Translator: Imlartis Editor: Queenie
Contrary to my expectations, the dinner reception was in reality a very small matter. After all, it was just the governor and us, husband and wife, so you can easily imagine the reception’s scale. Even though I was certain it would be treated as a spectacle like the evening balls at the royal capital.
It seemed that few knew of the ruins which were our main goal for coming to the island, which is why we decided to go with the story that we came here purely for travelling.
Whether she herself wanted it or not, once it became a dinner reception to which Royal Court’s Head Magician and the world’s hero was invited, it should be appropriately grand. For this exact reason it wouldn’t have been surprising if it became an evening ball, however it wasn’t anything like that. The lady only said, “There are certain circumstances.” with a smile which seemed to say that she couldn’t tell us more. I couldn’t help but think that we might not be welcome. Either way, rather than a grand evening ball, a small dinner reception like this one was much more comfortable.
The next day the investigation party gathered by the governor, with the man as the leader, finally left for the ruins. At breakfast I heard that because it was the first day, the lady herself would also be joining the expedition. As I hadn’t found anything to raise an objection to, I went together with the servants to send them off at the gate.
Since the investigation of the ruins at the Unknown Forest hadn’t been publicly announced, the outsiders thought that the lady of Nibbiellata Isle was giving the Royal Court’s Head Magician a tour in order to deepen their friendship. The official reason I didn’t join them was, that they recommended me a more free and personalized sightseeing rather than a stiff official tour. It sounded forced, however there wasn’t anyone brave enough to point it out.
「Lady Leticiela, Edi. Please be careful. 」
「Thank you Lady Filmina. I’m very sorry, however please let me borrow you husband for a while. 」
The lady said with a calm smile. I returned the smile and to get the attention of the man who was impatiently waiting to depart I lightly pulled at his overcoat.
As I pulled on his overcoat, from deep within the hood I saw his questioning eyes and flashed a mischievous grin.
「Edi. Don’t cause Lady Leticiela and the party any trouble. 」
「I will try. 」
「Oh, it won’t do unless you clearly say whether it’s a lie or a promise. 」
This man dared to speak and act in a way as though he personally wanted to destroy the thing called communication. I had no idea what he might do if I didn’t give him this kind of warning.
As if he realized my inner mumbling the man looked down at me and snorted.
「You too. Don’t draw unnecessary attention and don’t get caught up in something dangerous again. 」
「… I will try. 」
I had a feeling that it wasn’t completely my fault and there was some unstoppable force at play, however even if I tried to poorly argue back, I had a feeling my words wouldn’t have any effect on this man. I could easily imagine him refuting me completely and myself eating a loss, which is why I just obediently nodded my head.
Just like this that man, the governor and the investigation team members posing as guards entered the carriages heading to the ruins and left the residence. I was still anxious about the ruins but there wasn’t a single thing I could do. The best thing would be to kick back like the man told me to.
As I watched the carriages until they disappeared from sight, the butler who also came out to send everyone off, quietly spoke.
「Lady Filmina. I’ve heard you will be going sightseeing. What do you think about somebody from the estate showing you around the town? 」
I blinked unconsciously at his words. I see, being guided around. It implied that the person would also serve as a guard. However even if I was told that…
「Thank you, however I’ll politely decline. I would still like to go sightseeing so could you prepare a carriage to take me to the town? 」
「That won’t be a problem, however… Will my lady really go alone? 」
「Yes, thank you. 」
I nodded smilingly at the butler asking me doubtfully.
I am not such a child, that I can’t go sightseeing alone. It’s true that having somebody from the residence guide me around would be most efficient. However being with me, who is that man’s wife, would cause the staff considerable stress and I myself didn’t feel like being under surveillance, so I’d rather pass on that. That man told me to relax and for that I needed to be at ease. Maybe it was just me being selfish; I knew that was probably the case.
When I told him that with a smile, the butler didn’t say anything further.
「Please wait a moment. 」
He bent at his waist and bowed once. I nodded and went back to the guest room for a moment. I prepared a small bag with parasol, wallet, handkerchief and other small articles inside and returned to the entrance.
The butler worked fast and a small carriage had already been waiting for me at the front door.
「Have a safe trip. 」
「Thank you. 」
I waved lightly at the bowing butler, and as if taking that for a signal, the small carriage started swaying with a rattle. The residence visible from the window of the carriage, which was swaying at a constant rhythm, quickly disappeared from view. While I was thinking about what to do when we reach the city, the carriage arrived at the main street which passed through the center of the market.
「My lady, what about returning? 」
Asked the coachman while I was getting off.
「I will catch a cab. 」
I answered. The coachman cracked the whip at the horses and the carriage was on its way back to the lady’s residence.
I didn’t wait for it to disappear and spun this way and that way while looking at my surroundings.
As if saying hello, the morning market was opening on the main street. It was full of townspeople and tourists so, unable to open the parasol, I took it in one hand and walked while having a look around the stalls filled with various products.
As expected the things that caught my eye were those I wasn’t able to find in the royal capital, like sweet and fragrant fruit only harvested in the south or delicately crafted handicrafts from foreign countries that one doesn’t even know what they were used for in the first place. I was looking for souvenirs for my family, father-in-law Lancent and friends while feeling excitement just by looking at the products.
They were selling freshly squeezed juice on the way, so I bought some and continued walking while drinking. The juicy taste of fruit and the coolness of crushed ice spreading in the mouth felt very pleasant. I couldn’t help thinking about that man. I think it’s only natural to want to share delicious and happy things. I was told to relax but if I’m relaxing it would be better to have that man by my side… I keep thinking about things that can’t be helped.
I was browsing through the stalls standing on both sides of the main street but there were so many of them and they had so many products, that I had no idea what was good and what was bad. I’ll have to go and rest somewhere for a while and then come back to start again. I was sure that even this man wouldn’t be able to finish the entire investigation today and I’ll have more chances to visit the morning market.
Having reached such a conclusion, I turned into a side street for a change of pace and started walking down the stairs. I was heading towards a lesser known beach, which I was told about in secret at the stall where I bought juice earlier. The popular, wide beaches are always crowded but the one the juice seller told me about was a little-known beach that only the locals knew about.
As I descended the stairs, before my eyes appeared a beach with sand as white as snow and clear blue sea. I couldn’t find the words to describe such beauty. As I thought, I was the only person there. It was a narrow beach in a small inlet well-hidden by a cliff. The sound of crashing waves was very pleasant. I opened the parasol and stood in a place where one was unsure whether the waves will touch their feet or not.
Blue. It’s blue. The beautiful blue and transparent water spread far till the very horizon. I narrowed my eyes at the wind coming from the sea and spun my parasol around. So, what should I do from now on? While thinking about that, I took advantage of the fact that I was alone, took the umbrella in one hand and with the other lifted the hem of my dress and stepped into the crashing waves.
Right at that moment I heard a cheerful voice from behind.
I dropped the hem of my dress down and when I turned around I saw a boy. I think he was around 10 years old. His golden-brown hair sparkling in the sun was done in the same way as the other residents’ hair. The bangs at his temples were plaited into three thin braids and hanging loosely. He was wearing a light, short-sleeved shirt and short trousers. The cheerfully smiling boy was like any boy you could find anywhere but his eyes unconsciously drew one in. His eyes were the same clear blue color as the sea. Those sparkly eyes, deep blue like the finest aquamarine, stared at me.
「Big sister, are you a tourist? I will show you around. Of course I will give you a discount! 」
The boy approached me and puffed out his chest while saying that. In such a touristic place it wasn’t anything rare for local children to volunteer to guide the tourists around. I’ve heard it’s a rather common thing. There were various reasons for this, like earning pocket money or seriously earning money for living, however those children didn’t lose to professional guides employed at the tourist bureau in terms of knowledge.
Hmm, what to do about this. I was worried about that man but for the time being he was busy with the investigation and sightseeing alone was boring. This boy had a neat appearance and I could probably trust him to be a good guide. When I thought like that, I had already decided on an answer.
「Then, can I count on you? 」
Hearing this, the boy’s smile became even brighter. He laughed lightly and hit his chest.
「Leave it to me! Let’s start right away. Do you have any place you want to visit? 」
「Let’s see, it’s nearly time for lunch. Can you bring me somewhere where I could eat something delicious? 」
「Got it! I’ll let you eat something great! I’m Juri. And you big sister? 」
「I’m Filmina. Nice to meet you, Juri.」
And so, I was guided around the Nibbiellata Isle by Juri. Starting from the conclusion, the Nibbiellata Isle shown to me by Juri had much more charm than I would’ve noticed had I been by myself and I had a great time. At a restaurant in a back alley which was popular with the locals I enjoyed local delicacies made of various types of seafood and bought gorgeous handicrafts a the shop of a difficult craftsman who doesn’t like first-time customers.
Juri was used to guiding and didn’t only show me shops but also exhibited his extensive knowledge about the ruins scattered throughout the town. I didn’t have any time to get bored. There were also times when I was at a loss of words from surprise and awe at his knowledge which wasn’t at a level I’d expect from a 10 year-old.
Just like that the trip around Nibbiellata Isle passed in a blink of an eye and when I realized it, the sun was already declining and dying the town orange like the previous day.
「Thank you very much Juri. Thanks to you I had a great time. 」
I said my thanks at a corner of the main street while giving him more money than was the market price. After receiving the money, Juri looked up at me with those beautiful blue eyes.
「Um, big sister, will you be staying at the Nibbiellata Isle for a while? 」
「Yes, that’s the plan. 」
「Then, go around with me tomorrow too. Today I could only show you the popular places but tomorrow I can show you the charm of the island better! 」
How about it? I was mulling over it while Juri was waiting for my answer. However there wasn’t much need to carefully consider his offer. After all, tomorrow I’ll also have nothing to do. I didn’t want to stay at the governess’s residence and stress the staff unnecessarily so the answer was obvious.
「Thank you Juri. Then, let’s meet up here tomorrow in the morning. 」
「Yay! It’s a promise big sister! 」
Juri slipped into the crowd while laughing and waving widely. After waving back and sending him off with my eyes, I caught a carriage and returned to the residence.