miracle if the small Ojou wrote it without a single mistake. Even without looking at it, you can imagine Ojou who persevered and wrote everything neatly.
She persevered for me, huh.
「I will take good care of it.」
I’m happy, so I smiled. It will become a precious treasure.
However, if you are aware it’s my fault, it becomes harder to wake her up. What to do, I’m hesitating to wake her up, but from the background someone calls out.
「Zack.」 [T/N: Okay so originally I thought this was just “saac”, as “Isaac” cut off, as the raw is literally “Zaku” (Gundam fans are smiling) but it seems later on this is an actual nickname.」
I ask Father what the matter is, and Father’s eyesight goes to look out the window. Because before the sun will set, it’s good to send her back, it seems. Yes, that, I understand.
There, before I wake up Ojou, with a sleepy look in her eyes, she gets up.
「Good morning, Ojou.」
「A good morning to you…… Zack……?」
While rubbing her eyelids in half-wakefulness, Ojou asks about sounds she is not used to hearing.
「It’s my nickname.」
Who is it from, I wonder. Maybe it was my taciturn father who started using it, I think. If I had noticed it, with both of my parents and the neighborhood, I was going by Zack.
Ojou repeated it as if to confirm.
「It’s fine if Ojou also calls me that.」
When I went up close to Ojou and our eyes met, a blossoming flower laughed.
And, if you think, she suddenly woke up. Then, she shook her head.
「Th, that isn’t it…….!」
It seems something is a mistake, but I don’t know what it is. Is the back and forth just now strange?
The smile from a bit ago is surprised, but.
I don’t understand, but the Ojou who was flustered for some time noticed my father and Katherine-san, and calmed down.
Ojou gives her greetings and thanks for intruding to father, but the difference in body size was a bear and Red Riding Hood. Even with just father before her eyes, it can’t be helped that Ojou’s shoulders shake just a little. Looking up with the angle of a child has a great sense of intimidation. With the exception of me and the neighborhood kids, the experience of looking up, seeing my father and crying is like a rite of passage. My father isn’t a demon, though.
For now, the fact Ojou is only a little scared is worthy of praise.
Father, who is unintentionally scary, falls to one knee and brings his eyesight close to Ojou’s.
「Ojou-sama, I apologize for any inconvenience my son caused.」
Eh. I caused trouble?
Regrettably, when I look at father he looks the other way. As for father, I have a hunch he favors the Ernest house more than me. That is, they are his employer, however. Perhaps it’s something of Father’s honor, which I can’t understand yet.
No, but this afternoon, because she did something unreasonable, it became that I caused trouble for Ojou? Father’s arbitrary decision also might not have been entirely a mistake.
「This much is nothing considerable.」
Ojou looked unconcerned.
Until some time ago, she got tired and slept, but I don’t say that. Maybe if I say it with this timing, will I have lightning dropped on me by Ojou or Father?
I was trying to return her to the estate, but because Katherine-san is there, Ojou refused, saying it was fine. At least see her off to the front door.
「Then, excuse me.」
Together with Ojou’s words, Katherine-san silently bowed.
「Mhm. Watch your step returning home.」
She said, waving her hand.
Ojou turned on her heel after talking.
「Ojou, thank you, for this.」
I hold the envelope the stationary was put in above my hands to send my thanks. Then immediately, she turns around.
「I will not permit you to handle it roughly, you know, Zack.」
With her voice raised at me, I wryly smiled. Although I’ve decided to treasure it, there’s no confidence, huh.
I see her off until the silhouette of an umbrella disappears in the rain.
Immediately from when the umbrella is no longer visible, it might possibly be my imagination, but I had a hunch Ojou’s ears turned a little red.
She’s so cute, awww. This chapter was painfully long, too, holy crap.
Not too much in terms of translation notes, but just as a heads up it looks like my company is looking to return to full-time on-site some time in June. I don’t know how much that’ll affect translation speeds, but we’ll see. Currently I’m finding about 1.5-2 hours a day Monday through Friday is letting me get these chapters done at a two-week pace with one week for editing, so hopefully that doesn’t change.
I have been looking for a good kanji dictionary and asked several of my teachers about it, which will enable me to translate during my morning commute. Fingers crossed!
As always, thanks for reading, and if you want to help support these continuing translations from a one-man shop, then do think about helping spread the site around. Or, if you’d prefer to help keep the site up/domain registered so I can spend more money on hot chocolate as translation fuel, then hit up my Ko-Fi which can be found at the top.
See you all next chapter!