The snow piled up. So, I shovel the snow on the stone pathway that’s walked on. Since the amount of fallen snow is around ten centimeters, I can also help.
When I finished shoveling the snow from the main gate to the front of the mansion’s entrance, I eat lunch, and in the afternoon begin shoveling the sidewalk around the estate. After a few hours, I take a breather.
「Father, is it okay to play around a little?」
It’s a rest period, so he doesn’t mind, and my father nods, so I merrily go towards the small hill of piled up snow.
What should I make? While patting my cotton winter gloves, I check the amount of snow and think about what I should make. I can make a little snowman, but a big snowman is better. I look around my surroundings and search for if there is something I can seem to use. Because some red coralberry fruits enter my sight, I take little of those leaves and fruits.
When I collect the snow, Ojou and Katherine-san, the maid, arrive together.
「Ah, Ojou, Katherine-san, hello.」
「What are you doing?」
Katherine-san says hello and slightly bows, and Ojou looks at the snow I’m holding, seemingly curious. That’s right, Ojou is noble’s daughter, so she doesn’t play in the snow.
In the elliptical pile of gathered snow, with the leaves for ears and the red fruits for eyes, I hold the rabbit in front of Ojou.
I give an affirmative reply to the mumble of Ojou who is staring at the rabbit with round eyes.
「It seems cute, right?」
「There’s only a bit of clean snow, so I can only make this much.」
Katherine-san praised me, but since it’s only something simple I made, I force a smile.
Because Ojou, while mumbling that, reached out her hand to the rabbit, I raise it up and avoid her. Ojou becomes sullen, and glares up at me, but trying to touch it is impossible.
「This, because this guy was made from shoveled snow, if you touch it, it’s no good.」
The appearance is pretty, but it’s because I’m worried about things like germs and also worried about Ojou’s hands getting frostbitten. Even if she hears the reason, Ojou has taken a liking to the hare, so she became angry and raised her eyes looking at me. Even if she makes that look, something no good is no good.
「Lydia-sama, afterwards, given that I bring a plate afterwards to the terrace, is that fine?」
When the offense and defense of our gazes is unfolding, Katherine-san sent a lifeboat for me. At Katherine-san’s proposal, Ojou’s eyes light up, and I’m a little worried.
「It will melt, but is that fine?」
Ojou selfishly nods. From my time in my past life, there was something like this, but when I saw something like the snowman I went through great pains to make melt, everytime I’d become disappointed. Will Ojou also be like that, I worry.
「Can I touch it?」
Because again she firmly nods her head, there’s no helping it, and I forced a smile.
「Understood. Afterwards, I’ll leave it with Katherine-san.」
「Then, father will use magic to make it last a long time for me.」
The words of a delighted Ojou weighed on my mind. Because Duke-sama is a rare two magical element person who can use water and wind elements, he can use the composite magic element of ice. Using that kind of valuable-like magic as something like a refrigerator is good, I think. Well, if it’s for Ojou, Duke-sama will do it with pleasure.
「Which reminds me, what about Katherine-san?」
I have a feeling she came earlier than usual. As for Katherine-san, on her tray is a teacup and… pot, I think? She has something like mittens placed on it. Ojou, for some reason, put her hands on her waist and declared,
「Will you accompany me for tea?」
Although until now, she came after finishing her tea, so what’s wrong? While I curiously thought about it, my father approached Ojou. He also went down on one knee, crouching, matching the height of Ojou’s eyesight as much as possible. In the middle of the snow, a bear approaching an innocent rabbit can be seen. Ojou doesn’t have an animal picture book, does she? She doesn’t want to read them.
「May I borrow Zack?」
「It’s just a rest period, so I do not mind. This son of mine, if it would please you, by all means.」
When he gives Ojou permission, my father smiles with understanding. A little surprised at my father’s smile, Ojou returns a delighted looking smile. Ojou also, is a little accustomed to my father, huh? My father would get into misunderstandings with kids, but, somehow I’m happy.
「Then, father, I’ll be going.」
I put the rabbit made of snow in the cool shade of a tree, and when I give my farewell greeting to my father, I’m hit on the head with a fist.
「When you’re finished, do your work.」
I properly reply and with Ojou, turn towards the greenhouse. Given the space the greenhouse has, in order to relaxedly watch the flowers, a complete table set had been put there. When she finished preparing tea, because Katherine-san has other work, she withdrew. Maybe she is paying attention to Ojou’s needs, I think.
I drink the warm tea prepared by Katherine-san, which is steamy. The mitten-like pot cover was used for keeping warmth in, it seems.
「But, why tea?」
When I ask Ojou who is sitting opposite of me, after she drinks a sip of tea, in this pretty place, she puts her teacup on top of a plate and answers.
「If it’s in the greenhouse, in this way, together we can relax.」
「Ah, I see.」
Because until now, it had been on top of the lawn, I hadn’t heard the reason from Ojou. If it’s the surrounding neighborhood, in that fixed space, there are also benches, but there my work is little. The scope of the potential of a visitor coming is most nearly taken charge of by my father. Because there’s the question of my ability, although I’m a servant, if a commoner’s child enters a noble’s field of vision, they’ll have a bad feeling. Because I understand that the kindness of the duke and his family is unusual, so unless there is snow shoveling labor like today, I wouldn’t approach the front main gate.
Especially since certainly the greenhouse is deep, because there are also places to sit, even the public gaze won’t mind. This invitation into the greenhouse is only for close friends of the Ernest household, so they’re certainly a good person.
「Compared to drinking tea alone, together is better, isn’t it?」
「If that’s the case, what about drinking together with Katherine-san?」
It’s a place she can drink with a servant like me, so in other words, it’s a place Katherine-san can also drink with her.
「……inviting Katherine, the courage to do that……」
Ugu, says Ojou, her words jamming. Because Katherine-san has a modest character, it seems she’ll decline. Since there is a hierarchical relationship, if there is an invitation from Ojou, she’s worried it will be like an overbearing command, I think.
「Should I ask her?」
「No, I will properly ask her myself.」
Immediately, I see Ojou who returns a no, and so she’s persevering, I think. Maybe Ojou is shy, or perhaps I should say, showing her plain self is scary, I think. So, even the first time we met, with her armor of being the duke’s daughter, she was acting tough. It was a plain contest, and because of that, she became fragile. To anyone, it would be scary.
「Ojou, you’ve become strong.」
She’s amazing. The me of my previous life couldn’t do it. Although Ojou doesn’t have any regrets of my previous life, she’s trying to do that.
「……that, are you praising me?」
「Yep. You’re absolutely cool.」
When I admire her with a smile on my whole face, Ojou becomes grim. Although I conveyed my true feelings without any changes, she doesn’t seem happy. As expected for girls, being strong or cool isn’t popular, it seems. For someone like me, they’re words of a top compliment.
Ojou, with a feeling of reluctance, says thanks.
And then, during the winter, after the tea break, going to work and talking with Ojou became routine. During tea breaks, sometimes Katherine-san would also join us.
Like that, during the times I sat across from Ojou for tea, it almost always became stories of the prince. According to Ojou, it seems disrespectful. The talk about the prince I hear from Ojou, with his wisdom, “Is he really a year younger than her?”, but I cannot say that with confidence. I haven’t met him, so it’s unnecessary. Ojou, who is smiling, is cute, but as far as the contents of the stories is concerned, if I ask, I’ll hear, though the extent of my original interest was little.
Sometimes, there were also times I would vaguely reply to show I was paying attention and Ojou would get mad. But, for me, listening to Ojou’s stories was fine, it’s completely like a manga or game character’s story.
Huh? Something was on my mind.
I have a feeling I saw a blonde character with a similar name in a game in my past life. What is it, my memories are weak, but wasn’t it a time I helped my sister?
While half-listening to Ojou, I rake through memories of my past life. The time I helped her clear it, there was a blonde character……
[This guy, his specs are too outrageously ridiculous, you know?]
[He’s 2-D, so it’s fine! Even if he’s daring, he’s like a character from a shounen manga I’m reading, isn’t he?]
[I don’t hate that, you know. But, why can’t I clear the loveable Roy-sama?]
[There are walls that love alone can’t cross!!]
Ah. I remembered. Because my sister kept calling, he’s the only capture character’s name I memorized in the tactics RPG minigame. My sister, when it came to battle, is the type who thinks if you attack, it’ll be fine, so she would get tempted by advantageous attack positions and counterattacked, and was wholly unable to deal with it.
「……his full name is long, isn’t it. What is it? Roy…… Roy……?」
「His Majesty, Roy Leonhardt von Rosenhein.」
Ojou teaches me without seeming to be aware of what was coming out of her mouth. That. Ojou’s manner of speaking, when I was corrected by my sister, it’s a feeling of deja vu. But, how would Ojou know that?
I look at Ojou. Light blue pupils and pale blonde hair, eyes lifted up a little like a cat. The feeling is very different, but I have a feeling I heard the name Ojou seemed to mumble in my past life. Her attire resembles the time they first met……?
[Lydia-sama is also a rival, but she isn’t disliked, you know. It’s really a selfish role like the Showa era! —that’s what it feels like, then—]
[That something or other miss, with that showiness, isn’t her chest a little tight?]
[Cheh, you don’t care about the name more than the chest! This is why three dimensional guys are……!]
[No, after all, your favorite Roy-sama is a guy, right? If that’s the truth, it’s not very strange, you know.]
[There’s no reason that two dimensional guys can come out. Taichi, you idiot!!]
[You…… if you say that, I won’t help you anymore.]
Regrettably, the memory of an ordinary fight between brother and sister faded out. That’s it, right, with the name of the rival my sister called out and Ojou’s name being the same, and the appearance of the characters who were on the game’s screen resembled each other somewhat.
Which reminds me, also in that game, the magic each character could use was different. Coincidentally, there are too many points in common, and as much as I can remember, I try to recall the game’s outline.
Ah, this is an otome game.
I, at last, realized this is like the game’s world. But, concerning me, because now it’s the real world I’m living in, because its source is the game, is there something I have to be careful of?
I drink the tea Katherine-san made, and briefly calm down. I’m not trembling, but although I remember memories of no interest to me, my small brain was getting tired out.
First of all, the otome game I certainly helped my sister with…… Your Star, was it? It’s not coming to mind. Ojou, if the protagonist goes for the main route of Roy-sama, depending on the distuation, will have a broken heart. Because the capture targets, if you include the hidden character, sums up to seven, with happy endings and bad endings, there is roughly a one in fourteen chance? Since the Ernest House would turn out peaceful no matter how, it means there is nothing I can do. Moreover, if other people intervene, it’s a love kicked by a horse.
If I’m aware of this kind of uncertain future that will pass, I will not do anything. Generally, I thought, even if I have memories of this world, it’s meaningless, only those kinds of feelings welled up.
……Ojou will come to like Roy-sama, huh.
Now, I have a hunch, looking at the happily talking Ojou. If that’s the case, in the way of the game, it’s a political marriage, but because it will become a marriage for love, Ojou can become happy, I think. But, if the protagonist becomes intimate with Roy-sama, there is the possibility Ojou will become heartbroken.
First of all, because Ojou crying is disagreeable, for me, if Ojou comes to like Roy-sama, if I help, is it fine? How, if that’s the case, can I help, I wonder? Certainly, as for the preparations of Ojou going to school, with it being some country that is the same as for military service, it was stipulated that those with more magical power are required. School…… I want to try going. Magical studies is something I have an interest in. Ojou, with great troubles, taught me reading and writing. Because I don’t understand how long it takes for magical powers, it might be insufficient, however until it’s time for inspection I’m more or less raising it.
Suddenly noticing, my choices multiplied. If it was the me before, because I couldn’t read or write, supposing that I reached the minimum required value for magic with effort, I wouldn’t even receive an inspection, possibly. One or two commoners come through inspection, but because they aren’t an influence, a person who knows his magical power is low, from the beginning, the case he doesn’t receive an inspection is numerous. But, as for now, I think I’ll try to do my best.
If I request Ojou for seconds, I’ll be scolded get it myself. I pour seconds myself, and drink it. Yes, it’s skillfully made.
This tea is just that. Thanks to Ojou, a commoner like me is able to have these kinds of various experiences. Furthermore, even if I’m doing the gardening I want to do, it’s fun having someone I want to show it to.
「I’m glad I met Ojou.」
When I realized how my small life changed, I didn’t want to say it. Naturally a smile wells up.
Because I suddenly said it, after Ojou looks at me blankly, with a sound, in an instant her face turned red.
「……again, were you not listening to me talking!?」
It leaked out. Then, she got mad at me. But, what is it, I wonder. Either way, is she embarrassed?
Hiding her embarrassment, I obediently listen to the scolding lecture of Ojou until the end of my tea break.
When my tea break finishes, I enter the greenhouse for work, Ojou talks for a while until her next lesson. Today, her sister was important. For me, although I rarely encounter Ojou’s sister growth, I have a rough understanding. Recently, she reached the point of speaking singular words, and the time she said Papa for the first time, I heard Duke-sama was happy and cried.
Because it became time for Ojou to go back, she gets out of her seat.
[Shall we go back?]
[It will be fine.]
Because there’s a bit of distance from the estate, when I ask to make sure, Ojou rejected it. Because Ojou also is acquainted with the garden by associating with me, the way back home is also fine, I think. As for the tea set, Katherine-san came to collect it, it seems. I’ll escort her to the entrance of the greenhouse, at least.
At parting, somehow Ojou looked over her shoulder, and from the hem of her dress took something out. Not looking down and not matching gazes, she holds out in front.
The sound of metal chains was heard.
In Ojou’s small hand, given that she’s presending a pendant grasped tightly, first of all I will accept it. I should look, I think.
When I look, it was a silver locket. The decoration is also simple, and I like the feeling of subdued silver, but it doesn’t suit Ojou. When I open the locket, there was a small four leaf clover. I know she plucked several and went home, did I find such a small one?
「It’s small like Ojou, and cute.」
While I look at the interior of the locket, I mumble. Naturally, a smile wells up.
I curiously think about Ojou who is silent with strange timing, and when I look up, her cheeks are dyed red, and she was shaking like how she was about to get mad before.
「……why did you say that unnecessary thing!?」
Ah, she got mad at me. I hurt her feelings when I said little, huh.
「Um, then, I’ll only think it.」
「For Zack, because it shows up on his face, it’s the same!!」
Then, what should I do? Ojou mumbles that either way is bad for the heart, and although she’s young, is it high blood pressure, I wonder. Or, is it me often making her get mad at me?
「……I, is it better if I am not with Ojou?」
「T, that…… that is disagreeable……」
Being with Ojou is fun, but when I propose that if by always getting her mad, I’ll become a burden to Ojou, and should resign from her, Ojou reflexively returns a rejection of that
「So, that! ……it’s already fine.」
Although Ojou gave me an immediate objection, when I’m relieved and relax my expression, Ojou regrettably stopped talking further.
「So this, is it Ojou’s?」
Ojou speaks like it was a little squeezed out.
「I gave my parents bookmarks with pressed flowers, but Zach doesn’t have books, right? So, I substituted it.」
I’m aware. The other day, I had first in a long time surprise attack from Duke-sama, and was boasted to extremely. I always think it, but why does Duke-sama give thanks to me for something Ojou did independently?
Anyways, because I wasn’t thinking it was mine, I was surprised. I’m surprised, and since I’m thinking of the words that aren’t coming out, Ojou explains furthermore.
「It’s not something expensive! Because it’s cheap!」
I see, I didn’t take into consideration that she ordered somewhere that expressly deals with commoners. Ojou’s consideration makes me happy, and my facial expression becomes softer.
「Thank you. I’ll treasure it.」
From that time, time surprisingly passed, but maybe it was easy for me to accept as it matched the season of the Christmas festival. So, I’ll obediently accept it. Which reminds me, the birthday of this country’s God and Christmas are the same in this world of the otome game, aren’t they? Because I was thinking it was convenient, it was just a bit refreshing.
「Ah, I haven’t prepared anything……」
The Holy Night Festival, because for commoners like me, it was the only day we can eat a feast, we haven’t given others presents. What should I do?
「I received something, you know.」
Ojou, saying that although I gave her nothing, shows a smile as if she got revenge.
「The rabbit made of snow. I will treasure it.」
I wonder if such a thing is fine. Then, at that exchange, I remembered something like deja vu. Come to think of it, the time Ojou was worried about my birthday present, she said something similar.
Somewhat amused, I smile. This kind of girl, she should be treasured, right?
「Then, something extra.」
Ojou tilts her head slightly to the side, seemingly curious.
「If there’s a guy who makes you cry, tell me. Because I’ll punch him.」
「Why, suddenly saying that kind of dangerous thing……」
I look at the surprised Ojou, and think “Is that so?”. Because something like a logical connection isn’t there, for Ojou, violence is unrelated.
「It’s fine, just remember it.」
Because I, smiling like before, say that, Ojou nods, still not understanding. I, seeming strange, to what extent did I seriously plan for some time, I wonder. But, in seriousness.
This is an otome game, but the prince is really good. Ojou is valuable to me. If there’s a guy who makes Ojou cry, first of all, I’ll punch him.
Even if Ojou forgets that bonus, I’ll make good on my promise, I swear on the locket I received. It’s a vow that’s out of place on God’s birthday. However, it’s a vow that’s important for my sake.
With the Holy Night Festival, I didn’t have any desires for God, but from this year, I’ll prepare to entrust it to God.
I pray for Ojou to smile in the year to come.
Wew, there we go! Happy New Year, everyone. Not a lot to say for this chapter, other than that awwww. Two more chapters before we finish the end of Volume 1! I will probably be posting early Friday morning from now on due to my work schedule. I will let you guys know if things change!
As always, I hope you enjoyed the translations. I hope to continue delivering translations throughout 2022.
Small plug as well, but I will be presenting a panel at Katsucon 2022 about how you can use web novels, much like this one, to improve your Japanese. If you can make it, I’d delighted to have you.
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See you all next chapter!