“Instructor Camilla, here are your requested purchase.”
“…right. Thanks, Sharon.”
A beautiful silver-haired girl entered the room. She placed on the table the items she had purchased from a dubious pharmacy in a back-alley. The glamorous red-haired woman, Camilla, narrowed her eyes for a moment, before showing a honeyed smile as her hands gathered up the items.
“You took quite some time for such a simple errand, didn’t you?” Camilla coolly said.
The girl frantically bowed, her long eyelashes trembling.
“M-my utmost apologies!”
The two noble ladies, one of a dukedom and one of a marquis house, were more than just passingly familiar with each other. They had been acquaintances from a young age. Camilla possessed great pride and dignity as a noble lady, and the girl had always seen her as an example to follow.
“Well, I’ve always known you were a dimwitted one. Just don’t embarrass me.”
Even when faced with such derision, the all-too-naive girl still believed Camilla was saying it for her sake.
Camilla’s lips curled upward contemptuously.
“Speaking of which… what has happened to that maid?”
“Umm… might instructor Camilla be speaking of Letty-I mean, Fleurety…?”
“Who else? Really, you’re such a dullard, Sharon.” Camilla spoke, displeasure audible in her castigation even as she opened wide her feather fan to hide a grin of delight. “The place is somewhat out of the way, and there might just be some unsavory characters showing up from time to time. Don’t tell me you went there without any guards to accompany you?”
The so-called ‘errand’ had been meant as a practical lesson, so going out with a protective bubble of guards would have rendered it meaningless. The unwritten rules were that the student was allowed only a single servant to accompany them.
“Surely you haven’t gone out with just a single maid? She might have been an otherworlder with a useful skill, but don’t forget who you are. You’re of a marquis house, Sharon, not low nobility.”
Camilla drew closer to the girl, her voice gaining a hint of anticipation.
“Or perhaps… has she gotten hurt?”
Sharon’s eyes darted to and fro in apparent discomfort.
“Letty is… umm…”
And the silver-haired girl turns her eyes at me.
“I am here.” I whisper into Camilla’s ear.
She practically jumps from her seat with an ear-splitting shriek.
Greetings, everyone. It is me, Fleurety, the lovely maid who is standing right behind you.
“Y-y-you,” Camilla says, still catching her breath, “How dare you show up so suddenly?! And from behind too, at that! Learn some manners!”
“It hadn’t been ‘sudden’, instructor Camilla. I had entered after lady Sharon, and I was the one to have arranged the requested items on the table.”
As Camilla searches her memory, she soon realizes that the void in her perception until now had been me. She gapes.
But, well, it’s to be expected. After all, not only did I erase my presence, I also made use of transparent threads to change a few things in the visual information that she received.
In that alleyway, milady — and I as well, I suppose — had been attacked. I was forced to defend ourselves, and it had been thanks to milady’s kindness that they were captured before they could permanently lose their ability to commit any further criminal activities in the future.
It was legitimate self-defense. Totally.
I then took the few occasions when milady’s attention was elsewhere to initiate some intensive dialogue with the captives. It turned out that they had been given the info by a servant of a low noble, and that the servant had already been discharged from their position. The culprit certainly took care of their loose ends, I must say.
Of course, that didn’t mean I couldn’t guess how things might have happened.
“Why are you unhurt?!”
“I do not understand, instructor Camilla. There hadn’t been any obstacle. Or perhaps you mean to say that you were aware there would be danger at our destination, instructor?”
“W-what are you implying?! Of course there would be! That’s the sort of place where ruffians and rascals would gather, that’s common sense!”
“And an instructor of the academy would still make it a location for an ‘errand’, despite that?”
“Sharon is a high noble, of course she would have bodyguards to protect her!”
“I see. Our business is concluded then, instructor. As we shall have to report the matter to the academy and His Majesty as well, please allow us to take our leave…”
“I-Impudent servant, know your place! Their time is much too valuable to be bothered by such trivialities! Don’t think being a Partner candidate will protect you when I throw you into prison—”
“Oh, yes, before I forget, there is a delivery from the pharmacist to instructor Camilla.”
I take out a bottle containing a noxiously pink liquid. Camilla’s eyes grow into the size of saucers.
“After the talk that the esteemed pharmacist had deigned to grant me, it came to my knowledge that there was a certain noble lady who frequently visited the shop to obtain a rather powerful kind of… medication. As it is made from moss gathered from the lowest levels of a dungeon, it would take several months to have enough to fill a single one of this bottle.”
“It’s a very interesting product indeed. Whoever was purchasing this surely has good taste.”
“Yet I am but a lowly maid, and I am aware that such a treasure deserve a more worthy owner. I was thinking to bring it to the academy, but… hmm, I wonder. Lady Camilla, you are an instructor. Should I entrust it into your care?”
“…I’ll take it.”
“The item has already been paid for. I only request my handling fee.”
I give her a bill that lists said fee and a few other expenses. Lady Camilla’s face rapidly changes color.
“Would you prefer me to take this directly to the Reese dukedom instead?”
“I am grateful.”
The slip of paper resembles less an invoice and more a notice of debt, really, but surely lady Camilla would overlook the difference if she knows what’s good for her. Milady is looking rather jittery as well. Oh, she hasn’t needed to worry.
“Instructor Camilla, rest assured, I haven’t come here just to burden you with more responsibilities.”
Gently, delicately, I present to her a perfume bottle that is quite a bit smaller than the previous bottle of medicine.
“What is this…?”
“I assume instructor Camilla would understand if I say that it’s twice as powerful, yes?”
Lady Camilla’s eyes flash for a single moment. Her face is crimson-red, a drastic change from what she looked like only minutes ago, and she snatches the perfume bottle into her possession as though afraid it would run away.
Thus concludes milady’s errand. All’s well that ends well.
And forgive me for not explaining more about the aforementioned medicine, as I am sure there are those under eighteen among the readers.
Several days later. It is the date of the planned meal with his Highness Joel that milady had been invited to weeks ago.
“Hey, Sharon. You’re looking even more radiant today.”
“T-thank you for the compliment, your Highness…”
Of course she is. Today, Milady has her hair in a quick updo, while her outfit is a scarlet dress that clings to her curves and shows off her shoulders.
As her dress doesn’t leave much to the imagination, she’s being rather bashful, yet it is exactly that embarrassment that makes her look perfect. She did smack me with a slipper when I said as much, but it doesn’t mean I was wrong. His Highness’ gaze is fixed on her figure, after all. Especially one place in particular.
Milady had been one of his fiancee candidates ever since they were young, but it is not until today that they actually have their first meal alone together. Really, I just showed off a fraction of her true beauty and prince Joel is already acting like this. What a dreadfully hopeless man.
As the occasion is only an informal get-together between fellow students, other than milady and prince Joel, there is only me in the position of milady’s maid, two senior maids serving his Highness, and finally his bodyguard, the imperial knight leader named Andy.
When Andy saw my beautiful lady wearing a dress, his eyes squinted for a moment as though he was looking at something much too dazzling. Then his gaze moved to a certain part of milady’s and he looked away in apparent shame, his cheeks blushing.
What a closet pervert he is.
Yet I could not blame him for it. It is the first time milady wears such a mature dress that shows off her body so, after all. Andy must have been feeling quite guilty for being entranced by lady Sharon’s sensuality when he had only ever seen her as a little sister.
But the fruit is so much more enticing when it’s forbidden, isn’t it? I totally get it, Andy, you horndog. Heheheh.
“Oh yes. Miss Fleurety, would you care to join us? I understand you’ve become Sharon’s maid, but you are her Partner as well.” Prince Joel suddenly says.
He turns to Sharon. “I notice you seem somewhat nervous. Would you be more at ease if she was to be beside you, Sharon?”
“Eh? Ah, umm…”
Well, he wasn’t wrong. Milady is nervous. Seemingly taken by surprise at the turn of the conversation, milady glances backward at me, looking for help.
The prince must have planned this. Instead of a table set for only two people facing each other, there are additional seats to the side. Plural. Not just one, but two seats.
The silence continues. I glance at the prince to see that his perpetual smile is still there, but his eyes are darting to the side.
“I am grateful for your consideration, your Highness. However, I am but a maid. It would be better if there was another man.”
“Hmm, true. In that case…”
Prince Joel pretend to look around without even trying to make it look natural, and he calls for the only other man in the room.
“Andy, would you join us?”
“Me, your Highness?”
Andy hesitantly speaks, his brows set in a slight frown even as he already had an inkling of where the conversation is going.
“Your Highness, I am a protector. I cannot protect you if I am seated at the same table.”
“This is the academy, and the only people in this room are those I trust. You’re the heir of a marquis as well, Andy. There is no problem.”
Of course, even if the prince’s saying that, common sense would still tell you there is a problem. Seeing that Andy continues to be so straight-laced, prince Joel gives me another glance.
“I would be the one least trusted here, am I not?”
“Letty!” Milady speaks up, shocked.
“Which is why sir Andy should sit with me and keep watch. Otherwise, it would simply be not proper for me to sit with milady and your Highness.”
It’s sophistry, pure and simple, but prince Joel still nods deeply at my words.
“Don’t keep a lady waiting, Andy.”
“Right, you two are childhood friends, aren’t you? I’ll let you catch up on old times. Besides, rarely have I a chance to talk with miss Fleurety here.”
“I am honored, your Highness.” I say with a bow.
Prince Joel’s two maids pull out the neighboring seats, and I sit with his Highness. Andy gives a sigh of resignation and sit down in front of milady.
“It’s been a while, miss Sharon… so, umm, you look beautiful. I was honestly stunned.”
“Ah! Umm… thank you…”
Then the two blushing people just stay silent. They don’t even touch the food. Prince Joel and his senior maids watch them with smirks on their faces. Finding myself with nothing to do, I begin to put away four people’s worth of food into my stomach.
It is during my meal that prince Joel leans near me and whispers.
“So how do you find my plan, miss Fleurety?”
Apparently the prince has some degree of awareness about what’s going on between the two of them.
“Let’s see… I shall return your score from the negative back to zero, then.” I whisper back, wiping my mouth with a napkin.
His Highness slumps face-down on the table.
“I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with getting your approval for today.”
Really, what did he mean by that?
On a separate and unrelated note, prince Joel has also given me what amounted to a word of… warning, I suppose.
“While I’ve noticed that the noble ladies are acting somewhat strange… I am more concerned about the rumor that a certain dukedom has made contact with some people in the Church. Miss Fleurety, please stay vigilant. Lady Sharon might need you by her side.”
A/N: Joel hasn’t ever disliked Sharon in the first place. He wouldn’t reject her if she ever becomes his fiancee, but he has also faintly realized that her feelings aren’t for him.
The maid might have given him a failing grade, but he isn’t actually dense.