When she came out of the bathroom in a hurry, she could see many people in the hallway. The servants who gathered there were whispering something with worried expressions etched on their faces.
“What’s going on?”
In response to her question, Vielle briefly ignored her and grabbed a maid who was passing by.
“What’s the situation?”
Krua glanced back at Vielle.
Seeing that she didn’t ask the maid what was going on, but instead asked her about the situation first, it meant that Vielle had some idea about what had happened. Still, she was in the bathroom with me all this time… so how?
Nonetheless, the questions in her head disappeared completely after hearing the maid’s reply.
“Endless sea has been breached.”
She knew what that meant even if she wasn’t part of Argenta family. It was Argenta’s job to stop the monsters from attacking the land by protecting the endless sea.
…But, it has been breached?
Krua’s eyes quickly turned to look at the window. Even though she couldn’t see anything because it was dark, if the monsters had been running a rampage and entered the land, it wouldn’t have been so quiet like this.
“Was the line of defense completely breached?”
As Vielle asked back seriously, the maid only shook her head.
“That’s not it.”
The maid glanced at Krua while trying to say something. She was thinking about whether she could talk in front of outsiders or not.
Krua was old enough to be the hostess here, so she had to pretend to be the perfect hostess while keeping quiet about her getting divorced soon. In other words, there was no need for her to step aside just because the maid was looking at her.
Hence, she stared at the maid with her arms crossed, indicating she had no intention of leaving.
“…There were two monster groups that invaded the third zone. There were much more monsters in the group who attacked the third zone than usual.”
The maid continued.
Krua thought as she listened to the maid, ‘How can a maid in this mansion know so much about the battlefield despite not being a knight?’
She didn’t expect a maid to know about the issue at all.
“Roa, the field commander, told me to check the number of troops for reinforcement, but the line of defense was breached in an instant because the second group was overwhelmingly high.”
This maid was not the only one. It seemed like other than the knights, the servants, and other maids seemed to be well aware of it as well.
“The number of monsters was much higher than usual.”
“Yes, according to the people at the scene, it seems like a group of monsters joined forces.”
Ah, it reminded her of something.
In the original story, there was a description of how the movement of monsters in the endless sea was unusual.
Vielle frowned at the maid’s words.
“The defense seemed to have been breached so suddenly, so how did they deal with it?”
The maid bowed slightly and replied.
“Roa, the sinner, got into the middle of the monsters due to his responsibilities. While they were on the rampage, he rebuilt the line of defense…”
She couldn’t hear what she said after that.
Didn’t she say Roa was the field commander earlier?
“I see. Where’s the reinforcement?”
“They’ve already left.”
Saying so, the maid lowered her head briefly and stepped back.
Krua watched the maid glance at her and look back at Vielle.
“Why is he a sinner?”
She couldn’t understand it. Even she, who read the original story, didn’t know that there would be a lot of monsters coming in. So how would a person who was defending the place know? This was nothing short of a natural disaster. It was not their responsibility.
Nonetheless, Roa thought it was his responsibility and threw himself in to block the monsters.
In her opinion, it was a noble sacrifice. Still, neither Vielle’s expression that Krua saw as she looked back nor the others seemed to honor Roa’s sacrifice. Rather, it seemed like it was normal.
“He didn’t do his job properly. If he hadn’t thrown himself in and bought time, he would have been punished more strongly due to Argenta’s code of conduct.”
She frowned a little at Vielle’s words. Vielle fixed her rather disheveled dress in response before uttering in a calm voice.
“You must have never encountered this kind of situation in Alors, so it must’ve felt strange.”
As she gestured to the servants, those who were whispering in the hallway went away. Now there were only them in the hallway, Vielle opened her mouth again.
“You asked me why he was a sinner?”
She nodded briefly.
Was it true that he didn’t do his job properly? And if he didn’t throw himself, he would’ve been punished more strongly under Argenta’s Code…?
It was beyond her understanding.
“Argenta has an absolute code of conduct,”
Said Vielle as she escorted her like a knight.
“Do or don’t.”
As she continued, Krua opened her eyes wide, hearing those calm words.
It was something she had heard and seen before. The first sentence that came out while talking about Argenta in the original story was that exact one. Even though it was a sentence that was passed by casually, it felt cruel to hear it in this situation.
“So, if they didn’t finish their job properly… it’s the same as not doing it?”
Either do or don’t.
When she asked back, thinking about the words, Vielle laughed.
“You understand quickly.”
…It seemed like it was natural to sacrifice their life if they didn’t finish their job properly.
It was a place where even if they sacrificed their lives to do their job, they would remain a sinner. It wasn’t because she went directly out of the bath that she felt goosebumps again. It was due to that thought.
She pursed her lips.
Suddenly, she remembered Diello’s smile. According to the original story, he was friendly. However, the Argenta family’s dynamic seemed completely different from his friendly image.
In such a place, his friendly personality would have been rather poisonous. It hurt her a little to think of Diello Argenta in the original story. Although she didn’t read the novel fully, she could imagine what he went through.
He must’ve suffered under Argenta with that friendly and nice temper.
Alors and Argenta families thought of life as nothing. Krua felt somewhat sick at the thought of seeing his innocent smile and how this family worked.
* * *
“What about Roa?”
At that time, Diello Argenta was also told about the incident. Of course, he was given much more in-depth information than what was received by Krua Alors. For example, how many monsters of what kind came in, and how the field commander Roa threw himself to stop them.
“He drove himself to death despite Argenta’s power.”
Argenta’s power… each of the three duke families had the power to control fire, water, and wind. It was known to the outside world, but there was something else that wasn’t known.
A person who has pledged allegiance to the head of each family could use their respective family’s ability until the head themselves gain their power.
Obviously, it was significantly weaker than the one received by the head though their power also depended on how strong their head was, so all of them wanted a strong family head. And now, Diello Argenta, without a Ferro, was known as the weakest of the three.
Still, it was just what Diello Argenta was aiming for.
“What about the body?”
As Diello asked back without changing his expression, the knight who reported it was silent for a while.
“It will be taken care of soon.”
“Bury him right in front of the endless sea,” replied Diello immediately.
It had to be done so that Roa, the sinner, would defend the endless sea even after he died.
“Yes.” The knight replied and retreated.
“We’ll need a new commander in the third zone.”
Diello spoke and suddenly thought of his bride. They said she was in the bathroom and was surprised to hear about it. She also asked why he was a sinner with an innocent expression as if she didn’t understand it.
“What should I do with my bride?”
He laughed silently.
Krua Alors was more innocent than he thought.
* * *
The hostess of each family was responsible for the internal affairs of their family. In addition, they needed to manage the family’s external image in high society and knew about the rumors circulating as those could measure how good the hostess’s ability was.
Krua thought that was all she had to do in Argenta for a while. But Argenta, more than she thought, was a strange family.
While the wedding was being prepared, Vielle, the butler and maid of the mansion, each began to tell her about the hostess’ job. Of course, she hadn’t officially become the Duchess of Argenta yet, but since she was known as his Ferro, she’ll have this position until the real Ferro came.
Frankly, that was why she thought she would only do light work.
Even though she had to deceive others as if Krua was the real Ferro, she didn’t want to know too much about Argenta. If she went out of Argenta with too much knowledge, she would have the same ending as the original.
At that time, she would die not by Alors but by Argenta’s hand. It would be done through Argenta’s cleaner, Vielle.
“Yes. You need to know the stuff that needs to be organized by Argenta so that you can proceed smoothly as a hostess.”
However, Vielle was teaching her too much about Argenta.
In particular, she was made known that all three duke families were families that had some influence in the underworld. She called it Alor’s business, but teaching her Argenta’s ‘business’ was no different from revealing the truth about the family to her.
“You can teach me?”
Since it was strange, she asked Vielle again, but Vielle answered her words without hesitation.
Then, she smiled lightly.
“The head wished for it.”
Krua raised her eyebrows slightly. Did he forget that she was a fake Ferro? He knew she had to step down when the real Ferro came later, right?
“Vielle, do you agree?”
He was nice, so she thought she should listen to Vielle instead of Diello. If there were any trouble with Argenta, even without his orders, Vielle would slit their neck on her own… she disagreed, right?
Though when she looked up at Vielle…
She grinned instead.
“Of course, I agree.”
“Then, I’ll teach you slowly, starting with the mercenary guild.”
Vielle suddenly opened up about Argenta’s secrets, not knowing about what went inside Krua’s mind. No, if it were Vielle, she would hurt her even if Diello told her not to. However, she agreed…
“Rest well, Lady Krua Alors. No…”
She thought of Diello before they parted after the banquet. His blue eyes, which were bent slightly, seemed to be glimmering. Even his cheeks are slightly red.
“My lovely bride.”
The word ‘lovely’ that he added as if he was practicing made her feel guilty. She obviously thought it was a fair deal.
However, come to think of it, Diello Argenta was friendly.
Krua put her finger on her forehead.
Still, why did he do such a thing… wait, he must be a con artist…!