Ascendance of a Bookworm Chapter 108: Why Do I Need Artistic Cultivation (2)
Proofread by Ruriko
“… Well, I don’t mean to get married from the very beginning. So, there will be no problem, right?”
The Head Priest widens his eyes with surprise. But I confess that I have given up marriage and giving birth from the very beginning.
When I was Urano Motosu, this was still a question in the far future for me, so I was not so pessimistic. If I devote myself to making books, time is very precious and life would seem quite short.
“As you know, my body is weak. No one wants to marry a woman who cannot work steadily and often have a fever. I will be a burden to my partner, won’t I?” I explain.
In the slum area, the first requirement for a good daughter-in-law is she shall be healthy and strong. And she should always be good-tempered and diligent. Though I’m adept at sewing, and have a good-looking appearance, but I am excluded from the candidate for the bride according to the first requirement.
“… That’s the case in the Civilian Area. The situation of the nobles is different,” says the Head Priest.
“Children’s mana is strongly affected by their mother. Your mana is so strong that it is beyond imagination. The number of the nobles is less than before. When you are old enough, many nobles will want to marry you in order to balance their mana. It will cost a lot if they adopt you now and raise you. Because you are so weak and they don’t know when you will die, they leave you alone in the temple. It is impossible for you to get rid of the families of all the blue-robed priests.”
That is to say, now I am like a livestock waiting to be fertilized. I am observed by everyone, while I know nothing about it at all. This upsets me. There are tens of blue-robed priests. If their parents’ houses will send people to catch me, how many nobles will come for me?
“The nobles of lower class are not able to balance their mana by you, so they might use you as a tool to get related with the nobles of higher class,” he continues. “Then, you will be treated as a tool for giving birth. As a blue-robed priestess, you can also train yourself to behave like the nobles to get and guarantee the higher class position. As a result, your life will be changed a lot. So, get your artistic cultivation for your self-defense.”
My body shivers. I have never thought about such a future.
Once, Mr. Benno said to me that I would be driven out of the temple as the number of nobles would grow again in about five years. I think I can leave the temple at that time. I don’t want to leave my families. If there is no noble who wants to marry me, I am going to escape and prolong lifespan by using the tau fruit.
I have not expected that I will be chosen by the nobles as an ideal mother.
“… I see. I will also take Rosina, and do my best to improve my artistic cultivation.”
As the Head Priest puts the magic tool on the table, I also put mine, and silently return it to him.
“Then, Sir. Please give me a demo.”
“How far shall I do in artistic cultivation of the nobles? Please let me know.”
Then, I show him the musical instruments, and plead with the Head Priest to play a song. The Head Priest puts the magic tool back to his pocket with a sigh.
“Fran, fetch the Fespiel.”
The large and small instruments displayed in the case are called Fespiel. The large one is for adults and the small one for children.
It was an instrument like a combination of both lute and koto, with a similar shape to Bandura, a Ukrainian instrument. The body is shaped like half of a pear, and the back is slightly curved. The surface board has a hole, like a sound hole of a guitar, but is well decorated. The one for adults is decorated with geometric patterns; the one for children is decorated with a creeping ivy.
It has 50 to 60 strings. The pins for coiling the strings are made of ivory-like materials, embellishing the wooden musical instruments.
The head is a sculptured horse head. I nearly cry out, “A morinhuur!” But nobody knows morinhuur in this world, so I keep silent.
After adjusting the position of the chair, the Head Priest sits down with his legs aligned, and placed Fespiel between the thighs lightly.
While holding the neck with his left hand, he plays the strings with the middle finger of his right hand. The air quivers with a strum, and it sounds like a guitar. When the Head Priest plucks the strings with his right hand like playing a harp, a clear and high-pitched sound comes out and dissolves in the air.
It seems that the tuning is done. The Head Priest is ready for the Fespiel, and slightly drops his eyes. He plays the main melody with right hand, and makes deep sounds with left hand like a bass player.
… It’s wonderful.
The Head Priest moves his long fingers freely, and starts playing a melody that I have never heard. Though it is the first time for me to see this musical instrument, and the first time to hear the melody, I can immediately understand that the Head Priest is a virtuoso. People like troubadours loitering around the east gate are not in the same level as him.
“Clear high sky…”
The Head Priest starts to sing accompanied by the melody. It is a song about the growing plants praising the bless of the sun. The lyrics picture a bright scene of life in summer days.
… The voice of the Head Priest is too beautiful.
I always think the Head Priest is deep-voiced. But when he is singing, his voice is totally different, and is astonishingly dulcet. Indeed, I’ve never heard the melody, but it comes into my ear smoothly. And I’m charmed by it, and filled with rapture.
“Clang…,” with the lingering sound of the last note, I exhale a sigh of admiration, the Head Priest hands the Fespiel to Fran.
“Hmm, something like this. Maine, what do you think?”
“I think that if you sing a love song, plenty girls will run after you.”
“What are you talking about?”
The Head Priest stares at me, and I understand that I should not tell the truth. I promptly cover my long-tongued mouth, and then I change into an indirect expression.
“I’m enchanted by the beautiful sound. … but I think it’s a bit difficult.”
“People don’t get artistic cultivation at once. We need regular practice. Try little by little.”
Suddenly, the Head Priest starts the Fespiel training. There is no possibility to escape from the Head Priest who is enthusiastic about education, so I take the small Fespiel that Fran hands to me.