Chapter Seventeen: Battle Preparations
Bernard wrote a letter to his mother.
Presently, there was a lady whom he had promised to marry so she needn’t trouble herself to venture all the way to the capital….That was the gist of the letter. If the opportunity arose, he would introduce her.
Perhaps if his mother read the letter, she would feel relieved and call off her plans to visit the capital. He hoped that would be the case as he dispatched the letter to his parents.
Unfortunately, three days later, Bernard sat alone in his room with a throbbing headache from the reply he received, stating, 「I look forward to meeting her.」
The letter manoeuvre was a complete failure and the day his mother would arrive was steadily approaching.
Given that Gigille had advised him to get his and Agnes’s story straight, he left it to her to come up with a proper backstory.
A few hours later, Eric brought over a single piece of paper. It was what Gigille had come up with – the story of Bernard and Agnes’ encounter right until their engagement.
「What the heck is this?」
―― Their encounter dates back five years ago.
「That’s way too long. There’s no way I can still remember something from five years back. Also, isn’t this what happened back then?」
「Master, it’s better to mix in some truths with the lies」
「……Is that so?」
Bernard slightly regretted speaking to Gigille about his encounter with Agnes.
Despite grimacing, his eyes continued to linger on the paper
――Both of them fell in love with each other at first sight.
Bernard couldn’t believe his eyes at the sudden development.
Just to be certain, he read it again once more but he had not misread it.
He continued reading with a deep frown.
――When Bernard, the fifth son of a viscount’s family, encountered Agnes, the only daughter of an earl’s family (High society’s number one darling, with blue eyes that could be likened to the finest azure, and continuing further with three phrases about Agnes’s beauty, et cetera), he immediately fell for her.
「Leaving aside the fact that it was five years ago, what do you mean by falling in love at first sight」
「Master, things like a relationship can’t be explained through reasoning」
「I can’t make heads or tails of this」
He listened to Eric talk about relationships without emotions. He was amazed by how surreal it was.
「Also, the compliments were exaggerated. It’s true that she’s a beauty but isn’t this too much? 」
「Perception of beauty differs from person to person」
Bernard himself wasn’t aware that his own sense of beauty was quite off from the norm.
By the time he could discern things, he was already surrounded with beauties like Gigille, Eric and his beautiful siblings so even if he saw one he wouldn’t be attracted to them.
「I would lose it if I keep reacting to every little detail」
Looking at the paper, there was still more on it. He sighed and continued reading the rest.
――They weren’t able to converse with each other when they had met. He was the fifth son of a viscount while the other was the only daughter of an Earl. A friendship between the two of them was not permissible.
「What the heck is this ……?」
He tried his best to keep on reading but nothing stuck in his head.
He felt a chill run down his spine and goosebumps appearing all over his body from the numerous romantic developments that was akin to a romance novel.
「This somehow gives me the shivers……」
Bernard wasn’t even through half of it when he gave up.
「Sorry, Eric, but won’t you write this in a way that’s easier for me to understand? If possible, omit my name and her’s」
一An hour later.
He looked at what Eric had rewritten. The utterly embarrassing article was summarized and itemized.
「It’s easier to read now if it’s in this format」
The setting that Gigille thought up goes as follow:
- They met five years ago, it was love at first sight
- Due to their different social statuses, they weren’t able to dance with each other
- The ball ended with them only gazing at each other
- The next year, the two of them had a fateful encounter again
- Present when the young lady was in a critical situation, he saved her from it
- It was there then that they introduced themselves to each other
- On the third year, they met at an evening ball and secretly danced in the dim lit garden, relishing in a world built for just the two of them.
- On the fourth year, keeping their exchanges hidden out of sight from their surroundings, they began exchanging letters
- On the fifth year, the Earl’s house fell into ruin. By that point in time, he had decided to invite her to live with him
- With the obstacle in their path gone, they could finally get engaged
Although there were several points that he was concerned with such as their correspondences and dance, he was positive that it would somehow work out.
Though the premise of their relationship was that they were torn apart, he felt it wasn’t necessary to to go as far as to elaborate how they came to be.
Bernard decided to thoroughly memorize the five years’ worth of lies about him and Agnes.
It was the night before Bernard’s mother’s visit.
As soon as he returned home, Gigille seized Bernard, pointing at his hair.
「What, what are you doing so suddenly!?」
「Your hair. It’s gotten unbearably long, it bothers me」
「You say that but it hasn’t grown that much, has it?」
「Aren’t the ends of your hair getting curly?」
「It’s like this on rainy days. I’ll go to the barber on my next day-off」
「So if milady calls out to you 『Little Bear』, you’ll be alright with it?」
In his childhood, his mother called him 「Little Bear」. This was because his hair resembled a stuffed teddy bear.
Just imagining his mother calling him that gave him the chills.
「……My bad, do trim it」
「As you wish」
In a flash, Bernard’s hair was taken care of. Though that being said, it’s a change that only Gigille who had taken care of him since childhood would notice.
As Agnes will be acting as his fiancée, Bernard gave her a set of brand-new clothes as compensation. They were off the shelf products but nonetheless, they were outfits in fashion in the capital.
「Is it really alright for me to receive these much clothes?」
「It’s fine. If you’re going to use the new undergarments though, you might not be able to wear them」
「T-That’s such a waste」
「Hmm, it might be possible to make adjustments but since I’m not too familiar with it, I can’t say if it can be done」
Upon hearing that, Agnes’s face lit up instantly.
If there were cookies baking in the kitchen, the enticing waft of it eventually brought Carol and Celia over.
Though they were delighted to see the confections baking in the stove, very soon they became dispirited.
Even Gigille knew why. The puff-sleeved liveries they had commissioned would not be ready in time for Bernard’s mother’s visit.
「Ah, how disappointing」
「Seriously, how disappointing」
「That’s is a blessing though」
「What do you mean?」
「If milady sees those puff-sleeved liveries, she might be surprise by how gaudy they are? 」
「Surely not, it’s cute」
「Absolutely not, it’s cute」
The twins puffed their cheeks as they expressed their dissatisfaction.
Just to be on the safe side, she cautioned them not to speak to Bernard in that manner.
「We already know that」
「We won’t make such a blunder~~」
「Alright, alright. I’m sorry」
Agnes found it charming as she watched the exchanges between the mother and her daughters.
Even though she had intended to remain an outsider, Carol and Celia suddenly stood beside her on both sides.
「Agnes-san, teach me that hairstyle! I always found it so cute! 」
「Right! Even the braids that curl at the back of your head looks so adorable! 」
When they asked if it was difficult to do, Agnes responded that it wasn’t so.
Carol held a comb in the pocket of her apron and as Celia had hairpins and a mirror in hers, she cheerfully requested for it to be done on the spot.
Peering into the mirror, Carol looked completely different from usual, delighted by the adult-like coiffure. Celia too, pleaded with Agnes to have her hair styled the same way.
「Ah, geez, the both of you one after another! 」
「It’s fine Gigille-san」
If she ever had a younger sister, this was how it would feel like, she thought as she braided their hair.
And so, the appointed day soon arrived.
As one would expect, even Gigille was nervous.
「Gigille, you get along with mother, don’t you?」
「Although she treats me favorably, that is merely with the conduct between a mistress and her servant」
「Yes. It’s been awhile since we’ve met so there are butterflies in my stomach」
However, it was Agnes who was even more tense than Gigille herself.
「Hey, are you alright? 」
Bernard noticed her condition and addressed her but there was no response from her.
This time he tapped her shoulder. As soon as he had, she startled and her body trembled in shock..
「Ah-, e-excuse me」
「Don’t think too hard on it. Just act natural」
She looked perfectly like a noble’s daughter but inside she was feeling really nervous. It’s impossible to act with the way she was, his eyes reflecting the doubt he had.
Upon a closer inspection, he noticed Agnes’s hands trembling slightly as they rested on her lap.
As he watched her, Bernard gradually felt nervous.
He suddenly felt unease even though he thought he had gotten his act together.
At the sound of a knock on the door, Carol and Celia opened the door to answer it and announced.
「Milady has arrived! 」
「We’ve been waiting, Milady」
Bernard’s mother had finally arrived.
Looking blanched, with sweat perspiring from Bernard’s forehead and Agnes trembling from nervousness, the both of them went off to welcome their guest.
Kriz: Posting on BabyDalyn’s behalf again. Sorry for how slow this took us to release. I’ve been swamped irl because of work that this took forever to TLC. To give you an idea, the chapter was in our folders in February but CNY + EOFY + family issues held me back from getting through it per my usual speed. I’ll try to get c18 out soon. T_T