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Chapter 013 – Dear Tenma, I Am Now Seven Years Old III
“Whether I have noble grace or not, I think we can find out once we start talking about it… Al?”
As Sophie looked sideways, she found that the escort, who usually talked a lot, was staring at the harvest on top of the soil. It was everyone’s food for today that was dug up by Bart.
“The harvest is very poor.”
Al pointed out both the small yield and the small size of the harvest. Perhaps because Al was an adult who dressed as an escort, Bart checked his early cheekiness and answered him.
“Yes, it’s been like this for a few years. The harvest used to be plump though.”
“It’s already been a few years? Did you plant the same thing all the time?”
To Sophie’s question, Bart nodded.
“That caused a continuous cropping disaster.”
“If you continue to grow the same crop on the cultivated land, the soil will be weakened and the yield will drop. The leaves here also withered, haven’t they?”
“Yes, they’ve withered.”
Although the leaves were still green, they were withered at the spot where Bart pointed to.
“I think you can either not continue to plant the same crop in the same spot, or give some nutrients to the soil.”
“But this is the only land that can be farmed, and only Gururu can be cultivated here. Also, what is a nutrient?”
The land of the orphanage was certainly small. The cultivated land was only the size of a rural vegetable garden, and the only crop that could be cultivated there was potato-like vegetable known as Gururu.
Although there was the fact that it wasn’t possible climatically, there was also the fact they had no money to buy any other seeds or fertilizer to nourish the soil.
“I’ll ask Otou-sama if there’s a place to rent for cultivation. There were also some crops I wanted to grow eventually. I also need to consider the fertilizer.”
As Sophie put her finger on her lips, she felt a strong gaze as she spoke out her thoughts earlier. When she looked up, she found that Al was staring at her.
“Sophie-sama is really knowledgeable. I wish Rio-sama could also learn from you.”
“Oi, don’t casually insult me there.”
The atmosphere changed to the usual exchange of the two, ending Al’s seemingly observant gaze toward Sophie. Although Sophie felt a little strange, she turned to face Bart.
“Once I have more cultivated land, please help me then, Bart.”
“Okay, but don’t say difficult words to me. Like that, conti…nuous? I can help you with menial work, but I can’t understand what Sophie is saying. Eric seems to be interested in such a thing, so tell him the difficult stuff instead.”
“You’re right. I’ll tell Eric about it.”
Eric was a boy who was two years younger than Bart. He was always silent and not the type who took initiative in conversations, but he tended to listen well. Despite being unable to write words, he was able to commit Sophie’s every word in his mind and never forget it, which was a talent on its own.
“Also, please give this to Sunny.”
She passed over a cloth bag. There was a picture book inside, which was a children’s book for those who could neither write nor read.
Sunny was Bart’s younger sister and she was a year older than Sophie, but she also couldn’t write or read, like Eric. Since she said she wanted to learn to do so, Sophie gave them the children picture book she used to use.
“She is out with the director, but I think they’ll return in a while.”
“I only came to give this today, so I’ll come again tomorrow.”
As she said her goodbyes and was about to return to the carriage, Bart called out to Sophie to wait.
“What is it?”
“I thought you wouldn’t come today, and I can only give you a flower that grows around here, but congratulations.”
Bart said so and took out a lovely flower for Sophie. Although he said it bluntly, his sincerity was conveyed, and Sophie received it with a smile.
“Well, thank you! I will place it in my room. I’ll make it into a pressed flower and turn it into a bookmark.”
To such concrete words, Bart smiled in relief.
Sophie thought inwardly, “Aah, I wonder if I could have given a flower with a smile during my time as Tasuku, perhaps I could have had a lovely girlfriend then…” and felt a slight envy toward Bart.
As Sophie held the flower carefully with both hands, Rio asked about it on the way back to the carriage.
“What’s with that flower?”
His expression was not amused.
“It’s a birthday present.”
“I told you, Bart gave me this as a birthday present.”
Sophie got into the carriage, leaving the stunned Rio behind. Then Rio got into the carriage with great momentum.
“You-your birthday is today?!”
“No, my birthday was yesterday.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“We just met after a while, when would I have had the chance to tell you?”
“That’s… but you could have just told me about it when we just met earlier!”
“I wasn’t that desperate to force you to congratulate me at the first opportunity.”
As she continued with “That’s rude,” Rio shouted with a pale expression.
“Is there something, anything I can give as a present…!”
As Rio was about to tell the coachman to drive toward the tailor, hat shop, or shoe shop, Sophie stopped him. She already got clothes, a hat, and shoes as presents from her father. There was no need to have more of them.
“Rio, I don’t need anything. Rather than that, please celebrate it with me again next year.”
As she continued with “It’s enough for you to say congratulations to me,” Rio looked at Sophie as if the burden haunting him was lifted.
Then, he slowly gave Sophie his cherished congratulations. With a third party there, Al, whose number of words was restricted, also congratulated her with a smile.
Once they entered the carriage with no third party in sight, Al began to happily find faults in Rio’s skill as a gentleman to please women.
Since Sophie was aware that she was the cause, she felt a little sorry for Rio, who was being lectured by Al, but since she thought it was something necessary for his future, Sophie hardened her heart and chose to keep her silence.
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