In the deepest hour, it was quiet near the guest house where Adelaide was staying. Except for the knights on patrol and the attendants who occasionally pass by for work, there was no one around.
Amidst the confrontation with Aether, the Grand Castle could not attend to the guests.
A long time after the sun had set and darkness fell on the sky, several attendants came out from inside the guest house. Perhaps they were going out, they boarded an ordinary carriage in modest robes.
Haband’s envoys were able to roam most of the area within the Grand Castle except for the main building.
After inspection, the carriage headed out. As is the case in most places, the Grand Castle did not necessarily thoroughly inspect those who left. In addition, all the people in the carriage presented their identification cards as Haband’s delegation.
The guards at the gate were the ones who had to bow.
The guards looked around the people in the carriage. Four women. It was clear that they were the maids who tended Princess Adelaide from Haband.
After checking their identification cards and the number of people inside the carriage, the guards listed their time of departure.
As the carriage exited the gate, the woman sitting in the farthest corner opened her mouth.
“This makeup is quite annoying.”
“I’m sorry, but please be patient.”
The frustrated woman was Adelaide. She looked at the face reflected in the window. She could see a very strange woman. Her broad, protruding forehead; her thick, rustic eyebrows, and her drooping eyes below; her cheekbones protruding ridiculously; and her poorly colored lips.
Adelaide’s original appearance was nowhere to be seen.
When she asked what kind of talents the maids, who had been employed by the king, had, it must have been something like this. It was amazing. But at the same time it was annoying. It was as if her own strongest weapon had disappeared.
But there’s nothing I can do.
Princess Adelaide has slept early tonight in the guest house due to tension and fatigue. That way, she wouldn’t have come out in her wagon with someone else’s identification card.
The carriage moved for a long time before entering a dark alley. The carriage, which was quietly driving down the narrow road, stopped in front of the old building.
Adelaide got off from the carriage last, following her maids.
Where in the capital were they at that there was no sign of life? Adelaide looked at the building in front of her. She would have been a little relieved if there was a glimpse of light, but there wasn’t. Moreover, weeds and molds had grown on the wooden door. It was a barren house by all accounts.
The door opened as if it had been waiting for the ladies to enter quietly. In the dark, someone was standing with a small lamp.
“Welcome, I’ve been waiting for you.”
The bearer of the lamp guided Adelaide and her maids. As they descended the stairs leading to the basement through the creaking hallway, a thick iron door that did not fit the appearance of the house appeared.
When the guide raised their hand, the iron door opened and a long hallway appeared again. Unlike the dark empty hallway they had previously walked in, the hallway past the iron door was brightly light.
It’s all underground, so it looks like an empty house from above.
Adelaide headed inside, thinking that the real appearance of the building was meticulously hidden. They walked a long way down the hallway, and when they reached the door at the far end, the door opened again from within.
“Welcome, thank you for coming.”
“I’m glad to see you again.”
Adelaide smiled gracefully at Vanessa, who bowed to her.
Vanessa Schultz. Although the head of the Council, she was banned from entering the Grand Castle. Even with the invasion of Aether’s army, she was still unable to enter the castle.
Usually, in this situation, the Council will try to replace the chair position, but Vanessa still holds the presidency, and no one in the Council has had any complaints. She was indeed the person in charge of the practical affairs in Hessenguard.
When Vanessa and Adelaide first met, Vanessa had been polite, but she kept a distance. Adelaide didn’t like her attitude. Though she was civil, she did not grovel like everyone else.
However, Vanessa had asked to meet her.
Adelaide had to leave the Grand Castle in order to meet her in person. To do so, she had to put on this ridiculous make-up.
“I have something important to discuss privately,” said Vanessa.
Adelaide bit her lips as she glanced at her maids. She decided to comply, thinking that if Vanessa was going to do something to her, she would have already done it anyway. She had come all the way here, even though she felt frightened, and she didn’t want to be ridiculed.
When everyone withdrew, Vanessa offered Adelaide a seat and poured her tea.
“I want to hear why you asked me to meet you separately,” Adelaide spoke. She didn’t want to beat around the bush.
Since Hessenguard and Aether communicated through magic, Adelaide could easily hear what Aether demanded. They intended to make Hessenguard an ally of Aether.
Adelaide remembered Callion. She had spent a decent time with him over the past few weeks. It seemed it was seen as a new threat to the Kingdom of Aether. So they wanted Ruben to take Kalion’s place.
Adelaide couldn’t let that happen. What should change should be the representative of Haband, not the representative of Aether. She herself should be crowned Grand Duke on behalf of Erna.
But she couldn’t easily execute her plan just because she wanted it, so she couldn’t help it. But Adelaide didn’t expect Vanessa to contact her like this.
When Adelaide urged, Vanessa nodded as if she understood.
“Our Council cannot stand the rudeness of Aether in its trespassing on Hessengard. In addition, Grand Duke Erna, who is deliberately ignoring this situation, should no longer be in position.”
“So?” Adelaide asked eagerly, as if she could not wait to hear her next words any longer.
“Prince Adelaide, will you lead Hessenguard with Grand Duke Kalion?”
At Vanessa’s words, Adelaide brought the teacup to her mouth.
At long last, she got what she wanted.
* * *
“Then take a look. Please excuse me for greeting you here, as there are many looking eyes.”
“Never mind that.”
Adelaide seemed quite happy as she left the room.
Now alone, Vanessa stood still in the solitary room and approached the table. She opened the drawer of her desk roughly and rummaged through the inside. She took out a rolled paper. Inside was a cigarette that she decided to smoke only when something extremely agitating happened.
Vanessa hissed under her breath before placing the cigarette in between her lips and lit it. She glared at the door where Adelaide had left and muttered, “Even if it’s a lie, I feel like a dog.”