69: Women’s Meeting
I mixed the pot with a long stick every evening for a week. I had a cloth covering my nose, mouth and eggplant dress. This was the origin of the witch rumor. I had to do what I had to do.
The parts that I didn’t put into the pot were spread out onto a sheet, so that they could dry for tea.
… This wasn’t something a noble lady did. I know this. Thankfully, Susan-obasan didn’t say anything and only watched over me as I worked.
As time went by, the components inside of the pot melted into the alcohol, and no particular odour remained. Only the harsh smell of alcohol drifted from the pot. The extracts from the chameleon plant that I got was passed through a cloth and added to water and glycerine and the salve was finished! I used it and could guarantee that it felt good on rough hands.
I practiced the knowledge I had gained from books. The mixing ratio wasn’t mentioned in books, so this was my original recipe.
“Natasha-san, I was able to make the medicine from chameleon plants thanks to your help. Please have some.”
The freckled beauty, Natasha-san who I met because of the chameleon plant is my next-door neighbour. She was a mid-level knight, who was two years older than me, so she also worked as the night watchmen and she would often stay at the station since it was troublesome to come back late; thus she was only here once in every three days. We miss our timing splendidly.
I asked Natasha-san to introduce me to a shop that the knights recommended and got them to purchase glycerine moisturiser. It felt good to be able to sell the extracts of chameleon plants that were no good originally. Even though I still have a lot of extracts left, I have a hunch that they’ll sell.
Natasha-san also introduced me to her friend who stayed at the same residence. My friends increased at once… It’s like a dream.
I felt close to her probably because her name also ended in ‘sha’. She had a commoner-like attitude and didn’t act like she was a baron’s daughter at all so it was great. When I told her that even though I live here, I’m from an Earl family, all she said was, “Well, it happens a lot,” and didn’t ask me about my family at all. She might also be reserved about her family.
When I finally removed the chameleon plant dye from my hands, Natasha-san invited me to dinner.
It was finally time to wear the thin short-sleeve eggplant coloured uniform that was designed for summer as spring came to an end and the signs of the bright summer sun appeared.
I went to the entrance of the government house a little before our appointed time.
I wanted to give a good impression. It was a woman’s meeting after all.
I wore a simple, cool blue dress. I put my lily of the valley embroidery in my hair and tied it with a light blue ribbon to the left.
Three ladies made their appearance while talking in cheerful voices.
“““Nice to meet you.”””
One of them was Natasha-san. She wore a white open collar shirt and trousers that showed her body outline; she looked like a handsome man, but her woman appealed showed through somehow… It seemed like a moe gap would appear. Next, a smiling young woman with fluffy blonde hair and a red hair ornament tied up at the top of her head. Her abundant chest was impressive. Her name was Harmie-san. The last person had glossy chestnut coloured hair and big eyes; her hair was tied into a braid. She was short but she made big gestures, it was cute to watch. Her name was Marietta-san. They were both civil officials.
I’m surprised that they’re friends regardless of their status. Am I included in their group? My heart is racing.
We received our food trays for dinner at the dining hall and sat down at a table near the walls. Tonight’s main menu was river fish fried in breadcrumbs and herbs. Rosemary and rock salt go well together. I chose a strawberry jam cheesecake for dessert. Desserts were a must for females.
I also gave Harmie-san and Marietta-san the chameleon plant medicine as a present and they were surprised for a while and then everyone continued their conversation. This was the first time I’ve gotten together and conversed with girls in this way. I didn’t know when I should join in. The conversation was full of surprising things.
The three seem like they haven’t met in a while and they were catching up. Everyone seem to be proud of their work and were living fulfilling lives while saying, “I’m busy.” I felt that the root of their friendship was the hardships they faced while working alone at the Royal Palace, in other words, for their country. Yes, I can sympathise with that too.
It was just… Their royalty and respect for their country was aimed at the royalty and central figures. To me that was ??
“Where do you work, Ayesha-marie-san?”
“I’m doing miscellaneous duties under Marquis Roberto du Edenbach who works in government affairs,” I replied with the answer that has already been set up for me. Ayesha-marie was hired by Roberto-sama. I wasn’t Lady Ann right now. I definitely couldn’t say that I was working at His Highness Ludens’ side.
“Ayesha-marie, your words are too stiff. You usually talk formal at work so you should relax a now. Or, you can’t talk with commoners on equal footing?”
“There is no such thing… I’m not used to talking with girls in such a way.” I refused and stood up without thinking. “Now, now,” they prompted me to sit again.
“So you work for that Roberto-sama?”
“Wow, that’s good. Roberto-sama is such a gentlemen. And he’s passionate about work.”
(A gentlemen Roberto-sama doesn’t exist in my mind… Don’t look at me with sparkling anticipation you two.)
“Come to think of it, I saw His Highness Ludens today around the time training was on. He’s wonderful and dashing like always.”
As expected of woman’s top two attractions. Everyone who talks about them are enraptured. It was true that they were popular to people regardless of status and relations. It seemed that the three hardworking people here had no boyfriends. Whenever young ladies of this age gathered, it was only natural that they talked about wonderful gentlemen…
After that, they continued to talk about wonderful people. Lancel-sama and Leyard-sama’s names also popped up. The cheesecake was delicious but I was tired of agreeing with their words of compliments to wonderful people. I didn’t have the courage to refute them.
(They only look good, but they’re not all that wonderful.)
I complained in my mind many times. I’m tired.
“Lady Ann. Won’t you give me some of the chameleon plant medicine? I’ve heard that you’ve completed it.” His Highness Ludens said while I was writing my work.
He was observing me, wasn’t he? I wonder if Cafule-san informed him.
“I think that Your Highness would prefer to use a much more effective medicine.”
“You put a lot of time and effort into making it, didn’t you? I’m curious about your masterpiece. But you don’t seem like you’d give me some at all. You’re so cold.” His Highness Ludens put his pen down and smiled at me.
(Black… What an annoying person.)
“Of course, you’ll give some to us as well, right?”
(Yeah, yeah, Roberto-sama. He’s also black.)
“… Okay. I will give it to you another day.”
Is it because I’m close to them? I can’t understand a single wonderful thing about His Highness Ludens, nor Roberto-sama and the others.
They may do their work well, but they’re not very obedient and they’re troublesome people.
(Everyone, you can’t be fooled by their looks.)
I could only shout in my mind over and over again.