Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Caville called the two barons to the commander’s office in the knight’s building.
He called them to the fortress so that his wife couldn’t meet them.
Caville was already impatient even though he was only away from his wife for a short time.
‘I’ll get this done fast.’
“Your Grace… W-we are…”
The two barons started making excuses. But Caville hadn’t called for them to listen to their nonsense. He had called for them to give them his orders.
“After listening to my wife, I was told to consider your loyalty.”
“So, I decided to show mercy and give you more opportunities to show me your fidelity.”
“What could this…?”
“It’s been a while since we came back from the war, so I’ll give you two months. In the meantime, I’ll give you homework.”
“This task is for you to write about the duchess’ qualifications. You don’t seem to know how much work my wife has been doing these past seven years. Find out for yourself, write an essay, and report back to me.”
“And for those two months, go have fun with your family before saying goodbye.”
“Today, while patrolling the territory, I heard that the number of monsters in the Forest of Death had increased tremendously.”
“You must spend the rest of your lives in the Forest of Death and defeat those monsters. You two have a good relationship, so you’ll probably live happily,” Caville said as he gave them an eerie smile.
Truthfully, Caville wanted to send them away right at that instance. However, Elody told him to give them two months, so he had no choice but to follow his wife’s words…
‘If they suddenly disappeared, my wife might misunderstand.’
But the two barons stared at Caville with a stupid look on their faces.
They couldn’t understand what he was talking about.
Two months? Goodbye? Monster? Forest of Death? Happy life? What did that all mean?
For those who did not understand, Caville kindly added, “I am grateful to your loyalty, hence why I made this special order just for you.”
“Your Grace… How could this be?!”
“Please don’t do this, Your Grace!”
Caville frowned at the cries of the two barons who finally understood the situation.
With emotionless eyes, the two barons slipped away from Caville’s line of sight.
However, no matter how scared they were, they could never accept this order.
For it was utter nonsense.
“Your Grace, we have only just returned to our family! There are not many days left to live…”
“That’s right! Shouldn’t I have to spend the rest of my life with my family?!”
At the words of the two Barons, Caville replied calmly, saying, “Oh, of course, you can.”
“Just move there with your family.”
Caville arched an eyebrow at them.
“Since when have you been so upset about my orders like this? Did you lose your loyalty because the war is over?”
“Hmm? You weren’t talking like that before.”
The two shut their mouths.
The duke was sincere. 100% sincere.
Caville got up from the seat with a happy face when the two finally shut their mouths.
After Caville left, the two barons looked at each other with vain expressions.
They felt desperate as if they had been sentenced to a limited time.
“I can’t do this… How could His Grace tell us to…?!”
“He must have been possessed by the duchess! Like the enchantment of a Siren!”
They grind their teeth.
“We can’t go there.”
“We just came back…”
Both Baron Vendos and Baron Bernard shook their heads.
If they went to the Forest of Death under the duke’s command as it is, then Baron Garcia and other vassals could get the opportunity to win his favor.
They didn’t go through so much trouble on the battlefield for the others.
They had made up their minds to stick close to the duke, who had become a war hero.
No matter what!
Baron Vendos came up with a good idea after much consideration.
“If Iris can win His Grace’s heart within two months, wouldn’t it be different?”
“Oh, yes, that’s a good idea!”
The last hope left for the two barons was Iris. Their beautiful granddaughter, whom they had pampered as she was their favorite child in the house.
There was a good chance for them to come out alive. Though, they had totally and conveniently forgotten that their plan of making the duke fall in love at first sight with Iris had failed miserably before.
Nevertheless, to them, Iris was a beautiful and unique child. She was more than enough to seduce the cold-hearted-duke.
If Iris, who captured the duke’s heart, said that it would be nice for her grandfathers to stay by her side…
Then they could be saved!
The duke would not be able to do anything.
However, the problem was that the duke was much closer to the duchess than what they had thought initially.
“Is it possible that His Grace is interested in the duchess?”
“No matter how close their relationship was as a brother and sister, they still had no contact for seven years.”
“Could she have… made a strange medicine, and His Grace was in a trance because of that magic medicine?”
It was very likely.
The two decided to monitor the duchess by hiring a spy to figure out what had happened to him.
They had to find evidence and reveal it because they’re sure that she was hiding something sinister behind her back.
* * *
Iris was walking in the garden, waiting for her grandfathers.
Iris, who had become an invisible person earlier, still couldn’t escape from the shock she had received earlier.
“And Iris wore such a pretty dress too…”
It was her favorite pink dress.
She had heard that the design was also popular in the capital…
Yet, she was called a monster.
‘What in blue blazes was that knight talking about? How dare he! To a noble lady as beautiful as me…’
Iris was upset.
Moreover, she didn’t get the chance to greet the duke properly.
She was supposed to go to the parlor to meet with His Grace the Duke, but she couldn’t because that lousy knight was blocking her way.
When she finally gathered some courage to reply back to that rude knight, her grandfathers had burst out from the parlor.
‘Why did my grandfathers do that?’
They didn’t know how embarrassed she was when she saw her grandfathers running out of the parlor so brashly.
And now, Iris’ grandfathers hurriedly took her back to the parlor, saying that they needed to take action.
It seemed as if something had happened.
But they didn’t tell Iris anything in detail as the two only talked in small voices.
Eventually, Iris took a nap using her grandfathers’ murmurs as a lullaby.
And after a while, someone approached and spoke to her grandfathers.
Upon hearing that, the grandfathers contemplated and headed to the knight’s building. Leaving Iris unattended…
This led Iris to explore the garden by herself. Alone…
If she knew it would be like this, she would have brought her maid to accompany her…
Iris grunted, remembering the maid waiting inside the carriage.
While grunting, Iris walked over to find a pretty pink rose in the garden.
Pink was Iris’ favorite color. It had always been that way since she was very young.
The reason was apparent.
A long time ago, when Iris was eight years old, she had a fateful encounter with a handsome young man who had caught her from falling.
He was definitely a looker, the most beautiful thing she had ever laid her eyes upon.
And as her eyes landed on his hair, she had to stop. It was the most beautiful color she had ever seen. It was pink.
Thus, the pink-haired young man became Iris’ first love.
Looking at the pink petals, Iris was lost in her memories, reminiscing about her first love.
“Are the roses pretty?”
Suddenly, she heard a voice from behind.
Iris was so surprised that she almost fell.
She turned her head with a fiery gaze.
“How could you just suddenly talk to me like that?”
“Ah… I’m sorry for surprising you.”
Hearing the soft voice, Iris puffed her lips.
There was only one person in this mansion who could dress like that.
Iris glanced at the duchess, who seemed different from what her grandfathers had said.
Then, she carefully grabbed the ends of her skirt and dropped into a curtsy.
“So you are the granddaughter of Baron Vendos and Baron Bernard,” Elody said.
“Do you know Iris?” Iris asked in amazement.
She wondered if the news about her beauty had spread throughout the duchy.
“Who is Iris?”
“I am Iris.”
“…Ah, I see.”
Elody laughed awkwardly.
Someone speaking about themselves in third person was relatively unfamiliar to her.
Caville would sometimes do that when he was young…
‘Caville likes his wife.’
‘Caville is full.’
Elody smiled as she remembered those blissful memories.
On the other hand, Iris stared at Elody’s pink hair as if she was captivated.
It was pink. Her favorite kind of pink. The prettiest pink ever…
“Your pink dress is beautiful,” Elody complimented, “Well, I must go, I have a prior engagement to go to. Have a good day, Lady Iris,” she said as she disappeared into the mansion.
‘Huh… Was that a compliment?’
It was clear that His Grace the Duke didn’t greet her because he was shy and fell in love with Iris.
However, Elody was the first to praise her after she had come to the mansion.
Iris unexpectedly felt a little better after being disappointed by the countless people she had met.
Hence, the girl returned to her carriage with a lighter gait than before.
* * *
Both Baron Vendos and Baron Bernard decided to buy one of the duke’s servants.
They were in a hurry because they had to reveal the duchess’ true colors as soon as possible.
But their attempt failed.
“No! It doesn’t make sense that none of the servants want to leak even a bit of information!”
“It’s like a wall, what is this…?”
The barons secretly contacted some of the duke’s servants, but they flatly refused.
Even a frail-looking-maid didn’t hesitate to say, “If you touch our duchess, I will kill you along with your family.”
Their loyalty was terrifying.
Hummel, the baron’s servant who was sent for the errand, returned crying and tattered as if he had gotten beaten somewhere.
In fact, he did. It was done by the servants of the duke’s mansion, whom he tried to contact today. They flatly denied Hummel’s offer and beat him up to a pulp.
They even said that they would come after him until he revealed who his masters were.
After he barely escaped, Hummel declared that he wouldn’t continue because he was scared of the servants.
However, if they could bribe a new servant in the duke’s mansion, they would be able to let their people in…
And yet, they couldn’t even find a single servant who was willing to do so. Thus, their plans were forced to be put on hold…
The two barons clenched their fists in anger, “She must have given drugs to all the servants of the mansion!”
“What kind of potion did they take…?”
“Damn. Should we burn it all up? Both the lab and the greenhouse? She’ll never be able to make weird medicine ever again!”
“Yes! That’s a good idea!”
But that plan also failed.
The greenhouse had fire-prevention magic that Elody had studied for over several months. So, there was no way they could burn the whole building down.
The two barons were in huge trouble.
It seemed as if there was nothing left that they could do.
So, for the time being, they decided to find out what the duchess had done so far and write reports about her suspicious acts.
And leave everything to Iris.
After all, she was the only person that the two barons could trust.