It was Kaid who broke the deep silence.
"......First, we have to finish work."
In response to the murmured words, I raised my head. Isador swung his hands that were meaninglessly floating in front of his chest. Rather than swing, it looked like he didn't have a place for them that he couldn't drop them.
"What, Isador." "N-No......I'll, pass on it." "But you followed us here...... there aren't any plans for you to carry baggige, you know." "Eh? Ah, ahh, I don't want to carry stuff, yeah."
With that, Isador stepped back.
"......Kaid, I have something to say to you later." "What a coincidence, same here. You look terrible. What's wrong?" "Later, let's talk later. For now, I'm returning to the mansion. "My mansion." "Ahh, yeah, your mansion...... I'll return, there. Then, later, some talk......" "......You, what really happened to you?"
Flustered, he looked back and forth between Kaid and me. Isador was so pale that even I felt worried. Today was a day for looking back and forth between people. Raising his head then hanging it down, Isador ran home at full speed. After absentmindedly watching his back disappear in a blink of an eye, Kaid looked at me with truly indescribable eyes.
"............Did you say something?" "............I'm sorry for returning a question with a question, but may I ask a question?" "......Yeah."
Indeed, I haven't been hiding it desperately, and rather, it was me who spoke about it first. Though I just reported it. Still, I'm curious if there's something that made him sure.
"I...... Is there something special to me?"
Kaid blinked his eyes. He pressed his mouth as he was about to say something and groaned for something, finally letting out a sigh.
"......Your eyes are reflecting you."
With a murmur like a small sigh, the golden shade looked at me reproachfully. Indeed, the eyes did not change. But, I couldn't change this on my own will, and in addition, I wonder they didn't change even though I changed as a whole. While I was tilting my head and thinking, he continued on as he sulked slightly.
"............I was planning on waiting until you were ready, but seeing that you can mention it to Isador, it really set me thinking." "Your name...... that was all I said." "That guy reacted with just that. Hehh. Just that."
When I looked at him, the golden shade slowly moved away. It felt as though I would be pursued if I turned around. I could understand why he is called 'the Wolf'. Since it felt like I would be chased if I showed my back, I slowly backed away while facing him. Even if I turn away, I would feel the gaze following me. I know. I know. I know that Kaid knows. Please wait a little more. I couldn't organise any of the thoughts.
I used the technique for working I learned when I entered the mansion. Bowing my head and hiding my face. It was taught so that I could hide that I was not smiling, but it's working greatly outside of that too. To the technique of the skilled deputy head maid, Kaid sighed.
"Let's finish work." "Understood, sir."
The farce that we kept up for a month abruptly changed the atmosphere that was between us.
Kaid seemed to think about the flow of people. He looked at the movements of the patrols and marked something down on the map. When I silently looked up at him, Kaid smiled bitterly after noticing my gaze.
"I'm not very bright, you see. Unless I see if for myself, I can't get a clear grasp. Otherwise, I'd feel sorry for the people actually working that receive absurd instructions."
The man who pulled together Laid that was about to fall apart said that without any self-deprecation. He probably really feels that way. It's not that he's not bright. It was that tough. It must have been desperate. In such a chaotic Laius, telling apart friend or foe must have been the hardest thing. He does not the time of leisure I spend without knowing anything. Butlers and maids work on shifts, but he does not have anyone to change with. The light does not go out at light and in the morning he has already changed his clothes and is working. After the basics are done and the head butler reports to him, he nods and heads to train with the sword. Every day, without rest. Even on days after he was poisoned. He doesn't have to do everything on his own. He doesn't have to protect everything by himself, he doesn't have to sacrifice himself, he can be protected by someone and he can rely on someone. There certainly was the way a lord should be, as Isador said. The right standards for a lord does exist in this world. However, that does not have to be synonymous with killing Kaid. No one will blame him. Don't you think so?
If it's not hubris to say so, it may be my fault.
When I looked up while holding my index and middle fingers, the golden shade made a strange expression. As I looked at that face, emotions soaked in. He told me that I am reflected in my eyes. Without realising what this thing welling up inside me, I bowed my head using the excuse that I am a maid. I felt thankful to Kaid who made a bitter smile but did not pry further.
"Huh, isn't it my lord?"
Stretched with intervals, or carefree, or relaxed. It was really hard to describe it, but perhaps the best expression would be that the voice was peaceful. It's a voice I know.
Without turning around, Kaid wrote something on the map with a frown on his face. He's not displeased. His eyes are probably tired. He didn't get much sleep in this busy period, so he could have rested at least for today.
"Is it done?" "It always has a satisfying result every year." "I'm not worried about that. I'm talking about the picture for the stage." "Ugu!" "So it's you...... every morning, Carolina comes and says sorry......" "Ugu......" "The forehead of the person in charge of the stage decorations grows wider everyday, so please hurry up."
The person with smile lines near his eyes is Cecil Fox. He's Carron's husband.
From the time he eloped with Carron, he was a painter that was being called to noble's mansions, but it seems that he is quite a famous painter now. However, though it may just be the trait of artists, he is very slow with his brush unless he feels like it. I see, so the empty part at the stage may have been the place for his picture. ......It looked like there was a lot, I wonder if he'll be alright. I'm glad that he looks happy, but I hope he doesn't trouble Carron too much, I thought, then my skirt was lifted up from behind. From the skirt between my legs lifting up from an impossible wind, I ended up letting out a short yelp. From my scream, Kaid snapped around. Then, right after he glared at my feet, he closed his eyes.
"Adele." "Hello, my lord! How are you! Who's that?!" "Ah, hello. I don't feel bad, but since she's surprised can you let that go for now."
Grabbing my skirt in the mysterious way of flipping it up and pulling it down, there was a girl of ten or so. She had a lovely freckled face with her hair split into two braids. She wore a cute ribboned hat sideways. The girl who resembles someone put up her index finger with a prim face.
"Because, pulling horizontally will take time, but pulling vertically will get it done straight away, right?" "You can't go around surprising people for just one second. I'm sorry...... er," "Ah, I'm my master's maid, Shirley Hince. I'm in the care of the head maid." "I see. I'm Cecil Fox. This girl is my daughter Adele."
I thought so. The girl introduced by Cecil, who looks like Carron, let go of my skirt and greeted me. I met Carron much later, but thinking that Carron might have been like this when she was little, Adele was lovely.
When I unintentionally blurted that out, she brushed away the hand I stretched out for a handshake. She first blinked her eyes, then pouted her small lips and turned away.
"If you're saying that because I'm like mummy, I'm tired of that. I'm cute on my on!" "Well, you really are like your mum. Your face and your personality. I sincerely apologise for my daughter's rudeness, Shirley-san." "No...... I should be saying sorry."
After bowing in apology, I stared at my hand that was brushed away.
"......I ended up getting disliked." "Ah—, er—m...... how about breakfast?"
Looking at me downhearted dropping my shoulders and staring at my hand, Kaid, not having found effective words of consolation, looked around the stores.
"I ate before we left, sir."
It was Kaid who gave the order, for him to have possibly forgot. When I narrowed my eyes at him, Kaid spoke nonchalantly.
"I thought that it should be just enough for this, but it does seem to be right. If you want to blame someone, blame yourself for not eating a lot usually."
A voice like Cecil's came out. I was told to have some meals after I change clothes. Everyone looked at me strangely for eating at the mansion when I'm going downtown. If this was going to happen, maybe I shouldn't have had the bread. Looking at me who was staring at him reproachfully, Kaid suddenly stared at somewhere far away. It's noisy over there for some reason.
"I'll go take a quick look. Cecil, I leave Shirley in your care."
The moment he said that, Kaid fixed his sword low and left with quick steps. Different, you're different, Kaid. Seeing the back that quickly melted away into the crowd, I thought so. Here you should have sent your maid and stayed here. It wasn't just me who thought that, as Cecil smiled bitterly as he scratched his head.
"He's ever the same. I could have went on my own." "Hey hey, are you really just a maid? That necklace, did you get it from Kaid-sama?"
With the unique way of lifting it up and pulling it down, her fingers pointed to the blue flower I got from Jasmine. I folded my feet in and crouched down.
"No, I received it from my roommate. She's a very nice person called Jasmine." "Ah, I heard that name from Carolina. She made a bitter smile, saying that the girl is just like her when she was young." "Like mummy?"
The small head and the big eyes staring at the necklace was so cute that my mouth naturally formed into a smile.
"This flower is cute. What's it called?" "This is a hyacinth." "My, isn't that nice."
Leaning in lightly and checking the colour, Cecil said that with a soft smile. He really is a painter. Looks like he knows a lot about flowers and the language since he uses them in his pictures. Adele who alone seemed to not know the meaning tugged Cecil's clothes. It looks like his trousers will fall off. While clutching his trousers tightly with both hands, Cecil bent over and told the meaning. Then, Adele suddenly lost interest in the trousers she was pulling so strongly and let it go. Cecil was freed. Then he fell over magnificently. Without giving even a glance to her father who was on the floor, Adele held her small hands together.
"It's the same as the one I gave to Kaid-sama!"
I ended up opening my eyes wide. Cecil kept speaking with the slow dispirited voice.
"Daddy doesn't support that."
Unlike her relaxed father, her eyes shot up. She's quite the precocious and unyielding woman. Possibly more than her mother.
"Daddy, you eloped to marry mummy." "That's why I'm saying. Not him." "......Grandpa and Grandma are telling me to work hard, since something might happen if I don't give up. Since, Kaid-sama hasn't married yet." "M—n, they like power after all." "Why not? Because I'm a child? But I'll grow soon. I'm the best in studying in my school too." "No. Because I love you."
Adele gradually grew sullen from not getting the meaning. Her father brushed off the dust from his trousers and crouched down in front of Adele.
"That person has already decided to be alone. Let's pretend that something happened and you somehow ended up marrying him. Still, he won't treat you specially. He lost his lifetime's worth of love." "Was he rejected?" "Now...... daddy doesn't know. Changing is not evil. Even breaking an oath is not necessarily evil. Forgetting or healing from time is something allowed only for living people. However, he doesn't forgive that. He can't forgive himself for changing. He can't forgive even being forgiven. To save him, a miracle is needed...... Ahh, still the world is flowing with unexplainable phenomenons. Then, if there's a miracle, rather than a beautiful miracle, I'd like a kind miracle."
Looking at her father narrow his eyes and stare far, the girl puffed her cheeks.
"I don't know." "It's alright if you don't know." "No! That's not an explanation if the other person doesn't understand. No points for that." "Hahaha, Adele's strict." "Daddy's too carefree. Your socks don't match again today!" "There wasn't a matching pair." "You're lying. I properly put them in the drawer yesterday." "Adele, amazing, you're helping out." "Daddy's just too bad. How can you make the soup that salty?" "It's strange, right?"
At the street, a father and his young daughter are smiling. That is not a rare sight, but a natural one. A gentle Laius came back...... no, it's different. He made a gentle world. He's not in there. That sort of thing, it's strange.
Weaving through the crowd, a brown-haired head appeared. It's amazing how he can arrived without bumping into anyone in that crowd. Adele who suddenly dyed her cheeks is amazing too. Very cute.
"There were drunkards acting violently from daytime, so I punished them and handed them over to the patrol. Sorry, Shirley. Looks like we stand out a bit, so let's change places. Then, Cecil, Adele." "Please excuse us."
I quickly bowed and stuck close to the familiar brown hair.
"I don't think they're lovers. Because, they're not holding hands." "Maybe we should keep talking about it until they get it."
Such voices came from behind us. Then, as if chased by the rowdiness, we left that spot.
Since I was too weak to walk around while eating at the same time, we ate while sitting at the fountain of a small square. I wonder how people can eat without spilling anything as they walk. Seeing how little children could manage that too, I grew a little depressed. Kaid came to the simple conclusion that it's alright if I can't walk while eating without getting angry. Then he even told me that people usually eat while sitting down. As he ate the meat bun he bought from the stall while slowly strolling.
"What's the seasoning?" "Ey, it's a southern spice called pepper." "It's delicious." "Right? You can count on our judgement. Though, women and children said that we should reduce it a bit." "Indeed, it might be tough if there's too much. Still, I like this. Pepper. I'll remember it."
There was a food stall where we had an exchange like that. The stall owner told many things to the well-dressed people that look interest in the new spice and Kaid listened carefully. He's a good listener. The other person was easygoing and looked happy.
When I said that I don't need anymore, we stood in line for fried snacks that could eaten in a bite. When I said that I'll have a bite, I ended up getting the whole thing. Then when I reached the moment my body would really grow worse from eating too much, he stopped. I wonder if this is the difference in insight or if he's just weird. Kaid gathered the trash and put them in the bin. When I told him that it was my work, he averted his gaze.
"Now then. We finished checking things and there's enough time until we have to go. Do you have anywhere in particular you want to go?" "I do."
Maybe my answer was unexpected, since the gold opened wide. It's alright. Up until I said it, it was strange for me too. If someone saw us staring at each other absentmindedly, they would comment that it looks stupid. What has been said can't be taken back. There's no need to, either. It's just a little quicker than I planned. Anyway, there are many days till the festival, so I need to muster up my courage and tell him.
I have something I want to say. For those preparations, I want his help.
I ended up laughing a little at his changed tone of speech. His eyes grew wider, then quickly narrowed. His eyebrows dropped and he bit his lips. The expression close to anger looked like that of a child about to cry.
"There are some things I want to buy, I don't know much, so can you help me?" "Thing you want?" "Yes, first, purple embroidery thread. The best I can get within my budget. Then a hair ornament. Red, with the best I can get within my budget. Next is a cigar. Mm...... Heavy? Heavy-flavoured? The best I can get within my budget. Finally, alcohol of bitter taste, with the best I can get within my budget."
He had a puzzled expression, but as I went on he probably understood. He covered his eyes and tilted his head downwards as if to bow.
"......If you'll allow me, may I have permission to get them? That way, I can get the same things. "
Squeezing out a strained voice, I stopped making the same face.
"It's alright...... It's the first time I earned money honestly. So buying...... is the best. For me and for them, it's the most fitting."
It's the first time I'm getting payment after working. A quarter of a month's wage, so it's not much. However, in a sense, it's the first present from me. To me who said that, Kaid barely lifted his head. There he looked somewhat exhausted, with a face like a hungry child, like a child that fell over, like a lost child, an undependable face. Also, as though he's looking for tomorrow, like a person looking for someone, like someone that picked up a lost good, he had such eyes.
"Then, at the least, please let me be with you on that day." "......Yes. I also have something to say." "......Something?" "Yes, let's talk. And let's end. This time for sure, let us end properly."
When I called him that, he bowed deeper than even that expected of a servant and said, "Yes, my lady."
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