My long-term goals were to avoid the future where my lady and I were executed, and to bring her happiness. Though before that, I had to prove my abilities as her exclusive butler.
The only advantage that I had were the memories of my previous life, I’ve never been a genius.
Despite this, my lady had said that her butler was the best there was, and betraying her expectations of me was unacceptable. Even if I wasn’t a genius, I was going to prove that her words weren’t wrong.
The opportunity to do so came faster than expected. If I was successful in setting up the welcome party for the new students, I’d be able to match the trust my lady placed in me.
However, although I was chosen as the class representative, I was starting from the worst possible situation where I didn’t have the confidence of my peers in the slightest. Those who stood in opposition of me had separated into another group, but even those who stayed didn’t think highly me.
Eventually, the class will need to be brought together.
Nonetheless, my current priority was to make sure the party setup was successful. To do that, I needed to win the faith of my group members.
I thought this as I gathered my comrades assigned to the main site’s arrangement during the break.
“I believe that’s everyone. You see, I want to assign the jobs for the venue’s set up, so please tell me what you’re skilled at and what you want to do.”
At my query, confused reactions came out from my classmates. Despite already having an inkling of why, I asked them what was wrong.
They all turned to look at each other, and then Luke eventually raised his hand.
“Cyril, aren’t you in charge?”
“Yes, I was assigned as such.”
“So then what do you want us to do? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the setup’s success and just assign us based on our skills alone?”
“That certainly would be the most efficient way. However, aren’t we here because we wanted to learn various things?”
Setting up the party was important, but at the same time this was a chance for us to gain experience.
Professor Tristan said that it was okay to make mistakes because we could grow from them. Of course, I had no intentions of failing, but I wasn’t going to neglect my classmate’s chance to learn something new in favour of victory.
When I told them that, everyone started shouting out the special skills they had and what they wanted to do one after another. Apparently, they didn’t think that they’d be able to express themselves in this project.
I gathered their opinions together and assigned jobs so that those with expertise in something could watch over and help those that wanted to get better at similar skills.
The last one left was Luke.
“What do you want to do, Luke?”
“I want to gain experience in managing others… but I guess that’s not possible.”
“Why wouldn’t it be? How about being my assistant? You might not be able to give orders directly, but I think there’s still a lot you can learn by acting as my aide.”
“…are you okay with that?”
“Of course I am. There’s no problems at all as long as you’re okay with this arrangement as well.”
Luke then rubbed under his nose with his finger and said, “Then by all means, please let me be your assistant.” Apparently, he seems to have accepted my proposal.
I looked around to see if there were any problems, but everyone else seemed pretty motivated as well.
For the time being, it seems like I was able to provide a working environment they were all satisfied with. Let’s continue to work hard so that they’ll come to accept me as their representative.
With the party being only a month away, I’d like to continue at this pace, but there wasn’t much free time allotted to us for the set up.
Our morning classes continued later on like normal.
In this course, we were taught the necessities, but were required to be prepared for various situations.
Lessons started with the general housekeeping chores such as laundry, cooking, and putting in orders for goods. We also learnt how to do paperwork to help our masters, as well as what music would be appropriate for selection during parties.
Some employees were specialists for one designated task, but normal servants were supposed to be generalists that can do a little bit of everything.
Therefore, the subjects covered were both wide and shallow, while the knowledge we were lacking was something to be learned on our own time.
–that might sound difficult, but most of what I learned to teach my lady was already self-taught, so it actually wasn’t that hard at all.
Taking in the different perspectives of others will deepen your insight.
As I indifferently completed my work, the morning classes finished before I even knew it.
I finished my meal early and visited Lady Sophia’s classroom. As expected of the course centered around the aristocrats, there were many escorts and servants on standby at the entrance.
After telling the guards I was there to take care of my duties as my lady’s butler, I entered the classroom. As I approached her, she was just putting away her writing utensils.
“Oh, Cyril? You know it’s perfectly fine for you to enjoy your lunch break instead of coming here for me, right?”
“It’s because I’m your exclusive butler, my lady.”
A bit of a dispute had occurred in the servant course, so my lady was worried that I had involved myself with something troublesome– to which I obviously didn’t comment on.
“Thanks, Cyril. Can you brew me some tea then?”
“As you wish.”
After such an exchange, the young ladies around us started whispering.
Although I wasn’t able to make out much with how quietly they spoke, but it seems they were talking about a ‘rumoured student butler.’ Hearing that, I looked around and noticed that there weren’t any other student servants besides myself.
I guess a junior high student who was already employed by someone was quite rare.
“Fufu~ Cyril isn’t just skilled, he’s a master of brewing tea. Do you all want to try some as well?”
“Oh my, would that be okay?”
Eyes full of expectations gathered on my lady.
That said, my tea brewing skills weren’t anything special. It was probably more for the fact that they were invited to a tea party by the Lady Sophia.
Pretending as if she didn’t notice it, my lady’s smile didn’t falter in the slightest.
“Of course. Cyril, may I trouble you with this?”
“Just leave it to me. Where should I bring it once it’s ready?”
“That’s right… we’ll be on the other side of the terrace then.”
I respectfully bowed, and then left for the courtyard to draw water from the well.
For aristocratic residences, there were water supply systems built off of magic tools.
Naturally, there were similar systems used in the academy where the children of nobles attended, but when tea was made using water from said system, both the colour and the flavour of it changed.
I had already confirmed beforehand that this water wasn’t suitable for brewing tea.
By the way, it’s been said that the water drawn from shallow wells was exceptionally suitable for tea. With that in mind, the school’s water system probably taps into deep wells because of the large amount needed for an establishment of this size.
That’s why I pumped water from the well in the courtyard before moving to the school’s kitchenette.
The water was then poured into a kettle.
“First of all-”
I used wind magic to add air to the water inside the kettle. By doing so, the phenomenon of jumping occurs as the leaves are steamed, allowing the taste of the tea leaves to grow more prominent.
Incidentally, magic can be used to simulate the jumping by itself, but since the taste of the tea is enhanced by the added air, just recreating the phenomenon alone wasn’t enough.
If you want to brew delicious tea, it was necessary to have the hot water properly aired.
Next, the prepared water was boiled on a stove magic tool.
The pot and cups were then warmed with a large amount of hot water. Once the warming was finished, I dumped the hot water, put in the appropriate number of tea leaves for the people partaking in the brew, poured in the now-boiled prepared water, and covered it.
After that, there was nothing left to do but leave it to the convection– since I would be serving other girls tea as well, there was no need to pour the tea into the cups yet.
It was necessary to pour it in front of them to remove any suspicions of poison.
With that in mind– using a tea cart, I brought what I had prepared to my destination without shaking the teapot. On the terrace round table, there were already several young ladies gathered with their servants standing behind them.
Anyways, the girls were practically bleeding with curiosity towards me, while the servants silently judged my behaviour as they tried to act indifferent. While waiting, Lady Sophia seems to have been singing my praises to them.
But there was no need to worry.
As usual, I will just serve the best tea that I can.
“Thank you for waiting, my lady.”
I lined the teacups in a place where everyone could see, before checking the time spent steaming with an hourglass. Then after picking up the teapot at the optimum time, I began pouring the amber liquid into the cups.
I poured them into all the cups little by little to avoid unevenness in the flavour. While the last drop– the golden drop that held the most delicious part of the brew, was dripped into my lady’s cup.
“This is the local specialty of the Rosenberg territory. We used carefully selected tea leaves for this brew. I recommend drinking it as it is, but please feel free to add milk or lemons according to your preferences.”
While stretching the nerves throughout my body, I placed the teacups in front of young ladies. In order to prevent the tea inside of the cups from rippling, I served the saucers in a way that wouldn’t make a sound when placed down.
Then finally, I placed Lady Sophia’s teacup in front of her.
After a short pause, my lady then picked up her cup and took the first sip. This was one of the manners of aristocrats, it was an act that proved that any goods prepared by the organiser weren’t poisoned.
In other words, it was a so-called poison test, but after taking a plentiful swallow, my lady smiled happily.
“Delicious as always. I’m proud to have you as my butler, Cyril.”
“…your words are wasted on me.”
I bowed my head while thinking that she was exaggerating.
“Eh? Is this really… tea?”
A young lady sporting a ringlet hairstyle let out a confused voice after following Lady Sophia’s example.
–at that moment, the servants standing behind the other girls reached out their hands to prevent their charges from drinking.
But with the ringlet young lady having already drank a mouthful of the tea, her maid approached me and shouted, “What did you do to my lady’s tea?!”
The terrace was in a commotion, but it was the ringlet young lady that raised her voice to quell it.
“W-wait a moment! I didn’t say that because I suspected them of spiking my drink, it’s just… this tea is far more fragrant and delicious than any I’ve ever had before.”
“…you said that because you couldn’t believe how delicious it was?”
The maid who had drawn close to me was making a troubled expression, but it wasn’t unreasonable. The young lady’s reaction was quite misleading, it couldn’t be helped if one assumed that some kind of foreign matter was mixed into it.
“T-this might be rude of me, but could I please confirm this claim?”
The troubled maid appealed to Lady Sophia.
“But of course, I don’t mind at–”
“–there’s no point.”
The one who denied the maid’s request was the ringlet young lady she served.
“T-there’s no point?”
Ignoring the maid’s confusion, the ringlet young lady brought the teacup back to her mouth. She seemed to want to finish off what still remained– but then she noticed the gazes gathered on her.
“N-nevermind, I’m the one that was in the wrong. Lady Sophia, it may be rude, but would it be okay for my maid to try some of the tea to prove your butler’s innocence?”
To have proposed that meant that she wasn’t suspicious of poison. She might’ve been the cause of this situation, but it was good to see that she was willing to take responsibility to fix things.
Lady Sophia cheerfully consented to soften the tense atmosphere.
“T-this is… tea?”
A small commotion broke out again when the maid opened her eyes wide after tasting the tea.
“P-please excuse my remarks. The tea was amazingly delicious.”
“So you think so as well?”
“…yes. It’s frustrating, but I’d never be able to brew something like this.”
For her, who had the position to grant her master’s requests, no matter what they were, this was a substantial declaration of defeat. I was surprised to hear such words come from the mouth of not a student like myself, but a professional maid.
“A-aren’t you exaggerating a little? You’re from a Viscount house, so you might not be able to procure the finest tea leaves, but for me, the daughter of a Count… t-this is tea?!”
She stopped her objection mid-way.
And it wasn’t just her, all of the young ladies were having the same reaction. They seem to have realised that the tea I brewed was different from what anyone else had made for them before.
–but the most surprised person here was me.
In retrospect, my father made a big fuss about how I brewed my tea when he tested me on whether I was suitable to become my lady’s exclusive butler.
Could it be that the way I make my tea is a new technique that hasn’t been discovered yet?
I never realised this because my lady was the only one I ever served tea to, but apparently tea-brewing techniques are less developed in this world than I thought. Lady Sophia should’ve been aware of it though, and when I turned my gaze towards her– she sent a mischievous smile back at me.
Did she realise this and decide to keep it hidden until now?
“L-lady Sophia, where did he gain such skills?!”
“He’s always been good at making tea ever since our childhood. Hey Cyril, did you learn this from someone?”
“No, not really.”
When I said that I was self-taught, the girls and the servants were staring at me. Perhaps they had finally understood the odd situation of how a child the same age as his mistress was already employed as her exclusive butler.
It would be troublesome escape now… no, it wouldn’t be appropriate for a servant of a Marquis’ daughter to run away, and above all else, it seems like Lady Sophia wants my skills to be recognised.
In order to raise my reputation, she had asked me to brew tea at this time.
If my techniques were kept a secret, then every time my lady holds a tea party, she could sell my name by having me brew tea. The popularity of her tea parties would rise as well, killing two birds with one stone.
However, this was the world of high society that my lady was experiencing for the first time after attending school. Let’s see how she’s going to deal with this situation.
Noticing my line of sight, Lady Sophia smiled and slightly nodded, before turning back to the young ladies surrounding the table.
“If you want, would you like to have Cyril teach your servants how he brews tea?”
A number of voices arose.
However, the ringlet young lady was making an incomprehensible expression.
“…are you sure about this?”
She didn’t say it out loud, but it’s clear that she was referring to how this would cheapen the value of the technique. Not just myself, but all of the servants seemed to be wondering about this as well.
The attention of everyone who wanted the answer to this was naturally directed to Lady Sophia.
“It’s okay. I’ll also allow you to share the skills learned with others. However, please make sure to make it public that you learned these techniques from Cyril, my exclusive butler.”
No, everyone gasped.
My lady’s proposal was too enticing to pass up.
If you thought about it normally, you might think that this promise wouldn’t be kept. You’d assume that the technique’s association with the Rosenberg house and my name would disappear as it spreads.
But it won’t.
My lady is the daughter of a Marquis holding considerable power. To say that you’ve learned groundbreaking techniques from her came with a special meaning, it could be seen as proof that you were on friendly terms with her.
No one would let such a privilege escape from their grasp.
In other words, each time one of these ladies had their servants brew tea in a tea party, they’ll say they were taught their techniques out of Lady Sophia’s courtesy and from myself, her exclusive butler.
The rate of advertisement for this was definitely more effective than the method I thought of.
In addition to that, my lady said that she was willing to spread the techniques to others under the same conditions.
But this also meant that only those prepared to accept such an association would agree to learn it. She was targeting the young ladies who were open to being friendly while accepting her as their patron.
Lady Sophia’s influence would quickly spread to multiple noble households at once.
My lady was going to raise my reputation while creating her own faction at the same time. A mere twelve year old girl came up with such a move. I felt myself shiver at that realisation.
But I’m surprised that she decided to make a faction without consulting me first. If my lady was acting like she normally did, then she’d usually seek my advice for something like this… was there a specific reason as to why she didn’t this time?
I might not know why, but it was my job to support my lady so that she can fulfill her ambitions no matter what they are. I’ve already made that resolution, so I wasn’t panicking.
Or rather, it was the servants attending to the other young ladies that were.
My lady had set conditions saying that the techniques would have to be publicly known to have been taught by me.
While guaranteeing her commoner servant’s talents, she would be displaying that she didn’t have any elitist ideals, but that still wasn’t enough to say that she was hostile against that group. Her stance and position would still be unclear.
What side her faction was on could be decided with a single sentence from her.
However, I don’t think such subtleties were understood by the other twelve year old girls. Rather, it’s doubtful that they even comprehended that they were currently being pulled into a faction at the moment. With how the innocent choice of these children might decide their fate, it’s only natural for their servants to be unsettled.
“Come to think of it, I forgot to serve the sweets. This confection here is called a crêpe. Please have it with honey, fresh cream, and the fruits that you enjoy.”
I suddenly cut in, and told the servants that instead of conducting themselves in front of their mistresses, they should take their orders directly so they could make the dessert to their liking.
The first to understand my intentions was the ringlet young lady’s maid. She softly said, “Thank you” to me, before turning to get her mistress’ order.
She then proceeded to put the toppings on the crêpe as she listened to her lady’s desires, but mid-way through, she suddenly whispered something to her.
The ringlet young lady then nodded after hearing the message.
“Lady Sophia. As I said earlier, can you please have Cyril teach my maid his methods of brewing tea?”
“Of course. I’ll make sure that your servants are taught first, Lady Ferris.”
From the conversation so far, the ringlet young lady named Ferris was the daughter of a Viscount house. Not the strongest ally, considering that there was also the daughter of a Count here as well.
Nevertheless, she was probably the best among those here. The trust she displayed was far more important than her status. At that moment, the other servants followed suit to ‘make crêpes’ for their charges in hopes of being among the first.
There’s no need to explain the developments that followed afterwards.
Lady Sophia seems to be growing up far more talented than I had ever imagined.
Written by Scarlet Rain (緋色の雨)
Translated by KuroInfinity at slothtranslationsblog.com