Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
Elody’s baggage was very light. She only packed a set of clothes, scented candles, and the rest were just documents from her research.
The first thing she planned to do was go to Sirka’s guild and ask him to find a place for her to stay for a few days.
However, before leaving the mansion, she had arranged to stop by at a particular place.
The place was near the first-floor corridor that was on the east wing of the mansion. That corridor was connected to a beautiful outdoor garden that Elody loved to visit from time to time. She would occasionally go there because the back-door entrance was a faster exit to get to the merchant guild.
Suddenly, however, she was struck by multiple voices coming from the garden. The conversation was so suspicious that she could not help but listen.
“…What do you mean?”
“I told you!”
The owner of those voices was none other than the priests. When she saw them, she immediately hid behind a pillar and eavesdropped more on their talk.
The priests stayed in the east wing of the mansion, whereas the guests from the imperial palace stayed in the west wing.
“…The Duke of Cernois is still…”
Because of the word ‘the Duke of Cernois’, Elody started paying more attention to what they were talking about. She walked closer to them and fortunately, the sound of bees masked her footsteps.
After passing two more pillars, Elody could finally hear their voice clearly.
The two chatted while staring at the flowers with their arms crossed on their chests.
“We can’t let Emperor Albrecht do whatever he wants! I’m sick of those guys from the imperial palace!”
“I heard that the northern and eastern dukes claimed a few territories from the war.”
“Seriously?! The emperor shouldn’t just carelessly give out territories like that!”
“It’s true! That’s why the emperor is trying to covet the Duke of Cernoir to gain more political power! Or rather, he just wants to take advantage of the duke’s spirit…”
“Hmm… it wouldn’t be good if he somehow gained control of the duke’s spirit. We must take it away from the duke first somehow!”
“First things first, we must make sure that the duke is on our side.”
“Well, since High Priest Amos is here. There’s nothing to worry about, right? Oh, and is the meeting still in progress?”
The two young priests who were conversing looked at the stairs in the middle of the hallway. Perhaps, the meeting place was being held on the upper floor.
‘Those two are High Priest Amos’s subordinates…’
Elody continued to listen to their discussion.
“High Priest Amos could just kill the duke and take away his spirit if he wants to. He has the power to do it.”
“Of course, he does… That’s why he even brought the sacred magic tools.”
Elody was so shocked at their remarks that she had to cover her mouth to avoid them from hearing her gasps.
She thought that the Temple came to borrow his power or use him as a political tool. But it turned out to be much worse than that. They seemed to have come up with such extreme measures. It was shocking to say the least!
However, no matter how strong the high priests were, they could never beat Caville. His swordsmanship skills were extraordinary and the amount of mana he had was something that no one could ever beat.
She wasn’t able to confirm this herself, but she knew that Caville would become strong enough to even use all forms of magic with just one gesture.
To compete with a swordmaster like Caville that could possibly beat them with the lift of a single finger, they had to be at least a high priest or a holy mage.
‘A holy mage… Does such a person even exist?’
They even seemed to have a secret weapon up their sleeves. Things were certainly not looking good…
Elody’s heart was filled with anxiety. She was so afraid that it felt as if her heart might leap out of her chest at any moment. Her heartbeat was so loud that she was terrified they would hear it even from a distance.
‘They’re planning to kill Caville…’
Elody’s eyes were quivering in fear.
‘But… What kind of magic tool are they talking about? What kind of secret are they hiding?’
Elody held her breath and continued to eavesdrop some more. However, their conversation had already ended.
Suddenly, a couple of footsteps could be heard from above the stairs. Elody could hear them descend from the upper floors.
“Hey… get back to your rooms!”
The voice came from an old priest, though it was most certainly not High Priest Amos.
At his words, the two young priests bowed their heads and went back to their respective rooms.
“Sir Theodore, let us rest as well,” the old priest said.
Having said that, the old priest headed back to his room. Elody, still in hiding, waited until everyone was ready to leave.
However, the sound of footsteps could be heard getting closer and closer to her…
Until it stopped.
Theodore, the commander of the paladins, stared at Elody that hid behind the pillar of the corridor that led to the garden.
He thought to himself about the meeting he attended from before.
Somehow, the chances of the duke divorcing the duchess were very low. However, High Priest Amos still thought of killing the duke if he had to.
Once again, he hoped for something he knew he shouldn’t hope for.
The first time he saw Elody, he felt something deep within his heart. It was an unknown, shameful desire. He wanted her to become his. He wanted to propose to her.
During the past few days, Theodore had wanted to approach the duchess. Unfortunately for him, he had never dated nor even had deep conversations with women, so he had no clue on how he was going to get closer to Elody.
But to see her at such an unexpected place…
The young paladin’s heart pounded hard.
He slowly walked toward Elody, and after standing in front of the pillar in which she was hiding, he spoke gently, “Your Grace, what are you doing here at this hour…?”
Elody, who was still in hiding, turned around in shock with her hand on her mouth.
Every time the sound of footsteps approached her, she found it very hard for her to breathe.
What’s more, the man had never even seen her, and yet, he knew who she was…
‘How does he know? Does he have a weird ability? It was said that knights who had passed certain heights in their training would be able to figure out where their enemies are in just a few seconds! Is that how he found me out?’
Elody felt as if her heart was in her throat.
Then, she mustered up the courage to talk.
“…I’m just t-taking a stroll.”
“I see. The garden here is beautiful indeed.”
Theodore was trying his best to hide his feelings and this awkward tension between them. As he stared at Elody, his eyes drifted to her gorgeous pink locks.
Her calamine hair was braided to the side and flowed to her shoulder. Her lips were carefully tinted red and her ivory skin was flawless. She was stunning. To him, Elody was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his entire life.
Even her surprised expression was cute. How easily startled she was, how she looked like a small, defenseless animal. He thought that perhaps this was what the foxes felt when they hunted those tiny, cute rabbits.
Then, his eyes laid upon a leather bag that she was carrying around.
Elody shook her head.
“I-it’s nothing. Just…”
As Elody was about to leave…
Theodore grabbed her by the hand.
The young duchess turned around in bewilderment. Seeing the discomfort in her eyes, Theodore quickly withdrew his hand, as if he had finally realized what he had just done.
“I apologize. I just… wanted to talk to Your Grace for a while longer…”
“What do you think you’re doing?”
A cold voice came from behind the two.
Stunned, Elody turned her head to look at the owner of that cold voice.
It was Caville.
* * *
After talking with the princess, Caville headed directly to Elody’s lab. However, the place was empty.
Thus, he proceeded to go back to the mansion and ran straight to her room.
He was hesitant at first. It had been a long time since he last visited her bedroom. But he couldn’t wait any longer, so, with trembling hands and a loudly pounding heart, Caville knocked on her door.
After a while, the door opened.
“…My wife, I need to talk to—“
“Your wife is gone.”
His wife was substituted by Ifrit.
“Wha—? Why are you here?!” Caville snarled.
Ifrit just shrugged in response.
“The window to your room was closed, so I went to your wife’s bedroom instead.”
“…and where is she?”
“I don’t know.”
Caville immediately barged into the room.
It was empty as the wind.
‘Where did she go?’
Caville became anxious.
“There’s a note on the desk. It said that she was going on a trip for a few days.”
His heart immediately sank into his boots.
What kind of nonsense was that? What sudden trip?
Caville stared at the note that was left on the desk.
He spoke to Ifrit, “Track my wife’s whereabouts right now.”
It was finally time to confirm his so-called ability that he had been boasting about.
“Hahaha!!! I knew you would eventually need my help!”
“S-shut up! Just get to work!”
Too excited to mind his words, Ifrit instantly started sniffing for Elody’s traces.
‘Is he going to track her down in his… puppy form?’
Caville’s expression worsened, though in all honesty, he didn’t really look that unreliable.
“This way! The east wing! But… isn’t that where the guests from the Temple were staying?”
Afterward, Caville immediately ran to the east wing and was able to find Elody there.
However, the situation was strange. His wife was carrying a leather bag while talking to some random guy.
‘Is that… the commander of the paladins?’
Caville remembered his face because he wasn’t very fond of him on the battlefield. He was quite annoying to say the least.
Then, his eyes drifted to Theodore’s hand which was holding his wife’s arm.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
He slowly approached the two.
Theodore withdrew his hand straight away, but Caville’s gaze was still on Elody’s wrist that he had previously touched.
In an instant, his heart burned with rage. And the fire was spread all over his body until he eventually exploded.
Caville grabbed Theodore by the collar and threw him against the pillar.
Elody was astounded and held back his arm.
Caville only stared at his wife in confusion.
‘What in the world is going on?’
Caville’s eyes were filled with fury.
Why was his wife taking this bastard’s side? Why was she carrying a suspicious leather bag in the east wing where the Temple people stayed? With this bastard even…
He began putting the pieces together, and it eventually clicked.
‘Is it what I think it is…?’
Caville felt as if his world had just broken down and crumbled to pieces.