However, I quickly realized that I thought too lightly of my own strength. I obviously only moved my arm lightly and threw the ball, but it shot through the wind and into the distance. Anne-Marie and the dogs turned their heads at the same time like meerkats, following the ball flying through the air.
The dogs began to chase after the distant ball. Meanwhile on the dusty lawn, Anne-Marie turned to look at me.
Ah, did I look like I had extraordinary strength just now? I wondered if what I did just now looked unusual to someone like Anne-Marie.
“I guess the wind helped me throw the ball; it flew quite far.”
I casually made an excuse. I wasn’t sure if I should be thankful or not, but I didn’t see any shock or disbelief in Anne-Marie’s face when she looked at me.
“You looked really cool! That was just like a professional dog trainer! Can you do it again?”
Anne-Marie’s eyes were sparkling, and she looked excited.
Two dogs ran over from afar. But they didn’t have the ball I threw in their mouths. The remaining dogs who chased after the ball had disappeared somewhere. Noticing this, the dog trainer quickly blew his whistle. The sound seemed to be used to gather the dogs.
However, only one dog came back, the rest of the dogs still did not return.
The dog trainer secretly glanced at Bastian, apparently self-conscious of the fact that he was being watched. Then he dashed in the direction the dogs disappeared like his feet were on fire.
As I watched this, I felt slightly responsible. Since my eyes were better than normal people, I could see where the dogs went. They ran far in search of the ball I threw and then when into a building which looked like an annex.
Judging from the direction the dog trainer ran in, he didn’t seem to be aware of this so I might have to go and let him know.
“I’ll go help the dog trainer bring them back.”
“I’ll go too.”
“Ms. Anne-Marie, you should stay here and explain what’s happening to Grandpa.”
With that, I left Anne-Marie alone and went after the dog trainer.
* * *
“One of them went into the bushes on the left.”
When I got close and spoke, the dog trainer jumped in surprise. He looked stunned as he glanced at me and then behind me. He seemed surprised that I caught up so fast when I standing over there a while ago.
“And I think the other two went inside that building.”
Hearing what I said, the dog trainer was shocked with a bit of fright. Like I thought, the dogs were not supposed to enter that building as they liked.
For now, the dog trainer blew his whistle again to call the dogs.
Then there was a rustling sound and a dog jumped out from behind the bushes.
“Oh no. Seeing as they’re not coming even though I’m calling them, they must have really gone into the annex.”
The dog trainer first sent the dog running back to the lawn then he spoke like he was troubled.
“Shall we each look for one?”
“I would appreciate that. It’s supposed to be my job but I think it would be best to bring them out as soon as possible.”
I looked at the dog trainer who was dripping with cold sweat like Gilbert was when he was in front of nobles then I pointed him in the direction I could sense the dogs. And after deciding to find one dog each, I parted ways with the trainer.
The ball got caught in a tree outside the annex building. And it just so happened that the front door of the annex building was wide open so the dogs came looking for the ball but found something else more interesting and went inside.
The place I was going to was through the door and in the hallway on the right. I could hear the dog’s footsteps coming from there. I followed the sound and arrived at a room. And as expected, the white dog was in there.
At my call, the dog quickly ran over. However, the room was already turned upside down so I couldn’t help but feel at a loss. The things on the table had fallen to the floor, littering the room and the lace on the curtain by the window had been ripped out.
Right then, I heard someone’s footsteps coming from outside. It wasn’t the dog trainer’s footsteps nor was it one of the dogs. Was it the manager of the annex, or the butler perhaps?
For now, I moved to take the dog out of the room.
“Shh. Keep it down. You’re going to get scolded.”
However, the senseless dog didn’t knowing what I was think and only barked to protest leaving the room. But no matter how heavy the dog was, it couldn’t win against my strength. I easily picked up the dog which was almost half of me and headed to the door.
Of course, I could have frightened the dog and made it listen like I did to the bird attacking Damon Salvatore last time. However, at that time, I didn’t have any other choice and as of now, I wasn’t willing to use such a heartless method on a small, friendly animal.
In the meantime, the footsteps I heard from outside were getting closer and closer. It looked like it would be impossible to avoid running into the person once I left the room. It’s not I could keep hiding what the dog did anyways so it was only a matter of time before it got caught.
Since that was the case, I might be better off explaining the situation myself. So I simply stepped out the door with the dog, not bothering to avoid the person outside.
And like I expected, the next moment, I ran into someone who was walking into the hallway.
It was a man in a black suit.
The yellow afternoon sunlight seeping from the window in the hallways cast a bright outline on the man’s frame. The moment his eyes met mine, his feet came to a stop.
At the same time, the dog I was carrying wriggled and made a whine of complaint.
“…I’ve never seen you before, young lady.”
The man spoke first. He was charming middle-aged man with an icy feeling around him. He had black hair…
And his overall appearance was obviously similar to Kalian and Bastian. He was too old to be Kalian’s younger brother who went to recuperate…
So was he Kalian’s father, the current head of the Crawford family?
“Why are you coming out of there?”
As the thought crossed my mind, the man’s gaze moved towards the room I just came out of. I felt the need to explain and opened my mouth.
“Hello. I am an employee of Bastian-nim.”
Once I started talking, the man’s gaze was fixed on me again.
“I started working at the mansion today but as we were walking the dogs, I threw the ball in the wrong direction and it came here. I’m sorry.”
The man didn’t blink at all as I spoke and simply stared at me.
“I see…for father.”
Then he soon spoke like he understood.
“Then you must be the new caretaker that was coming.”
But he mistook me for the old man’s caretaker. Has he never seen Anne-Marie before? I immediately corrected his misunderstanding.
“No. The caretaker is someone else, I’m only here from time to time as a conversation partner.”
“Is that so?”
The man nodded slightly to show he understood. Then his eyes left my face and fell on the dog I was carrying.
The dog barked once the man looked at it. Right then, I heard distant footsteps running through the corridor and moving out of the mansion. It seemed the other dog the trainer went to look for had been safely taken out of the mansion. After that, I could sense someone approaching the hallway I was in.
“The dog must be heavy. You should put it down.”
“It’s not that heavy. I’ll carry it till we get to the door.”
“If you just leave it, the dog trainer will handle it.”
After speaking like he was being considerate of me, the man then added:
“What is your name?”
Was he also interested because I looked like Selena Crawford? For him, she was his younger sister, albeit he was much older.
However, the dog trainer appeared behind the man just in time, so I didn’t have to answer his question.
When the dog trainer saw the man in front of me, he immediately sucked in a breath. Then he quickly lowered his head to the man and spoke.
“I’m sorry, sir! My mismanagement of the dogs…”
“Enough, just get the dog out of here. And on the way, get someone to come clean up this room.”
“Yes, I’ll do that, sir!”
The dog trainer started to make excuses but the man coldly cut him off as if he didn’t need to hear it.
Upon seeing the dog trainer, the dog whined and squirmed. So I relaxed my hold and let the dog down. After that, I followed the dog which was running up to the trainer and moved away from my spot.
As I walked past the man, I said goodbye with a brief nod. Like before, the man quietly watched with me with a calm gaze. Somehow, the gaze fixed on my back felt a little hot.
* * *
“Did Master tell you anything in particular?”
“No, he didn’t say anything special.”
As we left the annex, the dog trainer patted his chest like ten years of his life had been shaved off. He was considerably nervous when we entered the annex, and he was just as nervous when he met that man.
“The annex is where the head come to rest sometimes so I thought I would be in trouble if he learnt the dogs made a mess…but he let it go more gentler than I expected so I’ll really thankful.”
Judging from the dog trainer’s attitude, the head of the Crawford family was quite the strict master.
“I’m sorry. It’s because I threw the ball too far.”
“Ah, not at all. I wasn’t saying that to blame you. Besides, what can you do when the wind carries the ball.”
Hmm…I guess he heard the excuse I gave Anne-Marie even though he was far.
“Well, I’ll look for the ball later.”
“Ah, I saw it when I entered the annex earlier.”
When the dog trainer mentioned the ball, I finally recalled what I’d been forgetting for a while. Come to think of it, I almost forgot to collect the ball.
After leaving the annex, I walked up to the tree in front of the door.
Then I kicked the trunk very lightly. The ball hanging between the lush branches shook and fell down the tree.
“So the ball was caught in the tree. No wonder. I kept looking around on the way in but I couldn’t find anything.”
I picked it up and handed it to the dog trainer.
Seeing the ball, the dog barked again and shook its tail. The trainer threw the ball towards the lawn.
As the dog ran ahead of us, the dog trainer and I walked back to where we were before.