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.
“Wilhelmina! Is Wilhelmina 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.
“Welcome back, Father, everyone.”
I said that and lowered my head, but there was no voice of “I’m home.”
“Wilhelmina, 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.”
“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.”
“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!”