39: New Encounter
I woke up early before the sun rose and helped out at the dining hall.
It was still chilly in the early mornings.
Yesterday, I went with Bobles-san to a place called the Coolden Garrison Office and received a permit that allowed me to ‘go in and out of the guard building’.
When I first met Bobles-san, I was in a small room on the left of the building, but now I enter through the front door after the bells ring.
“I decided to hire you so go get your permit straight away.”
Although Bobles-san was amazing, but there was no way they would issue a permit to an unidentified girl with just a, “Oh, is that so?” because this was the guards’ building… The permit was issued when I used my trump card, well, the introductory letter from the Thousand House. Even so, Bobles-san used really strong words against the soldier. He looked like a really exceptional person.
This morning the gatekeeper didn’t stop me with his spear and I was able to pass without any problems when I showed him my permit.
Still, the only places I could enter with this permit was the first floor of the building in front of the gate and the dining hall; the so called front yard part.
People returned my greetings. There seemed to be less people working right now than at dinner time.
The dining hall opened at 7 o’clock so we had to move efficiently. There was no time. People were kneading bread and boiling water; everyone was doing what they were appointed to do.
I, who was bad with knives, washed the vegetables and dishes.
I greeted the guards who came to eat breakfast while working in the kitchen.
There were some who were still dazed from being sleepy and there were some people who had finished morning training or voluntary practices and had vapour evaporating from their bodies. They had a hard time since morning.
This dining hall provided basic self-service facilities. People could have seconds if they wanted to. Bread, eggs, ham, salad, fruits and soups were all lined up for people to take.
They were surprised when I scooped out soup for them.
“Oh, you’re here in the mornings too?”
“Yes, you seem to be working very hard today.”
“The food is great!”
I really appreciated it when they said that they could feel great all day from meeting me.
(They’re all unexpectedly good at flattering people.)
“Ayesha, you’re smiling. Everyone’s gonna eat more now.”
On the contrary, I felt like something inside of me had decreased. I get to eat for free so I couldn’t retort back.
I worked hard in the mornings and evenings at the dining hall and spent the afternoon embroidering scarves. I went to Bobles-san’s house during my free time and was enjoying my new life to the fullest.
No one looked down on me.
Rather, a lot of people liked me.
I wasn’t ignored and people often called out to me.
They were probably curious about my existence. If I’m treated with kindness then I must return that kindness. I am who I am today because I do my work properly.
I didn’t know that Bobles-san was staring at me warmly while my mind drifted with random thoughts.
When I got used to doing odd jobs at the dining hall, I started walking around the front garden more to think of embroidery designs.
A lot of plants and trees were planted on the lawn. It was a clear day and it was nice to walk under the sun.
Among the trees was the cherry blossom tree I saw on my first day at the guards’ building.
The buds of the tree had already began to blossom.
It looked like a white outline when I saw it from affair, but now it was slightly dyed pink. But if I looked closer, then I could see that there were still some white buds on the tree.
Furthermore, on an even closer look, there were cherry blossoms there too.
I sketched the flower and bud into a sketchbook that I carried around. I wanted to capture its most beautiful appearance.
I focused on sketching, tiptoeing to see the lowest branch I could find.
“What are you doing?”
I heard a really beautiful voice from above me, sending chills down my spine.
I did something that a noble daughter wouldn’t do. I bent my back and looked up at the sky and saw someone behind the thin branches… It would really suit him if the petals were falling.
He had jet-black hair like a woman’s and it was neat. He had almond eyes and deep violet pupils, it was the colour of wine. His eyebrows were shaped perfectly and they made me angry… Do I look like a suspicious person?
I straightened my posture and stood in front of him.
He looked like a handsome but serious man. He had a large emblem and gold braids on his uniform. It’s someone I’ve never meet before.
I showed him my sketch and explained it to him.
“I’m sketching the cherry blossoms to use them as a design for embroidery. My name is Ayesha Org. I started working at the dining hall 3 days ago. I had free time today so I thought I would sketch something.”
“I’m Dick Eigorn, the vice-captain of the guards here in Coolden. It’s the first time we’ve met, isn’t it? You can call me Dick. Nice to meet you.”
From his features, he must be a noble? I thought but when I went over the noble almanac in my head there was no Eigorn House listed there. He must be really good if he made it to vice-captain without being a noble. He was definitely smart, because his eyes are sharp, you know? Just like Roborto-sama’s.
I smiled and bowed, “It’s nice to meet you.”
A high pitched sound could be heard after we faced each other. We heard the sound coming from everywhere.
“An unexpected guest, is it?”
Dick clicked his tongue and whispered.