The next day, Diello called Rick into his office and gave him an order.
“Eliminate all the spies in the mansion without fail.”
His expression was cold, indicating his anger.
It was the first time since Diello became the Duke of Argenta that a traitor under Rick’s list was ‘executed.’ It was on a different scale from when they disposed of those directly involved in the poisoning incident. Within a few days, a significant number of servants were taken away.
Although we already thought about it, I didn’t expect this kind of scale. The servants were both fearful and hopeful of Diello Argenta’s new image, after all.
“The Duke has finally made up his mind to become strong.”
Some said this.
“Perhaps he is angry because his wife was in danger?”
This was mainly said by the servants on the lower floors.
“Well, the Duke fell deeply in love with his wife.”
“That’s right, if it weren’t for the wife that day…”
“Shh, be quiet.”
He heard their reactions and came to a conclusion.
“He’s being played.”
I heard the comments from Vielle, who conveyed the news.
“Some people will be taken care of, so the atmosphere in the mansion will become more severe.”
Vielle bowed her head.
“Take extra care of them so that the ‘real’ Argenta people do not feel anxious. It would be troublesome if those who devoted their true loyalty were anxious.”
“I understand your orders.”
Vielle added another greeting.
“For the sake of Argenta.”
* * *
“The Madam was also proactive?”
Redias Argenta was in the knight’s quarters. Strictly speaking, he didn’t have any rank within the knight order. Actually, he was referred to as the commander of the fourth zone of the endless sea, but that only referred to the zone he was in charge of, and his actual position was that of a senior knight.
“Yes, that’s right!”
In response to his words, Betty, the youngest knight in the order, replied smoothly while offering an apple. The mansion, which had become more stable since troublesome people were taken care of, was actually more peaceful than before.
‘The Madam led this atmosphere…?’
It was unbelievable to think that she came from Alors, which prioritized performance over internal cohesion and treated servants and knights as expendable. She seemed to have adapted very well to the atmosphere of Argenta.
It was at that moment that he unconsciously praised the new Madam…
“By the way, did you know that this time…”
The Knight Betty started her story subtly.
He was in the midst of a relationship consultation. He looked at the youngest knight, who was worrying about her current romantic relationship.
“It seems like he likes another knight, but I don’t think he’s aware of it? I don’t know who the knight is, either. Should I intervene right now?”
Betty was contemplating the biggest worry of her life.
Redias spoke with a solemn face.
“If you don’t express your feelings, no one will know.”
Betty hesitated at his words.
“But when teaching military tactics, you said not to reveal your feelings…”
“Is love a battlefield?”
Redias frowned before he paused.
It was a battlefield.
Realizing an important truth, he subtly changed his words.
“Love is… like a one-on-one duel on the battlefield.”
A one-on-one battle between commanders, a fierce fight! But a fight that cannot be hidden! The result must be made between them!
Betty exclaimed with admiration and nodded repeatedly.
“I feel like I understand something!”
…What did she understand?
However, even if he taught her one thing, there were countless other things to learn from that enlightenment, so Redias didn’t think it was his area of expertise.
“By the way, Madam gave an active order to get rid of those guys…”
While the actual order was given by the head, it was clear that she had a say in the process. In fact, the Madam’s will had a significant influence on the Duke’s decision.
What kind of conversation did they have?
It was regrettable that he couldn’t meet her because he was busy with his job. In the meantime, she must have penetrated deeply into the hearts of the people of Argenta. Nevertheless, it was not an unpleasant infiltration.
“When Madam first arrived, the thoughts of the servants changed a lot.”
“She paid more attention to the distribution of shadows than I expected. I couldn’t believe she had been an Alors.”
“Yes, from that day on, not only basic supplies but also additional items were distributed. It became so anticipated.”
When Radius met the families of the retired or deceased Argenta warriors, they all spoke happily about the Madam.
“We were so surprised and grateful when Madam appeared on the battlefield. We thought she would be afraid of it….”
“Especially when she stopped Master’s outburst, it was really…”
Since then, the Argenta people quickly noticed the changes in shadow distribution. It went from just providing essential supplies to adding small touches. As someone in charge of managing it, it could be bothersome, but Krua closely observed the recipients of the distribution after taking charge of it.
And she sent surprise gifts. One or two little things would be added.
They weren’t expensive. Magic paints were designed for easy drawing or cross-stitch supplies.
“She personally chose and sent them?”
Krua simply expressed gratitude for those who dedicated their lives to Argenta, but it meant something different to Argenta.
He clearly felt that Madam was someone who cared about each individual in Argenta, and Argenta people were someone who didn’t forget even the smallest favors. That was how the Argenta people and the Madam became closer much faster than Redias had imagined.
“What about the lord…?”
Betty listened intently, clearly expecting a clever quote about her love life. Of course, there was nothing like that, so Redias said again.
“No, it’s nothing.”
While doing so, he continued the train of thought that he had suppressed. It seemed that the lord had already fallen deeply for Madam.
Even more than he thought.
Redias held back a sigh. He knew how dangerous love could be.
Love could bring down the rational mind and blind the eyes of the wise. Krua was the double-edged sword for Argenta, who could both hurt him and save him, and there was time until the sea became busy.
It was time for them to meet directly.
* * *
I received the formal visit request from Redias Argenta on a relatively quiet afternoon. However, it was Diello who brought the news, not a servant or a knight.
“If it makes you uncomfortable, you don’t need to go.”
I didn’t think Redias would have personally asked Diello to convey it to me. Was he concerned about me because I received the visit request?
“I heard there’s nothing more uncomfortable than being with the husband’s family.”
Still, the words that followed from him were truly unexpected.
Did he come all the way here to say that?
I let out a small laugh.
“No, I’m not uncomfortable.”
Was that what he meant?
I didn’t know where he heard something like that, though I appreciated his consideration. Regardless, Redias Argenta didn’t seem like the kind of person to trouble me like that. Besides, there was no reason to keep him, a crucial force of Argenta, away.
“How can I refuse it?”
Even if I would eventually leave, I should make it clear when the time comes.
“Do it or don’t. If I’m going to do it, I should do it properly, as the new Madam.”
When I said that, Diello, who had slightly tilted his head, smiled brightly.
“You’re truly an exceptional person, Krua.”
Not sure if he saw me confused or not, Diello gestured to the maid.
The maid bowed her head and silently withdrew. It seemed she was going to convey the message that I had accepted the request to visit.
Watching her, I suddenly felt slightly uneasy.
Diellos’ teacher and adoptive father, the blood relative of the Argenta main family, and the counselor who played a role as the family’s elder.
It wasn’t a bad sign that he wanted to meet.
No, it was actually a good sign.
This development was completely absent from the original story, so I was a little, just a little, anxious. If I were to proceed exactly as in the original, I wouldn’t have entered into a contract marriage. Why was I so on edge about this?
I wiped my cold hand on my palm.
“Are you cold?”
As Diello gently held my hand, which had turned cold, the sense of security and warmth enveloped me.
He smiled softly.
It had become a familiar smile without my realizing it. My heart would ache if that smile disappeared from that face.
…When did I become so accustomed to it?
I shook my head.
It would be troublesome to be captivated by his charm, even if it was mesmerizing.
And so, the next day, tea time was arranged.