Sorry this one took so long. Life has gotten busy these last two weeks, and it almost feels like someone put my life on fast forward right now. Also for some reason this chapter decided to be a pain for me. Nothing wanted to click as I did it, but that’s probably just me coming up with excuses. Either way I promise to try and do better from now on.
Noblewoman Does Some Shopping
Rachel raised her face from the novel she was reading, and she grew worried with what she didn’t see on the wall.
“………somehow, it’s quite dreary huh.”
When she thought about it, the Ducal home had vases and paintings all over. Naturally Rachel’s room as well had been decorated on three sides with portraits of her and the landscape paintings she had done as a hobby.
Rachel got up from her sofa and started to look around.
Naturally the walls of a dungeon were comprised of nothing but stacked stone. There was nothing else to see. Only the mural she had drawn the other day provided even a little decoration.
“Because I live in such a troublesome place, it’d be good to coordinate it in a way I like……..isn’t this the real pleasure of moving?”
An ordinary inmate wouldn’t think like this.
“It’s still too early to bring in the Dark Night Black Cats………we never expected such a sense before, but it’s good to find new business partners.”
The non-ordinary prisoner Rachel thusly placed her hand on some nearby paper with a *Pon* and began writing out a letter.
Prince Elliott arrogantly spoke up, and Rachel reluctantly looked up at him from the magazine she had been reading.
“What is it Your Highness? I, am in the middle of reading.”
When she raised her face, she saw that Elliott wasn’t looking at her. The Prince’s eyes were looking over past Rachel at the other side of the dungeon.
“………In such a place, you’ve put up a decorative painting?”
Elliott’s eyes were glued to the wall, where a large picture frame was hanging on full display. It was a landscape painting in which lilies beautifully bloomed around a river.
“My Your Highness, has your memory already begun to worsen at such an age?”
“Huh!? No, there is no such thing! Ah, but if what you said is true………..”
“I put it up just yesterday. To not remember such a recent change……..”
“So it was new after all!?”
Elliott wrapped his fingers around the bars, clinging to the cell with a deep frown.
“Oi……how can you afford to bring a painting in here? What appeal is there to preparing something so nonessential and nonurgent!?”
“There was no such intention. This, it is not a picture that I brought from home.”
Elliott looked back at George.
“Is that so?”
“Haa………certainly, it’s a picture I’ve never seen at home before…….”
For the source, George could do nothing besides tipping his head to the side.
“Where did you pick it up from?”
“Is Your Highness an idiot? How could I have possibly gone to pick it up?”
It can’t be helped that Elliott gets called an idiot when he becomes absentminded whenever somebody calls him an idiot.
“So you didn’t get it from home. You also didn’t pick it up, so then where did you get it?”
How did the picture appear……..it was a question that made Elliott’s head turn, but Rachel responded simply while turning her gaze back into her magazine.
“I bought it.”
“Where could a prisoner have bought this!?”
“Hey Your Highness”
Having watched the exchange silently until now, Sykes spoke up and pointed to the magazine Rachel was reading.
“That novel magazine, it came out this week.”
Although the number of publishing companies had been increasing lately and the number of books for entertainment purposes with it, entertainment magazines are issued after a certain amount of content had been accumulated, so publications came out non-periodically with a gap inbetween issues. Because these magazines come out one after another like this, it is easy to distinguish between issues.
Sykes had seen this issue from a distance earlier which was why he knew that it had come out only recently.
“Oi Rachel! Where did you get a brand new magazine!”
“How could I tell you such a thing? What entertainment could be had in this prison without having the prison guard spew out guesses for what he believes the market prices for these things to be?”¹
“What’s with that stupid story!?”
“Strange…….Rachel, from where is she bringing in all this new stuff?”
Elliott’s grumblings were natural. Rachel couldn’t leave, and even if she did know of a way to smuggle things in through the gate, there was no movement from the Duke’s house.
“Somewhere, is Rachel somehow opening up the walls in order to go shopping?”
At this point Elliott’s anger and hatred had caused his reasoning skills to fly away.
“There are no hidden passageways inside. There had been a previous inspection, and Rachel wouldn’t have had time to build something since then.” It would take quite a long time to build an escape underground. Even if Rachel was aware of the engagement abandonment beforehand, time wouldn’t have been on her side. “However……if so then how did Big Sis bring all that in…….”
George was also puzzled. His sister was originally a slippery target, so he didn’t know what to do now that they had already caught her.
Elliott bitterly spat out his next words.
“Anyway! We’ll perform strict checks from now on to make sure that there really are no strangers coming in and out of the palace. To all the gate guards and royal knights, investigate in detail every suspicious merchant and visitor that comes into the palace!”
Having been permitted entry through the castle’s front gate, the man who has been the head of the well-established Crown Company for over twenty years walked into the backyard after confirming there were no other people nearby. Before anybody could see him he had already quietly made his way down the steps to the underground prison.
“Greetings, thanks for your continued patronage. I’m from the the Crown Company.”
Rachel, who had been busy reading a book at the time, raised her face from inside her cell.
“I’ve been waiting. You’re sure you coming here hasn’t been leaked?”
“Yes, everything’s alright. I’m currently discussing official business in a court lady’s room, but nobody saw where I went to confirm that I came here.”
The seasoned merchant then began pulling out items from the luggage he had brought with him one after another.
“Of the items you ordered, everything that hasn’t been yet delivered to you is in here.”
“Thank you. With that, about the exotic lamp with the colored glass you mentioned before……..here’s the catalog. If you could choose whichever one you’d prefer, we can have it shipped to you in a week, so please place your order!”
“Yes, I’ll look. Always so naughty.”
The elderly man bowed his head while wringing together his hands.
“No no, nothing so outrageous! By all means in the future…….”
“Yes, I will ask that you be allowed to come and go in Father’s house.”
“Thank you very much!”
The merchant deeply bowed his head once again upon hearing Rachel’s lip service and left after hearing her additional order.
Rachel was alone, bringing some cookies from a famous store that had just arrived in the dungeon up to her mouth.
“His Highness has been looking for a company that has recently started coming in and out……..”
But the subordinate that Rachel has had deliver supplies to her while she is in prison first started coming to the palace under the guise of a merchant since several years ago. Even if the search were widened to not include just new merchants however, Rachel knew the Idiot Prince would never be able to grab his tail.
Even a long established group like the Crown Company wants as many new clients among the upper nobles as they can get. Merchants aren’t the type to be satisfied with having just a court order.
Even a big player would respond to a risky transaction if it was with someone with Rachel’s position, and they know how to side-step regulations.
Elliott was born a prince, so he has no sense in that area.
“Well, even the ordinary citizenry wouldn’t know of something like a merchant’s temperament either.”
It’s not normal for the daughter of a Duke to know about such things either, but upon hearing some footsteps coming her way, she decided to not dwell on such things and instead pulled out a new bottle of wine from its package.
1. I’m just going to admit that I had to guess a bit with this line. Rachel’s being random which is always funny unless you have no idea what she’s trying to say and there is little context to infer meaning. In other words, Rachel was giving a big F U to Elliott and me both.