I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 15
“Thank you for always brewing delicious tea for me.”
After taking a sip of black tea, Lydia thanked her maid, Katherine, with a smile.
“Such words are wasted on me. However, I am glad that it suits your taste, Lydia-sama.”
As she said, Katherine smiled happily. She felt joy for her Lady, who has started to show her honest expressions to her. When thanking other servants, she would get too self-conscious and stiffen up. That was lovable in itself, but her Lady didn’t know that she was well-liked among the servants.
Her Lady had gotten incessantly anxious about stiffening up whenever she spoke to someone, so she was reassured that she had someone aside from the gardening apprentice boy with whom she could be comfortable. She was the very first aside from her own family, and it was a great honor.
(TN: Yes, that’s what it says in the raws)
It was her own house, so if she could be like that with the other servants then it would help her relax. The desire for her to do so gushed forth. Seeing her Lady, Katherine anticipated that she would ease up gradually.
When that happened, perhaps her greatest cause for worry would become Isaac-san.
Every now and then, her Lady returns from her walks in the garden with a red face. So she has taken to preparing black tea with a relaxing effect as she waited for her return. It didn’t seem like he was aware of it, but the boy was good at swaying her Lady’s heart. She acted in a manner fitting of a Duke’s Daughter, but only when it came to him did her emotions overflow. At times like those, she was reminded that her Lady was actually a girl younger than herself.
She could do with that day coming sooner, Katherine thought.
Suddenly, she felt something wrong seeing her Lady stare at the garden from the terrace.
“Lydia-sama, will you not take a walk on this day?”
There was still time before her afternoon practice. She would usually come to the gardening apprentice boy once she finished her tea.
Lydia glanced at Katherine with eyes filled with confusion before staring back at the garden.
“I don’t, know what I should talk about…”
Until now, whenever something auspicious happened to her she would report it to the boy. There were also times when she spoke out about what troubled her. But there was just one thing she couldn’t say. It was a wonder why she couldn’t say it when it should have made her happy, and it wasn’t as if she could consult him about why she couldn’t say it either. Recently, just because of that one thing, she’s been having trouble saying other things.
Lydia lightly made her hands into fists and hung her head when Katherine-san’s words came to her.
“Is it not fine, not to speak?”
Don’t talk. That option wasn’t in Lydia’s head. She widened her eyes. But Katherine-san said it as if it was nothing.
“Is it not acceptable to not talk about what you don’t want to say? You could talk about it with someone whom you could say it to.”
You don’t have to hide it just because you can’t say it to him, Katherine admonished Lydia with a smile. Right now, her Lady was feeling guilty as if she was hiding something. Since the party a few days ago, Katherine herself noticed that she seemed engrossed in her pensiveness, and she also guessed what it was about. But that was within the world of nobles. Unless her Lady brought it up, she couldn’t inquire about it as a servant. And even if he was her Lady’s friend, the gardening apprentice boy was also a servant. There was essentially no need to talk about it.
“Lydia-sama, do you want to talk about it? Or do you not?”
At Katherine’s question, Lydia asked her heart. Which in the world was it?
She wanted to say it and have someone listen, but on the other hand, for whatever reason, she feared what would come after that. But what was she scared of?
“Lydia-sama, please excuse me.”
After notifying Lydia, Katherine took her hand and wrapped both of her hands around it. Her hand was warm, and her smile equally so.
“Please do as you wish, Lydia-sama. I am by your side.”
Though I don’t know if I can be of use, Katherine said as her warm smile showed a little bit of bitterness. Lydia shook her head in denial. She was kind enough to not ask about the heart of the matter, and it almost made her cry.
Lydia endured and smiled.
Because of Katherine, she was able to resolve herself a little bit.
“…I will go on a walk.”
“Please take care.”
Katherine’s words gave her a push on the back, and Lydia headed to the garden.
Today he was working at a place she could see from the terrace, so before long she arrived near him.
Holding a basket with a mountain of weeds in it, the gardener boy faced his copper-colored eyes at Lydia.
She thought that she had to say something, but when she tried to the words wouldn’t come out. She was resolved to meet him, but she hadn’t decided what to talk about.
While she couldn’t speak, the boy exchanged one or two words with his Dad and gave him the basket. Then he went towards Lydia.
“Good timing. Ojou, will you come with me to my garden?”
He offered his hand with a smile. My garden, he said. That was probably the small, sunny clearing he used for practice.
Him having something to say to her was like a lifeboat for Lydia since she couldn’t speak well. She took his hand.
Just like last time, he guided her as they walked their path where there was no path. But unlike last time, she wasn’t in disarray, so she could get a rough grasp of which direction the place was in. When they went under the hedge to enter the clearing, he wrapped her with a large cloth so that none of the foliage would get on her dress. That was when she learned the reason he brought that cloth on his other hand which she wasn’t holding.
When they entered the clearing, it wasn’t as hot as summer, but a bright light descended on them.
“What is… this?”
Just like last time, the clearing had owls on its fountain. She thought that nothing much had changed. But after looking at where she stood, she was surprised at one thing that had changed significantly.
“I bought seeds and planted them here.”
The culprit smiled in satisfaction. The grass in the clearing had all changed into white clovers.
White Clovers(from the manga)
“Zac, you did this on your own…?”
Lydia asked in disbelief, and she was answered by a curious head tilt. The clearing was small but it had an area. To change that whole surface from what was originally there to white clovers would have needed a considerable amount of effort, but he nodded calmly. Even though he even had his regular work, was it not hard?
“You can walk around, Ojou.”
Then he smiled and told Lydia something she couldn’t believe.
After she was perplexed and visibly stopped to think for a while, he proposed.
“Then wanna dance with me?”
She was shocked that he was saying those words. He only accompanied her in her dance practice. Though he didn’t like dancing as far as she knew, he invited her to a dance, even while stepping on the white clovers.
“I can’t step on something you took great trouble to…!”
Young, round and cute three-leafed clovers covered the surface. She couldn’t see any of them withering, neither could she bring herself to step on them when they were so lively, all the more if their gardener knew.
Three-leaf clovers(also from the manga)
“It’s fine, it’s fine.”
But the boy in question foolishly smiled and pulled Lydia’s hand.
After pulling Lydia close, the gardening apprentice boy started the basic steps of the Waltz. He did it often during practice. Unlike when he was just accompanying her, he intended to make Lydia move her feet, so he lead firmly.
And as much as he lead, Lydia followed on reflex. Unlike he who fumbled, she had grown used to the dance in her body.
“I knew it’d be hard to dance.”
He made a bitter smile, and Lydia angrily replied. This was neither a flat dance hall nor was it a tidy stone paving. The sensation of the ground kept changing, so their steps easily wavered. The gardening apprentice looked like he was enjoying the unshapely and awkward dance.
Lydia couldn’t avoid stepping in match with him, even as she was left with nothing but discontent. He never explained his actions beforehand, but this time he didn’t explain even while he did them.
She asked without hiding her irritation.
“What are you planning?”
“Nn… it’s still a secret.”
She gazed at him in wonder as he smiled, denying her of an explanation. To think that when she had something she couldn’t say, there was also something he couldn’t say. She had ended up thinking as if she knew everything about him when there was no way she did. And she was reminded of that right away.
Why was his timing this good? It was unfair of him.
Learning that even he had a secret, her throat got jammed.
“I also have something I cannot say yet.”
“…But, I’ll say it now.”
“Okay. Then I’ll tell you too.”
Her voice shook a little, but he pretended that he didn’t notice and accepted Lydia’s words with a smile as warm as this sunny spot.
With about a single Waltz, they went around the owl’s fountain a few times and separated for the day.
Two days after, the Ernst Household welcomed a guest. Lydia greeted them with her Father, Gerald.
“Welcome. Please come in, your Highness.”
Imitating Gerald, Lydia pinched the hem of her skirt and bowed.
“Sorry for coming at a busy time. Your garden is famous after all. I wanted to see it once.”
“Then let us have Lydia lead you into the garden.”
“Aah, before that.”
The first Prince gave his attendant some papers. Then he gave them to Gerald.
“I would like the Head of Three Ministries to examine this.”
“…I will have a look.”
Without showing even the slightest bit of the surprise he felt inside, Gerald accepted the documents with a quiet smile and put his gaze on them. He got an overview and widened his eyes.
“Your Highness, did you…?”
“I am aware that it is rough in some places. But considering that your research organization also has its own preparations to make, I thought the sooner the better. There are also those in doubt, so this should be kept a secret.”
“Indeed. We are not sure if this would be the best course to take in the current situation.”
Gerald smiled bitterly. He would have refused if the contents could have been taken as the high-handedness of a monarch, but if he was presented with a practical proposal to something he had been struggling to deal with, there was not much he could do but nod.
“A sudden change would spark a rebellion after all.”
“I will give an answer before you return to the castle.”
Gerald held hope and fear towards the smiling first Prince’s future as he smiled back.
“Dia, I have a little work to do so can I leave this to you?”
On Gerald’s request, Lydia nodded and lead the first Prince to a place that had many autumn flowers in bloom. He had sent a letter in advance, so a table for tea was already prepared there.
Cuckoo Thistles, Autumn Bellflowers and Monkey Grass, all purple, Chrysanthemum, Yellow Patrinia and Rain Lily, all yellow, had been arranged for display, with tiny Glossy Abelias in the center. Elsewhere, there were pink Dianthuses and western Cat’s Whiskers, Leather Flowers and Globe Amaranths, providing a good accentuation. A sweet smell wafted in from somewhere, and following it lead to a peek of the orange of a Fragrant Olive within the trees.
(TN: This paragraph made me stop for the day)
The autumn flowers bloomed, and the first Prince let out a sigh of admiration at the prided scenery.
“This many flowers bloom even in Autumn huh…”
It was a sight to behold. Lydia felt pride at the first Prince’s words. The skill of her house’s gardeners were more praised as higher than normal, but hearing other people agree made her happy.
“The way they bloom still feels natural. The castle can’t imitate this.”
“This house will rejoice at your praise, Your Highness.”
The first Prince smiled at her. The brightness in it disturbed her for a second but she endured it, because her Father had entrusted her with entertaining this guest. As a Duke’s Daughter she mustn’t act shamelessly, Lydia encouraged herself.
When the maid Katherine brewed tea, the two took their seats. Then the first Prince dismissed his attendant, so Lydia also judged that she should order people to leave, and excused Katherine.
After seeing that they were left alone in the autumn garden, the first Prince smiled in good fun.
“Now then, we can finally be at ease.”
His eyes were asking for her to correct herself. Lydia spoke.
The first Prince, Roy, nodded in satisfaction. He seemed childlike, unlike when he was speaking with her Father. Lydia’s nervousness lifted a bit.
“Sorry for visiting. Duke Ernst seems particularly busy.”
“No, Father was able to rest more. It was a good opportunity.”
“Which means I’ve increased his workload. Just as I thought, I’ll apologize later.”
Roy gave a wry smile at Lydia’s words. Remembering his exchange with her Father just now, Lydia asked.
“Was that something you could only tell Father?”
She felt something political, so she asked about the point she was curious of and not the actual details.
“Yeah. The management of the educational body also needs the Du-your Father’s jurisdiction, so I asked him directly.”
“At your young age, you hold concern even towards the country’s education.”
At Lydia’s eyes filled with pure reverence, Roy’s eyes widened, and he started laughing with a giggle as if something was funny.
“That was… the thing is, I’ve only written down my selfish whims as they were.”
Being told that she had exaggerated the private matter, this time Lydia widened her eyes.
“If my Father sees it, it would likely be exposed immediately. So I took time away from my marriage candidate interviews because I wanted to lay some groundwork with Duke Ernst.”
“His Majesty cannot know…?”
“No. Because what I’m doing has no certainty.”
So if the King knew, he would stop it, Roy said.
“…Someday, I will become King. I don’t intend to abandon the rights and responsibility that come with it. But I have another desire. I thought I’d try struggling a little bit.”
Words ill-matched for him. Even so, Lydia could see determination in his honey-colored eyes.
“I want an accomplice for that.”
Being directly stared at by those honey-colored eyes, Lydia’s eyes were in wonder.
“Yes. Under the guise of thanking you for my birthday celebration, this visit is a marriage candidate interview.”
When Roy saw the list of marriage candidates to visit, handed to him by his retainer, it was so transparent that he almost laughed. After looking through it, Lydia’s name was at the bottom.
“The Ernst House has always been neutral. If the Head of Three Ministries wasn’t, he wouldn’t be suited for the job. Considering family status and lineage, you are the most suitable.”
Lydia’s parents thought that she was adequate, but she herself hadn’t thought about her own value. But even Lydia understood that welcoming someone who leaned towards either side as the Princess was not preferable for the Royal Family.
“I want an extension until I graduate from the academy. In that period, I need a fiance so that my retainers would stay silent. Someone who understands this would be good.”
Even though he had several years before he was to enter the academy, he was already setting his eyes on the distant future. Lydia was speechless. Was this boy really only different from her in a few things?
“And if I were to enter a political marriage, Lady Lydia… you’d be good. Will you not cooperate with me?”
Roy looked at her, smiling with serious eyes, and Lydia straightened her back. She couldn’t give a foolish reply. But still, it wasn’t as if Lydia could give an answer right away to a topic that she hadn’t thought of until now.
As she worried about her answer, Roy smiled wryly and changed his gaze to a kind one.
“You don’t need to answer now. I want you to think for yourself and reach the conclusion that you can trust me after you get to know me.”
“Something like testing Roy-sama, I’d never…”
“It’s okay. You have that right. I am trying to use you. You yourself will take on an excessive disadvantage. I’d like you to be able to use me as well.”
What a disrespectful thing it was to use the Prince, Roy-sama. The disadvantage he spoke of could perhaps be the reproach Lydia would suffer if the royal family postponed their marriage and it was cancelled. From how Roy-sama spoke, he seemed likely to even cancel the marriage depending on the results that would yield.
Her reply to Roy was something to decide after the present, in the future. It wasn’t something she could undertake out of mere love and respect. After a while of hesitation, she accepted the fact that she couldn’t answer him right now.
“Will you allow me to think about it?”
“Of course. I intend to.”
Roy smiled and brought the black tea to his lips, saying that was enough. Lydia followed suit and brought black tea to her lips, feeling the wetness in her throat. It seemed that she was considerably nervous.
After she finished taking a sip, Lydia asked just one last thing that has weighed on her mind.
“If I refuse, what will you do?”
“I’ll have to choose from the other candidates. I won’t be able to talk with them as I do with you, so I wouldn’t explain this.”
He replied with a clean and smooth decision. Having this explained to them or not, which was crueler? Lydia could feel good faith from how he had told her this. No matter how true it was that noble daughters were political tools, this was far better than being used without knowing.
How would the other ladies fare? Those who yearn for Roy-sama himself, and those who yearn for power. There were different motives, but they would accept the conditions for the possibility of becoming queen. However, the person themselves would likely be pressured by their surroundings because it was possible for the marriage to be cancelled. That wasn’t convenient for Roy-sama.
She looked at Roy, who was looking at the garden as he drank tea. He was truly a boy who looked like an angel who had jumped out of a painting. And he was exceedingly intelligent. His personality was even more than what befitted a Prince, and Lydia respected him. Before he met him it was simple adoration, but after actually meeting and speaking to him, she felt respect as a citizen and as one of his subjects. She thought that it was an honor for him, the Prince, to relax and be calm around her as a friend.
She still couldn’t imagine herself as the queen, but if she could take a place from which she could put him at ease, Lydia wanted to help him that much.
“…Now that you mention it, was it alright to so easily reveal facts about your marriage interviews even while it’s still in the candidate stage?”
“It’s nothing to hide from a friend after all.”
Wasn’t it a leak of information to let his marriage candidates know that he had noticed the goal of these interviews? Thinking that, she asked, but after seeing a bright smile that betrayed his trust in her, Lydia was convicted. After being trusted by him this much, there was no way she could betray him.
“And I also wanted to use this opportunity to contact Duke Ernst.”
“So you used me as an excuse.”
“It’s fun to talk with you, Lady Lydia. I contacted the Duke only because this was a good opportunity to.”
She could tell from his expression that Roy’s words held no falsehood. Because of that, her own expression loosened up.
“It cannot be helped. I will let you use me to that extent.”
Roy expressed gratitude that didn’t only reach the surface at Lydia’s words, which she deliberately said after a sigh. This boy’s smile is truly impossible to hate, Lydia thought. Was this what they meant by a royal’s charisma?
“I thought that you would be more mild, Roy-sama.”
She didn’t think that he was hiding a forcefulness and a will strong enough to use her for political gain and to get what he wanted. His methods were very unconventional, but they also had a considerably childish side to them.
“Do you hate me that much?”
“I do not hate you.”
He smiled in a way that felt befitting of his age, and Lydia preferred that. Roy gave a broad smile of true happiness at her answer.
“I see. I’m very happy myself to know that I have feelings befitting my age. It was also fun to talk as I liked.”
His methods weren’t common, Lydia thought, but she was silenced in front of Roy’s smile.
She didn’t have any feelings strong enough to make her want to struggle, so she felt a little jealous. Will she someday hold a strong feeling that she’ll want to stick to? If that day came, it would be nice if she could move like him.
Facing him, and facing herself, she felt like she could give an answer to the issue he had given her. She was very nervous at welcoming Roy, but talking to him actually gave Lydia courage. She didn’t notice that her eyes, like Nigella flowers, housed light within them.
A few days after her marriage candidate interview, Lydia met the gardening apprentice boy on a walk.
“You’ll tell me today, won’t you?”
When Lydia asked, he readily nodded, saying that he would reveal his secret. After notifying his Father, the two headed to the clearing with the owl fountain together. After they passed underneath the hedge, a carpet of white clovers expanded before them like last time.
The gardening apprentice boy entered first, and Lydia turned around as she stepped in.
“I wanted to give Ojou happiness.”
Lydia didn’t understand his abrupt statement. Happiness couldn’t be given to someone like an object.
The boy covered Lydia with something. That large something passed by her head and fell on her shoulders. It was a hoop made from white clovers.
The white clover necklace was made purely of four-leaf clovers. She realized that the happiness he spoke of were these symbols of fortune. But why were there so many rare four-leaf clovers? Lydia was surprised.
He urged her to, and she bended forward to see four-leaf clovers scattered here and there with round three-leaf clovers.
Unbelievable. A few days ago it was only there-leaf clovers.
“It’s because you walked on them.”
Not knowing what he meant, she looked at him leaning over next to her. His face had an innocent smile on it, as if he had succeeded in playing a prank.
“I don’t really get it either, but after you stepped on them they surprisingly got more leaves.”
Was that why he seemed to want her to walk on the white clovers a few days ago? She was a little fed up once she knew the reason.
“Wouldn’t this have happened even if only you had stepped on it and not me?”
If he wanted to surprise her with four-leaf clovers, then there was no need to drag her in, was there? After she said that, he shook his head, saying that there was no meaning in that.
“It won’t work if you don’t walk on them.”
“Because, if you do that then happiness will follow your footsteps. I don’t know why you’re not okay, but if you really walk that path with your feet on the ground then it will be okay.”
She was surprised.
Not only did he notice that she was troubled, he even cheered her on like this. She was afraid of the consequences of the actions she was determined to take. But he showed her proof that she could see with her eyes, that the path she would walk will be blessed. It wasn’t as if he knew what she was worrying about or anything, so this didn’t prove anything. He only cheered her on. It’ll be fine if she did her best. But his “fine” was very trustworthy.
Talking with Roy gave her courage, but he erased the uneasiness that hadn’t left her. Something hot reached her cheeks.
She could no longer stop the first. Tears fell from her Nigella eyes one after another. The gardening apprentice boy widened his eyes and lost his cool seeing that.
“Hey, wa- I, was that insensitive…!? I didn’t know anything, I’m sorry!! I just wanted you to be lively-”
Lydia opened her mouth to interrupt him before he apologized even more profusely with tears streaming down her cheeks.
“A few days ago, I met his Highness at a party.”
The gardening apprentice boy widened his eyes when she started talking and nodded.
“His Highness, Roy, was amazing. He was very good at leading our dance, kind and overflowing with wisdom.”
“And among Roy-sama’s candidates for marriage, I was one of them.”
“After that, I met Roy-sama once more. He told me that I seemed to be a likely candidate.”
Just from him nodding, her heart came apart in strands of ones and twos, and her words leaked out.
“I certainly yearned to become the princess to a storybook prince. But I never thought that would happen to me…”
“I was surprised, I didn’t know what to do… it should’ve been an honor as a noble daughter, and yet…”
“Well, of course you’d be surprised.”
Pon, her head was patted. When she looked up, warm copper eyes looked back at her.
“I’m older than you, but forget marriage, I haven’t even thought about love. Ojou always tries that hard even in practice, so it’s more than you can handle.”
She was affirmed for being surprised and anxious, and she calmed down with a thump. Her tears naturally stopped.
“Will that be decided right away?”
“Roy-sama said, that we’ve only just met so I should think about it…”
“Then you can take your time thinking.”
It’s a good thing the Prince is a decent guy, he smiled. Was he an idiot to think of making a royal wait so easily, or was it his guts?
“Ojou is a child so you don’t need to suddenly think about hard things. Do the things in front of you, then you’ll know.”
That’s how it is, isn’t it, he said. And she agreed. She was convinced because he spoke his thoughts as they were.
“That’s… right. I am still a candidate.”
When she thought that she didn’t need to panic, her heart calmed down considerably.
“If you’re happy, that would be enough.”
“Why, am I the basis?”
“I don’t know the Prince. I want you to smile more than some guy I don’t know.”
It was a very subjective thought. That’s disrespectful, she should have pointed out, but Lydia’s happiness gradually rose and she couldn’t. Come to think of it, her Father also told her that she could decide. Her Maid, Katherine, said that she was her ally. Lydia gradually understood that she was surrounded by people who wished for her happiness. How blessed she was.
“…Zac, can I pick some of these four-leaf clovers and take them with me?”
She would bring them home and make bookmarks out of pressed flowers. Then, Lydia decided, she would express her gratitude and prayers of happiness towards her Father and Katherine.
What should she do about him? He raised these four-leaf clovers himself. Even if she made a bookmark, he had no books. As she stared at the white clovers, thinking about how to express her gratitude, he looked up at the sky beside her.
She was curious. The gardening apprentice boy seemed absentminded. When she called his name, he replied with a smile devoid of strength.
“I’m an idiot. I’ve always thought that I could make this garden to show Ojou. Before I become an adult, Ojou might go somewhere else.”
At the back of her mind, Lydia also thought that this daily life would continue forever.
Realizing that it would end someday, she widened her eyes. This was what she was afraid of. Afraid of realizing that these days won’t last.
She felt like crying again, but with a smile even warmer than before he pushed that back down.
“I’ll become an adult soon.”
The words he said thinking of himself were very happy, and at the same time awfully sad.
In a garden filled with happiness was a girl, hiding a little loneliness, and a boy. They stared.
With this we’ve caught up to the manga, as of now, 12/13/2021! Yay! I didn’t think I’d actually get this finished tonight, but I overestimated it. Though this is the latest I’ve released a chapter. I’d have liked to release this the day after the previous one, but the chapters recently have been extraordinarily thick. Please check back on Christmas though!
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