Chapter 22.2

As Kennard descended the stairs leading to the first-floor lobby, he came to a halt midway. Upon reaching the curved section of the staircase, the lobby unfolded before him in its entirety.

Typically adorned with floral arrangements and framed pictures showcasing Terra Demorte’s scenic beauty, the lobby floor was carpeted with luxurious thickness. Given the sparse entourage of creatures and knights, the lobby seldom saw much foot traffic.

However, on this occasion, an unexpected sight awaited Kennard. Numerous belongings and unfamiliar faces crowded one side of the lobby.

“What’s all that?” Kennard furrowed his brow and questioned, prompting Lassino, who had been trailing behind, to quickly approach.

“They are attendants who came with Miss Hazel.”

“This is ridiculous.”

Kennard felt a strong inclination to turn around and retreat to his office. He harbored a distinct aversion to bothersome tasks, be it perusing and responding to letters or delving into the tax records collected from the territory.

Finding joy in training with the knights or embarking on solitary hunting expeditions, Kennard reveled in activities that brought him a sense of fulfillment. Even the nerve-wracking battles of war, despite their intensity, made him feel undeniably alive. Beyond these pursuits, he harbored a profound aversion to becoming entangled in affairs or interpersonal connections.

“You’re not thinking of kicking her out, are you?” Serin, trailing behind like Lassino, swiftly approached and whispered in Kennard’s ear.

Kennard turned to scrutinize Serin, his brow furrowed. Reluctantly acknowledging that Serin knew him best, he grumbled, “Don’t get ahead of yourself. I haven’t said anything yet.”

“Just by looking at your back, it’s obvious you’re thinking, ‘Should I just kick her out because it’s a hassle?'” Serin remarked, seemingly oblivious to his recent predicament under Kennard’s grasp.

As Kennard shot him a glare, Serin casually shrugged his shoulders, a mischievous smile playing on his lips.

“Even if it happens rarely, kicking out someone sent by Her Majesty will lead to big trouble, even for the Grand Duke.”

“I want to kick her out even more,” Kennard grumbled. Despite this, he found himself descending the stairs involuntarily.

“But I don’t quite understand,” Serin began.


Serin whispered, drawing closer, “His Majesty is cautious about the Grand Duke. If you marry the daughter of Duke Blade, it might strengthen His Majesty’s position even more.”

“Do I look like I understand?”

Kennard couldn’t fathom what his brother was plotting, attempting to entangle him with Duke Blade. Duke Blade, a distant relative of the aristocracy, had been a modest lord just a few years ago. His recent prominence stemmed from leading a formidable force of elite soldiers, which played a pivotal role in expanding the Baruchella Empire’s territory through invasions of neighboring small countries. Due to these accomplishments, he swiftly ascended to the title of Duke.

The once-overlooked lower-ranking noble from the provinces was now emerging as a rising power in the empire.

Lassino heralded Kennard’s arrival upon entering the reception room. “Your Majesty, the Grand Duke Kennard Den Devel.”

As Kennard crossed the threshold, the women gathered around the tea table near the fireplace redirected their attention. With a slight lift of their dresses, they elegantly bowed their heads in unison.

“I greet the Grand Duke.”

Among the two women present, it was immediately apparent which one was Hazel Blade. Both were adorned in extravagant lace and jewels, but one stood out. Her intricately woven hair, pulled up high, featured a large ribbon, feathers, and rose-shaped jewels.

Kennard couldn’t help but feel repulsed whenever he encountered the elaborate headpieces worn by aristocratic women. More akin to colossal sculptures than adornments, these accessories not only lacked beauty in his eyes but also raised concerns about their wearers’ necks snapping under the weight. They appeared more like potential assassination weapons than mere decorations.

“Lady Hazel?”

“Yes, Your Grace. I am Hazel Blade, the daughter of Duke Blade.”

True to expectation, the woman with the excessive head adornments responded to Kennard’s summons. She possessed dark, glossy black hair similar to Kennard’s and clear azure eyes reminiscent of a serene lake.

Possessing large eyes, red lips, flawless skin, and a well-proportioned figure, she exuded confidence and wore a haughty expression that left nothing to be desired. Lassino gracefully pulled out a chair near the tea table, stepping aside as Kennard took his seat. Following suit, Hazel Blade settled into the chair opposite him.

With patience, Lassino awaited Hazel’s seating, then presented her with a cup of Ervejo tea, cultivated by them. “The fragrance is robust, but the aftertaste is light, making it comfortable to drink,” he explained. After Hazel took a sip, Lassino discreetly retreated to the vicinity of the fireplace.

Serin positioned himself behind Kennard, while the woman accompanying Hazel distanced herself slightly from the group.

“Why has the daughter of Duke Blade come all the way to Terra Demorte?” Kennard inquired with as much courtesy as he could muster. In his heart, he secretly wished he could send her back without delving into the reasons.

As Hazel set down her teacup, she looked directly at Kennard. 

A bold young lady. Unlike anyone else…, he thought.



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