Aristocratic Daughters Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 1

Chapter 1: Personal Maid
 
 

(No no no no, what did this Byleth do!?)

I’m shocked at how I treated Sia, my personal maid, in the past.

To be honest, I’m at a loss for words.

“Um…L-Lord Byleth…?”

“Ah! Yeah, I’m awake.”

Hearing Sia’s voice confirming I’m awake from beyond the door brings me back to myself.

I wish it was just my imagination…Her nervousness comes across in her voice.

The best I can do now is make sure not to scare her any further…I consciously use as gentle a voice as I can to speak.

“Sia, come in.”

“Y-Yes, pardon my intrusion…”

Hearing that, she enters the bedroom quivering.

Dressed in her maid uniform, fluffy yellow-white hair tied with a pink ribbon in twin tails. Large rolling blue eyes.

Small stature with a face still retaining some childishness.

—Just like in my memories, she’s carrying a tray with tea.

Despite meeting her for the first time since reincarnating, it feels strange not to feel awkward or uncomfortable with her.

“Lord Byleth, g-good morning…!”

“Yeah, good morning to you too, Sia.”

“Eek! U-Um, good morning!”

“Uh, yeah, good morning.”

Not expecting to be greeted, she looked around in confusion before bowing her head to me again.

“Um…I brought tea but…would you like to drink it…?”

“Yeah. Since you went through the trouble, I’ll have some.”

“Oh, thank you so much!”

“Huh? Um, yeah…sure.”

I’d understand if she said [Understood] like acknowledging an order, but this gratitude is definitely strange.

No, the reason for giving such a strange response is clear.

(Sigh… I’ve been bullying a kid who’s been working so hard from early in the morning. I’m the worst…)

While I genuinely feel that way deep down, the current Byleth is me. A complex and indescribable feeling washes over me.

To shake off that sense of unease, I force a smile and awkwardly bow my head.

“Anyway, thanks as always, Sia. You’re a huge help.”

“Eh!?”

To make sure my feelings get through, I raise my voice volume too.

But this action was a mistake to take now. I realize it the instant I lift my head.

“Eh—”

What enters my vision is a stunned Sia dropping the tray she’s holding.

The offensive, overbearing man who she absolutely never expected gratitude from, the man who never thanked her, suddenly bowed his head today.

It’s only natural she’d be shocked, as if the earth itself flipped over—

[Crash!!]

The sound of a teacup shattering echoes through the room, fragments scattering. The steaming tea spreads across the floor.

“… “

“… “

Silence rules the bedroom. In contrast to me, frozen in shock, Sia returns to herself quickly.

“Oh-oh n-no, I’m terribly sorry! I’ll clean it up right away!!”

“Whoa whoa, stop! That’s an order!”

“Y-Yes sir!”

Her face pale, she squats to pick up the broken glass in a flustered rush, reaching out in a panic. I hurriedly stop her.

(If I let her pick it up panicked like that, her fingers would be covered in blood…No doubt about it.)

Just imagining it gives me chills.

(Though just a command shouldn’t make her cower that much…)

Chomping down on a response shows how frightened she is. Proof she’s terrified.

“Um, it’s dangerous so leave this to me.”

“Ah…”

While calm she might be fine, but I can’t have her clean up in this state.

On top of that, her agitation now is due to Byleth’s past actions. By thanking her, I provoked the mistake.

The blame doesn’t solely lie with Sia.

Taking the initiative, I gather the fragments of the broken cup onto the tray, and use some paper from the side table to wipe up the tea.

When I sneak a peek at Sia meanwhile, she’s standing there on the verge of tears, her whole body shaking.

(It really was a terrible environment…huh.)

Sadly, this is the result of the awful treatment I’ve given her up to now.

To avoid exposing I’ve reincarnated, maintaining my past attitude would probably be best.

But there’s no way I can treat her like that.

While gathering the pieces, feeling sorry she’s so shocked just by me saying thanks, I call out to her again.

“Sia, you aren’t hurt? No burns?”

“N-No, I’m not injured or burned…I’m very sorry…”

“Huh?”

An apology as if implying [It would have been better if I was hurt or burned].

Imagination, maybe? I briefly think that again, but considering how she’s been treated, it seems more likely there’s implications.

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“Anyway, I’m glad you aren’t hurt or anything.”

“……”

My voice doesn’t seem to be reaching her as she remains bowed.

(Oh…From Sia’s position, she probably feels responsible for making me, her master, clean up…)

Since I ordered her to stop, there’s absolutely no need for her to think that, but maybe that’s inescapable due to our positions.

“Hey, Sia?”

“Eep!”

“Well, um…how to put it, don’t worry about it, okay? Everyone makes mistakes, so be more careful next time. If you drop something, pick it up calmly and carefully, got it?”

“…………”

She looks at me bewildered, like she can’t comprehend it.

“Um, anyway, be more careful from now on, okay?”

“Y-Yes…I understand…”

She seems confused since I didn’t scold her as usual. While sad, at least I got to see an expression besides fear from her.

“Right. So about this cup, let’s pretend I’m the one who broke it when we talk about it. I’ll coordinate my story to match, so go along with that.”

“Eh, w-wait, no need for that…!”

“It’s fine, it’s fine.”

Whether Sia broke it or Byleth broke it, the result is the same – it’s broken. But just saying I did it means Sia won’t be blamed or rebuked by others.

At times like these, it’s definitely not bad to use my position.

“Oh, about punishment…this was a cup you cherished, so…”

She seems about to say [The normal Lord Byleth would…], but is too scared to continue. I can smooth this over.

“It’s true I loved using this cup, but breakable things will eventually break, it can’t be helped.”

“……”

(Yup yup. Strange right? Byleth who abused you saying stuff like this. At least your face looks hurt.)

That’s why I want to say just one thing, for her to get used to this Byleth quickly.

“Anyway the most important thing is Sia wasn’t hurt. I can replace the cup easily, but no one can replace Sia.”

“…………”

(Yup yup. Definitely strange right? Byleth who abused you saying stuff like this. You must be wondering who’s talking.)

She doesn’t say anything back. Just standing there stunned the whole time.

Amid that, I carefully choose my words to match past circumstances so my reincarnation isn’t exposed.

“First of all, isn’t it my fault for dropping the cup? It’s because I did something out of the ordinary.”

“N-no, it’s entirely my fault!!”

“To be honest, it’s fine. At least, I didn’t think it was your fault.”

gulp She must have felt my command in my assertive tone, and there was an audible swallow.

(Well, she doesn’t need to tremble like that… It’s like there’s an earthquake only in that part…)

I can’t help but feel sorry for her in this situation.

“Um, I, to be honest… I was just surprised.”

“Because I thanked you?”

…Nod.

She nodded ever so slightly after a long pause, and her eyes were filled with anticipation, wondering what would happen next.

This is my moment of truth. This is where I must make sure that no one suspects that I’ve been reincarnated.

I can’t say, “I’ve been replaced on the inside,” because that would be too outrageous.

It’s clear that I’ll be seen as “crazy.” It may be an overreaction, but it could lead to me not being treated as a human. I might even face persecution.

“Well, I mean, don’t you think I’ve changed?”
 
 

“…”

Silence implies agreement. There’s no way she can deny that I’ve changed.

(An explanation for all the bullying I’ve done to Sia until now… Why…)

To be honest, I don’t know what words to use. I’ve done things that can’t be forgiven, even if I apologize.

Still, I have to explain myself. I have to open up, even though I know I’m relying on Sia’s character.

“Um… nothing can really make up for what I’ve done, but I’m sorry, Sia. For everything I did.”

gulp

In this world, it’s unthinkable for the heir of a noble family to apologize to a maid.

“What really happened!?” she asked with a bewildered look,

but there’s no way she can just say, “Oh, you’ve been possessed by another personality! Hahaha.”

“What should I say… um, well…”

“Yes?”

“It’s really hard to believe, but… um, you see?”

As I took my time to answer, I desperately searched for an explanation.

“Well, the reason I’ve been so strict with you until now is because… I wanted to make sure that when you leave this house and become a servant for another noble, you won’t have any trouble. Depending on the noble you serve, you might face even worse treatment.”

“…”

“You’re supposed to serve here until you graduate from the academy, but there’s a possibility that the Viscount’s family might decline, and I might have to let you go. So… I wanted you to be able to endure any situation, no matter how it turns out.”

I’m clearly covering up for myself, but right now, I’m living as Byleth. There’s no way I can reveal the real reason I bullied Sia, which was simply, “I couldn’t stand how perfect you were.”

So, I have to give an explanation that I’ve come up with.

“Well, I mean, Sia has such a good reputation even at the evening gatherings, so I just wanted to make sure you wouldn’t have any unnecessary problems. But if I’m going to have you serve me, then I have to take responsibility no matter what happens.”

In that case, it’s definitely better to convey the reasons I’ve come up with myself.

“…”

“S-So, you know? I talked to some acquaintances about the situation, and they gave me advice like ‘you’re overdoing it’ or ‘you should talk to her directly,’ and that’s how we got here.”

“…”

(Ugh, this is tough. Defending myself is so hard. Honestly, this whole situation is just hopeless… And Sia won’t say anything either…)


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