On some days, the women group went to the spring for a bath.
Though being called a group, the number of women was not that much. Around 10 of them were Rozalia’s former lady attendants just like Frau, and they were now working as the villages officials. Then Shera and Tiki also joined them…
“Tiki-san is really good at cooking, huh?!”
Shera’s body trembled when she remembered the good taste of the deer meat.
Despite having a slender body, she had rich breasts.
“Will you teach me sometime?”
Hearing that, Tiki puffed her small chest up. As she took off her clothes, the pointed tips proudly stick out.
“M-Me as well please…”
Frau who had been listening to their conversation also opened her mouth.
Although her face was cute, she had a body height around 180cm, and her chest was abundant enough that won’t lose against other women. But at the same time, she tried to casually hide her stomach in front of Shera and Tiki. Even though she didn’t mind when the opposite gender looking at her, it still bothers her when another woman looking at her figure, which indicates her maiden heart.
“In exchange, teach me as well…”
Tiki says those words while her head floating on the surface, and continued…
“In various ways…”
The former Rozelia’s lady attendants were women who were taught how to work as a staff officer or civil officer, was that what she wanted? Or was it the courtesy manners so that she won’t shame herself in front of the aristocrats? Other than that, Shera and the others were also being taught how to play instruments and singing, how to read poetry and also other academic subjects. Though they could understand Tiki’s enthusiasm to learn, they still worry if she asked them to teach her everything.
Tiki then continued with a serious expression.
“For me, being able to read and write is already enough…”
When Shera and Frau heard that, they were relieved.
And in response to Tiki’s request, they smiled and answered with “Of course, we will help.”
For them, that was a cheap price to pay if they could learn how to cook like Tiki.
“With this, I will be able to serve Leo-sama with a good handmade dish~…”
Hearing Frau’s disturbing words, Shera frowned while muttering ‘Mumumu~’…
Looking at the two of them, a smile formed on Tiki’s face as her body drifted on the surface of the water.
Another day, Alan sent some wine produced in Eidonia and they had a feast.
The lady attendants show off their skills in playing the instruments, while everyone sings and dance…
Although mostly only men were there, the party was still lively.
When the drunk Tiki forcefully pulls Garai to dance, everyone was looking at them with envy. Though due to the difference in physique, she looked like a little puppy playing around, making the others laughed.
Leonard was also present, watching them.
Because he was non-drinker, he only drinks water, and as usual, he had his sour face expression on. But despite all of that, he still enjoys the party.
“Since we’ve come here, only good things happen huh?”
Only Shera noticed how he feels as he sits next to him.
“True. I hope this would last forever.”
Leonard answered gently.
Shera then grasped his hand tightly.
Because they both know.
That was only wishful thinking. As they looked at the south, internal conflict was inevitable, and foreign pressure from the north keep on mounting.
In fact, the peaceful days only lasted for a month.
7th month, 3rd day. Together with the heat of early summer, an express messenger came from the imperial capital.
“I’ve come bringing an imperial decree from the Emperor!” He comes toward Leonard who was holding a hoe with an overbearing attitude. “To inform Alexis Marquis, Leonard. To defeat the second imperial prince, Chart and Duke Dinkwood who recently rebelled against the Empire!”
It was an unexpected thing that made even Leonard looked surprised.
Duke Dinkwood was a middle-aged man with no special feature except his pure white hair that indicates his old age.
He had the appearance of an ordinary good-natured old man.
Those who didn’t know would be surprised that such a man was one of the four most powerful nobles in the Empire.
But those who knew who he was, they knew that his mind was darker than the night sky.
And his vassals, all know that about him.
Dinkwood territory provincial capital was Rehm.
In the middle of the city, a towering castle boasting hundreds of years of history stood, inside the castle, the retainers of the Duke had gathered.
They were kneeling uniformly as if their head were being held down.
‘The uncapturable, Teumessian Fox’ Torame was no exception.
Their lord, Duke Dinkwood was not a narrow-minded person. In fact, he would just laugh it off when he saw some little disrespect. However, he was a scary man. He would never forgive those who lazy in their professional duty.
And he would never allow any fault in one’s job.
When something like that happens, the Duke won’t even hesitate to behead the person with a smile on his face.
That was why Torame and the others voluntarily discipline themselves whenever they were in front of the Duke.
After the Eidonia incident, Prince Chart excitement seems to have cooled down and he was staying in this place. When Duke Dinkwood entered the room, he gives up his seat and stood behind him like a warrior.
To make Chart who had such high pride performed such a thing, it shows the power balance between the two.
But only that amount was nothing compared to the darkness inside’s the house of Duke Dinkwood.
In front of the old man, there was only one person who raised his face.
He had a beautiful appearance that might get mistaken as a beautiful woman, his name was Anju.
He was the Duke’s spy agents, who had been tasked to perform secret maneuvering within the Empire.
Currently, Duke Dinkwood was listening to his report with a smile on his face.
“—With that, the uprising at the Line silver mine was being suppressed by Leonard army in just two months. He was better in warfare than I thought he would be. If that bloodsucking prince, Nosferatu didn’t come, the uprising would have been able to last longer as we’ve planned. I believe if he didn’t come, it was possible to instigate peasant rebellion from all over the Empire. That is why this result is very regrettable…”
Hearing that report, Torame listened with a cold attitude.
That was the truth, in recent years, rebellion and bandits frequently appeared in the Empire, and all of that was mostly due to the secret maneuver of Duke Dinkwood. And he tasked Anju to instigate them…
Everything was for the sake of the ‘Plan(Keikaku)’.
The Duke objective was to weaken and overthrow the current system of the Empire and take over the throne.
“Because of this blunder, it might hinder the ‘plan’, that is also why I will accept any kind of punishment.”
As he finished with his report, Anju immediately presented his head
“I don’t mind”, Said the old nobleman. “Your task is to incite an armed uprising. And after that to keep the uprising as long as possible. Only that…”
The old man then laughed as if he told Anju that he didn’t forget his own order.
Then, Duke Dinkwood closed his eyes for a while…
“The time has come it seems…”
Shock runs on the back of all of his retainers.
Able people such as Torame won’t misunderstand the meaning of those words.
Though it was faster than the ‘Plan’, the Duke seems to realize that it was about time.
“Can we move the soldiers immediately?”
“Of course, if you wish for it, we will be able to move 10,000 men by tomorrow.”
“I don’t need that much for now… For the time being, take out around 500 cavalries to occupy the Line town.”
Again, shock runs through the vassals’ back.
Since Leonard had burned the mining town, only empty land was left there. Therefore, he could get the biggest silver mine in the Empire without much effort. Rather than ‘hindering’ his ‘plan’, the Duke thought how to take advantage of what Leonard did instead. As expected, he feels now was a good time.
Torame was in awe…
“If that old woman, Rozalia, still has her authority, this would not happen…”
“It was a good fortune that the Marchioness was dead, right grandfather?”
In response to Duke Dinkwood muttering, Chart spoke in agreed…
Chart calmly smiled.
The old man squinted his eyes, remembering the great noblewoman of the north.
The two of them were the principal offender who caused the death of Rozalia.
They were holding the other three Duke household while hammering the stake, they did everything they could so that Rozalia would die in the war against Admov. In fact, she was killed only because she had the biggest probability of being an obstacle in their ‘plan’.
“That old woman was an excellent person… Had she born as my vassal, she would be my number one… It was very regrettable… Fate is a cruel mistress indeed…”
The old nobleman words didn’t show any remorse at all.
Torame and the others who took a glance at the old man figure, in their eyes what they saw was a monster.
Creating the careful ‘plan’ to usurp the throne, having the flexibility to change the ‘plan’ whenever a problem arises, bold and not afraid to move forward at once, and most of all, even when he absurdly declared a rebellion, he would still be able to perform it neatly–…
That was how cunning the Duke Dinkwood was…