I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 35
“Where is Zac?”
Rushing his greetings, Nicolaus visits the Ernst mansion and asks Lydia where his friend is.
It’s a usual exchange for them, but today Lydia’s reaction is a little bit different.
“…Um, before that, I’d like to consult you.”
Lydia said slowly and fearfully. Nicolaus tilted his head. If she was asking him it meant that eight or nine times out of ten, it was about their mutual friend, but he couldn’t guess exactly what it was about.
Perhaps because the bodyguard Jorg doesn’t have a good impression of the gardening apprentice, Lydia comes closer to Nicolaus, covers her mouth with her hand and whispers. Nicolaus follows along and stoops down so Lydia has an easier time.
“…I- I feel like he has been avoiding me.”
“Haa? There’s no way Zac would do that, is there?”
Nicolaus denied that absurd idea.
“No, I mean… he does act the same as ever, but how do I say this…”
Lydia furrowed her brows, struggling to think of how she should say what she was about to say. Nicolaus asked a question to move things along.
“When do you feel that he’s acting different?”
Moved along by that, Lydia thinks back on when she felt something was different. She started talking about those times hesitantly and shamefully.
“Um… he no longer holds my hand when we go to his secret garden. And he still praises me with words, but he doesn’t caress my head anymore… even though he still does it to Flora…”
The more Nicolaus heard, the exasperated he became.
“Aren’t you just lonely that he’s not touching you anymore?”
Surprised by how he said it, Lydia’s face dyes itself red.
But there was no explanation other than what he said. What had she just done? Lydia’s shame rises in her, her cheeks get even hotter and she doesn’t say anything more.
Looking at her shut her mouth, Nicolaus sighes and says, annoyed.
“There’s no way Zac would lay his hands on someone else’s woman.”
“Aren’t you engaged to his highness, the prince?”
Nicolaus gave her the answer so easily. Lydia’s expression hardened, unable to digest it.
Right. Looking back, it was ever since she’d gotten engaged with Roy that the gardening apprentice boy stopped touching her so carelessly. Lydia thought it was because she had gotten bodyguards, but now she realized that he’d stopped even before then.
Aside from the touching he acts the exact same way, so not even in her wildest dreams would she have thought that he was being so careful. She’d never realized what Nicolaus was telling her now.
“And it looks like the butler taught him how to treat a lady.”
Though it was only for a short time, he did get the bare minimum training required for an attendant. He must’ve been particularly careful around engaged girls to not touch them so carelessly.
From Nicolaus’ perspective, Isaac and Lydia must’ve been too close when he met them. At first he could only go by what they looked like, but now after grasping their personalities, he realized that he treated her like a little sister. And that’s why he touched her whenever he tried to help. But once she got engaged, you could say that he stopped treating her like a little sister and now sees her as a girl.
“Well, I guess Zac’s not gonna touch you anymore.”
Her leaked mutterance was filled with more despair than she’d thought. The fact that he’d never touch her again in the future was a shock for Lydia.
And she realized that she liked the hand that patted her head softly.
The dizzying heat in her head disappeared all at once.
Nicolaus found it hard to look at Lydia so shocked and poked her forehead lightly. Surprised, Lydia holds her forehead while Nicolaus smiles.
“You are unexpectedly an idiot.”
“Wouldn’t it be fine if you just touched him yourself?”
Lydia’s eyes widened at the suggestion she’d never even thought of before. But she’s never touched him herself. The most she’s done is grip his sleeve.
Even when she tries to imagine touching him with her own hands, she can’t. The only thing that happens is her cheeks heating up.
“I-Isn’t that what Zac calls sexual harrassment…!?”
Lydia asks a question, considerably disturbed and Nicolaus answers smoothly.
“It’s fine because Zac will be fine with it.”
That term only applies when the passive party dislikes it, Nicolaus heard from his friend. Inside, he sees Lydia greatly disturbed with her pupils spinning like whirlpools and thinks it’s funny. Outside he tries to calm her down.
First of all, there was a limit to how much touching Lydia herself could do. She wasn’t gonna give him looks like the looks Nicolaus has gotten in the past that makes you feel something on your skin. Far from it, he feels that she’ll only be able to poke him with her fingertip.
“…Why don’t you be a little more honest since it’s his birthday?”
Knowing this could go on forever, Nicolaus raises the fact that it’s their friend’s birthmonth. If he couldn’t think of something to push her, who knows how long she’d sit and worry.
“You haven’t decided on a present yet, have you?”
He hit the nail on the head, and Lydia could only groan. Even last year, she spent this period thinking frantically about what gift would make him happy. And when she asked him what he’d like, his reply was bad for her heart, so she couldn’t do that again.
She could do what Nicolaus suggested, but Lydia felt doubtful that this simple action would be enough for his birthday.
“…Will something like that be enough?”
“Ara. Why are you saying ‘something like that’ if you’ve never been able to do it before?”
This time she couldn’t even groan. Lydia’s mouth shut. After a while, she clenches her hands with determination, making little fists.
“Today I will be a little honest.”
Lydia collects herself and declares. Nicolaus tells her to do her best.
During that consultation, Jorg had been left out of the loop, so he looked a little sulky. When Lydia returned she apologized for making him wait and they both headed towards the garden. As she was thinking about how to break the ice with the gardening apprentice boy, Nicolaus leaned on him first and gave his greetings.
Not only did he go first, but he was able touch the boy so easily. Lydia was frustrated.
“It makes Ojou and the others happy. That’s enough for me.”
But that completely went away with a single word from the gardening apprentice boy.
Doesn’t the way he say it make it sound like he does everything for her? Why would he answer something like that to a question like that – when he was only being asked about his work? He really was bad for her heart.
He’s not just talking about you, she tries telling herself, but he didn’t mention the Ernst house. He mentioned her. So maybe it wasn’t so narcissistic to think that he was talking about her, and for some reason the thought makes her heart race. And the fact that he thought about her when they were not together makes her chest warm. That warmth comes up to her head and she feels dizzy.
Trying to calm herself, she bites on her lips and endures the beat of her heart. That was when the gardening apprentice called out and surprised her. It seemed that Jorg had incurred Nicolaus’ wrath while she wasn’t listening. It was obvious that he was mad because of the gardening apprentice boy, so she scolded Jorg, telling him that he was her friend too.
Though it was just within the confines of the Ernst house, a commoner was chatting with a noble on equal footing. Jorg seemed to be against that. No matter how many times she tried to persuade him, he wouldn’t let it go. Lydia herself had been caught up with status until she met the gardening apprentice boy, so it’s not like she didn’t understand where he was coming from. But for the future, as much as possible, she wanted her three personal bodyguards to understand.
After Lydia finished thinking about what to do after this, she was herded towards the bench by the promenade. The gardening apprentice boy asked her the same question he always does.
“So what is it today?”
Usually she’d talk about Flora or her engagement partner, Roy, or things she’s now able to do because of her practice. But this time, she had a goal. She wanted to become honest in front of him.
She couldn’t let her declaration in front of Nicolaus go to waste. She had to say that she just wanted to see him.
“~~Am-Am I not allowed to come here without any business?”
She clenched her fists and squeezed words out from herself, but not the words she wanted to say.
What’s more was that she averted her eyes, not even able to look him in the face. She noticed her mistake in an instant and yelled at herself inside.
“No? It’s fine by me, I’m happy to see you.”
The boy replies with more than she wanted him to say and her heart is shocked. How can he say such things so easily?
No, why did he reply like that? It was a yes or no question.
He was so bad for her heart that she ended up scolding him again. But it was also his fault for taking her hardwork so lightly. Nicolaus seemed to acknowledge her hardwork. He patted her head, saying ‘you did your best.’
Then Nicolaus gave the apprentice boy his present, but Lydia didn’t know how those metal rings were supposed to be used. It seemed that they were supposed to protect his hands. The gardening apprentice knew how to use them. But from his troubled face, he didn’t seem happy about it.
She knew that he’d appreciate the thought whether or not he actually liked the present. But Lydia wanted to give him something that’d make him happy. If the present from their friend Nicolaus didn’t cut it, then would he be happy about her present? Anxiety reared its head.
Right there, Nicolaus called her. It was her turn now, and she felt like jumping and running away.
Lydia calmed herself by clearing her throat and told the gardening apprentice boy to sit beside her, to which he obeyed.
But at the vital moment, when she tried to make good on her determination, those copper eyes looked at her and made her even more nervous.
“D… Look away!”
“That’ll only make me even more curious.”
“Geez, just shut your eyes!”
Lydia regretted how she shouted at him again. Her anxiety won, and she didn’t have the composure to ask him honestly.
Her status may have been higher than his, but would he really not run out of affection for her uncute self who did nothing but scold him all the time? His eyes were closed as she stared at his side profile nervously.
This might’ve just been for her own satisfaction. She’s nervous about whether or not this will make him happy. But if she stops here then there will be no moving forward. She has to work hard to become even a little more honest in front of him.
She takes a deep, deep breath to dispel as much of her nervousness as possible.
Then she kneels on the bench so her hands reach him. She slowly reaches towards his brown hair. His hair wasn’t smooth, but it bathed in the sunlight, warm and fluffy. Lydia enjoyed the unexpectedly nice sensation of touching his hair.
She had just gotten into petting his head when those copper eyes opened and faced her.
Her hands stopped, but she couldn’t pull them away from that sensation. Lydia continues, telling him that it was his birthday present.
“Z-Zac does well despite only being an apprentice. J-Just for your birthday, I’ll praise you directly…”
She twisted her words again, but at least she got the message through. In order to distract herself from how embarrassed she was, she caressed his head even faster than before.
This may have been very hard for her, but could such a small act really be considered a present? She feared his reaction.
“I’m so happy. Thanks, Ojou.”
The instant the boy understood what she was trying to do, he grinned with a broad and truly happy smile.
That full smile made the sunlight filtering through the tree’s shade brighter, and Lydia felt even warmer.
“…! Don’t look here, this’ll get harder to do.”
She was relieved that he was happy, never thinking that he’d be that happy. That unexpected reaction made Lydia forget to be honest and she grumbled. But it was true that this was hard to do with his smile facing her – it was bad for her heart.
The gardening apprentice boy obediently followed Lydia’s instructions. Smiling, he faced forward and closed his eyelids again.
Then Lydia reflected on how happy he was as she continued to enjoy rubbing his hair until she was satisfied.
“See? Wasn’t he happy?”
On the way back to the mansion, Nicolaus smiled with ease. For some reason Lydia got frustrated.
“Why do you know Zac that well?”
You could say that she herself didn’t understand him at all. It was unfair for Nicolaus, who met him after her, to be so familiar with him.
“Ara. Who do you think I am?”
He shows off his closeness to him as his friend, and Lydia bites her lip.
“I don’t understand!”
Their conversation is interrupted by a sudden outburst. When she turned towards the voice that cut off her exchange with Nicolaus, she saw Jorg, eyebrows furrowed and head hung. His hands were clenched at his sides.
“I can’t possibly think of that gardening apprentice boy as the type of person who is acknowledged by Lydia-sama.”
Jorg must’ve been holding himself back since he hadn’t said anything until now. And now it looked like he couldn’t hold back anymore.
Nicolaus reacted by popping his knuckles, but Lydia stopped him with her hand. He was under her so she wanted him to leave it to her. Nicolaus seemed to understand that and layed down his arms.
Lydia faced Jorg. She gets deja-vu from looking at him. Someone who determines what’s right based only on what they know, who rejects everything else. The image of herself from two years ago overlaps.
“Am I someone you can say that about, Jorg?”
“Of course, you are the daughter of the Ernst Dukedom which stands as a beacon of fairness and justice! Engaged to his highness, the first prince, and the rightful future queen! It is my honor to serve under one such as you!”
Lydia asked Jorg a question from her heart. He raised his head and answered in a loud voice, excited and joyful.
All his compliments were, of course, titles that Lydia carried. They were Lydia’s, but all of them were given to her by other people. None of them had been earned.
“Then if I weren’t a duke’s daughter or Roy-sama’s fiancee, you wouldn’t even look at me, would you?”
Lydia smiled bitterly. Jorg’s face changed into panic in an instant.
Not true. Jorg was unable to say that, and he came under great distress.
If a noble is aiming to be a knight, they’re likely aiming to eventually be a knight of the imperial guard attached to the royal family. Becoming the bodyguard of the first prince’s fiancee was one way to get there quickly. He must not want to let go of his position.
Lydia giggled, finding his honest reaction amusing.
“I won’t tell you that’s a bad thing. It is my pride to be born into the Ernst house.”
Born between her beloved mother and father, she wanted to become someone her parents could be proud of. So she tried to act in a way that was fitting for a duke’s daughter. The thought that Jorg’s compliments also point to that makes her happy.
Hearing her words, Jorg is greatly relieved.
“Normally, just like you, I would judge myself based on the fact that I am nobility, a duke’s daughter, and a member of the Ernst house.”
That was natural. She thought that was what her parents wanted from her two years ago.
“But Zac was different. He judged me based on who I was.”
He didn’t judge her as a duke’s daughter. He used his own scale to determine if her actions were right or wrong. He praised her and scolded her. When he praised her, it was when she the results of her hardwork showed, and he scolded her when she didn’t value herself enough.
“Because of that, I was able to not lose sight of myself.”
There’s someone who values her wishes and treats her just as Lydia. He must not know how much that saved her.
A smile naturally forms.
“It’s hard for me to come by people like Zac. Even if you don’t understand yet, I’ll be happy if you would someday.”
Instead of scolding Jorg she smiled at her. He couldn’t reply. In his head he understands that he should just nod along if his master goes this far to persuade him, but instead of that, jealousy rears its head because his master would go this far to defend him.
“…But that man is unfair.”
He thinks he’s unfair. Only when it comes to him, Jorg can’t agree so obediently.
“Why do you think that?”
His master, Lydia, tilts her head slightly in curiosity as she looks straight back at him. Jorg hung his head again, not being able to withstand those eyes.
“Because he met Lydia-sama before I did and got your trust.”
When he was assigned, he thought that he was the only boy around her age around her. He thought that Lydia would feel that he was reliable and come to give him his trust right away. But a man who wasn’t even trying to become a knight had already gotten her trust, ruining his entrance.
“He doesn’t even protect Lydia-sama. He just pokes at dirt all day, but you look so happy when you’re with him.”
Lydia went red in the face, tried to deny it, then got shut down by Nicolaus who was watching them quietly.
“He’s taller than me just because he was born two years before, he always looks so calm, and he’s really unfair!!”
“I completely agree with you.”
In a corner of his mind Jorg thought he would earn his master’s displeasure, but he couldn’t stop speaking his mind. He never thought that Lydia would agree with him. The surprise took his words away.
Ignoring his stiff expression, Lydia nods away.
“I know he doesn’t mean to, but Zac always does things I can’t do so easily. It’s unfair.”
Lydia’s face gets a little peevish as if she remembered a time when that happened. Jorg is able to relate to his master and happily agrees.
“He realizes his faults immediately and apologizes.”
“He’s always so generous with his praise.”
“…Those are compliments.”
Nicolaus was astounded by their so-called complaints.
“No, I’m complaining. I can’t do that. It’s unfair!”
“Yeah! It’s strange how he can sell the idea of men being cute or pretty so easily!”
Do as you want, Nicolaus said as he gave up trying to correct them. If that’s what they really thought then there was nothing to be done.
“Do you hate Zac?”
Lydia stares straight at him, and Jorg shuts his mouth.
He’s surprised that he can’t say he hates him right away. He should’ve been able to, thinking back on the times he’s wronged him.
Before, on a day when Jorg was on guard duty, the gardening apprentice boy gave Lydia some handmade cookies. He tried stopping him because they were so unsophisticated, but it seemed that Lydia had asked for them herself because she wanted to eat them again. So he couldn’t stop them.
Instead, before Lydia brought the cookies to her mouth, Jorg said that he had to test it for poison. He understood right away and took out a package of cookies for the three bodyguards including himself. As he tested a cookie, inwardly his eyes were wide, surprised that he prepared their portions ahead of time. The flavor was crude but it was delicious. After that, he ate in the waiting room with the other bodyguards. He ended up finishing first. Petra said that she wouldn’t give him no matter how much he looked. Emilia scolded him, telling him not to be gluttonous.
That’s right. He experienced humiliation because of him. After reminding himself of why he was so upsetting, Jorg opens his mouth again.
“…I don’t like him. But I will think of my attitude towards him in the future.”
It wasn’t as if he was going to ignore how he prepared poison testing portions for him ahead of time. If he continued to do so in the future, he might re-examine his behavior.
“But I do hate this transvestite.”
Jorg points his finger and declares. Nicolaus antagonized him a lot in defending the gardening apprentice boy.
“I also find brats like you repulsive.”
Nicolaus smiles sweetly even as his veins pop out and he twitched at Jorg’s words. His voice got one level lower, and his smile was intimidating, so Lydia tried soothing him, saying, now now.
Usually you’d apologize for this behavior as the master, but when she tried to apologize for it in the past, Nicolaus told her it wasn’t necessary since they were going to settle it themselves, face to face. Lydia didn’t really understand boys. So she could only stop things from getting worse.
After stopping their argument, Lydia turns to Jorg once again.
“Jorg, I may be an unworthy master, but I’m happy that you’ll think of Zac. Thank you.”
Lydia smiled happily and extended her hand, patting Jorg’s short hair. Jorg looked back at his master curiously.
His master didn’t understand why.
“Is something wrong?”
“No… I was just thinking that you were doing this so easily unlike with that guy.”
It’s an honor but I am curious about that, Jorg says. Lydia blushes, panics and lets go of her hand on his head.
Suddenly his master is gaping and panicking, and Jorg tilts his head. Did he say something strange?
He voices his confusion about his master’s behavior.
“You’re too young to understand.”
“What did you say!?”
Being treated as a child with only a two-year difference, Jorg snarls at Nicolaus and Nicolaus responds in kind.
It took all Lydia had to calm herself down. Stopping their argument came a while after.
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