Huge thanks to PamWilliams for the kofi! (1/5)
“Now we’re at the same level.”
Dooha sat down in front of him and smiled at Paul, who glared at her to death.
“You must be surprised. Why? Because you thought I only knew how to shoot arrows?
Paul groaned in indescribable pain, and barely opened his mouth, a voice overshadowed by evil coming out.
“Hey, Duchess, if you treat me like this, you will surely regret it. Do you know who is backing me?”
“It has nothing to do with who is backing you.”
Dooha smiled softly at him, who was staring at her.
“Importantly, not only did you not do what you were supposed to do, you even insulted me, the Duchess.”
“You seem to think that I am a scarecrow hostess that has not been recognized by the Duke.”
At her words, Paul shuddered like a man who was stabbed in the neck.
“It was none other than the Duke of Esbaden who gave me the authority to manage and supervise the Duke’s Castle.”
“What? That can’t be!”
Paul shook his head.
Apparently, rumors spread among the attendants that the Duchess was an ugly-haired woman who had been neglected by the Duke from the very first night.
A girl from a barbarian tribe who had no power.
The duchess he knew could only be a person in such a position.
“I hate to admit it, but it is true. That’s why I called you here, didn’t I?”
Dooha raised her voice so that the maid standing behind her could hear.
“Sylvia, dismiss him from the stables management position and kick him out of the castle. We don’t need lazy and rude workers here.”
At her resolute voice, the maid, Sylvia, hesitated for a moment before bowing her head.
“What? What are you saying? Who wants to kick me out? You’re crazy! Do you know how much Sir Nate cares about me?!”
Paul shouted, with the volume of a whale’s, at the unexpected punishment.
“Then let the man named Sir Nate come here.”
“I don’t think anyone as important as the Duke’s uncle would come here just because you called.”
Dooha glared at him with her cold eyes.
“If he comes all the way here for you and affirms your innocence, I’ll cancel your dismissal.”
At her words, despair glossed in Paul’s eyes.
It was true that he was favored by Sir Nate, but he was a nobleman.
An experienced noble who could not even treat the Duke of Esbaden recklessly.
There was no way he would come all the way here for him, a mere stablekeeper.
Moreover, there was nothing incorrect about the situation and the Duchess even had a document proving his corruption.
Paul thought about Sir Nate and looked at the Duchess, who had a strict personality, and he lowered his head, resigning.
Seeing this, Dooha secretly sighed and turned her back.
It was only natural to punish those who were wrong, but it was difficult for the person doing the punishing to do so.
It was inevitable because both were human.
“Then shall we go back?”
It was then that she smiled as she looked at Layla and her maid, who were both standing behind her.
“That barbarian girl doesn’t even know what she’s talking about!”
Behind the cries of Sylvia, Paul ran towards the Duchess like a mad dog.
He grabbed her neck collar and tried to strangle her.
“You’re going to die!”
But the great momentum was fiercely broken in less than three seconds.
Dooha shook off his hands and put a neat spinning kick to his chin.
With movement as fast as a butterfly’s and as precise as a bee’s, everyone gathered there opened their mouths, their jaws hanging.
“What just happened…”
“So, the Duchess kicked Paul away?”
“I must be mistaken? How could a noble lady… How could she…?”
Layla, on the other hand, giggled to herself, having been used to seeing the Duchess like that.
“You don’t even know her, so why are you touching the princess, no, Madam? Let’s fight!”
“Layla, what is that…?”
When the maid asked the question, her face having had turned white in surprise, Layla replied with a refreshing smile.
“Did you see that, Sylvia? That’s my princess’ real talent!”
“No, that’s not it, how could the Duchess be like that…?”
“In Bashal, both men and women of all ages learn martial arts. Of course, Madam was one of the most outstanding warriors!”
“Is she a warrior?”
“Yes! I’ve also learned martial arts, but I’m no match for Madam. Above all, Madam is the first woman in Bashal to have the title of a warrior!”
“I see, that must be right.”
The first female warrior of the Bashal Kingdom was the wife of the Empire’s highest-ranking Duke.
It was a union of two such backgrounds that was hard to believe even when heard with one’s own two ears.
On the other hand, Paul stared at Dooha with evil eyes when he was beaten and exploded no matter how many times he gets put in his place.
He burst into laughter, as if he were insane, as he saw Dooha’s arrogant eyes.
“Heh heh, heh, I see- The barbarian girl rejected it from above, so she was elated without knowing that the duke forcibly took her.”
‘Rejected it from above? The Duke took her? What does this all mean?’
On the other hand, Paul’s lips twitched, noticing how she did not understand what he said about her as he looked into the eyes of the duchess.
“Oh, my. I guess you didn’t know. Four years is supposed to be-”
“Are you done talking?”
There was silence in the low and rough voice that made his spine cold.
Paul forgot to breathe in and slowly looked away.
In front of him stood Leonhart, the Duke of Esbaden, radiating a vicious force.
“I asked if you had finished talking.”
Leonhart was clad in blood-stained silver armor and was looking at Paul with an expressionless face.
Dooha raised one eyebrow as she looked at his back blocking her sight in front of him.
Judging by the messy armor worn by the knights from a distance, it looked like he had just come back from reconnaissance.
‘Are you here to talk?’
But, was it necessary for a man equal with the status of a duke to come to the stable to entrust his horses?
While Dooha was questioning her husband’s sudden appearance, Paul, who suddenly got up from her floor, deliberately grabbed the part of him that had been beaten by her and put on the most pitiful expression on his face.
“Hey, Duke! Listen to me! The Duchess hit me for no reason…”
“It’s so shabby.”
Leonhart glared at Paul with a bloody gaze.
“I definitely remember you taking a lot of the budget last year for the maintenance of the stables’ facilities. The stables look like a mess.”
Paul had a terrified look on his face, but internally he ground his teeth in annoyance.
He couldn’t believe that a human who would usually order his subordinates to put his horse away in the stables would come by himself in person. What kind of wind was blowing today?
“Is this the price I paid for trusting you?”
“Oh, no! This is a misunderstanding! Another year has passed since then, and the facility just broke…”
“And you even touched the Duchess.”
Paul looked at Leonhart, who stood in front of the Duchess.
In front of his bloody blue eyes that seemed like he was about to tear him apart at any moment, he realized that the rumor was really wrong.
Now, he had no choice but to force himself to submit in order to live.
“Duke, I have sinned to death! But I couldn’t help it! Madam beat me for no reason, so I wasn’t even aware that I did so…!”
Everyone except the duke frowned at his words.
‘You have to say something that makes sense. Someone started this first.’
“Why do you ask for forgiveness after committing a sin?”
However, contrary to Paul’s expectations, the Duke only threw around brutal words.
Leonhart quietly drew his sword.
The silver blade, which was smelted by the best craftsman, reflected its owner under the sunlight.
“You should have known better about what would happen if you dared touch the body of a married noblewoman.”
As Paul saw the blade of the sword approaching him, he lost his reason and took out his last resort.
“If you touch me, Sir Nate won’t let this pass! I don’t want the Duke to be in trouble with him either…!”
“You don’t have many thoughts. You also don’t have a good tongue either.”
Of course, those words fueled the fire.
“How could that old foxy man bother me for a guy like you?”
With Paul’s scream, blood quickly pooled on the floor like a puddle.
Leonhart, who had severed away one of Paul’s arms in an instant, put his sword away as if nothing had happened.
His gaze suddenly turned to Dooha, who was standing behind him.
He stared at the strangling marks on her, at the collar’s horribly stretched neckline.
To Dooha, it was an unexplainable gaze.
Leonhart looked at her neck without saying a word for a long time, and then came closer to her.
He looked down at her with a somewhat displeased face.
“Don’t you know that you don’t fight when you can’t win?”
She wondered if he thought she wouldn’t have won against that b*stard if he hadn’t come forward.
“…It was a fight that I could win. You didn’t have to cut his arm.”
“I know your kicking skills are great.”
He glanced at her puffy sleeves, lifting his lip at an angle and placing his hand over the handle of his sword.
“If I hadn’t cut it, I think you would have cut it.”
Dooha hid her sleeve behind her back when the Duke pointed it out.
He would have noticed that she was hiding a dagger in her sleeve.
“It’s enough for the duchess to walk around in underwear in front of the lower ranking ones, but it’ll become more difficult if there’s a rumor that she’s been stabbing the lower ranking ones.”
“Please, I hope that in the future, you will not do anything that makes you lose your face as a Duchess. Then, I will go first.”
Leonhart moved to the place where the knights were standing as if there was nothing more to do.
As soon as he turned around, his gaze touched and fell on the crumpled collar of Dooha.
It resembled the vigilant gaze of a beast whose territory had been invaded.