Chapter 2 Encounter with Nonna
The royal family that leads the Ashbury Kingdom, which I chose to emigrate to, seems to be excellent, and for many generations they have only engaged in defensive warfare without engaging in wars for the purpose of aggression. There is a large influx of merchants, and it is also racially diverse. The reason I chose this country is that even if a stranger like me suddenly settled in the city one day, it wouldn’t stand out.
“What should I work as?”
Lancôme picked me up when I was eight years old. My first job was when I was fifteen. I worked single-mindedly until I was twenty-seven.
Every month I would buy a small article, put some money in it, and hand it to the chief to have it sent to my parents’ house. Lancôme checked to make sure I didn’t slip any letters in and took it to the letter and baggage delivery office.
It was a rule not to contact family members.
The thought that my parents and sister would be happy with my remittance was my emotional support for working. Even if I couldn’t get in touch, I believed I would be told at least about the death of my family. I had confirmed that many times.
“But everyone in my family was dead.”
I admired Lancôme like an older brother and respected him as a boss. That Lancôme hid my family’s death for two years.
A year ago.
After work, I went to the town where my parents lived for the first time in eighteen years. I just wanted to see the house, no, my family, at least from afar. When I disguised myself and located my parents’ house, the plot where the house used to be was vacant.
I was shocked and investigated that the cause was an accidental fire.
The fire happened two years ago.
The district official should have immediately contacted the aristocrat who was ostensibly my employer. The aristocrat should have contacted the organization as well.
Lancôme must have known. The other operatives were informed of the death of their parents after all.
(I see. That’s why.)
He must have known how much I cherished my family. For eighteen years I had repeatedly told him my reason for working.
After that, I went to work as if nothing had happened, and after the next month’s payday, I handed Lancôme a wooden box to send home as usual. And tailed him when he left work. In the evening of that day, Lancôme, carrying the wooden box, did not head to the baggage delivery office in the royal capital. He didn’t even notice me following him. I was really disappointed that his skill was deteriorating.
Lancôme did not live in a dormitory for managers, but in a room in a high-class apartment complex with impressive uniformed guards. I could see Lancôme circulating the air in the room as he opened the curtains and window on the third floor.
I waited for him to exit the building. Under the cover of darkness at night, I climbed up to the third floor, using the second-floor terrace and tiny wall ledges as stepping stones. I first sneaked into another unlit room before moving to his room.
When I unlocked the door with a tool and entered the room, I found twenty-five small wooden boxes that I had given him piled up in an unutilized corner of the room.
My emotions threatened to explode, but I quickly suppressed my feelings.
I opened all the stacked boxes and collected the money hidden inside without leaving a single coin. I also stole the silver cutlery and gold candlesticks in the kitchen. Let him think that there was a thief. I threw all of Lancôme’s belongings into the river on the way home.
(I was mistaken. That person was someone who climbed the corporate ladder in the operatives’ organization.)
From the next day onwards, I continued to work as before.
I entrusted the gifts for my family to him on the day after payday every month. Life was the same as before, but my heart had changed. My family was no more, so was my trust in Lancôme.
I started looking for information on him in between work. It turned out that Lancôme had decided to marry a female colleague of mine. I decided to utilize that knowledge.
“My ideal man is a man like the chief.”
Although I had no interest in Lancôme as a member of the opposite sex, little by little I revealed my love for Lancôme to my other colleagues. Eventually, Lancôme’s marriage would become public. It was preparation to make them think I would take my life from the shock.
From the day Lancôme and Mary’s marriage was announced, I started to eat less, and two months later I should have appeared haggard. When I was asked why, I answered ‘Nothing’ with a gloomy face, and everyone showed sympathy. Only his spouse, Mary, had a hard time hiding her triumphant look.
Why did I go through such hassle to wash my hands from the operatives?
It was because my results were excellent.
For many years, I was the top performer among the operatives of the Haggle Kingdom. It was clear that I would not be allowed to quit my job just by saying, ‘I want to quit’.
My future was outlined to work in the field until my 40s without getting married, and be involved in the training of my juniors after that. Lancôme recommended it.
However, now that I had lost my parents and sister, I had no desire or reason to dedicate my life to the organization. To hell with Lancôme’s approval.
But even as I prepared for my disappearance, I still hoped in the back of my mind that Lancôme would tell me about my family’s deaths up until that morning.
I waited for him to say, ‘I should have told Chloe sooner, but actually…’. But until the day I put the plan into action, Lancôme didn’t tell me about my family’s death. It’s been three years since my family died. There would have been plenty of opportunities to tell the truth along the way.
For Lancôme, I was neither a younger sister nor a subordinate, but merely an easy-to-use tool.
“Well then, let’s stroll around town for a bit.”
I left the room dressed in an unobtrusive outfit, a navy blue skirt that was below the knee and easy to move in, and an ivory white blouse, clothes that would not garner attention.
“Have a nice day.”
The receptionist sent me off and I started walking toward the downtown area.
The royal capital of the Ashbury Kingdom is roughly divided into north, south, east and west with the royal castle at the center. The South District, where I live, is a lively neighborhood with shops, markets, and offices. According to the knowledge I acquired in advance, this district has the most foreigners.
Food stalls and eateries sell food from many different countries, and I could smell the pleasant smells here and there as I walked along the streets. Even though I ate a substantial breakfast late in the morning, my stomach rumbled. I bought baked sweets from a cake shop and watched the streets while savoring it bit by bit.
A girl was sitting gloomily on a bench in a corner of the square. I wondered if she was waiting for someone, so I observed for a while from afar, but no one came to see the girl.
“What if a bad person abducted her?”
The girl did not cry but just sat vacantly. I had a bad feeling about it and could not leave her alone, so I approached and called out to her.
“What’s wrong? Are you lost?”
“I’m not lost.”
“Your name is?”
“Where is Nonna’s family?”
“Mother said to wait here.”
“Do you know when that was?”
“Before the bell rang ten times.”
Oh……. It was past two in the afternoon now. She’s been waiting here for her parents for more than four hours? Could she have been abandoned? Her skin and hair were a little dirty, and her clothes, which at first glance looked meant for going out, were stained all over.
“Are you hungry? If you want something to eat, I’ll buy it for you. Why don’t you wait for your mother here while you eat with me?”
The girl nodded in agreement, so I held her hand and invited her to stand, then headed towards the stalls.