Akuyaku Reijou ni Koi wo Shite:
“I have gotten considerably used to my livelihood.”
It had been three months since the day I was hired by House Windhill and I got quite used to the life here.
I kept waking up before dawn and forging my body every day. Because the work day of this household was starting early and all the employees were waking up together with the sun to begin their duties, I had to get up before them to create time for myself.
I ran around the outrageously huge courtyard and trained my muscles through numerous push ups and sit ups.
I began doing this before every dawn.
After the sunrise, my job as a valet was starting but I hardly had anything to do. The only things that the former valet, Will, told me, other than routine duties, would be how to interact with other families.
It seemed that the preparations for a tea party to be held at our own mansion, including preparing invitations for the chosen guests and confirming their attendance was quite a bit of work.
Other than that, there was also the job of vetting the requests to attend and deciding who was supposed to be accepted and who should be refused. It seemed grasping the relationship with other families, examining who would participate, coming up with a decision and comprehending their circumstances was quite a troublesome work as well.
However, at that moment those kinds of tasks had yet to come.
Vincent-sama still being a child was not the reason.
When it came to aristocratic families, I heard that it was common to drag some of their children to social occasions. In the first place, the latest age for someone to hold a ceremony of adulthood, in this world, would be sixteen and I also heard of those who reached adulthood pretty fast at the age of twelve.
It was similar to the male coming of age ceremonies that the higher echelons of the other world held in the past.
Vincent-sama was only ten years old and adulthood should still be far off, however, it seemed, that by the age of twelve he would attend school. With that in mind, it would be better to start socializing with people of the same generation in other families now.
And yet… There was not a single invitation.
Even though there should be a lot of families desiring interaction with the House of Marquess Windhill.
Why was it like that? There was no one willing to give me a precise answer. Thinking that there must have been a reason why they refused to tell me, I gave up on investigating, as I should be able to find out sooner or later anyway.
Instead of worrying about that, I would cherish the time I made for myself to the fullest. To elaborate, I was practicing how to read.
It seemed that the characters of this world differed from Japanese. After writing my name I could see them as nothing but scribble. They were called letters.
When I became aware of that problem, my future turned bleak. I expected that not being able to write would be a fatal flaw for a valet.
But luckily, somehow, I can read. My eyes would recognise what was written in front of me in Japanese. However, I still could not write and that was a huge problem. Writing on behalf of someone belonged to the tasks that a valet would perform often and not being able to do something like that would disqualify me for the role.
I had to learn how to write the letters at all cost.
Although they were Japanese characters no matter how I looked at them, in reality, these letters should have a different shape. I thought such a thing impossible but the reason that made it occur was my peculiar existence.
( EN: Personality switch. )
When I took the reins of the body, the characters written were not in his language but in letters of this world. But since I could neither read nor write, I did not know what they meant. I could only recognize the shapes.
But that was enough. The other me could understand what was written. I would perceive the shape of the characters and write them. He would comprehend the meaning behind the words and in turn after learning the meaning of what was written, I would remember how to read the letters.
I commended my other self who only thought “How dare you” in return.
( *EN: Back to Ryou ))
The study session started to show results. The characters on the pages of the book I was using for practice were now jumbled between Nihongo and the letters of this world. The words that got replaced were the ones I’ve grown accustomed to.
Although transcribing the text was quite hard at first, I got used to it by then.
Because I was doing this every day, I got used to the quill as well. Even though my handwriting was still shabby, I thought it was slowly turning tidier.
( *EN: Personality switch. )
The road to becoming a full-fledged valet.
Although the goal was still very far off, I had the feeling that I was slowly making progress.
I wondered why was I striving so hard to be diligent in the job? But to tell the truth, I knew the answer. I just could not leave those two egoistic siblings.
Although those two caused me plenty of problems, other than them I had no other people that I could trust in this world.
Such a person like me was being treated normally by them. I, who was showered with contempt by my surroundings and had been on the receiving end of harassment, had been taken under their protecting wings.
I, who was nothing but an abnormality and that was not referring just to the heterochromatic pair of eyes. I was way more abnormal than that.
My body had two personalities residing in it and I was starting to feel friction between them. Little by little the distance separating the two personalities was shrinking and they were slowly merging into one. I would become me all the time* and the other guy would become me as well. We would be one and the same.
I felt like I started to become more like an adult and in turn, he felt more like a child.
The one that deduced that the merging began was the other me. I was fine with it. But even if my two personalities fused into one, I would still be far off from being normal.
Both of us understood that.
The other me seemed to have a strong resolve in this. He came from another world so, naturally, he understood that he was far from normal, huh?
However, I was different. I was an orphan from the slums, a powerless existence who could have died at any time.
Just how did I, who was a peculiar being even in that environment, turn out like this? The other me didn’t have any idea either.
Would I become someone strong? By that time, would I still be able to stay normal? If I became an existence wielding power, then I wanted to use that strength for the sake of those two.
The other me was quite trustworthy. Saying that this body belongs to me, he always passed its reins to myself. After thinking through his past actions, I understood that even despite knowing that I should have died, he still sincerely handed the body over to what looked like an afterimage of my consciousness. It was my first time meeting such a human being.
The way we met was strange, though, because he was a part of myself after all. I was my other self as well. Anyhow, the other me was trustworthy. I needed his earnestness to suppress the lingering hate in my heart.
So that I could keep the happiness that I was holding back then.
It was 4 o’clock. Vincent-sama should be waking up around 8am.
Originally getting him awake was the job of the maids but because it was really difficult and they didn’t want to deal with it anymore, it was forced on me before I knew.
Normally, Vincent’s personal maid would be in front of the room waiting for me but…
「Why is there no coffee!?」
「Why did you even wake me up without making coffee that would fight off my drowsiness!?」
I could hear shouting from inside the room. It appeared that the maid tried to wake him up on her own. Though it didn’t really matter for me, if they tried doing it, I would like them to do it properly.
Sighing quietly, I turned and jogged back the way I came from. Knowing why she had such a hard time I felt quite guilty about the maid but, for a bit, I decided to endure it. After all, because of her, I had to think of a method to calm the boy down.
By the time I got back, Vincent became calmer.
However, his complaints did not cease. Shouldn’t he channel that persistence to more productive pursuits? With such thoughts in my mind, I entered the room.
Passing beside the bed, I opened the curtains and let the sunlight enter through the window. Since it was the room of the heir, it was facing the sun.
When I turned my head, like I expected, I saw Vincent glaring at me from the bed.
I bowed courteously.
「Good morning, Vincent-sama.」
「Yeah, good morning.」
「Today, I have prepared apple juice for breakfast.」
Hearing my words, his forehead wrinkled indicating he would be difficult about it. Even though I noticed, I thought I must not falter.
「I have prepared an apple juice for breakfast, sir.」
「Why is it not a coffee? It takes plenty of coffee to wake me up, obviously!」
「Yes, sir. I was instructed about that indeed.」
「Then, why not do as you are told? Are you not my personal valet?」
「The truth is, while reading a book yesterday, I discovered something.」
「It seems that drinking coffee just after one wakes up is not very healthy.」
「…As if I care about such things. Coffee is obviously the thing for me.」
Even so, it’s not like he was particularly fond of coffee. He was just copying his father.
「What is it now?」
「I read that from King Takemitsu’s anecdote book.」
For Vincent, the only figure surpassing his own father was the third generation king of the Gran Flamm Kingdom, King Takemitsu. He was a ruler who used the country’s military prowess to expand its borders and the one said to have laid down the foundation of its current state.
「King Takemitsu was a gentleman who looked after his own health.」
「I know that. King Takemitsu was reckless on the battlefield but during the time of peace, he was behaved almost like a coward, treasuring his health. He lived in this manner so he would be able to display his maximum strength in combat because he thought his true worth could only be shown on the battlefield.」
「Takemitsu-ousama was noted to have said that coffee is not very healthy.」
「…And the apple juice?」
「Fruits are good for the body. It seems the sweetness of a fruit can improve the ability of one’s mind.」
These were not the words of King Takemitsu but since we came this far, that didn’t matter.
「Is that so? Well then, the juice is fine.」
「Understood sir. I’ll leave it on the top of the table so please help yourself.」
Vincent rose from his bed and sat in front of the desk. He had already stopped paying heed to the maid.
With this, I should have accomplished my duty properly.
Using the topic that I prepared for making him rise from his bed for soothing his mood was such a waste, though. It was hard preparing such things to rouse Vincent-sama’s interest every day.
However, I was aware that even if the situation with the maid waking him up didn’t happen, he would throw a tantrum on purpose anyway.
He was doing it with the aim of making people, who were negative towards me staying in the mansion, recognize my worth.
For the sake of returning that goodwill, preparing a conversation for every morning was nothing.
「Well then sir, I will explain the schedule for today.」
Vincent, composed, nodded his head. Explaining the schedule, that didn’t change for the better, would complete my work for the morning.
Attending to him while he dressed up was the job of the maid.
Until that was finished, I went to prepare for the morning class in the neighboring room by placing the textbooks, writing tools and sheets of paper on the desks.
Yesterday’s homework was blank as usual. I took the pen into my hand and opened the books at the topics that are within the scope of my understanding.
Around the time I was done, Vincent’s preparations were done as well and he entered the room.
「Are you done?」
「…I have been thinking of waiting until your preparations are finished.」
「The reason why I don’t do my homework is so that you can study. I can do such a thing when I want to, and in fact, I am able to do it before the teacher comes.」
Saying that, he took a seat and grabbed a pen and although he was pretending to be thinking, he only copied my answers.
Doing this, made his argument from before loose persuasive power. Using me as an excuse means he couldn’t think of any other means of persuasion. The “So you can study part” was probably used so that I would not think about it too much.
When we were done, as if he had estimated this, Moore-sensei arrived in the room.
That was the start of the morning study session.
Facing us, sensei checked our answers as he explained yesterday’s homework assignments one by one. That was just a review and after we were done with it, we moved on to today’s lesson.
Though we were using textbooks, most of the things he discussed were not written down in them. It seemed that the reason was to protect his worth as a teacher. Once I reached that conclusion I thought of stopping Vincent who was eagerly noting the teacher’s words.
I didn’t have any sheets of paper left, so naturally I had no choice but to focus so that sensei’s words didn’t pass me by in the corner of the room.
Moore-sensei only directed a question at me once. After that, he completely ignored my existence. I understood the reason from his gaze full of contempt.
There’s no mistake that he considered studies to be unnecessary for an orphan valet. When he realised that I was listening carefully, he lowered his voice noticeably. Being hated to that extent might not only be due to being an orphan but also due to my pair of eyes.
Even in this mansion, the attitude of the environment in regards to me did not change. Both in the slums and here I was a subject of hate.
With the exception of those two children.
After the morning class came lunch.
Because Vincent was going to eat lunch with his family, the assistance was left to the maids. In the meantime, I also had to have my meal.
After taking my food from the kitchen, I returned to my room.
Although there were quarters for servants to eat, I preferred to eat on my own instead because I would just be annoyed by the surrounding glares. It was fine with me because I also had to review the lessons from that morning. I didn’t know what would people say if they saw me studying.
While biting on my bread, I began writing down the things discussed during the morning class on my sheets of paper. Even if those lessons passed me by or were forgotten, if I asked questions to the other me I would be answered most of the time.
Though I didn’t know why, for some reason, I had a good memory.
I was fully occupied by eating and writing at the same time. After that, I re-read it all over again and tried to understand the contents. When encountering things I didn’t comprehend, I noted them separately for Vincent to ask about them tomorrow.
I can study primarily due to his cooperation.
I had asked him before why was he helping me to this degree. Strangely, I was satisfied with his answer.
“There is no perfect human being. For a human being to stand above others, he must seek someone who would fill what he lacks”,that was what he said.
In other words, because he was poor at studying, I had to pile up knowledge in his stead.
I thought his sentiment was correct. Unfortunately, he had too many things that he was lacking in.
At that moment I was the only person to make up for those shortcomings. Until the number of people that could help with that increased, I had to give it my all.
This afternoon was going to be both Vincent and Ariel’s etiquette class. Therefore there was no need for me to tag along as a dance partner.
I was going to spend that free period training as usual at the usual place. I took the empty bowls to the kitchen and washed them, then I went to the courtyard.
There was a fountain located in the yard. I circled around it to reach the opposite side.
There was no reason for going to this side other than drawing water. It was concealed by the shadow of the fountain and was seldom in other people’s field of view. At the very least, I couldn’t recall being seen ever since I came to the mansion.
But even so, just to make sure I concentrated on my ears to search for people’s presence. Although it was possible someone was hiding like me, at the very least there were no signs of people in the surroundings.
While still trying to make sure I was alone, I focused on the sensation within myself. Calming down I put my attention to my sight with particular emphasis on my right eye. Keeping at it, before long, I could faintly see something floating in the vicinity of the fountain.
It has neither color nor shape and yet I could still feel its presence.
It seemed it had also noticed that I was looking in its direction. Those things had consciousness as well and they gathered and floated towards me.
In order to not scare them, I slowly presented my right hand. The shapeless things gathered on it and started slowly to pull and absorb something out of my body.
I could feel their existence gradually getting stronger. After gathering them I conveyed my wish.
I wanted them to become a round ball, they complied. I wished that they take the form of a blade, they acted accordingly.
After that, if I asked they cut the tree branch that stretched out in front of me, the liquid-like blade flew forward and sliced the branch into pieces. Although at that time, I could only cut small and thin branches, I thought that if the things get larger I would be able to have a go at thicker ones.
This was the magic that I came to learn. It was very different from the magic that Vincent was being taught. However my intuition was telling me, or rather, it might not be my intuition but something was telling me…
…That this was the real magic.
Noticing the presence of those things was just by coincidence. Because I was addicted to bathing, I had been sneaking there after dark to stop people from noticing.
When I poured water over my head my left eye was hindered and I had to use my right eye only to see the surroundings of the fountain. I saw those things floating around but, at first, I thought it was just my imagination since after looking at them intently with both eyes, they disappeared.
However, even though I couldn’t see them any longer, I could still feel their presence. Thinking that perhaps I could only see them with my right eye, I tried doing it again and they became visible. I tried to watch with my left eye and they were gone again.
They were an existence that could only be seen through blue eyes. So I immediately knew that they were water elemental spirits. I just named them spirits for my own convenience, though, as I didn’t really know what they actually were. However, for certain, they possessed a will.
Having a consciousness, they also needed to eat.
Their food obviously was the mana residing in a human’s body. Not needing the activation of mana or its circulation, if I let them, the spirits would absorb mana directly within my body and become mine.
Listening to my commands was their way of showing gratitude.
That was the principle behind the magic.
Knowing that, questions began popping up. Why was Vincent’s tutor teaching him lies? However, I could not ask them. After all, me being able to use magic would be yet another oddity.
I still didn’t have the courage to let others know about that. Although keeping the secret was rather difficult, fortunately, there was someone who could offer me advice and support in such a situation.
Knowing that the established popular belief was wrong should be kept secret for as long as possible. Letting others know should not happen before I acquired enough power to deal with consequences.
Having decided so, I felt the need to desperately polish that ability.
By then, even without closing my other eye, I could feel the presence of the water spirits by just focusing my awareness. Even in places with water other than the fountain location, I could feel a strong response from them.
If I could start seeing them with no effort, this magic should prove useful.
I began to think I needed to create much more time for myself so I can work on my left eye.