Extra arc 『The Stage Ghost’s Cappricio』 Chapter 4
I left home cheerful that day.
My goal today wasn’t to go see a play, but to observe the dress rehearsals.
And Miria herself invited me to!
She said, 『We’re already friends, so you don’t have to bring presents when you visit. If you’re interested in our practices, please feel free to come and watch』！
That’s right, I got invited!!
I want to yell it out now.
You can get friends even by assaulting them with gifts! So long as there’s enough sincerity!
With the tarts that my nanny baked for me this morning in hand, I headed to the doll opera in high spirits.
As soon as I stopped the carriage in front of the theatre at the time I’d planned from the start, a youthful man wearing a bright smile immediately approached me.
It was a face that I knew fairly well.
Frandert Vernus. 22 years old.
He’s an acquaintance of Father’s and, since I visit this theatre quite frequently these days, he’s someone who’s collaborated tremendously with me.
He’s my comrade.
We got to know each other through Father and were very lively on the subject of how wonderful Miria Galant was from the very first meeting. Nowadays, he’s taken over the role of my escort — or rather, my guardian, in lieu of my busy father whenever I visit the theatre.
I should’ve departed today with some time to spare, but surprisingly, he arrived at this place earlier than me.
「Frandert-sama. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting」
As I tried to get off the carriage in a hurry, he took my hand and gave a bright smile.
「No no. It’s a little embarrassing, but it’s just that I arrived way too early. I was in such a hurry…」
Sheepishly scratching his head, his facial expression was completely honest.
Although I doubt it’s because he was born in an Earl family that’s famous for contributing to the promotion of local performing arts, his expression changes rapidly like in a play. In addition to his gentle appearance, he has a bright smile and honest nature. With this, I could see why he seems to be loved by women in high society.
Be that as it may, the person himself didn’t have even one bad rumour floating about him and was exceedingly earnest. It seems he has a beautiful fiancee and treasures that person very much.
「Besides, I’m not alone. My fiancee is in the carriage right now」
After he said that, he pointed to a remarkable horse-drawn carriage that was parked.
「Oh! Did the two of you come here today to observe? Would you mind introducing me to your beloved?」
I ended up fangirling over the fact that I might be able to meet his fiancee who was rumoured to be a beauty.
「No, she has something important to do after this」
「Is that so. That’s too bad」
「But if you don’t mind, I’d like to introduce you. She also wanted to meet with you」
As we cheerily approached the carriage where his fiancee was boarding, a lady alighted from it.
She was a lively-looking beauty who had a healthy glow on her skin. Her figure which was energetically walking towards us was slender and tall.
（T-that’s unexpected… but so wonderful!!）
This woman, who was barely just shorter than the son of the earl, Frandert, introduced herself as Nilda. The shape of her dress that didn’t have so much as a bulge on her hips suited her dignified figure very well.
I’d heard his fiancee was from a merchant family, but I was taken aback since I was imagining a rich, sheltered young lady. Instead, she seems to be a woman who wouldn’t feel uncomfortable even if she disguised herself in men’s clothes and got on a merchant ship.
「I’m honored to be able to meet the duke’s daughter from the rumours」
Her surprisingly soft voice was all the more wonderful.
「Same here, it’s an honor to meet you too. But, “rumours”… you say？ Were they from Frandert-sama?」
「Yes. What’s more, I’m acquainted with your father. It’s thanks to Duke Lilia that we have the privilege of trading with other countries without problems」
I see, diplomatic work had an inseparable relationship with the tradings of merchants who come and go to other countries. She said 『we』 here, so Nilda-san was probably involved in her family business. A working lady. How cool.
「……Thank you very much」
Overjoyed that Father was praised at a place I didn’t expect and by such a wonderful woman at that, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. Seeing me like this, Nilda-san had what looked like a motherly smile.
M-my heart fluttered. Since I don’t really remember my mother that much, I’m weak to being shown these sort of maternal expressions.
「I have some errands I need to do today, so I’ll excuse myself from here. I leave escorting Lycoris-sama to you, Frandert-sama」
「Yes. I understand」
Oohh. So Nilda-san calls her fiance by his name, 『Frandert-sama』, huh? Considering the difference in status, that’s probably natural. But maybe they don’t use honorifics or they use nicknames when it’s just the two of them.
Both of them were smiling brightly at each other, what a sweet couple.
「It’s such a shame I can’t tour together with you, Nilda-san」
What I was saying was no longer lip service as far as I was concerned. I truly wanted to talk with her a bit more. Not giving up easily, I tried asking her 「Is the errand related to work?」. If her errand was something that could be finished quickly, then I definitely want to meet up with her afterwards.
「No. Today is personal. I’m visiting a tailor shop at the royal capital high street to pick up a wedding dress」
「Oh? Is someone going to get married sometime soon?」
「Yes. Frandert-sama and I」
Nilda-san said it like it was nothing. When I glanced at Frandert-sama confused, he scratched his head again looking embarrassed.
「It’s around… oh right, 15 days from now, isn’t it?」
It’s not ‘it’s around 15 days from now, isn’t it?’, Frandert-sama.
Then what? Does that mean he’s visiting the theatre every single day and doing things like acting as my escort when he himself is preparing for marriage in approximately 2 weeks?
「I-if you’d said something, I would’ve held back from disturbing you!」
At my outburst, the pair looked at each other.
However, Nilda-san seemed to quickly understand my concerns.
「……Ahh. Please don’t worry. I’m just going out to pick up the dress today. Besides, Frandert-sama was the one who suggested to escort you」
That’s certainly true, but…
Eh? Was that really okay?
Seeing that I was unconvinced, Nilda-san continued as if covering up for her fiance.
「Originally, the one who recommended Frandert-sama to get a hobby was me. He’s the type to get completely absorbed in one thing and ends up thinking about that alone. So this is his distraction」
But calling it a distraction was a little… rather, didn’t he get completely absorbed in his hobby of theatre-going?
Nilda-san was cheerful to the very end and didn’t seem to take the situation seriously. Hmm. Was I simply overthinking things?
When I parted with Nilda-san, I began walking alongside Frandert-sama.
I felt that something foggy remained in my heart.
Frandert-sama, who was walking beside me.
He was my comrade.
That is, this person was 『someone who claims to be a big fan of an actress who’s around five years his junior and frequently attends her public performances』.
…up till now, I hadn’t planned on faulting someone for actions I myself was doing.
But with the news that he was preparing for a marriage with his fiance in two weeks time added to it, doesn’t it straight up feel wrong…?