To the Earldom (3)
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“Maid, my tea please?”

Across sat a girl with greyish-white tied into a braid. Her crimson coloured eyes pointed downwards, focused on the book she held in hand.
“Understood.”

“Nee-san,” July-sama looked at her in discontent.

“She’s a maid, of course this is her duty.”

“.. Can’t you be nicer to her at least? She’s still our sister.”

“Kind? I’m being kind, am I not? Or should I request that she be exiled from our father’s territory?” April-sama sneered.

If I could be exiled without being tied down to any future commitments I would gladly wish for so. Has she ever considered that?

Leaving the unproductive exchange, I looked out the window. The low hum of the carriage. Snowflakes fell and stuck to the glass, I traced my fingers in a circle.

Kill.

I drew a diagonal line across the circle.

The Margrave's personal butler, Vincent-sama, would be present to assist me in this mission. I heard he was an assassin back in the days? How he ended up being one of the Margrave’s aides remain a mystery to me.

“Maid, what gifts did you bring for the Earl?”

“Ah.. that would be..”
I hadn’t thought of that. W-What should I say?

“Rin-aneesan and I bought a gift together.”
“Together? Couldn’t you be honest and just admit that the music box was entirely your contribution?”

“No. Rin-aneesan came up with the idea and paid for half.”

April-sama decided to not dwell on the matter and merely turned back to her book in hand.

Why was July-sama so kind to me? What did he cover for my inadequacy? That I couldn’t help but wonder..

What would he think of me if he learnt that I had killed someone?

\\

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Rumble. Kshh..
The sound of the carriage coming to a halt.

“I’ll do the talking, you two remain silent unless anyone approaches for your voice,” April-sama said just as the carriage door was opened by the maid outside.

I didn’t understand what I, a maid, should be doing? July-sama, in my stupor, promptly got out.

He extended his hand out.

April-sama accepted it with a disinterested look.

“Rin-aneesan,” he then extended his hand to me. April-sama entered talks with the butler.

“Thank you..”
That’s right. Unlike every other day, I wasn’t wearing my unusual uniform today. The bubbly blue gown fluttered as the wind blew. I stepped off the carriage. My hand in his.

The butler.. Vincent-sama, closed the door behind me.

“Please follow me. The Earl has provided accommodation for your 2 day stay. As for your luggage and carriage, those will be handled by us.”

I felt a kick. I turned to see one of my colleagues, Shyna-san, give me a wink. I nodded back.
Prompted by the flow, I followed behind July-sama as we entered the villa. The carriage disappeared behind the mansion, to a carriage-stop perhaps.

“Rin-aneesan, you can step forward.”
“My apologies,” I took a few steps to shorten the distance.

We were introduced to our rooms. Four beds, lofty couches and tables. Tall windows with red curtains hanging down from above. A glittering chandelier in the middle as decor, individual cupboards for clothes.

“Little bother, you don’t mind sharing a room do you?”

“Y-you don’t mind Rin-aneesan staying together?”

“Be concise.”
“No.. I don’t mind.”

“Quite the pervert you are.”
“Uwah?!”

April-sama turned to me.

“Chase him out whenever you need to have a change of clothes, I forbid any indecent activities. Especially the likes of you.”

“Understood,” naturally, with both my hands placed to the front, I lowered my head.

Y-yet..

I couldn’t help but feel heat rush up my head. 

“Little brother, you come with me to the drawing room. We’ll give our greetings to the Earl. Maid, you stay here and arrange the luggage.”

“Yes Milady.”

“O-okay..”

“You should be more stout. I can’t believe father wished for such a person to head the family in the future,” April-sama muttered.

 July-sama remained silent.

“Stay here and don’t leave. Understood? Maid.”
“Yes, Milady,” I kept my head lowered.

She nodded once and left the room. July-sama followed behind her.

Click. The door shut. 

I took a glance, an empty guest room. Dust here, the air lacks refreshments, stale-- meets the bare minimum requirement.

...

I’m alone.

The silence gripped my heart.

I have to kill? Here? During a wedding? Of all times? Do I have to kill? The person I have to kill.. 

I thought of looking out the window to cool my head, the view of the magnificent lake in the distance, the gazebos, the uniform plaza of properly arranged tiles. To my surprise, I saw a familiar girl.

“Hm?”

She was leaning against a boy.

Where was the last time I saw here.. yes, during the entry que at the West Gate of Erudite Kingdom. April-sama complained of thirst, I heard of a booth set up in the middle of the refugee camp, and so I went.

Why did she strike such a cord in me?

That time when her eyes met mine.. I couldn’t help but feel that something.. was off.

A short boy came up to them and said something which caused them to part. That boy was also familiar, it was he who helped the girl during the distribution. The others around the park reacted and started to interact among themselves.

What house were they from? I wondered.

Perhaps a viscount.. or above? A duke? They were able to set up booths in such a conspicuous spot back then.. more so was the connection the girl had with the princess..

“Excuse me,” who knocked on the door?

I went over and opened the door. The luggage had arrived.

“My apologies, did I interrupt anything?”

“No, no. Please,” I stood aside and allowed the maids holding our items to pass.

“Uh.. where should I put this?”

“Just put it at one side,” one maid whispered to another.

“Please do. I’ll sort out the belongings after you have left it here, please don’t mind it.”

“Yes Miss.”

The maid completed their duty and left with a bow. I responded in kind.

As I was sorting through the items, I felt a tap on my shoulders. I froze up.

“Miss Rinalanashina, your target.”

“T-target? What are you implying? You’re saying my target is already here?”

“It seems there’s a change of plans. Please look out the window.”

“Ah yes..”.

“Those two.”
“Yes.. those..” It was the girl and that boy she onced leaned on.

“Both of them are Bougainvilleas.”
Both of them? Siblings? Was I comprehending it correctly? Two? There were two? Twins? 

“Which means I have to kill..”

No.. to kill someone who holds connections to the princess? D-does he know that..

“Just do as I say. You need not to think.”
“Y-Yes..” my voice quivered with a plastic smile.

“As for the girl. She’s no normal person. I’ll get back to you after collecting more information.”
I said nothing.. deciding to only lower my head. 

It didn’t add up. Such a competent assassin being my guide. What was the purpose? If he wanted he could do it himself yet.. why a novice like me? Why was I to kill them?

I raised my head, and.. silence returned. It was as if he was never there.

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