Chapter 4 – So Damn Tiring
Zed quickly ran through the budgeting documents concerning the development of the new library. There was far too much money allocated to purchasing new furniture. In contrast, the labor cost for the construction of the garden was lacking a little.
There was the rough scratch of a feather pen on paper, and the seventh budgeting document was pushed to the left. Piled high on the table were reports and approved documents with an elegant signature scrawled on them. These were all the documents that Zed finished working on.
“Haaa—so damn tiring.”
He straightened his back and twisted it a bit to give a stretch. There was the sound of cracking bones. His eyes felt dry and his back ached. The people that didn’t say a peep out of fear back when Leticia was in her usual state were now raising their voices and demanding changes now that Zed was in charge.
“Why do I need to do all this?” he grumbled. He glared at the mountain of papers in front of him. This should all be done by the lady he served, not him… Well, to be precise, this should all be done by the matriarch of the house.
Zed tapped his index finger several times on the table.
“Lady Leticia said that the Marchioness had passed away when she was young, right?”
He heard that the Marchioness—Leticia’s mother—had been a woman of weak constitution. She would usually be in bed due to an illness or another, and passed away due to a fatal disease when Leticia was only five years old. Since then, Leticia had been delegated the role of taking care of the household at a young age.
If Leticia was unable to manage it, then either her assistant or the household butler would act for her…but she had no assistant, and for some reason the butler had long ago received orders from Leticia to ‘Not enter the household and office of the lady of the house’. Even now, the butler upheld the rule even in this time of crisis. Zed tried to persuade him otherwise in hopes of making him do the work, but the butler absolutely refused, saying that he could never disobey the order that the lady of the house had given to him.
In the end, Zed simply couldn’t stand by as the documents piled up on the desk, and sat down to work on it himself.
“Someone please save me…” he despaired.
He heard the sound of something being set down on top of the table. He lifted his head, and saw Anna putting down some tea for him to drink while giving him a bright smile.
“Have some tea while you work,” she said.
Anna must have noticed what he needed even before he called for her. Perhaps it was thanks to her sharp intuition that she had stayed as Leticia’s personal maid for two years now. She was the veteran maid that Leticia trusted most, and had been working together with Zed for a long time now.
They each devoted their time to focusing on doing their duty, but they also shared a strong bond of friendship.
“Ahh, thanks,” Zed sighed gratefully. He was actually feeling thirsty, so he gladly accepted her kindness.
As he drank the tea and enjoyed a rare moment of rest, Anna picked up the pile of approved documents and looked over them quickly with her green eyes.
“This is surprising,” she commented.
“What is? The fact that I didn’t receive any formal training, but I have the ability to deal with documents like those?”
Anna shook her head. “No. The fact that you take care of these documents quite similarly to the way Lady Leticia does.” Her eyes narrowed a bit, as if telling him off for being so self-deprecating of himself.
Zed scratched the back of his head and gave a slightly awkward smile. “Ah, well, I’ve been with Lady Leticia for seven years after all.”
One day, Leticia suddenly tossed a bundle of documents towards him for the first time. Then she gave him a short command.
Leticia was annoyed by the fact that while she was working hard on completing documents, he was standing still by her side, and therefore threw her work towards him telling him to do it instead for her. As someone that never dealt with this kind of thing, of course he couldn’t complete the task. The order was messed up, and the narration was all over the place. Although he completed the work given to him, he thought, ‘Ah, this isn’t good enough’. Leticia also looked over the work he completed and frowned heavily.
However, instead of getting angry at him, she instead pointed out each problem and told him how to fix it. ‘Why would a bodyguard knight need to do all this’, he had complained, and a smile crept onto her lips. The sweeter it was, the scarier.
“I do not want meatheads that don’t know left from right, and take years to notice things by my side.”
She spoke crudely, using language unfitting for a noble to speak, but passed it off with a smile while saying, ‘Oops, sorry. But it’s still true’. Zed remembered that he had to swallow back his anger when seeing her demeanor back then.
Afterwards, she kept pushing off some of her duties to him instead. Because of that, Zed had to do his best learning how to properly take care of documents that arrived.
‘It wasn’t only taking care of documents either.’
Sometimes, she would ask his opinion on state affairs. In other cases, she would show him a contract and told him to point out which parts were profitable and which parts were unfavorable. He couldn’t help but be confused whether he was supposed to be a bodyguard meant to protect her person or take care of her documents and affairs instead.
With the present situation upon them now, however, he realized that she was simply trying to teach him how to be her assistant for a scenario when she was incapacitated. Now he was able to take care of these documents in place of Leticia.
Zed looked at his own handwriting, which was similar to Leticia’s. He also noticed how he edited the document the same way that she did. On top of that, he used her same method of organization. Even the signage was completely the same as hers. He was actually perfect to be Leticia’s substitute when he thought about it.
“Instead of trying to make your bodyguard your assistant, just get another one, why don’t you,” Zed grumbled to himself.
Was she really lacking in trust for other people? Enough to end up getting someone that had no idea about noble society and teaching them how to deal with documents from them? He was sure that if Leticia looked carefully, she would be able to find one or two people that met her requirements.
“She and her finicky propensity to be suspicious of everyone…”
But did that mean she trusted and respected him enough to teach him this task?
Her trust weighed heavily on his shoulders. Especially when she now had the mind of a child and no one else was able to fill in for her.
Zed rubbed his eyes in exhaustion. “How is Our Lady doing?” he asked Anna.
“She’s eating properly now, but…other than that…” Anna’s voice trailed off, but he knew what she was going to say. There was no sign of Leticia’s memory returning, and she was still wary towards everyone.
“I see,” Zed replied calmly, but inside he felt like his stomach was churning.
From Leticia’s point of view, there was about a fourteen-year loss in her memory. Anyone would be unsettled if they were thrust forwards that many years into an unknown place with unknown people.
He remembered the conversation he had with Leticia two days ago and gave a bitter smile.
“Twenty…one? You’re saying my age is twenty-one?”
She repeatedly refused to believe in his words, and he brought a mirror in front of her.
Leticia’s expression turned dazed when she saw herself completely grown up in the mirror. She touched her face here and there in fascination, before her mind fully processed what she was seeing and her body shivered in slight shock.