11. Invitation

TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


「It’s already fine, you know, the prince said it was.」

「……Zack, you’re unskilled at reading. You have to include the emotion.」

Ojou, with her eyes half-closed, even if it’s a soft voice, says Katherine is better.

「Then, Ojou should read it.」

「In that situation, you won’t learn.」

「I understand, but……」

With the guest room where the weak sound of rain reached, two people on the sofa are reading a picture book side-by-side. The kind of day she would come over when it rains had become routine. Katherine, who also knew the circumstances, is there with us, and during break times would make tea.
When I read, given that I follow the letters at all costs, the best I can do is read in a monotone. Usually, such things like a chance to read and write don’t exist, and one of the reasons is I can only practice at a time like this. Because that’s uncool, if I want to secretly self-study, but especially because something like a book is an expensive thing to buy, I buy things like plants or seeds.
Following Ojou’s character identification, I read in a monotone as it is, and somehow or another read to the end.

「Next is this.」

「Eh, shouldn’t we read it again?」

When I think about how my mouth is a little tired, Kaherine puts a cup of tea she quietly made on the table. At her exquisite timing, I’m amazed. Maids are amazing. Ojou also can’t refuse Katherine’s tea. Thanks to her, I was able to catch a small break.
While taking a breather with warm tea, I ask a question that I thought about.

「Ojou, you have a lot of books where princes appear, don’t you.」

「Isn’t it lovely when they break a girl’s curse or defeat an evil dragon?」

At Ojou, who is absorbed in romance, I thought that it’s better to get a magician to break a curse, and a knight to fight a monster, but I stayed silent. For girls, the truth is they like princes.

「Why is it only blonde hair?」

Is blonde hair her preference? Which reminds me, according my sister in the past world, for princes and princesses, blonde hair and blue eyes were said to be signs of kingship.

「That is the symbol of royalty.」

「So you’re saying royal people have blonde hair?」

「Yes. Blonde hair that shimmers like gold is called proof of being a pure-blooded noble. The closer the eyes are also to gold, the stronger the royal blood.」

「Heeeh, then Duke-sama?」

「My father’s grandmother, in those days, was a princess, it seems.」

It seems she’s proud of her house’s lineage, and as for Duke-sama’s talking when it comes to Ojou, he acts proud, lifts his chest, and answers. However, it’s no wonder Duke-sama is sparkling.
I understand that picture book that was drawn in this country, because it models the royalty, generally they have blonde hair. Certainly in other countries, it’s different.

「Fuuuuu. The appearance of royalty is showy, isn’t it? For me, I like Ojou’s pale-blonde hair that is kind on the eyes.

It’s only a picture book, but I complain while I look at the prince drawn with a halo. I’m glad I haven’t met a person like that. Something further than Duke-sama’s dazzling blonde hair is too painful.

「Then, next time, if I read this, it’ll be good, right? Ojou?」

I curiously think about how a voice isn’t returned, and when I look next to me, clasping her hair with both hands, Ojou was concealing her reddened face with her hair. It seems I did something annoying. Isn’t she ruining her carefully prepared hair?

「What’s wrong?」

When I ask, silently I am glared at. It seems I said something that hurt her feelings. Or, although it’s for the sake of practice, reading a picture book in a monotone is not funny? 

「I’m sorry? Next time, I’ll read it more in your kind of speech」

「…….if Zach reads in a monotone for his whole life, it will be good.」

「What’s with that curse?」

She suddenly mumbles an outrageous curse. It may be due to Ojou’s curse, but for two more volumes, I read from beginning to end in a monotone.
Several days after that exchange, I was pulling out weeds as always. For the summer that the greenery that is energetically bathing in the sun is spreading, I can’t count the amount of weeds I’ve pulled out. If the summer sun moved, it would be good, but if that’s the case because trees other than the essential flowers and weeds would sprout first, this much is fine, it seems. If there would be supplemental personnel, when the gardener guild requests temporary employees, the Ernest house, at that time, would need to have increased security. That would be trouble for my untalkative father and myself.

If the amount of students increased, it would be good, but.

I thought about the times when there is a lot of work. Frankly speaking, the Baumgartner house doesn’t have hereditary succession. Because of our gardening skill and devotion to the Ernest house, it’s good if we inherit it, blood is unrelated. Downtown there are many guys who aim to do the work their parents are doing, so it only looks to be hereditary. Because my parents never said I had to succeed them, there are other families in the neighborhood who would like to take over.
When we go to the Gardener Guild, I often see organizations that are no longer working for just a house, but as a school name for the first house. In the event, the way my house has something that is hereditary-ish is strange.
As for the Baumgarneter house, in the royal capital neighborhood, it is rumored to be the most difficult gardener. I was thinking that the royal capital was the most difficult, but since there are people there proportional to the size, it seems they are dealing with it by preparing passing marks and strengthening their guard. So strict, isn’t it, that I don’t understand. The lower social classes doing chores is ordinary for this era, it seems. First of all, publically, there are no other apprentices because it is so harsh.

For the older guys, it seems they won’t help, huh?

The older guys who hadn’t reached fifty are actively on duty. But, given that those exclusive to the Ernest house succeeded and retired after his father, certainly you can declare it isn’t a factor. Right now, at the same time my grandmother travels to the spacious Arventrot country, she buy unusual plants. Given that they return and always give souvenirs of plants that aren’t natively growing in this area, I look forward to every time they come back.
Maa, because it can’t be helped worrying about things I don’t have, I hum while continuing my work.
In my past life, I had a karaoke music player, but because now I don’t have that sort of thing, I  get into a mood to sing. I can understand the feeling of farmers singing while working from a movie about the Sengoku era. This is fun.

「……what is that song?」

「Ojou.」

When I stop singing and turn my head back, Ojou, who has a parasol, bends her head slightly, with her eyes as if she was looking at a curious sight.

「With commoners, are such rough, or perhaps I should say, lively songs popular?」

At a melody she hasn’t heard before, Ojou is something like bewildered. Certainly things like classical music or opera, she listens to, it seems.

「First of all, it’s something like a battlefield song.」

「Is it a commoner’s war song??」

「No, because I have not seen it, I don’t know very well, I should sing rather than fight, right? Or so I’ve heard.」

「Is it opera?」

「Hmm? I was only singing what my younger sister taught me.」

Although it’s an anime my sister in my previous life hasn’t seen, because she loved only the melody, she often sang it for karaoke practice. It’s useless for me to sing the man’s part, but the end result is one where I sing everything. Although, also with the woman’s part, the duet is said to be a factor, but I don’t understand the meaning. Maa, certainly general artists and I also liked it.

「Zack is an only child, isn’t he……?」

With Ojou’s puzzled look, I realized I made a slip of the tongue.

「Something like a younger sister.」

That’s it. I don’t have a blood relationship with them anymore.

「Fuuu, so there is a girl like that……」

Ojou tightly grasps her parasol’s handle, lips looking displeased. Is there something to be pouting over?

「Ojou is cute.」

First of all, I’d like to keep talking about the reality that I compared it with my sister of my past life. If that person saw Ojou, I think they’d be delighted.  It’s easy to imagine a scene where they charge towards a beautiful girl while saying abusive language. Because Ojou would be troubled, I’m glad I don’t have her now.

「Eh, me in particular……!? Or perhaps I should say, although Zack doesn’t understand, stop saying that kind of thing without hesitation!!」

Always, always, Ojou’s face turns red as she scolds me, but concerning whatever she is scolding me for, I completely don’t understand. I don’t understand, but it seems I’ve done something bad to Ojou.

「Sorry?」

While also tilting my head to the side, first of all I apologize. Ojou mumbled 「Good grief」 while somehow burying the hatchet.

「At any rate…… really, the spirits are delighted.」

「Ah, Ojou saw them?」

For the time she told a story before about how the spirits were delighted with music, Ojou was dubious, however she understood after having practically seen it, it seems. To me with little magical power, I only got a sensation of something like an enjoyable atmosphere.

「Even if I offer music, I am thinking it should be more sacred……」

Ojou, who seems to be imagining something like ancient Shinto music and dancing or hymns, looks at me, who was singing an upbeat song, with a curious look.

「It’s fine, you know, I like this one.」

To me, who is claiming how much I like this song, Ojou lets out a sigh. She doesn’t want to understand, but because I’m demonstrating it, it seems she can’t help but recognize it.

「What happened today?」

While going back to pulling weeds, I listen to the reports of which things happened today.  Ojou, who always immediately starts talking, somehow is silent.
For a while, even if I wait, there isn’t a reply. Because the sunlight is strong, maybe she’s become sick, I wonder. I become worried, and then pause in my work and look over my shoulder.

「Ojou?」

She isn’t falling over, but she’s making a somewhat difficult facial expression and looking down. Because she’s sinking into silence like she’s enduring something, it’s something difficult to talk about, isn’t it?
It can’t be helped, and I stop my work, and put my work gloves in my pocket. I go where Ojou is, fall to one knee, and meet Ojou’s downward gaze.

「What’s wrong?」

When I ask, Ojou’s eyebrows rise up. Although she’s gripping the handle of the parasol strongly with both hands, I realize it, and gently peel away the outer hand and hold it as if I’m not putting any strength into it.     

「Huh?」

When I wanted her to have a little peace of mind and smile, her completely silent lips opened.

「Mo……」

「Yes?」

「My mother, she gave me an invitation…」

「Yes.」

I reply back so Ojou, who gradually begins talking, knows I am paying attention. It’s different from when she was completely stiff just a bit ago, her anxious-looking facial expression already isn’t hidden.

「One month from now, there is a party to celebrate the prince’s birth……」

This time, to match the age of the princess, the party will seem to go on from just past noon to the evening. Therefore, they are calling Ojou as she is a girl of similar age.

「Aren’t you glad to be invited to the prince’s birthday party? You can see the lovable living prince.」

「That isn’t so much what it is……!」

When I purposely say something carefree, immediately a contradictory voice returns.

「I, it will be the first time I am in the presence of other people, you know……!? That, something like the prince of His Highness’ birthday party…… I can’t dance adequately……」

「It’ll be fine.」

「Why can you say it will be fine!?」

At my words, Ojou gets mad. But, those eyes full of anxiety look like they could cry at any moment.

「After all, Ojou is always beautiful.」

「!?」

Because I’m always looking, I know. The Ojou who is always persevering in practice, every day, in how to behave, has become beautiful.

「It will be fine. You’re the elegant daughter that is Duke-sama and Oku-sama’s pride.」

「R, really……? I won’t let my parents down…….?」

「Mmm. I think they’re proud.」

「Truly, it will be fine?」

「It will be alright. If Ojou is how she always is, it’ll be good.」

Diligently, until Ojou believes it will be fine, I smile and repeat it.

「Really……?」

「It’ll be fine. Ojou is cool.」

「That isn’t a compliment.」

Ojou’s cheeks slightly swell, pouting.

「Eh, it’s an awesome compliment, isn’t it?」

Being cool, for guys it’s the highest compliment. Why wouldn’t a girl be delighted, I wonder.

「Good grief, Zack is……」

It can’t be helped, says Ojou with a small smile. At last, I see a smiling Ojou, and I also smile widely. Thank goodness.

「Yep, the usual Ojou.」

「!!」

Ojou, who seems to realize what was said, turns red and becomes silently flustered. Certainly, making an unusual noise is embarrassing, isn’t it? She was that stressed, huh? To me, something like royalty is too distant from my sense of reality, but for Ojou it was a real existence, so the pressure that was felt is different.
It’s like the nervousness of a piano recital, isn’t it? No, because I never did something like accomplishing a public presentation, in my past life, I don’t understand. Ah, interviewing for a job is the closest. Yes, for that I was so nervous that I could be my usual self. When I think about that, Ojou is going through a great struggle, huh?
At a party, because she can meet a loveable prince from her picture book, it should be fine for her to look forward to it, right? I wonder if it’s like when I went to my dream country, an interview  with a company was booked. She wants to have fun, but it’s a situation where she can’t enjoy herself.
But, for me, something like a birthparty party or parties are something I enjoy. If Ojou can come to have fun, it will be good.

「Well, have fun.」

When I say that, Ojou squeezes her clasped hands.

「…………Zack should also come.」

Ah. Really, I’m weak.
The faint blue eyes that are truly lonely are shaking. It’s something like a request I can’t do. She knows it’s unreasonable, right?

「Is Duke-sama going with you?」

Suddenly, Ojou was nodding her head.

「Then, it will be fine. He’s your strongest ally.」

「But…… if Zack is there……」

「Ojou.」

I call out to Ojou, who was arguing back, and stop her. It looks like I have to look straight at her and tell her.

「Because I’m not a noble, it’s unreasonable.」

Ojou has a behavior of instantly arguing back that I’ve seen, but swallows her words.

「In addition……」

To my continuing words, Ojou tilts her head.

「I can’t match the formal-like clothes of nobles.」

「……fu, that’s true, isn’t it?」

When I force a smile, it seems to be my imagination that Ojou smiled. Because I understood that I couldn’t be brought along, I wasn’t thinking of a situation where we go together.

「I’m…… sorry……」

She asked a big favor, and after smiling for a short while, Ojou apologizes. For me who wasn’t particularly troubled, I shook my head.

「Then, what’s making you so anxious?」

I wonder if because it’s something she doesn’t have confidence in, she’s become this timid.

「…………..maybe, because of my family status, this is the only chance to dance with the prince.」

「You don’t have any confidence in dancing?」

「Until now, my teacher hasn’t praised me…… so, for me to be fit to dance with the prince……」

Because Ojou mumbles that she’s very anxious, I say it’ll be fine again, smiling.

「You have one month. If you practice, you should be fine.」

「However, I do not want my parents to know.」

She doesn’t want to let her parents know she doesn’t have self confidence in her dancing by increasing the amount of practice. But, from Ojou’s way of speaking, if she does self-training, it seems it should be good.
Does she have somewhere that’s good? Because the sunlight in my self-study garden is too much, in this season Ojou will collapse. If it’s dancing, because it’s ballroom dancing, it seems, a place where the floor is flat is better.

「Ah.」

There was a place.
For a moment, I thought about it, and then remembered a perfect place.

「Right, Ojou. Let’s secretly train!」

「How, how are we secretly doing it??」

I give a satisfied smile, and then lead Ojou by the hand, facing west.
In the west, from the main residence, there’s a distant area connected by a passageway. Maybe it’s use is for when mistresses come, but the Ernest house of now doesn’t even have a single indication of that. The extent of its use is a guest room. There, enough people don’t arrive, but I have things to do in that direction.
The passageway is surrounded by a pond, exactly halfway there is a path continuing to a summer gazebo. The gazebo’s stone cone-shaped roof, under it there’s reasonable space for a small number of people to be able to have a tea party. Given that there isn’t a table or anything like that when there isn’t a tea party, right now it’s empty. For dancing practice, it’s optimal, I wonder?
The gazebo in the middle of the pond is surrounded by a flower bed of miniature roses, and furthermore water lilies are floating on the water’s surface. Because both past their blooming season, for a while this place hasn’t been used for tea parties, I wonder.

「How about this? If it’s here, it’s fine, right?」

「Certainly, it seems that way.」

When I guide her to the center of the gazebo, Ojou slowly looks around as if to check her surroundings.

「Then, do your best, Ojou!」

I make a triumphant pose with both hands, and support her. When specially training, if you call her name out, she’ll get into a fighting spirit.

「R, right now!?」

「Eh? No, first of all, why not?」

Ojou, who thought she was abruptly called to dance, is surprised. I only communicated a simple supporting mood.

「Then,  if you’re practicing, I’ll go back, then……?」

When I thought that because she does not want to be seen, and went back to work, I was pulled back. When I turned behind me, Ojou was there, gripping the hem of my clothes.

「What is it? Ojou?」

She grasped the hem of my clothes that were becoming wrinkled, and Ojou looked up at me in order to stare intensely at me. What in the world is it?

「……You’re going to help me, right?」

「Yes.」

Why does she need a reminder, I wonder. I don’t understand the motivation of what Ojou is saying, but because I really am helping her, I nod.

「If that’s the case, be my dancing partner.」

「Eh!? I, I can’t dance!」

「I’ll teach you the minimum.」

「Eh—」

Isn’t teaching me getting things backwards? That, isn’t this Ojou’s practice? Or rather, with my father…… haaa, it’s unreasonable. If it’s Ojou’s request, it seems I’ll be permitted to leave work.

「Practice will become better when your partner is close to your height」

「U…… I understand.」

I’m not suitable, I think, but when Ojou is giving it her best for that kind of reason, I can’t reject it.

「If that’s the case, starting from tomorrow.」

「Why?」

「I’ll bring an apron. It’s because I don’t want Ojou’s pretty dress to get dirty.」

Because I have an apron that I use for cooking in the small house, so if I put it on, Ojou shouldn’t get dirty.
At the sensation of being pulled, when I was drawn in and moved my line of sight, my clothes were gripped even more strongly than just before.

「…….Ojou. It’s fine, but it’ll get really wrinkled.」

「Ah……!」

Ojou who was hanging her head, became taken aback, and in a panic released her hand. Her cheeks are slightly red, but in addition, she had been doing that for too long. As for the time we practice, we should prepare a towel as well as a canteen for water.

「First of all, shall we go back?」

I put my hand out. And then after that, I notice. Because the road is easy to understand, if you think well on it, joining hands isn’t necessary. Huh? Because if Ojou comes, isn’t it fine to go without linking hands?
When I was thinking I did something unnecessary, I forgot to pull my hand back.
Before I withdrew my hand, Ojou’s smaller hand reached into my bigger one.

「……what is it?」

「Nnn, it’s nothing.」

At the pale blue eyes looking suspiciously at me, I return a smile.
Joining hands and returning along the road, I recall the work I had left. Dangerous. Enough about asking for a favor tomorrow, my father will absolutely scold me about today.
It’s bad, but it can’t be helped. First of all, let’s not be noticed by Ojou.
With a fleeting glance at Ojou, I was relieved even though I didn’t realize I was nervous. Then, I look at Ojou and suddenly think of something.
In any case, if I’ll be scolded by my father, I’ll try to ask for one more thing.

Another one done! Chapter 14 is done, with Chapter 15 just about there. I fell a bit behind in my translation schedule due to me being on the road for some real-life work related items, but if you’ve been keeping up with the manga, I believe 2 chapters from now corresponds to the manga chapter “Waltz”, which was definitely one of my favorite chapters to translate so far.

Actually, overall, this one is pretty fun to translate, so that’s not saying a ton.

As always, thanks for reading! 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 Kal 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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