Among them, Alfred stood out with his unwavering enthusiasm. As a butler, he couldn’t fathom missing the pivotal moment in his master’s life. This was no ordinary affair; it was a grandiose union, surpassing even the extravagance of a royal wedding, befitting the future ruler of Kyrstan!
Finally, the duke arrived at the majestic palace, commanding attention. The servants synchronized their bows, their bodies bending gracefully as their master gracefully dismounted his horse.
“Congratulations on your return, Your Grace,” they chorused respectfully.
The duke lightly tapped Alfred and Sobeul on their shoulders, seeking information.
“Anything noteworthy?” he inquired.
“Other than the minor matters we’ve documented, there are no significant concerns, Your Grace. Just a stack of pending approvals,” Alfred replied.
After an absence of over a year, the duke had a month’s worth of obligations awaiting his attention. Rezette smirked, as if he had foreseen the predicament.
“You’ve toiled tirelessly all this time,” he remarked.
A profound emotion swept across Alfred and Sobeul’s countenances.
“Your Grace, it is you who endured the hardships. We merely reveled and feasted in the comfort of the territory,” they murmured in gratitude.
Duke Kyrstan was an esteemed master, though his inscrutable countenance often obscured his true intentions, leaving his close aides puzzled by his occasional caprices. Nevertheless, he was not excessively demanding, sparing his subordinates from bearing the brunt of his frustrations. Contrary to gossip, cruelty was rarely his recourse, save for when dealing with criminals. Yet, such minor imperfections were hardly perceived as stains in the realm of Rotiara.
Frequently, the duke would leave Rotiara unoccupied, only to return bearing gifts and treasures bestowed upon him by the Emperor, as if they were tokens of appreciation. These offerings were lavish and greatly contributed to the flourishing prosperity of Rotiara. Ever since Rezette Kyrstan ascended to the position of Lord, the city had basked in an unparalleled era of opulence.
“Your Grace,” Lady Petisson spoke up, patiently waiting until the opportune moment arrived. Her presence exuded dignity, her gracefully wrinkled features framing piercing green eyes as she inclined her waist in a respectful bow before Rezette.
“I am relieved to see your safe return,” she addressed him.
Rezette’s gaze flickered with a subtle hint of something undisclosed. Rebecca Petisson had been his most trusted confidante, akin to Emperor Noyer himself.
“Anything noteworthy?” he inquired.
“Anything of significance is within your grasp, Your Grace. Lord Ruben’s earlier message confirmed the arrival of the rightful owner in Rotiara,” Lady Petisson swiftly responded, bypassing customary formalities and causing Alfred and Sobeul to hold their breath in anticipation of the impending revelation.
Amidst the buzz surrounding the duke’s impending marriage, the inhabitants of Rotiara Castle were consumed by curiosity about the mysterious Duchess. Once a month, they would receive a lady dispatched from the Van Yela Palace. Many of these women, hailing from renowned noble families, were shamelessly sent to captivate the duke with their beauty, wealth, and esteemed lineage. Yet, the duke paid them no mind. Despite his unwavering compliance with even the Emperor’s most unreasonable requests, he staunchly refused one command: marriage and the prospect of an heir. It seemed he had no interest in tying the knot.
And now, their master was suddenly welcoming a wife overnight—a princess from a fallen kingdom, no less. While the inhabitants of Rotiara busily prepared to extend their utmost hospitality to the duke and duchess, suspicions lingered in their minds, refusing to dissipate.
In that moment, the carriage door swung open, capturing the attention of all eyes. The duke strode purposefully toward the entrance, his hand extended towards the interior. A small, delicate white hand emerged, gently resting on top of his. Soon, a figure emerged from the carriage, the hood pulled back to reveal her face. Yet, the duke swiftly seized her hand, silently urging her to keep the hood in place. Reluctantly, she withdrew her hand from the strings of the hood, concealing her identity once more.
A collective sigh of disappointment swept through the gathered servants. Their long-awaited opportunity to catch a glimpse of the illustrious Princess Argan’s visage had frustratingly slipped away.