Pumpkin Scissors – 19
When she was young, Alice read a lot of heroic tales at her grandfather’s home even though many were too difficult for her to understand. The hero she had the most reverence for was her own grandfather. Alice thinks about this on her way to a ballroom party, though her sister accuses her of thinking about work. The 3rd Section has meanwhile set up a soup kitchen in the countryside for a bunch of the poorer folks. Machs notices that Oland is a bit out of it and assumes it’s from the shock of Alice announcing that she was getting married. He even goes as far as to suggest that Oland has feelings for Alice, but Oreld feels that it’s a little different and that they don’t need to worry about it. An argument suddenly breaks out in the soup line, and when Oreld goes over to break it up, he’s the one who gets yelled at and compared to the rich people who are throwing the party at a nearby mansion. Oreld thinks that they should go make a direct appeal to the rich people, but this causes all the men to look away and back off.
Over at the mansion, Alice arrives to find Schultz waiting for her with flowers, but she more or less ignores him and looks for Leonir instead. As they walk through the room, the other people at the party start talking about how Alice’s sisters were allowed to keep their names after marriage because they’re one of the Thirteen Appointed Families. Alice is supposedly the next head of the family, but there are apparently rumors spreading about that too. Schultz follows the women in and eventually confronts Alice about how she always lets out a weary sigh in places like this – she’s never smiled in front of him. He had wondered who she would smile to and initially thought of Leonir before he realized that she always left her heart in the 3rd Section. Their conversation is interrupted by a short, pudgy Marquis Paul, the head of the country’s Economic Management Agency. Paul’s hand is dirty with the pizza he just ate, yet he extends it anyway to shake Schultz’s hand. He also tries to handshake with Alice, but fortunately Leonir stops her before she gets her hand dirty.
When she gets a chance to speak privately with Leonir, Alice tells him that she’ll no longer be the princess he thinks of her as. It seems that within the next several years, she’ll be deprived of her right to be the next head of the Malvin family. Her father had decided this when her little brother was born five years ago so that the Malvin family didn’t need to take in any more bridegrooms. Plus, Alice thinks that Leonir’s Taylor family has nothing to gain from accepting her either. If it happened now, then it wouldn’t do any harm to the Taylor family name. That’s why she wants to annul their engagement. Leonir claims to be shocked, but not because of the arrogant way she talks or because of the loving way she talks of the brother she should hate or because of how she personally would bear all the embarrassment. Rather, he is shocked as a gentleman because her face does not appear to show any regret in breaking off relations with him.
Leonir then decides to stop the questioning and pours her some champagne, though he does have one last thing he wants to know: why was she able to keep until now her enthusiasm as the next head of the family if she knew her brother would get the title? Alice answer that it’s because she’s the next head of the family right now, and this causes Leonir to point out that she’ll be losing the title in the next few years. Alice isn’t quite sure what he means with all this, but she says that if there’s no meaning to something that will be lost, then something like Leonir’s life would also have no meaning because he’ll eventually die. Leonir laughs at this and declares that he hasn’t decided whether or not to give her up to someone else yet, so talk of the annulment is ridiculous. He then offers her the champagne and claims that he wants to look after her. Watching from across the room, Alice’s sisters think that she’s having fun talking with Leonir, but Schultz notices that she’s still not smiling.
Everyone’s attention is turned to Marquis Paul when he suddenly starts yelling at a chef for using acorn in a recipe. Paul feels that acorn is something animals eat and is telling the cook that he’ll never work in the capital again when Alice walks over, picks up some food off the floor, and eats it. She finds that it tastes splendid and says that she’ll hire the chef, but she then gets hit on the head by her sister for being stupid. Schultz saw the smile that was on her face and compliments it later when he calls her out to talk to her. He even feels that he understands the meaning of the 3rd Section’s job a little by how she saved that chef. Schultz now wants to know better what she aims for and has decided to leave her for a while to find out. Watching as Schultz leaves, Leonir wonders to himself what Alice has seen in this dreary world. By now, Oreld and company have ended their work for the night, though Oland sees that the kids have frostbite on their hands, so he gives up his gloves and his coat (in order to make mittens) so that they can all have something to cover their hands.
Oland then notices a group of men walking into the woods and decides to follow them. He questions if he’s expecting something to happen and then realizes that he wants to say that he can accomplish things for when Alice leaves the group. Oland eventually finds the men eating together and initially thinks nothing of it until he notices that they all have weapons and ammo. It seems that these men have gotten their hands on documents from certain comrades that implicate Marquis Paul of embezzlement. They’ve made arrangements so that every news agency will have gotten the documents by dawn, but that alone isn’t enough. Although these men know that they’ll be arrested and executed, they still want to strike against Paul and the nobles at the ballroom party. Oland realizes that he has to go tell the others about this, but he gets snuck up on by two men and knocked out with a shovel.
I’m not sure what about him changed, but I don’t hate Schultz so much or find him that annoying any more. Maybe it’s because I know Leonir is affiliated with the bad guys (if he’s not part of the Silver Wheel group himself), and so Schultz doesn’t look so bad in comparison. Plus, Schultz was to be the one who noticed all that stuff about Alice’s smile. But perhaps the bigger news is that Alice doesn’t really consider herself to be engaged to Leonir anymore because of how her family situation changed. Leonir, of course, still hasn’t given her up yet and it would seem like he’s got something planned for her. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the comrades that the men are talking about at the end of the episode are actually connected to Leonir himself.
Next week, the party gets attacked!