Lol I’m still in stitches seeing the funny comments on chapter 64. Will as a villainess…… xD
“Good afternoon, Lily. Thank you for inviting me.”
About a week after that evening party, Chloe came to play at my house as promised. Unlike her appearance when I meet her at the orphanage, she got off the carriage in splendid clothes.
She must have chosen something suitable for visiting a ducal house. I have also dressed up to greet her.
We both have made our society debut. This is the minimum etiquette we have to do.
Chloe, who is wearing a pale pink dress, is very cute. She has a gentle face, and along with her soft atmosphere, she arouses my desire to protect even from my point of view as the same gender.
She is the opposite of me who has strong features.
I don’t look as good as Chloe, but I am also wearing a pretty dress. However, compared to Chloe, the difference is like day and night.
Putting on the same type of dress like this, the difference became clear, and it made me feel quite miserable.
“It’s alright. It also suits you perfectly, Milady.”
“……please don’t comfort me as if you had read my mind. That surprised me.”
When I had mixed feelings about it, Luke, who followed me, encouraged me from behind.
I’m glad he told me that it suits me, but sometimes it really amazes me that he could read my thoughts and see my troubles easily. He gave such a remark with perfect timing even now, but the feeling of wonderment won me over before I could feel happy.
I unintentionally pointed suspicious eyes at him.
“Say, I think about this from time to time, but you can’t use mind-reading magic, can you, Luke?”
Even though I only said that in jest, there was an odd pause as he replied. It bothers me and made my face stiffened.
“Hey, why did you have to think about it just now? You should have denied it immediately. Please be honest.”
“Eeh? What are you saying, Milady? I did answer immediately though. You must be imagining things, Milady.”
I glared at Luke who was smiling mischievously.
Mind-reading magic is a very advanced technique that enables one to read the mind of the target. It seems that some people can do it, but only a limited number of people. It wouldn’t be unusual to think it’s strange if someone is capable of doing it.
But, I think it wouldn’t be strange if Luke can do it. One way or another, he’s a pointlessly excellent man.
Luke smiled bitterly towards me who directed a suspicious gaze at him.
“I was just joking, so please don’t be suspicious of me. I can’t do something like that. I think I’m mostly good at offensive magic, but you know that too, right, Milady?”
“That’s true, but—”
“You don’t need to worry, because I have no aptitude for that kind of magic.”
If he could mind-read, Luke definitely would have already been lured into the castle’s magic research institute by now.
A place where only those with the most extraordinary of talents gathered, this institute known as The Cellar was also infamous for only admitting oddballs.
It was a devilish lair, where five or so people would enroll each year, and it was considered fortunate if even one managed to remain. The Cellar was said to be inhospitable to sanity. It was rumored the more normal you were, the quicker you would drop out from that terrifying place.
This is only a rumor, but the director was said to be the oddest of all……even if I am set to marry Al in the future, I’m positive he is the one person I want to meet the least. And when someone like him was employed as the director, it is unthinkable I would want to take my Luke there.
When I had gone to such lengths, and had only just mended my damaged relationship with Luke, I would not stand them taking my precious butler and breaking him.
“You are mine. I will not give you to anyone else.”
Even if he is assigned to The Cellar because they recognize his superiority, I will be annoyed if they take something of mine arbitrarily.
When I said that forcefully, Luke affirmed it happily.
“That’s right. I am yours, Milady. Since you have picked me up, you have to take responsibility until the end. You cannot get rid of me that easily even if you’re bored.”
“I will not do something like that.”
“Yes, I don’t think anyone else can take care of you, Milady. You’re always in a bad mood when you wake up, and if the morning tea doesn’t suit your taste, you will be displeased, etc. It will be awfully tough serving you if one is not used to it like me, Milady.”
Since I’m aware that I’m not a morning person, I can’t say anything in return. Regarding tea, I don’t believe I’ve made any particular complaint recently……but I guess that was because the tea that Luke made always suit my mood perfectly each time that I have no reason to complain.
“……it’s a good thing that I have you, Luke.”
When I whispered such words, Luke replied with words containing laughter.
“Yes. That’s right. In that case, please take care of me from now on.”
“That’s only a matter of course. You have to be on my side all the time, Luke……uh, Chloe? What’s the matter?”
Suddenly I noticed that Chloe was looking at me with a smile.
When I asked what she was doing, her eyes brightened.
“It’s nothing. It’s just, both of you are really good friends, huh. I thought that it was wonderful how you both arguing back and forth without reserve. I can tell that you trust each other. As expected, an exclusive butler is different.”
Luke and I exchanged glances and fell silent.
Those are innocent words without any hidden meaning, which make it difficult to deny.
I couldn’t stand how Chloe was looking at me with sparkling eyes, so I turned to Luke for help. But, Luke shook his head ruthlessly.
“What are you talking about, Milady? Isn’t Chloe a friend of yours? You should deal with it, Milady.”
“That should be my line. Chloe is originally your friend, right? I will allow it, so do what you have to do.”
To begin with, Luke was the one who introduced me to Chloe.
But Luke didn’t budge.
“No way. Unlike you, Milady, Chloe is very pure, so I am rather embarrassed.”
“I’m telling you that I also don’t……huh? What do you mean, ‘unlike me’!”
“It is what it is. Did I say something strange?”
Luke, whose expression says that he truly doesn’t understand, was really hateful.
“You only said strange things! Aah, whatever, it’s fine, you should talk to Chloe quickly.”
“Since she is your guest, Milady, you should do it.”
“……aren’t you supposed to be my butler? You really don’t listen to what your master says at all.”
“I think there is no butler as earnest as me.”
“Wow, you tell such a lie without hesitation. Please look up the word ‘earnest’ in the dictionary.”
When I replied him with a serious face, Chloe, who had been listening to our conversation nearby the whole time, laughed out loud.
Hearing that laughter, I realized that it was a meaningless argument, and Luke and I fell silent.
I coughed forcefully to regain my mind.
“……well, it’s fine. Let’s return to the main topic. Chloe. We will guide you through the mansion, so please go inside.”
We shouldn’t talk in front of the entrance forever. When I encouraged her to enter, Chloe went in with an excited expression and stopped in the middle of the lobby. She raised her voice in admiration.
“How amazing……it’s wide……the ceiling is high……I feel dizzy just looking at it.”
“That’s right. Because this is an old mansion. The architecture is different from the current trend, isn’t it?”
When Chloe was surprised with the porch in the entrance lobby, I felt like boasting a little, even though it was not my own accomplishment.
This over-200-years-old mansion is different from the ones built in the last few decades. It is characterized by the ceiling’s height. It is much higher than the current trend. The view of light coming in from the skylight is fantastic, and almost everyone who visits this mansion for the first time was astonished.
The one who wasn’t amazed is Al, but there is no way he who lives in the castle would be surprised by a mere duke’s mansion, so it can be said that was a natural reaction.
There was a line of servants in the lobby, as they have been told in advance that my friend would come.
Chloe seems to be surprised by the situation.
“Wow, how amazing. As expected of a ducal house, the number of servants employed is on a different scale……”
“You think so? I think this mansion wouldn’t function well without this number of helping hands though.”
I have been living with a lot of servants ever since I could remember, so I don’t know what is considered normal.
Now I know that it’s quite a luxury, but the truth is, we would have difficulty if we don’t employ this much. If the house is wide, the garden will also be vast. There is also a secondary residence in the territory, and we need to take care of that.
Sometimes we host an evening party, and most of the guests who visit us are high-ranking nobles. To be honest, even now we are still short of hands.
While I was thinking like that, Chloe opened her mouth.
“My family only has four servants. Two butlers and two maids. There’s also a chef.”
I quickly turned around and held my mouth with both hands.
I knew that depending on the size of the residence, the number of people employed would be different, but I was thinking whether a house could function well with such a few number of employees.
However, I think my previous self would have said something like: “Well, so you live in a very narrow place where you can afford to run a mansion with such few employees. Or, I wonder if maybe it’s because you can’t afford to hire new employees.” That was something I’m not proud of.
I understand now that each family has their own circumstances, but if I haven’t become aware of that, my friendship with Chloe would have been broken in an instant. Though it was in the past now, I am disgusted by my own nastiness.
I really have to be careful with my remarks, it feels like walking on thin ice. I feel uneasy that I may run my mouth off carelessly.
It couldn’t be helped that I was surprised, but I managed to guide Chloe to my room without saying anything more.
Today my parents are out due to official business in the territory. When I said that my friend is coming over, they both felt regretful. It seems they wanted to see Chloe by all means.
They promised to be available next time, got on the carriage early this morning and went out.
“Well, here is my room. Go ahead and enter.”
I guided her to the room and opened the door. Chloe went inside nervously.
It was a sound that Chloe was familiar with. That familiar sound could be heard running vigorously from the back of the room. Hearing that, the eyes of Chloe, who was shrivelling, turned bright.
Seeing Noel showing up from the back of the room, Chloe happily rushed to his side and held up his body. His long body stretched out.
During the time he was raised at my home, Noel, whose questionable size made it difficult to ascertain whether he was a kitten or an adult cat, had grown in the past half a year into a size that is suitable for an adult cat.
Noel has become a little bit overweight as Yugo-niisama and the servants all give him food indiscriminately. His legs are short, so nowadays I’m seriously worried that his belly might touch the ground.
“Noel, wow, as usual your stomach is so fluffy~”
Chloe filled her face in Noel’s belly happily and breathed in his smell.
Noel didn’t particularly resist it either. It was the familiar expression just as usual.
His expression was oddly amusing. As I turned to Luke, he nodded and began to make tea and arranged teacakes neatly on the low table.