Earl Terejia went ahead of me and returned to his own villa in the royal capital, then I arrived at my house in the capital as well.
“Welcome back, Eliza-sama.”
The servants that were hired earlier this spring to take care of the house in my absence all lowered their heads towards me. Since I’m almost never here except when I visit the royal capital each summer, there’s only a bare minimum of servants that help maintain the house.
I don’t have a memory that’s so good that I can remember their names with just their faces alone all at once in our first meeting, so I had all the servants introduce themselves to me and tell me their specific jobs. Since the nobles in the capital don’t care much to know about their servants’ details, I could tell that my servants were quite surprised. To me though, it’s only natural to want to know more about who’s working for me.
Next, I introduced the people I brought along with me to the capital to them. Claudia who was riding in the same carriage as me, Mrs. Marshan who came along in a different carriage, my maids Phoebe and Isadora, as well as the cook Nathan. They’ve been serving me for five years already at my mansion, and I was worried about that this time my stay in the royal capital would be longer than usual and I wouldn’t be used to new servants, so I brought a minimum of servants along with me. The others all stayed behind at the Mansion of Golden Hills.
The people around me haven’t really changed much at all in the last five years. The only servant that left was Mrs. Galton, my first nanny that got fired.
“Sorry for coming on such short notice, but is the study available?”
“Yes, Eliza-sama. Please use it however you like.”
“Then, I’ll take a break there and write some personal things. Please begin preparing dinner as well. Claudia-dono and Mrs. Marshan will be eating with me, so please prepare for three.”
“Yes, Eliza-sama. Understood.”
The elderly man that was employed as a servant here lowered his head towards me in a polite but distant manner. The other new employees didn’t seem like they had much of a welcoming atmosphere either.
Well, since the Kaldia name is synonymous with evil thanks to my family’s actions, this is only to be expected. The Earl had originally only hired those that were unemployed for a low salary anyway. Earl Terejia also hired a female butler as the head of the new servants and to educate the new staff, but of course it’s impossible to train them completely in etiquette in such a short time.
But still, Isadora. Please stop glaring at the new servants like that…… Your smile looks scary, and your eyes aren’t smiling at all. She’s always so warm and friendly to everyone, this is the first time that I’ve ever seen this side of my maid Isadora.
Under the direction of the female butler that Earl Terejia hired, while the new servants weren’t particularly friendly, they still carried out their duties properly. When I entered my study, there wasn’t a speck of dust to be found. This is actually a bit better than I expected.
I went to the desk and took some envelopes and stationary out from the drawer. First I’m going to write a letter to Elise. Just like the previous two years, I’m going to exchange letters with Elise while in the royal capital.
While I’m in the capital, my mansion back in Kaldia will become a rather serene place. I write to Elise so that she won’t get so lonely, even though this year will probably be different for her, but it’s become a habit already.
I wonder if Elise still really needs me to keep writing to her. She now has the maid/attendant Ratoka, the new soldier in training Athrun, and her new playmates Tira and Reka by her side, so telling Elise in a letter that I miss her probably has less of an effect than before.
Even though I usually almost never go to meet her, is something going to change now that Elise probably doesn’t need me as much as before? In an attempt to shake off this feeling of unease creeping into my mind, I rubbed my temples with my fingers.
Alright, let’s get to writing that letter. First I’ll let her know that I arrived safely in the royal capital.
Just like every time I come to the royal capital, my schedule is so full. Even though I arrived just yesterday, I have to attend a scheduled meeting of the House of Lords later today, with no time for me to rest.
When I arrived at the royal Arctoria Palace together with Earl Terejia, just like always, a handsome lord by the name of Margrave Molton found me instantly. I’m impressed with his rugged handsomeness that’s been polished by the effects of middle age, honestly. As always, he smiled that innocent smile of his at me, and he bowed to the Earl, causing his elegant silver hair to sway slightly.
“Greetings, Earl Terejia, Viscountess Kaldia. I’m glad to see that both of you seem to be doing well this year, like usual.”
“Greetings, Margrave Molton. You look just like how you did last year as well. How is your son doing?”
“Ahh, thanks for asking, he’s also in perfect health.”
“That’s great to hear. Then, I have to get going……”
Margrave Molton and the Earl exchanged polite greetings, then Earl Terejia left me on his own as he went to go find his seat. All of us know already that Margrave Molton is more interested in me than Earl Terejia since he has a son that’s the same age as me, so it’s already customary that Earl Terejia will go off on his own to let us discuss things each time.
“Greetings, Margrave Molton. Thank you for attending my birthday celebration this year as well.”
I bowed slightly deeper than usual on purpose, to let him see the back of my hair for an instant. Earlier this year at my birthday celebration in spring, he had given me a simple hair ornament decorated with a red jewel, which I was now wearing.
For the first time ever since meeting him, I saw an expression of surprise on him, which managed somehow to remain elegant. It seems like a type of innocence, unexpected joy at seeing me wear the ornament he’d given me.
“No, I should be the one thanking you, since I was merely returning the favor as you’d given my son a present for his birthday as well. But I’m really happy to see that you enjoy wearing it. Thank you very much, Viscountess Kaldia.”
His eyes seemed like he was looking at me like I was his own daughter, he took my hands and shook them, while my vision began to get slightly blurry. Maybe he’ll even pat my head. This is still the House of Lords though, he seemed to recall that it may cause an incident if he is seen patting the head of another noble, even if I am a child, and he looked like he was doing his best to refrain from patting me, clenching and unclenching his fingers.
Just last year I myself learned from the Shiru children the appeal of patting a child on the head, so I can understand his urge. I do have to say, there is an indescribable feeling that comes from being patted on the head, but it does feel nice.
Then, he suddenly started whispering something to me without changing the smiling expression on his face at all –
“The Densel bandit group in the knight headquarters’ dungeon was all executed earlier this spring. I’m talking about the members that you caught before.”
……Just where exactly does he get his information from? He just told me some information that even Earl Terejia didn’t know, and he just walked off like that to find his own seat like nothing had happened. What’s more, he still retained his elegance and handsomeness.
Honestly, I want to copy his elegance and coolness. Although he’s a man…… should I really be copying his style. Well, usually I wear knight attire anyway, and I don’t think I mind being admired…… It feels like I’m making excuses to myself though.
In any case, the remainder of that bandit group – well, they were really agents working for Densel – has finally been executed, eh. If they were executed, it means that they were no longer considered useful.
Although there might not be much point, should I see if I can take a look at the knight headquarters’ official records? I think there’s at least an eighty percent chance that they’ve been erased from the records, though.