Act 22: Festival Prelude and Honey Lemon
A few days after Cordelia heard about Christina from Cyrus.
Cordelia was holed up in her laboratory the day before the Founding Festival started. Emina, her maid, was in the room with her.
“Ojou-sama, would you like another cup of tea?”
“Thanks. Yes, please.”
Neither Ronnie, who worked as her experimental assistant, nor Lara, the small apprentice girl, were by her side. Both of them had gone out to town that day.
The period before and after the Founding Festival were holidays for the servants of the Pameradia House.
Of course, not all of them took time off at once. Every year, around this time, Elvis would stay at the castle, so there were no visitors, and the schedules were easy to set up. The basic idea for the servants was that they enthusiastically made it through the work, even if the workload increased a little since they would get holidays in turn. She told Ronnie, before he went out today, that it would be a loss if he didn’t go to see the bustling streets while the Founding Festival was on, even though he lived in the Royal Capital and Elvis had told him to rest. According to Ronnie, a lot of street stalls were already set up, even a day before the festival started.
(I also want to go if I hear something like that.)
Cordelia resented Ronnie a little since she had finally decided to wait until she became an adult to go to the Founding Festival, but there was a horrible adult who was weakening her resolve. Of course, it wasn’t like she could go, even if he didn’t, so she wanted him to enjoy it as much as he could if he went; but she wanted him to give her delicious fruits if he found some.
(…… But, I am extremely reluctant to stay home when I think that I might find a caravan that sells Japanese things, like the fox mask Gille-sama had.)
She did miss those things, and she was also curious because she might find something interesting.
(Even so, I’ll control myself. But I want to hear them talk about it later.)
Vernoux-sama and Gille-sama will probably go to the festival. Vernoux-sama will probably come around for sweets as always, and Gille-sama will probably tell me cheerfully about the festival. And, if I remember the things they tell me, then I can have a good time at the festival in the future.
Cordelia thought that, and she became worried about one thing. That was that Emina was currently not scheduled in for any holidays.
“The festivals finally here, so I don’t mind if Emina takes some time off.”
She was extremely thankful that Emina, who she was familiar with, was by her side, but it wasn’t like she couldn’t do anything without Emina. Other servants didn’t understand Cordelia as well as Emina did, but they were all considerate people.
“Thank you for your concern, Ojou-sama. But, it’s fine.”
“It’s finally time for the festival, you know? Or do you dislike busy places?”
It’s bad if she’s mindful of me, but it also feels uncomfortable to force it. Emina continued smiling at Cordelia who had tilted her head in curiosity.
“I will take a proper holiday.”
She said, and Cordelia couldn’t comprehend the true meaning behind those words, and was hesitant to keep on asking.
(Emina also didn’t rest during the Founding Festival last year, or the year before that either, did she?)
Though I would keep pressing her to take a holiday if she shows a little reservation. She thought, though if Emina didn’t seem reserved at all, then the correct thing to do was rely on her favour.
“I don’t mind, if that’s what you say, Emina…… But instead, you have to take a proper break, okay? It’s a promise.”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
Alright, it’s a promise. If she still doesn’t take a break, then I’ll get Otou-sama to order her to. She thought, however, she recalled that Emina had taken a little break last year, at the end of the Founding Festival.
(…… People who don’t like taking breaks don’t exist, right?)
The reason why it had changed slightly into a question was that half-way through thinking, she remembered how Elvis worked. Thus, she became unsure.
(I wonder if I should say selfish things to Otou-sama after the Founding Festival is over so that he doesn’t collapse from overworking himself.)
Of course, I don’t intend to trouble him, but it’s vital for him to rest his body. If he doesn’t, then he might have health problems.
(I wonder if I should tell him that I want to have lunch with him next time.)
She handed Emina the empty cup and decided. Alright, I’ll definitely get Otou-sama and Emina to take a break.
However, that was after the Founding Festival. It wasn’t something she could do right then.
That being the case, she had no choice but to treat them like usual until then.
“Emina, I want to write a reply to Isma-oniisama’s letter. Can you get me a pen and paper?”
Emina immediately prepared several types of paper and pens in compliance with Cordelia’s wish. She chose a white, floral embossed paper, and began to slowly write out the letters.
It was the first time she had received a letter from Isma that wasn’t a reply to her own. She was also surprised that Isma, who would always accompany her when he came home, would write a letter to her, which was different from usual.
The contents of the letter were a request to Cordelia.
A junior knight in the 2nd Imperial Guards, where Isma worked, got athlete’s foot.
When she had first heard that, she felt that there was a massive gap between the image of a knight and getting athlete’s foot.
No, it’s not like I don’t understand. A knight is also human. They can catch athlete’s foot. She re-thought and once again read the letter; apparently, this junior knight had caught athlete’s foot during his northern mission.
『It seems like he has no idea that he has athlete’s foot. But he won’t say his feet hurt, because he doesn’t want to look bad; so it seems like he’s really enduring it. I don’t know how itchy it is for him, but he is clearly putting up with something.』
A feeling of sympathy was flowing out from the words Isma had composed.
(I wonder if during his northern mission means…… that he didn’t bother to change his socks.)
If so, then I can’t be impressed since it would have been smelly, Cordelia thought. Also, there was nothing desirable about leaving athlete’s foot as is, since it was highly infectious. Fortunately, Isma had taken that knight to the infirmary at once, but then a problem occurred.
『He did receive medicine, but he has anti-magic. The magic medicine that the Royal Palace is so proud of doesn’t work well on him.』
『Anti-magic』was a unique ability from birth, which made it hard for magic to affect that person. Therefore, they didn’t receive much damage from attack magic as combatants, but they were incompatible with the military treatments, as they used magic. Their anti-magic abilities also manifested when they use medicines mixed with magic, so the effects of such medicine were hindered.
『It’s not like the medicine isn’t working at all, but he lacks sleep because it keeps itching. It would be troublesome if this were to spread, so the army is trying to mix some medicine that would work for him. However, it seems like that would take some time. Sorry, but could you ask the Head Magician if she knows of any medicine that is good for this? Although we also use magic to refine medicine in our house, it might be effective if the procedure is different.』
The magic of the Pameradia House, who were originally an equestrian tribe, was different from the military’s medicine. The military would change the flow of magic to aid medicine once it had entered a body, but the Pameradias used a method that boosted the power of the ingredients, before applying it.
(If that was all Isma-oniisama wanted, then he could have sent the letter to the Head Magician directly… But asking me to do it to cause less trouble, and at the same time checking how I am, sounds like something he would do.)
At any rate, she had to do this task, since he had asked her to. The memo which described the present medicine recipe and patient’s symptoms had already been delivered to the Head Magician.
The Head Magician, who saw the description of the symptoms, said, “Shall we prepare the medicine which is often used in Ertiga?” and immediately began to compound it. It seemed that even commoners in the Royal Capital get prescribed medicine that is a little similar to the ones the army used.
(I really don’t know anything about medicine.)
However, even Cordelia could recall a method to soothe an itch. She finished writing her letter, stood up and headed to the cupboard.
Then, she took two small bottles from out of the cupboard: one containing roman chamomile essential oil and the other containing tea tree essential oil.
“I might as well send him oil for a foot bath to cope with the athlete’s feet.”
She muttered, as she went back to the desk and wrote the usage onto a small piece of paper.
『Add one drop of roman chamomile, in the brown bottle, and three drops of tea tree, from the blue bottle, into a bucket of water that is slightly warmer than body temperature; stir well and soak feet for about four and a half hours. Keep the bottles in a dark and cool place.』
He hadn’t asked for it, but she wanted him to try it as well if magic didn’t work. The letter had passed through her place, so she would be happy if her own knowledge was helpful to him.
“Personally, I like the scent and it would make me happy if he likes it too. I think the warm water would help his blood circulation.”
Warming your feet should also lead to a good night’s rest.
Cordelia finished the letter with 『Get better soon』 after the description.
She put the letter into an envelope and the small bottles into a tiny box, but she was worried about the gaps in the box. Of course, she could stuff the box with paper so that the bottles don’t break, but she felt that would be a waste.
“…… Since I’m already sending him a letter, I should send him something too.”
She muttered, and she took a small bottle of sage essential oil and orange essential oil from the cupboard this time. Then, with the two bottles in hand, she took out a small flat can from the next drawer. The can was something that people usually put ointments in; it was flat and was divided from top to bottom.
Cordelia returned to the desk and opened the lid of the small flat can. There were small fragments of bisque in the can. The fragments were white and shaped like flowers.
“I feel like this is a bit too cute for Onii-sama…… But, this is all I have right now.”
Those fragments were called Aroma Stones in her previous life.
It was possible to enjoy the scent of the fragrance for several days if you put four or five drops of essential oils onto the fragments. She dropped the same amount of both essential oils onto the fragments from the two small bottles. This scent combined with the two essential oils let one enjoy a nice quiet sleep. Isma liked citrus type foods, so she thought he would like it. She added a few lines onto the paper saying that she wanted him to keep it at his bedside and that he should add more essential oils onto it if the scent disappears.
“Emina, I want you to arrange this, so it would be delivered to Onii-sama. The medicine made by the Head Magician would be sent with this, and I want you to deliver all this today if it’s finished.”
“Certainly. I will confirm with her.”
“I’ll leave the letter with you. If the medicine isn’t finished yet, then send the package when it is.”
Emina bowed at Cordelia’s words and left the room.
Cordelia, who was left behind in the room, leant back lightly on the chair and thought about what would happen after the Founding Festival.
(I’d like to meet the teacher who gave the aloe vera to Gille-sama, but I would also like to ask Eris firm for some paper. However, I’ll also need an estimate from the other firms as well. But, it would be difficult to do these things if the Founding Festival is still on.)
Also, I want to go to the fief at least once, if I can, but the tutor’s lessons will resume once again after the holidays are over. Do I have that much time?
“…… I have a lot of free time, but I feel like it’s not enough.”
Cordelia wanted to lightly hold her head. If I’m this busy while I’m a child, how much busier will I be after I’ve become an adult?
But, there was nothing she could do, even if she worried about it. The thing that she could do now was arrange her schedule. Meeting Gille’s teacher depended on his situation, so that wasn’t a problem that involved her schedule. Eris firm would probably arrange a meeting that suited her schedule, so that they would negotiate. She could get estimates from the other firms during the Founding Festival and present it to Elvis when the festival ended.
“Even though I want to inspect the fief, I don’t have to do it right now……”
Even so, she also wanted to visit as soon as possible. She wanted to see the state of the school and the crop situation, but she had another reason why she wanted to go…… She wanted to create a herb garden in the fief.
Currently, she was growing herbs in a field that she had borrowed near the Royal Capital, as well as her greenhouse. Therefore, the fertilisers and cultivations methods handled outside of the greenhouse were gradually improving, but the current number of herbs that she had still wasn’t enough if she wanted to commercialise it.
“The cultivation cost would be lower in the fief, compared to the Royal Capital, and the transportation costs wouldn’t be very high either, in Ertiga, since they do a lot of trading. If possible, I want to make it a local speciality.”
If she wanted to distribute cosmetics and balms, then she needed to think about the branding. She certainly had to cultivate and process all of it at the fief if she wanted to show that the Pameradia House was the best. It was difficult for others to perform the same type of magic manipulation that she, herself, had inherited from the Pameradia’s, but she began making plans for the workshop and production in her mind.
The problem was where to build the herb garden; there were places in the fief where the grade of the wheat grown was relatively low, and where the yield was unstable. There were methods for improving the fertiliser, and production techniques, but those methods weren’t going well because of the soil. She could probably get those areas to cooperate with her if she appealed that they could stabilise their incomes. It also depended on the type of herb, but fortunately, she also thought that weeds with strong natures were easier to increase than wheat harvest.
(It might be too extravagant, but I think that it could be an industry that would stop people from leaving depopulated areas.)
Population biases existed even in the fief. It would be difficult for her to be okay with one, but it would be an appealing part of the area, and she hoped it would help.
However, while she held such hopes, some problems had already occurred to her then.
“No matter what, the biggest problem would be the funds. Even if I keep doing my best, while barely keeping the business running, I still need a year’s worth of funds. I have profits from the cameos, but if I use too much, then it would hinder other things.”
There were other methods of obtaining money, like trading with other products. However, it wasn’t easy to find which items would become popular. She had gotten lucky with the cameos.
As a last resort, she could ask Elvis to give her a loan. She thought that it was possible to get him to help her if she made a presentation that could convince him to.
(But it feels uncomfortable to have him pay that much. It would be like nothing has changed since four years ago.)
I don’t think it’s wrong to use powers that can be used. Even so, I don’t want to bother people, just as much as I want results. If I had business skills, then this might have ended without me worrying this much, ――― she thought and was surprised.
“Wait. That’s right. There is. There might be somewhere I could borrow money from.”
The place that came to her mind was the Eris firm, where she was going to request blank papers from.
She had heard from Ronnie that the firm wanted to approach the Pameradia House if they could find a business opportunity.
“Even if my plan fails, I don’t think the Eris firm wouldn’t be able to get their money back. What I can predict is that the Pameradia House would fall to ruin if I fail.”
Even Cordelia didn’t want to cause trouble for her house. However, it wouldn’t become collateral, even if she said it out loud. Although she would be using her house name, she thought that amongst the plans that she came up with, this was the most fitting one. In the first place, if she could convince the Eris firm, then a business professional would have approved that it would make a profit. It was also possible to receive advice from a merchant’s standpoint.
It wasn’t like she couldn’t think of a use for her house name. She would be glorifying the life of a lady, although the commoners’ aesthesis would remain. She wanted to have a good grasp of how big her house’s name was, but it was also true that she was also puzzled over using it.
(I know I’m inconsistent. And, the reason why I think that is probably because I’m not confident that I’m using my power correctly.)
I have to be firmer, she thought, as she lightly put her hands together and massaged her palms.
“…… Alright, my mind is clear. But, I’ll need something sweet to steadily reboot my mind.”
Cordelia, who said that and stood up, put her hand in a cupboard that was different from the cupboard that contained her essential oils. There were three lemons in a shallow basket. The lemons, which Ronnie used when he brewed his tea, were stored here. She took a lemon from the basket and cut it into two with her magic. The fresh scent spread throughout the room, but she didn’t enjoy it and stuck it straight into a skewer.
“I’ll warm it a little and then cool it down, then I’ll eat it together with honey. It’s delicious.”
There were traces of this building having a simple kitchen before it was built into the laboratory, and there was a magic tool that was like a portable stove in the corner of the room. Therefore, she could make something like that freely. Honey was also placed in the cupboard some time ago, so she could also use it freely.
When she grilled the lemon, a knock from the door reached her ears.
Cordelia, who thought that Emina had returned, continued to grill the lemon as she called out towards the door. Then, the person who had opened the door silently wasn’t Emina, but Elvis.
She didn’t think that Elvis would be there, and quickly turned off the stove; she put the lemon onto a plate and approached him. The other day, Cyrus had also shown up suddenly, and she felt that the father and son pair were even alike in that aspect.
Elvis said to his daughter who was rushing, “It’s fine for you to relax.”
“I’ll be going to the castle from now. Cyrus and Isma will also be away for a few days, so if something happens then tell Hans.”
“Okay, please take care of yourself.”
I see, so he came to remind me, she concluded.
She had known for a few days that her parent would be gone from the mansion, but Elvis was still worried about her. However, this wasn’t the first year that this had happened. This had happened last year and the year before that; it was the same exchange she had with him every year. Fortunately, it had never been a problem before, thanks to Hans and the other servants. Nevertheless, it was still reassuring to know that she didn’t have to hesitate if something suddenly happened.
However, there was one thing different about Elvis, who was always reliable.
“Your voice is a little…”
“It’ll heal soon.”
She could usually feel the pressure behind his voice, but today it was a little hoarse.
Is it because he’s swamped? It seems that Otou-sama, who is incredibly trained, can also get sick. However, is he not worried because it always heals before it gets worse?
But, his days are going to get busier from now on.
“Otou-sama, do you have a little time? I will prepare something gentle for your throat.”
“…… You will?”
“Yes. I was just making it before.”
Elvis didn’t reply to that. Instead, he sat down onto a nearby chair.
Cordelia watched him as he did and quickly began preparing.
The lemon which had been warmed by the fire was brown on the surface. It was still warm, but she cooled it down a little with her magic. Then, she took a fruit knife and removed the skin, served it on a plate and mixed it with honey from the cupboard.
“Please have some.”
The forks on the edge of the plates were ones that Lara had bought from the market, and it was a little fancy for Elvis to use, but she wanted him to overlook that for now.
Elvis’s expression didn’t change, even as he used the cute fork and brought the lemon to his mouth.
“Does it suit your tastes?”
“….. Yeah, it’s not bad.”
Cordelia laughed lightly at his awkward compliment.
“I’m glad. If it’s fine with you, then I would like to send you some to eat at night too. Otou-sama, your throat is important.”
“Okay. So, you can cook too?”
She certainly did do something; she had 『prepared』something, but she didn’t feel like she had reached the levels of 『cooking』it. However, Elvis was dead serious, and he wasn’t teasing her, so she felt it difficult to refute him.
(I’ve never held something like a kitchen knife, ever since I was born as Cordelia, but I think I can cook more dishes. I just don’t have the chance……!)
Should I try to make something once to raise Otou-sama’s assessment a little more? From his reaction right now, it doesn’t seem like he’s frowning because he’s worried…… his daughter is cooking or something.
In front of the troubled Cordelia, Elvis ate one lemon after the other.
“It tastes nostalgic.”
He uttered, and Cordelia tilted her head.
It was an unexpected sentiment. She had never seen Elvis eat anything like that before, and she had never seen him eat honey.
He might have tasted it a long time ago because it was a nostalgic taste. However, Cordelia had never seen something like this presented at the mansion until now. Was this food popular before or something? She thought curiously, but she didn’t get a definite reply.
“I thought I couldn’t eat it anymore, but the future is a mystery.”
“Otou-sama, do you not dislike this taste?”
“Then, I’ll always make it for you. You can tell me whenever you want to eat it.”
It was also hard for Cordelia to imagine that Elvis would say that he wanted to eat honey lemons. If he was someone who would say something like that, then the chefs would have made it by now. However, if it was easier to say that to her than order a chef to make it, then it was easy to gift it to him if he didn’t dislike it.
Elvis didn’t reply to Cordelia’s offer. He ate up all the food on the plate and stood up.
“Please take care. I will wait for you to return.”
And then, Elvis left, and Emina came back.
Emina restrained Cordelia, who was trying to clean up the plate, by taking it.
“If you had waited, then I could have made it for you.”
“Otou-sama was here. He looked like he’d caught a cold, so I prepared it for him.”
Actually, she left aside the fact that she had prepared it because she had wanted to eat it herself; as she said that, Emina looked convinced.
“Say, Emina. Otou-sama had said that the taste of honey lemon was nostalgic to him, but is it the same for you?”
“Nostalgic, you say?”
Emina looked as if she was thinking about Cordelia’s question for a bit.
“I’m not very familiar with it, but…… I hear that there is an area to the south where they often drink honey tea. I heard that Master visited there a lot when he was younger so he might have eaten it there.”
“Ronnie, who’s from the south, might know about it more.”
“Then, I think I’ll also treat Ronnie to it next time.”
At any rate, it was a bit cute to put Elvis and honey together.
“Well, I guess I’ll have to practice more so that I can treat Otou-sama to it again. Shall we eat together Emina?”
“Yes. But Ojou-sama, I will make it this time.”
“It’s fine once in a while, right?”
Emina didn’t agree with Cordelia, who was laughing because she wanted to practice, and the lemon went into Emina’s hands. Apparently, it was okay for Cordelia to make it for herself to eat, but Emina didn’t approve of Cordelia making it for Emina to eat.
And the honey lemon that Emina made, as she was used to cooking, tasted better than the one Cordelia had made.
(She’s a wonderful role model.)
I made a promise to send Otou-sama some honey lemon at night, but should I get Emina to direct me from now? She thought as she carried the lemon into her mouth.
In any case, Emina was an excellent maid whom she could rely on.
Hello everyone! So I finally bought all the light novels…. and it turns out the author put everyone’s names in English at the back!
Gille’s name is supposed to be Gilles. <- I have no idea where the ‘s’ is coming from. Should I change his name in previous chapters, or are you okay with Gille?
Sherry’s name is Shelley! The katakana could have been read either way. Her name hasn’t shown up much so I’ve changed this and will put it as Shelley in the future!