I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 29
Lydia was in regret.
Why did she do something like that? Remembering her childishness made her feel as if a fire was about to break out on her face.
How dare she treat Nicolaus-sama so cruelly…!
She wanted to apologize to Nicolaus for thinking rude things about him even though she doesn’t hate him. But if she did so, he would surely ask for the reason and use it to tease her, so she couldn’t.
For a few nights now, she’s been trapped by regret and pushed into anguish over and over again for what she’d said to the gardening apprentice boy.
Why wasn’t Zac angry that she’d been rude to his friend!?
The gardening apprentice boy didn’t say anything. Instead he just let Lydia be happy. Half of her fumed at him in her heart. Yes, it may have been troubling for her if he’d said something, but was there really any need to drag it out this much?
If he’d say something sooner,
then she wouldn’t have to think back on each and every little thing…!
His smile right after. When she remembers that overly joyful face, her cheeks get hot despite the cold weather.
Even though no one is watching her, she feels like hiding so she buries her face in her pillow. She doesn’t want him to know, but when she imagines the gardening apprentice boy sleeping soundly without knowing a thing, her shame rises and she feels furious.
Her days end as she falls asleep, tired from her boiling emotions.
The next day, her tiredness makes her sigh in a tea party with her mother.
“Ara, am I such a boring partner?”
“Not at all…”
“Right, you’d probably prefer Isaac-kun.”
Octavia deliberately said the gardening apprentice boy’s name in a lonely way. Before Lydia could deny it, her little sister reacted to that name and looked around herself, wondering if he had come.
Lydia still wanted to deny it, but having the cause of her worries brought up, she couldn’t say anything more. She could do nothing but tremble with her teacup in hand.
Seeing that, Octavia laughed pleasantly. She patted Flora who was sad that she couldn’t find the boy, and comforted her daughter.
“You’re easy to read, Lydia.”
“…Is that because my world is too small?”
For a moment, she had the impulse to ask why. But after thinking about it carefully, Lydia noticed that it would’ve been easy to guess because she only does a few things.
One could say that she has been participating in other peoples’ tea parties more now, but the only people she talks to there aside from greetings are her friends. Aside from that, she’s always in the house. Not even Roy invited her to his castle. Being in the marriage candidate stage, he would go to each of the candidates’ mansions instead of inviting them to the castle.
There were only a few relationships Lydia had to worry about. And her relationships with Roy and her friends have been going well.
Lydia asks peevishly and Octavia narrows her eyes in amusement.
“Ara, it’s rather large you know? Didn’t you make friends with the son of Count Rudolstadt without even knowing who he was?”
“That’s only because Nicolaus-sama was lost and coincidentally happened to pass by our house.”
That was the story they went with. Then the gardening apprentice boy politely invited him inside.
They got the story straight with Nicolaus beforehand so there’d be no contradictions, but she didn’t know if her mother, Octavia really believed it or not. Octavia would only ever smile. Lydia couldn’t read her.
“Coincidences are a type of bond. It’s because you didn’t let go of that bond that your world has expanded, Dia.”
Is that right? Lydia herself felt that her view was still narrow, so she couldn’t honestly accept her Mother’s words.
Roy tells her all sorts of things about the outside world. Even just within Arventroad, she knows that the world is wide. Wasn’t her world narrow, since she only knew of the world outside her mansion from hearsay? That’s how she felt.
“You’re a little bit of a perfectionist. Your desire to monopolize him is quite cute, so please don’t be afraid to entertain it a little bit more.”
Before changing your perspective or gaining more knowledge, correct the affairs of your heart first. Lydia’s eyes widened and her face redenned at her mother’s accurate suggestion.
“Ufufu, Isaac-kun and Nicolaus-kun are both calling each other by nicknames aren’t they? They’re even the same age. And you can’t really play with them as young boys do. Don’t you think that’s quite dull?”
Octavia spoke as if she’d seen everything. Lydia could only open and close her mouth. Flora must’ve thought she was playing since she started opening and closing her mouth too.
She did feel like Nicolaus was getting pretty close with him, even as a fellow boy of the same age. Even though she understands in her mind that it’s because they’re both boys, they do make contact a lot, like touching shoulders. She was trying to ignore it because he barely even noticed if at all, but Nicolaus would sometimes look at her like he wanted to laugh. It was frustrating.
With Roy, he’d distance himself so much that he’d even use her as a shield, so she didn’t mind. This might be because of Nicolaus’ personality. As her thoughts started to shift into blame, she shook her head to shake them away, not noticing that her little sister was copying her.
“Dia. I told you that what you have is a nice and cute thing, right? Why, back when I was a student, I was always jealous of Heins.”
“What are you discussing?”
Lydia felt like she was being lied to and Heins entered the room after knocking at about the same time. When she looked over to Heins, his expression wasn’t calm like a pond as usual, but an expression that conveyed dislike from the very bottom of his heart.
It was the first time she’d seen Heins dislike something so much that it showed on his expression. Lydia was once again surprsised.
Octavia, on the other hand, smiled back at him without showing any signs of noticing this change.
“Ara, I’m sorry. I should say that I’m still jealous of him sometimes.”
Octavia apologized by doing the opposite of what Heins wanted her to do. His brows furrowed even more. Then he sighed and schooled his expression back into place.
“Gerald-sama asked me to tell you that he would be later than expected today.”
Octavia received a bouquet of Western Chrysanthemums and Bouvardias, smiling at the message attached to them.
Despite having a husband who would send a flower bouquet just because he was late, she still said she was jealous. Her daughter, Lydia, and her employee Heins could only wonder why.
“Octavia-sama is the only one for Gerald-sama. Please do not say things that can make the young lady misunderstand.”
“This and that are different. Whenever I saw him he’d look so happy talking with this interesting underclassman of his. Well I didn’t find it interesting. Even now he trusts you very much.”
I’m jealous, Octavia said peevishly. Heins had no idea how to reply to that. It wasn’t as if she doubted his love. Instead she was jealous of something that she didn’t have, and there was nothing he could do about it. He wished she would at least tell that absurdity to the person himself.
Octavia saw Heins struggling to come up with an answer and turned to Lydia and smiled.
“Right? Don’t you think yours is cuter, Dia?”
Now it was Lydia’s turn to struggle. Her mother’s desire to monopolize was stronger than she’d expected, but she hesitated to just agree.
Heins realized that she’d used him as an example. Though he doubted if she really had to do that, he stood back. And after getting permission with a glance from Octavia, he bowed and excused himself.
And although she knew that he’d left only because he was finished with his task, Lydia saw it as an escape and felt jealous of him.
Octavia felt amused looking at her speechless daughter. She’s probably not used to talking badly about others, but more than that it seemed that she was hesitating to admit that one of her dear parents had something that could be called a flaw. To think that she wouldn’t be disilllusioned even after seeing this side of her, what an adorable child.
Octavia started to giggle. Lydia tilted her head, not knowing why.
“You really are adorable, Dia…”
Lydia thought carefully about the words her mother said in between laughs. Then she understood and felt mad.
“…You were teasing me weren’t you?”
“You just noticed?”
Just now? Octavia seemed amused. That made Lydia even more peeved, which made Octavia even more amused. The tea party ended like that, leaving Lydia unsatisfied.
From there, Lydia didn’t get any chances to meet the gardening apprentice boy until her birthday.
She was greeting the guests with her mother. Her father, Gerald had work to do, so he’d celebrate with them at dinner.
After finishing pretty much all the greetings, Lydia went to her friends. Octavia only greeted them, telling them to have a comfortable time before returning to the other guests. Then Lydia finally noticed.
“Dia-sama, I truly wish you a happy birthday.”
“I brought a present. I’ll give it to you later.”
“I hope you’ll like it…”
“Torde-sama, Fani-sama, Kia-sama, thank you very much. I’m happy you all came today.”
“Of course we would!”
Tordelise asserted, to which Stephanie and Zaskia nodded. Lydia blushed and muttered thanks again.
As the friends spoke to each other, a certain son called out to Lydia.
“I’m sorry for interrupting your chat. Lydia-sama, thank you very much for the invitation. You’ve grown more beautiful in the past year.”
He bows, tilts his head slightly and smiles. His light purple hair that looks like flower petals shake like the wind when he moves.
The boy’s charm and good looks waft in the air and Lydia’s three friends blush in front of him.
Bfeore Lydia can return the bow, Nicolaus opens his mouth.
“Not as beautiful as me though.”
Nicolaus brushes his hair aside and lets his words come out. Lydia repeats his name in a little bit of disbelief. Her three friends are shocked at his sudden transformation and lose their words.
“Would you at least let me introduce you before acting like this?”
“Your little bunny friends would be surprised either way, so it’s all the same.”
She doesn’t deny that, but Lydia wishes that he would’ve at least given her friends some time to prepare themselves.
Lydia fixes her bearings and introduces him to her friends.
“This is the son of Count Rudolstadt.”
“It’s Nicolaus. Don’t be afraid to call me Nico-chan.”
Nicolaus winks and says his nickname, which the three repeat in surprise. They all introduce themselves as he shakes each of their hands.
Like with Lydia, Nicolaus repeats abbreviations of each of their names to himself, but nobody felt like pointing it out. As if it were obvious that he’d call them by nicknames.
“Come to think of it, a new cake has been added recently. Would you like to come try it?”
Following Nicolaus’ gaze, a dessert table with berry tarts and opera cakes decorated with golden leaves could be seen. The dessert looked like treasure even from afar, and it had Tordelise and the others with their eyes sparkling.
“Umm, Nico… chan… sama…”
“I’m not good with sweets so I’ll restrain myself.”
Stephanie and the others were about to go and get cake before she asked, to which Nicolaus readily refused. She nodded with an okay.
“What about Dia-sama?”
“I ate too much. I will also reserve myself.”
Lydia declined Tordelise’s invitation, although regretfully. The chefs of the house would probably pour all their skill into dinner later, and if she ate dessert now that would be less space for her to use at night.
Please figure it out even without me explaining. Tordelise understood and went for cake with the other two. Lydia and Nicolaus got a table first and started waiting for a maid to brew them black tea.
After a gulp of tea, Nicolaus started laughing from his throat. Lydia tilted her head, as if to ask if anything was funny.
Nicolaus explains to Lydia, understanding that his actions were out of the blue.
“I wasn’t even able to express my dislikes in the past. It’s because of this appearance, isn’t it? Because of it I was given sweets and cute things. I had to hold myself back quite a bit. But with this new lie, I feel better not having to keep up the old lies.”
Finding that somehow funny, Nicolaus giggled.
“…I feel like I understand a little bit.”
Lydia had stopped lying herself.
The first time she put on a dress she liked, curiously it was enough to make her heart feel so much lighter. Nicolaus must have felt similar.
“Was yours also because of Zac?”
“Though he doesn’t realize it.”
“That sounds like him.”
They talk about the absent gardening apprentice boy while sipping tea. It’s rare for him to be spoken about outside of the Ernst house.
They both know Prince Roy, but the times the three of them can get together are few and far in between, not to mention short. So he’s not often talked about. Tordelise and the others only know him as an attendant. They haven’t met him as he is normally so they have nothing to discuss.
Lydia belatedly realizes that there’s unexpectedly few people to whom she can talk about the gardening apprentice boy.
Lydia suddenly asks about something that’s been weighing on her mind.
“Er, don’t you think… he has changed somewhat?”
“In what way?”
Nicolaus asks for more details, not who she’s talking about.
“A little- mature, or something…”
Lydia searches for her words carefully. She doesn’t know how to describe it, but she feels like his expression, or the air he gives has been a little different.
It’s such a small change that she doesn’t know how to express it.
“Since before he met you…”
“Do you think I know about that?”
Lydia knew that it was weird to ask for the opinion of Nicolaus, who hadn’t known him for long, so she couldn’t even complain. She only felt like he would know because they seemed close. Now only guilt was left for acting so rashly.
Nicolaus saw Lydia look down, sighed, and placed his teacup back in its saucer.
“The reason I trusted Zac was because he really sympathized with me.”
Lydia raised her head at his sudden confession. She waited for him to continue, unable to see what he was getting at.
“Even though he seems like he’s been living a relaxing life, he understood how I felt. It means he’s experienced something like that before.”
When Nicolaus looked at whoever grabbed his arm, he saw earnest copper eyes. Those eyes surely knew the fear he felt or something similar to it. So he went with him even though it was their first meeting.
Not the fear of being seen sexually, but the sensation of having someone force their perception of you onto yourself. Of overwriting you with their own ideas. It still fills him with horror. What did such a laid-back boy know about that? Nicolaus had no intention of finding out.
“I think that’s weird. It might be the same as what you felt.”
Nicolaus finished speaking and took another gulp form his coffee.
Lydia unconsciously balled her hands into fists on top of her lap.
He was like a sunny spot for her. The shadows Nicolaus had mentioned didn’t feel fitting for him. If something had happened to cause such shadows to fall on him, had he not told her because she was too lacking for him to confide in? The thought made frustration bubble up inside Lydia.
“But if you’re just panicking because he’s getting more handsome, then don’t. I am too.”
Nicolaus finishes with an extreme expression and Lydia is once again red and speechless. She raises her head on reflex to find his index finger lightly poking her forehead.
“Don’t be so sad on your birthday. Smile. That will be enough for Zac.”
Saying that, Nicolaus smiles graciously. Lydia holds her forehead and widens her eyes, having been presented with such a simple solution.
That was exactly when Tordelise and the others came back after selecting cake and their conversation ended there. The waiter placed their cakes on the table and Nicolaus enjoyed talking to her friends.
After her tea party birthday celebration ends and Lydia finishes seeing her invited guests off, she heads to the western summerhouse as fast as she can. She’s taking care not to run, which results in a fast trot and her slightly losing her breath.
She arrives at a covered walk branching off from the mansion and sees the person she’s been looking for across a pond in the summerhouse.
She calls out to him right as the covered walk branches off into the summerhouse. The gardening apprentice boy turns and smiles wryly.
“Ojou, you didn’t have to go so fast.”
As if to call her hopeless, he smiled at Lydia as she rushed over to him. That smile was even warmer in the orange sunset.
“But – I couldn’t – make you wait…”
Lydia enters the summerhouse with her shoulders heaving from her breath. Out of consideration, the gardening apprentice boy encourages her to sit on a bench. The summerhouse is circular, so there’s a bench going all around it and making it easier to rest.
He waits for Lydia to catch her breath as he asks.
“Didn’t you want to take your time with Bunny girl and the others?”
“I spent almost the entire tea party with Torde-sama and my other friends. That was enough for me. I can see them again. But we can’t see the rainbow once the sun sets.”
Of course she was happy to celebrate with her friends. But it was also a fact that she was looking forward to the promised rainbow today.
“You can still see it at night though.”
Lydia was surprised to hear why he didn’t mind if she was late. How would they be able to see a rainbow at night?
The gardening apprentice boy probably knew that she was interested. He patted her head with an amused look on his face.
“Well, it’s cold at night, so I’ll show you once you’re bigger.”
Lydia didn’t want to be selfish, so she decided to just look forward to that in a few years’ time.
The gardening apprentice boy, worried about her being exposed to the cold winter air, quickly started to make the promised rainbow.
“It’s easier here.”
He whispers as he faces the pond and raises his hands. Then mist rises from the pond, consolidates into small water particles and floats into the air.
Those particles refract sunlight from far away and make a seven-color bridge from Lydia and the boy’s left side. There were no water lilies on the pond and the mini-roses were sleeping in their flowerbeds. But the cool air was colored in an instant.
Lydia lets out a sigh of wonder at how their surroundings transformed. It was an even bigger rainbow than last year, and her heart danced for it.
“Ojou, happy birthday.”
He takes out a present wrapped in a cotton handkerchief from his pants and presents it to her, congratulating her on her birthday.
Then the handkerchief unravels, revealing an egg-shaped glass craft.
Lydia paused, unable to understand the situation. The gardening apprentice boy misunderstood that and furrowed his brows guiltily.
“Sorry. I bought it with my own money so it might be fake, but…”
Lydia didn’t know whether it was fake or not. Two of three upper parts of this egg shaped glass thing had blue stained glass inserted into it while the bottom part was a pedestal carved from copper. Where the pedestal and the glass meets, there’s flowers going around the whole thing. Below are three legs to keep it up.
She initially thought of some kind of treasure box, but upon closer inspection there was something inside the blue glass.
“A music box. It makes music when you rotate the top.”
Lydia takes it in her hands, not sure of what it is when the gardening apprentice boy turns the upper glass part of it clockwise. Then it turns itself back, counter-clockwise while sounding a tune.
“I thought it’d be better to use a song you knew. I’ve been hearing this from you recently.”
The piece was one that Lydia had recently been practicing on the piano. Maybe he was nearby while she was having her piano lessons, working.
This song was originally a chanson from a neighboring country. Composers from this country made twelve derivative versions of it. That’s what her music teacher had told her. So in total she was practicing thirteen versions of this song, and it’s all Lydia has been practicing recently.
She did hear that it was also commonly known with commoners, but not that there was even a music box for it. This sounded like the original melody. It made a soft and cute metallic sound.
Even the timbre was cute, Lydia thought as she smiled broadly. Just the rainbow was enough to move her, but she would have never thought that he’d prepared something else.
“Thank you. I’ll treasure this.”
She thanks him with gladness, and the nervous gardening apprentice smiles back with a smile full of relief.
Lydia saw his sunny smile right in front of her. It made her feel like she could forget the cold winter air. And she remembered Nicolaus’ words from a while ago.
Lydia never thought that her smile would actually be enough for him. Even though he made her happy, his expression made it seem as if he was the one who had just received a present. Nicolaus was right.
Was it too cheap, he worried too much.
Then her awareness caught up with her and her temperature rose extremely fast.
“Sorry. Are we taking too long?”
The gardening apprentice boy, thinking that her face had turned red because of the cold air, tried to measure her heat by putting his hand on her forehead.
Lydia reflexively avoided his touch by standing up.
“But you can’t catch a…”
The boy stood and tried to chase her, trying to measure her heat worriedly.
Lydia panicked and stepped back to create distance between them. For some reason, her heart was blaring, screaming that it’d be bad for him to touch her right now.
Having put too much force into it, Lydia went all the way down to the summerhouse’s entrance and lost her footing at the stairs.
Lydia tried to protect the music box by clutching it close to her chest and closing her eyes. But her arm was pulled towards the opposite direction, and she took a knee at the entrance.
She thought she heard the gardening apprentice boy confused when a splash sounded behind her.
Lydia opened her eyes. When she turned back to the noise, all she could see was a turbulent pond. He was nowhere to be seen.
Lydia panicked and tried to look at the wavy part of the pond when the boy’s face appeared from there.
“Uhaa, I messed up. Hahaha.”
“Don’t just laugh! Hurry and come back up!”
The boy laughed as if something was funny about getting frozen, and Lydia scolded him.
“I have a change of clothes in the cottage so it’s alright. Step back a bit, your dress will get wet.”
“Worry about yourself! Are you an idiot!?”
“Are you saying you won’t get a cold?”
“That’s not the issue!!”
No matter how Lydia reprimands him, the gardening apprentice laughs.
In the end, Lydia extends her hand even while they argue, but the boy pushes himself up, worried that she might fall down, too.
A few days later, Lydia is vindicated when she visits the garden to find that the gardener’s son had caught a cold.
I told you so, Lydia reflexively scolds the boy who isn’t with her.
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