CHAPTER 97 – SNOW CRYSTALS, PART 1
Huzzah, we’re slightly past the halfway mark of catching up to the author! Minor spoilers: the latest chapter is chapter 187, titled “Minefield of flesh and blood,” so that’s quite something to (look forward?) to. Also, as a reminder, Eliza will enter noble school in chapter 149.
And, anyone up for donating some steam games to me off my wish list for the winter holidays? They’re all on sale! Let me know on steam if so, my name there is the same, imperfectluck, same picture of Estelle the orange haired girl as well!
Outside the window, snow is beginning to fall. Although I’m almost done with today’s work, the timing is still bad.
I removed the item I was using as a reading stone to hold documents in place, and thought about the work I still had to do while examining the lump of glass in my hand. Beautiful glass like this with few impurities is a luxury item, much more valuable than something like window glass, that’s when I suddenly had a flash of inspiration.
“Eliza-sama, what’s the matter?”
“Ah…… Nothing. Nothing’s the matter, Mrs. Marshan.”
I responded to her and nonchalantly placed the reading stone into my sleeve like nothing had happened. Luckily for me, she didn’t notice anything.
As always, it’s still Mrs. Marshan’s job to teach me about my political work. Since there’s still much that I haven’t learned yet, it’s a reassuring thing to know that I can always call for her at any time I need to. She’s a talented teacher who has Earl Terejia’s recognition, she’s skilled in a wide range of different fields, and she has a sharp mind that always has a fast and accurate response for any questions I ask her.
While she did tilt her head quizzically at me when I was busy affixing myself on my reading stone, but she didn’t pay it much mind, and returned her attention to the papers she was working on. It seems like she was reading essays written by both Elises. Mrs. Marshan is also in charge of educating all children at the Mansion of Golden Hills.
I returned my line of sight to my own work. I still have a few remaining reports and applications from my army to go over, and I need to rewrite and simplify the most important documents as well as sign them. Also, in tandem with that, I need to write up purchase orders for what the military needs, and sign those as well.
After all that I need to organize them and submit the documents to Earl Terejia. If there’s no problems, the contents of the documents will be carried out. I punched a hole through each documents and strung them together, finally finishing my desk work for today.
“Are you finished?”
Mrs. Marshan relaxedly pulled up the hem of her dress as she came over. Up until now, she’s never even once worn the dalmatics and tunics common to the Jugfena region. She always wore a simple, plain one-color dress with a proper collar.
“Yes, there’s no problems. How about on your end?”
“I’m finished as well.”
While Mrs. Marshan smiled elegantly, suddenly her expression clouded over as she looked at the papers in her hand. One of the two Elises, or maybe both of them, may have bad grades, I wonder.
“Um…… How are the other children you’re in charge of teaching doing? Are they properly learning under your guidance?”
“Eh? Uhh…… They’re mostly fine.”
Maybe it was a little too unexpected for her to hear me asking this question, she seemed to nod absentmindedly at me. However, she continued to remain out of character as she spoke again.
“However, it seems like recently one of them hasn’t been taking what I say to heart…… Although that one is still working hard, it seems like as if there are other distractions going on.”
I recalled Ratoka’s face from when we confronted each other on that day. A surprised expression, a worried expression, a bitter expression, a dark expression filled with anger…… In just a short moment, so many different expressions were expressed across his face.
I wonder if Ratoka was as emotionally fragile as I was right now, if he had been hurt by that day as much as I was.
“As for Elise the viscount’s daughter, it seems that she’s been having seizures quite often lately, and her condition is poor. As for Elise the apprentice, maybe she’s been worrying about her.”
“……I’ve heard about this as well.”
This is also a story that hurts to hear. Even though I had told Ratoka that I would go and visit Elise, all I’ve done instead is run away from the mansion.
Even though Mrs. Marshan almost certainly doesn’t know about the argument between me and Ratoka, it seems like she’s detected something from my eyes. But in the end, I couldn’t say anything, and lowered my eyes to avoid her gaze.
She probably wants to say let’s do something about it. If not that, she probably wants to ask what happened. But, she didn’t approach the topic at all.
Mrs. Marshan is my governess. Among all the servants, only the governess will end up leaving for another household once her work here is finished. That’s why she never tries to have anything to do with any problem that residents of the Mansion of Golden Hills may encounter. The more people that are living here, the more obvious this has become.
That’s why I deeply feel the irony of how I feel the safest next to her out of all the residents here.
“W, welcome back, Eliza-sama!!”
On days that I don’t have to participate in military training, I’ll return to the new citizens’ makeshift tent village to have lunch, and do the work that’s given to me here, before returning again to the mansion for martial arts training.
“Eliza-sama, don’t you get tired from work?”
“It’s started to snow, aren’t you cold?”
“She’s gotten wet from the snow! Take her to warm up by the stove!”
As I entered the tent, I was suddenly surrounded by children. While still busy chattering, one of them took me by my hand and led me to the stove in the center of the tent.
“Ahh, I’m fine. I rode Rashiok here today.”
“Rashiok, he’s Eliza’s friend, the scaled flying wolf dragunia, right?”
At Rashiok’s name, the children suddenly all got into a commotion. I did talk a little about Rashiok before with them, it seems that they remember.
“Yes. In Arxia, we call him a wolf dragon, or a draconis.”
“Is he still here?”
“Yes, he’s still here. He’s waiting outside the tent.”
Apparently the children seemed to be interested in the wolf dragon, and they cheered as I pointed to the tent’s entrance.
“I want to see it!”
“Exactly what I was thinking. It’s cold outside, can we have him come in?”
Their eyes that were shining with curiosity, as well as their bright smiles made my chest feel slightly fuzzy and warm. How direct they can be is so dazzling, as well as enviable.
It’s a way of thinking that I can’t have for myself. Even Ratoka who had a twisted childhood growing up, or the sickly Elise, seem so far away to me, sparkling in the distance.
Claudia’s image overlapped with their appearance. She’s a girl that’s so direct in everything that it’s almost unbelievable she’s also a noble girl.
Then, I finally realized it. When Claudia first came to my domain, I didn’t know how to deal with her. At first, I was always exhausted because of the way she acted.
In retrospect, that might have simply been me feeling a twisted kind of envy. I can never be like these children, or be like Claudia.
I truly believe that it was a good thing for me, leaving the mansion.
I envy them. However, I’m not like them, and now I can honestly admit to myself that I can’t become like them.
Knowing myself clearly, this is definitely a requirement for me to be able to solve my own twistedness.