Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Heinz’s eyes scrunched tight as he slouched in annoyance.
The duchess would have to endure it for a while longer, probably for about several months.
Or maybe she would even die before the princess arrives.
He was delighted about the fact that the duchess would soon die.
‘Is it really something I should be happy about?’
Heinz had thought about it, but honestly, the duchess hadn’t really done anything to him.
He was confused.
After washing his face with cold water to relieve his frustration, he saw several of his knights drinking in the lounge on the first floor.
Heinz approached them and took a glass of beer and gulped it all down.
“Captain, what’s wrong?”
Without the presence of anyone else, Heinz’s men would still call him captain.
Heinz just kept drinking without giving back an answer.
The knights eventually left him alone and started chatting among themselves.
“Speaking of which, the duchess. Doesn’t she look over the top? She looks more opulent than the princess!
“Hey, the princess looked shabby only because she ran away. She’s undoubtedly much better than the duchess!”
“I know, you idiot! Anyway, the princess was beautiful even though she was wearing rags. Wasn’t she?”
Listening to his knights, Heinz recalled the appearance of the duchess whom he had seen at the banquet.
Surely the jewelry and gown she was wearing were incredibly gorgeous.
‘Did she dress luxuriously to hide her illness?’
In truth, the real reason behind her lavish appearance was because of Marie. But that reason was something that only Elody and Marie knew.
Heinz believed that the reason he thought was right.
The alcohol tasted exceptionally bitter that day.
* * *
Heklasium, the capital of the Empire of Heklos.
Emperor Albrecht was the one who greatly benefited from the war.
Not only did the war against the Urta Empire ended in victory, but the empire succeeded in acquiring a lot of the other territories as well.
This was all thanks to the Duke of Cernoir, the hero who led the war to victory but did not demand ownership of any land at all.
Unfortunately, the capital became very noisy due to the problem of dividing the territory with the Empire of Urta.
The emperor wanted to divide Urta’s territory and award it to his most trusted ally, the marquess.
However, the Duke of Ibelin in the north and the Duke of Rehos in the east wanted to claim ownership of a few territories as well.
‘What did they even do…?’
Of course, they also participated in the war, but their efforts weren’t enough to be rewarded with a whole land.
In the meantime, Emperor Albrecht temporarily ruled over the Dayev Empire.
Princess Larissa had personally asked for it.
The emperor allowed her to return to her empire. However, Princess Larissa chose to stay in the Empire of Heklos for the time being.
Apparently, she was threatened by the Urtans for a long time and was scared to come back because the Prince of Urta had not been found yet. He was still out there somewhere.
And so, Larissa temporarily handed over the ownership of her empire to the emperor until the situation in the territory was stabilized.
Emperor Albrecht was filled with joy.
‘I can earn a lot of gold…’
The Empire of Dayev was famous for producing gold.
The emperor planned to collect as much gold as possible while temporarily ruling the land.
On the surface, Emperor Albrecht pretended to cherish and welcome the princess, but in truth, he was not very sympathetic.
The emperor didn’t even know that Princess Larissa was his niece.
Or rather, he wasn’t even interested in her.
It was long before the Urtan’s invasion when his cousin became the Queen of Dayev. The emperor had no qualms about using his own family to accumulate power. She merely served as a political tool. He wasn’t even sure if his cousin, whose face he didn’t even remember very well, gave birth to a daughter.
To the present emperor, the Empire of Dayev was nothing but a weak empire that was subjugated by the Urta Empire.
However, even though he had no affection whatsoever, it was true that Princess Larissa had brought great luck to him.
Thanks to the princess, the gritty relationship between the Temple and the Imperial Government has softened considerably.
This was because Princess Larissa had donated her ancient relic to the temple.
“Princess Larissa, will you stay in the Imperial Palace until you return to the Empire of Dayev?”
The emperor was thinking of letting her stay in the imperial city if she wanted.
“No, Your Majesty. If possible, I would like to repay the Duke of Cernoir for saving my life.”
“Oh, is that so?”
Princess Larissa seemed to have the Duke of Cernoir in mind.
Then this was even better!
Emperor Albrecht recalled his memories.
‘Isn’t the Duke of Cernoir already married?’
Though, whether he was single or married, it didn’t matter the slightest bit. The Empire of Heklos had a divorce system.
And even if he was married, the emperor was sure that the duke would choose to remarry with a beautiful princess rather than to stay with a wife he had not seen for seven years.
‘I mean, the duke’s a man too! He should have no reason to reject such a beautiful lady.’
Duke Cernoir, whose power grew day by day, was now gaining more power from the vassals and from the support of the Temple of Thysser.
As for the emperor who kept him in check, it seemed that it would be best to make him his nephew-in-law.
Thus, Princess Larissa headed directly to Duchy of Cernoir with the emperor’s gift.
She headed there with Count DeFore, who was in charge of assisting her, and a maid called Carolina.
* * *
There was only a month left until the princess’ arrival.
Elody was busy handing over her work to Caville.
Fortunately, Caville was smart. So he was able to adapt to the situation and workings of the new system in the duchy fast as well. Better yet, he was able to work more accurately than Elody herself.
Elody could finally relax now that Caville had taken over the lord’s work. Thus, all that’s left was for her to get back to her research.
Though it was true that she would get divorced soon, she didn’t want to spend her time in vain. She still had to manage the greenhouse and the lab.
Furthermore, she had to pay attention to the knights because a certain someone had caught her vomiting blood.
‘Luckily, he seemed to have kept his promise…’
Heinz had kept his knowledge about her illness a secret.
Still, Elody wanted to check up on him just in case he made a slip of the tongue when he was drunk.
Elody constantly ordered her servants to check on the knights with the excuse of making sure that they were doing well.
However, the knights, in turn, felt extremely uncomfortable.
“Yes, how were the knights?”
To Elody’s question, Anna responded, “Well, the same as always. Why does madame care so much about the knights these days?”
“…Well, some of the knights weren’t originally from the duchy. I just wanted to make sure that they can adapt well to the atmosphere here.”
“You mean the knights who used to be mercenaries? Ugh, I loathe them.”
‘They talk about the princess every day. I really want to put a sock in their foul mouths and shove their faces into the gutter!’
Is what Anna wanted to say, but she held back.
Everyone knew about the rumors that the emperor wanted to pair the princess with the duke.
It was ridiculous. The duke was already married and had no intention of divorcing the madame.
Nonetheless, the servants were still worried that the two would separate after the princess comes.
‘What if the duke is really in love with the princess and abandons the madame?’
In the end, her worries were needless.
The duke still relied on her and followed her everywhere.
Everyone could see the duke chasing after his wife. Every day, he would do nothing but say ‘my wife, my wife’, follow her around, and stick to her like glue. No one would even think that he had the intention to divorce her. Rather, it seemed very unlikely!
However, the knights stayed in another building located in front of the mansion. Therefore, it was understandable that they didn’t know how much the lord cherished the duchess as they couldn’t see it for themselves.
Anna was very frustrated as those pompous assholes kept pretending that they knew everything. But they knew nothing at all!
Thus, the angry servants plotted to get their revenge.
‘Just wait and see, you cheeky bastards…’
Even though they were forced to treat them nicely now because of the madame…
When the time came, they would not hesitate to punish them.
“Did any of the knights seem troubled?” Elody asked once more.
She wanted to fish for more information about Heinz.
However, Anna completely changed the topic.
“Oh! Come to think of it, Sir Byron married Julia.”
Sir Byron, one of the knights that remained in the land. He seemed to have married Julia, a maid who served in the mansion. Hence, Julia decided to quit her job and went on her honeymoon in a nearby village.
Recently, there had even been news of her pregnancy. Though, thanks to this, she was refrained from going outside and could not come to the mansion.
“Julia says she wants to eat peaches.”
“Yes. She wants to eat it again, but… the fruit is tough to find. She wants to eat it while she’s pregnant…” Anna said bluntly.
Peaches were considered rare as they were only grown in the east. Therefore, it was so valuable that only nobles were able to eat them for their leisure.
Elody recalled a few years ago when Sirka had given her a bunch of peaches.
‘It seems that Julia really likes them…’
At that time, Elody shared the peaches with the servants and knights of the mansion.
‘Only produced in the east…’
She thought about doing some research.
‘I’ll study it! There are dozens of peaches that I had stored from back then.’
Since she was busy researching the cure for her disease, the number of items in the storage had steadily increased over the years.
“Then, have one of my men go to Sirka and ask him for more peaches,” Elody said, causing Anna to giddily clap her hands.
“Really, madame? Then, I want to eat it too!”
“Yes, I’ll ask for a lot.”
“Thank you, madame!” Anna grinned, “Ah! Madame, maybe the fruit in the legend of the archmage isn’t a peach?”
At Anna’s words, Elody only blinked in confusion.
“I told you the other day. The story of the legendary archmage.”
‘Ah, she did, didn’t she?’
She couldn’t remember much because she was studying while listening to her talk last night.
‘And I was also sleepy…’
“Didn’t you say that the fruit was the reason as to why the archmage was so powerful?”
“That’s right. It’s said that he used to eat a fruit called the ‘Spirit Fruit’, but nobody knows what the fruit actually was. Could it be a peach since it’s scarce here in the west?”
“But didn’t you say that the fruit has magical powers?” Elody asked back, raising an eyebrow.