TLN: Changing ‘scholarship student’ to ‘honor student’ since it sounds less stiff.
Also, to people wondering about some of the names and why a few of them are spelt differently than how they normally would, it’s because that’s how the official website spells them: http://micromagazine.net/gcn/mobuseka/
There’s a class about manners for a tea ceremony.
The teacher of the class was a gentleman with a neatly-ordered mustache who felt like a male instructor. He was an instructor that wore a suit over his slim body and straightened his back.
Right now there’s a table placed in the classroom, with sweets and tea laid out.
It seems he’s teaching us how to use utensils.
“Ready? When you invite a woman to a tea ceremony, you need to think about how you appear. From your behavior and up to what kind of education you received, your partner will see through into what kind of person you are. If you properly welcome a woman, she will think of you in high favor.”
The boys sat silently in the classroom while studying the mannerisms.
My father said that he also studied tea ceremony manners under that mustached man, but forgot about them when he graduated. Indeed, it’s possible that one’s behavior in their usual life may be looked into, but would one’s partner look that far?
In any case, women partners are people that walk along with their sub-race slaves, their lovers, as if to flaunt them. I’d like to tell them that they should be the ones paying more attention to their regular behavior.
“Hey, Mister Leon! Please take these lessons with more tenacity!”
As I responded to his warning, I heard the laughter and chuckles of my surroundings. The ones laughing are the heirs from rich noble houses or from the royal court.
“He’s a country bumpkin, after all.”
“He gets all prideful just because he accomplished a small achievement.”
“A savage like him may be cut out for being an adventurer, but not for this place.”
The instructor straightened his back and continued the lesson.
“The first thing that matters in the tea ceremony is the entire atmosphere. First of all, I’ve gathered utensils. It is out of the question to hold up a vacant room! Be very particular about each and every utensil, and then invite the girl into your specialized room. However, remember that the spot where you’re preparing your tea ceremony is not below third-rate.”
Is there even a meaning to trivial lessons like this one? While thinking that there wouldn’t be a use for them after graduation, the instructor seemed to have seen through me.
“Mister Leon…it seems you don’t understand. Well then, let’s put it into practice.”
Being called up, it seemed as if I was a guest to be entertained.
It’s not a big deal anyways.
I, who doesn’t have an interest in tea or things of that sort, was wondering what significance there was in things like expensive tea leaves. I think that even the cheap ones are fine.
I did my best to make a reply that seemed as if I was impressed on the outside, while mocking on the inside.
“Wow~, how enjoyable.”
Perhaps getting motivated, the instructor adjusted his collar.
“Well, do enjoy yourself.”
The instructor made a smile.
He did best to boast about pricey tea leaves and sweets. I laughed on the inside while being impressed on the outside.
At least I thought as such──
──After the lessons were over.
When he left the classroom, I hurried after the instructor while calling out.
“Teacher! I’m deeply moved!”
Holding his head high, the instructor stroked his mustache in pride while looking back.
What a spectacle.
A gentleman even when looking backwards.
“Mister Leon, it seems you understand.”
I’m ashamed of my past self.
“Right! I had made light of tea. No, I was looking down on it. I am dreadfully embarrassed of that. I have deeply reflected on it now. I want to hold a perfect tea ceremony like you, teacher!”
The instructor nodded with a smile.
“Very good. However, you’re mistaken.”
The instructor turned around to face me, then placed his right hand on his chest.
Each and every one of his movements seemed so tantalizingly gentlemanly.
“The important thing is to welcome them. Furthermore, I’m only halfway there. Even to this day, I cannot provide a fully satisfying hospitality yet.”
“I, I see. Even you’re not perfect, teacher?”
The instructor nodded.
“Yes, that is so. I too am aiming for that time, that moment where I reach the best hospitality, but I still haven’t arrived at that state. However, I can teach the basics. Mister Leon, how about we traverse the path of tea together?”
“Of course! Teacher──no, Mentor!”
As the instructor──no wait, my mentor and I were talking with a smile, I heard the voices of Daniel and Raymond from behind.
“…Did Leon hit his head?”
“Who knows? Well, it’s fine as long as he isn’t hopeless, right?”
It was the May tea ceremony.
I got an answer from the person I sent an invitation to, so I borrowed a room to prepare in response.
There are several rooms dedicated to private tea ceremony use within the academy, and it’s normal for students to borrow them and provide hospitality there.
I originally wanted to borrow a full-scale room, but they were all full at this point in time, so I didn’t get to rent one.
I had a set of utensils, tea, and sweets.
I gathered these in accordance to what I consulted about with my mentor, I carefully made preparations from cleaning the room to changing the layout, and now all that’s left is for the girl I invited to come.
Luxon floated in the center of the room, checking the interior design.
[Remarkably elaborate. I would not think that this would come from my master that had tried rushing a merchant to finish business a couple weeks ago.]
“How annoying. If there’s something you notice too, then do say it.”
After having done one final look around, I took out my pocket watch and checked the time.
The girl I invited should come in just ten more minutes.
The one I invited was the second daughter of a baron household.
[I cannot understand this world. Is it not optimal to choose a partner based on the most suitable genetic information?]
“That’s impossible since there’s nobody that can check someone’s genes.”
[Then I have nothing to say.]
Right as Luxon finished talking, the girl had arrived.
“Thank you for com…ing?”
The girl took a very light attitude. That’s not something to particularly be surprised about, but behind her were two carelessly laughing girls whom I hadn’t invited.
“Ah, friends. Let’s kill some time while we’re here. I was invited to a large tea ceremony by an earl from afar, but it isn’t time to depart there yet.”
A tea ceremony hosted by a prestigious noble heir would already be at the scale of a party. It seems they wanted to kill time while their carriage to the venue was being prepared.
“I, is that so? Well then, when are you departing?”
“In about thirty minutes. We talked about how we had a little spare time left, then I remembered that I had replied to a tea ceremony invitation and said I would go.”
The other two sat as they pleased on the seats I had prepared.
They began eating the sweets I had brought.
“Oh, I’ve also prepared some tea.”
The three surrounded the table, leaving no place for me to sit. They then got excited talking about the tea ceremony they’re heading towards, and ordered me to make more tea or supply more sweets like I was a servant.
When the time came, the three left the room leaving the food scattered around without even a word of thanks.
“Well, I’m tired~. The sweets were good, but girls won’t be pleased if you don’t buy more expensive ones. Pay attention next time.”
Perhaps thinking that she actually gave me advice, the girl left acting as if she had said something good in the end. The three were in high spirits while heading to the tea ceremony they were actually looking forward to.
I dropped my shoulders.
“Those sweets that I bought were made just today at the store. They had a hefty cost, and yet she said to get more expensive ones…”
When seeing the table being dirtied from the food scattered around, I stared up into the ceiling.
“…Mentor, the way of tea is still a very steep road.”
While putting everything away with feelings of frustration as if I was about to cry, I heard a voice outside. It was a quarrel amongst several schoolgirls.
“…You don’t belong here!”
“B, but, my invitation──”
“That’s where you’re supposed make the smart move, commoner!”
I heard the sound of footsteps.
Several schoolgirls said things like “Let’s hurry and go, the carriage is about to leave,” and left. I peeked from the room under the guess that the so-called commoner from just a bit ago was the protagonist.
I was expecting the person there to be someone with an aura that could definitely compete with that of her rival Anjelica──but the girl sitting down in the hallway betrayed my expectations.
There was the figure of an ordinary girl with light brown, medium hair that had a bob cut, and she held no spirit or aura.
She had greenish-blue eyes and had a gentle look, making her a complete opposite of Anjelica. She was a modest girl.
She was a beauty, but…an ordinary child.
“Is she the type that shines when she gets polished? Even so, she’s more modest than I thought.”
In the hallway was an abandoned, ripped apart invitation.
Luxon, who had been forced to act like an ornament for a while now, placed itself onto my shoulder and looked at the situation.
[…Is this what bullying is? It’s due to her being an honor student, but not a noble, isn’t it. Many students at this academy cannot accept that an ordinary person had been admitted.]
“Well, it’s pretty much like that. However, something about her seems… too ordinary.”
Looking at her being gloomy while gathering the torn pieces of the invitation, I turned my gaze towards the room.
“Perhaps I can still invite one more person in here?”
I voiced out loud about how the remaining sweets and tea leaves could support one more person. I couldn’t leave that lonely figure behind me alone.
“Hey, you over there! Have some tea!”
I tried calling out to her in a light mood, almost like that of a playboy.
The girl, who was the protagonist, raised her head and made a bit of a surprised face when seeing me.