Even the entrance to the estate was quite ancient and fancy. The gradual sunset with the sky turning red made it look like a famous painting. It appeared very spacious from the outside, but after entering, it truly was incredibly spacious. If the place was this large, it didn’t seem difficult to avoid my uncle as long as I was careful about the dinner banquet with Duke Asteria.
"Welcome to the duchy. I'm Forte, the apprentice butler who will guide you." As we entered the castle, the apprentice butler bowed his head lightly and greeted us.
As it was the first time everyone was greeted this way in such a place, they all received the greeting awkwardly.
Guild Director Glont smiled at the scene and said, "I have something to tell the duke before the dinner banquet, so I'll go ahead first. You guys can just follow the butler's guidance.”
The apprentice butler grew flustered, not expecting Glont to be moving separately.
"Is His Highness in the office?"
"Oh! Yes! Master-nim is in his office now! But, but I have to guide you...”
"You don't need to guide me. I'll talk to the head butler, so you can just take care of these kids."
Guild Director Glont walked casually as if he were familiar with the castle, and after being unsure of what to do, the apprentice butler sighed slightly and said, "Then I will show you around."
Guided by the apprentice butler, I headed with the people from headquarters to a room where I could relax before dinner.
* * *
Glont entered Duke Asteria’s office.
"Oh, you're here?" The duke took off his glasses and headed to the reception table.
Glont sat on the sofa along with the duke and said, "I would like to finish what we were talking about in the branch director’s office that day."
"All right." The duke turned his head to the butler who was serving him, and the butler politely left the office after leaving tea and refreshments on the table.
Glont watched him leave and rubbed his face, his mind full of complicated thoughts, as he asked, "Is Your Highness sure Den is really your grandson? Just in case, I checked his ID card, and it was only for normal nobles. According to the records, it says he is the son of a nearly fallen knight family."
"Yes, I know that."
The duke was aware of this before he knew that Den was his grandson. But now, he had confirmed that the records were all fabricated by Talaria. Duke Asteria admired the power of the Big Mama Information Agency. Even the duke was deceived by the documents recorded in his own territory.
Glont's face became contorted by the duke's affirmation. "Did Anemone-nim marry into such a fallen knight family? And Your Highness allowed this? How can I believe something like this?"
"What are you going to do if you don't believe it? And I didn't allow it. I just pretended I didn't see her because she was throwing a tantrum."
The duke still didn't like the fact that a dam was broken because of nonsense from an old man with dementia or that he had an empty-headed man as his son-in-law. Although he knew that half of what Doomstone did was influenced by Anemone, did it make sense to do such ridiculous things? Of course, the main reason was to hide from political issues.
"But I thought, if it were Your Highness, you would have forced her to bring him to be a live-in son-in-law. I can't believe you disguised it with her death...”
Duke Asteria smiled bitterly at Glont's words. "Because Anemone didn't want to. If it was known that she was alive, who knows what that lunatic, the Blood Emperor, would do to her family. Besides, she said it's better just to live simply, both her and my son-in-law.”
But he didn’t say the words, “Although, I don't know if the Chief of the Crow Tribe can live simply."
Glont smiled at the duke's grumbling. "So, Your Highness cares not only for Anemone-nim but also your son-in-law.”
"Hmmph, do you think I care about the jerk who never even came by to say hello after Anemone died? Besides, if he had grandchildren, he should have brought them to say hello immediately. The youngest grandson is already an adult, but he doesn’t even bring them to say hello?”
"Haha, I see.”
Glont had an awkward smile but put on a serious face. "Then I'll have another person go to the Alps, not Den. It said in the report that Den volunteered, but I can't send your grandson to that danger zone."
"The Alps? Why would a civil servant go there?"
Glont bit his teeth and smiled when Duke Asteria looked at him dumbfounded. "The commander of the capital defense sent me a request for cooperation with a seal from His Majesty the Emperor.”
Seeing the forced smile that Glont put on whenever he was angry, the duke burst into laughter. "He’s a soldier, and he dares to turn you into an enemy, to think there’s such a madman. Oh, is the current commander of the capital defense the one who got his position through his connections with the marquis?"
"Yes, that’s correct."
"Tsk tsk, people like that always argue about standard procedures when it doesn’t matter.”
Having made such an insane request towards his subordinates that he cared deeply about, all that was left was to retaliate. Glont's influence in the imperial army was unquestionable.
"It’s fine. Send Den to the Alps if he wants."
Glont looked astonished, and he stared at Glont. "What?"
"Why’s a guy with good hearing like you asking me to repeat myself? Send him. My grandson is brilliant like me, so I’m sure he has his own plans."
Of course, if Den weren’t a Crow, he wouldn't have sent him to such a dangerous place, even if it meant disobeying imperial order. However, the duke had witnessed the fight between Den and Zendia, and he knew full well that the Alps were not that dangerous for him.
But Glont did not. "That’s unexpected. I thought Your Highness was warm towards your family.”
Duke Asteria smiled faintly as Glont looked at him as if he were cold-blooded. "Don’t they say that lions drop their babies off cliffs?"
It was a lie, but there was no reason to tell Glont that Den was a Crow.
"Still, I will make sure to take care of him myself. A person from the knight school that I have my eyes on is also coming up for practice."
"Well, do as you please. But rather, I feel sorry for the friend who caught your eye. I can’t believe he’s been noticed by this pervert.” Glont became teary as the duke clicked his tongue and shook his head.
* * *
I just heard good news from the apprentice butler. Uncle Bloody was said not to be attending today's dinner banquet. To be precise, in order not to make us feel pressured, they said only adventurer’s guild people were invited to the dinner banquet. This was considerate for a man with a legend stating that he executed a civil servant who acted rudely 25 years ago.
Fortunately, it meant there would be no need to cause a ruckus here. I don't know why, but I didn't want to cause trouble for Duke Asteria very much.
"Really? That's a shame."
When I said the exact opposite of what I thought, the apprentice butler, unlike what a butler should do, nodded with an emotion-filled face. "Yes! It's a pity that we can't see Bloody-nim and Saintess-nim at the duchy, even though they are both here. I have only heard about her. Oh, how beautiful would Saintess-nim be?”
Hillis was definitely pretty, but her personality was not great. It was nice because she had good chemistry with me, but objectively, it was a mistake to consider her to have a good personality.
But you say Hillis is here? Certainly, with Duke Asteria’s status, he would know the saintess, Hillis. In a way, it was natural for influential political and religious figures to know and invite each other. But more importantly-
"Is it okay for a butler to talk about your guests’ personal information like this?”
"Huk!" The apprentice butler turned pale at my comments.
Of course, I had coaxed the apprentice butler with fancy words to inquire about Uncle Bloody, but he seemed to have a chatty personality since he told me things I didn’t ask about.
"Well, the thing is...”
"Yes, I'll keep it a secret."
The color returned to the apprentice butler. Smiling at the sight, I rubbed my neck and alluded, "Oh, I'm thirsty all of a sudden."
"Yes! I'll get you a drink right away!" The apprentice butler ran quickly as if his feet had caught on fire.
I’d only be here a short time, but it seemed like I’d be able to spend it comfortably because I found someone to take advantage of.
"Where's the butler-nim going in such a hurry?” Demuir had been looking around the splendid room curiously before approaching me and inquiring.
"He said he would bring us drinks so that we don't get thirsty.”
"Oh! A butler from a noble family sure is different. I was just thirsty from walking down the long hallway."
I did ask for a drink just in case. The apprentice butler’s impression rose, but I decided to move on since things were appropriate.
"By the way, are you sure you're gonna be okay? I heard the Alps are really dangerous." Demuir looked at me worriedly.
I smirked and asked, "Why? If it’s not okay, will you take my place?"
"Oh, no, that's a little... Sorry."
Demuir apologized, and I slapped him gently on the back. "Argh!"
"Don’t be a wimp; I didn’t hit you that hard, did I?”
"No, it really hurts! Keuk! Even my mother's palm wasn't that painful!” Demuir started flopping around on the floor as if it really hurt.
"Hahaha, don't apologize over a joke. Besides, I caught an ogre when I was five years old, caught a demon when I was eight, and even caught a dragon when I was twelve.”
"Hahaha, what a joke! Oh, that really hurts."
"Hahahaha! I don't think even a battle race could do that?”
I told the truth, but Demuir and the people from the headquarters laughed it off.
"Anyways, don't worry."
Everyone smiled bitterly at my words and nodded. The atmosphere was still a little dark.
"Then, I'm going to the bathroom for a moment."
In this atmosphere, I thought I’d get an upset stomach even before dinner.
"Come back before dinner." At Fiona's request, I waved lightly and indicated that I would.
Now, should I meet up with Hills in the brief time I have? I put on my glasses from my pocket space and checked Hillis’s location. More specifically, I checked the location of the ribbon I gave Hillis. If Hillis had left it in her room or put it in a pocket space, it would be impossible to locate her.
"Oh, it seems she’s doing well."
The recognition interference magic on the ribbon gave Hillis an on-off function, and the magic output could be adjusted. At its maximum output, it was possible for Albatoss, the captain of the Consecrated Paladin Division, not to recognize Hillis.
"Let's see where she is."
She wasn't that far away. I went out on a nearby terrace and skipped between the terraces, and arrived at the room where Hillis was. I felt three presences inside, and I didn’t feel any divine power aside from Hillis’s, so they weren’t the paladins.
Yet, the aura was stronger than I assumed? In addition, I could sense the scent of familiar mana. I was thinking about whether to knock or not, but I heard footsteps coming toward me as if they felt my presence from inside.
I had been keeping my presence to a minimum, so Hillis’s guest seemed to be quite a handful. The curtains on the terrace were pulled up, and someone opened the terrace.
It was Leisha noona who opened the terrace.Previous Chapter Next Chapter