7. The Knight Leader, a Ghost, and My Amulet
- A/N: Girls’ talk. It’s short.
A few days after the dreamy Star Festival—
Captain Ranbic gave me a day off.
He said it was because the place was still crowded, however, in the following days, Vice Captain Dortmund told me the actual reason—
“—you’ve worked hard and also put up with Herez. It’s a reward, a reward!”
I didn’t wish for this but… I’m glad that my hard work was approved.
Furthermore, I had just casually mentioned my friends to him once when I was accompanying him back, but it seemed that Captain Ranbic remembered my exact words—
“Tina! Sylvie! Hurry up~! It’s already lined up!”
“Riona, you’re way too enthusiastic! The cake won’t grow legs!”
“Oh, but it will! It will grow legs and take off to other girls’ stomachs!”
In this way, three people who had a holiday after a long time went out to the city.
“It sure has been a long time~”
“Yes, it sure isn’t easy to get a day off. It doesn’t matter how hard you work…”
The cake from the popular bakery was safely stored in their stomachs—after they had enjoyed every single bite, of course.
“Speaking of which, Tina,‘that’—has ‘that’ been taken care of?”
Sylvie whispered to me.
“You know, ‘that’!”
This time, Riona also lowered her voice.
“Lice” “—the Devil of the Accounting Ministry.”
Turned out they both had different questions to ask. Both were befuddled as they stared at each other.
“Sylvie! It’s as if you don’t know how effective Tina’s herb blend is! The lice must’ve been taken care of after in less than a week! Also, don’t talk about such a thing in such a nice place!”
“You too, Riona. What if someone from the accounting ministry is here and heard us? Besides, the Star Festival is over—that means the reign of the Devil of the Accounting Ministry is also over.”
““—isn’t that so, Tina—!?””
…all I could understand is that they’re worried about me.
For the time being, I slowly sipped my tea while my head spun some words.
“The lice infestation has been taken care of, indeed. As Riona has said, it’s thanks to my effective herbal blend.”
—although a Senior Maid actually requested me to specifically leave some lice in Vice Captain Dortmund’s head—but that was a story for another time. Not to mention, the request itself was also difficult.
After all, a lice infestation is hard to control. It would be a problem if Vice Captain Dortmund wandered around and spread lice to everyone else—including Captain Ranbic. The actual lice outbreak would probably attack the maids, as well. Hence, I had no other choice but to turn it down.
“Mr. Herez went to view the festival, too. As you can see, the festival was well done. There’s still a lot of post-processing tasks to do, and there’s also the review regarding the knight’s accounting. So, there might still the possibility he’ll stay here a bit longer, but overall, it shouldn’t be as taxing as before.”
It was because Captain Ranbic worked hard. Hence, I didn’t feel too inconvenienced.
“—that’s why, I’m doing well, and also having fun.”
They both looked relieved—they laughed openly.
It seemed that they were still worried, though.
After all, I didn’t mention anything about the ghost to them. I felt bad for not telling them, but at the same time, I felt happy because they were concerned about me.
Once again, the peaceful atmosphere returned. But, Riona’s expression was clouded.
“Don’t be too relaxed, yet, Tina. There’s still some problem…”
“What is it?”
We couldn’t comprehend why she looked so troubled.
“It seems that a ghost has appeared in the royal palace.”
“Ghost? Only now you mention that? After all, there’s a lot of ghost stories swirling around the castle. It’s not unusual.” Sylvie explained.
Still, Riona seemed perturbed.
“Yeah! Those are some of the most common stories around!”
Her expression seemed dead serious.
“You see… my aunt is the Queen’s attendant—and she said that she saw a ghost in the dark…”
Her aunt didn’t know when the ghost had appeared.
However, the moment her aunt noticed the ghost, the ghost had smiled at her.
Her aunt was too scared, she turned away—and when she looked back, the ghost wasn’t there anymore.
“She could’ve be mistaken. After all, we are often mistaken for ghosts during our night patrols…”
“Definitely not! My aunt is now sick. She has to rest at my parents’ house, away from the Queen’s side!”
It seemed that her aunt had reported the sighting right away, however, no one believed her. She was even given a decree to not talk about it to anyone—
“—wait a minute? If there’s a decree, then doesn’t that mean we must absolutely not speak about it?”
“It isn’t relevant…”
“After all, I’m, I’m scared!!” Riona looked like she was about to cry.
“That’s why I’ve always been afraid of night patrols! Even if the Royal Palace is supposed to be dark at night and there are many ghost stories—this one’s different!!!”
Riona’s aunt was a strong woman.
She was a proud and confident attendant, who served the queen. She wasn’t someone who could easily be misled by bad rumors.
Even though so—
—such a strong, fierce, aunt is bedridden right now.
“What would happen if I encounter such a thing alone at night—!? After listening to that story, I can’t help but be scared!”
After Riona said that, silence ensued.
“It’s alright, Riona. I’ll take your place during the night patrol…”
However, when Sylvie consoled her, Riona fiercely shook her head.
“No—! I’m scared, but I don’t want everyone to see me as a coward—!”
The other customers in the store were chatting happily, however, we were so quiet.
“…umm, then, how about we suggest to the Head Maid that the patrols consist of two maids?” I suddenly had an idea.
“Can we do that…?”
“I’m going to ask Captain Ranbic if he can relay it to the Head Maid. Wouldn’t she agree if a knight told her it’s due to safety reasons?”
“In that case, I need to tell Captain Ranbic the full story, are you okay with that?”
“Sure, but I don’t think he would believe me…”
Sylvie added. “After all, we’re talking about a ghost, here.”
“He’ll believe you.”
—after all, he’s suffering because of ghost right now.
I was sure it wasn’t irrelevant to the Captain.
Even though it didn’t appear so, it was still there.
Anyone whom encountered the ghost had their life sapped.
Yes, after all, I had heard the story from the Captain himself long before I heard it from Riona.
Riona cheered up a little.
“Hey, Tina! Won’t you give me some of your herbal blend? It’s for my aunt!”
All of the blends I made weren’t only effective, but had soothing aromas as well.
I agreed with Riona—it was such a great idea.
“Of course, even though it can’t ward off ghosts, I’m sure it can help her rest.”
Riona finally smiled again. Sylvie had calmed down, as well.
If the mood maker Riona was feeling down, there was no way for us to feel happy, either.
Riona then laughed mischievously—
“—even so, you sure are close with the Captain, huh? I’m so jealous~”
“That’s true. It seems that Tina is close with him.”
Even Sylvie joined in on teasing me. I felt my cheeks burning up.
“I, it’s not like that. Captain Ranbic is just a nice guy…” No matter how much I denied it, they were still grinning.
“Well, I think it’s better you fully take advantage of this chance. Spend all the time you can with him while the two of you are still close.”
“The lice infestation has been taken care of; the Star Festival has also passed—wouldn’t that mean that Tina will soon return to her normal duties?”
Once that happened, I would rarely be able to see them again.
She was exactly right.
Before the ghost problem had arisen, I was just one amongst many women that worked in the castle.
As such, I could only stare at his cool appearance from a distance.
As such, I was forced to be satisfied with my own circumstances.
Once the problem with the ghost is resolved, I would revert back to those days where I could only stare at him from a far.
“Tina? Are you okay?”
Sylvia and Riona stared at me with concern.
“Was it something I said?”
While laughing bitterly, the wonderful memories I had with him went through my head—
—walking down the corridor together.
—the warmth of his hand which patted my head.
—our waltz under the starry night, just the two of us.
They were some brilliant memories. So, even if I could only gaze at him from a far, surely, I would be alright.
“Hey, I’m going to make a potpourri to help ease Riona’s aunt’s heart—won’t the two of you help me collect the ingredients?”
“Of course…” The two smiled, even though they were still worried.
The tea that I drank up at once wasn’t very tasty, maybe because it was already cold.