Geh, I did not plan for this chapter to be very long but I somehow did it. There's a lot more points of views seen here and well... it might be better if you guys read it yourself.

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Despite the pain and suffering that he had been put through by his disease, he came out on top and came back from the brink. We searched far and wide to find a way to cure our son and found nothing during those days. We scoured the Kingdom if there were any hopes that a Light wielding mage was born but we found nothing. I felt bitterness and hatred as I remembered an ancient foe whose banner was now a trophy in the Hall of the Fallen.

Damn the Ibarrans and Salamanca for killing off the Light Mages of Sorcier two centuries ago. So many Light Mages and families murdered just because their madness and insanity got the better of them. I hope that their inbred bloodline continues to burn in hell for what they did to the Canaver and the Light Mages.

When we found nothing from outside sources, we began to look within the archives that the Florencia Family had kept around for a long time before we were even known for our last name. My husband and I had searched through the many notes of the forebears about this sickness and found little about the disease that struck my son. Our efforts were not in vain as I've learned more about a dissertation done by one of Randall's ancient predecessors. There was a study that one of the former Florencia Heads mentioned that there is a chance that Edwin had acquired a disease that activated due to inbreeding as well as the lists of potential diseases that my son probably had.

I believe he called this concept "Inheritance Dilution" and had ancient family medical records that supported his studies. Extensive records of blood diseases, body syndromes, mental handicaps, deformities and disorders observed from those that came before us were listed and I compared them all to what my son had. I sighed in relief that none of the listed diseases were and syndromes were present to my son. I wouldn't be able to bear the fact that my son will suffer for the rest of his life because he inherited defects from us.

It's no wonder that our family put a deep emphasis on always introducing new blood within the bloodlines and had strict standards on marriage requirements. I wouldn't want to end up becoming the reason why the next generation became terribly mutated or chronically sick.

Though I found it odd that there's a notation that mentioned how his study was considered as a crackpot's rambling and a sadistic experiment done to his own children by a savage madman. It made our predecessor bitter as he was accused and shunned because of it. There was also another note that mentioned how he will laugh at them the day their children begin to suffer defects from his grave and a rule where if one were to marry, it must be someone who is not related to the family by five generations. Firstborns or Commoner born mages with no relations with any nobles would be the primary choice if there are no qualified candidates for the son or daughter that will be married off.

These rules must be the reason why it took me a while to marry Randall and that Father-in-Law had been meticulous in checking on my family tree.

I silently give thanks to this certain predecessor for saving this family from what could have been the most catastrophic couplings that would cause the next generations to suffer.

Still, despite the fact that my son is well and not afflicted with whatever that might have affected him due to bad blood, he began to start acting odd.

He may try to hide it but as his mother, I am worried about how he is waking up early despite still recovering from his sickness. He would use those hours to begin working upon a story that he mentioned that he will write or help with the chores around the estate. While I am not mindful of such actions, I am still worried about how he started showing such an odd habit. I chided him about such a habit and wanted him to stop waking up in the wee hours but it seems that his body is beginning to get used to waking up too early.

He also began to adapt a mindset where he intends to become independent from us. I'm not sure what pushed him into doing this but he is determined to take such action and even made plans on how he will go about with it. He made business plans, strategies and even began to ask whether or not banks exist and if there's such a thing like savings accounts, deposits, currencies, rates and gold standards that he explained in detail and how they worked. I had no idea what he spoke about since it wasn't my field of expertise. My husband spoke about this with our accountants and was asking about how he was able to know them. He even commented that the ideas were not only doable but would also greatly help Frescan's economy and make it more organized than ever. However, they'll have to look into how this system would be implemented first.

I asked my son why he wanted to be independent and he answered that he wished to be able to make his own place in this world and not be too reliant on us. Preposterous, why must he feel shame on being reliant to us? He shouldn't feel that and he's just a child who just recovered from his sickness! While my husband is proud of our son's declaration of his wishes to become self-sufficient in time, I do not wish for him to take such a route just yet. He is still young and I wish for him to enjoy his childhood.

Not only that, he began to speak in odd languages. I once overheard him sing a song in a language that I couldn't recognize until he wrote the meanings of what he just sang. It may sound like gibberish but I can tell the difference between gibberish and speaking coherently. My son spoke coherently despite not fully understanding what he just said.

If speaking odd languages and coming up with odd concepts weren't enough, he started making dishes that I'm sure that were not recorded in the cookbooks that we had inside this house. Sometimes, he could create dishes from something that we never expected. Last night, he asked one of our chefs to not throw away some of the bones that were stripped of beef and chop them up to pieces using a strong knife. He then told them to put both beef and bone into a pot along with potatoes, cabbages, onions, peppers, corn and surprisingly, bananas and cooked it under slow fire… I think that was what Miss Hermione told me when she described what my son was doing. The cooks however, mentioned that the method used was more complex than what the maid recounted. The end result was that the simplistic beef and bone marrow soup tasted very exquisite. I never thought that bone marrow could taste so incredible and had greatly warmed me up.

My son also spouted about how this broth could potentially improve one's bone growth, which made my eyebrows raise when he described it in great details.

Recently, he had been writing odd plans and blueprints of items and gadgets. He even thinks of things that I'm not sure how my son will recreate them due to their complex nature. There were so many concepts in his mind that it made me both worry about my son's mental state and happy that my son's becoming more and more interested in sciences.

Speaking of which, I decided to pry into his mind using my magic to see what is actually going on inside his mind. It may sound terrible for me to do so but his quirks are rather worrisome that I have to know what is actually going in his mind. He tries to hide it but I can hear his thoughts thanks to my magic. I also got a glimpse of what he was thinking… as well as what seems like memories...

A massive city where glass towers reach the skies and never sleep as it brightens the night sky. Carriages that ran on their own without any horses on them and even flew. People speaking in square light boxes, possibly sending them messages. Countless numbers of people with tanned skin and black hair that spoke the languages that were similar to what my son spoke. The sudden blackness and a weak cry for help that was uttered.

As a researcher and a scholar, what he said greatly piqued my curiosity but as a mother, I am becoming worried and afraid for my son's mental health and what I've just seen in his mind. Is this some kind of a new disease that affected one's soul? Those images looked more than just dreams.

It didn't help that when he was very young, he was also having odd dreams and even spoke about things that I had no idea of on some occasions. It became frequent during his bedridden months. I still had records of those dreams and tried to see if Remy was also having those.

Not even once did she have similar dreams that my son had. Even Anthony never had these kinds of episodes in his childhood.

Could those be signs that something was going on to my son?

I'll have to take him to the Ministry of Magic in order to have a deeper look on what might be afflicting him.

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"This is indeed a very impressive craftsmanship." my father said when I finally got the pens that I've asked the artisan to make for me this morning, "It's quite faster to write with this than to always dip the quill on the inkwell every second or so. Not only that, it was also made in two days too." he wrote on a piece of paper his signature multiple times in different ink colors, "There's also this additional feature where I can replace the ink reservoir with a different colored ink, I especially like the color red."

"Are you planning on pranking someone again, father?" I can tell that father is planning something mischievous when I saw him eyeing an empty piece of paper.

Even though he's a Marquis and a General, Father can be very mischievous if he wanted to. He was a notorious prankster who had victimized a number of people when he was young. Though he had mellowed down when he became an adult and later, the Marquis, he would still go out and have some fun on some unsuspecting nobleman that annoyed him. Him and red ink or fake blood would spell bad news to whoever is his prank target.

Father looked very guilty when I asked that question and tried to look away from me. He's clearly trying to avert his eyes from mine. I'm judging my own old man for trying to be childish despite being the Marquis. I mean, sending letters that had blood colored texts to people that annoys you is a terrible malpractice of family traditions. You don't go around sending blood written letters unless you have the intent of decimating them before taking their broken standards as your trophy.

And yes, apparently, the Florencias have that kind of practice and tradition. Apparently, it's called the Red Announcement, a tradition where the Florencia Family head sends a letter written in blood or red ink as a declaration of vendetta to another family. Once that letter is received, the Florencia family will muster their elite forces for war between two or more noble families. After that, they proceed to decimate the family that dared to cross them and take away the survivors in order to make them serve our family instead. After that, most of their family's logos, insignias, emblems, flags, standards and such will be destroyed until there's only one left, which will be turned into a preserved trophy.

The Kingdom of Sorcier to some extent, some of the neighboring kingdoms such as Pollux-Litonican Federation, the Holy Berlitzian Empire, the Kingdom of Salamanca and Allonia know about it. Even though our family stopped doing that sort of thing two centuries ago, it's still taken seriously since apparently, we ended a lot of noble and even royal bloodlines in the past. Hell, the last Red Announcement was said to be the most memorable one due to how a county was obliterated so badly that the evidence of it was kept there as a reminder. We even kept their flags in The Hall of the Fallen of all the places.

Seriously, our family catacombs have the most chuuniest named place called The Hall of the Fallen. The banners, emblems, standards, insignias and flags of fallen nobilities that the Florencia Family fought and prevailed against were kept there and preserved as trophies.

My family's nine hundred years of recorded history and traditions are incredibly fucked up. I am glad that we're no longer doing many of our past traditions or modified it to fit the current era's standards. In addition to that, I also have to watch what ink I'm using for my writing. Otherwise, they might take that as a declaration of war.

"Well, I uh… ahehe…" Father just chuckled quietly as he put down his pen, "Please don't tell your mother what I tried to do here! I don't want to be banished from our bedroom!"

"You haven't done the deed so why should I tell mother?" I shrugged my shoulder before heading for the door, "I'll prepare my gifts to Lady Katarina for now. Best that you prepare as well, Father."

Father sighed and sagged on his chair in relief as I walked out of his office… though once I got out of the office, I saw Mother, waiting on the side and looking at me. We stared at each other for a few seconds before she gave me a thumbs up and mouthed "good job" to me. I only smiled back and returned the thumbs up to her before I left the vicinity.

I can tell that Mother's going inside the room to punish Father for trying to pull off a tasteless prank. I can hear Father's pleas for forgiveness as I sensed magic being used in his office.

Rest in peace, Father. God might be merciful but Mother is not.

-0-0-0-0-0-

It's been two days since Mother and I had to move to our new home. Mother is now Lady Florencia's new maid and the head maid had been helping her get acquainted with the estate. Everyone here is very nice and friendly to us, the head maid herself gave me new clothes too since my old ones were worn out. It's nice to wear something new for a change. Miss Hermione did great when she said that she can find us a place to stay.

Coming here made me and mother safe from the bad people.

Lady Florencia might look scary at first but she's actually a nice person once you get to know her. Lord Florencia is a funny old guy who likes to have fun and is a good father. I wish I had a father like him. Miss Remy might be a noble but she let me have tea with her and her brother twice and even gave me a tour to the estate. Sir Edwin though, he might be weird but he said he doesn't mind me being there and welcomed me with sweets that I've never tasted before.

In fact, Miss Remy and Sir Edwin want to be friends with me. It made me happy to have two new friends since I did not have one until now. We never stayed in one place for too long and I was told by my mother to never leave wherever we were staying or else we're going to get into trouble.

"Brother, why are we visiting that seductress?" Miss Remy asked Sir Edwin, who is currently sipping a glass of cold lemon tea as he called it, "She's going to try and seduce you again if you come close to her!"

"Remy, you do realize that she's too young to seduce anyone, right?" Sir Edwin doesn't seem to take Miss Remy seriously when she asked that question.

"Brother, I've seen what that seductress did to the two royal princes, the Marquis's daughter, her stepbrother and the two Ascart siblings! She managed to seduce all six of them by simply talking to them!" I'm not sure what seductress means but doesn't that sound like making friends?

"I'm sure that Katarina's just being friends with them, Remy." Even Sir Edwin thinks that this Katarina person that Miss Remy had been thinking about since yesterday is just making friends, "Love doesn't form that fast, you know."

Miss Remy looked at me with tears in her eyes. She seems to be expecting something from me but I don't think I can do anything here. Even if she stares at me for too long, I don't think I have anything to say about this. I never met this Katarina person so please don't look at me like that.

"Remy, please don't plead for Raphael's help. He doesn't know Katarina so he's unable to help you out to convince me otherwise." thank you for getting Miss Remy to stop looking at me, Sir Edwin, "We also have to go there since we're both personally invited by both her parents and Katarina herself."

I think I saw a small shiver from Sir Edwin.

"Not only that, we have to make up for being absent from public gatherings and occasions for too long…" Is it me or is Sir Edwin afraid of something for a few seconds…

"But brother…" Remy wanted to say more against what Sir Edwin said but her older brother was very serious about it, "... very well, I guess I'll let it go for now… but you better not try to spend too much time with that seductress without me! She'll try to make you become hers, I'm very sure of it."

"Don't worry, I just want to be friends with her. Not only that, she's engaged to Prince Geord and from what I've heard, he's very affectionate towards Katarina." Sir Edwin patted Miss Remy's head and told her about how the prince who is already in love with Katarina. Nobles sure are weird.

Miss Remy just puffed her cheeks and pouted at her brother who is very calm about her sister not wanting Edwin to be friends with this Katarina person.

"I just hope that this birthday party won't result in me getting…" Sir Edwin shivered and paled as he looked away from us, "... multiple marriage contracts… I don't want to be betrothed too early. This is the first time that I'll be appearing in public…"

"What?! Are the vultures out to get you once more, brother?!" Miss Remy looked very angry now that there's fire in her eyes, "Damn them. Once they see you are fine and well, they will once more try to win favors and bring their daughters and granddaughters to you regardless of age." she then slammed her hands on the table, "Those wenches and rats better not attempt to do it in someone else's home or I'll…"

"Don't cause a scene while we are at the Claes Estate, Remy." the older brother solemnly orders the little sister who is very agitated, "Also, don't worry about them. I'm not as helpless as I was back when I got sick, remember? Also, are you using the lines of [The Lady's Elegance]?"

"How did you know?!" Miss Remy was shocked when he asked the last question.

"We both read that novel, remember? You definitely were emulating Lady Aisha when she refuses to give her brother to some girl that she doesn't like." Sir Edwin scratched the back of his head while looking a bit shy.

"But Lady Aisha wants to protect her brother from an evil woman who wishes to do him harm!" Miss Remy whined and defended this Lady Aisha character, I guess, "She can see that villainess for who she is: a ruinous woman!"

I can't help but to smile at how they both interact with each other. This is the first time that I've seen it and it does make me jealous. They make jokes with each other and make fun at one another. They argue sometimes but still get along. They took care of each other despite a lot and watched each other's back. Seeing all of that made me wish that I have a sibling like Miss Remy or Sir Edwin.

I asked my mother back then if I could have a sibling but she said that it was impossible to do that since she needs help for that. She also giggled and stayed silent when I asked if there's anything that I could do to help so that I could get a sibling. I wonder what's funny about what I said back then. I wish I could have the same relationship like what Sir Edwin and Miss Remy had if I do get a sibling.

"Remy, we both need to get dressed now. We'll be leaving for the estate two hours from now." Sir Edwin emptied his glass of iced tea and stood up from his seat, "Raphael, you don't have to clean up for us, someone else will do that for us in a few minutes anyway."

"What? No! I can't do that, Sir Edwin. I'm a part of the staff now and I have to help out at least." I rejected Sir Edwin what he tried to make me do since two day ago. Even if the two siblings say that I don't have to work too early, I still want to help the Florencia family and the staff out that let us live here, "Let me bring these to the staff down there instead, Sir Edwin."

"No, I refuse! Let our maids and manservants handle these!" Miss Remy can be very stubborn if she wanted to, "You're not even an apprentice to our manservants so why should you work immediately?"

"I can't do that! Please let me do it instead!" I want to help out at least. I don't want to be a burden to anyone here in the estate.

"Well, if you insist. But you need to wait for the maids so that they can give you assistance." Sir Edwin sighed and shrugged his shoulders while Miss Remy was looking at her brother angrily, "Remy, if Raphael insists that he wants to help then let him do it. We'd be bad friends if we keep forcing him to do what he doesn't want to do."

Sir Edwin looked at me in the eyes and nodded at me a bit.

"Raphael, if you're going to do chores in the estate then you better make sure you do it right. If I hear that you messed up so many times while trying to help, I'll make sure that you're not going to do chores here until you're an official employee of the Florencia Estate." Sir Edwin pointed at me and said to me in a cool way, "Don't mess up if you're going to work in our estate voluntarily, got that?"

"Yes! I'll do my best!" I won't fail Sir Edwin! I'm going to do my best to help out.

I watched Sir Edwin smile at me before he left the room. I thought that Lady Florencia was cool with the way she acts but Sir Edwin's even more cool. He's like one of the knights that mother would tell me for bedtime stories. I'll make sure that Sir Edwin will not be disappointed with me!

"Brother, you idiot! You shouldn't make our friend work like that!" Miss Remy shouted as she ran after Sir Edwin.

-0-0-0-0-0-

That was the most chuuniest thing that I've ever said! What the fuck came over me when I said that?! Is it because of learning more about our family history and reading the old journals that I'm becoming a hammy weeb? Dear fuck, that was embarassing… I shouldn't have said that at all!

Anyway, now that I've said that...

It took six hours for us to get to the Claes Manor through horse. I really wish that automobiles were invented or something equivalent to that. It would make travel a lot easier and less hard. Hmmm, I'll have to think about doing research work on magic to see if making a non-horse powered vehicle is possible. I'll also have to see if there's a way to make these carriages a lot less bumpy. I really hate it when these things have to go through uneven dirt roads.

Anyway, the trip itself was at its best, a total borefest. After reading through the books that were in the mini-compartment of the carriage, I fell asleep in order to pass time and hopefully when I woke up, I'll be there. I was glad that Mother put air conditioning runes on the carriage since the weather's a bit warm outside and none of us wants to be sweaty by the time we make it there.

Not to mention the fact that it does make the entire thing a lot more bearable and comfortable to be honest.

Mother and Father are dressed at their best right now. Father's wearing his green coat with white shirt with silver buttons, black vest and black trousers. The emblem of the Florencia family is sewn on the right sleeve of the coat. I can tell that he has weapons inside his hidden compartment inside his coat if in case he needs to fight. His hair's arranged to a neat ponytail and not a mess right now. Mother, though, is wearing a blue and silver silk dress with the most ornate light green shawl with yellow outline designs that reminds me of carpets that came from the Middle East Asian carpets in my past life. Her hair is adorned with a hair clip that is shaped like a wing and her ruby earrings are dazzling.

They both look very aristocratic and elegant that it made me feel very inadequate. Living a simple life for years made my tastes for clothes and fashion a bit dull. I had to dress up differently when I saw how they looked and deferred to Miss Hermione to pick which clothes are more appropriate for me to wear. My sister gushed about how they both look lovely and hoped that one day, she can be just as beautiful as our Mother in the future. I'm rooting for you, Remilia and I'm sure that you'll become a magnificent lady in the future.

Speaking of which, Remy is currently dressed in white dress with blue silk ribbons on her clothes. Her hair's tied neatly with a flower hair clip keeping her ponytail properly arranged. She also has a sapphire encrusted brooch pinned on the left side of the dress's chest. She's also reading a book right now and the title of it is [The Romantic Three Kingdoms], a historical fiction that mother brought back home when she and father returned home from their long journeys in their youth and translated it.

There's a lot of interesting arcs in the book and while there is romance, there's also some historical allusions that I'm pretty sure that it reminded me of the ancient history of my past life.

Meanwhile, I'm wearing a teal green coat over my light blue button up shirt with a red necktie and white pants. My hair's not that much of a mess since Hermione tied it up in a small ponytail at the back of my head to keep it from going all over the place. I really need to have my hair trimmed in the future. On my right side, I brought two gifts with me, one is a tin can full of baked goods that I've made and the other is a small suitcase that contains the ballpen and the spare inks, parts, tools and an instruction manual needed to maintain it.

I'll introduce this during the party and Katarina will be the first to own this.

I hope she likes these gifts.

Oh and I remember that we'll be trading information about farming. I can't wait to hear what answer she's going to give to me.

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"Milords, miladies, we have made it here." our chauffeur spoke from the outside as he opened the door and helped us out of the carriage.

It seems that we're rather early than expected. There are few people who are here right now at the halls where Katarina's birthday party will be celebrated. There are few people who are here right now but I don't recognize them. The only ones that I could recognize however were Katarina and Keith, who are currently making their way towards me, Remy and our parents. Katarina looks rather cheerful today while Keith is… well, I'm pretty sure he doesn't like me that much for taking her sister's attention away from her.

"Edwin, Remilia, Uncle Randall, Aunt Justine, we welcome to our home." she stopped a few feet away from us and curtsied in front of us while Keith made a small bow to follow suit.

"And thank you for welcoming us, Lady Katarina." Father guffawed as we returned the courtesy to Katarina, "It seems that we arrived a little early since there are few guests here."

"Ah, that's right, but no worries. There should be more people coming here later on, Uncle Randall." Katarina cheerfully said to Father before turning her attention to me and Remy, "Hey, since we're still waiting for people, wanna go and see my garden?"

"Sis, we can't do that right now, we're welcoming guests, remember?" Keith chided to the girl who looked shocked when she was reminded of her purpose there.

"Urk… it's getting boring here, Keith…" the Claes daughter whined to her brother, "I'm also getting hungry too…" her stomach audibly grumbled, causing my mother and father to chuckle a little.

Typical. I definitely expected Katarina to get hungry while greeting the guests. Well, it is her birthday anyway so there shouldn't be any harm done if I gave her my first gift, right?

"Hmmm… I was planning on giving this during the party but you look like you could use a snack…" I told Katarina who suddenly looked at me when I put down the small suitcase that I brought with me and handed to her a tin box, "Katarina, this is the first gift that you'll get from me. I hope you'll like it."

Katarina was curious as to what was in the box. She shook it a little at first and heard something clink inside it. When she opened the box, she saw multiple assortments of cookies that I've made this morning. Chocolate chip cookies, cream filled cookies, chocolate crinkles, jam cookies, peanut cookies and whatever cookie recipes that I remembered that I can make are there. There's at least 24 of them inside that box and I made sure that the tin box was properly designed. Never had I seen a girl look very excited about what she just received as she tried one of the cookies and she brightened up all of the sudden.

"First gift?" Keith was very cautious when he pondered about what I just said.

"It's a Florencia family tradition that we give our friends and allies at least two gifts. One must be made by hand and the other should be something that they can use in the long run." This is one of the Florencia family traditions that we've kept up with. I had to explain this to Keith immediately to prevent him from thinking that I like Katarina enough to give her two gifts., "The second gift will be given during the party."

"Eh, you don't need to give me another gift, Edwin. I'm fine with this one already." I shook my head on Katarina's humility.

Katarina and Keith were the first two people that I've ever talked with and isn't a family or a staff. I remembered the wishes of me wanting to meet new people while I was sick. Meeting Katarina not only granted that wish but also allowed me to get a better grasp of the situation that I'm in right now. I was shocked at first but in the end, I'm rather glad to have met the Claes sibling. Otherwise, I'd be grasping straws and be blind about what's actually to expect in this world.

"No, consider the second gift not just as a birthday present but also a commemoration gift as well. You and Keith were the first group of people outside of my family and the estate's staff that I've ever spoken with." I grinned and rejected Katarina's notion of denying her second gift, "Besides, I want you to be the first person outside of me and Father to use my invention."

"An invention?" okay, that piqued Katarina's interest greatly, "What is it?"

"It's a secret until later." that's all that I've said.

"While I do enjoy listening to you two speak with each other, I believe that it would be better if we wait inside, Edwin." Mother spoke as she looked at the two children and their chaperone that were waiting behind us, "The Claes siblings are still meeting guests and we cannot hold them off for too long."

-0-0-0-0-0-

Today was Lady Katarina's birthday and we were invited to come and join it. Mother and Father were not available right now due to their work back at the Capital so it's only I, Nicol Ascart, my sister and our chaperone are currently here.

It had been a year since we met Lady Katarina at the Capital and became friends with Sophia and myself. She was the first person that did not call my sister any names and was even willing to be friends with her regardless of her oddity. Ever since then, we've been exchanging letters with her, though my sister is the one who sends letters most of the time. We would also visit the Claes Manor whenever we have enough time to visit them and Lady Katarina would do the same with us.

This kind hearted, warm, generous, innocent, honest and rather dim daughter of the Claes House had done wonders to my sister. It's quite unfortunate that I had not met Lady Katarina a lot earlier however. Otherwise, I would have asked for her hand before Prince Geord would have done the deed himself… If only I could keep her closer to us.

"Brother!" my white haired, red eyed little sister called for my attention, "We also have to watch out for the newest rival!"

"Newest rival?" I pondered about what my sister just said.

Ever since she finally came out of her shell, she began to be more active and started to use terms that I have no idea or reference as to what they are. She refers to Lady Katarina's friends as rivals, potential love interests and competitions to Lady Katarina's hand in marriage.

It seems that Sophia spotted Marquis Florencia, his wife, their daughter and their… son? I've heard about the Florencia Family having three children but there were persistent rumors about them having only two children instead. Lady Remilia, I've met her in the past in one of the grand tea parties held by Prince Geord and Prince Alan. She kept quiet during the party and kept to herself most of the time. She seemed to be observing everyone else during the event but she observed Lady Katarina the most.

I've also heard of Lord Anthony, the eldest son of the Florencia Family and his status as the heir of Marquis Florencia. He also acted as the substitute for Marquis Florencia three months ago when he was unable to attend most of the social gatherings due to his duties and what was going on back at their household. He was also said to be graduating with the highest honors this year from the Academy of Magic and declined any positions offered by the Royal Guards. The reason behind this was that no one would be guarding the borders if he lives in the Capital.

It was the first time that I would see the second son for myself.

The newest rival that Sophia told me about had just handed Lady Katarina a box full of biscuits and sweets, things that Katarina was rather giddy at acquiring. There were small talks made about how the Florencia Family has a tradition where they make two kinds of gifts to those they consider as allies, friends and families. It seems that this mystery boy brought two gifts for Lady Katarina to have. I'm not sure how I will react to this but one thing is certain, Prince Geord and Lady Mary are not going to like this. Sir Keith glared at the Florencia Family's other son while he spoke about how he wished to give Lady Katarina another gift, which is an invention that he made.

Just who is this new person that took interest in Lady Katarina? Better yet, how was he able to get Lady Katarina flustered and blush like so.

"Brother, we need to move on right now. We still have to meet with our Aunt and Uncle." Lady Remilia huffed as her arms linked with her sibling and walked with him inside the manor.

"All right, just stop dragging me like this, will you?" her sibling tried to keep his balance and calm his sibling down who was now setting her pace faster.

"Ooh, this is delicious~!" Lady Katarina smiled as she began to eat a weird dark brown biscuit that was coated with white powder.

"Don't ruin your appetite for later now, young lady." Marchioness Florencia said to Lady Katarina in a motherly manner, "If you excuse us, we're not going to hold you off longer from greeting your guests, dear."

"Okay, Auntie!" she replied with cheer and familiarity as the Marquis and his wife were led inside, "Keith, would you like to have some?" she held a biscuit to Keith, "Say ah if you do."

"Ah, well… Ah~..." Sir Keith seems to be blushing now thanks to Katarina's hand slowly moving with the biscuit getting closer to his mouth.

I felt my heart throb when I saw that and I imagined myself in Keith's position. It was an odd mental image that my sister would usually talk about in one of her novels. Sophia, my dearest little sister however, had enough of watching that scene. She was walking towards the two, clearly hiding her frustration of seeing her first friend and the odd Florencia named Edwin being very cordial with each other.

Lady Katarina's face was rather red when she was interacting with Lady Remilia's brother and it is bothering me a little that her interaction with the mysterious person had garnered something from Katarina…

"Lady Katarina, Sir Keith, we're here!" she interrupted the scene between the two who were surprised when they were greeted by my sister.

"Sophia~! Lord Nicol! You made it!" Lady Katarina was ecstatic when she saw my sister as I walked to close the gap between myself and the other three, "How are you two doing right now?"

"We're fine, thanks for asking." my sister gleefully replied, "By the way, who was that boy whom you talked with a while ago?"

"Ah, you mean Edwin? He's just a friend, Lady Sophia." I saw her blush a little when she answered that question, "Edwin and I became friends when we visited their Estate three days ago. He's also just like me who enjoys farming and reads romance novels… though he says that he doesn't like them that much. He also made these cookies too, would you like some?"

I can tell that Sophia is scheming. My little sister seems to be a demure and timid girl from the outside but she can be quite devious when it comes to Lady Katarina and myself. She would do everything to get us both together, even if I tell my sister that Lady Katarina is engaged to my friend, Prince Geord. Whoever this Edwin was, Sophia was now adding him as a new rival.

I can also tell that my sister is planning to find a way to make me look more desirable to Lady Katarina in the future… not that I am bothered by it. Being able to spend more time with Lady Katarina is indeed a treat.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Greetings, I am Grimelda Auvergne, oldest daughter of Count Arcturus Auvergne: the Captain of Sorcier's Elite Royal Guards and today, I am attending a party in which we were invited to join by my father's old friend and relative, Duke Claes. To describe myself on how I look, I am the result of the marriage between my father and my mother: beautiful, cute and dashing as what everyone around me would say. My pink and white dress was handmade by one of the greatest tailors of the Capital City. My long blonde hair is properly arranged and even had cute ringlets at the ends of it. There's also a red ribbon that adorned my hair that my father praised greatly. My eyes are blue and are said to sparkle like gems according to my attendants and my family who would always praise me.

I am rather confident of my looks and I am quite sure that I would get the attention of the likes of Prince Geord, Prince Alan, Lord Keith or even Lord Nicol in the past...

Sadly, it wasn't meant to be as I watched those boys pay more attention to Lady Katarina Claes, the monkey girl that got them to look at her and pay more attention to her. She is also Prince Geord's fiance, something that I couldn't believe at first until I saw how the two interact with each other. Lady Katarina however, for some unknown reason, had repeatedly claimed that her engagement with the Prince himself was temporary. I highly doubt that considering the amount of attention that I've seen the third Prince pour to her right now.

I do not wish to earn the prince's ire by attempting to woo him any further and bow out from the competition to attain his hand. To interfere with someone else's romance is rather low and uncultured. I am sure that Prince Geord and Lady Katarina will marry each other in the future. Besides, the Prince's attitude is rather off putting… I just couldn't put my mind as to why however...

Mother and Father found Marquis and Marchioness Florencia and began to speak with each other, giving their respective greetings like what friends would do. Our families have ties with the military after all and my father was once Marquis Florencia's disciple in his so-called Survival Camp when they were young. Mother once spoke about how Father was once a portly man before Marquis Florencia made him a very muscular and confident man that he was right now. I also shivered as I remembered how Mother would get flustered as she described what Father's muscles felt like when she ran her hands on it.

From the romance novels that I've read, I believe that Mother has a muscle fetish.

I was left alone by my parents to do what I wish to do. I was planning on doing so anyway after the two became sufficiently distracted. What I am doing right now is exploring the Claes Manor's great hall as the celebration begins after the Duke's speech. Everyone mingled with each other, mainly the adults who are trying to impress each other and talk politics. I spotted other children like myself such as the Hunt sisters who are doing their best to impress those around them. Sierra Nelson seems to be alone right now, clearly troubled for some reason that I'm not sure of and would not wish to know. There's the Capet clique who tried to insult the exotic beaut that is Lady Sophia, whose red eyes and white hair made her very unique.

Why even call her Cursed Child? She had not spat out vermin, brought plagues on whatever she touches or even made anyone into stone. I am above petty insults and I refuse to partake in whatever their clique are doing. I can see Lady Remilia, the firebrand girl coming to Lady Sophia's aid and began to tear upon their rabble for their inelegant ways. Not a single physical threat thrown around from her, only insults to their education and their lack of she is a credit to the family whom my father greatly praised as warriors, officers and soldiers through and through.

There are boys who are the same age as I who are enjoying themselves or speaking with each other about mundane topics such as swordfighting, adventures and studies. Some even bragged about being the eldest and having privileges of becoming the heirs to their father's titles. A small part of me is rather jealous of them becoming heirs since I am skipped out of the line to favor my little brother who is currently back at our manor, too young to leave the crib and had to be cared for by my beloved nanny.

I wish I could be at home in order to help in caring for my little brother but at the same time, I cannot disregard the invitation to attend this gathering in celebration of Lady Katarina Claes's birthday. If I were to get used to social gatherings in the future, I must learn how to act during such an event.

The main event has not yet started so there is still time for me to wander around and see who else I could meet in this party. Surely there should be someone new here that I could meet and grace with my presence, yes?

My thoughts however, were cut short when I bumped into someone thanks to my lack of attention. I thought that I was going to fall on the ground in the most embarrassing position until I felt a hand grabbing upon my wrist and prevented such a fall.

Though the grip felt soft, it was strong and firm enough that it caught me before my humiliation and kept me standing. I looked up to see who caught me and I am greatly surprised.

The boy in question is also at the same age as I but his looks, he looks just as handsome as Lord Nicol but only more livelier. His brown hair is properly arranged and tied to a ponytail. His green eyes were strikingly pretty and magnificent. He looked very worried about myself judging by his demeanor and he pulled me up to get my balance back. I also noticed the small suitcase that he was holding in one of his hands.

His appearance made him look very gentlemanly and elegant like my father.

"Are you okay, ma'am?" he spoke in a formal manner and a soothing tone that caused myself to feel a bit hot.

"I… I…" I couldn't help but to stutter in front of this gentleman. I couldn't help it considering how charming this person is, "I'm all right. Apologies for bumping unto you."

"What? No, there's no need for any apologies, ma'am. I was the one that wasn't paying attention to my environment." he admitted error and told me how he's just as much in the wrong as I am, "Huh… I must say that you are a very pretty girl."

Oh my, I felt hotter than before when this very charming gentleman praised me.

"You cad, there's no need to praise me like so!" I couldn't help but to avert my gaze from him to save my dignity from being seen with my face becoming red, "May I know what your name is, good sir?"

"My name is Edwin Aldus Florencia, second son of the Marquis Florencia of the Frescan County." wait, this young man is related to Lady Remilia and the Marquis? "It's fine to call me without honorifics if you're not comfortable about calling me sir."

"What, no! Manners maketh man, Lord Edwin." I chided him about forgoing with manners. He shouldn't act too informal or else his appearance would be terribly wasted, "It wouldn't look well if I were to call you so casually at an inconvenient time, yes?"

"That's true… well, if ever we're not in some formal gathering, meetings and celebrations, perhaps you can call me without any honorifics instead. Being called Sir or Lord is a bit too much to be honest." His humility despite being the son of someone above my father's rank is truly appreciable. He did not lord his titles like what some of those in our age would do, "But enough about that, may I know your name so that I could properly address you, milady?"

"Oh, how could I forget to introduce myself~! I am Grimelda Auvergne, daughter of Count Auvergne who is the Captain of Sorcier's finest Royal Guards." I proudly introduced myself to Lord Edwin with my chest puffed and my hands on my hips, "... and since you offered to be called by your name if ever we are not on a formal occasion, I too shall extend the same offer to you, Lord Edwin."

"Very well, Lady Grimelda. I'll keep that in mind if ever we see each other and at a calmer time." His smile was sincere that if I had less self-control, I would have swooned and been weak kneed on the spot, "I think we should find a place where we could take a seat, Lady Grimelda. Food is about to be served right now and after that, the main event." he looked at the servers who are now coming into the room with trolleys upon trolleys of food and drinks that will be served to the guests.

I nodded as he finally let go of my hand and the two of us looked for the table where we will be seated. We soon noticed that there's a near empty table with only Sienna Nelson, Marsha Catley and another boy seated on. It was also close to the center stage where Lady Katarina and her family were seated along with an empty table that I recognized as a place where presents will be placed. It was also close to the table where Lady Katarina's friends are also seated… I saw them taking a glimpse on Lord Edwin before averting their gaze elsewhere when he noticed that they were staring. I wonder why they would briefly stare at him like so.

-0-0-0-0-0-

My name is Mary Hunt. daughter of Marquis Hunt. Right now, I had finally found the person that Lord Keith had spoken about. The person that not only seated next to our table us but also did not suspect the glare that I've sent to his direction.

As the food was being served, I watched him speak with not only Lady Grimelda but also to the other girls who are seated next to him. Lady Sienna and Lady Marsha are smitten by this mysterious son of Marquis Florencia as he introduces himself to them and makes small talk with them. It's clear who this Edwin Aldus Florencia was, he is clearly a womanizer as what I've seen in the novels that we read in our tea times.

He managed to ensnare Lady Katarina and now he's ensnaring more girls with his looks and the air of mystery that surrounds him. It's as if he's what happens if Lord Nicol was able to socialize better, initiate conversations and has a sheer lack of tact.

To make matters worse, he's also capable of doing many things that Lady Katarina loved. He's interested in gardening, reads books, doesn't mind physical exercise and creates sweets and desserts. I saw the tin box that Lady Katarina was given by that womanizer and when I tried one of the biscuits inside it, I cannot help but to understand why Lord Keith is adamant on calling him a villain.

He's an even bigger threat than Lady Katarina's fiance now that I think about it. Lady Katarina was able to recognize his feelings and had been adamant of introducing him to us. The fact that he was able to back sweets that I never thought was possible makes him even more fearsome.

"So that is Marquis Florencia's second son?" Prince Alan looked at the womanizer who was currently speaking with the tall boy, likely to throw us off and not be seen as a womanizer once he took a quick glimpse at us, "He doesn't seem that bad…"

"Don't be too sure about that thought, brother." Prince Geord stared at the food that was laid down on his table before looking at Lady Katarina, who was waving in their direction, "Sir Edwin may look harmless but he is capable of stealing away Lady Katarina like what he is doing with those girls next to him. He is clearly flirting with those girls right now."

"Are you jealous of Sir Edwin? He doesn't look like he's flirting with them at all." Prince Alan might be a nice boy but sometimes, he can be just as dim as Lady Katarina, "I mean, I've heard him praise them about what they look like but…"

"Prince Alan, Lord Edwin is not an easy foe to ignore and taken for granted. He is the type who would flirt and play with the hearts of so many girls that caught his attention…" Lady Sophia was resolute as she did her best to glare at the womanizer, "Do not let his looks easily fool you, Prince. He is clearly a terrible rival for all of us."

I have to protect Lady Katarina from this scoundrel in the making. I would rather see her be married off to Prince Geord than be with this womanizer! Nicol seems to be staring more intently towards the womanizer. He doesn't seem to let his gaze off of him. Perhaps he is unhappy with how that person acted now that he had heard about him.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Okay, the dinner tasted great and it satisfied my palate greatly. Not only that, I'm having a lot of fun talking to new people outside our estate. My company is also great considering that they're all quite cute and handsome in the Lord Lott's case.

Hey, I can appreciate how this world has a lot of good looking people in it that even average ones are 8/10 from where I came from.

To describe their appearances, Lady Grimelda gives off a vibe that reminds me of an Otome game Princess Villainess but minus the bitchy personality and I'm sure that in a few years, she'll grow into a very pretty lady. Lady Sienna though, is wearing an indigo dress with her black hair adorned with a white ribbon. She has a pearl necklace on her and her brown eyes might look tired but I can tell that she's a hard worker just like her spinoff counterpart. Lady Marsha though, is a short haired blonde girl whose red bow is keeping her hair from going all over the place with the red ribbon sticking out on one side of the bow. She also has a cute looking red and white dress and has a silver bracelet on her. The first guy that I've ever spoken with in this party, Lord Lott is a tall guy who is just as old as we are. His white button up shirt with black vest on top of it and a black bowtie and black slacks. His hair is brown like mine and he has an expression that reminds me of Nicol minus the charm and more on the stoic side.

Lady Grimelda, for all her shows of being a proud and elegant lady who rags about manners and courtesies is a pleasant conversation partner. She also has interest in a lot of things about weapons, flower gardening, healthy lifestyle, fashion and economy. She also has an appreciation of what our parents' jobs are, which are military careers. We're both military noble brats and it's quite fascinating that she also knows about the Survival Camp that Grandfather ran to train the County's border guards, soldiers and officers to survive with nothing but what they have in hand. They also come out from that camp with muscles and probably PTSD due to how they are hounded by creatures in the forest they got thrown into.

I've heard rumors about Grandfather having a company of soldiers that he calls the Macho Company but I'm not sure if that's true or not. They were said to be the ones helping gramps run the entire place. I think I'll pay gramps a visit at a later date. I miss his stories and I'd like to confirm if the Macho Company actually exists.

I've also spoken with Ladies Sienna and Marsha, both of them are interesting to be honest. Sienna here is a daughter of a Count and is probably the only child of her parents for now. She is a very serious and studious girl who is going to inherit her father's title in the future if they couldn't adopt a son of their distant relative or something. She is making progress in improving herself and is quite an academic person. She also wanted me to arrange a meeting with Mother as she considers her a role model. Her reason behind it is that despite being a Marchioness, she still continued to work hard for the betterment of those around her. She described a lot of Mother's achievements during her school days up to the current times.

On the sidenote, she asked how related I was with Remy and I told her that she's my sister. Sienna seems to be a bit ashamed at first before letting me know that she'll do her best. What's she trying to do her best however, I'm not really sure.

Lady Marsha however, was once a huge fan of Prince Geord. The reason why the 'was' word is said is because she now had her eyes set on me. She seems to be smitten with me and she's been trying to ask who I was as a person and what my hobbies were. She also asked if I had anyone that I'll be getting into an arranged marriage with. I told her that I have no plans on doing that sort of thing yet since I have other things to worry about and plans that I want to enact. Lady Grimelda and Lady Sienna were looking at me with intent when I told them that I plan on making a company and bring more glory to the Florencia Household.

They said that a noble acting like a merchant is rather unusual but I told them that the reason behind it is because I intend to use the company to make the quality of life better. They don't understand what I meant at first but I can't wait to show them what I intend to do.

Lord Lott though, while he doesn't have that much to talk about aside from the military career that his father has, was quite interested with what I plan to do. He said that even though I don't plan on following the footsteps of my Father, it's a noble cause to forge my own path and make something for myself in this world. He said that he can't wait to see what products that I'll produce in my company since it would also benefit the military as well. Well, I can't wait to show him what I have in plan in the future.

I looked at the briefcase that I have on my side, the first amongst the many products that I plan on recreating in this Otome world. This birthday party will be a great place to showcase this product.

-0-0-0-0-0-

I am Duke Luigi Claes and today is my beloved daughter's special day. She became nine years old now and she's becoming more and more adorable as time passes. I wish that she could remain at her current age forever but I can't wish that! My daughter Katarina's beauty must be shown to the world. She is the product of my love with Miri and I want to show her off to everyone!

I watched my daughter as she received gifts from our guests, many of which were jewels, expensive accessories, dresses, toys and even dolls from outside the country. Katarina's friends also gave their gifts and my daughter mentioned that she couldn't accept them since they were rather expensive. She'd rather have something simple like gardening tools and seedlings, which made my lovely wife frown.

At least she accepted them as Prince Alan pointed out that this was the only time they would give her such a gift and that she should consider these as mementos instead. I saw Prince Geord's annoyed expression when my daughter heeded Prince Alan's words.

"Happy birthday, Lady Katarina." my nephew spoke as he brought up the small case that he was bringing around with him, "Please accept this gift since this is one of the first products that I've designed and commissioned to be created."

The case clicked and he opened it in front of my daughter. Myself, my wife and Keith peered on what was the content of the case.

It was a pair of odd, sleek and polished pen-like objects gilded in brass that had Katarina's name and the Claes emblem engraved on it. The wooden body has multiple elaborate carvings of flowers and seems to be dipped in a liquid that makes it shine when light is directed on it. They were laid in its red velvety container specifically made to contain them. There are multiple small bottles that contain ink of different colors in them and a small funnel that might be used to fill these odd pens. There's also a small book inside it and five large metal needles that have odd tips on them.

It looks like something that should be given to the head of the household but for my nephew to give such a thing to my daughter. Could it be that he holds her in high regard or...

My daughter's eyes widened when she saw the contents inside it.

"Lady Katarina, please pick one up and twist it gently." Edwin instructed my daughter who did what he said.

When she did so, the odd tip that I saw from the metal needles that appeared from the end of the pen.

"Lord Edwin, do you have a piece of paper that I can use?" what an odd request for my daughter to make from my nephew.

"Sure." Edwin pulled out a small notepad from his pockets and presented it to my daughter while he still held the case, "Do test it out."

My daughter did so and I saw that it was not only a pen but also the kind that doesn't need to be dipped inside an ink well and writes faster than anything that I've ever seen. There was no spillage, no holding off for a few minutes to let the ink dry, no accidents on the tip. My daughter wrote lines after lines and this odd pen seems to never run out of ink at all.

"I call it the ballpoint pen, Lady Katarina." Edwin answered with a smile to Lady Katarina as she finished writing on the notepad, "It's a neat writing device that I've made in order to waste less ink and even allow faster writing. I've also thrown in different varieties of ink and ballpoint tips with ink reservoir that you could fill with the ink color of your choice as well."

"Uwaah… this is amazing, Lord Edwin!" she raised the pen up and for everyone to see. It was not only a simple tool but also an effective and efficient one at that, "Thank you for this gift, Lord Edwin! I'll be sure to take good care of it!"

"You're welcome. If you need it to be replaced, repaired or in need of another pen though, you can send me a letter for an order as well." my nephew added in a pleasant tone that reminded me of a merchant.

The crowd began to talk with each other about what Edwin just said. My nephew seems to not only give a very useful and beautifully made gift to my daughter and at the same time, showcased his product that I'm sure that he intends to sell. I can hear interests from others who saw him present his gift to my daughter and demonstrated its use. Some who decided to see the gift were quite amazed at the amount of craftsmanship that was seen on such a small item.

My wife is rather intrigued with what our nephew did while Keith looked a bit annoyed. I'm not quite sure why he looks annoyed though.

Then I stared at my daughter and she seems to be shaking hands with Edwin and thanking him for giving her his present. She also swore that she will take care of the pens that he gave to her and will not let them break apart.

-0-0-0-0-0-

Okay, that little presentation tired me out.

The moment I got back to my seat with Lady Grimelda, others began to approach me and ask how much a commission for the ballpoint pens would cost them and if I was planning on selling the schematics of it from some of the Merchant Barons attending the party. I saw my parent's table being swarmed by nobles too and both my Mother and Father are doing their best declining the claims that they were the ones who made the pens.

Once I finished answering the questions by letting them know that they could just send me a letter of order if they wanted one, my new acquaintances asked me about what I just gifted and were curious about the fact that I've said that it was the first of the products that I'm making. I told them that it was my personal secret and that they will see it in the near future. Lady Grimelda said that I better make good with my promise since she expects great things from me.

I slumped on my chair as I took a sip of water that one of the servers gave to me when I asked for it. Lady Grimelda told me to sit up as my posture is bad and a disgrace and so I did to keep her happy and not nagging at me. Still, I really want to go home after this but I remembered that I still have a deal that I need to honor with Katarina, which is the one where we trade info about our farming techniques.

"Excuse me…" I heard a familiar voice.

I looked at the direction of the voice and saw Prince Geord, standing on the side and caused me to be shocked at how he appeared. Lady Marsha seems to be in a shock too, probably due to her ex-crush approaching our table.

"Are you perhaps Edwin Aldus Florencia?" the future sadistic prince asked me while smiling at me.

I can tell that he's not happy with me thanks to how I got a bit intimate with Katarina.

"Yes, that would be me, Prince Geord Stuart. How can I be of assistance?" I did not flinch or show any signs of intimidation in front of the prince.

"Nothing much, I would like to say that I am pleased to have finally met you, good sir…" he held his hand up and seemed to invite me to shake hands with him.

"Likewise, your highness. It's a pleasure to finally meet someone as illustrious as you are." I smiled and took him up to the offer to shake on it using my other hand.

Once both our hands came into contact with each other, I felt Geord's grip tighten in the attempts to make me wince while shaking it. I saw the intrigued faces of my new acquaintances who are clearly seeing the Prince trying to make me feel uncomfortable with his grip. I did not show any hints that I'm in pain as he tried to make me feel pain and kept an unfazed expression and even smiled at him, ignoring his rather sloppy attempts to crush my hand.

"Hey Geord, you can let go of his hand now, I don't think that his hand should take a shade of blue." Prince Alan came to Prince Geord's side and told him to pretty much stop.

"What? Ah, apologies Sir Edwin. I only wanted to show to you how much I appreciated meeting you for the first time, please forgive me if my grip was a bit too much for you." The Third Prince did not break his smile but despite him acting cordial, this little shit's probably planning on how to undercut me on the race to Katarina's attention and affection.

I looked at the table as my hand regained some color and saw how utterly pissed Mary was. Sophia looked like she was going to blow a gasket and Nicol is just staring at me. Keith was glaring daggers from afar and at the family table, not happy with me at all. I can tell that this is the beginning of a really odd acquaintanceship with Katarina's harem.