Act 21: Pameradia House’s Eldest Brother
Time was slowly ticking away in the Pameradia greenhouse, as it received warm sunlight today also.
Cordelia was enjoying her time, while drinking tea, but, as if cutting through her mood, the sounds of footsteps, the door opening, and a cheerful voice following it, echoed in the room.
“Ojou-sama, look at this writing tool! I think it’s become a wonderful writing tool!!”
The voice belonged to a small servant of the Pameradia House, Lara. Lara, who had entered the greenhouse while grandly hoisting the pencil, that Cordelia had entrusted her to produce, walked up to Cordelia and presented her with a piece of paper.
On the paper were words written by that pencil.
“Oh my, it’s true. The letters look very clear now.”
Lara, who saw that Cordelia was surprised when she had received the paper, put her hands on her waist and posed in a triumph way.
But, that was why Cordelia couldn’t help but say, “…… But, your test-writing has some mistakes in it.”
“I’d be happy if you pretend that you didn’t see that.”
“Unfortunately, I want to see it written neat and clear. Also, don’t forget to open the door quietly.”
Lara, who had already finished Aisha’s lady training, hadn’t behaved like that for a long time, so Cordelia could guess that she was that happy. Cordelia was also happy, and she thought that Lara’s behaviour was cute. But…… it was also bad to let the other servants see her act like that.
“See, Lara. That’s why I told you to calm down, didn’t I?”
The next person to slowly appear was the analysis magician of the Pameradia House, and Cordelia’s assistant, Ronnie Eris. He was a talented person who had gotten excellent results at the Royal Magic Academy, but he was also a frivolous person, who acted as he please, which caused his colleagues to give him candid advice. But, Cordelia welcomed his easy-going personality, so it wasn’t a problem at all.
However, whenever Lara didn’t behave very well, she would say, 『It’s Ronnie’s fault for teaching me like that! 』, so she often thought, shouldn’t Ronnie behave reliably to a certain degree? …… But, she also thought that it wouldn’t be like him.
“Ojou-sama, what’s wrong? You’re frowning; it would be bad if the wrinkles stay that way.”
“…… Right. Just because I thought it, doesn’t mean it’ll work out somehow.”
Cordelia replied curtly to Ronnie, who was looking at her curiously, and once again dropped her eyes onto the piece of paper that she’d received from Lara.
“If good writing tools can be made like this, then I want some cheaper paper next time.”
Once these writing tools were completed, they would be distributed to school children in Pameradia fief, including Caina Village. It would be necessary to develop bread to be used as erasers, but pencils were easier than pens to use as a writing tool.
However, she also wanted to prepare paper next time, if they could erase things and the amount of writing they did increased.
“Ronnie, could I ask you to procure paper at the Eris Firm?”
I can consult these things with him because he’s the third son of an extremely wealthy merchant house, right? Cordelia thought, but Lara was the one who voiced her question.
“Say, Ronnie. Eris Firm is that big shop, right?”
“Oh? Have you never heard Ronnie’s full name before, Lara?”
It occurred to Cordelia, as she looked at Lara, that they hadn’t had the chance to tell each other their full names. It was probably because Lara had only stated her name, so Ronnie followed suit. It seemed that they’d lost the chance to tell each other their full names, since they already knew each other’s first names.
In fact, if Lara asked him, then Ronnie wouldn’t hide it.
“…… Well, it’s huge.”
Nevertheless, it seemed he had a hard time answering, and he looked as if he was hesitating.
But, Lara didn’t seem to care about how he was acting.
“Ronnie is a young master?!”
Cordelia couldn’t help but laugh at how honestly surprised Lara was. Lara had her eyes wide in surprise, but Ronnie was the same.
“Young master. Young master, huh. Young master.”
It was an extremely cute word to describe the adult Ronnie, and Cordelia couldn’t help but mutter it back.
“O-ojou-sama, please don’t laugh…… Your shoulders are shaking.”
“Because, you know…… But, yes, Ronnie is a young master.”
“Ah, I told you to stop already!”
Cordelia teased him, and Ronnie turned red and countered back. It was a rare look on Ronnie. He became sulkier as Cordelia couldn’t stop her giggling. Lara stared at them and came to some kind of understanding.
“I see. So that’s why Ronnie drinks tea so elegantly.”
“You think so?”
“He always slacks off so much, but when he holds a cup…… I wonder if it’s the way he uses his fingers. It’s very courteous. I think his fingertips are different than normal.”
Lara said that, and Cordelia was a little surprised.
“You pay a lot of attention to him.”
“N…… No! I was watching him!”
What’s the difference?
She wondered, but if she thought about it, the topic had already strayed quite a bit.
First, let’s go back to talking about the paper, Cordelia changed what she was thinking.
The price of paper used on a daily basis in the kingdom wasn’t terribly high, but it was still expensive. There were a lot of cases where people couldn’t remember things if they didn’t write them down, so it was probably beneficial for them to get a bundle of cheap paper for learning. It also wasn’t bad for them to pack all their words together on each piece of paper, but it would be inconvenient when they review it.
“Ronnie, we’re going to talk about the paper again, but is it possible for us to procure cheap paper from the firm, even if the quality drops slightly?”
“Well…… I don’t think it’s impossible. The firm doesn’t stock things that are not of good quality, because that is their policy, but they use it in the store. Shall I arrange for a sample to be sent over?”
“I should be thanking you too. My family has been telling me to do sales promotions. But…… Well, it might be good to get competitive quotes. I know other paper manufacturers and wholesalers. If that way is cheaper, then it’ll be better for your finances, right?”
“Thanks. You really lack business skills, don’t you Ronnie?”
Cordelia said jokingly, and Ronnie looked irritated.
“Aaaaaaah! Of course, you can’t tell my family! I’ve been told that I have no talent for business, even at the best of times!”
“Fufu, of course I won’t say anything. It would be terrible if you said that your job is bad and quit.”
“Oh, that wouldn’t happen even if you told on me. It’s easy to work here and I can’t afford to pay the Magic Academy tuition by myself. The tea is also delicious.”
“…… Oh my, is that so?”
Even so, wouldn’t it be more convenient for him if I don’t say anything? she thought and smiled wryly.
After that, they continued to chatter, and Ronnie opened his mouth as if he remembered something.
“Ah, come to think of it, there’s a rumour going around the mansion.”
“What is it about?”
“They said that Cyrus-sama is finally going to marry. Well, even if they say that, he’s been engaged for a long time, so it should be about time for him to get married…… Mm…… If I remember correctly, he’s engaged to the lady of the Alcott House…… Right?”
Lara glanced at Ronnie, who was hazily trying to recall information, and cleared her throat once.
Then, she spoke when their attention was on her.
“Christina Alcott-sama. Her father is Earl Alcott, who focuses on silk manufacturing. They produced half the dress fabrics presented to the Royal family and they live in Flora.”
“…… Lara. How do you know such detailed information?”
“It’s important information for someone who serves noble ladies, right? Aisha-sensei told me that it’s better for me to know these things.”
Ronnie was surprised, and Cordelia curtly stated, “Correct,” at Lara, who looked as if she was having too much fun.
“So, that Christina-sama will become your Onee-sama, right Ojou-sama? I hope she’s a good person.”
“Of course, I’ve met her before. She’s extremely beautiful and quiet.”
Christina Alcott. A gentle woman with gentle white-beige hair and dark green eyes.
And, the Pameradia House’s eldest son, who is going to marry her, Cyrus Pameradia, resembled their father so much that people around them thought, 『I’m sure Elvis-sama looked like this when he was younger』. He was also the deputy commander of the 1st Imperial Guards Unit, and he has won martial arts competitions many times. He also seemed to be good at studying, from what she could tell from the books he ordered for the library.
She had heard that Cyrus and Christina got engaged when he was seven and she was three. The painting of the two when they were together looked as if they were angels. And, the appearance of the two together now gave off an ambience like a story. Both of them were quiet, so they looked as if they were real paintings.
That was how quiet the both of them were. Yes, extremely.
(They’re really both too quiet.)
If the mood isn’t bad, whether their lively or quiet, then it’s fine, Cordelia thought. However, she was worried when she thought that Christina might be a docile lady.
The Pameradia House was a little dangerous. It was a house where spies and assassin-like people get sent to, even though it was rare. She was worried that a docile lady would faint if she heard about that. Cordelia wasn’t suggesting that Christina was faint-hearted, but it wasn’t something that happened in other Houses.
(…… No, perhaps the me who isn’t scared of this is also a part of me. I wonder if I’ve become numb to it.)
Cordelia wanted to ask Ronnie about how many incidents had occurred in the past year, but she decided not to because Lara was there. She didn’t want Lara to be worried by strange things. And, the number of attacks could probably be counted on one hand, and even in the worst case, two hands were enough.
(But, it’s difficult to image that Earl Alcott didn’t come up with any countermeasures after he decided his daughter’s engagement at three.)
She didn’t know which side suggested the engagement, but he probably predicted that someone without courage could not become a wife of the Pameradia House. Her mother, who had abandoned everything, was probably an exception, but status, history, wealth and fame…… The jealousy one received from those, increased the higher the position got. Therefore, a certain amount of courage was needed for one not to be crushed…… Or so it seemed.
“If so, then the problem would be…… Yes, that’s right.”
“…… Ojou-sama, what’s wrong?”
“Onii-sama is a man of few words, so I wondered how he conversed with Christina-sama.”
I don’t think that they would have a cold relationship, like our parents do, but do they get along well? Cordelia felt a little bit uneasy about that.
(I don’t think they have a bad relationship, but I wonder…… How is it for people who have their engagements decided at a young age?)
I’ve never been in that position, so I don’t know. If I was obliged to accept it then…… Cordelia thought, and her expression became grim.
“Ahaha. They talk like normal, don’t they?”
Ronnie laughed loudly at Cordelia’s concern, but then he gradually tilted his head in puzzlement.
“I have a feeling I’ve never heard more than ten words from Cyrus-sama.”
“No, I don’t think that’s possible…… It’s a mystery.”
I wish that Cyrus-oniisama talks more in front of Christina-sama…… Cordelia thought, and she heard the sound of the greenhouse door opening. She slowly looked in that direction and saw Cyrus, whom they were just talking about.
“Cordelia, are you free?”
“Sorry, did I surprise you?”
Cyrus, who looked like Elvis, also had the same expressions as him…… In other words, he was expressionless. Cordelia quickly shook her head, “No,” at Cyrus, whose voice even resembled Elvis’s.
“What seems to be the matter?”
“Christina is coming to the Royal Capital for the Founding Festival.”
“Oh my, it has been a long time.”
The Founding Festival.
This festival celebrated the day the founding king of Crista Kingdom got crowned. The festival started with a parade seven days earlier, a celebration ceremony which had been continually performed since ancient times, and the opening of part of the castle. Each day was also packed with many events, such as demonstrations by knights and martial arts tournaments open to the public. A lot of tourists came to the Royal Capital at that time of the year to participate in such big events. Thereupon, with that, a lot of peddlers also gathered at the Royal Capital, and a part of the plaza became a market, which normally couldn’t be seen there…… or so she had heard.
However, Cordelia had never been able to see the festival.
That wasn’t because she didn’t want to. Instead, she did. However, people gathering here meant that her father, Elvis, and her two knight brothers had more work to do. Even if someone were to accompany her, they would probably worry about a child being in a crowd of people.
(It pains me to trouble Otou-sama when he probably thinks about my welfare a lot.)
Otou-sama might make arrangements if I say that I want to go. But I feel bad if I say something unreasonable during a period when he’s probably tired. And even if I don’t go now, I should be able to go once I grow up…… When she thought that, she couldn’t help but endure.
So, even though she was jealous that Christina was participating in the festival, she wondered why he came here to tell her that and waited for him to keep talking.
“She will stay at the Royal Capital for a while, even after the Founding Festival has ended.”
“She said that she wanted to see the Royal Capital after the Founding Festival. Her maid isn’t familiar with the Royal Capital. Do you mind lending her Emina?”
I see, if that’s the case then there was no one more suitable for the job then Emina, she thought. Emina, the maid in charge of Cordelia, was used to the Royal Capital and she used to be a noble, so she also knew a lot about noble aesthetics. It would also be reassuring for Christina since she would probably be anxious to be in an unfamiliar place.
“I don’t mind. I will tell Emina.”
Cordelia would also be delighted if being guided around the Royal Capital by Emina, would ease any anxiety Christina had about living in the Royal Capital in the future.
But, in contrast to Cordelia who had replied with a smile on her face, Cyrus was silent, and he stared at her expressionlessly.
“Onii-sama? Is something wrong?”
Did he want to talk to me about something else? She tilted her head in wonder, and Cyrus spoke after a moment of silence.
“You talk to her as well.”
He spoke again, and Cordelia was a little surprised.
There is a ten-year difference between us, so we both act a bit reserved to the other; but we did talk to each other if we have time when we meet. Although, Christina does come here to meet Cyrus-oniisama, so we couldn’t talk for a long time…… She thought up until there, and then suddenly realised a reason for it.
“Onii-sama has to work…… Isn’t that right?”
Yes, their appointment was different from usual, and was at the end of the Founding Festival. Cyrus’s work didn’t finish when the festival ended, and his various routine duties probably accumulated. It was hardly surprising considering his position.
Cyrus nodded at Cordelia’s reply.
But while replying, her thoughts were mixed.
(But…… It’s a shame since they finally got a chance to meet.)
She did think that it couldn’t be helped, and she knew that there was nothing she could do about it. Cyrus also didn’t seem like he was disappointed. But, that also made her anxious.
(No, Onii-sama always shows no expression. And, conversely, I should think of this as a chance. I will also be living with Christina-sama for several years. This is a great opportunity to get along with her.)
Cordelia rethought positively. If so, then I want to spend a lot of time with her. Then, she came up with a plan.
“Onii-sama. Would I be able to join Christina-sama on her tour of the Royal Capital?”
“If it’s possible, then I can talk to her a lot.”
Cyrus remained silent at Cordelia’s proposal. He seemed to be thinking about something, but she couldn’t tell, since his expression didn’t change. After a little while, he spoke, while remaining expressionless.
“I don’t mind, if you’re not too tomboyish. You also need to get permission from father and Christina.”
What conduct is he referring to when he said too tomboyish……? Even though she thought that, she still replied firmly.
She could come up with a few conducts that Cyrus’s words were referring to, but she hadn’t intended for him to know about them…… As expected from the next head of house.
Cordelia broke out in cold sweat, but the conversation had already ended for him.
“…… Have you ever heard of the name Clive Leif Eames?”
“Huh? Yes, if it’s the name…… He’s Marquis Eames’s son, is he not?”
She was surprised by the sudden name and quickly dragged out the information from her mind.
“I have never spoken to him before, but I have heard rumours that he has returned from his study abroad.”
But, just because she knew the name didn’t mean that Clive was someone she knew. They were different in age, and she didn’t know what he looked like, at all.
However, in contrast to Cordelia’s curiosity, Cyrus looked like he understood something.
“No, I was asked what kind of person you were at the castle the other day.”
“Why did he ask about me?”
“I don’t know, that’s why I asked you. But, it might be linked to research if you’ve never talked to him before.”
Is that a word used for humans? Cordelia doubted, so she repeated the word and Cyrus nodded.
“The son of Marquis Eames is the same as the son of Marquis Flantheim; they both stay by the side of the Crown Prince. But then, this is a recent thing…… Since he returned from abroad. He’s a bit older, so it seems like he’ll be used as an overseer.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“He might have wanted to ascertain His Highness’s queen candidates.”
Cyrus spoke lightly, and Cordelia nearly tensed her face. In a contrasting mood, Lara secretly raised her voice in surprise, “Wow.”
“I wouldn’t say that if you think about your lineage and age.”
“But…… That’s right, His Highness is close to that Vernoux-sama. When it comes to love, he might be free to choose who he loves, just like the Flantheim House. If he makes up his mind, then he might even welcome someone from town.”
She said that while equipping her sense, in response to Cyrus. She desperately pulled out materials for refuting, but her own claim shouldn’t be too bizarre. However, one could even say it was only wishful thinking, since she had never interacted with that person before……
(But, at least in the game, the Prince didn’t place value on social status.)
Leaving aside whether he was influenced from Vernoux or not, it was certain from the knowledge Cordelia had of him. The Heroine was the daughter of an Earl, but their first contact was when she lived in town. Even in the story, there were reminiscence cuts set out in small pieces, and she remembered that they displayed an event at the end where the Prince fell in love with her, while she was living in town.
(Before the Heroine was taken in by the Earl, from her appearance, she was around ten…… Right? Her age wasn’t stated, but she was probably around that age.)
Then, it wouldn’t be strange if the Prince and Heroine have already interacted. If they had, then I sincerely hope that the Prince will nurture that important memory and deepen his relationship with the Heroine. If they haven’t, then I want them to meet as soon as possible. I will not interfere with their fates at all. So, please.
(This isn’t the time to be thinking that!)
She looked at Cyrus as she returned her thoughts, which had strayed, to the topic at hand. She concentrated on her eyes and appealed that she didn’t intend to marry the Prince, but Cyrus didn’t seem to be reacting to her expression.
“The standard demanded of the Queen doesn’t change, no matter what His Highness thinks. If one is to become Queen, they are required to have all kinds of education, including etiquette, foreign languages, politics and law. Knowledge and conduct can become one’s sword or armour, but if you don’t have those, then your position could be shaken. If they influence diplomacy, then it would affect this kingdom’s future.”
“The son of the Eames’ House is probably looking for a lady close to His Highness’ age because he knows this.”
(…… He has a point.)
She couldn’t particularly refute any of his words. If she was forced to say it, then she would claim, 『If His Highness chooses them, then they would work hard! 』 , however there was no way for her to recommend a partner that doesn’t exist at this time.
(To begin with, in the game, the『Cordelia』was offended by the Heroine’s rude behaviour when they bumped into each other…… There’s no use sticking up for her now, I guess?)
However, it shouldn’t be a problem because the Heroine should be working hard to improve herself. For example, she would smile even if Cordelia were to pour a drink on her at an evening party.
On the other hand, she did feel some sympathy for the Heroine. She stepped into the noble world at a late age, and thus she had had to learn everything at once. In addition, the Queen candidate’s education couldn’t be compared to that of a normal noble lady’s.
(Any noble lady has a certain degree of education; the question is just how many noble ladies thoroughly worked their way up their career.)
They are expected to grow, but they didn’t want more than they had in the first place.
“Even if Earl Eames’s son didn’t go around asking about candidates, His Highness cannot decide his own marriage partner. One could even say that he has a cautious personality.”
“…… You’re right.”
(But if that’s the case, then I want to quickly be considered as an unsuitable candidate.)
However, even if I wish it so, it is rather hard to conclude if I am. It might be possible if I act dim-witted in front of Earl Eames’s son, but then it would be my loss if the people around us thought of me as a fool. I don’t want to behave in a way that would make my reputation bad. If I think like that, then the ideal evaluation would be 『neither good nor bad』.
Cordelia felt silent as she pondered, and Cyrus continued, “Well,”
“In any case, I don’t feel any merit in having the current you marry into the Royal Palace. To begin with, you’re in an easy position to catch his attention, but you yourself do not wish to approach him. I don’t think that His Highness, who is surrounded by so many people, would especially be interested in you.”
“Ara, even if I love His Highness, there are many other lovely ladies around.”
She strongly agreed with his words in her mind, that’s right!! As she smiled and replied. Then, he continued, “There wouldn’t be any fatal disadvantages even if you marry him.” Those words went into one ear and out the other.
(It’s fantastic that Onii-sama, the next head of house, doesn’t care about it.)
That thought was very important to Cordelia right now.
But, even though the conversation has ended, Onii-sama still seems like he’s thinking about something. I couldn’t tell since his expression didn’t change, but I have a feeling that it’s the same as how Otou-sama acted before he said something.
Cordelia thought that, and Cyrus began, “Also,”
“I know it’s a bit late to ask…… But, I heard that you declared something interesting when you were younger. Do you still want to marry father?”
“…… Huh? Yes. If there is a man like Otou-sama, then I would like to marry him.”
Cordelia felt disappointed at Cyrus’s sudden question and was somewhat bewildered. And if possible, she didn’t want him to ask that here. By no means was she regretting that remark, in fact, she would even advocate it.
But…… she had a feeling that she could feel a tepid gaze on her back. If possible, she wanted to avoid being asked that in front of Ronnie and Lara.
Cyrus paid no heed to Cordelia and continued his questioning.
“Then, do you want to choose your own husband?”
“I just want to hear the general opinion.”
“I think it’s hard for me to talk about the general opinion on this…… No matter what, I think that I would be happy if I could meet someone wonderful.”
She did yearn for love, but the problem right now was the start, 『How to make an encounter』. Thus, she still couldn’t imagine herself finding love and getting married. Therefore, she couldn’t help but give a safe answer, even if they were her true feelings, Cyrus looked as if he was thinking.
“Onii-sama, why do you want to know that?”
She had never heard him talk about that before. No, she had never even talked about that with her brother Isma, who she talked with more. Cyrus responded to Cordelia’s question without hesitation.
“I was wondering what Christina was thinking. She became engaged to me at the age when you said that to father.”
“I’m going to the castle. I’ve taken up your time.”
Today was probably his day off, since he was at the mansion at that time. But he still had work to do because it was a busy time.
(…… Christina-sama isn’t the only person whose feelings I don’t know; I don’t know how Onii-sama feels either. But, I have a feeling I understand his feelings a little, from how worried he is about Christina-sama, even though he’s busy.)
If not, then he could have sent a letter to ask about the matter concerning Emina, and he wouldn’t have taken the time to go home at all.
“…… Would they also let me get a little excited?”
Cordelia still had no idea what she could do. Even so, she wanted to be a mediator for Cyrus and Christina.