< — The founding party — > (1)
All the carriages entering the palace for the founding party briefly stopped at the palace entrance to sign in the guest book. Of course, even the carriage of the Taran ducal house could not be exempted from that formal process.
After confirming the identities of the personnel in the carriage, the palace guard told Roy that he had to leave his sword behind.
“You’re telling a knight to surrender his sword?”
Roy looked at the palace guard and frowned menacingly. Well aware of Roy’s notoriety, the palace guard flinched and hesitantly replied.
“You cannot carry a sword into a party held in the palace.”
The palace guard was merely carrying out his duty faithfully and had done nothing wrong. While grumbling, Roy released his sword and handed it over. In any case, weapons didn’t mean much to Roy. An expert didn’t distinguish between tools. If he wanted to, he could use a fork to kill someone in the party hall. He didn’t even need a fork. If he snapped their neck, that would be the end of it.
After receiving the sword, the palace guard quickly sent the carriage in. He didn’t want to get involved with the Mad Dog. As so, the walking murder weapon confidently entered the palace.
As soon the Duchess of Taran appeared, the surrounding noblewomen flocked to her. Seeing Lucia surrounded by layers of women, Roy wondered to himself.
‘The Madam is pretty popular. Does she remember the faces of all these women? I definitely have to ask later.’
Roy continued to watch over Lucia from a distance. Being a noblewoman’s escort was more complicated than guarding at the side of the Crown Prince. The escort must be considerate so that the target being guarded can enjoy the party, in addition, the escort must not stick too close.
When people saw Roy standing at the side, their eyes would widen, then they would spin around and walk away. Thanks to that, Roy was able to occupy an extensive area without bumping into anyone. Roy did not neglect to look over the vast party scene from time to time.
Roy spotted a familiar woman. There weren’t many cases where Roy remembered someone. They either gave him a good feeling or the exact opposite, a very unpleasant aura. The woman he spotted was definitely the same one he saw at the coronation party with bad smell that gave him a bad feeling.
As he watched over the Madam, Roy stealthily monitored the woman that gave him a bad feeling. The woman wandered around the party hall without interacting with anyone, then she stood in the corner and fixed her gaze on one location. There were a lot of noblewomen gathered where the woman was staring at, and at the center of the crowd was the Madam and Princess Katherine.
‘It’s strangely irritating.’
Roy pondered about what he should do to the woman if she showed up next to the Madam. However, the woman swiftly turned around and left the party hall. When the woman was finally out of sight, Roy felt refreshed, like he had finally gotten rid of the sand in his shoes.
‘Oh, that bastard came too. Well, he’s not the kind of guy that would miss stuff like this.’
David was also one of the few people that Roy could remember. When Roy was guarding the Crown Prince, he saw David almost every day. Every time David saw Roy, he looked as if he was seeing something insignificant. But whether he did that or not, Roy also faced him with an insignificant gaze. If only he wasn’t the younger brother of the Queen, Roy would have beaten him up a few times already.
‘Why is he like that?’
David was practically hiding himself in an inconspicuous corner of the party hall. Even when someone occasionally acted like they knew him, he put on an expression of I-don’t-want-to-talk and shook them off.
Because Roy was not interested in news of the high society, he had no idea that David had gone down to the Ramis fiefdom. The guy who was usually pretentious and surrounded by people was now having an attitude like a guilty person. It was suspicious. And Roy’s eyes shone with a strange light.
The unpleasant woman appeared again, approached David and the two of them had a brief conversation. Even though they weren’t very secretive, they were being somewhat careful of their surroundings. And then, the woman left the party hall. After a while, David also left the party hall.
‘Are they lovers?’
The bad ones went well together.
‘Weirdly, something feels off.’
Roy turned his focus back to watching the Madam.
* * *
Anita hid in an inconspicuous place and nibbled on her lips as she looked at the Duchess, then at Roy who was a little distance away with his eyes never leaving the Duchess. She couldn’t think of a way to separate the Mad Dog from the Duchess. There wasn’t much time. The Duchess would be returning when it gets moderately late, she wouldn’t stay in the party till dawn.
‘I never thought she’d bring a knight with her to a party in the palace.’
There weren’t many cases of noblewomen bringing knights with them to the inside of a party. There was no established rule, but if an unknown baron’s daughter decides to bring a knight with her everywhere, it would be unusual and they would become subjects of ridicule.
At the Duchess’ level, even though they couldn’t say anything to her face, there were people who would tilt their head and wonder if there was a need to bring a knight to the party held in the palace; after all, there were strict identity checks performed at the entrance of the palace.
Actually, Roy was very conspicuous. Among the numerous people dressed formally, he was the only one dressed in light armor.
‘There is no other chance but today.’
The Duchess rarely attended balls. It was impossible to know when a day like today, a day where the Duchess attends a ball alone, would come again.
‘Let’s think of a place where the guard cannot follow. Restroom…right. The break room!’
Anita had once seen the Duchess use Princess Katherine’s break room. Most noblewomen knew that Princess Katherine had a private break room for herself.
They couldn’t step out first and ask the princess to show them her private space, but the noblewomen gossiped among themselves that if they had the chance, they wanted to see the Princess’ break room.
Anita decided to make up a situation. After confirming that Katherine was in the party hall, she went to the princess’ break room. In order to escape the boisterousness of the party, the break room was located a little further away from the party hall. Which meant that there were very few people walking by.
‘This location is very good.’
Two royal knights stood guard in front of the break room. When she pretended not to notice them and tried to get inside, the knights blocked her.
“What is your business here?”
“The princess gave me permission to use this place.”
“The princess has never given me such instructions.”
“Then, can you call the maid in there for me? The princess asked me to pass on a message.”
The knight went inside and after a while, a handmaid came out. Anita quickly measured the height and physique of the maid. Once she realized that the handmaid was very similar to herself, a plan quickly began to form in her head.
“That’s strange. This isn’t the handmaid. Are there any other handmaids?”
“There are no other handmaids inside.”
“Oh. Then I think I misunderstood something,” Anita said and turned around.
‘Two knights guarding the entrance. One handmaid inside. First, I have to remove the knights… I have to get young master Ramis’ help.’
* Another word for break room is lounge. I wanted to change it a while ago but I’ve already come so far with it so I’m just gonna leave it. Restroom and breakroom are different things (Obv)
* A handmaid is a maid that works in the palace, in case this isn’t clear.