I was only slightly shaken, though. Since we are in the royal capital after all, I’d already considered that we might meet one day.
If I manage to stay alive long enough to get there, I knew already that I would meet the otome game characters in noble school. This is earlier than I expected, but it’s not a big deal.
He’s wearing properly fitted monk attire…… He’s in a white robe similar to a longcoat, and has rich black hair that’s clean and well cared for. I think he’s right before reaching teenager status, around 12 years old or so. He’s got unusual purple eyes that reflect the sunshine beautifully, like jewels.
I don’t know his actual name, but in the otome game he was just called Alb. ……It’s just that, there’s one big difference between the drawings in the otome game and the boy before me. Alb had a slightly disfigured face, he was a young man that wouldn’t leave a good first impression with his appearance. The boy before me has a very healthy face still.
Just what is going to happen to him in the five years before he reaches noble school……
Alb isn’t his original name, it’s a new name given to him after he enters the church and becomes a monk. According to my memories, in the game’s character introductions, it says that his “monk name is Alb.”
……At least that’s what it said in the instruction manual. To tell the truth, I never met him ingame at all. As for why, it’s because I only played this game based on the recommendation of my younger sister, and I was only about to begin my second playthrough on another route when I died.
So, that is to say, I don’t know what type of position Alb has, what his background or personality is like, nor do I remember most things my sister might have told me.
Of course, he’s a living human being though, and there’s no evidence whatsoever that he’ll behave the same way as the ingame character, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
I only remember one thing that my sister told me about Alb. He only comes into the story after Eliza is executed, but other than that I have no details about him.
“……A formal knight, uniform?”
When he saw me, his first reaction was one of surprise, muttering to himself. I glanced over my uniform again, then returned my line of sight to the boy.
“I’m here for a ceremonial ritual, to establish a knight order in my domain.”
“……Oh wow, you’re a domain lord? This young?”
“My father died quite early.”
I gave only a brief explanation, but the boy was nodding, it seems like he gets what I’m saying. There are also other examples out there of children inheriting their father’s position as a domain lord when the father dies young, after all. ……Well, that’s usually limited only to boys, though. When it’s a girl that’s left behind, usually it’s other male relatives that have a higher priority when it comes to inheritance.
Normally most noble families will have many relatives. Even if not related by blood, those that marry into the family are also taken into consideration. However, there’s no precedent like the Kaldia family, where every family member was massacred and only left one person to inherit the title. Well, it’s troublesome to explain that much, and there’s no point, so I’ll just save my breath.
“If you came here for a ritual, why are you here walking in the garden? Could it be, did you get lost?”
“No. I arrived earlier than scheduled, so I simply thought I’d spend some time here.”
Even after learning I was a domain lord, meaning a noble, he didn’t change his tone of voice with me at all. He must be from quite a high ranking noble family. Since he’s one of the main characters from the otome game, maybe he’s even from the Melloart royal family.
In Arxia where the church and the law are deeply intertwined, monks aren’t people that abandon worldly life, but rather they dedicate their lives to being enforcers of the law. In other words, monks don’t completely abandon their past lives and positions.
That’s why I don’t find it strange even if he doesn’t change his tone of voice when talking to me. On the contrary, since he’s a monk, I should be using polite speech with him.
“Oh, that’s fine then.”
After learning that I wasn’t a lost child, he smiled faintly. It would have been difficult to detect if I wasn’t looking directly at him all this time, it was such a minute change, but it still somehow managed to be expressive.
“Are you taking care of this garden?”
“Ahh. I just water the plants. ……Although, I’m still not used to it, so I’m not very good. I recommend that you not go beyond the hedges there. You’re wearing such a nice knight uniform, it would be a shame to get it dirty.”
He gave me some advice while furrowing his eyebrows. Although his facial expression looked grumpy, I was able to accurately read his feelings. He has high expectations of himself and is unsatisfied with his own low quality of work. It was an expression that made me feel rather close to him.
“Got it, I’ll turn back. ……But not right now, though.”
“Why’s that? Is there some sort of problem?”
“It’s, the knight that’s receiving the ceremony feels too nervous about it…… and asked to be alone for a little while. I wanted to give it some more time.”
“I see. Then, I won’t water where you’re standing for the time being.”
“Sorry about the inconvenience, and thank you for understanding……”
He has a rather passive tone of voice. Somehow, it feels so similar to me, it sounds almost like a monotone. Maybe he noticed me observing him, he smiled faintly again. I gave a slight smile as well, but perhaps my cheeks only barely twitched, just like the boy in front of me. I feel a sense of affinity with him.
“Since I’m not going back yet, I have some free time. Shall we chat?”
I wonder if he minds, he fell silent after saying only one word. He stopped working on the plants and indicated with his hand for me to follow him. He led me to an open space with a plain stone bench that seemed like it was maintained regularly. He sat on one end of it, and motioned for me to sit on the other.
……Well, it’s not considered proper etiquette for boys and girls to sit on the same chair. Or I should say it’s not good if anyone is watching, and I can still barely make the excuse that I’m still a young child. I was confused for a moment, then remembered other situations where people mistook me for a boy, and I sat down next to him without saying anything. I don’t really have the habit of making idle chatter with myself or with others, so I decided to ask him what topic he liked.
“So, what would you like to chat about?”
“Anything is fine. For example…… oh, how about this. How about telling me about your friends? What types of things do you like to do with your friends?”
When he asked me this question somewhat cheerfully, I felt like I had been struck by lightning.
……A conversation about friends, but I have hardly any to talk about!