The next morning, when I woke up, Hayato was already gone.
It’s okay. I won’t know what face I should use to say good morning to him in this situation.
As I got up, I was relieved, at the same time also somewhat sad, then I fixed the bed and prepared myself.
Even though it was only the Grand Wife, my identity had been exposed, so my maid job should end after today. I’m sure Miss Anna will be fine. Even considering her position as the daughter of noble, she would be able to rebel against things she didn’t like, and when her heart is restored, she will remember that living an honest life is a good way of life. I believe she will.
It was still early in the morning, and the area was quiet and dimly lit. I walked outside, being careful not to make any noise with my footsteps.
I brought a broom and swept the area around the front door. As I was sweeping, looking at the sky gradually turning white and the colors changing from dark blue to white and gold, I saw man in black – Hayato – come through the gate.
“Good morning. Where have you been?”
“Good morning. …I was… going to the city for a bit.”
The reply was unusually choppy.
…suspicious. Is it Nightlife?
I’m not sure if he sensed a hint of question in my eyes, but he hurriedly waved his hand to the side to deny it.
“No, no, no! It’s just that I felt the presence of a monster.”
“What? Monsters! Around here?”
“Yes. I couldn’t find it, though.”
This is a noble district. The flow of magic is perfectly controlled, and there shouldn’t be any distortion anywhere. The chance monster appearing here should be zero.
“Is some crystal broken? I think we should ask them to investigate.”
“For now, I’ve talked to the royal police station. But they treated me as a suspicious person, so I had a hard time explaining.”
“I expect that much.”
A man in black walking through the noble district streets before dawn is nothing less than a suspicious person.
“Did they listen?”
“Well, I’ve got this.”
He showed me his left hand with the ring of his coat of arms on it.
Indeed. You can get out of most situations by showing it.
“I’m glad that nothing happened to you… But what exactly is going on?”
“… I don’t know. Yet I have a feeling that it’s still there.”
“The sign is?”
I’m not as certain as Hayato, but I could feel it.
“If you’ve asked the royal police to investigate, I’m afraid you’ll have to leave it to them. If it really comes out, it’ll be a big deal. Let’s leave it to them.”
“That’s right… Well, I think I’ll go clean up the room we borrow. You haven’t done that yet, have you?”
“Yes, it’s still early, so can I ask you a favor?”
The sun had fully emerged, and the new light of morning was painting the world.
I could tell by the slight protrusion of his hair from his hat that he was returning to his original color.
I watched him enter the mansion through the servants’ entrance and finished my clean duty. Then I filled a silver basin with hot water, prepared a gauze towel, and headed for the Grand Wife’ room.
“Oh… good morning. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to respond.”
Her language has completely changed to what people usually use in a social gathering.
It seems that she won’t be able to speak her mind without hesitation anymore. Feeling sad, I soaked a piece of gauze in hot water, wrung it out, and handed it to her on the bed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I can’t remember anything from last night. I remember that I came here after work.”
She wiped her face with a wry smile, stood up, and put the towel she had used into the basin herself.
“… I’ll do it.”
“I might not look the part, but I used to be a lady’s maid for a certain Countess. I don’t do as many chores as a maid, but I can take care of myself.”
She then went to her closet and picked out a deep blue velvet dress.
“I’m going to ask you to take the rest of the day off. I don’t want it to be too late, so please go home with the Viscount at noon. Also, that maid will be fired today.”
“The maid who injured you. I can’t represent the house, but I apologize on behalf of my son for her misbehavior. I am truly sorry.”
The Grand Wife bent her knees and bowed her head. Inwardly flustered, I hurriedly asked her to stop it.
“Please stop. I’m just a suspicious maid from who knows where. I am not injured anymore, so please don’t worry about it.”
“Not just that. I’m going to apologize sincerely for the incident with Anna as well. I’ll be giving her a stern warning, and if she does anything else in the future, please let me know.”
How uncomfortable it is to be bowed to by the elderly.
It seems that the longer I stay, the worse this will get. I want to at least make her less uncomfortable, so I bowed and left the room.
–I was told to leave at noon… I guess I have no choice. I’ll have to leave the rest up to the heavens.
I went to the kitchen to see if I could at least help with breakfast before I left, and for some reason, Hayato was there.
He no longer had the cloth wrapped around his face. He had taken off his crest ring and was wearing a cook’s white robe.
“What are you doing?”
“I can see that, but why are you here?”
“I’ve already finished cleaning up. I thought it would be better if I just waited.”
The skin of the potatoes peeled dexterously as we talked.
Mario peered at us from the side looked a bit impressed.
“He is good, not as good as me though, right?”
Mario throws the peeled potatoes into the air and starts to show off his skill by slicing them into pieces.
The sliced potatoes fall into a bowl of water.
It’s really great! If we had a contest in town, he’d win!
As I clapped, Hayato stood up with a scowl on his face.
“I can do that too.”
Mario then smiled and provoked him.
“Really? Do you want to try it then?”
He nodded and grabbed three potatoes with his left hand.
“Here we go.”
He threw them into the air at the same time. The knife spun around in his right hand as if to show his elation, but then his right hand blurred like an afterimage, and the potatoes fell into the bowl.
“What was that…?”
Mario was taken aback by the knife movement that he can barely see.
He looked into the bowl and saw three round potatoes inside. Slowly they lose their shapes and divided beautifully into dice shapes.
I’m sure he sent slashes through the air, but you can’t produce this kind of shape like this with just a knife, can you? I turned my face to him, feeling the pressure of “praise me.” Was emanating From all over his face.
When I opened my mouth, his eyes lit up. But no. That’s not what I meant. What I want to say is not a compliment, but…
Chef Luigi appeared from his back.
The chef’s knuckles landed on Hayato’s and Mario’s heads at the same time, causing them both to plop down on the kitchen table.
Chef Luigi looked at the fist that struck Hayato and distorted his face, muttering, “ouch…” and glared at us.
“Don’t play with the food.”
The three of us bowed our heads in unison and shrugged our shoulders. The chef scoffed and went to the washroom.
“Is the number of brats increased? Clean the kitchen table!”
I replied as I picked up a rag and started wiping the area closest to me. The potatoes were fine, but there was a lot of water splattered on the table – no wonder he called us brats.
I was relieved that I wasn’t the only brat and spoke to Hayato quickly.
“He hit you as hard as he could. Are you okay?”
“I’m glad then. By the way, you can sense the presence of invisible monsters. How come you don’t notice the chef behind you?”
He looks a little troubled, paused, and then muttered while keeping his head down.
“Because I was too focused on Alice…”
That’s unfair. You can’t say that with that expression.
I like it.
My face became hot, and I continued wiping in silence.
Then, after helping with the dishes, I headed to the servants’ quarters to change clothes and get ready to leave. Then I came across the senior maids standing in the entrance hall chatting.
“Really, really. The head housekeeper and the butler were sneaking around yesterday, weren’t they? They were looking for something missing.”
“If you had told us, we would have helped you. I don’t know why you didn’t call out to us.”
“You said you wanted to help. But I bet you just wanted to look at my jewelry collection.”
“Have you been exposed?”
In contrast to the two squealing and laughing maids, there was one maid who did not react well.
It is the senior maid who recently harassed me.
–Oh, she’s probably done for.
As I looked at her, my eyes met hers as she awkwardly turned her head away from the conversation. She immediately comes to me.
“It’s been weird since you came here… What the hell did you do?”
If I had to say, all I did was telling the Grand Wife that the maids were not maintaining discipline. However, it was the Grand Wife’s decision to check everyone’s belongings.
She did not hesitate to harass newcomers in such a flashy manner, so I think the situation would have turned out the same way sooner or later.
“If you have any clue of a missing item, why don’t you report it right away?”
Her face paled, and her eyes swam around.
“… What’s with that look? Are you trying to tell me that I did it?”
“No one ever saying that.”
“You’re lying! I know you think I did! What the hell is wrong with you? I knew something was wrong when you became a senior in just half a day! … that’s right. You’re the one who tricked me. You spoke ill of me to the Grand Wife to get her to help you! What a bitch! You’re the one who stole it, aren’t you?”
The other two maids were taken aback by her unusual behavior. The loud shouting caused the doors of many rooms to open, and not only the servants but also Anna, her mother, and her younger siblings began to peek out.
The situation was out of control, and she turned red and pointed at me, “This woman is a thief! Somebody catch her!” she shouted.
But no one moved. Everyone was looking at me. If I had shown any sign of trying to escape, some people would have moved, but that was not the case.
Perhaps she becomes impatient with the situation. She grabbed me by the chest. This is where self-defense comes in. I bounced her hands off her from the inside, grabbed her wrists, and twisted them behind her back.
“Ouch! It hurts! Let me go!”
She screams and struggles to get her arms free.
–What should I do now?
How should I handle this situation? ……
As I was thinking, the Grand Wife came out of the hall from the right and the kitchen staff from the left.
I could feel a bloodlust sensation stinging my skin from Hayato’s direction, who had a triangular hood wrapped around his face.
Is this what they called [murderous intent]?
He stopped his foot that was about to move, shaking his head in anger. From the right side, the Grand Wife’ voice echoed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”. The two maids reacted to the voice and tried to pull me away.
“Hey, let go of her!”
“The Grand Wife is angry.”
The maids grabbed my hands and shoulders, and I let her go.
The senior maid broke free from her restraints and grabbed me, with her face still red. She immediately tried to attack me, I slip my body to the side to avoid her, but my hair was grabbed instead.
With a strong tug, the wig came off. She fell to the floor in a frenzied heap, and the red hair came off from my head in her grip.
The natural hair that I had gathered inside came down to my shoulders in a flurry. The senior maids, perhaps not expecting the hair to come off, were frozen in her fallen positions, staring at the wig.
No one moved, no one said a word, and only silence filled the area.
In the midst of all this, one word that Miss Anna muttered echoed strangely loud.