Covertly Assisted, Stealthily Studying
Oh, was I surprised. No way, I didn’t think I would meet the old wizard in a place like this.
“Hopefully we continue to get some good weather. Seiren-sama, would you care to come with me for a walk for a while?”
“Oh, uh, sure.”
The old man walked along side me, asking such with a pleasant “ehaha” laughter. Oh, well, going for a walk would be okay. Wait no, hold on. What is with this old man, why is he here? His outfit, it wasn’t anything like what he wore last night.
“Jigen-sensei… what are you doing?”
As the door to the cottage opened, the person who came out through the newly opened door… that couldn’t be Oriza-san, could it?
“Oh! It’s Seiren-sama.”
Pyon, she came popping out of the cottage without the usual maid outfit I’ve seen her in, but instead wearing a simple pink dress. It was exceptionally fluffy, way more than my own outfit, with a knee-long skirt overlapping over layered white sheets of cloth. There was a cute ribbon artfully woven, set into the frilly folds at the neck of the dress. Mother must have picked this out according to her usual tastes, even if it fit Oriza-san surprisingly well… It still wasn’t like me at all.
“I thought you had today off.”
“I might not have any work to do for Seiren-sama today, but there is plenty of other things needed to be done as well.”
“It is as she’s claimed, and there is a lot for us to study as well. Since you are Shiya’s only daughter, we have to learn a lot of different things to do our job.”
Oriza-san smiled happily, as Alica-san told me such with a wry smile. Certainly considering it now, my maids would have a lot more that they need to do. On top of that, my being here gave them a lot more they needed to learn.
“Oh, so you three take turns studying during your breaks? Wow, that sounds harsh, I’m very sorry.”
“Don’t worry, everything is fine. We enjoy studying such kekkō things.”
Oriza-san laughed openly, with the same personality I was familiar with from yesterday. Still, they were having fun learning such stuff? I would have to check this with Saryuu. What they were studying, that was still unclear to me.
“Oriza-san is studying? What exactly are you studying now?”
“Today, Jigen-sensei taught us to read and write spells.”
“Yes, that would be me.”
Interrupting Alica-san, who was about to reply, the old man explained instead by placing his hand on his chest. The old man then took a moment to step forwards, followed with a very deep bow.
“It is an honor that you’ve came to visit, Seiren-sama. My name is Kasai Jigen. I’m the Shiya Family’s exclusive wizard.”
“When something comes up in your family that is magic in nature, I’m the one who is always responsible to take care of it. I’ll be looking over you in the same way from now on too.”
Wow.. My family, they have an exclusive wizard. So even this was normal here. Well, there was even the ritual chamber in the castle, so of course this was normal. Wait, Kasai?
“I see. As I recall Kasai was also the family name of Saryuu’s private teacher.”
“Oh, I see you’re already familiar with her. Kuon is my granddaughter.”
I listened very carefully, while being explained such details. The old man… Jigen-san laughed with a dusty old cough like he was caught in a dust cloud at a wholesale store, then slowly nodded with a soft smile.
“Despite any wisdom I might offer, Saryuu is studying in the diligent care of my granddaughter. Thanks to such, we were generously given such a place to live.”
“Yeah.. Jigen-sensei is very wise.”
“Yes. Sorcery is very hard to learn. Jigen-sensei is the greatest wizard for our lord.”
The two maids quickly drove back Jigen-san’s presented humbleness, with overflowing compliments. Well, it was still amazing to have such a great wizard exclusive to the family… he was so great that it was with his help, my parents could recover the daughter they lost 18 years ago. I had no doubt, this old man was capable of some amazing magic.
“Well, instead of standing out here talking, there should be tea inside. Kuon should be out still talking with the Duke, would you care to spend a moment talking to this old man?”
Well, wizardry aside, Jigen-san did leave a very good-natured feeling of a grandfather. The old man wanted to get to talk with me. I thought it would be fine, it would be a good opportunity to settle a few remaining questions.
“Hmm.. Seiren-sama certainly has many guides for her now, I hope you don’t mind adding another. The three of us can look after you properly now.”
“Oh, Minoa-san is here now too.”
Jigen-san, I want a chance to learn much more. Oriza-san got to hear his lessons too. It felt like this was a grand opportunity offered by destiny that I simply couldn’t let slip past, but with Minoa-san here now, I had to be cautious. Minoa-san might have been sent by an angry Yuzuruha-san because I’ve been missing for so long.
“Alica-san, could you bring word to the castle of what I’m doing?”
“Yes, I will pass on your message.”
After a time, Alica-san returned. With Minoa-san now joining us, we entered Jigen-san’s home. Minoa-san gave us snacks from the kitchen, since we’ve been missing for a while and haven’t eaten yet. Compared to the castle, the inside of the cottage was considerably more ordinary. Still, even though a wizard lived here, it felt closer to my father’s room, with a wall full of bound books of various origins among a sequence of equally various posters, all full of symbols I didn’t understand. Surprisingly enough, I even found what looked like the preserved skull of a frog. When given the opportunity, I sat down on a couch that encouragingly seemed a little old-fashioned, neat and clean, near the kitchen. Ah.. yes… living like this felt so much better to me. I sorta wish I was actually born more in a quaint place like this. But there was nothing I could do about it, I was born with this lineage. Still, the kitchen was completely unexpectedly familiar as if by magic, with what looked like a refrigerator set near other electrical kitchen appliances. Thanks to Oriza-san working diligently, we quickly got to appreciate some tea. This tiny cottage was part of the Shiya Family property, so it would make sense that it would still have good furniture and tableware. Never the less, it brought be a brief moment of tranquility, resting here with a familiarly simple tea cup. Bringing out an notably similar simple small plate, Minoa-san quickly piled it full of cookies for us.
“There we go.”
“Thank you, Oriza-san! Please excuse my reach.”
“Go ahead. Seiren-sama certainly seemed thirsty. Oh, and I’ve left additional arrangements for Minoa and Alica in the kitchen.”
“Oh, thank you Oriza.”
The maids, they even drank tea separately. How sad… having to keep such a distance all the time. The two of them however reply with full appreciation. This just the way things are here, I’m not allowed to change anything.
“Alica-san and Minoa-san, please go enjoy your tea. I will remain here.”
“Please excuse my rudeness.”
“I will be awaiting you in the kitchen.”
Well, after all, they are maids. The three of them each look back once more before turning to the kitchen. Jigen-san was sitting in a single seat couch, already sipping from his strange tea cup on his own awkwardly. Hmm, I wonder about his cup, was it homemade? For now, I had a sip from my own tea. Ah, it was delicious as usual. Taking just a single cookie, Jigen-san put down his own cup. He then looked me straight in the eyes, before slowly asking his question.
“… this world, have you grown a little accustomed to it yet? In your time today since yesterday.”
“It’s surprising what sort of manners are expected here, yet my maids and my parents are very supportive of me, one way or another. But this social status system… I’ve got to say, it has been very troubling.”
Speaking so gently, it was surprising to hear of his concerns suddenly like this. Are you also familiar with my circumstances, Jigen-san? Finding my real parents so suddenly, and how much of a struggle everything has been for me.
“Seiren-sama, please do not concern yourself over such. That is simply the way of things in this world.”
“Yes, I know.”
Minoa-san went over all of this already too… but at least Jigen-san knew that I came from a different world living with different values… sigh, all of this has me worn out.
“And your new body, how is that working out for you?”
“Well it has became harder to look down and see myself. It’s also a lot harder to put on my underwear.”
“I see. However, girls have a much more fragile physique, so please take good care of yourself.”
“I’ll be careful.”
… specifically female physique, huh? I would have to be cautious in any rate, I don’t have much of any experience at all being a woman yet. I was familiar with how to live as a guy, but I’ll be living from now on otherwise.
“Oh, this reminds me. Earlier Oriza-san said something about magic.”
“Yes, I’m well versed in the peculiar dialect needed to perform the art of sorcery. Studying this, it is possible to lift someone into the air, or summon small objects.”
Ohh.. To think this magical world would be capable of such. This old man was truly an expert in this field of study, with an visible talent for magic.
“Oh, so Jigen-san could help me learn how to use this magic stuff myself?”
“So you want to walk down that path. I wonder if some of your motivation is in recognition of my finding out your whereabouts in the other world.”
“That’s correct. Is it very difficult to learn?”
“Well, it is a little difficult. It takes a considerably long time to learn, I’m sorry to tell you.”
“Couldn’t you teach me at least a bit? I really want to learn more about it.”
The old man was trying to turn me away, but I wasn’t worried about the hardship. I vanished to another world, my gender changing forcing me to live as another person, and I had to live like that for the 18 years of my life so far. The old man might be worried it takes too much time, but coming back from a world so vastly different, after going through this much, I wasn’t about to give up so easily. I might have started out as their daughter, but I had to get used to being a guy.
After taking a deep breath, I noticed my tea was gone. Minoa-san had been keeping watch and so was aware of such as well, she quickly flew across the room in a rush.
“I’m sorry, Seiren-sama. I noticed you were getting excited talking about sorcery just a moment ago.”
“It’s okay. I just got a bit absent-minded there for a moment.”
The tea here was indeed delicious, way more than my poor tongue was adjusted too. Most likely, I’ll need to get used to such luxury.
“After teaching Kuon-sensei, she’s managed to develop considerable mastery of magic, and we’ve found such knowledge to be of great convenience as well… Seiren-sama would also find such knowledge to be very convenient.”
Oriza-san’s face even visibly expressed her concerns in consideration to my feelings. She was standing up for me? All in under a day, my situation kept changing so dramatically.
“I’m sorry, thank you for bringing that to light.”
“Hmph. I’m not the one you should be saying that to. This is your job, after all!”
However, Oriza-san was visibly smiling radiantly, after earning such a victory, it was a different vicious side of her. Well no, she was still a beautiful girl. I was probably just still thinking things through like a guy.
In the meanwhile, Alica-san and Minoa-san also returned. Subtly, they both had a satisfied look on their faces. The tea, it really was delicious. Oh it was excellent, with such perfect taste.
“Thank you for the tea, it was delicious.”
“Yes indeed. It was so very delicious.”
“Ah, it was great. Done to perfection.”
In addition to Oriza-san who was already standing next to me, bringing all three maids back together again. Jigen-san looked over all the girlswith a sharp eye. In that moment, everything became tense.
“Alica-dono, Minoa-dono, Oriza-dono.”
“Oh, wha? What is it?”
“Seiren-sama came here yesterday from quite a different place. From that place, she has ever since had to struggle to adjust to the uncertainties of a new body.”
Jigen-san explained such plainly, covering generic details of my circumstances thus far. Yeah well, I was living as a guy until yesterday. Suddenly ending up in a girl’s body like this, it was a very stressful experience. I mean, it was hard enough to learn I wasn’t even originally a guy… I wonder if I would have lived my life differently if I had known this in the other world.
“Considering this carefully, I’ve decided that Seiren-samatsuki-nō-san-pō shall henceforth be granted private lessons in the art of magic. Oriza-dono, I will be teaching you later today what you will need to know, in the off-chance that Seiren-sama needs immediate guidance in times when I’m not around.”
“Yes, I will do as you ask.”
Following Jigen-san’s declaration, Oriza-san turned in silent inquiry with her colleagues, as if they had already talked about this previously. For some reason, I also turned to look. Of course, this was a condition I would be glad to accept. Alica-san and Minoa-san held a neutral expression of thought for a time, then eventually simply nodded. At this, both of them turned to Jigen-san and bowed.
“I understand. Such will be as you request.”
“Thank you for your leadership and support.”
The two of them seemed to fully accept this decision. For them, there wasn’t to be any changes, they were to simply look over to me as usual.
“I will be sure to be careful. Alica-san, Minoa-san, Oriza-san, take care.”
As such, I presented my honest request with diligence. All at the exact same time, “Of course” was spoken resolutely by all three maids, to my great relief. However myself, this will be yet another big change.
“I hope you’ll excuse my selfish request.”
“Everything will be fine. We’ve each been assigned to the personal care of Seiren-sama of the Shiya Family, so all of us therefore understand our collective role to do such.”
This was still troubling for me, though even Jigen-san seemed to understand. Along with being a wizard, he seems to have quite a few years of wisdom to go with it.
“Seiren-sama, after this, be certain to study hard. Ganbattekudasaimaseyo.”
“I will. Thank you.”
Yes, I will have to do my best. Jigen-san and the others seemed happy at this. However.. Director.. I still hope to someday see you again.