“I look forward to it since I never left outside the village.” (Philine)
“As we are right now in the middle of a civil war, we won’t go to overly wonderful places though.” (Wendelin)
“That’s okay. Philine will follow master.” (Philine)
“Hey, Wend…” (Erwin)
“Master, do your best.”
“Currently I’m slightly upset at you.” (Erwin)
Early morning of the next day after we performed the nursing round, we mount our horses once again and return to the field encampment. Our numbers have increased after adding the girl called Philine, who was pushed on me last night by the village chief, to our group. On the way back she was in high spirits while riding a horse together with Elise. As it seems that she never left that village even once after getting born, everything she’s see around us appears to be novel to her. Happily chatting with Elise, she enjoys the scenery on the way while looking delighted.
“What about your parents, Philine?”
“I was told by the village chief that my mother died soon after my birth and my father is somewhere far away.” (Philine)
“Is that so? It was difficult to be all by yourself, wasn’t it, Philine?”
The kind elder sister Elise was used to handling children because she looked after the orphans in the church. While talking with each other, she extracts information about Philine’s circumstances skilfully. And Erw, who had Philine pushed onto him by me, is in the middle of his deliberation how he should actually explain things to Haruka. In my eyes the two are still at the state of engagement. Until now I never saw them making out much because the situation is as it is. At most they have been training their katana techniques together, I think? Though it’s probably physically impossible anyway since Takeomi-san is bound to come disturbing them without a doubt if they act too lovey-dovey. That guy is restraining the two by often repeating 『Right now is a time of war』, but his real motive is very likely that he doesn’t want to see his younger sister and Erw getting along well since he’s a severe siscon.
“There won’t be any problems if you treat her as normal maid apprentice. Am I wrong?” (Wendelin)
“I can’t refute as it’s definitely a sound argument…” (Erwin)
Making a move on Philine en route or changing her into his concubine; that’s Erw’s own responsibility. I don’t have any time to get involved with that.
“Wend, if you get carried away, you will pay for it sooner or later, you know?” (Erwin)
“I will bear it in mind as admonition by a loyal retainer.” (Wendelin)
We return to the field encampment without any particular issues. When I went to Therese to report that we finished the nursing rounds safely, she blurted out something unthinkable just as she saw Philine.
“What!? A new concubine?” (Therese)
“Surely not. Elise took her in.” (Wendelin)
“All’s well as I don’t particularly mind. No matter how many wives thou have, my feelings won’t change, Wendelin.” (Therese)
“Please give up on that already.” (Wendelin)
“That’s impossible.” (Therese)
“Impossible, you say…?” (Wendelin)
Therese presses and I dodge. These days even the retainers of the Duke Philip household have reached a state of looking at us indifferently while hiding their criticism. As expected, they got used to it, didn’t they?
“I’m a woman that won’t lose heart.” (Therese)
“Make sure to use that will-power of yours for ending the civil war and ruling the empire.” (Wendelin)
“Wendelin, saying what the gentlemen over there are already insisting on is a killjoy. I want thou to entertain me more.” (Therese)
“There’s nothing about that in the job description of a temporary staff officer.” (Wendelin)
It’s not like Therese has the hobby of enjoying getting verbally abused by me. At most it seems to be at the level of her having me amuse her by acting in a role similar to a clown that entertains a king, since I possess a honorary peerage for convenience. Of course I turn that down since I don’t have such resourcefulness. Only people owning outrageous talent can become the clown of a king after all. Otherwise they would immediately provoke the king’s wrath and end up getting executed. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s fine if they use cynicism and abusive language.
“She’s a fairly cute girl. What’s thy age?” (Therese)
“Yes, Duchess Philip-sama. I’m nine years old.” (Philine)
“You are big…” (Therese)
Elise learned various things about her on the way, but Philine appears to actually still be nine years old.
Accordingly, contrary to her appearance, her speech and conduct has childish aspects.
“In addition, the colour of thy hair is characteristic, too…” (Therese)
Philine had silver hair which we had not once seen in the empire yet.
“My deceased mother said that my father had silver hair.” (Philine)
“Really? People with silver hair are rare in the empire though.” (Therese)
Due to Therese’s statement, the place got engulfed in silence all of a sudden. If there are no silver-haired people in the empire, all that’s left is for them to be very likely from the kingdom.
“Even if they are from the kingdom, they won’t be plain commoners, right? There’s no friendship between the two countries except for the trading decided by the Friendship Visit Group…”
As Luise says, that means her father is either a merchant, a noble or a member of the Friendship Visit Group entourage, but even in the kingdom there aren’t that many silver-haired people. Among nobles they are few, too. As far the most renown household among them is concerned, there was no one except that person.
“It’s Margrave Breithilde-sama, isn’t it?”
“Luise, are there any possible candidates?”
“If it’s limited to big-shots at the level of being chosen for the Friendship Visit Group, it’s only Margrave Breithilde-sama.” (Luise)
“Dear, the hue of this girl’s hair colour is exactly like that of Margrave Breithilde-sama…” (Elise)
Certainly, Philine’s silver hair looks almost identical to that of Margrave Breithilde. Without looking at Elise, even I couldn’t think of someone’s hair colour that resembled her’s except that of Margrave Breithilde.
“Philine, there’s something we have to talk about…”
“Please ask me anything master.” (Philine)
“(I’m her master as well, huh…?)” (Wendelin)
Since we won’t get anywhere even if we talk here, we decide to continue the chat after moving to our residence while also calling Burkhart-san.
“What is it? This small girl is?” (Burkhart)
Burkhart-san, who slipped out of the training of the magicians which he’s carrying out in cooperation with Katharina, showed a puzzled expression after seeing Philine. He’s probably thinking that it’s inappropriate for a young girl to stay at a savage field encampment. Katharina and Doushi, who returned together, had curious looks.
“Wendelin-san, is she your new wife?” (Katharina)
“No, and, should you be the one saying that, Katharina…?” (Wendelin)
“Hahaha! Earl Baumeister, you are as jealous as you are young!” (Armstrong)
“Doushi, your misunderstanding is deep.” (Wendelin)
Even though it would have been fine even if Katharina and Doushi didn’t come back, I thought.
“So, who’s this little girl?” (Burkhart)
“That old man is scary.” (Philine)
As Philine was apparently scared by Burkhart-san who brought his face close to her, she ends up hiding behind Elise.
“I believe I’m not as scary Doushi though…” (Burkhart)
“Doushi-sama isn’t scary. This old man is.”
“Burkhart-dono, it’s wrong to scare a still young girl.”
“How novel, to be liked by a child…” (Armstrong)
Burkhart-san revealed an unhappy expression as he was completely feared by Philine. As a matter of fact he might be the most displeased about being treated as an old man though. In reverse Doushi was happy because he wasn’t feared by a child for a change.
“As the talk will be long, please have these.” (Elise)
“Wooow. This looks delicious.”
Philine stared at the cake prepared by Elise with shining eyes. It was something we bought in a famous store in the royal capital. Magic is especially useful for such things. Philine ate the fruitcake that had a great amount of whipped, fresh cream while enjoying it plentifully.
I show a copy of an old diary that Philine had with her to everyone. At first we thought that the village chief presented Philine to us in order to lower the amount of mouths to feed. However, once Elise heard the circumstances from Philine herself on the way back, somehow it actually looks that there is another reason why she was pushed onto us. 『Then give us an explanation, you shitty village chief!』 is the feeling that wells up within me, but he might have feared that we would refuse given that our social standing is overwhelmingly higher than his own. The most he could do until we return was to let us know that her circumstances are written in a book belonging to Philine.
“Damn it! That fucking village chief.”
“Well, don’t say that. Even if the village chief of a poor village visits the guest house, where the Friendship Visit Group stays at, while bringing this girl along, it would be normal for him to get turned away at the front door right away.” (Therese)
Even if he said 『I’d like to get an audience since I have an illegitimate child of an upper-ranking noble of the kingdom with me』 or similar, it would probably be normal for him to get treated as swindler. Therese came along even though I didn’t even ask her to, but she does a proper follow-up for a change. I understand that as well, but…
“This time I have a unique chance, that old man thought, I guess.”
“So, he should have told us the circumstances!”
“There was also the possibility of us declining because of the troubles involved as we are also participating in the civil war, if he says it unskilfully. Or such he might have thought.”
“He didn’t consider it dangerous to send such a small girl to the outside world which is a battlefield?”
“And yet he thought that Wend will be able to let her meet Margrave Breithilde-sama?”
“I suppose he gave me a strangely high assessment.”
“You know, that’s because you never lost in a war, Wend. Such rumours naturally spread to commoners as well.”
I started to feel a strange persuasiveness from Erw’s reasoning.
“Wend, I wonder, don’t you have to read that diary?” (Ina)
“So I have to read it, huh? For the sake of making sure.” (Wendelin)
I think there’s almost no mistake about Philine being Margrave Breithilde’s illegitimate child, but since I was urged on by Ina as well, I decide that I have to read the diary once to check. The one copy is something that belonged to Philine’s deceased mother. It appears that she got assigned as one of the people in charge of taking care of Margrave Breithilde at the time of the previous Friendship Visit Group. That’s when she had a love affair with him. Omitting the small details of the diary about that part, she returned to that village right after Margrave Breithilde returned to the kingdom. At that time she was already pregnant. She gave birth to Philine as unmarried mother, but her physical condition declined when Philine was still very young and her mother ended up dying just like that. At the end of the diary was written that she’s worried about her very young daughter that will be left behind.
“It seems she was in charge of Margrave Breithilde when taking care of the nobles of the Friendship Visit Group.”
I explain the contents of the diary in a simple manner to everyone.
“Holy cow! Not only a traveller’s journal, but even making an illegitimate child…”
“You didn’t notice, Burkhart-san?”
“I guess that’s because I was all the time together with just Doushi and Therese-sama last time. Let alone that master hasn’t said anything to me, he even said 『Isn’t it an honour to be the guard of Duchess Philip-dono?』.” (Burkhart)
“I think he said that because you would have been a nuisance for his tryst.”
“That must be it…” (Burkhart)
Upon Luise pointing that out, Burkhart-san dropped his shoulders crestfallen.
“So, do you have any evidence?”
Philine was made to carry one bag as luggage by the village chief. Inside were the love letters from Margrave Breithilde addressed to Philine’s mother, a letter of verification stating that it’s his child if a child is born despite it having been an affair for around one week and a knife that was decorated with a wonderful ornament that had the Margrave Breithilde household’s family crest on it. Or rather, if he goes that far, I think that it would have been the best for him to take her along. Maybe he was scared of his legal wife?
“There’s nothing I want to say in particular, but he’s the worst.” (Katharina)
The fairly blunt act of Margrave Breithilde was criticized by Katharina who is in a position that she doesn’t have to hold back on nobles too much since she’s a famous magician herself. It seems that Elise and the others agree with her, too. In that moment the reputation of Margrave Breithilde, who looks like an agreeable liberal arts youth, took a heavy hit.
“Love letters, Margrave Breithilde is a liberal arts person even at such times, isn’t he…?”
When I tried checking the contents despite feeling guilty about it, after taking just a look, there are embarrassing lines such as 『The sun-like beautiful you』 and 『How should I convey this throbbing excitement in my chest to you?』 written in there. Seeing the contents, Doushi and Erw burst into laughter while rolling on the ground due to the overly embarrassing passages. The person himself was probably serious, but seen by an outsider, it’s a public execution as it’s a kind of comedy. The difference between the scornful laughter of the female camp and the foolish laughter of the male camp was surreal.
“Wend, you don’t write many letters, do you?” (Ina)
“That’s because I’m bad at it. Though I have more opportunities to do so than Luise.” (Wendelin)
“Since it’s difficult for me as well, I hate letters and such.” (Luise)
I’m a man who even found sending mails in my previous life annoying. I don’t have a hobby of expressly writing unnecessary letters either.
“So, this is?”
Next, another copy of a diary appeared, but the things written in there were even more embarrassing.
“『Sent to my beloved by Amadeus Freitag von Breithilde. Poems of Love』. It’s completely off…?”
An embarrassing poem that seems to be something composed by Margrave Breithilde himself was recorded on that page of the diary. It appears that traveller’s journals and similar are his strong point, but he has absolutely no talent in writing love letters and poems. To me it looks as nothing else but Margrave Breithilde’s dark past. If I had written something like that and it got leaked out into society, I would certainly consider suicide. The quality of the poem was embarrassing to that extent.
“Margrave Breithilde-sama is unexpectedly irresponsible, too.”
“It’s not a conduct that I can praise overly much.”
As it looks like even Elise, who doesn’t bad-mouth others much, and Ina, who usually avoids criticizing someone in a high position since she’s a common sense person, have joined in, the reputation of Margrave Breithilde as father and man has hit rock bottom at this point in time. Believing that it would be futile even if he covered for Margrave Breithilde here, Burkhart-san stayed silent without saying anything. I guess the sole salvation might be Philine receiving the female camp’s sympathy?
“I wonder if a normal woman would be happy to receive such a poem?”
“Umm… I have heard that love is blind. To the bitter end it’s just something I read in a book though…” (Ina)
After looking at the Margrave Breithilde’s peculiar embarrassing linguistic expressions that were written in the letters and poems, Ina states her impression in a whisper. I think that even Elise thinks that she wouldn’t be happy even if she received this poem. Ina gave quite the ambiguous reply.
“Margrave Breithilde-sama has zero talent as poet.”
“He might have prospect as a comedian though.” (Luise)
It should definitely be a hit if it’s publicly shown at a noble salon, but that’s not because of him having a talent to make others laugh but simply because that poem will be ridiculed. Getting apparently ridiculed, his life span as comedian will likely be short. But even before that, I’m sure that the person himself will be unwilling to be treated as comedian.
“So, you are saying that this girl is Margrave Breithilde’s illegitimate child?”
“I think all the evidence has been put together. Philine.”
“Yes, master.” (Philine)
Me and Erw seem to be currently Philine’s masters. Once I called out to her, she answered alongside a pure smile. A bit of fresh cream was stuck around her mouth, but since she was a beautiful girl that has inherited the blood of Margrave Breithilde, that made her all the more cute.
“Philine, you have cream on you.” (Elise)
“Thank you very much, Elise-sama.” (Philine)
Getting the cream wiped away by Elise, Philine looks happy. Elise’s special characteristic that is idolized by Wilma got triggered by Philine, too.
“Well, what was the hair colour of your deceased mother?”
“It was light brown.” (Philine)
“I see. Thanks for telling us. If you want another serving of cake, do tell Elise.” (Wendelin)
Philine herself apparently doesn’t care at all about her own father as she seems to be entranced with the cake she’s eating for the first time in her life. It’s definitely not like she’s cold-hearted, rather she probably doesn’t feel anything about it even if her father, whom she hadn’t seen even once since being born, is mentioned.
“So, what will we do?”
“That’s, of course, hand her over to Burkhart-san.”
Not expecting to be nominated at all, Burkhart-san ends up staring in wonder.
“I mean, look, she’s your master’s daughter.”
“Well that’s certainly true, but doesn’t it look like she hates me…” (Burkhart)
With Philine being a slightly unusual girl, she likes Doushi more than Burkhart-san who’s popular with women and children. Therefore it was dismissed by him as he wouldn’t be able to take care of her himself.
“Rather, as she’s a girl, have the young ladies over there take care of her.”
Burkhart-san apparently wishes to leave the care of Philine to Elise and the others.
“Doushi is… I guess impossible…”
Being liked by someone and being able to look after that very person are two different pairs of shoes. Besides, given that it will turn into a problem if Philine becomes like Doushi, it might be best to prevent that from happening. I would hate it to be blamed by Margrave Breithilde later.
“Philine, the cake is delicious, no?” (Armstrong)
“Yes, Doushi-sama.” (Philine)
“That’s great.” (Armstrong)
“She’s an unusual girl, isn’t she…?”
After all she owns the notable characteristic of being afraid of Burkhart-san, who’s well-received by children and women, and instead not only isn't she scared of the unpopular Doushi, but she actually even likes him. Even though her appearance is on the cute side, she seems to unexpectedly like strange things.
“It’s your turn after all, Burkhart-san? Look, it’s a good training for the time when you get a daughter.”
“I will consider that after my wife gets pregnant. Say, haven’t you entrusted her to Erw-boy, Earl-sama?” (Burkhart)
If she she were a simple commoner, it would have been fine with that, but now that we have confirmed her the daughter of Margrave Breithilde, it becomes necessary to handle her appropriately. Meaning, we got once again burdened with difficulties.
“That’s right. I agree with my lord.”
Even though he has no official position, the times when Erw calls me lord are mostly when there is some worthless reason for it. Erw showed an expression of “got ya” on his face.
“In my position as retainer treating the esteemed daughter of Margrave Breithilde-sama, who is the leader of the kingdom’s south, as maid apprentice is impolite. There’s no other option but to leave this to you, my lord.” (Erwin)
It’s a sound argument, but I guess Erw cannot resist feeling happy about being able to use this as excuse to pay me back for having pushed Philine on him once. Due to Philine’s unexpected appearance, I took a trashing as payback.
“Erw, try to spell out your real intention.”
“No matter how you think about it, no one but you can look after her, Wend. Serves you right.” (Erwin)
“I can’t refute that…”
Erw deliberately offered his opinion while respectfully bowing his head, but a bright smile is plastered on his face. It was obvious that you couldn’t interpret that as anything but him being happy that he pushed a seed of trouble upon me.
“Just a bit, I feel like killing you, due to that bright smile of yours.”
“With it being a real problem, there’s no other choice but have you take care of her, Wend.”
“Even if that’s so…”
This kind of banter with Erw is no problem since it’s indispensable for the sake of preserving my ego as Wendelin and not as Earl Baumeister. Given that even Erw can discern between a private and an official occasion, it won’t turn into an issue either. Rather than that, the matter was that she would definitely be forced onto me as wife if I go to return her to Margrave Breithilde after having taken care of her.
“Once Philine turns 15, Wend, you will be 22 years old. I don’t think that feels out of place at all.”
“Moreover, as she’s an illegitimate child, her rank in the succession line will be low as well. So there won’t be any kind of problem with that either.” (Ina)
I couldn’t do anything but sigh due to Erw’s and Ina’s opinions. I have no doubt that Margrave Breithilde will say that as well.
“Master, am I a nuisance?” (Philine)
Just when the discussion got heated, Philine, who finished eating the cake before anyone realized, asks with her eyes tearing up. It looks like she ended up wondering whether she’s unwanted from the flow of the conversation.
“There’s no way for that to be true. Since it will take some time to let you meet your father, Philine, I plan to have you learn various things during that time.”
“I will be able to meet father?” (Philine)
“He’s in a foreign country. Because it’s not possible to let you meet with him due to the circumstances, I want you to work as maid for a bit. Elise.” (Wendelin)
“Please use your free time to give her a basic education.” (Wendelin)
I placed my hands on Elise’s shoulders and asked her to see to give Philine an education.
“The least amount of etiquette as noble daughter and such, I guess?”
“Since you are probably busy as well, Elise, I don’t mind even if it’s one for a maid apprentice though.”
Since her father is Margrave Breithilde, it should be necessary for her to have a minimum of manners before letting her meet him. We will work out an attire that makes her look real somehow or other later on. Right now the end of the civil war is the highest priority.
“If it’s about that, I will help out as well.”
It appears that the talk about teaching Philine good manners as noble pulled Katharina’s heartstrings. She volunteered to participate in Philine’s education.
Wilma, who has been silent all the time, is simply eating the cake she received from Elise while looking as if she’s enjoying it. She’s probably believing that she won’t be able to to teach noble manners by herself.
“Eh? Katharina, you will?”
“Although my family got ruined once, I learned the things necessary for a noble without giving up. It’s something I’m making use of even now. It will be fine to leave Philine-san to me with a peace of mind.” (Katharina)
“Wendelin-san, do you have any complaints about my conduct as noble?” (Katharina)
“Katharina, your conduct as noble is slightly unnatural.”
She’s sticking too much to formality. Given that it looks as if she’s using all her strength as she’s always slouching, she ends up appearing as if she has no leeway due to somehow being at her absolute limit. Also, I think it’s also a problem that she occasionally spins her wheels with all her heart.
“Wendelin-san, you are too obedient. By nature that’s how nobles are.” (Katharina)