9. The Crown Prince’s Title
After the royal brother issue was settled, Lydian became the sole candidate for the crown prince title.
To bestow the title upon him, an enthronement ceremony was held with grandeur (the queen dowager donated all of her fortune as a symbol of apology). Afterwards, Lydian was blessed by his people and his subjects.
An otherworldly beauty who was also lofty in nature. The aristocrats and vassals who attended were captivated by his elegance.
The envoys from all over the world were overwhelmed by his splendor. Some were even foolish enough to think, “I want to ask him to marry the princess of our country…” But of course, there was no way the king or the arch ministers would allow that.
Amidst all of this, Lydian was still on good terms with Eleonora. Worried that she was in shock over the previous incident, he was busy sending her gifts.
He misunderstood that Eleonora was a kind-hearted girl who was worried sick about Ferliana’s predicament. In truth, she was just angry at a certain shitty brat from the Dragon Shrine.
However, her mood did a one-eighty after her beloved gave her hand-picked flowers. She was simple like that.
—Nevertheless, her joy didn’t last long.
Lydian was going to study abroad in the neighboring country.
“Y-you are going to leave the country!?”
Eleonora widened her eyes.
“That’s right. My father told me to expand my horizons. The prince of the Kingdom of Utentos and I are around the same age, so he thought that we could be friends.”
Lydian was also troubled.
He wanted to see foreign countries as well, so King Xanagan’s offers sat well with him.
The only drawback was that he wouldn’t be able to see Eleonora for a while.
Despite being able to use teleport, his busy schedule prevented him from enjoying a peaceful tea party with her.
“…Is that so? I’m disheartened that I won’t be able to see His Highness.”
Eleonora revealed her loneliness.
“I’m studying so that I can become a majestic king and make you happy. It’ll be lonely, but please wait for me.”
“Of course, Your Highness Lydian…!”
Even though she was about to cry, Eleonora mustered a nod.
It was a heartwarming conversation between lovers. During that moment, no trace of the demon king could be seen on his person.
After Lydian departed for the foreign country, Eleonora would write to him every day.
Despite being a villainess at heart, she was also a maiden in love. Her behavior wasn’t that much different from other women.
The only difference was that when the souvenirs sent by Lydian were stolen by bandits, she went on a large-scale manhunt.
Once every three days, Lydian would dispatch a carriage filled with ornaments and sweets for his precious Eleonora. He even arranged an official messenger, who bore the crest of Llahendia.
However, when the carriage reached the Balethea Mountains (on the border with the neighboring country)—
“Well, well, isn’t it a noble’s wagon? There must’ve been something worth looting inside! Go get em’, boys!”
A bunch of unquestioning thieves named Pentalin raided the carriage.
The coach driver, who barely escaped with his life, tearfully reported the incident to Eleonora.
“I’m sorry for not being able to deliver the gift from His Highness Lydian!”
Hearing that, Eleonora’s face turned bright red. She was furious.
As if being in a stressful LDR relationship wasn’t enough, someone dared to steal her boyfriend’s gift. She’d never been this angry her whole life.
“I won’t allow you to steal His Highness Lydian’s gift!”
Thus, Eleonora asked her father to dispatch a group of knights under the name of the duke family to the Balathea Mountains.
“No, those knights won’t be enough. Let’s hire the men from [Friend of Evil], as well. They’re infamous for being deplorable and wicked!”
[Friend of Evil] was an information magazine exclusive for villains sold at the [Dragon Shrine]. It offered vast arrays of topics, from the latest information on weapons and poisons to pen pal recruitment and other featured articles.
Eleonora begged her father at once.
The duke and the duchess were enablers, so they just listened. Truly, what a waste of influence.
The mercenary leader, Tigras, was the only person who called her out on it. His eyes were sharp, akin to a vicious predator.
“Are you insane? Why would you hire me?”
“I know, right? Please punish the fool who stole my treasure.”
Without a hint of fear, Eleonora implored to the hawk-eyed man.
Apparently, Tigras once massacred the entire family of an employer who paid him poorly. In other words, he was a verified villain.
Despite that, Eleonora didn’t even flinch. Rather, she was delighted.
“Crush all the humans in the Balathea Mountains! I don’t care how! Eradicate them! Once the deed is done, a handsome reward awaits you!”
Tigras was taken aback by Eleonora’s wild order.
He was a ruthless man, yet with common sense.
Tigras hesitated for a moment, carefully weighing his options. Upon realizing that he had more to lose if he refused, Tigras decided to demand a substantial reward and accept her offer.
Now was the time for action, so at noon on that day, provisions were prepared, and the deployment of the troops and strategy were decided.
…But his subordinates didn’t seem to be convinced.
“Captain, are you going to do as that young lady said?”
“We’re mercenaries, but we didn’t hone our skills to cut down the innocents.”
Tigras laughed profoundly at his subordinate’s words, and declared.
“Don’t worry, I won’t let you get your sword dirty.”
He was formerly a knight captain of a certain kingdom.
He created a band of mercenaries to protect his men and their families from a tyrannical king.
The employer that Tigras cut down was a scoundrel who tried to force himself on the lover of Tigras’ subordinate.
Even if they became mercenaries, their hearts remained lofty.
He never intended to kill anyone. In fact, he went out of his way to prepare a carriage for convoys to secretly rescue the innocents.
Thus, the large-scale manhunt begun, but it’d proven to be a challenge.
Not only was the search area wide, there were more bandits than expected.
Tigras raided a few bandit camps, secret society hideouts, and even put an end to a certain religious sect that advocated the resurrection of the demon king. Afterwards, he made sure to rescue the kidnapped villagers and return pillaged goods to their owners.
“Thanks to you, I was saved. This is just a small remuneration for your help. Please enjoy the party tonight.”
The indebted villagers held a banquet to thank Tigras and the others.
“…I should be the one thanking you. You’ve rekindled our pride.”
Tigras cried with his subordinates, rejoicing that his sword had benefited mankind.
…Eleonora, on the other hand—
“—I’ll subject the fool who dared to steal my treasure to a handmade torture device! He’ll regret ever messing with me!”
She worked hard until her hands were covered in blisters.
Not only did no one stop her, the servants of the Duke of Bazestilma even provided her with late-night snacks.
However, there was no way an amateur could make one properly, let alone a noble lady. Ultimately, all she ended up making was this stylish long item.
Due to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and sore muscles, Eleonora wept with chagrin. Afterwards, she decided to use ready-made products. Truly a waste of effort and a loss it was.
Tigras was paid generously by the duke family (out of the duke’s pocket). Not having to worry about food for a while, he departed in high spirits, in stark contrast to Eleonora, who was in a foul mood.
The unused torture device was tossed into the incinerator like an oversized garbage. It was made of the finest cedar, Iashi (also known as doctor-free tree, which sap could be used as a remedy. Courtesy: market description), and was completely furnished and decorated with plant-based dyes that were also used in cosmetics.
After all, Eleonora had once spoken. “I’m the duke’s daughter. I prefer something more luxurious and isn’t made of iron.”
Apparently, when opened, there were spikes inside (also made of wood).
Grandpa William (a gardener) whose hobby was carpentry happened to be passing by.
“…Hmm, I feel like I can turn this into a relaxation tool.”
Then, he took it to the barn, ignited his hobbyist spirit, and remade it into a pressure point massager.
The relaxation tool was well-received among servants because it stimulated pressure points on tired feet.
Furthermore, the villagers happened to learn that the one who dispatched the mercenary group to the Balathea Mountains was none other than the daughter of Duke Bazestilma.
“What a wonderful child she is! She even thinks about those outside the duke’s territory!”
Soon, she became the talk of the town.
To top it off, rumors circulated through the mouths of peddlers and bards, touting Eleonora of Duke Bazestilma as a compassionate girl.
AHUWHAUHWUAUWAHUW I CAN’T!1111 THAT GARDENER IS THE REAL MVP!!111 Also, the image of the servants going inside the woodeniron maiden IS JUST TOO VISCERAL.
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