The Duke is Puzzled by the Situation
Even though his daughter had been thrown in prison, Duke Ferguson was busy with his work like usual.
Normally if a criminal were to pop up in one’s family, especially a noble one, the other members should show a modicum of self-restraint and act discreetly.
With Rachel’s case however, there was only a one-sided conviction on the Prince’s part, and the Duke would never admit guilt to something like that. Rather, because the final judgement from the King hadn’t been handed down yet, it was his duty to actively fight the charges and claim innocence.
The oldest son George was on the other side, but the father Dan was still the head of the house. And no matter what his son said, he refused to back down.
That’s why he wasn’t short on any information from the barrage of visitors that passed through.
But then almost as if by chance during a lull of the busy coming and goings of the Duke’s guests, Rachel’s personal maid Sofia arrived at the Duke’s Office looking as if she were here to wait upon him.
“Pardon me Master.”
During such a time, there was two other maids waiting patiently by the door leading to the outside hallway. Sofia alone walked forward, giving a deep and respectful bow straight out of an instruction manual.
“It’s about My Lady’s matter”
“Ah, Rachel’s current status”
The Duke finished signing a document before resting his hand and looking up at his daughter’s subordinate who had just entered……although to be precise rather than his daughter’s this should be his wife’s subordinate, but it seems that any servant attached to their daughter end up having their loyalties skewed to a certain personal preference.
Completely unconcerned with the conflict inside the Duke’s heart, Sofia stepped forward as calm as ever.
“Umu. How is she?”
“According to the report, My Lady is doing just fine.”
The young woman finished her report and gave a single thanks.
The Duke in turn stared at her for about ten seconds.
“…….Is that all?”
The Duke spoke in a befuddled voice as he realized that nothing else would come out even if he waited, and Sofia in turn answered him completely serious.
“Yes. That is the summary.”
“No, No No! No, that is far too concise a summary. What am I supposed to understand with just that?”
“I think you’d understand that My Lady is doing just fine.”
“That’s all!? There’s nothing else!? If there are any other details then please release them.”
“Right…….then, I’ll deliver them later.”
Looking somewhat unconvinced Sofia turned back.
“Lisa, could you bring the daily report from the watchman to Master?”
“Meia, please call the primary physician Monton here as soon as possible.”
“Hah……….Sofia, should I be calling the large doctor in charge of heart surgery? Or the young one with the psychosomatic medicine?”
“Why are you asking something so stupid!? The Master, didn’t he say he wanted to know the details of Our Lady’s latest activity records? It should be obvious that you’d call both. Use your common sense.”
After giving out instructions to her fellow maids, Sofia turned back around and gave another bow.
“Master, when looking over the daily report, do so with a stable pulse and after lying down in bed.”
The maid’s words went in one ear and out the other with the Duke only really caring about one thing.
………….common sense, what?
Once the Duke had managed to regain his mind, he made a small cough and changed his instructions.
“Wait. It’s fine so long as Rachel is in good health……..I’d prefer to not be confined to my bed right now…….”
……….what are you doing, and what kind of results are you bringing? Things are happening in real time right now, but there was no doubt that it’d be better for his mental health if he didn’t ask any questions like that.
Thinking so, the Duke ended the discussion.
It’s the natural result after considering one’s priorities.
By no means did he mean to just put off opening Pandora’s Box.
After shaking his head and making another small cough, the troubled Duke decided to consult with his daughter’s maid about the current matters.
“Umm, more than that…….His Majesty should soon be returning from his tour. I’m sure His Highness will be working on his case to decide her guilt. Perhaps we should start working on some counter-measures……..”
So what do you think? Before the Duke could say anything else though, Sofia’s report caused his words to get stuck in his throat.
“If it’s about His Majesty, then he won’t be back for a while.”
Why is a maid who shouldn’t even know the schedule of the inspection in the first place suddenly saying something like that?
To the Duke who had absolutely no idea what his vassal was saying, Sofia offered an explanation.
“The engagement between My Lady and His Highness Elliott was due to the strong wishes of Her Majesty the Queen. Because of this we created a summary of the events that have happened since the engagement’s destruction and relied on a messenger from the Nauman family to secretly send it while His Majesty was on his inspection.”
Far from knowing their schedule, Sofia was able to pin down exactly where they’d be and when they’d be there. Furthermore she had the means to get in contact. What’s with this scary story?
“In total, we wrote them a note saying, “The cats are playing happily,” and their party ended up staying at the hot springs inside Count Fracker’s territory. Until the situation is organized and our policy moving forward is decided, I believe they shouldn’t be returning to the city.”
But then the expressionless maid looked like she thought of something and added,
“Or, you’re afraid that My Lady blowing off some steam might step on the wrong toes, perhaps.”
The Duke laughed at the maid’s guess. It was a very small, quiet laugh.
“N, no……….no matter how big a fire Rachel creates, there’s no way it’d affect His Majesty’s group. Afraid that Rachel would get uninvolved royalty wrapped up in all this, that’s ridiculous! Hahaha………”
“No, in truth His Highness the Archduke……..pardon me, it’s nothing.”
“The Archduke? What about the Archduke!? What’s happened to Archduke Vivaldi!?”
“Please don’t worry. It’s already settled.”
“Is it absurd to feel concern!? What has Rachel done!?”
“It’s all okay. It’s really not that big a deal.”
“Is it really okay!? What’s Rachel done!?”
“From my mouth, it’s a little……..”
“How is that supposed to make it sound like it’s all okay!?”
“By the way Master”
Having already worked through the Duke’s panic, Sofia presented to him a brochure without any context.
“Since you’ve been building up anxiety lately, how about you and your wife go on a trip to some hot springs.”
“Whose fault……….who do you think put me in this state right now!?”
“Right. While visiting the hot springs, you might just end up running into His Majesty while you’re there.”
Sofia’s casual words left the Duke stunned.
“………are you saying that we should discuss the final measures away from the crime scene?”
“It all just happened this way. What a coincidence.”
The maid continued talking with an absolutely unreadable face.
“At any rate, the fact that His Highness’s party has deviated from their schedule is something that the Royal Palace is still unaware of. If Master were to depart right now for the same hot springs, then nobody would ever have been able to predict if you were to somehow encounter His Majesty at the same place.”
Just how far under the table is my Daughter’s hand able to reach……..the Duke could feel his spine grow cold as he thought about it.
My Daughter is growing in a way I couldn’t expect and building up a major incident. Somebody help.
Sofia’s proposal, it’s true that it would be a good way to save Rachel.
The Royal Palace doesn’t know anything, and that No-Ability Prince’s group would never even question the inspection group returning late. They would never even think about hampering the Duke from reaching his destination.
But if he was going to dance in the setting that his daughter had set up, there were some things that still had to be confirmed.
“………..And what about the situation here? If I were to leave then wouldn’t George take control of this House?”
With no Duke or Duchess, naturally responsibility would fall to George, the oldest son. If Rachel was looking for help, she wouldn’t be able to count on her own house for any assistance whatsoever. But since she was the one proposing the outing, Rachel must have assuredly thought of that.
This was evidenced by the cool look still plastered on Sofia’s face, showing that this was within their calculations.
“There are also some convenient things that can only be gained when Master isn’t here.”
“Is that so?”
“Even if the Master and Mistress were to go out on an excursion, it wouldn’t be strange for you to appoint a substitute for a short period of time while you’re away. You can appoint a deputy outside of your relatives since the Young Master is still a minor. And when it comes to managing home affairs………”
The Duke and maid stared into each other’s eyes……..and then they both turned their necks towards the wall and the butler who had been as thin as air until now. Seeing that their eyes had gathered on him, the butler dropped the documents he had in his hands with a face looking like he had just had a heart attack………..but no worries, no worries.
“Yes. He’s just a servant, but if Master has entrusted all rights to him………”
“He can’t deviate from the policy I set up, and George can’t order him around.”
“No matter what Young Master says, “It violates my instructions,” or “Check with the Master,” he can always just respond with that. And with the Young Master’s head, it’d be difficult for him to verify any claims with Master while you’re traveling.”
“Umu, it’ll be fine for just a governmental office.”
As the master and servant began coldly laughing as if everything had been solved, a crying butler meekly spoke up.
“Um, will I truly be alone and in charge……….?”
“Don’t worry Jonathan. Sofia will also be here, and if George gets too noisy, you can just ask Martha to throw him in his room.”
That terrifying maid chief used to be George’s nanny. And George hadn’t grown big enough yet for her to not be able to pick him up by the scruff of his neck.
The butler’s shoulders drooped as he realized there was no getting around this for him, but the Duke was feeling especially lighthearted all of the sudden and went out jovially calling for his wife.
“Iseria, we’re going on a hot spring trip vacation right away!”
“Well Dan, what’s going on so suddenly!? Right now shouldn’t be the time for such a thing!”
“We’re going out precisely because it’s right now!”
While collecting some documents that had fallen on the floor, the butler weakly looked over at the maid with grievous eyes.
“If all this anxiety kills me, could I apply for worker’s compensation?”
“Hm? Please check with Master for that.”