It is now later in the day, after milady, having become even more beautiful thanks to all the love and devotion that I had showered her, has finished reinventing herself to the class. She is now having a reunion with her younger brother, a member of the family that has been giving her the cold shoulder.
Can lady Sharon display the dignity of an elder sister? Let us see.
“Sister, it has been some time. You look… different.”
“Truly? I, as well, am relieved to see that you are in good health.”
The younger brother named Yohanne seems to be honestly surprised. On the other hand, milady is looking very much stone-faced. No wonder she gets misunderstood all the time, but that doesn’t make her any less cute, any less lovely.
Yohanne is a boy with blond hair and a face that makes me think he’s going to be kidnapped by some older woman sooner or later. He doesn’t look very similar to milady; he shares her violet eyes at most, I suppose.
Of the two ladies standing behind him, the one who looks like his personal maid is glaring at me. Quite galling. Do you want to have a go? Do you?
“Yet that selfish part of yours hasn’t changed at all, sister, deciding a Partner on your own like that. Have you no consideration for his Highness Joel?”
“I-I’m not being selfish! As a student of the academy, it is a fully justified Partnership—”
“Aren’t you his Highness’s fiancee candidate, sister? Did you not think that perhaps you should wait until his Highness decided on his own Partner? Really, I have to wonder why someone like you was chosen. Stop bringing disgrace to our family.”
…hmm, where did I put my Orc Killer…
Noticing my indignation, milady whispers, her hand grasping my own.
…aah, so soft, so smooth…
Understood. If lady Sharon wishes to tolerate them, then as her maid, it shan’t be my place to make a move before she does.
Seeing milady’s lack of resistance, Yohanne begins to get cocky. He looks at me and spits out.
“And just who is that maid? Did you hire her? If you have the money, why not pay me what you owe?”
Unbidden, Milady and I look at each other. It seems that being of a different academic grade, Yohanne hasn’t heard that I’ve become milady’s maid.
“Umm, Yohanne, she’s…”
“Ah, my apologies, lady Akiru. Family matters or not, I have still done you a disservice. Were you bored?”
The other girl standing behind Yohanne is Akiru, one of the summoned middle-school students from Earth. She has long, black hair, and quite a graceful air about her. According to my memories, she was from a well-to-do family.
“…Kamishiro. It’s… been a while, I guess?”
“My, my, what strange happenstance that we would meet here.”
I remember her, of course. I remember what she did to me.
“Oh, do you two know each other?”
“I am acquainted with her.” I say, guilelessly. The young miss Akiru faintly frown.
We’re not friends, Akiru. You know that, don’t you?
“Lady Akiru is one of the Partner candidates of this year’s summoning. I saw that she wasn’t familiar with this academy, and so I have offered to be her guide.”
“Yes, and for that I am truly grateful. Yohanne has been most kind to me.”
“Hahahah, it is but a matter of course! How can I leave such a noble and lovely lady to fend for herself?!”
They are smiling at each other now, each looking not at all dissatisfied with the other. Are they going to start getting hearts in their eyes? Would they even… hold hands?
Maybe I should prepare some pink curtains.
“Yohanne! She is a Partner candidate, what do you think you’re doing?! Have you forgotten your place?!”
As well-versed in common sense as she is, it is no wonder that milady is upset. Despite saying all that to his sister and being of a different school year that has nothing to do with the Partnership ritual, that very same Yohanne is now being intimate with a Partner candidate. I smell a scandal incoming.
“…can you shut up, sister? I’m just taking care of them since you haven’t. Whoever you chose to be your Partner candidate, I’m sure you did it by shouting them down like you did to me just now, didn’t you? And when all Partner candidates inevitably reject you, there’s going to be one extra person.”
“No, you’re wrong! Letty and I—”
“Hey, that maid over there. My sister forced you to serve her, right? Want me to lend a hand? Ah, yes, as you and lady Akiru already knew each other, you can be her maid. I’ll pay you double the wage.”
“Y-Yohanne!” Akiru says, shocked by Yohanne’s incredibly idiocy.
Double, you say? Even your whole life isn’t worth that much.
“Please wait a moment, young master Yohanne.”
Right then, the attending maid behind Yohanne walks forward.
She is a woman around twenty years of age, with the same kind of blonde hair as Yohanne. I have heard that he has inherited the color from his mother, and also that when the woman entered milady’s family, many of her relatives had also been hired. This maid might be one of them.
“It would not be prudent to have her as lady Akiru’s maid right away when we don’t even know who she is, nor which ditch lady Sharon had picked her from.”
“Then what do you suggest, Mia?”
“If I may propose, she should first receive a full education as a servant of the Michel house. This lowly maid, Mia, shall take responsibility and beat her into shape.”
So-called Mia says, smirking at me. I see, this is how they’ve been removing milady’s allies.
“Yohanne, how dare you?! What gives you the right?!”
“Don’t you owe me, sister? Mia, how much is her debt?”
The filths just ignored milady entirely.
“Yes, young master. Lady Sharon has borrowed about three gold coins…”
Mia takes out what looks like a contract.
“…excuse me, two gold coins and eight silver coins. My apologies. Even as a servant of a marquis family, being so vague would have earned me ridicule. However, including interest, lady Sharon would be required to pay back thirty gold coins.”
I thrust a sack full of gold coins into her hand, at the same time snatching away the contract.
“W-What are you doing! Return it!”
“So the exact amount is written here, I see. You won’t be needing this anymore.”
Mia stretches out her hand with a painful-looking grimace, her wrist seemingly hurt. I rot the contract — magical too, it looks like — and turn it into dust in an instant, right in front of her eyes.
Mia frantically jerks her arm away as though she was just about to touch acid. How rude. My decomposition poison is made from all-natural ingredients. It won’t take effect right away.
That aside, I am quite amazed that a magical contract is involved in an agreement between siblings. I wonder how degenerate one must be that they would do such a thing. And not only that, there is even a rather nasty curse in case of a breach of contract.
“…w-who are you?”
Yohanne glares at me in surprise and wariness.
“Ah, my greetings to sir Yohanne, younger brother of my esteemed lady. I am lady Sharon’s Partner, and my name is Fleurety.”
I pinch the long skirt of my maid uniform and perform a perfect curtsey, one more elegant than any noble and yet would still not overshadow lady Sharon.
“Wha…” Yohanne turns to miss Akiru in absolute disbelief. “Her?!”
“…yes, she is.”
Akiru reluctantly, quietly nods.
“Lady Sharon, my apologies. I have not consulted you before using our funds.”
“No no, that’s fine. Are you hurt?”
Incredible. Milady hasn’t had a moment of hesitation as she ran to me, checking my hand after I decomposed the contract to see if I am wounded. Instead of the money, she worried for me.
I almost hugged her right there and then to give her headpats, but I control myself. A maid cannot do such a thing to her mistress.
“I am overflowing with happiness, milady. May I have some fun with you in the bath?”
“What in the world are you talking about?!”
“…s-sister’s Partner? How can it be? How can someone so arrogant as you… no, this is not right. You’ve brought nothing but trouble to our house, it’s impossible that a Partner could have chosen you! Even Karl has told me you’ve been trouble at the dungeon! He said he wouldn’t accept it!!!”
“Indeed, master Yohanne! Perhaps she might even be using some sort of forbidden magic to control her. Rest assured, maid, I shall bring you to your sense!”
I wonder if both the master and servant really believed it, or if they’re only doing this on purpose… well, I suppose that to Mia, an improvement in lady Sharon’s reputation would be quite inconvenient for her. It is no surprise she would act so.
I take a quiet step forward, standing in front of milady to cover for her.
“My, how disgraceful for a maid of a marquis house.” I say.
“Silent, girl. I will—”
“You will… what?”
Unable to hold myself back for much longer, I give Mia the widest grin I have, one only she can see. She freezes up.
…my, my, what an expression, Mia. It makes you look so… delicious…
“Hey, that’s enough.”
And just when it was getting good, I was interrupted.
In contrast to Yohanne’s shiny-eyed excitement, milady whispers his name with a conflicted cast to her face.
Karl looks at the two and after a moment’s frown, he sighs deeply.
“And what is it now? A fight inside the school isn’t any better than a fight outside, you two.”
“There’s no way sister could have a Partner! She obviously forced her! Weren’t you opposed too, Karl?!”
“She is Sharon’s Partner, provisional ones as they may be, and it was Fleurety herself who made the choice. I no longer object.”
“But, but… I heard that sister has inconvenienced you in the dungeon, I was just trying to help you…”
Karl looks at lady Sharon for a single moment (trying his best to not let me into his field of vision) and turns back to Yohanne.
“…and since when have I asked for your help?” He says, his tone brooking no dissent.
“I-I’m sorry, Karl…”
Yohanne hangs his head like a scolded puppy.
It seems Yohanne very much likes Karl. From what I can see, he considers Karl as both a friend and a brother one year older to look up to.
Yet even as he was chastised so, Yohanne still sends glares at milady and me.
“…I still won’t accept it.”
“Ah, Yohanne, wait up!”
With a parting bite, Yohanne quickly walks away. Mia and the young lady Akiru hastily follow… with the latter making a quiet tsk as she leaves, thinking that no one would notice.
Too bad for her. I did.
“…sir Karl, I apologize for my brother… as well as what happened the other day…”
“No, that’s already in the past. I don’t mind.” Karl says, yet at the same time his hip still instinctively flinches back, making him look a bit like a shrimp. Should I pretend not to have seen it?
“In that case, allow me to take my leave…”
“Wait, Sharon, just a moment!”
Karl says in a panic. Milady turns back in surprise.
“Umm, back then, umm… I’m sorry.”
…what a strange atmosphere. What is this lout thinking, after all this time?
Still, being the exemplary maid that I am, I cannot interrupt their conversation. Ah, but is this not a good time for some music?
“It’s been a long time since we can talk like this, Sharon…”
“…yes… it is…”
“…those days were nice. There was me, elder brother… and lady Kyria, too.”
Humm, humm, hohhumm~
“…I’d been a brat.”
“…I’m sorry. Brother was an idiot, but me even more so.”
“No, Karl… so was I.”
The two suddenly go quiet. They slowly, stiffly turn their heads to look at the ceiling, their faces twitching.
“…what the hell are you doing…”
The wistful tune I hummed as I clung to the ceiling was not to their liking, it seems.