Limited Time, Kitchen Maid of the Fourth Knight Order ~I Got a Job Because I Don’t Want to Get Married~ – Chapter 26

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝟐

“. . .As for me, I believe the current situation started when Prince Linus’ mother married the former emperor.”

Edgardo starts talking, and Rolf looks at him as if he can’t believe what he’s hearing. Rolf is highly responsible and cares deeply for Edgardo, but this can sometimes become a burden.

Demonstrating the dignity befitting the heir to the Marquis Valka family, Edgardo continued.

“Marie Ange-sama, the birth family of Prince Linus’ mother, the Count Dyson family, is a distinguished family but was on the verge of ruin. With neither power nor connections, the Dyson family alone could hardly serve as a solid foundation for Marie Ange-sama to become the empress.”

“That’s right. Therefore, my mom became the adopted daughter of the Duke Evatt family, the king’s biggest supporters, and later became the empress. The Duke Evatt and Count Dyson families both became allies of the king.”

“Yes, they were the largest faction within the nobility.”

The conversation pauses for a moment, and silence fills the room.

“It was only going well for a short time. When my older brother was born, he gained the Duke Evatt family as backers, while I had the Count Dyson family. My older brother was excellent and was considered the next king from an early age, which I had no objections to. Rather, I wanted to support him when he became king.”

After I fell silent, Rolf was the one who spoke next. He seemed to have come to a decision.

“Even though the Duke Evatt and Count Dyson families belonged to the same faction, the power they held was vastly different. Marie Ange-sama was very concerned about ensuring that power didn’t become too concentrated.”

“Yes, and to prevent the faction from growing too large and the royal family from gaining too much power, my mother was poisoned by rebel forces. My father, who loved my mother, quickly announced that my older brother would be the next king and began preparations for his retirement. It was decided that I would be raised as a subject, the Duke Evatt family gained more power, and the Count Dyson family was pushed out.”

“I’ve heard rumors that the Count Dyson family is in league with the rebel forces.”

“You’re right, Rolf. There’s no evidence yet, but they’re colluding with the rebels to make me king. They’re eager to regain their former power.”

Both Edgardo and Rolf caught their breath, realizing that the matter was more serious than they’d thought.

“However, Prince Linus has publicly stated his ambition to become a knight. Our country’s military power is weaker than other countries’, isn’t that what he said he aims to strengthen?”

“I’ve always had that ambition in my heart. I thought that if I became a knight, the Count Dyson family might give up on making me king. But when they found out that I was gaining military power, the rebel forces were delighted. They thought they could now overthrow my older brother.”

“How could they!”

Involuntarily standing up, Edgardo notices Rolf gripping his hand tightly next to him. The trembling comes from his anger.

“My older brother is already king and has two children. My place in the line of succession is third. They’re planning to kill not only my older brother but also his children to make me king.”

“. . .So that’s why you’re here in this order.”

“You’re quick to catch on, Rolf. This Fourth Knight Order was created by my older brother for my sake. I’m hiding here, biding my time, and training at least to protect myself. Most of the people close to me are from the Count Dyson family. From among them, I’ve brought along the trustworthy Shiro and Arthur and am looking for people who can become my strength.”

Edgardo nods in understanding.

 ㅤ

“It’s no wonder that everyone here doesn’t belong to the Duke Evatt or Count Dyson households. And the number becomes even fewer if we consider houses that have members in the order of knights.”

“Miss Norchev was chosen for similar reasons, wasn’t she? The Norchev family has always been royalist and hasn’t participated in power struggles. Normally, kitchen maids are ladies who come thinking of the knight’s order as a matchmaking opportunity, so Miss Norchev’s presence puzzled me.”

“I was surprised when I heard that Miss Norchev wanted to work as a kitchen maid, as we had no young ladies willing to do it. The timing was too perfect, and I even had my doubts. . .but Miss Norchev was simply being Miss Norchev.”

The atmosphere relaxes subtly. We share a brief smile, and the person on our minds is Miss Norchev.

As we approach her, she becomes timid; when we speak to her, she keeps her distance; she avoids eye contact. Only after numerous attempts to show that we bear no ill will and aren’t viewing her romantically does Miss Norchev finally sit beside us and smile.

This is the complete opposite of ladies who want to get along, and that’s what makes it comfortable.

“I want to bring those willing to fight with the rebels into my inner circle. I can’t become a puppet manipulated by those who instigate a rebellion to gain power for themselves. I hope you will fight alongside me.”

I intend to accept whatever response they give. However, I do wish they would become allies. The number of people I can currently trust is far too few.

The first to move was Edgardo. He gets off the sofa, kneels, and bows his head.

“I am still but the heir of House Valka. While I might not be able to offer the aid of House Valka at the moment, once I become the head, I vow to support Prince Linus and pave the way.”

Edgardo raises his face and smiles gently.

“The Prince Linus I have observed is always learning and training. He rises earlier than anyone to read and is the last to finish his training. Though my power may be limited, I wish to serve your goals.”

“So do I.”

Rolf also kneels. Unlike Edgardo, who looked up from the beginning, doubt is visible in Rolf’s eyes.

“As you know, I am of the House of Count Ouldra but not well-regarded. My actions should not be considered representative of Ouldra’s intentions.”

I can sense Rolf’s agony.

Cutting ties with the Ouldra family is possible, but having Rolf by my side without his Count status would be difficult. He would probably have to leave the order of knights as well.

“What I desire is not House Ouldra. It’s Rolf.”

“. . .Your words have deeply touched my heart.”

Rolf bows his head deeply.

“My life is for the sake of His Highness Linus.”

“The two of you must protect me. Depending on the circumstances, I may have to abandon you. But never forget this. Protect yourself. Do not recklessly throw away your lives.”

I deliberately lighten my tone as I continue.

“Otherwise, people might start rumors upon seeing me mourning the death of a close aide. That we had an unusual relationship.”

Beside a flustered Edgardo, Rolf laughs.

“Now, stand up. Shiro, come here and let’s drink together. There’s much we need to discuss: our future plans and about ourselves. Let’s talk.”

“I’ve already prepared alcohol for this! It’s unlucky for Arthur, but he missed out!”

Shiro brings glasses and wine, then sits on the sofa.

It’s a bit of a shame that today is a day off. Normally Miss Norchev would prepare something for us, and she would secretly give us something if the late-night meal was ready early.

The cork of the wine bottle is pulled out with a satisfying sound. Today, the drinking starts early in the morning.

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