Ian and his squadron were still in search of the dragon.
Which signified that the dragon had left the plateau.

They were lucky to not need to fight off the beast.

But it was a problem for Ian.

‘My return to the mansion will be delayed.’

The journey took longer than expected because the entire plateau had to be covered in search.

All the while, Ian was feeling strange.
His five senses weren’t acting up.
Ever since he dreamt of Laritte.

When he closed his eyes, he could hear her giggles, and when he covered his ears, he could smell her scent.

He walked towards his horse and stroked the stallion’s mane.

“What’s up with him?”

The soldiers around him whispered to each other, aware of his strange behavior.

“As expected, he’s starting to become more like the Duchess.
They say couples tend to act in the same way after spending time with each other.”
“Hmm, that makes sense.”

Ian began to regret his decision to leave.

The reason why he thought so was that regardless of whether he was close or far away from her, his mind was always filled with thoughts about her.

He constantly muttered under his breath.

“Ethical, ethical, ethical…….”

He did think of Laritte but continually reminded himself that it was because of his ‘ethical’ concerns.

“Ethical, ethical.”

It eventually worked.
Now, he was at the point where the word ‘ethical’ came to his mind when he thought of Laritte.

Today marks a week since the squad left for the investigation.

‘I promised to send her a letter today.’

Ian had written down about his situation on a piece of paper, which he gestured to a hawk to carry up through the air.
It flew at a fierce speed, enjoying the vastness of the sky.

Despite the distance between the highlands and the mansion, Laritte received the letter without any delay.

And so, it was not long before the hawk returned to Ian.

Ian opened the parchment that contained Laritte’s penmanship.

He read its contents, trying to hold back his laughter.

Laritte had sent him a brief update of what happened at the mansion recently.

The aristocratic knights were back.
She made strawberry juice with the help of the maids.
She had a peaceful tea time with Ava.
And so on.

Finally, Ian received news that all the knights have returned.

It was a fiasco, even more so because he wasn’t present there.

“Those bastards.”

He knew Laritte wouldn’t write even if she was having a hard time because of them.

Because she couldn’t care less about it.

But, Ian portrayed the knights from a noble background as demons.
For that reason, he knew they wouldn’t show that much respect toward Laritte.

The thought of the little woman being bullied caused outrage in him.

If they so much as lay a finger on her, he would slice their hand off!

Meanwhile, the knights at the mansion suddenly felt a chill running down their spines.
The knights at the plateau asked Ian.

“Did something happen at the mansion?”
“Tell the other knights to hurry up.
I need to finish the search as soon as possible.”

The news caused him to regret his decision to be this far away from Laritte even more.

She was left as the head of the household while he ran away to search for a dragon.

He did take measures before he left, but Laritte had always been someone to worry about.

It wasn’t because Laritte was unreliable.
It’s just that he kept thinking about her even though he knew she was doing well without any issues.

“I’ll have to return soon……..”

His voice trailed off.

He jumped on the horse, skillfully taking the reins, and turned the horse as he shouted.

“Resume preparations for the investigation!”

His thunderous voice shook up the plateau.

 

***

 

As Ian’s return was delayed, Ava fell into an unavoidable situation at the mansion.

“He can’t make it to the memorial service.”

In the Iassa Empire, there was a practice to hold a memorial service six months after the death of a person.
In case the person’s soul was unable to leave the world.

They had such a belief due to a myth, which said that the lingering feelings of a person’s soul could be felt on the 180th day after the person’s death.

“The memorial service should be grand.”

For those who died in peace, it was enough for their families to have a simple meal at a memorial service.

However, the Duchy’s memorial service was for the bereaved families who were unjustly executed.

It had to be grand.

Laritte was also aware of the memorial service.

“That reminds me, it’s been six months since the Duke was framed for treason.”
“Don’t worry, Ava is ready.
Hoho.”

Ian, the head of the family, was not here, so there was no need to invite guests.

However, the aristocratic knights were present.

Ava wasn’t troubled, though.

Although the knights could belittle Laritte if there was something wrong in the preparations, the fact that Mason Moore was crafting a scheme against her was not out of Ava’s expectations.

She naturally knew that he would try to attack Laritte again during the memorial service.

Meanwhile, Mason thought,

‘It will be difficult to go against Nanny Ava.
Even so, this is your last chance to prove yourself worthy, Madam.’

By any means, he needed to find fault with Laritte at the memorial service.

This caused both Ava and Mason’s worries to deepen.

Without being aware of both of their thoughts, Laritte only wished for the success of the memorial service.

She understood better than anyone else how unjustly they were executed under the name of treason.

And that’s because there were hallowed rules in the world.

So now, it was Laritte’s turn to do something for them.

She vowed to make sure that the spirits moved on in peace.

 

***

 

Time flew by as Ian and Laritte exchanged a few more letters.

Then, finally, the day of the memorial service arrived.

The memorial service was held next to the rose garden of the mansion of Reinhardt.

Upon passing by the iron barrier painted in white around the garden, one would find a large vacant lot.

As could be inferred from the many tombstones, this was the burial ground for those who died in the Duchy.

The lot was fragrant because of the rose garden adjacent to it.

The servants have been found busy with the preparations since morning.

“The distance between the pots should be greater! Not less than 13 feet!”
“I think we should shape the bushes.
Go get Peter.”

It was under final inspection before the memorial service began.

Laritte also seemed to be busy.
The black dress she wore for the service was a modest one with no puffy design.

The knights grumbled as they entered the lot with only the servants and Laritte present inside.

“It’s the day of the service, yet they’re still preparing.”

Though they muttered angrily, it could be heard by everyone.

Of course, Mason Moore was present among them.

Laritte took a glance at the knights and turned away.

Needless to say, she had no reason to care.

In front of her was a stone plaque bearing the names of the memorial tablets.

The lithograph was an important object made for the memorial service.
It acted as a symbol for the memory of the deceased.

After a few minutes, a pair of iron shoes and sabaton appeared next to Laritte.

Mason Moore, despite his old age, stood beside Laritte with a much larger and sturdier build compared to her.

“Good Morning.
Madam.”

He greeted her with a gruff voice.

Laritte nodded at his greeting.

“Good morning.”

Their eyes were fixed on the neatly carved stone tablet.

Even though the surface of the stone looked serene, the spirits it contained weren’t.

Mason ordered the knights to find fault with the preparations of the memorial service.
In the hopes of bringing back the true power of the knights.

After the strawberry juice incident, several soldiers seemed to have started to place their trust in Laritte, which was dangerous for him.

“The employees are still busy.
I’m worried that the service will be inadequate.
Although it may seem to you that an old man’s worries are useless.”

Laritte had previously been warned by Ava.

If the knights appear to be a nuisance, then she should report it to her.

Laritte knew the time had come.

“Sir Mason Moore?”
“It’s an honor that you know my name.”

How could she not know him?

He was the one who stepped up to argue with her last time.

She remembered every word he said.

Even though he was the superior of the knights, he didn’t attend the salutation parade arranged in honor of Laritte.

“Sir Mason is the oldest knight in the Order.”
“Is that so?”
“I heard that everyone respects you.
I’m glad to have met you.”

Mason tried to figure out what Laritte was trying to say.

He felt nervous, so he wanted to change the subject.

But Laritte had no such idea.

She only had her eyes on the names written on the tombstone.

She didn’t know any of the deceased ones, but she could estimate how great and devoted they were to the Ducal family.

“I wish I could’ve met them in person like how I met you.”

Mason’s eyes widened.

He expected her to get annoyed at him or excuse herself from him, but her response amazed him.

‘She’s…..
serious.’

Perhaps he misjudged Laritte?

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