An official, I thought, and a chill ran down my spine.
What was it?
I, who was helping with pruning the roses, instantly stopped my hands. When I went to investigate the source, even when I looked around my surroundings next to my father, the roses in full bloom that fill one’s field of vision aren’t spread out.
When he tilts his head to the side, as if I’m careful not to make a mistake with my arm movements, I draw a shape in the air. When the roses, as a flower, are gathered too much, the nutrients will not be dispersed and the flowers won’t greatly bloom. Also rather than a little blooming, a dignified single blooming flower is more preferable. I thought that way is prettier.
Maybe, because of my way of thinking, my method of pruning is not readily understood. While confirming with my father, I cut in order so that I don’t make a mistake. After I saw my father doing the pruning, I’ve been doing it, but when I asked him if it was okay to cut it myself, there was a fifty percent chance I would be found with fault.
However, when the rose garden is in blooming season, an out-of-place feeling is terrible. For my father and also for myself, we are not the type of people that flowers suit, but for roses, there’s an excessive feeling. It’s because the noble image is strong, huh. No, here, it’s a noble house, so it’s only natural there’s roses.
After the morning pruning is finished, I carry the basket full of roses that were cut, and was leaving the courtyard. They take great effort to get to bloom, and because it’s wasteful to leave them, I had a feeling the maids could use them for something. Certainly, the expectation is there they can use them for pot-pourri. My father is going to the kitchen to confirm if they will use them for decoration. While he’s at it, he wants to see if they will share their supplies with us.
Suddenly, I stop.
I was opening the glass door of the hallway that looked down on the courtyard, when there was a person that I didn’t know.
Although it’s expected they’re looking at the courtyard, it was a middle aged man who felt like he wasn’t looking, no, a younger man. I thought he was a middle aged man, or rather, he wasn’t standing out, or perhaps I should say he has a gloomy atmosphere. Yep, gloomy. Although it’s fair weather in the summer, his complexion is a little bad.
Because there isn’t any particular necessity to hide from him, I try to pass him as it is.
But, even at the sound of my footsteps, the young guy doesn’t react. As an experiment, I try coming close to him, but again, there is no reaction.
Did I see a ghost?
It’s reached the point where I’ve worked at the Ernest house for a year, but I’ve never seen this younger guy. Besides, his appearance is noble-ish, but his brown hair isn’t like the Ernest family’s.
The source of the chill, was this guy, wasn’t it? However, this ghost is clearly able to be seen. In my past life, I don’t have any memories of being able to perceive the supernatural.
「Young sir, are you alive?」
I ask the person in question whether or not he’s a ghost. When I call out to him, he finally realized I’m here.
Although his eyes are like fresh greens, it feels like there isn’t much life there. It’s like dead leaves, I thought.
The young man, looking vaguely a short distance from me, rather than at me, slowly matched my focus. Ah, our eyes finally met.
The young man who recognized my existence, as soon as he opened his eyes as if surprised, somehow he seemed to sadly smile. But, only a little bit of light is reflected in his eyes.
「Ahh…… I’m fine, you know.」
「It’s fine not to smile when you’re not fine, right?」
No matter how you look at it, there’s a feeling of a forced smile. Although it’s fine not to fuss about a kid you don’t know like this.
He, not understanding what way is good to respond, freezes up.
Confirming he was able to make conversation, I pick up a yellow rose, and hand it over to him.
He reflexively takes it, and stares at the bloomed yellow rose.
「If it’s fine, I’ll give it to you. Because if it’s living, it’ll bloom.」
Because yellow seems to be a lively color, even in the middle of roses, the yellow one is the best one and feels like it smells sweet.
The younger guy who looks at the flower and seems to calm down, fresh leaf like eyes aren’t as narrow as just a bit ago. Yep, now, it’s a natural smile.
Then, what should I do? Is it fine to leave this younger guy who I don’t know whether or not he’s a ghost, as it is? If he’s a ghost, evidently he can’t rest in peace. At that time, if I listen to his story, it’ll be fine, right?
「Why aren’t you lively?」
Since it’s the default that if it’s a ghost, it doesn’t have life, that way of asking is strange, it seems. But, it weighs on my mind.
「My wife is very ill……」
Ah, he started to talk. As expected, he’s a ghost.
「Is it an incurable illness?」
Talking by himself, for a moment, with my past life, there was a feeling of despair. Immediately after the pronunciation of my remaining years of life, I had an accident, but until the three months of my remaining life were over, when I was living, I also made that kind of face without life in it, didn’t I?
「I see. It’s incurable…… so, it’s a mental illness.」
The eyes colored like fresh leaves darken. If the main cause is emotional or mental, there’s no medicine for that. The degree that Japan’s medicine could reduce the effects had side effects.
「At this rate, I wish my body would collapse when I lose my wife……」
When I put the flower basket down and hit him with both hands, the younger man who was trying to tear his hair off with the hand that isn’t holding the rose, lifted his head.
「Mister, are you eating meals by yourself?」
「Are you perhaps not eating?」
「……I don’t have much of an appetite.」
「Mister, if you’re a noble, you have a lot of friends, right?」
For nobles, because their social lives are included in their work, fundamentally, it’s expected they are highly skilled in communication. He should have lots of acquaintances, I think.
「A lot, I don’t understand, but……」
「Then, sometimes, a friend is someone you eat with.」
The younger guy who replied honestly when I asked him, at my proposal, blankly looked on.
「Because you eat alone, meals aren’t delicious, you know. In addition, if your wife is in bad shape, there are family members who are worried for you, aren’t there? If that’s the case, mister, you aren’t worrying by yourself.」
For a person nursing their family all by themselves, it’s easy to drive yourself into a corner. Because they forget the option to rely on someone. Even if you tell a person who is forgetting to rely on their surroundings, will they be able to listen, I don’t know. Therefore, even if they only notice someone is near, it’s fine. Afterwards, if they can get a surplus of people who care for them, it’s even better.
Well, he won’t accept something from a child he doesn’t know without question, but if it becomes a chance he’ll notice, it’s satisfactory.
It’s expected that there’s a small feeling of looking at the green of the garden and wanting to heal.
Things like don’t make a bad facial expression, show liveliness, and being aided abstractly, as well as after this, as for caring for his wife, it would be him doing it himself. For him, unless his heart had the stamina, there’s no way he could do it.
He looked in amazement, and once more looked at the rose in his hand. Then, he brought it close to his face, and smells it. I see that more appropriate appearance, and as expected, there’s a feeling of nobility.
「I…… I had even forgotten I loved flowers.」
He was miserably smiling. He’s saying something like he was dying peacefully, but certainly he’s a living person. Because now, his eyes have life in them.
Hm? This is……
「Daniel, as soon as you aren’t following, you went astray to this place, didn’t you?」
The mister who was called out to as Daniel and reacted, stared at Duke-sama. Suddenly stared at, Duke-sama tilted his head in confusion.
「Is there a problem?」
He let out a really amused smile.
「Because of that, you invited me to your estate, didn’t you?」
Looking at him, Duke-sama, after showing he was thinking for a bit, awkwardly smiled and then looked at me.
「……Isaac, did you make those roses?」
What in the world was he saying? Because I don’t know if this mister and Duke-sama know each other, because Duke-sama isn’t saying anything like that, there’s nothing I can do about the roses. Ah, the rose I gave.
At me, who tilted my head in confusion with all of my heart, after smiling, Duke-sama introduced me.
「Daniel, this kid is Isaac. He’s the apprentice to our family’s gardener. Isaac, this is my friend, Daniel.」
Having Duke-sama as a friend is very important for nobles. This is dangerous, I was talking to him extremely casually. I immediately bowed my head and apologized.
「I am Isaac Baumgartner. I am sorry for saying something rude a little bit ago. Because you were standing there in a daze, I thought you were a ghost.」
Above my bowed head, the sound of laughter could be heard. When I unconsciously lifted my head, making a sound like a laugh while covering his mouth with his hand, is Duke-sama, and putting on a forced smile was the young man, no, Daniel-sama.
「A child you don’t know mistaking you for a ghost is appropriate, isn’t it, Daniel?」
「As one would expect, I was self-aware of it…」
At Daniel-sama’s answer, Duke-sama opened his eyes a little bit and softly smiled. I see, if a friend was like this, he’s worried, isn’t he? He doesn’t understand the circumstances, but if Duke-sama is relieved, it became a little safer.
Suddenly, my stomach growls. When I finished delivering the roses to the maids was when I would eat. Which reminds me, as for not even the topic of basic meals coming to mind, it seems I became hungry.
「That’s a good sound, huh. It seems you’ve become this hungry.」
「You were in the middle of work, weren’t you? If you go back and quickly have lunch, you’ll be fine.」
Because I received Duke-sama’s permission as my boss, I pick up the flower basket and excused myself, bowing.
When my name is called out and I stop walking, I properly meet eyes colored like new leaves. The yellow flower I gave him, on his chest, was blooming. Pointing to that, Daniel-sama says.
「Thank you. When it beautifully blooms, I’ll show my wife.」
I’m happy that he tells me he’ll take care of that flower. I return the smile and leave that place.
After I delivered the roses to the maids and ate lunch, it’s the maintenance of the gazebo linked to the passage to the pond. I prune the mini roses that surround the gazebo, and my father looks after the water lillies in the water.
Because it’s fine to some extent even if they’re assembled and blooming, I also feel good at not having to cut very much. As for thinking it’s wasteful to cut, it’s a poor person’s mentality, it seems. To the basket attached to my back, I put the pruned mini roses.
「Please wait a moment, Ira-sensei!」
Ojou, very much at her wit’s end, raised her voice. While I thought Ojou raising her voice is strange, when I look in the direction of the voice, from the entrance near the main building, Ojou came out. Who is she frantically chasing after? That someone is speed-walking at an average pace faster than Ojou. And with the difference between their strides, Ojou can’t catch up at all.
Who, I think, is that auntie? That woman, with her hair tied back completely in a ponytail, her spirit is a little dreadful.
When she stops walking halfway through the passageway, she faced towards the direction of the gazebo where I’m going around. Somehow I have the feeling our eyes met, and unconsciously, with a start, my body froze.
The woman who was coming towards the gazebo, and it’s not in my imagination she’s heading in my direction. The woman who came until she was in front of me, looked down on me as if she was glaring.
Being suddenly glared at by an adult is extremely scary.
「You’re Ojou-sama’s shadow, aren’t you?」[T/N: It sounds weird, but they use ‘shadow’ in katakana, so this isn’t figurative.]
I don’t understand the meaning of the words of the conclusion that was said to me. I’m not a shadow, I’m a human.
Ojou, with a panicked appearance, calls out to her, interrupting her words. But, the woman who was called Ira-sensei, while looking at me without minding Ojou, says what she wants to say.
「With your low quality character, it will be a bad influence on Ojou-sama. If you are Ojou-sama’s shadow, you will become of the appropriate level of quality!」 [T/N: literally “appropriate level” but wanted to clarify]
No sooner than when she says that, Ira-sensei or so she is called, grabs the scruff of my neck and carries me away.
I, who completely don’t understand the state of affairs, as it is, was taken away. At the moment I am taken away, although his facial expression doesn’t change much, I can see my dumbfounded father and Ojou who is frantically chasing us.
As for being taken away, I was brought to a quite large room without much furniture. Along the way, I was forced to change my clothes. Because something like being helped change my clothes is disagreeable, I changed myself. But, when I didn’t understand how to wear the scarf, the maids took the opportunity to comb my hair.
「What is this place?」
What is it, I think, and I have a bad feeling. It’s my imagination, but because I’m rejecting thinking about it, I ask the person who kidnapped me.
「This is a room to practice dance.」
Without caring, Ira-sensei said that. Seriously?
「Then, whose clothes are these?」
The fabric is incredibly high quality. Because it’s different from what I always wear, it should feel good to wear, but conversely I feel bad. After all, I have a feeling I’m being made to wear these nonsensical clothes.
「They’re my childhood clothes, you know.」
When I look at the direction of the door to the dance practice room, Duke-sama was there, seemingly happily smiling. Heeeh, Duke-sama, you wore surprisingly simple clothes. I had the image of you putting on fluttering clothes with more lace. No, he’s beautiful, so it seems there isn’t a need for showy clothes.
「Well, it’s nice to have your own kids wear your clothes, right? Isaac, how is it? Do you want to become my son?」
「Please stop joking around.」
Even if it’s a joke, it’s absurd. There’s no way I can walk with his beautiful form.
「That is unfortunate.」
Duke-sama lightly shrugs his shoulders at that. Next to him, Ojou is standing. From when I entered the practice room, she absolutely hasn’t made a reaction, but, what should I do, I wonder.
「Ojou, are you tired?」
When I thoroughly examine her expression, she put distance between us as if she was taken aback in shock. Was she astonished to that extent?
After Ojou’s gaze swam around, she abruptly turned away.
「W…… well, you’ve become better, haven’t you?」
「Eh? Thank you.」
I was praised even though my appearance obviously doesn’t suit me. Thinking I was a follower or something of Ojou, I gave me thanks.
「If it’s good, I’ll give it to you.」
Because Duke-sama smoothly said that, I become surprised.
「Eh, I can’t accept it, you know!」
I don’t need it. Because I don’t have the chances to wear this kind of expensive clothing. No, right now, without knowing why, I’m wearing them.
「In that case, how about as a birthday present? It’s almost here, isn’t it?」
「Father, why do you know Zack’s birthday!?」
「He’s an employee of our house, isn’t he?」
With a smile, a bitter-feeling Ojou returns a look at Duke-sama, saying even she doesn’t know the day. Duke-sama, even on my birthday, I don’t make such a self-satisfied look……
Still, it’s unfair, but if the person in question asks, it’s fine, badgeringly doing so. Why, over an employee’s birthday, are my superior and his daughter arguing?
「Is the idle chatter still going to this extent?」
At the sound of a heel striking the floor, unconsciously my spine straightened out. Again, before my eyes, she had come and was looking down at me. It’s scary, so I want her to stop that.
「Isaac, you are called? From here, during Ojou’s dance practice hour, you will come.」
「Ha, I……」 [T/N: Not “I” as in “I am”, but “I” as in “first syllable of Isaac”, but I don’t have much to work with here with the katakana literally only being “I”]
In the middle of that coercion that won’t let me refuse, can I give other answers? Although it doesn’t mean it’s being said to herself, Ojou becomes frightened and nods her head.
I finally realized the source of the chills.
「Miss Cunert is very zealous about education, huh? Well then, will you do it? Isaac?」
「At least request a rental, please.」 [T/N: I assume this means Isaac is requesting they at least “borrow” him from his dad]
With Ojou and I in a frightened mood, Duke-sama is continuously smiling. I seriously respect him.
Wew, not a whole lot to say about this chapter. We did get a few more characters, though. Don’t want to give away too much, though.
Scheduling wise, I’m doing fine. The next chapter (23) should come out on time, but my move and some life stuff have been delayed, so Ch 24 might come out late. I’ll update everyone when 23 goes up.
See you all next chapter!