This is going up real early in the morning since I’ll be at the office during when I normally post this, haha. Imagine that, a week where I’m not at home to post this for once.
「Thank you for your always delicious tea.」
Finishing drinking her black tea, Lydia smiled at her maid Katherine while thanking her.
「Using those kind words on me is more than I deserve. But, I am happy it suits Lydia-sama’s tastes.」
Exactly as stated, Katherine happily returns a happy-seeming smile. At her master who had come to show an honest facial expression if it’s with her, Katherine feels delighted. If it’s the other servants, during the times they are thanked, they become self-conscious and freeze up. In that case, it’s charming, and among the servants, her master doesn’t know her popularity.
Because anyone who freezes up causes her master to become anxious, only the gardener’s apprentice can calm her down when she is worked up. If you remove the family members, this beginning of being herself, was very honorable.
Again, when she thinks about her acting identically towards the other servants, so they’ll be more relaxed, greed wells up. This was slowly anticipated and gradually eased with the extent the master’s state was seen.
If that is the case, the number one source of worry is what will become of Isaac-san, she thinks.
There were occasionally times when her master who returned from the garden’s face was red. For that reason, it reached the point that at the time her master returns, with tea leaves that have a relaxing effect, she would prepare tea and wait. She is unaware, but the gardener’s apprentice is skillful at making her master’s heart jolt. Her master who conducts herself appropriately for a prince or princess, only at times it concerned him, her emotions became abundant. At times like that, the reality is she would feel like a younger girl.
It would be good if a day like that arrives quickly for her, Katherine thinks.
Suddenly, she saw her master looking at the garden from the terrace, and had a bad feeling.
「Lydia-sama, today, are you not going for a walk?」
It’s the time from afternoon until practice. Always, at the point in time she finishes her tea, she’s expected to be going towards the place of the gardener’s apprentice.
Lydia, with confusion contained in her eyes, gives Katherine a glance, and again returns her gaze towards the garden.
「What’s good to talk about, I don’t know……」
Up until now, things that made her happy, every time, she was reporting them to the gardener’s apprentice. Things that also are worrying her and so forth, she also had expressed. However, there is one thing she can’t say. That delightful expectation she cannot say is strange, and why she can’t say it, she can’t go to for consultation. With only that one thing, even other things, recently, became hard to talk about.
When Lydia made small fists and hung her head, Katherine gave a few words.
「Is it fine if you talk to me?」
For Lydia who had not minded the alternative of not talking to him, her eyes widen. However, Katherine carelessly says.
「You do not have to talk about things you do not want to talk about. You should talk to someone who you can say things to.」
Because she does not say it, it does not mean it will become a secret, Katherine warns Lydia, then smiles. Now, her master may be feeling a sense of guilt like the times she is keeping a secret, she thinks. Since the party she participated in, given that she was absorbed in anxiety, something happened, that Katherine also noticed, and came with preparations. But, it was noble society. Limiting to what her master brought up, with the position of a servant, she cannot go to ask questions. Then, even if he is her master’s friend, the gardener’s apprentice is still a servant..By all means, there is no expectation for her to talk.
「Lydia-sama, do you want to talk? Or, do you not want to talk?」
At Katherine’s question, Lydia confirms the nature of the inside of her own heart. Which way in the world is right?
Half of her thinks she wants to talk, wants to ask, and after saying that is somewhat scary. However, for her, just what in the world is scary?
「Lydia-sama, please excuse me.」
Katherine accepts her refusal, and then takes Lydia’s hands in both of her own. There is heat introduced in her hand and the warmness of the smiling face in front of Lydia’s eyes.
「For the sake of Lydia-sama wanting to talk, I will do it. I am Lydia-sama’s attendant.」
It might be that she’s unreliable, but when Lydia shakes her head no, Katherine has a little bitterness show on her smiling face. For the heart of the manner, at the kindness of not asking, tears are seeming to come out.
Restraining herself, Lydia smiles.
Thanks to Katherine, a little bit of resolution came out.
「……I’m going for a stroll.」
「Please take care.」
Pushed by Katherine’s words, Lydia went towards the garden.
Today, given that he was working at a place you can see from the terrace, before long she arrived near the gardener’s apprentice.
Holding a basket where a mountain of weeds was coming out, the gardener’s apprentice looks in Lydia’s direction.
She thinks she has to say something, but the words won’t come out without delay. The resolution to meet came, but she hadn’t yet decided on what to talk about.
In the time she is lost for words, the gardener’s apprentice exchanged a word or two with his father, and passed the basket he was holding to him.
「You came at the exact right time. Ojou, will you come to the garden together with me?」
He presents his hand with a smiling face. Is it his garden, that small plaza with the sunny spot used for self study?
Because he has something to do, towards Lydia who cannot speak successfully, he is a lifesaver. Lydia took the presented hand.
It isn’t different from the previous time, using the unguided path and being guided. However, given that there isn’t chaos like before, for which directions to go on the grounds, there is a destination, and she generally understood. At the time they go through the bush to enter the plaza, she’s given a large cloth to wrap her dress with so leaves won’t stick to it. For the other held hand, at that time she understood the reason for holding the cloth.
When she arrives at the plaza, there isn’t the heat of summer but dazzling light pours in.
「What…… is this?」
As for the garden, there is the unchanged owl of the water found, and there isn’t a large change, she thinks. But, with only one look at her feet, she’s surprised at the large change.
「I bought seeds and transplanted them」
The person who changed it smiles with complete satisfaction. The garden of the lawn was changed completely into white clovers.
「Zack did this alone……?」
When Lydia, who isn’t believing, hears it, and she tilts her head in confusion at the person opposite her. Although the plaza is small, there’s a lot of surface. Replacing the original surface of the garden with white clovers is something that takes a great effort, she thinks, and he calmly nods his head. Didn’t he say the work he has is painful?
「Please walk as you’d like, Ojou.」
Even further, he smiles and says that to Lydia, who can’t believe it.
When Lydia is bewildered, a little after showing an attitude of thinking a little, he gives a suggestion.
「Then, shall we dance together?」
She’s surprised at those unbelievable words from him. Before he was only following Lydia for practice, but she tries to walk over of the white clovers until she’s invited to a dance she doesn’t think she’ll like.
「I cannot, the things that Zack specially raised…..!」
The lovely round mitsubas completely stretch out. She can’t see the passageway where the flowers are withered or dying. Unable to bring herself to trample them in a lively way, even more so when she knows the person who raised them.
「It’s fine, it’s fine.」
However, the person in question smile, and pulled Lydia by the hand.
The boy who was a gardener’s apprentice, when he pulls Lydia towards himself, he starts to dance the basics of waltz. With practice, things work out. It was different from their ordinary practice, and there was an intent for a plan when Lydia takes a walk, and he takes the lead.
Since there is a lead, reflexively Lydia follows. He isn’t a boy dabbling in it, his whole body has become accustomed to the basics of dance.
「As expected, dancing is hard, huh.」
At the boy who sarcastically laughs at that, Lydia becomes angry in return. Here there is neither a dance hall nor ordered cobblestone. The soil’s feel is unstable, and the steps briefly shake. The gardener’s apprentice who is dancing an awkward waltz is having fun.
Lydia, who can’t help but accompany him and dance, isn’t unsatisfied. His actions are always never explained beforehand, but this time his actions haven’t been explained yet.
Concealing how she got angry, Lydia asks.
「What are you intending?」
「Hmm…… that’s still a bit of a secret.」
She looks at the boy who smiles when he still can’t reveal anything. At the time he can’t start talking, as if he arranged it beforehand, there is something he can’t talk about. She shouldn’t know anything by chance, but he thought about if Lydia knew everything. Then, he immediately denied it.
Why is he so good at timing? It’s a sly aspect of him.
She knows he has a secret, and her throat felt like it became blocked.
「I also have something I can’t say.」
「……but, this time, I will say it.」
「I see. Then, I’ll also tell you.」
Her soft voice trembled, but at that, he pretends not to notice it with a warm smile on his face like this sunny spot, and accepts Lydia’s words.
With the general tune of their waltz, they circled around the water fountain with the owl on it several times, and then parted for that day.
Two days later, a visitor arrived at the Ernest estate. Lydia and her father Geordo, together, go out to meet this guest.
「Welcome, please come in, your Highness.」
Imitating her father, Lydia pinched the hem of her skirt and bows.
「You’re a busy person, so I’m sorry. The Duke’s garden is said to be famous. I wanted to see it just once.」
「Then, Lydia can guide you to the garden.」
「Ahh, this way.」
The first prince has his attendant come with official papers. Then, those are handed to Geordo.
「I want the Duke to consider leading the Three Ministries.」
「……I will look at it」
Geordo, not showing his inner surprise in the slightest, receives the papers with a calm smile, and looks over it. Understanding the outline, Geordo slightly widened his eyes.
「This is, His Highness……」
「He is aware it is a rough place. However, when he thinks of preparing a research organization, it’s better to be quick. Because there are people who doubt, it will become the basis for silence.」
「Certainly, it may not be the best plan at the moment, you know.」
Geordo lets out a forced smile. With his superiors’ heavy-handedness, especially with the contents he interpreted, he could it, but Geordo, when presented with a practical plan, has no choice but to nod.
「With the sudden change, you’ll provoke opposition.」
「Then, for when I return to the castle, may I have your answer?」
「I look forward to working with you.」
Towards the smiling first prince who had frightening expectations for the future, Geordo smiles.
「Dia, I have a bit of work, so is it okay if I entrust this to you?」
When Geordo requests it, Lydia nods her head, and guides the first place to the place where there are many fall flowers blooming. Given that the letter was a preliminary announcement, with that, the terrace where one can have tea and other places is prepared. Purple thistles and autumn bellflowers, and blue turf lilies look nice, and yellow chrysanthemums and patrinias are arranged by a welcome mat, and glossy abelias in the interior are modestly peeping out. If one changes their line of sight a little, you’ll find peach pink Dianthuses, Western style cate whiskers, and Clematises are there with noticeable globe amaranths providing a good accent. From where does that sweet smell come from, if you search for the origin, in the forest the fragrance of an orange fragrant olive tree is peeking out. [T.N: THIS ENTIRE SECTION WAS PURE PAIN]
At the sight of autumn flowers in full bloom, a breath of admiration leaks out from the first prince.
「So this is how it blooms in fall……」
Towards the first prince who said the blooming fall flowers were splendid, Lydia felt a sense of pride inside.The skill of her house’s gardeners isn’t normally recognized, but she was happy that they earned a response from other people.
「It’s a style of blooming that leaves behind its natural appearance. You can’t see this in the castle.」
「I will humbly receive His Majesty’s praise, our house’s gardeners will also gratefully accept it.」
Turning towards the smiling face of the first prince, that dazzling appearance, for a moment she seemed to shake, but for the sake of accomplishing the duty she had been entrusted from her father for their guest, Lydia endured. As the duke’s daughter she ought to not feel ashamed and entertain, thought Lydia as she encourages herself.
Incidentally, Katherine the maid made tea, and the two of them sat down. Then, because the first prince’s attendants moved back, and judging it to be necessary to order people to leave, Lydia also refrained from giving Katherine instructions.
Confirming there were only two people in the fall garden, the first prince happily smiles.
「Then, at least I can be comfortable.」
Getting a look of requesting a correction, Lydia corrected herself.
The first prince, Roy, nodded his head in complete satisfaction. Towards the innocent prince who is different from the time he was facing her father, Lydia’s mental tension slightly loosened.
「However, my visit hasn’t finished yet, you know. The Ernest Duke is especially busy.」
「Well, given that it would be good if my father has more days off, this was a good chance.」
「Then, I accidentally gave him more work, huh. As expected, afterwards I will apologize.」
Receiving Lydia’s words, Roy gives a strained smile. He recalls talking back and forth with his father, and Lydia asks.
「As for that, was my father absolutely necessary?」
Because she felt a factor of politics, specifically, she asks the only point she didn’t hear that she was concerned about.
「Yes.. Control of the educational institutions, the duke…… it’s in Lydia’s father’s jurisdiction, so I directly asked him.」
「Roy-sama is interested in this country’s education because of his youth?」
At Lydia who was looking with a gaze that held a sense of pure respect, Roy stared in amazement and burst into laughter, seeming to find something amusing.
「That…… The truth is, I only wrote something rather self-indulgent like that……」
Having a personal, exaggerated detail revealed to her, this time Lydia’s eyes widened.
「Maybe, if my father looks, it will immediately be exposed. Therefore, under the cover of a marriage candidate interview this time, I wanted to lay the groundwork with Duke Ernest.」
「His Majesty can’t find out……?」
「Yes. It’s because I’m trying to do something without certainty.」
Therefore, if the king became aware, he would stop, said Roy.
「……I, sooner or later will become king. I don’t have any feelings about abandoning that right and duty. However, one more desire came out. Just a little struggle I should try out, I thought.」
What unsuitable words from him, she thought. Even so, Lydia’s eyes saw the determination in his honey colored eyes.
「So, I wanted someone to cooperate.」
Gazed at by straightforward honey eyes, Lydia looked back.
「Yes. This visit, pretending to be thanking for visiting my birthday, this is an interview with my fiance candidate.」
Roy, at the time he saw the list of those to visit handed over by his retainer, had put on an easy to understand smile. He met everyone on the list, and Lydia is the last.
「The Ernest house is an originally neutral house, and the post leader of the Three Ministries, without neutrality, will not function properly. Someone with that family status and lineage is most suited as my fiance.」
Lydia was thinking it was suitable for both of her parents, and concerning her own merit, she hadn’t thought about it. However, Lydia understands a princess who leans towards any influence of nobility is undesirable.
「I want to postpone it until graduating from the academy. At that time, there is a fiance that will keep my retainers silent. If possible, a person who understands is good.」
Even though entering the academy is how many years away, at how he focused until the distant future, Lydia is lost for words. Is he really a young boy who is different in only one or two ways?
「Then, if I individually marry for political reasons, Lydia-sama…… is good. May I have your cooperation?」
At Roy being all smiles and facing towards her with an honest gaze, Lydia straightened up her spine. She can’t make a careless reply. Having said that, until now, it isn’t expected that Lydia immediately replies to the matter extended to her.
At the appearance Lydia is worrying about her reply, Roy’s forced smile changes to a kind look.
「It’s fine if you don’t reply immediately. After we get to know each other, I want you to confidently decide if I’m sufficient.」
「That’s, that feels like I am testing Roy-sama……」
「It’s fine, you know. That’s your right. I was trying to use you. You would be bearing risk and an excessive disadvantage, so you should use me too.」
Using the first prince, Roy, how discourteous. The disadvantage he spoke about, with an engagement to royalty, there will be many restrictions that come forward, and in the case the engagement is cancelled, Lydia will be blamed. From Roy’s manner of speaking, according to the result of his conduct, an engagement cancellation is likely.
For the response to Roy, it is something that will decide the future hereafter. This isn’t something you can undertake with only respect and affection. Lydia, for a moment, hesitates, and accepts the fact she cannot answer now.
「May I humbly think over it?」
「Of course, That’s my intention.」
Sweetly smiling, Roy drank enough black tea. When Lydia followed and drank tea, she felt her throat moisten. It seems she was nervous.
Although it was drawing close to the end, right after only one thing was weighing on her mind, Lydia asks.
「In the case I refuse, what will Roy-sama do?」
「I’ll have no choice but to pick from the other candidates. Because I wasn’t able to have a conversation with them like Lydia-sama, I won’t explain.」
Without hesitation, a reply of finding a clear decision was returned. Not having it explained or having it explained, which way is horrible, she thinks. Lydia feels sincerity for the way of having it explained. Although noble daughters are political tools, it isn’t as good being used unknowingly.
How about other daughters? For some who yearns for Roy, someone who wants power, since the potential to become queen is there, even know it, they will accept the conditions. However, for the sake of blocking engagement cancellations, the person in question will pressure him from his surroundings. There’s no mistaking it, it will be inconvenient for Roy.
She looks at Roy who is looking at the garden while drinking tea. Truly, he’s a boy whose appearance towers above paintings of angels. And then, his intelligence is excellent. Lydia respects the boy who posses more than the appearance of a prince. When they previously met, there was an ordinary adoration, but he actually meets and talks with the people of the country, and shows respect to his retainers. Right now, he’s relaxed as a prince, and it’s an honor to be friends with a calm prince, she thinks.
She can’t imagine herself as queen yet, but if this is a place where he let his guard down, then to that much, she wants to help, Lydia thinks.
「……which reminds me, is it okay to reveal the truth of the interview to a marriage candidate yet?」
「It’s because I won’t conceal it from a friend.」
A marriage candidate being aware of the purpose for Roy’s interview this time, isn’t there a risk of an information leak? She thinks about it and asks, and facing a dazzling smile that’s trusting her, Lydia believes he trusts her. There is no way she will willingly betray him with his faith in her.
「Besides, from now on, using this chance, I want to get in touch with Duke Ernest.」
「So I am an excuse.」
「Because talking with Lydia-sama is fun, contacting the duke must be remembered next.」
Roy’s words aren’t a lie, she understands through his facial expression. Because of that, Lydia also relaxes her appearance.
「It can’t be helped, can it? Please use that excuse to that extent.」 [T/N: Literally “I will let you use it to that extent”]
At Lydia’s purposeful sighing words, Roy gives his thanks, not just on the surface. That’s a boy whose smiling face you can’t hate, Lydia thinks. This is the charisma of royalty, isn’t it?
「I thought Roy-sama was a gentler person.」
She didn’t think he is hiding a will that is strong and forces his selfishness through, until he used political maneuvers. The method is considerably different, but is very childish.
「Do you hate that kind of me?」
「I do not hate it.」
Rather, Lydia feels that she likes the smiling face that feels age appropriate. At Lydia’s reply, Roy smiled, seeming happy.
「Is that so. I, knowing that I have age appropriate feelings, am very happy. Being unreasonable is also fun.」
The method is unusual, Lydia thought, but was silent at Roy’s smiling face.
Because Lydia doesn’t not have a strong feeling of wanting to struggle to that extent, she thinks she’s a little jealous. Sometimes he has a strong feeling of sticking to your own opinion, it seems. When that time comes, if she can act like him, that will be good.
Now, with him, facing each other, she should give an answer to the question that was given. Until she faces Roy, she was feeling a great sense of anxiety, but rather than talk with him, Lydia had courage. The inner light that dwelt in the pupils that gave the impression of Nigella flowers, Lydia didn’t notice it.
Several days after the marriage candidate interview, when Lydia went out for a walk and was greeted by the gardener’s apprentice.
「Today, for sure, will you teach me?」
When Lydia asked, he easily discloses his secret and nodded his head. Getting permission from his father, the two of them go to the plaza with the owl fountain. When they go underneath the hedge, an unusual carpet of white clovers was spread out.
The gardener’s apprentice who entered before looks over his shoulder when Lydia steps in.
「I want to give Ojou happiness.」
At the sudden detail, Lydia can’t understand. Happiness isn’t something you can present like an object.
The gardener’s apprentice put something on Lydia. Her head passed through that large thing, and it fell on her shoulders. There was a hoop made of white clovers.
The necklace made of white clovers was entirely made of four leaf clovers. The happiness he said, she realizes this is a symbol of good luck. But, the four clovers are expected to be rare, so Lydia is surprised at how these are here.
「That’s not all that’s here.」
When he prompts her and crouches down, she is able to confirm the round mitsuba leaves are mixed in here and there with the four leaf clovers.
She can’t believe it. The other day, there were only mitsubas.
「It’s because Ojou walked.」
「Because, in that situation, the tracks where Ojou walked, happiness comes out. I don’t understand why Ojou isn’t lively, but if it’s the way Ojou’s feet diligently walked on the ground, it’ll be fine.」
She was surprised.
He wasn’t aware of what was troubling her, but with he came to give her this kind of encouragement. The result of his actions he decided on was scary. However, when he tied happiness to where she previously walked, with her eyes she verified the appearance she could see. Because it’s expected he doesn’t know what kind of things are worrying her, it does not mean he’s guaranteeing the result. Only that if it’s good to persevere, she’ll be aided. However, his guarantee it would be okay, is very hopeful.
She received courage for her talk with Roy, but he had unintentionally dispelled the anxiety that wasn’t going away. Her cheeks began to get hot.
The drops did not stop falling, and from her nigella flower-like eyes, tears flow. The gardener’s apprentice who saw that, gazes at her, flustered.
「Wa, wai…… I, I, was I insensitive……!? Although I don’t know anything, I’m sorry!! I only wanted Ojou to keep her strength……」
Interrupting his apologies from becoming worse, Lydia, as she was shedding tears, opened her mouth.
「The other day, at the party, I met His Highness.」
Although he stared in wonder as she began to talk, the gardener’s apprentice nodded his head to show he was listening.
「His Highness, Roy-sama, was magnificent. He’s skilled at leading a dance, he’s very kind, and his intelligence is overflowing.」
「Then, I became one of Roy-sama’s fiance candidates.」
「Afterwards, I met again with Roy-sama, and learned that I seem to be the leading candidate.」
By him only nodding his head up and down, one by one in his mind the words he can understand spill.
「I, I certainly admired stories in the picture books where one became a prince’s princess. But, I didn’t think it would that would happen to me……」
「I was surprised, and I don’t understand what’s good to do…… the expectation is that it’s an honor as a noble’s daughter, although……」
「It’s very surprising, I think.」
He pats her head with a soft pon sound. When she looks up, she meets his copper-colored warm gaze.
「Even though I’m older than Ojou, marriage, let alone love, isn’t something I’ve thought of. Ojou, as it is, because you’ve been doing your best with practice, you’re over capacity.」
She’s surprised, at the affirmation this kind of anxiety is natural, she calms down. Naturally, her tears stop.
「Are you immediately deciding?」
「Roy-sama just met with me, so I can think about it……」
「Then, it’s fine to relaxedly think about it, right?」
It’s good the prince is a good guy, he said with a smile. Thinking that it’s okay to simply make the royal family wait, although he’s a fool, he has nerves of steel.
「Since Ojou is a child, she doesn’t have to think about suddenly difficult things, you know. I’ll do what’s right in front of me, and before long, I’ll understand what to do.」 [T/N: Literally “I’ll do what’s right in front of my eyes, and before long I’ll understand”, but I added the implied part for clarity.]
When he says that’s the way it is with a laugh, she ends up understanding. Because he says the words he’s thinking, they fall without change from his heart.
「That…… that is so. I’m still only a candidate.」
If she thinks that it’s fine not to be in a hurry, her heart considerably calms down.
「If Ojou becomes happy, then that’s fine.」
「Why am I the basis?」
「I don’t know the prince. Compared to a guy I don’t know, it’s better that Ojou is smiling.」
It’s an incredibly subjective feeling. She thinks she should point out how it’s disrespectful, but because Lydia’s happiness gradually rises, and she couldn’t. Come to think of it, her father said it was okay for her to decide. Katherine the maid was also an ally and encouraged her. Lydia finally understood the reality that she is surrounded by people wishing for her happiness. Just how blessed was she?
「……Zack, these four leaf clovers, is it okay to pick a few of them for when we return?」
She should make a bookmark of pressed flowers after returning, she thinks. Then, she decides to give it to her father who prays for her happiness as thanks.
What should she do for him? Because he raised these four leaf clovers, even if she gave him a bookmark, he doesn’t have books. When she wonders how she can convey her thanks and is staring at the four leaf clovers, next to her, he looks up at the sky.
Curiously thinking about the dim looking appearance of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, when she calls his name, he returns a feeble smile.
「I’m an idiot. The whole time, I was thinking I can make the garden so Ojou can see it. But by chance, before I become an adult, Ojou may have already married and moved into another house.」 [T/N: Literally “moved to another house” or “married into another house”, so I combined them for clarity.]
It’s an everyday that Lydia vaguely thought would always continue.
Becoming aware that the end of this would come, Lydia’s eyes opened wide. To her, this was frightening. The realization that this everyday will not continue was frightening.
Again it seems she would cry, but at his added warm smile, she pressed that feeling down and stopped.
「I must not quickly become an adult.」
His words that he said, thinking of her, made her incredibly happy and still terribly sad.
In the garden filled with happiness, concealing just a bit of loneliness, were a girl and boy watching the flowers.
Ow. This chapter was so happy and uplifting, and then they shot me right in the heart.
Hopefully everyone had a good Thanksgiving if you celebrate it! Holiday season is coming up, so the next chapter might coming out a little earlier as normally it would come on December 24th, Christmas Eve. I might be out that day, so yes, it might come out the day before or on Sunday, the 26th. Sorry for any inconvenience, but hey, I need a break too, haha.
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See you all next time!