We went to apprehend the suspicious person, but…
The reason that we had visited the Margrave’s branch family was that we had received a report of a suspicious person. This was thanks to the increased security measures that had been set in place on the Margrave’s lands.
As this person had already been apprehended, we were to examine and then take the man back with us to the castle.
Madame Beatrice would be accompanied by Alan, who was now helping with matters pertaining to the territory, Sir Wentworth, I and the other handmaidens, two knights and five soldiers who would act as our guards.
To be very honest, I was the only one in the whole group who could not fight.
So why then, had I been asked to come? It was entirely due to Madame Beatrice.
“Thank you, Kiara. You are very skilled with this.”
It was during one morning after a light breakfast.
Madame Beatrice smiled and thanked me after I had finished arranging her hair.
As Madame Beatrice would be making this visit as the Margravine, she had to keep her hair properly made. This was also a matter of status. There would be a necessity for her to wear something that was a rank above whatever the madame of the branch family would wear.
It would be my job to consult the ladies or daughters of the branch family and make plans for the day’s attire, in order to dress Madame Beatrice beautifully.
There would not have been a problem if this job had been done by Maia or the others, as their sensibilities were no worse than mine. But since our hosts were nobles, it would be proper for the handmaiden to be at the very least, related to nobles. It would avoid any possible trouble that could arise from them being of common origin.
And so it became my task.
I would ask gently, yet push with some force, just like one of high birth. After all, I had been raised as a Count’s daughter, so speaking as a noble was not difficult for me. The handmaidens of the branch family were all of extended families or daughters from other branch families, and seemed a little put off by this ‘child of noble birth who had come!’
But I am sorry. This was little more than a high and mighty disguise.
If someone thought to poke me, I would likely topple over and my cover would be blown.
And yet, while I walked in the branch family’s mansion, even Alan would ask ‘Are you really Kiara?’
That was rude. I had socialized with the daughters of viscounts and marquis in Sunday school.
When I reminded him of this, he said, ‘That is right. You escaped from that school didn’t you…’ as if he had really forgotten that all of that happened.
But what was the most annoying, was that even Sir Wentworth, who was with Alan, looked at me suspiciously.
In any case, I was quite happy to be given this role in maintaining Madame Beatrice’s reputation.
And one of my responsibilities as her handmaid was to dress her hair.
As makeup was hardly used in this world, the face is beautified by just a light covering of something similar to foundation, dressing the hair up and adding jewelry.
I braided her silvery hair before joining them together and fixing it with a hairpin. Madame Beatrice was very fond of the way I did her hair. There were no elastic bands in this world, so braiding the hair and setting it was quite…difficult. But doing this resulted in a hairstyle not seen anywhere else, which is why I had thought she would like it.
She was turning her head to the side to try and see the back in the mirror as she smiled.
“But your hair seems much more manageable. I wish I could have something similar.”
“Surely my hair would not be appropriate for a Margravine of your dignity…”
My brown hair had been simply braided and hung over my neck with green ribbon. The rest of my hair flowed down my back. It was a hairstyle somewhere between childish and adult, but it was also neatly kept and rarely got in the way.
At Everal castle, Madame Beatrice would usually have a simple bun for when she went riding, or she would leave it completely untied. So, while a more intricate hairstyle was pretty, she still did envy my simplicity.
“I’m sure it will be fine to have this kind of hair once we return.”
“That is true. But Kiara, are you not almost seventeen years old? I think that next time we are in such a place, we should have matching hair. You are an adult now, after all.”
I was fourteen when I had first come to Everal castle. And I turned fifteen during the winter that immediately followed. And a year had passed since then, so I was already sixteen. Thankfully, everyone had celebrated with me.
Back then, Madame Beatrice had said, ‘You know, handmaidens are closer to comrades rather than servants to their employers. That is why they are often chosen from good families. Is it not normal for us to celebrate your birthday then? It will only be with a close few, but I think it would be good for you to have some fun.’ Just a close few… I had thought, but it turned out to have a broad definition to her. It wasn’t just Alan and the Margraves, but everyone employed at the castle. It was much too many to consider a close few. The whole castle did enjoy the banquet, though.
By the way, Alan had his sixteenth birthday quite earlier than me. It was a very extravagant affair, which was only natural since he was the heir.