That night, Cordelia explained all that to Elvis. But he didn’t agree immediately and frowned.
“I certainly heard that you were going to visit the poorhouse, and I asked what you would gain from it. But didn’t you want to study herbs?”
Elvis didn’t talk about the pros and cons of teaching at the poorhouse. On the other hand, she couldn’t deny that this was different from the purpose she had when she’d first visited the Witch.
“You want to be a teacher?”
“Acting on whims does not lead to good results.”
Cordelia felt surprised when she heard Elvis.
She could understand the meaning of his words, and they were justifiable. But Elvis usually points out the problems before he refuses. Cordelia was surprised that he hadn’t done that. However, she couldn’t withdraw just because she was surprised. There were times when she would need to give up, but, at least, that wasn’t now.
“Of course, I can’t teach all the time. However, I want to interact with the girls who are throwing themselves at what they want, to find what support I could provide them. Fortunately, I still have time. I won’t neglect my own studies because of this reason.”
I can’t afford to back down.
Cordelia declared again to get permission. She had to turn her might into allies to turn over his negative words. Otherwise, she felt like she was going to lose her spirit.
“… The longest you can teach them is for two season changes.”
“Thank you very much.”
Cordelia didn’t know if her feelings got through to him. But she had gotten a longer delay than she had expected. She had half a year. If she could achieve some results… if she could find some evidence that she had made Toto, Lana and the girls happy, then that will surely be proof that she had moved forward.
(Otou-sama gave me half a year, so it’s not like he doesn’t have any expectations at all.)
If so, then I need to meet his expectations. But I won’t get too worked up. I’m not alone. I can probably get Gille-sama and Vernoux-sama involved in this. They might be able to give me good ideas and tips from a different perspective.
Cordelia returned to her room after she’d excused herself. However, she couldn’t rest even if she had obtained permission.
“First, I have to think about what kind of teacher I want to be.”
Unfortunately, Cordelia has never had any teaching experience in her previous life, even as a part-time job. In this world, she had only had one-on-one lessons with her tutors, but she remembered from when she was a student that there were different ways to proceed with a class.
“I want to focus on the main things as much as possible… but it would be more fun if I also taught about trivial things.”
However, that was only easy to say, so she had to first start by selecting a textbook to use.
Cordelia thought about focusing on the history books that she had learnt from, but her knowledge went beyond what was required for commoners. Also, the children couldn’t take lessons as often as Cordelia, so she really needed to choose a book carefully.
Cordelia thought as she made materials. At the same time, she thought about consulting with Aisha about how to teach a class. Although Aisha didn’t teach history, she was a teacher at Caina Village, and she did teach Lara, so she was the easiest teacher to talk to.
The next day, Cordelia sent a letter to Aisha and received a reply on the same afternoon. Aisha’s response was pleasant, and she said that she would visit the Pameradia mansion tomorrow if it were convenient for Cordelia. Cordelia also immediately replied.
The next day.
Aisha showed up at the Pameradia mansion with sweets.
“Long time no see, Cordelia-sama.”
“Aisha-oneesama. I’m sorry for asking too much.”
“Absolutely not! I’m delighted that you asked me. Please contact me immediately if there’s anything I can help you with. Especially since this is my forte.”
Cordelia guided Aisha to the parlour while listening to her reassuring words.
“Lara was also looking forward to seeing you today.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing her too. She’s a diligent child.”
“She is. But she gets angry whenever I tell her that.”
They arrived at the parlour while joking around. Cordelia knocked on the door before opening it, and Lara quickly walked to the entrance from the middle of the room. Cordelia had told her to wait in the room, so she had probably been nervous and loitered around.
“Lara, Aisha-oneesama is here.”
“Long time no see, Lara.”
“It’s been a while, Aisha-sensei!”
Lara’s voice gradually cracked and showed her tension. However, her actions were beautiful and weren’t inferior to how she usually conducted herself. Lara bowed and met Aisha’s eyes, but her next words didn’t come out easily.
After a short while, the words that came out of her mouth was of her leaving.
“Then, please excuse me. I will bring some tea later.”
Cordelia was surprised that she had left straight away, even though she had been so excited yesterday. But when she saw that Lara’s ears had turned red, she turned to Aisha. Aisha smiled wryly and met Cordelia’s eyes.
“I’m glad that she was more welcoming than I thought she would be. I’m looking forward to tasting the tea she prepares.”
Aisha said, after Lara left, and Cordelia agreed. She had probably been too nervous to say anything. But, at the same time, Cordelia was jealous because that was proof that their relationship was good.
(I also want to teach a class that they’ll always remember.)
To do this, I must first convey my thoughts to Aisha-oneesama and get her opinions on it. Cordelia decided and began consulting with Aisha.
Her consultation with Aisha also included a break with Lara and lasted until evening.
On her way home, Aisha suggested that she give Lara a mock lesson so that her vision could be finalised.
That was something extremely embarrassing for Cordelia because she would be teaching someone she knew well. She was also anxious that Lara would be disappointed because she had been taught by Aisha.
(No. She should be honest. The children of Oulu Village don’t want a class that is boring or difficult to understand.)
If I can have mock lessons, then I shouldn’t let this opportunity go. I don’t have the luxury to let it go.
Lara cheerfully accepted Cordelia’s request. But she also seemed confused and embarrassed at that point. But when they actually entered the class, they concentrated on the lesson and weren’t bothered by the fact that they knew each other. Thus, Cordelia’s anxiety eased a little after class. After that, she continued to consult with Aisha and asked Lara to join her mock lessons. Her preparations were proceeding.
Cordelia’s class gradually took shape as she prepared for it little by little, and she also talked to Vernoux about the class when he came over as usual to eat sweets.
“… You really are whimsical Dilly. Did you prepare for it?”
She smiled wryly at Vernoux, who was twisting his fork in his brownie.
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“I know you’re preparing for the class, but have you not been to the Witch’s place?”
“No, I have, since I have things I want to ask her. I also borrowed new books yesterday.”
Yesterday, she had stopped by the Witch’s place after Aisha had visited and borrowed two books; one on medicinal plants and the other on marine plants. Cordelia passed the book about marine plants to Ronnie after she’d read through it once.
Ronnie had been researching about oblaat whenever he didn’t go out. He seemed very troubled: “This doesn’t melt well,” “It’ll be stuck like this,” “Can’t it get any thinner?” or “Do I need to improve the drying tool?” Cordelia had warned him not to overdo it, and Lara cautioned him, “Don’t think of it as a toy just because it’s easy.”
Ronnie even seemed to have missed lunch today, and he kept glaring at his book with a sandwich in hand. He appeared unusually concentrated. She was certainly happy that this touched Ronnie’s heartstrings, but she was also a little worried that he would get sick.
“It seems like you’re worried about a lot of things.”
Vernoux was referring to the class, but he wasn’t wrong either, so she agreed. The brownie on Vernoux’s plate disappeared before she even noticed it.
“Well, our schedules will eventually match up, so we can go to Oulu Village together. Then, I’ll enjoy watching your strenuous efforts.”
“It’s not a show. But I’m still shocked by the things that happened last time.”
“What? Are you referring to Gille’s flirting?”
“No, well, there is that. But I can’t believe that you were called a prince…”
She felt like she was going to laugh thoughtlessly just by remembering it… but she didn’t say that and showed Vernoux her best smile. Vernoux frowned for a moment but immediately replied with a provocative smile.
“Are you disappointed that I’m not the prince?”
“Aren’t you the one who’s disappointed? If you were the prince, then you wouldn’t need to go out to eat sweets, now would you?”
“No, I don’t know? The prince might also be pitiful, you know?”
They both didn’t want to give up the conversation initiative to each other, so they clung to their fake smiles. But that didn’t last long. Vernoux shrugged first.
“… Well, invite me as you see fit if you want to do something.”
“Oh my, are you sure?”
She was planning to get him involved, but she hadn’t expected that he would offer first. But, Vernoux didn’t mind and nodded.
“Yeah. Gille’s thinking about various ways to help them.”
“Then, do you also have any ideas?”
“I plan on helping, but it’s hard for me to actively help them. It might be excessive to talk about our fief… I don’t think I’ll have enough time to figure out what the other person wants.”
Vernoux smiled bitterly. He is the legitimate child, and although he could make time to go out incognito, he was actually swamped.
“Gille is pretty busy, so he’ll be happy if you reach out to him first. If you leave him alone, he’ll likely pull all-nighters.”
“Oh my, then please tell Gille-sama not to overdo it, first. I can’t ask him to collapse.”
“Ok. He’ll probably overdo it if I tell him that, but I’ll tell him.”
If so, then should you not tell him? Cordelia continued to question as Vernoux left.
A few days after, Cordelia headed back to Oulu Village. She brought with her an explanation sheet, instead of a homemade textbook, and her tension.
Waiting for Cordelia at Oulu Village was Lana and the other two girls who had read the court lady’s diary.
To be precise, Toto also said, “Toto will listen too!” so she was in the classroom, but she soon drifted into the dream world. It was still too early for her to take lessons. However, she looked satisfied when the class had finished, and she felt like an older sister.
The class itself generally consisted of the girl’s surprised voices, “Ooooh!” and Cordelia was relieved that she was able to draw their interests.
As evidence, she had another student when she taught her second class a few days later. The fourth student was a boy who was looking curiously at the notes that the other three were looking at. He was quieter than Lana and the girls, and attended class while smiling. However, he was good friends with Mick and was taken away by him when he intruded on the class. But the boy also wasn’t weak, and he returned to the class in the end.
When she was going home, Cordelia asked Mick if he would like to join in on the lessons, but he glared at her. It was still challenging for her to talk with Mick.
The next time she visited, Vernoux and Gille also came along after so long.
However, she didn’t have a class scheduled in for the day, and they planned to help the director. Gille looked disappointed, but Cordelia was relieved, since they weren’t going to watch her lesson.
They were repairing the tools the children used when they went to the royal capital market, and also making goods. They were mending the cloth used to decorate the shop, making new boxes to put the goods in, and making wreaths. The director made the base of the wreath from branches collected from the nearby forest. Then, they would be decorated with things such as ribbons, dried flowers, dried fruits, wood beads or buttons. The ribbons, wood beads and buttons were dabbed with cotton, which was soaked in plant dye. They sold well next to the vegetables.
“It’s a beautiful colour.”
“It’s dyed with peanuts. Only the shell is a little bright, and the darkest part is the skin. You can mix the shell and skin together to get a brighter colour. There are items dyed with clover too.”
Cordelia was a little far from the children, and she was using scissors with the director to make ribbons. Vernoux and Gille were using hammers and nails to make repairs. They weren’t used to doing that kind of work, but they still worked carefully.
“Say, what colour do you think would be nice to dye this?”
Cordelia hesitated a little when asked by the director. The cloth in my hands is a calm tea colour. It goes well with the wreath, but if I had to think about other colours… then what colour would be nice?
“If you dye this in mint, then you could also enjoy the aroma. If you want something brighter, then you could use chamomile. But for wealth, it’s a little expensive, but dying it in pink with red roses will make it more vibrant. If you want a moderate dye, then the skin of grapes will make it a beautiful light purple.”
You can dye the cloth yellow-green with mint stems and leaves using an alum. Chamomile will make it a brighter yellow. You can use dry or fresh herbs as long as you adjust the quantity.
The director heard Cordelia’s reply and groaned, “Hmmm.”
“It’s not enough to just have brown colours after all. I added some warm colours with dried flowers, but I want them to be more vibrant.”
“No, that wasn’t what I meant… I just thought if you had to use a different colour. All the colours you have now are lovely.”
“The colours became like this when I started using what we had left… Oh, yes, let’s think about it for a moment. I think we can collect the grape skins depending on the season. But I’m surprised you also know about dying, Dilly-chan.”
“I can’t calculate the cost since I don’t know how to use it for commercial purposes, but I do know a little.”
“Cost, huh. But… oh yes, for example, we could use it on something like a shawl and use that at the end of wreaths instead of just using ribbons. Then we might be able to increase our budget a little bit…”
The director muttered at the end as if she was talking to herself while cutting the ribbon with the scissors.
“I almost forget that you’re a kid when I talk to you, Dilly-chan.”
“I am a child, but I’m already 12 years old. I’m a little older than Toto-chan and the girls.”
“Vernoux-kun and Gille-kun are also level-headed. The kids here already recognise them as older brothers.”
The director said, as she looked over at the two who were still working while being treated like children.
“Lana and the girls really enjoy your classes, Dilly-chan. Thanks.”
“I’m honoured that I could be of use.”
“We really want to teach them more. But we can’t keep the place running if we don’t make money…”
The director said as she sighed.
“… Do you think it’s bad to get help?”
“You know about it, right? About what happened?”
Cordelia looked the director in the eyes and answered.
The director stared back and Cordelia and began speaking.
“Honestly, they were too wilful back then. I was still only a helper. But it’s too late to ask for help now… We’re making a living somehow, and the villagers are helping us out. I think we’ve made a really nice place.”
“I can tell by looking at the children.”
“That’s good. But when I see the happy faces of Lana and the others, I can’t help but think that I could do more for them. Sometimes I wonder if things are alright the way they are. Even though I have to get it together.”
The director’s words sounded as if she was telling herself, rather than Cordelia. She felt like the image of the director overlapped with the Witch’s.
“… It’s difficult for me to understand your conflict, Director-sensei. However, circumstances change over time, and it’s normal for your ideals to waver. History always teaches us that our values and the world are always changing. I think the same could be said for individuals.”
“There may be times when being constant is important. But why don’t you consult with someone you trust if you’re worried? It’s never too late to ask for help.”
Cordelia couldn’t say, “Please talk about this with me.” The most suitable person for the director to talk to was the Witch.
“… That’s right. I’ve never had a proper talk with Green.”
The director muttered as if talking to herself and a voice came from outside, “The fish peddler is here~!” The director looked up.
“Oh, the peddler is here.”
“There’s a fish peddler?”
“Yes. You can get to a river here, but you can’t get fresh fish. We can get small dried fish, which are hard to sell in the royal capital, for cheap. Dilly-chan, do you want to buy some to take home too?”
“No. I’ll refrain.”
Cordelia watched as the director walked to where the peddler was.
(Come to think of it, they said that coaches from the royal capital also make money by peddling.)
Cordelia watched as the peddler talked to the director, through the window, while thinking so, and she suddenly came up with an idea.
“… Oh yeah, I can just make it mobile.”