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“Um, as this room is small, I will have Stephen tied and moved to a different place. I don’t think he will be able to escape as he is more than half dead.”
“Nevertheless, do not lower your guard. He has been hiding his true purpose all this time.”
“Don’t worry. If he manages to escape, I’ll immediately notice.”
Ios said, picking his ears. Stephen was evidence that would let him get some advantages when making a deal with the nymph. He had already taken the necessary measures.
“Really? That’s impressive.”
Edgar looked at him in doubt, but Carl hadn’t been there to witness the fight between him and Stephen, so he was genuinely impressed, which made the dragon feel good.
“I guess humans are not that bad, except that you cut flowers.”
“You don’t like flowers being cut?”
“Yes. Flowers are the most beautiful when they are where they should be, in nature.”
Edgar chimed in to stop the conversation from getting sideways.
“Carl, let Baron Moreau know that we already have Stephen.”
“Of course, so that the search party will not work hard for nothing.”
Carl immediately knew what to do. He was a well-trained butler, and he well knew what he should do, even in this confusing situation.
First, he had some men move Stephen to a small room in the presbytery, then he asked a priest to watch over him.
“He’s breathing. He seems to be unconscious, probably because of some drug, but he will make it.”
“He will make it?”
“Yes, the important organs were not hurt. Of course, it doesn’t mean that it’s not been painful to him.”
The priest almost forgot his occupation and asked if there was a person who knew how to beat a man so cleverly. Anyway, he decided to heal Stephen as he had vowed to the gods to help everyone in need.
“He’s evil, he might do anything if he wakes up.”
“I will just give him the antidote and heal him first.”
Then, Carl informed Baron Moreau who was sad and disappointed at hearing the spy had been captured.
He wanted to see the man who had brought Stephen, which gave some trouble to Carl. Fortunately, the baron went away when he told him the duke had ordered to not let anyone come in.
After that, Carl asked him to acquire various goods, some of which he didn’t even need, to make him forget all about it.
‘We’ve asked them to send Claymore’s doctor with carriages, so we won’t have to meet the town doctor.’
This could be a good opportunity to put an end to Rubica’s fake pregnancy. They couldn’t announce the fact that Stephen was a spy from Amanun. Then, the king would be in trouble as he had sent the man as Edgar’s guard personally.
There were those who wanted to weaken the king’s power, and they would never cease to talk about it.
That wasn’t what Edgar wanted. Carl thought it would be better to say Stephen kidnapped the pregnant duchess to ask for a ransom. They could say the duchess was greatly shocked and miscarried the baby, and they would be able to punish Stephen for it.
“Go and get some pig blood and entrails. Make sure no one finds out about it.”
Time went fast as he took care of all that. He looked at his clock and remembered something.
“It’s time for the duke to drink tea.”
A good butler was supposed to make his master feel right at home, regardless of where he was. And for that, Carl had to prepare so that his routine wouldn’t be disturbed.
He always had a small portion of tea for Edgar.
“Father, may I use your coffee cups?”
“I think the duke and the duchess should not drink coffee as they are tired.”
“I want to make tea, not coffee.”
The priest was surprised to hear that.
“But tea is expensive and rare. Do you have it with you now?”
“Yes. His Grace enjoys it a lot…”
To Carl’s surprise, the priest brought some teacups.
Priests had been the first to introduce coffee to the continent, and they were a group of people who enjoyed tea.
It wasn’t something to be surprised that the priest had teacups.
“There are only two sets.”
“Wouldn’t they be enough?”
“Oh, we have some guests… I will use coffee cups for them.”
Then, the priest didn’t leave the kitchen and watched as Carl made tea. He smacked in envy and worried if the water wasn’t too cold. Carl could see he was a tea lover just like himself.
“Would you like to taste it and see if I’ve done it right?”
The priest gladly accepted Carl’s offer. The clear scent that freshened his soul lingered in his mouth.
With the best tea and Carl’s good tea-brewing skill combined, it was the best cup of tea the priest had ever tasted.
“You are great at brewing tea.”
Carl replied as he poured out tea for Minos and Ios into coffee cups without much care.
“I’m just used to it as the duke enjoys tea every day.”
“Oh, yes. I heard you drink tea at Claymore Mansion every day.”
“I truly envy it. Tea was originally expensive but, after hosting tea meetings, it became popular among nobles, its price has soared up and now I cannot get any of it. I am living on what I bought before that happened.”
“But it is good that now there are many ways to enjoy tea thanks to those tea meetings. Have you tried adding milk to tea? It’s quite good.”
Of course, Carl hated adding this and that to tea. No, he rather despised it.
However, he didn’t want to hear criticism about his mistress come out of a priest’s mouth. The priest realized his mistake and blushed.
“Now that more people want it, they will import more of it.”
Tea grew only in some areas of the East Empire. There was no way its supply would catch up with its demand, but Carl raised his head high and said, “Yes, there will be a way.”
His mistress had befriended a dragon famous for being fierce and violent. Moreover, that dragon had saved her from danger and captured Stephen. He was acting like Rubica’s servant.
Carl believed she was a special being hiding her true powers. Maybe she was testing Edgar before she broke his curse.
‘I should have faith in her.’
Most of what she had worked on or advised on had gone well. Lord Sesar’s new roses, which everyone had laughed at, had brought immense wealth to the kingdom.
Admiration for Rubica had formed in the butler’s heart while they went through all that.
He believed she would find a way to solve problems Edgar and the king were worried about, like the food shortage in the kingdom and shortage of mana stone.
Carl walked quite lightly as he carried tea. On his tray were milk and sugar, which he normally didn’t bring unless Rubica asked for them.
If Rubica had known about the faith that was now in his heart, she would have had him get rid of it immediately.
Everything had been made by coincidences and misunderstandings. And right now, she was having a headache because of another misunderstanding.
“If you don’t give me what I want, I will tell your husband what kind of game you were playing with him.”
Rubica’s eyes widened at hearing Ios suddenly say that. The dragon laughed as if it had expected her to be shocked.
“A game? What are you talking about?”
“Pretending to be ignorant is no good!”
Edgar thought he had been right to not ask what he was talking about when he had just mentioned the word ‘game’. For now, he decided to watch where this interesting conversation would go.
“But I really don’t know what you are talking about. Me and Stephen, playing a game? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Oh, so you want to play innocent?”
Ios’s firm misunderstanding wasn’t broken. He thought Rubica was pretending to not know what he was talking about as Edgar was with them. A nymph getting kidnapped by a couple of humans? That was impossible.
“If you don’t admit it, I will tell your husband everything about it! I’ve even brought evidence, so pretending to be innocent is no good!”
Rubica had been wondering why Ios had brought Stephen without being asked to, and it turned out it had been to use him to blackmail her.
Moreover, she knew his brain was too stupid that there was no way he thought of that much himself, so she called Minos.
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