Ascendance of a Bookworm Chapter 105: I Need Wilma’s Help (2)
Proofread by Ruriko
My face turns pale. If something happens to my mother and the baby, I don’t think I could control myself.
“I think it good to make a new product in Maine’s Workshop. Though it seems not to be a problem, please do not mention the brother or sister relationships. Topics like giving birth are not so welcome here.”
Pursing my lips, I imagine the flower offering (girls to be offered as mistresses to the nobles) and the future of gray-robed priestesses who would have a baby. My buoyant mood is destroyed, since this makes me calm down a little.
Maybe Fran is trying to cheer me up, he changes the topic.
“Will there be plenty of pictures in the new book Miss Maine wants to make? So, have you decided to ask Wilma for help finally?”
“Yes, that’s right. So I want to ask the Head Priest whether I could take Wilma as assistant…”
After hearing my words, Fran frowns for a while, and then he says, “That’s right. It would be better to ask the Head Priest first for permission.”
Because I wrote a letter to the Head Priest for permission, I request Fran to help me arrange a proper time to meet Head Priest.
After the Head Priest comes into his office, he glances at the letter, and then looks at me, asking, “What do you need? If you can tell me briefly, I’ll listen now.”
“Sir, I want need Wilma’s help!”
I try my best to make my request brief, but the Head Priest rubs his temples.
“… What do you mean? I can’t follow you at all. Please give me your explanation.”
“I need Wilma’s help. The gentle and lovely Wilma. She is good at drawing, and is kind to children.”
I do my best to describe Wilma, but it seems that the Head Priest still cannot understand me. His confused eyes turn to Fran.
“…She wants to take Wilma as assistant.”
Fran understands what the Head Priest means when his named is called. So he explains promptly.
“Wilma used to be an attendant of Miss Christine. She is a gray-robed priestess who is good at painting.
“Oh, she wants a priestess apprentice who likes art… So, isn’t a music-related apprentice better for her artistic cultivation? We have a virtuoso of harp, right?”
“Do you refer to Rosina?”
“Yes, you can take her as your assistant.”
When I am quietly listening to their conversation, the topic is changing from Wilma to Rosina. I immediately stand between Fran and the Head Priest.
“Sir, for me, Wilma is more important, compared with Rosina.”
“What you need now is artistic achievement, right?”
“I need a painter. I can’t make a picture book by music.”
“What’s a picture book?”
It’s the umpteenth time I have been asked about this question. “It’s a book for children, with a lot of pictures,” I make the same reply. Books are written for the nobles in this world. Is there any book for children, like picture books?
But the Head Priest frowns and looks at me.
“…What’s the book for children? It’s weird.”
“Even in the noble families, there wouldn’t be such a thing, right?”
“Book itself is expensive, so it’s weird to make such a book for children who don’t even know how to handle a book, right? If it’s a book for study, I think the one with systematic knowledge is better. What do you think?”
Apparently, there is no such book for children in this world. Paper is expensive. If you want to write a book, it may be full of letters. There may be some necessary diagrams or graphs for study purpose, but I don’t think there is any book full of illustrations.
Though I know the reason why there is no picture book for children only in my way, the Head Priest seems to be able to understand it somehow.
“Well, ok. I see. You want to make a picture book, so you need to ask a painter for help. But what you need is artistic cultivation.
So, please take Rosina as assistant also, not only Wilma.
“… I don’t want unnecessary things.”
The Head Priest squints his eyes, gazing at me. But I don’t need two assistants.
“Even if Rosina becomes my assistant, I don’t have any musical instrument. Is there any fest for which players have to buy expensive musical instruments? I’ve been disdained as a commoner. Is there any chance for me to play musical instruments for those nobles?”
I’m not very interested in music. Though I also like listening to the music, I haven’t thought about playing an instrument. I know giving an instrumental performance is very cool, but I really prefer to read in the time needed for practice.
The musical instruments are too expensive, and I have no intention to practice. To tell the truth, both money and time it needs are a waste for me.
“I haven’t prepared any money for the expensive musical instruments, so I don’t think it necessary for me to learn music.”
“I see. It’s true. If you have no musical instrument, you cannot practice.”
In the meantime, the Head Priest nods as if he has understood. Now that the Head Priest has agreed that I take Wilma as my assistant, I am satisfied and leave his office.
“Then, Fran. Let’s go to the orphanage this afternoon to make sure whether Wilma agrees or not.”
“Agree or not? She will go to serve you, won’t she?”
Hearing my words, Fran blinks at me in confusion.
“… I’m a commoner. Maybe Wilma does not want to be my assistant.
Originally, Fran and Delia were ordered to be my attendants, though neither of the two was the attendant I wished. Not long before, I heard the complaints about serving a commoner.
Though I tried my best this time, if people are discontented with their jobs, they will bring negative effects on others. If Wilma does not want to work as my assistant, then I won’t force her. Thus there would be no problem to ask her for helping me make picture books. Even though, I am still worried whether Wilma would serve others.
In the afternoon, I go to the orphanage to visit Wilma. Because Fran is with me, we can only enter the dining hall, we talk there.
Wilma’s beautiful brown eyes always narrow. She talked with me few days ago about the orphans and the things insufficient in the orphanage. When Wilma sees Fran and me, she looks a little bit worried.
“Miss Maine, what do we talk about?”
“Wilma, would you like to be my assistant? This is not an order. I just want to confirm that. So it doesn’t matter if you refuse me.
Hearing my words, Wilma looks around, and after a light sigh, she casts her eyes down.
“… I really appreciate it, but please allow me to say no. Instead of me, please choose Rosina.”
“Still because I am a commoner?”
“No! It’s not like that.”
Wilma shakes her head furiously. And after catching a glimpse of Fran, she averts her gaze from him embarrassedly. She frowns, as if it is very difficult to explain, then she says, “… I used to be cheated by a blue-robed priest, and followed him to go out for flower offering. My master Christine noticed my absence, she helped to me back on safe ground. But from that day on, it becomes difficult for me to communicate with gentlemen. So if I work at your house where gentlemen come in and out…”
The rooms of blue-robed priestess in noble areas, different from the orphanage director’s office, are completely separated from rooms of gray-robed priests. So Wilma herself need not communicate with those priests, and can live a tranquil life.
But in my house, rooms on the first floor and the second floor are prepared for males and females separately.
However, people have to pass the first floor when they go out. Besides, if they want to see the cooks, they can also see the guests, like Benno. A grey-robed priest like Fran can go upstairs as freely as he can.
“If this is an order, I will obey it. But if you ask my opinion, I will say I want to live in this females’ house of the orphanage, as always. Because only children and females live here.”
It seems that she does not want to change the current condition. I know Wilma’s opinion, but there are things I cannot understand.
“You live in the orphanage, so you will become the target of flower offering, right?”
“No blue-robed priest will pay attention to unimpressive girls like me.”
With the neat and plain hair style, maybe she is doing her best not to cause more attention. However, her distinct golden hair was eye-catching, and her relaxed smile and beauty fail to be hidden in her plain clothes. Wilma is just like a saintess, taking care of children. I don’t think staying here will be the reason that any blue-robed priest does not notice her.
“In my eyes, Wilma who loves the children is very attractive.”
“That’s because you are a girl, and still young.”
While I am approaching Wilma who smiles in a shy way for my praise, I feel myself like an amorous blue-robed priest who is going to lead her away.
“Well, Wilma. If I ask the Head Priest to let you live here when you work as my assistant only, will you be my assistant?”
“… I could not ask for more. Why do you do so much for me?”
Wilma looks at me unbelievably, tilting her head to the side.
“Because from this day on, I want to make books with lots of pictures for children. You are good at painting. I really need your help. ”
“So, it’ll be easy if you give me an order …”
“I don’t hope you work unwillingly.”
I myself do not like someone to order me. If an attendant lived in her master’s house, all the affairs would become her work. Then there must be something unhappy, and problems will occur.
“Thank you very much, Miss Maine. If I needn’t leave the orphanage, I will work merrily to assist you,” she says, giggling.
In order to protect this delighted face, I will do anything to persuade the Head Priest.