CHAPTER 198: SIDE STORY: ON A CERTAIN DAY, PART 1
Author note: Here’s a celebration POV chapter for having reached 200 chapters! (Cast of Characters and Glossary count as chapters in the Japanese raw.) This story has continued for such a long time successfully! The second half to this chapter shall be at Chapter 250. Well, this story doesn’t have too much relationship to the main storyline. I hope that you all will be able to enjoy it anyways. Please wait for the conclusion of the extra chapter!
Earl Siegmund Terejia’s POV (80 years old)
TL note: remember that Earl Terejia’s older brother is the prime minister of Arxia. Earl Terejia is currently having a dream about 60+ years in the past, in his childhood.
Today’s the day that my older brother Radian Terejia is supposed to visit my residence instead of staying at the House of Lords like he typically does. Normally my residence had a quiet atmosphere; only today was my residence lively and bustling.
It wasn’t particularly that my older brother liked my servants, but it was something more like he was able to relax and work more efficiently in my residence that had only serious people residing here with nobody interested in “having fun.”
Due to my strict upbringing from my late mother, I wasn’t able to say anything about it. However. I still minded the fact that there was a commotion from my servants during my typical free time that I used for reading books.
Of course, those serving the Terejia family would never cause a commotion during work. If anyone was to take a walk in my residence, they wouldn’t find a single servant engaging in idle chatter at any time.
…However, that didn’t change the fact that today, I could hear muffled voices coming from all over.
I let out a sigh as I closed my book. While it was a sign of my immaturity even at my age to be distracted by sounds, I had no choice but to give up on reading since I was unable to concentrate no matter how hard I focused.
Apart from reading, the only other activities I typically do are walking around my garden or studying. I really dislike wasting my time idly, but today I’ve been sitting for so long at my desk while accomplishing nothing. Perhaps it would be better if I move my body around in an effort to improve my mood.
Thinking so, I saw a dizzying sight as soon as I entered my garden. Someone was in it already, having a one-person tea party act.
Well, for a moment I tried to pretend like she didn’t exist, but she called out towards me saying “greetings, am I bothering you?” It was impossible to ignore.
“…What’s with that, saying greetings.”
I couldn’t help but let my displeasure seep into my voice. Despite this, the person in question tilted her head slightly with a smile as if she was about to eat someone, saying “hmm? I don’t seem to be welcome. Have I done something?”
She was acting so casual.
“First, remember that this is supposed to be my residence. Second, right now it’s still quite early in the morning. Third, I recall that you were supposed to be present at my older brother welcoming at the noble school. …Why are you here, Amanda?”
Although I had a slightly irritated tone of voice, this childhood friend of mine definitely acted her teenager age as she completely ignored my attitude and casually stated “well, how about taking a seat for the time being?” as she gestured towards an empty chair with her chin.
This was just how she was, she wouldn’t have a proper conversation with you unless you were sitting across the table from her. As soon as I sat down together with my long-time acquaintance, she began pouring tea for me as if she was one of my maids. I didn’t feel like relaxing at all, however.
“And so? About my older brother’s welcoming?”
My older brother’s welcoming should have been scheduled to be right in front of the noble school. It’s still possible to make it on time if she leaves right now, but I felt it was unreasonable for me to have to worry about whether or not she’ll manage to be there on time.
After all, she herself didn’t appear to be any hurry. She was simply drinking tea so nonchalantly.
“Amanda. You’re my older brother’s fiancée. Why is it that…”
Even though I put as much of a criticizing tone into my voice as I possibly could, Amanda didn’t even raise her eyebrows while smiling towards me mysteriously.
She wasn’t looking at me, she was watching me.
Amanda had the bad habit of looking at others as if she could see through them. Most people – including my older brother that was engaged to her – found this creepy. …Well, Amanda and I have tried to point out and fix each other’s bad habits, but no matter what I said, she never seemed to do anything about or understand why this habit of hers was a bad one.
“Just exactly what are you thinking?”
Not knowing what she was thinking, I could only swallow down my apprehension as I averted my gaze from Amanda’s eyes.
At any rate… It was useless for me to do anything about her.
-Honestly, I’m always so useless at everything important.
I was always someone who could hear all the noise around me, but for this person I didn’t care for, I couldn’t see beyond her outer appearance. Although I say that, this childhood friend of mine is also someone who completely can’t read the atmosphere.
“…Ahh, I can hear so much today…”
Amanda finally opened her mouth with a distorted smile filled with fatigue and her tone of voice seemed pitying.
I glared back at her. She was the only one I didn’t want pity from. I wouldn’t allow it.
She seemed momentarily surprised by my glare, but the next instant an amused smile appeared on her face.
I sharpened my glare even more. This was in extremely bad taste, being amused at someone feeling uncomfortable.
“No, that’s not it. I was amused at your thoughts.”
“…I don’t get what the difference is supposed to be.”
“Well, it seems that you believe they’re the same. However, there’s a huge difference to me.”
My childhood friend was strangely mature, and she often spoke in a roundabout method used mostly by adults. While I wasn’t put off by it, I wasn’t interested in her way of speaking either. As for why she became like this, I have no idea.
Although, perhaps I was the one who empathized and understood her the most.
“As for Radian, don’t worry about it. Marquis Terejia himself told me that greetings would be unnecessary.”
While saying so, Amanda picked up a baked pastry from the dish in front of her.
“What? Have the plans changed? I didn’t hear about that… Still, even if this is your fiancé’s home, I think it’s considered a problem for you to be indulging yourself here so early in the morning.”
“Heh heh, what’s done is done. Besides, this is the last year. Starting next year, we’ll be noble school students as well.”
She deftly split the baked pastry with her fingers. “You want one?” I took the pastry half she offered to me with an indescribable feeling.
Next year will be noble school. – Come to think of it, that means that we won’t be able to have tea like this anymore with just the two of us. Starting from next year, only my older brother will be allowed to do this.
I’m perfectly aware that right now this was only implicitly permitted due to the facts that I’m her fiancé’s younger brother, that we were both still minors, and that no outside prying eyes were here at the Terejia residence.
…Originally speaking, even sharing sweets with her like this wasn’t something that we were supposed to do. But thinking that I could only do something like this now, I couldn’t help but accept the sweet that my childhood friend offered me.
I heard a chuckle from Amanda at this. I only saw her smile for a brief instant, even though she involuntarily let it out because of me. I could only give her a sidelong glance at this.
Suddenly, I jolted awake. As expected, the familiar figure of my childhood friend dressed in white priestly attire was beside my bed.
I gave a sigh at hearing how weak the voice that replied to mine sounded.
Although we’re the same age, I have to take a nap like this every day to have energy through the evening. I can’t compare to her who’s still so energetically coming to visit my residence like it’s her own all the way from the temple.
“I came to visit you. I’m more relieved than I thought I would be, since you seem so energetic, Siegmund. I had thought that you were nearly bedridden.”
“It was just for a mere ten days, not a big deal. Besides, if you visit me so frequently, everyone will think that I’m nearing my deathbed soon.”
“Aren’t the Terejia family servants quite excellent in doing their work?”
My childhood friend chuckled familiarly while saying something so bothersome. She still seemed indescribably young as if time had stopped for her, but when she smiled like that, wrinkles still emerged.
She sniffed her nose at letting out that unexpected comment coming from her.
“Isn’t it in bad taste to be amused at a woman’s wrinkles?”
“Ah, yeah. That’s right. My bad.”
“…Heh heh, no, I was just joking. Somehow, things felt rather nostalgic. You used to say that name so often in the past in your mind. …Amanda, wow. That’s quite an old name I haven’t used for decades, what you were calling me just now.
She seemed to have a distant look on her face. I wonder if she was reminiscing about the past.
Thinking back to the dream I just had about our childhood when she was still Amanda, I muttered that just about everyone would have twinges of nostalgia when reaching senior citizen age.
“That’s just the nature of elderly people.”
She seemed to be rather happy as she sniffed and the wrinkles on her face appeared again with her smile.
Although she just joked with me that it was in bad taste, but truthfully, I still felt that it was a good thing that my childhood friend still showed at least some signs of aging.
TL note: This chapter doesn’t state it specifically, but all the clues, especially the ability to read minds, point to the fact that Amanda most likely equals Priest Faris. Meanwhile, the otome game arc has finally officially begun in chapter 220 of the raws for those of you who have been waiting! The next chapter goes back to the battlefield with Eliza and the mysterious golden bird.