Chapter 25 – The Ever Understanding Butler (1)
Pon looked perplexed. “Forgive me but, Madam, this is officially the role of the lady of the house…”
Amethyst was aware of that, but she would be gone from the mansion in a year. To spend that time cramming all this information into her head and stressing over bills and budgets? No way. But I can’t just be stubborn and refuse to do it… She had to come up with some sort of excuse.
“Well, you see,” she said, “I am still rather new to these affairs. It’s beyond me to take over this role right now. I was hoping…maybe I could learn these tasks over your shoulder for the next couple of years? Then there will be minimal disruption due to the household due a change in leadership. I think a gradual change would be better.”
“Is that so?” The butler looked thoughtful, then bowed his head in acquiescence. “Then I will continue to handle these duties for now.”
She breathed a silent sigh of relief. “Yes. Thank you.”
Pon wasn’t finished, however. “The next order of business, then. These are the maids who will serve you from now on.”
He beckoned toward the doorway. When Amethyst looked up, five maids were arrayed in front of her, awaiting her orders. Oh, dear. She wasn’t comfortable ordering people around yet. She had only just managed to leave Yellie behind at the Count’s estate, and now there were five instead of one! She couldn’t deal with that.
“That won’t be necessary,” she said hastily. “Even at the Count’s estate I didn’t have a maid.”
The butler looked perplexed, glancing from her to the maids. “But Madam, you are going to be the wife of the duke of this empire…”
“Yes,” Pon said, insistently. “You will be the highest ranked noble, above the other noble ladies. Excluding the empress, you have the highest rank among the women of the empire. As such, I will ensure you are well served-”
“Yes, Madam. Please just call me Pon.”
“Alright, Pon. It hasn’t been long since I first came to this place, and like I mentioned, I have never had a personal maid before. It makes me uncomfortable to have someone hovering around me all the time. I will call on them as and when I need them.”
“Pon, if I feel uncomfortable, then aren’t you failing in your duty to look after me?” she asked.
He offered her an apologetic bow. “I apologize. I will make sure they are on standby. Please call upon them whenever you need.”
“I will. Thank you for looking after me.”
Thankful that she had averted another crisis, Amethyst began to relax again. As before, it was too soon. Pon had more to come.
“Please, Madam, don’t mention it.” He produced a box, roughly A4 size. “These are the invites that have been extended to you. I took the liberty of arranging them according to the nobles’ rank.”
Wow, invites? She leaned close to get a look inside the box. It was full to the brim with invitations. The envelopes were all heavy cream paper and gilt lettering. It would probably take her all day to go through the lot of them.
“I’m not even married to the duke yet, and they’re already sending me invitations?”
“The position of the duke’s wife has been vacant until now. I am not surprised there are so many households in a hurry to meet you and become acquainted with the Skad household,” said the butler.
“Of course, I’m sure that’s it…” she said absently.
Even without seeing Alexcent in action, she could just imagine how the stuck-up duke would behave to the other nobles. He was the equivalent of a CEO’s son in this world. He wasn’t an easy person to deal with, which must be why the noble families were reaching out to her. She was by far an easier option.
This wasn’t good news. It wouldn’t be good for her to have her face widely known. What if people recognize her a year from now? She pushed the box back toward Pon.
“Please decline all of these, and any that are sent to me from now on.”
“But madam…” Pon protested. “Socializing with the other noble ladies is one of the many duties of the duke’s wife.”
“Well, that may be true, but I am not yet his wife,” Amethyst said. “Nor am I ready for many things. I may act carelessly in front of those noble ladies and embarrass the duke’s family.”
“You need not worry about such things,” the butler hastened to reassure her. “Soon you will be a role model for all the noble ladies.”
‘Ugh, why can’t he read between the lines? How bothersome. Fine, he leaves me with no choice.’
“Actually,” she said, feigning embarrassment with a hand pressed delicately to her cheek, “I have a serious insecurity about my appearance. I’m afraid to put myself out there.”
“Oh, please forgive me. I misunderstood your intention. I will of course politely decline all the invitations.
Amethyst blinked. “Oh? …yes. Th-thank you.”
That had been surprisingly easy to convince him. ‘Wait…’ Why had he accepted that explanation so quickly? Was there really something wrong with her appearance?
‘Darn it. Since those were my own words, I can’t take them back.’
She felt her mood souring rapidly. She glared at the butler until he took back the documents and hastened out of the drawing room. Pon had just agreed that she was ugly!