one of Anne’s flaws.

C.31: The Capital of Delusions

――The capital, Albernaria

The Alberan Kingdom began as a small tribe in the forest.

Compared to other tribes, they were very skilled with their hands and proficient at construction.

In an age when strength was everything, they built walls and fortresses.
They were not particularly skilled at fighting, but they used wisdom to make up for their military strength and took in the surrounding tribes.

They grew even more powerful after obtaining the ash from the southwest mountains.

This ash was discovered by accident and they found out that when it clumps together, it becomes very durable.
They researched into it and understood how it worked, developing Forged Stone.
They used this to build strongholds and walls, creating many fortresses and fortified cities.

There was no longer anyone in the vicinity that could match them.

The king declared himself the descendent of god――Alberan, and built the capital Albernaria at the center of the kingdom, making it the foundation of the Kingdom’s power.

The capital is the symbol of the King’s power.

Albernaria is surrounded by tall walls made of Forged Stone, the castle and houses within are all built with Forged Stone as well.

This beautiful white city stands in the middle of a plain, glittering in the sunlight.Because of its appearance, Albernaria is known as the White City.

They passed through the town sprawling outside the walls and entered through the huge gates.Krische stared blankly at all the houses made of Forged Stone, it all seems very sturdy.

No other city is built with so much Forged Stone.

Wood and clay walls are easier to build and are cheaper.
The wealthy and artisans that work with fire live in houses built of brick and Forged Stone, so it is not unusual, but it is rare to see so much of it.

This city seems difficult to burn, Krische observed as she stared at the colorful roofs despite the name of White City.

Compared to the crowds of merchants outside the walls, it became quiet once through the gates and the pedestrians are all well-dressed.

After passing through the city and a district of large estates, they arrived at the castle gates which are on higher grounds.

Beyond this point is royal land.

Even nobles cannot step through these castle gates without permission.

Their guards, excluding the coachman, also cannot follow.

Inside the gates was a large garden.
Water had been drawn in from a nearby river to create a small river flowing through the garden.

The garden is designed to be vibrant with fountains here and there.

The few people present, clearly nobles, straightened upon seeing them and placed the palm of their right hand to their left chest.

The military salute meaning, I offer my life to you.

Selene and Gallen replied with the same salute while Bogan replied by making a gesture as if stabbing at his heart with his right thumb.

That is a replying salute made by superiors meaning, your loyalty will be my flesh and blood.

General――the only higher rank than that is the general of the army, which belongs to the royal prince.
So Bogan is higher ranked than any of the nobles here.

Krische stared at the scenery outside the carriage’s small window while Bery adjusted Krische’s attire until the carriage came to a stop.

They did not stop at the towering white palace, but at a small estate.

This estate is for them to store their luggage and prepare themselves.

This is a temporary measure and they will be granted one of the estates outside the castle walls later.

“Fufu, perfect.
Come, let’s go out.”“Okay.”

Bery looked over Krische and smiled in satisfaction, then stepped out of the carriage.

She then turned to offer a hand to help Krische down.

She is being more careful with her actions because they are being watched by other nobles.

There are always people that will spread malicious rumours about the slightest mistake.

Bery is acting more like a servant than usual as she guided Krische in order to avoid such rumours.

Krische is also acting more proper than usual.

She placed her hand in Bery’s and stood straight.

Since she had studied before they departed, she acted more like a noble than most nobles.

A dozen servants and an elderly man in a black suit stood in front of the doors with their heads bowed.The elderly man――the butler raised his head and smiled as he saw Bogan.

“Welcome, Margrave Christand.
I am Orzal, I am in charge of the Erune Estate.
We are the servants that will be taking care of your every need and will ensure that your stay is pleasant.”

The king’s brothers and other direct relatives are archdukes.

More distant relatives would be dukes.

Below duke is margrave, meaning Bogan has the highest rank among normal nobles.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, generals that guard the Kingdom’s borders usually hold the rank of margrave.

Below that is earl, baron, then knight.

These ranks are remnants from a time when feudal lords existed and wielded great power, but now they are ranks granted to represent the lands under a noble’s charge and their duties.

“……stay? We are staying here? Not an estate outside?”“Yes, that is what I have heard.
Please excuse me.”

Orzal drew closer to Bogan and whispered something to him.Bogan nodded with a look of understanding.

We will be in your care then.
I will be going around to make my greetings later.”“Yes sir.
If you could tell me who you plan to meet, I could check their availability.”

As the two of them talked, a young servant with her black hair gathered in a bun at the back of her head and dressed in an apron dress approached Krische and Bery

“Let me carry those, Argan-sama.”

She took their luggage from Bery and bowed her head, addressing Bery by her family name though Bery had not yet introduced herself.

“Thank you very much.
We will be in your care.”

Bery also made a small bow in reply, impressed that they are aware of the identity of the guests’ servants.

Servants are generally the daughters of nobles or wealthy families under a live-in apprenticeship.

In order to avoid assassins and spies, the servants of nobles must have proper backgrounds.

Commoners cannot be hired as servants and it is the norm for lower ranking nobles to entrust their daughters to higher ranking nobles as servants under a live-in apprenticeship.

This is partly for their daughters to learn etiquette but there is also the calculation of possibly becoming mistresses or even wives.

Marriage is a connection between houses and higher-ranking nobles hardly ever wed lower-ranking nobles.
But they might develop feelings for their servants and good-looking servants could catch the eyes of higher-ranking nobles.Such connections lead to success in life, so lower-ranking nobles willingly entrust their daughters to higher-ranking nobles and there is no shortage of servants――this is a system that has developed over time.

Servants working on royal land which is often visited by higher ranking nobles are also naturally of higher rank, so most would be higher ranking than Bery, whose family’s rank is baron.
But the servants of guests are treated as of higher rank.

Although Bery knew about this, she was honestly surprised that they are aware of her background.

Bery was impressed by the quality of royal servants――but this is a extremely special case.

Even royal servants do not normally check up on the servants of guests.

Some nobles would bring more than a dozen servants.

Finding out about all of them would take a lot of effort and even if they did, it would be impossible to differentiate between similarly dressed servants that they had never met.

But this time is different.The servants working on royal land knows the rumours of various nobles.

――Bogan had lost his wife, so naturally there were nobles that offered their daughters to work under him.

A rank that has been earned is hardly ever lost, so although Christand is a new margrave, he is a good target for marriage.

But Bogan turned them all down.

Bogan did not want to keep a mistress, a rare thing in this age.

He had vowed that his wife would be his partner for life and had no intentions of marrying again.
Bery is also extremely skilled as a servant so there was no inconvenience.

Bery herself also did not require extra hands and Bogan does not like unnecessary expenditure.

He had no reason to hire new servants and turned down all the offers――but those that did not know his personal circumstances saw things differently.

It is common for margraves to have dozens of servants.So it is natural for people to assume there is some profound reason for a margrave to stick to only one servant, especially if that servant is the younger sister of his lost wife.

――so it is no wonder that many suspect that Bery is Bogan’s mistress.

It would not be good for appearances to marry his wife’s younger sister right after losing her, so they have not officially wed yet――but that would mean Bery is effectively Mrs Christand.So it is natural for them to pay extra attention to Bery.

Although the Christand house was originally weak, it is now a margrave.

Nobody thought the master of such a house would only have one daughter, Selene, as the sole successor.
It is perfectly normal to assume that he is waiting to marry Bery and have more children.

Although there are female head of houses among nobles, childbirth is life-threatening.

Even after taking a husband, there is the possibility of a stillbirth and the mother passing away from puerperal fever without leaving a child, so sons are normally named as heir.

There is no prejudice against female heirs, but it is not welcomed either.

Because of Bery’s background and position, it is natural to assume she will be the margrave’s next wife.

And considering that Bogan stubbornly refuses to hire any other servants――any other women, Bery’s personality is suspected to be the cause, it is suspected that she is a deeply jealous woman.

Because of these reasons, the servants saw Bery as extremely dangerous.

She is someone they must not be rude or discourteous towards.

But Bery was unaware of their wariness.

Although she has the manners of a noble, Bery’s body was weak and she did not go out as much as her sister, she lacks knowledge of high society.

She had no way of knowing the servants’ image of her and was simply impressed by them, thinking that she has to learn from them.

The estate they were escorted through was more extravagant than the Christand estate.

Paintings hung on the walls and decorations lined the shelves.

A dazzling chandelier hung in the entranceway――Krische thought about how hard it must be to clean as Bery guided her by the hand to a room on the second floor.

“This will be Krische-sama’s room.
Argan-sama’s room is……”

“That can wait.
The luggage is Krische-sama’s.”


The servant girl――Anne glanced at Bery’s luggage, at the many fruits in the basket, as she bowed her head.

She was wondering if they had a special liking for fruits when she realised that Bery had taken Krische’s cloak while she was spacing out.

Even if Bery is a servant, Anne should not let the Margrave’s future wife do that.

She quickly took the folded cloak from Bery and placed it in a laundry basket in the corner of the room.

“Bery’s room, is different?”“Eh, err……yes, I am a servant so……”

Krische drew closer to Bery and whispered to her.
Bery also replied softly.

A girl dressed in a black one-piece dress with silver embroidery, her silky, almost see-through, silver hair framing an adorable fairy-like face, Krische.

Together with a woman with neat shoulder-length red hair and a youthful, but mature beauty, Bery.

Anne blushed as she watched them whisper to each other, their faces close together.

Anne had heard rumors that the two Christand daughters and their servant are especially beautiful.

But they exceeded Anne’s imagination.

Anne knows that she is cute, but she feels ridiculous now, these people are like characters from a fairytale and she can only sigh in admiration.

On top of that, the distance between them felt somewhat immoral.

Anne hastily stopped her wild imagination.

Krische is in her teens.

She is petite and slender, but has grown to have a distinct female charm.
There are even girls at her age that have already married and given birth.

Bery is aware of this and is being careful about the distance between them, especially with Krische’s dependence on her.

But their usual habits are showing through.

Even if they stood apart, they are leaning towards each other.

Krische looked as if she was snuggling up to Bery with her hand rested on Bery’s arm.

The young, beautiful lady and her servant――their distance was close enough to make it feel immoral.

Bery believed she was maintaining a proper distance just by standing apart, but they were clearly half a step, no a step too close.She would have realised this two years ago but by now, her sense of distance between herself and Krische has been numbed.

This could have led to gossip, but Anne stopped herself at the sensible interpretation that they are just very close.Anne is aware of her own love for stories and overly rich imagination.
She convinced herself that she was just imagining it because they were too pretty.

Anne still does not know that many trials await her during their stay due to this part of her personality.

Krische pouted a little and Bery smiled wryly while suggesting that they had some tea.

Anne hastily stepped forward as she saw Bery head towards the teapot.

Anne is a hardworker but is a little slow.

That is one of her many flaws.

“Bl, black tea? Please leave such trivial matters to me.”

“Eh? Ah……okay, sorry for stepping out of line.”

“No, er, it is alright……”

Right after saying that, Anne berated herself, what’s ‘alright’!?

Bery seemed a little surprised, but smiled quietly.

Her smile was elegant, without any contempt and her eyes were filled with kindness.

Her mannerism are smooth and her bow as she stepped out of the way was beautiful.

This alone was enough for Anne to be convinced that Bery is superior as a servant.

Anne had carefully prepared for their arrival today.
Everything is perfect.

She had checked the room seven times and changed the hot water every hour.

Anne knows that freshly boiled water is best for bringing out the fragrance of tea leaves.

But when Anne approached the teapot, she heard a bubbling sound.Steam was gushing out of the spout.

“Oh my, the teapot must have been left on boil.”“Ah……”

Anne froze.

Bery reached towards the magic crystal and injected mana.

The sound died down as Anne’s face turned red.

Fresh water.

But boiling it too much is taboo.

Anne’s carefully prepared perfection has crumbled already, along with her composure.Being weak to sudden setbacks is another one of her flaws that she is well aware of.

“I, I will change the water……”

“Eh? No, there’s no need.”

“It, it is alright.”

What’s ‘alright’!?

Anne was berating herself again when she realised Bery was staring at her and froze again.

Anne could only stare back.

Bery’s hair is casually parted in a 7:3 ratio.

But her red hair is fine and silky, giving off a impression of cleanliness for some reason.

Her eyebrows are fine and well-shaped, her large, kind eyes are framed by long lashes and double eyelids.

Her nose is elegantly straight and her lips a sakura pink.
Her features are pretty and has a somewhat sexual charm.

Part of it is likely due to her womanly figure.

Her breasts are well-shaped and bountiful but her waist is narrow.

Anne had not known that the same apron dress could look so different.

Beautiful, cute, amazing.

Bery’s apron is spotless, as if it is brand new.

Then Bery suddenly smiled.Anne was once again captivated by that beautiful smile.

“Please do not be so nervous.
Krische-sama is not so particular about mannerisms and neither am I.
Please act as usual.”“O, okay……”

After another smile towards the frozen Anne, Bery prepared tea with practiced motions.

Anne was impressed by each of her smooth, fluid motions, everyone of them filled with care.

She had not known that the simple action of brewing tea could be so impressive.

Anne has the strength of being easily impressed.
It might also be a flaw.

Bery only prepared the tea then went back to Krische, sitting down next to her on the sofa.

The distance between them really is close.

Krische snuggled even closer to Bery and leaned towards her as she stared at Anne with interest――but still expressionless.

“……what happened?”“Nothing, she just seemed a little nervous.
She is being too careful around us.”

Anne placed the tea that was like a work of art on a tray and slowly approached them.

Even if it was brewed with overboiled water, it is still a work of art.

Anne’s hand trembled as she placed the tea cups on saucers and carefully poured the tea.

Her hand trembled even more as she felt their gazes on her.
Krische finally understood that it must be embarrassing to be so clumsy as she watched Anne.

It is embarrassing for anyone to show their inexperience.

Krische recalled how embarrassing it was for Gorka to see her poorly dissected rabbit.

Krsiche was happy to be able to empathise with a stranger and excitedly turned to Bery.

“I got it.
She is nervous because she is embarrassed that she’s clumsy.”“Hii”

The tea splattered a little, a few drops landing in the saucer.

“I, I’m sorry, I’m sorry……”

“K, Krische-sama, you cannnot say that……”

“Er, but, it is embarrassing to be seen when so bad……”



Anne was hastily wiping the spilled tea with a cloth when she saw Bery press a finger to Krische’s lips out of the corner of her eye.

This is already a habit for Bery.

Bery stared into Krische’s eyes, their noses almost touching.

“Being told she is bad when she is trying her best will make her even more tense……let’s see, please try imagining being told you are bad when you are testing out a new recipe and it does not work out.”

“……that is, not nice.”

Being considerate is very important.
Small things like that can hurt people, please be careful.”


Bery smiled as Krische averted her gaze, stroking Krische’s cheek and tracing her lips with her thumb.

Bery smiled as she traced Krische’s lips, telling Krische she was not angry.
Krische nodded and drew closer

This is already beyond the distance where their noses are touching――but since they were not alone, Krische had to draw away as Bery whispered, “Not now” with a troubled look and pulled her hand away.

Anne caught sight of this scene as she was cleaning up.

Were they about to kiss?――Her face grew bright red as she imagined what was mostly the truth.

But she quickly decided that she was imagining things and shook her head.

After so many mistakes, she does not have the time to be daydreaming.

“The tea leaves are Graberas.
It has quite a refreshing fragrance compared to the Almarei we usually drink.”

Bery showed no signs of noticing Anne’s expression as she changed the topic.

She was worried about Krische being down after being scolded.

But Krische was relieved that Bery acted as normal and really did not seem angry, Krische took a whiff of the tea and responded.

“Jilian……no, more like Asem.”“Yes.
Unlike Almarei, the fragrance is from the original tea leaves.
(T/N: Not sure how to phrase this part better, 香り付けしたアルマレイと違って茶葉の香りがそのまま) In that sense, it is the same as Jilian and Asem, but you are correct.
Graberas is related to Asem.
It has a more refreshing taste then Asem, so I would recommend it straight or with lemon.”

Anne suddenly realised something as she listened to Bery while pouring the tea.Anne had been prepared to answer, ‘This is Graberas.
It has a refreshing taste so it is recommended to straight or with lemon’ if asked, but she had not prepared lemons.

“Sh, shall I get some lemons?”“No, not for me……Krische-sama, how about you?”

Krische hesitated as she watched the steam rising from the tea.

Krische wanted to answer the same as Bery, but Krische’s tongue is sensitive.

Extremely sensitive.

Bery saw her dilemma and laughed softly.

She took the honey and added a scoop to her tea, then added even more to Krische’s.

She then slowly mixed them to let the tea cool as she turned to Anne.

“What is the schedule for the day after tomorrow?”“P, please come to the castle at the forth morning bell.”

A day is twenty four hours, starting from sunrise.

There are large clocks built from magic crystals that can tell the exact time, but in most places, time changes according to the seasons and the time of sunrise.

So instead of saying which hour of the day, such as seventh hour or tenth hour, time is stated as which hour of the morning, or which hour of the afternoon after the sun is at the highest point and which hour of the night after the sun sets.

Since a bell is rang every hour, the forth morning bell indicates the forth hour after sunrise.

“Krische-sama, we will take a bath and start preparing from sunrise on the day after tomorrow.
We will need to arrange your hair and prepare many other things, so we will be quite busy.”

Krische’s hair needs to be arranged?”

Krische-sama’s hair is pretty when let down straight like this but it will also be nice to arrange it properly sometimes.
Bery will arrange it nicely for you.”

“……ehehe, okay.”

Krische smiled happily.

It was a pretty smile, beautiful and adorable.

Anne had heard of a fairy-like lady and Krische is just as mysterious and ephemeral as rumored, but when she shows such an expression, she suddenly becomes flesh and blood.

Krische was leaning on Bery――they were in close contact due to Krische gradually edging closer, but at some point, Anne no longer felt anything wrong about it.

The sight of the two of them in the afternoon light is just like a scene from a painting.

“Here, please drink, Krische-sama.”

Bery handed Krische the tea which has cooled to a moderate temperature and Krische took a sip.Anne could only stare at the two of them in a daze as they smiled at each other.

Getting distracted and forgetting her work is also another one of Anne’s flaws.

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