5 Years Old – J of Hearts (Part 1)
I don’t remember my mother’s face. When I was old enough to understand things, I was already in an orphanage.
Even if I say an orphanage, the environment was shit.
Despite there being lots of children, the facilities and goods were both poor, and it was constantly a scramble for food and utensils.
The only thing that went well in such a place was that I was good at stealing a march on and using others.
Living like that, one day a turning point appeared to me.
A man calling himself my father came to the orphanage. He said he wanted to take custody of me.
That guy who was clothed in beautiful garments smiled at I who was just skin and bones, covered in dust and rags.
“What the hell are you doing after all this time…” wasn’t something I thought, and neither was I angry nor hurt.
That kind of cute and clean spirit had probably died somewhere and become a star, long ago.
‘Aahh, I can finally escape from this shithole…‘
This was mostly what occupied my mind.
I rode a carriage for the first time in my life, and headed together with the man who called himself my father, to his home. Inside the carriage, the man started talking about his job.
Shockingly, it seems that the guy who came to get me was a noble. Even if you say “Viscount Jade”, to someone like me who’s completely unrelated, I have absolutely no idea who that’s supposed to be, though.
My father, Mr. Noble, had in the past hid his status and dated my mother, a bar wench in the outskirts of town.
And then, my mother got pregnant and gave birth to me, but because of his position, father couldn’t stay by our side.
Even bringing us into the estate was opposed by father’s mother, in other words my grandmother, and in the end things ended without him actually doing it. On top of that, father already had a legal wife and other children. Despite his beautiful appearance, he’s loose in that area, huh.
Before long, my mother fell ill and passed away, and I who was a dependent was left in the care of the orphanage, in other words.
What happened just now was that at the same time my grandmother left this world, father came to bring me back from the orphanage.
It seems I’ll be raised in the viscount’s estate.
This guy’s wishes aside, to me, being able to move from that run-down orphanage into the house of a noble is cause for huge celebration.
“Goodness! What a squalid child!”
The moment father brought me into the estate, a flashy looking woman came running. She’s probably the legal wife that he mentioned.
Well, I can’t deny being dirty though. I mean, I couldn’t enter the likes of a bath that often in the orphanage.
I was brought to the bath in the estate.
After getting out fo the bath, I was made to change into some expensive, intensely decorated clothes, and brought to the other residents of this house.
Father, the flashy looking woman from earlier, and three children. Breaking them down, they were a boy and girl a little older than me, and a girl slightly younger.
“Let me introduce you. This is your new family, Achille.”
Father called me name.
“This is my wife Adélaïde, my son Dominique, and my daughters Déborah and Désirée.”
Adélaïde and Dominique were glaring at me with eyes filled with disgust.
Unlike father, Dominique was quite fat. I’m sure it’s because he has plenty of food to eat each day.
Though there was disdain apparent in with Déborah and Désirée’s gazes, they seemed deeply curious about me.
When I tried giving them an amiable smile, the two of them turned red, and averted their eyes. I see. It seems like I can use these two, huh.
Even in the orphanage I was ones of the more popular among women, so I was able to freely use both children and adults.
I can’t say that it’s comfortable, but this place is much better than the orphanage.
I gratefully accepted my new surroundings.
Father trained my step-brother and I equally.
Being nagged about these manners I wasn’t used to, or my choice in words made me honestly think that it was a crock of shit, but it’d be a piss off to be made fun of by my step-mother and step-brother, so I earnestly memorised it.
Unsatisfied with just that, they were even thoughtful enough to give me a private tutor. History, letters, management and the like were thoroughly driven into me.
What I needed to study was simpler than expected, so within a few months, I caught up to what Dominique was learning without a problem. For some reason my tutors were shocked though.
But just when am I going to use this stuff?
Or more like, what am I supposed to do from now on?
This family is going to be succeeded by Dominique, and Déborah and Désirée are going to marry out.
Then what position am I in? Since I finally got to live somewhere good, I’d like to be able to continue living somewhere good, though.
“Goodness, is that what you were worried about? …Achille sure is cute.”
After being called to Déborah’s room, I tried speaking my mind, and my older sister smiled proudly.
Using that nasty secret of flutteringly covering her mouth with her hand, she looked at me with a gaze that fawned on me.
“Goodness, Achille, you have nothing to worry about, you know.”
Wearing an intense perfume despite being a child, Désirée snuggled up against me as well. The scent floats around, so I honestly wish she would stop.
The only thing they inherited from father was their hair colour, and they were similar to my step-mother. They weren’t beauties, and their personalities were bad too.
But they’ll basically listen to whatever I say.
“Right. The second and third sons of nobles become bureaucrats, enter the knighthood, or marry into families without sons.”
“Well, marrying into the wife’s family and being adopted by them would be the best, wouldn’t it? I dream of marrying into power as well…”
Hmmm, so that’s how it is.
“Hey, Achille. I’ve secretly gathered some sweets without mother[/okaasama] knowing, so let’s eat them together.”
“I have a present for you too, Achille.”
“Thank you, Déborah-oneesama, Désirée.”
Déborah and Désirée blushed happily at me when I thanked them with a smile plastered on my face.
Honestly, what you really ought to have are convenient stepsisters, huh.
Mn, getting ahead in life and climbing the ranks sounds interesting too. It’d be nice to see how far I can go, and I also want to see my arrogant step-mother and step-brother’s faces warp in frustration when I rise above my current position.
For now, I’ll try my best to study what I can.
“There’s a girl that I want you to meet, Achille.”
One day, after I had been taken into the viscount’s family for a while, father suddenly said this to me after coming home from work.
“She’s the daughter of my boss, Marquis Rhodolite, but she’s good with magic and is a very smart girl. I think you’ll like her too, Achille.”
According to my father, she’s the young lady of the marquis family and their only daughter, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication of any brothers being born from now on.
This might be somebody whose family I can marry into, like Désirée mentioned.
Moreover, it seems that I’ll be meeting her at the castle. If I lead that young lady around by the nose, and find somebody in the castle as a connection for my future job, it’d be killing two birds with one stone.
“I’m looking very forward to it, Father[/Chichiue].”
Happy with my answer, father smiled. Honestly, in my whole family, this guy is the simplest to deal with.
What awaited me in the break room of the castle’s Magic Building was a small girl with hair, pink like a field of flowers.
I’m sure it’s just a field of flowers in her mind too, like Adélaïde, Déborah or the girls that hang around them.
“It is nice to meet you, Camille-sama. My name is Achille Jade.”
When our eyes met, I gave the same sweet smile that I flashed when I first met my step-sisters.
Compared to those girls, Camille is definitely the more beautiful, and if she seems useful, I wouldn’t mind spending time with her.
And moreover, if we get along, then I might be able to succeed the marquis family in the future.
But despite that…
Far from turning red, the girl before my eyes was observing me with great interest.
Moreover, she even freaking snorted “Hmph!” along the way. What’s with this girl?
“It’s nice to meet you. My name is Camille Rhodolite.”
As though nothing had happened, she pinched her skirt and gave a small curtsey, and I found that I had my interest drawn a little.
I was told to play with Camille while father and the marquis went to work.
Since we’re already here, I’ll take this chance to chat a little.
“I have heard from my father that you are skilled in magic, Camille-sama. That you have already progressed to intermediate magic, for example…”
For now, I guess I’ll start with flattery. There’s no such thing as a human who gets upset at praise.
However, she avoided it and countered.
“Just Camilla is fine. I mean we are the same age for once, and I’m not going to kick up a fuss about your manners, so don’t worry about it…”
Camille immediately started speaking casually, and wanted me to do so as well.
Honestly, I hate formalities so I’m thankful for it, but… I was surprised that a lady of a marquis family like her prefers to speak casually like this.
I thought that the daughters of noble families were more pretentious, like my step-sisters.
“I heard from Soleil that you’re really smart, Achille. Do you like studying?”
Did that father of mine go as far as saying that to the little kids of other families!? It’s so embarrassing that I can’t bear it.
So that my unrest wouldn’t show on my face, I stiffed my muscles.
“Yeah, I basically do nothing but study. I was told not to come out of my room too much, so…”
Primarily by my step-mother.
Will Camille sympathise with my circumstances? If she sympathises and is willing to lend me a hand, then… it’s my win.
But she didn’t move like I expected. Why!
“Since it’s been so long since you’ve been allowed outside, wanna go all out and play?”
I don’t know she was thinking but she suddenly straddled a broom that was left in the room, and told me to get on behind her.
I’m having trouble understanding her thought process.
When I hesitated, she forcefully made me get on. And the very moment I straddled it, the broom began to lightly float.
Like that, the two of us vigorously flew out the window. Camille flew higher and higher without any hesitation.
It seems that she really is good with magic.
I’d like it if she didn’t get me wrapped up in it, though. I’m at a loss at this unfamiliar sense of floating.
“Achille, hold onto the broom tightly!”
Camille told me to hold onto the broom, but doubling as a little bit of revenge against Camille who just started flying all of a sudden, I wrapped my arms around her waist. It’s not really weird, right? I wonder if she’ll turn red in embarrassment…
I looked forward and waited for her reaction, but unfortunately it seems like she wasn’t discomposed in the slightest… How boring.
The castle was incomparably huge compared to the likes of a viscount estate. The scenery from high in the sky is also incredibly interesting.
“Camille… Where are you planning on heading?”
“Mn~, I haven’t decided. For now, maybe we should fly a wide lap around the castle.”
You didn’t plan anything? …Even though you flew out the window that enthusiastically, what the hell…?
Since we were already out here though, I decided to try telling her my wish.
“I see. Then let’s try going near where the important people live. If we come too close it feels like we’ll be targeted by the people guarding, so let’s fly a little distance away, okay?”
“That sounds interesting… But just where is it?”
“Isn’t it further in?”
We headed towards where we thought people with authority might be.
“This might be somebody whose family I can marry into, like Désirée mentioned.”
It’s actually “This might be somebody who I can get ‘tama no koshi’ with (is it the reverse in this case?), like Désirée mentioned.”
‘玉の輿’ → a common term that refers to a woman marrying into riches and power. But obviously I can’t write that, so I had to cut out Achille’s little note about it being the reverse.
‘young lady‘ 令嬢(reijou) refers to like, a young-ish (non-obasan) daughter of a good family. Would usually have written ‘lady’, but she’s like 5 so that sounds a little weirder in English, so in the end was forced to stick ‘young’ in front of it each time. Sorry if it sounded a little awks.
‘thought process‘ is 思考回路(shikou kairo) or ‘thought circuits‘. I think it’s figurative circuits, like the way the insides of an electric appliance works, so I just wrote thought process.