10. Sunny Spot

「That’s no good.」

Lydia, who rejected the head chef, swells her cheeks.

「How? After all, Zack…..」

「Zach? Ahh, that boy, right? Ojou-sama and him are different.」

At his employer’s daughter looking up at him, the head chef scratched his cheek, troubled.

「It’s okay if I see that guy get a little bit injured, but not Ojou-sama. If, in the one in a ten-thousand chance, you get burned, I will get scolded by the maids and retainers.」

Lydia became sullen, however if she requested any more than that, she would be troubling the head chef, and understanding, dropped her shoulders. Talking to the physically large head chef required courage, but when she tries to talk to him, it wasn’t frightening like that. The head chef was unexpectedly kind and understanding, but at the very least there were results, she wondered.

「I understand……」

「However, wanting to make things such as sweets for that boy, Ojou-sama is admirable, aren’t you?」

「That isn’t it! I’m returning the favor!

At the muscular looking head chef who showed a kind smile, Lydia denied it with a completely red face. Even though she also perks up her previously sullen shoulders, because a threat doesn’t even seem to be there, the head chef’s smile does not vanish.

「Please excuse me.」

Lydia, who could no longer endure the warm look from the head chef turned her heel.
However, she forgot to mention something, and returned, appearing at the entrance of the kitchen.

「I’m sorry for asking such a big favor. For your always delicious cooking, thank you.」

Again, there were traces of intimidation on his smiling face, so she couldn’t say it with a smile, but given that she was able to say only that, after confirming the head chef’s reaction, she left.
Some time ago, after she learned from the gardener’s apprentice that greetings, thanks, and apologies were important things, when she observed people like her mother and father, they gave their thanks to each and every servant. Despite her father being extremely busy, it appears he goes to his servant’s location in order to thank them. Because she had been told about that sort of wonderful behavior of her parents, she was frustrated she didn’t notice it.
Spending time for the purpose of following her parents’ example, becoming conscious of how so far she hadn’t been doing it, in her imagination was embarrassing. She can’t see them and because either looks away or hangs her head, lately sometimes when saying goodbye, there are times she’ll escape.
The day she conveys her thanks with an elegant smile like her parents is far away. However, the reality that she can say it is excellent, said the gardener’s apprentice, praising her. Sometimes, when you aren’t able to properly say it you’ll become disheartened, but because of that, somehow you’ll be able to continue.

But, what’s a good way to give back to him……?

Closing the door to her room, Lydia sighed.
If she can’t make the same thing, what can she give back?
The other day, the gardener’s apprentice gave her handmade cookies as an apology for the meeting over tea. When she heard his important reason, because he did not have a cookie cutter, he used a mug. Being the case she couldn’t go back to the house and eat it, then and there, when she ate it, it had a simple and delicious taste.
Making them, even though he said he wasn’t a guy who was a patissier, was a little annoying, so she hit him with her fists. Always, however, the gardener’s apprentice only made a troubled facial expression when hit, and because it wasn’t painful, she found it very frustrating. However, she decided in her heart she would absolutely pay him back.
Lydia, having no other alternative than getting him back coming to mind, is troubled. That gardener’s apprentice, with the exception of food, what could she give him that he’d be happy, she wonders. He’s a simple gardener’s assistant, but he always looks like he’s having fun. But, what sort of thing would be good, she doesn’t understand.
Speaking of knowing, he held his father who loved gardening in high regard, and the time they ate, he made a happy looking face, and he wasn’t good with flashy things.

……she doesn’t know what he likes.

At the truth she just now noticed, she became shocked. The amount of information she knew about him was too little.
When she tried to rethink, the times she listened to him talk about himself, rather than the times she talked about herself, were nearly nonexistent. That guy, he doesn’t talk about himself unless asked.

Zach is to blame.

As for her insufficient information, when Lydia thought about how he wouldn’t talk on his own accord, she pouted.

「Lydia-sama, what’s wrong?」

Katherine, waiting for Lydia in the room, anxiously called out. Although she entered the room, Lydia, who had not moved, was making different faces, so she was worried.
Even if she made tea to calm her down or ask her, Lydia who was looking down, vigorously raised her head.

「I am going for a small walk.」

She hands over a small, white lace parasol to Lydia. After this, if she goes outside into the all-out summertime that was starting, her precious white skin would be sunburned

「Thank you. I’m off!」

「Take care.」

Near the door, Katherine bows, seeing her employer off. Slowly lifting her head, she watches the back of her master vanish while breathing a sigh of relief.

「It’s Isaac, isn’t it?」

If that’s the case, it’s all right, and at her absurd fear for her master, Katherine smiled.
Shortly after, Lydia found the Baumgartner son and father duo at the edge of the many bushes.
Today they were comparatively closer to the grounds. They were talking about something unusual.
Lydia felt it was unusual that the untalkative Dennis was talking while she approached.
Before she tries to call out, the gardener’s apprentice turns towards her, and Lydia is surprised, stopping in her tracks. He never looks at her until she calls to him.

「Ojou.」

Besides, he was running with a smiling face towards her. He always refuses and goes back to work. Not reaching an understanding of the state of affairs, Lydia reflexively gripped the handle of her parasol.

「She came. Father, is it okay?」

He leads her by the hand, while at the same time asking his father for permission for something. Confirming his father nodded, the gardener’s apprentice grabbed Lydia’s hand and started walking.

「Eh!?」

Being pulled while walking, Lydia looks, alternating between the gardener’s apprentice and his father. Because she couldn’t read his father’s facial expression, she couldn’t comprehend his excitement to go.
Given that he wasn’t hesitating to go on the lawn outside of where Lydia doesn’t walk, Lydia didn’t care. Perhaps he wanted to go somewhere quickly, and was taking the route of a straight line, she wondered. For the speed, Lydia is matching him, but at the feel of grass and dirt under feet, Lydia was bewildered.
Why did this happen?
When she tried to only gather information on him, even though she only visited to talk with him.
If she noticed, they had gone to a place where the trees were tall, and in the gaps between trees sunlight came down. It was completely like a forest. Already she didn’t even understand which direction was where when facing it. However, the gardener’s apprentice didn’t lose his way and advanced forward. Even if was her estate’s grounds, compared to Lydia, the gardener’s apprentice far and away was more well-informed.

「Where are we going……!?」

「We’ve already arrived.」

If you hurry and ask, you’ll get an answer. For her eyes staring at their direction of movement, the joyful colors revealed themselves.
She understood he wouldn’t tell her until they arrived, so for Lydia it was inevitable she went.
Come to think of it, in the confusion, she forgot he had been holding her hand the whole time. When she suddenly realized it, she became strangely embarrassed and wanted to separate, but because now, if she separated she would become lost, somehow she endured that impulse.
Also when she just realized it, willingly or not her eye was drawn to their joined hands. Looking at this, it was different than the meaning she was told. Overall, her visibly exposed skin, usually she has cotton gloves that go down from the wrist and are one shade away from white, but Lydia’s skin is noticeably whiter. Her skin is also smooth and has no roughness. Her father’s large physique was also strong, but had a smoother feel.

This was different, wasn’t it……

He was putting more strength into it, possibly exerting more than he needed to, but kindly holding it. He wasn’t coercing Lydia, she could choose where or not to come along. She felt this sort of thing was sly.
While worried about whether or not to take his hand as well, Lydia got a little bit angry.
Not noticing her current situation, the gardener’s apprentice turned his head to her while saying.

「If you go through here, we’ll arrive.」

「Wait……, this is……」

She was encouraged to dive through the small gap in the bushes. With her dress it’s difficult to pass through a checkpoint, Lydia, as expected, is bewildered. However, she sees the glittering eyes of the boy who wants to show her, unable to fight, she closes her parasol while passing through.
When they pass through the hedges that are a little shorter than them, the sunlight’s radiant assault on the eyes makes you close your eyes. While closing your eyes, from her right hand, at the warmth that went away, she felt a touch of loneliness.
She feels she has gotten used to the radiance on the other side of her eyes, and softly opens them.
Below the sun, the boy spreads both of his hands.

「Here, what am I?」

He declares it with his whole face smiling.
She doesn’t understand the meaning, and blankly stared. Reflected in Lydia’s eyes, in their surroundings of a small water fountain with an owl stone statue enshrined on it, there was only the lawn of a wide plaza. The plaza was good, wasn’t it, to the extent you could lose your way, and from the water fountain if an adult took ten steps, there was a fence. It was surrounded by trees like a forest, and because around only the water fountain sunlight was pouring down, looking up was completely like it was hollowed from above.
The good exposure to the sun, she understood, but nothing else. With the exception of the water fountain it was a minimally arranged place. She doesn’t understand the intentions of the boy who was happily showing her this. In the first place, this place was expected to be contained in her estate, however.

「What kind of……」

「My father said it’s fine to practice here!」

When Lydia asks, the gardener’s apprentice let out an explanation.

「My father and my grandfather, when they were apprentices, they practiced here, I heard! I got permission to use it!」

That is to say, this was Baumgartner house’s place for landscaping practice, for generations, it seems. For a person who can garden, it can’t be helped that he’s happy.

「There’s something I want to try, so I have to save up pocket money.」

What to do with this empty place, he polishes his plan while his eyes look around the surroundings, glittering.

「……then, is it fine to talk about it?」

「Ah」

For a noble, in general they will walk to a place with no path. For Lydia, if he didn’t bring her, she would not know this place existed. The Baumgartner house, without permission from the Ernest’s head of household, inside their grounds were using this place to practice.
Only after being told, does the gardener’s apprentice realize that he willingly gave someone from the Ernest house the secret of the Baumgartner family. While looking at the gardener’s apprentice who just realizes this, Lydia reopened her closed parasol. The boy who showed a reaction, as soon as he came to Lydia’s side, before her eyes bent down and clasped his hands together.

「Please, Ojou, keep it a secret!」

With his just a little troubled upturned eyes, he pleaded, and Lydia was instantly lost for words.

「……it can’t be helped, can it?」

「Thank you, Ojou!」

「I, in the first place, why would you show me!?」

「That is, I wanted to show Ojou……」

When he carelessly pointed it out, he obediently reflected while saying that sort of thing. From the point of view of the gardener’s apprentice, he had the sensation of wanting to show his friend a secret base, and his actions were genuine and had no change from the usual.

「……!?」

At those words from the boy who was like a scolded puppy, Lydia felt her cheeks growing hot. With that, the boy who thought she would get mad further lowered his eyes. Then, when he noticed the blades of grass touching the skirt of her dress, he knelt down on one knee.

「I’m sorry…… it isn’t interesting for Ojou……」

「……From here, what will you do?」

At the regretful facial expression that was a complete opposite from the delightful looking one from a while ago, the cause, Lydia, opened her mouth. At her voice, the reaction of the gardener’s apprentice is to raise his head.

「From here, Zach, you will change this completely ordinary garden, right?  If that’s the case, make it a garden I will like.」

Receiving Lydia’s words, the gardener’s apprentice shows a smile like this sunny spot

「Of course! Because I’ll make it a great garden, please look forward to it!」

From underneath her parasol, it’s expected there’s a shadow, however, Lydia turned her head away from the dazzling sensation of the boy looking up to her.

「No, it’ll really be the best birthday present you’ve gotten until now.」

At the gardener’s apprentice who regained his spirit and resumed removing grass, this time Lydia froze up.
It’s worth the wait, and her gaze slowly returned to the boy who was keenly and happily reflecting. Her surprised facial expression stiffened.

「Just now, what did you……」

「Eh? So, because I became an apprentice, if you see the results of my work after it, it’s because I received it from my father so late……」

「That isn’t it! How did you know when my birthday was!?」

「May, however…..」

The gardener’s apprentice tilts his head in seeming curiosity. Towards him, Lydia’s voice is raised for a reason she doesn’t understand.
It was more than a month ago. At the boy who really doesn’t reply if you don’t ask anything, Lydia becomes irritated.
With an impulse of wanting to hit him, she tightly gripped her parasol and endures it

「……Zach, what, if you do it, makes you happy?」

「What, suddenly asking that.」

「Never mind, just answer!」

「Eh. Um……」

Being pressured by Lydia’s vigor, the gardener’s apprentice doesn’t say anything, but thinks he has to respond. After several beats of silence, he’s worried, and answers.

「If Ojou smiles, I’m happy.」

The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice smiles with an honest feeling.

「!? Not that!!」

At the answer that was completely different from her expectations, Lydia’s face became bright red as she got angry. She doesn’t want him to suddenly say a different or surprising thing.

「Eh. But, things that make me happy……」

「I asked about what, if you receive it, would make you happy! Tell me an object!」

As for Lydia, she asked straight to the point. Having received a curveball, she wasn’t thinking she needed to explain the meaning.
Unconsciously raising her voice, the gardener’s apprentice who was looking at a heavily breathing Lydia, understood her intentions. Then, a seemingly funny and gentle-looking smile surfaced.

「You don’t have to particularly care about me.」

「I care.」

He sees Lydia who is getting angry, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice’s smile deepens.

「What I’ve already received from Ojou is good.」

「I haven’t……」

She hasn’t given anything to him that makes him happy. However, she came to meet him today. Despite this, what kind of thing did he already receive from her?

「That stationary. It made me incredibly happy.」

It is a unique thing he received, that Lydia gave him that was written by her own hand.

「It’s my personal treasure.」

Saying that with an intention of that kind that didn’t exist, he says it’s his important thing.
As for herself, she thought she can’t give anything to the boy who is too different from her. That sort of thing doesn’t exist, the boy simply saying that is unfair. She only now feels she is getting it.
Her cheeks are hot. Certainly, because she was outwitted, it’s annoying.
With her emotions gradually rising, the words are lost, and a silence falls on them. To the boy who is gently smiling, how is she reacting, she wonders.
She searches for something to say. Then, she arrives at the words she missed giving.

「……happy birthday, Zack.」

「Thank you, Ojou.」

He was splendidly smiling, wasn’t he?
Even if she had made mistakes, because she had said it to him, it was good. Thinking that, she returned the smile of the gardener’s apprentice.


Wew, there we go!

Chapter 14 is mega long, I spent the last week hammering away at it, but man it’s taking a while. Not too much to say, other than it’s more cute moments between Ojou and Zack. Though if you thought that of this chapter, next chapter ramps it up more, haha

Truthfully I’m more than a little excited for when we inevitably timeskip and hit the point of the otome game starting. It’s going to be a wild ride, for sure.

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 whale for Ash in Arknights, then hit up my Ko-Fi which can be found at the top.

See you all next chapter!


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Published by Toasty Wind

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

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