Irene’s face blossomed into an even brighter smile. Leo’s eyes became hazy at the sight of Irene’s fluorescent expression. Sophia also felt relieved upon seeing Irene’s pure expression and greeted her.
“Nice to meet you, Lady Irene. I am Sophia from the Bresia family.”
“Ah, the High Lord of Sisak’s…”
Irene’s smile deepened. It was so dazzling that one could swear that it spread the fragrance of flowers. But unfortunately, Raven was the only one who knew the true meaning hidden behind Irene’s smile.
“Irene, Sophia is…”
Raven hurriedly tried to explain, but it was too late.
“Oh my! She’s so pretty! Brother Alan always seems to bring back such beautiful ladies every time he goes off somewhere. Besides, you are calling her name so familiarly without hesitation. You must be very close? Ho ho ho.”
“C, close? That’s not true… Lady Irene.”
Sophia wasn’t aware of Irene’s true personality and blushed shyly at Irene’s comment.
She had been worried about being harassed and suffering under the Pendragon family’s lady, but it seemed like the lady was quite favorable towards her. Sophia even started having other thoughts.
‘Okay, it will make my life a lot easier if I can get the lady on my side.’
But such thoughts quickly ended as a vain delusion.
“Oh my! I am glad to hear that. It’s enough for one maid to be close to the heir of the Pendragon family. And it looks like…”
Irene continued after glancing at a certain part of Sophia while maintaining a dazzling smile.
“I don’t have to worry. Don’t you agree, Lady Lindsay?”
Everyone turned their gazes following Irene. A lady dressed beautifully in a warm-colored dress was standing there with a bewildered expression and a red face. Then Sophia’s gaze, as well as the gaze of others, all headed to the lady’s plump breasts which were standing out.
There was a sense of loss and defeat in Sophia and Scylla’s faces. But Luna had already experienced it before, so her face remained indifferent.
The men were either stunned by the sight or gulped unknowingly.
But even though she was receiving everyone’s attention, Lindsay’s eyes were fixated on one person, and they glistened with a mixture of desire and longing. Lindsay was about to overcome her shyness when Raven stepped up first.
“Lindsay, have you been well?”
“Y, yes! Your Grace!”
Lindsay’s face lit up at Raven’s greeting and she approached him as if she had been waiting.
“H, how have you been, Your Grace? Are you hurt anywhere? D, did you eat already? Ah! You must be tired…”
“Slow down. I have already eaten, and I am not hurt anywhere.”
She was like a puppy welcoming her master when he returned home after a long journey. A smile hung around Raven’s mouth.
Raven’s smile made Lindsay’s face glow even hotter. She could not be any happier than she was at seeing her husband’s gentle smile.
‘Oh my! I knew he was handsome, but smiling like that is a cheat.’
‘Wow! So he can smile like that…’
However, the men stood shocked in their places with their mouths agape, and the women felt a sense of jealousy and loss towards Lindsay.
Irene also became a little jealous at the interaction and pouted her lips. Meanwhile, next to Raven, Isla grabbed the hilt of his sword with his right hand and bowed politely.
“I, knight Elkin Isla, greet Lady Lindsay.”
“Ah! S, Sir Isla. Thank you for your hard work.”
Lindsay was a little taken back, but she had grown better accustomed to her role and position, so she returned Isla’s salute with a bow of her own, bending her knee and stepping back with one foot.
Of course, in the meantime, her eyes still glanced towards Raven.
After exchanging greetings, the group walked towards a spire.
“What about the duchess and Mia?”
“Mia is taking her midday nap, and Mother-in-law has gone to Lowpool.”
Raven was puzzled over the news. It was surprising that Elena Pendragon, who rarely left Conrad Castle, had gone to Lowpool.
“The duchess headed to Lowpool? Is there something wrong?”
“Well…" Irene hesitated for a moment before answering in a wary voice. “A lot of people have come to our territory, but most of them are poor and have been persecuted in the past, so…”
“Hm… So Lowpool also has a slum now?”
“What? Oh, yes. How did you know?”
Irene was a little surprised that Raven knew of the issue even though he had just returned to the castle.
“I saw it on the way. But I did not know that even Lowpool would be stuck in the same situation…" Raven muttered with a mixed expression.
One had to pass through Bellint Gate in order to reach Lowpool and Bellint Gate. That was why Raven had thought this place would be exempt.
But as he flew over the castle walls on the back of a griffon, he had seen a fairly large slum in the town of Lowpool. The shabby shacks along the castle wall were quite numerous, and there seemed to be at least two or three hundred people living in them.
“Every five days, Mother goes out and distributes food to the poor people.”
“The duchess goes out personally?”
Raven was slightly surprised. It was a little strange that Elena acted personally when she could have ordered soldiers or others to do so.
“Yes. Actually. It’s related to that man who came with your letter. The man named Vincent Ron…”
Raven stopped walking and turned his head when the unexpected name was brought up.
“Irene, tell me more.”
“Yes, Brother. Around ten days had passed after we came back from the vacation…”
“Oh dear! May the grace of the goddess always be with you…”
“Thank you! Thank you, miss!”
People dressed in old and worn-out rags repeatedly bowed, regardless of their age or sex.
“Stay in line, we’ve still got plenty left!”
“Don’t cut in line there!”
Ten women were standing in front of the gate and handing out bread and fist-sized meat to the people. They were the maids of Conrad Castle and the townswomen of Lowpool.
The bread was quite hard as it was a mixture of barley and wheat, and the meat was also made from mixing various parts of lamb and pig, but the poor received it with drool running down their mouths.
There were also quite a few people who devoured what they received on the spot and looked at the food cart while sucking their fingers with regretful eyes. But at the sight of the soldiers and the guards, they soon curled up and returned to their make-shift huts. Then they watched the woman who was being guarded by two knights next to the cart and bowed deeply with emotional faces.
The lady was none other than Elena Pendragon, whom poor commoners like themselves would never get a chance to glimpse upon in their lifetime. Her beauty was still dazzling for her age, and the commoners were touched that a person of such status would personally help them out.
“The portions seem to be a little small. You should be more generous with it.”
Even though the area was swarming with dirty, smelly peasants, Elena did not so much as frown and took charge of the food distribution while looking after the food cart personally.
And the knight with a good physique who was observing the area with care and sharp eyes was none other than Sir Killian.
“Duchess, it is getting quite windy. Why don’t you head in now?”
“I am fine, Sir Killian. Anyways, I think the soldiers might be scaring off the people.”
Sure enough, the soldiers banged on the floor with their spears and glared if the line became crooked or if the poor started to swarm.
But Killian shook his head firmly.
“They are a bit on the edge because of the incident from a few days ago. We can’t help it for your security, my lady.”
“Phew, I know your concerns, but they should not be blamed either. It’s the life of anxiety and distress that ultimately made them like that…”
Just thinking about the incident five days ago made her dizzy and her heart race, but Elena breathed a deep sigh.
Five days ago, she had brought a food cart along with the women of the village and maids with the escort of soldiers as usual. But on that particular day, the poor, who had previously not even dared to lift their heads as they received food, kept stealing glances at Elena. Then, they suddenly swarmed her and grabbed onto her skirt and sleeves.
More than ten soldiers who were guarding Elena hurriedly pushed them back and surrounded her to protect her, but it turned out that the reasoning behind the incident was truly ridiculous. Rumors had spread that if you touched the duchess or one of the ladies of the Pendragon family, that they would be able to live without getting sick or ever being hungry.
“That’s why the duchess must continue to personally attend these events. Without His Grace present, the person who can most directly show the virtues and the grace of the Pendragon family is you, my lady.” Said an ordinary-looking young knight who, with calm eyes, counted the amount of food left in the cart and the number of poor.
Killian looked at him with disapproving eyes and spoke, “Even if that is the case. You really can’t expect the duchess to risk these kinds of events so often.”
“It is only once every five days. In the past, Queen Seira of the Lotto Kingdom went to the slums daily to wash them and feed them. You have to remember the historical fact that when Count Red Eagle revolted, it was the thousands of people from the slums who voluntarily blocked the gate in order to protect their queen.”
“Ehem! Well, it must be nice to be so smart.”
Killian coughed disdainfully. However, he could not outright ignore the young man who was extremely ordinary in size and appearance.
“Sir Ron is absolutely right. If it were not for your words, I might have made a big mistake as the lady of the Pendragon family.”
“Not at all, Duchess. It is all thanks to the high virtues and the wisdom of the duchess, who was willing to lend her ears to me.”
“You do not have to say such things. You have already been one of us ever since you brought in Alan’s handwritten letter.”
“I am flattered.”
At Elena’s bright smile, Vincent responded with an embarrassed smile.
“Even so, a knight should be competent with their sword… Ehem!”
Killian also stole a glance at Elena as he coughed at the two people’s interaction.
“Hoho! That’s also correct. I know Sir Killian is the strongest knight in our duchy, so you don’t have to remind me.”
“Hahaha! So, you think so as well, my lady?”
Killian’s expression became bright at Elena’s words, and he looked towards Vincent.
“Hey, Sir Ron. I know how smart you are, but don’t you think you need to work some more on your swordsmanship? If you are a true knight of the Pendragon family, you should be able to easily face a hundred men. Moreover, you should be able to handle various weapons, including swords, spears, bows, and axes like a master.”
“I see. I will have to train with Sir Killian sometimes when I am free.”
Despite Killian’s tedious remark, Vincent answered calmly without showing any sign of displeasure.
“Hahaha! Good, good! Anyways, you must never become as conceited as Sir Isla.”
Feeling even more pleased, Killian patted Vincent on the shoulder, and a bitter smile hung around Vincent’s mouth.
‘I think I might have praised him a little too much.’
When he first arrived at Conrad Castle bearing a handwritten letter with the seal of the Pendragon family, he had reiterated exactly as Raven had told him to say.
“I came to smash the other egg.”
Even though he had been thinking about it during his trip to Conrad Castle, he still could not understand the true meaning behind those words.
The only thing he was certain of was that His Grace Pendragon had said such cryptic words to test him. He had never imagined in the wildest of dreams that the ‘egg’ actually referred to a man’s private part.
After around a time it took to drink a cup of tea passed, Vincent realized something was wrong when a knight with a good physique approached him fully armed, and with an extremely angry expression.Previous Chapter Next Chapter