On the third floor of St. Phil Hotel, Roel walked across an extravagant room reminiscent of a presidential suite in his previous life and headed toward a window. He looked at the bustling crowd below and heaved a sigh of relief.
After all of the difficulties they had been through, they finally arrived at the largest city in the northern region. At least for the next few weeks, he should be able to move around freely without having to confine himself inside the stifling Carriage of Sinners.
It would be a lie if he were to say that he wasn’t overjoyed at finally regaining his freedom. For most of the journey, all he could see outside the carriage was just barren land that had only started thawing. Even when they stopped at towns, out of concern that he would catch unnecessary attention, he had to hole himself up in the carriage.
Having to spend so many days in a confined space really built up significant mental fatigue and stress in him.
He walked toward the balcony to soak himself in the city’s lively atmosphere. A marching band had passed by the street beneath the balcony he was on, but the joyous melody it played was still echoing on the street. The excited crowd cheered loudly at their marvelous performance.
There were many other people also standing on their balconies on both sides of the street, enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Roel couldn’t help but smile at the bustle. He was reminded of the New Year’s Day he had spent at Holy Capital Loren a few years back, before he became a proxy fief lord. Things felt so much simpler back then, not having to bother about networking and socializing.
As the proxy fief lord, he was responsible for organizing New Year’s Day celebrations for his fiefdom. Just the sheer amount of work he had made it nigh impossible for him to enjoy celebrations himself. It had been a long time since he had been able to really let loose and have a vacation without having to think about work at all.
He had no idea when the evil cultists would get to this city, but at least for the time being, he wanted to enjoy the present.
Organizing such a large-scale celebration was actually no easy feat. Be it decorating the city, rewarding the guards on duty, or making logistical preparations, all of these cost a huge sum of money. If they didn’t keep a tight rein on the budget, there was a real possibility that they could face financial problems the following year.
The Ascart Fiefdom was still in the midst of its rapid economic development, and it required a huge amount of money to sustain its growth. For that reason, Roel allocated the bare minimum for festivals in his first two years as proxy fief lord. It was only after he met a certain rich young miss and struck up a partnership with the Sorofya House that things started to change.
Take this year for example, in order to win support from the citizens of the Ascart Fiefdom, Charlotte decided to go all-out and distribute sweets in Ascart City on New Year’s Day.
One had to know that sweets were no cheap commodity in this era. Distributing sweets was no different from distributing gold coins. Of course, money was one thing that the Sorofyas didn’t lack, and a shrewd businesswoman like Charlotte wouldn’t squander her money for no reason.
She let out news that if she were to marry Roel, she would hold such activities every single year. Alicia was so infuriated when she heard about it that she nearly fainted on the spot.
Thinking about all of the interesting affairs regarding Charlotte brought a nostalgic smile to Roel’s face.
While he was deep in thought, the sudden arrival of a gust of wind sent his hair scattering all around. His body shuddered in response to the chilling air. However, the very next moment, a coat was draped over his clothes, and he found himself wrapped inside a warm embrace.
“You ought to be more careful. It wouldn’t do for you to dress so thinly in your current condition.”
Roel turned around and smiled at Lilian. It was such a warm and beautiful smile that it made Lilian’s heart pound. It compelled her to tighten her arms around him.
Their affectionate posture swiftly caught the attention of those in the nearby balconies, and they whistled loudly to voice their support of them. This commotion swiftly caught the attention of an auburn-haired woman who lived in the adjacent room.
“What a din. Just what is going on out there? Ah. T-this is…”
Charlotte murmured to herself as she made her way toward the balcony to see what was going on. The moment she walked through the balcony door, she found herself met with two embracing figures in the adjacent balcony, causing her footsteps to screech to a halt.
She couldn’t see either of their faces, but somehow, seeing the two embracing figures evoked a sense of incongruence in her heart. She couldn’t put her finger on what was wrong here, so she began contemplating with a deep frown. It was only when a green leaf drifted across her eyes that realization finally struck her.
“Ah! Those clothes conform to Leinster’s dressing style. Is that a young noble from the Country of Scholars and his personal maid?”
What a rare combination this is… but it seems like they’re really in love with one another.
Charlotte felt a little envious of their intimacy, which then brought Roel to her mind.
“If only darling is here with me,” she remarked lamentably.
She had always been fond of carrying out such public displays of affection in order to convey to others that ‘this is my man’. It was only a pity that Roel had been taken away by that barbaric Austinean woman.
Darling must have suffered a lot having to be with that barbaric woman for such a long period of time. He must be struggling hard against that woman’s attempt to force herself on him.
I really have to save him as soon as possible.
Charlotte took one last look at the embracing couple before she returned to her room, shutting the balcony doors behind her. She walked to the center of the room, took a deep breath, and began her divination. She was oblivious to how close she had been to the man she was looking for just a moment ago.
Meanwhile, the embracing duo next door had satisfied their dose of the festive atmosphere and headed indoors too.
It was a world of difference created by a thin wall of separation.
A few hours later, in Room 303.
The setting sun cast its orange glow through the glass windows to illuminate an exquisitely designed room. At the center of the room stood a maid atop a high-quality soft rug.
“The boy who resides in the adjacent room? Yes, I have met him. You’re referring to the one who has a personal maid with him, right?”
“Yes, he appears to be around seven to eight years old. I heard that he’s the son of a wealthy merchant in the Country of Scholars, but there are also rumors going around that he’s the son of a high noble. Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be anything noteworthy about him.”
Sitting by the tea table, Charlotte nodded upon hearing Grace’s report. She took a sip of her tea gracefully before glancing at the medicine on the table. She picked it up with a reddening face and hurriedly slipped it into her pocket.
Tomorrow night, they would be saving Roel from the clutches of the barbaric Austine princess, but it was also the night the aurora bestowed its blessings upon couples. If she did manage to save Roel and shake off those eyesores, it wasn’t entirely impossible that something might happen under the influence of their touching reunion and the amorous atmosphere…
This medicine might just come into play.
Grace watched as Charlotte touched her front pocket quietly with a smile. As Charlotte’s personal maid, she had witnessed the romantic journey between those two and was fully supportive of her young miss’ decision. Heck, she was even starting to make plans for their future child’s education!
Young miss, do what you need to and leave everything else to us!
Earlier in the afternoon, Charlotte had tried to divine Roel’s location, but the weird thing was that the gold coin on the map would always return to its original location. She proceeded to try other divination spells, but all of them reflected that Roel was in close proximity to her.
The first thought that came to Charlotte’s mind was that Roel was currently residing in the very same hotel as her. Without any hesitation, she ordered a thorough search on the hotel’s occupants. Yet, after several hours of clandestine investigation and a small commotion from apprehending two suspicious individuals, the result was a negative.
This was baffling to Charlotte. Her divination spells had been further amplified by her bloodline ability, Arbiter of Fate, and the Goddess of Fate’s balance, giving them an incredibly high accuracy rate. It was rare for her spells to fail.
“Could it be that my divination has been intercepted by some sort of fate concealing spell or a magic tool?” she murmured.
Unable to comprehend this inexplicable situation, she could only conclude that her first divination spell had failed, and the following ones that reflected that Roel was in proximity to her referred to ‘time of reunion’ instead of ‘physical proximity’.
“It looks like I can only wait till tomorrow and see how it turns out.”
“Young miss, Her Highness Nora has sent a message advising us not to further cause any commotion. She’s concerned that our actions might alarm the enemy.”
“Tsk. Tell her that I got her message.”
Charlotte knew that it could complicate things if Lilian learned that they were in the city as well, so she could only reluctantly nod her head in agreement. Vexed, she rose to her feet and headed out for a walk to cool herself down a little.
Unbeknownst to her, the gears of fate had already started turning.
In the neighboring Room 302, Roel had switched into a navy-blue suit. He sat in front of the mirror while Lilian busied herself with taming his unruly long hair. There was an expectant smile on his face.
As a foodie, Roel always bore high expectations with regard to food, and the meals he had over the half a month long journey were intolerable by his standards. They were basically tasteless rations intended just to fill one’s stomach. So, the first thing he wanted to do upon returning to civilization was to satisfy his taste buds.
“The Aurora Night is tomorrow. For today, shall we have a taste of the northern region’s specialties?”
“That sounds like a wonderful idea. If I recall correctly, the Eirbower Dukedom is known for its seal meat. I wonder how that’ll taste…”
Roel stroked his lower jaw with a curious gleam in his eyes. The oddly mature gesture coming from his young body looked so interesting that it evoked a laugh out of Lilian’s lips.
A few moments later, Lilian put down her comb and Roel finished up his final preparations. With their hands locked like a couple, they began making their way out of the room.
“The dishes in the northern region tend to be oily. If it’s not to your liking, we can have something else.”
“I’m fine with anything. I’ll go with your selection, senior.”
“While I am happy that you respect my opinion, you shouldn’t forget about our current persona.”
“Yes, indeed. Don’t worry, I won’t slip up in front of others.”
Roel responded to Lilian’s reminder with a smile as he twisted the doorknob and opened it. The first thing that appeared outside was an auburn-haired woman walking past the corridor.