Act 02: The Noble Girl’s Plan to Go Out
Act 02: The Noble Girl’s Plan to Go Out
The memory Cordelia had, as she held the letter in her hand, was of her former world when she was in 『kindergarten』and 『exchanging letters』was still popular.
She had never been good at writing them, and no one could only be contacted with a letter. That was why she didn’t have any good or bad memories in regards to letters.
But now, Cordelia was very impressed by the letter she’d received.
(There are a lot of different herbs ―――!)
Cordelia paused for a moment to control her excitement and once again looked at the letter, ――― or rather the report, which she’d received from the head chef.
It was a『Catalogue of Strong Fragrant Wild Grasses』――― in other words, the herbs’ habitats were written down. The catalogue listed that herbs that she was familiar with, such as peppermint, sage, chamomile and lavender; and they grew in a mountain, relatively close to the Royal Capital.
Cordelia raised the corners of her lips.
(This is wonderful……)
The letter, which contained information about many herbs that she specialised in, was like a treasure box filled with jewels. It felt even more radiant than real jewels and filled her with joy. If she could get her hands on those herbs, then it would be a superb start for her research.
(If I can get my hands on them, then it’ll be crucial for me to decide how to start my research.)
But then, she noticed a big problem.
Although she knew the place, the herbs’ habitat was in a mountain.
“A young noble girl going to the mountain to pick wild grass…… Can I go?”
Even though it was relatively close to the Royal Capital, the mountain was abundant with magic; thanks to that the plants grew well, but for the same reason it was a danger zone where monsters also appeared. So even if Elvis spoiled his daughter ―――; no, instead she got the impression that he wouldn’t give her permission to go because he loved her so much.
Of course, she could probably obtain stock if she ordered the servants to get it. However, Cordelia wanted to go there herself and confirm the state of wild growth. She might be able to discover herbs that weren’t written in the catalogue if she went there herself. She was also just curious about going out of the mansion.
Ever since she was born, she’d rarely stepped outside of the mansion.
It wasn’t like she was directly prohibited from going outside, but, in the first place, it was probably that 『noble children don’t usually go for strolls』. She had also never been invited to go out. She didn’t think that it was prohibited entirely, because she had read novels in the library where the children would go out [accompanied by a guardian] to meet their fiancés/fiancées; but it was probably difficult to go out without reason.
(I want to meet my fated plants…… Just kidding, that would be unreasonable.)
Now then, what should I do?
Cordelia thought it was troublesome, but she had no intention of giving up.
In her previous life, she would go anywhere and everywhere for the sake of research. That was why her instincts told her 『It isn’t good to stay cooped up in the mansion』. Besides that, she was trying to do things outside of the world’s conventional wisdom. That was why she didn’t think that she would hit success if she relied on others. It was necessary for her to go to the actual place.
However, she also understood that if she aimed to be a proper lady, she couldn’t disregard trifling conventional wisdom outright. If she were to go out, she would have to figure out a solution that didn’t deviate from the behaviour of a proper lady. Moreover, she needed a reason that would not neglect her escorts, and would convince her father……
She thought to that extent and found one possibility.
“If I were to accompany Isma-oniisama on his ride……”
The Pameradia House’s third child and second son, Isma Ismael Pameradia.
Cordelia recalled that person.
Cordelia had three siblings: eldest brother; who was fourteen years her senior; his younger twin, her eldest sister, who was already married to the second son of a Duke House, and her second older brother, who was twelve years older than her. Among them, her eldest and second brother were both knights in the Imperial Guards.
Those brother of hers were off-duty two days out of ten. They usually lived at the dormitory, but they would return home on those days. Once back, Isma would head out to go on horse rides. To him, the best method to soothe him from his rigorous work was a horse. Naturally, since he was a knight on duty, he didn’t require an escort ――― Nonetheless, they couldn’t let him go somewhere by himself, so someone from the mansion would always follow behind him. However, she had heard that he would also frequent deep into the mountains.
Isma had playfully asked Cordelia this before, “Do you want to come along too?”
At that time, Cordelia had been too surprised at his unexpected question to reply, but she clearly remembered what he’d said. Isma had a benign nature compared to Elvis and her eldest brother, and he was also a gentle-mannered person. He also had a friendly face. Elvis would say something like, “I’m home,” in greeting and Isma would entice a conversation with, “What did you do today?”
However, it didn’t mean that their relationship was good, even if he asked her to go along with him on his ride; it might have just been social pleasantries. However, even if it were a joke, he wouldn’t reject Cordelia, who he had previously invited before, outright if she wished to go. She bet on that possibility.
Cordelia immediately pulled out some stationery and composed carefully written sentences. Writing wasn’t her forte, but her letter would be reviewed. ――― In other words, her message would be read over by someone else. As a daughter of the Pameradia House, her letters must be written beautifully. Even if the person who read it didn’t disclose the contents, it was ideal not to show any openings.
In the first place, it was her first request to her brother, so messy writing was out of the question.
(Now then, what will onii-sama’s response be?)
The words she wrote, full of expectations, had contained a little bit of liveliness and an easy-going feel to them.
However, a reply from Isma never came.
She had heard that Isma, being the youngest member of his unit, had a lot of tasks, so it was rash to think that he’d refuse just because she hadn’t received a reply.
That was why Cordelia continued to earnestly wait for him to come home. When that day came, it was inevitable that she anxiously awaited his arrival. She stood firmly at the entrance while staring outside. Usually, she would be endeavouring in her dance lessons and studies at that time, but she was exempt from all classes for these two days, today and tomorrow, thanks to her doing her best and picking up her pace.
Regarding Elvis, she was able to persuade him three days after she’d come up with the plan.
“I want to accompany Onii-sama on his ride,” the first time when she’d said those words, her father looked reluctant and questioned in a mutter, “Can you even ride a horse?” But, other than that, he didn’t accept or refuse her. Therefore, she kept on asking for permission. Finally, she received the answer, “I’ll leave it to Isma to decide.”
The reason why he was reluctant was the same reason as she’d come up with before; she had also assumed that he couldn’t immediately refuse her because there was a horse.
Equestrianism was also part of a noble’s education. However, compared to other education practices, very few women learnt it, because it required them to be active. However in return, for example, 『Being one of the few who had hobbies in common with men』could be an advantage for future connections.
(Which meant that the most critical issue was safety. I’m thrilled that Onii-sama is a knight.)
If Isma wasn’t a knight, then it was highly probable her request would have been refused for safety reasons.
(Onii-sama, won’t you come home sooner?)
Isma probably wouldn’t show up in the morning if he came back at the usual time.
However, Cordelia kept waiting for him without moving, with the expectation that today might be different.
Time moved as it usually did, but she felt as if it was moving a lot slower.
In the end, Isma came home at the same time he always did, which was a little past noon. He seemed to have finished the paperwork, for when he was on duty at dawn, and his eyes, which were already red, were even redder.
Isma didn’t resemble Elvis aside from his pupils; his traits were his gentle eyes and slightly lighter chestnut hair. He was tall but slender, and gave off a somewhat feeble impression; if she were to use a word from her previous life, then she would say that he looked like a 『flirt』. He was a genuine knight, who dressed in a knight’s armour and looked great with swords, but for some reason, he looked like a flirt. She didn’t think that it would be surprising if he had a fan club in the Royal Capital.
However, Isma was still someone from the Parmeradia House. There were no rumours about him floating about.
On the contrary, it was worrying how there were no rumours.
Even Isma had enough strength to be a knight. Even if he looked tired, he could still move around after sleeping for about two hours. Today would probably be like that as well.
“Looks like you were waiting eagerly, Cordelia.”
“Good work, Isma-oniisama.”
Isma couldn’t hide his wry smile, probably because he’d guessed why Cordelia had been waiting for him.
“Are you serious about what you wrote in your letter?”
Isma bent down and got onto one knee, to match his younger sister’s height. He looked directly at Cordelia with his similarly red eyes.
His slightly narrowed eyes nearly made Cordelia hold her breath, but instead, she said, “Yes, of course!”
Not to be outdone, she lifted Isma’s right hand with both her hands.
“Hey, Onii-sama. Please take me with you. I’d like to go to Schiwiel Forest.”
“To think that my sister, who is attached to the library and father, would nominate me for the job. Moreover to the forest….. Did mother influence you?”
“Okaa-sama? …… Did you meet with Okaa-sama?” Cordelia was surprised by the unexpected question and ended up asking Isma in return.
Does Okaa-sama like the forest? I’ve never heard that before.
Isma grinned slightly because of Cordelia’s question.
“No, it’s nothing. We’ll go tomorrow. The forest glistening in morning dew is a beautiful sight, so we’ll leave early in the morning.”
“Sorry but I’ll go sleep for a bit. You should return to your room, Cordelia.” Isma’s words were a little muddled. He stroked her hair, stood up and disappeared to the upper floors, where his room was.
(…… As I thought, maybe it was something I wasn’t supposed to ask.)
They seldom met, but of course, it wasn’t like Cordelia didn’t know her mother at all.
Her mother was a beauty with the same light chestnut hair as Isma and her sister. Even just one of her movements showed her elegance, and her presence was amazing. Her etiquette tutor also taught her how to move beautifully, but compared to the tutor…… No, her mother was endowed with refined elegance that couldn’t be compared.
However, her mother had always been a recluse. No matter how graceful her movements were, that behaviour wasn’t elegant at all.
Her relationship with her mother was terrible, and her mother hadn’t visited Cordelia since she was seriously ill at the age of three. Even if she walked passed her mother in the corridor, all she did was bow to her; they never spoke to each other. Rather than being ignored, Cordelia felt as if her existence itself wasn’t even recognised.
Cordelia had tried to contact her mother many times in the past.
The first reason was that she wanted to avoid her frightening future. After all, if you become a Countess, you’re bound to have a strong influence at home. If she wanted Cordelia to be Queen in the future, like Elvis did, then she couldn’t afford to stay in contact with her mother.
However, Cordelia had yet to have a conversation with her mother. Even if she wanted to set an appointment with her mother, her mother’s maid would always come back with a refusal message. Eventually, it happened so many times that Cordelia gave up on the idea of contacting her mother. She wasn’t abandoning her future; it was just that she’d finally realised that her mother’s existence wouldn’t have any effect on her future.
It seemed that her mother was just simply not interested in the Parmeradia House.
According to what the maid had told her when she’d pestered her for information:
Her mother fell in love with Elvis, who was a knight and begged her father by marketing herself to establish their engagement.
However, Elvis, who had accepted the engagement, had no interest in her mother and thought of it as a political marriage.
To make matters worse, Elvis resigned as a knight before they married.
Even after quitting the knights, Elvis didn’t act like a husband and remained aloof.
Of course, the maid spoke in a roundabout way; she spoke as if she was telling a story, but Cordelia omitted the unnecessary parts and summarised it. Surprisingly, her mother acted as if 『it would be better for my husband to be troubled』, so she shouldn’t have been interested in things such as Cordelia’s marriage, which seemed to be advantageous for the Parmeradia House.
Because of that, Cordelia stopped trying to meet with her before she’d turned four. She wasn’t able to get through to her mother; on top of understanding that she couldn’t be a burden to herself, she was also reluctant to try to force someone to mediate between them, so that she could meet her mother. Fortunately or unfortunately, Elvis didn’t seem to care, so there was no need to get involved with her mother more than needed.
(…… I wonder if the selfish behaviour of the 「Cordelia」in game was inherited from her Okaa-sama.)
Cordelia muttered in her mind while suddenly thinking of her mother.
Elvis had indeed said, 『You will get married to the Crown Prince』and it was highly likely that『Cordelia』also thought, 『Of course I would』.
(…… If this was like the story, then it seems that Okaa-sama would cheer up if Otou-sama just talked to her…… But Otou-sama doesn’t look like he cares at all, so it’s hard to improve the situation.)
Cordelia secretly sighed while watching Isma retreat to brush her off. She wanted to hear about it from Isma’s point of view too, but she could understand why he wanted to keep his mouth shut. No matter the reason, he was probably hesitant to tell his little sister that, “Mother is avoiding you.”
Although she understood that, Cordelia realised that she was somewhat depressed. She got a strange feeling; her own, or rather 『the real Cordelia’s』heart ached. She was surprised at being depressed over someone who she only ever saw; someone who didn’t even think about her…… And also, about the existence that was within her that wasn’t her.
Still, Cordelia tightened her jaw and returned to her room without stopping.
“『There are times when a noble must suppress their emotions』or something like that.”
She closed the door with a click while muttering one of the things that her tutor told her many times. I can’t show that I’m upset. I would lose my tact, and a gap would open in my heart. It would become a hindrance for when I think about my next step.
Those were words that were familiar to her, but she didn’t think she could apprehend them right then.
(I’m glad that there aren’t any lessons today.)
If someone found me right now, then I wouldn’t be able to keep my composure. With that in mind, Cordelia slowly walked to the middle of her room and pulled her thin lace curtains.
I was just tired because I had been too excited this morning and thus became a little upset when Isma-oniisama brought up Okaa-sama. I didn’t care about it that much.
She thought that and, although the action was terrible for a noble lady, slowly fell onto her bed.
(It’s okay, my head will clear up after I sleep……)
But a small voice began speaking to Cordelia from the dark world behind her shut eyes as if it was disturbing her thoughts.
Hey, it isn’t like mother isn’t interested in the house; doesn’t she hate you?
――― Shut up.
She’s your mother right? Aren’t you lonely? Even though she met your brother.
――― Then what are you saying I should do?
Cordelia rolled over as if to shake off her thoughts and slightly opened her eyes.
It looked as if the hanging curtains were accusing her of something.
(…… That’s right. I didn’t think anything of it. The feelings of loneliness are a lie. She’s the best example of who not to be. I won’t become a stubborn woman just because things don’t go my way. I will become a woman who can jump through hoops. Even if it was out of the ordinary of this world ―――; I will achieve happiness on my own.)
Cordelia surrendered herself to the long-awaited drowsiness.
(…… Let’s quickly become a proper lady. Keep looking ahead without getting swayed by my emotions.)
She made a firm resolution in fading consciousness.
Oh, why, why are you so long chapters? QwQ