Volume 4 Chapter 25
At the moment, I am running. That too, at an intense speed!
Why? Because I came across a certain oddball.
Yes, that weird person.
It all started early morning.
After waking up in the morning, as I had free time, I thought I would take a look at the plantation inside the castle out of curiosity. On the way, I had met a very pretty woman. It might be taken as rude to enquire into a woman’s age but there is no doubt that she was not of my age. I thought she was probably as old as my mother but she felt strangely young. Rather than forcing to appear young, it looked like she lived life as she pleased and that was why she looked so young.
And I had been looking at that person for a while. It was a little different than being charmed… How do I say this?.. This person, was a little odd.
She entered the medicinal plant field where medicines, which were similar to the ones Toto cultivated, were lined up, and she went sniffing them all. Holding up the plant close to her face to take its scent–She was not doing much of an elegant gesture. She herself leaned over and pressed her nose to the plants and sniffed them. It was a nice gesture to the plants but not to herself. Especially for a woman like her who was probably raised very well.
Without collecting my thoughts, I ended up speaking.
“Umm, what are you doing?”
“Eh? What…. I am sniffing the medicinal plants, obviously.”
She spoke as if I was the weird one. In other words, to her, the act of sniffing medicinal plants was normal and me bearing doubts to that was weird.
“I-I see. Why with such a posture? It does not feel very lady-like.”
“This much is fine for someone who has been as lady-like as me. It’s no good for you, though.”
It is a problem of level? You mean my experience as a noble is low?
“That was something I did not know.”
“Right? It’s just between us, alright?”
Looks like this wonderful information must not be spread. I do not plan on doing it either, though.
It probably won’t be popular even if it spread, I think…
“Are you fond of medicinal plants? It is only a little but I am knowledgeable about it too.”
“Ara, I do not like medicinal plants at all. In fact, this field is sort of like an enemy’s encampment to me.”
I can’t understand this conversation at all!
“Then, as before, what are you doing?”
“Like I said, I am sniffing the plants, though?”
The conversation is going nowhere!
“…..If this is the enemy camp then are you observing the enemy? To compare with your own plants or something.”
“Fufu, good job deducing that without getting impatient. But, you are only about half correct.”
So she was conscious of trying to make me impatient… What do you think of that? It is my fault for starting the conversation with this pretty, odd lady, though.
“The medicinal plants here are grown really well. I could just ask for the secret directly to from the one growing them but isn’t that frustrating? And so, I am here early this morning to find out. By the way, the ones I am growing are not medicinal plants. They are much more delicious.”
“I see. So you are growing vegetables. That means, Tsukimi-san??”
Finally, she turned to face towards me. After taking a good look at her face upclose, it kinda resembled that person’s. On second thought, it almost looks exactly like that person. So much that it makes me think if they were to age like that, they would end up looking like this.
“Yes, that’s correct. And you are Kururi-kun, right?”
“You knew me?”
“Of course. Half of what my daughter writes to me are information about you, after all.”
That is troubling. It kinda makes me embarrassed….. It makes me really embarrassed. Kyaaa~
“Are you taking care of her properly?”
“Taking care… We don’t have such a relationship. Friend? Yes, we are doing extremely well as friends, yes!”
“I see…. Friends…”
Don’t come closing the distance squinting your eyes, please!
And don’t bring your face close! I kinda feel like I am being seen through!
I can’t stop sweating. That-that’s too close! Close, close, close!
“I guess I will stop teasing you.”
“Haha, thank you very much…”
So she was consciously teasing me. ‘Thank you very much’? Why am I being grateful….?
This is bad, this person is quite the villain! Really, she must have been an oddball for quite long.
“Kururi-kun, you are free right now, right? Help me out a bit.”
“Alright. I was just about to go look at your plantation, after all.”
She pulled my ear. Ow-ow-ow–can’t be impertinent to her.
“You know medicinal plants well, right? Then help me find the secret.”
“I am not an expert as to find out just by smelling though…”
“Just do it!”
And so, we both leaned to the plants and went around sniffing them. The secret to growing these plants? There is no way I could find that out. Just about–Ah, this place smells like earth or this plant smells pungent.
“So, did you get it?”
“No, this is reckless. Let’s just go ask honestly. If you don’t want to, I can ask for you.”
“That’s no good! This is a war. Is there someone as stupid to go ask the enemy general the secret of his soldier’s strength?!”
What is with that example….? Does she have a rival?
Isn’t it just that the sun is hitting this place properly?
“Ah! Tsukimi-san, the one I am smelling now–it can be eaten!”
“That one–A friend of mine who is knowledgeable about medicinal plants is always biting that when he is a little hungry. I hear it is crunchy and tasty.”
Whenever I went to the plastic greenhouse, I saw Toto often munching on that. When I asked, ‘Is that good?’ he replied ‘Well, it’s normal.’ but I will take it as delicious.
“Ara, that’s something nice.”
Tsukimi-san tore off one of it. And then another. Then, holding the plant, she faced me and smiled.
“I will eat it. That way I can find out the secret.”
“You looked like a thief from the start but with this you are actually one now.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. I gave them some carrots the other day so we can call it even with this.”
I don’t know if it’s even or not but for me the feeling of guilt exceeds that.
“If it can be eaten as a food, then I wonder why it is a medicinal plant.”
“I hear it needs some special processing to be used as a medicinal plant.”
Tsukimi-san looked at me like ‘This boy can be unexpectedly useful’. It was just something I thought and I don’t know if it is true or not but it probably was.
“Then, let’s head to the kitchen.”
After that, the quickness of her actions was amazing. Can’t really think of it as something a noble woman would be capable of. Can’t really think of it as someone her age would be capable of.
She started running at a terrifying speed.
“Wa-wait! You’re too fast!!”
In the blink of an eye, she kept going further. I will be left behind if I don’t run at full speed. I don’t know where the kitchen is so it would be troubling if I am left behind!…. Or will it? I can think later. I should chase now.
Too fast. Why is she even running?
I feel like I understand why she is called a phantom. I ran. I just desperately ran. That too, at an intense speed.
“Haa..haa..haa.. Why are you running?!”
“Haa… I want to… haa… eat it fast!”
We finally arrived at the kitchen. Being completely exhausted, I did not feel like eating.
“It can be eaten just like that, you know.”
“Right. I plan on having one just as it is. I will deep fry the other one.”
………..So that’s why you took two. I completely thought you took one more for me. Hahaha….. Hahaha…
“After cleaning it with water, slice it to one mouthful size each.”
Saying it by herself, she skillfully presented it on a plate.
And went on munching it down. Her mouth chewing looked kinda cute. Saying it is cute might be rude though.
“Ara, won’t you eat?”
Eh?! There is some for me?!
I don’t really want to eat it but that made me really happy.
I also started munching on it.
…..Yep, pretty normal.
I guess that is how it is, huh? I wish I didn’t say it was good.
“Let’s try the fried one as well.”
She went on preparing it skillfully again. I could understand that she was quite good at cooking.
“Is Eliza good at cooking too?”
“…..You can have her make you something. That way, you will get to know, right?”
Me-me-meat and potato stew, please!!
The fried one was also done and I had a portion as well. I sprinkled some salt on it. It wasn’t munchy anymore but was softer.
But even still…..
“It’s pretty normal.”
“Normal, it is.”
“Could you understand the secret behind the good growth?”
“Not at all.”
Right? If one could understand just by eating, that would be an amazing skill.
“Mmm, now that it has come to this, we have got no choice but to directly ask.”
“You’re going to ask for the secret of soldiers strength from the enemy soldier?!”
“Don’t be impertinent!”
But you were the one who said it!
“Kururi-kun, you are free after this as well, right?”
“Yes, I was going to see your plantation, after all.”
Ow-ow-ow-oww–she pulled on my ear again.
“Then, come to my house. Eliza is there too.”
Is that okay?! But I am kinda nervous… But is it really okay?! Really…
“You’re on good terms with Prince Rahsa. You could come with him.”
“Right, then I guess I will go…”
“Yes, then it’s today. I will be waiting then.”
It is an invitation from mother after all. When mother invites, one must go.
Right? I do not have any ill intentions. I must go since my friend’s mother invited.
And so, after inviting Rahsa as well, we headed towards Eliza’s house.
“Actually, this is my first time going to Eliza-san’s house. Our fathers see each other every day but it isn’t like our families are on good terms. But still, I have seen the prime minister’s house from afar a few times and it was quite a wonderful house.”
I wonder what kind of a house it is. There being a lot of nobles in the capital, I had seen quite a lot of luxurious houses but since Rahsa is also praising it, it must surely be amazing.
As for what I thought…. It was quite normal.
It wasn’t that different from our house, the rooms were not that large and the garden wasn’t that big either.
Eh? What is the amazing part then?–I thought.
Is the price of the land high or something?
“Aniki, you look kinda curious. You probably don’t know what is amazing about it yet.”
Rahsa said happily. Tell me quick.
“This place, you see, has been passed on since the time of the first prime minister. It does not look that extraordinary but only the prime minister succeeds this house and even if you are royalty, you are not permitted to walk in without permission. It is a place full of history. Wonderful, isn’t it?”
I-I see…. Cool. Like a brand power or something?
“Is it okay to touch… the bell?”
“Of course. They do not have any reason to reject visitors.”
After knowing that info just now, I kinda feel nervous about just pressing the bell.
……..The bell wasn’t anything extraordinary either, not something which would bring about fairies or anything… really, a very average bell. Even my house is probably using a better one.
“Who might you people be?”
A voice said from the other side of the gate. A man… probably someone who works here.
“Probably the butler who has been working for the prime minister generation after generation. He is extremely skillful and famous.”
Rahsa said he didn’t come here once but he seems to know quite a bit. Does that mean this guy is famous even in the capital?
“I am Kururi Helan. I received invitation from Tsukimi-sama and as such….”
And suddenly, I had a bad flashback.
“I am really sorry to say but Tsukimi-sama has not returned for more than a week so I do not know of what you are talking about.”
Like I thought!!!
The second tragedy after coming to the capital! I wanted to visit my friend’s house but couldn’t get in, part 2!!!
“Well, it is Tsukimi-sama we are talking about after all…”
Rahsa said while giving a bitter smile, being perceptive. Experienced?! So Rahsa has already been through it…
“What shall we do?”
“How about changing it to you coming to visit your friend, Eliza-san? One doesn’t need an appointment to visit a friend.”
Eh? Well, not like I am against that or anything?
But, you know, just wait a bit, just a little. I need some time to be mentally prepared.
Just a bit, okay?
“Because of Tsukimi-sama, things like these happen frequently. I am very sorry. Then, I shall call Eliza-sama, please wait a moment.”
What a polite person. I wonder if he too is being abused by Tsukimi-san.
After a while, the butler came back. He still did not open the gate.
“Kururi-dono, Eliza-sama will welcome you personally but she has asked for you to wait a bit as she needs a little time. I also have a message for you. She had failed while making chiffon cake and dirtied her clothes. And she wants to welcome you with a proper dress so please wait a while.”
And so, we were not let in again.
“Aniki, I think I can smell sweet potatoes from inside, do you think she is making something?”
“No, I am also getting the scent of it. Probably roasted potato. It’s completely like Eliza to make sweet potatoes on a cold day like this. And I am jealous.”
“Aniki, that is kinda rude to Eliza-san. It is obvious someone else is frying them. That very noble-like Eliza-san wouldn’t be frying something like potatoes. And besides, the butler also said she was cooking chiffon cake.”
Fuu, so young you are, Rahsa.
“Yes, that is exactly correct. My master is making ‘chiffon cake’. An attendant is ‘frying potatoes’.”
Uwah, even the butler. Too suspicious. I can totally tell he is trying to cover up for her.
“I am pretty sure Eliza is the one frying the potatoes since she loves potatoes, though…”
“…. Actually, being a butler, I thought it would be bad to say that I was the one frying potatoes. Because it would sabotage my job. I made a mistake trying to blame it on the attendant but, fufufu, it was me who was eating it.”
He even sold himself?! So skilled! This person is definitely the ideal butler.
Sorry for going so deep.
“….Butler-san also has a playful side, eh?”
“Yes, being a man, I cannot forget my playful side.”
Sorry for degrading you to an unfaithful butler.
“Aniki, looks like he is quite an affectionate butler, huh?”
Rahsa said in a low voice.
I guess I will just keep it at that.
“Flotar, open the gate.”
I could hear a sound of someone walking fast and immediately after, Eliza’s pretty voice. It looks like she has finally come, after taking care of the ‘mess’. Haven’t met her in a whi…. Or I guess I did.
Flotar is probably the butler’s name. As he got the sign, the gate opened.
In front of the residence, there was the white-haired butler lowering himself, and deep in front of the entrance, about 3 steps high, a pretty girl wearing a red dress. A gorgeous, graceful, and with a somewhat kind aura, Eliza stood there.
“Kururi-sama, thank you for coming. Ara, also Prince Rahsa. I welcome you both… However, it is not very gentlemen-like to suddenly appear at a girl’s house. A girl needs some time to prepare, you know?”
So many secrets to a maiden.
I am sorry. But it was your dear mother who trapped us. Next time, I will come after you are done with the potatoes.
After bowing politely, Eliza gave an unusually bright smile like a young girl… Is it okay to take it as welcoming us? Well, it’s not like she isn’t like this, right? ….I guess it is okay if I just know that.
Eliza came close step by step.
What shall I talk about? I am glad Rahsa is here too. Stop beating so much, my heart.
As my pounding got faster, Eliza was also getting closer.
I thought her dress up was perfect but… Hmm? Isn’t something there on her lips…?
Hmm? There it is. This… potato!
So you were eating?!
I knew you were hurrying with the clean ups but you were eating?! That is unexpected!!
If you dressed up so perfectly, you should also notice your mouth! Or is it that you ate it after dressing up?! It would be a waste so you ate it just like that!?
Look! Even Flotar-san with a somewhat lower sight has noticed it too!
His complexion is turning really pale too! A person with such composure is shaking like that!
His hands-his hands are also becoming fidgety while he keeps unnaturally wiping his face.
“Flotar, what happened? You’re being unlike yourself.”
You’re going to just say it?! Eliza-san, please notice! Notice the real intention behind his gesture!
I can understand Flotar-san being stricken by despair. I kinda want to apologize to him.
“Eliza-san, you have chiffon cake stuck to your mouth. You are an unexpectedly careless person, I see.”
Rahsa!! Rahsa came in like an angel!! That is a potato, though. Thank you for misunderstanding it as chiffon cake. Because of your innocence, everyone here was saved.
Eliza immediately ran inside the residence.
Flotar-san also immediately stood in front of us.
“Please wait a while.” was all he said. He didn’t say anymore but the pressure was something else.
I feel like I heard him say ‘Biggest failure of my life’ in a low voice. It is not your fault. It is Eliza’s fault. No, the society is wrong to think potatoes are not a noble-like food. Nobody here is at fault!
Eliza came back. With a bright red face.
It is completely fine with me but even if I say that, no, if I say that she would worry even more. Well, our relation is still unripe. I don’t know if it will ever be ripe but I do want to say some time in the future that I knew. And that it is completely fine to eat potatoes until she is satisfied.
“Hohhohoho, hhohohho, to let chiffon cake get stuck to my face, how silly of me!”
Eliza-san?! Did you always laugh like that?!
“My lady! Seriously, so careless. I did know that you are weak to chiffon cakes, though!”
What?! What is with this big drama between this young lady and butler!?
“…..Eliza really likes chiffon cake, huh! Seriously, you’re everyone’s idol in school so get yourself together!”
We were the reason it all started so I guess I will play along with this drama here.
“Hahhahhaha, you’re exactly right! Miss, please be careful!”
“Ohhohho, ye-yes! I shall do that!”
“…..Everyone, isn’t that enough? I feel cold so can we get inside already?”
Because of an angel called Rahsa, this hellish drama did not go on any longer.
However, the atmosphere did not change. Saying ‘It is not much but please have this tea.’ she gave us super high quality tea, which we all silently drank. It was so silent that even the gulping sound also echoed.
And like this, the visit to the pretty girl’s house closed curtains in a disappointing way.
Let me just say this at the end, nobody was at fault. That the society is at fault.