The Happenings Over a Picture
This story takes place at Sieg’s family’s place.
From the morning, I helped father-in-law in organising his library.
Apparently this room was to be given to the eldest son.
We packed books from the bookshelves into boxes. Most are to be donated to a library.
Mother-in-law said that the cleaning should have been left to servants, but father-in-law said that he’ll do it himself because of personal belongings.
While I was struggling to arrange the books, father-in-law who was working a little ways away suddenly burst into laughter.
When I wondered what it might be, he said that he found something amazing and beckoned me over.
“What is it?”
When I approached, there was something like a large album in his hand.
The cover was smooth leather and did not have anything written on it.
When he opened it, there was a picture of a gallant young red-haired officer.
Wearing white uniforms and a sharp expression, the figure could only be expressed as handsome.
The age is around in the late teens. He was holding a hat in one hand and sitting in a chair.
He was handsome enough for someone to fall in love with him at first sight.
Father-in-law asked if I could guess who it is with a trembling voice.
As I thought!!
No, I felt that it was Sieg at first sight.
Compared to when I first met her, her hair is shorter and her eyes are quite sharp.
When I asked, he replied that it was from a little more than a decade ago.
“What do you think?”
“She must have been very popular with women.”
When I said that, father-in-law burst into laughter.
“Ritzhard-kun, can you guess what the picture was for?”
I wonder? Let’s watch over our healthy daughter! Would it be that?
Sieg in the picture felt a little prickly and hard to approach.
However, I somewhat liked it. I thought that it would have been nice to meet her back then.
I pondered about the purpose of the picture, but they were all wrong guesses.
“The answer is……”
W-What could it be.
Father-in-law teased me.
It’s not in celebration of her getting a decoration nor for her promotion nor for her birthday. Just what kind of purpose could it have……?
“For marriage interviews.”
Once again, I checked the picture of the gallant officer.
—— Yup, handsome!!
If such a picture came, I think any lady would instantly say, “I want to marry him!”
Apparently, they called Sieg over to force her to have a marriage interview, but despairingly none of the dresses looked good on her. In the end, her military uniform suited her best, so they had no choice but to make the painter draw a picture in her military uniform.
“Really~ it was tough. No one wanted to marry her after looking at this picture!”
Back then, Sieg was not interested in marriage. That’s why she has a sullen expression, I thought.
“I bowed my head and got marriage interviews arranged, but Sieg was busy so she could not come.”
“……Sounds like you had a tough time.”
“However, when the interviews were cancelled, the men looked relieved in contrast.”
If a soldier that seems stronger comes to the marriage interview, it would feel depressing.
If it was me from my younger days, I probably would have declined.
“Hmm, I see. So Ritzhard-kun you weren’t interested in Sieg.”
“But I really love her!”
However, my taste a little more than a decade ago differs greatly from now.
If it was back then, I wouldn’t have proposed to her.
Sieg too wasn’t interested in marriage back then.
“So the two had a fateful meeting as time passed.”
Rather than fate, it’s more that our interests aligned though.
Well, it doesn’t change the fact that I am happy now. So it can be called fate.
“Alright, I’ll give the picture of a handsome soldier to Ritzhard-kun!”
“Eh!? Truly?! Hurray——!!”
What an amazing reward!
I unexpectedly ended up receiving a treasure.
However, I was to keep it a secret from Sieg.
The picture of Sieg is wrapped in cloth and carried in secret.
To not let anyone see it, I quickly moved through the hallways.
At every corner, I checked if there were anyone.
If Sieg finds it, she will definitely confiscate it!!
It was a treasure I wanted to protect at all costs.
A little more and I’ll be in my room! The moment I thought that, someone talked to me from behind me. I felt as though my heart was going to spring out of my mouth.
“Ritzhard-san, what are you doing?”
“You are sort of sneaking around.”
I was discovered by dangerous people.
The people who approached me from behind were the single brothers-in-law whose ages were close to Sieg.
I tightly hugged the picture of Sieg to hide it.
“Could that me, a nude painting?”
“It’s recently trending in the cities.”
I-I see. I didn’t know.
Leaving my uneasiness aside, my brothers-in-law heated up from talking about naked women.
Apparently, lewd pictures of blonde beauties are popular in the cities.
“So, Ritzhard-san, what did you buy?”
“Even if you look fluffy, you are a man after all.”
W-What should I do.
Should I say that it’s a nude painting and leave?”
However, I don’t want to my brothers-in-law.
But, if I tell the truth here it will be found out by Sieg.
“N-No, something from a decade ago.”
“Hehh, that’s quite old.”
“I-I wasn’t the one who bought it.”
“No no no!”
To protect father-in-law’s honour (?) I shook my head.
“I wonder what was popular a decade ago?”
N-No! This is for myself! ……Because I said that, I kept getting cornered.
“What did you buy?”
“I don’t know Ritzhard-san’s tastes.”
As I slowly took some steps back, I hit the wall with a thud.
Being surrounded by brothers-in-law who are at least a head taller than me, should I say that they’re imposing, or intimidating?
What should I do? What should I do?
Would it be alright to reveal it here.
The gallant figure of Sieglinde in her youth.
No. I can’t.
Here, I’ll just say, ‘Can I enjoy this alone this time?’ and make them give up.
When I decided on that plan and was about to open my mouth, a yell came from far away.
“What are you doing!”
From the sound, my brothers-in-law flinched.
I was also a little surprised.
It was Sieglinde.
She started questioning what my brothers-in-law were doing.
“N-No, we were just talking with Ritzhard-san, that’s all.”
“I-Indeed, we were talking about art, r-right?”
“It looked to me as if you were cornering Ritzhard!?”
“Th-That’s not what we were doing.”
“W-We were just having an enjoyable conversation.”
When Sieg glared at them, my brothers-in-law ran away.
What should I say, Sieg, she’s strong.
“Are you alright?”
“You were getting pestered by my brothers, weren’t you?”
“N-No, not really.”
“You don’t have to mind my brothers.”
Well, it is true that she saved me.
“Why were getting cornered like that?”
……No I’m not safe yet!! This is a disaster!!
Sieg noticed the picture I was holding dearly.
I couldn’t answer even when she asked what it was.
“What are hiding?”
“But this is,”
……This is impossible. I’m getting even more than when I was with my brothers-in-law.
Her sharp glare pierced me.
However, they were much softer than the one from Sieg in the picture.
I can endure this somehow? I thought.
However, there’s no hiding anything from Sieg.
As beads of sweat formed on my brows, I handed over the picture to Sieg.
Sieg removed the cloth and looked inside.
The moment she saw the picture, her cheeks were dyed red.
She looked at me with a slightly wet eye, that it was less intimidating than before.
“Sieg, let’s talk in my room.”
If she’s going to get angry, let’s have that happen where others can’t see her.
I invited her to my room out of that thought.
Sitting across from each other on our seats, she started interrogating me.
“……Where did you find this?”
“From father-in-law’s library.”
“Did you get it from father?”
I thought that I shouldn’t drag father-in-law into this, so I kept silent.
“I apologise. It would be unpleasant to you for me take this without telling you.”
I honestly confessed that I wanted to enjoy the picture for myself since it was a dashing picture.
Sieg looked dumbfounded.
When I told her that I’m sorry, she said something surprising.
“Ritz, what about your picture?”
“Don’t you have one at the Marquess’s mansion?”
Hmm. I think that someone painted some when I was young.
When I answered so, another unexpected response came.
“If I can have a picture of you, I won’t mind giving this to you.”
“I’m also curious about how you looked when you were young.”
If I can have this picture with something like that, then gladly!!
When I contacted grandfather later, he brought over a few pictures.
We flipped through each of them.
“Isn’t Ritzhard when he was little like the snow fairy?”
“Indeed, very cute.”
He showed pictures of when I was a baby, when I was four years old, and when I was ten years old. Three pictures in total.
I only came thrice to this country when I was little. I don’t remember the first two times.
Sieg joyfully looked at the pictures. I felt embarrassed for some reason.
Meanwhile grandfather made an unnecessary……I mean, a wonderful proposal.
“Pick one, I’ll give one you like to you.”
“Eh, is that alright with you?”
“It’s fine, so choose one.”
Sieg seriously pondered for about an hour. In the end, she settled on the picture of me as a baby.
“Grandfather-in-law, thank you very much. I’ll treasure this.”
“I’m glad you like this.”
Like so, the picture exchange was over.
The picture of me when I was a baby is now hung up in the bedroom.
Yeah, embarrassing after all.