T/N: I want to give a special thank you to all of my patient Cookie Donors. I’m sorry I wasn’t keeping up with my page for you guys, but I’m all up to date now! So thank you once again to Shiro, George, Emma, Madeline, Yin, Mary, Aiza, and Djanelle! You have all finally gone down in Cookie Donor glory~
Hearing my name called, I turn my head towards the voice and see a figure dashing through the front gate onto the estate grounds as well as the security guard yelling and chasing after him.
“Huh, could he be…..”
He seems to have grown a lot taller since I’d last seen him, but I don’t think I’m wrong.
I take off, pounding across the grass in his direction and then launch myself at him.
“Woah! Wah, hey?!”
He apparently didn’t expect me to come flying at him, so his face looks rather surprised even as he catches me and gives me a huge hug.
This person is Wilhelm Aaron Virgil. From my perspective, he’s like an older boy-next-door type whom Alice had idolized.
He’s quite handsome with light green hair and kind, amber eyes. He’s probably around 14-years-old now.
“Alice! Is it okay for you to be outside? I’m so happy to be able to see you after so long, but if you’re out here in the wind like this, what if you become bedridden again……..?” Will says, frantically worrying about my well-being, but then suddenly he stops and stares at me for a moment as if he had just realized something.
“Wait, Alice, did you say my name just now?”
“??….Yep. I did.”
“….. You….. You taaaaaaaaaalked!?!?” Will-Niisama exclaims as if he had just seen something completely unbelievable.
What a nostalgic reaction.
Though, I guess this isn’t the sort of situation that most people could take in calmly. After the affair with Rouge had started, I didn’t really see much of Will-Niisama, so it’s probably natural for him to be surprised like this.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Will-Niisama has always affectionately doted on me. And, as he just demonstrated, he can be quite the worrywart, so his concern for me can border on overbearing at times.
For that reason, after I had become unnaturally timid and scared, his presence became overwhelming to me and I ended up avoiding him for the last two years. It had eventually gotten to the point where I wouldn’t allow him to come anywhere near me.
And for that, I feel terribly sorry.
“Alice! Since when did you get so much better?! It wasn’t that long ago when you couldn’t even talk and you were bedridden all day…. You were so weak back then…..! But your face looks so much healthier now….. Even the color has returned to your cheeks! Aren’t you just way too remarkably cute now!?!”
Wasn’t the sentiment in that last sentence a little different from the rest? I wonder, even as I’m trying to answer his questions.
“Umm, I got better around a week ago. It’s a bit of a long story though, so maybe you can ask for the details when we’re all together?”
I know Father in particular will put his heart and soul into retelling every single little thing that had happened.
“O-okay, gotcha. Anyway, I’m so happy you’re alright now. I’m seriously so happy, Alice…..!”
With teary eyes, Will-Niisama gives me another tight hug. If we weren’t outside and in such plain view at the moment, I have a sneaking suspicion that he would be bawling his eyes right now.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Wilhelm-Sama, but since you two are finally having your long-awaited reunion, shall I inform Master and Mistress of your arrival and ask for permission for you to attend today’s tea party?” Conny asks.
Although she manages to say this calmly, her expression gives away her true feelings. She is looking at Will as if she had just found a kindred spirit. Will’s expression on the other hand looks absolutely delighted at the idea. I can practically see an aura of flowers emanating from him, he’s so happy.
“By all means. I would absolutely love to join if that’s okay!”
“Huh? Weren’t you on your way to somewhere else, Will-Niisama?”
In answer to my my simple question, he puffs out his chest and laughs proudly.
“We’ll just say that I didn’t have any plans. If Alice is going to be there, then in my eyes that is the only tea party in the world that I need to be at.”
Isn’t that Dy**on’s jingle?1 The only vacuum in the world that you’ll ever need….? Is what I thought, but I keep my mouth shut. I wonder if the person inside Will-Niisama was also originally Japanese?
And with that, the number attending our tea party was extended by one to include the neighborhood boy-next-door.
It was only natural though, since Will-Niisama has always been pretty close with my parents. He’s basically like a member of our extended family. And since his other appointment was originally scheduled for about mid-afternoon, we had just enough time to dispatch a maid to let the other party know that he would have to cancel their plans for today, which allowed him to attend our tea party without any time constraints.
“Thank you for allowing me to attend today’s tea party on such short notice,” Will-Niisama says politely.
My parents smile back cheerfully. “Oh no. Feel free to come by any time!” my mother replies adamantly, and on that note, our tiny tea party officially begins.
I can feel a gentle breeze from time to time blowing comfortably against my face and the lovely autumn roses are currently in full bloom in the garden all around us. On our nice white table there is a beautiful little afternoon tea set arranged for us with tea and refreshments. It’s a calm and truly lovely afternoon.
As we chat, Father explains all the events that had happened up until today to Will who yelps in surprise and anguish as he listens.
Mother and I are quietly listening to Father’s retelling when I remember something that I’ve been curious.
“Mother, there’s something that I’ve been interested in for a while now…” I say somewhat hesitantly.
“What’s that~?” she replies sweetly .
“That night, when you were invoking the red-berried elder and the half moon, you were using magic, right? What did all that mean?”
That’s right. It’s finally time for some lighthearted fantasy!
The moment that I was reincarnated here I realized it…. Magic exists in this world!! It’s a true fantasy world!! I was super excited for about a second before I recalled all of the stuff that had been happening with Rouge. Then I had to focus all of my attention on thwarting her evil plans and fixing all the problems that had been occurring in my home, so I hadn’t had the chance to learn anything about magic yet.
But now that’s all over, and everything has gone back to normal. We can now peacefully have a tea party without having anything to worry about… I don’t have any reason to hold my questions back anymore.
“Oh my, are you interested in learning about magic already, Alice?” Mother asks, amused. “Well, the part about red elderberry was referring to being in a place that smells heavily of elderflowers.2 That was the fragrance that your father had been burning in his room at that time.”
I nod my head earnestly. Now that I think about it, the air had been thick with a musky, wine like smell. That must be the scent of elderflowers.
“Since that wasn’t the typical fragrance that he normally would use, I knew right away that there was something going on. At first, I felt disheartened because elderflowers are sometimes used to represent marriage…. but once I had fully grasped the situation, I knew exactly what he intended to use them for. The next part, when I spoke of the half moon, I was asking that my magic powers be amplified, like how the half moon will wax until it becomes a full moon.”
Oh, I see. That makes sense. I remember reading about the effects that elderflowers and the moon can have on magic in some occult books during my past life. It seems like the logic is actually pretty similar.
“So invoking those two things, you were calling upon magic protection and hoping to amplify your powers, right?”
Blinking her eyes multiple times in quick succession, Mother looks at me in surprise, but then her face morphs into a gentle, praising smile.
“That’s exactly right. You’re so knowledgeable, Alice.”
I guess the two world’s really must be connected somehow!
Mother laughs and smiles impishly at me before continuing.
“Since ancient times dried elderflowers have been hung over the doors of houses and animal sheds in order to ward away burglars, and the tree itself has been used as an ingredient to aid in spellcasting…… We ourselves were dealing with something like a thief that night, so it was the perfect choice.”
I see, I see! I can’t help but think it’s a shame that I don’t have anything to take notes with right now, but I make up for it by listening extra carefully.
But as I’m focusing on her explanation, her gentle expression suddenly starts to turn sad.
“……As for the ash tree that he burned that night, since it’s an ash tree that guards over that child’s grave, it was only fitting that he use it there as well.”
“Elder Sister….” I say, nodding my in understanding.
Although I call her my elder sister, I’m actually referring to the Alice who had died right after being born.
After discussing it with my parents, we decided that it would be appropriate to call her that, though in my head I still think of her as the “original Alice.” But in the sense that she had been my parents’ child first, she is basically my older sister.
And more than anything, since I experienced that good omen while visiting her grave that day, I’ve been wanting to believe that she’s already accepted me as family, even though I’m only someone who’s stolen her rightful place.
Since our conversation had ended on such a heavy note, Mother starts looking at me worriedly. To ease her mind I stand up and walk over to Mother’s chair, placing my head into her lap and snuggling into her like a cat.
I figure that by acting spoiled like this, I can show her that I’m still okay without having to say anything. And, if my actions can help her to forget even a fraction of her pain, then I’ll be happy.
As I burrow into her lap, she begins to gently stroke my head.
And as we enjoy our mother-daughter time, I realize that it seems super quiet all of a sudden.
Huh? I wriggle my head around until I can look back at Father and Niisama…. but then I promptly regret looking in their direction.
Right. Because they are now both staring at me with wide, affectionate eyes and super silly expressions that all but ruin their good looks.
Pretending that I hadn’t noticed their longing gazes, I turn my head back into Mother’s lap and snuggle in even deeper. Those two are so handsome, but as soon as their expressions become like that, the results are just disastrous.
I wonder if Mother is used to it already? She’s just continuing stroke my head, paying them no mind whatsoever. After a moment though, she stops, and with a smooth hand, free from all signs of work or blemishes, she grabs a rose from the display on the table and carefully puts it in my hair.
“Roses really do suit you, Alice~”
When I glance up to look at her, she gives me a happy smile.
“Really?” I ask since I can’t see it myself. I tilt my head to the side so that she can get a better look.
“Really~” she replies. Glancing past her, I see that both Father and Niisama are nodding their heads so vigorously that they look as if they might fly off.
Well, I suppose that with my coloring being so light, all white, silver, and gold, the red of the rose probably stands out in contrast and looks really pretty.
Thinking that, I casually glance at the rest of the roses that fill the garden. Since right now autumn roses are in season, they are all currently in full bloom.
“The roses are suuuper pretty, aren’t they Mother?”
“They are. They’re my favorite, you know~” Mother says, joyfully.
“There’s a place called the Imperial Garden that also has a rose garden. The roses that I saw there were so wonderful that I asked our gardener if he would be able to create an imitation of it here for me.”
“Imperial Garden?” I ask her, unfamiliar with the place that she is referring to.
“You haven’t been there since you were very young so I guess you might not remember it now. Like this estate, it’s very close to the center of the Imperial Capital, but it’s a little further west from here. It’s on a huge stretch of protected land that is generally free from political rule.”
I wonder if it’s similar to the Nature Reserves and National Parks that we had in Japan.
There’s no way I wouldn’t be super interested in seeing a fantasy world’s wildlife preserve!
“Oh! Since it was amazing enough for Mother to want to copy it, I definitely want to go there too!” I say trying to make my eyes look as sparkly and hopeful as possible.
Father, looking as if he had just thought of a good idea, asks coolly, “Then should we try visiting there sometime?”
“Yes! Oh, can we please?”
Father, who had managed to control his expression enough to look handsome again, can’t seem to maintain his serious look. After hearing confirmation that I wanted to go, his face once again breaks out in that huge, ridiculous, pampering grin and he quickly replies that, “Of course, of course we can!”
“We were already thinking that once your condition had become more stable and you had finished your rehabilitation that we should take you on a trip somewhere, Alice. We were just wondering earlier about where might be a good place to go. Since the Imperial Garden isn’t too far away, that might not be a bad idea,” Father says, calmly, though his face gives away his excitement.
“True. By carriage, it shouldn’t take us more than a half an hour, so it seems like a good choice,” Mother agrees.
“What about you? Do you want to come out to play with Alice?” Father asks Will-Niisama.
“Yes! Of course! Definitely!”
With that, our plans were decided. I’ll be going out with my parents and Will-Niisama to see a fantasy garden! Moreover, I’m finally going to see the outside world!! Just thinking about it, I’m getting so excited.
I did go out once already, when we went to the Jaime family castle, but I had ended up sleeping during the entire carriage ride, and we went straight home after a very short visit so I didn’t get to see much at all. So this is basically my first outing in this world!
I wonder if I’ll encounter any magical creatures? Or if there will be any mystical medicinal herbs? And what will the people be like outside of our estate?? Hehehe.
“Aww, seeing your eyes gleaming like that….. My daughter is just too cute!” Father says, watching my face as I’m fantasizing about our trip.
As I look over at Father’s overly adoring face, I can’t help but think that glinting might be a more accurate descriptor than gleaming.
T/N: My goodness gracious this chapter was hard to translate. It’s been such a long time since I struggled this much with understanding what was going on haha. So, if any of you find something that you don’t understand, let me know! I’ll see if I can try to phrase/explain it better!
1 When I first read, Dy**on, I had no idea what Alice was talking about. In the raws, all she thought was, “Is that Dy**son?” The part about the vacuum is information that I added as clarification to the story after asking a Japanese person what she meant. Apparently, Dyson has a vacuum cleaner commercial in Japan that has a similar phrase in it lol, so she’s basically thinking that Will copied that line from the commercial.↩
2When I was translating that spell, I had been a bit confused. I didn’t think she would have actually been invoking a place when she was casting it, but according to her explanation she definitely was. I don’t really want to go back and fix it, but if any of you feel strongly about it, then I will XD Just let me know haha.↩