After some time had passed, Ellie walked into hallways with a pile of documents in her hand. When paused in front of the young master’s door, she spied a distraught Lina sitting on the cold hard floor.
Puzzled, Ellie decided to enter, "What happened?"
"… it’s the young master again…"
"Oh." Ellie’s expression quickly changed as she watched her with pitying eyes, "Stay strong, our dearest Lina. It’s not like you’re not used to it yet."
Lina almost wailed. "Not used to it? Ha! You should take care of him yourself. See if you don’t go bald in frustration!"
Wiping off a lone tear, she continued. "The young master is so difficult!"
Lina sighed deeply as if she had run out of energy and leaned her body against the wall. Ellie smiled and patted her on the shoulder. "Still, it’s better than it was seven years ago."
"It was chaos back then. How can that even be compared to now?"
At Lina’s words, Ellie carefully placed the documents in a nearby table as she reminisced about the past years.
Duke Maktus, who had just caused a civil war during that time, suddenly became a ‘hero’ who had successfully defended against the surprise invasion of monsters in the capital, thereby saving the imperial palace and lives of its denizens. From then on, his name was cleared, and his record as a duke who committed treason was permanently removed.
Of course, it was a superficial title.
On that day, the emperor was outshined by Noah through his heroic deeds. In order to not lose face and to showcase his own magnanimity, the emperor had no choice but to grant Noah the right to rebuild his own castle and form his own knightly order in the capital.
Noah naturally accepted, however, instead of somewhere even remotely near to the imperial palace, he built a new castle in the south.
"Come to think of it now, it was so laughable."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
Ellie raised an eyebrow with a conniving look, "I suddenly remembered what the duke said back then when the mistress confessed to him at that time."
"Ah, that one?" Lina giggled as well, "Milord was really great at lying."
It was true that his castle was utterly destroyed back then, and they definitely had nowhere to return to.
Noah Maktus had the foresight to hide his staggering fortune in such an ingenious place.
Recalling that scene from seven years ago, Lina swallowed her saliva. She remembered seeing gold bars, diamond chests, jewelries, and magic items all piled up inside an unassuming vault within the ruins of the duke’s residence in the capital city.
"To think that we actually came to the south with that amount of money." Lina let out a breath of cold air, "In any case, I’m just glad that the mistress and the lord are doing well."
"Mn, and because the master was born, their relationship became even better! The young master is quite good and talented too, even if he can be a little naughty sometimes…"
"This arrogant young master is already such a handful. If his younger brother will also be like him, I would—"
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I would definitely die from their pranks!
Lina shook her head and grabbed her head with both hands. Her future was looking bleak.
"Well, at least the relationship between the masters is good so…" Ellie clicked her tongue and picked up her documents again. "By the way, where did milady go? I have to give her some important documents."
Instead of talking, Lina pointed towards a certain field in the distance. Ellie lifted her head and looked past the window. She could somehow make out the figure of one person.
It must be the duke then.
Ellie walked away with some documents in hand, leaving behind a very amicable scenery.
"Mother, did you visit the grave of the former lord again?"
Instead of answering Sean’s question, Adele smiled. Beyond the field of medicinal herbs, there was only one grave in the vacant lot.
It was Enon’s graveyard.
The current duke’s base had moved to the south, and consequently, the former’s resting place was also moved. Adele made sure to go there once a week to trim the lawn and personally take care of the peonies. They were his favorite flower when he was alive.
Smilingly, she asked, "How did you know?"
"That’s because you smell like peonies."
Adele stroked Sean’s hair. The boy felt her comforting touch and smiled bashfully, then he coughed.
She frowned, "Dear, don’t you think you’re having a sore throat and cough a bit more often these days?"
"Cough—I think so too."
Sitting in a field full of herbs and flowers, Adele held her son’s hand.
"It’s a good thing I made the herb garden back then. You’ve been suffering with sickness since the moment you awakened your powers when you were three years old."
The boy, who was hale and hearty just a few moments ago, even taunting his mother’s senior maid, weakly leaned against her mother with a pitiful cough. "Actually, when I was walking earlier, I felt dizzy and it was difficult to breathe."
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Adele immediately became anxious.
"Why didn’t you tell me then? Let’s get you some medicine."
Blinking his teary eyes, Sean spoke sadly, "I didn’t want mother to be worried—"
"I’m dizzy too."
At the sound of his familiar voice, Adele quickly turned around, but Sean frowned. Without looking, he could already tell who was behind it.