Holy crap, another one? Somehow, this one took much longer than the others so far. Hopefully it won’t always be this tough. Anyways, enjoy the chapter! I’ll try to make updates as frequently as possible for the first while at least, so people can have enough material to get an impression of the story.
The next day.
After the her reunion with the voice in her head, Lilia had at some point passed out, probably due to having finally calmed down after a week of distress. Having woken, Lilia looked outside, as the bright morning sunlight streamed in from window. As the prospect that last night could very well have all been a dream crept into her mind, Lilia was starting to feel crestfallen once again when-
At that voice’s carefree morning greeting, Lilia felt relief from the bottom of her heart.
“Good morning. Come to think of it, I still haven’t gotten your name yet.”
—Eh? Ahh, my name, huh… Well, you can just call me Sakura.
“Sakura, is it? Alright. Well then Sakura, for now, what should my next actions be?”
—That’s right. It’s time for your morning greetings! Out to the halls! The maids would be your first targets!
Lilia’s eyes went round in astonishment, and an unpleasant frown quickly surfaced on her face. Why she should have to give greetings to the lowly servants here, was the question that both of them knew to be running through Lilia’s mind. Sakura let out a small sight and said frankly.
—Lilia. The problem here is your attitude of looking down on everyone else. Do you understand that?
“Well that… may, be the case… But if anything there shouldn’t be a need to even flatter the maids is there!”
Even without a temperament like Lilia’s, most nobles would still have cold attitudes towards their servants. To the servants of this country, just serving a master with an indifferent attitude towards them would be considered a blessing. Lilia herself was certainly aware that she possessed a severe personality, but she had no intention of reforming her attitude towards her servants.
But Sakura only gave an exaggerated sigh.
—Lilia. What would you think if a good friend of yours mistreated their servants?
“That it must suck to have useless maids?”
—I was an idiot for asking you after all!
What should I do, Sakura lamented. Lilia remained dubious as she stood before the door, waiting for Sakura’s next words. Before long, Sakura, with a small nod and an “Alright”, said this.
—I give up on trying to explain it to you! Hey, Lilia. I want to help you.
At the sudden change of topic, Lilia tilted her head.
—Do you still not trust me?
“Honestly, I’m still not completely certain of my trust in you. But for now I’ve already decided to follow your words.”
—Then do as I said.
Lilia understood, and accepted the fact in her heart. That Sakura had a clear reason behind her instructions, even if she couldn’t put it into words very well. Since it couldn’t be helped, she wouldn’t force herself in thinking about it. Lilia gave a small nod.
She opened the door. At that moment, what immediately came into view was the face of a maid.
It was a girl around the same age as her. Lilia widened her eyes, and spoke with a voice devoid of emotion.
“You, standing around outside of someone’s room like that, what might I ask are you doing…?”
Though it wasn’t on purpose, her voice was cold and low. Consequently, the maid in front of her shook in fright as her eyes darted every which way, her mouth repeatedly flapped open and closed in panic. Angered by such an response Lilia prepared to speak out again.
—Wah! Hold up, hooold up! Lilia, down! Sit!
As Sakura shouted frantically, the words about to come out of Lilia’s mouth turned into air and dispersed.
—Hey, you know, Lilia. With the way you are usually, you’d get angry at the maids if they were even a little bit late in responding to your summons right? That’s why the maids, they probably always keep someone posted on stand by outside your room. Especially since you’ve been in an abnormal state recently, they’re probably feeling quite worried about you, yeah?
Lilia’s eyes widened in disbelief. While she herself felt there was no fault with the attitude she took with them, she certainly shouldn’t be someone who the maids looked fondly upon. Despite that, to think that they were worried about her, it was something that would have never crossed her mind.
—Of course, the same can’t be said for all of them. Not wanting to incur your anger, some people only begrudgingly take their posts out here, but among the maids there are girls like her here who are genuinely worried for your well being you know. You’ve gotta treasure these people more.
That’s why, you should treat them nicely, okay?
Sakura’s tone was overflowing with earnestness. Taking in those words, Lilia sorted out these feelings swirling inside of her. Returning her sight to the maid once more, Lilia found the girl gazing up at her with upturned eyes.
“Umm… I am terribly sorry, mistress.”
Said the maid with her head lowered in apology. The maid kept her head lowered in that state.
Perhaps she was waiting for my response, thought Lilia. “How dare you raise your head without my approval!” was probably something I’ve yelled in anger before. A naturally wrathful temperament, isn’t it.
“Don’t mind it. I just got a little worked up. Sorry about that.”
The moment those words came out of Lilia’s mouth, the maid before her raised her face with vigor. Her eyes opened wide as she stared at Lilia. At the unexpected reaction from the maid, Lilia involuntarily took a step back.
“Wha, what is it?”
“Are you feeling unwell?! Did you eat something strange?! Please wait here, rest assured I’ll go and bring the doctor immediately! So, please, let us quickly return to your room!”
“Hold up. What are you talking about?”
Lilia narrowed her eyes in displeasure at the excessive comments being hurled at her. But, the maid before her did not cease her actions, and continued to repeat that Lilia must please return to her room, that she’ll immediately find a doctor, and so on. In the end, after much time was wasted, Lilia finally managed to convince the girl that everything was alright.
And while all this was going on, Lilia never noticed the fact that Sakura was enjoying herself, laughing away at such a spectacle.
After having soothed Miss “Please return to your room!”, following Sakura’s instructions, Lilia decided to head out to the garden for now. While walking with the maid following behind, her feet were halted by a call of “please wait”, that came from the maid.
“What is it?”
“What shall we do about your change of clothes?”
Until it was mentioned just now, this fact had completely slipped her mind. What Lilia had on at the moment was the uniform she wore for the academy. Since the day the crown prince had revoked their engagement, Lilia had yet to change out of these clothes. Right as that fact surfaced, the resulting odour too surfaced along with it.
—That’s some serious funk, Lilia.
At Sakura who said this while playing dumb about the whole situation, Lilia reflexively shouted in retort.
“If you knew all along then tell me sooner!”
Startled, the maid before Lilia started to tremble furiously. She hastily lowered her head, apologising with “I am terribly sorry”. Even in Lilia’s eyes, the figure of the trembling maid seemed quite pitiful. Feeling apologetic, Lilia spoke somewhat frantically.
“That’s not it. Those words weren’t actually directed at you. So, don’t be so scared, okay…”
—Well, that girl is definitely thinking right about now. That there really isn’t anyone here but her.
Lilia’s cheeks twitched. She was on the verge of yelling out again, but seeing that the only one in front of her was the maid, the figure that belonged to the voice Lilia heard was certainly nowhere to be seen. Yelling again would only serve to further frighten the maid.
Lilia would not usually care about a maid’s feelings, but she just could not bring herself to coldly ignore the feelings of the girl who had shown that she truly cared for her master. Lilia was even a little surprised, deep down, that she could have such thoughts.
—Aww, by the way, even if you don’t say it out loud, I can still hear all the mutterings of your heart you know~
—These feelings, just express them from the start, silly!
Though she was starting to question whether she really should have trusted such a voice, Lilia had already decided to believe in Sakura. Simply put, going back on her words was something that went against Lilia’s nature. Heaving a large sigh, she turned to face the maid before her.
With a pale, fearful face, the maid also peeked up at the situation of her master with upturned eyes. Letting out a small sigh, with unpracticed facial muscles Lilia attempted to form a smile. Receiving the awkward, crude smile only added to the maid’s fright, but Lilia paid no mind to that detail. As a matter of course, Sakura was kept busy trying her best not to laugh at the scene.
“I’ll be heading out to the garden for a bit of fresh air. But, as you said, I, well, that is… It stinks right?”
At Lilia’s words, the still nervous maid, timidly gave a reserved nod.
“Sorry but, could you prepare the bath for me?”
“Eh? Ah, yes!”
Lilia wore a dubious expression at the astonished maid’s hurried reply, but paid no mind to it for now. The surprise change that, the Lilia who had commanded her servants with an iron tone had actually made a gentle request, was something that did not go unnoticed by Sakura after all. But she held off on doing something like pointing out this fact. After all, Sakura was already plenty occupied with simply trying to keep herself from bursting into laughter at this point.
“Ah, also. You, what’s your name?”
To Lilia’s question, the maid, still nervously hurried with her words, gives a reply.
“Alisa is it. I’ve got it. And your age?”
“I turn fifteen this year…”
“Is that so. Then you’re a year younger than me huh.”
Lilia nodded in satisfaction, and continued.
“I shall make you into my personal maid. Alright?”
“Eh? Ah, umm…”
Perhaps not understanding what Lilia had meant, it was clear to see that Alisa was in a state of panic. Lilia quickly realised the reason behind Alisa’s hesitation.
“Ahh, that’s right. First I’ll have to get approval from Father. I’ll confirm it with him later.”
“Eh, ahh… I understand. I look forward to your guidance.”
Seeing the deeply bowing Alisa, Lilia left with a satisfied smile painted across her face. Without looking back, she headed off towards the baths.
“By the way, Miss Sakura. Would you mind shutting up?”
—But…! Just… Ku, fufu, hehefu….!
Lilia proposed such to the Sakura who was desperately trying to hold in her unpleasant laughter.