Saijo no Osewa ~ Takane no Hana [LN] - Prologue
I woke up in the Konohana family mansion, immediately changed into my school uniform and exited my room.
[Itsuki-san. Good morning]
I exchanged greetings with one of the Konohana family maids and began my work.
First things first, cleaning. …Waking up this early in the morning and cleaning this big mansion was quite difficult, but I was finally getting used to it.
I wiped down the stair railings with a cloth.
I had a little over an hour to go before I headed to the academy with one more to go.
[Shizune-san, good morning]
In the middle of cleaning, I greeted Shizune-san, the head maid.
Shizune-san was tending to the ornaments in the hallway.
[Itsuki-san. May I ask you to hold that vase over there?]
[I understand. …Hmph]
I held the vase, which was surprisingly heavy.
In the meantime, Shizune-san wiped the surface of the stand where the vase had been placed with a rag.
[I’ll have to change those flowers soon, too]
Looking at the white cut flowers in the vase, Shizune-san muttered.
[These are hydrangeas that you prepared, I believe, about two weeks ago, right?]
[Yes. They’ve lasted for a long time, but it’s time for them to go. …It’s already July, so maybe next time we can get some Thunder Sonia to make it look vibrant]
As the head maid, Shizune-san also manages the interior of the mansion.
In June, they had white hydrangeas on display, but it looks like they’ll be using a different flower this month.
I’m not knowledgeable about flowers. Nor do I have the skill to choose a harmonious interior for such a large space.
I thought I was used to being a servant, but… looks like I still have a lot to learn.
[Oya, Itsuki-kun. Are you helping the head maid today?]
After returning the vase to its proper place, I was called out to.
I bowed lightly to a man in a butler’s uniform who was walking towards me from across the hall.
[Good morning, Oliver-san]
Oliver-san, the head butler, is German but can also speak Japanese. He said he is in his fifties, but he maintains a slim figure and his straight back gives little impression of aging while exuding his dignity.
[Oliver-san. The organized dishes are…]
[I just finished. I’m going to prepare breakfast, but I’m a little shorthanded, so I thought I’d see if I could get someone to help]
Oliver-san answered Shizune-san’s question.
Oliver-san only glanced at me.
Just in time, I was about to be free. I wondered if I should help out…?
[Since Itsuki-san is still inexperienced in the kitchen, I’ll go]
Oliver-san nodded and smiled, saying [Well then, let us do our best].
[Itsuki-san. May I ask you to go and wake up Ojou-sama?]
Shizune-san turned to me and asked.
Come to think of it, it was about time for Hinako to wake up, but….
[Is it okay for me to do that? The other day, she said she didn’t want me to wake her up]
[Don’t worry. It was not because she dislikes Itsuki-san]
Well, I certainly felt that wasn’t the case, but… if that’s true, what was the cause? I still didn’t know.
But if Shizune-san is busy, I should take over for her.
[Itsuki-kun, I leave Ojou-sama to you]
Oliver-san looked at me and said.
[A caretaker is neither a butler nor a maid. A caretaker is someone who stands next to the Ojou-sama and takes care of her personal needs to be on an equal footing with her. We are not qualified for that job. …Thus, we leave Ojou-sama in your care]
[…I’ll do my best]
With Oliver-san’s words in my mind, I headed to Hinako’s room.
Compared to when I was cleaning, I felt a bit more excited.
When I thought about it, the title “caretaker” was a bit strange.
However, maybe because I have been working for three months with such a title… I’ve come to feel that taking care of Hinako is a fulfilling job.
[Hinako, are you awake?]
I knocked on the door and asked just to be sure.
Sure enough, there was no answer, so I quietly opened the door and entered the room.
(As usual, she’s sleeping comfortably)
Hinako sleeps well and I’ve seen her sleeping face many times, but it has been a long time since I saw her sleeping face in the morning while she was sleeping in her own room. I wondered if she was having a good dream because she looked so happy.
[Hinako, it’s morning]
While opening the curtains of the room, I called out to Hinako.
The warm sunlight lit up Hinako’s room.
Hinako covered her eyes with her hand.
[Breakfast will be ready soon, so go wash your face]
I received a slurred reply.
Hinako, who slowly raised her body up, stiffened for a moment with her eyes closed.
[I brought your clothes, let’s get you changed]
I should probably do this quickly before she falls asleep again.
I took out her academy uniform from the closet and placed it on the table.
[I’ll put it on….]
Hinako said sleepily.
[Are you sure? I’ll put it on for you]
Hinako asked, wiping her eyes slightly.
After a loud yawn, Hinako looked at me with her round eyes and… tilted her head.
Maybe she actually woke up just now.
[Why… is Itsuki…?]
[Shizune-san is currently busy so she can’t take care of you, so I’m here to take her place]
After saying this, Hinako slunk under the covers like a bear fleeing from the cold.
[…Why are you hiding under the covers?]
[Because… I might have… weird bed hair, or something…]
[I wouldn’t care about that, okay?]
[…I do, I care]
Hinako’s face, which I could see through the gap in the covers, was slightly blushing.
I went to the bathroom and grabbed up a few things.
[Sit here. I’ll fix your bed hair]
I said, carrying a chair close to the bed.
Hinako sat down in the chair, looking reluctant.
Her hair was so silky it was hard to believe she just woke up from her sleep. I thought that this kind of hair didn’t need to be fixed, but if she cared about it, I’d fix it.
After lightly drying her hair with the hair dryer, I combed it.
[Nn… Looks good]
Hinako nodded as she looked in the mirror in front of her.
It was as if I was a hairdresser.
(I’m getting used to dealing with Hinako’s hair…)
What am I getting used to… I retorted to myself.
[This… might be good]
[I think I like having Itsuki touch my hair like this…]
That was another unusual statement from Hinako.
I thought so, but didn’t say it out loud.
Because I had a similar thought.
It felt somewhat peaceful to slowly touch Hinako’s hair this way, with the morning sun shining in through the window.
(No way, do I have a hair fetish…?)
I convinced myself that would never happen.
[Then, don’t worry about your bed hair anymore]
The reason I stay by Hinako’s side is to create a space where she can let her guard down.
So, I hope she doesn’t mind.
[…If Itsuki sees me with messy hair, will you think it is bad…?]
When I assured her, Hinako gave a small nod.
[Then… I don’t care, I’ll make do…]
With that, Hinako went back to bed,
[So… I’ll go to bed, one more time…]
[That’s no good]
I could forgive her sleeping habits, but I couldn’t allow her to oversleep.
After that, I left the room just as Hinako was getting changed, and went back to my servant’s work.
Finally, I got ready for school and joined Hinako for breakfast.
[Then, let’s head to the academy now]
Shizune-san got into the passenger seat of the car.
Me and Hinako got into the back seat. I’ve finally gotten used to commuting to and from school by car.
[It’s quite crowded. …Shall we use another road]
Shizune-san muttered, the driver nodded silently, and the car turned right on the road that we usually pass straight by.
Outside the window, an unfamiliar view unfolded.
I saw the entrance to a narrow alley.
At the end of it was a small store.
(…A candy store?)
I haven’t visited this place in a long time.
It wasn’t just me, it’s the kind of place anyone naturally moves away from as they get older.
Still, it was a place I had fond memories of.
(Narika… I wonder how she’s doing…)
A girl who’s my distant relative.
I wondered if she, whom I cared for as a child before meeting Hinako, was still doing well.
And we’re gonna start on V3. Just in case you’re not aware, this volume will be centered around Narika. Let’s see what she has in store ^^
Donations are very much appreciated. (EDN: Help fuel me and Ezu’s Honkai addiction plz)
thank you. fan of the novel, and fan of the translator for doing so