Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Princess Larissa recalled the conversation she had with Carolina that day.
‘I’ll spruce you up more beautifully than ever for tonight! For you must have a deep conversation with the duke!’
“…Will the duke really like me?”
“Absolutely! Who would even dare to reject you, Princess? You are blessed with the beauty of an angel. You might even have your first romantic kiss underneath the moonlight!”
At Carolina’s words, Larissa could feel the warmth of the blush as it crawled up her neck.
Princess Larissa admired the flowers as she waited for the duke.
‘Can I really meet the duke…?’
She waited there until dawn.
Unfortunately, the Duke of Cernoir never appeared…
* * *
The next day…
“Madame, it’s Norman.”
The butler proceeded to enter the room with a troubled expression.
But before Elody could ask why two other people appeared from behind.
It was Baron Vendos and Baron Bernard.
The two barons knelt in front of Elody.
“…What is this…?” Elody asked, confused.
Norman sighed. The barons had begged him to let them meet the duchess. However, he didn’t expect them to act like this.
“Oh no, why are you doing this? Please stand up.”
Elody told them to get up, but the two barons continued to kneel.
They even rubbed their palms together and started crying.
Elody exchanged glances with Norman, wondering if these people were crazy.
Moments later, the two barons calmed themselves down. Then, they sat on the sofa and began to confide their worries to Elody.
“We don’t want to separate from our family, madame… Please forgive us….”
“That’s all right…”
The two Barons came to Elody after having stood on the edge of a cliff.
The promised date was approaching. In a few weeks, they would have to leave for the Forest of Death.
They had tried using Iris to save themselves, but Iris wasn’t interested in the duke. She only kept looking for a man with pink hair.
Thanks to that, the two barons were occupied with investigating Count McClair’s children.
But they couldn’t tell that to the duchess.
Their goal now was to avoid offending the duchess and to get on her good side.
Elody was anxious.
“I apologize, but it’s already been decided by the duke. I’m afraid that I cannot do anything about it…”
“Please have mercy! Your Grace is the only one who can save us!”
“Yes! Please forgive our sins and tell His Grace the Duke to take pity on us…!” The two barons cried, saying that they didn’t want to separate from their family again.
They also said that they did not want to die in the forest, like the vassals who did not participate in the war.
Eventually, Elody comforted them, saying that she would discuss the topic with the duke before sending them back.
Still, she was overloaded with stress.
Elody sighed and stared out the window.
She felt like she was trapped in a maze.
Elody was uncomfortable with Caville, and Princess Larissa was bothering her. She couldn’t figure out why her heart was doing this or why she was feeling this way.
* * *
After a long time, Elody finally went out to the field again with the maids.
She wanted to be healed by digging for herbs in the field without thinking about anything else.
Thus, they were currently harvesting the herbs on the field, and Olivia was the most excited of them all.
“Madame, is this a weed or a spirit grass?” Olivia asked.
Elody replied playfully, “You’ll know if you eat it.”
Olivia put a handful of weeds in her mouth.
Startled by her bizarre actions, Elody blocked Olivia’s mouth.
“If you eat so much, you might pass out because of its bitter taste.”
“…I can even drink poison if madame tells me to do it.”
Anna laughed at Olivia’s words.
“I… can also drink a little bit of poison, but… do I really have to?” Sylvia said in a quivering voice.
Elody chuckled at the two maids’ cute responses.
“Olivia… please don’t do terrifying things.”
The big sound of a horn came from a distance.
“Looks like the lord is back!”
Anna raised her body and looked at the distance with a gleeful expression.
Caville went out from dawn every day and patrolled the estate with the knights. It was only his duty as the monsters that came from the Forest of Death had started appearing in other forests.
Elody stood up as she watched the procession passing through the city gate from a distance.
She didn’t want Caville to see her here doing nothing, so she thought of going back to the lab as soon as possible.
“Come on, let’s go back.”
“Madame, are we leaving already? Let’s play a while more while he’s here!”
“No, let’s go quickly. Hurry up!” Elody hastened the other maids.
Marie, who had been lying down and taking a nap, frowned as Elody dragged her hand.
* * *
“Oh, Princess. Look over there. It’s the duchess!”
At Carolina’s words, Larissa stared out the window.
Elody was returning to the mansion while crossing arms with the maids. It looked like she had just gone for a stroll.
“Hmm, it looks as if she’s close with the maids.”
It looked like that in Larissa’s eyes.
Somehow, the rumor that the duchess abused the servants and then collected their tears to make medicine seemed to be false.
However, the wound on Olivia’s body was still suspicious.
Princess Larissa remembered her past as she saw Elody’s friendship with the maids.
During her peaceful days at Dayev Castle, Princess Larissa was also intimate with the maids.
Larissa shook her head, feeling a strange sense of loss.
Princess Larissa was determined to investigate the duchess.
And so, she called Count DeFore to consult with him.
“If she dares to destroy the divine magic tool as soon as she receives it, then High Priest Amos won’t stand still.”
“Can I ask High Priest Amos to investigate the lab as well?”
At the words of Princess Larissa, Count DeFore nodded.
“Of course! I will go and talk to him on your behalf.”
Count DeFore immediately went to High Priest Amos.
As soon as he heard the news, the high priest was startled and said he would immediately investigate the case.
Thus, he went to the duchess.
“Good afternoon, Your Grace. May I check the divine magic tool that the Temple gave you again? There might be something wrong with the communication device. I think I should inspect it…” Priest Amos said with a troubled expression.
He didn’t want to go against the duke nor the duchess, but if it was true that the magic tool was destroyed, it could pose a great deal of trouble.
Elody then ordered a servant to bring the communication device from the lab.
After checking all the mana codes yesterday, she restored it to its original state.
“…Ah, turns out that there’s nothing wrong with the magic tool. I apologize for taking your time, Your Grace,” Priest Amos apologized, brimming with cold sweat.
“Not at all.”
“That Count DeFore, why would he do this for no reason…?”
Before leaving Elody’s office, High Priest Amos made a slip of the tongue.
And Elody heard it clearly.
‘Count DeFore is one of the princess’s envoys…’
Elody’s expression darkened.
* * *
High Priest Amos returned to the accommodation with an unpleasant expression. There was no doubt that the imperial government purposely tried to sabotage them.
‘They want to ruin the relationship between the duke and the Temple! How ridiculous…’
Even though Amos was a high-ranking priest, he came directly to this place to get closer to the Duke of Cernoir.
‘Though it’s tough because of the supplies we stole for seven years…’
He had to calm the duke very carefully as if he was walking on thin ice.
However, the emperor’s envoys kept interfering with his plans!
The Great War of Thysser did praise Princess Larissa since she returned the relics of the Temple, but that was it.
The Duke of Cernoir, who used the power of the spirits, was much more important than an ancient relic.
It was evident that the emperor was trying to get the duke under his wing using the princess.
At present, there was bad blood between the Temple and the Imperial Government. Both were wary of each other and wanted to steal the duke for themselves.
Thus, High Priest Amos and Count DeFore kept each other in check while trying to buy the duke’s favor.
‘But do they really have to interfere in such a childish way? Those cheeky bastards…’
Unlike the emperor who thought that the duke would divorce his wife, High Priest Amos’s opinion was totally different.
After scanning the duchess’s supplies and letters that she sent for seven years, he was sure that the duke would never divorce her.
Hence, they planned to win the duke’s favor with the second seal of the temple.
They had to get his support to keep the empire in check.
And if they failed to get the duke’s political support…
There was also a plan to take away his ‘power’, which would leave him powerless.
They had ‘the thing’, so it was possible.
But, there was also another way.
It was to gain the duchess’s favor.
The Temple had been keeping the duchess under surveillance since several years ago.
Elody wasn’t from the tower and had excellent magic skills at a young age.
Since an uneducated sorcerer is capable of that level, the possibility of hiding her identity could not be ruled out.
Until recently, Elody was the most-watched figure in the temple.
And if they also failed to win her favor…
Then, they would have no choice but to use ‘the thing’ as well…
* * *
After the priest returned, Elody observed the documents.
Yesterday, Princess Larissa went to look around the lab with her, and it seemed as if she was inspecting the disassembled communication device on her desk.
Also, her gaze was full of suspicion when Elody told her that she couldn’t teach her the ancient language.
And today, Priest Amos came to ask her about the communication device!
‘Is she suspicious of me…?’
Her heart sank.