Abundant Learning, during a Castle Tour (Part 3)
We continued up the stairs arriving at the third floor. This was uncharted territory for me, and even Minoa-san looked as if she hasn’t been one to frequent this area that much, as she glanced around frequently. Mother’s room, it seems it was almost directly above mine, although the area up here was much larger. Well, it is the area where the head of the family’s wife stayed, of course it would be huge.
“Now, please welcome inside.”
“Ah, yes, please excuse my intrusion… oh wow.”
I was cautious about being polite about this generous invitation, as mother was very kind for allowing us up here… when suddenly my face froze. No, my whole body went stiff for a moment. Essentially, this was an exceptionally girly room. Excessively more so than my own, it had flowers with laces fluttering around the room. No, more than that, this was just a sea of pure white lace, decorating the table and furniture, with a cute floral white pattern. The feet of the sofa were decorated to look like cat feet, and had frilly pink cushions sitting on it. The wallpaper was also a fancy flowery white pattern. Heck, there was even a series of stuffed animals lined up on the shelf, like it was part of a collection. I think it had quite an amazingly profound sense of… unity to this room, yeah. Honestly, I think it was a good thing that this sort of taste was not pressured onto me. I think the contents of the room would be too much for the taste of a lot of women, let alone for my experience as a guy. But considering that I was invited as a guest, it would be unreasonable to complain.
“I don’t mind, Minoa. Welcome to both of you, to this amazing room.”
Minoa-san made sure to scold me for my visible reaction before I could manage to also properly hide such myself, while mother gently caressed my cheek with a wry smile. Well, she might simply be used to this sort of reaction. Still, it would be surprising to see a daughter owning such a room, let alone a mother. Oh well, I’ll just appreciate it simply on the basis that I got to enter such a private space.
“As you can see, I simply adore this sort of thing. Still, I suspect Seiren might have different tastes. I asked to make sure that your room was kept simple, I trust it was sufficiently to your tastes?”
“I’m sorry. Your request though was very appreciated.”
At that point, I bowed respectfully. Mother knew I used to be a guy, and thus thankfully seemed to understood my unfamiliarity with the chest I was granted. I was really spared because of this. If I had been left with a room like this, I might have fallen on my behind overwhelmed instantly after looking at it. While being grateful for such, mother gave us an “alright then” as she clasped her hands together.
“I plan to purchase a few samples of fabric and furniture from the merchants. I would like to know which of them is your favorite.”
“Oh, uh… okay.”
So this is what it is like to be rich. I considered turning down the offer, but instead nodded involuntarily, being scared of what would happen if I refused. No, I needed to make sure I got something I could live with.
First we settled onto the sofa, while the maid I saw earlier made sure to give my mother and I some tea that was prepared. Also the shortbread from yesterday, which was served with it.
“Have some tea. Would you like some sweets with it?”
“Thank you. Yes, that would be fine.”
After smiling happily to the maid, mother turned back to me. Speaking of such, this would be my first time meeting her maid.
“Seiren, here with me is Kaya. She sincerely welcomes you here as well.”
“Oh, Kaya-san is it? I’m Seiren, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Just Kaya is fine. Seiren ojo-sama, I thank you for your consideration.”
… eheheh.. that made me feel dizzy for a moment. Kaya-san didn’t seem like she intended such to be cruel, but that “Young Lady” was suddenly quite overwhelming. Although, I guess I really should expect to be called such more often in the future. I needed to stay strong.
“Excuse me, Lady Seiren. Would you like some more sweets, there is alsooshatō available.”
“…. thank you very much.”
After that, we just sorta started rambling about nothing in particular. I still couldn’t comprehend this collection of Mother’s, these stuffed animals and the cushions and such. I was also concerned about potentially how much this collection would have cost, I wasn’t certain but it was probably very expensive. Somehow, mother and I did not discuss my life as a guy before coming over here. This just wasn’t the right time, to go over such a story. Still, when the conversation happened to drift into talking about how I came from another world in front of the two maids, Kaya-san seemed curiously anxious about something for a moment. Oba-chan, what in the world was that about?
“…. Oh yes, Seiren. Of course, you would not have seen danna-sama‘s room, right?”
Danna-sama, as in her actual tō-san. Mother included, they seems to constantly be referring to so formally in front of other people. However, during the conversation with everyone this morning during breakfast, it was simply “anata“.
“Alright then. Considering the time, I think its time he took a break. Please let him know such.”
“Are you certain about that, oku-sama?”
“Are you claiming that he might be so busy, that he could not afford time with his daughter? Kaya.”
Well, Kaya-san’s reply came very quickly. Hearing such, it seems to be a common understanding, even the tōshu should not have trouble finding some spare time for his daughter. Mother also seems to make sure of this. Understanding such, it somehow made me a bit happier. This was some of the first things I got to learn, about my parents.
So, with that, we could be on our way. Glancing at Minoa-san while realizing this, she instantly stood straight up, as if she was already expecting such. As she made her way over to where I was comfortably seated, I was offered a hand with which to help me stand up.
“Oh, and thank you for the tea and sweets. They were delicious.”
“Thank you for offering such delicious food, madam.”
“Glad you liked it. Perhaps, I should have more shortbread delivered to your room later. If you would like to eat more, of course.”
“Oh, thank you very much.”
Awesome, I will get to eat more later. Maybe I could even share some with Alica-san or Oriza-san, if they have spare time today. Slowly following after mother who had already left the room, I was admittedly a little appreciative. Kaya-san, waiting outside the door, encouraged me on my way.
She motioned as if she was hailing me, asking for us to hurry along to father’s room. However when I looked into her eyes, those returned a surprisingly cold expression. It was startling, such an direct and stern look that was vastly different than what she was using earlier, while mother was present.
“Madam might cherish the young lady, but I still believe that Saryuu is more deserving of being the Shiya heir. With all due respect, give up on such yourself.”
…. well, then. I might be mistaken, but I suspect Kaya-san mightdislike me. Either that, or this is just the classic drama situation over claims of inheritance.
“Let’s just get going, Seiren-sama.”
Pulled away by the sound of Minoa-san’s voice, who easily saw I was offended, I kept going. Only then, did I reply to Kaya-san.
Really, being the daughter of a ryōshu and even being the atotori, which all suddenly came up yesterday. I did not have any such ambitious thinking. … I just didn’t have a choice. In such, I did also feel sorry for Saryuu.
Father’s side of the third floor, it appeared to account for more than half of the total space. It covered most of the space above Saryuu’s side of the second floor, and even extended into most of the area over the ritual chamber. As the head of the household, it made sense to be so big. The area above Saryuu’s side didn’t extend out as far as the area above my room, and as such, extra space was gained by making use of the space over the ritual chamber, at least such was what I learned from Minoa-san. Whatever works for the space needed for work. But it seemed like a big mistake, wasting so much materials.
“Oh, Seiren. It’s nice that you came up to see me.”
In an area between the two main rooms of the third floor, above the ritual chamber, was a sort of common room. Father was there leisurely drinking sayu, who then noticed me through the gab of the opened door and called out. Minoa-san was startled, not expecting him to be there. It was an adorable reaction.
“I’m sorry. I had asked for a tour of the castle so that I could look around. Mother invited me to her room, and we had tea, and I was told that I was to go next to father’s room.”
Since it was my own foolishness that lead to this situation, I explained everything properly. The slight smile of father almost gave voice, telling me that he already knew, what I honestly wished. My feelings, I wonder how well he knew them.
“I see then… So do you want to see my personal space?”
“Would that be alright?”
“Come on. Leaving my daughter seeming so troubled, what kind of father would that make me?”
It was the same as mother, who had said that earlier. Father then gave me a wry smile, which reminded me a lot of the Director’s smile.
I was then invited into father’s room, which had an ultra corporate style to it, for a change. It was sort of an amusing comparison. Specifically, it felt like the sort of room you would expect of a company president or executive, it was a very intimidating room. Considering his job as a lord, father suited such I thought. There was a private room in the back, which didn’t look that big. At least, it didn’t seem so. Still, being like a business area, it was so cool. The pillars of the room looked to be made of some dark wood. The walls were similar but thinner, it was such beautiful wood. The carpet wasn’t patterned with any flowers like my room, instead it was checkered between brown and cream. Without even a chandelier, it was strictly wall lamps that sustained the light of this room. There was a large window with a thin soft curtain. Probably used during the night, the thicker curtains that were currently pulled back on both sides had a color and pattern similar to the carpet. As for the other furniture, it was all a simple masculine dark brown. But still, being so rich, it wasn’t stuff you would see in a simple hardware store, closer to something found at a professional furniture store. The most expensive thing in this castle was the furniture, especially the ones in this room. What caught my eye the most, was one of the bookshelves that rested against one of the walls. Having a door made of glass, an arrangement of books set with a hard quality binding hidden within. Each book was just under a quarter the size of a piece of construction paper, but were lined up without much for quantity. I also think I saw a map.
“Wow, this looks to be filling up.”
“I have a little talent with Poetry and Literature, and sometimes find time to write it down.”
Father gave a quick sigh, but I found this very interesting. I thought of such occasional work with books, even if not as a complete hobby. Such might involve the lord of the family going out to see distant relatives… though, it would then probably be on much the same level as drinking stories over some sake while watching baseball. Really, it sounded wonderful. But considering things, the books were probably well preserved, but would be hard to amass. No wonder there is so much open space. While considering such, father gave me a “You can have one if you want to read it.” Woah, I could borrow a book from the bookshelf?
“Saryuu isn’t nearly as interested in reading as Seiren. Rather than listening to a lecture, he seems to prefer running around outside.”
“That would be normal for a guy his age.”
With such an answer, Minoa-san tilted her head in curiosity…. maybe someday, I should find the opportunity to discuss properly my past life as a guy with my maids. It might otherwise cause trouble in the future. Saryuu was just a boy, at 14 he was four years younger than me. I knew fully well that a boy his age stuck studying at home, he wouldn’t be happy unless he had a compelling love for it. No, but I still properly studied at school.
Looking at it, there was another issue I found lined up in the bookshelf. These characters written along the think spines of the books, I couldn’t understand them at all. Truthfully, this would be a problem, my own personal failure.
“Another thing, I can’t actually read this.”
“You can’t read?
“They aren’t familiar worlds, they aren’t the same as the words I got used to in my 18 years while at the other world. At least, I can’t read the characters on this book cover.”
I replied in honesty. However, I immediately felt I would like to learn how to read such. I had characters written on my clothes as a baby, which should have been the same as the characters on this book. Because the name Seiren was attached to my clothes, I was brought up as such for 18 years. Possibly, there just wasn’t that much difference in respect to the characters for the name Seiren, between each world. Still, it would be really useful to learn to read in this world, I thought. For some reason though spoken words weren’t any different, which was strange to consider. At least that means there was no issues with talking.
“I see. Hmm… wouldn’t that would be inconvenient?”
After hearing my explanation, father put his hand on his chin. He nodded an “alright then”, after thinking a little.
“Simple, we just need to try and have you learn from Kuon. In the meanwhile, she can also teach you about etiquette.”
“She is Saryuu’s personal teacher. Kasai Kuon.”
“Oh, the personal teacher. Minoa-san was talking about her earlier.”
“It’s good that you know about her so soon.”
Having heard that I was already familiar with the kateikyōshi, father laughed in relief. No, I only heard a little bit about her. And in the first place, the sensei was asked to come here just to teach stuff to Saryuu. She wouldn’t also have time for me?!
“But, I wouldn’t want to get in the way of Saryuu’s studies. Even if I’m the heir.”
“Because Kuon is home all day, it wouldn’t be a problem to split you two between morning and afternoon. She would likely enjoy a break from Saryuu’s mischievousness, you will spare her in that regards.”
Mwhahaha. Not exactly a joyous laugh, father. … Brother-in-law, what do you do, during your studies. It’s easy to understand that he would find being pressured into study boring, and would not want to sit still. I was also a lot like that at his age. In my case, it was a lot of wasted effort thanks to the Director.
“Saryuu is like that, it’s in his nature to enjoy simply running around outside, as I said earlier. But, if he learns that his sister will be there to watch him, Saryuu will be focused at his desk. So, it will be much better this way.”
Watching father’s expression while explaining such, Saryuu would definitely hate studying. He would probably more prefer to wave around a sword, or such stuff. Something like that, probably. For me however, it would be important that I somehow learned more. I did not know how to even read in this world, and I would only have a harder time later if I didn’t learn properly.
Also, I should consider other people’s reluctance in me, such as Kaya-san’s hostilities towards me, and even Saryuu’s apparent hatred for me. In order to deal with these kind of things, I’m certain knowledge will be necessary. In order to do my best to make sure everything works out with Saryuu as well, I would need to amass a hoard of knowledge for myself.
“I understand. I want a chance to study. Thank you, father.”
“Okay, then. Leave it to me.”
My father was strangely cheerful, as he struck his chest. … I wondered a little at how lucky I was to have such parents, to be their daughter. The director, even he never treated me this well. I wondered subconsciously, might I even just be a bit too spoiled here, possibly.