Nainiae was dreaming.
It was an incredibly blissful dream.
However, a dream was just a dream.
She had to get a hold of herself after waking up.
‘Nainiae, get a grip.’
Nainiae said that to herself over and over in her head. She checked again to make sure there was nothing out of shape on her maid dress. She started to walk.
“I’m sorry. I’m very late.”
She came to the mansion’s dining hall and then followed the corridor to the kitchen. There, she met Sera and others who were busy doing dishes and preparing the dinner.
“Oh my, Nainiae! I heard you collapsed. Are you all right?”
“I heard Young Master Lloyd was shocked.”
“Let me see your face. You are all right now, right?”
As soon as she entered, everyone turned to look at her direction. They all had concerned looks on their faces.
“… I’m all rig…”
The emotions were rushing at Nainiae. She was about to have her eyes filled with tears. However, Nainiae kept the expression on her face in check. Maintaining a normal look, she lowered her head and responded,
“I’m all right.”
Although she said that, it didn’t change the concerned looks on people’s faces.
“I think I took too long of a break. I’ll get back to work right away.”
Trying hard to ignore the people looking at her, Nainiae walked toward the dishes that still needed to be washed. She reached for the dishes, but then Sera snatched her wrist. Sera looked angry.
“M… Ms. Sera?”
Sera was biting her lips. Just like how she was when she woke up in front of Iris, Nainiae slowly avoided Sera’s eyes.
“I heard everything.”
Nainiae’s face crumpled.
‘Was it Lady Iris? Was it Young Master Riley?’
She was not sure who, but Nainiae thought it was something they shouldn’t have. Nainiae thought nothing good would have come from it.
“I don’t know what you have heard, but it must be very exaggerated, so…”
“Nainiae, I heard you are dying.”
With difficulty, Sera said it. The kitchen became quiet as if someone just poured cold water on everyone.
“It’s an exaggerated story.”
Nainiae broke the silence and said it.
“I don’t know who told you that, but it is an exaggerated story, so…”
Unable to look at people in the eyes, Nainiae picked up a dish and tried to wash it. In the end…
Because of her shaky hand, she ended up dropping it.
Because the kitchen was in silence, the sound of the dish being shattered sounded much louder than the last time.
Although someone called her name, Nainiae did not respond. She directed her hand toward the broken pieces on the ground. Usually, she would not have used magic, but this time she did.
“I cleaned it up.”
She learned the “Rewind” magic so she could teach Riley. She used the magic and restored the broken dish back to its former shape.
Sera grabbed Nainiae’s shoulder and called her name. However, Nainiae only flinched her shoulder for a moment. She only focused on the dishwashing, ignoring Sera.
“You should rest. The Doctor from Rainfield said you absolutely need to rest.”
She was probably talking about Andal.
“It’s all right. I’m completely fine.”
While Nainiae said she was all right, she broke yet another dish.
“It’s all right. I just need to use Rewind again.”
Nainiae lowered her hand toward the broken dish. She was about to use the Rewind magic again, but she stopped after hearing someone calling her name.
“I’m ordering you as the manager of all maids. I forbid you to enter this kitchen. I also forbid you to wear the maid uniform.”
“What is it?”
“I… I’m…. I’m perfectly fine…”
“I’m not saying this because I’m worried about you in particular.”
Willa came next to Nainiae, steadily gazed upon her as she explained,
“You used magic, didn’t you?”
Nainiae knew that she couldn’t make an excuse like ‘it could not be helped.’
The dish was broken because of Nainiae.
If she denied it, it would make Sera look bad because it would imply that Sera didn’t educate Nainiae properly.
“By any chance, did Sera taught you to be like that?”
“No! That’s not it. That’s not!”
“In that case, you have no objections, right?”
Nainiae was afraid that it will be like facing a brick of ice if she faced Willa. She couldn’t dare to look up toward her. Nainiae looked at the ground as she bit her lips.
As if she was whispering, Nainiae started to speak.
“I just did it efficiently.”
“When I used magic for Young Master Riley, you left me be, didn’t you?”
Tightly grabbing on to the skirt with her hands, Nainiae slowly raised her voice.
“Occasionally, for the people who were in trouble…”
What she had been holding down very hard started to come out of her eyes.
“For Ms. Sera, Sofia, Ms. Hellen, Laura, Gemini, Rebecca… Mr. Ian, Terry, Allen, Mr. Albert… When I used magic in secret to help them… Ms. Willa, you didn’t say anything back then.”
Nainiae carefully spoke the names of the people she helped in the mansion. She spoke them carefully as if they were precious. Not able to hold it anymore, with tears hanging in her eyes, she continued.
“All of it…”
The stream of tears flowing along her cheek started to drop on the broken dish.
“You saw all of it, didn’t you?”
“This is not fair. You had been watching me do all that, so I thought… you would allow me this much.”
She was only 18. It was not going to be strange for an 18 year old to speak about something unfair being done to herself.
This was the first childish tantrum she ever threw in her life.
With a wronged look on her face, Nainiae lifted her head and looked at Willa.
Her tears were flowing. They were like waterfall.
The tears touching the scars on her right side was making it ache. However… Nainiae was not able to stop crying.
“Is it being considerate?”
Nainiae faced Willa, who was panicking, and asked,
“Is that what this is?”
This was the first time for Willa to see Nainaie cry. Willa just managed to get a hold of herself, calmed her face, and was about to say something. However,
“It is trying to be considerate, isn’t it?”
She was stopped by Nainiae’s question.
“Because I lost my parents, because I was subjected to chemical experiments in the Magic Tower, because I lived in filthy Lower Solia… you think I don’t notice things? No! In fact, I’m great at noticing things because of that! I’m filthy amazing at it! Because you can’t survive there without it!”
Without her realizing it, she had some of her foul mouth from Lower Solia mixed in her speech. Still pouring tears out from her eyes, she continued.
“Chasing me out of the kitchen because I used magic? Forbidding me from wearing the maid uniform because I used magic? Things like that… Things like that!!”
Her vision was blurred because of tears. However, she saw the looks on people’s faces beforehand.
“Things like that…”
Everyone was looking at her.
Gently, with concern.
Some maids were in tears.
Some butlers had tight fists.
“… I don’t need it.”
It felt like her voice was going to grow without bounds. However, her voice rapidly calmed.
‘Don’t expect things from people.
Don’t want things.
Don’t be greedy.’
Nainiae was thinking those over and over.
“Such gentle, caring gazes… I don’t need them.”
She was afraid. She was afraid that if she hoped for something… she might lose the people who were with her, just like before.
She was afraid that the warmth that barely managed to reach her might slip away like water through the sand. She was afraid and scared, so… She didn’t hope for such things.
“Can’t you just tell me that you need my help… that you are counting on me so it would be good if I kept on working… Can’t you just say that to me?”
That was Nainiae’s only wish.
If someone was counting on her, and if she worked hard to return the favor of being counted on…
At least, while she worked hard to meet the expectations of others… negative thoughts did not reach her mind.
“Please do not abandon me.”
While tightly grabbing on to her skirt, Nainiae said with difficulty. She did not want to be thrown away.
“Please count on me. I won’t disappoint you, so…”
There was something else she wanted to say. It came up to the top of the neck. However, she swallowed it back down. To shake off the tears, she shook her head hard. She said something that was different from what she was wishing for in her heart.
“Just let me die.”
Nainiae had her head lowered and was tightly grabbing on to the skirt with her hands. Her hands were shaking in sorrow.
Her middle and ring fingers, which were gone because she bit them off while she was being experimented on at the Magic Tower, seemed to be more noticeable today.
“Leave the kitchen.”
“M… Ms. Willa.”
Willa said heartlessly. Having heard it, others called her in tearful voice.
“But, you can keep the maid dress on.”
Before the looks on other people’s faces brightened, Willa continued.
“Rest just for today. I heard Mr. Ian hurt his back, so after today, you will be taking off the maid uniform as scheduled.”
Nainiae gritted her teeth. She quickly turned her body. With her tears scattering to the air, she ran out of the kitchen.
Completely disregarding the proper manner she learned until now, she ran, opened the door hard enough to make ‘bam!’ noise, and got out.
“Why did you do that? That’s not like you.”
Others in the kitchen, with gloomy faces, started to express their disappointments in what Willa did.
“You know what her life was like. It would’ve been better if you were just a little nicer, so why did you…”
Willa did not answer.
She just stared at the kitchen’s door which was half open because it was not closed properly.
“This is too bad.”
“That’s right. This is too unfortunate.”
“We may never see her again.”
“D… Don’t say things like that!”
“It is true! She threw up a bucket full of black blood on to the carpet! Even at a glance, it looked critical!”
Maids that knew about Nainiae’s condition, thinking about the fact that Nainiae’s life could end today or tomorrow, finally broke into tears.
Sera, who had known Nainiae for a long time, was the only one who was holding tears.
“… She need to take off that maid uniform so that…”
In silence, she was listening to the cries of the maids, but Willa spoke.
“She needs to take that off so she can leave the mansion.”
And then, Willa, who had been acting cold all this time, started to show tears in her eyes.
“She’s a strong girl. She is also kinder than anyone, so… She will definitely…. Definitely come back. I believe in her. I believe in her.”
Listening to her meaningful words, others started to tilt their head side to side in tears.
“Come… back? What do you mean by that?”
“Probably today… Nainiae will be leaving the mansion.”
“I’ve heard that Young Master Riley brought a famous Doctor from Rainfield.”
“A Doctor? You mean that red haired man?”
Willa nodded and continued.
“I heard that Doctor can cure illnesses that the Holy Temple cannot. However, she needs to be hospitalized for it. I don’t know how long it will take.”
Willa wiped off the tears with her finger. She turned to the other servants and continued.
“Somehow… Amongst ourselves, we should make a small, surprise party for her, don’t you think? Becoming of servants of Iphalleta Family… Instead of a farewell, as a promise for seeing each other again in the future, we should hold a party for her.”
Willa smiled and said that.
Other servants, who had been just listening with their mouth wide open, said,
All in tears, they agreed unanimously.