Side story 1: Working as the Claes family head gardener
I, Tom Wesley, have been serving as the Claes family head gardener for a very long time now.
I was born in a poor rural village, once I grew up I started apprenticing myself, and ever since then I’ve been living while traveling from place to place wherever life takes me. By nature, I’ve never been good at speaking, on top of my face being a bit plain, I couldn’t work well with others no matter where I went, so I always worked by myself in silence.
And so when I became a young man, since I was really good with tools, and I had a green thumb, before I realized it I’d become a gardener, and I began working for rich merchants and nobles.
Although I kept improving as a gardener, even so, I still couldn’t interact with others well, which was very bad for me trying to make a living, people would always find a reason to fire me, or take away my salary, there was often nothing I could do about it.
During these days, that person appeared in front of me for the first time.
“Are you the one taking care of this garden?”
While I was working at a certain noble’s garden, when I finished the work I was doing, I suddenly heard a voice beside me from a handsome young man that seemed to be around my age. From what he was wearing, I understood that he had a pretty high status, and I immediately paid my respects, but……
“It’s fine. So anyways, are you the one taking care of this garden?”
I was working seriously and courteously as always, I nodded at him while wondering anxiously if I had dissatisfied him in some manner. The young man’s light blue eyes were brilliantly sparkling.
“Every time I come here to visit, I’m always amazed at the terrible gardening sense here, but it’s suddenly completely changed. You’re very talented!”
“……Th, thank you very much……”
He was looking at me a little too directly, and I was confused.
“By the way, are you a retainer of this family?”
“……No. I just got hired recently.”
“Then, are you working anywhere else right now?”
“……No, there isn’t anywhere else.”
Since I couldn’t interact with others well, and I was bad at making a living for myself, I was never able to stay at any workplace long, and I was used to a lifestyle of changing jobs often.
“Then, I’d like for you to become my retainer and be my gardener.”
His eyes kept sparkling as he said so, and the young Duke Claes forcibly dragged me over to his mansion. He happened to be the family head of the previous generation, Duke Claes.
And so, even though I was pulled over here forcibly in the middle of my work by Duke Claes, I found his mansion to be a very comfortable place to work.
All the servants were nice people, I finally had a steady job that even included vacations, and the family head that had forcibly recruited me was a very friendly and approachable person.
He was liked by many of the servants, even those that were bad at interacting with others, and to the other servants and even to me who couldn’t get close to others easily, he would always call out to us light-heartedly, and he would often go out to play in town while hiding his identity.
Just like that, one time I went with him to play in town while he was hiding his identity, and we completely became good friends, and we went to town together over and over again like that.
And so, before I realized it, even though he was the head of a family and a duke, and I was just a servant, he was calling me “friend,” at first I was extremely humbled by this, but I was finally affected by his feelings, and I finally began to think of him as a “friend” as well.
Since I was bad at interacting with others, and never knew what to say to people, he’s the first person that truly ever called me a “friend.”
While I was living beside this friend, and doing my best at work, and at the time I suddenly realized that I’ve become the head gardener –
My only friend unceremoniously passed away from an illness.
After that, I just spent my days idly. My friend that always called out to me and told me my garden was “wonderful,” was no longer here. I didn’t go anymore to the town that we used to visit together so much.
I wonder if he’ll call for me soon, I want to go to where he is as quick as possible…… I want to meet him again……
As I was thinking about this every day, that girl appeared.
“I would really like to create a field in the garden!”
The way she seemed as her light blue eyes sparkled, was very similar to the day where I met him for the first time.
And so, that girl began to come see me every day.
“Tom-san, I’m here~”
Before I noticed it, the girl was always smiling at me like a friend. Even though there were still painful memories of my friend everywhere in town, I forced myself to go to town to buy the materials needed to help her create a toy snake, and suddenly it became natural to go to town again.
And so, while I spent time with this girl, my feeling of wanting to see my friend as soon as possible disappeared.
“To my precious friend. I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait a little bit more for me after all. In exchange, when I finally do see you again, I’ll bring you a ton of interesting stories about your granddaughter.”