82: Good Listener
The day after returning from Most Dark, I decided not to go to the Royal Palace so that I could change my mood and instead chose to spend my day off as I liked.
I already feel tired.
“I’ll definitely feel better if I go to Hen Inn and see Ada-san. Taking a bath also sounds good.”
I walked down the familiar road to Hen Inn as my ponytail swung side to side. I went to bed early yesterday and woke up late this morning, so my fatigue was utterly gone. But, I missed breakfast at the dining hall. Instead, I bought a fruit platter from a stall and ate it with my hands.
When I entered Hen Inn, breakfast had already finished, and most of the guests had already left; the only sounds in the restaurant were the sounds of cleaning.
The Master stared at me in silence from behind the counter. Is there something on my face? I feel like he’s staring at me more than usual.
“Hello? What time will Ada-san be at work today?”
“She’s on the late shift.”
Hmm, so in the afternoon? Then I’ll take a bath in the meantime. I said, “I’ll be back,” and left Hen Inn.
There was a famous bath house which I found when I walked around town before; they had a big bathtub and apparently a lot of men and women bathed there.
I was interested in the bathhouse, but I was even more embarrassed, so I didn’t think that I would be able to take a bath there. But, now is the time to go since I want to clean my whole body!
――― Thus, I came.
It’s warm. I’m in high spirits in many ways. My heart was still pounding. My body and mind are shiny. A change of pace means this, doesn’t it?
I soaked myself in the wide bathtub while hiding my body with a cloth and washed my body alongside other women who were also cleaning their bodies… This was an unknown world to me. Having a lot of warm water felt very pleasant. There are a lot of different body types. Ufufu, my body is still childlike.
I returned to Hen Inn and had lunch.
I had fried fish sandwiched between bread with an exquisite addition of pickles, green beans, corn and butter stir-fry. Great job as always, Master.
Ah, it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten delicious food. I nodded every time I took a bite of my meal. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. Feeling happy is like this, isn’t it?
After my meal, I poured tea for Master and myself and slowly enjoyed the fragrance. It has also been a while since I could enjoy my meal slowly like this.
When I was satisfied with my delicious meal, Ada-san came.
“Hey, Ayesha. Oh my, you’re awfully relaxed today as well. But… you have something to tell me, right? Your eyes are telling me that. Say, Master, I’ll work overtime today so give me some time off now.”
She made the decision herself without listening to the Master’s reply and sat down next to me like she usually did.
“I met someone with a similar past to the one that I didn’t want to remember, and I wondered if wanting to help him somehow is for my own satisfaction.”
“Hmm, is this about you? It doesn’t matter if it’s for your own satisfaction or something else. You can just do what you want, you know? … Ayesha, you want to do something for them, don’t you? If you want me to support you, then I’ll say it, but I can see that you’ve already made up your mind.”
According to Ada-san, I’ve already made up my mind for something. I was glad that she seemed to be taking this seriously and I also felt refreshed.
I’ve made up my mind.
So I should act fast.
“Ada-san, thank you for listening to me. I’ll come again.”
My day off ended and I returned to the Royal Castle. Everyone should still be working. I have to disguise myself.
――― Ta-dah, it’s been a long time since Lady Ann’s made her appearance.
“Hello, everyone. I sent a message today saying that I would take the day off, but I have something to tell His Highness, Ludens. I would like to take some of your time,” I declared as soon as the knights opened the door for me. His Highness Ludens and Roberto-sama were the only two in the Royal Capital’s Public Order Consolation Room.
I ignored the suspicious looks coming from Roberto-sama and the knights and bowed.
His Highness Ludens, the only one who wasn’t fazed at all, stood up from his office desk and invited me to the sofa.
“Is here good? Lady Ann?”
“Yes. Thank you very much.”
The both of us sat facing each other on the sofa and smiled.
I can’t get this unexpectedly stubborn Imperial Prince to commit to what I want to say if my request isn’t firm.
“I think that reports on my behaviour have already been made to you, Your Highness. I would like your permission to create a map of the slum, Most Dark. The slums on the map in the Royal Library have been blackened out. In other words, this Kingdom doesn’t really understand the state of the slums. Government officials aren’t accepted in the slums, so I expect that it would be difficult to map it.”
“Up until now, things have somehow worked out even without the map of the slums. I don’t think it’ll be a problem even if we don’t have one.”
“I know how important maps are because only approved people could look at it. Isn’t it disappointing that there are still places you don’t know about in this Kingdom? You might have wanted to make a map of the slums before but you couldn’t. But, it’s possible to make a map of it now. Don’t you think it’s a pity to miss this opportunity?”
His Highness Ludens’ eyes glowed. The corners of his mouth went up… Did he take the bait?
“I haven’t talked about this with the other person yet. I wanted your permission first. Because I wouldn’t be able to do my job here if I make the map.”
“If they say it’s okay for you to make it, then you can. I don’t mind if you put the map before your work. But, you have to come here once a week to inform me of your progress.
His Highness Ludens was snorting in front of me.
Eeh, huuuuh ―――.
Did he understand my wish? He did.
――― *RATTLE* ―――
I saw Roberto-sama knock his chair down as he stood up.
“Have you become close with the Kind Hottie? Or you will become close to him? I hope that you use your noble status and his power well. Everything else depends on your efforts. The slums are wide.”
I’ve already prepared myself.
His Highness exclaimed, “You didn’t bring any gifts today?” As for Roberto-sama, he was staring at me with a very sour face. “Why are you burdening yourself with hardship?” His eyes stated.
Making the map is the first step of my goal.
I have no choice but to believe in what I can do!
I stood up, bowed like a noble and smiled gracefully.