Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Someone knocked on the door.
“Come in,” Larissa said.
A few maids proceeded to enter the room.
Shortly after she arrived, Princess Larissa made a small request to Elody.
“Excuse me, duchess. Can I ask for a maid to serve me during my stay in the mansion?”
“Of course, princess. Will one person be enough?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
She wanted a maid to guide her as she still wasn’t familiar with the mansion.
The maids approached Larissa and greeted them politely.
Carolina carefully observed them to search for their flaws.
“You can choose any one of us, princess,” Tessie said in a kind voice.
Larissa glanced at the maids one by one.
Then, her eyes came to a halt as she saw a gloomy-looking maid with narrow shoulders.
The maid seemed to be insecure and uncomfortable.
‘Isn’t it possible that she’s bullied by someone…?’
Princess Larissa suddenly recalled one of the rumors she had heard in the capital.
“The duchess abuses her maids and makes magic pills from their tears!”
She thought it was a ridiculous rumor, but the story came to her mind as soon as I saw the maid.
She felt chills down her spine.
Thus, Princess Larissa pointed her finger to the maid.
That maid was Olivia.
* * *
Caville was staring at the gifts with a long face. The emperor sent various jewels, gold bars, and silk fabrics as gifts.
‘They should’ve sent only one gift… ‘
Caville was so busy with his duties that he had no time to spend with his wife, but to think that it was because he had to pay attention to things like these…
He was irritated.
Caville turned away from the gifts with a dissatisfied expression.
And late afternoon that day…
Elody was stuck in the lab, working on her newest project.
The growth-promoting ampoule used for ginseng cultivation was very rare, so it could only be made in small quantities.
The ingredients of the ampoule were the root of the rabbit-tailed-grass.
The root itself could be easily obtained, but the ones that could be used in the ampoule were the deeply aged roots.
Currently, Elody was researching ways to use ordinary roots as an ingredient for the ampoule.
However, Elody couldn’t concentrate at all that day.
‘Is it because I’ll have to leave soon?’
Elody had packed her things last night as she didn’t have much to take. However, she still felt restless for some reason.
Before the princess came, she still had the desire to leave.
But when she saw how the princess looked at Caville, she finally realized.
The time for her to leave had finally come.
She really had to go this time…
Elody’s luggage was only filled with a couple of clothes and the dried leaves of the Herb of Salvation.
The rest of the luggage, the laboratory objects, and the plants in the greenhouse did not matter much as they could be moved slowly in time.
“Madame, why do you look upset?” Anna asked carefully, noticing Elody’s rigid face.
“Huh? Ah, it’s nothing. It’s just… the research isn’t going too well.”
“How about taking a break today? The banquet will be held in a few days…”
“I’m alright. I’ll just go to the greenhouse for a while.”
Elody smiled at Anna, who sorted the herbs, reassuring her that everything was fine, and then headed towards the greenhouse.
‘…Is she in a lot of pain?’
Anna looked anxiously at Elody’s back. It seemed that she was suffering.
It was obvious that she went to the greenhouse alone because she did not want Anna to see herself in pain.
Anna’s heart ached.
However, contrary to Anna’s expectations, Elody was perfectly fine.
As she approached the plot of herbs, Elody reached out her hand. Then, a glow of blue energy penetrated into her body.
She felt comforted for some reason.
“Hello, benefactor. What’s with your expression?”
Elody lifted her head only to find Ifrit in the middle of the ginseng field.
So much soil… but the puppy…
Elody bit her lips and lifted Ifrit.
“What?! Let go of me!”
“You shouldn’t be in here.”
“How could you carelessly touch the spirit king’s body! Don’t think you’re special just because you’re my benefactor!”
Elody didn’t care. In her eyes, Ifrit was nothing more than a small and adorable puppy.
“Ifrit. You shouldn’t go into this field. Do you know how much these are worth?” Elody said, pointing to the ginseng fields.
At Elody’s resolute remarks, Ifrit lowered his head.
Ifrit felt bad, but he was quickly comforted after Elody gently swept off the dirt from his fur.
“By the way, you seem to have troubles too.”
“Too? What do you mean by that? Does Caville have troubles too?”
Ifrit was stunned by Elody’s sharp intuition.
Caville had already warned Ifrit.
He was told to never talk about Caville in front of his wife.
“No… I mean, humans in general always have a lot of troubles,” Ifrit replied while averting his gaze.
Elody wondered if Caville was worried about her and the princess.
What if he couldn’t bring up the divorce because he felt sorry for her?
“Benefactor, what’s troubling you?”
“…Me? N-nothing’s troubling me…” Elody shrugged.
“You’re obviously anxious about something. I can see it in your face.”
“I shall listen to you. Now tell me.”
Elody looked troubled and hesitated a moment before answering.
“By any chance…”
However, as she was about to speak up.
The door of the greenhouse leading to the lab opened, and Caville entered the room.
Caville narrowed his eyes when he saw Elody with Ifrit.
“You were with Ifrit?”
Caville quickly approached and carried Ifrit.
Then he opened the back door of the greenhouse, released the puppy, and closed it back.
He even locked it tightly.
Elody tried to come up with an excuse.
“He was playing around the ginseng field,” she spoke, quite awkwardly.
“He could accidentally damage the field, so I’ll have to lock the door for a while.”
“Good thinking, wife.”
Caville hated it when Ifrit was with his wife. The cunning Ifrit was well aware of the duke’s emotions. He didn’t want him to steal his precious time with her.
On the other hand, Elody felt strange when she saw Caville look so angry.
She was sad, and her heart felt empty, but she didn’t know why.
“Are you finished with your work?”
“Yes, wife. I’ve finished everything properly.”
Caville was diligently carrying out the duties of the lord. Elody’s help was no longer necessary.
Elody was surprised to see the reports a few days ago. All his judgments were neat and uncluttered. The principles of a noble would sometimes cause one to judge in favor of those with higher status. However, like Elody herself, rather than to dispose of the case with an unruly judgment, Caville thoroughly considered the circumstances of the weak and made a fair decision.
When Elody asked the administrator who was in charge of the trial records, he told her that Caville had found all the records that Elody had tried and studied them to its core.
Elody was happy that Caville was doing well, but she also felt strange somehow.
“Then, shall we go back to the mansion?” Elody asked while smiling at Caville.
“Yes, my wife.”
Previously, Elody had to brush off Caville’s hand several times because of the symptoms of her disease.
And since then, Caville hadn’t reached out his hands to Elody.
It was because he thought that Elody was uncomfortable with his touch.
However, Elody also didn’t have the courage to reach out to Caville first. It seemed as if she shouldn’t be doing it for some reason.
Even if she did initiate any physical contact, it was only about stroking his head or tapping his shoulders.
After the princess arrived, Elody felt like there was a distance between her and Caville.
Caville also felt that distance.
Until yesterday, the two acted like a brother and sister, but that day, the atmosphere was completely different.
The two returned to the castle without saying a single word. The atmosphere was tense as none one tried to break the awkward silence that filled up the air.
* * *
“Where is the duke now?”
It had been two days since the princess arrived at the mansion. Larissa had never been able to see Caville even once.
“He should be in court as of now,” Olivia replied.
At Princess Larissa’s grim answer, Olivia’s heart sang for joy.
After she was assigned as Larissa’s maid, the maids went through a brief meeting.
“Never let the princess and the duke run into each other. You got that, Olivia?”
“Yes, Marie. I will even risk my life to stop it.”
Olivia’s eyes were filled with determination. Marie was bedazzled by her willpower.
“Um… please don’t have to risk your life… But anyways, we can’t do anything on the day of the banquet, but before then, make sure that the two will never run into each other. Understand?”
“Yes… I will desperately try to stop it at all costs,” Olivia replied.
The maids looked at Olivia with reassuring expressions.
Nobody knew how concerned they would be if Sylvia ended up being assigned as the princess’ maid instead.
It would be a nightmare!
Fortunately, the princess chose Olivia.
Olivia perfectly memorized the duke’s daily routine and then arranged the princess’ schedule in reverse.
“Is the duchess busy, too?”
“Yes, the madame is currently working on a new magic pill.”
Larissa had a sullen look on her face.
Thus, she decided to take a stroll in the garden.
“What’s over there?”
Larissa asked, pointing to a peculiar building.
“…That’s the madame’s greenhouse.”
Princess Larissa’s expression brightened when she heard the word greenhouse.
Before the invasion of the Kingdom of Urta, there was a beautiful greenhouse in the royal city of Dayev.
Before they were colonized by the Empire of Urta, there was a beautiful greenhouse in the Dayev Empire, and it belonged to Larissa and her mother. She felt quite nostalgic all of a sudden.
“I want to see it… is that alright?”
“Of course, princess! Why wouldn’t we be allowed to? Let’s go and see, princess!”
Carolina immediately took charge and led the princess to the greenhouse.
Larissa smiled at her cheerful appearance as she followed Carolina from behind.
And Olivia, for some reason, followed after the two with a resentful expression.
“Is it locked? Get the key here!” Carolina shouted at Olivia after seeing the locked greenhouse door.
“Managing the greenhouse is not my job.”
“What? Did she intentionally lock it so that our princess could not see it?”
“Carolina, it’s okay….” Princess Larissa stopped her.
“Tsk…” Carolina complained in dissatisfaction.
“Let’s see it next time,” Larissa smiled and led the two maids back to the garden.
They arrived in a garden full of pink roses. Their heavenly fragrance invited them to stay, and it’s pink, blooming petals stood out in the grass.
“Wow… the flowers are gorgeous. Princess, I’ve never seen colors like these in the capital!” Carolina exclaimed as she picked up the bunch of roses.
After confirming that the flowers had no thorn, she handed it over to Larissa.
Princess Larissa looked at the rose with an ecstatic expression.
The pink roses danced and swayed in the wind, it’s long green stem was as fragile as glass. She had never seen such beauty before in the Empire of Dayev.
“Who broke Iris’ rose?”
An angry voice came from behind.