Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 3 Chapter 15: Dragon-san Cares for a Loner
「You see. Lishella didn’t even speak a word to the others who came to the party.」
It was still puzzling to me just how noticeably unnoticeable Lishella was during the tea party.
I thought I might have been good for her to spend some time with girls of the same age as her, but as it turns out, I was gravely mistaken.
The timing was just right, the tea and the sweets were never missing from the table, and it was safe to say that she played the role of the hostess splendidly, so that the guests could feel comfortable.
However, tea parties were occasions to talk to the guests and have a good time, so it must have felt really bad to be entirely forgotten during the course of the event and just sit there in your chair, unnoticed by anyone.
「Ahh, see, maybe that is the reason why she is mostly keeping herself to herself all the time. I heard that she was always alone from an early age, and was introduced to the high society just recently. She must have had little to no social interactions.」
「That, who told you such a thing……?」
「The little ladies from today’s party. Everyone wants to have at least some sort of connection to the Avar family, but is seems that with so many people present no one dared to make a move on her.」
「It truly sounds just like a regular war.」
Even though it was a regular tea party, I could feel it in the air that the atmosphere was just off, and all those artificial smiles on the girls’ lips were way beyond my comprehension.
「In that respect, when you take the family status into consideration, it all makes perfect sense. It’s small wonder that she is so withdrawn, since it was always about people wanting to get on her family’s good side through her. That could break almost anyone.」
So, in other words, while everyone was trying to hide their true intentions behind fake smiles, Lishella was just the polar opposite of all that.
By choosing to be expressionless all the time, she was protecting herself from people figuring out what her likes and dislikes were.
「Truly, I fail to see what’s so fun about living your life like that.」
「Ligurila, I think that your way of life is way more inconceivable for the vast majority of people.」
「Maybe so. But even so, I do not care.」
I tried to tease Ligurila who was in good spirits, but under her sharp gaze I dropped my head and gave up on any further attempts.
I see, so this girl was always alone.
「Lava, what are you thinking about now?」
「Ah, no, this is……」
Hearing my hesitant response, Ligurila only shrugged her shoulders.
「I can probably imagine. You want to try and pull something like that thing you did on New Years again?」
Uwah, she saw right through me.
Losing my composure, I tried to talk back to Ligurila while my cheeks were burning bright red.
「I just thought it would be nice to get to know her a little bit better. Besides, it is thanks to her that we could disarm so many magic stones.」
「And your real motif?」
「…… Being alone can be really lonely.」
Not to mention that she didn’t seem to be that close with her parents, with her mother being always busy and her father being always absent.
That was the only real kind of knowledge about her that I managed to deduce, since her face would never disclose anything.
Also, it seems that she didn’t really disliked having people around her.
I could also see that all the servants around the mansion cared about her dearly.
But still, she never really put out her own desires for everyone else to see.
I wonder how she was managing to keep up with being alone all this time?
Then Ligurila turned towards me, her hands stopping doing what they were doing, which was drawing the designs for new clothes.
「Lava, let me tell you this. The atmosphere surrounding the aristocracy is quite unique. Just because you want to be compassionate to her, it doesn’t necessary guarantee the girl’s happiness. It is this kind of environment that tends to devour you whole the moment you show any kind of opening or weakness.」
Ligurila’s words may have been tough, but they were really getting to me.
It is really hard for me to understand, but I think that Kyle and Belga must have gone through similar difficulties in the past. I can see that being with someone who has some extent of political power can be really troublesome.
In those few days that I could observe Lishella’s behavior I soon realized that her life was on a completely different level than the one I was living up until now.
So maybe I should prepare myself for not being able to reach out to her through her shell.
Still, but still.
「You feel a connection to her?」
「It seems that way to me.」
I stood up from my chair and walked in front of Ligurila, looking straight into her eyes.
「That’s because, we too were all alone at some point. So why should something as trivial as social norms bind us when it comes to interacting with people? Her being isolated from her peers is something I simply cannot overlook. I want to hear her true feelings. Then, we should be able to turn her life for the better.」
Ah, of course I was ready for her to oppose the idea or even dislike me completely.
So far I haven’t heard her feelings at all, so it may be possible that she won’t even want to be friend with me.
I thought that after hearing all of that from me Ligurila would be pissed at me, but for some reason her expression wasn’t mad, but rather a little bit odd.
「Goodness gracious, sometimes you are even bolder than I am. Just a heads up, but noble customs can’t be broken that easily.」
「No, wait a moment, I didn’t say anything like that!」
But I may have very well sounded like that!
Also, the way in which Ligurila laughed lightly was really scary for some reason!
「I know, I know. Good grief, I really hate girls like that who can’t stand up for themselves, but I also hate the fact I can’t get a read on her, so I am looking forward to the results of your work.」
I wonder if it was her own way of saying she was on board with my idea.
Although it was hard for me to deduce that, Ligurila’s soft smile should have been more than enough of a confirmation.
Ligurila smiled, and then she put her finger to her chin, thinking about something.
「First thing first: we need to interact with her. But it seems that our little Lishella has little to no interest in fashion…… This may also sound off topic, but I heard that she is soon to be engaged to someone.」
「Eeh, Lishella, engaged!? As if, she’s getting married!?」
「I’m surprised that you didn’t really know that. I have heard it from one of the girls during today’s party. They were talking about that among themselves.」
Uwah, the girl was thirteen or fourteen at best, and she was getting married? Talk about fast.
The fact that Ligurila’s face was perfectly straight while she was telling me that made me feel even more impressed with her.
「You, don’t you think you are misunderstanding something? That girl is already seventeen, so she’s more than ripe for the marriage.」
Seriously? While I was still surprised, there was a part of me that that was convinced by that statement.
I was thinking she was like the middle school students back on earth, but now that I knew that she was on a high school level, I was becoming more and more relaxed with this whole idea of marriage.
No, no, no matter what, seventeen was still a bit too early, right?
Maybe I was thinking about this whole business from the wrong perspective. I thought it might be too soon judging by the Earth standards, but maybe in this world it was truly enough?
For now, let’s just put this whole engagement talk aside.
While I was thinking that, Ligurila went back to her own work and changed the topic.
「By the way, how is the collection of monster nuclei?」
「Hmm, so far I have confirmed about a dozen of people who had them in their stones. I think they are all from the same monster, so once I gather enough of them, I should be able to trace it back to it using the leylines.」
If we leave them be like that, someday they are going to accumulate enough of magic and mature into full-fledged monsters.
But it would take at least few decades for this to happen, and sometimes even a hundred years.
Thanks to that, there would be periods in history during which the monster infestation would be small and the ones during which it was quite large.
「Are you perhaps worried about something?」
I was staring at the nuclei before my eyes, and upon hearing Ligurila’s question, I opened my mouth.
「Something doesn’t seem right here. This feeling, isn’t that similar to the ones the spirits have?」
Urged by Ligurila’s gaze, I tried to manipulate the nuclei just a bit to see what happens.
「Those are the ones collected from the ladies present at the parties and the upper class citizens. However, they feel like they come from the same entity.」
Now, on the table I laid out those nuclei that Ligurila managed to collect shortly before the tea party today.
I tried to put them all together to see if there were any difference between them, but they happened to be so small that they could be dismissed as insignificant.
「Not to mention that the nucleus recovered from Countess’s Avar stone is exactly the same.」
Of course, there were other monsters mixed in the lot as well, but it seems that the process of making the artificial magic stones involved the dividing of monsters cores, so those exception must have been sheer coincidences.
However, the ones I collected during the tea party were the same as well, which surprised me.
「There are still some of the bigger stones left out there……」
「Because bringing so large stones to a mere tea party would be too much of an extravagance. The general rule is that the large gemstones are generally saved for grand occasions.」
「Not to mention that we don’t know where Count Avar or the ones that produce the stones are.」
I took the rest of the nuclei from the storage and dumped them all onto the table, filling it to the brim.
Even though we were doing quite a good job at collecting the stones, we were still far from being over, and the deadline of Aru’s spring break end was approaching us fast.
And once his spring break ends it will be all over. I will simply have no time to take care of this case.
「Since our time is limited, so are our options. We promised Aru that we would be back to support him, so we need to do something about this case and do it fast.」
「How about visiting the royal palace and asking about our Count there? I know a few people who would help us get in.」
Hearing Ligurila say that I froze in place. She’s kidding, right?
「You did that through such methods as seduction? You can’t be doing that, Ligurila.」
「But it’s simple, really. Or you can even find someone else and pay them for doing it for you. That is, if you want to save all of those foolish people from the certain death at the hands of monsters?」
「I know what you’re trying to say, but I still say no! If I let you do that, I simply couldn’t look Sen-san in the eyes again.」
I can certainly see Ligurila being able to do such a thing if it meant getting the case closed, but at the same time I know all too well just how Senjiro would feel if he learned about that one day.
Ligurila was probably the best thing that could have happened to Senjiro, and so I had to protect his happiness if I could help it.
While I was getting lost in my self-proclaimed sense of mission, I couldn’t see that Ligurila’s cheeks were bright red at that moment.
「In that case, do you have any other leads, Lava?」
I thought that there might still be some, but there really weren’t.
Does that mean I have no other choice but to go and talk with Lishella directly……?
At that moment, I heard knocking onto the door.
Ligurila instantly returned all of her work back to the interdimensional space, and her tentacles reverted back to the form of hair.
Also, getting herself to look orderly as always took her no longer than five seconds or so.
Having confirmed that it was a normal human, I called out to them through the door.
While I was thinking about it, I wanted to go and open the door myself, but Ligurila stopped me with a gesture of her hand.
The one who came in was the maid that would normally accompany Lishella most of the time.
「Figura-sama. Young Lady would like to see you.」
「Eh…… Lishella-sama? Only me?」
I was puzzled for a moment and reflexively looked towards Ligurila, and she responded with a telepathic message.
“The timing is just great. You should go without wasting time.”
It may be so, but there was also something I had on my mind.
But right now it was a rare chance. A chance that might not happen again anytime soon.
「I understand, I’ll be there shortly.」
While secretely making up my mind I got up and left the room accompanied by one of the maids.