Drop!! ~A Tale of the Fragrance Princess~

 
 

Drop!! ~A Tale of the Fragrance Princess~ Chapter 6


Act 6     The encounter of an incognito noble girl

The afternoon of the next day, Cordelia hanged an “In the middle of an experiment” wooden tag on the entrance of the greenhouse, and secretly went to the town together with Ronnie. Cordelia’s outfit that Ronnie prepared was a magician’s robe, and she used the hood to completely cover her head up. There were not many town girls with platinum blond hair. It was even rarer to have red eyes. That’s why if they saw this combination of hair and eyes, anybody would know that she was a noble. Ronnie who was concerned about this apparently chose the robe for Cordelia’s outfit for being able to cover as much as possible. Cordelia would have preferred the town girl clothes better, but she didn’t have a choice but to accept since there was such a reason. At any rate, her objective was not the disguise of a town girl, but the glass that would let her magic through, after all.

The place that Ronnie guided her to was at the corner of a street two streets away from the central street. The foot traffic was sparse, and would even stop completely at times. But you could hear the sounds of various craftsmen working, it was such a workshop street.

According to Ronnie, “Every shop around this area makes goods on order, so even the store numbers do not come up on charts much”, it seems. Along this street, Ronnie who stood up in front of a shop that looked almost like a blacksmith’s forge, pulled the door open while saying “This way” and brought Cordelia in. She took one step inside the shop, and the sight of many tools arranged disorderly around the shop interior greeted her eyes.

And the next thing she saw was—— a single man at the counter gulping down alcohol from a bottle.

“Welcome! ——Or rather, just when I thought it was a customer, it’s just Ronnie, huh. A guy who wouldn’t bring in money, I see.”

“That’s cruel, Master!”

“Business is over for today. After all, I was feeling good after finishing the supplies for the castle I had to have a drink, you see.”

However, while saying that, Master who also said “Well, I’m bored, so I’ll accompany you” while grinning was clearly toying with Ronnie. On the other hand, conversely to Master, with an expression like he was tired from the bottom of his heart, with “Cordelia-sama, this is the shop’s Master” Ronnie introduced him to Cordelia in a low voice.

“What is this, are you accompanying your kid today? ——You, when did you get married?”

“I did not, and she is not my child! In addition, this child is 8 years old, so if it is as Master is saying, then it would turn out to be that I had a child when I was 11 years old, you know! In the first place, today’s customer is not me, but this child.”

“Hey, hey, I don’t have any children’s introductory sets to magic here, you know?”

“That’s not needed. What we want today is, a sealed container made of glass that can let this child’s magic penetrate through.”

So as not to get carried away on the slightly drunk Master’s pace, Ronnie was trying to lightly cut him off and speak, but even then he was still concerned about Cordelia. Cordelia speculated that he perhaps was also concerned because it was not talk that is said among nobles. ——However, if Cordelia was one to be concerned about such things, she wouldn’t have let Ronnie be by her side in the first place, and wouldn’t have asked him to bring her here to begin with.

But Master did not see the situation of such Ronnie.

Instead, he said, “That’s quite the maniac thing you want, huh” while looking at Cordelia with interest. After that, he took out one crystal ball from the cupboard that was behind him.

“Young lady, put in magic here and have a look. In the same way you always use magic.”

“Like this, you mean?”

Cordelia held out her hands, and when she inserted power in the same way as when she used magic on plants, the crystal’s colour changed. A white swirl started to appear in the previously clear stone, and a number of lights of various colours bounced about.

“OK. With this, I can know the attributes of the magic. ……I say, this is one unusual magic.”

“……Can you to do it?”

Ronnie asked the slightly surprised Master. Master drank the remainder of the bottle in one breath.

“Sorry, but I can’t hand in over immediately. It’s impossible with the existing goods. I have never thought of a person with such magic within my assumptions. Rather, it didn’t come to my mind because I’ve never seen one before. Light attribute and…… what is this, darkness is mixed in as well? Earth and water are included too, huh…… whoa, that’s some magic. Whose kid is she?”

“Well, well, let’s leave that aside. Is even a custom made one difficult? Even if it is Master?”

“Huh? Stop kidding, just who do you think I am? I’ll make it. If it is only to make a hole that allows any magic to pass through, whatever magic it is, then it’s simple for me.”

Seeing Master put down the bottle on the counter with a slam, Ronnie was just overjoyed that his provocation succeeded.

However, next to him, Cordelia turned pale.

Custom made!! It won’t be for a sum she couldn’t pay, but what would she do if even if it was custom made, her magic didn’t penetrate through? She couldn’t just buy many. Will it be that she bought it even if she couldn’t use it?

However, to such Cordelia, “It’s alright, Ojou-sama. To not hand over something other than what the other person would consent to is this Master’s principle, after all. Rather, it is better that it will be custom made” Ronnie whispered in her ears.

“He’s a pro, isn’t he?”

“A good Master, right?”

“What are you whispering all secretly about, you guys! Since that’s the case…… Ronnie! You’re going to lend me a hand!”

Pointed at with the bottle that became empty with a swipe, Ronnie jumped up while saying “Me?! Why?!”

“I’m going to be doing magic adjustments I’ve never done before. Creativity is needed for this. In other words, even if I were to do it by myself silently, I wouldn’t help getting bored. Therefore, tag along as my conversation partner.”

“Huh. ……Umm, isn’t a pro’s work one where they concentrate in order to make something, normally?”

“You think I’m normal? You’re really naïve for a magician, huh.”

As soon as he said that, he retreated towards the inner part.

“Rather, ah, Master! Can I bring this child with me?”

“Well, it’s not as if it’s interesting you know? ……Or even if I say that, it might be interesting for a magician kid. Fine.”

Cordelia who was showed in…… or rather, who was brought in followed Ronnie into the inner part of the shop.

Just like any shop with depth in it, in the inner part that held a warehouse like room within it, there was a workshop.

Inside, there was a single female craftsman. As soon as she saw Master, she said, “Huh, weren’t we done for the day?” while tilting her head.

“My bad, but there are visitors, you see. What were you planning on doing?”

“I was thinking on making test tubes for the stocks right now, but…… should I clear that up?”

“No need, in fact, that’s convenient. I’m also going to need glass, so give me this place. You can leave the test tubes for tomorrow. You too be done for today.”

“Eh? Okay, I don’t mind. Well then, I’ll be excusing myself.”

As she said that, Master occupied the place where she was.

First, he plunged a ladle-like thing into an iron pot that was red on the inside, like the ones old witches in fairytales used. After that, just as she thought he would pull it out, heated molten glass was poured into the stand.

“You guys, have a good look at the work of the great me!”

As soon as he said that, Master held out his hands on top of the molten glass. As he did that, the glass’ shape started to change as if it was alive. When she realized it, it had already formed the shape of an impressive cube.

“Wow……”

It was the craftsman’s words that interrupted her words of amazement.

“This is bad. ……My bad, but could I have you get up from your seat for a bit, young lady?”

“Eh?”

“My magic is being pulled towards the young lady’s magic and not being transmitted to the glass very well. Young lady’s magic is too powerful.”

With a seriousness different from up till now, Master showed a somewhat mysterious face, however, Ronnie who saw that face said, seemingly interested:

“Even though it was you, Master, who said to have a good look? I was never pulled by Ojou-sama’s magic before, you know?”

“Sarcasm, now? You just wouldn’t know since you don’t do fine magical power processing!”

“……Well then, I’ll be at the shop.”

While wondering if it might be better not to think any more about whether Ronnie and Master got along well or not, Cordelia turned and walked towards the shop without waiting for a reply. She had wanted to watch, but if she would become in the way, then it couldn’t be helped.

“Ah, Ojou-sama, I sincerely ask that you don’t leave the inside of the shop. Sincerely. I don’t want my head to be separated from my body.”

“Alright, I understand.”

Answering the voice reaching her from behind, impolitely as it was without stopping, Cordelia closed the door.

Coming out of the warehouse, the entrance’s bell which would jingle when leaving the shop rang. Is it a customer? She thought it might be better to call Master over, but she immediately cancelled that thought.

“Sorry for intruding~…… And, wait, huh, isn’t this Delly?”

“……Eh?”

“Hi! What are you doing?”

The one who appeared there was, surprisingly, Verno.

He wasn’t blonde and blue eyed like she saw him last time, but brown haired with dark brown eyes. But his face was definitely Verno’s himself.

In the first place, there also shouldn’t be anyone other than Verno who would see Cordelia who was deeply hidden by the hood and call her “Delly”. That the colour was different was most likely the work of a magic of the Frantoheim House or something. Even though the quality of the magic wrapping him was the same, she felt that the wavelength was a bit different from usual.

“Good day, Verno-sama. What are you doing at such a place?”

“I’m looking around incognito. It’s a society observation trip after a long while, you see. ……Rather, you’re not surprised? The colour’s very different, isn’t it?”

“I am surprised. ……You seem to be really used to this.”

Right, for his appearance at such a place, Cordelia conveyed her honest impressions that normally, shouldn’t he not be used to this? Normally, she can’t not be surprised by him appearing in such a place, but if she were to say this, then this matter went both ways.

After looking around the shop’s interior and confirming that Master wasn’t around, Verno grinned broadly.

“It’s an important matter, isn’t it? Getting to know the world that you can’t see staying locked up within the mansion, that is. Although my escort come around, I always ditch them.”

“……There are greatly enough things that seem really interesting, and I do think that your words are quite right, but please exercise some prudence. It’s extremely dangerous for the precious heir to go out alone.”

Cordelia shrugged her shoulders at Verno, who apparently was more of a naughty boy than she expected. She, who herself had asked the impossible out of Ronnie, had no right to say this, but she felt sorry for the escorts.

However, even with these words alone, it seems that Verno had plenty of complaints.

“Before, I thought you were like a man, but you’re like a mother, huh. Minding the details. Also, I’m not alone. I have someone with me.”

“A companion?”

As she said that, Verno with a “Hey!” entered the shop and immediately called out to the boy who was crouched in front of a cabinet on the left side, curiously looking at the items. He, like the current Verno, had brown hair and eyes. However, the wavelength of his magic was somewhat close to Verno’s, so she predicted that most likely had magic applied.

“He is the companion I mentioned. Uh…… his name is Gill.”

“……I do believe that the name of the person who is going around with you is not something that can be forgotten.”

“That’s not it. But, there are various circumstances on our side as well.”

As he said this, Verno briefly introduced her with “Gill, this is Delly”. I see, does this mean I don’t need to give out my real name? Wondered Cordelia. Also Verno’s eyes seemed to be saying that since they won’t be probing into her matters, she shouldn’t probe into theirs.

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“……Nice to meet you.”

Hearing Cordelia’s words, the boy named Gill replied in a somewhat slight voice.

Could he be a little shy? But at this rate, an awkward silence will be born! Unexpectedly, Verno sent a lifeboat to Cordelia who was hesitating on whether to continue talking or not.

“What did you come here for, Delly?”

“Eh? Ah, I thought I’d like some glass equipment, so I came to place an order for them to be made.”

“Hmmm. You’re really like a boy after all, I guess.”

Unlike Gill who wasn’t saying anything, Verno who as always said things unreservedly said this, but for these words, saying “That’s rude!” Gill advised him. Gill is such a gentleman……! While being moved by the difference between him and Verno, she noticed how he talked to Verno as an equal. They maybe just get along well because they sneak around together, but his social standing could also be considerably high as well.

“What kind of tools here the two of you together——”

Want to buy?

The words that Cordelia intended to continue as such were interrupted by the indistinct screams coming from outside the shop.

“……A child’s screams?”

It seems that Cordelia didn’t mishear that voice, as Verno quickly shifted his body close to the door. Then, he opened the door just a little bit and listened to the situation outside. By doing this they clearly caught the previously indistinct voice.

“Please stop it! Return those flowers to me!”

“I’m just saying that this is my turf, missy. Come on,”

Just like that, a child’s voice and an adult’s voice.

“That is……”

“……New ones drifted over again, huh.”

“Do you know something?”

While opening the door slightly, but still not revealing her body to the outside, Cordelia asked Verno.

Distancing his body from the door, Verno faced Cordelia and answered.

“Yeah. Various kinds of people gather in the Royal City, so people who have the wrong idea cause a disturbance like that from time to time. They are idiots who try to show off their power to kids selling flowers.”

“……My companion is in the inner part. I’ll go and bring help.”

“No, that won’t be necessary. Since I’ll restrain them using my magic—— wh, wah?!”

Verno who should have been talking as if it was nothing, let out a surprised voice to the extent that he couldn’t muffle it while dropping his voice at the end. As if he had noticed something, he pressed his body to the door once again.

“……Come to think of it, what about Gill-sama?”

“Won’t you stop it?”

Was it the few words that Cordelia muttered that were faster, or was it Gill’s clear voice that carried away faster? No, the fastest thing was perhaps Verno confirming Gill’s appearance.

At the moment Cordelia heard that voice, she stuck to the door alongside Verno, looking outside the shop.

When she did, what she saw was Gill, who was supposed to be together with them, standing while being dignified in front of a man who was dressed like a bandit. There was a girl of their age in the vicinity.

“Hey, Verno-sama!”

“That guy…… going out on his own…… like this, even Gill would get caught up in my magic!”

Verno muttered while making a sour face. Moreover, what was he thinking, going out from the front—— while looking at such a grumbling face, Cordelia realized two things. The first was that because of his actions, Verno became unable to activate the “restraining magic” he was about to use. The other one, “……That person is a noble-sama who isn’t used to being incognito, isn’t he?” was this.

“Yeah. Today’s the first time that guy has gone incognito. ……By the way, you use magic, don’t you?”

“Eh? Yes.”

Hearing Gill and the thug arguing about something, while not moving his eyes away, Verno suddenly changed the topic with Cordelia. Taking no notice of Cordelia’s appearance who was wondering what it was so suddenly, he continued his words.

“Then, use the same skill as your elder brother and hold him down.”

“……I have never seen Onii-sama’s magic before, though.”

“Making the plants grow so rapidly, that they entangle the opponents. ……The flowers in that girl’s basket, you can see them too right? As long as you can hold him down using that, I’ll do something about the rest.”

If she was to say whether she could form an image of her elder brother’s magic hearing this rough explanation, then she would be completely unable to. Making the flowers grow rapidly? She couldn’t see as far as what kinds of flowers they were, but she thought that flowers in the basket seemed to be in small bouquets. In other words, she couldn’t make the flowers grow enough to entangle people even if she stretched them.

(If that’s the case, rather than making them grow, it’s forcibly drawing out the powers of the plants as they are…… amplification, so to speak? A technique close to the preservation technique that comes into effect along with the drying, from the time when I was making dry herbs……? Do I use this jointly with the growth……? But growth and drying are two opposite techniques…… Argh, I just don’t know!)

However, outside it looked tense. Gill nimbly interacted with the thug’s fist that was swinging down, but he was unarmed. Even Cordelia understood that it won’t be good if it continued like that. Since that’s the case, there was only one reply she could give.

“I-I understand!”

Even though she didn’t. But she couldn’t say it.

It was her first time using a remote control-like magic such as this. Moreover, it came with a growth magic with a high degree of difficulty.

Just how in the world do her elder brothers use a magic such as this? While imagining, Cordelia put power in both of her hands and stored all of her magic. While doing so, she quietly peeked at the target thug though the door’s crack.

(It’s no good, the magic won’t reach from through the small crack. I have to go outside, but how do I launch the magic in my hands……?)

Distractive thoughts were a big enemy when manipulating magic. However, even if she understood that, it wasn’t something she could do without thinking about it. Even she herself knew that the magic was shaking terribly. But, perhaps as a consequence of this, a scenery different from the usual became reflected in Cordelia’s eyes. All of a sudden, her field of vision became as if covered with red stained glass, and in some places, that glass was broken. It was as if an opening was formed; the moment she saw that space, Cordelia understood.

(A hole that allows magic to pass through—— that, Master had mentioned it.)

A magic hole that exists in mid-air, the remote control hint might be this broken glass-like thing.

Thinking that, Cordelia decided to pour magic into the opening, yes, if she were to compare it, like putting a thread through a needle’s eye.

The moment she decided that, Cordelia opened the door with her shoulder. The thug got startled by the loud sound of the bell, and almost simultaneously Gill turned around. The magic that Cordelia released reached to the inside of the girl’s flower basket. The plants rapidly grew, and in the blink of an eye seized both of the man’s feet, entangling them up. At the same time, the stained glass world disappeared from Cordelia’s field of vision.

“I did it!”

“Okay, that’s just right!”

Just as Cordelia cried out, Verno who was still inside the shop muttered something little, and then held his hand up in the direction of the thug. At the next moment, an intense light collided with the thug, and the thug collapsed.

(Essentially a stun gun…… I guess. Asking me to hold him down was so that Gill or the girl won’t get hit by that by any chance, huh.)

However, it can’t be that the thug is dead, can it? Was what Cordelia was thinking, but she didn’t have the courage to get close to him as well.

Also, even if it had already come to this, as she was told to stay inside the shop, it wouldn’t do to continue being outside. That’s why panicking, she stepped inside the shop. In her place, Verno took one step outside, and with a “fweet” he whistled with his fingers.

Once he did that, two people who seemed to be shadow-less appeared out of nowhere, collected the thug, and left. It seems that even though Verno said that he ditched his guards and came, perhaps those guards had eventually caught up. And it looks like that Verno himself as well understands that fact well.

That’s why he didn’t panic even after Gill jumped out, Cordelia thought.

Of course, at a stage where Verno as well could have done something by himself, other than jumping out by himself, he wouldn’t do something like seeking help from his guards, even knowing they were there. In the first place, it is perhaps precisely because the escorts who were concealing themselves thought that Verno can manage somehow that they didn’t forcibly bring him back. If that’s the case, if for instance Verno had sought help, then it would have been amusing. In fact, if not for Gill’s abrupt actions, he should have had a bit more flexibility to deal with the situation.

“Are you alright?”

“Eh, yeah…… thank you.”

“You should be careful.”

Although Gill’s conversation that was refreshingly said in this manner could be heard from the outside (and although it seems that the girl was charmed by such Gill), as far as Cordelia could confirm, Verno’s face was exceedingly close to a Hannya. He was angry. Fairly at that. That’s why Cordelia was able to fully understand the feelings of Verno who dragged Gill, who had returned to the front of the shop, by the scruff of his neck to inside the shop, and as she could fully predict that he would yell at him after that, she took a step back and gently pressed on her ears.

But then again, Verno’s voice wasn’t a soft voice that one wouldn’t be able to hear just by covering their ears.

“It’s not ‘You should be careful’, idiot! What are you doing, what if you got injured…!”

“It hurts!”

Cordelia, who heard the “It hurts!” that came from the bottom of the heart, slowly removed her hands from both of her ears. And then, standing half a step behind Verno, she assisted him.

“Please feel sorry until it hurts. Have you been clumsy, you wouldn’t have been alive now.”

Of course, such a thing wouldn’t happen—— no, more like Verno’s escort wouldn’t let it happen, this wasn’t the issue.

However, Gill who seemed to not have been satisfied by Cordelia’s worlds refuted Cordelia, as well as Verno, openly half glaring.

“But, I couldn’t just leave it alone, could I?”

“Nobody said such a thing, right?”

“That’s right, I as well never said that we should leave it alone. I just wanted to express that it is necessary to consider the situation first. It was a courageous action to jump out, but it was a bad idea. Foolishness and courage are two different things.”

So Cordelia chided in one breathe. There was absolutely no need to jump out in a disadvantageous way. Rather, if he had taken a calm action, Gill himself would have never been exposed to danger. It seem that Gill as well more or less had a spot that he recalled, but it seemed that he wasn’t going to honestly accept it. He muttered in a whisper:

“……I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Cordelia stopped at those words.

“Yes, you haven’t done anything wrong. However—— you also haven’t done the best thing.”

“De-Delly, I think this much is already……”

“Verno-sama, you please remain silent. Gill-sama, there are people as well who would become sad if you got hurt, aren’t there?”

Ignoring Verno, Cordelia said as she stared at Gill intently. Gill tried to say something with an appearance like he was momentarily at a loss for an answer, but in the end he didn’t say anything. Cordelia shrugged her shoulders. If the other party was as old as he looked, then he wasn’t at an age where he would listen if she tried to forcibly persuade him. She could imagine he was at an age where he wouldn’t just honestly accept it even if he understood it.

(……But, I wonder how I should follow this up.)

She wouldn’t be able to convince her opponent with just scolding. Cordelia does think that it is important to relay the reason for it as well, but—— unfortunately, she couldn’t imagine right away how she should follow it up.

After all, just as how Gill insisted that he haven’t done anything wrong, Cordelia as well does not intend to say anything wrong at all.

It was a surprisingly reluctant voice that broke the equilibrium in such an awkward silence.

“……Say, Ojou-sama. I felt the signs of an awfully intense magical discharge or something a while ago, but?”

“Eh? Ah, yes. There aren’t any big problems, Ronnie.”

The one who opened the door to the inner part and spoke to Cordelia a bit bewildered was Ronnie. Ronnie looked like he was a bit surprised at seeing that there two other children as well other than Cordelia, but he didn’t show any bigger reaction than that. He just looked at Cordelia with a face full of suspicion. ……In other words, he wasn’t convinced at all.

However, as expected, he did not press the question at Cordelia. Taking his personality into consideration, this as well might just be simply because “questioning is too troublesome”, but anyways it was fortunate for Cordelia that she wasn’t asked.

Of course, Ronni also didn’t forget to strike the nail in order to prevent any kind of further damage.

“Well then Ojou-sama, please come with me to the inner part. ……To be honest, I feel uneasy about whatever happened, you see.”

Hearing this brief comment, Cordelia felt that Ronnie was “a really outstanding magician” for it. To the point that it made her extremely curious as to why, being too outstanding, he didn’t serve at the Royal Castle. However, this wasn’t the time to be thinking about such things. Ronnie’s “I told you not to leave the shop, didn’t I?” gaze filled with grudge was too painful.

“Well then, I hope we meet again. I’ll be excusing myself.”

While desperately pretending that nothing happened at all, just like that Cordelia stayed within the workshop in the inner part, but as expected, Cordelia’s magic got in the way of Master’s smelting and in the end, he wasn’t able to finish the product that day.

However, other than Cordelia’s magic’s components projected on the crystal ball, it seems that there is no need for Cordelia to visit the shopfront often. “I’ll be counting on you for verification when it reaches the final checkup stage, but until then there are no tasks for you”, or so Cordelia was asserted.

Incidentally, Cordelia was dejected for not having a reason to go out into town, but in contrast, Ronnie was making a face as if he was saved.

(……But, even if I say it is regrettable, the project has definitely progressed.)

Cordelia who had returned to the mansion, and to her own room, pulled a book from among the books lined up on top of her desk.

It was a diary with experiment schedules and memorized uses and kinds of medicinal herbs written by Cordelia, as well as collected information about the medicinal herbs of this world.

“Today was one stormy day, wasn’t it?”

While muttering that, Cordelia quickly started writing.

She wanted to write about it before she forgot the sensation she had at the time her remote control magic succeeded today. To make her pen run based on those feelings. She proceeded to write down the sensation that most likely no one other than herself would be able to read to her heart’s content.

And when she reached a stop, she once again recalled what happened today.

“At that time, I wonder if it would have been better to have said “You were cool” to Gill-sama in a word.”

She didn’t particularly have any intentions to compliment him. And as she thought, she did believe that the actions that Gill took were not ones to be praised.

Still, just like a prince from fairytales, his gallantly appearing form, as she thought, though it was young, it was really cool.

If she hadn’t been a related person, but a viewer or the girl who was selling flowers, then…… she would definitely feel like Gill was like a little hero. It was a bit late to be thinking about it at this point in time, and it was hard to say it since some time had already passed. Let alone after she had said those words that sounded like a lecture.

(I wonder if I was a bit too harsh on him. It might have been immature. I’ll reflect on it.)

Even though she should have known that the sound argument wasn’t always the right one.

As she thought about this, she closed the diary. And then she made a single resolution. Next time, if she met him, she would find his good points and tell him that he was amazing. Making this resolution towards the other whose real name she didn’t know, she mysteriously had the feeling that she would have the chance to meet him face to face once again.

“……Gill-sama was a gentleman. That’s why, next time he will become an even more amazing gentleman, for sure.”

Cordelia too, and although not as much as the flower selling girl, Verno’s words were protected by Gill.

The little gentleman will definitely grow up into a really cool adult in the future, thinking of this, she couldn’t suppress the pleasant laughter that welled up.

(For the sake of when that time comes, I also have to become a proper lady!)

She have to become someone who would not lose to the imaginary him, if a time they were reunited came.

A small resolution quietly burned inside of Cordelia.