Author: Tam

“Even if dirt gets into my eyes, I can’t leave a sloppy garden like this. This Nuna will make good use of that body that is strong and has no use.”

 

Seeing her humming away and moving away from her back, Damian turned to Catherine for help with a weeping expression on his face.

 

“Even if you look at me like that, I have no intention of taking you, so give up, gardener.”

 

「Tsk tsk. A useless gardener. It’s all the consequence. 」

 

Meow took a seat at the window, where Damian could be seen working hard and grooming.

 

That night.

 

Catherine chose to move her body slowly because she had probably finished her summer vacation and returned with Rose.

 

‘I knew that I could visit the Orléan mansion with the key— I’ll just have to bring back the things I left behind on my way out.’

 

Catherine called Madame Pompadour, who was having a peaceful foot bath after pushing Damian. Madame turned into black smoke, as she did on the Lilith, and landed on Catherine’s hairpin.

 

“Actually, I can’t guarantee it.”

 

「About what?」

 

“Will my room remain as it is?”

 

In fact, she was also expecting that. When she opens the door and enter, there is only an empty room with nothing left. Or someone else is using the room.

 

「That can’t be true. It’s the house where Lady grew up.」

 

Leaving a house like that is a problem.

 

Kiik.

 

She turned the key and opened the door. The bright sunshine shines on her foot as she comes inside. She slowly lifted her head and looked around the room.

 

Surprisingly, everything was the same.

 

「It’s a pretty room.」

 

A faded Grin carpet and a yellow translucent curtain. The bedding on the bed remained the same as the bedding in early autumn when she left the house.

 

Catherine felt that she had returned home after her sudden and long journey. She misses it and feels bitter, but it feels strange as if it fills her empty heart.

 

「Lady, so you’re from a noble family? Maybe… Well, you have a beautiful attitude and face.」

 

No matter how much Catherine was treated like a sack of barley, she was the eldest and a legitimate daughter of the Orléans family. Therefore, the second largest room in the Orléans mansion is bound to be hers. Although the inside is a bit old.

 

「Sniff. It smells like Catherine.」

 

Meow, who peeked out of the bag and put out its head, jumped and flew onto the bed.

 

「The bed is worth using.」

 

Catherine left the rolling Meow behind and looked inside her decorations.

 

「But Lady, is it okay for you not to say hi to your family? Hasn’t it been a while?」

 

“It’s okay. I’ve decided to live like someone else in the future.”

 

「Oh my— I’m sorry, I said it too easy! I apologize.」

 

Catherine was also comfortable because of a cool apology.

 

She took out a box from the inside of the closet and opened it. Inside, there were neatly laid out leather notebooks that looked a little old with photos.

 

「Oh my!」

 

It was then. Black smoke from the bag quickly took shape and stood in front of Catherine. The eyes of Madame Pompadour, who put her face close to the box, were filled with excitement that couldn’t be hidden.

 

“Is this the Lady in the picture the one I know?”

 

Catherine replied with a calm face. She could vaguely see why Madame was making a fuss.

 

“Probably.”

 

“Oh my God… Lady, if it’s okay with you, can I take it out?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Madame Pompadour’s face brightened. As if she were treating a precious object, she carefully picked up the photo and checked the person in it. Catherine’s mother and Catherine standing next to her.

 

“I didn’t know at all… But looking at it like this, you really look alike a lot. It’s really surprising.”

 

“Do we look alike?”

 

Madame Pompadour, who carefully examined the picture, smiled at Catherine.

 

“Of course, it’s between mother and daughter! It’s mother and daughter, right? Anyone can’t help but think that the two characters in this picture are mother and daughter.”

 

Her face asked with a faint longing.

 

“I was surprised. To hear that Lady was the daughter of that woman… I couldn’t recognize it because it was so close.”

 

“Do you know my mother?”

 

Of course, she will know. Because her mother was a very famous wizard in the Iterana Empire.

 

However, Madame Pompadour seemed to have shared a personal relationship beyond her mother’s fame. Her gaze was filled with affection.

 

“I once entrusted myself to the Phanya family. At that time, your mother’s age… Was it 15? Grin was already a magician who had a reputation in the Iterana Empire and the Continent from then on. I spent time in Phanya and had such academic exchanges with Grin.”

 

Catherine blinked blankly in her eyes. She thought she’d only met her once or twice, but she didn’t know she stayed with her mother.

 

Madame Pompadour smiled covering her mouth as she looked at Catherine’s face. Unlike before, it was a gaze that felt the warm affection of late spring afternoon.

 

“You know what? I and Grin named you together! Just before leaving Phanya, there were talks about Grin’s marriage. On the last evening, we drank together and thought of the name of the child who would be born later… Catherine was among the three names that we decided on at that time. Oh, I remember now.”

 

“Then Madame is my…”

 

Madame Pompadour, blushing her face, interrupted Catherine’s words.

 

“Wait! S, save my words, Lady. I’m so nervous right now.”

 

Why? Even before she asked, Madame Pompadour continued. She couldn’t stand trembling, so she closed her eyes tightly.

 

“Yeah, that’s right! In a way, I’m like your Godmother!”

 

It was a passionate cry as if revealing a huge secret that had been hidden for a long time.

 

“Of course, Grin never entrusted me with the Lady! Still, I helped her with the name, so wouldn’t I be a Godmother?”

 

She spits it out of her mouth and glanced at Catherine.

 

“If you don’t like it… Of course, if you feel pressured, you can just laugh it off. What? 3 years isn’t that long, right?”

 

“I don’t hate it.”

 

“Huh?”

 

Madame Pompadour opened her eyes wide.

 

‘Is it something to be so careful about being my godmother?’

 

Her mother, Mrs. Grin, was a great wizard who made her name at an early age, but she was not. Rather, she was rejected because she was unable to learn.

 

“I don’t hate it. On the contrary, I’m not good enough to be Madame Pompadour’s goddaughter.”

 

Staring at Catherine’s face, Madame said.

 

“Is it because of magic? Don’t be sad. Magic is the most influenced discipline by genetics. I guarantee you that if you meet a proper teacher, you will be as great a wizard as your mother.”

 

She quickly looked heartbroken and hugged Catherine. Such a reaction by Madame Pompadour gave Catherine a shocking realization.

 

‘I was more self-accusation of magic than I thought.’

She thought her desire to learn magic was based on pure interest. Was it closer to the desire to be recognized?

 

“You said you were going to learn magic from the Grand Duke, right? If so, you will soon be able to show off your talents. Geniuses need a comparable teacher, right?”

 

Cesare had been boasted that he would make her the best wizard on the continent. When she nodded, Madame let her go with a brighter face.

 

“But I didn’t know that Grin would really come to Orléans. Of course I…”

 

Madame Pompadour stopped talking and looked at Catherine’s eyes. Catherine could quickly infer what she was trying to say.

 

‘She thought she were going to get married to a better place?’

 

“Yeah. I don’t know what Lady will think, but your mother’s family should be so strong. You know what? Among the many families who wanted Grin, there was Iterana Imperial Family. All she had to do was make a choice.”

 

However, her mother chose Orléans among the great families. A rural family on the outskirts with no history, no wealth, no honor, no territory.

 

Why was that?

 

“Maybe Grin wanted to rest. She had a strong subjectivity. She didn’t want to be swayed.”

 

Well. 

 

Catherine’s mother was not a woman to choose Orléans just for that reason.

 

Her mother had known earlier that the bowl of Orléans to contain was very small. That fact also caused conflict in the family.

 

‘This is a thing of the past.’

 

At the back of Catherine, who was searching through the drawer, Madame Pompadour quietly opened her mouth.

 

“I’ll go ahead and find a contractor, Lady. If my status is guaranteed, I will be able to become a person who is not ashamed as the godmother of the Lady. Even if it looks like this, I have a lot of things.”

 

Madame’s greatness has often been told in salons.

 

“Ah! O, of course, if you allow me to be your godmother.”

 

“I’m grateful for that.”

 

At Catherine’s answer, Madame covered her mouth and smiled. With such a happy face, Catherine unknowingly turned her gaze away.

 

It was because Madame Pompadour was the first person to enjoy the existence of ‘Catherine Orléans’ so much.

 

“Let’s go find it and go back. Starting tomorrow, we’ll have to entrust the Imperial Magic Department to find a contractor!”

 

Madame encouraged Catherine with an excited voice.

 

After she had taken all her belongings that she had not been able to bring, Catherine returned to her mansion. As expected, Christopher was more comfortable than Orléans.

 

*****

 

Next day. 

 

She went to Duke Christopher’s house with excitement. 

 

In fact, she couldn’t fall asleep because she was so excited about the magic that she was going to learn today. Yesterday, when she thought that her obsession with magic was more of a desire for recognition than an interest, it made her laugh.

 

Kiiik.

 

It was a little earlier than the appointment time. Cesare’s office, where the morning sunlight fell, was static and classical like a landscape painting painted with oil. Cesare, noticing her visit, took off his glasses and stood up.

 

“Did you stay up all night?”

 

“How did you know?”

 

“Looking at your face now, anyone would think so.”

 

T, to that extent. For no reason, her face got red.

 

Soon after, the butler, Gren, came in. She thought he was going to prepare a tea, but after bowing down to Catherine, he just stood next to Cesare. Cesare, who sat on the sofa opposite her, said. 

 

“Gren is a wizard like you who has the roots of ‘transition’. I called him to help you understand.”

 

Doesn’t that mean he’s a devil, not a human?

 

‘This… It turns out that there are devils all around, aren’t they? Rose and Damian too?’

 

It was a plausible enough suspicion. She’ll ask when she gets home. Catherine rose slightly from her seat and thanked Gren as she prepared a method to prove her humanity.

 

“T, thank you.” 

 

“No. That’s what I naturally should do.”

 

So is Gren also Cesare’s devil? She thought the Great Devil would be very convenient. Because if they keep their own devil as a pawn, there will be nothing to betray.

 

Soon after, the maid brought the tea. Cesare began his explanation while stirring the hot coffee with the teaspoon.

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