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“That’s what happened.”
After returning to the annex, Elise sat Emma and Brie down and explained the whole story. Soon, the butler will come and take them, but she wanted to say it herself since they had been friends for a long time since childhood.
Elise removed the precious books she had kept under the bed, took out a small jewelry box, and took out two rubies the size of a half of her little fingernail and handed them over.
“You never know when you’ll be back. So take it. If people bother you even a little, just quit right away. I’ll make you a letter of recommendation at all costs, so don’t worry.”
“Lady, don’t worry about us and just worry about your ladyship. How are you going to live alone? Oh, by any chance… Is that kid going too?”
“Who? Oh… Benji? No. He didn’t say anything. It’s a relief. I can’t stay alone.”
“Still, lady… He wouldn’t be able to do anything. As you know… He’s a fool.”
Brie, who was quietly listening as if she was holding her breath, added,
“I heard that the Count instructed to never make him work while he was still alive. It won’t be good if he makes an accident. That’s why he was kicked out to the detached house. I’ve never even managed to see his face before.”
“Emma, Brie. It’s going to be alright. Don’t worry about me and take care of yourselves.”
“Lady, do you need anything?”
“Hmm… I don’t know… I don’t think there’s anything in particular?”
“May I buy a new book on my day off?”
Her slightly sullen face brightened up at once. Emma smiled slyly as she looked at Elise’s sparkling eyes. As if she knew this would happen.
“I’ll pick well. Let’s just say it’s dirty.”
Elise smiled even wider as she looked at her useless determination. Her rubies weren’t a complete waste.
* * *
To Emma and Brie, Elise had been confident, but when things were just around the corner, Elise’s eyes became darker. No matter how hard things were, she was the count’s lady.
She had never done anything with her own hands, so she had to call someone…… Benji was the only timber that she could use right now.….
‘No. Does Benji understand people? I’ve seen you since I was young, but I should’ve talked more to you.….’
In fact, until he was almost ten years old, Elise believed Benji was a dog. Because of the hair color that resembles the dog she raised before, she believed that the dead dog came back alive without any doubt from the day his father brought Benji. She wasn’t stupid, so she couldn’t understand why she had imagine such a thing.
After Elise grew up a little, Benji left her in the abandoned annex alone. Perhaps it was a special measure made because she had been thrown out of the main building. And Elise naturally forgot about Benji’s existence. Until he entered the annex as if he had been kicked out.
So, they couldn’t have talked in the meantime.
When Elise saw him, she approached and stroked his fluffy hair, but that was it. Come to think of it, she had never even called out his name properly, let alone have a conversation.
Do you know your name is Benji?
Others said Benji’s intelligence was worse than that of a dog, but was hearsay. I had never analyzed him properly, so there was no way to discern such a thing.
He was so shy that he never appeared in front of anyone other than Elise. How his large size disappeared so easily, sometimes she felt like she was looking at a cat, not a dog. Nonetheless, Benji was unfamiliar to everyone.
When Elise called him doubtfully, Benji, who was lying in a dust pit, raised his head. It was clear that his recognized his name.
At Elise’s call, Benji slowly stood up and approached her. Due to his large, bear-like physique, a shadow fell over her head.
When Elise motioned him to sit down, Benji sat calmly leaning his head against her knees, blinking his big eyes.
‘You roughly understand what I’m saying.’
She stroked his hair as usual.
Oh, right. Elise asked,
“Can you speak?”
Rather it was Elise who was rather surprised by the slow but clear answer.
In order to calm down her heart, surprised by the soft and gentle voice she heard for the first time, Elise unconsciously stroked and caressed his puppy-like head.
‘It’s a relief that you know how to speak.….’
From now on, she was at a loss how to explain that he should take care of her. Her expression clouded.
“For now, Emma and Brie will work in the main building.”
‘Can you understand? Did I badly explain it? Do you know who Emma and Brie are?’
It was frustrating not to know what was wrong. Elise once again made eye contact with Benji.
“The maids who worked here will no longer come.”
‘It’s frustrating! You know how to talk, but why aren’t you answering?’
Looking at Benji blinking without a reaction, Elise rolled up her lips and asked. Her short patience had already run out.
‘Yeah. I can’t expect everything in the beginning. I don’t even know where to start. What’s the point of saying it out loud? I need to say one letter at a time? First of all, I have to teach the most basic things step by step.’
“Benji. Say, ‘Yes, master.'”
“Benji. From now on, when I call you, you answer, ‘Yes, master.’ Got it?”
“Okay. Good job.”
‘Okay. Let’s be satisfied with this today.’
Elise stroked Benji’s hair and tried to raise the corners of her mouth. She had a long way to go.
* * *