Act 53: Binding Hope and Path Forward
I haven’t sent you a letter in a very long time.
How are you?
It is already hot here every day, but this is the season when the flowers are in full bloom, so everyone in town seems a little restless.
I am also enjoying the flowers, but I feel even more excited because it is time to harvest the clove buds. I am looking forward to using it as spice and essential oils from now on.
Well, I will be back in the royal capital next month, but before I return, I will be visiting Ertiga with my aunt, so I look forward to dining with my brother and sister-in-law.
Also, I have been spending my time meaningfully by doing things such as checking the herb garden in the outskirts and checking on the essential oil workshop which is only waiting for official operations.
The herbs are growing well, and I am sure you would enjoy them if you saw them ―――
Cordelia was doing a good job writing her letter until there, then she re-read what she had written and stopped writing.
“… If I just write this, then it could be misleading.”
The words she had muttered to herself vanished in the room, but the thought she’d just had didn’t go away.
(It sounds as if I’m inviting him out on a date.)
Cordelia folded the letter in four and put it into the drawer. Fortunately, her childhood friend wasn’t here to rush her to write the letter, so she didn’t have to write it quickly.
“It’ll be easier for him to understand if I write『Gille-sama and Witch-sensei』instead of just『Gille-sama』.”
If I write that, then I’m sure Gille-sama wouldn’t have to worry about something strange.
In a month, Cordelia’s life in Weltoria fief will come to an end.
She experienced many things that she couldn’t have if she remained in the royal capital such as doing miscellaneous work according to Nirupama’s instructions, visiting various fiefs with Nirupama, putting together negotiation documents, and organising tea parties.
She still continued to earn money through trading while doing all those things, exchanged letters with Ronnie, a magician who remained in the royal capital, to find out about the situation in the greenhouse, and checked on the progress at Ertiga’s herb garden. Nirupama would get angry and yell at her a lot, “Go to bed already!” because she was doing so many things.
(I also discovered and learnt many things here… My biggest harvest is discovering the clove buds.)
The clove trees which grew on an island in the middle of a vast lake were big, and it was challenging to collect the clove buds, but she used the steam distillation method on the buds and had obtained essential oils from them.
Clove bud essential oils are said to be good for when one wanted to improve their memory or concentrate and is best combined with rosemary essential oil. However, although eugenol, the main component of clove bud essential oil, has a strong antibacterial and antiviral effect, it has a strong stimulus, so one needed to be extra careful when using it.
The best thing that Cordelia remembered about this essential oil was its insect repellent effect and anti-mold properties. It becomes a strong insect repellent when used together with an aroma lamp. It was useful in Weltoria since there were more insects here than in the royal capital.
(Insect repellents are essential for a good night’s sleep.)
It was a waste if her mind didn’t work from lack of sleep since she was finally learning a lot of things. She didn’t have to worry about getting bitten by insects much because of the repellent, and she also had a good night’s rest.
Also, clove buds could be blended in herbal tea and used as spice for food.
Cloves have various effects, such as improving intestinal movement and preventing headaches and colds. Cordelia had given them out as gifts when she went around for her New Year courtesy calls, and people wanted to try other products as well, so her face quickly spread among the key figures involved with Weltoria fief. She was delighted by their favourable response and planned to mass-produce the other essential oils as well to meet their expectations.
Ertiga’s herb garden, the most important place for her essential oil distribution in the royal capital, was full of magic which made it easier to grow plants.
(But, it’s unrealistic for me to make enough essential oils for distribution by myself, no matter how many herbs I can harvest.)
Of course, I know that I can make good quality essential oils since I have the Pameradia’s unique plant magic. However, I won’t be able to mass-produce those oils, and supply won’t be able to keep up with demand.
Therefore, Cordelia had prepared a workshop to mass-produce the essential oils near the herb garden while maintaining a certain quality. Instead of the glassware that she had been using until now, she had a large distillation pot prepared, then she hired employees and even made a manufacturing manual. It should be difficult for people to control quality like this.
Nobles continue to pay attention to the oils thanks to the rumour spread by Nirupama, and Vernoux’s mother, Marchioness Flantheim.
“I’ve also found a location for the royal capital store… The rest can wait until I return to the royal capital.”
Cordelia planned to set up two shops that handle cosmetics using essential oils; one in the noble district, and one in the commoner’s district.
Her father, Elvis, said that he would think about the shop in the noble district. For the commoner’s district, she will sell the cosmetics at a corner of the café, which sold crepes and galettes, which she had opened in the royal capital six months ago.
The café was supposed to open after Cordelia had completed her etiquette training, and had returned to the royal capital. However, she wouldn’t be able to set up a place to sell the cosmetics in time if she had gone with this plan, so Emina had supervised the opening under Cordelia’s command. Another reason why she had opened the café early was that a lot of people had visited the thriving cafes she had in Ertiga and the port town, and asked if she could open another café in the royal capital.
The day before the café opened, Nirupama said she wanted to see the shop, so Cordelia returned to the royal capital with Nirupama and stayed for the night. It was hard for Cordelia to express that she wanted to return to the royal capital, so she was grateful that Nirupama had wanted to see the café.
The interior of the new café was exactly like being in the Pameradia mansion. She was able to enjoy a galette after so long, and she was relieved to see that the people in the royal capital enjoyed the café.
However, Cordelia didn’t go back to the Pameradia mansion even though she was finally back in the royal capital. This wasn’t the first time she hadn’t gone home even though she had the chance to.
She had the chance to come home during the New Year and Founding Festival, but she chose to go to Ertiga and spent time with her older brother, Cyrus, and his wife, Christina. Even if she came home, Elvis and her second brother, Isma, would be busy with work, and she was afraid of what they would think if she had returned home during her studies.
Cordelia didn’t want to disturb her newly wedded brother and his wife during her stay in Ertiga, so she often toured the fief with Zeke, the former feudal lord representative, to learn instead of staying in the mansion.
Zeke was delighted to show her around since he had handed his duties as feudal lord to Cyrus and was now only assisting when needed; thus, he had a lot of time. She had a very productive time thanks to that, but because she had spent too much time with Zeke, Christina told her, “You should relax a bit more next time.”
(But I’ll be able to meet Otou-sama, and Isma-oniisama soon.)
As Cordelia thought this, a light knock came from the door.
“Ojou-sama, I’m coming in.”
Behind the door was Lara, who had accompanied her from the royal capital. It had been two years since then, and Lara had a calmer aura now.
“Ojou-sama. Viscount Abbott was planning to visit today, but he suddenly cancelled his visit because he feels sick.”
“Oh, does that mean I have the rest of the day off after lunch?”
“Yes. Nirupama-sama said that you can do whatever you want after you finish sorting the documents.”
Cordelia smiled at Lara, who had accurately reported to her.
“Then, your job is done for the day, Lara. I’ve also finished the things I have to do today.”
Cordelia said, and Lara brightened up.
“Yay! Then, Ojou-sama, why don’t we go shopping?”
“That’s a good idea.”
Lara’s serious attitude flew out the window the moment she heard that work was done.
Lara was currently training to be a lady’s attendant, but she still acted the same whenever she didn’t have to work. Cordelia preferred her this way, so she wanted Lara to stay as she was.
“But, you did your work really fast, Ojou-sama. These over here are written amanuensis, and these here are for tea party arrangements… Huh? The last evening party before we return to the royal capital… are you organising this, Ojou-sama?!”
“Yes. I’m inviting all the people who have helped me during my stay.”
Lara looked over Cordelia’s work one by one and gave a long sigh.
“Everything is a dry run for when you turn into an adult, right? As expected of Nirupama-sama… Don’t tell me you’re going to make arrangements for your own debut as well, Ojousama?!”
Lara widened her eyes, and Cordelia smiled wryly.
“I don’t mind doing that, but Otou-sama and Obaa-sama have already made arrangements for that.”
“Oh… I see. Nirupama-sama and Master love you so much, so you can feel relieved about the arrangements.”
Cordelia agreed that she felt relieved about the preparations for her debut, but she was anxious about whether she could play the leading role in a perfectly prepared stage.
However, Cordelia had already made plans to get rid of her anxiety.
“But you’ll be busy if you’re planning the evening party. Let’s not go out?”
“No. I have to find gifts to take back with me to the royal capital, so I want to come with you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Let’s go take a break together.”
Cordelia smiled at Lara’s reliable reply.
Yes, her return to the royal capital was just around the corner.
(I wonder how everyone in the royal capital is growing.)
When she thought that, she looked at the letter addressed to Gille.
(Come to think of it, has Gille-sama reached adulthood?)
I still don’t know his background, but I wonder if he’ll reveal it soon. Gille-sama’s real name and appearance, which I dared not ask until he told me himself, will probably be revealed when he reaches adulthood.
The main reason why Gille-sama changed his appearance with Vernoux-sama’s magic is so that he could go incognito. There shouldn’t be a reason why he has to hide his identity when he grows up.
By the way, Vernoux-sama, whose birthday is earlier than mine, has already reached adulthood.
(Gille-sama must have missed the opportunity to tell me his name.)
Thinking back, I don’t have any particular problems with calling him 『Gille』.
“But, that can wait until I’m back in the royal capital.”
I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone has grown since I haven’t returned to the royal capital in a long time, but I’m also worried.
(I wonder what kind of lady Shelley has become.)
My friends in the royal capital ――― Hazel from the Hale House, and Clive from the Eames House have occasionally mentioned Shelley in their letters, but their letters don’t really state how she has grown. Shelley hasn’t appeared in public yet, so I wonder if they’ve only heard rumours about her.
(In the game, the 『Heroine』only appeared in high society after she reached adulthood, so as expected, Shelley will properly make her appearance then too.)
I don’t mean that she’s following the game scenario when I say『as expected』.
Even if Shelley is an honest and serious 『Heroine』, there were a lot of customs in high society that she needed to learn, so she would need to study for two years.
But then, Shelley is high-maintenance unlike the game 『Heroine』, so I doubt she can understand all the etiquettes like in the game, but she can probably remember them all since she doesn’t like to lose.
(Earl Clydereine doesn’t hide his intention of wanting to marry her to His Highness like always, and Shelley wanted to marry His Highness two years ago as well. She probably won’t seclude herself away.)
Cordelia still hadn’t forgotten Shelley’s hostile gaze on her when they had last met.
(I don’t want the Queen’s seat.)
Therefore, Cordelia wished that Shelley would stop getting her involved, but Shelley probably won’t grant Cordelia’s wish.
Cordelia also knew that a certain number of ladies had been visiting Earl Clydereine’s mansion from the letters, even though it isn’t public. It was unlikely that this would end with Cordelia being uninvolved. At any rate, Shelley is a child from a good family and can see into the future with her 『Dreamer Power』. It wasn’t strange for nobles to suck up to her, and the Pameradia House’s daughter, who has the same rank as Shelley, will become a hindrance.
And, Shelley will turn 16 before Cordelia; her birthday was in eight days.
(It’s finally the beginning of 『Cordelia’s』fall.)
When I think about Shelley, I become determined to avoid Prince Sylvester more than ever. At this point, there’s nothing that indicates that I will be like the game 『Cordelia』, but there’s no reason to approach the Prince since it’ll make me anxious.
But, I don’t have any intentions of falling into a trap if Shelley continues to confront me like she had declared before.
(… But I have to return to the royal capital and grasp Shelley’s movements first.)
Lara tilted her head and stared at Cordelia, who was thinking.
“Ojou-sama, why are you frowning?”
A big match was waiting for Cordelia.
But, I’ll enjoy shopping with Lara today, Cordelia changed her mood.