Limited Time, Kitchen Maid of the Fourth Knight Order ~I Got a Job Because I Don’t Want to Get Married~ – Chapter 77

𝐆𝐢𝐟𝐭

Thor and I had a lot of meaningful conversations the day after he stayed over, filling me with a sense of well-being. Hearing updates about my family really helped.

“Mom’s health is stable and she’s doing better. I hear there are advancements in the medication as well. I haven’t been able to visit her yet, but she’s doing fine every day. Dad, overwhelmed by busyness and loneliness, has stopped coming home.”

My mom is in the royal palace, Thor is in the dorm, and I am in hiding.

Imagining my dad returning to an empty, dark house made my heart tighten.

“Dad goes to see mom every night.”

“Well, that’s a relief then.”

I’m worried about drawing Dyson’s attention, but it seems that the king has granted permission, so it must be alright.

“He seems to be pretending to go home but is actually visiting mom. Dad tends to go unnoticed, so probably nobody realizes what he’s doing.”

“That’s so like dad.”

I never thought our family trait of being inconspicuous would come in handy like this.

“Does that mean. . . my stint as a kitchen maid in the Fourth Knight Order hasn’t been discovered? If dad was under surveillance, it would be instantly obvious that he’s visiting mom. And if someone wanted to target us, it would be our bedridden mom.”

Next time, I’ll ask Roa-sama.

The thought that my past as a kitchen maid hasn’t been revealed by the enemy made me suddenly relieved.

Roa-sama assured me that it was alright, but I was still anxious. I couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to my family because of me.

“Someone has anonymously provided financial support to the Norchev family. Not only is mom receiving treatment, but we are also getting compensation under the guise of a clinical trial.”

My heart skipped a beat.

“. . .Roa-sama.”

The person who arranged this and provided the money must be Roa-sama.

I have no proof, just intuition. Yet, I’m strangely convinced that I’m right.

“Nee-sama  will express her gratitude later. Thank you for telling me, Thor.”

Thor pouted his lips, looking a bit sulky.

“I wish I could grow up faster to protect Nee-sama.”

“You’ve already been protecting me enough, Thor.”

I poked at Thor’s dissatisfied face and began to prepare for the farewell.

I was told that it’s not good to frequently come here, so Thor probably won’t be able to visit again.

Despite the risks, they brought Thor because everyone felt bad about my poor health. I didn’t want them to feel that way, but if it lightens their hearts, I accepted the gift.

“The next time I’ll see Nee-sama is at school. I go to Marina’s lab every day, so please come by when you can.”

After hugging and saying goodbye, I suddenly felt lonely. The happiness from just moments ago seemed like a lie.

As I stared at the closed door, I heard a voice from behind.

“Alice. . . I’m really sorry.”

When I turned around, only Edgardo and Rolf remained.

The timing, the people, and the apologies.

The room seemed to spin a little as I realized everyone probably knows about Edgardo and Rolf’s confessions.

“I also worsened your condition by confessing to you when you were weak. . . I’m really sorry.”

“I think this illness was half wisdom tooth pain anyway.”

 ㅤ

Even if I say that it’s not a big deal here, both of them would end up blaming themselves. It’s better to point out the issue upfront, it helps clear the air for both.

“If you two want specialty products from your territories, feel free to negotiate the price.”

“Of course! Please do so.”

“Even then, it wouldn’t be enough.”

“At this point, taking more would be excessive.”

Relieved by the usual atmosphere, I sit on the sofa. Rolf prepares tea for me, and Edgardo brings out some snacks.

Since coming here, both have started acting more like attendants. I haven’t had to lift a finger.

After hydrating my throat with the tea, I broach the subject.

“So, about the confession.”

It’s best to speak about such matters sooner rather than later.

“Upon reflecting calmly, it feels insincere to toy with both of your feelings.”

“I’m the one who’s being insincere, Alice, please don’t worry.”

“No, Edgardo-sama, that won’t do. Even though I can’t reciprocate both of your feelings, I’m reacting inappropriately. What a villain I am! A vile woman who should be eliminated! It’s tantamount to toying with both of your emotions. Are you disappointed?”

“Not at all.”

My clenched fist is enveloped by Rolf’s hand.

“. . . Alice, you never let me give up easily.”

The charged atmosphere dissipates, replaced by a much sweeter mood.

How does the atmosphere change so quickly? Is it one of Rolf’s special skills?

“That’s fine. I’m working hard to get you to turn around and notice me.”

“So, I am.”

“Let’s save that for later. It’s too soon to decide in just a few days.”

“Exactly. Whether the result is favorable or not, could we at least have the opportunity to convey that we’re serious? Even just a little bit.”

“I beg you, Alice.”

Feeling a lump in my throat as they plead with me.

“We’re seriously trying to convey our feelings, so please think carefully before you respond. Not just because it would be insincere to decide in a few days. We’ll accept your answer as long as you’ve really thought about it, taken in how we feel, and made a decision accordingly. So, will you consider it seriously?”

Holding back my surging emotions, I look both of them in the eye.

Probably for the first time since their confessions, I look at them directly.

. . .I think, deep down, I’m scared. I’m scared to confront love. The idea of something as uncertain and ever-changing as love being directed at me is terrifying.

But if I don’t confront these things, that in itself would be insincere.

“. . . Understood. I’ll think it over seriously. So please, give me some time.”

As I bow my head, Edgardo gently places his hand on the back of mine. Only his gloved fingertips touch me.

“Thank you for seriously considering this. Let’s start with this level of physical contact for now. I apologize for touching you without permission before, knowing you’re afraid of men.”

I give a slight shake of my head in reply.

I should consider their feelings toward me without hiding behind my feelings for Roa-sama.

Let’s have them take Thor’s test. After all, I am someone who married a trashy person. My judgment of people is practically non-existent.

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