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Ever since the number of her lessons with Simone decreased, Ann had been spending time more leisurely, and she allocated her spare time with Faye. Faye was more proficient in writing and reading by now, and the two of them started to read many books, much to Faye’s delight. Furthermore, the Schwartzen residence’s library had various books, including children’s story books.
As such, on a certain wonderful day, the two went to the library for another study session—objective: reading interesting children books.
“Which one do you want to read, Faye?” Ann asked as the two of them stood in front of the children’s books section.
“Anything that is good,” Faye said without blinking.
I am not a person of this world, how should I know?!
Ann never read any children books here…she was drawing blank.
Her eyes scanned over the books’ titles and stopped at one she found intereting.
The title was “The Bird and The Flower That Bloomed”.
Faye was of bird halfling, so she might as well be interested in this book. She would be able to relate more to it. Or so Ann thought.
Ann took that book and checked the cover illustration. There was the picture of a beautiful blooming flower with a small bird on it.
“What about this one?” Ann decided that this book would be good.
Faye took a look at the book’s title and cover and nodded, “Sure.” Her eyes sparkled in interest.
Perfect! Ann gave two thumbs up to herself for picking such a wonderful book. Look, little Faye was really into this book.
The two of them sat on the seats in the library as they put the book on the desk. Faye and Ann were sitting on the same side of the table, huddled together. They completely didn’t look like a mistress and a maid.
A maid in charge of the library was surprised in seeing this, but she kept her calm as she observed the two of them.
Ann opened the book and began reading.
“Once upon a time, a small bird hatched from an egg together with its siblings.
They grew up together under the mother bird’s care.”
Cute illustrations were there on every page, keeping Faye entertained.
“If there is a meeting, there is a farewell,” Ann’s voice turned small as she had a bad hunch about this…
“When the small bird was able to fly, it was time to go on its on way, separately from its siblings and mother bird…”
W-well, certainly nature had it that way…
Then, Ann narrated the bird’s adventure—there were joyous experiences as well as the sad experiences. Just like what one would have in life.
Ann could see how Faye was really feeling the bird’s experiences in her heart and prayed that it would end well…
…But her prayer wasn’t answered.
“In the end, the exhausted small bird knew that it was finally its time,” Ann glanced at Faye who turned teary-eyed…
“So, the bird flew to a beautiful garden to take a deep slumber…”
“Until it became a beautiful flower that bloomed so brightly—”
CRAP! CRAP! THE BUILD UP TO THE ENDING WAS SO SAD, AND THIS ENDING, THE HECK?!
Ann forgot that there were various children books, some might even contain philosophy there—and this book was one of those. It didn’t focus on giving its readers a happy ending. It didn’t hold back in giving a sad ending to its readers….
“Hwe…,” Faye couldn’t hold back her tears anymore, Ann had a bad hunch and—
Faye cried out loud, notifying the maid who was in charge of the library.
The maid hurriedly focused back on where Faye and Ann were, observing them from afar.
“F-Faye, come on…,” Ann tried to cheer Faye up.
“Huwaaaaa!” Faye still cried.
Ann was flustered for she wasn’t skillful at managing crying children, so she raised her voice in chaos, ” Stop crying!”
The maid who was just observing them quietly then jolted in surprise and ran as she trembled.
This is it!
Arlea-sama—the usual Arlea-sama is back!
She’s bullying poor Faye! I gotta report this to Gwen and Allen-sama!!
The maid hurriedly left the library for she lacked any courage to stand up for Faye in front of the frightening Arlea…
“This is just a story, Faye, come on,” Ann said as she tried to cool her head.
“But that’s swo saaddd! Poor bwirdieee~,” Faye said amidst her sobbing.
In the end, it took a while for Faye to calm down. By the time Gwen reached them, Ann and Faye were back to normal, causing Gwen to be unable to act. For now, she should just report it to Allen-sama…
She didn’t know if this was a good news or bad news, honestly.
“What did you just say?” Allen asked to Gwen and the maid who was in charge of the library that afternoon, the moment he came home.
The maid narrated the whole thing that she witnessed—about how Arlea bullied Faye until she cried her eyes out.
Allen sank to his thoughts.
For this to happen after the Claritianta family visited Arlea—could it be that she got her memories back, and so she returned to the villainous girl she was?
Wait…wasn’t this what he was expecting? Why did he feel a little bit disappointed if that was the case?
“Allen-sama, what do we do about this?” Gwen asked.
“…I’ll handle this,” Allen said.
Things like this needed to be handled with care. One wrong step, Faye might suffer again…
Which led them to this situation of a dinner…
“I heard about what you did with Faye today,” Allen opened the dinner conversation.
Eh? Oh, you mean about how we read a picture book together? Ann thought.
“Ah yes,” Ann simply answered with that.
Ah yes? No other words of explanation? Allen frowned.
“Was it fun?” Allen asked sarcastically.
Was it fun bullying a small child like Faye until she bawled her eyes out? …was what Allen actually asked, but…
Was it fun reading books with Faye? …was what Ann thought Allen asked.
“Yep, though it sort of troublesome…it was fun!” Ann smiled happily.
Troublesome because I didn’t expect the picture book to be that sad and philosophical, but it was overall fun… was what Ann thought in her mind.
What? She said that bullying children is fun?! Allen was exasperated.
“…She cried,” Allen said.
She cried because of the picture book? …was what Ann thought Allen meant.
“Ah yeah, cute, isn’t she?” Ann asked.
My pure little Faye was so emotional because of a story, and even her crying face is cute!
…Cute? Children crying due to being bullied is cute? As I thought, is she back to normal?! Allen was wary.
At that time, at that place, Allen was about to lose it and scold Arlea, but his rationality took over.
What would happen if he were to unleash it here to Arlea? Won’t it harm Faye more? Yes, the upset Arlea would surely lash it out to Faye who was weaker than her…
In the end, Allen turned very silent as he focused on eating.
The temperature around the room dropped.
And Ann—the self-proclaimed perceptive Ann—was clueless this time and was wondering why Allen was suddenly very silent after she said that Faye was cute? He seemed to be in a bad mood, even…Or was it simply because of the food he ate that wasn’t to his liking?
He sulked after she said Faye was cute…?
Could it be that…?!
Yes, that was surely it!!
“Eh, you are also cute,” Ann suddenly blurted out, thinking that Allen was feeling jealous of Faye…
Allen froze before he glared at Ann with his eagle-like eyes.
“No need to be shy,” Ann said, thinking that Allen was…being shy? With such…gaze?
Ann completely believed that this was the cause…she never thought that her assumptions were completely wrong from the very beginning…
It seemed like Ann wasn’t as perceptive as she thought she was.
Unable to withstand Ann’s ultimate teasing, Allen put his eating utensils back and said, “I’m done eating.”
“Eh—so fast!” Ann was surprised as she looked at her half-empty plate and then at Allen’s empty plate.
Actually…this was Allen’s normal eating speed—he usually would slow down to match Ann’s eating speed whenever they ate together. He unconsciously was being considerate towards Ann. But today, it was different. He had some matters he had to attend to, no matter what.
After finishing his dinner, Allen summoned Gwen to come to his study.
“Yes, Allen-sama. Is it about Faye and Arlea-sama?” Gwen asked as she fixed her glasses.
“Right. About that, sorry to trouble you, but I’d like you to monitor her. And…,” Allen stopped, seemingly hesitant to continue.
“Allen-sama, I got it. You want me to stand up to Faye whenever Arlea-sama seems about to bully her, am I right?” Gwen asked. As expected, Allen-sama was so kind as to worry over an old maid like her.
“Right. Until I finish arranging her transfer…,” Allen said.
It was better not to directly move right now. In the past, whenever they were about to move directly to protect the maids that were bullied, Arlea injured them more. The best course of action would be to monitor her while settling where to transfer the maid.
“Do it subtly,” Allen added.
“Don’t worry, I am often in her line of sight so it won’t be too conspicuous, and I will definitely tell the other maids to not leave their line of sight from Arlea-sama and Faye—and call me if something were to happen,” Gwen assured Allen.
“Will you be alright?” Allen asked. His mind traveled back to the time before Arlea’s behavior turned strange.
At that time, Arlea was lashing out to a young maid. The young maid trembled as she knelt on the floor, her hand touching her hot cheek that was slapped ruthlessly by Arlea. Just as Arlea was about to land another hit at the young maid, Gwen covered her and was slapped instead. Still, Gwen didn’t flinch and could still look straight at Arlea in the face.
Of course, he learned of this from someone else who witnessed the whole happening, and he felt sorry to Gwen. Gwen was the eldest maid who had accompanied him for so long, so he felt bad for Gwen being treated that way. However, she might as well be the only one that could stand up to Arlea. So, if something were to happen to Faye, Allen could be rest assured.
All he had to focus on was where he could position Faye, safe from Arlea.
Perhaps this was only the beginning of Arlea’s bullying of Faye, things would only turn serious from now on…or so he speculated. Hopefully he could settle the matter before then.
He couldn’t afford to have a very young child be mentally traumatized.
Yes, at this very moment, a huge misunderstanding was created between Allen and Ann.
And at this very moment, Faye suddenly sneezed.
“Oh my, Faye, did you catch a cold?” Ann asked in concern.
But Faye’s sneezing is so cute!
Ann was now Faye’s number one fan, after all.
“No, but I suddenly got the urge to sneeze…Ah-chi! Sorry,” Faye tilted her head in wonder after sneezing twice. She didn’t feel cold at all, yet why…?
“Let’s close the window?” Ann suggested.
Anyway, while Allen’s side was all serious and wary over Arlea—the person in question, Ann and Faye, were having a heartwarming night as they read several books together.
Obviously, this time Ann skimmed through the book once just in case…