Tara plans her next steps and confronts the Mistress of the house.
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Episode 4. 90kg (2)
What a miserable life I had lived. Well, to be fair, since I had been so inactive in the past they had probably never felt the need to put a maid in charge of me, a person who hardly existed.
I had to assume that was the case. However, it had already been three months since I had woken up and started doing things. Despite that, I still hadn't been assigned a dedicated maid.
Even the low-ranking retainers who visited the mansion for a short time were assigned a dedicated servant, yet I, an official daughter of this house, had not.
I felt a swell of anger towards myself in particular because I had been so oblivious to this.
Even in such a trivial way, I was not being recognized. How long would it take for me to live up to my own words and save my family from falling apart?
"This is going to be very difficult."
“Nothing. You must have been busy helping me all this time. Now. I know my first order of business. If I were to ask you to be my dedicated maid, would you accept?”
"What? Oh, my! Miss, I couldn't possibly deny you that! I'm already a maid employed by the Elias family. It's my job to do what I'm told. This is what I'm supposed to do. How could I possibly refuse?"
"Well. Still. You would be obligated to stay by my side, but I do not wish to force you to do something you don’t want to. Therefore, your opinion matters to me."
Her eyes rounded and she stared at me as if I was some alien creature she had never seen before.
Her reaction was understandable. But what could I do? No matter how much I adapted to this world, I couldn't change my modern values.
That's who I was. A person from this world, and at the same time, a person from another world.
"Wh- What you just asked. I've never been asked that before."
"Ha.... Could you please just tell me whether you would like to or not? My head hurts.”
"Ah…. Of- of course I will, Miss."
"Alright. Then you're hired. Let's see... This is decided by the Countess, so I'll have to meet with her. Do you know where she is?"
“Yes, she is entertaining guests in the drawing room right now.”
"Alright. Understood. Oh, by the way. Can you find my outerwear, or a cloak? I can't seem to find one."
"...Yes. That's because you have none."
I truly had very little.
“If you are in a hurry, I will go to the laundry room and fix you a spare cloak.”
"Ah. Yes. Thank you."
Beth bowed at a 90 degree angle at my words and then ran out of the room in a flash. As if she had never been there.
After putting off my plans to go out with Bernard for a while, I headed to the drawing room on the second floor of the mansion’s main building.
The reception room on the 1st floor was used by the Family Head for business with clients, and the reception room on the 2nd floor was mainly where the Mistress of the household greeted guests.
The Countess was Jason and Chloe's mother, the first wife of the Elias family, and the official mistress of the house.
I had seen her at meals from time to time, but I didn't remember sharing a single word with her. She treated me like I didn't exist.
There was no information about the Countess in the book. I was nervous because that meant I could only form an impression of her after meeting her in person. However, I wasn't completely without anything to lean on.
Before going to the drawing room, I stopped by the administration building to the right of the main mansion. The business administration building had a total of four floors, each of the floors were assigned to either internal estate affairs or the Elias Family businesses.
Among the options, I chose to enter the aide's office on the first floor.
"Are you busy? I have something I need to find. Please assist me."
"Oh… What's the matter, miss?"
A woman with her nose stuck in a stack of papers jumped to attention.
I plainly stated the matter.
Even before I had decided to take action, I had known about this place. This was where records of the immediate Elias family members and their schedules were kept.
“I’m interested in seeing the schedules from the past three months.”
Suddenly, she got a strange look on her face as if she wanted to ask why I was looking for that, however, she didn't question me any further.
It was normal to allow access to such things when it was a request from a member of the Elias family. Especially since it concerned an unrestricted record.
“Yes, here it is. This is the record the Lady requested."
She pulled a folder of papers out of a tightly packed bookcase and handed them over.
“I would like some other records as well.”
“Which other records?”
When I smiled slightly and pointed to the thick ledger labelled [Household Staffing Records], the assistant tilted her head as if in surprise.
As if she could no longer resist asking, she spoke.
"Why do you want to see that record, Miss?"
"Hmm. I might need it later. I have something to look up. Oh. And where can I find past daily newspapers?"
"Ah….. All of the ones you liked to read before the accident are being kept in the archives on the 2nd floor. If you tell the document clerk which daily newspaper you want to find he can find it for you."
After reviewing all the necessary records on the first floor, I went up to the second floor.
Even when I was still living in my room like a shut-in, everyone knew that I enjoyed reading the daily newspapers and they were brought to my room every day.
So, without much fuss, I was guided to the bookshelf with the daily newspapers I was looking for.
As expected of House Elias. The archives were large and the daily newspapers on the shelves were stored separately by date and by publication.
“Not [Imperial Daily News], not [Oceria Weekly], not [Monthly Nobility], hmm.... I've definitely seen it before.... This is it [The Imperial Citizen Daily].”
I immediately sat down at a desk and scanned the contents quickly.
“…… I'm definitely seeing this a second time...…”
How long had it been?
"...According to a source from Lackton Road.... Right. Here. Ah! Here it is.... According to the insider information of the [Drunken Dragon].... That's right. That was the name. Whoo. There we go."
My memory was limited. It had been a long time since I'd read [The Ocerian Chronicles], so I was not confident in my recollections.
Therefore, the more information, the better.
Fortunately, Tara had been a bookworm, and remembered many of the newspapers she had read in the past.
This brain was so young and wonderful.
In any case, I refused to die as a disgraced aristocrat.
Since I had decided to live, I had to make sure I survived. I had already taken the first step towards living, but now I had to succeed.
"Starting tomorrow, please bring one of each publication to my room."
I left the archives, instructing the servant to put the newspapers away.
There were more people than expected.
The gathering appeared to be harmonious, however, the sounds of laughter and conversation were loud enough that the atmosphere leaked outside of the drawing room.
“Was that a man……?”
The words that I had unintentionally overheard were somehow familiar to me, as if I had read them in a novel.
A few strands of hair on the top of my head were irritating my scalp, probably because I had tied my hair incorrectly.
I couldn't hide my fat features, which were the cause of my troubles, so instead I pulled my hair up tightly and made a round bun on the top of my head.
Not to mention my Empire style dress was tight under the chest making it uncomfortable for me to breathe.
When I gazed at my body reflected on the ceiling of the drawing room entrance hall, I heaved a sigh.*
90 kilos. I still had a long way to go.
Beth said the tea party should have ended by now, but it was still going on.
I had spoken to the assistant butler and requested a private meeting once the tea party was over. I was expecting to wait indefinitely, but the assistant butler soon approached me.
“Please come in.”
Huh? Already? Now?
Without waiting for my response, the young butler led me into the drawing room. I was very confused.
A total of seven people were present. My mother was among them. Seeing me, my mother jumped out of her seat.
She also looked confused.
"Baby, what's going on?"
"I - I have a favour to ask of the Countess."
Stop being nervous.
My mother was trembling. What was wrong with her?
Ever since I had transmigrated, I had only ever seen my mother with a bright and caring smile. But her eyes were anxious, like she was being chased by something. Perhaps she was nervous?
Practiced gazes flitted over and fixated on me. Eyes rounded. Mouths curved in mocking grins. Expressions filled with curiosity.
"I see you're awake!"
“It's been a while since I last saw you. The last time was when you were about 11 years old?"
“My, have you lost any weight? ho ho ho."
And so on. The guests already acquainted with me spouted various polite greetings.
"Hello, I am Ta- Tara, Tara Elias."
As I bowed in greeting with great difficulty, I heard a small giggle. Soon followed by a man's polite voice.
“Nice to meet you, Lady Elias. My name is Attorney Gehrig Anton."
A lawyer? What kind of lawyer?
The man, smiling broadly, appeared to be in his mid-30s.
Wasn't one of the most important events in the novel an investment case.…?
"And? Your request?"
The way her superficial gaze looked me up and down was very unpleasant. Her makeup appeared to have been applied over two centimetres thick.
Her eyebrows fluttered every time she blinked. Her blue dress, a lattice pattern studded with gold threads, displayed her breastbone, and large diamonds dangled from her neck and ears.
Her name was Victoria Elias, 48 years old.
I quickly contemplated what to do. I came here expecting a private meeting.
Was it okay to reveal some of the minor issues regarding our House in the presence of outsiders?
A story about a child of the Elias family not being assigned a dedicated maid could cause a small dent in the family's reputation.
Especially for the mistress of the household, who managed the internal affairs of the mansion.
Moreover, the character of Victoria Elias was still in question.
"Ah... no. I think I came at the wrong time. I'll come to see you again later...…”
"What do you think you're doing?"
I was genuinely surprised by the sudden loudness of her voice.
What was with her?
"Do you think your time is as valuable as mine? What sort of nonsense is this? If you have a favour to ask, you should ask it at the proper time. At the last meeting, you said everything you wanted to say. Was that all an act? Though, you have struggled quite a bit in the past when it comes to basic human competence. Tsk, tsk."
My face burned as blood rushed to my face. Was this really something worth getting angry over?
"I'm sorry, Madam. It seems that my child has not been made fully aware of the family's etiquette after waking up. I'll be sure to educate her properly about this, so please forgive her rudeness."
My mother bowed her head deeply, like someone who had gravely sinned.
It made me feel filthy.
A forgotten memory resurfaced, I suddenly remembered my first family meal with Victoria.
Even then, she talked about how I was clearly my mother's daughter, that I must have inherited my unfortunate eating habits from her, how disgusting it was to see me eat and how it spoiled her own meal. I had woken up only three days prior, so I’d said nothing.
Because I was too busy thinking about running away from this family.
Moreover, the bullying was so commonplace that the other children of the household remained engrossed in their meals. They had expressed no interest in the spectacle.
Alternatively, my mother had greeted me, sat down next to me, then pulled my sleeve and winked.
From that encounter alone, it was clear that the two of us, mother and daughter, were the most despised beings in this mansion.
Everyone's eyes were on me, but I felt far more concerned about my mother's pale faced expression.
No matter what anyone else claimed, my mother was the only person in this entire family who cared about me without any hint of self-interest.
To be honest, I didn't have time for love, but this body’s memory was full of affection for my mother.
I had to urge myself to be patient.
"That was rude of me. I'll consult the Countess in advance and come another time."
As I moved to turn around, her cynical voice stopped me.
Editor’s Notes -
(90kg = 198lb)
Victoria is truly the embodiment of pure human kindness... Also, hmmm. I wonder what's up with Tara's recurring headaches in these early chapters? Transmigration side effects?
* I assume this is a mirrored ceiling. Apparently this was a thing in 18th and 19th century France among the very wealthy. It's a reflection (pun intended) of how ostentatiously wealthy the Elias’s are since mirrors and glass were so expensive in this time period. This may be yet more proof that the Ocerian Empire is at least partially inspired by 17th, 18th and 19th century France. https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2019/06/21/when-walls-ceilings-and-even-floors-got-mirrors/
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