09. Hydrangea

This chapter was painfully long.


After breakfast, when I’m bathing after finishing my teacher’s quota, some small kids approached.

「Ahhhhh, it’s Zack—」

「Are you going back—?」

「Let’s play—」

「It’s just a holiday.」

Right after the kids find me, I dodge their charge, wipe my upper body with a towel, and put on a top.
I’m also like that, however why do kids remember bad-sounding expressions first? Because they’re joyfully saying it, I understand there also isn’t any ill-will, but.

「You’ll get wet, so don’t come.」

「It’s okay」

「We’ll avoid iiiiit」

「Really, we didn’t even go out the other day when it was raining」

Last year, on days there were heavy rain, I pretended it was a waterfall, and I take care, remembering the scolding I received from my mother. I and the other kids, therefore, do our best to remember that.

「How did you know!?」

「Stupid, it’s a sickle!」:

「You all……」

Bothered by the two, I grabbed both of their cheeks painfully. The kids purposely let out a pained protest. This give and take in itself is like playing around

「Zack, what are you doing?」

Pulled by the hem of my shirt, another kid could be heard.

「Hm? Strength training.」

「Eeeeh, you’re slender, aren’t you」

「After this, we’ll join you!」

When I was just pinching both their cheeks, given that it was pointed out that they realized, I pulled their cheeks longer than I had earlier. In a memory from the past world, until the second growth period, I understand it’s difficult to increase your muscles, but still I think wanting muscles is male instinct, it seems.

「Why?」

Why?

「Why are you suddenly training?」

It’s suspicious, says one of the kids, looking up with his eyes.

「Is that strange? Maria.」

「He has the smell of a girl.」

Maria, you…… that isn’t the speech of a four year old girl. At a remark a child can’t think of, I’m lost for words. Girls, no matter how much time passes, are girls, but does that also apply to toddlers, I wonder.

「Bullseye.」

「No……」

「Bullsssseye!」

「Zack is diiiirty!」

With Maria, who considered my loss of words to be a confirmation, the other kids took advantage and started making noise. How should I take control of this?

「If that’s the case, why?」

I thought that they’d become more severe with another way of denial, but if I counterattacked, sure enough they fell silent. The kids at a loss for words mutually met each other’s eyes.

「According to you, you want to protect people like your mother and your older sister, it seems.」

When I let go of my hands on the boy’s face and ask that, after two of them exchange glances, they nod.

「If that’s the case, getting stronger for the sake of a girl is good, right?」

「I’ll get stronger for the sake of my mom.」

「I’ll beat the hell out of my sister’s boyfriend!」

Johann is good, but Paul’s sister can’t be a lover for some time……

At the words of the boys who raised their fists over their heads, immediately they said words of perseverance. I feel I said too much.

「Then, for the sake of getting stronger, today let’s play like we’re knights!」

「Ehhhh, then, we don’t have time to serve a princess?」

Johann goes to go look for a branch to substitute as a sword for swordplay, and Maria who’s been left as a loose end, gets angry. Paul, a three year old child, doesn’t understand which older person to side with, and teeters between the two.

「It’s fine, isn’t it? Right, Ojou-sama?」

The lively Maria is showing signs of dissatisfaction at being judged to play the role of a princess, but playing the same as the boys is dangerous. I pat her head and compromise.

「……Understood. I’ll look out so Johann doesn’t get in the way.」

Maria’s face sulked and turned a little red, but she reluctantly nodded her head. Paul, who wants to play swordfighting, because his facial expression is bright, I give an excellent smile.

「I’m saved. You, because there are times you forget your strength.」

「That’s childish, isn’t it, are you really older?」

There’s no maturity from five year olds, is there? Like this time, I get the feeling the mental age of girls is higher.

「After,」

Because Maria looks up at me motionlessly, I tilt my head in confusion.

「I’m being deceived, but only this time.」

「What are you saying??」

Even though I ask, she abruptly turns her head away. Her light brown braids swing around.
It’s exactly at that moment when Johann comes back with a moderate amount of branches. Paul can’t wait and rushes to Johann’s side. Both of them are brimming with excitement. Since it corresponded to playing as superheroes in the past world, being able to become a hero makes me glad, it seems. It’s a setting where a knight takes the hand of a princess and duels fellow knights, so a villain isn’t needed. I don’t have to disagree with the villain, I think.

「Be careful not to get injured—」

「What, Zach isn’t playing?」

Surely I would play, Johann thought, as he seems dissatisfied.

「I was asked to run an errand for my mother.」

Johann, hearing and understanding the reason, decided next time we can play, and reluctantly forgave it. Saying my farewells to the kids, I returned to my house.
With mortar looking like any other house in the neighborhood, it all looks the same. But, a business signboard is hung up, and because garden shrubs are put out, each house has its own individuality come out, so for locals it’s easy to distinguish.
The connected house for tailors has colored curtains that are unexpectedly bright.
Because my house, on both sides of the entryway, has plum blossom potted plant, it’s immediately clear which is mine.

「I’m home. What should I buy?」

「Welcome home. First, you should dry your wet hair.」

When she opens the doorway in the foyer, mother is holding onto a new towel and starts drying my hair. For me holding it, I’m already wet, so I can’t use it.

「I think I should go while I’m wet like this.」

「Because it will clear up, you should get dry, I wonder.」

When she replies with an exasperated voice, mother’s way of smiling seemed unlikely. Because the rainy season has already ended, today there’s good weather, therefore I thought I’m fine.

「Really, with you, you’re on the verge of becoming sloppy, exactly like your father.」

「Natalie.」

With a feeling of 「speak of the devil」, father appeared. He only called her name, however, my mother who guessed his intentions, wiped my face, and then only moved her head towards my father.

「No good. For holidays, you promised not to work, didn’t you? Besides, because there’s furniture that’s been fitted badly, I want you to fix it.」

「I understand……」

Sweetly smiling towards my dad, she took out his work prohibition. Diligently making particular preparations, as expected of mother. Nodding, my father, in low spirits, withdrew into the house.
If I think about how much garden work there is, there’s a lot more, and my father is a person with no interest in anything other than work because I always leave him alone. Though because of that, mother gives the order that every four or five days he needs to take one or two days off. I’m told that compared to when I was born, before he would continuously work and collapse, it seems.
While I was having my hair wiped dry I listened to what I needed to buy, and then I repeated it to confirm, memorizing it. During the time my hair is lightly brushed, I tried to listen.

「Is it okay to buy a larger portion of flour and eggs?」

「Why?」

「I want to give Ojou a cake I made.」

「Ojou-sama, you say, from the duke’s house?」

I nodded my head, then explained at the meeting over tea I was summoned to, I was treated to sweets. She doesn’t understand the reason, but because Ojou gave up her cookies, she did not get  to eat much and I wanted to apologize for that, of course.
It’s the same thing, furthermore as for the drop in quality from the handmade version, it might be a discourtesy, but first of all I want to show an attitude of apology.

「What kind of girl is Ojou-sama?」

「Her facial expression is constantly changing, she’s honest, and cute.」

「As expected, you’re your father’s child, aren’t you?」

Mother, who had finished combing, mixed exasperation with laughter, and put her hand on my head. I don’t understand the comparison with my father, and I tilt my head in confusion.

「Why did mother marry father?」

Because I don’t understand, I honestly shake my head. It was abrupt, wasn’t it.

「That person, although he doesn’t talk much, generally says things like beautiful or cute.」

I heard about it from the time I bought potted plants, so I nodded my head. He’s a gardener, therefore my father would naturally say it. So, it became normal for me too.

「And because of that, you hit the mark.」 

「Hmmm, that’s the way it is.」

If I notice it, I heard about the start of my parents’ romance. Listening to my parents’ love life is a little uncomfortable, so I lightly slip away.

「That’s the way it is. Therefore, Zack should also pay attention, you know.」

「What??」

Where on earth is this warning coming to me from?

「It’s unthinkable, although don’t say things that will cause a misunderstanding.」

「It’s fine. Because, I only say things I thought about.」

With my reflections of my past life, to me who’s living honestly, that’s an unnecessary worry. I know it’s very important to know to say greetings, 「thank you」, 「I’m sorry」, from the drilling of my mother. When I answer full of confidence, mother smiles with a bitter smile I don’t understand.

「Yes, with this, it’s done. Take care.」

「I’m off!」

Because the sunlight is strong, I put on a cap as mother sends me off. I go to the market district with an empty bag and a purse.
On the main street which extends to the southern tip of Arventrot, in the vicinity of the royal capital there are many expensive stores that cater to the noble class, and the road is very wide because it is used for triumphant returns. Neighboring it, and tied to the central plaza of the capital, is a street market that caters to commoners. At approximately the main street, at each fixed division on the road are a variety of markets with food and other daily necessities for life, blacksmiths, and jewelers, and it’s interesting how the customer base changes from place to place.
For nobles, some way or another it’s irrelevant, but for ordinary people the sightseeing route that goes from the always lively market to the royal capital center plaza is famous.
Since I was asked to go on a shopping errand, of course I went to the area of the food products to buy what I was asked to. Because there are stores I’m familiar with, since I often buy things from them, I’m at ease. 

「Because eggs are the last one……」

While confirming the contents of the bag, I think over the shopping list to see if there was anything I forgot to buy.

「Ah, potatoes.」

Shopping is mostly ingredients for tonight’s dinner, so if I think about the menu it’s easy to remember. Tonight, maybe, is stew or gratin. For me, gratin is good.
When I lift my head after thinking about any forgotten shopping, there is a strange feeling. In the market streets where there are lots of people, people are avoiding a place. From a distance I saw something shine.
What is it, I wonder, and go to see the place the adults are strangely avoiding. Because there aren’t voices being raised, it can’t be a fight, because assuming if it was a vagabond, someone would call for the guards. With the exception of that, I don’t think of anything that would cause people to avoid it.

What was that light, I wonder?

Passing through the waves of people taller than me, I arrive at the source of my curiosity. It went Buwaa in short intervals, and I confirmed the truth of what was shining.
If you look straight ahead, it was too dazzling that you unconsciously tightly closed your eyes.
There, somehow, was a noble boy.
Something like uselessly white porcelain skin skin, glittering golden eyes were the main cause of the glitter, it seems, but above all else, the smooth and silky creaseless blonde hair was dangerous. What is this, something like an angel’s ring of light is right there.
The feeling you get if you excavate an ancient treasure, it’s that sort of feeling. His blonde hair is more dazzling than the duke’s house, it seems. 「Golden」 is more suitable than just gold.
First of all, the reason everyone was passing at a distance became clear. If a noble child was conspicuously in the street that catered to commoners, even if you talk kindly to them, you would have to deal with the question of kidnapping.

However, this guy is amazing.

From some time ago, he’s been seen by glancing passerbys, although he doesn’t mind at all. He’s used to receiving looks from people. In the previous world, I haven’t had an encounter with this kind of person, but it’s the feeling of a celebrity. He’s looking around the surroundings, but it’s probably because he doesn’t know this place.

「Are you lost?」

Because I looked, it can’t be helped, and I greeted the golden child. He’s a guy about the same age as me, and he turns towards me and mumbles curiously.

「Lost… child?」

「It seems you lost your way, so I asked.」

The boy who seemed to understand my words gave a small, embarrassed smile.

 「I wanted to come to this place and came, but…… because I don’t know the way back, I became lost.」

With his blonde hair dazzlingly reflecting the sunlight, I shut my eyes

「What’s wrong?」

「You, because you’re so radiant, I don’t want to look.」

It’s painful to the eyes. What kind of physical attack power does that blonde hair have? Today, the good weather will be my ruin. Can it get cloudy immediately, I wonder.

「I’m sorry for that.」

Towards me who was turning his head away, to my surprise, after a little while he said an apology. Talking like a boy soprano, this guy is like a famous child actor.

「It’s difficult. I, things like showy blonde hair, I’m not good with. You don’t have to apologize.」

I prefer silver to a sparkling gold, and a subdued silver to normal silver. It’s cool. But, that’s the matter of my preference, and as for this golden child, it’s not bad.

「With this, it’s a little preferable. Right, let’s go.」

I cover it with a hat, take him by the hand, and walk out.

「Eh, where are……」

「If we go to the main street, someone you know might see you. Is there somewhere you were supposed to meet up?」

「Ah…… if I remember right, there is something around the plaza with the water fountain.」

「Then, this way.」

As I took him by the hand, he seems to understand the situation he’s in. In order to not lose him with the many adults, I have no choice but to join hands. Because I made that blonde hair less noticeable, it’s easier to lose him and the adults who see him decrease.

「Why do you think I’m a noble?」

「Because those clothes you’re wearing are flashy and well-made or something, it was obvious.」

At the boy who thought it wasn’t exposed, I’m amazed. It seems they’re very sheltered.

「In the first place, you should select plain clothes, but……」

The golden boy became straightforwardly dejected. The wording wasn’t childish, but the contents were age-appropriate. The incognito exploration is a regrettable failure, it seems.

「In your situation, you should prepare a wig. Light brown or black.」

When I point out how uncommon it is for commoners to have blonde hair, the boy seems to understand. For the behaviors and style of talking that is the same as Ojou’s, he can’t conceal it, but it’s a little more preferable. 

「Is that so, next time I’ll be careful.」

Because he nodded extremely seriously, I became worried.

「So you’ll come again…… the next time you come, call me. I’ll lend you my clothes.

「Really?」

Even with his elegant childish behavior, if he wears simple clothes, I wonder if he can dodge preconceptions about him. At my proposal the boy is instantly delighted, but immediately his facial expression becomes gloomy.

「However, a method for me to contact a commoner……」

「I’m Isaac. My father is Dennis Baumgartner, a famous gardener among nobles, so under the pretense of requesting work, send me a letter.」

My father always rejects hearing from other noble houses.

「From the Duke’s house……」

The golden boy also knew about it. At the proof of how much my father’s work was valued, inside I became prideful.

「Isaac, you are wise.」

When I look at the surprised boy, hearing compliments I had never heard, there is a dazzling smile. I reflexively close my eyes.

「You, because it’s dazzling, don’t look over here.」

「……This is the first time for someone like Isaac. It’s rather refreshing.」

「I’m on the verge of getting mad, I think.」

Again, to the boy who’s smiling face makes me want to close my eyes when turn towards it, I very rudely quip. He’s a strange, pretty boy. If it was Ojou, around this time she would excessively scold me.

「Look at things from various points of view, is what my father taught me. Because if you are open minded, you can grasp the correct image of things for sure. So, today I came because I wanted to see people’s living life.」

「Around you are only adults, huh?」

At the boy’s childish words, it’s a similar time to the first time I met Ojou. The direction is different, but it’s like being aware of how to catch up with the adults around you. How are nobles the only childish ones, I wonder.
When I point that out, his honey pupils go round in surprise.

「How do you understand?」

「It’s too wise to say. Make friends and play more.」

「Friends……」

He thinks over something, saying the word slowly. Then, he squeezes back on my hand holding his.

「……will Isaac become my friend?」

「Eh. I’m reluctant, you know. You, you’re too dazzling and your behavior gives me a bad feeling.」

Not only is his appearance more difficult to work with, his head is like an adult’s, and he gives me an uncomfortable feeling. When I honestly reject him, after several seconds he laughs loudly.

「Ahahaha, I wouldn’t be rejected so hard for a personal reason……」

「You, you’re a strange person—」

「I don’t want to be told that by you……」

I was responded to with a smile that didn’t change. Ojou, the other day, was also strange. Normally I can understand it, but only then I couldn’t.

「……Ah, I didn’t give my name. I am Leo.」

「Oh, right. Leo, we’re almost at the fountain……」

「Isaac?」

At how I suddenly stopped walking, Leo tilted his head in confusion. One of the entrances to the area of the commoners’ housing district lines up with the side road. For the purpose of checking if I made a mistake, go in front of the front door. Leo, who is holding hands as not to go astray, follows without understanding the situation.

「As expected……」

「A hydrangea?」

Staying at my side as he looked at the potted plant, Leo tilted his head.

「What about this flower?」

「It’s unusual.」 

I replied frankly. Now, in front of my eyes, is a big white-leaf hydrangea. It’s the first one I’ve seen a white one.
The hydrangeas of this country, with the nature of the soil, does not change colors, but changes colors due to the many magical attributes at that place.
However, for the earth element it’s orange, and for the water element it’s light blue, generally. But, with a noble house with many magical elements, it can be dyed with the colors of the inhabitants. Because they like purposely like a color, there are nobles who habitually plant expensive ones as a hobby, it seems.
Certainly, the gardener was asked by the Sorcery Ministry or the Medicinal Ministry to selectively breed this plant. It may be possible to do a simple identification of one’s magical element, or to use it to examine the distribution of spirits in the area. In order to make it easy to carry, it should be improved to be something like a primrose. The clients of that gardener, because the selective breeding is skilled, they may possibly implement it.
First of all, I explained to Leo who was accompanying me how it was rare.

「I understand it’s a rare thing, but in the case of a white one, what element is it?」

「Maybe……」

「Um, what is your business at my house……?」

The gate of the house with the white hydrangea opened, and a princess-like girl timidly appeared. Her eyes are perfect circles, and her hair that is like the golden sun that went to her shoulders is coiled at the ends.
Next to her, I had a feeling of my breath being taken away. Certainly it’s a cute girl who has a lovely spirea-like impression, however I wonder how I’m also surprised at how beautiful she is. Does it feel different than other people?

「Ahh, sorry. I’m a gardener’s apprentice, so this hydrangea is rare.」

She was looking at the two of us, and I explained our circumstances and apologized.

「Rare……?」

The girl who doesn’t understand the reason I thought it curious asked back.

「Maybe it blooms white every year?」

The girl nods her head. For her, because it blooms the same color every year, it’s not a rare color for her, is it?

「Who looks after this hydrangea?」

When I asked, meeting her gaze so as not to scare her, the girl answered while identifying it as if it were a bad thing.

「……M, me.」

At my pressing question, it seems there was a misunderstanding. It seems she thought she did something bad, when I looked at her scared eyes. It’s dreadful, the feeling of bullying something like a small animal such as a rabbit.

「I see. Because it’s the first time I’ve seen a white hydrangea, I only wanted to hear the method it was raised with. It’s blooming very beautifully.」

With peace of mind, when I patted her on the head, for a moment when she understood she was being praised, she happily blushed.

「Only, I only gave it water……」

She was being modest and shy, although when I look, it was taken care of very seriously, it seems.

「That’s it? Then, really, it’s amazing.」

For unusually not doing things such as pruning, the way and size the flower was blooming isn’t unbalanced. Certainly, in order to receive an equal amount of sunlight, she diligently searched for a location to place them, it seems.

「That……」

The girl who seems to not be not as dissatisfied acts shy while seemingly happily smiling.
Which reminds me, until recently Leo wasn’t saying anything, although when I notice and look next to me, he has a blank facial expression while looking at the girl.

「Leo, what is it?」

「Wh!? What!?」

When I lightly hit Leo on the back of the head, Leo is surprised and doesn’t understand the circumstances, protesting against me. For the girl, since I suddenly hit Leo, her round eyes went wide with surprise.

「Were you listening?」

「No, not particularly……」

Not at all, said Leo as he looked at the girl, and when the girl tilted her head in confusion, his eyes were concealed. I don’t understand the meaning. 

「Maah, never mind. Then, for showing us the beautiful hydrangea, thank you.」

「Y, you’re welcome.」

When I thank her, she bows.

「Let’s go, Leo.」

「Ah, ahhh.」

The girl who saw us arrive abruptly waved us goodbye until we disappeared.
Leo, who follows as if the hair on the back of his head is being pulled back curiously asks.

「Was it okay to not talk to her about her magical element?」

As for not teaching her about how with elements the color changes, there’s suspicion.

「There’s no conclusive evidence. Besides……」

「Besides?」

「That girl, maybe her magic power is strong.」

If there isn’t a person with a large amount of magical power nearby, hydrangeas will turn blue or orange. At the time of a reaction with a person who is like a litmus paper test, it’s only the case there’s a person above a certain level of magical power.
Leo understands she’s an irregular among the common people.

「What was her magical element?」

「Because I didn’t see it, it might be Light element……

「I found you!」

At the sudden voice, my words are drowned out. Surprised, when we turned towards the direction of the voice, a young man running from the water fountain was there. It seems we arrived at the water fountain while talking.

「Mattheus!」 

Leo calls out the name of the young man running over.

「Where in the world did you…… who is this?」

The young man with blue hair tried to ask, but looked at me and stopped.

「Ahh, he guided me here. Isaac, this is…… my older brother.」

「Thanks to you. I could see my younger brother. Thank you. Is there something I can do to thank……」

「No, that’s not needed.」

Although it may be formal, with these circumstances, if I receive anything as thanks, compared to me, Leo will be more troubled. For this certain unreasonable brother scenario, is he his brother or his butler?

「Excuse me, as I have shopping to do. Then, see you, Leo.」

「Until next time, Isaac.」

Leo, waving a hand to see me off, was the same age as the girl we parted from a little bit ago. We’ll really meet again, huh, I thought with a bitter smile.
Saying farewell to me, who said we can’t become friends, with a smiling face, really he’s a strange guy.
I pull myself together and resume my errand. The next day, Ojou, who ate the handmade cookies I made as an apology, for some reason got mad and repeatedly hit me.
As expected, it didn’t suit her tastes, it seems.


MAN THIS CHAPTER just kept GOING. Good lord. I think the only chapter that’s felt so long is the one I’m currently translating (Waltz, Ch 13).

MangaDex is back up, so you might see some ninja updates as I go and sync up names, since they are currently ahead of me in story progress. I’d like for people who come here from the manga and vice versa to not be confused, so if there are any differences I don’t catch, please let me know, so I can sync them up properly.

Lastly, I switched to WordPress Premium so I can get access to some more site features, so you may see some improvements or changes here or there.

With that, geez, summer’s almost at an end, huh? See you all next time!

And 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 buy yet Arknights patch to slap on my messenger bag as translation motivation, then hit up my Ko-Fi which can be found at the top.


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Published by Toasty Wind

Novice JP to EN translator for Web Novels, mostly just translate stuff that I find amusing.

5 thoughts on “09. Hydrangea

  1. Thanks for the chapter, and rather than a girl I thought that Leo was more likely to be something like a prince, probably the blonde boy on the cover of the novel. But I mean if Leo turns out to be a girl that would be an interesting surprise.

    Like

    1. Haha, yeah. The whole time I was translating, I was thinking “This is totally a chick”, but around the time they met what is definitely the otome game’s protag, I flipped back to “Oh Leo’s a dude I guess”.

      Like

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