The hunting party only emerged when I had become tired from waiting after Duke Kyron. I hurriedly ran down the hill to greet Duke Kyron. Since the hunt was over, I had no qualms and worries about going forward since we had to cook the deer that Duke Kyron had hunted.
Duke Kyron, who was riding his horse, had an excited smile on his face. He looked so cool that I couldn’t help but giggle at the sight. He saw me smiling when his eyes brushed over where I was. It was a coincidental look. However, I was so flustered that I bowed my head down before speaking.
“We have prepared everything. We’re just waiting for your words.”
Duke Kyron nodded lightly. His horse was shaking its head from side to side. It seemed like it was still excited from the earlier hunt. He tried to pat the horse’s neck to try and calm it down.
Then, I found something attached to the horse’s ear.
I shouted lightly before approaching him. I shot a look at the northern battle horse that was a lot taller and bigger than me. Duke Kyron smiled at me as he saw me approach them.
“What’s the problem, Arielsa?”
However, I had to ignore his words. I needed to say what I had to say first.
“Sir Chaers, what’s that?”
I pointed my fingers as I asked Chaers who was riding on his horse a bit ahead of the Duke. He was right next to the head of the Duke’s horse. Chaers gasped in surprise. He quickly leaned down and pulled off the goblin grass stuck to the horse’s ears. It was so fast that only a few people saw it.
Chaers and Duke Kyron’s eyes were both tinted in shock as they looked at each other. However, they soon returned to their nonchalant looks. But when Chaers turned to me, his eyes were already narrowed.
I quickly ignored his gaze as I spoke to Duke Kyron.
“I have prepared some food for you. Duke.”
Duke Kyron nodded lightly as he spoke to his surrounding vassals.
“Let’s take a rest.”
I sighed in relief as I watched the hunting party scatter around to tie their horses up. But Chaers just kept on looking at me. He looked like he had a lot to say to me. It seemed like I would get an earful from him.
I even held my breath at some point. Then, George approached me. He clearly felt the tension between Chaers and me.
“Arielsa. Do we have enough to eat? I’m hungry.”
I finally released the breath that I was holding when he came near me.
“Of course. Let’s go right away!”
George then turned to Chaers and smiled.
“Chaers, let’s go.”
Chaers replied a bit reluctantly. He obviously did not want to have any dispute with George. As the two of them moved away, I went back to the servants that were preparing a meal. They were rubbing their sore palms.
Goblin grass was a plant that was as big as a fingernail. It was filled with curved thorns and could stick to the fur of animals to spread their seeds. It was a dangerous grass for those who ride horses. Once it got stuck to a horse’s ears, the horse would run wild. The tickle and prick of the thorns was something that any horse could withstand.
I knew that I had to face the consequences after I attracted Chaer’s attention but I felt more relieved at the fact that I had at least protected Duke Kyron.
I had also retracted my opinion earlier about hunting being a great sport. The process of killing the deer, draining it of its blood, skinning, gutting, slicing and roasting each part… I would have been left with a trauma if I had to do those things myself.
Fortunately, everyone, including the servants, were so excited that they failed to notice me. No one really cared about me who turned pale and white as I avoided them. Well, except for two people. Chaers was watching me while George was watching him.
I hid in the corner under the pretext that I felt sick. I also ate the roasted deer meat that the servant brought to me in my own corner. I almost cried when I took a bite. It tasted so good.
How can such a poor deer taste so savory and juicy…
Just a bit earlier, I was feeling nauseous at the sight of the deer being dismantled so I hated myself a bit when my tongue and stomach decided that it was a delicious food.
“You said that you’re not feeling well but it seems like you just did not want to work. This glutton.”
George made his presence known by flicking my forehead. I couldn’t help but look up at him in tears. However, his face was not smiling. What happened earlier must have made him feel uncomfortable.
“Dad, do you want more meat?”
“I’ve had enough. How about you?”
“I already ate a lot.”
“…Then, that’s enough.”
George went back to the fire after leaving those words. He probably came here to check on me and see how I was feeling.
Duke Kyron and his vassals were mostly seated around the fire. They were happily drinking and eating meat. They were gathered in groups trying to find a suitable seat. It took the sacrifice of the animals for these people to enjoy their delicacy and celebrate the coming of spring. However, they seemed happy.
In the course of this, I had received Chaers’ doubts. After all, he was the one who was protecting the Duke. This time, my case might not be cleared just by drinking the night away like last time.
However, I believed that I just made the necessary sacrifices. With that thought, I decided to just eat my heart out as I tried to understand the way these Northerners celebrated the coming of spring.
The spring hunt ended safely. The vassals ate their fill and laughed happily before making their way back. Duke Kyron was also able to come back to the castle in a perfect condition yesterday.
I also came back to my room before throwing off my hunting suit. I opened my closet that was filled with dull clothes, like the clothes worn by an IT company conglomerate. Since I got a parachute job, I thought that I should get help from my connections.
If I ask the pretty owner of that store, maybe I can get a pretty fabric at an inexpensive price. Maybe I can get a family discount…?
Someone knocked on my door as soon as I finished changing into my indoor dress.
George came inside the room. He pulled out the chair that I was supposed to sit on so I just sat on the bed that was opposite of where he was.
“What happened earlier? Why was that Chaers brat staring at you like that earlier?”
“Uhm… I think it was because I was a little rude in front of the Duke.”
I spoke timidly as I looked up a bit at George.
“It was my fault.”
“No, I’m not here to scold you…”
He closed his mouth as he chose his words for a moment before speaking again.
“I wanted to know if the reason why you were restless all day today was because of Chaers.”
The thought of George killing Chaers suddenly flashed in my head.
“No way! Sir Chaers did not do anything to me. Nothing’s wrong dad.”
“No, I’m right.”
George looked at me disapprovingly with his arms folded on top of his chest..
Excuse me. I’m more scared of my dad right now compared to Chaers?
“You… Are you guys in a relationship? Maybe you fought?”
I vehemently opposed George’s take on this matter. I felt both relieved and confused at the same time so I spoke to him with a bit of anger.
“Just because dad has a lover doesn’t mean that I’m also dating someone!”
I was deliberately referring to the owner of the store before. He clearly looked like he was embarrassed and shy about his relationship with the owner of that store.
My strategy is successful.
He kept his mouth shut in embarrassment before speaking again.
“I will not stand it if Chaers is treating you poorly for no particular reason at all.”
I shook my head wildly.
“No. That’s not it…”
“What happened in Movale? Ever since then, things have been strange.”
“When the Duke was running a fever and I was nursing him, I dozed off for a bit…”
“That Chaers punk must have misjudged you. He doesn’t even know how much you care about the Duke! I was right about that punk.”
I knew that a line had been crossed when I saw George’s complex expression. It seemed like he truly couldn’t tolerate anyone mistreating me. I stared at him as I spoke slowly. The last thing that I wanted to happen was George fighting against Chaers.
“Dad, the Duke was in a dangerous situation back then. Sir Chaers deserved to be angry at me.”
George suddenly placed his palm on my head. His hand was quite heavy but nevertheless it was filled with warmth.
“I was worried that the ladder disease had changed your personality but you’re still holding things in. You’re still nice.”
I hugged George sincerely. I felt that it was a good thing that I met someone who was stubbornly supportive of me. I was both grateful and sorry since he felt more like my real dad.
“The dry goods store…”
“Cough, cough. Good night, Arielsa.”
“Dad? How far did the two of you go? Huh? Dad?”
But he was already out of sight. I giggled at him before lying on my bed. Truthfully, I felt tired. I felt exhausted after paying so much attention to Duke Kyron today. At the same time, I felt a bit hurt that Chaers was viewing me as an assassin after Duke Kyron’s life.
However, after being comforted by George, I didn’t think that it was that big of a deal. After all, I still stopped Duke Kyron from having an accident today.
I got up and opened the door to my room. A kitchen maid was standing outside.
“The Duke is asking you to come to his office.”
I took a deep breath before going to the Duke’s office. No matter what question he asked, I knew clearly that I would be reluctant to give him an answer. However, it was something that I couldn’t avoid.
When I arrived at his office, I could see that Duke Kyron was not alone. He was slouching and laughing with Chaers. He only gestured lightly when he saw me coming in.
“Did you call for me, Duke?”
When I approached him, he held out a glass to me.
“Arielsa. I’m going to stay up all night drinking from now on since the spring hunt is over.”
My eyes couldn’t help but roll when the Duke held out his glass to ask for a drink. I did not expect that he would ask me to drink.
However, several worries flitted through my head at the same time.
What if they caught me drinking? Will my real personality pop out due to the bottle of alcohol…? But when else can I have the chance to go drinking with Duke Kyron!
Of course, nothing would happen. Because I was just his maid. So of course, nothing would happen but I did not know anything about others…