4 (2) – 11
The sound was short, but it came through clearly.
As that short note rang through the cold cellar, everyone’s faces lifted as one to look at its source.
“Wow…! A sound! A sound came out properly!!”
It was Finne, the girl holding the flute, who raised a cry in happiness.
Her face was a mixture of shock and pure, unbridled joy. It was as if she really couldn’t believe that she had made that sound herself.
“That’s amazing, Finne! I always knew you could do it!”
Otto was the first to give praise as Finne yelled in excitement. Otto, just like Finne, was practicing with a wind instrument. The sound Finne had made was like a beacon of hope to him, since he was still struggling with his oboe.
“Nice going. That flute really sounded nice, huh?”
Dieter clapped his drumsticks together instead of his hands. The sound they had just heard from Finne’s flute was nothing like what they had heard up until now, which were more like the sounds of a dying cat caught in a pipe.
Verrat clapped her hands to match Dieter’s sticks. When she finished, the corners of her lips bent in a subtle smile that suited her perfectly.
“Finne, that was fantastic! Maybe you’re actually a musical genius!?”
Yet, even Verrat and Dieter’s applause was drowned out by Victor’s enthusiastic shout. Somehow, he seemed even happier about it than Finne.
Those young musicians kept excitedly praising Finne, even cheering her name. Finne hugged her flute tightly as she smiled bashfully, her cheeks a deep shade of pink. Still, the applause kept coming. The happy cheers echoing around the cellar.
“All she did was play one note!”
Camilla yelled at the joyous young musicians who were close to rioting over a single little sound.
All that Finne did was blow correctly on the flute once. What’s more, it was little more than a short peep.
Though it’s true that they hadn’t been able to make a proper sound at all up until now, that everything that came out of their instruments had been akin to musical torture, but they had gathered to play music, songs. Despite that, they were going wild with joy over just one measly note.
Otto could barely make a sound, whilst Victor hadn’t figured out how to tune his violin. Dieter didn’t know how to adjust his power to hammer out notes on his drums and Verrat had no idea how to sing from her stomach. In fact, Finne was the only one who had made any progress at all, even if it was just a single sound. That might be the case, but…
“There is still a long way to go…”
Standing alone, Camilla rubbed her temples.
A few days prior. Ever since encountering Klaus on that snow swept balcony at night, Camilla had been making frequent trips to that underground cellar.
She had various reasons to go, but first and foremost amongst them was the same reason that Klaus also went there. He wanted to teach those five musical rebels just how to play properly.
“I’ve more or less got a feel for all the instruments.”
Just like Klaus himself had claimed, he was quick to learn anything. She wouldn’t go as far as to say he could play in a band straight away, but he was definitely already a decent musician. With his skills as they were, he would definitely be able to teach a complete amateur a thing or two.
According to him, another one of his ‘teachers’ in town had given him a crash course. It seemed like Victor’s group wasn’t the only gathering of musical rebels in this place. What a crazy town.
Klaus would constantly be out in town, so Alois would follow…likely for the purpose of monitoring him again. Since Camilla hated the idea of being left alone in the mansion, she decided to go along as well.
Therefore, the young musicians were getting used to Camilla’s presence as well.
“Now, now. Let them have their moment, they really did get a sound out after all.”
Klaus stayed his usual carefree self as he tried to settle Camilla down.
“They will have fun too, if they see they’re improving little by little. And if they’re having fun, they’ll only want to improve more, don’tcha think, Camilla?”
Without having much to refute him with, Camilla could only groan.
The faces of Alois and Nicole, who stood nearby, went stiff with surprise.
Klaus had just called her ‘Camilla’ as if it were the most natural thing in the world. That was the first time the two of them had ever heard him speaking to her like that.
Recently, Klaus had come to call Camilla by name.
As for the cause of that, Camilla could probably guess. It was probably because she had heard Klaus’ story that night after meeting him on the balcony. Ever since then, he seemed to have become friendlier with Camilla, in his own way.
As a result, she had been upgraded from ‘you’ to ‘Camilla’.
In terms of nobility, Camilla still outranked Klaus. His attitude was still inherently rude if she thought about it, but at least it was better than being called ‘you’. Besides, Camilla couldn’t imagine Klaus ever calling her a ‘Lady’. Even if he did call her ‘Lady Camilla’, she would suspect him of some kind of trick or biting sarcasm.
That’s why, even though she was a little dissatisfied with it, Camilla decided to leave it be…
Those two, however, had no idea.
“What are you doing, calling my Mistress by such a familiar name!?”
It was Nicole who shouted out first.
Stepping forward from behind Camilla’s back, she glared at Klaus.
“Even Lord Alois doesn’t address my Mistress so casually! You are so rude!!”
Nicole’s shout echoed through the underground cellar. Although Nicole’s voice wasn’t typically loud, her yell carried very well.
“Hmm,” Klaus crossed his arms as he looked at her. It didn’t seem like Nicole’s anger had done much to sway him. He just stared at Nicole, his face as cool as ever.
“Just what is with your attitude!? Please fix it at once!”
As he heard that resounding voice once again echo out from that little body of hers, Klaus scratched his chin as if he was thinking about something.
“Don’t call me a little girl!”
“You’re voice ain’t half bad, is it? You cry out from your stomach and it doesn’t look like you’re straining your throat, either. You have good elocution, too.”
As Klaus spoke in a completely unexpected way, Nicole’s stood dumbfounded. Her anger faded away as she blinked in confusion.
Klaus didn’t seem to pay any heed to the stunned maid. Walking over to Nicole, he took her arm in his.
“Have you ever sung before? Come on, you should set an example for Verrat.”
“Eh, w-wait, me singing is a bit…!? P-Please listen to what I’m telling you!”
Ignoring Nicole’s embarrassed cries, Klaus pulled her to Verrat’s side. As Klaus dragged her away, Nicole looked back at Camilla, the one person who could save her.
“Isn’t it fine? Have a good time.”
Camilla saw the kidnapped Nicole off with a smile. She felt a little sorry for Nicole, considering how serious she was, but hopefully she’d learn to enjoy some singing.
“Camilla. You seem to have gotten pretty close with Klaus, haven’t you?”
As Camilla waved to her poor maid, she heard a calm voice from behind her. That ever soft voice could only be Alois’.
As soon as she heard it, Camilla’s smile felt awkward on her face. Even if she was fine when Nicole or Klaus were around, it was still hard for her to stay calm around Alois when it was only the two of them.
“Lord Alois, I never gave Klaus permission to talk to me like that…”
“Ah, no, I’m not trying to blame you. I was just a little surprised, that’s all.”
As Camilla tried to explain herself, as if she had done something wrong, Alois quickly shook his head.
“I think it’s a good thing to have more people you can consider close, Camilla. Especially if you can talk to them like equals.”
The words he spoke to her were even softer than his voice. More and more, Camilla felt herself sinking back into those feelings.
Alois’ words weighed on her heavily. Alois’ kindness felt painful. Even though it was Alois speaking, in Camilla’s mind, those thoughts of Prince Julian remained.
As Camilla couldn’t meet his eyes, Alois grimaced. Although Alois’ expression looked gentle, there was something other than mere kindness in it.
“That said, I am a little jealous.”
Camilla didn’t raise her head to look at him. Because…she didn’t know just what kind of face she was making herself.
She’d forgiven Verrat and the rest.
Alongside Nicole or Klaus, she was able to keep calm.
She was even able to walk through a town where practiced hymns dedicated to the Prince’s imminent marriage filled the streets.
But whenever she found herself alone with Alois, the feelings of guilt were overwhelming.
Why had she fallen in love with Prince Julian?
In her mind, Camilla asked herself that.
Why had she fallen into a hopeless love? Why couldn’t she respond to Alois’ feelings? Why couldn’t she reciprocate what he felt for her?
Just why couldn’t she have met him first?
A question that she couldn’t answer wrapped itself around her head. Those dark feelings of guilt coupled with a suffocating rhetoric left Camilla’s expression frozen.
For the time being, Camilla found it hard to smile in front of Alois.
Edited by: ApoPie
one day I’ll have a consistent release schedule