Lydia was regretful.
When she rethought about what was wrong, because of her own childishness, from her face, heat began to gush out.
Doing something like that so cruelly to Nicholas-sama……!
Although it doesn’t mean she hates him, she ended up thinking rudely of him, she came to want to apologize to him. However, when she did that, she would be questioned by him, and because she’d be teased, she couldn’t do it.
In this place, in a few days, when it became evening, she anguishes again over the feeling of regret over the words she ended up inundating the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice with.
Although Zack also treated his friends cruelly, why didn’t they get mad?
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice accepted it without pointing it out, Lydia was glad to overwrite it. Looking like she was in the middle of venting her anger, in her heart, she was fretting. As for being troubled at having it pointed out, it was Lydia herself who was troubled, but until now she had been dragging him along, hadn’t she?
If that’s the case,
One by one, the thing she didn’t have to remember, although she didn’t have to remember, she ended up doing it……!
One after another, she remembered that smiling face afterwards. When she remembers that excessively happy seeming facial expression, in spite of it being the cold season, her face became hot.
Although there isn’t anyone who can see her, she wanted to hide it and cover her face. She doesn’t want to be aware of it, but when she thought that during this time she’d worried, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice would sleep without knowing anything, rather than shyness, she was angry.
The next day, because of such mental fatigue, when it was time for tea with her mother, unconsciously she let out a sigh.
「Oh my, are you bored of me, I wonder?」
「That isn’t it……」
「That’s right, it’s better if it’s Isaac-kun, right?」
Lydia, who became panicked and tried to raise a voice of denial at her seemingly-lonely mother who used the name of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice. Lydia’s sister, sitting on top of her mother’s lap, reacted to that name, and looked all around as if he was on the verge of appearing.
Lydia didn’t want to deny it any further, but because the cause of her mental fatigue had ended up being exposed, she ended up at a loss for words. Holding the tea cup while trembling, she wasn’t even able to stop it from shaking.
Seeing that appearance of hers, Octavia pleasantly smiles. Patting Flora, who became dispirited because she wasn’t able to find the boy, she doesn’t even forget to comfort her.
「Dia is easy to understand, you know?」
「……is it because my world is narrow?」
For a moment, did she understand what was wrong, and at the urge of wanting to ask, she was spurred on, but if she exceedingly thought about it, since her field of activities was narrow, Lydia realized it was natural.
Although the chances to go for tea at other houses increased, because outside of greetings she only talks to her friends, and everything else is done at her estate. Even Prince Roy, with the order of fiance candidacy, hadn’t invited any of them to the castle, and he himself came to the estate that included Lydia.
With that narrowness of Lydia’s friendships, it limits her worries. Because her relations with people like her friends and Roy was good, it was unnecessary.
When Lydia asked as if pouting, Octavia narrowed her eyes, seeming interested.
「Oh my, it’s wide, isn’t it? You became friends with the son of Count Rudolstadt, didn’t you?」
「Nicholas-sama had lost his way, so it was a coincidence he was in front of our house.」
She decides to say that sort of thing. From the employees, she’s aware that the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice invited him in.
They had arranged with Nicholas to get their stories straight so there wouldn’t be contradictions, but she didn’t know to what extent her mother believed. Octavia only smiled normally, but Lydia couldn’t read what her mother was thinking.
「Even if it’s a coincidence, it’s still one connection. Since you were able to properly maintain the connection you got, Dia’s world is extending.」
Is that so? Because Lydia felt her views were narrow, she couldn’t honestly accept her mother’s words.
Because she hears various stories of the outside from Roy, even in just Arventrot, she knows the world is wide. For herself, who practically only knows outside of the estate through hearsay, does it mean her world is narrow? She remembers that kind of uneasiness.
「Dia is a little too fastidious. Because your desire to monopolize is cute, you should successfully get along a little longer.」
In order to change the knowledge and vision in her, her mother’s words to her were too much on the point, and Lydia gazed at her in wonder, her face blushing.
「Ufufu, Isaac-kun and Nicholas-kun use nicknames with each other, right? Because their ages are also the same, since Dia can’t join in boy’s games, it’s very amusing, isn’t it?」
Lydia’s mouth opens and closes at her mother who looked as if she was completely right. Her sister Flora, thinking this was a game, similarly opened and closed her mouth over and over gain.
Certainly, Nicholas feels close with him, both in age and physically. They’re the same gender, so it can’t be helped, so even if in her head she understands that, there’s a lot of times he hugs his shoulders or touches him. Because he isn’t giving the feeling of telling him to stop, he doesn’t seem to mind, but because sometimes she sees Nicholas give her an amused seeming smile, it became a little annoying.
Because of the distance he would put when using herself as a shield when Roy is there, she didn’t mind it up to here. It might be Nicholas’s character, and again it seems the feeling of blaming him came welling up, so she shook her head horizontally, shaking off those feelings. When her sister mimicked that appearance, Lydia didn’t notice it.
「Dia. You’re pretty, aren’t you? For me, in my student days, I was jealous of Heinz, you know.」
「What are you talking about?」
When Lydia was struck by unpreparedness, after knocking, Heinz entered the room almost at the same time. When Lydia looked in Heinz’s direction, his usual calmness that was like still waters was nonexistent and instead his facial expression showed complete disagreement.
For Lydia, who saw this facial expression of Heinz disliking something this much, she was surprised even more.
For Octavia, she relaxedly smiles back as if not minding Heinz’s change.
「Oh my, I’m sorry. Even now, there are times I’m jealous, that is more correct.」
Heinz’s expectation was Octavia would give the exact opposite of a correction and apology. Heinz further knits his eyebrows, and when he sighs, his ordinary quiet face returned.
「Geordo-sama has entrusted me to tell you today’s preparations are slower than expected.」
Receiving a bouquet of flowers made of chrysanthemums and pipe cloves, Octavia smiles at the accompanying card.
He would only be returning a little later, but gifted a bouquet as if to apologize while his wife was waiting, but for Lydia and Heinz who works for her, it’s strange why she made the statement just now.
「For Geordo-sama, there’s only Octavia-sama, isn’t there? He does not tell words to another woman that can be misunderstood.」
「This and that are different. Each time we meet, I’m happy to be told about an interesting junior coworker, I can’t help but find it interesting. Even now, I’m very trusted.」
At Octavia, who said she was jealous and pouted, Heinz is troubled about how to respond. It isn’t that the received love is being mistrusted, rather she envies something that isn’t considerably suited for her, so it can’t be helped. At the very least, he wants to tell the person their unreasonable satisfaction himself.
Confirming Heinz found answering unmanageable, Octavia turned to Lydia’s direction and smiled.
「Hm. Dia is cute, right?」
This time, Lydia ended up not knowing how to respond. The shown strength of her mother’s desire to monopolize is unexpected, but she hesitates about whether or not to nod her head.
Heinz, understanding she was being used as an excuse, felt a sense of doubt at the necessity to use her as an example, but remained silent. Then, because of Octavia’s gaze giving him permission to leave, he calmly gave his bow and exited the room.
Even if she understood he only left because his business was complete, Lydia, with a need for an answer, seeing Heinz seemingly escape, ended up envying her.
Seeing her daughter troubled, Octavia becomes amused. Because she isn’t used to saying bad things about people, it seems, and apart from that, in contrast to the parents she admires, even realizing she can say something like a fault confuses her. Even if she shows this kind of facial expression, she isn’t disillusioned, what a pure existence, she thinks.
At her mother who gradually burst into laughter, Lydia, not understanding the reason, tilts her head to the side.
「Dia really is cute, isn’t she……」
Lydia closely examines the contents of her words that let her feelings show in the pauses in her laughter. Then, roughly understanding, she became angry.
「……you’re making fun of me, aren’t you?」
「You finally realized?」
At Octavia, who seems to be truly amused again, Lydia became more angry, and even at that situation, being laughed at again and not being satisfied, the tea meeting that day ended.
After that, while she doesn’t have the chance to meet with the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, her birthday arrived.
She greeted the invitees with her mother. Because of Geordo’s work, there are preparations to celebrate as just a family at dinner.
Finishing her greetings, Lydia went to join her friends. Her mother Octavia was only giving greetings, and saying to relax, she left, returning to deal with other guests. Like that, finally Lydia relaxed.
「Dia-sama, truly, congratulations for today.」
「Since I also have a birthday present for you, afterwards, I’ll give it to you.」
「I hope you are pleased with it…..」
「Tore-sama, Fanny-sama, Kia-sama, thank you very much. I am very glad that you would come for me today.」
「I decided to come!」
At Tordelise who makes that declaration, Stephanie and Zaskia only nod their heads. At their three answers, Lydia blushed and again gave her thanks.
When the three friends are talking, someone’s son raised a voice to Lydia.
「I’m sorry for interrupting your talk. Lydia-sama, thank you for inviting me. In addition to growing one more year, you’ve grown more beautiful, haven’t you?」
Saying his greetings as if he was flowing, Nicholas tilts his head a little bit and smiles. Matching his movements, his purple hair swung softly like flowers shaking in the wind.
In front of Nicholas, who has a lovely face and passed on his charm as a boy, the three outside of Lydia’s faces turned red and they closed their mouths.
Lydia, towards the congratulations, returned her thanks slower than Nicholas opening his mouth.
「Even if I say that, though, you are no match for me.」 [T/N: Dammit Zack, see what you did?]
Nicholas declares that close to her ear after brushing her hair to the side. At Lydia who looked like she was amazed, and she repeated his name. The other three, taken aback as if their palms are returned, again lose their words.
「At the very least, after introductions, will you go back?」
「In any case, because Young Rabbit-chan and her friends are surprised, let’s go together.」
She doesn’t deny that opinion, but Lydia thinks she could have been given a little more time to mentally prepare herself.
Pulling herself together, Lydia introduces the three of them to Nicholas.
「He is the son of Count Rudolstadt.」
「I’m Nicholas. You can freely call me Nico-chan.」
「 「 「Nico… chan……」」」
At Nicholas who closed one eye and requests a handshake, the three girls who are surprised are told the name he wanted to be called. At the time of the handshake, the girls introduced themselves.
Nicholas repeats his name that was abbreviated like Lydia’s, but no one pointed it out. If the other person is a guy, somehow, calling them with an abbreviation seems to have ended up as natural.
「Which reminds me, there was a new cake. Why don’t you go?」
When she follows Nicholas’ line of sight, things like a berry tart were placed on the dessert table. Tordelise and the others’ eyes sparkle at the cake in their distant view as if it were a gem.
「Um, Nico…… chan-sama……」
「For me, sweet things are no good. I will hold back.」
While perplexed, Stephanie asked Nicholas if he would accompany her to the cake selection, and he smoothly refused. Is that so, Stephanie said, nodding her head.
「Dia-sama, how about you?」
「Because I’ll end up overeating at dinner, I will hold back.」
At Tordelise’s invitation, Lydia gives her apologies while refusing. Because the chefs would muster all of their ability at dinner, if she eats dessert now, she’ll end up not eating much at dinner.
Knowing the reason without an explanation, Tordelise, who acknowledged it, went to select cakes with the other two. Nicholas arrived at the table with the remaining Lydia, and waited for the maids to prepare tea.
After drinking a mouthful of tea, Nicholas makes a stifling sound. Was there something funny, Lydia asked, tilting her head to the side.
「What is it?」
Thinking she tried to casually ask, Lydia asks what’s weighing on her mind.
「Um, somehow…… you don’t think you changed?」
She doesn’t ask who, so Nicholas asks for details.
「A little more adult-like, or perhaps I should say……」
Lydia searches for the words while giving it careful thought. She can’t skillfully say who or how, but she feels as if the mood, or perhaps she should say, occasionally the facial expression she showed changed.
Because it was a trivial change, she doesn’t understand whether or not expressing it that way is suitable.
「Compared to before I met Nicholas-sama……」
「That, do you think I can understand that?」
「That is the case.」
Because Lydia also understands that it’s crazy to request Nicholas’ opinion when he doesn’t know the comparison from before, she’s lost for words. Since there was only the feeling he would understand the new Nicholas, she apologizes for the unreasonable request.
Seeing Lydia hang her head, Nicholas sighed, and put his teacup on the saucer.
「I trusted in Zack, you know, and it’s because he seriously felt sympathy for me.」
At the abrupt confession, Lydia raised her head. Measuring his intentions, she waits for him to continue.
「Although I seemed to try to live my life nonchalantly, he understood my feelings. Surely, you’ve experienced something similar, you know.」
The serious, copper color eyes that understood her efforts and looked back at her, certainly understood her own feelings of fear or something similar. So, although it was their first meeting, she could think about following him.
The feeling of being looked at with sexual eyes, let alone his own self being denied, with the other party overwriting him at their convenience. Even now if he remembers it, he’s horrified. He’s a carefree seeming guy, but why does he know? Nicholas doesn’t have the intention to investigate that.
「I think that’s strange. What Lydia-sama is feeling, perhaps it’s that.」
Nicholas, finishing saying his thoughts, again drank a mouthful of tea.
Lydia unconsciously had made a fist on top of her knee.
As for Lydia, with how he is an existence like a sunny spot, and as Nicholas says, those shadows on someone’s happiness are unbecoming of him. Even if there was an incident that poured shadows on him, because he would be out of his own depth, would he say nothing? When she thinks about that, a frustrating feeling simmered out of her.
「Simply, if Zack only becomes cool and is in a hurry, because we’re on equal status there, it’s unreasonable to only worry about it.」
At Nicholas who was tidying up nonchalantly even with his extreme expression, Lydia blushed and her words choked up. When she reflexively raised her head, her forehead was lightly poked by an index finger.
「You shouldn’t be gloomy on your birthday. You should smile. Because that much alone is fine for Zack.」
Saying that, Nicholas sweetly smiles. Holding her poked forehead, Lydia, who was presented with a solution that she couldn’t think of solving alone, widened her eyes.
Because Tordelise and the others returned from their cake selection exactly at that time, that became the end of the conversation. After the waiters placed the cake the girls selected on the table, they included Nicholas and had fun talking to him as if with a friend.
After the tea party that celebrated her birthday, finishing seeing off the invitees, Lydia went to the western arbor at full speed. She had an intent to be careful not to do something like running, but unconsciously she ended up going at a half-jog and was slightly out of breath.
When she goes through the connected passage, on the other side of the arbor’s pond, she found the person she was looking for.
When she calls out to him in the place in the arbor that splits off into two in the middle, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice turns his head back and forces a smile.
「Ojou, it’s fine if you take your time.」
As if to say there’s no helping it, he smiles at Lydia who runs up to him. Facing the evening sun, that smile has more warmth to it.
「However, I made you wait. The reason is……」
He’s worried about Lydia who entered, out of breath, in the middle of the arbor, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice encourages her to sit down on a bench. It’s a round shaped gazebo, so there are benches prepared in the gazebo that encircle them which makes it easy to take a break.
Waiting for Lydia to catch her breath, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice asked.
「You wanted to relax with the rabbit-like girl, right?」
「Because during the tea party, I was mostly together with Torde-sama and the others, it is enough. That is because I can meet them again. But, when the sun falls, I can’t see the rainbow, right?」
Of course she was happy her friends celebrated her birthday. However, the reality is that she was looking forward to seeing the promised rainbow.
「Even at night, I can put up the rainbow.」
Hearing the reason he doesn’t worry even if she was late, Lydia is surprised. In what way can she see a rainbow in the dark night, she wonders.
He understood her curiosity was drawn in by the night rainbow, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice patted Lydia’s head as if truly amused.
「Well, as for the night, because it’s cold, it’s dangerous, so it will be after Ojou grows up a little more.」
Pacified, because there is no intent to selfishly whine, Lydia acknowledges and decides to expect it in a few years.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, worried about Lydia staying long in the open air of the winter, immediately decides to make the promised rainbow. [T/N: Zack can’t resist her]
「Here should be easy.」
Mumbling that, he faces the pond and puts his hand up. There, like fog, the pond’s water floats towards the sky in small beads.
Receiving the sunshine that is closeby, from where Lydia and he is, at the left side a bridge of seven prismatic colors is formed. Even if there aren’t any water lilies, even if the mini-rose flower beds are unused, the chilly scenery instantly was colored.
Understanding that transformation, Lydia lets her admiration show. At the rainbow that was bigger than last years, her heart danced.
「Ojou, congratulations on your birthday.」
While saying his congratulations, from his pants pocket, he presented something wrapped in a cotton handkerchief.
Although it was wrapped in a handkerchief, there was a matching knot to undo it, and inside an oval-shaped glasswork appeared.
Was he misunderstanding the appearance of Lydia who froze up and held back from saying anything, he wondered, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice apologized and lowered his eyebrows.
「I’m sorry. It’s around what I could buy, perhaps it should have been plated, but……」
Whether or not it was plated, Lydia didn’t judge, but the oval-shaped glasswork has the upper two thirds of stained glass colored blue, and the lower third was a polished copper color. At the borderline of the glass, it was decorated with a flower pattern going around. So it can be placed, there were three legs to it.
She thought about if it was a jewel box, but with a closer look, there was something in the blue glass.
「It’s a music box. When you turn the top, it plays a sound.」
When Lydia takes it into her hands and finds it difficult to turn it like that, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice twists the top part clockwise. There, although it returns by turning counter-clockwise, a matching sound of a music box rings out.
「I thought a music I knew would be better. the other day, I was able to hear it.」
The flowing music now, was the music Lydia is practicing on the piano. Somehow or another, during the times she received piano lessons, it seems he was doing gardening work close by.
Originally, the music was based on the neighboring kingdom of Chanson, and this country’s composer made twelve variations. She was taught that by her teacher. For that reason, there are thirteen ways to play this music, and recently Lydia was only practicing this one.
It’s music that commoners widely are aware of, but they aren’t aware of it on music boxes. This melody, which seems to basically amount to the original song, with a light metallic sound, plays itself and charmingly resounds.
At the cuteness that even the tone contains, Lydia’s facial expression breaks into a broad smile. Even though she was moved by just seeing the rainbow, she didn’t even think there is something that could be prepared that would make her even more happy.
「Thank you. I will take good care of it.」
When she’s filled with happiness and says her thanks, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, seemingly filled with anxiety, laughs with a sigh of relief.
At seeing that smiling face that was like a sunny spot that makes her forget the coldness of the winter air head on, Lydia suddenly remembers Nicholas’ words.
Lydia thought that she can’t be the only one to smile. But, although she was made glad, rather, he is the one making a facial expression like he received a present, and Nicholas was exactly right.
Was this too expensive? She became worried if he was too careless.
While recognizing that truth, she felt her body’s temperature.
「Ah, sorry. We’ve been out here for too long, huh?」
When the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice checks on her temperature, having misunderstood the wintry weather for why her face turned red, he extends a hand to Lydia’s forehead.
「I…… I’m fine!」
Almost touched, Lydia reflexively avoids it, standing up.
「But, you caught a cold, haven’t you……」
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, also standing up, once again tries to check her temperature.
「I am fine.」
Lydia becomes panicked and retreats, making distance from the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice. Somehow, her heart was warning her being touched now is unfavorable.
Thinking about if she used too much force, she ended up going down from the entrance of the gazebo, and Lydia, at the difference in level, fell off of her heel.
「Ojou!」 [T/N: Congrats Ojou, you played yourself]
When she guards the music box, Lydia held it to her chest and unconsciously closed her eyes. However, her arm was pulled in the opposite direction of falling down, and Lydia only ended up falling to her knees.
As soon as the perplexed voice of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice rang out, immediately there was the violent sound of water.
Lydia opens her eyes wide in shock. Even when she looks back in the voice’s direction, she can’t see his figure even on the surface on the pond.
In a hurry at how she can’t see him, when Lydia tries to look at the surface of the pond, from there, the face of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice appears.
「Uhaa, I messed up. Hahaha.」
「Don’t laugh, get up, quickly!!」
Although the cold water is freezing, Lydia scolds the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice who is laughing at something funny.
「If I change clothes at my house, it will be fine. After I get up, Ojou should stand a little away from me since your dress will get wet.」
「You should not be as worried about myself. Are you an idiot!?」
「Then, I won’t catch a cold, right?」
「It isn’t that kind of problem!!」
Even with how much Lydia shouts, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice smiles.
After all, even while arguing, Lydia reaches out with her hand, but when she ended up falling into the pond, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, with his own strength, brought them into the hallway.
A few days later, when Lydia visits the garden, the fool didn’t seem to be there, and she was told by their exclusive gardener his son had caught a cold.
So even though she said that, Lydia unconsciously scolded the boy who wasn’t there.
Zack really can’t stop spoiling Ojou, huh?
We’re almost at the end of Volume 2, as well. Just two more chapters to go.
Not a whole lot else to say on this one, other than Nicholas is clearly on the Ojou-Zack train. I swear that in an earlier chapter very close to the beginning there was a note that like, Taichi (past life Zack) was surprised that Ojou, who was supposed to be the villainess, didn’t get exiled or anything and seemed very accepting of the breaking of her engagement to the prince. And like, with every passing chapter, it’s more and more evident on why, hahaha.
Either way, see you all next chapter!