Ch. 134 Don’t Run Away (1)
Kuhn’s employment at Blaise mansion began. He used to sneak inside the mansion to protect Elena’s side, but now he was able to walk in the open.
The advantages and disadvantages were obvious. He didn’t have to worry about other people’s gazes, but it was difficult to move about secretly because his face was known to the residents. Presently, Kuhn was reporting his status to one of Carlisle’s men, who had disguised himself as a postman.
“Tell the General that the infiltration was successful.”
Kuhn would have reported to Carlisle himself, but from now on he had to communicate through letters or through the mouths of other people. It was best to communicate through Carlisle’s men as directly as possible, as using a messenger or letter could risk exposure to the outside world. Fortunately, he didn’t have to worry greatly about it; Grocers, gardeners, interior decorators—there were hundreds of visitors a day to the Blaise mansion, many of whom had already been filled with Carlisle’s people. Otherwise, until now, it would not have been easy for him to notice every time Elena hung a red handkerchief on her window.
‘I thought the security would already be enough before the wedding…’
But when a mysterious intruder suddenly appeared, their side had no choice but to be put on high alert. There was a weakness in his defense, despite his best efforts to secure the house as best he could.
‘In the end, it turned out like this.’
They were clearly limited when only surveilling the mansion from the outside, but the reason why they didn’t infiltrate the mansion before was because this was the Blaise residence. The home was often visited by highly trained knights, and with the Blaise’s formidable information network, there was a high risk of getting caught. Above all, the possibility that Elena would not let it pass could not be ruled out. While she may know she was already under surveillance to a certain extent, it was also different from infiltrating the mansion and knowing her every move. Every family had secrets that they wanted to keep hidden.
‘Was it really only easy to enter because of the Young Lady?’
After Kuhn spending several days constructing a fake identity and resume, Mirabelle had allowed him to work without an interview. It seemed that Mirabelle had greatly influenced Elena on persuading him to stay as well. It was a great advantage of course, but that meant Kuhn had been trying to avoid Mirabelle at every turn.
It was when Kuhn was watching the postman rush back to deliver the message to Carlisle—
There was the sound of footsteps, and someone suddenly appeared by Carlisle’s side.
“What are you doing here?”
Mirabelle stared up at him with her shining green eyes. She hadn’t allowed Kuhn to rest for a moment since he started employment, and he felt like he was the one under strict surveillance.
“I was only standing here. What are you doing here?”
“It’s almost time for lunch, so I went looking for you*.”
(TN: Mirabelle uses “그쪽”, which is used with people you’ve just met and you’re not sure how to address them, and people with similar status)
Kuhn did not understand why she would go looking for him at meal time. More importantly, Mirabelle’s tone was too polite for addressing a servant. Kuhn face remained expressionless as he spoke in a low voice.
“There is no need for hardship for my sake. Please address me just like any other servant.”
“What shall I call you?”
“Just call me Kuhn.”
“Really? Can I really?”
She looked as if Kuhn had given her an amazing present. He found her reaction a little embarrassing. It was natural for the mistress of the house to call out the name of the servant working in the mansion. Kuhn simply gave his permission, and somehow Mirabelle seemed overjoyed that he gave her his first name, not his last, even though it didn’t have any special meaning.
Mirabelle carefully tested the name on her mouth.
Kuhn responded with a grim look, but Mirabelle burst out into joyful laughter. Then she leaned over and whispered to Kuhn with a gentle voice like a spring breeze.
“Call me Mirabelle when we’re alone.”
“That’s not what I meant by allowing you to use my name. How could a servant call their master by their first name?”
“It’s alright. I’ll allow it.”
Sometimes Kuhn felt like he was talking to a wall. Mirabelle was the first person to attach herself to Kuhn’s life, despite his outward signs of dislike. It wasn’t intentional, but no one got close to Kuhn because of his blank face and cold atmosphere. He thought it was more comfortable that way, but now Mirabelle seemed to constantly be knocking at his door. Kuhn replied, his voice colder than usual.
“I must decline. It is not polite for me to call a young lady by her first name. “
“Alright. Just think about it later.”
Despite his flat refusal, Mirabelle didn’t seem to be willing to give way, and was gently trying to encourage him. Kuhn didn’t say anything more, as he felt it futile to answer. Mirabelle continued, pulling at his sleeve.
“Let’s have lunch together.”
“Then I’ll make the preparations.”
“I’ve already prepared something for you, so please come along. First you said you couldn’t call me by my first name because I’m your master, and now you’re trying to ignore me?”
No matter how gentle Mirabelle appeared, she was endlessly persistent. Kuhn was quietly forced to answer.
Mirabelle and Kuhn arrived in the dining room where the family ate. Fortunately, no one was inside, but Kuhn’s expression remained rigid. It was strange to think of a servant eating with their master here. Even more so, Kuhn did not want to draw any more attention, as already more and more people were aware of him because of Mirabelle’s favoritism.
“Have a seat.”
Mirabelle seated herself first and pointed to the opposite chair. However, Kuhn remained standing.
“Young Lady, it is not a good idea to treat a servant like this.”
“I decide what is right or wrong. Kuhn will sit there and eat the food I have prepared.”
He had never served anyone so stubborn. He held back a sigh and took a seat. Kuhn could not reject her request, no matter how absurd it was.
Soon after they both sat down, bowls of stew made of chicken, ginseng, jujube, and other nutritious ingredients were placed in front of them. The other servants carrying the food stared suspiciously at Kuhn, but no one dared to open their mouths in front of Mirabelle.
“Please eat. I had it specially prepared for you because I was worried about your injury.”
Kuhn stared at the bowl place before him. He had never eaten a luxurious meal like this before. Even when Carlisle gave him some medicinal ingredients to take care of himself, Kuhn had only ingested them raw and never had cooked it like this.
“It’s one of my favorite dishes. I’ve had a weak body since I was born, so I eat a lot of healthy food. This one’s my favorite out of all of them.”
Kuhn simply nodded as he watched Mirabelle shyly speak. The difference in their status was clear. He had never even tasted the food that she enjoyed. Although his status was not so low now that he worked for Carlisle, it did not change Kuhn’s humble origin.
Kuhn wordlessly ate a spoonful of the stew. The fragrant smell of herbs and tender chicken caused his senses to salivate. Kuhn shifted uncomfortably as he noticed Mirabelle watching him with sparkling eyes.
“How do you like it? Does it suit your taste?”
“Anything tastes good to me.”
He just answered unwittingly “yes”, and he secretly grimaced because he felt childish. Mirabelle replied with an innocent look.
“That’s a relief. I told the chef to prepare a lot of it, so please help yourself.”
Mirabelle accepted his answer without hesitation. She was the daughter of a count who had grown up in a loving environment, and Kuhn was sometimes puzzled on how to treat her, as she was so different from him.
‘…But these days won’t last long.’
He was only here to capture the mysterious intruder. He only need be patient before he would finally go back to his normal routine. There was no reason to be wary. That was what Kuhn thought comfortably to himself.