Translation and editing: Team Foxsunes
And then came the morning of the day after I, for the most part one-sidedly, had an argument with the man and slept in a separate room. Lancent family’s mansion started to have an awkward vibe that made me feel uneasy, since the man and I weren’t talking. The least we did was exchange a word during the breakfast prayers and after that, silence prevailed. If we were to describe it as a peaceful atmosphere, then the atmosphere till now would be, without a doubt, considered as an atmosphere of festivity. I’m not ignoring him or anything, we just don’t have anything to talk about, that’s all. Awkward silence surrounded us as we mechanically ate our food.
If I say 「I may have said too much last night. I’m sorry.」then things would be settled peacefully. However, I feel like this isn’t something that should be settled with a compromise – at least for me, and certainly for this man as well. Breakfast silently ended and the man quickly left the mansion. There was no room for me to say 「Take care｣ as I usually do, since the man’s sunrise-tinted eyes didn’t look at me, not even once. I bit my lip after the door shut in front of me. I knew it was my fault, but wasn’t that too much? He doesn’t even understand why I got mad, and yet he still doesn’t give me a chance to talk. I suppose I was the one who lost my chance last night. In the end, it’s all my fault.
I leaned against the door of the closed entranceway and sighed, happiness had run away from me once again. It was strangely infuriating, but I couldn’t think of a way to let off steam. I sat down and my body against the door, not caring about the hem of the dress touching the floor. I covered my face.
「…..This is too cruel」Why don’t you understand? I blamed the man who was probably being rocked by a carriage right now. Although I had no such right anymore, I couldn’t help but to blame myself. Why does he always prioritize me over himself, even though my choices may not be the best for him? My choice, the thing I desire the most, isn’t something like that. What does he even mean by 「My desires have already been fulfilled」? It doesn’t make me happy or anything if he acts all cool like that. It’s even worse if he’s saying things like that without trying to act cool. What a cruel man, he doesn’t understand a thing, and doesn’t even try to understand. For someone as unfair and weak as me, you can’t find the right thing to say to such a man. If he could understand how people felt, aside from father and I, then he wouldn’t have said something like that last night. There is a limit to how dense a person can be. Except, it is true that his glass-like sensitive heart would shatter if he wasn’t so dense, so I couldn’t just blame everything on him. It was just a cycle of me blaming him and not blaming him.
I let out a deep, deep sigh again, as if to let out all of my gloom, before l stood up, lifting my body, which had almost started growing roots into the floor. This issue was too heavy for me to deal with by myself. I know an extremely reliable person who can help me out in situations like these.
I hit my cheeks with both my hands to shock me back to my senses, and went into my room to start preparing.
I put on a light amber colored shawl on top of a graceful velvet dress, and exactly between both the collar bones, I put on a large peridot pendant, which was cut in a fine way to shine as it received the sunlight. The shadow of a flying bird was engraved in the pendant. I put on makeup more gorgeous than usual, but made sure that it didn’t look too flashy and retained the natural look. My long hair that is usually in a chignon was on my back this time, with a hairband made of gold which was crafted delicately into autumn flora, to produce splendor. Good, good, I can’t help but admire myself. I took a spin in front of the mirror and nodded to myself with satisfaction.
When I was at home, Adina’s family house, I got advice regarding fashion from nanny and mother, but after getting married, everything was up to me. So, I started keeping an eye on trendy fashion and such, which I didn’t have much interest in prior to marriage. Today is when I’d get to know the final result of all the effort I put in. I admire myself, because despite my average looks, I am a good example of how a great sense of fashion can change a person dramatically. It seemed like my heart would break with my current mental state if I didn’t tell myself that.
Now that the preparations were over, I put on heels that were longer than usual, and held a small bag along with a basket meant as a souvenir, filled with handmade baked sweets. I went out of the entranceway and hopped in a carriage for middle-class aristocrats, which I had made a hassle to summon with a magical orb used for communication.
As my body sank into the cushions, I marveled at the great difference in the cushioning properties of the seat in comparison to the gharry I usually use. After making sure that I sat down properly, the coachman hit the horse’s back with a sound of a whip. I didn’t feel much of the jolting that I usually feel while riding the gharry and was comfortable.
I relaxed my body in the carriage that was trotting along as it went through the urban district, eventually leaving the city and stopping in front of the big mansion in the outskirts. It was old, but because of the time it had gone through, it had a certain presence of its own. I thanked the coachman and got off the carriage. I knocked on the door with the door knocker, which had tinted to a caramel colour from old age. The delightful sound resonated more loudly than I thought it would. Of course, I notified him before coming but, nevertheless, the visit is sudden. He is usually busy and I cannot disturb him any more than this. Making him hurry would be outrageous. I’ll just wait patiently in front of the door. I concluded my thoughts and waited for the door to open, which happened in a matter of minutes.
A soft and pleasant voice touched my ears「Thank you for coming, Filmina」. The gentleman, who was the adoptive father of that man, and the one I used to call uncle Lancent, the person that I continue to look up to as my father-in-law, was peacefully smiling at me as I bowed, holding the hem of my dress. Indeed, this is the main Lancent manor. The mansion where father, who still works as the palace magician, lives alone.
「It’s been a while, the last time I saw you were at the ceremony. Today’s dress also suits you. Agedilius wouldn’t be able to take his eyes off you. 」
「Thank you very much. It’s all because I was going to meet you. Of course, I’d dress for the occasion. 」
Common courtesy or not, it makes me really happy to hear him say things like that, since I’ve admired him ever since I was a child. Father keeps on smiling and says 「Oh my」, unclear whether or not my feelings have reached him, but I feel my heart dance after getting praised by him. He laughs, trying to suppress it after seeing how bashful I got. Afterwards, he took my hand and invited me in.
「I can’t serve much in a mansion with only one man living in it but, make yourself at home. You know where the living room is, right? I’ll serve tea later, so you can… 」
「No, please let me serve tea. I brought some sweets as well, so have some with me if you please?」
「That sounds exciting. I’ll gladly accept your kind offer then. Do you know where the kitchen is?」
「Yes, of course. 」
I have been visiting this mansion since I was young and it wouldn’t be an overstatement to call this my second home. I even have a recollection of the location of the tea-can among various cupboards. If it wasn’t for that man, I would have been father-in-law’s second wife no matter what…..well, I’m mostly joking.
「Alright, I’ll be waiting in the living room then. 」
Father agreed to my suggestion without complaint. He flipped his black robe and disappeared into the hallway. After seeing him off, I headed towards the kitchen. It seems like that man gives father his custom-blended tea leaves, since the kitchen’s cupboard has the commonly sold ones, but along with them are tea leaves that I can only recall seeing at home. I wondered which one to pick, but then the thought of sweets crossed my mind. I decided not to be adventurous and chose the standard tea.
After preparing the tea set, I put it on the tray and went to the living room. To knock on the door, I tried to hold the tray with one hand, but the door was opened before I could. Having been caught off guard, I almost dropped the tray, but a hand that came from the living room swiftly rescued it.
Seeing me go stiff with surprise, he lowered his eyebrows in apology, tray in hand.
「The spirits told me of your presence so I opened the door. Seems like it rather surprised you, I apologize for that.」
「Pl-please, don’t worry about it. Thank you for your hospitality.」
「That’s my line. These cheese cookies are handmade, aren’t they? I am happy you remember that among your handmade sweets, I adore them the most.」
Seeing father smile happily at the cheese cookies I piled up next to the tea set, my cheeks turned slightly red. I was glad he noticed it and I was so flustered that I couldn’t think of a fancy reply, and so I settled on a stereotypical response
「I’m glad it makes you happy.」
We went into the living room like that and sat down facing each other. We took the teacup to our lips to wet one’s whistle. After a while of silence, father gave me a gentle, casual smile and asked:
「Care to tell me what happened between you and Agedilius?」
I almost spewed out my tea upon hearing that.
But with my sheer will not make a fool of myself, I somehow resisted it and gulped the tea, casting a glance at father. He was there, smiling as usual. I contacted this gentleman, who works at home and doesn’t visit the castle, asking 「Can I have some of your time today?」, I am positive that I didn’t give him any information apart from that.
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