Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Elody had given Olivia a healing cream that could gradually remove the traces of her wound. However, Olivia chose to give it to her mother. She wanted to keep the scars so that she would never forget about the madame’s kindness for the rest of her life.
Elody was a little embarrassed about it. Still, she had told Olivia that she could ask her anytime if she needs more cream.
“What do you think, princess? Should I braid it to the side?”
“Yes, please. Thank you.”
Princess Larissa, who hadn’t dressed up for a long time, smiled with glee as she watched Carolina style her hair into a beautiful braid.
A few days after arriving at the mansion, she could finally see the Duke of Cernoir again.
Perhaps that was why her heart was beating rapidly with excitement.
Nonetheless, Larissa tried to calm her beating heart.
* * *
‘It’s a banquet to welcome the Princess…’
Caville was stunned. He didn’t expect that he would have to host such a massive banquet for the princess. It made it seem as if he cared more about the princess than himself.
Caville would rather hear Elody praising him for doing good at his job than to prepare a banquet for someone he didn’t even like. He even had to suffer from his wife’s distant attitude again because of this!
Elody had been avoiding Caville with the excuse of being busy. It was getting harder to bear. Caville was thinking of having a long conversation with his wife tonight.
Caville glanced at Elody, who was sitting next to him.
Elody turned her head to see Caville, but as soon as they made eye contact. She averted her gaze.
Caville’s heart ached. A bunch of questions just popped into his head.
Why did his wife do that? Was she mad at him?
He was distraught.
Caville leaned towards Elody and whispered to her ear, “Wife, I’d like to talk to you later.”
Elody was surprised.
“Make time for me later, okay?”
At Elody’s answer, Caville smiled in satisfaction. Then, he offered Elody a glass of wine.
Elody stared at Caville’s glass with a grim expression. Caville, whom she had raised, had begun drinking…
Elody wanted to nag, but she restrained herself. She felt like she wasn’t qualified to scold him anymore.
Strangely, it felt as if she had been taken to the edge of a cliff even though she had not left the mansion yet.
* * *
Thanks to Princess Larissa, the atmosphere of the banquet was lively and full of life. Unlike the ducal couple that sat next to each other, Princess Larissa sat next to Heinz and his men.
She loved mingling with knights regardless of her status as a princess. Therion’s knights were also surprised at seeing the princess being so friendly.
Therion himself, however, could not attend the banquet. Under Caville’s orders, Therion had to leave for the Forest of Death to look after the vassals for a few days.
Therion’s knights stared at the princess and the mercenaries with envy.
It was good that the princess seemed to get along well with the mercenaries. Elody knew that it was a good thing. But somehow, she didn’t feel as happy as she should have. Elody struggled to find the origin of her strange emotions.
Heinz’s knights were happy as they got to sit near the princess.
“Princess! Do you remember the count that looked like a duck on the battlefield?
“Oh my, a duck? Now that I think about it, they really do look similar!”
Princess Larissa laughed and chatted merrily with the knights.
At the same time, she would glance at the duke every now and then.
Suddenly, a knight asked the princess in a quiet voice, “By the way, princess, are you really going to marry the duke?”
“Hey, why would you ask that…? I’m curious too, but…”
“But the Duke is already married…” Princess Larissa spoke while covering her flushed face.
“He’s going to get a divorce anyway! Plus, they haven’t even obtained the temple’s blessing…”
“But… aren’t the duchess and the duke on good terms?” Princess Larissa asked.
Her heart was racing for some reason. She was overwhelmed with joy as she heard the duke’s knights acknowledge her.
“No, not at all!”
Heinz’s men responded by waving their hands.
They had no idea that the duke was deeply immersed with his wife. Yet, they still believed in their own assumptions.
They had heard many rumors about the ducal couple’s great relationship. However…. They closed their eyes and ears to the truth because they only believed what they wanted to believe.
And what they wanted was for Caville to marry the princess.
“Princess, you must never abandon our commander!”
“That’s right! Princess is much more suitable for the duke than that duchess!”
Larissa smiled at the knights’ words.
Suddenly, Carolina clapped her hands as if she had remembered something.
“Ah, that’s right! I almost forgot! I have a question for you, sirs! Is the duchess harsh with the servants?”
Princess Larissa stopped her, but Carolina only stared at her, not knowing what was wrong with what she had said.
The knights were surprised by the unexpected question and began contemplating. Was it true? They stared at each other without knowing what to say.
“I don’t think so…?” Heinz replied after being silent for most of the time.
“I see,” Princess Larissa responded with a smile.
Heinz was so uncomfortable that he felt like he was going crazy.
In fact, he was uncomfortable from the start! But it only got worse after Princess arrived.
He hadn’t been able to sleep these past few days. He would feel abdominal pain for at least twelve times a day.
He was sure that the princess was very kind, and yet… Why was she doing this?
As the days passed, Heinz got more and more nervous as he didn’t know when the duchess would die.
He wanted to tell the duke everything, but he couldn’t just break his promise!
‘Damn it, since when have I been such a righteous man…?’ He wondered.
Meanwhile, Carolina asked another question to the knights, “Also, the duchess had never written a letter to the duke for seven years, right?”
In response to her question, several whispers arose, as if she had just revealed something scandalous. Princess Larissa also listened attentively to the conversation.
“Rumors said that she did send letters to him, but they got stolen by the Temple. However, no one has any proof! Who knows? Maybe it’s a lie after all.”
“That’s right. She should have at least sent one! She probably forgot about our commander during those seven years!”
“Now that our commander returned as a war hero, she pretends to be a devoted wife.”
Heinz was fuming with anger as he listened to his subordinates disregarding and bad-mouthing the duchess in front of the princess.
He was so upset that he gulped down an entire bottle of alcohol.
Heinz had a different opinion with the others. He didn’t know when it changed … but, in any case, it was definitely different now.
The duchess had sent so many letters to the commander.
‘Those bastards from the temple must’ve stolen it…’
He had been skeptical about it for a long time… but now he was strangely convinced.
Heinz stared at the duchess, who sat far away from him. The duchess, dressed in a sky blue gown, seemed fragile as if she could collapse at any time.
‘She must have vomited blood again when she was alone…’
When he remembered how the duchess spat blood as if she was about to die, he got anxious.
Suddenly, a knight entered the banquet hall and ran towards Caville.
He reported the outside situation.
“They’re here? At this time of the day?”
“Yes, Your Grace!”
A deep furrow ran across Caville’s forehead. He was clearly irritated.
Elody stared at Caville and asked, “Caville, what is it happening?”
“Wife, the people from the Temple of Thysser have arrived.”
Elody ordered her maid to tell the princess that she needed to leave for a while. Then, she and Caville left the banquet hall and headed for the entrance of the mansion.
“Wife, the wind is cold tonight.”
Caville ordered his servant to bring Elody’s shawl and then put it on her shoulders.
Elody smiled awkwardly after thanking him.
Afterward, the two stood next to each other while watching the cavalcade approaching from a distance. The flag of the Thysser Temple waved haughtily in the air.
After passing the gate, they dismounted as soon as they reached the entrance of the mansion.
“I’m delighted to see that the duke has personally come to greet us. My name is Amos, and I am a high priest from the Temple of Thysser,”
The high priest was a thin man who seemed to be in his late 30s.
‘Ah… So they sent a high priest.’
When the Temple said they would visit the duchy, Elody predicted that a normal priest would come. It would not be surprising, since there were less than ten high priests at the temple. It was a position that people would fight over in order to gain power in the Temple and for a normal priest, after gaining favor with Caville, his chances of reaching a higher position would become increasingly more.
“This man here is Theodore, he is the commander of the paladins,” Amos said as the man standing behind him bowed.
He was a handsome young man with stunning blond hair and bright green eyes.
Then, Elody also gave them a formal greeting.
“We’re holding a welcoming banquet for Princess Larissa at the moment. You can unpack your things and join us at the banquet hall.”
“Thank you for your kind hospitality, duchess,” Amos said.
It was strange that such a high-ranking priest could act so polite and formal.
However, Elody would soon find out why.
“By the way, what are all those things? ” Elody asked, surprised at the endless rows of carriages.
She wondered if the Temple had also prepared gifts for them.
Amos seemed troubled as he cleared his throat a couple of times.
“Actually, these are the supplies and letters that the duchess has sent to the battlefield during the past seven years…”