Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Princess Larissa hadn’t been able to see Caville during her stay in the duchy.
This was because Caville had a hectic schedule.
Especially today, many of the duke’s vassals and knights visited the mansion. So he was even busier than usual.
Caville did not like the noisy atmosphere. However, he had no other choice than to welcome the uninvited guests.
Moreover, Count DeFore, one of the court officials in the imperial palace, gave him a stack of documents to sign.
“These are documents sent by His Imperial Majesty. Please examine and sign each one of the papers.”
The documents stated that he would not claim any property from the war.
‘What a nuisance…’
Caville started checking the papers.
The emperor was a cunning man.
He meticulously prepared the documents to increase the possibility of him getting all the properties at once.
Thanks to that, Caville had to read each one of them thoroughly.
It was so stressful as Caville couldn’t just recklessly sign them without reading carefully.
‘That damn old emperor…’
There were even some strange documents in the pile of papers.
‘Is he doing this on purpose?’
In addition, the emperor also sent a special letter to Caville.
[Princess Larissa is quite fond of you. She specifically told me that she would like to marry you.]
Caville wondered if he could get Ifrit to burn down the imperial palace.
Finally, the emperor’s letter expressed interest in the Spirit King of Fire.
As soon as Caville saw the emperor’s letter, he immediately wrote back a response. He ordered a servant of the imperial palace to send the emperor his answer.
The letter contained a firm answer that he had never intended to get a divorce and that he had no desire to marry the princess whatsoever.
‘No one has ever asked me for my opinion.’
Nobody had ever thought about Caville’s feelings. They had never asked.
He certainly had never had the intention to marry the princess from the very start.
The princess didn’t even ask him if he wanted to marry her in person.
Though no one asked, it seemed that it would be better if he spoke about it first.
But he needed to find a good reason before discussing the topic at hand.
And as he was not close with a lot of people, Caville decided to consult Ifrit.
“But she didn’t personally ask you to marry her, right? Wouldn’t you be in trouble if you bring up the topic first? It’ll seem as if you want her to propose to you!”
Because of Ifrit’s words, Caville became even more confused.
Nonetheless, when the perfect opportunity came. Caville would not hesitate to crush the rumors about him and set things straight.
Besides talking about Princess Larissa, the emperor’s letters were also filled with questions about the Spirit King of Fire.
‘Both the Imperial Government and the Temple were yearning to covet Ifrit’s powers.’
However, Ifrit was already contracted to serve Caville for life. The same thing also happened to other divine spirits.
He had to depend on Caville’s mana to survive.
Moreover, Ifrit was only able to burn all of the Urtans because his source of power came from Caville’s mana.
Caville planned to use Ifrit as much as possible since he had already given him a lot of his mana.
Though truthfully, the useless puppy hadn’t been very helpful nowadays.
Caville sighed as he read the reports sent by vassals that had reached the Forest of Death.
‘I miss my wife.’
Lamenting about his workload, Caville looked at the greenhouse from his office window.
‘When I got to the mansion, I thought that I’d be able to see my wife every day…’
Yet, reality wasn’t as sweet as he had hoped for.
Caville thought that his wife would like him more if he did the lord’s duties as best as he could, but the response he got was not as enthusiastic as he had expected.
She did praise him, but it was not the reaction that he wanted.
Caville was anxious.
Not long ago, the two seemed to have gotten closer.
However, one day, the atmosphere began to change again, and the distance between them grew wider.
Caville could feel it.
His wife seemed uncomfortable and always tried to avoid being alone with him.
He felt like he was going insane as he didn’t know what to do.
Furthermore, he had been apprehensive about the sudden visits of uninvited guests and his workload had gotten much heavier!
Caville was exhausted.
‘I don’t even have time to walk with my wife. What should I do?’
Caville turned his gaze away from the papers in frustration.
* * *
Elody and Norman were choosing rooms for the guests from the Temple of Thysser.
“Your Grace, I heard that you were in the lab until late at night yesterday… How about taking a break from work today?” Norman asked, worried.
“That’s alright, Norman. I’m not that tired. Thank you for your concern, though,” Elody smiled.”
After thoroughly checking the rooms, Elody directly headed to the laboratory with Marie.
Elody was excited to have found a new type of seed to study.
Yesterday, a messenger from Rhondia came to the mansion with the peaches that Elody had asked for.
“Is Sirka too busy?” Elody asked.
She thought that Sirka would come to the mansion himself.
“Yes, the boss has been busy with work lately. So I think he will stay in the capital for a while. If something needs to be done, Your Grace may send someone directly to the branch. We’ll do our best to take care of it.”
“No need to thank us. Mr. Sirka told us to prioritize the madame first.”
After the messenger said that they would send as many peaches as possible to Elody in the future, they headed back to the capital.
On the other hand, Sirka was still busy with the investigation of the fake red pills.
Elody sent some of the peaches to Julia and distributed the rest of them to the servants, knights, and guests. She also planned to plant the peach seeds in the greenhouse.
When the shoots grew, she was thinking about improving the fruits using accelerators.
Thus, Elody decided to go to the lab.
On her way there, she saw a familiar fellow and paused in front of the knight’s training grounds.
“Madame, is something wrong?”
Marie followed Elody’s gaze and immediately frowned.
Princess Larissa and a few knights were chatting happily in front of the training camp. There were Brien and some mercenary knights, as well as Ren and Solar.
“Huh. They must get along well because of the war.”
“Right, it seems that she has adapted well to the atmosphere here.”
“She’s leaving soon anyway. What’s the need for her to adapt to the atmosphere of the mansion?”
Elody did not respond and proceeded to the laboratory with a bitter smile.
Unlike the princess, she felt distant from the knights. Seeing Larissa get along well with them made her feel strange. She felt alienated and sad.
* * *
A day had passed…
The late afternoon sun shone in a slant through the window, like a wide bar of gold.
Today was a special day.
It was the day of the princess’s welcoming banquet!
At the moment, Princess Larissa was getting ready for the banquet, and Olivia was helping her dress up.
“Wait, Olivia. How did you get that wound?” Larissa asked.
Carolina was away to fetch a glass of cold water. Therefore, the two were the only ones in the room.
However, as Larissa took a glimpse of Olivia’s shoulder, she was surprised to see the wounds underneath the maid’s attire.
“I got it a long time ago.”
It didn’t look like an old wound.
Princess Larissa stared at Olivia’s eyes.
She was very gloomy, and her eyes seemed… empty.
“Olivia, if you have something troubling you, please tell me.”
“Nothing is troubling me.”
It hadn’t even been that long since they met. Why would the princess expect Olivia to speak about her problems…?
Olivia felt very uncomfortable.
“Alright. But if you have any concerns, you can tell me, understand?”
“Yes, Your Highness…”
After a while, Carolina returned to the room with cold water.
“Oh my, Your Highness… How stunning! You look like an angel that fell from the heavens!”
“Oh, you’re exaggerating!” Princess Larissa giggled.
“Move!” Carolina said as she pushed Olivia to fix Larissa’s dress.
Then, she styled the princess’s silver hair.
“Your Highness, it’s a good thing that we bought the dress from the capital’s most famous designer! Isn’t that right?”
“Yes. It’s stunning.”
Princess Larissa’s gown was delicately embroidered with bright beads that sparkled like diamonds. It was a body-hugging silhouette with a skirt that flared below the knee.
She looked ravishing as the beam of light reflected in her silver strands of hair, making it seem as if it were glowing from within.
“It’s a welcoming banquet for Your Highness, so you must stand out more than anyone else!”
Olivia gritted her teeth at Carolina’s impudence.
“I shall take my leave now. I need to get everything ready for the banquet,” Olivia spoke.
“Alright. See you later, Olivia.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
After Olivia left the room, Larissa asked Carolina.
“Carolina, Olivia has a terrible wound on her body… have you seen it?
“Your Highness saw it too?”
“Yes… it seems like a serious injury.”
At Larissa’s words, Carolina remembered something.
“Did the duchess abuse her like what the rumors said? Or are the other maids harassing her? I used to be bullied by the maids in the imperial palace too.”
“Did you also suffer from their beatings?”
“It wasn’t as bad as Olivia’s since I only got slapped a few times…”
“I think she has more injuries. Perhaps that’s why she keeps shrugging her shoulders. She must be in excruciating pain!
Princess Larissa’s eyes glistened with tears. She felt sorry for Olivia.
“Oh, Your Highness… please don’t cry!”
Carolina immediately fixed her makeup as the princess bit her lips to contain the tears.
“You have a beautiful heart, Your Highness…” Carolina smiled before continuing, “Though, it is very likely that the duchess abuses her servants. Could she really have made the magic pills with their tears?”
“Don’t tell me…”
“I mean, why would she keep the greenhouse and the laboratory locked if not because of that? She must be hiding something!”
“I think so! Besides, Olivia is very stiff in front of the duchess. She kept bowing her head like a sinner…”
“Dear heavens, is that true?”
Larissa was shocked.
The duchess she met face to face did not seem like a tyrant…
Unlike her first impression, the duchess seemed to be strict with the servants.
Larissa sympathized with Olivia. She was just a young girl, but she had to receive such harsh beatings.
She wanted to help her, even if it was just a little bit. No, she wanted to help her to the fullest.
‘I have to get her out of here somehow…’
If the duchess was abusing her, Larissa thought that it would be better for Olivia to escape the mansion.