A big welcome to the new year! Starting off with a three-parter of a new series I like and find cute. Chapters 2 and 3 will be posted later.
CH1: LUCIA STRIVES TO DO THE LAUNDRY
“Soap bubbles~, fluffy, airy, clean laundry~. The glittering sun feels so nice~♫”
Today’s been blessed with fine weather. Really, it’s the perfect weather for laundry.
I unfolded the heap of dirty laundry onto the washboard and smeared the clothes with soap, making sure to get all the crevices and folds. Afterwards…
I removed the filth by vigorously scrubbing the clothes in the sudsy water.
Everything was continuing to become the shade of pure white one by one. Yup, definitely a good feeling.
“Ah~ is it no good if I don’t use ‘Soap’?”
I had zealously done the laundry earlier in high spirits, but as I picked up more and more clothes with my hands, I looked at the remainders and sighed.
An extensive scope was still dyed in blue – I’d like to finish that by handwashing, but there’s no helping it.
As I faced the dirt stains embedded deeply within the fabric and chanted, rainbow-colored soap bubbles lightly fizzed out from the dirty clothes.
The sight of bubbles dyed in the seven colors of the rainbow, airily dancing about underneath the clear blue sky, was very pretty. Faced with my favorite spectacle, I involuntarily broke out into a smile.
Well, I can’t help it! It’s incredibly pretty, after all.
My favorite blue sky. Besides, it’s my magic floating up there – how can I not love it?
Steadily approaching the heavens, the soap bubbles were bathed in the sunlight. It was as if they were like polished jewels.
“Alrighty, all that’s left afterwards is to air them out to dry!”
After gathering together the stacks that became clean, with a shout of effort I lifted the tub up from the watering hole and transferred it to the place for drying laundry. After gathering together the stacks that became clean into a washtub, I lifted up the tub from the watering spot with a grunt of effort. I then start transferring it to the designated place for drying laundry, where the clothes would then come into contact with the sunshine.
As a result of carrying the massive tub under my arms, I had a tough time moving through the spacious castle.
Well then, please let me introduce myself around here.
I’m Lucia Arca, 16 years old.
Loosely wavy hair stretching all the way down to her back, and so-dark-they-seem-to-be-jet-black violet colored eyes.
Neither short nor tall. An average height.
Not a plump, bewitching figure, but not a homely-looking one either.
The chest is probably the only part up to the “plump” standard. Just a little bit. But her face looks as good as anyone else’s in a stunning display of mediocrity.
A person dressed in ordinary clothes.
That’s me, Lucia.
At least if my eye color was a bit paler, then people would recognize it as violet. But since nothing but black can be seen at a glance, it spurs on a sense of plainness.
A few days ago I had lost my mother, who was my only family. I left the town of Hathawes on account of getting a fresh start, and with the help of an acquaintance’s connections I went to the royal capital Al Tado. As of now, I’m currently making the best out of my special skill as a laundry worker in the royal castle!
Yep, one might ask, “Why do this type of thing”?
…… well, I’m in debt.
It’s from Mom’s medicine costs.
For the sake of saving on expenses, I went all the way until very distant places by myself to pluck medicinal herbs. I tried my best, I really did! But the money wasn’t enough in the long run.
Because I couldn’t afford to try and have it both ways with Mom’s life and the money, it also couldn’t be helped regarding the debt. However, Mom died – now, even if I sell the home I got used to living in, I can’t completely pay off the debt. Not yet.
So, that’s my reason for doing this! Working as a live-in laundry girl.
Goal: aim for that debt repayment!
Right, right, about that so-called special skill. It’s a magic called “Soap”. Have you heard about it? No?
Yeah, of course you wouldn’t, I haven’t heard anything about it either.
I’m an ordinary girl, but I can use what’s described as a unique type of magic. Somehow or other, it’s extremely special (well, -ish), but why do I have such a thing? I really don’t know.
This “Soap”… it’s simply a magic spell that only causes soap bubbles to appear. That’s all.
Isn’t this useful as nothing but a child’s plaything? Yes, when I was little I thought so too.
It’s an extremely shabby magic spell, but this takes care of the dirty laundry. It’s a mystery. Any type of filth that even becomes wrapped up in the bubbles gets up and erased for me.
If that’s the case, then there’s no other option than a washerwoman, right?
I’ve heard that for this reason, I, day after day, am wanted for the laundry.
It’s manual labor. But because it gives off a good feeling. I absolutely love it because of that!
Well then, I’ve successfully arrived within the drying grounds. Let’s finish airing out the clothes stacked up in this tub!
I steadily hung the laundry on a rope affixed to a position slightly higher than my height, fastening them in place with clothespins.
Since the weather’s so nice, there’s also a gentle breeze accompanying it. The clothes will surely be dry soon, wouldn’t you agree?
Although it’s the beginning of spring, the sunny spots are warm.
Wiping the sweat off my forehead, I lifted the emptied tub in my arms and stood up. Five tubs’ worth of washed clothes were now lingering in the breeze.
”You sure are working hard, Lucia.”
When I turned around, my coworker Mrs. Kikka had shown up and was in the process of carrying a stack of tubs in her arms.
“The final stretch of a job’s always real hard, but could I get you to be a dear and use ‘Soap’ on this? I know you’ve considerably overtaken me and all in terms of load, but if this keeps up, anything more than this and I’ll be driven to my knees, yanno.”
When Mrs. Kikka lowered the stack of tubs down onto the ground, she took a single shirt out from the contents of one.
The shirt, dyed in a thin, diluted ink, looks considerably stubborn.
“Yes, not a problem at all! ‘Soap!’”
Concentrating my senses, I chanted my magic and the stains completely came out of the dirty laundry. As both the rising soap bubbles and dirt vanished together, a pure-white shirt was left behind in Mrs. Kikka’s hands.
“You saved me! Sorry for always making you do this. That magic of yours really is helpful!”
Showing an attractive smile, Mrs. Kikka clapped me on the shoulder.
“Soap” is, as far as a washerwoman’s concerned, the king of all magic. I’m happy to be receiving so much praise!
“Oh yeah, Mrs. Kikka, were you in charge of the First Corps? I forget.”
Inside the Banfield Knight Order, the First Corps bears the duty of Imperial Guards. Mrs. Kikka, who’s on the verge of 30 years’ worth of experience in the field, is even in charge of their laundry.
The Banfield Knight Order is organized from the First Corps to the Fifth Corps. The First Corps is the Imperial Guard division that protects the royalty, the Second Corps is a unit that performs tasks like investigations and negotiations, the Third and Fourth Corps are raid forces, and then the Fifth Corps carries out the role of the royal capital’s Peace Preservation Guard.
We’re friendlier with the soldier companies underneath the supervision of the Knight Order, but because the latter entrusts their laundry to the royal castle’s washerwomen, each of us is assigned to a designated corps. The ratio is about one washer to fifty knights.
As for the royalty’s laundry, once again there’s another layer of distinction.
Since the various laundryfolk assisting the royalty wash their clothes, those of us who are attached to the Knight Order don’t touch their laundry.
By the way, since I’m still new, I’m in charge of the “voted #1 to get dirty” Fifth Corps.
Although, when the Third and Fourth Corps raid forces – alias “Jacks of All Trades” – go out for monster hunting expeditions and return, my responsibilities change at the drop of a hat and I become in charge of them.
They say that the stains left by the body fluids of a monster don’t wash out.
…… huh? Why is that?
If clothes are dyed blue from the fluids, then regular soap is completely no match for cleansing them.
As a result, it looks like they previously used to discard the old outfits.
However, the Banfield Knight Order’s regimental uniforms are of a special make by the Academia’s sorcerers, enchanted with protective guards against magical and physical attacks.
The knights from foreign countries don armor over their bodies, but for our knights in Banfield Kingdom’s chivalric order, the uniforms are more than good enough at their jobs.
Since they’re so special up to that extent, people could reuse them if they wanted to.
When I realized that “Soap” could do things like clean off these stains, I was considerably delighted. Because of that, I became a laundry worker.
Fufufu, from what I understand this looks like it’ll be useful in substantially reducing costs.
Even if it’s a shabby piece of magic, it can be super helpful!
“That’s right. Lucia, you’re… Today, you’re in charge of the jack of all trades group?”
“Yes. It looks like the Third Corps went out on a monster extermination hunt, so these are the clothes from that time. Although, they didn’t get all that dirty this time though.”
“I heard this from Marera, but they say that this time, it seems the commander annihilated them all by himself. As expected of the great ‘Dragonslayer Hero’, right.”
Miss Marera is Mrs. Kikka’s friend who works as a junior maid.
The maid attendants are what the young noble ladies become. Even the daughters of rich folk are able to become junior maids, however.
In other words, the maid attendants are nobility, the junior maids are people from upper class households, and we servants are from middle-class families and below. Or a similar feeling to that.
Naturally, because of the fact that servants like us differ from them, there are people even in the junior maids section that take an attitude towards us. Miss Marera is different, though.
She resembles Mrs. Kikka in style, with both of them being aunts who absolutely love to chitchat. They’re fun people!
“So does that mean… the shirt I cast ‘Soap’ on earlier was that great hero’s, right?”
I recalled the earlier uniform stained blue.
The person called that is the Third Corps’ commander Celestiano Clementi.
He’s referred to as that because during the dragon extermination one year ago, he dealt the finishing blow to the dragon by stabbing it.
The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Corps were organized into a large-scale subjugation party. But as one would expect of a dragon, deemed the strongest creature alive, it was mighty. They say that in those circumstances, the elite Third and Fourth Corps both suffered serious injuries. The Fifth Corps had the bitter misfortune of experiencing total annihilation.
Because of that, the current Fifth Corps I’m in charge of is a newly assembled group. A number of people were promoted from the soldier companies to fill in the gaps.
“Isn’t it? Ohhhh boy, you picked up the clothes of that ‘Dragonslayer Hero’ who’s real popular with the young’uns nowadays, yet you didn’t know? Looks to me like those girls’re gonna flare up in jealousy!”
“Is that right? They’re merely clothes, though.”
Gazing at the picturesque scene of laundry fluttering in the wind, I tilted my head.
I understand raising a fuss about the contents, but aren’t clothes just nothing but clothes?
“You’re also a fine, healthy young’un, and yet… something like being enthralled in the chains of love, you’re not a fan?”
Mrs. Kikka, please don’t make that kind of regretful-looking face!
Even I think it’d be a little nice to think about a person in that way. It’s because there already is one!