There was no special meaning behind him looking in that direction.
He just had a little business of his own with the woman there, so he was understandably surprised when he found himself admiring her ordinary figure.
In a large estate the royalty and titled nobility of Earthgand found convenient for summer, in a corner of its rear garden away from prying eyes yet well within the reach of the sun and the wind, in a somewhat open area, there could be found several strings strung between garden trees, and on them were hung out to dry laundered sheets and clothes.
Or to be more precise, there was a woman there in the process of hanging out clothes to dry.
With familiar movements, steady and fluent, she hung them one by one; each time, her unbound, light blue hair would sway behind her.
The boy leaned onto the wall of the mansion as he watched her intently.
“Did you need something from me?”
She must’ve noticed him and his gaze, but she neither stopped working nor turned to him; she merely spoke.
And the boy too spoke in turn but with an exaggerated pause as though to show his surprise.
“So… You really were a maid.”
But the words he said were – in a sense – off, and understandably, even she found herself in a pause.
She held pride in her job, she mastered her craft, and if her activities until now had not made it clear, then the clothes on her ought to have.
A simple white brim accompanied by a long, ankle-length, black, dress, above which was worn a frilled white apron.
Though one might argue her figure too ripe for standard, the clothes she wore were no doubt of; that was an authentic uniform of a
Be it in heart or conduct or appearance, she was a maid through and through; hence, the question could not help but beg itself: just in what light did he see her to be able to even conceive such a question?
“What did you think I was?”
Though she glanced at him from her shoulders with a hint of suspicion and a reproachful gaze, her expression remained void and her own thoughts faint.
Yet of course, that held true only for the surface, her eyes exposing her.
The boy wisely referred to them before choosing his words.
“An emotionless older sister in four-dimensional maid clothing?”
“…There’s an unknown term mixed in, but yes… It’s frustrating how right you are… Perhaps, you would’ve been better off dead.”
As someone who held both pride and obsession in her duties as a maid, it was a humiliation not to look the part; hence, it would not be wrong to say that laying bare such emotions were – of part – a tit for tat.
“I can hear you, you know.”
“As was designed. Problem? Hmph,” she turned back to continue hanging the laundry.
‘What a strange maid,’ the boy tilted his head. “Then why did you nurse me for four days and four nights without sleep? If you left me alone, I would have died for sure.”
“What are you talking about? We took turns nursing you.”
She answered right away, seemingly unaffected, but there was a slight change in the gait of her hair; a change that did not escape the boy’s notice.
But of course, such minute scrutiny was of no need in the first place.
“Playing dumb won’t help, you know. Your own boss sold you out. She even lifted the gag order you placed, that
Thanks to that he was able to ask the other maids for the details too, the boy chuckled.
Even the Tenkorius started sleeping from the third day onward, yet she persisted.
Not having expected her master to sell her out, the head maid, Stella, was understandably petrified.
If it was like that, then to what end was her little skit even for? Her head ached.
“Hey, why did you go so far?”
The boy was genuinely curious why she would go so far.
Such curiosity could only serve to irritate her, yet she answered in a voice as unconcerned as ever.
“Though we have only known each for about half a month, in the end, you are still Lilisha-sama’s guest. Your plight was also our fault; hence, it was only fitting for us to take care of you till you were well.”
“But that doesn’t explain why you were the only one nursing me the whole time.”
“I was asked to take over; I simply did my best.”
That’s right, that’s all it was, yet that seemed more an attempt for her to convince herself.
It was curious whether the boy was convinced or simply thought there was no point in further inquiry, but regardless, he nodded.
“…I see, well, thank you. Because of you I was able to sleep well in a long time. As it turns out, when you’re right on the border of life and death, not even dreams can reach you. That’s new.”
“Nothing, just a little matter of mine,” the boy said, as though in excuse.
Suspicions were drawn, of course, but it did not seem so important a matter to warrant her abandoning her work, so she just quietly continued.
The boy continued watched her, then perhaps – for conversation’s sake – asked a question.
“By the way, why are you the only one hanging the clothes? From what I’ve heard, you should be the most exhausted out of everyone…”
Stella’s brows knitted together. Indirectly or not, how could the reason himself ask that?
“…You’re really asking that? Everyone else is either too immersed with the ice cream you prepared or busy
“Uu, that’s… Sorry. I just wanted to thank you for taking care of me and nursing me back to health, but it looks like I just made more work for you.”
At a loss what to say, the boy just honestly apologized and shrugged his shoulders.
In any case, it appeared that the boy did not excel at making things that needed multiple steps.
He could do things one at a time, but when he had to do things in succession, he would always end up exerting too much power somewhere.
Though the food from his world, the ice cream, brought much delight to the palates of the maids, it also cost them dearly.
To be more precise, the kitchen had more or less been left half destroyed as a result.
Of course, he tried to repair the damage he caused, but his clumsiness reared its head even there, and in the end, the maids had to call some specialists to deal with the problem.
“I’m so sorry. I’ve never been good at stuff like this, ha ha.”
She did not know if he was truly depressed, but he laughed in an abject, powerless voice that she had not heard once in the past half month they’ve been together, so despite her lack of conviction, she still chose to gently rebuke his concern.
“This much isn’t really anything to speak of, and you don’t have to be grateful to us either. Lilisha-sama and the country pays our wages on time. Besides, we’re partly responsible for what happened earlier as well.”
That’s why this much was a given.
They were the ones at fault, or so she strongly insisted, but that only made the boy tilt his head.
“Huh? But I
The boy said in a jovial tone that made it hard to discern whether he was serious or merely jesting.
The maid hurriedly turned her head to glance at him over her shoulders only to be dumbfounded by that careless look over his face.
Neither the cause nor the number of wounds he incurred was trivial enough for him to conclude with such carefree words or expression.
“…Y-You were on the verge of death. How could you be still be so carefree about it?”
“I didn’t die in the end, though, and I kind of had a feeling it was going to be okay, yeah.”
“What kind of feeling is that supposed to be… Unbelievable.”
As someone who had nursed him from the brink of death for four days and four nights, she found it stranger that he could be so full of life, but what really irritated her was how little he cared about his own well-being.
At this rate she won’t be able to complete her task in time, so she started working again.
“…U-Umm… Should I help?” The boy offered.