(***The word used in the title is ‘Sashi-ire’ which doesn’t really have an english translation. Basically, it’s a Japanese custom of giving/sharing, usually in the form of food or drinks, to show appreciation for help and hard work. I guess it could also be called a ‘present’ or ‘offering’ but I just went with special delivery.)
On the afternoon of the day we venture underground, I was doing the final checks on my gown for the Founding Festival.
In Dardinia, the most important national event is the Founding Festival.
Especially in this year’s case, most of the nobles are gathered in the royal capital because the coronation ceremony will be held at the same time.
It seems that the number of people who are performing the flower crown or sword ceremonies at this year’s founding festival is the highest in recent years.
“It suits you, Your Highness.”
“Yes? Thank you…I wonder if you could re-stitch it a little looser on the side here.”
Your Highness, the executive chef is sending a menu for you.
“Thank you. There.”
While I’m reworking the gown, the things that need to be done keep piling up.
Well, my work is just the beginning.
It was practically nothing compared to His Highness Nigel.
And moreover, it was still a week prior and there was plenty of time.
“Lilia, I would like to deliver something to His Highness. Can you coordinate it for me?”
I take off the gown is being sewn, looking behind my back as I step back.
“Miredei, I’ll bring the some of the muffins and cookies I made in the morning.”
“I’ll just go pack in a basket, then.”
I hope to see you, even for a little bit.
If we don’t have time to have breakfast together, I’ll send in a supply, and if I want, this is how I can arrange to see you.
This is the biggest difference from before.
Although I couldn’t see him in person more often than not, I was happy enough to go and bring it to him in myself.
“Your Highness, you are ready to go.”
I hold a basket with a cloth over it.
The gentle scent of black tea wafts through the air.
The muffins are blueberry cream cheese, and the cookies are black tea.
I can’t help but wonder if I should have actually made it a little sweeter, but His Highness prefers it less sweet, so it can’t be helped.
“Then, I’ll be off.”
“I will accompany you.”
Miredei follows behind me.
“Thank you. Please.”
Then I turned towards the office of His Royal Highness Nigel in the main palace, which I was accustomed to attending.
The calm voice stopped me. It was in the middle of the corridor.
The Duchess of Grachie, dressed in a pale cream gown, took a deep bow in front of me with formal courtesy. Now that she has taken a formal bow, I cannot ignore it.
“Please raise your face…What do you need of me?”
Sorry about the pause…
I want to go deliver this to His Highness, but I can’t just ignore her.
“I’m sorry to hold you back.”
What does she want…?
His Highness aside, if it has something to do with me, I need to be vigilant.
Although the danger of the past is no longer present, even if I discounted that, “I” am still full of reasons to be targeted.
…but I am the one being targeted, never the one doing the targeting…
I may be a target, but I’m never the kind of person who wants to erase anyone or anything.
“…Can you spare me a few minutes of your time, please? It will only take five minutes.”
Her beautiful face tenses up just a little bit.
Is she nervous?
We went down the corridor to the garden.
The flower beds are just buds of early spring flowers.
They may bloom just around the time of the Founding Festival…
Then I might be able to see the landscape of the founding festival lore itself.
“…I apologize for the other day.”
The duchess, who was a little hesitant, opens her mouth and bows her head deeply.
“If I had just stopped after hearing Felicia’s wishes…If I had forced that ill-mannered Princess to not overdo it.”
What’s is it, something is different…
The air was different from when we met at the lunch and dinner parties.
“…I got angry with my husband for the first time since getting married.” (***It’s a little unclear to me whether she’s saying she was angry at her husband, or her husband was angry at her, so just keep that in mind! But I read “Otto ni okora remashita” as ‘to her husband, she was angry.’)
“What? It was the first time?”
“Yes. This is my first time.”
Even though she said she was angry, Lady Elaine smiled somewhat happily.
“Your Highness may think it’s crazy, but I was just a little bit happy to be offended.”
“Did you get angry?”
“Yes…That person always says nothing to me.”
“What do you mean, “nothing”?”
“Literally, ‘nothing’. He’s a quiet person.”
No, like, silence isn’t on that level, is it?
“I know I am valued because he shows me with actions. Still, silly me, I wanted the words…”
“…Um, wait a minute. You’ve been married for about fifty years, right?”
“Have you ever had a conversation at all?”
Isn’t this a bit terrible?
“If it’s a conversation…If I talk to him, he’ll respond with an ‘ah-hah,’ or something like that, but there are also times when he’ll tell me to do this or do that.”
“…That’s not a conversation, is it?”
I think the conversation is a catch-all.
Lady Elaine looked troubled.
“…Maybe so. Perhaps it’s because I can’t talk well enough to have a conversation.”
For all intents and purposes, the elegant old woman cast her eyes down sadly.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I was always told I wasn’t very good at reading the atmosphere.”
Oh, yeah. It’s been a long time…
“I’ve given up conversing with people because everyone says that…I’ve been told that I should just smile. I was told that as long as I smiled beautifully, I was good to go. But after I got married, my husband always told me to say what I wanted…”
“But I didn’t have any wishes…so I decided to hope that it would benefit someone else.”
Oh, I see…
Suddenly, I understood.
What the uncomfortable feeling I felt for the Duke and Duchess at lunch was.
I felt like I knew something…
It felt strange to know it, but something was different.
At that time, I thought it was like myself.
It’s like how they used to call me the ‘Doll Princess.’
“…Your Highness? Can I help you?”
I shake my head loosely.
“Elaine-sama. You are very fond of the Duke, right?”
I didn’t know what to say, and that’s what I said.
At that moment, the doll-like old woman turned her head down, her cheeks stained with shame.”
The shame of a young girl…I think I’m going to feel it too.
“…Please don’t tease the elderly.”
“I’m not teasing you. I’m just jealous.”
I remind her that it’s true.
“…Please keep it a secret.”
Lady Elaine says in a soft voice.
“Huh? That you are fond of the duke?”
She nodded curtly.
“…That man has always been fond of his former wife. He did for me what he couldn’t do for his former wife…He has taken great care of me. That is enough for me.”
She gives a lonely smile, saying that her feelings would only be annoying.
“I don’t think that’s the case.”
In fact, I think that the Duke likes Lady Elaine…
Or is there something I’m not seeing?
Would His Highness know, if I asked him?
Perhaps His Highness and the Duke of Grachie are rather well matched.
It’s similar to my father in a different way, His Highness and the Duke of Grachie.
He and the Duke of Elzevert disliked each other with a kind of disgust, but there was a point where he and the Duke of Grachie were able to communicate with each other without words.
Perhaps, something in the core of the heart that makes them up is similar.
I looked up and saw that we had moved away from the building a bit as we talked.
At the edge of the corridor, my attendant, Miredei, is waving at me.
”Lady Elaine, it’s time to go back.”
The mature old lady nodded her head.
…Huh? I wonder what happened to Lady Elaine’s handmaid.
A lady never walks around alone. Wherever she goes, she is always accompanied by a maid.
Just as I was wondering, I heard a whooshing sound of wind.
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3 thoughts on “Chapter 17: Special Delivery***”
Context-wise (she’s the one who stopped the couples before) and the conversation after, I think it’s her husband who’s angry at her.
Hi, thanks for the translation. I enjoy it a lot, especially Nigel and Luthia’s part.
FYI, otto ni okoraremashita means “I was scolded by my husband” (the one who angry was her husband).
In Japanese passive voice, it use ‘ni’ for the one who did something. for example sensei ni homerareta (I was complimented by teacher = teacher complimented me) like that.
Ah, I see, thank you so much!