༺ We Can’t be the Only Ones (2) ༻
The twins, who shared the same bed, started their morning at 6 o’clock.
The sounds of birds chirping could be heard from outside the window.
Upon waking up, they were greeted by the scent of burning cypress firewood emanating from the fireplace, which had been ablaze throughout the night, and was now reduced to crackling ashes.
“Good morning, Odette.”
“Good morning, sis.”
Odile and Odette sat up in their spacious bed, stretching their bodies like two flexible cats basking in the early-morning sunlight that poured through the skylight.
Apprentice witches were unable to halt the aging process of their physical bodies, unlike witches who had inherited the brand. Therefore, growth, aging progression, and sleep were crucial for them.
Because of that, apprentice witches like Odile and Odette always made sure to get enough sleep, sticking to a strict schedule of going to bed at 11 pm and waking up at 6 am.
Odile, who had been slowly stretching, cast a glance at Odette.
“Did you sleep well?”
“No, I couldn’t sleep at all. And you, sis?”
“I feel the same way. I only managed to fall asleep by the time the moon had passed the second window.”
This was extremely uncommon for the twins because they typically fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow.
Despite their exhaustion, the twins couldn’t bring themselves to relax and sleep comfortably, as they had an important task looming ahead of them.
“You know that, don’t you?”
The twins exchanged glances before slowly nodding their heads in agreement.
“Good morning, Ms. Odile. Did you sleep well, Ms. Odette?”
“Good morning, Head Maid Galina.”
“Good morning. Head Maid Galina.”
As soon as the door opened, a middle-aged woman with thick glasses walked in.
It was Galina, who had been serving the Gemini family for a long time, even before the twins were born.
Galina was an elderly maid who had acted as the twin’s caretaker ever since they were infants and despite her gentle features, the twins always found Galina to be scary due to her sharp demeanor.
“You seem to be energetic from the moment you wake up.”
“I had a good dream yesterday!”
Galina led the way as four maids followed behind, exchanging small morning greetings.
One of them opened the curtains for the 18 windows, while another collected the sheets from the bed where Odile and Odette’s bed where they had been tossing and turning the night before.
The other two placed slippers onto the twins’ feet, which were hanging off the bed, and combed through their messed-up hair from their tossing and turning the night before.
Despite having to brush their hair after their shower, the Count Gemini family’s witches always had to maintain their dignity, even while passing through the hallway
Although they had been taught to uphold this standard since childhood., they still found it to be a bothersome task.
“Did anything noteworthy happen last night, or is there anything special going on today that’s on your mind?”
Galina asked, puzzled by the twins’ lively mood today.
Odette and Odile made eye contact with each other and Odile stepped forward.
When it came to such matters, Odile was the one who acted bravely as compared to the timid Odette.
“Head Maid! I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is it, Odil? Just to let you know in advance, I cannot accept requests like riding a horse without a saddle on Mendel Hill or going for a picnic to the dreaded Fammel Swamp.
Also, requests to visit Border Town are not acceptable either. You have a class today at the academy at 4:00pm.You haven’t forgotten, have you?”
“Of course not.”
Odile fiddled with the hem of her clothes and then opened her mouth.
“In fact, I’d like to invite Professor Amelia for tea today as a treat.”
Galina’s wrinkled eyes lit up behind her thick glasses.
Odette flinched and recoiled, feeling a sudden pang.
Odette took over and explained.
“Well, um… Ms. Professor has had a hard time teaching us, so we thought we’d treat her to some tea to soothe her throat during lectures.”
Galina extended her arms towards the sky like a dramatic actress, then rushed over to hug Odile and Odette tightly.
“Odile, Odette! When did you two grow up to be such responsible students? Seeing the two of you this grown-up makes me so happy I can hardly stand it.”
“Uh, well…that’s just how it is, I guess.”
“Yes, of course. It’s only natural.”
Galina was filled with joy as she stroked the backs of Odile and Odette’s heads, unaware of their dark intentions.
Despite the twins’ previously talkative nature, Gelina noticed their newfound maturity and felt as if she were watching her own children grow up.
“Then I’ll go make some tea. Should I put it in a thermos for you?”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
“Well, then, you two go and take a bath.”
The twins were then led by the maids to the bathroom.
In fact, the twin’s daily routine had not changed much.
First, they were led to the separate bathroom as soon as they woke from the bed.
They were then given a bath by four maids, two for each of them.
The Gemini family, who were nobles among the witches, had a total of more than 50 servants.
Odile and Odette didn’t have to lift a finger while taking showers or changing clothes.
Everything was done for them by the people around them.
Odile was seated in an amethyst bath chair while warm perfumed oil was poured over her head.
Pecha, one of her personal maids, then applied perfumed oil to her body and hair, carefully combing it with a wide-toothed comb.
Meanwhile, another personal maid, Lena, sprinkled water on Odile’s feet and asked,
“Ms. Odile, is the water temperature alright for you? Let me know if it’s too cold or too hot.”
“Fumu, it’s warm.”
Pecha, who was brushing her hair vigorously, ruffled Odile’s hair with her hand.
“Oh my~ adorable Ms. Odile, how can your hair be so pretty?”
“Pecha, please refrain from saying that I am adorable now. I have to behave like a proper lady.”
“But you’re so cute? Right, Lena?”
“Yes, it’s quite impolite of me to say, but every time I take care of Ms. Odile, I want to stuff her into my bag and take her home. My family would adore her.”
“I’m sure they’ll all be surprised that you brought a huge doll, right?”
“No way! Everyone will surely tremble in awe in the presence of Ms. Odile’s dignity and charisma.”
The two maids giggled as they continued to show their love and affection toward Odile.
At first, the maids were all afraid of Odile and Odette.
However, after realizing that the twins, despite appearing to be tough, were just innocent masters, the maids started to show affection as though they were caring for puppies.
Especially when there was nobody around, like, in the bathroom, Pecha and Lena would play pranks on Odile.
If caught doing such things, the Head Maid Galina, who is known for being strict, would certainly reprimand them.
This was the same with Odette.
In the eyes of the maids, if Odile represented the role of the tough but adorable younger sister, then Odette represented the position of the sweet and innocent younger sister that they all wished to protect.
“Martha, I have something I want to ask.”
“Yes, Ms. Odette, go ahead and ask me anything.”
Marsha reached her hand behind Odette’s neck, giving her a massage while smiling.
Odette who had fallen back onto the tub trembled with a pleasant refreshing feeling.
“You know the book I took with me before.”
“Oh, the First Night Instruction manual?”
“Is there something… more…more…more…”
“More, more, more?”
Odette inquired, her voice trailing off as she felt embarrassed.
“I was wondering if you had any more information…”
She knew it was an awkward thing to ask.
Marsha giggled, observing Odette’s hesitant posture, and nudged Vera, her colleague, with her elbow whilst whispering.
“Did you see that? Did you see that? Ms. Odette’s asking about that kind of thing. She’s acting like a cute puppy, what should I do!”
“Martha, it’s time for Ms. Odette to be interested in that sort of thing.”
“It’s not like that!”
“Ms. Odette, your face is redder than a strawberry. I just want to pinch your cheeks.”
“Ugh… please don’t.”
Martha gently stroked Odette’s hair as she whispered in her ear.
“Actually, I recently got an erotic novel from Tarot Town.”
“Hey, Martha! It’s too early to tell Ms. Odette about these things!”
“What’s the big deal? Vera, we’ve already passed it around several times. Ms. Odette should be aware of it as well. We can’t keep being overprotective of her.”
Despite Odette’s confused expression, Martha and Vera continued their discussion.
“What is it about?”
“The story centers around a witch who develops an interest in love and comes across a romantic encounter with a handsome milkman. Do you want to read it, Ms. Odette?”
“I can’t understand the novel from just that.”
Up until that point, Vera, who had been dutifully attending to Odette, shifted her attention towards the fun conversation that seemed to be occurring and she began to whisper as if wanting to join in.
To her, idle chatter of this sort was even more entertaining than gossip.
Life could get quite boring in a world with few outlets for entertainment and a lack of modern conveniences.
Lewd conversations always piqued the interest of young and innocent maidens.
“Is that so…”
“A milk delivery man and… what happened after that?”
“Yes, and also with his younger brother…”
“With his brother…? On the same bed…? So two men and one woman…?”
– Whisper, whisper.
“Yes, yes! And then the witch became the milkman’s maid… smacking her bottom, piack-piack!”
Odette’s bath ended as she was left speechless by the unbelievable storyline.
Odile stared at her unusually flushed cheeks with a puzzled expression.
After finishing their bath, the twins proceeded to the dressing room where they sat in front of the vanity.
The maids used magic to carefully comb their hair, making it smooth and silky.
They then heated a metal rod to the appropriate temperature and rolled the wet hair on the side of their heads around it to give their front hair a graceful volume and complete their elegant hair styling.
With their hair neatly arranged, it was time for the twins to put on their dresses.
However, before they could do so, Galina, the intimidating maid-in-charge, entered the dressing room, which was decorated as beautifully as a dollhouse.
The maids, who had been laughing and chatting, suddenly fell silent and clammed up.
This was not surprising, as they were more afraid of Galina, who was as fierce as a tiger than they were of the apprentice witches.
“As our Lady Gemini is away today, we will skip the greetings.”
“Where did she go?”
“I haven’t heard much about it, but it seems that there is some sort of mana involved with the ‘Spirit Mountain’ so she went to investigate it herself.”
“Is she in spirit mountain?”
Galina clapped her hands and cleared the tension in the air.
While the twins were chattering and jumping around, she realized that if she indulged in their conversation, she would be late for the task she had come to do.
“Earlier, I mentioned that Mr. Kelvin’s piano lesson would take place from 8 to 10 o’clock today, followed by a potion-making workshop featuring an invited Aurelian witch from Emerald Tablet from half past ten to 1 o’clock.
After lunch, a reading session with Ms. Hathaway is scheduled from 2 to 3 o’clock during which tea is served.
Then from 4 to 7 o’clock, you will attend your regular classes at the academy.
Since time is running out and breakfast awaits, you’d better to hurry up.”
“Galina, can we skip the reading session? I haven’t read any of the books, and Ms. Hathaway’s book reading session are always frustrating.”
“Ugh, I hate studying so much…”
As soon as Odette heard about her overwhelming schedule, she collapsed onto the floor, but Marsha and Vera quickly caught her, and supported her to prevent her from falling.
“No! You should be more knowledgeable than any apprentice witch if you wish to carry on the Gemini name.”
“But we have classes for over 8 hours every day except weekends. And do you know how many assignments Professor Amalia gives us?”
“I agree, Galina. This is mental child abuse.”
Galina’s eyes widened as soon as she heard the complaints, silencing the twins.
Inviting experts in various fields to the mansion for lectures was the twin’s daily routine.
They were eagerly looking forward to giving Professor Amelia a hard time when they woke up in the morning.
However, upon hearing about their suffocating schedule, their mood became sullen.
“Since when did Odile and Odette start acting like children? You are noble young ladies. Hurry up and move to the dining room. And, Pecha!”
“Having private conversations can make things difficult. While it’s good for Ms. Odil to maintain a close relationship with the maids, it’s important to behave appropriately given your status.”
It seemed like the day ahead would be full of tedious tasks for the twins to complete before they left for the academy.
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