I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 12
I was on a vast lawn behind the mansion. The place was reserved for washing and drying clothes, so not many people came.
“Your posture has improved.”
“Is that so?”
When I finished training martial arts, my master, the butler Heins-san, told me something I hadn’t realized.
I was dripping with sweat, but Master looked unfazed as always, like a surface of water with an unreadable expression. It’s strange that he’s like that despite sparring with me a bit at the end. What about his sweat glands? Though I was just thrown away without being able to get a single hit in.
“Yes. I thought that you might become a hunchback as you were so I thought to correct you.”
Master told me that it saved us some of our time. Indeed, there are many times in gardening work that I bend forward so I might get a hunchback. My Mom told me that the work I did while bending down was helpful since Dad was too tall, and I was happy to be of use. But to think that it could have such an effect.
“Are you doing anything?”
“Uum… ah, I try to strecth before we do muscle training.”
I thought of something. But I couldn’t say it so I gave him that answer. It’s not a lie that I’ve been stretching more.
I felt that since I was in front of Master he could see what I was hiding. My heart beat loudly inside me. The more it did, the more I thought that I couldn’t avoid his eyes. I looked back on him directly and quietly.
“Is that so. Please continue doing that.”
I was somehow not called out. My heart calmed down.
The reason my form is improving was probably because I’ve been helping Ojou practice. She was practicing the basic waltz, she said. There must be some other types of waltz. But that foundational practice was hard for me. It used muscles that I had never used before, and consciously maintaining my posture was more tiresome than remembering the forms in my martial arts.
For the meantime, I was afraid to step on Ojou’s feet. At first I did my very best to remember the footwork.
I’m kinda weak in rhythm.
According to Ojou, it was the difference between triple and quadruple time. I usually tended to sing in quadruple time, so it was hard for me to get the Waltz since it was in triple time.
When practice had ended I called out to Master as he went to leave since I had something to ask him.
“…What is it?”
He replied after a beat. I wonder why his voice held some resignation.
“It’s been bothering me for a while now, but are servants who can fight like you common?”
“There’s not many, but there are those who are hired from knight families and such. They can act even without legitimate security guards.”
“Some of them must be assigned to Lydia-sama…”
For some reason, Shishou put his fist to his chin in thought, glanced at me and muttered such a thing. It seemed that Ojou would be going out more often from now on so a bodyguard would be necessary. Did that mean that the Duke and Oku-sama also had servants who could fight? I really don’t think that such a person could have been among the maids at our tea party the other day, but there might have been.
“Which means that there will be more people close in age to Ojou, sama?”
“Indeed, she will be able to choose a young lord near her age at her discretion. Is something the matter?”
“No, I just thought that Ojou… sama, would be able to make a fr-companion.”
“You’re quite carefree…”
Ah, Master isn’t hiding his exasperation. It’s rare for him to have an expression. Did I say something that weird?
Nobles seem to naturally hire private tutors until the time comes for them to learn about their duties, so it feels like they don’t have many chances to interact with the same generation. Even if it’s a bodyguard, it would be good for her to spend time with someone of the same age. Which reminds me, there weren’t many primary schoolers in my previous world who could use the monkey bar. If they could they would be called monkeys. Ah, even now, when I tried to do a dropkick to compensate for my lack of height, Master called me a monkey so it’s kind of the same.
Pachin. My irrelevant thoughts were interrupted by a sound from Master’s watch.
“Let us stop the idle chat. You get back to work as well.”
“Yes, sorry for keeping you!”
I bowed and said goodbye on reflex. Master knit his brows a little bit. But he returned to his quiet expression immediately, turned heel and returned to the mansion.
I wiped my sweat with a towel, went back to my Dad and ran his errands. For days when I have training with Master, I tell Ojou that I won’t be coming. Ojou probably wouldn’t want me to because I stink of sweat, and it wouldn’t be funny if we were seen.
Besides, I don’t want her to see me look uncool. I don’t have the dignity of an older person or anything since she always gets mad at me, but if I can I’d like to avoid having her be even more fed up with me than she already is.
I got a strange feeling and turned around. But nothing was there. More or less just a maid who was cleaning windows from within the mansion.
Recently, I’ve been getting strange feelings whenever I worked near the mansion. It sometimes feel like the nape of my neck is squirming. When I turn around, there are servants hard at work but they don’t seem to be doing anything irregular.
“Am I getting pranked by a spirit or something??”
I couldn’t see them, so I had an image of the spirits loving to play pranks like fairies. They even enjoy my singing, so it feels as if anything goes for them as long as it was fun.
I let the unclear sensation stay unclear and returned to work.
Just under a month has passed surprisingly quickly since I started helping Ojou with her self-practice. She has been coming to talk with me as she has until now, but the time she did so changed depending on her practice time. So other people have never learned of it. Ojou has never come to me alone saying that she was looking for me. That’s amazing at this point. She’s been calling it “a walk” every time even though she probably takes too long for it to be just that. Maybe people think it’s okay because she stays within the territory, or maybe Katherine-san follows her.
Now, it’s the day of the final practice before the party happens. I don’t know if I’ve been able to dance properly until now after doing my best to match Ojou. I worried about it as our practice ended, so I asked.
“Were you able to practice with me…?”
“Yes. I’m alone when my teacher teaches me, so I’ve learned to be careful when I actually have a partner.”
Ojou seemed satisfied as she said. I was relieved.
“Okay. Thank goodness…”
I was reflected in pale blue eyes, smiling lifelessly. Sure enough, it seemed that I was nervous since I wasn’t used to this.
Ojou opened her mouth while hesitating. She seemed nervous, poking her index fingers together as they bended and extended.
“…Er, for accompanying me in my practice, y-you were a big help… so, um…”
Ojou avoided my eyes and pursed her lips before looking at me.
Like a blooming bud, Ojou smiled a bit awkwardly.
Being able to see her face like this, I’m glad I did my best even though I wasn’t suited for it. My cheeks slackened from happiness.
“Do your best in the real thing.”
I gave her a paper bag that I had prepared along with words of encouragement. Ojou took and blankly stared at it.
“I can’t come with you, so instead I’m giving you a charm.”
Ojou widened her eyes slightly and took out the content of the bag.
What came out was a pale blue ribbon with a white baby rose charm in bloom attached to it.
“It was light and cheap.”
I added just in case. It was a ribbon I could buy with my pocket money, so it wasn’t made of silk or anything. I asked my Dad for a baby rose, and he had me take one out from the conservatory.
It was harder for me to make a baby rose charm than I had thought it would be, and I failed many times. I thought to name it blizzard or something so I tried freezing it. When I finally froze it on the third try, I noticed that the cells had exceeded their capacity and broke. Then I re-thought it as a kind of dry flower and tried to remove the humidity from the flower. But it was difficult to fine-tune, as if osmotic pressure had gotten in the way. Finally, on the 10th try, I succeeded in removing the moisture while preserving its original condition. Then I regretted trying to manipulate water on a nanomolecular level despite not being good at cooking. I overused my nerves, so I won’t be wanting to use water magic for a while.
(TN: Dried flowers from my basic understanding are flowers that have their moisture removed, which somehow preserves them for one to three years.)
For Ojou, tomorrow was going to be like a test or a recital. I tried making it as a wish for her to succeed, but maybe it was too much. She’s been staring at it since a while ago without a reaction. But I made the ribbon so that it probably wouldn’t get in the way. Ah, I knew it. It was a bad idea to put it in a paper bag, huh.
“Sorry, I thought it’d be better than giving it as it was so I put it in a paper bag…”
Why were boxes for decorations so expensive? I got a rough look at one. It was more expensive than the charm itself so I didn’t do a thing.
She still hasn’t reacted. Maybe she didn’t like it. But I picked a pretty one.
“If… you don’t like it, you can throw…”
“I absolutely will not throw it!!”
Before I finished speaking, she hid the ribbon as if to shield it. She appeared menacing so it wouldn’t be taken. But I wouldn’t take it anyway since it was Ojou’s now. Maybe I can take this as her liking it.
For now, I raised both of my palms and visibly signalled that I didn’t mean any harm so that she’d stop holding the ribbon in her arms and threatening me like a cat. Seeing that I wasn’t going to take it, Ojou let her guard down.
She gently opened her closed hand and looked at the flower on her palm again.
Ojou smiled broadly and happily. Her whisper was small but I heard it, too. I’m glad she liked it.
“I will do my best tomorrow.”
“Don’t get too nervous. You finally get to see a wild prince.”
“Why are you calling him wild… whenever I look at this, I’ll remember Zac and be discouraged, so it will be fine.”
“Eh, are you speaking ill of me?”
I put my feelings of support in it, but I don’t remember giving it an effect like that.
“In a way I am praising you.”
In a way, she says. Well, my charm won’t go to waste so let’s leave it at that.
At sunset, the stone summerhouse and the surface of the pond were all covered in orange, and we laughed at our usual exchange. It might be sloppy, but it felt like enough for us.
Ojou will surely be okay. After seeing her hard work, I was sure of her success tomorrow. I didn’t know of noble’s parties, and I didn’t know what had to be done to succeed in them, but Ojou would settle it stylishly and come home.
When I went home that day, before I left the mansion, I saw a maid with red eyes. Did she have hay fever even though it was summer? The pollen should have been extracted from the flowers being used as decorations within the mansion though. It weighed on my mind so I asked my Dad about it. She might have been weak to a breed of flower near the mansion so we were going to examine them after this. Let’s try asking for Master’s cooperation again when the next training comes.