“Ooof!” Miss Rizanne made weird noises as she opened the library door with her foot, while carrying multiple books in her arms.
I was already sitting at my desk in front of the chalkboard at precisely ten in the morning, as Rizanne had scheduled me to every Monday through Thursday. I had just been wondering where my teacher was; we had just parted ways a couple of hours ago after breakfast. I even began wondering if she was busy taking a dump!
“Sorry I’m late, Lady Elena!” Rizanne plopped about five thick books on her table, wiping the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand. She also happened to wipe the sweat above her upper lip, which subsequently smudged her lipstick to the side…
“Uh, Miss Rizanne,” I called her attention.
Once she looked at me, I pointed at her smudged lip. She looked mortified, and instantly turned around to wipe her whole lipstick off with her handkerchief.
Sometimes I wondered if I actually had the right governess. Wasn’t this governess a bit too…peculiar? I always thought governesses were uptight, prissy ladies who dared not even sweat during hot days. Even if Rizanne displayed beautiful table manners, her personality was rather unconventional. Or was this the current trend?
“My Lady, there is a serving boy named Philip who wants to speak to you about something. Would that be alright?” Rizanne asked.
“Come inside, Philip!” Rizanne called out towards the open door.
“Yes, Miss Rizanne.” Philip appeared at the doorway, his back ramrod straight. “Good morning, Lady Elena.” He bowed to me gracefully.
“Hey Philip!” I waved at him.
Father said that since Philip was just a few years older than I, he could be appointed as my personal guardian knight. We had household knights serving my father at our estate, and Philip was the son of one of the older knights, who came from a minor noble family.
Philip was currently a pageboy, the first stage towards becoming a knight, which meant he was already trained in the arts of heraldry and hunting and was being given early instructions on chivalry. He would be kind of like my bodyguard, and my father told him to accompany me whenever I would leave the estate.
But what was Philip doing here?
“Lady Elena,” Philip still stood at the door, with an arm across his chest. “I am here to personally express how excited I am to serve you as your future guard. I will do my utmost best to keep you from harm.”
I smiled. “Thank you, Philip! I look forward to working with you. Just don’t push yourself too hard!”
I didn’t think I was in much need of saving. Who was a threat to me at this age? If anything, I was likely the threat to others, and not the other way around. But I appreciated his sincerity and admired how much he seemed to love his job.
I found it quite awkward though, when Philip simply stood there by the door, staring at me with fervent eyes.
“Is that all?” I prodded, wondering what else he wanted to say.
“Yes, my Lady! That is all.”
Rizanne and I continued to stare at him as he just stood there. After a few moments, he seemed to be able to catch the hint.
“Oh! I’m sorry to disturb you, my Lady! I was just a bit too excited.” He scratched the back of his head, smiling lopsidedly. “I’ll be on my way now. Thank you!”
With that, he closed the door behind him and left.
Rizanne cleared her throat. “I met the young man in the hallway. He seemed to be dithering in front of the library doors, looking lost yet eager at the same time. I’m glad he was able to muster the courage to speak with you, what a nice young man!”
“Yeah, he is,” I agreed. In the future, he would be even more so. I just didn’t know if having him on my side so early on would be a good or bad thing.
Rizanne patted her skirts then clasped her hands together. “Now, since this is our first lesson, I also want to express how eager I am to teach you the many things I know, my Lady!”
I looked at the thick books stacked on the table. My late mother had taught me the basics of each subject that Rizanne wanted to teach me, so I had a good grasp of art, literature, arithmetic, music, dancing, and of course…etiquette (which I seemed to only remember in theory.)
The one subject I lacked knowledge on, however, was geography. I wanted to confirm the exact location of this kingdom. I wasn’t that good at geography back in high school in Korea, but I think I would know where the continents were located, at least.
“Miss Rizanne, is there a map of the world?” I asked.
“Ah yes, of course!”
Rizanne retrieved a rolled-up brown map with frayed edges from a corner of the library and unfurled it on top of my desk.
I leaned over expectantly, wondering if they would draw Korea on the righthand side of the world map as I was used to, but I was disappointed.
What I saw was a concentrated map of three countries, with the Achaean kingdom shaped like a grandma’s booty (my grandma had a bouncy booty, if anyone wanted to know) in the middle. A gulf was situated below the kingdom, with two empires on either side. They didn’t look like anything I remembered from the future world’s maps!
“Yes, my Lady?”
“Is there a bigger map?” I couldn’t believe these were the only countries that were considered important enough to draw. Where the hell were we?! I wanted to know!
What was I going to do with the gold hairpin I wanted to bury in the garden, if I didn’t know where I was actually located? My future dream of becoming a rich, famous woman well known for ‘accidentally’ discovering rare treasures would be gone! Goodbye money! Goodbye fame!
If I came out of this past life unscathed but without an ancient boyfriend to fall in love with, then couldn’t I at least be given money as compensation for my hard work?
This was so unfair!