So here we are, the Imperial Garden!
I was now coming down from the carriage and standing under the gate of the garden.
The five members of the group were me, my parents, Brother Will, and Connie, whom I had brought along to help.
I was both happy and embarrassed at how much father spoiled me, since just yesterday we had decided to come here and now here we are only a day later.
By the way, my father has been flirting with my mother and spoiling me for a while now, calling it a “recuperation period” after the family got back together, and has put his office on vacation mode—Rather, he’s leaving it all to Alphonse-san as much as possible.
…Which reminds me, I’ve noticed dark shadows underneath Alphonse-san’s eyes because of this, so I wonder if he’s doing okay.
Even while worrying about him, I try to focus on my Father who is talking about the Imperial Garden.
“It’s commonly known as the Imperial Garden, but its official name is the Imperial Ruins Archeological Reserve. There is a medicinal herb garden, a rose garden, and a lake within the reserve.”
What? Isn’t that just like a Chuunibyou induced fantasy garden?! Amazing! (***Chuunibyou is basically a Japanese term for young people who have delusional behavior, particularly thinking that one they have special powers or destiny that no other person has.)
I went into amazed hunter mode with gleaming eyes and stared at my father intently, and he continued to explain with a look of amusement, as if he was happy to be listened to seriously.
“The history of this place is very old. It is said that the first royal palace of this country was here, and the remains of that palace are still here. When the capital city changed and then came back to this area, the current palace was built on the present site and this area was managed as a nature reserve.
“So there’s the historical appeal as well!” I exclaimed quietly, and Brother Will patted me on the head, impressed for knowing hard words.
“I’ve heard that because it was once abandoned, some of the plots are now unrecognizable as to what they were used for. Some of them have hardly kept their original shape. I also heard that some of the buildings are off limits, so you can’t enter those places.”
Hmmmmm. I nodded carefully, trying to to put all the information in my head. I decided that I would definitely come back and explore every inch of this garden one day. Isn’t this Imperial Garden too amazing?
“Oh, Young Mistress. You love stories like that, don’t you~?”
Connie gives me a look that makes me smile and I feel a little embarrassed. Was I really that obvious?
I calm down a bit and look around.
We are now in the first square, past the gate where the guard is.
The cobblestones are laid out in a pattern and there is a large fountain with some statues in the center. It is surrounded by tall evergreen trees, and three large paths stretch out to break it up.
The size of the trees is really amazing. On a scale that’s easy to understand, they’re like the ones in an old shrine or something. They are so big that I have to lean my head way back just so that I can properly see them.
In front of me was my father and mother, and Connie was holding a parasol for mother. Behind us, Brother Will was holding hands with me with one hand, and a lunch basket in the other. We walk into the path on the right side of the plaza.
The path is of a large gray cobblestone underfoot, and the path is wide enough for ten people to walk side by side. The middle path leading from the entrance plaza and the one to the left didn’t give us a good view of what was ahead, but this one showed an open area at the end of the path.
As we chattered our way through the giant tree lane, a field of lovely blue and purple torenia flowers came into view.
The flowers grow well in the shade, so the soft stems and leaves cover the ground even here, where the giant trees are often shaded.
I haven’t seen something like this since I traveled to Minamiboso in my previous life. It was beautiful…
“…Speaking of which, I know I said it was a past life, but did I really die? I’m not sure if I died in my sleep or if I died of exhaustion…?”
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a thing before, but I had been overworked after all…
I was thinking about this as I gazed absentmindedly at the flowers, when Brother Will tugged our intertwined hands.
“I’m sure this is beautiful here, but if you go on ahead, you’ll find a more open and better place. Let’s go, shall we?”
I responded with an ‘okay!’ and contiued.
There was a path of sorts in a field of rolling hills of flowers, and we followed them up.
Then we emerged completely out of the area of huge trees and torenias, with lots of grass and shrubbery.
I looked around and secretly sighed as I looked around.
“…Alice, I wonder if your legs are having a hard time?”
Ah. I’ve been found out.
We were climbing up a hill, albeit a fairly gentle one, but my body was getting tired quite early as my mom had pointed out to me. I’m quickly tiring myself out, but it’s just…I’m already 5 years old, so I didn’t feel very comfortable asking someone to carry me up the hill so I decided to try to hide my fatigue.
“I’m sorry I didn’t notice…”
As I was unsure how to respond, I was picked up in a big hug by Brother Will, who had entrusted the lunch basket to Connie.
“Ah! Bro-Brother Will, are you sure?”
“I’ve been training hard, so I won’t drop you. Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of you.”
Brother Will stretched out his chest in a way that made him look proud. It’s true that Brother will is much firmer than I thought he would be. Despite being 13 and probably going through a growth spurt right now, he’s not nearly as skinny as one would think. Also, he smells good. The power of a pretty boy is amazing.
I seemed to have forgotten my prior hesitations, thinking it might actually be fun. As I was patting Brother Will’s chest while letting out a giggle, I heard my father’s frustrated voice from behind me saying, “I wanted to do that…”
Father also has quite a strong body, so I guess I’ll let him carry me next time.
After being carried up the hill in such a way, we found ourselves in an open space with a wide view of the sky.
It’s almost like an English garden. It seemed that various kinds of flowers were being grown in the garden.
“Here it is, mother!”
At a glance. The rose arch leading to the the round plaza and the pergola behind it are similar to those at home.
The space was decorated with red, peach and white colored flowers, and the vines coming down from the wide pergola trellises were gorgeous.
“Yes, you’re right. And in fact, it’s also a place that holds fond memories of your father and me.”
My mother said this with a shy smile, and father smiled as well.
“I proposed to you here, didn’t I? I’ll never forget the look on your face when you were so happy.”
Oh! I didn’t know there was such a secret story. Proposing under a pergola of vine roses sounds just like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?
But it’s great that they made such a memorable place at home to imitate it. I guess they’ll always have that physical reminder by their side. So lovey-dovey! They’re so in love!
As I was getting diabetes from realizing how close my parents were, I heard something like a high-pitched puppy groan.
Hmmm? When everyone turned around with a look on their faces, we see that Connie is red in the face..
“Connie, are you possibly hungry?”
I said, and Connie nodded in embarassment.
“I’m hungry too. Let’s have lunch around here, shall we?”
My father spoke of hunger himself as he followed up, so we had lunch at a garden table near the pergola.
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