|Author: Shizuku||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3643 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1738 words|
The next day, a large crowd of freshmen gathers outside the third year A classroom. Somehow I feel like I’m attracting even more attention after the incident in the cafeteria yesterday.
“I see you’ve gotten quite popular. I expected no less from the Ebony Witch’s daughter.”
“I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to reply to that…”
Somehow I feel like Mathias’ comment is the exact opposite of what he told me when we first met.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it in an ironic way.”
“I know, don’t worry.”
Mathias apologizes seeing my grimace. I forgot nobles usually give dishonest compliments and hide their true feelings since I always hang out with Chris, but I guess Mathias thought I was taking his comment that way. I can tell he’s still a good person by how he apologized immediately though, and any bad blood between us from our first meeting is completely gone already.
But the crowd here will definitely cause trouble for others, and I’m the cause so I should take care of it somehow. I don’t really know how though, maybe just telling them to not gather like this could work?
“Okay everyone, open up, I’m passing through~”
While I think about that, Amy pushes her way through the crowd and enters the classroom.
“Olivia, I looked a bit into that freshman from yesterday.”
She walks up to me and quickly says that. I know she woke up really early this morning and left the dorm, so I guess that’s what she was doing.
“Should I leave you two alone?”
“It’s fine, it’s not something you can’t hear.”
Mathias offers to leave and give us some privacy, but Amy doesn’t seem concerned.
“Her name is Marize, with no last name as she’s a commoner. She’s in classroom C, and came from the riverside city of Carson. Her family owns a mid-scale store there. Apparently she’s engaged to Viscount McNiel’s eldest son, but that’s mostly an arranged marriage. And that’s about everything I was able to find out this morning.”
“Viscount McNiel? His family is a branch of Duke Cowan’s, and he gained that position by spearheading efforts to exterminate monsters and bandits, as well as expanding settlements. His territory goes from Carson into quite remote areas two mountains across, and I heard he was having some issues with annexing his territory to be fully recognized as transitable areas.”
Mathias quickly follows up with more information after Amy was done talking. I guess nobles always know a lot about other nobles. It’s kinda amazing that Amy was able to figure out so much about a freshman in such a short time too though.
“Did something happen with the fiancée of McNiel’s son?”
“There was a bit of an incident yesterday.”
We tell him what happened last afternoon, and Mathias looks down awkwardly.
“I see. How do I say this…I don’t know what Marize was thinking, but I’m sure she’s misunderstanding something, she has to…”
“Hey, are you alright? You just went pale all of a sudden.”
“Yeah, I’m fine…”
“Don’t worry about him, it’s probably just overlapping with his own memories from his freshman year.”
“Please don’t remind me…”
I guess this does resemble the first time Mathias spoke to me.
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“I feel like at least you had a reason to have doubts about me back then, but I don’t know why she would act that way now.”
Yesterday was my first time meeting Marize. I’ve never been to Carson, and I’ve never had anything to do with her family or the Viscount’s. She mentioned my parents by name, but they moved to my current house before I was born, so even if something happened amongst them it shouldn’t have any bearing on me.
“Regardless of that, it doesn’t change the fact that this Marize girl was extremely rude to you, so I’ll never forget her.”
“I have to say I share that sentiment. Whether her behavior was born from a misunderstanding or not, it’s not your responsibility to clear up. You should stand your ground and remain firm.”
Amy and Mathias don’t seem to think too kindly about Marize.
I feel like that’s the natural thing to do in this situation, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt by Marize’s words. But I still couldn’t bring myself to hate her, in a way I almost felt pity for her. I’m not really sure why I feel that way myself, it’s almost like a subconscious instinct so I can’t really put it into words.
After class, I decided to visit the research campus before returning to the dorm.
Natalia has been helping Miss Annabelle with her research lately, so I want to check up on them.
I enter the laboratory and see Natalia working on some intricate parts, while Miss Annabelle is writing down something while looking at a staff. Plum is running around lively, helping both of them however she can.
“Oh, it’s already this late.”
Miss Annabelle stops writing and rubs her shoulder a little. She had been so focused on work that she hadn’t noticed the time passing.
“Miss Annabelle, is that staff useful for you?”
“Mheh, of course. This is even better than what I expected, but I guess that’s usual for Master. She somehow obtained pieces of an Airloft Tree, which scarcely are found in the entire country, and finished the research of flight magic after it was considered stalled for the longest time, and that magic is now contained within this as a magic device, mhahahah.”
The staff she’s holding is the Airloft Tree Staff my mother used in life. The magic device she built saved me during the incident with the Rufus, and when I went to thank her for it somehow we ended up talking about my mother’s staff, and how she would fly around on it. That piqued her interest, and asked if I could bring it to her to check out sometime.
“Airloft Trees only grow in very specific locations, namely floating islands, and are the material with the highest affinity for wind and gravity magic. The most advanced research into flight magic elsewhere only got to float a few meters above the ground, and for a very short time. Compared to Master’s staff, that’s like child play. Though I guess it’s not really a fair comparison considering she used such rare and exotic materials. Either way, this has been tuned very specifically to her own abilities and affinities, so it’ll take some work to get it working for other users. I really have my work cut out for me, vee hee hee.”
Miss Annabelle giggles happily after saying that.
I’m not really sure I understand most of what she said, but at least she’s happy.
“And what are you building, Natalia?”
“It’s a magic automaton arm. Right now it’s just an armature with nerve threads, but since I’m using Aria’s silk for it, to me it feels like a regular part of my body.”
She calls it an arm, but it’s thin like a tree branch, and only has three fingers, so it’s hard to call it an arm at first sight. But when Natalia imbues it with mana, it quickly begins to move and she starts using the tools lying nearby.
“Usually I wouldn’t be able to move like this. It’s still an embarrassing proof of concept though, as I lack the skills to build something more elaborate.”
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Natalia says awkwardly as she begins to stash everything she used into her magic storage.
“Alright, I’ll be taking my leave for today then.”
“Mheh, I’ll be waiting for you tomorrow.”
“Enjoy your deserved break, Sister.”
Miss Annabelle and Plum will continue working, so they stay in the laboratory while I leave with Natalia.
As we walk through the research campus’ corridors, I look to the side and see Natalia with her usual cool unbothered face.
“Natalia, about the freshman we met yesterday…”
“Did something happen?”
The tone of her voice quickly drops, she probably can already tell it’s not something good.
Yesterday while we were in the cafeteria with Amy I could tell she was uncomfortable, even though she remained calm.
I tell her everything I learned from Amy and Mathias this morning. To be honest I’m still bothered by how Marize treated me, and if possible I’d like to be able to get along with her.
“If I may be blunt, I share Amy and Mathias’ sentiment. You have no responsibility whatsoever to attempt reconciling with someone who showed such aggression unprompted, and such efforts are better spent by forming stronger ties with your current friends.”
I guess I should’ve expected Natalia to think so too. But yeah, knowing her it’s obvious she’ll say that.
“I guess it’ll keep bothering you though, Young Lady?”
But then I’m startled by those words.
“I’ve told you what I think and my opinion on the matter, but the final choice is yours. Your life is your responsibility, so you should decide what to do yourself.”
“You should choose as yourself, as Olivia, not as Ophelia or Shuma’s daughter, or my master. Just be who you are, Olivia Eto Gardeland.”
I should decide as myself, not as Natalia’s master or as my parents’ daughter…
“Just remember that any generosity you show others won’t always be repaid in kind.”
Right, that’s also what she told me when I adopted Clarissa.
If I want to be kind to someone, I can’t do it half-heartedly. Otherwise I might get branded a hypocrite or fake, and I could also end up getting used by someone else. There’s also the possibility someone will just keep trying to hurt me.
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Being ready to shoulder all of that is the responsibility Natalia mentioned.
“Thanks, Natalia. I think I know what to do now.”
“Alright, if there’s anything more I can do for you, feel free to tell me.”
Clarissa’s attitude still feels odd, so I’ll try to work around that. But something I’d like Natalia to do… Well, there’s a lot of things, but for now…
“If you could kiss me on the lips, or touch my chest, which would you prefer?”
“I dislike such jokes.”
All emotion instantly vanishes from her face and she speeds up, leaving me behind in the corridor.
“Natalia, wait! It’s not a joke, I actually mean it!”
“That’s even worse1!”