The day after attending the party.
I was summoned by the Marquis, the head of the Rosenberg house. Although I have had the opportunities to speak with him in the past, this was the first time I’ve ever been called to his office.
Considering the timing, the business he has with me must be related to the party. Wondering what he was going to say to me, I entered the room tensely.
A working room suitable for the head of a Marquis house– it seemed to be made with those expectations a visitor would have in mind.
Multiple paintings done by famous artists and antique furnishings were gathered here, while the shelves lined up against the walls were filled with books that were still considered popular to this day.
In the back of such a room, sitting behind an oppressive-looking desk, the Marquis continued to run his pen over a document despite having sent a glance my way.
Of course, as his servant I made no moves to interrupt him, and a few minutes after I decided to take that attitude, he suddenly put down his writing utensil.
“Hmm… you didn’t try to call out to me.”
“It was because I already knew that you were aware of me, Master.”
If he had noticed me and still chose to continue his work despite that, then the documents he was processing had to be more important than our meeting. If I couldn’t even understand that much and disturbed him, I’d be disqualified as a servant.
“Yes, that’s a mistake that most newcomers make at least once. So you already understand that at your age? As expected of someone who received Cedric’s recognition at the mere age of six.”
Cedric was my father and the exclusive butler of the Marquis. When I passed the strict test he imposed, he gave his recommendation to have me apprentice as Lady Sophia’s servant.
Although I gave acceptable results, my father’s request could have only been seen as unreasonable from an outside perspective, and yet the Marquis still accepted his proposal even then.
Or maybe that’s just how much trust they had in each other.
“You should know why I’ve called you here. Yesterday, you were given the important job of being Sophia’s escort. Knowing that his son was chosen for that, Cedric was really proud of you.”
“Thank you, but… I can’t accept that praise. I was unable to fulfill the role given to me.”
“Is this why Sophia had to leave half-way through the celebration?”
Yesterday, Lady Sophia didn’t fall into darkness. On the contrary– at least on the surface, she had returned to her usual self as the daughter of a Marquis.
However, I got sick and we ended up returning home early.
I told her that I wasn’t feeling good, but I didn’t know the cause.
Although we left after completing the necessary greetings, leaving the prince’s birthday party part-way was still a stigma. My actions had stained my lady’s reputation.
“There’s no need to worry about that. There are plenty children who don’t stay until the end and leave early, so nobody would’ve minded Sophia’s return.”
“…is that so?”
Hearing that what I did didn’t disgrace her, I felt waves of relief wash over me.
“On the contrary, it was probably the right answer to return that soon. That dance attracted too much attention from the surroundings.”
“Although he was undercover, her partner was the second prince after all.”
“Oh, so you knew who he was? That isn’t the reason though. Only a few people there were able to discern his true identity.”
“So then what attracted the attention?”
“It was how cute my daughter’s dancing figure was, of course.”
‘He’s a doting parent’– is what I reflexively thought, but I absolutely kept that to myself. It probably wasn’t an exaggeration, and now the marriage proposals flooding in for Lady Sophia had increased.
If we didn’t leave then, an insolent person with no tact might’ve even started bringing these matters up with her in person.
“I’m relieved to hear that my actions didn’t become a source of shame for the young lady or you, Master. However, this was only a coincidence that I didn’t realise until after the deed was done. There is no excuse for what I did.”
Being aware that your movements wouldn’t cause any inconveniences, and taking action while ignorant of the consequences were two totally different situations, even if things worked out in the end. What I had done was the latter, and that wasn’t something to be praised.
“…sometimes, I question whether you truly are a child.”
“I threw away the innocence of my youth the moment I became the young lady’s apprentice butler.”
In most cases, being a child was an indulgence.
However, an official butler wasn’t a role one could take with that mentality, and now that I had taken it, I had no intentions of reveling in the luxury of my age.
If I ever did, I was sure the Marquis would relieve me of my position.
“…I see. So this is why my daughter trusts you so much.”
“Lady Sophia said that?”
“It was obvious even if she didn’t say so. She trusts you more than anyone.”
“Such words are–”
The Marquis raised his hand to stop me, before continuing.
“I don’t care. Rather, I had called you here because there was something I wanted to ask you. What was the real reason as to why my daughter left early?”
‘It’s because the young lady was about to fall into darkness when she saw me dancing with the game’s heroine.’ –There’s no way I could say something like that.
“I heard that it was after she danced with the second prince, did he do something to her?”
“No. The young lady returned early because I had behaved unsuitably as her escort, which in turn brought her misery.”
“’Behaved unsuitably’, you say? Are you talking about how after you left Sophia to the second prince, you had a dance with the daughter of Viscount Lindberg?”
“…you knew about that?”
He told me he wanted to ask me something, but he already seemed to know everything.
I felt like he was trying to get some kind of answer out of me.
…maybe I was just overthinking it. However, if it was known that my lady became jealous after she saw me dancing with the heroine, I might not be able to stay by her side anymore.
“Lady Sophia and the second prince looked so good together that I thought they could enjoy some time alone if I left them, but… I guess that wasn’t appropriate of me as her escort.”
“…I understand, so you’re saying that it was all because you were blind to my daughter’s thoughts?”
“Yes. The young lady is brilliant after all.”
Rather than her growing jealous, I had turned the conversation towards her becoming frustrated with me for neglecting my duties as her escort. Which was true, in a sense.
“I’m a little dissatisfied as a father… or should I say that’s a perfect answer for a servant?”
“It’s nothing, I’m just talking to myself. More importantly, what’s your opinion on the second prince?”
How taken he was with Lady Sophia’s beauty and the like– probably weren’t the answers he was looking for. He wanted to know if he was suitable to be her partner.
“Master, are you thinking about engaging the young lady to the second prince?”
“I don’t know yet. That’s why I’m taking your opinion in as a factor before I make my judgement.”
“Isn’t that too much for a servant like myself?”
“Don’t worry, its only one of the aspects I’m taking into consideration.”
My escape route has been sealed.
Just as the Marquis said, my impressions wouldn’t affect the results, but the fact that I still had to express my opinion remained.
With the possibility that my answer might reach my lady in the future, I didn’t want to say anything that would make her cry. At the same time, however, the second prince was someone she loved so much that her counterpart in the game went insane.
Since I didn’t know what the future would be like, I was going to try to refrain from saying any careless remarks.
“Right now he still has the maturity of a child his age, but eventually I think he will grow into a splendid person.”
“In other words, you’re saying he’s suitable to become Sophia’s fiancé?”
I stopped my words there and swallowed my saliva. My next words were going to determine the future. It definitely felt that way.
But I was Lady Sophia’s exclusive butler. It was my job to make sure she’s happy. Therefore, my answer to this question was obvious from the beginning.
Putting power into my stomach, I looked straight into the Marquis’ eyes.
“–for that, I think it would be better to confirm the young lady’s will.”
“Oh? We’re talking about a political marriage, but you’re saying I should still take my daughter’s opinion into consideration?”
“Although I’m only an apprentice, I’m still Lady Sophia’s exclusive butler. My first priority at all times is her happiness.”
If it didn’t lead to the joy of my lady, then whether this union was beneficial or detrimental to the Marquis house was irrelevant. I had prepared myself to take his displeasure at my answer, but he suddenly burst into laughter.
“Haha… I see, so I should ask for my daughter’s opinion first.”
“…did I say something strange?”
“No, it wasn’t an interesting answer at all, but… you pass.”
I had no idea as to what was going on.
Even before I could ask, the Marquis had opened his mouth again.
“Today, at this moment, I’m promoting you from your apprenticeship to that of an official butler.”
“–I will receive this honour with gratitude.”
Although I was a bit surprised, I had already made my resolution for this long ago. I chased away my doubts into a corner of my mind, and immediately thanked him as his servant.
“As a student, I would like for you to accompany Sophia as she enters junior high. Though, since you’ve been the one that’s been teaching her until now, I don’t really think you need a formal education…”
“No, such concerns are useless. As long as I can serve by the young lady’s side, I don’t mind being a student. I’m her exclusive butler after all.”
I responded with pride now that my position had been officially recognised.
At the same time, I made my resolve while thinking about the future. The next three years in junior high will be an important time for my lady.
At least for now, I have currently taken the prince’s position.
I wasn’t going to deny the fact, nor would I say that it didn’t make me a little bit happy. However, I was only a butler, and my eyes weren’t going to shy away from the reality that my lady was the daughter of a Marquis.
What choice my lady would ultimately make in the end was unknown to me, but it was obvious that things would only grow more troublesome once the heroine got involved.
Though luckily, the heroine was of a lower class of nobility.
The school in the capital city actually teaches from elementary school, but only a few ever attended there, since the majority of noble children were usually taught by private tutors.
This was especially true for low ranking nobles. There were many cases where tutors taught them all of their subjects from elementary school to junior high, with them only attending the highschool section because they had refined out all of their disgraceful sides by that age.
Just like in the game, Alicia wouldn’t enter the academy until highschool for the same reasons.
There was a scene where she wishes to enter the junior high section in hopes of reuniting with the person who saved her, but is persuaded by her parents to rethink that desire, and gives up.
Therefore, I had a three-year grace period until things became complicated. I would like to calm the current situation down before then… hopefully.
For the next little while, I thoroughly prepared my lady for the entrance examination.
The purpose of the test was to classify us according to our abilities. Aristocrats who have been educated since their childhood rarely failed.
But as the daughter of a Marquis, it wouldn’t be enough for Lady Sophia to just pass. It was necessary for her to achieve a grade suitable for her status.
That’s what I thought, but then I saw the contents of the past exams.
The content of the written examination ranges from problems that could be solved by any child of the same age, to questions that would even trouble a highschool student.
If the average of your scores reached eighty points, it seems like you’ll be chosen for the elite classes.
However, even if they were problems highschool students would be troubled with, my lady could solve them easily in her current state. Not just a score appropriate for her status, she may even take the position of the top student.
I was rather worried about my lady’s current mental state– but she was surprisingly healthy. There wasn’t a single visage of the version of herself that she showed during the party.
That’s how it was for now at least…
Then the date of the exam came without any problems.
The school was located in the capital city far away from the Rosenberg territory. Both my lady and I had moved into a second house in the capital city in advance, and now we’re leaving from there to the school by carriage.
Soon we entered the academy grounds located in the corner of the city, and had exited the carriage near the school building. On its walls, there were posters for taking the classification exam.
“My lady, I’m going to go and check out the test site, so please wait here for a bit.”
“Oh, can’t I go with you?”
‘Wouldn’t it be a hassle coming back for me?’ — She said that, but I could see the curiosity welling up in her eyes. Her interests had been spiked because she was visiting this place for the first time.
“If that’s you wish for, my lady– is what I would like to say, but please wait here because its dangerous.”
Laughing a little at my lady’s pouting, I entrusted her to the maid that came with us while saying, “I’ll leave my lady to you,” and entered the crowd in front of the school building.
The student body didn’t completely consist of aristocrats, there were actually commoners here too, and there wasn’t any guarantee they wouldn’t hold grudges against the nobility, so it wasn’t possible for me to take my lady into the crowd.
While scouting out the area for dangerous individuals, someone suddenly bumped into me.
“I-I’m so sorry, are you okay?”
I had spread out my magic power into an alert state, but it was only a maid that collided with me. Moreover, she even apologised right after in a panic. I didn’t feel any hostility from her.
She repeatedly apologised afterwards before walking away, saying that the young lady she served was waiting. While thinking her groundless anxiety was somewhat suspicious, I tried listening in on her conversation without directing my line of sight her way.
“Thank you for your patience. My lady, it looks like your written test will be in a classroom on the first floor.”
“I see, thanks for checking.”
“Your words are wasted on me. More importantly, are you sure it was okay to enroll in the junior high without your parent’s consent, my lady?”
“Honestly, I’m a bit anxious about it, but there’s something I needed to do here that I just couldn’t give up on.”
What I could hear of their talk didn’t seem that unusual. It sounded like it was the first time the young lady had been brought to a place with an unspecified number of people, and now they were a bit on edge.
The young lady was probably a lower class noble if she was enrolling in the junior high without her parent’s consent. Though, I did like that motivated attitude she seemed to have.
Maybe she’d even become one of Lady Sophia’s friends– I felt myself inadvertently smile as I thought about my lady’s dazzling school life.
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com