“Could it be that Lady Norman just heard the rumors and said something strange to the lady?”
“What? It’s not like that. Rather, she invited me to a party.”
“A birthday party?”
“Yes, they are going to have a small party at the count’s house, so she wants me to come with Leon.”
“Is Lady Norman going to be escorted by Duke Khalid that day?”
“I guess so.”
Helen frowned at me, who nodded while swallowing the pudding.
“In a word, it means if you really have no feelings for Duke Khalid, come to my party and prove it.”
“There’s nothing bad about it. I was also in trouble because of that rumor.”
“What’s not bad! It seems that the young lady intends to use you to show off her relationship with Duke Khalid!”
“Well, after talking to her, she doesn’t seem like such a bad young lady.”
As I tilted my head, Helen hit her chest with her fist.
“Oh, my innocent lady. You can’t say that everyone is a good person like that. Then, it’s instant to blow up all your money and sit on the street!”
“What are you worrying about? Where is all the wealth that will blow up on me?”
“You surprised me. don’t scream, you are going to lose your voice”
I put the pudding in Helen’s mouth to eat sweets and calm down. Reflexively taking a bite, Helen smiled ecstatically at the soft texture of the pudding and the sweetness of the caramel, even though she said that If I keep doing this, her habit would get worse.
“The pudding is really good… Oh, Anyway, if nothing really happened, why were you sighing like that?”
“I feel sorry for Leon.”
“Are you sorry Marquis Ajas? Why?”
“We were together when I was invited. While I was thinking about it for a while, he said he would escort me first.”
“Oh, my God, what a grateful man! I can’t believe he is trying so hard for you.”
“Right? I am so thankful. But did Leon come to the capital to find a fiancee?”
“A fiancee? Then why..?”
A sixth sigh escaped from my mouth before the question of whether Margrave Ajas had a crush on the young lady jumped out of Helen’s mouth.
“What if rumors spread that he and you are in a deep relationship and it becomes difficult to find a fiancée?”
“After dating you, he is probably trying to talk to other families. right?”
“What? No, if that’s true, I’ll run over and scratch Marquis Ajas’s face with my fingernails!”
“Yes! he was dating and escorting everything, but getting married is a different kind of love?” I’d rather die, if I died, I’ll never see that!”
“No, why are you…”
“Lady! Don’t tell me ‘I’m too short to stand next to Marquis Aias…’ You’re not going to step back, are you?”
Helle even pretended to be a theater actor narrating on stage while holding hands.
“What’s missing from the lady? After all, our young lady, as bright as the spring sun, is much more precious to the cold Ajas of the North!”
“Oh, no, hey, Helen…”
“If someone says something, tell me everything. This Helen will diligently file her nails!”
“No, not that… I hate to do it.”
Helen blinked her eyes at my words.
“You don’t want to get married? With Marquis Aias?”
I nodded, and Helen frowned as if she couldn’t understand.
“Then why did you go on a date?”
“That’s it, to put down the rumors between Duke Khalid and me.”
“Did you just say that you used the heart of Marquis Ajas because of the rumors, my lady?”
I didn’t raise it like that! I jumped in surprise at Helen, who was staring at me.
“Isn’t it like that? Leon also didn’t ask me out because he liked me. He had a different reason.”
“For what reason?”
I looked through the room a couple of times, which was only me and Helen, as if it were uncanny to anyone to hear, and whispered in a small voice.
“Brother Liv’s diary.”
* * *
Day x month x year xx Weather clear. After consulting with my parents, I assigned a child of a similar age to Nel as a maid.
Nell quickly fell in love with the child. The two of them often ran around the mansion and played, but it was so trouble that Helen crossed the line. She dared to call her master by name.
Nell said she told Helen to call her that, but it’s something I can forgive. I immediately tried to kick Helen out. My parents also gave me permission. However, she became Nell’s maid again as Nell cried and complained.
Helen was disciplined and never called Nell by name again. Nell seemed very upset about it, but she didn’t seem to ask Helen for an unreasonable favor again. Perhaps she realized that Helen was the one who would be disadvantaged if she was greedy.
And only after that was over, I realized. Wasn’t this the first time Nell had been crying and screaming?
Was it that there hadn’t been anything that made her cry and scream before, or was there something like that, but had she endured it? If so, why? Why doesn’t a child who is only 7 years old not beg for what she wants?
“That surprises me.”
Leonhard raised his head and looked at Robert, not at all surprised. There was a subtle displeasure on his face at the fact that his concentration had been broken.
“I also tried not to interfere. But An invitation has come from the imperial palace, Captain.”
“At the imperial palace?”
Even if he was the Marquis of Ajas, he couldn’t ignore that.
At the word to bring it here, Robert quickly held up the envelope with a gold wax seal with both hands and delivered it to Leonhard.
“His Majesty sent it.”
“His Majesty? why?”
Because of the answer, Robert’s voice became small. Leonhard folded the letter roughly and put it back in the envelope, as if the culprit was here and that he wouldn’t be so frightened with at least one letter.
“I don’t know. He just told me to enter the palace because he has something to say.”
“At any time. I need to write a reply, so bring some stationery and a pen.”
Perhaps because of the envelope he received, Robert came with a letter paper, a quill pen, and a stand to put the paper on.
Leonhard wrote back without much thought. Robert, standing behind him and peeking over his shoulder at the contents, asked in surprise.
“Are you going to enter the palace the day after tomorrow?”
“Then? I already have a schedule for tomorrow.”
“So, are you saying you’re postponing His Majesty’s call in order to give priority to the Howard family’s daughter?”
“But Those who wait for you are His Majesty!”
“Wait or not. Since when did Ajas live by paying attention to the emperor?”
Indeed, if the owner of Ajas’s authority decides to cause a terror attack in the capital, it is only a matter of time before the imperial palace collapses.
Apart from other things, the biggest problem was that the sword did not work for Leonhard unless he was a sword master. Even if the knights were there, it did not mean that he couldn’t be stopped.
For this reason, the first emperor of Estroa cut off the land in the north, where the land was devastated and infested with monsters in numerous dungeons, and handed it over to the head of Ajas, guaranteeing autonomy.
‘I have given you the title of Marquis, so you must protect the northern border from barbarians and monsters.’
Giving away that northland as a territory and giving him autonomy? Other nobles deserved to protest, but no one did.
That would be true, too, because it was a vast territory and autonomy, but in reality, there was nothing that could be done in the north.
In the eyes of other nobles, that was the equivalent of a banishment.
However, the Marquis of Ajas went to the north without a word of protest and struck down the barbarians who were plundering the people of the empire.
Even during the change of generations so many times, the Margrave of Ajas did not go down to the capital, concentrating only on arranging the northern part, and the emperor did not bother him by reducing or suppressing the authority of the Marquis.
As hundreds of years passed, it became an unwritten rule that the Marquis of Ajas did not intervene in central politics and the emperor did not interfere in the north.
So, although the Margrave of Ajax would not be loyal to the emperor, he would not be disloyal, but a timid wizard who was not a noble, he felt uneasy.
“Please…Captain, whenever you do that, my heart beats. No matter what, the opponent is His Majesty the Emperor.”
“That’s why I only do this when you’re not around.”
“Yeah, that’s great…”
With a sigh, Robert accepted the reply from Leonhard.
After sending a reply to the emperor’s messenger waiting below, Robert returned to the guest room and sighed as he saw Leonhard reading Oliver’s diary.
There was a hint of annoyance in his voice. Knowing that he would be kicked out immediately if he added unnecessary words, Robert asked directly and without hesitation.
“Did you choose the Howard daughter as your fiancée?”
Leonhard lifted his head and looked at him. Robert felt a drop of sweat run down his spine at Leonhard’s stare at him without a word.
‘Have I crossed the line?’
“Why do you ask that?”
Fortunately, that didn’t seem to be the case. Robert secretly sighed and let out a whining voice for no reason.
“Why are you asking? Knowing that, shouldn’t you be clear about my attitude towards Lady Howard? You have to prepare in advance for marriage talks.”
In the first place, he came down with the intention of saving his fiancée, so the gifts to send for marriage were prepared in advance. However, if he wants to show his sincerity, shouldn’t he prepare a gift tailored to the family?
“Prepare what I said before, and wait for the other things. Because I couldn’t ask the young lady for that.”
“Young lady? Aren’t you asking to Count Howard?”
“Is Count Howard the man I will marry?”
From the beginning, Leonhard wanted only one thing from his wife-to-be. To take good care of Noah like her own child. He came down to the capital thinking that any lady would be fine as long as he promised that.
‘It’s the same as me. I’m not going to hand him over to anyone either.’
‘I knew that it was said in front of Lady Norman and Duke Khalid. But anyway, can you say that to someone who you didn’t love?’
‘If you have a crush on me….’
Leonhard’s gaze went to the arm Raenel held tight and the shoulder she rested her head on. Not knowing that his ears had turned a little red, Robert asked hastily.
“So when are you going to ask?”
“I told you I had an appointment.”
Leonhard looked back at Oliver’s diary, leaving only one last word as if to declare, it was the last time he would read that.
“Tomorrow, I will propose.”
* * *