A Capable Maid — 1.4
‘Is there any way I could help him?’ She mulled it over.
But how exactly could a maid like her, help him? There was no way.
Suddenly, an idea crossed her mind.
“Then I look forward to your next work… the Seeker of the Garden, Fiona.”
It reminded her of the dream she had last time.
‘What if?’ A possibility popped into her mind.
Once it was nighttime, Marie sneaked into the shed near her lodging.
She wanted to test something out, just in case.
But she soon put down the tools in disappointment.
“It didn’t work, as expected.”
The tools she put away were sculpting tools such as a chisel and hammer.
There were even garden pruners and shears.
She checked to see if she could use Fiona’s ability that she had seen in her dream, but she couldn’t do so.
‘Why did I obtain the master maid’s ability then? Was it just a fluke?’ Marie contemplated.
In fact, it was only natural that it did not manifest.
It wouldn’t make sense that just because she dreamed of it, she would have it, would it?
‘If I had gained the ability, just like last time, I could have helped Mister Hans.’ If it were possible, she’d like to.
She wanted to be of use to the person who treated him kindly.
However, no matter how she held the chisel and hammer, nothing happened.
She went back to sleep, just in case she needed to dream more, but she didn’t even dream.
Meanwhile, Hans’ face as he supervised the landscaping work became increasingly anxious.
Something didn’t play out the way he envisioned it.
“It shouldn’t be like this.
Something’s missing.” Seeing him like that, Marie felt bad for him.
‘It’s stunning.’ The sculpture was pretty, befitting the image of the Third Empress, who was known to have great beauty in her lifetime.
But it definitely felt like something was missing.
Even Marie, a layperson, felt the same way, and so Hans, a professional, was in trouble.
It seemed that the sculpture wasn’t going as planned because he was under heavy pressure.
“Haa.” Hans often sighed in secret.
As time went by like that, something happened that made Hans even more on edge.
Count Gilbert, the Crown Prince’s aid and head of the palace, took over.
“So, how’s it going?”
“Greetings, Count.” Hans bowed his head in a hurry at the count’s unexpected visit.
Count Gilbert scanned the garden.
“Yes, the garden should be in French style.
Decorate it as elegantly and gracefully as possible and emphasize the geometric shapes; to show the glory of His Highness the Crown Prince.”
“Yes I’ll keep that in mind.”
“How about the sculpture of the Third Empress?” Count Gilbert’s face hardened as soon as he turned his head.
“What is that?”
“Don’t tell me you’re calling that sculpture as the Third Empress’ likeness, when it lacks elegance and grace?” Hans’ face fell.
“Ha! Are you out of your mind? She’s not just anyone else, she’s the Third Empress! His Highness’ birth mother! How could you make a sculpture of such quality! Do you have many lives? Will you come to your senses if your throat was sliced off?”
The threat terrified both Hans and the landscapers.
Everyone knew that it wasn’t a bluff, he was nothing but the Prince of Blood, after all!
“If you want to avoid His Highness’ wrath, you better fix your hands now! There’s not much time left until the banquet starts, so you hurry up!”
Once the Count was gone, there was a deafening silence.
The best sculptor in the empire was none other than Hans, who on earth could help him? They could invite a famous sculptor from another place but they were short of time.
“…For now, let’s get back to work.” Someone said in a grave voice.
Everyone scrambled back to their places.
Meanwhile, Hans looked at the sculpture with a stunned expression.
Seeing him like that, Marie clenched her fist.
She wanted to help him so badly.
Was it because of the loud rain? Or was it because of what happened earlier? She couldn’t fall asleep.
“Ha.” Eventually, she sighed and rose from her bed.
Jane, a fellow maid, asked with a disheveled look, “Marie? Where are you going?”
“I forgot something, I’ll be right back.”
“Alright, it’s dark so be careful.”
She left dressed in a raincoat and headed to the garden.
For no particular reason.
She was just going because her heart felt heavy.
But as she approached the garden, she suddenly heard a sound.
A low rustle rang through the sound of rain.
‘No way…’ Marie’s eyes widened.
Indeed, Hans could be seen carving with a chisel and hammer, even though it was already late at night and raining.
He wasn’t even wearing a raincoat, so his entire body was soaking wet.
Hans.” Marie bit her lip.
As if feeling her presence, Hans turned his head in surprise.
“Marie? Why are you here at this hour?”
“…might catch a cold.
Get inside and rest.”
Hans let out a sigh.
“Alright, I will go in.
But I need to touch this up a little more…”
You know it will be awful if you catch a cold.
Hans’ eyes widened, as her voice sounded firm, unlike the usual Marie.
In the end, Hans nodded.
“Yes, you’re right.
All this carving, on such a rainy day, would be meaningless if I caught a cold.”
He then looked up at the sculpture.
“It’s just… I keep getting nervous just thinking about my daughter at home…”
“It’s so frustrating that I want someone else to come and complete that sculpture in my stead.”
Hans shook his head apologetically.
“I’m sorry, I’ve told you nonsensical things again.
I’m going in and rest, so you should too, before you catch a cold.”
Marie sighed as she watched Hans feebly walk away, his shoulders drooping.
‘If only I could help him a little.’
She placed her hand on the sculpture and prayed to God.
‘Please help me.’
Something unexpected happened the moment she put her hand on the sculpture.
Her vision had gone dark, as if the theater’s curtain went down!
「What are you sculpting today, Fiona? The sun, the moon, or the world? Or will it be empty?」
“…!” Marie was dumbstruck.
She knew that voice.
It was the voice that appeared in her dream not too long ago!
「Why do you look so reverent when you sculpt? Ah well, that’s why you’re called the best sculptor in the continent, right, Fiona?」
Thus, Marie once more manifested another dream, ‘the Garden Sculptor Fiona’, after an earnest wish.
Meanwhile, nestled deep in the Imperial Palace was the magnificent Lion Palace.
Count Gilbert, the head of the palace, was speaking at the place where Rael, the Crown Prince of Blood, resided.
“Your Highness, the preparations for the Banquet is going well.”
The man called His Highness nodded.
Is there any particular problem?”
Unlike his beautiful voice, the man’s appearance was bizarre.
He wore an iron mask that covered half of his face, leaving only his white chin exposed.
Count Gilbert gulped at the iron mask.
He looked at it all the time, but he couldn’t get used to it.
When faced with it, he felt as if he were a prey in front of a predatory animal.
Perhaps it was due to that infamous epithet that he felt that way.
Rael, the Prince of Blood! It was true to his identity.
“It’s the first banquet after the civil war, so there shouldn’t be any problems.”
“Yes, I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Then, do you have anything else to report?”
“No, nothing in particular.”
After answering that, an idea suddenly came into his mind and said, “Ah, nothing serious, but while redoing the Third Empress’ rose garden, there was a problem.
I had to scold them.”
“What do you mean?”
“They put up a sculpture for the Third Queen’s death anniversary, but I don’t think that he properly expressed her grace and elegance.
I told them, so that the sculptor will come to his senses, that if he didn’t fix it, he would be severely punished.” Count Gilbert said, expecting a pat on the back for paying attention to every detail.
However, the Prince’s reaction was the opposite.
“What do you mean?”
“When did I order you to make a sculpture of my mother?”
Count Gilbert gulped at the sudden chill in his voice.
Blue eyes stared at him through the iron mask.
His eyes were as cold as the abyss.
“What happened? I only told you to clear the garden of thistles and weeds, I never said to make a sculpture.”
“Well… that’s…” Count Gilbert stammered.
Indeed, the Crown Prince had never given such an order.
Count Gilbert, the head of the palace, only did it to win his favor.
“Don’t tell me you’re also renovating the garden? The garden that nobody uses?”
“…” Gilbert could not answer.
It was being completely renovated.
And with a huge budget too.
‘I-I thought he’d be pleased.’
The Crown Prince spoke flatly, “What you’ve done is unnecessary.” The Crown Prince spoke in a dry and emotionless voice, frightening him more.
Count Gilbert put his head on the ground, recalling the ministers whose throats had been cut off by the Crown Prince’s sword during the civil war.
“I-I’m so sorry!”
“If he doesn’t sculpt it properly, he’ll get punished severely… When did you see me say such a thing?” The Crown Prince gave a low warning.
“Do not forget.
A ruler’s sword is for cutting down the enemies of the empire, not for persecuting its people.”
The head of the palace bowed his head, the floor nearly touching his forehead.
Seeing him like that, he inwardly clicked his tongue.
Since the head of the palace let out a threat in his name, he knew how tired and anxious the workers in the garden must have been.
‘I should at least go and appease those who worked hard.’ The Crown Prince thought, turning his gaze out the window, looking toward the rose garden.
Was it just him? For some reason, it seemed like he could hear the sound of hammering from far away.
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