Translator: Blushy
Editor: delishnoodles

◊♦◊♦◊♦◊

 

The day of the evening party. 

She received a letter stating that Hazel would be going to get Kaylie first, so she wanted Cordelia to go there by herself. 『I’m going to fix Kaylie-sama’s makeup! She’s hiding her lovely face!』, Hazel had written. 

(The fact that Kaylie-sama has her face hidden means that her bangs are still long even though she’s dressed up?)

They had solved the『Jet Black』misunderstanding, but she still hid her eyes with her hair because, “I’m used to this so it’s embarrassing.”

(This should be left to the Hazel sister’s temperaments.)

I’m sure they’ll make Kaylie-sama pretty so I won’t be that meddlesome, she thought as she headed towards the Harshi House.

Cordelia was immediately greeted by the wife when she arrived at the Harshi mansion. 

She looked gorgeous and strong-willed, as expected of someone who could compete with Nirupama. 

“It’s been a while, Cordelia-san. I’m so happy you can be here today.”

“I’m honoured to hear that you had invited me through Hazel-sama.”

“No way. I wanted to ask you a favour, so I’m grateful that you have come.”

“You wanted to ask a favour?”

Contrary to her words, she was talking in a fairly open place. 

The wife smiled when Cordelia tilted her head in confusion. 

“I’ve heard that the Pameradia House has a really nice bathhouse. Can I visit?”

“Excuse me? If you want to, then with pleasure.”

Maybe she’ll be interested in footbaths too? And saying it’s anice bathhouseinstead of abathhousesounds as if she had heard it from someone else.

“Thank you very much. To tell you the truth, the servants at my house said that they heard from the people working at your house that you have a very nice bathhouse. Apparently, the bath you use is lovely, but I heard that the bath that the servants use is lovely as well.”

Cordelia deeply thanked the servants who were her testers and smiled. 

“Our bathhouse is used as a place for testers to try out products. Our magicians put a lot of work into constructing the facility, so please take your time to enjoy it.”

“Thank you very much. Then, please talk to me more about it later.”

“Yes.”

But is it alright to end the conversation here? Cordelia thought that the conversation ended a lot faster than she thought it was and was curious. Then, the wife hid her mouth with her fan. 

“Say, Cordelia-san. I’d like to say something selfish, but… Can we have tea after I’m done looking around?”

Cordelia also got her point when the wife said that. I see, she wants to secretly talk more then.

“Yes, of course.”

“Thank you again.”

She thought that the conversation had ended this time, but she heard what the wife said as she whispered into her fan.

“See that, Nirupama. I can talk to Cordelia-san!”

She somehow understood that she was competing against her aunt for some reason. 

They have a really good relationship, Cordelia desperately tried to hold down her laughter. I’m sure their personalities are similar. 

“Cordelia-san, please take your time. There’s no rude people here, so please have fun.”

The bitter words that she had uttered while smiling was also heard by those close by. The word 『take your time』seemed to have influenced those around them, and there weren’t any crowds around Cordelia like usual. However, that didn’t mean that people weren’t interested in her. Their eyes flickered towards her, but they didn’t approach her because of what the wife had said. Cordelia had to go talk to them herself. 

 

Cordelia didn’t see Hazel or Kaylie after she had finished talking to Countess Harshi, but she did find Clifton. 

“Good afternoon, Clifton-sama. How is the progress of your gift?”

“Ahaha, that’s sudden.”

Clifton hadn’t contacted her even since she gave him the proposal, and it seemed like he was a little worried about it since he had averted his gaze. 

“To tell you the truth, even if I had completed the prototype, it was a bit different from how I imagined it and wasn’t going well, but I’ve finally got it to the point where I’m satisfied. I found out that it was that difficult to make something that you want to make.”

“But it’ll be a wonderful gift since you’ve put so much thought into it.”

“I hope that’s true.”

He looked calm, contrary to his unconfident words. It seemed like he had finished it to his satisfaction. Cordelia was happy as if it was something for her when she heard this. 

“What attracted you to the woman you like?”

“You’re asking that?”

“Just out of curiosity. I helped you out a little, so isn’t it fine to tell me a bit?”

Looking at Clifton’s attitude, he seemed shy, but he didn’t dislike being asked. 

“Because she’s calm, I guess? She doesn’t talk much, so even though we’ve been together since we were little, it’s not like we talk a lot… How do I say this, we understand each other even if we don’t put it into words, hmm, or we can guess what the other person is thinking…?”

“Oh my, it sounds like you two are already a married couple.”

“No, well… I can’t guess what she’s thinking, so I don’t think it’s the same.”

“But you really like her, don’t you? It makes me feel a little embarrassed when I see how you’re acting.”

Clifton panicked a little at Cordelia’s honest words, but then he coughed and spoke calmly again. 

“How do I say this, rather than liking her, I just think it’s better for us to be together. My heart doesn’t race around her, but it does feel warm…”

“Your heart doesn’t throb for her?”

“Well, it’s not like it doesn’t… Somehow, it’s not like that…”

Cordelia tilted her head in confusion at Clifton since he wasn’t being clear. 

Cordelia hadn’t experienced her first love yet, and didn’t have any love stories to proudly tell, but she thought love was something that made your heart pound. However, listening to Clifton, she knew for certain that he was in love. 

“… Love is difficult, isn’t it?”

Clifton laughed at Cordelia’s honest words. 

“It doesn’t suit you to say that, Cordelia-san.”

“What do you mean? Are you saying that love doesn’t suit me?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying. You always look like you have leeway, and don’t look like you would worry over something.”

Cordelia wanted to repeat his words back at him when he said that, but she held back. 

Including Clifton-sama, it isn’t a bad thing for me to be seen like that by others. In fact, there are many times when I hesitate and think a lot, but it’s better to be seen that way when it came to negotiations. 

Cordelia thought and smiled.

“Oh my, isn’t it ominous to be a veteran at love when I’ve only just made my debut?”

“No, yes. You’re certainly right. It’s scary for you to say it like that.”

“Of course, I’m joking.”

“So, you do have leeway. I have to learn from you.”

They looked at each other and laughed, then Cordelia saw Hazel at the corner of her eyes and slightly raised her right hand. Hazel immediately noticed Cordelia. She spoke to Kaylie, who was with her, and approached Cordelia. 

Kaylie had her bangs swept to the side, and her eyes, which were normally hidden, could be seen clearly. Her image changed quite a lot with just that, but the gentle, but gorgeous dress that she was wearing made her look bewitching.

“Kaylie-sama, you look beautiful.”

Hazel had said she would make some changes, but Cordelia thought it was nice if she could see Kaylie’s face on a regular basis, then a voice spoke. 

“… After all, huh, Kaylie, is that you?”

“Eh?”

“You know Kaylie, Cordelia-san?”

Cordelia looked at Clifton because she didn’t know why he had asked that, and his face looked quite flushed. He didn’t look like the same person who had spoken calmly before ―――.

“Perhaps, is the person who you like 『Jet Black』?”

“Wh, er, why.”

“You don’t have to panic that much. Don’t worry, I won’t tell her.”

“Huh? Eh, hmm, Cordelia-san? What do you mean?”

“Let’s talk about that later. For the time being, it will seem unnatural if you don’t do something about your expression.”

Cordelia wanted to tell him straight away, but she was afraid of saying it in front of Kaylie. 

However, Kaylie widened her eyes when she was approaching Cordelia and Clifton, then she suddenly turned around and ran away. 

“Huh? Kaylie-sama?”

Hazel was surprised, and Cordelia immediately passed her. 

When Cordelia passed Hazel, she said, “I’d like to talk to her alone for a bit,” then chased after Kaylie. Hazel was surprised by Cordelia’s sudden words, but she remained puzzled since she couldn’t grasp the situation and didn’t reply. 

But Cordelia didn’t have time to explain. Hazel was facing them, so she didn’t realise, but Kaylie looked shocked before she turned around and ran away. It hadn’t shown, but Cordelia thought she might have had tears in her eyes as well. 

(I don’t think she hates Clifton-sama so much that she didn’t want to meet him.)

 If so, then it is that embarrassing to show her hair up to someone she knows? No, that can’t be it… I don’t want to think about it, but I have a bad feeling about this.

 

There were a couple people taking a break in the courtyard that Kaylie went to.

“Kaylie-sama, what’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry, but, I’m okay…”

“That’s not convincing when you look like that.”

Cordelia said, then held out a handkerchief for Kaylie. Kaylie took it with both hands and covered her face.

“I knew… But it’s different when I have to see it… Clifton-sama and Cordelia-sama… Hmm, do you not realise it Cordelia-sama…? That Clifton-sama, likes….”

(His face caused a big misunderstanding after all…!)

Cordelia didn’t know if she couldn’t say it until the end because she was being considerate of Clifton or because she couldn’t say it. However, her words told Cordelia enough. 

“Why do you think he does?”

“Clifton-sama’s face when he was with you a while ago… Did you not see it, Cordelia-sama?”

(I saw it, but that’s definitely because he saw you.)

She wanted to say but held back. 

She wasn’t the person who should say that, Clifton had to tell Kaylie himself. 

Cordelia pretended not to know anything, and Kaylie continued. 

“When Clifton-sama first met you at an evening party, he told me that he had met a wonderful lady…”

“Wasn’t it just because we just happened to talk? At that time, I had only greeted him when he was with Myles-sama.”

“But… at that time, he was nervous and couldn’t calm down… He had never told me something like that before… But since the other person is you… I understand.”

(I’m sure he was telling her that it was more reassuring to be with her than me.)

“So, I… also wish I could know more about you… This was after you’d left the royal capital, but I was also involved with the mobile library. When I heard about you from Hazel-sama, I thought I could see you up close…”

“…”

“But the more I knew you, the more I noticed that we’re very different. To make matters worse, I… my house… is in a tough situation. You told me that the『Jet Black』thing was a misunderstanding… but even if that’s excluded, I can’t…”

Cordelia felt that Kaylie’s evaluation of her had been too high since long ago, but how could she have imagined that this was the cause? Then, Cordelia began to feel that there was nothing she could do about this. 

“I’m going to go call Clifton-sama.”

“Huh…?”

“Please talk with him.”

“B-but…”

“Kaylie-sama, believe in yourself more.”

“But…”

“No buts. You can clearly see your surroundings with your hair up like this right? And, even if it is like you had imagined, you still need to talk to him directly if you haven’t given up.”

Kaylie-sama should know this. 

However, she didn’t answer Cordelia. 

Cordelia handed Kaylie the aroma stone can that she had hidden in her sleeves. 

“This is a charm. Please calm down with this by the time Clifton-sama comes, it’s made from roses and lavender.”

“Eh…”

Orange with geranium, lavender with rose otto, and patchouli with sandalwood had a relaxing effect. 

“I actually wanted you to use this when we were going to come here together. Please use it to change your mood.”

“Is it alright…?”

“Yes, of course.”

Kaylie was puzzled because she knew that Cordelia hadn’t started selling rose essential oils at the shop yet. 

“Kaylie-sama. I would like to give you a piece of advice. Please smile while you talk. I’m sure you’ll look more attractive that way. I’m rooting for you.”

Cordelia smiled, and returned to the venue after leaving those words.