Extra arc 『The Stage Ghost’s Cappricio』 End
Naturally, I took a leave of absence to go see Miria’s performance. It was my first time ever cutting class.
Though sixth-year students are originally allowed more freedom, the reason Father easily gave me his ok to take a leave without so much as a hitch was all thanks to my usual earnestness, if I may say so myself.
There was one problem. Once I told Wolf I was skipping, he didn’t try to stop me, no, he wanted to join me.
I mean, sure, the ticket I got from Miria was for two. And I was told to go with my fiance. But I hadn’t planned on letting Wolf know that.
As to why, it was because I’ll probably cry. To begin with, I cry everytime I watch Miria perform.
Was there anyone who’d want to let her lover cum fiance see her bawling her eyes out? Nope, of course not.
I did cry in front of Wolf in the past, but I am now already at a marriageable age. I definitely can’t let Wolf alone see my face when my eyes undoubtedly swelled up.
I tried to get out of it, implying in the sense that「there’s nothing to worry about, it’ll be fine～」 but Wolf was stubborn about it this time. He wouldn’t budge.
It wasn’t exactly stubborn so much as cute.
「……Didn’t you tell me it’s fine if I act spoiled with you？」
The slightly sulky expression he wore was like this. Cunning. Got to hand it to Wolf’s brand of cunning. At times like this, I could see that he clearly was his father’s, the Duke Ranunculas’s, son.
…Yeah. Of course, I do remember saying something embarrassing like 『It’s fine to act spoiled with me』. And, it was then, right? The aforementioned first kiss chance.
I see. Was this how acting 『spoiled』 was for Wolf?
If I had to say, getting escorted feels like I’m the one getting spoiled, though. So basically, for Wolf, saying 『I want to spoil you』 was something selfish? What the, that’s so cute! I feel my heart throbbing. It’s skipping a beat!!
「Y-yeah. Then, thanks in advance for escorting me. I’m making you miss class though……」
That was the only response left for me to say.
Wolf smiled happily, so I ended up feeling happy as well.
Believe in the defence power of a handkerchief and thoroughly cover up my bawling face! Let’s go with that strategy.
Miria’s show that day was a full house.
This was the last day for showing, but it seems like the show being performed today got really great reviews. After I listened in to what some of the people around me were saying, I could gather that some were back to watch the same performance for the second or third time now.
It turned out that Wolf and I were given seats right in front of the stage to watch from, the location was so good that I felt guilty sitting there.
The show was truly magnificent.
The aria which was sung several times in the story by the heroine Miria was playing as, was especially magnificent. Good songs would sometimes linger in our heads, but this piece of music was more than that.
『Please listen to my voice. Singing my love to you, that’s my happiness』
Her acting was as good as ever – no, it was even better than usual, her pained expression made my heart wrench.
The plot was a story of a girl dedicated to her love.
Maybe because I heard about her past, her role this time in particular, seemed to have a lot of parts that overlapped with her actual self.
A little girl not blessed with a family and therefore longs desperately for one. She devotes everything to the guy she likes, unconcerned whether it pays off or not. The little girl simply persists to frantically, bravely, speak that her heart is true.
Then, at the end of the final touching aria.
The applause gradually grew quieter and then suddenly paused.
With her head raised, she brought both her hands gently to her chest.
As Miria’s fan, it was only natural that I understood what that gesture meant. It was a gesture she does before she sings a solo.
But the musical performance was already over.
In the stillness.
The first thing that began was not a musical accompaniment or a dance, but a vocal based solely on her voice. It was delivered straight into the audience’s ears.
『Please, listen to my song. I’m a doll that sings.
Following the tunes you taught. That’s already happiness. It’s bliss.
Songs that you wrote, wind the screw on my back, in the scorching summers to the freezing winters.
I’m a doll that sings』
Changing the lyrics of the story’s aria, Miria sings.
In the story, the heroine sings at the top of her voice that she was a bird that sings.
These words that were changed little by little, made it clear to me that Miria put her true feelings into the song wholeheartedly.
（You’ve got it, Miria!）
I was gripping my hands tightly.
There is no definitive form for love. But, there was a fixed method to get him to believe in it. By conveying it wholeheartedly.
It’s terrifying to confess one’s feelings, one would freeze in horror when they think they might get rejected. Still, she needed to put it out and bring it to his attention. For her, that method was by performing it through song.
Her lovely aria continued.
『Let us compare this love with the sea. For my heart keeps coming close to you like the waves that break shore and retreat.
Flowers bloom through this song of love. On this stage, without grass or ground.
Let us set this stage with love. Whether it be passion or grief, comedy or tragedy, that’s the proof someone lived.
That is where my heart is.
Please, listen to my voice. I’m a doll that cries. Singing my love to you. That’s already happiness. It’s bliss.
So with your song that showed me, who longed for love, to love.
Please notice how I feel.
Please, listen to this voice of mine.
Tell me how you feel.
Please, let your heart be mine』
Her song ended with a wonderful long tone with her voice extending gradually as she reached the end.
That song that conveyed nothing but love in the story now ended in a form that seeked the other’s feelings.
When I realized it, loud applause along with cheers and whistles had reverberated. It was different from usual, it wasn’t just because they were moved, but because they were also excited and uplifted. I, of course, also clapped along in a daze.
On top of the stage, she was perplexed by the thunderous ovation. But, the audience’s feelings was exceedingly clear to me.
Today’s cheers were voices that were giving their blessings.
The audience all believed her. 「Aah, I finally saw a show that she performs where she gets a happy ending」, they say.
The heroine that only kept giving was now hoping for the heart of the person she loves. I believed that’s an element necessary to reach a happy ending.
The audience believed in the indisputably happy ending. Her voice had that much strength, after all. It was filled with love, so that’s why it moved people’s hearts.
Miria was overcome with surprise and she looked on as the curtains lowered in front of her in a daze.
Of course, the applause did not stop at all.
Would anyone here now in the audience, who were giving a thunderous applause, believe that Miria was cold-hearted and not able to love?
I, for one, would never believe it.
Yes, no matter what she tells herself.
When I ran backstage, taking Wolf with me, it was just like the scene of a carnage.
If I were to say why, it was because the theatre manager was in a fit of rage.
「Do you know how much effort and money I’ve put into making you have a strong image up to now?! Not getting affection back was the selling point! Doing this on your own accord…… I’ll make it so you won’t think of acting against people with the social standings of a puppet a second time! You’re not the only puppet here! I can always just sell you off to the highest bidder!」
Upon hearing these absurd remarks, I decided to fire a surprise attack from behind the manager. I pushed the two precious bouquets I had on my arms onto Wolf so that they wouldn’t get crushed in the spur of the moment.
But before I could launch an attack, an arm appeared to shield Miria.
「Don’t say absurd things! All the the automaton including her are the property of Mari Galant!」
For a time, I forgot my anger for the manager and stared dumbstruck at the person’s face. Standing as if to shield Miria and flaring up at the manager with an incredibly menacing demeanor was the usual girly… no, the playwright Mr. Elius.
The adjective “girly” was blown out the window, right now, he was so cool! This guy had no wrinkles in his brow and was really very handsome.
「I have an obligation to carry out the will of the departed Nival Galant. If you’re leading this troupe with that mindset, then I must consider adopting all the automatons and filing a case against you」
I guess Mr. Elius’s proclamations might have some basis. As soon as he said that, the theatre manager quickly lost his vigour and, after mumbling some sort of dissatisfaction, left the dressing room with hurried footsteps.
For Miria or me, we’ll put the thing with the manager for later.
「Elius-sama……What did you just say？ The automatons are… Mari Galant’s property？」
Where had the vigour he had from before gone to? Pressed by Miria for an answer, Mr. Elius was now stammering. As he did so, the wrinkles on his brow made a comeback, and thus, it was the comeback of the incredibly crabby-looking, wasted beauty.
「If you know something, please tell her!」
I, too, flared up at him like Miria had.
「Just put that aside for now！」
Pressed by my excessive force, Mr. Elius spoke while bewildered.
「……I thought to tell you after we at least had progress in our search. But the truth is, Miria, you have a little sister. No, that girl is human, so in other words, you were made by Nival Galant, as a family member for that girl」
It seems this person loses the wrinkles in his brows when he’s trying his best to talk. The way he spoke about Mari Galant was gentle.
「She’s a lovely girl. From her face to her voice, she looks quite like you. And just like you, she loves snowdrops. The first time I gifted her a small bouquet of it, she looked delighted and told me they smelled nice…… It seemed she also had an interest in theatre. That’s why, I’m sure she’ll get along well with you as sisters… But, after the chaos of Mr. Nival’s funeral, she suddenly disappeared. I’ve been looking for her since then… but there hasn’t been much progress in the search……」
I asked him to highlight the part that I wanted to verify the most.
「You’re sure that Nival Galant made 『Miria』 for 『Mari』?」
「Yeah. He’d known his days were numbered. Which was why he wanted to leave a family behind for his granddaughter… He wasn’t much of a talker, but he worried for his granddaughter……」
Miria shook her head upon Mr. Elius words.
「I……can’t believe this…」
Upon my assertion, Miria stared at me in surprise.
「Rather, I feel a lot of things make sense now. You see, for a magician, a doll is a 『tool』. I think, to Nival Galant, dolls were important ……as tools. The automaton he created at the very end, in particular, was quite indispensible, in order for him to leave a family behind for 『Mari』……。You’d said it, right? That the doll had a very gentle and serene expression. I think that was what Nival wanted to leave for you」
After digesting my words, Miria burst out in tears.
She cried out like a child. Clinging to me.
The truth was that she was much younger than me. So having that sort of expression wasn’t strange either.
After I gave her a comforting hug, I looked at Mr. Elius.
I don’t know if the rumour that he got cruelly dumped by his lover in the past was true or not. But at this very moment, the look he was giving Miria was particularly gentle.
I’m pretty sure this guy has absolutely no idea what’s going on right now. But I think he’s a good guy. The reason his trousers were always dirty was probably because he’s been walking around looking for Mari Galant.
I bowed my head at him.
「I ask you. Please talk with her. Please, tell her about the Nival Galant you know. And then, please, listen to what she has to say」
Even while confused, Mr. Elius firmly nodded his head.
As Miria was being led away by the meek Mr. Elius, she called out to me, her voice hoarse from crying.
「Thank you, Lycoris」
It was the first time she’d addressed me without an honorific.
I headed straight to the theatre hall that had become void of people during the turmoil in the dressing room.
My aim was to offer flowers at the stage.
I left behind one bouquet of flowers in Miria’s dressing room. When I placed the other bouquet I had on the stage, a voice called out behind me.
「Even you believe in the stage ghost, young miss?」
It’s been a while since we last met, but the nagging old geeze… I mean, the critic Ronald Beret seems to remember me.
「……No. Actually, I still don’t believe it even now. Miria told me there was 『something』 here, but I can’t believe that it’s a ghost」
「If it’s not a ghost, then what could it be then?」
「It could be the passion of being on stage. Or maybe it’s something from the wild enthusiasm that the guests feel, left behind……？」
Mr. Ronald laughed at my sentimental words. But when he finished laughing, he got serious.
「I don’t believe in it either. After all, I’ve wanted to see it so much that I keep coming here, but I’ve never been able to see it even once」
「You… want to see the ghost?」
「I wanted to see my younger sister. A long time ago, she died on top of this stage」
On top of this stage? There was something that bothered me from what he said.
「When you say younger sister, don’t tell me……」
「Yeah. It’s the actress that everyone’s saying turned into a ghost. I used to come here to watch the performances. It was embarrassing to get found out by the person herself, so I always sat at the back」
I think I know a part of the reason why Mr. Ronald probably became a union member of the Royal Theatre Association now.
「Do you know what really happened on this stage at that time?」
「In reality, nothing really bizarre happened. Afflicted by a disease, a famous actress wanting to stay on stage until her final moments, died in the manner she wanted. Then, two girls fought over the role of being her substitute, and, because it was originally a tangle of mad love involving a man……it turned into something tragic. Two people were killed and one commited suicide」
「Thus an innocent girl was made into a ghost」
Mr. Ronald looked so sad as he looked back to the past. And so, I intentionally talked loudly.
「I’ll be looking forward to the critic for this performance. I’m actually a fan of the reviews you wrote」
「It’s not a lie. When I came across your review, it had been an article about the first performance I’ve seen. Whenever I read your reviews, the emotion when I watched the show gets revived. Even if the last ones seems to have turned a little bit like sermons, I loved all of your reviews including those」
「I got it, I got it. It’s embarrassing so stop it.……I don’t get what you’re worried about, but I ain’t senile enough that I gotta be cheered up just to write an article. I still haven’t got my fill of seeing wonderful shows and performers after all.……Good grief, it feels bad hearing you say all that with a straight face. Being the lover of this young miss has gotta be tough on you, eh, Mr. Casanova?」
Mr. Ronald grinned broadly, including Wolf into this. But maybe because I saw Wolf seriously nodding his head and deemed he wasn’t someone who would tease me, that I wound up quickly turning around to face the stage.
And so, I gave the bouquet I had on hand a gentle kiss and tossed it on the stage.
「……today was quite spectacular. It was fit for this stage. A pretty good performance」
With a satisfied sigh, Mr. Ronald added.
「I wonder if that girly playwright will start writing something other than tragic love stories for once? The royal capital will probably be gushing out in excitement again if Miria Galant begins to sing happy duets with someone acting in the role of a lover」
Since he sounded very happy as he said that, I unexpectedly realized how he truly was a 『tsundere』.
「Don’t tell me, could the reason why you were so strict in your review be because you wanted Miria to play as a happy heroine for once, or something…?」
Mr. Ronald gave another「hmph」 and said:
「……well, can’t let the playwright keep showing off how girly he is. Gotta give that guy a kick in the ass sometimes」
「You’re right. Let’s look forward to a happy story from the playwright Elius」
「Hmph… be that as it may, the future is still far off. This show is the starting point. Let’s make those chaps who didn’t come to watch this show regret it」
I have a good feeling that the article this person will write for today will become so wonderful that it’ll remain in people’s minds forever.
I spotted Frandert-sama right when I stepped out of the theatre.
Looking positively cheery, he gave Nilda-san, who came to pick him up, a quick peck on the lips, not caring that others were looking.
The crowd in front of the theatre has already disappeared and there’s not a lot of people, but it was a public place nonetheless. Above all, I saw it perfectly! Even though I hid under the shadow of a pillar, looking unintentionally suspicious, Wolf took it all in stride.
Frandert-sama looked like he didn’t notice us and continued talking.
「Aah, Nilda, I’m so glad I can see you right now. It might be how wonderful the show was today or how much I wanted to kiss you after the show. It’s such a happy love story! It won’t be enough even if I talk about it all night! You’ll keep me company all the way, right, love?」(1)
「I’d like it if you spare me from an all-nighter, but I’m all ears, dear」
「I would love it if you watch the show with me next time. I expect the shows won’t be all tragic, one-sided love stories that you dislike from now on, after all」
「Is that so? If it’s going to have a happy ending, then I don’t mind watching it with you」
「Hooray!! Today is really such a wonderful day. It’s an evening where a love bears fruit and my wife is as beautiful and kind as always!」
「I’m glad as well, since you look so happy. Yesterday, you were working until late and yet today, you’ve been so excited since morning. Well, I guess you’re always like that when it’s the day of a show. I came here worried, thinking you might collapse once the show ended, you know」
They should already be married close to two years, but they still looked completely like a lovey-dovey newlywed couple. I used to be worried about them, but of course, it was because I hadn’t gotten to know them yet.
I was worried because, two years ago, Nilda-san went to pick up her wedding dress by herself. What I now know was that that had probably been something quite trivial for the both of them. To each his own.
And, Frandert-sama wasn’t simply a straightforward guy. He knew about Miria’s love, at the very least, and was probably cheering her on. He believed that love to be genuine and was happy for her.
Nilda-san knows Frandert-sama way better than someone like me. Since they were lovers, that was natural, though.
（Huh, so that means there had been absol~utely no need for my concern!）
I covered a silly grin forming on my lips subtly with a cloth.
At any rate, I’m so glad Wolf went with me today. If I’d asked Frandert-sama to escort me today, I would’ve been a third-wheel right about now.
I felt like I couldn’t hold back the exhilaration.
A lot of people had been looking forward to a show like today and they shared the joy when it was actualized with someone important.
Right now, it seems the wonderful aria was reverberating in my head.
『Please listen to my voice. Singing my love to you, that’s my happiness』
After I pulled Wolf’s hand and hurried to the carriage, I rattled on as soon as the door shut.
Love sure is wonderful, huh, Wolf? It’s like a miracle when you like someone and even more so when that someone comes to love you back. But there’s quite a lot of such things in this world, and that’s why, the little things matter, which is why I conclude the world is wonderful. What I mean to say is, I was so touched. So being with you here right now with those feelings, I feel so happy, so much that my chest hurts. I feel really happy. That’s why, I want to kiss you, Wolf. May I?
A question from the god of chance to Wolf. You lover asks if she can kiss you. What will you do?
『I’ll hear her out at least』
『It’s a rare opportunity so I’ll take it』
The title 『capriccio』 is a referring to a piece of music. It seems like it comes from an italian word for 『whim』. (2)
Spent a great deal of time trying to translate the song and having a fun time trying to figure out how to rhyme the words.
(1) The petnames that Frandert and Nilda call each other are from the past chapter, i.e. loved one and precious person. But I fixed it here, because it sounds weird in dialogue. From what I understand, Lycoris prefers English petnames to Japanese ones.
(2) A capriccio is a piece of music that’s usually lively and freeform.
(3) What’s Miria’s true age? I’m not too sure. I remember translating that she was older than Lycoris, but either I mistranslated something, or Lycoris did the math, and somehow concluded Miria’s true age?
Not too sure how you all feel about how this arc ended… I have my own comments on it, much more so than how the last arc skipped several years. I took quite a few months to finish it simply because I couldn’t get myself to continue…
But I feel like I had to translate it for the sake of completing the series, so I hope there were some people that enjoyed it!