Chapter 84

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The trip to the stronghold with a proper carriage was slower, but it was much more stable. Her cotton clothes and coat that Lysia brought with her were also warm, so she was quite comfortable.

Artizea sat silently. Her mind was complicated.

Lysia, who sat face to face with her, said softly.

“Sir Collin and Sir Ned would be fine. The treatment was fast enough, so if the wound healed, they would be able to live normally.”

“I’m not worried about injuries.”

Artizea said so and looked out of the window.

What she is concerned about is Cedric.

There is a small furnace in the carriage. A cold wind came through the open window to get rid of the smoke.

“Does Lord Cedric usually do that….. treating the wounded himself?”

“Yes, I know he does.”

Lysia replied.

“When there is a military doctor, of course, the military doctor comes first. When he was a boy… He made his first military deployment before he was sixteen. At that time, he couldn’t fight himself, so he would do something like this….”

Lysia did not finish her statement. Artizea could understand everything she didn’t say.

“I see.”

The reason why the emperor saved Cedric even after killing his parents was to not destroy Evron.

Had all the descendants of the Grand Duke been lost, Evron would have just given up and became part of the empire. However, because there was still a young master, they band together.

Cedric was carrying that weight on his back.

[Is it worth the sacrifice of someone else to me?]

Artizea knows best of the expression on Cedric’s face. She then noticed his anger.

She knew his face when he was stunned, and his face when he was pained.

Now she knows his joyful and shy face, and she knows his face when she utters sweet friendly words.

She also saw his face full of passion.

Nevertheless, she couldn’t imagine his face with tears, yet.

Artizea looked down at her palm. The lashes that rubbed against her palm weren’t wet.

However, the feeling made her heart flutter strangely.

She knew everything about Cedric’s birth to his growth. Like memorizing the name of the nanny and characteristics of the teacher. She was also aware of the outcome of his first deployment and the first battle he took as the captain.

However, no matter how much she memorized it in documents, she kept seeing things that she didn’t know.

“Are you sad?”

At Lysia’s question, Artizea suddenly woke up from her thoughts.

“Huh?”

“Because you never show such a face to us.”

“Ah …..”

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Lysia smiled.

“I wanted to thank Your Grace for coming to this place. My father was always worried.”

“…..”

“Ever since he was a boy, the Grand Duke always said he was okay, he can still keep going and that it was nothing.”

“Lysia….”

“As a noble lord, as the only pillar of Evron, it was a decent attitude he was obligated to have, but it seems that it always hurts the hearts of the elders.”

She said that she was young at the time, so she didn’t know well, Lysia added lightly.

“I am so happy that Your Grace has accepted Evron as part of him again.”

“No….”

Artizea lowered her gazes down.

Perhaps it was originally Lysia’s role. She was rather stealing what she shouldn’t see.

But when she heard that from Lysia, she couldn’t lift her head straight.

***

It took another full day to arrive, and the atmosphere of the stronghold was very gloomy.

Before, there were many people who cheered and rejoiced that the carriage of the Grand Duchess was passing by.

But now, no one came to greet. There was no one who took off their hat respectfully while doing their job before returning to work.

Those on the road quickly avoided the carriage. The faces of those who greeted were also darkly depressed.

Anxiety fell down like a fog. It may not be because of the Karam problem.

‘It’s also broken trust.’

Artizea lamented in her heart.

She heard an explanation of the situation from Lysia.

Aubrey’s sin was not something that could be forgiven independently of its cause.

Leaking out the structure and secret passages of the stronghold is a felony to the extent that even if it was committed by the family of the castellan, was a serious crime.

Since she revealed the water supply passage, which would save the castle’s life in an emergency, even if it was the castellan himself, it was a situation that could not be forgiven.

Artizea thought she should not have come to Evron at all.

She wasn’t going to do that to Aubrey. At best, she tried to drive Aubrey out and prevent Aubrey from coming back again.

But this is her own responsibility. Aubrey wouldn’t have come this far if she hadn’t come.

Aaron and Margaret have been caring for this castle for over 20 years. Jordyn County was a family that was trusted by both the higher people and the lower people.

No matter how sinful it is, such a family has been thrown out in one fell swoop.

The castle, which has been impregnable since its construction, has been breached.

The cause of this was a foreigner Grand Duchess who had only been married for less than half a year. Little by little, rumors spread that the kidnapper was her old lover.

From the standpoint of the young people, it will be compelling to feel uneasy.

Artizea sighed.

It was a rift that was so difficult to make in her previous life, but she came here and soon she made it herself.

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She shouldn’t have done that this time.

“Your Grace.”

Lysia called her in a soft voice.

Soon, her carriage stopped. Viscount Agate was welcoming her. The Viscount opened the carriage door and escorted her off, and he said.

“I’m glad you came back safely, Your Grace.”

“Thank you. I heard that Lord Agate took care of the stronghold on behalf of the Grand Duke.”

“Yes. It was a temporary job until Your Grace’s return, but it seems that I will have to take charge of the local affairs for the time being because of the situation underway.”

“I must count on you. The Grand Duke went straight to Thold.”

“I saw the beacon from this side as well. Now, in the stronghold, the knights are organized for patrols. We will report on any changes in the situation.”

“Is the village okay? There were quite a few casualties on the way back…”

“It’s okay because it’s winter. In the summer, there are a lot of people going out for work, but now most of them will be inside the barrier. One unit is around forty people, and we’ll endure it until the reinforcements arrive.”

Artizea nodded her head. If this is Viscount Agate, that would be correct.

But that doesn’t mean she can’t help with anything else.

“All the Karam units we have seen so far have been destroyed. You must be tired, so don’t worry and rest. The stronghold is safe.”

“Thank you.”

Viscount Agate politely bowed and stepped back.

Then Alice, Sophie, Rize and the maids poured in.

“Madam!”

“Do you know how worried we were?”

“Are there any injuries? Do you want to warm up your body first? Shall I prepare bath water?”

“Do you want to have dinner? I have pumpkin soup, and I’ll bring a little bit of it.”

Artizea was almost pushed into the bedroom.

Even when she entered the room, the chatter did not die. Lysia raised her voice to calm the turmoil.

“Everyone stop it! Her Grace must be tired!”

The maids were pinched.

“Sophie, prepare a change of clothes, Rize, bring soup and chocolate, and everyone else prepare bath water. Your Grace, is it okay if I go to change clothes for a while?”

Lysia cleared up the fuss at once. Artizea was truly thankful because she was about to get a headache.

“You must have been tired from being out for a long time, too, so go and rest, Lysia.”

“Thank you, Your Grace. I’ll be back soon.”

Lysia bowed her head. And she went out of the room.

Then only Alice was left in the room. After a while, Artizea knew that it was Lysia’s consideration.

Alice smiled lightly.

“I think Miss Lysia is a really nice person. She made your mind more comfortable…. She knows that I have something for you and she was considerate, right?”

“Would you like to come here for a minute?”

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Alice tilted her head and approached Artizea.

Artizea hugged her with open arms.

“What are you doing, Madam?”

As Alice hesitated, she didn’t know what to do.

She was her close maid, but she had never had such direct and deep contact with Artizea.

Artizea sighed.

“Just.”

“Just?”

“Yes. Just….”

Alice smiled strangely.

“Madam, you’ve been through a lot of trouble.”

“…..”

“It’s okay.”

The warm hands gently wrapped around Artizea’s back. And she patted as if to comfort a child sweetly.

“It’s really okay now.”

“Alice. “

“Because you are back safely. Nothing will happen.”

It was actually Artizea, not Alice that had to say that.

But she couldn’t say so. Artizea just hugged Alice with all her might.

Artizea first realized that she wanted to do this when she just returned and met Alice.

She wanted to hug Cedric like this so much.

But even now, Alice was the only one who could accept this embrace.

***

Lysia released a gun from her waist.

The gun was originally Cedric’s.

It was made by one of the most skilled artisans in the capital.

It was seemingly simple. There were little decorations except for the inscription of the Grand Duchy in gold on the grip.

But in terms of performance, it was probably one of the best gun.

Cedric gave her before dawn, when he left for Thold at dawn.

[Did you learn how to shoot?]

[A little bit.]

[You can do everything well, so it won’t be difficult to learn. Practice it.]

Lysia was nervous. There is an unusual meaning to handing over the weapon that the monarch used to use.

It is to give authority as well as trust. Even more if the crest of the family is engraved.

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It was too much to entrust the daughter of a baron, who was only 18 years old.

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