“…That hurts! Do not put so much strength into the comb!”
“My apologies! Your hair was all tangled up, Mistress!”
“I am not the Mistress yet! …Wait, I mean, do not just tear at any tangles with brute force! Do it gently!”
“Yes! I will comb as gently as I can!”
“OW OW OW OW OW!!”
She once again combed at the hair with force and Camilla yelped in pain.
As Camilla sat in a chair, the maid called Nicole stood behind her, comb in hand. Camilla’s beautiful black hair was wound tightly around that comb, basically on the verge of being yanked out.
“I combed it!”
“Wrong! You are pulling it out!”
As Nicole puffed out her chest in pride, Camilla rebuked her with a shout. Camilla’s pride and joy… Well, it would be dishonest to go that far, but the black hair she diligently cared for in her own way was under serious threat.
“You are far too clumsy!”
“Yes! I may be clumsy, but I shall do my best!”
As she held her head in her hands, Camilla moaned. As Nicole kept combing away behind Camilla, she worked as hard as she could, true to her word, as her brush caught on another snag in Camilla’s hair.
“Wait, wait just a moment!”
“Yes! I will wait!”
At Camilla’s command, Nicole stopped right where she was with Camilla’s hair caught in the comb again. Camilla, at her wit’s end, turned around to face Nicole.
She looked at the girl who must have been a couple of years younger than her, with her unruly blonde hair tied into a messy ponytail. She seems to have aristocratic blood running through her veins, but her parents probably don’t hold any real land or titles as nobles. Her small nose and round cheeks were smattered with freckles, giving her a simple and folksy charm.
Her stand out feature was those earnest eyes of hers, those eyes with an auburn iris and red pupils.
Red eyes were evidence of innate magical power. The more powerful the magic, the brighter the colour. Only the royal family and their branch members will have their iris turn red, but whilst there were people with red pupils, they were exceptionally rare outside of the royal family.
Nicole’s pupils were a vivid shade of red that you could see from a distance. That too would probably end up making her even more of a problematic maid in the future, but right now that was not important.
Camilla glanced at Nicole again.
“There should have been another maid coming today. Why are you here once again?”
The job of being Camilla’s maid was taken in turns day by day. Did they all hate the idea of being Camilla’s maid so much? Or was there something else going on? In any case, Camilla did not have her own personal handmaid at the Montchat manor. Before she had departed for Grenze, she would be served by a new maid every day, who without fail would attend to Camilla’s dressing in the morning and scurry away as quickly as possible.
However, after returning from that town, it was only this useless girl that kept coming day after day. Could this clumsy girl even be called a ‘maid’, when it seemed like she could barely take care of herself, let alone Camilla?
There was a clear divide between the senior servants and the lower ranked servants at the Montchat manor.
The senior servants were usually the children of lower status aristocracy or wealthy merchants. Or, perhaps, a person who had climbed the ladder on their own accomplishments and merit. The butler, head maid and Alois’ personal chamberlain were among them. That head maid, Gerda, was at the head of the female senior servants. As for the senior male servants, their leader was the butler called Vilmer, the oldest servant in the house.
The lower level servants were typically a direct subordinate of a senior. If they were a female, they were usually maids that dealt with cleaning and scullery. If it was a male, then they would be footmen or stable hands. For the ones who wish to one day be senior servants, the high ranking positions such as the butler or chamberlain may take an apprentice from these lower ranking servants.
So long as they have a reference from a reputable person, anyone could be taken on as a lower-level servant, even if their origins were uncertain. Or, there were sometimes cases where Alois would handpick someone personally and invite them to work for him.
It was also easy to differentiate between a high ranking maid and a regular one. A lower ranking maid will often see their clothes dirtied because of the hard work they go through. That’s why they always wore an apron over their black clothes. They would also always wear a skirt that was easy to move around in but wouldn’t get caught or snagged.
Nicole is dressed like that as well. Although she’s from a bloodline of a low ranking aristocratic family and one might expect her to be a senior level maid, it seems that her level of skill wasn’t suitable for that at all.
“Why is a low ranking maid like you coming, instead of a high ranking one?”
Despite Camilla’s suspicious glare, Nicole straightened out her back and sounded out her loud answer just like usual.
“Yes! Since I wanted to serve the Mistress by any means, it may have been rude, but I asked to take this job!”
“Stop calling me Mistress!”
Alois and Camilla are not married yet. Although, that may change if Alois lost weight.
-Stop treating me like his wife until we really are married!
Camilla’s heart was as stubborn as ever.
“I understand completely, Mistress!”
“Were you sent here to harass me or something!?”
As if ignoring Camilla’s shouting, Nicole raised the comb again. Just from her movement, Camilla felt a deep sense of foreboding.
“Then, please excuse me!”
“Hiii! Carefully! Be careful!!”
Nicole’s comb swung down, shattering Camilla’s earnest wish.