However, even if education was accepted in the village because of that, it didn’t mean that everything was solved. To begin with, a few schools had been established, including the one in Caina Village. The current schools were being supported by the Pameradia House, but if schools were established in other areas as well, then it was necessary to collect tax to maintain them.
(I’m free to support them even if they become a public school, but I need to maintain balance.)
For example, if the sales of balm was on track in the future, then more money would roll into her lap. If so, then sending simple stationery wouldn’t dent it much. There was a saying that went ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’, but the more goals she had, the more motivated she was.
(Then, I have to steadily continue with my research.)
She thought that and went back to her own room to change into her research outfit.
Then, she visited the greenhouse accompanied by Emina, the maid in charge of her, and afterwards she stepped into the laboratory after a long time.
The analysis magician, Ronnie, was elegantly sipping tea in the laboratory, even though it wasn’t break time.
“Oh, welcome home, Ojou-sama.”
“I’m back, Ronnie.”
“Where did you go this time?”
“To the south. Emina, give that bag to Ronnie.”
“Is it a souvenir? Is it sweets or something? But, it’s awfully bulky.”
Ronnie, who received the bag from Emina, opened it and clearly looked disappointed.
“…… What is this lumpy thing? It’s not food, is it?”
“You’re half right and half wrong. It’s called 『ginger』. There’s two bags in that paper bag, isn’t there? The gunny bag is made of something called Curcuma and is used for display. The paper bag has the edible stuff.”
However, Ronnie’s expression didn’t brighten up even when he heard it was ‘food’. Rather, he looked like he would sigh at any moment now.
“Ojou-sama, you really like root-type foods, don’t you? Even before…… Was it called burdock? That long thin root.”
“Burdock is rich in dietary fibres and is good for the body. It’s not mainly used in this kingdom, but it’s common in places across the ocean. And ginger goes really well with meat dishes.”
“It goes well with meat? That’s good…… Not. Ojou-sama, putting aside ginger, I don’t understand your hobby of collecting things that aren’t mainstream here. Tofu, was it? What’s so good about that tasteless bean pudding? I expected it to have a lot of taste when you obtained the soybeans and happily instructed the servants.”
“I honestly don’t know what you’re thinking,” he said, but he looked like he was having fun so she retorted without hesitation.
“In the first place, turnips and carrots are also roots. You eat them, don’t you Ronnie? The tofu that you’re calling extremely dull is good for your health.”
“It’s not dull; there’s no taste!”
“That’s because you ate it as it is, Ronnie. If you’d put pacho sauce on it then the taste would have changed!”
Personally, I don’t think plain tofu tastes bad. Of course, I love seasoning it with rock salt or ginger, which I obtained this time. But, that’s because I remember being used to eating it. Ronnie wouldn’t feel the same way I do.
(…… Well, if I just sell tofu by itself, then more people apart from Ronnie would call it 『tasteless』because they’ll probably eat it just as it is.)
Well then, why don’t I think of some sweets for tofu? If I mix with fried sweets like donuts, then people definitely won’t eat tofu by itself. Then, I wouldn’t have to be subjected to Ronnie’s 『tasteless pudding』 stigma.
“Let’s leave the matter of the tofu aside for a moment…… Ronnie, can you run an errand for me? I also bought a souvenir for Aisha-oneesama.”
“Yes. Can I rely on you?”
Aisha safely moved to her residence in the Royal Capital and got married that year. Thus, becoming a viscountess. It seemed that Cordelia’s measures against hay fever worked well, and Aisha would joke that she currently wasn’t getting covered in tears or a runny nose. Their schedules didn’t met up, so it was difficult for them to meet, but they would often exchange letters through Ronnie.
“Yes, it’s my pleasure. May I take a detour?”
“Make sure that…… you don’t use more time on your detour than your errand.”
Cordelia understood that Ronnie wasn’t just joking, so she gave him a warning, but he remained carefree. It was reassuring that he was looking forward to his errand, but it wasn’t good to muck around too much.
Therefore, Cordelia presented her trump card to Ronnie.
“Ronnie. I had the opportunity to visit your family home, the Eris Firm, when I went on an inspection to the south, and I had the opportunity to meet the employees there.”
“But, the Director-sama…… I could meet Ronnie’s Otou-sama, Okaa-sama or your Onii-samas. They asked me to take care of you, you know?”
Ronnie couldn’t meet her in the eyes after she’d said that. He hadn’t expected her to say the name of his house. Cordelia had contacted the Eris firm because she wanted to consult with them about trade routes, so it had nothing to do with Ronnie, but she felt that she gained an unexpected result from it.
“I saw the greenhouse a while ago. A lot of the flowers are blooming, so I want to try harvest a new essential oil. Emina, could I ask you to be the first tester?”
“Of course, Ojou-sama.”
“Ah, Ojou-sama. For the time being, I’ve made a waiting list for the servants who want to receive the aroma massages. It would probably be difficult with too many testers, so we’ll look at the condition of their magic power to some extent and decide the order.”
Ronnie handed Cordelia a blank piece of paper as if to say he was also doing his work properly.
It was different from four years ago, when she’d first started her experiment, now, the servants wanted to participate in her experiment even if she didn’t pay them…… Or rather, the recruitment of testers had become a major event, like a festival, already. At first, Cordelia smiled a little bitterly that the experiment no one wanted to volunteer themselves for had suddenly become so popular.
Of course, she was happy. She thought it was a joyous thing. However, it also made her realise that things wouldn’t proceed easily if people didn’t obtain a 『sense of security』.
(This got popular amongst the servants by word of mouth, so I hope that it would also become popular amongst the nobles as well.)
So I have to gain their trust after all, don’t I? It’s fun to think about these things, but I have to use my head for difficult things, after all.
When Cordelia thought that, a woman’s voice resounded through the laboratory.
“You seem to be having a lot of fun.”
“Nirupama-obasama? It’s been a while!”
Countess Nirupama Weltoria showed up at the open door.
She was one of the few female countesses in this kingdom, the ruler of the fief where only women inherited the title, and also the older sister of Cordelia’s mother…… In short, her aunt. She radiated confidence and always had her head held high, and faced firmly forward. The dignified Nirupama was famous in high society and Cordelia heard from her second brother, Isma, that she was at the forefront of cutting-edge of fashion. Nirupama’s face was very similar to her mother’s, but Cordelia thought that they didn’t look like sisters at all, because their facial expression were different.
Nirupama often came to the Pameradia mansion when she was staying at the Royal Capital two years prior. But, until then, she had never met with her sister. The reason why Nirupama came to the Pameradia mansion was, of course, to talk to Elvis, but those meetings probably only took half the time in those visits. She spent the remaining half visiting Cordelia with sweets.
However, she seemed empty handed today.
“Oh, you don’t have to prepare any tea today. I came on urgent business, so I don’t have much time.”
“Urgent business? Then shall we go to a different room?”
Nirupama had never come to see her if she had to return home straight away. If it’s something serious, then would it be better for me to tell Emina and Ronnie to go out of the room?
However, Nirupama quickly spoke to Cordelia, whose expression was changing.
“You don’t have to be that defensive. I brought you an invitation today.”
“An invitation, was it?”
An important invitation. Cordelia gulped.
(Don’t tell me she’s going to make those joke-like comments about me becoming her adopted child……?)
Nirupama informed Cordelia with a friendly smile.
“I have been invited to the Flantheim House’s evening party, so you come too. You know their son, right?”
“…… Excuse me?”
Cordelia froze for a moment because the invitation was completely different from what she’d expected Nirupama to talk about.
Ah, yes. Even if she says it’s an important matter, there’s no way she’d try to persuade me into becoming her adopted child when she has no time….. Cordelia thought that, but she couldn’t understand Nirupama’s intentions.
“The Flantheim House’s evening party, was it?”
Cordelia tilted her head at the same time she said that. Of course, it wasn’t like she didn’t understand the meaning of those words. There was probably an evening party at her friend Vernoux’s mansion. It was close to Vernoux’s birthday, and she’d heard from him that the Marquis hosted evening parties in celebration.
But, Cordelia had never been to it before. She had given Vernoux a gift every year for his birthday, but she had never been to the evening party…… Or rather, she would see Elvis off as he attended those parties with an extremely sullen face while saying, “I’m off.”
Therefore, she couldn’t grasp why Nirupama invited her. What the hell is the meaning of this?
Nirupama laughed at Cordelia’s reaction.
“I wanted the adorable Cordelia to make her debut. Of course, I know that Marquis Flantheim knows you. And I know you’re not a shut-in and that you travel around the kingdom with Elvis-sama. Therefore, you can socialise more with adults than ordinary children, right? But you can’t do the same with children or women, am I right? Since there’s finally an evening party, I wanted to take this opportunity to show you off.”
However, Cordelia was more confused by Nirupama’s remark. But, Nirupama paid no attention to her confusion.
“I don’t think it’s a bad deal for you. I think you know how adults interact with each other from your inspections. But, it’s also important for you to see and learn how politics works in noble societies. It’ll be fine. It’s an evening party for his son, so there’ll be a lot of children there. You can take it easy.”
“What did Otou-sama say?”
“Elvis-sama said that one of his sons would be going on his behalf because his schedule is a bit strict this year…… But, when I told him that I was going to take you, he said that he’ll go himself.”
“…… Will Otou-sama be alright since he’s busy with work?”
“It’s fine, no problems. It’s that Elvis-sama, you know? No one would complain even if he’s a little behind on work.”
No, that’s not what I meant.
Her aunt, who was laughing, ohoho, probably said it so that she wouldn’t worry, but that wasn’t what she was worried about. Cordelia was worried that he would push himself to finish the work so that he wouldn’t be behind on work; but the invitation had already been decided anyway. Therefore, Cordelia had no reason to refuse.
(Just….. Of course, I’m happy that Otou-sama would be coming with me, but I don’t mind if Onii-sama goes as well, so please don’t push yourself.)
Cordelia thought while looking up at Nirupama and replying, “I understand.”
Nirupama grinned broadly at that answer. Her smile was like flowers blooming. However, her smile was gradually warped by a dark aura.
Cordelia drew back slightly. What’s wrong with you today, Oba-sama?
However, such a Cordelia didn’t even enter Nirupama’s eyes as she continued to laugh while her shoulders were shaking.
“Just you wait, Countess Halluci. The rumour of the『dark future of the hard-headed Weltoria』will be gone by me bringing this cute angel with me. Fufufufufu.”
Nirupama also seemed to have her own reason, but Cordelia didn’t have the guts to ask about them. Her beauty as a lady disappeared and she was resembled a Demon Queen, so it was high-risk to ask her now. Curiosity killed the cat…… It wasn’t like that, but there was no reason for her to touch on such a dangerous topic.
(The Countess Halluci who angered Oba-sama by calling her hard-headed was also a big-shot, huh…… I don’t think she’s hard-headed in the first place.)
How the heck does Nirupama-obasama act normally? Cordelia wondered while maintaining her smile. I can’t ask and I can’t say anything until Oba-sama calms down…… Cordelia thought, but it didn’t take long before Nirupama’s expression changed.
“Ah, that’s right. Cordelia, you need a dress too, don’t you? I’ve already called the tailor that you always use, so they’ll I’ll change the gender once I know it…… be coming soon.”
“Mm, erm…… Oba-sama, didn’t you say you didn’t have much time……?”
“Yes. There’s no time left since the tailor will come soon. If we drink tea, then we wouldn’t be able to consult them about your beautiful dress right?”
“Th-thank you very much……”
Nirupama grinned at Cordelia’s reply.
“Let’s have them finish the dress in a week. You look like you’ll suit red.”
She spoke and Cordelia shook her head.
“Oba-sama, I want a light coloured dress.”
Even Cordelia knew that red suited her. It was a colour that the 『Cordelia』in-game wore beautifully.
However…… It was a bad omen.
Nirupama’s eyes widened since Cordelia spoke a little fast.
“Oh my, really? I think red suits you better though…… How about a pink dress with a red corsage? You’ll shine in it.”
“If it’s a corsage, then I’d like to make it with the flowers blooming in the greenhouse on the day. I have this very beautiful rose.”
“Oh my, a rose? How lovely.”
She didn’t have to mention that it was the rose named 『Cordelia』that she’d received from her friend Gille.
Gille and Cordelia had never met once in the four years, but their letters continued through Vernoux on a regular basis. The letters she received were always courteously written, but there were rare times when they would look like they were rushed. The topics he wrote about varied between studying, sword practice, being teased by Vernoux and books that Cordelia might be interested in.
(I noticed this from the beginning, but he’s a very serious child.)
He seemed to really hit it off with Vernoux, but their personalities were complete opposites. However, it might be because of that that they were good friends.
(I might also want a friend whom I can get along with.)
She might even find that friend at the evening party. If so, then she would be happy.
She strayed a bit off the topic, but Cordelia received permission to use the rose 『Cordelia』for research purposes from her letter exchanges with Gille. But, of course, she promised to pay a margin if she used the rose for business. Gille was a bit reluctant at that condition and had written that he didn’t need money. Cordelia had insisted but he didn’t accept after all and said that he would give Cordelia exclusive use of the rose instead of a margin. This time, it was Cordelia’s turn to be hesitant because she felt bad, but she yielded to him in the end.
“You need a special rose, don’t you? I’ll be happy if it could be of use to you.”
She couldn’t refuse after he sent that finishing blow.
Nirupama, who didn’t know about Cordelia’s state, smiled and said, “Show me later, okay?”
“Then, the next problem is dancing. Will you be alright? It wouldn’t be as bad as your debut, but the children will be dancing next to you.”
“Please don’t worry, Oba-sama. I have been practising that.”
Her timing wasn’t good enough to show people, but she had been taking dance lessons for a long time now for the sake of her future. Even with triple time, she had been practising since she was young so that people won’t say, 『She can’t dance even though she’s a beauty』. It’s fine. I should be able to dance.
“You’re really Elvis’ daughter, no, my niece. You’re cute even if you lack in certain areas…… No, I’m glad you’re a clever kid. I’m happy as the Weltoria feudal lord. ――― I really don’t mind if you want to become my daughter at any time, you know Cordelia?”
Cordelia smiled vaguely in response to her smile. It was a charming offer, but it wasn’t something that she could decide by herself, and it wasn’t like Nirupama was offering it to her seriously. Rather than it being an original conversation, it was more like a part of their greetings.
“If you really want to be adopted into my family, then I’ll give you the education you need as a feudal lord. So you don’t have to worry about that. But even if you don’t want to become my adopted daughter, I’ll give you hints on how to become the 『most cutest Ojou-sama』. So it’s alright for you to rely on me.”
“Thank you very much, Oba-sama.”
“It’s actually something my sister should be doing. Though I think that being able to take care of my cute niece is a perk. Elvis also isn’t interested in woman’s preferences, so it’s perfect, right Cordelia?”
Cordelia smiled at Nirupama who was narrowing her eyes and gossiping.
“But, it wouldn’t be strange for you to receive invitations from the royal family, since you’re so cute, right Cordelia? I don’t know what your future brings.”
“No, Oba-sama. I think you’re just being biased.”
“Yes, I’m sure of it. But that’s why I want to improve myself and become a wonderful woman. I’ll be turning to you for your guidance.”
Of course, she knew that she was cute. She knew, but her aunt’s remarks were too ominous. That future would definitely not come to be, ――― she wished as she grasped Nirupama’s hands.
Nirupama widened her hands a little and then a smile immediately made its way to her face.
“Well, then let’s start with a nice dress. The craftsman should be here now.”
“Cordelia. First of all, enjoy your first evening party to your heart’s content. That’s the first step for ladies.”
Cordelia nodded deeply at Nirupama’s words.
The first thing was to handle her first evening party skilfully. That was her new and immediate goal.
|↑1||I’ll change the gender once I know it……|