The Gap Between You and Me - Chapter 6
“You mean he really gave you the slave as a gift for nothing?”
She asked again to confirm.
She was told that slaves were quite expensive, if not as much as a thoroughbred stallion. Especially if it’s a strong young male slave. He gave such an expensive slave free of charge. No matter how wealthy the other person was, something was suspicious.
Baodor, stroking the brittle beard that had grown on his chin, recalled the conversation he had with Marquis Macnot a few days ago.
[Careful. You must not hand over that slave to anyone else for at least thirty years. If someone asks you to hand over that slave, you’ll have to tell me right away. And tell me at least once a month about how the slave is doing. Of course, this is a temporary request, not permanent. As time goes on and everyone gets used to this new life, I plan to reduce the number of times you update me.
And lastly, take extra care so that the slave never leaves Philioche. If anything happens that causes him to leave this place, you will have to inform me immediately. Keep that in mind.]
Although he refused several times saying that there was no need for a slave, Marquis Macnot did not give up. The Marquis almost forcibly handed over 11542 to Baodor, relinquishing ownership of it. Still, he added some conditions, which were both strange and difficult.
It wasn’t just that. Later, in the end, he made Baodor write a memorandum that he would abide by the conditions he had stated.
Baodor thought that the Marquis’ attitude was strange, but soon dismissed it as just having an unusually picky disposition.
‘Well, it shouldn’t be a big deal.’
The atmosphere was uncomfortable, but Baodor decided to pass it on without a big deal this time as well. Herietta bit her lower lip at his answer. Her eyes looked as if something was still not clear. But she eventually left the study without saying anything more.
* * *
The piles of dry straw scattered on the floor were raked to one side. A tall man was working hard alone. His wrists and ankles were loose, revealing that he was wearing clothes not of his size.
And not far from him, a woman was spying on him, hiding her body behind. Every time he lifted his rake, the muscles hidden under the rough cloth moved enchantingly, and as he bent down, his strong muscles were sparsely revealed through the gaps in his clothes. The blonde hair, neatly tied at the back for easy activity, attracted enough attention, even if the splendor was not the same as before.
When Edwin paused raking for a moment and wiped the sweat from his forehead and neck with the back of his hand, Herietta gulped without realizing it. She was so afraid that her heart might come out of her mouth.
She could neither notice the characteristic stench from the nearby stable nor the crowing of chickens screaming freely in the yard. Was the Mackenzie mansion such a beautiful place? Even though she had lived her whole life here, by standing in this landscape, everything felt different. It was really surprising.
Herietta didn’t know what to do. She felt like she didn’t want to approach him right away and let him know of her existence. But the possibility that he might fly out of her eyes terrified her.
In the end, she hesitated, and even though five or four days had passed since he came here, she still had not appeared in front of him. She blamed herself for being a serious idiot, but she couldn’t help it. The size of the heart she had been holding for two years seemed to be much larger than she had imagined.
“Sister. What are you doing here?”
Herrietta was startled by the voice coming from behind her back and screamed. It was because she was so nervous that Edwin would be able to find out about her.
When she turned around, she saw Hugo staring at her with his eyes wide open. She hurriedly shut her mouth, but it was already too late. Flap, flap. Just then, the birds that were sitting on the trees flew into the sky.
“I didn’t mean to surprise you… Hrmmmph!”
Hugo hurriedly tried to explain, but his mouth was closed by Herrietta’s hand.
She rolled her eyes and made a gesture for him to be quiet. Her eyes were so ferocious that he had no choice but to nod his head without even knowing what was going on.
After letting Hugo go, Herietta stuck her head out to see what Edwin was doing. She thought he might not have heard her scream because he was so busy with work. But that was for a moment. She quickly hid again.
Because Edwin was looking straight at them. Her heart was beating fast, like a bomb. She couldn’t decide if she should run away from this spot right now, or if she should stand up in front of him proudly. If she could, she would dig a tunnel and be buried in it.
“Isn’t that the slave father brought with him this time?”
Behind Herietta, Hugo poked his head out and murmured. Then he walked out without a chance for her to stop him.
Herietta hurriedly called out his name and tried to catch him, but to no avail. Hugo walked up to Edwin and cleared his throat.
“Hey. What are you doing now?”
Hugo, who was still only eleven years old, was just a little over Edwin’s waist. He strained his neck as he lifted his head up to see the servant’s face, as the man was taller than most adult men.
“Can’t you hear me? I asked what you are doing now.”
When there was no answer, Hugo asked again, in a slightly annoyed tone. Even though he knew Edwin was much older than him, Hugo didn’t hesitate to call him ‘you’. It wasn’t rude, it was normal. From Hugo’s point of view, he was a nobleman, and Edwin was just one of the properties his father owned.
Edwin looked down at Hugo. It was difficult to read the emotions on his blunt face. Still, when he received his full gaze, he felt a little creepy. His body trembled as if he had been pinched hard by someone.
Hugo was perplexed. He didn’t frown or raise his voice. He just stared at him, but his body curled up on its own. Is it just because of his mood that the air surrounding this slave feels heavier than anywhere else?
Edwin’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at Hugo for a long time without saying a word. At the same time, Hugo stopped his breathing. The atmosphere seemed heavier than earlier. At that moment, he looked like the king of beasts. If he wanted to, he seemed to be able to get rid of Hugo with his sharp claws on his front paws.
“You, you, you know…”
“I was working.”
Hugo, whose face had become pale, stuttered, while Edwin replied calmly.
“Because they told me to sweep the floor and clear the stables by the end of the day.”
Hugo tilted his head. The moment Edwin opened his mouth, the heavy air that relentlessly pressed down on him disappeared like a lie. It wasn’t that hard to breathe anymore.
Hugo looked at Edwin who was standing in front of him. With a calm expression on his face, he didn’t feel any energy. The change was so great that Hugo wondered if he had just woken up from a moment’s sleep.
The proud eleven-year-old boy could not tolerate the fact that he had been frightened by a mere slave. He quickly put on an expression to cover up the fact.
“Who, who made you do that?”
“Anna, the maid.”
Hugo frowned at the familiar name. Anna was a newcomer maid who started working at Mackenzie’s late last year. She was also one of Mackenzie’s few low-level manpower.
“You are more stupid than you look. Anna cannot give orders to anyone in this mansion. Rather, everyone gives her her orders.”
Hugo said with a snort. From an objective point of view, it was natural for Edwin, a slave, to follow Anna, a commoner and a regular employee of the Mackenzie, but he overlooked that fact.
“By the way, how do you feel about occupying my room?”
Edwin was perplexed with Hugo’s question.
“The room you are using now was my study room until recently. My father told me to give you the room, so suddenly I had to share my sister’s study room.”
Edwin then understood what Hugo meant. So, is that why he was acting like a hedgehog with a lot of thorns? Edwin thought about the interior of the room he was given. A small room surrounded on all sides by a cold stone wall except for one of the windows on the back.
“It seems normal.”
“You think it’s normal?”
Edwin replied silently. But his answer made Hugo’s face look as if he had been slapped. You think it’s normal? Edwin didn’t know, but in fact, Hugo had a special attachment to his study room. Soon, Hugo blushed.
“So the room looks normal? Originally, slaves are not given rooms but are made to stay in the stables, so you should be thankful for that… I don’t know what kind of luxurious life you were leading until you came here, but it would be bad if you continue to be arrogant like that.”
“Hugo! Stop it!”
Herietta, unable to listen any longer, ran out and stopped her brother.