“Seriously! Thanks to you, I’ve been kicked out of the temple master’s rooms! Why would you do that?!”
Delia, burning with rage, storms up the stairs . I don’t know if she ran to get here or what, but her dark crimson hair is in disarray, and her breath comes in ragged pants as she comes to a stop in front of me . These past few days have been so massively busy with getting the kitchen in order that it feels like it’s been a very long time since I last saw her .
“It’s all your fault! You went and got yourself a room, but I didn’t say anything about it, so the Reverend thinks I’m incompetent! Ugh, seriously!”
All I wanted a room for was just to have a place to get changed . I didn’t just take it by myself; the head priest properly gave it to me . I had no idea where Delia had gone off to, and had no way to contact her . I fail to see how the temple master’s impression of Delia’s incompetence is even remotely my fault .
“And what would you like me to do about this?” I ask .
“Let me stay here, of course . I’m your attendant, so it’s only right, isn’t it?”
“Mind your place!” thunders Benno .
Before I even have time to react, he slams his fist down onto Delia’s head . Delia clutches her head, looking around as if she has no idea what’s going on .
“Delia,” I chide, “that’s not the kind of behavior you should be displaying in front of my guest . It’s only natural that you should be scolded, is it not?”
“W… why would I need you to tell me that?!”
Benno’s eyes narrow . “Still don’t get it, huh?”
Delia instantly shuts her mouth tight . Gil flinches, too, perhaps remembering his earlier beating at Lutz’s hands .
“Maïne,” says Benno, “You don’t have any use for someone who doesn’t get the work she’s assigned done to satisfaction . Keeping someone who doesn’t have any motivation on the payroll is a waste of your money . Get rid of her . ”
The words that Benno disdainfully spits mirrors what Lutz had told Gil . It’s obvious to see what kind of effect Benno’s had on him .
“Ah, Fran,” I say . “I am not entirely certain of the details behind Delia’s assignment to me, but if she is saying that she was kicked out of the temple master’s rooms, does that mean he has cut ties with her?”
My words seem to strike a mark . Delia’s eyes fill with tears as she glares at me, almost on the verge of crying .
“…He hasn’t cut me out yet,” she says, her voice cracking .
Fran speaks up . “I would not say that the Reverend has cut ties with her, but…”
“Exactly!” says Delia, latching onto his words . “There’s no way he could get rid of a cute little girl like me, is there?”
Delia’s face shines with renewed hope . Fran’s expression, however, does not change . He continues to speak, laying out the harsh reality .
“Delia did not know that you were given rooms,” he explains to me, “and without knowledge of those rooms’ whereabouts could not work for you . As such, she was incapable of delivering necessary information about your activities to him . I do not find it at all mysterious as to why she would bear his displeasure . ”
Delia’s eyes open wide with disbelief, but Fran pays her no attention, looking supremely disinterested as he continues talking . It seems that Fran, an earnest and hardworking person, takes great offense to Delia, who not only fails to do her duty as my attendant, but also actively sought to make trouble for me . His expression may be placid, but I can feel the anger burning beneath it .
“The temple master assigned her to you was because of the expectation that you would easily bond with a girl your age, putting her in a situation where she could gather a large amount of valuable information for him . As she has instead displayed such naked hostility to you, causing you to remain highly vigilant around her, I can only imagine how much of a disappointment she may be to him . ”
Delia’s face falls . The thought occurs to me that the fact that she got kicked out of the temple master’s rooms only underscores the possibility that she’s getting cut off, but as soon as the thought enters my mind, Delia puts on a fawning smile, looking up at Fran .
“Hey, hey, y’know, I could be a good attendant here . It’s not right for an apprentice priestess to not have any female attendants . Right?”
Her ploy to guarantee her next lodgings did not involve asking me, her master, but instead cunningly went straight to targeting Fran, the most influential of my attendants .
Fran, who typically doesn’t show his emotions on his face, glares at her with naked disgust . He snorts coldly .
“As Sister Maïne does not live here, she largely does not require any assistance with her everyday necessities . Despite the fact that you were not here over these past few days, we encountered no problems at all . I would consider that to be proof of how little additional assistance she needs . Furthermore, even if she were to somehow require such assistance, it is entirely possible for her to select a new attendant from the orphanage . ”
I’d thought that since Delia was assigned to me by the head priest I wouldn’t be able to get rid of her, but it seems like I might be able to add someone new to my staff . “What an excellent idea,” I say, approvingly, to Fran, which causes Delia to bite her lip, tears starting to drip from her eyes .
“…You’re kicking me out?”
When I look at those excessively pretty tears, I can instantly tell that Delia lives solely for the purpose of making men fall for her . Now that she’s in a disadvantageous position, she clings sweetly to Fran, showing us her tears . Everything down to the angle at which she’s looking up at us is perfect . Even though she’s still very young, she knows exactly what kind of weapons women can bring to bear . It’s really amazing to see what someone can do when they’re fully aware of how cute they are . If I were to have tried to use that kind of technique back in my Urano days, they probably would have said “ugh, creepy,” and kicked me away .
Since until now she’s been nothing but extremely hostile to me, her suddenly putting on this pitiable air and begging me for help really puts me on the spot . To be honest, I’m really irritated at her right now, but actually kicking out a crying little girl seems too brutish . So, this oppressive atmosphere lingers, leaving me keenly aware of how bad I am at not being able to say anything .
“Don’t worry about kicking her out or whatever . She wasn’t ever one of us in the first place . ”
The one to break the moody atmosphere that Delia had so deliberately crafted to engender sympathy in her plight is Gil, who smashes it apart with a grand smile .
“Wh… w, wha?!”
“Someone who doesn’t actually work here doesn’t get a room, and of course they can’t eat here, either . ‘He who does not work, neither shall he eat!’ Isn’t that right, Sister Maïne?”
Gil puffs out his chest, proud at remembering the phrase . 1 I’m not sure if he just failed to read the room or if he did and just didn’t care, but either way he did a good job . I’d better make sure to praise him lots later . Next to me, Benno mutters, “You’re not strong enough to do any work either . You don’t get to say that . ” but I ignore him . Pointedly .
“Since Gil works hard at his job,” I say, “he has a room, and he can eat until his belly is full . I have nothing to offer a girl who does not do her work . ”
“Alright, then . So then I just need to work, then?”
As she says this, she smoothly slides into Benno’s lap, smiling sweetly as she draws herself close to him . I blink, dumbfounded, having no idea what in the world is happening right now . Benno looks supremely disgusted, his face twitching as he waves his hands .
“Sorry, but I’m not interested in kids like you . Please get down . ”
“See?” she says to me, giving me a triumphant grin as she comes down from Benno’s lap . “You don’t have any gray-robed priestesses around, so you’re upsetting your guests . ”
Seeing first-hand what the gray-robed priestesses that serve as the temple master’s attendants are supposed to do makes me want to clutch my head in horror . Benno, probably feeling the same way, rubs at his temples, scowling at Delia disagreeably .
“I don’t need any flower to begin with . Please don’t lump me in with the nobles who long for the flowers kept here . ”
“Huh? That’s, you mean…”
It seems that, until now, Delia’s job has been to take care of the daily necessities of the attendants who’ve already become the temple master’s mistresses while polishing her beauty and her education for the sake of being part of the next generation of mistresses . It also looks like she’s supposed to lavish the temple master’s visitors with sweet smiles .
“I have no need for such attendants,” I say, matter-of-factly .
“I… I can clean and do laundry, too . I helped get the Reverend’s clothes ready for him, and I can definitely keep this room clean, too . ”
She grabs my sleeve tightly in her fist . I think that, faced with the fact that none of the things she’s ever done so far apply here at all, her own sense of values might be shaking . She isn’t smiling flirtatiously . Her eyes aren’t full of tears . Her face is frozen in a look of bewilderment as she starts looking desperately around the room . However, there’s nobody in this room who has any desire to save cute little Dalia from her plight .
It’s probably true that Delia is in real trouble now that she’s been kicked out of the temple master’s rooms, I think . I look up at Fran, hoping for some assistance in figuring out what to do .
“Perhaps a night spent in the reflection room would be sufficient?” he says . “She has, in fact, showed great disrespect to you . ”
“I’ll reflect on my actions! I’m going to do everything just right from now on . So… please don’t kick me out . Please don’t say you don’t need me!”
Delia looks desperately up at me as she pleads, whimpering like she can barely contain herself from bursting into tears . Her shockingly serious plea makes my eyes widen, and both Fran and Gil are making pained faces, as if they themselves had been told that they weren’t needed .
Gil was a problem child who spent nearly every day in the reflection room, and when Fran was sent away from the head priest’s side, he was left feeling wounded, like he was no longer necessary . The two of them are probably remembering how they felt back then .
“Fran,” I say . “If Delia performs her duties in earnest, then I believe everything shall be fine . ”
“As you wish, Sister . ”
After giving the tiniest sigh of relief, Fran turns to Delia, his expression growing stern .
“If you wish to work here, then first, correct your manner of speech . I have no use for an attendant who does not think of Sister Maïne as her master . ”
“Understood,” she replies .
And so, with her declaration that she will start working, we wrap up this predicament without me having to banish a crying little girl from my room . Composing myself, I turn to ask her a question .
“Now then, what kinds of work can you do?”
“I can put this room in order as befitting a blue-robed priestess such as yourself . Starting with this!”
She points dramatically at a room that I’d assumed was the storage room for the second floor . It seems that in actuality it’s supposed to be a bathroom, with a tub and a toilet . There’s nothing in there now, so I hadn’t realized it at all .
“You’ve had plenty of time over the last few days; why is it that you haven’t acquired any equipment? Leaving the bathtub aside, what have you been doing when you need to use the restroom?”
“Huh? There’s one downstairs, so I use those, and then I clean up after myself…”
“What?! I don’t believe it! Seriously! You go to the first floor? You use the attendants’ toilet? And worse, you say that you use the mens’ restroom? Have you no shame!”
Even though she’s being a bit more polite in speech, I feel like her attitude hasn’t changed all that much . Is it just my imagination?
Delia goes through the room, identifying item after item that this room is missing . Not only do I not have a bathtub and a toilet, but I’m also missing a dresser as well as a writing desk . Apparently, using the same round table in the center of the room for both eating and writing makes me a failure of a blue-robed priestess . Even though I try to tell her that I’m not planning on taking any baths here, she insists that I someday might, and that I should make sure for my own sake that I make sure that I can do so on the second floor .
“Can you help me get these, Mister Benno?” I ask .
“Leave it to me . …If you were missing all of this, then it looks like having an attendant that knows about how priestesses live might actually be necessary . Besides, if you keep making her mad like that, maybe you’ll be able to become a bit more noble yourself, huh?”
Next, Delia starts carrying water up to fill the jug on the second floor . It seems that if nobody brings any water upstairs, then washing one’s face and hands is difficult, as is cleaning up after using the restroom . I’d been thinking she was the frail princess type, but since she’s apparently been working zealously to make sure she could be a mistress, she’s got more than enough arm strength, stamina, and sheer grit to carry water .
“Nobody even bothered getting any water to the second floor . Seriously!”
Delia keeps up a bitter monologue as she works, complaining about everything around her . After Fran makes sure that she’s actually started working, he returns to the kitchens, and Gil starts working on cleaning the first floor . I, meanwhile, reach for the dessert that’s been sitting untouched on the table . As I chew, I strike up a conversation with Benno .
“Come to think of it, the other day, the head priest ordered me to have a set of ceremonial robes made, but what’s special about ceremonial robes?”
“They’re meant to catch the attention of people outside the temple . Essentially, you should think of them as your nicest clothes . So, if we were to just think about appearances, they are totally different from what you might usually wind up wearing . The embroidery on the hems has your family crest sewn into it, and…”
He freezes halfway through his sentence, looking straight at me in shock .
“Maïne . When’s the ceremony you need this for? I have no idea how long it’s going to take to make something suitable for noble ceremonies . ”
From the way the politeness immediately drops from his tone, I can tell just how hurried he is . There are, of course, no sewing machines here, so there’s no way you can just throw together a garment . It seems they take a lot of time to make .
“He said that since I’m an apprentice I don’t need to go to a lot of them, but I don’t know when or what kind of ceremonies they’re going to be . Fran would probably know, right?” I turn to the stairwell . “Hey, Frmmph?!”
As soon as I start calling out for Fran, Benno covers my mouth, pointing sternly at the bell . Ah, that’s right . You use a bell to call people . I ring the bell, and moments later Fran comes upstairs .
“How may I be of service, Sister?”
“I was recently informed by the head priest that I must have ceremonial robes tailor-made for me, yet I do not know when those ceremonies may take place . Would you happen to know, perhaps?”
“If the order of knights requests for one this fall, then I believe that would be the closest one to today . ”
“Fall, huh…” says Benno . “Making something from scratch by then is going to be rough…”
If we’re making fancy clothes befitting a noble, then it’s obvious that everything must be carefully considered, starting from the thread used . Fran, seeing Benno’s scowl, glances over at the wooden box along the far wall .
“Master Benno,” he says, “might I suggest that you use the fabric that you gave Sister Maïne to make her ceremonial robes? It is of very excellent quality, so once dyed I believe it would be more than suitable for the purpose . ”
“…She doesn’t have a family crest . What do we do about that?”
“Does her workshop have a something similar crest?”
“I’ll make one right now!” I say .
As Benno takes my measurements, discussing the requirements for the design of my ceremonial robes, I gleefully start thinking up ideas for my workshop’s crest . My first idea is a book, a pen, and ink, but Fran and Benno both reject it, saying that it’s too plain, and help me correct it . Ultimately, we wind up with a design incorporating the trees used in making paper and the flowers from the hairpins, a crest designed to leave a strong impression . Fran, nodding in satisfaction, says that it is an enormous success at conveying the gorgeousness befitting a woman, and so it’s decided .
“Sister Maïne, the cooks say that they have finished preparing our dinner for today . ”
“Is that so? Well then, could you please ensure that they have properly tidied up the kitchen once they are finished, perhaps?”
At my direction, Fran checks over the kitchen and confirms the plans for tomorrow with the cooks before seeing them off .
“I shall head home for today,” I say . “You two, please get changed . ”
Gil and Fran each hurry off to their individual rooms . Since Lutz and Benno have business coming up soon that they need to go to another part of town for, right now it’s a good time for my attendants to practice dropping me off at home .
I start taking off my blue robes, getting myself ready to go home . When I start untying the sash, though, Delia stands in front of me in an imposing stance, her face twisted in anger .
“What might you be doing?” she says .
“Getting changed, as you can see?”
Ah, I remember, I’m not supposed to get changed by myself . I let go of my sash and raise my arms, ready for Delia to help me to get changed . As I wait, though, her eyes only narrow more .
“In front of a gentleman?!” she yells, glancing over at Benno, who’s still seated at the table . “How immodest!”
I’m already wearing clothes underneath this, so I didn’t think that this would be anything to get so angry about .
I lean back away from her . “I’m… I’m sorry? But, I’m just taking off the robes…”
“Taking off your own clothing before a gentleman is something you only do when you want to tempt them! Letting others see you only lessens your worth as a woman . If you don’t know things like that, you’re going to be in major trouble in the future . Seriously!”
“Is… is that so…”
What do I do now? I think she might be angry about the wrong thing, here, but she’s being so serious that I don’t think I can actually point it out .
“Master Benno,” says Delia, “please wait in the hall . Although she may still be very young, please refrain from watching a girl change . ”
“Sure, I’ll do that . ”
Benno, trying hard to suppress a laugh, makes his way downstairs . After verifying that he has made it all the way to the first floor, Delia unties my sash, then takes off my robe . As expected of someone who says they’ve been taking after the daily needs of the other gray-robed priestesses, she quickly folds up the robes and puts them away, then fixes my hairpin, which had come slightly loose .
When she pokes her head downstairs, Fran calls up to her that they’ve finished getting ready to leave . At the same time, as she looks downstairs, her face suddenly freezes .
“What… are you wearing…?”
“A reward from Sister Maïne,” says Gil . Even just from the sound of his boastful voice, I can imagine just how puffed out his chest must be .
“That’s mean! That’s not equal!”
“This is a reward for doing work,” he says . “People who don’t do work don’t get given anything, you know . ”
“What work do you do?”
“Cleaning,” he replies . “I worked really hard all by myself to clean this place out, so this is my reward . Heh heh, it’s nice, isn’t it?”
“I’m not actually jealous or anything!”
Delia cuts off the exchange with that sharp remark, tears in her eyes, looking like she’s nothing but jealous and regretful . She glares at me, pointing downstairs .
“Everyone’s waiting for you down there . Shouldn’t you be going?”
“I already have something ready for you, though…”
Delia’s eyes fly open wide enough that I think her eyeballs might fall out .
“You don’t want it?”
“I didn’t say a single word of the sort . ”
I pull the last remaining bundle of cloth from inside the closet and hand it to Delia . She hesitantly reaches out, as if to touch it, then glances up at me .
“…I can really have this?”
“You’re going to work hard at your job from now on, aren’t you?”
“I have no idea what you might do wrong if I’m not around, so I guess I have no choice, do I?”
Delia huffs, looking away, her face bright red . She roughly grabs the bundle from me and, clutching it to her chest, runs off to the attendant’s room .
“Hey, are you done yet?” calls Gil impatiently from downstairs .
“Delia’s getting changed right now, so please wait a little longer,” I reply .
I look over at the door to Delia’s room . She’s taking far longer than I would have thought for just getting changed . It’s been a while, and she hasn’t come out .
“Delia, are you still changing?”
I crack open the door and see Delia, already done changing, humming something to herself with a huge smile on her face as she twirls around . The instant our eyes meet, she stops, clutching her skirt and trembling visibly . Her entire face, up to her ears, turns bright red, and she glares fiercely at me .
“D… don’t just open my door like that! Seriously!”
Translator’s notes for this chapter:
1 . “He who does not work, neither shall he eat” is an aphorism originally from the New Testament . From context, he presumably learned this from Maïne, but not on-screen . (Otherwise, I have no idea why he would be quoting the New Testament . )