Category Archives: Debt Girl

DEBT GIRL – April Fools 2020

The Tenth Chapter – Two People and Tea

Figured that since it’s been a year, I’d do another chapter of this. I’m aware that someone else is doing translations, and you’re all free to read those to keep up with it. I’m just doing my own thing. Anyway, here’s another chapter.


Today was the long awaited visit to Agnes’.

As usual, she had come out of her way to meet him at the stop.

“Over here, Lord Bernard!”

Agnes, I’m here!”

He passed through the crowd, pushing through some passers-by before trotting over to her.

“I do apologize for imposing on you right before your promotion.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. I’ve been waiting to see you.”

She grinned at him, and he couldn’t help but smile in return.

Agnes had her fringe pinned up today. Bernard was shocked. They were heading to the ball, was this a challenge to the Queen!?

“Your forehead is out on display today,” Bernard noted.

“Mm. My fringe had been getting a little too long. I thought I’d pin it up today.”

“It looks cute.” Bernard casually played with Agnes’ hair, paying special attention to the curls.

The throne of belonged to Agnes alone – something she wished to prove.

The weather was pleasantly sunny, and the two chatted as they enjoyed a stroll back to Agnes’.

“It feels like quite some time has passed since we’ve just had a chat like this,” Bernard realised.

“It does, doesn’t it? We had the party the other day, too.”

While Bernard had caught a few glimpses of her during the evening party, with all the other people around, he hadn’t had a chance to just be himself and spend time with her.

“How did you find the party to be?” I asked.

“It was very fun!”

Her eyes lit up as she began telling him about how she just had to see the new fixture, about how she saw a pretty tabby cat, about how exciting it was to behold the mysteries of the miracle stone, and other similar stories. One by one she enthusiastically went through her impressions of articles on displays during the party.

Come to think of it, he had spotted her there with Jijil.

“You know, I think I do recall catching sight of you and Jijil” I noted.

“Yeah, we went together,” she said. “Miss Jijil told me she’d seen them before, so it was a great help to have her describe them to me.”

“Good for you.”

“Yeah. And the desserts there were delicious… I was surprised by the majestic display.”

Yes, the desserts he had prepared specially for Agnes.

“Jijil showed you all the foods too, no?”

“Yes. We didn’t just try the foods I wanted to try. Jijil introduced me to a whole lot of other food too.”

He watched her happily count on her fingers as she told her about each of the delicious sweets.

So in the capital city, they should visit dessert stores together?

…This was shaping up to be quite a trip for Bernard and Agnes, wasn’t it?

Spending their free time together―it was quite a romantic outing. Bernard approved.

There were already rumors about Bernard and Agnes being together, but anything scandalous in those rumors, this would top it.

Bernard, hold yourself back, he thought. She’s your precious person.

But he couldn’t help it. He felt very possessive of this spark of joy in his life, and his heart beat too much for him to control.

It sounded so nice. They were going on a trip anyway, and he wanted to make nice memories.

He wanted to go to a cake shop with her now… So why did he have to wait a full month? They were right within reach, so why?

His dark heart swirled with gloom.

“…”

“Hmm? Is something wrong, Lord Bernard?”

“Eh? What do you mean?”

“Ah, well, you were just frowning really hard just now. And uh, your expression was a bit…”

Oh no. Did all that show in his expression?

“I apologize. I was trying not to sneeze.”

Agnes took out a handkerchief from my bag and offered it to me.

“Ah, is that what happened? I guess that does happen. Are you okay?”

Agnes was showing genuine concern over his half-baked excuse.

Bernard apologised to her in his head and reflected. Wasn’t being a lover about being able to appreciate each other’s happiness like their own? He apologized to Agnes in his heart.

“I’m fine. Continue? It seems like you’ve had quite a bit of fun with all that planning.”

“Yes! I actually did quite a bit of research, but Jijil just knew so many places that weren’t even in there,” she said.

“Ohh.”

Given how many times she’d been to town, she knew where all the good shops were. Jijil really did make the perfect guide.

“I see. That was nice of her.”

“Did you go anywhere else?” he asked.

He was worried about her safety. Still, he wondered if they should be more adventurous.

“The atmosphere and the products were completely different from the high-society fare I was accustomed to,” she marvelled.

“Really? That does sound interesting,” he said.

“Yes, it really was!” she nodded.

Bernard took a gulp of tea to try to think of something else.

“Lord Bernard, would you like some more tea?”

“If you would.”

His mouth could still taste the sweetness.

His weakness, sweet tea. It helped his brain spin.

It was black tea, and he’d heard that the people in the neighboring put jam in theirs, so he considered trying it as a variation?

The moment he picked up the jam, though, everyone around him started looking at him.

For another day, he supposed.

The password for the next chapter is “Agnes”.


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Debt Girl – 10

The Tenth Chapter – As a Knight

April Fools. This is the actual chapter 10. I’ve had interest in continuing this but life is a bitch and being busy means no motivation. I’ll see what I can do in the future, but that’s something nobody knows. In the meantime, you guys can read whatever translations are coming out now, while I try to catch up and eventually redo the old chapters. Cheers.


The ringing bell signaled the lunch break, and with that, the practice exercise was put on hold.
Bernard spoke to Lazarre, saying that he wanted to talk to him before lunch. The two of them headed to Lazarre’s office.

“So, what did you want to tell me?”
“What I wanted to tell you was…”

From his bag, Bernard produced the documents he received from Ernesto, as well as the leather bag of gold.

“What’s this?”
“A request from Ernesto Barthelemon, a member of the second prince’s bodyguards.”

Lazarre received it with a suspicious look. His brows furrowed as he started reading the contents of the paper.

“What in the world is this guy trying to pull?
“Dunno.”

This was the first time Bernard had seen the ever-calm Lazarre be irritated. That said, he wasn’t really surprised by the reaction.

“I can’t believe he’d try to take in the daughter of the Le Verges family as a mistress. Does he not have the chivalry to take her in as his wife?”
“Yep, it’s unbelievable.”

It wasn’t that the taking in of mistresses by nobles was unheard of. However, in the view of Lazarre, who was brought up in an austere household, it was an act deserving of the highest scorn. Of course, Bernard thought much the same.

“If I knew it was going to come to this, I should’ve given her my support earlier.”
“There’s not much we can do at this point.”

Agnes’ father had incurred the wrath of the king. If one were to rescue his daughter, their standing in high society would plummet.

“So, what should we do?”
“I’m going to go hear what this Barthelemon guy has to say myself. Orlellian, are you going to come with me?”
“No sir, I’ll pass.”

He didn’t state that his reason for not going was because, whenever he heard Barthelemon talk, he wanted to punch him mid-sentence.

“Then, I’ll be heading out.”
“Hey, captain.”
“What is it?”
“Why don’t you head out after lunch?”
“No, I’m heading there now. …I’m not a very patient man.”
“That’s true.”

Not trying to hold him back any longer, Bernard watched as Lazarre left. All he could do now was pray that things wouldn’t go further south.

Wrapping up his day after finishing his afternoon exercises, Bernard headed to the office.
On top of the desk was a memo from Lazarre, saying he left early. While thinking that this was an unusual occurrence, Bernard put the memo in the box of unimportant matters.
Since all of the office work had been taken care already, Bernard decided to go home himself.

Repair work on the mansion had started, and materials were brought in through the front garden. As work had ended for the day, a cloth was covered the materials.

When he entered the house, Jijil greeted him.

“Welcome back, Master.”
“Yeah.”
“Good work today.”
“I guess.”

After asking her to prepare the bath and undressing his top before handing it over to her, Bernard headed to his room.

“Oh, right. Master.”
“What is it?”
“Miss Agnes said she wanted to speak with you.”
“Has she gotten over her cold?”
“Yes.”

That being the case, Bernard ordered Jijil to send Agnes over to him.

Sitting down on a long couch in the room, he let out a loud sigh. He was relieved that he was finally in a situation where he could listen to her side of the story.

A few minutes later, Agnes arrived. Hearing her light taps on the door, he ordered her to come in.

Agnes was wearing a one piece dress that appeared to have been brought with her from her house.
After being offered a chair, Agnes bowed her head deeply before picking a seat opposite Bernard, this time around.

“I am very thankful that you took time out of your busy day to-“
“There’s no need for formalities. So, what did you want to talk about?”
“Ah, right. I wished… you… thanks.”

Right after she started to talk, a banging noise came from the door. Jijil arrived with some tea.

“Mrs. Jijil, I’ll take care of the tea.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Please leave it to me.”

Agnes received the silver tray.
Shocked by Agnes’ swaying upon receiving the tray, Jijil immediately propped up the bottom of the tray.

“Hey, are you okay?!”
“Yes, I’m… fine.”

On top of the silver tray were a pot full of black tea, cups, saucers, little jars of sugar and milk, and a plate of cookies, nothing more. She was swaying from holding merely that.
Bernard watched in amazement as he thought about how weak of a woman she was.

“Miss Agnes, Master Bernard drinks his tea with one cup of milk and three cubes of sugar.”
“Understood.”

Having the fact that he had a sweet tooth be revealed, Bernard became embarrassed.

While he turned his face away in embarrassment, his desk was completely set.

Agnes poured tea into the cup with a very serious expression.
After that, she put in the milk and sugar. All the while, she squinted her eyes while looking at the small jars.

That expression was exactly the same as the one Bernard had seen in the evening party five years ago.

“Y-You!!”
“Eh?!”

Banging his hand on his desk, Bernard stood straight up.
Surprised, Agnes dropped the jar she was holding in her hand.

Fortunately, it was the jar of sugar, and the contents just spilled out onto the plate of cookies.
As for the situation at hand, Agnes narrowed her eyes and looked down. It was a harsh expression, similar to that of scorn.
The target of the expression was not Bernard, but that of the sugar scattered about the desk.
After confirming that all of the sugar had spilled out, she lowered her brows and looked up at Bernard with an apologetic look.

“I-I’m sorry.”
“…That’s nothing to worry about. Answer my question.”
“E-Eh?”

There was only one reason she would squint while holding items up to her eyes.
He asked her nervously.

“Does your eyesight… happen to be bad?”

Agnes opened her eyes wide. Lowering her head slowly, she nodded.

With a thump, Bernard leaned back onto his couch. That was the moment that speech, her actions, and her conduct all made sense.

Agnes had not looked down upon Bernard with contempt.
He realized that she was just trying to look at the face of someone far away.

The misunderstanding of many years was finally resolved.

“I am really sorry. I had intended to speak about it at some point but…”
“No, it’s fine.”

The reason had come to light, but his brain had yet to comprehend the situation.
Because of his own misunderstanding, he had employed Agnes as a servant and had gone and done something outrageous. He became deeply troubled.

Regret washed over him as he thought more and more that he really should have just handed her over to Lazarre.

Seeing Bernard’s face contorted in distress, Agnes did the unthinkable.
Getting up all of a sudden from her seat opposite Bernard, she came around in front of Bernard, and kneeled in front of him.

“Sir Orlellian.”

Putting both of her hands on her chest, she entreatingly appealed to Bernard.

“I beg you. Please let me remain here.”
“Huh?!”
“I do admit that my eyesight is not very good, and I am not accustomed to a servant’s duties at all. However, I will do my best!”
“No, even if you say that…”
“I wish to repay the favor that Sir Orlellian extended to me. O-On top of that, I have nowhere else to go…”

Asserting this in a quivering voice, tears started flowing down Agnes’ face. Bernard thought that now, he was the villain.

Though he wondered what he should do, the answer stayed out of his reach.

“…Let me think about it for the time being.”
“Yes. I apologize for stating my selfish desires.”

Thinking there was no need to give a quick response, he deferred his response by an hour.

Carrying the tray, Agnes gave one bow before leaving the room.
Bernard simply continued to stare at the closed door.

◇◇◇

Without having come up with an answer, it was already a new day.
As usual, he got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed to work.

The first matter he attended to was having a talk with Lazarre.
When he opened the door, he spotted Lazarre, elbows on desk, his hands supporting his jaw, grim expression on his face.

The atmosphere wasn’t one where he felt comfortable asking what happened the previous day. But, after confirming it was Bernard who had entered the office, Lazarre started talking on his own.

“Morning.”
“Good Morning.”
“It was a bit soon, but I went and listened to Ernesto Barthelemon’s story yesterday.”
“Yes sir.”
“I had to accept his request to search of Agnes Le Verges.”
“Eh?!”

Because he had expected Lazarre to reject the request, Bernard was shocked.
Wondering what could have happened, he waited for Lazarre to continue his story.

“If I had to describe Barthelemon in one phrase, I’d say he’s a low-life bastard.”
“I… agree completely.”

Lazarre had understood everything about the person, Ernesto. But then, why did he take the request? The mystery intensified.

First of all, Lazarre had wanted to know why the request had been made to the “Third Special Assault Force” that he led. The response was quite shocking.

“That bastard called our battalion a group that wastes time doing practice exercises.”
“…That’s awful.”

He had said that he had taken it upon himself to pick Lazarre’s small group out of the assortment of bigger special assault force groups.

“He said that, in a way, it’s because he’s afraid of being found out by the king.”
“Seems like it.”
“It seems that he hasn’t made a request to any group other than ours yet. Obviously, it’s forbidden to use one’s money to use knights for one’s motives. But, if we rejected his request, Barthelemon would obviously go to another battalion.”
“Did you take this request for the purpose of not searching for Agnes Le Verges?”
“That’s right.”

The aim was to pretend to take the request, while not actually searching for her and ultimately ignoring the request.
He was relieved that Lazarre hadn’t been swayed by money and the chance for prestige, but he quickly realized another problem.

“What if this request is discovered by the higher-ups?”
“At best, I’ll get demoted. At worst, I’d lose the right to be a knight.”
“What?!”

Bernard pointed out that if Lazarre reported the money and paper to the higher-ups, it’d be over for Ernesto Barthelemon.

“You’re right. The rotten knight would be gone, and peace would return to the bodyguards. But what would happen to Agnes Le Verges’ honor?”
“That’s…”

If the second son of a Marquis were to be put on special trial, it’d be a matter of time until the reason was divulged.
If that happened, Agnes would be greeted as a mistress, and the rumor that she was to be locked in a basement would be spread in a moment. That is what Lazarre predicted.

“I cannot save her. That’s why, I at least want to defend her honor…”

Incredulous, Bernard listened to Lazarre’s speech, and put into words his biggest question.

“Captain, why would you go that far for some random stranger?”
“That’s we should do as a knight, isn’t it?”
“!”

– Save the weak, hold honor in high esteem, and vanquish evil.

The image of a knight weighed heavily upon his mind.

Violently striking his chest, Bernard suppressed his pounding heart.


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Debt Girl – 08

The Eighth Story – Wicked Girl, Agnes Le Verges

Note: Sorry for the laaate delay between releases. Este died, forgot about this chapter, then I died for a bit and let Este do his thing. Next chapter won’t take as long as this chapter took! Soon(TM)

TLN: Taffeta is a type of fabric made from silk or cuprammonium rayons. It’s a high-end fabric, often seen in fancy upper-class dinner parties and what not.

TLN: Twill is a type of textile weave with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs.


The day after the storm, once it became morning, the weather outside was nice. Bernard thought it was like yesterday’s stormy weather was just a lie.
The attic, which had taken the most damage yesterday, was unusable due to the dampness. There was also the possibility that the floorboards were peeling off and needed to be replaced. He didn’t even want to think about the costs of repairs and such.

When Eric disinterestedly relayed the report, he ignored it while despairing.
Agnes was to temporarily use the guest room.
Bernard thought that this was just perfect. During the time he was deciding on how to deal with her, he decided to treat her courteously.

“And so, Agnes Le Verges.”
“Ahh.”
“It seems that you have a cold.”
“Huh?”
“Because last night, your whole body was drenched in rain.”
“…”

Catching a cold from having her whole body drenched in rain was something Bernard couldn’t believe.
At present, he told Celia and Carol to nurse her.

“How may I serve you?”
“What do you mean how, if you just call a doctor-”

After saying that, he could only sigh.
It wasn’t good to have Agnes be seen by anyone who didn’t live in the mansion.
But even so, he couldn’t leave a sick person as they were.

“The doctor, it’s fine to call him, right?”
“Ah, aaaah. But–”

He ordered that the doctor’s mouth be forcibly shut by bribing him with money.
With a bow, Eric left the room.

From the repair fees to the medical expenses and the hush money, Bernard’s small fortune was steadily being whittled down.

Thinking that problems would occur time and time again, he let out a deep sigh.

◇◇◇

After changing into his knight uniform, he passed time in the rest area until his working hours began.

“The Third Special Assault Force” that Bernard was attached to was composed of young knights in their early to mid twenties.
Today, there was a strange commotion in the morning.
The thing they were surrounding was a cheap-looking weekly publication. As the contents of the paper were the gossip of the nobles, it was extremely indecent.
This week’s edition sold so well that it nearly went out of stock. While boasting that he went through trouble to obtain this, one of the members held it out in front of Bernard.

“What’s written in here.”
“It’s concerning the rumored noblewoman.”
“!”

Without sticking his head out into the commotion, Bernard’s glance fell onto the periodical.
Though the front cover was a nude painting, things like that didn’t really matter.
The heading, “All About the Gaudy Way the Former Earl’s Daughter Lives and her unspeakable fraternization with the opposite Sex ~revealed by an acquaintance, this Is the Real Her~,” was written.
Just seeing that filled him with revulsion.
To Bernard, who showed no interest, the one colleague started to talk about the contents of the news story.

Agnes Le Verges.
A nineteen year-old born to a distinguished family, she was one of the very popular beauties in high society.
She invested much money and effort in preserving her beauty.

Her dresses were silken, made of satin and taffeta, as she would not wear anything that wasn’t made of first-class materials. It was said that, one day, she had fired a maid who had accidentally brought a dress made out of twill.
The people of high society had named that Agnes Le Verges as, “The Resplendent Rose.”

Reporters implied that it was natural she was beautiful considering all the money she spent, and they frankly reported that she lived indulgently and luxuriously.

Bernard had heard stories concerning her socialization with men from Djibril, but he was now hearing more detailed accounts from the self-proclaimed experts of his time.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it~. That she alternated between different men every year.”
“It must have been unbearable being those guys, huh. They gave her so many things too.”
“I had thought that Miss Agnes was pitiful, but now that I’ve heard the stories, it’s like she’s reaping what she’s sowed…”
“During a soiree, I just happened to catch a glimpse of her, but she was a reaal beauty.”
“But you know, it costs money to do so. And making her my wife if her personality is awful as well? No thank you.”

Without joining in the conversation, Bernard silently gazed down at the periodical.
If it was before, he might have joined them in their slander.
But now, he could only wrack his brain at the gossip happening in front of him.

Agnes Le Verges—Very prideful, the worst kind of woman who would evaluate someone with just their outward appearance.

However, the Agnes Bernard knew differed greatly.
Quiet, well-mannered and one who used the miniscule amount of money she possessed to send provisions to her father who was in prison, she was a family-minded woman who could be found anywhere.

The wicked woman, Agnes, and the extremely ordinary girl, Agnes.

Bernard was unable to determine which Agnes was the real one.
As of now, he had only been around her for a short period of time. He thought it was too soon to come to a conclusion.

Once the hour for work began, the commanding officer, Lazarre, came around to start the morning assembly.
As there was a delay in the concealment of the vulgar publication, it was confiscated.

After finishing the day’s training, he headed to the office to report his results to his superior.
Once the bell signifying the end of working hours rang, Lazare told Bernard, “Thanks for your work,” before telling him to go home.

“—Ahhhh, that’s right, Orlellian. Dispose of this for me, won’t you.”

The thing he held out was the weekly publication that had gossip about Agnes written in it. With an unpleasant expression, he received it.

“Good grief, it’s a terrible thing.”
“…”

Bernard rolled up the not too thick periodical into a cylinder so the front cover faced inward and grasped it tightly in his hand.
While he was thinking that he should burn it somewhere before he returned, he heard Lazarre say something.

“If it were possible, I’d like to shelter her at home, but I can’t get a hold of any news of her.”
“… Are you alright?”
“Is what alright?”
“Something like saving the daughter of a house that has provoked the king’s displeasure.”
“It wouldn’t be good, but with articles like this coming out, the circumstances surrounding her are only getting worse.”

Even under normal circumstances, she would be treated coldly due to the scandal her father had caused, but now, even bad rumors about her had come forth. One could say her situation was steadily spiraling downward.

“It could be that perhaps she is in an orphanage in the streets to hide herself.”
“Why is that so?”
“My niece hung out with Agnes at one point, and it seems like she used to go to the orphanage once a week.”

Lazarre told him that she was a woman who actively performed charitable acts. Also that the things that were written in the magazine were probably bullshit.

“There was one time she came over to the house and greeted us, and she seemed like a polite young lady. This kind of thing must have been written to increase the magazine’s revenue. They’re doing two-bit things.”

He spat out that it was a detestable world where this kind of periodical sold well.

After that, there was a moment of silence.
The one who opened his mouth first was Lazarre.

“Orlellian.”
“What is it?”
“I’m going to have to go to the assembly from now on. And as such, I have a request.”

Lazarre implored while lowering his head that he wanted Orlellian to occasionally visit the orphanage from now on, and that if Agnes was there, he wanted him to shelter her.

“If she is there, I want you to take her along to my house by coach. I’ll remunerate you.”
“No, it’s fine.”
“Don’t say that, I beg you.”
“… I’ll go to the orphanage. It’s on the way home, so I don’t need remuneration.”
“I-Is that so. That’s a big help.”

The Imperial City’s orphanage was near the boarding station for coaches. He refused the money, saying that it was only stopping by on the way home, so he didn’t need any.
After receiving a memo with the address of his superior’s residence written on it, he headed to the locker room to go get changed.

◇◇◇

It took ten minutes to walk there from the knight order’s garrison. The boarding place for coaches in the central street was only a little while away from where the orphanage was.
Because he couldn’t go empty-handed, he bought some sweets from a nearby store and headed toward the orphanage.

The orphanage, which had ties to the church, was managed by donations from the nobles.
However, the livelihoods of the children who lived there were not of great quality.
For who knows how long, the person who managed the money that had been collected had not been disclosed.

Bernard peeked into the orphanage from outside the fence.
Children between the ages of five and ten were cheerfully running about.
One could tell they did not live in abundance by just looking at their clothes. There were children who were barefoot as well.
Bernard, who had always lived in an abundant environment, was looking at a spectacle that made him want to avert his eyes. —Having said that, he couldn’t go home in this state.
After circling about the entrance, he entered.

“Wow, it’s a visitor!”
“Hello!”

At once, he was discovered by the children and ended up surrounded. Because there was a good smell coming from it, they peered into the paper bag that he was holding in his hands.

“W-Wait a minute.”

As he was being jostled about by the children, a sister came out from inside the building.

“You all, what are you doing to the visitor!”

The children who were scolded apologized with a single word and dispersed.

“I am truly sorry.”
“No, it’s fine…”

For starters, he handed over the baked sweets he was holding. All of the sisters were delighted and received them with smiles.
After showing them the knights’ bracelet to reveal his social status, when he said that he wanted to hear stories concerning Agnes Le Verges, he was led into the building.

“I wished to tell you this from the beginning, but Miss Agnes is not here.”

Bernard retorted in his mind, ‘of course that’d be so.’

“… To this day, many reporters have come, mainly in order to hear things about Miss Agnes.”

The sister told him that she had told them all the same thing no matter which reporter it was.

“Miss Agnes came here on foot once every week. She was extremely kind and was a woman full of affection. The children also really looked forward to meeting with Miss Agnes. … Though it seems that no matter who it was, they didn’t write what I told them in their articles.”

She said that, upon seeing the weekly publication’s article, she felt utterly mortified.
Bernard silently listened to her story.

“—And so, why might you be here?”
“No, well, because my superior told me that if Agnes Le Verges were here, he wanted to shelter her.”
“Well, if that’s the case, there’s no reason to worry!”

What was there no reason to worry about? Agnes was at Bernard’s house, of course, so becoming curious about why the sister would assert such a thing, he asked her.

“Miss Agnes is currently at a certain knight’s house.”
“Huh!?”

Bernard felt perspiration form on his forehead as he asked where that information had come from. His heartbeat violently increased.

“W-Where’s, who—”
“I don’t know the particulars myself, either.”
“Eh?”
“Because it’s something I heard from my mother.”
“F-From your mother?”
“Yes. My mother manages an inn, but…”

“Cottage of the Mountain Goat.” The sister stated that her mother was the hostess there.

“My family is large, so economically, things were a bit rough for us. … Since there were no people who would want to make the ugly daughter of a poor inn their wife, once I became twenty years-old, I became a nun. Speaking of which, this doesn’t matter, does it.”

In the same way as her, Agnes, who had nowhere to go, had, before anything else, come to the church to become a nun.

The one who had stopped her was the sister.

“If one becomes a sister, because one comes to serve God, one may not get married. … I thought that to a person as kind as Miss Agnes, who was loved by the children, not getting married for her entire life would be too much for her.”

However, Agnes’s determination had firmly become more certain. That from now on, she would use her life to serve God.

“But upon hearing that, well, there was a person she loved dearly, her cheeks became flushed, and she hung her head down in shame.”

Agnes had a person she loved.
Though it was difficult to realize her love immediately, the sister had recommended that, at least for the moment, she think about her future plans.
The sister had naturally inquired if Agnes would like to work at her parents’ “Cottage of the Mountain Goat.”
As she had said that this might not be of much help, she had suggested, “How about cutting the room charge in half in exchange for work.”

“And so, just a few days ago, Miss Agnes met with the knight she loved dearly and supposedly came out of the inn holding hands.”
“She doesn’t love him dearly, and she wasn’t holding hands either!”
“Huh?”
“N-No, it was nothing.”

Because the sister was excited, the sister didn’t catch Bernard’s hint.
Thinking that it was really dangerous, he was greatly relieved.

“I’m sorry, my, I ended up talking too much…”
“It’s fine.”
“This story, please keep it confidential.”
“Ahh, I have no intention of letting it out of my mouth.”
“Thank you.”
“You too, don’t say it to anyone else either.”
“Ehh, of course. Swearing by God, I’ll keep this in silence.”

Outside, it had become completely dark. The time for the last coach was drawing near.
After finishing his words, he threw the weekly publication that had written about Agnes into the fireplace.

Bernard bid farewell to the sister and walked to the boarding station for coaches.

The wind that was blowing today was chilly as well.
When he looked up at the sky, black clouds were being carried by the wind.

Bernard thought that he might possibly have a big misunderstanding concerning Agnes Le Verges.

Nevertheless, there was just one thing he didn’t understand.
Five years ago, why did Agnes look at Bernard with such scornful eyes.

After seeing the current Agnes, even if he had heard it from someone who knew her, it would be impossible that she would do something like looking down on a stranger.

No matter how much he thought, he couldn’t come up with an answer.

Besides, Bernard was unable to understand the meaning of Agnes’ expression of gratitude toward him a few days ago.

Quickly, he realized that asking her directly would be best.


<Previous Chapter | Debt Girl | Next Chapter>

Debt Girl – 07

The Seventh Story – On the Night of the Storm

So, I’m looking for manga cleaners/typesetters to help me translate manga/doujins on the side. You can find me on Discord (ping @Toki at http://discord.gg/0uufyDAsTZbg67TU ).
Thank you, and please enjoy the chapter~.


A woman in a hat appeared, wearing a white muslin apron over blue cotton dress. That woman was Agnes.
Her hair was styled in her usual braids, and the long ribbon that dangled from her hat swayed gently.
At first glance, her clothing suggested that she was a servant. However, her elegance and grace suggested otherwise.
Her dress lacked puff sleeves and was long enough to cover her ankles, and although her apron was popular amongst the servants for being light and easy to dry, it was so thin as to be translucent and was made of cheap materials.
Though there were those among the nobles who put up appearances by preparing expensive clothes for their servants, Bernard was not one of them. Basically, he left any concerns about garments and such to the head of the servants, Gigille.

Though the outfit was a complete anachronism, when Agnes wore it, for some reason, it appeared elegant.

–It’s hopeless, she won’t look like a servant this way!!

Bernard had thought that if she just had the appearance of a servant, while he thought about her service, she would somehow continue to be concealed.
Nevertheless, Agnes, who was dressed in a servant’s attire in front of him, could only be seen as a noble’s daughter.
There was no servant so refined as this.

“Um, Master, your overcoat……”

Agnes approached without a sound.
Because he was deep in thought, Bernard was so astonished that his shoulders shuddered.
Though his heart had flown out of his chest just from being greeted, Agnes immediately drew much closer.

“L-Like I said, you’re too close!!”
“I-I’m sorry.”

He accidentally yelled at her to come back after learning the distance servants should keep from their master.
Quickly taking off his overcoat, he threw it to Agnes.
Though he started heading toward his room dressed in that fashion, a voice from behind came to his attention.

“Master.”
“You still need something?”
“Yes.”

To catch up with his rapid strides forward, Agnes followed in a trot.
Because he felt a bit of pity at her now uneven breathing, Bernard came to a stop.

“From now– Kyaa!”
“!?”

Agnes had bumped into the now stopped Bernard’s back.
Because it was only a light impact, it didn’t hurt or anything, but at this absolutely careless situation, he became irritated and turned around with an angry look on his face.

“Y-You……”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Agnes apologized earnestly. Bernard looked down at that girl while furrowing his brows.

“–––?”

Even here, a question floated into his mind. Whether this girl was actually that Agnes Le Verges.

Agnes, who was born into a distinguished earl’s family that was said to have a long history, had debuted in the brilliant high society.
Called the resplendent rose, he had thought her to be a very prideful noble daughter who looked down upon lower class nobles.

“Master?”
“!”

Once again, he had fallen deep into thought in front of Agnes.
Shaking his head furiously, he inquired what her business with him was.

“It’s about the plans from now on, but–“
“Ahh.”

After properly straightening her back, Agnes asked her question with a clear voice.

“Would you like to take a bath? Would you like to eat a meal?”

A bath or a meal.
It was what Eric had always asked.
Because the inside of his head was still hazy, he thought it would be good to go take a bath to clear his head up.

“Or–“
“You still have things left to say!”

After hearing that, he came to his senses and remembered. Previously, by chance, he had heard Gigille jokingly telling her husband, Dominic, those words.

–Would you like to take a bath? Would you like to eat a meal? Or, would you rather rather have m~e~?

The moment that came to mind, Bernard’s face flushed a deep red.
Though he felt like yelling at Gigille, who had taught her unnecessary things, before that, he thought he should respond to Agnes’ words first.

“A bath!!”

Saying that, he returned to his room at a quick pace. Agnes, upon hearing the reply to her question, did not continue following him.

◇◇◇

Washing his sweaty body, he relaxedly settled into the bathtub.
Before he knew it, rain had started to fall.
It wasn’t a gentle, weak rain, but a rain that poured heavily and loudly.
The raindrops that intensely hit the ground interfered with Bernard’s thoughts.
Resigning himself to the fact that he wouldn’t come up with an answer even if he continued to think long and hard about it, he exited the bathtub.
At the same time, he heard Eric’s voice from outside the bathhouse.
Hanging his towel on his shoulder, Bernard responded.

“What’s up?”
“Master, on the third floor, the roof has started to leak.”
“What are you saying?”

The history of the mansion Bernard owned numbered around a hundred years. While doing the biannual inspection, they used every trick in the book to live there.
Frankly speaking, it was a run-down mansion.
Though he had from time to time heard from Gigille’s daughter who lived in the attic that there were leaks in the roof, it was the first time he had heard that it had leaked to the lower floors.
Eric said that because it had hailed during the day, that might be the cause.

For now, Bernard commanded him to take make temporary repairs so the second floor did not get ruined any further by rainwater.
After drying his hair and body off well enough, he put on new clothes.

When he ran up to the third floor, he heard the loud noises of the servants running around.

“Ah, Master!”
“Wah, Master!”

The ones who noticed Bernard were Gigille’s twin daughters, Carol and Celia. They were beauties with black hair and blue eyes.
The twins were placing buckets under the dripping rainwater and swapping them out.

“Master, it’s a disaster!”
“The attic is submerged!”
“!?”

Speaking of the attic, he had heard it was the room that Agnes was using.
Leaving the third floor to Gigille and the twins, he headed to the place where the roof was leaking intensely.

When he ran up the stairs, he witnessed a person cowering in front of the door made of two sheets of paper.
It was the teary-eyed Agnes. Her hair and clothes were only a little wet.
The thing she was embracing as if to protect it was a dripping wet suitcase. It was the object that contained the only private property she had left.

“You–“
“Ah……”

As soon as she saw Bernard’s form, Agnes hastily stood up and bowed.
She apologized in a trembling voice.

“T-The room h-has f-flood-ded.”
“What are you saying.”

Brushing aside Agnes, who was in the middle of the doorway, he entered the room.

It was the first time he had entered the attic.
Because the eldest daughter of the previous master, Gigille, had stated that the room was “My private castle,” even just looking at the room would have been considered an atrocity.

Currently, in the middle of the room, it was drizzling.
In the middle were Dominic and the second son who was in charge of the kitchen, Aaron. They were in the middle of patching the roof up with planks.

“Hey.”
“Master.”

After he had called out to the two who were working, Eric came around from the back.
His business was asking if he should go to request the aid of a carpenter for the rest of the work.

“In this forest with such rain in the night, there’s no way he’d come.”
“Well then, the repairs.”
“It’s useless even if we put the planks on the roof!”

If they patched it up with boards, they would have to do it for the room as well.
“Then, I’ll leave it to Dominic.”
“If a big man like him got on top of the roof, it would break.”
“Aaron has acrophobia. And as such, I will-”
“It’s fine. I’ll go.”
“However.”
“This is my house!”

He gave the order to put as many buckets, bowls, and such out to catch the water in the attic.
Snatching away the three boards, hammer, and nails that Aaron was holding, he opened the window.
Outside, it was stormy. A strong wind blowing against them, the rain was blowing sideways.
Seeing the state of affairs, he quickly went to stop Bernard.

“Master, I’m telling you, it’s dangerous!”
“Though if we leave it like this, the house will flood completely! It’s fine so you guys just do something about the leaking rain! It’s an order!”

If they were told so by their master, it couldn’t be helped. The manservants went to the first floor to grab bowls.
Bernard hung the hammer on his belt and put the nails in his pocket. Carrying the planks at his side, Bernard, placing his feet on the window frame, climbed up on top of the roof.

“……Fuck!”

Because the rooftop was pitch black, he couldn’t see anything. He needed a lantern. After he hurriedly turned around, he lost his balance after slipping on a wet roof tile. However, somehow, he held on, and instead of heading down from the roof, he calmed down.

If he were in a panic, he would get hurt. It would be natural to instruct someone to be composed in this situation.

Bernard put the boards in the roof’s gutter and, while hanging down from the roof requested that someone to come bring him a lantern since he felt the presence of people.

As a lantern was immediately held out to him, he extended his arm and received it.

“Hey, close the window! The room will get wet.”

After he said that, the window was shut.

He was on top of the roof a second time, with the lantern shining at his feet.
As Eric had said, the terracotta tiles were broken in a few places.
While wondering how big the hail that had fallen down was, he unintentionally creased his brow.
Tearing off the broken roof tiles, he hammered the replacement planks down.
As the three planks were insufficient, Bernard lowered his lower body from the edge of the roof and knocked on the window with his heel.
Thereupon, the window opened.

“Hey, bring more planks!!”

At the instruction, a single plank was held out toward him.

“One plank isn’t going to be enough! Bring more.”

He extended his arm, and upon receiving the plank, he saw three trembling planks being held up.
Bernard picked them up with one hand.
In total he had seven planks, and he said to close the window.

Happily, the roof tiles were damaged in only ten places.
After hammering the replacement boards, the roof leak problem was solved.

After finishing patrolling the roof, Bernard descended.
There, servants were cleaning the floor in every direction.
Gigille had brought towels.

“–That was awful.”

After murmuring that, he noticed Agnes, who was cleaning.
He tilted his head at the girl who was wetter than anyone else. Though when he saw her earlier, she shouldn’t have been this wet.

“You, why are you so wet. Did you slip somewhere or something?”
“N-No.”

Agnes looked up at Bernard with teary eyes. Her shoulders were trembling, and he thought that she looked like a kitten who had been abandoned in the rain.

During that time, Gigille forced her way through.

“Miss Agnes had been carrying the planks for Master’s sake.”
“That was you?”
“Yes.”

He understood why the three planks that were held out were shaking. To the powerless noble’s daughter, the three thin planks must have been heavy.

“You’ve done enough.”
“Eh?”

Pulling Agnes’ arm, he made her rise.
After that, he turned her body right around and pushed her back toward the doorway.

“Um, I–“
“Go down.”
“B-But”
“Gigille, Carol, and Celia too.”

Saying that the men should clean up the room, he ordered the women to change into dry clothes.
Gigille, rising up, bowed.

“Then Master, I’ll take your word for it.”
“Thank you!”
“Thank you!”

The twins happily said their thanks and started tidying up the cleaning equipment.
Agnes stood there alone, all shaken up.

“Miss Agnes, let’s go. It’s Master’s order.”
“Eh? Ehhh……”

Having her back pushed by Gigille, Agnes left the room.

In the attic that had lost its showiness, Dominic, Eric, and Aaron resumed Bernard’s ordered cleaning activities.


<Previous Chapter | Debt Girl | Next Chapter> 

 

Debt Girl 06

The Sixth Story – The Troubling Circumstances Surrounding Agnes

TL Note: Ankake is sauce thickened with starch. Pretty common in Asian cuisine.
Here’s an example: Tofu Manjuu in Ankake.


Morning.

Bernard, who had gotten dressed, went towards the dining room.
At the dining room, Gigille waited on him as usual.

On top of the crescent-shaped bread that was smeared with sugar were a sunny-side egg, which was cooked from a soft-boiled egg, and a thick slice of bacon. Along with vegetable soup, he had piping-hot café au lait with milk and plenty of sugar. It was the usual, unchanging breakfast table.

As there were way too few changes overall, Bernard asked Gigille a question.

“Hey, Gigille.”
“Yes.”
“……A-And her?”
“Do you mean Carol? Or maybe Celia?”
“Don’t play dumb!”

Carol and Celia were Gigille’s daughters. Currently fifteen years-old, they were twins.
The one on Bernard’s mind was Agnes, who had just come to the Orlellian house.

While moderating her teasing of Bernard, Gigille reported the plans for the new servant to her master.

“Today, Agnes Le Verges is on duty from the afternoon until night.”

She told him that, as Agnes had looked extremely tired, she had decided on that.

“If you were to have any problems, I would be able to change it, but?”
“No, it’s fine. It’s not like she’d be of great use anyway.”

Without responding to her master’s thoughtless remark, she put on a smile. This was because she knew Bernard didn’t actually mean what he said.

As the discussion ended, the eating began.

While he was eating, Eric arrived, carrying the newspaper that was on a silver tray.
Though he knew that it was bad-mannered to do so, because he was short on time, he opened the newspaper as he chewed on his bread.

Even still, there was an article on one side that dealt with Agnes’ father.
Yesterday, the first trial had been in session, and he was accused of violating the State Affairs Capital Act.
It appeared that the King had shown up for this trial. The article reported that because he had trusted the long-time prime minister, Sherard Le Verges, when he had found out that he had been double-crossed with this aforementioned event, his fury was great.

“–Ah!”

Bernard had realized the reason why the nobles who surrounded Agnes as followers did not assist her.
If one were to extend a hand to support the daughter of the Le Verges family, which was currently in the maelstrom of a scandal, he or she would invite the displeasure of the King upon them. Consequently, for the sake of self-protection, nobody had come to her aid.

“–Absolutely disgusting.”

After crumpling it into a round shape, Bernard tossed the mostly unread newspaper on top of his bed.
There was no way that noble society revolved around humanity and a sense of duty. Though he knew that to be the case, seeing something like this happen right in front of his eyes left a bad taste in his mouth.

Though his appetite had vanished, a knight’s capital was his body.
Washing down his bread with his café au lait, he thoroughly chewed the egg as well as the bacon and swallowed them together with his soup.
Because the time for the coach to leave was drawing close, he quickly went to work.

◇◇◇

Facing the lockers in the troop hut, Bernard changed into his work clothes.
After putting on a deep blue colored velvet coat, he put on black trousers and fastened his belt.
He lowered his armor onto his body, put the crest that was the symbol of his membership in the force on his shoulder fixture, and tied his scarlet cape.

The force Bernard was attached to, “The Third Special Assault Force,” suppressed criminals that caused violent activities while occupying important locations, and aiding with entering and seizing like what happened a few days ago, it was a special military force that was deployed to locations where the situation was becoming rough. The entire squadron numbered seven, which meant that the force Bernard was attached to was one made up of a select few.
By conducting intense training every day, each individual’s abilities were developed.

When it became daytime, he headed toward the mess hall.
Though there was a separate mess hall for the exclusive use of those ranked as at least commanding officers, he had heard the rumor that eating while surrounded by the commanding officers of various units made you feel as if you weren’t alive, so he had not used it even once.
Consequently, in order to crowd together with other knights who were seeking food for lunch, he ended up in the central mess hall.
To start with, he confirmed the menu that was posted at the doorway.
Even here, there was a multitude of people gathered together. Bernard, who was taller than the knights around him, looked at the board that had the menu written on it.

・Daily Special Meal Set (bread, sweet and salty meat skewer, cheese soup, fried vegetables, crispy fish in ankake)
・Meat Noodles (large serving is an extra copper coin)
・Large Serving of Daily Special (all-you-can-eat bread, lump of meat cooked with herbs, meat soup)

The selection of meals offered to the knights by the mess hall was by no means large. However, the meals were famed for being cheap and for tasting reasonably good.
While saying that the daily set might be good, as he usually did, he handed over his meal ticket to the one in charge.

In the mess hall that was flourishing due to the knights, he sat down in an empty seat.

“–Oh, if it isn’t Bernard!”

Today as well, by coincidence, he encountered his former colleague Djibril.

“We’ve run into each other a lot recently……maybe it’s destiny?”
“Just sit down already.”

To Djibril, who was making jokes, he recommended that he sit in the free seat in front of him.
The talkative Djibril started to talk before he even touched his food.
It was about the trial of Agnes’ father, Sherard Le Verges, which was a hot topic. The knights around them were talking about the same thing, too.

“It sure is pitiful, and that girl, too. It seems like she’s been prohibited from seeing her father since the trial’s start. Even though he was her only blood relative, y’know?”

Saying that it seemed like Agnes Le Verges’ mother passed away in Agnes’ early childhood, Djibril touched upon her personal information.

“After her father incited the King’s wrath, I doubt there’s anyone whimsical enough to shelter her. ‘Cause if anyone ever found out, the guy would be barred from promotions for life.”

Bernard, who heard those words, immediately started to choke. Ever thoughtful for his friends, Djibril got up from his seat and struck Bernard’s back.

“Hey, you alright?”
“……Ah, ahhhhh.”

The man who had casually taken Agnes in on a whim, Bernard, drank water to regain his composure.

He was aware that his heart was pounding profusely.
Regretful thoughts of worry that he had done something absolutely preposterous assailed him.

“So, y’know, it seems like there have been some reports surfacing from the guys in the research division that underground, there have been some guys who have been saying some weird shit.”
“And what’s that?”
“That there are people who want to make Agnes Le Verges their mistress by any means.”
“Huh?”
“Basically, they think that there’s no problem if they keep her shut in enough that the King won’t find out.”

There were a great number of people who wanted to have a girl that beautiful as a mistress. However, if one were to lock Agnes up, eyes of blame from high society would surely all be focused upon them.
If that were the case, instead of an official place, then it would be fine to take her into the underground society.

“Basically, they want to take her along for gambling dens, drug trade, slave trade, and such……”

The ones who carried out secret maneuvers for the underground society had, for many years, been one of the groups that the knight squadrons had been trying to wipe out of the imperial city.
However, the reality was that they had not been able to crack down on the trade of people and such very well.

“Regarding this matter, there are nobles involved with it, too.”
“Though we haven’t found solid evidence.”
“That’s why there have been people saying it would be nice to have Miss Agnes’ cooperation.”

If it were the incredibly haughty and prideful Agnes Le Verges, it was a possibility that she would walk about splendidly during an infiltrating investigation.

However, Bernard remembered yesterday’s Agnes.
When told to sit, she took the seat next to him, and when told to read the contract, she approached him quickly.
He wasn’t sure if it was just missing or if she was just distracted from being cautious.
Something like leading a man by the nose, she didn’t seem like the kind of girl to enjoy doing the kinds of things that the underground world did.
In his heart, he thought that it was just simply impossible.

“And so–“
“!”

Hearing Djibril’s voice, he came to his senses.

“Is something wrong?”
“No, just, is it okay to talk about this kind of classified information from your section this lightly?”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Probably.”
“……”

While sighing deeply, he left his seat.

“H-Hey, Bernard, I haven’t finished talking……”
“Silence is golden, speech is silver.”
“The heck is that.”
“The words of a philosopher from a foreign country.”

Leaving behind those words, he left the mess hall.

Even in the corps’ rest area, talk about the Le Verges family was the hot topic.
The commanding officer, Lazarre, denied the rumor that there were infiltration investigations for Agnes.

“I think it’s probably not true. When it comes to operations, you need the King’s permission, and apparently simply hearing the name makes him fly into a rage, so isn’t it impossible?”

Incidentally, it seemed that the King mentioned in the newspaper was a body double.
It appeared as if the person in question was simply feigning ignorance and performing his duties.

“Well, with the Prime Minister gone now, there’s no time for him to go to the trials, I guess.
After the end of the intermission, the bell rang and a voice called out to resume training.
The Third Special Assault Force’s group members went toward the courtyard.

◇◇◇

After work ended, Bernard departed for home after changing into his civilian clothes.
Boarding the coach, he returned to his residence, which was located in the middle of the forest.

Because he had worked overtime today, the neighborhood had become completely dark.
With an experienced gait, he continued down the path that had no light.

Even so, the issue of Agnes’ employment weighed heavily on his mind.
Should he report it to his superior, or should he not.
He couldn’t say for sure.

Letting out a huge sigh, he opened the door.
Thereupon, seeing Agnes’ figure at the front door, he became surprised.

“–Welcome back, Master.”

Upon seeing Agnes welcoming him with a sweet smile, Bernard became dizzy in multiple ways.


| Debt Girl | Next Chapter> 

Debt Girl 05

The Fifth Story – Welcome to the Orlellian House

Note: This chapter was a pain in the ass to translate on multiple levels. Also, Agnes has myopia, while Bernard is myopic. Pff.


Gigille was showing Agnes around the inside of the mansion.

“To start off, before anything else, I’ll show you to your room. Eric!!”

Calling her son who was the butler, she instructed him to pick up the bag and then follow.

“Um, I’ll carry the bag myself.”
“It’s fine. Since here at the mansion, carrying heavy things is a man’s job.”
“But–”

Gigille, turning to look at Agnes, told her, “My word as the head of servants is absolute,” and made Agnes properly repeat it back to her as well.

“Got it?”
“……Yes.”

After that, while walking inside the mansion, Giselle guided Agnes around the rooms.

“The third floor is the residential area for servants, the second floor is Master’s living area, and the first floor is the kitchen as well as where we do work such as laundry.”
“Okay.”

What was on the third floor were the servants’ private rooms, a storage room, a simple bathroom, a linen room, and so forth.

“The number of servants in this estate amounts to six people. Everyone is a member of my family. The one walking in front of us is my eldest son who works as a butler, Eric, the one in charge of the kitchen is the second son, Allen. We have all been cooperating to make meals. The ones who do subordinate work are my daughters, Carol and Celia. Since we look after Master and him alone, the mansion is not very big.”

Gigille spoke of how they were looking to hire a new servant, as her eldest daughter had just gotten married two months prior.

“That’s why this is perfect.”
“I’ll make an effort in order to be of use to you.”
“Give it your best. Well anyway, don’t worry about our lack of staff. Hitherto, on days when we’ve lacked manpower, we’ve hired day laborers to come and help, so.”
“Alright.”

Grinning as she looked at the forward-looking Agnes, Gigille gave her a smile.

Because the servants’ residential area on the third floor was being used by a family, there was no separation between men and women.

“Long ago, when this mansion was being used as a townhouse, the servants lived in the basement and the third floor, separated between males and females. But rest assured, because the room you will be using has a secure lock.”

She said that it would be good to use the loft that the eldest daughter had used until two months ago.

“Though you might be worried because you’ll be using the same quarters as men, as unfortunate as it is, I don’t think you’re my sons’ type.”

When Agnes tilted her head as if saying what do you mean, Gigille narrowed her eyes and said.

“From when they were children, I recall them saying that they had no interest in girls who were blonde since they reminded them of me.”
“My.”
“Please excuse them.”

While they were exchanging those words, they finally arrived at the loft which was located right in front of the stairs that went up from the third floor.
After placing the bag in front of the door, Eric left without a word.
Agnes ended up thanking the disappearing figure.

“Sorry about that. That boy is a bit weird.”

Gigille told her to forgive him since he does his work properly.
While smiling bitterly about her son’s attitude, she picked up the bundle of keys that was dangling from her waist.

“This is a door that hasn’t been opened for two months, huh.”

Fundamentally, the only rooms servants did not clean were the rooms they used.
To make up for not hiring more servants, that is what Bernard had decided.

“Well, only two months have passed, so it can’t be that bad–“

Once she unlocked the door and pulled it open, a dusty atmosphere drifted about in the air.

“I’m sorry, it’s just a bit more awful than I thought.”

While illuminating the room with the lantern she was holding, she went to open the window.
With a whoosh, the clear air from the forest blew in from the window, causing the dusty air inside to diminish a bit.

“Miss Agnes, could you hold this for a little bit?”
“Yes.”

Handing the lantern to Agnes, she lit up the light that was hanging from the ceiling.

“She told me that moving furniture and such was troublesome and thus left most of it behind. If it’s alright with you, use them as you please.”
“Thank you very much.”

In the loft, the ceiling was low, and it wasn’t wide, either. Even so, the walls, the ceiling, and even the fireplace was white, and the interior had a feeling of cleanliness. On top of that, the round desk, the chair, all the way to the container for clothing, everything was uniformly white.

A large bed was in the middle of the room. Against the wall was a bookshelf that was so completely filled with books that there was not a single crack.

“You know, everything was painted. She worked her younger brothers hard.”
“It’s a lovely room that looks as if it had just come out of a fairy tale.”
“My daughter said something like that too.”

Gigille told her that she would bring the futon afterward.

“I guess we’ll have to clean after that.”

The floor was still lightly coated with a layer of dust. It needed to be cleaned.
They went to the bathroom and brought back water and cleaning equipment that was left there.

“Well then, let’s get started.”
“Yes.”

Together, they cleaned up the room. Though she wasn’t used to the work, Agnes still did her best.

◇◇◇

Bernard, who had headed straight to his home upon arrival, was perplexed as he sat in his couch.

–Why the heck did something like this happen!?

He had just meant to bully her a little.
Even if Agnes had taken up his offer, he was supposed to put her in her place and tell her, “It serves you right,” and then feel refreshed, but he didn’t feel refreshed in the least.

He just thought that if he offered to employ her, he would wound her self-respect and pride. –For all that, his plan was completely derailed. To his offer of employment, Agnes had given her thanks.

It seemed as if she were a completely different person from the Earl’s daughter who had scorned him five years ago.

He wondered if maybe it was just a misunderstanding, but recalling the memories of the countless occasions they had met afterward, he denied it, shaking his head furiously, while thinking that it was definitely his imagination.

As he was absent-mindedly passing the time in his room, there was a knock on the door.
The one who had come along was the butler, Eric.

“Master, this is the written contract for the new servant. Please confirm the details.”
“……Ahhh.”

He put the single sheet of the document on the desk.
After asking if Bernard would like to take a bath or to eat, Eric left the room with a bow.

Without even touching the document, Bernard just followed the letters with his eyes.
Written there were the details of an employment agreement.

A single question came to mind.

–Are we really, really hiring her!?

He asked himself in his mind.
Worrying that maybe they were rushing things, his forehead became covered in sweat.
After all this time, he finally realized that there must have been a reason that Agnes, who had been fussed over to such a degree by the people who surrounding her, was neglected. Bernard had not even been able to think of that.

However, he also wondered what would happen if he revoked the words he had said earlier.

–Ahhh, what a pain this was!!

He roughly scratched at his head that was engaged in thought.

He wanted to tear the contract and render it invalid right then and there. While thinking if only he hadn’t met Agnes at that time, he cursed his unluckiness.

While he was in the middle of chaos, suddenly, he remembered what his father had told him.

–When there’s something that you don’t know or that troubles you, just abide by the teachings of the Knight Order.

He remembered the words he had heard over and over in his younger days. As he firmly gathered his brow in a wrinkle, he ruminated upon the teachings of the Knight Order.

–Assisting the weak, honoring courtesy, defeating evil.

If he followed that motto, there was but one answer.

“–Damnit!!”

In the freezing cold, Agnes shivering with that shabby appearance did not appear to be an act. Therefore, Bernard thought, without a doubt, she became a person who he needed to protect.

In the middle his despair, he called Eric.

“Hey, call that woman here.”
“Are you talking about Agnes Le Verges?”
“Yes. Go quickly.”
“I will do so.”

He got a pen and inkwell from the office and roughly placed them on the desk.

Agnes immediately showed up.

“Mr. Orlellian, did you call for me?”
“……Ahhh.”

Bernard instructed her to sit at the couch in front of him.
After saying excuse me, Agnes sat down next to Bernard.

“W-Why are you sitting next to me!!”
“Um, b-because it looked like you were indicating this one.”
“This kind of situation would usually call for us being face-to-face, you know!?”
“I’m sorry……”

When she was about to get up with haste, he stopped her with his hand. Saying that it didn’t matter whether she sat here or there, he realized that where she sat was a petty issue.

He felt the intense beating of his heart as his heart thumped loudly.
As he had not come into many contact with females of his age for several years, he had come to be completely ignorant as to what kind of manners he should have around them.
Incidentally, he had known Gigille’s daughters from when he was a baby, so he did not think of them as members of the opposite sex.

He wanted to quickly finish this important matter and make her disappear from his room.
Grabbing the contract from his desk, he pointed it at Agnes’ direction.

“This is the written contract. Read it well and decide!!”
“Yes, thank you very much.”

While he expected Agnes to take the contract from him like that, Agnes leaned forward and started to read the words.
Bernard was surprised because she had drawn closer way too quickly.
A gently sweet fragrance hung in the air, which exacerbated his state of confusion.

“–W-Wai, you’re too close!!”

Agnes, who was right in front of his eyes, quickly and forcibly kept her distance. She placed the contract on her lap as if she were throwing it.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t see very well.”
“You could at least take the paper yourself, you know!!”
“Please excuse me.”

Bernard, whose face had turned a bright red from anger, ignored Agnes’ heartfelt apology.

“I truly, truly apologize.”
“It’s fine so just read the contract quickly!”
“Yes.”

Agnes began to read the contract after being pressed to do so by Bernard.
Bringing the paper right up to her eyes, with a serious face she perused the contents of the contract.

“I have read it.”
“……Ahhh.”
“Umm, from now on, please take care of me.”
“……Ahhh.”

The salary was by no means high. The working conditions and even the living conditions were not necessarily good, either.
Still, Agnes said that she wanted to work here.
Without a drop of enthusiasm, Bernard requested her signature for the contract.

“……If you have no objections to the contents, write your name at the bottom.”
“Understood.”

Bringing her face close to the low desk, she signed her name, Agnes Le Verges. While looking at that figure, Bernard secretly let out a sigh.


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Debt Girl 04

The Fourth Story – The Unfortunate Little Bear

Note: What is this ungodly mix of ennui and lack of motivation? Anyway, enjoy the chapter. The ship has sailed, and even the servants are onboard.


Covering her eyes with one hand, Agnes burst into tears.
Bernard became aware of the looks from their surroundings.
Intermittently, inquisitive eyes turned towards them.
He hesitated for just a moment.
Taking Agnes’ basket from her hand, Bernard grabbed her wrist and departed from that place.

While pulling her hand, he walked briskly.
Fortunately, because she was not wearing the movement-inhibiting dress or the high-heeled shoes, Agnes was able to follow Bernard’s pace with a trot.

Bernard had been commuting to work with a street carriage.
To return to his estate which was at the outskirts of the Imperial City, he had to ride a streetcar that took him to the neighboring town.
However, becoming aware that he could not risk taking her back in that fashion, he spoke to her while walking.

“Oi, what about your luggage?”
“I-It’s at the inn.”
“Which one?”
“It’s in the Cottage of the Mountain Goat.”

Bernard, upon hearing the name of the inn, stopped walking and turned around with an astonished face.
The Cottage of the Mountain Goat. Located in the lower parts of town, it was said that it was the most run-down cheap hotel in the Imperial City.

“W-Why were you in such a place!?”
“Because it was cheap……”

He had imagined that she had surely been staying at a reasonably clean inn in the center of the district.
It appeared that after being expelled from her house, she had gotten along by doing tasks like washing dishes and cleaning rooms.
He found out that she had been living very economically.

Agnes, whose tears had stopped, had been telling the story of how she had been living up to that point, with eyes that were deep red from crying.

“……Though, since I haven’t gotten used to washing dishes or cleaning rooms yet, I have been failing at times.”

–That the dazzling, high-class Agnes Le Verges would be washing dishes? And also cleaning rooms?

Despite matter-of-factly ordering her to do the same thing a few minutes ago, he had been shocked by her revealing the fact that she had currently been doing subordinate work.

“Sir Orlellian?”
“!”

Bernard came to his senses when he was called by Agnes.
For now, they would have to take a carriage to the lower parts of town.

After finishing greeting the people in the inn that she had been under the care of, Agnes came out with a big suitcase and a small bag.
As if snatching it away from her, Bernard pulled the large suitcase from Agnes and held it in his hand.

“Um, I can carry that by m-”
“If I waited for you to walk at a snail’s pace while carrying this, it would be the dead of night before we arrived home.”
“Ah, err, yes…”

Though Agnes was shaken up, she approached Bernard, who was rapidly proceeding forward, and expressed her gratitude by telling him, “Thank you very much.”

Right after getting on the streetcar that traveled to the neighboring district, they arrived in front of Bernard’s residence.
After paying railway fare for two, they got off.

“The fare for the streetcar”
“Don’t need it.”

He had gotten the better of Agnes, who had pulled out her purse from the inside of her small bag.

“Um, is the estate this way?”
“Yep.”

The place the streetcar had stopped was in right in the middle of a forest.
Laborers got on and off here because there was an apiary in the vicinity.
Even earlier, there were men who had finished their work riding in the car.

Agnes was looking around at the thickly overgrown trees surrounding her with wonder.

Without paying attention to that situation, Bernard, carrying the luggage, started steadily walking ahead by himself.
After walking sufficiently. They finally arrived at a place that was opened up.
What was deep in the forest was a white-walled estate.
With a blue roof and an appearance that was like it had just come out of a fairy tale, there was a modest rose garden in the garden.

“–My, it’s absolutely charming!”
“Of course it’s tiny compared to your house.”

As he was unable to understand what she had meant when she had said that it was lovely, Bernard, who had taken Agnes’ impression of the estate as sarcasm.

Approaching the entrance, he shouted out the names of the servant.

“Gigille, hey, Gigille!!”
“Yees.”

The one who came out from the mansion was a blonde, blue-eyed, beautiful middle-aged female.
Her name was Gigille Balzac.
While she was formerly Bernard’s wet nurse, currently she was working at the mansion as a servant.

“Master, that luggage……”

She had immediately noticed Bernard’s large luggage, but it took another three seconds after that for her to notice the figure of the woman who was there in the back.
Seeing the seemingly abashed Agnes standing there, she erupted in delight.

“–A-A miracle has occurred!”

Delightedly taking Bernard’s luggage, Gigille called her son’s name.
The black-haired male in his late twenties who had come out earlier was Gigille’s oldest son whose lovely appearance had taken after his mother.

“Master, welcome back home.”

Gigille’s son, who had come out in uniform, was currently the butler. His name was Eric.
With a business-like smile, he carried Agnes’ luggage inside the mansion.
He did not show any interest at all in the girl who had suddenly come to the mansion.
Although he had a sociable expression, he was an indifferent young man.

Unable to contain her curiosity, Gigille asked a question regarding the mysterious girl.

“So, Master, could you introduce that lady over there?”
“She’s not a lady.”
“Eh?”
“She’s a new servant.”
“No, t-that can’t be~~!”
“Anyway, that’s how it is.”

Gigille had been delighted because she had thought that Bernard had finally brought a woman along, but her big expectation was way off. Crestfallen, she had dropped her shoulders.

“Oi.”
“Y-Yes.”
“This person is the head of servants, Gigille Balzac.”

While lowering her eyes, Gigille greeted her with a nice to meet you.

“Nice to meet you, my name is Agnes Le Verges.”

While grabbing the hem of her skirt, she bowed with a perfect curtsy.
That was an elegant greeting that Nobles’ daughters would perform.

“Miss Agnes Le Verges, huh.”

Upon hearing the name, Gigille came to an understanding in her mind with a, “So that’s how it is.”
Even in the newspapers, the scandals of Agnes’ father, Sherard Le Verges, had been reported to a grand scale.
She instinctively sympathized.

However, no matter how much she wondered why her master would employ the former noble girl as a servant, she was unable to comprehend his intention.
Though Agnes was an unparalleled beauty, she did not have a prideful appearance, and on the contrary, she seemed to be a reserved and docile girl. Gigille pitied Agnes, as she probably had not ever done anything like subordinate work.

Why was he unable to say the simple statement of, “Become my wife!”
Gigille turned to look at her eternally childish master with a chilly gaze.
Even though he felt the pressure of criticism upon him, his attitude of ‘this is no concern of mine’ refused to crumble.

Being unaware of the exchange of silence between the two, Agnes quickly lowered her head.

“It might be rude of me, but please take care of me.”
“Eh, eh, Miss Agnes, I leave Master in your care!”
“What kinds of unnecessary things are you requesting!”

As there was bustling in the mansion, Gigille’s husband, who was in the back of the mansion, came out.
He was taller than Bernard and had a tough body. His black hair surrounded even his eyes, and he had been growing his beard as if he were hiding the features of his face.

“That is the husband who works as a gardener, Dominic. Isn’t he like a bear?”
“!”

Upon hearing bear, Agnes’ eyes lit up.
After lightly nodding, Dominic went back to work.
Agnes saw off the retreating figure while grasping her hands tightly in front of her chest.

“In the past, my husband was called the big bear, and master was called the little bear–“
“Enough!”
“Hey, don’t say anything unnecessary!!”

The angry Gigille made a humorous face in a way Bernard couldn’t see it and shrugged.
Observing the situation, Agnes smiled softly.
Though she had only displayed a gloomy face until now, she had finally smiled. When Gigille turned around to see if Bernard had seen that pitiful smile, that figure had already disappeared. It seemed like before she had noticed, he had already gone inside the mansion.

“……Um, I’m sorry. Our master is still just a child.”
“No, that’s not the case.”

To Agnes, who was shaking her head furiously, Gigille bowed her head.
Thinking that she was such a good girl, her chest fired up.

“I’ll do my best.”
“Mm, I’ll be cheering you on!”

Inside her mind, Gigille had arbitrarily decided what objective Agnes was planning on carrying out in the house.

“–to quickly get married to him.”
“Eh?”
“Nah, just something I was thinking.”

While saying that it was nothing, she showed Agnes around the mansion.

The former noble girl’s life as a servant had just begun.


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Debt Girl 03

The Third Story – Unexpected Reunion

Note: So I’m pretty sure wordpress destroyed my spacing for sentences/paragraphs in the last two posts but it’s too much work to go back and fix them, so sorry. I’ll try to keep future posts properly spaced, though.

TL Note: I forgot about the existence of the word, “soiree,” so I’ll be using that to describe “夜会 (evening party)” from now on. Maybe I’ll go back and fix the past posts some day far in the future…


Agnes Le Verges would never be involved with his life again – or so Bernard thought, until an unexpected reunion happened.

It would be fine to say it was a fateful encounter.

◇◇◇

That day, after finishing work, Bernard was changing from his knight’s garb to his civilian clothes in the dressing room.
He put on a wrinkleless dress shirt and wound his tie around, and though it wasn’t the latest fashion, he put a jacket around his neatly maintained padded undershirt and then put on his trousers. To finish it off, he wore an overcoat on top.

From when he was a child, Bernard faithfully obeyed his parents’ statement, “In the Imperial City, pay attention to your attire.”
Among the knights, there were many who wore livery during commute, and it was even permitted. But, thinking it would be unbearable to get caught up in something troublesome outside of his working hours in a place he wasn’t familiar with, he came and went in civilian clothes.

After he finished changing, while walking down the corridor of the barracks, he encountered his superior officer, Lazare.

“Hey, good work.”
“Good work to you too, sir.”
“What, are you going on a date right now?”
“No, that’s not it.”

Lazare, who was not aware of the obsession of Bernard, who had just been transferred to the barracks, had, upon seeing him dressed neatly for a knight, misunderstood him to be going out to see a woman.
He denied it immediately.

The thirty-five year old Lazare was the second son of a certain noble and was married with children. He said his family was living quietly and comfortably.

“Anyhow, that said, that was a good chat.”
“It’s not something like that.”

Human relations at the workplace were important. In passing, he was relayed an invitation to please attend the squad’s drinking party on the weekend.

“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Alright.”

Waiting for his superior to get going, he once again started to go home.

Holding his copper bracelet that was the proof of his knighthood in one hand, he tried to pass the guardhouse, but–.

“I beg you! Somehow, even if it’s just one glimpse.”
“No, no! Meeting with anyone outside of the family is prohibited!”

For some reason, a woman who wanted to visit a knight was arguing. However, as far as Bernard was concerned, it was just something trivial.
So this kind of thing happened from time to time.
After soirees and such, people like women who fell in love with good-looking knights at first sight would come to see them.
Though it was obvious, private meetings and the like were not allowed during working hours.

While thinking that it was pitiful, he passed while flashing his bracelet that served as proof of knighthood and quickly passed by the woman and the knight.

But, an unexpected situation unfolded.

“Mr. Orlellian!!”

For some reason, the knight who drove away the woman restrained Bernard.

“Sorry, but the woman said she wanted to talk with you-”
“Huh?”

The one she longed to meet was Bernard.
While thinking what in the world she liked about him, he saw the woman peeping out behind the knight’s back.

Concealing herself with a brown handkerchief, she was wearing a worn out one piece.
Though the north wind seemed to pierce her skin, the only thing that was covering her shoulders was a thin overcoat.
In her hand was a basket. While it was covered with a cloth, he knew it contained alcohol.
At a glance, she was dressed like a country girl, so he was startled when he looked at her face.

She had hair that glittered like gold, eyes that were blue like jewels, and white skin.
Additionally, she was a startlingly beautiful woman.

–Agnes Le Verges.

Bernard became dumbfounded at the figure in front of him that shouldn’t be there.

“U-Um, it seems like your working hours are over, so from now on…”

Saying that, the knight on guardhouse duty went back to his post.

Tilting his head while contemplating what exactly she came here for, he realized it.
Bernard had gone to seize her house. Thus, she must be resenting him, he thought.

Whenever he glimpsed at Agnes, she glared at him with an intense look.
He had confidence that, like he thought, she had come all the way here just to complain.

Even so, his mind was in turmoil.
Is it alright to tell the arrogant Agnes off, or should he pity her unfortunate circumstances?
Looking at her current appearance, she looked way too different from when he had met her in soirees and such.

Agnes, who had stopped glaring, started to talk in an almost inaudible voice.

“U-Um, a-are you not Sir Bernard Orlellian?”

He wanted to say she had the wrong person.
But Bernard, who did not like to lie to others, told her that it was so.

“Please pardon me for coming with such an appearance.”

Well I guess that’s what happened, Bernard thought.
They had taken out all of the expensive articles inside the mansion.
Thus, out of all of Agnes’ many dresses, she only had that one dress left.

Once again, Agnes squinted a little. Upon seeing that, Bernard remembered his irritation.
What the heck was her business with him.
He restrained himself from clicking his tongue.

“I-I, um, don’t have anyone to rely on, or anywhere to go…”

He noticed her shoulders trembling.
Thinking that maybe she had come seeking revenge after all, he let out a huge sigh.
He thought that it would be nice if she would just complain or hit him already. However, as if she were choking on her words, she hung her head in shame.

The silence hung over them.

Bernard was thinking about staying silent and going home when he had an epiphany.
It was modest revenge against Agnes, who had possessed a harsh attitude.

Today was very cold.
He thought that they should settle this quickly.

“Hey”
“!”

Agnes, upon hearing his voice, quickly raised her downcast head.
While her reliant face momentarily gave him a pang of conscience, he continued to talk to her in those conditions.

“–If you have nowhere to go, I’ll hire you as a servant at my house. I’ll provide all of the necessities.”

Bernard’s epiphany was to make the natural born noble girl Agnes do servant work.
Though even he himself thought that it was spiteful, here his resentment of many years finally exploded.

Being pitied by a poor noble would surely humiliate her.
While scoffing at her, he looked down at the woman who had pitiful circumstances.

On the other side was Agnes, who looked at Bernard’s words with a flabbergasted expression.
It was a listless face that the always resolutely spirited woman would absolutely not show other people.

For him, just seeing that was success enough in getting revenge.

Bernard proceeded to press Agnes further against the wall.

“Decide right here, right now. Because even if you come back later, I’m not going to hire you.”
“!”

With a thud, Agnes dropped the basket she was holding. From inside, bread and baked sweets and such came out.
As all of the goods were cheap things that were sold in the poorer parts of town, Bernard thought it was unusual.
Without stopping to worry about the dropped basket, she just continued to look up at Bernard’s eyes dumbfoundedly.

It became tougher to continue to look at Agnes as her eyes clouded up with tears of sadness.
Bernard could not become a villain.
Thinking that this was unpleasant, he was going to apologize by saying that from now on, he would not bring this up, but–.

“Hey, after all-”
“I-Is that the truth?”
“Huh?”
“That, you would hire me.”

Bernard could not quite comprehend what in the world she was talking about.

“After this, I was going to take my mother’s memento to a pawnshop.”
“Memento…?”
“Yes. It’s shameful to say, but I have run out of money.”

It turned out, Agnes’ circumstances had driven her further into a corner than Bernard had thought.
She had said that she was happy that she did not have to part with her mother’s memento.

Bernard became more and more confused.

“I-In the first place, what did you come here for?”
“Ah!”

At that time, Agnes noticed the scattered about contents of the basket that she had dropped.
She squatted and started to pick them up in a panic.

“I’m sorry. Today, I wished to give Sir Orlellian my gratitude.”
“Huuh?”

Seeing Bernard’s reaction, Agnes tightly held the basket against her chest.

“Even if you say it’s your gratitude, to only bring bread, pastries, and alcohol…”

She had spent what little money she had left to buy this to show her gratitude to Bernard.
Continuing, she murmured that she was very sorry that this was the best she could do.

Whatever could this gratitude be for, was the question rising in the back of his mind, but with a crash, the next thing he heard extinguished those thoughts.

“–This favor, I will definitely pay back with all my might.”
“!?”

Agnes suddenly burst into tears after saying that.
Bernard was unable to process this development that he could not have even imagined, and he just looked down at her with his eyes wide open.

–Why did this happen!!

While he thought that in that way.


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Debt Girl 02

The Second Story – Ruined Lives Are No Concern of Mine

He wanted to go and leave her just like that. She was the Agnes Le Verges who he just could not stomach.

But even so, she had requested help from “Sir Knight” Bernard.

Assisting the weak, honoring courtesy, defeating evil.

To Bernard, who had the spirit of chivalry ingrained in his body, ignoring a voice seeking help was impossible.

Upon asking, he discovered that Agnes was in the middle of being troubled by a certain nobleman.

The voice of a man that was slowly coming closer and closer.

Agnes, with an expression marked with fear, had requested Bernard’s assistance.

“Kitty~ are you here?”

“!”

As Agnes started to catch her breath, Bernard grabbed her slender hand and began to run.

The garden he had patrolled time and time again as a bodyguard was a place that he was experienced with.

Before the garden became like a labyrinth, there was a refuge-like arbor. He thought that to be safe, they had to run until they made it there.

However, a situation beyond expectations occurred before them.

The woman wearing a dress and high-heels could not run.

Within a moment, the distance between the man and them had narrowed and in front of them was the perimeter.

They ran into the man at the corner, and Bernard thought his heart would burst.

“Kit~ty, wait you’re not!!”

The man’s sweet smile instantly turned into a serious look, displaying an expression of pure revulsion.

And then he immediately discovered the figure of Agnes.

“K-Kitty, you were in this kind of place, huh.”

He smiled at Agnes, who was avoiding Bernard with her hand, but the young lady in question was casting her eyes down while in tears.

“Let’s slowly go back. It’s time for the pastries to be cooked.”

While the man extended his hand to invite her back to the plaza, Agnes hid behind Bernard as if he were a shield.

She was refusing in such an easy to understand fashion, why was he forcefully drawing close, Bernard could not believe it.

As there was no progress, he forced his way through.

“Oi, can’t you see that she doesn’t like it.”

“You have nothing to do with it, right? Moreover, she’s just being bashful right now.”

The moment those words came out, Agnes’ grip on Bernard’s coat tightened.

She obviously hated this situation.

Bernard had recollections of this guy. Ernesto Barthelemon. The second son of the Marquis family, he was an imperial guard of the prince who was hosting today’s tea party.

“Is it okay to neglect your duties and chase the tail of a woman.”

“What are you saying?”

At Bernard’s rash remark, the atmosphere of the place turned sour. Even though it wasn’t good until now, either.

“Anyway, release Kitty at once!”

As Ernesto determinedly started taking big strides to come closer, Bernard stuck out his foot.

He was splendidly caught in the surprise attack of the stuck out leg. With a loud rumbling, the atrocious figure went tumbling down right then and there.

In that moment, Bernard, hoisting Agnes up like luggage, sprinted from that place with all his might.

He knew that Ernesto was coming to pursue him with a loud bellow, but in the meandering garden, he could not catch up.

Upon arriving at the arbor, he let Agnes down.

“…I think it’s better if you don’t return to where we just were.”

“R-Right?”

Because she was yet unable to regain her composure, she placed her hand on her chest and her eyes were glistening with tears.

Behind the arbor, there was a small gardener’s shed. To go back, she would have to request help from the old couple.

Conveying the message that, because he was on duty, he could not remain there any longer, he left that place.

“Um!”

When he turned his head to look at the person who had called him back, he saw Agnes narrowing her eyes, looking at Bernard with a grim face.

Thinking that he was being looked at with those eyes yet again, his irritation grew.

Nevertheless, while he had on his knight’s clothes, he could not allow his personal feelings to take hold.

Once again, telling her to rely on the gardener couple if she was in trouble, he quickly marched away from that place.

This was his second meeting with Agnes Le Verges.

The third time was once again one year after this story.

To raise his social status, instead of attending evening parties, Bernard had taken on the duty of an assembly hall guard.

His colleague, Djibril, was stunned that he never took the opportunity to let loose.

“Hey Bernard, do you not wanna get married?”

“Who knows.”

It was not that he had no interest.

However, if he were to get married, he did not believe that it would be with a noble’s daughter.

Thus, he thought that attending evening parties was a pointless endeavor.

The place Bernard was entrusted with was a garden of the night.

The duty that nobody wanted to be stuck with was the simple task of escorting the excited men and women back.

Bernard, killing his emotions, blocked the paths of the people assigned to each other.

At that place, there was yet another reunion.

When he went to a check on some vegetation that made a rustling noise, he ran into the figure of Agnes Le Verges.

“Ah.”

“…”

Agnes made a surprised face.

Bernard guessed that she had an appointment with someone there.

“Are you, possibly-”

“This area is off-limits. Return to the assembly hall.”

“U-Um!”

“It’s useless. I won’t listen to any excuses.”

Before her marriage, a woman was not to meet with anyone who was not her partner or fiancee.

He drove a stupefied Agnes back to the assembly hall.

While he heard a voice behind him that was confusedly trying to smooth things over, he left that place posthaste.

In the following year, he did not meet Agnes. However, whenever he heard gossip from Djibril, his stomach felt full.

Such as that she fell in love with the second prince at first sight, that she married the duke’s eldest son, all of the stories were without a doubt invariably brilliant.

Bernard took the news that she was still fastidious with marriage partners even though she had become of marriageable age stupefied.

“You know, it’s gonna get pretty bad if you don’t get married sometime soon?”

“Yeah…”

For this country’s great nobles, the marriageable age of a noble’s daughter was from fifteen to eighteen years of age.

Because Agnes was eighteen years of age, this year was absolutely the last year she could marry – was the rumor that somebody had said.

However, even after several months had passed, no news of talks of her marriage surfaced.

Bernard, who had turned twenty, had his habitual attitude towards duty and the fruits of his labor recognized, and he had been entrusted with the role of the lieutenant of a platoon.

Due to his considerable raise in wages, he was considering giving the servants of his estate a monetary reward when he was caught up in a convening.

It was late at night. It happened during his night shift.

While he was wondering why he was summoned so suddenly, he heard a discussion about finding an assistant for the execution of a certain noble.

When he asked his superior officer, Lazare Serie, what the heck was going on, he was told something astonishing.

For multiple years, the prime minister, Sherard Le Verges, had submitted false political fund balance reports. It had been established that his expenditures amounted to unreal costs.

As a matter of course, not only was the prime minister forced to resign, but the historied great noble family of La Verges had also fallen into ruin.

It was said that from now on, all of the assets inside their estate would be seized.

At the location were an enforcement officer who was giving directions and ten knights.

The estate was devoid of people, and without delay, the operation willingly proceeded.

It took around three hours to withdraw.

Staring at the bright horizon at dawn, Lazare spoke as he took a look at the situation.

“It’s a shame. Their daughter, too.”

Because she had not quickly married, she had lost her remaining marriage prospects. He muttered that this situation was heartrending.

A month had passed since that day.

People were still spreading the seeds of the rumor surrounding the scandal of the prime minister and major event of the fall of the house of Le Verges.

When Djibril, who had been assigned to a different squad, met Bernard in the mess hall, he offered this subject.

“Man, things got pretty crazy.”

“I’ve heard enough about it.”

Even with that said, they still came to talk about it. Their discussion shifted into one about Agnes.

“I hear that since she has no relatives, she’s living in an inn.”

That everyday, she came and went, dropping off provisions for her father in prison, and how he went on and on about the situation inside.

While listening to a surprisingly talkative Djibril, Bernard went deep into thought as he dipped his cut bread into his soup.

“Sure is awful, that even though there were that many people around her, nobody’s saving her.”

That was something that couldn’t be helped. Nobody would think about even associating with a house that had come to ruin due to a scandal. Bernard listened to Djibril’s story as if it were somebody else’s business.

“I wonder what Miss Agnes will do.”

“Wouldn’t it be fine if you took her in as your wife?”

“That’s a bit…”

It was such a situation that even Djibril, who was that engrossed with Agnes, had suddenly cooled down with his interest in her.

Thinking that it was a tough world, he drank up his soup.


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Debt Girl 01

The First Story – The Humiliating Meeting

The meeting of the fifth son of the viscount’s family, Bernard Orlellian, and the daughter of the earl’s family, Agnes Le Verges, dates back five years ago.

Coincidentally, that was the very day Agnes made her debut into high society.

Having shining golden hair, blue eyes that were like jewels, and clear white porcelain skin, Agnes enraptured those who looked at her.

She was an unparalleled beauty.

Though she garnered plenty of attention with her looks alone, Agnes was the only daughter of the great noble family of Le Verges, which had a long history.

For second sons of families who did not have prospects of peerage and those of lower status, she was a woman who was very desperately desired as a partner.

Surrounded by many friends and acquaintances, Agnes was a like a jewel stored in a treasure box.

Being blessed in her high society debut, she was at the peak of happiness.

However, there was a man who looked at that Earl’s daughter with an eye devoid of emotion.

Bernard Orlellian. One year older than Agnes at sixteen years of age.

He was also attending the evening party to find a partner.

Bernard was Viscount Orlellian’s fifth child.

His father, believing that “Names reveal the person,” gave his children names with meaning.

From the oldest, ‘brilliant fame’ (Robert), ‘one who attains victory’ (Victor), ‘strong soldier’ (Matilde), ‘famous warrior’ (Louis).

However, the fifth was also a son, and the father who ran out of meaningful names gave him the name “Bernard.”

The meaning was ‘a man who was strong like a bear.’ In short, ‘bear man.’

With light brown hair, light brown eyes, and quirky hair, when he was a child, he was as lovely as a stuffed toy.

While his mother affectionately called him “Bear Cub,” when he grew older, that became depressing, and the year he joined the Order of the Knights, he tied his hair together into one long mass and cut his hair short. At present, nobody outside of his family knew that Bernard had frizzy hair.

Though his figure had not grown firmly like a bear, he still steadily grew tall.

Last year, that person was safely recognized as an adult and has been doing simple activities in the Order of the Knights.

Ever since Bernard had joined the Order of the Knights the previous year, he had been receiving written invitations to evening parties.

Occurring once a year, the evening party sponsored by the King was an occasion of large-scale social intercourse.

There, nobles would look for partners.

That said, to the young Bernard, marriage was not a realistic consideration.

A knight’s salary was meager, and being the fifth son, he did not have much from the distribution of property.

In terms of assets, the only thing he had was a modest white walled mansion in the outskirts of town.

The place Bernard was born, the Orlellian residence, was located in a rural area separated from the Imperial City.

The mansion in the Imperial City was from the start just a townhouse to live in during the time period of social intercourse. The year he became a knight, he inherited the mansion as proof of adulthood.

Living there was Bernard’s wet nurse’s family.

In the estate managed by the former wet nurse were the husband who managed the garden, the eldest son who was the steward, the second son who managed the kitchen, and the second and third daughters who were maids. The eldest daughter had gotten married two months prior.

Bernard lived together with that family.

The former wet nurse, Gigile, saw Bernard off with an expectant look that implored him to pick a great wife.

Last year, he tried hard in his own way.

He danced with his father’s acquaintances and noble daughters who seemed easy to talk to.

However, after hearing of Bernard’s living environment and circumstances, their attendants would always brusquely cut off their exchanges.

After that repeated a few times, even Bernard, who wasn’t clever, realized.

Assets were important for marriage.

For that reason, even with the beauty Agnes in front of him, Bernard was calm.

His colleague, Djibril Noailles, was inviting her to dance.

Djibril’s annual income and assets were not all that different from his.

Even though Bernard had told him that it was a worthless endeavor, he did not have ears to listen.

While she was forcibly dragged off by Djibril, Bernard had gone into the midst of Agnes’ entourage.

After continuing to wait for a long time, finally someone called out. But, that anticipated call was an attendant who had gotten information about Bernard and Djibril. After the attendant finished whispering into Agnes’ ear, Agnes scornfully glanced at them.

Bernard, seeing those eyes, turned around right then and there and rushed out of the evening party assembly hall.

Why did he have to be looked at with such eyes by a person he had just met!!

From when he was eleven years old, he had been separated from his parents, living alone in the Imperial City and exerting his body to become a knight.

In his life and in his birth, there was nothing to be ashamed of.

He had pride in himself, who was a knight.

That’s why being looked at with those eyes, he remembered his burning rage.

In that state, he headed straight back to his house and, without entering the bath, confined himself in his room.

Seething like a blaze, his rage did not abate easily.

The following year, whenever he went out for social intercourse, he would hear the rumor about Agnes time and time again.

He heard from a colleague that her father, being the prime minister, would scrutinize her marriage partner prospects.

“As I thought, will she pick a husband from civil officials who have future prospects…? Hey, Bernard, what do you think?”

“How should I know.”

A happy daughter of a nobleman.

To Bernard, she was an existence that he would never have a relation with in his life.

After one year had passed, he had forgotten his feeling of rage. Even he was happy and relieved at his bear like simplicity.

However, he encountered her in a peculiar place.

It was while Bernard was on patrol duty in the royal palace garden.

The second prince had called a large number of women to a grand tea party.

Just to be sure, many knights were stationed as bodyguards. Even Bernard, who was usually a bodyguard in the inner palace, was recruited.

Though it was called a tea party, it was not a conversation enjoyed on one table.

It was a large scale social gathering, more like a garden party.

Bernard was making a round around the maze-like rose garden.

As he was doing so, he heard a man yelling softly.

“Agnes~, fufufu, what a tomboy you are~”

A man and a woman running out in a race, Bernard clicked his tongue at the thought.

Preferring not to run into them, he went far off from the voice.

Even so, he encountered the girl at the turn.

The girl who was fluffy, soft, and sweet like a sugar pastry leaped into Bernard’s chest.

“Kyaa!”

“!?”

At once, he caught the body that was about to tumble onto the ground.

He noticed the faint shivering of her shoulder and hastily let go.

Then, he looked at the girl he had just come across and was startled.

Silklike blonde hair, blue eyes that were as clear as a jewel, and clear white porcelain skin.

Agnes Le Verges.

A year had passed, and she was wearing an innocent and sensual scent that rose from her body.

In that short time, he looked at her as if she could have changed that much.

At that same time, he also perceived a disaster.

She was breathing on his shoulder.

That she had forcefully flown out of nowhere, that her breathing had become rough, he realized that she had been running until now.

He thought, maybe she was one part of the man and woman who were racing.

That she was doing something dull in the unpopular rose garden – he sighed deeply.

During that time, Agnes’ eyes, upon meeting Bernard’s, suddenly narrowed.

That was the same despising look of the previous year.

Bernard’s whole body flared up into a rage, and he recalled his furious emotions.

He took a step forward, as if saying, say your complaints, and his sword on his waist made a clanging sound.

There, he noticed. It was that he was on duty, and he couldn’t let his personal feelings interfere at this time.

He quickly curbed his anger.

She wasn’t to blame.

He persuaded himself that what was to blame was the environment surrounding her, and naturally, he separated himself from the situation.

However, there was an unexpected development.

“Agne~s, where might you be~, little kitten~”

At the same time he heard that voice, the girl who was in the back, Agnes, grasped Bernard’s jacket tightly and entreated him.

“Sir Knight, please, save me!”

At that improbable request, Bernard’s eyes opened widely.


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