“Hey, it’s been a long time, Viscountess Kaldia. Thank you for coming today.”
“Thank you very much for inviting me here as well, Lord Molton.”
I had great difficulty as I was currently struggling with wearing a formal dress for the first time, as I greeted tonight’s host, accompanied by Claudia who was dressed in maid attire. The beautiful margrave that I met last year was standing in the back of the dining hall, and after he saw me, he stumbled quite a bit over his words.
“It looks like you’re wearing a dress this time. It looks really good on you. While you looked quite cool and dignified in knightly attire before, you also really impress when you look feminine as well, and show off your strength.”
Margrave Molton gently gave his opinion of me in my dress. I’ve always worn knightly attire before when out in public, so this time I could definitely feel that I was the center of attention of all the nobles.
“And how should I interpret that?”
“I don’t mean anything bad by it. I’m not trying to insult you, I think it’s proof that you’re reliable.”
As typical of him, he was laughing happily, and his silver hair was shaking slightly. I feel a bit relieved that I can read his intentions so easily without any misunderstandings.
“How’s Earl Terejia been doing lately?”
“That’s…… He doesn’t seem to be feeling so well…… It’s just a little fatigue though.”
With his work as my regent combined with all these daily social events, and two full days of riding on a horse-drawn carriage definitely seems to be taking its toll on him. Even I think that he’s been overworking himself, but still there’s so much work that only he can do. We definitely need to hire more people, there’s no doubt about that.
Margrave Molton looked around at the table behind him, and took two wine glasses. Then, he poured a liquid that resembled white wine from a bottle.
When I took the glass he offered me, I saw that he was apparently offering me apple juice. I couldn’t help but look up at him, only to see the margrave smiling elegantly at me. Out of all the social events I’ve been invited to, attending so many that I’ve lost count, this is the first time that someone’s specially prepared a drink suitable for children – meaning me.
I definitely believe he’s praiseworthy. It’s not just that he has a son the same age as me, he treats me with kindness and without any prejudice, even though I’m the daughter of the Kaldia family.
My notorious father and family have left quite a dark stain on my name. They were considered apostates, the scourge of the nobility. Although it wasn’t a formal decision by the House of Lords or anything, the northern nobles and those in agreement with them definitely think so inside.
We toasted each other and gulped down the contents of our glasses. It was refreshingly sweet with just a tinge of sourness to it, it reminded me of the apple juice that I liked to drink as well in my previous life.
Margrave Molton pulled two chairs over for Claudia and I, and even served Claudia a glass of juice as well.
It’s still a bit early for dinner, but there are refreshments and snacks. People are also resting here from the dancing they’re doing in the hall.
Since the margrave pulled a chair over personally for me, it would be rude to decline to sit down. Claudia and I both sat down facing the margrave.
“……Come to think of it, I haven’t seen your personal attendant lately.”
He’s probably referring to all the times we’ve met before at other social events. The margrave looked at Claudia for a moment, then looked back at me.
He’s asking about Kamil. The moment I thought about him, I recalled the bloody figure of Kamil in the back of my mind.
The sound that was made as Claudia put her glass down next to me was tiny, but I heard it very clearly. Margrave Molton’s beautiful smile disappeared instantly at my next comment.
“He died at Jugfena.”
My voice was shivering as I said the words so directly. My lips were trembling ever so slightly.
The margrave probably noticed my emotions. His voice sounded a bit strained as well.
“……My apologies. Sorry for bringing up something unpleasant.”
He said it in a simple tone of voice and his expression was full of compassion. He probably saw a child similar to his son in me.
I lifted my glass, and had another mouthful of juice. My throat had dried up without my realizing it, so I had a second helping, then a third.
Suddenly, I felt pity for the margrave as well. I wonder if he’s realized now that children as young as his son are dying in war. And if that’s the case, just how sorrowful that life can be.
“I shall pray that his kind soul obtains Misorua’s blessings.”
“……Thank you very much.”
The margrave quietly raised his glass. For a moment, without saying anything, he merely prayed for the well-being of my former personal attendant’s soul.
On my way back in the horse-drawn carriage, I merely looked out the window without saying anything. In my hands were some sweets wrapped up in decorative paper. Margrave Molton had given them to me as a present.
“……Are secret messages and codes typical for nobles, I wonder?”
“No…… it’s nothing.”
I couldn’t help but ask Claudia a question, but only got a blank look in response, which made me realize that it was useless to ask her, so I fell silent.
The sweets were wrapped up in several layers of paper, and on the inside of the outermost layer, there was a message from Margrave Molton.
It’s a custom to not tear up beautiful wrapping paper, so that it can be used again at a later date as a letter or message card. I would have noticed it sooner or later, but because I have a habit of sending a thank you message to people for inviting me, I found it immediately.
The message was about people passing through Margrave Molton’s domain to go visit the northern domains. Some traveling church sisters were being strangely active, and were involving themselves with the northern nobles. Why did Margrave Molton tell me this, I wonder. Exactly what are these church sisters up to.
Since I had very little information to go off of, it’s a bit frustrating. I sighed and looked outside the window at the scenery again. Claudia sitting across from me was in such an excellent mood from having gotten to eat all sorts of sweets at Margrave Molton’s party, that she started humming.