3. The Knight Leader, a Ghost, and My Amulet
For one week, the Knight Leader and I walked together down the long hallway every day.
Not even once did the ghost appear.
“Ms. Tiffany, could it be, that your ancestors were renowned exorcists—!?”
“My name is Tina, Vice-Captain Dortmund, and of course, there were no such things. They were just mediocre countryside nobility.”
I swore on the name of my family tree.
“Ms. Tiara, it could be that this has been your talent all along. A talent that was once dormant is now blossoming—…”
“It’s Tina, Vice-Captain. Well, even if you tell me that…”
…what is the use of such a skill for a cleaning maid and a noble lady?
“Besides, other than insisting on calling my first name, why do you get it wrong every time?”
“I usually call common women by their first name. Me getting it wrong is actually my way of looking after you, you know?”
Vice-Captain Dortmund, who always looked relaxed, tensed his expression a bit.
“Yeah. After all, I can easily say amongst all women, you’re the closest with Knight-Leader right now. Moreover, spending time with Knight-Leader also means you’re granted access to other popular knights such as me. You should be careful, y’know? Other women might get jealous of you.”
…Let’s just ignore that he just called himself popular right there.
It cheered me up a little that he at least tried to be of help after forcing me into this kind of situation. He kept an eye on details, too—as expected of Vice-Captain.
“I think I’ll be okay! When my first job was done, the head maid covered for me in front of everyone.”
The serious and strict head maid’s main duty was to assign tasks to the maids in the royal palace. She also had a keen grasp over women psychology.
Hence, she understood that there were circumstances behind my and the Knight-Leader’s arrangement that shouldn’t be made public.
In the end, she said—
“—‘Tina’ll be reassigned on a temporary basis because there’s a large lice infestation in the Knights’ area.’”
“Vice-Captain, this is no laughing matter. That also means everyone in the knights’ area is dirty, you know?”
—including you, Vice-Captain.
The handsome guy fell into shock.
His good reputation was being tarnished, after all.
“Wait, what—!? What kind of ‘cover-up’ is that—!? It’s basically saying that we’re all infested with lice!”
The so-called knights’ area consisted of an office, the training grounds, and a single dormitory adjacent to them.
“The details of the cover-up goes; because there is a lot of lice in the knights’ dormitory, the office and training grounds are also infested. In order to prevent further damage from spreading, she has to stick to the leader as he who visits other areas so that they may exterminate the lice from time to time.’—it’s that kind of setting.”
“That… did we do anything to your head maid? I feel intense hate, here…”
Personally, I thought so too—both Rose and Jasmine have become cold recently. They were dispirited; their eyes dead.
“Well, they’re not bad people to begin with. However, I do recall that time a knight made a maid cry. There are also other things—maybe she thought she ought to punish you guys a little?”
“What’s the matter, Vice-Captain?”
“No, nothing at all…”
The Vice-Captain answered softly, and powerlessly shook his head.
“Okay, at the very least, I’m glad that I was concerned about nothing, Ms. Tina.”
“It’s nothing, Vice-Captain. I’m glad that someone is looking out for me.”
In fact, far from being bullied due to jealousy, they treated me even gentler than before because they were very sympathetic towards me. I ‘had’ to exterminate lice together with the Knight-Leader, after all. Although the con was, they bathed with me less often.
“But, lice-extermination… personally, I would find it hard to believe that a girl like you would accept that kind of duty. Yet, everyone seems casual about Ms. Tina accepting such task.”
“Ah, that’s probably because my hobby is growing herbs.”
I used to tend to the herbs back in my parents’ home, and once I began working, I brought some of them with me to the palace. Even now, I still continued to grow them.
So far, the Vice-Captain was still following my explanation.
Right, it was about time to introduce ‘Tina Walter’s special anti-lice herb blend’, which was popular back home.
“Oooh, right, now that you mention it, you do have a good smell.” He sniffed, while seemingly having a lot of fun about it.
—I was a little embarrassed.
“What are you two doing?”
Both of us turned at to the familiar voice. As I thought, it was Knight-Leader Ranbic.
However, for some reason, his expression looked colder than usual.
“Oh, Leader, I was listening to Ms. Tina regarding her hobbies. It seems that she had fun growing herbs and blending them afterwards—that’s also why she smells good.”
“? You’ve finally decided to call her name properly?”
It seemed that Knight-Leader also noticed…
“Oh, that’s… well, it won’t make sense even if I explain it to you—besides! There’s something even worse than that! We’re rumored to be covered with lice!”
“There’s something more urgent right now. Ms. Walter, can you come with me for a moment?”
“? Of course.”
Although he didn’t sound as cold as before, when he called me with such an indescribable expression on his face, I couldn’t help but approach him timidly.
“Ms. Walter, there’s something important that you need to know—don’t get too close with Bock.”
He uttered so with such a serious face.
“Because if you get too close with Bock…—
“—…you’ll end up pregnant.”
Before I could comprehend anything, Vice-Captain Bock screamed.
“What is that—!? I don’t have that kind of super power—!!”
“To cause such a rumor to swirl, he’s that bad. After all, there’s no smoke without fire. I’m already bothering you. I don’t want to cause another problem for you down the road.”
“No, no, no, no, how could you say that with such a straight face—!? At least listen to my side of the story—!? I have the right to choose, too, you know—!?”
Then, he said that kind of crap.
Admittedly, I was a gentle person—both to myself and others.
Both Riona and Sylvie have asked me at least once—“when will you get angry for once?”
The answer to that; right now, I think.
“’‘The right to choose’, huh? I haven’t asked this before, but—do you consider even me, Vice Captain Dortmund?”
“Uhh, I… I don’t see you that way.”
“I see, you don’t, but why is that? Pray tell, what’s your requirement for us women to be within your range of choices? Most importantly—why? Why do us women have to live to YOUR requirements? Who are you to label us? What gives you the right?”
“No, I don’t mean it that way…”
“Ohh, right, I’m sorry. You ARE the Vice-Captain—you’re much more superior than a cleaning maid. Hence, it’s natural you don’t even consider me, this lowly cleaning maid. Hence, it somehow also gives you the right to talk down to me like a supreme being.”
Vice-Captain suddenly cut me off.
“—my lunch break is about to end, so excuse me.”
“But, we’re still on the subject, here.”
The cleaning maid was treated like air.
It was fortunate for him, because I soon forgot about his bullcrap. He disappeared into the corridor before of the training grounds.
“Ms. Walter, Ms. Walter.”
When I turned around, I saw Captain Ranbic, with his eyebrows in the shape of ハ.
—this person was kind, after all.
…Right, I was angered about something that should be unrelated to me. In all actuality, I was really just a cleaning maid and what I had just done was obviously inappropriate.
…will he hold it against me?
…I had thrown a childish tantrum in front of this person, realizing that, my cheeks turned hot.
“I’m sorry, I just said something unnecessary in front of Bock…”
“The one who ranted like a little girl was me, I’m the one who’s in the wrong.”
“Not at all! Your anger is justifiable! In truth, I am—…”
We stood there, smiling at each other. It seemed like there would be no end to this.
“In the end, it’s Vice-Captain Dortmund’s fault. He was being profane.”
“No, I’ll take the blame, since this is also my fault. It’s alright, the Head Maid will forgive me.”
I laughed again. The frustration I felt until a while ago disappeared just like that, it felt strange.
I also wondered why I would be frustrated by such trivial things.
When I was being made fun of and being compared endlessly to my beautiful and feminine childhood friend, Mike, I never minded it.
After a week, I had already forgotten about it, and continue admiring her smile as usual.
—oh, could it be because this person was in front of me?
Was I mad because Bock said such a thing in front of this person?
“Although, I’m not joking when I said be careful.”
Again, he kindly reminded me.
It was alright, I could finally smile again. I finally knew the reason for my anger.
“It’ll be alright. Vice-Captain Dortmund isn’t the kind of person to hold it against you.”
“That’s not it…”
“A knight’s main duty is to protect, but in the end, they are also men. Be careful not only of Bock, but also of the others—after all, you’re a beautiful woman.”
My cheeks went ablaze, in a totally different way than before.
“—by the way, what is this about the lice?”
After repeating the story I told Vice-Captain Dortmund, Captain Ranbic had the same reaction.
“—is that why His Majesty looked at me with such a pitying gaze—?! ‘Poor man’—his eyes held those exact words! No doubt about it, this is Dortmund’s fault—!”
In rage, Captain Ranbic went on a hunt for Dortmund. His battle cries resounded throughout the hallway.
…so, Vice-Captain Dortmund is the reason the Head Maid is angry, huh?
*T/N: ….DAAAAAAAMN. MIC DROP. MIC DROP FOR TINA. SHE KICKSTARTED FEMINIST MOVEMENT. And yes, your position may be lower but it doesn’t mean your self-worth diminishes also !!!