“Being followed by a weird woman.”
It wasn’t only the young aristocrats receiving different treatment based on their status and title rank, their servants were treated differently too.
Although the attendants were made to be on standby in the common rooms while their respective masters were taking classes, even those rooms varied depending on the House they were serving.
This year the best rooms were prepared for the servants of the royal family and the three main Houses. There was a desk that they required to perform their duties prepared for each one of them with an unlimited supply of ink and paper. There was also a napping room attached to the side, truly a luxurious environment.
Even the snacks and confectionaries were of the highest quality. Although those were not for the servants but were prepared for them to take to their lords.
As for what the valets were doing in that waiting room back then, in reality, there was hardly anything job-related for them to do.
Even the ones serving the crown prince and the three lordlings had no other things to do but study. Their valet-related tasks weren’t really taxing.
They did not even have the usual job of arranging tea parties since the academic life also had the purpose of intensifying social interactions, there was never really a need to hold one. The valets now had more free days to spend than when they had been living in their lord’s mansion.
But of course, specific circumstances depended on the will of the valets themselves, some were just like Rion who thought of it as an opportunity to study diligently.
All servants of House Aqusmea were also of that type, which is why they were enthusiastically writing with their pens in the book on top of their desks. All of them had a reason to do so.
The valet of the heir being the future butler or majordomo was also a usual career progression path in the House Aqusmea. But the amount of staff serving Lancelot was not limited to one, numbering three servants instead.
Of course, it was not because looking after Lancelot was difficult to that degree. Them being candidates for the future majordomo, they were all picked to offer competition to each other.
Next were the servants of the House Fatillas’ Charlotte. They, all being maids, had almost no future promotion possibilities. The sole exception was the head maid position, but being given that meant no hope for marriage.
Therefore what those girls wished for was not promotion, but being able to find a marriage partner and quit their work.
As for what those maids were doing right then…
「Hey, why are you wearing an eye patch?」
They were trying to get close to Rion, who was the most striking person among those in the waiting room.
For them, as they did not know his circumstances, Rion was a really suitable partner. If he became the majordomo of a Marquess estate, he would be able to afford an extremely affluent lifestyle, even more impressive, than that of lesser nobles, and on top of it, he would also wield a great deal of authority.
「Due to injury, it can’t see that well. The doctor said that it’s better to rest it as much as possible.」
「Injury? Did it suffer harm?」
「Although I can’t really tell by its appearance, that may indeed have been the case.」
「So one can’t tell at a glance, huh?」
Hearing Rion’s reply, smiles floated on the maids’ faces. For them, it was important that it didn’t impact the appearance or eyesight.
「Your name would be?」
「I see, I’m Mila.」
「Ah, you see, I’m Margaret.」
「Miss Mila, Miss Margaret and Miss Sylvia then, please treat me well.」
The three maids were immediately entranced by Rion who said that with a smile. Although they were older compared to Rion, he had captivated women of an even older age than them before.
Though their first intention was only to lightly introduce themselves, he completely captured their hearts
「H-Hey! You know…」
「What is it?」
「Does Rion know a shop that serves delicious desserts?」
「I’m not very well-versed in those matters.」
The maids thought their attempt to use asking for good shops as a pretext to arrange a date had failed but…
「But I want to search for such shops because Vincent-sama has a sweet tooth. The problem is that eating dessert all alone was embarrassing..」
「Then, I will guide you to such shops!」
「Are you sure?」
「Yes. I know a particularly good one. Because it’s the best, I’m sure it would suit your master’s taste. This time, I’ll be there to guide you, so let’s check it out.」
「… Won’t it cause trouble to you?」
「Don’t worry! We should help each other in times of trouble!」
「Well then, I accept your offer.」
「I know of shops as well!!」
Witnessing the success of Mila, Margaret has raised her voice without delay.
「I’m knowledgeable of such places too, so I’ll guide you as well.」
「Okay, Thank you very much.」
「Then, when are we going?」
「Wait a minute! I’m the one who was promised first!」
「You have yet to set the date correct? I will ask for one ahead of you then!」
「What did you say!?」
The one who shouted loudly at the maids was one of the Aquasmea valets. However, the three maids were unfazed by this.
「If you want a quiet place, then why not go to the library and study there instead?」
「What did you say!?」
「We are sharing this waiting room. We are not obliged to hold back our voices just for you.」
「I am trying to seriously study here! Obviously, you are in the wrong by engaging in such frivolous conversation!」
「It’s nothing frivolous. Deepening relationship by interaction with fellow servants is an important thing.」
「Interaction? So taking delight while being surrounded by women is called “interaction”?」
Suddenly being pointed at by the sharp end of the argument, Rion was startled. Although it couldn’t be helped because he was one of the causes of the guy’s anger, it was still too sudden.
「It seems the valet of House Windhill is easygoing and content with just talking to the maids.」
「…It is by the command of Vincent-sama after all.」
「Talking with maids? As expected of the Windhill’s…」
「That I must be gentle to women at all cost. Vincent-sama constantly reminds me of that.」
Rion immediately continued speaking not even waiting for the other guy to finish his words.
「….That Vincent? Telling you to be gentle to women?」
「Isn’t that way of addressing Vincent-sama impertinent of you? If that is really the etiquette of the House Aqusmea, then I will respond accordingly.」
「… It is not. However, for viscount Vincent-dono to say such a thing… If that’s the case, then wouldn’t he have had apologized to that commoner instead?」
What the valet of Lancelot was talking about was the incident with the female student. Which was exactly what Rion wanted to talk about.
「I wonder what are you talking about? It is because he wanted to be gentle towards women that he apologized, even though he was not in the wrong.」 ”
「Would you mind me asking a question?」
「What is it?」
「Because you are House Aqusmea’s valet, you should’ve been present there and heard what happened, right?」
「…Yeah, I heard everything.」
After seemingly falling into deep thought for a while, the valet acknowledged it.
「Do you remember the words of caution of Vincent-sama directed towards the female student?」
「Words of caution? I only remember him yelling…」
This valet didn’t remember details of an incident that left such an impression. Rion was doubtful of that, but rather than pressing him, he decided to make him speak of the truth himself instead.
「Because the student placed her large baggage on the road, thinking it was dangerous he warned her to put it aside.」
「…Oh, her baggage, huh? Indeed, it was really big.」
「You remember it, don’t you?」
「Yeah, because it was carried in our carriage.」
「There is something I want to ask about that incident as well.」
「What is it?」
「That woman was a commoner. And despite that she made Viscount Lancelot-dono carry her luggage. Why was such a thing not rebuked?」
The other valet had “that’s strange..” written on his face in capital letters and looked over at his fellows. Their response was the same sort of confusion. Inclining their heads, they were left to wonder about it.
「That female student had caused trouble to others. I don’t know why Vincent-sama, who only cautioned her about that, is the one receiving prejudice. To get through to her, Vincent-sama had shouted towards that female student. And she has done such a thing to viscount Lancelot-dono, which was an even more impertinent conduct in my opinion.」
Because class relations in this world were strict, a commoner shouting at an aristocrat was unthinkable. Even if the aristocrats was at fault, because his social status was higher, it would be immediately concluded that it was the commoner’s transgression. That was a common practice in this world.
So why did the rumors spreading around go against that reality? After seeing the response of Lancelot’s valets, Rion became more confused by the situation.
「It’s that woman…」
The one who cut in the conversation was Mila. She was not even trying to conceal her hateful facial expression.
「That woman’s impudence breaks all common sense. Even though she’s a mere commoner, she was getting overly friendly towards Charlotte-sama, you know?」
「…Is that the case? But why did you let her do that?」
「I reproached her, you know? However, Charlotte-sama overruled me, and decided to lie telling her there’s no need to be concerned about it.」
「…Charlotte-sama herself said that?」
「Because she is a very kind person, she has said so for appearances, but deep inside surely…」
「Is that so?」
Mila’s personal opinion was clearly mixed in there, but there was no merit in pointing that out. Rion went back to the valet he questioned earlier.
「…Erm, What does Viscount Lancelot-dono think?」
「Yeah… Probably because he is a tolerant person….., No, that doesn’t seem to be the case. It looks to me that for some reason he was interested in that commoner girl. 」
「…Is that so.」
More confusion entered Rion’s mind. Even though Vincent and Ariel were fairly tolerant towards Rion who was also a commoner, he knew that their relationship was causing the other servants of the House to knit their eyebrows.
And that relationship was strictly within the limits of servant-and-master attitude. If Rion acted in an overly familiar manner, both Ariel and Vincent would scold him for that harshly.
Although Rion thought for a moment that it might not have been the same in the other Houses, seeing the attitude of the maid and the valet, he understood that it wasn’t the case.
Then why was such a special treatment allowed towards that female student? No matter how he thought about it, he couldn’t understand.
Not being able to comprehend meant that he didn’t have enough information. Rion began to take action in order to spread his information network wider.
Rion’s activities brought a different result than desired. Although he was troubled by it, in a way, it was already beyond his control.
After deepening his relationships with the maids of House Aqusmea, he was able to obtain a certain amount of information from the gossip they shared. He knew from experience, that by placing his sources well, the knowledge he desired would fall into his hands.
The higher the position of the maid, the harder it was for information to reach her. That was why the ones he approached were the best targets in the Academy. One could say that there was no gossip that could elude them and not reach his ears now.
Next, he decided to make a different kind of information network. What Rion was aiming for this time were the commoners. Although the fact that making connections with aristocrats would be hard in Rion’s situation was also a factor, when it came to information spreading, he thought it would be easier to do it through commoners than the secretive aristocrats.
Not just information gathering, but spreading information that was convenient for him was also his objective.
「Yes. Is it fine to leave it here?」
Rion handed over the bundle of paper sheets to the girl in front of the classroom entrance.
「Please don’t let them scatter around again, okay?」
「Ah, Okay. I will be careful.」
The face of the female was bright red as Rion talked gently.
「Well then, I’ll be off.」
「Thank you very much, Rion-sama.」
「No, please do not mind it. But about my name…」
「You are well-known for being a very kind person…」
「Well that is embarrassing. Besides, being gentle is due to my master’s constant reminders.」
「It is Vincent-sama of Marquess House Windhill.」
Hearing the name of Vincent, the female student raised a surprised voice. Although he felt quite down upon seeing that reaction, Rion did not let it show on his face but continued to speak while staring into the eyes of the female student.
「Because he is an awkward person, he gets misunderstood easily. Please, try looking at his true self.」
「…Okay… It’s your request after all.」
「What is your name? I’m afraid not knowing it puts me at a disadvantage.」
「Anne-san. Well then, farewell, until opportunity arises to meet again.」
「What is it?」
「If I stumbled upon Rion-san, would it be okay to greet you?」
「Yeah. We got to know each other after all.」
Just like that, if there was a female student in trouble, he would lend them his hand in any way required and telling them afterward that it was due to Vincent’s guidance.
Although he did it to spread the impression that there would be no way that Vincent would be rude towards a lady, the spreading rumor was completely different.
The rumor making rounds with the female students said that there was a considerably beautiful valet who might have looked a bit cold on the outside but was actually very gentle.
Most female students Rion met would tell others they couldn’t fathom why such a lovely person was serving Vincent as a valet.
The only reputation going up was Rion’s while Vincent’s never changed.
However, there was one more person losing popularity because of that.
That female student was-
「Please drop the honorifics, I’m a commoner, you know?」
If you were aware of such things, then you should be more careful about your way of speaking. After all, I might have been a commoner too, but I was still a retainer of a Marquess House. Those were the thoughts Rion had at that moment, but wouldn’t say. Anyhow, he didn’t want to get involved with this female student, he decided that even before their first meeting.
「Do you require something perhaps?」
「Nothing in particular, but since I caught sight of you…Can’t I?」
She looked at Rion with the upturned eyes like those of a spoiled child, but he wasn’t a person to be moved by that.
「I am in the middle of conversation with Anne-san.」
In other words, no, it was not a good time.
「…Erm, are you still talking?」
「We’re almost done, but I feel that ending the conversation in such a way would be discourteous. Anne-san, I apologize.」
「No, I do not mind. Besides, the one at fault was…」
The gaze of Anne went towards Maria. Much different to the look she gave Rion, it was very cold. With this, again, Maria gained the enmity of another female student.
Even though it’s not like there were no other chances to become closer to him, Maria still kept approaching Rion one way or another.
Their first conversation was her apologizing for having Rion apologize. Although it would’ve been better if she ended it with just that, Maria began to bad-mouth Vincent afterward. Having everything forced on you was hard, right? Although she said that with sympathy, Rion could only take it as a besmirching his master.
Although it made him instantly displeased, thinking about the possibility of another strange rumor spreading, he held back his feelings earnestly. However, the House Fatillas maids who saw it exploded in fury.
That scene they saw was Maria forcing herself on the reluctant Rion, and while it was really like that, he looked more pitiful in their eyes than what was actually the case.
The three maids immediately yelled at Maria. However, that was immediately rebuked and halted by their mistress, Charlotte. Due to that, their animosity swelled up even more.
The maids’ sentiment was favorable to Rion and it had spread to the other female servants in the Academy. Maria became a horrible woman for all those that heard about it.
And yet, not learning her lesson, Maria still never stopped trying to speak to Rion. With that, the animosity towards Maria had even spread to the female students. Not only because they were attracted to Rion.
It was also due to the spreading jealousy about Maria’s closeness to the great aristocratic Houses, even though she was a commoner like them.
「Well then, I shall excuse myself.」
Rion, who parted with Anne and was about to leave, was stopped by Maria.
「Do you still need something?」
「Rather than “still”, our conversation has even yet to start.」
「Is it fine to talk to me while disregarding the presence of Viscount Lancelot-sama? 」
Maria was not alone. Lancelot and Charlotte were together with her.
Because this happened all the time, it made Rion think of Maria as troublesome all the more, but today he planned to make use of the fact.
「That’s no problem.」
「I don’t think this is Maria’s to decide.」
「It’s going to be a bother, isn’t it?」
「…No, it’s nothing. Maria wanted to talk to you, so it’s not for me to interfere.」
「However, I am but a mere valet.」
「I know. How many times do you think we met?」
Was it fine to settle it with such a lenient comment, Rion asked himself. The position of the aristocrat and commoner was different, and with the noble being more important and from the Marquess House, he should be prioritized more.
Of course, there was no way Rion could say that. If he was Lancelot’s retainer, he would be admonished, but Rion was an employee from a different House.
The silence was the best protest he was permitted.
「If you do mind it, then I will order you myself. Listen to Maria. You may be a valet of another household, but there is no way you would disobey my words, is there?」
「With respects sir, I will if it goes against Vincent-sama’s commands.」
「…Is that so. Then what about this situation?」
「…Unfortunately, I was told to be gentle towards ladies.」
「Then speak with her.」
「…Understood. Well then, what is your business?」
「This time, we are going to eat tasty sweets together. Won’t Rion come as well?」
Calling Rion without honorifics suddenly made his eyebrow twitch. No one noticed because it was the one under his eye patch.
「…Is that invitation for Vincent-sama?」
「No. It is Rion that I am inviting.」
No honorifics again. The mature Ryou went to work on soothing Rion who was about to shiver. Of course, no one in his surroundings could know that.
「Though you troubled yourself with inviting me, I will have to decline.」
「It is not proper for a valet to dine with important personages without the presence of his lord. And even if that wasn’t the case I sadly have no time for such pleasantries.」
「They won’t really mind your presence there. Besides, you lie about not having time for it.」
This persistence has irritated Rion even more. The only person he would ever permit that attitude from was Ariel’s. This reaction was entirely dependent on Rion’s feelings and has nothing to do with stubbornness itself.
「Why do you say so?」
「Because you went on a date with Charlotte’s maid.」
「…I was planning on informing Charlotte-sama of that matter.
「Charlotte said that she didn’t mind.」
「…It was not a date. I just asked them to guide me to shops with delicious confectioneries. Those kinds of things are also among the jobs of the Valet.」
「Was it delicious?」
「…Yes. I was introduced to a really good shop.」
Rion already knew the words that would come next even without hearing them.
「Then, let’s go there.」
「By all means, do as you please. As I have told you before, I do not have the time.」
「I must go to Vincent-sama’s side immediately. This takes precedence over anything else, so please do not hinder me anymore. I have to excuse myself.」
Breaking off before Maria figured out a retort, Rion left the place quickly.
「…As expected of hidden characters, capturing seems difficult.」
Due to that, Rion was not able to hear that mutter.
Okay, I really planned to translate at least two chapters this week but it seems my body doesn’t agree with me. Fatigue must’ve caught up and it seems I’ve caught a cold. Anyway, I can flush out colds in 2-3 days but I wont be able to translate with it.
Sorry guys, this is probably the only chapter for this week.
Note: Once we are done editing 1-5 I’ll probably either edit the past chapters to replace them or release a pdf. Please do give it another read.