5. The workplace of you and me.
After having breakfast while being pestered by Jasmine that I wasn’t having enough, I started moving to my new workplace although I wasn’t even used to my original workplace.
I was originally employed as a maid for the lord’s mansion.
However, there are two kinds of maids here.
One are the maids assigned to the house.
The other are the maids assigned to the lord’s offices, the place I am headed to.
Unlike the mansion where there were many young people, there were more older people here. The servants I ran across were mostly in their thirties and forties, and there were barely any people under twenty.
Though we are now in a time of peace, Kaid became a lord through revolution. I heard that there were quite a lot of assaults from remnant forces.
Therefore, the people here are only people that can be trusted, or so the maid in her thirties who was guiding me explained to me. People from back then remained here, so the age bracket is high. It’s same with the butlers.
Of course, all the people are hired after strict examination, but even then this place is special.
There’s also that he’s busy, but Kaid even sleeps here.
I was being told to not make any suspicious movements since it’s that kind of place, but my head could only hear half. I knew I shouldn’t, but my sight wandered to people passing by.
I felt a sense of déjà vu. It’s not because of the place. There’s no more trace of my family home here. That’s natural, since it all burned down that day.
Then, why am I feeling this déjà vu.
The way my eyes wandered around to servants passing by seemed to look as though I was fascinated at a place I never saw before, that the woman made a bitter smile.
“The word of the lord was that it should be practical since it’s an office, but it indeed must be surprising to see at first. To think a day when we would ask for a room to show off be made came, I often chat about that with the butlers.”
Durable objects rather than fine ones. Since there aren’t decorations, it can be thicker. As if to say that, the building was tough. The window frames were iron, and the gap was narrow that even if the glass was broken it would be impossible to get in without removing the whole frame. The things that can be seen on the iron bars must be there out of necessity. It’s in the same grounds, but it’s very different from the mansion over there. That was rather bland, but compared to this that was luxurious…… or rather, playful. That building was at at an out-of-the-way location, while this building was shown to people. If I’m going to the other side, I’m going to do it after I destroy this place, I felt.
But it’s strong, I though as I narrowed my eyes at the mansion that was like a fort. I silently stared at a man in his late thirties that passed by behind. However, I can’t be sure. Because I was not a good master like Kaid.
“You’ll get used to it soon. So, it’s your first time meeting the head maid, yes?”
“No, I met her the day I was hired.”
She was a slightly plump and kind lady with a soft smile. Mid-twenties, maybe. She didn’t scold me for not smiling a bit, but said, “If you’re greeting a guest, you can just bow and hide that you’re not smiling,” even touching me how to get past things without smiling.
When I told her that I met Hilda-san before, without describing the above, she let out an “Oh my.”
“Sorry, it’s different. Hilda was a temporary head maid.”
“Right, the head maid was on a short break…… aah, good timing. She’s over there.”
The man I was staring at stopped and was talking with someone. They were looking back and forth between sheets of paper and each other, checking something and jotting things down.
Facing this way, the man noticed us. He said something to the woman in front of him who had her back to her. The woman folded the sheet of paper and turned around to us.
The woman in her mid-thirties opened her mouth in an “Ah,” after seeing us.
“Thank you, Dahlia. So she is Shirley Hince. I heard the story.”
The woman who held her hand out with a smile on her slightly freckled face was,
Caron who put on slightly thick makeup because she was bothered by her freckles.
Caron who was slightly clumsy but playful and amiable.
Caron who cried that her parents did not acknowledge her lover and forcefully decided on a fiancé.
Caron who bowed and asked us stay healthy when she left.
Caron, the only daughter of the hatter couple.
My maid, Carolina……
Seeing Caron tilt her head after I murmured that, I hurried bowed. The man that was just as puzzled was a temporary butler. I remebered.
The servants changed so many times. They were scolded and fired for petty things, I heard in this life.
I didn’t remember new people’s names like Kaid. Rather, I couldn’t even remember people who served for long times. I thought that should be the case for people who changed in a blink.
It must have been frightening. I must have been terrifying.
I thought so after hearing the horrors of the mansion in this life.
One mistake might cost their lives and even their family. In that hell, they were working hard.
It was always somewhat dark and grim. Even so, the maid Caron always flashed an energetic smile to me. I wished for her happiness with that thin and seemingly unreliable but elegant painter.
Unlike the people that kept their distance from me, the bright and kind Caron cared for me and told me many stories.
I thought of her as a friend. I never confirmed it though, and it might just have been an extension of work for her. Still, I really liked her.
So she was back.
Then, I could finally grasp why I felt a this déjà vu. I wasn’t just feeling it that there were people I saw before.
They all aged after fifteen years, but their appearance remained. They were all people who used to work at the mansion. Of course, there were quite a lot of people I didn’t know. Maybe there were servants at other places I didn’t know.
“Carolina, is it someone you know?”
“No…… Sorry, have I met you before?”
The man was not wearing a butler’s suit. Thus, he is not a butler right now. Still, he had documents in his hand, so he must be helping the new lord Kaid in another way.
They looked a little haggard maybe from the work, but everyone’s eyes were different.
As for Caron, it looked like she attained a calm state, but everyone else had strength in their eyes.
It felt as though they were not the people that cowered that they may be destroyed from mother or grandmother’s whims.
Ah, these are good times.
The white mansion that was like a palace.
And the building that looked incomparably tough, like a fort.
Even then, it was better that our heaven. Our paradise was Laius’s nightmare.
Just from seeing the faces of people working, I can tell. Now it became a place where people can lead proper lives as people.
“……You reminded me of someone. Please excuse me.”
“My, really? Fufu, how strange. I also used to be called Caron.”
Yes, I called you that.
Your smile was lovely, so I wanted to call you with a cute nickname that was like a ringing of the bells.
“Erm…… I heard that you were on a break, is you body……?”
“Ah, no, no. There was a bit of family trouble, so I had a short break. Thank you for worrying about me, I’m fine.”
“Your husband’s family?”
“Yes, he’s travelling to many places as a painter, so it’s quite troublesome trying to contact him…… Ahh, anyway, it’s been a long time since I heard ‘Caron’. I’m envious of the person you know. I loved that sound.”
Caron smiled in nostalgia. The makeup that was less thick now suited her very well.
So you liked that nickname too. Then, I’m happy. For saying that you were happy, hearing that truth makes me so happy. And, I couldn’t be happier, seeing you living happily.
It’s nice that the people here did not end up unhappy. That kind man must still be with Caron, making her happy.
It was sad to see you go. However, it was good that you left.
It’s a great relief that I didn’t have to show you my end to you.
There was someone surrounded by a few men approaching with quick steps.
Tall, his hair black as the night fluttering, watching the world with those golden eyes shinier than the sun.
We went to the end of the corridor and bowed.
The others all finished greeting him. Caron urged me with her eyes, so I greeted him.
“Good morning to you, master.”
“Ah, hello…… you have dark circles under your eyes. Did you not sleep well? Should the pillow be changed?”
“No, I did sleep well.”
These are good times. It’s a good place now.
Kaid in front of me was proof of that.
Kaid gave out orders and documents to the men around him and turned around.
“Carolina, it may be sudden, but I need you at work.”
“Still, you could have relaxed a little more without returning so quickly. Didn’t you work on a strict schedule?”
“However, I ended up causing a lot of trouble by suddenly taking a break. It will get busier, so I can’t have any more breaks.”
“Well, it will get busy. However, don’t strain yourself. It’s different from before, nothing good will come if you ruin your body.”
“I don’t want to hear it from you, master, but are you implying that I’m old?”
In reaction to Caron who took a step forth, Kaid took two steps back in panic.
“No, no no, that’s not what I mean. I wouldn’t say something so rude to a woman.”
“With all due respect, there’s only three years of age difference between you and me. If I’m old, then you’re old too!”
Caron smiled kindly to me, saying, “Work hard,” and bowed gracefully before leaving with Dahlia. The remaining men stared at Kaid with compassion. They were full of compassion, but no one tried to help him. They all slightly avoided Kaid’s gaze that seemed to be pleading for help.
“……I just wanted to say that we shouldn’t be running the place with barely enough people like the old days.”
After hearing Kaid’s murmur, the men patted his shoulder.
These, are, good…… times.
Sorry for making you wait. However, in my defence, the day’s not over yet!