I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 25
The Duke consented with a smile. Ojou beamed. Really?
I facepalmed. No matter how sweet he is towards his daughter, the Duke was a wise man. I was hoping he’d turn her down.
“Um… I dance strange… is that okay…?”
“I like the way you dance. I think it’s interesting. And I’d be far more relieved if it was you rather than some strange insect.”
The Duke’s smile was sparkly and therefore forceful. I somehow understood that he was just doting on her. Did he hate the idea of someone dancing with his daughter that much?
While we were in dance practice, he came to see us. Ojou approached him about having me come with her for parties, to which he readily agreed.
Just a while ago, we got an invitation for Leo’s next birthday party. For Ojou, one of his fiancee candidates, it was like a scene in a romance movie. When I suggested that he might’ve been saying the same things to his other candidates, she shut me down, saying that Leo wouldn’t dance with just anyone. She and I had already known, but to actually invite us, the Prince had a surprising amount of freedom.
“Oh dear! If you’re to dance in His Highness’ place, I can’t let you stay at this level!”
“Hiiieeee, please, be gentle…”
My body shrunk in response to Era-sensei’s blatantly blazing voice. She was at least gutsy even at the worst of times. I’m scared of her special training. I feel like it’s set in stone already.
“There’s a problem with that.”
The voice of my Master, the butler Heins-san who had been reserving himself without saying a single word, cut into our conversation. We all turned towards my good dancer Master.
He went in front of me and asked me a question.
“Isaac. What do you think a noble’s party is?”
“A place where you can’t stuff yourself full despite the delicious food?”
I answered, and Master put a hand on his forehead as if he was having a headache while the Duke looked away, trembling. Ojou looked at me pitifully.
“Eh? Why do I feel like you feel like someone here is being rude?”
The staff would only get to eat all the delicious food after accounting for all of it. It may just be the leftovers that servants eat, but it’s still better to eat while they’re fresh than when they’re almost spoiled.
“You’re not wrong, but your focus is too limited.”
At almost the exact same time Ojou said that with an exasperated face, my Master sighed.
“…Firstly, fix your way of speaking. Learn the bare minimum of etiquette for an attendant. As soon as possible. Let us focus our practices on that.”
Because I couldn’t hide my reaction at having our martial arts practices suspended, Master’s sharp gaze pierced me.
“There will be no problem as long as you do not lack foundational training. There is no time.”
You understand, right? I nodded.
“Yes, thank you very much!”
In the first place, Master was putting the little freetime he had to teach me. If my smart master calculated that we wouldn’t make it in time unless we used all our practice hours, then I had no choice but to obey.
“Practice?? Come to think of it, how come Zac calls Heins Master?”
I looked at Ojou’s blank face and remembered that I was hiding my martial arts practice sessions with Master from her. Though rather than hiding, it’d be better to say I didn’t tell her because she never asked.
What to do? I didn’t tell her myself because it would make me look bad, but there’s no real problem even if I do tell her.
I just thought that I wanted to protect her and realized my inadequacy. But like, thinking like that without even having the power to back it up is pushy in and of itself, and I just thought of it on my own. It’s not like Ojou asked me to do it. Either way, it looks like it’ll be a long time until I’ll be able to invite her downtown.
While I was thinking about how to explain this, just when I tried to open my mouth, I heard the clap of a hand. That sound reverberated throughout the practice room.
“Perhaps you are done whispering. Time is limited. Let us return to practice.”
Ojou’s back straightened at a single word from Era-sensei. I bowed myself.
Within practice hours, we were trained to reflexively submit to Era-sensei. So we didn’t stopped whispering and got back to practice.
A few days later, Oku-sama invited me to a tea party. I got to see Flora again for the first time in a long time. I put her on my lap and fed her sweets.
We were at the place in a pond where water lilies bloomed picturesquely, the summer house. Though it’s a detached building far from the mansion, Oku-sama has always made sure to use it in this season. Sure enough, as the person who prepared the garden, I’m happy to have people see it.
“Isaac-kun, I heard you were going with Dia to the party?”
I replied while Flora badgered me and I fed her a financier. I didn’t really understand how a financier was different from a madeleine. Aside from their shape, I couldn’t feel anything but a slight difference in taste. Anyway, it’s okay because it tastes good.
(TN: Have you guys ever heard of a financier before? Apparently it’s a kind of pastry. That’s wild)
“Are you not going, Oku-sama?”
“If Isaac-kun is going then I won’t. Flora will get lonely.”
I get Flora being lonely, but why did she mention me in her reasoning? I tilted my head. Flora did the same as she gobbled her financier.
“If her beloved Isaac is watching over her, she’ll be able to attend the party with peace of mind.”
As Oku-sama laughed with a soft fufu, I became guilty and apologized. Flora would indeed get lonely if Ojou, the Duke and Oku-sama aren’t there. Though I’m often asked to watch over children downtown, so I wouldn’t mind doing it here.
“It’s okay. I’m enjoying it.”
I didn’t understand why she was enjoying herself even though she couldn’t go to the party. True to her words, her eyes narrowed in amusement and she looked towards Ojou.
As we were having our conversation over tea, Ojou had been peeking over at us vigilantly. When we looked at her, she stiffened. Really, I’ve never understood why Ojou acted like such a scared stray cat every time.
“I, I don’t really…”
“Oh my, that’s right. If anything you’ll be worried.”
Oku-sama said as if she’d suddenly noticed something. Ojou tilted her head. Maybe she meant that it seemed like I’d do something wrong since I’m a commoner? I can’t bring shame to Ojou or the Duke, so I’ll do my best.
(TN: If I had a penny for every time someone tilted their heads in this novel I wouldn’t want your donations anymore)
“You’ll have to give your all in getting dressed.”
I’ll help, Oku-sama said amusedly. She seemed to embody elegance, so I felt like the phrase “give it your all” didn’t suit her. While I had that thought, Ojou knit her eyebrows as she tried to comprehend what her mother meant. After a while, she suddenly stared at me ini shock. She continued doing so for a short while, so I bent my neck. Flora did too.
I wasn’t sure if it was because we called her or whatever, but Ojou held her head in her hands and put her elbows on the table. It wasn’t like her, her posture was always good. She was groaning too. I wondered why. Anyway, Flora started to try crying herself, so I thought about telling her to stop groaning.
After bidding ample time in some sort of inner conflict, Ojou asked Oku-sama.
“…Mother, please cooperate with me.”
Oku-sama didn’t seem forced at all as she smiled softly. Still, Ojou seemed so frustrated as she said that. I got a curious feeling that she was forced to say that.
Anyway, I understand. Going to a party for Ojou meant that she was going to dress up or something like that. If that’s the case then it might be fun to see her in a way I don’t usually get to see her.
“You’re always pretty, so you’ll look amazing if you get dressed up.”
“Uu. Big shish, pwetty-“
Ojou lit up red and started shaking all over. Ah, she might be angry. I raised my guard a little as she swallowed her anger, which was probably rising, and said in a tired voice.
“Zac… you can’t say the words ‘pretty’ or ‘cute’ in a party.”
Really. Noble parties have strange rules.
“But if I can’t give compliments I don’t think I’ll be talking much.”
Ojou looked at me with an expression that asked what I was talking about. As Oku-sama laughed, she spoke.
“That’s right, Dia’s dress for today was handpicked by me. Isaac-kun, what do you think?”
It was a one-piece dress colored in pale green with white stripes. It didn’t have many laces and the color fit the season so it felt refreshing. Her hair was tied in two below, not by ribbons but by braids. I didn’t know that she had a striped dress. It really suits her.
For some reason, Oku-sama seemed satisfied at my answer. She started giggling. Beautiful girls usually look cute when they wear clothes that suit them. I only said the truth, so what did she find so funny?
Next thing I knew, Ojou fell on the table.
“…Zac, you should just be silent.”
It looked like they got nervous about whether or not I could speak politely in the party from this exchange. I wonder where my manners went wrong. Flora tried imitating Ojou, so I held her back on her forehead and her torso so she wouldn’t fall over. I resolved to do my best in Master’s attendant training.
If I think back on it now, that tea party was my last chance to relax.
Era-sensei’s dance lessons changing into specialized lessons went without saying, but Master’s attendant training was hard because it was compressed into a short period of time.
According to him, he was only teaching me in a simple manner. We’d start by having to memorize the attendants’ names and faces by hearts so we could tell who they were. Then I had to learn about their interpersonal relationships, like factions for example, so I could offer counselling.
What’s with this super secretary? I’m not good at memorizing or stuff like that. In the previous life I did my best in studying history, and I don’t know if I was as efficient as I could be but I always just barely landed on average. I’m really glad I gave up on stuff like that.
Another month passed turbulently until Leo’s birthday.
They allowed me to sit in the Ernst house’s carriage on the day itself, but I was reviewing what Master taught me, so I didn’t have the leisure to look outside. Once we arrived, I came down first and lent Ojou my hand as she went down quietly. In my heart I felt like there was no coming back, and for a second I wanted to go home.
The Duke also came down and escorted Ojou. I was just to follow the two. From behind them, I saw and noticed that Ojou and the Duke were gathering attention. Careful to not show my face, I felt impressed deep inside. Fully equipped beauties are amazing. Because of them I faded into the background and it got easier to breathe. I was worried that I might stand out in a bad way, but it looks like that was unfounded.
But being an attendee is tough in a strange way. I can’t look around the castle even though it’s my first time coming here. And Master warned me not to be careless with my attitude or expression, so I had to maintain a serious face that wasn’t quite expressionless. It was hard.
“Magnificent entrance as always, Gerald.”
“I don’t think I did anything special.”
I heard a grand voice and saw a nobleman with a goatee come our way. He seemed to be an acquaintaince of the Duke. So there were also wildish nobles like this?
“Lord Zinvark, Lady Tordelise, it has been a while.”
Ojou pinched her skirt to greet the bearded man and the young girl behind him. I remember what this is called. Courtesy.
“My goodness, Lady Lydia. You’re much more beautiful than usual.”
“It has been a while, Lydia-sama.”
They reply with greetings of their own. The young girl looked at Ojou happily. Though this is my first time seeing her, I know this girl. The bunny girl. Ojou showed her the snowbunny. Her favorite kind of stuffed toys are bunny stuff toys. It’s Ojou’s bunny-lover friend.
“Hm? Who’s this?”
The goateed man’s eyes stopped at me for a second. I bowed my head wordlessly. He asked that while facing not at me but at the Duke, so I didn’t have any right to answer.
“A servant of my house and Dia’s dance partner.”
“…It’s incredible that you’re even handpicking your daughter’s dance partner.”
The goateed man seemed exasperated at the Duke’s answer. He seemed to have quite a reputation as a family man. Anyway, this man talks informally for a noble.
“Never mind that. Here comes a sight for sore eyes!”
“Who is it?”
The goateed man raised his hand and turned around right as the man he was talking about arrived.
“August, your pace is fast as ever.”
“What are you talking about, Viito? My daughter is keeping up with me. But were you not feeling well?”
“Please look behind yourself for a second.”
Daniel-sama was smiling wryly at the goateed man. Just as he said, the bunny child was following him at a speed that was almost considered running. Her breathing was fast and her cheeks were flushed. There’s a rule that ladies can’t run, so it must’ve been hard to follow her father who seemed to take long strides.
“Please help yourself.”
That happened right when a waiter passed by, so I took a non-alcoholic cocktail that seemed to be a diluted mixture of apples and black tea from him and offered it to the bunny girl.
“Th… thank you very much.”
“Not at all.”
She jolted slightly, but she noticed that I was to be Ojou’s attendant, calmed down and accepted the drink. Maybe she’s bad with men outside her own family. But she seemed like a kind girl to politely thank even a servant such as me. I’m glad Ojou’s friend is a good kid.
For some reason, the bunny girl stared at me. I wondered if something was strange and noticed right away. I’d gotten careless for a second and acted without thinking. I tightened my expression as I panicked inside and called out to Ojou.
“Milady, would you like some?”
(TN: It’s Ojou-sama here)
I lower my head and go back to reserving myself. I thought I was standing out too much, but Ojou isn’t glaring at me so I should be fine. She told me she’d warn me with her eyes in the worst case scenario. Master also taught me to pay careful attention to my lady. I’m probably still safe with this much.
Ojou starts talking with the bunny girl while the Duke, goatee man and Daniel-sama chat. I met eyes with Daniel-sama for a second. He smiled at me gently. I only replied with a slight bow. I had to keep my guard up, but that relieved me a little bit.
I didn’t wanna listen in on the girls’ conversation so I focused my attention away from them when the Duke’s conversation naturally entered my ears.
“As you’d expect, I couldn’t refuse an invitation from the royal family for the second time. Well, I’ll just greet and leave.”
“Shouldn’t you be surprised, Gerald?”
The goateed man looked at the Duke with unamused, half-lidded eyes. The Duke smiled back.
“We’ve met many times until now after all.”
“Ugh… I guess there’s no helping it. Even if I joined you, I wouldn’t be able to say anything helpful.”
The goateed man said with a bitter tone. The Duke replied with a smile, saying that was just like him, and Daniel-sama happily narrowed his eyes. It seems that these three are friends. That’s obvious but I’m kinda glad that there are people to care for Daniel-sama aside from the Duke.
As the Duke chatted happily and Ojou enjoyed herself, grand music started to play and everyone in the venue turned to a double door on top of a set of stairs and bowed their heads. I followed along and heard the doors open along with several footsteps coming into the hall. A man’s pleasant voice sounded out. He told us to raise our heads, so I raised my head expecting to see the king of my country for the first time.
Huh? Where’s the crown??
I was imagining a crown, a long mantle with fluffy fur trailing from behind, and a staff that I didn’t know what was for. He wasn’t what I was expecting, and I was internally astonished.
Indeed, he is wearing clothes that seem finer than any of the nobles in this place, but it has the same fundamental design. Maybe the mantle is just about the only difference between a noble and royalty. There are two princesses, and their female mantles seemed to be a part of their ornaments. They had precious jewels fitted into them at the shoulders and a metal chain around the front. The ultra-thin see-through cloth of the mantle reached their elbows.
Rather than the King, he felt like Leo’s dad who worked as a stage actor. He looked so flashy that I felt like the royal family was in showbiz, not politics. Add our positions and it felt like I was watching a play. But I can see that the King is older than my Dad or the Duke. He seems to be in the first half or halfway through his thirties.
As I thought such things while looking at him, I noticed a certain problem. My eyes hurt. Too bright. He’s twinkling.
Though the Duke’s house was similar in standing to the royal family, this was a disaster for me. I’d only meet Leo undercover so I could just look away, but I can’t do that this time because it would be rude. Though back in my previous world I did eyeball that principal’s shining scalp that one time in morning assembly when his wig flew away because of the wind. What? The King isn’t some bald old man. I’d see if he was.
A small mercy was that unlike the principal’s long-winded sleep-inducing speeches, the King spoke shortly, and when Leo came up from behind him, his greeting was short, too. I wasn’t really listening, but I feel like he spoke like a student council president. Anyway, this opening ceremony that reminded me of morning assembly ended quickly, and I just about managed to keep my eyes open. Why are the nobles so calm? Is it because they’re used to seeing this?
The band started playing the party’s BGM, everyone started doing their own thing, and I calmed down. If I could get one, I’d like an eyeball massage right now. Now I truly understand how old men feel like when a hot towel is draped over their eyes. Now I just need to fulfill my dance quota with Ojou. Ojou herself said that we only needed one song. It’s really easy compared to Era-sensei’s special training which featured much continuous dancing.
“It’s been a while, Duke.”
“Your Highness, congratulations. You’ve grown taller by one year.”
“Thank you. I’m happy to have been able to grow outside of my height as well.”
“You’re being modest.”
Ah, I’d forgotten. The Duke and Ojou were also included in Leo’s greetings. He was so radiant with the Duke that I stiffened for a second like a frog being stared at by a snake, but I was somehow able to keep myself together. Married noble couples and ladies around us were dressed brightly. It was so painful to see that I wanted to borrow some sort of filter for my eyes for this moment.
“Lady Lydia, how many days has it been? You’re even more beautiful today.”
“Yes. Congratulations for your birthday, your highness. It’s my honor to accept your compliments. But my appearance is inferior to yours.”
“Thank you. It’s because I’m more or less the central figure of this party. They got a little excited, saying it wouldn’t do for me to be outdone by all these lovely ladies.”
As Leo spat out his lines with a beaming smile, shrill screams sounded out all around us. I at least wanted him to do this away from me. Not just my eyes, even my ears are sustaining damage now.
(TN: I don’t think it’s made obvious here but I’m pretty sure that’s his fangirls screaming)
As I was wondering if he’d go away, Leo glanced at me. I feel as if it’s been a long time since I last saw his honey-colored eyes from the front. Just for a second, they narrowed in amusement.
“It’s him today?”
“Yes. He’s a servant of my house.”
“I see. I’m sorry but I’ll be counting on you.”
I bowed deeply so as to appear polite. That let me look away from the brightness, and I relaxed internally.
“I am unsuited for this task, but please allow me to do my best.”
Leo and Ojou’s exchange also felt disingenuous, but as you’d expect, my back shivered at the feeling of wrongness I got from speaking politely to Leo. There are many cases where in front of society, friends become seniors and juniors and superiors and subordinates. How did they deal with this? Anyway, I didn’t want to let the Duke know about my relationship with Leo as much as I could help it.
Then the music changed and I offered Ojou my hand.
“Milady, here is my hand.”
With a dignified countenance befitting of a duke’s daughter, Ojou put her hand on mine. I escorted her onto the dance area and started stepping in rhythm to the beat.
“…Anyway, are your ears okay Ojou?”
I asked in a voice quiet enough to not be heard by the people dancing around us. While maintaining her dance smile, Ojou replied with only her voice sounding a little worse for wear.
“We’re still in the middle of the party, so please stop speaking like that… but to be honest, I’m glad you asked.”
“Your ears are weak.”
“Please do not talk that way, it’s misleading…!?”
Ojou seemed to have a good sense of pitch and a high listening comprehension. I heard she was praised by her piano teacher. Even when we’re in the garden, Ojou would notice the chirpings of little birds before I would. In exchange, she’s weak to loud noises and the like. She must’ve sustained even more damage than I did from those screams just now.
“I’m also glad that we were able to get away from Leo.”
“…Well, just from the fact that you did not shut your eyes, I can see that you did your best.”
Just as I thought she was about to tell me that I was being rude, she took some distance and told me that in an exasperated tone of voice. When us three are together I often use Ojou as a shield, so she knows how bad I am with shiny stuff.
“There’s a lot of sparkles going on at noble parties. It’s easier to just look at you like this.”
While most ladies wear many precious metals, Ojou only wears the bare minimum of earrings and hair decorations. Though she doesn’t wear many precious metals, the embroidery on places like the hem of her dress is scarily delicate, her artificial flower is emphasized, and she ends up looking gorgeous and giving a high class feel. Practically speaking, the design seems very high class, but the sparkling is kept to a minimum and I’m very grateful for that.
At first I thought it was a shame that I couldn’t look around, but after a little while of seeing the crystal chandelier and the golden candlesticks, I changed my mind and decided that it’d be best to keep them out of my sight as much as possible. To think that even the interior design would be shiny.
Come to think of it, I wonder why Ojou has been silent.
I peeked at her curiously. The blooming flower at the base of her throat suddenly entered my vision.
“You’re using my charm…”
She was using the ribbon choker I’d given her as a charm that had a white baby rose on it. I muttered without thinking as my expression almost loosened, but I schooled it right away.
“…Parties are good for training your face muscles.”
“Yes, truly… please commit that to memory.”
Eh. Was I too stiff?
Her voice seemed angry, but having been trained by Era-sensei, Ojou’s face stayed smiling. The gap is scary. Master also told me to be careful until we go back to the mansion. Maybe I’m getting minus points for talking like I always do even though it was just a whisper.
The song ended. Applause and cheers burst forth. While taking care not to change my expression, I was surprised. I’d never heard that a song like this was enough to gather applause. I noticed this before when I was following her with the Duke, but Ojou does gather a lot of gazes. We go back to see the Duke welcoming us with a beaming grin.
“Just as always, your dancing style lets Dia shine like a pedestal propping up a flower.”
The Duke seems really satisfied. Please excuse me, I said as I bowed. Oh, I get it. Maybe the reason the Duke likes my way of dancing was because Ojou always comes first for him.
“I see… it’s inimitable as you said.”
Leo mutters in praise. Why is he still here? I thought he’d already gone to greet others.
Since she’d just finished dancing, several ladies approached Ojou. They were all praising her. I don’t really mind being non-existent, but Leo’s a prince, isn’t he? Ojou is standing out more than Leo, the prince. Is this okay for his birthday? I looked to him to see him smiling amusedly before he informed the Duke that he’d be going to greet others. I don’t quite understand what he finds so funny yet.
I looked back to Ojou. She was still surrounded by excited young ladies with shining eyes. You wouldn’t know by looking at her face, but she’s probably troubled because of her shyness. Some young lords were staring at her from afar. It looked like the ladies got there before them. Ojou is popular with boys and girls. Beautiful girls are amazing.
As I once again realized that Ojou was a beautiful girl, the young ladies voiced their desire to get closer to her.
“Lydia-sama, how wonderful. I am Erika Von Distel of a marquis house.”
“My father works at the department of magic, and he’s always under Gerald-sama’s care. I am Florencia Von Maurer, daughter of a count.”
“My mother asked me to send a greeting to Octavia-sama. I am Margaret Von Lewerenz of a count house.”
Ah, this is impossible. I can’t remember them all. Master, it’s impossible for me. Their names are all too difficult. My heart broke at the onslaught of names that I would probably mispronounce.
“U, Um… if I could be of any use to Lydia-sama…!”
It was a blonde lady in red with blushed cheeks. It didn’t seem like she meant to ask that. Though just a little, Ojou widened her eyes in surprise.
While she was wondering how to answer, I could see two kinds of reactions. Discriminatory murmurs telling her to know her place and gazes that yearned for Ojou like that of the girl who asked and waited on her answer. From how they’re acting, I’d guess that her standing is below a count, maybe a baron. Her cheeks dyed themselves red from the voices she could hear.
Seeing her get red in a different manner, a dangerous light shone in Ojou’s pale blue eyes.
I whispered into her ear. She didn’t turn toward me, but the danger faded from her eyes.
Ojou walked over to the girl who asked.
“May I touch you?”
She replied with a nod right away. It didn’t seem like she really understood her meaning. Ojou extended her hand towards her hair ornament and took it. The instant her hair came undone, the girl’s eyes overflowed with fear. But not minding that, Ojou brushed her hair with her fingers and inserted the ornament in the side. A pearl bloomed on top of her left ear.
She panicked and tried to hold her hair down. Ojou stopped her hand and shot through her fearful eyes.
“Please carry yourself with more dignity. You’re lovely.”
After such strong words, Ojou smiled gently. The girl who owned curly, creased hair blushed brightly and teared up. Ojou is so cool-. She silenced all the girls around.
“There is no need to become like me.”
The curly-haired girl shook her head vigorously.
“Um… then, will you at least allow me to dance with Lydia-sama’s attendant…?”
I was flabbergasted to be called out even though I’ve been trying to become one with the air until now. I didn’t let it show on my face though since Master would scold me. I mean, were they aware of me?
“I, I do not have a dance partner… so…”
So it’d be okay if it’s her attendant I guess. Being this eminent young lady’s attendant might make me into something of a consolation prize.
But I’m kinda sad to see a young girl put herself down. Ojou felt the same, so it’s getting hard to refuse her. Usually the man is the one to invite someone to dance. She’s probably using the paltry courage she got from Ojou to the fullest.
“It would be an honor, my marigold Lady.”
I couldn’t let that courage go to waste. I gave a bow and a smile to calm her down. But I don’t know her name. No, I don’t remember it. So I hope she’ll allow me to call her by her appearance.
Even though she proposed herself, the creasy haired girl was surprised to have gotten permission as I escorted her to dance. It’s my first time dancing with someone aside from Ojou, so I took the lead, careful to not let her fall over and frightened internally.
“I am simply following Milady’s will.”
The girl asked as we danced, seemingly still in disbelief. Because both she and I were worried about whether or not we were to refuse her. But Ojou got sad looking at the maid Catherine-san debase herself once upon a time. There’s no way she’d overlook her.
“And perhaps because Milady has carried the same worries.”
“Do you know of her mother?”
“Yes. I have seen her though from afar. Her straight hair was truly beautiful…”
Then she stops talking. It looks like she realized. She must’ve arrived at the right conclusion right away because they both worried about the same thing.
“Please keep this a secret.”
I’ll get scolded, I smiled wryly. She gave a small, surprised smile. Maybe because she felt closer to the one she admired, the mood got lighter.
“Now that I think about it, what did you say to Lydia-sama?”
The girl asks me near the end of the song when her expression has cleared up significantly. She seemed curious.
“Flower buds look better when they bloom.”
Until Ojou let her hair run free, she’d tie it up on the top of her head like a ballet dancer. Maybe this was also because of her curly hair complex, but even the dress she wore looked puffy like a marigold. Her figure looked unbalanced. When Dad asked me to prune the garden trees, I payed attention to all their figures so I just relayed that to Ojou.
Rather than keeping it excessively clean like a flower bud, letting her curly hair run wild as it does now resembles a blooming flower more closely. It looks better.
The song ended right when I answered, so I returned to Ojou to find that the others around her were acting differently towards the curly-haired girl. Straight-haired girls stroked their hair and looked at her jealously while several young lords stole glimpses of her.
Anyway, just like a while ago, they weren’t paying attention to me so I went to Ojou right away.
“I have returned.”
“You went too far.”
Ojou warned me in a whisper so others wouldn’t hear. What on earth did she mean? She was standing out so much that if anything it was her who was going too far, and she got a lot of influence with the ladies.
“Attendant, would you mind dancing with me next?”
“How unfair. Please take me next…”
For some reason, it seems that I get noticed whenever I’m beside Ojou. Well, it is true that if you look at her you can also see me. But dance invitations from women should be rare. What the heck is this? Maybe it doesn’t count as anything but simple dance practice because I’m a servant.
“Um, please calm down, Moth Orchid Lady, Calla Lady, and Dahlia Lady.”
Their energy is kinda scary. I get that they want to get some sort of advantage, but what’s there to be had with a servant? Having achieved no understanding, I did my best to ask them to wait in a quiet voice.
After being called by their appearances, the ladies stopped for a second again. I’ll probably get scolded for not calling them by their names after this, but I’m relieved to have made some breathing room.
“Well then, which flower am I?”
“Annual Aster Lady?”
The other ladies asked with great interest, so I reflexively called them by whatever names came to mind. For some reason, the ladies were squealing merrily. It was like I was playing some sort of game about what kind of plant each girl is. Many people asked me again, so for the time being I just called them by whatever plant suited them the most. The ladies were pleased. I don’t really get women.
“What flower is Lydia-sama?”
I wonder if the one who muttered that was Ojou or me.
What flower is Ojou…
“Milady herself is like a flower.”
Yes. Ojou is Ojou. A girl like a blooming flower.
My arm suddenly got pinched below my sleeve. I switched my attention to that small pain to realize that my expression had slackened. I pretended to clear my throat and schooled it again.
For some reason, the ladies let out a shrill scream. Did Leo pass by? Are Ojou’s ears okay? I turned to her to see her ears were just red. That means she’s mad at me. Ojou is considerably resourceful when she’s outside. While praising her for this, I was relieved that her ears seemed okay.
After that, I ended up dancing with several other ladies. Maybe I actually am a promotional item for Ojou.
After moving more than I had expected, I got hungry at the second half of the party. Now I only needed to follow Ojou, and nobody would talk to a servant so I won’t have to say anything, but just focusing on making my stomach quiet was taking all I had. I should’ve eaten something in advance if it would end up like this.
Ojou was chatting with the bunny girl when she suddenly said a short goodbye and headed towards the buffet tables that seemed mostly untouched. Maybe she’s also tired after talking with a lot of people. I expected her to get a fruit or something, but she got a plate and a fork.
“Which one will you be having?”
“That and this… and this too…”
As Ojou instructed, I took a salad, meat, and fish among others. While paying careful attention, I put them on the plate. Maybe she’s hungry.
“Please dig in.”
I held the plate at a height that would be easy for Ojou to eat from once we finished loading it. Ojou took the fork and ate a little bit of the salad, then she started eating some strawberries little by little.
After eating only that much, she put the fork away. I tilted my head, but only in my mind. Ojou took a napkin and wiped her mouth before looking the other way.
“I no longer need this. Please dispose of it.”
For a second, my eyes widened.
“Thank you very much.”
Ojou is kind. I’d be troubled if you make an inappropriate sound here, she muttered quietly. But she remembered that I was sad to not be able to eat in parties.
I did my eating ritual by whispering itadakimasu, took the fork and started eating.
I chowed down while admiring the taste. Ojou said something to me flusteredly. I turned up to ask her what was wrong with my eyes, but she was facing the other way again.
With her back turned to me, Ojou waited for me to finish eating. Because of that, my stomach didn’t growl until we got home and I was able to eat good food.
We met the Duke again and went home. When we left the castle, the sun was sinking and the sky was dyed in a bitter orange. I was the last one to get on the Ernst carriage, and shortly after the carriage started to move.
After all that was over, I sighed deeply. Then the Duke smiled in half amusement and half sympathy.
“Good work, Isaac.”
“Ah, please excuse me. We haven’t reached the mansion yet.”
I panicked and straightened my back. The Duke forgave me, saying he didn’t mind.
“You’re not even used to the clothes, right? Be at ease.”
“Thanks, I will.”
I took off my tie and undid two of my buttons so it’d get easier to breathe.
I felt her gaze and looked towards Ojou. She moved her eyes to the window with a deep sigh and lots of vigor. It’s curtained though, so she can’t see outside. I guess it’s fine.
“To think you do these things all the time. You guys have it rough too.”
“Today was fun though.”
I can’t pretend, so I spoke from the bottom of my heart. In response, the Duke’s eyes sparkled as his face shone. I examined them.
“Is that so?”
Did I do something that weird? If I still can’t act as a proper attendant even after all Master has taught me, I’d have no excuse. I did my best to speak politely.
“Ah. Ojou, are you okay now?”
“? What do you mean??”
I had forgotten something important. Ojou tilted her head curiously.
It seemed that she didn’t know what I was asking about, but I surmised that it was okay since she was acting normally.
“You were really pretty today.”
I smiled and told her what I thought. I felt bad the whole time for having to hold it in.
Indeed, the Duke nodded many times in agreement.
Maybe her anger had piled up. Not just her face, but her whole body got read as she scolded me.
“Are you an idiot Zac!?”
First that and now this, Ojou said as she started banging on me. But she was calling me by nickname so I didn’t know how serious she was being.
After letting Ojou hit me softly for a while, the sway of the carriage felt good on my tired body and next thing I knew we had fallen asleep.
TN: Please feel free to join the fans translations discord server and complain at me for my slow releases, I feel so disconnected from this project all the time. Still gonna finish it though
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