“Mother, my back hurts.
When are we going to arrive?”
After traveling by carriage for 9 days and 8 nights, Abel began to whine.
It was fortunate that they started from the Capital.
If they had departed from the Blanchett estate, they would have had to travel another full day.
“Little knight, does your back hurt? Would you like to sit on your mother’s lap?”
Abel, who was struggling between his dignity as a knight and the pain in his back, fell into his mother’s arms.
At that time, Aiden Hume, the Blanchett Knight Commander, knocked on the window of the carriage.
Abel, who was taking swordsmanship lessons from Aiden, was surprised and hurried out of his mother’s lap.
Chloe had to swallow her laughter because his behavior was funny and cute.
“Yes, Sir Hume.
What’s going on?”
Chloe opened the window, unable to suppress the laughter in her voice.
Abel was the only thing that could make her laugh, even in this situation.
“It looks like we will be arriving at Anata Castle soon.
You’ve worked hard to move this quickly, Madame.”
The hard work was not done by me, but by the knights who adapted to my sudden change in schedule.”
Chloe said, looking out the window at the knights surrounding the carriage.
All the main figures in the Blanchett Knight Templar seemed to have followed them.
She told her husband that it was too much, but he acted like he wouldn’t let her go if she didn’t allow him to do this.
“Please give my thanks to them.
Thanks to you, we arrived safely.”
“It is our joy to protect our Lady and the young master.
We will escort you safely until the end.”
Sir Hume answered faithfully.
Listening to the warm gratitude of Chloe reminded him of the voice of his master, who had scared him before they set off.
“Protect them with your life.”
As soon as they got off the carriage, someone hugged Chloe from behind.
“How long has it been, really? It’s already been a year and a half since the end of the year ball, and that was almost two years ago.”
The person who greeted Chloe frantically was none other than the culprit of the incident, Leila.
Chloe hated Leila, but she was also happy to see her friend after such a long time.
‘Leila didn’t mean it with a bad heart… maybe.’
Maybe it was because she knew how much Leila liked her, but Chloe kept thinking about it.
“Well, it’s been a while.
But is it okay for you to run around like this? How’s your body?”
Chloe asked as she examined her body.
The reason they hadn’t seen each other for almost a year was because of Leila’s third pregnancy.
Leila gave birth to her youngest daughter earlier that year.
“I’m perfectly fine! I can even participate in the upcoming hunting contest!”
Leila, who was unchangingly energetic, was already the mother of three children.
Time seemed to pass by so quickly.
“Of course not.”
A low, solemn voice intervened.
It was Leila’s husband, Frederick de Anata.
Chloe greeted Frederick, who was partially obscured by her friend.
“I greet you, Grand Duke Anata, Lord of the Eternal North.”
“Long time no see, Marchioness Blanchett.”
As Frederick greeted her, Chloe raised her head.
She never thought that the Grand Duke would come to greet her.
Frederick frowned and muttered.
“Your husband is still the same.”
Frederick glanced at the Knights of Blanchett standing behind Chloe.
Seeing some familiar faces, it seemed that all their main knights had come.
“If anyone else saw, they would think that we’re going to war.”
Of course, 20 knights led by Chloe were not enough to engage in a territorial battle with the Knights of Anata.
However, it was true that their escort force was excessive.
‘Perhaps it’s a warning.’
It was unknown whether the warning was directed at the gang of bandits hiding along the way, the lords of the territories they passed through, or at the owner of this land, Anata.
Maybe it was all.
‘I also don’t like him.’
“Ah… I think my husband was worried about sending his family.
We ask for your understanding with the greatest sincerity.”
Whether she knew her husband’s feelings or not, the wise Marchioness once again courteously asked for understanding.
Frederick was displeased, but he decided to give mercy to his wife’s friend.
Frederick nodded his head a little, and Chloe was relieved.
Then, a small hand squeezed her skirt.
Abel, who was hiding behind Chloe, stepped forward when things seemed to be going against his mother.
‘Oh, my God, they’re the same.’
Frederick groaned inwardly.
The child resembled Gerard not only in appearance, but also the way he tried to protect Chloe.
“Abel, say hello.
This is Grand Duke Anata and his wife.”
Chloe explained, clasping Abel’s little hand.
“…Hello, I’m Abel Blanchett, son of Marquis Blanchett.”
Abel, who had not yet memorized a proper greeting, briefly introduced himself.
“Oh, Abel! You’ve grown up a lot.
You look the same as Gerard when he was a kid.”
Leila was pleased as she stroked Abel’s head.
Abel smiled, forgetting his nervousness.
He liked that he resembled his father.
“Do you remember me? I am your parents’ friend, Aunt Leila.
Welcome to our castle!”
“Long time no see, young master.
I am Frederick de Anata.”
“Ah! We should also introduce Renee and Noah.”
Leila turned around, looking for her children.
Renesia de Anata and Noah de Anata hid behind each of Frederick’s long legs.
To be precise, they were hanging on them.
“Come on, say hello to Marchioness Blanchett and the young master.”
“Hello! I’m Anata’s eldest daughter, Renesia de Anata.”
Renesia, who wore her black hair short with a cute red ribbon, introduced herself bravely.
I am Anata’s eldest son, Noah de Anata… Yes.”
Noah shyly introduced himself.
His red bow tie matched Renesia’s.
Chloe greeted the children kindly.
“I greet you, young lord and lady of the Eternal North.
When did you get so big?”
Noah smiled shyly and hid behind Frederick’s leg again.
On the other hand, Renesia kept glancing at Abel, curious about a boy her age.
It looked like she wanted to talk to him.
“Oh, my daughter likes your son?”
Leila’s mischievous remarks made Renesia shy, and she screamed at her.
Leila continued to tease her about how cute it was while Frederick held Noah and lovingly watched his wife and daughter.
Perhaps it was the appearance of the harmonious Anata family, but Chloe became very upset.
Was it because she overlaid herself with Renesia, who was being teased by Leila? She suddenly felt as if she was drenched in cold water.
‘Why does she have to reveal everyone else’s feelings?’
Chloe felt that all the joy she had had disappeared.
As the confrontation between mother and daughter escalated, Frederick intervened as he took his trembling daughter into his arms.
My daughter will live with me for the rest of her life.”
It was a sickly sweet scene.
Considering he was called ‘The Ice Duke’ in the past, it was a surprising sight.
Chloe, who had been lost in thought for a moment, looked at Renesia, whose face was dyed red.
“I am grateful that the Grand Duchess takes good care of my son.
You don’t know how much I worried that Abel wouldn’t have peers in the North.
During our stay, please play a lot.”
Chloe’s words had eased her mind.
“Yes, I agree.
Anyway, let’s not talk here.
Let’s go in! Our chef put so much energy into the food that it shouldn’t go cold.”
Leila smiled brightly and gestured to Chloe and Abel.
Contrary to Chloe’s confused mind, it was a pleasant and noisy welcome.
Anton, the deputy of the First Order of Imperial Knights, hummed and opened the door of his General’s office without knocking.
The General, who was not normally present after work hours, was sitting at his desk.
Meeting the eyes that looked at him coldly without saying a word, Anton blubbered excuses.
You haven’t left work yet, Boss? Of course, I didn’t think you’d be here…”
“So opening the door to your General’s room without knocking is standard behavior for you?”
“Oh no! I’ll correct it!”
Gerard glared at Anton and then lowered his gaze back to his papers.
When Gerard didn’t say much, Anton, who was looking around, crept up to the General with a document, the reason for his visit.
“…Well, I will look into it.”
Gerard took the papers Anton had given him and set them aside.
Anton looked at Gerard curiously.
‘Why are you still working?’
It was completely different from usual.
Other knights said that the General had been working overtime these days.
They must have been right.
“Excuse me, General.
Why are you still at work? You didn’t leave as soon as your shift ended.”
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