Act 56: Advice is Sudden
The evening party ended in great success.
Cordelia was relieved that all the guests had left the Pameradia House with smiles on their faces because of the gifts. Then, she quickly went to bed after she cleaned up.
She was more tired from the party than she thought she would be, and it didn’t take her long to fall asleep.
Still, she woke up somewhat earlier than she usually did.
She didn’t feel as tired as the previous night, but her body still felt sluggish. However, she was wide awake because she was still nervous.
(I’m having a tea party with Onee-sama today… I must be careful not to let out a yawn.)
She wasn’t on bad or good terms with Malvina. Just like with Cyrus and Isma a long time ago, she wasn’t involved with Malvina. Malvina, unlike her brothers, had gotten married early and she didn’t come home, so Cordelia didn’t have the chance to get along with her. Therefore, she didn’t know her personality well either.
(I might be able to get along with Onee-sama if I talk with her like I did with my Onii-samas, but we’ll probably only talk about gossip since we’re only having tea together.)
Even if she’s a quiet person, she probably won’t run out of things to talk about. I’m grateful for this opportunity since I can get to know what kind of person Onee-sama is.
(But it’s strange if I think about it. Onee-sama acted on behalf of Okaa-sama until she got married, but she never came back home after she married.)
Yesterday when she had spoken to Malvina, Cordelia felt that she had a gentle aura. Onee-sama is the one who invited me to drink tea with her in the first place, so I probably don’t have to be on my guard. She thought, and prepared tea straight after she had a light breakfast.
Cordelia chose the greenhouse for the tea party. It was a building which hadn’t been built when Malvina married, so she was sure that Malvina would enjoy it.
Then, after the preparations were done, Cordelia guided Malvina through the brightly lit greenhouse.
Malvina entered the greenhouse and sat down, then she looked a little troubled when she saw Emina, who was serving as their waitress, but immediately smiled nostalgically.
“It’s been a while, Emina. Even though I invited you to work here, I still can’t get over the guilt.”
“What are you saying, Malvina-sama? As I have said a long time ago, I am happy. I am being paid a lot more than if I had worked at the market.”
“Oh my, so you’re able to say things like that now?”
Cordelia looked at the two who were smiling and recalled that Malvina was the person who had recommended that Emina work at the Pameradia House. They got on better than she thought they would.
The two didn’t speak anymore than that, and Emina smiled and bowed before leaving the greenhouse.
“It seems like Emina is worried that I wouldn’t be able to talk to you if she was here.”
Malvina picked up the cup and put it on her mouth.
“Onee-sama. Thank you again for coming even though you’re busy.”
“You don’t have to worry that much. I came to congratulate you and say thank you.”
Cordelia tilted her head and Malvina smiled wryly.
“I want to thank you because of Otou-sama.”
“Because of Otou-sama?”
“That’s right. Otou-sama, the reason why I didn’t come home at all after I married.”
Cordelia blinked at Malvina’s words, but Malvina continued.
“I knew that I should have watched over you as long as Okaa-sama doesn’t show up in public. But, the Otou-sama whom I know was a man who treated others like chess pieces, and he didn’t care about what methods he had to use. So, I decided not to come home anymore because I thought that he might use the Owens family if I had. That was me rebelling against him.”
“If you think about the timing, then you were born to be married off into the royal family.”
(… I know.)
Certainly, if Onee-sama’s marriage was a political marriage, then there’s a high chance that Otou-sama would have involved them in his plans. And, if it was Otou-sama back in the days, then both families would incur unnecessary enmity. No, if I recall what was said when she married, then it would definitely become like that.
“However, it was surprising that I fell in love with my arranged husband. But, that’s only a hindsight-based opinion.”
She didn’t know how her sister’s marriage was, but she knew Elvis’s character. Rather, if Elvis wasn’t like that, then she wouldn’t have been born.
Elvis’s attitude softened after Cordelia was four, but Malvina was 18 at that time. Even if his attitude had softened, it was only towards Cordelia, and Malvina’s impression of him didn’t change before her marriage at 19.
But it didn’t seem like Malvina had a grudge against Elvis. Rather, her expression seemed really calm.
“I did wrong by you.”
“No. It’s not something you have to apologise for, Onee-sama. And, Otou-sama spoils me a lot.”
“It does really seem like he does. I was surprised that Otou-sama has become so human. I had heard from Isma that he had mellowed out thanks to you, but I thought he was just saying that.”
“I didn’t do such a significant thing.”
Cordelia said, then smiled wryly.
She honestly didn’t remember doing that much. The remark which caused Elvis to spoil her was also said so that she could avoid her crisis. Other than that, she hadn’t done anything special.
If she had to say it, then there was the incident with her grandmother and Elvis’s real mother, Fulvia, but she had only created the opportunity for them to meet from the coincidences that piled up. But she couldn’t tell that to Malvina.
“I know that people can change, but I thought that only Otou-sama wouldn’t. I’m still a child too.
“Please don’t say that. If Onee-sama is still a child, then I, who had my coming of age yesterday, is still a baby.”
“Oh my, if it’s like that then my congratulations would be pointless.”
Malvina laughed lightly and Cordelia also smiled.
“I have something to give to you. It’s from Okaa-sama.”
“Okaa-sama got me a present?”
“Yes. Okaa-sama told me to give this to the child I think would suit it best. Given the timing, I’m sure she wanted to give this to you.”
It was a bracelet with a tiny flower on it.
The bracelet, made from a few thin chains, was decorated with pearls and what looked like garnets, gave a neat impression.
“Thank you very much. I’m astonished.”
Cordelia was happy that her mother had prepared the invitation, but she couldn’t help but open her eyes wide in surprise at the fact that her mother had prepared a gift for her.
“Okaa-sama can’t be honest, so if you thank her directly for the gift, she might insist that she didn’t want to give it to you. So, use it where she can see instead of saying thanks to her.”
“Okay, I’ll happily do so.”
“I think you suit warm colours like red and orange, but Okaa-sama chose a white flower for you. But it looks good on you.”
Cordelia thought it was because the flowers that she sent to her mother were always white.
Her mother probably attached a red gem to the bracelet because it matched Cordelia’s eyes.
(In fact, red dresses look best on me.)
Cordelia knew this, thus she liked wearing red accessories. Her favourite colour was red, but she wanted to avoid wearing red dresses at all cost.
(Because it’s the colour that the game 『Cordelia』always wore…!)
Even if I know it would look good on me, but since I associate red dresses with the bullish, arrogant and domineering 『Cordelia』, I’m hesitant to wear them.
She thought while fastening the bracelet around her left wrist straight away.
“It suits you well.”
“Thank you very much.”
“The expressions of the servants in this mansion have also become very bright. Also, Isma has always been civil since he was little, but he’s the type who hides their true intentions and puts up a front. Now I feel like he can truly speak gently. Onii-sama still doesn’t talk much, but he cares about sister-in-law more than he used to… or is this because they’re newlyweds?”
Malvina said while laughing strangely.
“But I’m sure it’s because of you. You should come and see me next time. I’d like to talk with you slowly, and your niece and nephew are cute.”
“Yes, I will.”
She knew that she had a niece and nephew, but she has never met them before.
I think the oldest is nine now. I’m sure Onee-sama’s children are very cute, she thought and was surprised.
“No, hmm… I realised that my niece and I are actually closer in age than we are, Onee-sama.”
“You’re right. I’m sure my child would be happy that she finally has someone who is like an elder sister… But you don’t look like that’s what you’re surprised about. You’re already 16, you’re also worried about your marriage, right?”
“Eh, yes. However, I haven’t heard anything about my engagement at all, so I can’t imagine it.”
Even if I know it’ll be soon, I can’t imagine it at all. I didn’t think too deeply about it since I’m sure I would understand when the time comes… or rather, there’s also the fact that my cheeks flush the more I think about it so I didn’t, but Onee-sama, who is in front of me, got married at 19. I only have three years before I turn 19.
The marriage age of nobles in this kingdom is wide, and it’s not especially surprising even if one, regardless of gender, gets married right before they turn of age or if they get married in their late 20s. Therefore, I know I don’t have to rush, but a lot of people do get married early, so it’s impossible to ignore it.
“Actually, I invited you to have tea with me because I really wanted to talk about that.”
“I don’t think you would be introduced to a fiancé suddenly, unlike me. But I don’t think you would have the chance to meet someone either. So why don’t you go out yourself and search for your own husband.”
“What does that mean?”
Judging from how Elvis was acting, Cordelia could somewhat guess that she wouldn’t be introduced to a fiancé all of a sudden. However, it was hard to think that proposals didn’t come at all since she was from a prestigious Earl House.
But Malvina’s eyes said that she wasn’t joking, and she looked rather serious and troubled.
“Hans secretly told me this… It appears that Otou-sama doesn’t think that the men around here suit you, so he has been refusing all your marriage proposals. I can honestly understand that he adores you a lot, but…”
“And, it’s not just Otou-sama, even Nirupama-obasama is carefully investigating the men… Honestly, they’re troublesome guardians.”
What she said was too shocking to Cordelia.
“Hmm, how does Otou-sama refuse…?”
“『It’s still too early for my daughter, maybe someday…』, he would say.”
“I’ve never heard about this!”
“Yes, it looks like he’s being careful not to let you notice.”
Cordelia was astonished at Malvina, who was smiling wryly.
Sure, it was me who plotted so that I wouldn’t have to marry into the royal family without my permission, but for him to love me so much that he won’t even allow for other marriage proposals…
Cordelia involuntarily looked up at the ceiling since Earl Pameradia and Countess Weltoria were too strong of an iron wall.
“Oh my, you don’t have to look that disappointed. If he won’t talk to you about it, then you can go look for one yourself. You’ve received a lot of evening party invitations, and he won’t go as far as banning you from going to those, now would he?”
“Even if you fall in love with an heir and get married to him, you don’t have to worry about succeeding the Weltoria House. If it comes down to it then my daughter will head to Oba-sama’s House. She’s strong and clever, so I can recommend her even without my bias as her parent.”
Evening parties are places to collect information, so I shouldn’t be prohibited from attending them.
I could think about my partner after I decide on my future, but in my case, I can also choose someone who I love.
“But after talking to you, I thought it would be alright if they don’t talk about your marriage proposals. Somehow, I feel like you’ll have a grand love.”
“Yes. A grand love that seems like it would be turned into a play or musical.”
She stared at the smiling Malvina and recalled that the romance novels in the library were Malvina’s favourite. Cordelia smiled wryly at Malvina’s hopeful look.
“I’d be happier if I could meet someone who I can spend my life peacefully with rather than have a grand love.”
“Oh my. I wonder if Otou-sama and Oba-sama would approve of such a calm person?”
“I would wholeheartedly ask them to.”
“I see. I don’t think Otou-sama and Oba-sama would refuse to accept the marriage if their beloved child is asking them so earnestly even if their personalities are like that… it’s impossible to tell.”
Malvina had agreed with her vigorously in the beginning, but she averted her eyes in the end.
“Onee-sama, thank you for the valuable information.”
“It’s nothing. I thought the conversation would have gone different if you weren’t interested in getting married, but I’m glad I wasn’t meddling.”
“It’s a very important conversation for me.”
“Hehe. But I’m looking forward to it. I really love romantic novels. I don’t mind if you come to me for advice. Oh, isn’t Marquis Flantheim’s son your age?”
“Unfortunately, I definitely won’t get married to Vernoux-sama.”
“Hmm, that’s too bad.”
Malvina didn’t look disappointed at all, and she stared at Cordelia as if she was watching a love story.
“Oh yes, then how about Prince Sylvester? I definitely don’t think Otou-sama would say no to him.”
“Please don’t joke.”
It would probably be difficult for Otou-sama to refuse, but I’ve been trying my hardest to avoid that.
“But romance novels also involve fighting between women. Even so, do your best.”
“I want a peaceful relationship, so if possible, could you also pray that I have one too, Onee-sama?”
“Well, that’s usually the case. But I think hardships deepen bonds. At least, the bits that people can see from an outsider’s perspective.”
Malvina said jokingly and Cordelia smiled wryly.
“It’s like you said, Onee-sama. So, I will be excited to hear about your hardships, conflicts and romance you experience as you got along with your husband while rebelling against Otou-sama.”
Cordelia said and her sister’s smile changed.
“That’s a bit of a secret.”
Cordelia stared at Malvina whose ears were going red as she tried to maintain a smile on her face and laughed a little.
She couldn’t tell if rumours about Shelley had reached Malvina with how she was acting.
As for Cordelia, she thought that it couldn’t be helped that she wanted to experience a peaceful love without any carnage.