“Connie is…Connie is so happy!!”
After I left my father and mother, I was walking with Connie, who was sniffing her runny nose, holding my hand. I stopped comforting her because it would be counterproductive to tell her not to cry so much.
“The Young Mistress is doing well…and the Mistress and Master are doing well…and the inside of the mansion is bright and fun…sniff—it’s wonderful!”
Yes, for Connie, whose honesty and naivety are maxed out, she must have been heartbroken by the conditions in the rundown mansion.
The married couple had almost no communication, not even an upfront conversation.
The daughter who was unable to function looked like she was about to die.
Certainly, this would be heartbreaking for anyone serving the household.
“Hey Connie, that…there has been a lot of things…but thank you for not quitting.”
I couldn’t help but think back to those days.
When I was the “Alice,” that put Connie through a lot.
When I hadn’t yet discovered my phobia of books, I would slap away the books that Connie had brought to me with good intentions.
I would sometimes scream when Connie peeked in her head in my room and said, “It’s morning!”
I was a treasure trove of trauma and anxiety triggers, and I did a lot of horrible things to Connie, to the point that I felt like I might have put trauma in her mind as well.
I reflexively rejected Connie, who was just trying to be friendly, at a familiar distance to protect my own heart.
When I expressed my painful apologies and gratitude, Connie crouched down after a pause and met my face with gentle eyes.
“It’s okay, Young Mistress…I didn’t mention it before, but I’m actually from an orphanage.”
In her usual voice, Connie said something abrupt and unexpected.
It means that she doesn’t have a family. And yet, she says she wants the family of this house to be happy without a price.
“When I found out that the young lady was going to be born, I was hired as the new staff in preparation. And when the young lady was born, the mansion was filled with joy.”
Connie says so as she recalls it sincerely.
“I was envious at first. To think that someone could exist that was so loved directly from birth…But once I saw you, I finally understood why everyone felt that way…You were really lovely. You held my fingers in the palm of your little hand, and grasped it firmly. Besides, Mistress and Master were very attentive to us servants. Because of the difference in status, they couldn’t be considered family, but they took good care of us, saying that we were a part of this mansion. Even when the house was unsettled, it didn’t change that treatment.”
Connie’s eyes watered as if she was thinking back to that time.
“Th-that’s why, C-Connie feels so-soo blessed—and…” Connie started crying. (***Connie seems to have a habit of talking in 3rd person, but it’s hard to tell because it changes)
I hurried to comfort her.
“Oh no, Connie! Don’t cry, okay?”
But she just cried even harder.
I forgot that comforting her was counterproductive.
I panicked in front of Connie, who was finally in a state of worrying dehydration. I sat her down on a nearby chair by the window in the corridor.
“O-Oh, I’m sorry for my unseemly state…”
In order to cool Connie’s swollen eyes, I asked a nearby maid to bring me a hand towel to cool them down.
“No, it’s fine. Connie is crying because everyone in the mansion is happy now, right?”
When I said that, Connie burst into tears again, but managed to pull herself together.
“Sniff…Young Mistress…so precious…”
Connie mumbled something but I didn’t pick it up and asked back, but Connie hurriedly told me it was nothing and then made a big show of standing up from the chair.
“…Well, sorry to keep you waiting. Let’s get going, Young Mistress!”
I was finally relieved when Connie said that with a happy smile, and we walked towards the chapel, holding hands again.
We entered the chapel from the end of the public section of the ground floor.
As Connie had mentioned earlier, the corridor leading to the chapel was built of stone halfway through and is drastically dated.
The stone corridor was curiously constructed with two refractions, somehow reminding me that there was originally a chapel attachment where the mansion was located. I think only the chapel remains and the mansion was built in such a way that it was attached to the chapel.
“It’s always beautiful every time I come here.”
As Connie signed, the small chapel was one word, ‘beautiful.’
It’s not like the foreign cathedrals you see on modern travel shows—it’s much smaller. It probably isn’t any bigger than twice the size of the chapels in Japan where wedding ceremonies are typically held.
However, the high ceilings and the abundant use of stained glass, combined with the old-fashioned stonework, created a spiritual atmosphere.
“Young Mistress, do you know what story is depicted in that ceiling painting~?”
I looked up at the ceiling at Connie’s suggestion and saw a fresco painting on one side.
At a glance, the screen is divided into dark and light areas. There are groups of people and nature with plants, lightning, water, and flames in the picture.
Which means that it is probably that.”
“Is this the Creation Myth?”
“As expected of my lady!”
Connie smiled proudly.
Then, she began to speak in a soft tone, as if telling a fairy tale.
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