Misunderstood Saintly Life Volume 3 chapter 1 part 8

After savoring the delicious meal prepared by the chef using the fish Alice had caught, I retreated to my own room.
 
Mashiro and the others were having a girls’ night, so naturally I couldn’t join them.
 
Thus, I was quietly resting in my room,
 
but not alone.
 
Alice, who had been restless ever since the private beach incident, was with me.
 
“Lord Ouga. I deeply apologize for the unsightly display earlier.”
 
“I told you not to worry about it, didn’t I? Thanks to you, I got to enjoy a wonderful dinner. That’s all that matters.”
 
“But still…”
 
Alice’s loyalty and devotion to me is astoundingly strong.
 
That’s why she likely sees her failure to fulfill her duties as an unforgivable mistake.
 
…Hmm, come to think of it, Alice’s behavior today was rather odd.
 
Before entering the academy, we used to spend a lot of time together in this mansion. But lately, with her expanding human relationships, I haven’t been able to spend much quality time with her.
 
I miss the clumsy Alice of those days, struggling to master her maid duties.
 
Compared to then, her manners are now so refined.
 
She’s put in so much effort to be a better maid for me, so I have no complaints other than her being overly sensitive to evil.
 
However, stubborn Alice won’t be satisfied unless she’s punished for her perceived failure.
 
…Ah, I’ve got a good idea.
 
When it comes to maids, ear cleaning is a classic, isn’t it?
 
I’ve never had Alice perform that kind of service, so I’m curious to see her reaction.
 
“Then, let’s do this, Alice. I’d like you to do one thing for me now.”
 
“Understood. Please give me your orders.”
 
“You said ‘anything,’ didn’t you?”
 
At my words, her shoulders twitched ever so slightly,
 
and a faint blush colored her cheeks.
 
“…Of course. Alice will respond to whatever Lord Ouga desires.”
 
“Is that so? Then, don’t resist.”
 
“…Yes.”
 
I approached Alice and swept her legs out from under her, catching her in my arms as she started to fall.
 
“L-Lord Ouga!? This posture is…!”
 
“Oh? It seems Alice has a maiden-like side to her as well. How does it feel to be my princess?”
 
“I am no princess! Such an act is more befitting of Lady Riche or Lady Levezenka, not myself!”
 
“Didn’t I say not to resist?”
 
“That is…”
 
“Hmm… Going on a lap around the mansion might be fun as well.”
 
At that, Alice frantically shook her head.
 
It was amusing to see this usually composed girl so visibly flustered.
 
“Haha, I was just joking. My bad.”
 
I couldn’t help but teasingly provoke her, feeling a sense of payback for being kept on edge, wondering when her misdeeds would be exposed and she’d be beheaded.
 
Deciding I would regularly humiliate her going forward, instead of taking her to the originally intended room, I had her sit on the bed.
 
“O-Ouga-sama…how should I…”
 
“Wait. I need to prepare some tools.”
 
Let’s see, I’m sure I made some prototypes and put them in the desk drawer when I was little…
 
“U-Understood. Then I’ll start preparing…”
 
“No need, I’ll do the preparing. Ah, here it is…Right, Alice – why are your arms outstretched?”
 
When I turned around after finding what I needed, Alice had her arms spread out towards me for some reason.
 
Even the first button, usually securely fastened, was undone.
 
“Well, I was taught by the Head Maid that to avoid embarrassing the woman the first time, it’s best for her to relax the man…so I thought a hug would help relax…”
 
“…Huh?”

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I’ve never heard of such a custom for ear-cleaning,
 
but… if Molina says so, it must be true.
 
“Embarrassingly, I have no experience nor have I received any practical training…I only have knowledge, so please forgive me.”
 
“Everyone starts that way. You’ll learn from here on out.”
 
She’s being rather overdramatic about just ear-cleaning…
 
It seems Alice is the tense one, not me…but I may as well meet her request to help relieve her tension too.
 
I’ve heard before that hugs can calm the heart.
 
I gently wrapped my arms around her sturdy waist.
 
Alice strongly embraced me back, pressing her body tightly against mine.
 
Alice shuddered in reaction. Her breathing was unusually ragged too.
 
At this rate, my hands might actually slip mid-ear-cleaning and accidentally rupture her eardrum.
 
I slowly rubbed Alice’s back and waited for her breathing to steady.
 
“…How’s that? Feeling relaxed now?”
 
“…Yes. I’m prepared. Whenever you’re ready.”
 
“Got it. Then I’ll depend on you for this.”
 
“Yes, then I’ll start by undress-…ear pick?”
 
Alice stared blankly at the ear pick I handed her.
 
“Ah, my bad I’m going to ask Alice to give me an ear-cleaning.”
 
“…I see…I see…”
 
Her hand gripping the ear pick trembled slightly.
 
Her face was also a bit flushed, likely residual tension.
 
Geez…what a maid. Here, let me throw in a lighthearted joke.
 
“That’s one I made myself, so don’t get too tense and break it with too much force, alright?”
 
“Of course…Um, Ouga-sama. My apologies, but may I have a little time?”
 
///
 


 
scene transition
 
 


 
///
 
“Hm? Sure, but…”
 
“Thank you. I’ll be right back then…”
 
Alice left the room with steps that the sound effect “kachin kochin” would suit well.
 
“My leweeeeed mind…!!!”
 
The next moment, I thought I heard a yell, but it gradually faded into the distance.
 
What in the world was that about…?
 
Dumbfounded by the maid’s disarray, I waited three minutes. The door opened with a click.
 
“My apologies for the wait. Now then, though I am unworthy, I shall clean your ears, Ouga-sama.”
 
Alice had completely returned to her usual demeanor and seemed very enthusiastic now.
 
I didn’t understand the reason, but something must have changed within her. It’s best I just accept that.
 
Since Alice sat down as if nothing had happened, I rested my head on her thighs.
 
As expected of Alice. Her well-trained, firm thighs conveyed strength.
 
However, her muscles were not rigidly toned to the point of being stiff. That would overly limit her flexibility and consequently cause her to lose speed.
 
For agile movement, she balanced supple muscles with toned ones.
 
As evidence, her legs made an exquisitely comfortable lap pillow.
 
The lower body forms the foundation for all martial arts and swordsmanship
 
…So this is where the secret to Alice’s strength lies.
 
“Ouga-sama? If I’m poked like that…was it not to your liking?”
 
“No, that’s not it. I just did it because they felt nice. My bad, go ahead and start.”
 
“I’ll go slowly, so let me know if it hurts at all.”
 
“Got it. I’m counting on you.”
 
“Thank you.”
 
The ear pick was gently inserted and began scraping out earwax from the entrance of my ear.
 
Her careful movements to avoid injuring me conveyed her thoughtfulness.
 
Scritch, scritch…scritch, scritch…crick, crick…crack…
 
Ah, a big one just came out.
 
As she deftly scooped out the wax, it felt increasingly comfortable.
 
My mind relaxed to the point I felt I might doze off.
 
To avoid falling asleep in this state, I should make some conversation.
 
“…You’re plenty skilled at this. Were you being humble before?”
 
“…No, that’s…I did properly practice this…”
 
“Heh, so Alice excels at earnest efforts, be it ear-cleaning or swordsmanship.”
 
“You give me too much credit. I’m just a foolish woman who only knows how to walk a straight path.”
 
“That’s way too humble. There are plenty of people incapable of such diligence.”
 
“…Ouga-sama is truly kind. I cannot help but wish time and again that all nobles had your compassionate heart…”
 
No, if everyone had my personality, the country would be in an even worse state.
 
After all, I aim for a self-indulgent, unrestrained life of debauchery – a veritable villain.
 
The citizens would be drained dry of taxes to fuel our excessive luxuries on a whim.
 
Alice would surely be first on the purge list.
 
Our cordial relationship now only exists because I can skillfully deceive her. If my utterly wicked schemes were even slightly exposed, Alice would undoubtedly draw her blade against me immediately.
 
“…Come to think of it, you’re not wearing your sword now.”
 
“I went to my room when I stepped out earlier. I thought it unnecessary this time.”
 
I suppose so. It would just get in the way for a lap pillow.
 
“Was that the sword you used in your Holy Knight days?”
 
“…Yes. It is my treasured possession.”
 
“Oh? For Alice to put it like that, it must be quite the masterpiece?”
 
“While it has felled countless monsters, it is by no means a renowned blade…Just…”
 
“Just?”
 
“…It was passed down from someone dear to me, so I wield that sword to honor her will as the original owner.”
 
Her gentle tone carried various emotions.
 
I couldn’t help glancing at Alice’s expression from the side.
 
In that moment, instead of looking at me by her ear, she gazed distantly with a tender look.
 
“My apologies. I’ve bored you with an uninteresting ramble…”
 
“I’m the one who brought up the topic, right? I hadn’t heard about Alice’s time as a Holy Knight before.”
 
“Fufufu, you’re quite the chatty one today, Ouga-sama.”
 
“It has been a while since Alice and I had this one-on-one time, hasn’t it? So I may have gotten a bit carried away.”
 
“Well then…I ought to converse more.”
 
From then, Alice recounted stories to me as she cleaned my ears.
 
Her rookie days joining the well-paid Holy Knights, not requiring schooling, to provide for her single mother sooner.
 
The grunt days of being relentlessly drilled by her superiors, spending every day face-down on the ground.
 
The tribulations of being promoted to commander despite struggling with paperwork.
 
But one thing struck me as odd…
 
“…And that brings us to when you so graciously took me in, Ouga-sama. Thinking I could cross paths with you, I must show my gratitude to fate.”
 
According to Alice’s own recounting, the her of the past did not seem like someone fixated on righteousness as she is now.


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