84: Doing My Best
In winter, I didn’t participate in the nobles’ 「Ball to welcome the New Year」. His Highness Ludens let me off. It was impossible for me to join in my current situation. It was also absurd to meet the Thousand House, and I don’t have any lingering interests in the ball either.
Instead, I watched fireworks from the 「New Year Festival」with Ada-san and Master at Hen Inn on New Year’s Eve. Everyone at the government residence went home at the end of the year, so I was staying a few nights at Hen Inn. I was impressed by the fireworks that I wanted to see. Fireworks are big and pretty, and they come in so many different colours. I’m glad I got to see them since I only heard the sound of the fireworks before.
Looking back, I did really well in Most Dark this winter. I got used to being a little dirty, and I didn’t flinch when I heard people yell. I didn’t belittle myself excessively even if I saw drunkards or prostitutes. I’ve become very bold.
There was a lot of sketches and notes in front of me now that five months have passed.
Now, it was time to put all this together and create a single map.
I got Cafule-san to help me carry all the sketches and notes in my room to the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room. There was no space in my room to spread all these materials out, and maps were kept secret from other kingdoms. When creating a map, the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room was the best place to keep it safe.
“It’s an honour to be able to drink Lady Ann’s tea again.”
“Thank you very much for the compliment.”
(I’m also happy that I get to drink this kind of expensive tea again. I’m also glad that my skills haven’t rusted.)
I went to the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room to work every day again.
I went back to the good old days of brewing tea for His Highness Ludens and the others when I took a break from putting the map together. My black bobbed wig and the eggplant colour dress of a Royal Palace secretary were both a little depressing to me now.
I drew a map of Most Dark on a large piece of paper based on the notes and sketches that I had. I drew on several pieces of paper and glued them together… Ah well, a corner of the floor in the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room quickly became covered with papers before long.
“Lady Ann seems to be able to express herself better in the time we didn’t see her. Unfortunately, her elegance and femininity seemed to have diminished… Do you want to go on a date with me? I think you’ll be able to learn the things you’ve lost.”
“Lancel-sama, I’m not that free. I’ll have to refuse. Please ask someone else.”
(Weird. In other words, he’s saying I have no sex appeal, right? I already know that.)
The sexy ladies at Most Dark often judged me severely, “You need more, how do I say this-.” And “Even though the goods are great.” Also, “I can’t let you pull in customers or be a prostitute.”
They might have said such considerate words because they didn’t want me to go down that path, but even I knew that I had no sex appeal and that people made fun of me because of it. But they did say that my gestures were graceful.
In fact, the men at Most Dark never called out to me… Well, I would only be troubled if scary-looking men called out to me, so I was glad it didn’t happen. I have to be thankful that no one assaulted me.
The thing I should do now is to complete the map and use that as a chance to introduce Way and His Highness Ludens. Many things should be set into motion once the map is complete.
The map grew bigger and bigger while I was drawing and connecting the papers… So, a separate room was prepared for me next to the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room so that I could make the map.
I felt horrible for some reason. I thought that they would do fine without me since I wasn’t in the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room much.
I went to the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room at 10 and 3 o’clock to prepare tea, but other than that, I did nothing but connect the papers together. When I didn’t remember the roads, or when I was worried, I would go to Most Dark the next day to confirm, before drawing the streets again.
I wasn’t purposely making time to see Way! He has the same emotional scars as me, but that didn’t make me fall in love with him! ‘Cause I didn’t want us to lick our wounds. I think that it’s lovely that he looks like a Prince, but he was biased towards his own roots… Or rather, sometimes I felt gloomy being around him since I was someone who had overcame many trials.
――― *KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*
“Excuse me, I’m coming in.”
“You’ve connected quite a lot of paper together. Is it nearly finished? …Hey, oi, don’t ignore me.”
I lifted my voice at the presence and saw Roberto-sama. Ah, I didn’t notice him because I was concentrating. I was kneeling on the ground while drawing and writing.
His grumpy almond amber eyes were scary. I was getting nervous at how he was looking around the room.
“What are you going to do with this big piece of paper? It’s too big to be used as a map.”
“This is only a draft. Based on this, I will make a copy of a map in the same size as the ones at the Royal Library; since I can’t just draw it straight away. I was planning on giving the remaining paper to Way, who helped me in Most Dark. I’m sure he can make use of this detailed map. The memos and sketches I did while walking around Most Dark will be burnt and disposed of.”
“That’s a good idea. I will tell His Highness. Cafule will go with you when you go there to give them this piece of paper, so make sure to let him know when. The only problem left would be the map of Most Dark in your head. You might get targeted by those who want that information.”
“There’s no way I would remember all those roads. Don’t worry. I’ll completely disappear somewhere.”
“… That’s good. Forgetting about it is for your own good. Next, I want to make an adjustment to the meeting that His Highness and Be Away will have. Tell him that I want Cafule there when they meet. I heard about this before, but are you sure you don’t want to be at the meeting?”
“My job is to make this map. I have arranged the meeting, so I’ll leave everything to everyone else. A mere lower-positioned noble can only do this much.”
I plan on knowing my place.
I really didn’t want extra work.
Now then, let’s work harder for a little bit longer. I can do this.