Kalion began to explain to Erna in detail while she laid down what had happened; so much that she could not be thought of as a grumbling person.
“Unfortunately, Marquess Canavan is alive and breathing. And he has gotten quite better. Strange enough, however, he still has some swelling, so his mental state is just fine, but it’s still difficult for him to move. I think when Haband’s new envoy arrives he’s planned to be placed in a carriage and taken back.”
Kalion had overheard some of Haband’s delegates whispering in the corner.
After the news that a new envoy was coming, the delegates staying in Hessenguard were busy preparing for it.
Obviously, it was natural that they were less interested in Marquess Canavan. Marquess Canavan was sensitive—showing his displeasure with his servants—and because of that, the delegates were eagerly awaiting him to go back.
Listening to Kalion’s explanation, Erna continued to accept with her mouth the fruits he gave her.
All the while, she was secretly surprised. To her, Marquess Canavan was someone who had always appeared in her nightmares. Though, to be exact, it became a nightmare once he appeared.
Even after waking up from her dream, she winced whenever she heard his name, but now she couldn’t care less whether his name was mentioned or not. Because Marquess Canavan was now nothing to her.
“Come to think of it they still haven’t given us the name of the new envoy,” she said.
“Yeah. It seems that our knights couldn’t exactly figure it out. Apparently, only a small percentage of the new delegates in Haband know the true identity of the new envoy. Haband seems to be so strict that they couldn’t even see his face… Just from the knights’ behavior, it definitely seems that no one will know who he is until he arrives here. They say that in any case, that person will arrive on the border and rest for a couple of days before moving again.”
At that, Erna’s head tilted.
“Weird, huh?” Kalion said.
Resting for two days was not usually heard of on carriage journeys. How could an envoy not be used to travel? It was like saying that a fish was poor at swimming.
Though Erna and Kalion mocked Marquess Canavan as much as they wanted, he had some experience in diplomacy. How could a foreigner, someone sent as an envoy to Hessenguard, not be accustomed to moving in a carriage? Did they send someone who only saw the papers in the palace? wondered Erna.
But there’s no way they’d send someone like that at this time. The situation about Haband’s envoy continued to bother her. Someone the people around her didn’t speak of; someone unaccustomed to riding in a carriage; someone worth only sending as an envoy.
Then, she had a guess.
“…is it someone of royal blood?”
Still, she had her doubts. After thinking for a moment, Erna decided to put off thinking about the envoy for now. I’ll see when he gets here.
Even if the king of Haband comes, Hessenguard’s response will not change much anyway. And if it’s someone more arrogant than Marquess Canavan, she will just have to treat him accordingly.
Erna laid down on Kalion’s thigh and continued to ask him questions:
“What about the ancient ruin?”
“About that… There are some ancient records about Ilgees Forest left, but there’s no record of 10 years ago. And there are records about the stuff from the Grand Castle, but that’s it. I looked up the servants involved, and they said they had lost contact and didn’t know.”
“Is it possible that they’re lying?” she inquired.
“It’s highly possible. But that doesn’t mean I can arrest them and force them to confess,” replied Kalion.
“…that is true.”
Perhaps because of the strong power of the council, Hessenguard was a place where the rights of commoners were guaranteed more than those of neighboring kingdoms. Without accurate evidence, Kalion could not drag anyone into confessing. Of course, they can be dragged by force. However, it wasn’t easy to handle what came after that.
Kalion added, “And do you remember the underground place at the ancient ruin we saw Richard Hessenguard go down into?”
“I looked around here too just in case, and it’s an underground space. I knocked under the wall where Richard Hessenguard was going down and found several hollow places where the sound echoed.”
“It means there may be a pillar below the Grand Castle, too. I couldn’t look closer because there are too many eyes around.” Kalion picked up the cushion at the end of the sofa and gave it to Erna, who was wiggling her empty hand. Still laying on his thigh with her eyes closed, she hugged the pillow with a satisfied look on her face.
Kalion pulled the tassel hanging on the edge of the cushion that Erna held and placed it on her chest. The crest of Grand Duke Hessenguard was stitched above the tassel, showing that it was the property of the Grand Castle.
“The two pillars…” Erna muttered.
Fiddling with the tassel, Erna thought about the form of the pillars she’d seen in the ancient ruin. One of them was cracked as if it’d crumble any moment. And Richard Hessenguard had taken his own life while looking at them.
“The two pillars symbolizing Hessenguard. What other pair has more significance in Hessenguard?”
“Well,” Kalion paused after pondering on it for a second, “You and I.”
“Stop joking around.”
“It isn’t a joke. We are a couple important in Hessenguard. Right now, you and I.”
At Kalion’s serious answer, Erna stared at the tassel decoration and asked, “Up until now, there has only been one grand duke? Are we the first couple?”
“That is so, but,” Kalion mumbled, unable to find an answer. However, it was even hard for Erna, who had said no, to say that his thoughts were completely wrong.
One of the pillars was completely cracked, like it’d come crashing down at any moment.
Erna tried to recall again what she knew about Richard Hessenguard. He had committed suicide. Everyone had speculated about the reason, but… There had been a lot of people pessimistic about his wife’s death, saying he had killed himself because of her death.
Two pillars. A grand couple. One dead. One collapsed pillar.
Then, did the other pillar collapse after Richard Hessenguard’s death? At some point, Erna was thinking that the pillars were the Grand Duke and Duchess.
“For now… let’s think of a way to secretly enter underground here. First, we need to choose a room somewhere on the first floor and keep everyone from entering,” she said.
The things that went on in the Grand Castle belonged to confidentiality. However, Vanessa wasn’t someone who like confidentiality, so it was very easy for her to receive information on what transpired in the castle. Someone may have already confessed to her somehow.
Erna couldn’t blame anyone for that. If anything really happened to them, wouldn’t they come to Vanessa first? She was the Chairman of the Council and also the closest friend and advisor of the grand duke and duchess.
“Anyways, let’s take it one thing at a time for now. Should we start getting ready to meet Haband’s envoy from today?”
At that, Kalion reached out and put down the cushion Erna was hugging. Next, he lifted her and went to the bed. In a snickering voice, he said, “Come to think of it, I forgot to say something. You got two extra days of vacation.”
“What? But I never heard that.”
“Right. I notified them while you were sleeping earlier.” Kalion’s hand slid beneath Erna’s pajamas and whispered, “So you’re stuck here for two more days.”
“Hey, hey! H-h-hold on!”
“Since you really might faint if we do it this very moment, I am only going to touch you now. And after a long night’s rest…” Kalion mumbled as he nibbled on her ear. “Let’s do it without a moment to dry up. Let’s hurry up and make a baby.”
At that, Erna screamed out inside: