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Chapter 107 Tanya’s concern
Combing through the hair I’d let down, I sighed.
It was almost at the time when the calendar was about to flip over, signifying the end of a day.
After I finished preparing all the small things milady needed to finish before going to sleep, I was also about to go to bed.
Although a lot of people ask, “Do you really ever sleep?” in a half-joking way, I’m human too. Of course, sleep is necessary.
Plus, this seemed like a more suitable question for Mr. Sebastian rather than me. He looked as if he would never tire, always with a gentle expression on his face. How admirable.
I needed to treat him as my role model, and continuously improve myself to that end.
As I mulled over one thing after another, I suddenly picked up the ribbon on the table. The one that was in a set with Merida, milady, and Rehme.
…When was it? I recall it was back when I was still practicing as a servant girl.
When milady’s father invited a merchant friend over, and milady was asked if there was anything she wanted, she picked out these hair ribbons.
“That’s all? What about these gemstones?”
Seeing milady pick the ribbon among a collection of luxurious and expensive items, her father seemed somewhat incredulous…her mother also tried to convince her to pick something else.
“Yes, this is enough. May I please have four of them?”
And then, milady brought the ribbons to us three.
“Everyone is the same.”
Saying this, she smiled.
Although it was quite a high-price artifact for us…but for milady, who was the daughter of a duke’s family, it should have been something cheap.
But to her, they were treasures.
“If you don’t like them, I’m sorry. But I was thinking that it would be great if we could get them all in a set. If you’d be willing to take them I would be very happy.”
I felt that that day, I was so happy. Happy that I was picked up in that place, on that day, by milady.
If she hadn’t, I probably would have died somewhere.
I don’t remember when I started living there. But I was probably abandoned by my parents.
What I do remember is that I was there, alone–in the slums of the capital.
Young and clueless as I was, I went hungry every day and gradually began to deteriorate.
Every day, I sat in the alleyway, and stared up at the sky.
Occasionally, I’d see children hand in hand with their parents. I didn’t know why, but it made me cry.
So this was my fate, to die alone…yes, before long, even I lost the will to live. In fact, I wanted to disappear as quickly as possible.
And then one day, two men that I didn’t know started speaking to me.
What they said was unclear. I don’t remember anymore.
But their dirty smiles made me understand instinctively that these were not good people.
Although I had already given up hope for survival, my body still reacted to the danger out of instinct. I wanted to escape, so I started to run.
Running, running…but a child without stamina couldn’t hope to run away from these men. I was about to be caught.
Milady was the one who stepped in back then and saved me.
I had been running with all my strength. Fortunately for me, the route that I was taking was in the direction of the main street–I charged in front of her carriage.
“Are you hurt?”
The first time I saw her, I remember thinking–why is it that the world she and I exist in is so different? I shook my head.
“That’s good…hey, do you have anywhere to go?”
In response to that question, I shook my head again.
“Is that so…then, do you want to come with us?”
After that, although her servants tried to stop her, she still brought me along…and so I was saved.
“I kept feeling that she was being pursued by someone. I’ll tell my father about the people who were after her.”
Later I found out that those men were out to catch orphaned children and sell them at market for cheap prices.
Because they saw me being picked up by milady and her servants, they decided to give up on me.
And then, according to her suggestions and the reports of the servants, they were all arrested.
“From today onwards, let’s live here together. Your name is?”
“…I don’t know.”
“Is that so. Then, how about Tanya? It’s a name that has appeared in a fairytale, the name of a smart princess.”
Taking my hand under the sunlight, that’s what she said with a smile on her face.
That warm hand reminded me of the families I’d seen in the alleyway…tears flowed down my face.
“D-do you not like it? How about another name…”
Seeing me react like that, my lady sat up hurriedly, looking concerned. It was a very funny sight, but my tears still refused to stop.
I had been saved–in two different ways.
I hadn’t just been rescued from a dangerous situation; my new mistress had given me a goal for survival, me who had already given up on survival.
So I didn’t want her to be troubled or pained. I want to protect her from all the trouble and pain that I can.
Since she’s arrived in the capital, she hasn’t truly smiled even once. No matter when, she always wears a tired look on her face.
Of course, we came to the capital initially to soothe the riot, but that wasn’t just it. Because there was so much in the aftermath to deal with, negotiations to be carried out, it was natural to be tense all the time.
Although it was only natural…but even in time that should belong to only herself, milady’s expression was always gloomy.
“Milady, is there anything wrong?”
When we were sending off Dean and his sister, he asked her this question.
Even a man who only appeared occasionally in her life had noticed it. Of course, me and everyone else who served her at the duke’s mansion had noticed it as well.
But even after noticing it, there was nothing we could do. That was truly frustrating. This was because we couldn’t even figure out what the reason for the moodiness was.
But, even if it were only a bit…I felt that what was corrupting milady’s heart, was probably this place.
To her, this was the place where that abominable thing had happened. This time, something also happened that was torturing her inside…it was inevitable that she would hate this place.
Even so, fundamentally…I don’t know why, but in this place, she didn’t seem like herself.
I didn’t know how to explain, but she seemed like she was disguising herself as a villain.
As the daughter of a duke’s family, not all of her actions shone bright like when she was younger.
She’s grown up…that’s unavoidable.
Even as a servant, I sensed it. Living in upper class society, where everything was traps and schemes, she couldn’t stay the same way that she used to be. If she did, the lowlifes who wanted to take advantage of her would only gather and swarm her.
Maintaining her cool, suppressing her emotions to make hard decisions was a necessary front for milady.
But I couldn’t figure out why, in the capital, that side of her seemed more prominent.
Her sunny smile was gone, replaced by a cold smile that hid her true emotions.
It seemed like she was trying to play the villain in her every move.
Perhaps she realized that as well, in her own subconscious.
I yearned for the day that she could return to the territory, but there was still work to be done…it seemed so.
Wanting to go back as soon as possible, that urgency of longing–perhaps milady, who was praying for that day to come as well, was tired out by everything, anything.
All I could do was also pray for the day we returned to our territory.