Translator’s note: I’m terribly sorry, but I just can’t do this anymore. I refuse.
‘Mariywa’ will be written ‘Mariwa’ from now on so I can actually remember how it’s spelled.
After parting ways with my new friend Charles, I was able to return to the dancehall without anything else happening.
I felt so re-energized after I made my return that I executed a succession of perfect courtesies to the other guests. Though, at one point a daughter of a Marquis pointed out that a flower petal -which I had not successfully brushed off in the garden- was stuck to my hair ornament, I was able to get passed this with a genius excuse. Ultimately, I had been very successful in playing the perfect lady at this palace ball.
The next day.
I was standing proud and tall in the mansion’s garden.
Not just in the garden, I was standing in the front of the huge garden that lay between the great gate that would welcome our guests and the Noir mansion. Because I was outside, I had a maid stand next to me and hold a parasol so that I would not be burned to a crisp by the shining light of the sun. As I stood under the shadow created by our faithful servant, I waited impatiently for the gates in front of us to open.
According to the time, it should be any moment now. It was the first time I would be receiving a guest like this, but the person that I was expecting would come at the designated time.
“Fufufuh. Come already.”
I didn’t know what to do with this overwhelming feeling of excitement, so I just smiled. After a moment I heard the sound of carriage wheels coming from the other side of the gate.
“My lady, come over here.”
The gates opened as I exclaimed in excitement. The servant who had been watching me pleasantly, saw the carriage coming towards us and frantically tried to get me to move off of the path.
It was a most perceptive suggestion, but unfortunately, I would have to reject it point-blank this time.
“No, I will wait here.”
I firmly refused the maids proposal and continued to stand proudly in the middle of the road.
After all, I had come here just to receive her. I would hate it if she somehow failed to notice me and drove past. Additionally, depending on the qualities of the person that I was waiting for, she may notice me and still decide to drive passed on purpose.
To that point, she would in no way be able to ignore me if I stood in the middle of the road that leads to the mansion. Even the driver, who was under our employ would surely stop the horses if I was standing here. As long as there wasn’t some kind of worst-case scenario of the horses going insane, then I had no fear of being trampled. There really was no issue in terms of my safety.
“But, my lady…Oh, alright.”
The maid had no choice but to give-up trying to persuade me. I would stubbornly not give in. Even so, I felt grateful at her loyalty as she good-naturedly continued to hold the parasol over my head.
Finally, the long-awaited carriage came through the now completely opened gate.
“Welcome. And halt!”
Just as the carriage had gotten through the gate, I shouted for them to stop. The driver who was holding the reins looked at me in surprise.
However, he was our driver and so that did not last long. Once he saw that it was I who had shouted, he immediately assumed that I had some business with whoever was in the carriage. He turned around and spoke a word or two. After a moment the door to the carriage opened.
The person who stepped out of the carriage was our private tutor, Mariwa Toinette. For some unknown reason, she sighed very rudely upon seeing that I had come out to receive her. And with her usual rigid posture, she started to walk towards me.
“How very unusual for you to try and receive someone so close to the gates. This must mean that you are quite enthusiastic about today’s lessons. I’m impressed, my lady.”
“Hmph. You do say the most absurd things Mariwa. It is no matter for a genius such as I to master the rules of etiquette, even without effort. But let’s leave that for a moment and talk of something else.”
“What you should be despising at this moment are your own words, my lady. Being a lady is not so easy as you assume.”
Both the maid who held the parasol and the driver of the parked carriage now averted their eyes at hearing this light exchange between Mariwa and me, which was really just an ordinary greeting.
“I agree with you on the point of it not being easy, but….fufufufuh. But don’t you have something more important to tell me, Mariwa?”
“Indeed I do. It’s Miss Toinette, my lady.”
No. That’s not it at all.
Did she know and was only refusing to say it? Did she really not know? In any case, it seemed that it would be necessary for me to put it into clear words.
“Mariwa. At this last ball, I was able to exceed your teachings by far and conduct myself in a more than perfect manner!”
I ignored her usual corrections and boasted to her of my accomplishment.
Perhaps she could not focus due to the brilliance of my report, because Mariwa squinted her eyes ever so slightly.
“Oh. Far exceeding my teachings, is it?”
“Yes! I was flawless like the full moon that will rise in tonight’s sky! You can ask my father, he was with me the whole time, if you do not believe it. I was able to showcase a lady that far exceeded your expectations!”
I continued to boast. After all, even my father had asked, ‘Are you really Christina?’ Sooner or later, the name of Christina Noir, daughter of the duke, would spread with her fame through all of society.
And so it was only natural for me to smile and demand Mariwa to give me what I deserved.
“Now, Mariwa! Shower me with praise. And you should also give me many pats on the head!”
With a big smile, I offered my head to her.
While Mariwa tended to believe that hitting me had its benefits, she would never strike without purpose. And now I was not only blameless but deserving of much praise. Mariwa would surely have no choice but to say ‘good child, what a good child’ and pat me on the head.
“…Let me see.”
That warm palm that I felt that day in the pantry. I smiled with expectations of that warmth being placed on my head.
Finally, Mariwa’s hand was placed on top of my offered head.
For some reason, in the shape of a clenched fist.
I looked dumbfounded by the inconceivable shape of Mariwa’s hand.
Why was it in the shape of the rock that strikes all in this world, instead of the paper that sweetly accepts everything? My heart wondered at this pure question, but the sight that my eyes viewed was one of cruelty.
For before my eyes stood the man-eating fiend Mariwa, whose icy glare held not a shard of kindness.
“Yes? My lady, Chris.”
My uncertain voice should have triggered an instinct to protect, but instead, a voice so frightening that it turned my blood cold was what came back.
At this point, my instincts were telling me that I was in grave danger, but it was too late. Without warning, her fist drove straight into my scalp.
“It is exactly as you say. Leaping into the royal flower gardens and destroying the flower beds was an action far exceeding anything that I have ever taught you. Yes, just as you said. You so thoroughly exceeded my expectations. I am sure that you are resigned to your fate now?”
“Agahadadhaghh. But how did you find out!?”