Happy New Years everyone. I hope you’re having as much fun as I am this last day of the year. On an unrelated note, I was hoping we could all have a moment of silence for my friend Tyler. For security reasons, his phone was accidentally wiped, so he lost over four years worth of collected memes. His life’s work, down the drain. May he find peace.
No Matter How Good The Conditions Are, I Will Not Become a Servant
“Lucy, who are you?”
so Ortensia questioned. A question that took Lucy completely off guard.
“Who, what kind of question is that?”
“Your identity was guaranteed by the school headmaster, so I did not look you up at the time of admission, but my father recently asked me to investigate. The Blanchett family is a mediocre one lacking anything of interest. It is the type of house that is almost embarrassing for a daughter of the Rosedot house like myself to look at, but I suppose it would be considered a moderately homely house by commoner standards.”
“Well it that’s the case, I should apologize. I’m sure it was quite unwelcome for a lady of such high standing such as yourself to hear about what a lower noble like Conrad finds interesting in a dress.”
“A new sound!”
A new sound came from Ortensia after Lucy’s comeback. After she pointed it out however, Ortensia quickly gave her a, “Mi~!” to scold her for interrupting the story in the first place.
Lucy received the outburst of anger with grace while taking a sip of her tea sitting on the table in front of her.
The two girls were sitting at a terrace at one corner of the school building. Today’s weather was serene and occasionally a comfortable wind blew through, creating the perfect atmosphere for drinking tea outdoors. There were no classes going on at the time, so they were spending their free-time to have a three o’clock snack.
During that time, just as Lucy was about to give Ortensia an answer…..she caught the sight of Claudio and Conrad from the corner of her eye. Just as she was wondering if they had seen them as well and started to wave her hand a little to get their attention, the sound of a few other girls yelling out came at the same time as well. Soon Claudio’s head turned, and his eyes ended up locked right onto Lucy. The only question was whether it was the sound of the splash or the scent of the tea that alerted him to her location.
Ignoring the glares that were all turned her way, Lucy motioned for them to come sit down, but when Lucy shifted her chair to the side to make room, Ortensia noticed the guys for the first time and started to panic.
She was still worried about the event from the other day, and she has been actively avoiding Conrad. She has been inventing excuses for the past week to avoid having lunch at the usual bench with everyone else. Lucy was starting to wonder if she was waiting for her feelings to calm down or if she was going to keep doing this until the ban escort invitations expired.
“Mi, Mi, Lucy”
“Sorry, we don’t have any tea for Claudio or Conrad. I only bought a little…….”
“I’m sorry, that was a lie. Please don’t make such a sad voice. As for Conrad, he has been reacting favorably, so I’m sure your feelings were transmitted properly.”
“I tried asking, but somehow someone shoved some bread into my mouth so I wasn’t able to find out more.”
Lucy’s words confused Ortensia for a moment.
But Claudio’s voice signaling his and his friend’s arrival blew all that out of her head and made her jump out of her seat.
“Hey Lucy, and good day to you Ortensia.”
Giving a greeting as refreshing as usual, Claudio took a seat next to Lucy. “Would you mind me sitting here,” he asked while sitting down like a fine, upstanding gentleman, although the fact that doing so made Conrad and Ortensia sit next to each other would have been motivation enough.
Ortensia started to squirm around in her seat thanks to that, ‘calm’ being the last word you would use for her. A stark contrast to Conrad, who was sitting still as stone with only his eyes swimming around in his head.
Watching these two like this, Claudio’s expression was certainly not saying,
“I am having so much fun right now,”
no matter how you looked at it. It was a nice smile. If you did not know the circumstances behind that smile, you would think, “What a fine, upstanding gentleman he is.”
“Claudio, so fun…..”
“This, too, is just one more pleasure that comes with the party as well.”
“Mi~! T-that’s right, Lucy, you can’t escape the previous talk that easily!”
I will not be distracted! Claudio and Conrad were both taken aback at what was to them a sudden roar from the otherwise nervous Ortensia. Both of their gazes asked, “What are you talking about?” and even though it was clearly a shameless attempt to bypass her own embarrassment, she still looked proud of herself while pointedly accusing Lucy. Lucy on the other hand was scratching her head with a strange look on her face. It was impossible to say that she wouldn’t be confused about this situation.
“No matter how desperately you try to hide it, it is useless before the might of the Rosedot house! We investigated and found that you were not born to the Blanchett family!”
“Ah, is that what’s wrong? Yes, I just borrowed the name from them.”
“When the head of the Blanchett family was asked, he said that Lucy borrowed their name, and you are not their daughter!”
“That’s what I said just now.”
“The tempo shifted because you so readily admitted to it! Play along and try to hide it for a bit!”
Mi~! Towards Ortensia’s outburst of anger, Lucy found herself confused once again, scratching her head and murmuring, “Even if you say to play along.” Unfortunately this common reaction just led to another outburst of anger from Ortensia.
Meanwhile the ongoing comedy routine of the two went largely unheard by Claudio and Conrad who were too stunned by the revelation Ortensia had given out to pay attention to the pointless chatter that had followed.
“What’s wrong Claudio?”
“Your last name isn’t Blanchett?”
“My last name is Blanchett. I made sure to talk to the family and get permission to use the name from them properly.”
“That’s not it what I mean. Your birth………who is your family?”
Lucy blinked several times after Claudio choked out his inquiry.
She then looked at all three of her tablemates who were all watching her intensely……..
and tilted her head.
“I don’t know. Rather, I don’t remember having one, and I never wrote about them in my notebook. Ah, but I do have a cat.”
“L-Lucy, do you mean…..”
Claudio didn’t know what to say as he just silently stared at Lucy.
Meanwhile Lucy stared back into his eyes in turn.
But after a moment, Conrad had still not said anything, instead opting to continue staring blankly back at her, so Lucy decided to open her mouth instead.
She did not want to say it if possible.
But it is something that must be said. Although she thought it could at least wait until after the party.
Is this what is called being cunning? But this was the entire reason she wanted to go to the party with him in the first place.
“Claudio, I am…..”
However a large group of men’s voices overcame Lucy’s next few words.
Several male students dressed in expensive looking clothing had come up and greeted Claudio and Ortensia…….and only Claudio and Ortensia.
Lucy and Conrad’s eyes met, and the two of them shared a shrug. This attitude was so blatant, they couldn’t even get mad at it.
“Lady Ortensia, it is some fine weather today. How about enjoying it while having a cup of tea with me?”
“Well, I would be honored, but I am having fun at this table right now.”
“Then how about dinner? I could take you to my home and have my personal chef prepare something delicious for you.”
“If you’re having a meal, my house has more chefs, and they have all traveled around the world to learn their craft.”
In that case I, no my house can……..and in less than a minute the conversation broke down to each man trying to one-up the other although none of them did anything to truly stand out.
They were all desperate to make their appeal and win the right to escort her. They put out easy to understand yet vague invitations while attempting to still appear smart. If it was a woman who was unaware of the current circumstances, they would get worn out just watching it all.
On the other hand, Ortensia was able to sit through being the subject of that with a smile while putting in polite rejections…..but soon she realized that the men would not back away unless she said something more firm.
“I-I……I have made up my mind.”
“I do not know if I will be able to attend with that person……but I have still made my decision.”
The appearance of Ortensia as she spoke was far more delicate than what her usual high-handed fine-lady attitude would suggest, and it was impossible to tell who exactly she meant as she spun those words. Actually, all of the boys who heard Ortensia’s declaration looked back unexpectedly.
Their gazes inevitably fell on Claudio who was sitting at the same table, but the person in simply smiled while laughing gingerly–swinging around in his seat as the person who was sitting next to him, Conrad, looked on. This prince was having as much fun as ever.
Meanwhile, Lucy was sitting a little away, disappointed that no, “Mi~’s” had popped up in this situation.
“So, I will go with no one else…..! In that case, my room……….I will spend the whole night playing board games in my room with Lucy!”
“Aren’t I supposed to go!?”
Lucy yelled out at the sudden volunteer work she was placed into.
At the same time as she yelled, there was a simultaneous *THWACK!* as Claudio kicked Conrad’s left shin underneath the table.
However this declaration from Ortensia seemed effective towards the gathered men, and with each of them using the excuse that they were about to be late for class, they all unceremoniously departed. Soon the only four people left were……
“Why do I have to stay in our room!?”
“Because you’re my roommate!”
“In the first place Ortensia, aren’t you quite weak at board games? Your head always comes up with really easy to understand strategies, and whenever it looks like you are about to lose, you remember some mysterious new rule. And then I still beat you even after that rule change!”
“Mi~ Mi~! Mipu!”
“Eh, you want to play an entertainment game¹? I don’t want to be the host. I like to use every trick I can to pull out a win against the pitiful people going up against, but I absolutely dislike losing in an entertainment game as much as possible.”
Whether things were coming or going, the conversations between Lucy and Ortensia were always the same.
Claudio watched the two of them go out and eventually shrugged his shoulders having given up. Then his eyes lazily looked down, seeing the time displayed on his wristwatch, and he suddenly raised a voice.
At the same instant, the school bell sounded. Although it was the sound to inform everyone that the small break had ended, both Lucy and Ortensia were able to relax as neither of them had a class next period. They were however the only two that could relax.
“Hurry Conrad! The next lesson has already started!”
“Wha-, it’s that time already!?”
Claudio and Conrad both jumped to their feet at the same time. Meanwhile the other two ladies at the table continued to stay seated while leisurely sipping away at their tea. It was as stark a contrast as black from white.
Then as a goodbye, Ortensia made sure to tell Conrad, “I will wait,” as he was about to run off. Claudio meanwhile patted Lucy on the head a few times before saying, “We’re still good.” And then, the two of them were off.
Ortensia let out a deep sigh as she watched the two men run off.
Her cheeks were roses and her eyes left half open–the very picture of a maiden in love. On the other hand Lucy had placed her hands on top of her head as if to somehow push the feeling of Claudio patting her head into her skull……..before suddenly turning her thoughts to Ortensia.
“Why is the Rosedot house suddenly investigating me now?”
She brought the discussion back to the original topic at hand. The fact that she had borrowed the Blanchett name…….was the flow of it.
“My father wrote to me in a letter, ‘The child sharing a room with my Ortensia, find out where she comes from sounds like a capable child despite her unstable attitude and crass behavior. Find out where your roommate’s hometown is, and what her desired yearly salary would be,’ but I didn’t know that much about you, so I could only tell him your name. I guess he looked you up after that.”
“What are you saying, the venerable Rosedot family would never think to hire someone as lowborn and crass as you! By the way, I’m also supposed to ask what you would like for housing.”
“No matter how you think of it, this is under the condition of employment!”
The discussion diverted into a direction Lucy never would have imagined, a direction she firmly, “I will not be a servant!” denied.
1. I’m actually not too sure what this is or what an example would be. From what I could gather after looking it up, it seems that ‘entertainment games’ are ones where you have a host and other people play off of that. The best I could understand it was like Simon Says where you can’t really beat the person standing up front, only see how long you can last.