I heard a knock on the door.
Roy gave permission to enter with his eyes on a textbook.
At the same time, one of his attendants opened the door to his work room.
Even in this fine weather you’re staring at books.”
(TN: Pronounced fi-li-ne.
She address Roy with onii-sama, I have no idea how to translate that without sounding way too clunky so I’ll just put Roy)
In reply to that sweet voice, Roy finally raised his head and smiled.
At the end of his gaze was a girl with perfectly smooth golden hair like his own who had her hands to her hips, pouty.
The tips of her hair, long enough to reach her lower back, gently curled inwards.
“You’re up early today.”
“You always say that.
I wake up on time.”
Roy commented with a smile.
Philine got upset in a different way from before.
“On your own?”
“…I have my lady attendant wake me up.”
Philine lost her words at her big brother’s comment before reluctantly confessing.
Roy laughed from his throat at his honest little sister.
She was only five years old so it was good for her to sleep in.
But her big brother Roy would always wake up by himself at morning, so Philine seemed to be doing the same.
Arventroat’s first prince, Roy Leonhart Von Rozenberg’s little sister, Philine, was born of the same mother as him, so they looked quite similar.
Side by side, they were occasionally praised as the picture of angels.
Their renown as angels was not just because of their looks but because of the nobility they were endowed with.
“Roy, you’re laughing too much.”
“My little sister is adorable even when she’s sulking.”
Not one to fall for such flattery, Philine puffed her cheeks like bubbles.
Anyway, what’s wrong?”
After more or less getting an apology, Philine’s face brightened and she spoke.
“The roses in the rose garden have started to bloom, so let us go and see them together.”
After hearing her big brother’s answer, Philine grabbed his hand, eager to go.
But before she pulled, she stopped for a second.
Roy tilted his head.
After hesitating, Philine timidly spoke.
“Um… could we invite big brother Klaus, too?”
In response to his little sister’s proposal, his honey-colored eyes opened ever so slightly before Roy laughed.
“I don’t mind, but won’t he run away once he sees me?”
Philine showed a thinking pose.
She was probably imagining what would happen if her big brothers were to meet each other.
Then her eyebrows sagged like she was dejected.
“…I’ll go with Klaus next time.”
It seemed that she hadn’t given up on the act of going with him in itself.
Seeing his little sister look disappointed, Roy felt guilty.
She would invite either of her big brothers, but since they had different mothers they weren’t used to each other.
Being boys, they both held a right to the throne and they were already being involved in a power struggle within the castle.
He had it out for Roy.
His mother being a deeply envious woman was probably no small factor.
He wasn’t sure just how much his little sister understood, but it seemed that she noticed that her big brothers were not at peace.
Still, she cheered up quickly.
Philine simled again and hurried towards the rose garden.
In the castle rife with schemes, her harmless smile healed Roy.
While having tea in their summer house in the rose garden, he stared at his happy little sister.
“You sure like roses, Phil.”
He thought that she must’ve liked them since she seemed excessively happy.
When she denied that, Roy widened his eyes.
So why was she so attentive to the roses in bloom?
“Roses look like my big brothers, so I like looking at roses with them.”
His little sister said flatly.
Roy considered her curiously.
She herself had an appearance befitting a gorgeous flower.
Was she not as good?
“Big brother Roy has white, big brother Klaus has red hair and it’s pretty…”
“What about Phil?”
“What kind of flower looks like you?”
Philine made a difficult face towards her big brother’s beaming praise.
“Big brother Roy, won’t you be mistaken as a narcissist?”
Why would he be a narcissist for praising his little sister? And why wasn’t she happy at being praised?
Since his big brother didn’t look like he understood, Philine sighed and said.
“I love my face.
Aside from the color of my eyes it’s the same face you have.
If you praise my looks it’s as if you’re praising yourself and it seems very arrogant.”
Roy was a bit surprised.
He felt like she adored him, but not to the extent that she would mistake her own looks for his.
He had thought that she was honestly rejoicing, but he now realized that the numerous compliments she had received until now were twisted in her mind as she received them.
“Indeed, our facial features are similar, but Phil always makes expressions I cannot make.”
You’re a different person, Roy wanted her to understand.
Phil tilted her neck.
“When you’re irritated you’re good at puffing your cheeks.”
“I don’t puff my cheeks.”
Right after she said that Philine puffed her cheeks, disproving herself.
That’s what he was talking about.
Roy poked those cheeks, amused, and Philine pushed them back in with her hands.
Even if she tried to hide it, he could see that her cheeks were red.
“Would it be narcissistic to find such things cute?”
“…Big brother Roy doesn’t make such strange faces.”
Groaning, her little sister admitted that his praise was for her and not himself.
Roy smiled in satisfaction.
“Please don’t praise me like that.
I can’t tell if you’re lifting me up or putting me down.”
“It’s your fault for not being able to accept praise honestly.”
Her big brother’s words were spot on.
Phil made a difficult face and went quiet.
Sure enough, she was no match for him.
He never got mad or fought with her, but there were many times he talked her down.
So much so that she felt a difference between them for which two years wasn’t enough to account for.
“Only Lady Lydia and Phil talk back when they receive compliments.”
Her big brother compared her with her beloved nickname to another girl as if he was laughing about it from the bottom of his heart rather than criticizing her.
“…Lady Lydia would be one of your marriage candidates, yes?”
“It’s curious that you’d be interested.”
Philine didn’t really like topics related to politics.
To think that she noticed a candidate for his political marriage.
“You’re the one who’s curious.
You don’t even talk about other marriage candidates, do you?”
That’s right, Roy tilted his head.
It’s just that he avoided topics that could get a bit scandalous with his little sister so she naturally thought that way.
“I am curious about what kind of person Lydia-sama is.”
Philine smiled sweetly.
Roy didn’t understand what kind of feelings were hidden in those azure eyes.
Was it just curiosity? But the only reason she didn’t propose meeting her was because she knew her place.
If her little sister, who still wasn’t known outside the castle, were to meet with Lydia, she would have to be invited into the castle.
And she wouldn’t know why she would be invited, so it would be suspicious.
Hm, Roy thought.
He thought about how he should say this.
Come to think of it, it was his first time talking about his friends to his family.
He got embarrassed thinking that.
Looking at Philine waiting for him to talk, Roy smiled and spoke of his friends.
Their time in the rose garden ended like that.
Later that afternoon, he was set to meet with Lydia who they were talking about.
When he visited the Ernst mansion, Lydia went out and they discussed where they should go within their garden for today.
Hearing that he had gone to a rose garden with his little sister, Lydia guided him towards a different place.
“Well then, let us go to the blue sky garden.”
It was just a guess, but she had probably been planning to guide him to the rose garden, wasn’t she? It was the flower of the season.
But to think that she could propose a different place right away separate from the rose garden.
Roy was truly impressed with Lydia’s reaction.
But what kind of garden was named blue? Roy couldn’t imagine it, so he was quite fascinated.
“Oh? Ojou, what are you doing here?”
The gardening apprentice boy who looked like he was going somewhere was a little surprised, implying that she would have gone to the rose garden.
He greeted his father beside him, his father whose big hands also forced him to lower his head.
Lydia giggled helplessly and told their exclusive gardener that there was no problem with her eyes.
The gardening apprentice boy was released from his hand.
“After the rose garden at the castle, you wouldn’t want to visit another rose garden would you?”
“Ah-, that’s amazing isn’t it.
The gardening apprentice understood Lydia’s words.
“We’re done caring for the blue sky place.”
I was going to bring Roy-sama there.
Lydia rejoiced at the boy’s report.
Seeing that, his own face loosened up.
It would’ve been a shame if you lost your candidacy just because of a promenade.”
“You don’t have to say that!”
Lydia’s cheeks flushed because the fact that she worried every time about what part of the garden they should show Roy was exposed in front of the boy himself.
But Roy was actually glad to know that.
It shed light on her intentions.
She wasn’t cajoling him like the other candidates, but simply trying to make him happy, and he was happy for it.
“To think that you even regretted not being able to show it to me.
I’m looking forward to it all the more.”
“It is wonderful.”
“The gardens my Dad makes are amazing!”
Their eyes shone and they replied to him at just about the same time.
Roy widened his eyes a little bit, and the maker of the garden himself looked away.
Then Roy giggled from his throat.
For some reason, the two who had a mutual understanding regarding the garden looked at each other as if they had said something strange.
“Should I bring something to spread out later?”
It seemed that there was nothing to sit on around the area, so Lydia nodded at the gardening apprentice’s proposal and he went on his way.
The exclusive gardener and the gardening apprentice boy carried jute bags as they went.
Maybe they were weed-whacking.
They were making the prince of a country sit on the ground, even if they were going to spread a carpet over the ground.
But the two knew that the prince himself was the type of person to go sightseeing undercover downtown.
He wouldn’t mind.
He walked after Lydia for a while.
Their path narrowed and the flowers around them increased to cover a wide area as they arrived at their destination.
Nigella, Amsonia and Starflower spread their pale blue colors, dotted with Odemari like clouds dotted the sky.
The garden was stopped not by bricks or anything of the sort but by bluish-purple broadleaf lilacs, mimicking the sky as it reflected the sea.
There was an esplanade coming through it, and walking on it felt like walking through the sky.
(TN: An odemari looks like a big white ball.
It’s made of the kanji for big hand ball in Japanese.)
“This is fun.”
Lydia smiled, satisfied at Roy’s reaction.
The flowers were arranged to tickle one’s playfulness and imagination rather than to admire.
Roy had just seen the Ernst family’s private gardener, but contrary to hsi looks it seemed that he held a very nuanced sense.
“This garden was Zac’s idea.”
When Roy turned around, the gardening apprentice boy had just arrived with a sheet to spread.
Why did he himself not seem to remember?
“The one who said, there are lots of flowers in this season that have the color of the sky, was you, wasn’t it Zac?”
The boy thought deeply in an attempt to rouse his memory.
His eyes widened slightly as he seemed to have remembered what he was looking for.
“…Was it because I said that you can’t fly in the sky with magic?”
“Even though he’s our private gardener, to think that he would prepare a garden in our home just for your birthday… in times like this I can tell he’s related to you, Zac.”
Though I don’t mind because I like it myself, Lydia sighed in a forced way.
Maybe because of her words, the gardening apprentice boy gradually squatted down.
His cheeks were dyed with delight.
“Crap, I’m so happy.”
Since he was still an apprentice he couldn’t yet engage in sculpting a garden.
His mutterings couldn’t even be called a plan, yet they were adopted for the making of this garden.
There’s no way he wouldn’t be happy, especially since he wanted to be able to make a garden on his own.
“…Dennis always makes you way too happy Zac.”
The words Lydia muttered in a slightly unpleasant manner somehow didn’t seem to reach the gardening apprentice boy’s ears.
He was keen on thanking his Dad.
While enjoying the pleasant scene, Roy considered if he should also give him a gift after learning that his birthday was near.
As Lydia said, giving him a gift that would make him happier than the gift his own father had already given would be a herculean task.
And he felt like he definitely wouldn’t accept something from him.
As he absentmindedly thought of that, the gardening apprentice boy got approval from Lydia and spread out the mat.
His role being over, he told Lydia to call him when they were done and made to leave.
As Roy thought of what to do, the boy seemed to have remembered something and spoke to him.
“Come to think of it, do you know anything about Shadow, Leo?”
“Shadow? The dance?”
Why are you asking Roy-sama!?”
“Because, Ojou, no matter how many times I ask you don’t teach me.”
Roy tilted his head at the sudden question when Lydia flustered and raised her voice.
“You’re supposed to practice that dance while imagining your partner.
Why are you asking, Zac?”
While curious about the strangeness of the question from him, who was a commoner and a servant, Roy answered him honestly.
Seeing him give an answer, Lydia raised her shoulders and spoke vehemently as if to overwrite what he had said.
“That’s not it!! It’s just that there were more opportunities with Zac because I practice with you, and my one dance with Roy-sama was like a dream and it was hard to imagine…”
The gardening apprentice boy understood her reasoning, and worried for Lydia because she looked flustered.
Learning that the two practiced dancing together, Roy stared blankly.
Meeting their two gazes after her show of passion, Lydia felt like running away.
Her face was red in a different way compared to last time and she hung her head.
She felt like she had said something unnecessary in front of Roy.
“The Ernst gardeners are talented, aren’t they.”
“It just means that there was no one except me who was close to your height.”
The gardening apprentice boy replied to Roy’s off-point impressions with dejection.
It wasn’t often that he made such a bitter face.
“Isaac, is dancing your weak point?”
“Rather than weak point… it’s like I’m fundamentally off about it.
I keep getting forced to redo them.
I now know well why Ojou wasn’t that confident.”
“Isn’t it because you’ve gotten less instruction regarding your form? Even though I was taught earlier than you, I still haven’t gotten praised…”
“No, I feel like they’re doing that so you can get even better.”
Both of their eyes seemed so far away that they would’ve made for good conversation themselves.
Was the person they were studying under that strict, Roy thought.
“Lady Lydia was the easiest person to dance with for me.
If you’re accompanying her, even if it’s just for practice, I don’t think you’re bad, Isaac.”
“Roy-sama doesn’t know about Era-sensei…”
Though he wanted to let them know he thought they were decent, Lydia made an indescribable expression, and the gardening apprentice nodded strongly at her words.
What in the world was the matter with this Era-sensei? He didn’t know, but he felt strangely alienated.
“But even if you weren’t taught as much in the technique department, what do you mean by fundamentally off?”
“She called me a stagehand.”
“Told me to try standing out more, but it doesn’t suit me.”
What was up with that, the gardening apprentice scratched his head.
Roy was surprised.
How can you not stand out?”
Lydia and the boy’s expressions hardened at Roy’s words.
“…It’s not something you can do.”
The gardening apprentice’s eyes narrowed at his brightness as he replied, and Lydia agreed.
Roy was too gifted in attracting the gazes of others.
He couldn’t do anything with feelings or technique.
Being aware of that himself, Roy was disappointed.
He couldn’t disagree with them.
Instead, he made another proposal.
“What if you go to a party too, Isaac? Then other people will actually be watching you so it’d be easier to revise.”
What were you saying, the gardening apprentice boy looked at Roy with eyes of incomprehension.
Lydia was also taken aback by his unexpected proposal.
“I’m still not engaged yet.
Rather than dancing with all of the candidates, I feel like I’d rather not dance with any of them until it’s decided.
But then Lydia would be troubled since you have no relatives who are close to your age, right?”
That’s perfect, Roy smiled.
Roy himself had set a precedent, so he would probably hold another party for his birthday this year.
In the present stage, he should probably dance with all of his marriage candidates equally, but even the order in which they dance with him could cause dispute.
In order to avoid such a thing, he could avoid dancing with everyone.
“Roy-sama does things truthfully.”
“…No, it’s just a hassle.”
In contrast to Lydia who supported him, the gardening apprentice boy’s eyes were half-lidded at his forceful proposal that would carry even himself, a servant, out of his place.
“Good job for understanding that.”
Roy affirmed her with a sparkling smile.
After being slightly surprised, Lydia made an indescribable face.
“Even the greetings are a ton of work, aren’t they?”
“That’s right, but…”
Lydia herself had experience so she couldn’t deny.
Roy was a prince, so he had to gather virtually all the attendants and greet them.
It wasn’t hard for Lydia to imagine how difficult that must be.
“I will consider it.”
“What about how I feel?”
Though the mood told him that he had to participate, the gardening apprentice’s made an unpleasant expression from the bottom of his heart.
Simply being her practice partner was incomparably different to appearing at a formal setting for nobles.
It’s not as if he didn’t understand that Lydia had to show consideration for Roy, their friend who was a prince, but it sure was difficult for him to agree.
“Zac, you don’t have to participate, I’ll ask my Father.
Though he’s likely busy…”
He was required to attend Roy’s birthday parties.
Aside from that, parties geared towards children were held at early hours, so it would be difficult to ask Gerald, busy as he is, to accompany them everytime.
But in the first place, he was accompanying her even in her practices in order to elevate her skill level.
It’s not something he was doing because he wanted to.
Knowing that, Lydia couldn’t force him any more than this.
It’s just that it was the first time she had seen him make such a face.
Was he that against it? Lydia was discouraged.
Her shoulders dropped.
Seeing that, the gardening apprentice boy flinched.
He wailed and worried with an aa and an uu.
Then he braced himself.
“Ojou, if you really can’t find an escort, if you’re fine with someone like me then I’ll go.
I mean if the Duke allows it.”
“Is that okay…?”
“I can’t let you go alone.”
The boy smiled bitterly.
Lydia rejoiced, saying that she would get permission from her father.
Seeing her reaction, he calmed down and loosened his expression.
Seeing that exchange, Roy sounded his throat in enjoyment.
“You’re weak to Lady Lydia.”
“I really do feel like you got me here.”
When he pointed that out in a volume she wouldn’t hear, he replied in a grimace at the same volume, voicing his dissatisfaction.
“Think of it as a birthday present.”
“Uwaa, this is the worst present ever.”
Roy felt unsure about leaving that impression.
If they’re going through the trouble of practicing together then they should show it in public, he thought in good nature.
But he seemed to have taken it as something like malice.
The gardening apprentice boy sighed,and added with some exasperation.
It’s enough to just say happy birthday.”
Just congratulating him was preferable to forcing yourself to give something and ending up doing something indirect, he said.
Roy’s eyes widened.
But having received many gifts himself, simply congratulating him went against his sense.
Taken aback, Roy continued his words.
“I don’t know when it will be, but happy birthday.”
Ever since a while ago his face was in a grimace.
But as if that was a lie, it freshened up, and the boy gave his thanks.
He understood now.
That freshness truly suited this garden.
“Even Roy-sama did it before me…”
After the gardening apprentice boy disappeared, Lydia hung her head, crestfallen.
Somehow, it seemed that in all her worrying she still wasn’t able to give him a present.
Roy thought it was cute and laughed.
As an apology, he’d let her consult him about what kind of present he’d like.
Underneath the refreshing blue sky, Roy conspired with Lydia as friends.
TN: Thanks for the wait.
I hope you like waiting, because the next chapter should be next week at earliest.
I have to go on a family vacation starting next sunday and until then I’d better translate the latest Classroom of the Elite volume.
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