Translator: Imlartis Editor: Queenie
The first person to greet me at the residence was the butler who sent me off in the morning.
「Welcome back lady Filmina. 」
「I’m back. Um, and my husband…?」
I came back a little late so maybe he was back already. If I get too selfish that narrow-minded man will sulk and it will be troublesome. Well, I think that this side of him is also cute even though it’s unnecessarily troublesome.
At my words, the butler’s face stiffened visibly. He took a handkerchief out of his breast pocket and started wiping the cold sweat. Now, now, that man wasn’t an evil spirit was he? As long as one didn’t bother him, he wouldn’t bite. Why doesn’t anyone understand that?
Disregarding my inner mumbling, the butler started speaking with a trembling voice.
「Lord A-Agedilus hasn’t come back yet. Lady Leticiela came back first. She asks whether you’d like to join her for tea before supper… 」
「Let me see… If it’s like that, I’ll gladly join her. 」
It’s not often that I could be blessed with a chance to drink tea together just the two of us. I left the souvenirs I bought today and the parasol to the maid and followed the butler.
The room I was led into wasn’t the office where we met yesterday but a wonderful reception room. When I lowered myself onto one of the big sofas, between which a low marble table was sandwiched, my body pleasantly sank into it. A while after I settled myself on a grape-coloured sofa, I heard somebody knocking on the door.
「Come in. 」
「Excuse me. 」
The person who entered was, as I expected, the governess. Unlike this morning when she was wearing light male clothes, she was now dressed in formal male attire. She sat opposite of me, her long ponytail swinging. Behind her followed an elderly maid pushing a cart with a tea set.
「I’m sorry for making you wait. I’ll finish preparations right way. 」
At the lady’s eye signal, the maid bowed and quietly placed the teapot filled with dried indigo flower petals, together with small plates of baked sweets in front of me and the lady. Afterwards she left the reception room and in the room where there was only the two of us were left, me and the governess, I stared at the teapot fixedly. Just what was this? As I blinked my eyes the lady personally poured the clear water from another pot.
「Oh my! 」
The plain, clear water was changing color into a beautiful blue. I opened my eyes wide in surprise. The governor was watching me with a smile which seemed to be saying “got you!”. Then, she placed glass teacups and plates with thinly sliced lemon on the table. At that moment my eyes were glued to the blue tea.
How beautiful. It was a clear blue that was different than the blue of Nibbiellata Isle’s sea and different than the blue of the sky. That man let me drink many different kinds of tea but such a brilliantly colored one was a first.
「Drop of Dawn. 」
「That’s the tea’s name. To be exact, the flower’s. It’s a good imported from a foreign country and I’ve just gotten my hands on it. No matter what, I wanted to let you drink it. 」
「That’s… You didn’t have to treat me to such a precious thing…」
Was it fine to offer me such a thing instead of that man? To me, who hadn’t helped with the investigation at all and spent the whole day playing around? When I unconsciously peeked at her face, the lady laughed lightly.
「Fufu. Now then, I will show you why it’s named Drop of Dawn. 」
The lady poured the blue tea into a teacup, picked up a slice of lemon with small tongs and delicately put it into the teacup. Then, the beautiful blue gradually turned into a pretty pink. Once again I blinked in surprise. My reaction must have been as she imagined because the lady observing me let out a mischievous throaty laugh.
「It truly reflects the change of the daybreak sky, doesn’t it? That’s why its named Drop of Dawn. 」
「It’s so wonderful. It’s really a waste on someone like me. 」
「Please don’t mind it. It seemed that neither my lady, nor lord Agedilus liked yesterday’s black tea. This is just a display to gloss over that. 」
I subconsciously stiffened at those words. I slowly lifted my sight from my teacup and looked at the lady and, as I thought, she was wearing a mischievous smile. Well, it’s true that as she said, that black tea wasn’t really delicious, but to have that pointed out by the person providing it herself feels extraordinarily uncomfortable. After watching me unable to find any words and my eyes wandering around, the lady continued.
「It seems I have troubled you. For me, it will be enough if you enjoy this Drop of Dawn. 」
「Ah, yes. Thank you very much. I’m very happy. 」
「That’s good to hear. 」
Without thinking I smiled back at the lady who said so beamingly and bring the Drop of Dawn to my lips. Apparently the tea leaves themselves didn’t have much taste and only the refreshing acidity of lemon spread inside my mouth.
「Lady Filmina, I’ve heard that you went to the town alone today. How was it? Was the Nibbiellata Isle to my lady’s liking? 」
At her question, I set my teacup down on the saucer and look into lady’s light brown eyes tinged with green. They were straightforward eyes. One could get nervous just from looking. If my mental age was the same as the body’s age I might have lost to that pressure and averted my eyes. I beamed while thinking that.
「Yes, very much. The sea is beautiful and all of the food is delicious. All the legends surrounding the ruins are very interesting. And above all, everyone is very kind. It might be presumptuous of me, however I think that the Island reflects Lady Leticiela’s character. 」
The lady slowly blinked once at my words and laughed.
「Fufu. I see, my character. As expected of a hero’s wife, you say some great things. 」
「…Lady Leticiela? 」
What was it? I didn’t know why but I felt that phrasing was odd. If I were to say something, it sounded a bit ironic but maybe I was reading too much into things. Without thinking I tilted my head questioningly but the lady didn’t continue and just changed the topic while smiling. The topic was, of course, my husband who presently wasn’t with us.
「It’s about lord Agedilus, as soon as he entered the ruins his eyes changed. I didn’t know it but it seems that those ruins are older and stranger than I assumed. He got caught up in the research and without even eating lunch only focused on the magical language. He didn’t hear my voice at all and when the arranged time came he was still in that state. That’s why I left a minimal number of staff and left him at the ruins. 」
The lady lowered the ends of her eyebrows apologetically. I changed the sigh which I didn’t want to let out into a bitter smile and shook my head.
「Do not worry, that’s just how my husband is. If there’s anyone causing trouble, it’s that man. Thank you very much for the concern. 」
A research idiot will be a research idiot no matter where he goes. That’s exactly what makes that man himself, however he is a troublesome man. What was he doing after coming all the way to a high-class resort? No, if I thought about it, investigation was the real goal of our trip so his actions were totally correct. They might even be praiseworthy. But even then, there was a limit. However, even if I gave him my candid opinion it would have the same effect as wind blowing at a large rock. When I thought that I couldn’t stop myself from smiling bitterly.
The lady seeing me like this laughed throatily once again.
「My, my. I see. It seems my worries were unnecessary. It also seems that you two, husband and wife, really get along. 」
「It looks that way? 」
「Yes. It even makes me think that a marriage one doesn’t want might not be so bad after all. 」
I seemed to have heard something a person in the lady’s position should not say. I stared at her face without thinking but she was drinking Drop of Dawn with an expression pretending as though she hadn’t said those words just before. When I tilted my head thinking I must have heard wrongly somebody knocked on the door.
「Lady Leticiela, Lady Filmina. Lord Agedilus has returned. 」
The lady stood up after hearing butler’s words from behind the door.
「Got it. So, let us go lady Filmina. 」
What were her previous words supposed to mean? Asking such a question should have been a simple matter but somehow I was hesitating to do so. Maybe the atmosphere surrounding the lady made me hesitate.
While I was doing this and that, the lady, who was most certainly a woman, politely escorted me to the dining room. I felt as if I became a debutante once again. The man was already seated at the dining room. When he noticed us, he stood up and bowed.
「My lady. I’m very sorry for being late. 」
「Do not worry. I’m very grateful that you’re investigating so passionately. Please take a seat. 」
As if waiting for those words, one dish after another was carried into the dining room. Under the lady’s lead, the three of us prayed to the goddess and immediately started eating. As expected, everything was extraordinarily delicious. I had a rather large lunch, however I wasn’t able to stop the movement of my hand which was holding the fork. I needed to be careful or when we leave the island I won’t be able to fit into any of the dresses I’d brought with me.
I was thinking about that while I silently proceeded to bring more food to my mouth. Then, lady rested her hand and signaled the surrounding people who were diligently serving us with her eyes. At her signal everyone left the dining room. As I tilted my head questioningly, the lady looked towards the man and asked.
「Then, let’s talk about the ruins in peace. Lord Agedilus, what are the results? 」
Ah, I get it now. At her words I belatedly understood. It was a topic that couldn’t be carelessly mentioned in front of the servants. That’s why she had them leave, I thought while bringing a piece of white fish pie to my mouth. The man sitting next to me put the glass of wine he was holding down on the table and started a discussion.
「Let’s see. I can’t say anything decisive yet. The magic language in the ruins is very complex and cut into pieces. It isn’t a technique an ordinary wizard could construct. It was created by a wizard with considerable magic power and enough control skill to operate that power. 」
His voice was calm and quiet but it seemed to be coming from somewhere far away. It felt as if his mind was somewhere else. His body was here, but his mind was still at the ruins in question.
「I see. Is it possible they’re related to the demons? 」
「The possibility is very small. If they were related to demons there would be some kind of trace of dark magic. That trace doesn’t disappear no matter how much time passes. There isn’t anything like that at the ruins. Similarly, there isn’t any trace of spirits or divine beings. That’s why my guess is that it was a result of magic in its narrowest sense – “magic residing in one’s body”. It’s a magical language possessing multiple layers. In order to understand and reconstruct it; an appropriate level of knowledge and magic power is necessary. Based on the fact that there wasn’t any influence even though it’s been neglected up till now, there probably isn’t any risk of it suddenly blowing up, however it’ll be a different story if some kind of a key exists. 」
The lady listened to the numerous technical terms flying out of the man’s mouth with a serious face and interjected his story to ask a question. I looked at the man briefly. He looked expressionless yet somehow lively as he recalled today’s results. As I was listening I realized there didn’t seem to be anything terrifyingly dangerous there. I relaxed my shoulders which I’d tensed unconsciously and sipped the tomato and fish soup. It was truly delicious. I wondered whether they’ll give me the recipe if I asked for it. Before I realized the dinner was over.