|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
To be fair, モニカ can be localized as Monica as well, but Monika is love Monika is life.
“The young lady and Sir Lucas wish to visit the city, so I will have you guide them.”
Upon the abrupt statement, Monika’s hand stopped for a moment as she arranged the plates. Only for a moment, though. After all, it was Royce the steward who had spoken it out. For a parlor maid (a maid who serves the table) like her, Royce was an existence above the clouds. Practically a god-like being who was overseeing every single employee in the realm of the baroness’ mansion.
The words came straight from his mouth, not Monika’s boss, Roland the cook — who was apparently so shocked to see the steward coming to the kitchen, he panicked when the pot he manned boiled over. This meant that there was no room for questioning, not even vetoing, as the order was final.
Once Monika finished arranging the plates, she wiped her hands on her apron and mechanically bowed her head.
“Understood. Should I guide them right away?”
“Yes. They are both ready to go, so head towards the drawing room with your current getup.”
After replying, Monika turned her amber eyes to Roland, her direct superior, for approval, and the cook hesitantly nodded, disgruntled.
(I know you hate being short-handed at lunchtime… but bring the complaints to Royce himself, will you?)
Roland smiled amiably towards Royce’s back after the steward stormed in and left once all he needed was fulfilled. Monika was sure that the cook was probably hurling invectives at him for the extra trouble he brought, in his own mind of course. After all, he couldn’t possibly show it outside. Monika sighed, predicting that she would be the one to bear the brunt of Roland’s grievances when she returned.
“…” Monika was well aware that her boss was a sniveler for someone who loves to curry favors, so she could only keep her sighs inward as she followed Royce out of the kitchen.
They walked down the carpeted hallway in silence, but Royce suddenly opened his mouth, seemingly remembering something. “If I recall correctly, your family owned an inn in the suburbs of Urgus.”
Monika didn’t reply immediately, as she was taken aback by how casual Royce was when he spoke to her. Monika remembered telling this to Royce before, since the steward was there when she was interviewed for the job, but she had never dreamed that he would remember it.
“…it wasn’t much of an inn, we mostly dealt with seasonal itinerant merchants and travelers. It was just a side business separate from our main business… err, farming. It’s not a full business…”
Monika had been running a small inn alone with her grandmother for as long as she could remember. Her father and mother died of an epidemic when she was very young, she didn’t even remember their faces.
When she was 15, her grandmother finally succumbed to her frail constitution and passed away, and it became difficult for her to continue living on her own after that. She asked the village chief’s wife, who was from the imperial capital, to write a letter of introduction for her so that she could be sent on an apprenticeship.
With the money she received after selling all of her family assets, including a few fields, as well as a secondhand maid’s uniform that the village chief and his wife gave her as a parting gift for her to wear at her place of employment —of course, the two of them didn’t simply help her out of goodwill. They were also trying to save themselves from having to support an orphan in the village— Monika hitched onto a merchant’s carriage and came to the imperial capital. It was her first trip, her first time in the big city.
Later, she happened to see a job announcement for the baroness’ mansion, thinking it wouldn’t hurt to apply, she shot for an interview, and was consequently hired —she believed she must’ve used up her good luck of a lifetime. She managed to continue working there for more than a year without getting kicked out.
Considering that she used to live in that desolate village without food or shelter, her life now was like heaven. She was safe, her meals were guaranteed, and she received a monthly stipend. There was a fair amount of nagging and unreasonableness from her superiors, but even with those, life here was comfortable enough.
“Hm. I see now… perhaps that experience helped; You seem to be very attentive to others. Do you possess any other skills, martial art or magical art?”
“It isn’t exactly a Magic Art, but I heard that I’m from a lineage of curse practitioners. My grandmother also taught me how to perform simple curses.”
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Monika tilted her head, feeling like she was being tested. The moment she reached that question, Royce stopped and looked over his shoulder.
“I see, I see. By the way, I would like to hear your honest opinion: What do you think of young lady Julia?”
Although his tone and expression didn’t change, Royce was more serious than ever —he even sounded as though he would not allow for lies or deception. Almost reflexively, Monika blurted out her honest impression.
“…she is a very beautiful person. Almost like—”
“Like a flower that blooms grandly.”
In fact, that was Monika’s only impression of her — of the 12-year-old girl named Juila Fortuna Brandmüller when she was suddenly introduced as the baroness’ adopted daughter. Actually, no…
(…God is unfair) Monika also remembered such discontent.
Even if she already cut her hair short for ease of movement, her stubborn reddish-brown hair refused to stay in place. Her swarthy skin, though healthy, looked dull and riddled with freckles. Her amber eyes didn’t reflect much emotion and were not pretty to look at. She was by no means ugly, but she didn’t have the charm or attractiveness to actively appeal to others. She was just an average Jane, one you could see anywhere else… that is how Monika had made of herself in her 16 years of living.
In contrast, young lady Julia. She was the opposite of her.
She was tall for a 12-year-old… yet she had ample breasts that attracted even the eyes of women. She was incredibly slender with a narrow waist and voluptuous hips.
Her long hair, reaching down to her waist much like any noble lady’s, was blonde with a light cherry red tint, changing shades depending on the light, creating a fantastic beauty. While her large eyes, tinged with melancholy and fragility, were a clear, jewel-like jade color. Her smooth skin was pure white like virgin snow, and her face was as lovely as a fairy or a princess straight out of a fairy tale.
She was beautiful. Anyone who laid their eyes on her would surely think so.
With that being said, when she was first introduced, Monika didn’t pay much attention to her beauty. Yesterday before dinner, every single servant in the mansion was suddenly gathered together —that being said, there were currently only 12 servants in the mansion. The majority of them headed to the mansion in the town of Consul, where the baroness was to be assigned, to make preparations ahead of time. At the time of introduction, Monika’s impression of the adopted young lady was as such; “She claims she’s from the sticks, but she’s just like any other noble lady.”