༺ Villianess? Esteemed Daughter (1) ༻
Invincible Duke, Richter Nuren of Havlem.
Iron-blooded Duke, Oliver Valenti of Wulken.
Gold Duke, Laprose Osiden of Boyar.
Mage Duchess, Beatrix Catoban of Servette.
Wise Duke, Arodel Salon of Cheness.
These five dukes stood atop all of the nobles of the Empire.
These five dukes’ ancestors contributed the most to the foundation of the Empire. So after the Emperor, they were the most powerful and important people. Countless noble families rose and fell in the past 300 years, but these five ducal families remained unchanged.
No one was granted the title of Duke nor was the title stripped from anyone. The five ducal families remained on top with the Royal Family.
To the Emperor, the other nobles were merely subordinates, but these five dukes were treated as partners. Even so, the Emperor was still the sovereign.
Their status was such that even the Emperor would have to treat them with care; other nobles would struggle to even look at them. That was also the case for the family members of the dukes.
So how would it feel to receive such cold and harsh treatment from the youngest daughter of a duke?
“It’s okay. We probably won’t see her again.”
Because Louise seemed to be in a bad state, I had brought her to the clubroom. It seemed like being in a familiar place helped relax her, but she was still trembling, interrupted occasionally by a hiccup.
She wasn’t in a state where I would be comfortable sending her off to class, and I could come up with a reasonable explanation for the teacher so everything should be fine. Authority is meant to be used for situations like this, after all. This task was a bit trivial though, for the authority I possess.
I took out a tin of loose tea leaves I had kept in a corner and prepared her a cup of tea. She picked up the cup of tea I had set before her, and cradled it before her while trembling occasionally as I kept patting her back.
What should I do with her?
I could understand how Louise felt. There was a huge difference between her family and the duke’s. If I exaggerate a bit, the difference between a duke and a baron was greater than the difference between a baron and a normal citizen. No, maybe it wasn’t an exaggeration. How a baron could mess up a commoner was simple, but a duke had countless ways to ruin a baron.
The esteemed daughter of a duke had treated her coldly? It wouldn’t be strange if Louise’s family were ruined in the future. Thinking that she could be the cause of that probably worried her to no end.
Louise managing to hold in her tears before Marghetta was already worthy of praise. Well done.
“She probably didn’t have any ill intent. She approached you alone and in private. She would’ve told you that publicly if she really had something against you.”
While sitting next to Louise, I kept trying to cheer her up. I didn’t think Marghetta was trying to attack Louise. In the first place, the Valenti family were the type to act before talking if they really wanted to get rid of someone. Marghetta saying that to her was just like a form of greeting.
Of course, I didn’t tell Louise this because this would’ve just made her cry even more.
“B-But… If my father… Because of me…”
It seemed like I wasn’t able to calm her down. Now she was talking while crying. To think that for our first meeting in a year, she’d make a good girl cry.
Thank you. Lady Marghetta…
“Even if she’s the daughter of the Duke, she can’t attack a noble family that hasn’t done anything wrong. If something like that happens, I’ll stop it. Don’t worry.”
It was a bluff. If the Duke aimed for someone’s neck, that meant they had the Emperor’s approval. If I tried to stop them in such circumstances, I should be prepared and leave a testament at least.
Well, if I tried my best, I could maybe delay it for four days…? After that, it’d probably be my end.
It seemed like my bluff had worked and Louise recovered her smile, but her eyes were still red. It seems like I’ll have to make her stay here for the rest of the day. If I send her out and she encounters Marghetta again, she will collapse.
I couldn’t help but be a bit angry with Marghetta.
In the end, Louise stayed here until the clubroom began. Louise said that she was okay, but there was no way that was the case. I told her to stay here. Her face was still red. So there was no way she was in a state to go out.
And from a distance, I could hear the steps of five people coming from a distance. It seemed they had enough common sense not to come here in the middle of the class. Although it was something that should be obvious, I’m glad.
The first one who entered was Ainter. I was sitting next to Louise, so his eyes met mine. So I greeted him. Yes, although you guys are idiots, your feelings toward Louise are real.
Since all the members came, I woke Louise up. It seemed like the mental fatigue after that was huge, so before I noticed, she was sleeping. I grabbed the coat I’d used to cover Louise and stood up. Seeing 5 men come running was a bit scary.
“Louise, are you okay?”
Erich passed Ainter and tried to rush toward Louise, so I stopped him. She’s just woken up. So this will just surprise her. I’ve put a lot of effort into making her feel better. So please don’t make it go to waste.
“She isn’t hurt. So don’t worry. She was surprised because of something that happened, so I made her rest.”
As I stopped Erich, the other 4 also stopped. I turned around and looked at Louise. It seemed like she was completely awake.
Hmm. I think that now, I could let them go.
As I turned around and opened the way for them, the five finally rushed again toward her. I felt like I was seeing a group of tigers jumping toward a sheep.
Are my eyes weird?
Louise became surprised after being suddenly surrounded by the 5. But it seemed like she was happy at them worrying about her. So she greeted them with a smile. She’d become depressed because of Marghetta’s attack. So the club members treating her well in this situation made her feel better.
Let’s forget for a moment that the reason why Marghetta attacked her was them.
“We’re enjoying our time here because of Louise. So there’s no need for you to worry about it.”
“The other people’s view isn’t important. What we care about the most is how warm your heart is.”
It seemed like Louise’s explanation was over. They also started to console her. Don’t worry about it. If something happens, we’re going to protect you, etc. They all sounded reassuring.
Once again. Let’s forget for a moment that the reason for Marghetta’s attack is them.
“Yes, thank you. Carl oppa also said that if something happens, he will defend me.”
As Louise mentioned me with a bright smile, the five looked at me. Ainter sighed in relief.
I’m unsure what you’re thinking about, but you’re overestimating me.
‘There’s no way a Civil Servant will be able to stop a Duke.’
I think that I could go against a Marquis. Because from time to time, some Marquis families were destroyed. But a Duke was like a walking natural disaster. If the Duke began attacking, the only thing left was the praying meta.
But still, the one that bluffed was me. I smiled a bit and answered to the eyes looking at me. No, but there was no way the Valenti Duke would attack Louise in the first place.
But still, I’m getting this nervous. Is this the strength of the atmosphere?
Anyway, Louise’s condition improved, and the day reached an end.
I told Louise we probably wouldn’t see Marghetta again during the club’s hours. But there was no way that was the case. She was probably going to come again to meet Louise. She didn’t like Louise hanging out around important people from other countries. So the only solution to that was to disband the club.
But Louise wasn’t going to disband the club, and I also didn’t intend to do that. If the club disbanded, who was going to face the rage of those five? Also, how was I going to look over them? In reality, I should be begging Louise not to disband it.
But Marghetta didn’t know this situation. The club would be kept operating, and Louise would keep hanging out around important people. So she was probably going to think that her advice was ignored. Then, she was probably going to come and meet Louise again.
‘First, it was the Crown Prince. Now, it’s the daughter of the Duke.’
My head hurt. The only thing was that it probably wouldn’t be the Duke himself attacking Louise. But Marghetta had many ways to mess up with Louise.
‘I should go and see her soon.’
Before Marghetta came to meet Louise, I should go to her first. I needed to tell her why the club was important and that I was taking a closer look, so nothing much happened.
But now that I think about it. It’s weird. Marghetta should know that I was the advisor of the club. Then, why did she give Louise such a warning? Maybe she wanted to give her a piece of advice even though I’m there? Or maybe she thought that it would be better if the club disappeared?
I wouldn’t be able to come up with an answer here. I’ll try to see if I can ask Marghetta about this later on.
“It seems like the opportunity came earlier than expected. Good morning Carl.”
The next morning, in the middle of class time, Marghetta appeared in the clubroom.
I was planning to go and see her.
But it wasn’t that I wanted her to come and see me.
I couldn’t help but feel a bit annoyed while looking at the smiling Marghetta.