This chapter is almost not brought to you by CHAOS, who I am on a grand crusade to slay. Also Sophie 2. Atelier is dangerously addicting.
I, who held memories of the previous world as a Japanese person, became a gardener’s apprentice, and one year passed.
「Ojou, what’s wrong?」
The Duke’s daughter, Lydia von Ernest, seemed delicate as she came to where I am working. Behind her is the maid, Katherine, who is holding her one year old younger sister. In her younger sister’s hand, is Ojou’s thin pale hair she’s grasping.
「Flora isn’t separating from me……」
Ojou says that with a troubled face. Here, with the world of the otome game, Ojou is that rival girl it seems, but right now she seems to only be an older sister troubled at being hugged by her younger sister. Ah, by the way, because I’m not even a mob, I don’t appear in the game.
However, Ojou strangely prioritizes occasionally coming to me. Especially if she isn’t separating from Ojou, as it is, it’s fine to be worrying about her younger sister, I think. These periodic meetings became a habit, what she will say at them is strangely honest.
If Ojou comes today, I was thinking of leading her to my self-study garden, but as it is, it’s unreasonable. First of all, I have to get permission from my father to go back with Ojou. Ojou’s younger sister seems to be having fun tugging on Ojou’s hair.
I approach Ojou’s younger sister.
「Flora, you’re energetic today, aren’t you? We only meet occasionally, but do you remember me?」
When I point at myself and ask, Flora tilts her head to the side. The degree to which we’ve met is the several times I was invited to Ojou’s mother, Octavia-sama, or Oku-sama’s meetings over tea. Her remembering me is doubtful. After thinking about it for several seconds, pink eyes stare at me while she raises her voice.
「That’s right, it’s Isaac. You remember well, that’s great.」
She seems to grasp that she was being praised, and Flora suddenly smiles, delighted.
When I smile, Flora also smiles as if to respond. As a test, when I show her opening my mouth very wide, Flora also opens her mouth. This time, I close my mouth in a straight line, and Flora also tightly closes her mouth.
「Then, can you do this?」
In front of Flora, I show both hands, make fists, and then show her opening them. Then, her small tightly gripping hands suddenly open, and she shows her palms. Smoothly, the thin blonde hair that was being tightly gripped falls.
「You were able to do it well.」
When I pat her head and praise her, Flora raised a delighted voice of “Kyaa”.
「I understand that your sister’s hair is pretty, but you shouldn’t cause her that much trouble, you know.」
Instead of strongly scolding her, I try to crudely rub her head a little, but it didn’t seem to be translated as she only raised a glad voice. There’s no helping it, I think as I force a smile.
「……You’re skilled, aren’t you?」
From Katherine who is holding Flora, that kind of admiring voice comes out. It seems Katherine also tried to separate them.
「Around this time, they’ll imitate anything. Ojou, are you okay?」
Because I don’t understand how long she was being held, when I look in Ojou’s direction, her face turned red and she kept silent.
「……there is nothing wrong.」
When I ask, Ojou shows behavior like she was only a little mad and then turns away. Furthermore, I think it’s better not to investigate.
「Today, do you want to go with Flora?」
「Eh, is it fine?」
「It’s fine. Flora also seems to want to play with Ojou again.」
There isn’t a worry of a one year old child leaking the location, I think. However, because there is some distance to go while carrying her, when Ojou goes under the hedges, I tear up a large piece of cloth.
At me, who suddenly tore up the cloth, Ojou is surprised.
「What are you……?」
「It’s only for carrying her.」
Honestly answering, I receive Flora from Katherine-san, and from the back, tuck the cloth under both of my armpits, and afterwards twist the cloth and turn behind, and because I tightly coiled the cloth, the remaining cloth at the back is bound.
「Right, shall we go?」
When she confirms Flora is being tightly held behind me and raises her voice, Ojou’s eyes go wide and Katherine-san applauds.
「That is amazing, isn’t it?」
「Eh? The aunties downtown do it quicker, you know.」
Katherine-san praises it like she watched a magic trick, but can quickly do this. Because I only help sometimes, my skills at it aren’t as good. I know how to do it, but, I don’t know the name of this method.
「Um…… if it is not a bother, will you please teach me that technique? Octavia-sama’s arm is easy to tire……」 [T/N: Damn you formal tense.]
Even so, Oku-sama who tries to keep a lot of time together with her children is amazing. For nobles, child raising is usually left to the servants.
「Then, I’ll also teach you the method where they’re held in front.」
Not being able to see their mother’s face, for children it’s disagreeable, I think.
「I thank you very much.」 [T/N: Humble tenssssse!]
Katherine smiled like she was relieved. Afterwards, Ojou determinedly raises her hand.
「Teach me as well.」
「I understand you want to do something for your sister, but if you take up the work of the servants and maids, it’s no good.」
For Ojou, whose strength isn’t any more than Oku-sama’s, since the degree of difficulty will be high, and in the first place it isn’t a skill that a noble daughter needs. When I’m careful with the reason of Ojou being able to understand, suddenly she choked up on her words and gave up. It seems to be a little frustrating.
「Because Ojou is an older sister, if she does something only an older sister can do, it will be good, right?」
「An older sister……」
At that sound, Ojou’s eyes sparkled. Yep, she understands. I might be a bit wrong, but in the previous world, when my sister was small, for an older brother, I felt it was a duty only I could especially do and was proud of it. Well, before long, because I was an older brother, the times my sister would be handed over to me increased and I got sulky. Especially if Ojou doesn’t do something like that, it’s good, huh? Well, if it’s Duke-sama and Oku-sama, it’ll be fine.
Because I was able to make preparations, I face the self-study garden with Ojou. Katherine-san brought along cookies that Flora can also eat. Perhaps they are something like tamago boro.
The seasons changing is fun, isn’t it, and sometimes Flora lets out giggles from behind. While going into the garden, when I remember and hum a song, I’m scolded by Ojou. [T/N: Tamago boro are miniature egg biscuits, which melt in your mouth without biting, so it’s safe even for small children.]
「Please do not teach Flora any strange songs?」
「Ehh, something like classic music, when it’s time to sleep, is fine, isn’t it? Besides, I can’t sing such a thing.」
「First of all, if you don’t sing, isn’t it fine?」
「For something like a picnic, it’s more fun this way, isn’t it? Naa, Flora.」
「Naa—」 [T/N: I assumed he’s singing the syllable so I opted to keep it.]
There’s no understanding, I think, but Flora seemed to happily repeat my last syllable. The times I looked after children, whether or not they understood words, I often sang a song. Because even with this movement a child can have fun, with only this, I decided to only care about them having fun. When I rethink about preschool in the previous world, because there was always a time for songs, such is life.
「Does Ojou dislike it?」
「I… dislike it……」
I only try to ask, but somehow Ojou who seemed to flinch, seems to reply hesitatingly.
I’m glad. I’m relieved. The music that both fits and doesn’t fit, so if Ojou is weak with uptempo music, as one would expect there’s no helping toning it down. Listening to music that doesn’t come together is painful. [T/N: This is a little ambiguous, but I assume that Isaac is talking about music that is both on and off-beat, with plenty of syncopation, but there’s no specific reference to it or “fitting the beat”]
In my past life, I didn’t have one taste that matched with my sister. What was it, a character song? It was an earnestly smug speech of a song. It wasn’t like that at all it seems, but my sister who has it, since it’s an otome game’s capture character, it seems to become that. She only did it when she was in her room, so it was peaceful, but since this world’s origin is based off Kimisei, I did it. If there was only one person who knows about it, I would have a feeling of “Uwaaah”. Yes, I should keep not thinking that deeply about it.
There is a bit of distance to the self-study garden, but while humming a song, the mood becomes fun, and when you notice it, you’ve arrived. After, because Flora also harmonizes with her voice, it isn’t boring, it seems. Flora’s voice isn’t that spirited, but for the second half, Ojou was also stealthily humming. Because there was a feeling that if I talked, she would stop, I was saying nothing.
Before we pass through the hedges at the entrance, I change my hold on Flora to a front one, so she won’t be hit by leaves and branches so we can carefully pass through. I receive a cloth to cover her head for defense from Ojou, put it on, and pass through.
Ojou, who took the cloth off of her head, unconsciously let out a voice of admiration.
「Because before, it wasn’t time for it to bloom, we came once again.」
The sun was showering the whole surface of white flowers that were just like the fluff of the whtie clovers. The surroundings of the water fountain with the owl, with two colored white and green mitsubas, was filled. White clovers aren’t only raised well in a sunny place, but this sunny spot was the best place.
I spread the cloth as a substitute for a seat, then set Flora down, and encourage Ojou to sit. Even after she sits, she approaches the white flowers and her facial expression starts to open up.
「Not only the grass, but the flowers are also lovely, aren’t they?」
At her finding it pleasing, I’m glad. I was happy at how the garden turned out, but because it was before the right season, I couldn’t show it. That time, because if we didn’t step on it, they wouldn’t be blooming, but I’m glad Ojou doesn’t seem to be worried. Also at that time, after I grew up, I hesitated.
Since Ojou is gazing at the flowers, Flora also, when she is curious, reaches out her hand to the white flowers, and opens her mouth.
「Heeey, can I try to eat any of these?」
I embrace Flora, and make her sit on top of my crossed legs. I the hold the white flowers she tried to pick up, and put it up high where Flora’s hand can’t reach.
「This, if you eat it, it’s no good.」
Even if I cautious her about things she can’t eat, with the intention seeming not to be conveyed, Flora’s hands flutters and reaches out. I sigh, and then helplessly call out to Ojou.
「Ojou, do you have a handkerchief?」
「I brought one, but……」
「I’ll wash it and return it, so I want you to lend it to me.」
While strangely judging me, who requested with the assumption of getting it dirty, Ojou lent me her white lace handkerchief. By touching it, I understood this is a high quality cloth. But, because you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, though while thinking that it can’t be helped, I temporarily spread that handkerchief and then fold it.
Before Flora’s eyes, the held handkerchief springs up while I hold it.
「Heeey, Flora. This, do you understand what it is?」
「R, rabbi」 [T/N: She only says “Usa” of “Usagi” so I tried to mimic it]
「That’s right, it’s Mister Rabbit. Do you want it?」
Her pink pupils shine, and then Flora greatly nods. I confirm that the target of her fluttering arms changed, and then when I hand over the created rabbit made with the handkerchief, she immediately bit the ear.
「Flora!? That’s improper, you know!」
「It’s proof that she likes it, so let her do it.」
Ojou is flustered by her sister’s actions, but because there isn’t the worry of her being able to eat it, I tell her it’s within acceptable limits. Though Ojou is perplexed, it seemed she understood after looking at Flora’s state that this is better.
「Even if it’s taking care of children, Zack is really skilled.」
「It’s because in the downtown area, we help each other no matter the circumstances.」
I also, more when I was a child, people like the older boys and girls, and aunties, gave me help. That being the case, I only returned the favor towards the ones born after me.
「Although in exchange, I haven’t done anything for my sister……」
After seeing a downhearted and low-spirited Ojou, I tilt my head in confusion.
「You’re doing something, aren’t you?」
「When Flora says she wants to be together and behaves like a spoiled child, you meet her, you worry about her and scold her, you’re already acting like an older sister, aren’t you?」
As for that even though I only say a little, it’s all right, it’s because Ojou is here together with her. Because Ojou is close, Flora has peace of mind, and now, in an unknown place, is having fun.
「Is that so……」
「That’s right. Hey, Flora loves her big sister, riiiiight?」
「Uu, I love her!」
When I ask, Flora affirms it right away. Because of that reply, the meaning of love is properly understood, it seems. As one would expect, there is only a blind love like Duke-sama.
After hearing her sister’s words, Ojou lets out a “Fuwa” and her face became red. Her light blue eyes became a little bit wet.
「Right, Flora. Tightly hug your sister.」
「In this way, it’s something to transmit your biiiiig amount of love.」
While being sure not to be painful, when I hug Flora from behind, she gives a happy-seeming voice and her small hands hold me in return. Confirming she understood the method, with both hands holding Flora from behind, lift her, and then turn towards Ojou.
「Sishta, huuuuug!」 [T/N: Instead of “nee-chan”, Flora says “Nee-sha”, so I tried an equivalent]
Experiencing the strength of Flora’s embrace, Ojou’s eyes open wide a little, and at first she’s nervous, but tut then finally tightly returns the hug.
As for the limit of the strength of her hug, there’s only the feeling it’s there, so it’s properly transmitted to Ojou. Skinship, for the time words aren’t understood, with family, is one important way of communication. Ojou is the first sister, so she doesn’t have self-confidence, it seems. With this, if she gets a little bit of self-confidence from her sister liking her, it will be good.
It feels nice in her arms, it seems, and Flora was continuously holding Ojou. Ojou is also happy, I think, and for a little while was holding Flora close.
How much time passed, when Ojou lifted her head.
「……Incidentally, some time ago, what were you doing?」
When she’s worried about the sound of what I was working on nearby, Ojou asked me that. That thing that I just finished, I place on Ojou’s head.
「Here you are, Princess.」
「I’m not a prin—」
She saw the white garland made of white clover flowers, and Flora’s pink eyes sparked.
「Yep. If something like the flower spirits are here, they have that kind of feeling, I think.」
Today, because Ojou coincidentally has a mainly white dress, the white flowers suited it well. I don’t know if there are any kind of spirits outside the elemental spirits, but they are seen, it might feel like this. Because of her pale blonde hair, in the middle of the sunny spot, her silhouette is thin and seems to be transparent.
Ojou swiftly closed her mouth, blushing. Just before she seemed to get mad, she opens her eyes.
「Zaaack, I want one too.」 [T/N: Not a lot to translate here, literally Flora just says “Raaaamooou” which doesn’t translate into much but the next sentence gives it some context.]
As soon as I thought to ask Ojou what’s wrong, I was pleaded to by Flora.
「Matching is good, isn’t it? Please wait.」
I immediately start making a smaller garland. After all, she can’t stop asking about Ojou’s appearance, but from Ojou, there is nothing said, only hugging Flora and waiting for her garland to be made.
The size is smaller, and I’ve gotten better, so I’m able to make it faster than before. Even so, Flora seems to get tired of waiting, and was eating the handkerchief rabbit’s ear again.
「Thank you for waiting, princess.」
When I put the garland on top of her deep blonde hair, although Flora can’t see it, she reaches with her hands to the top of her head and checks for the feeling of flowers. And then, as if confirming, she looks up at Ojou.
「Mhm. It matches.」
Showing she’s wearing the same garland as Flora, Ojou smiled. At that smile, Flora’s whole face is filled completely with happiness.
「Prinshesh!」 [T/N: Again another purposeful typo, as Flora says “hime-shya” rather than “hime-chan”]
Looking at the happy Flora, Ojou, seems to happily put on a small grin.
「You really are a cute princess.」
「Ojou, it’s different.」
Because I swiftly put in a word of denial, Ojou blankly tilts her head in confusion.
「Flora said Ojou is cute, right?」
「Mm. Sishta, cuuute!」
Because Flora was happy to receive praise, the returned it in the same was as Ojou, I think. But, because Ojou was misunderstanding receiving the compliment, only that much was made correct.
Understanding her sister praised her, Ojou turned a happy, or was it embarrassed, red.
「……what are you saying, both of you.」
What, me too?
At being the target of seeming to be mumbled to, annoyed, I didn’t understand the reason.
Afterwards, for Flora who had gotten hungry, when we ate a bit of cake, she started to get sleepy. Because of that, we decided to return to the estate.
「I can also try to carry her on my back.」
As soon as I was preparing to carry her on my back, Ojou raised her hand and said something like that. She isn’t giving up yet, it seems.
「She’s small, so isn’t it fine……!」
「……I understand. Then, crouch down a little.」
With the spread out cloth, after she gets into a position where she can stand up easily after crouching, I put Flora, who is held with a cloth band under her armpits, on Ojou’s back.
「Hold a little still.」
Holding the cloth band as it is, I twist the cloth several times at Ojou’s front. Then, up to Flora, on the opposite side of Ojou, I tie both ends of the cloth, and so her lower body will be stable. I cross them several times, and then bring it to Ojou’s front and tied it around her waist.
「There. With that, it should be good, Ojou. …..Ojou?」
Because there’s no reply, when I raise my head from the knot, there was an Ojou who is tightly closing her eyes and holding her breath. It’s not due to a lack of oxygen that her face is red. As if to bear it, her fist is tightly grasped.
I think a little bit about what’s wrong, and suddenly recalled one reason she is holding her breath. Which reminds me, because it’s after I worked on the garden, I smell of sweat, maybe. Perhaps I caused her discomfort through smelling something strong, I think? It’s dangerous, what should I do? For Ojou, because it’s difficult to speak about, it’s better if I check, right?
「Sorry, Ojou. Did I smell of sweat?」
When I apologetically ask, Ojou’s eyes went wide. I’m glad she took a breath.
「No, t-t-t-there’s nothing!」
Then, with full power, she shook her head. Becoming panicked and shaking her head to that extent, her neck must hurt.
「If there’s nothing, there is nothing!」
Because I was strongly told that, I arbitrarily nodded my head in agreement.
Ojou pulls herself together, and from her current state of carrying Flora, tries to stand.
But, no matter how many times she strains, with her center of gravity fixed behind her, she can’t stand. So, even though I said it. Carrying her sister who has about half of her body weight is impossible, I think.
However, because she’s trembling very hard trying to stand up, somehow it was a little cute, and I accidentally let out a small laugh. Immediately, because Ojou looked up at me with a spiteful glare, I apologize while forcing a smile.
「I’m sorry. Because it’s also a great burden on Oku-sama, Ojou carrying Flora on her back is impossible.」
Ojou, who seems to not give up even though I explained why she can’t generally can’t do it, let out a new sound of a word. Perhaps, she’s been infected by Flora?
This time, it was my turn to tremble.
「Why are you laughing……!?」
「That’s not it, Ojou. You’re too cute.」
At Ojou’s objection, even though I convey the feeling that I wasn’t making fun of her, in the end, she got mad.
Even when I took over carrying Flora, with the silence of an anger that didn’t seem to be calming down, I was repeatedly hit by Ojou. Maybe, as for her being silent, she was worried about Flora who seemed to be sleepy.
We arrive at the estate, and around the time Katherine-san came to greet us, I delivered a soundly sleeping Flora and an Ojou who was completely angry.
In this way, even though I realized this is the world of an otome game, my daily life had no change to it.
—only several days later, Flora had a habit of coming to hug him, and I experienced a surprise attack from Duke-sama.
Welcome to Volume 2!
Not a lot to say for this chapter, as it was overall very comfy.
While I said that I’m going to try to keep to a 2 week update schedule, during April this may get shaken up as I’m moving. I’ll keep everyone posted on what the update schedule looks like, and while I have a backlog of chapters to post, they technically haven’t been edited so they’re not completely ready for posting even if I can’t translate in the meantime. That, and I like my backlog not shrinking, haha. Some of these later chapters have been giving me quite a bit of trouble. Giant paragraphs are demoralizing as heck, you know.
Anyways, like I said, not too many comments for this chapter. I’m actually pretty excited for this volume, as I’m about halfway through (translating Ch 26 as of posting this) and the overall arc for this volume is hilarious.
See you all next chapter!
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One thought on “21. Handkerchief”
I will get diabetes from all this cuteness