Author: Gina

“Duke Astorf.”

As he slowly turned around at the voice calling him, a middle-aged man was standing there. The man with a neat face and formal attire was someone Debron knew well. He was the father of his colleague Feriel, Count Tevious.

“Count Tevious.”

From the expression and voice of Debron looking at the Count, there was a sign of dissatisfaction with him. His eyes weren’t even looking at him properly.

However, with a nonchalant face, the Count gave him a light greeting as if it had been a while. Touching his mustache, he kept talking.

“I heard that you suppressed the rebels before the festival by order of the Emperor. As soon as you got to the capital after the subjugation, it was the Aktail Festival. You must have suffered a lot.”

“Don’t mention it.

“What do you mean! For the Duke of Astorf, it doesn’t matter how many rebels there are. I heard rumors that you suppressed them as if you had read the front.”

“It was just God’s help.”

“The move of the tomb of the first emperor to the Imperial Palace side is also going well. It was the Duke of Astorf’s suggestion.”

“That’s right.”

Despite Debron’s short answer, Count Tevious burst into laughter, exclaiming, ‘The Duke is too humble!’ And although he was silent, the Count didn’t let him go. He just changed the subject and continued blabbering.

“Ah. Come to think of it, I have heard the good news from the Duchy.”

The corners of the mouth of Count Tevious raised as he said that. His voice, looking at Debron as if congratulating him, was supremely bright.

“Finally, the commoner left the Duke’s residence. You’ve finally relieved your worries, congratulations, Duke Astorf.”

“. . .”

At the words of Count Tevious, Debron’s eyebrows rose upward, and the gaze that was looking leisurely out the window reached the Count. The gaze was sharp, but not seeing it, the Count smiled and waved his hand.

“I also know how much of a trouble that commoner was. Heh, really. Just because she gave some directions to the warriors… It must have been that my daughter, who was lacking, had led it. Ever since she was a child, she had been causing trouble.”

The Count’s eyes narrowed with a lightly tongue-tied tongue. He must have been thinking of Feriel. He always had that kind of eyes when he looked down on her. However, when he looked up at Debron again, his eyes had the same smile as before.

“We and the other warrior families suffered a lot because of that commoner who did not know the subject. Of course, it is nothing compared to the Duke who took care of her and had her on his own…”

Count Tevious, who had been talking up to that point, abruptly shut his mouth. His vision was suddenly darkened. It must not have suddenly become night. It wasn’t an eclipse. When he raised his head, Debron was looking down at him with his back to the sunlight pouring in from the window.

“Huh?” The count blinked at the atmosphere that changed in an instant.

Debron’s body, which was still huge, looked even bigger due to his back to the sunlight, and his face looked darker. Without realizing it, the Count swallowed his saliva and almost took a step back. The silence and the gaze seemed to have become blades.

“…Count Tevious.”

It was a brief silence, but it must have been long for the Count. As Debron opened his mouth, the Count twitched slightly.

“Be careful with your mouth.”

Then, his hand slowly approached the Count’s neck.

“Ahk!” The count shrank without realizing it. It couldn’t be, but for a moment, that hand felt like strangling him. Debron’s hand only swept around the Count pattern embroidered on his shirt collar.

“You never know how and when those words you spat will come back at you.”

Debron, who had been saying that far, raised the corner of his mouth and held a fishy smile.

“Actually, the Count is on the lucky side.”

Slowly, though, that luck could run out.

That was it. Debron turned around as if he had no regrets and walked away. The Count, who was left alone in the long corridor of the Imperial Palace, was able to take a deep breath only when he completely lost sight of Debron’s back as he went away.

“…Crazy.”

‘What’s wrong with him? Why is he reacting like that after acting so coldly so far?’ Without realizing it, the Count touched the side where Debron’s fingertips had rubbed.

“Rumors are circulating that he went crazy due to the aftereffects of facing the dragon, but that seems to be the case.”

Otherwise, such an attitude couldn’t be understood. The Count, who had been looking at the place where Debron had disappeared, clicked his tongue and barely turned around.

 

*    *    *

 

He slowly blinked his eyes at the tiredness that weighed on his body. He came out after being tormented by the Emperor, and then a bothersome man approached him. He always hated Count Tevious, but he hated him even more at that time. ‘Let’s wait a little longer.’ It was something that had to be dealt with when the time passed. Debron bit the inside of his lips.

“Duke Astorf.”

No, it wasn’t just those two who he had to deal with. Many people were going back and forth between the long Imperial Palace corridors, and most of them approached Debron with a smile on their face as soon as they saw him.

“I heard the good news.”

“I heard that the commoner finally left the mansion.”

“Congratulations, Duke!”

People approached him without predicting what result the words he uttered to win his favor would bring back. The bright voices that hid their intentions, the gestures at him, all of that intensified his fatigue. Eventually, he escaped the crowd and went into a room. Whether it was a guest room, the neatly arranged room was empty. Debron threw the stuffy white uniform coat on the long sofa and unbuttoned one of his shirt buttons. Only then did the feeling of strangling disappear and he breathed a little comfortably.

As soon as he sat on the sofa, his body collapsed. Debron swept his face as if he were washing his face dry. The leader of the knights, Shiobold, who followed him, carefully opened his mouth, paying close attention to Debron.

“Duke. As directed, I dealt with a man named Simon. He was drunk and the festival was crowded, so no one will ever suspect it.”

tl-n: omg he killed the man who assaulted Cornelia on her way back after meeting the warrior that afternoon? Omo Omo, such a blackened ML.

Debron nodded and wrote something down on a piece of paper and I delivered the note to Shiobold.

“Please pass this on to Van.”

The note he had given to his vassal had the names of those who spoke to him earlier.

tl-n: omg what’s wrong with this Duke!! Lmao

Knowing that it was due to the disrespect they had done to others rather than the disrespect they had done to Debron, Shiobold thought about trying to stop his master but then nodded his head.

Because this wasn’t the first time this happened.

After Shiobold bowed his head and went out, a sound was heard. It seemed that another knight was standing guard to prevent someone from entering the room.

Finally, Debron, who was finally left alone, reached out of the huge window. His line of thought went far away. Exactly, in a faraway place where even his eyes couldn’t reach.

‘Should I go?’

It was still time for the sun to rise. If he rode a horse even now, he would be able to cross the gate before the sun was completely tilted. And if he kept riding, he would be able to catch up with the carriage resting at the halfway point. Even if they parted early in the morning, the wagon was slow, so he would have plenty of time.

Ah. Debron’s eyes narrowed. Suddenly he got up and grabbed the doorknob. Had he woke up a little later, he might have been riding a horse already.

Debron hardened to move his hand again and sat back on the sofa. He felt more tired than when he was dealing with people before. She’ll be back. Giving strength to his hand, Debron engraved so. She will come back. There was no reason not to come back. The most dangerous and most worrisome part passed.

If she came back this time, she might be a bit freer. No, will she have to shrink more?

A lot of thoughts came to his mind, and then they went down.

“Until when…”

As he muttered, his eyes looked away. Red blood trickled down his cheeks.

“De- Debron. Are you there?”

And then, a cautious voice was heard.

 

*      *     *

 

The journey down to Yorkben Village was more comfortable than I thought. Although it was not the largest carriage in the Duke’s residence, it was still a large carriage, so there was no shaking, and there were no difficulties such as sudden monster attacks. Thanks to that, the scroll that Feriel gave me was still in my arms. I thought I’d never use it, so I put it in my leather pocket along with some gems I had for emergencies.

In a village where we stopped by, I got a small but neat inn, and the food wasn’t bad. The knights didn’t treat me as harshly as they used to, probably because they sympathized with me for losing my grandmother. No, it wasn’t just a little bit, they showed me favor. How touching that was.

Seeing the knight reaching out his hand to me when I got off the carriage telling me to be careful, I was somehow both happy and bitter.

The carriage ran without stopping, and the closer I got to the village of Yorkben, the more my heart was filled with excitement.

“Now, a little further away is Yorkben village.”

I nodded at the words of the knight who escorted me. Because I knew the scenery seen through the small carriage window. A little further from here was the road I used to walk to another village to buy things. And over to the other side was the forest I used to go to pick mushrooms. If I walk along the road and go to the right, there is a stream. It was a place I often went to with my grandmother in the summer…

“Ah.”

Something came to sight as I recalled all those memories. A sign that Uncle Bill had put up was old, but the writing was as clear as new.

[Yorkben Village]

Finally, I came back to where I grew up. As soon as the carriage stopped, I hurriedly got off. The village I returned to after two years had not changed, and it remained as it was in my happy memories.

“Oh my God, who is this? It’s Cornelia?”

“Cornelia Noona!”

“Come out, Cornelia is back!”

When Uncle Bill, who found me, shouted, people came out of their houses one by one and ran to me with a bright face.

“Cornelia, did you come all the way from the capital?”

“You must be tired.”

Uncle Bill, Isaac and Adele, Aunt Fudge, Maurice and Berry, and…

“You came back safely. Cornelia.”

Aunt Marge hugged me. It was a warmth I had never felt in the capital city. No one here treated me like a stone. As the commoner who gave directions and stuck in the Duke’s residence.

“I’m back. Thank you for welcoming me…”

‘I’m back’ ‘welcome.’ It seemed like lost words while living in the Duke’s mansion for the past two years. Somehow, my tongue seemed to have hardened.

“…Thank you, everyone.”

I was choked with words I had never said before at the Duchy, and I finally burst into tears in Aunt Marge’s arms.

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Comments (4)

  1. Thanks for update this, I just hope that Cornelia have enjoy her life quickly

  2. My god, I hate the duke, he’s soooooo offended they badmouth Cornelia and yet he did nothing while it was happening in his own home, and one could say “he didn’t know” and such but that’s not excuse, he ignored her, ignored her letters and requests to meet, who does that???? For two years? While slowly using her grandma as leverage? Hell no, that dude better not be the ml