Noblewoman Wants to Leave Prison
At the center of the kingdom, you will find a beautiful scenic countryside mostly undeveloped by man–that is the Reefren Earldom. Located off the beaten path from the main highway, what it lacks in major industries and towns is made up for in its abundant history and greenery.
Because of how the land is, the castle of Earl Reefren lacks any moats or ramparts and is more like a fortified mansion than any kind of castle.
And it was here that a rarely seen carriage made its stop.
Informed of the carriage’s arrival by his vassals, Earl Reefren refused to wait for his guests to come to him and rushed towards the entrance.
“Ah, Your Highness!”
“You look in good health…………….and you Walter, this is such a relief!”
Earl Reefren………the former prince-heir Elliott came to welcome the men personally, and his former followers from the far off capitol rushed forward from their carriage to greet him. The strong bonds between this master and his servants had not been severed, and none of them had a dry eye as they all shared a handshake.
“I know it’s such a bother visiting a land as far out as this. I am truly happy to see you.”
Elliott was removed from his role as crown prince after he tried to forcefully change his fiancee without consulting the King first. After that he fell to the role of subject and became the Earl of Reefren.
The third son of a count and second son of a viscount both confusedly shook their heads as if he was saying utter nonsense.
“We are truly sorry it took us this long to show our faces. Even from prison we heard the story of how Your Highness was demoted to an earlship………..so we counted down the days to our release, running here immediately after being let out! It might be presumptuous, but we’d like to serve under you once again!”
“Kuuu………..saying something like that!”
The ex-prince was once again brought to tears by his loyal aides, a fact that made his subordinates almost cry as well. There were three other men from Elliott’s former group of followers who had also left for Reefren as soon as they got out of prison. These men came out from Elliott’s mansion, circling the two new recruits and patting them on the shoulders.
“You both really came!”
“I’m glad you were released without any issues!”
“Everyone seems to be in good health at least!”
All of Elliott’s friends who had stepped into the dungeon that night to deal with the root of all evil noblewoman had been safely released. Unfortunately there were some members of their group such as George and Sykes who were forced to take other paths in life……..but after such a long time, these comrades had finally managed to join together once again. Elliott thus raised his fist high in the air with a bright expression on his face.
“With everyone going out of their way like this, I feel like I have the strength of a million men! Yosh, we’ll use our power to turn this territory into a land of wealth! We’ll get Rachel to release Margaret as soon as possible, and then make this place truly worthy to be called an earldom!”
Elliott’s subordinates got caught up in the ex-prince’s fervor, and a loud cheer was raised at the mansion’s entranceway.
(These guys, they haven’t even realized yet that they were all driven away from the capitol for being too much trouble to deal with…………)
The subordinate who had been secretly sent from the royal palace to watch over Elliott could only let out a sigh at the foolish young men who had regathered together.
At the moment, Rachel’s mood wasn’t the best.
Today as well she was busy cleaning up a mountain of documents while deliberately sighing loud enough for others to hear.
“Oh, what’s the matter Rachel? Are you feeling unwell?”
“How I’m feeling really isn’t the issue. If I had to say, it’s more concerning a few pests”
As her mother tried showing her concern, Rachel responded with cold, hard bluntness.
“My oh my, perhaps we should take a small break for some tea.”
“No. You can go have your tea whenever you want.”
Sofia dropped a large pile of documents inbetween the mother daughter pair with a considerable difference in temperatures, and she gave her master a small suggestion.
“What is it?”
“You know how the Madam is, so I don’t think voicing your complaints through indirect means will do you any good. What if you were more direct in your grievances?”
Rachel set down her pen…………and then stood up while slamming her hands on top of her desk.
“What are you doing here Mother!?”
“What are you talking about?”
Izerina responded with her usual calm tone.
“I thought Rachel might be getting lonely here.”
“Well you thought wrong!”
Rachel’s room was even more gorgeous since the time that Elliott had barged in trying to kill her. The carpet had been relaid, and the amount of furniture had increased. It was wonderful.
Then there was the front room.
Just a few weeks ago, it carried the same look it had for decades, just a desk and chair for a prison guard………..but it had now been transformed into a chic and luxurious space comparable to Rachel’s own room in terms of quality.
An irritated Rachel continued to bang on her desk.
“Why is my Mother moving in!?”
“It’s because Rachel hasn’t moved back in to the mansion even though that matter with His Highness has already been cleared.”
“And so where did you make the leap in judgement that you should just move from your mansion to the royal palace!?”
“It’s not like I’ve moved from our mansion. I merely made myself a small villa with His Majesty’s permission.”
“What was His Majesty thinking!?”
The Duke walked in to put a stop to this quarrel between parent and child.
“Now now, calm yourself Rachel”
The very same man who used to always grimace at Rachel’s antics was now giving his daughter a calm smile.
“Come now Rachel. We’ve talked about this issue before……….Izerina and I were too busy when you were young, and we failed to connect with you enough which we are now reflecting on.”
“And how does that translate into making a villa in the royal palace?”
“Umu. In order to increase our bonding time, I thought it would be easier to talk if we lived together. For the time being we’ve left the house to George, so it’s not a bad idea to have the three of us enjoy this villa…………”
“I like living alone! Your care is misplaced!”
“That’s exactly what I mean! Rachel has always acted like an adult even when you were young, and we’ve only now realized just how much we left you alone!”
The Duke started polishing his pipe while nodding his head.
“Regrettable. Simply regrettable. Rachel, isn’t there anything troubling you? There aren’t many vassals here, so feel free to say what you want without holding anything back.”
“This situation is the only thing here that is troubling me!? …………although there is one other thing I want to say.”
Rachel pointed accusatorily towards the Duke who had moved his wife onto his lap.
“Quit flirting right in front of your daughter! Let alone be with you, do you want me to not want to even see you anymore………!?”
The Duke and his wife blinked in surprise.
“I never expected to be told something so unexpected.”
“How is that unexpected!?”
“When you have the shining example of a harmonious marriage, these kinds of things pass you by?”
“Where did your aristocratic manners go from before you were married!?”
“There aren’t many vassals in our new villa, so we can flirt as much as we want here.”
“Mother, you’ve already dropped the act!”
Haley was starting to get anxious seeing Rachel so unusually wound up, so jumping out of the prison cell, he tapped on the Duke’s leg and held out a banana. Two of them.
“Hey, you can have these………..so please pardon us”
Haley was trying to show just how sincere he was feeling by offering up this most favorite bananas.
When the Duke noticed the monkey sitting at his feet, he scooped the critter up and set him down on his lap.
The monkey tried his best to object to having his head patted, but the Duke ignored him and mixed in a few kind words.
“Listen, Monkey-kun. If Rachel were to lose the goodwill of the King, her life could be seriously in danger. That’s why we need to work hard and show good results, otherwise we’ll never be able to leave here. So will you help us Monkey-kun? Help us to lighten Rachel’s workload.”
It seems that the monkey understood what the Duke was trying to say.
Haley jumped off of the Duke’s lap as if he had been shocked by lightning, and grabbing the documents Sofia had been carrying with both his hands, he carried them over to Rachel’s desk.
The monkey was making a frantic expression as he began tidying up the other documents that were already in front of his master, pleading her to finish quickly. For the sake of his pitiful master, Haley would become a demon.
“Ku, to move into a prison and even trick a monkey…………Father, have you lost all common sense!?”
As Rachel ground her teeth in vexation, Sofia slid a freshly brewed cup of tea onto Rachel’s desk through the iron bars and shrugged her shoulders slightly while making a face that could not be read.
“I’ve never felt the blood connection between My Lady and the Master as strongly as I do this day. Speaking from the position of a servant……….I can only hope that this similar parent and child combo can work things out themselves without dragging other people into it.”
“Speaking of which, it seems like that Wolanski is playing an active part in the capitol now.”
The third son of a count nodded his head at Elliott’s words.
“Yes, for a time there he was discouraged because of his disinheritance……….but it sounds like he’s quite busy now having to move from this place to that giving lectures.”
“I see………..so that guy is doing his best too.”
Elliott whispered on……….
“Even if his Petaism Association has sparked a naturalist movement……….”
“I have no idea where his supporters keep popping up from……..”
“Even though that guys’ preferences are in the minority………”
During these talks the second son of a viscount got a nostalgic look on his face as he suddenly remembered something.
“That’s right, I was asked a favor before leaving the capitol……….it seems like a letter arrived for Your Highness from Sykes through the knights.”
“Oh, from Sykes! Is he doing well?”
Elliott immediately opened the letter his subordinate handed him in a good mood………..but he furrowed his brow when he saw the actual note inside.
“………..What’s this? There are two sets of handwriting here.”
The Earl looked into his surroundings slightly confused.
“This……….did Martina tag on an extra message after Sykes finished his letter?”
“I think so. You can tell which part was written by Sir Abigail because of how plainly he writes, but there is someone using feminine pronouns who wrote a line after each of his. Martina is a talented woman, so she could’ve added an extra message here while linking the text together.”
“You don’t think they just took turns writing each line?”
Everybody there took turns passing around the strange letter, singing praises for how uniquely it was written…………
Elliott was the first to notice the truth.
“Hey, wait……………if you line up the first letter of each line that Sykes wrote himself, it spells out ‘HELP ME’………….”
“Your Highness………….if you match up the first letter of each line that Martina wrote, it spells out ‘DONT INTERFERE’…………….”
“……….those two, sure get along well…………….”
It seems like Rachel was working hard, and since the atmosphere in the dungeon (although a little uncomfortable) wasn’t too bad, Haley was feeling relieved.
Having been told about a scary future, he watched over his master as she read a bunch of hard to understand books and slept like a rock. If she keeps working like this, surely she won’t be killed.
Having been able to calm down a little, Haley decided to help out Rachel any way he could.
Pulling out an empty wash basin, Haley set it out in front of a convenient machine he had just learned about and twisted a lever. This machine produced boiling water. Filling the wash basin about halfway, he stopped the flow of boiling water before starting to add some cold water from a jug sitting to the side. Once the temperature was just right, he mixed in some of that magic powder that makes Rachel feel good.
With everything perfect, Haley submerged himself into the water and let out a long, drawn-out breath.
Baths are wonderful.
He can relax, and once his body’s been all warmed up, he can slip inside his master’s blanket making her feel warm and good too. Today too he would do his best to heal his master.
Having watched from the side, Sofia called over to Rachel.
“What is it?”
“Haley just used the samovar¹ to heat up water for his bath.”
“Such a smart monkey.”
“I’ll admit to that, but he just mixed in our tea leaves thinking they were bath salts as well.”
“So that’s why he’s been smelling like chamomile lately…………”
About to dose off from all the comfort, Haley suddenly raised his head and called out to a guy standing off to the side.
Suddenly asked, “What are you doing?” by a monkey, Raymond ignored the question, instead speaking in utter ecstasy to himself.
“For two hours I’ve been standing here, and let alone offering me a chair, Rachel hasn’t even acknowledged I’m here………she truly is the best!”
“What’s with this guy, he smells fishy…………he’s the one who needs a bath.”
Rachel continued grumbling out curses as her pen raced across all the homework that had accumulated over her long vacation.
“Aaaaah, enough………..even though I was rejoicing over the great pains it took to start living alone, now my Father keeps coming over here to harass me.”
“It’s really not that surprising when you look at who his daughter is.”
“Every day things keep escalating.”
“Maybe it’s a tainted bloodline?”
Since it seemed like there was a visitor waiting outside, Meia headed out to greet them, only to return a little bit later unable to hide the fatigue on her face. Following immediately behind her was the King and Queen.
“Dan, I’m here today to get what I’m owed!”
“Hahahah, you’re going to have the tables turned on you tonight Your Highness!”
The Duke, Duchess, King, and Queen were all getting excited together while the young noble girl was forced to work alone, and when Lisa brought them their alcohol, their card games began.
The noblewoman screamed as she had grown accustomed to doing every night now.
“Are you going to stay up all night playing again!?”
“Oh, don’t feel like you need to keep us company or anything Rachel; feel free to go to bed before us.”
“I don’t want to keep you company at all!”
Rachel crumpled down onto her desk, firing off idle complaints with a tired face.
“With these people all together, I can’t drink and have any fun myself………….”
“Well, it would be improper to get dead drunk in front of one’s parents.”
“Father and the others, have they already forgotten that they were originally trying to force me out of here?”
“It looks like they’re reliving their time at the hot springs.”
“And I can’t run away from here……….uuuuuuuuuugh, being locked up is a pain.”
“You reap what you sow. It’s laughable.”
Rachel raised her face from her desk and turned a suspicious eye towards her top subordinate.
“………..Sofia, haven’t you been pretty harsh towards me lately?”
Rachel’s head attendant’s eyes were completely glossed over as she matched her gaze with her master’s.
“It would be truly helpful if you could understand about an employee’s inability to get involved when they have no room to breathe as it is.”
“Everyone at the mansion has it easy”
“There are no finicky bosses there to trouble you.”
Apparently George is an exception to the bloodline curse.
Rachel and Sofia both turned a blank look towards the older generation that was already starting to get rowdy in their small banquet………..and the two of them shared a heavy sigh.
1. An old Russian water heater. Often used for heating tea, but not always.