Chapter 38: A Friend’s Advice
「W-Why the Chivalric Order!? 」
「Is something strange? 」
「How did you come to such a conclusion!? What, what’s the meaning of this? Am I the only one finding it strange!? 」
「Please sit down for now, Lilia」
While saying so, I wiped the table dirtied from the tea Lilia spat out.
I even I used tea leaves of quite a high-quality, such a shame.
「Errr……Sorry, let me sort it out for a moment」
「Take your time」
「Carol confessed her love to Wilhelm-sama, right? 」
「That is correct」
I felt embarrassed to admit it again.
「So, uhh……I’m not sure about the details, but you misunderstood being rejected, haven’t you? 」
「That is correct」
「So, you went and took the entry test for the Chivalric Order? 」
「That is correct」
Was it such a strange thing?
There certainly seemed no common relation to those points when put that way, but I had properly pondered over it.
「I was told to be a good woman by my mother」
「What kind of lady does Lilia consider to be a good woman? 」
Lilia tilted her head a bit as she pondered.
I do not think the answer would come so easily. It was still dimly visible to me.
But Lilia pouted her lips and said.
「A good woman, right? 」
「Yes. What kind of woman do you think it is? 」
An extremely straightforward answer came back to me.
「……what do you mean? 」
「I mean, a good woman, isn’t it? In other words, she looks good, has a good character, and a good family, right? Isn’t that me? 」
「……where does that confidence come from? 」
Ha~a, I heaved a big sigh.
I had known Lilia was confident, but I had not expected it was to that extent.
As for me, I am not yet confident enough to affirm I am a good woman.
「But, you know……in the end, isn’t it a matter of personal opinion? 」
「Personal opinion, is it? 」
「Yup. Though, I do think Carol doesn’t have much confidence」
I could not deny that.
I do not possess anything like confidence. It should have come naturally for me, being the Duke’s daughter. But my appearance looked as young as a child’s. And my character was of a weak woman who was worrying like this.
It sure would be nice to have unfounded confidence like Lilia.
「Did you want to join the Order to become a good woman? 」
「That is so」
「I don’t know much about the Order, but are they doing lectures like『about a good woman』there? 」
「Of course there would not be」
What are you saying, Lilia?
If there was a lecture like that, I would like to receive it before anyone else.
「Then, why did you want to join the Order? 」
「I thought that a good woman refers to a strong woman who can survive on her own. Thus, I thought of entering the Order, to be able to train both my mind and body」
Lilia heaved a big sigh.
Why was she so exasperated?
「I’ve thought this before but……you’re really smart but stupid」
「It can’t be helped, that’s literally what I thought」
I am sure my academic grades in school were good. I could also recite the law. I am familiar with various academic disciplines.
But, as a consequence—I failed to understand the subtleties of a person’s heart.
Perhaps it was as Lilia said, I really am stupid.
「So, what do you intend to do once you join the Order? 」
「I want to train both my mind and body」
「You’ll keep going until you leave the Order, until Carol can say『I’m a good woman!』? 」
I do not know.
In fact, I truly have no idea what kind of training the Order was going to do.
Lilia heaved a deep sigh at my lack of response.
「When you enter the Order, you won’t become a good woman. I guarantee it」
「……How come? 」
「Because you don’t know the fundamentals」
What could those be?
I thought really hard on it on my wish to draw a conclusion.
「I told you earlier, didn’t I? A good woman is a woman who looks good, has a good character, and a good family」
「So, who judges that? Who determines whether one is a good woman or not? 」
Who could it be?
Would it be it your beloved companion? A gentleman who yearns for you?
Before I could answer, Lilia said so.
「If even you can’t acknowledge yourself, then who will? 」
「I’ll ask again, what are you going to do once you join the Order? 」
Lilia asked with a serious expression.
What I am going to do once I join.
Wanting to train my mind and body was only a vague idea.
I do not have any concrete goals.
「As it is, you don’t have any purpose when you enter the Order. Do you know why? 」
「……No, I do not」
「The Chivalric Order is the military force which protects this country. It’s sacred, composing of knights who have the wish of protecting this land. If you heard that earlier, would you still want to train your mind and body? To become a good woman with confidence? Don’t joke around」
I could not say anything in response to Lilia’s words.
I have indeed only thought of myself. I decided on the Order merely for the sake of my confidence.
A lot of Lilia’s words pierced my chest.
「We are nobles. You must never forget it」
「A noble’s duty is to govern and move the country. It’s not to fight as a soldier on the battlefield. Being a woman doesn’t change that. A woman born of nobility should support the man who’s her partner」
「If you don’t understand that, you’re not qualified to be a noble」
It would seem I was not able to understand the meaning of the position in the truest sense.
Thus, I was admonished by Lilia like this.
「Ha~a……I was able to scold you as planned. I do oppose to Carol joining the Order. But you’ve already taken the test anyway」
「Does a good woman cry? 」
「No……A woman who cries is third-rate. A woman who grits her teeth and endures is first-class」
「Then, that’s good. I was just a little worried you’re going to cry」
Un, with a nod, Lilia stood up.
And gently stroked my hair.
「Carol, you know, I think you’re a good woman」
I was taken aback by Lilia’s words.
I, who was thoughtless, rash, and weak.
「You’re a cute, pure, and dedicated person. A good woman」
「I told you, whether or not one is a good woman is a matter of personal opinion. Even if everyone in the world denies it, I’ll be the one to say it. Carol, you’re a good woman」
My chest became hot.
Lilia is the only one who said those words to me.
That is why, I am grateful from the bottom of my heart.
「Thank you, Lilia」
「It’s fine. Because…we’re best friends, aren’t we? 」
Then, Lilia smiled, and I thought it was the most beautiful expression she ever had.
I did not tell her, though.
I merged the last two dialogues together, because the translation would be awkward otherwise. (・・；)