To her flustered voice, the knight answered in an awkward voice as well.
“That… Adler doesn’t have many friends… It’s been a while since Adler’s ‘guest’ came… I heard the people at the villa were very excited.”
“Because of hiding my identity… Are there any misunderstandings?”
“Yes. Everyone seems to know Trixie as a noble lady.”
Adler hid her name and identity. It’s not a place that many people visit anyway, so it would be quiet, and he told them to come and enjoy the hot springs to their heart’s content without worrying about it. But what was that? Weren’t you quiet? Seeing the expressions on the servants’ faces, they said they were so excited that they were ready to hold a festival.
“Since there is nothing properly revealed, it seems that they have spread their imagination among themselves. If Sir Adler rented the villa, a fairly high-ranking nobleman, and if he came all the way to the countryside, they wondered if he came to recuperate because he was weak or sick…”
“Fortunately… Everyone has a lot of affection for Mr. Adler, so it doesn’t seem to be any strange misunderstandings.”
Her head was dizzy. Suddenly, she became a delicate young lady like a flower. It was comforting that the clothes were shabby. If she faced it properly, she wouldn’t think she was a high-ranking aristocrat! Those excitements would subside.
An old gentleman, who had barely managed to get off the ground with his spirit, approached with a straight back and bowed gently.
“Welcome, Miss Bella. Welcome to Stud.”
Bella… It was her pseudonym. It’s quite a girlish name, so the fact that it was named by Adler didn’t quite match.
“You have suffered a long way.”
The old gentleman’s manner of bowing deeply was very polite. He must have easily noticed from her attire that she was not a noble. No matter how much she was a guest who came at the owner’s request, he did not have to be so polite to a person of low status. It was also like the people under Adler. If it’s the owner’s order, they didn’t discriminate against people in terms of clothing.
“I am Todd, the butler. Please let me know if you need anything.”
“Ah, yes, yes.”
She was carried to the room with her bag. The process was as natural as the tide. It was a white, dazzling, neat, luxurious mansion inside and out. On the first floor, there was a large communal bath that draws hot spring water from the mountain through an underground canal. What was supposed to be a great luxury, it was literally a perfect vacation mansion for the nobility.
“There is a large communal bath on the 1st floor. Do you like to take a hot spring bath?”
“Oh that… I like… to do…”
She liked it, but she was not used to being treated well, so she blurted out her words.
Todd gave off a veteran grin.
“We would be grateful if Bella gave us the honorable opportunity to show off Stud’s hot springs.”
That comment was as smooth as flowing water. That person… He was the true emperor of the service profession…!
“You must be tired from the journey, so I will prepare right away. Would you like to eat after the hot spring?”
“Uh, that… yes.”
Even if she said no, the conversation continued, so she just kept repeating ‘yes’ in a daze.
“Yes. Then we will help you recover. Jenna, come in.”
“Yes, Mr. Todd.”
Hotel service was not like this. As soon as Todd finished speaking, three female servants who were waiting outside came in. Just looking at the luggage in her hand, she immediately thought that it was an aesthetic shop.
‘This… This isn’t it.’
She was going to take a moderate vacation and disappear without a presence, but with this kind of service, it becomes difficult to escape. In fact, this was tantamount to surveillance in the name of hospitality. Because everyone’s nerves were focused on her, the ‘Holy Guest’.
‘It’s going to be really difficult.’
She received a nightgown made of silk by an artisan, said to be lighter than a feather and softer than a flower petal, and was ushered into the bath. Originally, it was right to be happy and enjoy being treated like this, but since she was in a different state of mind, her heart became heavy.
“Miss Bella. Leah, who attends the bath-.”
“No, I’ll take a bath alone!”
“Yes? However, I prepared scented oil, honey and fruit packs, roses to float in the bath, and rose water, which are good for the skin-”
“Thank you very much! But I really, really like washing myself. Please.”
“All right. Then, when the bath is over, shake the bell. I’ll be waiting outside.”
“Ah. I’ll give you only roses and rosewater. If you apply the scented oil alone after taking a bath, it will smell good and moisturize your body. Soak a cloth and apply it all over your body!”
After kind explanations and the setting of the bathtub, she was finally alone. The bathtub, with a beautiful statue of a mermaid riding a large whale in the center, was very large and the water was good. Gazing at the hot temperature, she slowly sank into the water.
The bewildered mind was still confused. She murmured as she watched the water slowly shake.
“Calm down, calm down.”
It seemed that there was no need to revise the plan that had been made. It will be fine. She would be gone, so she would be able to live comfortably. As the misty steam in the bathtub warmed her body, she felt tired. She didn’t know because she was nervous, but it seemed that she was quite tired.
* * *
She had quite a bit of experience working as a servant, and most noble families have a similar structure. The backyard and kitchen were connected, and the warehouse for supplying and sourcing materials was a little far away. The servant’s space was hidden inside so that the nobles did not notice it. So, if you observed the pattern carefully, you could get out of there.
Adler’s vacation was up to 15 days. However, considering the person’s mobility and ability to handle work, it was better to hold it more densely for 10 days.
“Where are you going, Bella?”
The problem wasn’t getting out, it’s finding a good escape route.
“I-I’m out for a while…”
But rather than running away, preparing to run away was no easier.
“Oh! Will you go alone? You must also bring a carriage, escort, and attendant! Who would be a good escort? The servant takes Leah with him.”
“Go, it’s a light walk! I also want to look back at Stud.”
“You are interested in Stud! What a nice city. Warehouse keeper Marcus knows that. It is the best as a tour guide.”
She was literally imprisoned because of the stares that followed her at the slightest movement and their excessive favor. While working as a servant, she also learned that a guest must always have at least two attendants and an escort.
“I’m a bit shy, and I prefer to go around alone. If you’re worried, would it be all right if I rented a wagon with an escort?”
She would rather just take one with her. Wouldn’t it be easier then?
The servants looked at her with faces full of hesitation and worry.
“Have a good trip, Bella.”
Then, Todd appeared. After all, the king of service jobs…! A person who understood the hearts of customers!
“As an escort, I will attach the best one in our mansion. If I don’t do this, my master will scold me.”
“Ah yes. Thank you.”
Would she be able to outwit that outstanding person… ?
After a while, she got into a carriage with a large, handsome middle-aged man. The man was kind and pleasant, but the coolness of his expression radiated from moment to moment.
‘It’s a mountain beyond a mountain, really…’
Even if she took just one step in the other direction, they would come after her, asking her where she was going. She tried to move her body just in case. There was a rustling sound of the hem of the skirt.
“Where are you uncomfortable?”
It was only a very small voice, but the escort quickly looked at her and asked. As answer, she shook her head.
‘It’s the same as Adler.’
‘I can still…!’
“We’re here. The town of Stud is on the small side, but it has everything you need.”
When they arrived at the village, her escort received her under the wagon. His large hands supported her lower back and lowered her to the floor. She checked the small pocket of gold coins she had hidden under her skirt once more. All the rest of her possessions had been left in a chest of drawers with a key.
“What is Stud famous for?”
Quickly scanning the city, she asked in a calm voice. Howie smiled.
“Stud is famous for its wine. There is even a myth that God gave grapes to this region. The temple also matures and sells wine every year, but the high-priced line has a premium and is quite expensive.”
“Oh. So, is there a brewery in the temple?”
“Yes. It is an unusual case.”
Temple! Yes, that’s it! If it’s a rotten, twisted temple in this country, you could leave the escort behind. She grinned as she counted the number of gold coins.
“I can’t wait to see it! I am very interested in local specialties.”
“Is that so? Great! Let me guide you.”
It’s definitely a small city, so she didn’t walk long, but the temple was immediately visible. It was a small temple. A few believers came and went, and on the other hand, there was a counter selling wine.
“Oh, knight. What are you doing here?”
As she was looking around, a priest who recognized the escort approached and asked.
“She is the master’s guest. Give the bishop a word.”
“Okay. It’s been a long time since you’ve got a guest. If you wait here for a while, I will guide you.”
Since she was Adler’s guest, she would meet the bishop right away. She realized once again how powerful of an aristocrat he was. Would Leone be more? As soon as Leone appears, everyone here would be on their knees.
She wondered what Leone was doing. The road to the capital must be difficult, so she would sleep well.
“Miss Bella. Would you like to look around a bit?”
“Ah. Hmm… I. More than that, I want to go to the prayer room.”
All temples had prayer rooms. There were at least four prayer rooms for one person and at least three prayer rooms that could accommodate up to five people. The single-person prayer room was created with consideration to reflect on faith while concentrating.
‘But if requested separately, the priest sits behind the curtain in the center to give instructions or listen to the confession.’
The bishops in charge of temples in any region were corrupt. In order to become a bishop in the first place, you had to pay a huge bribe to the high priest of the capital. There was no way that money would not work for those who came to this place with the logic of money.
It was very good news for her.