21: The Invitation
My decision to be a commoner rather than a noble was still a secret between my father, older brother Guerlain, and I at that time.
That was to avoid damaging the Thousand House’s reputation, if it leaked out it could have become a scandal.
It was decided that I would file the application to become a commoner on my birthday. I was to leave the Thousand House estate on the month the flowers bloomed.
I didn’t have to care about how much dowry they had to prepare for me, when I got married, if the Thousand House was a higher ranked noble. They would probably have marry me off to a higher ranking family to make connections. However, I knew how much the Thousand House made.
Their main source of income was agricultural products. It was a living thing, so there were years where the yield was good and years when the yield was bad. In other words, they didn’t have a stable income. My father had two daughters besides me. The dowry for my older sisters, who wanted to marry into a high ranking houses, were probably already arranged.
I was lucky. If I had been born into a wealthier house then it would have be harder for me to leave. If I had been born into a powerful house, with ties to an influential house, then it would be highly likely that I would have had a fiancé.
If I had been a boy, the house could have kept me close at hand and I could have been of more service.
If I had red hair, I could fit in better with the rest of my family. Just seeing their hair made me feel out of place. Not that I hated my golden brown hair.
The could-have-beens were endless.
I was able to make my decision to part with my present life because I felt alienated. My appeal could be accepted because I was alienated.
My sisters didn’t know anything about that and their attitudes towards me remained unchanged. My family, who didn’t have any knowledge about that, didn’t treat me with kindness; they treated me closer to a servant than family.
It felt like Furore-sama was glancing at me more often. She might have heard from my father that I was going to become a commoner. But, like always, she mostly ignored me.
My older brother said, “Because we’re nobles,” to me more often. Our chances to talk didn’t increase, he said it when we worked together. He meant that I could live like I do now because I was a noble, and that I should be grateful for it.
My father may have become a little kinder. He interfered sometimes. He more or less knew what I got up to in the city. He didn’t come in contact with me that often, like usual, but he probably wanted me to get used to being a commoner, since my work hours decreased and I helped out more in the kitchen. Sometimes, I would go shopping with the head chef, Tom. That might have been his countermeasure for me going into the city, since he couldn’t let me go by myself.
It was fun shopping with Tom. There were a lot of types of people there, and at first, I thought that the people who were yelling in loud voices were trying to pick a fight.
The people there had different personalities and appearances, they spoke roughly, they talked about different things to nobles and their clothing was different. I was overwhelmed and hid behind Tom many times, so he repeatedly asked me, “Are you alright?” I wasn’t even carrying any of the shopping, so I was probably slowing him down. Despite that, he brought me to the marketplace many times, probably because the grand chamberlain told him to. Tom laughed a lot so I also began to laugh.
The cold days continued, but I could hardly wait for spring.
I understood that in a little while I wouldn’t be sleeping in this bed anymore, I wouldn’t eat meals where table manners are important, I wouldn’t wear clothes made from nice fabrics or be blessed with spending time in a warm room. But there was me, who didn’t think it was regrettable.
A day might come when I’m incredibly poor and I feel that my life then was good, but my future was full of freedom.
It was a bit rough, but going shopping, helping out with work, helping my sisters prepare for evening parties, embroidering, and having my manners checked by Ms. Dolcie could be said to be the most peaceful and filling time I’d had so far.
A few days before the flowers blossom, my father talked about me being a commoner at dinner.
“Okay.” was all my sisters said. There was no regret in their tone, and they didn’t seem like they wanted to stop me from doing it. Dinner finished as it always did.
The next day, that information about me spread throughout the whole mansion from a maid who had served dinner the night before. Fortunately, or unfortunately, “She is a noble until she becomes a commoner” was ordered from higher up, so I wasn’t harassed and spent my days as I usually did.
The invitation arrived at the Thousand House a little while after it was flower blooming month, in the days when we used the bright red fireplace less and less, because it wasn’t as cold anymore.
A big ball for all nobles without spouses and fiancé/fiancée was being held under the name of the Emperor of the Fernand Empire. The ball was held in the biggest sun room at the Royal Palace. It was held three days before my birthday.
Of course, I was included in the participants.
I had to participate because it was the Emperor’s order.
… His intentions were 「I’ll give you a place to meet unmarried people! 」 But, Emperor-sama, what were you planning? The nobles of marriageable age… are the ones I’m really bad with.
Older brother Guerlain knew that there was a catch like I did, and remained silent.
On the other hand, upper rank nobles and royalty were normally hard to get close to, so my older sisters seized the chance to get closer to them. They were already scheming things inside their minds. They were in high spirits while their heads were full of delusions.
There were less than 3 weeks until the ball.
My sisters rushed off to get new dresses… I was going to be a commoner soon, so I just had to adjust the dress I had to make it look more fashionable.
My sisters asked Ms. Dolcie for special dance training… It wasn’t just me; my older brother Guerlain was also called to practice. It had been a while since all my siblings had gotten together.
My sisters started to improve themselves… They smeared a lot of products all over their body. I only put cream on my face. My femininity was probably really low.
We steadily prepared for the ball.