Drawn Mochi Volume 5 Chapter 7.1: A Stormy Competition*1

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 After our excursion in the Royal Capital was over, we decided to go back to the forest.


 You see, I could have stayed anywhere at any time, but Fay couldn’t, and he had to report to his father.


 So, we went back to the forest in Redgarde territory and had a strategy meeting there.



 The meeting room is at my house. The drink is tea, a souvenir from the Royal Capital. The tea is fairy cookies and madeleines. I’m not going to eat candy in a jar until I draw one.


 We start talking as I watch the fairies who have migrated from the city greet the forest fairies at the edge of my desk.



“Well… it might be best if I or my dad or brother talk to the Brompas. Lila herself said we should do that.” (Fay)



 Yeah. She herself was aiming to enter the competition in her current state, and I guess that means she doesn’t want to give up. Then, I’m sorry, but I guess I’ll have to ask the nobles to discuss it with each other.



“Fay, sorry.” (Tougo)


“No, this isn’t Tougo’s fault. It can’t be helped. It was a disaster. Yeah. Well, I was surprised that you didn’t have her withdraw her entry from the competition.” (Fay)


“Sorry.” (Tougo)



I’m sorry. Fay forgave me for that, but I don’t know if he would have if it wasn’t me.



“Isn’t that okay? Tougo, you’re probably interested in her, aren’t you?” (Croix)



 However, Ms. Croix said it with a wry smile.



“Ever since we went to the museum, you’ve been wearing this cloudy expression on your face.” (Croix)


“……Yep.” (Tougo)



 The girl named Laila said that the museum’s paintings are “just a gallery of names”. She said that in this country, only painters who are favored by the aristocracy are appreciated.


 What I felt at the museum was probably a sense of discomfort about that.


 It is not satisfactory to me that the nameplate of a painting is more valuable than the painting itself. …I think it’s a good idea to have a name plate on the picture rather than the just painting itself…


 So, I wanted her to make a submission just like before. I wanted to see clearly whether the name was relevant or not.


 In the first place, that painting was too wonderful to take down. Yep.



“Well, I will hope Fay to do his best in the negotiations.” (Croix)


“Oh, well, I guess that’s expected… I’ll do my best though. Yeah.” (Fay)



…However, because of that, I caused trouble to Fay and the others.



“Sorry…” (Tougo)


“No, I said it’s fine. I’m also a little concerned about the standards for exhibits at that museum.” (Fay)



 However, just after Fay laughed and said that… He suddenly looked a little gloomy.



“If Tougo had not come here, I would have stayed in that museum without questioning it. …I shudder to think that I would still be alive, pretending, ‘Oh, these are wonderful things.’” (Fay)



 I see. Fay is also an aristocrat.


 …No, Fay is an aristocrat ‘and yet’ he’s talking to me like this now, and he’s being moved by me, but…



“When I saw your painting, I thought for the firs time, ‘That’s the kind of painting I like!’ I was like that. I’ve never had the luxury of looking at a painting and thinking it’s beautiful, you know? I even started to question the Royal Art Museum. This is not a bad thing, right? Probably.” (Fay)



 Yeah… Probably.


 I know people say that sometimes it’s better not to know, but I think you should know as much as you can.


 I remember Teacher once said, “A person who doesn’t know a lot of things is just not unhappy, and not knowing unhappiness is never happiness.” That was why he told me to know everything and then make my own decisions and walk toward happiness. He also said that knowing is increasing possibilities… and it is the duty of adults to not deprive children of those possibilities as much as they can.


 …I’m very, very happy to hear that Fay feels similarly.



“Besides, if you painted something outrageous at a competition or something like that, you won’t have to go easy… Isn’t that what Ms. Croix is aiming for?” (Fay)


“Hehe. Well, I was kind of aiming for it.” (Tougo)



 Then, Fay smiled wryly, and Ms. Croix smiled boldly.


 …eh? You were aiming for? What?



“It’s boring to handle things covertly. If we’re going to do it anyway, let’s do it thoroughly. Let’s do it thoroughly so that the fourth and fifth Tougo won’t appear.” (Croix)



 …Ms. Croix seems so lively.



“In that sense, it’s easy for the opponent to come out to the competition, which is a very conspicuous and irrevocable event. There’s nowhere for them to run.” (Fay)



 Then, Fay and Ms. Croix were discussing something, but I couldn’t really understand the details.


 However, I… I can’t help but feel anxious.



“I wonder what will happen to that girl.” (Tougo)



 And when I murmured that, both Fay and Ms. Croix looked at me with a puzzled look, and then each of them answered,



“Well, I guess it depends on the Brompa family. The Brompas are most likely going to claim that the painter only came to them under the name Tougo Uezora and that they were just tricked, then they should just get rid of that girl named Lila. It might end up being the conclusion.” (Fay)


“I’m not going to let that happen, though. Looking at this girl named Lila, I can’t believe that the Brompa family doesn’t know anything about it.” (Croix)



 …I see. Hmm, that girl is going to be in a bad position. That’s right, yeah…


 Personally, I feel a little sad that she would no longer be able to paint. I really like the painting of the stormy forest she painted.


 But I’m sure she’s using my name, and that’s bad… then I guess I’ll have to “get rid” of her.





“…I mean, usually you don’t want to bring trouble with your employer. I don’t care how many meetings they have with the Brompas, that thing last night was more like an active attempt to bring trouble to the Brompas. The way she was acting, and the fact that she was trying to get me to go to the Brompas’ house.” (Fay)



 Meanwhile, Fay said something like that.



“I guess that means there is something going on in the shadows. And the other side is actively trying to show us that.” (Laocles)



 Laocles said so and nodded. Apparently, there’s something about the girl named Lila.



“So, is she on bad terms with the Brompa family?” (Tougo)



 When I said that Ms. Croix laughed. …You don’t have to laugh.



“Well, regardless of whether Lila and the Brompa family are on bad terms or not, there may be something behind it, or rather, that may be the purpose.” (Croix)



 Ms. Croix said so while elegantly picking up a fairy cookie. …I wonder if the purpose is to get them in trouble. While I was thinking about it, Ms. Croix swallowed the cookie and said softly in a whisper.




“…That’s right. Maybe her purpose is to have the Redgarde Family punish the Brompa family.” (Croix)



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