4 (3) – 1
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky the next day.
With nothing to block it out, the winter sun lit up the snow-covered town. She could feel the warmth through her room’s window, it seemed like winter’s end was only around the corner.
It was only a month until spring. Klaus said that when it arrived, Blume would be awash in colourful flowers.
– I hope I can see it soon.
On the second floor of the Lörrich estate, Camilla thought that as she watched the town’s morning slowly roll towards noon. Surely, it would be so beautiful it would make her gasp.
“Mistress… Are you feeling better?”
It was the first thing Nicole had asked her that as she came inside that morning to wake her up. But since Camilla had already woken up and was sitting by the windowsill, Nicole looked at her anxiously.
Camilla was a little surprised by how worried Nicole’s voice sounded. Then, for the one maid who always cared for her, Camilla’s mouth loosened slightly. Nicole had always been looking out for Camilla.
“I’m sorry, Nicole. I made you worry, didn’t I?”
Looking back at Nicole, Camilla gave her a small smile. It contained Camilla’s happiness for how much Nicole truly cared for her, as well as her embarrassment about having caused her so much stress. Just how much had Camilla been moping and sighing that she wasn’t even able to realize it herself?
As Camilla felt her remorseful eyes once again trail to the floor, she quickly raised her head.
Right now, she had to stand tall and keep her eyes forward. Even if those dark emotions that spun like a whirlpool in her chest hadn’t completely abated… She would be okay.
“Is it not just as you said, Nicole? For some time, I was certainly not myself. Don’t worry, I will never be like that again.”
“No, not at all!”
Holding her hands together, Nicole brought them to her chest, looking at Camilla with an expression halfway between relief and sheer happiness.
“So long as you’re fine, Mistress, then I’m happy!”
Nicole’s words that she shouted from her stomach were a bit louder than she intended, disturbing the quiet peace of the room. Her freckled cheeks suddenly became flushed with red, probably out of embarrassment at just how inadvertently loud that joyful yell of hers was.
As Nicole fumbled for an apology, Camilla laughed gently.
“Thank you, Nicole.”
She was truly glad to hear Nicole’s words.
Alois’ recommendation of Klaus to the successor position of the House of Lörrich had caused quite a stir in the estate.
Beset with pleas and persuasions from the camp that regarded Franz as the best successor to the barony, Alois was so busy he barely had time to go out. On the other hand, a lot of the people who were only nominally on Franz’s side suddenly came to pay lip service to Klaus. Rudolph, the current family head, was also exhausted from being constantly berated by Franz and his brother, Lucas.
As it stood, Gerda was probably the only person in the entirety of the Lörrich estate with a cool head.
That’s why, for the past few days, Camilla hadn’t been able to go out much at all.
There had only been a single opportunity to go out to town. That was when she had asked Klaus to guide her back to that underground cellar.
That underground cellar where the five young musicians had once practised had changed completely.
All the musical instruments that lined the shelves and musical sheets that coated the floor had been cleared away, leaving the cellar looking barren.
Of course, none of those five were to be seen either. The basement felt even colder than usual when it was empty like this.
Surely, those five wouldn’t come back here anymore.
They were beaten, humiliated in public, and even some of their instruments were destroyed right in front of them. It’s no wonder that they seemed to have given up. In the first place, it’s not as if they had any particularly strong passion for music. They really just wanted to have fun playing a wedding celebration song as friends. For such people, going on after that would be too much to bear.
And even if they had wanted to, it was certain that their parents would have other ideas.
All five of them had been fairly well dressed, considering they weren’t aristocracy. What’s more, they were educated enough to read and quickly understand the sheet music. It seemed like they all belonged to fairly well-established families amongst the common ranks.
For families of some social status, an incident like this can only be seen as an ugly blemish. Even if the residents didn’t seem uniformly happy about it, entertainment like this was virtually forbidden in this town. Breaking that taboo could be squarely blamed on those five young people, it would make sense that their families would ensure they could never do that again.
Still, Camilla wanted to talk with them at least one more time. It would leave a bad aftertaste if she never met with them again.
But with her power alone, Camilla didn’t know how she would be able to figure out where all five of those people lived in Blume. Alois and Klaus were busy as well.
There wasn’t much Camilla could do, as those dull days continued to tick past.
In a rare visit to Camilla’s room, Klaus peeped out that short greeting as he stepped inside.
Even though he must still be busy, Klaus looked the same as ever. He walked with an easygoing confidence as he stepped inside, his brown hair sitting loosely on his head over a carefree smile. Nicole tried to look as intimidating as possible as he sauntered in like the breeze, but Klaus didn’t seem to notice.
“Camilla, are you free right now? I want to go out to town for a bit with you.”
Camilla frowned as he suddenly said that.
“What’s all this suddenly? Are you going to have me listen to your complaints again?”
Camilla remembered the time she had spent in the greenhouse with Klaus some nights ago. In the days since, his life seemed to have completely changed. Perhaps he had finally hit a wall and was mentally exhausted?
Well, Camilla also had a similar experience being taken care off like that recently. She wouldn’t begrudge him a little complaining if he asked.
“No, no. It’s not like that.”
But as Camilla wondered if he was depressed about something again, Klaus shook his head. He looked a little embarrassed about Camilla suddenly bringing that night up, but it did seem as if that wasn’t why he had asked her.
“Let’s just take a quick walk into town. I invited Alois as well. Well as for me, I don’t mind if we go as a group or if it’s just us two, Camilla.”
“Well, I mind!”
“Town? Why now?” Ignoring Nicole’s angry yell, Camilla asked him that.
This should be the time where the two of them are at their busiest. Klaus shouldn’t have the freedom to act like a playboy around Camilla right now since there were such a vast number of people who wanted to talk to him, as well as a number he would have to chase down and talk to himself.
Camilla welcomed the opportunity to go out to town, but she was a little wary about his intentions at the same time.
But just as Klaus usually acted, he simply shrugged as she looked at him suspiciously.
“It’s fine, I have time. I’ve got a request from one of my ‘teachers’, y’see?”
As Klaus said that like it was the most natural thing in the world, Camilla sighed. He truly was the epitome of the prodigal son, after all.
Despite being embroiled in the middle of a simmering succession crisis that could boil over at any second, he still wants to sneak out and catch up with one of his ‘teachers’. Maybe Klaus was suffering from cabin fever even more than Camilla was… Wait, perhaps he had already slipped out to do one thing or another for his ‘teachers’ more than a few times already lately?
As Camilla stared at him suspiciously, Klaus winked.
The spitting image of the frivolous playboy, he put a finger to his lips with a teasing grin on his face.
“Recently, I heard something from my teacher who used to do a bit of composing… Apparently, people are gossiping about noises coming up from under the ground again.”
Edited by: ApoPie