Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
Today happened to be the very first rainy day since our coming to the Island. Even though the ruins were somewhat sheltered from the rain, it would be too dangerous to try and reach them in this kind of weather, so for today we decided to stay indoors.
We had lunch and afterwards the boy went back to his room. I was busy with my embroidery work, piercing the handkerchief with red thread repeatedly while thinking about giving him some herbal tea and sweets later. I started my embroidery work purely out of habit, since it has always helped me collect my thoughts. The motif I was working on was the hibiscus flower, one of the first that I had seen on the island since coming here. It was a purely aesthetic accent, but I thought it was turning out pretty well. When love is involved, there is no such thing as too much preparation.
And while I was doing all that, I was completely aware of the fact that instead of doing something so useless, it would be better if I helped with some actual research. I’m sorry that I can’t be of much help with that, so let me atone for that fact by letting me do something else instead! But the fact that I was so useless during a time like this was really weighing heavily on me.
Since yesterday, the boy had been trying to reconstruct the formula behind the theory of the magic language that was written all around the ruins, and I was observing him closely all this time. By wanting to see that man at work, I was starting to suffer from a bit of sleep deprivation, but I wanted to be by his side all along and support him in any way I possibly could.
Ahh, but the fact that I was still unable to be of any real help caused me to sigh deeply over and over again.
Hearing the sound of the doorbell being ring, signalizing that we had a visitor, my hand stops with the needle still firmly held in my fingers. It surely wasn’t the person that delivers our food, it was way too early for that. So who could it be in all this rain?
I place my embroidery work aside on the table and hurry towards the entrance.
「Yes? Who is it?」
「Filmina-dono. It’s me. Could you open up the door?」
Hearing the characteristic voice of the Governess, I hurry up and open the door. Sure thing, the Governess was at the door, wearing a rain jacket.
「Oh my, Leticiela-sama! What are you doing here in all of this rain?」
「I know that the weather is as it is today, but the survey was conducted nonetheless. I came here to tell you guys how it went down.」
I shook the Governess’ hand and took her rain jacket from her, leaving it into the foyer to dry. Then I showed her to the sofa in the living room where we both sat down.
「I’ll brew some tea right away.」
「No, please, don’t trouble yourself with that. It’s my fault for coming to visit unannounced.」
「Please, don’t even joke like that! Now please hold on for a moment, it will soon be ready.」
We make a bit of small talk while I go to the kitchen and brew the tea. I choose some medicinal leaves which I had brought here all the way from the capital and then boil some water. Incidentally, the tea’s effect was to remove fatigue and tiredness. Now all I needed was to follow the usual steps of brewing tea, place it all on the silver tray, add some sweets to it and then I bring it all back to the living room.
「I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. I hope that you will find it to your liking, Leticiela-sama……」
「Ahh, thank you so much.」
I move the tea and sweets onto the table, and the Governess graced me with a bright and beautiful smile. Combined with her exotic appearance, it was having a very strong effect, even on a fellow woman like me. She immediately brought the tea to her mouth. From the look on her face, I could see that the tea was indeed to her liking, and after taking a few sips she brought the teacup back onto the table. A small sigh escaped from her mouth.
「I see, after drinking such a delicious tea I’m afraid that I won’t be able to be satisfied with any normal tea at our mansion ever again. You must teach my maids to brew such a delicious tea.」
「Your words honor me.」
I carry the teacup into my mouth as well. The tea was light in color and its taste was slightly sweet. Good, good, it looks like the tea came out well today as well.
We sip on our tea and eat some sweets for a moment. Then we place the empty cups back on the tray, and then the Governess’ expression shifted from relaxed to surprisingly serious. I also got serious and corrected my posture.
「Well then, Filmina-dono. About the archeological survey of the ruins and the way in which it is connected to Agedilus-dono’s current predicament……」
「–––– About that.」
I was at a loss for words on how should I answer that question. However, it lasted for only but a moment. I then looked at the Governess straight in the eyes and opened my mouth, intending to come clean with everything.
「I am terribly sorry, but I’m afraid that I have no news to report in the matter at hand.」
The Governess’ hazel-shaped eyes sway in apparent confusion. She never said anything to me, but I could see it from her gestures that she was clearly upset. She bites her lip and casts her gaze down.
「We only manage to establish that the magical mechanisms within the ruins are something connected with the idea of “rejuvenation”. The only thing we have left is to crack the code of the ancient magical language and hope that there is a way out there to let my husband go back to normal.」
Last night the man told me that it would be ideal if the magic hadn’t affected his memory. If his memory wasn’t affected by magic, he could have easily develop a spell that would allow him to age his physical body back to his proper age. However, there was a condition here. If his memories were indeed affected by magic, the only way to bring them back would be to reverse-engineer the original curse to counteract its effects. My head was starting to hurt just from remembering all this.
I hold back a sigh of frustration and take another sip of the tea. It was frustrating to not be able to bring any good news, but after a moment the Governess’ face returned to normal.
「–––– I’m sorry. I know that it is hard on you as well, Filmina-dono. I don’t want to blame you for something that is not your fault.」
「No. Your reaction is only natural, Leticiela-sama. After all, you have your position and social standing to consider.」
I say that while bowing down my head. Clearly troubled, the Governess looked at me as if she wanted to say: “Please raise your head! It’s my fault to begin with, since something like that happened to you while you were visiting my territory!”. When I rose my face to meet hers, the Governess looked really distressed.
「Umm, about that wound on your forehead……」
「Ah, umm, this is……」
It was the wound that I received after one of the islanders threw a stone at me. I’ve managed to keep it hidden under my bangs, since there was this rather unsightly scab right there when the blood finally stopped spilling from my forehead. Thanks to the fast and correct treatment, it won’t leave a scar, fortunately. Although it wasn’t that big of a deal, the Governess bowed her head to me in apology.
「I’ve heard all about it from that Juri boy. I am terribly sorry for that situation to have happened.」
「Please, there’s no need for you to apologize, Leticiela-sama……」
「I know that it may very well be asking for the impossible, but please try to understand and forgive the islanders. Here, black hair is a symbol of fear. Trust me, I know that all too well.」
After she said that, the Governess started to tell me her story. I think that black color would suit her hair nicely, but it was sadly forbidden on this island. The Governess said that she had faced persecution because of that ever since she was a small child.
「The strange thing was, no matter how hard I was trying to dye it, it always went back to its original color after one night. And the more I tried to hide it, the more hostile my surroundings were becoming.」
The Governess laughed and then proceeded to tell me how her parents died in an accident at the sea when she was only sixteen. Right after that she had to assume the seat of the Governor.
I knew I had to say something but I didn’t know what to say. The amount of pain and suffering this woman had to go through in her life must have been immeasurable.
Whether or not she noticed that, the Governess continues on.
「But, there were also people who supported me all this time. That is why I can be right here right now.」
Her current smile was different from everything I had seen from her up until now. It was full of happiness and pride. I couldn’t help myself that my expression also changed to a much more relaxed and happy one.
「Whoever that person was, you must have really cherished them, Leticiela-sama.」
Hearing my words, the expression on the Governess’ face became somewhat shy.
「Yes, that’s right. I loved that person more than anyone in this world.」
The Governess smiled in an impressive but also lovely way. Just who was the man who managed to captivate the heart of a woman like that? I couldn’t stop thinking about things like that, which was yet again making me feel like an old woman.