The Duke Grasps the Situation
During tonight’s party being held at the royal palace where numerous young nobles had gathered, an emergency report was delivered that Rachel’s engagement had been suddenly abandoned by the Prince.
In a situation that was almost impossible to understand, the Duke’s house had descended to a state of chaos, and as everyone turned to the Duke for answers……he was running to try and gain information from his vassals to try and grasp the situation himself.
Each subordinate came rushing in, delivering one fragment of bad news after another.
“It is certain then that the Prince broke off the engagement with Rachel at tonight’s party?”
“Hah. We have been able to confirm so from multiple sources. In the midst of tonight’s party, she was restrained in the middle of the banquet hall and taken away.
The Duke could feel a migraine coming on.
“That idiot prince…..! I wonder if he aimed for a this to be sensationalized, but the place is way too bad. He’s never been the brightest, but this is a question of his common sense……”
The Duke Dan had already judged that the Prince would be going down.
Ending the engagement and violating over a dozen noble manners and customs, no matter how he tries to play this off it’s going to look bad for him.
Of course there was also a bitter anger in him that his daughter’s engagement had been broken so shamelessly………but honestly, the current problem bothering the Duke more than anything was something far worse…….
The Duke slammed his hands on the top of his desk.
“That guy’s head was always empty……..but now he’s willingly awoken the Demon…….!”
The Duke’s eldest daughter Rachel has been a beautiful child ever since she was small. With her modest gestures and fragile appearance, she looked like a shy and gentle girl from the outside. The Duke and his wife who didn’t know anything would always talk and praise her during their get-togethers. Everyone thought she was a wonderful child in both body and mind.
They were wrong.
As the girl grew up and her sense of self developed, the Duke and his wife’s smiles started to cloud.
In any case, her behavior was bad compared to the other kids her age.
When a group of kids tried to bully her once, she climbed up a big tree in a skirt and then threw a beehive at them. When older kids came forward to try and act as reinforcements, she started knocking them down with a large stick and punished the main instigator of the bullying by throwing them in a pond.
When the Duke heard all the noise and rushed to the scene, he found his daughter throwing stones at the boy every time he tried to come back up out of the water for air.
When the shocked father tried to stop the incident, his daughter at the time looked at him with a very serious face and said,
“It’s okay. If I throw the stones at him fast enough while he’s trying to come up, I can prevent him from floating back up to the top.”
It was around this moment the Duke had concluded there was a very high probability that his daughter was a psychopath.
For the time being he pointed out the difficulty of loading the boy down at the bottom of the pond by throwing stones at him, and he took the time to explain water resistance and how that shape of these amorphous stones meant you couldn’t guarantee where they would land. He educated her on all such things, but the entire time Dan was quietly panicking inside his head.
His daughter’s eyes were shining, “As expected of Father!” she praised him, but it was honestly the first time he had experienced his daughter’s praise going in one ear and making its way out the other.
It was worth all the effort the two parent had put in when they noticed Rachel’s distorted personality, and their daughter was able to pick up the social skills that matched her appearance as she matured.
Comparing manners and morals to the rules of a game, they were able to get her to grow up in the ideal way, playing the ‘rules of life’ to make it a fair game for everyone playing.
But the two parents were always aware.
If she were ever to lose the thought that she had to play by the rules, then they had no idea what kind of things their daughter was capable of.
So they raised Rachel and her brother with an emphasis on the necessary education on ethics for nobles…….and then the abandonment of her engagement shattered so many of those rules.
The Duke knew more than anyone else what could be happening in the banquet hall right this very moment.
Prince Elliot had just flipped the table over.
A butler breathlessly rushed into the room to file a report while the Duke continued to pace back and forth in his study impatiently waiting for an update on the current scene.
“The details have arrived!”
“Has there been movement!?”
The Duke’s impatience had hit MAX levels, and the butler’s face went blue when he realized he had to break the news.
“The situation is a bit…..His Highness hasn’t sentenced Milady with anything, but since she won’t apologize for whatever offense she apparently caused, she seems to have been dragged down to the dungeon and quietly imprisoned there.”
All movement from the Duke stopped………right before he lost all feeling in his legs and crumpled down into his chair. His butler quickly rushed to his side.
The Duke was stunned for a while, but he was soon able to leak out a few words.
“This is…..so His Highness is fine.”
The butler, who also knew about the growth Rachel had gone through from her youth, nodded his head.
His daughter’s sudden steeled resolve wasn’t enough to settle the Duke’s worries entirely. He had no choice but to let that girl do what she wanted to ease up on the gas…..
The Duke’s bustling impatience disappeared from his face. He walked around to his desk and began loading his pipe with some tobacco.
He would take a puff for the time being. That’s all he would do for now. It was all that he could do.
The Duke took a deep drag on his pipe, savoring the taste of the tobacco before spitting it back out…….and then he remembered something important.
“If it’s like this……George was also there in the hall. What was he doing while all this was going on?”
Apart from Rachel being his future wife, George was also a good friend to the Prince. Before it becoming such a serious event, if he had tried to arbitrate or reported this matter to the Duke, then this commotion could have been minimized.
The butler who had delivered the original report suddenly looked uncomfortable again before being forced to bring up some horrible additional information.
“It seems……the young lord has also become infatuated with the Baron’s daughter just like His Highness and joined together with him in condemning the Lady.”
The Duke and butler couldn’t look each other in the eyes, instead turning their gazes up to the ceiling.
“George…..is already dead.”
“That idiot has been with his older sister for sixteen years now. Why can’t he understand something so simple?”
It had been a while since Rachel had done anything crazy, but still, what in the world had he been thinking?
The Duke had zero intentions of protecting his eldest son from from the inevitable anger Rachel would unleash on her younger brother.
If he were to do that, then the damage would just spill out over here as well.
He refused to have everything he ever worked for smashed to pieces because of his foolish son.
While the Duke was staring up at the ceiling, still enjoying long drags from his pipe, the corridor suddenly became noisy, and his wife burst through the door.
A weeping wife jumped into her husband’s chest right as he rose out of his chair worried.
“Rachel is……..Rachel is……..!”
“I know. I was just listening to the report now…..we must keep ourselves together!”
The wife, who was completely upset, started shouting through her tears.
“Because she……Rachel won’t silently take this…..Rachel’s going to kill everyone there!? Our future’s and the future of His Majesty are going to be completely destroyed!”
“It’s alright! Rachel is already 17 years old, she isn’t a child anymore. She’s at the age where she can make judgements like an adult.”
Towards his crying wife, the Duke continued to try and ease her worries with words he didn’t actually believe. But his words provided very little relief for his wife.
“Dan, you can’t understand……you don’t know what it’s like watching your little girl sing Lizzie Borden’s Poem while swinging around an axe!”¹
“You have to calm down Iseria! It’s okay, we’ll be okay! Rachel has grown greatly as a noble lady over this past decade. The Rachel that she is right now won’t beat the Prince to death with a blunt object, but will instead mentally tear away at his brain in a way that is just barely legal!”
“Really…..? Rachel really is okay with just that? That girl won’t bring the kingdom down in an ocean of fire after carving the Prince up with a knife”
“Believe in our daughter Iseria! She is an intelligent and clever girl. There is no way she would be so stupid as to bring herself down along with her victims. She will definitely destroy His Highness in a way without getting any blood on her feet.”
Nonetheless, the Duke was unable to predict what his daughter was thinking, and whether his daughter’s plans would end with the Prince’s murder was something that couldn’t be said.
How to deal with this………at this stage the Duke could do nothing other than sigh.
There were a number of servants surrounding these two…….and all of them had been a member of this house too long to tsukkomi their conversation.
While the Duke rubbed his wife’s back trying to calm her down, a calm voice asked for permission to enter the room–an unnerving thing in this currently chaotic mansion.
Walking through the door, it was Rachel’s childhood friend and maid Sofia who bowed her head to the head of the house.
“Ah, Sofia. You’re timing is perfect. Have you heard what happened to Rachel?”
“Yes. Of course.”
“I will be heading over there immediately to protest. I would like for you to get ready and join me on my way there. If we can’t get Rachel out of prison, we will be sure to at least provide her with her personal belongings to make her stay more comfortable. If anyone objects, we will push through with my authority.”
Rachel having been thrown in prison directly from the banquet hall, she would require a change of clothes and other things for her to go on living. Sofia was close to Rachel, so bringing her along would make things go quick was what the Duke thought, but…….
“No, everything’s fine.”
“You’ve already prepared everything? As expected of you.”
“Yes. Everything has been prepared and brought in for her.”
“I see, that’s good preparation……..huh? You brought it in?”
Turning his full attention on the maid who was saying things that didn’t quite make sense, he saw two other gray-haired maids behind her give a sharp nod.
“Milady gained information on this event in advance, so we prepared enough food and supplies for her to live there for three months and transported it to the royal prison.”
In private, the maids working under Rachel are often even more arrogant than their master as evidenced by how Sofia responded to the Duke with a surprised expression as if what she was saying were common sense.
Numerous doubts were jumping around the Duke’s brain all at once, but he tried gathering himself together and asked his daughter’s follower his most important question.
“Ju-just a moment……she got this information in advance? Why didn’t Rachel do anything then? And then, how did you smuggle in three months of supplies into the royal palace?”
This maid loyal to Rachel answered once again as if the answer were obvious.
“It seemed dubious whether he would actually do it, the Lady had received knowledge about the Prince’s ‘Engagement abandonment plan’. ‘Once that idiot breaks off the engagement and annuls my responsibilities, won’t I be able to laze around and do whatever I want for a while? That sounds lovely!‘ were her words.”
“And ever since the engagement with the Prince was first finalized, she has been organizing her ‘Dark Night Black Cats’ to have them encompass all throughout the royal palace. Thus it was a simple matter to smuggle in her supplies while disguised as it being public service.”
“Rachel, what in the world are you aiming for……..!?”
The Duke was relieved to know that his daughter had her wits about her.
But more than that, he was trembling with fear realizing the darkness in his daughter’s heart went far deeper than he thought.
Why did she have an intelligence organization that the rest of the house wasn’t aware about? And being able to smuggle in over three months worth of supplies, isn’t that too far beyond just a simple information network? Couldn’t she actually perform a royal assassination if it’s like this? And many other thoughts of that nature were running through the Duke’s head……
“Anyway, I’m going to go protest the government’s actions.”
“Please feel free.”
He decided to pretend that he hadn’t heard anything.
1. It’s a Mother Goose poem:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.