Laritte and the Duke of Reinhardt
Two days had passed since they came to the Duke’s estate and Laritte was still unconscious.
“It’s kind of due to her endurance.”
Physician Colin said as he put down Laritte’s frail wrist after examining her.
Ian, who was frowning with his arms crossed over his chest, asked again.
He was very concerned when she didn’t show any signs of waking up.
“Yes, the anxiety and stress she had experienced caused this to happen.”
The physician said as his index finger drifted up to push up his glasses.
“Anger signals help people to avoid danger.
However, too much of it can be stressful and threatening to one’s health.”
“The Duke said she was an illegitimate child, right?”
The physician seemed insignificant.
From what it seemed, Laritte was not in a critical state.
“There are signs of her abiding stress, and after a long sleep on this occasion, her inner self has gone into a mental recovery.”
“I expect her to wake up in a day.
Or perhaps, in half a day if things go well?”
“Are you saying she’s not in a state to make us worry?”
Colin nodded in response.
“Please make sure that the bandage on her shoulder doesn’t come loose and that her body is clean.
When she wakes up again, she’ll feel thirsty, so fresh water should always be present beside her.”
Then, he bowed politely and left the Duke’s mansion.
But, Ian looked confused.
His eyes drifted down to the frail figure of his wife.
Ava, who was standing behind him, patted his back.
“Isn’t that a bit reassuring? Now, now.
Straighten out those wrinkles between your eyebrows.”
“Don’t do it like you’re comforting a child.”
“The Duke has always been a child to me.”
A scoff was immediately painted over her old, small frame.
“I can take care of the Duchess, so go to work.
I heard there’s a lot to do.”
“I know, I’ve got it.”
Evidently, Ian was busy.
These last few days, a huge number of wagons had been coming and going from the mansion, allowing the return of the employees and the knights under him.
They also contained necessary supplies and the documents and confiscation of furniture from the palace.
In particular, most of the documents were intact.
The wagon, which brought those documents while escaping the Queen’s surveillance, was sent by Prince Oscar.
Books and contracts were certainly important.
They were much needed by the Duke.
For the next week, the palace would continue to send some of his belongings.
The mansion was quickly restored to life, slightly less than the glory of the past, but with wealth and honor.
The royal family was required to spill out the Duke’s money that they had been using for quite a few months.
Ian was distracted by inspecting the other projects under the Ducal order that had not been managed such as the mines overseen by him.
Employees of the Reinhardt family had to be threatened by the Empress to stop them from working anything further.
At the same time, he also happened to find out about Laritte’s condition.
It was not difficult.
She had been kidnapped right in front of the palace, so there must have been mounts of witnesses.
“How dare they.”
He scoffed furiously while checking the papers in his office.
‘How dare they abduct the Duchess and wound her.’
In fact, Laritte still belonged to the Brumayer family.
They just let the attackers take her since they knew there was no other owner of the Ducal family.
To the nobles, Laritte was not a Duchess, but an illegitimate child.
But now that Ian was back, tables had been turned and the empire was shaken.
If he reported it, he’d be punished not less than the knights who had touched Laritte.
Moreover, the Duchess would have to go through the death penalty.
But Ian didn’t want to.
It was his first time to see Laritte shedding tears while trembling helplessly within his arms.
“I don’t…..I don’t want to feel pain anymore….”
Soon, he wrote a letter to the house of Brumayer, telling them to [directly] hand over the articles they’ve touched in order to apologize.
Of course, he did not want to accept an apology at all.
Likewise, he also didn’t want to leave the Brumayers, who even took Laritte’s dress, alone.
Just in time, a carriage with a red seal appeared at the window.
It belonged to the house of Brumayer.
A cold glow flashed up on Ian’s face.
As he twirled his pen, two knights got off the carriage, their face pale.
There were the ones who kidnapped Laritte.
One of them was James, a knight of the Count who broke Laritte’s shoulder.
The intimidating figures of the knights of the Duke were keeping an eye over the two.
Those proud knights of Reinhardt had a reputation for being more talented than those of the Imperial Palace.
They were very strong even without Redra, who spent her time keeping the Duke’s position at bay.
“If I were in your shoes, I would’ve committed suicide.”
Someone from them spouted out.
The two knights shuddered under their menacing gaze.
The Knights of Reinhardt were composed of both aristocrats and commoners.
What they had in common was that the spirit of a knight was engraved into the very deep of their bones.
Even if they were dubious to recognize the illegitimate child as the Duchess, it was a disgrace to touch, let alone attack a helpless woman.
It was not long before Ian appeared before them.
James quickly fell on his stomach.
“P-P-Please spare our lives!”
“We were guilty, but…….we were just following orders!”
“Please have mercy!”
They were the ones who used violence against Laritte.
Ian already had an acquaintance with the two.
‘They were driving the carriage.’
A deep regret filled inside him.
He wouldn’t have let them escape if he had known they were the culprits.
Ian responded coldly without changing his expression.
“I was going to kill you?”
He spoke slowly.
“I’ve called you for…..”
For? James and the other knight seemed thirsty for his next word.
As he narrowed his eyes on them, he didn’t let it out straight to them.
Like a snake blocking the retreat of a mouse by tightening its sharp fangs and long tail around it minute by minute.
“I’ve called you in to give you a chance to restore your honor.”
He gestured sideways at one of his knights – the youngest member of his Knighthood – Theophilus Lorenble.
The boy he knew had now turned to a young man.
The man with silvery hair, Theophilus, briskly walked to stand beside him.
Ian asked with a slight tilt in his head.
“What do you think? Shouldn’t they have a chance?”
“Ah…..Can’t we just kill them, Captain?”
Theophilus asked, glancing at them with a face full of disgust.
“Both life and death are not under my authorities.
To do that, I have to report it.
Now that it has come to this, why don’t you ask them for a duel?”
The young knight understood his master at once.
It wasn’t illicit to kill an opponent in a duel.
Of course, that rarely happened, but no one was punished for the injuries made.
Ian’s next words were directed to James and the other knight.
“The Knights of Reinhardt that are currently here are about three-fifth less than before.
The Knights with outstanding sword art and higher social status have entered other families, and their return has been delayed due to contractual problems.”
“What I mean is you don’t have to be so scared of the current knights.
In particular, Theophilus is the youngest among my knights, and due to his short training, his swordsmanship skills are not very good.”
His eyes twinkled as he finished.
“If you beat him, I’ll forgive you.
So, what do you think?”
However, the nervousness from their faces did not disappear.
The sound of dueling with the weakest didn’t feel quite reassuring.
After they failed in all sorts of tests of gaining knighthood, they’d taken the knightship under the house of Count Brumayer.
On the other hand, the reputation of the Duke’s Knights was enormous.
Aware of their worries, Ian pretended to think for a moment before he said,
If you succeed in leaving a small scar on Theophilus, you win.
Now, is it fine for you?”
James’ eyes, which had been grimly staring at the ground, slightly brightened.
It wouldn’t be hard for him to hurt such a young knight, he thought.
In that judgment, James stood up, leaving the side of his colleague.
“W-Well then, I’ll go first……..!”
“Then, I’ll fill out the notarization document.
To prove that this is a duel.”
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Ian asked one of the maids to bring the documents.
Meanwhile, Theophilus exchanged amused glances with his companions.
Some of them laughed and talked in whispers.
We’re going to enjoy something after a long time, huh.”
“Have you seen them brighten up?”
“What a bunch of fools they are.
They have no idea how weak our youngest is.”
One commented jokingly while Theophilus muttered, laughing with tears in his eyes.
“I can’t even call him a knight…….”
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