I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 11
“It’s fine now, the Prince said.”
“…Zac, you’re bad at reading. You’re not putting feelings into it.”
With half-lidded eyes, Ojou said that Katherine would have been better even if she used a smaller voice.
“Then you read it, Ojou.”
“Then you wouldn’t learn, would you?”
“I know but…”
The sound of rain faintly reached the room in which the two sat on a sofa and read a picture book. This had become a routine on rainy days. The maid Katherine-san knew and was also with us, bringing us tea whenever we took a break.
Whenever I read, I would always use all my energy in chasing the letters, so I’d up being monotonous. I don’t usually have any opportunities to study writing, so I couldn’t practice aside from this time. That was one of the reasons. It didn’t look good from me so I’d like to study in secret on my own, but books were expensive. If I had the money for them I’d spend it on seeds and seedlings.
(TN: I looked it up, apparently the difference between seeds and seedlings is that seedlings are actually just young plants)
Interrupting Ojou’s interruption, I somehow read it through to the end. When I died, she pulled out the next picture book.
“We’re reading this next.”
“Eh, we’re still reading?”
Just as I felt a little tiredness on my mouth, Katherine-san quietly placed a cup of freshly brewed black tea on the table. I praised her superb timing. Katherine-san is amazing. Ojou couldn’t refuse her tea, either. Because of that, I was able to take a little break.
I took a breath after a sip of the warm tea and said what I had been thinking.
“Ojou, all of your books have princes in them.”
“Isn’t it wonderful to break the princess’ curse or defeat the evil dragon?”
Ojou was spellbound in her romances. I thought that you could use a magic user to break curses, and that knights would be more qualified to defeat monsters, but I kept quiet. Girls really like princes.
“Why are they always blond?”
Did she like yellow hair? Come to think of it, my little sister in my previous life used to say something like, blonde-haired and blue-eyed princes and princesses are justice.
“That is because it is the distinction of royalty.”
“So royals have blond hair?”
“Yes. Hair that shines as much as gold is said to be the proof of a pure-blooded royal. Royalty with pupils close to golden are also thought to have blood that runs deep.”
“Really. So that goes for the Duke as well?”
“Father’s Grandmother seems to have been the queen of her time.”
Ojou puffed out her chest as if to put on airs when the subject changed to the Duke. She was probably proud about her family’s bloodline. But the Duke really was sparkly. I agreed.
I understood that the picture books written in this country used royalty as models which is why they had golden hair. Other countries would surely be different, I think.
“Hmm, royals sure look splendid. Though I like Ojou’s pale blonde hair since it’s easier on my eyes.”
I grumbled, looking at the Prince that had a halo even in the storybook. I’m glad my status has prevented me from meeting him. Blond hair even more glittery than the Duke’s is too painful for my eyes.
“So, we’re reading this one right. Ojou?”
I was curious about why she didn’t reply and looked at her beside me. Ojou was twirling her hair with both hands and a red face. She seems really upset. Won’t she ruin her painstakingly groomed hairstyle?
“Is something wrong?”
When I asked, she glared at me wordlessly. Did I offend her in some way? Or was my monotonous reading just that unentertaining even if it was just for practice?
“Sorry alright? I’ll try to say it a little more like in a play this time.”
“…You can just go and read in monotone for the rest of your life.”
“What’s with that curse?”
She suddenly muttered an unreasonable malediction. Maybe because of that, I ended up reciting the second book monotonously from the beginning to the end.
A few days after that exchange, I was weed whacking as usual. Summer bathed them in sunlight and filled them with green energy. It wouldn’t be enough no matter how many weeds I whacked. If I let the sun’s rays do me in, then the precious flowers and trees would get beaten first, so this was okay. If we had to get more employees for this, then we would have to appeal for people to be dispatched from the Gardeners’ Guild. Then the Ernst family would have to in turn increase the security for them. That would be a bother, both for me and my quiet father.
It would be solved if I had a sibling though.
I ended up thinking as my work piled up. Honestly, the Baumgartner house isn’t hereditary. You only needed gardening skills and loyalty towards the Ernst house, so blood had nothing to do with it. There were many people aiming for my Father’s work from downtown, so it only seemed hereditary. My parents have never even told me that they want me to succeed the house, and the other parents in the neighborhood want me to succeed it if I can.
If you went to the Gardeners’ Guild, you’d see schools of gardeners not using their own family names but the names of the family who started it. In the end, my house is more rare since we seem hereditary.
The Baumgartner house is rumored to have the hardest work around the royal capital. I thought the king’s castle would have offered the hardest work, but it seemed that they increased the number of personnel in proportion to the scope of the land as well as the defenses. Was it that hard? I didn’t really get it. Usually the lowest-ranking workers would probably just be doing errands, wouldn’t they? For now, it was difficult for people of our standing so I had no siblings.
Grandpa definitely wouldn’t help, would he.
He still younger than 50 and in active duty. He passed on the role of the Ernst family’s exclusive gardener to Dad and withdrew, so he declared that he definitely would not help. Right now, he was on a trip with Grandma in the vast country of Arventroat, procuring rare plants. He would always come home bringing plants that didn’t grow around here as souvenirs, so I looked forward to his next visit everyday.
Well, I couldn’t help but think about things that had nothing to do with the present. I just continued my work, humming from my nose. There were karaoke machines and music players in my previous world, but those things aren’t here right now so I’d lift my mood by singing myself. I understood how farmers in Sengoku Era films felt when they did their work while humming. It’s more enjoyable.
“What is that song?”
I stopped humming and turned around. Ojou tilting her small head and looking at me from under her parasol as if she had seen something bizarre.
“Are such wild, or shall I say lively songs popular with commoners?”
Looked like she was perplexed about the melody she had never heard before. She surely listens to genres like classic and opera, probably.
“Right now it’s like I’m singing in the battlefield.”
“A commoner’s war song??”
“No. I haven’t seen it myself but isn’t it better to sing than to fight? Something like that.”
“I wonder? I’m just singing it myself because my little sister taught it to me.”
These were from anime my previous little sister hadn’t seen, but just because she liked the melody she’d take me with her to practice it in karaoke. There was no meaning in her singing the boys’ parts, so she made me sing all of those. Despite that, she had me help her sing the the girls’ parts and the duets. I don’t understand. Well, I did indeed like her usual line-up of artists though.”
“Isn’t Zac an only child…?”
Ojou looked at me suspiciously and I noticed that my tongue had slipped.
“Someone like a little sister.”
That’s right. We weren’t related by blood.
“Hmm, there is a girl like that…”
Ojou gripped her parasol and pouted. Was she sulking?
“Ojou is cuter you know?”
For now I compared her with my previous little sister and said the truth. If she saw Ojou she would probably be delighted. I can easily picture her attacking this beautiful girl with jealousy and abusive language. Ojou would be troubled so I’m glad she’s not here.
“I, I don’t really…!? Better yet, stop saying things like that so unreservedly even though you don’t understand!!”
Day in and day out, Ojou said as she scolded me with a red face. But I didn’t understand what I was being scolded for whatsoever. I didn’t understand but it looked like I had done something wrong to her.
Even as I tilted my head, I apologized for the time being. Ojou put down her pitchfork even as she muttered, goodness gracious.
“Regardless, the spirits truly are happy.”
“Ah, you could see them right.”
She was half in doubt when I told her before that spirits liked music, but it seemed that she accepted it after seeing for herself. Since I don’t have much magic I can’t feel anything from the surroundings except some enjoyment.
“If you were to offer music I thought it would have been more holy…”
I saw Ojou making an astonished face at my high-tempo song. It looked like she was imagining something like Kagura or a sacred hymn.
(TN: Kagura is ancient Shinto music and dancing)
“It’s fine because I like it.”
I asserted that anything went as long as I had fun, and Ojou sighed. She didn’t want to agree, but she had to after seeing the proof.
“What’s the matter today?”
As I returned to weed-whacking, I asked her what kind of report she would give. She would usually start talking right away, but for some reason she was silent.
Even after waiting a little bit she didn’t show any movements. She had a parasol, but the sun was strong so maybe she got a heat stroke. I worried, paused my work and turned around.
She hadn’t coillapsed, but she was hanging her head with a somewhat difficult face. She seemed as if she was enduring something silently. Something might have been hard to say for her.
It couldn’t be helped so I stopped working and pocketed my gloves. I went to her, knelt and looked into her eyes.
When I asked her eyebrows took the shape of a ハ. I noticed that she was clenching her hand on her parasol while gripping her other hand farther away, quietly.
When I tried smiling to calm her down, her taut lips relaxed.
“I’ve received a written invitation for me from Mother.”
Ojou was talking bit by bit, and I let her know I was listening. Unlike just now when she was trying her hardest to hold it in, now she was no longer hiding her uneasy expression.
“There is a party in a month to celebrate the first prince’s birthday…”
I heard that it was going to be a party geared for children the prince’s age, from afternoon to dusk. So being close to his age, Ojou was asked to come at all means.
“Isn’t it good that you were invited to the prince’s birthday party? You can see one of those princes you love so much in his natural habitat.”
“This is not the time for that…!”
When I tried saying something to cheer her up, she immediately replied with a denial.
“It’s, my first time appearing before others you see…!? For it to be His Highness’ birthday party… I can’t even dance properly…”
“It’s fine, I’m telling you.”
“How can you say it’s fine!?”
Ojou got angry at my words. But her eyes were filled with anxiety. She looked like she could cry at any second.
“After all, Ojou is always beautiful.”
I always see her so I know. Ojou does her best in practice, and her attitude becomes more beautiful day by day.
“It’s fine. Oku-sama and the Duke take pride in you, their splendid daughter.”
“Is it-really…? I will not disappoint my parents…?”
“Yeah. If anything I think they’ll be proud of you.”
“Is it really- fine?”
“It’s fine. It’ll be alright if you act just like you always have.”
Until Ojou fully believes me I’ll smile and repeat the words, it’s fine.
“It’s fine. You’re cool.”
“That’s not praise.”
She pouted slightly.
“Eh, but that was super high praise.”
Cool. That’s praise of the highest caliber from a man. I wonder why women don’t like it.
You’re hopeless, Ojou said with a giggle. After finally seeing her smile, I smiled widely myself. Thank goodness.
“Yeah, just like always.”
After I said that, Ojou came to herself and lost her bearings. For sure, she’s embarrassed at having shown herself whining. That’s just how nervous she’s been. For me, royalty is so far away that they don’t feel real to me, but they feel real for her, so she feels more pressure.
I wonder if it’s the same kind of anxiety you feel for a piano recital. Well, I’ve never learned anything worth bringing to a recital in my previous life so I don’t know. Ah, job interviews were the closest thing. Yeah, I was so nervous with those that I couldn’t do them like everything else. When I think that way, Ojou sure has it rough.
Even if it’s in a party, she’s going to get to meet one of those princes she loves, so she should look forward to it more. I wonder if it feels like booking an interview for a job that would be in your dream country. Like, you’d want to enjoy it but you couldn’t given the situation.
But for me, birthday parties are to be enjoyed. Ojou should go and have fun.
“Well, go and have fun.”
When I spoke, Ojou gripped the hands that she had been gripping once again.
“…Zac, you come too.”
Ah. She’s really timid.
Her pale blue pupils were shaking with discouragement. It’s rare for her to ask something of me that I couldn’t grant. She probably understands herself that I can’t.
“The Duke is also coming with you isn’t he?”
“Then it’s alright, isn’t it? He is a strong ally.”
“But… if Zac is there…”
Ojou tried to argue, but I stopped her. I looked at her honestly and said.
“I’m not a noble so I can’t.”
It seemed like she would retort for a second, but she swallowed her words with a gulp.
Ojou tilted her head at what I still had to say.
“A noble’s ceremonious clothes wouldn’t fit on me.”
“…Hehe, that’s true.”
I gave a bitter smile. Ojou imagined it and laughed. It seemed as if she knew that I couldn’t come with her so she hadn’t imagined me actually going.
Ojou apologized a second after laughing because she said something unreasonable. I wasn’t really bothered so I shook my head.
“So, why are you so nervous?”
She’s likely this discouraged because she’s not confident about something.
“…Probably, I will get a chance to dance with His Highness because of my family status.”
“You’re not confident in dancing?”
“I still haven’t been complimented by my teacher even once… So I wonder if I’ll be fit to be His Highness’ partner…”
Ojou muttered, saying it’s very nerve-wracking, and I smiled, saying it’s fine.
“You still have a month. You can practice.”
“But I don’t want my parents to know.”
She didn’t want her parents to know that she wasn’t confident in dancing from her practicing more. But from the way she said it, it seemed that she was good to do voluntary practice.
Is there no place we can use? My practice garden is too bright, and if it’s this season then Ojou would collapse. Dancing. It would be a social dance so a flat floor would be better.
After thinking for a little I remembered a perfect place.
“Alright, Ojou. Let’s do secret special training.”
“How- will we do it secretly??”
“There’s a good place.”
With a smile of satisfaction, I grabbed Ojou’s hand and headed to the west.
To the east, there are places detached from the main residence but linked to it by hallways. It’s probably for mistresses or something, but the current Ernst family doesn’t show the slightest sign of that. They only use the rooms every now and then. Those were also quite useful, but I had a purpose in crossing the hallways here.
The hallways were surrounded by a pond, and it branched off into a summer house exactly halfway through. It was made of stone in the shape of a cone and a dome roof. It had a moderate size, enough to hold a tea party with a few people. Tables weren’t placed here except when there was a tea party, so right now there was nothing. It’s the best venue for a dance.
The pond on which the summer house surrounded it on every side, was capped by water lilies and in turn surrounded by flower beds of roses. Neither of them were blooming at this time, which was probably why there was no tea party being held here.
“How is it? Isn’t it alright?”
“Indeed, it is.”
I led her to the center of the summer house, and Ojou looked around her.
“Okay, do your best! Ojou!”
I gave her two thumbs ups in support. When you call it special training it gets you pumped up, like you get fighting spirit.
“Oh. I mean, for now I guess?”
Ojou was surprised because she thought that I had suddenly told her to dance. I just wanted to convey my support.
“If you, wanna practice now I’ll go, back…?”
Thinking she didn’t want to be seen, I made to go back to work when something tugged my shirt from the back. When I turned around, Ojou had grabbed the hem of my clothes.
“What is it? Ojou?”
She grabbed it so hard that it would wrinkle and glared up at me. What on earth?
“…You’ll support me won’t you?”
I wonder why she checked. I didn’t understand what she wanted to say, but it was true that I was going to support her so I nodded.
“Then be my partner for practice.”
“Eh!? But I can’t dance.”
“I’ll teach you the very basics.”
Wouldn’t she be putting the cart before the horse by teaching me? Will that be her practice? Actually, Dad… would, ah it’s useless. If Ojou asked me to he seems like he would let me off from work.
“Having a partner similar in height will help me practice.”
“Uu… I understand.”
I’m not suitable, I thought, but if Ojou would do her best for that reason then I couldn’t refuse her request.
“Then let’s start from tomorrow.”
“I’ll bring an apron. I don’t want to dirty your pretty dress.”
I had an apron I used for cooking in the cabin, so if Ojou wore that then she shouldn’t get dirty.
I felt a tugging sensation and looked. She was definitely gripping even harder.
“…Ojou. It’s alright with me but this’ll get really wrinkled.”
Ojou went from hanging her head to gasping and hurriedly removed her hand. Her cheeks are a little red. Maybe she’s been outside for too long. Though I thought this summer house would be more refreshing for her since it’s surrounded by water. When we practice, let’s not just prepare a towel but also a water bottle.
“Let’s go back for now?”
I unconsciously offered my hand. Then I noticed. The path was clear, so if you thought about it well there wasn’t any need for us to hold hands. Hm? Ojou could have followed behind me, so I didn’t need to hold her hand coming here either?
As I thought that I did something unnecessary, I forgot to pull back my hand.
Before I did that, Ojou put her hand, which was one size smaller than mine on the top of my palm.
“…What is it?”
“Nothing, nothing at all.”
I foolishly smiled at her suspicious pale blue eyes.
As we linked hands on the way back, I remembered that I had completely ditched work. Oh no. I’d ask him starting tomorrow, but for today Dad will definitely scold me.
It was my mistake so it can’t be helped. For now, let’s make sure Ojou won’t notice.
She glanced at me. But I was relieved since she didn’t notice my trembling. Then I looked at Ojou and suddenly remembered.
If Dad will scold me anyway, let’s try asking for one more thing.
TN: Hi welcome to the new website. Rest assured I’m still the same translator. I won’t post tomorrow, Sunday, December 5, and I may or may not take a break the following day as well because I’m up to my neck in requirements. Uni student, please understand.
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