Act 23: Calm before the Storm
Three days after the Founding Festival had started.
In a quieter mansion, Cordelia briefly checked on the condition of the greenhouse, and then went back and forth from her room and the library.
The first thing Cordelia started on, during the Founding Festival, was calculating the amount of paper purchased by the school; she’d calculated the approximate amount of paper needed based on a report from the school. Then, she also estimated the cost of Lara’s pencils, from her production record, and she also calculated the price for the ‘bread erasers’. Finally, she wrote down her aims and the price, then a sentence asking the merchants and Ronnie to get her quotes; Cordelia sighed in relief.
“For now, I wonder if these things will be enough for the school.”
The documents were for asking for Elvis’s permission.
She had already told him that she was thinking of improving the writing implements, when she was at the pencil manufacturing stage, so she could probably get his permission without any problems. If a problem did pop up, then it would probably be her plan to borrow fields in the fief and open a medicinal herb garden. She had to finish the documents on her plan to cultivate herbs in an area where wheat didn’t grow well, and how to collect the capital for that, during the remainder of the Founding Festival so that she could persuade Elvis.
“Should I borrow land and manpower for the herb garden? Or should I just buy already grown plants…? That’s becoming a problem. I have documents on the current harvest so I can calculate the income, and I have to write comparison data.”
However, Cordelia, who had muttered those words spontaneously, realised that she had been talking to herself a lot. Although, Ronnie and Lara’s holidays would end tomorrow, and her surroundings would probably become lively again.
“I think it’s Lara’s first time at the Founding Festival, I hope she has fun.”
She thought as she stretched her back a little. Her body had become really stiff, probably because she was concentrating so hard.
“I’ll go for a little walk.”
If I push myself too hard, then I might make a mistake in the calculations somewhere. She thought that as she left the room and headed towards the garden.
Cordelia traced the memories of her childhood and remembered that the Pameradia mansion had felt imposing. It still felt imposing now, but it also felt brighter. When she had first visited the fief at the age of eight and returned to the Royal Capital, Elvis had said, “You can grow your favourite plants.” Thus, Cordelia had told the gardeners the descriptions of the flowers she wanted grown there, and a few of their names. She didn’t have flowers in the greenhouse just for appreciation, but she had wanted to feel relaxed by just looking at flowers, so there were a lot of gorgeous flowers in the garden. By no means, did all the flowers have large petals, but they were all pleasing to the eye.
The flowers glistened vividly, thanks to the skills of the gardeners. And, the rose, 『Cordelia』, was also blooming in a section of the garden. She didn’t have a lot of stock yet, but when she told Gille that Elvis had said to her that she could plant whatever she wanted in the garden, he sent her some flowers to grow.
(A rose with the same name as me. It feels strange after all.)
On the one hand, she was happy because it was a beautiful flower and smelt nice, but she became strangely embarrassed when she saw it in front of her. Of course, she knew that the flower thought nothing of her, but she felt compelled not to lose to it.
Then, Cordelia, who was lazing around in the garden, felt herself relax and decided to return to her room. Her eyes also felt a little rested from taking a small break.
Shortly after entering the mansion, Cordelia saw Emina and Hans talking. At the same time, they both noticed that Cordelia had returned and greeted her, “Welcome back, Ojou-sama.” Cordelia smiled wryly.
“I did certainly come back right now…… But you have also just returned, have you not Emina? Have you finished the errands from Christina-sama?”
“I have, Ojou-sama.”
Emina had been called to the Alcott mansion today for a meeting with Christina, whom she had promised to show around the Royal Capital after the Founding Festival. It’s rare to see Emina with no apron on, Cordelia thought as she thanked her, “Thank you.”
“Christina-sama has stated that she wanted to visit some tailors in the Royal Capital.”
“She wants to visit a tailor?”
Cordelia was a little surprised because she had been sure that Christina had wanted to go sightseeing.
When people get dresses made in this kingdom, they usually called the tailor to their house. That was the same for noble ladies and for ladies from wealthy merchant families. However, it wasn’t like there weren’t any exceptions, some people were actively zealous about dresses, and it happened in such situations as 『Anyway, I want to make the colour of the cloth the top priority. I want to see the slight colour differences with my own eyes』and 『I want to find a tailor who makes designs that are different from the rest』. Besides that, people might ask for patterned orders, but Christina probably didn’t fall into those categories.
“She has never made a dress at the Royal Capital before, so she’s interested in eight stores. Amongst them are stores that her friends have used before. She also said that she would like to visit more stores if we have time.”
“She wants to go to that many stores? She’s very enthusiastic about it.”
Cordelia was a bit surprised that Christina wanted to visit so many places.
She wasn’t particularly surprised that Christina hadn’t had a dress made in the Royal Capital before since she did live in her fief, but visiting at least eight stores…… Cordelia was a little worried whether Christina would have time to visit that many stores.
(But she lives in the part of the kingdom that produces the best silk. I’m sure she’s picky.)
Cordelia also had never visited a tailor before, and she wanted to see what it would be like. There was no way she wouldn’t be interested in tailor stores, which had the latest in women’s fashion.
(But, isn’t it easier for her to get better quality silk in her fief?)
Or did she want to see a lot of dress designs in the Royal Capital? Cordelia tilted her head in curiosity and Emina continued.
“She might get tired while we’re visiting the stores, so I also searched for a place where she could eat sweet things. I’m considering a store where a lot of women customers go before they go to the theatre and it opens from noon.”
“Oh my, that sounds fun. That’s also the experience of a grown woman, isn’t it?”
Cordelia said it somewhat jokingly, and Emina smiled loosely.
At the same time, Hans stepped forward and handed Cordelia a bunch of paper.
“Then, there is something that I would like to report to Ojou-sama before you learn that experience. Please take this.”
“Thanks. Are these the people who want to participate in the next experiment?”
The papers that Hans had passed to her were a list of people who wished to participate in the balm massage, which Cordelia regularly recruited for. She also invited people to join in with her other experiments, but there was no doubt that this experiment had the highest competition rate in the mansion.
“You have a flood of applicants.”
Cordelia was happy that this experiment was accepted in the mansion to the extent that applicants were rushing in, but she also had mixed feelings about it.
(It’s become like some kind of big lottery…… But I feel sorry for people who want to try it out but get rejected.)
Of course, the participants weren’t decided by lottery. She decided the participants based on conditions such as physical condition, fatigue, transparency and stagnation of magic. She couldn’t say that the sample size was enough since she only recruited from within the mansion, Cordelia could make predictions such as, 『This person seems like they won’t like this aroma』or『This effect would probably work』, by lightly using her analysis magic. For some reason or another…… That was the only thing she could say, but she was able to conclude if the magic of the plants would be compatible or not with a person. It might be a unique intuition related to her magic, since Ronnie dismissed it when she tried to explain it to him by saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m going to meet with them one by one again, so could you show me their work assignment list? I want to talk to them at a reasonable time.”
Hans respectfully accepted Cordelia’s word, and this time, Emina spoke.
“Ojou-sama, do you have a bit of time now?”
“I want to talk to you about clothes for going out. There are some possible choices…… If you’re busy, then I would like to take some of your time tomorrow.”
I see I can’t go out in the clothes I use for my experiments or the clothes I wear for riding. And, it was likely that the 『clothes for going out』that Emina had said, would include accessories such as parasols. And I have never prepared clothes for going out before because my usual dresses are for indoor use.
(This will probably not be finished in 『a bit』.)
It took time to pick dresses and try them on. I don’t remember asking for much, but my closet is full of clothes that were made at the beginning of the season and clothes that Otou-sama gave me.
(But this is the first time I’m going out with Christina-sama. It would be rude if I don’t dress like her.)
I think that all the dresses I have suit me. But, if I consider that I’ll be standing next to Christina-sama, then there would be too many to choose from.
“I’ll do it today. I’m sure it’ll bother me if I do it tomorrow so I won’t be able to focus on anything else.”
Cordelia said that jokingly and Emina and Hans smiled.