The individual that had pushed her way through the bushes was undoubtedly a maid. Wait. Weren’t we supposed to be in the midst of a haunt containing C ranked monsters? The hell is a maid doing here? If there was a limit to how out of place one could possibly be, then this maid had just exceeded the hell out of it.
Her being a maid wasn’t really the part that surprised me the most. I’d already met many maids post reincarnation.
I was as surprised as I was because the maid before me was a whole cut above the rest. She wasn’t wearing the traditional servant wear one normally saw on the maids around these parts. Rather, she wore a less sexualized version of the frilly, lacy, gothic-lolita style dress you’d typically see in anime and manga. Her clothes clearly put cuteness well above functionality.
The dress, whose main colours were white and navy, came with an equally fancy apron attached to it. The bottom part of the dress extended almost all the way towards the ground. It gave her a really prim and proper kinda feel, which really got me going. The girl wearing the maid uniform had a well proportioned figure and clear body lines. Her curves reminded me greatly of Fujiko’s.  Moreover, her eyes made her seem cold. She was just the type of maid I liked. Her long chestnut hair was styled into three distinct braids. Her long bangs had been pushed aside to put her forehead on display.
Her nose was decorated with a pair of thick-lensed glasses. They were heavy, and if you looked at her straight on, it almost looked like they were falling off her face.
Man, round glasses are the best.
There was no doubt in my mind that her glasses were sexy as hell. Her ears were black and resembled those of a horse’s. They were a bit difficult to see, in part because of the brim she was wearing and in part because they’d been pushed back such that they blended in with her hair. At first, I’d thought that they were just accessories.
Unlike her companion, the maid could actually be appraised.
Species: Beastkin (Grey Tapirkin / Phantom Dream Tapirkin)
Class: First Class Maid
Status Level: 49/99
Assassination: Lv 7
Espionage: Lv 8
Healing Magic: MAX
Recovery Magic: Lv 4
Court Etiquette: Lv 6
Presence Detection: Lv 4
Presence Concealment: Lv 8
Illusion Magic: MAX
Greater Illusion Magic: Lv 2
Restrain: Lv 6
Sewing: Lv 7
Murderous Intent Detection: Lv 8
Silenced Action: Lv 7
Purification Magic: Lv 4
Resistance to Abnormal Status: Lv 6
Interrogation: Lv 7
Resistance to Mental Abnormalities: Lv 8
Laundry: Lv 8
Throwing Arts: Lv 9
Throwing Techniques: Lv 8
Knowledge of Poisons: Lv 8
Poison Perception: Lv 8
Magic Resist: Lv 4
Magic Perception: Lv 6
Magic Absorption: Lv 6
Water Magic: Lv 5
Cooking: Lv 8
Alchemy: Lv 4
A Maid’s Prudence
Phantom Dream Matrix
One That has Experienced and Surpassed Hell
Lord of Cleaning
Divine Silk Maid’s Uniform
Divine Silk Gloves
Ring of Sorcery
Illusion Sealing Bracelet
She was pretty strong, seeing as how she’d evolved. She looked like she was more than fit for combat, or rather assassination, even though she was a maid.
Classifying her in adventurer terms, she was at least as strong as a B ranker. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were an A ranker either, given that I had no idea how large the powerboost she’d get from awakening was.
“My lady, I’ve told you time and time again to slow down. I can’t keep up with you, and it’s dangerous for you to dash on ahead of me,” rebuked the maid.
“I do apologize, Kuina. Chasing down my prey caused me to lose myself,” replied the little girl.
“And who might this newfound acquaintance of yours be?”
The maid, Kuina, turned her eyes in Fran’s direction. Her gaze remained cold, but it didn’t seem like she was judging Fran. Instead, it seemed more like she was simply sleepy, but at the same time, she gave off a mysterious feel. The lack of emotion within made it difficult to guess her thoughts. Her eyes were similar to Fran’s, but gave the impression that she had even less interest in other people.
In fact, she didn’t seem surprised even though she’d stared Fran down. Of all the beastkin we met she gave the smallest reaction to Fran’s evolution.
“That… is surprising, so much so that I almost tripped and fell,” the maid remarked.
“Indeed. Never before have I seen your face decorated with such a deep expression of surprise.”
Apparently, she was not actually uninterested in Fran. Her emotions just didn’t show on her face. I was honestly impressed that her companion was even capable of discerning her emotions, let alone their intensity.
“You, name yourself!” the silver haired girl commanded.
I wanted Fran tell her that it was rude to ask another’s name without first providing one’s own, but—
“Rather, it would be more appropriate for me to provide my own name first. I am Mare, and I allow you to refer to me as such!” the girl that had named herself Mare declared in an imposing, self-important tone.
“And I’m Kuina. Nice to meet you.”
Mare placed both hands on her hips and took a proud stance as she declared herself, whereas Kuina instead performed a clean, crisp bow as she gave her name. They seemed really disorganized given the disparity between the manner in which they introduced themselves, but didn’t really come off as bad people nonetheless.
“C ranked adventurer, Fran. This, Urushi,” Fran replied in her usual tone. She was clearly undaunted.
“Fran…? So you really are the Black Lightning Princess,” Mare nodded, as if to confirm her own suspicions.
She knew about the Black Lightning Princess. So wait, does that mean she’s an adventurer? She’s got a maid though, so she’s probably not… Is she a merchant or something? No, that doesn’t seem quite right…
“I never would have thought that we would meet you under circumstances like these,” said Kuina. “I would have liked us to meet in a more peaceful environment.”
“That reminds me! How dare you rob me of my prey!?” exclaimed Mare, outraged.
“I am speaking of the manticore that you slew! I was in the midst of hunting it down. You snatched the most enjoyable part of the hunt from right under my nose!” Mare shouted indignantly as she pointed towards the roasted manticore corpse lying right by us. Apparently, the manticore hadn’t been in our way because it’d lost its territory but rather because it had chosen to flee from Mare and her maid.
Under normal circumstances, my first reaction would be to accuse Mare of bullshitting, but I was pretty sure that she and Kuina would be able to handle a manticore without issue.
There was no debating that we’d stolen their kill. But at the same time, it was also their fault for letting their prey run from them in the first place. Still, we would’ve likely also began complaining if we were in their shoes.
“I’d prefer not turning this into any sort of major conflict if possible. What say you, Fran?”
“Nn…? Can just give manticore?” she replied nonchalantly.
I personally had no problem giving them the materials if it meant avoiding conflict. The only issue would be that I’ve already absorbed the core. Cores were valuable to adventurers, and given that there was obviously no way we could’ve possible sold it already, I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to talk our way through the current circumstances.
“Then can give you manticore materials,” offered Fran.
“Keep them. I need them not.” Mare flatly rejected her.
“My lady, I beg you to reconsider,” interjected Kuina. “We do require them given our funds are beginning to run dry.”
“…I do admit that there is no harm in procuring them. However, they are but an extra. I was more interested in the slaying of the manticore and the experience I would gain, as I am quite close to leveling up.” Mare complained.
Oh, so they were grinding. That made sense. If Mare was anywhere near as strong as Kuina, then she’d need to defeat something at least as strong as a manticore if she wanted to gain any significant amount of experience.
“Your fault. Let prey escape,” pointed out Fran.
Mare grumbled in dissatisfaction, her face scrunching up.
“I believe the Black Lightning Princess is in the right here, My Lady,” Kuina noted.
“…I understand,” Mare relented. “…But I won’t forgive you lest you engage me in a spar!”
Again, Mare spoke in a cocky, self-important tone, but I didn’t mind it. At first I thought it was because of how pretty she looked, but Fran felt the same way I did, so that probably wasn’t it. Mysteriously, Fran didn’t feel repulsed by it like she often did when other nobles did the same.
Was it just because her cuteness seemed to overrule her stubbornness? Or because her pride almost seemed a natural fit for her? Of course, I don’t feel the urge to suddenly kneel before her and obey her every whim, but I did feel like nodding along and agreeing was the natural thing to do.
“Interested,” said Fran.
“I’m not sure that’s a request you would typically spring on someone so suddenly, My Lady,” Kuina remarked.
“A duel with the famous Black Lightning Princess,” said Mare, ignoring her maid, “should more than suffice to make up for the loss of the manticore. What say you, Black Lightning Princess?”
I didn’t even need to hear Fran’s answer to know exactly what she was thinking. Her eyes were blazing in a way that they only ever did when she was in battle mode. It was completely self-evident that she was going to comply with Mare’s request.
“A splendid response!” said Mare, happily. “Let us find a more convenient place to spar. This area is not exactly what I would claim the most suitable.”
Oh well, I guess it’s fine. Neither Kuina or Mare had lied, and neither was giving off the impression that they wanted to kill her, so why not.