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At the name that appeared from Dooha’s mouth, Nate’s eyes widened.
A pair of pale green eyes that resembled a snake’s was filled with suspicion.
“…Put my son in charge?”
“Yes. Lord Daniel is an excellent wizard and a member of the Esbaden family, so wouldn’t the soldiers trust and follow him? It’ll be a relief in that case.”
Dooha looked at him, eyes filled with conviction.
“I don’t think it’s a bad suggestion for both Sir Nate and Lord Daniel.”
If Daniel leads the private soldiers and helps the Duke to subjugate the monsters successfully, Daniel will receive merit.
For Nate, who’d only thought of putting his son in the Duke’s position, it was a tempting suggestion.
However, if Dooha was a fox-like bear, Nate was a snake-like fox.
‘…There’s no way but, could she have noticed my plan?’
Nate was fully aware that Dooha did not believe him.
There was only one reason why she recommended Daniel to be in command.
It was to keep Nate in check, so that he wouldn’t run amok when the duke was distracted with the monster subjugation.
If the soldiers caused any trouble there, it would also be counted as part of Daniel’s responsibility, and it would be a great opportunity to overcome Nate’s forces for the duke.
After a long period of contemplation in silence, Nate finally opened his mouth.
“Alright. Then I’ll do as my niece-in-law says. For Leon, if the fact that his cousin is coming to help is known, morale will rise.”
“I’ll let Daniel know myself. He’ll be ready to leave in an hour or two.”
“By the way, if I’m not being impolite…”
Dooha placed a hand on one side of her chest with a worried expression.
It was, without a doubt, the look of a wife worrying about the father of her children that was heading to a dangerous situation.
“I would like to send food and supplies to the Duke in my name, so can I ask Daniel to deliver it?”
“What’s there to ask for something like this? You’re just trying to fulfil your duties as a wife to the best of your abilities, so of course I’ll help.”
“Thank you, Sir Nate. We’ll leave the wagon loaded with supplies waiting for you in front of the main gate.”
“Don’t mention it.”
With a light smile, Nate rose from his seat.
She thought that he was going to leave the drawing room immediately with his escort knights, but he soon turned around.
“Duchess of Esbaden.”
Dooha paused momentarily at the unfamiliar title.
It was the first time Nate had added the Esbaden surname when addressing her.
“May I give you a piece of advice?”
He looked at the duchess that stood silently, and slowly stretched his mouth into a curve.
“A hasty judgement will always bring about the worst ending. Do keep that in mind.”
Nate’s smile seems to have turned into that of a benevolent elder’s, and he then turned around.
“Then I shall take my leave.”
As soon as his back faced the duchess, his face was frigid and icy without any hint of a smile.
* * *
“Madam, what do you mean by Lord Daniel! Aren’t you well aware that he doesn’t have a good relationship with the Lord?”
Claude raised his voice and followed the Duchess, who was taking the lead.
“How can you send him as the head of the reinforcements?”
Dooha stopped in the middle of the hallway and turned around.
For some reason, the beautiful face framed with thick silver hair had a determined expression.
“I think that simply not being on good terms and not being able to trust are two separate matters.”
Perhaps the Duke doesn’t get along with Daniel and also doesn’t trust him.
But Dooha trusted Daniel.
To be exact, she believed Daniel’s words that his relationship with his father wasn’t better than with the Duke.
‘And if what Serion said is true…’
A nefarious plot would definitely have been planted by Nate amidst the reinforcements.
Something that could threaten the Duke’s life.
“Don’t worry, Daniel won’t harm the Duke.”
“Sir Claude, don’t worry and focus on strengthening the castle’s security further. Now that the private soldiers have headed out of the castle grounds, it’ll be a disaster if we’re attacked now.”
At Dooha’s words, Claude sighed deeply and soon bent his waist.
“Understood, then I’ll head to the castle’s rampart for a moment.”
“Please, Madam, don’t leave the main castle as much as possible.”
“Didn’t you see how busy I am with preparations for the carnival? Don’t worry, I won’t budge from that room.”
Claude only set off reluctantly after hearing her spirited response.
“Madam, I also don’t think it’s right to send Lord Daniel as the head of the reinforcements.”
Meanwhile, when Layla saw Claude leave, she gave her owner a quizzical look.
“If the duke finds out that Madam had sent Daniel over there, I don’t think he would be pleased at all…”
However, Dooha ignored her words and just moved quickly.
“Layla, head to the warehouse right now and get the baggage that I’ve brought from Bashal.”
“What? Why all of a sudden?”
Dooha answered as she walked through the corridor quickly.
“I will be going to where the Duke is.”
“Oh, to go to the Duke…”
Layla nodded her head without her knowledge and then shouted.
* * *
“Keep this in mind, Daniel.”
With a frigid voice, Nate spoke to his son, who was on the back of a horse.
“It’s fine if you don’t do anything after reaching there.”
“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the same thing from you since a while ago.”
With an extravagantly embroidered blue-purple cape draped around him, Daniel could be spotted from a distance.
He seemed to have recovered his energy as compared to his pale countenance when he collapsed in the annex, his cheeks were filled with colour.
“Even if Father doesn’t emphasise that point strongly, I wouldn’t do anything. As the Duke wouldn’t like it even if I’d only stand there and breathe.”
Nate shouted his son’s name, and immediately looked around.
Fortunately, the workers that were loading the wagon continued their work without paying them any mind.
“I’m sure that you’ve already understood what I mean.”
He drew closer to the horse Daniel was seated upon and lowered his voice.
“Don’t ever step forward. Don’t do anything. Do you understand?”
Just then, Daniel, who had kept his gaze at a distant mountain until now, turned his head toward him.
Those pale green eyes that were brighter and clearer than his father’s were lowered coldly.
“When Father speaks like that, even I will find you suspicious. What kind of vile scheme are you up to this time?”
“What do you mean, vile scheme?”
“If killing your own brother and disguising it as an accident wasn’t a nefarious plot, what is?”
“I was just speaking the truth.”
Nate stared at his son, who looked at him with a gaze of distrust, silently.
Although his only son resembled him, his heart was weaker than his own.
His son, who should have been seated on this castle’s highest position in his stead.
He caught his breath for a moment and gave a nonchalant smile.
“Your words were too much, son. I was just worried about what would happen if you came forward and suffered from injuries by monsters for no reason.”
“Because you’re worried.”
Daniel was uninterested in his father’s words, and turned his head away.
“There’s no need to worry. When I return, I’ll definitely be with the Duke.”
There was a moment of silence between them towards the end of their conversation, but none asked for the reason.
It was because they didn’t have much trust in each other, and also because they knew each other too well.
“I have to catch up with the supporting troops that have departed first, so let’s make haste!”
With Daniel’s command, several knights on horseback and a supply-loaded wagon began moving.
They left the Esbaden castle in an instant.
* * *
It took less than half a day for Daniel’s party to catch up with the supporting troops that set off earlier.
This was because the supporting troops reduced their pace at the letter from the Duke’s residence that was delivered about Daniel’s departure.
“I’ve never thought that Lord Daniel would come personally.”
“I, too, didn’t expect to see you in a place like this, Count Jive.”
Count Jive, who was leading the support unit, gave Daniel an indulgent smile.
He was a muscular man with a body that’s as firm and large as a boulder. It seems that the traces of his personal monster subjugations in his youth remained on his body.
“I was worried that the number of wizards might be lesser compared to the number of monsters, but I don’t need to be concerned, now that Lord Daniel has arrived.”
Count Jive looked at the wagon that was waiting behind him and approached it with widened eyes.
“But what is this big box? There’s something in it that’s so big…….”
Just as Count Jive tried to lift the box’s lid out of curiosity, Daniel pressed down on the lid and closed it tightly.
The count’s eyes rounded with disbelief, unable to believe that such a strong force came out from a slender wrist.
It was said that wizards could increase their strength with magic, and this appears to be the truth.
Meanwhile, Daniel gave a brilliant smile.
“These are my personal belongings. It’ll be difficult to show you as there are magic tools that are quite dangerous scattered within.”
“Ahh, I see. Please excuse my rudeness.”
“Not at all. There’s still a long way off from nightfall, so shall we set off right away? The Duke must be waiting for us.”
Count Jive nodded his head and strode to the front of the supporting troops.
At the sight of him disappearing, Daniel let out a short sigh.
“Honestly. What an unstoppable man.”
He patted the large box lightly and climbed back on his horse.
At that moment, the lid of the box shook slightly as though it was responding to Daniel’s words, but no one noticed it.
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