Act 7; A feast with Snakes
Dear Duke Serpentine,
First of all, I apologize for the late reply. I was busy preparing for the farewell party and my graduation speech.
The fact that your handwriting has not improved at all also played a part. Considering the convenience of the recipient, I’ll tell you to leave it your aide.
All that’s left to do is to go home. I think I can arrive before your birthday. I hope the weather stays the same.
Have you decided on the name of the new hotel by now? We’ve been talking about it for a while here, too. I’m looking forward to seeing how great it will be. How much you and Benya have changed.
Do you still drink a lot these days? Get rid of these bad habits quickly. Please calm down.
You seem to be proud of your nickname, but please note that it is seriously damaging to my stable emotions and healthy sense of humor.
I still haven’t heard from Benya. I guess he’s super busy. Isn’t he working a little too hard? I have no choice but to come home and see how our cold-hearted young master is doing.
I have to finish packing, so I’ll stop here today. By the time you, my brother, will read this, I’ll be on board already.
I still can’t believe I’m going back to Cherkesha after 7 years. But I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again everyday until we meet again.
P.S. I chose Benya’s present, but I’m not sure if he’ll like it.
With love, Sasha.]
At 6 a.m. in the early summer of June 1729, when a lot of trouble and chatter was going on, the butler of the duke of Serpente moved as quickly as he could when he confirmed the sender of the letter in the mail. As he was instructed, he hurried up to his boss’ bedroom and knocked vigorously.
“Your Excellency, a letter has arrived from Vibrato.”
“Your Highness? Are you still sleeping? It’s a letter! From Vibrato!”
There was no sound coming through the heavy door. It seems that the aftermath of last night’s long-awaited pouring and drinking was not light.
At this level of negligence, he had to make a three-hour reservation for nagging. With such a solemn determination, the butler hurried back with his feet, carefully grasping the mail.
This time, he went to the estate’s garden. As he reached the garden full of colorful flowers, he could spot a man taking a leisurely morning walk through them.
“Oh, good morning, butler. Why are you biting your lips like that? Are you sick?”
“I think his excellency is the one who’s sick, not me.”
The aide clicked his tongue in a fairly plain tone when he answered.
“It seems the reigns on you have loosened by now.”
“That’s right. Speaking of which, where is the young master right now?”
“He’ll probably be at the hotel. If there’s something you need to check..….”
“That’s great. Then would you please forward this letter to the young master? It’s a very important message.”
“No, butler, are you going to pass the bomb on me again? Let’s see, even if I sometimes do the errands…”
“That’s not the problem. This is a letter from Vibrato. Did you forget what happened last time? You’re the only one I can trust, Sir Aide!”
The aide relaxed his expression a little at the grim cry, but still looked suspicious.
“What would you like me to say if the young master asked if you checked it first?”
“You’d just have to say I didn’t. Rather, I think he would prefer that as well.”
“Of course he would, you should also mention the fact that his excellency hasn’t woken up when the sun is already so high in the sky.”
In fact, the sun was just rising, but both ignored that reality.
“This is not the first or second time this is happening, why are you so scared?”
“Who’s scared? I think it would be better for the butler to go and get some fresh air.”
“I’m afraid that’s impossible. You know this humble old man is so busy with his new place. Please hurry!”
In doing so, the Duke of Serpente’s chief aide took the mail in question that had arrived from across the sea and headed for the new hotel, which was about to be completed. When he arrived, the young man in question had already disappeared.
The architectural director welcomed the aide, who was unable to open his mouth with a face grieving the fact that he had lost him.
“Oh, did you come to find Confucius?”
“……what other reason can I be here for at this hour?”
“Unfortunately, he left just now. If you’d come ten minutes earlier..….”
the aide thought that he was not used to this way of speaking. It was very difficult for the dark family to lay the foundation of this extremely aristocratic hotel in the first place.
“Well, I think he’ll be back soon, and if you don’t wish to wait, I could relay the message in your place…”
“I’d love to, but it’s a letter from Vibrato.”
“Oh, that’s from the lady. I heard she was coming back soon, but it seems she got busy with one thing or the other since we didn’t hear from her for some time.”
“I’m sure it’s the same for her, too.”
“But who the hell is she? What kind of person can she be to have you all make such a fuss about?”
Are you really asking because you don’t know? The aide glared suspiciously at the architect’s blank face for a moment.
The other day, when that incident occurred – when a letter from vibrato had been opened and put back without permission – they couldn’t have heard about it.
Nevertheless, the chief aide decided to be kind. In order to maintain a warm human nature while living in a den of cancerous and vipers, a kind heart that transcends status was paramount.
“His excellency and the young master’s nanny’s daughter.”
The Director’s became sullen as if that wasn’t what he expected.
“Of course I know that, but I feel like there’s more to it. For example, a secret of her birth…….”
“She’s a Confucian intellectual who studies abroad.”
“Other than that, there’s something more…….”
“She’s also the one who gets a one month allowance that is the same amount as the sum of your and mine’s yearly wages.”
“As expected, the world is unfair. Don’t you think so?”
“It’s your boss that’s unfair.”
* * *
“Cream bread dormitory, forever!”
“Did anyone take a picture?”
“I have to write there, too.”
“Who lost their badge?”
There’s a lot of noise everywhere. There were many different kinds of children, such as children who were tearing up books, children who exchanged their addresses, children who cheered a few more times and drank, children who took care about their friends who had not received their graduation photos, and children who laughed and cried. The day had come when our solemn dormitory become a mess in this uproar.
“Oh, my. I can’t believe it’s over!”
My roommate, who had lived with me for the past seven years, approached me with her glistening brown eyes and hugged me by the shoulder.
Phew, I don’t believe it either. That my life here was over, and tomorrow I would be on a ship headed back to the empire.
“Sasha, stop sipping ginger ale and drink this cocktail. I made it.”
“I have to leave early tomorrow.”
“It’s just one drink, it doesn’t matter. The alcohol is strong and fresh.”
I don’t know what it was and how it was mixed, but the blue glitter looked pretty good. The rumor that I’m a heavy drinker was a clear misunderstanding, but since we’re about to break apart, I don’t have to explain everything, right?
“What are you going to do as soon as you get back to the Empire? Will you be working for the Serpente?”
“I suppose so.”
“Oh, right. Peanut told me to drop by the dean’s office when I saw you. Shall we go together?
Peanut was the nickname of our dorm director. It was a nickname given because there was a crown the size of a peanut next to his nose. I shook my head as I sipped the sweet cocktail regardless of its appearance, it was obvious what he wanted. You want me to go back and talk good about you.
“You’re lucky, anyway. I wish my house had that kind of connection.”
My roommate Marianne was from the same empire, Cherkesha, as me. Most of the students in our academy were from commercial middle class families like hers, and at a family level, they had set their life-time goal to be to enter nobility. No matter how much money you have, the desire to rise in status encompasses the times. Most of the classes taught here were related to that.
Compared to these friends who entered the school around the age of 11 and graduated at the age of 18-19, I was much older.
I can’t believe I’m already 23! I lived longer than my previous life, so I should say this is a successful life. Whoo-hoo. I even got a diploma.
I didn’t feel much regret. Maybe it was because I didn’t get along well with others too much because I just studied, but I couldn’t make a lot of friends who were open-minded in the first place. I just felt a little nervous yet relieved to go back.
I can’t wait to see how much Lettis and Benya have changed. What if they don’t recognize me? I think it’ll be funny if they were the same as before.
A lot has happened in the Empire over the past seven years I have been here. The War of Fame, which broke out five years ago and ended two years later, was just amazing…….
War between the Empire of Cherkesha and the Kingdom of Przeya.
At that time, most of the students from the two countries growled at each other every day, waiting for the news of their conscripted family, and there was no small fuss. I’’d been stamping my feet for a while, too. Benya also participated in the war.
The vague feeling of losing contact was still vivid.
In the result, Benya came back alive and our country won, so it was a happy ending. In the meantime, our duke got engaged to the young lady Orsini, of a count’s family.
Well, come to think of it, Lettis, you know, in the original, you left your fiancé behind and fell in love with the heroine, right? No matter how much of a political marriage it was, it was definitely a ruinous path. Tsk, tsk.
* * *
“Let’s write each other letters!”
“I’ll contact you when I get to the Empire!”
“Get home safe!”
I remember when I took a boat from Valencia Port to arrive here seven years ago. Rotern Harbor, where we were scattered in search of our own way and were enthusiastically waving hands from, seemed to be more crowded than then. It’s probably because it was time for a lot of the graduates from the academy to return home.
The cruise ship to Cherkesha was the luxury Rembrandt, which will begin its first voyage. After taking out the boarding pass and boarding, I handed over the trunk to the crew, and then parted with Marianne who was in the second-class room, and headed to the deck of the first-class room.
Hey, flash it. No one knows I’m not a nobleman. In such a place, it’s only good manners to not reveal your name no matter how much or who asks.
The gifts for the duke and young masters were in a small bag that I brought separately, because I was afraid they might break inside the trunk.
Oh, I had a lot of trouble picking out gifts for aristocrats whose possessions included only wealth and honor. In the end, I chose souvenirs sold at the festival marketplace I went to the other day.
Benya’s monthly allowance was surplus no matter how much I spent, and I could buy expensive gifts because I had saved enough, but I thought it would be better to buy local specialties.
What’s the point of gifts like expensive cuff buttons and ties when they are already always decorated with the finest valuables among the finest?
It would take me more than 15 days to reach Valencia Port from Rotern Port. When I came to from the opposite place seven years ago, I only hid in the room except for the meal time, but this time I should enjoy the voyage. That’s why they had bought the first-class room for me.
“W-welcome, lady! Show me your boarding pass and I’ll show you to your room.”
He stammers, but why is his face turning red? He’s a kind guide. I’ve gotten used to this type of reaction to some extent, somehow.
“Here you are.”
“Ah, T, thank you for using the luxury room. This way, please.”
……correct. It seems they really did buy the luxury room for me. I heard there were only two luxury rooms in the ship.
The first-class rooms were already super-luxurious, but the luxury rooms were on another level. It had a private smoking room and reading room, as well as a dedicated terrace deck. Phew, you punks, I regret not choosing more expensive gifts.
After roughly unpacking, changing into comfortable clothes, I began to look around the colorful room. I felt nothing but admiration for the bathroom with the crystal bathtub and the powder-room with a three-sided-full-body mirror.
Who was staying in the other luxury room? Wouldn’t it be a princess traveling to the Empire?
I approached the dressing table and sat in front of it. Looking at myself reflected in the bright light, mother came to my thoughts.
As I got older, I felt like I resembled my mother more and more. The heavy red blonde hair, soft eyes, and chevron-shaped eyebrows were very the same. My mom’s eyes weren’t as red as mine, though.
If she were alive…… If she hadn’t died then… would something have changed?
I was surprised to see the shadows cast in the dark red eyes of the woman in the mirror. Come on! Why am I thinking about nonsense? Don’t come to expensive rooms and do something that doesn’t suit you.
Sasha grew up T-T I’m so happy