I got saddled with such a bothersome task in the first place all because Feria didn’t want to get married to Viscount Ogren’s son. For Viscount Ogren who’s taken up the task of inconveniencing me, and Marquis Nordsturm who’s probably the one behind everything pulling the strings, this headstrong girl must have been a perfect opportunity for them to keep me busy elsewhere.
Feria was sitting next to Viscount Rogshia in a ladylike manner, and seemed to be quietly observing me. Well, she probably doesn’t know the reason that I’m here yet. I don’t know the specific circumstances yet, but either way, she wants to break her engagement, and I’m here to stop her from doing that despite her wishes. If she knows my goal, maybe she’ll be on guard against me.
Well, what should I do. How do I hear Feria’s story from her without raising her guard?
First, maybe I can use a safer topic, like the relations between the various lords, to try and probe about her circumstances. I looked at Viscount Rogshia who was smiling calmly, Feria who wasn’t trying to hide her look of confusion, and Claudia who was waiting for me in the corner of the room. What story should I use to break the ice?
My attention was suddenly attracted to a sight outside the window. In the garden that I could see through the large window, some seasonal flowers were swaying in the wind. It was a breathtaking sight, the colors and brilliance.
“The Renvia flowers this year have really blossomed so nicely. Last year we planted the red and yellow varieties, but this year the flowers have mixed their colors, so it’s quite something to behold.”
It seems that Viscount Rogshia noticed my momentary lapse of attention, as he introduced the flowers to me. Although this isn’t a topic about the nobles that I was going to use, it’s still something nice and easy to begin with.
“Ahh, Renvia flowers. You have such a wonderful garden, a lot of work must have gone into it.”
The Renvia is a type of plant with a spiral-shaped flower. While it’s very effective at brightening any garden, since its colors are so vivid, it’s rather difficult strike a balance and find complementary colors. The garden in this mansion’s backyard has at least ten different types of flowers blossoming simultaneously. I wonder if they have a truly skilled gardener here.
“Yes, I’m glad that you enjoy it so much. ……Feria, how about you give Viscountess Kaldia a tour of the garden?”
At the urging of Viscount Rogshia, Feria agreed to guide me through the garden and she stood up gracefully. ……For just a moment, I saw a sparkling accessory on top of silken stockings around her thin ankle.
-Ahh, this is really going to be quite troublesome.
Somehow, I managed to suppress my inner emotions somehow, and didn’t let them show on my face. In Greenfield, unmarried girls that haven’t come of age yet aren’t supposed to have metal accessories. This has been a long tradition in this area.
Even though that’s supposed to be the case, I definitely saw a flash of silver on Feria’s ankle.
Well, this probably means that this girl is having some sort of love affair with someone else even though she has a fiance. This is considered absolutely no good.
Feria was looking at me confusedly and there was hesitation in her voice. She was also holding out her left arm towards me as if she expected me to escort her, and I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I looked directly at her hand, then met her eyes. I ignored her arm that she held out for me to take.
“……Alright, I’ll leave it up to you to show me the garden, Feria-sama.”
An icy look appeared in Feria’s eyes for just an instant. It seems that because I called her name so directly, she probably considered me rude. She’s definitely mistaken about my gender. For boys and girls that meet each other for the first time, they would almost never call each other by the first name unless there’s a huge age gap between them. Especially in an annoying place like Greenfield with such backwards ideas about gender, these gender customs will be even more rigidly enforced.
“Yes, what is it?”
“I’m already nine years old, and I can walk by myself so there’s no need for an escort.”
My sarcasm was clearly irritating Feria and her face was turning red, so I snuck a look at her father, Viscount Rogshia. He still remained the same as always, with a calm and gentle expression on his face.
This is bad, is what I was thinking inside. If only I had investigated more about Viscount Rogshia. Just in case, if he doesn’t happen to be someone from Greenfield originally, all the plans that I had thought up would be wasted. Even though I took all the trouble of learning the terrible sexist customs and habits of the Greenfield region’s nobles, if the person I’m really dealing with, Viscount Rogshia, isn’t familiar with Greenfield customs, everything I learned will have been for naught, I can’t use my original plans.
“That’s not it, you should be escorting me. You said you’re nine already, right?”
“Oh, my apologies. I’m very sorry about the confusion, but I happen to be a Viscountess, a girl. I didn’t take your hand out of the consideration that we would appear to be getting too close to each other for our first meeting.”
Unusually for Claudia, I could hear her sighing from behind me. She’s probably sighing because I’ve gotten off to such a bad start with one of the primary people I’m dealing with.
Feria was absolutely frozen in shock with her mouth wide agape, and I confirmed to myself that I was right about her having mistook my gender. Well, Viscountesses are rare to begin with in Arxia, and it definitely wouldn’t be allowed at all in the Greenfield region.
“-But, then, those clothes……”
She finally managed to squeeze out a silly-sounding higher pitched voice than usual from that brain of hers which must be in so much confusion right now. In her eyes, apart from confusion, I could see that there was another, more complex emotion flickering about.
It was probably, jealous envy. She didn’t feel sorry for me, nor was she disgusted with me, she wanted freedom like me, and once again I sighed in my mind.
The more I observe, the less Feria seems like anything a girl from the Greenfield region should be like. In this mansion, every servant is just like everything I’ve heard about Greenfield, with just about everything excluding women. The only people that don’t match, are Viscount Rogshia and his daughter Feria.
Honestly, this is such a bother.