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Chapter 133

As befits the renowned gourmand Tylesse, Maria’s meal was not only neat but also not simple. That is, it means that expensive items were scarce, frequent, and beautifully presented.

How silly.

Ivan was not accustomed to this kind of culture. He swallowed the thumb-sized filet mignon, disappearing with two stabs of the fork, and waited for the next dish.

“… I mean, Mom! This person released those creatures on the mountain! They were orcs—thirty of them! My arm was nearly broken!”

“Oh my.”

While listening to Isabelle’s vomiting words, Maria still smiled softly.

Confirming Ivan’s empty plate, Maria blushed slightly and tapped the table gently, then a maid approached and cleared Ivan’s plate and raised the next dish again.

Blini with caviar, accompanied by a soft-boiled egg, was a small finger food. It was paired with good quality red wine.

Once again, it was of a level that would disappear with one bite. Various flavors danced in the mouth.

Ivan, who was very strict about taste, did not enjoy such complicated dishes. He preferred something simple. He began to miss the corn tea in his office.

“And suddenly everyone rushed out and applauded. Wow. Really? Isn’t it ridiculous? I almost died back then.”

“Oh, is that so? So Ivan had only been watching you until the end for three days?”

“That’s it!! He’s the worst!!”

“Thankfully.”

“…??”

Isabelle’s expression froze. What on earth did she hear? It was an expression of disbelief.

Maria still smiled warmly as she turned her gaze to Ivan.

“So you made the preparation yourself? Thank you.”

“It’s my duty.”

“Does the food suit your taste?”

“…Yes, I’m grateful for it.”

“I hastily prepared it. If you need anything, just let me know.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Confirming Ivan’s empty plate again, Maria waved her hand slightly and called the maid. She whispered softly in the maid’s ear.

Even through closed windows, Ivan’s hearing could catch the sound of a mouse’s footsteps passing by. Even without magical reinforcement, a trained agent could not miss small conversations on this street.

“The table should be set before the guest’s plate is empty, Lucy.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am… B-but, table manners…”

“Etiquette isn’t made to distinguish people. It’s made to make people more comfortable. What are you saying to guests from other countries? Are you really going to embarrass me?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am.”

Generally, the meal was like this. Dishes that could be eaten in one bite were served. Quietly swallowed. Served again, swallowed again.

In Tylesse, there is a dish called foie gras. It’s a food supplement made in the same way as on Earth. Forcing food into the goose’s mouth by inserting a tube.

Perhaps because of that. Unlike the elves who set out food generously, allowing guests to help themselves and clean up after eating, Tylesse was dividing small portions of food into small dishes and tasting them.

It’s not very pleasing. Ivan put the food back in his mouth.

“And he didn’t even visit us while we were in treatment! And all of a sudden, he was going to meet dwarves?”

“Dwarves?”

“Yes. And then he gets hurt all over and lays down for days!”

“Oh my…. he’s really having a rough time…”

Time seemed to stretch out, segmented into syllables during [mealtime]. When the moderately full students were escorted to their bedrooms by the maid.

Ivan also unpacked and waited for a while. He tidied up his weapons, set up simple traps near the bed, and was busy.

– Knock knock.
– Petrovich, ma’am is looking for you.

“Hmm.”

After a reasonable amount of time passed on this early night, Ivan finally headed to the guest room according to the maid’s prompt.

*

“Was the meal satisfactory? I wasn’t sure what dishes Mr. Ivan likes… so I prepared them hastily.”

“It was a perfectly hospitable experience. Thank you, madam.”

In the center of the modestly surrounded courtyard, on a white table, simple desserts and wine were served.

Following Maria’s gesture, Ivan sat opposite her. A maid standing by his side poured wine into his empty glass.

Maria made a small gesture towards the maid.

“Could you step aside for a moment?” (Maria)

“But, ma’am…” (Maid)

“It’s a request. It would be inconvenient if bad rumors spread, wouldn’t it? Shall we keep it a secret?” (Maid)

“…!! Yes, understood, ma’am!” (Maid)

As the maid left with a light step and a slight smile, Ivan glanced behind and whispered softly.

“Do you need an investigation?” (Ivan(

“No need. I know who sent that child (maid). By tomorrow morning, today’s ‘bad rumors’ will be circulating in Count Granmarteau’s salon.”

“Shall I handle it quietly?”

“Is that the Krasilov’s ‘secret service’? It’s as terrifying as I’ve heard!”

Maria chuckled, covering her mouth.

“It’s okay. The child is just a messenger, not a bad girl. She’s not malicious. She’s a child who has to take care of three siblings and a sick mother. Fortunately, leaking ‘rumors’ to a certain extent is something that can be done on my terms as well.”

It’s hypocrisy.

Ivan tilted his glass, contemplating. There are so many small hypocrites in the world.

Thanks to them, the world still seems, at least on the surface, to be peaceful.

“You must be curious about many things. Shall I ask? I’ll tell you anything I know.”

“What about… Maxmillian’s final moments?”

“He laughed.”

The state of Maxmillian, and whether there was any metaphor in his final moments, was the most urgent issue.

Wasn’t he the man who vividly demonstrated how the aftermath of slaying the dragon devastates a person?

“He laughed brightly.”

“Did he convey anything else?”

“His words were always the same. Thankfully. What’s there to be thankful for… Such a foolish man.”

Thankful that others didn’t experience it. Thankful that the demon king is dead. Thankful that the United Kingdom didn’t fall.

He’s a man who would say that even if half the world burned, as long as he could extinguish that fire.

Ah, thankful that half the world remains. That is, to the living half of humanity, he’s the man who smiles.

In every statue erected in his honor, he was depicted smiling with his sword held high.

Then it’s fine. At least it means that Maxmillian didn’t lose his sanity until the very end.

If his sanity can hold out until the current generation of hero parties mature enough, it doesn’t matter. He can hold it back.

“According to the homeland’s intelligence, three Counts in Tylesse are preparing for a civil war. Are you aware?”

“Do you think there’s any fact that I, a woman on the street, wouldn’t know? It’s such an easy question to answer with spy gossip.”

Maria chuckled, sipped her wine.

“Count Guillaume de Autreange II, Count Étienne de Granmarteau, and Count Jean Beltoir de Vermontpor. It’s a public secret that the three Counts are preparing to challenge the Tylesse royal family.”

“The Tylesse royal family isn’t responding.”

“Yes, because the three princes have different ideas. So our king probably wants to protect this city by setting up a spinster like me as a figurehead.”

If Maria were allowed to live freely in the royal court, the nobles who secretly contact her could not be restrained.

So, if an incongruous mansion were built on a main thoroughfare where everyone could see, it would attract attention.

The noble families who would check each other would not dare to approach her recklessly.

At the same time, it could effectively advertise the continuation of the warrior lineage under the authority of the royal family, so it would be a win-win situation.

For a king who has lost control of his sons and needs to restrain the greed of devotees, it could be seen as the best option.

Of course, the best option in the political monster’s playbook is no different from cruel torture to civilians.

It would be such a harsh environment for this warm woman. Being the center of everyone’s attention, receiving both admiration and jealousy from the citizens, and yearning for a husband who would shield her, a peasant woman from the countryside, for four years.

Ivan remained silent for a moment. If he spoke now, he might startle his wife.

After calming his mind once, Ivan quietly spoke up.

“What is Jill Ber doing? Before the princes’ dispute escalates, he should have settled the succession.”

“Of course, he did. Duke Etarique supports the first prince. If there is no standout talent among the princes, it is neater for the eldest son to succeed.”

“So how…?”

“In the politics of this country, supporting one person means it becomes difficult to refuse that person’s ‘request’.”

Refusing a request from a prince publicly supported could be perceived as shaking the foundation of internal support from an external perspective. In that case, it could severely damage the authority of the first prince, who had barely managed to control the situation. Other princes, supported by the great nobles, wouldn’t miss the opportunity.

Therefore, it’s not easy to refuse the ‘request’ officially made by the first prince, especially if it has legitimacy.

“The first prince requested the Etarique Duke to subdue a dragon. There were rumors of a dragon appearing in the northeastern Bernina Mountains. Several villages were actually burned, and the investigation revealed that a dragon had indeed swept through.”

“I see.”

Hunting was both a hobby for nobles and the easiest way to elevate their authority depending on the prey.

Although no one doubted Jill Ber’s power, the carcass of a dragon would have a greater visual impact.

The first prince wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity to mark his succession. If he could subdue the dragon and claim it as his achievement, who would dare challenge him?

So, Jill Ber was dispatched. He and his retinue of homeland guards were sent out of the city. And…

“Three Counts approached the three princes, all while the Etarique Duke was absent. The three Counts now act as if they have this country in their hands. While constantly fighting each other as if they were each other’s enemies, they also occasionally shake hands.”

“How did the first prince respond?”

“If he refuses, who will protect him? Who, until the Etarique Duke returns?”

“What is your wish?”

There would be three main solutions. Ivan quickly organized his thoughts.

Kill all three Counts.
Kill or exile all three princes.
Or detain them all and hand over their security when Jill Ber returns.

If Elizaveta had heard this, she would have sobbed and clutched her forehead. Ivan raised his head.

“You speak as if you’ll grant anything.”

“If that’s your wish, then it will be done.”

“Oh my, those aren’t appropriate words for a married woman, Mister Petrovich. You speak like a Tylesse person when you said the knightly thing.”

Maria chuckled and joked.

“Did you seduce my daughter like that too?”

“…Excuse me?”

Ivan rarely questioned, for he could hear even the flutter of passing butterflies. While there were those who misspoke in his presence, it was rare for him to mishear. (Those who misspoke would usually become sincere through appropriate correction.)

But this time, he had to question. Such malicious rumors needed to be eradicated with firm facts.

“My daughter seems quite taken with you. Mother’s eyes can’t be deceived.”

“You misunderstand.”

“Really?”

“Sincerely.”

The truth is, Mother’s eyes can be deceived. It may seem somewhat impolite to say to Maria, but it’s just a jest. She, too, is an unavoidable pre-modern citizen.

Generally, mothers tend to be quite insensitive to this kind of intuition. Kim Sun-woo can testify to that. Every time he walked with a girl, he’d be asked, ‘Is she your girlfriend?’ He had a history of never succeeding in love, not even once.

Kim Sun-woo shed tears and fell silent. Ivan readily agreed with him and nodded briefly.

Maria chuckled at the sight.

With a playful face, a light tone, and somewhat solemn eyes, she looked at Ivan.

“Please help the Etarique Duke. Help capture the dragon. Restore the balance of this country so that the hunt doesn’t drag on any longer.”

It was such a difficult request that even if he refused, he would laugh it off as a joke.

But still, with simmering sincerity.

“I will do so.”

It was such an easy request that Ivan didn’t hesitate.

Hunting was his domain.

Jill Ber is a knight. He doesn’t understand the process of tracking down prey by chasing it and hunting it down. If he were that kind of man, he wouldn’t have split the sky in the midst of the enemy.

Hunting was always his responsibility. Quietly stalking, sniffing out traces, and tightening the noose.

The tedious and ‘boring’ tasks that couldn’t be done in a knight’s party were always his role. Because he was a tracker. He was closer to the hunting dog of the knight’s party.

And even after that, although the hand holding the leash changed, his role remained the same. Someone’s hunting dog. Until retirement.

Fortunately, his retirement came later than the knight’s party. Since it wasn’t so long ago that he was in the field himself, let’s say he’s still active.

So, hunting is his domain. Moreover, fortunately, it’s a less burdensome request than assassinating each aristocrat one by one.

“Are you serious? About the dragon?”

“I’ve tried.”

Ivan tidied up and stood up. Maria didn’t blame him for his rudeness. She just stared blankly for a moment, then murmured absentmindedly.

“It seems okay as a son-in-law.”

What should I do if Princess Krasilov opposes it vehemently? she thought.


30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

프롤로그에서 30년이 흘렀다
Score 7.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
I got transmigrated into a game I’ve never seen before. I thought it was a top-notch RPG and spent 30 years on it. I retired as a war hero and planned to spend my remaining time leisurely. But it turns out, it was an academy story?

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