Living in the royal palace makes you a little more sensitive to the presence of people.
Even if you want to be alone, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever really be alone. Even if there’s no one within sight, I always think that there must be an escort somewhere.
That’s why I had noticed the presence of people before I opened my eyes. I had noticed, but I still would be surprised if I opened my eyes and saw someone in front of me.
Apparently, when you’re really surprised, your voice doesn’t come out right away. My throat takes a beat, and I have to catch my breath before I can squeeze out my voice.
…the voice comes out so much.
I had never screamed this loud before.
Instead of screaming, I was rather calm in my head, but the screaming didn’t stop abruptly. It was much higher than I somehow thought it would be, and it echoed in my head for a bit.
My scream caused the peepers to jump away from me in a hurry.
“That’s why I said you shouldn’t. I can’t complain about stepping into a place where a noblewoman is sleeping and getting killed if she has an escort or something.”
“It’s not like I was gonna attack or anything!”
Screaming, I got up and backed away on the bed. I was clinging to my pillow, even though I couldn’t rely on that for anything.
My breath caught and then I opened my eyes wide again.
Two people came into view—one with tea-colored hair and blue eyes, and the other has steel-colored hair and green eyes. They were a pair of boys who seemed to be about two or three years older than me.
They looked at me.
I looked at them too.
“What’s going on!?”
The nun who had been nursing me in my dreams rushed in there.
“Ragg! Rufa! You guys!”
“How dare you break into a lady’s room without her permission!”
“I’m sorry. I just wanted to check on that girl we rescued.”
The black-haired boy called Ragg clasps his hands together and apologizes.
“I told you she was asleep.”
“I wasn’t gonna hurt her or anything.”
“That’s not the point. It’s outrageous to enter a lady’s bedroom without her permission.”
“But, Lela Adele. It is true that this girl here may be a lady, but this is an orphanage.”
Lela is an honorific title for those who take a monastic vow. The Orthodox Church is not so strict in its commandments, but taking a monastic vow is a different story, and they are subject to a variety of duties.
“You are mistaken if you think you can be forgiven, Rufa. Listen, if this were her mansion, your heads would have left your bodies long ago.”
…It’s probably true. I mean, I have a feeling that if I told Nigel-sama about this now, it would be really horrifying.
Not just to them, of course, but to me.
Yeah. I’m not going to talk about it when I get back.
“It’s just the way it is. Now come on you two, get out.”
“Ehhhh. I haven’t even talked about anything yet!”
“You have school.”
“What? It’s already a festival!”
“We don’t have to make any preparations this year. You don’t have to take a break.”
“No, Lela Adele. I have a few things on my mind. We’d like to prepare for it.”
“Rufa, Ragg…it can’t be helped. This must be the Mother Goddess’ will.”
“Lela, I’m sorry for the inconvencience.”
The boys bob their heads together.
“…I don’t have a choice, do I?”
The nun, Lela Adele, sighed loudly.
“I understand. I’ll leave it up to you guys…However, you must report back to me when you decide what to do, okay?”
Yes! I watched them leave, expressing my joy with my mouth.
Then he turned to me.
“…I’m sorry, Miss.”
They bow their heads deeply.
Calling out ‘Miss’ is probably because they don’t know my status. The call of ‘Miss’ is highly versatile and almost universal as a call to a nobleman’s daughter.
However, it is somewhat inappropriate to call that out to royalty. It seems to lack respect.
But I can’t reveal my identity here, so…
“Oh, no. I’m just surprised…so don’t worry about it…So…that…where is this place?”
“This is the orphanage attached to the cathedral, west side of the royal palace. It’s an orphanage attached to the cathedral in the Regalia district.”
“Yes, So, Miss, why are you here? With all due respect, this is not a place for a young lady to set foot in.”
“…That…I’ve been running away.”
“Running away? Why are you doing that?”
Is it safe to say that my life is being targeted here?
No, but I don’t want to get kicked out for that.
As long as Elaine-sama isn’t there, the idea of me going to the Duke of Grachie’s mansion is a bit of a reservation. So, since that was the case, I needed a base of operations for the time being.
When Lela Adele saw that I was thinking with my eyes down, she seemed to have come up with her own reasons why I couldn’t tell her, and supplemented them with her own ideas.
“I understand. I don’t need to ask why. But I can’t keep you here forever, young lady.”
“…I have to get home by the Founding Festival, no matter what.”
Without me, the Founding Festival would not begin.
In other years, there would be a substitute, but this year, there is no substitute. There is no substitute for me.
“Is that so.”
I’d like to figure out how to get back…I want to think a little.”
“…Okay, I understand. Please feel free to use this room until you return.”
“Thank you, Lela.”
“Thank you, Lela Adele.”
“No…And please have no regrets. Please take your time and think slowly.”
Lela Adele is probably wrong about a lot of things.
But I can’t correct that misunderstanding. There are too many things I can’t talk about right now.
Lela, who bows and leaves with a beautiful motion, probably comes from an aristocratic background. She carries herself very beautifully and has a distinctly upper-class accent to her words.
Perhaps it’s the circumstances…
A nobleman’s daughter takes a religious vow and even becomes a nun. It was not such a light matter.
Perhaps Lela Adele was so kind as to compare herself with me.
But perhaps your circumstances and mine are quite different…
I’m a little sorry about that.
“It’s nothing suspicious. Don’t scream.”
I borrowed a simple dress as a change of clothes, courtesy of Lela, and just as I finished changing, the pair of guys who were supposed to have left earlier appeared at the window.
Of course, I can’t hide my vigilance. I’m not so thick as to not be wary here.
“Oh, we’re not really suspicious people. We’re staying in this orphanage.”
“You know what? We saved you.”
“…Thank you for that.”
“You’re gonna be here for a while.”
“…I will take care of until they come for me.”
I bow my head with a smile.
The boy, the one who had been called Ragg earlier, twisted his lips into a sneer.
“Yes. My family is all alone, so I’m sure that one is worried about me.”
Nigel-sama, I wonder how you are doing.
I think of my estranged husband. Being apart is a usual thing, but this time the situation is different.
“All alone? So, your family is your father? Mother?”
“My mother died when I was born. My father remarried and I have little connection to him…”
“So what do you mean by ‘one’?”
I answer, pressured by the momentum of the boy called Rufa, who asks me in rapid succession.
“…It’s my husband.”
It’s not something to hide, is it? Not really
“Certain circumstances led to a very early marriage.”
I can’t tell you the details. They looked at each other and muttered things like, “A married woman? Huh? Are you a married woman?” or “Husband…husband is…”
I don’t know what tugged at their heartstrings so much, but it’s kind of funny.
“So? What can I do for you?”
If I left it alone, they would have done it forever, so I asked.
“…Oh, yeah, sorry. I was just a bit shocked…”
“I’m sorry. I’m just a little surprised, that’s all.”
“No, I don’t mind, but if you need me, I’m at your service.”
“Well…you’re a noblewoman, aren’t you?”
To be more accurate, I’m the daughter of a great nobleman, royalty, and princess of the Crown Prince.
Nevertheless, even I know that status and lineage are useless in the here and now. Of course, I won’t reveal it to them.
“You see, I could use some wisdom.”
“Hey, you know what? can’t you come over here?”
“Yeah. This way.”
Ragg extends a hand towards me.
“…You want me to climb over the window?”
“Yeah, you can come through the door, but it’s closer.”
No, that’s not the point.
“It’s not that dangerous. I’ll take care of you.”
Rufa said with a serious look on his face.
“…Okay, I understand. Please keep it a secret.”
“I mean, I’m doing this very foolish thing.”
I put the chair by the wall against the window and climb up into the chair. From the chair to the window sill. Then I jumped off the window sill with the two proffered hands for support.
“You’re used to it.”
“I’m not used to it!”
At least that’s not the kind of misbehavior I’m experiencing right now.
…I hope they don’t find out.
I’m sorry to everyone who would be looking for me, and His Highness Nadir who would be worried…but it was really a little fun.
“…What is this mess?”
It was a kitchen—although it was a terrible mess in many ways.
The floor is covered with trash and food and waste, and I’m not sure which is food or waste.
The oven is a dingy mess, and pots and pans are left out.
“The kitchen is where the food is made! You handle food. Do you know what that means?”
It turns on a troublesome switch in me.
Because I can’t allow this mess to be very dirty. I can’t forgive it.
It’s unacceptable to make something to put in people’s mouths in this place.
“One of you, please pack up all the trash and clean it up first. The first thing you need to do is to pack up all the trash and clean the floor with the mop…No, please go clean the mop first before you brush the floor. Brushing the floor with a dirty mop will only make it dirtier.”
“Yes, now get moving!”
I clap my hands with aplomb.
“I’m going to borrow this apron.”
I borrow the apron that was there and put it on top of the dress.
This dress is borrowed, so I can’t let it get dirty, just in case.
It’s probably made from unraveled fabric from adult clothes, and it’s a little big for me. I’m sure the owner’s child must have taken good care of it.
I use the triangular bandage in my apron pocket to tidy up my hair.
I grabbed the scrubbing brush.
I’ll scrub the oven and worktop…Oh, and clean up the garbage there, too.
The oven was old, but it’s still working.
It’s almost identical to the one in my kitchen at the Royal Palace…It’s the prototype type of mold I’m used to using, and it not only allows me to bake scones and cookies together at once, but I can also boil down jam in an open fire pit.
“Listen, cleanliness is important in the food handling area!”
They nodded in good reply.
Huh? What was their business, by the way?
I’m sure it’s not very urgent, seeing as they haven’t said it yet.
First of all, cleaning.
I put all my strength into the hand holding the scrubbing brush and began to polish the old-fashioned oven.
T/N: Luthia be like:
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