Act 06: The Encounter of an Incognito Noble Girl
The following afternoon, Cordelia hung a 『In the middle of an experiment』wooden tag on the entrance of the greenhouse and secretly went to the city together with Ronnie.
The outfit that Ronnie had prepared for Cordelia was a magician’s robe, used by children, and she used the hood to completely cover her head. There weren’t many town girls with platinum blonde hair, and them having red eyes was even rarer. That was why, if anybody saw this combination of hair and eyes, they would know that she was a noble. Ronnie was concerned about that and seemed to have chosen the robe to hide as many of Cordelia’s features as possible. Cordelia would have preferred the town girl clothes better, but she had no choice but to accept the robes since he had such reasons. That was because her objective wasn’t to cosplay as a town girl, but a glass that would let her magic through.
The place that Ronnie guided her to was at the corner of a street that was two streets away from the main road. The foot traffic was sparse, and would sometimes stop completely. But sometimes the sounds of various artisans at work could be heard from around the street.
“Every shop around this area make their goods on orders, so even the store owners don’t go out in public much.”
“Is that right? It’s fantastic that everyone has patronage, isn’t it?”
“Oh, this way.”
Along the street, Ronnie stopped in front of a shop that looked just like a blacksmith. He pulled the door open and led Cordelia inside. It seemed that their destination was there.
She took a step inside, and the sight of many tools arranged in a disorderly fashion greeted her eyes.
The next thing she saw was ――― a single man gulping down alcohol from a bottle at the counter.
“Welcome. The heck. Just when I thought it was a customer, it’s just Ronnie, huh. A fellow who won’t bring in money, I see.”
“That’s cruel, Master!”
“I’d think about serving you if you were a cute nee-chan. Business is already over for today. I was feeling good after delivering supplies to the castle, and I just had to have a drink, you know. And it became like this.”
However, even while saying that, Master also said, “Well, I’m free anyway so I’ll entertain you,” while grinning. He was clearly toying with Ronnie.
In contrast to Master, Ronnie looked like he was tired from the bottom of his heart and whispered an introduction to Cordelia, “Ojou-sama, this is the shop’s Master.”
“What’s this? Are you accompanying your kid today? When did you get married?”
“I didn’t, and she’s not my child! Furthermore, this child is 8, so if what Master is saying was true, then I would have had her when I was 11, you know! In the first place, today’s customer is not me, but this child.”
“Hey, hey. I don’t have any children’s introductory magic sets here, you know?”
“That’s not needed. What we want today isn’t an introduction set, but an air-tight container made out of glass that can let this child’s magic penetrate through.”
Ronnie tried to cut him off and spoke disinterestedly as not to get carried away with the slightly drunk Mater’s pace, but he also did it out of slight concern for Cordelia. He must have been worried because Master’s sharp tone was unfamiliar to a noble. But in the first place, if she cared about such things, then she wouldn’t have kept Ronnie by her side, and she wouldn’t ask him to bring her to this kind of place.
Cordelia thought, he really fusses over the strangest things, as if it was someone else’s problem while sending him a message with her eyes, don’t mind it. Ronnie saw that and sighed.
Master looked Cordelia with interest while saying, “That’s quite an extreme thing you want, huh.” Then, he took out a crystal ball from the cupboard behind him.
“Ojou-chan, try putting your magic into here in the same way you always use magic.”
Cordelia held her hands out and inserted power into the crystal in the same way as when she used magic on flowers and the crystal changed colours. White swirls appeared in the previously clear jewel, and several lights of different shades burst from within.
“Ok, with this I know what your attributes are…… Hey there, this is unusual magic.”
“…… Can you do it?”
Ronnie asked the slightly surprised Master.
Master skulled the remainder of the bottle.
“Sorry, but I can’t give it to you straight away. It’s impossible with ready-made goods. I never thought that she would have such magic. Or rather, it didn’t occur to me because I’ve never seen it before. Light attribute and…… The heck is this. Dark attribute is mixed in as well? Earth and water are also included…… Whoa, that’s nasty magic. This kid, where’s she from?”
“Well, well, let’s leave that aside. Is it also difficult to make a custom one? Even for Master?”
“Ha? Stop bullshitting, just who do you think I am? I’ll make it. It’s easy for me to make a hole that allows any type of magic to pass through.”
Ronnie was pleased that his provocation had succeeded when he saw the Master put the bottle down onto the counter with a bang.
However, Cordelia, who was next to him, turned pale.
It probably wouldn’t be so expensive that I can’t pay, but what should I do if my magic still can’t penetrate through a custom made glass? I couldn’t possibly buy a lot of glass. Would I still have to buy it if I can’t use it? I don’t know what the price is, but I wonder if the money I saved up will all be gone from buying new experimental tools?
Ronnie whispered into Cordelia’s ears as she was feeling anxious, “It’s alright, Ojou-sama. Since it’s Master’s principle not to hand over something that the other party doesn’t approve off. Instead, it’s better that it’s custom made.
“He’s a pro, isn’t he?”
“A good Master, is he not?”
“What’re you whispering all secretly about, you guys!? Since that’s the case, Ronnie, you’re helping me out!”
Master pointed the empty bottle sternly at Ronnie, and he jumped.
“Me?! Why me!?”
“I’m going to make magic adjustments I’ve never done before. It needs creativity. In short, I’ll be bored if I do it silently by myself. So, tag along as my conversation partner.”
“Huh? Errr, isn’t a pro’s work normally one where they have to concentrate on making things?”
“You, do you think I’m normal? You’re so naïve, even though you’re a magician, aren’t you?”
He retreated to the back of the shop as soon as he’d said that.
“…… Ah, Master! Can I bring this child with me?”
“Well, even if I say it’s not interesting…… It might be interesting for a magician kid. I don’t mind.”
Cordelia was guided…… Or rather was left behind, so she followed Ronnie to the back of the shop.
It seemed like the shop had depth; there was a warehouse in the middle and at the back of that was the workshop.
Inside was a single female artisan. She tilted her head in confusion as soon as she saw Master.
“Huh? Weren’t we done for the day?”
“My bad, but we’ve got visitors. What were you planning on doing?”
“I was thinking of making the test tubes for stock right now…… But should I clean up?”
“Nah, that’s convenient. I’m gonna need glass, so hand me the place. You can leave the test tubes for tomorrow. You’re also done for the day.”
“Eh? Ok, I don’t mind. Well then, I’ll be excusing myself.”
After that, Master occupied the place where she was and started working.
First, he plunged a ladle-like thing into an iron pot that was flaming on the inside; like the ones old witches in fairy-tales used. Then, in the next instant, just when she thought that he’d pull it out, he poured molten glass onto the stand.
“You guys, have a good look at the work of the great me!”
Master said that and held his hands on top of the molten glass. Then, the shape of the glass began to change as if it was alive. When she’d realised it, it had already formed into the shape of a great cube.
Amazing, she tried to continue, but Master had interrupted her.
“This is bad…… Sorry, but could you get up from your seat, Ojou-san?”
“My magic is being pulled towards yours, Ojou-san. So it’s not being transmitted to the glass very well. Ojou-san’s magic is too powerful.”
Master was serious unlike before and showed a solemn face. However, Ronnie, who saw that, said in interest.
“Even though you were the one who told us to have a good look? My magic isn’t being pulled by this child, you know?”
“Are you being sarcastic? You don’t have to manipulate magic so you wouldn’t know!”
“…… Well then, I’ll be at the shop.”
Cordelia thought that it was better not to think about whether Ronnie and Master got along well or not, and turned towards the shop. She wanted to see him work, but if she got in the way, then that was inevitable.
“Ah, I strictly advise you not to leave the shop. You absolutely can’t.”
“Yes, I know.”
Cordelia answered the voice coming from behind her, rudely and without stopping, and closed the door.
She left the warehouse, and the shop’s bell rang with a jingle just as she’d appeared in the shop.
Is it a customer? Would it be better for me to call Master? She thought, but she immediately dismissed the thought.
“Sorry for intrud-ing! …… H-huh? If it isn’t Dilly.”
“Hey. What’re you doing?”
The one who appeared was Vernoux.
He didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes like when she last saw him, but brown hair and dark brown eyes, but his face was definitely Vernoux himself. In the first place, there shouldn’t be anyone other than Vernoux who would call her ‘Dilly’ after seeing her deeply hidden in a hood. The difference in his hair and eye colour was likely the work of the Flantheim’s magic or something else. Even though the quality of magic wrapped around him was the same, she felt as if the wavelength was a bit different from usual.
“How do you do, Vernoux-sama. What are you doing in this sort of place?”
“I’m looking around incognito. It’s been a while since I’ve had a society observation trip…… Rather, aren’t you surprised? My hair and eyes are a very different colour, aren’t they?”
“I am surprised. You seem very used to this.”
Vernoux broadly grinned after looking around the shop to confirm that Master wasn’t around.
“It’s an important experience, isn’t it? Getting to know the world that you can’t see by staying locked up in the mansion, that is. I always have trouble ditching my escorts.”
“It is truly a fine thing to have fun, and I think that your words are quite right, but please exercise some caution. It is extremely dangerous for a precious heir to go out alone.”
Cordelia shrugged her shoulders at Vernoux who apparently seemed more mischievous than she’d expected.
She, herself, had asked the impossible out of Ronnie, and thus had no right to say it, but she thought that his escorts sure had it tough.
However, it seemed that Vernoux had plenty of complaints with those words alone.
“I thought you were like a man, but you’re also like a mother, aren’t you? Nitpicky. Also, I’m not alone. I have Gille with me.”
Vernoux called out to a boy who was looking at the items, “Hey!” He had dark brown hair and eyes like the current Vernoux. However, the wavelength of his magic was somewhat close to Vernoux’s…… No, the wavelength was the same, so she predicted that he had probably got Vernoux to cast magic on him.
“This guy’s my companion. Uuh…… His name’s Gille.”
“…… I don’t think that the name of your companion is something you could forget.”
“That’s not it. It’s just that we have various circumstances too.”
Vernoux said that as he briefly introduced her to the boy, “Gille, this is Dilly.” I see, him introducing me by my pet name probably means that that isn’t the other person’s real name either.
“It’s nice to meet you.”
“…… Nice to meet you.”
The boy called Gille spoke in a choked voice after hearing Cordelia’s words.
Is he a little shy? But at this rate, an awkward silence will be created. Vernoux helped her out while Cordelia was wondering whether she should continue talking or not.
“What did you come here for, Dilly?”
“Eh? Ah, I thought I’d like some glassware, so I came here to place an order for them.”
“Hmmm. You’re really a strange one after all.”
Unlike Gille who didn’t say anything, Vernoux spoke to Cordelia without restraint, but Gille advised him, “That’s rude!”
She noticed that they were talking on equal terms. While being moved by the difference between Gille and Vernoux. They probably got along really well since they were both sneaking around together and his social status was probably high as well.
“What kind of tools are the two of you……”
The words that Cordelia wanted to say were interrupted by screams coming from outside of the shop.
“…… A child’s scream?”
It seemed that Cordelia hadn’t imagined the voice, and Vernoux quickly shifted his body close to the door. Then, he opened the door just a little and peeked at the situation outside. Thereupon, they could clearly hear the previous indistinct voice.
“Please stop it. Return those flowers to me!”
“I’m saying that this is my turf, Ojou-chan. Come on.”
A child’s voice and an adult’s voice.
“…… New ones drifted here again, huh.”
“Do you know something?”
Cordelia asked Vernoux who had the door slightly opened, without revealing his body to the outside.
Vernoux distanced himself from the door, faced Cordelia and answered.
“Yeah. Various kinds of people gather in the Royal Capital. Once in a while, there are guys like that who get the wrong idea and cause a disturbance. Fools who try to show off their power to kids who sell flowers.”
“…… My companion is in the back. I’ll go and bring help.”
“No, that won’t be necessary. Since I’ll be restraining them with my magic ―――. Aaa-aargh?!”
Vernoux seemed to have noticed something and suddenly let out a voice in surprise. Cordelia was surprised at his voice and saw that something was out of place.
“…… Come to think of it, where is Gille-sama?”
“Won’t you stop?”
The moment Cordelia heard that voice, she stuck to the door alongside Vernoux and looked outside.
Then she saw Gille, who was supposed to be with them, standing majestically in front of the hoodlum who looked like a bandit. Next to him was the flower girl who appeared to be around their age.
“That guy…… Going out of as he pleases! What’s he planning on doing? Like this, even Gille would be caught up in my magic.”
Vernoux muttered while making a sour face. It seemed that Gille’s actions were a hindrance to the magic Vernoux was planning to cast.
“That person is a noble-sama who isn’t used to travelling incognito, isn’t he?”
“Yeah. Today’s the first time he’s done it…… By the way, you can use magic, can’t you?”
“Then use the same skill as your older brother and restrain him.”
“…… But, I have never seen Onii-sama’s magic before.”
“Make plants grow rapidly and entangle the opponents…… The flowers in that girl’s basket, you see them too, don’t you? If you can restrain him with that, then I’ll handle the rest somehow.”
If she were to say whether she could imagine her older brother’s magic from hearing that rough explanation, then she would say that she couldn’t at all.
Make flowers grow rapidly? I can’t see far enough to see what kind of flowers they are, but I think that the flowers in the basket should be small bouquets. In other words, I couldn’t make them grow enough to entangle someone even if I stretched them.
(If that’s the case, rather than making them grow, I should forcibly draw out the powers of the plants…… Amplification, so to speak? Is it close to the magic preservation skill that I used together with drying when I made dried herbs? Do I use it along with growth……? But growth is the exact opposite of that skill…… Argh, whatever, I don’t know!)
However, things seemed tense outside. The hoodlum swung his fist down, and Gille nimbly dodged, but Gille was unarmed. If things went on like this, then Gille would be at a disadvantage.
In that case, she could only give one reply.
“I, I understand!”
She couldn’t say that she didn’t understand.
It was the first time she’d use remote control-like magic. Moreover, it was growth magic which had a high level of difficulty.
Cordelia imagined how her brother would use that kind of magic skill as she channelled power into both her hands and stocked all of her magic. While doing so, she quietly peeked at the hoodlum through the door crack.
(It’s no good. My magic won’t reach him through this small crack. I have to go outside. But how do I launch the magic in my hands……?)
Distractions were a powerful enemy when one manipulated magic. However, even if she understood that it wasn’t something she could do without thinking. Even she, herself, knew that her magic was shaking horribly.
But, perhaps because of the after-effects, a scenery different from the usual was reflected in Cordelia’s eyes. Her field of vision looked as if it was suddenly covered with red stained glass and the glass was broken in some places. It was as if an opening had formed and the moment she saw that space, she understood.
(A hole that allows magic to pass through, that’s what Master said!)
If the hint is a hole in the glass that allows magic to cross over, then the gap that exists in mid-air, in the broken glass-like thing, might as well be a road that enabled magic to pass through. And, that just might have been the hint to remote control. She wasn’t confident, but she couldn’t afford to hesitate.
Cordelia opened the door with her shoulder and poured magic into the opening, if she were to compare, then it was like putting a thread through a needle eye.
The hoodlum was startled by the loud sound of a bell and Gille turned around almost at the same time. The magic that Cordelia had released reached the inside of the girl’s flower basket.
The flowers rapidly grew and, in the blink of an eye, intertwined around both of the hoodlum’s feet. At the same time, the stained glass world vanished from Cordelia’s field of vision.
“I did it!”
“Okay, that’ll do!”
Vernoux, who was still inside of the shop, muttered something as soon as Cordelia cried out and then held his hands out towards the hoodlum.
In the next moment, an intense light leapt at the hoodlum, and he collapsed.
(Just like a stun gun…… I guess. He asked me to restrain the hoodlum so that Gille-sama and the girl wouldn’t get hit by that, didn’t he?)
But, that hoodlum isn’t dead now, is he? Cordelia thought, but she didn’t dare to approach him.
Also, even if it had already come to that, she was told to stay inside the shop so it wouldn’t do to continue being outside. Therefore, she rushed back into the shop.
In exchange, Vernoux took a step outside and blew a whistle with his fingers. Out of nowhere, two people with little presence appeared; they collected the hoodlum and left. It seemed that even though Vernoux said that he’d ditched his guards, they probably caught up to him, and it appeared that Vernoux, himself, understood that very well. That’s why he didn’t panic until Gille jumped outside, Cordelia thought.
In that sort of situation, Gille talked to the girl outside.
“Are you alright?”
“Huh, yes…… Thanks.”
“You should be careful.”
Gille spoke eloquently, and the girl seemed to be mesmerised by him. In contrast to that shoujo manga like scene, Vernoux’s face was extremely close to a Hannya.
He’s angry. Extremely angry.
After Vernoux grabbed Gille, who had returned to the front of the shop, by the scruff of his neck, back inside, Cordelia could predict that he would yell at Gille.
She took a step back and gently pressed on her ears. In the first place, Vernoux’s voice wasn’t something so soft that she wouldn’t be able to hear, just by covering her ears.
“It’s not 『You should be careful』, idiot!”
“It’s good that it settle with only a little pain. You rushed out there without a plan; if things went badly, then you could have been seriously injured.”
Of course, such a thing didn’t happen ―――, no, more like, Vernoux’s escorts wouldn’t have let it happened, but that wasn’t the issue.
However, Gille seemed unsatisfied by Cordelia’s words and countered with a half-glare towards Cordelia and Vernoux.
“But, I couldn’t just leave it be, now could I?”
“No one said such a thing, did they?!”
“That’s right, I also didn’t say that we should leave it be. I just wanted to express that it was necessary to consider the situation. Jumping out there is a courageous move, but it’s not like it couldn’t be called reckless either. Courage and recklessness are two different things.”
Cordelia rebuked in one breathe.
There was no need to jump in without a plan. Instead, if he had taken civil action, then Gille, himself, wouldn’t have been exposed to danger.
It seemed that Gille had thought about it in some way, but he didn’t feel like accepting it obediently.
“…… I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Cordelia heard those words and delivered the finishing blow.
“Yes, you haven’t done anything wrong; but you also didn’t do the best thing.”
“Di-Dilly, I think that’s enough……”
“Vernoux-sama, please remain silent. Gille-sama, people would get sad if you got hurt.”
Cordelia ignored Vernoux, who was defending Gille, even though he should have been angry at him while staring at Gille and said.
After that, Gille was lost for an answer, he looked as if he wanted to say something, but in the end, he said nothing.
It wasn’t like he was at an age where she could forcibly make him answer. She could also imagine that, since he was at that age, he wouldn’t obediently admit to something even if he understood it.
(…… Well, I wonder how I should follow this up.)
She wouldn’t be able to convince him just by scolding him. She thought it was important to relay the reason, but unfortunately, she couldn’t think of a way to follow her words up. Just as Gille insisted that he’d done nothing wrong, she also didn’t intend to say anything wrong.
Amid such an awkward silence, a surprisingly reluctant voice broke that equilibrium.
“…… Say, I felt the presence of intense magic being discharged a while ago?”
“Eh? Ah, yes. There aren’t any big problems, Ronnie.”
The one who opened the door to the inner part of the shop, and languidly spoke to Cordelia, was Ronnie.
Ronnie looked a little surprised to see two other children there besides Cordelia, but he didn’t show any more significant reaction than that. However, it didn’t seem like he believed Cordelia’s words.
“Well then, please come with me to the back. Honestly, I feel uneasy about whatever happened.”
Ronnie’s reproachful gaze of, “I told you not to leave the shop didn’t I?” was too painful.
“See you later. I’ll be excusing myself.”
Cordelia moved to the back workshop while desperately pretending that nothing had happened.
She thought that Ronnie had been helpful since they were caught in an awkward atmosphere.
However, Cordelia’s magic obstructed Master’s smelting and, in the end, he couldn’t finish the glass that day.
As a result, the finished product would be delivered to her at a later date. As Cordelia’s magic composition was projected in the crystal ball, it seemed that she didn’t need to visit the shop often.
Master assertively said to Cordelia, “I’ll be counting on you for verification when it reaches the final check-up stage, but until then I have no use for you.”
Cordelia was depressed that she’d lost her reason to go to the city, but Ronnie didn’t hide his relieved look.
His reaction might have been understandable since he was in a situation where he had to keep it a secret from the Earl.
(I wanted to know more about the city, so this might be a little disappointing…… But, my project is definitely progressing.)
Cordelia returned to her own room at the mansion and pulled out a book from among the books which lined up on top of her desk.
It was an experiment record and diary; it was where Cordelia wrote her experiment plans, the medicinal herb types and effects she remembered, and information about the medicinal herbs that she’d collected.
“Today passed by like a storm, didn’t it?”
Cordelia muttered while writing in her diary.
She wanted to write about it before she forgot the feeling she had when she successfully cast remote magic. She ran her pen through the page based on that desire. She continued to write the feeling she had at that time; perhaps no one other than her could read what she wrote.
She tried to ask Ronnie about remote magic on their way back from the workshop.
He seemed surprised that she knew about remote magic and explained it briefly to her.
“Well, simply put, you increase the magic within yourself and find a path within the atmosphere. Magic is not normally visible, but if someone with high mana concentrated, then it’s possible for them to perceive it. Therefore, concentrate and choose a path where your magic won’t be repelled by the magic in the atmosphere and fire it…… It’s like a feeling of detachment. Afterwards, the magic will just fly off on its own.”
“…… Does that path look concrete?”
“I think it’s different depending on the person’s magic, but in my case, I could see a lot of colourful small spheres in the atmosphere. Because the colour indicates attribute, it’s like you’re finding a path that doesn’t repel the magic you’re using. The power falls when you hit your magic with a strange attribute and the direction of the magic will also twist.”
Cordelia didn’t know if Ronnie’s explanation was complicated or if she had a hard time following what he’d said, but at least she didn’t remember doing such a profuse thing. However, the fact that she was able to successfully use the skill meant that what she saw was probably that 『path』.
“Well, if the magic one manipulates is different, then the path is different. So it’s impossible to express it in a single word.”
Ronnie concluded, but for the time being, she was glad that she couldn’t see what Ronnie did. I would have definitely been confused if I saw a lot of colourful spheres at that time, she thought. If she could see the road clearly, then there was nothing better than that.
The red world which was the same colour as her eyes. Is this the Pameradia House’s influence ―――, she’d also thought, but that was immediately countered by Ronnie’s words.
“Which reminds me, it feels like the Master pushes his power through if there are some obstacles in the way. It seems that you can wrench open the atmosphere’s magic if a path doesn’t exist. It might be because he has excess magic, nevertheless, is that the norm of the Pameradia House?”
“…… This is the first time I’ve ever heard of it, ask my Onii-sama about those things.”
She recalled it when she’d stopped reminiscing.
“…… At that time, I wonder if it would have been better if I’d said a single, 『You were cool』to Gille-sama.”
She didn’t intend to compliment him.
She thought that the actions taken by Gille weren’t praiseworthy. However, his dashing appearance which was just like a Prince from a fairy-tale was cool, even if he was young.
If she’d been in the flower girl’s shoes…… then Gille would have definitely looked like a little hero. However, it was a bit late to think about it at that point, and it was difficult to tell him that since some time had already passed; let alone after she’d said words that sounded as if she was lecturing him.
(Maybe I was too harsh on him. I might have been immature. I’ll reflect on it.)
Even though I should’ve known that a sound argument wasn’t always the right one.
Cordelia thought that and closed her diary.
Then she made one resolution.
If I meet him again, then I’ll find his good points and compliment on how amazing they are.
When she made that resolution towards someone whose real name she didn’t know; she had a strange feeling that she’d meet him again.
“…… Gille-sama was a gentleman. That’s why I’m sure he’ll become an even more amazing gentleman next time we meet.”
The little gentleman will definitely grow up into a really cool adult, she thought, unable to suppress her laughter.
(I also have to become a proper lady for when that time comes.)
If they were to meet again, then she had to become someone that wouldn’t lose to the imaginary him.
A small resolution was quietly lit within Cordelia.