Thank you Puppynado85 for the kofi! (2/3)
I smiled softly and followed the Archbishop to a walkway near the vineyard yard where the auction was going on. Until not long ago, I thought I should keep my distance from the temple as much as possible, but now I felt it would be better to keep a proper relationship and observe it.
And we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future if I can’t figure out who Cesare’s spies are.
Cesare was no less predictable than Izek. Even if things go my way, even if I fight Izek to make it difficult to cancel the deal, even if Ellenia’s assassination will be postponed, even if the day when Izek fully trusts me comes…
The opponent shouldn’t ever lower their guard around Cesare.
He might just do something crazy as soon as one turns their head.
“Cardinal Valentino is going to visit the match soon.”
He kept bringing up topics I wanted to forget as much as possible.
Haa, please don’t come here to make trouble.
“I was actually expecting you to stop by the temple as soon as you came to Elendale.”
“Of course, I understand that the conditions have not been good. You weren’t feeling well… and you went through a lot of trouble. I heard,” The archbishop, who added leisurely, looked back at me with a gentle smile. It seems that he had no intention of going into the main topic.
“I was unsatisfied. You’re not someone who should be treated so lightly here. Sir Izek is also an important person, but I couldn’t help being angry.”
It sounded like a light insult. But why did I feel like he was testing me?
I smiled brightly at his kind smile. “I’ve never been treated lightly. Everyone is very kind to me. Lord Izek is especially sweet to me.”
The archbishop raised one eyebrow slightly, but immediately smiled as if he knew it would happen.
“You are the angel of Sistina. I feel humble at your unparalleled generosity.”
“Don’t say that. I appreciate your concern.”
“No matter how cold-hearted he is, it is natural that he would melt in the presence of Sistina’s angel, the embodiment of nobility. It’s a pleasure to see a special bond between you two. It’s just… “
The angel of Sistina or whatever was just a name given by my father’s government.
I tilted my head trying to maintain a smile.
The archbishop, who hesitated to speak, whispered in this grim, low, and serious tone, “You know the sacred principle of confession better than anyone else. If there is anything you can’t stand, don’t hesitate to visit the temple. Elendale’s holy temple will not betray the grace of His Holiness.”
If I didn’t know anything well, if I didn’t know what the end of the world would have been, I might have accepted it as a pure favour. He was just reaching out to me because he was so heartbroken that I was the princess of Romagna, and felt bad for me. Or maybe he was just trying to use me as a way to leave the North and enter the Sistine Chapel.
Either way, I wouldn’t have stepped into the confession chamber of the temple.
“That’s very kind of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“It’s only natural. The North is merciless and chilly, so it’s not easy to find kindness even if you’re a believer.”
“Have you stayed in the North all the time?”
“Elendale was my hometown, but I also stayed in Romagna during my pilgrimage. I was blessed to stay at the monastery in Francesco. When the Pope was still a Cardinal, I had the honor of speaking briefly with him.”
Right. Did he say that he was Freya’s uncle?
If this archbishop went beyond being just an ambitious clergyman and grew up siding for family, that would be a pain in the a**.
“…Blood can’t deceive. It must have been because of the Holy Father’s will, but all I can do is help you with all my heart, body and soul.”
Huh? What are you talking about?
I turned my head in bewilderment. The archbishop suddenly clicked his tongue and I turned my gaze to the direction he was looking, and eventually, I saw the unfamiliar sight of my in-law and husband gathered in one place.
Father, what were you doing here? Did he come after his son? Duke Omerta, who was the greatest knight of Britannia until he suffered a chronic shoulder injury, and his son.
Him along with Izek, the reputed superior knight, was quite a sight.
It was even eerier to see their arms folded, standing proudly with the same red eyes. The paternal line’s inheritance had a tendency to ruin the warm atmosphere.
The archbishop moved first while hesitating for a moment, whether to go close or not. As the tall archbishop, like a pole, gracefully spread his robe while moving forward to greet the two, felt unnecessarily pious.
“I’m glad you’re back safely, Duke. Has the territorial issue been resolved well?” Apparently, the reverent archbishop seemed to be no less accustomed to the public nuisance of the Omerta than the others.
While his father responded to the archbishop in an unexpectedly cool manner, Izek glanced at me and immediately shifted his eyes. He seemed rather cold, as if telling me not to approach him.
This arrogant b*stard. I mean, what’s wrong with him when he was the one who asked me to come with him? Are you afraid that I’ve already talked to the Archbishop about you? Or maybe you’re plotting something?
“Ruby, this way…”
Ellenia, who came close, grabbed me and took me to the table where I was with her earlier. She had a poker face as always, but I was a little worried because she was a bit tense. Wasn’t it just normal for them to be like that?
“Ellen, uh… “
“Never mind them, leave them alone. It’s always like that when they meet.”
There was a chuckle on Ellenia’s advice.
Of course, it was Freya. Well, it would be weird if she was not here. This has become like a daily routine now.
What a pleasant look… I was jealous for some reason.
“Well, just by looking at the scene, the Duke is bothering Iz again. There are a lot of things he’d like, should I bid some and give it as a gift?”
“Leave it, I’m sick of just piling it up.”
“But he sent me a gift on visiting, and I can’t just let it go. My Lady, do you like paintings?”
They’re just pictures. By the way, did she bring presents for all her childhood friends just because their fathers visited them? That was a little too much information.
“I like it, but I don’t know have an eye for them.”
“The Duke loves paintings. Why don’t you bid for one and give it to him as a gift?”
Well, that’s not bad advice, but coming from her, I was sure I would get into Izek’s bad side. Besides, I didn’t have any money. I could use the dowry I brought when I came here, but it was dowry after all… sigh.
“I think Lady Furiana has a better eye than me… I’ll just look around.”
“Oh, I just learned a little over my mother’s shoulder. Isn’t Romagna the Arts Center?” Meanwhile, a white-uniformed servant approached, cleaning up the empty cups and bringing new drinks.
It was not the same pomegranate juice as before, but grape juice. I’d never seen such a full plate of food before. As soon as I reached out to the wine glass with an upset stomach, Ellenia spoke to me all of a sudden, “Ruby, there’s something we were discussing earlier.”
“I’d like to hire a new Ruby maid. The ones you have are old so I’m going to pick new ones who have no connection to the royals.”
I was a little surprised. She was going to hire a new maid? That’s fresh news.
“Well, I’m… “
“Actually, my brother said it the other day, but I think it’s a good idea. Marquis Furiana was asking Frey to make sure she knew someone trustworthy there.”
Unbelievable. Was that really what Izek said first?
Usually, servants circulated from one household to another. But if she was a young maid who had no connection to any household, she might be a little immature but much better for me. She didn’t know anything, and since she just came in, I could teach her without being prejudiced. Since she was a similar outsider, it’d be easier to bring her on my side…
I wouldn’t have to bribe her like Lucille.
Just that it was Freya’s side who was going to make these arrangements.
Freya grinned over the glass of wine as she peeked at me, hiding a hint of awkwardness, “I’ll tell Father to send you a letter of introduction first. You can decide when you see it. From what I can tell, you’d like someone who’s somewhat mature.”
“No, she’ll be fine with a young one.”
“But Ellen, my Lady may have a different opinion…”
Freya trailed. I thought for a moment she was choking on the wine.
Perhaps the same was true of Ellenia.
Freya, who had been frozen as if she had paused the screen in the middle of talking, soon lowered the glass of wine roughly.
The sudden sound of something rupturing made a shiver run down my spine.
“Hau, ah, ahh!”
A dark red liquid splattered on the white tablecloth. Everything just happened in a flash. It was such an unexpected and shocking sight that my brain stopped working for a while.
“L-Lady!” I jumped up, screaming reflexively.
As I hurriedly approached and held her shoulder, Freya slowly raised her head.
Her beautiful purple eyes were filled with great fear and shock. The next time she coughed up blood again, I saw someone pushing me roughly onto her. A cold, repulsive, and irritating premonition began to choke me.