|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“Please be careful. That girl is probably not of a respectable occupation.”
When we got far enough away from that newsgirl — probably a couple of years older than me, half a head shorter, and looking nimble and smart — Monika let go of my hand. She was clearly frowning.
“You can tell?”
“Yes. She is either a criminal or a prostitute… either way, she is not in a proper, respectable profession. You can tell people like that from the glint in their eyes and the way they smell.”
I thought she looked like any ordinary vendor, but since it was Monika who warned me, then I would believe her. After all, Monika managed to see past the recognition-inhibition spell and saw my true face.
“…She’s so young.”
I lamented, to which Monika added indignantly.
“Her age has nothing to do with it. No matter how harsh one’s life is or how grave their situation is, anyone who turns to a life of crime is rotten by nature.”
I could only force a wry smile at Monika’s harsh words. In fact, I cannot honestly say I have the confidence to survive without resorting to crime if death was my only other option.
“Well, let’s just procure the baking ingredients. I’m thinking of bringing a pound cake on our next visit, but it will be boring if it’s just plain.”
Incidentally, I did have prior knowledge surrounding baking pastries from my previous life (my mother was very particular about macrobiotics and baking that she made me help her with her hobbies, but I was just terrible at it, so when I finally managed to bake a cake by myself in the fourth grade, she shouted “I’m glad I gave birth to you!” and started to cry buckets of tears then and there…that didn’t give me an existential crisis, not at all)1 , and thanks to the fact that Regina practically whipped me to do all household chores, I was much more proficient in the kitchen than I was with magic.
“Is that so? However, why are you putting in so much effort, milady?”
“…Ah, well, Lady Christy seems pretty serious about opening the café; she even asked me to come up with more eye-catching recipes.”
“You mean the madam?!”
“Yes. Royce is scouring the town for property, and Beatrice is supervising the tea selection process, so I’m fairly sure they are serious.”
“…I had thought they were joking.”
“I won’t blame you.”
I nodded painfully before we continued our stroll down the market.
Incidentally, the café that the Brandmüller Household opened 4 months later, Letindüte, met with such astonishing success that it soon opened a branch in the capital (though some said that the baroness was politically pressured to). It turned out to be a major source of income for the household, and the patent fees for the recipe brought me a substantial income as well, but that is a story for another time.
I haven’t eaten anything proper in the last 5 days. As much as it pains me, I decided to visit the orphanage. I know that, after some scolding from Miss Director, I could get something to fill my belly there.
(I think the last time I went there was 3 months ago.)
I carried my cold feet there when I saw a magnificent four-horse box carriage being parked in front of the orphanage, the kind that really well-off people would ride.
(Some rich guy is here just to see us unfortunate kids again, huh?)
Ignoring the coachman who cast a stinky eye on me as I entered the gate, I decided I’d enter through the back door instead… when I spotted my little brothers and sisters frolicking around in the small garden.
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From the looks of it, they seemed to be playing with chairs so gleefully. There was a young beastfolk girl dressed like a maid, somehow completely blending in with them, and there was also a 12-year-old girl, wearing a maid uniform as well, who looked after them. The older one seemed pretty used to this weird game.
Hm? Is it just me, or does the skin of my siblings look better than before? They’re also slightly plumper than I remember.
“Ah, big sis Emilia”
One of the kids noticed me standing around awkwardly and they all came up to me.
“Yo, are you kids doing good? Gram, Kohta, Tilda, Eda, you all getting along well?” I scrubbed their heads with as much love as I could muster.
“Ow! You don’t change, sis.”
“Emilia, you made Miss Director worry, you know? You should come visit us more regularly.”
“Yeah, kid. I got it. By the way, are we having a guest? I see a carriage parked in the front.”
I dodged that guilt trip and asked, and that’s how I learned it was the daughter of the Baron who came to visit us.
“So, who are they?” They must’ve sensed my gaze on them; those two maid girls bowed at me.
“Lana and big sis Eren are Lady Jill’s friends. They taught us about Fruit Bowl and One-Leg Sumo.”
I don’t know what games those are; they must be the ones that got these kids so excited.
“So, the young lady is inside chatting with Miss Director?”
Hah, so she makes her maids entertain the kids while she’s just taking it easy inside drinking some tea…so I thought, but the answer they gave me pulled the rug from under my feet.
“Nope. Lady Jill is doing laundry with Miss Director.”
“She helped us clean the rooms before!”
“Yup. She also climbed the roofs and fixed the leak.”
I looked my little brothers and sisters in the eyes.
“…so you’re saying that…a noble lady is doing laundry and climbing roofs and fixing leaks…?”
They all nodded their heads in unison, and I was absolutely mortified. What kind of noblewoman visits an orphanage just to climb the roofs and swing a hammer?!
I still can’t believe it, but I brought my feet to the back of the orphanage anyway. That was when I saw it, Miss Director and that woman —I couldn’t even forget her, she was that girl with the dead-eyed maid that I saw downtown— hanging up the laundry together.
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An intense hatred flared in my heart.
Even now, I can’t quite understand why. Maybe I was frustrated and jealous seeing someone much more fortunate than me, or maybe it was prejudice and a sense of inferiority, as if seeing my place being taken over by her of all people… such ugly emotions surged forward, and I couldn’t help but desire to take away everything that this woman possessed.
“Ah, Emilia! You’re here,” there was a spring in Miss Director’s voice.
“—It’s been a while, miss.”
“It really has. You haven’t shown up at all lately, it worries me sick. Are you eating properly? You look thin.”
“Well, I’ll live…”