Act 62: Your Name Is…
The day after the Stargazing Banquet.
Cordelia had planned on living her life as it was before the banquet, but because she was attacked by magic, she had to undergo various examinations the next day, and even all her plans had been changed.
Fortunately, it was determined that she hadn’t suffered any adverse effects, and she was finally able to return to her daily routine from noon.
Three days after the examinations.
Cordelia was in the laboratory with Ronnie, but she wasn’t able to concentrate on writing.
“Ojou-sama, what are you planning on doing to that?”
“I don’t think you can use that paper anymore.”
Cordelia quickly looked at her hand when she heard what Ronnie had said. She had unconsciously stopped moving her hand while writing, and the paper was filled with ink.
“… I’ll rewrite it.”
“That’s what I thought. Well, a lot of things happened, so isn’t it fine if you take things slowly? Ah, the cloak has been washed. The dress and the ornament seem like they’ll stain a little though.”
While thanking Ronnie for being a skilful magician, Cordelia felt like sighing since she had to confront the problem that she wanted to put off.
(I have to meet His Highness…)
She thought and felt down.
Even if the sinister cause was gone, avoiding the Prince was already a conditioned reflex for her. Furthermore, she didn’t know how to talk to him when she thought that he might be Gille.
(If His Highness is Gille-sama, then he’s been hiding his identity for eight years already, right? Am I that untrustworthy…? No, if I were told that Gille-sama is His Highness, then we wouldn’t have gotten along in the first place, and this hasn’t been confirmed yet…!)
Cordelia never imagined that she would be worried by this. It would have been obvious had he only changed his hair colour like Vernoux did, but he changed his hairdo, his hair colour, his eye colour and his magic presence.
But while she was worrying about this, Cordelia felt Ronnie stare at her.
“Ojou-sama, I just thought once again that you never betray my expectations for the better or worse. I know that you were the victim this time, but I was surprised that this happened as a result of you approaching Clydereine-jou. I always tell you not to do anything dangerous.”
Cordelia softened her expression at Ronnie’s complaint.
“Ojou-sama, it’s not funny.”
“I’m not laughing. I’m just grateful that you said that.”
“Well, your opponent was just a mere lady, so one wouldn’t normally think that she would suddenly cast a curse like that, so I guess it can’t be helped…”
Still, Ronnie groaned as if he wasn’t quite convinced. He must have been really worried about her.
As for Shelley, it seemed that she really did try to cast a curse.
However, her curse didn’t force the person to act against their will like Lara’s curse had been. Her curse intensified people’s hatred for the target and increased the possibility of the target getting wounded or killed.
Shelley stated in her investigation with the knights that『there was someone who cast a charm on me so that I can use magic better』, but since the magic technique originated from Dulaus, Earl Clydereine’s family was also being investigated.
Elvis routinely asked Earl Clydereine about Shelley’s behaviour towards Cordelia, but Earl Clydereine kept insisting that Cordelia was at fault as well. However, in this case, Earl Clydereine couldn’t make any excuses for his daughter’s behaviour, and his dejected appearance was appalling. Cordelia being harmed wasn’t a big deal for Earl Clydereine, but he was probably shocked that his daughter’s actions had destroyed the plans he had.
The magic from Dulaus Kingdom was a delicate topic, so the matter of Shelley casting the curse, and the investigation into Earl Clydereine was not made public. However, the fact that Shelley had caused a ruckus could not be erased, so it was made public that she had fallen mentally ill and was ordered to recuperate. In fact, her magic had been sealed so that she can’t cast the curse ever again. Earl Clydereine pleaded for this decision to be reconsidered since he might lose the 『Dreamer Power』, but his pleas went unheard.
“The chefs have been working hard to make the sweets for when you return the cloak, so there’s nothing to worry about there. They said that they could have it ready for you today or tomorrow.”
“The servants have been talking about this a lot. They’ve been saying things like His Highness and Ojou-sama might start a romance. Well, from my point of view, it wouldn’t be that surprising if that were to happen.”
“Oh, the servants are being secretive about this so that Master won’t hear about it, so you don’t have to worry about this.”
No, that’s not what I asked.
Ronnie had never seen Cordelia with Sylvester. A knock sounded at the door just as she was about to ask a question.
Cordelia gave permission to the person at the door, and Emina led Vernoux into the laboratory. Vernoux raised his hand lightly. Like always, he had probably followed after Emina as she was going to inform Cordelia that he had visited.
“Hey Dilly. Are you planning on going to the Big Bookcase?”
“You’re asking a very specific question.”
“I thought you would be troubled about how to contact him. I’m glad there doesn’t seem to be any adverse effects on your body.”
Ronnie left the laboratory when Vernoux entered.
“Would you like some tea and snacks?”
“No, I just stopped by since I’m on my way to the castle. Give the sweets to His Highness.”
“Give it to him, you say…? What a way to put it.”
However, it was true that she couldn’t put it off any further. Besides, she could maintain calm much better with Vernoux around rather than go alone in confusion.
“Would you give me some time? At least, let me change my dress.”
“Then, I think I’ll have some sweets in the meantime.”
“So, you’re going to eat some after all.”
“Well, yeah. Oh, you don’t have to doll up and make yourself look good, so just be quick. It’s not good for you to tire yourself out either.”
Cordelia smiled wryly at Vernoux’s statement. Did he say that out of concern since I had magic cast on me, or was he just rushing me?
Either way, Cordelia finished getting ready by the time Vernoux got sick of eating sweets and headed to the castle with him.
When they arrived at the castle, Cordelia didn’t hesitate to follow Vernoux’s lead to the room that she had visited a few years back.
There, Cordelia took a deep breath. She knew that Sylvester was in this room, but she hadn’t thought of what to say to him other than thanking him. Should I just thank him and confirm the rest after I’ve collected my thoughts? Cordelia thought while Vernoux told the guards that they were entering the room.
Then, Cordelia followed after Vernoux and entered the room.
“Welcome. Ah… I’m pleased that you have come.”
Vernoux hadn’t told Sylvester that he would be bringing Cordelia with him. Sylvester looked a little surprised to see Cordelia. Cordelia glanced at Vernoux, but he didn’t seem particularly bothered by this.
“Your Highness, I’ve brought her for you. I’ll leave the rest to you.”
“I have to work. You can go back by yourself, right?”
Cordelia felt like he was trying to induce her rather than provoke her, but Vernoux turned around and left without listening to her answer.
“Vernoux said something unreasonable again. I’m sorry.”
“I-it’s alright… I’m sorry for suddenly intruding on you.”
“Don’t worry about it. Are you feeling alright now?”
“Yes. Hmm… Thank you for lending me this. And, I’ve brought you some sweets.”
Sylvester got up from his chair when he saw the cloak and sweets in Cordelia’s hand, then he slowly approached Cordelia and took the items off her hand. Cordelia remembered what had happened the other day and wanted to take a step back, but she stopped herself from doing so. She couldn’t leave until she returned his cloak, and he wasn’t someone who she could act rudely towards.
“I’ve certainly received the items.”
“It’s clean as far as I can see…”
“It’s alright. Even if there are stains, it would be on the inside, so no one will care.”
Sylvester said then laughed.
“Oh yes. If you don’t mind, would you like to join me for a short break?”
“The greenhouse. I couldn’t show you it last time.”
Cordelia nodded, unsure about what expression she should make. However, she was careful not to twitch her face.
The greenhouse was designed by Elvis, so the exterior was similar to the one at the Pameradia House. However, it was larger than the one in the Pameradia House, as expected of the royal family.
But Cordelia wasn’t calm enough to worry about such things. Sylvester hadn’t said anything while they were walking here, so Cordelia followed him in silence, but it wasn’t like the aura was heavy.
It just felt awkward.
The inside of the greenhouse was filled with colourful flowers.
Unlike the Pameradia House’s greenhouse where most of the plants were grown for their practical uses, the flowers in this greenhouse were mostly for viewing and were gorgeous. There were many flowers from the southern region, and it was especially colourful near the entrance.
Cordelia quickly suppressed her voice that had unexpectedly spilled out with her hands, but the flowers were so beautiful that she couldn’t remove her eyes from them.
“The back is used for improvement research, but please look around here first.”
When she walked past the flowers, she found many medicinal herbs, which were similar to those at the Pameradia House’s greenhouse, planted in the spaces. And there were small red fruits in the high seed-plot where Sylvester had stopped.
“Are those… strawberries?”
“Yes. It’s a variety that can be grown outside of winter, and it’s really sour. It tastes very refreshing and delicious.”
Sylvester plucked two strawberries as he said this. Then, he put one in his mouth to taste it, and offered the other one to Cordelia.
“I always take my breaks like this. You can have one too, if you’d like ―――, oh, I better wash this.”
Sylvester had eaten the strawberry as it was, and it was hanging from the plant, so it didn’t touch the soil. Before Cordelia could tell him not to worry about it, Sylvester had summoned some water in the air and washed the fruit, then he vanished the water.
“Thank you very much.
As expected of the royal family, they’re very good at casting magic.
(But it’s kind of a waste of his magical talents…)
Cordelia took the strawberry and removed the stems before putting it in her mouth. Then, a nice level of sourness spread through her mouth. Cordelia preferred sour strawberries over overly sweet ones.
Cordelia had forgotten to use honorifics since the words had just spilled out of her mouth, but Sylvester smiled happily when he heard her words. His expression on his face was unfamiliar to her, but it also looked familiar.
Cordelia stared at his expression and put a smile on her face even though she was nervous.
Maybe I’m just thinking too much.
However, now is my chance to utter the words I can’t say in public.
Cordelia decided to take her chance while feeling her heart thump loudly in her chest.
“Thank you very much, Gille-sama.”
It might have been a reflexive response. Nevertheless, Cordelia felt her heart hammer in her chest as she smiled.
After a moment of silence, Cordelia had no idea what that brief word, that Sylvester had said, meant. The outcome of me taking this chance should be revealed with his next words ――― or so she thought, but the next thing that reached her ears was not Sylvester’s reply, but the sound of footsteps in the distance.
“Excuse me, Your Highness!”
The guard shouted from a place a little further away, then he trotted up to them when Sylvester turned towards him.
The guard seemed a little surprised to see Cordelia here, so Cordelia stepped back. She couldn’t interrupt them if the guard had come here to deliver a message.
“What? That’s supposed to be tomorrow ―――”
“… Right. I can’t keep them waiting even if they’re early.”
Cordelia understood that Sylvester had an appointment from their conversation.
If so, then she figured that she should leave, but the timing was bad. If she were to leave without her answers, then she didn’t know when she could ask him about it next, no, she didn’t even know if she could find the right timing to ask about this again.
(Umm, it might not be something that I have to find out right now…)
In any case, there was nothing she could do now. Even Sylvester, who had an apologetic look on his face, seemed as if he was urging her to go home.
It was time for Cordelia to excuse herself from the castle.
“Oh dear, are you troubled by my early arrival?”
There stood a young woman, who spoke in an older dialect, with almond red eyes and white hair.