Zero no Tsukaima:Volume5 Story1
Story 1: The "Charming Fairies" Inn
"Alright, starting tomorrow is summer break."
Louise said, while looking down at the familiar.
"Yeah, it is."
Saito tumbled on the ground, facing his master.
"How about we have one week of leisure?"
They were at the Austri Plaza. As always, Saito was being stepped on by Louise, and he, once again had to explain his reason for why he was being stepped on by Louise.
"Well, Siesta said that she would go on a trip to Tarbes village. Wouldn't it be okay if I just stayed a little bit and then went back to your territory? Sometimes it's not bad with just your family and no one else around, right?"
But, judging from the look on Louise's face, it seemed that the suggestion was rejected again.
The front gate, which was filled with students going home, could be seen from the plaza. The students, who had waited days to go home, were riding by carriage. They were going back to their hometown, being encouraged by their parents to return to the capital of Tristania. Tristain Academy of Magic would be on a long summer vacation starting from tomorrow. It would be a two and a half month long holiday.
"You-you know, Miss Vallière. I think Saito-san needs a break as well."
A flustered Siesta said to Louise, who was bullying Saito. As preparations for returning home, Siesta was not wearing her usual maid uniform, but her casual clothes of a dark green shirt and brown skirt.
Louise threw a glare at her. But... Siesta was also not the same. With the competitive spirit of a girl in love, she glared at Louise in return.
"A-a break is also necessary, right? You-you always work him as you please..., that's horrible."
"This guy is fine. That's because he's my familiar."
Siesta seemed to have sensed something in that attitude.
"Familiar? Heh, I wonder if that's the only reason...?"
Siesta muttered. Her eyes glittered, as if she was setting up a trap to catch a rabbit. Girls in love are sensitive to rivals.
"Eh? What does that mean?"
Siesta muttered while playing dumb.
"It's just that recently, the way you look at Saito-san has been a bit suspicious. That's what I thought."
Siesta said, finishing by looking to the side. Louise glared at her intensely.
Even a maid is making fun of me. It's Saito's fault. Even though he's a commoner, he does all sorts of strange things. Even the academy's commoners are starting to get overconfident. Louise had heard such rumors before, but this is what it was. The kingdom's authority. The nobles' authority. Well, that doesn't really matter but my authority!
Louise trembled while twitching.
Siesta, who squinted her eyes because of the brilliant shine of the sunlight sighed "fuuh", exposed her breasts, and wiped her sweat with a handkerchief.
"Really... Summer is so hot."
Like a flower blooming in the wild, lots of charm poured out from there. Amazing when undressed, the chasm of the two hills flew into her eyes. Louise gave a "Ha-!" and looked at Saito's face. Underneath her foot, the familiar was desperately leering at the gap of Siesta's exposed shirt. Louise was about to snap but endured it.
Like I'll lose! That's right, I'm a noble. Even if I remain silent, nobility will pour out from the gaps of my shirt.
Louise followed suit. She murmurs "Fuuh, it's hot." and loosened her shirt's buttons. And then she wiped her sweat with a handkerchief. But... what was there was not a chasm, but a refreshing plain that spread out everywhere.
Saito seemed to prefer the terrain with highs and lows and did not move his glance.
Seeing the result of the battle, Siesta let out a stifled laugh, making Louise snap.
"Wh-what! You just laughed right now!"
"What? There's no way I would laugh. No way, right? For me to look at a noble and laugh..."
Siesta said, pacifying Louise with a sparkling face. Then she turned her face away and muttered
"...With such a childish body, a noble? ...Heeh."
"Kaha," leaked out of Louise mouth as exhalation.
"What did you just say?! Hey!"
"...Who knows, ...nothing. Either way, it's so hot. Hot, hot. Aah, it's hot."
Louise trembled all over. Saito whispered,
"Is it okay if I go to Tarbes?"
"Kauha," Louise sighed miserably, and began to hurt Saito with all her might, thinking How many times are you going to ask?
Siesta said, "Calm down! Miss Vallière! Please calm down!" and grabbed her back. While the usual mess was about to begin...
*flap**flap* as one owl appeared.
The owl stopped on Louise's shoulder and hit Louise's head with it's wings.
"What is with this owl?"
The owl was biting on a letter. Louise took that from it. Recognizing the stamp pressed on it, Louise returned to a serious expression.
"What is this owl?"
Siesta peeked at it.
When Louise became serious, Saito inquired,
"What is it?"
Checking it contents, Louise scanned over the single piece of paper. Then Louise said, "Going back home is halted."
"What do you mean halted? Siesta even invited me... I'm really disappointed, you know."
Saito said, seeing Louise go back to her own room and check her luggage that she had packed up for going back home.
Louise showed Saito the letter the owl had brought just now.
"No, I can't read the letters from here."
Louise sat straight on her bed and began to talk.
"After the previous incident... you know that Princess-sama was depressed, right?"
Saito nodded. It was a tragic event. Her own dead lover... was revived by her enemy and tried to kidnap her. It was obvious she would be depressed.
"I feel sorry for her... but it seems she can't stay sunk in the abyss of sadness forever."
"What do you mean?"
Louise explained what was written in the letter.
Albion had given up on a proper invasion until their fleet was rebuilt, so they were trying to fight in an irregular way- Is what the cabinet had predicted, with Mazarin on the top of them. They couldn't have them cowardly attack Tristain from the inside by inciting revolt and rebellion throughout the town. Because Henrietta and her men feared such conspiracies, she was strengthening the maintenance of public order...
"It's fine to strengthen the public order, but what does she want you to do?"
"An intelligence gathering mission involving hiding myself. Is there any improper actions going on? What kind of rumors are being spread around by commoners?"
"Uwah, a spy!"
"In my world, those type of information gathering jobs are called that."
"Huunn... Anyways, it's basically spying, right..."
For some reason, Louise looked unsatisfied.
"Well... because isn't this plain?"
"No, isn't information important? My grandfather said that the old Japan lost a war because they kept on ignoring information."
"Nothing. It doesn't really matter..."
In Henrietta's letter, there were directions to settle down at an inn in Tristania, hide her identity and do something like flower-selling, and collect all kinds of information being passed around by commoners. A note to pay back the expenses for the mission was enclosed.
"That's why I'm rearranging my luggage. I can't bring so many clothes."
Louise pointed to her luggage that had gotten lighter by a bagful.
"So I have to work even though it's summer vacation..."
Saito muttered sadly.
"Stop loafing around. Come on, we're leaving now!"
After all of this happened, the two left for Tristania. In order to hide their social status, they could not use a coach. The horses at the academy were the academy's, so they could not use those. In the end, they walked.
Louise and Saito walked on the road under the scorching sun, heading towards Tristania. It took two days to get there.
Looking reproachfully at the sun, Saito whispered,
"Damn... even though I should be at Siesta's house drinking cold water right now..."
"Don't complain! Come on! Walk!"
Louise, who had her familiar carry all of the luggage, shouted angrily.
After arriving at the city, the two first visited the financial affairs office to exchange the note for gold coins. Six-hundred in new gold coins. Four-hundred écus.
Saito remembered the money from Henrietta in the pouch attached to his belt. About four hundred new gold coins remained. So around two-hundred seventy écus.
Saito first found a tailor and bought plain clothes for Louise. Louise didn't like it, but wearing a mantle with a pentagram would completely expose her as a noble. It would be impossible to blend in with commoners and gather information. There would be no meaning walking here.
But Louise, forced to wear plain clothes, looked unsatisfied.
"It's not enough."
"The money we got for this mission. With only four-hundred écus, we would be broke after buying a horse."
"We don't need a horse. It was written for you to hide your social status, right? In other words, you're supposed to act like a commoner. Walk. You have legs."
"I'll act like a commoner, but I can't get satisfying services without a horse."
"A cheap horse is fine, right? Compromise here."
"Those horses are useless when we really need them! We also need a harness. And also... we won't be able to stay at a strange inn. With this amount of money, it'll be gone after staying for just two and a half months!"
What kind of Inn could cost up to six-hundred gold coins?
"A cheap inn is fine, right?"
"No way! I can't sleep well in a cheap room!"
As expected of a noble's daughter. Even though she has a mission to blend in with commoners and gather information, she plans to stay at a high class inn. Saito wondered, What is she thinking?
"I have some too. I'll share some with you."
"...That's still not enough. Services cost money."
"Then what should we do?"
"Isn't there a way to earn more money?"
And like that, while disputing about earning more money and finding a cheap place, they entered a bar where Saito found a gambling area set up in a corner of the store. Over there, drunk men and suspicious women were taking chips and having their chips taken.
Without caring about Louise narrowing her eyebrows at them, Saito gazed at the gambling.
"What are you looking at?"
"Well, I was just thinking about earning money with this. How about it?"
"Isn't that gambling? What a thing!"
"Now, just watch me. I've done it a lot of times before in games."
Saito exchanged chips for thirty new gold coins... twenty écus and headed towards the table with the spinning disk. The disk's circumference was split into thirty-seven parts, each having their own number and colored red or black.
An iron ball spun around inside the disk. And near the disk, there were men and women with changed eye colors staring at this intently.
It was roulette.
Saito looked at the placing guests. First, I'll test my luck. Copying the winning guests, Saito placed a chip worth about ten écus on red.
The ball entered a red pocket.
"See, look. I earned some! I'm amazing!"
Saito was somewhat stingy, so he placed cautiously and earned about thirty écus worth of chips.
"See, look! The money we have for completing the mission increased! Geez, it's a big difference compared to a certain someone who only complains!"
Saito said while turning his chest away. Louise's eyes flashed.
"Lend some to me."
"You shouldn't. It's impossible for you."
"What are you saying? If the familiar is winning, then the master will win ten times over if she tries."
Louise immediately placed what Saito had won on black. But... she was off. What Saito had won was lost in a moment.
"What are you doing?! Even though I finally earned some!"
"Geez... Even though you always act proud, you can't properly earn money at all. Learn from Siesta a bit. Learn to cook something. Then go work as a cook at some restaurant. That's what laboring is."
Something lit up in Louise at the words "Learn from Siesta".
"J-j-just watch me. Who the hell will lose?"
Saito trembled at her.
Thirty minutes later...
Louise was drooping her shoulders and looking hatefully at the board. The chips she had placed a moment ago quietly disappeared by the banker's hand. The pretty blond girl's shoulders remained drooping for a while, but then raising her head proudly, she tried to place all of her chips onto one point. Saito, who had been looking from behind her, grabbed her shoulders.
Louise muttered in a clearly grumpy voice. Saito bluntly said,
"Let's stop already."
"I'll win next time. I'll definitely win."
"How many times do you think you've said that?!"
Saito's scream resounded. The guests placing chips turned around and put on bitter smiles.
It was a scene that occurred every day.
"You haven't even won once."
Saito stuck his finger in front of Louise's nose. This was the first time Saito saw a human who was so bad at gambling. Louise had already lost four-hundred écus... most of the money required for the mission. If they turned Louise's remaining chips into money, they wouldn't get more than thirty écus. If they lost this, they would be broke.
"It's okay. I'll unleash my certain winning method next."
"Tell me about it."
"Until now, I've been betting on red or black, right?"
"Yeah. To miss fifteen times betting on red or black... you'd be better off dead."
"Shut up. Listen? In that case, if I won, I only get a few times more. Why?"
"And then I realized it. Even if I get red or black right, I only win double. But..."
Saito was shaking. Louise was speaking as if possessed by something.
"If I win by numbers, I get thirty-five times my bet. I'll be able to get back what we lost plus more. I should have done this in the first place!"
"That's your certain winning method?"
Louise gave a big nod.
Saito silently grabbed Louise's arm and pulled.
"What are you doing?"
"The probability of you winning is one in thirty-seven!"
"So what?! I've already lost fifteen times. No matter how you think about it, I'll win next time. It'd be weird if I didn't. If I'm going to win, I might as well win big!"
Louise's reddish-brown eyes were glittering. It reminded him of the eyes of his uncle, who had failed at stocks and had run away at night. He had these eyes the last time Saito saw him.
On that day, the stock he said would rise greatly crashed downwards instead.
"Calm down. Let's exchange your chips for money and use it to find a place to stay. Okay?"
"No. If I left while losing, the name of La Vallière would weep."
"Let something like that weep!"
The moment he yelled that, he was kicked precisely between the legs and rolled onto the floor.
"Hoaaaaaa... do you have some grudge against my miserable area?"
After eliminating her bothersome familiar, Louise turned back toward the roulette disk.
The shooter was about the throw the ball onto the wheel. She could still make the bet.
Louise placed all of her remaining chips onto the number that she had in her head a moment ago.
Then she stared at the wheel and ball with eyes that couldn't be more serious.
Making a clip-clop sound, the ball of fate entered a pocket. Louise's expression glittered with hope for a moment, but it changed into despair right away. The pocket was the one beside the number Louise had bet on.
While rubbing his nether regions, Saito got up and pulled on Louise.
"What are you saying?"
"My neighbor's pocket. Next, it's going to visit my house."
"We don't have any money left to bet, right?!"
"The money in your pocket will help."
"Idiot! This is my money!"
Saito covered his pouch. He couldn't have this be gambled. If he did, even he would be broke.
"You know? The familiar's things are the master's things. That's obvious."
"Don't joke around!"
But compared to Siesta, it didn't reach the ears of Louise, whose brain had been burnt by her fervor for gambling. She tried to kick Saito's nether regions at lightning speed. But Saito was different from usual. He quickly closed his two legs and guarded. Then he grabbed Louise's raised ankle.
"Like I'll let you kick me again!"
Louise muttered in a cold voice
The magic restriction tool enveloped Saito's body and let off a electric current.
Convulsing violently, Saito tumbled back onto the floor.
"...I see, I didn't watch out for that."
Saito said weakly while cursing his curiosity. Aah, if I didn't have interest in this gambling area, something like this wouldn't have...
Louise searched Saito's pouch, took all of the remaining gold coins, and quickly exchanged them for chips. Saito was slightly relieved. Even if it's someone like Louise who has zero talent for gambling, she wouldn't lose all of those chips before his body recovered from the numbness. After the numbness were gone, he'll cover Louise's mouth and leave the place without letting her say anything. That is what Saito decided.
"Betting on one place won't work, it seems. I'll return to the basics."
"That's right... Red and black. Only a small amount on red and black. At least do that..."
"To show my respect for my loyal familiar, I'll bet on that hair and eye color."
"That's right." Nodding, Louise placed coins on black.
All of it... Two-hundred and seventy écus worth of chips, all of it.
Saito almost leaked.
"S! T! O! P!"
Louise smiled brightly at Saito.
"Silly. Even if the payoff is double, money is money. If I win, we'll get back all that we've lost plus more. What's more, just once. We only have to win one time."
"P! L! E! A! S! E!"
"I should have done this in the first place."
The shooter spun the roulette. The small ball began to spin, holding the master and familiar's huge fate on it.
Making a dry sound, the ball spun on top of the wheel. The rotation slowly lost speed and, as if to divide fate, aimed for the right pocket. Louise had bet a large sum of money on black, so the other guests had bet on red. The only one betting on black was Louise. It entered red, left it, then it entered black, left it... Louise spoke as if she had caught a fever.
"I'm a legend. I'll never lose, right, at a place like this."
And then the ball entered a pocket... and stopped.
Louise closed her eyes without thinking.
Around her, sighs of sadness leaked out.
Everyone besides Louise had placed on red. The sighs came from them. In other words, the ones that placed on red lost. Which means...
"I really am the user of 'Zero' after all!"
Shouting that, Louise opened her eyes. Right afterwards, her mouth gaped open.
The ball... did not enter black or red, but the single existing green pocket. On the center of the pocket..., as if to give blessing to Louise, the number "0" was glittering there.
Saito and Louise were sitting in a daze at the corner of the sunsetting city's central plaza.
The bell at the church of Saint Rémy rang six at evening.
They were tired and hungry but had no place to go.
Louise was wearing the plain, brown one-piece Saito had bought earlier. On her feet were crude wooden shoes. Her mantle and wand were placed inside the bag Saito was carrying. Just from her clothes, she looked like some country girl, but thanks to her high-class face and her pink-blonde hair, she gave off a mismatched feeling similar to that of a destitute girl in the middle of a play.
Saito was wearing his usual clothes, but because he could not walk around the city with a drawn sword, he wrapped Derflinger in some cloth and carried him on the back. Louise muttered quietly in a way showing that she had realized just how troublesome of a deed she had done.
"Wh-what should we do?"
Saito glared at Louise
"I'll never let you carry money around again."
Louise moaned sadly, hugging her knees.
"Well, what should we do. Money. If we can't find an inn to stay at, we won't be able to eat food. What about the mission? O' mighty, mighty court lady of Her Majesty, please teach this humble familiar. Please?"
Saito said with plenty of spite. Even his money was used. He'll have her pay him back properly someday, but right now was the immediate problem of an inn and food to eat.
"I'm thinking about it right now."
Louise said with a sullen face.
"Let's obediently lower our heads to Princess-sama and get some more money."
"That's impossible. Princess-sama gave me this secret mission at her own discretion. The cabinet probably would not let the money pass. She probably can't use more than she freely has. Probably, that was already the best she could do."
"You threw away that money in thirty minutes. What were you thinking?"
"That's because I can't get satisfying services with just four-hundred!"
"That's because you always want luxuries!"
"Then, how about that? Contact your home. Yeah, hey, Duke-sama."
"Not possible. It's a secret mission. I can't tell my family either."
While hugging her knees, Louise rested her chin on it.
She really is a young mistress ignorant of the world's ways... She can't even properly shop for something. Even Saito, who came from another world, could haggle better. Nothing will get done letting her do things.
But he couldn't think of a good idea. He gazed at the plaza's fountain dazedly, but...
He realized the passing people were gazing impressed at Louise.
Even if she didn't want to, Louise's loveliness and nobleness attracted attention. Especially if she was hugging her knees looking like a village girl. The people stole glances at Louise with a look that said "She probably ran away from some playhouse." Saito got up in a flash.
Louise was surprised.
Ignoring Louise's words, Saito faced the people in the street and started stating
"Eeh- Ladies and Gentlemen!"
The passing people stopped, wondering what was going on.
"Eeh- This girl here is a wolf-girl that escaped from the circus."
What is this guy saying?
"Being raised by wolves, she howls and barks! It's really troublesome! But the most amazing thing is that she can scratch her neck with her feet! Now stand by! She will scratch her neck with her foot right now!"
Saito whispered to Louise quietly
"Well, scratch your neck with your foot. Come on."
Saito taunted her with his chin. Louise stomped on that face with the sole of her foot. Saito tumbled onto the ground.
"What are you thinking?! Y-y-you want me to act like a beast?!"
Saito also got up, pulled on Louise's arm, and shouted
"We have no choice but to perform, right?! Is there any other way to earn money?! Aah?!"
Violently swinging her hair, Louise began arguing with Saito. "She really is a wolf-girl."
The audience was oddly satisfied.
But soon realizing it was just a quarrel, the audience quickly got bored and left. They didn't get anything. His strength left him and Saito laid down on the ground. Louise was also tired and quickly lost her physical strength, so she sat on his back.
To these two sitting like this, someone tossed a copper coin. Saito jumped up and picked it up. Louise stood up with an enraged voice.
"Who is it?! Come out now!"
After saying that, a strange man came out of the crowd.
"Oh my... I thought you were beggars..."
Oddly, he talked in a feminine way.
"Haah? State yourself! You know, I, amazingly enough, am from a Duke's family..."
When she tried to say that, Saito stood up and covered Louise's mouth.
"It-it's nothing! Yes! Her brain's just a bit like that. Yes."
Muffled, Louise thrashed around, but Saito ignored that and continued to cover her mouth. If they stood out anymore, it wouldn't be a secret mission anymore.
The man looked very interestedly at Saito and Louise. He was wearing rather showy clothes. Guiche's clothes were showy too, but the vector was strangely different. Black hair covered in oil, a sparkling, violet satin-earth shirt opened up at the chest with disheveled chest hair poking out, under his nose was a magnificent split chin and had a stylish mustache. A strong scent of perfume reached Saito's nose.
"Then why are you sleeping on the ground?"
"Well, we don't have a place to sleep or eat..."
"But we're not beggars."
Louise said bluntly. The man looked deeply at Louise's face.
"I see. Well then, come to my place. My name is Scarron. I run an inn. I'll prepare a room."
The man said that smiling. The way he talked and dressed was gross, but he seemed like a generous person. Saito's face glittered.
"Yep, but there's one condition."
"I'll do anything."
"I'm managing a store on the first floor. This girl will help. That is the condition. Okay?"
Louise looked reluctant, but she obediently nodded when Saito stared at her.
Scarron grouped his hands together and rest them on his cheek, and narrowing his lips, smiled. He acted like a gay. Actually, he couldn't be anything but a gay. Gross. There are gays in other worlds too... And there's that "très bien"... Saito became strangely depressed.
"Then it's decided. Follow me."
The man started walking, swinging his hips as if to a rhythm. Saito reluctantly took Louise's hand and followed.
"I kind of don't want to. He's weird."
Saito looked at Louise with blazing anger in his eyes.
"Do you think you're in a position to choose?"
"Good words! Fairies!"
Scarron said as he moved his hips while looking around the store.
"Yes! Mr. Scarron!"
Cheered the girls wrapped in flashy clothes.
Scarron shouted while exaggeratedly moving his hips around, upon hearing the girls' cheers.
"Not Mister, but call me as Mi Mademoiselle, alright?"
"Yes! Mi mademoiselle!"
Scarron trembled pleasantly while moving his hips. Looking at the middle-aged man that took him here, Saito felt sick.
But the girls in the store, who were used to this habit, didn't even show a change in their faces.
"All right, we'll start with a saddening notice from Mi Mademoiselle. Recently, the 'Charming Faeries' Inn's sales have been dropping. A shop called a 'cafe' has been bringing out 'tea' that has been recently imported from the East and are stealing our customers... Sniff..."
"Don't cry! Mi mademoiselle!"
"You're right. If we lost to this 'tea', the words 'Charming Faeries' would cry."
"Yes! Mi mademoiselle!"
Scarron jumped onto the table and posed intensely.
"The Charming Faeries' promise! Un~~"
"Serve with a cheerful smile!"
"The Charming Faeries' promise! Deux~~"
"A clean, sparkling store interior!"
"The Charming Faeries' promise! Trois~~"
"Receive lots of tips!"
Scarron smiled in a satisfied way. Then he bent his hips and made a pose. Gastric juice went up his throat, but Saito desperately swallowed it back down.
"Well then, I have a wonderful announcement for you faeries. We get to make a new comrade today."
The girls applauded.
"Then, let me introduce her! Louise-chan! Come in here!"
Surrounded by applause, Louise appeared, completely red in the face from shyness and anger.
Saito swallowed his breath. The store's hairdresser had put up Louise's pink-blonde hair and made the hair on her left and right into small braided cords. She was also wearing a suggestively short camisole, sticking to her like a corset and making her body's lines more pronounced. It was open at the back, letting off an obvious charm. That appearance was very much like a lovely fairy.
"Louise-chan was about to be sold off to the circus, but just in time managed to escape with her brother. She's very cute but poor girl."
Sighs of sympathy came from the girls. That was a lie that Saito had come up with along their way to the store. In desperation, he had decided to be Louise's older brother. They didn't look like siblings no matter how one looked, but Scarron didn't get too caught up in that part. It seems it didn't really matter.
"Well then, Louise-chan. Greet the faeries that are going to become your co-workers." Louise was shaking all over. It seemed she was angry. Intensely. Strongly. A prideful noble like Louise was being told to bow her head to commoners in that clothing. Saito was afraid she'd go berserk and let off continuous "Explosion"s.
But... The sense of responsibility telling her to fulfill the mission suppressed Louise's anger.
Come to think about it, rumors tend to collect at bars. It was perfect for information gathering. Plus, they were broke. Telling herself this was a mission, Louise bowed with a forced smile.
"I-I-I-I'm Louise. Ni-ni-ni-nice to meet you."
Scarron demanded. A great applause echoed through the store. Scarron looked at the clock set on the wall. It was finally time for the store to open.
He snapped his fingers. Reacting to it, the magic-made dolls at the corner of the store began to play gaudy music. It was the rhythm to a march. Scarron talked in an excited voice.
"Now! Time to open!"
The feather doors opened with a "bam" as the waiting customers crowded into the store.
The "Charming Faeries" Inn that Saito and Louise arrived at looked like just a bar, but it was actually a popular store where cute girls in suggestive clothing brought customers their drinks. Scarron had noticed Louise's beauty and loveliness and brought her here to work as a waitress.
Given an apron with the store's embroidery on it, Saito was given the job of washing dishes. As long as he was living at the inn, he had to do some work.
The store was thriving, so mountains of tableware were delivered to him.
It seemed that no matter where someone was, even in another world, dish washing was a job for newcomers. Saito did not want to wash dishes from that gay man's store, but he endured it.
It was for the sake of Louise's mission. She was lacking, selfish, strong-willed, and an arrogant little girl that never listened to what he said, but it couldn't be helped since he had fallen for her. Despite all of her complaining, it seemed like she was trying hard this time to succeed in information gathering. And also, Henrietta's sad face he saw on Ragdorian Lake's shores... He wanted to do something for that pitiful princess. If he could help the people he liked by doing what he could, he wouldn't mind searching for a way back to his world later. Though a bundle of troublesomeness, his simplicity had himself think that way.
Saito grappled with the dishes. But everything has a "limit". After a while, he could no longer move his tired hands. But even if he became exhausted, the amount of plates he had to wash wouldn't disappear and started to pile up.
A showy-looking girl appeared near Saito, who was just blankly looking at the mountain of plates while tired senseless in front of the sink. The cute girl had long, straight black hair. Her thick eyebrows let off a lively aura. It seemed that she was close to Saito in age. Saito quickly snapped out of it when his eyes fell upon the cleavage of her breasts which appeared from her green one-piece that opened up at the chest.
"Hey! We don't have any plates left!"
She shouted, resting her arms on her waist.
"I-I'm sorry! Right away!"
Being used to getting ordered around by cute girls, Saito jumped right up and reflexively started to wash the dishes. Seeing the inexperienced way he moved his hands, the black-haired girl tilted her head.
"Let me see them."
Saying that, she took the cloth used for dish washing out of Saito's hands and began scrubbing in an experienced manner. With smooth movements that did not have any wastefulness in them, the plates were gradually cleaned up. Saito realized there was a secret to dish washing.
"It takes time to polish one side at a time, right? You can put both sides in-between with the cloth like this and then scrub really hard."
"Amazing," Saito said. Seeing that he really was impressed, the girl smiled.
"I'm Jessica. You're that new girl's brother, right? Your name?"
"Saito. Hiraga Saito."
"That's a strange name."
"Leave it alone."
Saito began washing dishes with Jessica. After looking around her surroundings, she whispered to Saito in a small voice.
"Hey, that thing about you being siblings with Louise was a lie, right?"
"Nope. 100% genuine older brother and younger sister."
Saito said stiffly.
"You two's hair color, eye color, and face shape are completely different. There isn't anybody who would believe you."
Saito was speechless.
"Though it doesn't matter. The girls here are all fine with any reason. There isn't a person here who would pry into someone's past. Relax."
Jessica stared into Saito's eyes. For a moment, he was startled.
"But can you secretly just tell me? Just what is the relationship between you two? Did you run away from somewhere?"
It seemed Jessica tended to be just as curious as Saito sometimes was. She looked at Saito excitedly. But there was no way he could tell the truth.
Saito glanced at Jessica's showy outfit. She was probably one of the "fairy" waitresses. Unneeded prying was bothersome, so Saito waved his hands to make her go away.
"Is it okay for you to be slacking here? You have your own work to do. Go and carry some wine or ale. Manager Scarron will get mad at you."
"It's okay for me."
"Because I'm Scarron's daughter."
Saito dropped a plate. Making a shattering sound, the plate was scattered into pieces.
"Ah! What are you breaking?! You're going to pay from your wages!"
For such a cute daughter to be born from that gay store manager... Saito wondered what genes thought they were doing.
"Come on! Don't just talk and start moving your hands! The store's going to get busier from now on!"
Saito had some hardships, but Louise was suffering much worse.
"...H-here is your order."
Desperately trying to smile... she left a bottle of wine and a ceramic glass on the table. In front of her, a man was looking at Louise while smiling vulgarly.
"Little girl, pour me some."
Me pour alcohol for a commoner, a commoner, a commoner? A noble like me? A noble like me? A noble like me?
Such humiliating thoughts spun around in her head.
"Anh? What's wrong? Didn't I tell you to hurry and pour me some?"
Louise exhaled and tried to calm herself down.
This is a mission. This is a mission. Information gathering while disguised as commoners. Information gathering...
Muttering that like a spell, she somehow managed to smile.
"We-well then, I'll pour some for you."
Louise picked up the bottle and started to slowly pour the wine into the man's glass.
But... Because she was shaking from anger, she missed and spilled the wine on the man's shirt.
"Uwah! You spilled it!"
"Like an apology is going to help!"
Then the man began to stare at Louise.
"You... don't have any breasts, but you're considerably pretty."
The feeling of blood left Louise's face.
"I've taken a liking to you. Maybe I'll have you feed me mouth-to-mouth. Then I'll forgive you! Gahaha!"
Louise picked up the bottle, drank the wine into her mouth, and spat it back out onto the man's face.
"What are you doing, you brat?!"
Placing one leg on the table, Louise looked down at the seated man.
For a moment, the man winced at the intensity released from this little girl.
"L-l-l-lowlife. Wh-wh-wh-who do you think I am?"
"F-f-f-for your information, d-d-d.....duk..."
At the moment she was about to say "duke family", Louise was sent flying from behind.
It was Scarron. Sitting down beside the man, he started to wipe the man's shirt with the dish cloth in his hand.
"Wh-what's with you, you gay bastard... I don't need you..."
"This won't do! It's soaked in wine! Hey, Louise-chan! Bring along some new wine! While she's fetching it, mi mademoiselle will keep you company!"
Scarron leaned closely to the man. The man looked like he wanted to cry, but Scarron held him back with superhuman strength and couldn't move.
"Ye-yes!" Louise said, finally snapping back to reality, and ran into the kitchen.
"Eh-, well then, thanks for the hard work!"
When the store closed, the sky had started to whiten. Saito and Louise were standing there unsteadily. They were so tired, they felt like they were going to die. They were completely exhausted doing a job that they were not accustomed to.
"You all worked your best, it seems. We're in the green this month."
Scarron started handing out the wages to the girls that worked in his store and the cooks in the kitchen, who were all letting out shouts of joy.
It seemed today was payday.
"Here, Louise-chan, Saito-kun."
Thinking "We're getting some too?", Saito and Louise's faces lit up for a moment, but... the only thing in it was one thin scrap of paper.
"What is this?"
Saito asked. The smile from Scarron's face disappeared.
"A bill. Saito-kun, how many plates did you break? Louise-chan, how many customers did you anger?"
Louise and Saito looked at each other and sighed.
"It's okay. Everyone makes mistakes at the beginning. Just try your best from now on and pay back the bill."
And... the sighing didn't stop after that.
The room given to Louise and Saito was reached by following a corridor lined up with the guest room door... and using a ladder to climb up and reach the attic.
No matter how you saw it, it wasn't a room that was made for people to live in. Being dusty and dim, it seemed to have been used as a storage room. Broken cabinets and chairs, wooden cases holding wine bottles, and barrels... All kinds of objects were piled up. A rough, wooden bed had been placed there. When Louise sat, her legs gave in which caused her to flop right down.
"What is this?!"
"A bed, right?"
While wiping away a spider's nest, Saito opened the small window. Doing so, the bats that seemed to live in the antic flew in screeching and hung onto a beam.
"Probably our roommates."
Saito said with a calm voice.
"You want a noble like me to sleep here?!" Louise screamed angrily.
Saito silently picked up the blanket on top of the bed and cleared away the dust. Then he laid down and put the blanket on himself.
"Come on, let's sleep. Scarron-san already said it. I wake up at noon and prepare the store. You're going to clean the store."
"Why are you fine with this?!"
"It's not much different from the way a certain someone usually treats me."
Saying that, Saito, probably because he was tired, quickly fell asleep.
Louise moaned "uu~" and "mu~", but she gave up after a while and snuggled in with Saito. Worming around, she placed her head on Saito's arm.
It was definitely a horrible place... but there was one thing to be happy about.
That maid wasn't here.
Geez, I don't know, what's so good, about this, familiar! That maid that likes Saito isn't here. That is honestly very wonderful. I-, don't really, like-, this but... Louise muttered in a slightly happy mood, moving her cheek near Saito and closing her eyes.
Blushing, she whispered, "I'll have you treat me kindly during this summer holiday."
And also... pick up the rumors in the city and give detailed reports to Princess-sama. Thinking that it was going to get busy soon, Louise fell asleep.
Louise's little bit of happiness was splendidly crushed. The cause was the night of the next day. The "Charming Faeries" Inn was thriving that day too. Louise was wearily carrying food or drinks out just like the previous day.
The drunken men had two types of reactions when they saw Louise.
First were the people that looked at Louise, who was small at various parts of her body, and said "This store is using kids?" angrily. To these customers, Louise served them plenty of wine. She had them drink the bottle too.
On the other side, there were the customers that had special interests.
Only Louise's outer appearance was idiotically cute, so in reverse, it was a wonderful thing to people with this line of thought. These people underestimated Louise because she looked obedient when she was quiet and reached their hands out towards her small butt or thighs. To those people, Louise decided to serve them her palm.
She served that on both cheeks, and at times, even on the nose.
Unable to act with courtesy at all, just like that, Louise didn't end up receiving any tips and was told "Stay here and observe what the other girls do" by Scarron and forced to stand in a corner.
Yes, the other girls were skilled. They smiled brightly and didn't get mad no matter what someone said or did. They smoothly conversed and complimented the men... And when the men tried to touch them, they would kindly grab that hand and prevent them from touching. Doing so, the men would try to win the girl's favor and splurged out on tip. There's no way I could do that. Louise frowned.
The family I was born to in this world is the Vallière family, who are nobles and mages. And what's more is that they are a duke family! If I go back to my territory, I'm a princess! Louise thought. Even if you told me the world will end tomorrow, I couldn't act that courtly towards them. What's more, in this embarrassing outfit......
Louise realized at that moment. She was in the same camisole outfit as yesterday. Even she thought that interiorly, she's not cute, but she was quite something on the outside. She scanned and found a mirror in the store. Then she made numerous poses in front of the mirror. She tried holding her thumb in her mouth and fidgeting.
Yep. These clothes are embarrassing, but I'm cute. A noble even if I rot. None of the girls here can match the nobility I let off. Right. Surely. Probably.
Maybe Saito is enchanted by my appearance, she thought and became happy. What, idiot? You're late to realize my charm. Surely he'll be like "aah, Louise is cute, amazing, aah, such a cute girl was beside me... I didn't realize it... Yet I was so engrossed with a maid... Having her wear a sailor outfit and twirling around... I regret it... This stupid dog is regretting it."
Hmph. Are you an idiot? Sure took you a long time to realize your master's charms. But you're just a familiar, so don't look at your master in that rude way. Go and polish my shoes or something! What? You can't. You can't touch your master. For a dog, where are you touching? But if you promise to serve me for the rest of your life, I'll let you do it for a little bit. But in return, kneel down on the ground. Kneel down on the ground and apologize for all of the times you slighted me. Got it?
Fantasizing that far, Louise covered her mouth to restrain her chuckling. Then looking sideways... she stole a glance at the kitchen thinking that he was entranced by her by now.
There! That stupid dog is washing dishes with that stupid look!
Indeed, Saito was intently observing the area that Louise was at while absent-mindedly washing the dishes. But... He was not looking at Louise. Louise followed his glance. What was there was a girl with long black hair that was rolling with laughter with a customer. It was Jessica.
Louise's pink-blond hair started surging.
Again, you and that. That black hair.
Observing Jessica even more, she followed his glance by milli-units. Jessica was wearing a tidy one-piece that opened at her big breasts. Saito's eyesight was homing into the cleavage that poked out of her one-piece.
Her breasts. Do you really love those apple-like things so much?
Why do dogs like breasts like those? Huh?!
"Hou~" Saito let out a sad sigh. Then with a spellbound face, he drew circles with his two hands as if measuring the circumference of Jessica's breasts. Something snapped inside Louise's mind, so for now, she decided to throw a nearby glass with all her might.
Directly hitting around his temple, Saito fell down in front of the sink.
"What are you doing?!"
The man whose own glass was thrown stood up and tried to grab Louise's shoulder. Louise raised her body by grabbing onto a table and serviced the man's face with the bottom of both of her shoes. It was a special, double-the-content service.
Looking back at Scarron who had went "Louise-chan" and rushed over, Louise firmly gripped her fists while trembling all over.
"That familiar... Just you watch. I'll give you some proper service!"
When Saito woke up... what was there were Jessica's big breasts. Thinking "What's this!", his mouth gaped open.
"Wah, you're finally conscious?"
Looking around, he realized he was lying on a bed.
"Where is this?"
Sitting on the chair in a way as to hug the chair's back, Jessica smiled.
"You fainted when a glass flew into your head."
"I see... What was that glass...?"
But it seemed Jessica had no interest in the glass.
"Hey, hey, I got it now."
"Louise. She's a noble, right?"
Saito started coughing violently.
"You don't have to play dumb. Papa has entrusted me with the management of the store's girls. My ability to discern girls is quite good. Geez, that Louise didn't even know how to carry dishes. Not only that, but her pride was oddly high. And that demeanor... probably a noble."
Saito embraced his head. I even had her wear a plain one-piece... It was completely obvious, wasn't it? What "hide your social status"? There was no hiding at all.
"Hanh! Her a noble? No way! She's so violent, rude, and has no gracefulness at all..."
"It's okay. I won't tell anyone. You have some kind of circumstance, right?"
Seeing Saito remain silent, Jessica smiled. This person really tended to be a mass of curiousity... She wanted to ask him, so she purposely brought him all the way over here.
"It's better if you don't stick your head in on this."
Saito said in a low voice. He wanted to scare her and make her not question him any further. But it didn't work on Jessica.
"Eh-! What's that? Something bad involved? Isn't that interesting?"
Leaning her body even further, she brought her face... breasts nearer. Why is her cleavage so emphasized, is the reason her clothes are bold compared to Siesta's because she's a town girl, and Saito's face started reddening, at which then Jessica put on a meaningful smile.
"What is it?"
"You've never gone out with a girl before, have you?"
"Wh-What? That's, you can't underestimate me or..."
It was a bulls-eye. She's pretty sharp about things... Then cold sweat started flowing.
"I understand it. I'm quite a sharp town girl, after all. It's really easy to figure out what's going on in country peoples' heads."
Being called a country person, Saito snapped a little. You know, in Tokyo, regardless about this Tristania, it isn't just some puny structure. You'd cry if you saw Tokyo Tower. Thinking that, he said back
"Who's a country person? I don't want to be told by some gay's daughter."
"That's mean. Even if he's like that, he's a kind papa. When my mother died, he said 'Well then, papa will also work in mama's place too...' "
"That très bien?"
"Well, we can put stuff about papa aside. Hey, what are you planning with that noble girl? You're not a noble, right? Her attendant?"
"I'm not her attendant."
Because Saito said rather sullenly, Jessica laughed complacently and grabbed Saito's hands.
"Do you want me to teach you about girls?"
Stiffening instantly, Saito looked at Jessica restlessly. This bar girl who knew quite well how to use her charms didn't miss Saito's instantaneous change.
"But, in return, tell me properly, okay? About just what you two are planning..."
Jessica took the hand of Saito's she had grabbed and brought it over to her cleavage. Saito was stupefied. Getting along with a girl from a bar. Isn't this an excellent way to gather information too? All kinds of customers visit bars. Rumors also gather here. People that are planning something might let their guard down to the girls and tell their secrets.
Making Jessica an ally here would probably be a plus to activities from now on.
Thinking that way, the moment when the feeling of warm skin got to his finger...
The door of Jessica's room was sent flying.
Saito sprung up. Louise, trembling while wearing her pure white camisole, stood there.
"What are you doing?"
Saito looked at his hand and drew it back in panic.
"Who's and what place's information are you gathering?"
While he panicked, Louise walked briskly into the room and kicked Saito's nether region from the front. Saito tumbled. Grabbed by the ankle, when he was about to be dragged off...
Jessica called and stopped Louise.
"Wait a moment, Louise."
"What happened to serving customers? Aren't you in the middle of work?"
Being called in such a casual way by a simple town girl, Louise started shaking, but it couldn't be helped right now.
"Just shut up! After I discipline th-this... stupid brother, I'll be right back!"
Saito had become Louise's brother here.
"Do you have that much free time? Even though you can't even get a single tip very well..."
"Th-that's not related."
"It does by a lot. That's because I was left with the management of the girls. Girls like you are a bother. You anger the regular customers, don't receive orders, throw glasses around, and pick fights."
Louise started to look displeased.
"Well, I guess it can't be helped. Brats like you can't work as a bar's fairy." Jessica said boringly.
"I'm not a brat. I'm sixteen."
"Eh? You were the same age as me?"
Jessica looked genuinely surprised at Louise.
Then she looked at Louise's breasts and then her own. Then she covered her mouth after making a quick laughing sound.
"Good luck then. Though I won't be expecting anything. But if you mess up any further, you're fired, got it?"
Louise snapped at Jessica's behavior.
"Wha-what... Stupid woman and their big breasts... Calling people a brat, or a child, or a weakling..."
Saito, still on the floor, inserted
"No, no one said weakling..."
Louise trampled that face flat. Saito moaned and fell quiet.
"I'll collect enough tips to build a castle."
"Eh~, really? I'm so happy!"
"Because when I try my best, I'm amazing. Those men will all turn around towards me."
"You said it, huh?"
"I said it. Who would lose to someone like you?"
Louise said while staring hatefully at Jessica's breasts. The stupid dog looked at those. The stupid dog thrust his hand there!
"Perfect timing. There's a tip race next week."
"That's right. It's a competition where the store's girls compete to see how many tips they can get. There's also a prize prepared for the winner."
"Doesn't that sound interesting?"
"Try your best. If you beat me in the tip race, I won't ever call you a brat again."
"Faeries! Finally, the awaited week has come!"
"Yes, Mi Mademoiselle!"
"Let's start the tip race with enthusiasm!"
Applause and cheering resounded through the store.
"Now then, as everyone knows... The establishment of this 'Charming Faeries' Inn dates back four-hundred years, during the reign of His Majesty, Henry III, also called Tristain Attraction King. His Majesty Henry III, known to be a peerlessly handsome man, was said to be the reincarnation of a fairy."
Scarron began to speak in an absorbed manner.
"One day, that king visited the city in secret. And then, amazingly, he set his foot in this unopened bar. At that time, the store's name was 'Eel's Bed' Inn, which didn't have a bit of appeal or anything at all. There, the king, how about it! Fell in love with a waitress girl he met there!"
Then Scarron shook his head sadly.
"But... a king should not fall in love with a girl from a bar... In the end, the king gave up on this love. Then... the king prepared a bustier and sent it to the girl as a memento of their love. My ancestors were greatly impressed by that love and changed the store's name, basing it on the bustier. What a beautiful story..."
"What a beautiful story! Mi mademoiselle!"
"That is this 'Charming Faeries' Bustier'!"
Emphatically, Scarron stripped off his outer garments and trousers. This time, Saito, who had been watching distantly, went "Ouue" and vomited. That was because Scarron was wearing a short and sexy, black bustier that fit his body perfectly.
"This 'Charming Faeries' Bustier' that the king sent to the girl he loved four-hundred years ago is my family's heirloom! This bustier has a magic that allows it to change its size depending on its wearer's constitution as well as the magic "Attraction" cast on it."
"It's wonderful! Mi mademoiselle!"
"Nnnn~! Très bien!"
Scarron posed with an ecstatic voice.
At that time... Surprisingly, the feeling "It's not too bad" rose up inside Saito. Good will towards Scarron... that type of feeling. Even though his appearance was that disgusting, wasn't it okay in its own way? Saito started feeling.
Saito then realized it. This was the identity of the "Attraction" magic! But Scarron's appearance in it was so much of a minus, the effect could only get to "It fits so-so".
I see. Because the wearer is Scarron, I only thought to that level. If a normal girl wore it... I might see her as a peerless beauty. Magic really is scary, Saito nodded.
Still posing, Scarron continued his speech.
"The fairy that wins the tip race that starts this week will be given the rights to wear this 'Charming Faeries' Bustier' for a da-y! Geez! I wonder how much tips one would get on the day she wears it! I get excited just thinking about it! And that's why everyone should try her best!"
"Yes! Mi mademoiselle!"
"Very good! Well then, everyone! Hold your glass!"
The girls held up their glasses all at once.
"To the tip race's success and business, prosperity and..."
There, Scarron cut off his words and stood up straight with a serious look after clearing his throat. And then, not in his usual feminine language, but in a proper middle-aged man's voice, he said, "a prayer to Her Majesty the Queen's health. Cheers."
And raised his wine cup.
Now then, the tip race started like this, but...
Because she thought that at this rate, she wouldn't get any tips, Louise decided to stop talking. Louise realized that she would anger the customer whenever she opened her mouth. That's why she decided to be as silent as she could. Deciding that, she was pouring wine for a certain customer when he talked to her. Success. It's a chance to get a tip.
"Hey, you, just for a bit. Show me your hand."
Louise put out her hand.
"I practice divination, so I'll divine for you."
The customer looked at Louise's palm and said this
"According to my divination, you... were born as a flour grinder. Am I right?"
How dare you compare the likes of a flour grinder to a noble like me? What a thing.
The man divined further.
"Oh! You're like that right? Got a guy you like?"
She thought of her familiar's face. She couldn't forgive herself for thinking that. I don't have one. Louise shook her head.
"No? You do, don't you?! Then I'll divine your compatibility with him... Wah! I'm surprised!"
The man tragically shook his head.
I know that even if you don't tell me. I know it too well. Besides, I don't like him in the first place.
Offended, Louise gave her thanks for the divination with her foot. To Louise, the person closest to her of the opposite sex was Saito. Her habit of treating Saito accidentally came out. Habits are scary.
"Wh-what's with you?! You brat!"
I'm not a brat. I'm sixteen. She wanted to respond, but firmly stayed quiet. I decided to stay quiet just a moment again, didn't I?
"Say something! You pipsqueak!"
I'm just slow to grow. What a mean thing to say.
Thinking to properly tell the customer her age, Louise kicked the customer's face up sixteen times. The guest was flattened.
Well, it was this way the whole time, so Louise didn't get any tips that day.
Louise shuddered that as a result of trying to remain silent, the number of times the sole of her foot would fly increased in place of her abusive language. It seemed the feelings she could not express out loud were said by her foot's sole instead.
On the next morning, Louise consulted with Saito on what to do. Saito proposed that to prevent her foot's sole from flying, Louise should take off her panties and do work, and was hit.
The second day.
Louise was careful to not let her foot fly.
To keep herself smiling no matter what someone said, she placed wire in her mouth and fixated her face into a smile. The fully prepared waitress Louise never stopped smiling. But... She didn't receive any tips. She held back and kept the bottom of her feet from flying, and she fixated her smile. But even then.
Wow, the problem came from her hand.
A customer took interest in the waitering Louise. It seems he liked her face.
"Oh, you're... a bit cute, aren't ya? Pour for me."
The man was satisfied with Louise's face, but soon realized a certain fault. Her chest. What's this. Completely flat. Unintentionally, teasing words came spilling out.
"What's with you? Don't tell me you're a boy? Well, your face is so-so though... Listen, let me teach you a trick. At least round up some cloths and stuff it in there. If you do that, you'll become number one here! Gahaha! Now pour some for me." By that man's words, her face's muscles started twitching, but her smile was safely fixated by the wire. At this rate, it was supposed to go well thanks to the wire.
But it wasn't so.
Louise had poured the wine onto the man's head.
"What are you doin'?!"
The man stood up. Louise, sensing danger to her body, slammed the wine bottle into his head.
The man crumbled to the floor so she did not have to pour for him anymore, but she didn't get any tips.
Like this, Louise was shocked that every time someone made fun of her breasts' size, her hand would move on its own and have the customer's head drink the wine.
On the next morning, Louise consulted with Saito. Saito proposed that to keep herself from letting the customers' head drink the wine, she should place the wine bottle in-between her breasts and pour.
The wine bottle will not physically reach the customer's head if her hands are positioned at her breasts. Plus, the pose is very enjoyable to the customer.
But Louise, thinking that he was saying something bad about her breasts' size, hit Saito.
The third day.
Louise was careful to keep her hands from moving. After she placed the wine on top of the table, she grouped her hands together behind her and smiled brightly. Even if she was told to pour something, all she did was smile.
"Pour me some."
She smiled brightly.
"I said pour me some."
She smiled brightly.
"I'm telling you to pour me some!"
She smiled brightly.
"What is up with you?!"
There was no way she would get a tip. When she consulted with Saito, he told her to hold it in her mouth while she poured it. Louise's mouth was small. A wine bottle couldn't fit in there. Looking carefully, Saito looked like he was sleepy. Just because you're sleepy doesn't mean you should say random things. And Louise hit Saito.
The fourth day.
The competition was half-way done. The number of tips so far was zero. As expected, Louise had gotten desperate. Louise waitered while taking caution of the sole of her foot, the position that she poured wine in, and her words.
"You seem unskilled, but your manners are oddly refined. You can have this."
Possibly because of her efforts, Louise got a gold coin for a tip from what seemed to be the first noble customer she had served.
"Re-really? Can I have this?"
"Aah. Take it."
Jumping up from happiness, she turned over a plate and spilt the food onto the customer's shirt.
Louise apologized, but the noble customer did not forgive her.
"You... This shirt was a gem made from silk that your wages could never pay for. What are you going to do about it?"
"I'm really sorry... Auu..."
"Well then, just what will you do about this?"
"I-I'll pay for it..."
"Hmph, then let's do this. I'll have you compensate for this with something you can do."
"What should I do?"
"Not much, just come to my room in the middle of the night."
"You understand what happens after that, right? You're not a child, right? A child."
"Wh-what does that mean?"
"I mean that you'll compensate quite a lot with your body. That's what I mean. Muhoho!"
Blood flew to Louise's head.
E, e-e, even though you're a noble, what a thing to do! The third daughter of a duke family became enraged. Don't even place the nobles near that lewdness. As Her Majesty's representative, I have to conclude and punish this disgrace of a noble.
"You disgrace! It's because people like you exist! The kingdom's authority! Authority! And my authority as well!"
"Wh-what are you doing? Uwah! Stop! Stop, I say!"
Her foot, words, and the wine flew out all at once.
"I'm returning this to you!"
She slapped the tip she finally got on his face.
Louise was called out by Scarron and was told to wash dishes all day tomorrow as punishment. Louise was very irritated and decided to hit Saito.
The fifth day... While Louise was washing dishes with Saito, Jessica came up to them.
"How are you doing? Ojou-sama, I've collected one-hundred and twenty écus so far."
"Isn't that amazing?"
Louise replied sullenly.
"You won't get any tips while washing dishes."
"I know that."
Louise said while washing the dishes amateurishly.
"Sheesh. You can't even wash a dish properly?"
Jessica complained while looking at the dish Louise had washed.
"...I am properly washing the dishes, you know."
"See, there is still oil remaining. You don't call this washed."
Jessica took the plate from Louise and cleaned it up with quick hand movements. Louise watched her in an offended way.
Jessica glared at Louise.
"Someone's teaching you. What's with that attitude?"
Saito watched over the two's exchange with a surprised look.
"When someone's teaching you something, it's 'thank you' right? It's the basics, the basics."
"Geez, it's because you make that face that you don't get any tips. Tomorrow's the last day, got it? Get it together, Ojou-sama."
Leaving that said, Jessica disappeared back to the bar. Louise hung her head dejectedly.
As the day headed toward morning...
Louise, after washing dishes through the night, looked at her own hands and sighed. Louise's fingers that had never washed anything before had become bright red due to unaccustomed kitchen work and were hurting thanks to the cold water and soap.
Why do I have to do something like this? She thought. Even though she herself was a noble, she had to wash dishes... Having to serve all of those commoners...
Plus, a bar girl talked so impertinently to me......
"No more." Louise muttered. Whether it's information gathering or whatever, this isn't my job. I'm a legend. I'm the user of Void, you know. Yet why do I have to be a waitress at a bar? Shouldn't, like, a more showy mission be waiting for me?
Thinking like that, tears felt like pouring out from the sadness. Opening a board of the floor, Saito poked his head out from downstairs so Louise crawled into the bed. She didn't want him to see her crying.
"Here, some food."
Saito called out to Louise, placing a plate filled with stew on the table. But Louise just answered tiredly from inside the bed.
"I don't need it."
"There's no way you don't need it. You won't hold up if you don't eat."
"It's not tasty."
"Even if you say it's not tasty, there is nothing else to eat so there's no helping it."
Even then, Louise wrapped herself in the blanket and didn't come out of the bed. Saito approached the bed and pulled off the blanket. Louise was crouching inside the futon in her pajamas.
"Eat. Your body will break down."
"My hands hurt. I can't hold up a spoon."
Louise whined like a child. Seeing that it was no use, Saito scooped up the stew with the spoon and carried it to Louise's mouth.
"Then, here, I'll feed you. Eat. Okay?"
Louise finally took a sip. Tears poured out from her eyes.
"I don't want this anymore. I'm going back to the academy."
"What about the mission?"
"Don't care. This isn't my mission."
Saito withdrew the spoon and looked at Louise.
"Do you have any motivation at all?"
"Princess-sama entrusted you with this job because she trusted you, right? Blend in with commoners and gather information. Because if she used someone from the royal court, she'd be denied... She couldn't depend on anyone so she depended on you, right?"
"Yet what's with you. You lost all of our money in the gambling area because you got pissed off, and you drag along your noble's pride here and can't get a single tip. You also anger the customers. Not even close to information gathering."
"Just shut up. But what does that mission have to do with stupid dish washing and serving? I want to do bigger jobs. No more of this. Why does a noble like me..."
Saito grabbed Louise's shoulders and turned her to face him.
"Guess what, Ojou-sama? Everyone's working. They're trying their best at this job you call stupid and eating this meal. Only you nobles play around and have people feed you."
Saito said in a serious voice. Louise, fearing the cold anger in his eyes, looked downwards without thinking.
"I can't say too many cocky things because I was raised similar to you, but after coming here, I've suffered in many ways and understand. That it is pretty troublesome just to live."
Somehow not being able to say anything back, Louise remained silent. Saito continued his words.
"I don't understand too well, but perhaps people that concern themselves about their stupid pride so much can't do big jobs? I think so anyways. Well, if you tell me to quit, I'll quit. I don't really care either way. Because it's not my job after all." Louise closed her mouth quietly.
"You don't want it anymore?"
Saito asked, sticking out the spoon. Louise jumped out of bed, took the spoon from Saito, and started devouring the stew.
Saito spread out his hands, turned his head, and took out something. It was a small ceramics case.
"....What is that?"
"Cream that works on water-chapped skin. Jessica gave it to me."
Then Saito told Louise to extend her hand. Louise did so obediently.
Louise looked guiltily at Saito's face while he smeared the cream, but... soon muttered in a small voice.
"I'll serve. I'll wash the dishes. Is this fine?"
"Yeah, that's fine." Saito said in a relieved voice.
"But, are you okay?"
"Is this okay?"
Louise blushed and said in a displeased voice.
"Serving is fine. I'll even say a word of courtesy. But..."
"I-is it fine if customers touch your master all over?"
Saito firmly fell silent.
"Hey. What about it? Don't say such selfish things and properly answer if it is okay or bad."
Saito began to eat the stew quietly.
"I said hey. Which one is it? Say it."
Louise asked while pulling on Saito's ear. Looking heavily at the stew, Saito murmured
"...I-if you allowed that kind of touching, I'd slap 'em."
"Who would you slap?"
Louise looked sharply into Saito's eyes.
"Why? The master is going to be slapped by the familiar, so explain the reason."
Looking to the side, Saito said dully
"I-I'll forgive holding hands though."
"What's with that?"
Louise sent Saito flying.
"What's with 'I'll forgive hands'?! I'm asking you for the reason for slapping me! Idiot!"
"Besides, what do you mean by 'forgive'? Acting so proudly. Whether I hold hands or do whatever isn't decided by you. It's me, me! Hmph!"
Louise combed up her pink-blond hair and put on a composed expression. She grouped her arms together.
"Fine. Was it that 'Charming Faeries' Bustier'? I'll wear that and charm all of the customers. Yeah, for the sake of tips. I'll forgive. Not just my hand..."
Saito jumped up and shouted at Louise.
"Don't joke around!"
Louise turned her head around and crawled back into the bed. Right then, Saito managed to get himself back under control and shook his head.
"Well, the 'Charming Faeries' Bustier' is impossible. It's the victory prize. Right now, you're probably the last place on tips."
Louise did not reply.
Becoming worried, Saito asked.
"...Would you really forgive them? Putting the tip race victory aside, are you that determined? Isn't that a bit extreme? Come on."
Louise did not answer back.
"Hey, are you really going to?"
In an almost crying voice, Saito persistently asked Louise. But, "Shut up! I'm going to sleep!" Louise shouted... and Saito down-heartedly crawled into bed.
The final day of the tip race had come. On the evening of that day, Scarron announced the progress so far.
"Now I will now announce the current top three! First is third place! Marlene-chan! Eighty-four écus, fifty-two sous, and six deniers!"
Applause resounded. The blond girl called Marlene gave an elegant bow.
"Second place! Jeanne-chan! Ninety-eight écus, sixty-five sous, and three deniers!"
Applause once again. The chestnut-haired girl called Jeanne smiled and nodded.
"And then... First place!"
Scarron slowly scanned over the girls and nodded repeatedly.
"Without match, my daughter! Jessica! One-hundred-sixty écus, seventy sous, and eight deniers!"
"Wahhhhhh!" As cheers of joy rang out. Jessica, wearing a suggestive dress with a profound slit that was prepared for this day, bowed.
"Now! Whether you cry or laugh, today is the last day! But today is the day of daeg in the week of teuz! Because it is the end of the month, lots of customers will come! If you try hard, you might get lots of tips. The top places are still in range!"
"Yes! Mi mademoiselleー"
Saito poked the serious-looking Louise. Louise had the type of face that said she had resolved to something.
"How much do you have?"
Without answering, Louise opened her tightly gripped fist. What was there... were several glittering copper coins.
Saito stroked his chest down. With that, victory was impossible even if Louise tried her very best.
Louise's words "If I obtain the Charming Faeries' Bustier, I'd charm the customers and forgive everything" were still bothering him even now.
What is "forgive everything"?! What do you mean?! Even though, I... I haven't even done anything! Though it's not like I have the right to do so. Not at all though.
After all, I'm just a familiar......
'I want her to try her best, but not to that level' was the type of convenient emotion that ran through Saito.
Scarron shouted in a loud voice.
"Then let's do this with enthusiasm!"
Cheering filled with all kinds of feelings resounded through the store.
Now then... Louise was a bit different this day. She took out the wire that fixed her smile and revealed a natural smile.
She would smile brightly and then fidget embarrassedly. Doing so, the customer would ask.
"Is there something wrong?"
Louise would nibble her thumb and continue fidgeting. And then as if saying something really difficult to say,
"Well, Mr. customer, because you're so wonderful..." She would try hard and mutter.
But the customer himself seemed to be used to that level of flattery. Without moving, he held out his wine cup. Here, Louise would unleash her finishing move.
Pinching the hem of her camisole, she bowed gracefully. As expected of a duke family, she did it perfectly. The bow, which was done as if in front of a king, was filled with the spirit of a noble. None of the girls there could imitate such a manner.
Doing so, the customer would become interested in Louise's background. I see. When I get a better look, her features are quite similar to a noble's.
"You were born in the upper class, right?"
Even then, Louise would not cease showing embarrassment. Then sorrowfully and with melancholy, she looked outside. The man became more and more enchanted at Louise's refined behavior. Bending himself forward, he spoke his expectations.
"Did you serve at some noble's house? They taught you good etiquette there, right?" Louise continued to smile brightly. The delusions inside the customer started to become as overexaggerated as he pleased.
"If a cute and quiet girl like you served them, it probably didn't end there. Not just etiquette, but those type of things and these type of things... were forcibly trained into you, perhaps?"
Louise gave a graceful bow. Louise's only weapons were that smile and the bow.
"Kuh! What a cruel story! A cute girl like you... But how did a servant like you come to work at this store... I see! I got it! You got tired of that forcible master who was trying to get you to do those type of things and these type of things and ran out of the mansion, right? But the debt left behind by your parents still remains. To return the money, you're desperately working. Something like that, right?!"
Louise smiled while looking at the customer. Being gazed at like that by Louise's jewel-like reddish-brown eyes, the customer, as if enchanted by some spell, wanted to loosen the string on his wallet.
"What a poor child. Hmm, then use this to help repay your debt. By the way, well, those type of things and these type of things... are what kind of things? Please tell me. Okay?"
The customer, who believed in his own delusions because of Louise's demeanor, would give Louise silver and gold coins. The moment she got it, she ran at full speed back into the kitchen, squatted, and let out a rough breath. Her forcing herself to be courteous and her act that caught people's sympathy felt like leprosy, so Louise decided to hit Saito, who was washing dishes, for now. Doing so, she felt a bit refreshed. Then she rushed back to the table.
Afterwards, it was time for her "job". It was the information gathering entrusted to her by Princess-sama. She didn't want to lose at the tip race, but this job was more important.
Sitting beside the customer, she asked
"Geez, they say it's a war. You'd get tired of this..."
"Pretty much so. They behold her as a "holy woman", but how about the government!"
"What does that mean?"
"I'm saying that that ignorant princess can't govern this country!"
He was insulting Henrietta, but she firmly endured it. She had to hear all kinds of stories from him.
"Like that battle in Tarbes... it was like we won by chance! I'm not so sure about next time!"
"Is that so..."
Just like that, Louise slowly collected the rumors in the town. The drunkards liked to discuss about the situations in the world. When Louise brought up the subject to interest them, they would start criticizing the government as if they were waiting for her to ask. The drunkards would talk about the government as if they had become a cabinet minister.
"Besides, it’d be better for the country if Albion governed us, right?"
If such an outrageous opinion was said,
"I'm saying we should hurry up and attack Albion!" such a brave opinion would jump out.
"There's a rumor that the army will be strengthened! The taxes will increase again! They've got to be kidding us!"
said this and,
"Can the current armaments protect the country? I wish they'd hurry and organize the armada!" a completely opposite opinion comes up.
Anyways... putting it together, the popularity Henrietta received for defeating Albion at the battle of Terbes seemed to have started to darken.
'The war remains unfinished... Looks like the depression will continue. Henrietta is young. Can she guide this country well from now on?' Was the anxiety everyone was feeling.
It's probably a painful story to Henrietta, but I have to properly report to her... Louise thought.
Like that, Louise started collecting tips and information but...
Jessica's tip collecting was simply unmatchable.
Anyway, Jessica was good at making customers think "She has fallen for me."
Louise started to observe how Jessica did things. If you do not know the enemy, you cannot win the fight.
Jessica would first act cold to the customer she chose.
She placed the food in front of the customer while looking angry. The customer was surprised at that attitude.
"Hey, what's this, Jessica? Aren't you in a bad mood?"
Jessica glared at the customer with cold eyes.
"Who were you talking to earlier?"
Whether you call it a skill or otherwise, that jealousy was godly. After all, it really looked like she was jealous. At that moment, the customer misunderstood and thought that she was in love with him and currently very jealous.
"Wh-what... Cheer up."
"It's nothing... You like that girl, right?"
"Stupid! The one I love the most is you! Come on..."
He said and tried to hand over a tip. But Jessica brushed away that money.
"It's not money! What I want are kind words! What you said before... was that a lie? I was really serious! What?! I don't care anymore!"
"There's no way that was a lie."
The man became desperate and tried to soothe Jessica.
"Please cheer up... You're the only one for me. Okay?"
"You say that to everyone. Just because you're a bit popular with girls..."
No matter how you looked, the man did not have a popular face. Usually, he would not believe such flattery. But condemning words were coming out of Jessica's mouth. In a way that seemed as if she did so unintentionally. The man was completely tricked.
"I'm not popular! Really!"
"You're right. The only one who would think to kiss your lips is me."
"That's right. Very much so!"
"Hau... But I'm tired."
"You know, right now, we're doing this stupid race called a tip race. I don't really care about tips but... I'd get scolded if I only get a small amount."
"If it's tips, I'll give you some."
"It's okay! You give me kind words, so it's okay! In exchange, I'll get mad at you if you say the same thing to other girls, got it?"
Then she looked upwards at him. With this, the man was completely defeated.
"Hah... But it is really tiring to give flattery for the sake of tips... Because honestly revealing your feelings to the person you love and flattery are different..."
"I understand. I'll give you this, so don't go sucking up to other people. Okay?"
"I said it's fine! I don't need it!"
"It's my feelings. My feelings."
The man made the refusing Jessica take the tip. "Thank you" Jessica whispered embarrassedly and grasped the man's hand. The man then tried to get that Jessica into going on a date with him.
"Then, today, when the store's closed..."
"Ah! This isn't good! The food will burn!"
After she got what she wanted, there was no need for him anymore. Jessica stood up.
"Let's talk again later sometime! Don't look at other girls amorously!"
Turning her back on the man, Jessica stuck out her tongue. Everything was just acting.
After Jessica left, the customer turned to his friends and went, "Iyah, getting jealous like that..."
Louise was completely impressed. The truly fearsome techniques of a town girl that made Kirche look like a child.
Her coaxing ability, that would make people wonder how many ways she had for showing jealousy, allowed her to collect tips as if she swept them up with a broom.
Jessica wasn't really outstandingly beautiful. But... she was at the border of the line that made men think "At this level, maybe even I can do something." These type of girls tend to be more popular in the world compared to the people that were peerlessly beautiful.
Louise, who had been observing, met eyes with Jessica. Jessica grinned and showed Louise her placing the tip in between her cleavage.
Probably, even if she didn't gamble, Saito would have become penniless, Louise thought. If that town girl knew he had money, no one would know just what she would do. And that stupid familiar... would be rolled up and sun-dried in no time.
She thought of Siesta's face.
She thought of Jessica's face.
She thought of Saito's face as he looked at the two's cleavages.
Like I'll lose. Louise firmly squeezed her fist... puffed up her flat chest, and triumphantly rose up on her feet.
While the girls were competing for the number of tips like that...
The feather door opened, and a new group of customers appeared. At the head was a middle-aged man who was wearing a mantle that meant he was a noble. He seemed to be growing fat, and thinning hair was stuck on his smooth forehead. The ones with him seemed to be lower class nobles. They had rapier-like wands hung on their hips, and there were some nobles wearing military uniforms mixed in.
When the noble entered, everything in the store fell silent. Scarron quickly rushed over to the new guest while rubbing his hands together.
"If it isn't Chulenne-sama. Welcome to the 'Charming Faeries' Inn."
The noble called Chulenne twisted his catfish-like mustache and bent it backwards.
"Hmm. Cough. The store seems to be flourishing, huh, shop manager?"
"No, no. Not at all. It's just a coincidence today. Usually, the only thing that happens is the cuckoo sounding. I was soon going to consult with my daughter about visiting the temple tomorrow to get permission to save my neck. Yes."
"What, it isn't a job today. You don't have to make such excuses."
Sorrily, Scarron continued his words.
"It's just my words, Chulenne-sama, but as you can see, the store is fully occupied today..."
"I do not see such a thing though?"
When Chulenne exaggerated like that, the nobles that followed him pulled out their wands. The customers, afraid of the nobles' shining wands, woke from their drunkenness, stood up, and disappeared out of the entrance at full speed. The store became empty at once.
"It seems that speaking of a cuckoo was true after all."
His belly quivering, Chulenne's party reached the seat in the middle.
When Saito realized it, Jessica was beside him, looking frustratingly at Chulenne.
"Who is that guy?"
When Saito asked that, Jessica explained angrily.
"Chulenne, the tax collector around here. Just like that, he comes to the stores under his jurisdiction and swarms around us. A horrible person! He won't even pay a single copper coin."
"Is that how it is..."
"Swaggering like that just because he's a noble. If you displease him, he'll place an outrageous tax on you and bankrupt your store, so everyone is listening to what he says."
It seemed that in any world, there are people who abuse their power and extort off the common people. No one came to serve him, so Chulenne became irritated. In time, he started complaining.
"Oh! This store seems to be making quite the profit! Isn't this wine a well-cured sake from Gronyu? The clothes that girl is wearing are tailored by Gallia! I guess I have to look over this year's tax rates."
The surrounding nobles went "That's right!" or nodded in agreement to Chulenne.
"Is there not a girl who will pour alcohol for Her Majesty the Queen's tax collector?! This store at least sells that, right?!"
Chulenne shouted. But, none of the store's girls approached him.
"Who would pour for you, when you won't hand over a single tip no matter how much you touch us?"
When Jessica muttered that detestably......
A small shadow wearing a white camisole approached him while carrying a tray with wine placed on it.
It was Louise.
She had many faults... one of them was "not being able to read the mood". Her head was so full of "working hard as a waitress" that she didn't bother to understand the atmosphere around the customers and the store.
"What? Who are you?"
Chulenne looked suspiciously at Louise. Smiling, Louise left the wine in front of Chulenne.
"Th-that idiot..." Saito murmured in shock while looking at her worriedly
"Mister... you're so dreamy."
Acting as if following a manual, Louise, unable to read the mood, complimented him. But, it seemed Chulenne didn't find Louise to his tastes.
"What's this?! The store is using children?!"
Without moving, Louise held her camisole and bowed. That was all she could do.
"Now, go away, go away. I have no need for children. Off with you."
Saito saw Louise's temple twitch. It seemed she was angry. Saito prayed. Louise, don't snap! That guy's too dangerous!
"Oh, looking closer, you're not a kid... just a girl with small breasts."
Louise's face went pale. Her legs started to tremble slowly. Chulenne's face twisted with lust.
And then... extended his hands out towards Louise's small breasts.
"Now, how about this Chulenne-sama checks and see just how big they are."
At that moment...
The sole of a foot exploded onto Chulenne's face.
Toppling the chair, Chulenne rolled backwards.
"Wha, why you!"
The surrounding nobles pulled out their wands all at once.
In the front... was the silhouette of a boy who's shoulders were shaking with anger.
Louise looked at the back of Saito, who had stood up to protect her. While looking at that back.... something hot filled her chest that had been shaking with anger.
As expected, Saito couldn't endure it anymore. Louise is trying her best, isn't she? My master doesn't have breasts, but she's cute, right? That Louise tried hard to compliment you, and what do you do? Just complain!
Well, complaining is fine. I say some at times too. It's Louise, so there's no helping that.
There is one thing I can't forgive.
"Hey, old man, cut it out already."
"Da-damn you... To a noble's face, you..."
"Whether they're a noble, a prince, or a god... I definitely won't allow them to do it. It's my own special privilege. Who cares about nobles?! The only one that can touch Louise is me!"
Without thinking, Louise blushed. Even though you're just a familiar, what kind of conceited things are you saying?! You don't have that right either! She tried to say, but... for some reason, those words did not come out. Her brain was growing blank, as if being boiled. Even with the situation around her like it was, Louise ended up spacing out.
"Seize those people! I'll have them hanged!"
Chulenne's subordinates surrounded Saito.
Saito slowly looked around him.
"Who's going to catch who? Unfortunately for you, I..."
"Fortunately or unfortunately, I received this thing called a legendary power..."
Muttering that, he turned his hand to his back. And... realized that Derflinger, who was supposed to be there, wasn't there.
Troubled, Saito scratched his head.
"That's right... I left the legend in the attic... After all, it would be only a bother while washing dishes."
"Seize him and that washboard girl!"
The nobles brandished their wands.
But there was no time out. The enraged nobles chanted their spells. A small rope appeared like a tornado, and the moment it tried to wrap around Saito...
A pure white light flashed through the store and blew the armed nobles all the way to the entrance.
After the light slowly disappeared... Louise appeared, having raised herself to full height on top of a table. The attack was Louise's "Void" spell, 'Explosion'.
Her whole body shaking with anger, her favorite, inherited wand was glittering in her hand. Louise had tied it to her thigh and hidden it, just in case something happened.
Confused, the nobles fell into panic.
Louise muttered in a small voice.
"...Washboard wasn't necessary, was it?"
Her rarely attained happy mood was blown away with that single statement. She recalled a lot of her dark past with that single word "washboard". She thought of Jessica's and Siesta's cleavages in her mind.
It's too much. For you to say something like that when someone finally goes to serve you.
The intensity of the legend... "Void's" intensity frightened the nobles.
"Why do you have to go so far and say those things? Isn't it too much for you to call me a washboard when I came to pour you some alcohol? You better prepare yourself!"
The nobles scrambled to escape.
Without moving, Louise waved her wand.
The ground in front of the entrance was annihilated, creating a large hole. The nobles all dropped into it nicely.
Those nobles piled onto each other and looked up. Louise slowly appeared, and the nobles started trembling even more.
"Wh-what are you? Who are you? From which renowned mage?!"
Chulenne, while trembling, asked Louise. He had never seen or heard of that light that blew people away.
Without answering, Louise took out the permit she got from Henrietta and thrust it in Chulenne's face.
"...H-H-Her Majesty's permit?"
"I am Her Majesty the Queen's court lady, and the third daughter of an esteemed family lineage that boasts of a righteous history. I have no name to tell some petty official like you."
"I-I-I'm very sorry!"
Chulenne bent his fattened body and forcibly bowed in the hole. The nobles that got pushed by him let out moans.
Louise stood up.
"Spare me! At least my life!"
Saying that, Chulenne rummaged through his body and threw his entire wallet to Louise. He urged the nobles around him, and had them do the same and present their wallets to Louise.
"With these! Ignore what has happened! I beg of you!"
Without even looking at the wallets, Louise declared.
"Forget everything you've seen and heard today. Otherwise, no matter how many lives you have, it won't be enough."
"Yes! I swear! I swear to Her Majesty and the Founder that I will not reveal what has happened today to anyone!"
While yelling that, he got out of the hole in a tumbling manner, and Chulenne and his men disappeared into the darkness of the night.
Louise gallantly returned back inside the store. Earsplitting applause assaulted Louise.
"That was amazing! Louise-chan!"
"Couldn't get enough of that look on Chulenne's face!"
"I feel refreshed! That was great!"
Scarron, Jessica, and the store's girls surrounded Louise all at once.
There, Louise returned to her senses, though "Now I've done it...", and hung her head in shame. She had lost it when she was called a washboard. Saito was about to get caught, so she chanted the spell without thinking.
Saito approached her and whispered to her
"...Idiot! You shouldn't use magic, right?!"
"Sheesh... Hah, good grief...... Now we have to start back from zero..."
Scarron patted Louise's and Saito's shoulders.
"I knew Louise-chan was a noble beforehand."
Saito glared at Jessica. Panicking, Jessica waved her hands in front of her face to tell him "I didn't say anything."
Louise asked while dumbfounded.
"Because, well, that is..."
The store's girls took over for Scarron.
"It was completely obvious from your attitude and behavior!"
Uu, so that's it... Louise thought, feeling disheartened.
"Just how many years do you think we've been running this bar? My eye for discerning people is top class. But you have circumstances right? Relax. There isn't a girl here that would expose a co-worker's past's secrets."
The girls all nodded at once.
I see. Saito thought. Jessica wasn't the only sharp one here.
"The girls here all are pretty accepting. That's why you can relax... Continue earning tips from now on, okay?"
Louise nodded. Saito felt relieved.
Clapping his hands together, Scarron said in a cheerful voice
"Now! All of the customers have gone home now, so I will announce the results of the tip race."
Cheering voices erupted.
"Well, there is no need to count, right?"
Scarron said after looking at the wallets Chulenne and his men left on the ground.
Looking at the wallets, Louise realized what he meant. Inside... a large amount of money was stuffed there.
"Eh? This is..."
Scarron said and winked an eye. Then he seized her hand and raised it up.
Applause resounded through the store.
The evening of the next day... Louise did not come out of her bed.
"Hey, let's go to work."
"I'm resting today."
Saito looked blankly at her. Then he rethought. Well, it's been a while since she used magic, so she's probably tired. I guess it's fine if she rests today.
"Got it. Tell me when you are feeling bad."
The winning prize, "Charming Faeries' Bustier", was hung on the wall. Even though it was a prize... she could only wear it today. Well, it was an heirloom after all.
Descending the stairs, Scarron came up to him.
"Oh? What happened to Louise-chan?"
"It seems she plans to rest for the day."
"My... No way, what a waste..."
"Why is that?"
"Because, she can only wear the 'Charming Faeries' Bustier' today. I'm going to have her return it tomorrow."
"Guess that's true."
"If you wear that, you can get as many tips as you want... What a waste, what a waste."
Murmuring that, Scarron disappeared into the store, which was starting to get tumultuous.
Saito went to his dish-washing, unable to make sense of what was going on.
After working hard and finishing his job, Saito returned to the attic. Looking up from the corridor... light was leaking through the room's floorboards. It seemed that Louise was still awake.
What's with her... Even though she said she was tired and was going to rest, she isn't sleeping at all. She should have just wore the bustier and earned some money in this case.
Pushing the attic's floorboard up, Saito poked his head up. Instantly, astonishment.
The room had been swept clean, and it seemed a dust cloth had been used since not a bit of dust fluttered about. The piled up junk had been placed in one spot, and the room had been adjusted so it actually looked like someone could possibly live there.
“I did it. It’s disgusting to live in a dirty place all of the time.”
Facing her voice, Saito became even more astonished.
Food and wine had been lined up on top of the table... and a candle was illuminating it.
And that light... was also shining on Saito's beautifully dressed master.
Saito swallowed his saliva. The fatigue from the day's manual labor started to fly away.
Louise was sitting on a chair beside the table. Crossing her legs, her hair had been done with a barrette just like some time before. And... Her divine appearance also included the "Charming Faeries' Bustier". The black bustier made Louise's beauty even more prominent.
Gaping, Saito just stared at her.
"How long do you intend to put on that stupid expression? Come on, let us eat." Louise said in an awkward tone. A feast had been lined up on the table.
"What is this?!"
"I made those."
Saito stared at Louise, who seemed to be embarrassed.
"I had Jessica teach me."
Looking at Louise, who blushed and said that, Saito's heart throbbing intensified. The line of the center of her upper body became a mesh, allowing her white skin to peak through. The black bustier fitted her perfectly, making her body's lines more pronounced. The considerably short-lengthed pannier was overturned around her waist at an apologetic level. It looked more erotic than her naked.
Saito unintentionally averted his eyes. He felt like he'd go crazy if he stared at her. Whether he felt he'd go crazy because he had already been in love with her, or if it was because of the "Attraction" magic that was cast on the bustier, Saito did not know, but... there was one certain thing.
It was charming.
But without being able to say that, Saito spoke in an angry voice.
"...Weren't you going to wear that and service the customers to your heart's content?"
"If I let them touch, you would slap me, right?"
Louise replied in a pouting manner.
"Well, let's eat."
Saito nodded, and began to eat the food Louise made. But... blood had rushed to his head and prevented him from figuring out the taste. This was probably bad. But, either way was fine. Louise made it. That was progress.
"How is the taste?"
"I-isn't it delicious?"
Saito answered in a manner to avoid the main point.
"I cleaned up the room. How is it?"
"Whew, it's quite something."
"But, how about, me?"
Leaning on her elbow, Louise leaned and peered at Saito.
The light of morning plunged in through the skylight. The morning light covered the attic, invigorating it. He had firmly shut his mouth up until now, but Saito finally thought up some words.
"...At least compliment me with a different word."
Louise sighed. Is an attraction magic really cast on this? What? Even though I was thinking of having him treat me kindly. His attitude is the same as ever. As if he is mad, as if he is troubled, that kind of attitude.
Boring. I thought he would court me like an idiot if I wore this. Then I would treat him as coldly as possible. It's too late to realize how charming your master is! What, you idiot? Don't touch me. But, yeah, when you said "The only one that can touch Louise is me!", I was a bit happy for some reason, so I'll allow a little bit. But, a little. Only a little, got it?
Even though she imagined that, despite her spending the whole day to prepare, Saito only looked elsewhere.
How boring Louise thought sourly.
In the end, Louise never realized it.
Saito had been madly in love with her since a long time ago... so, that "Attraction" magic was already meaningless.
|Back to Novel Illustrations||Return to Main Page||Forward to Story 2|