Chapter 17 – Locket

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The snow has been piling up.
So I’ve been removing them from places for walking, like stone pathways.
The snow is about ten centimeters deep so even I can help out.

After I finished snow shovelling from the gate until the front door, I ate lunch.
In the afternoon I started working on the walkways around the mansion.
After a few hours I took a short breather.

“Dad, can I play a little?”

He nodded to say that he didn’t mind since it was break time, and I happily headed towards the small mountain of snow we had made from the snow we’d shovelled.

What should I make? As I played with my hands which were covered with gloves for winter, I looked at the snow and thought about what I could make.
I could make a snowman if it were small, but I wanted a big one.
I looked around to see if there was nothing I could use.
I saw some red coralberry berries, so I took some of them with leaves.

As I consolidated the snow, Ojou came with her maid, Katherine-san.

“Ah, Ojou.
Katherine-san, good day.”

“What are you doing?”

I bowed slightly to Katherine-san with a good day.
Ojou looked at me holding snow curiously.
I see, she’s a lady so she doesn’t play with snow.


I put leaf ears and red eyes on the elliptical mass of snow I had to form a snow bunny, and I gave it to Ojou.

“A, bunny…?”


I affirmed the words she muttered as she widened her eyes and stared at the white bunny.

“It looks cute.”

“There wasn’t much good snow so I haven’t been able to make much more than this.”

Katherine-san praised it, but all I had done was make the simplest thing I could think of.
I smiled wryly.


Ojou murmured and extended her arms towards the white bunny.
I raised my hand right away to avoid them.
She got huffy and glared up at me, but I couldn’t let her touch it.

“This was made from shovelled snow so you can’t touch it.”

It looked pretty, but there were germs and stuff in it, and I’d be troubled if Ojou’s hands got frostbite.
Even after hearing the reason she seemed to like the snow bunny, so she looked at me angrily with eyes that seemed like they were trying to appeal to me.
Even if she made those eyes, she couldn’t do what she couldn’t do.

“Lydia-sama, I will bring a tray later.
Shall we place it in the terrace?”

Just when we started a back-and-forth with our eyes, Katherine-san threw out a lifeboat for us.
Ojou’s eyes sparkled at her proposal, and I worried a little.

“It’s gonna melt.
Is that okay?”

Ojou nodded her head up and down.
Even in my previous world, seeing the snowmen I made at great pains melt always gave me a feeling of disappointment.
I worried if she would feel the same way.

“You won’t touch it?”

She nodded eagerly again, so there was no helping it.
I smiled bitterly.

“Got it.
Don’t leave it with Katherine-san later.”

“Then I will ask my Father to cast magic that will make it last longer.”

I was bothered by what Ojou said happily.
The Duke is a rare dual attribute holder who could use both wind and water, so he could use the combined attribute of ice.
Was it alright to use such a precious magic as a freezer? Though the Duke seems like he’d be happy to do it if it’s for her sake.

“Come to think of it, why is Katherine-san with you?”

I felt like she came earlier than usual.
Katherine-san had a tray, a teacup, and a… is that a pot? She brought those with something like a mitten on top.

For some reason, Ojou put her hand on her waist and declared arrogantly.

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“She is coming with me for tea.”


But until now she came after having tea.
I wonder why.
As I was wondering to myself, Ojou trotted in the direction of my Father.
Dad also knelt and leaned forward to match Ojou’s line of sight as much as he could.
Maybe it was because she was in the snow that it looked like a harmless bunny trotting up to a bear.
I wonder if Ojou had any picture books about animals.
I want to read now.

“May I borrow Zac?”

“We are right in the middle of a break, so I do not mind.
Please do as you wish to my son.”

Ojou gave him a notice, and Dad let her go with a smile.
A little surprised at him smiling, she smiled back.
Even she’s no longer scared of him, maybe because she got used to having him around.
Seeing my Dad talk with a kid without being misunderstood kinda makes me happy.

“Then I’ll be on my way, Dad.”

I put the white bunny under the refreshing shade of a tree and called out to him.
His hand landed on my head.

“When you’re done go back to work.”


I gave a proper reply and headed to the conservatory with Ojou and Katherine.
The conservatory had some size to it, so tables and chairs were set in several places so that one could take their time in looking at the flowers.
After preparing tea on one of those, Katherine-san excused herself saying that she had other work to do.
I think she’s probably being considerate.

When I drank the tea she brewed for us, I felt relieved.
It looked like that pot cover which looked like a mitten was for preserving the temperature.

“But why tea?”

I asked Ojou who sat opposite to me.
After taking a gulp of the tea, she placed the teacup onto her plate with refined movements and answered.

“If we’re in the observatory, we could relax together like this.”

“Ah, okay.”

Until now we had been on top of grassy lawns.
Ojou, being a lady, couldn’t sit down.
Near some promenades, there were benches in every set interval, but I seldom worked there.
The places that could be visited by guests are almost all entrusted to my Dad.
It was also a problem of my competence, and there were nobles who wouldn’t feel good seeing someone who was not only a commoner but also a child, even if they were an employee.
Even I understood that the kind Duke was a rare breed.
As long as there was no work that required manual labor like the snow shovelling I had done today, I wouldn’t come near the front gate.

Indeed, if we were in the conservatory deep within the estate, we could sit down and we didn’t need to mind others.
The only ones invited to this place are members of the Ernst Family and their intimate friends, so surely only good people.

“Rather than drinking alone, it is better to have tea together.”

“Then what about drinking together with Katherine-san?”

If she could drink with a servant like me in this place, she could also drink with Katherine-san.

“…To invite Katherine, courage…”

Ojou’s words got stuffed with an ugu.
Katherine-san had a reserved personality so she seemed like she’d reserve herself and decline.
As much as they had a master-subordinate relationship, Ojou was probably worried that her invitation would be like an order.

“Should I invite her?”

“No, I will call her myself.”

“I see.”

Seeing Ojou eagerly refuse right away, I thought, she’s doing her best.
Ojou was probably shy, or afraid of showing her feelings.
That’s why even when we first met, she put on armor; a bold front as the Daughter of the Duke.
If she quarreled with her true feelings on display, it would also be easier for her to get hurt.
Anyone would be scared.

“Ojou, you’ve become strong.”

She’s amazing.
I couldn’t do that in my previous world.
Even though she didn’t have anything along the lines of regret for her previous world, she was trying to do this.

“…Does that mean, you’re praising me?”

Sooo coool.”

When I praised her with a full smile on my face, Ojou grimaced.
Even though I told her how I really felt, she didn’t seem happy.
Sure enough, traits like strong or cool were unpopular with girls for them to have.
Though for me it’s the greatest compliment.

After a fashion, Ojou reluctantly said thanks.

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From there, while winter was still going, we would take tea breaks in the conservatory where I would regularly chat with Ojou after doing my work.
When we took tea breaks, Katherine-san sometimes joined us.

Just like that, the tea breaks I was facing seriously pretty much devolved into talking about the Prince.
According to Ojou, it’s because it was disrespectful.
The Prince she painted was so smart that one would doubt if he was really younger than them, though that didn’t feel real to me.
All the more since I’ve never met him.
Ojou was cute when she smiled, but the more I listened to what she had to say, the more my interest, which was thin to begin with, disappeared.
TN: As in what she had to say about the Prince was disrespectful.

Sometimes, I would give an ambiguous back-channel and Ojou would get mad at me.
But it was better for me to listen to Ojou talk about herself.
It was as if I was listening to a manga or a game character.

“And then, Roy-sama…”

Hm? That catches my attention.

I feel like in my previous world, I saw a character with a similar name who also had blond hair.
What was it? If I don’t remember well, it must’ve been when I helped my sister?

While I lent half an ear to what Ojou was saying, I thought back to my memories from my previous world.
When I helped her clear a game, there was a blond-haired character…

“Aren’t this guy’s specs too strange?”

“It’s 2D so it’s fine! You also read shounen manga that go like, I’m stroong, right Taiichi?”

“I don’t hate it.
Actually, why can’t your beloved Roy-sama do this?”

“There are walls that cannot be overcome with love alone!!”

I remember.
He’s the only capture target whose name I remembered from that tactical RPG minigame my little Sister kept calling me to.
When my Sister fought, she was the type to attack right away.
So I couldn’t lure the enemy to a good spot for a counterattack or do anything like that at all.

“…His full name was long.
What was it? Roy… Roy…?”

“His Highness, Roy Leonhart Von Rozenhein.”

It seemed like I was accidentally saying it out loud.
Ojou told me.
That was it.
I got deja-vu at Ojou’s reply, towards the time I helped my Sister.
But why does she know it?

I looked at her.
Pale blue eyes and light blonde hair, eyes that were slightly slanted upwards like that of a cat.
She gave off a considerably different air, but I felt as if I had heard of someone with a name like hers in my previous world.
Something like, the clothes she had on when I first met her…?

“Lady Lydia is a rival but I don’t hate her.
To have drill curls at an era like that, tremendous! That’s how I feel-”

“Lady Dia or something, that showy girl who looks strict with a big chest?”

“Hey, why you’re more sure of her chest than her name? This is why 3D bastards are…!”

“I mean, even your beloved Roy-sama is a guy, isn’t he? If he were real he wouldn’t be that different.”

“There’s no way 2D is going to come out to us.
Taiichi you idiot!!”

“You… if you say that, I’m not helping anymore.”

Then, my memories regrettably faded into a simple sibling quarrel.
That wasn’t all.
The name my little Sister called the villainess was the same name Ojou had, and she looked like the character on the screen.

Now that I remember, each character in that game had magical attributes that they could use.
There was too much in common for it to be a mere coincidence.
I tried remembering the synopsis of the game.

Ah, this is an Otome game.

I finally noticed that this world was like a game.
But right now I’m living in this world as my reality.
Was there anything I had to remember since this was based on a game?

I sipped the tea Katherine-san brewed for me and calmed down for a short while.
I wasn’t disturbed, but my brain was a little tired at recalling memories I had no interest in.

Anyway, the game my little Sister was definitely playing… was it Your Star? I don’t remember.
Depending on the situation, if the protagonist went for the main hero, Roy-sama’s route, Ojou could have her heart broken.
The capture targets more or less numbered seven including the hidden one or ones, and with a happy and bad ending for each, that would be one possibility within about 14 good and bad endings.
No matter what happens to the Ernst House, I’m secure, and it’s not like there’s anything I can do as a gardening apprentice.
Still, if other people intervened then their love wasn’t worth much.

Though I know about this exceedingly uncertain future, there’s nothing I can do.
I thought about it briefly, and I came up with nothing but the impression that there was no meaning in me regaining my memories from the previous world.

…Will Ojou come to love Roy-sama?

Looking at her talking so happily right now, I felt that it was probable.
If that happened, then the political marriage in the game could become a marriage of love, and Ojou would be happy.
But it was also possible for the protagonist to stick to Roy-sama, breaking her heart.

For starters, I don’t want Ojou to cry, so should I cheer her on if she falls in love with Roy-sama? How could I cheer her on? If I recall, the school that Ojou was slated to attend was the same as a military conscription system.
People who had more than a set amount of magic were required to attend.
School huh… I’d like to go.
I’m also interested in how studying magic would be like.
And Ojou has been taking the trouble to teach me how to read and write.
I don’t know how much magic is needed, so I don’t know if I don’t have enough.
But I guess I’ll raise it a little bit until exam season comes.

I suddenly noticed that my choices have increased.
Before, I didn’t know how to read.
Even if my magic power barely passed the requirement, I wouldn’t have even been able to take the test.
It didn’t matter if one or two commoners were omitted from the exam, and there were many who knew that they had little magical power and chose not to take the test from the beginning.
But now I think I can work a little hard at it.

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I asked Ojou for seconds.
She told me to get my own.
I poured my own tea and drank.
Yes, it’s delicious.

It’s just like this tea.
Because of Ojou, I got to experience many things despite being a commoner.
And though I do gardening work because I want to, it’s more fun when I have someone I want to to show it to.

“I’m glad I could meet you Ojou.”

After I realized that my life changed a little bit, I wanted to say it.
A smile naturally formed.

Maybe because I said it out of the blue without any context, Ojou didn’t seem to register what I had said.
The next instant, she got so red that she seemed like she might burst.

“…You weren’t listening to me again were you!?”

She knew.
Then she got mad.
But what’s this? If I had to say, she seemed embarrassed?

Ojou scolded me to hide her embarrassment.
I listened to her sermon quietly until our tea break ended.

When it did, I started to work on the conservatory and chatted with Ojou for a while until her next practice.
Today it was about her little Sister.
I rarely heard about Ojou’s little Sister’s growth, but I got a rough understanding.
Recently, she’s learned how to say simple words.
When she said Papa for the first time, the Duke cried tears of joy.

The time has come for Ojou to leave, so I stood up.

“Should I send you off?”

“It’s fine.”

We were a short distance away from the mansion.
When I asked just in case, Ojou turned me down.
She herself has grown familiar with the garden after accompanying me, so she should be fine on the way back.
It seemed that later, Katherine-san would come to recover the tea set.
I’ll at least see her off to the entrance of the conservatory.

When we said goodbye, Ojou turned around and produced something from the hem of her dress.
I didn’t know why.
She put it forward as she looked down, away from my eyes.
A silver chain sounded.

“Zac, here.”


Ojou presented me with a pendant gripped in her small hand.
For now I accepted it.
I wonder if she meant for me to look at it.

When I did, I saw a shiny silver pendant locket.
I liked how the simple, undecorated and elegant silver felt, but it didn’t match Ojou.
When I opened it, there was a small four-leaf clover.
I knew that I had gathered several of them and taken them with me, but were any of them this small?

“It’s small and cute like Ojou.”

I murmured while looking into the locket.
A smile naturally formed.

I wondered why Ojou was silent at a time like this and raised my head.
She was shaking with cheeks painted red, like she was just about to snap.

“…Why do you say such unnecessary things!?”

Ah, she’s mad.
Did I hurt her feelings by calling her small?

“Uum, then I’ll just keep it to myself.”

“Zac, it shows on your face so it’s all the same!!”


Then what should I do? Ojou muttered that it was bad for her heart either way or something like that.
Did she have high blood pressure despite being young? Or was she just that mad at me?

“…Should I not be with you?”

“Tha-That would be… I don’t want, that…”

I enjoyed being with Ojou, but maybe I should stop if I’m burdening her by making her mad all the time.
When I said that, she reflexively said no.


“I mean, that’s…! …it’s fine already.”

I was relieved that Ojou denied it right away, and it showed on my face.
Ojou stopped talking about it, seeming frustrated.

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“So is this yours?”

“…It’s Zac’s.”

She said as if she was somehow squeezing it out of herself.


I gave the pressed flowers to my Father to make bookmarks, but Zac doesn’t have any books right? So have this instead.”

I know.
The other day, the Duke ambushed me for the first time in a long time, boasting senselessly.
I always think, why does he go out of his way to praise me when it’s something Ojou did of her own volition?

Anyway, I didn’t think that even I was going to get one, so this was a surprise.
As if she thought something of my surprised silence, Ojou explained further.

“It’s not expensive! It’s cheap!”

I see.
She deliberately ordered something that wouldn’t be out of place in a commoner’s shop so that I wouldn’t feel bad, huh.
I was happy for her consideration and my face loosened.

“Thank you.
I’ll take care of it.”

It’s been quite some time.
She probably waited for Christmas so it’d be easier for me to accept.
So I accepted it as she wished.
Come to think of it, was the God of the state religion’s birthday held on Christmas because this was an Otome game? I had been thinking that it was too much for a coincidence, so it’s a little weight off my shoulders.

I haven’t prepared anything…”

For commoners like me, Christmas was just a day to have a feast.
I’ve never given someone a present.
What should I do?

“You’ve already given me.”


I hadn’t given anything, but Ojou spoke like I did.
She smiled as if she had succeeded in getting revenge.

“The white bunny.
I shall take care of it.”

Was something like that enough? I was befuddled.
Then I felt deja vu at this exchange.

Come to think of it, I said something similar when Ojou worried about my birthday present.

It was a little funny.
I laughed.
Of course a girl like this would take care of it.

“Then I give up.”

Ojou tilted her head curiously.

“If anyone makes you cry, tell me.
I’ll punch them.”

“Why are you suddenly saying something so troubling…”

Looking at Ojou’s surprise, I wondered if that was the case.
There was no context, and violence had nothing to do with a lady like Ojou.

“Just remember that.”

“I, understand…”

I said smilingly, and Ojou nodded without quite getting it.
She seemed like she wasn’t if I was serious since I’m an improper guy.
But I was serious.

Even if this is an Otome game, even if it were the Prince, it didn’t matter.
Ojou is important to me.
If anyone makes her cry, I’ll punch them right away.

Even if I forgot my loss, I’d make good on this promise.
I swore on the pendant I received.
It was out of place for God’s birthday.
But it was an important vow for my reality.

I didn’t ask God for anything this Christmas, but I should pray again starting this year.

I pray for a future where Ojou is smiling.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday! I got a little carried away with my vacation so sorry for my biggest absence yet.

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