These chapters just keep getting insanely long.
Also, I almost missed this upload, because I thought “I’ve got another week” yesterday. Then I realized 3 weeks from the last update was today. So, I belted out basically half the chapter in one night. My brain is so frazzled and I do not want to do that again wahahaha.
Here we go.
「Wouldn’t having a girls-only gathering be fun?」
「A girls-only gathering?」
Lydia doesn’t understand the meaning of the suggestion she was given by the gardening boy, for if it’s talking about one’s true feelings.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice also, once again, says he only has a smattering of knowledge while thinking hard and explaining.
「First of all, it’s a thing where it’s only girls who assemble.」
「If I have a tea party where it’s only girls invited, is that fine?」
If it was that kind of thing, she had already done that. Even Emilia, because she was the marquiss’ daughter, would it be okay to invite her? When Lydia carefully thinks about it, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice shakes his head as if to say no.
「Rather than that, it’s something where you stay in the same room and chat, but what is it…… a pajama party, isn’t it? Since Ojou’s room is big, you can do it, right?」
It was a phrase she hadn’t heard before, but to Lydia, it sounded curious and fascinating. With the exception of family, she hadn’t had practical experience of sleeping in the same bed, and since it was uncharted territory, it seemed fun.
Were her own eyes glittering greatly, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice narrows his eyes, seeming amused.
「This time, I want to invite Torde-sama and the others.」
「Then, how about if you do a rehearsal with Chairwoman and the others?」
「That’s a good suggestion, isn’t it?」
Lydia and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice turn to face the voice that started talking. There, Emilia, who was making a difficult facial expression, was standing at attention.
The two tilted their heads in curiosity, wondering what question Emilia wants to present.
「Why, in front of me, are you planning to involve me?」
As an escort and as a maid, she had intended to be silent and refrain from speaking, but her master and friend, right in front of her eyes are speaking about treating her gently. Naturally, she couldn’t stay silent.
「I’m bad at keeping secrets.」
「Chairwoman, sneaking in the shadows is bad, isn’t it?」
Because secrets aren’t in her nature, her master says she doesn’t want to make them as much as possible, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice conveniently makes predictions about her likes and dislikes. Certainly, with noble girls, because she isn’t good in gossip, Emilia is at a loss. However, she has trouble in how to respond, being unashamedly spoken to as if she had been fighting back.
「With this, will you help me with my rehearsal?」
Lydia, whose eyes were shining, petitions Emilia. She must really be looking forward to it, Emilia thinks, as she saw her cheeks were flushed. Emilia struggles on how to reply.
It isn’t her master’s command, she’s only asking, so there is room to refuse for Emilia. However, it’s inevitable that refusing will leave her master in low spirits. Emilia, who along with being a maid, is to guard her master’s mind and body, so she resists unnecessarily injuring her mood.
「It’s no good……?」
Seeing Lydia’s eyes uneasily waver, Emilia reluctantly submitted. In an instant, Lydia’s face seemed to become happy.
「Thank you, Emilia.」
Emilia was bewildered at how happy she seemed to become with the behavior of one of her servants. Emilia’s master shows a very charming smiling face. With a tea party she had the appearance of feeling rigid and dignified, however in front of family and friends, she made many facial expressions, and furthermore the servants of the estate were the same.
Emilia, who kept the distance she discerned was appropriate for servants, is baffled at the times she was looked at with a smiling face that put her guard down. She doesn’t understand how to respond.
As for the reason her inner thoughts were struck with such bewilderment, Emilia scrutinizes the gaze of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice that stands next to her.
「You, you’re putting strange ideas into Lydia-sama’s head.」
「It’s only because I want Ojou to smile. Furthermore, it’s up to Ojou to use my idea, isn’t it?」
Although Emilia turns a sharp look towards him, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice calmly replies. He only proposed it, and since she couldn’t fulfill any further caution due to that, Emilia’s facial expression became more harsh.
Seeing that, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice pokes her between the eyebrows.
「Chairwoman, you’d also be charming if you laugh. Ojou also would be happy.」 [T/N: ZAAAACK]
At the words of the foolishly smiling boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Emilia becomes furious. She can’t have any trust in a boy who says careless things. She thought she was only being made a fool of by thinking of her as a girl.
「You, don’t look down on me!」
「Eh? What do you mean??」
At the response of the puzzled boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Emilia can only see that he’s playing dumb. So, she gets more angry.
「I am a guard. There’s no way it would be good for me to foolishly let my guard down.」
「A guard, huh…… that’s a tiring way of thinking.」
「What was that!?」
「Ojou also thinks that if Chairwoman laughs, she’s charming, right?」
When her master is brought up as a subject, Emilia shoulders jump with a start. She unconsciously got into a fight with the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice. This would get her attention again.
「That is, of course……」
However, Lydia only awkwardly agrees with a smile.
She tilts her head in confusion at the smile that is different from just a bit ago. However, with her intuition as a guard, Emilia glares at the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice.
「This is your fault.」
Instantly, his eyes opened wide like he was attacked at an unguarded moment, but the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice stood up from the library’s single-use sofa, moved to the side of the sofa Lydia is sitting on, and bent down.
「Ojou, I’m sorry. What did I do?」
「Eh? No…… you suddenly brought up the subject, so I was just surprised.」
At Lydia, who clumsily smiles while replying, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice relaxes his shoulders.
「If that’s the case, can you forgive me?」
Stared at straightforwardly by copper eyes, Lydia lost her words.
She thinks about trying to escape from that look, but perceiving she can’t put it off for a few seconds, she reaches for a children’s story she hadn’t yet read sitting on the table.
「……then, will you read this book aloud?」
Because the reading ability of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice had reached a certain level, recently they only silently read books they both liked together. Even pronunciation practice and the time he was read picture books to was fondly thought of. So, that proposal came to mind.
Hearing Lydia’s slight coaxing, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice has a gentle smile come to their face. When he accepts the book, he sits next to Lydia, careful not to block as much of it as possible while they start to read.
After beginning reading aloud, seeing Lydia’s expression become happy, Emilia bites down on her back teeth. Although her master permits it, she burns at the fact a commoner boy is sitting next to her, however above all else she also doesn’t like how easily he puts her in a good mood. Surely, he has an ulterior motive.
Emilia, in order to smoothly fulfill her duties as a duke’s daughter, during the times she accompanies her as a guard, makes preparations based on the schedule she anticipates. She also warns Petra and Eric in advance, but whether Petra nods her head out of proper understanding is dubious and Eric needs many explanations.
For this reason, she herself has to properly discipline herself. That’s what Emilia thought. From time to time, her master seems a little lonely with her attitude, but someday she’ll understand, won’t she?
「Lydia-sama, you should finish soon. It will be time for piano lessons.」
She cuts between their reading aloud and informs them of the time that is approaching.
「Is there still some time?」 [T/N: literally ‘is there a margin/surplus’]
「You shouldn’t make your teacher wait.」
When Emilia definitively says it, Lydia nods, seeming a little lonely. It’s something Emilia is used to seeing.
「Is that so? I look forward to hearing Ojou playing the piano. Stopping here is fine for next time, isn’t it?」
His work plans put him exactly near the room where she practices piano, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice says as he smiles and seems happy. Hearing his words, Lydia’s face became dyed vermillion.
「Y, you’re listening……! It’s my practicing!?」
「Although I’m conveniently listening, I don’t have to even strain my ears. Furthermore, I like the sound Ojou plays, it’s pretty.」
Lydia, feeling shy at her poor playing being heard, wonders if the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice should also have a feeling of shame. This time, Lydia’s cheeks had a different meaning to their redness.
「Zack should work as far away as possible!」
Lydia turns away from the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice who is letting out a regretful voice, leaving her seat.
While seeing her off at the door to the library, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice notices something in the book at hand.
「Ah, the bookmark.」
「Since I memorized the page, I put it in later.」
Dropping her gaze to the page of the book that was opened, Emilia holds out a hand as if to receive the book. The boy, who without her master’s kindness would not know letters, certainly does not own a bookmark.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice’s eyes go wide.
「Chairwoman, you’re amazing!」
「It’s natural to be able to do this much!」
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice shows a response that’s exaggerated for only memorizing the page with a single glance. That’s troublesome, Emilia thought, half-snatching away the book.
Emilia, catching up to Lydia, takes the handle of the door before her. Around the time she opens the door, she was able to understand from her facial expression that her master’s mood had improved.
The point just before she closes the door, Emilia glared at the cause.
Around the time darkness fell in the night, Katherine talks while dimming the lantern so it only illuminates the area around the bed.
「Is this fine for me……?」
The girl, rather than her usual uniform, is wearing some simple lace negligee and also has her hair down and tied loosely.
「Since I invited Torde-sama and the others, I have to confirm that along with me, there is enough room for four or more people.」
「That’s just the public position, as from the beginning she’s on good friends with Katherine-san, so aaaabsolutely she seems to want to invite heeeer—」 [T/N: It’s hard to convey with a translation so if you see extra letters it’s Petra’s speaking quirk]
With her real reason revealed by Petra, Lydia panics. Or rather, why did she have the expectation she wouldn’t talk? Even if she asks Petra, who is letting out a 「fufufu」 while covering her mouth with her excessively large sleeve, she thinks she won’t receive a proper reply.
Since Katherine also had a smile slip out, Lydia’s cheeks became red with shyness. She ends up looking at Katherine as if to unconsciously glare at her.
「What is it……?」
「No, I think it is a very great honor.」
Because Katherine says that while smiling happily, Lydia is overwhelmed with relief and happiness, ending up remaining silent.
「Emilia is also here, even without standing up I’ll show you.」
With how Petra was moving her whole body up and down, she calls out to her coworker Emilia. With Petra’s movements, even Lydia who is in the same bed, felt the vibrations. Emilia is wearing light purple nightwear there, holding her mouth stiffly in a straight line.
「Come on, take this seriously.」
「See, Emilia is also holding still.」
Greeted by her master Lydia’s voice, Emilia’s reply that finally came back was quiet. When Lydia is worried about what she should do, she felt a trivial amount of discomfort.
「Just now, did something sparkle?」
When Emilia’s skirt swayed, the light of the lamp was reflected. Because there aren’t any glittering decorations, when Lydia curiously tilts her head wondering what it is, Emilia who realized it lightly lifts her skirt and exposes her right thigh.
There, secured on a belt, is a stiletto.
「There are few places to conceal one in nightwear.」
「Carrying weapons when you sleep, won’t you not be rested……?」
Lydia is surprised at bringing a weapon for the safety of the bedroom. Because she confirmed that from the beginning it had been crammed in her sleeve, she vaguely realized even when going out normally, she was carrying it. However, she couldn’t tolerate it right now. With metal in her thigh, it would strike if she turns over, wouldn’t it?
At how her master pointed it out, Emilia slightly frowned as if disappointed.
Emilia, who rather than her own rest, prioritized her master’s, how much did she try to guard her master’s life, rather than her comfort? That would not change, and Lydia worrying about her is slightly disrespectful and her words don’t come out very persuasively. She’s worried and looks downward, her straight black hair sleekly falling from her shoulders. Meanwhile, a sigh escapes from Lydia, and Emilia looks up in amazement.
「I suppose there’s no helping it.」
She thought Lydia was amazed, but Lydia went to the chest next to the bed, and from the topmost drawer took out a small, square piece of paper. On one side of what looked like a memo pad, a magic circle made of ink.
Lydia spreads that paper on top of both of her palms, looking down at the magical circle and closing her eyes. At that moment, Lydia’s eyes flashed with lightning. Immediately after, the entirety of the room’s walls made a vibrating sound.
Emilia and the others unconsciously look at the surroundings of the room the sound was made in. Confirming that with the exception of the sound made, there was nothing, when they look at Lydia, the magic circle on the paper disappeared.
「I put up a thunder barrier. With this, it’s fine if you don’t carry a weapon, right?」
The boundary Lydia made, supposing there was an intruder, there would be an electric shock to the degree that it would stop them, and the sound would also alert them,
Since the failed attempt at abduction, Lydia requested from her mother, who had the same thunder attribute, to study ways of using her magical power. Because magical circles were taught in school, she was taught the various distinct magical circles and how to put magic into them. Even magic circles with the same effect, with the quantity of inserted magic, the power and the time it lasts can change. Her magical power is high, but for Lydia who doesn’t want to hurt people, she needed to practice.
Contrary to Lydia’s expectations, who was expecting her to remove her arms after giving her relief with this, Emilia frowned more, showing an indignant facial expression.
Lydia tilts her head to the side, but for Emilia, from her point of view, she had lost face by reversely being protected by the person she is supposed to protect, being a guard. It’s only natural she becomes unsatisfied. However, because there is the reality she was able to secure her master’s safety, she reluctantly puts her stiletto on top of the chest.
Confirming Emilia is sitting seiza style at the corner of the bed, Lydia smiles, Petra, as if to say to come closer, pats her surroundings.
「Then, I’ll make cocoa.」
Katherine, saying that, takes the priorly prepared hot milk that was kept insulated and cocoa powder, then starts to mix them in cups. A soft, sweet vapor drifts in the air. It’s just staying up a little, but the situation of having sweets at this time, for Lydia felt a little immoral.
「Somehow, I’m nervous.」
「For meee, because I’m the camp of that anytime I want to eat, it’s sweets, it’s eeeasy.」
「You’ll put on weight, you know.」
Compared with Lydia who is nervous and seems to be feeling sinful, Petra, who’s used to it, returns a carefree response. Towards Petra, Emilia sends a gaze as if to blame her.
「Muuu, does Emilia not know the famous saying about having a separate stomach for dessert?」
「Famous saying? Because you’re not a cow, there’s no way you have that many stomachs. Don’t say such idiotic things.」
「Eh, don’t cows only have one stomach?」
「Ah, yes…… for the sake of eating grass, it goes through four parts of their stomach.」
「Really!? Emilia is well-informed, isn’t she?」
「For Marquis Pechstein’s territory, it’s prosperous in livestock, you knooow.」
「Petra is also knowledgeable about geography, huh?」
When Lydia praised her, saying that’s amazing, Petra put out her head as if to say it was fine to praise her more. Lydia, answering her request, pats her beige hair.
Emilia is bewildered at Lydia’s ordinary praise. The contents of her unconscious reply are the ecology of living animals. Things like the internal organs and the interior of the body, an ordinary noble daughter would be uncomfortable. Although it’s strange, even Petra from a count’s house remaining calm is unexpected.
With Marquis Pechstein’s rule of the defense of one’s country, from where one was a child, the boys and girls were drilled without distinction and taken hunting, and even saw dissections. Rather than flowers and pretty gems, they got used to things that previously reeked of blood. Because Emilia is also a girl, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an interest in things made for girls, but it’s precisely that reason that because she can’t keep up with topics that don’t hold her interest, it’s hard for her to speak on them herself.
From the beginning, to become a soldier, or to become a guard to someone important to the country, because she thought those were her two choices she didn’t think she cared which one it was. However, after she worked for the Ernest house, because she wasn’t treated like an ordinary guard, the things she didn’t understand what was best to do increased.
While letting a small smile slip out at the appearance of the three, Katherine puts the prepared cocoa cups on a tree on top of the bed.
「For this evening, it’s fine, isn’t it?」
As if not to complain, while cautioning them, Katherine hands them each a mug, starting from Lydia.
「Here you are.」
Even Emilia was handed one, with Katherine saying to please warm yourself up. Even though Katherine had been frightened by her menacing look, Emilia accepts the cocoa with an inscrutable feeling.
Because Lydia and the others were already drinking, Emilia copies them, drinking one sip. The sweetness touches her tongue and spreads, and the heat that passes through her throat warms her entire body. Unconsciously, everyone lets out a warm sigh at the same time.
「Katherine is very skilled at making cocoa, isn’t she?」
「I am very grateful.」
At having let her mind unconsciously relax, Emilia was anxious, but the three calmly kept drinking cocoa with an appearance of not worrying.
Being here in a calm place, again Emilia felt strange.
Lydia, who noticed the confused look, smiles towards Emilia.
「You should warm yourself up.」
Why would she sweetly smile at an ordinary guard? She’s unusual for a noblewoman’s daughter and can only offer to talk about inelegant topics.
「…..Lydia-sama, am I unpleasant to you?」
Lydia, at the extremely abrupt question, tilts her head in confusion. In Emilia’s thoughts, why would she feel like she was unpleasant?
「The talk about cows……」
At Emilia’s mumblings, Lydia understands. Certainly, during something like a tea party, you wouldn’t bring up the topic of livestock.
Lydia thinks about how to explain it, then opens her mouth.
「My father and I exchange diaries.」
What was she suddenly talking about, Emilia thought, but because she had been tasked with the duty of being attentive, she nodded her head and encouraged her to continue.
「The other day, following my father’s example, I tried to thank the head chefs and went to the kitchens. There, around the time of dinner preparations, there were many ingredients lined up.」
Not just various vegetables and fruits, but naturally there was meat. Chicken that had been hung upside down for bloodletting, fish whose eyes were still sparkling before it was fileted, entered Lydia’s view.
「Seeing food being prepared in front of me, I was surprised. So, I was frightened…… for dinner that day, I ended up not being able to eat very much.」
Recalling the moment her eyes saw something that wasn’t living, a shivering amount of fear welled up, and the scene of something having nothing where you’d expect it to have a head was scorched into her mind, so she felt sick in front of the meal.
Because it was her turn to exchange diaries, the fear she couldn’t convey with words as well as an apology for causing worry.
「If I apologized with the diary, my father responded with this.」
Lydia retrieves the diary she exchanges with her father from the chest, then opens it to the corresponding page.
My Dia. The fear you felt, it is an instinct all living things naturally feel. I feel happy to know you feel the importance of life.
From here, you might feel bad about becoming hungry and eating delicious food, but it is not a sin. Even that is a natural instinct of living things.
Rather, it isn’t good not to make use of things that have already lost their life. At the point in time it is set on your plate, it is entrusted to us whether or not to make garbage of them.
At the contents of the opened page, Emilia’s inner thoughts became surprised. If it’s the case that he was that doting duke, she thought he would write only pampering words. The contents that seemed to be like scolding were unexpected.
「Thanks to my father, I was able to notice I had become reluctant to eat.」
Seeing the reply in their diary exchange, Lydia especially smiles, seeming happy. She had been warned against mistaking things to disavow and things to accept. Feeling her father’s consideration and the posture of a noble trying to manage their territory there, she became very happy.
「And with that—」
Lydia puts both hands over her chest, looking downwards at her hands.
「I understand the true meaning of Zack saying thank you before and after meals.」
Because he was saying to give thanks to nature, perhaps he understood. However, Lydia had understood it as giving thanks to people who prepared the food, people who raised the animals, and the commoners who tried for the nobles.
But, that was a mistake.
「Appreciate the things we eat and don’t forget you’re eating life.」
Even this much was stealthily an imitation of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice and used the thanks as a good luck charm, but when she became aware she was eating something that died, the fear and bewilderment she had completely fell into her heart. Showing manners to the life right in front of her, she didn’t know it could put her heart so much at ease.
「……I can’t think about holding such noble ideas.」
Towards Lydia who smiled affectionately, Emilia puts on a dubious facial expression. Towards the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, even if there is the potential that he’s a fool to the point he doesn’t have an ulterior motive, there has never been the feeling he taught her something. Her master, Lydia, is thoughtful, and it’s only her wisdom, right?
The things she’s thinking are blatantly coming out, Lydia thinks when she sees Emila’s face, and she smiles, seeming amused.
「Fufu, as for Zack, it’s not difficult for him to think about.」
For him, it was absolutely simple. Something Lydia can’t understand after she’s worried about it isn’t always difficult to understand. Emilia appraised it as lofty, but Lydia doesn’t think about it in that way.
How did she notice it? Then, it’s only a story of how did she accept the things she noticed.
「For delicioooous things, if you eat to your limit, it’s fine, you knooow.」
Petra smiles and drinks the seemingly delicious cocoa. Lydia nodded, saying she also had a point.
「So, Emilia. I, because even the topic of animals is fine, I want to hear your story. You’re a very kind person who knows the weight of life.」
Being aware of even trivial dangers, worrying about the safety of her master. As for paying strict attention to her actions, to not feel shame as the future daughter of a duke, she considers things carefully. At her words, she might feel anxiety, and there are times she thinks of it as sad, but later on, if she reflects, she understands it in her own words.
In the beginning, she is bewildered at Emilia’s attitude, and also consulted it with her father through the diary exchange. Her father, regarding a person who was strictly there for her sake, taught her she was also prepared to get injured for her sake as well. Then, that sort of person,because they are the harshest to themselves, Lydia, her master, should be kind to her.
Accepting her father’s words, for a moment, she tried to see Emilia’s situation. The girl who always didn’t have a weak spot, certainly she was the strictest on herself. Lydia, if it’s herself, she can’t go that far. Even if it’s for the sake of someone else, as for hitting someone hard, Lydia needs the corresponding amount of preparedness.
Together with a sense of admiration, she became very worried. Being so strict to herself is hard, isn’t it?
Isn’t it better if she smiles, she thought.
Because she didn’t understand what she can do to make her smile, first of all she wants to hear her talk. Then, the girl who is strict on herself, if she should deny herself, then she will loudly affirm her.
「Someone beautiful like you, it’s impossible to feel uncomfortable about.」
Beautiful, that word is appropriate for a noble girl. With her jet black straight hair, sharp long-slitted eyes that embody the purpose of power, rather than herself, she thought of Lydia as always beautiful.
The words her master gave her, Emilia is struck with shock.
Her black hair was whispered to be gloomy, her sharp eyes seem to glare, and it often caused misunderstandings with noble girls of the same generation. So, she thought a word like 「beautiful」 is far beyond her. She hated gossiping and the expectation was to ignore it, but before she knew it, her sense of values had been eroded.
「With your hair that’s always glamorous compared to mine, I envy you.」
「Ara, Katherine’s hair that’s also black seems soft. I also like it, you know.」
「Even with waking up, that it doesn’t curl up is unfaaair.」
「Is that so? That’s unfair, yes.」
Every person threw words of affirmation at Emilia’s appearance, of three different ways they were jealous of her. It was something very embarrassing. Emilia bit her lower lip and somehow or another kept from having heat on her cheeks.
The first time Emilia endured this kind of emotion, they were saying things like how their own hair explodes when they lie down, or the time when it’s very damp they have to wear a lot of braids, and when they don’t sleep with braids the next morning is dreadful.
「……ku, everyone is having a hard time.」
When she realizes it, she had started to become excited and amused, and Emilia unconsciously made a noise. She frantically fights her embarrassment and felt like a fool.
「Geez, if it’s Emilia, it’s someone else’s problem, huh……」
Lydia, who was miffed and looked at Emilia, widely opens her eyes, and in one moment her facial expression sparkles.
「As I thought, no, it’s even cuter!」
At Lydia’s excited seeming words, Emilia, who suddenly noticed it, holds a hand over her mouth and tries to tighten her expression.
Thinking it was a waste and trying to stop Emilia, Lydia remembers something and admits one point that’s her fault.
「Um, Emilia…… the other day, I’m sorry.」
At her master suddenly bowing her head, this time Emilia’s eyes go wide.
「Lydia-sama!? What are you saying?」
「That time that Zack asked that if Emilia smiles, she’s cute, I didn’t properly agree, right? That…… for that, that was the first time I heard Zack call another girl cute, so it surprised me.」 [T/N: Man, Ojou has it so bad for Zack, haha]
Because the time he accompanied her to the party, he was careful not to talk to any of them, it was the first time she had seen him compliment someone of the opposite gender but of similar age. Although she feels a sense of pride when he praises her mother and her sister, she was surprised at how different it was.
While becoming very incoherent, Lydia, for the point she wanted to convey the most, clenched her fist, and powerfully made a declaration.
「So, I decided that I won’t ever think of Emilia as not cute! And that much, please don’t misunderstand!? Emilia, rather than me, is completely cute!」
「Lydia-sama, that’s an over exaggeration.」
In order to raise the head of her master who was currently bowing it, Emilia decisively raises it with her palm. She couldn’t give up the truth that her master has the more attractive face and figure.
「Rather than all of the other noble daughters, I am sure Lydia-sama is the most beautiful.」
「She’s also the most cute, right?」
「And the most coool.」
As for not being able to surrender, the other two continued on with things similar to Emilia’s remarks. At Emilia and the other’s compliments, Lydia’s face became red, and weakly tried to conceal them with her braids.
「You three…… you’re showing too much favoritism……!」
「It’s the truth.」
At Emilia who declares it, Katherine and Petra say 「yes, yes」, smiling while nodding. For that reason, furthermore Lydia buries herself in her braids.
Somehow or another, when she breaks down at the present situation of being unable to endure it for a second longer, Lydia racks her brains and remembers something.
「That reminds me, I didn’t punish her for laughing at hair becoming curled……!」
「That’s about hair.」
「Emilia, you can say that because yours is smoooooth.」
Emilia, who felt Lydia had become exaggeratedly angry, is surprised that even Petra would blame her for smiling.
Seeing those three, an amused Katherine smiled.
「Fufu, then, how should we do this, Lydia-sama?」
Asked by Katherine, Lydia told her judgment as if to say it was natural.
Emilia was surrounded by three people who thought it would be good if she understood the trouble of curly hair. The three struggled to braid her hair that slipped through their fingers, and said it would stay like that for one night. However, when the braids ended, Lydia and the others lost to drowsiness, and one by one fell asleep.
Katherine, the last one left, at the three of them peacefully sleeping, rests her head on the futon and turns out the light.
A few days later, in the afternoon, Lydia, wearing a coat over her dress to protect from the cold, looks content.
「With this, I can also show it to Emilia.」
「What is it?」
「When we arrive, you’ll understand.」
In the middle of the trees, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice guides them, with Lydia following, and Emilia as the rear guard. Contrary to the humming of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Emilia is suspicious of the destination she doesn’t know. For Lydia, the difference is somewhat amusing.
Since the pajama party, if a little, it reached the point Emilia became more tolerant of conversations, and Lydia got to know her temperament a little more.
What made her the most happy is that she likes the same cute things as Lydia. This isn’t the pattern, and until now she hadn’t told her family, it seems. It made her very happy that she was the first to have it be revealed to.
Only Emilia opening up was unfair, Lydia thought, and thought she should reveal the only thing she had hidden from her.
「It’s beyond this point.」
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice stopped and pointed at the hedges. Emilia became suspicious.
「It’s a dead end.」
「Here, we go under.」
Taking a closer look at where he pointed, the crevasses in the branch as many, and somehow or another there’s enough room for only a person to duck underneath.
「That’s why I wore the hooded one.」
Before asking the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice if he was really going to make the daughter of a duke do something like that, Lydia proudly smiled say she was all ready. Her words crushed, Emilia was correspondingly troubled. She hadn’t thought her master chose that coat with the intention of ducking under.
「Is that… so?」
Emilia, in the end, could only nod. Saying something in this place, her master’s expression would end up being clouded over. If it’s explaining it to her, it should be when they were walking in the trees where there is no path.
From the standpoint of Emlia who likes cute things, she doesn’t understand that Lydia is the cutest thing. She was self-conscious that she’s weak to her smiling face and Emilia became silent.
「Now that you mention it, this hedge is different from the ones near the estate.」
At Lydia’s words that spill out, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice that was trying to go under the hedges stops.
「Sweet viburnums are good for an outwards appearance, but looking after them takes a lot of time. Up to here, since it’s not attended to, it’s yew plum pines.」
As for what Lydia is used to seeing, it’s thick, glossy and vibrant leaves. Now, what’s in front of her eyes make her recall dragonfly wings, with thin blades in full leaf.
「But, there’s two types on the estate?」
「No, the hedges we use are sweet viburnum.」
「After all, there are no red berries growing at the entrance of the estate.」
From the main entrance to the front door, and still the area around the reception and the guest room, there is only greenery, though around the area Lydia walked and had tea with her mother there are red berries hanging. Although it’s an evidently different aspect, the who is a gardener’s apprentice says they are the same tree. At the inconsistency, Lydia tilts her head in confusion.
「Cleaning them is difficult, as during the summer we prune the visitor area.」
「Why don’t you prune the ones I often see?」
「Ojou, you like cute things, don’t you?」
It’s simple, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice easily replied. He’s mainly doing his father’s work, but it doesn’t change the priority handling that it’s for the enjoyment of someone in the Ernest household. The hedges are left with the seasons, in accordance to the tastes of the women of the house.
He says it like it’s a matter of fact for gardeners of the Ernest household, but a short while ago, didn’t he say that pruning them is difficult? For their own sake, the Baumgartner house who takes no account of troublesome things, is there something wrong?
Isn’t that idiotic, was about to come out of her mouth, but Lydia who became confused panics and closes her mouth. She doesn’t have any intention to badmouth the devotion of his father. If he hadn’t said things on his own basis, overreacting here would just cause trouble.
Even if she gives him a reproachful look, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, not understanding, only gives her a blank look.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice glances at the yew plum pine and mumbles.
「Well, I like yew plum pines.」
Hearing him say his preferences is rare. Rather than the feeling of wanting to complain just a little while back, her curiosity won.
「It’s because you can eat them.」
At that simple answer, Lydia narrows her eyes. The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, having answered, takes one of the berries of the yew plum pine, and for the red fruit and tough-seeming black fruit that are linked, tears them and tears them.
Lydia, who had never eaten fruit that was growing off the tree like that, was surprised at how he ate it without hesitation.
「Ojou, will you also eat it?」
While she was dumbfounded, he plucked off another two linked fruits, holding them out ot her.
「Impossible, you’ll have Lydia-sama eat them like that!?」
「Ah. Sorry, I’ll wash them.」
When Emilia cautions about the hygiene, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, with water magic, removes the dirt from his hands.
Presenting them another time, Lydia is bewildered. She feels a message from Emilia’s gaze that says it’s fine if she doesn’t overdo it. She also understands her worries, but she’s also shy about disregarding an action of kindness from him.
After worrying for several seconds, Lydia timidly extends her hand, and takes a fruit from his palm. Then, after swallowing her saliva, she prepares to eat it. Emilia holds her breath and watches over her master to see if there is anything wrong.
It was riper and sweeter than she thought. The sweetness passes through her throat. It really is just a sweet fruit, and when she tried it, it’s a little anticlimactic there’s nothing else. The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, when he tries to offer the same washed fruit, she says there’s no helping it, and like Lydia who thought it’s sweet, a mumble leaked out.
At their two responses, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice smiles, seeming satisfied.
「Once in a while, is it okay to do something like this?」
Emilia thinks that although this kind of thing is modest for her master who is accustomed to superior confectioneries and high class fruits, because its taste isn’t bad, the words to protest won’t come out.
「O, once in a while is fine.」
Lydia showed a sharp look, but because the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice is smiling, he seemed to notice she liked it.
「Don’t tell Erik, okay?」
「Eh, if it’s Pochi, he ate a lot.」
「That idiot, he’s too gluttonous……!」
When she was aware of her coworker’s vigorous appetite, she had apprehensions about acting rudely, but when Emilia tries to warn them, it’s already too late. Plucking them for his own personal use, when he had let Pochi taste them, he ate up everything, it seems. She should scold him later, as she furrowed her brow a headache came to her.
「Well, you must be hungry, right?」
「Why aren’t you a little mad!? He took your things, right!?」
「I can always eat them any time.」
「Generally, things on the Ernest house estate……」
「Emilia, calm down for now. I brought you here to show you something wonderful.」
「I’ve raised the hurdle, huh?」
Clinging to Emilia’s arm after she had become keen on the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Lydia constrained her. At Lydia’s words, somehow the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice forces a smile.
「Yes. Because I like it, certainly Emilia will also.」
「What in the world are you……」
「The garden I made.」
In contrast to Lydia whose facial expression was smiling and glittering, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice shows a subtle facial expression. He seems uncomfortable at her raising the expectations. That even he could show that kind of facial expression, Emilia was surprised.
Finding his unusual reaction interesting, Emilia raises the corners of her mouth.
「Let’s see what you’ve got, then.」
「Then, go on ahead.」
Don’t laugh, he says, handing over a hood for the sake of going under. Emilia accepted it as if it was a challenge.
She decides that if it’s poorly made, she’ll laugh.
She didn’t know that she could be enchanted by a water fountain concealed by grapevines that sparkled like gems—
And then, not the boy who made it, but the master triumphantly smiled.
This chapter is insanely long. 18 pages on the Google Doc.
It totally slipped past me because of all the IRL stuff, ahaha. House buying is uh, is a thing, alright. Also been helping a friend get a book published which has been an adventure and a half. Formatting for paperback is utter pain.
Anyways, not a whole lot to say here. I guess have a happy Valentines’ day since I won’t be updating until after that?
See you all next chapter!
2 thoughts on “38. Braid”
Thanks for all your hard work! Good luck with house buying and helping your friend!
Thx 4 ch…
I can’t waiting 4 next chapter 👍👍👍