Diana, who must have understood the situation, was disappeared without a trace, and the only people in the bedroom were me and Mei, who was sleeping on my chest.
In the end, I let myself go with the flow, not knowing what was going on, but thinking about what Mei had said to me during the act, I realized that it was probably not a mistake.
"Look at me now, huh?"
I wonder if I have been imposing my "trueself" on Mei without realizing it.
I may have assumed that she couldn't possibly have feelings for anyone and hurt her in the process.
Such Anxiety rose within me, and something other than Mei sleeping in my chest seemed to press down on me, making it hard to breathe.
"I can't believe she had someone she really likes, and she was getting dressed up for him. And I didn't know it was me."
"Women don't like it when you're too insensitive," I wonder if that's what Diana meant when she said those words to me.
I have always been a dull person when it comes to love affairs and human relations, but this is probably because I wasn't used to paying attention to others.
I would like to believe that I am somewhat better than the person I was before I was born, who had no self-confidence at all, who never looked people in the face and never looked them in the eye when talking to them, but I am still dragging my past self down with me.
When I think about this, I wonder what my "trueself" is now.
I wonder if I have my "trueself" as Neil Atmiras.
I wonder if I have just been dragging my past along since before I was born, and nothing has really changed except for my appearance and position.
After repeating such unanswerable questions to myself for a while, I laughed at myself bitterly.
"What am I even doing here in another world?"
I don't know what that god was thinking when he threw me into this world, but at least I'm sure it wasn't to make me search for myself.
I cleared my mind and thought about another problem instead.
That problem, of course, was Mei.
It is not uncommon for nobles, regardless of gender, to have multiple sexual partners with preferences for specific physical traits. However, such actions are typically only acceptable for those who are married. There is a deeply ingrained belief that a noblewoman, such as Mei, should only engage in sexual activity with the person who will become her husband. Pre-marital sex is strictly forbidden.
Mei was a daughter of a duke and an unmarried daughter, although she was 20 years old and had already missed the timing of marriage for an aristocrat.
On the other hand, I am the eldest son of a count, and even though I am the future heir to the family, I am currently under my father's care.
As the future head of the family, I may receive offers from higher-ranking nobles for arranged marriages, but it is unlikely that such nobles would approach someone who has not yet taken on the responsibility of the estate.
Well, what I am trying to say is that it is very bad for me to have a physical relationship with Mei, the daughter of a duke at this stage.
The only saving grace is that Mei does not have a fiancée, and it is very unlikely that they will appear in the future, so the problem will not be that big as long as I take responsibility after making preparations, which is not possible right now.
"Yawn... I'm sleepy."
No, I'm getting sleepy.
I slowly close my eyes, feeling Mei's warmth against me, thinking that tomorrow, Diana and Mei will tell me more about the situation and then we'll talk about what to do.
The next morning, after breakfast, we gathered in the reception room.
The reason we were there was simple: it was the only place where the three of us could sit down and talk comfortably.
The usual office room had only my desk, and the laboratory room was cramped with equipment and other things, so by a process of elimination, we decided to talk in the reception room.
"Well, then, could you explain the situation to me? Why did I get attacked by Mei yesterday?"
"Well, that's because..."
After the night had passed, Mei had regained her composure, and she was as quiet as a borrowed cat, sitting at the edge of the sofa with a pale face.
Frustrated with the lack of progress, I turned my gaze towards Diana, who was sitting across from me with a composed expression.
"Diana, you stayed calm all through that time, didn't you? Why didn't you stop Mei? Why did you restrain me? Why did you get involved in that in the first place?"
When I asked her if she understood what it meant to have a physical relationship with a noble's daughter, Diana began to explain in an indifferent manner without changing her expression at all.
She told me that Mei had first asked her for advice, that I had recently become completely the same as before even though Mei had been trying to make herself presentable to attract me, that she was worried that she might not be attractive because of it, and that she had taken some measures to solve those problems.
So, the plan was to blindfold me and make me think I was with Diana to get my honest opinion. What a stupid plan!"
I blurted out, surprised that Diana had come up with such a poorly thought out strategy.
"Who fell for that stupid plan?"
"If it weren't for Master Neil, I wouldn't have gone through with it."
That means that they decided that such a plan would be enough for me.
In fact, she was right, and I was not qualified to say that it was a stupid plan, since I had been deceived just by being blindfolded, since I had not been consciously observing other people in my daily life.
"Then why didn't you stop Mei's rampage, instead of just confirming it? If all you two wanted to do was to find out why I'm not interested in her anymore and if I find her body attractive, you didn't have to go through all that trouble."
"I didn't intend to go that far at first, but when Miss Meisy took off the blindfold, I decided that it couldn't go on as planned."
"What was the original plan?"
"After Master Neil gave us his impressions and the necessary information, I was going to ask Miss Mei to leave and I was going to continue as if nothing had happened. I thought that if it was just us, I could keep what happened last night a secret, but Master Neil can't pretend that he doesn't know, can he?"
"Of course not."
I had no intention of pretending that nothing had happened with Mei.
Besides, I was easy to read, so even if I tried to hide my feelings, I'd probably give myself away.
"So I've decided that there's no turning back now, and I'd rather have the two of you make a fait accompli than end this halfway."
"Diana, do you realize what an outrageous thing you're saying right now?"
Making an agreement with the duke's daughter means that she wants us to get married, which is obviously not a statement made by a servant.
"Master Neil will be married and have an heir as the head of the Atmiras family. If so, wouldn't it be better for Master Neil to marry a person whom you know well?"
That is indeed true.
It would be easier for me to marry Mei, whom I know well, than to marry a daughter of some noble family whose face I don't even know.
However, the situation is not so easy that I can easily say, "Well, I'll take her to be my wife."
"I'm sorry Neil, I've caused you trouble because of my rampage."
Mei, who had been silent until now, finally opened her mouth and what came out was an apology.
"It's okay to apologize, but don't be too hard on yourself."
"But I brought trouble to you and the Atmiras family."
"That's true, but there are ways to handle it."
It's true that it's going to be a problem, but it's not like I don't have any options.
If I take my time to build up my personal achievements while secretly negotiating a marriage and get married officially when I take over the reigns of the family, it should not be such a problem both internally and externally.
However, even after explaining this to her, Mei's sense of remorse seems to be unrelenting, and she again speaks out as if overcome by a sense of guilt.
"But I forced Neil to accept me using a force and deception to make it happen. I can't face Lewya after doing that."
"What? Why did you bring up Lewya's name?"
"You don't have to hide it, Lewya is Neil's girlfriend, right?"
Mei's words made both Diana and me look at each other with a puzzled look on our faces.
Seeing our faces, Mei made a similar face to ours.
"Well,isn't it because you have a commoner like Lewya by your side as a servant, which means you are in love with her?"
"The reason we have Lewya as a servant is that we cannot simply treat her the same as the slaves, so we have assigned her the role of a servant, or more precisely, an assistant servant."
As Diana explained the situation, Mei's expression gradually changed as she began to understand the situation.
"Wait a minute, what is it then? Are you saying that I've been thinking that Lewya is Neil's girlfriend, and I've been getting competitive with her?"
"Well, that's probably what happened."
Mei, realizing her misunderstanding, drops her head with a shocked expression on her face, and an indescribably delicate atmosphere spreads in the reception room.
I had never dreamed that Mei had misunderstood that Lewya and I were lovers, though I had heard of a story that a nobleman who falls in love with a commoner takes up the commoner and keeps him close to himself.
Well, perhaps it is understandable that I would be mistaken.
Only two people, Diana and I, knew that Lewya was an elf, and to the others she was a commoner, and this may have been the cause of the misunderstanding.
Now, the parlor is silent, but as I was about to speak to ease the tension and distract May, there was a knock on the door.
"Who is it?"
"Neil, it's me."
"Lewya? You can come in."
I reflexively straighten up my posture at the unexpected timing of her appearance, and as I urge her to come in, Lewya enters the reception room, holding a sealed envelope in one hand.
"Neil, there's a sealed letter from Harvest Hoe... Wait, what's with this air?"
As Lewya entered the room holding a letter, she sensed an awkward tension between the group
"Is something wrong?"
"No, it's just a misunderstanding, that's all."
"Misunderstanding? I don't understand, but here it is anyway."
When I receive the letter from Lewya, I immediately open the seal and take out the contents.
"From the Harvest Hoe, you mean about the construction?"
"Yes, Liana told me that they found a contractor when she gave it to me."
"Then there's a contract and a―hmm? What's this piece of paper over here?"
I opened the other piece of paper, which was not a contract, and found that it seemed to be a letter from Gibbett-san, the representative of the Harvest Hoe.
As I read the contents of the letter, my brow furrows, and Diana sees this and asks me.
"Is there a problem?"
"It's not so much a problem, but it's about to get a little complicated."
"Complicated? What firm did you hire?"
In response to Lewya's question, I spread out the letter on the table in the center of the room, and then point to a specific point on the page.
"The contractor we found, it seems to be a dwarven firm."
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