I’m Not Even an Otome Game Mob Character - Chapter 7
“How can I become like you guys?”
I tried asking at dusk as I was sharing some herbs in the kitchen.
The head chef I was looking up to had robust muscles, and the other chefs were also quite muscular. I understood that they needed them to make bread since I had done that with my Mom before, but everyone here seemed to be able to win in a fistfight.
The Old Guy knew that I wasn’t aiming for cooking skills since I was working in gardening, so he guessed my aim and laughed.
“What’s wrong boy? Lost in a fight?”
“Our neighborhood only has pipsqueaks in them so I won’t get in a fight you know.”
A large hand patted my head. It was strong though half-assed so there was a little bit of damage.
“So is it a girl?”
Is that right? I don’t really know.
When I didn’t deny his far-fetched question right away, the guys who should have been preparing for dinner bit back at me, saying that it was being cheeky.
“It’s Ojou-sama after all huh!”
“You’re aiming too high.”
“No, it might be a childhood friend from his neighborhood.”
They’re kinda saying whatever they want to. Like betting on a horse in a horse race. I wonder if they’re making stories about me. I think my friends in our all-boys school in the previous world used to talk to me about how they often made worthless bets, how interesting and funny it was. It feels like that.
This means that I can’t ask if these guys have girlfriends right now.
I thought of ways to get revenge but I stopped.
“Anyway, I want to become strong.”
I emphasized my abstract wish.
Ojou gave me the push, but it’s not as if I’ve forgotten how powerless I felt at that time. In order to erase what I’ve felt once, I thought to simply train.
“You wanna become a man before you grow up!? Hahaha.”
The Old Guy laughed loudly as if he’d seen something funny and violently patted my shoulder. He was strong so it hurt to a normal extent. Even if he doesn’t mean to, painful things hurt. I should ask if he’s going to teach me or not.
“What are you doing, everyone?”
When I was about to tell him it hurt, a voice was heard from the guys’ direction. I was surrounded by the Old Guy and the guys so I couldn’t see who it was at all, but the guys scattered back into their places like baby spiders.
Still, I was at the backdoor entrance. I still couldn’t see over the kitchen tables and ingredients. Who was it.
“Heins-san, great timing. Won’t you train this sonny?”
Ah, the Old Guy is using polite language. I was surprised to see the head chef doing that, but thinking carefully I noticed that it was more strange for chefs employed in the Duke’s house to speak candidly.
The question was sudden, and he couldn’t see me, so he replied with a dubious voice. I wonder why I feel like I’ve heard it somewhere before.
“This one seems to want to get stronger.”
Still laughing, the Old Guy brought me to the entrance to the kitchen from the mansion, to where the voice’s owner was.
When I looked up, Butler-san was there. It’s my first time confronting him properly. So Heins-san was Butler-san. Of course I would remember his voice.
Though I knew the owner of the voice, I didn’t know why he introduced me to him. I absentmindedly looked up at Heins-san. The Old Guy told me why as I was doing that.
“Heins-san rejected an offer from the Vice Captain of the Chivalric Order to serve here at the Ernst Household.”
He was more suited than his self-taught self, the Old Guy laughed.
Fighting butlers weren’t just limited to manga and games huh. I was shocked by that reality. There were a lot of servants with abnormally high martial prowess in the manga my little Sister used to read, and even in the games I played there were butlers and maids who worked in the darkness like ninja.
Servants don’t need to fight, do they? Ah, I’m more or less a servant too.
As I was reeling from shock, the Old Guy and Heins-san were finishing arrangements for a partial change in dinner for the next day. When I noticed, I was leaving the kitchen with and entering the mansion’s hallway with Heins-san.
“I have not introduced myself. I am Heins ・ von ・ Dreiss.”
He put his hand on his chest and made a bow that showed no gaps in his movement. I also panicked and bowed.
“…Ah, it’s Isaac ・ Baumgartner.”
After I introduced myself on our first direct meeting, he gave me a curt reply. Yeah, Heins-san seems like he’d have notes and information about all the servants in this house like a portable dictionary.
From there, I didn’t know what I should say so a few beats of silence passed. He was just looking at me with eyes like water, and I got nervous.
“Why, do you wish to be strong?”
“Because I want to protect Ojou, sama.”
He looked at my eyes and asked me. I looked back, not away and answered.
Protect, is an extreme way to say it, but I couldn’t think of any other way. At the very least, I want to make it so that she doesn’t run into danger when I’m near her.
Another few beats of silence passed. His expression didn’t change so I didn’t know for sure, but he might have been thinking of something.
“…If Lydia-sama were to meet with a scoundrel while you were with her, what would you do?”
“I would take her and run.”
Heins-san’s eyelids moved a little bit at my instant reply to his answer.
“Then what would you do if you were alone?”
Heins-san opened his eyes a little wider since I replied instantly again.
“For what reason?”
“He might be holding a weapon or he might have accomplices. For a child like me, opposing an opponent I have no information about would be reckless. So I’d run until I reach a safe place or somewhere I can hide.”
I dabbled in zombie killing games in my previous world, but I could only do that because I had equipment and they had predetermined specs. A normal person could not do the same.
“Besides, even if I were alone… I don’t wish to make my family sad.”
I kept quarreling with my stubborn Old Man, and I kept getting scolded by my Mom. My little Sister kept chatting with me. They were probably sad that I suddenly died in my previous life. I don’t want to cause something like that again.
I don’t know how my life is going to turn out, but I want to live until I become a geezer and die a peaceful death. I’ll work hard to live long.
When I looked at Heins-san with that determination, he exhaled slightly.
“Once or twice a week, if you’re okay with a few hours then I’ll start teaching you from martial arts. Let’s coordinate with Dennis-san. You already have some degree of strength from your gardening work… adjusting for your age, please do 50 sit-ups, squats and back exercises everyday.”
Being readily told my routine from here on out, my understanding couldn’t catch up and I was confused. Did he just say 50 reps after adjusting?
“Will you do it? Or will you not do it?”
He asked me to make up my mind with quiet eyes. If I don’t answer now then I surely won’t get any more chances.
“I’ll do it, Master!”
I straightened my back and bowed without a thought. For some reason, Heins-san stiffened for a second. But after that, he said goodbye and went away as if nothing had happened. It might have been my imagination.
I passed through the kitchen to get outside. The Old Guy clapped my shoulder, congratulating me for passing. When on earth did I take an exam?
From that day forth, muscle training was added to my daily routine.
A few days later, as if something had changed, I got hungrier than before. I told that to my Dad, and after we finished our morning work, I sat down on the roots of a nearby tree and unwrapped the packed lunch I had received from my Mom.
Not noticing a phrase that I muttered as a force of habit, my eyes sparkled from the sandwich made from a fried white fish sandwiched in between vegetables like tomatoes and rye bread.
Without a second’s delay I joined my hands and bowed my head lightly.
“I give my gratitude for these blessings.”
I briefly pulled my hands apart and put them on the bread.
(TN: Thing Japanese people say before eating which roughly means, I’m digging in)
“…What does that mean?”
A voice rang out just as the sandwich arrived. When I looked to where it came from, Ojou was looking at me curiously.
Since I was starving, I faced my palm towards Ojou and gestured for her to wait. As if she had understood, Ojou came close and quietly sat down next to me. She was staring at me as I frantically ate.
I chewed well on two sandwiches, free from worldly thoughts, and ate them. It’s not a good thing to do to Ojou who was waiting for me, but I wanted to eat as much as possible so I hoped she would allow it.
(TN: Also a thing Japanese people say after eating which roughly means, thanks for the meal)
I finished my food while Ojou was eyeballing me and joined my hands, satisfied.
“So. What is it? Ojou.”
When I asked her what she was asking about just now, she pointed to my hands, joined in prayer.
“What was that a while ago and just now?”
“It’s kinda like saying thank you.”
In this country, the custom was to express gratitude to the king’s rule before eating. After that came a custom from my previous life. I’d been doing it before I was old enough to be aware that I was, so I thought that it was natural for my whole family to be doing it in the house. But it turned out that my Mom and Dad were just doing it with me. In other words, it was a custom of my house.
I repeated the reply I gave to my Mom when she asked me when I was small to Ojou.
Our staple food wasn’t rice, so it was obvious that the seven gods in every rice grain wouldn’t hear.
(TN: The idea seems to be that there are seven gods in every rice grain: soil, water, wind, sun, clouds, insects and people, who all worked to bring rice to the table.)
“Like, not just because of the King but also because of many people that we’re able to eat, right? I’m kinda thanking all of those people.”
It might be a way of thinking distinct to Japan, where anything can become a god, even a mountain.
“A strange… way to think about it, isn’t it.”
Ojou tilted her head, having heard this thought for the first time. It was natural to thank the King, but it wasn’t natural to thank other things even aside from him, probably. My Mom did a good job accepting it without trouble.
“But… that’s true. Such a thought is not bad.”
Yeah, she nodded while thinking.
I felt happy that she was earnestly listening instead of making fun of me and smiled.
“Wha… what is it?”
Ojou didn’t understand why I smiled at her and lost her bearings a little bit.
“Ojou, I like how you listen seriously like that.”
I think she’s a good kid. Even for things said by a commoner like me, she listened and thought for herself before answering. Even though there are many nobles who don’t listen to servants or commoners.
After being silent for a bit, she reddened like a thermometer going up in temperature. When I it reached the top of her head, something like steam rose up.
She shut her mouth tightly and resisted her voice which was frantically trying to escape.
“? What’s wrong Ojou??”
Why did she suddenly go red? She was more red than I had ever seen before, and I didn’t have a clue why.
I tilted my head, and Ojou started to shuffle away from me.
Eh. Did I do something she didn’t like?
I got a little uneasy and called her again.
“…wh-wh-wha-what do you mean, Zac!?”
I didn’t know what on earth she was asking. It seemed like she was objecting to something, but even if she was reproaching me I didn’t know what for.
I’d like to apologize if I said something bad, but Ojou didn’t answer even when I asked. She delicately took her distance and squared her shoulders like an intimidating cat.
What went wrong?
“Ah. Come to think of it Ojou, what did you come here for?”
For now I’ll check her original intention.
“Mother wanted Zac to come have tea at three o’clock, she said. Wash your head and wait for it.”
After Ojou somehow relayed the Duchess’ message, she thrusted her finger at me, spat out a goodbye line and ran away.
After being left behind, I couldn’t go back to work right away. I didn’t have time to reply either.
I did get invited to a tea party and not an interrogation, right?
(TN: The raw was more like, ‘am I gonna get squeezed?’ I took the liberty of interpreting it although I’m not 100% sure)