Huge thanks to Curufin san for the kofis! (4/10)
Everyone’s attention was focused here as Slarhan came over to this side, so now none could complain about the cat that was permitted by the Duke.
“Then, please return now, everyone. It’s about to rain heavily soon.”
Just as Slarhan mentioned, the sky was gradually turning dark gray.
It was a cold day, but the damp scent was not of snow, but the smell of rain.
It is likely that it’ll continue to rain.
Ellier diligently chased behind the party Slarhan was with while holding a small black cat in her arms.
She kept the shape of her lips in check to prevent them from broadening.
When she returned to her room, she dried the rain-soaked cat off first before drying herself. As she watched the cat licking her, she started to ponder over its name.
‘Because it’s small, so should its name be little kid? Black because it’s black? Pretty because it’s pretty?’
No, no. She should give it serious thought.
As it was her first pet in both of her past and present lives, she can’t give it a one-dimensional name.
Even if she’s now in this state, she was still a person that had once received imperial education.
“Hmm… Since you have black fur and your eyes shine like the moon, let’s call you Nox!”
The archaic word of ‘Nox’, which meant night, fitted well with the cat’s beautiful brass-coloured eyes.
Like the goddess of the night, it was quiet and calm, but as it appeared out of nowhere, the pretty cat held a mysterious beauty.
Perhaps the cat had also found the name she came up with satisfactory, it let out a satisfied purr, “Nyaa.”
Ellier lied on her side and stroked the cat, before realizing that the cat was quite skinny, so she jumped up.
“You’re hungry, right? You might not like this, but you should eat it for now, Nox.”
Ellier took out the bread that she had hidden to eat at night and placed it onto a handkerchief, also bringing the glass of water that she drinks from.
She heard that cats preyed on mice or birds for food, so she was a little worried that Nox wouldn’t eat the bread, but it seemed to be very hungry and ate it, almost rushing into the small loaf of bread.
That appearance was quite pitiful.
“Eat slowly. If you eat too quickly while you’re starving, you’ll get sick.”
Nox’s tail swished gently at her words.
“You’re so cute!”
Ellier’s satisfaction towards this life increased significantly from the moment this cat came into her life.
In her previous life, even after ascending as Emperor, she couldn’t raise a cat due to Clyde’s refusal. Well, he must have already known that Ellier wouldn’t be able to keep a cat for too long.
Ellier started to feel upset again upon recalling that, but decided to only think of good things while watching Nox.
“You’ve worked hard.”
“You’re the one that has worked hard.”
Outside the window, chilly rain was pouring.
Had the funeral ended 30 minutes later, most of those that were present in today’s funeral would have caught a cold.
Slarhan took off his wet coat and placed it on the chair as he looked out of the gray window.
“Do you have any other orders?”
“I’ll be using Ellier as my errand girl. Instruct her.”
As Slarhan thought of EIlier’s request to keep her by his side, Slarhan spoke reluctantly.
It was impulsive, but it wasn’t a bad decision.
Ellier was quick-witted and clever, and had a bright and sociable personality. She was smart and daring, and above all, she could not betray him.
However, as this was all taken into account within Slarhan’s head, Tariq was surprised as he had just heard about Slarhan’s decision.
“What? That slave girl… You’re going to use her as an errand girl?”
“Your Grace, no matter how much sympathy you feel for the child, there’s no need for you to do that much.”
Tariq said to Slarkhan while in a cold sweat.
However, Slarhan looked back at Tariq in surprise.
“I didn’t make this decision because I felt sorry for her. I’m ordering it as I think she’ll be useful.”
“But if she became the Duke’s errand girl, the sons of any noble family would covet for that position.”
“Isn’t the fact that we’re unsure which amongst them are spies the main problem?”
Only then did Tariq close his mouth.
Due to the Emperor’s oppression, many changes occurred within the supporters of the Duke of Ventiark.
Amongst the supporters that still remained, there must have been some that received the Emperor’s orders to monitor their movements, so if an errand person was chosen from there, there’s no telling if they might be betrayed.
“In any case, the errands won’t be something of great importance, so there’s no need to get someone from an aristocratic family.”
“I apologize for not understanding Your Grace’s profound meaning.”
“It’s fine. You may go and prepare for Ellier’s education.”
“Okay. I’ll get going now.”
After sending Tariq, who had been by his side all day, only heavy silence remained in the office.
If he hadn’t seen EIlier earlier, in this instance, Slarhan’s head would have been filled with dangerous thoughts.
But his rash slave girl managed to change his mood instantly.
“This cat was wandering nearby… I was afraid that it would freeze to death due to the cold…”
She was also like a mouse that’s soaked from the rain, who on earth was helping whom?
If you ask for the weakest person in Ventiark Castle, everyone will point to EIlier, as she was the only slave present.
And in order to save something that was weaker than her, the weakest slave in this castle held the cat in her arms.
It was commendable of her. It was enough to settle even the wild anger that was burning inside him.
‘She’s quite an interesting girl. She seems to be pretending till the end, but…’
Slarhan believed that EIlier was of noble origins.
She may seem ordinary at the beginning, but the petty trick that she tried on him a while ago affirmed that thought.
“No… What do you mean 1,000 personas per day? Is that the money for me to buy my meals?”
That was something that if Ellier was a commoner, she would never be able to say aloud.
Bread, especially the brown bread that ordinary people consume, was 100 perusoes per loaf.
The fact that Ellier did not know about the price of such goods meant that she was a person who had never bought bread on her own.
However, he did not intend to force Ellier to speak about her past.
The process of becoming a slave of Rubelfast from her previous status as a noblewoman must have been difficult.
Perhaps Ellier wanted to forget the past.
It was quite strange that a child who had experienced such hardships still has not yet forgotten the noble heart of wanting to take care of beings weaker than her.
He was well aware of how selfish humans could be when they were driven to the extreme.
‘It’s not like I’m in a position to talk about others.’
In fact, until earlier he had also been engulfed in selfish thoughts.
It seemed to all be the Emperor’s fault that the exalted Duke of Ventiark’s final path was so shabby, that he wanted to run to the Imperial Palace then and there without thinking of those that followed him or the territory’s residents.
When he arrives at the Imperial Palace, he will pretend that nothing is wrong and greet the Emperor, thanking him for finding his father’s body.
Perhaps the Emperor was quick to adapt to the circumstances and was accompanied by knights, but as long as they were in the same space, Slarhan was confident that he could kill the Emperor.
He was still keeping it under wraps, but he was already a swordmaster.
As long as he could kill his enemy, he didn’t mind dying either.
There weren’t any blood relatives left anyways, so what was the point of surviving alone?
Yes, he had such thoughts. But…
“The cat seemed to have also come to participate in the funeral, but even the former Duke wouldn’t want this small cat to freeze to death.”
At that line, Slarhan came to his senses.
As Ellier had said, his father would not hope to see even a small cat living in his territory to freeze to death.
However, he was so caught up in his momentary rage that he had almost abandoned his vassals and retainers.
Even though he knew that if he committed treason, the Ventiark estate would be razed to the ground as a result.
“Be grateful for the little things. Do not take what you are given for granted, and think of those that are weaker and in a more difficult situation than you’re in. Let the grace that you’ve received be engraved in your bones, and let personal grudges be engraved in the passing wind.”
It was as if his father’s voice was ringing in his ears.
But his father added another sentence afterwards.
“But if there’s a situation that requires revenge, you must do it perfectly. Until that time comes, you mustn’t make a move.”
Perhaps it was to warn him against what the Emperor was planning to do to the Ventiark family.
He was able to recall his father’s teachings all due to Ellier.
‘Anyways… something keeps coming to his mind every time he sees her…’
It was really strange.
Until now, Slarhan had never felt anything like ‘appreciation’ towards another person. Especially when it came to women.
But Ellier was a little different. Whenever he saw her, he kept thinking she looked somewhat familiar.
Of course, she had never seen a skinny girl with black hair and gray eyes before, but he seemed to have seen that gaze and something like a faint smile before…
The clear sound of cheerful laughter seemed like hallucinations.
‘She resembles someone. But who is that someone…?’
No matter how much he looked back on his memories, he had never met a woman with such straightforward laughter.
None of the people from Ventiark, who had blunt temperaments, laughed like that, and the aristocrats that prided themselves on all kinds of hypocritical ‘etiquette’ and ‘dignity’ didn’t laugh in that manner.
Eventually, Slarhan gave up on his trip down the memory lane. In any case, it wasn’t an important matter.
Then there was a knock on the door and the butler came in.
He thought it was just a report about the funeral’s ending, but the butler observed his mood carefully before opening his mouth with difficulty.
“Your Grace. Is it true that you’ve allowed the slave to raise a cat?”
“I have. Is there any problem?”
“No one raises animals within the castle.”
“Was it written specifically in the Ventiark’s Code of Conduct?”
“Well, it’s not that, but no one has ever raised an animal in a room that’s located within the castle.”
“If it doesn’t go against the rules, then it wouldn’t matter, right?”
The butler let out a small sigh and spoke in a lowered voice.
“Your Grace, rumors are spreading among the servants that the slave is Your Grace’s bedroom slave. Although their mouths are kept shut, we aren’t able to stop them from whispering to each other. But if you keep granting the child exceptions, the rumors will be blown out of proportion.”
“What? Bedroom slave?”
Slarhan was rendered speechless.
“Did the people that said those words see that child with their own eyes? She’s only skin and bones, I can’t even tell that she’s sixteen, much less as a girl.”
“That’s not important in the eyes of others. Your Grace, please send that child to the barn right now.”
Slarhan’s forehead narrowed at the butler’s words.