Abundant Learning, during a Castle Tour (Part 2)
Minoa-san’s tour continued, moving up to the second floor. Honestly, I think this hand-railing is important. If elderly people were involved, it would be absolutely necessary. We ascended the stairs to the right side of the main entrance, which went into the wing with my room.
Across from my room was the bath, but the entrance to that room was all the way around from the other side. More than likely, this was so moisture didn’t accumulate on this side. Between my room and the bath was another door, which looked like it was a linen closet. The door was so discreet, I never noticed it before. It seems inside was an assortment of different styles of sheets sorted by season, but apparently was not a place where my family and I were expected to go into. Regardless, hearing such details did give me some relief, this world still has seasons. Last night I did notice that the main door of the furo was actually behind it, but I did not realise that there was also a toire on the other side of the hallway. The door looked symmetrically inverted from the bath’s, which was probably also distantly placed as a countermeasure for odours. Still, I thought this setup seemed smart. Overall, that was the layout for my area in the right wing. I suspected the other wing would be designed similarly, it might even be symmetrically reflected. I would imagine that’s such a design was very likely, but I would still need to confirm to be certain.
“What is over in the other wing?”
“That would be Saryuu-sama’s wing. The layout and design is generallysimilar to Seiren-sama’s wing.”
Wait a moment.. That means this set of bath and toilet rooms are all mine alone.
“I heard long ago this wing was setup as a children’s room, but was then renovated into a guest suite. It has since then been renovated again to what is here now.”
I see, so this was originally a children’s room and then a guest room. It’s likely the children’s room was designed for me. It’s curious that this means the castle was only designed for two children, actually. It does make sense to have offered this wing to guests who were staying over, considering it wasn’t getting any other usage. Oh, so then that would mean that the linen closet even contained bedding for guests. It would sense. I wonder if it would be jammed full if I looked inside. I couldn’t check for myself, such closets are for the maids only. It’s probably for the best, I wouldn’t want to disturb it and then be buried in bedding.
While considering such, I looked towards the wing Saryuu was staying in. From what I could see, even the design of the walls on the other wing was very similar for my otōto. The hallways were otherwise the same, just his wing had a suit of armor decorating the corridor. After breakfast, as far as I knew, he probably went back to his room. Actually, that made me wonder, what might he be doing right now?
“I never did get to see Saryuu last night. I wonder, was he just too busy?”
“In the morning, he has lessons with his sensei, and then has sword practice in the afternoon. He goes to bed early in the evening, so that he can be up early in the morning for some self-training.”
“So earlier this morning, was that what I saw?”
I recalled the first time I saw my brother, while gazing out of the window. I was uncertain if my involvement interrupted his personal efforts, or if he was able to complete it properly. I hope things worked out well enough. I have noticed that my giri-no-otōto does like practicing with a sword. If such is true, then I wished him the best down this road with all of my ani-heart, or it would by my ane-heart instead.. as that is what I have, here in this world. All things considered, this is a world of swords and magic. I’m still not completely used to such things, but I feel like I’ve adapted a bit. Actually, other than that fancy wizard guy from before, I’ve really not actually seen any magic. When I think of mahō, like with that fancy wizard guy from before, I think of stuff seen in games and anime. Still, it makes sense to take time to properly study the swords and magic of this world, like he did this morning.
“If Saryuu does studying in the morning, does that mean he’s doing such right now? That his teacher is working with him over there?”
“No, it is time for his sword training, he traveled to the home of his teacher.”
Minoa-san’s reply inadvertently blew my mind. The maids live here with us, but not a private teacher.
“… but aren’t I expected to stay near home?”
“Correct. The castle is quite a distance from the town, it would take a while to get there.”
“Come to think of it, when I was looking through the window, I think I saw some regular houses off in the distance. It looked hard to make that sort of trip, let alone daily.”
I recalled such details during Minoa-san’s reply. Indeed, that would be a long trip. I would suspect the distance would take about an hour or two bytrain, it was quite a distance away. I also really doubt the road was paved, and it is unlikely that there would be cars in this world, most likely they used a horse-drawn carriage. The trip would be really rough. While considering such, it reminded me of the scenery out of the window. The sparse gaps of the woods, dozens of simple houses snuggled tightly together. It probably was quite an impressive trip to make daily, considering what I saw. I still believed it would be much easier to have the teacher living in the castle, maybe in a neat little study or something. The director, I remember he used to always be there to help me with my homework.
“I see. But you made it seem he would not be gone for very long.”
“Correct. There is a small cottage, built by your family’s ancestors, not far from the castle. His teacher lives there with your oji-sama and two other people. We make sure to provide meals for them as well.”
That means the maid staff here also had to go over to the small cottage grandfather was at, to prepare food there. I still felt it would be better to hold such teaching at the castle, like in a study. No, actually, I still don’t really understand what is involved in such lessons. I wouldn’t know if it might be tougher properly learning such content here. It’s true, without being able to properly grasp the nature of the studies, it would be difficult to understand how to best work with it. All that I know is the sort of studies I had at the orphanage, learning with a small group of guys and such. But meanwhile, regarding the cottage.. that was something I wanted to see.
“This afternoon, can we go there to have a look?”
“My shift will have ended, so we would have to ask Alica. Or how about we check with Yuzuruha-san, to see if it would be alright?”
“Ah, thank you very much.”
Considering that I’ve never once stepped outside of the castle, Minoa-san’s reply was very kindly received, I was excited to check it out. I was relieved, feeling tired of being stuck inside these walls. This brought up a new question, which I had just thought of.
“Hmm, actually, what is behind this wall…?”
I indicated the wall of the second floor, in the space there between the two halls below. However, other than a door there leading to the area inside, there was no windows to actually see inside. Hold on, I remembered being in that room once, if my memory wasn’t wrong.
That was where I first hugged my mother.
“That would be for gishiki, that room.”
After noticing my inquiry, Minoa-san explained such.
“Yes, the area there has been dedicated for performing magical rituals.”
As she spoke those words, I repeated them in my head. Majutsu gishiki. To have a room dedicated for such, here in this castle. In other words, practicing magic is something that happens here in the castle. That night also, magic was involved in that room. The ritual that called me across worlds to this castle, right? When “I am a guy” ended, and I ended up being a girl. That room, it was the first place I saw in this world.
“I… I returned to this world in that room.”
“… Oh really?”
It was clear that Minoa-san never knew such details, she simply bowed her head.
The stairs going to the third floor were next to the doors of the ritual room, standing sentinel from both sides of the door. The stairs also hid a table which could only be seen from the right angle, I was surprised to find it and didn’t know what it was for. When I approached the stairs, Minoa-san gave me a sharp look. Becoming aware of such, I froze.
“The third floor is for danna-sama and oku-sama, you can’t go up there without permission.”
“Oh I see.”
According to her words, I wouldn’t be able to go up these stairs. Only the family head and his wife were allowed on that floor, usually. Even as theirmusume, apparently I still could not go up there without permission. I wondered on this, would that apply to even Yuzuruha-san regarding my room, that he would also need to obtain my permission to enter. The rules around here are very strict. It was like Minoa-san was explaining a little while ago, there can be a lot of difference in status between people.
My thoughts were cut off suddenly, hearing a very relaxed voice from the top of the stairs.
“Oh, Seiren, is that you?”
Looking up suddenly, I called out her name. Mother, who was escorted by a seasoned maid, was curiously looking downwards at me. It makes sense, she wouldn’t know what I would be doing there, after all.
“I’ve been going on a tour of the castle. Since I just got here yesterday, I wanted to get to know this place.”
In that, I made sure to clarify what I was doing standing there. Mother took insight with a “Ahh”, and then gave a quick nod. In considering that said daughter just returned yesterday, she could appreciate such an idea.
“Oh, I know. Can you please meet me in my room. There is still some of the shortbread left to eat, the kind you tried yesterday.”
Whoa. Did I just hear right, that she wants me to meet her on the third floor? More than permission, this is rather an invitation. Additionally, I really would like more of the shortbread from yesterday. Yay!
“Oh, is that so? The shortbread was delicious, too.”
“Really, I’m glad that you think so. Now, come to my room and join me for tea. Minoa, please come join us as well.”
Watching these events unfold unexpectedly, Minoa-san was left agape with a look of amazement. She had just stopped me from wandering this way, I had to smile wryly.
Minoa-san seemed pretty adorable, in that moment.
“Okay. Let’s go upstairs together.”
“…. but of course.”
Taking my words to heart, Minoa-san gave a deep bow, then lead the way slowly up the stairs.