Limited Time, Kitchen Maid of the Fourth Knight Order ~I Got a Job Because I Don’t Want to Get Married~ – Chapter 42

𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐛𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬

In this world, it’s considered good manners for men to compliment ladies even upon first meeting. In Japan, words that may be interpreted as passionate wooing are spoken casually.

I’m sure it was the same for Roa-sama. He rarely laughed and didn’t seem accustomed to making jokes, so he must have been practicing how to give compliments. I didn’t know how to take it because he was so serious, but everything was as usual during the relaxed time after dinner. I was the only one who seemed to be concerned; yes, those must have been polite expressions. Lip service. Flattery.

It’s frustrating that I’m the only one who’s disconcerted, but I’ve decided not to think about it. I want to focus on running the shop now. The maximum time I can stay in the knight order is three years, so there’s a high likelihood that it could be even shorter.

The kitchen maid position is popular for matchmaking. In fact, I often hear about marriages being arranged, and there are also Cinderella stories. If it becomes known that there’s a kitchen maid who shows no signs of getting married, then she becomes a target for marriage-minded young ladies. The Norchev family would get unwanted attention.

“I’ll buy the pie on the way back, but first, let’s get something to eat at a stall. . . Oh, I need to pick out a dress before eating.”

On my day off, I went to the castle town alone after a long time. The Founding Festival is near, so I have to buy a dress soon.

Roa-sama had prepared a dress from a store popular among lower-ranking nobles. Surprisingly, there were many female clerks, and they even helped me put on the dress, which should normally be the job of a lady-in-waiting, for the sake of “educating the clerks.”

They’ll add any lace or fabric you like to the ready-made dresses, so yours won’t match anyone else’s, and the prices are also affordable.

I was worried about what I would do if he had prepared an expensive dress, but this one is inconspicuous in a good way, and I can afford to pay back the money for the dress if need be. I’m glad Roa-sama has a sister who advised him on gifts.

The doorman opens the door for me, and I step into the store for the first time. The bright and high-ceilinged interior somewhat resembles a wedding hall. It might be because it’s predominantly white.

“Welcome to our store.”

I hand the clerk who greeted me graciously the envelope given by Roa-sama. After excusing herself to read the letter, the clerk led me to a spacious private room on the second floor, which had a sofa, a table, and a lineup of colorful dresses.

“Feel free to choose any dress you like. The payment has already been made.”

As I sit on the sofa and sip the offered tea, three clerks lay out various styles of dresses for easy viewing and explain them to me.

It feels just like I’m a real noble. This is. . . this could ruin me!

“Um, which one would you recommend?”

“We have been instructed to suggest this one. We believe it would suit you very well. If you like it, this is the one you should choose.”

What appeared was a soft lemon-yellow dress. There was a large slit starting from the thigh on one side of the skirt.

“You can choose any fabric for underneath the slit. Adding plenty of pleats and lace would look lovely. I think this would make a good accent.”

Underneath the bust of the dress, a wide strip of black silk was attached and tied into a bow. When delicate white lace was placed over the black silk, the dress instantly became glamorous. Adding tiny gemstones made it even more adorable.

“It’s cute. . . Layering white lace looks wonderful. Yes, I would like to add this corsage.”

“Oh, how lovely! In that case, how about this?”

 ㅤ

Ideas kept flowing from the clerk, and before I knew it, a dress was chosen.

The dress is a beautiful lemon yellow. It features a white fabric that is both lightweight and opaque peeking out from the slit, creating abundant folds that add to its splendor. Black silk accents are adorned with white lace. The same lace, but in black, is applied all around the hem of the dress. A corsage made by my mother is pinned at the neckline.

“These shoes and hair accessories would also suit you well.”

“No, just the dress.”

“Don’t say that. We’ve already received the payment. If I don’t add a bit more, I’ll get scolded.”

“That person wouldn’t get angry over something like this.”

“Well.”

Despite my unintended outburst, the clerk responded with a gentle smile. How embarrassing.

“So that’s why he wanted to gift you a complete set. Men often want to paint their partners in their own colors. But I understand, you don’t want to be dyed according to someone else’s wishes.”

“Y, Yes, that’s right. So, just the dress.”

“In that case, how about we skip the conspicuous hair accessories? We can add the same lace to the shoes to make it all coordinate.”

“Ah, that’s cute. . .!”

“Then, let’s go with that.”

Darn it, the clerk is so good at persuading!

I ended up choosing both a dress and shoes. They said that if I wait for about two hours, they can complete both the temporary and final stitching, so I decided to enjoy some tea and snacks like a proper young lady.

Just to be safe, I skim through my recipe book and covertly calculate the cost. It seems like it will be covered by the kitchen maid’s salary. It’s a relief that it’s an amount I can pay back if needed.

When I finally left the store after all the adjustments, it was already past noon. On my way, I stopped by my parents’ house to return the corsage and took care of some housework and helped my mother before returning to the dormitory. The dress will be delivered to my family home.

When I got back to the dormitory in the evening, Edgardo, Rene, Rolf, and Arthur were having discussions.

“Welcome back, Alice. Listen, Arthur is going to use magic.”

“Oh really, Rolf? As if we don’t have enemies who use magic?”

“That’s not the point. It could be a big deal if it hits the dorm.”

“Miss Alice, welcome back. Let me take your bags.”

“Hey, this is from that pie shop! I knew it would suit Alice’s taste. My judgment was spot-on.”

Their words make me happy, and I can’t help but smile.

“I’m back! I brought some souvenirs, so let’s all have dinner together.”

Pies, cakes, roast chicken, and some pre-made soup mark the beginning of a slightly early dinner. Arthur takes out a mountain of bread from his magic bag, and we all focus on filling our stomachs.

It seems that everyone went out today and was searching for something. I thought we could just exchange vague information later, but it seems like they’re planning to consolidate the information and report it somewhere. Do we really have to do it here?

Once we are full and content, Edgardo, who was enjoying his after-dinner tea, suddenly looks apologetic.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t accompany you today, Miss Alice. Were you okay on your own? There were no suspicious people around, were there?”

“There was no one suspicious. Besides, today I had to go somewhere where I had to be alone. I went to decide on a dress for the founding festival.”

 ㅤ

Edgardo suddenly exclaimed, “Dress!”

“Is this the occasion to give a dress? Miss Alice, have you already chosen a dress?”

“Yes, thank you for your concern, Edgardo-sama.”

Perhaps he intended to recommend a cheap store, knowing that I’m not wealthy.

Rolf is intently watching Arthur, who is smiling for some reason.

“Hey Arthur, do you know something? Could it be. . .”

“I’m just gathering as much information as I can. Joe, the information manipulator, loves his saucers.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Miss Alice! If you haven’t decided on an escort yet, may I escort you?”

Startled by Edgardo’s sudden standing, I hadn’t replied yet when Rolf also stood up and knelt beside me in an ingratiating manner.

“I also want to be a candidate. Alice, please choose me as your escort.”

“In that case, me as well. Miss Norchev, may I escort you?”

“Eh— don’t jump on the bandwagon, Arthur-sama.”

“Hey, everyone, think about your social standing! If you escort Alice, who knows which young lady will set her eyes on you! If Alice is having trouble finding an escort, even I am fine. I may be the youngest knight in the order and not well-known, but I don’t think I’ll stand out too much.”

The peak time for getting noticed despite having neither a fiancé nor a lover, just because I’m of marriageable age.

“Thank you, everyone. But my younger brother will be escorting me.”

“If it’s your brother, then me too!”

“No, I can’t overlook Edgardo-sama causing my brother to hold a grudge. You see, he’s a bit of a siscon, and he’s been saying for months that he won’t budge from being my escort. I wish he’d found someone at school. . .”

Beside a disappointed Edgardo, who still seems not to have settled on an escort, Arthur let out a voice of admiration.

“Miss Norchev, you’re amazing. You work as a kitchen maid, yet you’re friendly with knights. Don’t you think you’re liked?”

“I understand what Arthur-sama is saying. Don’t misunderstand, okay? Listen, I’m the eldest daughter of the Norchev family, a poor family with no lands or connections. I love and take pride in my family! But, from a noble’s perspective, it’s not a family they’d want to marry into. There’s no merit in marrying me! Plus, I have no intention of marrying! I don’t want to get married!”

Overcome with emotion, I bang the table.

“I really don’t want to! Plus, everyone here has good looks and personalities. You’re all surrounded by women with good looks, good personalities, good families, and excellent style, right? There’s no way you would like me!”

The point is, would a woman surrounded by handsome and rich men with good personalities like a not-so-attractive poor person? Most women wouldn’t.

Arthur let out a big sigh.

“I see. Never underestimate the power of preconceptions. Knights are often told to abandon their preconceptions, but most actually can’t.”

“I plan to open a shop among the commoners someday, so please patronize it.”

“Understood. Looking forward to it.”

“You can make as many puns as you want.”

“That’s acceptable.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at Arthur’s quick response. It was a rather cute night, with a uniquely drunk Edgardo.

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