The Sixth Story – The Troubling Circumstances Surrounding Agnes
TL Note: Ankake is sauce thickened with starch. Pretty common in Asian cuisine.
Here’s an example: Tofu Manjuu in Ankake.
Bernard, who had gotten dressed, went towards the dining room.
At the dining room, Gigille waited on him as usual.
On top of the crescent-shaped bread that was smeared with sugar were a sunny-side egg, which was cooked from a soft-boiled egg, and a thick slice of bacon. Along with vegetable soup, he had piping-hot café au lait with milk and plenty of sugar. It was the usual, unchanging breakfast table.
As there were way too few changes overall, Bernard asked Gigille a question.
“Do you mean Carol? Or maybe Celia?”
“Don’t play dumb!”
Carol and Celia were Gigille’s daughters. Currently fifteen years-old, they were twins.
The one on Bernard’s mind was Agnes, who had just come to the Orlellian house.
While moderating her teasing of Bernard, Gigille reported the plans for the new servant to her master.
“Today, Agnes Le Verges is on duty from the afternoon until night.”
She told him that, as Agnes had looked extremely tired, she had decided on that.
“If you were to have any problems, I would be able to change it, but?”
“No, it’s fine. It’s not like she’d be of great use anyway.”
Without responding to her master’s thoughtless remark, she put on a smile. This was because she knew Bernard didn’t actually mean what he said.
As the discussion ended, the eating began.
While he was eating, Eric arrived, carrying the newspaper that was on a silver tray.
Though he knew that it was bad-mannered to do so, because he was short on time, he opened the newspaper as he chewed on his bread.
Even still, there was an article on one side that dealt with Agnes’ father.
Yesterday, the first trial had been in session, and he was accused of violating the State Affairs Capital Act.
It appeared that the King had shown up for this trial. The article reported that because he had trusted the long-time prime minister, Sherard Le Verges, when he had found out that he had been double-crossed with this aforementioned event, his fury was great.
Bernard had realized the reason why the nobles who surrounded Agnes as followers did not assist her.
If one were to extend a hand to support the daughter of the Le Verges family, which was currently in the maelstrom of a scandal, he or she would invite the displeasure of the King upon them. Consequently, for the sake of self-protection, nobody had come to her aid.
After crumpling it into a round shape, Bernard tossed the mostly unread newspaper on top of his bed.
There was no way that noble society revolved around humanity and a sense of duty. Though he knew that to be the case, seeing something like this happen right in front of his eyes left a bad taste in his mouth.
Though he his appetite had vanished, a knight’s capital was his body.
Washing down his bread with his café au lait, he thoroughly chewed the egg as well as the bacon and swallowed them together with his soup.
Because the time for the coach to leave was drawing close, he quickly went to work.
Facing the lockers in the troop hut, Bernard changed into his work clothes.
After putting on a deep blue colored velvet coat, he put on black trousers and fastened his belt.
He lowered his armor onto his body, put the crest that was the symbol of his membership in the force on his shoulder fixture, and tied his scarlet cape.
The force Bernard was attached to, “The Third Special Assault Force,” suppressed criminals that caused violent activities while occupying important locations, and aiding with entering and seizing like what happened a few days ago, it was a special military force that was deployed to locations where the situation was becoming rough. The entire squadron numbered seven, which meant that the force Bernard was attached to was one made up of a select few.
By conducting intense training every day, each individual’s abilities were developed.
When it became daytime, he headed toward the mess hall.
Though there was a separate mess hall for the exclusive use of those ranked as at least commanding officers, he had heard the rumor that eating while surrounded by the commanding officers of various units made you feel as if you weren’t alive, so he had not used it even once.
Consequently, in order to crowd together with other knights who were seeking food for lunch, he ended up in the central mess hall.
To start with, he confirmed the menu that was posted at the doorway.
Even here, there was a multitude of people gathered together. Bernard, who was taller than the knights around him, looked at the board that had the menu written on it.
・Daily Special Meal Set (bread, sweet and salty meat skewer, cheese soup, fried vegetables, crispy fish in ankake)
・Meat Noodles (large serving is an extra copper coin)
・Large Serving of Daily Special (all-you-can-eat bread, lump of meat cooked with herbs, meat soup)
The selection of meals offered to the knights by the mess hall was by no means large. However, the meals were famed for being cheap and for tasting reasonably good.
While saying that the daily set might be good, as he usually did, he handed over his meal ticket to the one in charge.
In the mess hall that was flourishing due to the knights, he sat down in an empty seat.
“–Oh, if it isn’t Bernard!”
Today as well, by coincidence, he encountered his former colleague Djibril.
“We’ve run into each other a lot recently……maybe it’s destiny?”
“Just sit down already.”
To Djibril, who was making jokes, he recommended that he sit in the free seat in front of him.
The talkative Djibril started to talk before he even touched his food.
It was about the trial of Agnes’ father, Sherard Le Verges, which was a hot topic. The knights around them were talking about the same thing, too.
“It sure is pitiful, and that girl, too. It seems like she’s been prohibited from seeing her father since the trial’s start. Even though he was her only blood relative, y’know?”
Saying that it seemed like Agnes Le Verges’ mother passed away in Agnes’ early childhood, Djibril touched upon her personal information.
“After her father incited the King’s wrath, I doubt there’s anyone whimsical enough to shelter her. ‘Cause if anyone ever found out, the guy would be barred from promotions for life.”
Bernard, who heard those words, immediately started to choke. Ever thoughtful for his friends, Djibril got up from his seat and struck Bernard’s back.
“Hey, you alright?”
The man who had casually taken Agnes in on a whim, Bernard, drank water to regain his composure.
He was aware that his heart was pounding profusely.
Regretful thoughts of worry that he had done something absolutely preposterous assailed him.
“So, y’know, it seems like there have been some reports surfacing from the guys in the research division that underground, there have been some guys who have been saying some weird shit.”
“And what’s that?”
“That there are people who want to make Agnes Le Verges their mistress by any means.”
“Basically, they think that there’s no problem if they keep her shut in enough that the King won’t find out.”
There were a great number of people who wanted to have a girl that beautiful as a mistress. However, if one were to lock Agnes up, eyes of blame from high society would surely all be focused upon them.
If that were the case, instead of an official place, then it would be fine to take her into the underground society.
“Basically, they want to take her along for gambling dens, drug trade, slave trade, and such……”
The ones who carried out secret maneuvers for the underground society had, for many years, been one of the groups that the knight squadrons had been trying to wipe out of the imperial city.
However, the reality was that they had not been able to crack down on the trade of people and such very well.
“Regarding this matter, there are nobles involved with it, too.”
“Though we haven’t found solid evidence.”
“That’s why there have been people saying it would be nice to have Miss Agnes’ cooperation.”
If it were the incredibly haughty and prideful Agnes Le Verges, it was a possibility that she would walk about splendidly during an infiltrating investigation.
However, Bernard remembered yesterday’s Agnes.
When told to sit, she took the seat next to him, and when told to read the contract, she approached him quickly.
He wasn’t sure if it was just missing or if she was just distracted from being cautious.
Something like leading a man by the nose, she didn’t seem like the kind of girl to enjoy doing the kinds of things that the underground world did.
In his heart, he thought that it was just simply impossible.
Hearing Djibril’s voice, he came to his senses.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, just, is it okay to talk about this kind of classified information from your section this lightly?”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Probably.”
While sighing deeply, he left his seat.
“H-Hey, Bernard, I haven’t finished talking……”
“Silence is golden, speech is silver.”
“The heck is that.”
“The words of a philosopher from a foreign country.”
Leaving behind those words, he left the mess hall.
Even in the corps’ rest area, talk about the Le Verges family was the hot topic.
The commanding officer, Lazarre, denied the rumor that there were infiltration investigations for Agnes.
“I think it’s probably not true. When it comes to operations, you need the King’s permission, and apparently simply hearing the name makes him fly into a rage, so isn’t it impossible?”
Incidentally, it seemed that the King mentioned in the newspaper was a body double.
It appeared as if the person in question was simply feigning ignorance and performing his duties.
“Well, with the Prime Minister gone now, there’s no time for him to go to the trials, I guess.
After the end of the intermission, the bell rang and a voice called out to resume training.
The Third Special Assault Force’s group members went toward the courtyard.
After work ended, Bernard departed for home after changing into his civilian clothes.
Boarding the coach, he returned to his residence, which was located in the middle of the forest.
Because he had worked overtime today, the neighborhood had become completely dark.
With an experienced gait, he continued down the path that had no light.
Even so, the issue of Agnes’ employment weighed heavily on his mind.
Should he report it to his superior, or should he not.
He couldn’t say for sure.
Letting out a huge sigh, he opened the door.
Thereupon, seeing Agnes’ figure at the front door, he became surprised.
“–Welcome back, Master.”
Upon seeing Agnes welcoming him with a sweet smile, Bernard became dizzy in multiple ways.