Author: alyalia

I asked, rubbing my waist, “How long do we have to go?”

 

“We have to ride four more days,” Paku replied, throwing a branch into the bonfire.

 

“Four days?”

 

“Yes. This plain is so wide that even close neighbors can only be reached by ride for two days.”

 

I made a tired face.

 

“At least we survived because of the water and dry food.”

 

In the saddle of the stolen horse, water and dry food were prepared for the nomadic people. Thank goodness.

 

It had already been four days since we ran away from the Surg tribe, and we couldn’t find anything that resembled fruit trees and wild fruits like in Harpion. There was only an endless plain of low grass. What on earth do people in this empire eat?

 

“Arianna, I have a question,” said Charter.

 

I thought his talk had decreased sharply since we had escaped, but it looked like he was in the mood to talk now.

 

“Yes, just ask.”

 

Charter hesitated for a while, even with my permission, and then struggled to open his mouth. “I know it’s rude, but I’ll ask. Where on earth did that pocket knife come from? Obviously, when you fell into the river, I took off all your clothes and boots to dry them, but the pocket knife was nowhere to be found.”

 

I asked, widening my eyes. “Did you only think about it for three whole days?”

 

“That’s not true, but…” Charter murmured, lowering the ends of his eyebrows.

 

Of course, he didn’t have time to talk because he was organizing his thoughts for three days and trying to figure out a way to prevent the disaster from coming. Still, he only asked what he was curious about. For some reason, it was quite embarrassing when he looked like he had been thinking about something trivial for three days.

 

I sat down next to Charter and took off my right boot. Charter’s eyes grew bigger, and he hurriedly looked at Paku. In the Harpion Empire, there was a custom that women’s ankles shouldn’t be shown to men recklessly. Paku was surprised to see her ankle. However, Paku was interested in her boot, not her ankle.

 

“By any chance, what device is in it?” Paku was also curious and raised his chin to look inside the boot.

 

I opened my mouth with a smile, glad I was finally revealing this secret. “It’s a simple device. There’s a groove cut under this insole. I just have to take the insole off.”

 

“But don’t you have to use your hands to remove the insole?”

 

At Charter’s point, I raised my eyes for a moment, then smiled with satisfaction. “Yes. That’s the key to this device. I put a thin leather strap on the toe side of the insole. If I had to, I could pull the strap with my toe and remove the insole.”

 

“How can you pull a strap with your toes?” Charter asked in disbelief.

 

I looked at him and said with a smile, “I learned from the master of the toe art.”

 

* * *

At that time, in Dale’s house.

 

“Hmm. It’s very simple. It looks no different than an inn room on the outskirts of town,” said Madrenne, looking around Dale’s house.

 

“Everything you need is here.”

 

“There seem to be many things you don’t have.”

 

Dale’s brows narrowed. It was the first time since his mother that someone nagged him in his house. It was also his first time bringing someone except his mother, but nagging must be something no one would want to hear.

 

“You don’t have to worry because I’ll get you a separate room,” said Dale.

 

“No! I want to be with you. What if I get attacked again after being alone?” replied Madrenne hurriedly. Of course, the attack was just an excuse, and she wanted to be with Dale.

 

“If that’s the case, we’ll have to adjust it because we’ll have to stay here for a while.”

 

“Of course. But can I fill in a few things? No matter how I look at it, this place is too—”

 

“Never! Don’t ever think about putting anything here.”

 

Madrenne’s mouth became sulky at Dale’s determined attitude.

 

“I agree with Miss Madrenne. Why is this house so empty… And what on earth is that cramped bed for? Surely, you won’t tell me to sleep over there, right?” said Viscount Girol.

 

Dale was at a loss for his words.

 

Then Madrenne replied. “Oh my, Viscount Girol. Can’t you see there’s only one bed here? Are you sure you want to make a lady sleep on the floor?”

 

This time, Viscount Girol was at a loss for words and only left his mouth wide open. The more I look at her, the more shameless and oblivious she is.

 

Viscount Girol didn’t forget. When a mysterious man entered the cabin in the forest, Madrenne’s gun touched the top of his head. He could feel the heat from the muzzle that had just been fired on the top of his head. At that time, he thought he was really going to die and desperately clung to her to be saved. However, the more he thought about it, the more he got angry. And that woman still had that gun.

 

Damn it.

 

That night, Viscount Girol had no choice but to lie down on the stiff bedding in the corner of an empty, unfurnished room.

 

When Madrenne and Dale confirmed that Viscount Girol was asleep, they spoke in a low voice.

 

“Because we have been ordered not to be caught, I can’t ask for help or communicate with anyone. So I’m frustrated that I can’t hear from the duke either.”

 

“It will be fine. He’s Duke Kaien, right? First of all, since we safely rescued Viscount Girol, why don’t we take a break?”

 

Madrenne spoke brightly to ease Dale’s worries, but Dale’s worries did not go away easily.

 

“I don’t have a good feeling about it. I’m worried that the duke might have had some trouble.”

 

“Is there any reason you feel that way? Are you spiritually connected to the duke?”

 

Dale smiled at Madrenne’s mischievous question. “No, but something feels strange. As if something had happened to him.”

 

Madrenne, who knew Dale was preoccupied with useless worries, said cheerfully, “If that’s the case, don’t worry. I’m feeling really good right now. Isn’t that proof that baroness is safe?”

 

Dale noticed Madrenne was trying to console him and smiled softly. Of course, his worry didn’t completely disappear. Still, it was an opportunity to realize that he was almost caught up in the worry and messed up. He felt grateful for Madrenne’s consideration. He never dreamed that Madrenne was someone who would feel pleased when Arianne in crisis. 

 

* * *

The most expensive and luxurious restaurant in the capital, Michelin. Among them, the private room on the 3rd floor was exclusively given only to members. On the 3rd floor, two men sat opposite each other in the most scenic room.

 

“Long time no see, Count Yabai.”

 

“Yes, long time no see, Count Bornes.”

 

As always, Yabai was accustomed to Count Bornes’s goodwill and never thought to be concerned about Count Bornes’s intention to invite him to such a good place.

 

“First of all, let’s have a drink and get started. I got some precious liquor this time, which made me remind of you.”

 

“Hoho. You’re taking care of me again. I’m just grateful.”

 

The waiter poured wine into the glass at Count Bornes’s glance and quietly left the room. Yabai couldn’t take his eyes off the glass because of the word precious liquor. He didn’t even notice the dangerous and sharp aura in Count Bornes’s eyes.

 

Count Yabai, who gracefully took the glass into his mouth, sipped the wine and smiled with satisfaction. “It’s really a good drink. Where did you get that drink from?”

 

“It’s the liquor I got from the trader. I bought it for 200 gold.”

 

“200 gold?”

 

Count Yabai’s eyes flashed with greed. He desperately wanted to empty his glass and fill it up again. Still, he was content with emptying half a glass to show his dignity as a noble.

 

Count Yabai loved money and gambling. There was one reason why he liked to gamble. Because he almost always won money. Seeing him like that, people around him praised him as a really lucky person, and he himself thought it was true.

 

But what are the chances of winning money all the time in gambling? His luck came from Count Bornes. Count Bornes manipulated the game so that Yabai could always win money. Yabai, who had a good family but wasn’t smart, played into Count Bornes’s hands. Even if he knew the truth, he won anyway, so what kind of complaints would he have?

 

Every day he stamped his attendance at the gambling house run by Count Bornes. And today, Count Bornes was thinking of recovering from him, an investment Count Yabai didn’t know about.

 

“How is your father-in-law?”

 

Yabai, who was just filling his glass to the question of Count Bornes, replied sourly. “Ah, yes. He’s still the same. But it’s hard to see him because he’s busy with something.”

 

“Is that so? He must have been playing with his son.”

 

When Count Bornes mentioned the son of Duke Krow, Yabai’s complexion visibly hardened.

 

“Well, I suppose so.”

 

Count Bornes raised the corners of his mouth fishily. He deliberately offended Count Yabai.

 

“His son is very intelligent. He will succeed the duchy in the future.”

 

“…”

 

Count Yabai drank without saying a word. He drank 200 gold worth of precious liquor per bottle, but it tasted bitter in his mouth for some reason.

 

“Still, he has a great son-in-law. How can he only care about his son?”

 

Yabai’s eyes turned to the Count of Bornes. “What are you trying to say?”

 

Count Bornes slowed down, leisurely sipping the wine. Count Yabai couldn’t resist this and started to ask him. “Are you saying I can’t be any less than his beloved son?”

 

As Count Yabai spoke, he looked at Count Bornes. It was because he thought there might be some way.

 

The Count of Bornes decided to scratch his itch. “As you know, isn’t this a world where women can receive titles now? Just because you’re his son-in-law, there’s no law against your inheriting the title. In this imperial law…”

 

After saying that, Count Bornes looked down at Yabai’s expression, pretending to look down at the glass.

 

Count Yabai’s eyes were filled with greed and delight. Count Bornes was the father of the first woman to receive the title in the history of the Harpion Empire. If so, maybe…

 

Count Yabai was overjoyed when he received the marriage talk from the Duke Krow family. Although he was from a noble family with a long history, he was only a count. He gladly accepted it, thinking maybe he could go higher. But Duke Krow told him, ‘Don’t overdo it.’

 

Yabai’s eyes sank coolly. “What should I do?”

 

At this, Count Bornes’s eyes bent softly as they could be. 

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