66: The Librarian, Earl Noir
When I visited the library on a less popular day on New Year’s Eve, it was as if the stone absorbed all the sounds around it and the wall was cold. But, today I felt like the stone wall was warm, even though it was the same place. I don’t think it’s because the weather is different. It’s probably because I felt differently now.
Since before, I was only happy that I was allowed to go to the library.
There were fewer visitors than I thought there would be when I entered the building. The weather was nice today, so the commoners were probably doing their laundry or field work. The only people here are the ones who like to read in their free time. Yup, the books smell nice.
The walls in the Royal Library were still decorated with a lot of paintings; some of which had changed and I gazed at them.
“Paintings of portraits, landscapes and still-life. There’s a lot of different paintings here like usual. How did they use their brush to get strokes like this? Do they have a standard for choosing paintings…? I’ll try asking His Highness.”
I was the only one who approached the paintings and appreciated them. Since it reduced my reading time, I only observed the paintings that I was interested in.
The corridors and stairs at the Royal Palace were decorated with paintings and dane, but I would look suspicious if I looked at them too closely, so I didn’t observe them. It’s fine to look at them here.
“Did you find any good paintings, Ma’am?” A voice called out to me from behind just like the last time I was here. Only one person who could do something like this came to my mind. It’s probably that person, I guessed and turned around and of course, Earl Noir with his black hair and blue-eyes was there.
There was no way he would know who I was since I was wearing my eggplant work dress and had black bobbed hair. There was no need for him to know, so I should leave.
“There are a lot of beautiful paintings.”
Nobles were people who replied curtly; I smiled vaguely, covered my mouth with my hands and laughed, “Ohoho.” I then proceeded to leave. I can’t meet with people who know Ayesha-marie.
He spoke to me again while my back was turned, “You’re not going to the geography section today, Lady Ann?”
Huh? Calm, stay calm…… I haven’t told him my name, have I? My mind was like a storm of doubt and I turned around while looking calm.
Earl Noir stood there while smiling and being surrounded by a gentle aura. I was deceived.
(This person was also one of His Highness Ludens’ comrades…)
“I heard from His Highness that you would be visiting today. I was looking forward to meeting you…… I’m sorry…… That’s a wonderful outfit. I wouldn’t have noticed that it was you, if I hadn’t known about it beforehand.”
Earl Noir calmly kept a slight distance between us as not to be rude, and quickly looked me up and down in confirmation. His eyes weren’t blaming or condemning me, they were just confirming who I was. He talked to me in a gentle demeanour and I fully understood that this man wasn’t ‘the enemy’. On the other hand, he wasn’t necessarily my ally either since he was His Highness’ acquaintance.
Earl Noir informed me, “I have prepared maps of the Royal Capital and Empire for you,” and guided me to a place that looked like a noble wouldn’t enter.
(I can only follow him like this, huh.)
A number of people greeted Earl Noir as they passed us. He greeted them back regardless of their rank, since many different types of people visited the library.
(He’s a good person who’s well-liked by everyone. But, he’s His Highness’ comrade. It’s dangerous to get close to him more than necessary.)
Meanwhile, we arrived at the place where only nobles can enter.
I didn’t have to show my I.D at the reception and could enter, probably because I was with Earl Noir.
There were many books and large rolled up paper on a large desk next to a bookshelf. Those were the things he had prepared for me.
I unrolled the large paper and saw that it was a big map of the Royal Capital.
The Royal Palace and main buildings were depicted as drawings, the buildings were represented by squares, a big black line represented the border between the upper and lower districts and each district was represented by a different colour. At the centre of the map was a wide highway that lead towards the Royal Palace, the roads looked like branches and the alley like blood vessels. The place names were closely packed together in small writing. Of course, the Royal Palace occupied most of the space. Did they not draw the palace grounds in detail for national defence? The black part on the map bothered me the most. It looked like they drew a road, but it’s completely filled in black. …Where is this?
… Ah, it’s probably the slums where security is bad.
I took out the memo I’d written from the pocket of my eggplant dress and confirmed the place names.
I looked for the place names while muttering them and Earl Noir explained what colour the plot of land was from the side. Ooh, Earl Noir knows a lot of things.
I looked for the defence terms up in a book and Earl Noir would bring more books and explain them to me when I asked him questions. This person, he’s better than a librarian!
While I was studying, Earl Noir became someone whom I should respect. This person was like a dictionary.
(It’s been awhile since I’ve studied like this. Ah, my head feels like it’s going to burst. But I think I’m smarter now.)
I turned my head and rubbed my shoulders. This was something a noble lady wouldn’t do in a place like this, but today I’m Lady Ann.
“Do you understand the things you wanted to know now? The things I’m about to say now is just me talking to myself. I might be meddling too much, but listen carefully.”
I saw his sky-blue eyes shake faintly. Earl Noir continued to talk. Luckily, there was no one around us, only books.
I might have hoped to hear this somewhere. I might know about this already.
I straightened up and listened to what he had to say.