The way Lucius looked at the documents, with his arms laying crookedly on the desk and his fingers occasionally waving his quill, he looked like one of the lackadaisical students from the academy.
Watching his master with messy-looking hair look down at those papers, Tom had only shown movement by clasping his hands together when Lucius raised his head to glance at him.
“Shouldn’t it be easy to implement relief operations for the residents from Pekka? This report is a mess.”
“There’s a lot of work—sorry. I’ll revise them tomorrow, master.”
At the attendant’s half-hearted apology, Lucius put down the documents. “But have you ever done any relief work? How are you going to revise anything if you don’t know what you’re writing? It would still be as sloppy as this one right here.”
Tom pouted his lips. He had prepared these documents in a hurry and readied himself to be scolded from the moment he came. But seeing that his master was busy, he had a glimmer of hope that the report related to the relief operations would be skipped.
Unfortunately, even after slaughtering monsters and the like, the master still had plenty of room to thoroughly examine all the documents here and could even pinpoint the hidden problems.
Lucius lifted his finger, as if to mull over something, then suddenly said. “Hm. Why don’t you ask Deatrice for help?”
“Pardon?” He was so busy thinking about something else that when Tom suddenly heard this name in an unexpected place, he was utterly bewildered.
Lucius ignored Tom’s reaction and spoke calmly.
“It’s quite known that Deatrice does charity work on my estate. Even when she was still in the capital, she sometimes helped the empress handle such matters where she was later recognized for her deeds and received a token of gratitude from the emperor.”
He thumbed his chin and glanced at his servant, “She’s better than you in many ways, and I think she’s the most suitable to help you with this one. What do you think?”
The master asked for his opinion, but Tom understood it was an order. But averse to this new development, he clenched the papers he was holding. “But if you do that, you’re giving the lady a job.”
“Haven’t you said it yourself?” he countered. “That after marriage, you won’t give your wife any room to intervene in matters relating to the estate?”
As if thinking about something, Lucius’ gaze fell to the ground. Closing his eyes, his long golden eyelashes pointed downwards and then slowly rose, wiping out the emotion within them.
Lucius said with a smile. “Yes, I have, but now is a special situation. So leave it to Deatrice, she’ll do well.”
His smile looked ordinary, but why did it feel like it was mixed with something else? Like regret or compassion?
Tom furrowed his eyebrows. His master was becoming unpredictable. No, he had long been unpredictable. But after his marriage to Deatrice, he had become even more so.
One minute he would be greatly worried or angry with her, the next minute he would become so mind-numbingly cold like he couldn’t wait to throw her off the streets just so he could break her heart.
To think she could take my work from me without any ounce of effort?
Stumped, this thought entered his mind.
Perhaps after this, his master might say he just lived with Deatrice because it’s a special situation, while the truth was completely the opposite.
I will not let that happen.
Tom bowed his head deeply, swearing.
When the master is trying to ruin his own life, Tom vowed that the one who would be vigilant and stop him in time would be the servant who truly cared for him.
Deatrice was out in the garden again to pick flowers in full bloom.
Monsters might’ve been roaming outside, but it’s like nothing has changed in the manor save for the doubled security and knights tailing after her. She looked up at the clear sky and tried to imagine where Lucius was underneath the same blues.
He had returned to the manor covered in blood last night. Perhaps at this moment, he might still be slaughtering monsters in another dangerous place. Then she remembered the day the monster-wolf appeared.
The moment when Lucius sliced it to death was more memorable to her than when she had encountered it alone. With a desperate-looking expression, Lucius killed the monster in one huge swing without much effort, and set the body aside.
When these memories came to mind, Deatrice lightly shook her head to erase his face from her mind. But because she was too immersed in her thoughts, she didn’t notice the slightly elevated ground, which led to her stumbling and losing her balance.
“Madam, are you alright?”
One of the knights, the youngest of the four, positioned himself beside her and allowed Deatrice to hold onto him to steady herself. The others said that this knight had never done an escort job before, but to let her hold him instead of him inappropriately holding his master showed that he was quite sensible.
Deatrice noticed her hand resting on the back of his before looking into the knight’s face. It was Atkins.
As his stare stretched on, Atkins was the first to bow his head. “Are you alright, madam?”
“Of course. Thank you, Atkins.”