Completed ― Until the Exiled Duke’s Daughter, Wilhelmina, Becomes Happy

Completed ― Until the Exiled Duke’s Daughter, Wilhelmina, Becomes Happy

Chapter 1: Broken Engagement

“Vilhelmina Ulla Periknen!”

My name echoes in the palace hall. Under the chandelier reflecting the light from the magic stone, the voice belongs to none other than the prince of this kingdom.

“I hereby break my engagement with you!

The numerous misdeeds you have done to Baron Madetoya’s daughter, Ina, is unforgivable!

It is unacceptable to allow such a person into the royal family. I, Elias Sipi Patrikainen, break my engagement with Vilhelmina and propose to Ina as a way to atone for my fiancé’s sins!”

The hall erupted with noise at those words, but soon became silent as everyone listened intently to the unfolding events.

Elias, the prince, who just declared my guilt, was my fiancé until now.

Next to him is a young girl with peachy hair, dressed in a lapis lazuli dress of the same color as his eyes, which must have been given to her by the prince. She still has a vague smile on her face, unsure if she understands the situation.

Yes, quite a show, isn’t it?

I closed my peacock feather fan that I had opened with a snap and took on the etiquette of a lady.

“Greetings to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Elias, the Dawn of the Kingdom. May I have your permission to respond in person?”

“Hmph, impolite. I’ll allow it.”

With the prince’s permission, I stand up and speak.

“I understand that you have called off our engagement. However, may I ask the reason for the unilateral statement to break it?”

“Don’t play dumb with me. Do you think you can make amends for the barbaric things you did to Ina?!”

I nod my head and let out a sigh.

The prince, who calls a woman who should not yet be a formal fiancé by her first name.

…Ah, how foolish.

“Isn’t it natural to get rid of women who approach your fiancée?”

“Do you mean it’s okay for a lady of a higher rank to do such a thing?!”

“I am not harassing her in any way.”

“Did you have your followers do it?!”

I open my fan and hide my mouth as I laugh.

“Hohoho, what are you talking about?”

“What’s so funny!”

“It’s not something that would be ordered. If the higher rank are feeling uncomfortable about it and they voluntarily don’t do anything about it, that would be considered neglect.”

“Why didn’t you stop it then!”

“I have a different opinion. I have repeatedly advised both His Highness and Lady Madetoya both orally and in writing that a man and woman who are not engaged should not be overly familiar. Of course, you remember, don’t you?”

His Highness Elias had a sullen expression and Baron Madetoya’s daughter shook her pink head nervously.

“Y-Yes.”

“But you all did not accept it. His Highness, in particular, did not even listen to my words. Why do I have to endure this annoyance when you all do not stop it?”

Baron Madetoya’s daughter, who was standing as if hiding from His Highness Elias, lowered her head with a peep.

“I’m sorry!… but I fell in love with Elias-sama!”

Close the fan and point to her, Pachiri.

“I don’t need your mealy-mouthed apology. I can’t talk bad about the past anymore, but please do something about that rude etiquette.”

“Apologize to Ina, Vilhelmina!”

“I dislike backbiting. Even Your Highness can understand her lack of etiquette, can’t you?”

I was drawn to that natural aspect, but you should know that a future queen who can’t run the country like that.

“We can teach her that from now on! But you did something you shouldn’t have done!”

“You mean that I tried to kill her?”

The words that His Highness was about to say, his nose whitened, and the face of Baron Madetoya’s daughter turned blue.

The hall was abuzz.

“Kill…?”

“Of course, if you won’t listen to my advice, it would be better to kill you, wouldn’t it? You’re not fit to be queen.

If His Highness was competent and his position was solid, it would have been fine even if he was playing a love game with her.

“Arrogant woman.”

“Arrogant? I am just acting in a manner appropriate to my status.”

Upon saying this, Prince Elias chuckles.

“Well, then it’s good to fall to a lower status.

The Crown Prince has ordered you, Vilhelmina, to marry a commoner!”

The position of crown prince is naturally a political one. I have assisted him in that.

His Majesty and Her Majesty are absent to attend a ceremony in a neighboring country. That’s why the power is given to His Highness. However…

“Do you think such tyranny is allowed?”

“I am the representative of His Majesty.”

When His Highness raises his hand, the guards approach me and reach out. I was forced to kneel violently and was pressed to the floor.

Screams rose from the ladies in the hall. I glared at His Highness Elias without saying anything.

“You’re going to give mercy to someone who tried to kill someone without putting them in jail. Do you have any complaints?”

I have nothing to complain about. But I didn’t feel like talking anymore.

No matter what words you throw at this fool.

“By the way, I heard that some commoner researcher is going to be awarded a medal for his achievement at the upcoming award ceremony. I’ll give you as a reward for that!

He would cry if he could take the former daughter of the Duke family as his wife!”

That’s unlikely to happen.

However, His Highness is saying that knowingly. In other words, he is trying to trouble the commoner and further defame me.

“I will file a complaint later! You’re confined to your house!”

Chapter 2: At the Duke Residence

Surrounded by guards on all sides, I was taken back to the townhouse in the capital, as if being chased, on the family’s horse-drawn carriage.

Even though it’s called a townhouse, it’s the Duke’s. A mansion with a garden built in the top-class location in the capital. When I sneak through the gate and stop the horse in front of the entrance, the door opens in a hurry, and the servants appear.

It’s understandable that the reception is not satisfactory due to the emergency.

The footman, who is my servant, descends from the several steps attached to the side of the carriage without being escorted, and the servants whisper among themselves.

“My lady! How are you?”

Hilka, my personal maid, rushes forward in a hurry because of my early return, and takes my hand.

Passing through the entrance hall of the mansion, we head towards my room.

“Trouble, and a big one at that…”

Surrounded by maids in my room, I take off my evening dress and change into my home clothes, and I can hear the sound of a horse-drawn carriage from outside as soon as I finish changing.

Father must have returned. That is, Duke Periknen, and his wife.

My mother passed away a few years ago and my father remarried.

Probably she was my father’s mistress.

The Duke family consists of five members: myself as the eldest daughter, my younger brother as the second child, and the daughter of my stepmother who is about to turn 13.

Yes, the stepmother’s daughter looks a lot like my father, with similar hair and eye color. On the other hand, I resemble my deceased mother.

My grandparents are still alive, but they live in seclusion in a villa in the corner of the estate.

“Vilhelmina! Is Vilhelmina here?!”

My father’s voice echoed in the entrance hall.

I slowly walk towards him. Looking down from the stairs, I see my father looking up at me with a red face.

Next to him stands my stepmother, dressed in a dress, with an unhappy look on her face because she had to return quickly.

“Come down!”

“Welcome back, Father, everyone.”

I said that and lowered my head, but there was no voice of “I’m home.”

“Vilhelmina, do you know what you did?!”

While I was going down the stairs, my father scolded me. After I reached the bottom, I bowed my head.

“I’m sorry, Father. I failed.”

“Is that so?”

“I deeply apologize for failing to assassinate Miss Madetoya.”

“What…!”

“It was my mistake for not realizing that the crown prince was so protective of her.”

He may have been trying to gain more power and wealth by becoming a relative of the next king.

The Duke Periknen family is close to the magic realm (demon real/territory) and has multiple dungeons under their control within their territory.

Even though there is danger, the magic stones produced from there support the economy of this territory and it is considered the richest in the country.

“No! Why did you plan an assassination?!”

“Is this strange? Children learn by watching what their parents do.”

I saw Father assassinating his political enemy from a rival faction, and I requested it from the same organization?”

“W-What, doing it on your own!”

“It’s not my fault. I have repeatedly told Father that Baron Madetoya’s daughter is a threat.

However, Father just dismisses it as a game from the Baron’s student days and says if I’m worried, I should handle it myself.”

She continues to approach His Highness in spite of my warnings and the obstructions of her cronies. She’s quite a person.

Despite that, Father doesn’t understand my sense of crisis.

“But assassination out of the blue?!”

“Out of the blue? I already mentioned that I have consulted with many people, including Father, and also tried other peaceful measures.

Recently, even when I try to consult, I’m just pushed away because he’s busy. I also sent a written request about the assassination matter to the house steward, but did it not get read? Father just said to do as I like.”

My father shows a moment of hesitation.

Perhaps he realized that he gave me permission without even reading it.

“Hmph, what does it mean that His Highness Elias is going to marry you to a commoner?”

I tilt my head.

“Is it not just a whim of His Highness? With the king absent, it’s about how far the prince can demote me using his crown prince’s authority.”

Even if I am imprisoned in the northern tower, a prison for nobles, I will be released once the king returns from his trip. In the first place, if we go through the procedures to officially cancel the trial or engagement, the legal officials and the church will get involved, and it will take time.

In that sense, marrying a commoner is a strange idea, but it is a good way to immediately lose my value as a noble lady.

When I explained this to him, his father said,

“Why don’t we go to court and buy ourselves some time…”

“I don’t mind, but the assassination will be considered as Father’s orders.”

“What?!”

“I follow Father’s orders, and I’ve hired an assassin who is on good terms with Father. Would it be appropriate to bring this to court?”

My father steps on a clog.

“Dammit, stay in your room!”

Chapter 3: Exiled from the Dukes

When I returned to the room, Hilka, my personal maid, greeted me.

“Did you hear it?”

“Yes, I’m sorry for eavesdropping.”

Hilka lowers her head, and I laugh.

“It’s okay, Father’s voice is loud. It’s like he wanted to tell the servants in the mansion.”

“My lady, what’s going on?”

“Nothing really. Father has ordered me to stay in the room, and probably tomorrow a messenger from His Highness Elias will come. Then I’ll be a commoner’s wife.”

Tears fell from Hilka’s eyes.

“I’m sorry, Hilka.”

“Why… Why is my lady being blamed and apologizing?!”

“I lost the political battle. Actually, I did commit a crime.

I apologize because I have to leave you here. Despite serving me, I can’t repay your loyalty and end up letting you go. I’m sorry.”

I hugged Hilka’s head.

“…My lady, let’s run away?”

“No, there is dignity in being a loser.”

“Being married to a commoner?”

Hilka is also the third daughter of the Viscount family. Her status may not as good as me, but she can’t imagine a life as a commoner.

“Even if I were to fall to the status of a commoner, I would never lose my dignity.

Well, pack my things. I don’t know what I can bring, but do what you can to make it work.”

The next morning, a messenger came to announce a visit, and by noon, His Highness’ messenger arrived at the Duke’s mansion.

This was a very fast move. His Highness seemed to have spoken impulsively at the evening party, but he must have prepared in advance to trap me.

“I bring the words of His Highness, Prince Elias Sipi Patrikainen, the Young Lion of the Kingdom and the Crown Prince of the Dawn!”

In front of us, who were prostrating in the entrance hall, the messenger spread out a parchment and read its contents.

“Vilhelmina Ulla Periknen, despite being the fiancé of His Highness, associates with wicked people and attempted to kill Ina Roine Mädeto, the Baron’s daughter!

However, the loyalty of the Duke Periknen family to the royal family is beyond doubt!”

They want to eliminate me, but they want to maintain their connection with the Duke Periknen family and want to remain as a backer. Their shallow thoughts are visible in their words.

My younger brother is a close aide of His Highness. Well, I understand that he is also close to His Highness. Yes, he did not return home yesterday. He was also with His Highness yesterday.

“If the Duke family immediately cuts ties with Vilhelmina, the Duke family shall not be held responsible!

And Vilhelmina will be ordered to marry Alex Peltra!”

Immediately, immediately. I guess they want to move forward before His Majesty returns.

Just today there is to be a ceremony at the castle. That poor Mr. Peltra is going to be forced to take me in.

“Understood,” said my father.

The messenger left, leaving behind a sturdy and windowless carriage, like one for transporting prisoners.

They are to take me today.

“Vilhelmina, I sever our ties,” he said, speaking those words.

That was the person who was my father.

The messenger had already brought with him the necessary documents for severing ties with a noble.

“Understood, Lord Periknen,” I said.

For some reason, he made a face like he was hurt. Behind him, I could see his 2nd wife’s lips twisting into a smile as she pretended to cry.

I continued speaking.

“I request that you show generosity to my personal maid and servants, and write a letter of introduction for them.”

“There’s no need for such worries,” he said.

I knelt down right there.

“…May I take with me the dressing table, which is a memory of my late mother?”

“No. She’s not allowed to do anything except to give her a small amount of dowry as a gesture of goodwill.”

“…Is that so? I guess there’s no other way.”

I was handed a single check from Duke Periknen.

The amount written on it is an amount that would probably be equivalent to a commoner’s salary for several years. Of course, I won’t be able to buy even one dress with what I have now.

“Yes…Thank you for your mercy. I’ve been in your care.”

I stand up and leave the office.

In the hallway, my servants and maids, led by Hilka, were lined up. They all have dark expressions, and some of them are even crying.

I take a lady’s bow towards them. If I am no longer a noble, I may as well bow my head to my servants.

“Thank you for your loyalty to your master.”

“My lady!”

I don’t respond to those words and turn my back on them, heading towards the mansion’s entrance.

And then, I was put on an inappropriate, ominous-looking carriage with only hard chairs inside and left the Duke’s townhouse.

Chapter 4: A Shoddy Marriage

The carriage arrived in a room in the castle, but it was not a room suitable for welcoming a noble’s daughter. It was probably a room for officials to have meetings in a small group.

There was a guard in uniform outside the entrance of the room, who was probably keeping watch to make sure I don’t escape. There was no sign of female officials or even tea being prepared.

The room had simple six-person desks and chairs. Simple means that there were no carvings on the legs of the desk, but it does not mean cheap.

As I stood in the corner of the room, the officials entered the room without much wait. They were high-ranking officials, their attire showing their high position. Next was The Cardinal from the Church. He was from the crown prince’s faction. He was wearing the appropriate red for his position, but I had heard he was a materialistic person with no moral integrity.

“Did I make you wait, Miss Vilhelmina? I’m sorry to be abrupt, but let’s proceed with the cancellation of the engagement and the wedding… What’s wrong, sit down.”

The Cardinal sat in the chair of honor, and an official sat next to him, placing the documents on the desk. Their attendants each stood behind them, perhaps ready to move quickly and secretly.

The Cardinal spoke.

“What’s the matter? Sit down.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know the proper way to pull out the chair,” I replied.

I followed their example and, for the first time in my life, pulled out the chair myself, folding the hem of my dress as I sat down.

Today I was wearing one of my day dresses, which was the least impressive of all my dresses, excluding mourning clothes. The skirt did not spread out, so I was able to sit without getting tangled in the legs of the chair.

“First, the document of agreement to cancel the engagement… Don’t be so far from the desk that you can’t sign it. Come closer.”

There was a large gap between my desk and chair. When I leaned forward, the official’s attendant, perhaps seeing that, stood me up and had me sit in the chair again.

There was a little hesitation, but the procedure for cancelling the engagement was taken immediately and the marriage documents were handed over.

“Isn’t the marriage not recognized immediately after the engagement is cancelled?”

“That is a matter of noble customs, not a matter of law.”

When I asked, the official answered me. I see. I run my pen over the documents.

“I, the Cardinal, am going to give my blessing directly. Is there a problem? More importantly, what about the groom? He is making me wait…”

Such words were also spoken.

Is the Cardinal also pushing this? If the marriage is made through in the presence of the Cardinal, it may not be possible to divorce for the sake of appearance.

I had thought that His Highness Elias was a foolish person, but he is quite cunning.

Noise was heard from outside the room.

“…such as marriage!”

The sounds of the gentry shouting and the sound of people arguing.

The door opened.

“Such tyranny! There is no reward!”

The person who entered the room while shouting appeared to have green-dyed black hair that looked like a clump of seaweed on his head and his eyes were barely visible.

He was quite tall and slim, but he looked poor due to being too thin and having a hunchbacked posture.

He was wearing a tailcoat for the ceremony of receiving honors and the medal of the decoration, which is often first given to researchers and doctors who have achieved their accomplishments, was shining on his chest.

However, the clothing did not fit him properly. It was either a ready-made or borrowed item. The clothing was appropriate for his height, but it was too thick for his body and it looked baggy. Although it was a proper outfit, it made him look even more poor.

He looked at me with a blank expression for a moment.

Well, he probably didn’t think that his future spouse was already here. I stood up and took a polite bow as a lady.

“Nice to meet you, Alex Peltra-sama. My name is Vilhelmina.”

“A-Ah, it’s Alex.”

While he says that, he is taken by the soldiers and made to sit in a chair.

He argued with the official that the marriage was unfair, but ultimately he, being a commoner, couldn’t resist the crown prince’s command or argue with the Cardinal.

The name he wrote on the document was Alex Mika Peltra. During this commendation, he was made to use his middle name Mika as a mere honor, and he is a pitiful gentleman who was given a troublesome wife and nothing else.

The document was received by the official and handed over to the Cardinal.

“…wrote it? Alright.

The marriage between Alex Mika Peltra and Vilhelmina is done here, and God in heaven as witness.

I, Johannes the Cardinal, bless and celebrate it.”

The Cardinal didn’t try to hide his impatience, stood up after carelessly sealing the holy seal, and left the room.

Thus, without any vows or kisses, not even a conversation.

Mr. Alex Peltra and I became husband and wife.

Chapter 5: Tacky man

“The carriage for going back will come in a little while. It would be good to talk here until then.”

Saying that, the official stood up and left the room with his attendant, leaving only myself and Mr. Alex Peltra behind.

The door to the room is closed. The two of us, him and I, are trapped in a secret room within the palace. It is clear that they are carefully killing me as a lady.

On the other hand, he scratches his head and sighs deeply.

“What the hell… Hey, do you know why this happened?

Uh, let’s see… You are…?”

“Vilhelmina.”

“Oh, Vilhelmina-san. You are a noble… right? What is your family name?”

What is this person saying?

“Peltra. Husband.”

When I said that, he was completely choked.

“No, that’s not what I mean!”

“I was expelled from my home yesterday, so I don’t have any other family name. Before I was expelled, I was from the Periknen family.”

“Periknen! That’s a joke, isn’t it? Isn’t it a Duke family?!”

He stood up and shouted, I sighed.

“I was engaged to the crown prince, but I was framed to justify his infidelity. That’s how I was banished from my house and forced to marry you, a commoner.”

“That’s…! That’s illegal.”

It’s not illegal… It’s a traditional practice for royalty and nobility to arrange marriages. There are still some regions where such customs remain.

Of course, I never thought they would use such outdated laws.

I shake my head.

“In that sense, you are a victim caught up in my circumstances.

But if you were chosen, that means someone also dislikes you. Do you realize that?”

“… if a commoner researcher produces inappropriate results, they will be disliked.”

Yes, I don’t know much about the research world, but that’s how it is. I nodded, and he continued.

“Do we have to go through with this marriage? You don’t want to either, do you?”

“It’s difficult to refuse, or it’s already established. Divorce is also difficult, it’s the order of the Crown Prince. I’m not saying that there’s no possibility that the King and Queen will revoke it if they return, but the Church will oppose the dissolution of the marriage because it received the blessing from the Cardinal.”

He sighed again and sloppily sat down in the chair.

“I’m sorry for suddenly asking so many things. Is there anything from your side?”

“…Well, my husband is a tacky man.”

His shoulder twitched.

“What suddenly?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, are you offended?”

“Yes of course, I wouldn’t be in a good mood if I was suddenly told that I have an unwanted marriage partner and was cursed at on our first meeting.”

“Yes, I feel the same way. Do you agree that your previous statement to the lady was proper language?”

“…It can’t be helped. It was too sudden.”

I nod.

“I understand your feelings, but instead of apologizing, making excuses is tacky, as I said.”

He is at a loss for words.

“Hey, why did you come to the ceremony without wearing decent clothes and with your hair looking so disheveled?”

I grab him by the chest as I stand up. If he was wearing clothes that fit him properly, I wouldn’t even be able to grab him like this.

I let go and continue speaking.

“Well, maybe you’re a kind of genius? Your head might be filled with equations and magic squares and chemical reactions that I can’t even understand.

I guess you probably didn’t feel the need to spend time on your appearance.”

“…T-That’s right.”

I pressed my palm hard against his cheek.

It’s just a strike from an untrained slender arm, but he falls clumsily to the ground.

“…What!”

“Fool!

If you truly are on the border between genius and madness, then ceremonies like this are trivial, and you wouldn’t even come to a place like this!”

“Ugh.”

“Despite your lack of effort to make a good impression on royalty on your first meeting, acting like a common person with an unkempt appearance, you are rude!”

“W-What can I do?! After all, we commoners are not born as beautifully as you nobles!”

Oh, I suppose you think I am beautiful. But your understanding is too simple.

“Indeed, it can be said that the nobility have the aspect of raising a more beautiful next generation by mating beautiful people together.”

Yes, it’s like mating faster horses.

“But do you understand how much effort we put into being beautiful?”

I take off my gloves and roll up the sleeves of my dress to show my arms. The color of the veins that rise blue on my porcelain-like white skin.

“This blue blood is not blue from birth. It is made through constant effort and accumulating wealth.”

Chapter 6: To the new house

“Roll up your sleeves.”

While saying that, he stood up.

I rolled up my sleeves without hesitation.

“You asked me if there was something wrong. I demand that you properly take care of yourself as my husband.”

He sighed and after a moment of silence, he opened his mouth.

“Well… yeah. First of all, I apologize for my impolite remarks to you and my misunderstanding that being born as a prince or noble means you have everything.”

“I accept your apology.”

“However, taking care of oneself is not a priority. As you said, for me as a researcher, spending effort on taking care of oneself is a waste of time, and for the common people, it’s impossible to spend money on it.”

And he laughed self-deprecatingly.

“I won’t get close to royalty or nobles anymore. I’ll try to decline any honors in the future.”

I understand his feelings. After being caught in such a deceptive trap, it’s only natural that he wouldn’t want to be near the social circle or the palace anymore.

But if I am his wife, I expect my husband to take care of his appearance.

The purpose here is not to argue, and when the sadness from this matter subsides, it would be good to gradually improve.

“As you wish.”

The door is knocked and a message comes in that the carriage has been prepared for the return.

When escorted by the guards and heading outside, what was there was a carriage for the officials who entered and left the palace.

The servants do not put the stairs in front of the carriage.

Mr. Peltra… no, nowI am Peltra now too. Alex-sama quickly gets on the carriage.

A snickering voice was heard from behind. I guess I must now look like a funny woman in the eyes of the servants.

“Vilhelmina-sama, would you like me to help you get on?”

A teasing voice is offered.

“No need. Alex-sama, please.”

“Hmm? O-Oh… alright.”

He bent down and extended his hand, and I placed mine on it. Despite being thin, his hand is firm.

I was pulled into the carriage.

“Thank you.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.”

The eyes of Alex-sama, who sits on the seat, are red. It seems that he is not used to being an escort, not because he is a commoner, but because he is not used to being a woman.

“No, I also need to get used to life as a commoner.”

The man who is the driver looked back at us sitting in the carriage, and immediately the sound of the whip echoed. The sound of hooves and wheels. The carriage is leaving.

I wanted to talk in the carriage, but Alex-sama faces the window and does not move, and our eyes do not meet.

His eyes, which can be seen from under his hair, are gray. I can’t see much of his forehead or eyebrows, but I can tell that he is probably frowning.

He probably didn’t expect this day to turn out like this, and he may be thinking about what to do next.

Maybe I was a little tired too, I gazed at the cityscape of the capital from the window, when suddenly Alex-sama raised his voice.

“Hey, driver! You’re going the wrong way!”

The small window between the driver and us opens.

“What is it, my lord?”

“My house is not here, take the right at the corner just now!”

“I don’t know, my lord. I am following the road as told. I don’t even know where your house is.”

Saying that, the window was closed with a snap.

Alex-sama shook his legs slightly.

“Calm down, Alex-sama.”

“But…! No, you’re right. So this strange situation is still continuing.”

Thus, we waited a little while. The carriage stopped in front of a house that was not very wealthy, even in the area where the commoners lived, outside the capital.

We got off the carriage. This time, Alex-sama properly took my hand and got off. He muttered.

“Where is this place…?”

“Of course, it’s your new home.”

There was a voice that answered that way. It’s the person who was serving the official we were talking to at the palace earlier.

“Why, what happened to my place?”

“Mr. Peltra’s residence was a single dormitory of the National Research Institute, so he had to move out after getting married.”

“This house was given as a wedding gift from His Highness Elias.”

“…When can I go pick up my belongings over there?”

“No, they have already been brought here.”

“Dammit… there are materials that are sensitive to vibrations in there!”

Alex-sama runs to the door and tries the doorknob, but it seems to be locked.

The official’s attendant says.

“I’m not in charge of bringing them in, so I apologize. If you need anything, please go to the office window. Oh, the key is.”

Alex-sama snatched the brass key from him, and entered the inside after opening the door.

“Yes, indeed. That’s all I have to hand over. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

The attendant lowered his head to me, then left the premises.

Hm.

I look at the house. It’s a small house. Although it’s two-storied, the floor area is about the size of the gardener’s storage area at the Duke’s territory.

There is a garden, not so big as a yard, but the site is overgrown with grass.

I walked inside the house.

Chapter 7: Under the Western Lamp

Upon entering the house, was some cleaning done? You can see a room illuminated by the slanted sunset shining through the opened window.

The room has a large amount of packed boxes and Alex-sama kneels on the carpetless floor in front of them. There’s a stove and a kitchen for some reason on the left side of the entrance.

There’s a narrow staircase in the back leading to the second floor. There’s a door to the right. Upon opening it, it’s a toilet… with a large washbasin? Is laundry done in the toilet?

The entire building is smaller than Duke’s entrance hall, but that can’t be helped.

“Let’s go up to the second floor.”

There’s no reply. Carefully go up the stairs without rubbing the dress against the wall. There’s a door immediately after going up to the second floor. Upon opening it, there’s only one simple room. It looks slightly wider compared to the cramped first floor due to the small space. The walls of the room have some storage and there’s only one bed as furniture.

I suppose it is an allusion to the fact that the two of us should sleep here. Although the bed is obviously smaller than the one I slept in yesterday, it’s still a big enough bed considering the size of this house, and the bedding is brand new despite the age of the exterior walls.

“Well, what should we do…”

Mumbling, I descend again… these high-heeled shoes are scary on these narrow stairs!

“Alex-sama.”

“A-Ah…”

In his hand are fragments of broken glass.

“You’ll hurt your hand. Let go for a moment.

We don’t have much time until night, so we need to prepare the lights first. Are the Western-style lamps in that box over there? Now that I think of it, there’s no fireplace in the room either.”

“Sorry, I was a little shocked and confused… the Western-style lamps should be there. Let’s search quickly.”

I open the box and look at the contents. There is an avalanche of books and papers that must have been thrown in a messy way, tilted in transit, or otherwise inside the box.

“Commoners don’t have fireplaces in their homes. Because fireplaces are taxed.”

Alex-sama says that while standing up.

“Well, what do you do on cold days?”

“If I have something, I’ll use a brazier(similar to a BBQ grill) or wear a cloth. If not, I’ll endure it.”

He went to the kitchen and bent down, touching the floor with his hand. To his surprise, a part of the floor had come off and a hole was open. He climbed into it and pulled out some things from inside.

“Oh, I guess oil lamps and oil were prepared. It wasn’t magic stone-style, but still.”

A magic stone is produced from the body of a magical beast or from a dungeon, and is said to be a crystallized form of magical power.

The Duke’s territory was also one of the major producers of magic stone, and only magic stone-style lights were available in the mansion, but this seems to be a form of burning oil.

When Alex-sama lit the oil lamp, the light of the red-tinged flame lit up, and then it became dark after a little while. It was a close call. He hung it on the beam so that the room would become bright.

I found several cushion-like things in the box and placed them on the floor.

And we sat down side by side. The sound of sighs overlapped.

Alex-sama put his hand to his neck and untied the white butterfly tie, throwing it onto the box.

“Well, I don’t know what to do. You’re…”

“My name is Vilhelmina. Please call me that.”

“Ah, Vilhelmina-san. What will we do from now on?”

“What do you mean, what will we do?”

“To be honest, isn’t it difficult for a noble lady like you to live here?”

I see, you were worried about my life. Of course, it’s no mistake that it would be difficult for me, who is ignorant of the world, to live here together.

“I think the difficulties will certainly be great.”

“For example, is it not possible to stay somewhere else?”

“You mean living apart?”

Alex-sama nodded. I shook my head.

“There is also the problem of funding to continue living elsewhere, but at least for a while, I believe this house is being watched by His Highness’ people. Neither of us will be allowed to leave this house and live elsewhere.”

There was a clicking of tongues.

Anyway, I have no way of leaving here and living. I have been banished from the Duke’s family and lost my value as a lady. I don’t have the power to live as a commoner and even if I tried to knock on the door of a convent, it would be impossible within the reach of the Cardinal.

“Don’t you mind marrying someone like me all of a sudden? I’m not a noble, I don’t look good, I don’t know how to treat women, I’m a poor and foolish man with a big head.”

Fufufu, I laugh.

“Alex-sama, my former fiancé, was a royalty. He looked good, but he was ignorant, rough, made me do work as a fiancé and cursed at me, he was a foolish womanizer.”

Alex-sama looks around with a startled expression and sighs.

“What if they’re listening?”

“He wants to annoy me to death, but he won’t kill me, so it’s okay. Hey Alex-sama, who do you think is better, you or His Highness Elias?

“…Yeah, it’s because of that prince that we’re being screwed over. There’s no prince.”

“That’s right. I’m an inexperienced person, but please take care of me, my husband.”

Chapter 8: Dawn

“…Well, I can’t help it when it comes to living together. But I don’t want you to call me your husband. I still think this is just a fake marriage or something like a white marriage.”

“Do you think about divorce because I don’t have children? I think divorce is difficult.”

“It’s the current situation, I guess. The situation should change when His Majesty the King returns.”

Is Alex-sama kind or cruel? If we were to be divorced, there would be nothing left of my honor. No, I think it is only his ignorance of aristocratic society and women’s society, and he has no malicious intent.

“That would be nice.”

“Well, I missed dinner, but I will go to bed today. It’s dangerous to go out in this area near the slums after the sun sets. I don’t know the area well.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

There was a hand-pushed pump well in the garden, and Alex-sama drew water from the well for me. And I found a clean cloth from the box, so I washed my face with it.

“What is this!”

While he was on the second floor, I heard his voice shouting. And then he came down clumsily.

As he was opening his mouth widely and unable to speak, I approached him and spoke first.

“I don’t mind sharing the bed with you.”

“I don’t care! I’ll sleep on the floor.”

“But to let Alex-sama sleep on the floor…”

“I can’t sleep if we sleep together. You sleep on the bed today.”

“Vilhelmina.”

“Vilhelmina…you use the bed.”

“Understood. I’m also quite tired from yesterday and today, so I appreciate it very much.”

“Oh.”

“Goodnight.”

I took my leave and went up to the second floor.

In the room lit by moonlight and the night view of the capital, I took off my dress and corset and hung them in a small storage that couldn’t even be called a closet. I was glad I wore the simplest dress. At least I could take it off by myself.

Jewelry box… There is no jewelry box and fold the gloves inside the corset, then place them on top. Take off the high heels too, the floor is cold but it feels like my feet are finally freed. I would love to have house shoes too.

But all of that is for tomorrow. As I dive into the bed, I think goodnight before my consciousness falls into darkness in an instant.

***

I fell asleep too early, so I woke up at dawn.

The dawn casts on my face.

As I open my eyes, there’s not a peach-colored cloth with a rose embroidery canopy, but a gray ceiling instead.

“Commoners don’t paint pictures on the ceiling of their homes, do they?”

Looking to the side, there’s no curtains, and I didn’t even close the window last night. Light shines through the gaps between the boards attached to the window, shaped like a square frame.

I turn over to escape from the light, but the brightness gradually increases and the cold morning air caresses my face.

I got up slowly. It’s such an early time, but I am not sleepy. I guess I slept very deeply.

“It’s cold.”

While I was tossing and turning in my blanket, my voice leaked out.

“Yes, Hilka and the others are not here.”

When I woke up, the girls who always got ready for the morning are no longer here. Now I have to do it by myself.

When I made that decision, I noticed a noise from downstairs. Alex-sama must have gotten up too. The sound of footsteps going up the stairs changed to the sound of knocking on the door.

“Are you awake? Coming in.”

“Excuse me… uh!”

He fell back and almost stepped off the staircase.

He held his face with his palm, but his cheeks were bright red.

“Good morning, Alex-sama.”

“W-Wha… what, you…”

“It’s Vilhelmina.”

“Huh! Vilhelmina! Why are you not wearing anything?”

I tilt my head.

“Of course, it’s because I don’t have pajamas. And sleeping naked is not considered inappropriate, right?”

“B-But…! I’m here!”

“It’s in front of my husband, so there’s no problem.”

He didn’t answer that and went down with a loud noise, as if angry.

Just when I thought I heard the sound of turning over luggage, he came up the stairs again.

“It’s my fault, I don’t know the size, but wear one of these! I’ll buy breakfast, and in the meantime, make sure you wear something!”

Saying that, he piled clothes at the entrance to the room and ran down the stairs again.

“Have a nice trip.”

Hmm, he seems busy, he didn’t say ‘good morning’ or ‘I’m leaving’. I’ll try to get him to say them.

In my former family, the Duke household, all the servants greeted me properly, but my parents and other family members rarely greeted me. His Highness also did the same.

I decided to try my best to greet Alex-sama and be greeted. Because if I ask, the person will call my name.

Chapter 9: Breakfast

I will wear Alex-sama’s shirt.

Oh my chest… Alex-sama is a gentleman, but his body is too thin… Anyways, I managed to put it on, but it’s tight on my chest.

On the other hand, the sleeves and hem are too much. The sleeves can be fixed by rolling them up several times, but the hem reaching down to my legs is not good at all. I guess I’ll tie it around my waist.

The pants are also… a bit tight on the hips, but it should be fine. I folded the hem several times, but it’s still long. I’m grateful that he left his sandals here. I can put them on and it will be done.

Let’s be careful not to trip because it’s bulky.

It’s my first time wearing commoner’s clothes, but except for the tight chest, there’s no problem. I was able to put it on by myself even though it’s my first time.

I go downstairs to the first floor carrying the remaining clothes that I didn’t wear.

There was a small basin filled with water, so I washed my face with it.

I got you something to eat. Oh…”

“Welcome back.”

I greet him.

However, my husband who holds a paper bag under his arm looks up at the sky and presses his face with his free hand.

“Well, it’s not the right size.”

“It can’t be helped. I’ll go shopping later.”

“…Please don’t go out in that appearance.”

Saying that, he hands me one of the bags held under his arm.

It was what was sandwiched between two slices of bread, with meat and vegetables. It was still warm and smelled of sauce. Now that I think about it, I didn’t eat dinner yesterday. My stomach growls as if I remembered my hunger.

“This is breakfast, and also a drink. I don’t think it will suit a noblewoman’s taste, but please forgive me.”

Two unglazed cups and a bottle. A cloudy red liquid was poured and handed to me.

“What is this?”

“It’s Piquette. It’s a wine with poor quality and weak alcohol. It’s what commoners often drink.”

The boxes containing the luggage are used as desks, and the food is arranged on them.

“Can I ask for a prayer before eating?”

“…Sorry, I don’t have the habit of praying before meals.”

“Then, let me offer a prayer?”

He nodded, so I joined my hands and lowered my head.

“Lord, I thank you for your kindness. Bless this food provided today and make it the sustenance that supports our lives. May the one who provided this food today be blessed. Amen.”

Alex-sama waited for my prayer and repeated the last words “Amen.”

“Alex-sama, is there any tableware or cutlery?”

“Huh?…It’s somewhere in the box. Just like this.”

With that, he took the whole bag of bread and bit into it.

Well, we don’t use tableware. Is it efficient or barbaric, I wonder.

I also followed suit and took a bite of the bread.

Hmm, it’s bread. I can’t even reach the filling caught in one bite.

Mmm, as I have learned etiquette to not open my mouth and to chew without showing it, it is difficult for me to eat, but there’s nothing to be done.

I hide my mouth with a bag and take a big bite.

Mmm, it’s quite tasty. The quality of the meat is not so good, but it seems that they soften it by doing it like a meatloaf. I see, I feel the ingenuity.

I take a sip of the drink. Hmm, it’s not that delicious. The taste, aroma and alcohol are like wine with a thin sediment, but it’s more like a substitute for tea than alcohol.

Alex-sama finished his meal before I even finished half of my bread.

“Sorry, I have to go to work.”

“That can’t be helped. Don’t worry about it.”

Oh, that’s quite early. Although the mornings of the commoners are early, being a researcher means that many are educated and from noble backgrounds. Whether Alex-sama works at a laboratory or is at the academy, he should have a little more leeway for the start of work.

“I don’t know my way around here, so I asked the location of the horse-drawn carriage when I came out, but I don’t know how long it will take. Also, if possible, I want to return early and do some shopping. I’ll ask if I can take a break tomorrow or later, but don’t have any expectations.”

“Thank you for your kindness.”

“Yeah. So don’t go out on your own until I come back today. Make sure no one enters if someone comes. Is that okay?”

Saying that, he puts on his jacket and heads to the entrance.

I got up, interrupting my meal.

“Understood. Have a good trip.”

“Oh.”

“Alex-sama, have a good trip.”

“Hmm? Yeah.”

“Have a good trip.”

“…I’m going.”

When I smile, he blushes a little, then leaves the house.

A step forward, or maybe half a step.

Anyway, what should I do until Alex-sama returns. I’m full, so maybe I’ll have the rest of the bread for lunch.

I don’t know when he’ll be back, but I have time.

I look at the mountain of boxes… hmm.

Chapter 10: Cleaning Up

So, Alex-sama has left for work. I actually wanted to go shopping during that time, but it was said that it was dangerous for a woman to go alone, so I’ll stay at home.

However, there are limited things I can do at home. I’ll tidy up Alex-sama’s luggage.

“He may not like it to be touched without permission, and I can’t carry heavy things in the first place, but…”

Even so, it should be much better than having everything packed messily into several boxes.

Alex-sama has already taken out the bookshelf, so I’ll pack the books there.

By looking at the titles, there are many books about dungeons, magic stones, demon beasts, and magic engineering, some of which I have seen in the country house of the territory.

Yes, the Periknen territory is vast, but also has many dungeons and demon beasts within its borders.

“Should we categorize the books on the bookshelf first, either by title or author name?”

“Yes, it is. It would be a shame to find ‘Doki-Doki★Marin-chan no Muchipuri ❤️ Paradise’ next to a research book.”

Interesting, so that’s his preference.

I also wouldn’t be comfortable if I were being judged at this level.

Now that the books are on the bookshelf, let’s organize the documents next.

There are many research-related documents and notes, did he bring work home?

There are also many rough notes, let’s gather them separately. If we have time, we can rewrite them on blank paper.

Separately, I will sort out personal letters, official letters, and bills.

The reason why I am able to do this kind of work is because of His Highness Elias. When I was the prince’s fiancé, what I had to learn was mainly education for becoming a prince consort in the future.

Most of it was specialized in etiquette and socializing. For example, learning about international relations and the industries of neighboring countries is knowledge needed for socializing on a national level in terms of diplomacy.

“But that idiot prince…”

Yes, because of His Highness Elias leaving his assigned duties as the Crown Prince, such as learning and training for future duties as the King…

A sound of crumpling notes was heard at hand.

No, I can’t help getting angry.

It has become a norm for His Highness to leave his studies and work unfinished and pass it on to me. Leaving behind books and documents too!

More and more, the adults have given up scolding His Highness, who is prone to tantrums, and pass it on to me…

So unfortunately, I have become good at this kind of work.

During that time, His Highness was probably getting along well with that Miss Madetoya or something!

Once again, the sound of crumpled notes was heard at hand.

Shall we arrange the broken equipment that Alex-sama probably valued yesterday? Let’s collect it carefully so as not to cut our hands with the fragments.

These are fragments of glass, bent metal, and this is a fragment of a magic stone.

From the trend of the book, it seems that he was conducting research on magic stones produced from dungeons and monsters rather than dungeons and monsters themselves.

I will take a break at lunch and have the rest of the bread, borrow a pen that I found, and write down and organize my notes.

Honestly, there is not much I can do for him. I can’t do housework or cooking.

As the host of the tea party, I have learned how to make delicious tea. There are countries where it is considered honorable for the host to make tea themselves.

But I have never even boiled water to make tea on this stove.

It is still early in the evening after lunch. The key to the door was turned and Alex-sama has returned.

“Welcome back, Alex-sama. You’re early.”

“I’m back. Ah, I was allowed to leave early as expected.”

Well, he properly greet me with “I’m back”.

“…Who are you?”

He was surprised by his face. The focus of his gaze was the arranged bookshelves and the documents neatly divided on top of the box, and the organized laboratory equipment.

“Yes, I thought there was a way of arranging the books that would be convenient for Alex-sama, so I took the liberty of arranging them.”

“No, that’s fine… the documents too?”

“I separated them into personal and official ones, and divided the research contents. The research materials are divided by field and the notes are neatly written. It’s still in progress.”

“Are you a god?”

Alex-sama respectfully receives the neatly written notes in his hand while kneeling in front of me.

“I’m not a god.”

“Thank you, you are a great help!”

He smiled happily.

I feel my inside being filled with a warm feeling.

Yes, I suddenly realized that His Highness had never once thanked me.

Chapter 11: Visitor

Well, he has to go out in a hurry.

As for me, I would like to cash in the check and jewelry that my father gave me as a hand-cut, but it’s a shame that I don’t have daily necessities.

I am not comfortable keeping jewelry at this house, which is not very safe.

When I was thinking about such things, the door was knocked.

“Yes, who is it?”

Alex-sama who-knows-what without opening it to ask who is there.

“It’s me, Hilka Henni Hakala. I was a maid for My lady Vilhelmina until recently.”

Well, It’s Hilka!

As Alex-sama turned to me, I nodded affirmatively.

When he opened the door, she entered in a hurry as if she had jumped in, wearing a servant’s outfit of black and white.

“My lady!”

“Hilka, how nice of you to come here!”

I hugged her. Hilka also hugged me tightly.

“Yes, I followed Mr. Peltra because I didn’t know where My Lady was taken.

Alex-sama looked surprised. He had not noticed it at all.

Oh, I see. That’s why you came right after Alex-sama returned.

“What about your work at Periknen’s mansion?”

“I have asked the butler, Talvo-san, to take care of the work so that the master doesn’t notice. Everyone in the household is worried about My Lady’s safety.”

“Is he taking care of it? Are my servants being treated unfairly?”

Talvo was my butler. Due to my being disowned, it caused trouble for the servants as well.

“Yes, it’s yesterday and today, so there has been no immediate dismissal. However, Talvo-san has started preparing to provide a referral letter for junior servants at any time.”

You can trust him to handle it well.

At least it makes me feel a little lighter in my heart.

“I wonder if Hilka is going to report on us?”

“I will report to Talvo-san. I will just tell the others that you are safe… well, your living conditions might not be comfortable.”

Hilka looked at the terrible state of the house. I organized the books and documents, but the rest is still untouched.

“That’s right, we were just thrown in here last night. We were just about to go and buy some things we were running low on.

Hilka looks at me again. Her gaze moves from my bursting neckline, to my exposed belly peeking from the bottom of my tied shirt, and her face turns red.

“M-My Lady! What a disgraceful appearance!”

She averts her gaze from me and glares at Alex-sama.

“I-It can’t be helped! She was kicked out with nothing but the dress she was wearing.”

“I don’t have women’s clothes either!”

Hilka sighs.

“It’s true that if you walk around here in a dress, you’re a good target for criminals, but it’s the same if you walk around in such shameless clothes.”

I see, Hilka also wore the outfit of a servant, not her usual dress, because of such consideration.

“Peltra-san, may I exchange outfits with Vilhelmina-sama? My lady and I have similar body types. If she wears the outfit of a servant, she won’t stand out as much even if my lady’s beauty cannot be hidden.

And would you mind if I stay here to do housekeeping while you and Vilhelmina-sama are out?”

“Well… this is a gracious offer, wouldn’t we?”

Alex-sama cast his gaze over here.

“I would rather give up and die than be betrayed by her.”

“Vilhelmina-sama!”

“That means I trust her that much.”

“Understood. Thank you, Hakala-san. I will count on you.”

Alex-sama bowed his head.

No, Vilhelmina-sama’s husband is like a master to me, too. Please don’t worry about it.

Please wait while I go change my clothes.”

Saying that, she stood up and invited me to the 2nd floor without saying a word.

We talk while changing our clothes.

“Vilhelmina-sama, what kind of person is Mr. Peltra? He has an unimpressive appearance, but…”

“If he pays attention to his appearance, I think the evaluation of being unimpressive will disappear. He’s excellent and enthusiastic as a researcher, but…That’s probably why the nobles pushed me towards him.”

“In other words, he is the luckiest man in the world, right? So, have you been embraced?”

“W-What are you talking about!”

Hilka makes a smiling face and says.

“Well, My lady is charming, right? You’re a couple, right? There’s only one bed, right?”

“Last night, he kindly let me sleep on the bed and slept downstairs.”

“Well, let’s put aside the question of whether he’s a gentleman or a rough man.”

After finishing changing, I returned downstairs.

Chapter 12: The Dauphin’s Miscalculation

“Hahaha, finally I did it! I brought down that vixen to commoner status!”

I, the prince, celebrated in the castle away from the royal palace, designated for the prince’s use.

It is only natural for there to be voices of joy.

Vilhelmina Ulla Periknen, my fiancée. I admit she was somewhat good-looking. But she was just a woman who only caused harm to my mood as the next king.

The Duke Periknen household was the wealthiest among the kingdom’s nobles and their soldiers were strong due to battles with demon beasts. It was also the household that the royal family had to pay the most attention to. My engagement with her was decided since we were children.

But I didn’t like it. The partner of my life should be decided by me.

And that woman, who is the same age as me, has been constantly nagging me about studying, working, and making disrespectful remarks.

“But is it okay? Vilhelmina-san is pitiful.”

“Oh, my dear Ina. How kind and merciful you are, like an angel without wings. But a fitting punishment is necessary for the wicked. And a beautiful and kind person deserves a corresponding position.”

When I embrace Ina, she smiled with a giggle.

How adorable compared to the superficial smile of high-class noble ladies!

“Well Ina, I’ve prepared a room for you in this palace. It’s best if you live here from today.”

“Thank you, Elias!”

I lock lips with her.

Ina and I have exchanged many kisses, and each time it’s as sweet as ambrosia from heaven.

She’s different from that woman who had always refused any contact besides holding hands and dancing at social events.

The Duke family did not get along with Vilhelmina and was reduced to a commoner.

Ina, the daughter of a Baron, and I, the crown prince, have different statuses, but we can marry if the Duke Periknen family adopts her as a foster daughter.

By raising her as their foster child and having the heir as my close ally, the Duke of Periknen has made a commitment to continue to be my backer.

Even The Cardinal of the Church was used in this plan, and even the King and the House of Lords will have no objection to it.

“Starting tomorrow, Ina will receive education as a Crown Princess.

What she can do, Ina should have no problem with it.

“Yes, I’ll do my best!”

She showed her fists clenched with both hands.

“You can ask the maid for more details.

I will also have official duties in the morning. Shall we take a stroll together in the castle’s rose garden in the afternoon?”

“Yes, I’ll be waiting!”

Thus ended the best day of my life.

But the next day, as I happily went to the office to perform my duties, I saw that there was a mountain of documents piled high on my desk.

“What’s this mountain of documents? Can’t you organize them?”

The Chief of the Internal Affairs, who was in the room directing the clerks to carry the documents, answered.

“These are the documents waiting for His Highness’s approval.”

“Why are there so many of them? How can there be so many?

“No, it is normal procedure.”

“Hmm? Let me hear the explanation.”

I’ll beat you to death if it’s for the same boring reason.

“There are two reasons. One is that His and Her Majesties are on a trip, so their official duties as a proxy have increased.”

“Yes, of course. But it wasn’t this much until recently.”

I am the regent now, but it’s been half a month since both my parents left the capital for a parade. I have been filling in their duties, but I don’t think the paperwork has particularly increased until now.

“So the second reason is that Your Highness used to delegate all these tasks to Duke Periknen… oh, do you remember Vilhelmina-san?”

“What?”

The Chief of the Internal Affairs sighed.

“You don’t remember, do you?”

“I don’t remember either.”

“Is that so? For the past several years, she has been in charge of 80% of the decisions that Your Highness should make. I brought the increase from a month ago related to His and Her Majesties’ trip once, but Your Highness said, ‘Just leave it to that woman,’ but you don’t remember that either?”

“Did I say something like that?”

To be honest, I was busy with the operation to take down Vilhelmina. I don’t remember such a minor thing.

“If it’s something that woman can do, you guys should be able to do it too.”

“His Highness has given the seal of the crown prince to his fiancé, who is the sealer. Normally, it wouldn’t be appropriate, but that’s why she was able to make decisions on documents.”

“You, you’re unpleasant.”

“I apologize.”

The man lowered his head only slightly with a flat voice, as if he did not apologize at all.

“The seal has been collected from the temporary office for her, together with the safe, and is placed on that desk over there. How may I assist you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you sure you want to leave the royal seal with us officials?”

“Don’t be foolish. Then how will we know who the king is?”

“That’s a good point. Then, I will leave the decision-making to you.”

The chief of internal affairs then pointed to the desk piled with documents like a mountain.

Chapter 13: Shopping

I am going out to the town with Alex-sama.

I haven’t walked around this area of the capital before, but it can’t be said to be a particularly safe area. The main street may not be so, but if you look at the back streets, there are drunkards walking around the streets even though it is still daytime, and there are also those who are sleeping on the street.

“Where should we go first?”

“I’d like to see what I’m wearing, but…”

I’m hesitating to say.

“What’s wrong?”

“How should I pay? Actually, I have never touched money before.”

“Not that you don’t have money, but you’ve never touched it?!”

Alex-sama looks surprised. Yes, as far as money is concerned, I have dealt with the numbers on paper such as taxes and budgets of the country and territories, but I have never actually held it in my hand.

I do not have store clerks who tell me the price when I shop, and payment is always billed to my house later, and my butlers manage it.

“Yes. Of course, I don’t have it on hand, so I would like to borrow it. If I exchange the jewelry on the dress I wore yesterday, I think I could buy something like regular clothes?”

Alex-sama suddenly knelt down on the ground.

Oh, my God, he must be exhausted.

“Alex-sama, are you okay?”

“I may not be. You, are you okay?”

“Vilhelmina.”

“Vilhelmina, do you know how much a carrot costs?”

“Fufu, I’m familiar with the national budget and I know the unit price of carrots. The average is about one small gold coin, isn’t it?”

Alex-sama placed his hand on the ground.

Well, it’s hard, maybe he’s dizzy.

“That’s probably the average price per field…”

Oh dear.

“Anyway, with the clothes, I think I can go out and go shopping while Alex-sama is at work.”

“You are not allowed to shop alone until you learn the prices.”

You don’t know how much you’ll be taken advantage of. Alex-sama muttered that as he stood up. Hmm.

“Anyway, let’s buy clothes no matter what. I’ll pay for it.”

Alex-sama glances at the alley and says.

“If you like to take a walk, please just walk along the main street during the day.”

While talking about that, we are at the clothing store. It’s my first time at a commoner’s clothing store, and I don’t even need to call a tailor or have my size taken at the store.

If you buy something called ready-made clothing, you are better off, but basically it seems that it’s common to buy someone else’s used clothes.

I understand used clothing. I also gave away some of my dresses, and I’ve given some to Hilka as well.

When we enter the store, the inside is dim and a large number of clothes are piled up.

“I see, so this is how they sell them.”

Alex-sama stops a female store clerk.

“Get her some clothes. One new piece that’s good enough to go out, and a few old clothes that she can wear around here. Do you also handle underwear and shoes? If not, tell me the location of a recommended store. The budget is…”

After that conversation, he talked to me.

“Can I go to the other store for a minute?”

“Ara, won’t you tell me which suits me the best?”

He frowned deeply.

“Stop it. Do you think I know women’s fashion?

And I need to go shopping, I don’t have much time. I’ll be back soon, so stay in this store.”

Well, he doesn’t seem to pay much attention to his own clothes, and doesn’t seem to be used to women.

Actually, you learn these things by experience, so I would like him to watch, but there are many things to buy, so it can’t be helped.

“Understood.”

Saying that, Alex-sama left for a moment.

The clerk comes over.

“Well, shall we choose some clothes? Your master is quite generous, isn’t he?”

Master…Oh, I am just wearing a servant right now.

Surely, one might mistake him as a wealthy commoner who has hired a maid who works as an all-around maid and has bought clothes as some kind of reward.

This will not do. I must clarify the misunderstanding with Alex-sama.

“No, I am his wife.”

“Whaaat?!”

The salesperson made a strange sound, as if she had swallowed something weird.

For some reason, while we were choosing clothes, she was suppressing her laughter and it was only after Alex-sama returned that I understood the reason.

“Did I keep you waiting?”

“No, it’s okay. I just finished choosing and there’s a tear in this vintage piece of clothing, so I’m getting it fixed.”

The shop clerk cut the thread with scissors, folded the clothing and stacked it, then came over and smacked Alex’s butt hard enough to make a sound.

“Hey, lover. Dressing your wife up as a maid and taking her around, you seem to be enjoying life a lot.”

“You’re wrong!”

Chapter 14: Maid

Aside from that, the two of us head back to the house carrying my clothes.

Today’s meal has been taken care of for now, I heard.

“Welcome back, Vilhelmina-sama, Alex-san.”

“Yes, Hilka.”

“Thank you for watching the house.”

As he said that, Alex-sama is avoiding her gaze a little bit.

Yes, Hilka is wearing Alex-sama’s clothes that I was wearing just now, but this is indeed disgraceful!

“Alex-sama, may I change my clothes right away?”

After confirming his nod, Hilka took the clothes Alex-sama was holding and went up.

I changed my maid clothes that I was wearing into normal clothes.

She said in a depressed voice.

“To think My lady will be wearing commoner’s clothes from now on…”

“Well, I guess there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“Can you manage?”

“To be honest, I don’t know. Alex-sama is not a bad person, but we just met and I haven’t even started my life as a commoner yet.

When I went down, Alex-sama had spread food on the desk.

Come to think of it, the cleaning has also progressed a lot.

“Uh, Hilka-san, would you like to eat?”

“No, I have to go back to the mansion today.”

“Oh, I see. I bought three, do you want to take one with you?”

“Fufufu, thank you very much.”

Hilka headed for the entrance and, when she looked back there, she took a deep curtsy like spreading her skirt beautifully before me.

“Vilhelmina-sama, may I ask for your permission to serve you again?”

“I’m glad you feel that way… But you can’t.”

I sighed and looked at Alex-sama.

“…I think we should hire a maid.”

Fufufu, he must have said it out of consideration, but that’s not the case. I shook my head.

“Since Alex-sama has moved from the male dormitory at the laboratory to a house, it is necessary to have all-works, domestic servants. I would be happy if you could hire her. But Hilka is a “maid”.

“Is there a difference?”

Indeed, it may not be understood by him who is a commoner.

“A maid is a lady’s maid, in other words, a senior domestic servant who accompanies the female master or a young lady of the nobility. They must have a wide range of skills and knowledge about fashion, including choosing clothing, dressing, hair styling, and decorating hats with embroidery.

Making the bed is also part of their duties and they must stay up late or even until dawn if the female master attends a ball, which is why they are also called lady in waiting.

“…hm, in other words?”

“The domestic servants and maids have different status. Do you think a commoner laundress would understand the fashions of the nobility?”

Alex-sama’s face turns pale.

“By, By any chance, is Hilka-san a noblewoman?”

Hilka stood up and nodded to Alex-sama.

“Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am Hilka Henni Hakala, the third daughter of the Hakala Viscount family.”

“This, this is disrespectful!”

Alex-sama lowered his head.

“So I cannot hire you, Hilka. Neither in terms of salary nor position.”

“I don’t mind even if the salary is small.”

“I do mind. You also have to grab your happiness. That surely cannot be found here.”

“But my happiness is…!”

Tears fell from her eyes.

“To be by Vilhelmina-sama’s side and become the wet nurse(nanny) of your child someday!”

“…Yes. It was an honor, Hilka. But, that cannot be fulfilled here.”

“I-I see.”

“Excuse me for asking this, but is it possible that there’s no work available for you at Periknen’s estate and that you can’t get a referral letter?”

“No, I’ve been told to serve Marjana-sama.”

It’s my step-mother’s child. To me, she’s like a younger sister who’s different from me. She’s about to turn debutante next year and it’s not bad to have a maid. But she’s been pampered, so she doesn’t know how to behave around people. I hope Hilka doesn’t have a hard time.

“Please tell the butler Talvo too. We can’t hire you guys at the Peltra house. We would like to hire a maid, but we can’t even get a room for a live-in maid in this house.

“Yes…”

“If everyone comes to check on me from time to time, then we’ll welcome you.”

“Yes!”

So, in the end, Hilka left the house with a slightly cheerful voice.

Alex-sama and I sat at the dinner table. As we ate the food that was served, he muttered quietly.

“Vilhelmina, you… ”

“What is it?”

“It seems like you’re well-liked by the servants.”

I put down my fork and plate.

“Yes. I tried to be a good master and it seems like they responded well to that.”

Alex-sama also put down his plate and looked at me straight on with a serious expression.

“Which side is your true nature?”

Chapter 15: Someday in the Future

“When I first met you, you told me that you were the Crown Prince’s fiancée, but that you were set up to justify his infidelity and that he had banished you from your home.”

“Yes.”

Alex furrowed his brow.

“But in the capital, there is talk that His Highness Elias condemned the cruel and abusive fiancée Vilhelmina and established a kind-hearted Lady Ina Madetoya as his new fiancée. He is also said to be a benevolent prince, not executing Vilhelmina but instead stripping her of her noble status.”

Sigh. I’m not surprised to hear that.

“What did Alex-sama think when he heard about this?”

“…I didn’t have any interest in nobles, and as a commoner, I have no involvement with that. So if there was talk about it, I just assumed that was the way things were and lived my life.”

Well, that makes sense. As a commoner and a serious researcher, he probably doesn’t have many opportunities to learn about the truth of such classes.

I nod and he continues.

“But I thought that these rumors must have been deliberate lies spread by someone.”

I feel my cheeks loosen.

“Of course, not all rumors are true, and conversely not all rumors are false. However, the rulers intentionally spread rumors to make it easier to govern the people. On the other hand, those who rebel against the ruler, for example, an enemy country or territory, spread rumors that stir up public anxiety.”

Alex-sama sighed.

“It’s a shameful thing to believe rumors without clarification… ”

“It’s probably like that. Why was the rumor false, and why did you believe the words said to be doubtful?”

“That the crown prince suddenly gave me a wife who he didn’t even want, as a reward? It’s about Vilhelmina being cruel and inhuman…”

He hesitated.

“Fufufu, it’s okay. Please speak.”

“I also had a bad first impression because I was hit right away… Well, even if I had faults, I probably thought she was a noble and arrogant woman.”

“… How about now?”

“You are my wife as a commoner, you shouldn’t have wanted that but you seem to be listening to my words and supporting me.

And when I think about Miss Hilka looking for you, you couldn’t have been wicked as a noble lady.”

“There’s no such thing as wickedness, nor are you a saint. I always try to act in a manner appropriate to my status and I also expect that from others. So, I’m sorry for hitting you.”

Alex-sama stops me with his hand.

“No, an apology is not necessary. It was because you judged me as an unrefined commoner who was not appropriate for that place because of my clothes and behavior at that time.”

“…Yes.”

“Is it a lie that you mistreated a woman named Ina?”

“No, I swear I did not behave in such a manner.”

Alex-sama seems relieved.

“So, was the claim of trying to assassinate her a lie?”

“No, that’s true.”

His body shook with a jerk. He tried to speak but seemed unable to form the words.

“Of course, I’ve been cautioning them verbally and in writing about their relationship, but they wouldn’t listen.

Just as a nobleman would treat a commoner with disrespect, it is not appropriate for a Baron to behave in such a manner towards me, a Duke’s daughter. That’s why I tried to kill her.”

“… was that an appropriate action for a noble?”

“Yes. In the end, it turned out to be successful.”

“So, uh, couldn’t you have just exposed the infidelity or something in a legal setting?”

“It is not desirable for the reputation of a crown prince of a kingdom to be lowered.”

Alex-sama pondered with his hand on his chin.

“So that was your position…If you’re asking me if assassination is the right thing, I can’t answer. But I’ve understood a little.”

Fufufu, it’s touching that he is considering my feelings. I am pleased.

“Do you still cherish the Crown Prince and the country?”

“His and Her Majesties are not bad people. But after all, they’ve been tacitly approving the growth of the crown prince. I have already run out of patience. And with the Duke Periknen family as well.”

“I see, I feel the same.”

Alex-sama smiled and I smiled too. Ah, maybe it’s the first time we laughed together.

“If someday, my research succeeds, gets evaluated, and I get a good position…”

“Yes.”

“It would be good if we could invite Miss Hilka and other servants as servants of Vilhelmina. Come, let’s have dinner. It’s getting cold.”

My vision blurs and I see Alex-sama’s face.

“…Yes.”

Yes, it would be nice if such a future comes.

Chapter 16: Housemaid

The next morning, a young girl knocked on the door of the Peltra household.

“Uh, um! I’m Senni!”

The girl was small and still had a youthful look to her, not yet in her late teens. She wore the black and white uniform of a maid. Her black hair was styled in a pixie cut, with a sparkling white brim on top.

“I heard you’re looking for a maid, so I came!”

“…Yes?”

Alex-sama responded in confusion.

It was true that we were looking for a maid, but we had not yet hired a mediator or placed an ad in the newspaper.

She rummaged through her pockets and pulled out a letter.

“This is a letter of introduction!”

The letter was from Talvo, the butler of the Periknen household.

Ah, I see. Let me ask you a question.

“What were you doing in the mansion?”

“Yes, I worked as an “apprentice between” for two years, then as a housemaid for two years.”

“What did you do as an apprentice?”

“Between” means to help with various tasks of the person in charge, in other words, to be in between. It also means to find one’s aptitude while doing so.

“Yes, I have experience as a dishwasher and laundry worker.”

Alex-sama looks back every time I speak and looks forward every time Senni speaks, like a nodding doll. Perhaps he is unable to catch up with the sudden questioning.

“Can you read and write?”

“I can read. Writing… I’m not good at it.”

Hilka and Talvo are being very nice to me.

“What is your job at Periknen?”

“It looks like it will end. There seems to be a surplus of personnel because of Vilhelmina-sama’s absence.”

That’s not wrong, but the layoff is too early.

Father doesn’t understand that this is where his reputation is at stake… I guess its former father now.

“I think that instead of a commoner’s house close to the slum, there are better conditions elsewhere.”

“No, I volunteered to serve Periknen’s Vilhelmina-sama.”

“Do I know you?”

I haven’t had any dealings with servants or maids.

“No, it’s just…every time you went out, you often bought us sweets, and no one was ever chastised when a servant made a mistake.”

I can’t help but smile.

“That’s only natural.”

“But I heard that my friends who worked at other households were hit with books or beaten with whips.

And I was in charge of cleaning Hilka-san’s room, and I often heard from Hilka-san about Vilhelmina-sama’s greatness.”

“I can’t even buy you sweets now. And the wages are lower for a maid

“That doesn’t matter!”

I turn to Alex-sama.

“Husband, a very capable young girl wants to work as a maid at our house.”

“Is that so… Really?”

“Yes, I don’t think we can find someone better than her no matter where we advertise. Just think of it as my former butler arranged for such a talent.”

He sighed.

“I see, I’ll take care of it.”

“Please sign a contract with me at the standard wage for a housemaid. However, if your work is good enough to meet Alex-sama’s standard, we would be happy to treat you better.”

And with that, the black-haired petite maid was hired in this house.

And without paying anything, the former servants including Hilka started to visit and check on the situation.

Slowly but surely, a cycle of life is starting to form.

Since I have no experience in housekeeping, I started to learn from Senni.

Senni says she can only do simple things and likes cooking, so she was put in charge of the kitchen. I tried to learn cooking and she agreed, but when I held a knife she screamed “Impossible!” and forbade me from standing at the cooking counter. I don’t understand.

My job is mainly to summarize Alex-sama’s research, like a secretary. In my spare time, I try to understand his research by reading basic (but still specialized) books from the bookshelf.

——Oh, by the way, ‘Doki-Doki★Marin-chan no Muchipuri ❤️ Paradise’ has been removed from the bookshelf.

I wonder if Alex-sama has hidden it somewhere or if Senni threw it away.

Senni started living downstairs, so Alex-sama also started sleeping upstairs, but he sleeps in the corner of the room opposite the bed. There is no nightlife.

“I see. He’s that guy who claims to be better than others but is actually a cherry chicken (virgin),” says Senni.

“Oh, what’s the big deal about chicken meat and cherries?”

“N-Nothing, my lady. But I, the laundry maid, can guarantee that he’s not an impotent chicken!”

Senni has a witty way of speaking. I don’t understand the meaning well, but watching her cheerful personality makes me feel energetic.

Chapter 17: Rebuke to the Dauphin

“Kingdom’s unbroken sun, His Majesty Vainamo III, has returned safely. Congratulations on your safe return.”

In the audience hall of the palace, nobles, officials, and military officers stand in line. I bow my head before His Majesty and Her Majesty, who have returned to the throne from their travels.

“I’m so happy to hear that.”

Ina also performed the etiquette of a lady behind me.

Next, my younger sibling, the prince and the other royal family members, and the nobles celebrated His Majesty’s return.

“Indeed, I am grateful for the warm welcome from all the lords.”

His Majesty received it with a flourish.

The parade for the return to the capital was held and received the lords’ welcome. The celebration night will be held on another day, but today is finished for now.

However, during the ceremony, wrinkles appeared on His Majesty, Father’s forehead.

After the ceremony, when His Majesty left the audience chamber, he spoke to me.

“Elias, come to the White Lotus room later. I must hear your report. Parvallis let’s talk after dinner.”

I was prioritized over my sibling, as I am the Crown Prince!

“Ha!”

The White Lotus room is a private room for the royal family. Although it is the simplest room in the palace, it is a room that father likes because he says it makes him feel at home.

First, let’s set aside Father’s desire to speak with my younger sibling and report on my work as a substitute during their absence.

However, upon entering the room, I saw my father’s unhappy face.

“Elias, first sit down.”

“Yes.”

I sit on the sofa across from His Majesty.

“You have worked hard as a substitute for the king’s work. Of course, I have to examine what happened afterwards, but from what I have heard in the report, there seem to have been no problems.”

“Yes.”

Hahaha, I have shown my worth as the crown prince.

“By the way, I noticed that your fiancé, Duke Periknen’s daughter, was not there today at the reception.”

“Yes, I…”

His Majesty stops my words by putting his hand up.

“I heard strange rumors when I got close to the capital.

I heard that you condemned the cruel and inhumane fiancé, Duke Periknen’s daughter, and now have a new fiancé named something. Also, it is said that the benevolent Crown Prince Elias reduced the wicked woman Vilhelmina to a commoner.

“Y-Yes! I condemned Vilhelmina who abused my beloved Ina!”

“Elias, I have some questions for you.”

“Y-Yes.”

“Is that Ina the young lady who was next to you?”

When I affirm, my mother turns away with an expression like she is looking up at the sky, and utters words of grief.

“Ah, a girl who can’t even do the courtesy of a lady!”

Certainly, Ina is not yet accustomed to wearing shoes with thin high heels, and there are times when her body still wobbles. But such things are not a problem if she gets used to it, right?

My father says, tapping my mother’s shoulder comfortingly.

“Since the details are unclear, be honest and tell us. Did Miss Vilhelmina mistreat Ina?”

“Yes, she even tried to kill her!”

“Isn’t that because you were having an affair with this Ina?”

“No, it’s not about an affair! I found true love!”

“Your change of heart is not something to be praised. It’s not commendable, but it’s understandable. Love may be like that.

But wasn’t Miss Vilhelmina trying to kill that woman out of affection for you?”

“What are you saying!”

I involuntarily stood up.

“Surely, the response may be harsh, but can you not see that it was to avoid having your affair become publicly known and avoid criticism?”

“That woman would not have such noble intentions!”

“…so without telling us, you condemned her at the evening party and married her to a commoner?”

“Yes.”

“And without permission.”

“…yes.”

“You fool!”

My father stood up suddenly and swung his fist across the desk.

His fist hit my face.

“Ah…ouch…”

I was thrown to the floor and blood flowed from my nose, spreading a red stain on the carpet.

My father sat down on the sofa with a thud.

“Do you understand that you have broken the engagement contract, made in my name, King Vainamo III?”

“…ah.”

“The issue is not whether Miss Vilhelmina has done something wrong.”

My father sighed and my mother wiped her tears with a handkerchief.

“We know, Elias, that you are the one who has been moving the ‘shadows’ of the royal family and spreading rumors to the public. And it’s also known that you used the Cardinal to allow Miss Vilhelmina to marry a commoner. I haven’t investigated yet how you made Duke Periknen recognize it. This is what I call deviousness at work.”

“Th-Then…!”

“Well thought out. Indeed, it is not easy to return the situation even in the name of the king.”

So is he going to recognize my engagement with Ina?!

“Your words as the acting king carry more responsibility than you think. Alright, I will recognize your engagement with Ina and cancel the engagement with Miss Vilhelmina.

“W-What a blessed happiness!”

“But keep in mind. When you are judged unfit to be the next King and Queen, it will be your undoing… you may leave.”

“Y-Yes, excuse me.”

When I left the White Lotus and the door was closed by a servant, I faintly heard my father’s voice.

“…I’m sorry, Miss Vilhelmina.”

Chapter 18: Check

One day, when Alex was at work, Hilka came to check on me.

I recall that I have been looking for an opportunity for this opportunity.

“Hilka, do you have time?”

“Yes, Vilhelmina-sama.”

“I would like to go out to the center of the capital for a little bit. Arrange it for me and I would like to hire one bodyguard.”

“A bodyguard, please wait a moment.”

Saying that, Hilka went outside and immediately brought a man. He’s wearing civilian clothes but has a sword belt. He has a familiar face.

“Oh my, you used to be my bodyguard.

“Yes, this is Jacob. He still works for the Periknen family and whenever I come here, he comes as my bodyguard.”

Hilka introduced him and he politely bowed his head.

“Oh, thank you, Jacob.”

“That’s too kind of you to say…”

I put on the dress I was wearing when I was brought here before and asked Senni to take care of things while I was gone. When Alex-sama is not here and I have someone who will come with me and take care of things, opportunities like this don’t come often.

We head towards the central part of the capital after picking up the coach.

From an area where small houses are built to an area where shops and mansions are built, the quality of the clothes of the people can be seen changing.

Hilka asks, covering her mouth with a fan so that others cannot hear.

“Where are we going today?”

“First, the bank.”

To the counter of the central bank in the capital. After telling the reception gentleman that I would like to exchange a check, I was immediately taken to the reception room in the back.

Hmm? I’d say it’s just right.

“Nice to meet you for the first time. Vilhelmina-sama. I am Cremetti, the head of this bank. The check exchange is being carried out now, so please wait here for a moment.”

“Nice to meet you, Cremetti-san. But I’m not a status that should be called ‘-sama’ anymore.”

“Even if an immortal(phoenix) bird flying in the sky falls to the ground, its value won’t be lost, don’t you think?

I know the reason why you were unfairly deprived of your status. I’m feeling dim about the fact that it was the crown prince.”

Fufu, I’m glad he said so.

“It’s no good, Cremetti-san. I am a person who has lost in political strife or as a woman. I don’t know where the ears are.”

“That’s right, but… His Majesty is also pathetic. He returned from his trip and learned of you, but he has not restored your honor.”

He spoke passionately like that.

While grateful, we must be cautious. We can’t guarantee that soldiers won’t come out from behind the walls and catch me just because I recklessly affirm.

“That is equivalent to tarnishing the reputation of the Crown Prince. And the Church as well. My marriage with Alex-sama was blessed by The Cardinal.”

Cremetti-san made a face like biting a bitter bug.

“Vilhelmina-sama, but then your life will be…”

“I have no complaints about being Alex-sama’s wife now.”

Since I didn’t change my attitude, he must have given up. He took a deep breath and looked at me from the front.

Is there anything else I can do for you?

Anything I can do to help.”

I take out a small bag from my pocket.

There are no large gems, but there are various jewels.

“Can you exchange this or introduce me to a place where I can exchange it for money?”

“I’ll call the jeweler, just wait here.”

As he said that, I was approached by the secretary who was waiting by the wall.

I took off the stone that was attached to my current day dress and brought out some small precious metal. I asked for their appraisal and cash conversion.

The purchase price was a little higher than I expected, I think it was because they took it with color. With this and cashing the check, I now have enough money in my account to cover about ten years of a commoner’s salary. In the end, it took a few hours, but I was glad that I was able to finish everything at this bank.

“Please feel free to contact us if you have any further needs.”

“Yes, I’ll see you then.”

I say goodbye to Cremetti-san, the head of the bank, and leave.

On my way back, I entered a cafe with a little money left in my hand.

“Hilka, Jacob, thank you today.”

Jacob declined to sit at the same table, but I forced him to sit and we enjoyed cake and tea as three people.

“No, not at all. The bank head was very accommodating, wasn’t he?”

“Yeah, I was wary, thinking he might be targeting me, but it seems that wasn’t the case.”

The two of them give a startled look.

“What kind of danger?”

I bowed my head.

“Because. A fallen noblewoman. I was thinking about the possibility of me being caught and taken to a brothel.”

If the daughter of a fallen high-ranking noble could become a governess or maid, it would be good, but if not, the most common fate would be to end up in a brothel.

Chapter 19: The Master’s Study

We enjoyed our tea and returned with a souvenir cake for Senni and Alex-sama who watched the house while I was away.

On the way, Jacob whispers softly.

“We’re being followed.”

That’s right.

“Do you think there is any intention to attack here?”

“It doesn’t seem so right now… should we scatter?”

I shook my head leisurely.

Eventually, I was told that the feeling continued until I returned home, but there was no actual contact.

“In the end, we don’t know who was following or whether it was due to ill will or not.”

I explained to Hilka. Simple theft, surveillance by the royal family, whether Mr. Cremetti arranged for my protection, or whether to attack.

“So there’s no point in worrying too much. But Hilka, be careful when you come and go here.”

“Understood, Vilhelmina-sama.”

And so the two of them went back.

Well, with the check and jewels cashed, I have enough money to live for about ten years as a commoner, but this is not enough to do anything significant.

I asked about it before in a casual manner, but Alex-sama is a competent researcher who has been awarded medals and his salary is by no means low.

At least it is enough to support me and hire a maid.

However, I can’t live like I used to.

I know that all this money wouldn’t even buy me one dress because I used to wear a new one every time there was a tea party or evening gathering.

I have considered moving to a slightly larger place, but this is a house prepared by His Highness so I am afraid moving might displease His Highness Elias. It’s difficult.

“Let’s use this as a reserve for now in case something happens.”

Now, after spending several days looking through Alex-sama’s books and documents, I have come to understand what his research is all about, more or less.

“Collecting and crystallizing low-concentration magic elements that are dissolved in air and water…”

In other words, research to artificially create magic stones.

Those referred to as magicians, alchemists, and saints are mostly con artists, but some genuine ones use their ability to manipulate the magic essence in the air to ignite fire or heal wounds without relying on the power of magic stones.

Monsters store magic essence in their bodies, allowing them to exceed the biological power of their original animal form and make movements with greater strength and durability, such as being able to control fire or poison. Many flying monsters such as dragons and griffins have bodies that are too small to fly naturally, but they are able to do so because of the large size of their wings.

These abilities are made possible by the magic essence stored in their bodies that is crystallized into magic stones, which they extract magic energy from.

Dungeons are also spaces maintained by a giant magic stone known as the core, and are favored by monsters due to the high density of magic essence.

Magic stones are a source of energy and tools using them are expensive, but they are common among royalty and nobles. Examples include lamps and fireplaces powered by magic stones and ice chambers.

Artificially creating magic stones, which are the source of these powers, is likely the research of Alex-sama.

…Isn’t that groundbreaking!

I also read the report about Alex-sama receiving a medal. Its contents were about the research he was conducting as a preliminary stage for creating artificial magic stones. The study on the conditions for the concentration of magic elements was evaluated.

“Hmmm…”

I understand that with such groundbreaking research, there are also opinions that dismiss it as just a pipe dream. However, Alex-sama is producing results and advancing towards his goal.

So why did His Highness Elias act in a manner that would interfere with Alex-sama’s research by making me his wife?

His Highness Elias probably doesn’t have a direct acquaintance with Alex-sama. In other words, when His Highness Elias was looking for a mundane, unimpressive commoner to marry me off, someone told him the name Alex-sama. That means Alex-sama is at odds with someone who holds a high position such as a head of a faction or a high-ranking scholar.

“… I don’t understand.”

“What is it?”

Senni, who was cooking, turned around in response to my muttering and asked.

“No, it’s about Alex-sama’s research.”

Since our house is small, even minor mutterings are heard immediately.

Senni laughs.”

“Madam(Oku-sama) can understand even difficult books. I once looked at them while cleaning, but they were difficult to understand.”

“It’s a specialist book, so the language is naturally difficult. It’s not like a story.”

“It would be nice if we had more interesting books that I could read too.”

“Ara, did you mean you found one you could read?”

“I was interested when the Master hid the book behind the bookshelf.”

I look behind the shelves.

Ah, ‘Doki-Doki★Marin-chan no Muchipuri ❤️ Paradise’ is here in this place…!

Chapter 20: Magic stone hunting

I returned the book to its original position and after a while Alex-sama returned.

“I’m back.”

“Welcome back, Alex-sama.”

The meal is at the table with me and Alex-sama. Senni, who is the servant, of course cannot sit at the same table, but there are only three of us and it is a small house. She eats in the kitchen at the same time so that we can hear each other’s voices.

For the pre-dinner prayer, I will finish the meal as usual and tell Senni to take the dishes down before going upstairs to talk with Alex-sama.

“Alex-sama, may I have a moment of your time?”

“Hmm? What’s up?”

“Excuse me for being presumptuous, but I read the book that Alex-sama owns and I also took a look at the research notes while organizing them.”

Alex-sama nods.

“It really helps to have someone organize the documents. You even categorize and compile the notes I wrote on scraps.”

“On that note, I would like to ask if Alex-sama’s research is to accumulate magic elements in the atmosphere and crystallize them, in other words, to artificially create a magic stone.”

Alex-sama’s face is colored with amazement. His large brown eyes are wide open behind his messy hair.

“How did you… You understand? Although there’s nothing directly written about it here!”

“The content of the research book here is diverse, but I judged that from the places where you put sticky notes, the research contents where Alex-sama was awarded a medal, and several fragmentary notes.”

Alex-sama nods.

“That’s right, I want to make a magic stone from scratch, or strictly speaking, from magical elements.

“This is groundbreaking research. Enough to leave a name in history.”

“That’s over-the-top.”

“No, it’s not at all. It could turn the world upside down.”

Alex-sama laughed with a ‘hahaha’.

I continued my words.

“By the way, I would like to ask, is it still a long, far-off time before the research produces results?”

“…I don’t know about that. Whether my theory is correct or not, and whether it’s something that can be put into practice.”

Hmm, if you’re saying that, it means…

“So, the theory is complete?”

“Yes, but I can’t verify it.”

“Why is that so——? Why hasn’t your research been validated in the laboratory where you work?”

“That’s because…”

“Stop.”

I interrupt Alex-sama’s words.

“Alex-sama, when we were first brought here, what were you lamenting about being broken? The materials for your research, right?

If your research is proceeding greatly at the laboratory, there is no need to secretly experiment at home.”

Alex-sama rubbed his head irritably.

“There’s also a budget at the laboratory, and there are also other research projects besides my own. My research, as a commoner, is always put on the back burner.”

Research by a young, decorated researcher is put on the back burner?

And when I think about the fact that I was married to him…

“So you’re being coldly treated at the laboratory?

For example, you’re being estranged from the higher-ups, such as the director or the board of directors. Is that because you’re a commoner, Alex-sama?”

“…Yeah. Especially because I was in an orphanage for a while.”

Ah, so that’s why he never talked about his parents before.

I lower my head.

“I apologize for asking such an impolite question.”

“Well…there’s no problem. It’s a story from when I was young.

My parents were both adventurers who hunted for magic stones. They were apparently very skilled, but one day they never came back. That’s all the story is.”

“And that’s why you’re in the orphanage?”

“Yeah, at first I thought I would train my body to take revenge on the monsters, but I was bad at sports. I gave up on revenge. On the other hand, I was able to study, so after graduating I received a scholarship and was able to receive higher education.

…But the research institute was filled with the third or fourth sons of nobles. I couldn’t really do the research I wanted.”

Hunting for magic stones means hunting powerful demon beasts or diving into the depths of a dungeon to mine. If you can get your hands on a huge stone, it’s a job that can make you a fortune. But it’s also a job where many people get injured or killed.

I also saw these children well when I once visited an orphanage in my territory for a condolence visit.

“Alex-sama, you haven’t given up on revenge. Revenge has evolved. If this research progresses, the number of people who die from hunting magic stones will decrease. The number of wives and children left behind will also decrease.”

Alex-sama sighed heavily.

“Well. That does make me feel better…but the research has been stopped. They can’t give me the budget or the manpower.”

I slammed my fist strongly on the desk.

No, I just slammed the newly acquired checkbook today.

“…what is this?”

“It’s a considerable amount of money. Let’s use this to fund the research. Alex-sama, please complete the research.”

Chapter 21: Personal Attire

Alex-sama checks the amount in the account and cries out, “That’s a lot of money!”

“If we live as commoners, it will last for ten years, and if we save, it will last even longer. But as research funding, it’s just a small amount.”

“I can’t accept this!”

“Half of this money is from selling a little bit of jewelry that was attached to my dress, and the rest is a kickback from Duke Periknen.

For example, for those who are called high-ranking nobles and wealthy merchants, this amount is just a small amount.”

“A small amount…”

“Yes, Alex-sama. If I lend this money many times, will the research be completed?”

Alex-sama has a puzzled expression.

“Uh…, no, I don’t know suddenly.”

“It doesn’t matter roughly. Anything, even imagination.”

“Ten times, or maybe twenty times?”

“Understood, let’s make it 100 times first. Then, Alex-sama, please start the research.”

“Ha?”

“But, Alex-sama will also have to cooperate.”

“If I can do it, I’ll do it, but it’s impossible, isn’t it?”

“Let’s first fix your personal needs with that money.”

He furrowed his brow.

“I don’t want to use time on personal needs. I would rather use that time to advance my research. That’s what I said, right?”

Yes, that’s what he said, because I asked before.

“However, right now, Alex-sama can’t do research. In order to do research, you need money. And to get money, you need personal needs.”

Alex-sama nods his head.

“I don’t understand the meaning of personal needs to get money.”

“As I said earlier, this amount of money is pocket change for high-ranking nobles and wealthy people. That means we need them to become our backers,” I explained.

Yes, earning a hundred times the amount of money right away is a difficult task. However, when Alex-sama’s research is successful, it will be clear that he will gain a huge fortune. If he is seen as a promising investment opportunity by promising a dividend, wouldn’t they want to lend it to him?

The other party should be willing to lend him the money.

Even though I explained it like that, Alex-sama still had a sullen look.

“Backers… I’ve tried to solicit them before, but I was turned down.”

“That’s obvious.”

“Oh.”

“It’s a matter of course,” I said. “The tailcoat was as ugly and ill-fitting as it did when we first met. Who would want to invest money in a person who wears such clothes?”

“…So it’s a matter of personal style.”

“Yes, manners make the man, and personal style determines a person’s worth. To recruit patrons means to enter such a world.”

Alex-sama fell into deep thought for a moment, then lowered his head deeply.

“Wilhelmina, may I ask you for a favor?”

Fufu, now he understand.

“Yes, I’m happy to. Stand up please.”

He stood up.

“Straight.”

He stretched his back.

“Your torso is weak, your body is leaning. I’m glad to hear that kyphosis(hunchback) is not a physical illness. Please sit down.”

Alex-sama sat down and I continued.

“Please lift your hair.”

When Alex-sama lifted his black hair with one hand and exposed his forehead, unkempt thick eyebrows and brown eyes were revealed.

“Why do you keep your hair shagged?”

“Well… there’s no particular reason.”

“Be honest.”

“… my boss doesn’t want to see my dirty brown eyes.”

I see, in this country, nobles generally have silver or blue hair and green or blue eyes, the higher their status, the more they are valued, while brown-eyed black hair is looked down upon.

“Alex-sama, they are after all making fun of you behind your back for growing your dark hair to hide your brown eyes.”

“… Also because of my thick eyebrows.”

“Well, well, Alex-sama, don’t you know that I pluck my eyebrows every morning to shape them?”

“Is… is that so?”

“Try saying ‘E’.”

“What?”

“E.”

Alex-sama shows his teeth. Hmm.

“Alex-sama’s only weakness is that he is thin and lacks flesh, but apart from that, there’s nothing inferior about him.”

“Well, that’s certainly a lie. I’ve been made fun of by nobles since my student days.”

“Do you think Alex-sama’s appearance is inferior, at least when viewed as a commoner?

There are no signs of severe burns, scars, skin diseases, syphilis or pockmarks, and the teeth are in good order. The hunchback is just a posture problem.”

“I’ve been told many times that I’m tall and it’s an annoyance…”

“You can bet that even if Alex-sama is short, they will think you are a fool.

Ultimately, because they can’t win by using their heads, which is the original place to compete, it’s just that the nobles are making fun of your physical characteristics.”

“Is that… Is that what this is about?”

I smile at him.

“Yes, they are weak. They are just blaming you to hide the fact that they are inferior. Facial features and physique cannot be changed, but Alex-sama can still become a gentleman in no time.”

Chapter 22: The Crown Prince’s Tribulations

There is a lot of work.

As a crown prince, studying and working as assigned is my duty for the future of being a king. The amount of work has clearly increased since my father, the king, returned.

To be honest, I have a lot of grievances.

It is clear that my father is unhappy with me for cancelling the engagement with Wilhelmina and making her a commoner.

“But even so, this is too much.”

When I mutter, the minister of the internal affairs who was standing by my side moves his eyebrows.

“What do you mean by too much?”

I hit the pile of documents in front of me.

A few pieces fell, and the nearby attendant picked them up and returned them.

“This amount! Despite the fact that there is more time to study subjects like imperialism and international affairs, if even the duties of public office have increased, no matter how much time there is, it won’t be enough!”

The minister of internal affairs raised his glasses and nodded his head.

“Well, what do you mean it won’t be enough? I remember that you spent time with Miss Madetoya at a tea party yesterday.”

I had tea with Ina, but it was not a long time.

“You’re not even letting me rest!”

“No, when considering efficiency, taking moderate breaks is acceptable. However, if you have time for a break, crying about not having enough time is not allowed.”

I stood up and held a pen in front of the minister of internal affairs.

He continues to stare at me without even blinking.

“You are disrespectful!”

“Because of His Majesty’s command. Don’t make me listen to your complaints and show me what you have as a suitable future king.”

A cluck of the tongue escapes.

I sit down in a chair and return to my official duties. Talking to this stiff guy is just a waste of time.

For a while, the only sound in the room is the sound of a pen running on paper.

“Your Highness Elias.”

“What is it?”

“Please forgive me for interrupting your official duties. Can you listen to this oldman’s words of wisdom?”

“… Go ahead.”

Without stopping my hand movements, I glance at him and the minister of internal affairs bows his head deeply towards me.

“The amount of studying has increased in the past two years because Your Highness has had less time to spend on studying, and especially because you have not gone to see the teachers when both His Majesties were away.”

… I did it to deepen my relationship with Ina and to keep Wilhelmina away.

“I’ll admit that that was a factor. But wouldn’t it be unrealistic to cram all of it in one time?”

“If Your Highness would like me to tell the teachers in detail that His Highness Elias has neglected his studies, I will tell them to slow down the pace.”

“… Stop it.”

If that happens, my position will be in danger.

“I’m sorry. Another thing, it has been said that Your Highness’s work has increased, but the amount of work has not increased much.”

“Don’t talk nonsense. What about this pile of documents?”

“As I previously mentioned, Miss Perik…His Highness’s former fiancée was performing official duties on his behalf.”

I stop writing.

“I heard that before. But it seems to have clearly increased more than the added amount!”

“Yes, but it’s different. We were also ignorant fools who did not realize her true worth until Your Highness expelled her.”

The minister of internal affairs shows a bitter expression, and it feels like there is a sense of guilt there.

“In addition to the work His Highness had her do, he also assisted His Highness in his work.

Every morning and evening, she was in charge of dividing His Highness Elias’s official duties and arranging the documents for ease of use, or placing necessary materials on the desk in advance, or exchanging pen tips and replenishing ink.

Each content may be a very minor thing. But it requires a wide range of knowledge and consideration of what Your Highness is doing.”

“That woman? That’s ridiculous.”

“It is the truth. It is not that His Highness Elias’ work has increased. It is because efficiency has decreased.

Wilhelmina, did that woman go so far as to care for me?

She was certainly a cunning woman. She would investigate the duties of royalty and the contents of the parliament, and even understand the contents I needed to learn before I did.

There is something called queenly education. However, it is related to etiquette, socializing, and diplomacy. Knowledge of the royalty and nobles of one’s own country and neighboring countries is necessary to support me.

But she even read through the nobles’ almanac and then intervened in my conversations.

It is true that Wilhelmina was handling my duties. Because I ordered it. But did that woman voluntarily follow up on my duties without being asked?

The shaft of the quill snapped off in my hand.

The ink gradually stained my white sleeve black.

“I have dirtied my sleeve. I will change clothes and take a rest… you won’t complain, will you?”

“Please go. I will tidy up the pen. I will inform Miss Madetoya in advance.”

The minister of internal affairs spoke to his personal attendant. And the door to the office opened for the first time in several hours.

Chapter 23: Alex-sama Remodeling Project

I called Senni and asked her how Alex-sama looks from her point of view.

Of course, I make sure to tell her that disrespect to the master is allowed.

“I still think it’s weird that the master’s hair is so shaggy.”

Borrow a hair band and have them lift the hair up.

“This looks much better!”

I ask her.

“What about his eyebrows?”

“Oh, did the master have a complex about his thick brows by any chance? Well, they are a bit thick and uneven on the sides, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary, right?

Alex-sama was crestfallen.

“As Senni said, I don’t think Alex-sama would look ugly from the perspective of commoners at least.”

If you walk around the town and look at people passing by, you’ll realize that Alex-sama has a normal appearance. That means he was probably despised by the noble children.

“So madam wants to make the master look cool! I’ll help too!”

Senni clenched her fists. Fufu, let’s get her help.

***

“Should we remove the hair that is growing in the eyelid and the part that is connected to(between) the eyebrow?”

Sitting facing my husband, I pull the hair out with tweezers, making sure that the hair won’t break in the middle.

“It hurts!”

Senni is holding a mirror so that the light shines on Alex-sama’s face.

“Patience, Alex-sama.”

Every time the hair is removed, his body shivers.

“It hurts!”

“Fufu, have you realized how much work we’re going through? Now, let’s also shape the eyebrows.”

“It hurts!”

***

“Alex-sama has dark brown eyes and deep black hair, so his appearance looks dark. Let’s shave his facial hair. Senni, please take care of his forehead and eye area.”

“Yes, madam!”

Senni seems happy holding the razor blade, although Alex-sama’s face is contorted.

“Please wash your face every day, and shave your beard every day as well, even if you’re busy with research.”

***

“Please go to the barber shop. Yeah, keep it trimmed overall and leave the bangs long enough to not reach the eyebrows, and have the top of the hair trimmed into a triangular shape so it ends at the earlobe. And make sure the neck hair is trimmed and it looks clean. Please convey this message.”

“Huh?”

Alex-sama looked confused.

“Didn’t you remember? Let me say it again. Overall, keep it trimmed…”

***

“No matter how high quality the clothes are that you wear when visiting the palace, if they don’t fit well, they will only look ugly. Especially in the case of ill-fitting clothes, it looks shabby. What is Alex-sama’s weight?”

“I think it was around 52kg…”

“Eeeee!”

Senni screams and collapses to the floor.

“It’s the same as mine…”

“Alex-sama, you are too thin. Let’s put on some more weight. Senni, gradually increase Alex-sama’s food intake.”

***

“Please stand here.”

I made Alex-sama stand in front of the pillar of the house. Hmm.

“Alex-sama, can you see that the upper part of your back is not touching the pillar? Conversely, the back part of your stomach is touching the pillar. This is a hunchback. Yes, please straighten your back.”

His body is leaning a bit to the right.

“Alex-sama, when you read or do something, are you aware that your body is slanting?”

“Uh… kind of.”

Sighing, I hand the ruler to Senni.

“Senni, if Alex-sama slouches or leans his body, please hit his back with this ruler.”

“Leave it to me!”

Senni happily receives the ruler, but Alex-sama looks unhappy.

“You’re treating me like I’m five.”

“Uh… okay.”

***

We go to a store that tailors for commoners. Unlike high-end tailors that nobles go to, it’s not a store that sells fabric that’s too expensive and doesn’t sew gems. Hilka asked the mansion people for reference and selected one store each for men and women. Additionally, I received a letter of introduction from Talvo.

Thanks to the letter of introduction, we were immediately taken to the back room when we entered the store and were directly attended to by the store owner.

“You are Mr. and Mrs. Peltra, right? Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too. I would like to order a complete set of suits for my husband. I would like to have them measured and tailored.”

“I see, do you have any preference?”

“It’s his first one, so I wanted something orthodox. My husband has this body shape, so I would like something tailored to fit him well.”

“I see, he is a bit tall.”

He didn’t say he was too skinny and avoided it nicely.

It takes about a month to finish, according to what I heard. Alex-sama’s eyes widen when he sees the price. He told me after leaving the store.

“I didn’t know it cost this much for a commoner…”

About half a year’s salary, I would say.

“Of course. I will have your day dress remade for that, so it won’t cost that much.”

“I see…”

Alex-sama straightens up.

“I’m causing you trouble.”

“No, It’s okay. We are a married couple after all.”

“I see…because you’re a married couple.”

Chapter 24: After Alex-sama transformation

Thus, although the tailored clothes will not be ready for a long time, I also had the everyday clothes re-fitted.

At home, it’s a fashion show in front of just the two of us, me and Senni.

“It’s lovely, Alex-sama.”

“Master, you look good!”

When I say that, Senni also praises Alex-sama and claps her hands.

Alex-sama turned his face away and said, “Boring compliments…”

“No, no, they are not just compliments.”

“That’s right master!”

Well, in reality, there are some compliments involved, but still, there is really a big difference from before.

“You’re so charming, don’t you think so, Alex-sama?”

By cutting his hair short and shaping his eyebrows, his face looks neat and now appears intelligent. The heavy look is now a sophisticated appearance. Also, shaving the lazy beard and face hair has made his complexion look much brighter.

And, previously the fabric on the chest, stomach, and thighs of the clothes he wore sagged, but because it now fits neatly to his body, he doesn’t give a poor impression.

Of course, it’s true that he’s skinny, but I wouldn’t say that he’s skinny to the point where he looks unattractive. It means, he’s the exact opposite of the pear-shaped figure that could symbolize wealth and luxury, and he’s definitely not the inverse triangle shape that could symbolize the strength of knights. I guess it’s just inevitable that his body shape is generally seen as unappealing.

Still, I don’t personally like noblemen who have a protruding lower abdomen despite being young. That’s much better than that.

Alex-sama muttered while blushing.

“Hmm… I guess you’re not as unattractive as you thought.”

“That’s right, that’s right!”

We affirm with all our might. Yes, in these cases, the person in question has to feel good about it. Otherwise, it won’t continue, and there’s no expectation for further improvement.

It’s a happy thing that Alex-sama expressed positive opinions about his appearance and fashion for the first time.

“Although the price is inevitably high, from now on you should have your clothes re-sized every time you buy them.”

“Right, I’ll make sure to be careful from now on.”

After trying on several outfits and looking at himself in the mirror, Alex-sama was satisfied with the result.

His back gradually became more bent because of a bad habit, so he will be careful to pay attention to it.

“But what now? The bosses who told me not to show my eyes might start complaining.”

As Alex-sama expressed his anxiety by placing his hand on his forehead, I will tell him.

“Please say it like this…”

***

The next day, when he went to the laboratory, he could hear whispers in the distance.

And as soon as I arrived, as expected, I was tangled up with Tobias, the third son of the Count family, a man of forty. He is one of the heads of the Magic Tool Development Department of this laboratory, and has researchers who are attached to him like drum beaters.

He is said to be a man who lives in the Count family’s territory and creates a faction with people from the nearby Baron family.

“What’s wrong, Peltra-kun? Your appearance has changed quite a bit.”

My hair was cut so my face looks better. And because my back is straightening, I could see his thinning hair.

“Good morning, Chief Tobias. I just cut my hair.”

He speaks scornfully while holding his chin with one hand.

“Hmm, but I told you not to show too much of the color of your dirty eyes, right?”

It was a predictable reaction.

I will try to use the words that Wilhelmina told me last night.

“I’m sorry, I was forced to cut my hair by my wife.”

“Haha! Are you lying on your wife’s lap! Oh yeah, oh yeah, you married the daughter of a former Duke!”

Chief Tobias laughs.

His followers also laughed along. One of them continues.

“Did you buy new clothes too?”

“No, it’s the same as always. But, my wife made me take everything to be remade, oh geez, I spent a lot of money.”

The laughter starts again.

I see now.

So you want to see me in trouble because of the arrogance of the former Duke’s daughter. I see, even though they call themselves noble, they’re just simple people.

“I’m a commoner, and it’s hard for me to have the same values…”

As I said, fitting in casually, Chief Tobias and the others seemed to become more cheerful.

“Hahaha, that wicked woman, she must have a high spirit and be difficult!”

I lower my head and stick out my tongue inwardly.

Chapter 25: Patron

I am with Alex-sama when Alex-sama is off, and when Hilka is here, we run around the merchants and banks in the Capital.

We are looking for people who are willing to invest in Alex-sama’s research and become patrons.

The painful thing is that my connection to the nobles is mostly unusable. I may be able to meet with some ladies I was familiar with personally, but I cannot talk to their heads(heads of families). That’s just the way it is. If you try to take advantage of the situation, it may be perceived as showing disloyalty to the royal family or Duke family.

And many of my former friends also refuse to meet with me, and even if they do, they have no rights or interest in investing in the research when it comes to the ladies.

Today I went to a Chamber of Commerce that I once used, because they said they would listen to my story.

But is this a reception room …?

The room is dusty, with boxes of deals stacked in the corner. I was waiting for at least two hours, without tea being served, sitting on a cheap chair.

I quietly talk to Alex-sama sitting next to me.

“When I was Duke Periknen’s daughter, everyone treated me with hospitality. I’m sorry I couldn’t reciprocate.”

Nowadays, this is not the case. Even if you have an appointment, you may be stood up or made to wait for hours.

“No, Wilhelmina, I’m grateful that you are trying to help me. Although there are no results yet, this kind of perspective is not something I could have had on my own, and I would have been turned away if I was on my own.”

When I nodded, Alex-sama continued.

“But, if the owner of this Chamber of Commerce changes his attitude just because your position has changed, it’s not preferable.”

I smiled bitterly.

“This is what it means to lose your position. But if Alex-sama feels that way, he can look back on it someday when he succeeds.

“Is that so?”

In the end, the owner of the trade association never met us.

Well, it’s a ‘common occurrence’.

***

So after spending several weeks this way, a letter arrived from Mr. Cremetti of the central bank in the capital city where I exchanged checks before.

He was interested in Alex-sama’s research and wanted to hear more about it.

“Mr. Cremetti is?”

I hold the letter and think while clutching the stationery. Although it’s a short message, the paper used is of high quality, something that is used in communication between nobles. It is far too good for commoners like us to use.

Alex-sama tilts his head.

“Is it good news?”

“…yes, it is.”

“What’s troubling you?”

I close my eyes and think for a while, whether it’s troubling or not…

“My father, Duke Periknen, gave me a check from the Central Bank in the capital city. Of course, being the largest bank in the country, it’s not strange. I think Mr. Cremetti was kind to me. However, I still have concerns that he is connected with the Duke family.”

“You think the Duke family is still watching you?”

“Of course. But it is not clear whether Mr. Cremetti will inform Lord Periknen or not, and whether Lord Periknen will interfere with Alex-sama.”

Alex-sama also falls silent with his arms crossed. As they both hum in thought, suddenly Alex-sama spoke.

“In the end, the length of a noble’s hand is something that I, who am just a commoner, cannot comprehend. But if that’s the case, then wouldn’t it not matter which merchant I take my supporter’s story to? If the merchant I rely on for support is powerful enough, in the end, their relations with the royal court’s favoritism will emerge, won’t they?”

“…Yes, that’s right.”

There is also a saying that a dragon’s egg cannot be obtained unless it’s entered into the dragon’s nest.

I nod.

“Alex-sama, are you aware that your research will infringe upon the interests of the kingdom and Duke family?”

“…Ah.”

The Duke Periknen family, who make their fortune through magic stones, and many other royalties and nobles also mine magic stones for wealth. If magic stones could be made elsewhere, it would greatly change the balance of power and wealth in the world.

“What is your resolution for this?”

“The fact that I discovered it means that one day someone else will make it happen. I can’t stop the flow, and I’m doing it with the determination to advance the times.”

“Even if it kills you?”

Alex-sama nods.

“But if this research progresses, the number of people who will die will decrease. The number of crying children will decrease.”

Yes, he has that much resolve. To produce research results that would earn him a medal, even though he was just a commoner, he must have been despised by researchers of noble background.

“Wilhelmina, it pains me to involve you, but…”

This is both revenge for Alex-sama, who lost his own parents, and for me, revenge against the Crown Prince and Duke who exiled me.

I stood up and embraced him.

“Let’s listen to Mr. Cremetti’s story. And let’s fight together.”

Chapter 26: Negotiations

Alex-sama and I are facing President Cremetti at the reception room in the Central Bank of the capital. Then he put on his monocle he took out of his pocket and finished reading the summary of Alex-sama’s research.

“Can the creation of an artificial magic stone be realized?”

Alex-sama nods.

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

“What scale… How big is your plan?”

“Eventually, we will be able to supply all of the kingdom’s magic stone production with it.”

Alex-sama confidently looks Mr. Cremetti in the eye. Yes, that’s right. Confidence, even if it’s false, doesn’t matter, but the voice of someone without confidence won’t move others.

Mr. Cremetti sighed.

“But this will…”

Yes, I understand his concerns. After all, It is in direct conflict with vested interests.

I stand up straight and speak decisively.

“Destroy the Periknen house.”

Not only Mr. Cremetti, but even Alex-sama next to him was surprised, their shoulders twitching.

“I know that 50% of the Duke Periknen family’s income comes from magic stone transactions and 20% from taxes from magic stone related businesses. Of course, it does not mean that their magic stone will suddenly stop selling, but the price will fall significantly. If they would take care of the agriculture and industry in the territory and live on their reduced income, it doesn’t matter, but I don’t see that happening.”

“Doesn’t that mean… Wouldn’t that turn the Duke’s household into an enemy? I think it’s more likely that they’ll destroy us.”

I moisten my lips with the tea offered. This is the moment of truth.

“I know a lot about them because I am knowledgeable about the Periknen household. Duke Periknen is not interested in the research of the commoners, and he won’t take action even if the magic stone decreases in value. He will continue his life as he spends money recklessly, and he will only move after his assets decrease. By that time, we should have gained the power to protect ourselves.”

Isn’t it difficult to stand up against the Duke’s household after all?

“It’s natural if you try to fight head-on. However, we are not nobles. We don’t have people or territories to protect… For example, we also consider running away to the neighboring country and spreading our technology there.”

Mr. Cremetti’s eyebrows narrowed.

I smile at him. Fufu, you don’t like it, do you?

You don’t want to miss the goose that lays the golden eggs, do you?

“Well, if you’re talking about protecting your lives, there are also mercenary and adventurer groups. We can manage to protect you.”

I nod with gratitude.

“However, this is only if you don’t inform Periknen house after listening to this conversation.”

A startled expression.

“Of course, we will not divulge what we say here to anyone.”

“Well, on the surface, it may seem that way. But if you prioritize your vested interests, then I have brought up such a topic that would blow away any such pretense.”

“…It means which side you’ll choose, make your flag clear.”

As if Alex-sama was about to say something, his mouth moved. I nod to him with the feeling of it’s okay.

Alex-sama nodded back and spoke to Mr. Cremetti who was thinking.

“Uh, Mr. Cremetti. This is a theory that I, personally, came up with. Even if I don’t do it, someone else will eventually with their own skills. It’s only a matter of time, whether it’s sooner or later. Maybe someone has already thought of this theory but it hasn’t been put out into the world yet.

“…Yes, that’s right.”

“And there’s no guarantee that it will be someone like me, born in this country and struggling as a researcher. That’s all I have to say.”

Mr. Cremetti let out a big sigh and reached out his hand to Alex with a cheerful face.

“Good, you’ll either be a researcher who leaves his name in history or an exceptional con artist. Let’s watch up close. Leave the finances to me.”

We also smile.

And with this, Alex was able to gain a patron. We made the contract in writing. Yes, it’s my turn now.

Mr. Cremetti and I finalized the details of the contract and Alex-sama signed it.

“Oh, yeah.”

As we were leaving, Mr. Cremetti raised his voice.

“I forgot because the story was so shocking, but there is something I want to tell the Peltra couple.”

“What is it?”

“His Highness Elias is thinking of inviting you to a social gathering. Be careful.”

… Hmm, is this going to be a hassle? Or is it a good opportunity?

“Thank you for your advice.”

Chapter 27: The crown prince and the court ladies

“Ina!”

“Elias-sama!”

As I changed my shirt and entered the sunroom, Ina, who was already waiting, smiled with a blush. Wearing a light yellow sundress, she stood up from her seat and ran towards me.

As I picked her up in the middle of the room, she gave a light scream of happiness and laughed.

“Ina is still cute today!”

“Ufufu, Elias-sama is also very gallant, but…”

Ina said that as she reached for my face.

“Did you lose a bit of weight? Your complexion doesn’t look very good.”

Sigh… I didn’t know I was making Ina worry.

“It’s just busy. How about you, Ina?”

“I’m fine! It’s just a little bit hard.”

As I looked at the court ladies who were waiting along the wall, most of them looked away from me. There was one who was staring at me, so I spoke to her.

“Hey, that lady over there.”

A woman dressed in a sober black-and-white courtesan’s dress showed off her lady-like etiquette.

“Give me a direct answer. How is she being treated?”

“To His Royal Highness Elias, the young lion who is the dawn of the kingdom. I think that what you have just seen is all there is to it.”

“…what does that mean?”

“It would only be acceptable for a five-year-old child to act cute by rushing over to embrace His Highness when he arrives.”

“No way, Ina is just happy that Elias-sama came to see her!”

Ina protested at my chest. Oh, how lovely.

But the maid continues.

“It’s only commoners or children who act according to their emotions? It seems His Highness likes it, but is it appropriate for a crown princess?”

“Of course, on the public stage I have to act as a princess consort, but I won’t make such a rude comment when I’m enjoying tea with myself.”

“I respectfully inform you. Miss Madetoya, your appearance here is also being evaluated.”

“Eh!”

Ina was surprised and the court lady said, “I have already told you twice.”

“Ina is just happy to meet me and becomes so. Isn’t she lovely? If she can show a dignified appearance in public, the concerns will be dispelled.”

“…It may be premature to say, but…”

“Anyway, the tea party needs to be held soon enough.”

“Yes, certainly.”

The Crown Prince has many social events that he must attend or preside over.

Official duties are not just about parliamentary or paperwork work. Now is the middle of the social season. It should be a problem if the Crown Prince and his fiancé do not appear in public.

“Elias-sama, are you sure you have enough time?”

“Ina doesn’t have to worry. This is also a part of the Crown Prince’s job.”

Until now, I had to keep Wilhelmina next to me, but I thought it was boring. If Ina is with me, I think I can enjoy it.

Yes, that’s right!”

“Why don’t we have a garden party? Let’s open the royal gardens and have a casual meeting outside.”

The court lady interjects.

“Shall it be accompanied by Miss Madetoya?”

“Of course! It’s necessary for Ina and I to show our close relationship.”

“As I mentioned earlier, I think it is still too early to put her on stage in terms of etiquette, but it may not be bad to have a casual gathering rather than a formal tea party or evening party.”

“Well, Ina. I’ll have to make you a new dress and some jewelry to go with it.

“Well, I’m happy!”

“…Your Highness.”

The court lady seemed like she was about to object, so I spoke first.

“As the crown prince’s fiancee, there should be a budget for clothing expenses, right? Since inviting Ina to the palace, there have not been any such events yet. Furthermore, inviting such merchants and learning about precious jewels is also your job.”

“…At your will.”

“Oh, that’s right. Let’s invite Wilhelmina to the garden party.”

I married her to a commoner, I must see what the former Duke’s daughter looks like now.

“That person?”

Ina shows an anxious look on her face, but there’s no reason to worry.

“Yes. It’s true that there are some who do not kindly think of my and Ina’s engagement, especially among the royalties and high-ranking nobility. But by inviting Wilhelmina, I can show many that I have generously pardoned her.”

Earlier, the minister of internal affairs said that Wilhelmina seemed to be secretly supporting me, but that was just a vain effort on her part to win my favor.

If she shows her ugly appearance standing alongside a commoner man, everyone will recognize my righteousness once again!

“Elias-sama is very kind.”

Ina laughs and the court lady slowly lowers her head.

“…I’ll contact everyone about the garden party. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

Chapter 28: Just before the Garden Party

A few days later, a letter of invitation to a garden party arrives at the Peltra house.

Our house is close to the slums, but a messenger descended from a black-painted horse-drawn carriage with the royal family’s crest, which is too inappropriate, and offered us a letter placed on a silver plate.

The surroundings of the house are in a state of uproar.

I was glad to have heard about this from Mr. Cremetti in advance.

“Thank you. Glory to the Patrikainen royal family.”

Alex-sama answers like

this.

We discussed this in advance and conveyed this.

The sky on the day of the garden party was a clear blue.

What Alex-sama and I will wear are the morning and day dresses created at a tailor’s shop for the commoners the other day.

Alex-sama’s slim silhouette is not hidden, and a black single-breasted jacket on a firmly settled gray waistcoat.

I wear a dark red wine-colored, burgundy dress with strong purplish hues. When I was a noble lady, I used to like brighter reds, but a commoner’s store cannot offer such a vivid color, and besides, I am already married.

I have to get used to wearing these calm colors.

Hilka comes to see me, and I have my platinum hair tied up beautifully in the back, not too ostentatiously, and she puts rouge on my lips with a brush.

With a few uncut gemstone accessories added as accents, I am done.

“What do you think?”

When I smile at Alex-sama, he blushes and turns away.

“Um, that, well…It’s wonderful.”

I circle around to the front of his face.

“What is so wonderful about it?”

“The color…that, it suits you well.”

“What about others?”

“It’s refreshing to see your hair in a bun.”

“What else?”

“…Huh, um. Your green eyes are beautiful.”

“Well, I always have these peridot eyes, do you think they’re beautiful?”

Alex-sama’s cheeks turn even redder.

“Maybe you’re wearing more makeup than usual, or maybe it just looks brighter… No, I’m not saying they’re not beautiful normally. Um, your always beautiful.”

A chuckle escaped from my mouth. I folded the chief into a three-peak shape in my hand and inserted it into Alex-sama’s breast pocket.

“So I’m beautiful, right?”

“Ye-Yeah.”

“More beautiful than anyone?”

“More beautiful than anyone… Come on, don’t make me say it.”

Alex-sama makes a confused expression.

“Fufu, it’s important. You’re beautiful too, Alex-sama.”

“…don’t make fun of me.”

“I’m serious.”

I stick my finger into Alex-sama’s chest.

“Listen, Alex-sama, I will teach you the most important manner in important social events. Please engrave it in your heart.”

“Understood. I will ask the predecessors of social events for teachings.”

“Alex-sama said that I am a beautiful woman. You see, a gentleman who escorts a beautiful lady is beautiful. In other words, Alex-sama is beautiful.”

“H-Huh?”

“Please be confident that I, who stand by Alex-sama’s right hand, am the most beautiful in the venue of the garden party. And it is to take pride in that and hold your head high. In reality, I may not be a well-made wife…”

“You’re wrong!”

Alex-sama raised his voice.

“Wilhelmina is a wonderful wife who is too good for me.”

“Is that so? I can’t even cook.”

“But she is smart, and she understands my research.

“I even slapped Alex-sama’s cheek when we met for the first time.”

“That was… It was my fault.”

“We don’t even spend the night together as a couple.”

“That’s…sorry. I, uh…what?”

“Is it because I’m not unattractive?”

“That’s not it! It’s because… I don’t have confidence.”

“Then please gain confidence. If you think that I am beautiful, show that in your demeanor at the garden party. You will gain confidence in time.

“…I wonder if I will.”

Alex-sama muttered, scratching his nose.

“Well, I didn’t have any confidence when I made my debut either. It’s okay to pretend. Just believe in me standing next to you. I believe in Alex-sama too.”

“…I understand.”

It seems like Alex-sama’s back straightened. It also seems like his posture became stable.

Taking Alex-sama’s right hand, I raise it up to the elbow.

“Keep your hand in this position. Walk at my pace.”

“Okay.”

“Please escort me like a knight who protects me from all evil and difficulties, like a captain who guides his ship, which is me, and like a lighthouse’s light.”

“Understood.”

I place my hand, wrapped in a glove, in his arm.

“Well, I’ll be going.”

“I’m leaving.”

Telling Hilka and Senni about our trip, we left the house.

We get into the royal carriage parked in front of the house, while being firmly held by Alex-sama.

Chapter 29: Before the Garden Party

The venue of the garden party will be the castle’s garden.

The long line of carriages passes through the castle gate, but lower nobles and commoners have to wait for a long time.

I read Alex-sama’s research report and killed time.

Well, as we walk on the lawn of the garden after arriving, we notice that there are whispers coming from the surroundings.

Hmm?

I thought they were looking at us, but that’s not the case. People who aren’t looking at us are also frowning and talking to those nearby.

“Ah, I see.”

As we got closer, we understood the reason.

A scarlet carpet was laid on the lawn of the venue, and numerous yellow petals, probably poppies, were scattered on top of it. And in the center was a large vase of lavender-colored dahlia imperials.

It is a flower that bears the name of the king, brought from far away in the west…

I laugh through my nose.

“The atmosphere of the venue is strange, what’s going on?”

“They were stunned stunned by that flower.”

This garden party is hosted by Prince Elias, and his fiancé Miss Madetoya is supposed to assist him, but her poor sense is the cause.

Alex-sama nods his head.

“It looks like beautiful flowers…”

“There’s no mistake that they’re beautiful. First of all, if you place beautiful things in the center of the venue, the value of wandering through the garden will decrease.”

“Oh…”

“The season is also out of place, they are autumn flowers. The royal family must be trying to show off that they can see autumn flowers in the summer in their big greenhouse.

The scattered flowers are pot mum, also called chrysanthemum, a flower from the East. The purple flower in the center is a Western flower. Maybe the royal family is trying to show off their wealth, but that kind of thing is done in small-scale gatherings indoors.

It’s too showy to arrange things in an eccentric way, and it’s lacking in class to hold a garden party that invites even commoners.”

The color scheme is also not so great. When I said that, not only Alex-sama, but also the people nearby nodded in agreement as if they were impressed.

Fufu, in this area, it seems that I am not very well-known because it is populated by lower nobles and commoners.

However, from the area where high-ranking nobles are located far away, there are voices that disdain us, or rather, me.

“Oh my, it’s Duke Periknen’s daughter.”

“You mean the former? Wasn’t she Lady Pertia now?”

“The man next to her, right? He’s Pelta, but he’s a commoner.”

“Well, it’s best to call her Wilhelmina now.”

They are talking and enjoying themselves with a fan hiding their mouths, but it is a loud voice that I and the surrounding people can hear.

I ask Alex-sama, whose face stiffens, to bend down a little, cover my (our) mouth with my fan, and whisper.

“Please feel free to ignore everything unless you are directly spoken to.”

“Understood.”

I return to my position being escorted by Alex-sama after lowering my heel without any particular intention and closing my fan, and I smile as I survey my surroundings.

Young ladies who are blushing. Those who are laughing and those who are turning their faces away.

By the way, Alex-sama is unaware of it, but it looks like we exchanged a kiss in public.

Is it inappropriate?

That’s fine. That’s because I’m a commoner now.

Well, this garden party is at the invitation of the Crown Prince, and it is invited mainly to young noble couples and their children. The people gathered here are generally young and somewhat frivolous.

It is also an important social event for unmarried noble children to find a fiancé.

The married and the unmarried are usually separated, but His Highness has not appeared yet.

I wonder what’s going on. Only high-ranking nobles can greet the crown prince. When I think about that, we don’t even have a turn to greet, and it’s fine to go back home without being discovered.

Before I realized it, the loud trumpet sounds of the trumpet announced that His Royal Highness Crown Prince Elias had come to the garden.

The noise in the garden subsided, and everyone lowered their heads.

Alex-sama took the gentleman’s bow and scrape posture of the gentleman who has continued to practice until today, and I took the lady’s curtsy.

…?

It’s strange.

I can’t hear His Highness’s voice. The time to take the bow is clearly long.

Well, the curtsy of a lady is actually a strict posture with considerable strength in the lower body.

I was trained when I was the Duke’s daughter, but we would like to be called soon because the bodies of the women nearby are shaking.

Footsteps are getting closer.

…Excuse me, are you sane, you foolish prince?!

I understand that this invitation is with the intention of belittling me from the start, but there is such a thing as the proper order of things to be followed in things!

“Everyone, I am glad you have responded to my invitation and come to the palace. Raise your head.”

His Highness’s voice can be heard above me.

As a demonstration of my position as a commoner, I listen to the sound of everyone’s clothes rubbing and slowly raise my head.

In front of me, on my right, is the figure of His Highness Elias, who is escorting Miss Madetoya. He has a serious face, but he is smiling with delight.

Chapter 30: After the Garden Party

It’s good that you come to speak with irony even if you look down on me.

However, it is not appropriate for royalty to approach a commoner first.

The people around us are also paying attention to what is going on.

“Bless your heart, Wilhelmina.”

I will try to suppress the urge to click my tongue and reply.

“I would like to offer my greetings to His Royal Highness, the young lion of the kingdom, Prince Elias. Through His Royal Highness’s “special care”, I am able to spend my days without troubles.”

The appearance of Prince Elias as a formal daytime outfit for a prince is familiar to me, with a jacket embroidered with golden threads on a white background, and decorations such as shoulder badges.

However, the brooch that used to be the color of my eyes, peridot, has changed to a pink diamond that represents Miss Madetoya’s hair color.

And the appearance of Miss Madetoya, who is escorted by His Royal Highness, décolleté (neckline) exposed…?

The cap decorated with peacock feathers and the three-quarter-length sleeves that cover the elbows are certainly the composition of a day dress.

The dress is made of deep-colored silk, which would shine under the night light, and has a long, trailing hem.

Furthermore, the wide décolleté exposing her voluptuous cleavage is a disgrace to be seen under the sun.

The sapphire shining blue on the chest is probably the color of Your Highness’s eyes.

His Highness’s mouth is twisted into a smile.

“Hmm. Even if you claim that your days are trouble-free, your clothes raise some questions.”

His Highness Elias is not foolish, but he lacks a certain elegance in his speech. There is nothing to directly belittle.

In fact, if you look around, there are people who show discomfort.

“I beg your pardon. But now I am no longer a rose in the garden, but a thistle in the field.

“Mm-hmm. What did you say, uh… and you are.”

“My name is Alex Mika Peltra. Thank you for inviting me today.”

His Highness Elias spoke to Alex-sama. Originally, it is proper manners to speak to the male side first, after all!

“Ah, that’s right. Peltra… has changed quite a bit from the last time I saw him, hasn’t he?”

The clothing that Alex-sama is wearing is probably much cheaper than what he wore during the previous ceremony, but it suits him much better.

“Yes. With the advice of my wife, I started to pay attention to my appearance.”

“How is Wilhelmina? She was a proud woman among the aristocracy, are you not having a hard time?”

“No, she supports me as a good wife. I am grateful to the Crown Prince who introduced her to me.”

His Highness, who did not get the reaction he expected, seems to be displeased, but he cannot blame the person who showed gratitude. He keeps his mouth shut.

Then Miss Madetoya stepped forward to greet the ladies.

“Wilhelmina-san, it’s been a long time.”

“Madetoya-sama is also beautifully dressed. The peacock has beautiful feathers.”

She smiles and touches the feather decoration on her head.

“Hehehe, Wilhelmina-san thinks so too?”

She probably said these words with all her heart. No irony, no underlying meaning!

The pureness that is impossible for a noble and the foolishness that is impossible for a queen. That’s probably why His Highness is attracted to Miss Madetoya.

“I am very pleased.”

“Ina decorated this garden! How do you like it?”

She pointed to the decoration in the center of the garden. This is what I told Alex-sama earlier that her sense was bad.

I showed them a soft smile.

“The strength like a midnight sun and the delicacy like a remaining moon in the daytime. It expresses a unique and novel beauty that I can’t imitate.”

“Oh, thank you!”

I bowed my head again to the two of them.

“May the two of you support each other and remain close forever. The two of you match each other like the sun and moon shining straight.”

“Y-Yeah. You too.”

His Highness, seemingly at a loss for words in response to my congratulations, turned his back on us.

Some of the nobles who were lined up gave us a startled look.

I whisper to Alex-sama.

“I was able to drive out His Highness more easily than I thought. Then just join in the toast and leave when the time is right. Do not drink more than you can sip.”

“Oh, I understand.”

I don’t think it will go as far as poisoning, but there is a possibility of damaging one’s honor with something that will cause vomiting.

Thus, we passed the garden party without going to a place where we would be inconspicuous but not in the spotlight.

“Wilhelmina.”

But a voice was calling to me like that.

Chapter 31: A Mob Lady Speak Out

My name is Milcah, daughter of Count Sarusti. Today I went to the garden party hosted by Prince Crown Prince.

When I returned from the garden party, I immediately went back to my room and talked to my maidservant Signe.

“Hey, hey, hey, listen, Signe!”

“Yes, yes, what happened, My lady Milcah, you’re so excited. Did you see any nice nobleman at the garden party?”

“No, that’s not it!”

“No? That’s too bad.”

Signe made a pretend sigh and began wiping off my makeup with the cloth she had prepared.

“Vilhelmina-sama was at the garden party!”

Lady Vilhelmina, the daughter of Duke Periknen. I had been allowed to make her acquaintance. It was a shock to hear that she had been expelled from the Duke’s house on false charges and forced to marry a commoner, but it was nice to see her again after so long.

“Lady Milcah, you must have been fond of the young lady. How was she?”

“She was dressed in a rather chic outfit due to the fact that she’s married. Her husband beside her was thin, but he was behaving very friendly.

Signe turned around and started undoing my hair as she said, “I heard that the princess has been demoted to a commoner and is suffering from misfortune for interfering with the true love of His Highness.”

“That’s a lie, I didn’t see any signs of that. Of course, her clothing and jewelry can’t be compared to the former Vilhelmina-sama, but she never looked unhappy.

You see, Vilhelmina-sama was once told by the crown prince, ‘I am no longer a rose in the garden, but a thistle in the field!’ Isn’t that amazing?”

“…Well, isn’t that the truth? Not a noble but a commoner.”

I shook my finger.

“That’s sweet, Signe.”

“Please stop such mannerless gestures.”

“No, no Signe, this is a flower language. The thistle’s flower language is ‘revenge,’ which means that Vilhelmina-sama is saying that she will take revenge on the crown prince someday!”

However, Signe shakes her head.

“…Is My Lady Milcah reading too deeply into it? Or is it my lady’s wish that it be so?”

Signe continues while pulling a hairpin from my hair and undoing my braided hair.

“No, no, she also said some pretty sharp things. Like to Miss Madetoya, ‘You are beautifully dressed. Peacocks have beautiful feathers,’ you know! But she didn’t understand the irony at all!”

“Peacocks have beautiful feathers, but their legs are dirty,’ you mean?”

Yes, yes, it’s a proverb. Of course, since it wasn’t said behind her back, it just sounded like a compliment.

“And about Miss Madetoya’s tasteless decorations, she said, ‘like a midnight sun and the delicacy like a remaining moon in the daytime,’ you know. It’s impossible to imitate.”

“Hmm, really, is that so? Was it that bad, the decorations?”

“No, they were pretty, weren’t they?”

I talked to Signe about how tacky Miss Madetoya’s outfit and decorations were and how they were inappropriate for the garden party.

Signe was undoing my dress and loosening my corset while exchanging nods.

“I understand that both My Lady and Vilhelmina-sama feel that there is a problem with Miss Madetoya’s qualifications, but to the Crown Prince, the idea of ‘revenge’ seems…”

“No, that’s wrong. This is what Vilhelmina-sama said in the end, ‘The two of you match each other like the sun and moon shining straight.'”

“What does that mean…?”

I tried to wave my finger impatiently, but Signe stopped me. Don’t stop it. I’m in the middle of something!

“Straight, means.”

“…I see. An eclipse of the sun, huh. That’s quite a commitment.”

Yes, when the sun and moon align straight, the sun disappears behind its shadow.

“She was talking about our country’s royal power being compared to the sun! How amazing!”

“Fufu, My Lady Milcah really loves Vilhelmina-sama.”

Signe says this as she puts on my room clothes.

“Yes, right Signe. Vilhelmina-sama said that, so there must be a reason. Please look into it. She’s not the kind of person who just wastes away as a commoner in a corner of the capital.”

“However, for any noble family, she and her husband…”

“Peltra, Alex Peltra.”

“If Mr. Peltra is assisted, I’m sure the crown prince and royal family will take notice.”

Yeah, that’s right. I’ll think about it for a bit. Yeah.

“First, we’ll investigate. Carefully, okay.”

And if that person is in trouble and my father can’t move, if there’s anything I can do to help, I’ll quietly take action.

Chapter 32: Sister and Brother

“Vilhelmina.”

The one who called out to me was a fresh-looking young man in a brand-new morning coat. His hair was platinum, and his eyes were jade. They were a similar color to mine, which was to be expected because he was my younger brother.

He used to call me “big sister,” but the family connection was cut because of it.

She took the bow of a lady.

“It’s been a long time. Are you Prince Periknen Jurremi-sama or have you become Latuma Count?”

I haven’t seen the current season’s noble yearbook, but he’s 15 now. Upon reaching adulthood, one of the titles held by the Duke Periknen family will be given to him as an heir, and he will gain the name Count Latuma.

“Latuma huh, but Jurremi is fine.”

“Then Jurremi-sama.”

He briefly showed a dissatisfied face. He probably didn’t like the title, but there was nothing he could do about it.

“You made dangerous remarks.”

Oh, you heard?

“I was only praising the royalty. If there was a slight rudeness, it would be considered a mistake in the words and actions of a commoner.”

“Big sister as a commoner…huh.”

He looks at me with eyes as if he’s looking at something suspicious.

Fufu, he still calls me “Big Sister”

Jurremi opens his mouth abruptly.

“The one who shot down the sun was killed by the household servant.”

His voice was as if he was reciting poetry.

“The sinking of the sun is not due to an arrow… the sun burns itself out.”

I will also return the words.

“When the sun sets on the horizon, the residents of the plain also burn themselves.”

“Prayers, the storm passes overhead for those who bow their heads.”

“However, they decorate themselves with gold and try to rise to the heavens, embracing the moon.”

“If you let go of the moon, it won’t shine unless it’s a papier-mâché moon.”

“They will apply gold leaf to the papier-mâché moon. The most devout have left the plain.”

“The devout pray for peace on the distant land.”

Jurremi laughed.

“No, that person sharpens their arrow.”

I also smile. That’s right isn’t it?”

Jurremi glanced diagonally above me.

“Allow me to introduce you. This is my husband, Alex. This is Jurremi Latuma-sama, the next Periknen Duke.”

Alex-sama bows.

“Nice to meet you. Lord Latuma.”

“Oh, Mr. Peltra, right? Is it okay if I refer to you as the arrow of Vilhelmina?”

Jurremi extended his hand and they shook hands, while Alex-sama nodded his head to Jurremi’s words.

“I don’t understand half of what you guys are saying, but I still want to do what my wife wants.”

“And help her in her revenge vengeance?”

Alex-sama gave a nod while glancing this way with his brown eyes.

“It’s not just for her.”

Jurremi muttered as if surprised.

“You found yourself a pretty convenient husband.”

“It’s inevitable. Because the crown prince was plotting to discredit me in that way.”

“No doubt. Mr. Alex, Vilhelmina, please take care of the person who was once my sister.”

“Yes.”

“Vilhelmina, I wish you happiness.”

“Yes.”

Jurremi muttered as he left.

“The sheep that the most devout person kept, was bought by the young people of the plain before being slaughtered.”

Well, he continued as if he were inwardly moved.

“Please put your heart into the arrow just as much as the portion. That being said.”

I bowed deeply toward Jurremi.

And then we leave the venue.

“What did it all mean in the end?”

In the carriage on the way back, Alex-sama asked.

“I made provocative remarks to His Majesty and Miss Madetoya.”

“Oh.”

I taught the meaning of the words I told to His Majesty and the others.

Alex-sama frowns.

“Was that still safe to say?”

“They wouldn’t read the hidden meaning in my words. Besides, today is just a low-class garden party, a commoner making a slip of the tongue wouldn’t cause anything to happen.

But, my younger brother seemed worried.”

“What about the talk with Lord Latuma?”

“The sun is a metaphor for the royal family, and the arrow is Alex-sama. That I’m using Alex-sama to attack the royal family.”

“Killed by the household servants?”

“There’s such a myth. That’s probably what he was warning me about. To that, I replied that I wouldn’t take any actions, meaning no assassination or revolution, but only that his highness would destroy himself.

“He’s burning his own body, I see. And the residents of the plain?”

“The residents of the plain are the Duke Periknen family.

Ah, words don’t matter. It’s just that the P of Periknen and the D of Duke match the P of plain and the D of dweller.”

“I see, so if the royal family falls, the Duke family also falls?”

“Yes, as I mentioned before at the bank, if the Duke Periknen family cuts their expenses, it can be avoided, but he said it was impossible. The moon is Miss Madetoya. She was adopted and further decorated with money.”

“Are you the pious one?”

“Yes, I am. The sheep are my servants. When they were about to be fired, Jurremi took them back as employees as the count increased.”

“I see… it’s complex and strange.”

Alex-sama sat deeply in the carriage seat as if he fell off.

I reached out my hand with a smile.

“Look, your jacket will get wrinkled.”

Chapter 33: Warning to the Crown Prince

It was a few days after the garden party. I was summoned by my father and headed towards the White Lotus chamber.

My father, His Majesty Vainamo III and I sat facing each other. The servant poured tea and my father dismissed them, ordering that no one enter the room.

“Elias.”

“Yes.”

My father spoke to me without touching the tea.

I straightened my back and listened attentively.

“What did you say was the name of your fiancé?”

“Ina Roine Madetoya.”

Tsk, he’s making a show of not remembering. It’s as if he’s saying there’s no worth to remember.

“It seems her education has not gone well.”

…Oh, that’s what this is about.

“But she has just started her education… I would be grateful if you could give her more time for education.”

“Do you remember? When I told you that if you two were judged to be unfit to be the next king and queen, it would bring ruin?”

“Y-Yes, I remember.”

“If you two were still children under the age of ten, and had five or ten years before the wedding, I might consider giving you time for education. What should I do? Should I give you ten years starting now?”

“No, even that much is not possible.”

The father sighed. He went through the stack of high-quality paper on the desk next to him, which was probably a report about Ina.

“Not only is she lacking in manners, but also has a poor sense of art and fashion. That may be natural for someone from the Baron family, but she is also not able to move as a hostess. You guys made quite a fool of yourself at the garden party.”

That’s ridiculous. What kind of stupid report is that?

“No…that’s not the case. Even if there are some mistakes, it’s just a lively gathering of young people, led by the Head’s sons and daughters. It shouldn’t become a problem…”

Father chuckled and cut off my words with a snort.

“Elias, I’ll praise you for one thing, at least. You didn’t bring out a woman like Ina in a high-class gathering. If it were a dinner party, I would have kicked her out on the spot. However, even in that gathering, the behavior was unacceptable.”

Father talked about the big problems with Ina’s dress, the problems with decorations, and the fact that I first approached Vilhelmina. He also gave me a written report on the many other minor mistakes she had made.

“…take a look later. But as for clothing and such, it’s up to you to follow through properly. Ultimately, it seems she has exposed that she does not have such a sense either.”

“Well, you failed this time, but you’ve never done anything like that before.”

I’ve never been scolded for something like this, so why only now…!

“It’s probably because Miss Vilhelmina understood better. You didn’t know anything, you didn’t even know what you didn’t know. I’ll give you one piece of advice. Listen to the voices of servants and maidservants, listen carefully.”

He must have seen the look of discontent on my face.

My father said, “You have a stubborn streak in you. “He muttered to no one in particular.

After a brief silence, he continued to speak.

“I’m also thinking about moving up Parvallis’ inheritance rights.”

“What!”

Parvallis is my younger brother and second in line for the throne. Does that mean he would replace me as Crown Prince?”

I stood up involuntarily.

Father took his tea there for the first time.

I should calm down. I took a deep breath, sat back down and moistened my lips with tea.

“It’s not surprising. Of course, we don’t recognize a low-status marriage.”

“Y-Yes. That’s why I am sending Ina to be raised by the Periknen family.”

In royalty, it’s a rule that only royalty from other countries or from the Duke/Marquis family can be married. If you want to marry someone of a lower rank, they have to renounce their royalty status.

However, I have negotiated with the Duke Periknen family and made Ina their foster child so she will be considered the Duke’s daughter. If she is with the Duke family, nobody will object to her being accepted as royalty.

“I know your scheme. But she will still be a foster child. You young people may dislike this kind of talk, but it is not because of noble blood. It will be looked down upon by the nobles or other countries.”

“That’s an old-fashioned idea, Your Majesty. The more of us that are united, the less opposition there will be.”

“Your idea is too progressive, but it is not bad. However, for your idea to be widely accepted by the common people, nobles, and other countries, it depends on you both being a wonderful king and queen. The King, the Church, the nobles, and the people. Everyone knows she is the former Baron’s daughter. You wanted Miss Ina, who is far from being a suitable queen, to become the queen by eliminating Miss Vilhelmina, who would be a suitable queen. If she is not even as good as Miss Vilhelmina, what then? Everyone will laugh at your foolishness and say that she is just the Baron’s daughter after all.”

“Uh…”

While I was thinking about what to say in response, my father stood up.

“That’s enough. You should remember that you have little time left.”

Chapter 34: Subsequent Impact

Well, the garden party has ended.

I was able to meet His Highness Elias and his people, but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought and I even had the chance to make some sarcastic comments.

Perhaps he was being chastised by His Majesty the King at this point.

I was also able to show that I have a good relationship with Alex-sama.

His Highness’s reputation has suffered as a result of his behavior as the Crown Prince and his fiancée, which may ironically help to erase some of my bad reputation.

I talked to my younger brother, Jurremi, which was not intentional but maybe for the better. I was able to talk to him because it was not a gathering where the Duke of Periknen or my stepmother would attend.

People around me may have thought that the Duke family has accepted me, but that is not the intention of my father or myself.

And that leads to…

“Master, madam, a letter has arrived!” Senni says.

There is a pile of letters that seem to be sealed with a crest on the desk.

“Fufu, Alex-sama, I’m happy for you.”

“Can you tell without looking inside?”

“Yes, they will likely be invitations for social gatherings such as tea parties or dinner parties and perhaps offers to listen about loans. Alex-sama can choose what interests him from these. For example, this one.”

I open one envelope with a simple, unadorned paper knife and hand it to Alex-sama without looking inside.

“This is… from a merchant. They want to hear about financing again. Let’s see… this name…”

“It’s from a place where we previously inquired and were kept waiting without being granted a meeting.”

Alex-sama shows a grim expression.

I took the letter from his hand.

“In that case, we can ignore such places. Senni, can you prepare three boxes the size of the letter?”

“Yes.”

She left the room. Alex-sama asks,

“Why do we need three boxes?”

“Well, first to consider, then to reject, and lastly to reply to.”

“Alex-sama, just let me know if the letter interests you. I will reply on your behalf.”

“…that helps.”

I smile.

Also, the young ladies who were once my school friends. It seems that Milcah-sama has been spreading the word among friends and parents. Although there are also talks from the noble families, commoners can’t attend tea parties or dinners. There are not so many dresses available(can’t afford).

Let’s guide them towards more personal invitations and business negotiations. I write a note with a pen.

And thus, while there have been positive effects, there have also been negative effects…

One night, when Alex-sama returned from work.

“Welcome back… what happened to you!”

I was surprised and interrupted my greeting, and ran to Alex-sama.

The edges of his mouth were cut, blood was dripping and swelling.

“I, I’m back.”

With a voice muffled as if his mouth hurts, the reply came back.

“Senni! Clean cloth and disinfectant!”

“Yes, madam!”

I make Alex-sama sit in a chair, and receive cloth from her, and suppress Alex-sama’s lips.

The dried and solid blood fell off bit by bit.

“Madam, we don’t have any disinfectant…”

The alcohol given was distilled. The water from the well in the capital is never clean and it can’t be helped.

Soak the cloth in amber liquor.

“It will sting.”

When I put the cloth on Alex-sama, Alex-sama screamed.

“Ahh…! Aagh…!”

Alex-sama’s body twitched.

I held his head with my hand on his lips.

His head moves restlessly in my chest, wiping away the wounds and flowing blood.

“Have you been hit on the head?”

“I-I’m okay!”

As he tries to move restlessly, I tighten my grip with all my strength.

“You need to be calm. Please bear with it. Your face is also red.”

Senni laughs.

“That’s because madam’s breasts are hitting the master.”

“Oh.”

When I released my hand and body from Alex-sama, his movement stopped.

“Yeah, uhm. Thanks for the treatment. But, um, uh? Modesty, yeah, modesty.

“Well, we’re a couple, you shouldn’t worry about it.”

When I held Alex-sama’s hand, he turned his face away. His eyes are still red.

Senni brought a bandage, but Alex-sama was told that it was not necessary. Indeed, it seems that the bleeding has almost stopped and I think it’s okay, but.

I ask.

“Well, Alex-sama. Can you tell me what happened?”

Chapter 35: Research Policy

“The guys at work… the ones at the institute. They just can’t stand me.”

I see, so that’s the case. I apologize.

“Alex-sama, I am truly sorry.”

“Vilhelmina…, it’s not your fault.”

“No, it is also my responsibility. Did they perhaps see or hear that Alex-sama and I were close at the garden party? and did something cruel to Alex-sama?

Alex-sama responds after hesitating for a moment.

“…that may be so, but it’s still not your responsibility.”

Fufu, he’s so sweet.

Senni, who disposed of the blood-stained cloth, speaks up.

“Master, Madam. Would it be alright if I serve dinner?”

“Ah, please do.”

“By the way, today’s soup is a spicy Eastern-style one and the accompanying fruit is orange. Is that okay?”

Alex-sama’s face fell.

While blowing on the spicy, hot soup to cool it, he leaned his head to one side while eating to avoid hitting the cut on his left lip.

“From tomorrow on, let’s have something less stimulating, something easier to eat.”

“… Please.”

After the meal, I leave the cleaning to Senni and I make tea and face Alex-sama to ask.

“I would like to inquire about Alex-sama’s research.”

“Yeah.”

Maybe Alex-sama was in pain when trying to drink tea, the cup was returned to the desk once.

“Is Alex-sama’s research still not being done at the workplace research institute?”

After I lay down to sleep, I know that Alex-sama is getting up, shuffling and proceeding with the work bit by bit.

I check and organize the contents in the afternoon.

“Yeah, the approval for development has not been issued yet.”

“Are the supervisors aware of Alex-sama’s private research?”

“I don’t know… There have been announcements to develop at the research institute, but I haven’t heard about it, and they may have forgotten about it.”

Alex-sama has a sullen face.

Perhaps he is reminded of the disastrous results of past announcements.

“The fact that it was announced means that they have the contents of Alex-sama’s research in hand, right?”

“I don’t know if they’re keeping it, but I don’t trust them. I deliberately made holes in the presentation.”

Alex-sama is laughed at as if he is self-deprecating.

“If they had understood the flaws in my presentation and asked me about them, I would have given them the information to fill in the gaps, but no one asked me about them. Either they are too stupid to notice, or they don’t listen to the commoners.”

“That’s fortunate.”

“Fortunate…? Oh, you’re trying to make me leave the institute?”

Alex-sama realizes and I nod.

“Yes, I hope you will one day, because if Alex-sama completes his research, your superiors and nobles will try to take it away from you.”

“… That’s understandable. What do you mean, one day?”

“Perhaps when Alex-sama’s research takes shape, even in part. If you resign, the information will go to His Highness Elias immediately.”

“There may be some sabotage huh…”

“What is the progress of your research now?”

“Well…”

According to Alex-sama, in order to create an artificial magic stone, two research projects need to be completed. One is the technology to accumulate magic elements from the surrounding environment, and the other is the technology to crystallize high-concentration magic elements.

“Which one is more difficult?”

“It’s hard to say in general. It’s because they’re related to each other. Uh, it’s hard to explain… I don’t know if you can understand.”

“If we take the magic element in the atmosphere of the capital city as 1, it is easy to concentrate it to 2 in the machine, but difficult to concentrate it to 10. It is difficult to crystallize thousands of magic elements, but easy to crystallize millions of magic elements. Is that what it means?”

Alex-sama shows a surprised face.

“Why do you know?”

Fufufu, I smile.

“I have seen Alex-sama’s research, and I have summarized it.”

“If you can understand that, you’re much better than the guys at the institute…”

Alex-sama expresses complaints, and I take a sip of tea while thinking a little.

How can he complete his research faster? The only way to do that is to get him to quit the institute. In other words, if he is being forced to work on other research at the institute and not being able to do his own research and being subjected to violence, it will not benefit him at all.

Is that a bit too much to say? Although there may be some benefits, research is being hindered.

Then, how can he resign quickly?

Perhaps like this.

“Alex-sama. Can you prioritize the research on crystallization and submit a proposal? Regarding the amount of money involved, if you can let me know about the necessary equipment, etc., I will negotiate with the backers on our side.”

Chapter 36: magic element crystallizer

Over a few days, Alex-sama draws the blueprint repeatedly and writes down the names and amounts of materials that he thinks are necessary.

In particular, many materials were listed that should be tested, especially for the part that is expected to form the core of the structure.

“I see…”

I mutter as I look at it.

“What’s the matter?”

“No, I understand why Alex-sama was trying to develop it at the research institute, not personally, even if he was treated coldly.”

Alex-sama smiles while moving his pen.

“It must be expensive.”

“Yes. But when you think about it, it’s only natural, isn’t it?”

What was listed was soil from deep in the dungeon and monsters, even high-level monsters, and their body tissue.

In other words, it’s something related to the environment in which magic stones can be made.

It’s a rare and very expensive item that is hard to obtain. For example, if it’s the head of a dragon, it would be like one that is displayed in the entrance hall of the Duke Periknen family, and if it’s the wind-slicing feathers of a winged lion griffin, it would be like one used in a fan by a noble lady.

“In reality, we have to research the process of refining the magic stone from these things and find a more economical means. But if we are in a hurry to quickly create a crystallization device, it would be easy to build it directly using these materials… theoretically.”

Alex-sama seems confident and talkative when it comes to research.

“That’s more than anything.”

Alex-sama is eager to conduct his own research after work.

I hired someone to go shopping while Alex-sama is at the research institute.

It’s Senni’s younger brother. I ask him to do the shopping for daily foodstuffs and inexpensive materials that Alex-sama needs.

And when it comes to expensive things and those that need to be handed down, I will go get them myself.

However, it is only when former servants like Hilka and Jacob, who used to work for me when I was the Duke’s daughter, come to help. It would be nice if I could repay their kindness someday with something prepared.

And after about a month…

“…done.”

One night, Alex-sama said that.

A flat-bottomed and narrow-mouthed glass bottle called a triangular flask, and inside it seems to be a spherical object with a round tip like a cherry, hanging from a metal string.

The mouth is plugged with material similar to rubber, and the end of the string was out.

“It’s simple, but this structure is a high-concentration magic crystallization device.”

I clapped my hands and Senni also clapped her hands in the corner of the room.

Alex-sama laughed embarrassingly.

After the applause, he went outside and grabbed the string to explain.

“Actually, by connecting the atmospheric magic element accumulation device to this terminal, high-concentration magic is sent here. That’s the idea, but it’s not yet.”

“I understand.”

Alex-sama had a confused expression.

“Is it okay? If the crystallization device cannot collect magic elements, it won’t work. In other words, we don’t know if this is properly completed.”

I stand in front of the magic crystallization device and take Alex-sama’s hand. And with a smile, I pulled the end of the string from his hand.

“This is how it’s done.”

“Ahh!”

Senni cried out.

“What?!”

Alex-sama cried out in surprise.

The sphere floating in the flask of the crystallization device is shining dimly.

“How! How are you activating it?”

Alex-sama, so surprised, almost grabbed me, but stopped himself and froze. He raised his hand halfway and asked me.

“It’s simple. I am channeling magic.”

The light of the dimly shining sphere became speckled. Crystals are forming on the surface of the sphere as if frost is falling.

“Uh, no. Vilhelmina, are you a magician…?”

“No.”

I shake my head.

“I am not a magician and I have never studied magic.”

“But, it is impossible for adventurers or lower-level magicians of magic towers to have the amount of magic elements necessary to crystallize this!”

“I have told Alex-sama before, ‘Nobles have the aspect of mating beautiful people together to produce a more beautiful next generation.’ That’s not just about beauty alone.”

“Magic power too…”

“As for me, if it’s just magic power, I have enough to rank among the top ten in the kingdom.”

There was a dry clang.

A small, smaller than the tip of my pinky, magic stone fell out of the flask. It was similar to a shard of crystal that emitted a pale bluish light.

I let go of the string while laughing and grabbed Alex-sama’s half-raised hand as if he was about to grab me.

“Fufu. Alex-sama, congratulations on the successful research.”

Chapter 37: Completion

Alex-sama takes my hand.

“Fufu, we must check if it’s a proper magic stone.”

“R-Right!”

Alex-sama releases my hand and walks briskly to the device. He carefully opens the lid, places the piece he took out on the black cloth spread out.

And he brings the inspection device close to it and measures the weight on the scale.

“Magic reaction detected… The color is transparent, a neutral magic stone… The weight is 0.3 grams…”

Alex-sama nodded.

“It’s a magic stone. It’s completely a magic stone.”

“That’s wonderful. May I take a look?”

“Of course.”

I switch places with Alex-sama, borrow the gloves for the experiment, and pick up the magic stone, holding it up to my eye level.

It shines with rainbow colors, bathing in sunlight between my thumb and index finger.

“0.3 grams means 1.5 carats. After cutting, it should be around 1 carat. The color is nearly colorless, with a slight hint of blue. Although it’s a neutral stone, it may be water-oriented due to my personal magic characteristics….This is fantastic.”

“Is it?”

“It may be natural since it’s not made inside the demon beast or underground, but as far as I can see, there are no inclusions in the inner material. I may be inexperienced, but it’s at least a little better quality than VVS and might even be perfectly flawless. ”

Senni makes a voice that sounds like he doesn’t quite understand.

“In other words, this can pay your salary for a whole year.”

“Wow! … Ouch!”

Senni was startled and leaned back, banging her head against the wall. I laughed along with Alex-sama.

“Well, you won’t know until you actually try it. But Vilhelmina is more knowledgeable than me. I don’t know what VVS means.”

“As a noble lady, I am knowledgeable about stones. I was raised in a place that produces magic stones, after all. VVS stands for very very slightly included. It means that there are very few impurities or scratches in the stone, and it is a term that represents high-quality stones below flawless. If used in magic tools, it can provide stable power, but with this quality, it can also be used for magical rings and necklaces that serve as both jewelry and magic.”

I put the magic stone back on the cloth.

This will become a better weapon than I thought, and much sooner.

Alex-sama offered his hand. I hold it back. It’s a strength different from that of an escort.It’s as if I can feel his excitement.

I tried to stand up after being held, and my body swayed.

Alex-sama quickly embraced me.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“Ah, I’m sorry. Because I suddenly used a lot of magic after a long time.”

Alex-sama hugged me and gently returned me to the chair.

“…Is that okay?”

“Yes, that’s right. I just moved the magic too quickly for a moment. Next time I will do it a little slower.”

“Next?”

Alex-sama asked, and I nodded.

“Considering the natural recovery amount of magic, I think it will be one a day.”

“One a day?!”

Senni shouted.

“Spending my annual salary every day?!… Oh, my God!”

Surprised, Senni hit her head on the wall again.

“Please stop every day. I’m worried about your health.”

I’ll start with every other day first. I’ll try to put in the magic slowly while Alex-sama is at work.

“Senni, make sure you keep an eye on Vilhelmina when she is touching the device and afterwards.”

“Okay!”

Senni replied with a smile and whispered “Got it.” She then bent down and reached into the storage area under the floor.

“Will you be celebrating the completion of the device or something?”

“It’s a magic element crystallization device.”

She took out a wine bottle. It was a good thing I bought it just in case something like this happened.

There are no fancy wine glasses, but Senni pours the scarlet liquid into a sake cup goblet.

I also gave her a sake cup.

“I can have one too?”

“Of course.”

“Um, let’s celebrate the completion of the magic element crystallization device.”

“The magic element crystallization device sound’s boring name.”

Senni said with a smile. Fufu, indeed.

I nod and Alex-sama is puzzled.

“What?!”

“Do you have anything… A pretty name.”

Alex-sama thinks with a cup in hand, in response to Senni’s words.

“Cute? Hmm… Mina #1?”

“Oh my God, Master, you’re the best!”

Saying so, they burst out laughing. Eh, Mina… really?

“Not Alex-sama’s name, but mine?”

“… because it wouldn’t be complete without you. Do you dislike it?”

“The Master can’t call the Madam by nickname, but it’s the best to put it on a tool!”

Senni pats Alex-sama’s shoulders firmly. Alex-sama’s face turns red.

Fufufu.

“Alex-sama, if that’s what you want to call me, that’s fine.”

Alex-sama covers his face with his hand, stiffens for a while, then slowly raises his head to say.

“Mina.”

Chapter 38: Independence

It was the morning after we celebrated the completion of the project. I was greeted by my sleepy husband.

“Good morning, Vilhelmina.”

“Fufu, it’s Mina.”

Senni, who was preparing breakfast, laughed.

“Good morning…Mi, Mina.”

“Yes, good morning. Lex——.”

“Hm?! Oh, y-yeah.”

He blushed and went to wash his face in the bathroom. Senni continues to laugh happily.

Yes, I started calling my husband Lex.

During the celebration yesterday, we decided to call each other Lex and Mina. Or rather, we were made to.

Well, I think Lex is happy too, so it’s good.

After finishing breakfast and heading to the laboratory, Senni said.

“It feels more like a couple who just started dating, rather than a newlywed couple.”

“Lex, I got married on the day I met my husband. It’s common in marriages among nobles, but even then, you have to investigate your partner, and at least exchange letters and gifts.”

Considering that we both had no favorable impression of each other at first sight and have completely different backgrounds in terms of birth and upbringing, it’s a good thing that our relationship has progressed positively so far.

“So, what’s next, a night meeting?”

Senni seems to be enjoying herself, but in this house, no matter how you think about it, the sound is penetrating, which is a concern.

“It should start with a kiss first.”

“I hope the master shows a man!”

“Let’s wait patiently.”

I face the desk. I have used magic for the first time in a long time and I plan to use it in the future, so I will keep an eye on my physical condition and report it. No abnormalities.

If you have an appraisal tool for magic, you can accurately measure the reduction and recovery of magic power. But it is not something that can be easily obtained by the general public.

The same goes for magic stone’s appraisals. I would like to have it appraised by an appraiser. If a low-quality magic stone that can only be used as fuel has been made, it would be best to use it immediately, but if a high-quality magic stone that can be used as a piece of jewelry has been made, it would be better to have it appraised first.

Magic stones are both jewelry and fuel. Since their production is high, their price is lower than gems such as diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds, but with this purity, they are still valuable.

Thus, it has been about a month since I started producing magic stones.

Lex will continue to experiment with Mina #2 and #3 prototypes. There are some that can’t produce any magic stones at all, some that can only make scrap magic stones, and some that break immediately, but they consider the reasons for the failure and improve to produce more efficiently, with better magic power and more robust structures.

“…this is a great creation, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

Lex nods, and Senni takes a deep breath. The one I am holding is Mina #12. The magic stone made from it is clearly larger than before, which must be because the conversion efficiency of magic is excellent.

Lex takes it out and measures it, then hands it over to me. A ball the size of a thumbnail.

“Was it finished with slime coating based on the best #9 so far? A pale blue reflecting my slight water attribute. It is the best piece that fits all magic tools. How about the body?”

“No damage, and I think it’s reusable.”

I received a jewel box from Senni. When I open the lid, there is a dazzling light. The box contains a variety of magic stones of various sizes.

When I smile, Lex nods.

“The crystallization device for magic elements, the Mina series, I think it’s good to complete this once.”

I hold up the box with the magic stone.

“We also got the initial capital. Shall we proceed to the next stage of the project?”

Alex-sama thrust both fists towards the sky.

“I’m! I’m quitting the institute! I’m quitting!

***

The next morning, I head to the laboratory and walk to the front of Chairman Tobias’s desk.

“Superior.”

“What is it, Peltra?”

I place my resignation letter on the desk and offer it to him.

“… What the hell are you doing?”

“As of today, I am resigning from this institute.

“Ha?! You think you can get away with that?”

Ignoring the commotion in the office, I continue my words.

“You once told me this. If I produce results in my research, you will allocate the budget and personnel to the research I want to do. But what about the current situation? I’m just being assigned as an assistant to other labs.”

“Don’t get cocky just because you got a medal!”

“Yes, but there is nothing to be gained by working under a superior who does not keep their promises.”

There was no response. As I was about to leave, the superior reached out to calm me down.

“W-Wait. I am now examining Peltra’s proposal and putting it up for discussion. I’m not trying to belittle what you want to do!”

“Please tell me what you want to research.”

With a muffled “gulp,” Chairman Tobias fell silent.

With a sudden movement, the man stood up and shouted.

“Hey, Peltra, how about supporting my research?”

“Chairman, I’m hearing that you said that even a chicken could do my job like a menial task, and that you wouldn’t care if I quit anytime. Today just happens to be that day.”

“Irresponsible!”

“I would like to donate a chicken to the Chairman’s laboratory…So, thank you very much for your time. Excuse me.”

Chapter 39: A & V

I am inside the carriage that stopped near the research institute where Lex works, or rather, used to work.

Without taking much time, I met up with him who had returned and headed to the Central Bank of the capital.

While listening to the sound of wheels hitting the stone pavement, I asked about the situation at the institute.

“Did you leave the company safely?”

“Ah, I’m fine. Yeah, I was promised to give a chicken as a gift.”

A chicken?

I asked about the exchange at the time of resignation, but there shouldn’t be any particular problems.

After all, he won’t go back there anymore.

I have a meeting with Mr. Cremetti from the central bank.

“Hello, Cremetti-san.”

“Hello, Peltra couple. Judging from your appearance, did the research go well?”

I see.

I don’t show it much on my face, but if you look sidelong, Lex looks confident. This can also be said to be Lex’s growth, and it certainly doesn’t look like he is asking for additional financing because his research is not going well.

Lex opens his mouth.

“The research is still in its infancy. But even so, certain results have been obtained, which we would like to report to our patron, Mr. Cremetti.”

Lex winks at me and I place the small jewel case from the hand-held bag onto the mahogany desk and slide it forward.

“Please check.”

Mr. Cremetti extends his hand and takes it.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me… Oh!”

His face is dyed with surprise as he opens the lid and his movements freeze.

Yes, you wouldn’t expect the magic stone to be tightly packed in the jewel case. And there are many of them that are over one carat and high quality.

Lex and I exchange smiles.

“I-I’m surprised. I didn’t think that so much could be created in such a short period of time after financing…Especially these three in the center, the size of these are not often seen by me.”

It’s picked up gently with the hand in a white glove.

It was made by Mina #12.

“Mr. Cremetti, I…we don’t own a mine. So the magic stones that are there aren’t produced in a consistent size.”

“Oh?”

“What we have now, and two of the same size, were made in the last week.”

Mr. Cremetti’s face was filled with surprise again.

“…No way.”

“Yes, it seems that we have the outlook of being able to stablely supply magic stones of this size and quality.”

Mr. Cremetti looked up to the sky.

“What a thing. No…wonderful. Congratulations.”

Mr. Cremetti extended his hand and shook hands with Lex.

After that, we demonstrated how the magic stone was actually made. The fourth large magic stone rolled into Lex’s hand.

I say.

“I will entrust these magic stones to you. Regarding the price, please leave it to you, but as much as possible, we will not allow the price to fall. Also, please arrange to sell to many merchants and export abroad, so as not to be understood about the flow of the magic stones.”

“It will be revealed someday, though.”

“Yes, of course. I would like to delay that as much as possible. Oh, please raise the price when selling to the royal family.”

“Does Mrs. Peltra hate the royal family?”

“It is the Crown Prince Elias who ignites my dim passion. I do not hold a grudge against the royal family or his majesty, but of course I cannot help but feel estranged.”

“Do you have plans to overthrow the royal family?”

“No, not at all. We are still just mice that have gained a little power. We are not thinking of defeating lions.”

“…I’m a little relieved.”

However, I will make this weapon a deadly blade someday.

“Well, Mr. Cremetti.”

“What is it?”

“I appreciate your cooperation as a patron.”

“So, does that mean the amount of financing will be repaid?”

“I don’t mind settling it once with the magic stone earlier. Let’s ask after that.”

I shift my gaze to Lex. He nods, rises from his seat and continues talking.

“We are Alex & Vilhelmina Company. We are launching A&V Inc. Our business is the manufacturing and sale of artificial magic stones. Now, Mr. Cremetti, the head of the Central Bank of the capital, would you like to invest in this company?”

Mr. Cremetti had a shark-like smile.

“I see, you’re trying to take an equal share from something protected in such a short period of time. Not bad, yes, very interesting.”

The conditions presented by Mr. Cremetti for investment is the establishment of a production system that relies on him.

Of course, it’s natural for him to be involved in the production of magic stones, but if something were to happen to him, production would stop. That’s not acceptable for the company.

We told him if we could double production, in other words, if the same amount of magic stones could be produced even if he was not there, he would invest.

This is obviously a fair judgment. In fact, he promised that he would invest if the conditions were met, so it could even be considered a favorable treatment.

Thus, we returned home.

Chapter 40: Magic Stone Production Increase Plan

“You make light talk of doubling the production of magic stones. What should you do?”

“Yeah, that’s right…”

The easiest thing to do would be to produce magic stones every day instead of every other day as I am currently doing, but that is not what is required.

Another goal is to have Lex develop the magic element accumulation device to ensure stable supply, but that is the final goal and what should be done in the meantime.

“I see.”

I will explain it to Lex, and he nods.

If you only think about increasing production, it is extremely easy.

All you have to do is hire someone who has the same amount of magic power as me.

However, that would be someone like a royal magician or a high-ranking adventurer, and if you tried to hire them, you would need a large reward.

Instead of hiring many people with less magic power, but if the number of people increases, what we are doing will be easier to see.

That’s the difficult part to think about.

“Lex, first of all, I would like to rely on you for the increase in production of Mina #12. This is something that only you can do now.”

“Ah, yeah. Leave it to me.”

“Let’s secure personnel and land for the plan.”

***

One month later.

In the south of the capital. It’s a little more affluent than our home, but not as much as a center with mansions and luxury shops. It’s a corner that could be called a lower town.

One shop in the corner of the commercial district is bustling.

People of all ages are lined up, even young children. Both men and women.

It’s so crowded that there are even street stalls outside the commercial district.

The shop might not be appropriate to call a shop. Because nothing is sold there.

The characters written on the sign of the building that people are lining up for are “A & V Simple Magic Quantity Appraisal Office”. And at the entrance, there are signs such as “Free” and “We will estimate your magic quantity!”

When I entered the back of the store, through the entrance for employees, there are women in uniform based on maid costumes lined up at the counter.

I hired maidservants and maids who were once with me at the Periknen house as receptionists here.

One of the maids spoke to the boy standing at the head of the line.

“Please go to the head. Hello, is this your first time?”

“Yes, it is my first time!”

The boy doesn’t seem to be dressed nicely. He probably came from a neighborhood close to the slums. He seems to be ashamed in front of the receptionist who is dressed nicely. He slowly stepped forward.

“May I have your name, age, gender, and address please?”

“Uh, do you need the address too?”

“Yes. If you have great magic power, you may receive letters from the magic tower or academy. If you don’t have a specific residence, it’s okay if you tell us where we can contact you.”

“I have a house. Tomas Willer, 13 years old, male, at No. 12, Leather St., South 8th district.”

I see, the leather factory contaminates the water, so the location is not exactly an environment-friendly place in the downstream of the capital. That’s why he hesitated to say it.

“Okay, thank you. Please wash your hands at the left faucet while I prepare the paperwork.”

Today, Jacob the guard is standing at the water source. While the boy is washing his hands, the receptionist writes his name, gender, age, and address on the paperwork and a small card made of thick paper.

And handed it over to the receptionist next door, and approached the line and called out.

“Next person, please!”

The washed Tomas went to the next counter. Another receptionist calls out cheerfully.

“Tomas Willer, correct?”

“Yes!”

“Please hold the handle of this magic meter. You don’t need to put force into it.”

In front of her is a large box, with a handle attached to it.

“Slowly inhale and exhale. There is always magic in a person’s body. Take the handle from your belly and push it into the box…yes, that’s enough.”

A faint sound rang from the flask attached under the box.

She removes the flask and takes it to the room behind the counter.

The personnel waiting in the back measure it.

“0.2 carats. Strong green color, wind attribute.”

Yes, the magic meter is just a name, what is here is a magic element crystallization device, that is Mina #12.

It can reverse calculate the size and color of a magic stone and examine the amount and attribute of the magic it holds.

“Tomas has confirmed magic. Rank is C+, attribute is wind.”

“I have magic?!”

Tomas looked surprised.

“Congratulations. Although not many people are able to use magic, many people have some amount of magical power. Tomas-san has a bit more than usual. If you study properly, you may be able to use life magic spells, such as the “Wind Blast” spell, if your attribute is wind.”

“Wow.”

The staff member sitting next to the receptionist stamped a C+ and wind attribute on the card and passed it from the receptionist to Tomas.

“This is the card that shows Tomas-san’s measurement results. I will give it to you. As you can see, your name, address, etc. are written on the front side. The back side shows the date of measurement and results. It is marked as C+, wind attribute. Please make sure to bring this with you when you come for the next measurement.”

“Can I come as many times as I like?”

“Yes, at the A & V Simple Magic Quantity Appraisal Office, we recommend multiple measurements. This is because the strength of magic can change depending on physical condition and there is a possibility of growth of magical power. However, please make sure to leave a gap of at least one week between measurements.”

“I understand. I will come again.”

“As a souvenir, we are giving you a candy bar. Please take this as well.”

“Awesome!”

With the card and candy bar in hand, Tomas the boy left the assessment office with a smile on his face.

And then, the magic stone remains with us.

Chapter 41: The Crown Prince’s Call

“Your Highness Elias. This is your schedule for today.”

In the morning, the Grand Chamberlain reads out my schedule for today.

His voice continues on in my private room for a long time…damn it.

The tasks and duties, as well as the schedule, keep increasing. One of the reasons is that after the failure at the garden party the other day, it has been decided that I will be re-educated in etiquette.

“In the afternoon, you will be visiting the royal orphanage with Miss Ina…”

I often accompany Ina in etiquette lessons and visits like this, but I have no time to rest.

I used to protest, but now I no longer have the energy to do so.

The reason is that it delays the schedule and makes you sleep late.

“…How is Ina’s education?”

“Miss Madetoya’s education is progressing, but her progress is slow, according to the Head Lady-in-Waiting.”

I know. The only places where I am allowed to accompany her on official business are orphanages and farms in the suburbs of the Capital, places where etiquette is not required.

For example, you are forbidden to attend formal events, such as official dinners where high-ranking nobles gather, even during the peak of the social season, or to attend grand events like ballroom dances, even if they are unofficial or secret.

“Why is it taking so much time…?”

While being forced to make the morning preparations by the ladies-in-waiting, I murmur.

“Is it because she is that foolish? Or are the governesses(female tutors) making trouble?”

My murmur was not directed at anyone, but the Grand Chamberlain still replied.

“There may not be any ladies-in-waiting or governesses with favorable feelings towards Miss Madetoya, but even so, as they has been ordered by His Highness the Crown Prince or His Majesty to receive her education, there is no way that she is being neglected or disturbed in her education.”

“So you think she’s incompetent?”

The Grand Chamberlain averts his gaze.

“I have had conversations with her as well, and I think she is somewhat of an unusual young lady, but she is by no means stupid.”

“Then why?”

“That is the difference between high and low status. Even a commoner who achieves great things and accumulates wealth can rise to the rank of Baron, Viscount, or higher in one generation, and there is a difference in the type of education itself.”

I sighed.

“Is it really that different?”

“Yes, all of the women around His Highness Elias are ladies or widows of a higher social standing than Count. Even the maidservant who is combing his hair right now is one of them.

When I briefly looked at the maidservant, I was certain she was the third daughter of the Count’s household.

I can sense criticism from the Grand Chamberlain’s gaze. I understand what he wants to say. He is probably dissatisfied that the maidservants are serving a low-ranking person like Ina.

However, he did not mention it.

“Therefore, it is not hard to imagine that the different etiquette and way of speaking of Miss Madetoya would appear fresh.”

Hmm, there may be such aspects as well.

“That’s because someone like Miss Vilhelmina, who is a Duke’s daughter, or even a princess from her own country or a neighboring state, has been raised in such a way since birth because there is a possibility that she will marry a royalty. It would be difficult for Miss Madetoya to catch up to the 15 years of effort of that talented woman in just a few months.”

I understood the true meaning of my father’s words.

If they were judged to be unsuitable as the next generation’s royal couple, they said that it would bring about their downfall. In other words, we were already judged to be unsuitable at that stage.

But I can’t accept that.

Because I hold Ina’s hand. I will make everyone acknowledge her by all means. To her parents, to the nobles, to the clergy, to the people.

“…is there any report on how Vilhelmina is doing?”

“As for her husband, Mr. Alex Peltra, there is a report that he has resigned from the Royal Research Institute.”

“Why?”

He should have been a competent researcher to the extent of being awarded a medal.

“According to the research institute’s report, the reason is unknown, but it was suddenly conveyed to the institute that he had resigned.”

“Can you guess why he resigned?”

“It’s a speculation, but there are reports that he was harassed by his superiors and other staff at the institute. At least one of the reasons, it seems.”

I see…

“What’s his next job?”

“There are reports that he and his wife have been meeting with bank and merchant officials in the center of the capital before his resignation, but there is no report that he has been hired by anyone yet.”

I see… Well, isn’t this an opportunity?

A family that lost their income, I will help the struggling Vilhelmina. This does not conflict with the idea of forgiving a place where one should be executed with mercy.

And if that woman once assisted me in my work, it would be good to have her do my work again and assist Ina’s etiquette.

“Call Vilhelmina.”

“Huh?”

Grand Chamberlain lets out a foolish voice.

“Bring that woman to the palace and give her the honor of assisting me in my work!”

Chapter 42: The Messenger

A heavy and sturdy carriage stopped in front of my house, and a messenger dressed in dazzling clothes, carrying a letter, descended from the carriage in front of the narrow entrance.

It’s amazing that they thought they could drive the royal carriage on such a narrow road. Isn’t it the first time that the royal carriage has stopped in this place, which is close to the slum area?

The neighboring residents have come to look at the situation and have been driven away by the soldiers who are guarding the messenger when they try to peep from the other side of the carriage.

“I proclaim the word of His Royal Highness Prince Elias Sipi Patrikainen, the Young Lion of the Kingdom, the Crown Prince of Dawn!”

The messenger raised his voice loudly, and Lex and I lowered our heads in unison.

“His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, is deeply concerned by the current situation caused by the loss of the job of Alex Mika Peltra as the head of the family and a researcher at the Royal Research Institute, and he extends his mercy and compassion to you by offering a helping hand.

Therefore, Vilhelmina Peltra is hereby appointed as a full-time secretary to the Crown Prince.”

I raised my head, looked at the messenger, and was about to open my mouth, but my speech was stopped by a hand held out horizontally. It was Lex’s.

He stepped forward and said, “I decline.”

Oh my, Lex is going to protect me

“What do you mean?”

“First of all, your premise is incorrect. I did not get fired from the Institute, I resigned. I have a clear outlook on our future lives, and I don’t need any help from His Highness.”

“Are you saying you reject His Highness’s kindness?”

“It’s not kindness, no matter how you look at it. If you’re going to offer help because I lost my job, I can understand if you hire me as an official… no, let’s say, as a technician. But it doesn’t make sense to summon my wife.”

Yes, it’s just a show. His position must be getting worse in the royal family or among the nobles. And neither him nor Miss Madetoya have the power to stop it.

That’s why he’s trying to drag me into this farce.

“Mrs. Peltra! You wouldn’t dare reject His Highness’s orders, would you?”

The messenger turns to face me

“I can’t accept.”

“What do you mean?”

“I said, I decline.”

“This is an order from the Crown Prince, equivalent to a royal decree. As a former Duke’s daughter with a high status, you should understand the significance, shouldn’t you?”

I hide my mouth with my hand and show a proud smile.

“You offer your hand, but threaten me with my life if I refuse.

“No, I’m not threatening you.”

“Even if it’s the Crown Prince’s order, I’ll have no choice but to refuse it if it would diminish His Majesty the King’s prestige or endanger the kingdom. Even if I were a loyal subject.

“What?”

“I understand you are a messenger.”

“Yes, I am.”

“Then I would like to ask, which crest should I display at the castle gate?”

“Well… I would suggest you put the Duke Periknen’s crest on it.”

Putting a cross on the shield is a way used when one is banished from the house, but that’s only if one has the crest. I don’t have anything with me since I was expelled from the Duke’s house.

“I don’t see the preparation of that crest. Also, as you can see, there is no carriage in the house, but if the crest is used, may I display it on the carriage?”

“Of course, it is only natural for you to prepare the carriage!”

That’s right, of course, if you are a noble.

“That would be contradictory to extend a hand in such a desperate situation. In the first place, I am just a commoner woman, was the job of a royal palace official open to women?”

The messenger’s face was getting worse and worse.

“…No. But His Highness made an exception.”

“Either the king or the parliament can make that exception. Do you have a permit that allows me to be registered as an official with either the king’s or the parliament’s seal?”

He wiped his sweat with a handkerchief on his forehead. I waited, but there was no answer.

“Well, it seems impossible then. Please inform His Highness.”

The messenger clicked his tongue and turned on his heel.

“Oh, yes.”

I stopped him.

“This is just a soliloquy, but His Highness may hire me as Miss Madetoya’s maidservant next time.”

“…Maybe so.”

“A maidservant who takes care of a person in the castle is generally not recognized unless their parent is a Viscount or higher. Of course, if you are a herald, you know this.

“I’ll pass it on.”

“Anyway, If you tell him that you will give me the rank of Viscount, a carriage with a coat of arms, a house big enough to hold a carriage in the first place, and dresses, jewelry, and cosmetics as gifts, I’ll listen to your story. Please let His Highness know that.”

Lex, who was standing next to me, burst out laughing.

Chapter 43: Delivery

“Well, they really did send a messenger of such poor quality. Or maybe that was all they could get.”

After the messenger returned, we entered the house.

“What do you mean?”

“Even the messenger sent by His Highness today, and the strategy itself, is quite amateurish. Compared to the thorough measures they took to set us up, it feels impulsive.”

Lex nods as if he understood.

“They had even arranged everything up to the church for the wedding.”

“Yes, it doesn’t seem like the same level of preparation as when they even pulled out The Cardinal.”

“Isn’t it the same thing?”

So, you mean someone who contributed to the plan? That’s possible. There are many noble people who don’t like me. If that’s the case, why isn’t that person involved now?

“It’s possible. Or maybe they simply don’t have the time to make a plan, or both.”

“Don’t have time?”

“I’m not handling his work right now, so maybe he’s trying to call me back because his business has come to a standstill? I don’t think it’s such a big job, but perhaps Now that His Majesty has returned and other personnel have left from around the crown prince, or the prince is undergoing strict reeducation?”

“I see.”

In the first place, His Highness has not been seen at any social events except for that garden party. It is mainly because Miss Madetoya was not recognized as the fiancé of the Crown Prince, but it may also be possible that Prince Elias is in consideration of being dropped from the Crown Prince possition.

Lex sighs.

“Still, I was a little uneasy because you were talking about something provocative.”

“Don’t worry. The royal family can’t kill us and can’t take us away forcibly, especially in public. Because that would cause a fatal contradiction.”

“I see, Prince Elias showed mercy to the evil woman Vilhelmina. Will that be the underlying story?”

I nod to Lex’s understanding.

“Anyway, it’s good news to know that people don’t realize that we can now create magic stones.”

“Yeah, because you said we’d be in trouble. If they thought we were making magic stones, you’d say so.”

“Senni.”

“Yes, Madam.”

She sticks her upper body into the basement storage while wearing a cat-like smile.

And she took out a huge jar that was covered in cloth, large enough to be carried.

When she removed the cloth, the contents were a glowing mass of colorful light, made up of countless pieces of magic stones, lit up like a Western-style lamp.

“I’m leaving tomorrow. You’re coming with me.”

“Yes!”

The next day, Alex-sama, Senni, and I leave the house early in the morning and head to the Central Bank of the Capital.

We will meet with Mr. Cremetti, who we had an appointment with.

“You’re trying a very interesting experiment, isn’t it? ‘A & V Simple Magic Quantity Appraisal Office’.”

Lex answers with a laugh.

“Yes, it’s thriving, thanks in part to the financing you provided. But of course, the appraisal office is free, after all.”

“An interesting experiment, I think. You’re looking for magic owners among the commoners and then enclosing them to make magic stones, right? How is it, have you found any employee candidates yet?”

I answer that.

“Yes, but we still consider it a stage where we should hide what we’re doing, so I haven’t made any specific requests yet. Of course, we’re thinking of hiring in the future, but.”

“I see, you have a long-term perspective.”

Alex-sama took a bundle of papers from his bag and put it on his desk.

“Here is the list of magic power surveys from the southern part of the capital. Names, ages, addresses, magic power holdings, and attributes are linked to approximately 20,000 people. Would you be interested?”

“This is… haha, certainly. I’d pay a lot of money for it, but wouldn’t you become unhireable if you handed over the data of magicians?”

“There is no such thing. If the number of magicians increases in the future, the demand for magic stones will also increase.”

“Indeed, that is true… but wouldn’t it be looking too far ahead? As A&V Inc., shouldn’t we prioritize securing our current income source first?”

I smile.

“There are many places I can sell the information to. The Chamber of Commerce, the Academy, the Church… of course, I have connections with the Central Bank of the Capital, and I will prioritize selling it to them.”

“Haha, I see… ”

In the end, it’s best to sink your teeth into the national employment statistics.

Examine the magic power of all citizens. Well, if the crown prince wasn’t like that, that is.

“By the way, Mr. Cremetti said to double the production, didn’t he?”

I present the jewelry box.

“This is, as before, something I made.”

“I will take a look”, Mr. Cremetti began checking the state of the magic stone.

Meanwhile, he continues talking.

“I think. With magic stones this size, there’s no helping it even if there are so many of them.”

“I see, indeed it would be difficult to release a large number of these large-grained, standardized magic stones onto the market.”

“Senni.”

I called out to her who was standing in the back.

“Yes.”

Thud, a bundle of cloth was placed on the desk.

“Excuse me!”

She removes the cloth. Numerous scraps of magic stones sparkle on the desk.

“These are 25,000 scraps of magic stones, please take them.”

Chapter 44: Business Plan

Mr. Cremetti is stunned.

“Wait, what? … 25,000 pieces … seriously?!”

Fufu, it seems like he’s surprised.

Yes, that’s right. It’s a magic stone factory under the guise of a free appraisal.

“That’s ridiculous…”

“The production scale is about a thousand pieces per day. I’ve heard from adventurers in the territory that even the smallest piece of junk magic stone with less than 0.1 carats can be purchased for the price of dinner and drink. Well, there are 4000 carats of stones here, averaging 0.16 carats, but I wonder how much value do you think Cremetti-san will find in them?”

“That’s a fair price… wait a minute, does this come in regularly every month?”

“No, not at all.”

“What?!”

Mr. Cremetti seems to have shouted involuntarily. Lex continued.

“As you can see from the fact that we receive 25,000 pieces from around 20,000 people, we have told people that they should come more than once to take measurements, and some of them have. We also give out candy to the children. However, if the novelty decreases, the number of people coming to the venue will decrease.”

“Ah, that’s right, eventually it will decrease and settle down. I see.”

Mr. Cremetti sounds relieved in a way, with a slightly absent voice.

While Lex was explaining, I took out a figure from the material and spread it out for Mr. Cremetti to see.

“What is this? There are a lot of red dots.”

There are a lot of red dots, and a few blue dots scattered.

“It’s a map of the capital. I plotted all the addresses of people who visited the free appraisal shop. The blue is the location of people who were judged to have a magician’s talent.”

“Writing down their addresses for such usage of information…!”

“What do you see when you look at this?”

He stares at the map.

“Is this A&V character the location of your appraisal venue? It’s not a simple concentric circle, but the red dots are spreading to the central shopping street as it approaches the poverty-stricken area. Would that be around the entrance to the slum?”

“That’s right. We have included the observations of that area in the report, but it’s more simple than that.”

“I see.”

“Most people are coming from the south side of the capital. That’s all.”

“…I never would have thought.”

“Excluding the central part of the capital city where the wealthy reside, we will increase the number of offices in four places: east, west, south, and north. This is our next move.”

“You mean four thousand units per day?!”

“The south will probably still have a lot for a while, but it will eventually decrease, and since the population density is not as high as in the south, it will probably be around three thousand.”

It will eventually settle down to around two thousand.

“Impossible… Please wait. Did you say ‘next move’?”

I nod.

“That’s right, and then the next move, and then the next.”

“May I ask what you have in mind?”

“In the central part of the capital city and the wealthy area, we are considering a different policy, but it is not yet the time to move. But as for the rest, it’s easy enough, isn’t it?”

“…Do the same in the nearby towns. Next, we will also do it in distant territories.”

“Yes. In cities with a relatively large population, we would like to have a permanent shop, and in other places, such as festivals where people gather, we would like to set up temporary shops with various ideas.”

“The commoners can receive a free magic evaluation, and you obtain a large amount of magic stones in the background. What a terrifying scheme.”

“Is that so?”

I tilt my head.

“Those who exploit, for example, a king or noble who imposes heavy taxes, are hated by the people. However, it is frightening that you are loved by the exploited for receiving free magic appraisal.

Fufu, they are happy with free. I offer it for free because there is an advantage to doing so.

I say with a smile.

“I am not interested in charity work.”

“Haha.”

I returned with a dry laugh as if I was caught.

“If I were a noble, I would do charity work with a noble phrase, the noble obligation of Nobile, but it has nothing to do with me now.”

After that, I explain the documents and also talk about where to set up the next office.

And…

“As per your request, I have purchased the mansion near your current office.”

“Thank you. I was thinking of moving there today.”

We bow our heads.

“It’s an old mansion, but it’s quite spacious, yes?”

“There is a place for servants, so it’s okay. I may ask you if there is a shortage, but first I want to gather people I can trust.”

Yes, finally I can gather my followers from when I was at Periknen’s mansion!

“I see… I think that’s good. This is the key to the mansion.”

“Thank you very much.”

Receiving the key, we gave it to Senni and stood up.

“Well, let’s meet again.”

“Yes, definitely… Oh, before that, spreading the magic appraisal office throughout the country, what will you do next?”

Lex answers.

“In the meantime, I will develop an atmospheric magic element accumulator device.”

He raised his finger toward the sky.

“I will make magic stones from the air.”

Chapter 45: Brother and Butler

“Young master, Jurremi-sama.”

“What’s up, Talvo.”

One night, the butler Talvo, who was originally Big Sister Vilhelmina’s bulter, approached me.

“I would like to thank you for your time.”

Time huh… I take a look at him from head to toe. A bow that was neatly folded from the waist with a straight spine that stood upright. The only reason that comes to mind when I think of him leaving his job without a single gap is…

“Talvo… are you going to see my sister?”

“Yes, I was told to come.”

“Hmm… just you?”

“All of us.”

All of us refers to all of the personnel who were the maidservants of my big sister. Although I let them blend in with the increasing number of servants as I became a Count…

“Well, there are also those who are now going to the territories, so either way it’s impossible for everyone to go at the same time. I don’t mind sending them one by one or taking over with new people while transitioning.”

“Thank you.”

Still, all at once…

“A&V Company. So far they’ve just started some weird free diagnostic clinic, but I wonder how they’re making money.”

Discovering unknown magic holders is an interesting idea if the technology to do so has been established, and I think the information itself is something that would sell for a high price.

However, that alone would not be enough to pull in all the users at the time. It would mean not only paying them, but also providing them with a place to work, meaning a house.

“I cannot say that from my mouth.”

You can tell from his tone that he doesn’t know, but Talvo definitely knows. My big sister’s maidservant and maids seem to have been working as receptionists at a free magic diagnostic center, and the mechanism for their profits must have been passed on.

“So Big Sister is gathering trustworthy people around her. To prevent information leaks. Moving from a house under surveillance by the royal family where she currently lives might mean moving to a place where she is less under surveillance, but it might also mean that she is increasing suspicion from the royal family.”

“You have a keen eye.”

I leaned on the desk with my elbows and supported my head.

How is this really happening?

“It feels like it’s too hasty. But does hasty mean more than slow? For example, by pulling them out all at once like this, will my Big Sister not think that I’ll tell Father?”

Talvo says with a smile.

“I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I don’t think it would be right to presume to know what she’s thinking…”

“Haha, she has already become a commoner. Say it without worrying.”

“It’s a small way to repay the young master for protecting us, her servants. We will not begrudge you if this gets through to Lord Periknen.”

So, is this a notice to me?

My big sister says, ‘From now on, a storm is coming, so be careful!’ Even though she is always in the middle of a tempest, with her own life at risk.

That’s why that person is…

“So, is this a warning that things are about to get bigger? Do you want to give me the opportunity to not fall with the Periknen family? For a commoner to be so bold towards a Duke’s heir and a Count is quite audacious.”

“Because of your older sister, who shares your blood.”

“Talvo. I can neither catch up to my Big Sister’s, that genius’s thoughts, nor go to her side.”

A wrinkle formed on his brow.

“That’s… it’s unavoidable because of the responsibilities and constraints as the next head of the Duke family.”

“But even if I’m like that, I might be able to ride a winning horse now.

“Ride the winning horse? No, it’s better to have insurance in case of losing.”

I operate the button behind the drawer. Suddenly, the wall bookshelf slides.

I opened the hidden safe and gave Talvo a bundle of letters.

This is? This is all sealed with the young master’s seal.

“Letters of introduction to young noblemen and daughters whom I consider trustworthy, as well as to merchants with whom I am in good standing. Some of them are from the store that tailors my clothes. And… I have copies of information about the royal family, the church, and my father from a private informant I’ve hired. I’m sure she’ll need them in her next few moves.”

“Are you fully reading your sister’s thoughts?”

“No, I don’t even know what my Big Sister is going to do. But if she tries to influence the center, she’ll naturally need it.”

Then I take out a small box and hand it over.

“What’s this?”

I urged him to open it. Inside is a ring. A large ruby with a slightly old cut surrounded by small diamonds.

“It’s my mother’s inheritance.”

“What!”

“It was taken by Stepmother. I stole it and exchanged it for a replica. Let Big Sister take care of it.”

Even if I have it, if the Periknen family sinks in the storm, I may have to let go of it. That’s why it’s better for my Big Sister to have it.

“Is there something you want to tell her?”

“This is a loan… No… I don’t need it…. I wish you happiness.”

“I will definitely, definitely convey it. On behalf of my master, my sincerest gratitude.”

Chapter 46: To the new house

We are heading towards the residential area near the central district in the capital city again, in a carriage.

This is because we have bought a small and modest mansion there.

It was once a mansion where a wealthy businessman lived, but it was taken over by the Central Bank of the Capital City because it was seized as collateral for bankruptcy. Mr. Cremetti was able to sell it cheaply to us.

Although it is small as a mansion, this place is a quasi-first-class land in the capital city. It can not be compared with a country house in the territory of the nobility, but if you think of it as a townhouse, it is more magnificent than those of the noble families.

The carriage stops at the gate of the mansion.

“Come on, Lex, this is our new home.”

“I never thought I would live in a place like this…”

Saying that, Lex tries to escort me down from the carriage, but his body stiffens awkwardly.

“Fufu, don’t worry, it’s okay.”

Lex gets off the carriage, and I stand in front of the door. In the mansion’s garden that can be seen from there, many servants are sending a warm gaze to us while standing stiffly.

When Lex takes my hand and lowers me to the ground, Talvo, standing at the head of the servants, let out a well-tuned voice.

“Master and Madam. Welcome home.

And they all sang in unison and bowed their heads, bending their waist.

Fufu, I would say it was a performance worthy of a homecoming.

Peeking at Lex, I ask ‘Would you like to say something?’ But he quickly shakes his head side to side. There’s nothing to be done.

I step forward.

“You all have come back well. Although I am no longer a noble and my assets are not yet stable.”

Talvo answers my voice.

“We, the servants, are deeply honored to serve Mr. and Mrs. Peltra.”

“There may be some among the senior servants who belong to noble families with titles. Are there any among you who are unhappy with bowing their heads to us, a commoner couple?”

There is no answer.

“Then from now on, you are all servants of the Peltra household. I will talk to each of you individually about treatment, but for now, I appoint Talvo as the head of the household servants. You are in charge of all male servants.”

“I am honored.”

“Hilka.”

“Yes.”

I call Hilka, who used to be my maidservant.

“I appoint you as the head housekeeper. Oversee the female servants.”

“Understood.”

She gracefully performs the lady’s curtsy.

“Senni.”

“Y-Yes!”

She probably wasn’t expecting to be called. She quickly runs over from the side of the carriage.

“She is the maid we hired after we became commoners. There may be some shortcomings if seen from you, who were servants of the Duke household. However, please treat her properly as a colleague. Hilka, I entrust her education to you.”

“Understood.”

“T-Thank you very much!”

She lowered her head slightly.

“Also, you are treated as both servants and employees of A&V company. The number of people needed to manage this mansion is not enough, and the work will also be done by you.”

Talvo asks.

“Are there a few maidservants or maids who went to the magic appraisal office?”

“Yes. But we conduct that business simultaneously in four places in the capital. It is simple work, but since that technology is secret, it can only be entrusted to those who can be trusted.”

“It is our happiness as servants to be trusted by Madam Vilhelmina.”

“Yes, in addition to respecting me, serve well the head of the household and the president of A&V Company, Alex-sama.”

“”Yes, sir!””

“Alex-sama, any words?”

Lex stepped forward and stood beside me.

“My name is Alex Mika Peltra. Unlike her, I am a genuine commoner and to be honest, I am not worthy of your service. But I will try my best no matter what. I will be grateful if you support me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Thus, after facing each other, we entered the mansion.

The servants work mainly on renovating and cleaning the mansion that was not used, and after leaving our luggage with the servants, we receive an explanation of the structure and rooms of the mansion.

It is not a particularly large mansion, but it has a three-story building with a basement, and the number of rooms is taken firmly, taking into account that each room is a little narrow.

After looking thoroughly from top to bottom, Lex whispered.

“Hey, Mina. May I ask you something?”

“What is it?”

“What about my room?”

“There isn’t one.”

“Oh.”

The two of us looked at Talvo.

“The study and office are the master’s quarters.”

“And the research room?”

“I’ve heard that in the future, it will be necessary to construct research institutes and factories on various lands. Because the master does not smoke, the temporary research and development facilities will be temporarily remodeled in the smoking room.

“Oh, that’s good. And what about my private room?”

“There is none.”

“What?”

I interject.

“There should be a couple’s bedroom.”

“But there was only one bed, wasn’t there?”

I took Lex’s arm as if embracing it.

“Whether you want to hold me or not, give it up and at least share the bed with me. That’s what I mean.”

Chapter 47: Going to Bed

It seems that all the plumbing in the mansion has been renovated, so I’ll soak in a new bathtub.

The floral scent envelops my naked body as the perfumed oil is dripped on the ceramic with a cat-foot pattern.

“Hmm…”

“Madam, how is the temperature of the bath?”

The maid in charge of the bath calls out to me.

“Yes, it’s just right.”

As she rubs my arm stretched out from the bathtub with a frothy cloth, she asks,

“Did you get a little sunburned?”

“Well, I went out a lot and didn’t use an umbrella, so I think my skin is rough.”

“Oh dear… I’ll take good care of you from now on.”

“Thank you, but only in moderation.”

I am a commoner now, so I cannot use money like water as I did when I was a Duke’s daughter, nor can I wear something so luxurious in terms of my status.

“What are you saying? There may be restrictions on clothes and jewelry based on status, but there are no restrictions on the beauty of the body.”

“Fufu, that’s right. Oh, but there may be restrictions on perfume. I learned that musk is not favored by the commoners.”

“Please leave such things to us. Either way, I think something with floral notes would suit Madam.”

After getting out of the bath, I am carefully dried all over.

“Where is my husband?”

“He has already gone to the bedroom.”

Hilka said. While another maid was wiping the moisture from my hair, she leaned towards me, and gently applied perfume with a thin brush to my waist.

And then I was dressed in a bright red nightgown.

“Isn’t it funny?”

I twirled lightly in front of the mirror.

“It’s wonderful.”

“Then good night.”

“I will pray for your success.”

…I doubt it!

When I entered the bedroom, in the dim room, Alex-sama was writing at a desk facing me.

Only around him was lit up by the white light of the magic stone lamp, rising out of the darkness.

“You are so enthusiastic.”

“Yeah, o-oh, Mina. Yeah. I just had an idea and thought I’d write about it.”

I took a bottle of distilled liquor from the wall, and prepared two glasses of watered down liquor.

I placed that on the side table next to the bed and peered into Alex-sama’s writing from behind.

It was a big design with a shape like a trumpet. It’s surely a magic element accumulation device.

Perhaps Alex-sama was very surprised to be peered into because he jumped, and with the momentum, Lex’s back of the head hit my chest and they fell onto the desk.

I feel like I heard a dull sound, “thud.”

“Are you okay? I’m sorry, I seem to have startled you.”

When I tried to look into Lex’s forehead, they leaned back again.

“N-No, I’m fine. It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t hurt!”

When I stepped away, he turned towards the desk, twisted his neck as they tried to put the pen in the inkwell and solidified with his hand on the paper, putting the pen back in the pen holder.

Then he put his hands on his forehead, with his elbows on the desk.

“No good. My brain cells won’t work from the shock.”

“Because you hit your forehead…”

“It’s a problem in the back of my head… Let’s go to bed.”

“Would you like to have a drink and chat for a little while?”

We sat side by side on the wide bed.

After lightly tapping the glass and savoring the aroma of the alcohol, I asked,

“Are you still not ready to embrace me?”

Lex swallowed.

“Wh-what…?”

“I am confident that I have won Lex’s affection,” I said as I crossed my legs. My white skin from my toes to my ankles reflects the light, shining from under my nightgown.

Lex quickly turned away.

“You can look at it any way you want.”

“It’s, um, not good.”

“Of course, I have learned the words and gestures of noble courtship, but I worry that Lex will think I’m being too forward or playful if I don’t speak directly.”

“Ugh,” groaned Lex.

“Do you still not have confidence in yourself?”

“…that’s right.”

“It’s a big difference from what it used to be, you know?”

“That’s because you took care of me when I was not taking care of myself.”

I see, so that’s where consciousness stops.

“Don’t you know that you’re even more wonderful now?”

I was faced with a look of surprise.

“What?”

I leaned in and gently stroked Lex’s cheek, trying to comfort him as he tried to avoid me.

“The meat has also become good. Although it’s still a bit skinny, it’s clearly getting thinner and you can see it in the cheeks, right?”

“…Ah.”

“Also, in those days if he let his guard down he would become hunchbacked, but now that’s gone. It must be because the results of the experiment have come out. You can see the confidence in your manners, words, and actions.

“…Experiments and research, that kind of thing.”

“Still not sure about women?”

“…Uh-huh.”

I’ll think about it for a while.

“Is it perhaps because your “gentleman’s symbol” is very small or something like that?”

“It’s not like that?!.”

“I only saw my younger brother’s when I was small, so you’re fine?”

“That’s why it’s different! …I was humiliated a few times during my student days. Even now women are a bit scary.”

I see. Upon listening a little, it seems that there were continuous experiences where he approached from the other side in a favorable manner, showed a behavior that she was interested in, went on a date, and then were rejected.

Well, I don’t know if Lex cared about his appearance at that time, but I think there is a half of aristocratic harassment of commoners mixed in.

“Let’s get used to it.”

“What?”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re trapped in the past. You have to get used to it for the future. For now, how about holding hands and sleeping today?”

Chapter 48: The Worst Awakening

“I did it…”

In a dark room, inside a soft blanket. I wake up with self-loathing.

In the warmth of the blanket, a smooth and soft sensation I have never experienced before, I feel a heat that does not belong to me, wrapped around my right arm.

“Mina…”

No response. Just peaceful snoring near my ear, surprisingly close.

My right hand was being held by her left hand, and she must have turned over in her sleep as she was a little closer from me. Her face is near my right shoulder and she is sleeping while holding my right hand with both arms.

Despite me trying to stay still and not move while I was sleeping because I was nervous!

I slowly twist my body, pushing away my consciousness from the soft object that hits my right elbow.

I carefully remove my arm, trying not to wake her up by wrapping her platinum hair.

“Nn…”

She made a sexy voice while sighing.

It’s sweet like a rose and fresh like new green, with a scent that rises.

Yes, part of why I feel numb inside is also because of this scent. Last night, before bed, I was overcome by the fragrance coming from Mina who was sitting next to me after taking a bath.

I got out of bed and onto the floor. The warmth I was surrounded by was lost and my body shuddered from the coldness.

Looking through the curtain, the window outside is a starry sky and the edge of the capital city’s castle walls were dyed purple.

I quietly leave the room.

“Good morning, master. What brought you up so early in the morning?”

“Uwaaahh!”

There’s a maid sitting just outside the room!

Hmm. And I can hear some mumbling from the bed.

“Shh.”

I nod and quietly close the door, facing the maid.

“Are you awake this early?”

“I am on night duty. I will be sleeping when my shift is over. We have someone waiting outside the master bedroom every night, so if you need anything, please let us know. Can I help you?

“N-No! Just going to the bathroom.”

Her gaze wanders over my face and lower body, and her nose twitches slightly.

A blue odor.

“I see, you need to change. I’ll prepare it right away.”

Uwaaahh… I can feel the heat gathering in my face.

She leads me to the bathroom with a handheld lamp in one hand.

“Please wait a moment while I bring you a change of clothes.”

Ahh… I sat on the toilet seat and let out a sigh.

“I’ll put the bucket and towel here.”

A voice calls from outside.

Before I can say thank you, the footsteps have already disappeared, so I silently wipe my lower body.

“n the meantime, she brought a change of pajamas for me, so I changed into that.

“…thank you.”

“No, it’s just our job.”

“…you seem to be trying to tell something.”

She soaks the towel and slippers in the bucket of water and says.

“Don’t waste your “shots”. It would be better if you held your wife properly and offered it to her.”

I sighed and asked something I suddenly wanted to know.

“I want to ask a little bit, were you serving Vilhelmina in the Periknen household?”

She nods.

“Yes, we were not directly serving as servants, but everyone was like that.”

“You know, do you have no problem with a commoner like me having Mina, Vilhelmina, as my wife, or even more specifically, the Duke’s daughter as my wife?”

“Hm,” she raised her voice.

“Of course, if a commoner had defiled the former Duke’s daughter, Vilhelmina-sama, we would have stood up to stop it, and if she had been defiled, we would have chased and killed him to the ends of the earth.”

The answer was even more harsh than I thought.

“O-Oh.”

“However, that is different from the current situation. Our master who was a Duke’s daughter had her position stripped away and was disowned from the house. Isn’t there a commoner who would respect and help her, allowing her to live in the mansion again?”

“It’s not that there isn’t one.”

“No, please be confident. We were truly happy from the bottom of our hearts. Yesterday, Vilhelmina-sama who got off the carriage escorted by her husband was smiling.”

“I see…”

“Vilhelmina-sama is both caustic and compassionate.”

Days since I met her come to mind.

“…I understand.”

“How valuable it is to bring out a smile from that person. She was made fun of by that F*cking…excuse me…by her former fiancé, His Highness Elias. I have never seen her laughed at while she was with him.”

“…I see.”

I go back to the bedroom to change.

When I closed the door, she whispered softly.

“Please understand that we servants, not only wish for Vilhelmina-sama’s happiness, but also for Alex-sama’s happiness from the bottom of our hearts. Goodnight.”

The light of dawn is starting to leak white from under the curtains. It’s still too early to wake up, I’ll be able to sleep for another hour.

I quietly slipped into the futon and held Mina’s hand.

“Lex…?”

A sleepy voice can be heard, and her eyes open slightly.

“Did I wake you up? Mina, it’s still a bit early to wake up.”

“Fufu.”

She laughs.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m just happy to be sleeping with Lex… goodnight…”

Her voice quickly changed to a snore.

Chapter 49: The Best Awakening

I felt like I woke up once or twice, from dawn to the morning, but when I woke up clearly, the room was bright.

Unknown ceiling.

Oh, yes, I moved here yesterday.

The servant must have opened the curtains. If I stick my head out of the bedding and look over there, I can see the fresh morning light shining into the room.

The left hand is wrapped in a slightly angular soft thing.

When I moved my left hand, it was squeezed.

“Did you wake up?”

Lex’s voice.

When I look over there, I see Lex’s figure peeking at me, who has gotten up in the bed with a report of the experiment in his left hand and holding my hand with his right hand.

He must have been waiting for me to wake up.

“Good morning, Lex.”

“Good morning, Mina.”

A smile appears on my face.

“You’re dressed differently from before you went to bed.”

“Gufu”

He makes a strange voice and coughs.

When I try to get up, Lex pulls my hand.

He puts the documents he was holding by the side of the bed on the bedside table and looks at me with a brown gaze.

“Mina.”

“Yes.”

“Forgive me for now, okay?”

Lex’s hands go on my shoulders and his face comes closer and moves to the side of my face.

Something soft touches my cheek and then moves away a little.

“W-Well, then I’ll change and go to the dining room downstairs.”

Blushing, he stood up and quickly went to the next room with the papers.

The maidservant Hilka, who was waiting at the wall, respectfully lowered her head to Lex as she saw him off.

Bang, the door closed.

—?!?!

When I was frozen, Hilka came up to me and said,

“Good morning Vilhelmina-sama.”

“L-L-L-Lex! From me!”

“Fufu, Vilhelmina-sama…good for you…”

“Oh, this is terrible, I’m going to die!”

***

Myself and the servants excitedly make our way to the dining room while chatting, and there sits Lex, dressed in a white shirt and trousers, already seated at the table.

The new clothes make him look like a young noble or a capitalist!

“G-Good morning Lex.”

“G-Good morning Mina.”

We both blush and there’s an awkward tension.

We silently wait for the meal to be served.

Breakfast is eggs Benedict. The eggs are soft and easily cut with a knife, my favorite since childhood. That’s because we were able to call several cooks from the Periknen household.

“Just like I thought yesterday, it’s delicious.”

“It may not be as fancy as the Duke household, and we’re not using high-end ingredients, but the chef’s skills are certain. Let’s enjoy it.”

After the meal, we eat seasonal fruit and have a discussion.

“So, starting next week, we’ll open four “Magic Appraisal Offices” in the capital. For each location, there will be three magic crystallization devices, Mina #12, three spare devices, and sixteen of your personal use devices.”

Lex says this. It might be less of a discussion and more of a scheme.

“Yes, thank you, I understand.”

“And as for the one I ordered just the exterior from the goldsmith … it’s not #13, let’s say it’s number #12 modified. I think I received a letter today saying that both were completed.”

Talvo, who was waiting, steps forward.

“Right away, I’ll dispatch the servant and head to pick them up.”

“Yes, please.”

“When I get back, I’ll install the internal structure with my own hands and check the operation. With that, two #12 modified units will be completed. After that, I have one for my own experiments, so in total it’ll be 19 units. Has it reached the number you need?”

I smile.

“Yes! I think I will need an increase in production again sometime in the future, but this is enough for now.”

If possible, I’d like to make a factory so as not to bother Lex’s hands when the time comes to increase production, but we’ll see what happens.

“Well then, can I proceed to the research of the magic element accumulator now?”

“Yes, please. I apologize for keeping you waiting.”

He was looking at the blueprints yesterday. As a researcher, Lex would have liked to get to work on this sooner, but I made him wait.

“No, it’s okay. So, what’s the purpose of modified #12?”

“Fufufu, we’ll spread our reach to the nobility a bit with this.”

Lex tilts his neck.

“What, as a gift…?”

“That may be an option, but we can’t give away a goose that lays golden eggs.”

“I guess so.”

I will not give Lex’s invention to anyone. It’s certainly a powerful gift as a gift piece, but that wouldn’t benefit us and won’t reach the royal family. Gifts go to the top.

“I’ll bring it with me tomorrow and be busy with socializing.”

Chapter 50: Tea Party

“Well, Sarusti-sama, you have come a long way.”

I perform a lady’s salute. Today, I invited her to the mansion as a guest.

The person who got off the carriage is Milcah, the daughter of Count Sarusti, who was once a close friend.

She ran to me after getting off the carriage steps with the help of a servant.

“Stop it, Vilhelmina-sama! If I were to be treated like this by Vilhelmina-sama, I would be so sad that my heart would break!”

“Fufu, I am a commoner now.”

“It doesn’t matter, like old times with Milcah.”

“Yes, Milcah-sama.”

“Come on, you don’t have to use the honorific anymore. Thank you for inviting me today.”

She also performed a lady’s courtesy to me.

Later, several carriages arrived. I invited those who were particularly close to me, among my old friends and Milcah-sama.

The invitation was for a tea party. However, only those with good personalities who won’t spread malicious rumors and have firm words are invited.

Although it is a mansion, only those who are happy to be invited to the home of someone who has lost their status and become a commoner, and who has a good character, not someone who spreads malicious rumors.

First my friends. In time, the letter of introduction given by my brother will come in handy.

In other words, I aim to create a foundation in the noble society.

“It may be small, but it’s a wonderful mansion with proper management.”

“Hey, the staff are truly wonderful as well.”

“The tea and the cannoli are delicious.”

Everyone praised me with compliments. After the tea, I will start to get to the point.

“I am involved in business. It may not be something fitting for a former noblewoman, but…”

“That’s…it’s not like Vilhelmina-sama is lowering herself.”

Milcah-sama says so.

“Yes, if I were to fail, I would become frail with disappointment.”

“And you are successful, aren’t you? You’re very good at what you do.”

“Fufu, I have just started my business. Hey, are you interested?”

Everyone nods.

When I raise my hand, the maid who was waiting in the corner of the room lowers her head and pushes the service wagon from the adjacent room.”

There is a box delicately painted with a butterfly dancing, with fine goldwork on top of the wagon. The box has a handle like a gun handle made of processed magic silver attached. It’s the completed(modified) Mina #12.

“This was invented by my husband.”

“Well, it’s a nice piece of work.”

Milcah was asked “Can I touch it?” so I nod.

“Fufu, what my husband is making is inside.”

“What kind of tool is this?”

“Do you want to know?”

Everyone nods.

“It’s absolutely a secret.”

Everyone nods.

“If the secret is leaked, I might be killed.”

“Is it really that serious?!”

“That’s how amazing my husband’s invention is. Shall we try a little performance? Hey Milcah-sama, are you interested in earning pocket money?”

“Pocket money… I’m interested, but I don’t want to risk it.”

She answered with a little red cheek.

Oh my, what did you imagine? Well, it may be a common thing for fallen noble daughters and wives.

“I swear there is no danger at all. It’s just like a little plaything. Milcah-sama, can you hold this?”

I put the box on the desk and asked her to hold the handle of the Mina #12.

Milcah carefully holds the handle. The people around her seem to be interested.

“Do you put magic into it?”

Yes, Milcah-sama also has magic. Most nobles of a certain rank have magic. And the young ladies will end their lives without using it. But in order to pass on the magic to the next generation. Just in the hope that one day a great magician will come from their lineage.

——Chirin.

A sound of a bell came out from the box. It is set so that a sound will ring when a magic stone is made.

I receive the box and open the drawer part that became the drawers. A magic stone with a little reddish fire attribute included, it’s about one carat in size. It’s smaller than what I make, but it’s still significantly larger than what the commoners make.

“It’s an invention to turn magic into magic stones.”

“Oh!”

The magic stone is passed around among the young ladies.

After one round, I collect it and put it in the jewelry box.

“And here’s your allowance.”

I take out one gold coin. Roughly, how much will it be worth in current circulation, about half the price of buying a one-carat uncut magic stone?

I put it in a small cotton drawstring bag and handed it over to Milcah-sama.

“Oh, my God, I made some money!”

“Oh!”

Milcah-sama looks very happy.

Yes, the noble daughter doesn’t have her own money.

That’s because all bills are sent to the house and paid later. Basically, the head of the household or the butler takes care of the payment.

“Hey, hey, can I do that too?”

Everyone else looks interested as well. Of course, yes. That’s why I collected it.

After everyone is happy to get pocket money, I quietly take out the catalog.

“If you like, I have something you can buy with that.”

I say and show the catalog. Today’s cake, a handkerchief with a little embroidery, a popular love story book among the common people, a civilian hair accessory, foreign earrings, a knight doll for boys…

All of them are things that can be bought with silver coins. In other words, you can choose several souvenirs.

Of course, we were friends and I know their preferences. For example, Milcah-sama has a younger brother who is a few years apart, so she was naturally interested in knight dolls.

Thus, they loaded the souvenirs onto the horse-drawn carriage and went home with a cheerful face.

Chapter 51: Regalia

“How was the tea party?”

That night, after dinner, Lex asks me.

Dinner time generally becomes the atmosphere of the day’s report meeting. The plates are removed and ice cream is served for dessert.

“Yes, everyone enjoyed it. Of course, I was able to enjoy it too.”

“That’s good. How was the magic stone?”

I receive the jewelry box that the maidservant handed and show Lex the magic stones they made.

“I also had them appraised. They are all around 1 carat spheres. They are not as big as mine, but they are of sufficiently high quality. This means that the magic stone lineup of A&V Company has now become three major types.”

My large ones, the size I have now, and the small ones appraised at the magic appraisal office.

“What will you do with the produced magic stones?”

“I have consulted with Mr. Cremetti, but instead of selling it to the market, I will make a large contract directly with several factories, large trade companies, and export channels. The price is discounted by 5% from the general trading amount in the market. We agreed that depending on the conditions, it can be discounted up to 10%.

“Even so, if the magic stone of this quality is sold at a 10% discount, it should sell without any problem. But you bought it from them at half price…? You’re greedily taking advantage.

Lex laughs.

The cost of obtaining the magic stone is not comparable to before!

“Even so, considering the trouble of choosing tea parties and souvenirs, the invitation, etc., the profit is negligible… Well, for my personal production and the magic appraisal office, the interest rate is terrible.

“Interest rate of 10% or 9%…?”

We looked at each other and smiled bitterly. There is a limit to greed.

“Lex.”

I suppress my smile and stand up. I walked to the modified Mina #12 that was placed at the side of the table and hugged it.

“The magic crystalization device is sufficient, but when the currently being developed magic element accumulation device is completed, it will be equal to the royal Regalia.”

“The royalty…”

“No, it’s not about royalty, it’s about having the power to become a king just by possessing this.”

“Hmm…?”

Lex tilted his head. He didn’t understand. Although he was a genius, he’s a researcher first and foremost. Maybe our mindset were different.

“The symbols of our country’s royalty are the crown and the first holy spear. There are various countries that consider swords, mirrors, axes and hammers, or rings as symbols of royalty, but do they have the power to change the world?”

“Well, I heard in legends that the holy spear penetrated rocks, but even if that’s true, that’s all it is.”

Yes, even if the founding legends are true, it’s just the bravery of the hero who had a great weapon. It’s not something that can change the world.

“In addition to the symbolic objects, the word royal Regalia also means the privileges of the king. Do you know?”

“No…”

“For example, the right to mint currency. Only the king can create currency.”

“I see, you can’t just create currency on your own.”

I show the modified Mina #12.

“Is this inferior to that?”

“Ah… No such thing, it’s actually better, right?”

“Please don’t make it a question form, it’s overwhelmingly better. The one who possesses this can rule the world, the stone of the modern wise philosopher, the Philosopher’s Stone.”

I walk around the table and go to Lex’s front. I hand him the modified Mina #12.

“You are the king of kings.”

“… Don’t do it.”

He shook his head and put it on the table.

“But what if they find out that we, who are powerless, have it.”

“Don’t let it be taken.”

“We might even be killed.”

Lex nods.

“To put it bluntly, it would have been easier if we had made Lex’s technology public.”

“I see.”

“First, you get the honor.”

“Honor… again like a medal.”

“However, the magic crystallizer will be engraved with the royal coat of arms, bearing the royal name Patrikainen, not Mina.”

Lex snorts through his nose.

“If Lex were to make this technology public, the kingdom, the royal family would obtain immense power. The Periknen family(duke’s family) may fall, but the current king, or the next king Elias, may become a great emperor.”

“That’s… I don’t like that.”

“Yes, but there won’t be any danger to life, and even if it’s not as much as now, there should be enough money to live comfortably.”

“I see.”

“Despite that, I chose to keep this secret, to make it a fang to reach the royal family.”

Lex takes my hand.

“…You’re shaking. Are you afraid? Do you want to stop?”

I shake my head vertically and horizontally.

Lex stands up and embraces me.

“Sorry.”

My head hits his thin chest, and my face feels hot with his heartbeat.

“Oh, don’t apologize, it’s rather me who should apologize…”

“Mina’s fear is that she’s putting me and the servants in danger.

“…yes.”

“And, you’re using me for your desire for revenge.”

“…yes.”

His face comes down and approaches my ear.

“Don’t worry about it. I and the servants all dislike Prince Elias. If there’s a chance to get rid of him, I don’t care.”

“Yes.”

“And, make full use of it. We are a married couple and family.”

Chapter 52: Adopted

After talking with Lex, I move to the room.

“Madam.”

In the hallway, I heard Hilka’s voice following from behind. I turned around.

“Something?”

“Your feet are swaying and it’s dangerous… Also, try to fix your expression with a smile. Did you notice that Senni was looking at you twice when you passed by earlier?”

Oh, I’m not good. I made my expression stiff and calmly walked to the room.

And after confirming that the room door was closed by Hilka, I threw myself onto the sofa with a sigh.

“Aah…”

My feet move flap, flap.

“Come on, stop making a mess.”

I answer while embracing the cushion.

“My husband is so wonderful, isn’t he!”

“That’s good to hear.”

Hilka’s reply is a flat voice.

“Lex is too cool.”

“Amazingly simple.”

I get up with a flourish.

“Wait a minute!”

“Actually, I think it turned out wonderful.”

Yes! How could I be so simple!

“It’s not, you know? I wouldn’t say that he looks the best physically.”

“But for Madam, that is the best, isn’t it?”

Ugh, Hilka seems to be having fun. The relationship as a maidservant has been long and now that we can live together without reservations, it seems that way.

“Well, generally speaking, if you just look at appearances, Elias would definitely be better, wouldn’t he?”

“He also has power, right?”

“But, what’s important is the inside, after all!”

“Yes, that’s true. I am glad to see that Vilhelmina-sama seems much happier now than when she was next to the crown prince without any substance.”

I nod with a smug look.

Then, Hilka clears her throat and speaks in a low voice.

“Well, “We are a married couple and family” after all.’

“Kyaa!”

“…So simple.”

***

Father looks at the letter he received from the housekeeper and crumples it up.

“Those damn idiots! I don’t know which territory or adventurers you got the magic stones from, but you can’t get it without buying it from us!”

It seems that the contract with the major magic tool workshop, Cyclatron, which we had been negotiating recently, has fallen apart.

The Duke Periknen family has been a wholesaler and customer of magic stone for many years, but now they are breaking that contract.

“If you want to buy it later, I won’t sell it to you!”

Father is angry.

“Father. Isn’t it still tough to try to raise the wholesale price of magic stones?”

Father is trying to raise the price of the magic stones. The standard price of magic stone is set by the country, and there is some margin there.

For example, in the case of a monster stampede occurring in the dungeon, the miners have to be evacuated from the dungeon. At that time, the market price of magic stones will rise.

Conversely, if the suppression is successful, the price will go down because many magic stones can be mined from the demon beasts.

“It’s within the range of the national standard price. You have no right to be criticized for this!”

No, there probably is. In fact, isn’t that why the other side has broken the contract?

“If there is a valid reason for the rise in the price of magic stone, they would have bought it even if it was higher. Isn’t that why they thought it wasn’t this time?”

“The Duke family is going to cost a lot of money from now on, but merchants don’t understand that. To celebrate when the Duke family becomes the father-in-law of the next king, it is common to happily give money.

The words of my father are arrogant, but I understand them. To adopt Miss Ina Madetoya as Ina Periknen, and to make her marry into the royal family.

There is no doubt that it will cost money, and if Prince Elias takes her as his wife, the Duke Periknen family will hold further power as the king’s family.

That trend should not be unknown to merchants. But there are also several merchants besides the Cyclatron who are saying they will stop doing business with the Duke family.

There are two possible reasons. One is a rumor that Ina is not being well-educated and is not recognized as the crown princess. The other is the possibility that they have obtained a cheaper source of magic stones.

Dungeons have been found in some territories or neighboring countries, or they may be hidden.

“Well, Jurremi. Let’s go and welcome Ina as a family member.”

Father heads for the entrance with the family orderly in tow. His wife and my half sister are probably already there.

Today is the day to welcome Miss Ina as the adopted daughter of the household.

We have to welcome her and her biological parents of the Madetoya family in the carriage coming from the royal castle.

I followed Father a little later.

Looking out the window, I can see the carriage decorated with the royal emblem entering the property in the bright weather.

“Is this my big sister’s scheme?”

I don’t know. How can my big sister be involved if a dungeon was found?

“Jurremi!”

I can hear Father’s voice calling from downstairs.

That’s right, I have to welcome the woman who kicked Big Sister out of this house.

Chapter 53: Claims

Miss Ina Madetoya has entered the Periknen family. A carriage carrying her from the palace was heading towards the Periknen townhouse.

This was witnessed by the people of the capital city, and there was even an article in the newspaper The Times.

From now on she will be Ina Periknen.

“I wonder if her education as the crown princess is progressing.”

“It looks like it’s difficult.”

The one who replied to my murmur was Milcah-sama.

She has started to come to the mansion to play, and earn some pocket money.

“I hear a lot of complaints from my brother who serves in the palace about the tutors assigned to her.”

Rumors in the capital city can be obtained even by someone like me who has become a commoner, but inside the palace, no matter what, it doesn’t reach.

Milcah-sama and others say that the tutor of etiquette was unable to handle Miss Madetoya’s education and her health deteriorated, or that Miss Madetoya herself became tired, or that His Highness Elias has been having more temper tantrums, or even that Elias-sama’s hair loss increased and the bed-maker said so. Whether it’s true or not is unknown.

“Even so, they were able to place her into the Periknen family as planned.”

When I said that and thought about it, they all dabbed at their eyes with handkerchiefs.

“I-I’m okay. Please don’t worry everyone.”

When I was banished from Periknen, Madetoya… Oh, I mean, it’s not Madetoya anymore, they must have misunderstood into thinking that I am heartbroken that Ina has been adopted.

“However, the fact that Miss Ina left the palace means that her education must have advanced to a certain extent.”

“I heard that the servants of this mansion have been serving Vilhelmina-sama for a long time, but have there been any rumors about the Periknen house?”

When I glanced at Hilka who was waiting by the wall, she came forward.

“I have not heard any rumors about Miss Ina since she was adopted, but I know that a decorator has entered the room and a governess(tutor) has been invited.”

“Hmm, it seems like it’s not just on paper, but she plans to stay.”

“If she don’t go into Periknen at all, wouldn’t it have a bad reputation?”

As they were talking about a new piece of gossip, another servant approached and whispered to them.

“Excuse me, Madam, there’s a problem at the third office.”

“Oh.”

The third office refers to the northern magic appraisal office in the capital.

I hide my face with a fan.

“It seems that someone is demanding to send out the person in charge.”

“The office manager couldn’t handle it?”

Seeing her nod, I give instructions to the servant.

“I’ll go. Hilka will take my place and serve as the hostess of the tea party.”

“Understood.”

“Someone, please inform my husband who is in the middle of his research that I am headed to the third office. I’ll take care of it, but just make sure he has his outing clothes ready just in case.”

I apologize to the guests of the tea party for my sudden departure.

“It’s okay, Vilhelmina-sama!”

“Yes, do your job properly!”

And with that, I quickly got into a carriage.

“So, what kind of claim is it?”

I ask.

In the first place, we are not taking money from the person we are appraising, so there should be no reason for any complaints to arise in the first place.

If this is a new store that is popular, there may be harassment from competitors and gangsters demanding protection money, but the person who guarded me when I was a young lady is always in the office, and we are not making any money, so we have never been asked for anything from those people.

“There are those who are not satisfied with the appraisal results.”

“I see. Did you not give in according to the manual response?”

Regarding claims about dissatisfaction with appraisal results, we state in the manual that we do not mind if you take the appraisal again later if you are not satisfied and that this is only a simple service and you should entrust it to a magician who can use proper appraisal magic.

So far, everything has been settled…

“Yes, but there are those who are not convinced that the results are ‘accurate’.

Mmm?

“It’s good if it’s accurate, isn’t it?”

“It was Lord Oliver Algren who brought it up…”

Well…

I involuntarily look up at the sky in the carriage.

“Isn’t he the brilliant young professor of the Magic Academy…!”

Indeed, the 3rd office in the northern part of the capital is relatively close to the magic academy, but!

When approaching the office, there doesn’t seem to be any particularly noticeable trouble. The usual line has formed.

Is it true that Lord Algren was in line?

I hastened and headed to the reception room of the office.

Chapter 54: The Great Magician

Oliver Algren, once known as the prodigy of the Marquis Algren family. He graduated from the royal magic school as the valedictorian and was a young and brilliant genius with the potential to become the royal court’s chief magician, but he stayed at the school as a researcher instead.

He should be 27 years old now, one year older than me and probably one of the most popular people among women, being the same age as Alex-sama.

Due to his talent and good looks.

And he, well…

When the door to the reception room was opened by the attendant, I felt the air blowing and a surge of magic energy.

I perform the lady’s etiquette.

“Good day, “The Great Magician of Ice and Flame,” Lord Algren. It’s an honor to meet you.”

One of the few people with more magic power than me…!

“I am Vilhelmina Peltra, the responsible person of this simple magic appraisal company, A&V.”

“Finally, you kept me waiting a lot. As you know, I’m Oliver Algren.”

Looking up, he is sitting on the leather sofa in the reception room, with his long legs crossed. He wears a gold-embroidered robe indicating his status as a great magician at the magic school.

He has a dignified face with long, tied-up silver hair, but what is unusual is his eyes. His left eye is a blue eye like the sea, but he is wearing a monocle on his right eye. Behind the lens of that monocle is a golden eye.

…This is his famous golden magic eye.

Oh, was he lined up outside in this attire?

With the commoners?

“I’m sorry. I’m not usually here on site, so I can’t handle issues as a staff member.”

Young…that’s what it feels like his lips said.

This is inevitable, I guess. If you wait for the person in charge and a young woman shows up, it’s only natural to feel unpleasant. However, even if that’s the case, I am still the person in charge.

No wonder, the staff here is so adamant that everything is classified that they won’t answer any of my questions. What the heck is that magical appraisal machine!

“No matter what you say, it’s a simple magic measurement device developed by our company. Is there anything you’re dissatisfied with?”

“That’s obvious! Look at the results of this appraisal!”

“…I’ll take a look.”

I sat on the sofa across from him and took the card placed on the desk.

“There was written Oliver Algren’s name followed by magic quantity A++, thunder attribute.”

“Excuse me for a moment.”

I get up from my seat, go down to one of the maidservants who was in charge of this office, hiding my mouth with a fan, and quietly ask in a low voice.

“How many carats was it?”

“It’s 5 carats.”

“Oh…!”

I look up at the sky.

The first magic stone I made, Mina’s first model, which I made for the first time, was not yet optimized for magical energy conversion efficiency, it released magical energy at full power and became a 1.5 carat magic stone.

As a result of Lex continuously improving durability and conversion efficiency, the latest model #12 can make magic stones from 3 to 3.5 carats.

Is Lord Algren suddenly making 5 carats?

In addition to having more magical power than I do, it could also be because he is a magician who is accustomed to exercising his magic…

“I was sure that even before cutting it, it would become a wonderful stone, the yellow diamond was also beautifully bright yellow.”

Bright yellow, that is certainly a characteristic of the thunder attribute.

“Where’s the stone?”

“One of the guards puts it in a magic blocking box and holds it in his arms, trembling.”

That’s… That’s what happens when you’re suddenly handed something like a national treasure.

“Thank you.”

I return to my seat. Lord Algren’s fingers are tapping on the edge of the sofa, as if he is annoyed at being left alone.

“I apologize for making you wait. Right now, I would like to hear about the reason for examining the results of this appraisal and why we determined it to be an A++ with thunder attribute and there is no error in our judgement.”

“Bang!” His hand hit the sofa, and he raised his voice.

“I have been hiding that I have the thunder attribute!”

…why did he take the appraisal if he wanted to keep it a secret then?

Chapter 55: Great Technology

Certainly, Lord Algren is referred to as the “Ice and Flame Magician.” Does this mean that the assessment results would be strange if they were not fire or water as attributes?

Hmmm. I can understand that it would take remarkable talent and effort to reach the level of a great magician while hiding one’s original attribute, but …

“However, if the original attribute is lightning, would it not be strange if it came out when assessed?”

“No, it’s definitely strange. I have cast a disguise spell on myself.”

…I see, so he’s upset that despite disguising himself, his true attribute has been revealed despite his efforts.

It’s possible that the existing assessment magic has not yet broken that disguise spell, whether it be in magic schools, magic towers, churches, or palaces. I have not heard any rumors that the true attribute of the “Ice and Flame Magician” is lightning.

He never expected that disguise spell to be exposed by this “Simple Magic Assessment Center.”

“I am not well-versed in magic, but I understand that the disguise spell did not work with our magic measurement machine. But that is not our fault, is it?

“That’s true, but it’s a problem on my side.

Lord Algren nodded his head and sighed.

“But shouldn’t such secrets be revealed in a more presentable situation? The crisis of the kingdom, the world! Confronting the great magician! But the enemy was strong and gradually pushed back… but he had a secret power. To release it and let countless lightning bolts from the sky burn the enemy! And the world was protected… How’s that!”

“… If it were a popular play, I’m sure it would get a standing ovation.”

Yes, as a play. He nodded satisfactorily.

“I know, I know. And to say that in a place like this, where there are so many commoners is…”

If he were standing in line, he probably would have expected the appraisal results being conveyed…I guess he didn’t expect to be exposed as lightning in the first place…

“That’s… very unfortunate.”

Yes, he nodded.

“But, let’s say that what’s done is done. The problem is why my attribute was revealed in this magic appraisal. Miss Pertro!”

“It’s Peltra.”

“Miss Peltra!”

I’m not a miss anymore, but anyway, I can understand what he’s saying. He probably can’t tolerate the fact that there’s something he doesn’t know, especially about magic.

It must be an important curiosity as a researcher.

For that reason, he doesn’t mind mixing with commoners and exposing the possibility of revealing his own attribute.

…Well, the latter may be due to excessive confidence.

“Is the spell to fake the appraisal only the attribute?”

His eyes shone brilliantly.

“That’s a good question. Right now, I am exposed as Oliver Algren because of the appraisal, so I am not hindering. Of course, I usually disguise my magical power as that of a normal magician, and I also use recognition hindrance to make it difficult for others to notice me. If this genius magician were to walk the streets, there would be an uproar!”

Oh, so that’s why there was no commotion while he was standing in line dressed like this. The residents of the capital wouldn’t have recognized him lined up with a monocle and gold eye.

“In other words, you hid the amount of magic power from us, but now you’ve revealed it as well.

“That’s right…yes, even the magical power capacity of the magical tools!”

“Ha.”

“How can it take so much of my magic and not even break!”

…Or maybe, that was your intention to break it.

“The reason the appraiser machine doesn’t break is because it lets the magic pass through instead of storing it within the mechanism. If Lord Algren rapidly filled the machine with magic, it would have been destroyed, but it doesn’t break depending on the amount of magic. Can you imagine why the appraiser couldn’t fake your results?”

The reason why magic crystallizes and becomes a magic stone is because it is on the outside of the central part of the device.

He sank deeply into the sofa and was silent for a while. Then he took a big breath and probably drank the cold tea on the table.

“…The appraisal spell targets either a living organism or an object, and therefore, it is being used on me, whether for my disguise or my interference, to my body. In response, Miss Peltra’s prepared magic appraiser machine is appraising the magic that I released.”

“Probably.”

He nods, saying “I see, I see.”

“Wonderful.”

“I’m honored by your compliments.”

He stands up leisurely, then extends his right palm towards me.

“Come on, disclose that wonderful technique to me!”

“Eeh, no.”

Chapter 56: Confront

“What?”

Oops, I just reflexively declined. It’s not good that my tone has been slurring like a commoner lately.

“It’s a great honor, but I respectfully decline.”

“Why is that? If you were to be recognized by me, it should greatly benefit you or your company, shouldn’t it?”

He says with a curious look. There is no ill will here. What Lord Algren says is correct. Commoner’s research and business is protected and recognized by organizations such as nobles, schools, and churches. It is like a royal warrant.

Of course, that’s because they don’t know the true worth or reality of this appraisal machine.

Even if he is well-intentioned and thinks it will benefit both parties, it would be a burden for us.

“To put it bluntly, we are not looking for honor, nor are we interested in picking up pennies.”

The corners of his mouth rise.

“Oh, you call my help pennies?”

“What we seek is far beyond that.”

“Interesting woman. By calling my help pennies, does that mean you’re trying to earn as much money as a country can buy? It’s not a free magic appraisal then.”

I just respond with a smile.

“It’s okay if the school buys it instead of me personally, right?”

…This is more pressure than kindness. He has shown the power of the organization.

I received the list of appraisal results from the servant, who is the responsible person in charge here.

“We have already started negotiations with the magic school with the intention of selling them a list of appraisals from all over the capital.”

The results can be sold, but the machine cannot be handed over. That’s it.

Well, it is a big problem to be hostile to a great magician named Oliver Algren. It’s not just his personal power, but also his power as a noble and a great magician, and the power of the school organization.

However, I will never allow Lex’s important research to be taken from above or snatched from the side.

Then How about making him our ally?

Ideally, we would like to attract him to us, but he will not leave magic school. We can’t offer him that much benefit.

So what if we remain indifferent?

But it’s very unfortunate to let go of Lord Algren, because——.

——he has 5 carats!

“Lord Algren, is your goal to develop the magic formula that can deceive and falsify the attributes of this appraisal machine?”

“Well…yes.”

“Would it be okay if I either publicly release or provide this technology? Or, if I were to teach the structure of this machine, it would be like pouring salt on Lord Algren’s wound — is that okay?”

A pressure, like a wind blowing from the front, and the crackling of static electricity ran along the floor and across my skin.

“Are you trying to mock me!”

His magical eyes shone with a golden light. I heightened my own magic. I am unable to use magic spells, but if I fill myself with magic power, I can counteract some of the pressure to a certain extent.

“No, just a warning and confirmation. How about it?”

“…No, I won’t allow the technology to be made public.”

It seems like the sound of grinding teeth could be heard.

“This is not to make up for my rudeness, but I have one thing I can help Lord Algren with.”

He nodded and urged him to go ahead.

“Once a week, I am waiting for you in the reception room of this office. Lord Algren does not need to line up and if there are any questions, I will answer them. If I am able to answer them. How is that?”

“All right, I accept your challenge! I’ll be waiting for you with my head held high!”

With that, he stood up and left the office.

…hmm.

After he left the room, no one breathed or made a sound, and enough time had passed to let the tea steep before a sigh finally came out.

The maidservant and the guards who were waiting by the wall slumped down, patting their chests.

In the room where people were gasping for air, one of the guards spoke up.

“Vilhelmina-sama, please forgive me. I thought I’d die.”

The maidservant next to him poked him with her elbow.

“What are you going to do if you, the guard, don’t come forward?”

“No, I know, but… I’m sorry, Madam. My leg, I couldn’t move.”

The guards lined up and bowed their heads to me.

Well, that wasn’t just a simple killing intent, it was a magical pressure.

“I’ll let it slide this time. But make sure you can move next time.”

“Yes, thank you for your kindness!”

I really want to say that I pray that there won’t be a next time, but …

“Well, anyway.”

I drink my tea, which is now completely lukewarm.

Moisture returned to my mouth that was dry from tension.

“It has been decided that I can get a 5-carat magic stone once a week.”

Chapter 57: Gift

On the day when Mina had trouble at the 3rd office and left the tea party suddenly:

I was only able to prepare to leave, but it seems that there was no problem after all. After a while, her carriage returned.

“So, what was the trouble today?”

That night, I asked Mina. She said that the Great Magician of Ice and Flame, Lord Oliver Algren, came, and she was able to deal with it for the time being.

And then she handed me a box.

“This is a magic stone made by him.”

“… amazing.”

Oliver Algren is a young Great Magician who is known for making headlines in the newspaper. He’s amazing, to say the least…

In the box was his 5-carat brilliant yellow magic stone. We continued talking, and she suddenly murmured.

“By the way, I was mistaken for a “miss” by him.”

I was startled, and my shoulders trembled.

“I-I see.”

After ending the conversation, I stood up from my seat first because she was going to take a bath today. Maidservant Hilka-san also followed and left the room.

I leaned my back against the backrest of the chair and sighed.

I feel that the gaze of the maids standing at the wall is painful for some reason.

The servants here have a high ratio of women. And since the few male servants are often outside the mansion as guards or servants, the inside of the house is even more female-dominated. Originally, it’s because they serve Mina, who was originally a noble’s daughter.

I didn’t talk to her, but I talked to one of the few male servants, the butler Talvo-san.

“Talvo-san.”

“Master, call me Talvo.”

“Ah,…Talvo. Do you need proof that she is a married person?”

The pressure from female servants increased.

Talvo cast his gaze into the room and coughed once. The servants slightly averted their gaze.

“This is a difficult question. In our country and neighboring countries among the nobles, when they are engaged, men give women a ring with a jewel. During the marriage, they give each other a ring without a stone for daily use. However, this practice may not have spread among commoners who do not participate in the noble society.”

“I see.”

In other words, Talvo is saying that it is strange that Mina, who has been in and out of noble society up until now, doesn’t have a ring, and that in the future, he(Lord Algren) or someone else might say the same thing.

That’s why Mina was mistaken as unmarried by Lord Algren.

“In the case of the Master and Madam, it is special. In the first place, the two of you were not engaged, and there was no wedding ceremony.”

I stop his words by holding up my hand.

“You don’t have to tell me.”

“Ah, I apologize for the rude words.”

Talvo lowers his head.

I forgot. Or rather, I didn’t have time to think.

I was married in a sham marriage, had a wife with a medal, and was forced to move to a new house unprepared for a new life.

Starting from a place where I don’t even know her name, let alone love, she still supported me devotedly.

I don’t think I have repaid her devotion. The magical crystallization device named Mina has brought us wealth, and she was able to call back her former servants.

“…I didn’t even give a single flower.”

I whisper while unconsciously clenching my fist.

Even if we are not as luxurious as nobles, people still give engagement gifts like wristbands. It’s just common sense, isn’t it?

“Since it is customary to give each other a ring as a sign of marriage, I will discuss the matter with Vilhelmina.”

“Yes, that would be good.”

“Before that…I want to give her a gift. Something equivalent to an engagement ring.”

A chorus of women cheered on the sidelines.

“I’m sure the Madam will also be pleased.”

“Master!”

One of the maids calls out to me with twinkling eyes, her hands clasped in front of her chest.

“What is it?”

“Let’s keep it a secret from Madam, okay?!”

…Is she saying to make it a surprise?

“Thank you. By the way, what should I call it when I give it to her? It’s not an engagement ring, after all.”

“…How about for her birthday, which is coming up next month on the 7th?”

I looked up at the sky.

The season was autumn. Half a year and a little bit of time had passed since the day of the spring medal ceremony when I married Vilhelmina.

I thanked God that her birthday had not passed during this time.

Chapter 58: Birthday

The autumn is gradually deepening. The days are getting shorter and the mornings and evenings are getting cooler, around the time the leaves on the trees in the garden are losing color.

The social season is ending and many nobles are returning to their country houses.

Madetoya… no, Miss Ina Periknen also headed for one of the country houses belonging to the Duke family, along with the Periknen family.

Surprisingly… that’s unexpected. I never thought that His Highness Elias would separate her from his side, and I think she still has a lot to learn inside the palace.

According to the information from the servants, a number of tutors accompanied her to the Duchy of Periknen, where she would be educated to become a queen.

“Are you ready?”

One day, Lex announced that he would take a break from work and research and go out.

That date was my birthday.

“Yes, I apologize for the wait.”

Today’s Lex wore a silk hat and a long coat of candy color. With a cane tucked under his left arm, he looked like a wonderful gentleman from any angle.

“Master, Madam. Have a good trip.”

“Have a good trip.”

The people in the house see us off as we all leave together. Their movements are impeccable, but I can sense an atmosphere where they are trying not to show their smiles or emotions.

Normally, they wouldn’t see us off like this.

“Give me your hand.”

I place my left hand on his right hand and get into the carriage.

The sound of the whip, the sound of the wheels turning.

“What’s wrong with you today?”

“I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Happy birthday.”

“Well. I’ve never been taken on an outing to celebrate before.

“Is that so?”

When I was young, my parents used to celebrate my birthday at home, but after my mother passed away and my stepmother came, I haven’t celebrated on my birthday. Lord Elias used to give me handwritten message cards and gifts when we were engaged, but the cards became written by his servants and eventually, I didn’t receive any words of celebration.

“Mina and I went out together many times…”

But Lex looks away from the window.

“But, this is the first time I’ve ever asked you out on a date.”

That’s right, we do go to the central bank in the capital and go shopping for clothes, but it’s always for work purposes.

Come to think of it, we may not have ever gone out with the purpose of just playing.

“Well, so you asked me out on our first date.”

His eyes start to turn red.

Thus, the two of us enjoyed walking around the city. Walking along the paths in a park blooming with autumn flowers, eating lunch bought from a street vendor sitting on a bench, window shopping and buying small items or souvenirs for the servants…

And then, we got back into the carriage and moved to a dinner restaurant.

A high-class restaurant that even nobles go to, with a dress code. A shop where the former palace chef is the chief chef.

It seems that he had reserved a private room.

“Happy birthday.”

Saying that, we raised our glasses for a toast.

“Thank you.”

The meal was a coarse meal. The reason the number of dishes was a little less than a full course is because it was not a dinner party but a restaurant.

We enjoyed the meal while reminiscing about the past half year with Lex. After finishing the meal, he said in a firm tone.

“Mina, I have a present for you, would you accept it?”

“Is it a birthday present? Of course.”

He stood up from his seat, stood beside me, took a small box from his pocket and knelt down.

“This is for you, Vilhelmina.”

He said that and opened the small box, and a rainbow-colored light leaked out. It was a ring.

I took a breath.

The light was a precious opal. Opal is a stone that can greatly change in value depending on how it shines, but this one has the highest shine of all.

The smooth cabochon cut and polished colorless transparent stone shimmered as if it had trapped flames inside, and its surface sparkled in rainbow colors reflected from the room’s lighting.

Around the opal are small crystals… or rather, magic stones. They are scattered on the ring.

“We’ve been together without an engagement, without a wedding, without vows, so I wanted to tell you, even though it’s a little late for that.”

“Uh huh…”

I extended my left hand.

Lex gently took my hand from below with a kind touch and passed the ring through my ring finger.

Flames danced on my palm.

“Beautiful…”

My voice trembled and became hoarse.

“Fire opal.”

“It’s my birthstone.”

“Yeah, the magic stones around it are… mine.”

The fact that the small, transparent, and attribute-less magic stone called opal, which is my birthstone, is surrounded by Lex’s magic stone means that I am surrounded by Lex’s love. Is it right to think that this is the meaning of the stone?

“It’s a small magic stone, so it doesn’t have much effect, but I had a preservation spell applied… Oh, um, to make sure the love of our life never fades away.”

Fufu

He scratches his head and presses his face.

“Ah, I bit it in the end… despite practicing.”

“Alex,… please with your words.”

“…Vilhelmina, I will always love you.”

“Me too.”

I got up from the chair and hugged him.

Chapter 59: Ascending the Castle

“Nfufufufu.”

At the base of my left ring finger, a red, flickering light shines, as if trapped in a flame.

“Fuehehehe.”

When I change the angle of my hand, small stars glittering like they’re surrounding the fire shine. It’s a brilliant cut, unattributed magic stone.

“Madam, again?”

Hilka asks in a voice as if she’s amazed.

“Because…”

“Yes, yes, it’s beautiful, so please work. You’re taking a long break.”

I throw myself onto the sofa.

“Oh, Hilka is cold!”

“How many days do you think have passed since then?”

A few days after I received a ring from Lex on my birthday, the maidservants and servants fawned over me saying “Wonderful, wonderful,” but I feel that their attitude is gradually becoming careless.

“Already! I’m working properly!”

“Yes, you’re really competent.”

Incidentally, when I went to see Lord Algren the other day with this ring on, he seemed to have received a shock when he found out that I was “already married” and stumbled home.

“I never thought that my lady Vilhelmina would be playing around so coolly, but it’s all the better that she seems happy.”

She said that while she gave me the teacup I was taking a break with, with a kind smile.

“There’s nothing to play around with.”

Another servant brought in an unopened letter on a silver tray with an uneasy expression.

“Uh… Madam… again.”

I can tell even without looking, this is the third letter. It’s an order to come to the castle from His Highness Elias.

Recently, I and Lex have left the response to the butler Talvo instead of going to meet the messenger from the royal family.

Then the letter ordering the visit to the castle came by mail.

I cut the seal with a paper knife and skimmed the text.

“Maybe it’s time I answered the call and went to the castle.”

“Is it dangerous?”

“Well, yes. However, His Highness hasn’t sent troops to the mansion to try to detain me with his power, so I’m willing to make at least that much concession.

If we leave it alone for too long, we may end up in prison for disrespect.

And so, I stand alone before the royal castle.

It is a place I have visited many times before, but now everything beyond here is considered an enemy. I will approach with that in mind.

I was not led to the audience chamber, but to a building for the Crown Prince.

I was led to the reception room and waited for a while.

Tea and sweets were offered, but I did not touch them. I just waited for the tea to get cold.

A servant brought down the cold tea without a word and when the newly brewed tea became cold again, His Highness’ entrance was announced.

“By the grace of His Royal Highness Prince Elias Sipi Patrikainen!”

I stood up, facing the open door and knelt with my dress turned over. This was not a lady’s bow, but I knelt on the floor with both knees and placed both hands on my chest and lowered my head.

“Yes.”

I heard the voice of the chamberlain, but I did not move from this position.

I can hear the sound of rustling clothes and the sound of armor rubbing. It must be His Royal Highness Elias with his guards. He seems to have hesitated around the entrance of the room, as if he had stepped on a footstool.

It was reported that I did not drink any tea. I did not even pretend to drink, even with the teapot in my hand.

This is a clear expression of distrust and rejection.

And now my bow is a formal way of greeting when a commoner meets a royalty. It clarifies my position.

“… It’s been a long time, Vilhelmina.”

A voice was called out from above.

I did not respond to that, also because of etiquette.

This indicated the intention of not speaking ‘casually’ like during a garden party.

Words were whispered above, and the chamberlain raised his voice.

“His Royal Highness, Elias Sipi Patrikainen, the Dawn of the Kingdom, grants you direct permission to answer. Raise your heads.”

I stood up, bowing my head while stepping back.

“I say again, raise your heads.”.”

This was the first time I looked up.

It was a beautiful face like the Crown Prince that I saw after a long time, but its beauty did not shake my heart at all.

“It’s been a long time, Vilhelmina.”

He says that again and greets me again, but I do not return it.

“It’s not Vilhelmina. Please call me Mrs. Peltra.”

His eyebrow twitched. I continued my words again.

“There is no one here who can call me Vilhelmina.”

I showed him my left hand ring, proof that I am Mrs. Peltra.

Chapter 60: The Uncovering of the Water

“No, let’s call it Vilhelmina. She seems to be in good health.”

I gently slap the closed fan on my left cheek, and speak in a cold voice while making gestures indicating my discomfort and denial.

“It is thanks to Your Highness’ “authority .”

His Highness’ mouth twitched.

Vilhelmina, I have called you here today to be my official concubine.

“I decline.”

To my immediate reply, His Highness Elias closed his eyes for a moment and showed a look of resignation. The guards around us unsheathed their swords.

His Highness conveyed his intention to stop the movement with a gesture, and kept them still.

“Do you really refuse?”

“That’s an impossible order in the first place. Do you think an unmarried prince can have a concubine? If there is a new law regarding marriage in the royal family, can you show me a document from the king or the House of Lords?”

A cough from a chamberlain.

“Of course, not immediately. It was a promise to officially give her the status of concubine after His Highness Prince Elias ascended to the throne. ”

“In other words, become a mistress?”

“No…”

“I’m not asking you, now I’m allowed to answer directly. Your Highness, please answer.”

I tilt my head loosely and wait for a response. I thought something like this might happen.

Oh, I understand why this kind of summons has come now. It’s to prevent Miss Ina from hearing about this and to prevent Duke Periknen from interfering.

The social season has ended, and he may have been waiting for them to return to the Periknen territory.

“…Yes, to welcome you as a mistress.”

I put my palm to my mouth and laughed loudly.

“You make me laugh when you call me your mistress when we don’t have a shred of love for each other. And to make it even more ridiculous, you want to make me your work assistant. You’re quite good at making jokes.”

In other words, the only means to allow me, who is a commoner, a woman, and a married person, to stay continuously in the castle, is to make me a mistress. I can’t be a queen or a concubine, I can’t be given the position of a noble, and I can’t be hired as a senior official or a senior servant.

The only possible relationship is as a mistress, based on sexual relationship and no inheritance rights given to children.

And the fact that he has no choice but to call on me indicates that His Highness is being neglected by officials and officials. Even if I am not present, there would be no problem if you had excellent and loyal followers.

“…that’s disrespectful language to me, don’t you know.”

“Don’t tell me, Your Highness, that you think I respect you?”

The guards drew their swords and the chamberlain shouted.

“Disrespect to royalty is a crime that deserves death!”

I tightened my left fist. Love is here. I don’t fear death.

“Feel free to kill me, but do you understand that it will lead to Your Highness’s downfall?”

“Nonsense! What problem would there be if I killed just one commoner like you?!”

I gaze into Your Highness’s blue eyes intently.

I opened and closed my fan, making a sound each time, but His Highness remained silent.

“By the way, I’ve informed the fourteen noble families I have dealings with that I’m visiting the castle today, and I’ve also contacted the bank, merchants, and newspaper companies, etc.”

“What kind of joke is this…!”

I tilt my head.

“Why? It’s just a fact.”

However, I don’t know what kind of response or article would result if I don’t go back. That’s all.

I heard a sigh from the front.

“… Put away your swords.”

The sound of the scabbard echoed in Your Highness’s voice.

“Vilhelmina, I apologize for the impoliteness from my side. And I hope you understand that I can only call you back in this form.”

Without saying whether I accept the apology or not, I wait for the next words.

“However, I want to request it. Could you please assist me with my work and be Ina’s assistant? There is no one who can support me except you.”

I snort and laugh with my nose.

“I understand that this is the most inept request for His Highness Elias. But no. Absolutely not.”

“… Why not?”

“It’s no use crying over spilled milk. That’s a saying even children know. Is His Excellency’s request worth as much as my honor being restored?”

His Highness cannot restore my honor. That’s because His Highness defamed my honor by giving legitimacy to his love affair with Miss Ina. If my honor is restored, the legitimacy of their affair will disappear.

In short, it’s a catch-22.

“Vilhelmina, there was no love between you and me… but you still supported me wholeheartedly.”

“That is… because I didn’t know love.”

I stroke my left wrist with my right hand.

“I now know love. My devotion is only for him.”

“What are you…”

Did he receive a shock from those words? His Highness’s face turned pale and he let out a murmur that could not be turned into words.

I don’t blame you for feeling that way. He never thought that a Duke’s daughter would love a commoner. But, in the first place, it was said that Your Highness loved a Baron’s daughter.

I knelt down again and lowered my head.

“May His Highness Elias reflect on the past, cherish the present, and carefully consider the future. If he does so, I am sure he will surely be able to grasp happiness within reach.”

This will be the only and last word I will give to him who taught me what it means to love someone. For when I leave this place, he will return to being a lost person.

Chapter 61: The Season Turns to Winter

I leave the castle and take the carriage to the park just outside the castle.

I saw the figures of my house servants. Yes, they were waiting for me here.

“Mina!”

I hear Lex’s voice. I wave from the window of the carriage.

Along with Milcah-sama, who wore a sword-belt, there are friends of the nobility, some guards I have seen at Mr. Cremetti’s, and a journalist I talked to.

“Lex! Everyone…!”

Lex takes my hand and leads me down from the carriage and I bow to them.

“Thank you for gathering. I am glad to be able to return safely.”

Milcah-sama takes my hand.

“Most importantly, I am glad you are safe!”

As the journalist has a pen in hand and looks at us, I send a wink.

“I was asked to become the prince’s concubine, but I declined.”

“That’s… I don’t know if we can make an article out of it.”

I will be hated by the royal family.

“I will make it into a sensationalist article for the masses.”

“Do as you please.”

We talk about such things, eat outside, and then return home.

We are warmly welcomed by the servants who were waiting at home, and I throw myself onto the sofa in the living room.

“Oh, I’m tired.”

Even if I take a slouchy posture with my head leaning back against the backrest, no one will complain today.

“Thank you for your work, and again, I’m so glad you’re safe and sound.”

Lex says while sitting next to me.

“Yes, yes, I’m glad I don’t have to use this.”

I took off my necklace.

A gold chain necklace. The chain part is thin and simple. However, the necklace top hidden under my clothes has an unusual shape.

It is a pentagram. In the center is my made magic stone, and on the top of the star are five 5-carat lightning-attribute magic stones made by Lord Algren, it’s a plain and unrefined necklace as a ornament.

“I told you not to bring it.”

Lex looks dissatisfied.

This necklace ornament is a simple five-linked magic stone bomb. Following my will, magic power flows into five magic stones from the central one. It is only this structure, but it bursts as different magic powers reach criticality while repelling each other.

It’s something that often intentionally causes accidents related to magic stones, but in this case, what leaks out is the vast thunder-attribute magic power of 5 Lord Algrens.

With just pure destructive power, it should easily destroy the entire building where His Highness resides.

“A sword is a lady’s weapon, you know.”

I sang thus.

It is an old tradition to have a short sword with delicate workmanship as a wedding present(tool), but even now it is said that this still remains in martial arts families.

It is for self-defense in case of emergency, and also for when one’s honor is humiliated, to thrust their own throat.

“Too powerful for a lady’s bosom sword, don’t you think?”

Lex took the necklace from me and, with a smooth motion like that of a technician, removed the magic stone.

I looked up at him from below and couldn’t help but smile.

If I can be taken care of in the process of suicide, then that’s fine too. I had it made with that in mind, but…

“It’s much better to be able to be together.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

After Lex finished his work, he held my hand.

Without saying anything, until the tremble stopped.

The season moves from autumn to winter. Days are short and nights are long. In the mornings, there are days when frost falls in the garden, and as the year’s end approaches, the capital becomes colder.

Wood was placed in the fireplace in the center of the mansion.

As I was watching that fire, I was suddenly addressed.

“Good for you, Madam.”

“Senni…what’s wrong?”

It was Senni who was there. She wasn’t serving me directly at the Periknen household, but she supported me and Lex as our maid, even though I had become a commoner.

She gave a carefree smile.

“There’s a fireplace at home.”

The other servants who heard that nodded their heads, I nodded too.

Oh, that’s right.

Just after that engagement was broken off, Lex and I were thrown into a house without a fireplace, and I wondered how we would survive the winter. We talked about it many times.

The narrow house, where the three of us, Lex, I and Senni, had to live, is now a memory. It was small and lacking in everything.

“Yeah, it’s good to have a fireplace. Although that house was fun in its own way.”

“Yes, Madam.”

I suddenly hum a song.

“There must have been a tavern back then. Where we raised our glasses together♪.”

It’s a popular song among the singing commoners that recalls memories. Senni continued singing the song.

“Remembering those young days, when we laughed and thought we could do great things in the future♪.”

Fufu, this is becoming less of a song and more of a classical play.

“Those were the days, my friend. We thought there was no end to youth and danced all day long♪.”

Senni hugged me tightly.

“Madam, Master. Unlike the song, you both have achieved great things. It’s still too early to live in memories.”

I also put my hands around her body.

It was that night. Lex succeeded in developing the magic element accumulation device, in other words, a mechanism to collect magic elements in the atmosphere.

Chapter 62: Completion

Recently, I know that Lex is in a good phase with his research and has been holed up in the mansion’s research lab until late, or quietly slips out of our room to work on his research even after I have gone to bed.

There is also monitoring of the servants, and they are properly fed and ensured a minimum amount of sleep.

I open the door to the research lab.

He, with dark circles under his eyes, gleaming eyes and arms spread wide, greeted me.

“It’s done!”

“Congratulations!”

I jumped into his arms and we spun around like a waltz, laughing together.

“Look.”

On the desk, there is a trumpet-like metal tube with a broad tip like a morning glory flower.

“Is this the magic element something…”

“It’s an atmospheric magic element accumulator.”

The mechanism in the center, the pistil part if it were a flower, would be for gathering the magic element. From there, a tube extends and is connected to the high-concentration magic element crystallization device, Mina#12. In the flask of Mina#12, there is a reaction like frost falling, and the crystallization of the magic stone is occurring.

There was a small, grain-like magic stone rolling around at the bottom of the flask.

“Well, it’s small.”

“That’s because the magic element in the atmosphere is never of high concentration.”

“Hmmm.”

“It is possible that the magic stone could be made larger with more time, but to what extent it can be made larger and whether there is a significant difference in the quality of the magic stone due to time is still unknown.”

Lex explains, but I don’t really understand the technicalities. But I’m sure I can help with data creation and organization.

“For example, if the concentration of the magic element in the atmosphere is high, can it be made into a faster or larger magic stone?”

“That’s right.”

The Periknen Territory is supposed to have a higher average concentration of magic elements than the capital. It’s unclear whether the high concentration of magic elements is because of the dungeons or whether the dungeons are there because of the high concentration of magic elements.

Hopefully we will be able to do some research on that side eventually.

Suddenly, Oliver Lord Algren comes to mind. When I first met him, he was emitting a large amount of magic elements. I wonder what would happen if I put this around him for example.

…As expected, cooperation from a magician, especially one with high rank or position, would be desirable.

“Well, the magic stone produced currently is too small to be usable.”

Even if it’s used as fuel for magical equipment, it’s too small to meet the standards.

“However, from improving the crystallization device from #1 to #12, the size of the magic stone that can be made and, um, the conversion efficiency of magic power, wasn’t it? That has greatly improved, right?”

“That’s right.”

“And I suppose we will continue to improve it from now on, right?”

Lex nodded with a confident expression.

“Of course, that’s right.”

Lex has a reserved personality, but he still has confidence in his own research.

I also smile.

“There’s no problem then. So this, magic element in the atmosphere…”

“It’s an Atmospheric Magic Element Accumulator.”

“Do you have any cute nicknames for this one, too?”

The previous magic crystalization device was named Mina #1 due to Senni’s suggestion.

Lex says while slightly turning his eyes away and scratching his nose.

“I was thinking of the name Vilhelm#1, just in case…”

“Vilhelm #1.”

“Yeah.”

Of course, it was taken from my name Vilhelmina. If you take the first and second half of my name and name each device Vilhelm and Mina, respectively.

“Vilhelm sounds a little masculine for a name.”

Indeed, it is a male name, but…

I shake my head and look at the Atmospheric Magic Element Accumulator and Mina #12, which is connected to it, on the desk.

Vilhelm… I am truly happy that Lex is thinking of me first.

“It is a great honor and I am truly happy from the bottom of my heart. But…”

“But?”

“Husband, would it be possible for me to name this (combined)device if it doesn’t inconvenience you?”

He nods.

“Oh, of course. Do you have a name in mind?”

“Yes… I would like to name it Lex#1.”

He opens his eyes wide and shows a surprised expression.

“Lex?”

“Yes.”

He pointed at himself with his right hand.

“Me?”

I grabbed his right hand with both of my hands and pulled it towards my chest. Then I looked at the two devices on the desk. Lex’s gaze followed mine.

“Because those devices look like they are holding hands like this, just the two of us.”

Chapter 63: Negotiations

A new year has begun.

The servants were given time off during the end of the year and beginning of the new year, and we spent it leisurely at the mansion. Some friends of Milcah-sama of the Sarusti family, including Milcah-sama, stayed in the capital without returning to their territories, so we met them.

However, it can be said that the noble district of the capital is sparse in general. We can say that we have welcomed a quiet start of the year.

Lex tends to stay in the lab. Since this is not good for his health, I took him out to walk around the city moderately.

The Simple Magic Appraisal Office is still thriving as usual. The commoners don’t leave the capital even in winter.

Especially, the ratio of children has increased, hasn’t it? Because you can get sweets.

And today, I am in the reception room of the third office.

The magic appraisal device in front of my eyes is Mina #12, but there was a clunking sound from it.

“How’s that!”

That’s what Lord Oliver Algren said.

He stayed at the magic school this winter and came here every week to have an appraisal done.

“Please wait a moment.”

The maidservant peered into the appraiser’s work area and saw a strong blue magic stone.

After a while, the maidservant returned and handed the appraiser a card, which was placed on the desk for inspection.

“Congratulations, it’s an appraisal result of an ice-element with a magic quantity of A+.”

Lord Algren nodded satisfactorily.

“For me, who developed the lightning-element absorption formula, adding other attributes is like a child’s play!”

Last time, he was able to give the result of non-attribute, and this time he was able to add the attributes of fire and ice.

The magic spells of extracting an attribute from the released magic power and adding an attribute, and probably hiding the use of these magic spells, are being activated simultaneously.

The release of magic power was stopped midway, so it was only about three carats in size, but a red magic stone and a blue magic stone were created.

I smiled.

“I guess that’s it then. We also appreciate being taught about such a disguise method and it has been a valuable learning experience for us.”

“Cut the BS, lady.”

“Oh.”

“As for what you were talking about, me getting dirt on that magic detector. I can say that I’ve taken my revenge for it today.”

“Yes, therefore I said congratulations a while ago.”

He sticks his body out of the sofa.

“Then, as I said at the beginning, reveal that technology to me!”

“As I previously informed you, whatever the price, it’s too low.”

“Do you really think you can refuse me if I want you to?”

He is someone who is widely known not only among the magic school, but also the palace magicians and nobles. You should know that it’s not something you can hide just by saying you want to hide it.

I exhale and slowly shake my head.

“I don’t think we can refuse you by ordinary means.”

“I see, in that case…”

I follow up his words with mine.

“So why don’t we have a duel?”

“…What?”

“If a commoner like me can make my will known, it is the only way.

“Do you mean for me to lay a hand on a woman?”

Lord Algren furrows his brow.

There are also many women among the magicians that are called witch-witches. However, he seemed to have gentlemanly and noble ideas that he could not attack women.

“Of course I wouldn’t stand a chance in a proper duel.”

He nods.

“So, how about this. Here, you use your mind reading spell on me once. If you can read my mind, you win. I will show you the technology. If you can’t read my mind, I win. In that case, the discussion of technological disclosure is over. How about that?”

He laughs through his nose.

“My magic is not so sweet that an amateur can resist…”

“As a matter of fact, even though it is against the law, if a high-ranking magician like Lord Algren had used mind-reading magic secretly, he would have been able to extract information from us. So we are all very grateful to you for being so forthcoming.

He blushes and turns his face away.

“Hmph… I don’t like tricks like tricking and killing.”

“Wonderful manners.”

I nod my head lightly and ask, “How about it?”

And I added as if I just thought of it.

“Oh, if I win and you still want to know, I will tell you if you swear an oath of secrecy and hire you, I don’t mind telling you.”

“Vilhelmina Peltra.”

“What is it?”

His golden eyes narrow behind the lens of his monocle.

“You’re good at getting me to talk. You’re… Dangerous. You’re a dangerous woman.”

I simply respond with a smile.

“Alright, let’s have a match then.”

Chapter 64: Duel

There’s a pressure from him like wind being released from his body. I spread my fan and hide my mouth.

“Signal?”

“Not necessary. You’re free to go.”

He doesn’t need incantations, gestures, magic circles, and such. He simply focuses his mind and raises his inner magic.

For high-level magicians, incantations and the like are discarded. However, spells that affect the mind are only used secretly.

Lord Algren’s eyes are fixed on me.

Let’s go. Let’s read minds!”

There’s also the appearance of a duel, and he deliberately declared the spell name.

The golden magic eye shines as if it can see through my mind’s inner workings.

The power being released. The image of an unseen magic tentacle that invades my head and brain is hallucinated because of the unusual amount of magic power it contains.

The tentacle is thick and powerful, and the tip tries to pierce me sharply.

I move my fan up and down, reversing it. It’s an expression of rejection, a reminder of a shield to protect myself.

And I push it back as if fanning.

“You rude person, go away.”

And I just imbue the words with magic. It’s not like magic spells, but rather the power of primitive willpower. Just imbue it with vast magic, and negate it with vast magic.

The phantom tentacles disappeared as if they had evaporated into clouds.

I show Lord Algren with a stunned expression by closing the fan deliberately and placing it on my knee.

“The duel is my victory.”

“…ridiculous.”

“The result is everything.”

“…ridiculous.”

He muttered the same thing twice.

Lord Algren must sense it. His magic is depleted, whereas my magic is several times more than his original magic.

“What kind of a trick… no, I don’t have any complaints about the outcome of the duel…!”

“If you want to know the answer, there is only one way.”

He stood up with dignity, brushed his hem with his right hand, drew out a short staff from his waist with his right hand and placed it on his back, and put his left hand on his chest and lowered his hips deeply.

“I, Oliver Algren, swear to surrender to the military gates of Great Witch Vilhelmina Peltra.”

“I am not a magician, you know.”

I’m not in the military either.

“I was shown a power that even my magic couldn’t handle. That alone makes you worthy of being called that.”

“Well, in a way, you could say that I am a witch, in the sense of being a trickster.”

I point the magic power analyzer towards him.

“Take the cover, the outer box, and let the magic flow through it, if only a little.

“Yes.”

He received the magic power analyzer with a reverent gesture like a disciple before his master, and took off the exterior to reveal the Mina #12. Then he let out his magic power.

Clink, a single fragment fell.

Today, he had already created two magic stones and just now he used a mind-reading spell with all his might.

It was a small yellow magic stone, caused by a small amount of magic for him.

“Please feel free to take it.”

Lord Algren took it and held it up to the sky, observing it.

“This is… a magic stone, right? It’s quite high quality.”

“Yes.”

“Free appraisal… enormous wealth… is that what it is? As a non-magician, she can’t do magic… vast amounts of magical power… no way!”

While muttering to himself while looking at the magic stone, he widens his eyes and stares at me, letting out a scream-like voice.

“How many times have I appraised here?!”

“This is the 14th time today.”

I take out a pendant from my chest. Today’s one is a hexagonal star, with a 5-carat thunder-attribute magic stone at its tip.

The hexagonal star configuration is ideal for a talisman that indicates stability and peace.

“If you want to penetrate your magic on me, I think you need to defeat about six Lord Algrens, Lord Algren?”

“… I see, so you’re perfectly defensible. What if I betray you and try to make this public?”

I raise my right hand.

The sound of metal rubbing against each other echoes from behind.

It is the sound of two guards standing by the wall with their magic guns loaded with Lord Algren’s magic stone.

“”Ready to fire!””

The voices of the two match.

A magic rifle is a weapon that shoots out the magic power of a loaded magic stone as pure energy. It is considered a defective weapon among magical tools because of its low magic conversion efficiency, but if the magic stone loaded is of national treasure size, it might be different.

He looks up at the sky.

Then a maidservant brought a large jar and put it on the desk. It glittered and contained a large amount of disposable magic stone.

“Madam, I have brought yesterday’s magic stones. 8192 pieces in total, about 1000 carats.”

I lightly tap the mouth of the bottle with the fan’s tip.

“I’m thinking it would be nice to have a magic cannon that can fire this.

I previously told Lex that the magic crystalizing device is incomparable to the king’s regalia that other kings have, and this is the reason.

This magical tool is gold, energy, and strength by itself.

Lord Algren raises both hands and shows his palms.

“I knew you were a dangerous witch. You have made me understand my complete defeat.

Chapter 65: The Light

“Put down your weapons.”

As I say this, the guards lower their magic riflesand take out the magic stones from inside, putting them back in their original position.

Lord Algren also slowly lowered his hand.

“Great Witch Vilhelmina, this victory is yours. Your name will be carved into the world.”

“I’m just a little too clever for my own good. The one who should be praised is my husband and the developer of this, Alex.”

“I see, of course, Mr. Alex, who developed this, should be the most praised. But for example, this office is under your responsibility, so this method was also thought of by Mr. Alex?”

Well… it is true that it is me. Lord Algren nods slowly as if he is relieved, with a look of understanding.

“That’s right. And you, Vilhelmina, are undoubtedly the one who defeated me, the “Great Magician of Ice and Flame”. You should be more proud of yourself.”

He kneels down and takes my hand.

“If you were not a married person, I would have proposed to you.”

“Fufu, it’s an honor, Lord Algren.”

“Please call me Oliver.”

When he said that, the door opened without knocking.

And footsteps were beside me, with a single cough.

“I would like you to stop seducing other people’s wives.”

An unpleasant voice, it’s Lex. He was waiting for us in the next room today.

However, Lord Algren stood up as if he didn’t care about such things and offered his hand.

“You are Mr. Peltra! Wonderful… No, you are a terrifying inventor!”

He shakes Lex’s hand.

Lex was stunned as if he was drained of the poison, but he introduced himself as if he regained his composure.

“I am Alex Mika Peltra. I am honored to have the great “Great Magician of the Ice Flame” say so.

They sat back on the sofa and continued the conversation.

There was talk of a business contract to cooperate in creating magic stones, with a cheaper supply of magic stones in return, but they are both researchers. The conversation quickly moved on to the technology of creating magic stones and the aggregation of magic elements in the atmosphere.

After talking for a while, Lord Algren leaned back on the sofa and nodded deeply, perhaps satisfied that his intellectual curiosity was fulfilled.

“Wonderful, wonderful. But is creating something from nothing the realm of the gods?”

I laughed. I’ve said similar things myself. Lex answered the question.

“To begin with, monsters and dungeons, which live through the power and magic called magic, are mysteries and miracles and the domain of the gods. Lord Algren.”

“Just Oliver.”

“Mr. Oliver is a user of ice magic. For example, where does he get the ice from for his attack spell Ice Bolt, made of ice pellets?”

Lex mentioned the name of the basic attack spell of ice attribute magic, which throws ice pellets at enemies.

“There is a theory in the academic world that the moisture in the atmosphere is frozen, but as it expands its power, it is clearly insufficient in terms of quantity. In my opinion, while this is a fact, the deficit is directly converting the magic element into the phenomenon.”

Lex nods.

“I’m just converting magic elements into magic stones. Essentially, it’s the same as with the magicians.”

“I see, if it’s a miracle, then that’s what magic is…but this is a major innovation in terms of versatility and sustainability.”

Yes, it’s innovative. And it’s also dangerous.

“It’s a great power. But what is the purpose of the one who has acquired this much power?”

“Purpose?”

I lower my gaze and think for a moment.

“At first…I had the intention of revenge. Not in the sense of harming the opponent with force, but just wanting to get even.”

“Oh, is it different now?”

“For me, I wonder if I can become happy.”

He frowns.

“Wouldn’t a beautiful lady like you be happy?”

“No.”

I shake my head and laugh while entwining my arm with Lex’s arm and clinging to it.

“I’m quite happy. However, what we have is something that we need to grasp with all our might and protect with all our might because of its nature… For example, at the end of last year, I was told to become the concubine of His Highness Elias.”

“It’s…”

Lex took my hand. Fufu, it’s alright.

“I am targeted because of my background and this technology is also dangerous. First of all, we need strength to protect ourselves. But I don’t want to make magic stone guns or cannons. I just want to…”

I suddenly remembered my small home from before. My words stopped, so Lord Algren urged me to continue.

“Just?”

“Eventually, the value of the magic stone will plummet. When that happens, all the common people, even the poor, will be able to spend the night illuminated by magic stone lanterns and the winter warmed by magic stone fireplaces. That is our purpose.

Chapter 66: Periknen Territory

The seasons change, and spring has come.

The social season has returned, and the nobles have gathered in the capital.

This means that it’s almost been a year since the engagement was broken and the wedding day.

I had hired people to keep an eye on Duke Periknen’s family carriage since early spring, and I had seen my former parents, younger siblings, and Miss Ina enter Periknen’s Capital’s residence from the carriage.

Now, this is our house. From the entrance hall, climb the stairs to the second floor.

Next to me is Lex, escorted by him to the intermediate floor. There, I turn around and look down the hall from the other side of the handrail.

Lex clears his throat.

“Everyone gathered here.”

In the entrance hall, there are servants, Lord Oliver Algren and his disciples, Mr. Cremetti and his trusted subordinates, researchers and technicians (commoners) who were not well-off and hired by Lex, and Milcah-sama and her close aristocratic friends.

“Everyone from the Peltra family, A&V company, and our investors and partners.”

Many are looking up at us with intense eyes.

“We have been accumulating power in this town for over half a year, hiding the technology of creating magic stones. First of all, I would like to thank you for your cooperation and that this important secret has not been exposed.”

Lex performs a gentleman’s bow, placing his right hand on his chest and his left hand to the side.

I was standing next to him, picking at my skirt and folding my knees in the manner of a lady.

Fufu, I can’t face that way so I’m watching from the corner of my eye, but I can see that Lex’s actions are becoming more sophisticated.

Applause erupted.

Standing up in a synchronized breath, when Lex raises his hand, it stops.

“And the reason we are here today is to talk about our future. Vilhelmina.”

I step forward to Lex’s voice.

“Ladies and gentlemen. Now is the time for our activities to flourish.

I pointed to the desk placed on the dance floor and the two devices on top.

“My husband, Alex, developed this atmospheric magic element accumulator and high-density magic element crystallization device, in other words, Lex #4 and Mina #13. We have successfully mass-produced these. We will begin our activities using these in the Duchy of Periknen.

The Periknen family is coming here(to the capital), which means that the anomalies over their territory will be harder to recognize and take longer to deal with.

I raise my right hand above my head.

“The time of battle has come.”

The voices “Yes,” and “Oh,” were heard together.

Several days later.

The Adventurers’ Guild Request Board, Espova, Duchy of Periknen.

—————

・Request Name: Escort for Dungeon Research

・Requestor: Professor Plassa Klar, instructor at the Magic School

・Difficulty: D-Rank or higher (for a party)

・Priority: Low

・Request Period: Until the summer solstice, multiple requests possible

・Location: 2nd Floor of the North Espova Dungeon

・Requested Goods: None

・Reward: 10 silver coins per day for the party for 2 days

・Condition: Stay overnight in the safety area within the dungeon

・Note: During dungeon exploration, you will take a rest at the spot we want to investigate. You are free to do as you please with the monster materials you defeat.

—————

Today, there are strangely many request posters posted on the bulletin board. That’s what the male adventurer who thought so and peeped in saw.

“What’s this request? Hey, someone call the receptionist.

“Yes.”

A woman comes from the counter here.

“There are so many, but what is this?”

There are many similar escort requests posted on the wall, with different names and locations of the requester. For example, if it is on the 3rd floor of the dungeon, the daily rate is 15 silver coins, etc.

“A group of researchers who came from the capital city seem to be conducting a large-scale study of the dungeon and have requested its escort.”

“Hmmm, is it okay to do it as many times as you like?”

“The survey cannot be completed in one go, so they want to do it several times in the span of a few months.”

“Hee, I don’t really understand what researchers are.”

“What do you want to do?”

The man peels off the request poster.

“I’ll take it. Well, if I can get the monster’s magic stone and materials from here, it’s almost just a reward profit.”

“Yes, I think it’s a delicious request. Thank you very much!”

This year, the request enriched the pockets of adventurers in the Periknen Territory.

The clients placed inspection equipment shaped like trumpets in the safe zones, and thrust rods into the places with dense magic elements, which were called spring points by the adventurers. No one knew what they were doing, but they were positively accepted by the adventurers.

This was because they could use magic and their skills were better than those of inexperienced adventurers, and they paid well.

Also, the “A&V Simple Magic Appraisal Office” opened in the bustling streets of the ducal capital city and became popular, like the royal capital. The adventurers in this area also lined up because they could know their own magic and attributes for free.

The remaining officials and household orders in Periknen Territory recognized the movement, but did not feel any problems and only made a brief report to the Lord, adding a line to the regular report letter. And Lord Periknen always skimmed over the regular reports.

And that was the beginning of the end of Periknen Territory.

Chapter 67: Prediction

I sit in the office chair and compare the vast report that was sent from the Periknen Territory with my memory of the data on the industry and economy of the Periknen Territory that I have seen in the past.

All you can hear is the sound of the pen sliding across the paper.

At the desk next to me, Lex is seriously working on the design of a new device with a serious expression. Usually, he works together with other researchers, but he likes to summarize his own thoughts and work in a quiet place sometimes.

What is being developed now is a device to accumulate magic elements in the water?

Because there are also monsters living in the water, from small to huge, such as sea demons Kraken. So it must be for collecting magic elements from there.

“…Madam?”

Fufu, I love the serious profile of Lex. It was nice to see Lex in formal attire as in his speech the other day, but after all, his essence is a researcher. I think he shines the most when he is absorbed in the sea of thought.

“…Madam, Vilhelmina-sama?”

Lex suddenly looked up and looked this way.

Well, did he notice I was staring at him?

“Mina, Hilka has been calling you since a moment ago.”

Lex looks aside. I look over there and see Hilka. Hilka is right next to me.

“Finally, you noticed me.”

Then he sighed dismissively.

“W-What is it?”

“Well, it seems that Madam was not able to concentrate very well, so I thought maybe she could take a break.”

A break? It’s too early for a break, I thought, and when I looked at the clock, the time had passed more than I expected.

“When the Master is next to her, Madam’s work efficiency drops greatly.”

“Uh, am I bothering you with work? Maybe I should go back to the lab?”

Lex raised a surprised voice, and I quickly stopped him.

“D-Don’t!”

But Hilka shook her head and bowed to Lex.

“No, the Master should work here as much as possible. Madam … she also tends to work more than necessary. It would be better for Madam’s body and mind to take a break like this.”

“T-That’s rude!”

“I see. Madam, which page of the report are you currently reading? Madam is a very quick at reading.”

“I’m on the second page…”

Pft, a laugh leaked from Lex’s mouth, and I couldn’t help but lower my head.

The two of us move to the sofa. While Hilka prepares tea, I flip through the report with the feeling that I want to show what I can do at least a little.

“Do you understand it?”

“I don’t remember the details, but I understand the rough parts. Also, because the format of the report has been unified, it’s very easy to read.”

I don’t know if it’s because of Magic School or if Mr. Oliver is making it uniform, but it’s certainly easy to read.

“The tea is ready.”

So I lower the documents.

Lex took the sugar jar during that time, put two spoonfuls of sugar in my cup, and one spoonful in his cup.

And we talk about the contents of the report while drinking tea.

“As for the magic element absorption in the dungeon, there is a tendency for clearly larger magic stones to be produced in a short amount of time compared to doing it in the capital city. Although the concentration of magic elements varies by location, it is denser in the lower levels. There has been no impact on the amount of magic stones mined so far. Particularly in the lower levels, there is a tendency for the frequency of monster appearances to temporarily decrease.”

“Well, I can’t say for sure without seeing the specific numbers, but I think it’s generally as expected.”

“That’s right. If you want to defeat the Periknen territory, the easiest thing to do is to continue to steal the magic elements of that place and do nothing else.”

“What will happen?”

I speak as if repeating words I had already thought of.

“First, the number and quality of newly appearing monsters will decrease. Then, the researchers at A&V Company will be able to proceed to the depths of the dungeon without hiring adventurers. The same will go for the miners in the dungeon. If the efficiency of hunting for magic stones decreases, the income of adventurers in that area will drastically decrease.”

“Hmm…”

“There are people who are called heroes among adventurers, but most of them are like mercenaries who are driven to the brink of starvation. There will certainly be a lot of disorder, such as banditry, looting, and lawlessness.”

“What if the adventurers move to a new frontier? I know that the Periknen dungeon is the most and relatively safe to obtain magic stones, but you can also earn money in other dungeons, borderlands, or neighboring countries.”

“I don’t think the lower-level adventurers can bear the hardship and cost of moving, but it is possible that the guild will lend them and provide support for the move.”

“Ah.”

I put the cup on the table and look at Lex. His brown eyes also looked at me intently.

“It’s simple. After they are gone, just stop absorbing the magic element. The dungeon will be overflowing with monsters and the town will receive a devastating blow.”

The look of surprise on his face makes me turn over.

“Do, do you despise me? My head just comes up with these things.”

Lex put his hand on my back and hugged me.

“That’s not true. I know Mina doesn’t want that.”

…I feel like I’m being seen through. I used to be a noble lady and engaged to the crown prince, but not anymore.

“Ugh… Yes. If possible, I would like to hire adventurers here.”

“You should just do it.”

“This is an unnecessary move. Besides, there is a possibility of betrayal.”

Before I could finish my words, Lex cut me off.

“I don’t care what Mina wants to do. There’s no need to be polite to anyone.”

Chapter 68: Ina Periknen

Ina first met Elias-sama in the school’s rose garden.

Although anyone who is a student can enter there, it is a place that has been prepared for the daughters of high-ranking noble families. Ina found out later.

Deep in the complicated rose garden, in a secluded white gazebo, there was a handsome man with golden hair sitting on a white bench.

He was either asleep or had closed his eyes and didn’t move, with his elbows on the armrests and his head supported.

“…a rose fairy?”

Ina whispered unconsciously, and slowly, his blue eyes opened.

Red lips moved.

“Are you a fairy? Beautiful young lady.”

When Ina heard that voice, her heart jumped greatly.

“The security guard… Ah, I kept him away. Young lady, you can sit down.”

Ina hesitantly sat down next to him.

“Fairy-san, thank you very much.”

“I’m not a fairy, I’m Elias.”

“Elias-sama! I am Ina. Ina Madetoya.”

In this way, Ina and Elias-sama became acquaintances. It seems that Elias-sama also likes Ina and they started seeing each other often at the Rose Garden.

“I feel at peace when I’m with Ina.”

Sometimes, he would say that and even put his head on Ina’s lap and roll around on the bench.

It was later that I found out that Elias-sama was the Crown Prince and even later that I found out that he had a fiancée.

As time passed since Ina started seeing Elias-sama, her friends started avoiding her somewhat. And the number of times letters saying not to approach Elias-sama or that her pen or textbook was missing increased.

“Vilhelmina did this…”

Vilhelmina is the fiancée of Elias-sama.

She sometimes calls Ina and tells her not to see Elias-sama. Yes, that’s right. Because they are engaged.

“You don’t need to listen to Vilhelmina. Ina, listen to my words.”

But Elias-sama says not to worry about Vilhelmina, but to meet with him.

“Don’t worry, Ina and I will be together.”

“Yes, Elias-sama.”

Looking back, these were probably the most enjoyable times for me.

So, for the spring evening party, Elias-sama came to pick me up in a royal carriage to Madetoya’s house with a wonderful dress I had never seen before.

At that evening party, Elias-sama declared that he was breaking his engagement with Vilhelmina-san and accepting Ina as his fiancé.

And she was taken to the castle.

“Ina will receive education to become a future queen. Come on, Ina will learn quickly.”

That’s what Elias-sama said.

But, in the first place, the education for a lady of lower noble class, upper noble class, and a queen were completely different things.

For example, Father is a Baron. Viscounts and below cannot directly meet the royal family and do not have the opportunity to exchange words. In other words, one must learn how to greet and speak with the king or queen from scratch, and also learn how to receive greetings and manners of speech as a royal from subjects…

Ina is also overwhelmed by studies, and although she lives in the same castle as Elias-sama, she has very little time to meet him.

She wanted to let Elias-sama rest like in school, but she could not move freely because she was monitored by the female officials at that time.

Elias-sama became tired. And when Ina looks at him, he increasingly shows a sad expression.

In the autumn, Ina is told that she will become a foster child of the Periknen family and spend the winter in Periknen territory.

“When I come back in the spring next year, will I be able to become the bride of Elias-sama?”

“ye,… yeah. That’s right.”

Once Elias-sama said so, but Elias-sama seems to be lacking energy in his words.

“I’ll be waiting for you…I’m going now.”

I hugged Elias-sama, but he did not hug me back.

And so, Duke Periknen became my stepfather and the Duchess became my stepmother, and there were also step brothers and sisters.”

I don’t understand why Vilhelmina-sama’s house would take Ina in as an adopted child, but while studying with the family teachers who came to the territory, she goes shopping for dresses, eats delicious food, and is taken out to play.”

But Jurremi-san, who became my step-brother by obligation, did not seem to recognize Ina as a family member. Stepfather and stepmother told me to get along well with him, but it is usually difficult to get along with someone who suddenly has a big sister, you know.”

I sent many letters to Elias-sama. Although he did not reply much because he was busy, the letters written ‘I love you’ are carefully kept in a box.

The new year has started and I returned to the capital. Elias-sama came to see me immediately and I thought he was going to take me back to the castle, but I was told that I would still be at the Periknen house for a while.

Mother-in-law asked us to attend a tea party, and the tutor agreed that we should attend from a group of young people.

I received an invitation from a person named Milcah Sarusti-san and I was invited to the tea party. It is said to be a gathering of friends of the Count’s daughter, so it shouldn’t be too strict with etiquette.

However, during that tea party, I was taken to a room by Milcah-san who said she had something special to show me.

“It’s been a long time, Ina Periknen-sama.”

In the far end chair, Vilhelmina-san was sitting in a red dress, and from behind the fan she opened, she was staring at me with a cold emerald gaze.

Chapter 69: Greetings

This winter, I received several letters from my younger brother Jurremi that were sent in simple envelopes, not in Duke’s seal.

Perhaps they are secretly served among the servants’ things.

The letters contained information about Miss Ina, her education progress, what the Periknen couple gave her and what they talked about, and observations about her thoughts.

I will set a trap. I will ask my friends to set up social gatherings where she may appear, by inviting her to tea parties and evening parties from different people. I’ll prepare various patterns mainly focused on casual ones, considering the level of her education progress.

Duke Periknen will probably be pleased, as it means she has enough value for people to want to invite her.

But from my point of view, it’s like a spider’s web that I can catch anywhere. In the end, she expressed her willingness to participate in the tea party, which is mainly for young women, at the invitation of Miss Milcah.

“Unexpected… or, I guess that’s the situation.”

“What’s wrong?”

Lex asks me in response to my muttering.

“It’s not like that His Highness Elias would come to the evening party with her.”

Is His Highness too busy, or… well, if I must say it, it’s more convenient for me. Speaking of which, it’s a hassle to talk when His Highness Elias is around.

I have sent instructions and conditions for hiring adventurers to the employees who headed to the Duchy of Periknen, while waiting for the day of the tea party.

And so, on that day.

I wait secretly in one of the reception rooms of the Sarusti household before the guests arrive.

Milcah-sama says.

“Once the tea party has been going on for a while, I’ll bring Miss Ina!”

“Thank you for your cooperation. Milcah-sama.”

“Leave it to me!”

She makes a gesture as if to pat her chest and leaves the room. Today she is the hostess and has to entertain her guests.

I have a maidservant named Signe, so I’ll enjoy reading books and documents and the view of the garden and the scent of tea from the window.

And the mansion will become lively for a while.

There was a knock at the door.

Signe opens the door, and the person who was brought by Milcah-sama is none other than Ina Periknen.

“It’s been a long time, Ina Periknen-sama.”

I raise my chin and look at her while hiding it behind a fan. Most likely she will feel as if she is being looked down upon even though she is being looked up.

“Vi…Vilhelmina-sama, good day to you.”

Saying that, she assumes the posture of a lady. Her pink hair is seen at the top of her head and it stops moving neatly.

“Uh…”

I looked at Miss Milcah and she looked back at me with sparkling eyes, expecting me to continue, so I sighed under the fan.

I close the fan and let out a voice with a slightly lower consciousness.

“Lift your face.”

Slowly, without bending her back, her posture returns to its original form.

“Please, take a seat.”

This is to avoid attracting too much attention. Since there are no other occupants in this room other than Signe-san, she pulls a chair and Miss Ina and Miss Milcah take their seats.

“Actually, I should be called Mrs. Peltra, but now I am a commoner and you may call me Vilhelmina. But what you have done is unforgivable…how dare the daughter of Duke Periknen bow down to a commoner?”

“Uh, well…”

Miss Ina’s words stop. That’s good. Apologizing is out of the question.

I smiled slightly at the corner of my mouth.

“However, if I were to compliment you, your manners have become very beautiful.”

“Eh?”

“That is the result of your efforts over the past year, Miss Ina. You should be proud.”

“T-Thank you…!”

After saying that, she lowers her head and begins to shake her shoulders. Signe-san approached and pressed her tear-stained eyes with a handkerchief. With gentle care to keep her makeup from smudging. The handkerchief becomes wet with water.

Neither I nor Miss Milcah are in a position to comfort her. For a while, only her sobbing voice echoed in the room.

“No one, none of the teachers ever complimented me…”

And after her sobs subsided, she muttered softly.

I nod. That’s probably natural. Of course, there will be others who approach her and try to gain advantage by flattery. For example, Duke Periknen. But should it also be evaluated that she does not feel complimented by it?

“Do you understand why the governesses do not praise you?”

“The standards expected as a queen are far higher… she said.”

“What are those standards?”

She lowers her gaze and shakes her head sideways.

With a sound of slapping my palm with a fan, she directs her gaze towards me.

“It’s me.”

“Vilhelmina-san…”

“From the time I can remember until that day last year, I have devoted my entire life to being a queen. Foolish Ina Periknen. You can see from the way you have been frantically studying this past year, your demeanor, how you wear your clothes, etc. But was that equivalent to my ten or more years?”

Chapter 70: Destiny

Miss Ina smiled.

“I apologize. I remembered being called foolish Ina Madetoya by Vilhelmina-san.”

I nod.

“Yes. Calling you, who was getting close to the crown prince, by that name and giving you a warning.”

Her smile was not a carefree one like before, but rather one that carried loneliness.

“…I tried my best to stand by Elias-sama for this past year. But it seems that my efforts are still far from catching up with Vilhelmina-san, and I finally understand the meaning of the warning given to me.”

It must be difficult to make the daughter of a baron, who was far from the center of the palace, realize that. Especially if it was required by His Highness.

However, if it’s the best way to put it, it’s called innocence, but being foolish is only natural.

“So, with the understanding gained in one year, let me ask you. What will you do next? No, what do you want to do?”

Even if you ask what she will do, it’s not like she can move according to her own will.

Miss Ina’s eyes closed and a single tear fell from her eyelashes.

“Even so…, even so I want to be by Elias-sama’s side.”

“Why?”

“Because I… love Elias-sama.”

This was a conversation that had been repeated several times. Words that never changed like a stubborn child.

I once deemed it the reason for a fool to be a fool. That must be true. I look at the fire opal in my left hand. However, now I feel that it is just one side of things and could also be called a resolve.

As I remained silent, she asked me.

“Do you still love His Highness Elias, Vilhelmina-san?”

“Not a single fragment remains.”

Miss Milcah exhaled. It was probably because I denied it with a bit of a bite.

“All my love is for my husband Alex. There is no room for a former fiancé to intervene.”

Miss Milcah added.

“When Vilhelmina-sama was summoned by His Highness last autumn and ordered to become his concubine, she had the determination to kill herself.”

“Concubine…?”

Miss Ina opens her eyes in surprise.

“Oh, so you didn’t know. It wasn’t out of love. He was just trying to get me into the castle.

I talked briefly about that matter and also about the current situation of His Highness and Miss Ina. And I declare as follows.

“His Highness Elias will not ascend to the throne.”

Miss Ina’s shoulders trembled with surprise. I continued.

“I will also bring down the Periknen family. I’m sorry.”

I guess fate is playing with us. Of course, there is no guarantee that I will be able to reach my destination.

“May I ask why?”

“Because I won’t allow it.”

“Is that because Vilhelmina-sama hates them?”

The fan in my hand rang with a snap.

“I suppose I used to hate… but now I no longer harbor any resentment. My husband and I will be happy from now on. This happiness will bring wealth and honor, but I know that they won’t allow it.”

“If only Ina(I) could make things right…”

I shook my fan with a denial.

“Listen. You should know the saying that two dragons cannot live on the same mountain.”

I and they will join hands and we will prosper together. There is no such future.

“If I am the dragon being chased by the mountain, Miss Ina will not have anything to especially think about. Even if she is foolish, she could become a queen. However, if I were to become the master(mountain of the mountain) and His Highness Elias were to be chased by the mountain…”

Silence dominates the room. Yes, I need to tell this to Miss Ina.

“He will end up drinking a poisoned cup.”

“Then Ina will also be given too.”

An immediate answer was returned.

“You may disappear like dew on the guillotine.”

She nodded with a pale complexion, but still looked straight at me with chocolate brown eyes.

I sighed once. If she was an ordinary woman seeking the position and glory of a queen, I would have thought so.

“Foolish Ina Periknen.”

“Yes.”

“But you are the foolish Ina Periknen who died for love. I do not know what will become of His Highness Elias, but let’s make you follow the same fate.”

She stood up and folded her knees, and deeply bowed her head. That lady’s bow felt surprisingly brilliant for some reason.

When I looked up at the sky, I no longer had any words to exchange, I simply nodded to Miss Milcah and left the mansion.

Chapter 71: Tears of the World 1

A few months ago, in winter, we also purchased the next house where we live, and this became the property of A&V company.

Although the appearance of the house remains the same, it has changed into facilities such as a conference room, a research room, a development room, a vault where magic stones and documents are stored, etc.

Today is a weekly regular meeting. Although the participants are Lex as the development department, Mr. Oliver as the magic department, and me as the management department. With each department represented by one person as an assistant, there are six people in total including a researcher under Lex, Mr. Oliver’s apprentice, and Hilka, who is my assistant.

“Regarding the difference between natural magic stones and artificial magic stones, there are no appraisers who can distinguish them using a magic element accumulation device. On the other hand, an appraiser who has been constantly watching artificial magic stones would be able to almost distinguish the ones made by artificially flowing magic into the magic element crystalization device. However, external appraisers seem to not have any particular discomfort.

Lex’s subordinates have published their findings.

Mr. Oliver nods.

“It’s a reasonable result. It depends on whether they notice the singularity of the attribute. Natural ones contain diverse magic of nature.”

“For example, Espova North Dungeon in Periknen Territory is famous as a ground attribute magic stone, but are there also other attributes mixed in?”

When I asked the name of the dungeon near where I once lived, Mr. Oliver continued with a sense of pride.

“That’s right. This is just my opinion as a magician, but if a magician uses a magic stone with different attributes, it can only convert about 50% of the original magical power contained in the magic stone into magic. It is said to be 80% even when the attributes match with a natural stone. There are no such things as a lightning attribute magic stone like me.”

It rarely occurs that lightning magic power accumulates in nature. It is either lightning that fell into a magic mine by chance, or a rare lightning attribute demon beast’s magic stone.

Mr. Oliver leans forward.

“That’s the thing. When I use magic from the magic stone I made, the conversion efficiency is undoubtedly over 90%. And there is no consumption of physical strength due to magic element conversion. That’s right, because it is not converted. This is revolutionary!”

Lex laughed at those words.

“In other words, you want to secure more of your magic stone for yourself.”

“That’s right!”

I see, so that’s what you were asking for.

Mr. Oliver and his apprentices have requested to decrease their salary or pay another compensation in order to secure more of the magic stones they created.

The discussion was held on how to increase their share and alternative payment, and the meeting took a break.

“It’s a little cold, isn’t it?”

Outside, snow is falling in flurries. Children are making snowballs with the slight accumulation of snow and connecting them to make small snowmen… Hmm?

A sudden spark of inspiration.

A terribly bad idea.

Suppressing a voice that seems to be laughing and shaking, I speak to Hilka.

“Hilka, can you bring my magic stone from the mansion’s safe, which is not scheduled for delivery?”

Hilka, who was about to prepare tea, raises her face.

“Yes Madam. Senni, I’ll leave the tea to you.”

“Yes!”

With that, she left the room. Lex asks.

“What’s up?”

“I just had a little experiment in mind.”

When they hear the word experiment, the faces of the four people shine. Fufu, they’re all researchers.

In front of me is Mina#13 and in the jewelry box brought by Hilka, there are the magic stones that I make one a day without fail. Most of them are not here as I sell and use some for research, but still, over 20 of them remain in my possession.

I plucked the magic stone of my own magic power’s color, blue, with my left hand and placed my right hand on Mina#13’s handle.

“Ah…”

Lex’s eyes widen and a voice leaks from his mouth.

I released magic power from my right hand while absorbing magic power from the magic stone in my left hand.

The magic stone in my left hand shattered.

“Next one.”

Hilka hands me another magic stone.

“Hahahahaha!”

Mr. Oliver burst into laughter and I also smiled. Inside Mina#13’s flask, the magic stone is growing bigger and bigger.

The magic stone shattered again.

Magic stones that have used up all their magic power shatter and disintegrate.

“Next one.”

Hilka handed the next magic stone with a look of astonishment.

“Wowwwww.”

Lex’s assistant let out a scream-like voice.

“Next…”

When most of the magic stones were shattered in this way.

Thud. The magic stone fell onto the floor of the flask along with a heavy sound.

It had fallen from the mechanism to make the magic stone due to its own weight.

Everyone who had been holding their breath let out a sigh.

“Excuse me, Madam.”

Hilka wiped the sweat that had burst out on my forehead.

“Great idea, my goddess!”

“It’s not mine, nor am I a goddess. Rather, it shows the possibility of Lex’s invention.”

Mr. Oliver hugged Lex. Lex tore him off with a disgusted expression and spoke to me.

“By the way, Mina, how’s your health?”

“Just a little tired. There are no symptoms such as pain or magical exhaustion. I think I’ll have a doctor check it later, but there’s probably nothing to worry about.”

Saying that, I pull the flask closer.

Taking off the lid…

“…I can’t get it out, this.

Chapter 72: Tears of the World 2

Well, it’s a magic stone that’s bigger than the thickness of the flask’s neck.

So we ended up breaking the flask with a hammer to take it out since there was no other way.

This flask is a high-priced item that can fetch a few gold coins with a magic element-blocking coating, but there’s no helping it.

When we shattered the flask, what we took out was a magic stone the size of a small egg or a strawberry. Perhaps it was because it was hanging down by its own weight. Instead of its usual nearly perfect spherical shape, it had the shape of a teardrop.

The whole thing is a light blue color. Even though it hasn’t been cut yet, the contained magic power is too strong and it seems to emit light on its own.

“Like the world’s shed tears…”

A whisper leaked out. Carefully plucking it, I felt its weight, which I could not have imagined to be a jewel. It must have been the weight of several coins.

Lex prepared a scale for us, so we put it on there.

“…24g or so, let’s see…”

“It’s a 120-carat rough stone. It depends on the cut, but if we keep the shape as is, it should easily become a gemstone exceeding 100 carats.”

Unlike gemstones, magic stones are rarely cut from the rough.

“100-karat magic stone, huh… According to literature, there are said to be only 10 in existence in the world?”

Mr. Oliver says it with a smile.

The heart of an ancient dragon, the magic kings of the past, the core of dungeons that have been conquered, the fallen stars of the sky. Although the existence of massive magic stones has been left in many legends and stories, they have been used or stolen and disappeared into the darkness of history.

Of course, there may be other secret things that are not recorded in literature, but even on a world scale, they are limited.

“What should we do?”

“First, let’s put a gag order on it. Don’t talk about it, don’t try to do it on your own.”

“That’s true.”

“I’m most worried about Oliver-sama, but…”

“It’s dangerous. I’m definitely going to do it, no matter what. I’ll do it in front of you guys, so let me have permission.”

I nod. Well, yes. In any case, I’m not the only one who has to try it out.

“We have to bring in a gemstone craftsman into the organization. What kind of commotion will happen if we order the cutting of this from the outside…”

Everyone nods in agreement.

“So, what should we do with the finished product?”

I think for a while.

“…Is it okay to make a contribution to His Holiness the Pope in the neighboring country that is further ahead of the papal territories?”

“It’s the magic stone made by Mina. I don’t care about what you do with it.”

“Oh? That’s surprising. I didn’t think you were that deeply religious.”

Yes, I suppose that’s true. I haven’t seen any signs of that.

“Regarding my faith in the supreme god above the heavens, I personally think it’s inappropriate for believers to bring up worldly conflicts… but Cardinal Johannes, who is the top of the church in this country, brought it. That’s why I stopped my charity work and contributions, which I used to do when I was a noble lady.”

“Ah…,” Lex sighed.

I talked about the day of the broken engagement. It is unclear what kind of secret agreement Cardinal Johannes made with His Highness Elias, but he made Lex marry me on the spot.

“…Of course, if we only look at the results, Lex is a good husband and I am happy. But that’s a different matter. The blessing of the wedding was done so carelessly.”

Mr. Oliver had a troubled expression. He must be getting interference from the church and the kingdom as well.

“I see. Should we make a contribution? In fact, our company has not yet been profitable, but next year that won’t be the case, right? If we start making huge profits, the church and the kingdom will become noisy. Having a backup then is a good thing.”

“Of course, there is also that intention.”

Thus, the magic stone that was cut into pear-shaped pairs or tear-drop shape from the end of the year to spring was 106 carats. When I got hold of it, my murmur was recorded and named “The Tear of the World” and was delivered to His Eminence the Pope.

Also, the method of creating the magic stone was kept secret, but it was decided that several more would be created mainly by myself and Mr. Oliver in the future. However, in terms of size, we decided to show respect to the Pope and not create anything larger than the 100 carats offered this time.

Chapter 73: The Crown Prince’s Confusion

Ina shows up from the carriage of Periknen Duke who stopped in front of the gate of the building where I live in the castle.

The yellow-based dress given to Periknen Duke was decorated with the sparkling magic stone, a specialty of his land.

As I thought she would jump out of the carriage like she used to do, descending from the small steps attached to the carriage, but she didn’t.

Getting off the carriage escorted by the legitimate son Jurremi, she said in a calm voice.

“Greetings from Ina Roine Periknen to His Highness Elias, the noble dawn of the kingdom.”

And Ina took a lady’s salute in front of me.

Jurremi also took a gentleman’s salute.

“… Hm, well done. Duke Jurremi must have had a hard time.”

Ina’s greeting was not wrong. Indeed, she was also behaving innocently, but it’s not surprising that she has a certain degree of manners and can perform proper salutes.

But for some reason, I felt disturbed by that.

Ina has been away for six months, and Father, His Majesty the King, has been less critical of her.

Is that because I have fulfilled my duties as the Crown Prince, or because I have ceased to be expected as the Crown Prince?

I heard the report that Ina’s reputation has risen among the ladies-in-waiting immediately after returning to the castle.

The reason for being away from the royal castle for a while was also to cut off the bad feelings held, so this is as expected.

…but. I think it’s sooner than I thought.

I called Ina’s female tutor who she had accompanied her to the Duchy of Periknen and asked about this.

“That’s because Miss Ina has a soul in her actions and words.”

“Soul… that’s an abstract expression.”

“The Crown Prince’s consort, in the end, should be prepared to become the queen. Just take one example of etiquette, if you just bow your head without any meaning or thinking, just because you were told to, there is no difference between just having a refined behavior.”

“I see. Did something change in the Duke of Periknen’s family?”

When I said that, the female tutor frowned as if she was troubled.

“I don’t think so. I believe it’s about the time period of less than a month from returning to the capital city ascension to the castle. Perhaps she attended tea parties or something and was influenced positively.”

Hmm, I see. Upon hearing that, I made her step back.

And then, during the personal tea party with her on that day, before I could compliment her, she suddenly started a conversation.

“I heard you summoned Vilhelmina-san to the castle.”

My hand holding the cup trembled and left a small stain on the tablecloth.

That’s ridiculous! How does Ina know about that?

I carefully returned the cup to the saucer and asked her.

“…Who did you hear it from?”

“Those who stand on the top can see farther and can also be seen from afar. That’s what I was taught.”

That’s true. Indeed, it’s just a minor matter to ask where she heard it from. But her way of speaking was not characteristic of Ina.

Or perhaps it is because I have made her suspicious. She continues.

“Elias-sama. I have come to understand that Ina cannot be queen.

“Wrong! Calling for Vilhelmina wasn’t to return that woman as my fiancée, it was to make Ina a queen!”

“I understand. Vilhelmina-san doesn’t desire that either. I heard that she stood before Your Highness with the determination to die.”

“Ridiculous!… Is Vilhelmina really such a woman? However, I will apologize for causing you unease. My wife is Ina, there’s no one else.”

She concealed a smile behind her fan.

“I am happy.”

“…Ina.”

In my mind, the image of her embracing me with a smiling face saying, “I’m so happy!” floated and disappeared.

I understand that this is her growth. As was said before, this private tea party is being judged by the ladies-in-waiting on the sidelines, and I believe that this is correct.

I feel something bitter sliding down the back of my throat.

“Ina cannot be, whom Your Highness loved, if I am to stand as queen, or if I cannot be queen, as long as I try to be.”

Her lovely chocolate brown eyes looked for a moment like the peridot I hated.

“I love you, Your Highness Elias. If only you were a rose fairy instead of a prince…no, that was disrespectful.”

He smiled sadly. Her smile was penetratingly beautiful.

But, I… I did not want to make you smile like that…I didn’t.

Chapter 74: A letter to His Eminence the Pope

“However, you say that you will make a donation to His Holiness the Pope, but can he receive it so easily?”

Lex asks.

At night, we were drinking wine in front of a giant magic stone named “Tears of the World.” A luxury that even a king or nobleman can’t have. I never thought I could do this after becoming a commoner.

Anyway, to get back to the question, I can understand that it is natural to think so.

“Commoners cannot meet or talk with kings or high-ranking nobles. This may be the general perception of commoners, but in fact, it is not necessarily so.”

“Ah, like merchants, for example. Even if you are a commoner, can you enter the estate of a noble?”

Of course, there are some strict systems of hierarchy in empires like the East, and I don’t deny that there are such people in our country.

As for the merchants that Lex mentioned, there are also those who are favored by the royal family.

I will explain these things to Lex.

“So here’s the problem. Can a commoner easily meet with His Holiness the Pope, who they have no acquaintance with?”

“…Isn’t that very difficult? Because it’s said that Mina will donate. It should be possible, but…

“Fufu, there’s a back door.”

It’s a simple matter. An adventurer takes a truly wonderful treasure and insists on donating it directly.That’s all.

The world is filled with danger and the unknown, and although it is a very small possibility, a nameless person may one day suddenly hold something of immense value. And if they are not awaited, they may be able to take it to a neighboring country or somewhere else freely.

“In other words, should an adventurer carry it?”

“That’s right. Of course, it must be something suitable for direct donation, and a magic stone over 100 carats is more than enough. And since manners are also necessary, let’s send another person, Talvo the butler.”

Lex taps his forehead.

“Are you saying you’re going to hire adventurers from the Periknen Territory?”

I nod my shoulders and smile.

“I didn’t think we could donate enough magic stones to His Holiness the Pope, but I did consider it as one of the means of entering.”

“Here you are, the adept Vice President Vilhelmina.”

“It’s an honor, Alex, the genius developer.”

Saying so, we raise our glasses and touch the edges of the glass.

It is a behavior of the commoners that the nobility does not have, but it is close and enjoyable.

Thus, a party of four adventurers from the Periknen territory hired by A&V, mostly women who had experience in escorting noblemen, was brought to the capital.

We trained them in the minimum etiquette and then it was decided to dispatch them to the Papal territory while educating them on the way.

The journey was accompanied by a box of 106 carats of magic stone wrapped tightly and a letter from me.

In that letter, I had this one sentence included.

“In our country, Patrikainen, it feels as if the greatness of the divine’s glory doesn’t reach every corner of the earth due to the shadow cast by higher places.

Therefore, I thought that this magic stone was born in the form of tears and named it “Tears of the World.”

And I had it dedicated to His Eminence Namadrius IV, who is the most valuable representative in this world.

If the great power of His Eminence overflows on this land, we shall offer a magic stone called “Joy of the World.”

Of course, it’s a pure lie.

The reason why the magic stone is tear-drop shaped is simply because it’s hanging due to gravity.

If this sentence is taken at face value, it seems that a new magic stone called “Joy of the World” will be born when the glory of God is regained in our country.

However, does the Pope, who is the representative of God in this world, believe in such a miracle? Of course not.

This statement should make you think like this.

If the Pope comes to our country and eliminates the shadows in the upper echelon, we will offer an equivalent magic stone as a reward.

Yes, we have Mr. Oliver’s 100 carat magic stone with lightning attribute. The jeweler is polishing it frantically right now.

In fact, both I and Mr. Oliver are accumulating magic stones for the next huge one.

And then, several months later, an emissary visited from the papal territories.

This autumn, when the public announcement was made by the king that His Holiness Pope Namadrius IV will grace our country with a visit, the people of the capital city bubbled with joy.

Chapter 75: The Hounds

Taxation is always something that lags behind in terms of social development and economic activity.

In ancient times when the monetary economy was not developed, taxes were paid in kind and in services. The reason was to pay a portion of the grains harvested from their own lands for public works, such as labor for water management.

With the development of the monetary economy, merchants who do not engage in direct production but instead engage in trade increased, and taxes were imposed in the form of market tax, entry tax, customs duties, business license tax, etc.

Well, then, what taxes will be imposed on us, A&V company?

We are “selling nothing” in the market. No customs duties will be imposed as long as we only move magic stones within the capital. By the way, the magic stones created in Periknen Territory have not yet been moved, and some of them are transported using adventurers. They pay taxes in the form of their income being deducted by the adventurer’s guild, but in return, they have the privilege of being armed and moving.

So taxes are not necessary if you don’t engage in commercial activities.

That is, under the current tax system, we, A&V company, cannot be captured.

“The income that remains in the public records, such as selling information on people with a lot of magic power to places like the magic school, is of course reported, but on the accounting side, it is offset by the development costs of the appraisal machine, so it is almost non-existent.

So how does this mansion and its servants get hired?

This is operated through loans from the Central Bank of the Capital and donations from patrons.

Instead of selling the magic stone to Mr. Cremetti, it is deposited and used as collateral for a loan. We have not yet made it clear that we are producing magic stones.

It is not possible to deceive the tax collector for a long time. There is no reason to take an unlimited loan. However, if it’s only to deceive last year’s tax revenue, it’s extremely effective in the short term and specifically.

…Well.

“Everyone.”

Standing at the dance floor by the stairs in the entrance hall of the mansion, I address the people gathered in the hall downstairs.

“All of you, loyal employees of A&V Company.”

What sets tonight apart from the other day is that it is midnight now. The chandelier’s magic stone lights have been turned off, and most of the city lights have also disappeared, creating a quiet time. The cool moonlight falling from the windows in the upper part of the hall and the lights lit along the wall of the hall cast their shadows in the darkness.

“It’s time to hunt.”

And another thing, everyone here is capable of fighting.

Jacob, the guards, and the servants who are not regular guards but have martial arts skills to protect their master in case of emergency. Mr. Oliver and the mages of the family. Adventurers hired by the company, especially those in scout roles.

Tonight, Lex is not even here with us. His hands, hands that create the future, must not be stained with blood like mine.

“The order is one.”

There is no response. There are no foolish enough to make a sound during a night raid.

I feel like the enthusiasm of the gathering people has wavered.

In the past, when trying to kill Miss Ina, I should not have hired assassins like the one my father used. Now I know that It was not enough.

A like-minded, well-trained group. This was all that was needed.

“Death to the rats who sniff around us!”.”

Yes, what we have been deceiving until now is the tax collectors and another group known as the shadow of the royal family.

Having my status stripped by the crown prince, I showed myself to be obedient and acted as if I had no ill will towards the royal family, first cautiously and then by interacting with young noble ladies and gentlemen in the royal capital such as Miss Milcah.

“The rats have been enchanted with a spell to become a beacon marked with magic stone powder.”

A free magic diagnosis clinic, or seen from another perspective, a charity business. It started from a place close to the slums and distributing candy appears to be a kindness to the commoners.

The lack of profit is also a disguise to show that the business is not successful.

“And their whereabouts are constantly detected and captured using spells with excess magic power.”

Fine fragments of magic stone, like sand, have been scattered around the mansion. The positions of those attached were investigated over the long term by people from Mr. Oliver’s people using detection spells to see how they are moving.

Ordinary people cannot do such things, no matter how much magic power they have.

But there are countless magic stones here, so we can supplement the necessary magic power.

“Rats that know where it’s hiding are no threat to us.

But from now on, I have to be on the front of the stage.

What is needed is not to keep up an unrealistic disguise. What we need is to blind their eyes and hands.

“All that’s left is to mow the finish.”

I close the fan that hides my mouth and expose a smile like a shark, and declare to them.

“Go.”

Hounds have been released in the Capital City.

Chapter 76: Playing

I sit on the sofa and Lex is next to me, holding my hand. I lean on his shoulder and doze off.

Oh, I couldn’t sleep last night after all. I got sleepy while having a snack with Lex in the afternoon.

“Mina, it’s okay if you fall asleep.”

“No…”

As Lex rubs his hand on my shoulder and taps my body with a rhythmic patting, my eyelids gradually close.

My consciousness wanders between a vague awakening and sleep, and Lex’s body temperature invites me to a deeper sleep. But I wake up suddenly with the sound of shuffling in the room.

“…it’s time for the hunt.”

Hilka’s voice. Hilka is standing in front of me with… a turned over wine case. She stands on top of it, facing the servants.

“The order is one: death to the rats who sniff around us!”

She smiles mischievously and points to the entrance with a fan.

“Go.”

The servants Applause.

“Mina-sama is cool!”

“It’s not easy to say that line.”

“Awesome.”

“This should be a play.”

My head is slightly shaking. It’s because Lex is clapping silently.

“…No, wait a moment, you guys?!”

“Ah, madam. Good morning.”

“Yes, good morning… no, what are you doing?”

Hilka tilts her head loosely.

“It’s Mina-sama play?”

“Mina-sama play?!”

Hilka bows neatly on the wooden box.

“I had to tell the master about your madam’s bravery.”

“Wait a minute…!”

When I try to stand up to stop, Lex makes me sit down by taking my waist and arm.

“I ordered it. I asked her to give me the details of what you were doing last night.”

“And if you don’t know?”

He shakes his head sideways and looks at me with brown eyes.

“I think I should know what Mina did. As her husband.”

Lex looks away and toward Hilka. And before her, who nodded at his words, Senni, who was bound with her hands behind her back and made to kneel on the ground, looked up at Hilka with hatred.

“Don’t think you can get away with it for free…!”

Stop it…

***

“Don’t think you can get away with it for free…!”

I took a chair at the entrance and listened to the information about the night raid. It’s like a base of operations.

When it was getting close to dawn, a mature man was brought before me, dragging his feet. It looks like he had his forehead cut or something, and he had a rough bandage wrapped around his head that was stained with blood. He was tied up with his hands behind his back, and he said this.

“Ara, hello there.”

He may not be the leader of the shadows of the royal family, but he was the one who was watching over me. I told my men to capture him if possible.

I’m glad to see that my men are excellent.

“Vilhelmina, you are the daughter of the Duke Periknen family and the fiancée of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, how dare you stand against us, the shadows of the royal family!”

I stand up and place my hand on my cheek.

“As a nobleman I can respect you, but as a commoner, do not know what value that holds for me.”

“You!”

I return the outrage with a high laugh.

“After all, don’t you think it’s a shame to be destroyed by the hands of the commoners? Don’t you feel ashamed to show such disgrace? No, to begin with, if you haven’t noticed that we have that much power, it’s a terrible oversight, isn’t it?”

The man’s face darkens red with anger.

“Even if you kill us, there will be other shadows, and the royal family will not forgive you.”

“Hmph, I am aware of it. If the shadow of the royal family was truly a loyal hand of the royal family, that would have been good. But that hand has become corrupt.”

“You’re a fool!”

“The prevention of the assassination of Ina Miss Madetoya, and the falsehoods that discredit my honor and glorify her. The former is beside the point, why did the latter take place when the king was absent?”

“… His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is also a noble man, and when he commands it, it is natural to obey.”

“Foolish fool!”

I hit his cheek with a fan.

“Do not let such lies pass through someone who has received Queen’s education! In order not to waste unnecessary blood in the struggle for succession, do not think that the shadow must not take the initiative!”

There is no answer. I sit in the chair.

“At the stage where you acted not for the sake of the kingdom but for the sake of the prince, your loyalty or what have you is worthless. I wonder if even Lord Elias would be hired as a puppet by the nobles?”

“Hmph, I don’t know. I won’t talk even if I was subjected to torture.”

“…By the way, I heard that in the East there is a torture called putting a starving rat into someone’s anus and letting it eat their internal organs.”

The faces of those around me turn pale.

“I wouldn’t go through the trouble of doing such a troublesome thing. Kill him.”

Chapter 77: Reason

“It’s like a Mina-sama play-pretend kind of thing.”

I tried to stop it, but I was held back by Lex and ended up having to watch until the end.

I put my face in my hands and just trembled.

“Ugh, I can’t get married anymore…”

“You’re already married, so it’s okay.”

While saying that, Hilka sends a fan to cool the wind. I wonder if you would say it cools the face that’s becoming hot.

Ugh… I tap Lex lightly.

“You were very dignified, Mina.”

“R-Really…?”

Hilka’s face is crisp and she holds her fan in front of her.

“Go.”

Lex bursts out laughing.

No more! No more!

I was hitting him with a cushion on the sofa, but Hilka took them away.

Lex asks.

“…Anyway, was the shadow of the royal family, a spy essentially. Why was that eliminated?”

Hm. That’s right.

“Well, simply put, I hated the shadow of the royal family…”

“Yeah, that’s right. Let’s change the way we say it. Why now?”

“From now on, we will carry out business more widely, which means releasing magic stones in the market on a grand scale. In that case, we must publicly disclose our technology. Of course, there’s no need to go into every detail.”

Lex nods.

“You mean patents. Of course, applications can be filed at any time.”

Patents are necessary as long as you make your business public. Besides, Lex said that another researcher somewhere besides himself will eventually realize it.

“In that case, there may be spies coming. If there’s a story that one-sidedly ruined the shadow of the royal family during that time, it will become a major deterrent. That’s one thing.”

Lex nods and the servants around him do the same.

The attack from last night will stir up tomorrow’s news. The truth will never be known to the public, but it should spread among them.

“That’s why we don’t want the king to know about what we’re about to do.”

“By that do you mean the publication of the patent?”

“No, it’s about asking for the protection of the Pope.”

“Well, it’s certainly a problem if you’re seeking protection from someone who isn’t your king. But the Pope…”

“Yes, as I said before with the 100-carat magic stone, I am still a follower after all. I didn’t run to a neighboring country and seek refuge(protection) there because I had concerns that it was worth more than one country could handle.”

“Oh.”

I look around at Lex and the servants. People who are looking at me with passionate eyes. Even if I said this now, it’s not like they will be shaken.

“Lex’s invention, there is a fear that it may be considered heretical by the Church.”

A silence, and the sound of someone swallowing their breath. It seems to have made a certain impact.

However, Lex nods. Was it expected?

“I see. Is that so… I mean, yes, that’s right. Yeah, that’s what’s going to happen.”

When I tilt my head, he continues speaking.

“We didn’t expect that.”

“Yes.”

“Someone would definitely try to take away the commoner’s epoch-making invention. So that’s it, they can take everything.”

I feel a dimness in his brown eyes.

Yes, Lex must have been deprived of much of it before he became a part of my life. The research, or the opportunity to do research.

“T-That!”

Called out from the servant.

“I-It’s a heresy…right?”

Without blaming impoliteness, I slowly shake my head.

“No, it’s impossible for Lex’s research to tarnish the glory of God. But the fools who are blinded by the extraordinariness of his research will surely discredit us by saying so.”

I stand up, point my finger at Lex and speak in a low voice like a drama.

“You have meddled in the great work of God to create a magic stone out of nothing.

“…that’s incorrect. I crystallized the magic elements in the atmosphere, not from nothing.”

“Oh, magic elements! You absorbed magic elements from the dungeon and artificially created the magic stone.”

“…yes.”

“Dungeon is the realm of the demonic god who rebelled against the supreme god! Thou art an evil law-user who brings out the magic element from there!”

“That’s incorrect.”

“If it’s incorrect, then prove your innocence in a holy trial!”

I will lower my hand.

“It’s like this with a typical inquisitor of heresy. Maybe during the trial, you’ll be thrown into the river, and when you sink, you’re innocent.”

A servant speaks.

“But wouldn’t the church be unable to obtain the technology of heresy?”

“The result of the heretic inquiry was a mistake, Alex Peltra was telling the truth. He is recognized as a saint and his technology should be properly managed by the church.”

He is speechless.

“That’s why I’d like to discuss business directly with His Eminence the Pope first.”

Chapter 78: The Pope 1

The Pope travels once every few years, from summer to autumn. This year, his schedule has been made, and according to my letter, our country is included in the destination.

Of course, it will be in the form of visiting several neighboring countries, so it will be a matter of later for the Pope to come to our country, which does not border the Papal territory.

In other words, we have a chance to talk to him directly.

Soon after the attack on the Royal Shadow, Lex and I disappeared. We traveled to the country where the Pope is staying, and sent him a letter.

Of course, normally the letter would not reach the Pope. But after I gave him the magic stone. I received a message to secretly meet him.

At night, in the empty Cathedral, Lex and I kneel down and wait for his arrival.

As I began to lose feeling in my knees, I heard a door open and close. Then, a slow rustling sound. A presence passes by our side.

“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. Raise your face. In front of God, all children are equal.”

Slowly raising our faces once, and then looking ahead.

The small old man dressed in a robe with gold thread embroidery in blue and white, a combination of colors only allowed for the Pope, can only be His Holiness Namadrius IV.

We bow our heads once again.

“Greetings to His Eminence Namadorius IV, the Supreme Delegate of God, Master of the Holy Staff, my name is Alex Peltra.”

“Greetings to His Eminence Namadorius IV, the Supreme Delegate of God, Master of the Holy Staff. I am Vilhelmina, wife of Alex.”

“Thank you for your courteous greetings, Peltra couple.

The Pope sat in a chair brought in by a servant. The security is far away and the servants are extremely few. There are only three people in the large church.

The Pope took out a jewel box from his pocket and retrieved our donated magic stone, “Tears of the World”.

“A few days ago, adventurers who said they were your subordinates brought this to donate to this old fool.

“Yes, please receive it.”

“Thank you for your faithfulness.”

When he said that, he raised the holy seal twice, and said the prayer words. He blessed us.

“Well, I believed that there is probably a great secret in your magic stone.”

“You have a wise eye.”

He said that with an interesting smile.

“The adventurers you sent did not tell the story of this wonderful adventure to obtain this magic stone. And they just handed over a letter without reward. It has been 20 years since this old fool became Pope and named Namadrius IV, but there has never been such a person.”

It’s true… How much of the dangerous adventure result and the treasure obtained are offered. There is no one who does not show the value of the treasure and hence their own value.

“I am sorry if this offends you, but in case of emergency, it must not be stolen goods. I investigated this large magic stone, but there is no story of theft from anywhere and there is no stone with the same shape and color.”

“No, it’s understandable that you would be concerned. I swear to the supreme god, this is not stolen property.”

“Yes, yes. Of course. I have confirmed this by seeing you again. Your souls are not so clouded.”

His Holiness Namadrius IV looks at us with deep blue eyes. Eyes that are called the eyes of the gods, which discern the heart.

I couldn’t help but take a deep breath.

“However, this magic stone I received from you is not something obtained through adventure, that’s correct.”

“Do you understand…?”

“Of course, if a monster capable of producing a magic stone of this size appeared, it would have reached even the ears of this old fool. It’s also about conquering dungeons. That’s not what I felt from those adventurers.”

Everything has been seen through. However, it’s because we are not thought to have acted with ill will that we were able to be received in such an audience .

“Yes. I would like to tell you the secret, the secret that was even hidden from the King of Patrikainen.”

“It’s a pleasure.”

I nod to Lex. He opens the trunk he had placed to the side with slow movements, as we had previously decided.

He takes out Mina#13 and sets the trunk upright on top of it.

I also stand up.

“Your Highness, this is our secret.”

I pour magic into Mina#13 and after a short time there is a dry sound.

He opens the drawer, puts the newly made 5 carat size magic stone in his hand, and kneels down in front of the Highness.

The wrinkled hand of the Highness picks up the magic stone, shading it in the moonlight.

“…Did you…create the magic stone?”

“Yes.”

His Holiness slapped himself on the bald head with his opposite hand.

“Well, well. It’s a more stimulating story than defeating an ancient dragon and obtaining it.”

Chapter 79: The Pope 2

His Holiness humble himself by calling himself foolish, but to reply to this immediately with provocative talk, he’s not foolish nor has his mind aged.

“I see, it’s a bit hard to see in the dark, but it looks like the same color as “Tears of the World”. Were you able to create it using the box in your hand?

“Yes, of course creating something big is not easy.”

His Holiness nods.

“This is a technique invented by my husband Alex to extract and crystallize the magic power within the body. Although I affirmed your words earlier that it is a creation, strictly speaking, it is not creation. That is the work of the supreme God.”

His Holiness nods heavily. This is an important matter after all.

“I see. So, with that box, can anyone crystallize their magic power?”

“Yes.”

“For example, can even this old fool create a magic stone?”

“I can create a magic stone too. However, the size of it depends on the capacity of magic power within the body, so I can only make small ones.”

Lex explains.

When I told him that it would consume his magic power, he said he would like to try it lightly, so I put Mina#13 in front of His Holiness.

His Holiness is supposed to use his magic power to perform healing miracles and so on.

“Hmm.”

With a determined expression, His Holiness lifted his hand towards Mina#13 and his hand shone with a pale light. The power of miracles…!

The light immediately subsided and he opened the drawer to retrieve a small stone.

It was much smaller than the one I showed him, but it emitted a faint light.

“I see, so the sacred stone in the scriptures was indeed a holy attribute magic stone after all.”

He gestured for me to come over and placed the sacred stone in my palm.

“Please.”

“…I-Is that okay!’

The holy stone often appears in the scriptures, but it is not produced in the natural world dungeons, and the means of obtaining it in the present world are limited to the remains of the holy beasts. It is a precious thing with the power of purification and healing.

“Yes, it was a valuable experience. It will be a good memory and you can use it for research if you like.”

Suddenly, Mr. Oliver’s face comes to mind. When we took this back for research, he will regret that he could not be there to witness the event, and he will be disappointed that we could not make the sacred stone.

“And this foolish oldman realized that your business is not just a charity.”

I smile.

Of course, the church will be looking into the A&V company. And now, by showing the creation of magic stone at Mina#13, it can be said that we have revealed the true meaning of ‘Free Magic Appraisal Office’.

“From those who are not high magic holders, only a tiny stone that does not even reach one carat can be obtained. Nevertheless, it can be enough to use as fuel for magic stone lamps.”

“Indeed, it’s something. You have shown this foolish oldman that you can make not only the highest-grade one-of-a-kind magic stone, but also the quantity, not quality. And paradoxically, you still have a hidden card in your hand.”

I neither affirm nor deny. There’s no need to expose everything. That’s because the revealed card is too powerful. Therefore, I don’t need to talk about the accumulation of magic elements in the atmosphere here.”

“Your Holiness Namadrius IV, I think it’s fine to entrust the magic appraisal to the church.”

“Hmm… That’s an interesting proposal, but why?”

“Let’s have all the churches in all the lands within your reach pay with magic stones for the meal costs of the soup kitchen. This will also increase the number of times the soup is served and can be used as a substitute for firewood in the orphanage.”

The Holiness made a face as if he was taken aback for a moment and then laughed.

“Interesting. Whether it’s a facade or one’s true feelings, whether it’s lawful or sincere, there are not many people who can say that. If it comes to pass, your names will be crowned with holy saints.”

I was about to bow my head, but it was stopped by His Holiness’ hand on my shoulder.

“However, the journey will be difficult and you want the protection of this old fool.”

His Holiness’ gaze was gentle, but it still felt like a deep abyss that peered into the depths of my heart.

“…Yes, that’s correct. It’s impertinent but…”

He smiled mischievously and stroked his bald head.

“What, I’ll show you that even this bald head has its uses. It was a fun night. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in the Kingdom of Patrika.”

He stood up and left the room.

“Thank you for your kindness.”

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to meet your honorable self.”

Lex and I knelt down with the words.

Several days later, while reading a newspaper at a hotel on my way back to the kingdom, I involuntarily smiled.

“Mina, what’s with the big grin holding the newspaper?”

“His Holiness has used our magic stone for his crown.”

The newspaper published a picture of the Pope showing his formal attire, waving his hand to the people.

And the article stated that the Pope’s crown was newly made after several hundred years, and that its foundation was unchanged, and that the beautiful magic stone of water was adorned in the center of the crown.

“That is a great honor… I guess.”

“That’s one thing, and the other is that what His Holiness used can’t be attributed to heretical technology.”

The Pope has shown his protection towards us through his appearance.

Chapter 80: On the Way Home

“It was a hectic trip.”

A voice came from next to me.

“There’s no helping it though. Nevertheless, we did manage to meet His Holiness.”

I turn to the luggage that fills the passenger cabin of the carriage.

“I was able to buy a lot of souvenirs.”

Up until now, we lived like a middle to lower class nobility, with a household and servants, but it would not be accurate to say we lived extravagantly. If you consider the production of magic stones, it’s rather modest.

However, this is foreign territory, and there is no watchful eye. So I used it a bit.

“To be dragged around like this for shopping…”

Lex looked tired.

This was partly because there was no spare time on the itinerary, but also because he is not accustomed to this kind of shopping.

“It wasn’t like this when I was a Duke’s daughter, you know?”

“… How can you buy more?”

“Fufu, just call a merchant to the mansion and say, ‘I liked it, buy everything for me.’ The shopping this time may be more tiring.”

Lex shakes his head.

Jewelry, dresses, magic stones, technical books desired by Lex, tools, gifts to give to friends and servants, sweets, land for opening a shop here…

Indeed, I bought various things.

Anyway, I’m glad to hear that His Holiness has responded favorably to our request.

Lex’s stomach rumbles.

“Excuse me.”

Lex seemed to eat very little during this trip. I think he was not hungry due to tension and fatigue.

I took a box of sweets from among the souvenirs.

“Shall we have it here? It’s bad manners.”

As Lex nodded, I peeled off the wrapping and opened the box.

Small chocolates are neatly arranged.

Both of us picked one and put it in our mouths. The scent of rich cocoa spreads in the nasal cavity.

For a while, silence filled the room. Lex rolled the chocolate in his mouth and muttered.

“But was that the right thing to do?”

“What do you mean?”

“The conversation with His Holiness. Of course, I understand that there isn’t much time.”

“We haven’t reached a point where we can discuss specifics. I’m sure His Holiness would like time to make adjustments within the church.”

“You’re talking about what you said before about not being considered a heretic.”

“It doesn’t matter if it is considered heresy. If we talk about extremes, we can deceive people by calling Lex’s technology a miracle and start a new religion or country. The son of God, Alex, has descended to the world to save the masses.”

A deep wrinkle was carved between Lex’s eyebrows.

“The son of God, Alex-sama!”

I take a pose as if I’m worshiping.

“I hate it. It wouldn’t work out so well even if we tried.”

“Of course, I hate it too. But there is enough power to do that… at least His Holiness would have thought that there was a possibility, right?”

“Hmm.”

“Of course, we can never win in terms of the number of soldiers, but if we consider the vast magic stones in a local battle…”

Lex takes the sweet from my hand.

“Let’s stop talking about evil things.”

Holding a box in his left hand, he plucked a chocolate from it and pressed it against my lips. It flowed smoothly between my lips and spread a strong sweetness in my mouth.

Lex’s face is flushing red. But mine must be even hotter.

“I don’t want to play tricks on a future that’s not possible. Let’s think about happiness.”

I, who cannot speak, scoot close to Lex with my butt sticking out and filling the seat.

As Lex tried to escape by half shifting his butt, I filled the gap even further.

His right hand, which didn’t have chocolate, floated so I made it wrap around my shoulder.

“…Pushy.”

I melt and drink the chocolate before opening my mouth.

“This is the place to be.”

His hand on my shoulder is tense. I stroke it gently and ask him.

“Have you gotten used to women?”

“I haven’t gotten used to women.”

Lex shakes her head.

“But I have gotten used to Mina being next to me.”

“Just used to it?”

“…I think it feels good to have her next to me.”

Haha. A smile rises on my cheek.

Until we returned home, I rested my head on his chest.

Chapter 81: Patents

After returning to the capital from a short trip abroad, I returned with Lex to the commercial guild.

A massive building that could even rival noble estates, but the ones coming in and out are many merchants and carriages.

“Well, shall we go?”

“Yes.”

Lex and I took a deep breath in front of the building. Our destination is a corner on the third floor of the guild. It is a quiet corner in the lively guild.

There is always a Patent Department gate in the commercial guild of each capital.

With my hand on Lex’s arm, the two of us headed towards the reception.

“I’m Alex from A&V. I came to apply for a patent.”

Hilka, the maidservant who followed us like a shadow, handed over the documents from the bag she was holding.

These are what was recorded in the patent application documents that I had ordered in advance.

“Yes, thank you very much… oh.”

The receptionist exclaimed in surprise.

This was probably because the submitted documents were a bundle of hundreds of pages.

“As indicated by the first piece in this application for a patent, it is a device for producing magic stones.”

“Magic stones… producing… huh?!”

Her eyes widened and she looked at the title in a flustered manner.

Another staff member peered at the situation, seemingly surprised by the voice.

Talvo, the butler who had been accompanying Hilka, took out a device from the trunk.

“It is a mechanism that, if left in place, would produce a 0.1-carat magic stone in about three days.”

I spread out my fan and smiled behind it.

What Talvo took out now was something made by connecting the Lex1 and Mina1 engines.

It cannot be disassembled without destroying it, and its performance is much lower than what we are using now.

“Wow, amazing invention! Umm, may I talk to the higher-ups about it?”

Yes, that’s even more groundbreaking.

We were led to the reception room and was explaining to the Commercial Guild Leader and the head of the Patent Department.

“…so this mechanism collects magic elements from the atmosphere and crystalizes them.”

I gaze at the interior of the room while drinking tea. As expected of the commercial guild in the capital city, the interior is magnificent but it is not high quality as it only showcases things that are easily recognizable and of value.

The head of the Patent Department has begun his calculations. The Guild Leader asks.

“How is it?”

“It is a wonderful invention, but it is not profitable. The amount of magic stone produced is too insufficient for the materials used. This is something we can expect a lot of research on in the future.”

“I see, Mr. Peltra. Will you be asking for financial support for the creation of a new model?”

Lex shakes his head.

“No. We already have an improved version of this. An improved version of this has already been made, and we at A&V have already begun production of magic stone on a large scale.”

“…What!”

“The improved model is!”

Fufu. Lex tapped the stack of patent application forms on the desk.

“In this patent application, there are tens of thousands of patterns available for combining materials to create the mechanism of the magic stone manufacturing device, so that’s one of them. You can check that if you like.”

Because it is a combination of magic element absorption and crystallization. 100 patterns x 100 patterns will amount to 10,000.

“Do you really think such lawlessness will be allowed?!”

They rose up in rage.

With a snap, I clapped my fan and his movements stopped, his gaze directed towards me.

It’s not necessary for me, who is just a commoner’s wife, to draw attention. But this is a gesture of discomfort expressed by the wives of nobles and aristocrats. There’s no doubt that those who are doing business with them are also paying attention.

“…I wonder if it’s really appropriate to publicly announce that invention?”

“So, what do you say?”

When I knocked on the desk with the fan, they awkwardly sat down in their chairs.

“Well, we don’t mind disclosing all the technology that we’re currently using to make magic stones. It’s an extreme case, but it would be easier for us if we disclosed everything.”

“Huh?”

“Because if people all over the world were to make this for us, we could live a life of leisure just on the massive patent royalties. Right?”

“…That’s right.”

“Not doing that is out of consideration for you commercial guilds, but… let me ask you again. Is it okay to make it public?”

I take a sip of the tea that was offered. To make them think.

“…To the world?”

Words leaked from the mouth of the Guild Leader.

Yes, the matter of making it public as a patent is not just for this country, this guild.

“So it’s not about taking advantage of us…”

“Rather, it might even be harmful.”

“So you are saying that countries with a large amount of capital at the moment will be able to produce magic stones more extensively?”

I smile.

“Which one will control the world, the Pope’s Office in the south or the Empire in the east?”

He shuddered as if he were chilled.

“Of course, such a future could eventually happen. If you’re willing to move the hands of the clock forward here. We’re willing to share all the technology we have with the public?

Chapter 82: Contract

“Mrs. Peltra… what do you want us to do?”

The Guild Leader asks.

“I, as a mere common woman, cannot say what I would have the leader of a commercial guild do. I only offer you the choice of whether to publicly announce the latest research, or to patent it in secret.”

In other words, even if the technology is disguised as being an epoch-making invention but not yet profitable, other countries’ development will be delayed. The commercial guild only needs to start researching before them.

Even if some organization finds an efficient combination, it will still be included in the tens of thousands of combinations submitted this time. We don’t have any problems as the contract fee will come to us.

“…Thank you for your consideration. We will keep it a secret as you wish.”

“Yes, thank you very much.”

The Guild Leader bowed to us. However, the head of the Patent Department is looking at us suspiciously.

“What is it?”

“Is that technology really something of such value?”

“What are you trying to say?”

“It means I haven’t asked about the specific production volume. I am not impressed that the Guild Leader would bow his head without any explanation.”

“You, stop it. You just don’t know how much the president of the Royal Central Bank has invested in the start-up company A&V and how much Mr. Cremetti, the president, cares about them. You just don’t know.”

Ah, I see. So that’s why the Guild Leader came to hear about the patent themselves. They already realized the value of Lex’s invention.

“But still…”

A fan makes a fluttering noise.

“I don’t want to show my hand. Sorry. However, I don’t mind if you deduce it from the fact that I was going to request a business negotiation from now on.”

The Guild Leader says with a cheerful smile after telling the head of the Patent Department in silence.

“Well, that means you’ll be selling magic stones?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

I tap the closed fan with my palm and feel Talvo, who has been standing behind me, bowing his head and walking out of the room.

“If you can regularly sell magic stones at the wholesale price, then it would be fortunate for us… that, uh, I mean…”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s fine. Our relationship has already been cut off.”

They know that I am a former Periknen, and I guess that bothers them.

“I apologize. The Duchy of Periknen has tried to reduce the amount of magic stones brought into the capital and has raised the prices. If we try to import from overseas, the transportation costs and tariffs will increase, and if we bring it from other territories within the country, the output will not be stable.”

I nod, and the Guild Leader continues.

“So, if we can procure it through another route, it would lead to price stabilizationization and counter the price increase.”

“… it’s not enough at all.”

“Is it difficult to produce enough to counter Periknen’s price increase?”

“No, it’s the opposite. What’s lacking is your recognition and determination.”

“Determination… is it?”

The door was knocked on, Talvo came into the room with the head of security and his men lined up behind him, carrying a trunk.

“Stack them up and hand them over.”

At my command, Hilka lowered the tea in front of me and Lex, and the guards opened the trunk and lined up its contents on the desk.

It was a glass jar packed with magic stones, with dozens of them lined up on the desk.

“What is missing is the determination to change the world.”

The heads of the commercial guilds were frozen with their mouths wide open, as if they could not speak.

“We guarantee that the contents of the ink inclusion in the magic stone raw stone are VVS or higher with less than 1 carat. Here, the total weight is exactly 100,000 carats, which is 20 kilograms.”

“100,000 carats?!”

I smiled.

“If you take our hands, we’ll give you this wholesale at 80% of the official price. How about it?”

The Guild Leader smiled.

“It’s been a while.”

I nod my head.

“It’s been a while since I’ve felt this way. It’s like being hit in the cheek with a bag of gold.”

“Was it unpleasant?”

“No… No, I’ve woken up. Yes, wagging your tail to the royalty and the aristocracy is not the end of the business.

The head of the Patent Department stands up and shouts.

“Guild Leader! You’ll make an enemy of Lord Periknen and the royal family!”

“Do you know what it means to take my hand in the first place?”

Because Lord Elias was spreading rumors and plays that insult me. You should know that there is a rift between us.

The Guild Leader shook his head sideways.

“You, I told you to keep your mouth shut earlier, didn’t I? Let me ask you a question. What will you do if Periknen lowers the price of the magic stone to compete?”

“If the opponent drops the price by 8, let’s lower the price by 5 more. We will continue to lower the price until Periknen goes bankrupt.”

“I see, it’s of a different caliber.”

Thus, at the commercial guild, we went as far as to make a contract for patent and wholesale.

Chapter 83: The Dark Side

At night, I ride my carriage towards Periknen territory.

To report today’s talk between the Guild Leader and the Peltra couple.

I brought something that’s too revolutionary. It’s an act that will upset the noble society. All the markets that our guild has expanded towards the nobles will be destroyed.

The Guild Leader was carried away by the excitement, but it couldn’t pass.

Thud. The carriage shakes violently. The neighing of horses splitting the night.

“What happened!”

I call out to the driver, but there’s no response. When I open the small window connecting to the driver’s seat, warm and moist liquid splashes on my face.

The carriage shakes again and comes to a stop. When I open the door, I see that my hands are stained red under the street lights.

“Uwaaah!”

When I look at the driver’s seat, the man’s head is gone, and he falls slowly.

“Sarasoya, the director of the Patent Department of the Royal Capital Commercial Guild.”

A voice that’s calm and not fitting to the tragedy echoes.

Under the street lights, stands a man wearing a golden embroidered magician’s robe and a silk hat. His silver long hair is exposed, and his monocle reveals a demonic eye…!

“T-The Great Ice-Flame Magician! What are you doing here?!”

He points his right hand towards here.

“<Bullet Brit>.”

A shock on my right leg.

“Ugh.”

“Look under your shoes.”

My ankles are frozen, as are my pants. With a snap, my ankle and all the rest of my body fell off without pain or bleeding.

This speed and power with shortened chanting…!

There was no sense of reality and I couldn’t even speak.I picked up my shoe and found a small stone on the sole. No, it was shining, reflecting the light of the streetlamp.

“Magic stone…?”

“A detection spell. After hearing today’s story, I’m looking for someone who moves to a completely different place than usual. Yes, like you, who is heading to Duke Periknen’s townhouse.”

“N-No! I just moved here!”

“<Ice-Blade>”

The space in front of my right hand sparkled like glass, reflecting the light. An ice blade. It extends without sound, and pierces my stomach.

It pierces my stomach without pain, passing through my suit and shirt. The ice spreads.

“There you are with our patents hidden away. It’s not appropriate for a position of leader who should protect the rights holder of the patent.”

A cruel smile rises on his handsome face.

My heart is being enveloped in ice.

“Our merciless queen, The Mistress will never forgive treachery.”

Then consciousness went dark.

***

“What the hell is this?!”

Father yells in the townhouse’s office.

“Even the commercial guild is stopping the magic stone trade!”

Saying that, he threw the paper in his hand away.

…Oh, I see. No wonder Father is getting angry. Unlike a single transaction, like last year’s with Cyclatron, it’s different because numerous small businesses and companies conduct magic stone transactions through the Commercial Guild. In fact, 50% of magic stone production in the Periknen Territory is through the Commercial Guild.

I picked up the letter that fell on the carpet.

“Excuse me.”

Hmm… This is.

“It doesn’t mean that the trading will be completely stopped. They just won’t accept the deals at the current price.”

Over the past year and into this year, my father has raised the price of magic stones to the established maximum price allowed by the government. This is the price that would normally be charged in the event of a collapse of the dungeon, when production is extremely low and an infusion of funds is needed to re-establish production.

The reason why my father’s tyranny is allowed is because of his status as Duke, and because the majority of magic stones in the country come from the Periknen Territory.

“The problem is the amount we are willing to deal for at this price!”

“That’s about half of what we’re selling for now in Periknen and about 80% of the original benchmark price… it’s close to the current minimum established price.”

The lower limit of this value is more of a value to prevent inexperienced merchants and adventurers from being unfairly underbid in business.

In other words, this price is not meant for the sale and purchase of magic stones in the first place.

Indeed, the commercial guild is taking bold actions.

This amount would have been a clear indication of the intention to stop doing business with the Duchy of Periknen.

“What are you going to do?”

“We’ll visit the king urgently and put pressure on the guild!”

A sigh escapes me.

It’s short-sighted and doesn’t make sense to just consider pressure without considering why the guild is able to take this action, or to speculate and investigate the reason.

The fact that this is possible means that the guild has at least the means to obtain magic stones equivalent to Periknen’s output in the medium term at a reasonable price.

And it’s within the established price range. I think the royal family will not move yet.

“I’ll head to investigate where the guild is getting the magic stones from.”

Even if pressure is applied, the target would probably be where the commercial guild obtained the magic stones.

I leave my father’s office.

The face of my sister popped up without any basis. She had a clear face, but with a delight in her Peridot eyes.

By some secret or miracle, she suddenly cut the price of the magic stones in half without even moving from the capital.

Ah, “storm” is coming.

It must be a storm big enough to blow the Duke Periknen house down.

Chapter 84: Kitchen Door

The poor in the royal capital have good access to money.

From the viewpoint of the rulers, it’s just a small movement of pennies. Even if the slum dwellers who live deep in the slums where even tax collectors don’t go, or beggars who claim the only possession they have is the mat they spread on the street, have one more copper coin than usual, who among the rich would notice.

Maybe a small shop in the slum or a sister at a charity hospital might notice. For example, there were fewer people who died of cold on the street this winter.

And the poor people know it well. It’s because the simple Magic Appraisal Office of A&V Co. was distributing candy to the children.

It’s because the Peltra couple is showing mercy to the poor.

One evening, a ragged old man bows his head at the kitchen door at the back of the house. His one sleeve was empty, and it swayed powerlessly when he bowed his head.

“I beg the master and madam of this magnificent house to have mercy on this poor beggar…”

Hearing that, the maid in livery nodded and offered the metal handle.

“Yes, our master will not abandon you. Touch here and pray.”

The man knelt down and, with his remaining hand, grasped the handle and prayed.

“May the blessings of the gods be upon the master and the madam, and may we express our gratitude to all the servants…

The sound of a clear, dry voice can be heard.

“Good, please go ahead.”

A few copper coins are dropped into the bowl that the man holds out, and on top of that are placed hard-baked bread and a piece of sweet that are being distributed to the children.

The man is surprised by the weight.

There are not many nobles who are so generous to beggars like them. Even if there are, it’s only on special days like the church’s Thanksgiving.

He says the words of gratitude at that time.

“Thank you for your great mercy, I will not come until next year…”

However, the servant shakes his head.

“Is that what you used to say? I heard the madam say this. She said, ‘Please come again next week.”

The man carefully holds the dish and leaves the place.

Soon another man dressed in rags comes.

This time it seems to be a young man. The maid’s mouth is curved.

“Ara, are you a little beggar too?”

***

While I was keeping the ledger in my office, I received a call from a servant that Jurremi had arrived.

“Ara, what was he going to do if he got caught by someone?”

“He disguised himself in rags and came in through the back door.”

I headed to the reception room while laughing.

“Ara, greetings Lord Latuma.”

He must have changed already. Jurremi stands wearing plain clothes.

He furrowed his brow.

“Mrs. Peltra… May I call you Big Sister?”

“Yes, Jurremi. It’s okay within this mansion.”

We exchanged greetings and sat in chairs.

The maids making tea and the guards all smile and bow to Jurremi. Afterall, It was Jurremi who had employed them until I took possession of the house.

“Well, why did you go to the trouble of disguising yourself and come here?”

“It’s about the Commercial Guild. Is that the Big Sister’s doing?”

“Jurremi, what do you know?”

He thinks for a while.

“Big Sister and the others created A&V company., which provides a free Magic Appraisal Office service, the scale of the service has expanded in terms of the number of shops and employees, they have purchased a mansion and hired servants, and the daughter of a noble family who was a friend of Big Sister and the Central Bank of the Capital is a supporter. Even if the appraiser is a groundbreaking invention, it’s not enough to earn money by selling information on magic users to magic schools. No matter how you think about it, it doesn’t make sense.”

He mutters while spilling milk into his tea.

“Big Sister may dress modestly when she goes out, but this porcelain is not out of place in the Duke’s household, right?”

He takes a sip from the cup.

“Yes. Continue?”

“A&V Company has dispatched many researchers to the Periknen Territory, they’ve created a simple Magic Appraisal Office in the ducal capital, and researchers and adventurers frequently come and go there. Father is now in a dilemma because he’s not paying attention to this movement.”

He says with a sigh.

“Ara, really?”

“Well, maybe it’s Father, or maybe it’s the deputy. I searched the reports from last year, but almost nothing was recorded. So, since important adventurers have been recruited, it’s not worth mentioning.”

“They don’t find any value in adventurers.”

Jurremi nods his head.

“Maybe. And the information that has been confirmed is that Big Sister went to a neighboring country and returned immediately, and also went to the Patent Department of the Commercial Guild. Was it a magic stone production device?”

“Yes, it was made by my husband.”

“Mr. Alex Peltra. I don’t know if I can call him my brother-in-law.”

As a brother-in-law means a legal brother in law, since I was expelled from Periknen, legally speaking, Jurremi and I are not siblings. For Jurremi, Lex being his brother-in-law is not established.

“I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear that.”

He is not here now because he is at the laboratory.

“…Yeah. Anyway, I got to see the contents of Alex-san’s patent, but his inventions aren’t like that. Isn’t it?”

I feel my mouth corners rise.

“Why do you think that?”

“Big Sisters’ flamboyance, the Patent Department head went missing just after Big Sister went to the commercial guild, the price of magic stone has already fallen by 10% in the market, we received contact that they would only buy it at 80% of the official standard price from the commercial guild.”

Having said that, Jurremi furrowed his brow and tapped the armrest of his chair with his finger.

“I know it sounds paranoid, but… Pope Namadrius IV is coming to this country this year, and a few days after Big Sister left the country, the central jewel in Pope Namadrius IV’s crown changed into a huge magic stone.”

Fufu, he’s a smart child.

“It’s all our doing.”

Jurremi stood up and raised his voice.

“Did you meet His Holiness, Pope Namadrius IV?!”

And then he sat down in the chair as if he could not put strength into his legs and leaned his weight on the backrest.

“It’s bad manners.”

“Yeah, that’s true, but… a 100-carat magic stone…”

Chapter 85: Ina’s Move

Jurremi furrows his brow.

“You can even make even a magic stone of that size freely?”

“It takes some time and I have no intention of mass-producing it, but I can make it. I already told His Holiness that I would offer him another magic stone of that size to invite him to this country.”

We are to offer Mr. Oliver’s 100-carat magic stone with lightning attribute.

“…Production volume?”

“As of now, it’s around 1,000 carats per day with the total weight of scrap magic stones. In addition, there are a few pieces over 1 carat.”

“Is that simple appraisal office the mechanism of magic stone production?”

“Well, you can imagine what I’m talking about, can’t you?”

“Yes, that’s not the only one, but it’s the most productive volume.

Jurremi is silent for a while and taps his elbow with his finger. When his tea was refilled, he opened his mouth.

“But isn’t it dangerous? I think Father would reach Big Sister immediately in this state.”

“I’ve made sure it’s safe even if he gets there, that’s why I’m making the patent public.”

“Even if this place is attacked, it’s okay?”

“Because I’m storing magic stones here, right? If they come here with the intention of scorching the whole of Capital City, they might get us.

“Uh… but what about the office?”

I lean forward.

“Look. If by chance Father attacks the office, try to stop him if possible. If he does attack, make sure you can prove that you have nothing to do with it, okay?”

“Huh?”

Jurremi tilts his head.

“Promise.”

Looking into each other’s eyes, I carefully watched as he nods.

“Understood. I’ll definitely not get involved… but why?”

“Because I’ll outsource this business to the church later.”

Jurremi looked up at the sky. If you were to oppose the church’s business, your entire family might end up being executed.

***

One day, Elias-sama received a letter from his father-in-law, Duke Periknen, asking for an urgent meeting. Elias-sama invited his father-in-law to the afternoon tea with Ina the next day.

“Good day, Stepfather.”

Ina takes a lady’s bow.

“Long time no see, Duke Periknen, or should I call you my future father-in-law?”

It seems like Stepfather’s mood is not good. Although he sometimes shows a short-tempered attitude, he is usually a relaxed person. Today, he seemed more flustered than usual and his greeting was so-so. He started talking about what he probably wanted to say.

“Originally, there were things I wanted to present to His Majesty…”

I don’t think it’s very proper to say that directly to Elias-sama. Elias-sama’s eyebrows twitched for a moment.

“The king is very busy. Even so, if it’s the Duke, it shouldn’t be too long a wait. Is it so urgent that we can’t even wait for that?”

When Elias-sama said that, Stepfather began to talk about the commercial guild informing him that they suddenly cut the purchase price of magic stones in half.

In half…?

“Hmm…”

Elias-sama rests his chin in his hand and thinks. Stepfather spoke in a hurry.

“Your Highness Elias is no stranger to this. We are all in this together. We must put pressure on the guild to stop this.”

“I understand. However, that’s not the issue. The reason the country allows the guild to lead the trade of magic stones is based on the agreement that they can trade with stable prices. In other words, the guild has demonstrated that they can handle magic stones at least for a year even without Periknen selling it, indicating its price.”

“Impossible!”

“No, it is impossible to offer that price without it. It would be the guild leader’s head or the guild’s very survival. Do you have any idea where the guild gets its source?

Elias-sama and Father-in-law are discussing. Ina knows nothing about the economy, but there is one thing she knows.

“Vilhelmina-sama.”

The murmur stopped the two from talking.

“Vil…what’s wrong with that person?”

“No, I don’t have any proof, but I think she did it.

“Why do you think that?”

“She once said, ‘No two dragons can’t live on the same mountain.

Father-in-law becomes angry.

“What nonsense! I should have killed her at that time!”

“Don’t be a fool. If you had killed her there, there’s no way I and Ina would have been recognized.”

Vilhelmina-sama told Ina that she would let Ina suffer the same fate as Elias-sama. Is it unjust to pull a bow against such a person?

No, that person would say. Since Ina is the fiancé of the Crown Prince, she would do everything she can to make it happen.

“Please investigate the relationship between Vilhelmina-sama and the Commercial Guild, or things like magic stones, magic elements, magic power, and magic. And call the head of the guild. He should be obliged to give an explanation if he is going to let the magic stone be sold at that price.”

Chapter 86: The Audience Room 1

Jurremi has returned. Apparently, he went out the kitchen door again wearing a rag.

Beside the maid lowering the tea cup, Hilka approaches and asks.

“Was it right that I told Jurremi-sama?”

“It’s okay. I don’t actively want to reveal information, but there’s no need to hide it either. To put it another way, I need that person to handle things well.”

“Handle things?”

“Yes. Assuming that we become the victors from now on, the Duke Periknen will become the loser. But I don’t want that person to be ruined.”

Everyone in the room, not just Hilka, nods.

“Yes. We servants also owe a debt to Jurremi-sama.”

“…Even if we lose, Jurremi must face the change. With the publication of Lex’s research, the pioneering spirit of revolution has now been unleashed. It’s not just this country. It will change the world.”

“Madam…”

Hilka briefly looks away and nods towards the wall. When looking in that direction, another maid was muttering something while writing down notes with a pen in her hand.

“…the pioneering spirit of revolution has now been unleashed…”

“Wait a minute!”

They ran away while laughing. Oh, my God.

A few days later, word came that the head of the commercial guild had been summoned to the royal palace.

I told him that he doesn’t need to hide us. That is, our existence will be revealed to the royal family and the Duke family.

However, the royal family is moving faster than I thought. Whether it’s the surviving spies of the royal family or Jurremi or Miss Ina’s advice.

At the breakfast table, I told Lex about such a thing and concludes.

“So, we’re being directly summoned by the royal family.”

“Well, that’s inevitable. What are we going to do?”

“Honestly, if we want to buy time, we can abandon the mansion, laboratory, office, and all go on a trip.”

Lex nods.

“It’s best to take advantage of the time until His Highness Namadrius IV comes.”

“But hiding may hurt us in the future when we negotiate with His Holiness or neighboring countries. This is a place where we should face it head-on now.”

He started laughing.

“Your mind has already moved on to what happens after you win, hasn’t it?”

That’s what it is. I nodded.

Well, by that afternoon a messenger had already come.

“I proclaim the word of His Majesty Vainamo III, the unfailing sun of the kingdom, the supreme throne!”

We kneel and listen to the words. Well, it’s not Your Highness, but a messenger of His Majesty.

“Peltra couple, you are commanded to ascend to the castle tomorrow. Tomorrow, when the second bell rings, a carriage will come to pick you up. Also, at that time, you are instructed to bring the magic stone making machine registered at the commercial guild!”

“Understood.”

“Understood, sir.”

With these words the messenger left, but he left behind a large number of soldiers stationed around the house. I suppose they were there to watch us so that we would not escape.

“Talvo.”

“Yes, madam.”

I called out to the butler who was kneeling behind us.

“Prepare for tomorrow. I’m sure it won’t come to that, but if the soldiers try to break into the house after we leave tomorrow, fight back.

“We’ll prevent them from sneaking in the front door, even if it costs them their lives.”

“Therefore, it’s okay to use as much magic stone as you want.”

And the next day, in the audience chamber.

“We are pleased to announce the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Peltra!”

The soldiers who line up on both sides with spears held aloft and advance through the midst. This is the largest hall in the castle, and in the back is the king’s throne.

It’s been a long time since I entered here, but I can’t see his appearance yet. That’s because I have to lower my eyes and move forward.

However, there are few signs of people. Sometimes noblemen, military officials, and literary officials stand side by side along the straight carpet, but today it must be a confidential audience.

We proceed in line and stop in the middle of the hall. Then we bend our knees to the floor and lower our heads.

“His Majesty the King, the sun of this great kingdom, says, ‘Raise your heads!

The messenger who carries out the voice to the king raises his voice so that it reaches here.

I slowly raise my face. The guests are His Majesty, His Highness Elias, Duke Periknen, followed by the Prime Minister and close advisors? Then there are civil officials, secretaries, soldiers, etc. They are all clustered in the back, so I can’t see their faces. Our area is deserted.

“His Majesty, the sun of the great kingdom, speaks! Come close!”

I wonder why His Highness Elias or His Majesty does not recognize that I am a commoner. Of course it stops here.

Holding down Lex’s arm as he tries to stand up, I raise my voice.

“I inform the close advisors. It is determined that commoners may only proceed this far. Do not talk in your sleep!”

I sense a disturbance from the close advisors.

“A-As Mrs. Peltra says. It is determined that commoners may only proceed this far. Do not talk in your sleep!”

Chapter 87: The Audience Room 2

“Disrespectful!”

His Highness Elias cries out.

“Disrespect to His Majesty will not be tolerated!”

I respond without complying, keeping my focus in front and at the feet of His Majesty. After all, it is considered impolite in etiquette to directly look at His Majesty’s face. But it’s too late now.

His Majesty signals to His Highness Elias to scold him, and he is called over to whisper.

“His Majesty, the sun of the great kingdom, says so! Disrespect is not punished. But we cannot see your face there. I ask you once again to move forward.”

Well, I would say that if you want to talk at such a distance, don’t bother to invite us to the audience hall.

We stand up. I place my hand on Lex’s outstretched right arm and slowly move forward.

Continuing to walk, I confirm in the corner of my vision that I passed the position where Duke Periknen stands.

Just as I was about to step onto the royal step, the Kingsguard came running up to me.

“You! How far do you think you’re going?!”

I stop and tilt my head.

“I am doing so on His Majesty’s orders to approach, but to block that, are you rebels?”

“There will be a stop for the nobility!”

Lex raised his voice.

“We are commoners. Why did you think we would stop at some unspecified place where the nobles stand?”

The Kingsguard tried to object, but the Advisor raised his voice as if in a hurry, blocking the Kingsguard’s way.

“His Majesty speaks! So stop there because it doesn’t matter! Kingsguard, go back to your posts!”

The Kingsguardleft, and I gaze at His Majesty from the front. A man in his mid-40s, with a dignified face with deep-carved, golden hair and blue eyes, the same as His Highness Elias.

“Will you not kneel!”

The voice of His Highness Elias comes. Ignoring that, when I was gazing at His Majesty, His Majesty lowered the Advisor and said.

“Allow me to give you a direct answer, Mrs. Peltra, you have changed a lot.

“Not changed, but I was forced to change. My former fiancé broke off our engagement in public and stripped me of my position and honor. Neither my father nor the person who was supposed to be my future father-in-law saved me.”

Here I smile and look up at Lex.

“Only he saved me.”

His Majesty frowned. The rough voice of Duke Periknen is called from the side.

“Isn’t it because you tried to assassinate my adopted daughter?!”

The Majesty sighs and says, looking straight ahead without speaking.

“It doesn’t matter what others say.”

I turn my body towards my father.

“Duke Periknen, it’s not because I tried to assassinate, it’s because I failed at assassination. I lost the political battle. So, I have no complaints there.”

“Then why did you do something to cause the price of the magic stone to plummet? We know you brought a large amount of magic stones to the guild!”

“That’s a strange thing to say. Of course, because I am alive and I am not brokenhearted. In other words, the political war is not over yet.

I spread my right hand and indicate the entire audience.

“Well, I’m back here. It’s the second act of the court battle.

Duke Periknen’s expression distorts with anger.

“How dare you lay a hand on the magic stones, the main industry of my territory!

“I wonder if the people here know where we get the magic stones from.”

When I tilted my head, His Highness Elias answered.

“I assume you applied for a patent in the commercial guild, inventing a magic stone making device under the name Alex Peltra.”

I nod.

I see, is that all you know about it? Should we assume that the secret of the appraisal office has not been revealed?

“Yes, that’s right. It was a coincidence that my husband was involved in the research of magic stones…”

Lex pulled my sleeve lightly, took a step forward, and stopped speaking. Then he began to speak again.

“At the National Research Institute where I used to work, I was treated coldly. This was due to the fact that, in addition to being one of the institute’s few commoners, my research on magical elements and magical stones threatened vested interests. I was also subjected to pressure from magicians, and even without pressure from the lords themselves, I was subjected to it through their subordinates or the scheming of nobles affiliated with the institute.

It’s the first time I’ve heard this story, but it makes sense.”

Lex continued.

“In that case, as a commoner who was matched by the Duke’s daughter Vilhelmina, who was banished by His Highness Elias, our meeting as husband and wife was not accidental but inevitable.”

“Lex…”

I smile and put my hand on Lex’s right arm, gripping his sleeve tightly. He kindly smiled and nodded back at me.

Chapter 88: The Audience Room 3

His Highness snorted in discomfort.

“Is it for revenge on me?”

“Revenge is too sweet and mercy is too bitter. I am just moving to make myself happy, but I have no intention of showing kindness to the stones that block my path.”

“Do you call me a roadside stone!”

I respond with just a smile.

His Majesty coughed. The Prime Minister raised his voice.

“Your Highness Elias, Duke Periknen. I would like to enter into the main topic, not a personal matter, if it is okay.”

They seem dissatisfied, but they nod and take a step back.

“Mr. Peltra, I am currently running the magic stone manufacturing equipment you invented, but I am not getting any response.”

Before the audience, I handed over the magic stone manufacturing device to the chamberlain. The same one was submitted to the Commercial Guild.

Lex speaks.

“As explained in the Commercial Guild, that’s a production of about 0.1 carats in three days. It is not something that you would expect to see a reaction from immediately after giving it just now.”

“I see. However, that means you’re still far from a stable supply of magic stones. That’s no reason for the commercial guilds to lower the price of magic stone.”

“Yes, and we have made many improvements to it.”

“So, if we use that improved product, is it possible to have a stable supply that can significantly reduce the price of magic stones?”

“It’s not just one machine, but using multiple of them.”

I will add my answer as well.

“Your Excellency, it was the guild’s judgement to lower the price of magic stones to the minimum established price. However, we, the A&V, are willing to have all the magic stones currently in circulation in the kingdom replaced with ours.

“Ridiculous!”

Periknen Duke cried out.

“Fufu, that’s because it was reported that it exceeded the production of the Periknen Territory.”

The Prime Minister nods toward His Majesty, and His Majesty opens his mouth.

“Alex Peltra. I will give you the honor of offering that technology to the country.”

“I decline.”

Lex replied immediately.

“Of course, a fair compensation will be paid.”

I burst into laughter from the bottom of my stomach and reached every audience in the audience hall with a loud voice.

“…What’s so funny.”

“It’s because His Majesty makes such a funny speech. Hey, Your Majesty. What compensation will the kingdom offer as the legitimate counterpart of what my husband has developed?”

“Vilhelmina! This is disrespectful!”

So His Highness’ voice echoes.

“Will you shut up? I’m asking His Majesty. A tiny medal? A semi-Baron position and some random territory? A bag of gold coins?”

Of course, there are also cases where the civilian side benefits from the royal family buying up civilian research, for example, when the royal family acts as a supporter of the development costs that an individual cannot reach the stage of practical use.

But this time it’s different, right? We have already put the business on track, and this is just an attempt to steal the fruits of our labor.

In place of the unanswered His Majesty, the Prime Minister says.

“If it is confirmed that your invention has such value, it is okay to give up to the rank of Count.”

“Just a Count? It’s a pretty underestimated thing.”

I laugh with my nose and answer immediately.

Of course, I understand that what His Excellency says is the maximum concession for the kingdom. Only three ranks, knight, semi-Baron, and Baron, can be conferred from the commoners. From there, the highest you can rise is to the rank of Count. The ranks of Dukes and Prince are reserved for families that have served the kingdom for a long time.

I have never heard of a case where a Count was granted a title from the beginning.

“You…”

The Prime Minister also showed anger.

Even so, for me, it’s just a Count.

“You guys, don’t say you don’t know what position I originally held. I, Vilhelmina, could have been a Duchess and the future queen and future mother of the country.”

I look at Duke Periknen, His Highness Elias, the Prime Minister, and the King. The expressions floating are either anger or awkwardness.

“Even if that were to happen, do you think I would be happy to receive the position of Countess from you? This is not a joke. No matter how much money you accumulate or how much of the royal treasure you give, I refuse.”

His Majesty opens his mouth.

“If you wish, you may once again become engaged to Elias or Parvallis…”

“I decline. That is out of the question.”

I blocked His Majesty’s words. Such compensation is not needed at all.

I turn around and grab Lex’s neck, making him bow his head.

“What’s wrong, Mina?”

“I’m sorry.”

We whisper to each other so that others cannot hear them.

I raise my heel and put my lips on Lex’s cheek. Lex, who froze in motion.

After doing so for about five seconds, I slowly turn around and declare.

“Because he is the only one who can stand next to me.”

Chapter 89: The Audience Room 4

In the end, as rewards or compensation that the kingdom can offer, neither I nor Lex can propose anything that we can say is acceptable.

The maximum that can be offered to Lex, who is a commoner, is up to the count. That can be said to be an exceptional offer, but from my former position, it is clearly a lower rank.

Regarding the idea that by marrying me to the royal family and separating me from Lex, he can be made a count, I have already dismissed it with a single kiss.

In other words, it’s a dead end.

“You …! You repay the kindness I raised you with enmity?!”

A roar from Duke Periknen. I see, you use sympathy this time? I don’t think it’s the best way to appeal to the emotions.

“I do feel gratitude … I mean, I did. Even if he was a father who was devoted to his mistress and her daughter and despised me, Jurremi, and even the government.

Then I turned around.

“But the Duke and I are no longer a father and daughter.”

“Certainly, the relationship has been cut. You are no longer Periknen, but still, the relationship as father and daughter has not changed.”

A sigh.

“I thought so at first, too. But you adopted Miss Ina, who caused me to be banished, and in the end, the Duke who was once my father never saw me in banishment, did he? So you can’t ask me to continue to have feelings for you.”

“I-I did not help you because I have no love for you, but because of the agreement I made with His Highness Elias.

His Highness frowns. Well, there must have been such a secret agreement.

He did, after all, expel me with nothing but the clothes I was wearing, didn’t he? But…

“Neither Duke Periknen nor the person sitting on that throne helped me. However, Duke Periknen did not even try to look at me, who was abandoned. If he had looked, he should have noticed. That we, the A&V company, started up, and opened a branch in Periknen Territory, sent researchers to the dungeon, and hired adventurers in the territory.”

“In my territory?!”

See, you don’t know after all.

“Of course, there hasn’t been anything like my subordinates carrying out illegal activities in your territory, but because you left it unattended, you ended up in a disadvantageous position. It was something that neither the government nor you had any interest in. It’s just a case of reaping what you sow.”

Periknen Duke turned bright red and tried to draw his sword from his waist, but was stopped by the guards.

I faced towards the throne.

“Indeed, I apologize for what I have done to you.”

The Emperor declared it heavily and showed the maximum apology he could make as a king, with his jaw being pulled.

I just said that there was no support from His Majesty.

“I accept His Majesty Vainamo III’s apology. However, I can’t find any value in that apology. My honor won’t be restored by making such a statement in this anonymous place, and in the first place, it was a year late to apologize. Everything is too late now.”

It’s late, too late. Instead of apologizing when my honor was being tarnished, what’s the point of apologizing when my value or danger has increased?

His Majesty also sighed heavily.

I am sure he understands. He understands that his former decision to pretend that I had never happened has now come back as a blunder.

At that time, His Highness won the favor of public opinion and held on to the support of the Duke of Periknen, even moving The Cardinal.

He straightens his posture again and releases his voice.

“Mrs. Vilhelmina Peltra. I understand your dignity, but let me say this. You are not so stupid that you do not understand the meaning of rebelling against my order to surrender Alex Peltra’s technology.”

A threat from the king. With reason, it’s stopped, with feelings, it’s not moved, and apologies are late. But if it’s judged that leaving this technology in the opposition is not an option, then there’s no choice but that.

I answer firmly and with pride.

“I cannot go against the king’s decision. I have to pay respect, of course… normally.”

“Do you think you’re an exception?”

“No, isn’t it His Majesty himself who says that it’s okay not to follow the king’s decision?”

“What…?”

I point to His Highness Elias with a fan.

“His Highness Elias, who is standing right there, also said that disrespect to His Majesty is not tolerated. But if that’s the case, why is that thing still with its head and body?

Chapter 90: The Cardinal

His Highness raises his voice

“Vilhelmina, do you want me to die?!”

I smiled towards His Highness Elias.

“I don’t want anyone to die. But who was the first to betray the king’s command in this matter?”

“But that’s because you tried to kill Ina!”

“Of course. How could I not eliminate someone who acted like Miss Ina at that time? I was only trying to protect my engagement and the royal decree in front of God. It was Elias, you, who broke it. How dare you say something disrespectful to me?”

I turn around again towards the king.

“You do not condemn him, but let him live, and yet you demand it of me?”

The king nods with a frown on his face.

“Vilhelmina Peltra. You are right. But the country does not move with righteousness.”

Well, that’s true.

One can imagine why His Royal Highness Prince Elias has not been removed from the crown prince. Ultimately, he is popular among the people and has powerful supporters such as Duke Periknen and Cardinal Johannes.

And probably, his political ability has also been improved, I wonder. It seems that Miss Ina is also gaining a positive reputation among the young ladies and gentlemen of the nobility this year.

As a sovereign, I understand the decision not to abandon Prince Elias, but cut me off instead.

“So what do you want to do?”

“That invention speeds up the change of the world too much. There’s nothing to do but make it disappear.”

His Majesty claps his hands, and his attendants call out to the guards, and the doors of the audience chamber are opened.

The gatekeeper announces loudly the name of Cardinal Johannes.

Oh, I see. Is that why you’re talking in the audience chamber instead of the reception room?

A man wearing red, which is only allowed for the Cardinal, walks while swaying his overweight body as a symbol of wealth.

He is guarded by holy knights armed with sacred swords and staffs, who are allowed to arm themselves in front of the king. Behind them are those with strange weapons and restraints covered with thorns.

“Inquisitor of heresy…!”

As the Cardinal approaches, he twists his mouth and says, “It’s been a while. Alex Peltra and Vilhelmina Peltra.”

We cut our sacred seals in front of our chests and bow our heads as an abbreviation.

“Alex Mika Peltra. There has been an accusation of heresy against you.”

Lex answers, “What is considered heresy?”

“You are talking about the creation of a magic stone, a miracle of God in a human body. It is a frightening thing.”

“I never once stated that I created the magic stone in my patent for my own invention. I am only converting the magic element into the magic stone.”

Lex says and I continue, “Magic element, magic power, magic stone. There is no place in the scripture that states there is a problem with humans handling those things.”

“It is an inquiry to hear about it. Do you have any objections?”

“None.”

Not an accusation of heresy but suspicion of heresy.

It’s obvious, but whether as a royal family or as the Cardinal, the honest desire would be to acquire Lex’s technology instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

In other words, if it were deemed heresy, the only choice would be to completely bury the technology in darkness. However, if there is suspicion, it can be withdrawn.

I embraced Lex.

“Lex, please hold on.”

While saying that in a low voice, I dropped the amulet of the magic stone I was wearing from my neck into his pocket.

“I understand. Mina, be careful too.”

His lips were lowered to the hairline of my forehead.

“Uh…!”

I rested my cheek against his chest, suppressed my rising feelings, and slowly moved away.

“See you soon.”

“Yes, definitely.”

An inquisitor with a rope comes forward.

“Even if you don’t use the rope, my devout husband won’t escape.”

The Cardinal sends a gaze to His Majesty on the throne.

“So be it.”

At his majesty’s words, they nod and give instructions to walk with Lex sandwiched between them.

Lex’s back disappeared as he went through the gate and became distant. A voice called out from behind.

“Alex Peltra’s latest research, if presented, would prove that there is no heretical technology being dealt with.”

Give us the results of your research and we will return Lex to you, otherwise we will execute him as a heretic. That is what he is saying.

I bowed deeply in a ladylike manner.

“As you wish. I apologize for leaving in a hurry because I need to consult with the company’s people.”

Saying that, I stand up and turn my heels. Slowly, so as not to be unnatural as a lady. So as not to let anger leak out.

…B*stard. I’ll show you something to see.

Chapter 91: Trapped

I had gathered all the employees who were in the capital today and closed the Simple Magic Appraisal Office for the day. This was because I was considering the possibility of an attack.

After getting off the carriage and entering the entrance hall through the entrance, there were servants, guards, researchers, magicians, and adventurers lined up except for the pathway opened for me, with no room for stakes.

I went up the stairs to the landing by myself and called out to Talvo, who was at the front of the group.

“Talvo, give me the report while I was away.”

“Yes, there is a soldier’s surveillance around the estate, but there has been no intrusion or attack. All the servants and employees are safe. We have brought all the belongings from the appraisal office here for now.”

I nodded and looked at everyone.

“Everyone, my husband, the master of this estate, the head of A&V company, Alex, has been imprisoned by the church.”

The news must have come back soon after leaving the castle. There was no surprise on their faces, only anger filled the hall.

“They even have an outdated inquisitor and suspect Alex of heresy. They say they will release Alex’s body if we disclose the latest research results to the state.”

I face the railing with the fan I was holding in my hand and let it fall.

The fan was broken into pieces.

“Is this kind of violence allowed!”

“No!”

Voices of denial rise up in chorus.

“I won’t be swayed. I have no intention of responding to such a request.”

I then looked away for a moment.

“However, this shows that the king and the head of the church in this country have completely turned into enemies. There is also danger. It may also affect family and friends. You are free to distance yourselves from here. Nevertheless, we will never hold a grudge and we promise to protect those who have left to the best of our ability.”

There was no reply, only eyes looking straight at us.

“Now let us move on to the battle. First, forward Oliver Lord Algren.”

“May I be of service, my queen.”

Mr. Oliver said that and made a bow, and then went up the stairs.

“Use your magic to perform the <barrier> spell.”

“It is dangerous and I do not recommend it.”

“It’s not a problem.”

“As you wish.”

I held out my hand and he knelt down and took it. His magic formula flowed from my hand.

Our voices overlap naturally, and the voices of the two overlap.

“<Barrier>.”

***

“Alex Peltra. It seems you have made a valuable invention.”

The one speaking to me is Cardinal Johannes. He’s not usually the type to talk to someone like me, but this is only the second time I’ve seen him since I married Mina.

I was taken to the Cardinal’s estate, which was built next to the Cathedral in the capital.

When I stay silent, he continues,

“But something of that value should be managed and used by those who truly understand its value. Not commoners.”

The Cardinal, sitting on a luxurious golden armchair that could be mistaken for a throne, received a cup of wine from a ceremonial attendant, and the wine was poured.

I can understand why the church can’t maintain its dignity with just simplicity and frugality.

But does the house of the clergy need to shine this much? I was once placed in an orphanage after my parents died and there wasn’t much of value in the priest’s room except for a candlestick.

Is this a reception room? Although my chair hasn’t been moved or prepared for me to sit in, I’m listening to the conversation while standing.

“I’m not saying I’m going to take everything from you. If you offer your technology, I won’t use it for evil.”

“I have no intention of offering it.”

He laughs with a snort.

“It’s a waste. No one can withstand the inquisition. You will end up wasting your body and soul. Take him. Just don’t kill him.”

The inquisitors on either side of me nodded. Then they roughly grabbed my arm, and a bluish light and thunder clapped.

They screamed and fell to the floor.

The guards drew their swords and ran over, standing between The Cardinal and myself. They then thrust their swords at me.

“You! What have you done!”

“Nothing.”

As expected, it’s the Cardinal’s guard. They seem to have offered prayers like a holy knight and used magic… or should I say, divine magic?

“It appears that he is using a <Barrier> spell. It is likely something that shoots lightning bolts at the enemy.”

“<Dispel> it!”

“I’m sorry, he seems to be a higher level magician than I. I’m trying, but the <Dispel> isn’t working.”

“Alex! Are you a magician?!”

“I don’t know.”

Of course, I’m not a magician. Lord Algren used Mina to cast the spell called <Barrier> with the large amount of Mina’s magic stones that I had now embedded in my clothes.

“Stop the spell!”

So I can’t stop it. I don’t need to teach you that, though.

I say with a smile that appears to be sarcastic.

“You call yourself the Cardinal, yet you can’t use sacred magic.”

“Be silent, you lowly thing!… damn it, you’ll stay there until the magic wears off!

Thus, I was able to escape the torture chamber and was locked up in the reception room.

Chapter 92: Prayer

The windows in the reception room are covered with storm shutters, and multiple entrances have been blocked, leaving only one open. There’s a sound of heavy objects being moved on the other side of the door. It must have been blocked by something.

In front of the remaining door, soldiers from the church are guarding this place instead. Their weapons are drawn from their sheaths, and they appear to be on high alert.

I sat on the high-looking chair that the Cardinal was sitting on earlier. To be honest, I would rather sit on my well-used sofa at home.

“Don’t sit there on your own!”

I don’t care.

The soldiers are moving uneasily and arrows are being brought in. Lightning ran earlier when I was touched. Is it a projectile this time?

The voice of Cardinal Johannes is heard.

“Killing is not an option. Aim for his limbs!”

The sound of a bowstring being tightened, the sound of cutting through the wind. I involuntarily close my eyes, but the arrow doesn’t reach me.

With a high-pitched sound, the arrow is shot and slides on the mahogany desk, leaving a big wound.

“You!”

No, I don’t know. I lower my head.

“Don’t give him food! Let him starve!”

Oh, I see. So there are torture methods that do not involve physical harm.

I’m not given food, but there was wine on the shelf, so I drank a little bit. It’s not a satisfying amount, but I was lucky to have cheese and dried fruit.

When The Cardinal saw me drinking, he got angry, but I didn’t care. He said that it’s something that even a commoner like you who saves up money can’t buy vintage wine.

“Unfortunately for this good wine, it’s not delicious when you’re imprisoned and drinking it.

“You! At least change it to another wine we serve here!

“I can’t because there’s no guarantee that it won’t be poisoned.

I couldn’t even get water, but I used Mina’s magic stone that has a water attribute, carved a circle in The Cardinal’s expensive-looking wine glass with the arrowhead of an arrow shot into it, and processed it into a magic tool that gives a small amount of water.

Regarding the toilet, when I asked if it was okay to make the reception room filthy with urine, a pot was prepared and properly collected, so that was comfortable.

Thunderous sound.

The bell brought in by the soldiers was ringing.

I’ve cut and processed my clothes to use as earplugs, but it’s not something that completely blocks out sound. It’s not so bad that it lasts forever, but it still gives a large unpleasant feeling.

Endure, Mina said. It’s not me who’s going to have a hard time if I have to set such a barrier. All I have to do is just sit tight until they save me.

Don’t waste your physical strength. Don’t think. We, as researchers, know it. Complex thoughts particularly use physical strength.

Sit in a chair and keep dozing off day and night, without distinction. Just believe in them.

***

We set up a barrier around Lex’s surroundings. It should be safe now. Probably. Just in case.

I’m worried… Yes, I’m uneasy. I’m familiar with using magic for making magic stones, but this is my first time actually using magic, and the target is not right in front of me, so I can’t see the results.

“It’s okay. The spell has been perfectly activated.”

Mr. Oliver said that, looking at my expression.

“Oliver, I felt like your magic was used too.”

“I can’t maintain it for that long, but it’s a spell that causes lightning to run through things that are touched with hostile intent. I wouldn’t want our president to be taken lightly just for defense.”

“Thank you.”

I bow my head and then turn to everyone and speak to them.

“Well, we took action to protect Lex for the time being, but let’s talk about our actions again. We should basically avoid entering and leaving the mansion. When we leave, we should always do a roll call and sign our names. To avoid getting caught outside, and if we do get caught, so that it can be immediately recognized.”

Yes, there was an affirmative response.

We had prepared for the siege. We have enough food stored and we can make water with magic, so we can feel relieved about that.

We also have a stockpile of magic stones, but I inform everyone to continue their own production and to stop using the appraisal office until its safety can be ensured.

“Tell all messengers from the royal family, church, and Periknen kingdom to be sent back. There is no need to take over, just say that everything is under consideration.”

“Understood.”

Talvo answers.

“Respond to the newspaper company as previously communicated. Researchers, is there anything else?”

“How is Madam doing?”

“I’m going to my room to rest! If anything happens, call me right away.”

I say that and return to my room.

In the midst of Hilka and others, I remove the heavy dress I wore to hide the magic stones, and I put on a soft nightgown to rest my body.

I am not allowed to fall asleep from now on. If I sleep, I cannot maintain the spell, and the magic will be released.

Lord Oliver says they will cast a spell so that they no longer need to sleep, but fatigue accumulates. Try to rest your body as much as possible while keeping awake.

But there is something that needs to be done first.

I knelt on the floor and offered a prayer.

“Lord, those who have lost the fairness brought by Your justice and wear a crown of falsehood, who deceitfully use Your name and wear a false red, are present in this land. My husband, Alex, was captured by their hands without committing a sin. Lord, please become his refuge and hiding place, and be his swift help in time of distress. Amen.”

Chapter 93: A Bolt

It’s been over 10 days, and I’ve just been maintaining the barrier without breaking it.

I have plenty of magic. There is a magic stone with Lex, and there is also a magic stone in my possession. I use tea and awakening magic to fight off drowsiness, but fatigue accumulates like sediment in my body and heart.

Even so, I try to make my body as comfortable as possible at night so I can rest. The maids take turns to stay awake, and watch over me so that I don’t fall asleep.

The morning light dyes the east sky purple and red, and light enters the room. Is it fortunate that I can see the morning view because I can’t sleep?

“Everyone, let’s take turns. It’s time for bed.”

“Yes, have a good day, Madam.”

“Yes, have a good day.”

The night shift maids say goodbye and leave, and other maids come in.

“Madam, here’s today’s newspaper.”

Hilka brings several newspapers, including those from major newspapers and street vendors.

She sits next to me and spreads them on the table, reading them to me.

‘The Behind the Scenes of the Prince’s Happy Engagement’

‘What is the true face of Vilhelmina, the supposedly evil woman?’

‘The Savior of the Slums, A&V president, Mr. Peltra Captured.’

‘Investigating the Suspected Relationship between the Crown Prince and The Cardinal!’

‘His Highness Elias is on the brink of falling! …Or is he?’

Major newspaper companies can’t write articles that directly criticize the royal family, but sensational articles that attract readers’ attention can be added to things like mass-oriented ones or hand-written newspapers for the poor.’

“Fufufu.”

It makes me smile.

“Madam is smiling evilly.”

“That’s because we are feeding information to the newspaper company, and even providing funds to small and individual places. It’s a sneaky thing.”

“But they are also happy to make it into an article. Because Madam’s popularity is secretly high among the poor.”

Well, that may be so. We are doing various types of donations.

Hilka opens another page of the newspaper and shows it.

“And this one.”

‘His Holiness Pope Namadrius IV, finally entering the capital city tomorrow!’

News of the Pope entering our country came recently, and finally he is entering the capital.

“Well, finally.”

The face of when I met him once comes to mind. And then it depends on whether the Pope will act in the way we want him to…

“Madam, your tiredness is showing on your face. I must polish it well.”

“Yes. I’ll rely on you.”

There will surely be bags under my eyes, but before that…

“Contact Lord Oliver. As I told him before, he’ll take care of the performance.”

***

Our queen, Vilhelmina, says:

“If it is a power that no one will believe it is the work of a human being, and it is a power that no one can think of, then you may use it. If it is a power that may be doubted, then don’t use it.”

Our queen knows how to tickle a magician’s self-esteem.

“You can use as much magic stone as you want, as long as it’s not 100 carats.”

And she knows what the magicians will be happy about.

In other words, it means to blast it with all your might.

The tools for the magical ritual are carried into the balcony of the Peltra family by the disciples, and they are purified by holy water. Only I stand on the balcony. But in the room that leads to the balcony, the disciples gaze at me with dazzling eyes.

They have never seen a full-powered magical ritual performed by a great magician. No, it is more than that.

Standing in the center of the balcony, I take a deep breath and look at the capital and the eastern sky.

“The king of wind is in front of me, the king of water is behind me…”

Ah, yes. It’s been a long time since I have used the incantation to summon the four great spirits. Ritual magic that I cannot control without chanting, even though I have mastered magic and can discard chanting at will.

“The king of fire is in my right hand, and the king of earth is in my left hand…”

Around me on the ground are hexagonal stars, and there are five-pointed stars in each direction. In 26 places, the tips of all of them are thunder attribute magic stones created by my magic power.

“By the five-pointed star of my inner flame and the six-pointed star of radiant light, I command. Rise up, king of the wind.”

The surroundings are filled with a dense aura. Although there is no one except me.

But I can see the wind king, who silently looks down on me with his golden magical eye. I look up at what seems to be his face and smile.

“Cover the sky, hide the sun wheel, show your power in a dark world.”

The blue sky is in a hurry and the capital is covered by thick black clouds.

In a cloud, countless microscopic ice cubes accumulate strength by rubbing against each other. The image of a cloud is that of a stirring cloud.

It does not rain. Just the wind blows and the thunder clouds writhe ominously and roar.

I can see the confusion of the people in the capital. The disciples behind and the servants in the mansion also look up at the sky. I know their feelings…I told them not to look.

“There is no escape from the king of all living things with the power of his arms. The light of heaven shatters all things, and its name is Thunderbolt!”

As my hand is thrust into the sky, my magic power flows into the wind king, and the king, who swelled up like a giant, waved both his hands held up in the sky.

The entire sky is dyed pale blue by the surge of lightning. And the sky was broken twice by the thunderous sound.”

In the mansion, screams can be heard throughout the capital city.

And one of the spires of the cathedral and one of the watchtowers of the castle clattered and fell with a sound.

The figure of the wind king disappears. I use up my magic and my legs become unsteady.

While collapsing onto the balcony, I muttered.

“…This should be enough for divine retribution, my Queen.”

Chapter 94: Arrival of the Pope

The thundercloud that covered the capital thickly dropped two thunderbolts and seems to have faded away as if it fulfilled its role.

It was a thunderbolt of immense power. Hilka and the maids are shaking with fear.

“…?”

Are you okay? I thought I asked, but I couldn’t hear my own voice. It’s like this even from a distance. I told Lord Oliver to not hit people with lightning and to strike the tower instead, but I wonder how much damage has been done on the side that was hit. Glass must have been shattered too.

“Uh, uh.”

Finally, the sound has returned. I gave instructions to check the damage of the mansion, the appearance of the royal castle and the cathedral, and headed to the balcony room where Lord Oliver is.

He sat in a chair with a satisfied expression that he had done a good job.

“It was magnificent, Lord Oliver.”

“Hm, that’s right, that’s right!”

Incidentally, if I were also captured by the royal family on the day of the audience, the story was that I would drop this towards the throne. They are also lucky to have survived.

“Well, my work is done now. Of course, if the soldiers ever attack this place, my magic will fire again, but not while His Holiness is here.”

“Yes, now it’s time for politics.”

He shrugs his shoulders.

“I hate to talk about this. If only we could just concentrate on practicing and researching magic. Anyway, we’ve come this far. Alex, make sure you save him.”

Lord Oliver and Lex are close. Despite having different backgrounds and areas of expertise as researchers—one running among the elite and the other being controlled by the aristocracy—they both respect each other.

I take the courtesy of a lady.

“Please leave it to me, I will save Lex without being told to, and A&V Company will always deliver top-notch magic stones to Lord Oliver and his family.”

He straightens up and extends his hand. I put my hand on it and he kissed the tip of my finger.

***

‘His Holiness the Pope has entered the capital today!’

‘A dazzling thunder in fine weather! The collapse of the spire of the palace and the cathedral.’

‘A huge thunderbolt in the capital, is it divine retribution or the anger of God?’

‘A miracle of purification before His Holiness’s entry into the capital?!’

And the headlines the next day read this way. There had already been a public opinion being built up to make the royal family and the Cardinal the villains. Of course, there wouldn’t be any articles suggesting the involvement of A&V Company or magic.

Since yesterday, removal work has been carried out in the location where the thunderstorm struck, and the spires of the castle and the cathedral have been covered and hidden with white cloth.

It seems that many of the soldiers who surrounded our mansion were called back due to the urgent incident. There is also a high-security guard. This is not only to maintain security and order in the main street where the castle and high-security guards parade, but also in the capital.

From the balcony of the mansion, you can see a little bit of the parade.

From the balcony of the mansion, you can barely see the high-security guard riding in a horse-drawn carriage without a roof, surrounded by cheers and scattered with countless petals, slowly heading to the castle.

And the next day.

There was an emergency call from the royal family.

“Messenger, welcome.”

“We can meet today.”

There is a clear discomfort in his voice as he responds to my greeting. I had turned him away without seeing him for more than 10 days.

I smile with a forced appearance and speak in a small voice.

“I’m sorry. I understand that it’s disrespectful, but your husband has collapsed from the stress of being captive…”

To be honest, I may be maintaining it with magic, but I haven’t slept for more than 10 days. I’m exhausted and it must show.

When I rubbed my tired eyes with a handkerchief, I saw sympathy in his face.

“I see, but this time I can’t just say no.”

The messenger cleared his throat and spread out the letter and read it.

“From the request of His Majesty, the Unsinking Sun of the Great Kingdom, Vainamo III, Vilhelmina Peltra is to hurry and come to the castle.”

“As you wish.”

I asked.

“His Holiness, Pope Namadrius IV is also visiting the castle. Is it alright for me, a commoner, to come to the castle at such a time?”

“His Holiness mentioned your name, a married couple, hurry and prepare yourselves!”

“I am humbled.”

I took a deep bow and hid my face with a smile.

Then I turned on my heel and called for my servant.

“Talvo! You heard, we’re going to the castle so get ready. Hilka! Get dressed, hurry!”

As I walked, I quietly whispered to Hilka.

“We won.”

Chapter 95: The Crown Prince and His Holiness

“His Holiness the Pope, Namadrius IV!”

In the audience chamber, the soldiers raise their voices outside the gates. Me and Ina bow our heads side by side. The king, Father does not wait on his throne, but must stand up and descend from the platform to wait at the same height.

Slowly, with one hand taken by a servant boy, the old Pope walks with the white silver scepter in his other hand.

Wearing a papal robe embroidered with gold thread in blue and white, the crown on his head is shining with gems far larger than those of the Patrikainen royal family crown.

Under that crown shines deep blue eyes. Eyes that see through the heart.

“…Huh.”

I thought my soul was grabbed the moment I saw it.

I sweat profusely. Ina looks at me worriedly.

“Welcome. You’re Holiness Namadrius IV.”

“Oh, King Vainamo III, thank you for welcoming this old fool. But it seems we’ve come at a difficult time.

Father greets and His Holiness responds.

Cardinal Johannes beside me trembled.

There are those who call yesterday’s lightning a divine punishment among the nobles and commoners who have no voice, but such rumors are unlikely to reach the Pope’s ears.

However, for the Cardinal, it would be no surprise that the ceremony that was supposed to be held at his own cathedral with the Pope’s invitation is now being carried out with anger by another church.

And after finishing all the ceremonial greetings.

“By the way…”

His Holiness sat down in a chair and opened his mouth as if he suddenly thought of something.

“I was looking forward to meeting the Peltra couple, but they are not here, are they?”

Everyone felt the air freeze.

Pope laughed like a grandfather, but his eyes seemed to be watching over everything with a cold detachment.

Father says in a hoarse voice.

“T-They are commoners, so they are not here.”

“Ah, I see. That’s disrespectful.”

“U-Um, Your Holiness. Do you know them?”

Cardinal Johannes also says with a constricted voice.

“Yes. I’ve met them once, they were very interesting young people. Speaking of which…”

His Holiness’ gaze turns this way.

“I heard that Mrs. Peltra was originally engaged to Prince Elias.”

“Y-Yes.”

“A few years ago, Mrs. Peltra, or rather, at that time she was Miss Vilhelmina. It is said that she had a bad reputation in town, but rumors are not always reliable.”

“I-Is that so?”

I cannot affirm that. If it turns out she was not an evil woman, then my expelling Vilhelmina will have no justification.

“I see, so Mr. Alex Peltra must have guided her in a good direction.”

“…That’s a blessing.”

Dammit, what a humiliation.

Does the Pope mean to say that the commoner is a virtuous person more than I am and that I have to admit it?!

I hide my anger and nod.

“By the way, I heard some silly rumors before entering the capital.”

While saying this, he points upward with his finger. In the direction of the cathedral.

“Could you see the lightning from yesterday from outside the capital? Is it some kind of divine punishment?”

…He knows, I feel a sharp sound echoing as if a crack entered my heart.”

“Such things…are just silly rumors of lowly people.”

“It’s no good, Your Majesty. Calling your important people as lowly. But, yes, there is some truth to the rumor that it’s all nonsense.

A slight look of happiness appeared on my father’s face, which had turned pale.

“Y-Yes, that’s right! There’s no such thing as divine retribution.”

“Yes, God doesn’t directly intervene in trivial matters that happen on earth and impose punishments.”

As he said that, the Pope made a sign with his hand, imitating the holy seal.

His head swayed up and down slowly.

“…The question is why there is a rumor about divine punishment.”

And then he became still.

“I hope the Peltra couple are doing well?”

“Y-Yes, they are in good health!”

The Pope sighed.

“I‘m still the Pope. I hope it’s not a lie. Is it better for me to visit their mansion as a guest or for me to summon them here?”

In this way, the public meeting in the audience hall ended in a short time and the nobles were sent back.

And then, messengers began to run in a hurry.

It’s frightening to meet in this place, but it’s even more frightening to meet without seeing. That’s the feeling.

When I felt dizzy, my hand was gently held.

“Ina…”

Her chocolate brown eyes fixedly gaze this way, holding my sanity in place.

Her hands are also trembling. Hiding her mouth with a fan she holds in her opposite hand, she leans in and whispers.

“My happiness is with Elias-sama.”

It was a word that didn’t lead to any specific solution.

Almost becoming angry, I clamp my mouth shut in front of the fierce one.

Ina quietly turned her face away. Still holding hands.

No, I… that’s right… didn’t I drive away Vilhelmina who would make a concrete contribution there? Didn’t I just want Ina to give me peace of mind?

Consider carefully.

Who said that?

Look back at the past, cherish the present, and consider the future carefully.

There’s only Vilhelmina. After that, what did she say?

“Mrs. Peltra Vilhelmina-sama has arrived!”

The voice of the servant echoes through the audience chamber. Doom has come in all its beauty.

Chapter 96: Inquiry

When I went to the castle, I found His Majesty, Her Majesty the Queen, His Highness the Crown Prince, Miss Ina, His Holiness the Pope, His Eminence the Cardinal, Duke Periknen, and His Excellency the Prime Minister.

I quickly scanned the entire room, but Lex was not yet here.

Kneel on both knees and lower my head.

“Vilhelmina Peltra, by your command I have recalled you.”

“Hmm, you may proceed.”

I was called to the conference room. This is my first time entering, but it is probably the highest-ranking conference room that is used only when His Majesty is present.

The interior has dignity and there are neat chairs arranged in a square. The most honored seats at the back are occupied by His Majesty Vainamo III and His Holiness Namadrius IV, and two chairs are arranged in the lower seats. It is a seat for me and Lex.

I sat down on one of them.

Only His Holiness the Pope smiled, and the others had a poor complexion or an uncomfortable look.

Since no one can speak without a statement from a high-ranking person, an awkwardly long silence fell in the room. His Majesty slowly opened his mouth.

“Uh, Mrs. Peltra.”

“Yes.”

“How are you.”

“I can’t sleep at night because I am anxious about my captured husband…”

A sound came from His Majesty’s throat. Fufu, no matter what is said, it seems that it can only be returned with irony. His Holiness spoke because the conversation had stopped.

“It’s been a long time, Mrs. Peltra.”

“It’s been a long time, Your Holiness.”

People around show an expression of surprise as if to say “Is she really an intimate friend?”

“Have you lost some weight?”

I put my hand on my cheek.

“I’m sorry for showing you an unsightly appearance.”

“There’s nothing unsightly about it at all. You’re still as beautiful as ever. But what’s going on with your husband Mr. Peltra being captured?”

Cardinal Johannes, out of sight of His Holiness, makes a gesture as if to tell me to “be silent”. I don’t care!

“It was about two weeks ago. I was called to the royal palace regarding my husband’s invention, and I was talking with His Majesty while I was there. The Cardinal was there and there was an accusation that my husband Alex’s invention was heretic. ”

“Johannes, is that true?”

His Holiness turned around. The fat face of the person asked, blood draining from it.

“W-Well, that’s it. Uh… ”

“Answer. Remember that this is an official inquisition. Is it true that there have been accusations of heresy?”

“Yes.”

“Who made the accusation?”

“I-I can’t say here for the sake of protecting the informant.”

Indeed, that must be the case, but in this case, the person who initiated the accusation was His Majesty.

“Good… have you arrested Mr. Alex Peltra on suspicion of heresy?”

“…Yes.”

“As a result of the interrogation, was he found to be a heretic?”

“N-No.”

“Then why hasn’t he been released?”

While wiping the sweat flowing from his forehead with a handkerchief, he answered.

“W-We haven’t been able to interrogate him yet.”

“Oh?”

I secretly patted my chest.

Thank god my barrier was properly activated and maintained.

“It’s just that… he’s surrounded by some sort of invisible wall that can’t be touched and he’s locked in the room we were talking about at first.”

“Hm, so you’re saying that he’s being held captive. I asked if he’s in good health a moment ago, and you confirmed it, but does that mean you haven’t interrogated him?”

“That’s… that’s what I mean.”

You say “interrogated,” but in reality, it’s not just interrogation, it’s torture.

“Why hasn’t the report about this gone up to this old fool?”

“Huh?”

“Of course, you have tried to break the spell, haven’t you? It didn’t work, and the <Barrier> has been maintained for a long time, and Johannes has not been able to handle it.. Then it’s a case that should be reported to the Miraculous Bureau or this old fool, right? Am I wrong?

“That’s not…”

“Have you made a report to either side?”

“I am in the process of preparing to do so…”

“Then if I go to your estate later, I should be able to read the letter that was sent there, right?”

There is silence.

“Keep in mind, this old fool is an inquisition…”

“I’m sorry!”

Johannes prostrated himself on the floor, folding his body.

“Well, we’ll continue this later.”

His Holiness Johannes said this and turned his gaze towards the entrance. There was the sound of knocking. A soldier said in a loud voice that could be heard well.

“Alex Peltra has arrived!”

…Lex!

I stand up without thinking and look back.

Lex sits in a wheelchair, pushed here.

“Lex!”

I ran to him without thinking. I tried to embrace him, but I was repelled by the barrier so I released it and embraced him.

“Lex!”

“Ah, Mina. I’m glad to see you.”

He smiled thinly and replied with a hoarse voice.

We leaned our cheeks together.

…Ah, how skinny he became. After all the time I’ve spent trying to get Lex’s physique closer to the standard, this is a step backwards from when we met.

I knelt down and stared at Cardinal Johannes.

What do you mean good health!

Chapter 97: Indignation

“Stand up.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m not hurt or sick.”

With that Lex gets up from his wheelchair. I supported his right arm and walked a few steps with him, and he bent his knee.

“Alex Peltra, I have moved out at your request.”

“Very well, go ahead.”

I helped Lex stand up, but he was light. It was a worrying lightness.

“You’ve lost a lot of weight.”

His Majesty asks.

“While being imprisoned in the Cardinal’s mansion, I only refrained from touching the food that was given out while being cautious of poison. Please don’t mind me.”

“…I see.”

“Mr. Alex, it’s been a while.”

His Holiness addressed him. Lex nodded while sitting.

“Yes, it’s been a while.”

“Is there anything suspicious about the church that makes you wary of poison?”

Lex stopped his movements and thought. No, he wasn’t thinking of what to say from the movement of his gaze. He was hesitating, or rather, he was determined.

“It’s not suspicious of the entire Church, but I can’t trust the Patrikainen royal family or the Royal City’s Cathedral Church.”

“How disrespectful!”

“Do you intend to say that you have been acting in a way that deserves respect from us?”

“It is only natural for the people to obey and respect the authority of the king.”

Lex sat down in his chair, crossing his legs as if nothing was wrong.

“With authority comes the power to order unholy marriages, to seize achievements, to prosecute the innocent, and to demand respect even from the accused.”

Lex laughed through his nose.

“What a load of crap.”

“What did you say?”

His Highness asked, with Miss Ina blushing in embarrassment.

I leaned forward a little and gently pulled Lex’s sleeve.

“Husband, the words of the commoners are not transmitted to them.”

“It is more painful to swallow your request than to eat excrement, but why don’t you try to eat your own excrement first, Your Majesty?”

“Seize him!”

The king stood up and shouted, and the guards who were waiting drew their weapons and ran forward, while I prepared to pluck my necklace.

“Ha!”

His Holiness yelled.

It was not a sound but a wave of magic. Everyone’s movements stopped as if the air itself had solidified.

“…Mrs. Peltra is a fearsome woman. Everyone, don’t move. It is she who holds the power of life and death over everyone in this place.”

In my hand shines a magic stone. Look at it.

“Will you not put aside your anger, O king? This old fool has lived long enough, but he does not wish to die.”

“What…?”

“Don’t you see? The large stones attached to that necklace are all filled with magic. And they are about to explode. What do you think will happen if they explode in this conference room with no escape?”

I say.

“If you pull out your soldiers, I will stop it.”

The king drops his body into the chair as if his waist is broken and orders the soldiers with a wave of his hand. I also placed the necklace on my knee.

“Mrs. Peltra has quick judgment. Should we say that she has made up her mind?”

“Of course.”

“Why?”

“Because you are making my gentle husband so angry and have suffered such wretched eyes. I am a follower of God, but I am not of the disposition to forgive enemies like the holy saints in the scriptures.”

Cardinal Johannes says.

“Wait, it was his own decision that he ate little or no food, and I didn’t force him to do so!”

“Yes, that’s probably just as my husband said earlier. As for the righteousness of Cardinal’s imprisonment, I’ll leave it to my husband to talk about, but there’s one thing I can say. If it’s okay to say this, then the Cardinal should also reduce his weight by half or less, don’t you think?”

Suddenly, His Holiness Namadrius IV laughed.

“Well, for a cleric, he’s too fat.”

“I don’t think he’s upholding the virtue of moderation.”

“Vilhelmina Peltra, let me forgive your anger’s vice. In exchange, may you forgive Johannes’ vice of gluttony here?”

I nod, and His Holiness makes the sign of the cross twice.

“With this, the sin is forgiven.”

A cough from His Majesty.

“Your Holiness, I would be troubled if that crime were forgiven in my country. She’s a traitor who tried to kill the king.”

“Hmm, I have no intention of interfering in domestic affairs. That’s not my role as Pope.”

“Y-Yes!”

His Majesty affirms with vigor and The Cardinal remains downcast, for it is the Pope’s role to judge The Cardinal’s sins.

“As for her treatment, if the discussion of foolery is over here, then it’s up to your freedom.”

I nod too.

“Well, Alex Peltra. It seems difficult for this old fool to just pray and forgive your anger.”

Lex remained silent and shifted uneasily.

“Why did you feel that anger? I need you to confess.”

His Holiness smiled with a nod.

“Well, let’s see. Ordered an unblessed marriage for the commoners, tried to seize the results, and even allowed to be questioned for an innocent crime?”

Chapter 98: The Sins of His Highness Elias

Lex will explain. He started with the story of that first meeting, being crammed into a small house, he talked about the mechanism for making magic stones but blurred the production and completion, and being asked to offer it, he was judged as a heretic and captured if he refused.

“Thank you for talking so much despite your exhaustion. Mr. Peltra.”

After that, His Holiness Namadrius IV took a moment to think, and then began to talk.

“The original sin is that Prince Elias had an affair with Miss Ina while he was already engaged to Miss Vilhelmina. Prince Elias, do you have any objections?”

“…Vilhelmina tried to kill Miss Periknen, who was then Miss Ina Madetoya.”

I raised my hand and asked for permission to speak.

“That’s the reason Your Highness degraded me in public and married me to Alex Peltra. Regardless of the right or wrong of that act, the injustice was a matter before that.”

His Highness mutters in resignation.

“Yes… There was no love between you and I.”

I nod.

“Love can be achieved through the efforts of both parties. The responsibility lies not only with His Highness Elias, but also with me. I gave up on that will to nurture it at an early stage.”

The relationship between him and me had become flavorless and dull.

His Holiness asked.

“Why is that so?”

“Because I continued to be rejected by His Highness, and I couldn’t get any help even if I talked to my father. Especially after the affair started. I reprimanded His Highness and Miss Ina many times orally and in writing, but the result remained the same.”

I show a gesture of looking up and thinking.

“So, thinking back now, it was short-sighted to want to kill. I should have thought of other ways if I had been calm. However, at the time when I was rejected by my father and His Highness, the fiancé, I didn’t think there was a problem with that choice.”

“It’s difficult to continue pouring out unconditional love. How about Lord Periknen?”

“… I didn’t reject my daughter. I just told her to stay put.”

“How about Your Majesty? Don’t say you didn’t know.”

“It is true that I underestimated the possibility that it was just a passing fancy from his student days. However, I never thought that he would break off the engagement like that while I was away from home.”

It’s a lie when Lord Periknen says it, but it may be true when the king says it. However, it seems like he’s trying to shift the topic and avoid responsibility.

However, His Holiness doesn’t pursue it and faces His Highness directly.

“So, does Miss Ina have any objections?”

“No, I don’t. I… I apologize to Vilhelmina-sama.”

She bows her head.

You acknowledge it? I had a feeling that you might say that ever since we spoke directly before, but when I consider this place as a venue for a debate, what would be her conditions for victory, and what is she thinking about in order to achieve that?

I ask.

“Hey, Ina-sama. I ask you, who has been educated for over a year to become a Crown Princess. Was it strange behavior when I tried to kill you?”

“No, considering my actions and position at that time, and the position and situation of Vilhelmina-sama, it was a natural choice.”

“Ina, are you betraying me?!”

“No, your Highness, I would never betray you. I simply spoke my honest thoughts.”

Miss Ina grabbed Elias’s sleeve and leaned in to look into his eyes and said.

“Ina is on Elias-sama’s side.”

“Ina…”

“And Vilhelmina-sama is probably…”

With a small cough.

“I did not give you the right to speak for my heart.”

Miss Ina gently let go of Elias’s hand.

“Well, your Highness Elias. Why couldn’t you love your fiancée Vilhelmina? Did you not try to love her?”

“Why did I…”

A wrinkle of anguish appeared on Elias’s forehead.

“Yes, it is written in the scriptures that one should love, but that is only because it is difficult to love. But why couldn’t you love her, what do you have to do to love her, and how can you continue to love her? The answer must come from the depths of one’s soul.”

A long, long silence fell, and after a time that was as long as it took for tea leaves to open, a voice leaked out.

“…The teacher praised Vilhelmina. My father and mother too.”

The queen dropped her fan.

“My servants and friends…I felt like they were being taken away from me… I felt it.”

The prince looks this way. It seems like it has been a long time since his blue eyes looked so clear and straight.

“I’m sorry. I have lost everything ten years too late, but I thought you were my enemy. But you should have been my closest ally.”

I nod silently.

His Highness Elias stood up with an unsteady step.

“Your Majesty, Your Holiness. I…I want to renounce my right to the throne. I confess all my sins and wait to be judged as a sinner, and accept all the punishments.”

And then he struck his knees to the floor.

“And if allowed, I also plead for Ina’s mercy.”

Chapter 99: Pulling Researchers Out of the Field

His Highness Elias continue

“Even if I am beheaded in front of the people, I don’t care. I committed that much of a sin. But Ina hasn’t committed a sin.”

I laugh at that statement.

“Because Miss Ina is in love with someone else’s fiancé, that is a sin. And if the person she loves is the Crown Prince, and the person she stole from is the Duke’s daughter, then that sin is not light.”

His Highness Elias looks up at me.

“If she is judged to not be involved in my downfall and other conspiracies, then that may not be a crime worthy of death.”

I don’t particularly hate Miss Ina enough to want to kill her. And even you, Your Highness, should be punished justly, but I don’t have the hobby of cutting off heads and enjoying it.

But I don’t have to say this, don’t I?

His Highness remained on his knees and started talking.

“Before breaking my engagement with Vilhelmina, Duke Periknen was already talking about eliminating her and adopting Miss Ina as his daughter.”

“Stop it, Your Highness!”

“Lord Periknen, please be quiet.”

“Duke Periknen instructed his steward to send an assassin from his subordinates to move against Vilhelmina. And if one knew about it, appropriate protection could be provided by the knights of the crown prince faction.”

Ah, I had imagined that there was a secret agreement between the Duke and the Prince, I see. Was it led from there? Indeed, it was unnatural that Duke’s assassins failed to kill Miss Ina.

It’s that thing called Match pump!

Thus, names of Periknen Duke, Cardinal Johannes, nobles and knights of Prince’s faction, and even the private use of the shadow of the royal family came out from his mouth.

“His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen are not involved in this matter. Neither are any other princes or princesses. After returning from his trip, I was scolded by the king and suggested to be removed by the Prince, but in the end it remained the same.”

“Why did you choose her as my partner?”

Lex asks.

“Sorry, anyone would have been fine if they were a commoner. But to bestow the problematic duke’s daughter was just a convenient excuse, and it wouldn’t be wise to marry a high-spirited noble daughter to a wealthy merchant or anyone who is not particularly affluent. The head of the research institute where you used to work was part of my faction, and you were recommended from there.

His Holiness says.

“Will that noble also be interrogated?”

“No, it’s okay. He’s not going to make it anyway.”

“Really?”

“A&V company is poaching all of the talented researchers from the commoners. It is a fact that nobles’ children have an easier time receiving advanced education, but it’s not right to treat the commoners who are capable of keeping up with it badly.”

His Holiness laughs pleasantly.

“I see, so it means that they will lose their status without being punished.”

“Yes, they are competent and happy to work with us. It’s understandable that the king tried to steal our research findings. They probably couldn’t develop the magic stone production machine themselves. The behind-the-scenes work, such as preparing for the research, putting in long hours, and summarizing the results, can’t be done without the people who were at the research institute.”

His Majesty averted his eyes from the aspect of the decline in quality of the institute. Indeed, Lex was saving those who were in the same position as himself while also striking the opponent at the same time.

“To make a major poaching from the National Research Institute… ”

“It was simply too much to expect a significant change in treatment simply because of the difference in status between nobility and commoners. The average working hours for commoners were nearly double those of noble researchers, and their pay was less than half.”

I nod too.

Yes, that’s right. I’m in charge of the accounting management at the company, but the researchers we are currently hiring are clearly high-earners as commoners, but cheaper than the noble researchers. Although their working hours are much less than before, even if it’s unpaid, they often appeal to be let go to a good place.

In the end, it doesn’t reflect on the salary, but they are given as performance pay whenever the version of the magic element accumulation and crystallization Lex and Mina numbers increase…Oh? If we include that, I feel like they’re earning more than the noble researchers.

“The director is a nobleman, and the man who audited the institute is also a nobleman. Their jurisdiction belongs to the King and the Prime Minister. I don’t know if they failed to notice the reports being altered, or if they ignored the reports that were made. However, it’s difficult to blame someone for their incompetence and shift the responsibility to them.

“Incompetence is such an insult!”

“The responsibility for incompetence is not being questioned here. However, it was supposed to have been normalized even before Alex Peltra entered the Institute. The national policy of hiring researchers and opening the doors of scholarship to the general public with a view towards the next hundred years of the country has been neglected in such a way that one cannot describe it as anything but incompetent.”

If not us, for example, we could have been taken over by a neighboring country.

His Holiness nods.

“Is that okay? Shall we go back to the story where Mr. Peltra was accused of being a heretic?”

Chapter 100: Disqualification of Cardinal Johannes

His Holiness Innocent sighed as if he were tired.

“The Inquisition, witch hunts, persecution and warfare against magicians. Even though it’s said that those days are over. There are those who try to use it conveniently, and there’s no end to it, whether in the center of the church, at the end, in the king, or among the common people.”

I have learned that there was a terrible time when neighbors monitored each other and accused each other of heresy. That’s only a story from about 100 years ago.

Cardinal Johannes protests.

“However, the Inquisition is still active in church law. Reporting suspicion of heresy and conducting an inquiry in accordance with that is not illegal.”

Lex shakes his head.

“I want to ask the Cardinal… I have been captive for two weeks, and I have not been asked about my faith by you or your subordinates. Is that normal for an Inquisition?”

The Cardinal lost his words. King Namadrius IV asks.

“What do you mean, Johannes?”

“Ah, no, that is.”

He’s probably struggling to answer because he can’t lie and is left speechless.

“Creating magic stones with human hands is obviously a blasphemy against the gods and does not need to be questioned.”

Ah, he signed his own death sentence.

“Oh, so creating a magic stone is a heinous crime. In that case, Mr. Peltra’s invention should be sealed, and using a magic stone made by human hands is unacceptable. Is that what you’re saying?”

His Holiness surveys the group. His Majesty had a somewhat stubborn look on his face, while Duke Periknen nodded firmly. The country wants to make magic stones, while Duke Periknen wants to prevent the value of magic stones produced in his territory from declining.

It doesn’t matter anymore.

“It seems like a subjective interpretation of the scripture.”

Saying that, His Holiness took off his crown, held it in his hand, and after stroking his bald head, he raised the crown again.

A pale aquamarine huge magic stone shines reflecting the light of the chandelier.

“By the way, this central magic stone that has been named “Tears of the World” is a gift from them, but in other words, Cardinal Johannes says that it is also heretical.

Their jaws dropped and Cardinal Johannes fell to the floor.

“Well, I don’t care about the indictment. Asking for the Pope’s distrust is also an important task assigned to the Cardinal. However, if the Pope is heretical, it is necessary to do so in a place where all the Cardinals from various countries are summoned. Why don’t we accuse this old fool of being heretical in front of all the Cardinals?”

Whether he was relaxed or lost consciousness from the shock, there was no reaction. His Holiness called for a attendant to wake him up.

And solemnly declares.

“Cardinal Johannes is relieved of his duties and taken into custody. If there is anything illegal in his wealth, it will be seized by the church, and the proceeds will be used to repair the church that was struck by lightning. Until a new Cardinal is elected, this old fool, Namadrius IV will stay on this land and strive to make this land’s faith a good one.”

So he said, then turned one of his eyes toward us.

Fufu, he’s interested in negotiating with us, aren’t he?

Since the attendants alone could not take him out, several knights of the Holy Order took the body of Cardinal Johannes and dragged him away.

“Well, King Vainamo III.”

His Holiness put his crown back on and asked again.

“…I can’t believe that Cardinal Johannes did such a thing.”

“Well, it’s a common ploy. To try to escape responsibility by blaming it on someone who conveniently collapsed. But there’s no escape anyway.”

“So, does this mean that the suspicion of heresy has been cleared? Mr. and Mrs. Peltra can freely create and sell magic stones.”

“…uh.”

Duke Periknen unconsciously let the words slip out.

The King also continues.

“Shouldn’t the technology to produce magic stones that are worthy of adorning the head of Pope be managed by the state and not left to the wild? This is not just my country, but any king would make such a judgment.”

His Holiness nods as he looks this way. I nod as well. The current majesty’s opinion is a natural thing. However, there is a conflict between us and the royal family, and he can’t pay proper compensation for our technology and development.

“Mrs. Vilhelmina Peltra, I apologize again and will give you all the rewards that can be granted. Please forgive us, can you provide us with that technology?”

I also sigh.

“You can’t say that now after having my husband arrested for heresy. We can flee to another country.”

“In the first place, you were unapproachable in the previous audience chamber.

“That’s probably because everyone was running for their own safety.”

I indicate the kneeling Elias with a fan.

“Who showed such an attitude?”

His Holiness interjected.

“That’s not good.”

“Pope, as I said before, please refrain from interfering in domestic affairs.”

His Holiness nods.

“I will say it again, we will not interfere in domestic affairs. This old fool can only excommunicate His Majesty King Vainamo III of the Patrikainen royal family and Crown Prince Elias.”

Chapter 101: Before the Decisive Conviction

“And let me continue by saying that I have admitted that there’s a problem with the quality of the royal family.”

His Holiness, the heirloom sword that the representative of God on earth possesses.

In this region, all countries follow the same religion, so its authority is absolute. The religion on the other side of the Eastern Empire is different, but it does not mean that it does not recognize the authority of the Pope. Because they regularly exchange each other’s treasures and cultural artifacts, they are able to maintain a healthy exchange.

If this is said, it’s not the end as a king, but as a state.

In other words, it means guiding yourself in a way that satisfies your own satisfaction, or else it’s a strong threat to say that we will declare this.

His majesty was silent, and his voice dropped.

“Your Majesty, it’s impossible to make up for this.”

The queen, who had been listening to this story in silence, spoke up.

“His majesty and I were discussing whether we should pass on the succession rights to the second son, Parvallis, instead of the eldest son, Elias, after the incident. However, since Elias and Miss Ina were popular with the people and had strong factions among the aristocracy, we could not make a quick decision.”

The establishment of the second prince, especially when the first prince has become popular with the people, is certainly a very understandable cause of confusion in the country.

I nod and encourage her to continue.

“Elias and the others were also showing a ugly appearance at first. It’s natural for Ina-san, who was the young lady of the Baron family after Vilhelmina-san was gone. But little by little, they improved, and both the emperor and I thought that it was okay. Forgetting that this is built on the sacrifice of you all. Or rather, we pretend not to see it.”

Yes, that’s right. I have noticed a decrease in the notoriety of His Highness Elias and her among the friends of the noblemen and daughters.

“We are truly sorry for what we did. And if your research yields results, to say that we’ll just incorporate them into our own is just way too good to be a true kind of story. It’s just too idealistic to say that you are compassionate. Even if Vilhelmina-san was a noblewoman, she would not have the power to dictate it.

“It’s a fact that being a commoner makes you lightweight.”

That is, because we don’t have land and people. Although we have real estate such as a mansion, even if we abandon it, we can easily make a living.

“I apologize on behalf of the King. And again, for my son’s share, and of course personally, I apologize.”

Rising to her feet and removing the crown from her forehead, she deeply bowed her head.

As royalty, this was a forbidden way of bowing, but at least it conveyed the intention to do one’s best.

“… I accept your apology.”

Well, will the King be guided by himself, or will he be excommunicated and the country will be destroyed?

The King slowly opened his mouth.

“I decree the abdication of Duke Periknen and order him to remain in his estate for the remainder of his life.”

… it seems he has chosen the former.

Lord Periknen sagged.

“I revoke the succession rights of Crown Prince Elias, and I appoint Prince Parvallis as the first in line for the succession. I will also step down from the throne and pass it on within the year. Prime Minister, you will be responsible for filling the gaps in the duties of the king and resign within three years. Beginning next year, both myself and Elias will commit su*cide.”

Well, he’s saying he’s choosing to die. That can be considered a harsh ruling as a king.

The king removed his crown, rose to his feet, and placed the crown on the chair. Then he knelt on the floor.

The Prime Minister cried out “Your Majesty!”, and even the guards who were holding back made a commotion.”

“I am no longer the king. It doesn’t matter if I bow my head first.”

He says that and thrusts his hand onto the floor.

“Alex Peltra. I apologize for the crimes committed by my son’s foolishness, such as forcing a deceptive marriage and moving the dwelling without permission and monitoring it. As a parent, I apologize.”

Her majesty also prostrated herself at the same place.

“And for neglecting to apologize or compensate for it, for not noticing the corruption of the institute, for attempting to take the results of the research.”

The Majesty looks at the empty seat where Cardinal Johannes was sitting a moment ago.

“It was I who accused the heresy. I am truly sorry.”

Lex nods.

“I accept your apology.”

Then His Majesty turned to me.

“Vilhelmina Peltra. I apologize as a parent for the crimes committed by my foolish son.”

Again, his majesty prostrated himself on the spot.

“And for neglecting to apologize or compensate for it, for not restoring the honor that have tarnished you, for capturing your innocent husband with false charges. I am truly sorry.”

He apologized very politely. It’s unimaginable for a king of a country to apologize to the public by putting his hand on the ground, but it conveys the sincerity of his apology.

Of course, I cannot see the heart of His Majesty, and there may be aspects of this apology being caused by the threat of excommunication. However, it is clear that he is showing at least some sincere apologies from the tone of his voice and the fact that he apologized to us before His Holiness.

Hmm.

Chapter 102: After the Decisive Conviction

However, against my will, the words “I accept your apology” have not escaped my lips.

A silence that falls in the room.

The sound of me unconsciously fanning, snapped crisply and echoed oddly loudly in the room.

His Majesty continued, as if taken aback.

“I apologize deeply for the fact that when you were Vilhelmina Periknen, as the crown prince’s fiance, you were given the duty of assisting in the tasks to be performed with your youth, learning, and loyalty to the royal family without receiving any reward.”

… Ah, I see. That was it.

As if for the first time, this matter was mentioned to me, I feel like I was acknowledged for my wasted years. It seems like water has reached the sediment that had become hard and dried up at the bottom of my heart.

“I accept the apology.”

The words came out smoothly from my mouth.

Afterwards, His Majesty also apologized to His Holiness.

“This old fool acknowledge. His Majesty Vainamo III, and Prince Elias, are stepping down. I won’t mention the qualities of the royal family, and I withdraw my excommunication.”

His Holiness looks at me.

“That’s not a problem for this old fool. Mrs. Peltra, please state your wish.”

“Is that alright?”

“If it’s not impossible, I’ll make it come true.”

I hold a fan to my cheek and think. Hmm.

“I hope for the exile of the Duke Periknen and the Duchess, but their child, Jurremi, is not guilty. If you would only grant him the title of baronet, not a deputy.”

His Majesty nods.

Frankly speaking, it would be more convenient for the current Periknen Territory to turn into barony, since it would be difficult to pay taxes as a Duke if the price of magic stone falls.

“And, Your Majesty, I demand that the crown prince and princess’ sentences be commuted.”

There’s a commotion. His Highness stands up.

“Vilhelmina! I-I am ready to die!”

“Your Highness Elias. It may be the appropriate appearance as a believer to entrust judgment to God who is in heaven. But let me say it anyway. It is easy to atone for death.”

It is an disrespectful way of speaking to God. But His Holiness nodded calmly.

“But, don’t you hate me, don’t you want revenge?!”

I snicker.

“When did I tell you to die? According to an ancient law, ‘an eye for an eye’. I do not seek excessive revenge. As I have said before, revenge is too sweet, and forgiveness is too bitter. Basically, if I really want to take revenge but I won’t kill.”

“Hmm?”

His Holiness raised a voice of doubt.

“If you really want to take revenge, then why not make a oath of self-harm magic on Elias, and then torture Miss Ina in front of him and take your time to kill her by skinning her flesh?”

…ugh. I feel like I’m being pulled over by something! It happens often, doesn’t it?

I cleared my throat and continued.

“His Majesty and the Queen, after the abdication, are to take up residence in the castle estate. Support King Parvallis and advise him to lead the country well. It would be appreciated if the church could keep a watch on any strange circumstances so that no conspiracies arise.”

“Understood, I will prepare a surveillance role.”

“Your Highness Elias should withdraw from the royal family, and establish himself as a Baron in the remote area and live with Miss Ina. It would be good if you could bite your finger and watch me live happily with my husband there.”

The sound of a chair collapsing and Miss Ina fell to her knees on the floor.

“Is such mercy…alright?”

I doubt it would be a mercy. If he dies, he will die as a prince, but if he is deprived of his royal title, that is not the case, and his honor will be lost.

“There is no use in bringing such a prince to the farmland. Miss Ina is saying that she will spend a long time with this man, even though she is disillusioned with him.”

“Uh, thank you!”

She kept her hands on the floor and bowed her head.

“As usual, it’s a disgraceful bow.”

His Highness Elias also kneels beside her.

“Why, why such mercy upon us.”

There are various reasons. Future political matters, the promise with Miss Ina, the fact that I was not trying to be killed, the compensation for trying to kill Miss Ina, the misunderstanding of my love in the past.

However, these cannot be spun into words, and only a word was spoken from my mouth.

“It’s a whim.”

I look at Lex. He smiles kindly at me… What is it?

“Alex? Is something the matter? You’re the one who’s so worn out that you deserve some payback.”

“No, I don’t have anything to say. It’s up to your judgment.”

“Well, we’ll leave before my mind changes. I have to feed my husband dinner.”

It’s important! He’s become so worn out.

I lift Lex up by pulling his hand, and seat him in a wheelchair.

“Well. Good day, everyone.”

Chapter 103: Return 1

The Peltra couple bowed their heads slightly and left the room, pretending to be foolish.

The atmosphere in the room was heavy, but there was a sense of relief.

“Well, the old fool must find out about his illicit wealth. I’m sure he’s been saving it up.”

Prince Elias pointed to Cardinal Johannes’ chair and said,

“Later, I will submit a list of donations and gifts from myself and my faction.”

I nodded. That’s cooperative.

Prince Elias’ fiancé seemed to have made up her mind from the beginning. From their expressions and attitudes, both Prince Elias and her fiancé seemed to have a strong color of reflection, while King Vainamo III was still strongly dissatisfied despite his reflection.

“As I said earlier, this old fool would like to remain in this country for a while.”

The King nodded.

“You have avoided the sword of excommunication by apologizing and abdicating. And because of Mrs. Peltra’s kindness, you are still alive. But don’t forget that the sword has been unsheathed.”

The four of them showed a surprised expression for a moment, but then nodded with a serious expression.

Periknen’s lips move, but his voice cannot be heard. But…

“What do you mean by ‘kindness’?”

If you can read someone’s mind, you can also read their lips. He’s a simple man. He lifted his face.

“This is my downfall. There’s no warmth or anything.”

“Hmm, it’s a good thing to speak highly of something you did.”

“She was a smart and wise woman like my ex-wife. Vilhelmina, she was a devil.”

To speak well or badly of one’s own daughter is a thing.

Come to think of it, Mrs. Peltra never mentioned anything to his ex-father in the end. Is it her revenge to continue to burn this man’s body with her murky, smoky malice by ignoring him in that situation?

This old fool stood up and looked down with pity in his gaze.

A servant approached and took the wrinkled hand of this old fool.

“Well, then let the old fool take his leave as well. Farewell is enough.”

***

The wheels of the wheelchair creak.

I assist Lex in getting off the wheelchair at the front of the royal palace and hand it over to a palace soldier. Then we slowly descend the large staircase while holding hands.

Lex whispers softly.

“Was that what you wanted?”

It’s about their treatment.

“As I said earlier, death is easy. It would be a punishment for them to see you and I change the world, the country, and be happy. If I want to make the punishment more severe, I can disable them, or separate them from their spouses or fiancés, but…”

Lex laughed.

“Actually, I found a book in your library called ‘The Torture of the World’ so I thought you were going to propose something like that.”

Oh, so you saw it.

“Fufu, I didn’t actually have the intention to go that far.”

Lex stopped. He took a break in the middle of the staircase.

“Why?”

“It’s simple. Because I am happy now.”

“Well, I’m happy too.”

Even though I am happy, it is outrageous to forgive everything. But because I am happy, I don’t feel like destroying this country or killing them cruelly.

If there is a point where I become soft, that’s where it is. The fact that they introduced me to Lex.

I hold Lex’s bony hand.

“Of course, if you had died in prison if you had been tortured and suffered from disabilities, I would have acted cruelly no matter what.”

“I see.”

And we started walking again.

As soon as we exited the castle gate, our family carriage was waiting for us at the carriage stop.

“Master!”

“Madam!”

“Glad to see you both safe!”

The servants who were waiting for us recognized us and ran over with joy, shouting.

Thus, after about half a month, the head of the family returned to the house.

The next morning the estate was filled with joy.

I put a spoon into a dish filled with porridge and stir it up, then I bring it to my mouth, blow on it and offer it.

“Here, ah~.”

I offer it to Lex, who is sitting on the bed with many cushions on his back.

His thin lips opened and I inserted the spoon into them and pulled it out. His jaw begins to move.

I scoop up the porridge with the spoon again.

“Hey Mina, it’s not like I can’t move, I don’t need you to feed me.”

Blowing on it.

“Yes, Lex, ah~.”

His lips open and his thin jaw moves.

“So Mina.”

I offered the meat that was minced and made into a paste-like shape.

The mouth is opened as if in resignation, and the meat is chewed with a gnawing motion.

“Do you dislike being taken care of?”

“I don’t mind but…”

“That’s great. Ah~.”

Giggle…

“It’s embarrassing.”

The gaze is averted and the people around are watching from the edge of the wall.

“I am not embarrassed.”

Fufu, I was originally a noble, so I’m used to being surrounded by servants.

Hilka approaches with a smile.

“Madam is like a clingy bug.”

I put the spoon on the desk and hugged Lex’s body, turning my hand around it.

“Yes, I cling to Lex.”

Chapter 104: Return 2

Since the day His Holiness arrived in the capital, the city has undergone a great change.

It has been about a month since then. His Holiness’s stay in the capital of Patrickainen, Cardinal Johannes’ downfall, the announcement of the King’s abdication and Prince Elias’s renunciation of the succession rights, and Prince Parvallis becoming the first in line for the succession to the throne and the Crown Prince.

It was widely rumored that the two thunderstorms the day before were indeed divine punishment.

The world is thriving. This is partly due to the large public works project of rebuilding the cathedral and castle, but ultimately the bottleneck in industry was the circulation and price of magic stones. Of course, our business is also going well.

Lex has also regained a lot of weight and health.

“Lex.”

“What?”

It’s time to work side by side.

“Would you like to have a wedding?”

He dropped his feather pen.

“You see, our wedding blessing was like that.”

The Cardinal Johannes who blessed us is a criminal being held captive for crimes such as embezzlement, and His Holiness has said that he will bless us again. When I explained these things to him, Lex said.

“I see, but even if you say wedding ceremony, I’m an orphan, and Mina probably won’t call her parents? If it’s not something too flashy, wouldn’t that be okay?”

Such was the conversation, but the next day Lex disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a polite note as if he had run away from home.

“Why did Lex run away?”

Hilka answers my murmur with a nodding face.

“Oh, it’s called the wedding blues.”

“I see.”

Indeed, pre-wedding anxiety. Fufu.

“And that, you know. He got asked about the idea of having a wedding ceremony from Madam and he’s uncomfortable(insecure) about it. It’s like, the Master couldn’t show his manliness, you could say.”

I see. Men’s pride is a complicated thing. Hilka asks.

“What will you do?”

“If he really wanted to run, he wouldn’t or couldn’t.”

Because he’s a true genius.

“If not…”

It’s about the evening a few days later. The location is the hotel, Onaus Barra, one of the most famous in the capital. I have figured out that Lex is staying in the single room here.

I thought he might stay at a cheaper inn given his values, but the price here is something that even ordinary people could afford if they splurge a little, which is not a big deal for him now.

And I am staying in the suite room of the Onaus Barra Hotel. I am in a room that costs as much as a commoner’s annual income for just one night.

A voice was heard from the entrance far away.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Peltra. There was a failure in the plumbing to the bath, I apologize for the inconvenience.”

“No problem. It’s amazing that you’re providing such a great room instead.”

The voice of the hotel porter and Lex’s voice in response.

“No, no. It’s our pleasure. We hope to see you again at Onaus Barra. Excuse me.”

Well, I was the one who caused the failure in the bath!

“T-Thank you.”

Lex came into the spacious bedroom, and our eyes met. He dropped the bag he was holding.

“Why are you here!”

I smile.

“Do you think I can’t find Lex’s whereabouts?”

“Even though I took off the magic stone so as not to be caught by the detection technique!”

“Fufu, thinking that Lex had only one magic stone is the cause of defeat.”

If you’re going to run, at least change all your clothes, shoes, and wallet. After all, you’re still in the capital. It’s like asking me to come after you, isn’t it?

I spin around on the spot to show him.

“So, What do you think?”

What I’m wearing today is a pure white dress. Yes, I secretly prepared it for the wedding.

“…very, beautiful. Mina.”

“Fufu, thank you.”

I hug Lex tightly.

“…why did you run away?”

A brief silence. Slowly, a voice comes down from above.

“I love Mina. I also know that Mina loves me.”

“Of course.”

“But when I thought of standing beside you, I lost confidence.”

I put my arms around Lex’s neck and steal a kiss.

“So I guess we just have to give Lex some confidence then.”

“Huh…?”

“Isn’t that obvious?”

I hooked Lex’s legs and pulled him down, and we rolled onto the bed so that we were overlapping.

I straddle him.

“No, wait, the order is random! We haven’t even started the ceremony yet!”

“No, we’ve been married for a long, long time now.”

I stole his lips again and put my hands on my pure white dress.

***

The next morning, Lex offers a prayer before breakfast at the hotel.

“Lord, we are grateful for your mercy. Bless the food provided for today, and we ask that it sustains our lives as sustenance. May the one who has prepared today’s food be blessed. Amen.”

“Amen.”

I also recite and eat breakfast.

When drinking coffee after the meal, I ask him.

“How is it? Did you gain confidence as a man?”

He swallows his words to my words. He wipes his mouth with a napkin, nods after turning his face towards me with a slightly bitter expression, and calls for a boy.

A bouquet of deep red roses was prepared.

“I was actually going to take this home with me today, but…”

He stands up, kneels beside me, and offers the bouquet.

Well… His brown eyes are looking straight at me with strength.

“I swear to love you, Vilhelmina, for the rest of my life, and to be together with you.”

“I also do. I swear to love Alex, and to be together with him.”

The two of us echoed each other’s voices.

“Until death separates us.”

Chapter 105: And they lived happily ever after

That autumn of the year, the ceremony of the transfer of the crown prince’s position from His Highness Elias to His Highness Parvallis was carried out.

It was not revealed to the public, but at that time, His Highness Elias’ royal status was stripped and he was given the title of Baron, and his marriage with Miss Ina was also secretly performed.

The following spring, the two of them set off for the frontier.

That summer, King Vainamo III abdicated, and His Highness Parvallis was crowned as the new king.

That autumn, a bag of wheat and a bundle of simple small carrots, and a handkerchief embroidered with cotton were delivered to me by the kingdom’s soldiers.

The same things were also delivered to the palace, and the former king and queen are said to have shed tears.

In the following year, the renovation of the cathedral was completed, and at that time, it was publicly announced from the mouth of His Holiness the Pope that the production of magic stones using Mina 23 of A&V Company in the poverty relief hospital would be carried out.

By that time, magic stone production had already begun in various countries, but our company had already grown into a company that could not be pushed around and was earning the highest profits in the world.

Namadrius IV returned to the papal state in the autumn, it was about the winter. The attack on the Marquis Periknen branch of A&V by the former Duke of Periknen took place.

Lex and Marquis Jurremi, who were on their way to inspect the branch, were attacked. According to reports, my ex-father gathered nobles and merchants from other families who were dissatisfied with our monopoly of the magic stone, and engaged in criminal acts.

Well, unfortunately this was as expected since that day of judgment.

Preparations for the attack were not made and the damage was minimal, repelled and captured. My ex-father, who was on the spot, was immediately executed by Jurremi.

Why wasn’t I there?

Because I was in the late stages of pregnancy.

As soon as Lex returned to the capital, I gave birth, and had a baby girl with Lex’s brown hair and my emerald eyes.

With our eldest daughter at the forefront, Lex and I spent a lively and happy life surrounded by our four children, the eldest, two boys and the youngest girl.

***

And many long years passed.

Among the saints officially recognized by the Papacy, there are few married saints except for those who were martyred together.

But if you ask who comes to mind when it comes to married saints, everyone will mention the Peltra saints.

Saint Alex Peltra, the patron saint of technology and inventions, who symbolizes the flask.

Saint Vilhelmina Peltra, the patron saint of commerce and charity, who symbolizes the magic stone necklace.

And the Peltra saints, who protect love and family.

Their magic element crystallization technology is said to have either brought down kingdoms all over the world after their deaths or led to the loss of many lives in wars.

But even as the kingdom of Patrikainen and the next dynasty perished, and time passed without a king, their inventions continued to be used to save countless lives and improve people’s lives.

And their story continued to be loved by people.

~The End~


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