25. Fork

Oof, almost forgot to upload this in the morning. Sorry folks, I have Friday off for Memorial Day weekend and went full vacation mode already.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


「I don’t mind, you know.」

「Is that true?」

When Duke-sama acknowledges it with a smiling face, Ojou’s face brightened up. Are you serious?
I covered my face with my hand. Although with just how much Duke-sama is sweet to his daughter, this is a different person. I was expecting to receive a rejection.

「Um…… I, even if the way I dance is strange, is it fine……?」

「I find Isaac’s way of dancing fascinating and like it. Besides, compared to allocating strange insects, I’m more relieved with Isaac.」 [T/N: Yes, he does say “strange insects”, and I nearly laughed myself off my chair. I’m still a little confused at what he means, but I personally took it as Duke not wanting to have any other guy with Dia.]

「Is that so?」

On top of Duke-sama’s smile being dazzling, it also has impact. Because he’s an overdoting parent, he strangely agreed. Although it’s only dancing together, is it that disagreeable?
During dance practice, at Duke-sama, who came to observe, when Ojou made an approach about if it is fine for me to substitute at the party, easily got permission. [T/N: Literally “pinch-hitting” at the party but changed for ease of understanding.]
A little bit before, the written invitation for Leo’s birthday party arrived, and there was a second one to Ojou, being a fiance candidate. Identical invitations were delivered to other fiance candidates, with Leo’s intention of refusing to dance with anyone. Ojou and I knew about this beforehand, but as for really carrying this out, he’s a guy with amazing ability to take action.

「Well, if you are going to be dancing on behalf of His Highness, the prince, do not be content with this level!」

「Hiie, please don’t be too harsh on me……」

At the voice of Ella-sensei who was obviously ignited, my body freezes. She’s someone who even at the best of times, has guts. Her special training is scary. There’s already the feeling of it being a done deal.

「I have a question before that.」

The voice of Heinz, the butler, and my master who held himself back while not uttering out a single word, forced its way through. At my master’s voice, all present turn their gazes to him.

「Master?」

Master comes up to in front of me, and asked a question.

「Isaac. You, what do you think of noble parties?」

「Although there are delicious meals, it’s not good to eat to one’s heart’s content?」

When I answer the question, Master, as if having a headache, presses down on his forehead, and Duke-sama faces the back and starts to tremble, and Ojou turns a disappointed seeming look at me.

「Zack……」

「Eh? Something like that feels like a waste, doesn’t it?」

The food reportage, with how I feel like afterwards the staff conveniently received it, the servants would eat the remainder, but compared to just before the “best before” date, right when it is delicious is better, I think.

「You aren’t wrong, but where you’re focusing is too limited.」

When I say that, Ojou looks at me with an amazed look, and Master almost simultaneously sighs.

「…..You, first of all, need to fix your speech, and need to learn the etiquette of an attendant at the very least. To hurry, time to practice will be allotted.」

「Eh!?」

When I wasn’t able to conceal my shock at my martial arts practice being suspended, Master’s sharp look pierces through me.

「If you don’t lack basic training, there won’t be questions. There isn’t time.」

I understand, I implicitly said, bowing my head.

「Yes, thank you very much!」

From the start, my free time is busy, as I was receiving instruction from Master. My intelligent Master, if he calculates backwards and judges he won’t be in time unless he uses all of our practice time, there’s no choice but to obey.

「Training?? Which reminds me, why does Zack call Heinz Master?」

I look at Ojou who is blankly staring, and remembered I was hiding from Ojou that I was receiving martial arts instruction from Master. Rather than hide it, it’s only that if I’m not asked, I won’t say.
What should I do? It’s not cool, and even if I don’t say anything, even if there’s a leak it won’t be particularly troublesome.
I thought I wanted to protect Ojou, and the motive is only that I was self-aware of my weakness. But, huh, with my current lack of strength, thinking of wanting to protect is pushy, and for me, I was thinking conveniently that Ojou didn’t ask. In either case, the point of being able to invite Ojou downtown is far away.
While in my head, I worry about how to explain what happened, when I open my mouth, the ponpon sound of hands being clapped filled the room.

「Whispering is fine, isn’t it? Time is finite. You should return to practice.」

「「Yes!」」

At Ella-sensei’s voice, Ojou straightens her back, and I salute.
During practice, in order not to disobey Ella-sensei, Ojou and I had a conditioned reflex ingrained in us. Furthermore, we stop whispering, and return to practice.
Several days later, there is an invitation for tea from Oku-sama, and I put Flora, who I hadn’t met in a long time, on my knee, and was eating sweets.
This place, the gazebo, in the middle of the pond, has something like water lilies in full bloom. Although the times they are held are near and far, Oku-sama always uses this place for tea parties. As expected, when it comes to looking, for someone who takes care of gardens, it’s pleasant.

「Isaac-kun, I heard you’re going to a party with Dia?」

「Ah, yes.」

While being pestered by Flora to take a financier, I replied. What the difference is between a financier and madeleine, I really don’t understand. With the exception of the form, I don’t sense anything like a difference in flavor. First of all, because it’s delicious, I’m happy with that.

「Oku-sama isn’t going?」

「If Isaac-kun is going, I won’t go. Flora will get lonely.」

What, me??

I understand the latter reason, but how am I the basis for judgment, I wonder. When I tilt my head in confusion, Flora also eats a financier while tilting her head the same way.

「If Isaac-kun, who she’s become attached to, looks after her, I’ll have peace of mind and she can go to the party.」

「I’m sorry?」

At Oku-sama, who gently smiles while letting out a Fufu, I inexcusably apologize. Certainly, Ojou and Duke-sama won’t be there, and furthermore, if Oku-sama also isn’t there, Flora will be lonely. Because babysitters in downtown were always requested, with me, no matter who the other person is, I don’t particularly mind.

「It’s fine. Because it will be fun.」

「Fun?」

Although she isn’t going to the party, I don’t understand the reason Oku-sama is looking forward to it. Oku-sama narrows her eyes that seem to be having as much as she said, looking in Ojou’s direction.
While drinking tea and talking with us, as if being vigilant, Ojou, who was waiting, at that gaze, freezes. However, as for why, Ojou is like a stray cat that is cautious of every time there is a person.

「Right, Dia?」

「Not, not particularly……」

「My, is that so? Rather, you’re anxious, right?」

At Oku-sama who said it as if realizing, Ojou tilts her head to the side. I’m a commoner, so is that meaning that I’m going to make various mistakes? Because I can’t afford to embarrass Ojou or Duke-sama, I’ll do my best.

「I have get my spirits up and dress up.」

I’ll help with that, says a cheerful Oku-sama. She’s someone who is like the embodiment of elegance, I don’t feel she matched the word “spirited”. When I was thinking that, when Ojou understood the meaning of the words, frowned a little. For a short while, she’s worried, and suddenly stopped her gaze over me. Because it was held like that, I tilted my head in confusion. Flora also tilts her head.

「Ojou?」

「Sishtah?」

Because we called out to her whether or not we understood, Ojou, with both of her hands, was at her wits’ end and put her elbows on the table. For Ojou whose posture is always good, it’s rare. Somehow, because she is groaning, just what in the world is wrong? First of all, because Flora is imitating her noises, even though it’s only groaning, it would be good if someone told them to stop, wouldn’t it?
With something bothering her, Ojou, after ample time waiting, requested something from her mother.

「…………Mother, please cooperate with me.」

「Of course.」

It doesn’t look like the softly smiling Oku-sama is being coerced at all. And yet, because Ojou says it seeming too frustrated, the feeling she was made to say it is there, and it’s strange.
But, I see. Going to the part, Ojou does things like dress up, doesn’t she? Being able to see Ojou, who she doesn’t get the chance to properly be able to see, seems to be fun.

「If Ojou, who is always pretty, dresses up, it’ll be amazing, won’t it?」

「Mm. Sistah, pret—」

「!!」

Ojou, who turned bright red, trembles. Ah, this, she got mad, didn’t she. Even though I put myself on guard a bit, Ojou swallowed her anger, and said she was tired.

「Zack……at the party, ‘pretty’ and ‘cute’ are taboo.」

「I understand.」

Is that so? Noble parties have strange rules.

「But, if I can’t give something like compliments, so I rarely say it, I thought.」

Ojou seemed to look at me with a facial expression asking ‘what is this guy saying’. While smiling, Oku-sama asks me.

「Which reminds me, Dia’s dress today was picked by me, you know. Isaac-kun, what do you think of it?」

「It’s pretty.」

It’s a dress with green and white stripes. The lace is less, but because the color fits this season and is refreshing, below, at two points her hair is tied up not with a ribbon but into braids. I don’t know how many stripes the dress has, but it suits Ojou well.
At my smile, somehow Oku-sama seems to be on point, chuckling. If a beautiful girl puts on clothes that suit her, generally she’s cute, isn’t she? Although I’m only saying the truth, what is so amusing? When I realize it, Ojou fell prostrate at the table.

「……Zack, it’s better if you stay silent.」

Somehow, with this exchange, I, with this party, properly using polite language made me anxious. Somewhere, the manners were bad, it seems. Flora, who is trying to imitate Ojou, as it is, I, while trying to pin her body down so her forehead wouldn’t hit the table, thought I should do my best at learning my master’s attendant course.
If I think that now, that tea party was the end of my peace.
It goes without saying Ella-sensei’s dance instructions changed into intensive training, and Master’s attendant course also, with being compressed into the short term, was harsh.
According to Master, it’s easy, but that doesn’t tell me anything. More than memorizing properly the faces and names of all those present, it also seems to be necessary to understand the relationships between the factions. What is this super secretary? I’m bad at memorization. In my past life, when I would do my best at studying history, I could make something of it, but I always had average marks. Giving up around there, I was honestly glad.
The one month until Leo’s birthday passed by like surging waves.
That very day, I was riding in the Ernest house carriage, but because I was reviewing internally what Master taught me to not be confused, there isn’t time to look outside. When we arrive, descending first, I remain silent and although Ojou comes down, I lend a hand. I feel I can’t relapse into my inner thoughts more and more, and for an instant I wanted to go back.
Duke-sama also comes out, as Ojou’s escort. I am only following the two of them. Looking from behind, I see and recognize, Duke-sama and Ojou are drawing attention. While paying attention not to show it on my face, my inner thoughts are ones of admiration. Their fully equipped beauty is amazing. Because of them, my appearance is overshadowed, and breathing is easy. I was worried whether or not I’d be conspicuous, but it seems it was an absurd fear.
However, a follower is subtly complex. Although it’s the first time I came to the royal palace, because I can’t look around, since my master had warned me about not doing something foolishly, there is an austerity to the preservation of the degree your serious face can’t show expression.

「A showy appearance as ever, Geordo.」

「I’m not doing anything particularly different.」

When I thought it was an undaunted voice raised, a bearded noble man came this way. It seems to be an acquaintance of Duke-sama. This kind of wild type of noble exists, doesn’t it?

「Zinvarka-sama, Tordelise-sama, it has been a long time.」

Ojou pinches her skirt, and lightly curtsies to the bearded man and that girl behind him. Her name, I memorized it. It’s the person curtsying.

「I say, I say, Lydia-sama. today you are all the more lovely.」

「It has been a long time as well, Lydia-sama.」

The two return their respective greetings. The girl turned a happy seeming expresing towards Ojou. It’s the first time I see it, but this girl knows her. She’s a girl like a rabbit. Things like showing rabbits, her favorite stuff toy is a rabbit, she is a friend of Ojou’s who talks a lot about rabbits.

「Hm? Who is this one?」

For a moment, the gaze of the bearded man falls on me. I bow my head in silence. Rather than me, it’s Duke-sama who the question is directed towards, so I don’t have the right to answer.

「This is an employee of our house. He’s Dia’s dance partner, you know.」

「……you can take care of your daughter’s dance partner yourself, you know.」

At Duke-sama’s answer, the bearded man appeared to be shocked. It seems that Duke-sama’s foolishness for his family is well-known. However, this is a man who talks less formally with nobles.

「Apart from that, a rare person arrived.」

「Who?」

When the bearded man raised his hands and looked over his shoulder, exactly at that moment the called person arrived here.

「Augusto, you’re as quick as ever.」

「What are you saying, Vito? My daughter is following, isn’t she? Is your stamina running out?」

「You… for once, it would be better to look over your shoulder.」

The one who returns a forced smile to the bearded man was Daniel-sama. Just as Daniel-sama says, surely, with an effortful speed that isn’t running, his daughter who is following him, faintly is out of breath and her cheeks are flushed. Because it seems for girls, there is a rule they mustn’t run, accompanying their father who seems to walk with big steps was difficult.

「Here you are.」

Because a waiter happened to be passing by exactly then, the rabbit girl was presented with an apple and black tea non-alcoholic cocktail.

「Ah…… thank you very much.」

「It is not a problem.」

She was a bit scared, but I, as Ojou’s attendant, realized it, she was relieved and accepted the drink. Maybe she’s bad at males outside her family. But, she is a girl who can kindly give her thanks even to employees like me. I’m glad Ojou’s friend is a good kid.
Somehow, motionlessly, I was stared at by the rabbit girl.  I think about if there is something strange, and immediately realized it. For an instant, I had lost focus. My inner thoughts become panicked, and I tighten my face, and raise my voice to Ojou.

「Ojou-sama, should I do the same for you?」

「I am fine now.」

「Certainly.」

I bow my head, and again return in waiting behind her. I thought about if I had been too forward in my imitation, but because Ojou isn’t scowling at me, it should be fine. When push comes to shove, with one’s light of sight, she was telling me to be careful. Because Master instructed me to be considerate of her, so maybe, if it’s this much, even if she moves from me, it’s safe.
Ojou begins talking with the rabbit girl, and Duke-sama is talking with the bearded man and Daniel-sama. One time, Daniel-sama and I’s eyes meet, and he gently smiled at me. I only returned a slight bow. Bracing myself is absolutely necessary, but a little mentally tiring.
If I avoid being conscious from here, it’s better that I don’t listen to what the girls are talking about, naturally I heard what Duke-sama was talking about.

「As expected, rejecting an invitation from the royal family twice is unrefusable. Well, at the very least, when I finish greetings at the minimum, I’ll go back.」

「Moreover, it’s fine for Geordo to be surprised.」

The bearded man amusedly look at Duke-sama with half-open eyes, but Duke-sama, with a smiling face, wards that off.

「It’s because I’ve met with him several times.」

「Mu…… it can’t helped, can it? Even if I go, I can’t say anything tasteful.」

At the bearded man who seems to be awkward, Duke-sama smiles, and Daniel-sama also seemingly happily narrows his eyes. Somehow it appears these three are friends. Naturally, speaking of that, there are people outside of Duke-sama who worry about Daniel-sama, so somehow I’m a little happy.
When Duke-sama and his friends are peacefully talking, and Ojou and her friend are happily chatting, solemn music starts to play, and all present face the staircase with double doors, and bow their heads. When I emulate that, the sound of the a door opening is heard, and the sound of several people’s footsteps draw close to the hall, a man’s voice is raised. Because everyone is told to raise their heads, I lift my head while seeing the king of my country for the first time in anticipation.

Huh? The crown??

Along with the crown, I was imagining a full set of capes I don’t understand and a fluffy long mantle dragged along. At the difference in image, my inner thoughts are shocked.
Certainly, in this place, they are wearing the finest quality clothes compared to the nobles, but the basic design is the same. As for how the royalty and nobility are different, it’s around the mantle? There are two queens, the mantle for women seeming to have one part, with a metal chain kept in the front with jewels on the shoulder, and up until the elbow, the fabric is ultra-thin or see through.
To me, rather than the king, it feels like a stage actor playing Leo’s father. Because his appearance is showy, for being the king, rather than a politician, it seems more like the public entertainment family, huh. It started to feel like this place is a theater. However, for the king, compared to my father and Duke-sama, looks older. Is he in his early or mid thirties?
While thinking that, I looked, and noticed a certain problem. My eyes are pained. They’re dazzling. Glaringly so.
With Duke-sama’s house, because they’re close to royalty, it was the ruin of me. Because I had only met Leo off the record, I could try to look away, but because now that would be rude, I can’t. Though, with my elementary school’s morning assembly in my past life, the principal’s wig, with a tendency to fly, the times his dazzling scalp would appear, I’d stare at it. How, I wonder, is the king not a bald father? If that’s the case, I can look.
As for minimal aid, it’s different than the long, drowsy talk of my principal, as the king’s is short, and afterwards, Leo’s greetings were also short. I wasn’t properly listening, but I have a feeling Leo is like the president of the student council. First of all, he quickly finished the opening of the ceremony that’s like a morning assembly, and I tightly kept my eyes on him. The nobles, how are they fine? Is it because they’re used to seeing precious metals?
From the band, BGM for a party began to play, and each person started to move as they pleased, and for me, was relieved. If it comes true, perhaps, I want to immediately massage my eyes. I understand well the state of mind of a middle-aged man who is applying a hot towel to his eyes. After, if I complete the dance quota with Ojou, just that is fine. Ojou also said only one song is fine. With Ella-sensei’s intensive training, if I think about continuously dancing, it’s completely easy.

「It’s been a while since I met with the public.」

「Congratulations, Your Highness. You’ve grown taller since last year.」

「Thank you. Even outside of growing taller, growing up makes me happy.」

「You are very humble.」

Ah, I forgot. Leo’s courtesy calls, for people like Duke-sama and Ojou, were also a target. For an instant, the Duke-sama and Leo set were too bright, and the stiffness like a frog being stared down by a snake started, but somehow or another I pretended to be calm and endure it. In the surroundings, noble wives and daughters glowing bright. It entering my field of vision is painful, and temporarily I want to borrow that camera filter. [T/N: “glowing bright” is literally “yellowly being colored”]

「Lydia-sama, it has been a few days. Today, again, you are still beautiful.」

「Yes. As for this time, congratulations, Your Highness. Receiving a compliment from you is an honor. However, it is not as good as Your Highness.」

「Thank you. It’s more or less because I am the leading part of this party. I must not be buried in beautiful ladies, or I’ll stretch to my breaking point a little.」

Because Leo gives a dazzling smile while sleekly saying that sort of speech, the glow, let alone the high pitched squeals, go up. At the least, I wanted them to do it in a place not close to me. Not only my eyes, but my ears were also damaged.
When I was thinking about if they will quickly go somewhere else, Leo glanced in my direction. I felt it has been a long time since directly looking into those honey colored eyes. It was only an instant, but those honey-colored eyes were amusingly narrowed.

「Is it him, today?」

「Yes. He is an employee of our house.」

「Is that so? I’m sorry, but thank you.」

To look respectful, I silently took my thanks. The brightness is extinguished from my field of vision, and in my inner thoughts, am relieved.

「I am unsuited for this role, but I will humbly do my best.」

Even Leo and Ojou’s exchange felt shameless, but as expected, there was an uncomfortable feeling of using honorific language with Leo creeping on my back. If you go out in society, it’s common that a friend or junior will become your boss. First of all, I, as much as possible, didn’t want to meet with Leo in public.
Because the music changes exactly then, I present my hand to Ojou.

「Ojou-sama, please give me your hand.」

Ojou, with the appearance of being cold like a noble daughter, put her hand on top of mine. I escort her to the dance area, join together with the music, and dance.

「…………so, Ojou, is your hearing okay?」

I ask with a volume that can’t be heard by the other people dancing. Ojou, as she kept a smile for dancing, replies with only a voice that’s a little weak.

「Because again, we’re in the middle of a party, so stop using those words…… but, honestly, I’m saved.」

「Ojou, your hearing is weak, huh?」

「Please do not talk in a way that has misunderstandings……!?」

Ojou, seeming to have a good sense of sound, her ability to listen to sounds in public is high. She was spoken well of her teacher for piano. Even during times we’re in the garden, for the distant, small chirping birds, Ojou realizes them before me. Instead, she’s weak towards loud sounds. Those high-pitched shrieks, it’s expected I’m not the only one who has damage.

「I was also helped in escaping from Leo.」

「…………well, as much as you can’t close your eyes, Zack did his best, didn’t he?」

While I was thinking about if I had been cautious about doing something discourteous, there is a pause, and I was told that with a voice of amazement. The time with the three of us, because I often use Ojou as a shield, it became clear how weak I was with dazzling things.

「There are a lot of dazzling people at a noble party, huh? In this way, if I can only be looking at Ojou, it’s fun, though.」

In the middle of the noble daughters dressed with metal accessories, Ojou had the minimum in hair ornaments and earrings. Although the precious metals are little, because the embroidery of the hem of her dress is terribly attentive, it mainly became like imitation flower decorations, and there is a showy, high class feel. Practically, it’s an expensive dress design, isn’t it, but with how it was a minimum source of light, I am very thankful.
At the beginning, not being able to look around was regrettable, but for a moment, the crystal chandelier and gold candlesticks, among other things, enter my view, and I changed my mind that restricting my field of vision was better. Even the interior design was radiant.
Which reminds me, Ojou, from a little bit ago, is silent, so what’s wrong?
When I curiously think about it and examine Ojou’s appearance, suddenly, at the bottom of her neck, a bloomed flower entered my sight.

「Your charm, I used it……」

The ribbon I gave her that was attached to a white baby rose from before was being used as a choker. Unconsciously, I mumble, and seem to start loosening my facial expression, and immediately put effort into my facial muscles.

「……for a party, I had to temper my muscle memory.」

「Yes, truly………… afterwards, please remember it.」

Eh. I, can I tighten it?

Although her voice had seemed to keep her anger in limit, Ella-sensei trained her, so Ojou’s facial expression stays a smile. What is this, that gap is scary. Even my Master told me that until we came back to the estate not to lose focus, so, even talking with whispers as usual, will be lost points, won’t it?
When one song finishes, clapping hands and cheers burst out. Though I’m trying my best not to change my facial expression, I’m surprised. I wasn’t hearing clapping for every song. I escort Ojou back to Duke-sama and realized it, but Ojou was gathering attention. When we return, Duke-sama met us with a smile.

「As always, Dia’s dancing is like calyx supporting the pedals.」 [T/N: The calyx is green leaf-like structures that enclose an unopened bud]

Duke-sama seems extremely satisfied. I am very grateful, I say to him, giving my thanks. Ahh, I see. Duke-sama finds my strange way of dancing interesting, but Ojou is number one for him, isn’t she?

「I get it now…… certainly, I can’t imitate it.」

Leo mumbled as if in admiration. He was there again, huh? I thought he had already got to greet the others.
Towards Ojou who had finished dancing, everyone’s daughter approached. Everyone unanimously is praising Ojou. My nonexistence is particularly good, but Leo is the prince, isn’t he? Ojou, compared to Prince Leo, had come to stand out. Is it fine although it’s his birthday, I think, but when I peek at his appearance, Leo seems to be smiling happily and when he excuses himself from Duke-sama, was greeting the next person. The point where Leo has fun is something I don’t really understand.
When I put my line of sight back on Ojou, the young women, with their eyes shining with excitement, again were surrounding her. It doesn’t show on her face, but because she has a fear of strangers, she seems to be troubled. Not losing to the energy of the girls, the noble boys who seem to have gotten a late start look at Ojou from a distance. Ojou is popular with boys and girls, isn’t she? For a beautiful girl, it’s amazing.
Even while I’m recognizing Ojou is a beautiful girl, the noble girls who want to get closer to Ojou greet her.

「Lydia-sama, that was lovely. I am humbly called Erika von Diestel, from the Marquis’ house.」

「My father, working with the Sorcery Ministry, is very grateful to Geordo-sama. I am called Florenzia von Maurer, from the Count’s house.」

「My mother said to please greet Octavia-sama. From the Count’s house, I am called Marguerite von Revelentz.」

「I……」

Ah, it’s impossible. I can’t remember. Master, for me, it’s impossible. Everyone’s names are too hard. At the display of what sounds that seem to crash against each other, the insides of my mind broke.

「U, um…… h, how did Lydia-sama reach that point……!」

A noble daughter who was tinged red, with a mood of unconsciously blushing, asked that. For Ojou, it was soft, but she opened her eyes in surprise.
In the time Ojou was lost about how she should answer, two minutes passed. She has to discern her social standing and discriminatorily whisper, and the girl who asked has a gaze that expects an answer from Ojou with a look of yearning. Maybe, because of the mood of the surroundings, her social standing is below a count, so perhaps she might be a baron. At her voice being heard, the girl’s cheeks turned red in shame.
Ojou, who saw the meaning in her redness, has a dangerous light in her pale blue eyes.

「Ojou-sama.」

I softly whisper into Ojou’s ear. Ojou isn’t looking back at me, but the dangerous light in her eyes is extinguished.
Ojou approaches the girl who asked the question.

「Is it okay to touch?」

「Y, yes……」

The girl who doesn’t quite understand the meaning, with an immediate reply, nodded. Ojou reaches for the girl’s hair ornaments, and pulls them out. The instant her hair comes loose, the girl’s eyes become dyed with fright. However, Ojou, not minding, with her fingers, combs the girl’s hair, and puts the hair ornaments in the side. Above her left ear, a pearl bloomed.

「Ah…..」

The girl becomes panicked, and tries to pin down her hair. With that hand, Ojou stops her, and pierces the uneasy shaking in her eyes.

「Be confident. You are lovely.」

After those strong words, Ojou softly smiled. The girl, with strong curled hair, turned red, and her eyes became moist. Ojou, that was cool. The girls that are around them, all of them remain silent.

「There is no need to become like me.」

The curly-haired girl shakingly nodded her head.

「Um…… then, at the very least, may I request to dance with Lydia-sama’s attendant……?」 [T/N: If Leo is listening to this he’s going to die of laughter]

Ha? Me??

Until just now, with the mood that changed, I was asked for, and startled. Because I was scolded by Master, it doesn’t show on my face, though. Or rather, my existence my recognized, wasn’t it?

「I, I…… don’t have a dance partner, so with that……」

Isn’t my social status as an attendance low? Or, for the attendant of the Ojou she admires, is it treating me like shared goods, maybe?
However, the girl’s self-deprecation is a little sad. Because Ojou also feels that, it’s difficult to refuse. Inviting someone to a dance is generally from the man. The girl is mustering the incredibly small amount of bravery she received from Ojou.

「This is too great of an honor, young lady of red and yellow grasses.」

When that bravery shouldn’t be rendered futile, she smiled as if relieved, and gave her thanks. However, I don’t know her name, or rather because I can’t remember it, I want to be forgiven for addressing her with her appearance.
Although I started talking on my own accord, the curly haired girl is surprised to be acknowledged as I escort her and dance. This is the first time I’ve danced with anyone outside of Ojou, so my inner thoughts are anxious about paying attention not to make my partner fall.

「Um, why……」

「I was only following Ojou-sama’s idea.」

Because the girl who still can’t believe she is dancing asks, I replied. As for Ojou hesitating on whether or not to refuse, was she taking into consideration me or the girl. But, Ojou, who regretted the humiliation she put Katherine-san, the maid, for some time, there is no way she can overlook this girl.

「In addition, Ojou-sama also has the same worries, doesn’t she?」

「The same?」

「Do you know our house’s lady?」 [T/N: literally “our house’s wife”]

「Yes. It’s from a distance, but I have seen them. Straight hair is really beautiful……」

With that, the girl who seems to recognize it, stopped her words. Because our worries are the same, it seems we realized something immediately.

「Please keep what I have done a secret.」

I was scolded, with a forced smile, and the girl is a little surprised and smiled like she’s amused. It might be the effect of feeling an affinity towards the existence of admiration, but the atmosphere softened. [T/N: In this case, I believe they both admire Lydia]

「That reminds me, what did you say to Lydia-sama?」

Around the time the music stopped, I was asked by the girl whose facial expression had become terribly bright. It seems it was being wondered just what I whispered.

「Flowers, rather than buds, should have bloomed.」

Before Ojou undid her hair, like a ballet dancer, her hair was binded at the top. Her curls were deliberately complex, but because the dress she is wearing that looks like red and yellow grasses has an expanded skirt that looks like flowers piled on top of each other, it felt like the silhouette was badly balanced. The time my father was pruning the garden, because he is aware of the silhouette while cutting, that image was just conveyed to Ojou.
Rather than like a bud on top being too clean, it was better, now that her curled hair is blooming like a flower.
Because the time I answered was exactly when the music stopped, when we return to Ojou, the attitude of our surroundings towards the curly haired girl was a little different. The girls with straight hair are touching their hair while being envious of her, and some of the boys are glancing worryingly at the girls.
First of all, just some time ago they were the same, and because I wasn’t being noticed, I quickly go to Ojou’s side.

「Just now, I have returned.」

「You overdid it.」

To not be heard by the others, Ojou is careful to whisper. “What in the world were you doing?” Because what Ojou did was overkill and clearly stood out, the influence towards the noble girls is strong.

「Attendant, will you dance with me next?」

「That’s sneaky. Next, with me……」

「No, with me!」

Somehow or another, it seems my existence at Ojou’s side was recognized. Well, because if you look at Ojou, I’m partially in the field of vision, so that’s how it is. But, although it’s expected that being invited by a girl to dance is rare, just what in the world is this. I’m a servant, so the hurdle is low, but is it that I count as something like a sparring partner?

「Um, please calm down. Moth Orchid Ojou-sama, Calla Ojou-sama, and Dahlia Ojou-sama.」

This kind of spirit is scary. Something like securing an advantage is being circulated, but is there anything from having a servant as your partner? Not understanding the meaning, I put a stop to it with a voice that is as calm as possible.
When again, I call out using their outward appearance, the girls immediately stopped. Afterwards, even if I’m scolded for not properly calling their names, after a short period of time, I sigh with relief.

「Then, for me, what flower am I?」

「Annual aster Ojou-sama?」

Because the other girls asked with immense curiosity, reflexively I say the name of the flower that came to mind. Somehow, the girls let out “kyaa”s and were seemingly happily in high spirits. This time, it became something like a game that asked what plant it seemed to be. Again, because I was asked by some people, for now, with their appearance, I gave them the name of the plant. In addition, the girls are pleased. I really don’t understand girls.

「For Lydia-sama, what flower is she?」

Someone asked that.

「Hm.」

That mumbling, was it me or Ojou? Which one of us was it, I wonder?
Ojou, what kind of flower……

「Ojou is like a flower herself.」 [T/N: I mixed up the kanji during my first scan through just to see preview any interesting lines and for a second I thought this was 「Ojou is my flower」. The way I would’ve screamed if that were the actual line.]

Yes. Ojou is Ojou. She’s a girl who smiles like a blooming flower.
Suddenly, a tight grip pinched my arm from the side. Being careful at that faint pain, I realized my facial expression was loosening. Pretending to clear my throat, I fix my facial expression and tighten it.
The girls somehow raise their voices to a high pitched scream. Is Leo passing close by? Are Ojou’s ears okay, and with a sideways glance, when I peek, only her ears are red. She’s getting mad at me. Outside, Ojou is very skilled. In this strange place, while admiring that, I’m relieved Ojou’s ears are safe.
After that, in the end, I danced with several people. I wonder if I was something like Ojou’s promotional item.
Rather than what was planned, I became hungry in the second half of the party. Because all I have to do already is follow Ojou, so because I don’t address any other servants, even if I remain silent, it’s fine, however, even with how I’m trying to make sure consciously my stomach doesn’t make a sound, it’s the best I can do.
Ojou, who was pleasantly chatting with the Rabbit Girl, suddenly separates and went towards the stand-up buffet that looks like it hadn’t been touched. I wonder if Ojou was tired of talking with many people. I wonder if she’ll eat fruit, instead she takes a plate and fork.

「Which one would you like?」

「That one, and then…… after, this also……」

At Ojou’s direction, I take things like the salad, meat, and fish, and take care to arrange it while putting it onto the plate. Ojou was hungry too, huh?

「Here you are.」

I hold the plate of arranged food at a height that’s easy for Ojou to eat. Ojou, who held a fork, eats a bit of the salad, and chews a little bit on the strawberries.
When she eats only that, she puts down the fork. When I tilt my head in confusion, while wiping her mouth with a napkin, Ojou turns her head away.

「I don’t need it already. Dispose of it.」

Instantly, I opened my eyes wide.

「Thank you very much.」

Ojou is kind. Because even if I make a strange sound, she’ll be troubled, she softly whispers, but she remembered if I can’t eat a feast, it would be regrettable.
After whispering my thanks before eating, I hold the fork and start eating.

「Wait…… that……」

When I’m chewing while feeling it’s delicious, Ojou started to say something with a flustered voice. While eating, when with only my eyes I ask what’s wrong, Ojou again turns away.

「It is nothing……」

Ojou, also pretending not to see, waits for me to finish eating. Thanks to that, until we go home, my stomach wouldn’t make a sound, since I was able to eat delicious food.
When we reunite with Duke-sama, when we leave the royal castle, the sunset dyed the sky in a deep orange. Finally boarding the Ernest house carriage, after a short while, the carriage begins moving.
At least, I’m relieved it’s over, and let out a long sigh. There, Duke-sama smiles, half amused, half sympathetic.

「Thank you, Isaac.」

「Ah, I’m sorry. We haven’t arrived at the estate yet.」

When in a hurry, I straighten my back, Duke-sama says he doesn’t mind.

「You aren’t used to the clothes or uniform. It’s fine to relax.」

「Then, I’ll accept your offer.」

When I undo the tie and two of the buttons on the shirt, it becomes easier to breath.

「……Ojou?」

When I feel her gaze and look in Ojou’s direction, suddenly Ojou vigorously changed where she was looking to outside the carriage. As for the window, the curtains are covering it, so you can’t see outside, but it’s fine, isn’t it?

「Always doing that sort of thing, it must be hard for Duke-sama and the others.」

「However, today was fun, you know.」

I can’t feel the same, and from the bottom of my heart, felt it was only for today. Duke-sama’s smile brightens. I unaffectedly scrutinize his eyes.

「Is that so?」

I, did I do that sort of strange thing? Although my Master especially taught me, if I wasn’t able to be a proper attendant, I’m sorry. I tried my best with polite language, didn’t I?

「Ah. Ojou, are you fine already?」

「? What are you talking about??」

I forgot the essential part. Ojou, curious, tilts her head.
She didn’t seem to understand what I was asking, and because the usual Ojou had returned, I decided it’s fine.

「Today’s Ojou was incredibly pretty, huh?」

I smiled, and with a feeling of relief, gave my impressions. With how I couldn’t say what I thought, it was a bad feeling all along.
Duke-sama agrees, and nodded his head many times over.
Ojou’s anger had been stored up, and not just her face, her whole body turned red as she scolded me.

「Zack is an idiot, isn’t he!?」

This and that, with these words, Ojou repeatedly hit me, but because she only used those pronouns, what she was talking about, I didn’t understand. [T/N: Slightly confusing, but essentially Ojou isn’t specifying, she’s just saying “for this” or “for that”]
For a while, I received Ojou’s non-painful blows, but the carriage’s shaking, for our tired bodies, was so comfortable that when we noticed it, we had fallen asleep.


GOD THIS CHAPTER WAS LONG

But it was SO, SOOOOO worth it.

I really wish that Zack had said “Ojou is my flower” because the way I would’ve screamed holy shit hahahaha

Not a lot to say other than this chapter was SO LOOOOONG. It was like it would never end, geez. But I’m glad it’s done, definitely one of the more fun chapters, especially after the sudden dramatics of last one.

Sadly that was just through a glancing pass through and when I got to the actual line I was a little disappointed. But either way, Zack causing more chaos as usual. Next chapter is basically the follow up to this one, and well, Ojou gonna Ojou.

See you all next chapter.

If you’d like to support the website and keep it running, consider dropping by the Ko-Fi or by my Redbubble to get something out of it!


Published by Toasty Wind

Novice JP to EN translator for Web Novels, mostly just translate stuff that I find amusing.

4 thoughts on “25. Fork

  1. You’ve been hit by the Smooth Criminal, Heehee~
    Srsly, Zack’s smoothness is offcharts. He’s really a natural gigolo.

    Like

  2. Tfw an attendant is more popular at the royal crown prince’s party than said price. Also (and I think this every series with nobles), but nobles don’t like having fun do they? The rules for this party seemed less like a birthdayarty and more like a stiff general assembly.

    It would have been fantastic if he called Ojou, “his” flower. Not necessarily something like ownership, but something like him being a Gardner and her being the best part of his garden.

    I also loved the length. Pacing wise this was fantastic. I kept worrying the chapter would end on a cliffhanger, but this did everything I wanted it to and then some. Fantastic. Usually web novels end at the worst places possible each chapter.

    Like

  3. I always think this, but nobles really hate fun. This stiff business meeting hardly works as a party. As for the chapter’s length I think it was perfect. The pacing was amazing. Using web novels end chapters at the worst moment or make them far too short. This accomplished everything I wanted it to and then some. I was actually worried it’d end right when it was getting good.

    Thanks as always for the translation!

    Like

    1. Oops there are two of these now. That was unintentional. If you can delete this one I’d be fine with that. If not, we’ll I meant to say thanks twice? I’ll roll with that

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: