The 9th Story: The Knight And Lord
One of Hell’s Castles, Astarte Castle.
A servant’s early morning.
Come to think of it, the Castle and the Count’s daughter had the same name.
Excluding castles named after their location, wouldn’t it normally be named something like “Sangelman Castle” after the Castle Lord?
I personally thought that an overprotective musume-con like him was most likely a foolish father, but…well, that was also trying to some degree.
“It suits you, you look passable.” (Count)
The old man, no…Lord, Count-sama said while looking at the me in black butler clothes.
I felt like I could accomplish anything now.
Why? Because I am a butler.
“Blood, although you will be acting as Astarte’s Knight from now on, there is already a preceding subordinate being supplied with my magic power. Are you aware of this?” (Count)
“Yes, Ol…Count-sama.” (Blood)
“Today, you’ll help me with my work for a little while.” (Count)
“Count-sama instead of Astarte-sama?” (Blood)
“Originally, Astarte’s personal care was already being handled by others. Sebastian handles her education as well. You’ve got to take over that job. Firstly, whether or not you have the ability is up to me, the father. We’ll have to measure your ability.” (Count)
Honestly, I wasn’t good at dealing with this kind of person.
It was obvious that he did not like me.
“If you decide that you want this job, you will need to take over the position of Knight and replenish your Mana supply. Do you understand what I mean?” (Count)
“Also, if you turn back into your original form…a ghoul…” (Count)
“Yes, those who do not work do not eat. In that case, displaying my true form would be unpleasant.” (Blood)
Then the Count suddenly brought out a chessboard from the desk.
“By the way, Blood, can you play chess?” (Count)
“No, I absolutely cannot.” (Blood)
The Rook moved at right angles like a Hisha, the Bishop moved diagonally like a Kaku, and the Queen was the strongest, right?
I only knew the rules and pieces of shogi…
“Yeah, let’s play it now.” (Count)
“Huh!? Now!?” (Blood)
Right now, at five in the morning!?
Was this old man insane?
Heck, could we even play properly?
“My mind cannot be satisfied unless I play chess everyday, in the morning and at night. It is usually against Sebastian, but since you came by, I gave him some time off. Be a dedicated substitute.” (Count)
“Yes, I understand.” (Blood)
After 10 minutes, I, a beginner, was losing, as expected.
“What, it’s already over? This guy has no backbone.” (Count)
“Because it is a ghoul.” (Rinne)
Honestly, I lost without being able to understand how I was defeated.
I, a chess virgin who didn’t know the rules or how to move the pieces properly, naturally lost.
It was unreasonable to disparage a guy who had played for the first time.
“Keep studying, and also, read this.” (Count)
The Count threw the rulebook, written in Hell’s Language, to me as he said that.
After that, the Count stood up from his chair and spoke in a few different languages.
“Then let’s go, Blood! To work!” (Count)
“Yes, Count-sama!” (Blood)
What awaited us was an enormous amount of administrative work.
I couldn’t understand what the documents skillfully detailed, but it wasn’t necessary for me to help.
“Fu, could it be that you still don’t know anything?” I was told.
Count-sama was a model boss who would allocate work in accordance to his subordinates’ abilities.
I was instructed to clean the top-most residential floor. Master’s work was completed just as it became time for lunch.
It appeared that a Knight’s duty included bringing black tea to their lord.
This was the first time I had brewed black tea since I was born, and the count took a sip.
“Unpleasant.” After he said that, he didn’t touch it again.
The meal was finished and then there was a brief break that ended with cleaning, again.
Then it was time for the 3 o’clock snack.
We received scones from a frog-man dressed in chef clothes in the dining hall, they came with butter curls as well.
The reason for the break was, “I feel I have to eat more junk food.” That said, it was an extremely absurd excuse for this waste of time.
Now, I was working on one thing or another by the Count’s orders; trying to complete everything simultaneously ended up in failure.
“So far, it looks like you won’t return to the lowest floor.” (Count)
The Count told me that when the first day was over.
The last task of the day was chess.
I was thankful for a task that did not consume stamina, but I was once again defeated without being able to understand how.
No surprise there.
Beginning with chess, and ending with chess.
Apparently this was the work of a knight.
I was also instructed by the Count to clean the general soldier’s dining room by morning as he went back to his study.
No, I wasn’t physically tired, but mentally?
I decided to take a break before going into the dining room to clean.
Those who were recognized as a knight were given a personal room in the castle.
Of course, my status was below my Lord’s and Astarte’s, but the way I was treated had improved remarkably when compared to before.
After leaving my room, I took a shower and changed into a new set of butler clothing.
My bed had something wriggling in it.
It was worrisome, so I approached the bed and pulled the blanket back.
Astarte was sleeping there.
“Oh, good morning Blood…” (Astarte)
“It’s nighttime!” (Blood)
“What’re you thinking, sleeping in a place like this…” (Blood)
“Because I couldn’t talk to you at all today, at least at night…” (Astarte)
Astarte mumbled while rubbing her eyes.
My reasoning took a hit.
What a brave little girl.
A supreme little girl.
However, it was regrettable that I was unable to respond to that desire.
“Sorry Astarte. I have to finish working.”
Then, I felt that my body would soon become sluggish.
Uh-oh, shit. To revert…
I had received a human form due to the rank up. I reached the conclusion that I was reverting to my old self, not that it was necessary to be a humanoid demon like Astarte. A ghoul is a ghoul.
According to that white-coated woman called Rinne, it seemed that I could only maintain a human form for 18 hours a day.
For the remaining six hours, I would have the appearance of a normal ghoul.
Fortunately, sleep was unnecessary for ghouls.
After six hours of recovery, I would be able to resume activity in my human form.
During the time that others slept, I would revert.
Today, I transformed just after 5:00AM, it was currently 11:00PM.
It had been exactly 18 hours of activity.
Honestly, I had forgotten about this weakness after being so busy.
It was honestly unreasonable, cleaning the dining room and other places until morning!
It was impossible to move quickly with this ghoul body, and I would start to ooze, dirtying wherever I had just cleaned!
“Hmm? Blood will sleep too? Good night…” (Astarte)
Astarte, who had been half asleep, went back to sleep without noticing my anxiety.
I had to waste six hours, after all.
I went to the dining room at full speed so that I would transform.
I had promptly forgotten my homework on the first day!
That was an acceptable reason to be fired!
‘Working 18 hours without sleeping at night is impossible’?
I don’t consider such conditions a challenge!
At the very least, I would do the best that I possibly could; even I would cheat when it came to cleaning!
“I desperately did my best.” Do not forget to produce that kind of feeling!
There was no choice but to do it!
Advancing in order to be with Astarte!!
I ran into the dining room at full speed and was stunned.
The cleaning had already been done.
What kind of person besides a miserly mother-in-law could clean so perfectly?
“That was slow.”
Even though it was early morning, the human frog waiter had not yet arrived and only one man was present.
The other party’s appearance was familiar.
A butler that had appeared often when I was a ghoul, in order to bring back Astarte, his name–
“I don’t mind being called just Sebastian. Our classes are equal. I’m just your senior by 100 years.” (Sebastian)
There was a resistance to dropping honorifics even if he said that…
Okay, I’ll try attaching “-san” to his name.
“Sebastian-san. Umm, this is!?” (Blood)
I asked while pointing at the nonexistent faults in the clean dining room.
“Had I not been able to report to Count-sama? Really…there is no excuse for deliberately giving low grade work to inferior people.”
That wasn’t an answer…
What was there left for me to do in this shiny dining room?
Then, as if he read my mind, Sebastian said,
“I heard you defended Lord Astarte-sama that day. Thank you for that. Thank you.” (Sebastian)
The day when two people invaded.
“I understand the situation. Count-sama is being unreasonable and making you do everything. I have to help as much as possible.” (Sebastian)
You are a good person, Sebastian.
Helping from the shadows has its worth.
After giving me his kind advice, Sebastian began to walk behind me.
“Count-sama is holding a grudge. That man only thinks about his daughter. It’s only when Astarte-sama is involved…that he becomes a demon.” (Sebastian)
Hey, weren’t you going to say great things now?
Eat **** to your boss?
“There is just a trace of a good person at his roots…Although the roots are beginning to become a little rotten as they grow…”(Sebastian)
That wasn’t praise at all…
Well, there was the issue with the affair, amongst other things.
When I thought about it now though, that wasn’t conclusive evidence of cheating, only that the Count had been pampered by a woman.
It was amazing to see that Astarte got what she wanted.
The old man’s lack of popularity has been a little worrying.
It seemed like it would end in betrayal at a critical moment, Sebastian.
“Thank you for the precious offer, however your assistance isn’t necessarily a good thing.” (Blood)
“You shouldn’t try to act so strong. Yeah, occasionally the young should rely on the old.” (Sebastian)
“It’s not that. It’s because it’s sooo fun!” (Blood)
“It can’t be helped, I’ve had to continuously stand straight without having anything much to do until now…I’m very happy to finally work. I had no idea it was so fun to be able to work for someone!” (Blood)
If I was asked about why I worked so hard, I would answer that it was for Astarte and also for myself.
To satisfy that old man in order to be recognized as Astarte’s Knight.
My heart leapt just from imagining it.
It had never felt so rewarding to work.
I bowed to Sebastian.
“Sebastian-san, I need your help, but please do not take this pleasure from me! Ah! For cleaning the dining room, thank you!” (Blood)
I voiced my request and Sebastian was nice about it! He smiled, revealing clean white teeth and gums unbefitting of one past their prime.
“In that case, work hard! When you’re in trouble, just say so!” (Sebastian)
“I will!” (Blood)
After that, Sebastian left the dining room.
“He might end up becoming more than just a rookie, Count-sama.”
Sebastian sneakily muttered.
Sebastian responded as he walked away.
“By the way, Sebastian-san, isn’t your tone vastly different from before?” (Blood)
“It isn’t! Towards the Lord’s daughter this is normal, normal.” (Sebastian)
For the time being, thanks to Sebastian, my life had been narrowly preserved.
I sincerely appreciated that.
Now, that musume-con father was speechless.
【Rinne’s Research Journal】
Skill: Accomplished as a butler
Remarks: Now waning but, it seems that he used to be a go-getter