1.2 The Knight Leader, a Ghost, and My Amulet
After changing my mind, I noticed a figure walking towards me. I raised my gaze.
Only people of my position were able to wander this corridor at this kind of hour. It must be another maid.
As the result of my thorough training as one of the palace’s maids, the calm air that I exuded caused the person to notice me only after I was passed.
“UWAAAH—!! You—!! You appeared—!!”
I was surprised.
“Wha…? Uh, you probably have the wrong person. I don’t know who you are, though…”
—…what am I even saying right now?
As much as I was panicking, I was still able to think clearly—
—I was sure I wasn’t popular to the point people would recognize me on sight.
“—don’t do this to me! Why do you insist on clinging to me!? What have I done to you!?”
It seemed that my words fell on deaf ears.
If this person kept being loud like this, a lot of people would gather for sure. I was worried as hell, but that was also when I finally realized it—
“Eh…? You’re the leader of the Order of Knights, Knight Leader Ranbic…!”
“Huh…? Just now, you recognized me. Could it be… you weren’t a ghost after all…?”
Finally, my words reached the Knight Leader’s mind—nevertheless, the meaning behind his words failed to reach mine.
“Eh… if this is a trend, then I don’t know anything about it. More importantly, no, I’m not a ghost. I’m a mere cleaning servant.”
Thus, our conversation continued.
Knight Leader Ranbic then asked me a question;
“A cleaning—a maid, then? What is a maid doing here, at this time?”
“To supervise the grand corridor is one of my duties—”
…In case of drunkards…
I continued. “—the hallway might get dirty during the night. It’ll be bad if no one notices and someone falls. To prevent said accident from happening, the cleaning maids are always tasked to be on lookout. Today happens to be my turn.”
‘Is there a need to go that far?’—was what his expression was saying.
—however, the answer to that was, yes.
After all, the first to fall victim to said accident was the King of this country himself. Hence, there was no other way.
“Anyway, I’m truly sorry for surprising you.”
“Ah, no, I only have myself to blame. This is not your fault at all.”
“Your words have greatly eased the burden of guilt on this maid.”
Although he seemed strange until just a while ago, the knight leader was indeed a kind person.
Post the recent incident, my impression of him had certainly changed—however, I was still happy—to be able to speak to him like this… despite how unexpected the whole situation is.
I wanted to ask him a lot of questions, but I decided to follow Sylvie. I gave up on satisfying my need for answers and became reticent.
A beautiful woman was one that wasn’t too forward, and instead, assertive in a refreshing manner.
Right, this is the moment when I take my leave in an elegant manner.
…thus, I excused myself.
“Ah, forgive me.”
My arm, which was caught, was released.
“Do you… need something?”
“Are you… are you accustomed to navigating the royal palace at night?”
It sounded like that was quite a difficult question for him to ask. He even lowered his head in shame.
…why would he ask me that?
“Uh, I do, yes. The night patrol is a regular duty. When you’re a cleaning maid, being familiar with the palace ground is thereby a must.”
Hearing my answer, knight leader’s sapphire eyes gleamed.
“I… I’m in quite of a dire situation—hence, I hereby request you to—…to,” He appealed to me, while having to force the next sentence out of his mouth. “—to escort me to my quarters—!!”
“…don’t you want to hear the reason?”
“No, I believe you. the Knight Leader has his own circumstances. Besides, I’m not sure confiding in me would offer any helps whatsoever, after all, I’m only a maid.”
“No, it isn’t that big of a circumstance…”
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. However, I didn’t want to force an explanation out of someone.
I had my own set of principles. I was keen on persevering through them. Besides, from the standpoint of a servant, there wasn’t much point in knowing, anyway.
Albeit, I couldn’t help but smile at how funny this situation was… thank god, the Knight Leader didn’t notice me.
Finally, after sighing, he asked me.
“This is a very pathetic story, but, will you lend an ear to me?”
Seeing his expression, there was no way I could refuse.
He nodded with a serious face. “Actually…”
Rather than pathetic, the Knight Leader’s story was rather outrageous, to be more accurate.
“It started one day, the ghost of a woman is haunting me.”
On his serious face, not a sign of falsehood could be detected.
“It was right after Prince Stout’s engagement had been decided. That day, I stayed in the office until late at night. After I finished my paperwork, I went to the training ground…”
It seemed that the ghost quietly appeared beside him and caught him unaware.
“—and she would just appear like that, everywhere…?”
“…even the bath?”
“Yes, especially when I’m in a small group. She’ll appear anywhere, even when I’m taking a bath. It’s not like I spend most of my time with large number of people, either…”
Well, that’s certainly bold of her.
“Has she ever harmed you?”
“Usually, I can hear her whispering or her quietly giggling. Those are enough to freeze me solid on spot.”
“I can understand that…”
It seemed that she would cling to him from when the sun went down to until it came up again—
—that certainly was a matter of concern.
“Since I’m a knight, I’m trained to be perceptive about my surroundings. It doesn’t take much for me to spot her, unfortunately.”
He explained further.
“Every time she appeared, it seems that she sucked life out of me. Because I would always get sick. They’re only minor things, though—like a shoulder ache or a headache. However, if this last forever, I will be very troubled…”
“That must be hard…”
How was he supposed to rest at night?
“With the help of His Majesty, I have acquired help from the head of the priest, the head of the medicine, and even the director of the magic bureau. My room is protected with mysterious circles and is full of spirit warding instruments. I also have some calming herbs and God’s protection on me, yet she still appears…”
Not even the entire palace, united as one, could solve his problem.
Well, certainly, if I heard about ghosts appearing in the royal palace, I would chalk it off as a rumor.
“It is pathetic, but usually, when I walk down the hallway at night, I am accompanied by my subordinates. However, they had an urgent mission today, to aid the ambassador of the neighboring kingdom… Hence, I have to walk alone.”
“But, you said that she’ll still appear when you’re in small group.”
“Yes, she will, but certainly less often than when I am alone, and above all… I’d rather be depressed than alone.” The Knight Leader once more heaved a heavy sigh.
The door of the Knight Leader’s quarters could be seen.
When I stopped walking, Knight Leader Ranbic turned to me.
“The one who should be escorting someone—especially a woman—should be me, I’m very sorry about this… I’ve also interrupted your work. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to explain it properly to the head maid.”
“No problem, I don’t mind it in the slightest. That would save me from a lot of trouble, thank you.”
“Speaking of which, I didn’t hear the name of my benefactor. As you may already know, I’m Alto Ranbic. The leader of the first Order of Knights in the kingdom. May I have your name?”
“Oh, excuse my rudeness, I’m Tina Walter.”
“You’ve been great help for me today, Ms. Tina Walter. You’ve earned my gratitude—however, about tonight…”
“I understand. I won’t tell anybody.”
After all, he was genuinely troubled by it.
When I nodded with a reassuring smile, he smiled.
His smile was truly wonderful, and it was for me. No one else, but me.
“I can’t thank you enough. Do your patrols last the entire night?”
“Yes, but tomorrow is my day off.”
“I see. It may not be my place to say this, but, be careful.”
“Yes. Knight Leader Ranbic, too, should rest peacefully in his room.”
Then, the door was closed.
“How unscrupulous of me, but…”
…thank you, Ms. Ghost!!!
“—no, I absolutely mustn’t be like this. Knight Leader Ranbic is truly troubled, how could I?”
It was still long before morning.
I needed to get back to patrolling.
Usually, it would be a dull and gloomy night of patrolling, however, tonight felt so nice and special.
“Knight Leader, last night, did you ask one of the guards to escort you?”
“No. There was nobody I could ask for. Hence, I returned alone.”
Only the head priest, the head of medicine, the director of magic bureau, and Mrs. Christina, the lady that I escorted, knew about my problem with the ghost.
—no, there was another one. I met her yesterday.
“Eh!? Then, how did last night’s date with the female ghost along the corridor feel!?
Bock, the Vice Captain, seemed to be in a joking mood. Heis looked concerned, though.
“Do you want me to massage your shoulders?”
“No, I’m good. Fortunately, I met a cleaning maid. Thus, I was able to return to my quarters without encountering her.”
“…You, with the maid, alone?”
Seeing what Bock’s face was hinting at, I hurried to make an excuse.
“She was on patrol. Also, what’s wrong with that?”
“No, not that…”
I didn’t understand the reason why Bock was shaking his head.
“You went together with her, and didn’t see the ghost, is this correct?”
“What about the time when you returned with me?”
“I saw her.”
“How about when you were escorting Mrs. Christina?”
“She appeared, too. Her form was more vivid than when I was with you.”
“Not even once did I see—“
It had finally occurred to me—I immediately looked to Bock.
“Tina, don’t you seem chirpier today? Usually, you would be in a foul mood after patrol duty.”
I couldn’t tell Riona, since I promised to Knight Leader Ranbic to keep it a secret.
I guess I shouldn’t act that obvious, however, I certainly still felt happy.
“Besides, you’re truly amazing. Those night patrols are impossible for me, since they’re totally scary.”
“Really? The Royal Palace is well-guarded, and at night, there is no one besides the cleaning maid.”
“That’s not entirely true, you know …ghosts.”
Is this a coincidence or…?
Riona continued. “There are a lot of talks going inside the royal palace, right? There are also ton of stories concerning ghosts…”
“But, I’ve never encountered anything like that.”
“Well, neither have I… but that’s not the point!” Saying so, Riona puffed her cheeks.
Ghosts, huh? Last night, when I was with Knight Leader Ranbic, I saw no such thing…
“To us maids, you’re our savior. To take up the night duty like that—“
“—there she is!!! The Amulet Maid!!!”
Riona was cut off by a very loud voice.
Since it’s the maid’s quarters, the surroundings was full of maids. Everyone was trying to figure out who.
The loud voice’s owner walked straight to us.
“Huh!? Isn’t that Vice Captain Dortmund!? What have you done!?”
“Eh? Me? He isn’t looking for you?”
“No matter how you look at it, he’s staring at you!”
I didn’t want to believe it, however, Vice Captain Dortmund stopped right in front of me.
“Someone need to see you.”
Vice Captain Dortmund dragged me away while a stunned Riona sent me off.
—the ‘Amulet Maid’ is me!?
***T/N: LOL idek how much of his man pride is left after tonight… on the second note, it was 2 am when I was translating this and everything is tense af–
*room’s door leading to the dark hallway : //was open//
*kitten: //suddenly pokes head thru//