he word for expose, which has the same pronunciation as rose in Japanese.)

“Huh.
Tell me what?”

What on earth was he talking about? I didn’t even know that the Duke and this man were acquainted, and he didn’t say anything about the Duke so I didn’t learn anything.
Ah, I gave him a rose.

I tilted my head as far as it could go.
The Duke smiled helplessly and introduced me to him.

“Daniel, this child is Isaac.
My house’s gardening apprentice.
Isaac, this is my friend Daniel.

If he’s a friend of the Duke then he’s a high-ranking noble.
Oh no, I spoke to him so casually.
I lowered my head and apologized right away.

“I am Isaac Baumgartner.
I’m sorry for speaking rudely just now! I thought you were a ghost from how absent you seemed.”

I heard a sound erupt above my lowered head.
When I raised it, the Duke was stifling his laughter with his hand to his mouth, and the man was smiling bitterly.
No, Daniel-sama was smiling bitterly.
(TN: I should mention that Daniel is pronounced like Dan-yell, not Dey-knee-el.)

“Being mistaken for a ghost by a child you don’t know, how fitting for you Daniel.”

“I’m actually conscious about it…”

In reply, the Duke opened his eyes a little bit more and smiled softly.
I see, a friend like him would worry.
I don’t know the situation, but if the Duke is relieved then this might be okay.

My stomach suddenly growled.
I was supposed to have lunch after taking the roses to the maids.
Come to think of it, we might have only been talking about food to begin with because I was hungry.

Daniel let out a chuckle.

“That’s a good sound.
Now I’m feeling hungry.”

“Um, er…”

“You were on your way to get some work done weren’t you? You can go back and have lunch.”

“Yes.”

Since I got permission from my superior the Duke, I picked the basket back up and excused myself with a bow.

“Isaac.”

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Someone called me and I stopped moving my feet.
Truly fresh green eyes met mine.
The yellow rose I gave him bloomed at his chest.
Daniel-sama pointed to it and said.

“Thank you.
If it blooms well I can show it to my wife too.”

I’m happy that he’ll take good care of the flower.
I returned a smile and went on my way.

After I delivered the flowers to the maids and had lunch, I was to work some distance away, past a few hallways at the summer house.
I was to prune the mini-roses surrounding the summer house while my Father would look after the water lilies and the water.

To an extent, the mini-roses could bloom well even when they’re tightly grouped together, so I didn’t have to cut much and it was easier for me.
I might only think that it’s a waste to cut them because of my cheapness.
I put the parts I cut off in the basket that was lowered at my waist.

“Please wait, Era-sensei!”

“Ojou?”

I heard Ojou at her wit’s end.
Curious, I looked towards the voice to find her coming out from an entrance in the hallway next to the central building.
Who was she chasing so frantically? She was rapidly moving at a speed walk.
Considering their difference in stride, Ojou could never catch up.

Who was that middle-aged lady? All her hair was pulled back tightly in a ponytail, and she somehow had an amazing spirit about her.

When she stopped moving for a second halfway down the hallway, she looked to the direction of the summer house I was in.
I felt as if we had made eye contact, and without thinking my body froze up.

The middle-aged woman made her way to the summer house in a straight line.
I wasn’t imagining it, she was going towards me.
She came right in front and looked down on me as if to glare.

Suddenly getting glared at by an adult I don’t know was very scary.

“You are the young lady’s shadow, yes?”

“Ha?”

I didn’t understand the meaning of her declaration.
I’m not a shadow but a human being.

“Era-sensei.”

Ojou looked panicked as she called out to the woman, trying to interrupt her.
But the woman called Era-sensei didn’t pay her any attention.
She said what she wanted to say as she looked at me fixedly.

“Your lowliness has had negative effects, even on the young lady.
If you are her shadow, then act properly!”

After speaking quickly, Era-sensei grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and took me away.

“Eeeeh?”

Without understanding the situation, I was taken away just like that.
As I left, I saw my Dad in a state of shock although his expression didn’t change much and Ojou chasing after us desperately.

Our destination was a room that had almost no furniture despite having quite some size.
On the way, I was forced to change my clothes.
I didn’t like having someone else help me change them, so I did it myself.
I didn’t know why I had to wear a scarf so I didn’t wear it.
But then a maid forced me to and combed my hair at the same time.

“What are we doing here?”

What was it? I got a bad feeling from this get-up.
I can almost imagine something, but I don’t want to accept it so I asked the other people in this place.

“This is the dance practice room.”

Era-sensei said nonchalantly.
Seriously?

“So.
Whose clothes are these?”

The fabric was really good.
They felt comfortable unlike my usual clothes, but also creepy.
And I really felt like the clothes were wearing me.

“They’re from when I was a child.”

When I looked towards the door, the Duke was smiling in enjoyment.
Huh, the Duke wore unexpectedly simple clothes.
I imagined him wearing more lacy and fluttery clothes.
No, I mean he looks good so there might’ve not been any need to dress him up all flashy.

“It’s nice that you’re wearing my clothes from when I was a child.
Isaac, what do you think? Won’t you be my son?”

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“Please stop joking.”

There are unreasonable jokes you can say.
I can’t stand next to beauty.

“That’s too bad.”

The Duke shrugged his shoulders lightly.
Ojou stiffened next to him.
She was completely motionless since we had entered the room.
What was she reacting to?

“Ojou, are you tired from running?”

When I peeked at her face, she seemed surprised and took some distance.
I didn’t do anything that surprising though.

After her eyes swam here and there, they flicked themselves the other way.

“We… Well, it suits you, doesn’t it?”

“Eh? Thanks.”

It obviously doesn’t suit me though.
I thought that it was like her to say that and said my thanks.

“If you want I can give them to you.”

The Duke said without any hesitation or delay.
I was surprised.

“Eeh, I can’t take them!”

I don’t need it.
I don’t have any opportunities to wear clothes this valuable.
I don’t know why I’m wearing them now though.

“Then how about as a birthday present? It’s close isn’t it?”

“Eh…”

“How come you know about Zac’s birthday Father!?”

“Because he’s an employee of my house.”

I don’t even know the date, Ojou seemed to be saying in frustration.
The Duke replied with a smile.
He doesn’t need to look so smug about something like my birthday…

No, it’s unfair, you can ask the person himself.
She pestered him.
Why is my employer and his daughter fighting over my birthday of all things?

“Please stop the idle chatter.”

Heels clattered on the floor, and my back straightened on its own.
She was once again looking down on me from my front.
It was scary so I wanted her to stop.

“Isaac, they said? From here on out, I will have you attend the young lady’s dances.”

“Y-Yes…”

Her intimidation compelled me to give a yes or a no.
Could I say anything but that? Even though she wasn’t the one being spoken to, even Ojou nodded her head in fear.

I finally knew why I was getting chills.

“Madam Kuhnert is quite enthusiastic about your education.
Will you comply, then, Isaac?”

“Please at least give me a rental.”

Ojou and I were spooked as the Duke continued smiling sweetly.
I really do respect him.

TN:
Hey, I’m really sorry for the delay for this chapter.
I regret to say that I won’t be able to pump out any more chapters for the next two(2) weeks either, since it’s my exam season.
But don’t worry because I don’t intend to drop this series either.

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