|Author: Himezaki Shiu||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: PunishedLyly||English Source: Re:Library|
We were brought to the largest mansion in the deepest part of the city. Though, it might be more fitting to call it a castle or a church rather than a mansion. However, compared to the castle we saw at Estoque Kingdom, this building doesn’t have much of a distinctive appearance.
It has white walls and a subdued brownish orange roof. In other words, it has a simple design. Its architectural style is close to that of a renaissance-style design, I think. Not too over the top.
Ciel and Fiiyanamia are currently standing a fair distance away to have a good view of the mansion. Additionally, I’ve already returned control to Ciel. After all, we do plan on explaining our situation to Fiiyanamia and now, there aren’t any bothersome people around too.
「Well, well then. What do you think about my mansion?」
「It’s big. And… white… uhhh…」
「Fufufu, it’s fine. Sorry for asking that.」
I understand that asking Ciel for her opinion of the building is difficult, but I’m glad that Fiiyanamia doesn’t seem to mind it much. In Ciel’s defense, it’s not as if Ciel doesn’t have anything to say about this mansion. However, it’s difficult for her to put her impressions into words, I think. Speaking of mansions, Rispelgia’s mansion coming to mind might be a reason for her being tongue-tied as well.
To begin with, even if I was the one being asked instead, I don’t think I can give a decent reply as well. If I had to say anything, then I would bring up the fact that many of this city’s buildings, perhaps using this mansion as a reference, have simple designs.
Which is probably to harmonize with the gentle colors of nature in this city overflowing with nature. The focus here… is probably not the humans, but nature itself. In other words, the spirits… Still, while I can mull over things here, I should do so after we get comfortable.
「For now, why don’t you come inside?」
Escorted by Fiiyanamia, we stepped into the mansion. The interior isn’t too flashy, having a neat elegance to it instead. Immediately after the entrance is a hall with a tall, arched ceiling. There’s a path leading to a corridor from here, which probably connects to the rooms.
I found the pillars inside the house to be refreshing, which may be due to my sensibilities influenced by modern Japan. Although there may be buildings in Japan with visible pillars, I did not encounter any within my past activity range.
Being that this is a mansion, there are helpers as well and, as Ciel and Fiiyanamia entered, there were a few of them on standby who greeted with 「Welcome back.」
Due to how sudden this was, Ciel was startled. She has never been greeted home before, so I guess it can’t be helped.
「Allow me to carry your belongings.」
In regards to luggage, we only have magic bags. A magic bag by itself is plenty expensive enough, so it takes courage to just hand it over. However, not giving anything here might plant seed for future problems.
『Let’s give only the large one. It’s important to avoid conflict here, so I believe it would be better show amiability.』
Heeding my advice, Ciel gave the magic bag (large) to the nearby maid. On closer inspection, this maid has long ears. It appears that they hire regardless of race, as the maid next to her, having round ears, is a human.
As we’re told that the luggage will be brought to our room, we left that to the maid and continued following as we were dragged along.
Passing through the corridor, we then ascended to the second floor, eventually arriving at a balcony area. Extending right below us is a flower garden filled with blooming flowers. The flowers aren’t just growing randomly. Some flowers similar in color are grouped together, some are separated by size, so intensive work has definitely been put in this garden.
From the balcony, it even looks like a vibrantly colored carpet. I wonder how many varieties of flowers there are here.
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『Ain, Ain! Somehow, it’s really pretty! And there’s a lot of spirits too!』
As the excited Ciel said, there’s a lot of spirits around. Seemingly taking care of the flowers, the spirits are flying from one place to another. And those of them who see Ciel even approach her hairpin to take a rest.
Fiiyanamia watched Ciel with a smile on her face, but after a while 「Here, here. Take a seat.」 she urged her to sit down.
Having a seat in a balcony with a scenic view, it somewhat reminds me of a noble kind of thing. Though, come to think of it, this is the mansion of a person with a status higher than that of nobles. Upon sitting down, tea and cake were brought in.
Wait? Is this the so-called tea party? One of those noble lady activities?
『Say, Ain, there’s an etiquette for this sort of thing, right? Do you know about it?』
『I’m sorry. I’m powerless this time…』
『I see. Then it can’t be helped.』
「My, my? Is this your first tea party?」
「It is my first, yes.」
「Moreover, unlike earlier, you seem to have difficulty speaking. You can talk as you do normally, you know?」
I felt anxious hearing Ciel’s response, which might be my Japanese nature rearing its head. And as if to laugh at my worries, the two continued their conversation.
「A tea party is something you only need to enjoy. It’ll depend on the time and place, but Cielmer is going to be the one catered for, so you don’t need to worry about it so much in my opinion.」
「I’ll be catered for?」
「My, my? Do you perhaps have low self-esteem? Still, you’ll understand this eventually.」
After replying, Ciel took a sip of the black tea. While it does have the distinct bitterness of tea, I can also taste sweetness. Among the tea we’ve drunk up until now, it’s the easiest to drink.
It seems that it suited Ciel’s taste as she has a somewhat delighted expression. Ciel hasn’t really been choosy about food as long as it has some sort of flavor, so I’m glad to see that she’s starting to discover her own likes and dislikes. Though, being choosy is another problem in and of itself.
「While I don’t really feel like it, let’s continue the prior discussion. The one regarding you. What proof do you have of being a test subject? This is related to the name Ainsel, correct?」
「Ain is my special person, she’s always with me.」
「By always with you, you mean?」
「Ain said that she’s haunting me.」
Hearing Ciel’s words, Fiiyanamia stared intently at us. Her gold eyes almost seem like they can see through anything, it’s unsettling.
「I see, I see. Two kinds of magic power in one body. You have two souls, yes? Moreover, it’s not one soul that was split into two, it looks like one was added to the other.」
「I think. Ain should know more about it.」
「Is that so? In that case, can I have a chat with Ainsel?」
『Ain, would it be okay?』
『I don’t mind. Rather, this topic will be easier to explain if I do it.』
After all, I came to this world practically right after Ciel was born. What Ciel had relayed to Fiiyanamia is nothing more than what she has heard from me. We’ve switched places, but what should I say now?
I practically never come out to the surface as Ainsel, so I don’t know what to say first. Also, I feel extremely uncomfortable being referred to so intimately. Chills run through my spine. For now, I suppose I should greet first to be safe.
「Nice meeting you again. My name is Ainsel.」
「So you’re Ainsel. Uh-huh, you really are different from Cielmer.」
「You can tell?」
「The difference in how you talk… is intentional, so that’s not enough. First, the quality of magic power subtly changes. No, among the two existing magic powers, the one you possess subtly swells… yes. To begin with, since you’re concealing it, Cielmer’s magic power is difficult to sense, you see?」
「… So you can tell.」
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I did my best to make sure that when someone capable of sensing magic power at the same level as me appears, they’ll misread Ciel’s power.
「I only noticed it after close inspection. A top-class sorcerer would only barely notice something out of place, you know? Besides this, the easier one would be from the reaction of the spirits.」
Saying so, Fiiyanamia amusedly shifted her gaze to my lap. Following her gaze, as I expected, the forest spirit was sitting on my lap. The forest spirit waved at Fiiyanamia, and Fiiyanamia waved back in reply. Do they know each other?
「With how different the spirits react to you two, those that can see are likely to immediately notice something out of place. But with that said, they probably wouldn’t think that you became a different person. Now then, would you mind telling me what Duke Rispelgia has done to you two?」
Since we went extremely off topic, Fiiyanamia forcefully redirected the conversation.
「That man’s objective was to turn Ciel into a god. To be exact, ummm, a god’s blood… the blood that can only be drawn once… he…」
It wasn’t something that can be said so casually, so I couldn’t help but hesitate. After all, it’s a really sensitive topic for Ciel. Even if Ciel is telling me 『I don’t really mind if you say it, you know?』 inside my head. Fortunately, Fiiyanamia seemed to have understood and told me 「You don’t need to say.」
「Regarding what exactly he did in the attempt to make Ciel a god, I don’t know anything. However, since the Jobs were something given by the gods, he seemed to have speculated that following the trace of the Jobs would lead to the gods.」
「Jobs… is it. The one that could be called the gift given by the gods to the human race which excelled at nothing.」
Fiiyanamia had a distant gaze. The way she spoke in such a roundabout manner makes me want to ask her about it, but I decided to continue our current topic.
「By tracing the magic power, which presumably was granted by the gods, consumed during the usage of the Jobs, he could find out where the gods are located and have a god possess Ciel, making Ciel herself into a god. This is only a speculation, but I’m likely not wrong.」
「And this failed, correct?」
「What possessed and haunted Ciel was not a god but, for some reason, me instead. I believe that he couldn’t tell if a god dwelled in Ciel or that I haunted her, so Rispelgia judged Ciel to be a failure at, I think, 5 years old. He seemed to have thought that the body required time to adapt to the god.」
「Uh-huh, now I understand why you called yourselves a test subject. There’s no lie in your words as well. However, there are two problems.」
Fiiyanamia raised two fingers and then pointed to me.
「There isn’t any solid proof that can be told to people, as well as any evidence that it really was done by Duke Rispelgia, right?」
「Exactly. You two want to keep the existence of Ainsel hidden, correct?」
「Well, you don’t really have any obligation to tell those children about yourselves to begin with anyway. I only have to say that what you two have said to them is the truth. Those that won’t believe this don’t deserve to be in my garden.」
I was considering at least divulging the fact that we have two Jobs, but it seems like we won’t need to.
「Also, I’m only asking out of curiosity but, having two souls, do the two of you have different Jobs?」
「…That’s right. The one that was made known, Song Princess, is my Job. Ciel has a different Job.」
Fiiyanamia nodded curiously and then moved to the topic of Rispelgia. After everything that happened, it’s not as if we actually got a self-introduction from that man. We only judged that he might be Rispelgia from the documents and writings, so I can’t throw away the possibility that it might just be a regular man being made to seem like Rispelgia.
「The next topic would be whether it was truly Duke Rispelgia, but I can ask you regarding this, no?」
Fiiyanamia spoke to my lap. No, to the forest spirit sitting on my lap.
Hiya~! After several dozens of chapters and about 2 years in universe, our princesses have finally found someone to open up to!
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P.S. Me gushing over Ain and Ciel’s characterisation because of a short exchange between Ain, Ciel, and Fiiyanamia incoming.
Ciel and Fiiyanamia’s interactions are really cute, to be honest. Outside her interaction with Ain, this is one of the few times she have showed reactions befitting of her age, and in my opinion, this is because this is the first time she’s been asked about what she thinks about something, rather than about what she knows. I might be overreacting just from their short exchanges, but this might honestly be the first time she’s been treated as a child but not looked down upon. It’s such a simple question, “What do you think of this?” and she’s completely overwhelmed. Anyhow, more of Fiiyanamia being on a different level in general, lol. Seeing through Ain’s concealment, waving at a spirit, seeing spirits in general (it’s still unclear if it’s a race thing or otherwise though), and also, being so welcoming in general. She’s not kidding when she referred to them as guests and it shows in her actions. Ain is still cautious as usual and while Ciel was doing well talking with her, it was a bit of a shame that Ain had to take over the discussion, albeit it’s understandable. It would be really nice if they find a way to talk simultaneously to another person, but this limit does make for interesting developments.
As I’ve suspected before, I honestly think that the one most affected by what happened during the first ten years at Rispelgia’s mansion is Ain. Not that I’m comparing but Ciel being raised in that environment really broke her before she could have any frame of reference to what a normal life should be. This, for lack of other words, worked to her advantage in this situation, making it easier for her to become numb to her own suffering. And thankfully, because Ain was with her, she did not lose herself and her emotions. On the other hand, while receives and feels the same torment as Ciel does, it affects her on multiple levels exactly because she isn’t a newly born existence. First, the reality of this kind of things happening to a *newborn baby* is crushing enough, and she had practically no power to stop it. Second, the reality that this child would never experience a normal childhood. And then when *that* happened, the fact that Ciel might never have a normal relationship in the future and the fact that Ain *did* have some power now to protect her, but she let her guard down. And then the realisation that the reason why Ciel didn’t react much was because the duke told her beforehand and *this could have been completely avoided if not for the fact that Ain **didn’t** even try to learn about the language which even Ciel have learned*. And then after that the fact that Ciel was then tormented while she was gone, *that she couldn’t be there for Ciel when she needed her most*. With this in mind, Ain is seriously pushing herself because she doesn’t even think that she deserves to live a second life, because she feels like she’s just leeching off a child. And, for lack of any other words, I like how she’s characterised like this. Ain stays strong for the sake of Ciel, and Ciel becomes strong due to her positive influence. Again this is purely my opinion. Also, Ain doesn’t really have much of an obvious “fatal flaw” (except maybe being too soft on Ciel, leading to some of their flirty shenanigans) but Ain has made many mistakes so far, honest mistakes, which aren’t caused by fatal flaws or anything, and it’s nice to see pure mistakes.
I always think that it’s the little things that make something good and reading this again, I can honestly say that I really do love the little things. Maybe too much.
Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay clean, stay safe, and have a nice day~!