Chapter 4 – Daniel
Meissery was a moderately sized country town near the royal capital.
They called it a town, they called it a village, but it was still the countryside.
It was a laid back, typical countryside with more elders than youths.
I had been living in this village since I resigned from the royal capital where I worked as a doctor because of my age, but enough years had passed that I could fit in with the original inhabitants.
I thought I would just be a doctor in the countryside, quietly laying down my bones, but you never knew what would happen in life.
It was a sunny day in early spring.
There were unusually few patients coming to see me, and I was relaxing with my assistant Mark over a cup of tea when suddenly, a large dog I knew well jumped in.
What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Calm down a little.”
This dog, which was usually quiet, lightly tugged on the hem of my lab coat and continued to pull frantically.
I gave the dog some water for now, and Buddy finally settled down.
“Doctor, is there something wrong with Lady Adelaide…?”
Buddy drank all the water in a blink of an eye, and now he was tugging on the hem of Mark’s pants as well.
In the meantime, I finished preparing my house call bag and hung a sign on the front door to let people know I would be away.
“Come on, let’s go.
He calls for Mark too.”
… Something was wrong with Addy.
Thinking of my old friend, who was only a little younger than I was, I pushed down the anxiety rising in my heart and tried to remain calm as I urged Mark to leave.
Several worst-case scenarios raced through my mind.
That was why I told Addy to get a roommate, or maybe it was my fault for not pushing hard enough.
She didn’t look any different when I saw her the day before yesterday, but… I hurried on, telling myself that I was a doctor, but the familiar road had never felt so far away.
What awaited me at the mansion was not a changed woman, but a mortally wounded Orison.
“Doctor, you are going to visit Lady Adelaide today, right?”
Just as the patients were winding down, we had a little early lunch and Mark started talking about it.
Margaret’s injuries had healed considerably, but I would need to make house calls for a while longer.
When I said yes, he looked at me as if he were a child telling me a very important secret, and started talking about the truth.
A wry smile appeared on my face when I listened….
That girl again.
I told him that if he didn’t stay quiet, she wouldn’t heal well.
I’d already talked to the royal court about taking her to the capital once she was fully healed.
I was sure someone would be dispatched from the Academy of Magic before then, but until then, I’d like her to relax and heal her wounds in this Meissery.
I had read about the strain on the body when crossing the boundary, but it didn’t seem to be the only reason for that injury.
According to what I was able to find out little by little so as not to burden her physically and psychologically, she thought she was dead when she met with the accident.
Indeed, it was an injury that could have been.
Miraculously, her head and internal organs remained intact although bones were broken.
Perhaps it was because she had experienced death once, but she didn’t seem to feel much nostalgia for her former world.
Even so, in the beginning, she would occasionally get lost in her thoughts, but these days, I didn’t see her do so.
Since I couldn’t send her home, I just hoped that she would get used to us.
“Is she really twenty-eight years old? She doesn’t look that much older than me in a lot of ways.”
“It’s possible that we’re counting calendars differently, so maybe she’s a little younger.
She said she was a student until she was twenty and worked for the next eight years, so she was definitely a grown woman.
And she can drink.”
Mark laughed in amusement, ‘Sure, she can drink’.
He probably remembered the other night when the four of us had dinner together.
Margaret was in a good mood and seemed to enjoy herself the whole time, being a little tipsy with just a small glass of apéritif.
If she had a voice, I thought she would have sung.
I was sure even a newly grown child could drink something like that without a care in the world.
‘But still’, I thought, looking at Mark.
I wondered if he was aware of it.
My assistant, who was not unfriendly but did not show his true feelings, had a relaxed expression when talking about Margaret.
“It’s amazing that she studied until she was 20.
And she’s not a scholar, is she?”
“I’ve heard that in her world, adulthood is 20 years old.
She said that most commoners go to school until they are twenty-two.
It’s more for doctors and scholars.”
The level of education in this country was higher than that of neighboring countries, but even so, the highest level of education was only until the age of 18.
Commoners usually started working at the age of thirteen or fourteen.
“I don’t think I can be a doctor in Margaret’s world.”
Just as we finished laughing and eating, a young mother with her child visited the clinic.
It was the start of my afternoon checkup.
The patient was not the child but the mother, and after the examination, Mark, who had been left in charge of the child who did not want to leave his mother, was quite limp.
“Hah, I wonder why he’s so cheerful… He was so reluctant to leave, and now he’s playing with me like he’s going to destroy the clinic.
Thank God there were no other patients.”
“That’s what children are for.
That’s better than a blue-faced, dazed child.”
No, but I really can’t handle it.
I can’t even put away one bandage.”
“Haha, maybe we should get a nanny.”
“Another joke… No, but it’s a good idea.”
I asked a blubbering Mark to look after the infirmary and headed to Addy’s mansion.
I taught him to be my successor, so Mark could do a full examination and treatment.
The only reason why he was still in the position of assistant was because he had not been notified to the royal court as an independent doctor.
It could be submitted at any time at arm-length, but with the mess at his parents’ house, he was taking a wait-and-see approach.
I guessed he would use it as a card when the time came.
Well, that was why he would be fine on his own, as long as there weren’t a lot of problems.
In fact, many young girls who had a crush on him would probably flock to him as impromptu patients.
Margaret’s house calls could be made by Mark if I just wanted to check on her injuries, but I went myself because I had to submit a report to the royal palace….
But that was just a pretext, because I wanted to see her and meet Addy.
That day, after giving her first aid in the backyard to the extent that she could move, I brought her into the guest room of the mansion and gave a full-scale healing spell.
We were about to take her back to the infirmary, but Addy changed her mind and stopped us.
‘What are you doing? The child will be taken care of here.’
‘Even so, Addy, she may be an orison, but you don’t know what kind of person she is.
There’s always the possibility that she could harm you, and taking care of her is a burden, right?’
‘It’s not much of a burden.
She’s a girl.
I’m not leaving her in a clinic full of men.
Besides… She’s not a bad kid.
I can tell.’
She refused more adamantly than when I suggested a roommate.
I’d known Addy long enough to know that she would not change her mind about this.
I made frequent house calls, both as a precaution and to monitor things….
I soon found out that it was completely unnecessary.
Margaret was a calm child.
She treated everyone in the village with the same smile and didn’t make them feel uncomfortable.
I knew it was her social expression because it differed from the smile she gave Addy and me.
That said, it was neither overt nor sarcastic, like the flip side of nobility, and seemed to come purely from her sociable, but, in fact, shy nature.
There would be no one in this village who could tell that it was a fake smile.
It was so natural that even I, who was somewhat familiar with the royal palace, would have had a hard time recognizing it if I hadn’t been given a genuine smile.
In front of me and Addy, Margaret was incredibly honest and bad at hiding things.
If she could have spoken, she might have been able to fool me a little, but all her emotions were showing on her face.
She felt a little more reserved towards Mark, but that was not really a problem since he was usually with us.
I knew from her body that she was an adult woman, but when I heard that she was twenty-eight years old, I couldn’t believe it, and had to keep checking to make sure, which made her look at me suspiciously.
She said she was single, even though she was old enough to be married and have a couple of children.
Apparently, this was not very uncommon in her world.
Shoulder-length black hair, fine white skin, dark brown and light brown, odd eyes with an intelligent light… ‘This used to be different’, she said.
I guess that was the effect of crossing worlds.
She had slender arms and legs and a vaguely childish face.
She had a calm demeanor, but could be childish at times.
What an unbalanced and attractive woman she was.
Because her eyesight was not very good and she needed paper or a palm of someone’s hand to communicate, she would be close to someone when talking.
I repeatedly told her to be careful about that if she didn’t want the men in the village to develop unnecessary romantic feelings for her, but I didn’t know if she understood.
I thought she was a good person, but it was a little dangerous.
I guessed she was basically a good person who didn’t seem to suspect others.
Well, it was not every day that you see someone with the guts to do something bad in this village.
It was mostly peaceful.
But I would have to talk her through it very carefully before we went to the royal capital.
Addy’s face became brighter and softer as the days went by as she lived with Margaret.
Her lively appearance was just like when she was a young lady before marriage.
It was fortuitous that Margaret asked me that she wanted to stay with Addy for as long as possible, even though she would leave for the capital soon.
Addy’s way of life was, in a word, outdated.
It was rare to find a house without so many magical tools nowadays, and the house was also mostly self-sufficient.
She didn’t have a cook, she worked in the kitchen by herself, and before that, she had a farm.
When I was a nobleman in the countryside, I would have been afraid that the wife of a countess in the royal capital would like to work in the fields…It was obvious that life in the capital was not going well.
Nevertheless, it was her will and intention to stay in the capital until her husband, the Count, died and her son was married.
The reason why she didn’t have a servant was because she spent her days at the Count’s house in the royal capital, where it was hard to say she was at peace.
It was such an inconvenient life, but Margaret unexpectedly liked the hassle of it.
She felt uncomfortable with magic and magic tools because she had lived in a world without magic.
She said that her life seemed to go back over fifty years, but she still felt more familiar with it than with magic tools, and she didn’t mind the laborious work.
She said with a smile that she had been so busy working outside home that she had neglected her life and wanted to live a more caring and human life.
When I arrived at the house, I could smell a sweet aroma coming from the kitchen.
The fresh, sour smell of it told me that Margaret had achieved her primary goal as of late.
I could feel myself smiling as I rang the doorbell.
“Hey, are you making strawberry jam at last?”
“She said it’s almost ready, and she’d like to share.
Good for you, Daniel.”
Like a mother and daughter on good terms, the two of them in their old-fashioned but tasteful dresses, laughing and cooking in the kitchen, looked like illustrations in a picture book.
A sight that I craved and could not get… Something gentle flowed into my heart with nostalgia.
After the jam bottling was finished, I called Margaret close and whispered to her.
“When you’re healed, this old man will keep you company as long as you want, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for dance practice.”
“It’s hard to see from the field, but there’s a path at the edge of the forest.
Mark uses it a lot to get herbs.”
When I told her that I had Addy’s permission, her face turned red and she smiled ruefully.
I knew she couldn’t fake it.
I couldn’t help but pat her on the head for her childlike expression.
The house call was over, and when I left, I was given some freshly baked bread and two jars of strawberry jam.
‘It’s hush money’, she said with a wink, placing her index finger in front of her shapely lips.
I was somewhat torn about whether to give this half to Mark.
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