Chapter 85

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Lysia was perplexed. The reason Cedric gave her the gun wasn’t something entirely unknown.

However, isn’t it too much authority to leave it to her only by the reason that she’s Artizea’s lady-in-waiting?

[Wouldn’t it be better to give it directly to Her Grace yourself?]

[If she shoots this thing and it doesn’t come out of her grip, then it’s a miracle.]

Cedric laughed. But the laughter disappeared without staying long on his lips.

[To protect her body, this might be useful, but I’m not very worried about it though. If you think there may be a risk, you are a person who can prepare for it on your own. What I’m concerned about is her heart, Lysia.”

Lysia tilted her head.

[She is a person with a weaker heart than others.]

[Yes.]

[I’m not saying that she’s weak. Tia seems to have a strong mental power, but she is actually fragile. Maybe it’s because of her good brains, or she moves on without even thinking about it. She has a habit of assuming the worst situation and is easily shaken by the word efficiency.]

Cedric sighed.

[But it will be fine if you are by her side. You always know how to find the right path.]

[I just got to know Her Grace. If you ask me to sacrifice my life to protect her, I will obey it. However…]

[Please be by her side. Can you do that?]

Lysia received the gun.

She wasn’t sure if she could do it. She couldn’t understand why he gave her such a great task.

Maybe because she has been trusted, she acted with all her heart.

Lysia changed her clothes and put the gun back inside her dress. And she went back to Artizea’s room.

***

There was a funeral that night.

It was a funeral for knights killed by Karam and guards killed by the South Sea people.

Artizea also packed a mourning suit just in case, but she didn’t think she would wear it this way.

Artizea did not attend many funerals. She had fewer attendance as a superior.

It wasn’t that she had a small experience with death. However, her subordinates were usually people who had no name, no identity.

There was no honor in dying with such loyalty. She couldn’t even reveal who they really are and who is their real master.

There were many cases where their real name could not be written on the tombstone.

When attending funerals, Artizea never mourned or said how honorable the dead were.

Instead, she gave their family pension. In general, that’s what she pays for their loyalty.

Sometimes she did things that seemed like revenge, but it never happened for her people. Lawrence was somewhat different from her, but he wasn’t someone who gave too much meaning to the death of his subordinates.

The funerals attended by Artizea was usually a funeral for someone who meant nothing to her.

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The death of an old nobleman, the death of a young heir….

Behind the funeral, there were conversations filled with gloom yet anticipation about the title to change due to the death and the rights and obligations of property.

It was part of politics. Often power relationships changed, and social trends changed. Sometimes the empire’s economy overturned.

But the funeral here was different.

Sophie cried all throughout as she dressed Artizea in black. Alice also had red eyes.

Neither of them knew the dead specifically, but everyone was sad.

In the dark air that spread all over the stronghold, sadness was as heavy as anxiety.

Compared to the grief, the funeral itself was simple.

Dozens of coffins were laid in the grand hall. Lysia carefully asked Artizea.

“Would you like to see the body?”

“Should I see it?”

“It is customary here for the Master to place a medal on the forehead of the honorable warrior. Now, the Grand Duke is not here, so the Grand Duchess should do it. If you are not confident, I will do it for you.”

“No. “

Artizea didn’t live so delicately that she was afraid to see decaying bodies.

However, neither Lysia nor Viscount Agate looked at her with anxious gazes.

The lid of the coffin was down to about the shoulder.

The bodies had already been cleansed and were wearing a robe. The faces had light make-up on, so it was no different from live faces except that it was pale without blood.

Artizea wondered how much care the funeral director would have had to fit the broken body and decorate the face.

However, they can still afford to go through a funeral like this.

In a real battlefield, it is probably a luxury to be put straight into a coffin.

Artizea placed the medals that Lysia handed over one by one on the body’s forehead. The medal was the size of a coin, and the coat of arms of Evron Grand Duchy was engraved.

The feel of the skin touching her hand was as cold as wax.

All of these people were killed by Artizea.

It wasn’t that she drove someone to death, but that someone died to protect her.

Alice was the only one who’s ever been like that.

The coffin lids are closed.

“Good job.”

Viscount Agate whispered words of encouragement in her ear.

He assumed that the young Grand Duchess would have been shaken by those deaths.

It was believed that nobles who had grown up weakly in the capital would have never seen a dead body.

This might be the first time for her to see a death; cut and torn by knife and weapons, not a disease or anything.

Artizea shook her head without any answer.

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A flag was covered over each coffin. The coffins of the dead guards were covered with the flag of the Grand Duchy by Cedric himself.

And this time, the coffins of the new bodies were covered by Viscount Agate and other knights.

Artizea wondered how many of these flags and silver medals were prepared in the warehouse. She thought she’d go bankrupt with just that.

There were several other victims. The coffins of the servants and their families who were murdered by Cadriol were wrapped in white cloth.

The coffins were carried out.

Knights were lined up from side to side. Artizea stood in the position of the master and waited until the last coffin went out.

It was too cold to dig a grave.

All of the coffins will be enshrined, and in spring they will be buried in their respective tombs of their hometowns.

No one cried violently. No one even fired a gun.

So the funeral was consistently quiet from beginning to end.

The ringing bell of the priests drifted away.

The bereaved family and friends followed. Two maids near the entrance distributed flowers made of white cotton to the people.

As the little sobbings all went outside, silence filled the grand hall.

“Your Grace.”

Lysia carefully called Artizea. She couldn’t see the face hidden behind the black veil well.

Cedric said she was weak, but Lysia couldn’t tell if she was mourning, or if she felt nothing.

“Let’s go back. Your Grace should rest more.”

“What about Aubrey?”

It was then that Artisea asked.

Lysia stopped. But she was forced to answer.

“Aubrey is in the temple.”

Great sinners are not allowed to enter the Grand Hall’s funeral. This is because they are no longer a people of the Grand Duchy.

The Jordyn family organized themselves and now it was temporarily enshrined in the temple like people who died of illness or other reasons.

It will probably be transferred tomorrow without any delivery ceremony. It was fortunate that family members were allowed to attend.

Artizea slowly turned around.

“Would you like to go?”

It was Alice who first noticed where she was heading.

“It’s not Madam’s fault.”

Alice said in a low voice.

“She was punished by the Grand Duke. Miss Aubrey committed a sin that deserved death.”

“I know. “

Artizea replied so.

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She did not intend to go in front of the coffin to apologize.

She can’t do anything to what has already passed. Cadriol’s work was out of her predictable range.

Artizea main job is to reduce the variables as much as possible and to move people within a predictable range.

But just because she is Artizea, doesn’t mean she knows everything in the world.

The sacrifice that comes from unexpected things is unavoidable.

Artizea wants the variable to have as small variation as possible, and does her best to do so.

However, she’s not sorry because people’s lives are precious. This is because the smaller the variable, the higher the success rate of the plan.

When the unexpected sacrifices were made, the stance that she should take was not to grieve.

It was to analyze the blind spot and adjust the variables so that it doesn’t fail next time.

And she seldom felt guilty about it. Because she didn’t do it for herself.

She didn’t feel guilty about getting Aubrey out. That’s a natural thing to do for Lysia.

In the first place, won’t it be funny for a tool to sympathize with another tool?

But today was different.

Those who died today died for Artizea. For a two-year contract marriage, that is not worth it.

And now she is responsible for all that. Now, because she was his wife, not secretly dealing with sin behind Cedric’s back.

So was Aubrey’s death. She didn’t have to die. Due to this, Evron Grand Duchy got divided. This was a variable that Artisea had not thought of.

But she’s ahead of all that.

‘Only for today.’

Let’s be emotional.

It was probably because she had seen a funeral she had never seen before.

Artizea had never seen such familiar and restrained feelings of mourning.

No, no one will get used to that feeling. It is not emotions, but procedures, that the people here have become accustomed to.

Cedric would not have been used to it, forever. Even when she had driven Evron to ruin.

The temple was quiet. This is because the priests were away to lead the funeral.

Artizea left Lysia and the maids at the entrance to the temple.

Alphonse lifted the lamp.

The temple of Evron stronghold was small compared to the number of people, the geographical and political importance of the stronghold. This is because there was not enough land in the castle.

The chapel where Aubrey’s coffin was placed was also small. Candles were lit only on the left and right of the chapel.

The lid of the coffin had already been nailed. Instead of smooth white cotton, it was covered with rough, undyed fabric.

In the middle, there was not a white flower, but a mistletoe with fruit that seemed to have come from somewhere.

In front of her stood a knight in her 30s.

“Dame Mel Jordyn.”

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She was the eldest daughter of the Jordyn family.

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