The Capital; One Month Later (4) – Final
The first person who stepped through the door was Camilla, carrying a wooden plate in her hands, as well as a group of children following hot on her heels.
No, actually, it would be more accurate to say they were almost clinging to her heels, they were that close. As they reached out to Camilla, she kept swaying the tray from side to side to keep it away from their hands.
“Camilla, just one more, please can I have one mooooore…?”
“Did you not hear me!? No means no! Besides, just how many did you eat already!?”
“Big sis, can I bake some more cookies with the leftover dough? Miss can light the cooking fire.”
“Yes, yes. You can do whatever you like with the leftovers. But make sure to listen to what your teacher tells you to do, alright? Definitely do not touch the fire without her permission, alright!?”
“I gotta pee…”
“Ah, quickly, go then!”
As she gave the young boy a push on the back and urged him out of the room, Camilla suddenly jerked her face upward as if she finally realized something. She noticed Alois looking straight at her.
With an embarrassed frown on her face, she straightened up and strode straight over to Alois, showing him the wooden plate that she held.
On it was a smattering of misshapen biscuits that were moulded by the children themselves. It didn’t look like they had been cooked evenly all the way through, and some of them even showed the slightest signs of burning.
“Camilla, these are…?”
“They’re for you. I can’t quite get them right yet, but if I don’t have you try them at least once, Lord Alois, I don’t feel like I’ll get anywhere.”
As she said that, Camilla sat down next to Alois. When one of the more bold children reached out to try and swipe one of the biscuits, she gave his hand a light slap.
“These are for Lord Alois. You’ve already had your share, haven’t you?”
“They’re for me…?”
Camilla nodded. She stuck out her chest pridefully like usual, but there was something ever so bashful in her expression.
“…I’ve been worried about just what to do about it, I suppose. Since it’s for Lord Alois, after all.”
Camilla couldn’t look at Alois dead on as she frowned at him out of the corners of her eyes. Her brow wrinkled as she struggled to keep a straight face. For a moment, Alois thought that she was annoyed about something, but then he realized her expression meant something else entirely.
“Today is Lord Alois’ birthday, is it not?”
Alois blinked in surprise.
It was spring. ‘Alois’ and ‘Julian’ were born nearly on the same exact day. However, ‘Alois’ was a few days older.
The town wasn’t preparing for ‘his’ birthday. There was still a big celebration being planned, but that was for ‘Julian’, the Prince. Eckhart was planning a celebration in the palace, and the town officials had their own plans for a festival. It would be hard for them to leave the city anytime soon with the big celebrations being planned for the birthday of ‘Prince Julian’.
Because of that, it seemed like the existence of ‘Alois’ had all but been forgotten. Even Alois himself had forgotten about it. Camilla was the only one on the capital who seemed to remember his false birthday, from his false life.
As Alois stared at her in wonder, Camilla began to look increasingly frustrated as she sighed softly. She still frowned as she turned to look at Alois properly.
“Lord Alois, you do remember, don’t you? That once spring came… once you turned twenty-four, you wanted to officially become engaged.”
“What do you mean by ‘ah’!?”
Camilla turned around in her seat and glared up at Alois. Alois was a little taken aback as he looked down at her.
Those piercing black eyes of hers looked at Alois like he was a mortal enemy. She bit her lip to try and swallow back her embarrassment as her cheeks began to turn a light shade of crimson.
“You can’t tell me that you seriously forgot!? You’re the one who said it in the first place!”
Alois couldn’t immediately answer Camilla’s outburst. He couldn’t be honest and say that he forgot. If he did, she would only boil over even more.
It’s just that, there were so many things that had happened since then.
What’s more… he thought to himself if this was just him being arrogant, but he wondered if it was even necessary to hear her answer anymore.
“Well, I can’t pretend that holding off on answering for so long was proper of me either, but… but, well, it’s something I have to answer properly after all. I need to give you an honest answer.”
With every word she said, Camilla’s brow wrinkled even more. Her body trembled slightly as she gripped her hands into fists. But, she wasn’t angry.
Alois had heard from Günter that she had been spending a long time practicing making cookies back in Mohnton. She’d made dough countless times and had baked an untold amount of cookies, giving all the results of her experiments to the servants.
But, Alois was the one person she had never given any to. The only time he had tasted them was when Nicole had brought him some after Camilla had been taken to the capital.
When Alois called her name, she pursed her lips as if she really was angry. He slightly averted his eyes as if he were trying to escape as she glared at him.
“I… I hate leaving things all wishy-washy like this. Besides, if I can’t even give you a proper answer after everything that’s happened, it would be really vexing!”
Standing up, she put her hands on her hips and puffed out her chest. As if challenging him, she looked down at Alois.
“Lord Alois, I accept your offer. Be prepared, by the time we get married, I’ll definitely be much better at making sweets than even Klaus is!”
“Yeah… I’m looking forward to it.”
Alois didn’t try to stop the smile that spread to his lips. Just as she glared down at him, he smiled back at her.
Camilla really was arrogant and self-confident… as well as determined and bright. Even if Alois was the type to stay in place, she would always take his hand and lead him on.
“Thank you very much, Camilla… Can I try some?”
“Of course. I made them for you, after all.”
As Camilla sat back down, Alois reached out and took a biscuit from that plate.
That soft taste was immediately nostalgic. A long time ago, he received cookies just like them from a girl whose name he didn’t know… and later on, he tasted cookies just like them from an orphanage in Grenze.
Both are nostalgic memories for the current Alois. The taste of Grenze, that was supposed to have been part of that hypocritical mask of his, was an irreplaceable part of himself now.
“Lord Alois, how was it? I’m sure that it’s really no good at all right now, but soon I’ll be able to… Hey!”
Her words were cut off as Camilla once again had to slap the hand of the same boy who tried to reach up and sneak a cookie from under the table. But, she reacted too late. Just as she stopped one hand, three other children attacked from the other side and swiped some of the cookies.
“Ehehe, Camilla is gonna get married! The scary lady is gonna become the scary wife!”
“What are you talking about!?”
“Miss Camilla… you aren’t going to come here anymore…?”
“W-what are you saying…!? …Ah, jeez, don’t cry! I’ll definitely come by to play once in a while, okay!?”
“Blehhhh! You don’t need to come anymore here anymore! Just shaddup and go away!”
“Watch your mouth!!”
The last of the biscuits were soon swiped away as Camilla began to chase after the children again.
Diana, still sitting across from Alois, smirked as she watched Camilla, lightly playing with the biscuit she held between her fingers.
“Congratulations and all that, huh?”
Diana cast Alois a sidelong glance as her smirk widened, before taking a bite of that cookie.
Those happy voices echoed through the room, as they surrounded Camilla, running circles around her and clinging to her dress. To say that he enjoyed the sight wouldn’t even be doing his thoughts justice.
Alois wished he could watch for hours. He wanted to come back here many times, just like she promised.
He hoped that he could spend the rest of his days by Camilla’s side.
But, unfortunately, that first wish of his was destroyed almost immediately.
“…Lady Camilla, Lord Alois! T-There’s trouble!”
Rita suddenly burst into the room. She must have been in the kitchen, since she was still wearing an apron, but she looked at Alois and Camilla in a panic.
“There’s suddenly a horde of reports outside of the orphanage… Someone must have leaked to them that you were here!”
Alois and Camilla looked at each other. It wasn’t just a case of getting wrapped up in a fuss anymore. Even the children were stunned into silence by how serious Rita looked.
“They’ve already completely surrounded the front gate. You should quickly go out the back entrance and escape through the church grounds! Diana, show them the way!”
“Got it. Come on you two, we’re escaping through the church!”
As Diana stood up she urged Alois and Camilla to follow her. Alois nodded, quickly donning his hat again as he followed after Diana.
The children waved at Alois and Camilla as they left.
They knew that they’d come back again someday. Both this orphanage and lots of other places besides.
It was a good idea to escape through the back entrance and onto the church grounds.
But, just as they were relieved about avoiding the worst of the crowd, they were suddenly confronted by a familiar looking female reporter.
“Heh heh, only a fool would’ve expected you to come out through the front door.”
That girl with the camera was the same one who had run into Alois in town earlier. When Alois saw her giving him a cheerful smile, he grimaced bitterly. It was possible that she really did notice who he was back then, after all.
If he were using magic, they would never have been found out like this. Because even if he was wearing a disguise, his face still remained the same. If someone took a close look at him, they’d be able to see through him.
“Sorry about interrupting your date, but there’s just so many things I’ve got to ask you, right? About your life as a doppelganger and the dark history of the Montchat family. Well, not that we’re going to have much alone time.”
As she said that, the reporter motioned behind her with a thumb. As if on queue, they began to see other reporters emerging onto the grounds.
Diana wondered if they could make it back inside the church. As the amount of reporters grew by the second, she frowned and glanced back at the church. But, she couldn’t immediately decide to go back, since there would be no escape route after that.
Camilla stood stiff, still not having decided where to escape to. But, this was Camilla, after all, so she’d eventually make a rash decision and take off.
Alois tried to think about just what kind of choice Camilla would make. If he were her…
…She wouldn’t look back.
Before Camilla could make a decision, Alois grabbed her hand. Alois saw his reflection in her surprised eyes.
“We’re getting out of here, Camilla.”
With those words, Alois pulled Camilla along with him. The female reporter raised her voice in annoyance as the two of them began to run. Diana, meanwhile, did her best to get in her way.
The reporters who had begun to gather started to give chase. But, despite being chased, Alois’ legs felt lighter than ever. Rushing out of the church grounds, they made it onto the street.
Passers-by looked stunned as the two of them ran past, with some maybe figuring out who the disguised pair being chased by the reporters were.
If Alois used magic, they’d have been able to escape in an instant.
But… just like Diana said, that wouldn’t be as fun.
Camilla, who was still trailing slightly behind Alois as he held her hand, called out to him. Alois looked back at Camilla, not stopping at all.
Camilla looked genuinely confused as to just what had come over him. He couldn’t quite describe it himself, either. Usually, it was always Camilla leading him on, with Alois being the one lagging behind her.
“After we get back to Mohnton, would you like to go sightseeing again?”
“Lord Alois, is this really the right time to be…!?”
“Let’s visit all the towns again. We have to say hello to everyone, after all. There’s the capital, Grenze, Einst and Blume. Of course, we should visit Falsch as well. So, Camilla… would you like to go on a jaunt with me?”
Camilla stared at him, stunned. Then, after a quick frown, she lowered her head and gave her cheek a couple of light slaps.
When she raised her head to look at him again, she was wearing that familiar bold smile that was only fitting for a villainess. With a ‘hmph’, she exhaled through her nose as she looked Alois over, proud of just who he had become.
“Goodness gracious, there’s no helping then, is there?”
But, that bold and villainous smile changed once again. She closed her eyes for a moment as her mouth twitched in a way that she couldn’t stop, and then…
At last, she couldn’t hold it in anymore, as Camilla started to laugh.
“Alright then! I’ll keep you company wherever you’d like to go!”
Camilla squeezed the hand that held hers. Her voice that echoed through those sunny streets was dazzlingly bright.
As they ran with their backs to the sun, she couldn’t stop laughing.
It was a breathtakingly beautiful scene.
A slightly chill wind that signaled spring’s end spurred them on from behind. As the flowers of the town were swept up in that tailwind, they nestled in Camilla’s hair and blew Alois’ hat off his head.
When he saw people look on in shock at his silver hair as they raced by, Alois couldn’t hold back his laughter either. That hair of his, the same colour as the waxing moon, glittered in the light of the sun.
That’s the end of this extra chapter. There’s another three-part extra that I’ll be starting tomorrow, which is a little more serious. Apparently, the author plans to release another extra chapter with the second LN volume release tomorrow, so I’ll translate that as well.