The person entering the room was Dean.
“Oh… Are you leaving already? You just arrived a short while ago though.”
“I’m afraid so. It was because this time, I actually slipped out of my house for a moment to come and report to Milady.”
“I see… Sorry for troubling you, Dean. Well, what was the matter you forgot to mention earlier?”
“…The children of the institution wished to see Milady. It seems that they wanted to show you their fruits of labor, after making preparation for a recital to be held at the academy.”
“A recital!? Now I’m curious about what they’re planning to perform!”
Speaking of which, I haven’t visited the institution for quite some time, even though I used to drop by around once every ten days before the trip to the royal capital.
“If I am not mistaken, there will be drama, drawing and singing. Apparently, the children will split into several groups to do the respective performance.”
“Oh dear… I’d love to attend the recital for sure. I will head there when everything is settled.”
Even though I really want to go to ease my mind, at this time such action would be unreasonable. Most likely, the bodyguards will not allow me to do so, and as for me, there is no way I am going to put the children in danger by my appearance.
“…By saying when everything is settled, I assumed you weren’t merely implying the fief and Conglomerate’s affairs?”
My mind was going blank for a while upon hearing Dean’s nonchalant remark… Aa, now that I have calmed down, isn’t this awkward silence the same as a confirmation? I couldn’t help but feeling regretful about my action then.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why did you think so?”
Even though I know this was a futile attempt, I still inquired about his thought.
“To be honest, it was not hard to draw that conclusion, judging from the way Ryle-san and Dida-san making quite a serious expression when they entered the room. Coincidentally, I was reminded of the attack the day before by those bandits on Milady.”
“…You’ve got a point.”
Dean was sharp-witted as ever. Perhaps at this point, it would be unnecessary to continue keeping him in the dark.
“Furthermore, there was Milady’s expression. Certainly, it was not a face you would show even when immersing yourself in the fief’s affairs, nor the Conglomerate’s… there was a sign of fear and uneasiness beneath, I concluded.”
…I gave up. To think he can read a person’s emotion that much, I feel like further objection would be meaningless.
“Tell me, Dean. Under those circumstances, why did you take the trouble to come here and let me know about it?”
It is not hard to figure out that the queen is my opponent, and if it’s him he would immediately understand that I am in an unstable position. If he takes into account what happened thus far, it can’t be helped if he decided to leave this place quickly, so for him to deliberately came here and talked about the institution’s matter was a big question mark. Or is it, perhaps, the farewell gift after all?
“That is, of course, I was thinking if the situation around Milady got settled, how about we go there together?”
To such an unexpected answer, I couldn’t fully grasp the meaning behind those words straight away.
“…Dean. Are you serious about what you have just said?”
“Am I? If not, I wouldn’t come all the way back and tell you though.”
“…I’d imagine in your case, you will get away from here as soon as possible.”
“Do you really think of me as such a heartless person?”
My eyes were wide opened as if being surprised by his remark. Did I just say something that strange?
“Blaming you heartless or such, there is no reason for you to stay here. To begin with, since every of your contracts so far is short-term only, you don’t help an obligation to stay afterwards. Besides, I’m positive that you can net yourself a high-paying contract at other places with ease. There is no need for you to expressly remain at an increasingly risky place like this.”
Of course, there is salary in his contract. By settling the fief’s affairs as my right-hand assistant, his salary is a little higher than a normal fief’s officer. Though higher to be said, the salary of a fief’s officer is not generous in the first place. As far as I am concerned, if we take income into consideration, the Conglomerate’s advisor’s is fairly high. The merit of a fief’s officer is that his income will be stable as long as the fief is not collapsed, though in his case, such merit would disappear since he is not in a permanent position.
I have no rights to force him to stay, and he can be on his own after the contract period ended. In other words, he can just choose not to come until the situation calmed down.
“…I didn’t know that Milady was holding me in such high esteem.”
Dean laughed as if trying to crack a joke, though I replied honestly.
“If not, I would not have entrusted you with the job so far.”
To those words I gave while sighing, Dean let out a smile.
“Well… certainly if job is the only criteria you’re looking for, then there is nothing challenging enough I have encountered up until now.”
What big words you’re spouting… truly to give the opponent such an impression can only be Dean himself. Or rather, I was the one who thinks of him in this manner.
“Nonetheless, that would be extremely boring. Studying, then exercising, then what? Only by overcoming the hardships encountered along the way can one feel a sense of accomplishment. What I enjoyed had nothing to do with the subject’s appeal or emotional attachment.”
If I were to be put in his position, I would surely agree with his viewpoint. Even in the previous world, when I managed to achieve something that I thought to be greatly difficult, I did feel a great sense of accomplishment… although I can’t understand the reason he decides to bring this up right now.
“…But I really enjoyed these days, since I came here. Because of Milady, who has original ideas that no one ever thought of before, and the excellent servants working with you. It has been a long time since I am eager to know what to do next, and what the result would turn out, hence it is interesting.”
He walked from the doorstep in a steady pace, getting closer to my desk.
“That is why I am here. Although it started off as a one-off decision, I was gradually tempted to come back afterwards.”
I watched the guy with towering figure approaching me. He was wearing an extremely delightful expression.
“It is natural for Milady to not put your faith in me. On top of me making only short-term contract, there are trustworthy subordinates who have been with Milady since you were young.”
It is true that I trust them… or rather excluding Father and Mother, they are the only ones whom I can really trust.
“I won’t say that I want you to treat me the same way as those guys. The time and memories they spent with you is something I cannot compete. However, Milady – it is my pleasure and my desire to be your hand and feet – even after the contract period ends.”
“You don’t have to keep your distance from me. Even though our time together wasn’t that much… I have belonged to you since a long time ago.”
My face grew hot as I was hearing his words. Although it is always me who do those confession-like scouting on other people, it is embarrassing when I am on the receiving end.
After saying what is needed, Dean left the room.
Leaving behind me, still dumbfounded on chair for a while.