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Published at 18th of February 2020 05:35:33 AM

Chapter 30

The day of the snow festival .


They rode an old carriage, that could even be called as antique, to Rindou Village which took three hours of travel one way .
Bernard was the one who drove the carriage .
Gigille said she could be the driver, but she tended to ride fastly and they got scared, so he took over in the middle .

The carriage was shaking and running through a road surrounded by trees .

Bernard was driving safely through the forest road . Why was he driving while the servants were inside, he thought sadly .
On the other hand, the others were having fun inside the carriage .

“Agnes-san, this is a popular snack in the city!”
“Isn’t the packaging so cute?”
“Hey! Aren’t you troubling Agnes-san? Don’t talk at the same time!”

Inside the carriage there were lots of goods they were going to sell later . There were only small gaps for people to sit . In addition, because it was an old carriage, it shook too much . Nevertheless, Agnes was enjoying her first outing .

After taking a break every hour, they arrived at the festival venue, Rindou Village .
The village was blessed with rich nature, a lot of tourists would visit during summer . The snow festival was held to bring in guests during the off season at first .

Before getting out of the carriage, they wore the animal masks first .
Carol and Celia envied the adorable cat and bird masks Agnes made .

Once they stepped outside, the scenery was filled with snow everywhere . However the snow was not that deep . Rindou Village was located deep inside the forest, but the snow wasn’t really piling up .

The village was already crowded with people .
Bernard held three boxes containing cookies, and the girls cooperated in carrying the medicine box .
Gigille went to the reception at the village entrance to submit the documents .
The remaining people waited there .

“I’m excited . ”
“I am excited . ”

Carol and Celia were in high spirits . It’s their first snow festival so they were being extra restless . Seeing the twins, Bernard gave them a warning .

“Don’t get lost, you two . ”
“We know . ”
“We’ll be careful . ”

On the other hand, Agnes who wore a cat hat was silent . Although he couldn’t see her face because of the mask, from her gesture he could see she seemed to be overwhelmed by the crowd .
Somehow, he felt it would be dangerous if he left her alone, as he looked on her while putting down his luggage on the ground, a man carrying three piles of boxes walked towards her from behind .

It seemed both of them didn’t notice each other . Bernard pulled her arm and prevented their crash .
Agnes was wondering cluelessly what happened .


“You didn’t seem to notice a person carrying some luggage walking from behind you . ”
“Ah, I’m sorry . Thank you very much . ”
“No, it can’t be helped since you are wearing a mask . ”

In addition to the limited vision because of the mask, Agnes’s eyes were bad . He thought it was a dangerous place .
While he was being cautious on the surroundings, Gigille returned .
She led them to their stall .
The stall was located at a line of shops that was selling miscellaneous goods .
The organizer prepared the tent and display table for the goods . Exhibitors only need to line up their items when they arrive there .
Gigille laid a cloth on the table and put down the cookies and medicines on top .
Fire was strictly prohibited in the venue . Except for food stalls, so they were selling ready-made foods .
Agnes, who was in charge of the display, was surprisingly good .

“You are good, Agnes-san . ”
“Thank you . I’ve been in charge of the display and looking after the stall several times on the orphanage’s bazaar . ”
“Is that so . ”
“Yes . ”

She said that she had been busy with the social gatherings these few years .

“And so, I too am excited like Carol-san and Celia-san . ”
“Then that’s good . ”

After they finished, lastly they put on the fancy signboard in front of their stall .

It was a handmade medicine and herbal cookies shop, “Kitten and Little Bear Pavilion” .

“What the heck with this name . ”
“Isn’t it cute?”

He couldn’t understand Gigille's view on cuteness . Bernard tilted his head .
Carol and Celia put the “Kitten and Little Bear Pavilion” signboard at the storefront .
The cat and bear in the shop name were carved beautifully by Dominic . The passer-by also said that it’s cute .
As it played a big role in attracting customers, Bernard didn’t say anything further than that .

“Now then, let’s do our best . ”

In the midst of the cold, Gigille was totally motivated .
The festival’s games were in the morning .
It was important to make Bernard and Agnes close, but it’s also essential to make profit from selling their items .

“Me and my daughters will stay in the shop during morning, so Master and Agnes-san, please enjoy the festival . ”
“Is that alright?”
“Yes, we’ll enjoy it in the afternoon . ”

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Gigille said the same thing to Bernard, and told him to go out .
The two who wore a bear and cat mask got kicked out soon .
Before leaving to the open area, Bernard looked back to Agnes who was following him, and gave her warning .

“Don’t get separated from me . ”
“Yes . ”

The two unknowingly entered the crowd at the festival .
A variety of items were sold in the general stores located on the same street as their kitten and little bear stall . Soap, candle, handicraft, stationery, and many others .
They couldn’t look closely because it’s crowded .
Bernard turned back to tell Agnes to move to another area, but he couldn’t find her .
He flustered and looked around . Agnes was staggering far behind .
Bernard walked back through the crowd, grabbed Agnes’s arm and moved to a less crowded area .

“T-thank you very much . That, I was wondering how to move forward then I lost sight of Master--”
“No, it’s alright . ”

If they stayed like this, the same thing would happen again when they walk around the festival . Thinking that, Bernard came up with a suggestion .

“You can walk while holding on to my jacket . Otherwise you will be swallowed by the crowd . ”
“Is that fine?”
“Don’t mind it . ”

With that, they proceeded with Agnes holding a basket in one hand, while the other grabbed Bernard’s jacket .

***

The place Agnes and Bernard came to was a street where they sold sweets .
Scones, cookies, chocolates, candies, and others .
The sweet scent flowing around in the air .

“Do you like sweets, Master?”

Bernard was stunned for a moment at Agnes’s question .
He really likes sweets, but he was too embarrassed to say that .
And so, he answered with, “It’s not something I can’t eat” .

Agnes was glad to hear that and smiled as she took a sweet made from almond glazed with light colored sugar .
She just got her payment and she bought that with her own money .
She also bought other things like cake and chocolate .

On their way back, they bought some lunches for everyone .

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What they bought were chocolat chaud and sandwiches with ham and vegetables .
Gigille and the twins were overjoyed because they’ve been keeping the store in cold .
They took turns to eat lunch, and in the afternoon, it was Bernard and Agnes turn to watch over the store .
That said, the items mostly had already been sold .

“Aren’t they almost sold out . ”
“We worked a little too hard . ”
“It doesn’t seem like your main job is a servant . ”
“Right? I myself am surprised that I have this kind of talent . ”

The work during the afternoon was not that much .

Seeing the mother and daughters servants off, Bernard and Agnes sat down on a chair and watched over the shop .

“ . . . . . It’s cold . ”
“It is . ”

While talking like an old married couple, they recommended their products to some passer-by .
In less than thirty minutes, all the items were sold .

“It will be good if we prepare some more-- but, Allen might die . ”
“Looks like it’s hard for him . ”

Even after they sold out, some customers asked where they usually sell them .
They were surprised by the unexpected popularity . For the time being, to avoid suspicion, they only said they were doing it for hobby, and didn’t have any plan on opening a shop .

By the time the people didn’t come anymore, Bernard was hungry .

“I’m hungry . ”
“Should I go buy something?”
“You’ll be lost, so no . ”

Bernard said it’s not to the point she should go buy something . Besides, he already ordered Gigille to buy some snacks . He could endure it for a while .

“Then, this,”

Agnes took out the sugar almond from earlier .

“You bought it for yourself right?”
“No, I’m going to give it to Master . ”

Agnes said, since it was only put inside a paper bag, she intended to tie it with a ribbon when they got home .

“Why me?”

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“I want to thank you… . ”

Since he had no reason to refuse, Bernard accepted it .
He sat with his back facing the main street, and removed the bear hat . He told Agnes to remove her hat too and rest .

He immediately threw the sweet he received into his mouth .

“You don’t eat it too?”
“No . ”
“Is that so . ”

The sweetness of crispy sugar coating, and the pleasant aroma of roasted almond were strangely went well together .
He remembered he ate it long ago, but not often .
He felt like it was a special sweet, but he couldn’t remember .

“Hey, what is this sweet called?”
“It’s dragée . ”
“It’s the first time I heard it . ”
“It is a traditional sweets that’s only served during celebration day . ”
“Ah, so that’s why I rarely eat it . ”

He remembered something . The last time he ate it was at a tea party the day before his eldest brother’s wedding . He even remembered the time his mother said not to eat it too much .

“If I remember correctly, Gigille once said that when I was a child I ate almost everything without much thinking, even weeds . ”
“Uhm, was it wild grass that you ate?”
“Probably so . I think I heard that it was edible from Dominic, but I don’t really remember . ”

Hearing that story, Agnes covered her mouth with her hand and laughed .
So she could laugh like that too, Bernard absentmindedly looked at her, but as their eyes met each other he turned away his gaze .

“Setting aside wild grass, I think dragée is not something you would eat too much . ”
“Mother too, if she told me that first it would be good… . . ”

Bernard was around seven or eight years old that time, he had a good appetite .
As he talked about his childhood, he threw another dragée into his mouth .

“What’s the meaning of dragée?”
“ . . . . . May your seed of happiness sprout . ”

Bernard looked at Agnes’s face without thinking .
Once their eyes met he looked away and his cheek grew hot out of shyness .

At that moment, he felt a strange feeling, like he was falling into a bottomless pit .
The man who didn’t know what love is, was unaware of that .

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