Drop!! ～A Tale of the Fragrance Princess～ Chapter 3
Act Three : Second eldest brother – Ishuma’s Monologue
My name is Ishuma Ishume Pameradia, the Pameradia House’s third child and second son, as well as a knight belonging to the second guard troops. For a long time, I was the youngest child, but eight years ago, my younger brother and sister were born. Incidentally, among my younger siblings, only my younger sister, Cordelia, and I share the same fate of possessing a middle name, the reason being simply because we both had a brush with death when we contracted a serious illness during our childhoods. It is customary, in this county, to try and ward off the sickness by linking a child’s guardian deity’s name to theirs while they are on the verge of life and death. The child’s guardian deity is determined when he or she is born. Everyone, in the past, seemed to have had their guardian deity’s name included as a middle name included from birth, but due to the mood of the current era being “to lazy to write the name in the documents,” no one has a middle name unless they contracted a terrible disease. So, because of this, the number of people with middle names is not zero.
Having a middle name makes it easy for others to know whether or not someone has experienced a serious illness before, but it is actually a disadvantage for those who have one. Having a middle name makes people immediately associate that person with the image of being sickly, rather than the impression of “a person who overcame the disease.” In particular, this seems to apply more fittingly for children in the aristocracy. Take, for instance, Cordelia and I. The fact that two children out of four brothers and sisters shows that there is quite a high probability of a child born to an aristocrat family dying, but it is not strange if one were to look at the overall situation.
In many cases, children of the nobility possess a large amount of magic, and those with such magic easily contract various sicknesses. This is because the body can not stop the erosion of the disease fully, due to it trying to keep in the magic. However, in many cases, if the child’s body is able to defeat the sickness, they will be capable of using extremely strong magic. … Well, elder brother is tremendously strong, and never contracted the disease, but in his case, he is strong due to his physical ability as well; much stronger than an ordinary person.
I was twelve at the time my sister, Cordelia Ena Pameradia, was born, and to be honest… I pitied her. I had not even imagined that my sister could be conceived, my parent’s relationship being heavily strained, but I could easily figure out the reason behind it. About six months before, the prince of this country was born. If the Pameradia child was born male, he could possibly become the prince’s friend, but if she was a female, then she had the possibility of becoming the prince’s wife. Even with that reasoning, I thought that it would be impossible. As I have said many times, my parents do not have such a good relationship.
I, though only a twelve year old child, could understand that.
I sympathised with my sister, thinking, “It would be good if she was at least a man.” However, her future was already decided when she was born a woman. The goal of aiming at the position of future empress, it would be impossible for me not to be familiar with it. Because she was born a woman, she would be raised on only this word, and would walk a trivial path. This may sound coldly cruel to those not familiar with this way of life.
Well, I also do not think that I ever had a fun life at that time. I did not know the feeling of boredom, but I also did not know the sense of fun.
I was the second son, but clearly the way elder brother and I were treated was different. On the surface, we received the same education, but there was always the atmosphere of always being only a “spare.” I had never felt the same expectation for him associated with me. I also thought that I had no use. My elder brother, as the legitimate first son, had heavier responsibilities than I did. However, I wouldn’t like to be in his position, destined to be in charge of everything. In my view, the position eldest brother is not enviable. Because of my position, I could enjoy a certain degree of freedom – I decided not to worry about it, but there is the case that I thought my elder brother was reproachful. Elder brother is exactly like father, and has a better physique than me, but can not catch up to my magic sense. I resemble mother in that way. Sometime when we were young, I beat elder brother. I was more enthusiastic about it then, but that was simply childish thinking; I learned after, early on, that it was impossible to be able to win against elder brother, who was so alike to father.
Being always compared with elder brother, he was always the “child prodigy,” while subsequently, I was thought of as a supporter. Because they always compared us to father, he was always the “star”, and it simply became the norm for the world to evaluate us that way.
So, when Cordelia, who has the blood of the Pameredia house, was born as a sister, on one hand, I was selfishly pitying her, and on the other, I was saved by her birth as a female because I think if she was a male, my inferiority complex would have solidified. Certainly…… well, I still have an inferiority complex to some degree, even now, but I do not want to be a brother who shows an inferiority complex to someone younger than me. Partly because of pride, but I also decided not to show my true character because showing that side of me would be simply too uncool.
My behavior and speech is the primary concern… for example, this tone is also a part of my front.
Originally, I did not use the manners and language that was usual for children of aristocrats. I did know how to behave in that way, but there was no reason to. But when doing business along the border or going out to collect information, I conducted myself in that manner and found it to be “fun.” After continuously doing it, I soon found it effortless to act the part of a knight. It became habitual to me and was easy. But I never show this side of myself over the dinner table. Showing an honest and overly chivalrous face for a knight would be bad. Speaking at ease and in a familiar manner are not elements, at least in a Pameredia House Knight, that are permissible. I want to live in peace and not provoke father’s anger.
So I usually put on the facade of the “ideal young knight.”
Of course, I only do this in the castle, never at home. Especially when I am in the castle tavern, I leave behind and shed my “Pameredia mask.” Perhaps this was because the tavern was so very different from my usual places. It was not a place for knights, on the contrary, it was a place for gamblers and minstrels. It would be as if almost to say that it was at the level of card games at the tavern for gamblers; a surreal and obscure occupation that interests me greatly. Being there made the lies of my facade easier to bear, to try to be noble and familiar at the same time. I wanted to plunge into the contradiction that was my false personality, but I was helpless because I couldn’t afford break myself of either mask.
And… well, let’s leave it at that. You’ve probably heard enough of this.
Almost at the same time my sister was born, father tried to educate her as a future consort of the Royal Palace. He hired a live-in tutor at once. As a result, my sister received the education of a lady before she could even speak…. Isn’t it too early? I once thought to myself.
Well, she may not be able to understand it, but my sister’s restrictions were equal to those of elder brother, perhaps even more than mine. I wonder if these things are what they call a blessing in disguise? As soon as I learned of my sister’s existence, the maid and her tutor were continuously raving about her as if she were above the world…. Honestly, I thought that too much praise couldn’t possibly be good. If a child is cute, they certainly should be complemented; if they are smart and clever, they should be praised, but such a massive amount is not good. In the future, that child could grow to be high-handed and spoiled.
But that is my parents’ responsibility to stop it, as well as dealing with the future consequences; not mine. I thought it might be best to leave the matter alone unless it directly affected me.
So as to why I didn’t end up stopping them…… well it was troublesome to say, and father hired the tutor to teach and to discipline at the tutor’s discretion; not saying anything about the matter. Elder brother was indifferent, (in the first place, I hadn’t met elder brother face to face since I had entered the dormitory while Cordelia was one years old.) and my sister was, at the time, being catered around and cared for by my mother, who was busy conducting her debut into various social circles.
Well, I was sympathetic with my sister, but there was no meaning in taking pity on the poor puppet; don’t think of me as a good person who would do so. Just because I knew of the problem doesn’t mean I could have done something; I had enlisted and had to leave home when my sister turned four.
When I returned to the family home after a period of time……. In no way could I imagine, when I enlisted in the Guard Corps, that during my trip, father would turn into a dere and dote on my sister.
Father seems to be trying to hide the fact that he’s a dere, but Cordelia ended up messing it all up. I mean no offence to Cordelia, but father probably doesn’t favor her 100 percent, so I will say this on behalf of him. Cordelia, father is not a person who buys souvenirs for his children. So do not go beaming in front of him saying thank you. Father replied with a curt “Ah,” but I have to say I somehow got a different feeling from that sound.
……. Just because I saw such a confusing scenario, I asked the butler, Benjamin, what happened. Apparently, when I left home, Cordelia seemed to have said an 「utterly charming remark」 to father.
I’m worried about my sister. This child is looking to be a little devil in the future.
Acting like this unconsciously or consciously, I do not know which is worse. Really, I’m doubting if she really is a toddler.
However, while father was elsewhere doing his daily tasks, the butler informed me of Cordelia’s traits. 「She is a very vigorous and inquisitive girl. She especially seems to like staying in the library almost everyday to look at books.」he told me. Because I wanted to know how she was like outside the gaze of the household servants, I questioned her tutor…… but that left me just as confused as before. Apparently, my sister isn’t selfish at all, and her thirst for knowledge seems to be ever increasing.
My sister met me for the first time in a long time, wearing the manners of a young lady, her speech almost as eloquent as mine. Although a visitor had said, 「Truly, you daughter is very similar to the Earl,」in what way does she look like father? It truly is ominous. I chose not to stay any longer during the discussion of the current tax system. I wonder if brother was also like this when he was young. In any event, my sister is already no longer the common daughter.
But there is also the fact that she is way to young to say such a thing.
My sister’s actions are like this; being in the Garden and observing the plants. It was quite interesting to watch her pulling the petals off of flowers, or looking at a butterfly with round eyes, all while glancing around at her surroundings restlessly to make sure no one was there. Of course, she did not notice me, since I was observing her from the second floor, but looking at her made me feel like I was watching a small animal.
When the others and I were leaving for an excursion, I felt her staring enviously. Looking at that, I thought, 「Do you also want to come?」Somehow, I had said that out loud – and at the same time I regretted my words. It didn’t matter if my sister were to be invited at the time, it was not a matter that I could handle at my discretion. In the first place, there was no reason for father to easily allow her to come; the reasoning as I have said beforehand. Not being able to retract my words, I regretted my poor question but – no way. Later I never thought that I would really have to go on an excursion with my sister. sigh…
Father sent me a letter, saying「If Cordelia does something, remember to look after her and tell me what she does (paraphrasing)」 as well as going as far as to say, 「If I had time, I would want take her myself. 」Such words scared me. Really, it’s terrifying. But it is entirely not my fault that he cannot go, it is because father is too talented.
From what I know, father was injured on his right arm for his Majesty… but this was before he was married and was young. Because of this, he turned into a civilian and quit being a knight, (there were rumors that he didn’t wish to remain in the castle, even though there was some major urging for him to do so) which led to people saying that because of this incident, 「his arm has dulled」and were, honestly, no better than an ordinary person’s arms. I believe this is what earned him the hidden title of the 「left armed knight」of the kingdom. Father with his right hand? That would be incredible. However, it’s odd that after a simple injury, he lost all his strength. If this were the case, then only his martial arts would be affected…… not his magic. I myself have an honest chance at winning against 30% of the promising new recruits. Seriously. Well, in reality, I wouldn’t want to do that, and maybe that is how father felt as well.
Before, I was hoping to escape from this situation, but because of my faux pas as well as the vaguely frightening letter from father, I now have no choice but to escort this strange sister of mine.
I cannot seem to understand it, but it is like my sister has never met mother.
I have seen the difference between my mother and sister. Whenever she looks at me, I think, 「It’s good that you are not similar to that person.」She is as different in manner to mother as elder brother is similar to father.
The way mother acts towards anything related to father…… I do not think it is hate. It’s more like she is obsessed. When she interacts with brother, she does so at a distance because he looks so closely like a carbon copy of father. Elder brother is too similar to father, even just in association. When I met elder brother in the hallway, my complexion shifted slightly. From childhood, and now even into adolescence, he had just grown more and more like father. So, it is natural that the same thing for my sister would be true, but in regards to mother. But perhaps because, since childhood, she had little to no conversation with father, while she had seen more of mother and us elder brothers, she placed her hopeful feelings of love onto father. As for mother, this situation must be very repugnant to think of.
I believe the disastrous rift between my father and mother was amplified by the both of them, but in this situation, usually the woman is seen in a disgraceful light…… Uncle likes to say that mother had approved the marriage, but she said she hadn’t. Well, I wonder if father’s solution to this lack of interest in kindling love between the two was to frankly acknowledge the rift.
But back to the subject of my sister, if I think about the situation, I can imagine that my sister doesn’t see much of mother. However, she, who tries to stretch out a hand to mother, cannot be compared to father and elder brother, who are forever expressionless. But it is a hopeless situation.
I disguised my apprehension, but if sister wanted to see mother, what should I do? If sister wants meet me, I am fine with meeting her, but I am still wary of what mother’s response would be at that time. I do not want to do things that will cause pain, so I have to brace myself so that it looks like I do not mind getting in touch with mother-
I thought like that, but when we met the next morning, my sister said nothing of the sort.
‘I am looking forward to the trip; I have been wanting to go there. I want to collect plants there, so I would like to request that someone send a carriage later.’ Just saying those things, it doesn’t seem that she has been told that I met with mother yesterday.
This way, it is convenient for me, but somehow I feel uncomfortable.
Did my sister, while getting mixed up in talks about economics, forget about me completely? (IT: I have no idea what they’re trying to say here. -_-)
It doesn’t really bother me, but I feel a sense of loss; all my overthinking and preparation amounted to nothing…… take care of your infant-like heart, me.
Well, in any case, if it’s not a problem, I will not bring up that topic myself.
I called my sister over so we could start the excursion as conveniently as possible.
At the sight of my favorite horse, with his black and fawn colored hair and white nose and socks, my sister grew excited. She proclaimed that he looks beautiful and wise. The word choice of ‘beautiful’ wasn’t wrong, but I couldn’t quite agree with the choice of ‘wise’. He was definitely not wise. Of course, I did not say such a thing.
Because it was her first time riding, she was surprised at the height of the horse; I did not mention that this wasn’t as scary as it could be. She seemed rather impressed. I thought that this was convenient and raised the speed to a certain extent. I like the feeling of the wind rushing past, so I wanted to experience it if she wasn’t scared. I always love galloping quickly on my beloved horse.
Although my sister seemed surprised at the beginning, she started enjoying it right away, which was good. She also had a decent sense of balance. Even though it was the first time I had her riding with me, she didn’t get in the way at all.
The mountain where my sister had said she wanted to go was relatively near the royal kingdom and was an area where monsters rarely appeared.
We dismounted and I removed my horse’s reins and bridle, gently stroking his back. He then went off to play. Well, even though he was fond playing around, he would still come back if I whistled once. I observed the current situation, but today I am supposed to be my sister’s guardian. At the moment, I can not leave; it seems impossible to take her to the person I want to meet because she seems to have a purpose. I looked at her current behavior, thinking back to when she first asked me if I was her older brother.
My younger sister grabbed some weeds, inhaled their scent, tilted her head, and restlessly tried to remember some sort of magic incantation.
She seemed to be acting subconsciously, but the only eyes from the household were mine so it seemed that a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Well, it is a bit cumbersome to be always watched, even if one were used to it.
「Did you find something good?」
I tried calling out to my sister who laughed happily and looked afar.
She then came over and turned to look at me.
「There’s lavender in bloom over there, and even mint! It’s fresher than those that arrived at the house. Mornings are definitely the best time, aren’t they?」
As I stood there, Cordelia continued on, 「This is lemon balm…… Melissa, right? Hey, elder brother, isn’t the fragrance amazing? 」chattering pleasantly.
「In the morning, the magic essence (magical power) stored in the plants is at its peak. Knowing this, Cordelia is familiar with plants, do you want to be a scholar? 」
「A scholar? They’re are amazing, scholars are those who are smart.」
— yes, Cordelia. You are quite intelligent. I thought that, but did not say it out loud.
I thought I should praise her a bit more, but Cordelia was waving her hands in denial so it would be a pity to say more than that……. My sister acted impatiently and cutely. Even though it was ordinary, she was cute. (IT: again, I have no idea…)
However, she again moved a bit further away and continued, 「Elder brother, it’s amazing! There’s sage here!」and tells me the name of the new grass.
I was thinking, she must like grass a lot.
Originally, the Pameradia’s magical power is compatible with flowers, so it is no wonder that she has an interest. However, instead of flowers…… For example, instead of something like roses or Casablancas, my sister, who is interested in mere common weeds, is a little strange. It is simply green grass, like mint and Melissa. Regardless of poisonous plants, I do not know why I am interested in this grass. I know of some offhandedly, but this is the first time I have ever heard of Melissa.
By the way, I am also very knowledgeable in poisonous plants. Even though I am not my father or elder brother, I can use Pameradia’s plant manipulation magic. My field of expertise that best makes use of my power is the purification of poison. Whether weeds are originally problematic or not, it is possible to tailor their use to my needs if the situation calls for it. I do not intend to misuse this power, but it is a fact that will absolutely not reveal, except for the point that I am interested in plants. — No, I will hold off for the first time and will not say anything, but if my sister is able to learn magic in a normal way first, I will somehow try to teach her this magic.
However, there is an emotion inside of me that wants to show off my own knowledge as the wise older brother to my knowledgeable little sister.
I do not even know anything other than poisonous plants, and the knowledge of this forest has already been grasped far better than I by Cordelia.
「Come, Cordelia. I will show you this mountain’s rare flower.」
I lifted up Cordelia, who came closer, and walked a little ways from our spot until a spring came into view. My horse also came to play at the spring, with the surface of the water glowing brightly in the sunlight.
At the same time, surrounding the spring was-
「Calendulas?! Elder brother, these are Calendulas, aren’t they!!」(IT: AKA marigolds)
Correct, my sister frolics around the blooming Calendulas that surrounded the spring.
Calendula, which in this country is said to be a flower of the sun, blooms only during certain seasons when brought into the city but is in full bloom all year in this mountain. I believe it is possibly due to the relationship with waves of magic essence, so if the Pamaridia house tried to cultivate the flowers to bloom all year, it would be possible but–
I was able to show her a sight that was usually a preciously kept secret but she was able to say the name so quickly; somehow I felt a little downhearted. ‘Elder brother is really impressive’ Cordelia says…… I wanted it to be where I taught you the name of the flower, if possible.
Well, if she is pleased, it is better than nothing.
「Elder brother is amazing~ You know, you look like a doctor!」
Because she started out with such a phrase, it was almost impossible for me to feel bad about my sister already knowing the name of the flower.
Apparently, it would seem the result is that I am able to keep the dignity of an older brother.
But, little sister.
Why do you plan on stacking such a large amount of grass on our family’s carriage that you arranged for the loading? What are you going to do, taking such things back.
Besides, scouring every root in the surroundings… 「This isn’t enough, how many round-trips are we able to take?」you say……. What on earth are you planning to do?
Even if we were to take back the grass that Cordelia instructed, the magic essence will wane even if you keep going back and forth. It can’t be helped, the weeds. She has considerable guts. It will not be a problem in the mountains and I do not think the magic essence will increase back in the royal kingdom- why even take it home?
However, even if I ask, Cordelia will not give me an answer as she is drawn to a new grass 「Possibly Chamomile…?」so she says.
Well, let’s just say it is fine. It is surely going to be something funny and the grass is not dangerous, as far as I can see. It might lead to new ideas, which children are so very rich in. Besides,
「Elder brother, today’s thank you, absolutely look forward to it please!」(IT: this seems important so here : お兄様にも今日のお礼、絶対しますから楽しみにしていてくださいね Help translate please~)
Because I couldn’t think of an adult like response, I patted her head in a proper older brother-like way as she smiled cutely.