Here’s the next chapter. It took a bit longer than my two weeks estimate
at least it wasn’t three weeks. Manga chapter 2 is out in Japan so I’ll be working on that and it should be finished sometime this week. The next chapter is about half of this chapter’s length so expect it to come out a bit faster.
Please support the author/illustrator by buying the book.
Proofreader: muge, Marv
Happy that he can do the drawings again: muge
Chapter 1: An Audience with the King
Despite the fact that the previous day had been filled with chaos, Leticiel woke up feeling refreshed at the usual time in the morning, as if nothing had happened. Squinting in the morning sunlight, she squirmed out of her bed and began to stretch.
While it was a good thing that she had managed to subdue the mysterious monster, there were still many unanswered questions regarding the chain of events of the incident. As a result, Leticiel had chosen to stay behind even after the investigation into the connection between the origin of the monster, the reason behind Rocheford’s sudden change, and the sword that he had with him. She had spent her time afterwards joining the teachers inspecting the scene of the incident, as well as poring through the books in the Great Library, but she hadn’t been able to obtain any significant clues. By the time she came to, the once crimson sky had already turned pitch black.
Holding back her frustration of being unable to find anything, Leticiel reluctantly returned home and dove straight into bed. Ruvik was fuming at her for returning so late, and if Nicole hadn’t forced her back out of bed, she most certainly would have just fallen asleep in her school uniform.
“Good morning, my lady.”
The person who had just entered the room was her exclusive maid, Nicole. As only Ruvik and Nicole would enter her room now, Leticiel didn’t mind that she had been unable to hear the maid knocking on the door.
Perhaps because her family was still the family of the ‘First Prince’s Fiancée’, they had been given the gist of yesterday’s incident. By the time she had arrived home, the residence was already in a restless state. As Leticiel had no interest in dealing with her family, she decided to ignore their knocks and pretend to be away.
However, the assaults on her door had continued late into the night. Good grief, can you not bother me when I’m sleeping? Irritated by the fact that she had been woken up several times, Leticiel placed a Noise-Canceling Magecraft onto her room’s door.
“Let me assist you with your preparations, my lady!”
Unable to understand why Nicole was in such high spirits, Leticiel tilted her head. It was just a normal school day, so she only needed to put on her uniform and go to the academy as usual.
“…Nicole, why do you seem so happy when it’s just to put on my school uniform?”
“That’s not it, my lady. Early this morning, a notice arrived, saying that the academy will be closed due to yesterday’s incident.”
Leticiel blinked her eyes blankly. It was easy to see that with many teachers injured from the battle, and with the cause of the incident was still undetermined, there was no way that classes would be held.
However, Leticiel had simultaneously also deduced the reason why Nicole was in such high spirits. In any case, she had just been pressured to let the maid dress her up.
“I, I’ve realized something! My lady, you will shine brightly like a diamond with just some polishing! Since today you will be in your normal clothes rather than a uniform, I’ll make you sparkle!”
Nicole’s intense insistence caused Leticiel to take a step backwards out of reflex. Indeed, since there was no school, Leticiel would have to spend today in plain clothes.
“Um… Nicole, can you calm down for a minute? I, I actually don’t care about what clothes I wear…”
“What are you saying, my lady!? Please don’t tell me you’re unaware of your own charm!? In that case, I’ll make it my life’s mission to showcase your beauty, your grandeur, your charm to the Master… no, to the territory… no, to the entire kingdom…!”
Nicole’s true intentions burst forth. Despite her utmost effort in forming a displeased expression, Leticiel was powerless against Nicole’s unfaltering smile. And just like that, she was dragged away into the walk-in closet.
After letting Nicole have her way for half an hour, Leticiel stepped out of the closet. Her body was radiating an aura of sublime beauty. While a sense of deep fatigue could be felt from her expression, even that had been skillfully disguised using makeup.
(…Perhaps Nicole is the only person I can’t go against.)
While admiring Nicole’s sense of style, Leticiel was also coming to terms with the fact that she was weak against the maid’s will.
“…Come to think of it, Ruvik’s still not here, huh?”
Leticiel raised a question after glancing about the room. Usually, he would have arrived with breakfast by the time she had finished dressing up. However, he was absent from the room at the moment.
“That’s indeed strange, I don’t think Ruvik would be the type to be late…”
“You’re right. Perhaps he ran into some trouble? I’ll try looking for him.”
“Understood!” Nicole gave a firm nod. And with that, Leticiel entrusted the room to her maid and left. As it was a straight line from her room to the kitchen, she walked down the familiar hallway while searching for Ruvik.
“Bastard, it’s all your fault!! Do you understand!!? How dare you say that you don’t know when you’re her exclusive butler!!”
“That’s right!! It only turned out like this because you didn’t stop her, you know!!?”
“My… deepest apologies.”
Suddenly, she heard a man shouting around the corner ahead. Listening more closely, Leticiel realized that she was hearing the voices of her parents whom she hadn’t heard from in a long time. And accompanying them was Ruvik’s voice.
And sure enough, once she stealthily peeked around the corner, the scene of the Duke and the Duchess shouting angrily at Ruvik entered Leticiel’s eyes. Noticing the cart by her butler, she assumed that he had been enroute to her room.
Emotions disappeared from her face in a blink of an eye. Threads of ice formed at her feet and crackled as they slithered down the hallway to snag the couple’s feet.
“Aaaah! What is this thing!?”
By the time Scarrow and Diane noticed the strange phenomenon, both of them already had one of their feet enveloped in ice. And when they tried to pull out in a panic, the couple lost their balance and tumbled down in an unsightly manner.
“Good morning, Sir Scarrow, Lady Diane.”
The person who had appeared to greet them was none other than Leticiel. While there was a faint smile on her lips, her eyes told a different story.
“May I ask what you are doing to my butler? I went looking for him because he was late, and this is what I find?”
“If you want to say something to me, then please feel free to say it to me directly to me. I’m not someone who wouldn’t listen to others, you know?”
Leticiel slowly walked towards the Duke and the Duchess.
“D-Don’t come any closer!! You monster!!
“But I can’t talk with you face-to-face if I don’t come closer, right? And it’s fine, the monster is long gone now.”
The couple cried out in unison. Perhaps because they couldn’t run away, they fearfully stared at Leticiel as if she was the devil or the incarnation death itself. Scarrow and Diane’s faces got paler and paler with each step Leticiel took. It was as if the entire scene was a comedy sketch.
“E-Excuse me, Master…”
But just before the punchline could play out, a timid voice rattled out. It came from an older butler standing a few meters behind the Duke and the Duchess.
“The Prime Minister’s here, and he wishes to speak with you…”
“Th-The Prime Minister!?”
“Yes, he said that he has come with a personal message from His Majesty… He’s currently waiting in the parlor.”
“I-I-I’ll be there right at once!”
As she couldn’t keep the skit going with a guest waiting, Leticiel released her Magecraft and began to head off…
“E-Excuse me, with all due respect, Lady Drossel, the Prime Minister has also requested for your presence…”
Realizing she couldn’t take her leave, Leticiel let out a sigh. She then decided to just show her face before returning to her room.
“Ruvik, you can go back to my room first.”
“It’s fine. You don’t need to worry about me.”
“Understood. Please take care, my lady…”
While still looking a bit worried, Ruvik followed his master’s instructions and disappeared down the hallway with the cart. After making sure that he was gone, Leticiel then began to move herself.
Following behind the Duke and the Duchess, who were walking so fast they might as well have been running, Leticiel arrived at the parlor. Once they entered, the Prime Minister, Sirius, stood up from the sofa and greeted them.
“Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet me.”
“Oh no, it’s nothing at all. We’re always pleased to welcome you.”
“Then I’ll keep it brief. I’m only here today to deliver a personal message on behalf of His Majesty.”
“A personal message… you said?”
Sirius then presented two rolled-up pieces of paper bound with a string that were addressed to Scarrow and Drossel respectively. After receiving her letter, Leticiel untied the string and ran her eyes through the contents. While it was a very long-winded letter, the gist of it was to apologize for Rocheford’s behavior during the incident, and that the king wanted to speak with her directly.
“Miss Drossel, as His Majesty also wishes to speak with you, may I ask you to come to the royal castle as well?”
Leticiel tied the letter back up before turning towards Sirius.
“When does His Majesty request my presence?”
“Please come to Veatrice tomorrow. His Majesty said that he’d like a meeting at noon.”
“I understand. In that case, I will be there tomorrow at noon.”
After agreeing to the arrangement, Leticiel began to return to her room, as she had no other business left. Just before she left, she took a glance behind her to find Scarrow and Sirius speaking with each other.
Standing behind Sirius was a young boy with ashen blond hair who was taking notes. Noticing her gaze, he looked up and gave her a small nod.
(…That boy, I think I…)
The curly-haired boy with black eyes disappeared from Leticiel’s view as the door closed. She could feel a sensation of déjà vu while thinking about his face. It was natural, after all. She had already seen him before among the injured during the incident yesterday.
While she had grown a bit interested in him, the current Leticiel had no room to think about it. Leaving the parlor behind her back, Leticiel headed back to her own room where Ruvik and Nicole were waiting for her.
The day after Sirius’ visit, Leticiel was on a carriage heading for Veatrice.
As she stared idly out of her window, on the edge of her vision was another carriage. Inside of that carriage was Scarrow, but as she couldn’t care less, she ignored it and focused on the town’s scenery instead.
The two carriages entered the royal castle’s grounds without being stopped by the guards, and then stopped before the main entrance.
“We’ve been expecting you, Duke Filiaregis, and Miss Filiaregis as well.”
A young man waiting before the gate gave a polite greeting as Scarrow and Leticiel alighted from the carriages. He appeared to be one of the chamberlains.
“Please, follow me. His Majesty is waiting in the reception room.”
Guided by the chamberlain, Leticiel set foot into the castle. As one would expect of something that could be said to be the heart of the kingdom, the duke estate was no match for the castle’s extravagance. Even Leticiel, who thought that she had already gotten used to flashy ornaments and dazzling furnishings after the past month, was blinded by the castle’s decor.
After a short walk, the party arrived before a single door.
“Please wait here for a moment.”
The chamberlain knocked on the door before them.
“Your Majesty, Duke Filiaregis and Miss Filiaregis have arrived.”
“Let them in.”
Hearing that muffled voice coming from the room, the chamberlain silently opened the door and showed the two inside.
It was a room twice the size of the duke estate’s parlor. The wallpaper and the carpet were filled with gorgeous patterns and embroidery. The materials were of such high quality that anyone would be able to understand it through even the slightest touch.
In the center of the room was a large round table along with four sofa chairs placed around it. And sitting on one of them was the Forty-Seventh King of the Platina Kingdom, Oswald Draco Alesta Platina. And on another sofa was the Prime Minister, Sirius.
“Long time no see, Drossel.”
Oswald began to talk to Leticiel in a casual and relaxed manner. On the other hand, Sirius was making a serious face.
“It has been a long time, Your Majesty.”
“Glad to see that you’re doing well. I think the last time we met was during the new year ball?”
“…Indeed, I believe so, Your Majesty.”
While the conversation was taking place, Scarrow quickly crossed through the room with his gaze fixed on the floor and sat on the sofa directly across from Sirius. Leticiel headed for the last empty sofa before lowering herself onto it. She then began to carefully observe Oswald.
Dark-brown hair and crimson eyes along with a short moustache. She found Rocheford’s resemblance in his facial features and almond-shaped eyes, however, Oswald was exuding an aura of solemn dignity that was beyond her expectations. Truly a king of a nation, it was no surprise that he had been governing this kingdom for over twenty years.
“Well then, shall we cut right to the chase? I’m sure you have already guessed why I’ve summoned you here today. Indeed, it’s about the uproar from the other day…”
Oswald stopped his words. Leticiel gazed at him intently, waiting for what he would say next. But, Oswald suddenly lowered his head.
“I’d like to apologize to you for the trouble Rocheford has caused you this time. And, I would also like to tell you that I’m truly grateful to you for saving that son of mine.”
A small gasp could be heard in the room, however, nobody had the presence of mind to determine whose it was. Even Leticiel was at a loss for words; she never expected the king to start the conversation by lowering his head to a duke’s daughter.
Leticiel knew that the power and status of a king in this age of peace were unlike her previous age, and even the nature of the nation was different. However, she also believed that it was universal common sense that a king mustn’t easily lower his head to anyone.
And yet, it was happening before her very eyes. Even Leticiel was able to understand that Oswald was showing the highest degree of sincerity from a king to a subject.
“Please raise your head, Your Majesty.”
Leticiel said as she lightly shook her head. She couldn’t have a king lowering his head in front of his subjects.
“At that time, I was only doing it out of my own self-interest. It is not something that deserves your gratitude, Your Majesty.”
After hearing Leticiel’s words, Oswald slowly raised his head. His face was filled with a bitter smile.
“As his father, I really should have been the one to guide Rocheford, but he’s the memento of the queen…”
Tightly gripping his hands together, Oswald slowly began to speak, and Leticiel wordlessly listened. As only a small amount of stories about the royal family would circulate the public through books, their personal lives were shrouded in mystery.
“His mother passed away when Rocheford was only five. It seemed her death weighed heavily on his heart… From that point on, he began to change, little by little.”
As if reminiscing about bygone days, Oswald’s eyes stared into the distance as he put together his story. His face was filled with a deep sense of sadness and regret.
“Feeling pitiful for him, I, along with everyone, tried to pamper Rocheford with all our hearts. Hoping that he would stop feeling hurt, hoping that he would recover… But, that only served to harm him. Failing to properly guide him, I’ve truly failed as a parent…”
Oswald let out a soft sigh that revealed a brief opening. Instead of a king, the feelings of a father flickered deep in his eyes.
“This is just my opinion, but I think Rocheford really resembles the queen, resembles Josephina… I love Josephina from the bottom of my heart. That’s why I kept seeing the image of my most beloved in him.”
Yesterday, after meeting Sirius, Leticiel had spent the entire day investigating Oswald. As she didn’t have Drossel’s memories, she couldn’t afford to meet the king without knowing anything about him.
He was born as the eldest child of the king, and was imprisoned in the northern tower for a period of time. However, around twenty years ago, his younger brother, who had since become the king, died without leaving an heir behind. As a result, Oswald succeeded him as the next king.
Oswald had three consorts, and one by one, each of them had bore a prince for him. However, after the queen’s death, he refused to take either of the two consorts as the new queen. While he treasured his consorts equally, the only one he loved was the late queen.
While investigating Oswald, Leticiel also came across information about Rocheford’s past. During his childhood, he used to be a normal child, without any problematic behavior. However, everything changed with his mother’s death, as he started to act more and more arrogantly.
In almost every book she could find about him, they would all severely criticize him for abusing his authority. But thinking about it now, Leticiel thought that perhaps Rocheford had his own circumstances and issues. Nevertheless, that would still not change her perception of him.
“May I ask, Your Majesty, but it has been eleven years since Her Majesty passed away, hasn’t it?”
Oswald only said a single word, but that was enough to know what he meant. Eleven years ago, the Platina Kingdom had been at war with one of its neighboring countries, the Lapis Nation.
The war broke out in the northern front, in a region called Sphilia. Oswald had managed to prevent it from spreading to other regions and brought it to an end without much bloodshed. Due to those feats, the citizens extolled him as a great king. However, during the course of that war, he had lost his queen, Josephina.
“Due to my incompetence, many had to sacrifice themselves in order to prevent the sparks of war from spreading throughout the country. Even Josephina too… I couldn’t protect her…”
Oswald began to take out something from his pocket. It was a golden pendant. He gazed at it with a deep sorrow in his eyes. Guessing that it must have been a memento of the queen, Leticiel gently casted her gaze downwards.
“Your feelings are not unfounded, Your Majesty. I believe that they are natural thoughts for a king and a father to have.”
Upon understanding Oswald’s feelings and his conflicts as a king, Leticiel lightly grasped her hands together and calmly began speaking.
“And, I also believe that His Highness did not harbor any ill will. However, it is a fact that many of the faculty at the academy were injured, and even students were dragged into the incident. As a member of the royal family, I believe that he must take responsibility for those acts.”
Opening her eyes again, Leticiel stared straight at Oswald with her heterochromatic eyes. Those eyes of hers were filled with determination. Oswald reacted to that piercing stare by gazing back at her with great interest.
“…What you said is certainly correct. The root of that incident sprung from how I’ve followed my personal feelings so far. I’m truly sorry that you were placed in danger as a result.”
Oswald had heard from the report that most of the teachers around the scene had witnessed Rocheford swinging his sword at Leticiel with clear intent to kill during the battle. The king then began to ask the girl before him.
“I want to respect your opinion, Drossel. Tell me, what is it that you want?”
Hearing that question, Leticiel slowly blinked her eyes while slightly casting her gaze downwards, as if deep in thought.
“I ask that you to annul my engagement with His Highness. An engagement is something that binds partners together to bring a peace of mind. However, my engagement with His Highness has only brought him pain. In that sense, I want to stop being something that ties him down in the future.”
Leticiel had no interest in the position of being a member of the royal family. To her, being able to live a peaceful and uneventful life was more than enough. Furthermore, if she were to be frank, Rocheford’s personality was completely incompatible with her own, and she believed that Christa was the perfect fiancée candidate for him.
Having heard the girl’s request, Oswald began to stroke his chin and before long, he slowly nodded.
“I see, very well. Let’s annul your engagement with Rocheford. Sirius, can you give me that?”
Following Oswald’s command, Sirius presented a piece of document to the king. It was the engagement certificate with Drossel and Rocheford’s names written on it. And then, before Leticiel’s very eyes, Oswald tore it up and threw it away.
“Under the name of the king, I hereby annul the engagement between Drossel Noa Filiaregis and Rocheford Belarc Alesta Platina.”
Hearing that declaration, Leticiel gave a sigh of relief in her mind as she no longer had a reason to be involved with Rocheford anymore.
“Actually, I have something I wanted to ask you about. What in the world was that power you used at the academy? It wasn’t… Magic, was it? After all, I’ve heard that you have no Magic Power.”
With those words, Leticiel began to cautiously observe Oswald. She wanted to figure out the motive behind his words. Why would he want to ask about that? What was his goal in asking that?
Oswald didn’t falter in the slightest when faced with Leticiel’s questioning gaze. He simply sat there, waiting for her answer. There wasn’t the slightest hint of greed or ambition in his gaze, just a pure desire to obtain power for the sake of justice.
“You are completely correct, Your Majesty, that wasn’t Magic.”
“Then, how does that power operate? If it doesn’t need Magic Power, then what does it use?”
“It uses matter in the atmosphere surrounding us.”
“Matter in the atmosphere, you said. Hmm…”
Oswald pondered what Leticiel had said to him. He believed that what she controlled was something close to the power he had been seeking.
“You probably knew this already, but the Magic in our country has reached its limits. The Ministry of Magic has continued to spend every day developing and restructuring it, however, they haven’t managed to come up with anything new for a few years now.”
Oswald paused and furrowed his brow, making a displeased face.
“However, according to Lucas’ report, your Sorcery Formulas seem to hold great potential. Eleven years ago, I couldn’t protect our troops. That country was using some mysterious power, and our Magic had no hope of matching it. Thinking about it now, it may have been something similar to what you used.”
Leticiel’s eyes lit up for an instant, but Oswald didn’t notice it. He was simply forming a conjecture of what had happened based on what he had just learned. It wasn’t intended to hold any significant implication.
(Some mysterious power? What in the world is that, then…)
Nothing was adding up for Leticiel. Oswald must have realized long ago that that power wasn’t Magic. However, if it truly had been Magecraft, then he would have come across its inner workings through his research. In other words, since he didn’t know about how Magecraft operated, the mysterious power he was referring to might have been something else entirely.
“But that’s not the end of it. Lately, trouble has been brewing around our country’s borders once more. In order to protect this kingdom and its citizens, I must raise our military strength as much as possible.”
Leticiel finally realized Oswald’s objective. Due to pressure from neighboring nations, and the fact that Magic research had stagnated, he had been spurred on to develop a new power to protect his own kingdom.
“So in short, Your Majesty is thinking about using my power to protect the kingdom and the citizens?”
“Indeed. As a king, I have a duty to protect this kingdom’s peace and its citizens. I believe the power you hold can be the trump card to overturn our current predicament. I implore you, can you lend me your power?”
Oswald’s words struck a chord with Leticiel. As someone who had lived in turbulent times, she knew how precious something like peace was, and could sympathize with his wish for it.
Several faces appeared in Leticiel’s mind. Mirandalette, Lucas, Ruvik and Nicole, and finally, Sieg. In her previous life, she wasn’t able to protect the people she held dear, and the person she loved. Because of that, she wished to not let the same happen in this life.
Oswald’s request was in no way disadvantageous to Leticiel. Or rather, it even coincided with her own wish to continue her research. The girl firmly gazed straight at Oswald. Their eyes quietly met each other’s.
“I understand, Your Majesty. I will lend you my strength.”
“I see, thank you for your cooperation. I’ll prepare a research facility for you. And, I will also provide as many buildings, personnel, and funds as you want. Will that be enough for you?”
Oswald seemed relieved that Leticiel had accepted his request. His proposals were very attractive, however, she shook her head without a moment’s delay.
“My apologies, Your Majesty, while I am grateful that you will be providing for the research funds, I don’t think a large-scale specialized facility will be needed. My current arrangement at the academy is more than enough for something like Formulas research. All I would like to ask for is the permission to remodel the former Seventh Research Building, as I’m the only one using it.”
Having transmigrated, Leticiel had many things she wanted to do in her life. One of those was to devote as much time into Sorcery Formula research as she wanted. She was even open to the idea of doing research all her life, but the idea of holing herself up in some facility to do research didn’t fit her personality at all. To her, something like doing research could be done anywhere.
“I understand. If you put it like that, then I’ll leave it to your discretion. And with that being the case, since you will have full authority over that research building, can I entrust you to be its manager?”
Hearing Oswald’s proposal, Leticiel brooded over it for a moment as she tried to figure out how to refuse him once again. She simply wanted to be able to conduct research, nothing else.
“That would be a great honor, Your Majesty, however, I believe that the position is far beyond my area of expertise. I would like to be able to focus on my research, so if I could, I would like to request that the position be given to the Dean, as the building is within the academy grounds.”
Oswald stroked his chin as he thought over Leticiel’s suggestion for a moment.
“…That certainly makes sense. Alright, I’ll contact Lucas about that.”
Oswald lowered his hand and gave Leticiel a nod, signaling the joyous moment when Lucas’ workload increased.
“I’m really grateful to you for accepting to do research for the sake of this kingdom.”
“Please don’t mention it, Your Majesty. I simply do what I must do.”
Leticiel lowered her gaze just for a moment before staring straight ahead once again. The negotiation wasn’t over yet.
“However, in exchange for that, I have two requests I would like to make. Is that fine with you, Your Majesty?”
Leticiel stared at Oswald with a dignified gaze. Noticing the look in her eyes, Oswald was overwhelmed for an instant.
“I don’t mind. Go ahead.”
“Thank you very much.”
Having received Oswald’s permission, Leticiel took a small breath before stating her requests.
“I would like to request the right to access books within the kingdom. From normal books circulating in the mass market to banned ones stored in restricted archives, I would like to request the permission to access all of these materials.”
“…Right to access books, you said?”
“Yes. Including the books in the library of the royal castle. Every book, regardless of whether they are public or private.”
A thousand years ago, Leticiel had certainly reached the limits of Magecraft. However, that was simply the limit of the Magecraft of that time. A thousand years had passed since, and there were now other techniques. She believed that she could achieve new breakthroughs in her research by utilizing some of their aspects.
She was also interested in the mysterious power that Oswald had just mentioned. Because of that, she needed to obtain as much information as possible. Her desire was something that would benefit both parties, but it seemed that Oswald hadn’t expected her request at all.
“…Asking for something like that, what are you even planning to do?”
Oswald’s tone of voice dropped a pitch lower. It was natural that a king would grow suspicious when asked for something like that by a mere duke’s daughter.
“I understand that what I have asked for seems odd. However, as I will be undertaking research for the sake of Your Majesty, I simply want to obtain the greatest results possible.”
Not only Oswald, but Sirius was also glaring daggers at Leticiel as well. Yet, she kept facing straight forward and continued without any hesitation.
“Information is indispensable for more advanced research. I implore you to understand that I have no desire for confidential documents regarding the administration of the kingdom, only information that might be necessary for the research.”
Oswald fell into silence after hearing what Leticiel had to say. It was true that there were no highly sensitive documents stored within the royal castle’s library. With that being the case, there was no downside for him in accepting her request.
“…Very well, then. I’ll grant you the right to access all of the books as well as all of the documents within the kingdom. Do make good use of it.”
After careful deliberation, Oswald nodded. However, there was one place he couldn’t give Leticiel access to.
“However, I can’t grant you access to the castle’s restricted archive as that place contains books and documents concerning state secrets. Are you fine with that?”
“Of course, Your Majesty. Thank you for granting my request.”
Leticiel accepted Oswald’s judgement to be perfectly reasonable. No nation would be foolish enough to give access to its national secrets willy-nilly.
“No, this is all for the sake of our Platina Kingdom. Then… what is the other request you want to make?”
“Your Majesty, if you would allow it, I would like to request a residence in the suburbs. Not the duke estate, but rather a peaceful and quiet place where I can focus on my research.”
Scarrow, who hadn’t spoken a single word until now, as he had been completely out of the loop, twitched upon hearing Leticiel’s words.
She continued to ignore him despite catching his reaction in the edge of her vision. She had been reminded time and time again that the Duke’s household loathed her, or rather, Drossel. There would be no way in a million years that he would be against her request.
(I already got the engagement annulled, if I can get out of that household, it’d be the cherry on top…)
For Leticiel, there were only two options for activities at the duke estate: to sleep or to read. However, as she had finally completed all the books within the estate, so there was no longer any reason for her to remain there.
“Hmm, very well.”
Oswald nodded. In his view, he only cared about keeping the Magecraft research as a state secret, and with him being to able to check on its progress at any time. Providing a new residence for the girl would not be disadvantageous for him in any way.
He then turned his eyes towards Scarrow.
“I have no objections to her request, but what about you?”
“…None at all, Your Majesty.”
There wasn’t an ounce of strength in his words or voice; only the speed of his reply was appropriate. It seemed that he really wished for her to leave. Or rather, being able to rid themselves of that cursed child must have been a dream come true for the household of Duke Filiaregis.
They could only feel fear towards the daughter that had made even the king lower his head to her. They were ignorant of everything, from the existence of Magecraft, to the concept of Sorcery Formulas, or even the worth of their loathed, unwanted child. Nothing at all.
They hadn’t even once attempted to look at what was in front of their eyes. From the past to the present. That was why they readily pushed their responsibilities to her onto Oswald, without even noticing how valuable of a card she was.
“In that case, I’ll be making arrangements for the residence and servants.”
After confirming with Scarrow, Oswald turned back to Leticiel. Responding to Oswald’s words, Leticiel slowly shook her head. Of course, she wasn’t declining the residence that Oswald was providing for her.
“I am very grateful for your consideration, Your Majesty. However, I do not wish to bother you with providing servants for me.”
In order to be able to live anywhere, Leticiel had pretty much mastered all housework. If she had to be frank, she didn’t need any servants at all.
“But, how can you go about your day without them?”
“In regards to that, if you would listen to my selfish request, I would like to bring with me two servants named Ruvik and Nicole, who are currently in my service at the duke estate. For me, those two alone are enough.”
While she felt that she didn’t need any servants, Ruvik and Nicole were special cases. Leticiel didn’t view them as servants, but rather something closer to housemates. She wanted to have people she could trust by her side.
“Or rather, having a large amount of servants prepared for me would only serve to hinder the research.”
Leticiel pressed on against a bewildered Oswald. Back in the warring age, even royalty didn’t have the luxury to employ a large amount of servants. As a result, Leticiel wasn’t fond of the idea of living with strangers in her home, as she believed it was a place for one to feel at ease. Filling it with servants that you didn’t know and being forced to keep up appearances in front of them would defeat that purpose.
As someone who marched to the beat of her own drum and was capable of doing all sorts of housework herself, a large number of servants were nothing but a hindrance. Facing the girl who wouldn’t take no for an answer, Oswald turned towards Scarrow once again.
“Scarrow, she’s saying this, but I want to ask for your opinion. Are you fine with it?”
“Yes, of course, Your Majesty.”
Once again, Scarrow gave his answer without a second thought. Perhaps, because he was finally able to get rid of Leticiel after sixteen years, just one or two servants for that was a small price to pay.
“Very well. Then, I shall immediately make preparations for both the residence and the research facility.”
“My deepest gratitude, Your Majesty.”
And with that, the audience between Leticiel and Oswald came to an end as both parties reached an agreement on terms that would best serve their interests.
“Thank you for coming all the way here today. If there’s a chance, I’d like to talk with you again.”
“That would be a great honor for me, Your Majesty.”
“Let me escort you out.”
“There is no need, I would hate to impose on you any further, Your Majesty. Well then, if you would excuse me.”
After giving Oswald a deep bow, Leticiel courtly exited the reception room. She could hear the sound of Scarrow’s footsteps behind her, but she paid it no heed.
She actually wanted to use Transference to return right away, but there were many others inside the castle, and above all else, Scarrow was with her. Leticiel didn’t want him to see it and complicate things. As a result, she quietly returned by carriage, the same way she came.
“…So to sum it up, you two will be moving to a new residence with me.”
“Even if you say, ‘to sum it up’, we don’t know what was summed up in the first place…”
Leticiel was in her room. Having returned, she suddenly said those few words, having thrown all the important details out the window.
Faced with such sudden news, Nicole was visibly confused, while Ruvik seemed like he had already given up. Yet, he readily agreed.
“I would much rather serve you than the Duke’s household, my lady. I will go wherever you go!”
However, Nicole seemed to be at a loss. Leticiel then remembered hearing that she couldn’t afford to lose her job due to her family’s situation.
“Don’t worry about it. His Majesty will financially support me, so you two will receive a higher wage than before. I’m relying on you two, after all.”
“Huh!? H-how did you know what I was thinking!?”
“You told me about your mother after all, Nicole. That’s why, don’t think too much about it.”
Leticiel opted to omit the other reason, which was that Nicole tended to wear her heart on her sleeve. As Nicole was putting her hands up to her cheeks in shock, Leticiel let out a wry smile at her.
“I don’t care about my wage. Being able to serve my lady is more than enough for me.”
“My, that won’t do, Ruvik. I appreciate your feelings, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to accept it.”
It was true that Ruvik had been serving her since the very beginning, however, taking that for granted and paying him next to nothing was something Leticiel could never allow herself to do. She believed that one’s kindness must be returned with an appropriate level of gratitude and compensation.
“U-um! I will also go with you, my lady! I’m your exclusive maid, after all!”
Seeing Ruvik retorting that he would continue to serve her regardless, paired with Nicole showing her pure desire to follow her, Leticiel let out a small smile at her two trusted servants.
“Thank you, Ruvik and Nicole.”
“Wait, my lady, since we are changing residences, that would mean the closet would have to be emptied out…? But then, how will I dress you up…”
“…Hm? Wait a minute, Nicole. That’s what you’re worried about?”
Leticiel didn’t have the self-confidence to wear the large variety of dresses and accessories within the closet. As a result, she was thinking of taking the opportunity to slim down her wardrobe to a certain extent.
“What should I do… My lady is still a diamond in the rough. Not being able to bring out your beauty would be a travesty!”
However, unable to bear seeing Nicole acting like the world was coming to an end, Leticiel made up her mind to just bring everything with her instead.
“Really, my lady!? You won’t throw away anything inside the closet, right!?”
“Y-Yes… I don’t mind either way…”
“Thank you very much, my lady! I’ll put my utmost effort into showing the full extent of your charm to everyone from now on!”
When faced with Nicole’s beaming face, Leticiel could only let out a bitter smile. Despite knowing that she had probably dug her own grave, Leticiel acquiesced, thinking that it’d be fine as long as Nicole was happy.
“Your Majesty, are you really fine with that?”
Sirius asked Oswald with a serious face. They were the only ones left in the reception room after Drossel and Scarrow had retreated.
“Yes, that was as good as we could get. For the time being, we both got what we wanted.”
Oswald replied without hesitation while crossing his arms and leaning against the sofa. He believed that he had managed to obtain the best possible result. However, Sirius was still knitting his brows.
“Still, have you considered that you may have compromised a bit too much, Your Majesty?”
Facing Sirius’s tone, which was slightly tinged with criticism, Oswald let out a long sigh as he shook his head. He agreed that if they were to look only at both parties’ statuses, as a king, Oswald might have conceded too much with the Duke’s daughter. However, in terms of results, what he had given away was pittance compared to what he had gained.
“I take pride in being able to take the necessary steps to further this kingdom. I don’t mind if compromising will grease the wheels. Considering what’s to come, it’s but a trivial price to pay.”
“That might be true, but still…”
“Moreover, there’s no downside for us in the first place. The top-secret documents are in the restricted archive… or rather, in the hands of the Privy Council. There won’t be any problem at all.”
“…As you will it, so it shall be.”
Sirius sounded reluctant, as if he still couldn’t agree to what Oswald said. The room fell into silence for a while before he broke it once again.
“Your Majesty, if I may ask… What are you planning to do with His Highness, Rocheford?”
Oswald easily guessed what Sirius was getting at. It was about the punishment for Rocheford that he had kept putting off.
“Rocheford has been in deep distress since yesterday. However, as that’s simply a consequence of the incident, I won’t be taking that into consideration for his punishment…”
Oswald let out a sigh. Rocheford was still acting unlike himself. Just when it seemed like he had gone mad as he lashed out indiscriminately, he would begin to pour out tears while mumbling incomprehensible words. Due to that unstable state of his, he was currently being supervised in his room.
However, as nearly all noble households had learned about the incident, Oswald understood that this was the only time where he couldn’t afford to cover up for his son. After just having an audience with Drossel, Oswald could feel a small amount of resolve inside him. He turned to Sirius and firmly opened his mouth.
“For Rocheford’s punishment, he will forfeit his right to the throne, and in addition, he will be banished from Nirvan. When his condition improves, he will be sent away to live in the Luce region. That is my order.”
Having heard Oswald’s verdict, Sirius slightly widened his eyes, as if it was something beyond his expectations.
“Are you really fine with that, Your Majesty?”
“Indeed. That is my decision.”
At first glance, the punishment seemed harsh. However, it was the best way for Oswald to protect Rocheford. By stripping him of his right to the throne and removing him from the capital, the king would be able to keep his son away from both the dispute for succession and the gazes of the nobles.
“I want to question him about the incident myself. But when even the best doctors in the kingdom have given up on his condition, I doubt that it’s something that can be cured in a day or two. So for the time being, I’ll have him sent to somewhere peaceful to recuperate. And upon his recovery, I’ll bestow that territory upon him.”
“…As you wish, Your Majesty. I will announce that.”
The Luce region was a remote northern region under the direct control of the royal family. It was a barren region with neither a specialized industry, nor any sort of natural resources. However, it was also a peaceful place far detached from the troublesome and prejudiced high society. As he wanted Rocheford to at least be able to live in peace, it was the biggest compromise Oswald could have made as a king.
“However, in that case, we must summon the other princes back.”
Currently, the only prince in Nirvan was Rocheford. Both the second and third prince had left the country; however, if Rocheford’s right to succession was to be revoked, then there was a need to call at least one of them back. Not having an heir to the throne in the country was also a problem for Oswald.
“Certainly, that must be done. Prepare the messengers at once, Sirius.”
“As you wish.”
In accordance to the royal decree, the prime minister left the room. Alone, the king let out another long sigh before standing up, as he needed to return to his office.
Lucrezia academy was still closed the day after Leticiel had her audience with Oswald.
“…Huh? The preparations have already been completed?”
Leticiel blinked blankly after hearing Ruvik’s report. She was in the middle of reading a book she had taken from the estate’s library.
“Yes. A messenger from His Majesty arrived moments ago.”
It was to inform Leticiel that the new residence that she’d requested had been readied for her. However, since it still needed to be furnished, she would have to wait until the next day to move in. As it had only been a day since her audience with Oswald, Leticiel was unable to hide her surprise.
“Isn’t that a bit too quick? We only discussed it just yesterday.”
“Perhaps you’re surprised, my lady?”
“No, rather than being surprised… it’s more that I was surprised.”
“So in other words, it’s still the same thing…”
Certainly, Leticiel would have liked it to be ready as soon as possible; however, she also expected that it would have actually taken some more time.
“Anyway, I got it. Thank you.”
Leticiel stood up, leaving the book she was reading still open on the table.
“My lady? What are you planning to do?”
“I’m preparing to move. I planned to leave this place the moment His Majesty contacted me.”
As she couldn’t use Transference to go to a place she hadn’t been to before, Leticiel had no choice but to head to the new residence either on foot or by carriage. Moreover, since Ruvik and Nicole were moving with her as well, they’d need time to get ready. In the end, there was no harm in starting the process ahead of time.
“Understood. Then, we shall start packing.”
“Yes, please do so. What about the carriage? Shall we ask the Duke to provide us one?”
“It seems that His Majesty will provide it for us.”
“My, that’s great to hear then.”
As she was discussing what to do afterward with Ruvik, Leticiel could hear the approaching sound of someone running along the hallway. Before long, the door to her room swung open without a knock.
“My deepest apologies for being late, my lady!”
The person who had just entered was Nicole. It seemed that she had been in a great hurry as her hair was a bit disheveled and her skirt had slightly ridden up.
“You don’t have to be in such a rush, Nicole.”
“I’m really sorry! I only planned to rest in my room for a bit, but I ended up falling asleep…”
“Don’t worry about it. Actually, since you always seem to be so busy, it’s fine for you to take more breaks, you know?”
“That will not be possible! As I am your exclusive maid, I will always be by your side, my lady.”
Nicole enthusiastically declared while striking a confident pose with her arms. Leticiel couldn’t help but let out a wry smile when faced with such a sight.
“Are we starting to pack things up already, my lady?”
“No, let’s have dinner first. We’ll discuss it more afterwards.”
“As you wish. Please give me a moment.”
After Ruvik left, Leticiel decided to first estimate the amount of luggage she would have and began to scan around the room.
The room was decorated with splendor fitting of a noble’s daughter. However, as the furnishings in the room were from the Duke, and Oswald had already prepared everything in the new residence, she couldn’t take any of the furniture with her.
For that reason, Leticiel began to look through the items inside the furniture around her room. While there were a lot, most of the items were stuffed into the shelves. On the other hand, many of the other pieces of furniture only contained empty drawers. After looking through everything, she believed that the two things that would take up the most space in her luggage would be the dresses in the walk-in closet and the books crammed onto the bookshelves.
Taking a look at the walk-in closet again, she couldn’t help but think about how ridiculous its contents were. It was filled with clothing and accessories provided by the family that had neglected her. They were all for the sake of raising ‘Drossel’s’ marketability, but it proved to be a near-futile effort.
“Ah, that’s right, my lady.”
As Leticiel gazed at the stunning sight of the dresses neatly lined up next to each other, Nicole suddenly spoke up.
“What is it, Nicole?”
“We will be bringing everything in this closet, right?”
“Indeed. Is anything the matter?”
“No, my lady. It’s just, I was the one who suggested it, but… how do we carry all of these with us?”
Nicole’s worry was reasonable. Normally, to move the amount of dresses in the closet alone would require a large wagon. Even with the king’s support, something of that scale wouldn’t show up. Faced with that question, Leticiel answered while counting the number of dresses.
“You’re right. This amount is a bit too much, so we’ll also use Magecr…ahem, Magic.”
When she almost said Magecraft out of habit, Leticiel managed to correct it with a fake cough. She judged that it was still too early to tell Nicole about Magecraft, as it hadn’t been long since the girl became her exclusive maid.
“Yes, a Magic to create a small subspace.”
While saying so, Leticiel created a small sphere atop her palm. It was the subspace entrance that she had formed by manipulating Mana.
A subspace was a space that existed in another dimension beyond the current world. While living organisms couldn’t be stored within it, anything else could be placed inside, with its capacity limited by the user’s ability.
By using the subspace, a much larger amount of luggage could be transported than by hand. Furthermore, after they arrived at the new residence, everything could be retrieved as needed.
It wasn’t a flawless Magecraft, but Leticiel would also be using a carriage for the move. As a result, they should be able to move some of her luggage using the subspace without much trouble.
“This much should all fit into the subspace. It’s perfectly safe since I’m the only one who can access the entrance. We can just take things out whenever we want when we’re there.”
“However, since making it too big would put too much of a strain on the user due to the calculations required, so it’s important to stop at an appropriate size.”
Despite Leticiel explaining it to her, Nicole could only let out blank responses. There seemed to be a question mark floating above her head.
(Hmmm, I guess explaining it out of the blue like this would make it hard to understand.)
As it was evidently clear that Nicole wasn’t understanding anything, Leticiel concluded the explanation of the Subspace Magecraft and decided that she would take the time to properly explain it if such an opportunity ever arose.
“…Like I thought, my lady is really amazing.”
As the silence turned awkward, Nicole took the plunge and nonchalantly praised Leticiel. Faced with eyes filled with both doubt and respect, Leticiel let out a wry smile.
“I have only started serving my lady recently, but, I… I can already feel how vast the world is!”
“Y-Yeah. It must be really eye opening, right…”
Leticiel knew that Nicole simply insisted on praising her despite not being able to understand the concept of a subspace. While having mixed feelings about that fact, Leticiel stepped out of the closet.
Although they would only start packing the day after, Leticiel had already begun to feel a bit nostalgic as she looked over the room once more. She had no attachment to the duke estate, but as she had spent almost all her time at the estate in the room, she somehow felt that she would miss it.
Thinking about how the preparations had been going on without trouble so far thanks to the Subspace Magecraft, Leticiel suddenly came up with the idea that something in the room might contain a clue to uncover Drossel’s memories.
She opened the drawers of the writing desk to check. Inside were pens and ink that the past her must have used, along with some mysterious papers. Since Leticiel didn’t know which items held important memories, she decided to just bring them all over to the new residence regardless if they were memorabilia or just simply junk. However, she planned to sort through them again before that.
Leticiel made a bitter smile as she thought about the fact that the amount of luggage had increased for no good reason. It made it seem like she was a hoarder.
“A day should be enough to pack everything. Can I ask you to give me a hand, Nicole?”
“Yes! I would love to!”
When she had finished looking around the room, Leticiel sat down onto the sofa. And as if he was waiting for his cue, Ruvik entered the room with her dinner on a cart.
“Thank you for waiting, my lady.”
“Thank you, Ruvik.”
Ruvik then lined up the dishes onto the table as Leticiel began to enjoy her dinner.
On the next day, Leticiel was sorting through the luggage in her room as she had planned the night before.
“My lady! What should I do with this?”
“Let’s see… It’s the same thing as these, so you can throw it away if you want.”
Leticiel was sitting on the sofa as she went through her personal belongings with Nicole. Before them were items sorted into piles on the table while the floor was covered in piles of books.
It would have been much faster if Leticiel were to also use her Magecraft. Unfortunately, as Nicole had been very excited about helping her with packing since early morning, Leticiel didn’t have the heart to let her maid down. In the end, the two of them neatly gathered the items together.
“But I have to say, my lady’s belongings are a bit too unbalanced…”
Nicole murmured and slowed her hands. It was true that while Leticiel had quite a collection of belongings, most of them were books to better herself, along with numerous pointlessly flashy accessories. There weren’t that many items with signs of actually being used, or items that recorded her thoughts and feelings. And even with that said, they were mainly tattered books that she had read countless times.
“You’re right, but I’m planning to bring everything I own with me, is there something wrong with that?”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong, but still…”
Unlike Nicole, Leticiel didn’t stop working and continued at a quick pace. She was sure that these items had been bought haphazardly by her family in order to raise ‘Drossel’s’ value. However, since all of the items could still be used, she intended to make use of them regardless.
After placing an accessory case onto the mountain of luggage, Leticiel stood up to stretch as she felt stiff from sitting in the same posture for a long time.
In that moment, she caught sight of Nicole placing a booklet atop the pile of books. It was a scene Leticiel had seen countless times since the morning. However, she couldn’t take her eyes off of the booklet for some reason.
(Is that a… diary?)
Leticiel had told Nicole beforehand that every book and notebook in the room would be moved to the new residence as they were filled with memories. Her reasoning for doing so was because they might contain writings about Drossel’s past, so it was perfectly normal for Nicole to sort it like that. However, even though Leticiel was sure that it was the first time she had ever laid her eyes on that diary, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia from it. Something in her head pulsed as the sound of her heartbeat rang in her ears.
“But what should we do with this amount of books? It would take too much space to move them like this…”
Nicole’s troubled voice pulled Leticiel back to reality. She then followed the maid’s gaze and stared at the mountain of books piled on the floor.
“Huh? Oh, you’re right. I’m thinking about moving them in some sort of large container.”
While putting all the books into the subspace was a tempting idea, it wasn’t an all-powerful tool. Besides the space limit, there was also a weight limit to consider. As Leticiel’s subspace had already been filled with all the dresses and accessories from the walk-in closet, she was unable to add the books on top of that.
“If I remember correctly, there should be an unused suitcase in the warehouse. I shall go get it!”
As soon as she finished speaking, Nicole dashed out of the room. After the door had closed, Leticiel looked at the diary from earlier. Its pages were being turned by the breeze coming in from the opened window. Leticiel set aside what she had been doing and reached out to pick the diary up.
The diary was rather small and had a cute appearance, with a small floral pattern drawn on the cover. It didn’t have many pages, but when Leticiel flipped through the diary, she found that while each entry was quite short, every page had been properly used.
The name ‘Drossel’ was delicately written in the upper right corner on the cover. Judging from the dates in the diary, it was written about ten years ago. The log of daily occurrences were so neatly recorded that nobody would expect that it had come from a six-year-old child.
Mother got mad at me again today. She said that I’m an eyesore. Even if she told me that, I couldn’t say anything back to her. What am I supposed to do?
I made my first embroidery today! It didn’t look good since it was my first time. I’ll practice even more so I can sew beautiful flowers next time.
People got angry at me again. It’s father this time. Are my efforts just not enough? I need to try even harder.
It looked like there was a tea party. But, I wasn’t allowed to go out. It looked like everyone had fun playing with Christa. I wanted to play too.
The diary was filled with feelings and questions toward her parents and siblings, the joy of being able to do something new, as well as a child’s honest emotions and wishes. Judging from the writing style and the contents, Leticiel believed that Drossel must have been an honest and pure girl around this time.
However, by the time Leticiel awoke in her body, Drossel’s reputation was that of a quick-tempered and heartless noble’s daughter on top of being a Magic Powerless. What in the world was the cause? What happened to ‘Drossel’?
Suddenly, a young girl’s voice resounded in Leticiel’s head. She didn’t hear it through her ears, but rather, it was a voice from within her mind.
Leticiel dropped the diary out of shock, hitting the ground with a thud and with its pages open.
In the very next moment, a pang shot through her temple, accompanied with a white flash. An unknown scene began to play. There were only two young girls shown, as if they had been torn out of the gray world around them.
The two girls were staring at each other with their eyes wide open. A girl with pinkish blonde hair was sitting on the ground, while a silver-haired girl simply stood there without moving, as if in shock.
The girl on the ground had a small cut on her upper left arm. The silver-haired girl tried to reach out with trembling hands, but she immediately covered her face and crouched down in pain.
“Big Sis! What have you done!?”
Another white flash wiped away the scene. After it had subsided, she was looking at her room from a bird’s-eye view. While it resembled her current room, this room was barren, with the bare minimum amount of furniture.
The room reflected in her eyes was a mess with accessories, tools, clothes, and pieces of paper scattered about. In the center of the room was a silver-haired girl hugging herself with her small hands, and her shoulders shook every time she took a breath. She was surrounded by three adults.
They were looking at the small girl with eyes full of fear and shock, as if they were looking at a monster. The three people seemed to be saying something, but their voices didn’t reach Leticiel.
Another flash of light covered the scene, but when she expected another scene to play, it all simply disappeared with the light, the same way it had begun.
Leticiel murmured as she slowly touched her forehead to find a small amount of sweat.
Even if Leticiel tried to look at it logically, she couldn’t help but feel nostalgic about the scenes and voices from just earlier. They might have been Drossel’s memories, but she couldn’t recall anything else. Her head was full of questions, from when those incidents had happened, to what had led up to that, and even the question of how the young girl felt amidst all that.
As a sense of haziness filled her mind, Leticiel let out an exhausted sigh and looked at the diary that had fallen onto the floor.
Crouching down to pick up the diary again, Leticiel noticed that there was a single envelope caught between the opened pages.
She thought that it must have been something quite important to keep it in an old diary. After pulling out the envelope, Leticiel closed the book and extracted the contents of the envelope.
Yesterday was really fun! Let’s play again sometime!
There was a small piece of paper inside the envelope. It was written in childish handwriting using brief words.
Leticiel was confused by the name written at the end of the letter. She had never heard any mention of this ‘Al’ person.
She then tried to check the back of the letter on a whim, but it was simply blank. Leticiel deduced that ‘Drossy’ must have been Drossel’s nickname. However, she had no clue about the relationship between Drossel and this child. Just who is this person?
As her thoughts wandered about trying to make sense of everything, the sound of two knocks came from her door. Deciding that she wouldn’t remember anything even if she kept thinking about it, Leticiel cut off her train of thought.
Upon receiving Leticiel’s reply, Ruvik entered the room holding a tray with a tea set on top.
“How about taking a break, my lady? I’ve brought tea with me.”
“Alright, I do feel a bit tired.”
Ruvik prepared a cup of black tea and handed it to Leticiel. The steam rising from the cup sluggishly shimmered in the air from the gentle breeze coming in from the window.
“Since you’re tired, how about some sugar to go with your tea, my lady? They say that sweet things can help relieve fatigue.”
“Hmm… it’s fine, I like it like this.”
“Ah, that’s right. You’ve always preferred to enjoy your black tea as is.”
Ruvik let out a nostalgic smile. Leticiel gazed at the small condiment pots lined up on the tray, thinking that Drossel was similar to her.
“I thought Nicole would be assisting you with the packing today.”
“She just went to the warehouse to get a suitcase.”
After she finished drinking, Letciel returned the teacup to the table. She then placed her hands on the sofa before sensing something by her fingertips. It was the diary she had just been looking through.
Gazing at her toes for no specific reason, Leticiel suddenly muttered.
“Yes? What is it, my lady?”
“Does the name ‘Al’ ring any bells for you?”
Leticiel tried asking Ruvik about the name she had seen in the letter. As Ruvik had been serving as Drossel’s exclusive butler for a long time, she thought that he might know something.
“Yes. I found a letter from a child with that name in an old diary.”
Leticiel then handed Ruvik the envelope. He carefully took out the letter inside and unfolded it.
“I’ve never heard this name before… I’m sorry I couldn’t be of much help to you.”
After spending some time wordlessly staring at the contents of the letter, Ruvik slipped the letter back into the envelope and returned it to Leticiel while shaking his head.
“I see. I just wanted to try asking. It’s nothing important anyway, so don’t let it get to you.”
“My apologies, my lady. I started serving you when you were around six years old, so that person might perhaps be a friend from when you were even younger.”
Without letting it show on her face, Leticiel was surprised that Ruvik had been serving Drossel for that long. She then returned the envelope to its original location in the diary.
Ruvik was the person who she had believed to be the most knowledgeable about Drossel. As even he had no idea who ‘Al’ was, Leticiel was at a dead-end in her investigation. And in the first place, with her only clue being ‘Al’, Leticiel had no way to identify if the sender was a boy or a girl.
“Still, I believe the paper used for the letter and the envelope was of high quality. So the sender may have been the son or daughter of a noble.”
“You’re knowledgeable about stationery, Ruvik?”
“This is merely a conjecture, but it feels similar to the high-quality paper this household uses for just about everything.”
“Ah, that makes sense…”
Leticiel stood up from the sofa while replying to Ruvik. She approached the open window and spread out her arms to bask in the warm breeze and the fragrance of grass in the early summer.
As she was resting her chin in her hand, idly gazing at the garden on the ground floor, Leticiel noticed that the flowerbed at the edge of her vision had become empty.
Looking back through her memory, Leticiel felt that the flowerbed was filled with white carnations just a week ago. However, now there were only about two unknown, peach-colored flowers blooming in it, nothing else.
“Ruvik, what do you make of that unnaturally empty flowerbed? A few strange flowers are blooming in it.”
“…I see them now. Maybe they’re a new type of flower?”
While looking down at the garden from next to Leticiel, Ruvik also tilted his head. Deciding to take a closer look at the flower, Leticiel headed down to the garden with Ruvik.
“Ah, my lady.”
When they arrived at the garden, they happened to pass by Cloud, who was carrying a large watering can. Cloud continued for a few more steps before coming to a stop and making a U-turn.
“How can I be of service to my lady today?”
“No, it’s nothing, I’m just here to ask you about an unfamiliar flower I saw blooming over there.”
Leticiel pointed at the flowerbed in question, prompting Cloud to turn towards it.
“Oh, those ones? Those are rune flowers, native to northern countries. They’re quite hard to find in Platina since they’re quite fragile. As a result, they’re popular among nobles.”
“Ah, I see.”
Leticiel walked up to the flowerbed and reached out her hand to touch the pale pink petals. They were quite soft, similar to rose petals. They felt like they would be crushed if she put any force into her fingers.
“That’s right, my lady. Excuse me for asking this, but I heard that you will be moving to a new residence in the suburbs in accordance to His Majesty’s orders. Is that true?”
As Leticiel was observing the flower, Cloud suddenly asked her.
“Oh my, you knew about it too, Cloud?”
“Yes, it’s the talk among the servants at the moment.”
“I see. And yes, I should finish packing up by tomorrow.”
Leticiel then told him about her new residence, and that she would be moving as soon as she finished with the preparations the next day.
“Is that so… So my lady is really leaving this house.”
“Indeed. It’s what I wished for, and I think it’s also what the Duke’s household wanted.”
There were people who were nice to her like Ruvik, Nicole, and Cloud as well. However, the rest of the servants treated her similar to how her family treated her, and it was troublesome to deal with them. Because of that, she had no regrets in leaving.
“Well, it’s a shame that I won’t be able to see this garden anymore.”
Leticiel muttered as she touched the flowers swaying with the breeze. There were only three things she enjoyed in the estate: reading books in her room, gazing at the garden from her window, and actually strolling through the garden itself. She was rather attached to the garden.
“I’m sure the flowers are satisfied knowing that you treasure them, my lady.”
Cloud cast his gaze downwards. After having been silently observing Leticiel and Cloud the whole time, Ruvik raised his voice with a slight hint of reservation in his tone.
“Cloud, I’m moving into the new residence with my lady. How about you join me as well?”
Cloud slightly widened his eyes in surprise after hearing Ruvik’s suggestion. While it was unexpected, Leticiel didn’t mind that the butler had done it without discussing it with her beforehand. While most of the servants had given her the cold shoulder, Cloud was one of the few who had helped her. However, Cloud quietly shook his head.
“I appreciate your feelings, but my family has been serving the Filiaregis House since my father’s generation. And I have been serving this house since the previous Duke. Not only that, I’m also the head gardener and the other gardeners rely on me. I’m sorry, but I must stay here.”
“I see… Then I won’t bother you any more than this, it’s your life after all.”
“Well, it’s not like we won’t see each other again. How about we go drinking again some time?”
“Now that takes me back. We did a lot of drinking in your room back in the days.”
Squatting down before the rune flowers, Leticiel stared at Ruvik and Cloud as they reminisced about the past. She knew that they were good friends, but she didn’t know how they got to know each other.
“Say, Cloud and Ruvik, have you two known each other for a long time?”
Surprised by Leticiel’s question, the two servants looked at each other. Before long, Ruvik began talking.
“Yes, I met him around the time I began to serve you, my lady.”
According to Ruvik, when he began working at the estate, he had an inferiority complex about his commoner’s background. Cloud, who was just a gardener at the time, had looked after him and helped him through those times.
“Because his father was the head gardener back then, Cloud would serve as a gardener for multiple houses instead of the Duke exclusively.”
“Since you can work as a gardener without being attached to a house.”
“Right. Because of that, he wasn’t here most of the time. However, he had the chance to ask the servants working at the other houses to teach me how to be a butler. He really saved me back then.”
“I see… So I have Cloud to thank for Ruvik being an excellent butler.”
Ruvik looked away after hearing Leticiel’s teasing words. Seeing the butler acting like that, Cloud began grinning.
Afterwards, Leticiel asked Cloud various questions about the flowers in the garden because they were new to her. As the season was changing to summer, he and the other gardeners were in the process of rearranging the flowers.
After they had spent enough time to walk a lap around the garden, Leticiel cut her questioning short and began to return to the residence.
“Oh, right. Do you happen to know anyone named ‘Al’?”
As she was leaving, Leticiel suddenly asked Cloud as if she had just remembered. She thought that since he had apparently been working at the estate longer than Ruvik, he might actually know something.
“Is that a friend of yours, my lady?”
“Yes… I think.”
Leticiel added a murmur as she wasn’t confident due to her lack of memory. However, Cloud didn’t notice it and began stroking his chin in thought.
“I don’t think I do… I used to move from one job to another, so I don’t really know about who you hung out with, my lady.”
“Oh… I understand, thank you.”
“Head gardener! Do you have a moment?”
Suddenly, the voice of a gardener called out for Cloud from the direction of the garden.
“I’m coming! My apologies, my lady. I’ll have to take my leave now.”
“Go ahead, I’m sorry for bothering with your work.”
Cloud made a quick bow before trotting towards the gardener. After Leticiel and Ruvik had seen him off, they began to return to the residence.