The Devoted Fanatic II
“Your Highness, Maria!”
Karina, as well as the rest of their maids, bowed in a hurry. The dazzling appearance of the girl in front of them seemed completely ill-suited to the modest servant room she stood in.
“Were you talking? I’m deeply sorry, I must have interrupted…”
“Think nothing of it, Your Highness! Even if you hadn’t come to such a place by yourself, I would have come to your side as soon as you called me!”
“My apologies. It’s just that I truly wished to have a cup of tea made by the head maid herself.”
As Maria said that, Karina’s eyes opened wide.
“B-By me, you say?”
“Yes. I heard from grandmother that your tea is very delicious. I hope it isn’t asking too much if I could have some served in my room?”
“Of course, that will not be a problem at all. I, Karina, shall be most pleased to serve you whenever you wish, Your Highness!”
As she thought, the people of this family truly understand.
They truly understand the value of the woman who had served them with sincere loyalty and hard work through all these years. It was only natural that they would seek her out personally, rather than those other girls.
“Tea…? Even though we’re always the ones preparing it, the head maid says that she’s going to make it this time…?”
Karina turned around and glared at those girls who were whispering about something unnecessary.
Obviously, Karina could do anything better than they could. If they took even a single sip of Karina’s beautiful and fragrant tea, they would cry tears of shame.
“Well then, shall we be off?”
Karina left the servant’s room alongside Maria. As she did, she took a final look back at those useless maids, sticking her nose up in the air.
(Take a good look. The Princess came to ask for me personally… That is the difference between myself and you lot.)
“Are you okay, Ann…?”
“Thank you for sticking up for us, but if you do things like that, won’t you be fired?”
With her friends around her, Ann, a new maid in the mansion, nodded.
Just like they said, Karina was on the verge of dismissing Ann from the estate. Karina had complete control of the hiring and firing of maids, and Ann knew full well that she could have her out on her ear at any time.
But, she had still talked back, because she just couldn’t bear it.
She hadn’t regretted it, but…
“Princess Maria, she couldn’t have done that for my sake, could she?”
Had the Princess seen what was happening and intervened for their sake?
Amongst those girls, an incredible notion began to take hold.
“Fufu, oh Karina, that’s too funny.”
As she served Princess Maria tea in her room, Karina talked about all sorts of things with her.
“All of us servants really were surprised by just how mischevious she was back then. To think that cheeky young Lilith would become such a beautiful princess as she grew up…”
“It’s so hard to imagine my mother doing anything like that when she was a girl. She’s such a dignified and elegant lady, being the fiancée to the Crown Prince.”
“Of course, she was always well-behaved in public. But perhaps because she was an only child and didn’t have anyone around her age to play with, she may have been spoiled by the servants…”
Maria smiled sweetly as she sipped the tea Karina made. Karina tensed up a little bit as she took that first sip.
“I-Is it to Your Highness’ liking?”
Seeing Maria’s smile, a wave of relief rolled over her.
“Karina, are you always the one serving grandmother her tea?”
“Of course. I have had a lot of confidence in my brewing, ever since I was a young maid!”
However, this was, in fact, the first time she had brewed tea herself in a decade.
Usually, Karina would simply have the younger maids make tea, whilst she would order them to add this or that to it.
When it was ready, she would take it from them and serve it to the Madame. It couldn’t be helped, after all, since those girls were far from ready to serve a noblewoman directly.
“Your Highness Maria, I wish to serve the flavour you love the most, so please do not hesitate to tell me so.”
“Thank you very much. I truly do envy my mother, however. To think that she grew up with such a kind and thoughtful maid.”
“All the lady’s maids in the royal castle do their job properly… But it is hard to talk with them like this, when they’re so focused on their work. Father and mother are always busy with serving the people, so there isn’t really anyone for me to talk to.”
As Princess Maria said that, her smile looked ever so lonely.
But it was still so beautiful all the same, like a living masterpiece painted before her eyes. As Karina was lost for words gazing at her, Maria’s expression suddenly lit up as if she thought of something.
“That’s right… Why don’t I ask grandmother if I could bring one of the maids from here back to the royal palace with me?”
“You… You would like one of the maids here to serve at the royal palace?”
“That’s right… What do you think?”
(Going to the royal palace?)
Among all the maids of this house, there was only one person who deserved that honour.
The younger girls were useless. They were lazy slackers and always insisted that they were in the right whenever they were criticized. Even those who have been serving here for a few years were far from satisfactory, nor did they have lofty aspirations of serving in a place like the royal palace.
(I am the only one.)
She gulped again, trying to clear her throat.
To serve in the royal castle, the most prestigious posting for a servant in the country, only Karina was worthy of that.
(Surely, Princess Maria thinks the same?)
Otherwise, why else would she have called on Karina personally like this? She must have used being served tea as an excuse so that she could ask her privately in such a way.
(Of course, this isn’t something she can talk about openly, after all? Because I am such an important servant for the Madame. I am so important to this house that the Wenschlee family won’t be able to function without me… Oh, I know that… I know that, but still…!)
To lead the servants of the royal palace, the very pinnacle of the nation’s prestige.
Just how honourable would that be? Surely then, after hearing that, they would have no choice but to respect Karina’s name?
(No, this is for Princess Maria’s sake. By supporting Princess Maria, who is lonely in that royal palace, I will be expressing my loyalty to the Wenschlee family as well.)
Karina will gain both the trust and adoration of the Princess, as well as the clout of the position.
(That’s right. Those women who quit early to get married and have children, as well as that woman who mocked me all those years ago, they will weep with jealousy. Even that cheeky little brat, Ann, what kind of face will she make once she realizes I’ve been appointed to serve the royal family directly!?)
Maria gazed into Karina’s eyes, that beautiful smile plastered on her face. She may not have said it, but it was clear that Maria truly wished to have Karina serving by her side after all.
“Yes, Your Highness Maria.”
Karina gently took Maria’s delicate hand in hers and clasped it firmly. Even if some might think she was being impertinent by touching the Princess like this, she was so jubilant that she didn’t care.
“I am sure that the Madame will understand.”
“Yes, I will ask grandmother, so thank you very much.”
Satisfied with getting the response she had desired from Maria, Karina nodded with vigour.