Keeping Relaxed, while Eating Breakfast
Bread and soup, a salad of sauteed fish, breakfast wasn’t exactly what I would have expected, but I enjoyed it anyway. Well, I really wouldn’t have expected to have eaten such in the morning. Otherwise, it seems I will have to be careful around Saryuu. At this point, we weren’t even making eye contact anymore. I know, to him I probably seem like a unusual girl… but that’s because I used to be a guy. This was still something my brother did not know, I would have to deal with that later. I’m sorry.
Putting matters between Saryuu and I aside for now, the tea we got after breakfast somehow smelled different compared to what we had yesterday. I’m not sure what kind of tea it is exactly, but it was very clear that this was a very different type of tea, even to me.
“Oh, Seiren. Is anything wrong?”
“Oh, no. I was just thinking that this tea has a different aroma than the one yesterday. I think both are nice.”
While I was carefully contemplating my tea, it seems mother wanted to know what I was thinking about. I should be more aware of my reactions going forward. Still, this tea is really nice, such a pleasant aroma. It was vaguely similar to Chai, calming, but with a strong aroma. I certainly wasn’t about to be picky, at the orphanage we often didn’t have such luxuries. Because of such, I wouldn’t usually get to drink such a tea. Director, he probably just couldn’t afford it. As mother smiled happily, I wondered if the tea was also mother’s attempt at trying to bring me comfort. Smiling in return, I turned to father who had a sour look on his face, as he was in the midst of drinking tea himself.
“Yes, I really like this. Well, I used to drink a lot of green tea, it was my favourite.”
“Oh really… Honestly I’m not familiar with such.”
“Oh, and please pass on my compliments to the chef for this wonderful breakfast. Also, could I please have some plain hot water?”
At this, mother replied to me plainly with a smile, as father had a stern and determined expression. Noticing I got carried away with the tea, I muttered my own “sorry” quietly. Still, mother must be so strong to take all of this so casually. Father probably too, though I really don’t know what he was thinking. He just looked stern, which did suit his noble status. He reminded me of the Director, who also had a good personality that betrayed a subtle kindness.
… I did enjoy having some plain hot water after eating. It reminded me of having a cup of hot water after eating rice back at the orphanage, which was good for clearing up the sticky feeling of the rice grains. The water I got was a bit too scalding for me, but I was too impatient to wait before drinking it.
“Thank you for the lovely meal. It was delicious.”
After we had finished eating, Minoa-san reappeared suddenly to help me up from the table. Considering the large apron she was wearing, she was probably in the kitchen. I gave her my “Thank you” as she bowed deeply in reply. Really, I wonder about this family’s serving staff. A little while ago I learned that there was a chef here, so then he would have been responsible for a meal this BIG, impressive.
“… Umm, sister Seiren-sama.”
As I went to leave the dinning hall, I discovered Saryuu following me. Like myself, he had his own maid with him. Considering this young man, it made me wonder what Oryza-san was doing on her day off.
“What is it, Saryuu?”
“… Earlier, I was a bit overzealous there. I’m sorry.”
“When I was saying that you weren’t fit to be part of the Shirya family.”
Woah! I didn’t expect this, he even lowered his head while saying such. The maid behind him was watching such proceedings, and upon suddenly noticing such, ended up also bowing in the same way with a light sigh. Oh, Saryuu must have been asked to do such by his maid. I haven’t had much experience yet being a woman, so I’m glad to have the support of maids with so much experience. Even Oriza-san is nice, although she is very quick to speak her mind. Yeah, she can sometimes be too honest.
“It’s alright. Honestly, I still need to work on adjusting to my new home.”
With my reply, my brother visibly expressed his relief. With a sigh, which I could even hear from here, I guess he was a bit nervous. Hmm, this might be a sign of some potential agreement we could reach in the future. First, I would need to be a “proper daughter of the family”, though that would take some time.
“Oh, yes. What is it, sis-sama?” ((He’s still formally using “ane-sama”, and I’m not feeling this is being properly expressed with just “sister”. Solution, invent new English hybrid word.))
“Umm, I’m really not yet accustomed to this kind of family. So then, if I have any problems adjusting in the future, I might need a bit of help.”
Clearly, this was awkward for both of us. But honestly, I really wanted to clear this up. Really, it was something that deeply worried me. To try and prevent anymore mistakes, I made sure to be cautious.
“Oh well, I thought it would be proper for me to ask you such. Was it too much for me to ask for?”
“Well, I’ll think about it.”
While I was rethinking if I had gone too far, Saryuu responded instead, shyly rubbing his back. True, technically I only mentioned the idea, I didn’t actually directly ask him to help me. He might think differently about it, but that couldn’t be helped.
“Now, if you will excuse me.”
“Oh, sure. Take care.”
Somehow, things between Saryuu and I have turned out a bit better, at least I hoped so. At least, as Saryuu’s older sister, I should try to put a bit more attention into being a “refined woman”, however that was easier said than done. You know, I wonder if I’m even capable of being that much of a woman. I glanced around as I consider such. Well, I can’t forget that I have people here to help me out already, such as my maids, as well as Yuzuruha-san. ((Am I the only one here concerned that she doesn’t even consider her parents as applicable help, only the maids?))
Arriving back in my room, I settled onto the sofa. Phew, it seems I was still a bit nervous about earlier, I wasn’t really aware of such until that point. Alica-san was already waiting for me in the back of the room, and said to me “welcome back” as we laughed. Truly, such did help me to relax. After that bit of relief, I started to wonder where the other two maids had gone off to after breakfast.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen you for a while now. I don’t even know what you two have been up to.”
“Well, we made sure to clean the room and bed sheets after Seiren-sama left, then made sure to have our own breakfast in the staff room.”
“I made sure to return to this room after breakfast, to make sure Seiren-sama’s bed was made properly in case she wanted to rest.”
“I see, I’m very sorry. I guess you two still had work to take care of while I was eating.”
… to clean up the room like this and still have time for breakfast. These maids, that would be a lot to do in so little time. Speaking of time, I wonder if there are clocks here. Searching around the room quickly, I found a clock had been mounted on one of the walls which I hadn’t noticed earlier. It looked like one of those old pendulum clocks, but it was completely silent. It also displayed unfamiliar characters on its face, so it wasn’t like one of the analogue clocks that I was used to. Considering the arms of the clock and what that would mean on a normal clock, the clock claims it is just after 9 o’clock. I wasn’t exactly certain due to not having checked the clock before breakfast, being only able to really gauge from the sun I saw outside earlier this morning, I would hazard a guess that we were in the dining hall for just over an hour. ….well, I wasn’t perfectly certain about that either. Well, at least I knew it was still early in the morning. There would be a lot of time before lunch. Well then.
“Wait a minute, is this also what happened last night after I went to sleep? Did you wait until then to eat, too?”
“Don’t worry, I’ve long gotten accustomed to this sort of routine.”
As Minoa-san answered with a shrug, I started feeling terribly sorry for them. That they have had to adjust to this sort of thing, to have to naturally work with this routine. In other words… If they take too long to complete their maid tasks, they won’t have time to sleep or eat. It felt self-centered being able to do everything so leisurely, while having staff working this hard for me. They even made sure my bed was cleaned and tended to while I was casually talking with everyone in the dining hall.
“Well… I think I would like to have time to eat with you guys too, at least occasionally. So long as you guys aren’t overly rushed with your other responsibilities.”
“I’m very sorry.”
“Please do not trouble yourself over worrying so much about us, Seiren-sama.”
Alica-san gave a gentle apologetic smile, while Minoa-san clarified that fufiling such a request wouldn’t likely be possible. It was saddening, truthfully. I guess.. I would have to accept such limitations. Well, at least I tried. I should actually consider my life as a young lady, I’m not even familiar with my own schedule. I don’t ever know if I go to school or something. I will simply have to try my best, and I know Alica-san has my back. Honestly, Minoa-san isn’t bad to have around, and Alica-san is good at listening to people.
“Umm, Alica-san. I’m uncertain if there are any tasks expected of me, today.”
“No, not really. The mistress has told us that you’re expected to take things at your own leisure, at least for a while.”
“… I see.”
In other words, I can just do whatever. Even saying such, I hardly know anything about this mansion or the world outside it.
I just don’t know what to do. Hmm.
“Okay. Alica-san, you offered earlier this morning to show me around the garden. So I wonder, maybe you might have time to guide me around the entire mansion. I want to learn my way around here.”
If I want to learn something, I just need to ask.
Fortunately it seems Alica-san remembered that incident earlier, and nodded as she broke into laughter.
“Of course. Seiren-sama is quite unfamiliar with the mansion, after all.”
“It will also be a good opportunity for you to meet the rest of the staff. I will go with you today.”
Minoa-san answered with a curt nod. Alright, now to explore the mansion. Well, I doubt I could memorise all of it.
Unexpectedly just after leaving the room, I was reminded of the talisman pouch. Because of everything else that was going on, it had been forgotten in the depths of my mind. I wonder, what happened to it.
“…. Oh, Alica-san, Minoa-san. Do you know what happened to the talisman pouch I had?”
“Well, it was that tiny handmade pouch I came with. It might have been a little shabby, but I don’t know where it has gone now.”
I drew an imaginary square in the air with my fingers, to help the two of them understand. Considering I made that pouch myself, I liked it even if it was shabby. As I remember it, soon as I was pulled to this world, mother had me pull it out to show her what was inside it. Goodness, what did I do with it after that… right, it was in the back pocket of my clothes. Oh, I wonder what happened to my old clothes too.
“Oh, I forget what happened to it.”
While contemplating all of this, Alica-san ran back towards the bedroom. Not long after, she hurried back with a small familiarly-shabby handmade talisman. Alica-san told me where it was being kept, while holding it out to me in the cusp of her palms.
“I found this while washing the clothes you were wearing yesterday, within one of the pockets. I made sure to set it aside, just in case.”
“Thank you! Awesome!”
I accepted the talisman offered by Alica-san, hugging it tightly in relief. Checking carefully, I notice from its apparent flatness that it seemed there was nothing in the bag. I took a moment to recall the ring that should have been inside, the tiny ring that would not fit on a baby’s finger. I unravel the knot that tied the top of the bag. In desperation, I open the bag and turn it upside down into my palm. Falling from the pouch and landing in the palm of my hand, was a cute ring holding a blue gem, to my great relief.
“Good, it was still inside. Oh thank goodness. Hmm…”
“Oh, that is a very pretty ring.”
“I learned that, when I was born, my parents had given it to me as a gift.”
Alica-san inspected the ring, as I described it’s origins. With eyes widening along with her surprised “Oh..”, she continued to inspect the ring along with Minoa-san, who herself was tilting forwards her neck slightly for a better look.
“You know, I might as well put this on now. In the other world, it just stayed in the pouch. The person who raised me in the that world said that I should make sure to take good care of it, so I worked hard to make the pouch. I tried my best to take good care of it.”
“That’s amazing. To have taken such good care of it, it must have been very important to you.”
Minoa-san told me such, with a slight smile on her face. Yes, I knew I had to cherish it. It was a gift from father and mother, was even presented to me by director back in the other world. It felt as if, through this ring, I was cherished in return.