In October, I turned 11 years old.
Since the Orc Nest cleanup at the end of May, I have destroyed about 20 Orc Nests. There are still a few more nests to go, but I am determined to clean up all of them. Naturally, I’ll start from the northern part of the White Dragon Mountains, with my goal being to restart the mining of Mithril ore.
Thanks to this, preparations for the northernmost of the four mining areas in the White Dragon Mountains were progressing at a rapid pace. Originally, it was expected to take at least three years to start mining, but it looks like it will be shortened to two years.
Plans for the mining area and a village equipped with a smelting furnace for refining Mithril ore in early spring next year were also progressing well. Recruitment of personnel has already begun.
(Everything’s going well. I’ll take out all the Orc Nests, and hopefully all the Armored Ant Nests, and be an adventurer by next year.)
When I was eight years old, I decided to quit my position as a manservant and leave the mansion when I turn twelve. It’s been three years since then, and I think I’ve been at the mansion for a long time.
“Allen, take care of Cecile for me. Protect her.”
The thought of leaving reminded me of Mihai’s words recently. What did he want me to protect her from? If these words mean that he wants me to serve Cecile for the rest of my life, I can’t do that. I tried to think of what else it could mean, but I couldn’t figure it out.
“I hear there’s a Royal Messenger coming today.”
“It would seem so.”
While I was eating my breakfast, the head manservant, Rickel, approached me. It’s been three years since I started having breakfast conversations with Rickel.
A Royal Messenger is coming today, just as Rickel has told. There was an advance notice yesterday, and the guest of honor will arrive a little after noon today. All the employees of the Baronial household were told to gather in the dining hall on the second floor.
(Is it about increasing the per capita tax again?)
I wasn’t told why he was coming. However, many of the Royal Messengers were arrogant, so I don’t like them.
A little after noon, the Royal Messenger arrived. No lunch would be served today, as the meeting would take place in the dining hall.
At the entrance, the Butler guided the Messenger to the dining hall on the second floor. Three people come to the dining hall.
The first person to enter was better dressed than the other two. The two behind him seemed to be part of his entourage or something.
The best-dressed Royal Messenger sat on his pre-determined seat, and the two aides stood behind him. The aides seemed to be holding something in their hands.
The Butler who led the way stood behind the Baron, who was sitting in his usual seat. I was standing on the wall side behind the seat where Cecile was sitting. The other attendants and manservants stood behind the Baron, in a similar fashion.
“Welcome. What business brings you here today?”
“Hmm, Baron Granvelle has always served the Royal Family well. His Majesty the King has said that Baron Granvelle’s devotion is a model for the Nobility.”
“As the keeper of the Granvelle territory, I am grateful for such words of praise.”
The Royal Messenger ranks very high up. At least, they are much higher ranked than Barons. It is also the privilege of the Royal Messenger to be able to borrow and speak the words of His Majesty the King. The Baron was upset, as he had never had a Royal Messenger speak to him in this way before.
Then there was a pause. The Baron waited for the Royal Messenger’s next words. He stared at the Royal Messenger, wondering what this is all about.
“Hmm, it pains me greatly to give this to Baron Granvelle.”
After a short pause, the Royal Messenger spoke up. Then, as if on cue, one of the members of the entourage walked to the center of the long table. The Butler, who had been watching, also walked to the center of the long table and faced the aide.
The Butler was handed something square by the aide. The Butler placed the envelope near the Baron on the table.
“Yes, a letter from your son.”
The Royal Messenger answered the Baron’s question.
The Royal Messenger didn’t seem to want to answer anything more. Since it was Mihai’s letter, Cecile’s attention was focused on the letter on the table.
Seeing that the Royal Messenger had nothing further to say, the Baron opened the envelope, which was not sealed with wax, and pulled out a piece of parchment.
When he pulled the parchment out of the envelope, several strands of light purple thread-like material fluttered onto the table.
Seeing this, the expression on the Baron’s face suddenly changed to one of anxiety. He began to read the parchment in his hand.
As soon as he started reading, the Baron let out a sigh.
“Father, what did Brother Mihai write?”
Basically, when guests are present, no one except the Baron speaks. It is only when the guest speaks to them. Ignoring this, Cecile spoke to the Baron. However, the Baron didn’t show any reaction to Cecile’s words, and read the letter while shaking his shoulders.
“When did this happen?”
“It’s from about three months ago.”
“What? How could this happen in just six months!?”
The Baron, perhaps unhappy with the Royal Messenger’s unconcerned attitude, lashed out at the Royal Messenger. The Baron’s emotionally exposed attitude was very far from the Baron’s normal state.
“Your son has fulfilled his duty.”
“In any case, you put us in harm’s way because we were lowly nobles! Mihai had only just graduated from the Academy!”
The Baron was already on his feet, glaring at the Royal Messenger and continuing to shout abuse at him.
“Am I correct in taking that as a statement against the Royal Family?”
The Royal Messenger’s attitude had not changed since he entered the dining hall. He threatened the Baron in the same tone. He said it in such a matter-of-factly tone that the Baron swallowed his words, saying it’s too unreasonable.
“Hey, let me read it, too!”
The Baroness irresistibly stood up, took the letter from the Baron, and began to read it.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.”
While the Baroness was reading the letter, she was so shocked that she fainted. The Baroness’s Lady’s Maid hurriedly took Baroness in her arms. She carried the fainted Baroness away from the dining hall.
“I will send you the list of the deceased and the amount of money later.”
The Baron was unable to keep up with the Royal Messenger, who proceeded with his story.
“I have given you the letter. I have to go to the next territory, so if you’ll excuse me now. So long, Baron Granvelle.”
The Royal Messenger stood up to the Baron and told him.
“Please continue to do your duty as the Baron in charge of the Granvelle territory.”
The Baron was not in a position to answer right now. Not caring that the Baron did not answer, the Royal Messenger left the dining hall. When the Butler tried to see him off, he was told, “No need to see me off.”
With the Royal Messenger and the Baroness gone, silence fell over the dining hall.
“Father, what happened?”
Then Cecile, who had been silent until now, asked the Baron a question. From the flow of the conversation, I think everyone has already deduced that Mihai is probably dead. She asked the Baron to tell her more than that.
“Yes, … Would everyone please excuse us? And Thomas, too.”
The Baron asked everyone to leave. Only the Baron, Cecile, and the Butler remained, so I left as well.
In the early afternoon, I joined the other maids to clean the mansion. While cleaning, I thought about Mihai.
(I wonder if this is what Mihai wanted to say, or what he wanted to entrust to me.)
I also knew from the conversation with the Royal Messenger earlier that Mihai was dead. That letter must have been a suicide note or something. And that made me think about what Mihai had told me when he left the mansion.
Just then, a loud voice came from the second floor cafeteria, echoing through the first floor.
“So you’re saying that Father left Brother Mihai to die! Did you send him off knowing that he would die?”
“What? I’m not saying that. I have my duties as a Noble.”
“So you want me to die too? Do you mean that I’ve been living my life to be killed?”
“What? No, I’m not. Wait, wait, wait. Cecile, Cecile, Cecile!”
I heard the door of the dining hall close with a sound that echoed through the building. It seemed that Cecile had gone back to her room. The maids and the manservants could hear her. I wondered what it was all about.
There was no sign of Cecile at dinner that night. She seemed to be confined to her room.
And the next morning.
“Allen, did you hear that voice yesterday?”
“Yes, it was quite loud.”
Everyone in the mansion heard the exchange between the Baron and Cecile.
“Then again, it was true, wasn’t it?”
“Oh, yes,” said Rickel, who had been talking from across the table, raising himself up and leaning over to whisper to me.
“I heard a rumor a long time ago, but I’m not sure. I’ve heard that the Granvelle family is rumored to have a short lifespan, with the Baron’s parents dying early, as well as the Baron’s brother.”
He told me that he heard this rumor a long time ago when he was just a little boy.
In the meantime, it was time to take care of Cecile. So, I went with the maid to Cecile’s room, who didn’t come for dinner yesterday.
As usual, the maid knocked and entered to change Cecile’s clothes. I waited at the door in the meantime.
“Cecile, Miss Cecile!”
A maid entered the room and started screaming. When I peeked in to see what was going on, I found the maid holding her mouth with both hands in agitation.
Cecile was not in her room.
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