Noblewoman Hosts Some Guests
Elliott is also a Prince, so there are various events and jobs that have to be done every day. Lately his paperwork and inspections have been rapidly increasing, creating a mess of busy days that made him completely forget about the dungeon that had been plaguing his mind until recently.
During one of his tea breaks he just so happened to glance out his window, and he couldn’t help but be forced to remember that woman……..he discovered it.
A plume of smoke rising in the distance.
No matter how you look at it, that was definitely coming from an area that had become all too familiar.
“Ah, it’s such fine weather today……..”
“Can you see? Your Highness, the smoke is”
“For a change of pace, it might be good to take Margaret for a long ride to the hill.”
“Over there is where the dungeon is right? I wonder what, is she burning some firewood…….”
“Now that I think about it, my body’s feeling a little stiff from all the work lately. That’s no good.”
“Huh? The smell of burning meat……….oi oi, that girl has quite the appetite.”
“Yosh, let’s go to the suburbs today! We’ll leave as soon as Margaret gets here, so go prepare the horses at the stables!”
“Your Highness, are you listening? It looks like Rachel is up to something.”
“Sykes, His Highness is pretending he can’t see anything……..”
With one half unwilling to go and one half feeling obligated, Elliot arrived at the entrance of the dungeon to find two young men tidying up a barbecue stove. Judging from their clothes they appeared to be apprentice chefs.
Elliott ignored them both and entered the prison.
“Huh? Your Highness, aren’t you going to question them?”
Surprised, Sykes pulled on the Prince’s sleeve, but Elliott shook his head while making a face like he was chewing on a bitter tasting bug.
“They’re underlings no matter how you look at them, they are. The underground is the main source of whatever’s going on. At the very least, we’ll find the cause down there.”
“Sis is unable to leave the prison.”
Elliott and George nodded towards one another, but still not convinced, Sykes wanted to hold them back.
“But, Your Highness”
“What, is there still something?”
“If we go see Rachel without stopping them all from tidying up right now, then won’t they have gone home before making ours?”
“Your primary concern right now is food!? Food!?”
In front of the cell, a girthy chef was facing the iron bars and giving a cooking lesson to the person inside.
“Today’s main course shall be, a rare beef filet steak, prison style. Usually I cook this on an iron plate so that the meat appears more beautiful, but with the image of your cell bars in my mind, I dared to grill it today instead. I decided not to add any gravy for the sauce as I believe the fragrance from the charcoal that’s seeped in gives the dish a certain wildness to the taste instead.”
With the first cut brought to her mouth, Rachel raised a lively voice.
“Delicious! This sauce is different from what I ate in your shop before.”
“Yes. This time we took the beautiful image of a daughter of the Ferguson house, and melted some dark chocolate for the sauce instead.”
“Well, you flatterer!”
As the customer and chef harmoniously shared their impressions on the steak, Elliott called out.
“Could I hopefully be included in your little chat?”
Huh? What did he come here for? While saying some astonishing words he was making a face that said he was already used to this. Elliott exchanged a glance with his entourage, and George lightly bowed his head at the front.
George looked proudly down on his sister and pointed at the dish sitting in front of Rachel.
“Sis, that cooking there……….how did you get such dishes inside the jail?”
“That’s what you want to know!?”
The chef gave a bow.
“I had an assistant hold the plate we had put in earlier steady, and after using tongs to set the plate, I made the finishing touches through the bars.”
“Ah, so that’s how!”
“That doesn’t matter!”
Elliott began shouting after pushing George out of the way.
“Rachel, what did I tell you!? No delivery”
Rachel swallowed the food that was still in her mouth before giving an honest nod.
“Yes, that’s what you said.”
“I see. Then, what is this?”
Rachel looked down at the plate in her hands.
“Well Your Highness, this isn’t delivery.”
“Hoh? So what is it then?”
Rachel answered with a pure, innocent smile.
“That’s the same thing you idiot!”¹
Elliott’s eyes were turning red as he started violently looking around.
“Almost every single time, what is the Prison Guard doing!?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, his eyes landed on the Prison Guard who was sitting at his desk.
The same food was served in front of him, and his mouth just so happened to be filled with meat.
When his eyes met with the Prince’s, the Prison Guard quickly swallowed what was in his mouth, smiled, and gave him a thumb’s up.
“It’s all right! No suspicious objects have been brought in! I also properly made sure that nothing was poisoned!”
“Aren’t you not checking for poison with yours but rather sampling!? You were wondering what type of food this woman was having! You were bought with a piece of meat………!”
“No Your Highness, he isn’t the kind of man who could be simply bought for one or two pieces of meat. That’s why we properly served him the full course from the beginning.”
Elliott was just thinking about whether to do something about that Prison Guard when Rachel set down her fork after finishing off the last of her steak.
“Your Highness. I did it separately, but deliv…………..aren’t you going to have some catering?”
“Just now, you, didn’t you just call it delivery?”
“Because the Ferguson House is to be holding a party later on, I was just taste-testing some of the food that’s to be served.”
Elliott’s good point was completely ignored.
“Even though my sister is in prison, they still have her taste the food instead………”
George’s grief was also ignored.
Immediately after hearing Rachel’s answer, Elliott began to laugh.
“You’re taste-testing food for a party!? Even though you can’t go yourself!? What, are they going to hang a banner to symbolize your support!? Or are you going to pray for its success from afar and have those in attendance pass along your greetings!?”
As Rachel had been found severely guilty, obviously she wouldn’t be able to leave and attend a party at her home.
There’s a humor in preparing for a party that you can’t go to. But does Rachel understand this idiotic situation?
Because it had been such a long time since he had felt such intense pleasure concerning his relationship with Rachel, Elliott’s laughter just wouldn’t stop.
While watching the elated Elliott, Rachel smiled, remembering the correspondence that was hidden underneath her plate.
If you like the taste, then I’m sure His Highness will be pleased too.
Of course, you’re welcome to attend as well.
Seeing the cute Margaret beautifully dressed, Elliott and the rest of her fans were nearly tripping over themselves in their love for her.
“Beautiful Margaret. You look just like a Flower Fairy.”
“Oh, Your Highness!”
Even looking embarrassed she was too cute.
Rather than a grown adult beauty, hers was a dangerous charm that came from the impact of being in the middle of your growth. Since hers is still a childish beauty, they had thought that the sight of her in a low-cut evening gown would have been too flashy…….but rather, that unbalance is good!
Elliott quietly laughed to himself, thinking about what a wonderful reward it was that this beauty was just for him, when with a large smile spread ear from ear (in short his usual face), Bolanski came walking up.
“She’s such a wonderful beauty, Your Highness.”
“Ah, Margaret truly is lovely.”
“Yes, indeed. In particular, that tube top dress with no shoulder straps is quite the meritorious achievement.”
“Is it good? I was troubled how it would be when she put it on, but I made the resolve to hold back on any frills and ribbons and thought it would be better to have a simple, adult design.”
Elliott felt pride at having his choice complimented when Bolanski pointed his finger up towards the heavens.
“Yes. By tightening the top so much so that it doesn’t slip off, her modest chest is emphasized really well!”
“……….isn’t your opinion rather strange?”
“Really? I think I’m pretty normal but……..I am the president of the Kingdom Petaism Association, and we want to make Margaret our Peta • of • the • Year!”²
This guy was saying something really strange.
“………so, I think I’m going to have to say no.”
“Ah, what is someone of Your Highness’s station saying!? To be called Peta is to claim your meagerness! Saying mountains or cutting board is no good! Don’t you know that if Your Highness can’t understand the subtle differences, you’ll never be anymore than a second-rate petaist!?”
“No, I feel like something in me would die if I were to become first-rate……….”
Then, Elliott made a rough snort while watching Bolanski.
“You, you’re family name is Boinski right………”
“Bolanski, Your Highness.”
Margaret was enjoying her new dress, finally deciding on the pose she’d take when she ran back into Elliott.
“Elliott, I’m really thankful to you!”
“It’s nothing Margaret. I’m more than happy to help you become even more beautiful.”
Elliott’s imagination grew as she embraced him.
……….that happiness, with one word it was shattered in an instant.
“Yosh! Well then, I’m going to boast to Rachel. She’ll see just how very kind Elliott is to me.”
“…………..Margaret. You don’t need to bother showing off to that woman……..”
When Elliott tried showing his disapproval for Margaret’s plan, he received a shocking response in turn.
“But Elliott. Since Rachel is hosting a party, I want her to know who the person is that Elliott loves most when I show up in this dress!”
“A bunch of dressed up guests have made their way into the castle and are already at the dungeon.”
In response to the information Margaret had given him, Elliott and the others rushed to the scene.
“Damn, I should’ve noticed during the day……..”
“That’s right……..Rachel’s doing something really strange, Your Highness isn’t receiving any damage from this whatsoever.”
“What kind of standard of judgement is that!?”
The door to the dungeon’s entrance was wide open, and dazzling lights and a fun-sounding commotion were already leaking into the backyard.
“Damn, what kind of idiot holds a party in a dungeon……..!”
The men then ran down the stairs.
The room was lit up as bright as day, a wide chandelier set on the side.
Though it’d be a stretch to call this an evening party, all of the ladies and gentlemen there were certainly dressed like it was.
A number of tables that shouldn’t be here were set up, and a boy was going around serving more and more food.
And on one end wearing a bow tie and suit over his usual dirty work clothes was the Prison Guard who was serving wine from a barrel.
“Ah, it’s Your Highness.”
“It’s Your Highness, not! What are you doing!?”
“Serving alcohol. I’ve already tested both, so we have both red and white to choose from. We have a rosé as well, but there was only one bottle in the case, so it’ll be all gone if you drink it too soon.”
“Is that so!? Your job is managing this dungeon! Why haven’t you stopped these people from entering!?”
As he spoke the Prison Guard looked around him………
“More and more of these groups of important people showed up, could I really stop them?”
“If that’s your job then it’s fine to turn them away!”
“But, they all had written invitations, and I was completely overwhelmed……..also, they kept prattling on using words I didn’t understand.”
Weaving through the crowd of influential people, Elliott came to have a pleasant chat with Rachel.
“Oi, Rachel! What is this commotion!?”
“Ah, welcome Your Highness.”
Rachel was also dressed up. It was a deep blue evening gown, a conservative dress with pearl jewelry. It was a different dress from the one she had been wearing when she was thrown in prison.
This certainly wasn’t something she had in the cell from the beginning. It was absolutely prepared somewhere along the way.
As Elliott glared at her with a look that could kill, Rachel responded calmly as if talking to an ordinary acquaintance.
“When I thought about it, I never had a moving party.”
“But, as I am right now, what would my future be?”
“So you haven’t forgotten that……….”
“So for ordinary nobles and politicians, I thought it’d be too difficult for them to attend a party before Your Highness……..so with a little self-control, I limited today’s guest-list to only foreign ambassadors, clergymen, and merchants who I’m on good terms with.”
“What’s with that half-hearted consideration!?”
When Elliott took a look around, it was true that he didn’t recognize many people native to this country. And all of the clergymen were wearing their proper dress. There were some people there wearing formal wear speaking the kingdom’s language, but he was unable to recognize them so they were probably the merchants. If they were all friends with the Duke’s house, they were probably all people of import as well. George seemed to recognize some of them as evidenced by how dreadful his complexion had become.
Frantically holding back the urge to scream, Elliott cast a glance backwards where Rachel was excitedly giving an intimate greeting to the guests who approached her. Not a single one of them seemed to care that these greetings were happening from behind the bars of a cell. Rather, Elliott’s group felt like they were the one’s out-of-place, relegated to the sidelines.
Foreigners, business people, and the religious world. In other words, everyone here were people who couldn’t be influenced by the Prince’s power. No wonder they pushed the Prison Guard to the side.
Seeing the state of this group, it doesn’t need to be said who they’d support between Rachel and Elliott. The other side, Rachel, is making the smart move of holding a party to raise her position, but interrupting them by acting as a stickler for the rules here would have the opposite to the desired effect.
The noise of Elliott grinding his teeth echoed as Rachel had a good time toasting glasses with an affluent old man with a white beard, talking about something he didn’t understand in front of him.
“Hooray for prison!”
Elliott finally involuntarily raised a cry at the two’s excitement.
“Oi! What’s fun about being in prison huh!”
“Wait! That’s no good Your Highness, hold yourself back! That man is a cardinal, so starting a fight is out of the question!”
George desperately held him back, convincing Elliott to back off, swallowing his bitter tears.
“Shit, I can’t complain to Rachel about all this with these people here……..”
“I’ll dispatch someone later to each position for an explanation………but this number of people, who could remember everyone that’s come………”
Standing in a corner as the party venue swelled, Elliott and George whispered to each other about the current state of affairs while hiding next to the wine barrel.
Hmph, and then taking a deep breath through her nose, Margaret rose up.
“Elliott, I will explain!”
“Because this isn’t funny! Elliott is on the side of justice, so we have to do this for Rachel who is supposed to be bad!”
That’s right, but the way Margaret says it………
While George was taking care of and calming down Elliott, Margaret had glided over to another end of the room and stood up on a box.
“Everyooooooone, please listen!”
Margaret made an unthinkable appeal during the party, and the gazes of all the visitors gathered on her.
“Everyone, you don’t know what you’re saying, Rachel is really the bad one! In order to help me, Elliott dared to break off his engagement with Rachel and sent her to prison! Don’t be fooled!”
For a moment, the venue was silent.
Then in the middle of that silence, Margaret cockily puffed out her chest.
After a few seconds the noise returned.
But Elliott didn’t welcome it.
“It’s a nice joke!”
Applause began to ring as the audience believed this was all some entertainment derived from too much alcohol, and with Margaret unable to understand what was going on, her head swiveling around after all the tension had disappeared, she had lost all persuasive power.
In the end, Margaret was also dragged into the fuss, made to have a toast with the other guests.
“Hooray for prison!”
Margaret came back with sparkling eyes and a plate with a mound of food heaped up on top.
“Elliott, I did it!”
It can’t be said that she had no effect at all, but Elliott still stared at Margaret strangely as she started shoveling some of the food into her mouth.
“Hm? Where’s Sykes? He came with us.”
The Prison Guard pointed towards the middle of the venue while pouring another glass of wine.
“If it’s that knight you’re talking about, he’s been enjoying the party since the start.”
Eating food and having delicious wine since midday, Sykes had been worked up, happily conversing with a bunch of old men he didn’t know.
“How niiiiiice, I don’t get to do this too often.”
“Bwahahaha, me neither!”
Sykes and the ambassadors from the neighboring country all brought their glasses together.
“Hooray for prison!”
1. It really is the same thing. The word 出前 means both delivery and catering. When she says catering, she says it in English though to differentiate the two.
2. Pettan is Japanese slang for flat chest, so Peta would be a shortened version of that. Petaism then I suppose would be the study of flat chests.