|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
I felt ashamed when I saw Miss Director stopping her chore to worry over me like a mother would over her child, so I dodged the question, while my feet stepped forward.
“O-, oh right, forgive me, Lady Julia. This girl is Emilia, she is one of our children who has left the orphanage. Emilia, this is the daughter of Baroness Brandmüller, Lady Julia. She has brought snacks for the children and helped around with the chores— I’m so ashamed I can’t thank her enough.”
“Don’t be, Miss Director. My activity here has become a good distraction for me, and my maid Lana can finally play around with someone her age. It is mutually beneficial.”
Young Lady Julia then smiled oh-so carefreely.
I see, the same kind as Miss Director, eh? Believing in the good of others rather than the evil, always walking under the shine of the sun, and gently extending one’s hand to anyone without discrimination.
But you know what, Miss Holier-than-thou? For us who live in the shadows, people like you are too dazzling; it’s annoying.
“Pleased to meet you, I believe this is the first time we’ve met. I’m Emilia. I haven’t been to the orphanage lately, so I was… shocked to see that everyone seems lively, thanks to you.” A strange look crossed her face when I greeted her. “Let me help with the laundry too, miss. Is there anything else to wash?”
“No, it’s all done. We only need to hang the rest.”
“Got that. I’ll help hang them.”
Even just hanging out clothes to dry, it was still a task to do laundry for nearly 20 children. I rolled up my sleeves and approached the laundry basket.
I glanced at our guest, and Lady Julia was also doing the chore properly, carefully stretching out the wrinkles as she hung the laundry one by one. I thought she was just playing some sort of game, but her gestures were surprisingly skillful and familiar, leaving me a bit agape.
Luckily, her maid from the other day isn’t with her today. This is my chance.
“I beg your pardon, but you seem quite adept, Your Ladyship.”
“Yes, well, I’m not really a noble lady…err, I mean, I wasn’t a noble at birth, you see… There was a period of time when I was compelled to do housework and other chores, so this came naturally to me.”
Lady Julia spoke evasively… or, really, it sounded to me that she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to say either.
“Huh, is that right?”
Lady Julia replied absentmindedly, and that was when I knew: now’s the time to strike! I slipped my hand towards the clasp of her necklace to remove it from her neck.
Not a moment later, Lady Julia’s hands grabbed mine so naturally, it looked effortless.
(Sh-, she’s no amateur!)
My timing and speed were perfect, they had to be! And yet, her hand grabbed mine like a vice, refusing to let me go. Wait, no, this is the same grappling technique guards use to hold down criminals.
I was getting more and more desperate, and that was when I noticed the noble daughter was staring at my face — not a moment later, all color drained from me.
She was the daughter of a high-ranking noble… heck, she was the daughter of the very lord of this area. At worst, a pickpocket’s punishment was to have their hands cut off, but that would be the case against normal citizens. An offense against a noble would be much worse.
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S̲h̲i̲t̲, I don’t give a rat’s a̲s̲s̲ if I was the only one bearing the punishment, but I’m from the orphanage. Worse yet, I’m doing it during her damned visit to the orphanage. Of freaking course, the orphanage as a whole would be held responsible collectively.
That was when Miss Director noticed that I had gone pale as a ghost and my hand was grabbed. “What’s the matter? Has she done you any wrong?”
Hearing those words, Lady Julia let go of my hand; her face looked illuminated.
“Ah, no wonder you look familiar. You’re the girl who tried to sell newspapers to me, aren’t you?”
“Have you met her before?”
“We have met, indeed. She called out to me in town a few days ago, though unfortunately, I was in the middle of my shopping, so I couldn’t buy anything from her. Are you off work today?”
What the hell are you playing?!!
I felt like my whole world was rotating, but then I saw Miss Director’s face lighting up with a smile.
“Oh lord, Emilia, so you are working properly. It has been worrying me, you know? I thought you might have fallen in with a bad crowd and were doing very bad things. I’m sorry, I should have trusted you. …I’m sorry, Lady Julia, how could I be so ignorant.”
“Don’t be, Miss Director. I’m sure Emilia understands your feelings very well. Isn’t that right?”
I couldn’t squeeze a word, only nodded in silence.
“I’m sure you’d like to join us for some snacks after we’re done with the laundry. I am quite proud of how the pound cake came out. By all means, don’t hold yourself back and partake in some.”
“Indeed, your pastries are all so delicious Lady Julia. I can feel my cheeks melting. I’m sure the children will be happy to have Emilia join us.”
“You’re right. After all, eating good food with your family is a good way to get over any ugly emotions.”
How could she be so considerate? I looked at the young lady, astonished, but she only gazed back at me with the same eager smile.
“That’s right. Feel free to come back here if you’re ever troubled. This is your home, after all.” My tears welled up at Miss Director’s words, but I held them back and continued to hang the rest of the laundry.
Later, once our chore was finished, I sat down at the same table as my little brothers and sisters to eat this pound cake thing, and…Miss Director wasn’t lying, the cake was staggeringly delicious (especially the one that had a brandy smell, that’s my favorite). By the time my belly was so full I couldn’t move, none of the ugly emotions remained, and I truly felt like I was genuinely happy.
“I wish I could live a life eating delicious foods like this every day,” those words slipped out from my mouth, and they must have reached Lady Julia’s ears.
After all, not a moment after, she made this absurd suggestion out of nowhere: “Then why don’t you apply to be an employee in our cafe? I will give them a word for you.”
“EH?! B-, but, I’m a (pickpocket)…”
“It’s okay. Miss Director, would you say that Emilia is trustworthy?”
“Of course, I would. She’s my prized daughter. I’m sure she’ll be of help.”
Yeah, I can’t hold back the tears any longer. My little brothers and sisters were in an uproar to see me crying, but I could only bow deeply to Miss Director and Lady Julia, choking back sobs.
Well, a lot happened after that. Long story short, I managed to land a decent job that provides me with three delicious meals a day. Now, my only goal is to make sweets as good as the lady’s and serve them to my little brothers and sisters at the orphanage.
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