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[Update] Katsucon 2022!

Okay, well, this is awkward.

Long story short, won’t be going to Katsucon 2022. There were some policy changes that just hit when I got my email about registering for the panel (basically get your panelist badge) that left unable to go. Won’t really elaborate further on that for professional reasons, since there’s no need to go further beyond that much either.

I know that like, no one was really chomping at the bit to come see my panel, but just wanted to let you all know. I’m guessing while all of this craziness dies down I might do any panel runs, but probably in 2023 I’ll start up again.

38. Braid

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.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


「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?」

「Pajama party……」

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?」

「……um.」

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……?」

「~~I understand.」

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]

「Wh—!?」

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.

「Ojou?」

「Lydia-sama?」

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.」

「Eh, me?」

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?」

「So……」

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.

「Ahh.」

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.」

「Yes……」

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!」

「Ehhh?」

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]

「Wh, Petra!?」

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.」

「……however.」

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.

「But……」

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.

「It’s delicious.」

「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.」

「……I am.」

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?」

「Why??」

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……」

「Ahh.」

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.」

「That’s right.」

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.

「Me……?」

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.

「……you smiled.」

「Eh.」

「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.」

「Even Petra……」

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.

「Braid punishment!」

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.

「Impossible……」

「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?

「Id……」

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.」

「Why?」

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.」

「Eh?」

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.

「There.」

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’s…… sweet.」

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.

「Show……?」

「Yes. Because I like it, certainly Emilia will also.」

「What in the world are you……」

「The garden I made.」

「Ha?」

「Just ahead.」

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!


37. Gold

THIS CHAPTER IS SO LONG, WHYYYY

Sorry if the editing is a little scuffed in this chapter. I, uh, am two weeks late because I partied really hard over the holidays, spent too long recovering from New Years, and completely failed to do any translating wahahaha, so I rushed to translate this one and then edited it sort of quickly. Also this chapter ended up being way longer than I realized. I was hitting like 3 hours of translation time 3 days a week just to get it out.

Updates to the schedule in 2023 at the end of the chapter.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


Deeper in the greenery of the trees, as it advanced towards autumn, the season feels like it’s calming down.
However, as for the garden, the vivid flowers are blooming as if to tell a story of summer with their colors.
A round flower bed, where even the colors of the bellflowers on the outside are varied, in the gaps are yellow chrysanthemums, and on the inside where tall rainy mallows are blooming, a tower of flowers was made.

「The chrysanthemums are also an insect repellent, it seems. Even in Zack’s house, they hang them up by the windows.」

「Then, to calm down, you can also look at the flowers, can’t you?」

While looking through the glass door to the carden, Lydia and Roy talk while smiling. Certainly, she was thinking that for the turquoise bellflowers and rainy season mallows being made to shine were cute, and at Lydia’s thoughts, Roy pleasantly remembers.
Possibly, she seemed to be annoyed at him not even having an artistic point of view. At the start of her explanation, even during the season where there are a lot of insects it’s quiet, so Roy had asked the question.
With the story he heard from Lydia, Roy also understood that the occupation didn’t just think of the garden visually, they also took into account the functional aspect. Roy also found the practical applications interesting, and hearing her talk was fun. Again, it’s fine for the vision that sees even the castle garden to change.

「It’s better to have fun without thinking about that sort of thing.」

「You could say that, but……」

Lydia, who wants to widen her own viewpoint, is jealous of the vision Roy has. Because it’s unusual for her to appear bitter about this kind of point, Roy seems pleased. Whenever she makes this reaction, Roy had a feeling he gained a hard to come by friend.

「Which reminds me, even after we’re engaged, is it fine not to change the frequency of when we meet?」

「Is there a problem? We even meet during tea parties.」

「Yep. So, in that case, Miss Lydia.」

When Lydia responds that meeting once every two weeks and being accompanied to tea parties with her fiance is enough, Roy smiles, seeming satisfied.
Even at the step of being a fiance candidate, compared with the other girls who wanted to increase their meeting frequency, Roy was happy at the difference, but Lydia judged on the basis that he, as a prince, believes him to be already busy and didn’t feel it was a necessity to increase the amount of times they met, and measured the meaning of his smiling face.

「Lately, Eric’s mood has been softening.」

「That’s good. There’s only the girl on the opposite side of the door.」

「Yes……」

Because Roy said it was convenient if it was only the two of them, her guard Emilia, was held back on the other side of the door with Mateus. When she turns to look in the direction of those honey colored eyes that look in the direction she would be, Lydia grips her fist a little bit. It seems the final barrier is going to be a hard fight.
The girl whose eyes are hard like steel, that is the impression Roy has of the girl who acts as a guard alone. Because Matteus forces a smile at the time she’s together with his own guard, she’s terribly upright and serious, he thinks. Winning her over is going to be difficult.

「I thought to have a proper discussion like with Eric, but I’m utterly helpless……」

Really, no matter how many times tried to have a conversation with her, Lydia always seems frustrated. Emilia is the type to hate talking about affairs outside of business. There is no gap to make conversation, no doubt.

「……As for being helpless, I’m the same.」

At Roy, who lets out a bitter smile as if letting out a sigh, Lydia worries. Seeing him with a bitter facial expression is considerably rare.

「Is Roy-sama also having trouble with someone?」

「While it’s embarrassing, it’s my younger brother.」

「His Highness, Klaus?」

She remembers Klaus, the younger brother of Roy who she greeted on occasion after becoming Roy’s fiance. Because she only greeted him, she doesn’t know him well.

「He’s someone who seems hard to please.」

Because his facial expression is always stiff whenever they meet, that was Lydia’s impression. However, Roy gently shakes his head.

「No, that attitude of Klaus’ is half because of nervousness at Lydia’s beauty and half my fault.」

Roy smiles as if to apologize, but at the first half of the explanation, Lydia unconsciously blushes. Lydia thinks that the explanation is unnecessary, but Roy praised her more, saying even during ordinary tea parties, because she was beautiful, there’s no helping being nervous, so she became greatly unable to bear it.

「In front of me, he stops smiling. So, I’m really sorry if his attitude towards you worsens.」

At Roy’s apologetic appearance, it wasn’t an awkward situation, so Lydia changed her mood.

「That is, as expected, it’s the succession of the throne……?」

「That’s right. Actually, Philly doesn’t hesitate to come in contact with him. She really is a sweet child.」

Lydia, with part of the queen’s education, was provided the opportunity to listen to a story from the first queen. In doing so, she met the third princess, Philine, but she merrily talks about her older brothers. Roy and Klaus, she talks about them equally. Because she’s a girl whose inheritance power is low and she has no intent to do so, even if she becomes close with her, no one would say anything.
However, the first prince Roy and the second prince Klaus, even if they’re around the same age, their mothers differ, so it’s not possible. Even in their own castle, their surroundings have eyes, so even meeting with just themselves is difficult.
Particularly, the extent of Klaus’ mother’s vision. Lydia always feels that she’s looking to keep her, the fiance of the first prince, in check.

「I’ll try to greet him, but he seems prejudiced against me. I wonder if he thinks of you as a brother.」

「That’s right, huh……」

At Roy who smiles as if a bit lonely, Lydia lets her doubts spill.

「For some time now, you have only said words of support about His Highness, Klaus, so it appears that Roy-sama and Philly-sama are concerned about him the same. You both really think of him as a brother.」

When he goes along with the impressions Lydia felt, Roy honey-colored eyes go wide for a second, then he softly smiles.

「I’m glad you think that.」

「That is something that came out unexpectedly. Because it’s the same for me.」

Lydia smiles back. For herself, there was a time she worried about not being able to be an older sister-like person for Flora, but the boy who was a gardener’s apprentice taught her the view of the outside looking in.
She thought about when she heard about the examples given to her and she saw that a third party was able to easily understand. The odds and ends of words that were in consideration for a younger brother, and for Lydia, Roy as fully reflecting as older brother-like. In spite of being avoided, Lydia feels as if there isn’t a point he doesn’t consider him family.
Perhaps, when her own younger sister Flora has an attitude like this, she would be discouraged, perhaps, but would continue to reach out to her.

「I’ll guess what’s in Roy-sama’s heart……」

「Miss Lydia…… there’s no need to be sad for me. Furthermore, for something like Miss Flora disliking you, because that’s ridiculous, please relax.」

Guessing why she moved, Roy gently presented a handkerchief. Because Lydia’s eyes were only a little wet, there isn’t a need to wipe them, but seeing Roy’s facial expression soften, she meekly took it, said 「yes」, and nodded her head.

「At any rate, for each other, it’s necessary to prepare a place where somehow or another we can talk.」

Lydia thought it was strange to think of the discord between the brothers of the royal family on the same level as one of master and servant, so she had better not talk about it with lightness. Nodding at Lydia’s words, Roy said that was right, mumbling and showing behaviors of careful thought.
Then, Roy, who seemed to think of something, turned towards Lydia with a sparkling smile.

「Miss Lydia, could you be unreasonable and cause some trouble for me?」

「Eh…..?」 

At the abrupt request, Lydia’s thoughts came to a stop in an instant. How selfish was this causing trouble? The act of raising a request that doesn’t take into account the other party’s circumstances, for the already embarrassed Lydia, this doesn’t seem to be possible. Now, when she thinks about the acts of two years ago, seems to want to die of shame.
When Lydia weakens at the thought of a request where the difficulty level is too high, Roy smiles as if to relieve her.

「Or, could you let me say that?」

「I… understand.」

She doesn’t understand what Roy is intending, but because what the goal should be, Lydia nodded, wanting to help any little bit she could with reconciliation.
Earning Lydia’s approval, after Roy said his thanks, he sees the Nigera-like eyes that are glistening and wetter than normal and forces a smile.

「However, if he knows I made you cry, Isaac won’t stay silent.」

「Why Zack?」

Lydia tilts her head in confusion. Without being prideful, there are a lot of people in her house that worry for her. Even with only the Ernest house’s employees, Katherine the maid and the guards seem to react to even trivial niceties.  Although, why did Roy raise the name of the gardener’s apprentice first?
Roy just smiles back while never giving an answer. Instead, he turns around.

「I’m sorry. There’s a person I shouldn’t forget.」

When Lydia follows Roy’s line of sight, where the door opened was a man with loose golden hair. His eyes that are the same color as Lydia’s are open wide in shock.

「Father?」

What was so surprising about her father, Lydia thought, but realizing she was holding onto the handkerchief Roy gave her, understood the misunderstanding and got flustered. 

「I, it isn’t……!」

「Miss Lydia, in all likelihood, that will have the opposite effect.」

「Your Highness, may I have a discussion with you?」

Although he’s all smiles, because her father has the atmosphere that there’s no ability to say yes or no, it was appropriately troublesome to clear the misunderstanding. Roy, the person in question who seemed to accept the misunderstanding, because he somehow seemingly was smiling in amusement, Lydia felt it was unfair only she worried about it.
The love of a girl’s father who never listened to his own words was interesting. It was amazing, as with only that, even Roy who could get through her father’s menacing look was already amazing, Lydia thought.


A few days afterwards, inside the Avenrot Kingdom’s castle, the two brothers met face to face.

「Claus, are you doing well?」

When Roy tries to greet his brother with a smile, his younger brother Claus directly averts his gaze and bluntly replies.

「Although we also met yesterday at practice, there’s no way that would change.」

「That also seems to be the case.」

Towards Roy who nods with a smile, Claus furrows his eyebrows. Both of them have metal colored hair, but differing from Roy who doesn’t have curls, Claus has them on the tips of his. Not just their facial expressions, but even their hair contrasts. Even their two attendants, the one near Roy who had on a slightly forced smile is different from Claus’ with a sharp look in their eye.
Claus immediately wanted to leave, and tries to leave with a slight bow. But, taking one step forward, Roy calls out.

「That’s right. I’m visiting my fiance later, but will Claus also come?」

「What?」

At the astounding contents of the invitation, Claus unconsciously replied without concealing his suspicions. Even when he looks at his brother’s face at his excessive surprise, there’s only a dazzling smile.

「Why shou…… why me?」 [T/N: Claus starts off about to use ‘ore’ which is rougher than when he uses “watashi” as a correction, so I tried to convey this with a harsher ‘why’ first.]

「Miss Lydia says she would like to try talking with Claus. If you don’t mind only making an appearance, would you think about helping your brother and coming with me?」

Roy shrugs his shoulders as if he was weakened. Was Roy excited about going that far for his fiance, or was his fiance taking a shameless attitude towards Roy, he doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t change that it’s trouble for him.

「I’m sorry, but today is busy……」

「Oh. Today, none of the tutors are coming, right?」

At the language that understood his schedule, Claus made a bitter facial expression.

「My mother is calling me.」

「Simone-sama went to Marquiss Leimbacher’s tea party, though.」

「My sister……」

「Philly, at this time, is with the etiquette teacher.」

Roy ended up suppressing all of his excuses, and Claus only ended up letting out a 「guh」. He finally realized Roy invited him knowing he had no plans.

「I… understand……」

「I’m saved.」

At Claus’ reluctant acceptance, Roy thanks him with a smiling face.
His attendant tried to propose accompanying them, but Roy cut him off, saying his own attendant Matteus would be enough.
Matteus is a Royal Knight directly appointed by Roy, for the purpose of recognizing that exceptional skill that dueled ten other Royal Knights and won all of them. Claus’ attendant was one of the losers in those Royal Knights, so he couldn’t push it any further.
With his state of isolation, Claus got on the carriage with Roy.
Claus looks at his brother as if cautious, but he couldn’t read the motivations in that smiling face of his. Somehow he felt he had an ulterior motive. Something like meeting with the fiance of the other person who was currently disputing the succession of the throne, he felt he was being looked down upon. Even though his brother had found a fiance around his age, he himself didn’t have one yet, but because his mother, the second queen, was still searching for someone better than his brother’s fiance. [T/N: gonna laugh if this ends up being the Otome Heroine somehow]
In the shaking carriage, even with only the possibility he is being looked down on, Claus tightly grasps his hands into fist on top of his knees.
When they arrive at the Ernest estate, Roy’s fiance, Lydia, greets them with an impeccable curtsy. After finishing greetings, they were guided to a garden where tea had been prepared.

「At any rate, I am very glad you were able to join us for tea today.」

Lydia smiles as she talks, and after seeing that, Claus, who was coming to his senses, clears his throat and turns his head away to look at the garden, not looking her in the eyes.

「It is I who should say that. It is an honor to be invited for tea.」

「I have wanted to talk with His Highness, Claus. So, I ended up being unreasonable to Roy-sama.」

Seeing the sweetness of Lydia, who was giggling, he ended up accepting the reason his brother would end up listening to her request.
Although the duke’s house held blood of the royal family, wanting to simply meet with royalty is a self-indulgent thing, perhaps. However, because it was the fiance of Prince Roy, it doesn’t feel very unreasonable. Her selfishness was because he gave only the bare minimum for greetings, so Claus felt obliged.

「Because Miss Lydia is beautiful, so even if you are my younger brother, I’m hesitant to introduce her to another man.」

「If it’s Roy-sama, that is only a joke.」 

At the conversation that seemed to be like speaking proudly of one’s love affairs, Claus’ feeling of obligation faded. Naturally, from the outset, he has a feeling of glazed over eyes. Having this intimate situation shown to him, the answer to why there’s a need for him to be here is lost.
Even while feeling a sense of irritation, Claus, who is careful not to let it show in his voice as much as possible, drinks his tea in one gulp and leaves his seat.

「My older brother has a lot to talk about with his fiance, right? I will go take a small look at the garden.」

「Ah……」

Not minding about Lydia’s voice calling out to try and stop him, Claus leaves in the direction of the promenade.
Bringing down the hand that was reaching out to him, Lydia’s eyebrows drop.

「Although I was already planning to leave my seat with the excuse of preparing the tea……」

「Maybe you were a little too fiance-like?」

Different from Lydia who was in low spirits at how her plan was a failure, rather than troubled, Roy cheerfully shrugged his shoulders. At Roy’s appearance, Lydia narrows her eyes.

「Roy-sama……why do you seem to be pleased?」

「Well, I’m happy at Claus’ unexpected response.」

「Is… that so……?」

「Ahh.」

At Claus’ harsh attitude, Lydia couldn’t possibly think that, but Roy smiled happily with the feeling he seemed to sense.

「Since he can’t run away, he’ll calm down and come back.」

「Being that optimistic……」

At Roy who relaxedly drank his tea, Lydia is shocked. Even though his own plan was already ended up being set back, Roy who was calm as if not appearing to regret it, is quite collected. Lydia ended up more worried about the current situation.

「If you chase him, he’ll run away. Let’s wait close from the other side.」

「……His Highness, Claus, isn’t a wild animal.」

From Roy’s standpoint, with the situation of not intervening with the second prince, just being together with his little brother this long is sufficient. Because he understands Claus’ vigilance and how it isn’t easily dropped, he isn’t thinking he can shorten the distance in one go. From the outset, he intended to draw this out.
When Roy encourages Lydia by telling her that the tea will get cold, Lydia also reluctantly returns to her seat. It’s the tea Katherine made, so with how it is properly delicious, she wants to drink it.


「They’re making fun of me!」

Claus was walking in the garden, feeling irritated. Because there aren’t any people in the garden, even if he uses abrasive language, it’s fine.
The first prince, Roy, who was regularly all smiles, is a person without any outstanding chinks in their armor. With the extent to which that person works, he’s ahead by a margin.
Normally, he was told to surpass Roy by the second queen, Simone, and throws words comparing Klaus to his older brother about every single thing. With an inferiority complex that took root, towards Roy, he became abject.
Even today, he should have noticed it more quickly. In the middle of the education for governing, something like gathering intelligence before moving onto his actions and the important of laying the groundwork were discussed by the tutor, but he had thought this was only for wartime and not everyday application. Shown a different viewpoint, he was made aware of the difference in their natures.
As far as Claus is concerned, the estate of his older brother’s fiance is enemy territory. Even the situation of being in that kind of place fostered irritation.
Claus stopped walking, hearing a sigh. [T/N: Literally just ‘Sigh, Claus stopped walking’, but done for clarity.]

「……who’s there?」

Because he was walking while irritated, a forest filled with many trees had sprung up, and it was a place without any roads. Because the sun softened and it seemed to become cloudy, when he looks up, overhead, he’s covered by the shade of a tree. If it’s the promenade, if he follows the way back, there’s a way to return, but with the similar trees and shrubbery surrounding him, in this place, even his sense of direction is doubtful.
Patiently looking at his surroundings, from which direction he came from, he isn’t sure, and he doesn’t know the way back to the estate.
After hesitating, when Claus tries to look for the way back, he takes a step forward.
Immediately afterwards, from near the shrubs, something like a human face appeared right in front of Claus.

「Uwaah!?」

All of a sudden, a figure of a person appeared from the trees, and with surprise, Claus thought his heart leapt out in shock.

「Huh? Who are you?」

「You, just who are you!!」

The pair of copper colored eyes that reflect Claus in them seem to curiously ask. Understanding the figure of this person is a boy similar in age, Claus instantly felt relieved and afterwards, his astonishment faded and anger welled up.

「I’m the apprentice gardener of this place.」

「It’s good for a gardener not to surprise guests, isn’t it!」

「Eh, it’s rare that people come here, though.」

The boy who seems to be a gardener’s apprentice says this is on the opposite side of the boundaries where guests usually visit. He seems to have a grasp on the situation inside the garden of the Ernest estate.

「Don’t make excuses, it isn’t enough just to apologize! Guide me back to the estate!」

「What, are you a lost child?」 [T/N: Give me strength not to translate this as ‘Who is this sassy lost child’]

「You’re wrong!!」

After immediately yelling a denial of treating him like a lost child, Claus realized he hadn’t thought of any excuses. Becoming embarrassed, he turns his gaze away.

「……it’s just, because I didn’t look at my surroundings, I only don’t know the way back.」

「Is that so?」

At the appearance of Claus who doesn’t realize he is just making an excuse, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice held down the words on the tip of his tongue, only nodding.
Claus, as if to change the subject, points a finger towards the gardener’s apprentice, blaming him.

「In, in the first place, you should know your position! I am this country’s second prince, Claus Wolfgang von Rosenheim!」

「Leo also had a younger brother, huh?」

When Klaus thought he’d immediately fall prostrate, with how his eyes only went wide, Claus was shaken. With how his response is beyond his expectations, he can’t even figure out the appropriate words to say.

「Can’t you understand by looking at my face!?」

「Common people don’t know the faces of the royalty, you know.」

「What about a portrait……」

「That kind of thing is expensive, so it’s not even on display in the neighborhood church, right?」

Until now, it was natural to know the face even without giving the name, as he thought all the people of the country knew the image of the royalty. The power of the royal family, even to the common people, he believed is something well-known. At the truth there is a person who doesn’t know he’s royalty, he’s shocked.

「……in any case, because you know I’m the prince, you should change your attitude!」

「I’m absolutely sorry. For my rudeness so far, please give me your pardon, I humbly ask of you.」

「Y…… As long as you understand, it’s fine.」

At the moment he heard Claus’ words, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, no sooner than when they changed their facial expression to a quiet one as if becoming a different person and giving their apologies, was Claus taken aback.
With his behavior that is disproportionate to his clothes suited for garden work, his politeness was at the level he felt out of place. The gardener’s at the royal palace, because he only looked at their work from a distance, he couldn’t judge the boy’s politeness.
I will guide you to the estate, he said while taking several steps in the previous direction, after confirming Claus was behind him, he matches Claus’ pace and guides him.
Not wasting his breath, when he looks at the back of the quiet boy ahead of him, Claus feels as if his presence is weak. He doesn’t seem any different than the servants he’s only seen inside the castle. The impression when the two met is too different, so somehow it’s boring.

「Hey.」

「Yes?」

「Why aren’t you saying anything?」

「Even if I do so, the unrefined talk of a gardener is a nuisance, isn’t it?」

His language that is smoothly returned is too typical, so Claus frowns.

「First, stop talking like that. It feels unpleasant.」

That’s right, it feels unpleasant. Although it’s just a small interval, after he knew his original style of talking, he could only feel a sense of discomfort. The conversation with his state now, he doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone. His words were obviously only for outward appearance, is he feigning ignorance?
Indicating he’s taking back his words from a short while ago, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice doesn’t immediately agree.

「However……」

「It’s fine, just go back.」

「……only inside the garden, if you can look the other way.」 [T/N: Literally ‘close your eyes’ but I translated it this way as it fits more contextually.]

「I understand. I’ll permit it.」

When Claus accepts the terms, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice momentarily stops walking, looks over his shoulder, and laughs.

「Since I’m not good at formal stuff, I’m saved. I’m Isaac.」

He was a guy whose reply was unexpected, the boy said, praising Claus. Not being praised as a prince, that tickled Claus’ heart. At the words that were returned to their original way of speaking, because he was speaking directly to himself, the bad feeling wasn’t there anymore.
In the beginning he felt indignation at his irreverence, but he thinks if it’s only this much, he’s easy to talk to. While following the guidance of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Claus raises a question.

「Considering that you’re bad with it, you’re surprisingly adept at speaking.」

「It was only in the short-term, but I practiced as a pinch hitter.」

「Pinch hitter?」

「Your older brother, until his fiance was decided, refused to dance with anyone.」

Now that he mentioned it, that was for the sake of being fair, as until his older brother’s fiance had been officially decided, even with the fiance candidates, he didn’t dance with them. Being in the position to be able to choose, his mother had criticized him for his apparent haughtiness, but Claus hadn’t taken into account the potential it would cause trouble for the girl’s side.

「Being a dance partner is part of a gardener’s work?」

「Don’t say things like Leo does.」

There’s no helping that much, the boy who was a gardner’s apprentice says with a complex voice, but he said he had substituted as a dance partner before. Claus glares at his back, thinking that since he doesn’t know the contents of garden work, he would be at fault for making a misunderstanding.

「Isaac-or-something, calling someone who has given their name ‘you’ is rude.」

When he points out what he had noticed for some time, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice smoothly returns an apology.

「Sorry. Ummmmm… Kla………… what was it?」

However, he didn’t properly remember his name. Claus unconsciously became irritated.

「Claus Wolfgang von Rosenheim.」

「Kla… Woo?? For noble and royalty, why are your names so long?」

「Are you stupid!?」

「Yep.」

At the boy who honestly recognizes his ability to remember, Claus becomes exhausted. If it’s only his age, Claus is younger, he guesses, but is he not frustrated over being looked down on? Or, is this what commoners who don’t have the education to the degree nobles do are like? No, he has the feeling towards him that it’s very probable he only lacks something like pride.

「……if that’s the case, just Wolf is fine.」

In any case, he’s the person to talk to in this place. With the case of making call him by name, in the distant future, this weak-headed guy will carelessly call him without a title and then being blamed for rudeness would become troublesome. Thinking that, Claus thought to use an abbreviation of his middle name to evade it.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice who doesn’t realize he’s being worried about over his slowness says that if that’s the case, he can remember it, returning a smile in his voice.

「That reminds me, how did you come to this kind of place? Were you training? You’ve got a lot of endurance.」

「I was taught fencing. Because I practice often, this much is no deal.」

「Amazing, huh?」

He returns with a voice of admiration. The boy, because he’s unaware of the royalty, naturally does so, but praise that doesn’t compare him to his older brother Roy is unusual for Claus, and again something happy.
Speaking of the matter of fencing, Claus recalled something from yesterday and frowned.

「But, I still can’t win against my older brother.」

Even if they only simply exchanged strikes, everything was brushed aside, and he ended up forfeiting. He was frustrated over not being able to land even a single blow.

「How much older is he than you?」

「We’re only different by half a year. If we enter school, we’ll be in the same year.」

Even with how many years prior it is to doing so, if they enter school and are in the same year, furthermore they’ll be compared. An unpleasant emotion surges up.
For some reason, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice stops in his tracks and looks back.

「Hey, put out your hand.」

Because he spreads out his right hand, while thinking what this is for, Claus reflexively brought his left hand near.

「Here, mine is big, right?」

「It is, so what?」

When they put their wrists together, his hand is one size larger than Claus’. He’s saying something natural, so Claus became puzzled.

「Am I taller than your older brother?」

「That seems so.」

Because he has the point of view that even his older brother isn’t taller than him, he’s taller. So, Claus confirmed it.

「But, that is, I’m older than Wolf’s brother. Half a year right now is big, but after a few years, the way Wolf is practicing, he’ll become strong, right?」

As a child, one year is big. Because he has a superior physique, he shouldn’t mind it, is that it?
Even from here, he was thinking the difference would only widen, but he hadn’t been thinking that there is a possibility that the difference of half a year could shrink. At this unexpected thought, Klaus’ eyes opened wide.

「Well, because I don’t take sword lessons, I’d also lose to the Wolf right now, huh?」

At the appearance of him thoughtlessly laughing, he certainly looks unreliable.

「When I fight you, Isaac, I’ll take it easy.」

「Thanks for that.」

When he deliberately says it arrogantly, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice laughs as if something is funny.
Claus, for the first time, became aware he could do small talk. Until here, because there wasn’t a partner to do this kind of exchange with, he didn’t know. Things like talking about an impossible condition, because it’s this place, it’s possible, isn’t it?

「Isaac is a strange person.」

「Is that so?」

He tilts his head as if vexed, but he hadn’t met a person that even after knowing Claus is a prince, if Claus doesn’t tell them to, he won’t treat him like a prince.

「Although you’re someone of the Ernest house, you haven’t asked about my brother.」

「Why would I have to do that?」

He returns an answer that seems genuinely uninterested.
Even though he’s working for the house of the girl who’s the fiance, doesn’t he have any interest? Even the family status of the other person has influence on the house, so he thought the servants would have a considerable interest.
Finding the lack of interest strange, Claus smiled a little.

「Having worried about it, I’m an idiot.」

That is to say, the house of his older brother’s fiance, he thought he would be in the middle of a group who liked his brother.

「I don’t really understand, but what was your intention when asking?」

「I want to know his true nature.」

Because his older brother’s outward appearance is good, he can’t believe it, perhaps, but Claus decided to try hearing praise about his older brother.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice strangely tilts his head to the side.

「True nature?」

「That’s right. My older brother is arrogant and malicious.」

「Well…… he’s a good person.」

Claus, who interpreted the mumblings of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice as consent, becomes happy and talkative.

「I suppose. He’s the kind of person who, even as he slyly kicks someone down, is calm!」

「Heeeh?」

Even if Claus emphasizes it, the boy who seems to be a gardener replies with a response that’s only uninterested.

「Although, the guys who don’t know that say that my brother will be the next king, even though I’m more appropriate as one!」

「Wolf, will you become king?」

「Naturally.」

「Why do you want to become king?」

「My mother wishes for me to become king.」

You should become king, don’t lose to your older brother, how many times had his mother told him these things? He must do as his mother says.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, because he looks with blank eyes, Claus stares back.

「I, although I heard you say you want to, why did it become about your mother?」

「Why, you say……」

Beyond that point, his words don’t continue.
Until now, he felt there were no suspicions in that foundation. Don’t think about it, and alarm bells echo in his mind. However, the copper eyes that are waiting for his words, because they are right in front of him, he can’t stop thinking.

「I……」

Why did he want to become king?
Did he himself want to become king?
The doubts invoke disorder and the answer is lost. As if withstanding the whirlpool of doubts, Claus clenched a fist.

「……y, you then, for your trade, why are you a gardener, huh!?」

「Huh? It’s because I want to. My mother and my father didn’t ask me to become a gardener.」

When he desperately retorted back with the same question, he quickly received a reply. In addition to that, he has a clear idea of what he wants to become, unlike Claus.
He was envious of that, he thought.
Claus tightly bit his lips. Seeing that situation, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice asks as if curious.

「Somehow, your complaints about your brother are weightless. Is Wolf saying what he’s thinking?」

「But, my mother……」

Although he realizes that his mother’s words came out again, Wolf’s words stagnate. The guy who couldn’t seem to even properly remember his own name was trying to ask his own opinion. So, dodging it would be ineffective.
Claus understands that he’s waiting for his own words. However, when he tries to express himself in a refined way, at that moment he ends up tripping on his words. When he tries to talk in a way that doesn’t borrow the words of someone like his mother, in that way, he becomes unsure.

「Wolf.」

The name he told him is called out, and when he lifts his head, his head is patted.

「My mother said it. Because after she gave birth, her stomach hurt, so she could love me as part of her, but if she forgets I’m a separate person, it’s no good.」

Because he hadn’t ever been able to read his mother’s thoughts, the boy blankly says in front of his eyes he has the same opinion. Although Claus and his mother should have the same stated opinion, it was his words.
Claus’ eyes opened wide.
It was the first time he was told even if he has a different opinion than his mother, it’s fine. For that reason, it was like a crash.
When surrounded by people, he nods at his mother’s words, wanting something similar. So, he thought he should act in a way like how his mother thinks. Too aware of their blood relationship, she naturally forgot he was a different person.
When he became self-aware, his tangled-up words little by little, started to form an answer.

「……for me, I don’t like the kingcraft classes because they’re difficult. It’s frustrating I can’t win against my older brother, but swordsmanship practice is fun. Philly…… because my younger sister is happy, I also like playing the violin.」

Because he’s talking while fumbling around his heart, it’s like a monologue, but the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice certainly listens to Claus’ words.
Things he likes, things he hates, those feelings he hadn’t settled took form. When he wanted the praise of his mother, he did his best, but now the thing that made him the most happy is the smiling face of his sister even when he shoddily played a piece he remembered.

「My father, even in front of me, because he’s the king…… is a little frightening.」

His father, even in front of children, was the king all the same. Because he unconsciously was tense in the face of the ruler, he doesn’t understand if that’s respectful. Rather, he respected the bravery of his sister who protested that she wants to eat a meal with the whole family.

「So, as for wanting to become the king, I don’t know.」

Becoming someone like his father, he doesn’t have that kind of yearning feeling. Furthermore, if becoming king meant being so impartial that consequently even towards family you couldn’t show emotion, then he doesn’t want to become that.
Lastly, after the discovered feeling left his mouth, Claus realizes it. The person in front of him, he already found what he wanted to become. Isn’t it ridiculous that compared to that other person, he doesn’t know what he wants to be?

「It’s fine, right?」

「Eh?」

Claus, who was blushing with shame, was let down at not being told a denial.

「For my age, the people who have found their dream are small. I’m just one of the lucky ones.」

When Claus was ordinarily replied to, he doesn’t know what kind of reply would be good.
It’s the first time he used his own words. For himself, when had he given up on communicating his own feelings? In the beginning, he just wanted his mother to be happy.
Because realizing he was speaking his own words for the first time in a long time, it was scary, but accepting it, he was happy he seems to cry. But, he’ll withstand it. A guy crying isn’t cool.

「Is that so?」

Claus nodded. When he notices it, naturally he smiles.

「Ah, already, in a little bit, we’ll enter the promenade path.」

When he looks in the direction that the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice points towards, he saw the flower bed he remembered was on the other side of the trees.
After entering the promenade in between the gaps of the trees, he feels the light is strong, and Claus unconsciously closes his eyes.
When he waits for his eyes to get used to the light and opens his eyes, he saw the vivid colors of the flower bed coloring the sides of the path. A short while ago, until here, it felt like the vivid colors weren’t visible.
They’re lovely, Claus quietly mumbled.
When he realizes that it’s quiet and looks at the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, he saw the face of a boy who had become engrossed in something.

「……what is it?」

When he asks, puzzled, the copper eyes shine in the sunlight.

「Wolf’s eyes, the metal in them has an amazing shine! Your hair is also platinum!」

「Metal……? Isn’t it silver……」

With his unexpected words, Wolf was attacked at an unguarded moment.
Often, his older brother Roy is called the golden prince, while Claus is called the silver prince.
It’s because their appearance where his older brother has golden hair and himself silver, but it was also used as a metaphor to indirectly call him inferior to his older brother. With Claus’ green eyes, he also doesn’t have the classic gold of the royalty.
It isn’t always true that the royalty has golden eyes, and even if in his head he understands that, that he might be inferior was a worry that followed him.
And yet, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice calls him a metal. Even though his hair is called silver, it was the first time he was compared to platinum.
At Claus’ question, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice tilts his head in confusion.

「If it’s platinum, it reflects like a mirror, right? It’s that soft shine of platinum, isn’t it?」

Because it’s rare that a commoner has seen platinum, it’s incredible, but certainly he was able to distinguish between metals.

「Wolf’s metal is a tender color, so it’s fine, you know?」

Somehow the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice delightfully smiles.

「……w, what is it, you!!」

「Hey, what is it, all of a sudden?」

Not knowing what to do with the sudden rising emotions, Claus pushed the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice. Receiving it, though the degree isn’t to the point it hurts, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice can only protest with words saying he doesn’t understand. When Claus vents his frustration with his hands, he seems to let his guard down.

「Thank you for your guidance.」

「Yep.」

When Claus exaggeratedly thanks him after calming down and venting his anger for some time, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice nods and says he should get back to work.
Claus also heads back to the path of the promenade they arrived at and takes a step forward, but for a moment looks back, and yells to the back of the person trying to return to the trees.

「Isaac, see you again!」

「Don’t get lost next time, okay?」

The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice only turned his head back, but he waved his hand and let a small smile spill through. Confirming that the back of that guy was buried in the trees again, Claus also turned back and began walking. Without knowing why, he had said that.
The promenade had shepherd’s purses vividly blooming. If his sister saw them, he had a feeling she would call them sweet and would be happy. He ended up thinking it was funny that he realizes he has more time to look at the flowers than he thought.
When he walks for a while, he heads towards the other side where his older brother Roy and his fiance Lydia are. Lydia, when she notices Claus, has a relieved smile and quickly arrives to where he is.

「Your Highness, I’m glad. Because you weren’t returning, I was very worried.」

「See, I told you he’d be fine.」

When Roy cheerfully points out that she’s unexpectedly worried, Lydia says back that it’s only that Roy is too carefree. Even though a short while ago, the exchange that frustrated him before can now be taken as just friendly.
At his change of heart, Claus forces a smile. It was something like having money on hand.

「I am very sorry. Because on my walk, the colors changed, I ended up walking to the interior of the garden. It’s a very good garden, isn’t it? I’d like to show my younger sister.」

「Yes, it’s very lovely, right? Because of our pride in the garden, it would make me happy if she enjoys it as she wishes.」

At Lydia’s facial expression that seems to become happy, Claus, only a little, returns a smile. At her sweet response, a smile was drawn out from him.
When he feels someone’s gaze on him and looks, his older brother Roy was looking at him curiously with his honey colored eyes. Him making that kind of facial expression was unexpected to Claus.

「Is something wrong?」

「No…… it’s because I saw something I thought would take a year.」

He was only surprised, Roy says, seeming to become happy. Rather than his usual unreadable expression, Claus is surprised at his brother’s easy-to-read facial expression. Then, realizing the cause for his laughter, he became huffy.

「That’s rude. Even I smile.」

「I know.」

Claus, who doesn’t remember glaring at his laughing brother, tilts his head wondering why.
He lets his guard down and smiles in front of his younger sister. When it comes to her, only at that time, it’s possible. Because of his brother’s words, at the truth his brother saw something without him knowing it, he’s embarrassed. With how he only thought he was jealous, Claus thought his brother didn’t care about him.
Claus was at a loss for words, and turns away from his brother.
Even if he turns away, a sign of his older brother’s happiness was transmitted, and because a feeling of wanting to complain didn’t come to mind, Claus cleared his throat and asked.

「Does my older brother want to become the king?」

He thought it was abrupt, but he wanted to take this chance. If they went back to the castle, his mother will be there. At that time, will he be able to have his own words, or will Claus’ self confidence vanish?
Roy instantly gazed at him, and while looking into Claus’ eyes, smiles.

「Yes. Because I love this country.」

When he hears his brother desires to become king, it’s as Claus expected. Rather than talent and so on, their outlook on their studies feels slightly different.

「Well, then my older brother is also lucky, huh?」

「Is that so? I am lucky.」

At the way Claus phrases it, Lydia feels a sense of discomfort, but Roy only sincerely smiles. [T/N: She already has the Zack senses]

「I… first of all, because it’s frustrating to lose to my older brother, I’m going to keep persisting at fencing.」

Putting aside the aims to the throne, with the education they receive, they should do their best where they can do their best.

「Then, I’ll have to do my best too, huh? I can’t show my younger brother my unappealing side.」

「Do you care about that kind of thing……?」

「What about that sort of thing?」

At Roy who responded with a serious face, Claus was taken aback. He thought his older brother did everything with ease.

「If you say you won’t win if you don’t work hard, it won’t look good.」

Becoming amused, Claus unconsciously made a sound with his throat. Perhaps he already knew his brother wasn’t perfect, that an unintentional tone broke out.

「Miss Lydia, you did it! Claus dropped his guard!」

「Wh……!?」

「I’m happy for you, Roy-sama.」

At Roy, who showed the most dazzling smile today and seemed very happy, Lydia, who didn’t seem to be hampering him, was silent, not pointing out that he was treating him like a wild animal. Lydia realizes that Roy’s expectations this time were very low. Since he was being avoided, there’s no helping that.
Claus was embarrassed at having his every move be reacted to. Since he’s reporting it to his fiance, it’s excessive.

「You’re exaggerating.」

「It’s the most important thing to me.」

There’s no way to change his wording now, and with the tone of voice, Claus protests, but Roy doesn’t seem to be holding back how happy his face is.

「Your Highness Claus, if it’s okay with you, could you come with Philly-sama?」

「It’s fine not to use ‘Your Highness’. At any rate, you’ll be my older sister in law.」

At Claus’ words, not only Lydia, but Roy’s eyes went wide. Then, they looked at each other as if to signal to each other they remember something.
Claus tilts his head in confusion at the two of them. He didn’t think he said something strange.

「Then, Claus-sama, is that fine with you?」

「Yes.」

Though she hesitates a little to call him by name, when Claus nods, Lydia shows a smile of relief.
Roy happily addresses Claus.

「When the courtesans and flower towers are in bloom, let’s come again, the three of us.」

「Flower towers?」

「Next time we come, I’ll show them to you.」

「Aside from that, even though Philly and I are two……」

「Although it’s my fiance’s house, ostracizing you would be cruel, you know.」

「……I’ll think about it.」

Lydia looks pleasantly at the two siblings having an exchange with open hearts. From the beginning, she thought about how it could happen, but hearing Claus’ talking, she became happy.
However, the obstinance of his attitude, with only one lap around the promenade, how much it mellowed out is amazing. Did looking at the flowers of the garden calm him down? If that’s the case, she should thank Dennis for making such a lovely garden.
She also wanted to look at the flowers with Emilia.
Katherine and Petra, with everyone, if they could pass time in the peaceful garden, that would be nice. Looking at the two brothers, she felt a little envious.
Following Roy’s example, she’ll also try her best, she says in her heart, encouraging herself.


THIS CHAPTER IS SO LONG DEAR GOD. It’s *21* pages in my Google doc and this one had a ton of huge-ass paragraphs.

Right, update schedule. I might have to drop back to 3 weeks per update. House hunting, work, and real life have collided and while translating is fun, I need to focus on that as this is a hobby and practice for Japanese. I really hate having to do that, especially after we made it through 2022 with updates roughly every 2 weeks. If a chapter can go up earlier than 3 weeks it will, but I’m going to need to reduce the cadence for a while, at least until things settle down.

Not a whole lot else other than that, though. Hopefully you all had a good New Years. See you next update.


36. Sweet Flag

So while the name is “Chinese Sweet Flag”, I could only find plant articles about the Japanese variant, hence I dropped it from the title.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


「Nico, what’s wrong?」

In the self-study garden, I asked Nico who had just finished punching for stress relief. Because Nico opened their eyes to the brim of their long eyelashes, Ojou, who was sitting at the edge of the water fountain and waiting for us to finish, tilts her head in confusion.

「What is it, so suddenly?」

「Hmm, there’s something like a feeling you aren’t energetic.」

「I think I’m the same as always, though.」

Because I have a bad feeling that I can’t even put into words, I ask, and when Ojou says something similar, she says I’m only imagining it.

「Why would you think that, though?」

「Well…… it’s rare for Nico to have weak defenses, or how should I put it, the angle of his punch isn’t straightforward.」

「I don’t understand.」

Because only I received hits, even if I explain the feeling he doesn’t understand, Ojou says she can’t understand while half closing her eyes. Because I was asked, I answered, but something like talking to a girl like Ojou about fists, that topic is boring.
When I was thinking of saying I’m sorry for the boring talk, Nico let out a sigh. Then, he lifts his head up and gives a forced smile.

「I still have a ways to go for my acting ability, huh?」

Saying that, he sits down next to Ojou. I follow, sitting down next to him.
When I look in front of me, with yesterday’s rains, the dew is left on the grasses, and at the opposite side, on the border of the sunny area, the trees flicker with light.
As for whether or not to talk, if it’s the case that it’s easier for Nico to talk, if he can say it, it’s better, and if he doesn’t want to talk, it’s fine, I think. At least I can be stress relief for him.
Thinking that, when I wait for Nico’s judgment, he suddenly opens his mouth.

「Yesterday, it rained, right?」

「Yeah.」

「Because it’s the rainy season, recently it’s come down a lot, right?」

A long drizzling rain had come down from dusk to night. Because there weren’t any signs of it becoming violent, we stayed at the cabin and waited to see how things went. Then, at the time of departure, it seemed strangely bitter.

「When it rains, my sister gets sick.」

「Nico, you had an older sister?」

「Yes.」

I’m slightly surprised at the truth I hadn’t heard about. Nico confirms it, and his long eyelashes fall as he continues talking.

「Before, she would only have a small headache, but recently the headaches are so strong she even has to rest in her bed……」

Because he isn’t a doctor, the fact there’s nothing he can do is frustrating. For Ojou and I, hearing this, similarly there’s nothing we can do. Regarding her deterioration, we certainly can’t say something like we hope she gets better as that’s just wishful thinking.
Along with Ojou who seems to be frustrated, Nico also looks over at me who is pondering, and softly gives a forced smile.

「Ahhh, won’t the rainy season end soon, I wonder?」

Nico lets out the wish of the simple solution. Just looking at his sister in that condition is painful.
I felt a sense of a hint floating lightly in my mind. I trace back those remains of what was on my mind.

「Zack?」

「Wh, wh, what are you doing!?」

When I follow it, I unconsciously bring my head close to the bottom of Nico’s neck. Nico is a little surprised and pulls back a little, and Ojou lets out an agitated voice. However, although I feel around for the faint sensation, I’m concentrating, and can’t return a reply.

「……Nico, what’s your magical element?」

「Wind, why?」

「I see.」

Haring Nico’s reply, I think on the uncomfortable feeling I noticed.

「W, why did you have to smell Nicholas-sama!?」

「Eh?」

Having it pointed out by Ojou, I at last realize the situation, and the source of the feeling is the nape of Nico’s neck, or in other words, because I was around his hair, it ended up being that I was smelling him.

「My bad. Ah, you smell like something sweet.」

Around when I first approached, I noticed that there’s a slightly sweet smell. Around the time I first saw Nico, I thought his appearance just seemed to make him smell nice, but he really does.

「Because smelling of sweat is unappealing, I use cologne, you know.」

「It’s lilac, right? For me, if it’s this much, it’s a good smell.」

I’m bad with deep and strong smells, but if it’s around this gentle level, it’s fine. The sweet smell is also a flower I like, so it’s good.

「Before, Zack told me something like that, right? So, I used it just that much.」

Because I guessed right about the type of cologne, Nico seems to happily smile. That cologne was custom made, isn’t it? I don’t know.

「……Hm? Ojou, what’s wrong??」

Somehow Ojou’s cheeks were swelling and she was holding her gaze steady at us. It seems like she was going to get mad, but so far I hadn’t seen any indication she was mad.

「You’re making an interesting face, you know.」

During the time I was thinking why she was getting mad, Nico mercilessly poked Ojou’s face. Poked, Ojou seemed to feel ashamed, putting her hands on her cheek and not giving any pursuit to defend herself.
Was it Nico’s teasing, as although I expected Ojou to be mad at me, her spiteful eyes were facing Nico. However, even when Ojou glares, Nico seems calm. That glare it painful, isn’t it?
Now that I think about it, what was Ojou scolding me about? Although Nico was seriously talking, was it because I interrupted it with my actions? I didn’t have any ill will, but I didn’t understand how to explain to the two of them what was on my mind.
Nico, receiving Ojou’s glare, suddenly drops his smile as if he lost heart.

「Well, thank you for listening to me.」

Suddenly, Ojou’s facial expression became awkward. She apologizes for only being able to listen.

「……I only listened.」

「That’s enough, you know. Because I said that, don’t worry about it anymore.」

Saying that, Nico lightly stretches Ojou’s cheeks, as if inducing her to smile.

「Because the summer white chrysanthemums were blooming, I’ll ask my father if I can have some. Certainly, her headache will subside.」

「Thank you.」

The scent had that kind of effect. Summer white chrysanthemums are exactly in season, so my mother makes tea leaves with them, and so if possible, we should share them with Nico.

「Then, because that dandelion head is tired of waiting, it’s about time we go back, right?」

Nico raised the topic of Ojou’s guard, Pome, who is standing by the opposite side of the hedge fence. Ojou and I nod, then leave the self-study garden. When we leave the hedges, Pome is sleeping on the ground at the base of a tree. That day, Nico went back with a bouquet of white chrysanthemums.
For me, the meaning of that uncomfortable feeling I realized weighed on my mind. 

A few days later, I opened the door next to the silver plum potted plant.

「Mom, I’m home.」

「Please excuse the intrusion.」

From the opened door, Nico who came with me takes off his hood, and gives his greetings after me.

「Oh my, welcome. He’s a really pretty child, isn’t he?」

「Nico really is a beautiful person. More than that, can he come in?」

At my mother’s thoughts, I really agree, and ask, wanting to confirm. My mother answers saying of course he can come in, and goes to the kitchen to prepare tea.

「At any rate, this is convenient, but at this time, winter clothing is hot.」

While taking off the overcoat that has the covertness effect, Nico lets out his dissatisfactions. He asked that on a holiday, if it would be fine to visit, but even if Nico’s a boy, he’s a beautiful person, so coming as he is would be dangerous. Because of that, I requested to borrow it.

「Sorry about that. Let’s make one for summer, too.」

「No, don’t make more of this sort of problem.」

When I think about if he was waiting at the dining room table, the owner of the overcoat who came before comes out to greet us and apologize. However, he unconsciously rushed into the contents of the apology. When I think about the worries of Matteus-onii-chan, it’s better not to make more of this kind of item.
Nico, seeming to open his mouth to ask who this is, stops his words. With how he seems to remember, he stares at Leo wearing a wig of brown hair. At that sight, Leo reacts with a smile.
After several seconds, Nico seems to realize something, but at the unbelievable sight his eyes open wide.

「Your Highness……?」

「I often talk with Eugen, but outside of greetings, this is the first time I’ve talked with Nicholas, huh?」

While wearing the wig, with his sparkling face, Leo can be correctly recognized. I don’t understand who Eugen is, but he’s likely the prime minister, Nico’s father.
Receiving Leo’s confirmation, Nico grabs my shoulders and turns his back to Leo, with a whisper asks me a question.

「Why is the prince in Zack’s house!?」

「Eh? That overcoat, I borrowed it from Leo.」

「So, why!?」

「Hmm, I accidentally found him as a lost child??」

「You pick up too many things……」

When I quickly explain the details of how I met Leo, Nico seems to become exhausted and give up with a sigh. Nico tells me I’m the kind of person who would often pick up lost kids, but Leo and his older brother and younger sister are the only ones I’ve encountered.

「Then, it’s fine, right?」

「What is?」

「That guy is Miss Dia’s fiance, right?」

Nico asks that in a whisper while pointing to Leo. Even if it’s secretly with your thumb, is it okay to point at the prince like that?

「That’s right.」

「That’s right, you say……」

「Even before Ojou was engaged to him, I already got to know him.」

「Ahh, I see.」 [T/N: Nico 100% on the Zack/Ojou ship]

When I don’t understand the meaning of the question and tilt my head, Nico because exhausted and drops his shoulders.
Nico, who asked questions only to me, turns to face Leo.

「If it’s here, is it fine to call you Leo?」

「Yes. It’s really helpful that you’re quick to understand. You’re just Zack’s friend, right?」

「I’m already used to it. For me, calling me Nico is fine, you know.」

「Thank you. I will do just that.」

Even if they don’t introduce themselves, the two of them get to know each other and come to an agreement. However, just what in the world was Nico used to?
Exactly at that time, there’s a knocking sound, and I opened the front door.

「Good day. Auntie, today is…… wh!?」

「Oh dear, I’m sorry.」

While talking at the front door, Maria, who turned up, bumped into the back of Nico.
Did her small nose hit him, as while holding her face with one hand, Maria looked upa s if to confirm the true character of the person she ran into, and saw Nico’s face as he looked over his shoulder. At that moment, Maria turned red and she froze up, her facial expression becoming dazed.
I, aware of the effect of Nico’s beauty, vividly remember it. In my past life, my sister talked about a character in the otome game who had a quality like this.

「…… is this sort of thing a pheromone?」

「Pheromone, what’s that?」

「Maybe it’s the aroma of something like a flower that beautiful people have, I think.」

「I see. Certainly that describes Nico.」

「I don’t need that kind of title, you know. Rather than that, worry about this ojou-chan with braids.」

He doesn’t get the feeling we’re praising him, Nico says while half-closing his eyes, pointing out how we were leisurely not paying attention. Even before that, because there was something similar that happened, we ended up watching in a relaxed manner. We did something bad to Maria.

「Maria, sorry. Are you okay?」

I crouch down and match Maria’s eye level, starting to talk to her. Maria had an appearance of being sick, so for a moment, she focuses on me, and with squished teary eyes bends her facial expression.

‘Zack~」

「Were you surprised? My bad about that.」

Because Maria clings to me and comes along with me, I gently pat her on the head to calm her down. I’m used to seeing it, but I knew she didn’t have the mental preparedness for the surprise at finding Nico who is as beautiful as any other girl. Certainly, downtown, because there isn’t this kind of beautiful person, it’s very surprising.

「What is it, what is it, I’m not listening~」

「Yep, I didn’t say it. I’m sorry.」

「Am I, am I being tested!?」 

「Huh??」

「But….. I won’t lose!」 [T/N: Zack really is the harem master, man.]

Maria says something along the lines of declaring war.
I don’t really understand what she was saying in the second half, but somehow or another Maria, who had regained her peace of mind, went back. Seeing her off in front of the door, when I go back to the two at the dining table who had returned earlier, Nico is making a surprised facial expression and Leo was drinking tea with a smile.

「……Zack, you really are Zack anywhere, huh?」

「I’m me, right?」

What is Nico saying?

「Miss Maria has good prospects.」

「I can’t tell Miss Dia…」

Because Leo, somehow or another, praised Maria, Nico lets out a sigh, but what in the world are they saying? Furthermore, outside of my part time job with Daniel-sama, I don’t hide anything from Ojou.
First of all, after we were done drinking tea, I guide the two of them to my room. Leo’s guard, Matteus-onii-chan, remained at the dining room table. It might be narrow for the two nobles, but they have to endure it. The two of them sit on the bed, and I get on a three-legged seat.

「So, why did you call on me this afternoon?」

「Before that, Nico. With your wind attribute, can you make your voice unhearable?」

「If it’s about this much, I can.」

When I make a request to Nico to break the ice, at the same time I finish speaking, a soundproofing membrane fills the room. Leo’s sister Elena can also do this, but without the assistance of spirits, the extent of the range of magic Nico can use without an aria means he has a lot of magical power.

「Thank you.」

「Is it bad if other people hear us?」

「No, this is only my guess, so someone might understand if I’m wrong.」

About what, Nico asks, tilting his head, and I think about my explanation.

「In Nico’s house, is there anyone who can use Dark attribute magic?」

「No, of course.」

It seems in Count Rudolstadt’s house, there is a large legacy of wind magic users. Even if there are water and earth aligned magic users, it seems fire and dark magic users don’t have a lot of affinity with them and that’s the basis for not selecting them as marriage candidates. I didn’t know that elemental affinity had an influence on relationships. If your magical powers are great, you’re susceptible to the effects of the nature of your element.

「Where in the world did you discover the dark element?」

That topic is brought up, or so I should say, Leo asks if I confirmed the dark element somewhere. Settling it quickly is good, but Leo’s high power of understanding is unpleasant. What kind of face should I make to that?

「The other day, it was attached to Nico’s hair.」

It was really faint, but because I felt the traces of dark magic power from Nico, it was strange. I didn’t know Nico’s element, but up until now, he had never had the indication of dark magic spirits on him.
At my words, Nico touches the hair at the back of his head.

「That day, before you came to the Ernest house, who did you meet with?」

「Um…… before I headed out, my older sister fixed my hair.」

Nico confirms exactly what I was thinking.

「It spreads from someone who touched you, you received that much dark magic power, I think. So, the bad health of Nico’s sister might be from a curse, I think.」

That’s what I felt, because there was magical power with ill will, I was sure someone used magic on purpose. There is even dark magical power that can interfere with the mind, so if it’s misused, it can become a curse. Therefore, I thought it was simply that.
In the end it was an assumption, but hearing it, Nico’s complexion changed.

「Who is it, that guy?」

「No, I don’t know him yet. Because I want to confirm it, I asked Leo to come.」

At Nico who is evidently seething with anger and forgetting to act femininely, I remind him that I don’t have evidence. While Nico’s wrath was increasing, I had him sit back down in the seat he was rising from. Our eyes meet just like that.

「Then, what about the prince?」

「Because I can only read the signs, if it’s Leo, I think he’s able to read what kind of magic it is.」

For me, raised in the downtown area, even for commoners who have little magical power, they don’t even know how to use elementary level magic. However, for Leo who can make a magical circle by himself, if it’s possible, if he sees the magic, he might understand it. For me, Leo is the best person to rely on when it comes to magic.

「I, on the other hand, can’t read the signs that there’s magic.」

「First of all, for the purpose of confirming, I want to visit Nico’s sister, so is that fine?」

「I don’t mind, but……」

He consented to us visiting, but Nic looks at Leo with curiosity about his true intentions.

「Why would you help with this?」

Leo doesn’t know Nico, they’re only acquaintances. There’s no reason for the prince, the highest noble house, to intervene. Furthemore, if it’s true, there is also no duty to listen to my request. I’m only a commoner who assists during inspection. As far as today is concerned, rather than helping, I’m just sparing time.
At Nico’s question, Leo narrows his honey colored eyes, and calmly smiles.

「It’s just one favor, so there’s no problem. Besides—」

「Besides?」

「I was curious about the person that Isaac bows his head for.」

Nico’s eyes open wide, and he looks in my direction.

「Bows for……?」

「Yeah.」

With the confirmation of the basis of my weak guess, it might be something of a waste, especially for someone with no duty to meet me. I want to do something for the sake of my friend, but since I’m looking for the cooperation in dealing with those private matters, I should properly ask who the other person is.
Holding onto the borrowed coat, before the time of inspection I bowed my head and asked. There, with only one thing lent, Leo agreed. He’s a good guy.

「……you idiot.」

There’s no helping you, Nico says while smiling as if enduring something.

Since we got permission from Nico to visit, I got summer white chrysanthemums and fragrant tea leaves from my mother. Nico wore the secret overcoat until we got to the center of the public square, and after that Matteus-onii-chan hired a carriage to take us to the Rudolst estate. I originally intended to go on foot, but since on my return trip I’d stand up, Leo had Matteus-nii-chan prepare a carriage.
The carriage stops at the front gate of the Rudolst estate, and when Nico leads us into the estate, stewards and several maids politely greeted him. I thought it was fine to be treated as an attendant, so I stood behind Leo, next to Matteus-nii-chan.

「Nico-chan, welcome home.」

「Mother, I’m back. These are the friends who said they want to see my sister, so it is fine?」

A woman with the same pale violet hair as Nico appears, her hair softly swaying while greeting Nico with a light hug. In addition, while lightly hugging her back, when Nico says his business, her eyes go wide.

「My, Nico-chan, this is the first time you’ve brought friends over, isn’t it?」

Compared to Nico’s mother who is all smiles, Nico somehow or another maintains a smile that seems a little awkward.
Because he’s in the position of a son, being congratulated for only bringing his friends to his mother is embarrassing, isn’t it? If he can, he wants to ignore it. Even if they celebrate, at the very least, he wants it after his friends go home.

「Are you perhaps Zack-kun?」

「Eh? Yes.」

As for Nico’s mother who looked at me with her eyes, looked at everyone’s face, and somehow stopped on me. I didn’t think she would look at me and treat me as a friend. Surprised, I ended up reflexively replying.

「Well, I’m glad you visited. This old lady is called Elvira. From here, please continue to get along with Nico-chan.」

「Yes, of course.」

Elvira-sama, meeting me, a commoner, and even though she calls herself an old lady, I wonder if there is such a beautiful old lady. She may be older than my mother, but Nico’s mother, as expected, is a beautiful person.

「Oh my, and this is?」

「……Leo.」

This time, because her eyes stop on Leo, Nico, even while confused, introduces him to Elvira-sama. Although with his wig, his appearance can be seen as an ordinary noble or a wealthy merchant’s son, Leo’s face is strange. If Elvira-sama recognizes the face of the prince, it’s no good. As expected, in my inner thoughts, there’s a chill.

「Well, well, you made two friends, didn’t you! It’s nice to meet you too, Leo-kun.」

「Yes, it is nice to meet you too.」

Aside from the worries of what Nico is doing, Elvira-sama is earnestly delighted at how Nico made friends. At the time Elvira-sama and Leo’s smiles meet each other, Nico seems to become exhausted.

「……mother, is it fine if we visit my older sister?」

「Yes. But, if Ise-chan is sleeping, don’t wake her up.」

「Then, if that’s the case, can we just leave these there?」

When we show her the bouquet of large larkspurs we brought, Elvira-sama smiles and nods.

「Of course. Thank you for the beautiful flowers.」

She says for Nico to go quickly, and because we were guided, we continue on, but when we look back just once, Elvira-sama is smiling at us and seeing us off.

「It’s good your mother’s a natural airhead.」

Even if he didn’t want to be seen by Elvira-sama, Nico let out a sigh of relief.

「A natural airhead?」

「Didn’t you understand just a little bit ago? What a natural airhead is.」

「She’s a good mother, isn’t she?」

「Well, I guess.」

Come to think of it, I heard from Nico that after he had started his onee acting, his father’s reaction was funny, but as for his mother’s reaction, she didn’t say anything. Because she didn’t mind me being a friend even if I’m a commoner, I thought that maybe Elvira-sama is a very big-hearted.
She’s a good mother, or so Leo praised, and Nico didn’t deny it, nodding his head with embarrassment. No matter what he says, it seems like he doesn’t dislike Elvira-sama.
When we arrive at Nico’s room, Nico has the maids inside withdraw and we enter the room. Matteus-nii-chan is waiting outside the room.

「Nee-chan, are you awake?」

Nico calls out to make sure, but there isn’t a response. When we approach the bed, a girl with dark brown hair is frowning while sleeping. Below her closed eyes, faint shadows have appeared. Her hair that gently dashes against her long eyelashes is the same as Nico’s and Elvira-sama’s, but with how only the hair color is different, it’s a very different first impression.

「Last evening, it was always raining, so since it became morning she’s been sleeping.」

Not only Nico’s sleeping sister, but Nico also makes a pained facial expression. Hurting enough that it disturbs your sleep is incredibly severe. If the symptoms continue, even outside of when it rains, she might become unwell.

「Isaac, how is it?」

「……I can feel signs of dark magic.」

At Leo’s question, I feel around for spirits and answered. The time I felt magic used with ill intent, there are signs of dark spirits that have a peculiar stagnation, but they’re floating around Nico’s older sister. I hadn’t ever sensed the type of magic that accumulated and persisted to this extent, but I know that the stagnant sensation not disappearing isn’t good at all. Is there any way to ventilate them?
Hearing my answer, Nico’s pale purple eyes become aflame with anger. Because I don’t want to see this kind of facial expression on Nico, I was hoping my guess would be wrong. But, a curse, furthermore, I understood that someone was working closely with magic that has an ill will.

「Gradually she’s being gnawed away at, so the person who did it or the medium for it should be close by. Since the symptoms appeared, I also met Heroise-ojou once, but I didn’t see if she had something like a seal.  It’s probably the latter.」

While moving on the carriage, Leo, who was listening to Nico’s explanation of events, immediately guesses the cause. I relied on him, but for this kind of thing, he’s too reliable that I don’t like it. Now, I’m grateful for Leo’s smarts, but I can’t wipe away this feeling with this guy.

「Isn’t there the possibility there’s a seal we can’t see?」

「If that’s the case, as one would expect, Heroise-ojou herself would have a clue. Isaac, can you search for the medium?」

「How? I’ll try.」

It’s weaker than Leo’s secret overcoat, and because it’s the room of Nico’s sister, Heroise, there are remnants of dark magic all over, making it hard to search. From where should I decide to search, so first I thought to check the bouquet we brought.
However, next to Heroise’s bed, there was a vase placed by the previous guest.

「Gypsy roses?」

「Yes. From nee-chan’s fiance.」

When my eyes stop on the purple gypsy roses, Nico tells me with a wrathful facial expression. From that reaction, I understand he doesn’t have a good impression of her fiance.

「He’s a complete brat, he’s only a headache, even those flowers were brought by a messenger.」

It seems her fiance didn’t even come see her personally. However, the flowers received are properly arranged, so for Heroise-sama, doesn’t have the same bad impression as Nico does.
It’s the limits of what I saw, but Heroise-sama is probably one or two years above him. However, because I don’t know the age of her fiance, it’s hard to understand whether or not Nico’s judgment is harsh. If it’s downtown, there are plenty of young men who fight with lovers over this. It’s only hearsay, but only giving flowers as a gift, it may be excellent for a noble.

「Considering her fiance gave them, these are unfitting flowers.」

Leo looks suspiciously at the gypsy rose.

「What is it?」

「In the language of flowers they have a meaning of disappointed love.」

「Oh, really?」

「Is that so?」

At Nico and I’s reply, Leo’s eyes went surprisingly wide. Our reply was one of those who don’t know the language of flowers.

「Were you two uninterested?」

「Flowers are something to only smile at, people arbitrarily assigning meaning to them is strange.」

「For me, since until the other day I only received them from those close to me, I didn’t mind them.」

For me, I only think about how flowers spring up and bloom, and how pretty they are. Attaching the language of flowers which raises and lowers their value isn’t something I’m satisfied with. So, the origin of their meanings are in the illustrated plant guide, but that’s the only section I don’t even read or let enter my head.
For Nico, until he began his onee performance, with his appearance, he was showered with gifts, it seems. Naturally, they included gaudy bouquets. The things he was given, because they aren’t in his tastes, for something like the meaning contained in those flowers, he stopped paying attention.

「I see.」

Understanding our opinions, Leo made an amused seeming smile.
Because there isn’t any reason to mix them with the flowers from her fiance, for now we put the large larkspur we brought next to it. After, we put them in a vase someone brought along.
While thinking that I can only see beautiful blooming flowers, I look at the petals that seem to make a purple lace. Because they don’t have a good meaning, they’re considered to be a bad flower, which is such a waste.

「…………Leo.」

「What’s wrong?」

「It’s this, maybe.」

I looked at the gypsy rose and realized it. Because Heroise-sama is close to it, as soon as I thought the signs were strong, rather than signs that they are coiled around Heroise-sama, there are signs the dark element warped.
For the sake of confirming it, when Leo moves the vase of the gypsy rose with both hands as if to cover it, from the flowers, something that looks like ink running comes to the surface.

「It’s a curse that amplifies the amount of pain felt.」

With the pattern, Leo understands, I think, and he draws his conclusion.

「That guy……」

「Nico, that’s too hasty. Besides, let’s find a solution to this first.」

Towards Nico who is clenching his fists, when Leo points it out to calm him down, Nico drops his shoulders as if relaxing.

「Can you undo it……?」

「Since the degree is only harassment, if it’s this much, I can undo it.」

At Leo’s confident wods, Nico sighs deeply with relief. I feel sorry towards Nico, but rather than worry about Heroise-sama, my facial expression is sullied at the truth I just learned.
I don’t know who did it, but I feel that putting malice in flowers is just heartless. Even in the case that they’re poisonous, flowers when admired by people can only calm them down. This distortion of their value is heart-breaking.

「Even if it’s just undoing it, it’s fine……」

Leo mumbles that while carefully considering it. Then, glancing at Nico who had gotten angry and me, who felt down with the misuse of flowers, decided something and nodded.

「Return the cross of binding to the offender.」

Putting up his index and middle finger, when Leo faces the gypsy rose and makes the sign of the cross, the pattern that appeared and indication of dark magic vanished.

「Is it already undone?」

「Yes. Just to be sure, let’s get rid of the remains of the dark magic attached to Heroise-sama.」

When Leo lightly snaps his fingers, instantly particles of light envelop Heroise-sama and then vanish. After that, the feelings I had of dark magic vanish. With this, even restoration is quick, isn’t it?
Nico approaches Heroise-sama’s bedside and examines her state of affairs. The dark circles under her eyes remain, but her facial expression softened, and her peaceful breathing is different. Nico, who saw that and could believe it was okay, shows relief all over his face.
Then, turning to face  us, he softly smiles.

「Thank you.」

Seeing Nico smile, I thought only that I was glad.

I tried to keep my voice’s volume in check, but because there was no reason to overstay our welcome in a sleeping person’s room, we went back to Nico’s room.
Confirming that the maids who brought tea had left, Leo’s starts to speak.

「The family of Marquis Kuhn, if you make them search for someone with a cross-shaped mark on their hand, it will be good. That person is the caster.」

It seems the returned magic always came to the surface somewhere on the hand that had touched it. Nico nodded, saying he would check later on Marquis Kuhn’s family, which seemed to be the house of Heroise-sama’s fiance.

「I only intended to check, but……」

With how I only intended to check whether or not it was a curse, I wasn’t thinking at all of how to settle it. Far from just identifying the specific cause, Leo was a guy who ended up undoing the curse and pinpointing the culprit. No, he’s the prince, right?
He gallantly appears and helps princesses. He’s like a prince that appears in the books Ojou reads. A real prince is an ordinary junior politician, so I wasn’t thinking there’s one like in the picture books. Well, with a few minutes to reach the solution, if you defeat them too fast, and it won’t be suitable for a story without excitement.

「As expected, of the prince of light, right?」

「What’s that?」

「Leo is light attribute, right?」

In the noble space, Leo’s attribute seems to be common knowledge. Something like the scarce light magic is like a champion of justice or hero-ish. Which reminds me, he was the main hero of the otome rame, right? I forgot.

「For me, I could only use light magic recently.」

While drinking tea, Leo nonchalantly says it. Because the main aspect of light magic is basic recovery and purification effects, the time he purified the dark magic attached to Heroise-sama was the only time he used it.
At the truth he was sleekly told, Nico’s eyes go wide.

「Ha? Then, what was that a little while ago?」

「Intelligence gathering and tracing the culprit is dark element, you know?」

Because when light magic is used to purify dark magic, similar to when light strikes the shadows it disappears, it’s perfectly eliminated and even traces are extinguished, he chose to return the curse with dark magic for Nico who wanted to know who the culprit is. Even in the time he looked up its effects, he was only being made to have an outline of shadow around him, Leo explained.
Hearing the explanation, because it was at a level that I couldn’t do and was a deed done because of Leo’s high magical power, I simply nod and then drank tea.
Nico can’t be convinced, it seems.

「Even if you have that much magical power……」

「Somehow or another, I seem to have both light and dark attribute.」

Leo, with a sparkling, smiling face, simply replies. This kind of physically dazzling guy, no one would believe even his dark magic is strong. Although having two attributes is rare, I encounter them often, huh? Water and wind for Duke-sama, light and wind for Princess Elena, and Leo’s the third.

「Just now, I didn’t stick up the soundproofing membrane……」

「At any rate, because it’s known, there isn’t a problem.」

「Ahh, I see.」

At Nico who was anxious about knowing a state secret, Leo calmed him down with a cheerful reply. At the carefree Leo, Nico, with an appearance of being tired, covers his face with one of his hands.

「……why is Zack not surprised?」

Why was he worried about me, said Nico, turning a critical eye towards me.

「Hm? It’s the only magic I can use.」

For someone with a lot of magical power, the things they can do are many, but I understand my ability and there is the question of how much I can use. Even for me, in the beginning, I tested out how much I could use magic outside of my element. Furthermore, even dark magic, if it’s Leo, he won’t misuse it.
Hearing my reply, Nico deeply sighs, and for some reason Leo smiles as if satisfied.

「Light magic is different, while dark magic is easy to use.」

「For me, because I can only put up a small barrier, I don’t know whether or not it’s convenient.」

Even if I asked him to agree with me, whose magical power is weak, there would be trouble. There’s seriously no way that I’d see eye to eye with someone with a wide difference between us.

「……When I’m with you two, I feel like I’m the sensible one.」

「Nico, you’re not weird.」

「Where’s the strangeness?」

「That’s not a line to say to an onee.」 

At us who immediately recited there’s nothing wrong, Nico seemed to be amazed from the bottom of his heart. He saw us off as we returned to the Ernest household. When I hand over the white summer chrysanthemums and tea leaves my mother gave me to use, he accepted them. They’re flowers that can either smell sweet or be used to relieve aches. Because he has to wait for Heroise-sama’s condition to naturally improve, even if he uses only a little, it’ll be of use.

Several days later, Nico happily reported that Heroise-sama is favorably improving. As for the matter of the cursed flower, it isn’t her fiance, but the work of a maid who had fallen in love with him. Although he didn’t take part in it, the fiance directly lowered his head, it seems. The engagement wasn’t canceled, but against Nico’s house, the other house’s position seems to have weakened.

「The offender is a woman, so I can’t hit her.」

「Was there a feeling of wanting to hit her, though?」

When he understood the culprit, Nico had an intent to hit them, but was surprised. There was a feeling of getting angry, but trying to settle it with the laws of nature, how would it go for a noble, I wonder. As someone who taught him stress relief, I feel a little responsible.

「A woman’s jealousy is dreadful, isn’t it?」

Hearing Nico let out those kinds of impressions, I reflect on how it doesn’t deeply immerse itself in Ojou, and as for Ojou, does she even get jealous, I wonder. Certainly, with her discussions with the rabbit girl and her friends about the prince they seem to be in high spirits, so it seems unlikely.

「You don’t need to worry about that kind of thing with Ojou.」

「Eh?」

「If it’s someone Ojou has come to like, surely, she can look away.」 [T/N: It’s a weird way of saying it, but basically Zack is saying that because it’s the person Ojou likes, she can wish for their happiness and move on, I think.]

Because Ojou is a beautiful girl, since even the insides are cute, even the other person will come to like Ojou. If it becomes like that, the likelihood that Ojou will be rejected or cheated on is low. Well, since I don’t really understand love, maybe.

「Well…… in reality, she isn’t looking away, you know.」

Nico, who is staring with a half-opened eye, looks in my direction and mumbles with an amazed tone. Why are you looking at me?

「N, Nicholas-sama, y-y-you are misunderstanding……!?」

Ojou, whose face became red before we knew it, lets out an 「Awaawa」 with a panicked expression, giving an explanation. She desperately claims he’s wrong, but what is she denying? Nico replies with a disregarding 「Yes, yes」, pacifying Ojou.

「Zack, please have moderation.」

While patting Ojou’s head, Nico warns me. Even if I moderate myself, I said that Ojou seems to be just fine.

「Did I say something bad……??」

「Then, should I give a detailed explanation?」

Pome, who had been restraining himself up until now, raises her invisible hand hidden by her sleeve and comes forward to explain. There, Ojou who had turned a bright red, let out a wordless scream.

「Stop that. Dia-sama will die of shame.」

Nico chides Pome.
Because Ojou looking dead troubles me, I cut off Pome’s explanation. Although I don’t understand the reason, when I apologize to Ojou, she hits me while saying 「Idiot, idiot」. Because it isn’t painful, until she’s satisfied, I take it.

A few days later at night, after at least ten days, when Elena contacts me with the bear, after complaining, she earnestly boasts about Leo. Because the mood hasn’t changed much from my past life where Yuuka would tell a story about Roy-sama, as if already asleep, I vaguely reply back while preparing my bed.

[Hey! Don’t make me the only one to talk, Isaac should also talk about something!]

「Ehhhh…」

I was complained to, but arbitrarily talking is Elena’s style.

「Even so, I don’t have any particularly interesting stories.」

It’s just my usual garden work and talking with Ojou and Nico. Because even Elena understands Ojou’s cuteness, even if I don’t say anything, it’s fine.

[Something good, you have to have it!]

When even a single topic has to be squeezed out of me, I’m scolded. Coming up with something on short notice will trouble me. First of all, let’s think on the topic.

「……Ah, Nico’s older sister is recovering from her sickness.」

[That’s good, isn’t it? Who’s Nico?]

「A friend.」

At my too straightforward answer, can you even extend the conversation, Elena says, getting angry. It’s fine if it doesn’t, I’m already sleepy.

[Hm……? Impossible, that Nico, he’s the son of the prime minister, Nicholas von Rudolstat?]

「That’s him.」

That’s something like his full name. I, already sleepy, lean on my pillow while answering back.

[Ehhhh!? Why did Isaac get to meet Nico-onee?]

Elena, who shouts it’s unfair, is loud.

「Hm? Has Nico even been an onee in front of you?」

If Leo had only greeted them, even during Elena’s time, with only greetings, there wasn’t a chance to do his onee act, was there?

[Eh!? No way, why is he already an onee!?]

「What do you mean already? Haven’t you met Nico?」

[I only greeted him during my birthday party, you know. Even with that, I would have understood if he had become an onee, right!? He’s totally a beautiful person!!]

Somehow our conversation isn’t on the same wavelength. Although Elena isn’t meeting with Nico, why does Elena call him ‘Nico-onee’?

[Isaac, do you remember? In Kimiboshi, there was an onee charcter, right!?]

「I don’t remember. If it’s the minigame types, just barely.」

[From the RPG.]

「Ah…… there’s that character with long hair where only their magical power is high, but their physical attack and defense is low, right?」

As for whether or not there was an onee character, I don’t know, but in order to go into the forest with monsters, I remember that compulsory party member who temporarily goes with the heroine, when that guy with long hair eats a physical attack, the party composition was hard.
If you put in the other capture targets in the party with their high attack power, it will go alright, but if the heroine didn’t have more than enough favorability, even if you called out to them, they would refuse. So, the phase before the mini-RPG my sister would do, and after that, I would do party composition. With this cooperative play between brother and sister, it was an unusual route for clearing.
However, why did Elena suddenly bring up the topic of the otome game I helped with in my past life?

「…………That long haired character, is it Nico?」

[That’s right. What did you hear?]

In other words, Nico is a capture target.

[Nico-onee, with his devilish good looks since he was born, from a child, having gone through a lot of bad times from women, became a misogynist. Because he distrusted other human beings, his capture difficulty is high, you know. Ah, although they’re women, he treats his family distinctly, though his older sister had a curse on her and couldn’t go to school, so for his sister’s part, he played the part of an onee and went to school, remembering his family……]

That’s long. As for not stopping her talk once she enters the mood of talking about a character, it hasn’t changed from the past life. As for what I know, it’s my friend Nico; I don’t have an interest in the Nico from Kimiboshi. Can I go to sleep already?

[In other words, with the exception of the heroine, undoing the curse on his sister together, you already gained the trust of Nico-onee……  ahhh!]

「What is it? Did you finish talking?」

Swiftly, Elena’s voice rose a step, and I raised my head that was sinking into the pillow.

[Isaac, did you undo the curse on Nico’s sister!?]

「It wasn’t me. The one who undid it is Leo.」

[Eh, Roy-nii-sama? That’s right, Roy-nii-sama, too! It absolutely is Isaac’s fault, right!?]

Elena is surprised to know that Leo figured out the curse. Then, I was treated like the culprit. I don’t want her to arbitrarily decide this is the case. Anyways, I’m sleepy.

「Kids should go to sleep. I’m already going to sleep.」

[Wait, Isaac!?]

With how I hit the limit of my drowsiness, I put my head down on the futon and go to sleep. I can hear Elena complaining I should tell her a story, but Elena eventually cuts off the phone call after it seems like I fell asleep, and it was quiet for a while.
Tomorrow, I also have work, so I have to try not to sleep in. Because of the feeling in the buds, the sweet flags might bloom tomorrow. If that’s the case, I have to tell Ojou.


It’s good to be back, folks. JLPT was wild, not too bad for the grammar and vocab sections to be honest. The listening, though, wewlad, that was brutal. Not to mention something on the campus set off my allergies so it was a pain to get through, wahahaha.

Either way, fun chapter. Not a lot to say, to be honest, but Zack causing all the events to slowly start lining up in certain ways is hilarious. We’re actually also at the halfway point, as there are 71 chapters in total. Thanks for sticking with me this whole way. I should have a chapter up on the 30th but we’ll see if I’m not getting stuck with some New Years Prep. I’m traveling for New Years so schedule my slip by a week or so.

See you all next time!


35. Shade Under a Tree

This chapter’s name is literally “tree’s shade” but that sounds funky as a title. Also, sorry if this chapter is a bit of a mess formatting wise. I wasn’t able to do my usual editing because I got pulled into a business trip so I am actually currently doing this from my hotel room before I have to do work instead of my usual set-up, hahaha. Tried my best, but wew, work trips are exhausting. If someone wouldn’t mind putting this on NovelUpdates, that would be neat; I’m like, rushing to get this out the door before work, whoops. Time zone differences suck. Anyways, enough of that, chapter time.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


「Zack, where are you?」

Even with his moderate greetings, Nicholas, who had visited the Ernest estate, asked Lydia his friend’s whereabouts.
It was always the same exchange, but today Lydia’s friend was a little different.

「……um, before, I have something I want to consult a little.」

At Lydia, who while seeming to timidly talked while asking, Nicholas tilts his head in confusion. Whenever he was approached to consult about something, eight or nine times out of ten, it was about a friend, but he didn’t have any expectations.

「What is it?」

Since her guard, Eric, did not have good feelings towards the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Lydia shortens the distance between them and hides her mouth with her hand while talking with a whisper. Nicholas imitated that, crouching over to make it easy for Lydia to talk.

「……um, I have a feeling he’s avoiding me.」

「Haa? There’s no way Zack is avoiding you.」

At that astounding sentence, Nicholas denied it as impossible.

「That’s what it seems like, but…… certainly, it’s the same as always, but how do I put it……」

Expressing beyond that is difficult for words, so Lydia frowned in careful consideration. For the sake of encouraging Lydia to continue, Nicholas asks a question.

「What kind of time did you feel something strange?」

Encouraged by Nicholas’ question, Lydia rethinks the timing of when she felt something was out of place. Then, at her shyness and hesitation, she suddenly started to speak her mind.

「Um…… the time we went to the secret garden and he didn’t lead me by the hand. After, he still praises me with words, but he doesn’t pat me on the head…… even though he does so with Flora……」

Hearing her words, Nicholas’ facial expression gradually changed into one of shock.

「Simply not being touched is lonely, huh?」

「Touch……!?」

At the presented summary, Lydia became her surprised and her face turned red.
But, when it was pointed out to her just like that, and ended up saying something she didn’t want to, and Lydia shyness and heat on her cheeks competed, with words not coming out.
Seeing Lydia hold her tongue in shyness, Nicholas sighs and talks with an amused voice.

「There’s no way Zack would make a move on another person’s woman.」

「Eh?」

「You’re engaged to His Highness, the prince, right?」

Nicholas easily derived the answer. Unable to understand the contents of that answer, Lydia once again froze.
Certainly, if she thinks back on it, after she notified him of her engagement with Roy, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice stopped touching her unexpectedly. Lydia thought it was the guards that came with her, but even before then, she realized the contact from him had already stopped.
Because he hadn’t changed with the exception of not touching her, not even in her wildest dreams did she consider he was considering her. It might have been unconscious, Nicholas said.

「It seems the butler taught him how to deal with young women, huh?」

Even though it was temporary, if it was the case he received the minimum education for being an attendant, he would have held back in careless touching, and towards a woman who had been engaged, he would pay particular care.
Rather, from the point of Nicholas, from their first meeting, the two were too close. As for the beginning, his head had received a blow, but at this point they were friends, and understood that it seems he was treating her like a younger sister. When she thought about that, at the time she became engaged, he could understand it was time to stop treating her like a little sister and instead as another woman.

「Well, Zack won’t touch you anymore, right?」

「That’s……」

The mumblign that spilled out was filled with more hopelessness than she thought. The reality that from here, he would never touch her again, shocked Lydia.
She knew she liked that hand that ordinarily lightly patted her head.
In one breath, the heat of her cheeks shot up in a frenzy.
Unable to just watch Lydia in a daze, Nicholas lightly poked her forehead. At Lydia who was surprised at her forehead being poked, Nicholas smiles.

「You’re unexpectedly foolish, you know.」

「Foolish……!?」

「It’s fine if it’s Lydia-sama who touches.」

「……M, me!?」

At the unbelievable suggestion, Lydia’s eyes go wide. Moreover, as for something like voluntarily touching him, she hadn’t even done. The most she had done was grab him by the hem of his clothes.
Even trying to imagine naturally joining hands, she completely couldn’t do it, and again the feverish heat came back to her cheeks.

「T…… that, wouldn’t it become what Zack called sekuhara……!?」

At Lydia’s question made in confusion and her corresponding panic, Nicholas replies without hesitation.

「Because there’s no way Zack will dislike it, it’s fine, you know.」 [T/N: NICHOLAAAAAS]

It only applies in the situation the other person is unwillingly, Nicholas said he heard from a friend. At Lydia’s eyes which seemed to be whirling in confusion, while thinking inwardly it as amusing, calms her down by saying there’s no problem.
First, the amount Lydia could touch him did not amount to much. Nicholas experienced it in the past, that she wouldn’t turn her gaze towards him if he directly touched her skin. Rather, this feeling is that he can poke her only with this finger.

「……for Zack’s birthday, what if you do it a little bit upfront?」

Making no progress as it was, Nicholas raised the idea of his friend’s birthday. If he didn’t give the chance to begin such an action, she would always be worried.

「You haven’t decided on a present yet, right?」

「U……」

Lydia, who had been hit right on the bullseye, was made to be at a loss for words. What would the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice be happy to receive, as even last year when she didn’t have a rough idea, this time of year greatly troubled her. If she asked the person in question directly what would be good, because the one time she asked she received an answer that was bad for her head, Lydia doesn’t have alternatives.
Nicholas’ proposal is something she can do herself, and it’s something that corresponds to something only done on his birthday, so Lydia felt a sense of doubt.

「……That sort of thing is fine, right?」

「Oh my. Although you haven’t done it until now, why say ‘that thing’?」

This time, she didn’t even make a sound. Lydia, who was at her wits’ end, for a moment, as if to grasp her determination, made fists with both of her hands.

「Today, I will try to be a little upfront.」

At Lydia who declared that and had been cheered up, Nicholas helped her persevere.

Around the conclusion of that, at Eric who looked to be sulking at having been left out, Lydia apologized and faced the garden. Then, she became confused at what she should say to the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice that they found, so Nicholas who also accompanied her greeted him first.
It seems the first move had been taken, but seeing Nicholas who easily touched the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Lydia memorized the feeling of frustration.

「If Ojou and the others are happy with it, that’s fine, you know.」

However, with the words of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, that much changed.
In that way, isn’t it as if everything you’re doing isn’t for yourself? Why does the answer to the question if he can continue his simple work become like that? He really is bad for the heart.
He isn’t identifying only her by using the plural form, but even if she tries to persuade herself that by not pointing to the Ernest house that it’s not necessarily representative of her and that is strongly conceited, the beating of her heart accelerated. Becoming fraught with emotions at the reality of how he is thinking of her even at the times she isn’t there, that fever reached her head and she seemed to become dizzy.
Somehow or another she makes herself stop her agitation, and when she bites her lips to endure her heartbeat, the voice from the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice startles her. In the time she wasn’t listening to their talk, Eric seems to have incurred Nicholas’ wrath. Because it was evident the anger was about the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Nicolas was rebuking Eric about recognizing who his friends are.
Although it’s inside the limits of the Ernest house, Eric resisted common people and nobles talking with each other, and even with several attempts at persuasion, they were not able to get him to understand. Even Lydia herself, until she had met the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, because she had been concerned about her social status, she didn’t have a solution to the problem. However, if she can do something, she wants the three people who are planned to be her guards to understand.
Lydia reaffirms the issue from here on after, and is encouraged towards the promenade’s bench, where the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice asks the same question as usual.

「Then, what’s wrong today?」

Usually, she reports about her sister Flora, her fiance Roy, or what she became able to do better with her lessons. however, this time, being upfront with the boy who is in front of her, is her goal.
Because she declared it to Nicholas beforehand, she can’t renege, so she has to tell him that she’s here just to meet him.

「~~if I don’t have any business, I can’t come?」

She tightened her fists and the words that came out were twisted.
Moreover, she can’t look directly into his face and ended up turning her head away. Instantly noticing her blunder, her inner thoughts shouted abuses at herself.

「No? Since I’m happy to meet with Ojou, it’s fine.」

Rather, the reply that exceeds what the other party wanted, causes surprise to her heart. How does he say such things so simply?
Or rather, with only asking if it’s good or bad, why does it become that kind of answer?
Because it’s excessively bad for her heart, she ended up unconsciously scolding him. But, him easily going over the efforts of other people is also bad. Nicholas, who seemed to praise Lydia’s efforts, told her to persevere and patted her head.
Afterwards, Nicholas handed over his present to the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, but Lydia didn’t understand the purpose for the metal rings. It seemed to possibly be for protecting his hands. With how the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice seems to know their use, with the fact his facial expression weakened, he doesn’t appear to be happy.
Even if it isn’t something he likes, he knew to accept kindness, but Lydia wants to give him something that he would like. Even if the present from his friend, Nicholas, is no good, the anxiety of if he would like her own gift rose.
When she’s in the middle of those kinds of thoughts, Nicholas’ voice calls to her. It ended up being her turn, and Lydia seemed to unconsciously leap up in surprise.
Clearing her throat and pretending to calm herself, Lydia indicated to sit down next to her, and the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice obediently sat down.
However, at the time she tried to change her determination to actions, she met copper eyes, and her tension increased.

「It…… it’s fine if you don’t look!」

「Even if you say that, I’ll worry.」

「Mouuu, close your eyes!」

Lydia, inwardly, regrets yelling at him again. Her nervousness is exceedingly winning and the room she has to honestly ask him is becoming nonexistent.
Although her social standing is higher, shouldn’t he run out of patience with how her younger, charm-less self that only scolds him? Looking at him with his eyes obediently closed, she began to worry.
From here, is it only her own self-satisfaction, possibly? She worries if he’ll like it, but stopping here means she won’t move forward. The boy in front of her, she has to make an effort to be even a little bit honest with him.
Taking as deep a breath as she can, she quiets down the tension and anxiety.
To be able to reach him, she kneels on top of the bench, and puts her hand on his reddish-brown hair. The red-brown hair she touched, it wasn’t dry, but bathed in sunlight, it’s warm and soft. Lydia enjoys the feeling of hair that is beyond her expectations.

「Ojou?」

Although she pats his head, when she’s immersed in it, his eyelids open up and copper eyes look at her.
Her hand unconsciously stopped, but she couldn’t pull her hand away from the soft sensation. When Lydia tries to take the offensive, she decides to tell him that this was intended to be his birthday present.

「Z, Zack is an apprentice, but even still, he does a good job, so…… happy birthday, I will straightforwardly praise you……」

Again, the way she said it ended up becoming twisted, but somehow or another she was able to convey the important part. For the sake of not being embarrassed, Lydia increased the rate she patted his head.
For herself, the degree of difficulty is high, so this kind of trivial act was really a gift. His reaction is scary.

「I’m incredibly happy. Thank you, Ojou.」

The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, at the moment he understood her intention, smiled back, seemingly truly happy.
The sunlight filtered through the leaves in the shade of the tree increases how dazzling that radiant smile is, and Lydia had the hallucination it was like wearing warmth.

「……! It’s hard to do, so don’t look this way!」

She became relieved that he was happy about the gift he received, but didn’t think he was happy with just that. At the unexpected reaction, Lydia forgets to act honestly and ended up complaining. However, with that smile that  is bad for her heart facing her, the truth is it’s hard to continue patting him.
At Lydia’s objection, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice leaves aside his smile while obediently following what he was told, and again faces ahead and closes his eyes.
Afterwards, while reflecting on the reality that he was happy, she feels satisfied with at the sensation of the hair she patted.

「Oh my, that made you happy, didn’t it?」

On the way back from the estate, because Nicholas naturally shows a smile, Lydia becomes a little frustrated.

「How do you know so much about Zack?」

Although she doesn’t understand it at all, the way Nicholas has a thorough understanding is unfair.

「My, my, who do you think I am?」

Implicitly showing off his position as a friend, Lydia bites her lips.

「I don’t understand!」 

At the abrupt anger in shi voice, the conversation comes to a stop. When Nicholas faces the voice that interrupted their conversation, Eric is frowning and  hanging his head down. He’s clenching both of his fists.

「That gardener’s apprentice, I can’t possibly think of why Lydia-sama recognizes him as a person.」

Because he had been holding himself back, at Eric whose endurance seems to have run out, it seemed that he was no longer able to stay silent.
Nicholas’ reaction is to hit the joints of his fist, but Lydia holds him back with her hand. She wants to have her subordinates entrusted to her, and with that intention conveyed, Nicholas metaphorically sheathes his sword.
Lydia stands opposite to Eric. She remembered a sense of deja vu at the situation. With the worldly knowledge of only herself, she decided she was right, and didn’t recognize anything outside of that, and her self of two years ago overlapped on top of him.

「Am I someone that Eric would recognize as a person?」

「Of course, with how you are the daughter of the Ernest house that is fair and treats all neutrally, with how you are the fiance to His Highness, the first prince, you are the future queen! That I am able to work for you, to me that is a great privilege!」

When she raises a question about herself to Eric, he raises his head that he was hanging low, and this time answered in a loud voice with excitement on his face.
The elevating compliment naturally had every title Lydia held. Certainly it was something Lydia held, but they were things others gave her, not something of herself.

「Then, if I were not the daughter of a duke, if I were not engaged to Roy-sama, Eric would ignore me, right?」

When Lydia lets out a forced smile, Eric’s facial expression suddenly became flustered.

「T…… that is……!」

The appearance of Eric being unable to say no is one of words being lost and anguish.
If he is a noble aiming to become a knight, it was likely that someday he wanted to be part of the Royal Guards. Guarding the fiance of the first prince is one shortcut. Relinquishing that would be expected to be regrettable.  [T/N: “Royal Guards” is more properly “Imperial Guards”, because of how it seems to be a kingdom rather than an empire I felt this fit better.]
Becoming amused at his docile answer, Lydia smiles a little.

「I am not saying that it’s bad. I’m proud to have been born into the Ernest family.」

She was born to a loving father and mother and wanted to be someone who both of them could boast about. So, Lydia became the appropriate person. When she thinks on how Eric’s compliment that acknowledged that, she’s happy.
Taking Lydia’s words, Eric lets ot a sigh of reassurance.

「Normally, like Eric, I am evaluated while keeping in mind that I am a noble, the daughter of a duke, and a member of the Ernest family.」

That’s natural, but until two years ago, she had been misunderstanding the expectations of both of her parents.

「But, Zack is different, he judges me for myself.」

He doesn’t judge her with how she’s the daughter of a duke, it’s Lydia’s actions that he uses to gauge in his own way if he sees right or wrong, even praising her or scolding her. The times he compliments her are the times she puts forth her own effort, and the times he chides her are times she doesn’t hold dear.

「Thanks to him, I will not lose sight of myself.」

There is someone who comes across her and respects her for her own wishes. That is, the extent to how much he helps, he probably doesn’t know.
Naturally, a smile comes on her face.

「For me, Zack is a person who is hard to come by. You may not immediately understand, but when you do, you’ll be happy.」

Rather than be scolded, he was smiled at, and Eric suddenly froze up at this. He understands he should nod after attempting to be persuaded by his master, but instead there’s jealous at how it’s the reverse, that is he being protected by his master.

「……but, that boy is sneaky.」

He thinks he’s unfair. It’s only when it regards Zack that Eric can’t obediently consent.

「Why do you think that?」

His master, Lydia, who tilts her head in curiosity, directly looks back at him in response. Unable to endure those eyes, Eric again bows his head.

「It’s because, that guy, rather than me, he met Lydia-sama first and earned her trust.」

The time he was assigned, he thought he was the only boy close to her age. If that’s the case, certainly his master Lydia would feel a sense of trust, and had been thinking he could immediately earn her trust. However, a boy who wasn’t even aiming to be a knight already earned her faith, taking the wind out of his sails.

「He isn’t even Lydia-sama’s caretaker, he’s just some guy who touches dirt, and yet the times Lydia-sama is with him, she’s very happy.」

「T, that is……」

「That’s true.」

Lydia became red in the face and unconsciously tried to deny it, but Nicholas who was carefully watching directly pointed it out.

「Just because he was born two years ahead of me, he’s taller than me, and he’s always making a calm face, but at any rate that guy is sneaky!!」

「In the end, I strongly agree.」

「Eh?」

While thinking that in his head he earned his master’s displeasure, Eric, who hadn’t been able to stop speaking out, couldn’t believe he had earned an impossible agreement from Lydia, and his surprised words stopped.
Not minding Eric had frozen up, Lydia nodded.

「I don’t understand his intentions, but because Zack does what I can’t calmly do, he’s unfair.」

「……E, exactly!」

Recalling an example, Lydia’s facial expression became a little angry. Able to sympathize with his master’s discontentment, Eric had a glad look mixed with consent.

「He easily admits fault and apologizes.」

「He easily praises people.」

「……you two, that’s something to praise, you know?」

Amazed at the contents of their complaints, Nicholas points that out to the two of them.

「No, it’s a problem. I can’t do it, it’s unfair!」

「That’s right! He says things like you’re beautiful, you’re cute, saying those things freely is strange!」

「Ahh, is that so…..」 [T/N: Nicholas’ facepalm can be heard through the text alone.]

They’re already doing things to their own convenience, Nicholas thought, giving up hope of correcting them. If they are thinking this about the person in question, there’s no helping it.

「So, Eric.」

「Yes.」

「Do you hate Zack?」

Directly stared at by Lydia as she asks that, Eric is at a loss.
Then, he was surprised at how he didn’t immediately return a reply that he hated him. There wasn’t any expectation of that, and he rethought on the irritating example.
Before, the day Eric was guarding, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice handed over handmade cookies to Lydia. Those plain things, he tried to stop her from eating, but Lydia said she wanted to eat them again and it seems she asked for them, so his request was obstructed.
In return, his master Lydia let him try them before her, and when she said that, he easily consented, and was given his portion of the bundle for three people. From the beginning, he was prepared to give each of them their portion, and when he tasted the single flat cookie, although it was a simple flavor, it was generally good. Later, in the employee waiting room, while having snacks with tea, he ended up being the first one to finish. Petra warned she wouldn’t given any of hers, and Emilia scolded him for swelling up like a glutton.
That’s right, he was embarrassed to lose face to him. Recognizing he was an irritating existence, Eric opens his mouth.

「……I don’t like him. But, I’ll rethink my attitude from now on, possibly.」 [T/N: This sentence was infuriating; there’s like 3 levels of uncertainty/denial that it was easier just to skip it.]

He hadn’t even thought about how he prepared a portion for him beforehand for poison tasting. Even from now on, if he properly prepares for poison tasting, it would be good to reconsider his attitude.

「But, I hate that girl-like guy.」

Holding a finger up to point, Eric declares that. Nicholas, because he protects the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, he opposed him very much.

「Who are you rejecting, you stupid brat?」 

At Eric’s words, Nicholas, who popped a vein, froze up while also sweetly smiling. His vocal pitch dropped one octave, and although he was smiling, because there was an air of intimidation, Lydia interrupted to pacify him.
By all rights he should apologize to his master, but when he tried to apologize before, he had been told by Nicholas because they can settle this face to face, it’s unnecessary. Lydia really doesn’t understand fellow guys very well. Because of that, in order to keep things from deteriorating, she stays.
Confirming there won’t be an argument, Lydia once again stands in front of Eric.

「Eric, I may be an imperfect master, but if you could think on Zack, I would be happy. Thank you.」

Lydia happily smiles and when she puts her hand out, she pats the short hair on Eric’s head. At the movement of praise, Eric stares back at his master, seeming curious.
At that appearance, Lydia tilts her head in confusion.

「What’s wrong?」

「No…… it’s different from the time with that guy, it seems more easily done, I think.」

Hearing the words from Eric that it was a honor, but also this point was also a little strange, Lydia blushed, and becoming panicked, released the hand that was patting his head.

「T…… that is……!?」

At how his master suddenly lost her presence of mind, Eric tilts his head to the side. Did he say something strange, maybe?
At the sight of his mysterious master, a question spilled out from Eric.

「What wrong??」

「It’s too early for you to understand Ojou-sama.」

「What!?」

Although they were only two years apart, he was treating him like a kid, and Eric snapped at Nicholas’ words, with Nicholas fighting back.
Although she calmed down her own agitation, Lydia, at her limits, waited a while to stop their argument.


I liked this chapter, mostly for Lydia’s growth. It was very satisfying to see how Zack had changed her perspective on things when it came to Eric. Also, awww, that was such a sad note at the beginning when Lydia realized why Zack wasn’t patting her anymore. Makes me real eager for when the otome game’s protagonist will really come into play.

Aside from that, not a whole lot to say. Remember there will be no updates in November as I study for the JLPT. Updates resume on the week of December 11th, which would be December 16th if I’m looking at the calendar right. Just want to build in some extra time even after the exam so I can build a little bit of a backlog, haha.

Until next time, everyone.

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!


34. Card

A very cute chapter, and a good break from last time, haha.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


「So then, Flora was amazingly walking around happily, but I’m happy she made sure not to step on the flowers.」

「Fufu, as always, Elias’ dream garden seems to be fun.」

Daniel-sama’s wife, Anika-sama, like usual, distorts my stories. Today is one of the days I do my part-time job as the Vito estate. For the sake of Anika-sama being made to eat, I started to eat lunch with Daniel-sama a little bit before today.
Since I don’t know table manners, I thought I would have an uncomfortable feeling, but because chances to eat a meal with the frail Elias at the dining room were rare, Anika-sama ended up saying that if I learned it, it’s fine. Because Anika-sama happily offered to teach me, I feel that at the very least, learning table manners is the least I can do. First of all, you can’t drink soup while making noise. But, because during tea time, I would always end up making noise, I gave up.
Recently, the times Anika-sama lay down in bed decreased, and it seems she was eating three meals a day. It’s just the garden, but she seemed to also be going out, and I felt her complexion was becoming better. Daniel-sama also seemed happy at that, I think, and because recently he’s been smiling, I’m also happy.

「Though, is it okay for us to hear about the secret garden you’re keeping a secret from Geordo?」

「Since Daniel-sama seems like he’ll keep quiet, it’s fine. My father…… I’m a little embarrassed to tell him.」

It’s the self-study garden I received permission from my father to use, so even if I talk about it, there aren’t any problems. But, compared to the gardens my father makes, it’s shabby. At home, I don’t get to talk about what kind of garden I can make.
For now, I’ll make as much as I can, and Ojou and the others will also be happy, but I don’t have the self-confidence to ask my father to look at it.

「I see. It’s an honor to be selected as your advisor.」

Daniel-sama softly smiled, so that I didn’t feel ashamed. At times like this, I feel Daniel-sama is a gentle person.

「Um, are my stories uninteresting……?」

Because I can only talk about the garden, I was worried that I’d be talking alone about it.

「The garden Isaac makes is interesting, so it’s very fun to hear about, you know.」

「That’s right. Elias’ dream garden is also wonderful.」

「T, thank you very much……」

There is no lie in Daniel-sama’s eyes, and Anika-sama who is properly listening to the contents even though she thinks they’re a daydream story nods her head, and I feel embarrassed. Even though I say my thanks, I end up falling forward.

「That’s right. But, this isn’t a thank you for a special story.」

Around the time we’re drinking tea after a meal, the maids bring something for Daniel, but they don’t give it to Daniel, but to me.

「This is……」

It’s a strongly bound, thick, book. The reason for its thickness is written in the title, and that reason causes my eyes to sparkle.
The title that’s written is an illustrated reference book for plants.

「It’s Isaac’s birthday this month, right? When I thought I should give something,  Anika said this would absolutely be good.」

「Anika-sama……」

「Elias likes books,right? With this, the flowers in your dreams will increase, right?」

Anika-sama smiles as if joking.
I heard from Daniel-sama, that the stories that Elias liked were particularly adventurous ones. Certainly, he might have liked garden plants, but if she hadn’t heard my stories, Anika-sama surely would have properly picked his preference.
She can’t recognize again that I’m not Elias, but I understand that doesn’t mean my stories are entirely being disregarded, and feel happiness surge up.
Then, with the weight in my hands, I come to my senses.

「I’m happy, but I can’t accept this kind of expensive book!」

I see. Although this book was bought for me, it’s expensive enough I hesitate. Even more so for a thick illustrated reference book. So, I would have to bring it to the library to have Ojou read it to me.
Recently, when Ojou is guarded by Chairwoman, she goes to the library where we have to be quiet so we don’t fight. I’m happy to be able to read a reference book on plants, and in an instant the time would end up passing by.
Even if Ojou says it’s fine to borrow it, because I’m afraid of damaging the expensive books, I restrain myself. That level of expensive book, there’s no way a commoner like me could receive it.
When I refuse, Daniel-sama was expecting my reply, I think, and smiles.

「Are you happy?」

「Of course.」

Because Daniel-sama and his wife’s feelings are very happy, I only nod my head.

「We already have the same reference book in our house. If Isaac says he doesn’t need it, then I can only throw it away, huh.」 [T/N: Smooth like butter lmao]

Being told that it would get thrown away, I was at a loss for words. Even of it was fine for Daniel-sama’s marquis house to throw it away, that doesn’t mean it’s fine for a commoner like me.

「……Daniel-sama, that’s sneaky.」

There’s no way I need it. If I hear that it would get thrown away, it’s the same as threatening me. I’d become unable to refuse.
When I look at Daniel-sama with a little bit of a reproachful look, I was gently smiled back at.

「If it would make you happy, please honestly accept this kindness.」

Trouble for several seconds, I gratefully received it.

「Daniel-sama, Anika-sama, thank you very much. I will treasure it greatly.」

I bow my head while saying my thanks to the two of them.
When I ask if it’s fine to look a little through it, since Daniel-sama gave me permission, I open the plant reference book to the appropriate page.
I’m happy to see the delicate plant drawings are written down in detail, such as the origin of their name and their habitat. I’m happy something like this is mine. I can read it any time I want to read it. That’s amazing.
During the time I’m absorbed in reading, I don’t know how Daniel-sama and his wife were looking at me. Around the time I lift my head, the way Anika-sama’s confused eyes met mine troubled me a little.
However, in the end she called me Elias, so I didn’t think there was a lot of progress. I can’t imagine what it will be like when Anika-sama realizes i’m not Elias, it might end up being like she got used to selecting the wrong kanji.
On the way home from the Marquis Vito residence, I realize I’m falling into a kind of resignation, and strike both of my cheeks. Daniel-sama didn’t give up, so it’s no good if I arbitrarily give up.
I’ll try again, and firing myself up, I heal up.
When I return home, my mother laughed while helping me cool off, as my cheeks were more swollen than I thought.

Several days later, in a flower bed where I hadn’t finished replanting the summer flowers, I was working.

My father was renewing the lawn. Since we only replace the areas that have gone bad after inspecting them, even if there is a lot of space, my father can do it alone. Since he told me next year, I’ll be taught the inspection criteria for replacement, I silently do the work I was entrusted with now.

「Zack.」

「Awa!?」

Suddenly something leaned on my back, and I fell forward on the shovel I was holding. I remember the arm wrapped around my neck, and look over my shoulder while calling his name.

「Nico.」

「As usual, you’re simply working.」

I was impressed at how’s able to not get tired of substituting a normal greeting. As for something showy about gardening work, I didn’t even look for it. When it’s complete, it’s pretty, but as for the process, there’s a lot of work that piles up.
Although, Nico’s thoughts are also understood. In my past life, I thought the same thing about how every day I would only do the same work as a tofu seller. What in the world was so good about work that simply would never improve?
If it’s now, though, I understand the feeling.

「If Ojou is happy with it, then that’s fine.」

The garden of the Ernest house is for those of the Ernest house to enjoy. I’m a gardener for that purpose, so even if the work is plain or uncool, it doesn’t particularly matter.
My past life’s mother and father must have always been doing the same thing because customers would say it was delicious. Now, since I’m aiming for my father’s work, thinking it’s cool, realize that my past life’s parents were artisans. Well, at the same time, I can’t stand my past self’s uncoolness for having defied something just by thinking it was unsophisticated.
I’m still an apprentice, however, I’ve become a gardener, and I recognized I didn’t mind what my surroundings thought of me when I had a clear purpose. In my past life, I didn’t pay attention when my father would tell me anything, and when I got angry, the things I would say would go unexpectedly far.

「Hahaha, not only in dust, but he’s also covered in dirt, how unsightly! Lydia-sama, please don’t approach this kind of dirtied person!」

Yes, like that.
The boy who is Ojou’s guard, because his name is hard to say, I forgot it. First of all, Nico calls him so Pochi, so is it fine? Pochi, whenever we meet, always has to say something, but I don’t particularly mind.
Rather, I feel the strength of the arm around my neck, and I calmed Nico down by patting his arm.

「That’s right. Ojou’s pretty dress will get dirty.」  

Without a feeling of denial, with a seeming smile I say that to Pochi, who becomes at a loss for words. It’s different from the reply he was expecting, I think, but it can’t be helped that I don’t want to argue with Pochi, my coworker, and only replied in the way I thought.

「……you, you, you aren’t appropriate for Lydia-sama!!」

「Yep.」

After Pochi shows troubled attitude like he’s trying to squeeze out words, he points at me and yells in a loud voice.
I don’t know what’s suitable for her, but not just our social statuses are different, but because Ojou as a person is amazing, I simply nod.
At my response, Pochi, who seemed to be shocked, looked for words, mumbling 「Um, um」. Nico relaxedly separated from me, and making a fist in one hand, after he started making the sound of cracking his knuckles, I grabbed the back of Nico’s collar to stop him.
To stop Nico from moving in Pochi’s direction, when I look Ojou’s way, she was keeping silent, biting her lips so she endures getting angry. Her cheeks are a little red.

「Ojou?」

「……! W, what is it!?」

After I call her, a little after realizing it, Ojou lifts her head and looks my way. The conversation until now hasn’t reached her ears, it seems.

「No, while I’m keeping Nico in check, I want you to do something about Pochi.」

When I ask it of her, Ojou who guessed the circumstances immediately hurls words at Pochi.

「Eric, again!? I said that Zack is my friend, didn’t I? Refrain from making such statements!」

「Yes!」

Scolded by Ojou, Pochi bows and then stands diagonally behind her.

「Geez, just the reply is fine.」

Towards Nico who clicked his tongue, Pochi, who is standing where Ojou can’t see him, sticks out his tongue. At the appearance he’s clearly not reflecting, Nico pops a vein. Compared to me, somehow or another, Nico’s boiling point is low, huh?
In order to distract Nico, I ask him something weighing on my mind.

「Hey, Nico.」

「What is it?」

「Ojou is feeling bad, isn’t she? A short while ago, she was making a difficult facial expression and seemed to be pondering something.」

At my question, Nico seems to be taken aback and makes an amazed facial expression.

「……It’s because Zack said that sort of thing right when he opened his mouth, you know.」

「Me?」

What I said to Ojou, it was only asking about Pochi, but it was in bad taste, maybe? But, before that request, she already had an appearance of being worried.

「Are you saying that it’s not good since it’s like tattling to one’s?」

「It’s amazing you didn’t notice until now after dropping that bomb.」

「Why did you say something so dangerous??」

When I tilt my head, Nico puts a hand on my shoulder in place of a reply. In the end, Nico didn’t teach me just what the so-called bomb was. Just what in the world was bad, I thought we were only talking like normal.
However, if it’s a day that Pochi is guarding, we can’t go to the secret garden. I don’t have a problem if it leaks out, but since Ojou seems to prefer keeping it a secret, and Nico seems to have no intention to show Pochi.
I think that in the beginning my father told me keeping it a secret was essential, but because I told Nico, although I didn’t say where, I ended up telling Daniel-sama and the others. Since I ended up leaking it on my own, even though it’s only one part, I was already prepared to receive a scolding for abusing the Ernest house’s property.
For now, I asked her to wait while I finish working on replanting the flower beds, and since there is a pathway nearby, I have Ojou sit down on a bench in the shade. Pochi, even during the time while talking and waiting, prepared a carpet for Ojou to sit on and was carrying a parasol just in case.

「Then, what’s wrong today?」

I squat down and meet Ojou’s gaze, and when I ask, Ojou’s gaze wanders, and then it drops to her knees, worried about something. Because it’s our usual exchange, I tilt my head without worrying.
When I motionlessly wait, Ojou tightly grips her hands on top of her knees, turning away.

「~~if I don’t have any business, I can’t come?」

「No? Since I’m happy to meet with Ojou, it’s fine.」

Because until now, Ojou came before she had something she wanted to report, I only thought it was like that this time, and didn’t mind if even if she didn’t have business.
Although I only answered it’s not a problem, Ojou’s face became red.

「Why did you have to say such an extra thing!?」

「What?」

「Zack, your way of saying it is a problem, you know.」

「Way of saying??」

Somehow, I was scolded. I received a suggestion from Nico, but I simply didn’t understand what was extra in my reply.
To Ojou, whose face had turned red, Nico told her she did her best, patting her on the head and praising her, or perhaps I should say he calmed her down. Certainly, the tone was strong, but what in the world was Ojou persevering in?
Because Ojou got angry at me, I was unconcerned with Pochi holding back and glaring at me. Still, Chariwoman’s gaze was more sharply painful. If anything, it’s similar to the sulky look Johann would show when having a tantrum.

「That’s right, I also have something to give to Zack.」

Calming Ojou to some extent, Nico stands up from the bench, takes something out from his pocket, and places it in both of my hands.

「It’s a birthday present from me.」

「Ah, thanks……」

I was smiled at, and at the present I was given, trying to say my thanks though I was attacked at an unguarded moment. But, I look at the thing in my hands, and instantly was at a loss for words.

「Nico, this is……」

「Because you’re a gardener, if you hurt your hands, it’s no good, right?」

No, that’s true, but…
Certainly, becauseI do a lot of manual labor, it’s better that my hands don’t get injured. But, the present from Nico, which had four metal rings, wasn’t something I needed for everyday work.
No matter how you look at it, these are knuckles. [T/N: NICO WHAT]

I don’t have plans to damage someone’s skull, but…… 

Rather than the wooden sword that I bought on a school field trip, this present is more truly suited for combat, and I don’t understand how I should reply. My friends in my past life couldn’t buy a butterfly knife, and seemingly regretful they bought me a cheap all-purpose knife, but it didn’t appear as a weapon to me. By the way, an all purpose knife is useful for camping. Particularly as a can opener.
Looking at the knuckles in my hand, I lift my head and look at Nico. That’s a big smile.

「……Thank you. I’ll treasure it.」

「If it’s fine with you, use them, okay?」 [T/N: Nico really wants to see Zack deck someone.]

I won’t use them. But, I think of them as something like a charm, and gratefully accept it. Without replying about how I’ll use them, I smile as a reply back.

「Now, it’s Lydia-sama’s turn.」

When Nico strikes my hands and calls out, Ojou is shocked, and her body freezes up.
After Ojou hesitates for a bit, she clears her throat a little, and points next to where Nico was sitting up until a little bit ago.

「Zack, sit there.」

「? Okay.」

When I’m told that with an intense stare, even though I don’t understand her intentions, I sit down on the bench as Ojou said. Because there is a bench in the promenade for the members of the Ernest house and their guests, I wonder if it’s fine for a commoner like me to sit on it. I’ll have to wipe the dirt that sticks to it off.
After I sit, I wonder what her intentions are, and when I look at Ojou, she flinches when our eyes meet.

「It…… it’s fine if you don’t look!」

「Even if you say that, I’ll worry.」

「Mouuu, close your eyes!」

Since I ended up being scolded, I gently close my eyes. Next to me, somehow I can hear the sound of a deep breath. I wonder if she’ll do a prank with that kind of spirit in her.
When I wait motionlessly, after several beats, I feel something on my hair. With a bit of a ticklish feel, something gently comes and goes on my head.
Unlike my father’s roughness and my mother’s way of concealing herself, because the area is small, I don’t immediately realize I’m being patted.

「Ojou?」

Realizing I’m being patted, I ask for Ojou’s permission to open my eyes, and then look in her direction. Ojou, surprised, stops her hand, and seems to be about to pull her hand back, but ultimately doesn’t pull her hand away from the top of my head.

「Z, Zack is an apprentice, but even still, he does a good job, so…… happy birthday, I will straightforwardly praise you……」

She says that, but compared to before she’s patting her slightly more restlessly. For Ojou who kneeled down because it’s normally hard to reach if she sits normally, compared to me, her eyes are a little higher.
Somehow or another, this seems to be a birthday present from Ojou. I was only doing what I could do in front of me, but the truth is receiving something like Ojou recognizing me simply made me happy.

「I’m incredibly happy. Thank you, Ojou.」

「……! It’s hard to do, so don’t look this way!」

When I look up at Ojou and say my thanks, again I was scolded. I say I understand and nod, and look in front of me and close my eyes.
After that, for a while, Ojou pats my head until she stopped. Around the time it was over, when I open my eyes, there was a Pochi who seemed to be terrifyingly frustrated in my field of vision.

A few days later, Katherine-san called for me.
Because the days I had visitors were priorly announced, I wasn’t thinking I would be meeting Ojou. Although, being called is rare.

「Um, this invitation isn’t from Lydia-sama……」

「Isn’t?」

「The guest.」

「Hm?」

At Katherine-san’s hesitant explanation, I let out an inscrutable sound. I expressly can’t think of a girl guest who would point me out. If it’s Nico, he does things at his own convenience.
It’s someone of a higher class, I’m certain, and because I was sorry for Katherine-san who summoned me, with Katherine-san’s guidance, we went towards the part of the garden where Ojou and her guest are having tea.

「In accordance to your invitation, I have arrived.」

Rather than confirm who the other person is, I immediately bow my head and say my greetings. Katherine-san, who finished her guiding of me, also gives her greetings, and bows.
More or less I thought it was better to receive permission, so when I keep my head bowed, I heard a sound of stifled laughter that seemed amused.

「I see, you’re unexpectedly courteous.」

The laughter mixed in with that voice is familiar, and when I unconsciously lift my head to confirm who it is, there is dazzling hair like sunshine.

「……You, we met during the observation, right?」 [T/N: It’s oddly distant with how it’s worded, but I imagine Leo’s just doing this because it amuses him.]

Understanding that the prince summoned me, I became exhausted. Ojou, who seemed to be silenced by Leo, with a delicate expression, was peeping at Leo’s amused seeming appearance.
His guard, Matteus-onii-chan, while holding back, seemed to lower his eyebrows as if weakening. As for Pome…… she was chasing after a fluttering butterfly. It’s probably time to be still, but she’s free, huh?

「Today is the only day I can give this to you.」

「Give?」

When I tilt my head, Leo hands me a rose-colored bag tied with a white ribbon. Because the packing alone seems expensive, the coloration that seems like it’s clearly a girl’s is too strange, and I make a confused expression at Leo.

「It’s from Flora.」

「Elena?」

At my puzzled facial expression that I made, when Leo answers, there’s a sound. When Leo turns in the direction of the sound, Ojou, whose posture with both hands on the table as if about to stand up, stopped.
Realizing we’re looking, Ojou reseats herself, and clears her throat.

「There is no problem.」  

Because Ojou encouraged him to continue, Leo explains the situation.

「Flora, who knew it was Isaac’s birthday, said it was also a present as thanks for the other day.」

「Why did Elena know?」

「I consulted her about your present.」

Leo replied nonchalantly, but I don’t simply why he would know what to give me. Then, even if he consulted Elena, she wouldn’t know what I liked, right?
Even in my past life, for something like my birthday, I used it as the excuse of buying something she wanted. For example, I said she had to dress well, and finally she used the hair cream I bought her.
There’s something that you can poke fun at, but first of all for the purpose of confirming the contents, I undo the ribbon. The thing that appears on the inside, is a pure white teddy bear with mismatched green and pale yellow eyes.

What should I do with this?

It seems expensive, it’s too fancy, it’s something that’s terrifyingly difficult to deal with. If I hold it directly, it will immediately get dirty, so I hold it while keeping it in the bag.

「Since I helped make it a little, more or less it’s also from me.」

「What…… do royalty take lessons in sewing?」

「It’s that sort of thing.」

Turning towards that smiling face, I, who was originally making a subdued facial expression, immediately narrow my eyes.

「……I’m not happy.」

「Ahh. If it’s given from me, you don’t seem happy, so I took advantage of Philly.」

I don’t need that kind of offensive. If that’s the case, if you’re going to give something, choose an alternative.
Leo’s face is dreadfully dazzling, so it’s physically painful on my eyes. His face has no ill will, but I’m getting the feeling he’s amused. I think Leo’s has a good character.

「Well, thanks.」

「I’ll also convey that to Philly.」

Because I’m grateful for the mood of having it celebrated, when I say my thanks, he replies with a smile that reaches his eyes.
Once I tried to put the teddy bear back into the bag, I felt a gaze. When I trace its origins, Ojou is staring steadily at the bear.

「Ojou, do you want it?」

「T, that isn’t it.」

Because she likes cute things, I thought she’d like it, but she turns away and denies it. Then, why were you looking at it?
While putting the bear back the way it was, I remembered something.

「That reminds me, are you preparing to go observe again this month?」 

Leo said he didn’t have the chance until today, but in the plan I received as a letter there was one more day after today. Even if it’s during my birthday month, that time is fine.
When I raise my question, Leo smiles brightly.

「It’s around the corner, but there aren’t any future troubles.」

I don’t understand his answer.
I understood he was thinking of something, but Leo doesn’t seem to have any intentions of saying anything further. In the end, I didn’t understand the meaning of Leo’s words.
Seemingly looking for some to agree, Leo turned to Ojou, but Ojou didn’t know, and so she only turned her head away.
Until the matter of the bear was finished, it was left in the employee waiting room. I was preparing to go back to the house, but this time when I arrived, I realized a card was there.
That night, before I slept, as according to the card on the bear, I poured a little wind magic into the magic stone used for its eye.
There, both eyes of the bear faintly shined.

[You’re laaate, you kept me waiting!]

The bear talked.

「Elena. You’ll be a nuisance to the neighbors, so keep your volume low.」

Although I did exactly as written, I was a little surprised something really happened, but rather than that, I cared more about the volume of her voice that was too lively.

[But, even if it’s this much distance, it should be fine. As expected of a magic circle of Roy-onii-sama.]

Elena’s voice, while one stage softer than before, was full of pride. I can easily imagine her making a self-satisfied look, and amazed, my eyes half-close.

「Your stupid amount of magical power is also appropriate.」

[What do you mean stupid!? If you’re going to compliment me, do it properly, you know!]

「Yes, yes, you’re amazing, you’re amazing.」

I wasn’t putting my heart in it, Elena complained through the bear, but I do think it’s amazing.
The magic stones used in this ber are Elena’s two elements, wind and light magic mixed together, and like a receiver, with a tiny amount of wind magic used, Elena is notified, and if she uses her mixed magic, she can communicate through it. The important thing is it’s like a phone.

「However, how did it come to this?」

I understand the function, but the structure is too much of a puzzle for me, ad I poke the bear with my finger.

[When I told Roy-onii-sama there is something I want to do, he thought of a magic circle. The sound with wind, and with light, a sensation of soaring, so maybe it’s like a light phone.]

「Leo being able to include the structure into this with that fluffy explanation of yours is amazing……」

Because I’m bad at hard things, Elena says, she entrusted that much to Leo and only mixed in her magic. Because even before she wanted to make a magic tool, around that age, being able to make a magic circle as she wished is strange. It’s in weird places he shows just how high-spec of a guy he is.

「So, why a bear?」

If there’s only a stone that a magic circle was placed in, it would function. Although, why was it done in the form of a stuffed animal is a great question. Because even if it’s only a magical stone, it’s very valuable, so ultimately I would still hesitate to receive it.

[That is, it’s cute, you know? If it’s this, even if I have it, it’s natural, right?]

「It’s unnatural for me.」

The image of me being old enough to know better and talking to a bear, if someone like my mother saw it, it would be too embarrassing.
I questioned Elena’s insistence that it was natural, but she didn’t seem to take notice of knowing my circumstances.

[In any case, now it’s possible to have a phone call twenty-four seven.]

「Calm down. You and I aren’t available twenty four hours a day.」

Because I don’t have a liking for carrying around a bear for a phone, Elena also will have to leave it in her room. I have work, and Elena also should have lessons like Ojou. At night is roughly the only time we can talk.

[Minor details, so it’s fine! Apart from that, from now, properly contact me, okay?]

She said not begrudgingly, but it’s already become somewhat bothersome. I don’t have anything I want to particularly talk to Elena about.

[Respond!]

「I get it. Geez, what kind of problems are you sending over?」

Set about by her overbearing response, when I don’t talk to Elena but complain more, a sulky voice mutters out from the bear.

[……so, we can’t simply meet like Roy-nii-sama and Onee-sama.]

At Elena’s unexpected speaking of her mind, my eyes widen. Although in the past world, we were brother and sister, I wasn’t thinking I could miss someone to that extent. Something like the princess being unable to meet the common people, it’s natural.
Facing the talking bear, I understand she’s become sullen, and force a smile that says there’s no helping it. I understood the feeling wouldn’t be passed down, but I pat the bear on the head.

「I won’t forget to contact you.」

[If you understand, that’s fine.]

「Thank you for the present.」

[You’re welcome.]

Although the bear’s facial expression doesn’t change, it’s interesting that I understand somehow or another what kind of face Elena is making with only her voice.

[……Which reminds me, Isaac’s voice coming from the bear reduces its cuteness by half, what are you going to do about that?]

「I don’t know.」

Elena’s rudeness towards me absolutely doesn’t seem like it will change.


Awww. A lot of cute and funny moments in this chapter, especially with Nico giving Zack some honest to God knuckles to fight people with. Ojou giving Zack some headpats was hnnnng inducing, and then the finale with Elena giving Zack the bear so our sibling duo can talk with each other while they can’t meet.

Anyways, remember there will be no updates in November as I study for the JLPT. That leaves one last chapter in two weeks on October 21st, and then I will resume updates on December 11th.

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!


33. Chamomile

This chapter is mad long. You can’t understand how it to translate lmao, it just kept GOING AND GOING, but it’s a fun one. Lots of new people to meet.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


Spring arrived.
The lovely lily-of-the-valleys I was enjoying will end in a little bit. Next month, the multi-colored tulips will liven up the flower beds.
I wonder what my dad will grow in the next flower beds. It isn’t natural, perhaps, but while helping with his work, I’m looking forward to what he’ll plant next.
What should I do for the self-study garden? Right now, it’s easy for Ojou and her sister Flora to play with the violet dandelions, but soon it will be time for western ajugas. Because they have the height, it might be interesting to make a walking maze with them. In spring, yellow and red flowers stand out, but there are many unexpected blue flowers.
Even after Ojou and Leo’s engagement was decided, my surroundings didn’t change very much. Rather, because I stopped dance lessons and substituting at parties, the times I can be absorbed in my garden work increased. I’m simply happy with that.

However, I can’t be glad, huh……

The time I was told by Ojou I wasn’t required to substitute for dances, although I was glad I didn’t have to do dance drills, I couldn’t honestly be happy.
Here, in the otome game my sister in my past life was playing, I realized in the world of Kimisei, I knew the future of Ojou’s engagement. Even with the state of affairs now, I thought it was very probable it would become that. Simultaneously, the potential she would come to like Leo, who seemed to embody Ojou’s ideal of a prince, was more than present.
If that’s the case, I should be able to make preparations to say congratulations.
However, Ojou doesn’t like Leo with romantic feelings.
She didn’t have the words for the situation of being engaged to someone she doesn’t like. I saw Ojou’s refreshingly resolved facial expression, and I realized I shouldn’t interfere. I don’t understand what the right thing to say is, and in the end, all I could do is praise Ojou who was way cooler than me.
I wasn’t prepared as I thought, so I became miserable.
I’m the Ernest house’s gardener’s apprentice. I can only help Ojou on the road she chooses and watch over her. Although I’m not even a mob, I hadn’t properly made preparations to watch over her.
I tightly clasped my hands wearing cotton gloves.
Because I can’t be helpful, at the very least, I can make a garden Ojou will be happy with.
Firing myself up, I resume the work I had stopped doing.

「Wah, it’s cute!」

「Do you like it?」

「Yes, very much! I heard about it through Roy-nii-sama, but the Ernest house’s garden is very lovely, right?」

「I don’t lie, you know.」

「I know. Ah, the sun……」

When I think I hear someone in high spirits, under the warm sunlight, two people with dazzling blonde hair and a pale blonde girl who was easier on the eyes arrive near the swaying tulips.
Then, the girl whose long golden hair reflects the light, looks at me who is in front of the flying ladybugs and stiffens up. What kind of reaction is that, as if I saw something unpleasant? It’s not like you were acting especially innocent.

「Zack.」

「Hey, Isaac. Are these the flower beds you’re looking after?」

「Yep.」

Although I matched my father’s bowing, I also lightly bowed my head.

「Philine-sama, they’re this house’s gardeners.」

Ojou, who doesn’t know this isn’t our first meeting, introduces us. There, Elena pinches her skirt and says her greetings.

「I am the third princess, Philine Elena von Rosenbein. I am very happy to be able to see this kind of lovely garden. Thank  you very much.」

She mainly faces my father and conveys her feelings of thanks. Around the time my father replies saying it is an undeserved honor, I approach Ojou and apologize.

「Sorry. I’m late in finishing the maintenance.」

We heard about having visitors beforehand. Even though we had arranged the preparations…

「No, it is us who are early. I do not mind.」

「It’s our fault. Sorry. Philly is in a hurry for something……」

「T, that sort of thing……」

At Leo’s words that seem to be amused, Elena shyly blushes and hesitates to say something. Waiting to see how things go, Ojou also pleasantly softens her expression.

「Being able to give you something to look forward to, I’m happy.」

「……! A, a, after all, with the first time I was given permission to leave……」

At even Ojou who was smiling at her, Elena lets out an ‘awaawa’ in a panic, making excuses.

「It’s because with me, a precedent ended up being made.」

「A precedent?」

「Philly became seven years old.」

Because Leo, at his birthday party for turning seven, had his debut, it seems the younger prince and his sister Elena also ended up having the chance flow to them. Because they showed up at an official space, they reached the point she could receive permission to exit the castle.

「Ahhh, gardener apprentice-san, what is this flower called!?」

「Wait……」

Was she unable to endure it, I wonder, and Elena suddenly withdraws from the subject, leads me by hand, and brings me to a lily-of-the-valley by the promenade.

「What in the world are you doing?」

「Hey, what is this! What is this!?」

「Ha?」

Asking what’s before our ours with all of her might, I tilt my head in confusion. I’m certain what Elena is pointing to isn’t a flower, but what in the world is making her so excited? First of all, I only understood she distanced herself because she didn’t want to show Leo and company something.
This seems to be a habit of reporting information one by one that she carried over from her past life. No, this is a fundamental for girls, right? The time I went to school, schoolgirls also, with their friends, loudly yelled.

「Miss Lydia, this is incredibly cute!! What, are you a fairy!?」

「Ahh, is that it?」

I understood the cause for her excitement. I thought when my sister from my previous life sees a beautiful girl, she charges at her, but I didn’t think I would be rushed by her. Well, I’m glad Ojou wasn’t hurt.

「It’s natural that Ojou would be cute. She’s a beautiful girl.」

「That’s true, but! It’s different, I thought she would be more aloof in my imagination, but her interior is also cute!!」

Elena is emphasizing, but it’s too natural for me to understand.

「Although you are also just as beautiful, but you react to Ojou.」

「It’s because it’s a different person. You see, Taichi…… no, that isn’t it, Isaac, did you change something……」

「Did I?」

With the exception of not being stubborn and make reflections on my past life, because I wasn’t doing anything in particular, I don’t understand if there’s any difference from my past life.

「First of all, since it’s painfully bright on my eyes, I should get away before long.」

When there’s a really dazzling beautiful girl in front of me, it’s painful on my eyes. Especially golden hair.

「As expected, you aren’t unusual!」

Having to immediately eat her words, as impolite as ever, Elena makes her cheeks swell, pouting.
With the power of her excitement, there’s a lot of strength in her tightly clasped hands. Because they cross through my cotton gloves, with a girl’s strength, it’s not especially painful.
At Elena’s hand, another white hand comes on top.

「……Philine-sama, your hand will end up getting dirt on it.」

Ojou, softly saying those words, undoes the Elena’s hand that is gripping onto mine, and with my handkerchief, removes the dirt that was on Elena’s hand. At how Ojou helped me, I let out a sigh of relief.

「Ah, thank you very much.」

When the blushing Philine thanks her, Ojou smiles. Elena, who saw that, hugs Ojou with unrestrained vigor.

「Please become my big sister!」

「Eh……!?」

「Oi, Elena! You’re sekuhara’ing Ojou!」

「Philly, saying that kind of thing, won’t you make your big sisters sad?」

「Leo, that isn’t the thing to be pressing about!」

「After all, I love my big sisters, but they already have married into other kingdoms, so I rarely get to meet them. Furthermore, I want a big sister close to my age.」

「Eh, um……??」

「Hey, hey. It’s fine, Lydia-sama?」

「U, um……」

Ojou, not quite understanding the situation, has bewildered eyes. Leo, who is sweet on his sister and tolerates things, only watches over the situation, and there’s no sign he will come to help.
I sigh, thinking there’s no helping it, so I grab the nape of the neck of Elena, who is clinging to Ojou, and separated them.

「Don’t say selfish things and trouble Ojou.」

「Isaac is stingy.」

Fuu, Elena lets out that noise, pouting. Even though she’s in front of Ojou, her princess mode is removed, but is it fine, I wonder. Well, I also am not treating her like a princess. Because Matteus-onii-chan, who had been holding himself back as an escort, turned pale, I quickly let go out Elena.
At the angry Elena, Ojou looks to be at a loss on what to do, and gives her follow up.

「Um…… although it is a great honor for a lovely person like Philine-sama to adore me, there isn’t any feeling of disagreement.」

「Then, please call me Philly, Big Sister!」

「Philly-sama……?」

「Yes, Big Sister!」

With a smile on her whole face, Elena clings to Ojou again. She’s perfectly holding Ojou in her arms. The way she closes the distance between them is forceful.

「She twisted her arm, huh?」

「Philly, from long ago, has been good at getting others to spoil her.」

When I’m astounded, Leo ame to boast about the strong point of his sister. Well, Ojou has a shyness of strangers, so maybe it’s better she was forceful.

「Then, Philly-sama……」

「Yes, what is it, Big Sister?」

With a look of being somehow dispirited, Ojou asks.

「Zack…… our family’s gardener’s apprentice, you seem to be very open with him, right……?」

Elena’s facial expression, which was all smiles, suddenly froze with a snap. Then, immediately, the stiffness loosened and a frantic look came in.

「It’s different, you know, Big Sister!? The person ideal for me is cool and smart like Roy-onii-sama! Someone like Isaac is out of the question, there is no interest!!」

「But……」

「Don’t stand there vacantly, Isaac should also clear up this misunderstanding!」

「Eh, what is it?」

「She’s suspicious of our relationship! Realize it, idiot!!」

「Haa!?」

How can she have that kind of misunderstanding? The other person is calling me an idiot right now. From Leo and company’s view, do nobles have love for brains? Is it something like sweets? Isn’t this only casually speaking with each other?
Something like our relationship being misunderstood is seriously disagreeable to my sister from my past life. So, Elena frantically revises that sort of thing. Understanding the state of affairs, I deny it with all of my might.

「Ojou, it absolutely isn’t like that!? She was only a lost child, I only know her face a little!」

「But, I’ve never seen Zack talking with a girl so closely before……」

「That’s because……」 

How good would it be if I could say it’s because we were related by blood in our past life? Well, even if I were believed for that reason, in the end, because it’s a different person, it doesn’t change anything. How can you trust me if I said she’s just a person that I can’t think of as another person?

「It’s because Philly-sama is very cute……」 (Implied to be Ojou here)

「Certainly, Elena is a beautiful girl, but for me, Ojou is more cute!!」 [T/N: Ah yes, Zack’s manwhore ways are finally coming back to bite him.]

「……wh!?」

「It’s because furthermore, compared to Elena’s blue eyes that are like gems, I like Ojou’s pale blue eyes that are like a flower.」

「I, u-u-u-understand, so close that mouth of yours!」

Somehow or another, when we resolved the misunderstanding and argued, when I noticed it, Ojou, whose face turned red, scolded me.

「Are you still misunderstanding……?」

If I’m being misunderstood again by Ojou, I have to weaken it. When I become worried and meet her eyes to check, Ojou nods her head.

「I won’t misunderstand again……」

「I’m glad……」

With relief at clearing up the misunderstanding, I soften my facial expression as if becoming weak.
I feel guilty at how I made Ojou mad and the degree she turned red, but because that misunderstanding was a matter of life or death, I’m seriously relieved it was cleared up.

「…………Roy-nii-sama?」

「This is a difficult problem, Philly.」

「Big Sister, you’re Roy-nii-sama’s fiance, right?」

「Yes, that’s right.」

「Is it fine?」

「He’s better than anyone else, right?」

I can’t understand what is being said, but Elena, who looks at the smiling Leo, sighs.
Somehow, even though after this I didn’t do anything special after this, again I was called an idiot by Elena.

In any case, having cleared up the misunderstanding, I passed the time with a bright mood. A few days passed, and this time a separate person came accompanying Ojou. Waiting behind Ojou, a girl who seemed to be the same age as her, Katherine-san, was wearing the same maid clothes. She had straight black hair that reached her shoulders, beautifully cut evenly.

「……We’re in the estate’s grounds, you know.」

「We may be on the estate’s grounds, but we cannot leave someone alone.」

Ojou, who appeared to drop her shoulders, was decisively responded to by a person who greatly resembled the butler, Heinz-san. But, this girl’s words were more emphasized.

「Ojou, who is this?」

「Zack, she’s……」

「You’re being rude to Lydia-sama for a person of your social standing!」

Before Ojou could try to introduce her, the girl whose hair stood up like a cat’s took out a sharp piece of metal from her sleeves and faced me. She only threatened me by putting it to my throat, but I understood, so first of all I should avoid her.

「Ah, a guard? Being trained with a stiletto is dangerous, huh?」

The dagger that’s like a cross, it’s smaller than something I knew. It’s something small you can cram in your clothes, huh?

「Wh—how can a gardener avoid……!」

「You shouldn’t worry about me, but rather behind you.」

When I point behind her, the irritated girl looks over her shoulders.

「What’s behind……」

When she turned her head, Ojou, who even if she couldn’t scream, held her breath and had turned pale, was there. The girl, who realized that Ojou is there seemingly waiting to see how things turned out, seemed to realize she did something bad and froze up.
Although Ojou has seen an act of violence, she’s not used to it. She was thinking of Nico hitting with the glove as a sport. I was thinking it would be better for both Ojou and I not to get used to it.

「If you’re a guard, don’t make your Ojou, your master, afraid.」

「Ugu……」

She didn’t want me to say anything, I think, and the girl grimaced. Because she understood it was easy to avoid, Ojou, who understood I’m safe, put on an angry face, and once more, after tightly closing her lips, opened her mouth.

「Emilia…… at any rate, he’s a coworker, isn’t he? Can you not differentiate my friend from my enemies?」

「B…… but, this guy was rude to Lydia-sama……」

「Emilia.」

「……I am very sorry.」

This is the first time I’ve seen Ojou get mad at someone who isn’t me. While the girl called Emilia seemed to be frustrated, she said her apologies.

「Not to me, but to Zack…..」

「It’s fine, Ojou. It was my words that caused it.」

「You, again with that rudeness coming out of your mouth…..!」

「Emilia.」

When Ojou sternly glares at her, Emilia falls silent. If you look in her eyes, Emilia’s gaze is sharp, but Ojou is angry again, so her spirit lost.
But, at how Emilia pointed it out, I remembered my attitude on how I disregarded social standing between us.

「Hmm…… If I’m like this to my juniors, I’ll set a bad example, won’t I? I’ll correct my attitude……」

「Don’t!」

「 「 Eh? 」 」

Surprised at the sudden, loud voice, Emilia and I look in Ojou’s direction. Ojou, who ended up seeming reflexively shouting, right away put her hand on her mouth, but she couldn’t take back the words she already said.
Lowering her eyebrows, while blushing, Ojou intermittently mumbles.

「A… at this stage, Zack humbling himself is…… disagreeable……」

Seeing Ojou saying that with an appearance of getting smaller as she spoke, after Emilia made a facial expression that seemed to be worried, she let out a long sigh.

「I understand. I will tolerate him.」

「Thank you, Emilia.」

She seems happy to have gained her understanding. When Ojou smiles broadly, Emilia, as if unsure how to best respond, makes an exhausted facial expression.
First of all, since we secured an understanding, I say my greetings.

「I’m the apprentice gardener, Isaac Baumgartner.」

Because it’s a coworker, I give my hand, but I’m glared at and turned away.

「……Emilia von Pechstein. Don’t get carried away just because Lydia-sama has her eyes on you.」

I feel as if somehow there is a terrible deal of hostility, but after thinking she’s like a ct, I don’t mind it and smile.

「Yep, best regards, chairwoman.」

「Ha!? Don’t call me by that strange way!」

When I call her by the impression she gave me, I was scolded.

「Ehhh, but you’re like a disciplinary committee member, right?」

「Public morals and respecting decorum is natural, isn’t it, and furthermore why is there a necessity for a committee member for that!?」

「See, you’re like a chairwoman.」

「I told you already!!」

I was snapped at by the chairwoman, and ultimately Ojou told us not to fight. Somehow or another, this included me. Even though I tried to talk normally, it’s no good.
In my inner thoughts, I was relieved that Duke-sama gave Ojou a guard as promised. The likelihood Ojou will go through something dangerous lessened.

[T/N: There’s no formal break here, but in the raw text there’s a bigger chunk of whitespace which is sort of like a divider line]

Again, a few days later, with a boy who seems like a different guard, Ojou came. This time, Nico also came.
I notice that Ojou already looks tired out. What’s wrong, I wonder.

「Zaaack, I wanted to meet you.」

「Yes, yes, thank you.」

The moment we meet, Nico embraced me, and since I understood he simply only enjoys using the mitt to hit something, I let him do as he likes.
The boy who’s a guard looks this way, opens their mouth a few times, but leaves it alone, when Ojou, who looks as if she got a little angry, raises her voice.

「Ojou, are you okay?」

「I, I’m not particularly jealous, you know!?」

「Huh? No, that isn’t it.」

The wrong answer was returned to me. Before clinging to me, Nico might have been teasing her, but I wasn’t worried about that.
Because it’s difficult to move, I tell him to wait a little bit before peeling Nico off, and I face the flower bed I was working on until just a little bit ago. Plucking a few flowers at my own discretion, I hand over a bundle to Ojou.

「Here.」

「This is a chamomile, right?」

With how it seems to smell of tea, Ojou immediately guessed the name of the flower. Because it’s an herb with an effect of healing tiredness, it’s also used in tea.

「Yep. It’s because we were just pruning these. Ah, but, I just chose and picked these guys!」

「Fufu, I don’t know if Dennis will scold me.」

「Ah……」

I didn’t want to think about it to that extent. First of all, because Ojou’s expression relaxed, it’s acceptable. I’ll be prepared to eat a fist from my father.

「What’s going on over there! Did you say two swords!? Lydia-sama, falling into the clutches of evil……!!」

Abruptly, the boy came between us and shouted. There’s a lot of lively guys in Ojou’s escort, huh? Or rather, does that make sense? Somehow, I’m reminded of Johann.

「For some time now, with this mood, he’s been yapping at me, you know.」

While he has his arm around my neck, Nico says that. At the same time as reporting the damage, I think it’s better if he stops teasing.

「Two swords……?」

「Ojou, even if you learn it, because it’s meaningless, you shouldn’t mind it.」

At Ojou, who not understanding the boy’s words, tilts her head in confusion, I give a warning that even if she learns the meaning, it’s not pleasant.
Mainly, it seems like with Nico’s onee acting, it caused a misunderstanding, but I’ll correct my previous greeting.

「I’m the gardener’s apprentice, Isaac Baumgartner. Nico is only a friend.」

The hand I put out for a handshake was slapped away.

「I am Eric von Kollwitz! The house of Count Kollwitz has produced knights for generations. As Lydia-sama’s knight, at your sinisters ways—!?」

His light brown, short haired head was smacked. By Nico.

「……Nico.」

「But, this stupid brat, was rude to my Zack.」

I’m not yours, I thought as my neck is wrapped by his arm. I’m happy his friendship is heavy, but I think the open palm of Nico who’s normally hitting with the glove with the mitt on is incredibly painful. After a while, your true nature comes out, doesn’t it, Nico?
Holding where he was hit on the head with both hands, Eric bites his lips. As expected, it seems to be painful.

「What are you doing, you gayman!?」 [T/N: The term Eric uses is “okama”, which is something along the lines of “effeminate gay man”, but it’s hard to put in without it being clunky.]

「I’m an onee, you know. If you appear to be rude to Zack again, I won’t forgive you.」

「I’m only looking after Lydia-sama!」

Nico and Eric glare at each other. Ojou and I are completely at a loss on what to do.
I understood the reason Ojou was tired just a bit ago. Before coming here, Nico agitated him, and Eric is honest to a fault, I think. However, Eric is a difficult name to call out, huh? I’ll bite my lip.

「Miss Dia, please properly train this dog of yours!」

「M, me?」

Suddenly brought up by Nico, Ojou is bewildered.

「That’s right. Here, take this and throw it as far as you can, then try to tell him to go fetch it.」

Nico designates Ojou to throw a branch from around here.

「Nico, why are you seriously treating him like a dog……」

「I… I have taken it.」

The branch Ojou threw without understanding the reason fell down just a few steps away.

「…Oh.」

I, forgetting Ojou’s offensive power was low, ended up unconsciously laughing in surprise.
At once, I use my first to cover my mouth but Ojou shyly blushed and glared at me as if to make me stop laughing.

「Haha…… Ojou is cute, right……」

Ending up being mad, with how badly I apologized while unable to hold back a laugh, Ojou’s face turned further red.

「~~!!」

「Here.」

At Ojou who got mad, with her raised fist of low offensive power raised overhead, Eric, with two hands, presents the branch Ojou threw. Turning towards his smiling face that held no doubts, Ojou stops her movement.
I’m not the only one who could seem to see an invisible wagging tail, right?

「As expected, he’s a dog, right? Miss Dia, I request you to discipline him.」

「I don’t do things like disciplining!」

Ojou’s full power denial resounds through the Ernest garden.


Several days later, again, Ojou came with an unknown maid as an escort. How many people are there? If there are anymore, it’ll be hard to memorize them.
I think Ojou is about the same, but the small girl is wearing a larger maid outfit, and I can’t see her hands from the cuff-holes. She isn’t walking straight, and with a swaying step, her evenly cut beige hair sways like a dandelion.

「Ojou, is this girl also a guard?」

「Yes.」

「Heeello. I’m Petra von Damaaa. I’m Ojou-sama’s guard and maaaid.」 [T/N: She elongates the end of her sentences as a verbal tic of sorts, so it’s a little hard to convey.]

The thoughtlessly smiling Petra, with a lazy voice, presented a hand that you can’t see due to her cuffs. This is the first time the other side asked for a handshake.

「I am—」

「The gardener’s apprentice, Isaac Baumgartner, riiight?」

I reach over the sleeve to take her hand in reply, and when I try to give my name, inversely, my name is said to me.

「Because my family is the prime minister with direct supervision of inspectors, intelligence gathering is a pushoveeeer.」

「Is that so?」

Is that how she knew, and since before I could ask, I was given the answer, I can only nod my head.

「Emilia is part of a military family, Eric is part of something like a knight family and while I can’t fight, if it’s information gathering, that’s my strength, you knooow.」

I get the feeling that my master has told me before, that in noble society, manipulation of information is essential. Even with an armed struggle, because muscleheads will gather, somehow who has brains is certainly good.

「Which reminds me, I’m sorry for the other day. Please forgive me for telling Heinz-san and asked him to scold him.」

「No, I’m not mad?」

At what point was that the case? Because the Chariwoman had been scolded by Ojou, Pochi had been hit by Nico, I thought they had been sufficiently scolded. In the first place, I hadn’t been mad.

「Or rather, why did you know?」

Although Petra wasn’t there, what was the reason she knew, I wonder. I didn’t think those two would explain the circumstances.

「Ahh, the focus of our eyes is differeeent. Buuut, it’s a trade secreeet.」

「I see. It’s something you can’t tell me, huh?」

When I apologize, somehow for a moment Petra stopped smiling. Then, again, she thoughttlessly smiles.

「Isaac-san is intereeesting.」

「Ah, I’m glad.」

「Yeees?」

「You can properly smile.」

Petra was smiling from the beginning. However, with that always same smile, just as how Master’s facial expression doesn’t change, Petra’s smile is the default state.
But, because the area around her eyes certainly narrowed as if something was interesting, I could judge it was a truly amused smile.

「I’m also relieved. Because Petra always doesn’t laugh, so I was worried I was worried I had done something to hurt your feelings.」

「If your facial expression doesn’t change, she’ll get worried, you know.」

When she smiles as if glad, Ojou also seemingly happily smiled. It seems Ojou was worried about the same thing.
Petra, after staring at us, puts her cuffs over her mouth and laughs, amused.

「Fufufuuu, I like the two of you. Please treat me well from heeere.」

「Yes, once again, please treat me well.」

「Yep, I will, Petra.」

After giving our greetings, somehow a complaint came from Petra.

「It’s only me being left ooout.」

「Eh?」

「I’m the only one being called by name. I’m being leeeft out.」

「Ehh?」

Her arms flapping, she demanded to be called by a nickname. I only called Chariwoman like that arbitrarily and the person themselves didn’t give me acknowledgement of it, and I didn’t give the name to Pochi.

「Um, then…… Pome?」

She’s something like a Pommeranian. Pommeranians also have a default face like they’re smiling, but it doesn’t mean they’re always happy. It’s not just in hair color,but that too, she resembles one.

「Woooow, Pomeeee.」

She seemed to be pleased with it, repeating 「Pome, Pome」 many times over. Is this kind of casual naming fine?

「Theeen, as thaaanks for this cute nickname you gave me, I’ll tell you how long it to Ojou-sama to hand over that looocket.」

「How long ago did you know about that!?」

When Ojou asks with as much force as if her hairs had stood on end, Pome smiles back while answering it’s a company secret.
For now, because Ojou has become a pitiable bright red, I should refuse the giving of information.
It’s the season that spring has arrived, but is very busy. At any rate, the number of people newly hired as guards is easy for me to remember.


THIS CHAPTER IS LONG. Pain da yo.

Anyways, WEW, well, there’s a lot to break down. Three new characters plus, Elena figuring out that something is different about Ojou’s character. Eric is important later, but I do find it hilarious that it’s Nico that deals with him.

Personally, my running theory is Zack is actually setting up the base events of the game to begin with, as I keep swearing that there was a note way earlier that the otome game ends up a happier note, with Ojou actually not being banished or anything. However, as they keep up the charade, the players of the otome game don’t see the full picture. I’d have to go back digging through old chapters to check, but the thought crossed my mind.

Anyways, one month out-ish from November, so remember there will be no updates in November as I study for the JLPT. That leaves 2 chapters on October 7 and October 21st, and then I will resume updates on December 11th.

See you all next chapter!

Other than that, not much else. 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!


32. Game

Welcome to Volume 3!


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


There was a memory of my past life, from when I was born.
However, it wasn’t that much.
Around the time I became aware, I realized I have memories of my past life, but with how I ended up being born with a lot of magical power, I couldn’t control it, and caused a lot of worry about my nature to end up invoking magic like having a spasm. Gradually, the surrounding people became afraid and the only people who would approach was the maid in waiting.
Even to myself, I was unpleasant, and I was rescued from the brink by my older brother.
My older brother, from the beginning, even if he’s at my side, was calm. Then, because he had the same unusual light magic, he immediately noticed the magical effects, and strongly did his best to teach me to control it. I couldn’t help loving that sort of older brother.
So, I was happy to have the same kind of face as him. Everyone spoke a lot of us resembling each other. That is, I was very proud.
Even with the times big brother was busy and couldn’t meet, if I look in the mirror, the same face is there. Naturally, a habit of looking in the mirror appeared.
Then, I suddenly notice.
I knew this face.
Because it’s my face, it’s natural I know it. However, that isn’t it. I realized it was another person’s face.
I mutter my name.

「……Philine Elena von Rosenhein.」

I knew. It’s the younger sister of Roy-sama, the capture target I loved in the otome game I was playing.
For the sake of the happy ending, it isn’t from Roy-sama, but rather depending on the choices, if you don’t meet and listen to Philine, you won’t set the flag. Because you hear stories that you won’t hear from Roy-sama himself, she is the next favorite supporting character next to Roy-sama.

「This… is Kimisei……!」

I realize I reincarnated in the otome game I was playing in my past life, A Small Star Only For You -Dein einziger Sternchen-. However, why was I rejoicing in front of myself in the mirror?

「I see. This is why Filine is fond of Roy-onii-sama.」

I address the person in the hand-mirror I’m holding.
Although the times Filine, a princess, leaves the castle are few, in the setting of A Small Star Only For You `Dein einziger Stretchen-, abbreviated Kimisei, in spite of it she enters the royal academy for magic. Worrying about her brother Roy, she periodically comes to see how things are going. In my past life, I thought that it was natural since my brother was also a handsome guy, but if I think about it well, a brother and sister yearning for each other that much is strange. Because she isn’t a capture target, there isn’t any information on her magical power or element, but I see, because she had few supporters from the beginning, it can’t be helped she’d be this way to her brother who was the only one who received her warmly.

「Philine-sama, why are you looking in the mirror?」

Understanding by herself, when she nods to herself, Terese, the maid in waiting calls out to her, seeming puzzled. She had been by her side since she was born. The times she would scold her are frightening, but she knew Terese was honestly worried about her.

「Terese, um, um, I recognized something amazing!」

It was something she was happy to notice, and while drawing near, when she reports the information, Terese tilts her head to the side.

「What did you notice?」

「I, you know, am a princess!」

When she teaches her why she’s so excited, this time Terese seriously tilted her head in confusion. The degree of her puzzlement can be understood through the depth of her wrinkles.

「That is correct.」

「So, you know.」

Not minding that kind of Terese, she continues her report. There’s no helping how she wants to Terese to listen to the decision she determined just now.

「I want to make Big Brother happy!」

「……is it not the reverse?」

Although they are blood relatives, isn’t it usually the man bringing the woman happiness, Terese said, citing the values of the world in general. As for the reasons without logical connection, Terese doesn’t point it out. More or less, it’s in her own head, but for Terese, she always listens to ideas without any logical connection.

「It’s fine, I want to return the happiness Big Brother gave me!」

Even in her past life, her big brother gave her plenty of happiness. So, she would return that.
She doesn’t know if it will become like the game’s world where her brother enters the academy. To that extent, Philine was a minor character, so she honestly doesn’t know. In every route, because she isn’t an interfering character, she properly listens to the state of affairs, and only is able to judge which route you entered.
If that’s the case, right away, she should solely aid in her brother’s happiness.
When she decides the goal of her life from here and is excited about it, Terese is amazed and let out a sigh.

「……Philine-sama is thinking rather simply, but that thought itself is is lovely.」

「That is, I’m weak at thinking about difficult things.」

She forces a laugh at the too harsh pointing out before being praised.

「I speak highly of you being appropriately like yourself, Philine-sama.」 [T/N: literally “praise you for being like Philine-sama” but expanded for clarity.]

「If you’re going to praise me, praise me more properly.」

She wanted a compliment correction, but it was easily swept away.

A few days afterwords, although she had decided to work for her brother’s happiness, it was the same as always everyday.
She tries to mediate between Roy-onii-sama and his other brother, Klaus-sama, but as for that, with only the siblings, because she doesn’t want it to be unsociable, it’s her own selfishness. When it comes to what she can do herself, although she’s very young, by seeming to work nonstop, she can invite her brother to tea and disturb him sometimes.

It’s simple.

Because she’s a princess, she thought she can be more flashy about it, but finishing every day of her princess manner training, she spends time with her brothers over tea. It’s very regrettable. She expected to be able to do something more amazing, but this was unexpected.
Since it’s too regrettable, at the same time as her magical control training, she tested out what various magic she could do during breaks. The light attribute is rare, and as for light and wind element combined, the materials and literature books on it don’t exist, so she was trying to find the solution herself.
With the mechanism of composite elements, around the time she able to make a hologram phone call, she was in a good mood, but the moment she showed it, she ended up being told by Terese and her big brother not to divulge it, and went to sit on the floor grasping her knees for a few hours, pouting.
The more she discovered how to use her magic, the more she was forbidden from leaving the castle. She was gloomy because in a memory of her past life, she knows about playing outside and having fun, or maybe it was just rebellion to being limited in what activities she can do.
Around that time, from her older brother, she hears a name she knows from the game.

「The Ernest house’s garden is really splendid, I want to show it to Philly. Miss Lydia also agreed.」

「It must be that lovely of a garden. Then, Lydia-sama, how did she dress today?」

「The dress’ white base changed to a rose hem, she was like a fairy of flowers.」

With how she thought that because she’s a girl, she’s conscious about fashion, her brother, when asked about it, answered her back with a smile. But, the Lydia she knew from the game is different, so inwardly she tilts her head in confusion.
In the still pictures of Lydia’s childhood she is wearing a bright red dress, and in the game even her plain clothes were aggressively red. However, the clothes of the girl she heard about from her big brother, from the beginning, were light colors far from being aggressive. In the first place, in the memory recollection where Lydia and Roy met, having ended up falling for her with a dance, Roy extended his hand towards her and followed her, and love bloomed….. it was that kind of episode she expected.
However, in reality her dress was blue, and rather than falling, her big brother praised her as the best dancer.
What kind of thing was that?
The girl she heard about from her big brother is too different than the one she knows In Kimisei, she couldn’t imagine them.

「Even so, Roy-nii-sama…… recently you seem to be having a lot of fun.」

It isn’t anything she did herself, and even if she’s happy her big brother is having fun, she’s frustrated at how there’s nothing she can do. Because it feels similar to the times he met Lydia, perhaps the cause is a girl.

「Is that so? Yes…… you could say that. It’s because I made a good friend, it seems.」

His smiling face is dazzling. I can’t be big brother’s friend because I’m related to them by blood. On the other hand, the reality that his family’s affirmation isn’t enough for his happiness was a little lonely.
Then, curiosity apart from that emotion welled up.

「That’s good. I also want to meet Lydia-sama someday.」

What kind of girl is she in reality? Up until here, she’s been different from the game, so is she someone making good use of being a reincarnated person? If that’s the case, she’ll have someone she can speak to about their previous lives. Even if that isn’t the case, she’s worried about the person who will become her big brother’s fiance.
She wants to meet her, and with that thought, the desire to go outside became more severe.
That was it. At that time, she couldn’t win against temptation……

「I reached my limit……」

She crouches down at the corner in the city town. In her current state of mind she wanted to put both hands on the ground, but her dress would get dirty, so she can’t.
Because she asked her brother about going downtown for observation, when she visited his study den, her brother’s overcoat was simply laid on the sofa. Because no one was there, she secretly tried to wear it, and then her brother and servant came into the room, and with the situation being as if they didn’t notice her, the two of them began to speak, so she was surprised.
At the effect that everyone seemed to treat her as invisible, her heart fluttered, and she thought there was no helping it. Since she experienced the effect of the magical item for the first time, there was inevitable excitement. It would be interesting to follow her brother as it is.
She miscalculated losing sight of him.
Compared to what she thought, there were too many people.
And as it is, if she got lost, no one would be able to find her.

「No, up to the game’s original story, everything is fine. But, if I don’t take it off now, no one will notice……」

It’s to be expected if the princess disappears, there will be a large search, but because she made the story of how she was playing hide and seek in the castle, it will be a while until they notice she disappeared. When she originally came to the castle town to look, she was in high spirits, but right now she’s at rock bottom. The feeling of getting her just deserts was painful.

「You, are you okay?」

There was a voice behind her. If the voice wasn’t calling out to her that was wearing the cloak that made her transparent so everyone nearby wouldn’t notice, this voice was facing and talking to a wall.
Because she wasn’t thinking she had been noticed, she thought her heart had jumped out of her chest.
While doubting the voice was truly talking to her, when she fearfully looked over her shoulder, a boy who was a little older than her was certainly there, and their eyes met.

Who was this??

She’s sorry she worried him, but he’s a complete stranger. In the first place, how was she, who other people weren’t noticing, discovered?

「You, are you Leo’s younger sister?」

Furthermore, when she’s bewildered at a name she doesn’t know, he corrects it to her brother’s name when asking again. Certainly, if you abbreviate her brother’s middle name, it’s Leo.
He guessed she was suspecting him, so he revealed that he was an employee of the Ernest house, and also explained his connection with her brother. When he heard the circumstances of how she got lost, he patted her on the head.

「It’s fine already. If it’s your older brother, he’ll do it.」

She can meet her brother again. When she becomes relieved at this, she looks as if she’s going to cry. Even for a moment, because there was the potential she wouldn’t meet with her brother again, it was too much.
Somehow or another she endured being about to cry, and she was guided to get on the back of the boy. Imitating her older brother, she gave her middle name.
The boy called Isaac, although he knew her true character as a princess, was a strange boy who talked to her normally. Perhaps, for commoners, there isn’t a real feeling of being too far apart in social standing. Then, for the first time, she was told that outside of the face, she resembled her brother.
Because he was thinking it was only her face that she can say she is related by blood to her older brother, while thinking he’s strange, that evaluation made her happy. She’s different from her smart brother, and because she ended up acting with sensitivity, if they didn’t match in the face, she wouldn’t have confidence in them being brother and sister, it was that kind of anxiety.
With the swinging of him carrying her, her body very much relaxed.
In her past life, when she was little, she didn’t want to be left out, so when she would follow her older brother, she became tired and couldn’t walk. So, she didn’t like it, she’d put herself down, and when she thoroughly complained and cried, her older brother would carry her and go home.
The memory of her past life, even while she knows it isn’t herself, remembering it was nostalgic. 

「Don’t say it like Yuuka.」

It’s a reaction that made her dumbfounded.
It’s a name she truly shouldn’t be familiar with. However, it’s a name very familiar to her ears.
She stopped thinking.
The name she was called by. In her past life.

「…………Taichi?」

「Ha? Is it really Yuuka??」

His footsteps stopped and again called me by that name. I thought it was a delusion that came from my memories of my past life, but it seems it was different.
When I understood reality, I became confused at the situation.
He’s a complete stranger, but he’s my brother from my past life.
No, if Taichi became a capture target he would have either burst out laughing or complained about not having become someone else. In the situation you became someone who didn’t even appear in Kimisei, what’s the correct response?
My head was spinning, however only feelings that talking formally with each other welled up.
Taichi was an idiot of a big brother. He always argued with our stubborn father, only had idiots for friends, and since he was an idiot, he died in an accident. When I returned home normally, I couldn’t believe I saw my mother drop the receiver phone like a drama. Furthermore, when I learned of the illness he had later on……
Even so, after reincarnating, he apologized, so really, what an idiot.
My older brother can’t be helped. But even saying he’s an idiot isn’t enough.
It’s very different than Roy-nii-sama.
That’s right, Roy-nii-sama. My brother right now is Roy-nii-sama.
Taichi, who isn’t even a mob, no, if Isaac is doing as he wants, then I’ll do what I want with my full power.
Parting with Isaac after linking up with my big brother, I made my declaration of war to him as someone who seemed close to a rival girl. Because he made the same declaration, my fighting spirit welled up. That my big brother was suspicious that Isaac and I were close was a miscalculation, but……

「Roy-nii-sama.」

「What is it, Philly?」

In the return carriage, while eating the cookies given as a souvenir, my big brother speaks. The cookies we ate had a simple flavor that I remembered the ohara cookies I ate so much of that I got sick of them in my past life.

「I won’t do it, but I’ll tell you. If I have something, I want to discuss it with you.」

「What’s wrong, so suddenly?」

「It isn’t sudden. I know. Roy-nii-sama is scheming something.」

「Calling me a schemer is cruel, huh?」

My big brother makes me look at his honey colored eyes, and from there forces a smile. I understand that he isn’t in a mood to speak, and I pout and turn away at the expected reaction.

「It seems I’m inadequate for my sister to consult with me!」

Big brothers don’t discuss things with their sisters. Taichi also was like that. So I understood that much.

「Still, I’m worried about it!」

When I declare that, pointing a finger, my big brother is surprised, he holds me against his stomach.

「Hahaha, I’m no match for Philly.」

「Mou, I’m talking seriously here!」

If you’re mad, I’ll seriously listen, big brother replied, but that is absolutely a lie.


A shorter chapter, but that tends to be the case for the volume starts. It was cute to see things from the side of Taichi’s younger sister, though. My only real hangup this chapter was whether to keep “onii-sama” as it was or put it as “Big Brother” like I did, which causes some minor whiplash when I leave the honorifics in when characters address each other. I might go back and ninja edit them

Other than that, not much else. 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!


31. Spine

Shoutout to everyone who corrected “Iron Crow” to “Iron Claw” last chapter due to my insane tunnel vision haha. You guys rock, thanks for catching my very obvious oversight.


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


When I woke up, the worried-seeming faces of her parents were there.
Surprised at this, while being confused, Lydia sat up in her bed. Just when she did come back, she thought, tilting her head to the side.

「Father……? Mother……?」

「Are you okay? My angel, are you hurt anywhere?」

「Dia, it was scary, right?」

Her cheeks were stroked by her father as if to confirm she was okay, then she was hugged by her mother, and then she remembers the incident that happened before she went to sleep.

「I am fine.」

To be more accurate, she was already fine. She had cried for a while, and now, she had a strange feeling of calm.
When she smiles to make her parents relieved, she sees the relieved color of their faces, and because Lydia felt guilt in her chest at making her parents worry that much.

「Father, Mother, I’m sorry. Because I selfishly acted unreasonably and forcibly brought her, please do not blame Katherine……」

Collecting herself, Lydia realized the potential that her maid Katherine would take the responsibility for her own selfish actions.
She heard the boy who was a gardener’s apprentice was confined to his bed, and at the start she got angry, but gradually with time, worry exceeded it. If she carefully thought about it, the time he fell in the pond was because he was trying to help her, and feelings of guilt welled up.
When she decided to go and meet him, she had reached the limit of her worry and guilt, and asked Katherine to go with her because she wanted to visit someone who was sick. Because if she looks at Katherine’s face, she’s relieved, she was the one who pushed through.
At that time, she didn’t think for even a moment something like that could happen. She hated the idea of Katherine, who had ended up dragged into the results of her making light of this, being punished.

「That’s no good.」

From her father Geordo, a quiet rejection is given, and Lydia’s chest felt heavy.

「She has to be properly lectured by the head maid.」

When Lydia vacantly looks up, Geordo smiles while closing one eye.

「Because if we pretend something didn’t happen, Katherine won’t reflect on it and will become spoiled, you know.」

With being completely blameless, she’ll only end up blaming herself more, and will self-satisfyingly put all of the blame on herself, and again Lydia reflected on her imperfections as a master.

「I’m sorry.」

Seeing his beloved daughter hand her head in her mother’s arms, Geordo forces a smile.

「I didn’t have any intentions to scold Dia, but……」

「Why……?」

She should be scolded. Even with her father whose love for his family is strong, there is no way he can overlook the matter this time. Lydia turns her doubting eyes towards her father. There, the same pale blue eyes softly narrowed.

「That is, you’ve already been scolded, haven’t you?」

When such a thing was pointed out, Lydia was surprised at how she guessed right.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice that she went to meet, the instant they met they argued, and when she was saved, she was first criticized. She was very surprised because she was thinking he was only worried and then relieved at their safety. Somehow, realizing at how she thought he was sweet to her made her embarrassed.
While thinking she doesn’t want to be spoiled, she was made to notice the truth he was spoiling her.
Again, she knew how much she worried him, with the strength of his clasped hands and mumbling voice that shook. She remembered the head of his clasped hands and how she tightly grasped onto both of his hands. 

「Towards someone who is already reflecting, doing something such as criticizing the same thing has no point.」

「Dia hasn’t finished reflecting with this much, right?」

「Yes……」

She decided she would never make him sad again. With that determination, in the middle of her mother’s arms, Lydia nods.
If that’s the case, now, they were just happy for her safety and again, both parents held her tightly.

A few days later, the first prince, Roy, who had already visited before her, visited Lydia.
There are many glass doors on the walls facing the garden, but the multicolored orchids guide the way to the parlor. From inside, the garden you see even looks like a good painting, Roy says, showing a brilliant smile.
Katherine, the maid, who finished preparing black tea as always, withdraws, and the other servants clear out. Around the time he took a breather with the warm black tea, Roy smiled as if his honey colored eyes melted in the fireplace’s warmth.

「Then, what is it? Miss Lydia.」 [T/N: Literally “Lydia-jou”, as in “ojou” without the “o”]

Staring at those eyes that seem to be filled with expectation, Lydia opened her mouth.

「……before, you told me to use you.」

「Ahh.」

Roy affirms the conditions of the time they talked about engagement. In exchange for limiting Lydia with her engagement, she has the right to take advantage of her fiance position, was what he suggested.

「Then, please allow me to use you.」

At her words that could be taken as disrespectful, with her own determination Lydia opens her mouth.

「You’re going to be engaged with me, right?」

At Roy’s words of confirmation, Lydia nodded her head.

「Yes. At the present time, there is no one other than Roy-sama more suited for my marriage partner.」

「Is it okay if I hear the reason?」

Roy doesn’t ask the reason for engagement, but instead the reason she arrives at that determination.

「I… want the power to protect the things important to me.」

She doesn’t want anyone to be sad. At the least, she wants a future where the people within her own reach are smiling.

「For that reason, I want to learn about the world.」

She doesn’t want to learn everything in the world, but for the sake of knowing her own merit and making sure of the course of her future, she wants to understand what kind of world surrounds her. As just the daughter of the duke,as it is, she only sees the narrow world. The quickest method was an engagement with Roy.
So, she would use Roy. Even with the restrictions on those on the edge of royalty, for Lydia who couldn’t defend even herself, it was favorable.
At Lydia’s eyes full of determination, Roy blinked once, then brightens his facial expression.

「No, Miss Lydia is truly awe-inspiring, huh?」

「Please don’t say it like Zack……」

The expressions he’s using are intended for women, but Roy’s manner of speaking are like the time she was praised by the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice who called her cool. It didn’t feel like being praised and Lydia half-closed her eyes. Roy ended up strangely resembling him.
However, he is different, as immediately he apologized.

「Then, we’ll begin holding negotiations. Let’s get along from now, Miss Fiance.」

Standing from the chair, the approaching Roy presents a hand to Lydia.
Lydia also stands up and takes the presented hand in return.

「Let’s work together well, Roy-sama.」

Roy adds on something with a smile.

「Of course, because the engagement will be canceled when the other person asks to be able to be with someone else, let’s keep that part a secret, yes?」

「I understand…… but, does Roy-sama have that kind of person?」

At the way of speaking with a condition in regards to the other person, when Lydia asks, Roy sincerely smiles.

「I don’t know yet.」

「Huh?」

「It’s because I haven’t met them yet.」

It seems meeting them is a settled manner. She doesn’t understand how he is so sure, and Lydia tilts her head in doubt. With how Roy only smiles back, it doesn’t seem like he wants to talk about the reason.
Then, Roy presents a situation that is likely there.

「Maybe it was when I met Miss Lydia before, huh?」

「Me……?」

Neither denial nor affirmation leaves Lydia who is at a loss for words. Just what in the world is caught in her throat?
At her hesitating reply, when Lydia is having great difficulty, she can hear a voice of stifled laughter, and in her line of sight is a Roy who is smiling with amusement.

「Roy-sama?」

「No…… if we don’t take notice of each other, isn’t that somewhat strange……?」

When Roy said that to her, she noticed it for the first time. He was talking about how if Lydia and Roy both became engaged to each other, they completely hadn’t considered the potential that they would end up liking each other.
Of course, it isn’t disagreeable and a feeling of favor for the other is there, but to the end, they’re a friend.

「Now that you mention it, that is true.」

It was a funny story when she ended up realizing it: an engagement where absolutely, they wouldn’t want the other person to fall in love with them. Lydia also felt a smile come up, and they laughed together.
After laughing for a while, their eyes mutually met.

「I like Roy-sama.」

「I also like Miss Lydia.」

It’s the feeling of smoothly exchanging communication.
With how they absolutely wouldn’t come to fall in love with the other person, for this reason the other person was someone they absolutely wouldn’t come to hate.
Certainly, it was a big decision, Lydia thinks in the corner of her mind. But, because she feels as if it’s not a big deal that he is her accomplice, it’s strange.

Would the day she comes to regret the decision that day come, she wonders.

Thinking about that, she immediately shakes her head.
Certainly, she had a premonition that if she didn’t regret it, she would be proud of it. 

During the new year, at the new year’s celebration party, Roy and Lydia’s engagement was officially announced.
Several days after that, Lydia was strolling through her residence’s garden by herself. At the party, many people had made noise about the engagement, but if she is in her own house’s garden, there is an unbelievable silence.
Only the short sounds of Lydia’s footsteps in the winter garden make noise.
She follows a road she doesn’t frequently travel. If she notices that even by herself, she became able to reach the destination. This growth is fine, isn’t it, Lydia thought to herself.
Because usually he’s guiding her, unconsciously she starts humming.
Then, she puts on a hood and ducks underneath the hedges she saw.
In her field of vision that opened up, at the place clear white sunshine fell, ivy enshrined the fountain like battle standards. The ivy didn’t immediately put its root in the fountain, but a fence of wood was used to encircle it, and that ivy twisted around the fence.
The perpetrator who arranged the water fountain is crouching at its side, doing work.

「Hm? Ojou.」 

When seeing her, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice lifted his head. Maybe as a result of using his cotton gloves as they are to wipe sweat, there is dirt on his cheeks.
At that dirt he doesn’t realize, Lydia spills out a smile.

「Although, I can’t do it yet.」

He mumbles as if seeming to regret how he can’t show her its perfected state. Lydia moves until she is next to the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice and looks at what he’s working on.

「A rabbit?」

There was a rabbit with white hairs made of chrysanthemums and red eyes.

「This one, rather than a mountain hair, would you hold it?」

It’s only one rabbit that was drawn by the side of the water fountain, but because he said it was still incomplete, from here, they’d multiply, perhaps.

「It’s cute.」  

He doesn’t have any confidence in his artistic taste, does he, Lydia thought, and at Lydia’s impressions, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice let out a sigh of relief.
At how she appeared to regret the dissolving of her rabbit last year, she remembered the magic her father Geordo used for her. When she faces the reality of remembering all of those trivial memories one by one, at that tenderness, her heart fills with warmth.

「When it’s complete, I want to show Flora as well.」

「Mhm, that’s fine.」

When she says that her sister would also be delighted, he acknowledged it with a smile. Standing up their next plan was looking forward to the near future.
Towards the boy who went back to his work, Lydia calls him.

「Zack.」

「What is it?」

While tilting his head to the side, he looks at her, and the boy sho is a gardener’s apprentice continues to wait for her words.
Inhaling the air that had become cold, Lydia told him.

「I don’t need a dance substitute anymore.」

「Eh?」

「I was engaged to Roy-sama.」

She remembered the optical illusion as if her heart had grown cold with the inhaled air. Even though all she did was tell him the ordinary truth.
The eyes of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice went wide, and clapped as if understanding.

「Is it okay to congratulate you?」

When she was asked anxiously, Lydia ended up smiling. At the beginning, he was worried about Lydia’s feelings. He really did prioritize her too much.

「I don’t understand.」

「Ha?」

「It’s that, I, while I like Roy-sama, I don’t like him romantically.」

He’s the lovable prince that came out of a picture book himself. He’s the best partner for some of the Ernest house. The way she can’t come to like him is strange.
However, because that strange thing actually ended up happening, there’s no helping it.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice shows an appearance of firmly thinking.

「……Ojou, do you hate it?」

Asked with a final confirmation, Lydia tried to cheerfully smile.

「I decided it.」

「I see. Ojou is cool, huh?」

It isn’t either good or bad, but she receives the highest grade of compliment from him. He sees her quietly smile, and feels like she’s grown up a bit.

「I’m not happy, you know.」

「Even though you were praised?」

「You are not praising me.」 [T/N: God, these two are so precious.]

When she deliberately looks angry, she turned towards a proud looking face. When she’s smiled at just like that, she ended up thinking of the self he believed in.

「Will you be my partner for one last song?」

When Lydia lightly lifts her hand up, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice understands, puts his cotton gloves into his pockets, and politely takes her hand.

「With pleasure.」

Each humming a waltz rhythm, they dance around the water fountain.
Lydia suddenly straightens her spine.
Because that was his highest grade of compliment from the beginning.

No matter what the future held from here, she would keep her head up.


And that is Volume 2 done.

These two are going to give me a heart attack with how precious this chapter was. All the pieces are slowly being assembled for the start of the otome game.

Anyways, small announcement that isn’t relevant for a few months. I will be taking a hiatus from updating in the month of November. This is because I will be taking the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) in December and want to take the full month to study instead of translating. I’ll obviously post this again in October but just a heads up.

See you all next volume!

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!


30. Thunder

Hey all, sorry for the delay. If you didn’t see the post I put up last week, I got a terrible cold. Like, it gave me fatigue and drained my energy so badly that even standing up from my chair exhausted me. Not lot of fun. But I’m back in fighting form, now, so here we go!


TL: Toasty
ED: Toasty


That day, after staying at the cabin, properly entering the bath, and going to bed, I thought it was fine.
I sent a bird of wind to my parents, conveying I was staying at the cabin. Because it was Ojou’s birthday, it’s easy to get a meal from the kitchen. Because I entered the cabin and immediately dried myself and changed clothes, the measures I took were flawless.
The next day, because I had conveyed I was staying over, my father came to the cabin and peeked into my room.
I realized my father had come, but I wasn’t able to get out of bed. In reality, I thought I should be waiting for my father at today’s work site.
Somehow, his face is dim. Strangely, I wasn’t feeling any coldness, and he checked my condition.

「Oh……」

Thud.

「It’s hot.」

When I thought my field of vision suddenly became dark, the upper half of my face was gripped by my father. Because I overslept, I wonder if I can eat an Iron Claw as it is.
While my head is held, I thought about if I’m lifted up, but my father lifted me along with the quilt, carrying me. Because I’m already enveloped by the quilt, it’s like I’m luggage.
My father who is carrying me descends from the second floor. The sound of tapping footsteps systematically wavers, and I become sleepy. [T/N: I’m dumb, “Iron Crow” was “Iron Claw”, the actual martial arts move. I just got a big heap of tunnel vision and refused to rethink this translation because I am dumb.]

I became a hindrance for work, huh……

Those feelings of apologies and frustration couldn’t even overcome my sleepiness, and I let go of my consciousness.

When I next awoke, it was in the room of my house.While remembering the familiar feeling of my bed, I didn’t understand how long had passed and tilted my head in confusion.

「Did you wake up?」

「Mo… ther……」

I shift my gaze sideways from the ceiling, where my mom is. When I open my mouth with a dazed look, it’s difficult to talk.

「Thirsty……」

It feels like the water in my body evaporated. I realized with the dryness in my mouth, it’s hard to talk. Although I’m sweaty, it’s not sticky. My mother, while I was lying in bed, wiped it dry for me, I think.

「There’s water. Will you drink it?」

「……I’ll drink it.」

When I sluggishly get up from bed and sit, my mother pours water from a jug into a class and handed it to me. When I lift the glass to my mouth, the lukewarm water is easy to drink. I wonder if it was boiled.
I drank until my throat isn’t thirsty. Waiting for me to finish drinking, my mother, while taking back the glass, asks.

「If there’s a meal, will you eat?」

「I’ll eat.」

After checking for if I have an appetite, my mother smiles as if to say there are no problems with the preparations. Then, she pats my head.

「Since you can, I’ll wake you up, so go lie down.」

「Okay.」

I obediently lie down in the bed again. I thought lying down was nice, but when I lay down, again my eyelids seemed to become heavy. 

「Zack. You did something unreasonable, did you?」

A voice that rather than scolding, is amused, falls down on me. In the middle of dozing off, I denied it.

「I didn’t.」

I didn’t even do anything. Because I wanted to study martial arts, it was decided I would also be a dance partner. Furthermore, Master and Ella-sensei gave me a reasonable schedule.

「Yesterday was Ojou-sama’s birthday, right? The bird from before was also made from magic, right?」

「That, well……」

After all, that place was good, so I wanted to show a big of a rainbow as I possibly could. I used up as much of my magical power, however, because the wind bird could fly, I thought it was fine. With my condition of MP Exhaustion, my immune system’s strength dropped, huh? [T/N: Literally “condition of exhausting MP” (MP is with English letters), but naming it MP Exhaustion was a little smoother]

「Separately, it doesn’t amount to much, right, but if you do your best on every single one, it will become unreasonable. Zack’s nature is to always and only do his best.」

While patting my head, I was smiled at and told I resembled my father in that way.

「You, even though you’re already working, until a holiday, you’re always doing something.」

Is it assisting Leo’s observation, or Daniel-sama’s work, or was I asked to babysit for someone?
Leo was only interacting and playing with the kids, and Daniel-sama’s work also is halfway like going out for a trip because I get to eat sweets and can see the garden. Babysitting also only takes a little bit of time, so it isn’t bad.
I try to think about a few possibilities, but I thought all of them are different. Before I can open my mouth to return a no, my cheek is poked with a finger and I fall silent.

「That. What comes to mind now is a little eagerness, right?」

The things that came to my mind are pointed out by my mother, and I frown. I’m trying to bear it so my eyelids won’t fall down.
Because even playing became unreasonable, I become frustrated at the feeling of having no endurance. Even though I was training my muscles.
Meeting my frustrated eyes, my mother gently smiles.

「What are you in a hurry for?」

「……because…」

She guesses right that I was in the middle of something. That I was crazy about something, I was thinking about how it leaked out.

「Certainly, I regret it……」

For me, who sees Ojou practice, and day by day, nearby, I only see Ojou become more splendid, there isn’t much I can do for her. If that’s the case, at the very least, I can properly do what’s in front of me, and even if it’s only a little, I can be proud of myself.
I also promised to quickly become a fully fledged gardener, but didn’t understand if I would meet the deadline. If I don’t do everything that I am able to, Ojou, who is more dependable than me, will surely leave me behind.
Regretting things I didn’t do, it’s because I’m tired of my past life.

「It’s fine.」

Mother talks with a kind voice. Although her tone isn’t strong, there is a quality of conviction in it.

「Because it’s fine, until you’re better, don’t think of anything and rest.」

I see.

I mumble without making a noise. If mother says it, then it will be fine, right, I think, and relieved, I fall asleep.

Then, for two full days, outside of meals, I was resting. The doctor came to see me, but I was told if I rested, I’d be cured. When I told him about falling into the pond as the cause, the older grandfather of a doctor made an indescribable facial expression as if asking why I was there during this season.
On the morning of the third day, I claimed I became healthy, but a hand was put on my forehead, and because I had a slight fever, I was to rest for today as well, just to be sure, my mother told me. Because my mother judged that, my father went to the Ernest house for work alone.
It’s different when I wanted to stay in bed, but because my head and my body weren’t sluggish, it can’t be helped I have free time. Because I sufficiently rested, there isn’t the feeling of wanting to lie down. Since in the room, it’s fine if I’m alone, after doing stretches, I train my muscles.

「Ah.」

In the middle of training, suddenly I remembered. A little before, when I met Anika-sama, she made a worried facial expression towards me.
She thought I was a weak Elias, but perhaps she is worried like my mother because I wasn’t generally tired out.
She doesn’t realize that, and because I’m lively, she ended up rejecting that I was fine.

「I did something bad, huh……」

I think I should apologize the next time we meet. I should also take something as thanks for the concern.
Finishing the set that Master gave me, because there’s nothing to do, I go downstairs, and call out to my mother.

「Mom, is there anything I can help with?」

「Zack, as expected, you can’t sit still, right?」

She looks over her shoulder, and with an amazed voice, says that.

「I got tired of only lying down.Since my body seems to be dulling, I want to do something.」

「It can’t be helped, can it?」

Maybe she understood I wouldn’t be docile, so my mother asked me to go on an errand for ingredients.
When I diligently put on my winter clothes and leave the house, the weather had cleared up. Stretching while bathed in sunlight, I went walking. Since for two days I had been shut inside, even the cold air outside felt good.
When I enter the market street, there were many people as usual. It’s still the morning, so it’s easy to walk, but when it becomes noon, the lines to restaurants begin, and with the time limit, since food stalls that serve things like sandwich pop up, going against the flow of people and walking become difficult.
Certainly, with the cooperation of a baker’s shop and a butcher’s shop, she’s selling sandwiches, I was told by one greengrocer auntie. As for sandwich food stalls with a time limit, it seems it also serves as a promotion. The commercial spirit is strong.
Among the list of ingredients, because I have things to do at the greengrocer, I have to go earlier than usual and buy things. Deciding on the order of stores to go around, I change my direction of travel.

「Zack……」

Hearing a familiar voice, I stop walking and look over my shoulder.
However, even if I look back, the main appearance of the person the voice belongs to isn’t there, and there’s only the waves of people coming and going.

「…………Ojou…..?」

There’s no way she’s in this kind of place. But, I can’t believe I would mishear Ojou’s voice.
Although she spoke, the truth of not being able to see her gave me a cold feeling.
At the center of the direction the voice spoke in, I look over the surroundings. There, it’s for an instant, however, around the entrance of an alleyway, lightning struck.
I immediately head to the entrance of the alleyway when I saw the lightning. Something like a bolt out of the blue, it’s no joke. Although Ojou, with the strength of how much magical power she has, hasn’t attacked a person, this timing of sensing lightning magic is the worst.
The correct place, I felt around for it by following the drawn in spirits of lightning magic.

「Ojou!!」

In the back alley, I find five men holding Ojou and Katherine-san.
Katherine-san is in front of three men, protecting Ojou, holding her arms open while shaking. To protect that Katherine-san, furthermore, is a thin semi-circular membrane of lightning. While hiding behind Katherine, Ojou probably made it.
While scared of the guys, Katherine glares at them, but Ojou’s pale blue eyes are moist, yet don’t spill a single tear while staring stoutly at the people in front of that.
That moment it seems I saw a tear well up in her blue eyes, my thoughts turned red.

「Za……」

「Don’t let your guard down! Keep spreading the lightning!!」

The Ojou I found, I scold her not to relax. With the current status of not being able to break down, dissolving the lightning is troublesome. Thanks to the lightning membrane, there’s a fixed distance between Ojou and them.
At me who shouted in anger, while frightened with a jump, Ojou steels herself and maintains the lightning membrane.
There’s three guys ahead of me, and two on the other side of Ojou. One of the people in the interior has a composed facial expression, and although he looks down on people, because he’s used to this, he might be the boss member.
It might be extortion or abduction, but certainly there’s malicious intent. All of their members have good physiques, and because they brought someone to an unpopular place, it’s very likely they had an aim to abduct for ransom or to sell as slaves.
It’s hard to escape without being aware that I’m still a kid.

「What is it, this……!?」

I first aim and then throw the various sized rocks that I found along the road at the foreheads of the three guys in front of me. Because I, as a child, have a disadvantage in reach, Master taught me to be able to use something closeby as a weapon.
In the time the guys grabbed their foreheads and staggered, I rush up over to Ojou.

「Katherine-san, Ojou, get down!」

Katherine-san, to immediately protect Ojou, holds onto her and crouches down.
With the force I had running, I hurl rocks at the two guys in the back.

「Guu!!」

「Uu!?」

Because they passed through Ojou’s lightning membrane, the stones were clad in lightning and gained the effect of a stun gun, it seems. Hearing a sound as if they had received its effects, the two guys fell over.

「……Isaac-san.」

「Katherine-san, can you run while protecting Ojou?」

Towards the quivering Katherine-san, I understand I’m saying something harsh, but I get down on one knee and meet her gaze before asking.
Katherine-san clutches her quivering hand, takes a deep breath, and stops her trembling.

「Yes……」

Strongly nodding her head, Katherine-san apologizes, and held Ojou in her arms. Ojou also tightly holds onto Katherine-san.

「Ojou, don’t undo the lightning yet.」

Because I called attention to it earlier, I present a hand to Katherine-san. Naturally, when I passed through the lightning field, rather than becoming numb, there was a strong, piercing pain.

「Zack, your hand……!?」

「……it’s fine! Katherine-san, since there isn’t really a feeling in my hand, can you please take it?」

Ojou reacts as if to scream, but as if reminding her not to undo her magic, Katherine-san takes her hand. Because I don’t have any feeling, when I’m held onto, I might be mistaken in the strength. Well, because there’s the sensation of numbness, whether or not she’s filled with strength is doubtful, but because she has gloves on her hands, I’m not worried about her receiving an electric shock.

「I’ll guide us to where there are more people, so until then, please don’t let go of my hand.」

「Yes.」

Visually confirming that Katherine-san is taking my hand, with the three of us, I return to the road I came from. Thanks to Ojou’s lightning field, when the three guys tried to pass us, they received an electric shock and their movements became slower.
Because I don’t know whether or not they have additional partners, I can’t be relieved in thinking there aren’t any more pursuers. I run at a speed that is careful to make sure Katherine-san won’t trip. Because she’s holding Ojou, the speed isn’t very high, but rather than rushing, it’s better.
The moment we return to the market street, I shout.

「It’s a kidnapper, someone please call the guards!!」

About half the people respond to my voice, looking our way. Ojou was surprised that I yelled and undid her lightning field.
After that, it was fast. Some shop people came out, someone went to call the soldiers, several men grabbed rope and went to tie up the guys in the back alley when I explained. Some passing aunties were worried about Katherine-san and Ojou, and waited with them until the soldiers arrived.
Until we escaped, there was a feeling of a lot of time passing, but undoubtedly the incident only took twelve minutes. I became exhausted with a feeling of relief when the soldiers arrived and went into that place.
When the soldiers arrive, Ojou and Katherine-san are guided to the closest outpost for the sake of protecting them. I’m also brought along together with them to be questioned.
At the investigation, one of the older soldiers was worried about my injury, and showed it to a combat medic. I’m cautioned not to scratch the burns on my wrist since they will become blisters otherwise. What should I do, when I look at them, I want to scratch them because they seem itchy. I have to do my best and endure. It seems the numbness in my hand is alleviating as well. I’m also told just to be sure, to get it checked once more by another medical professional.
During the investigation, I was puzzled about whether or not I should let this just pass by, but since I revealed my personal identity, they wanted to get in contact with my mother. The older guard scolded me, saying that a child did something absurd, and promised he would notify my mother.
Ojou and Katherine-san decide to wait at the station until someone from the house comes, and I, as a servant of their house, am worried, so the guard lets me meet them.
In the neatly tucked away reception office, Ojou was drinking something warm. Because there’s a sweet smell, it’s cocoa, I think.

「Zack……」 

When I enter the room, Ojou gazes at me, puts down the cup of cocoa, and rushes over to me.

「Are you okay!? Your hand……」

「It’s fine. It was only a little numb.」

It’s especially fine since with my sleeve, the bandages aren’t visible, and I thoughtlessly smile, waving my hand around. Because I willingly put my hand into the defense magic, it’s just the consequences. So, I want Ojou not to worry.
Ojou, as if searching for my true intentions, looks between my eyes and my hand. Then, she wasn’t able to understand a bit, but is relieved at my safety.
When I look in Katherine-san’s direction, I wondered if she had been crying, as her eyes were swelled and red.

「Katherine-san. You did your best, didn’t you? You were cool.」

「……No, that…」

Although it was a ridiculous request she was given, Katherine-san, for the sake of Ojou, persevered. Although she looks cowardly, she’s strong. In that situation, if she had frozen up, they wouldn’t have been able to run away.
Katherine-san’s eyes were a little wet as she humbles herself. That facial expression was showing she was regretful.
The source of her regret, I was expecting it. I put my gaze back at Ojou and seriously ask.

「Then, Ojou, why were you in such a place?」

Ojou looks at me and with a jump, her shoulders shake.

「…………I, I, was going to visit Zack since you fell ill……」

「Did you not tell anyone, since the guards weren’t with you?」

「……well, Roy-sama also came to the downtown area, didn’t he!?」

Ojou raises an exception, but I calmly reply.

「Because Leo doesn’t say anything, but he also has escorts. That guy also can defend himself to some extent, so he comes.」

Behind Ojou who suddenly fell into silence, Katherine-san tries to defend her, but with a look, I ask her to stay silent for me.
To meet the eyes of Ojou, who has fallen silent and hung her head down, I get down on one knee. I then cover both of her hands that are balled into fists.

「Ojou.」

When I call out to her, she’s afraid, but meets my eyes. Looking back into those pale blue eyes, I tell her.

「Ojou, you should be aware of how pretty and charming you are.」 [T/N: My sides]

「……!?」

「Listen.」

Towards Ojou who is misunderstanding that I’m poking fun at her with how her cheeks turn red, I convey I’m being serious with my eyes.

「For me and Katherine-san who know Ojou, understand how pretty and beautiful Ojou is on the outside as well as in. But, even for strangers, Ojou is pretty and charming .」

Ojou, not understanding my intentions, looks puzzled.

「With something pretty and charming, those guys who thought there is value there, Ojou is the same as a jewel. The eyes of those guys today, they were scary, right?」

She remembers the eyes of those who didn’t see the other person as a human, I think, and Ojou trembles, slightly nodding.

「Among the guys Ojou doesn’t know, there are guys who don’t grasp that Ojou is a fellow human being. So, you have take care of yourself.」

「……I won’t do such a rash imitation again.」

「Mhm. Thank you.」

After tightly biting her lower lip, Ojou told me her decision. Hearing that reply, I’m relieved and smiled.
Because it’s just right, so incidentally, let’s do it.

「Though, Ojou. I’ve always wanted to invite you downtown.」

「Eh……」

「But, I can’t guarantee your safety. First of all, if I become strong, I don’t think there will be a problem, so…… Heinz-san is training me.」

When I smile as if I’m a simple fool, with great surprise, Ojou froze.

「But, right now, it’s not enough. It would have been better if I had properly talked to Ojou together about it…… I’m sorry for having such a scary desire.」

If I had said my thoughts to her beforehand, Ojou might not have done this kind of unreasonable thing. This is the reason I was expressly avoiding Ojou hearing about this dangerous talk. It’s too shameful, and I feel I can’t even cleverly smile.
Ojou shakes her head and denies it. Certainly she blames herself.
Although the numbness of my hand weakened, I notice it, that it’s taken into both of Ojou’s hands with a strength that isn’t painful. Gradually, her temperature is being transmitted.

「I was training, but really…… it’s better if I don’t do that sort of thing.」

With the sense of her training being like extra-curricular activities, I’m glad it wasn’t useful. I didn’t even think one bit that I wanted to use her earned abilities. I’m glad that I was able to be of use in this one scene for my whole life.
What sort of facial expression should I make towards Ojou, I don’t know, as Ojou’s collar is attached to me, so I can’t see her face.

「It was scary.」

I thought about if Ojou wasn’t there. That was very frightening.
The time I found Ojou, my mind became red with anger at those guys, but that was for the sake of wiping away the fear.
Would I now lose even the warmth in this hand?
I already don’t want to have these kinds of scary feelings.

「……I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Zack.」

Her shaking is transmitted through her forehead. At that trembling voice, when I lift her head, there was a crying Ojou.

「I will never make Zack cry again……」

With a face of tears coming out one after the other, while heaving with sobs, she says something incredibly handsome.

「The one who’s crying is Ojou, right?」

Somehow I ended up smiling.
Even though there was a part that was enduring until now, I feel guilty that she ended up crying, and patted Ojou’s head.

「It was also scary for Ojou, right?」

「It was… scary……」

I wanted to calm down, but it seems to have the opposite effect, as tears furthermore gathered in her eyes, and Ojou burst into tears. Then, she pressed her forehead into my chest, beginning to cry.
As if to check that I am there, she tightly grabs onto my clothes, and as if to say it’s okay, I gently pat her back.
Until Ojou calms down, I stay with her, and she ends up crying until she’s tired and falls asleep. Because she didn’t let go of my clothes, I hold her in my arms and sit together with her on the sofa she originally was sitting on. Katherine-san dampens a handkerchief to cool the area around Ojou’s eyes.
Incidentally, when she was weakening, the door opened, and a guiding soldier led someone familiar into the room.

「I’m sorry for being late.」

「Duke-sama.」

Duke-sama is accompanied by my teacher, his butler, Heinz-san, and came to pick up Ojou. Katherine-san immediately recovers from waiting near the sofa and bows her head, apologizing. But, for me, who Ojou is clinging to, I can’t move, so I don’t know what I should do.
Duke-sama, who was approaching with a stride like a flowing stream, kneels down, and runs his palm across Ojou’s head.

「I’m pathetic…… it must have been very scary.」

As if to sympathize with her, Duke-sama puts his lips on the forehead of Ojou who cried her eyes out.
At Duke-sama’s words, there was a deep sense of guilt weighing on me. Suddenly, he bites his lip, and then opens his mouth.

「I’m glad Isaac is also safe. You did well to escape.」

「Eh……」

Preparing to be scolded, I ended up having my head patted.
Seemingly amused at my reaction, Duke-sama smiles.

「Katherine and Zack are both important employees of our house. There is no way I won’t be delighted at your safety, right?」

Because I wasn’t expected something such as being worried about, I was surprised. Although Duke-sama is only kindly smiling like always, it looked extremely trustworthy. At the same time, I realize that I’m a child, and become embarrassed.

「T… thank you very much. I’m sorry for having worried you.」

I thank him in some way or another while my face becomes hot. I was happy to have had a fever. I’m glad I work for the Ernest house, that feeling filled my heart.
When he smiles as if satisfied at my reply, Duke-sama using his hand, then separates Ojou from me, carries her in his arms, and stands up.

「Well, right now, because I want to make Dia my top priority, I’ll go back home.」

I stand up and firmly stand up straight.

「Yes, please take care of her!」

When I make my body stand at the right angle, Duke-sama makes an amused laugh.

「Then, Zack should also be careful when going home.」

「Um, Duke-sama……」

When I panic and call him, Duke-sama looks back over his shoulder in an elegant movement.

「Is there a problem?」

「I think that you’re busy, but soon, may I humbly have some of your time? There is a something I want to talk about.」

「I understand. Then, until then.」

With the relief that I was acknowledged, I breathed a sigh of relief from behind Duke-sama and the others.

Duke-sama unexpectedly made himself available, as the next day, in the evening when I was at work, I was called.
Guided by Master, I was brought to Duke-sama’s study. There’s a tension and mood of being like the school principal’s office. With something like the principal’s office, there’s the impression only guys who have done something amazing or very dangerous guys get called in, huh? In my past like, I had never entered because I was neither of those.
When I give my greetings and enter, Duke-sama smiled as if to say it’s fine not to be nervous. I look at the sparkling Duke-sama, and as soon as I thought about such a young principal, I became a little discouraged. Even inside, Duke-sama’s blonde hair is radiant.

「So, what did you want to talk about?」

On the opposite side of the desk, Duke-sama cheerfully asks.

「Before that, for yesterday’s incident, I’m truly sorry!」

I deeply bow and apologize.

「In the first place, I, even though I’m working, I neglected my health, but because I’m something like the cause, and I didn’t properly say that the downtown area could be dangerous, so……」

When I argue my case while bowing my head and apologizing, the sound of something gushing out like 「buha」 could be heard.
When I raise my head, Duke-sama was there, smiling and making an amused sound. I don’t understand the meaning and tilt my head in confusion.

「Um……?」

「No, I’m sorry. I was just thinking you’re a good kid, aren’t you?」

Even though he’s restraining his smile while talking, it doesn’t feel like he’s praising me.

「The one who decided to be here with Isaac was myself. Rather, for apologizing, it should be me. For crisis management, I should have been taught by my parents. Via was also mad at my similar weak points.」

Saying that, Duke-sama has on a strained smile. If he ends up saying it in that style, there is now ay I can apologize anymore.
As if to say this matter is finished here, Duke-sama brings up a new topic.

「Then, what did you want to talk about?」

「Ojou… Lydia-sama, please provide her an escort.」

Because I was receiving Duke-sama’s precious spare time, I directly conveyed my request.
Duke-sama, in the same way as Ojou, has his pale blue eyes go wide.

「Why?」

「Mas…… Heinz-san, I heard, is arranging preparations for an escort. Because if something like yesterday were to happen again, I would find it unpleasant, I want that time to come as fast as possible.」

「Unpleasant?」

「Yes, unpleasant.」

I don’t think very hard about it. So, because I simply want to avoid things I find unpleasant, for things that are unreasonable to do alone, I should do what I could. It’s only that much.

「Is that so…… unpleasant, huh?」

Repeating my words, Duke-sama again strangely smiled. Ojou would get mad at my foolishness, but Duke-sama is smiling, it seems. I intended to have a relatively serious discussion, though. After he smiled for a while, Duke-sama spoke.

「That’s fine. I’ll consider it. Although I must say, I wasn’t originally thinking I should advance the time.」 [T/N: “Originally” isn’t in the raw, but it helped to clarify the sentence. Otherwise, it could read as he isn’t thinking of advancing the time even with this info.]

「Thank you very much!」

At Duke-sama’s smile, my facial expression lights up.

「……I didn’t say you would be protecting her, you know.」

「Eh? Ojou smiling is more important.」

Rather than a question, it was closer to a mumble, but what was I saying, as I unconsciously replied with that.
At my dazed self, Duke-sama’s eyes went wide, and he smiled again. Then, he said the same thing to me, saying I was a good kid, wasn’t I.


Next chapter is the final one for Volume 2. It’s been a long one, huh?

Not a whole lot to say for this chapter, other than Zack got to be kind of cool. We didn’t get the usual “taking care of someone sick” schtick, but that promise by the end, wew. “I will never make Zack cry again”, Ojou really hammering it in. Man, these two are adorable.

Next chapter is fairly short, but it’s hnnnnng-inducing all the same.

Either way, see you all next chapter.

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