I’m now completely accustomed to a lifestyle of moving back and forth between the Mansion of Golden Hills and the new citizens’ simple makeshift village, and I was just thinking about hurrying the construction of the domain lord’s mansion in the center of Kaldia at the end of winter.
“Eta…… Elle…… Eri……”
I had just finished my work and was on my way back to the tents from the mansion when I started to hear a voice coming from above me.
What’s this? I looked up at the window above me suspiciously, and I saw sparkling golden blonde hair framed by the blue sky.
“…………Yes, what is it?”
I somehow managed to swallow my sigh, and responded to her. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this familiar feeling of not knowing how to deal with her.
Of course, this voice belonged to Claudia. The strange words I heard earlier must have been her mangled attempts to get my name right.
“It’s been so long since I last saw you! I think it’s been over two months!”
Claudia seemed to be excited to see me as she grinned widely and stepped onto the windowsill.
“That’s dangerous, Claud-”
Before I could finish saying Claudia-dono, I was interrupted, because the person herself was ignoring my warning and was hanging out the window. Of course, Claudia is preparing to jump from a second story window.
I held my breath. It felt like my heart was going to stop beating.
“Hm? Did you say something?”
And with that, she jumped and landed with soft, lithe catlike movements, and stood there grinning at me with an idiotic expression on her face.
I’m unable to close my wide-open mouth. Just what is she. She’s just impossible. Please get out of this otome game world and back in the shonen manga you belong to. Although, I would honestly be very troubled if she wasn’t here by my side.
This sight was just too shocking for me, so much so that I was trembling all over. Even though I know it’s bad manners, I couldn’t help but vent by shouting at her.
“JUST WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, JUMPING DOWN FROM THE SECOND FLOOR!”
Maybe Claudia’s ears are extra sensitive, she grabbed them really tight after I shouted suddenly at her. Her sky colored eyes were looking at me wide and round with surprise, but I continued my words with a strong force behind them.
“Please stop doing these things outside the realm of common sense. I thought that my heart was going to stop.”
With a blank expression, Claudia muttered my name. Then, she seemed to get happy about something, an innocent, delighted expression lit up her face. Ahh, she really looks like a young child when she’s smiling like this. She’s too pure.
“Got it, I swear to never do it again. I didn’t think that you would be that worried about me!”
What’s this about me being worried for her?
Some words I never would have expected to hear from her came out of her mouth, and this time it was my turn to have a silly expression on my face.
“Weren’t you worried that I would injure myself?”
The very atmosphere around us seemed to lighten as Claudia laughed happily. I tried to come up with some sort of response, but I just couldn’t think of anything to say to Claudia.
“Umm, that’s…… Just what exactly did I mean……”
I have a helpless feeling of wanting to surrender. Claudia was nodding to herself assuredly, saying “yes, that must be it” while striking her palm with her fist. She’s really in a world of her own…… It’s been so long since I’ve been tired like this. It feels like I’m dealing with an incomprehensible opponent.
“There’s a request from Elise-dono.”
I didn’t pay attention to what she said at all. I had a blank look of not knowing what was going on, but Claudia grabbed my wrist without minding that at all.
What’s she doing?
“Ok, let’s get going!”
By the time I finally realized what it was that Claudia had said, she already brought me to the room where Elise was recuperating at.
Elise seemed to be simply pleased to see me, but Ratoka who was there as well dressed in maid attire froze at the sight of me. Even though I also felt this was a very uncomfortable situation, for the time being I’ll focus on the noble girl Elise first and put everything else out of my mind.
“It’s been a long time, Elise-sama. I apologize for not coming to see you for so long.”
Despite having some free time for myself since the beginning of winter, I do feel really guilty as I’ve been avoiding this place intentionally.
“No, don’t worry about it. Eliza-sama is the domain lord and must be busy with all the work. Besides, didn’t you send ‘Elise’ to accompany me in your stead? Just for that, you have my deepest gratitude.”
“That’s fine if that’s the case then. I heard that you’ve been having some more seizures recently, how are you feeling now?”
Elise slowly took her gaze off of me to look outside her window, and showed a gentle, lonely expression. It made me a bit anxious, and it also made my heart tighten up in pain.
“I…… still am unable to go outside yet. But it’s okay, it’s still not as bad as before I came here.”
I suddenly got a flash of inspiration and wondered if this mild-mannered noble girl would have fun playing with the Shiru children. Even though she can’t run around like they can, it might bring her some comfort just to hear about their experiences and daily life.
……It might be a good idea to think about who from the Shiru children I want to invite. I still need to talk with Earl Terejia, but on top of taking care of Elise, it’s my duty to help her regain her health any way I can.
As I started mentally listing candidates in my mind, Elise began to talk about the fun times she had lately with Ratoka and her maid Maya. Since this is what she typically will always talks about, I definitely think that I can give my idea a try.
“If me sending ‘Elise’ over to you has helped Elise-sama to have even a little more fun, then that’s a great thing.”
“Yes. I’ve had so much fun. Thank you very much.”
At Elise’s innocent, charming smile, once again her purity gave my heart a terrible blow.